Saturday, July 27, 2019


I have been teaching for twelve years, and  I still get all the anxious thoughts and butterflies the day of open house.  There's a lot of people crammed into a small place, a lot of small talk, and all the attention is on you.  It can be overwhelming, no matter how long you've been teaching!   

During my career I've had great open house. I've also had some horrible open houses. The worst was when a mailing mishap occurred in the office, and all fifty of my students received my welcome letter. None of them received my partner teacher's welcome letter, that meant all 50 students showed up to my room for open house.  As you can imagine, it was quite a mess. Parents were upset, kids were confused, and my partner teacher and were embarrassed and overwhelmed.  It was not a great way to start the year. 

Open house is important, as it's our chance to set a good impression on our students and their families. In many ways, open house sets the tone for your relationships with your families for year.  Let's just say in the scenario described above, the tone that was set was not a very good one. :( 

As teachers, we are always reflecting, and always trying to improve. My open house file folder is full of Post Its and notes on how to improve for the following year.  I can say with confidence the past two open houses were the best I've had, and I'm excited to share my "Top 10 Tips for a Successful Open House" with you.  These tips have helped me simplify open house, making it a better experience for my students, their families, and myself.  If you are interested in any of the forms featured in this post, they are available here

Remember that open house I mentioned above?  That inspired me to have personalized sign in sheets for open house, I probably wouldn't have had twenty-five extra students in my room for open house if I had sign in sheet with just my homeroom roster on it. 

I personally put out three sign in sheets, with a third of my students on each sheet, this prevents families from crowding around the same sheet, and helps with traffic flow.  

I also like having an assigned seat/spot for each child at open house. It gives students a place to go, so they can unload their supplies, and to receive their classroom/school forms. 

To prevent confusion, I only put out name tags for my homeroom students. When my switch class comes over to meet me,  I explain they will get the seat I have reserved for them on the first day of school. :) 

I print my desk tags on colored cardstock and then laminate them for durability. I love stocking up on colored cardstock at Michaels. I use it all the time for printing task cards and other instructional materials. 

For the past few years, I've used an Open House Checklist. What a life saver.  Parents and students are no longer coming up to me and asking what to do next, allowing me to greet each family as they walk in the door.  This checklist also lets families know the flow of the evening. 

I like to collect big items like notebook paper, tissues, cleaning wipes, plastic bags, and paper towels at open house. I simply use empty organizing bins or laundry baskets that I already own for this. :)  Having the bins clearly labeled helps students and their families check off an item on their checklist easily. 

I place the bins in lower traffic areas, such as our coat hooks. Another perk of this tip, is that it puts all of these bulky items together in one place until I am able to put them in their proper home around our classroom. 

At open house, I require my families to fill out ONE paper.  That one paper is a transportation form. This lets me know in advance how my students are going home the first day of school.  Having this information before the first day of school really helps us have a stress free dismissal on that first day. 

There are few reasons as to why this is the only form I required to be filled out before they leave open house. Many of our families have to attend more than one open house at the same time.  Our open house is also late in the evening, and sometimes the night before the first day of school.  When this is the case, I'd rather my fourth grade families be spending time together at home, rather than spending a large chunk of time at school filling out paperwork. 

When I first starting teaching, I passed out so many forms at open house.  There was the parent survey, kid survey, grade level info packet, a volunteer form, a class party form, a homework policy letter, and a few more that are slipping my mind. All of that was in ADDITION to our school/district paperwork. It was a lot, and looking back, just way more than necessary. 

The past few years, I've only used the forms pictured above. A student survey, a family survey, and a grade level brochure.  I typically only use the parent email form if a family has problems accessing our Email Sign Up Google Form.  

With a fewer number of forms for families to complete/read over, the higher the likelihood that the forms will get READ, filled out, and returned. #winning

I like to copy our classroom forms on colored paper, these helps them stick out from the rest of the back to school paperwork from our school. I typically include this pack in my back to school supply order. 

