Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tablescape Alert {Thanksgiving}

It's that time of year ~ my favorite holiday!! THANKSGIVING!!  I was styling a birthday party a couple weeks ago and was reminded of one of my favorite party stylists, Amanda Parker at Amanda's Parties To Go.  She has been my inspiration for several parties including this Ladies Bunco Get-Together:



And this Teen Birthday Party:


This Mother's Day Beauty:


A Magical Middle School Birthday:


A Superbowl Extravaganza:


And our Family Thanksgiving 3 years ago:


Check out this Kid Table that she designed:


So, what to do this year?  I, of course, went to the Mother of all Inspiration ~ Pinterest, and found these Thanksgiving tablescapes:

Do I keep it simple?


Or go Vintage White?


How about we take it outside?



Or keep it more traditional?


What would you like to see this year?  You can weigh in below!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Project for a Snowy Day or for an HOUR before your guests are arriving for the Super Bowl ...



I recently got some PINspiration from Cassie over at Hi Sugarplum.  If you've never gone to her site, YOU MUST, right now!!!

She is the brilliance behind projects such as these and her house is beautifully decorated "on a budget" :)




AND her fashion sense is just my style


AND just look at the way her outfits are inspired ~

Anyway, on to the reason for this post, I was inspired by Cassie's Pantry Party, a complete overhaul of her pantry!  You can see her before & after's here.
SO, one snowy weekend right before the Super Bowl I headed to IKEA.  I was able to get all of the storage bins, etc there and had previously found the stackable shelf piece at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Let me just say that Cassie was absolutely right on when she said that this project was done for UNDER $100!
Here are my before's:


 Haha ~ GIANT size Cocoa Pebbles, we're real health nuts around here ;) 



And the problem was, I never knew what was lurking back behind everything else and so I would end up with 9 jillion cups of applesauce ...


Here's what it looked like DURING...


And, drum roll please ...


sorry for the poor picture quality, had to take these with my phone, my camera was at school that weekend. . .


Now I can hide the unhealthy cereals that I eat ~ nom nom nom




And the labels, just some cute scrapbook paper and a fun font on my computer!
Cassie, you're right, I just keep going over and opening the door and gazing lovingly for long moments of time ...  BLISS!

EVERYONE around here has been fairly warned, not a thing put away in the wrong bin or you might get your fingers cut off!  This thing is a piece of ART!  And I think I've convinced "The Accountant" that the money spent will keep us from over-spending in the future ;) ;)

What do you think?  Need some more organizing inspiration?  Head on over to Hi Sugarplum!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saving Sergeant Ryan




It was one year ago, on a cold and snowy day, that my Kinders finally got to meet Sergeant Ryan Lehman.  After serving in Afghanistan for a year he was FINALLY home!  Sergeant Lehman's mom and I had been friends for a long time; in fact I knew Sergeant Lehman when he was a very little boy.  Early in the school year, I thought of a way to teach my kiddos how to love and care for someone whom they had never met!    So we began learning about Sergeant Ryan and seeing pictures of his day to day life in Arghanistan.  One day his mom brought in pictures of the soldiers giving the Afghan children pens and how much joy it gave them to receive such a little, inexpensive item.  Another day she brought in some MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) and we had a tasting test.  We learned that Sergeant Ryan's favorite was the Beef-a-roni.  In fact we had a little Science lesson about how the soldiers "warmed up" their packets of food.

Then one day we decided to take up a little collection. The Kinders brought in all kinds of colored pens and little "gumball machine" type toys and we sent a package all the way to Afghanistan.  We heard in a letter from Sergeant Ryan that the Afghan children had loved their surprises.

We thought of Sergeant Ryan weekly and his mom would come in to our classroom and give us little updates about how he was doing.  And then we heard that he was coming home!!!

Over Christmas Break I came in and decorated our hallway.  It had to be a hero's welcome!  We were FINALLY going to meet Sergeant Lehman!

The morning he came in we could hardly contain our excitement and then THERE HE WAS!


