Category Archives: celebrations

Dinosaur Halloween Birthday Party

Last year my daughter wanted a dinosaur birthday party, and since her birthday is on Halloween we combined the two themes.

We started the party by having kiddos work on a personalized dinosaur bag and foam magnet. It was a great arrival activity!

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My husband then read a Dinosaur Halloween book called T-Rex Trick or Treats. It was a PERFECT literature connection between our two themes- I liked the book so much that I based all our party activities on it!

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Our games included pin the skull on the dinosaur,

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jumping our dinosaur inflatables around on our parachute,

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t-rex trick or treating,

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and making dinosaur witches brew. All the images from our signs are from the book- loved how it worked out!

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The kids got to take a small bag of our brew home as part of their goodie bags.

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Treat table included this fruity monster and other dino foods:IMG_0957 IMG_0948 DSCN9765

We also handed out dinosaur books to kids- you can never have too many books! And yay for educational ones, too!

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I hope these pics inspired you to create your own amazing dinosaur party!

Happy teaching!

Tooth Pillow

I saw these tooth pillows on Pinterest and decided to make one for my daughter. I am not the best sewer- but I love that my kiddo has a special place to put her teeth so the tooth fairy can easily find them! I put this inside of our Tooth Fairy Bag so those nights Boo loses teeth we are ready to go and know right where to find our little pillow!

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I love the cute little heart pocket for the tooth.

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Happy Teaching!

Tooth Fairy Bag

Just a quick little post to show you how I organized my daughter’s “tooth stuff” so we were ready when she lost a tooth! I found a nice brown gift bag from the dollar store and glued a large tooth on it. So fancy, right? Inside the bag I added some of our children’s books about teeth as well as the tooth pillow I made for Boo. I love that everything tooth-ish is all together so when my daughter lost a tooth we are ready to go!

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Happy Teaching!

DIY Seasonal Table Board

This was a fun family project that- while it isn’t necessarily teacher related- I just had to share!

I saw this beautiful wood plank dining table runner on Pinterest. I would love to give credit to the person who came up with this idea but unfortunately the link takes you to one of those sites that takes pictures from other bloggers without giving credit. :/

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My husband ran to Lowes, found a board (I told him to get the most distressed looking one he could find!) and had it cut to the length of our dining table. He also found a beautiful mahogany stain that we used on the board. I saw various sites online that showed how to distress a board with nails and other tools- I wasn’t brave enough to try their methods in fear of splitting the board or something else disastrous. We found burlap at Hobby Lobby, candles at various stores (including the Dollar Tree!), pinecones and various items from decorations we already owned, and put it all together. I love the way it looks!

I took the idea and decided that this was something that I could modify for all seasons. Here is what we came up!

Fall/Thanksgiving (October and November): Imagine how cool it would look with black and orange candles for Halloween! 

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Christmas (December):

red and green

Winter (January): My personal favorite 🙂

white

Valentines Day (February):

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St. Patricks Day (March):

green and white

You might be wondering what are my plans for Spring and Summer- at this point I have no clue but I will share them with you when I think of something!

Happy Creating!

Alphabet Book: Free Printable

A couple years ago I had a Book Themed Baby Shower for my sister in law. I have been getting a lot of people requesting the pdf of the ABC book I made (THANKS!) and thought I would share it with you all in a post.

This is a printable that you can use to make any type of alphabet book- its not just for baby showers! Imagine the possibilities- “The ABC’s of Our Family” with all family members picking a letter (or two) and writing a word that starts with that letter to describe their family. Wouldn’t that be such a fun family night activity? If you are a teacher you could use this pdf to make class books such as “Animal ABCs”, “ABCs of Reading (or Math, Science, any subject!)”, or “26 Reasons Our Class Shines- Our Classroom Alphabet Book”. Seriously the possibilities are endless!

Feel free to download our ABC pages– Enjoy and Happy Teaching!

Our Santa Day Adventures

Last week we celebrated Saint Nicholas Day (December 6th). I thought I would share some of the ups and downs of our holiday adventure. Because believe me- while we did have fun during the day we had a lot of “blessings in disguises” (aka trials of patience).

I was super excited to celebrate Santa day with my Boo! I spent the day before combing through Pinterest and drooling all over the cute Santa crafts and treats. I picked some of my favorites, mingled in some learning stuff that I needed to work on with my daughter, and I proceeded to plan away! I jotted down a quick agenda of everything we were going to do.

