Sunday, December 23, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Fun

I saw a fun idea on Pinterest to do the 12 Days of Christmas for your husband and decided to go for it - not only for my hubby, but also my kids. It has been a lot of fun!

The first thing I had to do was convince my husband to participate and open the presents. He is very "strict" about not opening any presents until Christmas Day. Believe me, this was a source of contention when we first got married. I was the baby of five kids and we would always convince my dad to let us open our presents early! As a newlywed, it was really hard for me to wait! LOL!

Hubby has softened up and now allows our kids to open one present on Christmas Eve (pajamas).

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share the gifts I gave if you are in need of any ideas...

For Hubby:

Day 1 - Fusion Shaving Gel (I really like the smell of it - it is kind of an inside joke)
Day 2 - Pack of 2 of his favorite pens
Day 3 - Pack of 3 Chap-sticks
Day 4 - Pack of Undies
Day 5 - 5 Packs of Tic-Tacs
Day 6 - Pack of 6 of his favorite candy bar
Day 7 - 7 is the number of perfection, so I gave him 7 reasons he is the "perfect" man for me!
Day 8 – 8 coupons for some of his favorite treats that I make
Day 9 – Pack of 9 Krispy Kreme donuts
Day 10 - 10 homemade chocolate chip cookies
Day 11 - Package of 11 screws
Day 12 - Pack of socks

For Kids (11 year old daughter and 13 year old son):

Day 1 – Journal to write letters back and forth to daughter has affectionately termed these the "LTFMD" for Letters To/From Mom and Dad. See the rules below:

The journals are something I have wanted to start for awhile...something that I can use to tell them things I want them to know or remember should something happen to their father and/or me. I explained it in the first letter I wrote to them. The gift had my daughter in tears. We have already had fun writing back and forth - even my son! His is plain black.
Day 2 – Pair of gloves
Day 3 – Pack of 3 Chap-sticks
Day 4 – Package of Snack Pack Pudding*
Day 5 – Gum or undies
Day 6 – Pack of 6 of their favorite candy bar
Day 7 – Gum or undies
Day 8 – Pack of socks
Day 9 – Pencils (10 pack, I took one out!)
Day 10 – Package of Capri-Sun*
Day 11 – 11 homemade chocolate chip cookies
Day 12 – 12 pack of their favorite pop*

***You have to understand that my kids don’t get that sort of thing very often, so they love it! It is even a tradition that I buy their favorite “sugary” cereal and wrap it up for one of their presents to open on Christmas Day because I won’t buy any cereal with more than 10 g of sugar. I’m such a mean mom! LOL!

And guess what? Hubby got in on the fun! He got pretty creative.

Day 1 – candle
Day 2 – pair of socks
Day 3 – 3 skirt hangers (Woohoo! I really wanted these - seriously!)
Day 4 – 4 new washcloths (remember I said I wouldn’t discuss the condition of our old ones…)
Day 5 – Post-it note flags (pack of 5)
Day 6 – pack of socks
Day 7 – coupon for something sweet
Day 8 – pack of Sharpies
Day 9 – “9 Verses That Bring My Wife to Mind”
Day 10 – decorative binder clips
Day 11 – “11 Things that Make My Wife Special to Me”
Day 12 -  TBA...

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Activities in Pictures

Our words are still few as we think of Sandy Hook Elementary, but we wanted to share a few pictures or our last two days of activities.
Yesterday was our first day of break! :-)
Thinking of you that are still working. :-(
Decorating gift bags for our parent gifts...

Reading to Someone from the other first grade class...

Working together on a couple of Christmas worksheets...

Christmas gifts for mom and dad...

We bought the foam snowflakes on clearance last year, added their "sticky pictures" from the company that takes our school pictures, and of course, GLITTER!

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. May the Lord give grace to help the families, friends, school, and community at this time.

Kristi and Crystal

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Teddy Bears and CHAOS!

So here I sit...waiting...

...for the Christmas program...

And it dawned on me that I should have been taking pictures of some of the things that have contributed to our CHAOS around here, but I neglected to snap any shots. So let me just tell you what I should have captured (as if it is not permanently etched into my mind).

1. Christmas Around the World trip to Mexico with a pinata.

What were we thinking?