Our school does not have a curriculum night after school begins, and open house is our only time to really touch base face to face with our families until conferences.  It was really tempting for SO long to go into a ton of detail about curriculum, ways to support learning at home, homework info, etc.  However, open house is already overwhelming enough.  The room is crowded, it often gets stuffy, and I know that a lot of information I shared wasn't being retained. 

So, I've kept it simple the past few years. Essentially, my partner teacher and I share:

  • Ways we will communicate with our families 
  • Homework structure 
  • Specials and Lunch the first few days of school, which is the one thing the kids want to know. :) 
  • Our classroom management plan
  • Information about our binder organization
This presentation maybe takes a little over five minutes. It's short, it's to the point, and covers the most important things we would like our families to know at the beginning of the year. 

Music is a key part of our day, especially it comes to transitions. I like to play music softly in the background as families filter in. My cooperating teacher did this at Open House, and I've done it every single year.  You can access my open house playlist {here} to get ideas for your own. :) 

If I can, I try to move around a bit during the presentation. It calms my nerves, and allows me to work the room. My presenter tool is a lifesaver all year, but especially at Open House. You can find mine {here}

Over the years, I've had elaborate donation displays and simple ones.  Honestly, this one of the last things I do for open house, and often, I forget to put it out. I just hang this sign up in an area where families are likely to see it, and just write any requests on Post Its. Easy peasy. I also keep the items on the donation station simple, parents are far more likely to help out if the items are easily found at their local grocery or big box store. 

Organization is key for a successful open house. I put a few letter trays out on my small group table at open house to collect any completed forms.  Having these forms in one place helps cleaning up after open house a breeze. 

I have several sets of these letter trays all over my classroom. I use them organize my copies for the week, centers, etc.  I unstack a few that I already own to use at open house.  

Student treats certainly aren't required at open house.  It's just a nice extra.  However, I do like to give my switch class a little treat when they come over to say "hi" at open house, since I don't have their desk ready for them yet.  

Over the years, I've come to realize, "Why waste all that time stuffing candy in a bag with a cute topper? They're just going to tear it apart in like two seconds and throw it away." Now I just buy a combo pack of Starbursts/Skittles, slap a label on them and call it a day! I typically give Starbursts to one class and Skittles to the other. 

I use the Avery 18294 labels for these labels.  I also use these labels for labeling student supplies, I make several copies of each child's name, and for organizing our classroom library.  You can find them {here}. 

I hope that you've found a tip or two within in this post to help you rock your open house! If you've like to utilize any of the forms/documents featured within these tips, please check out my Open House Essentials pack. You can find it in my Teachers Pay Store by clicking {here}, or by clicking on the image below. Many of the forms can be customized to best meet your needs, so you can ROCK your Open House! 

This post features Amazon affiliate links.  This allows me to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  This commission allows me to provide extra resources in my classroom. Thank you. :) 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hallway Management Tips

This year, I have had the awesome opportunity to work with some first year teachers.  It's been great to share some of the tips and tricks I've learned during my nine years of teaching with them.  A few weeks ago, one of them asked, "So just how do you keep these big kids quiet in the hall?  They always want to talk."  

Yes, they do always want to talk.  Intermediate kiddos are extremely social beings by nature. Our fourth grade classroom is louder than most, because we do a LOT of cooperative learning structures and brain breaks throughout the day.  Which is fine, because it's in OUR room.  I do, however, want to be courteous to my fellow teachers when we are walking in the hallway, because I know how frustrating it can be to be in the middle of a lesson and be interrupted by a herd of elephants, I mean students, walking past your room. At our school, we also have lots of students who are receive interventions in the hallway, and they don't need to be interrupted from their hard work every time my students walk down the hall either. :) 

Although, hallway behavior with the bigger kids can be difficult, I have learned a few tips and tricks along that way that typically keep my fourth graders quiet in the hall.  You'd think by fourth grade they'd have it down, but that's not always the case.  My kids get "senoritis", fourth grade is their last year of elementary school, and they think they rule the school.  Below are some of my tired and true hallway management tips. I'd love to hear some of your favorite tips in the comments! :)

The biggest piece of advice that I can offer ANY teacher when it comes to walking in the hall, is line order.  Give each student each a spot in line, and set them up for success. Does every class really need this? No.  However, it's just a nice system to have, because it makes lining up so much easier! I feel my kids out for the few days of school, and then I assign our line order spots. I change up our spots throughout the year as necessary.  

