Wednesday, August 29, 2012


You know you wanna bust out like Aretha right now. Admit it.

I wanted to quickly share an anchor chart I created yesterday with my class. Last week, one of our fab new teachers shared that a former colleague of hers only had one rule in her room: show respect. My favorite! Keep it simple, yet fabulous! Underneath that umbrella of showing respect, she then broke down different people and places that deserve our respect!

While our class already had our rules for the year, I loved the idea of discussing different ways we can show respect to people and places! So, the little muffins and I sat down and had a little chat about showing respect to our friends, teachers, parents, school, and ourselves. We brainstormed ways to show each of these entities that we respect them! Here's the poster we came up with:

I hung up our respect anchor chart right next to our rules so that we can be easily reminded of ways to show respect!

Happy Wednesday, amigos!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

marvelous may books.

Please tell me I am not the last one to the party. PLEASE. Raise your hand if you've ever heard of May Books. I hope that literally all of you are raising your hands, but if you're not, this is a May Book.

A customizable, monogrammable, hand-sewnable book of loveliness. For about twenty dollar bills, you get to choose a cover print (and they have no fewer than a gobzillion choices):

Then you select your monogram shape and color palette:
Finally, you choose what kind of pages you want in your book:

Now you might notice that they have quite the plethora of choices when it comes to inside pages. As I'm trying to go strictly digital with mis calendarios, my heart gave a little pitter patter when it saw the "Meal Planner" option.

Once upon a time, I told y'all about how I love to plan out Mr. Spouse's and my meals each week. I created our own little list to help me stay organized when planning and shopping:

But that little list was tragically rookie compared to the May Book version:

Be still, little heart, be still.  As you can see, the Meal Planner pages allow you to list the main and side dishes you plan to serve each night as well as select if you plan to cook it, pick it up, or go out. All of this loveliness is perfectly sewn together in a bundle no bigger than your wallet allowing you to refer back to previous weeks to see what you've already cooked. Genius.

Not wanting to wait a single moment, I was thrilled beyond measure to plan out our week of meals:

I also added a label on the inside cover listing healthy take-out options between Mr. Spouse and my's places of employment and home in case we get in a pickle one evening and need a good plan B option.

To say that I merrily retrieved it from my bag as I skipped into the grocery store today would be an understatement. I consider it pure joy, my friends, to plan a week full of healthy meals for me and the Mr. in my new May Book.

Scurry along now. Off to the May Books website you go!

Friday, August 17, 2012

rule school.

Last year, our school really dug into our kids' behaviors, asking why our kids make the choices they do, how we respond to their positive and negative choices, and how we can continue encouraging positive behavior choices thus decreasing negative behaviors. We did a book study on Discipline with Dignity and while we don't want one specific program to govern our school, we definitely aim to apply some of this text's ideas to our everyday school lives.

One point the book made was that kids not only need positively stated rules (using "do's" instead of "do not's"), but they also need to know why we are asking them to follow each rule. We don't just need to tell them to follow the rules "because I said so". Hello dictatorship.

Bearing our new learning in mind, I spent a bit of time revamping my classroom rules, making sure to state each rule in a positive manner and then provide a reason for following that rule. Here's what I came up with:

All of the rules are happily living right above our "Superhero" bulletin board, in a rather prominent location so that we can always be reminded of the expectations!

If you would like a copy of my rules or would like to add your own rules into my format, they can be yours by clicking here

What are y'alls rules like? Does your school follow a specific behavior plan?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

keep calm and pretend it's on the lesson plan.

For serious. But to make sure that your lesson plans are as accurate as possible, I have posted my lesson plan template at my TPT Shop!

In January, I shared my planning process with you and showed how I have chosen to hang my lesson plans on a filing cabinet next to my desk for quick and easy reference.

I have had several requests to share this template, so today's your lucky day!

A couple of notes: The template you will find on TPT is a Word document, so you have the ability to edit and customize the template to fit your specific needs. Hooray, custom! Also, in order to honor copyright policies, I did have to alter a couple of fonts and remove the images I include in my plans. If you would like to insert the images, all of them can be found at Thistle Girl Designs! The fonts I used on the template are listed in its description on TPT, so feel free to download those fonts (all free!) as well!

Also, several of you let me know that you were having trouble downloading my Curriculum Planning documents that I shared with you here.

These documents have also been added to my TPT shop as a Word document, so again they are editable and customizable!

