December 31, 2014

NYE Craftivity & Writing Prompts

New Years Eve is tonight and before we know it we’ll all be heading back to our classrooms. New Years is a wonderful time for everyone to take a moment and reflect on the past year and how one can continue to improve and move forward. Maybe it’s shedding a few pounds, finishing that book you started last summer, or learn a new language. Everyone’s goals are different but they’re all there to help us focus on making this next year count.

Student’s goals and resolutions are just as important! This time of year we, as teachers, can help our students understand the importance of goal setting and helping them make a plan to meet those goals. I mean, I wish 10 lbs could just drop off of me in my sleep but it’s the work I put into it that’ll get me those results. It’s vital that students understand this concept. Plus January is a great mid-point for reviewing this concept of goal setting if you’ve begun discussing it at the beginning of the year when setting up your reading and writing workshops.

The activity that I have for you today is equal parts fun and equal parts educational :) I’ve paired a couple writing prompts with a cute New Years display! I’ve included both boy and girl templates, which students will color and cut out. I wanted to include 2015 and 2016 so you’re set for using this next year too. Have students color, or if you’re brave, use glitter to make their year glasses pop! Students can decorate their party hats any which way you want or feel free to use patterns. Add colorful pom-poms or ribbons to the top for a fun touch. Put it all together and it really brightens your room or hallways!

The purpose of this activity is to kickstart kids back into doing ‘school’ and these prompts will help them get those writing gears working again. I’ve included 2 basic goal/resolution writing templates and the Countdown to a New Year gives them 5 different writing prompts to build a paragraph. Feel free to use your own lined paper or use the primary paper included in this download.

Happy New Year to all of my teacher blogger friends!!

December 23, 2014

Fourteen in ’14 Linky Party

I love year-in-reviews and reflections about the past year. It’s a wonderful opportunity for one to take time and think about everything, from the good to the bad, and begin to plan and prepare for the year to come. I simply cannot believe what 2014 had in store for me but it was such a fun ride...

Here’s my top fourteen moments of 2014...

1. Getting to spend time with these goobers...
After my sister passed a few months prior, it was extremely important for us to spend time with my niece and nephew. I loved getting to see them for the weekends!

2. Completing a half marathon together!
One of the biggest accomplishments from 2014 was getting to run a half marathon with Philip. It was his first one and there’s something to be said in sharing this together. Also, I was getting in shape for our wedding and I’m looking back and wishing I could get back to that size! ;)

3. My elephant tattoo
Picture taken a few hours after finishing.
Elephants have always been my spirit animal, if you will. I’ve had a deep connection with them since I was little and I had been dreaming of this tattoo for ages. I was so excited to finally be able to get it done and it turned out amazing! Check out Cirque du Rouge if you’re in the DC area and want a piece done. Highly recommend my artist Liaa Walter!

4. Getting married!

Getting married to Philip was such an amazing and magical time. We chose to get married at The Wynn in Las Vegas and I was so happy that our friends and family could make it out to celebrate! We continue to hear compliments from friends!

5. Our honeymoon

We decided to return to Turks & Caicos for our honeymoon. It was such a relaxing time!

6. Meeting Murphy for the first time


This little guy has become our everything and I couldn’t imagine our lives without him. He’s grown to be such a cuddle-bug and playful little guy. I mean, really...look at that face!

7. Moving...again....to California
After the school year finished and we both left our jobs, we were on the hunt to start over professionally. After I received a job offer from another county to teach he received an offer as well...but this time it was in California. After some discussion it was decided that we’d pack up and head west...

8. On the road

9. We made it!
Us visiting the Santa Barbara pier and Murphy’s first time to the beach!
The view from outside our place.
10. Celebrating weddings with our closest friends

These people are my life and I love that we got to see them every few months due to weddings! It was great getting to travel back to DC and then to Vail, CO to celebrate the love of our friends.


