Monday, December 30, 2013

Wrapping up December...

Since I pretty much haven't posted anything in December, this post is a complete hodge-podge of things.  December was a blur.  Having one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas threw me off a bit at school!  I was still able to fit lots of fun holiday activities in, but it all felt a little rushed to me.  And, apparently, I took very few photos of things we did in December, so I'll only be sharing a few things! :)

The best part of December for my class were the Random Acts of Kindness we did all month long.  I presented the idea just before Thanksgiving, and my families responded overwhelmingly by helping us gather goodies and gifts to share with the students and teachers at our school.
Each day, we "RAK'd" a classroom, teacher, custodian, para-professional, secretary, etc.  The students helped by coloring our "You've been RAK'd!" cards, and counting out bookmarks and pencils.  They couldn't wait each day to find out who we would be surprising.  It was a blast!!  
We worked SO HARD to keep it all secret, but the teachers figured out it was us pretty quickly.  They were wonderful, though, about not letting my class know that they knew.  My sweet kindies still think that no one knows.  Love them.
Each day I chose two students to be our "deliverers", then the whole class would go together to watch the fun!  The deliverers would sneak down to the classroom, set the goodies down by the door, knockknockknock, and RUN!  The ONLY time they are allowed to run in the hallway!  They LOVED it!  Then, when we got back to our classroom, the delivery friends would report to the class exactly what they did and if anyone saw them.  They had the best time with it.
I loved it because it gave us such a great chance to discuss the JOY that comes from giving to others and not expecting anything in return!  Christmas is about LOVE!  And we were able to love on every single student in our building.  I will definitely be doing this again.

 After several years of making the same Christmas gifts for my students to give their parents, I am still so in love with these handprint reindeer ornaments.  They are easy-peasy, and so gosh darn adorable.  Thankfully, we had them wrapped up and sent home a few days early because our last day before Christmas Break was cancelled due to ice!
 I love them so much that I made them with my own kids a couple years ago.  Here was my daughter's on our tree this year.

The last picture I have is from our class book exchange.  I have learned that scheduling our classroom party the Thursday before break allows Friday to be so much more calm and relaxed.  Party day can be downright nuts, and I don't love spending my final few hours before break in the craziness.  I would much rather do it the day before, and then spend Friday reading Christmas stories, listening to Christmas music, playing games, and having {non-choatic} fun.  This all worked out perfectly this year since we didn't have school on that last day before break.  I was so glad that we had been able to have our classroom party.
Anyway, the book exchange always makes me laugh because the kids sit in a big circle and pass their books clockwise (which only a handful of Kindergarteners can ever figure out) while I play Christmas music.  When the music stops, the book that is in their hands is the book they get to open and keep.  It never fails that there are always one or two laps that look like this while the books are being passed.
 And then, when the music stops, I have to remove the pile from the lap and make sure that everyone has a book before we open.
And also before we open I have to have the talk that explains how we SHOULD and SHOULD NOT act once we open the book that one of our friends has so generously purchased and wrapped and brought to school just for you.  And even if you have that same book at home, or even if you are a boy and you open a Hello Kitty book (even though I clearly state to parents that they should be gender-neutral), or even if the book you open looks completely uninteresting to you, you smile and thank your friend.  And they always do.  They OOH and AAH and everyone leaves with a smile!  And then we spend the next 10-15 minutes sharing our brand new book with a partner, which is always so much fun.

It was a fabulous three weeks of holiday fun in December.  And this Christmas Break has been a much-needed reprieve from our busy schedule.  We are enjoying lots of family time and are soaking the days in!  I know that, by Monday, I'll be ready to back at school with my kindies, but tonight, I am thankful for a few more days at home! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thirteen in '13 Linky

WOW!  It's been a while since I've posted anything!!  I do have a few posts coming up this week (hopefully!), but I have enjoyed some time away from the blog to spend time with family, and to soak in the Christmas season.  My break so far has been so wonderful.  I didn't know how badly I needed time to slow down and breathe a bit.

I'm late to the linky party, but I figure I'm still fine seeing as it's still 2013... this is a fun one and I didn't want to miss out!

My favorite article of clothing this time of year has got to be my BOGS boots.  
They are so, so warm and are amazing for trudging through slushy parking lots, playing in the snow with my kids, and roaming the playground while on recess duty.  Most times I wear them without socks.  I don't know how they keep my feet warm in these frigid Michigan temps, but they do!  Love them.

I don't watch a lot of movies, unless they are old favorites on TV or something, but my hubby and I did take our kids to see Frozen last Monday and it was ADORABLE!!  The storyline was sweet and the characters were great, but my favorite part was the MUSIC.  
So, so good.

