Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Kindergarten Holiday Party

We had our holiday party on Monday and had so much fun!! It was the same day as our field day...talk about tiring! But, somehow we survived it.

I know I've said this before, but things change when you have kids of your own. One thing that has changed for me is that now I am all about keepsakes!! 

For our first center we made these cute snowmen out of socks.  We cut the top of the sock down a little then filled the bottom of the sock with rice (this weighs the snowman down).  We filled the rest of the snowman up with filler then tied it on with a rubber band.  The second sock then became the snowman's hat.
We decorated the snowman with accessories from Oriental Trading.  I left pom-poms, buttons, and fun googly eyes at the center. The kids used fabric glue to adhere everything; however, I ended up reinforcing it all with the hot glue gun later that day.
Then we made these cute and simple decorations (you can turn them into ornaments by adding a ribbon when they are dry). We used tongue depressors, stickers, and sequence from Oriental Trading to decorate. The kids loved this one!! I think next year I will have to take pictures using a fun SnapChat filter or cute props!!
I left out a couple of 'easy' centers for the students to do while we were busy with some of the more hands on centers.  This activity my kids have done before so they were able to play independently.  This center is from Oriental Trading as well and is all set and ready to go!
I do this center every year, reindeer food.  It is a must for the little ones!
I didn't take many pictures in class because I was busy making the salt dough ornaments with the kids.  At this center the kids can't do much, so I called them back one at a time here when I was ready.
They pressed their hands into the dough then I pressed a hole in the dough for a future ribbon.  
I took all of the prints home to bake. The recipe can be found here.
After they were done baking I ended up painting them at home instead of letting the kids paint them (just no time!). In the future I would let them paint their own.
I sprinkled them with glitter and painting a layer of mod podge on top.  When they were dry, I hot glued some cotton balls to the bottom to make them look like mittens and tied a string on to turn them into ornaments.
Then, I wrapped them up and they are ready to give out as parent gifts!

You can see last years holiday party HERE.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

DIY Ornaments

I wanted to host a little DIY ornament night at the house and needed an easy ornament for the kiddos and one ornament for us moms to make!! We picked up these ceramic ornaments in the Target Dollar spot for the kids to paint.
 We told the kids they were like little elves in their ornament workshop. They loved it!! We gave each one of them a cute elf hat they I picked up on Oriental Trading. The table decor and the hassle banner I also found on Oriental Trading.
I still need to get the kids to go back and decorate their ornaments. I was thinking of having them add more color when this layer dries.  Maybe using paint and a q-tip.
 Then the kids sat down for some ice cream while the moms got to work on their ornaments!
 I am SO glad I tested these ornaments out at home before trying them in the classroom.  First of all, I thought I had the clear ornaments that came apart into two pieces, but I didn't. So it was very tricky getting the kids pictures inside of the ornament and into the place where we wanted them.
 It was basically impossible to get the tree where we wanted it because even tweezers were hard to maneuver in the top of the ornament. 
 But, we finished and I love them! I think they will look cute with a big bow on the top to add some more color! 
Next time I make these I will have to use the clear ornaments from Oriental Trading that you can find HERE. Those come apart and would be way easier! You can also find the fake snow HERE

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Centers (Parent Activity)

Every year before Thanksgiving I invite the parents in for  Thanksgiving centers.  At our school this is not considered one of our three school parties, so this is NOT a party, instead it is a culminating activity.  If you know what I mean...  ;) You can relate any of these activities to reading or social studies standards if you need to!!
I set the tables up with these awesome Charlie Brown Thanksgiving table cloths. I also left plates, napkins, and silverware there so we could taste pumpkin pie at the end of the centers! The decor is all from Oriental Trading.
I usually have about 5 centers going on. At each center there are directions on what to do.  The kids rotate through the centers with their parents.  But, just like center time, they can't rotate until I ring the bell.  I also leave directions for what to do if you finish early. Even with parents there, when kids finish early they feel like they can get up and wander around or do cart-wheels across the floor.  So early finisher directions are a must!
At the first center we make edible teepees.  Who doesn't love ice cream cones, frosting, and candy!? This is always the kids favorite center of the day! I used to do making butter, but I always had a ton kids that wouldn't try it.  
Standard- SS.K.A.2.1 Compare children/families today (their houses) with those of the past
At our second center we made Native American noisemakers. Students had to color in the picture and cut and paste it onto a paper plate.  Then, they fill the middle of the plates with beans and staple together! They love this! I leave a little poem at the center from my Poetry Pack for them to sing to as well! 
Standard- SS.K.A.2.1 Compare children/families today (their music) with those of the past
At our third center we made these cute turkey handprint keepsakes from Oriental Trading.  I LOVE anything that my kids bring home that I can store in their memory boxes--so any and all handprint crafts are a must for me!! This center was a stretch to make it 'academic'. I had to leave questions there for parents to ask their child as they were working recalling the Thanksgiving book we read that morning.  It actually turned out cute! 
Standard- R.L.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text. 
I never made it around to take pictures on my other centers, but we did a Thanksgiving story retelling bracelet and a writing prompt activity of what we are thankful for!

