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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Warm Up With Learning Fun

That is my pup there... I'm tired of the snow... but she loves it! Isn't she cute? She warms my heart!

Some updated pages from Teaching Heart you may want to check out!!!

Get warm with learning fun!

Get some quick ideas for your celebration of the Super Bowl!http://www.teachingheart.net/football.htm

Will the Groundhog see his Shadow??? You can see some ideas here:http://www.teachingheart.net/groundhogdaysite.html

100 Days of School is so close, you need to get some ideas here:http://www.teachingheart.net/hundreddays.html

Unbelievably spring is around the corner… Check out all the Spring ideas found at Teaching Heart!!!http://www.teachingheart.net/teachspring.html

And for those not ready to warm up, check out these themes filled with great ideas…MITTENS:http://www.teachingheart.net/mitten.html

The Cold Lady Swallowed Some Snowhttp://www.teachingheart.net/oldlady.html

Check out all the great products from Teaching Heart!!! Makes a great End of the Year Treat for a favorite teacher!!!


Book Club Game - Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah

I just finished hosting my book club for the book Firefly Lane. I personally loved the book... Definitely a total chick flick-read - grab the Kleenex! I think I liked it so much because it made me think about my friends (just what is a friend and what would you do for a friend?) , the setting was Washington State (I lived there for four years and loved it! So cool to read about Bainbride Island), and it took place in the 70-80's (this was the icing on the book)!!! It was very easy for my mind to visualize.

In Firefly Lane you meet Kate and Tully. For thirty years we experience an enduring friendship between these two women. I laughed, cried, and smiled as I devoured this novel. Not only was it a trip down memory lane, but more importantly, it was a poignant and touching reminder of why our friends are so important. It made me want to be a better friend!

The book was such a perfect read for book club. I decided to go with and 80's theme since so much of the book took place in the 80's. I encouraged people to dress 80's or bring pictures of themselves in the 80's. All participants were put in a drawing for a Rubik cube.

For food, I asked the girls to bring a appetizer if they would have rather been friends with Kate and a dessert if they would have preferred Tully as a friend... If they did not read the book, I asked them to bring a bottle of wine.

I made up a game that contained 80's activities, book discussion questions, and thoughtful questions about friendship.. All the questions were placed in a baggie. All players sit in a cicle and pass the bag aound. Each person takes their turn pulling a slip of paper from the bag. The slip of paper could have various 80's task on it or a book discussion questions.

- name the 80's movie this quote was in
-name these 80's toys
-play 80's charades
-name that 80's tune
-hum an 80's song...

The object of the game was to collect fireflies by completing given tasks on the card. The people with the most fireflies after all the cards had been read were the winners. The winners got a prize. I used Seattle type prizes, such as: Starbucks Mugs, the book Larry Gets Lost in Seattle, and the DVD Sleepless in Seattle.

You are welcomed to use my files for your book club.

Click on the links to download the files.

If you use the files, let me know how it goes in the comments section!!!

You should also visit the authors website:


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Best Mommy Blog - Scholastic Contest!!!

Vote for your favorite Mommy Blog at Scholastic!! Scholastic invites you to vote for the mommy blogs you love to read. I just put my votes in! Go on over and vote!


PITTSBURGH - Relay for Life of Peters Township

A heads up on an event that is coming to Washington Country of PA!!! The Relay for Life of Peters Township is a fun event for families. You will find games for the kids, food, great auctions, and much more... Come walk the track with your family and support a great cause.

I think this year will be the best year yet! It is a holiday theme and each team will be decorating their fundraising areas based on their chosen holiday. A great family event!!!

For more details, please visit the event website at:

The Relay is May 30, 2009 at Peters Township High School... So hop over to the website and start your own team! It is tons of fun.


The Weather is Frightful

Yes, winter has really decided to show up this week and Mommy is running out of things to do with no school...