I can hardly put into words the lessons that were learned by all of us!  I saw children with very little material possessions of their own GIVE out of their own hearts.  I saw them learn to show love and care to someone who they had never met.  I saw them feel compassion for children from another country who they saw as worse off than themselves! And I learned once again that paying it forward is one of the best ways to experience joy in your own heart!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Countdown to Christmas for the Classroom

Sorry this is a little late but I really still wanted to share an activity that I incorporated during December that quickly became the MOST anticipated event of each day!  I'm talking about our Classroom Countdown to Christmas.  Awhile back, I was reading a post at Teaching Heart (correct me if I'm wrong Colleen but I'm pretty sure I got the idea from you :).  Anyway, she shared how each Christmas she would wrap up the holiday books and each night her kids would get to open one up for their before bedtime reading.  Well, this got my brain cells cooking and I thought of a way to incorporate a fun advent countdown into my classroom but still keep it "common core happy".  So, one night after everyone left to go home, I brought a decorated tree into my classroom, put some twinkly lights on it, plugged it in and wrapped 26 (that's how many kinders I have) holiday books.  The next morning you would have thought Santa came but I made them wait till after lunch to know what it was all about.

The next thing I did was put each of the little darlings names on a cute gift tag and hide them all in a Christmas tin!  At read aloud time I would open the tin up, shake it around (add to the suspense) and pull a name.  Think of a "naughty and nice list" here!  I had TOTAL control over whose name was getting pulled that day [wink, wink]!!

Whomever's name (is that correct grammar, or is whomever's even a word??) was pulled got to pick a present, unwrap it, sit by me and turn the pages as I read the book!!! WOW was I teacher of the year (in my kiddos eyes) or what?!!


It was a pretty easy peasy lemon squeezy idea to pull off and brought great delight!


I MADE IT ~ 100 FOLLOWERS :)

THANKS to everyone who followed!!  I made my goal of 100 followers before Christmas break was over! Now, as promised I have a beautiful Organizer Tote by 31 to give away!!



I have two of these and I just love them!  They are big enough to hold everything but the kitchen sink and if you're like me that's just about what I lug back and forth to school each day.  You can check out even more of their wonderful bags at my consultant, Chris McGurn's website here!

Spread the word and Get Ready, Get Set, GO!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again everyone!  Looking forward to what lies ahead!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Currently ...

One of my blogging goals this year was to figure out how to do this cutie-patootie Currently linky thingy that you'll see right here below in just a minute ...and I DID IT!  If you haven't been to Oh Boy 4th Grade's blog yet, YOU MUST check it out!  She is seriously funny!!!

So, here's what I am "Currently" Up To:


Head on over to Farley's and you can link up to~

And now, I'm going to bed early, too many night-owl nights over break and today I'm paying for it!

Cheers!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

and the Liebster Award goes to ... ME :)

I would sincerely like to thank the following bloggers who nominated me for the Liebster Award (eeeek way back in November) and thank them for their patience in my length of time in responding! Ya'll know how life sometimes gets in the way right? Anyway, thank you to:

Making the Basics Fun
Learning with Leah
Teacher's Take-Out
Fun in ECSE


The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It’s to show new bloggers that they are being noticed and help spread the word about our little pieces of cyberspace.

Here are the rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot “tag back” the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you & see who you nominate.

SO, 11 Random Things About Me ~
1. I have been happily married for 29 years to my college sweetheart, The Accountant!
2. We have 4 beautiful daughters ranging in age from 11 to 22 ~ middle school, college and married!  You can see them here!
3. I was blessed to stay home with my girlies, for the most part for 19 years.
4. I taught Kindermusik for 16 of those years and ended my Kindermusik career at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
5. Ella Jenkins once walked into my classroom in Chicago and randomly pulled out her kazoo and started singing with us!
6. I got to be onstage with Yo Yo Ma as an Asst. Stage Mgr as part of his Silk Road Project.
7. I went to school in Arkansas at John Brown University.
8. I have lived in 5 states.
9. I am a "clean" eating enthusiast, although NOT the raw foods kind ~ just healthy!
10. During late grade school and middle school I memorized 4 whole books of the Bible.
11. I am a Christ-follower!!

