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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Homemade Christmas Dishes

Each year I use my two boys' handprints or footprints to make myself Christmas dishes. I opted to do this once I had kids as a cute keepsake. Plus the penny pincher I am, never jumped in and bought a set of the cute pricey dishes.

This year I decided I had enough plates from previous years, a platter from last year, so this year I began bowls. Here is the finished product:

To see my previous post and pictures of my previous dishes click here.

Tip: I've seen all the pins on pinterest about using a regular sharpie and baking it on your dishes. DON'T!!! I did that last year with red for a red scallop on the edge of my plate. When I pulled it out and rinsed it off to dust it off, the red all ran off. Yes, I had baked it like the pins said. 
So instead, I found in the Walmart craft section, that Sharpie actually now makes pens for dishes. I don't remember the cost, but I think it was about $8 for a 4 pack. So far so good with those, and the ink is holding tight.

For the bowl, I painted the green with my new sharpie paint pens, and used the red paint on their fingertips and they dotted the red berries.

Now, my next trouble is figuring out what to do next year on the bowl. I need more bowls and I'm short on ideas. Also, at this point my kids' hands and feet are getting too big to make more plates. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December Funnies

I had to share these two goodies I saw on Facebook.

Merry Christmas and hang in there teachers!! We can do it!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Elf on the Shelf - Minecraft Style

I'm pretty proud of this one. Not just the typical move him to another location. :)

For more ideas, check out my Elf on the Shelf December calendar. Or find me on Facebook.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Elf on the Shelf 2014

My boys begged me to put up the Christmas tree yesterday. Once that was finally done (4 hours later...stupid pre-lit trees that are no longer pre-lit!! UGH!!) I realized, that in our house, once the tree goes up, Max our Elf on the Shelf returns. Panic set it.

Last year I made a nifty little calendar to help me keep track and not worry about ideas as my head hit the pillow. It worked out great, minus the days we were snowed in at my in-laws an hour away.

So, I have made my 2014 Elf calendar to share with you at dropbox.  You can click on this link and it will take you to dropbox where you can download the calendar for free. You can also see last year's calendar here for more ideas.

With the calendar, I have extra pictures and websites that I used to compile this year's list/calendar. Almost everything I pulled from my personal pinterest board, so I don't take any credit for the ideas.

The above picture is a little hard to see, but tomorrow my boys will find "Max" helping out the Paw Patrol pups. Max is inside their lighthouse, if you can't tell. This was one of my own personal ideas. I had to come up with a few because my calendar begins on Dec 1st and today is Nov 29th.

I hope you can get a few useful ideas from my calendar. Merry Christmas!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Homemade Halloween Costumes

My 4 yr old LOVES Paw Patrol!!! So it was only fitting that was what he wanted to be for Halloween. Since there was nothing pre-made for Paw Patrol (and I almost NEVER buy costumes) I set to work.
Marshall from Paw Patrol:

*Fireman's hat (already on hand)
*2 black felt squares (23¢ each at Walmart)
*1 white felt square (23¢)
*White t-shirt ($3.88 Walmart)
*Fun foam (I had it on hand, but at craft stores for less than $1)
*Yellow ribbon and flashlight (extra embellishments that I had on hand)
*Glue gun and 1 glue stick 
*Fat marks-a-lot black permanent marker
*Plastic badge from his Paw Patrol toy

Total Out of Pocket Cost: $8.71 plus tax
Shirt: White shirt drawn with black permanent marker. I suggest putting some old cardboard (or in my case a cut up trash bag box) inside it as you color so it won't bleed through.

Collar: Yellow ribbon and a plastic Marshall badge that came with one of his Paw Patrol toys.

For the hat.
Felt ears glue inside. Yellow ribbon around the outside. Small flashlight glued to ribbon. Fun foam badge on the front.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sight Words

I've been working more fervently with my older preschooler on sight words now that "mommy school" has started again.

Here are a few of the things I have done to help him learn his sight words:

 Dotting each sight word with a different color.

 Playing tic-tac-toe with the sight words.

 Parking lot - cars cover the sight word.

Coloring - I found a black and white clip art from My Cute Graphics (it's free) and printed it off. Then I wrote his sight words in the spaces to color.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

National Geographic FREEBIE

When I taught I used to use Scholastic News in the classroom. The kids and I both loved it, but it was a little pricey. So I was thrilled when I ran across this website. National Geographic has their past issues online that you can read online. This would make a great listening center/computer center with a science theme - I'm just sayin'!  :)  Besides having the issue online, there is a link to it for teachers to have a study guide and print off worksheets and such...for FREE!! 