My six year old, already built a spaceship out of Tinker Toys...
My daugher starts to get antsy and wants to play something... so out comes High Ho Cherry O! After about three games of that we move on to tent building.. My son destroyed the playroom and built a tent for him and his sister to roll around in...
It looks like a snow globe outside and of course the kiddos want to go out... mean mommy says it is too cold. Still, I bring three buckets inside for them to play in.
Lastly, we did a puzzle for two hours and I don't even like to do puzzles... This one is hard and my son keeps count of how many pieces I get and how many he gets and let's just say... I AIN'T WINNING!!!Mommy opens the frig and sees a wine cooler... opens it up an drinks it... figure these snow days are hard work...

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Here We Go Steelers!! - Gift Idea for the fan!

My brother will turn 29 on Thursday and he is a HUGE Steelers fan. So huge that my kids cannot be in the room while he watches a game because of his Steeler potty mouth! Anyhow, here is his Birthday Present.

What makes this special and blog worthy is the bag I used. I used the tote bags you buy at the grocery store as the gift bag! They are only $2.00 and big enough and sturdy enough for about anything. I am sure your town may have these with your local sports team on them. They make great git sacks.
Here is what is in the bag... Steelers Hat, Steelers Apron, Munchies for the game, & a gift card to Dick's so that he can buy the Ski Gloves he wanted!

Want some Superbowl ideas for the kids?


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Groundhog Day!

Two fun days are around the corner and happen quickly once February meets us! Groundhog Day and the 100th Day of school. For this Post, I though I would share some Ground Hog Day Activities & Links to good ideas!!!

Mr Groundhog down below
Pops up through the fluffy snow
See his shadow watch him go
Winter's here to stay
OH NO!!!!!!
Some Fun Groundhog Links:
Make Sure you Check out Star Fall - My daughter loves this!
Hey, check out these little guys!!!

They are cupcakes from Family Fun!

Tip Junkie has some cute ideas posted!
Print and Match the Tiny Groundhogs!
My Six Year Old loves Mazes, try this Groundhog Maze on a cloudy afternoon!
Literature Tie-In From a Teaching Heart Mailring Member:
I usually read the True Story of Punxsutawney Phil and I also have the puppet to go with it. Then we watch and look at the paper to see if Pux finds his shadow. I also have the students graph whether or not they think that Pux will see his shadow. It is really a cute story and then in the back they have pictures of the real PunxsutawneyPhil.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Teaching Heart on Facebook

I read this article and many like it and decided to put a Teaching Heart Fans Facebook Site together. It launched last night and already has over 80 Fans!!! Just another way to advertise Teaching Heart for Free in the Social network.
Click the link and join the new Teaching Heart Fans Facebook Page. Being part of this facebook page will get you at least one free activity sheet a year from Teaching Heart that will only be posted on the Facebook Page. You will also be able to share pictures and post educational items to the page.
Come and join us on Facebook!http://tinyurl.com/cmehcb

Just for fun: Check out this facebook song on YouTube:


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Swapped Some Soup Tonight...

I love cookie exchanges and have done them for years. If you can swap cookies, why not swap soup??? Somewhat healthier and still yummy, right? I did just that tonight and now have six quarts of yummy soup in my freezer!

My friend Nancy put together a soup swap tonight. About eight girls participated and soups ranged from Chili to Broccoli Cheese. I made Tex Mex Chili. I made six quarts of it and brought it to the swap. I left with six quarts of soup - all different. All the soups were displayed on a table.

Nancy had numbers on cards equal in number to the participants. Each person picked a number. Number 1 picks one soup, and so on, until everyone has had a go. Shuffle up cards and repeat until all the soup is gone. I would say that the pee soup was probably the least favorite but gave us the most laughs (so it kept things interesting). The most popular seemed to be broccoli cheddar soup.

Some interesting Soup Swap Links:

If you can swap soup & cookies, what else can you swap???
How about a casserole swap? Swap your home? Need some towel, try a Tea Towel Swap! Swap Your Toys... Wow, a jewelry swap!
I guess you can swap about anything... Hmmm?

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Here We Go Steelers - Football Fun For Kids!!!

