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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Coordinating Classroom Parties

When September rolls around, it gets me thinking of Halloween! I know it's early, but it's my favorite time of year. Fall in general is my favorite, so I like to look forward and plan for the BIG fall party for my kids' classes! I also make sure to call the party "harvest" or "fall" for those who don't particularly celebrate Halloween.

This year, I am not the main room parent. Their teachers had everyone sign up for certain things at the beginning of the year at open house. I'm signed up to coordinate the Halloween party (yay!). I'm kind of relieved to not have to coordinate each party. I've been doing it for five years and for both of my kids for four years. I've enjoyed every minute of it. However, this year, I'm subbing a lot more and don't want to spread myself thin. It's nice to let others coordinate, too. I've always waited a couple weeks into the school year to see if the teachers need a room mom. I only step up when no one else wants to -- I'm not one to step on toes. I'll coordinate, but not tell people what to do. It's not my style. I love seeing other people's ideas. I love having my own, too, but I'm happy to step back a bit this year.

If you're reading my blog for the room mom part of it, you may be wondering how I coordinate the class parties. Sometimes it depends on the class. I have two ways I'd like to tell you about.
For example, my son's teacher last year, sent the weekly classroom newsletters via e-mail to all the parents. I used that e-mail list to coordinate parties with the parents by sending them party updates. I'll send something like the letter below and ask them to respond to all when replying so everyone knows what is spoken for and is still needed.

See one of my Halloween classroom party posts here

Hi there! I'm (name here) and I'm helping to put together the Halloween/Harvest/Fall Party for (teacher's name here) class. It will be at 2:15 on Thursday, October 31st . 

Here's the plan for the party but if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!  If you'd like to help, please sign up for something below:

If you can bring or send in something, please reply to all, so we know what is spoken for : ) 

Sweet Treat* - 
Healthy Snack (fruit or veggie)* - 
Salty Snack* - 
Drink* - 
Treat bags* (optional) - 
napkins -
plates - 
*please remember, no snacks with nuts in the building due to allergies

If you can come to the party and would like to help with an activity, please sign up below:

Station 1: Halloween Bingo  -- We will need someone to run the game and items for prizes such as pencils or candy (a bingo game will be provided)
Station 2: Snacks -- will need someone to hand out snacks -
Station 3: Photo Booth - I will take pics and have them printed
Station 4: Craft or other activity (suggestions are welcome) - 

I'd like to have a "photo booth" during the party. A picture will be taken of the student and a photo will be sent home in their purple folder when I get them printed.  I've done this in the past, but let me know if you don't want your child's picture taken.

Thank you! (I also include my information so they may contact me with questions or suggestions) 


The other way is how I had to coordinate for my daughter's class last year. I did not have all the e-mail contacts, so I had to make copies of the letter above and ask that they e-mail or call me with what they could help with and it worked out pretty well. If I got duplicates, I just went with it. It's okay to have more sometimes, but if I had 3 desserts instead of 1 or 2, I would go back to the one who sent their info to me last and ask if they could help with something else. 

Needless to say, it is much easier when I have all the e-mails. There is also Sign Up Genius. I may be using that this year. I'll talk more about it once I actually use it. 

If you'd like to share your ideas, please do!

Happy party planning!! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pen Pal Mail Art

This is sort of a random post, but I'm really starting to get into mail art. It might be good timing for you if you've decided to have a pen pal for you or your children this summer. It would be fun to send decorative envelopes to friends, cousins, grandparents, etc.  I've seen so many beautiful envelopes on Pinterest and around the Web and decided to make my own.

My husband has a sister who lives in Germany. We send letters back and forth. Of course we e-mail and include pictures that way to keep her updated on our lives here in the States, but to actually hold something in your hand from a relative over seas is more fun! 

Here is the first one I sent her for Easter. She wrote back telling me how much she enjoyed the getting the letter with interesting art and their mailman commented as well. It's fun to get letters, but when they have an unexpected twist, it's even more exciting! 

My daughter wrote to her as well and I stacked the letters on top of each other and placed them in the largest envelope (at top in picture).

This is what was inside the pink envelope (an Easter card). Just some cute little shapes that we stamped onto paper and cut out. 

Hope you decide to make your mail creative and exciting this summer!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Classroom Halloween Party

Just a reminder, I have been out of the picture lately with my blog and I'm going through a rewind of a few classroom parties I missed out on sharing with you. So in case you're wondering if I'm aware that it's a New Year already -- don't worry, I am totally aware and am looking forward to the next party, which is Valentine's Day at our school. But, before I can move forward, I need to go backward a bit to share a couple parties I've missed out on telling you about.

Halloween parties are so much fun to plan! I mentioned being a room parent for both of my kids' classes, but for my son's second grade class (um, last school year -- yes, I'm that late catching up!), I was a co-room parent with another mom. She also loves coming up with ideas and we have managed to come up with a couple good parties now that we have Halloween and Christmas finished. We make a great team!

The second grade party included a parade, so we were short on actual party time, but we managed to fit in a lot of things. I contacted all the volunteers and they signed up for various snacks:

I contributed to the snack by making sugar cookies:

I wasn't in the classroom to let them know the skulls were actually melted chocolate, so some of the kids were not sure if they could actually eat them.  : ( 

My son's teacher allowed us to come in and decorate. We hung some lights and also bats and things from the ceiling. 

The party included snacks, a "guess how many candy corn" jar, favorite/best/funniest/scariest costumes contest and a photo booth.

For the photo booth, I purchased a wall hanging from the Dollar Tree. I think it turned out pretty cute!