You have to know Kristi and I really like routine and structure. These fun things throw us off a bit. Not to mention as you listen to the kids comment about not getting enough candy or why this person got this many pieces or how it wasn't fair that the pinata broke when it did... Well, you get the idea. We ask ourselves why do we do anything fun when they don't appreciate it...

Here's why...At the end of the day, one of my sweeties said, "Thank you for letting us hit the pinata today."

Okay, it was only one out of 38 (between our two classes), but it was one!

2. Christmas Around the World trip to France with shoes kicked off to receive treats.

Okay, so I am glad I missed this one (had a sub). Apparently, both of our classrooms really STUNK during that time... Ha ha!

3. Program Practice Day 1

First time for us traveling to another building for the program. It is a little difficult to lay out clear expectations when I wasn't sure of them myself! Add to that, Kristi had an emergency and had to leave before the practice. A wonderful Title Aide (retired teacher) took her place and we muddled through.

4. Program Practice Day 2

Better right? Well, maybe as far as the kids go...

I definitely made my expectations more clear and we remembered to take off our coats before sitting down so we didn't think we had to have that exact same seat after singing.

Kristi was still gone, so I was trying to tell her sub and helpers what we were supposed to do and where the kids were supposed to be. All the while, prodding one of my little ones to finish the math that should have been done before we ever went to practice.

5. Teddy Bears, Teddy Bears

For one of our songs, the kids are supposed to have teddy bears.

It is the first song.

That is important for you to understand the chaos.

So the kids brought these bears from home the whole week and we had to remind them everyday to keep them in their backpack and not at their desk pretending to be their "Furry Friend" (a reward they can choose).

Here is the fun part...after the first song, Kristi and I have to walk across the stage to pick up the bears.

Ugh! I do not want to walk across the stage in front of all those parents!

Anyway, the first day of practice, we took our library totes thinking they were plenty big. As I walk across the stage, collecting 19 teddy bears (you know how kids are...some of these bears are huge because--of course--who ever has the biggest teaddy bear wins, right?) my tote fills up and kids are now throwing their bears on the top of the stack which is so high I had to literally hold it to the side to see where I was walking. My principal even worried I would fall down the steps...

Now we each have a huge round tote to carry--and after today's practice these are even borderline too small.

6. Grade Cards

Ummm...Who has time for that? ;-)

Okay, enough chaos for one day. Hope your days leading up to break are going better for you!

I'm off to gather teddy bears and hope that I don't end up falling on my face. At least the landing will be soft...


P.S. Three more days for us!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

And the Winners Are......and a sad loss!

Congratulations to...
Our BIG Winner ($30 to your choice Amazon or Target AND 3 items of your choice from our TPT store):
Runner-Ups (3 items of your choice from our TPT store):
We will be contacting each of you via e-mail soon!
On a sad note, my husband and I lost one of our dogs last week.  Many of you know that we don't have kids and our pets are like our babies.  I was reminded of how precious life is and how our days our numbered in this world. 
Last Friday, I stepped out into our garage and turned off the outside lights.  We have a doggy door into our garage so the dogs can come in and cool off in the summer and get warm in the winter.  So, here came Kody, Zuez and Raquium in to see me as I was turning the lights off.  I was in such a hurry because I was running behind and I turned and said hi to the three of them and was off.  Kody was just fine and acting himself. 
Around 5:00, my husband called me and asked where I was.  He then stated that I needed to come home right away.  I asked what was wrong and he said that I needed to just get home as soon as possible.  I knew then that something was wrong (he didn't want to tell me on the phone since I had to drive home).  When I got home, I found my husband laying on the kitchen floor beside Kody.  Kody was passing blood, couldn't walk and struggling to breathe.  My first thought was, why didn't I take the time to stop and love on him a little more that morning.
We took him to the vet right away and she said that he was almost gone and that there really wasn't anything that she could do to save him.  Therefore, we had him put to sleep.  He was 13 years old and and they thought that he may have had a tumor in his stomach that ruptured. 
Needless to say, I was reminded that I should slow down and take the time to enjoy all that are in my life.  So, this whole week, I took the time every morning to give a little extra love to the babies that we have left in our lives and to my husband.   Kody was a blessing and a friend for 13 years of our lives.  He will be missed!
Guarding mom!