Pittsburgh is going to the Superbowl again! I spent the majority of my life in the great town of Pittsburgh. Moved here in 1980. Moved away from 1998 till 2003. Love the town and convinced my Vermont raised hubby to live here FORever... My family (especially my bro) are huge Steelers fans. I never totally caught the fever. You can find me shopping when the game is one (because the stores are empty in this area when a Stillers game is on). I love the Penguins though and enjoy watching Hockey. Football, don't get it and really don't want to know how it works. Still when the Steelers are doing well, I will jump on the bandwagon and cheer them on. O, did I mention my hubby is a HHHHHUUUUGGGGEEEE Cowboys fan? Ask him about the time Steelers and Cowboys played in the Superbowl and I brought him to a mostly girl Superbowl party??? One of his worst memories in life! Anyhow getting into the Steelers has been difficult for me.

Still I have some fun ideas to make Superbowl time fun for the 3 to 8 year old...

Check out the Teaching Heart Football/Superbowl page for the best ideas!

2 Free Printables From Teaching Heart!!! You can play these with your kiddos. My son loved the first game!

Football Drop Game
Directions, Pieces to make the game,and activity sheet included!

Football Rhyme Activity
Teacher Directions and student activity sheet included!!!

If you blogged about a childhood craft idea or lesson dealing with football, please share in the comments area. Thanks!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Book Time - Mitten Ideas & MLK Too...

It is cold and snowy in the Pittsburgh area... Here are some things to keep the kids busy on MLK break!

The Mitten :
A Ukrainian Folk tale by Jan Brett (Illustrator)
School Binding / Hardcover

Warm Mittens
I wiggle my left hand,
I wiggle my right,
Inside of my mittens,
So warm and so tight.
I wiggle my pinkie.
I wiggle my thumb,
So when I make snowballs,
my hands don't get numb.

Print out this mitten story for your child. Have them color the pages.

My Mitten Easy to read book.

More Mitten Ideas on Preschool Level

Students must color the mittens as they read the text. Free From http://www.teachingheart.net/

Jan Brett has masks you can prin from the mitten

More Mitten Ideas From Teaching Heart:

Mitten Ideas from a Mommy Blogger

Print and cutout. Have your kidds match the mittens:

Ideas for : A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr (Adler, David A. Picture Book Biography.)by David A. Adler, Robert Casilla (Illustrator)

Get the book in paper back / Get the hard cover

Happy Birthday, Dr. King
to the tune of "Yankee Doodle"

Dr. King was a man
Who had a special dream.

He dreamed of a world filled with love
And peace and harmony.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King, Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

We honor you today.

1.) Ask the class why they think MLK's was important to people of our country?

2.) Make friendship collages from old magazines. The children can cutout things such as smiles, hands, people together, friends, hearts, and other helpful or friendly looking pictures. To make this even more special; have each student pick a friend in the class to get their picture taken with. They can place the developed picture in the collage. Have each child glue his/her pictures to a heart of their choice. You may wish to display the hearts in your hallway as a reminder to spread love through friendship!

3.) Discuss with the class MLK's famous quote; "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Ask you students to share their dreams for their families, friends, themselves, and the world. Brainstorm some of the dreams onto chart paper as a group. Next click here to print a dream pattern for your students. Now have each child write an I have a dream sentence on the lines provided. After they have completed their sentence allow them to illustrate it in the space provided. Finally glue the finished product to a paper plate and have each student decorate the outside of the plate.

4.) Click here to print out a sheet needed for this activity. Discuss with your students how everyone is different. You may start out by pointing out a difference between yourself and a few other students. "I have blond hair and Sally had red hair. I am a girl and Russell is a boy." Then discuss how differences make us special and what it would be like if everyone in the world was the same. Next hand out the sheet and instruct the students to draw a picture of themself and a friend. Then have them write about one difference and one thing that is similar between them and their friend.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Share the Yum!!! -- Bar Recipe

I made these yummy bar cookies for my friend to go with a dinner I made her. They are so good and easy... Thought I would share the recipe:
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Add to Recipe Box
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 15 x 10 inch sheet pan.
Mix together cake mix, butter or margarine, and 1 egg. Press mixture into pan.
In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, 2 eggs, and confectioners' sugar. Pour mixture on top of cake mixture.
Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool, and cut into squares.