After you give your students a line order spot, then it's time to practice. This might seem crazy to some of you, but you don't always know what their previous teachers/schools allowed.  Take the time to practice, practice, and practice YOUR expectations in the hall.  I promise you'll get that time back when it doesn't take you ten minutes to get back to your room after specials, lunch, or recess.  

I do this more so at the beginning of the year, and ease off towards the end of first quarter, but one trick that typically keeps my big kids quiet is our quiet person game.  I secretly pick a student before we leave the room, and if they are quiet on the way to and on the way back from our destination, I give the class a bingo number.  It helps my class buy into being quiet and respectful in the hallway, and it also helps to develop a good habit that usually follows us all year long. 

Finally, BE CONSISTENT! Don't just stress the importance of good hallway behavior at the beginning of the year, and never bring it up again. 
Remind students often just how important their behavior in the hallway is to you.  Your students learn what's valued/acceptable in your classroom by what you allow. If you ease up on what you expect, with anything in the classroom, then be prepared for inevitable downfall.  

Sometimes we get to our destination early, and my class has to wait in the hallway quietly.  By fourth grade, they get pretty tired of the quiet game.  I play a fun game called "statue" at the end of the day,while we wait for the buses, and it's a hallway favorite too.   

To play, I call out "statue" and my students strike a frozen pose.  We do have expectations, such as: statues don't talk, touch another statue, or make inappropriate gestures. ;) I pick the best "statue" and they become the judge.   I call out "statue" again and my next student judge picks the best statue to be the judge for the next round.  

My fourth graders love this game, and it really keeps them quiet in the hallway.  You do need to really reinforce what's allowed before you play and do a fair amount of modeling, but once they've got it, they've got it.  

Another game we play at the end of the day, and while we are waiting in the hallway is the twenty questions game.  I think of an object and allow my students to ask me yes or no questions about the object.  They LOVE this game, and it's great inferencing practice.  No matter how many times we play it throughout the year, they always get excited when the mystery object is revealed! 

When I taught third grade, I'd carry Brain Quest cards around with me every where, and I'd use those when we got somewhere early.  My students always loved them, and I need to pick up a fourth grade set! They are great time fillers!

What about you, what are your favorite hallway management tips? Share them below!
Happy Teaching, 

Monday, August 3, 2015


Like many teachers, I am a list maker.  I love making lists, especially "to do lists". However, I am what you would call an "over eager/overly ambitious" list maker.  When I make a "to do" list, I put every task I can think of on them.  Case in point, my spring break to do list. 

There was NO way I could have ever accomplished all of the things on my list of spring break.  No way.  My "to do" lists tend to be overly ambitious, and are never ever completed because I always put anything and everything I would like to accomplish on them.  

This summer, I transitioned to a Day Designer planner.  One of the things that I love about my Day Designer is that each day has a "top three" box.  This box is meant for the three most important jobs/tasks of the day.  It has made me incredibly more productive at home, because it has made me really reevaluate what I could realistic accomplish each day.  

Like most of you, I've been working in my classroom lately. I don't know about you, but sitting up my classroom can be quite overwhelming and there are many times where I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. Mainly because I'm walking around from task to task without a sense of purpose and never really accomplishing anything. 

This summer, I decided to implement the "daily top three" concept while working in my classroom, and it's been amazing!

Every day that I'm in the classroom, I create a "top three" list. I make the three jobs/goals realistic to accomplish, and I can only tackle a new task, one not on the list, if the other three are completed. 

