Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Give Me Five" - A Way to Help the Sandy Hook Teachers

I haven't blogged since the tragedy in Sandy Hook. I've started to write a few times - to post my 12 in 12; to show a really cute craftivity that I can't wait to do with my class; to share a new set of January Calendar Cards. Each time I've tried, however, I've found that my heart just hasn't been into it.  At all.  I've been feeling almost guilty worrying about what I should add to my math stations next week when the Sandy Hook teachers are facing the overwhelming challenge of getting themselves and their new classrooms ready to welcome their beloved little ones back to school.  I've been stuck in a place somewhere between really wanting to do something to help, but not knowing what to do.

Then I spoke to my oldest friend, Karen, who I've known since we were about 10. Karen's also a teacher and she and I have been partners in crime for years. She's the one that I volunteered with at a special needs camp every summer growing up. She's the one I tasted my first beer with. She's the one my parents caught me on the roof with trying to sneak back into the house. She's the one who got me an interview at the school where I've been teaching at for 14 years now. She's the one I've cried with, laughed with and endured with. She's the one that just reminded me that sometimes the only thing that can comfort you when you face something this tragic is to do something good with it.

So we put our heads together to come up with a plan to help the Sandy Hook teachers.  (A plan which, I have to say, is much better that our infamous Food Fight of 1987 plan...)

The Sandy Hook community has been overwhelmed with donations, both of money and materials. Newtown is making plans on how best to use donations such as these to help in the near future. I think the long term is covered for the teachers having what they need, but what about the short term?  How can we help those teachers and their kids have the least traumatic return to the classroom?  The boxes of donated materials that the teachers have waiting for them are great, but were all selected by somebody else. Especially in a crunch, who knows what we need for our kids better then we do? If it were me, I'd want lessons, station activities, classroom decor, etc. like the ones I used before the tragedy to make things as familiar as possible - the shiny new textbooks can wait. For these teachers to get up and running next week and to just get through the first couple of days seems insurmountable, and having the things that THEY think will best help them do that is crucial.  How can we get materials directly to the teachers as quickly as possible?
After bouncing some ideas around in the TPT forum, we've came up with the "Give Me 5" project.  TPT teachers are signing up to "adopt" the Sandy Hook teachers that teach at the same grade level that they do. The Sandy Hook teachers can then choose any 5 items from each store at their grade level and they will be sent to them via email for immediate download.   Maybe Mrs. Smith thinks a Monster Truck Math game will make her returning first graders smile, or Ms. Jones thinks that turtle name tags will make her kids feel at home. With over 60 TPT teachers signed up already, each Sandy Hook teacher should be able to choose at least 20-30 new goodies for their classroom.  Since Sandy Hook is right down the road from where Karen and I live, we have some contacts in the district who are helping us to make the connections we need to, and we're looking into getting printing and/or laminating donated for the teachers as well.

We know it's not a lot, but it's something we can do to lighten the load of our Sandy Hook counterparts by just a little. By taking some of the prep work and planning off of their plates, we hope to give the Sandy Hook teachers the gift of what they need right now - time to be with their kids and help them heal.

If you're a TPT seller and you'd like to join the project, you can read more about it here or fill out the form to get involved.  We have mostly K-3 teachers signed up and could use some more 4th & 5th grade teachers as well as Specialists (Gym, Art, Music, etc).  We're hoping to get the list of donors to Sandy Hook by Tuesday so the teachers will have some time to choose materials before they start back later in the week. Feel free to grab the graphic if you'd like to pin, blog or post to social media.

Thanks so much to everyone who is getting involved - you guys are awesome!

If you're not a TPT seller but would like to help, we're putting together a way to donate TPT gift certificates. Check back for an update later tonight.

