Sunday, 30 August 2015

Adam's Worm Party

I have been absent from blogging for the past week so so because it was Adam's birthday party and despite the many half started posts along the way to fill you in on what I was doing, I was not able to actually finish and post them.  So this is a condensed version containing the basics and then throughout the week I will add more about how I made everything and recipes etc.

The theme this year was Worms.  Adam is only two (I say 'only' with tears in my eyes as I can't believe the time has gone by so quickly!)  and I wanted to do a theme that was not done by one of our 'baby' group friends (we all attend each others parties).  I settled on Worms.  The invitation was such fun to make and it got me stuck into a world of worms!

I had a wonderful time making the birthday cake.  I baked the individual circles in ceramic and glass dishes I found in my cupboard and lined them with baking paper - it worked perfectly!  And I love the outcome!

To think of some eats for a Worm party can be quite a task.  No one wants to eats worms or something that too closely resembles one.

I found this absolutely delicious recipe from Chelsea Winter (you might have come across her name in previous posts).  It is a Glorious Sausage Quiche and I thought that, if positioned properly, the caramelized onions could look like little worms creeping out of the pastry baskets.  I forgot to take a photo of them on the table because they were warming in the oven when I had an opportunity to take photos, but this is a photo of the left overs - there were only four.  They were delicious and were thoroughly enjoyed.  I made them before the time and froze them.  After thawing over night, I popped them in the oven to crisp up.

I also made mini 'worm'dogs and chicken burgers.  Tomato ketchup was put on the side for parents to add if their children wanted.

These 'Stuffed worms'  were a lot of fun to make and children enjoyed the anticipation of finding out what was inside of it.

A delicious Chocolate Cheesecake acted as a 'Wormy mud pie'  Yum - if I do say so myself.  This I too made a week before the party and froze it.

Worm pots is an idea I picked up on Pinterest.  I used an instant chocolate pudding, Oreos and some sugared worms.

I added some 'Juicy worms' in the form of grapes and pineapple.

And then there were these little suckers.  You might not see them in the photo of the table of eats because they were not there.  I found them in the pantry AFTER everyone had left!  It seems every party I throw, I forget to put something out.  One year it was mini jellies, another it was ice creams and this year it was the biscuits I painstakingly rolled, cut and iced (after trying two recipes and making my own cutter.) Have you done the same? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section.  Then maybe I won't feel so bad :)

Well, that was it.  Stay tuned for the rest of the posts on the party actvities, recipes and How Tos.

I hoped you enjoyed these ideas and they offer you some inspiration for your parties in the future.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Chocolate Cheesecake Yumminess

So it is just over a week before Adam's birthday party and I decided to get myself organized and start baking.

This morning, while Adam was sleeping and Megan at school, I decided to bake a cheesecake that would form part of the eats for the adults - although, I know Megan will probably be first in the line for a slice.

Fortunately it is rather rich so small slices can be cut and therefore I only need one.

A few weeks ago I found this delicious Chocolate Cheesecake here, and watched the video tutorial to get an idea of how to make it.  It seemed pretty straight forward so I decided to bake one for a group of friends as a trial run.  OH MY!!!!  It was so delicious, I now look for any excuse to bake one!!

I adapted the recipe ever so slightly to accommodate South African ingredients and used metric measurements.  The ingredients are not 'odd' so no matter where you are, you will find something similar.  You can download it here.

It looks all detailed and long and difficult but its really not.  I managed to get mine in the oven in 25 minutes and cleaned my kitchen in the 50 minutes it took to bake.  Plus I had an opportunity to drink a hot cup of coffee before Adam woke up.

I still need to add the ganache and then will freeze it for the party, which I will have to do quickly before I decide to sample it with my next cup of tea :)

I'll add a photo once it is done!

One thing down!  A whole list still to go :)

Monday, 17 August 2015

Summer Link Up - My Guilty Pleasure

Oh no!  Miss Monica from I Heart Grade 3 got us all involved in this Summer link Up and once she has our trust, she lays this topic on us: My Guilty Pleasure ;)

Lol, I was hoping it would stay a secret, just between me and my four walls (and every friend I've gone for coffee with)!  My guilty pleasure is ...

 CAKE... Glorious  CAKE!!
(Is your mouth watering after all those delicious treats?)

Well, actually, any baked goods or pies or doughnuts will do :)

Fruit cake! Vanilla Cake! Chocolate cake!  Apple pie!  Pavlova! Cheese Cake!!! All equally yummy!

The delicious images above are from Chelsea Winter's website.  She won a New Zealand Masterchef a few years back and although I don't live in New Zealand I found the ingredient availability similar to what we have here.  The ingredients are also simple and easy to find in the store - meaning, I find myself indulging in one of her recipes too fairly often.

