Happy New Year's Eve!

2014 has been the best year of my life.  Period, the end.  I got to marry my best friend and the love of my life.  He won us a free trip to the Four Seasons in Mexico, where I got to play hooky from work, be treated like royalty and meet Taye Diggs and the Super Nanny (both celebrities in my eyes, ha!).  I saw my idol, Ms. Beyoncé Knowles, in concert.  We went on a ridiculous honeymoon to St. Lucia.  I got to see every single one of the people I love most in one place at one time (at our wedding!) which was so incredibly powerful.  At one point on the dance floor I stopped dancing and started crying at the realization that EVERYONE was here loving and supporting us.  I hope it is not coming across as bragging, I am just simply in awe of just how good this year was to us.  Of course, there are the downsides too... we lost three people who were very near and dear to us.  There were flooded classrooms and basements, plus all the regular day to day stresses.
I have to hand it to you, though, 2014 - you were PHENOMENAL. 

These are my top 14 moments of '14.  I am raising my mimosa to cheers you to an equally awesome 2015!  Come on, raise up your water or wine or coffee and clink with me... it's been a wild ride and I'm so glad to have you here reading this!

To celebrate the end of 2014, everything in my store is 20% off for today and tomorrow only.  Here are some of my favorite winter units... just click on the picture for more information.




You can also grab  ALL of my winter themed products in a giant bundle for a super sweet price, including:
December Words, Worksheets and Vocabulary
January Words, Worksheets and Vocabulary
February Words, Worksheets and Vocabulary
Christmas Words, Worksheets and Vocabulary
Holiday Cookie Words, Worksheets and Vocabulary
The Mitten Words, Worksheets and Vocabulary
 Check out the bundle {HERE}

Christmas Conversations

I'm joining up with one of my all time favorite bloggers, Abby, for a fun Christmas linky party.

Sooo any time it comes to choosing a favorite children's book, I become the most indecisive person on the planet.  Here are some of my most favorite gingerbread themed books... I read all of these each year during our Gingerbread unit.

Merry Christmas!  Link up and be sure to share all of your favorite Christmas traditions.

Currently December

I love Ms. Mariah.  All I Want for Christmas is You is the best Christmas song of all time.  Period.  So what could be better than blasting Pandora's All I Want for Christmas is You station and dancing around the house in your socks?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing!


My big, crazy family drove from Michigan and Maine and flew from DC to come stay with us for Thanksgiving.  It was a whirlwind day filled with turkey, an oven that caught on fire the night before Thanksgiving (don't EVEN get me started!) and tons of family bonding and love.
This is an awful picture (why do I let my husband man the camera?!) but I loved our table this year.  I mixed a modern tablecloth and centerpiece with my Great Aunt's wedding china and my Grandmother's wedding glasses.  It is not up everyone's alley but I was smitten.

 It is amazing how a sweet family photograph session can turn into this...

 I love these crazy people!

Anyway, my house feels empty now and I have done about 78 loads of towels and sheets.  I'm sad that it's over but I'm ready for my favorite season of all time to start... bring it on, Christmas!
We haven't decorated yet, but this was out sweet little living room last year.  We are getting our tree this weekend and I'm ready to go all Buddy the Elf on this house!

I want my own personal elf.  Or clone.  Or personal assistant.  I would gladly take any combination of those three!  With lesson plans, correcting homework, hosting, decorating, shopping, birthdays, Christmas and so much more right around the corner this teacher is getting tired just thinking about it!

I posted this picture in September.  The gym I had gone to for five years shut down in the middle of the night and allegedly took a bunch of money from it's members.  Super, super shady business!  I had been going to the gym for 1 to 2 hours a day before our wedding, but ever since the gym shut down I have been getting l-a-z-y.  Thankfully a brand new, all women's gym is opening in it's place this weekend (yay!).  I can't even tell you how excited I am to get back into the lifting and yoga swing, and out of the feeling like a fatty swing.

I have never done RACK as much as I would like to, but I am going to commit myself to doing Random Acts of Christmas Kindness this year.  I am inspired and determined to spread that Christmas cheer! 

Mama Mia!

I don't know about you, but I LOOOOVEEEE me some pizza.  There is nothing better than coming home on Friday after a long week at work and ordering a delicious, hot, cheesy pizza amirite?  Kids love pizza too.  Inspired by the book we were reading, The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza), and of course the pizza that our little cafeteria serves up for lunch each Friday, we decided to turn our dramatic play area into a Pizzeria. 

Being the crazy teacher lady that I am, nothing happens in dramatic play without some serious integration of literacy skills.  So we ate pizza, read pizza, wrote pizza and breathed pizza.  

We made mini pizzas with construction paper in the art center, and used them to decorate our bulletin board.  After doing lots of research, we had an introduction into the procedure (or how to) genre of writing.

Invented spelling gets me every.single.time.  So precious!  The kids came up with the steps, and I added the photographs as we went along so that my little ones can "read" our how to.

We added some of our favorite pizza based books so that we could refer to them while playing.  They think play, I think developing important pre-reading skills!

 Here the cashier is taking a customer's order on our customized order form.  The vocabulary they have developed so far astounds me!  Think of little ones, most of whom are English Language Learners, using words like pepperoni, chef, pizzeria and mozzarella!  I die!

 Here is a close up of one of our order forms.  There are three different versions (each increasingly harder than this one) to provide just the right level of challenge for your specific group.

Of course you need a pizza.  I love this Melissa and Doug version (like this one).  I got mine at Michael's with a 40% off coupon.

The kids were SO into the whole pizza theme that we even added The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) props to our block area.  My coworker created these little icons with help from Making Learning Fun.  I just printed them and taped them onto blocks.  Easy peasy!

So are you sold yet?  You can snag everything you need to turn your classroom into a readers/writers/pizza lovers paradise right {here} in this 58 page unit.

Tons of stuff included in my Mama Mia! unit are not pictured above.  Let's break it down real quick: