Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 in '11...

Oooh, oooh, oooh!  Happiness is a linky party, especially when one is on winter break and has time to soak it all in!  I've loved reading everyone's lists, and I decided to join in the fun!

Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Hadar at Miss Kindergarten created this lovely linky party...

Here we go...
11. Favorite movie you watched:  Hmmm, this is tough.  I am an avid Netflix user, and I'm struggling to think of ONE fav of 2011... if I had to choose one that I saw in the theatres, I would say...
10. Favorite TV series: Oh my goodness.  Scary!  Violent!  Fabulous!
and Hilarious!  Quirky! Wonderful! 
9. Favorite restaurant:  Hubs and I travel profusely and are OBSESSED with this little Mexican restaurant out by O'Hare Airport in Chicago.  If you are ever in Chi-town, do not pass go, do not collect $200 and go eat at...
 It is the freshest, most authentic Mexican I've had (outside of San Diego), and we love this little Schiller Park, IL hole in the wall!  YUM!
8. Favorite new thing you tried: Formal yoga classes!  I can't believe I waited as long as I did to take classes.  Being in a class is totally different from practicing in your living room, and I couldn't imagine my life without it!
7. Favorite gift you got:  My mama was more than generous at Christmas this year, and bought me a NOOK Tablet.  I'm a reading purist (paper books and magazines), but I'm switching to the dark side... and playing Angry Birds along the way!
6. Favorite thing you pinned:  In looking at my Boards, I am most drawn to my one titled "Inspiration."  Here's a fav!
Hmmm... working on this...
5. Favorite blog post: I was so psyched to open yoga work station in my classroom!  Check out that post here... Hooray for Work Stations!
4. Best accomplishment:  Teaching a university course to pre-service teachers!  My graduate school adviser asked me to fill in for her during a research quarter, and I was honored to use the research I completed to help teachers-to be! 
3. Favorite picture: Hubs and I in Chicago for 4th of July weekend!  We were on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel!
2. Favorite memory:  Hmmm, this is a toughie. My favorite memory was meeting two of my besties new baby boys... one of which I was lucky enough to become the godmother of...
We've all been friends for 20+ years, and it's so wonderful to see these new little ones joining our circle! 
1. Goal for 2012:  To become more mindful and live in the moment!  I'm a HUGE worrywart, and I need to learn to "Let go, and let God!"

How to link up:
Create a blog post sharing your favorite 11 things in 2011. Add the button to your post using the code from above. Then link up below, making sure to link directly to your post, not just your blog.

So, there it is... my 11 in '11!  How was your year, and what are you looking forward to in 2012?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chillin' out, maxin'...

Whew!  How did Christmas fly by so quickly?  I spent Christmas Eve Eve shopping and wrapping.  (It was a marathon!)  I spent Christmas Eve with my mama, and we had traditional veggie soup, snackies, and dessert.  (We couldn't wait to open gifts either... thanks for my NOOK Tablet, mama!!!!)  On Christmas Day, we had breakfast with my mom and then traversed to see my pops, his wife, and my sister and her family.  (I love my nieces and nephew!  We had so much fun playing together!)

Here's a pic from some of the festivities...
Me & my nephew!  Can you tell we were excited about Christmas? 

We had a great time celebrating the holidays, but the hubby and I are glad to be back home and relaxing!  Whew!

My kinder kiddos were so generous with their kind words and gifts for me before we left for break last week!    I've finally had enough time (a week!) to be able to wrap my head about going back to school next Tuesday.  I'm planning on going out to work in my room on Friday and get my stuff together!  Wintry work stations... gingerbread fun... Martin Luther King Jr... New Year's Resolutions... oh my!

How are you spending your break?  With family?  Friends?  Relaxing?  Working?  I hope all of you are having a happy holiday!  

Time to go blog stalk after being out of town and watch afternoon TV that I'm not normally home to watch!  WOO HOO!  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Aa is for "Airplane!" and awards!

Hubby is home, eating popcorn (slightly burnt b/c it stinks a bit), and we are watching Airplane! on Netflix.  HILARIOUS!  That's the one thing I love about Hubby!  He is the funniest guy, and we have such a great time together!  Hooray for winter break so we can cuddle up and watch movies and lummox!

On another note, I've been awarded the...
award from Karen at A Little Kinder Told Me So!   Sooooo nice! :)  I'm smiling from ear to ear!  (Which is good b/c smiling is good for your health and hopefully it will keep me in positive mood for my insane shopping experience tomorrow!)

