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Our Christmas Card Unveiled + GIVEAWAY | 2016


Sending Christmas cards is one of my all-time favorite holiday traditions (see last years). It was even more-so once Philip and I got married two years ago. Every year since I’ve planned and prepared a number of seasonal activities and movies to help get us into the Christmas spirit. From making a list of our favorite Christmas movies, going ice skating (pre-baby), to constructing a gingerbread house, we go all out during the holidays and this year it’s even more special. Greyson adds a level of excitement to this year’s festivities and although he may be too tiny to really know what’s going on, it’s our duty to document it so that these memories live on.

One tradition that is slightly new this year was getting professional photographs taken of our family to use for our cards. I figured it was time to invest in quality family photos (especially wrangling an eight month old and our Murphy-dog). I am so glad that we made that investment because the photos and cards turned out beautifully! Once we received our photos I couldn’t wait to start creating the cards we’d send to our family and friends this year. This years card is especially important because it is Greyson’s first holiday season! Thankfully Minted provided us this opportunity to share with all of you just how great their 2016 holiday card collection really is! So, let the unveiling begin!


 Card: Cheers For The New Year

When it comes to our Christmas cards we typically go for a simple design. This year we wanted our photos to be the focus, with a specific focus on our family as a whole and our Greyson baby. In keeping with the woodland theme we also wanted to extend that feeling with a card that encompassed more earthy-tones versus the vibrant colors associated with the holidays. One of my favorite features that Minted offers is their ‘find it fast option where you can place your own photo and watch as it is placed into Minted’s vast selection of holiday cards! It truly makes the decision making so much easier, and faster too, since there are hundreds of cards to sift through.



Another great feature that makes Minted stand out amongst the rest? Their FREE recipient address printing! OMG the days of having to handwrite each recipient name and address are long gone for the Daniel house and I am grateful. Minted offers a number of styles that you can choose to match your card theme or opt for a different design. Personally, I went with the address printing that matched my theme but to each their own! In addition to my free address printing I selected their wrap return address stickers which are always a favorite of mine and worth the extra dollars. It makes addressing my cards so much easier and while we are living in our apartment (of which we’re moving in the spring) stickers, versus a stamp, is the way to go. But no worries! Minted also offers return address printing too as an add-on.

GIVEAWAY

I am so excited to partner with Minted this year to offer not one, but three, of my readers with a $100 credit towards any purchase from Minted! All you need to do is enter your name and email address. That’s it! This giveaway will run from Nov 27th - 11:59 PDT Dec 3 and winners will be randomly selected by Minted and is open to U.S. residents only.

ENTER OVER AT MY LIFESTYLE BLOG PRIMARILY INSPIRED
This post contains affiliate links. Although Minted provided product in exchange for this review, all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Any earnings will go directly to supporting this blog. So thank you!

Holiday Teacher Gift Guide

The holidays are quickly approaching, as they do every year, and although you’re probably thinking, I have time!, it’s always a good idea to start thinking about what you would like to gift the teacher of your little one(s). Speaking from the teacher perspective, we love the holidays for more than one reason: we get to see parents at the class holiday party, we look forward to those Starbucks gift cards, and really feel appreciated by the families we serve when we are thought of to any degree.

So, here are my holiday picks for gifting those teachers in your life that make a difference every day with your child. The best part is: this list is made by a teacher for teachers and parents like you.

A gift guide for the teacher in your life! Don’t spend your time or money on something your teacher won’t use or need. Here is a comprehensive holiday guide to gifting teachers the things they’d really enjoy. Created by a teacher for teachers!

Minted Class Photo Frame via Minted
I’m not sure if you know, but Minted has a cute selection of art pieces and even ones you can customize just for teachers! I thought this apple print was adorable and it would be easy for any room-parent to snap some photos of the class and present it to the teacher at the class holiday party. Teachers love having keepsakes from each class and what better than something they can hang in their rooms for years to come!

Monogrammed Anything via Etsy
If you’re wanting to reach a little bit more outside the typical gift for a teacher, go with anything monogrammed or personalized. I have yet to find a teacher that doesn’t love jewelry, a personalized coffee mug, pencil holder, etc. I loved receiving a ‘K’ initial necklace my first year teaching and it was something I wanted to wear over and over. Plus, it makes the child feel special when they see you wearing and enjoying their gift (even if mom picked it out).

