Blogmas Days 7 and 8 – Nutcracker Ballet and Board Games

Blogmas Day 7 – Nutcracker Ballet

Like most Christmas lovers, I have always been a fan of the Nutcracker and the music that goes along with it. When I was little, I was given a Nutcracker snow globe from my grandparents. It has a statue of Clara holding up her toy Nutcracker inside and plays the Nutcracker’s March. When I was younger, so I wouldn’t break it, my mom would put it away with our Christmas decorations. Every year when I saw my favorite snow globe come out I knew that it was time for the Christmas season to begin.

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It was always a goal of my sister, mom, and I to see the ballet in person. When my sister and I were little, we would watch the Barbie Nutcracker movie all December long waiting for the day we could see the real thing. A few years ago, we finally got to go together. It was a beautiful and entertaining show. My sister wasn’t a fan but my mom and I had a blast and can’t wait to go again. I love the Nutcracker.

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Nutcracker Ballet 2016 with my sister!

Blogmas Day 8 – Board Games

When I think about board games and Christmas I think about Monopoly! Growing up, Christmas Eve was a day full of traditions in my house. One of those traditions was to play a full days worth of Monopoly together as a family. This game was always intense! Each one of us had our own strategy and some years it got pretty heated. The more my sister would lose, the more heated the year. We haven’t played in a few years but I hope the tradition comes back because it was always a fun (and crazy) family bonding time.

 

Want to participate in Blogmas 2019? Check out the following guidelines!

Last year you might have followed along with the 12 Days that I did with some of the gals listed above and we had such a good time that we decided to celebrate again together this year! So without further ado here are the guidelines for my 12 Days of Christmas.

  1. use the image provided in each post, so that way anyone who might jump in later can see what the plan is for the month.
  2. for sure link back to me, Abbey@ThreeCatsandaGirl, so that way I can celebrate your Christmas with you and maybe get some ideas of how to create festive enjoyment!
  3. spread Christmas cheer in the way you know best!

Blogmas Days 5 and 6 (PLUS Hot Chocolate Craft!)

Blogmas Day 5 – Tree Skirt

This is a hard one for me. I know some families have a tree skirt that they may have used forever and it has sentimental value….not our family. We would usually buy a tree skirt every few years from Target, but they’d always be the cheapest one they had. My mom always said that it’s better to focus more attention decorating the tree itself than buying something expensive to go underneath. We also would have a ton of presents for friends and family under our tree, so we never really could see the tree skirt.

When I moved out into my own place, I wanted to buy a nicer looking skirt for my tree because I wanted it to have a full and finished look. I got a pretty white and red one from Hobby Lobby last year and have it again this year.

Blogmas Day 6 – Anti Wish List

This one is hard for me!! I usually don’t even have a wishlist for myself on Christmas. I’m a lame person who prefers giving gifts rather than receiving them. I am appreciative over anything I get. Being a teacher, I get a lot of amazing gifts but I also get a lot of gifts that I don’t really have any use for. I am grateful for anything and everything I get. Because of that, I don’t really have an anti wishlist.

Want to participate in Blogmas 2019? Check out the following guidelines!

Last year you might have followed along with the 12 Days that I did with some of the gals listed above and we had such a good time that we decided to celebrate again together this year! So without further ado here are the guidelines for my 12 Days of Christmas.

  1. use the image provided in each post, so that way anyone who might jump in later can see what the plan is for the month.
  2. for sure link back to me, Abbey@ThreeCatsandaGirl, so that way I can celebrate your Christmas with you and maybe get some ideas of how to create festive enjoyment!
  3. spread Christmas cheer in the way you know best!

 

School Fun – Warming our Hearts

In school yesterday we did one of my favorite projects of the year that I wanted to share. It is one of my favorites that we do during the holiday season. The project I got off of Teachers Pay Teachers a few years ago from Counselor Keri‘s shop for $2.00. It was totally worth it! We start the activity with a mindfulness activity that gets them thinking about what makes them happy. They pretend they’re holding a cup of hot chocolate and think about the warmth they feel. We talk about how that warmth is like how our hearts feel when we’re happy. After the activity, I hand out 4 paper marshmallows and ask them to write something that makes them happy on each one. They then cut them out and put them on a hot chocolate (paper) mug they already have colored. They always turn out so cute and sweet.

