Category Archives: Learning something new

It’s National PUZZLE Day! Do YOU play GAMES??

GAMES and Puzzles!

 

Today is NATIONAL PUZZLE DAY!

Wahoo!
Fun times with friends.
 
Do  YOU play games and puzzles in YOUR classroom?
I  HOPE  SO!
 
What better way to practice academic skills & strategies?
The BEST way to learn social skills of sharing, taking turns, winning, and losing.
AND..most importantly…

IT BUILDS YOUR CLASSROOM COMMUNITY!

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Checkers

Boars Games for kids

Chutes & Ladders Board Game

Candy Land Board Game

I also have the children make their OWN games.
We play the “matching” game… A LOT!
 
Use spelling words, vocabulary words, math facts…whatever!
I give 1/2 the class 1 sheet of colored paper.
I give the other half  
1 sheet of colored paper, too 
BUT a different color!
 
We fold it into 8 rectangles.
EVERYONE writes the same words on their paper.
THEN…cut the cards apart!
 
When we are ready…find a partner
 WITH   DIFFERENT COLORED PAPER!
 
Turn over all of the cards. 
Pick one of YOURS,
 then choose one of your partners!
 
With different colored papers
…no mistaking whose is whose.
 
When game “time” ( set a timer ) is done
..pick up YOUR cards!
No mixing them up!
Take the cards HOME & PRACTICE!
Here WE ARE at WORK:

Kids in the classroom playing learning games

Partner students in the classroom playing learning games

Kids in the classroom playing learning games

I hope you play games and do puzzles!
Have FUN!
 
Here are some MORE blog posts about
CLASSROOM  GAMES!
 
PLAY ON
 
 
 
Here are some games 
for YOUR classroom:
 

CVC Scoot Game

Who Am I Flapbook Game

What’s a SMORT? A SMART Sort!

Shelves of Board Games

Check out my 
Pinterest board
for MORE fun GAMES!
 
 
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NATIONAL POPCORN DAY! Butter or NO Butter?

IT’S  NATIONAL  POPCORN  DAY

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There is NOTHING  better…
 
How  do  YOU  like it?
 
Do you like it microwaved?
 
“JIFFY”  Popped?
(We love to take this one camping.)

 

AIR POPPED????
(My go-to for Weight Watchers).

 

 
STOVE  POPPED???

 

MOVIE  THEATRE 
BUTTER  “SOAKED”?
BUTTER?
 
LOTSA  Butter?
 
SALT?
 
NO  BUTTER??
 
My newest “LOVES…
 
 
Butter  Flavored  Spray…
Holds the POWDER  SEASONINGS.

 

Butter Spray… 
 Makes me FEEL  like I am eating
 MELTED  BUTTER.
 

 

I  am NOT  receiving ANYTHING from AMAZON…
I JUST LOVE THEM!
 
Today…
 
Take your POPCORN POPPER to school!
 
Let your kids watch it,
smell it, and taste it!
 
Science, Math, & Literacy 
ALL INTEGRATED!
 

To help celebrate

NATIONAL  POPCORN  Day

 
A  “POPCORN” 
CLASSROOM  FREEBIE
 
FOR YOU!
 
If you need ANYTHING  else to help you
“POP”  
your classroom lessons…
 
Stop by and say HI!
MORE FREEBIES FOR YOU

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We get a “Literacy” DO-OVER : Shared Reading

And a FREE Balanced Literacy resource to help you get STARTED

2023 is the Year of LITERACY!

 Because 2022 was so BAD….we get  DO-OVER!

We get a “LITERACY ” do-Over”!

Rethinking Literacy in 2023

Ready to UPDATE your literacy block? 

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Balanced Literacy: Here is your NEW YEAR’s PLAN!

*DISCLAIMER…  I know the Science of Reading is the NEW “go-to” for teaching Reading.

I AM NOT AN EXPERT! I am learning. I have been teaching reading to FIRST GRADERS for 30+ Years. AND I AM ALWAYS  LEARNING. SO… I hope YOU are open to new ideas & “reusing” OLD ideas to help our “littles” learn. If this helps YOU – Yeah! ( Jan. 2022). 