Update 11:30 pm
The number of people who have been emailing about wanting to donate gift certificates has been amazing!  I think we;re going to be able to send a lot of help to the Sandy Hook teachers. We're calling this arm of the project "Honoring Angels" If you'd like to donate a gift certificate, this is the plan we have in place:
Kim, another childhood friend of Karen's who lives in Sandy Hook, is serving as our liaison to the teachers. Kim's children thankfully survived the tragedy and she is very active in the PTO's efforts to get the kids and teachers back to school. She is thrilled about the project and will work with school officials to distribute the gift certificates amongst the teachers.

If you'd like to donate a certificate, you can do the following:
1. Log on to TPT and purchase a gift certificate in the amount of your choosing.
2. Download your certificate and email it to Karen at
3. Karen will send the certificates to Kim for the PTO to distribute to the teachers. (She will cc you so can be sure your certificate went through).

Please contact Karen at the above email address if you have any questions.
Thanks again for supporting this project!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sleep Tight Little Ones . . .

Today was Kindergarten Pajama Day in my school. We've been participating in Scholastic's Pajama Project and the kids have been bringing in pajamas to donate to children in need. We got to present our efforts at a school assembly, and all 87 kindergartners stood before the whole school in their jammies and sang a cute little song about pajamas. As I watched with pride as my adorable fleece-wearing kiddos sang their little 5-year old hearts out I thought, "It just doesn't get any cuter than this!"

We returned to our classroom and the kids cuddled on the rug for a special "Bedtime Story" and we all felt very warm, cozy and safe in our little kindergarten cocoon. Eager eyes and shining faces joined with good friends and a favorite story to create a very magical moment, full of joy and innocence.  All was right with our world and I thought, "It just doesn't get any better than this!"

And then the world shook.

Word started to trickle in about the horrific school shooting that had just occurred a few towns over from us in Newtown.  The details were slow to reach us, but as they did, tears were shed and hearts were broken for the victims of this senseless tragedy. How do you wrap your head around something so gut-wrenching? How do you acknowledge that there's an entire class of kindergartners, a class just like yours, that will never sing or dance or dream again?  Looking at my sweet, sweet babies, wearing their princess nightgowns and monster truck pjs, I just couldn't do it. I don't know if I ever will. I thought to myself, "It just doesn't get any sadder than this."

So we danced. A lot. I cranked up a little Carly Rae Jepsen and we twirled and bounced and spun and jumped. We held hands and sang loudly and off key. We danced until the kids all fell down laughing. As I looked around at the precious little ones that I get to love, laugh and learn with every day, I promised myself that I will always do whatever I can to keep them safe. No matter what. I promised myself that if needed, I would have the courage to be as brave as the teachers in Newtown were today. No matter what.

I hugged my kids a littler tighter than usual when they left today and I wished them all the sweetest of dreams. To our neighbors in Newtown - I wish you all healing and peace. To the shining lights lost today - Sleep Tight Little Ones . . .
sleep tight little ones
This beautiful graphic is by Nikki at Melonheadz!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Calendar Cards and a Review

How on earth is it December?  November was so crazy with Hurricane Sandy, report card assessments and parent conferences that it was such a blur!  Things are not likely to slow down in December, either, are they? Those visions of sugarplums are bound to pop up and make us all a little cray-cray.  Only 15 school days until Winter Break!

I got a Christmas present a little early this year when a big box arrived in my classroom. A few weeks ago, Kayla from asked if I would provide some honest feedback on the site in exchange for a store credit. Shopping on someone else's dime - how could I resist?

The website was super easy to navigate and I especially liked how you can sort by grade level. After I filtered for kindergarten, I was like a kid in a candy store trying to choose from all kinds of goodies. The prices were super reasonable and I ended up with more items than I thought I would. Take a look at what I picked:
1 Wipe-Off Chart Handwriting Paper
2 Roll & Learn Pocket Cubes (I've wanted these forever!)
3 Plastic Game Spinners (LOVE!)
4 Chart Rings (so I can hang two things on the same chart stand)
5 Homework Helper Alphabet Gr Pk-1

Checkout was easy and quick and followup emails let me know when my order was processed and when it shipped. Within days I had my goodies! The nice people at MPM are offering 10% off for the first 10 customers who use this link.  Happy Shopping!

