Tuesday, March 26, 2013

love me some color-coding.

Do y'all remember my color-coded word wall?

I have absolutely loved how much easier it is for my kids to find the words they need! They think about what kind of word they need (sight word, family word, color word, etc.), then look for that type's color, rather than searching all over the wall for a single word. They dig it, I dig it. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Feeling that my Word Wall still needed a little bit of love, however, I did give it a small face lift last summer to make it a bit brighter and happier.

With a little help from my trusty Silhouette, I created a new "Word Wall" header and A-Z letters to alphabetize my words. I also differentiated the vowels from the consonants using different colors of paper.

 I also installed a little "key" to remind my kids what each color means adjacent to the wall:

I absolutely love the updates, and I think the kids do too!!

Wanting EVERYONE to experience the joy that comes with color-coding, I created a Color-Coded Word Wall Kit with ten times the cuteness of mine.

Included in the pack is a key so the kids can know what each color means:

A-Z cards to help organize your word wall in alphabetical order:

Pre-primer, primer, first, and second grade sight words, family words, feeling words, number words, ordinal number words, and color words. All color-coded for you and your kiddies!

I have also included blank cards in each color in case you want to add in some words of your own!

So head on over to my little TPT shop to get a word wall kit of your own, and start prepping your room for next year!

Now go get yourselves nice and color-coded, pals!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

bringing springtime indoors.

I don't know about y'all, but our first few days of spring haven't exactly been the sleeveless oblivion I was anticipating. Sub-freezing temps and winds over 30 miles per hour have left me a bit wanting. Desperate for whimsically warm, bright colors, I drank the kool-aid and created a rainbow of books in our credenza underneath the television over my Spring Break.

The Half Price Books "Clearance" and "Classic Children's" sections made me one happy lady in my quest to make ROY G BIV a reality in print without making Mr. Spouse acquire a second job. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Dr. Seuss all for $1 each? Melt my heart.

Mr. Spouse's opinion of our new text arrangement? Brown. All brown. Darn you, color blindness.

Oh well, I will doubly enjoy the rainbow for the two of us.

Monday, March 18, 2013

2013-2014 curriculum planning calendario.

Friends, I commend you. Some of you began to request my Curriculum Planning Calendar {first introduced to you here} for the 2013-2014 school year WEEKS ago! How do you do it?! You are so terribly on top of the ball, and I am completely jealous!

Well, here I am trying to keep up with y'all - the 2013-2014 curriculum calendar is done-skies, and I hope you are as smitten by it as I am!

I have included August 2013 through June 2014 in this pack along with a customizable, striped cover page for your document, should you choose to use it!

As always, the calendar template is a Power Point document, so you are free to edit/customize at our leisure!

Here's a close-up of the month's template:

Cutie-patootie, no?

I have also included the names of the 2 FREE fonts you will need to download from www.kevinandamanda.com if you want your calendar to look like mine!

If you want to purchase your own copy of the 2013-2014 Curriculum Planning Calendar, please head on over to my TPT shop, like now.

Keep up the planning, compadres!

As a little sussy for your Monday, the first TWO pals that leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about Spring will get this calendar FOR FREE! Don't forget to leave me your email!

Love, peace, planning.

Friday, March 15, 2013

bringing color to the kitchen, part two.

Y'all might remember that earlier this week, I talked about bringing color to our rather brown and black kitchen in cheap, temporary ways. Cheap, because Mr. Spouse has been patient enough with my desire to buy anything and everything for our casita. Temporary, because we both realize that someone else may love the kitchen as it is in its original form when we look at selling.

My first attempt to bring color to the kitchen came with me taking off some cabinet doors and installing fabric on the back-most wall of the cabinet.

The next thing I wanted to tackle was our backsplash. As you can see in the picture above, I liked the stainless steel tiles, but wasn't so crazy about the muddy tiles that took up 98% of the wall - not exactly "light and bright".

I considered painting the backsplash, but felt that this change would be a bit too permanent and future buyers might not appreciate my artistic genius. After doing a bit of online research for temporary backsplash fixes, I found a technique that many renters use - applying fabric to the backsplash using liquid starch. For example:

The starch acts as an adhesive between the fabric and the tile while also giving it a bit of a protective coating to protect from stains, water, etc. Further, when you grow weary of your cheery backsplash, all you have to do is pull the fabric off the tile! Done and done. So let's get started.

