Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What's New Wednesday - Relaunch

What's New Wednesday is a place for us educators to link up some new stuff. Did you recently post a product? Have you posted a tour of your classroom in a blog post? Did you post how your first week went? Have you recently updated a product you want to share?  This is the place for you!

My newest product is a bundle. It a product a year in the making. 



I hope to have a full blog post on how to assemble and use these lapbooks here soon. These bad boys work on assembling the letter, tracing and writing the letter, phonics and visual discrimination of the letter. It works on both upper case and lower case letters.

Be sure to try it out by downloading the preview. You will get 3 letters for free!

Now it is your turn. Link up your newest product, update, freebie, or blog post below. 



Teaching Tuesday: Back to School Tour

Last week I was able to have an entire day to label and set up my room. Here is your virtual tour.

I had so much fun decorating my room. Let's get learning! Back to school 2015.


Welcome to The Purple Panda room. We are a room of old 2's and young 3's.

It is back to school time and I wanted to jump in with all the sharing of my classroom spaces.
This is where we do all our large group learning. I have trays that we use when we are doing things right here on the floor. Every day during circle time we answer a question. This week we answered "How do you eat?" and they sorted food into spoon, fork or fingers.  I love this chart!
Die cuts don't have to be used in the shape or color they are cut out in. DIY color blocking of die-cuts.
I added little labels all over the room. You can clearly see the cots one here. The very first locker is where I keep teacher circle time and large group activities. I also keep our carpet squares there.
All About Me math task cards. Teaser of an upcoming Teachers Pay Teachers update.
My learning centers are small -- my room is small, so my centers need to be small. This is great for my kids because they are able to interact and engage. I keep things simple. I add as many theme oriented things as I can. Our theme at the start of the school year is All About Me, Family and Pets.  

I used the pre-primer sight words as part of my decor.
Above my writing center are great things needed for the learning to write and read.. Like letters with phonic pictures and pre-primer Dolch sight words. They are able to use the chalkboard as much as they like and I have chalk available at all times.

Hey Teachers, Parents and Home Educators! Check out my room.
This poster is actually one of my favorites. It is my "Theme in the Real World" It is pictures of families, kids and homes throughout the world.

Since I have extra lockers they are used for teacher storage too.
This is my teacher supply corner. I spent a lot of time sorting and organizing this corner. This locker is also used to hold one of my 31 bags that I use to keep our week organized and my activities in one place. Also, every single thing I do has to be able to be broken down EVERY Friday. All organization must be portable, small and functional.

My art center can actually accommodate all 7 students.
I love art. My kids love art. I have three art sections to my art center. The white table is our standing art space. This is where we mostly do our play dough. There is a drawing tablet on the wall for free drawing and the table for seated art work. Since my room can only have 7 kids I can usually just flatten the shelf and fit everyone around the table when we are doing large group art. These are end tables from IKEA.

I am such a science nerd it is sometimes hard to keep my science exploration contained to this little space!
Discovery and sensory is all about our Five senses during this theme. This area is a cramped so I am trying to find another solution.

Textures, textures, textures - 5 senses sensory bin. Cotton balls and paper. All it needs now is some pasta.

We had a decent first week. I have found out things about them and they are learning their new environment.

I feel like we have not had enough interaction with the learning centers, and I feel like our centers time is much too long for this group, so I may be breaking things up some. Like moving our question of the day to the middle of center time and adding a second activity to it. Only time will tell. I have 2 new ones starting Monday so .... shall be interesting.

Let me know what you think! I love your comments.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Four Tips for Simplifying Christmas

Now that I am a working Mom I have to release my expectations. My Christmas does not need to be Pinterest Perfect. Tips to Simplify your Christmas.

September starts the season of celebration in my family.  Last year our list was insane.

The sad thing is that many of these things I can't cut out. We have 13 people in our family (his immediate family and mine). TEN of them have birthdays between September 1 and December 30. It makes things crazy.

I want to simplify.

Here are the big things that I am planning this year.
- Hubs birthday night in Indy. This is so needed for us.
- Pumpkin Farms (that is really just picking where we are going)
- Halloween -- I am seriously just buying costumes. No time to plan or make anything elaborate.
- Little Mister's birthday party.
- North Pole Breakfast!!!!
- Little Miss's birthday party. (I owe her a nice one I was so sick last year and it was just not fair to her).
- Christmas Eve: Pizza, Movie and PJ night!
- OUR CHRISTMAS MORNING!
- Wisconsin Visit for Christmas

Here are your 4 Tips to Simplify Christmas.