If you've been using my calendar cards, here's the set for December. They use an ABB pattern and there are cards for the major holidays.

I'm also sharing a little number writing calendar activity I do each month with the kids. There are three different number writing sheets so you can choose the one(s) that work best for your kiddos. I have them glue the calendar picture onto the top half of a 12x18 piece of construction paper and then glue the calendar underneath. It's great for them to take home to hang on the fridge. Enjoy!

Comments make me smile,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reading With the Stars

     For the past couple of years, I've been working on a curriculum writing committee in my school district. About once a month, I get together with a team of  kindergarten teachers from other schools to work on developing new units of study for our Readers' Workshop curriculum.  Since I don't get to see these teachers very often, it's a great chance to gossip share information, brainstorm ideas and do some meaningful work.  I'll admit, we wander off task from time to time catching up, telling funny kindergarten stories, complaining about assessments, etc., but we also stumble onto some great ideas together.
     The last time we met, we were discussing ways to put some new "umph" into our independent reading times. After three months of Readers' Workshop, we found that we had hit somewhat of a plateau in terms of increasing stamina and focus. We all felt that the kids needed something to give them a little inspiration so they could read "longer and stronger."  So, Louise, Cindy (my kinder-colleagues) and I put our heads together to find a solution. We talked about how much our kiddos LOVE to read to someone, especially someone special.  When they have some kind of special "audience" to read to, they seem to really stretch themselves as readers.  We've tried having the kids bring in stuffed animals from home to read to, but found that some kids just got distracted by their furry friends. So we kicked it around a bit and came up with a gimmick strategy that has been super successful in my classroom
     In my best Tom Bergeron voice, "Welcome to Reading with the Stars!" We brainstormed a list of celebrities, characters and other special people (the principal, the Art teacher, etc.) that the kids get excited about.  I found pictures of these special people (or cornered them with my camera to get one) and mounted them inside manilla folders. The kids pick a star to keep in their book box for the week, and then during independent reading, they stand up the folder in front of them and voila! - an instant audience. When I started Reading with the Stars a few weeks ago, my class was stuck at 7 minutes of independent reading before they would start to get a little wiggly. I am happy to say that Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, Cinderella and Darth Vadar have helped us increase our stamina to 10 minutes!  I've also noticed that the kids are also reading more confidently, wondering aloud about their books and are not as fidgety.  Take a look at my little sweeties in action...

     If you're looking for a little boost for your workshop time, grab some celebrity head shots and give it a whirl. (I would love to share my picture file but since I just found the pics on the internet, I'm not sure what copyright issues there might be. If you'd like to see the list of the celebs I used, I can post that - just let me know).  Reading with the Stars might not have a "mirror-ball" trophy like DWTS does, but with this plan, everyone's a winner!
I'm hoping to expand my A-list so if you have any ideas for some new celebs, I'd love a comment!
Have a great night,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yippee Skippee and Gobble Gobble

Yippee! Report cards are finished! I'm not even going to worry about the piles of assessments, checklists and writing samples that have taken over my dining room table 'cause I'm too busy doing the happy dance. Inputting the last grade each marking period always bring such a sigh of relief. Ahhh...

This time around was especially stressful because of an unexpected time crunch. We usually spend the last two weeks before report cards are due giving all of our assessments. We lost 6 of these days when school was closed because of Superstorm Sandy however, leaving us with a lot to get done in a very little time. So, I confess, I did something that I hate to do - I gave the kids a lot of seat work to keep them working independently while I pulled kids to assess. It was meaningful work and it kept the kids engaged, but I still felt a little guilty about it.  Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do, I guess.