OK this is going to be tricky.  I'm going to have to try and consolidate the questions I was asked by 4 different nominators.  Here goes: 

Who was your favorite teacher growing up? 
Mrs. Jackson, Senior Year English 
If you could trade places with one person for a day who would it be? 
David Tutera on the set of My Fair Wedding 
What is your favorite condiment? 
Guacamole 
If you could yell anything from the mountain top what would it be? 
The sky is falling! 
Share one of your blogging goals for the new year. 
I want to have at least 500 followers! 
What is a favorite educational app, youtube video or web resource? 
Smartboard Dice 
Salt or sugar? What do you crave? 
Suggah Darlin'
Favorite Holiday Tradition? 
Camp, Cruise or Roadtrip? What kind of vacation would you pick? 
definitely Cruise but Roadtrip would be a close second
What is your favorite classroom tool? 
the paddle ~ lol, no it would have to be my Smartboard 
Who would you like to say "Thank You" to? 
Mother Teresa 
What is your destressor at the end of the week? 
Tacos el Norte with my husband, Mariachi Band playing, something frozen in my glass 
When did you start blogging? 
November of 2012 
Why did you begin blogging? 
curiosity really and the intrigue of gaining a following 
What grades have you taught? 
Babies through 7 year olds Kindermusik, PreK, Music for PreK through 6th, and Kindergarten 
How long have you been teaching? 
about 22 years 
What is your favorite holiday? 
Thanksgiving 
What is your favorite dessert? 
Strawberry Shortcake 
Do you have any children? 
Yep, 4 girls ~ 6th grade, 8th grade, Freshman in College, and Married 
What is your favorite book? 
Firefly Lane 
Are you right or left handed? 
right 
PC or Apple? 
PC but I REALLY wanna answer Apple :/ 
Desktop, laptop or tablet? 
I guess all 3? I have 2 desktops (home and work) 2 laptops (home and work) and an iPad 
Where were you born? 
Long Beach, CA
Where are you living now? 
about an hour north of State Street that great Street (hint hint) 
What is your favorite subject to teach? 
Science 
What is your favorite movie? 
Little Women with Winona Ryder or Legends of the Fall 
What is your favorite story to read to students? 
Junie B Jones anything 
What is your TPT link? 
I don't have one ~ YET!! 
What is your favorite color? 
RED 
Do you have any pets? 
one sweet Silky Bichon named Sophie 
Favorite source for Clipart. 
DJ Inkers 
Favorite Web 2.0 tool. 
I didn't know what it was until just this minute but Ahead and TubeChop look like 2 that I would love to explore. 
Tell something about your most memorable student. 
his name was Cory and he taught me a lot about love and how it can change someone 
What position would you like to retire in? 
right where I am ~ teaching Kindergarten 
What technology do you have in your classroom? 
Smartboard, 5 iPods, 1 iPad and I'm very thankful!!! 
What piece of technology would you like to have? 
5 iPads for my classroom  
Do you have a classroom theme? 
Yes! Bluebird of Happiness and you can see it here
What is your number one selling item on TPT if you sell? 
I don't sell anything on TPT ~ YET! 
What is your favorite freebie you have found on TPT? 

Mrs. M's Kinders


11 Questions for you:
Where do you live?
When did you begin blogging?
What is one of your blogging goals for the New Year?
Favorite teacher book.
Favorite free-time reading book.
Favorite story book to read to your class.
Favorite movie.
Do you sell on Teachers Pay Teachers and if so what is your link?
Could you share a link to your Pinterest boards?
Favorite Smartboard activity.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

WHEW!! Hope you were able to hang in there and read all the way to the end!  I enjoyed sharing a little bit of my corner of the world with you!

Happy Blogging!