I ran across this while studying Insects with my preschooler. He loved listening to the insect stories that were in a few of the issues.

Be sure to check out this great resource! Below is a screen shot of the website. Enjoy!!

On a side note, I do have a Facebook page now, so "like" that for more updates and freebies of what is going on in my "country world".

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School - Insects in PreSchool

Today my oldest went to 1st grade which left me with my Preschooler. We did not do much as far as pencil paper learning this summer, so I was ready to go today. I had everything printed, cut out, and ready.

Even my normally obstinate preschool was ready to learn. He even wanted to do MORE. All I kept thinking was ok, and who is this child!?!? (He's very smart, but won't let on...stinker!!)

This is the unit we began today. He had a great time, especially since he knew the 3 parts of an insect (head, thorax, abdomen) and his older brother didn't.  Nothing like a little sibling rivalry to boost his learning desire!

 Click here to see this unit at Teachers Pay Teachers.

We have done almost all the alphabet letters so we will be finishing those off our list first. After that, I'm not sure what we will do. I guess I better get cracking on what to do next.

Here are a bunch of the books I pulled for us to use with this unit.

Here is my favorite link for drawing your own bug and also coloring pages. Click HERE. It's free! This was his favorite activity we did together. He designed his own insect using the download from the website above.

Below is another activity we did. My son was REALLY into cutting this week, so I had him cut some little marks on a green strip of paper. We then used that strip of green to make an outdoor insect scene. Thankfully, I had some insects stickers on hand to embellish it!

And one more activity.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Magnetic Letter Organization

Here is a little teacher tip to organize your magnetic letters. I used to use these in the classroom for guided reading or other lessons. Instead of a jar and dumping them out each time to find the letters I needed, I did this. All this is a fishing tackle box from Walmart. You can adjust the compartments sizes as needed and it will help you to save precious seconds and minutes searching for the right letter.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tall Tales Freebie - Listening Center QR Codes

Last night I was up late because I couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd do something productive. No, I did not work on the months and months of digital picture files...instead I created this QR listening code center on tall tales (I did think about needing to mop my floors for a nanosecond. That makes up for it right??)

Anyway, I'm so excited by my facebook response so far (and it isn't all my best friends either) that I decided to add this tall tales page to dropbox so you can download it for FREE only here on my blog.
I do have it listed in my stores for a price. But, You can click HERE for your free Tall Tales QR code Listening Center. Oh, and don't forget to swing by my new facebook page and "like" it to get updates and news about freebies and sales.

Story Books included are:

*Paul Bunyan by Steven Kellogg (read by yours truly on my YouTube page).

*Pecos Bill by Steven Kellogg (once again read by me).

*Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg (me again)  :)

*Video Disney clip of John Henry (This is a short video by Disney- I think it is 8 mins long).

These books I FINALLY read and uploaded to YouTube. I used to have links to other people's stories, but then they'd delete them and then the code didn't work. So I made my own which will always be there. 

Who knew 4 codes would take me weeks. Acquire the needed books, buy a tripod for my camera, many takes to video me reading...and the worst. HOURS to upload to YouTube. Sometimes technology is a big pain in the tushy! But I'm so pleased they are done for you to enjoy...without all the work. :)


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Fun with Numbers & Letters

One way to reinforce letter and number skills is to use shaving cream. My kindergartener is still having trouble with number reversals and my preschooler needed practice writing his name and letters. We headed outside (to the shade and picnic table) and had some fun and secret learning time.

Note: I suggest having them in their swimsuits so you can hose them off when you are done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

World Cup 2014

My nephew is a HUGE soccer fan!! (And that is a major understatement). He even was in Rio de Janerio and brought my boys back special soccer jerseys.

To get ready for the World Cup I made a little beginner powerpoint to explain the games...along with a little help from my nephew. 

To download my powerpoint from Teachers Pay Teachers click here.

Don't forget to click on the "powerpoint" tab at the top of my blog to see a list of all my powerpoints.

Baseball Thematic Unit

This past year my 6 yr old began t-ball. What a fun time! While he was playing, we were also playing and learning at home. Here is the baseball unit I made for my younger son.

To see my baseball thematic unit at TPT click here.

Below are a few of the things we did with this unit. I hope you and your little slugger have fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Carcinoid Lung Cancer Story

During spring break I had grand ideas of things to do with my 4 and 6 yr old. Unfortunately, God had other plans for me.

(Let me preface this by saying I NEVER have said "I need to go to the ER" in my life. I've been to the hospital 2x. One for each birth...that is it!