 

 

For more day to day action and activities, go follow my class’s Instagram @lifeoftherookieteacher!!

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Blogmas Day 4 – Opening Presents

Blogmas Day 4 – Opening Presents

This is one of my favorite topics! As much as I’d love to say, “I don’t care about opening presents,” that would be a total lie. I love opening presents! There’s something so sweet and exciting opening a gift that contains a surprise just for me. Who doesn’t love that? I will be honest and say, however I LOVE watching others open gifts that I have purchased for them. I love buying and wrapping gifts for my friends and family and I love watching them open them.

In my family Christmas Eve is spent with my parents and sister. This is the day we open all of the gifts we have gotten each other. When we were little, my sister and I opened all of our gifts first because of the little patience we had. As we grew older, we started to enjoy taking turns with our parents. We now take turns from oldest to youngest opening gifts. My dad always starts, followed by my mom, then myself, and finally my sister. I love watching the three of them open their gifts.

I’m not going to lie, I think pretty highly of myself when it comes to gift giving. Ha, I take my sweet old time picking out the perfect present for everyone in my life. My favorite resource is Etsy, AKA the BEST personalized gift giving site to exist. There’s something so fun for me watching them open the gifts I spent so much time picking out.

On Christmas day we follow a similar pattern. We celebrate Christmas with my mom’s side of the family. We take turns (from oldest to youngest) opening gifts. It is always a family joke that my youngest cousin has to go last because, even at the age of 20, she constantly wants to open all of her gifts first and hates to wait. In recent years, with everyone getting older, we have started a new tradition where instead of buying gifts for everyone individually, we buy one gift at a certain price cap, wrap it up, and then play the dice game together. It’s a new twist on our family tradition.

This year I am so excited to watch all of my friends and family open all of the gifts I have gotten for them. They are all sitting underneath my tree waiting to be opened.

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Want to participate in Blogmas 2019? Check out the following guidelines!

Last year you might have followed along with the 12 Days that I did with some of the gals listed above and we had such a good time that we decided to celebrate again together this year! So without further ado here are the guidelines for my 12 Days of Christmas.

  1. use the image provided in each post, so that way anyone who might jump in later can see what the plan is for the month.

  2. for sure link back to me, Abbey@ThreeCatsandaGirl, so that way I can celebrate your Christmas with you and maybe get some ideas of how to create festive enjoyment!

  3. spread Christmas cheer in the way you know best!

Blogmas Day 3 Advent Calendars

Blogmas Day 3 – Advent Calendars

I LOVE advent calendars! There’s something so fun and special about counting down to Christmas and seeing the dates get closer and closer. Growing up, we never used the advent calendars that included mini gifts on each date/number. We simply would use them to count down to the big day!

Now that I live alone, I go all out when it comes to decorating for Christmas. Because of that, I have 2 fun advent calendars that I use just to look at (similar to the ones I had when I was younger.) Both calendars that I have I bought at Target a few years ago. I love them! They add an extra smile to my face when I see them everyday.

Recently I’ve become a HUGE fan of the “12 Days of Christmas” advent sock calendars that you can get at Target. I love socks, especially cute and fun socks. Last year I got the Harry Potter and Game of Thrones 12 days of Christmas socks (because I am the biggest nerd in the world) from my family for Christmas and they were honestly my 2 favorite gifts. This year, I bought myself a cat version that has 15 pairs of cat socks and I got my mom a pack of Elf socks because it’s her all time favorite Christmas movie, and again, who doesn’t love socks? I can’t wait to see her open it on Christmas morning.

 

Want to participate in Blogmas 2019? Check out the following guidelines!

Last year you might have followed along with the 12 Days that I did with some of the gals listed above and we had such a good time that we decided to celebrate again together this year! So without further ado here are the guidelines for my 12 Days of Christmas.

  1. use the image provided in each post, so that way anyone who might jump in later can see what the plan is for the month.

  2. for sure link back to me, Abbey@ThreeCatsandaGirl, so that way I can celebrate your Christmas with you and maybe get some ideas of how to create festive enjoyment!

  3. spread Christmas cheer in the way you know best!

Blogmas Day 2 “Books of the Season” AND Reindeer Writing Fun!

