Clint: Elf Not Exactly On The Shelf

Our version of Elf of on the Shelf is a little bit different.  Several years ago I found the Elf Magic website and thought they had the most adorable elves.  I knew my son was too old to start the whole Elf of the Shelf thing, but I really wanted one of these cute little guys.  I decided to ask for one for Christmas for myself.  Clint arrived that year.

I decided that once my son was officially "in" on the whole Santa thing I was going to start having some fun with Clint. There is no pretense of Clint watching him for good behavior at our house.  It is simply a cute little elf sharing surprises each morning of Advent. Sadly, this was not quite the smashing success I was expecting. The pre-teen boy may have done a little eye rolling at Clint's antics.   I knew I had to step up my game. Thanks to Pinterest I was able to come up with a few ideas that actually brought a genuine smile to his face. Like these:

Clint Self Portrait
Son's Response

Elf Forensics

Gangnam Elf
Elves Are Not Toys

Last year, however I discovered the secret to Clint's total acceptance.....FOOD!  Again, I must credit Pinterest for most of the ideas...though I will take credit for the Hunger Games and Harry Potter themed antics.
Edible Snowmen For The Win

Frosty Cold One

Bread From Mellark Bakery

Every Flavor Beans

Oreo Elf Shoes
Elf Oven 

I Mustache You, Do You Like Elves?

I was toying with the idea of Clint not showing up this year. However, yesterday as we were all decorating the tree, Clint was mentioned and my son said, " I love Clint!"  It stopped me in my tracks and I almost started crying.   Needless to say, our unconventional Christmas Elf will be returning and so now I will be scanning Pinterest every night for new ideas to keep the teenager in love with this bit of Christmas fun!

I've pinned a few of Clint's antics to this board along with a few other ideas in case you need them. Please comment with any great ideas you might have found also!

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Believe 2014!

I've been running this race for 4 years now...though I could have sworn it was longer.  I actually went and counted my race shirts to be sure, but anyhow... A month or so ago I wasn't sure this year's race was even going to happen.  

You see in a normal year the publicity for this event starts in September with a big T-shirt logo reveal.  Then, the Facebook posts about early registration start showing up in your news feed. Followed by asking who wants to put a sign in their yard to help advertise. You get the idea. However, sometime in October it dawned on me that I hadn't seen any news about this year's race.  I knew something was up.  The old website? Gone.  Facebook page? Gone.  Local running calendar? Nothing on it.  

I was bummed. This is the race that got me motivated to start running again!  It's my Thanksgiving weekend tradition.  It couldn't just disappear!  I posted an inquiry on my Facebook page to see if any locals knew what was up.  I few responded that they had heard it might not happen, but one friend found a link to a registration page. No official race details, no event website, but I could register so I did. I crossed my fingers and hoped it was really happening and I kept my eyes glued for some sign of the usual publicity. Nothing. I did eventually get an e-mail about packet pick-up that included race details. Yeah! It was happening! I just hoped the usual crowd showed up.

Ok this story is getting too long and there is more to the fact that I was out late last night with friends, ate only a few appetizers for dinner along with my cocktail, and somehow still managed to run this race sub 30 minutes for the first time ever!  Did I mention the course is hilly?  Well, hilly by Texas standards that is!  But the story gets even better.  I get a text this afternoon asking if I placed in the race. Huh?  No, unlikely I say, but the results weren't posted yet and I didn't stay for awards. Apparently a mutual friend had mentioned that she thought I placed.  Well, all be darned...I did!  No kidding!  I somehow managed to get 3rd place in my age group with a finish time of 29:29 (age is a good thing in these circumstances).  I also think the lack of publicity this year decreased the volume of competition, but hey I'll take it!  

Believe?  Sure do! Can't wait for next year!

Here is last year's post about trying to hit sub 30.

Pigs a Plenty!

These adorn our Christmas tree every year and they have since the early 90's.  I can tell you the names of the students who gave them to me.  We still exchange Christmas cards with a few of their families. As a young teacher who collected pigs I can tell you that only a few apples crossed my desk, but pigs?  There were plenty!  