The Why? The What? and The How?

Balanced literacy has been defined as  “an approach designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency.” (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001)

Fountas & Pinnell have been the guiding resource for Balanced Literacy. Today we listen.

It is an approach to teaching. NOT a curriculum. It is HOW we teach our students to be independent readers and writers. It is NOT what books we use to teach them.

Balanced Literacy has been defined in “components” or  “pieces” of literacy instruction.

This series will focus on the components of a complete BALANCED LITERACY program. We will focus on clear and concise definitions. Definitions that educators can discuss in collaboration.

A “common language” where we can learn from each other and with each other.

The 8 components we will focus on are:

  1. Read Alouds
  2. Shared Reading
  3. Guided Reading
  4. Independent Reading
  5. Modeled / Interactive Writing
  6. Shared Writing
  7. Guided Writing / Writer’s Workshop
  8. Word Work

Each week we will focus on one area of Balanced Literacy and share experiences,  teacher tips, and resources to support and expand our Balanced Literacy repertoire. Start 2022 with the plans to implement BALANCED LITERACY!

This week:   Shared  Reading.

Last week we discussed Read Alouds. This week is about  Shared Reading.

How is shared reading different from a read-aloud?

Shared reading, involves quite a bit of pausing to teach or engage kids in practicing a skill. When doing a read-aloud,  go through the book a bit more quickly, stopping less frequently.

The other most important difference between shared reading and a read-aloud is that during shared reading, kids have their eyes on the print. During a read-aloud, you may show the pictures to students, but they are not usually able to see the words clearly. Since students can see the text during shared reading, you are able to teach things like decoding more easily.

Learning At the Primary Pond  

Shared reading is a part of the balanced reading model (read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading).

It is a 15ish minute block of time within that model that should be practiced daily.  Simply stated it’s the “We do.” part of the gradual release model.  This element is crucial.  It’s time for the teacher and students to practice together.

Mrs. Richardson’s Class

The READ ALOUD is done BY the teacher FOR the students.

Shared Reading is done WITH the students.

A Poem, a Big Book, A chart. Any text where the teacher and the students can see the text, and read it together.

Shared Reading vs Read Aloud

Education.com

It is important to teach what “really matters” connected to a shared text. “We always want students to leave each reading experience enriched by the language and the text because of the shared approach, so we shouldn’t find hundreds of vocabulary words and instructional opportunities in a single text.

Some of  the many benefits of shared reading

  • building vocabulary
  • developing understandings of story structure
  • demonstrating reading strategies
  • entire-class reads a common text
  • all read the large text
  • high engagement

There are many types of print for Shared Reading.  Big books, charts, and poetry are some resources for teachers to read WITH students.

Here some great educators share their resources.

What is Shared Reading?

Learning at the Primary Pond

Shared Reading

The Teaching Texan

Shared Reading

Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

The main goal of shared reading is to engage students with the text. It is to share a reading experience. Everyone can read together and then participate in a rich discussion, writing, or response to the text.

In summary, Shared Reading is a reading experience where both teacher and students read a large text, together. A chart, a poem on a smartboard, or any other BIG text, where the teacher reads WITH the students using self-question and think aloud reading strategies. The goal is to model fluent and expressive reading. The students  INTERACT with the text while reading WITH the teacher and then through discussions, writing, and/or thinking for themselves.

These literacy posts may help in YOUR Balanced Literacy journey.

Balanced Literacy

Read At Home

Flexible Seating

Read Alouds

These resource books for TEACHERS may be helpful for YOUR reading.

Shared Reading with Big Books

Shared Reading with Big Books

Shared Reading

Shared Reading

Kids with Capes

HamerayPublishing

I hope YOU are prepared to practice DAILY  Shared Reading in YOUR classroom!

Stay tuned for next week… Week 2 Guided Reading.

Please share with friends.

Leave me a comment…How do YOU use Shared Reading in YOUR classroom?

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Who NEEDS a Self-Checking Long Vowel Phonics CENTER? ME! (Hands UP)

 Long Vowel Picture Puzzles for Phonics Centers.