The award is given to up and coming blogs with fewer than 200 followers. 
Now to pass on the award...please check out these great blogs! 
It was hard to narrow my choices to 5 but here they are:

Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten                                        Ketchen's Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a HOOT!     Move With Me Kids Yoga

These are just a few of the new blogs I've been stalking lately!  They have great resources, ideas, and wonderful activities for children.  Love it!  :)

Okay, Hubby was bored with Airplane! and now we're he's watching The Daily Show with John Stewart.  I think I shall go Pin!

Anyone else on Pinterest 24/7 while on break?  My teacher pals and I are having a "Wine, Dine, and Craft Night" next week after the holiday hoopla!  :)  We're excited by craftiness!

OK, off to listen to the snow rain fall in the Midwest.  (So weird!)

Five minutes...

If you look at my previous post, I wondered how long it would take for my kindergartners to discover the gifts for them under our Christmas tree.  It took about 5 minutes!  I have to cut them slack though.  They were so engrossed with completing their morning routine when they walked in the room, they just didn't have time to scope them out immediately! :)

And, for all who were wringing their hands wondering if I'd survive... since I'm able to post this, you know I did! :)  So, let get a hooray for the first day of winter break!  HIP-HIP-HOORAY! :)  I'd also like to inform you've I've done nothing (other than make a grilled cheese and do some laundry) today!  Bliss!  Pure bliss!

Let me give you some highlights of the past few days of holiday fun with my kiddos...

  1. We finished our family gifts after my fiasco on Monday.  Didn't they turn out adorable?  Whew.  I was worried I wouldn't make it out of that craft alive!

2.  We made Crock-Pot Hot Cocoa and it was unreal!  My kids were all saying, "This doesn't taste like what my mom makes.  I wish she made it like this!"  It was like drinking a melted chocolate bar and was heavenly! I didn't think my kids would drink even half of the 6 quart crock pot, but they drank almost all of it!  Here they are watching The Polar Express and sipping on their cocoa.  (Only two spills!  Hooray!)

3. My kiddos were so appreciative of their books this year!  One little guy immediately came up after receiving The Gingerbread Man, hugged me, and said, "Thank you so much for the book!  I love it!"  Obviously, once one did, they all did!  Such gratitude and manners from my kids!  I love them!  

4.  My families were generous with their gratitude too... a new travel mug, a hand knitted scarf (yes!), fruit leather (so I don't have to tease Z that his mom packed it in his lunch for me), yummy cookies, a new blankie, ornaments, candles.... etc.  So spoiled this year!   

Even thought it was crazy, insane, busy, and nutso... my last 3 days were fun-filled and love-filled!  I'm glad for a break, but I'm glad I was able to share the holidays with my little ones!

Now, on to relaxing today... 
And last minute Christmas shopping tomorrow! 
Hopefully I won't have to throw any elbows tomorrow to get what's left on my list! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011


So, as stated yesterday in my "Currently" post, I needed to work on my fam-damily crafts for my kinder kiddos. We have not made an ounce of gifts for them to give, so it is of utmost importance to get on it today.

I was inspired by Mrs Wills' awesome crafty post, and was set to make adorable reindeer ornaments for my children to give to their families.  Did I mention I don't read directions well?  Or at all?  Or even think of the repercussions of tempera paint on ornaments?  ARGH!  This is what happens when you don't use ACRYLIC...

Thus, I had to stick with the old standby... the Santa Hand-print ornament.  I found the poem at  I slapped that sucker on the back, had my kiddos sign it, and then I slapped their sticker pictures on it too!

I grabbed... 
and this was the result....

We will be adding faces, lamination, and ribbon tomorrow!  Whew!  Crisis averted!  

But seriously, I was in full panic mode!  My kids were working on their reindeer gift bags...
but, I had no gifts to put in them!  Yikes!  Hand prints saved the day, and our volunteer Kay is saving my rear by cutting out my laminated ornaments and ribboning them up tomorrow.  HOORAY!

Question of the evening:  How long will it take for my kindergartners to find their gifts under the tree tomorrow?  Take your best guess!  
The winner receives a virtual hug from me!  And the accolades of being right! :) 

I'm off to go clean up from the madness of the day!  Tomorrow is crock-pot hot cocoa cooking with my kids.  Wish me luck!  I've never made it before! :) 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Currently... December!

Hooray!  Farley at...

is hosting her monthly linky party, and I was so happy to see it!  (Seriously, it's the little things that perk up a Kindergarten teacher who still has THREE days left until Christmas break!)  Oh, and don't think I haven't already planned to not leave my PJs and my bed on Thursday!  I will be watching my Hulu & Netflix, listening to music on Spotify and having a "Relaxfest!"  (Did I mention I have to do ALL the Christmas shopping for mi familia on Friday?  Yikes!)  I need to rest up for that, so my "Relaxfest" is justified!

