Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What you can do with wrapping paper and Mod Podge

Here is another little glimpse of my pirate themed classroom. This wooden cabinet had really seen better days, and it was landfill bound. Some of the wood chipped off, and whatever they used to stain it....just flaked off every time I walked by it. I really needed a cabinet this size in my room to serve as a little divider, so I did a little experiment. I had a roll of polka dot wrapping paper from Hobby Lobby, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to try. I had spray adhesive, but I knew that wouldn't hold up over time. I got a big bottle of Mod Podge and some of those paint sponges. (If I ever attempt something like this in the future, I will use a paint roller! It took forever with those little sponges, and the rough wood tore the dollar store sponges to shreds.)

I measured the cabinet and cut the wrapping paper the same size as the back of the cabinet. I got a co-worker to hold the wrapping paper and "feed" it to me as I went. I figured out pretty quickly that I needed to apply thin layers of Mod Podge to keep the wrapping paper from wrinkling/bubbling/ shifting. I noticed more and more bubbles as I got closer to the end of the cabinet. I had nothing to lose since the cabinet was essentially I poked tiny holes in the bubbles with a straight pin. I saturated the area again, and it smoothed out for the most part.

We finished just in time to go to one of those mandatory pep rally things some school districts like to do right in the middle of pre-planning. When we got back, my room smelled like a combination of wet dog and paper mill pollution. We opened my external classroom door for most of the day, but the stench returned the next day when I put another coat on top of the wrapping paper to seal it. I have worked with Mod Podge many times and never noticed a bad odor. I think the combination of wrapping paper, glue, and whatever varnish was on that cabinet....made a mini chemical reaction. :)

Anyway, I let the cabinet dry a while before flipping it back into place. I talked my husband into coming up to my room one evening to paint the top and sides black. He told me it would chip if we didn't sand and prime it. That sounded boring to me, so we went right ahead and painted the cabinet. It is chipping. I think I'll call it "distressed."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Winter Olympics Math Product

Click here to see it in my TPT store.

I don't know about you, but I love the Olympics! I went to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, and it was a wonderful experience. The sense of patriotism was unreal. On a scary note, I was at Centennial Park the night of the bombing, but we had to leave early because I had a migraine. (The only time of my life I have been thankful for one of those demon headaches!) I should knock on wood because I can't tell you the last time I had a real migraine.

Anyway, the Olympics are something I really look forward to, and I'm glad the Winter and Summer games are on a rotating schedule now instead of both happening in the same year. (I had to look that up to make sure I didn't imagine it...they made the change in 1992.) The Summer Olympics are my favorite mainly because I love watching gymnastics. Ice skating is a close second though, but I can't get anyone in my family to get into watching ice skating with me! I still can't believe my 8 year old daughter doesn't even like it. She recently said "Mom - you know I can't stand ice skating, right?" WHAT?! I think my husband and son have brainwashed her so they can get their way with the remote. My daughter is pretty persuasive when there is a tie in the household when it comes to males-vs-females! I don't stand a chance when it's 3 against 1! Oh well - I will just hibernate in my bedroom with my TV for a couple of weeks this winter! :)

I made an Olympics math product for K-1st graders just in time for the games. I couldn't decide whether to do it or not...I knew it would be a product I could only use every 4 years, but the Olympics are just too much fun to ignore! I made the product based on my Christmas Math packet that has become the best selling item in my store. If you liked that set, you'll probably like this one. I found some cute Winter Olympics graphics from Glitter Meets Glue Designs and Whimsy Clips on TPT. I hope you like this fun math worksheet set. It's perfect for morning work, and several of the worksheets look the same....but actually have two different levels of difficulty. You should be able to use these for differentiation without the students even knowing the skill level is different.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I'm so excited to participate in my first giveaway! Enter to win the item of your choice from three TPT stores!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Free Christmas Math Task Cards!

I'm so close to making my goal for 2013 on Teachers Pay Teachers! I wanted to hit the $1,000 mark for earnings, and I'm at $987. I'm good with that! To say thank you, I am offering these math task cards for missing addends for FREE until 1/1/14. Download now for next year! I'm just asking that you either follow my blog or my TPT store.

Click here

Merry Christmas! Thank you for making 2013 such a great year!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another Christmas Freebie!

I'm in such a jolly mood - I decided to make another free item for all of you! (And I won't even get to use it because our kids get out for Christmas break in a day and a half! Maybe that's why I'm so jolly?!) Anyway, I have used the Turkey letter discrimination activity countless times, and I meant to make a Christmas one earlier this month.  Oh well - here you go!
Click Here to get your freebie!

Please consider following my store....or maybe leave feedback? It only takes a few seconds to leave feedback, and TPT sellers appreciate it so much!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Freebie - K-1 Math worksheet

I found the cute weekly clip art freebie from Krista Wallden tonight on TPT. (If you haven't discovered her store yet - you need to go there ASAP! She has the cutest clip art, and I'm loving her weekly "Unwrap your Freebie" mystery clip art sets! She is giving away some very generous freebies!