Our first activity was to learn about Sinter Klaas (tying in some world geography and customs) and to leave out shoes on the night of December 5th for Santa to fill with treats or coins. However that night we made the mistake of turning on The Sound of Music (Carrie Underwood edition) and we couldn’t pull away (was it the anticipation/fear of someone messing up on live TV? Perhaps….) When the show was over my daughter was so exhausted that she told me she didn’t want to leave out her shoes- she just wanted to go to bed. But dang it I was so determined to include this activity in our day of learning that I found her shoes and set them by her door. No big deal- I just told her the next day that Rudy (our reindeer version of Elf on the Shelf) set them out. But Boo also was certain that Rudy was the one that put coins in her shoes instead of Santa.

Earlier that morning I blindly grabbed some coins from my dresser to put in her shoes. I thought I grabbed 2 quarters. Instead I accidentally took a gold dollar coin and didn’t realize it until after Boo looked in her shoes. Which probably sounds like no big deal EXCEPT we were going to have the gold dollars be a special thing that just the tooth fairy did. Yes I tried to sneak away the dollar and change it for a quarter. But my gal was well aware of my plan and insisted she keep her golden coin. Haha I ended up making up some story that Rudy must have somehow gotten one of the tooth fairy’s coins(reindeer do lose teeth too, right?) and wanted to give it to her. The things we do to keep the magic alive for our kids!!

Since my daughter had no school Friday, we enjoyed a late breakfast of Santa pancakes: these were super easy and perfect for the occasion.  As a special treat I also let her watch a movie while we ate- Santa Claus is Coming to Town seemed like a good fit… but my daughter didn’t like it at all. She refuses to watch any movies with bad guys but will pretend to be a ferocious carnivore on a daily basis. Go figure.

I saw some cute ideas of playing Santa’s workshop either by making homemade gifts or wrapping presents but I somehow thought I would be clever and have my six year old help me try to fix our vacuum. While wearing Santa hats of course. After 2 hours of intense mechanical labor (aka pulling out gobs of hair and searching on our hands and knees for a dime sized vacuum wheel that mysteriously disappeared) we both decided to take a snack break. At this point I am thinking that our Santa Day has been disappointing (other than our cute pancakes). I messed up with the Sinter Klaas coins, watched a horrifying Santa Claus cartoon, and lost a vacuum wheel. Still, i was determined to follow my itinerary for the day. So we headed to the kitchen to make a Santa snack.

What could be more Santa-ish than a snack of homemade milk and cookies? Even if the cookies got burned, right? I am sure Santa has consumed plenty of overcooked cookies.

I made the executive decision to take a Santa break and go upstairs and play dinosaurs. We had fun and there was no mention of the old man in a red suit for a good hour.

Later in the day we did do some fun Santa stuff. We played a sight word game with words my daughter is working on in school, a super fun game called “Don’t Eat Santa”, and a money dice activity where my daughter “shopped” for Santa’s suit. I would recommend all three of these activities!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For dinner I decided I wanted to make a Santa hat pizza. I saw the idea on Pinterest from Family Fresh Meals and it seemed easy enough. And surprisingly- it was pretty simple! We bought homemade pizza crust and cut up string cheese instead of using fresh mozzarella- other than that we followed the recipe. And although the green pepper had gone moldy so we couldn’t use it- I would still call our dinner a success!

With our dinner we made Santa Punch. I modified the recipe a bit by adding strawberry kool-aid instead of lime, and Sprite instead of ginger ale. It was tasty! We watched Miracle on 34th Street- black and white version- and was totally expecting my daughter to get bored but she actually really enjoyed it.

After dinner I wanted my daughter to write an official Santa letter. One that I could keep in the scrapbook I will make for her one day. She has written quick little notes of what she wants for Christmas, but I thought this would be a great time to teach her proper letter writing skills.  However Boo decided she was going to write to Mrs Claus instead and ask how her life was. I absolutely love this letter and how thoughtful my girl was to check up on Santa’s wife.

We read a few Santa books before bed. There are so many- but here are some of our favorites:
Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? By Tomie de Paola
How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow
Presents for Santa by Harriet Ziefert
Priscilla and the Great Santa Search by Nathaniel Hobbie
Dora’s Starry Christmas by Christine Ricci

Despite the ups and downs of holiday planning- I really enjoy the magic of the season. We had a fun Santa day and now I am off to plan a more spiritual day learning about the Nativity and the true meaning of Christmas.

Happy Teaching!

8 Family Friendly Black Friday Activities

Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with my family and I thought I would quickly post some of our non-shopping ideas for Black Friday tomorrow. I know most people love the bargains and the mad rush of running from store to store… but our little family plans on staying in our nice quiet home and will try to avoid the stores for the next few days :).  So for the past few days I have been brainstorming some different activities we could do that would not only officially kick off the Christmas season but also have fun with the “black” theme.