Side note:  Does anyone else find it incredibly difficult to think about what needs to be done for school when you return from break?  We've had mad (as in crazy amounts of) volunteers in the building, and I am struggling to get things together for them.  I know, I know... work stations for January, copies for January, get it together Kim!  I can't even wrap my head around what all I'm going to do in January, because I just want Christmas break!  I plan on working on work stations, so be prepared for a post over break with links to what I'm doing and free resources!

Back to your regularly schedule blog... Farley, 4th grade, Linky Party, Currently... here you go!

Can Do Kinders has been posting fabulous freebies, not just for the holidays, but for winter too, so head over and check it out!  LOVE it!

Off to paint my toe nails and see if my Christmas goodies are dry (read: Ann Taylor clearance was well received at the Davis Christmas this year!)!  Hmmm, what shall I wear tomorrow?  Maybe a new shirt or earrings from my sis-in-law, Mrs. Wheeler and her First Grade Tidbits?  We shall see!

Hope ALL my fellow teacher pals are enjoying the start to break, and those who are in the trenches with me, good luck and see you on the other side on Wednesday evening!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Break, I mean... Happy Friday!

I'm taking a poll....
How many of you are still in school next week?!  
If you answer, "Heck, no, I'm starting my holiday break, lady!"  congrats to you!  (I am INSANELY jealous!)
If you answer, "Yes, indeedy, how am I going to manage Christmas crazed kiddos for X amount of days?!" then I feel your pain!  Our last days of school is Wednesday, and I'm trying to wrap my head around today and next week...

Now, don't get me wrong, my children have been beyond lovely.  They've earned a pajama party b/c the entire class stayed on green for 11 days since the end of November.  Look how wonderfully they worked together yesterday completing Dee Dee Wills' (free) CVC Christmas Write Around the Room!  It made my heart smile!

They were so engaged, quiet, and excited to be reading and writing!  It was awesome! :)

Right now, post lunch, my kids are working on their letters to Santa and are singing songs from their Christmas program we performed on Monday.  Okay, no more singing, because my writing kids can't hear the sounds their stretching out.  I believe Kindergarten volume increases as Christmas draws closer... ha ha ha ha ha!

Before I forget... speaking of Christmas and wiggly worm children, try this fun Santa yoga online story to calm kiddos and wake up minds!  My class LOVES it, and we're getting better at it every day.  (For those who know yoga, it's a basic sun salutation....) 

Check it out here... Yoga with Santa!  

Okay, I'm going to do a few deep breaths and wrangle some roaring kids!  I hope you're having a great Friday... regardless of whether your break is starting or it's just the weekend to you! :)  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Keepin' them, I mean me, busy!

First off, thanks to all who participated in my "Fabulous Fifty" giveaway! I'm up to 71 followers, so hopefully I can do something fun for when I hit 100! I'm so happy to have you peeking in my classroom and enjoying Kindergarten right along with me!

A few questions...

1. Who is in survival mode?  We are staying as BUSY as possible in my classroom.  We do not get out of school for holiday break until next WEDNESDAY, so I'm trying to stay in routine and keep everyone on task.  (Is this even possible at this time of year?)

2.  Is anyone finished shopping for the holidays?  I am not.  I will be finishing shopping during my first day of break on Thursday, December 22nd.  I have had no time.  None.  Zilch.  Zero minutes in my day to even think about shopping!  Luckily, I have a master list and will be whipping those presents up in no time.  (Or, at least that's what I keep telling myself.)

3. What do you do for a holiday gift from your students?  I'm not going to lie... holiday gifts are one of my least favorite parts about being a teacher.  I need some ideas to inspire me so I can get excited about holiday gifts again!

Okay, this is a quick post... off to inhale a lean pocket and veggie straws.  (OMG!  Veggie straws = addicting!)  Hope you're having a great Wednesday!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winner, winner... chicken dinner!

Hooray!  Who's ready to find out who won my "Fabulous 50 Follower" giveaway?  Again, a special thanks to my blogger friends...

  and Mrs. Huff
for helping provide awesome resources to share!

I used the good old fashioned Random Number Generator to choose a winner and...

Jennifer! Congratulations!  E-mail me at with your home address so I can send you your books.  I will also pass along Mrs. Huff's Candy resources and put you in touch with Busy Bees to get your  Gingerbread Mix Unit!

Thank you to all who entered and all who are new followers!  I'm so glad to have you joining me!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Extra Credit!

Don't forget, I'm having a fabulous giveaway with my pals at....