I confess that not every pig out there is worth collecting.  These 7 however have been on my Christmas tree since I received them. Believe it or not, the trio of "Joy Pigs" are actually from three entirely different families.  I do hang all three together is a triangle formation near the top of my tree every year.  The others all find their own spots mixed in with all of my beloved ornaments.  The flying pig with Santa on his back makes me chuckle, as did the precious boy Peter who gave it to me my very first year of teaching.  

Our Christmas tree holds so many memories and decorating it each year is one of my favorite blessings. I enjoy recalling the story that goes with each as I find a spot for it on our tree.  My pig collection has stopped, but there are few treasured remnants of those days. Today I enjoyed my trip down memory lane with these seven pigs and the students who gifted them.

Do you have ornaments from students on your tree?  

I Am Thankful

I am thankful.....

♥ That marching band season is finally over. ;-)

♥ That my teenage son still likes spending time with his parents.

♥ That I am in good enough health to have run my first half marathon this year.

♥ That technology and social media have allowed me to keep in contact and feel the love and support of friends and family that are many miles away.

♥ For TPT artists, who design, sell and even give away clip art for commercial use.

♥ That my son has adults in his life who have taken the time to get to know him and invest in him and help him along his path.

♥ That I have a church family that I know I can count on.

♥ That I have a dog who is always happy to see me.

♥ For the teachers on TPT who have decided my products are worth buying.

♥ That I get along so well with my mother in law and that she is so easy to live with.

♥ For Pinterest…yep I really am!

♥ For the gifts of music my son shares.

♥ That I have an amazing circle of friends who have provided meals, pet sitting, vacation planning, running partners, prayers, cocktails ;-) and countless hours of listening and just plain old fun!  

♥ That over 24 years ago I decided to date the best friend and patient husband anyone could ask for and so very grateful to have him by my side.

Whenever I take the time to actually make a list of the things I am thankful for it becomes abundantly clear that there is little I should ever complain about...and yet I still do.  This list could have gone on quite a bit longer and I should probably take the time to keep in going in the future.  For the moment though it covers what is on my heart this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thematic Thursday: Thanksgiving

It's Thematic Thursday and I am linking up with Comprehension Connection to share some fun ideas for Thanksgiving.  I can't believe how quickly it's creeping up on us!

Back in October I shared one of my favorite Thanksgiving crafts during the Tricks and Treats Blog Hop.  See the post for instructions on how to make this simple basket out of paper bags,
It so happens that I opened my store last November and my very first Freebie was this Thanksgiving Patterning activity. I didn't know at the time if Mom2punkerdoo was going to be successful venture, but as it turns out my store is steadily growing and I am having a blast!  Click below to grab this freebie now!
Click to download freebie!
I've got a few additional Thanksgiving products in my store, including this most recent Turkey Coloring Glyph.
Click to preview
My Pinterest addiction has also helped me to gather enough Thanksgiving ideas for at least 5 more years!  This board includes ideas for both school and home.  Have fun browsing and I hope you find some ideas you'd like to try this Thanksgiving!

Follow Mom2punkerdoo's board Thanksgiving Fun! on Pinterest.
Be sure to link back to Comprehension Connection for more Thanksgiving ideas!

Chalkboard Clips - Pinterest Win!

I am always thrilled to put a Pinterest inspired idea into action!  First, I saw the idea to sharpen chalk in a pencil sharpener.  Brilliant! Something I wish I had thought of back in the days when I taught in a classroom that had an actual chalkboard.  Yep, I am that old.  

I picked up these cute chalkboard clips at the dollar store knowing I wouldn't have a shortage of ideas on how to use them.  The possibilities really are endless.  Anyhow, must credit Pinterest for the inspiration to use them to organize copy instructions.  Now I just wish I had purchased a few more sets!

The Pioneer Teacher's Thankful Celebration and Giveaway!

Come join in the celebration! Katrina from The Pioneer Teacher has hit an A.W.E.S.O.M.E. milestone and is celebrating her thankfulness with a fantastic giveaway! You have until Friday, Novemeber 14th to enter.  Don't miss out!

See this post on The Velveteen Rabbit  to get a glimpse of one of the prizes in the 2-3 Prize Pack.

K-1 Prize Pack Rafflecopter link: a Rafflecopter giveaway Grade 2-3 Prize Pack Rafflecopter link: a Rafflecopter giveaway Grade 4-5 Prize Pack Rafflecopter link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are You A Doodler?