I thought that some of you might be under the same time crunch or might just be looking to get the kids through this crazy week until Thanksgiving, so I thought I would share some of the things that I used.  The first is a cute little book that the kids can use to write about their ideal Thanksgiving dinner. It starts with the prompt, "This year I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner and I'm making..."  The kids then write one thing on each page that they would make if they were cooking. It's pretty funny to see what they come up with - lots of Junk Food Feasts, that's for sure! I just photocopied a big pile of the food pages and let the kids write as many pages as they wanted to. If you want to see what menus your little chefs will come up with, you can grab a copy below the picture.

Next is a packet full of random Thanksgiving goodies. There's a tens frame counting activity, a First Thanksgiving story sequencing activity, a math patterning worksheet and two labeling pages. There's enough to keep your kiddos busy learning in a meaningful way for awhile.

I hope you have a quick and easy week as we head into the long Thanksgiving weekend! Have a great night!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Vote for Cuteness

First, I want to send my thoughts and  prayers to everyone who was affected by Superstorm Sandy. Here in Connecticut we are slowly recovering. Schools have been closed all week, 200,000 people are still without power and the property damage is just horrible. Luckily, my family and friends are all safe, and for this I am incredibly grateful.

With all of the tragedy and anxiety of the past week, I thought I'd share a little cuteness with you. But before I do, I have to make a confession, and you have to promise not to judge. Here goes... I'm one of those crazy dog ladies who puts costumes on their dogs. And I have way too many of them. There. I said it.  Somehow in my mind, costumes are not clothing, so I haven't crossed the line into the "Paris Hilton putting pink dresses on her dog" kind of crazy. Just the normal kind of "I just think my dog is the cutest thing ever" kind of crazy. Besides, since Sally is blind she can't see all of the dogs in the neighborhood laughing at her.  Poor Sally...

OK, on to the cuteness.  To introduce my class to the concept of voting and show them firsthand how elections work, I created a project for them which follow the whole process from start to finish.  The critical issue that we tackled for this project was: What should Sally be for Halloween?  Pretty important stuff indeed!

First, we read a book about all of the costume choices.  The kids wrote about their favorites and explained why other people should vote for their choices. (Who says kindergartners can't do persuasive writing?)  Then, we set up a polling place in the hallway outside of our classroom.  We cast our votes first, then we invited the whole school to come down to read our campaign posters and cast their votes.

We're keeping track of the votes by adding tally marks to our data sheets every day. Since we've been out of school all week we don't have a winner yet, but luckily Halloween has been postponed until November 7th, so Sally will have plenty of time to get ready.

Now that the kids have seen the election process firsthand, they're ready to transfer what they know to this week's Presidential election.  We'll work with a kindergarten friendly easy reader that explains how our country's elections work and introduces the kids to Obama and Romney. We'll wrap it up with a cute little Voting Booth Craftivity that has a curtain that slides open to show the two presidential candidates.

You can check out this cute Election Day Emergent Reader and Craftivity pack in my TPT store.  I'll also send a free packet to the first few people who leave a comment telling me which costume you think Sally should wear on Halloween.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Few "Franken-storm" Freebies

     There's a hurricane brewing here in coastal Connecticut and they've nicknamed it the "Franken-storm" because not only is it hitting during Halloween, but it is also monstrous. We got a call today that school is cancelled Monday through Wednesday, then they'll update us about the rest of the week.  While it's nice to have a few unexpected days off, it's pretty stressful worrying about the storm.  So, before we potentially lose power, I thought I would get out a couple of quick freebies that you might be able to use this week.

     The first is a literacy station that my kids love.  All you need is a few cheap plastic jack-o-lantern pails and some dry erase markers. Using the recording sheet, the kids practice forming upper and lowercase letters on their pumpkins, then check them off on the sheet.  When they're finished, they simply erase their writing and the pumpkin is ready for the next group. How's that for some festive handwriting practice? You can grab the recording sheet under the picture.
Click Here for the Jack-O-Lantern Writing Station

     I also wanted to share the calendar cards I made for November.  The pattern that the cards create is a little more complex than October's ABAB pattern, as their are three different pictures that make an ABC pattern.  I also included special cards for Election Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. If you'd like a fresh set of cards for your calendar, you can grab a set below the picture,
Click Here For the Calendar Cards

   Well, that's it for now.  I'd love a comment if you grab one of the freebies (especially the calendar cards - let me know if you're using them so I can know if I should keep posting them!)