Blogmas Day 2 Books of the Season: 

Oh boy, when I think of books of the season all I can think about are my favorite Christmas picture books that I read daily to my students at school. I have SO MANY favorite books of the season that I have enough books to read 1-2 different picture books everyday to my kids from Thanksgiving until Christmas break. I’ll share the list of books (and activities) I do with my class below.

When I think about the books of the season I also think about a single author who holds a very special place in my heart…Jan Brett. Her books were always ones that my mom would read to my sister and I every night until Christmas. When I see her books, I instantly begin to think about the holiday season.

I know that some people are probably going to share their favorite novels or adult texts, but Christmas isn’t Christmas without some good old picture books and lucky for me, my job lets me read them on a daily basis!

School 15 Day Holiday Picture Book List:

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Want to participate in Blogmas 2019? Check out the following guidelines!

Last year you might have followed along with the 12 Days that I did with some of the gals listed above and we had such a good time that we decided to celebrate again together this year! So without further ado here are the guidelines for my 12 Days of Christmas.

  1. use the image provided in each post, so that way anyone who might jump in later can see what the plan is for the month.

  2. for sure link back to me, Abbey@ThreeCatsandaGirl, so that way I can celebrate your Christmas with you and maybe get some ideas of how to create festive enjoyment!

  3. spread Christmas cheer in the way you know best!

 

Reindeer Writing: 

Speaking of Jan Brett, her books always inspire my favorite December lessons/activities at school. On Wednesday I read one of my favorite of her books, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, and then did a fun creative writing project. If you’ve never read this story before, it’s a great book to teach kids about how to be respectful and how being “bossy” doesn’t always work out well.

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The main character in the story is an elf who has to get Santa’s reindeer trained and ready to go for the Christmas Eve flight. After our story we brainstormed ideas on what they would do if they had to train a reindeer, whether to be one of Santa’s or to just train them as a pet. They had the best ideas!

After they wrote out their ideas, they drew a picture of them training their reindeer and then they colored and cut out a reindeer head and hooves to mount their writing on.

They all turned out so cute! I love this project. It gets them to practice their writing while also incorporating art and Christmas, some of my favorite things!

Oh man it’s been a crazy, long, and exhausting week. I am ready for the weekend but I’m even more ready for Christmas break to begin one week from today! We’re almost there teachers, we can do this!

 

For more day to day activities and live action, go follow my blog/teacher Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher!

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Merry Halloween

Happy post Halloween week friends. I know Halloween and teaching don’t always go hand in hand but I’ve learned that if you embrace the day for what it is, you can still have a successful day of school. I knew what standards/lessons I had to teach the day of Halloween so I did some major planning on how to make it valuable but fun. (We also had some fun activities mixed in that was just for the excitement of the day!)

Kiddos entered the room and had 2 different Halloween morning work sheets ready for them to work on. I got these 2 free morning work sheets on TPT. One sheet was a Halloween word search from Melissa Fjal – Tales of Teaching‘s store. There are a ton of free word searches to download but I thought this was the perfect one for the age of my kids. I also had a Halloween secret message sheet for them to fill out that I got from D Conway‘s store. They were both huge hits and kept my kids silent for the first 10 minutes of the day (which they’re supposed to do every other day with their morning work but it’s NEVER silent.)

 

 

We then had our daily morning meeting. We talked about the day and then went around to share what they were going to be for Halloween. I always start the day with a game so they asked if I had a Halloween game for them after they shared their costumes. I had 24 different Halloween charade cards that they got to pick from. We then played rounds of Halloween charades throughout the day. They LOVED this and it was super easy for me to set up.

Reading this week was all about finding the author’s purpose of stories and texts while also talking about similes and metaphors. We read one of my FAVORITE Halloween books, Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown and found the author’s purpose of the story (which wasn’t too difficult for them but it was fun!)

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After the story we went around the room and completed some Halloween simile and metaphor task cards (that I got for FREE on Teaching with a Mountain View‘s shop ). They thought had so much fun reading all of the different themed cards and totally grasped the different between similes and metaphors.

 

 

Math this week was all about prime numbers and multiplicative comparison stories. I searched the glorious TPT and found a FREE resource that fit BOTH of what we have been working on from I HEART 4th Grade‘s store. It was perfect.