Most centers are my nemesis.

My nemesis.  Setting them up. Making sure they are running CORRECTLY. And then storing them for another year! UGH!

But. What if you had a PHONICS center that was SELF CHECKING, kids enjoyed so they did it OFTEN, and it could stay out for a longer time because KIDS WANT TO PLAY WITH IT!

Yes, please!

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How about a LONG VOWEL picture PUZZLES for Phonics centers!

WINNER! WINNER!

Long Vowel Picture Puzzles

The Puzzles are of one picture.

Long Vowel Picture Puzzles long a

The kids have to build a word  AND make a picture.

It is self-checking because if the picture is not put together correctly,

they are not done. The kids can use the completed words in

journal writing, word lists, or word family word walls.

The possibilities are ENDLESS!

The best part…they LOVE IT!

Long Vowel Picture Puzzles long I & o

Kids LOVE putting together puzzles!

How about picture puzzles with 4 letter LONG VOWEL words?

Most have SILENT E, but a few ( ee/ea/oa ) are included.

All of the WINTER-themed picture puzzles are ready to be

printed, laminated, and cut for easy center prep!

Great for Guided Reading, Early Finishers, and/or independent center activities!

Extension product included:

FREE Valentine Long Vowel Picture Puzzle ($2.00 value)

Long Vowel Picture Puzzles

Click HERE to see this GREAT center.

YOU WILL WANT THIS! 🙂

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WENDY 

 

What TIME is it???

How many “times” today have you been asked…

WHAT TIME  IS  IT???

 
For me…
WAY  TOO  MANY!
 
And so…
WE  TEACH!
 
Hour hand.
Minute hand.
O’clock.
Thirty.
 
And OVER…And OVER…And OVER!
 
Big ones for WHOLE Group. 
Little Ones for Small / Independent Practice.
(Practice  MAKES   Perfect!)
 
To help out…
 
I have created a
MUCH   NEEDED  Packet.. 
for ME AND  For YOU!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT  TIME  IS  IT  SNOWMAN?

 
These games will help my kiddos practice
Hour & Half-Hour
in 
MULTIPLE GAME  Formats!
 
 
Those who like SORTING…SORT!
Those who like a MATCHING GAME…MATCH!
Those who like to write..WRITE!
 
And so we work, we play, we practice!
 
And then…

 

WHAT  TIME  IS  IT??

 
RECESS!  LUNCH!  TIME TO GO HOME!
  
Check out my WINTER Pinterest board!
LOTS  of Winter GOODIES!

Data Collecting sends SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE!

Data Collecting!

 

The words that send

SHIVERS

down 

EVERY TEACHER’S

BACK!

WHY? HOW? WHEN?

Relax…take a breath…

go to your “HAPPY PLACE!”

 

Data Collecting is very important in education.

We as educators not only need to deliver the instruction, but we do have the need to ensure our students master and apply the knowledge we are delivering.
 
For me, it was a
CHANGE of  MINDSET.
When I change my lifestyle, I need a WHY?
Why am I doing this? Why is it needed? 
WHY?  WHY?  WHY?
 
BECAUSE.

 

Collecting data is NOT about the numbers.

It’s NOT about “judging” my teaching. It’s NOT about seeing 
HOW many of my students DID or DID NOT master a concept.
 
It’s about looking for those SMALL skills,
those giant holes,
those little tweeks that
are missing FOR THE CHILD! 
What areas are missing…so I can fill them!
 
IT’S NOT ABOUT ME???
 
NOPE!
 
It’s about the KIDS!
 
Data is to help our kids.
 
OK.   So  HOW?
 
There are a MULTITUDE of  assessments
that you can use. 
In this day and age, I bet your district has a LONG list of assessments
they want you to use.
USE them!
 
Don’t just give the test & move to the next lesson.
LOOK  AT  THE  DATA!
 
You might be surprised at what you see!
 
I recently gave a math assessment to my firsties.
We had spent 4-5 weeks (YES WEEKS) on place value!
Tens and ones.  Tens and ones.  
OVER  AND  OVER!
 