Custom Wine Label via Evermine Occasions
This particular wine label went viral just a few months ago and it’s for a good reason! What a funny, yet practical, gift for any teacher! Because honestly, we’re probably the biggest winos out there so don’t feel weird about gifting us a bottle of wine- it will be used! I had parents of students in the past do this and I loved it because it’s truly amongst the things we really want right before winter break. Add a fun custom label to it to make it extra special.

Starbucks Anything
Want to know something teachers love more than wine? Coffee (or tea). Whether they make their own at home or pick it up from their favorite roaster (i.e. Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc.) getting them anything from a gift card to a new travel mug will be sure to brighten their day. Those tend to be things we want, but never buy for ourselves.

Gift Cards
This is by far the most typical, yet most coveted, gift you could give a teacher. It is nothing new for parents to know that teachers always spend money out of their own pocket to provide materials for the class or for that fun activity she/he has planned. It’s also no secret that we aren’t necessarily bringing home top dollars either to help fund our classrooms. So, with that in mind gifting a teacher a gift card will be very appreciated. Here are the top retailers most teachers shop at regularly:

  • Coffee (Starbucks, Dunkin’, etc)
  • Target or Walmart
  • Teachers Pay Teachers
  • Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  • Michael’s or Hobby Lobby (whichever is nearest to you)
  • Visa Gift Card
  • Stitch Fix (this is an exception. Most teachers love this service but check with the person before assuming they’ll use it)
Other gift card ideas include fun things like a nail salon or massage so we can treat ourselves, movie tickets, restaurants or popular chains like Subway or Chipotle, and even office supply stores like Staples are great ideas.

Scarf or Other Accessory via Mom Advice
I love scarves and all of my students knew that so it was a lot of fun to receive a gift I wasn’t expecting. Our little kiddos are a lot more observant than we give them credit for. So, if you have a favorite accessory please believe they’ve noticed.

Ruler Photo Ornament via Simply Kierste
One of my favorite gifts ever from my kids were those who thought to buy me ornaments I could hang on my Christmas tree at home. Most of them were store-bought, which were very cute and I still hang to this day! However, if you have the time or find something on Etsy that’s handmade, just slip your child’s photo in and voila!

Gift Registry
This one is really special and the most overlooked. Is your teacher engaged? Have a baby on the way? Do some digging to see if you can find their gift registries and pool the class on getting an item or purchase one from your family to theirs. I found it to be so thoughtful (and a huge surprise) that my class bought me the Kitchen Aide from my wedding registry at the end of the year. Absolutely touched my heart.

Letters From Students
A free gift that could possibly take the cake and be more valuable than any Starbucks gift card is anything made from our students. Whether it be a letter or a handmade item, it all means so much to us and we love receiving little notes about how much our kids appreciate us as teachers. It’s little sentiments like that, that get us through those tough work days.

So there you have it. Gift teachers this year something they would really appreciate and get a lot of use out of. I hope this guide helps you decide on a gift for the teacher in your life!

Anything missing from my list? What would you add to your Teacher Gift Guide?

Styling With Stitch Fix | November

Referral links are used within this post, but 100% are my own opinions. See original post on my lifestyle blog!
One of my favorite pastimes is eagerly waiting for my Stitch Fix box to arrive! I seriously check the tracking from my app daily and even take a little peek into what I can expect in my fix. I was happy to see that my stylist selected a number of items that I specifically asked for or that were a top pin on my Stitch Fix board. Last month I made the bold choice to develop a capsule wardrobe as a means of living minimally. These are interchangeable pieces that can easily make multiple outfits by only using the same few items. I narrowed down my closet to three pairs of jeans, a pair of khakis, and about 9-12 different tops that consist of shirts, cardigans, and outerwear. I also divided my wardrobe into lounge, sleep, and workout wear which is kept separate from my closet. Creating this capsule wardrobe has really helped me focus my personal style and keep the pieces that lend themselves to multiple outfits - without thought! I plan to donate, sell, or trash all the clothes I removed and it felt so good to do!