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I am currently teaching grammar to 3 different 4th grade classes and wanted to spice up our lesson on sentence fragments. This was the 3rd time I taught this lesson and wanted to do something similar that I did with my first 2 classes. The first 2 classes did some sentence fragment task cards so I found Halloween sentence fragment task cards for $3.00 on Purple Palmetto‘s store for this group. Once they were done they did a Halloween themed mad lib to practice nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

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Finally, the day ended with the Charlie Brown classic, The Great Pumpkin. I LOVE that movie and show it every year, not just for them, but for me too!

 

 

I also got the pleasure of giving them their second sponsored Scholastic book that came in the mail. They were so excited and grateful for the free gift. Like I said last month, the dollar monthly Scholastic Book Club books are amazing and a blessing. My kids get a free book every month while learning about who their sponsor is and how they are related to me. It was so sweet to see their happy faces. It was the perfect ending to the day.

 

 

I jokingly told them if they brought me candy (specifically Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) I would give them extra credit. Then this happened today….

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I love my job!

Don’t get me wrong after yesterday I was EXHAUSTED and am so happy it’s the weekend, but I had a blast with the day. I love my class. They make everything much more enjoyable and less stressful. With the end of Halloween means the beginning of my favorite 2 months of the year!! The next couple of months will be filled with so many fun activities and lessons that I can not wait to do and share! To get you all in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year, I’d like to share my wonderful tree that, yes, I put up last night because I love Christmas so much! Happy weekend!

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For more day to day activities and lessons, go follow my class instagram account @lifeoftherookieteacher. You won’t regret it!

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I truly believe that’s true. Christmas is the most magical and peaceful time of the whole year. Sometimes I think the whole year is one big build up for this amazing day.

My Christmas was wonderful, just as it should be.

Our Christmas starts on Christmas Eve. My little family of 4 spends the whole day together. This is the first “full/official” year that I’ve been completely moved out of the house, so we had to adjust some of our traditions but it was still special. I went over to my parents’ house around 11. When I got there, we hung around the living room together talking and just enjoying each others company. My family LOVES to play cards. We played a few rounds of a game my great grandfather invented along with a few games of 500.

We then sat around and started opening our presents. My family opens our presents from one another on Christmas Eve. I think it started because my younger sister and I were so impatient when we were little, our parents gave in but it has turned into our family tradition. Now that my sister and I are in our 20’s, opening gifts is more of a fun affair for all of us. We all choose fun gifts for one another that match our personalities. I was pretty proud with what I purchased for my family. I bought each of them a mug that matched their personalities but were also funny.

I found each of them a mug on Etsy. (I swear by Etsy. I buy 90% of all of my gifts there so I can find special gifts personalized to ever person in my life.)

My dad’s mug was from the shop, DreamteesUS, my mom’s from the shop NovemberandMae, and my sister’s from the shop inkyandindigo. I was seriously so proud of them (my family lives for lame jokes/puns)!

Once we had opened all of our gifts we played some more cards before we went to church. Once our service was over, we came back and had a plethora of appetizers for dinner that we snacked on while we watched our traditional Christmas Eve movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! Such a classic! (My mom also made us some chocolate fondue for desert which is another normal tradition!)

Unlike most Christmas Eve’s, I ended up going back to my apartment to spend the night. This was very hard for my mom to accept but I wanted to sleep in my bed more than anything! (I also wanted to sleep in and my family does NOT sleep later than 6:00am, no joke.)

Christmas Day was amazing. I woke up and found that Santa came for my kitty Lucy. I promise I’m not a crazy cat lady, but she is my baby and Santa knew how great she is. We opened her catnip Christmas toys in her stocking and played with them for quite some time. I had a relaxing morning watching more Hallmark Christmas movies before heading back to my parents’ house for the day.

We spent a few hours together as a family and then headed to my grandpa’s house for the day. This is another major tradition, we ALWAYS spend Christmas day with my mom’s side (for as long as I can remember!) My mom’s side is very small. We have our family of 4 and then she has 1 brother who is married to my aunt and they have 2 girls, so also a family of 4. Once we were all at my grandpa’s we had 9 people there. I’ve always loved how small and intimate our family is. My grandma, and great grandma, were always there with us but they both passed away around 6 years ago, so now it’s just us.

We spent the first few hours just catching up and eating. I’m the oldest cousin, so the other 3 girls are all still in college. We’ve always been SUPER close but with college it’s very hard to see one another, this made catching up last longer than normal.

