Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Etsy Store Grand Opening!!

I JUST...TODAY...OPENED MY ETSY STORE!  Can you tell that I am excited?  I am very much looking forward to seeing what some success, just like my TpT Store!  :)  I spent SO LONG searching for exactly what I needed while decorating our daughter's nursery and playroom.  I really NEVER found exactly what I wanted, but had to settle.  A few months ago I decided to just try to use my tech skills to give Etsy a shot.  I have a few awesome compliments from family and friends, so I thought, let's go for it!!

I only have 6 items for sale so far, but I am always adding more.  Right now I am mostly posting girls' nursery and playroom decor, but I am working on boy posters as I type!  :)  Swing by and take a look!  If you have any ideas or suggestions on how I can improve, please let me know!  :)  I am looking to improve and always get better!!  Thank you in advance!  :)

My Etsy Store:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/TeachingWithSmiles?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Here is one example!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Adorable Snowmen!

Awwww!!  My mom and my dad helped Emma create this special ornament for my husband and me!  What an amazing memory!  The snowmen are her three fingers!  :)  Keepsake indeed!!  Thank you Mom and Dad!  :)  (Dad did the holding of Emma's hand with the white paint!  Mom and Emma did the rest!  Haha!)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Sunday Scoop

I cannot believe we are almost going to say goodbye to 2014!  I am linking up with Teaching Trio for their last Sunday Scoop of 2014!

Leftovers are awesome, especially my mom's stuffed mushrooms, but there comes a time when you do NOT want leftovers...again...I think I am at that point.

We are so lucky to have had so many Christmas gifts given to Emma as well as us.  Now, just to find out WHERE to put them all.  My mom sent me this article about a mom starting a tradition of having her toddler go through her own toys before Santa came, and leaving a pile of toys Santa could take to give to less fortunate boys and girls.  I am definitely doing this next year.  I think this is a fantastic way for Emma to realize that she can help others around her and others deserve happiness as well.  Here is the article if you are interested in reading.

Enjoy your Sunday and rest of the week!  :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Salt Dough Ornaments and Goodies!!

I am sure you have seen these adorable Santa ornaments floating all over Pinterest (or something like them), and I am so excited to say that ours turned out successfully!!  :)  I got the original idea from Jay over at Learning to Play and Playing to Learn!

Emma is so proud of her creations!!  :)
Even though E is only 18 months old, she was great at helping make these Santas, and also the hearts we made when we had left over dough!  :)  It was really hard to take pictures of what she was doing while she was doing it, sadly...But, she did help put on the stickers, and then she ran around in circles around my legs while I painted and Modge Podged!  LOL!!  :)  We are making these Santas and hearts for both sets of grandparents as well as Emma's uncle.  We cannot wait to see their faces when they open the Santas that are E's little hands.  :)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

We traced E's hand, as soon as she let me, onto a piece of white paper.
*I then used this piece of paper as a tracer to trace multiple times onto the rolled out salt dough mixture.

First of all, in order to make the salt dough you need the following ingredients:

2 cups of flour
2 cups of salt
1 cup of water
We poured the dry ingredients into a big bowl and started to stir.
Then, we slowly added some water while we continued to stir.  We kept adding a little bit of water a little bit at a time until all the water was used, stirring in between pours.

We laid the hand tracer onto the rolled out dough mixture and I used a knife to cut out the handprints.

As soon as we made our three hand Santas, I realized we had extra dough, so we made some hearts, but you could make any shape you wanted!

We put the hands and hearts onto a cookie tray and into the oven they went!  Now go about your business and do something else!  Those ornaments will be in there for about 6 hours.  Make sure to flip the ornaments over halfway through so both sides get cooked.

As soon as both sides are cooked, take them out and let them cool.

Then you get to paint!

Add some flair! :)

Make sure to Mod Podge those suckers so they stay nice and crisp looking.

Here is the finished product with ribbon and all!  Now these can be hung from the Christmas tree at the grandparents' houses!

Here is the idea for our hearts.  We are going to give our parents and Emma's uncle a hanging heart so they can hang it anywhere they want:  a cabinet door, a doorknob, cubicle at work, etc.

Enjoy this special project with your little one or by yourself!  :) 


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher, for these amazing bookmarks!  We made these for our kiddos for their holiday presents, and they LOVED them!  Great idea and love the font and colors!!  :)  You can snag these at Catherine's TpT store, here!  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Guess Who?!?

At my school, we have conferences next week, the week of Thanksgiving.  The kids do not come to school on Monday and Tuesday, and we have conferences scheduled with parents from 1:00-8:00pm.  It is quite the long day/night, but I have heard that some teachers have conferences after they have been teaching all.day.long.  YIKES!  