The week before spring break I had had my annual physical and everything looked good. I was told to keep doing what I am doing.There was nothing for me to do differently. (Plus I had been doing P90X and was in pretty good shape physically).

It was Tuesday evening and my back began to ache. By Wednesday, I felt horrible, and was in bed all day. By the wee hours of Thursday morning I was having trouble breathing and debated if it was worth it to wake my husband, load up the kids, where can I drop them off at 3 in the morning, and head to the ER. If you are a parent, you know exactly what I am talking about. So I waited and waited. With each struggled breath I watched the clock.

So early Thursday morning I waited long enough and woke everyone. We made a family trip to the emergency clinic. They did x-rays, which the kids enjoyed seeing, handed some prescriptions for pneumonia and was on my way.

By the following Thursday I felt better, but still had trouble breathing. Back to the emergency clinic. This time they did a CTscan. "Something" was there. They gave me more meds in case it was still pneumonia and told me to follow up with a pulmonologist in a week or two. I didn't wait. By Tuesday, I had an appointment with a pulmonologist and had many breathing tests done.

During my first pulmonologist appointment, the doctor amazingly enough had the wisdom to tell me that he thinks I may possibly have a carcinoid. Which he then pulled up Google to show me some pictures of it. Sadly, I had to help him navigate Google images. My thought was can he really be sure of this when I had to help him with the internet??

After that appointment I quickly went online and searched carcinoid. The word cancer came right after carcinoid. WHAT??? This was not like anything on TV. No one sat me down and said, "Sarah you have cancer." Nope!! I looked online and read and read until I freaked myself out. (Yes, I know, you should never google your medical problems).

So Thursday (3 weeks after my initial pneumonia doctor visit). I was in the hospital for an "out patient" procedure. An endoscopy - camera shoved through your nose and into the lung for a biospy.

Results- I had an carcinoid tumor of the lung. The tumor had collapsed a potion of my lung which caused the original pneumonia and trouble breathing..

Carcinoid Tumors- These are not very common, especially in the lung. Carcinoid tumors of the lung make up 1-2% of all lung cancers (1,000-1,200 cases a year are diagnosed.) I was not a smoker, no family history, and was baffled. Doctors have no idea what the cause of them may be. They also only are found due to other health problems. Mine was the pneumonia. I have never been so happy to have pneumonia...my blessing in disguise.

I had a PET Scan done. They injected me with some kind of radioactive stuff to see if there was cancer anywhere else in the body. I was lucky. No signs of any cancer anywhere else.

I found a surgeon and went in for removal. The best course of action, because this is such a slow growing cancer, is to go in and remove it. I had 40 % of my lower right lung removed along with some lymph nodes. I  spent 1 day in ICU and another 5 days of very painful recovery in the hospital. Easter Sunday I was released to go home. With 2 small kids at home, I instead went home to my parents for a few more days of recovery. Smart choice for me.

My hospital stay was overall a very good experience. I had such wonderful nurses (minus one) who took such good care of me. They prayed with me and they were such a blessing. Maybe it was because it was Holy Week, but for whatever reason I never felt such a closeness with other Christians who were not afraid to talk about God. I joked I was spiritually covered. I was in a Methodist hospital being visited by 3 Baptist ministers and 2 Lutheran pastors. It felt like the beginning of some bad joke...A baptist, a lutheran and a methodist walk into a bar...

I remember almost everything from about the hospital. I remember the nurse in ICU who took care of me and most of the details from those 6 days. Unfortunately, the recovery months at home are a blur.

If anyone reading this has been diagnosed with carcinoid cancer, I don't want to scare you, but recovery is NOT fun. Every little move hurt. I have a 4 inch incision on my back close to under my arm and another spot lower from the drainage tube. I was very sore from the incision and also my ribs from being spread during surgery. (FYI- a good chiropractor is what made a world of difference for me and recovery. Once those ribs were be in place I was off the pain meds for good! It felt like a miracle).

Recovery was very slow. I was never so happy to hit 4 weeks then 6 weeks. Small milestones were wonderful. Being able to use my arm to brush my hair, sit up in bed, lay down, roll over, are all major accomplishments. I remember actually laying face down on my bed at home and thinking look what I can finally do. Then sheer panic set in. There was no way to get back up. I had to call the hubby for help. Going #2, sneezing, yawning, coughing are scary! Also you can not lift anything. Gallon of milk...don't even think about it. I did not do laundry, dishes, or pretty much anything for a month.  The bright side is I lost another 6-7 lbs since the surgery. People always tell me I look good. I tell them it is "the cancer and hospital diet, I don't suggest you try it!" Hey, I may have lost part of my lung, but not my sense of humor. One bad side is I have lost all muscle tone and flexibility. Since I couldn't lift or do much my muscles turned to jello.