I began by finding this fabric on Amazon:

Once it came in, I decided to tackle the smallest bit of my backsplash first.

I began by cleaning off the counter and cleaning the tile with a bit of soap and water to remove any sort or residue.

After measuring the area of the backsplash, I then measured out the appropriate length of fabric...

...and ironed both the wrinkles and a one-inch hem to insure that the fabric had a clean edge.

Using painters tape, I then tacked up the fabric on the wall both to make sure that the sizing was right, and then to trace around the power outlet.

Knowing that the sizing was accurate, I then began working on making a hole for the power outlet. I started by using an Exacto knife to cut a large X on the traced area.

I then tucked each triangle of fabric under...

...and ironed to make a nice, crisp edge.

It was finally time to starch! All I used for this step was a large bottle of Sta-Flo Liquid Starch (I found it in the detergent aisle of my grocery store) and a foam roller.

After covering the countertops with butcher paper...

...I first applied a light coat of starch to the tile, and then applied a generous amount of starch to the top of the fabric.

To be honest, you will curse yourself for not having 8 arms for the starching steps. There were definitely times I was starching one area and the fabric I had just finished starching fell down. Just keep applying plenty of starch and pressing the fabric onto the tile - it will stick, I promise! See?

As you can tell, I applied enough starch so that the fabric was almost translucent. After 12 hours of drying and reloading the counters, I was loving the results!

I repeated the exact same steps for the rest of the backsplash:

I am totally in love with our bright and cheery kitchen now!



So far, food and liquid splatters have easily wiped off the fabric and there haven't been any stains!

How have y'all transformed your backsplashes?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

a new way to bring organization to your life.

Today, I am glad to present an article written by Matt from SpareFoot detailing the benefits a self-storage unit can provide for those of us still seeking a bit of order in our lives.

“Classrooms, closets, and everything in between.” When I came across Elementary Organization for the first time and saw this slogan, I knew I had to throw in my two cents about being organized.

Getting organized, while I’m sure it’s on most peoples to do list, is not any easy thing to achieve. There are thousands of blogs out there giving advice to people on just how to properly do it because it is such a daunting task. And I am not just talking about organization in your home or office, I mean in your life as general – that concept is a bit too extreme to be elaborated on here but I did want to bring it up.

In this article we will just focus on how you can stay organized in a physical sense as that is the most general issue, and yet probably the most problematic.

So what is the big secret? What is the key to organizing your classroom, closet or home in general, and how do you keep them that way? From my experience when people have a well put together home or office, they usually have a closet or garage that is a disaster, so we want to try and disassociate that.

Thankfully I have found the solution to these problems. Believe it or not, renting a self-storage unit is actually a great way to keep you, your home and all of your possessions neat and tidy.

Traditionally people think of storage units as hoarders paradises that eventually get auctioned off to competitive hustlers. And while that may be true, storage units are also convenient, relatively cheap and come in numerous different sizes, so finding one to fit all your belongings should be no trouble at all.

Despite the fact that storage units are an added expense, which might be why you have held off renting one up to this point, most people that use them find that they are more than worth it.

Thanks to the help of online aggregators, finding a facility with prices in your budget range should just take a few minutes. Also, storage units will usually charge by the month so if after 30 days or so you aren’t happy with your decision (which I don’t think will be the case) you can move out all your stuff without having had sacrificed that much.

Amenities such as climate controlled and 24 hour access are also available. For example, in the summer time a lot of us down here in Texas need climate control to save our things from the unbearable heat.

As mentioned before, storage units come in a wide range of sizes so they could store anything from desks and mattress, holiday decorations and clothes, to bigger things like ATV’s and boats. Anything you need to keep safe and secure (most facilities now will have state-of-the-art security in place) can be placed in one of the many self-storage facility locations.

So, if you are missing some organization in your life and are in need of some room to help with that problem, do some searching around and consider renting a nearby self-storage unit.

This article was written by Matt Schexnayder. Matt is on the marketing team for SpareFoot and writes for the Self-Storage blog. Easily locate self-storage facilities in San Antonio  with the help of online storage aggregators that help you find the best deals on storage units all across the country.