Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Teaching: October Writing Prompt

I have the next writing prompt for you!  It's for October and the shape is an owl (my favorite) and the prompt is "I'm hooting because...".  I thought it's never too early to start celebrating your accomplishments in the year so that's exactly what they are doing. Enjoy!

Printable: Motivational: The Last Cookie

I have learned from my own observations, and obsessive collecting of motivational quotes, poems, songs and stories since I was about 12, that just because something is motivational doesn't mean it has to be earth shattering, how did they see into my soul profound.  Sometimes motivational means looking to Cookie Monster to break it down in a way everyone understands.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Disney Vacation Planning: Disney Dining Plan

If you've booked a Disney vacation then you've heard of the Disney Dining Plan. I'm a fan of this, it has made it possible for my family to enjoy the great culinary experiences that you can find all around Disney that we otherwise wouldn't be able to afford.  As I say with everyone one of my Disney posts, do your research.  Make a mock up of your itinerary and see if you'd use the any of the plans to their full potential. All information for the plan you can find at the Disney Dining Plans page at the Disney World website. One thing I have learned is the most accurate information you'll find for anything Disney (including calendar and hours) gets better the closer to your vacation.  Most restaurants are on the plan and I learned before that the restaurants listed usually are not the entire list.  I called to ask once if certain restaurants would be added to the plan and they were confused because they were never off, but they were never listed in the PDF brochure.  So always check at the individual restaurant page and click on the "Some Dining Plans Accepted" link to check.  I feel that Disney just wants to get bookings open for the next year as soon as possible and puts out the information they have at that time. Like I said, the information only gets more accurate and detailed the closer you get to your vacation.  Now, with that disclaimer out of the way, Disney offers 5 dining plans to help fit your family's budget and needs.  Each plan offers dining credits, when the plan refers to the number of credits you get it's to the number of nights you stay (not days).  So rule of thumb is if you are sleeping at Disney that night, you have credits.  If it's the day you leave, you have no credits so if you plan on using them that day make sure you plan to have enough credits left to eat there.  Credits come in 3 categories - Table Service (sit down restaurant), Quick Service (fast food) and snack (the little yummies offered all over the place). It's easy enough to make a plan to do 2 quick services in one day if you need a table service left on your last day or you're doing a 2 credit restaurant. Each plan also comes with a Rapid Refill mug. It's a Disney mug you can refill unlimited number of times during your stay.  

Quick Service Plan
Most of the time this is the plan offered when Disney runs their free dining special. If you want to upgrade to any of the other plans, you just pay the difference.  With this plan you get 2 quick service credits and 1 snack credit per night of your stay.  As the plan suggests you can only eat at the quick service restaurants found on property. (Don't discount quick service restaurants, they are delicious!). If you are a more on the go family or tightly watching your pennies this is a great option. 

Dining Plan
This is the base plan. We've been on this plan the last 3 times at Disney, and it's been awesome. It's kind of the "everything you need" dining plan. With this plan you get 1 quick service credit, 1 table service credit and 1 snack credit per night of your stay.  You get to experience the great quick service of Sunshine Seasons (Future World, Epcot), Be Our Guest lunch (Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom), Flame Tree Barbecue (Discovery Island, Animal Kingdom) or Pizza Planet (Streets of America, Hollywood Studios) for lunch or dinner and then you get to enjoy a table service at any of those delicious restaurants (this is a long list, a separate blog post to follow) and a snack.  Like I said, it's been a great option. 

Deluxe Dining Plan
This plan is what we booked for our vacation next year. The difference between this and the regular dining plan is more credits and the ability to do more table service restaurants. We did this because there are some incredible signature (2 credit) restaurants coming to Disney Springs (Downtown Disney's soon to be new name) and we wanted to be able to try them without breaking our out of pocket budget.  Plus, going back to Cinderella's Royal Table (Cinderella's Castle, Magic Kingdom) and finally trying Le Cellier (Canada, World Showcase, Epcot). With this plan you get 3 meals and 2 snacks per night.  Essentially you get 3 credits a day. You can use 2 credits at a signature restaurant plus a 1 credit each day.  You can use it at quick service as well. The way it was explained to me was that once a day you can use the credits at a quick service.  So this is a great option if you want to have more freedom in how you use your credits. 

Premium Dining Plan
With this plan you get breakfast, lunch and dinner plus 2 snacks per night of your stay.  On this plan they don't work on credit, it's redeemable as 1 credit for any restaurants (including signature (2 credit) restaurants). They can be used at quick service as well. This also comes with unlimited use of recreation equipment, child activity centers and tours.

