Monday, December 19, 2011

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

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I'm gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas

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Holiday Program

I love the holidays...especially the kids Christmas concert.  I absolutely enjoy listening to their sweet little voices and seeing them all dressed up.  You can see the pride and excitement flowing from their smiles.  LOVE it!!!

Our school's music director is just amazing.  She does an awesome job at getting all of the kids to sound their best.  She picks fun songs that the kids enjoy and that they sound their best singing.  She sings with the kids at parts to keep everything flowing.  Overall...great experience!

Madie ready for her solo!  

Jack during the hip hop Rudolph song

Posing next to his cute reindeer picture

Madie's Santa assignment hanging in the hallway

Friday, December 2, 2011

I love my kids

Today was a big day for Jack.  His class was in charge of mass at the all-school mass this morning.  He was given a petition to read AND he was able to hold up a heart sign at the beginning of church.

He has been practicing his couple lines for about two weeks now--he had it memorized and frequently would just say it while playing a game, eating get the picture.

Before Thanksgiving, his teacher asked if I would help her by decorating the heart signs to be held up at mass.  Both kids LOVED coloring the hearts.  I had other ideas, but they were so excited to decorate them, it was worth letting them do them.  They sat on our dining room table a couple of days.  I had meant to add some glitter to glam them up again.  I kept forgetting, so when I finally remembered to do them the night before turning them in, I used our Elf on a Shelf to take the credit for it.  "Hoppy" appeared in the morning with a little bottle of glitter in the dining room high up on our curtains.  The kids LOVED that he helped out and I think the hearts turned out great.

This morning was the big day.  Madie was able to introduce mass earlier in the year, so she knew all about being up on the alter in front of everyone.  She sweetly asked Jack this morning if he had "butterflies" in his stomach?  He said, Nope!  I'm ready!  She confessed that before she did her reading he had butterflies.  He was really excited about getting to participate.  You could tell she was proud, too.

Love them--they can be so sweet!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Writing a Letter to Santa

My kids are at a wonderful age right now to have a lot of fun at Christmas time.  To start off the holiday season, they decided to get right to work writing letters to Santa.  At our local outdoor mall they have an awesome Santa, so we planned a trip to see him after their letters were written.

I think the photos tell it all...

Jack didn't want any spelling mistakes, so he had me write it out first...then, he proceeded to rewrite his three times because he also wanted it really neat!

Decorated the envelope

Mailing their letters to Santa

Jack & Santa

Madie & Santa

Looking forward to many more memories this Holiday Season...


I am thankful for many things.  I am most thankful for my wonderful family and friends.  I am one lucky girl!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Party

Being a working mom, I do have major guilt about not getting to always be there to work in the classroom or go on every field trip.  This year though, I volunteered to help out being room mom in Jack's class.  I share duties with two other awesome moms and so far--it's a lot of fun!

My first official duty...Halloween Party!

I'll be honest.  I love this kind of stuff!  When I was doing my methods, I was in a first grade class during Halloween.  I couldn't wait for the day to come and dress up with the kids.  Then, my cooperating teacher did a harvest party...I was bummed at first, but the harvest theme was also very fun.

Since I teach middle school, I don't get to do all of the cutesy stuff, so I took the opportunity to go crazy.  Recently, I've become addicted to Pinterest, so I followed some Halloween boards and education boards and came up with some fun Halloween centers for the kids to go through during the party.  I think it went pretty smoothly, we stuck to about 5-6 minute at each activity and it kept the kids moving and didn't allow them to get too bored with playing the same game all afternoon.

Thought I'd share the activities:

Activity One:

BINGO!  I found these awesome printables at Artsy Fartsy Mama.  So, so cute!  I used cupcake liners for each kid to keep their candy corn in to use for their markers.  I had these paper trays that I think I found at Hobby Lobby to keep it all together.  Every kid won can kind of see the purple bucket full of sweets.  In the pumpkin container (which was a cotton candy container) I placed the pieces you use to call out your objects.

Activity Two:

Foam pumpkin craft.  One of the other room moms put this together.  They made cute pumpkin decorations.