After my “district” math assessment,
I noticed a trend…
On 5-6 of the tests  ( 25%  of my class..)
they missed 3-4 questions about 
adding ten to a number.
 
WHAT? ADDING TEN IS EASY!
 
We had gone over tens & ones,
tens & ones…   BUT…
 
I “assumed”
…remember what they say about 
ASSUME…
 
that it would be easy for them 
because they understood place value!
 
So…a week later of
SMALL  GROUP   math
  …adding tens to numbers
 
SHAZAM!
 
100%  on the place value review test!
So what if I gave the review test again?
They didn’t get it the first time!
 
It is NOT important that 
OUR numbers
 look good to others!
 
What is important is
DO THE KIDS KNOW IT?
 
Knowledge vs. numbers.
 
WOW!
A New MINDSET!
 
If you are looking for some reading/writing assessments 
to HELP your kiddos…
THIS WILL HELP!
 
See how I use it 
 HERE

I am a COOKIE Exchange CHEATER!

Bake Cookies? ME?

OK. I admit it. I am a Cookie Exchange CHEATER!

Have you been to a “Cookie Exchange”? 

You bring 1-2 dozen cookies.

You take home a variety of cookies…

as many cookies as you brought.

Here are some of the cookies made from years past:

and these

And so…

those of you who know me…

I don’t bake

well, I have..

I just don’t ENJOY it!

* I made a batch of persimmon cookies last weekend.

I felt I had to before the persimmons rotted.

YUCK!

Bad BAKER!

I gave them to the chickens!

And so…  What to take to the family cookie exchange?

Make it…..don’t BAKE it!

TA DA!

Enter..

NUTTER  BUTTER  REINDEER!

Check out my COOKIE Pinterest board for MORE ideas!

And so…

Will it be a Pinterest SUCCESS?

or

A Pinterest FAIL?

Here we go!

Supplies.

Lay out the Nutter Butters.

Break the pretzels into antlers.

Mix powdered sugar into

ROYAL  FROSTING.

(It dries like CEMENT…it holds everything!)

I think ..Pinterest SUCCESS!

The grandkids LOVE them!

So was I a COOKIE EXCHANGE cheater?

Maybe. But you know what?

The smiles & hugs made it ALL worthwhile!

Merry Christmas!

Update…I Need Tissues ..Live, Laugh,Love!

Happy Holidays, my friends!

Do YOU NEED tissues to put up your Christmas Tree? I Do!


I just spent 2 1/2 HOURS…yes, hours…
putting up our
CHRISTMAS  TREE!
 
 
WHY SO LONG?
Because.  
 
My Christmas tree is NOT a 
MARTHA STEWART tree.
 
It doesn’t match.
It doesn’t have a “theme”.
 
It is MY  family’s legacy.
It is a timeline of our life.
AND I CHERISH EVERY MOMENT!
 

I cried ( tissues needed),

I giggled.

I remembered moments from years past.
 
My hubby kept coming into the living room
wondering what was taking so long.
 
Then…he would look at an ornament and say…
“Do you remember…?”
Yes!  I DO!
 
As I look through the ornament box,
my heart swells with happiness.
THAT, my friends, is what 
CHRISTMAS is ALL about.
 
I collect ornaments! 
I search them out EVERYWHERE we go!
I buy them for MY kids and MY grandkids!
ALWAYS…date the back! 
Doesn’t seem important now…IT WILL BE LATER!
If you can’t find ornaments…key chains work fantastic!
Scavenge the “AFTER CHRISTMAS” sales!
Christmas boutiques, & craft sales!
It’s about a memory.
I never want to FORGET!
 
IN  LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER”.
There are “second chances”…but they are
DIFFERENT!
 
Here is a little “smattering” of my 
Christmas Tree!
 
A cruise hubby & I took to the Caribbean.
The first ship I had ever been on!
 
After 10 months on fertility drugs…BABY on the way!
This was the first ornament I ever bought with a baby on it!
We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl.
Ended up being twin boys! 
40 years ago & still cry at this one!
Happy tears!
 
 
Yes…I have the first 5 years for ALL of my kids!
We are blessed with 4 kids & 6 grandchildren.
 
