Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Secret Santa Revealed!

I jumped out of my comfort zone (ha not really!) and tried something new this year. Several blogging friends took part in . . . 
ta daaaaa!!!!!

 Thanks to Angela and Marcy who organized this wonderful idea.

I was so pleased to find out that my secret Santa was Hilary. She is a friend of mine on facebook and I've been following her for a while. I have some of her things she sells and they are just dandy for my kids to use too.
click the picture to go to her blog

I carry this with me at ALL times. . . I'm really trying not to drink Diet Coke, so with this cool Santa glass I keep ice cold water in it all the time!

Love these smelly markers!  I want to hoard them to myself, but I'll just have to share with my littles!

Who doesn't love Michaels? I could spend a ton in there! This gift card will be a nice help on the budget! And look at that card holder. He's an ornament too! So cute!

Thank you Hilary! It was a great way to get into the giving spirit.  

I was happy to be the Secret Santa to Nicole Swisher from 

Check out her blog to see what she got!

Now if you want to see what others got for their gifts be sure to check them out below!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

E.L.F. Challenge

If you follow Krista Wallden's Creative Chalkboard, then you know about her E.L.F challenge. It stands for Everyone Loves Freebies. 
You do, I do, they do. . . we all do! 

But she not only wanted to give us a freebie, she wanted us to reach out and make someone else's day. So I gave my staff at the school I retired from a Random Act of Christmas Kindness by delivering their favorite take out for them on a day that I didn't have to work. It made their lunch time better since they didn't have to leave their room, drive to the restaurant and wait in lines. When they came to the library (where we eat) their lunch was there. 

It may not seem like much, but I know it was a nice change for them. Plus I got to sit down and eat with them too. 
What have you done to think of others and made them smile?  

And speaking of smiles, I have to leave you with this cherub who makes me smile all the time.
 Here she is as an elf and then as Santa below!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Vowels Teams ON SALE!

Now that I've finished doing the maternity leave for my daughter-in-law in kindergarten, I have a new job.

This time it's more geared toward my mentality. I teach in a different building with just 2nd graders. I work in a tiny room big enough for one table and 3 chairs. There are 2 book shelves a white board and a waste basket. That's IT! 

But I have to tell you, that I LOVE it! I work 8:30 until noon and only 4 days a week. I work one to one or with two kids at a time. I have no papers to check, no conferences, no meetings, no report cards. I am just doing what I love. . . .working with kids. Isn't that what teaching is supposed to be? 

One of the games we've been playing is called Vowel Teams. It requires the child to look at one of the two words and to decide what the words say. Sometimes they might know one of the words, but not the other. So by figuring out one of the words, they just might be able to figure out the other.

The fun gets going when they draw one of the special cards. They might get to Grab more cards, 

or maybe they draw a YIKES! card and have to put all their cards back in the bottom of the pile.
She doesn't look too happy does she?

Sometimes they have to trade their cards with someone, in this case it was me! I had all these cards and they both didn't have many.

They both wanted me to trade with them!
The game goes up and down and sometimes it really goes bad! Little Miss Blonde wasn't so happy with this one!

I think your kiddos will love this, so I'm offering it to you for just this weekend at 20% off. 
You can grab it HERE. If you get it, please leave me some lovin' and I'd love to have you come back and tell me what you think of it. Did it help your kids? Did it make reading those tricky vowel patterns more fun? Fill me in!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

RACK or PAK it's All Good!

Many people do RACK (Random Acts of Christmas Kindness) right now. And that is such a kind and selfless thing to do. I love doing those things even at other times of the year. 

But today I want to talk to you about PAK which I am labeling as Purposeful Acts of Kindness. This weekend my sisters and I went back to my dad's house (2 1/2 hours away). Our main objective was to do Christmas shopping in our home town. But it is also a purposeful visit to our dad who has been alone in a 135 year old 6 bedroom farm house since August of 2013 when Mom died. 

Dad is 93 years young and does extremely well on his own. (He still drives well, and even snowmobiles in the U.P a couple times each winter) He can clean a bit, cook, grocery shop and takes good care of himself. 

But when we go (which is about once a month) we do a thorough cleaning and cook meals to freeze for him. When I say thorough I mean that his house is MUCH cleaner than mine! We clean floors, showers, toilets, the fridge, dishes, windows, change his sheets, you name it, it's clean! 

One thing that I was cleaning today was the door knobs and around the knobs. I also cleaned the light switches and the walls around the switches. Have you ever looked at yours? Have you ever looked at your parents? It's one of those areas, that might get over looked, but now that they are clean, I can see what a difference it makes.

So the reason for this post is to remind you that your parents have given a TON to you over the 18+ years you lived at home. Helping them out (no matter what their age is) would be a Purposeful Act of Kindness that I'm sure they would appreciate. Even if you don't live far from them and even if they are able to clean on their own. . . . what parent wouldn't appreciate a little extra help around the house. Many of our parents don't need anything for Christmas, but this idea would be a wonderful thought that they will remember. It might be helping with yardwork, eves cleaning, or any other job that they have to do themselves.

I want to show you one more thing we did for my dad. We decorated the house. . . the same way that mom would have done. . . the same way that she loved it. . . so Mom, I hope you're enjoying the way we made the house special for dad in your memory!

I'm going to challenge you to see how you can help your parents, grandparents, neighbors or anyone who you know could use some love and help.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Hug Helps us Learn

Did you have fun shopping? I did! And I want to thank you for shopping at my store. Thanks to you I have had my best sales on a sale day EVER!!!! That was real nice of all of you.

So here's a quick and cheap idea to help you get through the month of December. I am going to use these with some kindergartners that I work with. But you certainly may adjust the idea and make it fit your needs.

All you need is some ©Kisses or ©Hugs of any flavor and some labels. You can use circles if you want but I couldn't find them while I was out shopping. So these little rectangles will do just fine!

My goal is to help these kinders learn to make words by blending the initial, middle and final sounds together. We meet with small groups during our RTI time so this makes a great small group activity. 

On each label put a letter. I chose to put the vowels on the green ©Hugs, and the consonants on the white and red ones. Then I found these cute little boxes that I just happened to have in my basement. . . but I know you can buy them at Michaels.

Inside these boxes have the separate colors of ©Hugs. 

 Then I pulled one of each color out and try to make a word.
 Then I put them back in and pulled out another set of letters.

I think you could use 4 candies and make bigger words or nonsense words. Put letters on the bottom to have the student just identify the name of the letter or the sound.You could put numbers on the bottom and some symbols and make addition or subtraction problems. With numbers on the bottom they could make 2 and 3 digit numbers and learn to say them correctly. 

I'm sure you can think of more ways to use these. Go for it. But please come back and tell me how you used them. I'd love to hear about it!

Of course they are going to want to eat some of these. So you can decide if you want to use these for a couple days then eat some, or use the extras to give as a treat when you're done.