Inside Water Table

If you have been reading this blog you know that I like activities for my children that they can do independently. Independently meaning: I set up they activity, they do the activity by themselves, and I do chores, work on Teaching Heart, and sometimes blog--- sometimes being now!

Here is another one of those activities that is simple, but it kept my almost three year old busy for an hour today. She loves the water table on warm days. Today I brought the water table inside. The water table being my kitchen sink. I gave her a few cups and some bowls with water in them and she played and played. Also gave her a sponge and she pretended to wash some bowls. She had a blast playing with her inside water table.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Thumbs Up!!!

Thought I would share my son's three favorite Christmas gifts... The ones he plays with the most and the ones that I think are great. These would make great gift ideas for a 5-7 year old.

First Up is Weekly Reader Editor's Choice 10 Book Set with CDs on QVC

10 Quality Hard Covered Books with Read Along CD's. These are fantastic and this is our third year to buy the set of books. I download each CD onto Itunes and then make a playlist of the books and my son can listen to the books consecutively without getting up to change a CD. This equals quiet time for mommy! The books are always loved by my son. This would be a great set to get and keep for birthday presents. Give one book and CD as a birthday gift. You would have ten great gifts. Also great for the classroom listening center. Highly recommend these!

#2. Is a board game called Scooby Doo Haunted House Game. My Son has played this 100 times since he got it for a gift. He is a big Scooby fan, plus he loves traps. This game is all about traps. It is fast paced & you can finish a game in about ten minutes. The game is simple enough that he and a friend can play it without adult help. Mommy loves that!

#3 is The VTech Digital Camera

The controls are easy (my son figured everything out in less than a half hour). It does video with voice, pics and has simple games. It is so much fun to see what my son chooses to take pictures of. While the camera shoots pictures with about the quality of a cell phone it is not discouraging in any way to him, he shows them off quite proudly. He can even add noses to people or hats with just a click. He loves that and my husband and I even had fun putting pig noses on each others pictures. It also holds about 200 pictures. Super easy to connect to your computer -- no software needed. I really think this camera is one of the best I have seen for little ones. I am hoping to do a scavenger hunt with him where I give him a list and he has to take pictures of the things on the list.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Note to the Unorganized Person...

Okay, lately I have been somewhat obsessed with little baskets and organizing things into them. Today I spent the better part of the afternoon organizing the millions of playroom toys into little baskets. My son even said to my daughter when she put a people in the furniture basket; "Everything has a place and this does not go here." I was so proud!

I also love storage bins and other organizers. I am a dork, I know... Seriously, life is soooooo much easier if my stuff is in the right place.

(Watch out this is where you see me stepping onto a Soap Box) Yes, I have a place for the Box Tops so that I can stick them in their place when they come off the box and then they can be easily stuck on the sheet to go to school. Yes, all my office supplies are in one place. Yes I label things. Yes, I try to find home for the stuff I own. Yes, I have one place where I keep all my pictures or photo albums. It so annoys me when I go into an unnamed persons house and they have old pictures thrown in drawers that contain socks, unopened packages of pens, batteries, loose change, and other loose items. Not just one drawer (which is understandable if it is just one - even two) but 90% of your drawers filled with loose items. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK AND DO NOT TELL ME YOUR LIFE IS NOT HECTIC BECAUSE YOU LIVE LIKE THIS!!! Why not take all those loose items and make a place or home for each one??? Why, why must you throw everything into drawers never to be found again? Why, do you buy Hallmark Cards and throw them into a drawer and never use them (because you don't even know you have them because they are thrown in a drawer of junk)? Why do you save every card that every person in your life has given you? Why, why do you have 100's of dishes, Tupperware, mugs, pots and pans when there are less than 3 people in your home? Why, do you let clutter take over spaces in your home instead of just chucking it or giving it away? I promise life would be easier if you were organized!!! Don't store things you will never use. My theory, not used in a year, give it away to someone that will use it!!! There are tons of donation places in all towns. From the Vietnam Vets to Goodwill to Salvation Army. These places make it so easy to donate!!!
So probably right now is where some of you are offended at my lack of tolerance for the unorganized and if you know me personally you probably will clean your drawers before I come over. Please don't to that... Note: I never look in people drawers unless I am invited too. I too have unorganized parts of my life. But I like to think at least 75% of my house in organized. I don't think you are a bad person if you can't walk in some of your rooms because of the clutter and I don't think you are a dirty person... I just wish you would see that life would be easier if you had less and organized what you have...

