Saturday, November 30, 2013

Six for Saturday

I'm way late! I think this will have to be a Six for Saturday and that's stretching it. I don't think I really have more than 3 things to post! In fact, I'm posting so late that I doubt anyone will ever read this. Oh well. Thank you To Doodle Bugs for hosting!
fiveforfriday2_thumb[3]
1. My husband just finished putting up our Christmas lights. Not his favorite way to spend an afternoon, let me tell ya. But he's a good sport and we love him for it! He did say that he was going to celebrate because it would be 365 days until he has to do it again! :)  Look at all those lights!
Don't we look festive!

2. Kindness Stockings: Our 2nd grade teacher has her children make and decorate a paper stocking and then sew the edges together with yarn. They absolutely love this project and take great care in designing each little detail (I love you people but I'm at home and wasn't driving 40 minutes into school to take a quick picture for you of how she preps this project. I will, however take a picture for you on Monday). Anywho, she cuts out and punches holes in the front and back of a stocking at the same time so they line up perfectly. It's lots of work but when you see the finished project you'll agree it's worth the effort. The kids decorate with colored construction paper and then she lets them use glitter for their names. Lastly, they learn how to sew the edges. She hangs them up on the bulletin board until the day of their class party. Here's the one I made at home. You get the idea. I think kinders could make the stocking if you put out precut shapes for them to make presents and trees. The notes could be tough though...

That week they work on writing kind words about each child in their class. The teacher has run off tons of cute paper (hers are MUCH cutzier than my sample) with the heading "A Gift of Kind Words" and gives each child a class list. I'm sure you computer people could make a really cute one and post it as a freeebie. I don't know how.  :(  They discuss how to write something kind that takes a little more thought than just "You are nice." They're to write at least 5 notes/day. They don't have to sign their names.

On the day of the party the kids walk around and deliver their kind words to their classmates. During the party they get to read them. I can't tell you how sweet it is to watch them share and treasure each note. It's a great way to encourage kindness and to teach that some of the best gifts are free.

3. Class gift exchange: This idea came from a dear friend and teacher who is no longer with us. She told me that this is a very old fashioned tradition taught to her by her grandmother. 

We send a note home at the beginning of December that asks the parents to help their child send in a gift that costs no more than $2 for either a boy or a girl, as designated on the note. The gift is to be wrapped and labeled for a boy or girl and the buyer's name. A gently used toy is fine for those who can't afford to send in a new gift. I also keep extras on hand for those little ones who don't bring in anything. Attach a long ribbon to the gift. I usually use one color for the boys and another for the girls.
Put all the gifts into a box wrapped with Christmas paper. Place this box in the middle of the floor and have the kids take an appropriately colored ribbon and wait for the signal to pull gently.
 As they pull out their gift, we go around the circle and tell everyone whose gift they have received. By the way, we have a discussion prior to this about how to be appreciative and to remember that someone
tried very hard to find something nice to give. 

Finally, it's time to unwrap our presents! I've had very few bad responses (quickly corrected after they get a quick glimpse of the "Mom Look" I'm giving them) and the kids are given an opportunity to thank the giver and share with the class what they were given. It's a yearly tradition. Lots of fun.

4. I'm going random now because I don't have much material for my "Six for Saturday." 

It's time to write our letters to Santa. I found this cute freebie from Kate Smith Designs.
As they are telling me what to write, I always heavily hint that they ask for presents I've already bought for our class. I post these letters on the bulletin board for parents to see (and then place them in their art portfolio as a keepsake) and always post this one signed by me as well for a good giggle.

Then, the day before vacation, we have a delivery from Santa brought to our class in a huge garden wagon.  We get large mail delivery type canvas bags wet and freeze them overnight. Right before the presents are delivered, we take the bags out of the freezer and fill them with wrapped toys (donated to our classroom by very kind people)  that we need for our classroom. There is a beautifully written note that unwraps and rolls across the floor filled with glitter. It's magical and they almost can't handle the excitement. Seriously folks, they are screaming.  It's the BEST!!! Is there anything more fun than watching the faces of kids who truly believe in magic? We usually have enough gifts for each child to open one, but this year I have 28 kids and they'll probably have to open a gift with a friend. I'll be sure to post the picture of the wagon delivery!

