New Adventures

In March of 2014 my world changed forever when my sweet baby girl was born. Fast forward 9.5 months to today. How can my baby girl be 9.5 months already. I don’t even want to talk about the birthday that will be happening in just a couple months time. If we don’t talk about it, she won’t grow up right?

9.5 months ago was the last time I stepped foot in a classroom. It was actually longer than that due to extreme pregnancy sickness my entire 9 months. The day I became a mommy was the day I no longer was a teacher…in a classroom. Now I say, in a classroom, because I am a teacher. I get to be the best kind of teacher in my eyes and that teacher is called MAMA. I get to be my baby girls MAMA, teacher and more. And I get to do it from the comfort of my home and I couldn’t be happier. I miss teaching the little ones, but am so glad that I get to stay home with my sweet girl and watch her grow, because friends, she is growing right before my eyes and most of the time I am way too afraid to blink for fear she is a teenager when I open my eyes.

Even though I am not in the classroom anymore, I still have soo many ideas flowing in my brain and do soo much with my little girl on a daily basis and I want to share it. My eventual goal is to homeschool my daughter and any future babies that come along. I wanted a new fresh place to share the ideas I am currently doing with my little girl, sensory activities, baby play activities, eventual preschool activities etc., so I started a new blog: Mac-n-Taters.

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It is here that I will be sharing all the “teachery” things I do with my little girl. Mac-n-Taters was formed as a way for me to share my journey through parenting and teaching my little ones. I strongly believe that it is never too early to start teaching your children and believe that they can learn amazing things when given the opportunity, no matter what the age. I strongly believe play is an important part of learning and you will see a lot of that at Mac-n-Taters. You can read all about what my blog will entail at my first post HERE. I would love to have to hop over and follow along. 

Now I have to brag on the blog designer for my new blog. Parker from PJs Design Laboratory is the man behind the design.

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Parker is the UBER talented hubby of Susan from Thank God Its First Grade. I knew exactly the look I was going for and wanted all sorts of stuff added, like drop down menus.  I contacted him and started asking all sorts of questions and friends he made it happen. He researched how to create drop downs for me, made them and installed them.  I am in LOVE with it all. He even helped fix my blog after I severely screwed it up after posting my first post and trying to add something…I call it sleep deprived mommy brain, but others may call it crazy…I will let you decide :) I HIGHLY recommend him if you are looking for a new design. He got it all done so quickly and was the definition of professional!!!

Onto my next adventure, in addition to TPT, my new blogging adventures, and being a full time stay at home mommy, I have also started an Etsy shop for all of my invitation creations. I actually started this back in July and have been slowly adding to it as I go and have time. I would love to have you hop over and check it out and if you are on the hunt for custom invitations or have an idea I would love to hear it. I am always looking for more ideas to create :)

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Some of my favorites so far include my Valentine Invitations and my Milk and Cookies Invitation

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Thank you for following along on all my adventures. I plan to continue My (Not So) Elementary Life as a “filing cabinet” of sorts for my TPT products and showcase others from time to time as well. Thank you for all your support and I look forward to sharing with you and hope you will come follow along with my new adventures :)

Penguin Unit Resources & Books

Good cold day to you. What’s the weather like where you are at? –18 degrees here this morning and lots of crazy snow fell over night. The perfect day to curl back up in bed and go back to sleep. Oh wait I have a baby who didn’t allow that :) Good thing she’s cute. Well since I couldn’t curl back into bed this morning, I thought I would share with you some Penguin resources I have as part of my Penguin unit (recently updated to include over 100 new pages) as well as some others I have found and love.

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Seeing what the kids write using these writing prompts is always so fun. These prompts/pages allow students to use their imaginations and get as creative as they want. Seriously, how would YOU catch a penguin?

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All my units contain various graphic organizers for you to use to help build schema for your unit. I feel it is necessary to continue supplying these types of organizers to my students in order to help with comprehension of information they are being presented. If we continue to offer these types of resources to our students it will lead to them being able to independently use these skills on their own while reading and learning, which will lead to better comprehension of text and information.

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An activity I have been adding to all my units is a one page reading comprehension passage. It reads exactly as my “big” books and student readers do and includes 3 comprehension questions on the bottom for students to answer. All answers can be found within the text. You can have students color code the information they found to answer the question with the question in order to encourage students to make sure their answer is correct.

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One of my favorite activities I include in my units is a labeling activity. Various options are provided to allow for differentiation within the classroom. A colored and black and white poster is provided to discuss the parts of penguin as a whole group and to then display during your unit. 3 differentiated student labeling activities are also provided: one cut-and-paste activity, one fill-it-in using the word bank, and one fill-it-in with no word bank.