Have a great night and stay safe if Hurricane Sandy is heading your way!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Easy Peasy, Trick or Cheesy" Freebie

Have you seen these adorable Kraft Macaroni and Cheese's "Trick or Cheesy" Halloween shapes?  Ghosts and pumpkins and bats, oh my!
   I stumbled across them last year at Target when there was only one box left on the shelf - bummer.  I grabbed the box, but it wasn't really enough to do anything with.  So, this year, I've been stalking the pasta aisle waiting for them to appear.  Last week I hit the jackpot!  I did a little happy dance, threw a few boxes in my cart and continued shopping. After a few minutes, I went back to the pasta aisle and grabbed a few boxes for each of my 4 grade level teammates. Then, just as I was ready to leave Target. I went back a third time and grabbed myself a few more boxes to put away for next year, just in case.  The checkout girl looked at me a little strangely as she rang up my 14 boxes.  She must have been thinking, "Carb addict? Cheese Head? Shopaholic?" I just smiled and began to wonder if this is how hoarders get started?  (I think that we teachers are the original hoarders - I'm surprised we don't have our own TLC show!?!)
   I raced home and made a few games to put in my math stations that focus on graphing, making tally marks and using tens frames.  If you have the chance to pick up a few boxes, you can grab the freebie down below and have a little Trick or Cheesy fun of your own.

    Another way I'm sneaking a little Halloween fun into our curriculum (don't worry, I won't go on about how sad it is that we need to "sneak" fun into kindergarten...) is with a cute little emergent reader and math craftivity.
     The emergent reader is a cute little story about Frankie having a Halloween birthday party.  All of the spooky guests bring Frankie birthday presents that turn out to be the same gift - a brightly striped tie.  Frankie will be stylin' for sure.  We used the large book for shared reading and then the kids all got a small version to put in their books boxes.  The predictable, repetitive text allowed for even my most emergent readers to be successful at reading it independently.  After reading the book, the kids made their own Frankie and used colored strips of paper to make him a patterned tie.  It was a great way to do an informal assessment of the kids' patterning skills (although not in the CCSS, we still cover patterns and assess how well the kids generate and complete them for our first report card) and the kids loved it!  It was very telling to see which kids made a simple ABAB pattern and which kids created more complicated patterns.
     I'll send a free packet to the first three comments or you can pick up a copy in my TPT store.  You can also grab a free copy of the Trick or Cheesy math stations here.

Have a great night!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dear Professor “Dream-Crusher”

     Warning, this is going to be a long post with a lot of ranting, but I would love some thoughts about it if you stay with me to the end. (And there’s a great freebie!)  A little background before I get started…

