Friday, November 30, 2012

crafting a christmas miracle.

As I told y'all in my "Deck the Halls on a Dime" post, I am over the moon excited about my little holly jolly ornament wreath I made for our formal living room!

Nothing screams Christmas louder to me than a holly jolly ornament wreath and faux snow! I don't know what's more thrilling - the fact that it cost a total of $4.00 or the fact that it reeks of Pinterest. Either way, it was easy to make, cheap, and fabulously merry. So let's get started.

I had this mirror lounging lazily in our guest room closet that was just BEGGING to be re-purposed:

I removed it's cardboard backing and slid out the mirror to save for a potential future project, so that all I had was the frame:

I then took a piece of floral wiring and several ornaments I bought at the Dollar Store and started to string the ornaments onto the wire in a messy, haphazard way:

Once 8-10 ornaments were strung on the wire, I wrapped the wire around the bare frame and twisted the wire tightly to secure the ornaments to the frame!

I manipulated the ornaments to be sure that there was no bare space and that it looked perfectly pretty from the front:

Once the first set of ornaments were arranged and secure, I repeated those steps three more times so that I had four bundles of ornaments secured to my frame! I twisted all of the excess wire together to both hide the wire and to be sure the ornaments were securely fastened to the frame and each other. The back was a bit of a hot mess...

...but the front was perfectly lovely!

I wanted to layer the frame over a large mirror we have in our living room, so I attached a command hook to the back of the mirror, tied a ribbon to the ornament frame, and looped the ribbon around the command hook so that the frame hung in the center of the mirror:

I love the little festive surprise that this frame brings to the space!

Merry merry, y'all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

deck the halls on a dime.

I know I told y'all in my fall flora post that I'm not super stoked about seasonal decorating, but come on, y'all, it's CHRISTMAS TIME! Joy to the world! I would decorate for Christmas any time of year! And now that I have a little casita to decorate, I could practically hear the angels singing "hallelujah"! But just because la casita was begging for some holly jolly, didn't mean I was ready to spend my month's salary on the festive cheer.


Mission: Deck the Halls on a dime.

Challenge: Spread Christmas cheer by decorating the entire house for under $50 whilst singing loud for all to hear.

Challenge accepted. To the Dollar Store I go.

After crashing two local Dollar Stores, I came in with this haul that totaled $40.00. That's right. I could practically fill Santa's sleigh with all of this loot AND I was $10 under budget. Oh, holy night!

After some rather raucous caroling that probably disturbed the neighbors, I finally buckled down and got to work. Several hours later, the North Pole would be proud of our formal living room...

{epsom salt = fabulous faux snow}

...the dining room...

...the den...

...and the festive front door!

I will be posting some tutorials for creating the front door wreath and this frame "wreath" hanging in the formal living room later this week:

I already had all of the ornaments and lights for our Christmas tree, but some $7 ribbon from SAMs made the tree even more spirited!

Come, Lord Jesus, come! Love me some Christmas cheer!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

laundry room lovin', phase two.

Almost a month ago, I showed y'all how my laundry room went from this contained, but visually unfortunate mess.. this uniform, ooh-and-ahh-worthy cleaning haven...

Like I told you in that post, the only thing missing from my uniform baskets were {try to contain your gasps} labels. At first, I thought I would create tags using my Silhouette's print and cut feature, but I really liked the book labels that were already installed on the baskets....

...and you all know how I feel about keeping things simple and easy, so I thought I would just keep that simplistic look going. All I did was measure the space for the book labels, typed up the contents of each basket, printed the labels on craft paper, and trimmed the labels to fit the measurements.

Hello, simplistically lovely organization!

I love how the room still feels clean and organized, but looks pretty at the same time! Pretty + labeled = happy Eryn.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

i heart math tubs.

For the past three years, I have always used our district-adopted math curriculum packets for my math instruction. Sure, I threw in manipulatives and maybe the occasional game or two, but can we say *yawn*?! I mean, what 6 year old wants to do the exact same math worksheet every single day? Yuck.

You might think I was just too lazy to migrate over to math tubs or centers, but the truth is, I really was just plain freaked out. How would I find center activities? How would I organize the kids' rotations? How would I make sure the kids were still receiving the vital knowledge and skills they needed and not just playing fun games? Honestly, I was daunted by the idea of turning away the oh-so-easy-to-plan-for math worksheets and replacing them with math center activities.

After some research over the summer, and some fabulous collaboration with the teammates, I think you will be happy to know that those sweet little district-adopted math packets are currently residing in a lovely green recycling bin. Here's what math looks like now:

Be still, dear heart. Be still.

Rather than passing out a worksheet, the kids are actively engaged in a hands-on, curriculum-based activity, and I think we are all over the moon about our new sitch! But let's get to the best part of our new math set-up...the organization!

I found the galvanized tubs in the dollar aisle at Target and the number labels (for free!) here on TPT. The kids love math AND I only had to spend four dollars?! Praise the good Lord.

Ok, so each tub, obviously, is numbered and holds all of the materials the kids will need for that specific activity:

I have three hands-on activities in tubs 1 through 3 and then either an interactive website or an iPad app for the kids to play in their fourth "tub". I introduce all of the tubs on Monday and the kids complete one tub per day, with their fifth day being a small group lesson with me.

I list the kids' assigned tubs in the same area as their super-powered reading groups: that as soon as we come in from recess, the kids can go straight to their tubs and get started! I'm happy, the kids are happy, the tubs are happily organized: win-win-win!

How do y'all organize your math instruction?

Monday, November 5, 2012

reading rodeos.

I wanted to show y'all how I manage my kids' reading logs in our classroom - thrilling, right?!

We follow Lucy Calkins' model of a Reader's Workshop, and if you are familiar with my dear Lucy, you know that she's big on having the kids record what they are reading, how long they read, the genre of the texts they read, etc. Since we are still relatively early in the year, my kids and I are just working on recording the titles and authors of all the books they read inside and outside of class.

We have two separate reading logs, one for home and one for school, and with the kids always finishing their logs at different times, I needed some way to collect their logs in an orderly fashion (since "orderly" is my middle name). Enter Reading Log binder.

I made my binder cover using A Year of Many First's Monogram Binder Covers (lurve). I then purchased these numbered Avery labels:

I made a table of contents, so-to-speak, tying each of my kids to a numbered tab... that I can easily file my kids' home reading logs...

...and school reading logs...

...quickly and easily! Oh, how lovely! My binder then lives with a couple of other binders right behind my desk.

While we're on the subject, let's talk about our home reading initiative. Each first grade room has one of these crazy awesome reading lofts (aka tree houses on crack):

When our kids fill up their home reading logs (aka "Reading Rodeos"), they get to move all of their supplies up into the Loft and complete their work up there for the day. Talk about a six year old's dream!

If you would like a FREE, editable copy of our Reading Rodeo...
...head on over to my TPT shop for your own copy!

How do y'all handle your kids' reading logs?