 
Hubby’s FAVORITE!
JAWS FAN!
 
 
 
A trip to EUROPE with my mom & sisters!
4 California girls to England, Ireland, & Scotland!
We found our ancestor’s farm!
 
My auntie ( now an angel ) made this for me
when I was 5.
 
Very precious.
At the TOP of our tree.
The last remaining ornament HANDMADE by my grandmother.
My parents house burned to the ground 40 years ago.
In the attic were ALL of my MOM’s Christmas ornaments!
GONE!  Luckily, I had one from MY grandma.
Sniff…sniff…memories!
You think those little strings of popcorn won’t last?
Hubby’s from PRESCHOOL!
1965!
(It used to be much longer…I wrap it in tissue every year!)
 
For your kids…
If they play sports…get them a sports ornament
EVERY  YEAR!
There will come a day…when they won’t play!
Remember all the fun times!
 
 
KEY  CHAINS   MAKE  ORNAMENTS!
My little sis got remarried on the beach in HAWAII!  
The WHOLE family went!
We went snorkeling and saw the SEA TURTLES!
FUN TIMES!
 
My son’s favorite sport ( He wrote this when he was 10 ).
He is now in the US NAVY!
I wonder if ALL the practices & games helped him get ready for LIFE?
YES!
 
My first trip to the EAST COAST!
We toured from NEW YORK to NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Stayed at the BEST B&B in Plymouth BAY!
 
 
TEACHERS!!!!
Yes…those  “SILLY”  classroom ornaments 
DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
AND…GLITTER  MATTERS!
A plastic lid…some glitter…and  a picture!
Circa  1992.
 
So here is a “SMATTERING”
of 
MY LIFE!
 
It’s  PERFECT for ME!
 
 
 
 
 
 
I  just had to update with my 
NEWEST  LOVES!!!
 
KEYCHAINS!
 
I would collect Christmas ornaments on our travels.
BUT…they are HARD TO FIND IN JULY!
 
So…I  started collecting
KEYCHAINS!
 
They are the newest additions to my Christmas tree.
 
After our recent trip to VIRGINIA..
I came home with 8 new keychains!
 
I  write the date & any “memories” I can on the back!
 

When I hung them on the tree…

those wonderful memories came back…with tears, tissues needed.

 Happy Tears. 
 
Remember..
 
IN LIFE…there is NO “DO OVER!”
Live, LAUGH, Love!
 
 
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays
from

Are YOU a HELPER ELF?

It’s the 
MOST, WONDERFUL 
TIME OF THE YEAR!


I do not own this video. This video belongs to SantaKlaws67 http://www.youtube.com/user/SantaKlaws67

SANTA  CLAUS  IS COMIN’ TO TOWN!

I work at a low socioeconomic, Title 1 school.
This time of year can be very hard for some kids.
Some families DON’T celebrate Christmas.
Some families can’t afford gifts.
Some are VERY proud and won’t accept donations.
So…Santa doesn’t come to EVERY house.


via GIPHY

So today..we had  
THE TALK.

THE talk about what December, Christmas, and Santa
are REALLY  about.

GIVING & HELPING!

Today…we  became
HELPER  ELVES!

We talked about 
HOW we can HELP at HOME, 
at SCHOOL, 
and help our FRIENDS!
 
We talked about giving from the “heart”.
Our class meeting was SO enlightening!
My kids were SO engaged.
It was NOT about “ME..ME..ME”.
It was about “What can I do for OTHERS!”
 
Sniff..sniff..made tears of joy come to my eyes!
 
IT WAS AWESOME!
 
And so..
 
Santa, you can come to ROOM 3.
(I have a feeling…he will)
 
But for now..
 
WE WILL BE HELPING YOU,SANTA!
 
WE ARE HELPER ELVES!
 

 

 

 
To help YOU out..
 
I have some 
CHRISTMAS Goodies
for the classroom
in my TPT store.
 
 
Here is a FREEBIE
from my store!
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS, 
Helper ELVES!
 

 

How to get ready for Christmas without the STRESS!

I know…BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!

Folks..LIFE IS BUSY! Christmas time is BUSY!