Platinum Dining Plan
With this plan you get breakfast, lunch and dinner plus 2 snacks per night of your stay.  On this plan they don't work on credit, it's redeemable as 1 credit for any restaurants (including signature (2 credit) restaurants). They can be used at quick service as well. This also comes with unlimited use of recreation equipment, child activity centers and tours, viewing at Wishes and Illuminations, preferred seating at Fantasmic. Also tickets for Cirque du Soliel and a Spa treatment. 

Here are 2 great links that helps you look at the dining plans

Shows you pricing and participating restaurants

A great chart showing what's included in each dining plan (and what's not)

It can be overwhelming but take it one at a time and look at what is best for your family.  I think it's worth it to try it once, you will not regret it.  And when in doubt just look for the logo...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Printable: Disney Quote: You are Stronger from Winnie the Pooh

I have a freebie for you today!  Winnie the Pooh has so many great quotes so I have one to share with you today.  It's perfect to resize and make a small copy of to hang somewhere so that you can have a quick motivational pick me up throughout the day.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Teaching: September Writing Prompt

Getting kids to write is hard.  It's a constant struggle to get more details and more information.  It's even harder to capture a snapshot of who they were in the year that you had them in your class.  I started making monthly writing prompts for my students each month.  These prompts were pretty simple but they loved being able to hang them out in the hall to show everyone, they loved showing off who they were.  At the end of the year, you put them all together and it turns into a pretty cute keepsake that they have to show who they were, what they dreamed, and what they wanted.  So I'll be sharing each month I have.  I start the first week of school, which here is the last week of August, but since it's so little of August I keep it up through September.  As you can see it's on an apple and you can fill in the grade and they fill in their goal. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Disney Vacation Planning: Magic Bands and Ticket Options

So the best thing that Disney has done in the past year or 2 is roll out the Magic Bands. This little bracelet is linked to ANY reservation you make - hotel, dining, theme parks, etc. You touch the mickey on your bracelet to the mickey on the key pad, stand, or hotel room and presto! You're in line, in your room or eating a delicious meal.  They come with the Magic Your Way package or any ticket you purchase.  With the package you get to pick the color you want (I believe they have 7 colors available right now (gray, red, yellow, orange, green, blue and pink)).  You have until 30 days prior to arrival to lock in your color choice because they then get sent out to you! That's an exciting day - just take a look. 
On the back of them it has your name and number.  Take a picture - in case you loose it. 
The gray part is also removable to make them fit better on little wrists.  Naomae's fit great on the smaller size, I did notice that parents of young toddlers kept their bracelet on their own wrist.  I made the remark that if Naomae was that age I'd do the same thing. 

Now picking a color of Magic Band is the last and easiest choice you need to make regarding your ticket.  First, you need to decide your number of days.  Just because you are going on a 10 day  trip does not mean, you're going to want a 10 day ticket.  10 days is the maximum amount of days Disney sells.  We did 12 days in 2014 and had to make sure we had 2 days where we didn't go in the park.  If you are doing a longer trip like that, those are great days to go and explore Downtown Disney (the soon to be Disney Springs) and your resort.  For us, this time we are doing a 10 day trip but will only be getting an 8 day pass.  Why? Our last day we have a tradition of going to Downtown Disney and having lunch at T-Rex before catching the Magical Express back to the airport. (The mood on that bus is very different from when you first get there) So right there, we could go with a 9 day ticket, however we learned that we need a rest day and want to go exploring with all the resort has to offer (I already can see Naomae going down the sea dragon water slide about a thousand times) so that's how we came up with 8 days.  Disney vacations are awesome but they are not restful, you come home needing a vacation from that one so it is smart to give yourself a day to catch your breath and maybe a nap time during the heat of the afternoon. 
When you get your ticket - that is a base ticket.  You can only do 1 park a day - no switching parks and no water parks.  There are 3 options you can add to your base ticket.  It sounds weird but we tend to do a mock up itinerary of our trip to see what options we need, if any to add to our ticket.  Park hopper has turned into a given for our family.  When Naomae was younger we used the park hopper because we did 2 parks in a day.  We would go to one park in the morning, go back to the hotel to nap and then go the another park in the evening (the evening park was where extra magic hours would be happening and where we'd be eating that night). We've always seemed to have reasons to hop around so we are picking that option again.  
The 2nd option you can pick is called Water Parks & More - this includes the 2 miniature golf courses, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Disney Quest and ESPN Zone.  We did opt for this last time. The number day ticket you get is the number of times you can go to one of these.  So if you bought a 6 day ticket, you have 6 times you can pick one of the water parks, golf courses, etc. We went for it last time because of the longer trip and I'd totally do it again, it just isn't right for this coming trip so we are skipping it. 
The 3rd option is Park Hopper and Water Parks & More so if you think you'll use both, get this. It's the option we added the last time we went. 
Again, I can't stress enough planning and making a mock itinerary.  It's not the full blown, written in stone one but think about what goals you have for your Disney vacation (the parks you want to visit, where you want to eat, how you plan to fit it in with the time you have) and that will be the indicator for what ticket and options you should get. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Printables: Binder Cover Series: Bible Binder Cover