5. Some more random...

Here's our 2009 family Christmas card. I still love it better than all the other attempts with ugly sweaters and matching outfits.

My husband runs a white water rafting company and our boys have grown up on the river. The front of the card is from our youngest's first trip down the Rogue River in 1995. I remember our parents thought we were nuts but he did beautifully and I walked him around the largest rapid, Blossom Bar, in my backpack.

As you open the card, it's us, all grown up!
That's the last card we made. Time for an update but I'm not going rafting in December. My boys wouldn't hesitate though!

6. I made these for Thanksgiving after having them at the most wonderful baby shower I've ever attended! Wow! That sweet mama-to-be received some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen! AND they had a cheesecake bar. HEAVEN! There were all sorts of flavors in little bite sized servings. I was  a happy girl.

I've already shown you one of the books I got for her in an earlier post. I love it dearly and bought a copy for myself. It is the sweetest little story about a mother's wishes for her child by Alison Meghee and Peter H. Reynolds. If you know someone who's expecting, this would be a sweet gift. I'm a few years past the mom watching from the porch as her child leaves.  The whole book makes me blubber. But, if you're lucky, those precious kids occasionally come back!
Here's another book that I got for her that had me crying. It's called "Forever" by Emma Dodd. I'm such a softie and I miss my little boys when I read things like this...
Super sweet!!
I'm impressed if you stayed with me this long. I'm bracing myself for the 3 weeks of craziness as we get our littles ready for the Winter Program, make parent presents and oodles of art projects. It's truly a magical time for a small child. I'm leaving you with this wonderful pin! I love, love, love your comments!
Gray White Wall Art Print Nursery Room Decor Quote by ofCarola, $15.00

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five for Friday

Hello Five for Friday! I'm beat. We had our feast today and was it ever busy! Those little people can sure eat lots! Half of it was on their faces, but still...

Thanks to Doodle Bugs for hosting my favorite linky party!
fiveforfriday2_thumb[3]

Here's some major random for you!

1. Here's a writing activity we did this week. It came about because when we were talking about which foods they liked and didn't like for Thanksgiving dinner, we got some surprising answers. We got to laughing at their responses and decided we needed to do a yummy/yucky page. I adore 5 year old phonetic spelling. It's the best!
"Kinderese" is my favorite language. This little guy doesn't like "smashed potatoes." I actually saw a recipe for these on Pinterest! :)  It looked pretty tasty!

2. Here's our classroom all ready for the Feast. Each child had a placemat, turkey-milk carton holder,
necklace, vest and bracelet (from Holding Hands and Sticking Together).

3. We hung up our family portraits and the parents LOVED them. Whew!
I read an updated version of my Thanksgiving poem to the parents and kids at the end of day. I hate to say that the kids fake-laughed their way through the poem but the parents enjoyed it. I think.
Happy Thanksgiving!

The turkey is in the oven, the peas are in the pot.
The pie is on the windowsill until it’s not so hot.

The potatoes are on the stovetop, the yams are in the pan.
Aunt Judy’s green bean casserole won’t be ready “until the top is tan”.

There are cranberries on the counter, gravy in a boat,
And something simmering on the stove that sort of burns my throat.

There’s a salad on the table, full of nuts, tofu and sprouts,
And I don’t know where they are, but I can smell some Brussels Sprouts.

There are plates of beets and carrots, trays of cheese and meat;
My entire house is full of things that I don’t like to eat.


My couch is full of uncles; my kitchen is full of aunts.
Our dining room is overflowing with candles and flowers and plants.

The entryway is packed with shoes; the closet is a coat hodgepodge.
And I’m not supposed to open the door that goes to the garage.

The guest room is off limits; it smells like grandma’s perfume.
And Great-grandpa Charlie is napping in my room!

Cousin Lily is in her crib so I can’t make a sound,
And Grandpa Joe is in the backyard – I think he’s just wandering around.

The TV is turned to football; all my toys are put away,
There’s not a place in my whole house where I can go to play.


My favorite cousin Chelsea, couldn’t visit us this year,
So we won’t be able to perform our Holiday Premiere.

