Sunday, January 27, 2013

Facebook thank yous

After my youngest son's 2nd birthday party I wasn't really sure how to do thank you cards. I will admit I have never been very good about sending them out in the past. This year my 8 year old wrote out his own (his package of invitations came with thank you note so that made it easier). So I ran through some ideas that would be something other than me just writing a thank you card.

These we some options:
1. Have Jameson color on a card after I write thank you
2. Do a hand print to say thanks
3. Tape off "thank you" or a little card and have him paint over it

I felt like all of that kind of relied on the fact that Jameson would be willing to cooperate to color or paint and it would take a bit of prep work. Finally it dawned on me to use a picture, but who has the time to go print out pictures and mail them off? Plus, some of the people came because of a Facebook invitation so I didn't have their address.... WAIT! What did I just say? FACEBOOK! Of COURSE! I could sent or post thank yous via FaceBook!

There is a neat little app called "InstaFrame" that you can add text to a picture that I use a lot just for fun. I realized that would be the perfect way to send a thank you! So I went to the app and created little thank you notes that were personalized with the gift Jameson had received from everyone and proceeded to post the picture (see top of this post for an example) on the Facebook wall of the person or family we needed to say thank you to. I also tagged the husbands if I could so everyone could see the thank you!

I think they came out really cute and they are simple and personal and most of all an easy way to include a young child in the thank you note!

Next time I may take pictures of him playing with or using the gift as well and use that picture so each thank you is different!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Personal and Reusable Worksheets {teaching idea}

During my student teaching I spent a couple hours working with some 3rd graders for math. I discovered that they had difficulty with word problems and figuring out how to write the equation for the problems. I decided to create a word problem that I would laminate and leave the numbers blank so the problem remained the same but they had to keep redoing the equation with different problems. I also made this more personalized as I had one with their name and something they liked so it was more relatable for them. I left space for them to write the equation and show their work. We would use dice to determine what numbers to put in the blanks and it made it more like a game so it kept them engaged. The kids really enjoyed having their own page and kids love using dry erase pens so it was perfect! They got a lot of practice reading word problems to see how to find important information and they had fun doing it too!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Finished Folder {teaching idea}

This idea was inspired form an idea my cooperating teacher saw on Pinterest during my student teaching. I took the concept of a folder that the students can use to keep track of the work stations they have finished and adapted it as a "potty planner" to help with potty training. 

The Folder
I took a plain Manila folder and cut half of one flap off. On the small flap that was left I cut it into 5 equal sections. I then cut out 5 different colors and numbered them 1-5 and glued them in behind the small flap sections. 
On the outer side of the small flaps I wrote the word "done".
The folder is then laminated and ready to go.

The Potty Planner Process
The way the potty planner works is a way to help motivate young children at first to at least attempt to go to the bathroom. We allotted 5 times to bring the students to the toilet and if they would sit and attempt to go they would be "rewarded" by covering up the number. 
The top part of the folder is open space for stickers as a reward for when the child actually used the toilet. 

By the time I left we hadn't had a whole lot of success, but I was working with young students with learning disabilities so we hadn't had this plan implemented long enough to see any real results. I think with continued and consistent use this would be a great tool.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog Party!!

When my oldest son decided on a Sonic party for his 8th birthday I have to admit I was a little nervous. I had no idea what foods to do to fit the theme or how on Earth I was going to make Sonic cupcakes. So of course I did what any mother would do... I headed off to google images and spent many hours scrolling through pages on Pinterest to get ideas!

We decided on Funyuns as the golden rings that Sonic collects and Logan also asked for pineapple rings so I tossed some of those into some blue Hawaiian Punch hoping they would float at the top (they didn't). I asked Logan what Sonic likes to eat and he informed me, with great certainty, that he loved to eat chili dogs... No way was going to make chili dogs for an 8 year old boys birthday party! TOO MESSY. But the idea dawned on me that I could maybe make some with the lil' smokies franks and crescent rolls!

I set out, again, to google. I couldn't really find a "recipe" to show that it was a successful idea so I decided to just wing it (I probably wouldn't have followed a recipe anyways). They were actually a really big hit and only 3 ingredients. Crescent rolls, lil' smokies franks, and a can of chili. I laid out the rolls and used a pizza cutter to slice it to a size I thought would roll the weenies and added a dab of chili and a weenie and rolled them up. I baked them at 350degrees for 11 minutes and they were good to go!

For the cupcakes I just pulled up a picture of Sonic and hoped for the best as I drew his face with icing free hand. I also created a game that was Pinspired and drew Tails from Sonic and cut out some tails to play "Pin the tail on Tails". It was a lot of fun. And I think the party was a big success!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Blueberry Banana Smoothie
 If you are anything like me, you have fruit that you buy and end up tossing because there is always a little bit that doesn't get finished before going bad. I buy a ton of fruit and some weeks we just don't eat as much as we do other weeks, bananas especially. Normally when I have very ripe bananas I toss them into the fridge with plans, that often fall through, to make banana bread. I decided I needed to start freezing stuff for smoothies! Over the summer, in particular, we always want smoothies to help combat the heat but I always find I don't have a fruit I want in the house to make the type of smoothie I want. Well, problem solved! Two problems actually. When I have fruit that is on its last day I cut it up and toss it in a ziplock bag and toss it in the freezer. This way I have fruits ready to go when I want it. Usually I will have a couple fruits so I make mix of favors that I like.