This was my "top three" from my last classroom work session. 
1. Print, copy, and stuff my homeroom's welcome back letters. 
2. Arrange student desks into tables. 
3. Unpack, purge, and organize my personal office supplies. 

In about two and half hours, I completed my "top three" and I was able to add another task to my list, organizing my "I Can" Statements.  Here's some proof of my productivity!

I've only been in my classroom about three times this summer, never for a full day, and I've already feel that that having a "daily top three" has made me so much more productive and purposeful than in previous years! 

I plan to continue using the daily "top three" once school begins, because I love it SO much. 
I created a free printable this evening to use the rest of the summer and for the upcoming school year.  If you'd like to download my template, you can download it from Google Drive {here}

Once I pick up my desk calendar from our union rep, I might start putting my daily "top three" there instead.  You could also put your daily "top three" on a post it, notepad, phone, computer, etc. 

If you found using a "Daily Top Three" list helpful, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Before I begin to attempt to get back in the blogging groove, I figured you guys deserved an explanation as to where I've been.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I'm alive.  However, I neglected this blog for far too long.  

So I'm explaining what's been going on over a cup of coffee.  Just like I would if we were connecting in real life, rather than through computer screens.  

I started this past school year off with a blogging bang! I mean, I even had enough energy to blog a recap of open house, on the night of open house.  I was blessed with two classes full of the sweetest kids I had ever taught and I was SO excited to share our classroom adventures with you.    

Then it happened.  By it, I mean the stress induced headaches and occasional panic attacks.  Triggered by so many factors. Triggers that I'm being very open about with you, in hopes my post may encourage some of you who may have experienced, or are experiencing, similar things.

One of my triggers was testing. This year was a very stressful year for my grade level, as our students, and our performance as educators, were assessed with a brand new testing platform.  One that we knew very little about.   We saw a few practice tests, but that was it.  We had no idea how the questions would be scored, what was considered passing, or even when our students scores would be released.  Once my students were done testing in April, I felt like an enormous burden was lifted off my shoulders.  My state has since done away with the assessment we used this year, which gives me great relief in some ways and has me scared in many others, because next year will another year where I have no idea what students, or my teaching, will be measured up against! 

Another trigger was TTC. This past year, my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family. Months and months went by, without a positive test for us.  All our friends were announcing their pregnancies and that was hard, even though we were SO happy for them.  It was hard to see so many couples move onto the next phase of their lives as a family, even though you love them and are so genuinely happy for them, and we had to keep living in "the two week wait" window.  

As you can imagine, it was very difficult for us as a couple to go to baby shower after baby shower and even spend time with our friends who were pregnant/had babies because it was a constant reminder of what we, for whatever reason, couldn't have.  We often felt excluded from conversations because well, we didn't have/weren't going to have a baby anytime soon.  We began to feel like we didn't fit in, that our friends would forget about us, or that we had nothing to offer them anymore.  

Another trigger, was just being a teacher. Like many of you reading my blog, I'm still a classroom teacher.  I love blogging.  I love being creative and designing materials for TpT.  However, neither one of these things are my full time gig.  I still have students in my classroom that count on me for a nurturing, safe, and challenging classroom environment. I still have fifty-five spelling and reading tests to grade almost every week, lesson plans to write, parents to communicate with, coworkers to collaborate with, and meetings to attend.  

Like I mentioned earlier, I got headaches almost daily from October to December. Always during the week, never on the weekends, and I started to dread going to work.  A few times, I even had what my doctor later told me were panic attacks, because I felt my at times my heart rate/pulse were out of control for no good reason.  My doctor advised me to look for ways to cut stress out my life.  Not just because we were trying to have a baby but because my body was basically rebelling against all the stress.  My first thought was to get a massage.  The massage therapist confirmed what my doctor told me, my body was full of stress.  I knew that I had to change something because I hated feeling the way that I did.  