This is what I have come up with so far:

  1. Black Jack Friday: Instead of rolling the dice with what good deals you might be lucky enough to grab, have a game day with the family instead. Pull out all the card games/ board games, pop some popcorn, and just enjoy being together!  
  2. Black Board Friday: Take advantage of this day off from school to play school together. Have little lessons on the value of a dollar, advertising, etc for older kids- or for the little kids have a day celebrating the color black. And of course you don’t have to focus on Black Friday for your learning day- you can also use this time to reinforce/review/enhance skills your child is learning at school.
  3. Black Bag Donations: Grab a black sack (or cardboard boxes) and clean out your house with toys and clothes in good condition your children have outgrown that could be donated to those in need. I love the idea of totally switching gears and turning the shopping madness into a day of giving to others. 
  4. Black Bites: Create a menu of black foods to nibble on throughout Friday. Black licorice, black velvet cake, black berries, olives, and black rice just to name a few!
  5. Play Store: Have your kiddos set up some merchandise (aka run through the house and grab toys, books, etc), find or make some play money, grab a toy shopping cart or basket and a cash register and you are ready to go! For an extra twist have your kids make their own ads- this would be a great writing and art activity. 
  6. North Pole Breakfast: This idea has been floating around the internet for awhile. Have a special breakfast with the family to kick off the holiday season. This is the time we bring back our Elf on the Shelf (although ours is a reindeer).
  7. Decorate for Christmas! For those that decorate for Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the perfect day to set up the tree and enjoy Christmas decorations after the famous day of gratitude.
  8. Black Friday Math: Toddler Approved came up with this WONDERFUL math activity you can do with your kids using your stack of Black Friday ads. Check out her site for more information!
If you do decide to go shopping on Black Friday- be safe! And if you plan on staying home I hope this list helps you to plan a fun family day.
Happy Teaching!

20 Super Fun Holiday Events for Northern Utah

Christmas is on its way! While this is the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be very stressful. I have spent many hours scouring the web not only for good bargains on gifts but also for some fun local holiday events. As I am typing this post I have 10 tabs open with different holiday calendars. I was hoping someone else would make a great condensed list for me but alas I feel this is my Christmas responsibility to make this for you all!(Although this list from Enjoy Utah was VERY informative) And if you don’t happen to live in Northern Utah- don’t worry, maybe this list will guide you in finding activities in your community.
I am including a few Salt Lake County events that I thought some of you might enjoy!

  1. Layton City Christmas Lights starting November 25. Enjoy a free hay ride through the lights Wednesday December 11 from 6pm to 8pm.
  2. Temple Square Not only can you go see the lights, but there are several events such as Savior of the World, Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert, and the Christmas Devotional. Consider yourself blessed if you are able to get tickets to any of those events! November 29- December 31.
  3. North Pole Express at Heber Valley A pricey train ride but might be worth the trip if you have a train lover in your family! November 29-December 24
  4. Ogden Christmas Village Enjoy a holiday parade/opening ceremonies November 30 at 5:30 pm. If you can’t make it Saturday- don’t worry, this event is up until January 1. And visit Santa at the village Monday-Saturday nights!
  5. Weber County Winter Holiday Festival November 30 from 11am to 8pm. Enjoy holiday displays, a live nativity, music, treats, and more!
  6. Zoo Lights Visit Hogle Zoo at night for a spectacular light display! November 30- December 31
  7. Live Nativity I have never been to one before- I think this is a great way to bring in the Christmas spirit! The one I linked is December 4 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm but you can find them in most any community.
  8. Festival of Trees December 4-7 from 10:00am to 10:00pm.
  9. Holiday Open House at the Ogden Nature Center December 7, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Free admission as well as local crafts/bake sale and activities for the kids. There is also a fun educational program called Snow, Snow, Snow at the Ogden Nature Center where you can learn how animals adapt, travel, and hide in the snow on December 18 from 3:45pm to 4:15pm.
  10. French Toast with Santa on Monday December 9 from 5pm to 7pm at all Utah Kneaders. Proceeds go to Primary Children’s Hospital. (If you don’t mind spending more money Layton has a Breakfast with Santa on December 14.)
  11. Candlelight Christmas at This is The Place State Park December 9-23 Monday-Saturday evenings.
  12. Dickens Christmas Festival December 11- December 14.
  13. An Old Fashioned Family Holiday in South Ogden Chili dinner, tree lighting with the Mayor, and pics with Santa.  December 14 from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
  14. Here Comes Santa Claus Christmas concert performed by the Utah Symphony. December 17th at 7:00 pm.
  15. Santa on a Firetruck: A few cities have the privilege of watching Santa drive down the street on a firetruck. We happen to live in one of those lucky cities!
  16. Holiday TV Shows Planning on staying at home most of the holiday season? This is the list for you!
  17. Nutcracker This is put on by several ballet companies. While I plan on one day taking my daughter to the Ballet West production, we will settle for the Julie Moffitt Ballet School. We went last year and loved it.
  18. Community Plays: White Christmas, Christmas Carol, Littlest Angel at Centerville Theater, Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden, Forgotten Carols shown all over Utah and surrounding states, Babes in Toyland put on by the Utah Children’s Theater, and the 12 Days of Christmas at the Empress Theater in Magna just to name a few.
  19. Carriage Ride in Salt Lake or a Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride in Cache County.
  20. Peery’s Egyptian Theater So many fun events- like Brenn Hill’s Cowboy Christmas.
  21. If you are a member of the Treehouse Museum in Ogden, then you can attend the Santa’s Cookies and Milk party on December 7th or 9th.
  22. Centerville City has their Festival of Lights at Founders Park Monday December 2 with a special visit from St Nick himself!
  23. Bountiful has a Holiday Light Parade on Saturday December 7 starting at 6:00pm.
  24. Breakfast with Santa at the Clearfield Aquatic Center- fun activities for kids including an open plunge in their pools!
  25. Kaysville City has their Holiday Lighting and Electric Parade Monday December 2 at 6:00pm.
  26. Come see Santa light up the night at Farmington Station December 29 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Or have breakfast with Santa December 7 from 9:00am to 11:00am at the Harmons located at the Station.
Have fun planning your holiday activities this year.
As always- Happy Teaching!

