I love Instagram!  There.  I said it.  I might also be a tad obsessed with it.  It's a great way to quickly catch up with friends and see what they are doing.  Kickin it in Kindergarten seems to feel the same way.  She's hosting a Teachers of Instagram linky party!

I'm linking up my 3 favorite instagram pictures from 2013...

1. Although I'm not a huge fan of this giant mess, it represents my move to 5th Grade this year.  It was a big jump for me and I love it! 

2. My blogging helper.  Orrr not.  Love my pup and he makes his way into a LOT of my instagram pics!  This is his favorite place to sit while I am {attempting} to blog and work on TpT products.  It's a good thing he's cute!

 3.  It's been a busy, exciting year.  My husband and I have been on a lot of adventures!  I think this picture shows just that.  We got caught in a crazy downpour during our trip to Washington D.C.  We were soaked through, but had a great time!

*Bonus*  I posted this picture twice this year.  Once, in April, after the Boston Marathon bombing to show my support for the people of Boston.  Then, again in October, when my Red Sox won the World Series!

Come join me on Instagram and then link up your favorite pics of 2013!  Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

P.S. ~ This HUGE bundle of best-selling products from top Grades 2-3 sellers is on sale over at Educents!  It's 78% off {I just love a great deal} and is a great way to jumpstart your planning for 2014!

I'm joining Miss Kindergarten, A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Dragonflies in First for their Thirteen in '13 Linky Party!

My Jessica Simpson maternity skinny jeans.  Seriously, I don't know why everyone doesn't wear maternity jeans.  They are so comfortable!  They are never tight (hellooo Christmas dinner) and always fit perfectly.  I do not wear those super high heels with them though.  I am all about the flats.

I am not a fan of movies.  I can't sit still long enough.  My husband has given up on me and now goes to the movies with my dad instead.  I did go see The Great Gatsby and definitely enjoyed it.  I think it was the only movie I watched this year.  I have to really want to see a movie to go to the theater (so expensive!).  I do want to see Saving Mr. Banks too.

Those of you that know me, know that Friends has been and will always be my favorite TV series.  I can recite every line but still love watching it.  Sure, I have some other series that I like.  Big Bang Theory and Entourage to name a few.  But Friends will always take the number one spot.

Oh, Panera, how I love thee.  On a cold winter day, I could spend hours sitting by the fire, working on my computer at Panera.  The macaroni and cheese?  Amazing!  I'm not a big fancy meal kinda girl (much to my husband's dismay), so I like the cheap, yummy food that can be found here.  Yum!

I'm putting my TpT talents to good use!  I made baby shower invites for my friend's sister and bridal shower games for my sister.  I had so much fun making these!  Maybe an Etsy store is in my future??

My favorite gift that I got this year is the promise of a sweet baby girl arriving in April!  We are busy getting ready for her and so excited to expand our family.

Anything on my Classroom Ideas board or my Fifth Grade board!  Moving to a new grade this year has really helped me think and revamp my teaching styles.  It is definitely a learning year!

Since I am such a fan of books, this definitely has to be my favorite post!

Moving from my 2nd Grade classroom (above) to my new 5th Grade classroom (below).  After spending four and a half years with 7-year-olds, it was a large jump to the big kids!  I miss the little guys sometimes, but I am loving 5th Grade!!

This picture is one of my favorites that I took over the past year.  It definitely represents my love of the beach!

This was at my sister's rehearsal dinner this past summer.  Her wedding weekend was so much fun!  I love this photo because it captures my family perfectly.  We definitely like to laugh, be silly and have fun!

Can my goal be to set goals for myself?!  I am looking to really develop my new blog this year, so setting goals for myself will be crucial in this area.  Besides, how cute is this goal list??


Not so much in the sense of taking naps.  More in the "let the little things go" type of relax.  Baby is coming in April and I need to remember that it's okay if the house isn't spotless.  I am a perfectionist and a little OCD so it will be hard.  But I am definitely looking forward to making this change for myself.

How was your year?  Are you ready for 2014??
 I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

I know I did.  I got to spend time with {almost all} of my wonderful family.  It was a day full of laughter, food and good times.

This year, Santa brought me a Silhouette Cameo! 

It wasn't exactly a surprise.  I kept talking about how cool it was and how I really wanted one.  Apparently I talked about it a lot because my husband finally said, "just buy it and I'll wrap it for you!"  I purchased their Cyber Monday bundle and it arrived on Christmas Eve.  

I have been busily searching for ideas on how to use it and created a Cameo Creations Pinterest board.  I have to say that I am super excited to use it, but also a tad nervous.  The box has yet to be opened!  Any advice for this beginner?  Any project ideas that you want to share??  I'd love to see them all!

Before you go, head on over to 1...2...3...Teach With Me to enter her HUGE giveaway!

My students made some pretty awesome Christmas decorations this week, thanks to my fifth grade team!  These are projects that they do every year, but it was brand new to me.  The first was a stained glass ornament.  

To make these, the students traced a printed design onto an overheard transparency (does anyone use those anymore??).  They then colored it in with permanent marker.  We encouraged them to color in each section to make it truly look like stained glass.  I cut out the inside of a small plain paper plate.  The students taped their design onto the back of the plate.  Last, we punched a hole in the top and added a string.  Some students chose to decorate the plate as well.  They came out great!

We also made snowflakes.  I think these are so beautiful!  I also thought they were super complicated to make.  But they are not!

Here are the directions from my Resource teacher:

Here is a link to more in-depth directions.  The directions are not in English, but the pictures make it very easy to follow!  The kids had a great time making these on Wednesday and proceeded to make many more every chance they got for the rest of the week!

I know, I sound like a scrooge right?  My students bring me wonderful gifts every year, but I don't open them until I get home.  Let me explain.

It was my first full year of teaching and Christmas rolled around.  All morning my desk filled up with bags and boxes from my students.  A few of my students were asking me to open my gifts.  They were just so excited!   I wasn't so sure about opening presents in front of my students, so I went to a colleague for advice.  She told me, "Of course, I always opens my gifts in front of the students!"

Ok, I thought, if she does it then it must be okay.  As I sat down in my chair, with my students all crowded around me on the rug, I had this gut feeling that what I was doing wasn't right.  Ignoring this slightly sickening feeling, I started opening the presents as the students oohed and aahed.  As I was untying a ribbon, I noticed one of my students sneak back to his desk, returning to the rug with something in his hands.

I finished up the gifts and my students returned to their seats to work on a holiday activity.  At that moment, the student whom  I mentioned earlier, came up to me.  He handed me 2 highlighters from his desk and said, "Here, I got you a Christmas present."  My heart dropped.  Tears sprung to my eyes.  His family couldn't afford to get me a gift.  He felt left left out of my public display of present opening and ashamed that he wasn't a part of it.  He wanted to feel special in my eyes.

I pulled myself together and genuinely thanked him for his wonderful gift.  After the students went to lunch, I snuck the highlighters back into his desk.  And I vowed, from that day forward, that I would never open gifts in front of my whole class again.  This was my worst teacher moment.  Ever.

I do have years where a student is a student is so proud and excited about what they got me, that they will beg for me to open their gift in front of them.  I will take this student aside at recess or hold them back from their special for a few minutes and open it just in front of them.  It's a special moment just between the two of us and no feelings are hurt.

I think back to this moment every year when Christmas rolls around.  It makes me appreciate all the little things that my students do for me.  Every candy cane and homemade card is a sentiment from them showing me how much they care and appreciate what I do for them.  I am touched by everything that they give me and save it all.  On those particularly hard days, I open up this box and am reminded of why I do what I do.
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