Teaching Heart Mom

Just a Mom With a Teaching Heart. Find fun activities to do with your kiddos and students (infant to age 10). www.teachingheart.net blog

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Teaching Heart Mom Giveaway

I have decided to join in on all the giving that comes with owning a blog. As I explore this blogging world, I have found that many blogs give away treats. I have even won a few. I thought I would spread some love and give away a Teaching Heart Basket.

What You Get If You Win!!!
1.) Two Teaching Heart CDROMS
Graphing CDROM -
Packet CD Volume 1 Includes:
Back to School, The Penguin Packet, The Winter Packet, Fall & Halloween
Cute Red Penguin Socks
A Yankee Candle
Bath and Body works Hand Cream
Pocket Chart
Teaching Heart Mouse Pad
Rhyming Words CD Game
Sentence Strips
All in a cute Holiday Basket ready to be given to your favorite k-3 teacher.
Over a $70.00 Value

Here are the rules to be entered in the drawing for the Grand Prize:
Last day to post an entry is December 10, 2008 and ONE Basket winner will be announced on Teaching Heart Mom on December 11th. Item will ship Priority Dec 12th or 13th. Just in time to give the basket to your child's favorite Teacher. If you are a teacher or homeschooler, then you can enjoy it before the Holidays. One entry per person.

This contest if for Website Owners, Bloggers, or Previous Costumers. If you do not fit one or more of those criteria, I'm sorry!!!
For Bloggers or Website Owners:

1.) Blog about the basket on your site with a link back to this post and a picture of the prize on your blog. Also, please blog about who you would give this basket to if you won it.

2.) After you have blogged post a link to your blog in the comments section of this post.
Don't have a blog, but you have purchased a product on Teaching Heart at
then here are your rules:

1.) Comment on this post leaving the name of the item or items you have purchased. Tell what you like about the item and how the item has helped you in your classroom.

2.) Make sure your contact email is in your post. If you win, you will be asked to provide the email you used to order a Teaching Heart product through Paypal so that I can confirm you have previously ordered from Teaching Heart.

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First Blogging Award!

Wow, it feels so good to get an award for my blog. My first blogging award. It is from Super Fun Mama! I enjoy that blog very much. She has super great ideas and makes me wish she was my mom!!! Thank you very much!

After being in the Website Word for 10 plus years with http://www.teachingheart.net/ and getting many awards for that website... this is my first blogging award and it is good to feel that excitement again!!! This week has given me lots of bad news and this is the first good news I have gotten this week. Thanks for the smile.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting Ready For The Turkey Time Feast

My menu is set and I need to shop now. Here's my menu with links to the recipes I will use.


Holiday Cranberry Sauce - Simple but good! I once made one of those fancy cranberry sauces and it was too much for my taste. Truthfully, I like the stuff that comes out of the can too!

Turkey Stuffing/Dressing - I use the recipe here. I add water chestnuts & pine nuts to it. When I worked at Houlihan's in my younger years, the stuffing they made for their Thanksgiving dinner was so good and it had water chestnuts in it... so I just add them to this simple recipe.http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Moist-and-Savory-Stuffing/Detail.aspx

Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes - I like them creamy with no lumps
Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole - My fave and I made it today and it's in the freezer!!! This is from Cooking Light. It was in the magazine a few years ago and I have made it ever since. Always a hit at my house!!!

I found a Turkey Mold I will put this in.

Sams Club Pumpkin Pie (okay, they have the best Pumpkin Pie and it is huge and such a great price - $5.00, you can't make it that cheap. Take it out of the pie container and say you baked it, no one will know... Just hope they do not ask for the recipe.)
Choc. Chip Cookie Cheesecake - From Taste of Home... I have made this and it was a hit.

Apple Pie
Oreo Balls - They just look pretty on my tray of treats.
Do you have a special dish you make every year? Post the recipe in the comments and make my day!!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bring the Snow Inside:

My friend Amy gave me this idea years ago and we use it every year. When it snows and the kids want to play in the snow and you don't... bring the snow inside for loads of fun. This is a picture from last year.