11. Discovering ti-tip sandwiches
Ok, if you haven’t had a tri-tip sandwich you are truly missing out. There’s something to be said for this sandwich only made with bread and meat. If you’re ever passing through (literally) on your way to Santa Barbara you HAVE to stop at Cold Spring Tavern on your way. It will make your life...especially with the salsa and horseradish sauce....*mouth waters*

12. Launching my lifestyle blog, Primarily Inspired!
Primarily Inspired is the second brain child I’ve had and I love that I have a new space to share out all of my non-teaching related posts related to my loves of: food, style, and overall life. Just like with my teaching blog, it’s been fun to see it slowly grow over time and getting to meet other women via my blogs have been so rewarding!

13. Matching tattoo Christmas gift!
Philip and I both wanted matching tattoos ever since we got married and we brainstormed many ideas. Finally he found this Picasso drawing of his dachshund and we both thought it was perfect for us. Since we aren’t doing Christmas gifts for each other this year we treated ourselves to our matching tattoo.

14. Finding work at a wonderful school!
The road was a bit bumpy in terms of trying to find a teaching position in September as all schools were already staffed. Not to mention a paperwork hangup from VA and the hoops to jump through when trying to transfer your teaching license. However, good things come to those who wait and pray. I stumbled across Calvary Christian School by happenstance and it was one phone call that changed everything. I am grateful for my preschool aide position but am really praying that a position opens up in their elementary school for the next year. We’ll see what opportunities present themselves but nonetheless, I’m so happy to have found this school community!

Be sure to link up and share your top fourteen moments of ’14!

December 18, 2014

Christmas Questionnaire 2014

Linking up with Fabulous in First for her annual linky!

When do you decorate?
In a normal holiday season the husband is very adamant about not decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. However, if it were up to me, decorations would be going up in early November. This year, though, I got lucky and was able to decorate because we were going out of town and celebrating Thanksgiving with friends. I explained that, “wouldn’t it be nice to return home and it already feels like Christmas?” *wink*

Elf or no Elf?
Elf on the Shelf seems creepy to me (am I the only one?!) and since we don’t have kids yet we don’t put up the Elf. However, I do look forward to one day taking the time to come up with different mischievous things for him to do. The kids seem to really enjoy this tradition.

Christmas cookies or no baking for you?
Of COURSE Christmas cookies! It’s one of our favorite traditions and usually we go to TX and do cookies with his mom and sister. But, now that we’re staying home we are doing as much holiday stuff together as possible.

Favorite holiday tradition?
We are beginning to develop our own traditions now that we’re newlyweds. See my post here with all my holiday date nights/ traditions. A couple in particular that were really fun was decorating a gingerbread house and going ice skating :)

Favorite Christmas movie?
If it were up to my husband the answer would be Jingle All the Way...but mine is A Christmas Vacation. It’s not Christmas without the Griswolds. Also Home Alone is a definite go-to!

Snow or no snow?
I’ve never had the chance to see snow on or around Christmas but I love the snow. Of course, not so much being in it but I love the ambiance it gives. Just makes you want to cozy up and relax by the tree.

Favorite Christmas song?
Anything Michael Buble! I love his Christmas album and his deep voice...so Sinatra....can never get enough.

Favorite gifts to give and get?
I will always be a fan of gift cards, even if they seem impersonal. It gives me the chance to really get what I want versus the hassle of trying to return or exchange things on the chance I wanted something different. Plus there’s super cute ways to gift, gift cards to others via Pinterest, so there’s a little more thought in it than you’d expect.