And I won’t be getting my makeover or increasing my fashion knowledge,
Because my favorite Aunt Belinda isn’t coming home from college.

My Uncle Tom is always fun and he usually brings a game,
But this year he brought his girlfriend and that’s just not the same.

Mom is busy cooking; grandma is fixing her hair,
And dad went to the basement to get another chair.

My entire house is full of folks and they’re all full of cheer,
But I don’t think a single one of them, even knows I’m here.


Well, they’re calling me for dinner and I know I can’t be rude.
Time to “sit still and mind my manners”; time to poke at all that food.

But wait, what’s this? There’s no little table - sitting over there?
No “special children’s corner.” No rickety folding chair?

And look! My mom is waving and dad is smiling with glee.
There’s an open chair between them – and they’re holding it for me.

Wow! My own nametag, my own napkin, my own crystal goblet with ice!
Wow! Everyone looks so pretty. Everything smells so nice.

So this is what it’s like. This is the fancy living.
Eating at the grown up table; Man, I love Thanksgiving!




4.  I wrote why I was thankful for each child on our windows ( I have 28 kids this year and the windows were covered).  I love these window pens. I write little notes to our parents every week on the window in front of my classroom. I'm always forgetting something in our weekly note.


5. Finally a thankful thought!
I am so thankful for  those little smooshed faces on my window every morning as I go to unlock the door.  I am thankful for striped socks, tutus and mismatched shoes (I love it when the kids dress that way too. Haha).  I am thankful for all the mispronounced words (kinderese) and for the "I love you Mrs Welchie," yelled like Dennis the Menaces' "Hellooooooo Mr. Wilson," from across the cafeteria. I am thankful for the ridiculous jokes and senses of humor, 5 year old outlooks on life, ability to sing off key and dance like nobody's business. And not care! Oh, and those notes that you find on your desk at the end of the day!!! How could I forget those!

And not to be forgotten...a husband who brings home take-out on tough days. Like today. And my claw foot bathtub!


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you have a wonderful holiday! 

I love this:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Made It


Hello Monday Made It! We are putting our Feast outfits together and thought I'd show you our vests. You're going to think I'm nuts when you see this!! It may seen like way too much work but the kids like them.




We have a Thanksgiving Feast just like everybody else, I'm sure. We also invite the parents to come watch the mayhem and have coffee, dessert and holiday conversation! It's really nice to see them slow down for a moment and enjoy their children and each other.

The kids dress as either a Pilgrim or Native American, either wearing a Pilgrim hat or head dress. But everyone wears a vest. Now, I don't know about you, but I've had nothing but bad luck with those paper bag vests. The sharp edges bother their necks and as soon as the group picture is taken, those vests fly off.

About 15 years ago, in an effort to make something that they'd enjoy wearing for longer than 5 minutes, I decided to make paper vests using a pattern. I don't sew but could handle these little gems. Instead of sewing, I staple. It's how I've always "sewn"(I got a D in eighth grade sewing).  Either with staples or duct tape! :)  It's tacky for all other purposes but perfect for this creation.

Cut your pattern pieces.
Staple the seams.
Press seams open.
Turn right side out and press with hands.
Decorate with paper pattern block shapes. I only had the squares out but we use all shapes!
Yes, it's more time consuming but the kids will actually wear them.

I had plans to staple all 28 of our vests tonight and just discovered I left my trusty stapler at school. Dang! Where's the duct tape...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Late for Five for Friday

 Hello Five for Friday. I'm joining in late, as usual. It's tough to get to this little project before Saturday. Thank you sweet Doodle Bugs for hosting. This is my one and only weekly blog post!
fiveforfriday2_thumb[3]

It's a week about all things turkey! Look at this little cutie. Just made me smile...
And here's a poem:

Happy Thanksgiving!

The turkey’s in the oven, the peas are in the pot.
The pie is on the windowsill until it’s not so hot.

The potatoes are on the stovetop, the yams are in the pan.
Aunt Judy’s green bean casserole won’t be ready “until the top is tan”.

There’s cranberries on the table, gravy in a boat,
And something simmering on the stove that sort of burns my throat.

The stuffing’s in a big bowl, the rolls have been put out.
But there is absolutely no way, I’m eating a Brussels Sprout.