My mom was a doodler and so am I.  My husband will tell you that no envelope, magazine or slip of paper is safe in our house.  That's probably a slight exaggeration, but it is true I do like to doodle. You should see my church bulletin on Sunday mornings. ;-)

Part of my affinity for doodling is that it's a bit hard for me to just sit and not do something with my hands.  The iPad has become my favorite tool of choice when watching the occasional TV show with my family.  However, it totally bugs them when I divide my attention between Bejewled Blitz and whatever is on the TV screen.  So I decided to go old school and grab a 64 box of Crayolas, print out some of these doodles I liked so much and start coloring.

I stumbled across these fantastic doodles on Pinterest and fell in love.  Have you been to Doodle Art Alley?  If not, you simply must check it out!  They have tons of free printable doodles that make wonderful coloring pages like the one you see here.  They've also got activity pages and puzzles and all sorts of fun stuff that would be great in the classroom or for a rainy afternoon at home.

Have fun looking through all the creative doodles.  I am sure you will find something that inspires you to break out some Crayolas. Next up for me is a doodle of a quote from Harry Potter, but first I need to sharpen a few crayons!

The Velveteen Rabbit Tea Party

This has got to be my all time favorite culminating activity.  Seriously. The B.E.S.T.
One of my very first classroom tea parties.

Way back in the 90's my two fantastic teaching mentors shared with me that it was traditional for our grade level to culminate our Velveteen Rabbit unit with a formal tea party...with REAL china tea cups!  Needless to say I thought they were INSANE!

Their sanity may still be in question, but not as a result of this idea.  My Velveteen Rabbit Tea Parties have become the most cherished of classroom memories.  So much so that when we started our homeschool journey I knew I wanted to include this tradition.  For four years we held an annual Christmas tea party with my son's dearest friends and their mothers.  I had to change the theme up after the first year, but we managed to find a way to connect it to our learning and give a special gift to our friends at Christmas.  Just thinking about it makes me nostalgic...sigh.

Anyhow, for this post I will focus on The Velveteen Rabbit Tea and maybe another time I'll share the details of our Colonial Tea, Mr. Willowby's Tea and our Hot Chocolate Buffet!

Very long story short, after completing our study of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams we would transform our classroom with table cloths, china tea cups, platters of scones, finger sandwiches, flower vases, place cards and well mannered children.  It was magical...and a I won't lie a LOT of work. Did I mention I did this for the first time as a brand new teacher?

As a part of the tea party I decided to incorporate a retelling of the story of The Velveteen Rabbit.  I went through the book and took out quotes from the entire thing that created a summary from beginning to end.  I gave each student two quotes to commit to memory over the course of our study. By the day of the tea all of the students had them down joke.  Every year I would start my tea with the parents sitting at elegantly set tables, and the students standing in their Sunday best reciting their quotes to share this touching story with their families.  Are you starting to see why this is my favorite event?

I could go on and on about my love for these tea parties and how they evolved over the years, but I suspect y'all would be bored to death.  Instead I have created a Pinterest board with some of my favorite recipes and ideas to help you plan your own Velveteen Rabbit Tea Party. You can check it out at the bottom of this post.

And Guess what? This week you can also win a copy of my Velveteen Rabbit Unit.  The Pioneer Teacher is having a special giveaway in celebration of hitting a big TPT milestone.  Just head on over to the Thankful for Twenty Thousand Giveaway to enter to win her 2nd-3rd grade prize pack. The quotes I mentioned are all included as bookmarks in the unit!
Click to Enter

You can also preview the entire unit by clicking below.
Click to Preview

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Big Day Tomorrow

On July 22nd I made a choice that in the moment seemed like a good one. There have been a few moments since then that I wasn't so sure.  Particularly a few very early Saturday mornings, after away games on Friday night, when I found myself running on about 4 hours sleep!

However, I think my half crazy plan might not have been so insane after all.  Our adjustment to high school and marching band has been rough.  That is putting it nicely.  Anyone who knows me well realizes that exercise is what keeps me sane.  So while the early mornings and long runs seemed a bit nuts, I do think they kept me from going completely off the deep end.

The long runs have also been my only social outings this fall, unless you count football games and band competitions.  Much like I need endorphins, I also need my social time!  I'll get a good 13.1 miles of it tomorrow with a group of awesome women!  Let's just hope I make it across the finish line.