We have a tradition in my family that my grandparents’ started. All of us granddaughters and our parents each have our own specialized stocking our grandma had made when we were born. Our grandparents fill the stockings every year with our main Christmas gifts. It was always my grandma who orchestrated the stockings but since she passed, my grandpa has done great carrying on the tradition. We always start with the youngest opening hers and work up to the oldest (which is my dad.)

For the rest of us, a few years ago we decided it would be much easier (and more fun) to play the dice game for our presents. We have enough gifts in the middle for all 9 of us and play the traditional game (when you get doubles you pick a gift, then everyone opens theirs, followed by 2 minutes to steal if you role doubles again.) This has been one of my favorite traditions we have started! My whole family gets into it and I love it! (My dad is a very introverted person and usually “observes” games but with this game he gets so into it!)

We then spent the rest of the day playing games and enjoying each other’s company. My cousins, my sister, and I are very close (it helps that there’s only 4 of us). We are all sisters so anytime we get to spend together as we get older is a treat!

My family went back to my parents’ house for a few hours to spend more time together before I went home to watch the Grinch and go to bed.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are my favorite days in the entire year. I love being with my family and sticking with the traditions we’ve had since I was born. To this day, December 26th is always the saddest day of the entire year for me. I hate knowing I have to wait 364 days before Christmas Eve comes again.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!!

Coffee, Volunteering, and Yoga

Today was such a nice and calm day. It started off with waking up around 7:30. It’s looking like that may be as late as I’m going to be sleeping in this break but it’s still sleeping in for me!

The BEST part of having nothing to do is being able to slowly wake up by laying on the couch, watching some tv, and drinking some coffee. It just puts me in such a good and relaxes mood. Hallmark is having their Christmas movie countdown marathon until Christmas Eve so I’ve basically had it on nonstop since yesterday.

I slowly got ready this morning and then I had to go the help my gymnastics team bag groceries at our hometown grocery store. I coach my old hometown high school team and I’ve known the girls on the team since they were babies, so anytime I get to spend with them is extra special. We were trying to raise money to purchase new equipment, coaches, and leotards. Gymnastics isn’t the highest priority sport in our town so majority of the things our girls need, we have to provide. Our goal was $1,000 over 7 hours. By the time I left with 2 hours to go, the girls had raised $950!! It was super fun! I was pleasantly surprised by how kind and generous people were being!

*Side Note: I used to work at Target for 4 years throughout college and man did that make me question people these days. I was worried the girls were going to be bullied by some interesting customers that I used to get the luck to work with.*

I was so proud of them and how hard they were working! I struggle with people talking down about the “millennial generation” (partly because I’m kind of part of that) because most kids are awesome and hard-workers. They were so polite and they were so great that the manager came and told me how impressed he was with them. So great!!

I came home and did my second day of Yoga with Adrienne on her Revolution 31 days of yoga challenge site. Today’s theme was to practice intention. She had a couple mindful minutes talking about finding an intention for your practice/day/life. I had to think about what my intention is with my life lately. Right now, I’m really trying to work on finding myself and being okay with who I am. I set the intention that I’m going to be okay with who I am and work to accept myself because if I don’t, no one else will.

It was a wonderful 30 minutes of yoga. It makes me feel so calm and at peace when the practice is over. Today, Adrienne also released her 2019 challenge theme that starts January 1st. Her new theme is dedicate. I am SO excited for this new challenge. I signed up for her daily videos (which are totally free) along with her daily message she emails out to all of her followers each day. She centers each message with the daily theme of her video. I am so ready to start this new challenge to kick off the new year!! I said this on my last post, but she is AMAZING and is the perfect yoga site for people at all levels!!

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Now, I plan to end the night with more Hallmark movies (I just love the Christmas theme AND the love story. I know that they can be cheesy and are all the same, but I LOVE them non-the less. They make me believe that love still exists.) while also having junk food with a little bit of vodka…..I think being a teacher has turned me into a little bit of an alcoholic! Haha at least during the winter break when I don’t have 23 kids to entertain tomorrow morning!

1 MORE DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!! I AM SO SO SO EXCITED!!! Christmas Eve and Christmas are my absolute FAVORITE days of the year!!!!