I have just finished completing our team's curriculum calendar and am smitten to say the least!

And of course no document is complete without a chevron-laiden cover!

Hopefully these documents will help us all get organized, planned, and ready for the upcoming school year!

Keep calm, y'all!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

a sneak peek.

Oh Lawd, we are almost there, y'all! Before we know it, little pitter patters will be coming through our classroom doors! I have been working on my room for a good bit of time and wanted to give y'all a little sneak peek to see how things are coming!

My teacher area got a little bit of a facelift with some new labels and bright coral crates for game storage:

All of my letter-sized paper is stored away and ready to be used!

The magazine files I use for planning (read more about my planning process here) are looking much happier with some polka dot labels:

The Word Wall also got a little botox injection with some new fabric, a new header, and new letters made with my Silhouette Cameo (don't even get me started on that's better than a rainbow sprinkle donut). I will add the color-coded words as D-Day gets closer.

Lastly, I am hearting my money posters {inspired by the brilliance that is Doodle Bugs Teaching} that are bringing neon back on the all-too-vanilla blinds.

15 days, y'all.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

finally: diy factory cart table.

Ohmiword, y'all. It's finished. To say I am WIGGING OUT THRILLED would be quite the understatement. You might remember that several months ago, I was drooling over this Restoration Hardware factory cart table...

...and back in May, I showed y'all my blueprints, plans, and blog inspiration for making the table on my own in order to avoid the Restoration Hardware's tiny $1600 price tag. Now, before we get going, I must say that I have the most AMAZING broski-in-law who worked with me for two days straight in order to complete this project. While he did have to do a bit of welding in order to help make this table become a reality, he ASSURES me it would have been possible for me to do on my own had I purchased the proper supplies. #ichoseprettybeforepractical

Alright y'all, enough waiting. With my blueprint in hand,

...I headed to a local wrecker service. Yes, a wrecker service, not Home Depot! I chose to go to a wrecking service because I know that my strength is not in making something new look old. All of the pieces I have tried to shabbi-fy in the past have turned out looking like something a 3 month old could be proud of. I knew that if I wanted this piece to look antiqued and aged, I would have to buy antiqued, aged wood. Enter wrecking service wood yard.

Yes, I believe we can find some wood here.

With the dimensions of my table in mind, I began selecting pieces of wood that were fabulously worn and tragic looking. The sadder looking, the better! As I chose wood, my brother-in-law helped me lay them out so we could see which pieces would look good together while also mapping out the dimensions of the table.

After collecting all of our wood, we also snagged several rusted iron corner brackets that we would place as end caps on the corners of the table. Forty-eight dollars later, we had our supplies!

Once home, we again laid out the pieces of the table top and began making exact measurements so that we could trim the wood into appropriate lengths.

As we trimmed each slat, we arranged the wood to make sure we liked the placement of each slat in the overall "look" of the table top. Once the table top pieces were trimmed and edges were sanded, we then cut two "ribs" for the underside of the table top that would help add stability to the finished table.

We then nailed each table top slat into the two ribs so that our table top was complete and was ready to nail to the sides of the table.

With the table top complete structurally, we applied a thin coat of Tung Oil to give a slightly darker tint to the wood and to protect the wood.

We also spray painted all of the iron pieces that would be used with a flat, black paint.

Our next task was to drill into the end sides of the table and added two u-bolts per end. These u-bolts would be used to hold small, iron casters in place on the ends of the table.

We also drilled holes into the iron corner brackets...

...applied a bit of wood glue to hold the bracket in place...

...and screwed the brackets onto the four corners of the table.

My how industrial you are looking, dear table!

Now remember how I said my super broski-in-law had to do a bit of welding in order to make my dream a reality? Here's why:

The wheels. No, that's not your perspective making the wheel on the right look smaller. I fell in love with the spokes on both wheels, but the wheel on the left was 22 inches and the wheel on the right was 17 inches. My love sickness for the spokes meant that my partner in crime had to saw off 5 inches from the larger wheel and build an axle to connect the two wheels. Thanks, brother.

Like I said earlier, had I bought the proper supplies and not fallen head over heels for stupid spokes, this step would not have been necessary. But some things are worth the work, because check out that final product:

After straightening up the end casters, securing the corner brackets, and moving the table into our den, my heart is full.

I love all of the little details on this piece. The wood is perfectly knicked, scratched, and weathered because I didn't do it!

Welcome to the family, factory cart table, welcome.