Activity Three:
SLIME!!!  This was the table I got to do...I love slimy science projects!!!  This site has great directions to make your own slime.  First, I told them that they couldn't eat anything at the table...didn't want any glue eaters in the bunch!  They were really good about it.  Then, I  gave each kid about a 1/4 inch of glue in a cup.  Then, poured equal amount of water into the cup.  Then, we stirred it like "a witch stirs a cauldron"  While they were stirring the glue and water, I poured in the "special potion"  which was the Borax and water mixture that I had pre-mixed and had in a large water bottle.  Immediately, the kids could feel and see the chemical reaction.  Some LOVED digging right in and playing with the slime, while others were a bit hesitant.  The coolest part...the more you play with it, the firmer the slime becomes and it is more fun to handle.

I didn't allow the kids to take their slime home--even though many wanted to.  We just pitched it after our round was finished.  I was worried about what might happen to it when it got home, or on the way home and I didn't really want to be responsible for that!

Activity Four:
Pumpkin Toss.  My mom whipped up some pumpkin bean bags--basically, felt with eyes, filled with beans.  She awesome like that!  Then, we decorated the buckets with Halloween stickers.  Each child then had a turn tossing the bean bags (one at a time) in the bucket.  I had a score board, but we found that it was easier and faster to just have the kids add up the points in their heads.  Each kid received candy at the end of the game.

Activity Five:

I think I love this idea the most  (probably because I LOVED dyeing is too cool!)
This is a Halloween sight word iSpy sort of game.  In each bottle (I used empty Gatorade bottles), I placed dyed rice, Halloween goodies (eraser bat, rubber ball eyes) and then Halloween words--typed out and covered with clear tape to keep them in good shape.  I also made a worksheet that had pictures that represented each of the words found in the bottle.

Students then shook and turned the bottles around looking for all of the words to write on their sheet.  I had Halloween pencils for each kid to use to write their words.

I found the idea here for these cool discovery bottles.  They are really a great resource to use for a lot of different learning activities.  I left them with Jack's teacher to use later :0)
Jack hard at work finding and writing his Halloween sight words!

Overall, I had an absolute blast, but I'm exhausted!!!  I'm ready for a nap!

Here are my cute little kiddos in their parade...Madie is an Indian Princess and Jack is a Policeman.
Madie loves to pick something that Grandma can make...Love this one!

Jack has wanted to be a policeman for a couple of years now...basically because he wanted to have handcuffs!  

Friday, September 23, 2011


Jack created a new game yesterday in the car...needless to say, I have a love-hate relationship going on with it!

He named it "CRABAPPLE"...see the all caps--yep, apparently you need to shout it!  Can you see why the hate portion is developing?  

Anytime you see a speed limit sign, they have to yell say "CRABAPPLE ___!"  the ___ is the number of speed.  For example:  Crabapple 25!

Now, the part I'm impressed with and am encouraging--they are adding up the totals for all the street signs. They need some help as they are getting higher and higher in the points, but for a 1st and 2nd grader, I think it's really helping them think.  They group and add the number and then put them all together to get the right answer--in their head!  I even have trouble doing that sometimes!

So, the love is outweighing the hate (at least for now), so I guess I have some more noisy rides in my future!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes in a Jar...Tips

Last year for Madie's birthday we made rainbow cupcakes.  This year, she wanted a rainbow themed birthday, so I figured we should make the rainbow cupcakes, but when I came across this recipe at Mommy Knows I knew that this was the step up to make them just a little bit more special.  I thought I'd include some tips for those trying it out for the first time.  I thought they were super easy--especially with two little helpers to stir in the colors!

Here are some tips:

I used 8 oz (half pint) jars.  I decided to use a 9 x 13 pan to hold twelve jars at a time.  I thought they stayed in the pan well and I didn't have to worry about them spilling over like on a cookie sheet.

I didn't have enough little bowls clean, so I ended up using plastic cups.  I actually liked it much better than with bowls. I was able to hold onto them easier and they poured quite nicely.

I made a double batch of white cake so that I could get a full 24 "cupcake" jars.  I cooked them both at the same time and it worked well.  350ยบ for 35-40 minutes.  The ones on the right weren't as full, but they still came out great!

I didn't need to scoop any of the cake out, I just frosted and added some rainbow sprinkles.  I thought it was great to stick a lid on them to keep them fresh for the party.  

This group I did a reverse rainbow...just to change it up a bit :0)
Voila!  They looked great and they tasted great, too!  I'll definitely try this out again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rainbow Birthday Parties!!!

Madie turned 8 this weekend.  I can't believe it!  She's growing up into one of the sweetest, kindest little people I know.  I'm so proud that she's mine.  Since she's so special, I couldn't wait to celebrate her birthday!