I don't know about you but I wasn't as excited about the snow as my kids were this morning. My children were convinced that it is time to sled ride and build snowmen. I tried to tell them that there isn't enough snow. They weren't convinced... .until we stood outside waiting for buses and then they realized they couldn't go very far on a sled when they hit a patch of grass (bad scene). The only snowmen they could build was very small. So my suggestion to them and you is scrap some off of a smooth surface (our trampoline) and bring it in! I put my neat sheet down in the laundry room and let them have at it! I used a large bowl for each child and I dug out some kid's kitchen toys. The kids were in their glory as they scooped snow cones and cakes. It gave me some time to get some work done. Enjoy! Amy

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Turkey Jive

Above is our Thanksgiving Play list. These tunes get the kids moving like a Turkey!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Black Hole in My Life - FACEBOOK

Okay, my name is Colleen and I am somewhat addicted to Facebook... truthfully, it is the blackhole in my life. For those of you that do not know what Facebook is, it is a FREE way to connect with the people in your world. Facebook incorporates a news feed type system where you can see what’s new with your friends, for example if they posted some pictures last night, or made a clever remark on the Facebook page of a friend you have in common. Overall it’s an online social tool. One can use Facebook to catch up, to waste time, or to organize an event , reconnect with a long lost friend, and much more!!!

Being in my early 30s, I assumed I was out of the target range of the typical Facebook consumer, so I paid little attention to this social community. Then, one day, I received two invitations from friends in my age-group to become ‘friends’ with them on Facebook. So as not to be left behind, I thought I’d better check it out. No sooner had I signed up then old and new friends, ex-boyfriends, work colleagues and friends of friends started coming out of the webwork. I also found family members online. Many of which I now keep up with on Facebook.

The first month I joined, I did not pay too much attention to Facebook. I had a few friend requests, snooped on pages of some of my old friends, and wrote to a few long lost friends. My cousin Erin, who is one of those 20 something Facebook users who have like 300+ friends told me that the first thing she does online before ever checking her email was to look at Facebook. I just laughed and was glad that wasn't me... few months later some of my favorite friends joined Facebook and began posting pictures and updating their status. O-NO!!! Then, I was on Facebook once every AM before I even checked to see how many CDROM orders I got over the night. For years, Paypal was my first stop to see how much money I made while I was sleeping. Not anymore, for some reason I found myself checking Facebook first.

I am going to be honest here... at one time, I was checking Facebook up to five times a day. I had to put the stop to that as my work and housework were suffering greatly. So I made a rule with myself: Facebook three times a day and I set the timer for 20 minutes max for each log in. I log in once in the AM, once in the afternoon, and once at night. Sometimes, I may even skip the night log in. I have these rules because I have found that Facebook can become a BLACK HOLE (as my friend Jamie once put it) if you let it. You think you have been on there like 15 minutes commenting on people's status and pictures and then you find out it has been an hour. I was up to like 2am filling orders because at nap time I did nothing but social networking and social snooping that I was way behind on Teaching Heart file sending. THUS, I really stick to my rule. I have found working from home you need rules like this. I have the rule that I can not get online in the AM until my house is straight, the kids are dressed, and the dog is fed. At nap time I can be online once I have picked up and gotten dinner set-up to cook. I have a computer addiction problem and I have to set these rules! It just works for me and maybe it may help another facebook fanatic.

Really anyone can get hooked on Facebook. My husband is not at all into social networking. Still, without his knowledge, I set-up a page for my husband. He was not into it at all until he realized many of his old college buddies were online and he had the chance to reconnect with them. When he posted his first status I knew he was in! Although he has much better control than I. He logs in maybe once a week.

Some things I have learned that may be helpful to a first time Facebook user:

1.) Set your privacy so only your friends can see your page. When you set-up your page, it automatically sets it so anyone can see your page. You have to change this once you set-up your page. So many times I have viewed pages without being an authorized friend because the person who owned the page did not change their privacy setting. I could see pictures of their kids, their home, and other personal notes... Luckily I am a pretty good person. I can imagine there are some bad/sick people who would like that information for use that isn't of the best intention. So, click on the "privacy" link at the top right of screen and go through each category of settings. This will allow you to specify who is able to see your profile, what they are able to see when they arrive at your profile etc.

2.) Make sure you fill in the section that asks for your schools. That is how people find you. If you do not have your high school or college names in the school section then your classmates cannot search by school to find you.

3.) I read an article once that stated that all parents should learn how to navigate social networking sites. The article stated that in today's age, parents need to be up on what their kids are into. I agree, I will be so logging onto my kids facebook pages when the time comes.

4.) Your newsfeed publishes information on everything you are doing on Facebook. I’d turn most if not all of these off. At the very least turn off the Show times in my Mini-feed option — no one needs to know you spent all morning tweaking your profile.

5.) Choose your Facebook friends... if I get friend request from people whose names I don’t know and whose information doesn’t look familiar, I won’t add them.