I prayed and prayed about what to do.   I obviously couldn't switch grade levels mid year or refuse to have my students take the new standardized tests.  My husband and I still wanted a baby.  I love teaching, it's my passion, and blogging/TpT has been an amazing blessing to our family.  I just didn't know what to give up or step away from.

Winter Break recharged and energized me.  My husband even told me, "I love how happy you are."  One morning while reading the bible, this verse spoke to me. 

My soul was burdened and weary and I needed rest.  I decided to take a step back from TpT and blogging for the rest of the school year. This was something I probably should have told y'all at the beginning, but I had no idea how long the break would be.  As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I knew that the break would probably be for the rest of the year.  That thought was solidified when I went to a TpT Seller/Blogger Meet Up in the spring with some friends.  Rather than feeling excited about my blog or TpT, my heart raced the entire time that I was there, and not in a good way. I'm walked around a fog and probably didn't make a great first impression on the people that I met.  Sure enough, on the way home from the meet up, I got a migraine. So naturally, I decided not to go to Vegas this year.  

My husband and I also took a formal break from trying to have a baby.  It wasn't that we no longer desired to have a child, it's just the TTC process was extremely stressful and heart breaking, at times, for both of us.  We just needed a break and wanted to enjoy simply being married after months of living in the "two week window".

In late January, the daily head attaches and the far too frequent feeling like my heart was beating way faster than it should be started to go away. For the first time in months, I felt good.  I felt that 2015 would be an amazing year, if I just listened to my body.   

So, I cherished my time in the classroom with my sweet students and together we accomplished some amazing things, even though the odds were stacked against us with the whole testing thing.  I love my kids more than I could ever express every year but this year was different.  I cherished every single moment we had together and loved them like crazy.   They were truly a calm in all my crazy this year.  My students truly became a classroom family and we all cried on the last day of school.  The class of 2023, will always hold a very special place in my heart!  

At home, my husband attacked his schooling with a renewed sense of passion and focus since we decided to take a TTC break and he finally finished his degree. He has been going to school and working full time for four years.  I am SO very proud of him! 

We have been cherishing our summer together, as we as finally have some free time to go dates, to relax by the fire pit, and do little things, like going to the grocery store together.  We have even started focusing on becoming healthier versions of ourselves this summer and have lost a combined total of forty pounds.  While we still haven't been blessed with a baby, we are at a much better place now and believe that in God's time and in God's way, he will grow our family.  Of course it's hard sometimes be the only couple without kids, sometimes really hard, but I've been trying to soak up all the baby cuddles I can get right now, in preparation for when it will finally be our turn.  

Rather than spending time chained to my computer each night, I was able to rediscover my other passions during the second half of the school year.  One of those passions was reading.  I read lots of young adult novels for my classroom, several beach/chic lit reads, and even some cheesy romances with my newly found spare time. Reading more and talking to my kids about how much I was reading was magical, as so many of them became passionate and avid readers this year.  

I also spent time being crafty to keep my fingers busy, and I made several new wreaths for our front door. It was a lot of fun getting creative in other ways, rather than just behind a computer screen.  I starting cooking every night again, cooking is one of my favorite hobbies.  This summer,  I even started running again.  For years, I ran almost every day.  I even ran a marathon a few years ago but running was one of the first things I said "goodbye" to when I started my TpT/blogging journey.  It has felt good to rediscover some of my other passions and interests.

This time away from blogging and TpT has been really good for my mental health.  However, I miss it.  I miss sharing things with you.  I miss creating things that teachers all over the world can benefit from.  However, after four years of trying to being a good teacher, wife, dog mom, friend, blogger, running coach, and curriculum designer, I needed a break.  

As I listen to my body, I know that the break is coming to an end.  I've started to feel a little restless and the curriculum designer in my head has taken over my daily walks and has kept me up at night a few times.  I've started to update a few older products and I have some ideas for new ones.  

The challenge now is to try and keep everything in balance, which I know will be very hard to do.  I appreciate your patience and support as I try my best to fit in all my passions in a healthy way.  

