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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Fun...

What are you doing for New Years?  We will either end up at one of my high school friends annual party or skating with the kids... 

Anyhow, I have been reading so many fun blogs on New Years Eve plans of fun going-ons.  I can dream a little and these lovely New Years ideas make me want to have a New Years party.... some day. 

How about Oprah had on The DC Cupcake Ladies a few days ago and they made Champagne cupcakes...  Click here for the full recipe or here to view a video clip from the show.

Let's hop over here and check out this black and white party!!!  Now come to this Hollywood Glam New Years Party with free printables.  Tip Junkie is Full of Ideas. 

Here's a toast:  I hope your New Years Eve is filled with fun, good food, good friends, and happy family! 


Our Dog is Blind...

A picture of our 9+ year old Lab Mix at our last trip to Vermont.  She has loved the snow since she was a baby and still does... 
"Your dog is blind, she maybe has about 5% sight in one eye." - The Vet told us this and we couldn't understand it...  She gets around our house fine, she can even jump up on the beds...  She barks when someone walks a dog by our house.  She still takes a good walk on a leash.  Yes, she bumps into a few odds and ends, but she is just getting old, right? 

When we took her on our trip to Vermont last week we realized she is in fact blind and relies on her smelling and hearing to get around.  She was a mess when we got to our destination.  At one point we had to carry all 55 pounds of her around the house because she was bumping into everything.  She just wanted to sit in one place and not move...  It's amazing that she does so well at home and has her environment memorized.  It's just sad to know that our family dog is getting old and someday won't be here.  When we first got her years ago at the New Jersey shelter she was a crazy dog that had been returned to the Shelter two times by previous adopters.  They couldn't handle her energy or the fact that she was a Houdini Dog of sorts...  she could escape any crate, even ones you bungee jumped shut.  When our first baby came along she suddenly seemed to mature and even took first place in her doggie training class.  She loves our kids... Our kids love her and she has proved to be the greatest pet to have around young children.  Sometimes I forget to be thankful for her and just wanted to give a shout out about my furry child. 

 Hug your doggy today! 


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What toys were a hit?

Now that some heavy playing has happened at your homes, which toys were hits and which ones were misses?  I would love to hear your faves and the ones you wish you would have left on the shelf. 

Legos and a few Wii games were on my eight year old boys list.  He loves his Legos of course and he is buidling this as we speak; LEGO City Set #8404 Public Transport !  It will provide him wit

h a few hours of fun for a heavy price.  Gotta love Legos, wish I

would have invented them.  The LEGO Book is another toy (well it is books)  that has
seemed to really got my son's attention.  Also, here is a big hit with my son...  He loves this Loopz Game!  My hubby and I also had fun playing this unique game...  kinda reminds me of Simon Says. 

My four year old daughter had Zhu Zhu/Go Go Pets Hamster Funhouse (Hamsters Sold Separately) on her list as must have.  She has been having fun with the Zhu Zhu pets but she loves her new My Little Sandbox Mermaid and Friends, Baby Alive Baby All Gone - Blonde, and Strawberry Shortcake RC Vehicle the best as far as I can see.  She loves playing with those. 

Both of the kids have been enjoying Nickelodeon Fit.  I am very happy to see my daughter finally playing the Wii.  She had been scared to touch it until she saw her younger cousin play this and then she gave it a tried and loved it.  She gets quite a workout. 

Now, I have to share the favorite toy...  My daughter got this one in her stocking and both kids love it.  It has been the most played with since it left the box.  Drum roll...............

Yes, for under $20.00 bucks both of my kiddos have been having a blast with the Yada Yada Yada (Colors May Vary)!  Oh-my!  It records your voice and then you can play it back and make your voice sound slow or fast!  It's been a hit!  They both love it!
As far as misses... 
Fisher-Price The Sing-A-Ma-Jigs- Dark Purple - I thought my daughter would be more into these...