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The biggest addition to this unit is the section dedicated to the 17 different types of penguins. I know not everyone has time to study and learn about all 17. I wanted to include enough information for you to be able to pick and choose which types you wanted to take a closer look at.

For each of the 17 different penguin types, there is a colorful 4 page “booklet” included. You can choose to print out the pages you wish to use or just display the pdf using your technology in your classroom. However you choose to use these colorful pages full of real life pictures is up to you as the classroom teacher. A fact book activity that correlates to the information provided for each penguin is also included. Students will learn some fun facts, what the animals eat, how big they are, and where they live.

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Students will also love the colorful, vibrant, real life pictures in the classroom “big” book. They will be able to follow along with the black and white student reader. They will love having their very own book, just like the teacher :)

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And you just have to have a craft to finish off the unit. I just love this little guy. Penguins are so stinking cute.

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I also have a Penguin Types flip book that includes pages for each of the 17 different penguin types. You can check it out by clicking on the picture. It is a separate product.

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One can never have too many penguin books either right? Here are some of my favorites, both fun and informational. The links provided are Amazon affiliate links.

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Looking for more penguin resources? Check out my PENGUIN PINTEREST BOARD.

To find my unit in my store, you can click on any of the pictures in the post or you can find it by clicking HERE. 

I am linking this post up with Jessica from Mrs. Stanford’s Class and her Hump Day Highlight (albeit a couple days late.)

Holiday Happenings

This last year was by far the best year of my life and that includes the recent Christmas and New Year’s holiday. Being able to celebrate the holidays with a little one, who is old enough to actually participate in opening the presents and playing with the toys, was the best thing ever. We packed the month of December full of various projects and fun. I actually added a few too many things to my to do list (still working on the balancing act called life with a baby) and didn’t get them all done, but looking forward to adding them to the mix next year.

Here’s a look at some of the projects we tackled.

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Love my snowmen ornaments. The one on the left was for an ornament exchange that I whipped up just before heading out the door. I just took white yarn and started wrapping it around itself to form the balls. I then used felt to create the hat, eyes, nose, and buttons, and ribbon to create the scarf and hanger.

The fishing bobber snowman was a project little miss and I whipped up for my husband. I had some left over fishing bobbers from his Father’s Day gift and he LOVES fishing so we thought it was only fitting that he get a special fishing ornament. I used felt to make the hat, nose, and scarf and drew on the eyes, mouth, and buttons using sharpie. I used an ornament hook to hang. I just cut a slit in the top of the hat and pushed it down through and attached it to the hook on the bobber.

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These are our matching Christmas PJs that I sewed. My husband was needing some new pajama pants and we can never find any that he likes or that aren’t extremely expensive. I hit up the Black Friday sales at Joann Fabrics and got a TON of fabric and felt for super cheap. I used preexisting pants as my patterns to create a pattern that I can reuse and then just used basic sewing techniques to finish the rest. In order to create the R on the baby’s onesie, I printed out an R from the computer, cut it out and then measured the size of fabric I would need. I cut that square out, ironed on some iron on material to it. Then I backwards traced the R onto the paper side of the iron on material. I cut it out, using an exacto knife to cut out the inside of the R and then peeled off the back and ironed it to the onesie. I finished it off by sewing a zigzag stitch all the way around the R using my sewing machine. So happy with how they turned out and have made several more pairs of pants for the hubby since :)

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I also got crafty and created multiple Christmas onesies and outfits for my baby girl. I love how fun it is to sew and cannot wait to create more outfits for her as she grows. I am so sad that Christmas is over and these precious outfits are going into the box :( Time to make some for Valentine’s day I guess :)

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This project is by far my most favorite. I wanted to create a special baby’s first Christmas ornament for my little girl and loved all the cute mistletoes plaques i saw floating around on Pinterest and thought the concept would be awesome to use to create an ornament. I am OBSESSED with hand and foot print art (footprint art being easier to do with a baby than handprint…not that I know this or not haha).