Here's my next binder cover - Bible!  

If you're looking for a set of binder covers that are for all subjects and all the same design then take a look in my shop.  I've started putting in full sets of binder covers of the same designs (with more on the way!). The full sets are $2.00 for 16 covers. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Printables: Faith Series: My Lifeguard Walks on Water

Printables are great, but they are even greater when they help remind you of the faith that keeps you strong.  My personality is one that can take a downhill turn very quickly inside so I have come to find that reading positive messages of all kinds, especially faith and help me turn back around. So here's one for you.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Disney Vacation Planning - Choosing a Resort

So you've decided you want to go to Disney, huh? So where are you going to stay? So your first decision is if you stay on property.  For us, it's no question - the benefits of Disney transportation, Extra Magic Hours, Dining Plan - are worth it for us.  It all depends on what is right for your family.  We did stay off property twice before trying a Disney resort and haven't looked back. Now, deciding to stay on Disney property doesn't make your choice of where to stay any easier because there are a variety of resorts to choose from. They are categorized to fit every budget.  They have Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas.  So far we've only stayed at Value Resorts and have loved them.  We did one trip at All Star Movies and the past two trips at Art of Animation.  As much as we love Art of Animation the only section that has standard rooms is Little Mermaid and it is the farthest away from everything - pool, food court and the bus.  After spending all day at the park, walking all the way back to the Little Mermaid room borders on torturous. We've already started saving for next year's trip so we decided we were going to go ahead and splurge on a Family suite room at Art of Animation (we've been dreaming of a Nemo suite since 2012).  Well that led to us being curious and being curious for anything Disney always leads to some pretty cool stuff.  Like discovering that you could actually budget for a Moderate or Deluxe resort.  So we started looking at the Polynesian resort - it's just going through an upgrade, we LOVE Ohana's and Naomae's favorite Children's center is Lilo's Playhouse (newly renovated, formerly The Neverland Club).  They have movies on the beach, where you can also watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Water pageant.  It is a Deluxe resort but with the Summer savings they seem to do every year, it would work with our budget.  This is where doing research can be a curse and a blessing.  As we were looking at online reviews and YouTube videos, we also discovered Port Orleans.  Port Orleans is 2 resorts - they have Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter.  So again, we did our research and decided to try Port Orleans French Quarter.  I cannot stress doing your Disney research enough.  Read LOTS of reviews (remember a review is an opinion so read lots to get the full picture) and watch LOTS of videos (YouTube is great for the visual learner in us all).  We knew exactly what resort we're going to stay in 3 times now.  In the end, it's a gut feeling, something you just know. I'm excited that we'll be expanding our Disney minds and trying something new.  I have created a Resort Comparison worksheet to help you out.  It has you fill in resort type, room type and rate, if it has a dedicated bus (a bus only for that resort and not shared) and resort activities - Polynesian has beach movies, Port Orleans has fishing, marshmallow roasts and carriage rides.  Look at it's proximity to the parks.  I found out that most attractions from Port Orleans French Quarter are only 10 minutes, plus you can take a boat to Downtown Disney.  So get out there and research what is right for you.  Whatever you decide - ALL Disney resorts come with their great service and magic.  So be adventurous and try lots. We've decided we'd like to try different resorts each time because it changes the 'Disney factor' and makes that trip unique.  We've been lots and we've got lots more trips to do but we always make them unique, each one is always different. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Printable: Motivational Series: Attitude of Gratitude

Here's another motivational printable for you.  I have color and black and white available.  This would be good anywhere, not just a classroom!

