Monday, July 8, 2013

Linky Parties: Monday Made-It and Must-Have Monday!

Yay!  I am joining up with Tara over at "4th Grade Frolics" for her AMAZING Linky Party - Monday Made It.

I am super duper incredibly excited to show you my Monday Made Its!  I did not make anything totally unique or overly cool, BUT... I made them and I am proud!  I was feeling quite bummed looking at everyone else's Monday Made Its... wishing I was still in a homeroom (lots of things I see on Pinterest and teacher blogs are just not needed in my ESL room), so I had a reason to be crafty like so many of you awesome teachers out there.  But then this thought came to me:  "Amber, you should make some of these things NOW while you have some time, so when you go back into a homeroom, you will be ready!"  So I took that idea and ran with it!

A gumball machine that matches my (future) classroom decor.  I have a rug in my classroom currently that I L-O-V-E and I intend on using those colors in my next classroom.  I am a huge fan of pink and green together!  In my ESL room, I will put Gobstoppers and other hard, round candies in here as treats for the kiddos that come to my room.  After I go back to Kindergarten, however, this gumball machine will become a Literacy Center, like in my old classroom.  Click HERE if you want to read about that!

(By the way...unfortunately, this is NOT the same gumball machine that I used to have.  I had to go buy another one because the electricians broke mine on accident when they were replacing lights in my classroom.  I was SUPER upset!  Not at the electricians so much because accidents happen, but mostly upset because no one told me anyone was going to be working in my room.  I would have put things away, if I had known.  Grrrr.  So anyway, I bought this one for $12.00 at Big Lots.  It does the trick, but it is smaller than my old one.)

Anyway, my hubby insisted that I do this project "right," so first he took the gumball machine apart for me.  Then, we went to Menards and purchased some sand paper blocks.  I sanded off some of the original red paint to rough the gumball machine up a bit.  Next, I wiped the parts down with a damp cloth to remove the excess paint.

This was not on the original agenda, but I decided to cover the silver part of the gumball machine with painters tape that my hubby found for me in the garage.  I was worried that the spray paint might cause the knob and inside parts to malfunction.

Then, I went crazy with some "Watermelon" colored spray paint that I picked up from Michaels.  We put a few coats on, always letting the paint dry in between layers.  We also decided to seal the paint in by spraying clear enamel spray that we found at Menards.

Finally, after the layers were all dry, my hubby put the gumball machine back together and I tied a cute, green ribbon around it, like in the first picture above.  I am quite proud about how it turned out!

I recently found out that a special someone who is near and dear to my heart is pregnant!  Yippee!  She is quite anxious about this pregnancy, so I put together a little pregnancy survival kit basket to hopefully lift her spirits.  (Mommyhood can be a wonderful, yet scary thing for sure!)

(If I am able to find the time before I see her next, I intend on sticking a cute label on the front of the green basket.)

Here are the items I included in the basket (just in case you have a loved one who is also preggers and you want to put one of these guys together):

- Post-It notes (for when she becomes forgetful)
- saltine crackers (for sickness)
- mini cans of 7-Up (for sickness)
- prenatal vitamins (for a healthy baby and mommy)
- stretch mark cream (for avoiding stretch marks, of course; I used this every day and I did not get a single stretch mark...yippee!)
- Kleenex (for the emotions)
- Tums (for heartburn)
- sparking juice (for those times she is craving an adult beverage, at least she can pretend)
- pregnancy magazine (for mentally preparing herself)

Do you have any other good ideas of items I can throw in there??
Perhaps you have seen this on Pinterest or elsewhere...letters that spell out the word "NOISE" that teachers use as a tool to manage voice levels in the classroom.  When your students are too noisy, you simply take down the letter "E" and they know to quiet down without you even having to say a word.  If the volume continues to be loud, you take down the "S" and then the "I."  If the students get down to the "NO," then there is no talking allowed.

My supplies included wooden letters, magnets, Mod Podge, glitter, mini glue sticks, a sponge applicator, and the CUTEST hot glue gun I have ever seen in my life!  Everything was purchased from Michaels.  If you go there, do not forget to show your teacher ID for a discount!  :)

So I used the sponge applicator to smear on Mod Podge on the back of each letter.

Then, I sprinkled purple glitter on each letter.

I let these guys dry over night.

 The next day, my sweet hubby made me a contraption out of a cardboard box, so that I could spray paint in the yard without the wind interfering.  I sprayed the clear enamel on each letter, so the glitter could not rub off.

Oh my word!  I get so excited looking at my new pink and zebra-striped hot glue gun!  I found it at Michaels for $4.99, though I paid less than that with my teacher discount!!