1. Plan for it.

Make a plan for it and stick to it. If I don't have a plan my stress level increases easily 10 fold. I like having my plan all in one place so I tend to make myself a planner for this time of the year.  This year I might print someone else's planner.

I really like this one from Live Craft Eat.  ** this is not an affiliate link, I just really like it.**

2. Say No. 

There are things that I just have to say no to. Like last year I went a little crazy helping out with the Christmas parties at church. This year I am picking one roll and I am picking at most 2 parties. It became a chore. So, we will be snack makers for 2 parties this year and that is it.

3. Be Flexible

Life happens. You have to roll with the punches. I just pray they are not the same punches as last year.

4. Be authentic

Your Elf on a Shelf does not have to be Pinterest Perfect. Be you. Your Christmas cards do not have to have the perfect saying, pose and outfits. (But if that is you and you rock it than do it!) BE YOU! Ask yourself what do I want my kids to remember about Christmas in your family?


What do you do to keep your busy seasons stress free and moving smoothly?


Monday, July 27, 2015

Time Management Tips for Busy Moms

When you go from Stay at/Work at Home Mama to Working Mama one thing becomes even more important.

Time Management

For me, I didn't want to give up any of the at home things I was doing when I started working out of the house. So I knew one of two things would have to happen. I would either have to give up something or become really efficient with my time.

Time Management was going to be the key to success for this now Working Mom.

How one working mom has become efficient with my time utilizing these time management tips, an A to Z list.

Here is my A to Z list of Time Management Tips for Moms.

A: Anticipate -- Set aside a time of the week when you plan out your week. Is there a day you need to plan some carpooling? What appointments are this upcoming week that you need to plan for?

B: Block your Calendar -- I actually do this a few weeks at a time. I have a pretty set schedule so I can block in the big stuff and just fill in the weekly stuff in my anticipation session.

C: Cross off the Daily Tasks -- add those daily tasks to your DAILY to do list. Yes write SHOWER on that list. Write GET DRESSED on that list. There is something motivating about crossing things off a list. Did you do something you forgot to put on this list? Add it and CROSS IT OFF!

D: Dinner after the Dishes -- Plan out tomorrow's dinner after you take care of the dinner dishes (even if that mean tossing them into the sink to wash a different day --- yep I do that!) This way you don't have to worry about "What's for dinner?" at the beginning of the witching hours, I mean 4 pm.

E: Elsa it! -- What? Come on what do you think of when I say Elsa ... Let It Go! sometimes you just have to Let It Go - quit beating yourself up, God gives us grace, extend some to yourself.

F: Flexibility -- I am not referring to bending over backward to make it all happen. I am referring to life happens and there will times that you just have to bend.

G: GPS -- Use it to plan your routes so that you are  not driving all over town getting your errands done. Do you have to go to an appointment on one side of town, but still need get groceries? GPS and see if there is a grocery store near your appointment.

H: Honey Do List -- I know men hate this list. I am more referring to just delegating. Can your 5 year old feed the dog? Have them do it! Can your 15 year old change the trash cans? Have them do it! You (Sara) do not have to do it all!

I: Intentional -- Be intentional and mindful of your time. If you plan to spend 10 minutes on one task,, don't spend 20.

J: Jump Start -- This honestly has been the biggest stress reliever for me. When I wake up (intentionally) before the rest of the family I get to ease into my day, and not have to be "on" from the moment I open my eyes.

K: Keep relationships a priority -- It takes a village right? Be part of the village, not the one who is always working, always needing to accomplish this or that.

L: Leisure Time with Family -- All work and no play does not make for a happy family.

M: Multi-Task (When appropriate!) -- Folding clothes and ironing - This is a great time to catch up on some podcasts you want to learn from. Making dinner and having to wait for water to boil? Empty or load the dish washer.

N: Notepads -- Keep on handy at all times! You never know when you will need one! Inspiration can strike anytime, any place! Just last night I see a cute (expensive) cart for the bathroom at Target -- Oh I need something like that for circle time! Write down, look for cart for circle time.

