Sunday, July 28, 2013

I've crossed over to the BTS Zone!!! {{Monday Made-It}}

Let me start by thanking everyone who visited My First Love last week. It was my best week EVER:)  As my Littlest Love's favorite character would say, "That makes my heart feel super happy!" As a thank you, please check out the giveaway at the end of this blog post!

Something happened to me this week. I can't exactly explain how, why, or when...but it happened. I suddenly went all BTS. I figured I better take advantage of it because with me, that BTS feeling can disappear as quickly as it shows up!

I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her weekly Monday Made-It linky party. I love this linky because it has really motivated me to GET IT DONE! Beware - this is a LONG post because I actually made a TON of stuff for my classroom!

Click {here} to check it out!
This week, my newly-turned-5 year old joined in on the action. She has become OBSESSED with my laminating machine. She practically demands that I print out more stuff for her to laminate. So...there has been a lot of downloading, printing, laminating, and cutting this week. Here are some of my favorites:

Aacckk!  I love these!  But I have no idea where I got them from! If you know who these belong to, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due!

Owl Birthday Signs from Across the Hall in 2nd Grade
Owls on Dots Clip Chart
Even and Odd Owls

I am totally IN LOVE with these!!!
Picture Direction Icons by Miss Kindergarten

Large Bright Owls and Polka Dot Word Wall Headers by Erica Bohrer

Bright Polka Dot Number Signs 0-20 by Erica Bohrer

Nouns Around Town by Faith Wheeler
Now onto the BIG stuff!  I have been so inspired by everyone's Monday Made-Its, that I just had to jump on the whisper phone and crate seat bandwagon. Mr. First Love and I headed off to Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, and Big Lots the other day to pick up our supplies. Our garage turned into this:

First up...whisper phones!
We started with a 3/4 PVC pipe and a hack saw.

We cut the pipe into pieces that were approximately 5 inches long.

We got 3/4 90 degree elbows and some rainbow colored duct tape.

The two elbows got pressed onto the pipe piece. It was such a snug fit that I decided not to use any sort of adhesive.

I covered the pipe part with the rainbow colored tape. Viola! 10 new whisper phones!

My own Little Love had a blast playing with one!

Next up... SEAT CRATES!!!  I am so excited about this one. I have been dreaming of making some of these for a long long time. I was at Big Lots last week and saw these adorable pink and green crates for 3 bucks!  Then, at Hobby Lobby I found the perfect Owl fabric and knew I had to give it a try. I only made 1 so far, because I wanted to make sure I could really get it done right. There are 7 four coming next week! No, they are not all for me. Since Mr. First Love is helping me, we are making 4 for my classroom and 4 for his. Did you know he teaches first grade, too?  {{{LOVE}}}

The nice man at Home Depot measured my crate and cut 1/2 inch plywood into strips for me. He said his big machine is not square and precise, so he didn't want to try and cut the actual rectangles:( I was totally hoping Mr. First Love could help me with the rest!

This is the strip we started with. I have 6 of these big boys. Each one can make two crates.

We use this scary saw and a cardboard template to cut the rectangle for the crate opening.

Since the crate corners are slightly rounded, we had to notch out the corners of the plywood just a bit. It's a perfect fit!

I bought 2x12x12 foam squares at Hobby Lobby. I was intimidated by the idea of using filler to make my own "cushion", so I decided to try this instead.  For my next crate, I might cut a strip from another foam square to put next to the foam square so that it is the same size as the crate opening.

I used a staple gun to attach the fabric to the plywood and added a little ribbon pull for easier opening. I am in LOVE!

Well?  Did you make it to the end of my never-ending blog post?  Thanks for sticking with me til the end!  I hope you have a terrific week. Good luck to everyone starting school this week (I'm sorry...but I can't even imagine!). I am off for a little vacation in Cape Cod with the family for a few days. School for me starts the day after Labor Day, so I still have a lot of summer to enjoy. Love ya!

I think ya'll deserve a little giveaway for making it this far!  How about one of my all-time favorite products!
This packet is jam packed with POPCORN word cards and activities! I really think you and your Little Loves with ADORE it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And the award goes too...