What were your hits and misses this Christmas?  Did Santa do good? 

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tons of Quick Christmas Treats...

Here are a few quick Christmas treats!! 

**Remember the Gingerbread House Party here?  We had a neighbor that could not come so I packed up the house with a package of icing and some candy for decorating.  My neighbor and her kids were thrilled to work on the house together.  I thought this would make a cool gift for a neighbor with kids.
**For my daughter's preschool class of 9, I ordered the $1.00 Scholastic Book, Bear's First Christmas.  I had a recording of the story so I added that and a few of her favorite Christmas songs to a CD and came up with this treat...   Total cost $13.00!

**For a larger class, try reindeer food.  You can see it and get the printable here. 
Total cost for 20+ kids...  $4.00

**Here's a smaller printable that can be printed on an olive container or large shaker lid.  I made it for a girlfriend that was in a last minute pinch and you lucky ones get it for free by clicking here.

**I just made my brother a Starbucks Coffee Tumbler using Snapfish's free template here.  Buy the $9.99 photo tumbler at Starbucks and then go to Snapfish and create the free printable tumbler insert and make your own custom mug!  You can add 1-7 photos and a title.  LOVE IT!!!

**Quick Teacher Gift.  I like to do something little for my son's teacher besides donating to the class gift.  This year I ordered a Starbucks kids hot chocolate for my daughter.  Washed out the cup and stuck a gift card for Starbucks and some candy in the cup.  Attached a tag that reads, "Thanks A-Latte for Being a Great Teacher"  Merry Christmas.  Here is what that looks like! 

**Also, here's a fun gift card tree for a teacher or someone you can collect many gift cards for.  My fellow room mom put this one together.  Isn't it cute?  I really want to make one next year for someone!!!

**I love my mail lady...  she takes major abuse considering she has to deal with my mailbox stuffed with Teaching Heart CDROMS. Sometimes she even walks up the steps and hand delivers my mail if I have a package.  She always seems happy.   I hope when she opens the box and this pops out, it will make her smile.  It's some candy and yes, a Starbucks gift card! 

**On my way to my son's school... I find that if I bring cookies in a tin to the secretary that has to take my ID she is happier the next time I have to come in.  I have over 20 dozen cookies. 10 different kinds.  They make a nice cookie tin! Don't forget the school janitor, neighbors, and the bus driver...   I gave away about 15 dozen cookies in tins and left the rest for Christmas eating...  Luckily I got a stomach bug this past weekend that helped me loose about 10 pounds and luckily I have kept it off for three days and will probably gain it back in cookies and eggnog after the holiday.  You have seen my egnog recipe, right

Also, I have to give a shout out to my girlfriend's blog post here on the awesome cookie exchange she attended.  You know I love a cookie exchange and this one looked like a good one...  Her post
includes a really cute recipe for a Gingerbread Martini...  Look at the little Gingerbread man she stuck on top.  He's so cute floating there.  

Years past I had some fun gift ideas like the Grinch Suitcase, Elf Napkin RingsEasy Homemade Gifts, and the Dip Gift !  Check them out!

Also be sure to check out these wonderful ideas!  Tip Junkie also has a list of great ideas found around the blogging world. 

Maybe I gave you an idea for a last minute gift...  Maybe I gave you an idea of something you would like to bookmark for next year.  In the spirit of giving I hope you click away with a treat.  Thanks for being a reader of this blog! 

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Monday, December 20, 2010

T'was the Night Before Christmas Teacher Style

Twas the Night Before Christmas

For Teachers

By Joyce Luke

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the school
Not a pupil was silent, no matter what rule.
The children were busy with paper and paste;
The mess that they made with it couldn't be faced.

The teacher half frantic and almost in tears,
Had just settled down to work with her dears,
When out in the hall there arose such a clatter
up sprang the kids to see what was the matter!