O: Outsource -- Hire help if you need to or can. Can't do that, find ways to swap skills with friends. Do you need time to yourself? So does your bestie! Swap time with kids -- win/win! You and your bestie get to recharge and kids get playdates!

P: Prioritize -- Yes, do the most important stuff first. This also means do the stuff that you hate doing first. Get it done and get it over with!

Q: Quiet Time -- You are a busy mom.. Quiet time is necessary to recharge your batteries. For me this is time spent in actual silence, no music, no tv. Just quiet. So refreshing.

R: Running To Do List -- This is not your daily to do list, this is just the on-going list of things you want to get done. As you schedule time to complete these things you will move them from your Running To Do List to your Daily To Do List.

S: Shortcuts My Friend -- It is okay to use sauce from the jar. It is smart to prep your meals before hand. It is okay to use a cake mix. From a dietitian that just did a CPU for us at work -- "frozen vegetables are okay, so are canned -- I just want to get vegetables in them!"

T: Technology -- There really is an app for that. I am not a big app person for keeping my schedule, but let me tell you ... the alarm clock on my phone -- would not be able to function without it! I set it for everything! At work or at home, yep I use it all time. The repeat function saves me so much time. I just set them all up once and go!

U: Utilize Waiting Time -- this ties into appropriate multitasking. Don't try to combine two things that need focus, but if you are waiting for the cake to finish baking this is a great time to sort the pile of mail sitting on the counter.

V: Verbalize! The word is "NO" you need to use it. You only have 24 hours in 1 day. You need to sleep, rest, and eat at least 8 of those. That leaves you with 16. You will need to say "no." And no, it is not a cuss word.

W: While You Wait Bag: You have one for the kids. Toys, books, apps on the phone - you have things to keep them occupied while you are waiting for this or that. Have one for yourself. Toss a book in your bag, write out thank you cards or a note to someone, a knitting project you are working on. You can be productive while you wait it just takes some planning.

X: X out time for yourself. This is a must. If you don't you are going to crash and burn. Speaking from experience. THIS IS A MUST.

Y: You must USE it: It's great if you can make your day work perfectly on paper. You must open your planner and see what is going on. You must look at your lists and get things done. You must use it or none of this will work.

Z: ZZZZZ's You must get them. Sleep is not an option. Have a bedtime routine. Teach your body when to start winding down for the day. Get restful sleep you will be amazed how much more you will accomplish just being well rested.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Coming Soon!

So I did it again ... two months later I am finally updating the blog.

If I have had you as a reader for a long time I am sorry that I do this to you from time to time, but I want to thank you for sticking around.

Life has been gone through another cycle of ups and downs.. Many more ups than downs this time around.. I am not sure I even have the words to explain it all. I will over time - and it gives me some great content to share later!  haha.

I will fill in two things ... I am now a working (out of the house) mama. The balance to make that happen has been part of all the ups and downs. I will fill you in on how that all came to be in a later post, it is totally a God thing. The other is that we are MOVING!!! (Would it be wrong to fill this whole post with exclamation points? - Yes it would Sara, yes it would!)

Not that I am counting, but we get our keys in 59 days (from the point of writing this).

Because of these two major things I would like to say that I am ready to jump in and post new stuff daily! Let's be honest, I am just not there yet, but I am really going to put the energy in and get things continued in the right direction.

Hickman Five Blogging Schedule

Working Mama Monday is for all those trials and tribulations of being a working mom. (And hubby is working a mid-shift job so this is going to be fun! God is really having fun in our lives right now!)

Tell Me About It Tuesday is still for anything I have time to review. Let's be honest, reviewing is not happening right now. I mean for real -- I don't have time for that right now. So the what I am telling you about might take a different spin.  (It may even take a new theme as time goes on --- like maybe Teaching Tidbits Tuesdays)

What's New Wednesday is going to come back. I met a few of you in Vegas and you said you liked linking up, so I will do my best to bring it back! I will also be talking about my latest project, or newest product on Wednesday.

Who doesn't love Throwback Thursday? It may be school oriented, business oriented, life oriented, who knows .... you are just going to have to tune in to see!

Fun-Filled Family - Yep, that is going to be a family post, something having to do with a Hickman Five Adventure or something these crazy kids say.  :)

Saturday and Sundays have not theme, they are my free for all. Maybe even free of posting. We shall see.