I can't wait to read about all the Guilty Pleasures in this Link Up - maybe I won't feel as ashamed of myself for all the yumminess I enjoy so very much!  Thanks for the GREAT link up Monica :)

Building Back to School: Language Tools

Are you looking for some language tools for Back to School?  I have linked up with Denise from #Teachermom.  She is running a Back to School Tools linkup for the next few weeks.

This week focuses on Language tools and I am all for playing game to reinforce language concepts.

My students knew where the games were kept and once they completed their work they would go and select a language or math game and would play quietly until the end of the lesson.  I would often sort the games which they could choose, selecting those that would soon be tested or where students struggled.

Here are some examples of the language games which I had in my class.  All of them can be found in my TpT store (Click on the image for the direct link).

I also have a special game which I created for Back to School.  I have just uploaded it can you can grab it for only $2 for the first 24 hours.

You may also be interested to know that There will be another ONE day only sale at TPT.  You can get up to 28% off everything in my store.  Don't for get to leave feedback on past purchases to earn some TPT credits.

Visit my store by clicking here.

By entering the Giveaway, you stand a chance to win the Prepositions Board Game.  You can enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember to visit the other bloggers involved to view their Back to School Language Tools and enter their giveaways.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

A Week of Wordy Wisdom - Week 6

Oh dear, huge apologies that this post is nearly a week late - oops.  Time ran away with me.

So here it is... WEEK 6 of A Week of Wordy Wisdom

The quote this week is by Confucius.  If you are not aware of who this man is/was then I'll give you a quick run down.

Confucius lived in China during 500 BC.  During this time, only nobelmen were given an education and this was not Confucius's status.  His desire to learn lead him to working for a nobleman and learning through his travels.  His employer helped him to become a teacher and he taught anyone who wanted to learn - something unheard of back then.  Confucius also taught his strong thoughts on behavior in order to do the right thing.  These thoughts formed Confucianism.  This is not a religion but rather a way of life to strive to do the right things.

Should you wish to read up more about him you can do so here.

Motivational Monday's specific quote by Confucius is demonstrated perfectly in the children's story "The Hare and the Toirtoise"  You can show students this clip and ask them how the two are similar and what the 'moral' or meaning of the quote is.

You can also apply this quote to Confucius's life.  Did his success come quickly and easily?

"Every cloud has a silver lining" is a good view to have on every day occurrences.  This is such a sweet video from Thomas the Tank Engine, which explains and demonstrated the meaning of the Proverb beautifully.  Older students may initially make jokes about watching a Thomas clip, but the tune may just stick and they'll be singing it throughout the day.

I wish I knew about this spelling website when I was in the classroom.  It grades spelling words and sorts them into lists.  You are then able to print the lists and students can practice the lists by playing the games and activities online, at home.  Below you can see how many words are covered over 40 spelling lists for each grade.

If you teach K - 2, don't forget to download the FREE word searches to correspond with Word for Wednesday!  You may also want to check out past A Week of Wordy Wisdom posts to grab those word searches as well.

Education World has a variety of Pumpkin activities that are suited to a wide age range, including:
Prediction, arts and crafts and problem solving.

 A good old pumpkin joke to keep a smile on your face :)

If you enjoyed this post, you may find some useful goodies in my other A Week of Wordy Wisdom posts.

You may want to have a look at the A Week of Wordy Wisdom posters in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click on the image below for a direct link.

Grab a FREE trial week HERE.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Adam's Worm Party Invitation

I can't believe that Adam is two!  Where has the time gone? 

As it is his birthday coming up, I needed to choose a party theme.  For me, this is a challenge, as I like to choose something that is out of the ordinary and then let my creative juices (what's left of them) flow into creating a fairly unique party.

I decided to steer clear of themes such as Barney and Telly Tubbies (although, I have to admit, this was Megan's theme for her second birthday) and after many thoughts, settled on a WORM party - he is a boy afterall.

I have completed and sent off the very cute (if I have to say to myself) invites and thought to share them with you in case you choose to follow in my foot steps and throw a WORM party.

I created the template and printed it on green card (grab the template by clicking here or on the above image).  They information circles I printed on 'label paper'  (one that has a sticky side to it.  This is not a necessity, but it made my life easier because I didn't have to use glue, I could just peal and stick.

I then used small green brads to connect each green circle so that initially the circles are behind one another, but can then be folded out.  I would recommend first sticking the information circles onto the green circles and then joining with brads.  Some of my information circles did not fit on the green circle once the brad was in, because I did not leave enough space.

The Worm invite template is fully editable so you can just type your information over mine.

For each worm face, I used Glitter Glue to draw glasses - which took painstakingly long to dry - added 'googly eyes' and drew on a mouth.  The nose is made of a piece of red felt with a piece of double sided tape behind it to lift it from the face (ever so slightly).