For her "parties" she decided she wanted a rainbow, this is what I came up with.  She had a family party and a friend party all in the same weekend.  Not sure if I'll do that again!  But, I think everyone had fun...and that's all that matters!

Loved this--so glad it was in rainbow.  Found it on the clearance table at Michaels--It's in the Duff brand of cake supplies.

This was the centerpiece at our family party.  I made rainbow cupcakes in a jar (I'll post later tips for this!)  Madie made the frame at a Daisy Scout meeting and I thought it would make a nice touch.  My nephew's 13th bday was the week before, so he got to blow out some candles too! 

This was for her friend party at the YMCA.  I didn't go too crazy with decorations, but I had to include some M & Ms--the ultimate rainbow candy!  Below are the pics of the items IN the favor bags!

Pens--I attached the feathers with floral tape first.  That left the pen sticky, so I hot glued the ribbon around the pen.  I thought they turned out pretty fun!

I found these cute containers in rainbow colors.  Madie helped me decide what to put in them. We went with a "Warm Fuzzy" feel and added rainbow stickers, hair bands, a warm fuzzy buddy.  I use paint markers to decorate the top of the containers with words like:  Peace, Fun, Smile, Warm Fuzzy, Hugs...

I also decorated headbands for each girl using rainbow/colorful ribbon.  Basically, using hot glue, I wrapped the ribbon around a clear plastic headband (I always buy the bands at Crafts 2000 for super cheap!).  I was going to put a bow, but I ran out of time.  Still fun!

For her friends, she decided she wanted Purple Cupcakes...since I was making them at night after our family party, I was OK with doing purple instead of more rainbow ;0)  The buttercream frosting made these super yummy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Girl Scout Sit-Upons

I am now a co-leader for Madie's Brownie troop.  I think that I have the fun part...I'm going to be in charge of crafts!  I love it!  For our first meeting the girls needed make what is referred to in scouts as a "sit-upon".  I made one when I was in scouts a million years ago, so it's been a long tradition.  Basically, the girls will use a seat cushion of some sort for meetings, camping... anything where they would need to sit on the ground.

Once I found out about this task, I searched online for some ideas.  A lot of people made ones out of old table cloths and woven newspapers.  To be honest--this seemed like more work than I was up for.  The head leader suggested using the recyclable bags you buy at places like Toys R Us, and I thought it was genius.  So, I thought I'd share my how-to for those that are searching like I did!

**Recyclable bag (we used the ones from Toys R Us so that they were a uniform size and they are kind of shiny, so a little more water proof and easy to clean up than others that we found)  The girls each picked up their own and brought them to me early so that I could punch the holes in them before our first meeting.  It worked out great!

**Boon doggle (I have no idea how to spell this, basically, it is that plastic string you find at craft stores) I cut pieces about twice the width of the bag and put a loop knot at the end of each string before giving it to the girls.  Total time saver!

**Good hole puncher.  I invested in a super duper hole puncher--I LOVE it!!!  It took no time at all to punch through the many bags I had to do.

**Foam.  I used one-inch thick foam for the inside of the sit-upon.  I used coupons and purchased it at JoAnn's.  It was WAY easier than weaving newspapers.  My mom (thank you, mom!) cut the foam for us into 12 x 12 inch squares.  This fit perfectly into the bag.

**Hot glue gun/glue sticks.  At the very end, I hot glued the bottom and sides together so that it stayed all in place.

Now, for the tutorial in pictures:

One-inch thick Foam

Here is my awesome hole punch.  I didn't measure, I just went across the same line and eye-balled the spacing for the holes.

Place the foam all the way to the bottom and all the way onto one side of the bag.  This allows you to fold down the other side neatly when you are all finished.

"Boon Doggle"

This is the loop knot at the end of the piece of boon doggle.

Make sure holes are lined up.  The edges are the hardest to get through, but really, the girls did a great job sewing!.

I put the loop at the end like this...

And pulled the other side through so there was a nice knot at the end of the bag.  I didn't want to have all their hard work pull through!

Basically a whip stitch down the entire bag

End of the row, I just tied it in a knot to finished it off.  

This is how I folded down the bottom and then hot glued it so it was nice and tight,

It closed up perfectly...yes, I think it's about time for a new hot glue gun!  You can tell it is definitely Used!

I hope this was helpful.  We did it with a troop of 2nd graders.  They all needed some minor assistance, but basically they sewed the entire bag.  I hot glued them together while they had snack.  Great Fun!  Check out these happy faces!!

Personalized and easy to carry!  Love them!!!