Guarding the kitty cat!

Enjoying the truck ride!

Waiting for the vet for a check up!

Another fun truck ride!

Just relaxing!
Hope all of you have a great week and remember to slow down and take time with the loved ones in your life. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

16 Years of Marriage = Appliances Dying (and Currently)

On December 14th my husband and I will celebrate 16 15 years of marital bliss. You see, there was that one year...that year we didn't like each other and we try not to talk about it much. LOL! We just praise the Lord for His mercy and grace that helped us through.
Anyway, as my anniversary approaches, I'm noticing that many of our appliances are dying a slow and painful death. Two years ago, I replaced my toaster. Last year, I replaced my clothes iron. And in the last two weeks, my blender AND my mixer have died...up in smoke, you could say, literally. I won't even talk about the condition of my bathroom towels (this is our 2nd set of towels).
I suppose I should be thankful that our things lasted so long...I've heard some people have gone through 3 blenders in the same amount of time. :-)
Anyone else experience this?
Okay, enough's my Currently. You can link up to over at Farley's.

Okay, now I really do have to pay bills. Have a great rest of the week!
May your blenders and mixers run smoothly (without the smoke)...

P.S. Don't forget to enter our giveaway!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Merry Christmas (early present) and THANK YOU!

It is GIVE-AWAY time!

Kristi and I have been talking for awhile that it is time for another give-away here on our little blog. If you've been with us for awhile, you might remember how the 50 follower give-away ended with us well over 100 we combined that celebration.

So why now?

Mostly, we just want to say THANK YOU because we have had so much fun with our blog - getting to know other bloggers and reading all the supportive comments that are left here. We want to thank you for challenging us to keep growing as teachers and for the wonderful ideas that are shared in "blog-land."

And, well, it is that time of year when we are all looking for ways to give back.

Ooops...almost forgot to tell you what you could win... There will be one grand prize winner who will receive  $30 gift card to either Amazon or Target and 3 items from our TPT store. We will also choose 4 more winners to pick any 3 items from our store.

Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Kristi and Crystal

P.S. Sorry we were MIA this week for the mid-week post! This week was a little chaotic getting back into the routine after Thanksgiving break!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Break Project

OK, so Crystal's project motivated me to do something this break as I didn't do anything as big as she did.  My project took me only about 10 min.   That's the kind of projects that I like.  :-)

A few years ago, my husband woke up one Saturday morning and said "I have an idea"-oh boy I thought.  Next thing I knew he was knocking down our kitchen wall.  You could imagine my face!!! 

Long story short, it took awhile but he did make an opening from our kitchen to our living room.  He then put a nice little place for us to sit and eat.  That way we were able to open up our kitchen more by getting rid of our huge table that we would place all of our mail on.  In the end, the area turned out great and I really love it.  The only problem is that our mail now goes on the counter and stools in front of the counter and it bothers me-looks cluttered.  So, I thought ok, I have to find a place to put our mail and junk that we end up tossing on the counter etc. 

I found this idea on pinterest and decided to go with it and YAY my counters are now clean and so our my stools :-) :

Here's mine:

                                                            Look-no more clutter!  :-)

Today my husband worked on a project as well.  Luckily it was a quick one.  :-)  My 18 year old cat has developed arthritis in his lower back and hips.  About a year ago my husband built some steps for him to get into the bed.  He uses them often, but has gotten to where he likes to also get up on our couch with us.  He can usually make it up on the couch, but at times it is harder for him.  So my husband built some more steps for him.  Now he has steps in the bedroom to get in the bed and by the couch to get up on the couch.  Can you say spoiled?  LOL!  He is so excited about them that all night long he has been going from the bedroom and using the steps and then back out to the living room and using the ones by the couch-back and forth, back and forth.   Check them out!

Don't forget to check out the TPT and TN great sales that Crystal and I joined in. You will be able to get 30% off of our products over the next few days.


Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Crackle Painting with Glue - REALLY!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Kristi and I can finally join in the celebration. We were a little jealous that many of you were off the entire week. We made it through a jam packed two days and officially started Thanksgiving break yesterday!
Check out how my first attempt at crackle painting with Elmer's glue turned out. This was an idea I found on Pinterest (of course).