This week will not have many posts, seeing that I am going to be writing them and scheduling to make sure they post.  But the week after will start to have regular posts again, I hope.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Heart Belongs to Two Men.

My heart belongs to two men and my husband is perfectly okay with that. 

I have always heard the cliche statement, "You heart will just grow in love and you will be able to love one just as much as you love the other." As women we usually hear this when we are fearful of having a second child. And it is true - you don't love one less so that you can love them equally. You just get more room to love. 

Isn't it amazing that God loves us so much that He gave his ONE AND ONLY Son so that we can have a life with Him! Think about it mamas, HIS ONE AND ONLY SON. 

Could you have done it? There is no way on God's green Earth that I would give up my ONE AND ONLY son. Even if God asked me to, I would be holding on so very tight, I wouldn't be able to let go. Sure, God, yes He is yours, but you gave him to me! You can't have him back.  He has my heart!

Baby Boy, Day 1

The day that Little Mister was laying on my chest (yes in this picture he is not even a day old) no longer brewing in my belly. My heart grew 3 sizes! Yep, I experienced exactly what The Grinch did!. My heart belonged to another man now. My husband now has to share. He is okay with that by the way.  

At the time of writing this Little Mr is 9 days shy of 3 and 1/2.

I love him more today on day 1262 than I did on day 1.  

I love him more today than I did on day 1 because ... 


I have seen how passionate he is ... that will take him to places he hasn't even thought of yet. Oh and he is a thinker!


Just like his daddy he loves to laugh. He loves to make you laugh! When he realizes he made you laugh he won't quit. According to him, "Quitting is a bad thing Mama." Just remember that when things get hard baby.


He is a lover with spunk. Don't let this sweet, sweet darling face fool you. He loves hard. Knock you to the floor with a flying bear hug hard. For him love him hard in return. The harder the better!


Dirt + Cars = One Happy Boy. I am so thankful that he is 3 1/2 now. I can let him spend as much time outside as his little heart desires with minimal supervision. He is so content to take his cars outside and just play in the sandbox or the grass.


Helper extraordinaire in the kitchen. Give him time and he will be doing it all on his own. Watch out ladies, he might have mama's gifts in the kitchen. Another skill that will take him far!


Be still my beating heart. What did I do to be this blessed? I don't deserve any of this. Thank you God for loving me this much and so much more..


He is adventurous, curious, and daring.


Watch out world! He is going to get you!


Full of life since day one. Stolen this Mama's heart from breathe one.

I thank God for him. Even on the days when I can't get pass the fighting, hitting, pushing, arguing and crying -- I thank God for my son. I thank God that I don't have to give up my one and only son. I couldn't do it. I would be giving up my heart.

Mommy loves you Monkey Man. More than my words will ever be able to express.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What's New Wednesday: Link Up

Good Morning Lovlies!

I hope you have had a wonderful week. What's New in your world this Wednesday?

Newest in our world - Hickman #1 will be working from home - eek. I am not sure if I mentioned it but once again he was looking for a job. Seriously we have had the worst luck lately. He has been looking for about 5 weeks this time. I am really hoping (praying actually) that this is the last one.

Funny how God likes to show us He is listening. I have started writing our prayers, things we need on a post it or paper and putting it in my bible. This is exactly what I wrote "God we need Keith to get a job, a career really, that can take care of this family - in abundance. Thank you for all you do." The next day he was offered the job that he accepted. IF it is what they say, it is well in abundance. If it is HALF what they claim it is still more than what we need. If it is 1/4 of what they say it is we are covered . I am hopeful. Next week will show us much more.

What's New on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook?

Teachers Pay Teachers
Teachers Notebook

This is my newest Freebie.. It is a sample of the Bugs, Bugs, Glorious Bugs bundle. It has a little something from most of the resources in the bugs and insect bundle.

I have taken the Bugs and Insects bundle and split it into 8 packets if you are looking for just a portion.  Remember, bundles are 30% off purchasing all the portions individually.

Thank you to all of you who linked up last week! I got so busy that I wasn't even really able to promote it at all. We had over 30 link ups!

Now it's your turn! What's New in your world?

This link up is for your newest products (1 paid, 1 free - TPT or TN) and/or your newest blog post.

Can't wait to check them out!



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