Away to the door they all flew like a flash;
The one who was leading went down with a crash.
Then what to their wondering eyes did appear
But a green Christmas tree! (To decorate I fear!)

When the teacher saw this, she almost grew sick.
She knew in a moment it must be Old Nick!
She ran to the door (all her efforts were vain)
But she shouted, and stamped, and she called them by name;

"Now Tommy! Now Sandy, Now Judy and Harry!
Stop Billy! Stop Robert! Stop Donny and Sherry!
Now get to your places get away from the hall
Now get away! Get away! Get away all!

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
The pupils, pell mell, started scurrying by.
They ran to the blackboard and skipped down the aisle;
Their faces were shining and each had a smile.

First came a basket of popcorn to string
Then came the Christmas tree (menacing thing).
As the tree was brought in there arose a great shout;
The pupils were merrily romping about.

The state they were in could lead to a riot;
The teacher was sure, if allowed, they would try it.
Her nerves how they jangled! Her temples were throbbing!
The rush of her breath sounded almost like sobbing!

The lines of her face were as fixed as a mask;
It was plain that she didn't feel up to her task.
The look in her eye would have tamed a wild steer,
But the children ignored it; they did every year.

A tear from her eye and a shake of her head
Soon led me to think that she wished she were dead.
She spoke not a word but went straight to her work,
Strung all the popcorn which broke with a jerk.

But at last it was finished and placed on the tree;
Then came the bell and the children were free.
Their shrill little voices soon faded away
And peace was restored at the end of the day.

As she looked at the Christmas tree glistening and tall,
She smiled as she whispered,

"Merry Christmas to All"


O Gingerbread!!!

In my classroom I always made Gingerbread Houses with my students.  It was always a fun time.  I carry the tradition on at home.  My Children make their own house each year.  I buy the Wilton Gingerbread Houses on sale at the end of the Holidays.  I can usually get them for around three bucks each.  I pack them away with my Christmas decorations in Jan. and pull them out the following November.

This year I decided to have a Gingerbread decorating party...  Ok, two Gingerbread decorating parties.  One for my daughter and her four classmates and another for my daughter and some of her closest buddies.  So my daughter made a total of three houses this year.  Next year I am planning on having a party for some of my friends which will include decorating minus the kids, some friendly competition, wine of course, and a few laughs...  so if you are a personal friend please buy a gingerbread house on sale this season and give it to me in Nov.  I will assemble and we can all decorate one night together!!!

For my daughter's parties I preassembled the gingerbread houses a few days before the event.  I made a total of 15 houses.  I think it took me a total of two hours to do.  I watched this youtube video that helped me very much!!!  I am a visual learner.  I do have some added tips.

Wrap a small piece of card board in red paper to place each house on.  I also added the icing to glue it to the platform.  This is what mine looked like:

I also think that the low fat graham crackers are easier to work with.

Rather thank make icing for each child that is often hard for little hands to work with, purchase the individual cookie icing packets. They dry like glue too.   Give each child their own packets, because as you can see from the picture below they become direct IV's into the mouth!!!  Start looking for icing sales all year long because they can be expensive if you are buying many...

The kids tend to eat and eat while they are decorating...  My kids eat pretty healthy, so I don't say much while they are eating while decorating.  You gotta let them live a few times a year!!!

I also had a few snacks...  mostly stuff for the hungry mommies... 
Really the only work involved is getting the houses done as well as getting your house cleaned so everyone can mess it up.  LOL!

I also made the kids a Christmas song CD with my daughter's favorite Christmas songs and another little craft for at home time. 
It was tons of fun to plan and do...  Hopefully I can do another adult version next year.

I have a page on Teaching Heart devoted to Gingerbread... Check it out here! 