I also added a pair of antennae by attaching a folded piece of black pipe cleaner to the back of the head with some tape.

I really enjoyed making these and delivering them out to friends and family.  So often invites are emailed now days (myself included).  It does take the excitement and personal touch out of it.

If you have enjoyed reading about my WORM party preparations, be sure to return to catch the rest of the planning.

I would also love for you to add your ideas for my Worm themed party below in the comments - I still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Summer Link up - My Favorite Website

What a difficult topic for this week's Summer Link up with Monica from I Heart Grade 3.

It's not that it is difficult as such, but more challenging to choose ONE FAVORITE Website!  The options are endless!

I could talk about my favorite website to use for QR codes and technology, or spelling practice and puzzles or YOU TUBE or informative websites and the list can go on and on.

I have decided to settle on audio children's stories.  One of my favorite audio stories websites is Storyline Online.  If you have not been on this website before, you need to take a look.

There are a variety of stories to choose from (29 if you are counting) and each one is read by a different celebrity.  As they read, the pictures from the book are displayed for students to look at.

Presently, I let my daughter, who is 5, listen to a story when she comes home from school and needs to 'unwind' (and I am busy with my son).  She loves the stories.  I  also used these stories with my second language fifth graders (and even sixth graders), and they thoroughly enjoyed the stories and would listen intently.  We sometimes think that they are too old for picture books and stories such as these, but they enjoy the down time and find it relaxing and enjoyable.

I would also sometimes use these little stories as listening activities.  Students would listen to the story and then answer some questions based on what the story was about.  If you would like the little test/activity on Harry the Dirty Dog, you can grab it here.  If you find it useful, please leave it some love.

I have also started a range with the the other stories presented on this website.  You can find them here.

Head back yo I Heart Grade 3 to discover some other wonderful websites!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Classroom Tools for Building Back to School

It's nearly back to school time and I joined Denise from #TeacherMom for a Back to School Link up.

When I was in the classroom, I would introduce a new motivational quote every Monday and a Fun Fact on a Friday.  I subject taught so the different classes would come to my classroom for my lesson.  I found that they started appreciating the two 'routines' and even though I did not spend much time discussing the meanings behind the quote and the thoughts on the fun fact with the other classes (I did this with my class during homeroom) they were excited to see what the new 'information' was.  They very quickly pointed out if the quote or fun fact had not been changed.

My second language students especially loved the fun facts and would often bring me lists of their own facts which they had found.  This was reassuring to me.  It meant they were going home and researching, in English, for information, reading it and making a decision whether it applied to the 'topic' - that being a fun fact.

I would see on their faces as they walked in, looking for the 'information,' how they read it and processed it and then discussed it - what more could I ask for (especially from my second language students who would under normal circumstances prefer to speak in their mother tongue).

It is for this reason that I created 'A Week of Wordy Wisdom'.  Each day has a new "Wordy Wisdom" to share with your students.  The line up is as follows:

Each week I post a description of how to use the new week's set of information on my blog and give activities or resources to accompany them, including website ideas and free word searches.  You can find this information here.

This gives you an idea of what each week is about.  This is week 1.

I have completed five weeks and week 6 will be posted by Sunday along with the blog post detailing examples of what can be done with it.  Check the activities and ideas by clicking on each week:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

Should you be interested in these product, You can grab it in my TpT store by clicking here.


You can enter the giveaway below and stand a chance to win the first 4 weeks of A Wordy Week of Wisdom.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the other blogs to view their Classroom tools and enter their giveaways.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Sorting, Ordering and Counting Nespresso Pods

My husband recently came home with a Nespresso machine.  I am not was not a huge coffee drinker and always opted for a cup of tea.  My view was always that the tea that I drink is far healthier as it is caffeine free and I don't drink any sugar with it, unlike with coffee which I enjoy a good heaped spoonful!

The Nespresso machine and coffee has converted me and now I need to hold myself back from drinking cup after cup.  (Luckily it doesn't need as much sugar so I have cut it down to half a spoon per cup.

Anyway, this post is definitely not about my love for my new coffee machine, it's about the pods which are normally thrown away.

I'm not sure if you are familiar with the Nespresso pods, but they are colored depending on their flavor.  They have beautiful colors and it seemed like such a waste to throw them away.  So I opened them up, and cleaned them out and was left with a little shell.  Some had little dents but I used my thumb to smooth them out.

Megan was quite intrigued so I put them all in a box and we did a few little activities with them.

She first sorted them according to color.  This was her idea.  The pods fit perfectly on top of one another to form a tower.

She then ordered the towers from tallest to shortest.  (Lol, you can see which are our favorite flavors.)

She was interested in how many were in each group so she 'packed out' each tower, starting from the shortest, and wrote down the number in each tower.

We had a lot of fun with these pods and my mind is spinning with what to do next.
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