To entertain the parents in the hallway for a little bit while they wait, we created these GUESS WHO! projects.  They turned out super cute and the kids are beyond proud.

The kids are so looking forward to seeing if their parents can guess who is who before they lift up the flap!!  Click here if you would like a FREEBIE of the Guess Who! paper that is shown below.  :)

If you would like the letters I used, here they are!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Liebster Award!!

I am so happy that I was nominated by Jennifer over at 4th Grade Funkytown for the Liebster Award!!  I am so excited when ANYONE comments on, views, or follows my blog!  I get a smile to think someone else is reading what lil' old me has to say.  To think that now I get to meet more new bloggers and get my name out there more, I am thrilled!!  I am excited to meet new bloggers through this Liebster Award!  This was sooo fun!  :)

As I learned from Jennifer...The Liebster Award is is awarded to new bloggers with less than 200 followers. This is a great way to recognize other bloggers with excellent ideas but have yet to be noticed! As a part of the Liebster Award, you get a chance to know me a little better by reading a little about me in 11 short questions I get to respond to! After that, I nominate 11 other blogs that I admire and love! Let's get started!  :)

1.) Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I started this blog about a year ago, but have really started to keep it updated in the last two or three months.  :)  I started blogging right before I went to the TpT's Conference in Vegas!  As soon as I got back, I was inspired to step up my game!  The rest is history...   :)

2. ) What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Hopeful.  I say hopeful because if something I have to say or show can help one person out there, it will all have been worth it.  :)

3.) Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before?
I wish I knew to get involved in Blog Hops and Linkies earlier!  That is how I really began to meet other bloggers out there!

4.) What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
Other than blogging, I love to explore new territory. If that means finding a new mall and walking around with my daughter Emma, or going on a hike with my husband, exploring is fun!

5.) How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
Life gets in the way sometimes and I don't spend as much time as I should. However, once I come back and get back in the swing of things with posting and commenting and looking at other blogs out there, I get so excited about this other world.  :)  This is a great form of professional development in so many ways!!

6.) What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
My favorite category of blog posts would be the ones where I get to peek into other teachers' classrooms.  Sometimes I see the same things at my school that when I see a new idea from another school across the country, I get excited!! 

7.) Where does your blog inspiration come from?
At first I found that I was blogging just about my new TpT products, but now I know that blogging is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!!  I am going to being blogging about what is going on in my head about teaching and also about what is going on in the actual classroom!  I am excited to make this shift!

8.) Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my Writing Camp for Kids post from this past summer.  This was the first time I really showed what was going on in my classroom, even though it was a summer school writing camp.  I designed this writing camp and tailored it to the group of students I had, and I was impressed it how amazing it turned out!!  :)

9.) Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have postponing it for a while now?
Yes!  I really want to get in on a Made it Monday by 4th Grade Frolics, but seriously, Monday comes and goes each week without me doing it!!!  I will get there...maybe over some of the breaks coming up.

10.) What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
My favorite aspect of blogging is that it is so similar to a diary online where others can read and comment and also be inspired.  I love that I get to read other blogs and find out what other amazing teachers are doing out there!

11.) Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you most likely to try yourself?
Jennifer had an adorable idea for a wreath with the first initial of her new last-name-to-be!  I love it!  I want to create on with a "C" in the middle!!  Thanks, Jennifer!

I had so much fun, and hopefully you will as well!
Here are my nominees for the Liebster Award:

To those nominated, here are the rules:
1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out."
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Monday, November 17, 2014


Have you ever heard of Make the Case?
Have you ever heard of the Book Worm Angels Program?
How about Open Books?

Well, I had not....UNTIL about a week ago.  A friend asked me to come decorate a bookshelf in the Logan Square Auditorium last Friday evening.  I said, decorate, SURE!  I love to be creative, but had NO CLUE what to expect.  Well, this experience was a breath of fresh air and something I had never done before.  I am definitely glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone and took my friend up on her offer.  :)  To think that we decorated a bookshelf that will now be donated to a Chicago area classroom in order to help a student be inspired to read... truly. remarkable.  Makes me smile.

Full house!

The winner!  Reading is Awesome!  :)  Yes, it was meant to be sung to the tune in the Lego Movie. 

I think this is awesome!  We made those cases to brighten a student's interest in books, books, books!

Just using the materials on that table...I would say we did a great job!  :)

Some of the other cases!! :)

And after the work was done, we had a little fun in the photo booth!  :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Loving fall!

Fall in the suburbs of Chicago!  :)
I want fall to stay for awhile longer before all the cold and snow decide to show up!  I am not liking what the forecast is saying for next week, but time will tell!