ME!  Well, sort of. But it is super fun pretending.  I was so very excited to see in the comments of my last blog post that Christy from Mrs. Holder's First Grade had nominated me for a Liebster Award. I went straight to her blog (of which I am a follower) to check it out.
The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, what is a Liebster?  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Isn't that sweet? Blogging is about building a community and it's a great way to connect with other bloggers and help spread the word about newer bloggers/blogs.

To accept this award I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them

Thank you SO MUCH, Christy, for nominating me!  I have been a part of the blogging community for such a short time, but I am so looking forward to getting more involved. All of you amazing bloggers have already given me the greatest gift - a renewed excitement and enthusiasm for being creative in my classroom!

And without further adieu, my nominees are...
    Before I name my next nominee, I just have to ask all of you, HAVE YOU SEEN LAUREN'S GIVEAWAY? It is awesome. I am a follower of her TpT store, and I have to say that I am in LOVE with her products. Everything is super cute and useful for your classroom. Her blog posts are SUPER informative as well. You should definitely go and pay her a visit!

Questions for Me!
1.  Do you have a theme for your classroom? My classroom theme is OWLS with the colors purple, lime, and pink. I completely LOVE it.
2.  What's your favorite picture book? Enemy Pie. I just love the message it gives to kids about friendship.
3.  What's your favorite back to school activity? I actually love shopping for school supplies. I know - crazy, right?
4.  What grades have your taught and which is your favorite? I have taught 13 years of first, with one year of second way back near the beginning. My heart will ALWAYS be in first, hence the name of my blog...
5.  What are your favorite blogs (teaching related or other)? TOO MANY TO NAME!  Some of my faves are A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Doodlebugs Teaching.
6.  What's your favorite subject to teach and why? I have a huge passion for reading and I love passing this along to my little loves.
7.  What's your guilty pleasure? Reality TV, all the way baby. I will watch ALMOST any reality TV show.
8.  What's your favorite movie? I like the oldies but goodies, like Dirty Dancing and Top Gun. 
9.  Are you a salty or sweet kind of person? Both - Chocolate Covered Pretzels are one of my favorite snacks.
10.  What's your favorite classroom management trick/technique? I use 1-2-3 Magic in my classroom and at home with my own little loves. It has helped me so much!
11.  What's the best advice you have ever received? The best advice I have ever received is simple - If you are doing what you think is best for kids, that's all that really matters. 

11 Random Facts about Me:
1. I am an aquarius.
2. I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
3. I am a former cheerleader.
4. I don't love roller coasters.
5. My oldest daughter was born on the 4th of July.
6. I have a serious obsession for cheesecake, but hardly ever eat it.
7. I go to crafts stores (Michael's, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby) more often than the grocery store...LOL
8. My youngest daughter is 23 months old and weighs 23 pounds...haha!
9. I do not know how to whistle.
10. I am a night owl.
11. I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember!

11 questions for my nominees:
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. What is the best "teacher book" you have read?
3. Coke or Pepsi?
4. What is your dream vacation?
5. Do you prefer desserts or appetizers?
6. What is your favorite blog(s)?
7. Who was your favorite teacher?
8. What is one of your personal goals for the 2013-14 school year?
9. Do you use a store-bought or self-made planbook?
10. Who is your favorite children's author?
11. How long have you been blogging?

I just wanted to say thanks again for the nomination!  I am always looking for more followers as well as more blogs to follow, so please leave me a little love so I know where to find you. Happy blogging everyone!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crayons, Chocolate, Cake and Monday Made-It!

Wow...July is flying by way too quickly!  I have been super busy with my own Little Loves at home enjoying some much needed summer vacation. I managed to squeeze in about 5 days of curriculum work at our district office as well. I use those extra paychecks to pay for our much needed vacations...LOL!

Last week, Mr. First Love and I took our Little Loves to Pennsylvania for a few days. We went to the Crayola Experience. It was A.W.E.S.O.M.E. The girls got to do so many hands-on activities. They even made their own crayons and markers. Very cool.

After Crayola, we went to Hershey. Everyone loved Chocolate World. The girls got to practice packaging Hershey Kisses. Here's a quick pic of my Littlest Love shaking her container up before loading it up onto the conveyor belt.