I wanted to play around with the new elf clip art today, so I decided to make a freebie worksheet similar to those in my current best seller. (Christmas Math morning work for K-1)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My latest Creation: Phonemic Awareness Center Task Cards & Worksheets for Rhyming

I'm so happy I finally attempted (and finished) this phonemic awareness packet!  I won't lie - it took FOREVER to put all of those tiny little graphics on those pages! I thought it would be easy to make a black and white version to go with it....but I was wrong. There has to be an easier way to change graphics! (I suppose I could watch one of the zillion tutorials online.)

I plan to use this with my little breakfast buddy each morning! I included color and black and white task cards just in case you need to save your ink! I think the black and white ones will still look cute printed on colored cardstock. They can also be used as a worksheet if you don't want to cut them. Here's a little preview:

I put this rhyming center to use today and took a few pictures to show you different ways these cards can be used!

I made them in color and also provided a black ink option - I printed mine on red cardstock.

They work great as clip cards. (I got my chevron clothespins from Etsy - they are a little smaller than  standard clothespins and so cute!)

I left the task cards intact here and inserted into a heavy duty page protector/dry erase pocket. Bingo chips make it a great paper saver/ink saver way to use the product.

Paint daubers are another fun way to use these task cards.
The product also comes with 6 rhyming worksheets.
3 cut and paste sheets
3 color the rhyming word sheets
Take a look at this product here:

DIY gifts - tile coasters

I love when I can repurpose crafty items I already own for another project! I made these tile coasters using some of my scrapbook supplies. (I love scrapbooking but haven't done it in forever! I need to get back into it because I have a whole closet full of scrapbook supplies.) I didn't make a whole tutorial for this because there are already about a million on pinterest and other blogs. I made these to put in my little booth at a local boutique.

I sold out of the neutral ones first, so I bought more scrapbook paper that looked like it would match popular home d├ęcor color palettes. I made a few templates on my computer with chevron clip art and monograms. They looked cute, but the ink ran a little. (just another reason for me to buy a color laser printer!) Here are a few things I learned in the process:

- It's better to cut the paper smaller than the flat surface. If it hangs past the flat part, it will not seal well.)
- Clear spray paint works well as a cheap sealant.
- Using a corner rounder on the paper gave them a nice "finished" look.
- Using pre-cut Felt Dots or Rubber Ones
 saves lots of time.
- Thicker cardstock is not really doesn't seem to seal as well.
- Apply Mod Podge in a THIN layer under the paper to reduce bubbling, sliding, and wrinkling.

Here are some great directions for making your own!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A gift for our SLP Intern/Student Teacher

I'm not sure what everyone calls a Grad student doing a school based placement. SLP Intern? Student Teacher? Whatever the title may be - I call our "student" just AMAZING!

Mrs. Britt and I have been at a loss as to what to get our SLP Student Intern / Teacher at the end of the semester! She has been such an asset, and we wanted to get her something she could use in the profession. We wanted to get her something monogrammed, but her initials may change one day! We also do not know if she will choose a school based SLP job or a medical one. I saw a list on Pinterest of gifts to get a Speech Language Pathologist, and it all clicked once I saw the laminator. I have this same laminator, and I paid at least $30 for it. We are going to give her lots of things we have created over the years to go along with the laminator and laminator pouches. I have a cute idea in mind on how to organize it, so I will post a picture as soon as we complete that task!

We are going to try the 3.5" x 5.2" pouches this time. I have lots of flash cards that are 2.5" x 3.5" - and my fingers are crossed that we can fit two in each pouch.

What kind of gift ideas do you recommend?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turkey Letter Discrimination Freebie

It's never too late for a Thanksgiving freebie! I plan to make another one of these for Christmas very soon! I let my speech kids do this in between turns sometimes instead of playing a game. I thought it was a pretty functional way to indirectly address letter discrimination with frequently reversed letters. Students can color the page according to the key or use clear bingo chips to save on paper/ink. Works great with small groups and independent centers.

I also tucked in a little math at the bottom of the page. (We have the visual color representation of turkeys.....why not?!)

I purchased little plastic containers at The Dollar Tree to hold the bingo chips. I think there were 8 containers in a pack. I packed each one with only the colors of bingo chips they needed for the activity. (I stole the bingo chips from several other games in my room.) Crayons also work if you don't have a strict copy limit at your school! I found these Dry Erase Pockets on Amazon, but I also saw them at Hobby Lobby recently near the coin collecting section.
Get your turkey freebie here!

Pirate Themed Classroom Door

I have had the same thing on my speech room door for a few years, and it's starting to look a little worn. I am not ready to change from my pirate theme just yet....but I could spend days on Pinterest searching for the perfect door! I am in a bit of a pickle though. I put that burlap on my door with a pretty high powered glue gun. I didn't realize I had such an industrial strength glue gun until other teachers on my hall started borrowing it because it will hold anything to wood, metal, or even the dreaded old cinder block wall. (South GA humidity wins every time when trying to adhere something to a painted cinder block wall with clear packing tape.) Anyway, the burlap has apparently become one with my door. If I ever remove it, I think I will have to bring a chisel and a power sander to work with me. :) Thankfully, I treated all of the edges with some Dritz Fray Check the first day I glued it to the door. I will admit it beats covering my door with paper every single season. Anyway, Ms. Parker and I only shared this classroom for about 2 weeks after I hot glued everything in place! She also changes her hairstyle frequently, so I never could have kept up with her pirate character! hee hee! Ms. Parker's pirate earring was stolen immediately after I pierced her ear. My pirate needs cosmetic ear lobe reconstruction surgery due to being tugged on a few too many times. (The joys of having a therapy room closest to the restrooms....right where everyone lines up to wait!)