Sorry to be the one to tell you that.

BUT…

30 days …from TODAY  (11.25.22)   4  SUNDAYS!   YES,  4 SUNDAYS…

Christmas will be here!

I  LOVE CHRISTMAS!

So??  

 How  to  get  ready??

PACE YOURSELF!

Think 

MARATHON…NOT  SPRINT!

 Where to start?

#1…..Make LISTS!

(I  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE   LISTS! )

List ALL ( YES ALL ) of the people you 

WOULD LIKE to give gifts to.

Now…

PUT A STAR next to the people you MUST give a gift to.

(I know that sounds weird..but..I would LOVE to give gifts to

EVERYONE…but…my bank account says I must prioritize).

It doesn’t mean I won’t give a gift…

just might be a “thoughtful”… not-as-costly gift.

Reality people!

If money grew on trees…

#2…..DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DEBT FOR THE NEW YEAR!

 So…there is officially  1 more PAYCHECK until Christmas.

( Or figure out HOW many PAYCHECKS YOU have until DEC. 24 )

Take the number of gifts YOU MUST purchase 

and divide by EXTRA $$.

***If you have been SAVING for Christmas,  which you WILL DO for NEXT year,  add that too!

That tells you HOW many GIFTS you MUST purchase and the amount you have to spend.

That’s important because

 now you can begin looking for a gift

for the PERSON…not just a checkoff on a list.

SLOW DOWN! Not ready to buy yet!

Now….start talking, texting, asking others…

#3…..DO YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE!

ASK!!!!  

 What items do the people on your list WANT…NEED…LOVE?????

Add this to your LIST!

( If for kids…ASK THEIR PARENTS…sizes, likes, ages,etc )

Now…start looking…

online? Look for FREE shipping! 

(AMAZON PRIME ..I am speed dial!)

Friends & Family …FAR AWAY???  ( Sorry )

SHIP TO THEM!

Don’t ship to YOU & then pay to ship to them!

SHIP  DIRECTLY! FREE!

STOP!

YOU HAVE NOT MADE A BUDGET YET!

#4…..Figure out what you can spend..

AFTER PAYING YOUR BILLS & feeding your family.

They always come first…don’t forget to add them to your MUST list!

Your kids COME FIRST!

And NOT going into SEVERE debt!

Only charge what YOU can pay off the next month!

NO DEBT AFTER JANUARY!

OK..then..start listing whom you will purchase for.

After you purchase…keep the receipt! 

I write the name of the person I purchased it for on the back..

RETURNS?  Easy Peasy!

After you purchase…

or  it arrives from SANTA’S HELPER

 IN THE BROWN UPS TRUCK… 🙂

WRAP IT  AND   ATTACH  A  NAME  TAG!

( This from a Santa’s Helper…who has forgotten and was wrapping WAY TOO LATE INTO CHRISTMAS EVE! )

After Thanksgiving..

#5…..I begin to look at my 

LIST of ” WANT to purchase for”

but NOT necessarily, 

 “Must Purchase For”

on my list!

 ( Yes I keep it in a little book in my purse! )

Now I have a better idea of “extras”…

Do I need to do “homemade”….giftcards…..”I thought of you- but have no $$ left” card? 

What kinds of gifts can you give for NO MONEY?

How about a picnic at the park?   A  TEA PARTY for kids?  A trip to the library to read books?  Take a young child to the ZOO???

Gifts of “ONE TO ONE” time…ARE THE BEST!  

And you can schedule them AFTER the holidays. 

The gift that keeps on giving!

Whatever fits YOU! 

RELAX!   

NO  GUILT!  

Christmas is NOT about who can GUILT YOU the MOST!

It’s about telling the people you care about..

THEY ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU!

Enjoy the season.

Spend time with friends & family!

TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!

Make Memories!

And when JANUARY comes around..

SMILE!

(And maybe  a mani / pedi  for  yourself?)

But…remember…

Christmas is from the HEART..not the WALLET!

Have FUN!  

Elf on the Shelf… FAILURE!

Do OVER!

What do YOU do to get ready for CHRISTMAS????