     In the town where I teach, high school students do an internship for the last 4-5 weeks of their senior year. They can choose from participating local businesses and organizations and they work full time instead of attending classes.  It’s a great way for the kids to get their feet wet in the “real world” and maybe even explore a future college major or career choice.
     A few years ago, I was lucky enough to welcome “N” into my classroom as my first intern.  I knew N from years ago, when her younger brother was in my class and she volunteered to help during an after-school craft class that I taught. She even continued volunteering for years after she left our school, taking an extra bus and walking from the middle school.  Even at a young age I saw something special in N. She had a patient and supportive manner, a creative and contagious enthusiasm and a natural ability for working with young kids.  I lost track of N a little over the next few years so I was thrilled when she got in touch about doing her internship with me.  And the best part? She was planning to pursue teaching when she entered college the next fall.
     The time N spent with me that spring confirmed everything I had previously thought about her. That special young girl had blossomed into a phenomenal young lady, and her ability to inspire and connect with young children had matured into a true gift.  I was thrilled to be even a small part of journey to becoming a teacher.
     When N got to college, she excelled at so many things – she had As in all of her teaching classes, got involved in student government, joined a sorority and also developed a passion for politics.  I was (and am) so incredibly proud of her!
     Enter Professor Dream-Crusher. Dun dun dun!! Last semester, N took a class with this nimrod professor and he gave her a C and then had the insolence to tell her that she should “reconsider her major because he doesn’t see her becoming a successful teacher.” As a result, my sweet, sweet N is now second guessing herself about whether she should pursue her other passion (politics) instead of teaching. This is heartbreaking on so many levels that I don’t even know where to start.
     First of all, way to be unsupportive, Professor Cretin.  As teachers, we have a duty to encourage students, not kick them when they’re down. If N was indeed doing C work (which I find doubtful) you could have used your expertise to help her find her way, but instead you decided to shatter her dreams! Shame on you, Professor Dimwit!
     Secondly, I believe that the teachers that make the most impact on their students at any level, from kindergarten through college, are the ones that have a true passion for teaching.  If this misguided professor still had such a passion, I don’t believe he would have treated a student so insensitively.  So perhaps in this case, the student can inspire the teacher. Take a look at N, Professor I-Have-No-Business-Shaping-Young-Minds – that’s what passion looks like!
     Lastly, I feel it would be absolutely tragic for the teaching field to lose such a gifted spirit before she even gets started.  I’ve worked with seasoned veteran teachers who don’t hold a candle to N, and I even told my principal to keep his eyes open for her resume in a few years.

OK, end of rant.

     N, if you’re reading this, I have one wish for you as you’re on the path to discovering who you are and who you want to become.  I wish with all of my heart that you follow your heart.  Listen to what it tells you, and block out not only the voices of jaded professors, but also the well-intentioned voices of family and friends. Ignore even the advice of your #1 fan (me).  If you decide that your passion is teaching, then go full throttle! You can pursue your interest in politics by getting involved in local campaigns. If you decide that your passion is politics, then follow that path. You can always volunteer at a local school or youth program to share your gift with kids in need. Just make sure that it is your own voice that speaks to you the loudest!

     In honor of N, who from what I hear is currently obsessed with bees, I have a little Flash Freebie for you.

     If you leave a comment with some advice for N or you leave a comment letting me know that you, like N, are studying to be a teacher, I’ll send you my “Bee Responsible” Emergent Reader and Craftivity pack.  Be sure to leave your email and don’t dawdle – this Flash Freebie ends Monday night!
Love you, N!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Spooky Product Swap

Jessica over at Mrs. Stanford's Class is hosting another Product Swap and it was so much fun last time that I'm psyched to be swapping again!  This time, I'm paired up with my new friend, Jeannie from Kindergarten Lifestyle. The first thing I did was to browse through her store and choose a product to try out in my classroom. Jeannie has so many great things that it was no easy task, and she was very sweet in dealing with my indecisiveness and actually sent me a few things to peek at (thanks Jeannie)!

I'm really stepping up my Math Stations now that we have the basic routine down, so Jeannie's Hullabo-Boo pack was the perfect choice to take for a spin with my kids. I warmed up my laminator, got my printer humming and went to town.  The graphics Jeannie used are just adorable, and my kids were instantly excited to try the games, which I stored in jack-o-lantern pails for a little added "Boo" factor.

The first activity we tried was the Counting Clip Cards.  My kids LOVED this game so much that they even asked to play it during our free play time! Kids choose a card, then choose a spot on the card and count how many stars/circles are in that spot. They then find a clothespin with the corresponding number and clip the clothespin on that spot on the card. This game was not only fun, but also very nicely meets the Kindergarten Counting & Cardinality Common Core State Standard (CCSS) that requires our kiddos to "Count to tell the number of objects." Jeannie also explains in the packet how to bump it up a notch using addition.