I am a reality TV junkie.  I have so many that I watch all the time.  But, my favorite???
I love Project Runway.

And how sweet is Tim Gunn???  He makes me smile.

We don't really eat out much.

I feel like I am beginning to sound like a real drag!  Ha!  I don't watch movies...I don't eat out....all I do all day long is sit around watching reality TV marathons.  Oh my.  

I think it's our stage in life with young children, that we would rather eat home than eat out.

I am on a Mexican food kick lately, so if I had to pick a place to get take-out, I might choose 
Guacamole and pico de gallo make me one happy girl.

Hmmm...this year I tried blogging!  Well, I've had a family blog for several years now, but this year I dove into this fun, little teacher-blogging world.  It has been the most fun.  I have loved all of the connections I've made and everything that I'm learning.  If I'm being honest, it's all taken off a bit slower than I'd hoped, but I've learned time and time again in my life that there is beauty in everything, so I am looking forward to another year of blogging, growing, and learning here in my little corner of the internet.

I am having a hard time thinking back over the whole year for this one, so I'll focus on Christmas.  I only got a few gifts for Christmas this year, but my fave was the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette that I got from my bestie!
Love!!!  I am having so much fun playing around with it.  
She knows me so well! :)

This isn't school-related, but I was able to take the inspiration from this pin
and re-create that sign for my master bedroom.
 We just got new bedding and I'm on the hunt for pillow shams that I like, so our bed looks a little bare right now, but I love the simplicity of the sign and it fits our bedroom perfectly.

Some of my favorite things from last school year were the Girls Only and Boys Only lunches that I did.  They were so fun, and I can't wait to plan them again this spring for my current class.  CLICK HERE to head to the post about the Girls Only lunch.

Last year was our district's first year with all day-every day Kindergarten.  I was really proud at the end of the school year with how far my students had come and, in particular, what great readers they had become!  The results were SO different than my half-day students had ever performed.  My students worked hard, and they went on to first grade so prepared.  I was one super proud teacher as I wrapped up last school year.

One of my favorite memories from 2013 was our trip to Disney World in June.  This picture was taken on our first day there.  
Disney is just pure magic.

I have lots and lots of wonderful memories from this year, but this one stands out to me right now.  My hubby and I surprised our son, Trey, with a train trip to Chicago for his 6th birthday back in April.  We had the best time.
Only a couple days after we got back, our entire lives changed so drastically, so this memory of before that all happened is very treasured!

Of course I have lots of small goals, and a few big ones too, for 2014...personally and professionally.  My biggest goal for every year is to deepen my relationship with Christ.  I've never been great about reading the Bible consistently, but I just started reading the chronological Bible and I would love to finish it by the end of 2014.  More than anything, I want to live, serve, and LOVE like Jesus, and I know that spending time with Him is the best way to do that.

My one word for 2014 is GRATITUDE.  
2013 has held lots of joy and lots of pain for my family.  In April, my {amazing} mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 20 days later.  In July, my dad was in a very serious car accident.  He broke 10 bones and his passenger was killed.  He's doing well, but it's been such a long road of recovery for him.  My son has been struggling with some health issues this fall connected to a hereditary blood disorder that he has and there are still some unanswered questions with him.  Dear friends have been affected with scary, sad situations.  It's been a roller coaster year.  
Over the past couple months, in the moments when everything has seemed like too much, I have felt small nudges in my soul reminding me to be grateful.  I've never had to think hard to come up with countless reasons to be grateful.  I can list blessing upon blessing upon blessing in my life.  I want to live a life of gratitude in 2014.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Reindeer Games {GIVEAWAY!!}

I hope you all had as much fun shopping during the TPT Cyber Monday sale as I did.  The majority of my purchases were clip art -- I can't help myself!!  Hopefully you were able to get stocked up on fun activities for December, but just in case you are still looking for more ways to add some Christmas cuteness to your days, I am going to give away one of my Reindeer Games packs.

It IS the season of giving, after all. :)
I'm loving these activities because they are easy, easy, easy.
Just print and go!

I'll pick the winner on Tuesday!

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale!!

Hi there, friends!

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet???  I have done lots of my shopping online over the past few days and now I'm just waiting for those boxes to get dropped by my front door!  I'm ready to get gifts wrapped and under the tree!

TPT is throwing their BIG Cyber Monday sale tomorrow and they are extending it through Tuesday!  All items in my store will be 20% off and TPT will add another 10% off with the code CYBER!!  Go fill your carts with awesome resources for your classroom!

Here are some fun Christmas and Winter items from my shop.  Click each image to check it out on TPT!