Another great thing about this is the fact that when you make a smoothie with FROZEN FRUIT there is no need to add ice! This makes the smoothies even more creamy and tasty! I just toss in the frozen fruit add in about 1/4 a cup of milk and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla exact and I am good to go!

Today I had a smoothie bag with blueberries and banana and decided to add a little pineapple juice too and it's delicious! I wasn't really hungry for lunch but a smoothie was perfect when I knew I needed to put something in my stomach. I also realized I could probably freezer some different juices in an ice cube tray to keep those on hand too!

The bag below has enough fruit to be more suited towards a double batch for when I am making a smoothie. For myself and my husband or to share with my boys. A little bit of frozen fruit goes a long way in a smoothie.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I don't do this often, post about my personal opinions on things often considered to be controversial, but with the anniversary of my oldest sons due date approaching it has been on my mind.

8 years ago I was pregnant with my first son. I was young, only 19, and coming close to my due date. I was anxious to meet my little bundle of cuteness but knew I had to wait... Well, I guess I didn't really know I *had* to wait, I didn't really know there was any other option. A c-section was never in the realm of possibilities for me so I just had to wait, didn't I?

It wasn't until I was pregnant  with my second son that I learned about inductions. That word never came up during my pregnancy with my first son, not even as I passed my due date did a single one of the midwives I saw say anything about it. Looking back now that I know more about labor and delivery I suppose I got lucky having midwives even though I didn't realize what that meant that the time. Logan, my oldest, made me wait it out for 3 days after he was due but it was worth every second.

With my second son I told my OBGYN (whom I adore btw) I didn't think I wanted to induce even though it would be nice to know my dad would be at my house to watch Logan and everything would be planned and relaxed. I finally gave in and set an induction date on my due date, hoping CJ wouldn't be late like his big brother and I wouldn't have to show up for an induction. In the end that appointment was a blessing in disguise. The night before my due date I was pretty sure I was going into labor and went into L&D when my husband got home from work, after we stopped at Taco Bell for some dinner. After a little observation they decided I wasn't in labor and they were going to send me home. I told them I had an appointment to be induced in the morning and asked if I could just stay so I wouldn't have to come back early in the morning and the agreed. Good thing too since CJ was born shortly after I was admitted and in a room!

That brings us to my third, and what I thought was going to be my final, son, Wyatt. Oh my sweet little Wyatt. I didn't even schedule an induction with him, even though I was very tempted with my history of fast labor and having two other kids at home. In the end I decided not to because I had heard inducing made labors longer and more painful and I was determined to have another fast and drug free labor. Maybe I should have induced considering he was almost born in the car... But that was mostly my fault waiting until the last minute to call the Dr (who wasn't convinced I was in labor) and my dad and wake my husband to take me in. I didn't want to risk getting sent home because I "wasn't in labor" and then have him at home.

With Jameson, our surprise baby, I thought for sure he would be early and hoped at least a week early so he wouldn't be born anywhere near his due date, which happened to be Logan's birthday! Little did I know I would get my wish, just not in the direction I had hoped. I told my Dr again that I didn't want to induce. I had done more research and was confident in my decision that my babies will bake until they decide they are ready to enter the world. There I was at my 40 week (well a couple days after) appointment saying I had made it this far I would just stick it out. I couldn't believe my 4th pregnancy was also going to be my longest. After Jameson was born (6 days past his due date) I found out my OB had went ahead and scheduled an induction for the following Friday, I guess she didn't want me to go too far past 41 weeks (fairly common and a pretty good for most obgyns to let me go that long with out a fight). I am so thankful that I didn't decide to induce early, if he was born about a week after his due date if I had induced a week before he would have been more like 2 weeks early which is an important amount of baking and developing time!

I'm not trying to say other people shouldn't induce or schedule c-sections. That's not my place, and I am not a doctor or midwife. All I am saying, as I stand up here on my tiny little soapbox (and I mean tiny as I don't think many people even read this thing...) is that I hope you think about it before you introduce medical equipment into your labor before you baby starts to tell you that he or she (not that I know much about the latter lol) is really ready. I know you are anxious to hold your sweet little baby, but what is a couple of. Days if. It means the full health and development of your child?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Inital Name Art

My second oldest son's name is Caleb but we call him by his initials, CJ. When he was a baby I got the letters for initials as a gift. His color scheme was green and white so I had always left them alone. For a while now I wanted to color them and make them different. Today an idea came to me, I would make each initial have his name on it so it was his initials AND his first and middle names! I am really not all that artistic, as much as I like to pretend I am, but I did the bet I could. I painted the backgrounds of each letter and then used a stencil to paint the letters of each name on the letter for the initial. While they didn't turn out as nice as I would have liked, I think they are pretty cute! Maybe one day I will work on it and have some patience and make them perfect. For now they will get popped up on the wall just like this.