This year, our house is all about shaking up tradition
and creating a stress-free holiday season.

I have found some great tips on how to stay sane 
during this time of the year that I am dying to share.

The first tip comes from the Dec. 2003 issue 
of O Magazine. 

Lesley Dorman suggests to...
1) Check your Perfectionism at the Door!

As teachers, we have double the planning...

-Do I have all the food prepared for the family dinner?
-What snacks do I need for my class?
-Who do I still need to shop for?
-What craft should my students make for their families?
-What should I use as table decorations this year?
-Did I remember to send home the party 
supplies request list?
For every list we make in our heads for our home life, 
there is a matching point that takes us back to 
planning for our classroom.

Well I have some relieving news for you...
it all doesn't have to be perfect!

"Reassess, and set your priorities. 
Holiday stress sets in when you try to do it all. 
Tell yourself, "If I have time, I'll do this and that. 
If not, I'll only do that."

Thanks, Oprah! You always have such great advice!
2) Simplify!

Simple does not mean plain or boring.
In fact, simple can be the most beautiful at times.
Especially if it brings peace of mind!
Keep decorations quick and easy-like this one, 
suggested by Lauren Conrad.
This would also make great take-home 
gift after your party!

Need more? Here are 15 must-know tricks
Martha Stewart gives for simplifying your season.

Now don't panic when you read the next one,
but venture out and...
3) Break Tradition!

If you find that you have more traditions
than time to reasonably complete them...
then it's time to think change!
Pick a couple of simple traditions that
are really important to you and keep those.

Or break tradition altogether and do 
something very different from your norm.

This year, my family is breaking free and
 going to the zoo on Christmas Day.
The kids are super excited about 
our new holiday plan and I know we will definitely make some new favorite holiday memories.
4) Try this Stress-Relieving Recipe!

Here is a recipe that will ease your stress for a day...
You try it first and get back to me 
on if it works or not, lol!
5) Take some time out for you!

Pick some of your favorite things to do and 
make the time to do them.

Like baths? Take one!

Enjoy long walks in the snow? Go for one!

Got a book you've been waiting to read? Get started!

6) Take time out to reflect!

Don't forget why you are celebrating.

For me, it means taking a step back...

finding a cozy place by the tree...

and remembering what makes 
Christmas so special to me...

~Merry Christmas!
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It's the end of another week!
And Christmas break is HERE - WOOT WOOT!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching  again 
to share my Five for Friday!
Speaking of Doodle Bugs Teaching, 
I loved her ornament craft that was posted last Friday so much, that I tried it with my class too. 
I pre-cut the strips of paper and put them in plastic baggies to make it a little more manageable for the kids.
Once we were finished, we laminated it and thread it with ribbon so they would hang on the tree.

So thanks Doodle Bugs Teaching for another great idea!

It went right along with what we've been learning lately and 
also goes perfect with our Measuring Trees...

Another ornament we made this week was from...
You guessed  it!
(I'm telling you-I am an addict!)

This one was more challenging than it looked. 
I found the ornament balls on Oriental Trading. 

One bag of metallic shred was enough for the whole class. 
But it was really hard for the kids to get into the ornament. They loved it none-the-less.

We used a hot glue gun on the 
eyes and nose so that they won't pop off in the future. 

This was the first time some of the kids had 
heard of a hot glue girl even backed up 
really fast when I picked it up, lol! I assured her 
that nothing was going to shoot out of it!

My Christmas tree is up and ready...
We always put it up the day after Thanksgiving. 

Each year, we take the four kids out to pick out their Christmas wrapping paper. 

They know that on Christmas morning, they may only open the gifts that are wrapped in the paper they chose. 

 This year's hottest gifts under our tree?
Let's just say Lalaloopsy dolls and Batman toys 
will be overtaking our home, haha!

My kids' school has a Christmas Bizarre for the 
students to shop at. This year, we decided to have 
our children buy for each other there instead 
of for mom and dad.

They brought them home to put under the tree on Wednesday. Our family opens up sibling gifts on Christmas Eve (right after a quick Happy Birthday to mom).

Wednesday night, I did what any mom would do...


The presents I saw that my kids had picked for each 
other brought tears. Now for those who don't 
already know, my school aged children are 3, 4, & 6. 
Yet, they really took into consideration what each 
other would want and picked things that I know the 
others will absolutely love.

Touching to see that despite all the fighting they do, somewhere deep inside, they truly do care for each other.

