Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer Luau Birthday Party!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer (or enjoyed it if you're already back to school)! 
It went by in a blink for me! 

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to celebrate my summer baby's birthday. I love to plan parties! And I love that I have so much more time to plan in the summer! 

This year my daughter wanted a birthday luau, which was perfect because we have a pool, and I knew Oriental Trading carries a ton of luau decorations and party supplies! I got out my computer and got to work! 

I have ordered one of these personalized banners from Oriental Trading almost every year. This is the medium sized one, and it is perfect for this space! These would also be perfect for a classroom in your chosen theme! 

These are some of the other decor items I used! 

 This flower lei garland was HUGE! It was amazing! 

The centerpieces were perfect! 

 I was SO IMPRESSED with this inflatable cooler! We had about 50 people at our house - kids and adults - and this little beauty held enough water, soda, and Capri Suns for everyone! 

 These adorable cardboard palm trees helped hide the trash cans. :) 

This little cardboard hula girl was perfect for welcoming guests to the party, and my little one loved it, too! 

Of course no luau would be complete without some flower leis! All of their friends went home with one in their favor bag, and my girls still love to wear them all the time! 

It was a wonderful day with our friends and family! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Celebrating Reading with Oriental Trading!

Every year, my school's PTA hosts a huge Celebration of Reading to reward the kids for all of their hard work all year. Our students earn "Book Bucks" throughout the year by reading outside of school. At the end of the year, they get to spend those Book Bucks at a huge carnival in the gym that the PTA sponsors. 

Kids and staff dress up like book characters, too! 
I was the yellow crayon from The Day the Crayons Quit, and my own first grader was Junie B. from Junie B. Jones is a Party Animal!

This year, we received some awesome carnival decorations from Oriental Trading to try out. 

These fringe curtains in our school colors greeted students when they walked in the gym. 

These pennant banners in our school colors provided a festive touch for the stair rails. 

And these table skirts were perfect for the snow cone and snack tables! 

I was also able to use a fringe curtain and some star balloons for my door for the last day of school! My little stars loved it! 

I love celebrations at the end of the year! And Oriental Trading helped make this year extra special! 

Friday, April 7, 2017

On the Red Carpet with Oriental Trading!

I want to take a minute to highlight one of our awesome sponsors from the Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat last month! If you missed the post all about the daytime event, click {here} to catch up! 

Our team of organizers know that teachers are truly rock stars and we wanted them to be treated like the red carpet celebrities they are.  We couldn't do this alone!  Oriental Trading made it possible for us to create a red carpet affair we won't soon forget.

When our attendees entered the ballroom hallway, they were greeted by the paparazzi trying to get their picture. 

Attendees entered the ballroom through the gorgeous Hollywood arch. It took a team to put together, but it turned out so perfect and provided an awesome photo spot!

Inside our ballroom, the d├ęcor really made everyone feel like they were at a red-carpet affair.

Jenny was so excited to see her friend Oscar! ;)

It was like we were really in Hollywood!

We had a few photo booths set up so we could get some memorable pictures throughout the night.

Every attendee could take home their very own Oscar! These were adorable, and everyone was so excited to get one to take home! 

My favorite items we used from Oriental Trading were the cardboard paparazzi and award statues! I was even able to reuse them tonight at my school's Hollywood themed family dance, and every parent commented about how awesome and perfect they were! 

These were so easy to set up and take down, too! 

We love Oriental Trading! They were an amazing sponsor for our event!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The 2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat - Part 1!

When was the last time someone rolled out the RED CARPET for you as a teacher? 

If you attended the 2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat, your answer is two weeks ago! 

We love to celebrate teachers and all school staff for the celebrities they are, and that is exactly the purpose of this event. This year was no different, and we want to share with you all of the fun and celebration that happened AND give you a chance to win some awesome teacher prizes!

The weekend began as it does every year for those of us on the planning team - with lots of prep! 