When we moved into this house, the bathroom had this HUGE vanity. It was a very dark wood and since it is an interior room I really wanted to brighten it up. We painted it white - almost everything in the room. It was bright, but lacked personality so now - about three years later - I decided to try again. I wanted to bring in my favorite color scheme (blue and brown).
I had read that you paint your base coat (in my case brown). Then put Elmer's glue on it before painting the top color. I really had no idea how much glue I needed...
I may or may not have raced to find the glue before another lady at the store who was also telling her kids she needed a lot of glue!
Okay, I was nervous about I just tried it on a door first with a light coat of glue. Cracks were too small - like slivers. Read some more online and realized I needed A LOT of glue for bigger cracks.
So I really smeared it on...then you wait until your glue gets tacky.
Paint your top-coat on and TADA! You have the crackle effect.

Lessons learned:
I didn't need as much glue as I thought. I bought 9 bottles of 7 oz. glue (I saved the other lady 3) and I only used 4 1/2.
Wait for it...I was a little nervous at first. After it was completely dry, I loved the results.
If you try this on a vertical surface (like the sides of my vanity), you will not be able to use as much glue. It will slide.
Fortunately for us, one of the sliding spots was right where a hinge goes and the other is on the side of the vanity no one can see.
Okay on to some exciting news - TPT and TN are having some great sales and Kristi and I joined in. You will be able to get 30% off of our products over the next few days.


Enjoy your Thanksgiving break!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Writer's Eye and Thanksgiving

So, I found this cute writer's eye that I have put up in my room.  I found it at:
I was wondering if anyone else uses something like this as well and how are you using it?  I know that Crystal was talking about making goals each week for the students and putting his/her name on a post it note by the one that they should be working on for the week.  I plan on doing this and was also curious how others may use it. 
Here are some more pictures of our turkeys that we made last week:

We have 2 days this week and then have our Thanksgiving break.  Our school has a neat Grandparent's day program on Tuesday.  The grandparents come into our rooms in the afternoon for a little while and then go to the gym where the students put on a Thanksgiving musical program.  It is a neat thing that we have done for years at our school.  How long do you have before your Thanksgiving break and what all do you do in your classroom for the holiday?
I will be looking forward to hearing some of your ideas on writer's eyes and to hear how you spend your days in the classroom before the holiday. 
Hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving break!  Kristi 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Action Words - Verbs - Kagan Style

How many of you have these books in your school library?

Well, let me tell you...a couple of summers ago, I spent a lot of time copying, cutting, and laminating. Then I stashed the gems I made away in the corresponding math or reading unit to supplement our curriculum.

My classroom is not a "total Kagan" room with students sitting in teams, but I do enjoy throwing in some Kagan structures. The way that I do this is by having students assigned to a "shoulder buddy" and a "team." I use the shoulder buddies for all partner work or sharing during lessons. The students know who is on their team and I will simply say, "Get with your team," to quickly transition to group activities.

This week as verbs came up in our reading curriculum, I was excited to see my ready-made Quiz, Quiz, Trade cards taken from the Balanced Literacy book above. I knew the kids would LOVE it. The students carry cards with verbs on them as they mingle throughout the room. When they pair up, they have to act out each other's verb.

Fun for the kids -- and easy for me. You can't beat that!

Hope you're having a great week!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Our Talking Turkeys

Boy did that election wear me out!  LOL!  We did have a fun time with it.  It is funny how those little things can make you so tired.  Then to top it off, Crystal decided that we needed to get our bulletin board changed and paint turkeys....what???  I was already tired... granted the craft of the talking turkeys she found was very cute, but the thought of another project and a painting project at that made me even more tired.   
She found it at:

I was actually able to talk her out of painting the entire thing (I think she was tired too after the election, so agreed with me about not using paint on all of it LOL!) and using crayons on some of the parts.  They turned out cute and the kids had fun doing them.  Sorry that the pics aren't too clear, I will try to get better ones to post this week.  Like I said, I was tired and took them and didn't really take a glance at them until I got home.  That's when I noticed that they are a little hard to see :-(.

Hope all of you have a great weekend!  I plan to get some much needed rest!  :-)  Kristi

Thursday, November 8, 2012

And the Winner is...