I celebrated my birthday with my class this week! 

I'm a Christmas Eve baby...
born during a blizzard in Northern Wisconsin. 
The doctor had to come to the hospital on snow skis, no joke.

And I blessed my parents with a whole lot of me-
I was 11 lbs 14 oz.
Yup! Go ahead and read that again-it's true!

So this year, I picked out my birthday present early. 
Thanksgiving DAY early.

Here's what I ordered:
I'm super excited to get it...
I'm not even sure what to do with it first!

I love playing games, so I'm sure that's where I'll start. just find some place quiet that I can go.

Well, there you have it-
Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend!

~Til next time
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My focus this month
has been on creating FREE samples
of my bigger bundles and making them available 
just for you!

Everyone likes a freebie!

Here are some of the things I have available...

January Freebie! 
Take a little time for Common Core Everyday

I have always been a fan of morning work 
for students each day as I take attendance and 
deal with lunch account matters. 

I love these sheets and use them with 
my students almost everyday!

Try them for FREE...
They cover a range of activities and are created 
for students to do independently with little help so that you can get YOUR morning work done!

There are more than enough pages for the month, 
which allows you to pick and choose what you want to do.

Next up...

Superhero Color-by-Sight Words

I don't know about your students, 
but mine have been Superhero crazed lately! 
So why not be sneaky and tie in what they love 
with a little sight word practice?!

The kids won't even realize they are practicing reading
 as they color their favorite hero! 

Want to try it?
Get a sample for FREE!

What about a...
 Bulletin or Wall Decoration

Here's what I added with my Boho Birds set.

But really, you could do a million different things with it! 
Tweeting never goes out of season!

Grab it for FREE!

 Don't forget about a

Lunch Magnet Chart

Use this lunch magnet chart to make your 
morning lunch account check go a little smoother! 
Simply print out multiple copies 
of this document and then...

1) Write (or use labels for) 
your students names on it

2) Laminate

3) Get some cute magnets for students to use.

4) Mount on a file cabinet 
or something of the like and enjoy!

Check it out here.

Want more freebies?
I'm working on making more!

You can become a follower of my store 
in order to receive updates and notifications of 
more freebies that I add. 

Just click this link here:
My Store

It will take you to my store. 
Then click the "follow" button up at the top. 
This will allow you to get notification via email
every time I add something new. 

~Til next time
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It's the end of the week and, for the first time ever, 
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching  
to share my Five for Friday!
Know these guys?...

You do if you have littles running around your house!

Well, we got tickets for:

 Do I have everything ready? I hope so...

Yo Gabba gear?...Check.

Excited children?...Check.
Even MORE excited mom and dad?...Double Check!

Our family's favorite Yo Gabba song? 
Definitely Party in My Tummy!

Look what I found?! 
All for $1 each!
They are perfect Christmas presents for my students. 

I plan on putting them in a white paper sack with a simple ribbon. I'm still trying to think of some type of exchange game that I can do with the kids when I give them out. 
So if you have any ideas, leave a comment below; 
I'd love some help on that!

My oldest daughter learned how to use a friendship loom that was given to her and has started her own business-ha! 
She calls it "Bracelet Maker" and she's selling key-chains 
(not bracelets...I know, right?!) for $2 each. 

Have you seen a picture of this crazy girl from my blog yet? 
This is the most recent one...
(She is just as crazy as her mamma.)

Well, she's been saving for an American Girl doll for 
the last two years. 
(It's something we are making her earn and not receive as a gift.) 
She's getting close. 
The frustrating thing for her is that mom and dad make her put half of 
all her money in a savings she has to earn twice as much to buy whatever she is saving for. 

She'll get there.

I decorated our classroom door. 
I found the idea on Pinterest.
 (How did we teach before Pinterest?!)

Here's our classroom door:
It took about thirty minutes to make and 
I'm hoping to get a picture of each kid standing in 
front of it with some "food", trying to feed the reindeer!

I love it!

My family has three pets...
a rabbit, cat, and tortoise.

Two of our pets are best friends...
This is our cat (Sami) and our rabbit (Abby). 
They love to play and cuddle.

And when Abby is put away at night, 
Sami likes to to lay on Abby's blanket and 'tease' her 
about her lack of freedom at night. 

Reminds me of children.

These are the best two animals a person could have.
We love them dearly!

Well, there you have it-
Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend!

~Til next time
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