Smithsonian National Zoo

We went to the zoo!  Naomae had a great time seeing all the animals.  She loved the otters playing on their backs with rocks.  It was a very hot day and so most of the animals were napping.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Printable: Disney Quote: Brave

I have another quote for you.  It comes from the movie, Brave. I love how this movie is about being true to yourself and taking control of your own life. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Teaching Printable: Binder Cover Series: Behavior

Here is your next binder cover.  It's for Behavior - it's ALWAYS a good idea to have an organizational plan for your anecdotal notes.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Printable: Disney Quote: Alice in Wonderland

So I predict me having several series of printables going on at the same time and so I am adding a Disney Quote series.  I love quotes, I've been addicted to them since Middle School.  And so it seemed natural that I started collecting Disney Quotes.  This first one comes from Alice in Wonderland.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Teaching Printable: Binder Cover Series: Attendance

Here's a freebie for you!  For my classroom organization I'm all about the binders.  So therefore I'm all about cute binder covers!  I plan to do a whole series on binder covers so here's my first one - for attendance. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Font Love: Kimberly Geswein

I am a font addict.  I don't think you could love all the things I do without being one. I don't think I could ever have enough.  They are so much fun!  If you aren't really into fonts but still need that little bit of fun to whatever your font needs are I'd like to introduce you to my first font love...

She makes the most AMAZING fonts and other stuff as well.  Her fonts are available at DaFont.
Here are my top 10 favorite KG fonts
KG Always a Good Time
KG Beneath Your Beautiful Chunk
KG Blank Space
KG by the grace of god
KG Manhattan Script
KG Happy
KG Makes You Stronger
KG Pdx Bridgetown
KG Second Chances
KG Tribeca Stamp
Believe me it was hard to narrow it down to just 10 because she has so many unbelievable ones! She has great font tips about how to make them work for you.  And teachers - she has fraction fonts, teacher helper fonts and stuff that make it so easy to make your own stuff!  What are you waiting for? Go check her out now

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Printable Freebie: Courage to Pursue Your Dreams Motivational Poster

In case you haven't figured it out, I love printables.  I love them for teaching, I love them for general purposes.  Today I have a motivational one.  It'd be great hanging in a classroom for when a student zones out they have something positive to read.  It could be great to hang in a room, brighten up a blank space in a workout room or locker.  Since it can be used in multiple ways I am uploading it to 4 shared.  I'm also a person who LOVES to color.  Half my posters in my room this year were ones I colored in.  So for this printable I made 2 versions - a color and black and white. Enjoy!
Black & White 


Fonts used


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Teaching Topic: Room Theme

I don't know about you but I'm addicted to room decorations. I love seeing what other people have created and how they organized their space.  It can be overwhelming because I know I see so many ideas that I want to use EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of them. I learned this year that I tried too many things.  Once I figured that out I paid attention to what worked for me and what didn't.  I've been thinking about my room theme since about January.  Call me crazy, as most of the rest of the staff does at my school, but I already start to turn my attention to the next year.  It starts by making copies of everything I'll need for Orientation and Back To School.  It very much so pays off when school starts and you only have those few short days to pull everything together.  If you are able to get in your school during the summer more power to you but Summer School and Summer Camp are king in the summer at my school so my room is off limits until it's time for teachers to start back.  Around April and May I start making my Summer To Do list.  I look around my room and list of what new signs and decorations I want/need for last year.  As it turns out I end up redoing them because I like to many designs to keep it the same (hence the start of this blog, I saw the number of files I have sitting on my external drive and thought this needs to be shared).  It's hard for me to nail down a theme because I LOVE too much stuff.  I love chevron, diagonals, polka dots, stripes, quatre foil, bunting and banners, owls, elephants, cupcakes, most Disney characters, paisley, plaid, dolphins and sea creatures, flowers, apples, pink, purple, teal, yellow, script fonts, chalkboard fonts, handwritten fonts and so you see my room still ends up a hodge podge of everything.  So this year I finally sat down and had to write out a theme, narrow it down.  I came up with chevrons, polka dots and owls. I've been using rainbow colors. And I've been putting some bunting and banners on some too. I haven't had a hard time sticking to it. I've had a hard time stopping. Thus when I branched out in my printables.  I've never done pictures of my room but I do promise this year I will take pictures and share.   What's your room theme?  Do you change?  Share in the comments!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Disney Recommendation: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is one of the most unique and fun experiences we've had at Disney.  It's for ages 3-12 with many different packages and options to choose from so it fits every budget.  Since we only have 1 child and she is a girl we've always splurged on this and she's gotten the full package each time she has gone.  She has always made her own choices during her makeover and part of the fun is seeing who she will choose.  She has always surprised us because she ends up picking someone she never even mentioned when discussing her upcoming trips.  Of course, there is a bit of a diva 'tude that tends to come with it but she is a good girl so a warning with a stern look always whips her back in to shape. (That's why it's so easy to spoil her).  The Fairy Godmothers In Training have all been absolutely fabulous!  They not only made her feel so special, like a true princess (or fairy in one case), they got us, the parents, involved as well.  Not only did she get a face jewel but twice I've gotten one and my husband was even blessed with one once. After they glitter her up right before her big reveal, they have her glitter us as well.  Make sure you have Memory Maker because not only do you get all of the photo shoot pictures (if you have that package or add it) but the photopass photographers are also circulating around during the makeover process so you get the entire process from start to finish.  They always make sure they have a photographer around for when they do the big reveal and show the girl's what they look like.  We have found every cent we ever spent there to be very worth while.  They have 2 locations - one in the Magic Kingdom and one at Downtown Disney in the World of Disney store.  Make a reservation, save yourself any trouble or hassle.  You can make them up to 180 days in advance and I always call at that 180 day mark. Not only is it a lot easier to get a spot, you get more choices in what time you can go and I've always heard the operators give a sigh of relief that they are not trying to scramble me in. 
You can head on over to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique page for all the information and phone number to make reservations. 
Here's our trips to the B.B.B.
Even at 2 when she couldn't even participate yet, she was ready.  We got her a Belle dress that she wore for this first trip to Disney. 

