Saturday, April 2, 2016

Getting Organized With My Teacher Planner

These last six months have been one learning experience after another with my new job. I went from nanny to assistant teacher right after my last job finished (the children no longer needed a nanny). Honestly, I didn't know what I was expecting from this but I have to say, I'm really glad I got this job.

I'm learning a lot of new things that I didn't get from being a nanny. They helped me go back to school where I am now getting my degree in Early Childhood Education. The classes are simple enough but I'm still learning a lot while doing it. I'm starting to understand the environment of a professional setting much more than when I started.

Though, there are always going to be setbacks. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love the kids and the people I work with, but some days can be challenging. When I don't feel organized, I tend to get stressed out, which isn't good when working with children. Not to mention, an educational daycare setting isn't as laid back as being a nanny, so I can't take that quick few minutes to gather myself while the children play. There is no one-on-one time, not like I was used to. I, now, have to teach up to 8 children at once. Yikes. It doesn't help that we are in the middle of changing our curriculum in our classroom.

So, to help me stay focused on what I need to do, to help me stay focused on the key points (even if I have to change it from time to time), my sister made me my own Teacher Planner. This is something that I can use, just for me to see what I have to do with my children that day and gives me something to look back on later on, if needed.

My sister cut the cover and laminated it for me. It's disc-bound to make it easier for when I add everything else I need to add in there. I have a lot of extra things I want to add to make it easier for me to figure out what I need to do for my children instead of getting lost in the other group's lessons.

The monthly spread will work as a general overview of my month. Co-workers/Children's birthdays, special days, work schedules, etc. Things that I feel like I need to keep track of for work.

The weekly spread is like my mini lesson plans. It's probably really redundant but I don't care. It helps me see what I need to do on that day without any of the extra things surrounding it. The Notes sections is multi-functional, which I like because I can use it however I want.

The Overview is for me to go through how my week went. It will help me figure out where I went wrong and where I went right. Since this new curriculum is still pretty new, I'm going to need all the help I can get to whip me into shape.

This is one of my extra pages. One that I will probably be using regularly as I lesson plan and come up with small group activities. After having this with me, it's becoming a lot easier to plan. This job has to break me of a lot of the habits I created over the last 10 years of being a nanny and create new habits in this new career.

The month of April is the Month of a Young Child here in Michigan. So the posts this month will be related to the activities and projects that we have for each week's focus. On April 4th, we are doing Physical Development and doing a lot of large motor activities as well as introducing some new fine motor activities for my group. Well, new for them. I'm going to teach them how to weave on a little hand loom that I'm going to make for each of them out of cardboard. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Planners and Planner Supplies

I decided to take a break with making things for the home and share a post about my planners. This is a new hobby (so to say) of mine. I've been an inconsistent planner before, jotting down what I needed and all that jazz but lately, I've been really into decorating them. I have yet to find planner peace but I'm still tinkering around. One of my goals is to make a balanced schedule and it's helping me along with that nicely.

So, let me start off by showing off some of the items that I use*

*Please note: Everything I use might not be for you. This is just my own opinion.

These are my two planners. I have a personal/everyday/goes-with-me-almost-everywhere planner. That is the A5 planner. A5 is one of my favorite size for notebooks and for planners. It keeps me from overloading my days with tasks I know I won't finish.

The A4 planner is my business planner/binder of sorts. I'm trying to bring out my Etsy shop and get ready for possibly publishing soon (you can find more on the publishing on my other blog - here). I'm just trying to get on track with everything. Currently, I'm focusing more on my novels and writing side more than my Etsy shop. At least for now.

Pens are always a love of mine. I'm really picky about what I write with an tend to lean toward certain pens for different writing tasks. My favorite planning pens are the Papermate Flair Pens. There is a large variety of colors and write smoothly. I generally write with the black pens but will use other colors for other things that I need to pop out at me. 

Stickers are fun in planners. I use them for decorating or for tasks that I want to mark out on my week-at-a-glance pages. A lot of people sell task stickers on Etsy. In the pictures above, I separated the stickers that I have for a reason. They basically have different uses other than my daily task stickers but they came from two different places.

1. These stickers are from a shop called OneOrangeSnowflake on Etsy. I'm hoping I caught the shop on a bad time because it took nearly a month for my order to get to me. The shop does have good stickers though and I really do love my teepee stickers. If I ever run out of those, I'll repurchase them from her shop.

2. The Korean Diary stickers I order from an Etsy shop called JaliceArt. I love these stickers. I do find that I'm reluctant to use them but I know I can buy more. I'm just strange like that. These ship from China so for some people, it will take much longer to get to your mailbox but they are worth it. They are cute and there are a lot of stickers on the 6 sheets.

3. Sticko brand stickers are probably the easiest things to find in my area. They are usually pretty cheap if you look in the right places.