  Styling With Stitch Fix: November: See how Stitch Fix helped me find new styles to add to my capsule wardrobe! More on the blog |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Since having Greyson my body isn’t back to where I’d like it to be just yet, but I’m working hard with staying active through running. That being said, this month I requested that my stylist focus on pants that are high-waisted so I feel comfortable and it slims my tummy. I also asked for loose fitting blouses and tops, with one being a specific request. In addition, I requested for a personal favorite cardigan but in a beautiful deep burgundy (which I got!).

  Styling With Stitch Fix: November: See how Stitch Fix helped me find new styles to add to my capsule wardrobe! More on the blog |theprimarilyinspired.com|

It’s been quite some time since I scheduled my last fix and it appears that Elizabeth is my new stylist. Since it’s been a few months (I was even pregnant the last time) I wanted to be extremely detailed in my note as well as the pictures I pinned to my Stitch Fix board. I am in the process of creating a capsule wardrobe and Stitch Fix is the perfect solution to finding quality pieces that can be worn with what I already have in my closet.

Pixely - Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan $48 KEEP

Styling With Stitch Fix: November: Pixley Martina Slub Knit Cardigan |theprimarilyinspired.com|

I remember when I first got this same cardigan, but in black, in one of my maternity fixes. It quickly became my favorite go-to cardigan because of how soft and effortless it was. I styled it for work, casually, and even around the house. So when I lost said cardigan my heart broke. Luckily the people at Stitch Fix are amazing and when I tweeted about losing it they quickly emailed me and allowed me to repurchase the cardigan straight from their warehouse! OMG customer service, right?! I couldn’t be more happy to have my black cardigan again, but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the same cardigan but in this burgundy color. I first saw it on Life In Pearls & Sports Bras and knew I had to pin it and request it specifically in my note. It just looked so gorgeous on her! Thankfully it appeared in this fix and I can’t wait to wear it with everything!

Styling With Stitch Fix: November: Pixley Martina Slub Knit Cardigan |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Market & Spruce - Evella Boatneck Top $64 RETURNED

Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Market & Spruce - Evella Boatneck Top |theprimarilyinspired.com|

I was super excited to see that this boatneck top was in my fix! It’s designed to appear as having a layered look but it’s actually all one piece. Love! Although I was interested in the chambray color, receiving this burgundy hue was fun to try on. It’s such a cute piece, but unfortunately I found the overall fit to be a bit snug (even for a size large). I actually like that it isn’t stretchy, but it just means I have a little bit more weight to lose before I feel completely comfortable in it.

Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Market & Spruce - Evella Boatneck Top |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Liverpool - Anita Skinny Pant $78 KEEP

Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Liverpool - Anita Skinny Pant |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Liverpool - Anita Skinny Pant |theprimarilyinspired.com|

These pants are beyond the most comfortable pair of pants I think I’ve ever tried on. Ever. They’re high-waisted like I requested and are made from a soft stretchy material. My stylist described them to be a step above leggings and even though I was highly skeptical (I personally hate stretchy pants if they’re not leggings) I found myself not being able to take them off. These pants are the perfect addition to my capsule wardrobe because they can be worn professionally, casually, or leisurely! Win, win, win!

  Tip: These pants, although perfect, are longer in the leg than I’d personally like. I won’t pass up these pants for that reason alone so I’ll get them hemmed from our tailor to make them ankle length!


Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Liverpool - Anita Skinny Pant |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Cardigan: this fix | Shirt: Target (similar) | Pants: this fix | Shoes: Nike

Crescent - Amerie Button Down Blouse $54 RETURNED

Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Crescent - Amerie Button Down Blouse |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Crescent - Amerie Button Down Blouse |theprimarilyinspired.com|

I wanted to love this blouse so badly! I loved that it was lightweight, a key detail in my note and my style profile, and was flowy. Being in this transitional place with my postpartum body has me wanting tops that are fitted but flow in the right areas (ahem, my tummy). The color was also beautiful, and was a little darker than the photos show, as well as the tiny detailing. However, when I put it on it just didn’t feel right; almost too elderly in its overall fit. I’d love to see similar blouses like it in future fixes but perhaps a more streamlined button down.