If you have ever felt overwhelmed with stress, please know you are not alone.  Reach out to your loved ones, your doctors, your friends.  Stress and anxiety are things that we all deal with, but rarely talk about.  I always thought that I managed stress pretty well, until this year when my body rebelled against it.  Luckily for me, I was able to find a solution to my headaches/anxiety fairly quickly. Please, listen to your body.  Take a break when you need it. Love yourself and remember you are not alone. 

With Love,

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 Teacher Tool Gift Exchange Linky

Hello, friends! I'm so excited to have some free time this week, so I can share with you a little bit about my recent trip to French Lick, Indiana for the 2015 Spring Teacher Blogger Meet Up!  
Today I wanted to share with you the fabulous gift I took home from our Teacher Tool Gift Exchange.  

Everyone who attended the meet up was asked to bring their favorite teacher tool for a gift exchange.  At the meet up, they separated us into grade level groups to exchange and share our gifts.  I LOVED seeing everyone's gifts, and add several new items to my Amazon wish list on the spot!  You can check out what I took to the meet up as my favorite teacher tool kit {here}.  So glad you liked the markers, Cindy! 

After playing a fun "swap" game, we were to open our goodies. I was lucky enough to receive a fabulous gift bag from The Primary Gal! 

The Primary Gal

There were so many fun and thoughtful goodies inside! 

Amanda shared with me that she always loves to have a cute box of Thank You cards in her desk at school.  I typically have some on hand as well, but they aren't this cute! :) I love them! 

I have also been using the Sharpies almost daily since I got home from French Lick a lot because they match my classroom perfectly! :) The colors are also perfect for spring!

There were also a few fun post notes in her gift bag as well! :) 

I have been using the hand print post it notes to write encouraging "high five" notes to my students.  I plan on using the thought bubble ones during my "reading is thinking" lesson at the next year.  

She even included a package of Reece's Peanut Butter Eggs in her gift as well! They are my favorite Easter candy and I had to carefully hid them from my husband when I got home! Thank you so much, Amanda for the thoughtful and generous gift!

The Teacher Tool Gift Exchange was just one of the fabulous parts of my weekend in French Lick and I can't wait to share the rest of my trip with you soon! Many thanks to my sweet friend, Christina, for hosting this fun link up! :)  I highly encourage you to click around on the links below to see some of the other posts. I did earlier this week and found some great Christmas/birthday gift ideas for my teacher friends at school!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Cleaning Sale

Happy Sunday! I am officially on spring break and can't wait to catch up with you. :)  

I'm just popping by today to let you know that I'm having a little Spring Cleaning Sale!

Not only is my entire sale on sale BUT a few of my favorite spring products are 25% off. :)  

You can check out my TpT store by clicking {here} or by clicking on the Spring Cleaning Sale image. :) 

Have a great Sunday! I'll be blogging at you soon!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fourth and Ten at Home: Winter Break Projects

Hello! Like many of you, I'm savoring my last few moments of Winter Break.  

My husband is at work today and I'm cuddled up on the couch marathon watching "The Office" like it's my job.  It is in one word, perfect. 

In a little bit, I'll get my teacher bag out of my office and organize the mess that it is.  I'll review this week's lesson plans, and grade a few papers.  Most of all, I'll savor the fact that the house is clean and the laundry is caught up because I know that after tomorrow it probably won't be until spring break.

Today, I want to share a few projects I tackled at home over break with you. Thus the reason for the post title "Fourth and Ten at Home." I used to have a home blog back in the day and I miss it a lot.  I don't have the time to keep with up with more than one blog right now, so I hope you don't mind me sharing an occasional recipe or home project from time to time with you to get my "fix".

I am not naturally a very organized person, and neither is my husband.  Thankfully there are blogs like I Heart Organizing and Two Twenty One to help a girl like me along. 

One project I wanted to tackle over Winter Break was organizing our catch all cabinet.  This cabinet holds our medicines, dog treats, serving platters, mail supplies, etc. 