So anyway... the last step was to hot glue the magnets to the back of each letter.

Ta-Da!  The finished product!

Okay, so I admit, I did not "make" this next item, but I "made" it special for me by tie a cute, purple zebra-striped ribbon on it.

I am totally excited about this pink Craftsman tool bag that I snagged from Sears!  I had no intention on buying anything there... we were just passing through the store to get to the rest of the mall.  But I found this for $12.99 and I just had to have it!

Just look at all those pockets!  Other than the adorable color, that was one of the biggest reasons I wanted this tool bag.  When I travel from class to class, I have to carry my supplies along with me, including scissors, crayons, clips, etc.  It gets annoying to have all those things thrown in a bag and then I have to dig for them.  I am sure this new tote will keep things more organized and easily accessable!

Oh how nicely dry erase markers and other writing utensils will fit in there!

The outside of the bag has mesh pockets on both ends, too.

Alright, now I am really on a roll!  I am also joining Sabra over at "Teaching with a Touch of Twang" for her linky party:  "Must Have Mondays."  It seems like other teachers blog about things that are on their wish lists.  But for me, each of these things were items I "needed" so bad that I bought them, LOL!

I am determined to tie cute ribbon on just about everything possible in my classroom.  I found these at Michaels in the clearance bin for a buck each!

I found this Dr. Seuss "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" tote in the 50% off bin at Barnes and Noble for $2.50.  I have always wanted to put together a graduation gift with this theme for someone, so I will hang on to this tote until the moment arrives.

After purchasing two CDs (for a birthday gift) at Barnes and Noble, I was able to pick out another CD for FREE!!  That price cannot get any better!  (Yep, I love musicals.)

Now this one I am beyond ecstatic about!  I have had a raincoat on my wish list for several years.  I found this adorable one at my favorite clothing store, Banana Republic.  It was originally a $175 coat, but I only paid $11.60 including the tax!  Woot woot!  Thank you to the person out there who purchased it online, then returned it to my local store, so I could pick it up on the clearance rack at a discounted price AND take advantage of their 40% off sale and utilize my rewards / coupons!  Ahhhhh!  So excited!

Milwaukee:  You have my permission to rain on Monday when I return to work.

I have been on the hunt for a cute pair of white sunglasses ever since I broke my last pair.  I picked these adorable shades up at Fossil... on sale for $34.99 - a little more than I wanted to pay, but I do love them!

Aaaaaaand now... the results of my very FIRST venture to Ikea!!

Here is my new teacher chair that I will put at our small group table.  It was $12.50, which I think is a pretty good price, but we did have to assemble it ourselves.

Of course, I had to weave some cute ribbon through the holes.

So here is the story with these pillows:  My husband had them in our condo when I first moved in... I hated them right from the start.  (By the way, my hubby has fabulous home decor taste, but these pillows were the exception... yuck.)  Anyway, when I finally convinced him to help me pick out new pillows, I threw the ugly ones in my classroom library, since I did not care if the kids destroyed them.

My students did not disappoint with the "destroying" part, did they?  ;)  Time for new pillow cases!

I am in LOVE!  The black and white swirly one was $6.00 and the solid pink one was only $3.00

Ha!  I just had to throw this picture in there.  My son could not help himself, once he saw new fluffy pillows on the ground.  What a cheese ball!  I love that boy!

Last, but certainly not least, my new stools that were only $5.99 each.  Cool beans!

I just love that the stools stack so easily.  That will be helpful when I have to pick up and pack up my room for cleaning.

That's it folks!  Now hop on over to Tara's awesome and inspirational blog to check out all of the other COOL Monday Made-Its!  Have fun and as always, thanks for stopping!  :)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Party!

Oh my!  I really must be scatter-brained these days.  I totally thought I had shared pictures of my son's "Very Hungry Caterpillar" first birthday party (that we celebrated a month ago), but I guess not.  I will spare you the family and friends photos and simply post the ones that might intrigue you teachers and mommies out there.  So here goes!
I grabbed some bubbles from the Dollar Tree and wrapped them with personalized labels that I created for each child guest.
There was a picture on the back of each one...the butterfly, the caterpillar, etc.
I included this one so you could see my "Very Hungry Caterpillar" t-shirt.  I ordered it from "Out of Print Clothing" through Amazon.
My mom baked and I frosted green and red cupcakes, then I just placed them on the platter (Dollar Tree) so it - sort of - looked like the caterpillar.

I made this lawn caterpillar using paper plates (Dollar Tree) and large paint sticks (Wal-Mart).  The face is just made from construction paper.