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Last Minute Gifts

Ok, I did about 90% of my shopping online this year!  I hate going out to the stores and dealing with the bad attitudes of people.  The drivers cut you off, people grab things out of your hands, and the people checking you out complain...  It all gets me in a bad mood when I should be joyous...  Thus, I shopped online this year at Kohl's, Target, JcPenny, Snapfish and Amazon.  Amazon with out a doubt wins hands down on the speediness and prices of all online stores.  In fact, if you order today or Monday I know Amazon will deliver by the 24th.  They rock.  I ordered my girlfriend a treat for her kids and she called me the next day to thank me...  I was amazed she had already gotten the item considering I had just ordered it the AM before.  Amazon has the system down...  They rule!  Kohl's - I love the store and their prices; but they get a C Minus in the shipping area from me this year.  They take forever to ship an item...  Ugh, I am still hoping something I ordered three weeks ago makes it before Xmas. 

So need to get a last minute present right now... use Amazon by clicking below...  I have another tip for you below this...

My girlfriend was saying how she was bummed she had to run out to a store to get a gift card.  I told her about how most online stores (B&N, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Kohls', and Amazon...) have gift cards on their website.  You can buy the card and print out the gift card right at your computer.  Starbucks even lets you design your own card.  Then you can go wrap that gift card up without stepping out of your door... so if you are last minute that is my tip for you.  Buy gift cards online, print them out, wrap them, and be done...

Also, don't forget...  you could always purchase my printable pack and make your own gifts...  Click here to learn more.

Do you have any last minute shopping tips.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

1.2.3.. Let the Craziness Begin! (Hodge Podge Christmas)

Ok, lots going on here...

Can you check these items off your list???

Cookies, CHECK!  Over 9 dozen done.  Some given as gifts and others are ready to tray over the Holidays!!!
Son's classroom teacher gift done...  We collected enough money to get this o-so cute running bag with running goodies.  Also she is getting a tree with 200 in gift cards.  She is awesome and deserves it!  All teacher gifts are done.  Don't forget the gym, music, library, bus, Spanish, gifted, special education teachers too.  They work just as hard and are often forgotten on Christmas.  Even just a card with a nice note in it will do.  Please don't forget them!!!!

It's all wrapped up...  My Christmas wrapping is done and each item is boxed and ready to be loaded in the car.  Check out my gift wrapping treat below from one of my best buds.  She made me a gift wrapping basket with paper, bags, tape, ribbons, and more.  I used every single thing in the basket.  Gotta love a functional gift!

Sick kids who throw up all over your grocery cart...  Yeah, I am totally done with that!!!!  Here is one recovering!  You know they are sick when they fall asleep while watching the Grinch!

Gingerbread House Making parties are done...  I did two of them and assembled over 15 Gbread houses...  Check back this week for a post on all the fun!!!

Homeroom Mom Craziness...  My son's teacher had an awesome idea!  She wanted to video tape the kids reading their Santa letters that they wrote to Santa.  When the videos would not send from the school server, I came up with a great idea, let's make a DVD...    Here's one of the DVD's... 

Here's his teacher's pretty bulletin board with the Santa Letters on them.  It was so cute, the Principal came in to tell the class that one night while she was at school late, she spotted what she thought was the Janitor reading the letters.  She walked closer because she was not sure and when she got closer she noticed the man was in a Red Suit and had a Reindeer next to him.  Before the Principal could say a word to the man, he put his finger on his nose and disappeared.  My son came running home to tell this story.  The next day I sent him out to get the mail and there was a letter addressed to him from the North Pole.  Santa had written about going to his school and reading his letter.  So, what the Principal said to his class must have been true.  He was amazed!  What a special treat!!!!

Have you tried to burn a few calories this Holiday Season?  I have!  I even worked out in my Christmas Sweater, hat, and Christmas socks.  It was such a fun way to get the calorie burning done!!!  Here I am ready to go...  can you tell it's 5am and I just jumped out of bed about 10 min. ago.???