I made some labels and shopped my house for some baskets/containers to organize everything in our catch all cabinet. 

There are still a few things in the cabinet that need a home but it's way better that what it was! :) 

I've also been using essential oils for the past few months.  They have helped my out my sinuses so much.  However, the only thing I have hated about using them was that I didn't have a great way to store them! Luckily I found some containers at The Container Store that were perfect! 

I used a lipstick holder for the 5ml bottles and a nail polish holder for the 15ml bottles and the glass bottles I put my carrier oils in. If you're interested in essential oils, feel free to email me. :) 

I also worked on adding some character to our kitchen.  We had our house painted a few years ago and hung some curtains, but many rooms are missing that "finishing" touch.  I hope to change that in 2015. 

One thing I wanted to add to our kitchen was a little coffee station.  

Luckily, Hobby Lobby was really good to me last week! I was able to get the metal basket and picture frame for half off.  The "But First, Coffee" print was purchased {here} and printed off at Walgreens.  This whole project cost a little more than $10 but added so much character, and much needed organization, to my kitchen.  I just love it!

We also have a ledge that separates our kitchen and our morning room, dinning area. I felt it needed a little TLC too and I love how it came together! I already had the green mason jar and the print was from Meijer of all places, and the frame was from Hobby Lobby.  The picture is one of my favorites from our wedding and I love looking over at it while I'm doing the dishes. 

We also had a blank wall that really needed a little something.  We've looked and looked but never really found anything we loved.  We went to Columbus over break and found this sign at a little shop called Celebrate Local and knew we had to have it.  I love looking at it every morning.  It has such a positive message. 

I paid a little attention to our entry way as well. 
I printed all the eighteen25 subway art prints off at Costco a few years go but for some reason, never switch them out.  I'm trying this year to actually keep them current because they do add a little "something" to our entry way. 

Yes, that is a turkey on my blog in January.  We have hosted Thanksgiving for the past two years.  I used the same core recipes both times but they weren't organized at all.  In fact, the printed copies were all over my cookbook basket.  So I made a cute cover, paper clipped them all together, and I'm already to go next year! 

I also picked up a little wicker tray at Hobby Lobby for our TV remotes.  It's literally been the best $5 I have spent lately. The hubs and I have actually done a good job at keeping our remotes inside it. Usually we have to spend a few minutes searching the family room and couch cousins before we can actually watch TV. 

 I also worked on thank you notes for my students. I have found that it's really hard for me to actually get them to my students before we go on break.  Call me crazy, but I just love to spend time with my kids that last day of school before break begins. Usually, I spend an hour or so over on my holiday thank you notes on day while I watch TV/bowl games etc.  This allows my notes to be a little bit more personalized. This template is one of many from my newest pack, Editable Winter Themed Homework Passes and Thank You Notes

They fit, once trimmed, in standard No. 6 3/4 envelopes,which you can find at any retailer.  I like to mail them to my kiddos but that is totally up to you. :) 

My Buckeyes also played in the Sugar Bowl.  So January 1st's projects were all about the Buckeyes. We had some friends and family over. So I made buffalo chicken sliders. They were yummy and delicious. I used {this} recipe.

One of my sweet students got me those paper towels. I think they they brought good luck, so I'll have them out next Monday too.  I bought Cheryl's cookies for all the humans and homemade script Ohio treats for my dogs. We all had a great time eating and cheering for our Buckeyes together. 

I lost my voice during the game, I was a little excited, and I am now trying to think of ways to fit in my dad's luggage since he is going to the National Championship in Dallas.  #jealous

The best part of break though was just spending lots of time with my husband. He was actually on winter break from school too, he goes to college and works full time, which never happens. We had so much fun over break together.  It has been a stressful few months for both of us and carefree time together was just what we needed. 

I hope that you had a wonderful break, teacher friends.  May your coffee be strong tomorrow and your day feel short! 

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