Liverpool - Elizabeth Super Skinny Jean $78 RETURNED

Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Liverpool - Elizabeth Super Skinny Jean |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Guys, these jeans reminded me of what I loved so much about my maternity pants - no zipper! Although they were high-waisted, I didn’t like that they were almost 100% stretchy. I like a good stretch but when looking for jeans I need a denim feel to them too. The dark denim color looked great with everything, but I couldn’t keep ‘em because I already had a dark denim jean (from my very first fix!) in my closet. Living minimally, and now with my clothing, in good conscience I couldn’t purchase a similar jean that I wasn’t in love with.

  Styling With Stitch Fix: November | Liverpool - Elizabeth Super Skinny Jean |theprimarilyinspired.com|

So, what is so great about Stitch Fix?

Styling With Stitch Fix: November: See how Stitch Fix helped me find new styles to add to my capsule wardrobe! More on the blog |theprimarilyinspired.com|


I’m glad you asked.

I know you’ve probably seen numerous bloggers share their fixes and I’m sure a number of pins on your own style boards consist of those bloggers’ review photos. I know mine are! But, in regards to why I, too, share Stitch Fix with all of you is because they’re a company that has people like you and me in mind. And when I find a company like that, that I personally love too, I am eager to share it with anyone and everyone.

Stitch Fix first began as a skeptical leap of style faith. I wasn’t quite sure that some stylist over the internet could really find 5 pieces that would not only fit me, but be looks I’d actually want to wear. For a $20 styling fee I received my first fix and was initially so impressed with how my stylist heard exactly what I was looking for and delivered on it. I still wear a number of those first purchases today (and that was over 2 years ago) and enjoy adding new and fun pieces along the way.

 I’ve journeyed with Stitch Fix through the ups and downs of my weight and even through my pregnancy with their maternity styles. Since it’s been a couple of months since my last fix, I was so excited to see that they offer shoes now in addition to a new mens line. This just proves to me that Stitch Fix has a finger on the latest trends, but also keeps the needs of their customers in mind. I can only imaging how they’ll grow and expand into the future!

What do you do with what you don’t keep?

Styling With Stitch Fix: November: See how Stitch Fix helped me find new styles to add to my capsule wardrobe! More on the blog |theprimarilyinspired.com|


One of my favorite aspects about Stitch Fix is that they provide a prepaid shipping envelope just for the items you’re sending back. That blouse or pants don’t fit perfectly? No problem! Just place those pieces in the provided envelope and drop off at your post office. You have three days to decide which pieces you’d like to keep so no there’s no rush. I love the convenience of this because it makes the whole process that much simpler.

Your stylist doesn’t expect you to keep everything. It’s all about finding a piece here and there that will expand your closet to include items that perhaps are newly discovered or expose you to different brands. However, if you love everything (and it’s happened to me before!) and got that perfect fix then they give you their buy five discount (25% off)Oh, and that $20 styling fee you paid in the beginning? It actually works as a credit towards anything you do purchase.

What about those referral links?

Because I created a free style profile I now have the ability to share my love of Stitch Fix with others. A referral simply allows me to earn a credit of $25, which essentially covers my styling fee for the next time I schedule a fix. Once you create a style profile you are given a special referral link and begin earning your own credits. Why not get a credit for something you use anyways? I am so appreciative to those who use my link because it helps me as a SAHM enjoy the little things like feeling good in that pair of jeans. So, thank you.

If you have any questions about Stitch Fix or how it works, feel free to connect with me!

Linking up with Maria.

Parent & Teacher Conference Forms {FREEBIE}


Fall conferences are upon us and that means having to get organized with scheduling parents and sharing your student progress up until now. I love meeting with parents within the first few months of school because it allows me to touch base with them at least once (it’s not guaranteed both parents will be present for future conferences) and share what they’re children have been learning and will learn in the coming months. However, with that said, conferences can be an overwhelming time too considering most school districts are gearing up for end of the quarter, report cards, and fall break if you’re so lucky to have one.

This year I am rolling out my favorite product to help cut down on those conference woes and help me get organized - these parent & teacher conference forms! And best of all for a limited time these forms will be FREE in my TpT shop! You have until the end of NOVEMBER to pick them up without paying a cent.

Let’s take a peek at what you’ll get!