The next game we tried ended up being the class favorite. The CCSS that involves decomposing numbers is a tricky one for many kinder-kids, and this game introduces the standard of "decomposing numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way" in a fun yet meaningful way. Using the number sentence cards provided, the kids have to decide which number mats to put them on.  Because it was are first attempt at this tricky skill, I added some dominoes as well, and the station became self-differentiating. The kids who needed the visual of the dots leaned towards the dominoes, and the kids ready to stretch themselves gave the number sentences a try. One of my admins came in during math time and saw this game and was impressed with what the kids were working on so early in the year (I owe you one for this, Jeannie!)

Another activity that the kids LOVED was the Patterning Cards. While patterning is not included in the Kindergarten CCSS (was anyone else surprised at this?), Jeannie points out that identifying and extending
patterns are critical skills for children to solidify for further math and science learning. 
The first team that tried this station challenged themselves to complete all of their pattern cards before time was up and they did it!  This set the stage for all of the teams to try to do the same, so it was a bonus lesson in teamwork and working cooperatively,

Now that we've tried all of these great games, they'll be available for the kids to use in our Math Stations for the rest of the month. I love when I find a great product on TPT that fits my needs without me having to reinvent the wheel! I also love when the kids love a product so much that they choose it during free play - anything that trumps the blocks station must be pretty awesome!  When I told the kids that a teacher friend gave us the games, Sophia, my little class mother hen, suggested we write a Thank You note, so we did!
Be sure to check out Jeannie's store to find this and other great products. Jeannie's got this gem on sale, so hurry and grab a copy and your class will thank you, too!

Jeannie chose my "Bee Responsible Emergent Reader and Craftivity Pack" for the swap and you can read her post here.  We're teaming up for a quick giveaway and 3 lucky winners can each win a copy of our swap products. You can enter down below - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Happily Ever After Freebie

My little sister is married!  Or, to quote the Justice of the Peace, "Mawwied." (She had the JOP start the ceremony with the famous "Mawwiage" quote from The Princess Bride, one of her favorite movies.) It was a picnic in the park wedding and it was just perfect!  My Dad was feeling great and was able to walk Deb (aka Squeebie) down the aisle, which is something we were worried about.  I hope you'll indulge me and take a peek at some pics of the day. If you make it to the end of the wedding gush, there's a freebie for you... 

We got to the park early to set up the red gingham extravaganza. Squeebie went a little crazy with the details (a girl after my own heart). Even the cheeses on the cheese and cracker plates were labeled with little gingham signs. It really set a very classy yet casual tone.
So pretty!

Then, off to the hotel to help Squeebie get ready. The attire was super casual - jeans required.  (I think this broke my Mom's shopaholic heart just a little bit.) Once again, Squeebie went a little psycho and individually glued over 800 crystals onto her blinged out Chucks, but how cool are they?

That's some serious bling!

Squeeb and Mom ready to leave for the park.

Everyone was ready when we arrived and Dad walked her down the aisle. With everything we've been going through with Dad's health battle, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Dad rockin' the tuxedo tee!

It was such a great day and I think everyone had a great time.  It might have something to do with the 266 jello shots Squeebie made. Yes, 266!  

Deb and Tom are off to Ireland for a 10 day honeymoon. (I'm soooo jealous Squeebie, if you're reading this, feel free to bring me back anything silver and Celtic.)  As a wedding gift, I put together a little "Now & Later" bouquet with a little something for the honeymoon (now) and a little something for a weekend getaway on their first anniversary (later). I filled the vase with red Now & Later candies and added some finishing touches. Squeebie's not the only one who can go a little overboard with gingham!

Thanks for reading along.  I'm just so happy for Deb that I wanted to share!  Now, on to a quick little freebie. I'm making my own calendar cards this year because I was really bored with my ancient set.  I'm going to incorporate a pattern each month, starting pretty simple and getting more complex as we go.  This month I went with a simple ABAB pattern with jack-o-lanterns and ghosts.  I'll try to post each month's as I make them, and you can grab them for free!
Click here to download.
Have a great night!