It is now 2 months since my surgery. I am doing well. I still get very tired, my back and side ache each late afternoon, I can almost lay on that incision side for 15 mins. When sitting still for long periods (movies & long car rides) I will have trouble breathing. I have to take a few big painful breaths, but then it will be better.

I'm happy to report that after MANY more tests (which included another round of injections and scans called an octriotide scan - done in nuclear medicine part of a hospital) and many oncologists. Let me point out that visiting cancer centers are quite the humbling experience! Results show that ALL of the tumor and cancer cells had been removed. I did have one lymph node that was effected, but that was also removed. The plan of action now is to have CTscans every 6 months, 9, mo, year, etc and also some special blood and urine tests every 6 mo that can tell if the tumor is your body. Who knew pee could do that!?!? NO radiation or chemo is needed!! Praise the Lord! Because one doctor mentioned the word "port" and I about panicked!

So there is hope. When I first googled carcinoid tumors I went right away to life expectancy. It was NOT good. But those results are based on older people. I'm a 36 year old female, non smoker, and in pretty decent shape (Though, I only run when being chased by dangerous animals). :)

But through it all, it was the support of my family and belief in God that got me through. People always pointed out that "you are handling this so well". Yes, I had 2 choices: to sit and stew and freak out about it since I'm the mom of 2 young kids OR turn it all over to God. I chose God. Once I did, I had the best feeling of peace and relief. I'm not normally one of those mushy God people, but this cancer made a huge difference in my life and my relationship with God. Once I turned it to Him I just knew "God's got this". That was my motto through the whole thing. I knew He had me in His hands and I was going to be ok.

Update-It has now been almost a year since the carcinoid discovery. I found a wonderful support group on facebook "lovable lunganoids". Since this cancer is so rare, I've been able to visit with other lung carcinoid patients and ask questions.
So far, my 6 month tests all came back normal. I still get anxious thinking about my 1 year tests and hitting that one year mark, but I praise the Lord each day the blessings He has given me. Once again, I know that no matter what, God's got me in His hands!

New Teacher Classroom Set Up List - What to buy?

6 years ago I left teaching and 99% of all my stuff collected from 9 years of teaching, to stay home and raise my kids. Now that my kids are entering 1st grade and preschool. I was thinking about when I go back to teaching what will I have to buy. I don't have a job yet, but already it has kept me up a few nights making lists in my head of what I need to buy. It's mind boggling.

So here is my list of what to buy for a brand new elementary classroom (in no particular order):
*100 chart
*Job chart
*Bulletin Board borders & BB storage box
*Bulletin board letters
*Educational posters (science, grammar, etc topics)
*Privacy dividers (made from file folders- for spelling tests, etc)
*Plastic storage drawers - used by guided reading table
*Electric pencil sharpener
*Construction paper storage shelves
*Large IKEA boxes for centers with lids (4 for math centers & 4 for reading centers) fits folder & papers
*Small IKEA boxes for dice, card, flashcards, etc.
*Misc IKEA storage box
*A zillion dice
*Decks of cards
*Dry erase boards (made from shower board from Lowe's - edges taped)
*Dry erase markers & erasers
*Plastic storage bins from dollar store
*Prize box
*Candy jar
*Bathroom passes
*Indoor recess games (checkers, lego, etc)
*Educational bingo games
*Lesson Plan book
*Rules poster
*Schedule poster
*ABC lettering display poster
*Cute pads of paper for notes to kids/parents
*3 hole punch & 1 hole punch
*Small & large paperclips
*Teacher scissors x3
*Grading pens and regular pens (Uniball colored pens are my ALL time favorite grading pens!!)
*Milk crates
*Cardstock (white and colored)
*File folders
*In/out trays
*Name stamp (with teacher's name) Purchase a self inking one from Staples for about $15. Sooo worth it!
*Pink eraser
*Spiral notebook at least 3
*Folders x 5 (or more)
*Masking and scotch tape
*Duct tape
*Ticky tack
*EZ grader
*Stapler remover, 2 staplers, staples
*Desk name plates
*Science supplies (magnets, hand lens, etc)
*Divider trays for inside your teacher desk
*Ziplock bags of every size! Especially gallon
*Small bulletin board or magnet board by teacher desk
*Any other type of curtain, decorations, etc. to make it homey
*A zillion picture and chapter books
*Art supplies (glitter, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, etc)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Homemade Puppet Theater

A few years ago I saw the most adorable puppet theater in a magazine (I think it was One Step) but the cheap-scape that I am refused to pay that. Also, my boys are not big puppet kids, BUT they love to play snowcone stand. ??? Yah, I don't know where that comes from ???