4. In the last box, are some of the stickers my sister made. She is opening her shop on May 8th, 2015 and is selling lots of awesome stuff. She made these stickers herself and she made the typewriter stickers for me. I've already started using them. There is a huge variety of stickers. Her shop can be found here and her website can be found here.
Washi tape is another item I use often. These are just little samples of the washi I use. I wrapped them around spools and put them in a little organizer on my desk. Washi Tape can but used for several kinds of projects and they aren't usually over priced. 

Paper clips are something I use more frequently than I realize. I use them to mark important pages and such. I definitely love the fun ones. My sister made me the superhero ones because - well, they are superheros. Who doesn't love a good superhero every now and then?

They don't have to be fancy or cute paper clips. They just need to be functional.

I have a serious love for sticky notes. It's a terrible thing to love but I can't help it. My use of sticky notes goes way beyond planners. I use it for novel writing or reminders. They are just nice to have around. They are a huge part of Brynna's learning games that I make for her.

Anyway, sticky notes - they can be cheap. Some note so much but the cheap ones work just as well as the strangely overpriced ones.

I don't use these as frequently as other items but they are good to have on hand. I use certain stamps to indicate something I have to do. This frees up space in the planner for other things and embellishes the page while doing so. These can run a little expensive but they are reusable which is better than stickers. At least they won't have to be repurchased...unless something happens to them.

Notepads are those things where I think I need a lot of them but I only ever used them occasionally. I do tend to purchase a lot of them but I try to use them for certain things. Writing lists is the main one. I'm sure I have more uses for these things that I'm not thinking of but that's all that really comes to mind.

There are a lot of other supplies I use that aren't listed. These are just the ones I find myself gravitating to the most. The items in the picture above are also very handy products to have.

Repositionable glue is something I use often and lasts forever. The adhesive tape is awesome for when those sticky notes don't want to stay put. Though, it is more permanent than the glue. It's good to have on hand anyway. And scissors because you never know when you need to cut something. I use scissors a lot for when I decorate a week.

That is all for my planner supplies. There are a lot of things that I use but I never use all of them at the same time. Well, if I do, I don't use a lot. That would be a bit overwhelming. 

Hopefully, next week I'll have a DIY project to post.

Monday, April 20, 2015

DIY Coasters

To go with the tray I made last week, I decided to use the left over material to make coasters. There were only two things I had to buy for this project but they were both inexpensive and can be changed out for other options.

  • Coaster Bases
  • Tile
  • Grout
  • Tile Adhesive
  • Grout Sealant
  • Grouting Kit
The two items I had to buy were the coaster bases and the grout. Both can be substituted with other things if needed but they were both extremely cheap.

Much like the tray, I started with adhering the tile to the tile base in the same pattern. My goal was to make a matching set with all of the left over tile pieces I had. 

After waiting five to six hours to let the adhesive cure, I used grout like the last time. It's a bit messier this way and I had to check the edges to make sure they were fully grouted. Occasionally, there will be some spaces to fill.
Once it set for 24 hours, I added the sealant to the grout. I let it set for the amount of time it suggested  and now they are done. They matched the tray perfectly and I managed to make 6 of them. If there was another coaster base, I could have made another with the extra tiles I had.

Since I still had a lot of stuff left over, I made another tray. I decided to try something different and I used the cheaper things I had. The tray I bought from Micheal's and I got it 50% off so it only coast $3. The stuff I used for the base were these little glass pebbles I bought from dollar tree. It only needed 2 bags to fit the bottom of the tray.

I stained the tray with the left over stain I had from the first tray and used the grout I had left over from the coasters to make this. It's a cheaper alternative to the tray I made. This is going in my bathroom once I treat the wood. I really like how the pebbles reflect the bottom. I stained the bottom so it would look grayish on top. It looks pretty bland but it gives me an opportunity to mix and match different colors.

Monday, April 13, 2015

DIY Tray

For one of my home decor projects I decided to make my own tray. These things usually run pretty expensive, at least for the ones that I liked so I decided to make my own. Though my total ran up pretty high, money-wise, a lot of the things I purchased will be used again for other projects down the road since I had a lot left over. Not to mention, I used my coupons from the craft stores.

The supplies I used:
  • Plain wooden tray from Hobby Lobby
  • Tile Adhesive from Hobby Lobby
  • Sealant from Hobby Lobby
  • Tile from Lowes 
  • Grout from Lowes 
  • Grouting tools from Hobby Lobby
  • Sponge Brush
  • Paper Towel
  • Stain from Micheal's  - optional 

The picture above is the sheet of tiles I bought for about $5 per sheet. I bought two because I plan on making something else with the tiles. I just went for the cheaper variety since this was the first time I've done this.

I arranged the tiles on the plain wooden tray to make sure that they fit. And I had to figure out what kind of pattern worked with what I had. It didn't take long for me to figure out what I wanted to do with them but it is important that you lay out your tile first before you set them.