There are plates of beets and carrots, trays of cheese and meat;
My entire house is full of things that I don’t like to eat.


My couch is full of uncles; my kitchen is full of aunts.
Our dining room is overflowing with candles and flowers and plants.

The guest room is off limits and smells like grandma’s perfume.
And Great-grandpa Charlie is napping in my room!

The entryway is packed with shoes; the closet is a coat hodgepodge.
And I’m not supposed to open the door that goes to the garage.

Cousin Lily is in her crib so I can’t make a sound,
And Grandpa Joe is in the backyard – I think he’s just wandering around.

The TV is turned to football; all my toys are put away,
There’s not a single place in my whole house where I can go to play.


Well, they’re calling me for dinner and I know I can’t be rude.
Time to “sit still and mind my manners”; time to poke at all that food.

But wait, what’s this? There’s no little table - sitting over there?
No “special children’s corner.” No rickety folding chair?

And look! Mom is waving me over and dad is smiling with glee.
There’s an open chair right between them – and they’re holding it out for me.

Wow! My own nametag, my own napkin, my own crystal goblet with ice!
Wow! Everyone looks so pretty. Everything smells so nice.

So this is what it’s like. This is the fancy living.
Eating at the grown up table...

Man, I love Thanksgiving!

And here's a whole lot of random:
1. Nothing earth shattering this week. More art to come next week as we prepare for the Annual Thanksgiving Feast. Oh, it's quite the "To-do" and I hope the kids have a great time. We serve a full lunch and invite our parents to have dessert and chat before the holidays consume us. It's a nice way to be reminded of all we're thankful for.

Here's a little wreath we made with watercolored leaves. I wrote what each child said they were thankful for. It's above our little fireplace. I included another wreath that I'm not so crazy about. It's made from coffee filters.
2. Here's our Mayflower. The kids had to think of one thing they would have brought along for the long, hard trip. These will be typed up and placed in a little paper trunk. One little politician said he'd take Mrs. Welchie along on the Mayflower. There's one in every group.  :)
3. Here's a little turkey that holds our milk carton (or my half and half) at our feast. He's easy to make. Really.
Cut a square and fold. Cut a slit to middle, fold and staple so it stands.
Feathers.
Neck and head.
Glue.
4. Family portraits are one of my favorite projects. My problem is that the kids do a great job with the first two or three people and then they go down hill from there. I'm sympathetic because I'm from a family of ten and I used to HATE this project as a kid. So, in an effort to make it easier, I'm trying the circle- method this year. I love my Fiskar circle punches and plan on using them to cut a variety of circle sizes for different aged family members.
These are the shirts. Easy!
Arrange adults first.

 Place the rest of the family...
 add details,
Whew! I'll let you know how this goes. I don't like the "sameness" of each person and this method definitely takes away the uniqueness of a child's art that I adore. It could be a disaster!

5.We have a frog, folks. It is soooooo loud! The other day, when we were actually caught being quiet, we heard the loudest croak. It was so exciting. We all started tippy- toe-ing towards the flower planter as quietly as twenty eight 5 year olds possibly can. HA! Every time we moved, it stopped croaking. That poor thang better stay hidden if he knows what's good for him, is all I have to say.
I have 28 report cards hanging over my head so it's time to go!
I do have to tell you about a bit of a scare I had while assessing my kids first. 

I was showing one of my kids the alphabet in random order, asking the name of each letter. Every time I pointed to a letter and asked the name, he would turn to me and say ,"I have no idea what that letter's name is!" I'm sure the absolute look of horror on my face must have frightened him. All I could think was, where has this child been for the last 9 weeks? I've failed. I could feel a panic attack coming. 

We continued to more letters and each time I asked he would become more upset with me and now my eyes were welling up with tears.... Finally, he turned to me and said in complete frustration, throwing his arms up in the air ,"Look Mrs Welch, I didn't know that each letter had a name like Bob or Tom. I just call that one an A and that one a B and that one a C."
Oh. Thank. Goodness.
I told you this story because it is in moments like this that I know, without a doubt, I have the best job in the world. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

I wanted to end with this picture. Don't you just feel like all children have that twinkle factor?
Happy weekend!


Tis the season...