Mrs. Huff

Do you want to earn an EXTRA entry towards the goods?  Along with the other 4 ways you can enter, if you post about this giveaway on your blog.... comment that you did (with the link included) on the original post... you'll earn an additional entry!  Woot!  That's another chance to win a Gingerbread Unit, Candy inspired math resources & readers, and Scholastic books!

Link up here in the comments section... ...and share the love with your bloggin' buddies! 

Happy Friday!  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Work Station Wednesday!

Woo doggie!  My new holiday work stations are in full effect!  And, they are wonderful!  My kiddos are engaged and silently, okay somewhat quietly, working.  I'm happy they're so engaged and enthused about what we're working on!  Here's what we're doing...
  • ABC:  Uppercase/Lowercase puzzles from FlapJack Educational resources!  The puzzle templates are blank, and you can suit them for your students' needs.  Here's a pic of my kiddos working with them! 

I made a recording sheet for my lovelies to write down their letter pairs when they made a match! :)

  • Writing:  Hot dog!  Did you see Can Do Kinders' Write the Room?  It's adorable!  If you click the above link, it will take you right to the awesomeness!  Can you say math and literacy connections?  

  • Games:  Spin a Letter/Make a Tree

Using Making Learning Fun's Christmas Tree Lowercase Letter Assessment, my kiddos spin and stamp the ornaments on their Christmas tree! 

  • Working with Words: Christmas trees... sight words... and puzzles, oh my!  My kiddos are putting sight word puzzles together from Making Learning Fun!  Then, they are recording their responses on this lovely sheet... Christmas Tree_Sight Words!

  • Math:  Did you see Mrs. Wills' adorable gingerbread patterns?  Not only is it wonderful, it's free as well!  (Thanks DeeDee!)  You can pick it up here midst her work station review... Mrs. Wills Gingerbread Patterns!

  • Dramatic Play:  What's up, Santa's Workshop?! 

  • Yoga:  Could I get through a post without mentioning my favorite?!  Check out my cobras!

I'm sure I forgot something... but seriously, what can I remember as I chuckle through my Hulu Plus queue?  (My husband and I are beginning to have a serious Late Night with Jimmy Fallon addiction!)   I also love that show on Fox with Zooey Deschanel... New Girl!  Does anyone else think it is as hilarious as I do? 

Okay, make sure to enter my Fabulous Fifty Giveaway with resources from Busy Bees and Mrs. Huff's Kinderblog!  Plus, I have children's books!  Woot!  You have until Saturday evening at 11:59 PM on the dot!   Do it!  Do it!  Do it!  Win free things! :)  Hooray!

On to last night's episode of Jimmy Fallon.... 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ready, set... GIVEAWAY!

First off, I must inform you, I'm caffeinated at 10:30 PM!  You'll probably see lots of exclamation marks in the post, as well as possibly erratic writing.  Ha!  Seriously, this weather (constant rain) blows and gave me a whopper of a headache.  Thus, why the ibuprofen + 2 cups of coffee occurred at dinner.  Did I mention what that equaled?  Oh right, an in no way tired ME! :)

I guess that's for your benefit though! (See, I told you, lots of exclamations!)  I'm going to have my very first, very official, very special, very fun, very caffeinated  awesome giveaway!  Because, lets be real, who doesn't love F-R-E-E?

I'm relatively new to Bloggy Land (much like Candy Land?) and have finally achieved my first 50 followers!  Woot!  Slow and steady wins the race, and yes, I know, it's not the size of your following that matters...   it's what you do with it?  And, here's what I'd like to do... give you free things from two of my blogger buddies... how does that sound?

My pals, Robyn & SueBeth at...

have generously donated their Gingerbread Mix Unit!  
We're talking...
  • Gingerbread Words, Word Wall Cards with Pictures, Matching/Memory Game with Word Cards and Picture Cards, Writing Activity to Record Results from Matching Game, Story Picture Cards to Use for Retelling Different Versions of Gingerbread Stories, Individual and Large Group Character Feeling Cards, Graph to Record First Bites of Gingerbread Cookies!
But, wait... there's more!

Did I mention, my blogger pal, Jen at... 
Mrs. Huff
had been, oh so generous as well?  We're talking...

oh, and a sight word reader and a coordinating candy patterning activity too!

Hooray for the generosity of great teachers, with great ideas, cute fonts, and mad organizational skills!  Thanks ladies!

I, myself, have been lucky to acquire some extra Scholastic books and would love to send those out to the winner of the giveaway as well!  The books include:

So.... here's you can win this fabulous wintry mix of activities and random mix of books!