In order to create this, I made a batch of salt dough: 1 cup flour, 1 cup salt, and about a half cup of water (give or take a little bit). I rolled out the dough until it was about 1/4 inch thick. I enlisted the help of my husband to hold the baby and I gently pressed her foot into the dough to create two footprints. I did the same with her fingerprints to create the berries. I think took a knife and very carefully cut out around the footprints so it had a tiny edge and looked like a foot (same with the finger prints). I pre-poked holes in them before drying out, but ended up having to have my husband drill the holes out more to fit the string I was going to use. After I had the prints cut out, I dried them out in the oven. This process does NOT require baking so you need to set your oven temperature low. I set mine to 200* and then “baked” the prints for 3 hours, turning half way through. Be sure to bake them on parchment paper so they come off easily. If they still seem damp after three hours, turn off the oven and let them sit in there for a bit longer until they are hard, or leave them sit out overnight on the counter. Once they were dry, I took green and red acrylic paint and painted over them, both front and back. I ended up doing 3 coats just to make sure they were well covered. I then strung them together with bakers twine and applied a little bit of hot glue to keep the feet in place so that they look like mistletoes. I wrote the year and baby girls name on the back and Baby’s First Christmas using Sharpie and then hung it up and cannot wait to get it out year after year.

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I wanted to make special wrapping paper for all of our family and friends after seeing a picture posted by a page I follow on Facebook. I never logged the name of the person I saw the original post from so I cannot give proper credit for this idea. This is NOT my original idea and have since seen multiple people replicate this along with other DIY wrapping paper ideas so if you search Pinterest you are sure to find multiple posts :)

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The day we made the mistletoes ornament we also created some hand and footprint plaques for Christmas gifts. These were created the same way using the same recipe as above. I had to create a fancy one for myself. I used a toothpick to make the holes and the year and baby girl’s name before baking. If you want impressions in the dough you HAVE to do it before baking. If not you risk cracking it when trying to drill it.   

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It was an exciting Christmas full of lots of new traditions that I cannot wait to continue. We started off the morning by celebrating Jesus’ birthday with some Blueberry Buckle and a story all about that First Christmas Night as well as telling Baby Girl all about Jesus and why HE and his birth are so SPECIAL. Then we got to work on opening those presents, which she had a BLAST opening. It was a great day of family and fun.

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and have a very BLESSED new year. I cannot wait to see what this one holds for my family :)

I am linking this post up with Megan at Mrs. Wheeler’s FIrst Grade for her How I Spent My Winter Break Linky.

Five For Friday

Phew-Wee what a week. This may have been the most trying, tiresome, rewarding week I have had in the last 7 months. My sweet little one was not the happiest baby this week which is completely NOT normal so anything that got done happened while holding her and trying to make her happier which was NOT an easy task. She did however have a lot of firsts this week which included saying her second word “dada” (her first was mama :) ) getting two teeth (hence the cranky baby) pulling herself up onto her knees but not knowing what to do once up there, and army crawling backwards.

Anyway I thought I would hop on board 5 for Friday with Doodle Bugs this week. :)

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As I mentioned above, doing anything without a 7 month old on my lap was pretty much non-existent this week. I was working on a few projects and to appease her I let her play with my scraps…Who needs expensive baby toys when your daughter is perfectly content playing with paper…and bottles…and baby washcloths.

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I was able to get a couple projects finished. I managed to get my Thanksgiving Thematic Unit updated to match my other units. It received lots of extra pages as well as some font overhauls. A post will be coming this weekend with a more detailed look at it.

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I just finished uploading my Thanksgiving Flip-Flap book that is a perfect compliment to my Thanksgiving unit or any Thanksgiving unit for that matter. It includes 6 pages (2 differentiated versions) for students to complete.

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This week was a week of digging up the road in front of our house and making one heck of a commotion. I was not a happy camper between having a pounding headache, little sleep, a baby who couldn’t nap because of the noise, you get the picture. I was sooo glad to see them go after 3 days of noise.

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And lastly, I was so excited to get a couple of our little one’s first Christmas presents in the mail. She will not be getting many and what she does get holds multiple purposes, but its so exciting to be buying for a little one and i cannot wait to share our first Christmas morning as a family of three :)

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No-Prep Alphabet and Number Printables


Life is always an adventure with an infant (who will be 7 months old this week…how in the world can that be…ahhh time slow down please) and I find myself thinking that I have done something when indeed I have not. Just like this post. I thought I had posted a long time ago about my Alphabet and Number printables, but as I went back through my posts I couldn’t find one anywhere. So that brings me to the reason for today’s post.

I wanted to share my printables with you in case you are looking for a little something extra to do with your students as morning work, homework, assessments etc. You can click on the pictures to find them in my TPT store. 

My alphabet printables pack includes 26 alphabet printable pages to help your students learn/practice their alphabet. 

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The page includes the following activities:
-Trace and Write the Capital Letter
-Trace and Write the Lowercase Letter
-Draw a picture that begins with the given letter
-Color the pictures that begin with the letter
-Rainbow Write the letter

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My number printable pages are set up in a similar way.

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This pack includes 21 number printable pages to help your students learn/practice their numbers 0-20. 