It's hard to see the words in the sign, but it says "We'll help you fix your ARGH!"

Christmas music that doesn't drive me nuts....

As I sit here watching Christmas in Rockefeller Center, I can't help but think how much I like new spins on old Christmas songs. I pretty much love any song covered by a different artist....or a "Crossroads" type of mix with two different artists. (Maybe this started for me when RUN-D.M.C. and Aerosmith teamed up for "Walk This Way" when I was a kid!) There are so many great Christmas song covers out there, but it seems like radio stations play the same old recorded versions. I love Bing Crosby as much as the next guy......but have you ever heard Otis Redding sing White Christmas? It is awesome! I first discovered it on the Love Actually soundtrack. It's not Christmas until I watch Love Actually a couple of times. (Except for the time I watched it with my mother-in-law at the theater. That was a little awkward for both of us. :) The entire Love Actually soundtrack is fantastic......Maroon Five, Kelly Clarkson, Norah Jones, Dido, Wyclef Jean, and Joni Mitchell. Now that is an eclectic mix. (Told you I'm a random person.) Olivia Olson's version of "All I Want for Christmas is You" is so cute. I have tried my best to learn to play "Glasgow Love Theme" by Craig Armstrong on the piano because of this movie. The soundtrack is not all Christmas music, so it's well worth the $6.99!

What is your favorite Christmas song? I think mine has to be "All I Want for Christmas is You."

What Christmas song drives you nuts? "Wonderful Christmas Time" is hands down the most annoying to me. And I love the Beatles.

The backstory of Mrs. Pritchett's Printables

A little history about me: I didn't do things the easy way. I graduated in 1999 with an undergrad degree in Speech Pathology. Like most female college grads in a serious relationship, I had a case of wedding fever.  My boyfriend, Chad, moved back to our hometown right after I graduated, and I missed him so much! I was accepted into grad school for the Fall semester, but I just couldn't make myself go! (I still feel guilty to this day for taking a spot.....I really hope they were able to find a replacement!) I moved home instead of going to grad school to be closer to Chad. (Closer in that his parents live half a mile away from mine!) 
 I dont know if this is the case everywhere, but you can't do much in GA with an undergrad Speech Language Pathology degree. Against the advice of basically anyone who knew me - I took a break from college. I loved the Audiology courses I took in college, so I found a little short cut into the working world!  I took some tests through our state licensing department, and I became a Hearing Instrument Specialist. I worked for great people at Beltone, and I had a pretty cool job doing hearing tests and selling hearing aids right when digital technology hit the market. was commission based, and I was 22....and I lacked the confidence to convince a 70 year old man to spend $5,000+ on something he didn't think he needed in the first place! (I'm stereotyping based on rock solid observation. The men came in kicking and screaming because their wives made them come! The wives wanted me to tell their husbands they couldn't hear, and the husbands wanted me to say their wives mumbled!)  It was a fun job, but I needed consistent income as a newlywed with a mortgage! (Yeah - I figured out quickly there's more to getting married than just planning a wedding!) 
A friend got me a job selling ads for a local newspaper. I loved that job! I get an endorphin rush from finishing a project at the last second (aka procrastination) & there are several deadlines per day in the newspaper world! About a year and a half later, we had a baby, and things worked out for me to be a stay at home mom. Being the chatty person I am, I needed adult interaction after about 6 months of sitting at home. I got a part time job with a child photographer and also took pictures for the ad department at the newspaper. I was basically trading the dollars I made for daycare fees. Although it was great experience because I learned a ton about graphic design from both of those endevours. 
Long story short, I ran into an SLP I knew from undergrad. She was so excited about her job, and I decided maybe I should apply to graduate school just to see. I got my acceptance letter about the same time a position opened with my husband's company in the same town as the college. The rest is history...but I don't recommend moving 2 hours away from the Grandparents while attempting a full time graduate program with a 2 year old! And definitely don't do a medical externship while pregnant with baby #2! Morning sickness and checking for gag reflexes in others...those two just don't mix. 
Moral of the story - I am not too proud to admit I probably should have listened to everyone who told me to go to grad school right after college. That would have been much easier! But who would I be today without all of that experience doing things the difficult way?! I might not have married Chad Pritchett (hence Mrs. Pritchett's Printables).....or I might have made really bad grades in grad school b/c I would have been running home to see Mr. Pritchett......or I might not have my two wonderful children had I done things in a different order. I had to follow my own hard-headed path to fully appreciate this degree and the job I have now!