The results are in...
...and the winner is...
The kids took this election so seriously. It was so stinken' cute! Here's some pictures:
Isn't our voting booth cute...and private? We had an awesome K teacher bring in the decorations for us! That is a blank ballot my kiddo is holding up because, of course, we would never tell who we voted for. :-)

Our election workers took their job very seriously. They checked in each voter and gave them an "I VOTED" sticker when they were finished.

We even had a line for voting because this had to be as realistic as possible - or maybe it was because Kristi kept shoving sending kids out the door so we could finish voting before our specials. Granted I did leave her in the "party room" with ALL of our students so I could maintain the integrity of the election.

And just for giggles...we were searching the room for things that were taller than us and I had one little sweetie draw GOD. Thought it was cute -- and true. He's pretty big alright! ;-)

Have a happy Friday! We're in no kiddos tomorrow.


Saturday, November 3, 2012


The kids are so excited about voting next week for their favorite animal.  Most of them have already decided on who they want to win and who they will be casting their vote for next week.  It is so cute to see them because they are taking it so seriously.  In fact, this week, Crystal had one of her students ask her what they should wear on the day that they are going to vote.  LOL! 

We have it all planned out for Nov. 6.  One of our Kindergarten teachers was so nice to let us borrow her patriotic tablecloths which we will decorate a cubby desk and this will be where they will vote.  There will be 2 students that are in charge of marking off the names as students finish voting.  We have a red voting box where they will place his/her ballot when done voting.  One of our 2nd grade teachers found some old I voted stickers that came in one of her scholastic book orders and she gave them to us.  Now, we will have stickers for them after they vote.  WOW!  It is really nice to work with a group of teachers that are always willing to help out! 

We decided that while they are voting, we would be in one room having an election party.  The students will enjoy cookies and we will all watch a video on the animals that are the candidates for this animal election!  We will post some pictures of the kids voting later next week! 

Have a great weekend!  Kristi

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Connect Four and Other Ramblings...


If you could hear me now, you would hear a huge sigh of relief that this day is over. It was one of those days...if you know what I mean. :-)

I'm also relieved to have conferences over. That always makes for a long, busy week. It is fun to go to my own children's conferences and hear how different they are. All of my son's teachers had the same thing to say: "He is a great student. We just need him to talk more." Then my daughter's will tell me how Harley talks so much more than Chaz (they are only a year apart in school, so the teachers remember him well).

And one other rambling...have you ever lost a horse?

We came home last night to find our horse missing!

My heart just sank for Harley...she has wanted a horse since she was three and just got Cosmo in June. My husband and Harley set out to look for him.

Chaz and I stayed home to cook dinner. I worried and fretted, then finally told Chaz we needed to pray that the Lord would help us find Cosmo. Unfortunately, that is not always my first response as it should be!

Anyway, the phone rang as soon as we were done praying. A neighbor calling to tell us where we could find Cosmo. Praise the Lord!

All was well, but Harley was not too happy with her horse for "running away." Ha ha!

Okay, now to what you are all here for...teaching stuff. Here's my small group table all ready for the first round of Daily 5 tomorrow.

This is a simple game that we call Connect Four. Partners take turns rolling the dice, then they attempt to read one of the words with that number correctly. If they do, they get to put their colored marker in the square. The first person to get four in a row wins. We also add that they can "knock off" their partners sometimes to make it more fun. The kids love it!

Kristi just posted this one on TPT for working on the short u sound and she has several available in our store. Best of all, she sells them for just $1!

Enough ramblings for one day...

Have a great evening!


P.S. Does anyone have any behavior modification plans that they just love???

Friday, October 26, 2012

More Election Fun!

We worked on our campaign posters this week for our Animal Election.  The kids are so excited about it and are taking it very serious!  Check out their cool posters:

We will go through the actual voting process on November 6th.  Only they will be voting for their favorite animal.  :-)

We had parent-teacher conferences this week and put in extra hours to have today off.  I think we all agreed that we were very tired and would be doing a lot of napping throughout today and this weekend.  Along with being tired, our weather has gone from around 85 degrees to 38 degrees in a day!  So, it's a dreary day which makes it even better to stay in and take a nice long nap.

Hope all of you have had a great week!  Kristi
Displaying pin-it-fix-1.txt.