Rainbow Unicorn Halloween Birthday Party

My daughter is obsessed with rainbows. And unicorns. And her birthday is on Halloween. I wanted to incorporate all of that into one party theme…. and this is what I came up with.

A Rainbow Unicorn Halloween Party!
First- the decorations:
Rainbow streamers, paint card samples, and pom poms everywhere.

 

Even the pumpkins on the front porch were decked out in colored ribbon to fit the theme.

Treats:
Rainbow slush. So good!


 We made rainbow cookies by adding food coloring to different sections of the dough, sectioning them into little beach balls, rolling those balls into a snake, and then spiraling the snake into a circle. 

A picture of our treat table

One useful idea: Use Ikea plates/cups/utensils instead of purchasing paper products. They are better for the environment, pretty stinking cheap, and you can use them again and again! Plus they are in the rainbow colors- perfect for our theme!

Rainbow M&M treat jar/ balloon weight

Cupcake stand decorated with rainbow ribbon. Even the cupcake wrappers are rainbow colors!

 Of course the birthday girl got a special cupcake complete with a mini unicorn.

 Activities:
We started out decorating trick or treat bags with rainbow stickers and markers. Once they finished that,  they could work on making a rainbow fruit loop necklace.

While the kids worked, the adults mingled. I am still shocked at all the people we fit into our house!

Once the kids were done with their bags, Aaron read them the story “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Its a tradition to incorporate storytime into Boo’s birthday parties. I pick out the book- and Daddy reads it!

We all came dressed in rainbow colors- except Boo who was wearing a rainbow shirt.

In the basement, we had unicorn races. I made my own stick horses using socks and a broomstick and added a foam cone to make it a unicorn.

We also played with a colorful parachute and rainbow balls. The kids had a riot with this activity!

Our culmintating activity was rainbow trick or treating. We have 6 doors upstairs that I decorated with tissue paper. Luckily I had some awesome volunteers who stood behind each door and passed out candy that was the same color as the door.

The actual day of Boo’s birthday (Halloween) I used rainbow streamers to create a path around our entire house leading to a special treasure: a giant diamond paperweight. Fake, of course 🙂 A special treasure for my most valuable treasure!

Happy Teaching! And Happy Party Planning! 🙂

Heart Rock Collections

Save those Valentine Heart boxes…. they make super cute rock collection boxes. Because we LOVE rocks!!!

Boo loved examining my rock collection, especially since I let her keep a few.  By the way that entire crate on the right is full of rocks.

Now she is looking over her own collection. These Valentine boxes are the perfect size for those small specimens!

So for all you that love rocks like we do, then this is the project for you! 🙂
Happy Teaching!

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