At 3, she had her first Bibbidi Bobbidi Experience and chose TinkerBell

At 5, she chose Snow White

At 6 (this past year), she chose Ariel because of the awesome Ariel we had at a Meet & Greet earlier in the day. So naturally we had to go back and see her after she was made over. 

Any comments or questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. 

Giveaway: Personalized Class Sign

I decided to do my first giveaway! For all you teachers out there how would you like to have a personalized class sign?  Nothing fancy, just something cute for you to print out and hang in your room somewhere.  I made this one that's mine - it's got my 3 favorite things over chevrons, pink and owls. 

So here's how you can get a chance to win your own!
1. Leave a comment below letting me know what color, background and/or any cute clip art you would want added. 
2. That's it!
This closes on Thursday Night, June 4 at 11:59 pm. I'll be back on Friday morning to announce the winner. 

Here's what the backgrounds look like so you have an idea

Good luck!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Disney Printable Freebie

I figured it wasn't fair to only have a teaching printable but I decided I needed to have Disney represented to!  I have plans for lots more to come but I figure with us at the beginning of our Disney planning these seemed appropriate.  I used Classic Mickey colors. 


Disney Vacation Planning (Including Tip #1)

We love Disney.  We are those people.  Naomae is 7 and has already been 4 times (5 if you count the trip on our elopemoon when she was just a little jellybean in my tummy (but we didn't know it yet)).  We love fireworks at Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  I can't pick a favorite between Wishes, IllumiNations or Star Wars Fireworks Finale.  We love the food. We love Fantasmic and are so excited to try Harambe Nights and see the new night life at Animal Kingdom.  We love to see what the Imagineers will think of next.  Planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming - there are lots of choices to be made.  This summer we will be starting to plan for our next Disney vacation.  I can't tell you when because it is the internet after all but since there is SO MUCH to consider and think about I plan on sharing our planning process along the way so you can see what works for us.  

The very first thing you need to do is make your budget.  There is always one person in the family who is good at the money stuff (that's my husband).  He knows how to figure out what to set aside and when and how much it all adds up to be. Then he passes that information on to me.  That's when my fun begins - I start the make our itinerary.  But when planning a Disney vacation you need to know what amount will work for you first.  Disney can make a vacation on any budget so know yours first before you bit off more than you can afford. 

Second, head over to Disney Vacation Planning and order your free planning brochures and DVD's. You can pick what information you can get - they have information for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, and Adventures by Disney.  You can pick all, just one or just some. We order it every year.  You can click here to be directed over there. 

Right now, we have a budget set and are in the process of picking which resort to stay in.  Prices for next year are not out yet (you can find them updated each July) but we always use the current year for a baseline and go from there.  
It's always exciting to plan - for me it's as much fun as the vacation itself. 
 So stay tuned as we take you own our journey and you may find some freebies along the way. 

The next chapter we'll cover is Booking (includes choosing a resort, park tickets & options, dining plan and memory maker)

So I leave you with my favorite picture ever from our Disney Trip
April 2011 (Spring Break Trip)