A Happy Holiday Break!

Just taking a few moments to share some of my favorite pics from the last week!  This week was just what I needed, can't believe half of vacation is already over...

On the last day before break we made some snowflakes to brighten up our classroom! This year I made the template a little smaller, so as not to interfere with the projector on the ceiling, and we added a little color.  I forgot to take a good picture of them but found this one with them in the background.

Click on the picture below to be taken to instructions on how to make these great 3-D snowflakes!

I love this picture from our Christmas party...look at the student closest to the window on the left.  What is he doing?  He's reading!  What?!  Yes, during the chaos of the party, I look over and he's quietly reading a book.  

On Monday, Bonny, Jake, and Maddy helped out with the frosting and decorating of the Christmas cookies.  I love baking (and eating) the cookies, but honestly I don't have much patience for this part.

Christmas Eve, Bonny spent some time cuddling with Emmitt and Fletch...

and I had fun setting the table in our new dining room for the first time.

Christmas morning, Emmitt gets covered with wrapping paper...

I'm looking forward to another relaxing week!  Hope you are enjoying your break too!

My Favorite Things 2014 Blog Hop!

So excited to be joining  up with tons and tons of fabulous bloggers for My Favorite Things 2014 Blog Hop hosted by Where the Magic Happens!

Truly one of my favorite movies even from childhood is The Sound of Music, much to the chagrin of most of my family.  I used to look forward to the one time of year that it would be on television, and I could sing a long.  It's only fitting then that I include this...

Okay, I must get back to work, singing along four times now is enough!

My favorite restaurant right now is Burger Fi.  We went there for the first time last year in Orlando, and then we were lucky enough to get one in Ann Arbor, which is one of my favorite places to go since it's the home of my favorite team, the Wolverines!  Thankfully for my waistline it is about an hour away so I can't easily go there all the time.  

I can't eat wheat so I get my burger without a bun and loaded with cheese, mustard, and pickles...if I don't get a pickle in every bite, it's not enough!  Even without the bun, it's the best cheeseburger I've ever had!  And look at the fries, seriously!

I can't leave Burger Fi without getting a Concrete, which is the yummiest frozen custard ever!  I get mine with hot fudge, peanut butter, and cherries...

Hence the reason it's a good thing I can't go there every week!

I had a hard time coming up with my favorite store.  I really don't shop that much, but I think I buy the most at Amazon.

There is always something in my cart!  I have to be very careful when I go to actually purchase something that I know what all I am buying.  Just the other day I went...what?! $200?!  I had a bunch of things in my cart that I had put there wishfully thinking.  So, my part of the huge Rafflecopter giveaway is an Amazon giftcard!

One of my favorite things about the holidays is getting the tree decorated.  Okay, sometimes it is my least favorite, like last year when the pre-lit tree turned into an unlit tree and Jake and I had to cut off and unwind all the lights.  Yikes!  The tradition is that I get the lights on and then sit back and watch as Bonny and Jake put on all the ornaments. In the last couple of years it has become part of the tradition to take too many pictures with my ipad.  I start out with nice ones like these...

But then as my picture snapping takes on a stalker feel, I start getting results like this...

I have to admit these are my favorite as Bonny's total goofball side comes out!

My favorite thing about this time of year at school is something I started a long time ago, and it truly helps me to maintain my sanity.  Every day I put HAPPY HOLIDAYS on the board.  Anytime the class is noisy or not following directions (yes, that happens this time of year occasionally!), I take down a letter.  If the class has a letter remaining at the end of the day, they earn a gift from me.  We open the gifts about the second to the last day before the Christmas break.  There are gifts inside that are only for the students like candy but then there are gifts that are really for all of us...things that mean we can take a break from all the hard work the last day or two before vacation.

You can find my Thanksgiving to Christmas Classroom Behavior Incentive at my TPT Store, and during the Favorite Things Blog Hop (December 7-14) you can get it for 50% off!

I hope you have a great holiday season and tons of fun hopping through all of our favorite things!

Because we value our followers and wanted to treat you to our favorite things Oprah style, we have put together the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:

7 winners for 7 prize packs!

Come and enter the giveaway and check out my bloggy friends' favorite things:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pick 3: This Month's Top Pinterest Picks

I'm super excited to be linking up with a brand new monthly linky, Pick 3:  This Month's Top Pinterest Picks, hosted by PAWSitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner!  The idea is pretty self-explanatory, highlight three great ideas found on Pinterest that you plan to use in your classroom this month.  (I know, I explained anyway...a teacher thing, right?) It's so hard to narrow it down to three in December, but here are a few of my favorites!

{3D Snowflakes Tutorial} Winter craft your kids can do solo. Easy DIY holiday decorating. *So cool

(Click on the pic to go to the original pin!)

I have been making these snowflakes with my students for a few years, and I love them! They are surprisingly easy, and so beautiful!  This pin from Lasso the Moon has a couple of sweet little girls showing you how to make these amazing snowflakes.  Here's a look at how ours turned out last year...

One Thrifty Chick: Walking in a Winter Wonderland { First Grade Style }

(Click on the pic to go to the original pin!

I love this idea of having a hot chocolate bar at the holiday party and the pictures of this party from One Thrifty Chick are adorable!  I wish I had that much time to prep for my party!

MaryMaking: Colorful Abstract Winter Trees

(Click on the pic to go to the original pin!

I would love to find the time to make these beautiful watercolor trees featured on MaryMaking!  Unfortunately in my district, students don't get art class after third grade and with all the curriculum calendars and testing schedules, it just doesn't leave time for things like this.  Maybe we can squeeze it in that last week before break!

Make sure you check out all the other great Pinterest finds at Pick 3!

Five for Black Friday 2014

It's Black Friday, and I'm not sure I have it in me to head out shopping today.  But I can always make time for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

We finally moved in two weeks ago, and we are still working on getting things arranged. We got a new dining room table which I am loving, and yesterday we started hanging things up.  It was so hard to put nails in those nicely painted walls!

We already had our first power outage in the new house this week.  I miraculously found a book light and was able to read in front of the fireplace.  It was actually quite cozy!

Living with my parents for a few months, I was spoiled by all the wonderful home-cooked meals!  Meal planning and grocery shopping are among my least favorite chores.  I did find a new gluten free pizza crust this week at Meijer, and it turned out great!  The rest of the family (who don't have to do gluten free) even thought it was delicious!

I sent out my biggest group of postcards the other day.  I created a bunch of postcards for a variety of occasions to send to my students at home.  When they accomplish certain things at school, they get a postcard, such as reading 10 books, 20 books, and so on towards the 40 book challenge.  I have a clipboard where I check off which ones the students have received along with a copy of all their addresses.  I also make sure to have a bunch of postcard stamps which are a little bit cheaper than regular ones.  I've seen my students bring them to school to use as bookmarks and a parent commented to me a couple weeks ago how much her son enjoys getting them!  :)

You can find my Postcards From Your Teacher Bundle that is fully editable at my TPT Store!

We had some fun on our half day before Thanksgiving.  We started by reading The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola.  It's about the history of popcorn, including how the Native Americans brought it to the first Thanksgiving.

Then we held the Popcorn Olympics!  This is a series of ten events where students compete against two others for gold, silver, and bronze medals.  Events include...the popcorn cup catch...

the popcorn blow...

and the popcorn stack.

You can find Popcorn Olympics in my Thanksgiving Activities Bundle at my TPT Store!

For those of you brave enough to head out to the malls, I hope you find some great deals! Make sure you find time to check out all the other Five for Fridays at Doodle Bugs Teaching!