  1. Follow me... Kim at Carried Away in... Kindergarten and comment that you do!  
  2. Follow my pals at Busy Bees and comment that you do!
  3. Follow my girl Jen at Mrs. Huff's Kinderblog and comment that you do!
  4. Tell your favorite holiday song!  I've been obsessed with that Spotify player and have had Christmas music in HEAVY rotation!
So, 4 chances to enter!  Please leave a comment for each entry... and do so by Saturday, December 10th at 11:59 PM.  The winner, winner, chicken dinner will be posted Sunday! :)

Hooray... okay it's after 11:00 PM, and I'm still not the least bit sleepy. Fingers crossed for a delay tomorrow AM, because I am going to be tired!  Nighty night!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


No, I'm not talking about my little ones.  (Though, they have been slightly wound up!)
No, I'm not talking about my colleagues.  (We're a tight knit group of 9 kindergarten teachers.)
No, I'm not talking about the fact that I left my purse at work.  (Wait, I did that.  Yesterday.  Oops.)
No, I'm not talking about the hubby.  (How could I?  He made dinner tonight & put my clothes in the dryer!)

It's DRAMA because I love dramatic play! Do you?  Do you? 

I just set-up my first dramatic play work station of the year.  (In years past, it has been a staple of the classroom, but due to size and other fun stuff, it comes and goes.)  Regardless, it's up and the kids are looking in awe at all the odds and ends that are out...

What's that?  What do you do in SANTA's WORKSHOP? 
(This has been a question in my room ALL DAY! and yes, my school is okay with Santa, elves, trees, etc...)

Build toys. Wrap presents.  Make cards.  Make lists of presents to give.  Make lists of presents you would like.  Label features of the workshop.  Play Santa.  Have fun! 

I will be unleashing my little ones in dramatic play next week, but not before going over the rules of the work station.  "No, you may not go give the principal that hastily wrapped Clifford stuffed animal."   "No, you may not wrap your work station buddy!" 

Work bench area to build and wrap toys!

A variety of holiday inspired greeting cards, wrapping paper, ribbon, etc.

Don't think I won't use my "Santa Phone" and let him know how you're behaving! 
 (PS:  My kids were SILENT in the hallway today b/c of Santa phone!  By far, the best $3.00 I've spent to spray paint an old phone!)

The holidays are a special time in my classroom, and I love using dramatic play as an outlet for all that energy, excitement, and anticipation! :) 

Do you dramatic play too?

PS:  Keep your eyes peeled for my first ever giveaway!  How'd I get to 50 + followers already?  I'm rounding up some fellow blogger friends with free resources!  Plus, I have some fabulous and free children's books!   Hooray!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I will survive... with holiday freebies!

So, did you survive?  Did you survive the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce gel, sweet taters, etc, etc?  Did you survive the Black Friday shopping?

My sister-in-law, Mrs. Wheeler, from Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade Tidbits, her mama (my mom-in-law), and myself hit the stores at 7:30ish in the AM and went strong until 6 PM!  That's a lot of shopping!  We found some great deals... thanks, Target for the Dollar Spot pencils for my kiddos!  And, we found some not-so-great deals... seriously, you don't have EVERYTHING an additional 50% until noon like every other store, Limited?  No thanks.  I finished some presents, got some started, and am looking forward to a happy holiday season.  How'd you make out with gift getting?! :)

Now, I'm sitting here listening to my Christmas list on Spotify right  and am perusing holiday blog posts, Internet shopping, and pondering putting up the Christmas tree.  The hubs would be extremely surprised to come home from his band's gig and see our shiny, twinkly, silver wonder lit up in the front window!  Hmmmm....

Well, there are some wonderful holiday resources popping up left and right, and I wanted to share some modified recording sheets I've made for my kindergarten kiddos.

Heather at The Differentiation Station has a FABULOUS Holiday ABC Order Freebie!  I'm going to use this as a word sort and have my kiddos sort the words by what letter they begin with.  They will then record their answers on the recording sheet I created.   I use the front of my chart paper pads for ABC sorting mats, and they can just lay the words on the letter they begin with.

Pick up my recording sheet here...
Holiday Word Sort - Recording Sheet!

Speaking of recording sheets... has anyone seen Making Learning Fun's Christmas Tree Sight Word Puzzles?

I heart them more than anything and made a recording sheet to go with those as well.  If you have more words you've studied you can make the copies double sided to record more words.

You can pick up that recording sheet... here...
Christmas Tree Sight Word Puzzle - Recording Sheet!

Alrighty, there are some holiday freebies to get you thinking about your upcoming work stations.  I'm going to go keep listening to Christmas music and peruse the blogs!  Hope you're having a fabulous holiday weekend.