Quarterly At-A-Glance Forms
My first year teaching I found myself talking way to much about one particular subject and missing others. Or that dreaded “going over time” and feeling like my schedule was all out of whack! Not anymore! Since using these at-a-glance forms I’m able to slim down my talking points by using this tool, which is also helpful for parents to see everything. District benchmarks and various scores are included so that you can easily discuss where each student is at compared to where your district recommends they be. A strengths, weaknesses, and stamina box helps encourage parents to see what they should be keeping an eye out for when work comes home.

Easily keep records of each quarter’s conferences and allow parents to snap a picture with their smartphone for their own records (or just simply make copies for them). By having the quarter at-a-glance I no longer run into the issue of going over my time and it helps ease those initial jitters by having talking points right in front of me!

Two Templates Of Forms
For other kinds of conferences, such as for behavior, this download also includes a template just for keeping a written record of what was discussed at the meeting. This form can also be used to send home to the parent asking for a conference so they have time to put their thoughts/concerns down and send back to the teacher. That way when conference day happens, both sides are ready to talk and no one is blindsided or fueled by emotions.

I really like the spot just for suggested interventions because it allows the teacher and parent to brainstorm ways they BOTH can intervene so the concern or issue is resolved. A lot of times parents think it’s only the teacher’s responsibility to create interventions for in the classroom, however, interventions at home help a great deal too.

Don’t Forget Slips
We know parents are busy, especially if they have multiple children. It’s easy for conference dates to be forgotten. These helpful reminder slips are perfect to send home even a few weeks before their conference date so all parents are aware of their time and where to meet. I also recommend posting your conference times outside your classroom or online (if you have a class webpage) so that there’s no excuse for a missed meeting. Another helpful tip is to print these slips on bright colorful paper so that it stands out from the other paperwork coming home.

Thank You Slips
After any conference it’s always a nice touch to send a little thank you to the parents you met with. It’s to share the understanding that time is precious and for parents and teachers alike to set aside time in their busy schedules to meet is important. 


Grab your FREEBIE today up until November!

Annual Flash Fall Sale!


You guys I am very excited to be running my early FLASH FALL SALE over at my TpT shop! Everything, even the newer products, are 10% off now (and for four days this week) ending on October 13th! So, be sure to stop by TpT and grab yourself a resource for 10% off! I have all kinds of new products that range from reading to writing and math! 

Not sure what’s new around the shop? Take a peek below!

GUIDED READING MADE SIMPLE & PT 2

   

These downloads were fun to put together because I don’t believe any teacher can have too many resources for guided reading. The block is always evolving and it’s important to keep your instruction new and exciting for your kiddos. But, the only way to do that is when you’re properly prepared! Check out my Guided Reading Made Simple original 2nd Grade download for the complete pack of resources (read more about what’s included here). PT 2 of this download was created from feedback I had received from a buyer who requested JUST the blacklines of the activities (read here). 

 EVEN & ODD DICE GAMES & DOUBLING!

    
Even and odd numbers are amongst the first mental math concepts taught in second grade and these dice games are so easy to create and play that your kids will for sure be engaged! Read more about it here or go straight to my shop!

The other math activity I put in my shop recently was this engaging Doubling Pot activity, which references and goes perfect with the popular story Two of Everything! Doubling is another mental math strategy that is taught towards the beginning of the year and I loved doing these skill activities with my class. After reading the story and recognizing that the pot doubles everything that’s placed inside - students then get to pick a number 1-10 of any item, place it inside the pot, and demonstrate what comes out! See more in the preview over at my shop here.

 DISCOVERY JOURNALS


Have you used Discovery Journals in your classroom before? Read all about how I’ve implemented it in my classroom here or run over to my shop to see for yourself the amazing, and super easy, this additional project is for your higher learning students! Keep the kids on both ends of the spectrum engaged all year long!

 HOW-TO WRITING: CARVING A JACK-O-LANTERN


Teaching writing once upon a time was a daunting task. Most of my second graders coming in hated writing and didn’t have the confidence to put pencil to paper. Not anymore! I love how-to writing at the beginning of the year because it helps build student’s writing confidence because it’s a writing piece that showcases what they’re experts in! Read about it here

**See this same project but in time for those Leprechaun Traps here!

Happy shopping!!