Next I set the tile using the tile adhesive. I'm sure you could use something else since this is your own project but I decided to get it to see how it set. I used less than a fourth of the bottle so I have plenty tile adhesive leftover for several more projects. Once everything was glued down, everything has to set for about 5 hours, so I just left it over night to dry and cure.

The next day, I did the grout. It was as simple as it got. Just follow the direction on the package and you'll be fine. Make sure to fill in the cracks. I had to let it set before I was able to wipe off what collected on the top.
The difference the grout makes is ridiculous. I wasn't looking to make everything perfect and even but the grout certain took away some of the imperfections. This is what it looked like right after I used the sponge to take off whatever collected on the top of the tiles. Once that was finished, I waited 24 hours before I moved on to the next step. 

Once it set, the tray became sturdy.

Next I stained it. This stain was expensive and I wouldn't have bought it if I didn't have a 50% off coupon at Micheal's. I hardly used any of it on this little project and I plan on using it later for other things I have in mind. Anyway, I taped the edges of the tray so it wouldn't get on the tile and used a brush to apply it. Well, after I cleaned it off and sanded it.

When the stain was applied and it set for an hour, I went ahead and applied the seal to the grout. This stuff is a pain to get off tile after it sets so it is best to try to wipe it off before it starts to set. It was fine on the stone pieces. I didn't wipe it off of those because it didn't take away from them.

When everything was dry/set, this became the finished result. Now, I just need to make some matching coasters to go with it.

With the coupons, I spent about $35. How much material I used on the tray cost about $16. As I said before, a lot of these supplies are going to be used for later projects.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Cheap Antique Bronze Elephant Statue

This project is about as easy as they come. I'm only posting it because it's the perfect way to introduce the new projects that I'll have coming up. Hopefully soon, I'll be moving into my own place and in order to decorate it, I'm going to have to make a lot of the stuff myself. So, my blog will be filled with DIY for the home and such from here on out. I will have some of the kids' crafts as well but most of my things will be things for the home.

I found this elephant at target for under $5. I've seen plenty of over priced ceramic elephant statues and a real antique bronze elephant statue was out of the question, especially with my budget. Finding this was perfect. I think I'm going to get the bear statue and paint it as well.

This is the finished project. I just painted it bronze with my DecoArt Elegant Finish Metallic paint that I bought at JoAnn's (and the same paint I used for my bowls). I love the finish of this paint. It's smooth and not tacky at all which is good because it gets pretty humid here.

Overall, this project cost me less than $5 since I've had this paint for a long time. Any kind of paint will work. I just used what I had.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Little Red Shadow Box

Since Tell a Fairy Tale Day is coming up of February 26th (this coming Thursday), I decided to post this.  I made this little shadow box after finding my really old book of children's stories. I never used it or read it and I wanted to use it for painting but I decided to make something different. 

I don't have a tutorial on how to make this but I will soon. This box in particular took about 1.5 - 2 hours but that is mostly because I drew Red Riding Hood and painted her with watercolor. Getting her to be the right size was the biggest issue. I made her much too small the first time. 

The only reason why it came to my head was because my sister and I saw these birch straws in the craft store. Then I remembered something I saw on Pinterest a long time ago. I don't have a link to it. I don't even have it on a board but I remembered seeing it all over the place. They aren't exactly the same but it was the inspiration for this project.

Anyway, in honor of the random holiday, I present this to you. Soon, I'll have another one up, with more details on how I did it. This was just a practice shadow box and it was fun. Not to mention, it was relatively cheap. The most I spent was on the shadow box and I used a 40% off coupon at Michael's for that. I will also be using a different story, not another Little Red box.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pink Popcorn

The girls and I made Pink Popcorn for our craft last week. I don't normally do a lot of food crafts with them but for Valentine's day, we tend to do a lot of food. It turned out great and even their parents loved it. 

Making it is simple. Super simple. We used three things to make this.
  • Popcorn
  • Wilton Chocolate Melts (Pink colored)
  • Sprinkles
That's it. I bought popcorn that was light in salt and butter but you can probably use anything.

The steps are simple.
  1. Pop the popcorn and then lay it on a baking sheet or pour in a bowl.
  2. Melt the chocolate (we used a bag for two bags of popcorn)
  3. Pour chocolate on the popcorn and mix around lightly. 
  4. When the popcorn is coated put it on wax paper (this makes the clean up easy). You could also put the wax paper on the baking sheet to make it a little easier.
  5. (Optional) Decorate with sprinkles
  6. Let the chocolate harden
*Do no put in the refrigerator to cool. 

The steps are simple but I thought I would tell you that when it hardens, they stick together. If you don't want them to turn into a giant block, spread them out a bit.

Also, this is how we made it. There are probably several ways to make this so experiment and try something different if you want. You can color this any kind of color so it's a versatile treat.