The page includes the following activities:
-Trace and Write the Number
-Trace and Write the Number Word
-Show the Number on the Ten Frame
-Show the number using tally marks
-Color the given number of pictures for 0-10
-Color the number given amount of base ten blocks for 11-20
-Find and Color the number

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Both sets of printables can be printed out for each student and used as morning work, extra practice, assessment etc. You could also print one out and put in a page protector and use dry erase markers to save paper.

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Don’t forget about the chance to win 3 of my most recent units from yesterday’s post. You have the chance to win my Veterans Day Unit, Veterans Day Flip-Flap Book, and Pumpkin Life Cycle Flip-Flap Book just by answering a couple questions. You will be helping me out by answering the questions and entering yourself to win the three units :) Head over and check it out HERE.

Veterans Day Activities, Flip-Flap Books, & More

Veterans Day is just around the corner. I recently got done completing my Veterans Day unit and also decided to start a new product series as a compliment to all of my units. More on that in a few. First, here is a closer look at all that is included in my Veterans Day unit. You can find each of the files mentioned in this post by clicking on any of the pictures.

3 different writing prompts: “What is freedom?" "What does it mean to be brave?" "What is Veterans Day"

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7 different military "Dear Veteran" letter writing pages that feature 7 different military branch clipart images

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Interview a Veteran writing page

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Veterans and Veterans Day KWL, Veterans Can/Have/Are Chart, Let’s Talk About Veterans Day student filled fact page, Veterans Day and Veterans Bubble Map, and Chart Parts for the activities, Do you know a veteran? graphing activity

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Characteristics of a Veteran worksheet

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Veterans Day Reading Passage with comprehension questions

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Veteran Labeling Posters (Color and B&W) and 3 differentiated student labeling activities

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Veterans Day Themed Vocabulary Posters and Vocabulary Cards

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All About Veterans Day classroom "Big" Book featuring real life pictures and a student black and white little reader that is offered two to a page and reads exactly as the colored classroom Veterans Day book does so students are able to follow along.

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As I mentioned above, I am starting a whole new series of products (several in fact although a couple have been out for a while and will continue to be added to). My latest line of products is Flip-Flap books that will coordinate with all my thematic units, as well as many others. These are such fun books to put together and are a great way to have all the important information at your fingertips for a given topic.

The first two flip books I have available are a Veterans Day flip book and a Pumpkin Life Cycle flip book.

My Veterans Day flip-flap book is a great addition to any Veterans Day unit. 2 versions of the book have been provided to best suit the needs of your class and can be used for differentiation within the classroom.

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This flip book is 6 pages long including the cover. Students will have the opportunity to complete the following pages:
-What is Veterans Day?
-When is Veterans Day observed?
-How is Veterans Day observed?
-What is a Veteran?
-Characteristics of a Veteran


The one set of pages includes pre written sentence starters for students to complete on kid writing lines. The second set of pages includes blank space for students to complete on their own.

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The second flip-flap book I currently have to offer is a Pumpkin Life Cycle book. I am hoping that I can still catch some people finishing up a study on the Pumpkin life cycle. If you are already finished with your unit, this would be a great tool to reevaluate your students learning, especially since this week is Halloween and still all about pumpkins :) I had a Pumpkin Life cycle unit in the works, but life happens and it didn’t get finished in time for this season, but don’t fret it will be available next year :)

Here is a look at my pumpkin flip-flap book.

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This flip-flap book is a great addition to any Pumpkin Life Cycle Unit. 4 versions of the book have been provided to best suit the needs of your class and can be used for differentiation within the classroom. This flip book is 8 pages long including the cover.


The versions included are:
-Blank pages labeled with ordinal words: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Draw the Pumpkin Life Cycle
-Blank pages labeled with the stages of the Pumpkin Life Cycle: seed, sprout, vine, flower, green pumpkin, orange pumpkin, Draw the Pumpkin Life Cycle
-Simple Sentences with space to draw on life cycle stages labeled pages
-Simple Traceable Sentences with space to draw on life cycle stages labeled pages

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I hope you have found something that can be useful for you in your classroom in the coming month. (Again you can find any  of these files by clicking on the pictures or links in this post.) Now I have two questions I would love your help with. I have a HUGE list…upwards of 30+ flip flap book ideas… I am going to create.

So here are the questions:

1. What themes/ideas would you like to see for a flip book?

2. Would you want me to create a “growing bundle” file that you can buy now for a discounted price and as I create new flip books you can get the updates by going to TPT and redownloading?

 

I would love to hear your thoughts and will give away one of each of the files in this post to one lucky commenter. I will choose the winner on Friday, October 31st, aka Halloween.

 

Happy Fall :)