6.) Another cousin once posted that she was home all alone over a weekend on her status... she has 300 friends and she is only 16. Ummm... sorry, not a good idea. One of those friends has to be a little physio. I told her that and she told me I was paranoid (still love her, but don't agree with her). Be careful what you post on your status - all your facebook friends can read it.

7.) Watch this YOUTUBE Facebook story!

Now go to http://www.facebook.com/ and get social networking!!!

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Star Wars Under Construction

It's a work in progress, but I have posted a page on Teaching Heart about the Star Wars Party I had for my son.

You can watch me work on the Star Wars page here:

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

High Five To The Free Treats From Snapfish...

So excited to tell you about a free offer from Oprah and Snapfish that my friend BETH just told me about... To help you get organized, Snapfish.com is offering The Oprah Winfrey Show viewers a free 8" x 11" custom-cover photo book! - Waaaahoooo!!! I love a free offer and this is a good one. I am such a fan of these books & of Snapfish. I make one each year for each child. It's a digital scrapbook where you can add backgrounds, crop pictures, and add text. Who has time to scrapbook... well, not me anymore due to my addiction to blogging and reading blogs. I have also made these as gifts. When my cousin got married and my kiddos were in the wedding, I made her a book with photos I took at wedding and gave the book the title, Your Wedding Through Our Eyes!!!! So fun! You can also do seasonal ones. In fact, my free one was just that. I took five years of Halloween pictures and put in in one book. I will pack the book away with my fall decorations and bring it out every year. Doing this with past Christmas pics. would be fun too. So, you have the ideas and now you need the know how:

Coupon dispersal ends at 11:59 p.m. PST Friday, November 14, 2008. Free photo book must be redeemed by 11:59 p.m. PST Sunday, November 16, 2008. Offer does not include customary shipping and handling changes or additional pages. Offer applies only to mail-order delivery to U.S. customers. Offer cannot be combined with other coupon codes. Coupon cannot be resold or otherwise transferred and is void on the earlier of redemption or the offer end date.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

In Love With The Gingerbread Baby!!

Both of my kiddos love Jan Brett's story the Gingerbread Baby. In September Jan Brett released a sequel to her Gingerbread Baby called Gingerbread Friends.

In the Gingerbread Baby, Mattie made the Gingerbread Baby a house to live in. In this sequel, The Gingerbread Baby is lonely and needs a friend. Where should he look to find a friend? Find out when you read about his Gingerbread Friends adventure. The Gingerbread Baby is found looking for a friend to live in the house Mattie made for him. Along the way he realizes that not all cookies want to be his friend and that sometimes home is a safe place to be. Jan Brett makes me want a Gingerbread Friend in this delicious new book! Children just eat this story up with the colorful illustrations. You can spend so much time looking at the beautiful pictures with your children. It is fun to watch Mattie at work in the side illustrations which you will find in many Jan Brett books. This is a must read for the holiday season and will be found on many k-3 classroom shelves. Be sure to check out Jan Brett's site for extensions to match this book!

More Fun With Gingerbread:
-The Story on You Tube of the Gingerbread Man
-Ideas from Teaching Heart
-See Jan Brett Read and Draw Gingerbread Baby
-Decorate Gingerbread House
-Design Your Own Gingrebread Friend
-***Sorting Gingerbread & Snow Friends – The student cuts out various pictures of snowmen and then sorts them on a sorting sheet (k-2). The student answers question independently (1-2) about their sorting sheet.
-More From Jan Brett

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The golden Anchor: Great Romantic Get Away For Those in PA!

My friend Nancy is one of those people that always knows the best places to go and see around our area. She is always up on what shop is coming in or what a certain place is like. I really respect her opinion on things and she always has one! I asked her to write a blog about a getaway she had with her husband because it sounded so great. After reading what she had to say and looking over the website, I was ready to pack and head out to The Golden Anchor with or without my hubby!

Recently my husband and I went on a weekend trip to the mountains of West Virginia. Bob had spent the past 3+ years working and living in Maryland and now is working much closer. My 6 year old daughter and I lived in our home outside of Pittsburgh. We usually saw him on weekends but many times several weeks would go by with him working. But that’s a whole other post. We’ve been married 16 years and really never traveled for fun much. Anyhow, my sister and parents generously agreed to take care of Carly and our dog for the weekend. We found a cabin we liked on the internet. I was a bit worried because what you see isn’t always what you get. But we were both thrilled with the cabin. The owners and staff were very welcoming.