I love Christmas...  It's just makes me feel good.  I love gift giving and getting.  I love remembering the special people in my life in a special way...  I just love it.  My favorite thing about the holidays is Christmas Eve Mass and the way it refreshes me and makes me so Thankful for life and all it's blessings.  My relationship with God grows each day and for some reason on Christmas Eve at Mass I feel so close to him and so at Peace.  May your Christmas be blessed and while you go crazy this week... stop on Christmas Eve and breathe and let God!!!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Great Christmas Family Fun Game!!!

I have to take a minute to share a great find...  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer DVD Game !!!  My family is having so much fun with this game.  My four year old and eight year old played it a couple times with my husband and I and now they are playing by themselves and with friends.  It is the cutest thing.  If you have ever played Scene-it, it is very similar.  You move the cute characters around Christmas town and try to collect toys by answering questions that the DVD gives you.  Sometimes you have to play a matching game, or watch a race and try to guess who will win, or watch a clip from the show and answer a question.   The DVD is easy to use and the board and pieces are way cute.  I know that this game will be a favorite we will play each holiday season!!! 
I logged on to Amazon the other day and was amazed by the 6.35 price since I bought it for 19.99 and it is still in the bookstore at that price.  Amazon is so awesome, click and order and it is at your door in less than 3 days.  I wish I could say that about my other online shopping places... like Kohl's (love the store), but if you buy online it takes forever for it to arrive and you begin to wish you just went to the store to get it.  I ordered it for my girlfriends kids on Monday and she called me last night to let me know she got it.  That was like lighting quick - How does Amazon do it???  They need to tell other online stores their secret.  LOL!
Anyhow, it is a great find at a steal of a price.  I had to share!!!

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This is very cute... The Digital Story of The Nativity... If you have 3 minutes, it is a fun watch.

Sorry, posts have been few. I can't get over how bloggers keep-on blogging over the Holidays. It is awesome to see all the great ideas they have... I would love to know how they do it all and blog too. I am a total mess here... With Teaching Heart orders and sick kiddos and trying to fit in a workout to offset the cookie eating... blogging is pushed aside. I will have to post all the fun we are having after the Holidays. If you want to see past posts on Christmas Ideas, click here! Here's my favorite post from last Christmas.

Hope you all are getting through the Holiday rush!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DVD T'was The Night Before Christmas - Mouse and the Clock!

A precious song from the 1974 show, "T'was the Night Before Christmas"

This has to be my favorite Christmas TV show. I remember watching this when I was a kid. Last year I searched everywhere to find this on DVD or even on TV to share with my kiddos. I could find it on VHS but never on DVD. I hit the jackpot this year however. I began searching again and kept ending up on a Frosty the Snowman DVD (the one where he meets his wife). Luckily I read the reviews and found that Twas the Night Before Christmas is not out on DVD by itself, rather, it is on the DVD "Frosty's Winter Wonderland" (The Rankin Bass Version) If you want this DVD, check it out and pick it up, it will not let you down...It is the same version as we all know and love!!!

Below is the link to the DVD on Amazon...  Gotta love the price!  Also, the song on the DVD that I love is called Even a Miracle Needs a Hand.   I found the lyrics to the song here.  I have listed them below!

Even A Miracle Needs a Hand
Miracles happen most every day
to people like you and me
but don’t expect a miracle
unless you help make it to be

You hope while I hurry
You pray while I plan
We’ll do what’s necessary cause
Even a miracle needs a hand

You love and I’ll labor
You sit while I stand
Get help from a next door neighbor cause
Even a miracle needs a hand

We’ll help our maker
to make our dreams come true
but I can’t do it alone
So here’s what we’re gonna do

You hope while I hurry
You pray while I plan
We’ll do what’s necessary cause
Even a miracle needs a hand

We’ll help our maker
to make our dreams come true
but we can’t do it alone
So what are we’re gonna do

You wish while I whittle
You drip while I dry
Lets all try to help a little cause
Even a miracle needs a hand

Well, I hope if you were looking for this show I helped you find it!!!