The day we went to Hershey Park was Hot with a capital H. We managed surprisingly well and made sure to drink a LOT of cold water. My Little Loves are total thrill seekers and wanted to go on every ride they could. We had a great time.

As soon as we came home from our little getaway, it was time to start prepping for their BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!  I love holding our annual birthday celebrations for the girls. It is my chance to put as much effort into something special for THEM as I do for classroom on a daily basis. When my first daughter was born, I was a little sad she was a "summer birthday".  I know all you teachers out there can totally understand. But I quickly realized that having a summer birthday baby meant that I could go ALL OUT for her party because I had so much extra time. Three years later we were blessed with another summer baby. My girls' birthdays are one month apart, so this year we had a combined party for the two of them. They wanted a Mickey Mouse / Minnie Mouse party. I had so much fun with the party prep. It could be my favorite theme so far. And that is where my Monday Made-It comes in!  I spent all week MAKING lots of things for the party. Here are some highlights:

I also have a Monday Made-It for school. I give my students Retelling Rings to use during Read to Self and Read to Someone time. After reading a book, they flip through their ring and answer the questions. Sometimes they answer in their own heads or into a Whisper Phone, sometimes they write the answers in their journals, and sometimes they share their answers with a partner. I decided my rings needed a little makeover. Check out the link below to take a closer look.
Click HERE to check it out!

Would you like to use my Retelling Rings in your classroom!  Well, you are in luck!  I will choose TWO winners to receive my Retelling Rings file for FREE!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have you made something this week? Don't forget to link up with 4th Grade Frolics!
Click HERE to check it out!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Goin' on a Blog Hunt!

Unless you've been hiding out underground for the past few weeks, you probably already know that Google Reader is GONE.GONE.GONE. I was really nervous about the big change, but I switched over to Bloglovin' and I am totally in LOVE with it. It is so easy to use and I LOVE my daily e-mails with the latest blog posts. It has been so much easier to stay up to date! 
I would just LOVE for you to follow My First Love with Bloglovin'. I don't even know how to use those adorable new "Follow me on Bloglovin'" buttons, but you can click on my boring old Bloglovin' button on the sidebar.

Now that most of us are on summer vacation, why not use some of your downtime to find some new blogs to follow? Laura Candler at Corkboard Connections has started a super useful link up making it easy to follow. If you want to link up your own blog, be sure stop by her blog to download the directions!

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's my first Monday Made-It!

{click here to check it out}

Hi all!  I am so excited to be joining in on the Monday Made-It Linky Party!  I am not always good about remembering to take pictures or blog about projects, so I am hoping this will help keep me FOCUSED:)  I have only been out of school for 1 week, so I am just getting started. I spent most of last week organizing my home office and cleaning out closets. I know, not so fun. But now... let the fun begin!

I am the proud mama of two beautiful summer birthday babies {not planned that way, in case you were wondering!}. Their birthdays are 1 month and 3 days apart. Last year was  my Littlest Love's first birthday, so we had to have a special party for that occasion. This year, my Little Love is having her own "friends-only" party a few days after her actual birthday. Then, we will have a family party for both girls together in between their two special days.

One of my favorite Mommy Traditions is that I always make the invitations for my girls' parties. I have done ladybugs, Hello Kitty, Backyardigans, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Strawberry Shortcake, and two baptisms. I love being able to focus my creativity and wanna-be craftiness on something other than my classroom. Luckily, summer is the perfect time to do that!

You might have seen the invitations I made for the "Friends-Only" party {here}. That party is going to be at Build-a-Bear Workshop, so of course we are going with a teddy bear theme.

That party is just a few more days away!  My Monday Made-It is the invitations for our Family Party. The girls decided on a Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse theme. I love it! There are so many awesome things you can do and the colors are great. So without further is my very first Monday Made-It!

I am really still fairly new to the blogging world and would love to hear some feedback from you. I would LOVE to reach out to more people so we can share our experiences and expertise. I would be honored if you would follow me (on Bloglovin' of course) and/or "LIKE" me on facebook. Just click on the buttons on the side. Lots of love to you all!