You can see pictures at http://www.goldenanchorcabins.com/. Ours was Pondview which slept six. There is a Honeymoon cabin which was already booked when we called. When we arrived at the cabin, the table was set and soft music was playing. It was a gorgeous place with a gas fireplace, huge satellite TV, fully and beautifully furnished with a hot tub and fabulous view. We also had dinner at the Golden Anchor Restaurant which we both enjoyed.

We spent a rainy Saturday at Blackwater Falls State Park. (http://www.blackwaterfalls.com/) Even in the rain it was a great place to hike and take pictures. We heard that the biking trails and ski areas are also great there. We’d missed the peak fall colors by a couple weeks but it still was a stunning view. This area is also considered New Canaan Valley. (http://www.canaanresort.com/) Bob is a hunter and we enjoyed driving around and watching the deer. Later we spent some time in the hot tub which was rather romantic and very unusual for us. It wasn’t a totally secluded deck but it was still private. We had a wonderfully relaxing time together, reconnecting in a beautiful, scenic area. We would absolutely recommend a weekend here for anyone. We hope to go back again next year when the colors are at their peak.

By Nancy
(Thanks Nancy!!!!)

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

In Love With Perler Beads!

Guess what I am going to tell you about??? You guessed it, another craft that mommy sets-up and the kiddos do! With Perler Beads your kiddos can create really cool designs with little plastic beads that can be strung together, or melted together with an ordinary household iron (Mommy does the iron part)! This is probably best for ages 5 and up because it uses lots of fine motor skills... It's something you need to try first to see if they can do otherwise I can see this craft being more frustration than fun. Still I found a way to get my 2 year old into these little beads too & I will tell you about it in this post!

My mom brought my son these beads that came in a small pack (she found them for .99 cents at Michael's Craft store) and once complete make Halloween characters: witch, Dracula, and Frankenstein. My six year old isn't the greatest with fine motor skills so I was a little bit skeptical when we started the craft... I had visions of me having to sit with him while he dropped the tiny bead onto the peg board. I did sit with him for only about five minutes until he got the hang of it. Before you know it he was following the pattern himself and very proud of his finished work. I looked at my watch when he was done with one of them and said, awesome 20 minutes of quiet time for mommy that made my little man happy!!! It kept him busy in the afternoon while working on his fine motor. He loved them and wanted to do more. I NEEDED TO FIND ALL THE PERLER BEADS IN THE WORLD and buy them before others got wind of this great craft.

Luckily I found buckets full on Amazon. He made a list of all of the relatives he would like to make one for and give them as Christmas gifts. We attached suction cups to them and they look great as sun catchers. My son made his list and now we wait for our Amazon order to arrive.

Below are some of the things I may order:

Now of course my little princess needed some beads and luckily she was happy with a muffin tin and a cup of beads she could sort by color. The beads are very tiny, but she is good at picking up small things so she enjoyed sorting them by color into a muffin tin. After she finished with the muffin tin she was happy just to move the beads from play cup to play cup.
Just thought I would share!

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Christmas of Dreams Blog Party

You want to win prizes??? I do, I do!!! Read this news:

The ladies over at MomDot are getting ready to have one great big Christmas of Dreams Blog Party ! If you head on over to THIS POST, you can read all about the contest.

There will be lots of great prizes and many blogs to visit! The party officially starts on November 12 and runs until the 27th.

Hope to see you there.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween is gone & Christmas is Coming...

Halloween was so great this year. The weather was fantastic and my Darth & Minnie both had so much fun Trick or Treating. Then we ended the night at the neighbors by the fire pit. The kids watched a projected movie outside while the parents drank spiked apple cider. Great way to end a great night. It kept mommy away from the candy dish!

When I got home from the neighborhood party I was a little sad. Halloween always marks the end of my favorite season... fall ! Then starts me thinking about all the things I want to do before Christmas. Luckily I had the chance to remember fall by myself today.

My husband was away on business most of last week (including the weekend) and I felt it my right today to spend the day doing whatever I wanted while he watched the kids. I will probably try to see if I can get away with it on Sunday by reminding him that he will be away again in a few days. Anyhow, alone time was great today... I got Teaching Heart orders shipped, shopped, spent time catching up with friends, shopped, and read! While I was shopping I started to see the Halloween stuff coming off the shelves very quickly and the little store elves replacing the Halloween loot with Christmas loot. My mind started to race... Today all the Halloween stuff is 75% off, by Monday we will start seeing Christmas commercials and carols will be playing on the radio. My holiday to-do list is flashing in my head.

Make it stop!!!!