Even though there was a playground right next to our rented picnic and pavilion area, I was super paranoid the kids might be bored, LOL.  So I set up some stations, just in case!  There was a puzzle station.  I am sorry...I cannot remember where I bought it, as I have had it for years now.

There was a coloring station and a bubbles station.  I found the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" crayons and buckets in the dollar section at Target.

There was a photo booth station.  No one actually used this, but I totally blame myself...there were no directions and no modeling, LOL!  But anyway, the frame was cut out from a cardboard box and spray painted red.  The hat, bow, and sunglases were from Party City.

There was an age-appropriate party favor bag for each baby and child... and almost everything was "Very Hungry Caterpillar."  (I had been hunting and collecting for MONTHS!)  I had rattles, bibs, socks, and things like that for the babies.  I had sippy cups, snack containers, board books, sticker books, mini books, etc. for the little kids.  The older kids just got buckets with gummy caterpillars worms in them.  Oh yes, and everyone was welcome to take a balloon home.

We were at a public park and while I was thrilled to have bathrooms connected to the pavilion, I was not so happy to have to share them with non-guests.  So I assembled these bathroom baskets, just in case we faced any undesirable bathroom conditions.

Yikes!  Bad picture... sorry about that.  During my son's first year, I took monthly pictures (and weekly, if I am being honest), so we could see his growth.  I printed the monthly pictures, stuck them in some cheap plastic frames (Wal-Mart), and placed one at each table as a simple centerpiece.

We served green Kool-Aid, red Kool-Aid, lemonade, water, soda, and beer.  I had fun, colorful straws for the kiddos.  My son's smash cake is there on the left; it was in the shape of the number 1.  I placed "Very Hungry Caterpillar" items around as decorations.

We served the various foods that the caterpillar ate in the story.  On Saturday, he eats through one ice cream cone.  I was not willing to risk melting ice cream on a potentially hot June day, so my mom (thank goodness for her, because I could not have pulled off the baking part of this party without her) baked ice cream cone cupcakes!  She coved a cardboard box lid with wrapping paper (Dollar Tree) and cut out holes in order to make a cone holder.

The caterpillar also ate through one cherry pie.  My mom and I made mini cherry pies using refrigerated pie crust and cherry pie filling.  They were SUPER EASY to make! 

Some of the other foods that the caterpillar ate in the story: salami, Swiss cheese, lollipop, pear, orange, plum, apple, watermelon, etc.

Yeah, these pictures are totally not in any order that makes logical sense.  Oops!  Anyway, I posted his birthday party invitation on one of the tables (which I made...pretty proud of that!)

It is difficult to see in this picture, but hanging on the wall there is a banner that I made.  I printed the letters in color on cardstock, cut them out, then taped them onto black paper plates.  I punched two holes into the top of each plate, then laced a fun green ribbon (Wal-Mart) through the holes.

In the story, the caterpillar eats sausage.  I cooked up some Cheddarwurst, then put it in a crockpot with was Velveeta cheese.  We also served Sloppy Joes and chips.

My mom made that awesome pennant banner with "Very Hungry Caterpillar" fabric that she ordered online.  I set this up directly behind the gift table.  In order to hang the pennant banner... I first purchased three tin buckets (Dollar Tree) and filled them with colored craft sand.  I also picked up a thick dowel (Ace Hardware) and they cut it into smaller pieces right in the store for me for free!  My hubby spray painted the dowels red.  I stuck them into the craft sand, then tied the pennant banner to the top of each dowel.

I ordered this balloon arch from a local store called "Balloonee Toonz."  Unfortunately, I did not take into account that the party was outdoors and the wind might be problematic.  Thank goodness for my friends who were able to figure out how to make it stand - by attaching it to the pavilion and tree, ha!

I placed little lawn caterpillars all along the edge of the pavilion.  I just printed the image on cardstock, cut them out, then taped them to paint sticks.

Do you ever put tons of time and energy into preparing for an event, and then totally forget (or lack time) to take certain pictures?  I feel awful because I only snagged a few pictures of the birthday boy.  Anyway, I wanted to post this one so you could see his onesie that his Nana made him.  She used "Very Hungry Caterpillar" fabric (ordered online) to sew on the number "1" and the caterpillar on a blue onesie.
My son's actual birthday fell on a weekday, but I still wanted him to be able to do something fun.  So I taped some butcher paper to our kitchen floor (please ignore the fat cat) ...

... and then slapped some washable Crayola paint down and let him go crazy!

My hubby cut out a small section of his "artwork" and I put it in his baby book.
Well, I guess that is it!  I hope you are able to snag an idea or two for your own child's party or classroom.  Thanks for stopping by!  :)