I wanted to show you what we now own... thanks to my WONDERFUL mother. Affectionately known in our house as "Bumpa".

It is made from: felt, an expanding curtain rod, 2 dowel rods, string, and plastic hoops. 
I did smudge out their names, but both my boys have their names on it too.

The top piece ("removable sign") in yellow is Velcro-ed and can be changed for "snow cone", "food", or "puppets".

The 2 curtains are attached with tiny plastic hoops that are strung on a string to slide them open and closed. You can see it a little better in the top photo.
The two dowel rods are used for support. One of ours is missing at the moment. I'm pretty sure it got removed to be used as a sword, but no one will fess up. :)

I hope this gives you some inspiration to get crafting.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Teacher End of Year Gifts

I can't believe Kindergarten has already come and gone!

I was recovering from surgery during Teacher Appreciate Week, so those gifts were not too great. (I will post those later). But I wanted to share with you my "End of School" Teacher Gift.

Basically I walked Walmart (our only store nearby) and grabbed anything Orange. My son loved helping out and searching for orange. 
I got this idea from my two best friends. While I was in the hospital they brought me a sunshine basket of anything yellow. :) It brightened my day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

QR Codes and Multiplication Center

Technology sure has advanced in the 6 years since I have left teaching to be a stay at home mom.
I recently had been sick and eventually had surgery. With that I have not created any new things and I was really getting the "itch". So with my recovery time I taught myself how to create QR codes (that didn't link to the internet).
I made this cute Bee themed multiplication center.

It has 17 pages. Teacher directions page, student directions page, teacher answer key, student recording sheet (front and back), and 20 different multiplication questions. Each of the 20 multiplication cards has its own QR code for students to scan and self check their answers.

Students are able to choose 10 of the 20 cards. Some cards are easier multiplication questions such as 23x5 others are 723x7 and even a few that range into the thousands (ex: 2,435 x 5=). Students can choose cards they feel comfortable with and others can challenge themselves.

This is great for end of year 3rd grade or beginning 4th graders.

Don't forget to "buzz" by my store to see what else I can offer you for your classroom. If you want to see my newest creation click here or here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Create Your Own Summer Vacation & Travel Project

One of my biggest sellers since I began selling teacher items online has been "Create Your Own Summer Vacation".

Teachers Pay Teachers (this one only uses the word "vacation" to make it usable all year round) or also Teachers Pay Teachers (this one only uses the word "summer vacation")
*I also have it listed 2 different ways because I had people buy it and tell others about it and certain code words did not work to same. So choose summer or regular vacation and have fun!

This math project has the students plan a SUMMER vacation for their family or friends. They budget gas, food, entertainment, etc.
* Teachers, you do need to plan ahead and collect restaurant "to go" menus, a map, and travel brochures. (Teacher directions are given with the lesson).

I used with my 3rd grade gifted and talented students. Other years I used it for a long term fast finisher project. Great for an end of the year activity...plan a summer vacation.

It covers: map skills, mileage, estimation, rounding, addition, calculator skills, and much much more with "real life" elements. Higher level and critical thinking skills are needed.

Students use a map to choose a destination. Estimate the cost of the trip, find how much they will spend on hotels, food, gas, entertainment, etc. Internet use is needed.

Depending on how you use it in your classroom it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, it is up to you on the duration of time. I also used it with other (non-GT) students and omitted a few of the sections that may have been too difficult for them. But ALL had a great time and were excited about this activity.

Each year my students thought this was one of their favorite activities because it was so "real life". 

It has been used in grades 3rd-6th in varying ways.

Common Core - 3.OA.B.5, 3.OA.C.7, 3.OA.D.8, 3.NBT.A.1, 3.NBT.A.2, 3.NBT.A.3
 It does have clipart and makes it appealing to kids, but does not go overboard on clipart. I also tried to combine and not waste paper. This is more for upper grades. The students should be able to fill in the different pages and charts on their own. There is also a rubric for the teachers to use and also for the students to see what will be graded and is expected.

*** PLEASE take time to go over this project with your students ahead of time and walk through each of the different sections. Don't print it off and throw it at them. :) This can be a great long term project and real life lesson, but invest in the 15 minutes up front and walk through it with them!
Here is a preview of the teacher page.

Here is page 8 of additional questions and extensions.