We had a huge increase in attendance this year, so this year that meant filling 560 of these awesome bags from Scholastic Reading Club with all kinds of goodies from our fabulous sponsors! 

We were able to take a quick break for dinner under the dome at the amazing West Baden Springs hotel before getting back to work setting everything up for the retreat! 

On Saturday morning, we were back at it early for attendee check-in. 

We also had some awesome sponsors greeting attendees and treating them to some of their products! 

Before we knew it, it was time to start the day! 

As soon as attendees entered the ballroom, they could put their raffle tickets in for the items they hoped to win. We were lucky enough to have some AMAZING sponsors provide some fabulous prizes for our retreat! 

We began with a welcome message from Holly Ehle from Kindergarten Connections, our incredibly talented director of this event, who explained the history of this retreat and how her mission is to celebrate teachers for all of the work we do for kids all year. She is amazing! 

Next up was everyone's favorite principal, Mr. Gerry (pronounced with a hard G) Brooks. He gave a fantastic keynote about setting goals for ourselves and our students and families that left everyone laughing and feeling inspired. 

Tiffany, Brittany, and I had fun trying to figure out Principal Gerry's "21 game." 

We also had to get a group picture with Principal Gerry! :)

After the keynote, we all went to our designated buffet lines for a yummy lunch. 

Then we had fun playing the "Left, Right" game describing the history of the Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat with the Teacher Tool Swap. 

I ended up with the best Tool Swap gift ever - this amazing Scentos holder from Kate Mense (her husband MADE IT)!!

To kick off the professional development portion of the day, Hope and Wade King from the Ron Clark Academy and Elementary Shenanigans gave a phenomenal presentation on the power of student engagement. They demonstrated ways we can "set the stage to engage" our kids every day to increase their achievement and help them WANT to come to school instead of just showing up because they HAVE to. 

Every person in the room was completely engaged and inspired! Hope and Wade King are beyond amazing! 

From there, we split up to attend three rounds of mini-sessions. We had some of the best teachers and presenters in the country hosting these sessions! 

 Sarah Cooper and Tiffany Copple were the mastermind planners of the professional development sessions! They did an amazing job! 

 DeeDee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten presented on writing in the classroom. 

 Tiffani Mugurussa from Time 4 Kindergarten shared tips on how to get started with selling on Teachers Pay Teachers

 Katie Mense from Little Kinder Warriors taught attendees how to use PowerPoint to create classroom resources. 

 Christina Decarbo from Miss DeCarbo lead a session on making comprehension more concrete for students. 

Haley O'Connor from Teaching With Haley shared strategies for helping students improve their self-control. 

 Amanda Pauley from Mrs. Pauley's Kindergarten gave attendees some strategies for classroom management.


I shared quick and easy ways to integrate STEM into teachers' daily curriculum. I was lucky enough to get to demo a Bee-Bot from Terrapin Logo during my session! They are so cool, and kids love to use their coding skills to program them! 

Heidi Neels from Flipping For First showed attendees everything SeeSaw has to offer them.  

 Maja Austin from Kooky Kinders taught attendees about the power of Donor's Choose to fund their classroom needs.

 Brittany Banister from Mrs. Banister's Kindergarten Kids explained how ESGI Software can save teachers time when assessing.

 Chris Pombonyo from Live in the Classroom lead a huge session on effective digital tools to use in the classroom. 

Crystal Oswald from The Balanced Teacher  showed attendees how she creates engaging songs for her classes. 

We wrapped up the PD portion of the day with a quick panel session with Principal Gerry, Hope and Wade King, Dee Dee Wills, and Chris Pombonyo. This allowed attendees to ask these experts anything! 

Finally, we ended the daytime event with the PRIZES from our fabulous sponsors! Check out all of these happy teacher faces!! 

A huge THANK YOU to all of these amazing sponsors:

Did you miss out on the fun this year? No worries! You can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win some teacher swag, too!!

Check back SOON for a recap of the epic red carpet evening event sponsored by ESGI, GoNoodle, and Oriental Trading!

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