One more thing... get a calendar and use it. Write everything on it. Mine even has on it that my son needs to bring Mittens to school on Monday for a project. If it s not on my calendar, I forget.

Wow, that feels good to speak honestly about organization!!!! If you have some great tips, please post in the comments section. I am always looking for new ideas.

Lately I have found some neat-o blogs on organization and wanted to share a Hodge Podge of links.

Five Great Blog Posts From Tip Junkie:
Organizing your child's room is a PROCESS
Organizing Your Kids Puzzles
New Year Organization by Mique
Back to School - Cut the School Clutter
Shelf Bin Labels

At Five Minutes For Mom Check Out
Tackle it Tuesday #137:Tackling a HUGE project! See how people organized rooms in their home.

If you like organization and getting organized, you will love this site:
Home Organization


Friday, January 2, 2009

Pittsburgh South Hills Favorite Lights!!!

I have to Thank all the houses out there that put out a million lights over the holiday season. You make my kids so happy. They love driving around seeing the big blown up characters, the houses that go crazy with millions of lights, and the plastic lawn characters. Below are our two favorite houses around the South Hills... If you have a fave around the South Hills of Pittsburgh, I will add it. Just send me a picture of it and the name of the street it is found on!!!

The first is on Willow Glen Drive in Bethel Park PA:
This house has Frosty, The Grinch, and various Santa Claus decorations.... My kids love this! It is a hidden one you may never see unless you go down Willow Glen Road off of Irish Town. Willow Glen is a Dead End Road, so you can't miss this house. You can tell someone puts a lot of love into this!!!

Our Second Favorite is on Bunker Hill Road Off of Bower Hill Road. This House is also done at Halloween with millions of lights. This one looks professionally done.

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Mom Dot Giveaway: Keurig Platinum Brewer

Mom Dot has an awesome giveaway this month: They are giving away the Keurig Platinum Brewer!!!! I would love to win this machine. I have a similar machine; The Tassimo. I love the machine and use it every day; but I will say that I do enjoy the brands of coffee the Keurig has over the Tassimo. I really wish the Tassimo would come out with the great flavors offered if you have a Keurig Machine. My sister-in-law has the Keurig and my Parent-in-laws do too. As a result, I have used this machine and tasted many of the great coffees. I am a little jealous of all the flavors the Keurig has over the Tassimo. The Tassimo makes great coffee, but if you like flavors, it only has a few choices in it's brands. The Swiss Hazelnut is my favorite. It does carry Starbucks breakfast blend, but that is not flavored. However, the Keurig carries Green Mountain which has soooo many great flavor pods. We had the Green Mountain pumpkin spice over the holidays. Yummy... My sister in law always had the blueberry Green Mountain flavor at her house and I love going over there and using her Keurig. If I won a Keurig, it would make my year!

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This Cupcake is Soooo cute!!!

I got my mom a big cup cake pan from Williams and Sonoma for her birthday. Last night she tried the pan out and her creation is seen here! Isn't it the cutest thing? She said it was very easy to make and it came out of the pan very easily. You use one box of cake mix or your favorite recipe and cook as directed in the pan. Then decorate how you like. So many different ways you could decorate. Wouldn't this be cute for Valentine's Day? Decorate it with pink icing and sprinkle with candy hearts. Cute and easy! Below is what it looks like cut.

Amazon has the Wilton cupcake pan which looks very similar and has gotten good reviews. Follow the link and click on customer pictures to see all the things people have done with this pan.

There is a good cake recipe and pictures of the GREAT cupcake on the link below.

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