A few gift cards I’d love to give and get are:
Stitch Fix
Teachers Pay Teachers
VISA gift cards

December 14, 2014

A Christmas Conversation Linky Party

Happy Sunday morning everyone! Today I am linking up with Babbling Abby over at The Inspired Apple for her lovely Christmas Conversation Linky Party! I just love the holidays and learning about how everyone celebrates Christmas since every family is different and has their own traditions. As a newlywed, the hubs and I are celebrating our first Christmas together as a married couple (and so is our fur-baby, Murphy), which is very exciting! I’ve put a lot of thought into holiday-themed activities and movies this year and I look forward to creating new traditions for our family and future kids. :)

If you’re looking for fun holiday-themed date ideas I wrote a post about the ones we are doing this year over at my lifestyle blog, Primarily Inspired. Be sure to check it out and I hope you get inspired to try some out with the love in your life this holiday season!

Back to the Christmas Conversation...

Favorite Book to Read to Your Kids:
Dr. Seuss’ classic tale of How the Grinch Stole Christmas will always be my favorite! It’s the tale of taking someone who’s lost the spirit of Christmas but learns to change his ways and find true happiness. Just love this story!

Favorite Holiday Food and/or Drink:
Last year Philip made eggnog from scratch and it was delicious! Now we’ll be making it each year and I’m very excited about this. Another food that has always been (in my family) a tradition is getting a honey ham for dinner...a dinner for the next three weeks!

Christmas Song You Will Tire of First:
Every year it’s the same and I’m sure this will pop up on everyone’s conversation poster but the one song I always tire of after hearing it once is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”...mostly because you hear it EVERYWHERE and possibly every 5 minutes.

Favorite Holiday Movie(s):
We have a ton of holiday movies lined up for watching this year but a few of my favorites are, of course, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Elf, The Holiday, and Love, Actually. Each a little bit different but nonetheless great movies to snuggle up to.

A tradition from both of us is decorating cookies or cake pops. We typically fly home to TX (where Philip’s family is from) to spend it with his family, which we look forward to every year. But, this year we will be staying home for the first time and therefore we have to carry on the tradition of baking and decorating cookies! We’ve already decorated our gingerbread house (which was SO much fun!) and I look forward to decorating some cookies. 

Oh! One tradition that I forgot to mention was Philip always had pine scented candles at home growing up around Christmas so another tradition we’ve adopted is always stocking the house with pine scented candles ;)
First gingerbread house made together. I think it came out looking great!
Elf cake pops! Philip got really into it...then the elves started growing mustaches...

Best Gift You Ever Received:
This year we decided not to get each other presents because we’re trying to save. But one gift we both received this year was our matching tattoos of Picasso’s drawing of his dachshund. It was a perfect design for the both of us and I love how simple it is. They both turned out great and I love that the hubs and I share this together.

Where Can You Be Found on Christmas Eve:
Like I mentioned before, we usually go home to TX for Christmas and spend time with his family. But with moving this year and just having unforeseen expenses, we opted to stay home. But, it’s given us time to spend together doing fun holiday themed date nights! On Christmas Eve you can find us first at church service then home with each other. :)

When Do You Take Your Decorations Down:
It was a lucky year that I was able to get them up before Thanksgiving! But, typically we take down all of our decorations sometime in January after New Years. We transitioned to a fake tree and it makes cleaning up such a breeze. It’s always a sad moment when I have to take things down...

Fun Holiday Fact About You or Your Family:
And a fun fact about the Daniel household is that this will be our first Christmas celebrating as newlyweds, in addition to, it being Murphy’s first Christmas! Needless to say I’m excited to take him for Santa pictures!

But most of all, my true excitement of this holiday comes from the celebration of Christ, our Lord, being born. It’s such a wonderful time to be thankful to God for sending his Son for each of us and through Him being saved. It makes my heart happy to celebrate Him and share in His love this season.

Thank you to Abby who’s hosting this wonderful linkup. Be sure to link your blog and share your holiday traditions!

December 8, 2014

Styling with Stitch Fix #3

Hello all! I’ve just posted on my lifestyle blog, Primarily Inspired, about my newest Stitch Fix and I’m so excited to share with you all the goodies I got! Here’s a sneak peek into what I received in this months box...

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Primarily Inspired

See my full post here at Primarily Inspired or visit www.theprimarilyinspired.com!