Later that day we had our book buddies over to read with us and make these cute turkey hands!!

Thanksgiving at home this year was great! We continued our Thanksgiving breakfast tradition and this year I added in a new surprise! 
 My new creation was these little Mayflower donuts--they were a huge hit!!  You can also see the 'acorns' at the bottom of this picture, another breakfast favorite!
 Last year was the first year that I made a big breakfast and the kids loved it so much that we definitely will have to continue this every year. I think they look forward to the breakfast more than the dinner! (I may too, haha!)
Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for YOU!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Halloween Party

Since becoming a mom, Halloween has turned into one of my favorite holidays! They just love all of the 'buzz' around the big day--there are school parties, church parties, neighborhood get togethers, and more all leading up to the big day!!
I have turned to Oriental Trading the past 2 years now for my costumes! I used to shop at Party City or in those pop up Halloween stores, but there were always CRAZY and I could never find the right size.  Boy, shopping online has been so much easier!
 I sat down with both kids and let them choose their costumes.  Their choices usually seem to surprise me haha! Kayla went with Batgirl this year and Brayden went with Pokemon!
 We invited our cousins over for a little Halloween playdate!
Each kid decorated a pumpkin. We did this early on in October so we would be able to enjoy our pumpkins for the month!
 Ahhh! How precious are they? They pumpkin decorating kits were from the Target Dollar Spot!
 Then, we got ready for our Monster Egg Hunt.  This may be a new one (it's pretty much like an Easter egg hunt), but the kids loved it! 
 They ran all around the house searching for their monster eggs! Florida is just too hot still to hide the eggs outside!
 Then they counted their eggs up!
Inside the eggs there were stickers and candy. Juliet decided to add her stickers onto her pumpkin too!
 Then it was cookie decorating time! I use these trays for all of my crafts and cooking projects with the kids. It definitely helps with the mess and they can just go straight into the dishwasher! I bought these trays on Oriental Trading as well. 
 Looks sugary...must be good!
 Love what Savanna did! They look like owl eyes! 
I am always down for any excuse to get our cousins over or neighborhood friends over! We can't wait to have a Thanksgiving play date soon too!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Bridal Shower

I can't believe that as I am finishing writing this post, not only has my bridal shower come and gone, but so has my wedding! Everything happens so quickly!

Meeting the love of my life and getting married has been a day that I have prayed for since I was a teenager. Sometimes I wasn't sure if my prayers would be answered, but they were when His time was right.  They weren't answered the way I imagined either...not only did I meet one love of my life, but I met three! All pretty much at the same time! My fiancĂ© has two of the most previous little ones and there is nothing better than officially being their step mommy! 
 Before the wedding, Phil and I kept saying how we thought the kids were more excited for the wedding than we were.  It had been the talk of the house for the past year and little Miss Kayla actually packed her bags for the wedding a couple of weeks before we even left haha! 
She was so excited at the bridal shower to be my 'something blue'. We even went and got our nails done together for the first time. She got flowers painted on her thumb nails so everyone would know that she is the flower girl!
My bridal shower was absolutely perfect! Look at this amazing set up full of some of my favorite things--sunflowers, donuts, and rainbow sprinkles! Haha! My sister made the 'Future Mrs. Berk' sign and the other two garlands are from Oriental Trading. The black and white table runner is also from Oriental Trading. I have used it for almost every party that I have hosted this past year! It's great!
The munchkins were dipped in a little icing and then dipped in rainbow sprinkles...so good! and so cute!
My sister, Bridget from Little Lovely Leaders,  made these awesome water bottle labels. I love the small details.
My now hubby wanted to contribute to the bridal shower so he made this awesome meat and cheese platter for us! Then we kicked him out for some girl only time ;)
I can't even tell you how amazing these donuts were. I probably had 5 of them! No joke! Those ring toppers I absolutely love too! 
We found these 'thanks' bags on Oriental Trading and knew they would make the perfect, and easy, take away gift.
My sister filled each bag with my favorite candy and Phil's favorite candy.  Again, such a nice touch!!
Of course at the end of the shower we let the boys come back home! 
The day was beyond perfect! I can't wait to share our wedding day with you too!