My husband had the day off and could help me. Since both parties were at the same time, I could only be at one party at once. So, another volunteer took the pictures at the photo booth while the other room mom and volunteers handled the rest. 

While his party was going on, I was at my daughter's party. 

Her party included snacks, a movie called "A Very Brave Witch" -- one of our absolute FAVORITES for Halloween, and a photo booth. While the kids watched the movie, they ate their snacks and I called one at a time for the photo booth. 

I made the photo booth out of a patio furniture box for my son's Valentine's party last year and just updated it with Halloween decorations. The kids had fun with it. 

Here was my treat contribution. Cupcakes with a chocolate bat. I used a mod for bat-shaped picks. They have an extension shaped like a long v to allow them to be inserted into the cupcake. 

I purchased the cupcake holder at the Dollar Tree. Love that place!! 

We had water for their drink since there were a lot of sweets! I made the labels to coordinate with the green, purple and black theme. 

Here are pics of a couple of gifts I handed out to the teachers and other staff:

This Halloween bark was easy to make. I just melted white chocolate and added candy corn, waited for it to harden and then broke it into pieces. I made fold-over candy labels and that was it! 

Okay, there's a catch-up party from 2012! Geez, where does the time go? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Classroom Valentine's Day Parties

I have a few other classroom parties to post on here as part of my catch-up plan, but to keep it current, I will show some ideas from last year's Valentine's Day party. Did I say current? I guess I mean to say relevant to this time of year. I'm planning this year's party, but I wanted to post the ideas from last year. It helps me to remember and maybe it will help spark some ideas as well.

Last year for my daughter's 1st grade class, we had snacks, an activity and a photo booth. We divided the class into 3 groups for 3 stations: 1st station activity was for reading Valentine's (a parent was here to help read if they needed it and Valentine's were handed out earlier in the day); 2nd station was a snack area; and 3rd was for the photo booth. We had 8 students per group. We switched stations every 10 minutes for a 30-minute party.

Our photo booth turned out pretty cute. While one was getting their picture taken, the rest were decorating heart pencil toppers. Can you believe I don't have any pictures of that? What happened? Anyway, for the pencil toppers, I took in plain paper hearts that I cut out using my Making Memories Slice that I've had for a few years now. I precut two holes for the pencil. I also had crayons, markers and stickers. All they had to do was decorate the hearts while they waited for the picture to be taken and after while waiting for the others. I also provided pencils for the toppers.

For the "photo booth" I made a heart banner and hung it on the wall. I also brought a few props: a heart, a mustache and bow. The kids had fun. I actually did the photo booth for my son's 2nd grade class as well. I might even do the same thing again this year.

Some of the boys used the bow as a bow tie...

And some of the girls used it as a hair bow...

While others used just the heart...

or just the mustache...

I had the pictures printed and sent home with the kids in their take-home folders. I like to do this because, especially for the parents who can't be there, they still get a keepsake from their child's 1st grade party. My hope is that the parents keep the pictures and are happy to have them. 

Here's a picture of the snack table. I love seeing what parents bring in for snacks. They really come up with some adorable ideas. And the kids have such a fun time! You can't really see everything because I took the picture after it was over : ( But you can still see the cute marshmallows dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. They looked so cute! 

The owl placemats were from Target a few years ago. Our teacher loves owls so I couldn't resist decorating with them! 

 Here are the Valentine's my daughter gave out last year. I found the super cute heart-shaped ring pops at Dollar Tree! I loved that the packaging was clear without a logo or anything. I had her draw a heart, then I scanned her drawing and made stickers. We added the stickers and then we had our Valentines. I know -- sugar, sugar, sugar -- but isn't Valentine's Day supposed to be sweet? I might try something healthier this year, but I'm not promising anything. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

American Girl Doll Storage

Wow! It's been a long time since I posted here. So much to catch up on. Being a room parent has kept me busy, but for this school year, I am also subbing. I absolutely love it! However, the unpredictable schedule is hard for me to plan things. I'm not complaining, though. I've always wanted to work at my kids' school and now I am.

We did have some spare time this past weekend to work on my daughter's American Girl doll collection. The collection started with Bitty Baby when she was 3. Then Santa brought her Kit on Christmas when she was 5. I thought one girl and baby was enough, but then Molly was retiring last year and Claire really wanted her. Really, it was her, not me. Even though the doll has my name and her year is 1944 -- my Dad's birth year -- it really was my daughter who wanted her. It's just that all those things added up to it being okay for Santa to bring her this last Christmas.

So, now she has 2 American Girls and one Bitty Baby. She loves them and I couldn't be happier! I love that my little girl wants to play with dolls. She changes them into their pajamas for the night and dresses them in the morning. However, over the years, she's accumulated a few things to go along with the dolls. She was having trouble finding certain outfits and accessories she wanted to play with. It's great to have choices, but not great if you can't find them.

In her room, we already had 2 bookcases that I had purchased from Target that stored random items. I saw a couple ideas on Pinterest where someone used a tension rod to hang doll clothes. I thought that was a brilliant idea. I had enough to work with and got started.

On Saturday, we gathered all of her American Girl doll items and got to work organizing. We made little rooms for her dolls on the shelves. We left enough space between the the bookcases for the tension rod and under that is room for the bunk bed.

It's not glamorous by any means, but it's very functional and my daughter was excited about the finished look. She can see everything and knows where everything goes.

Let's take a closer look:

The left bookshelves have the bathroom, living room and cubbies on bottom shelf for 
shoes and clothes:

The right bookshelves have the kitchen, kitchen accessories/supplies, and more clothes. I was going to purchase shallow containers, but instead we used the lids from AG products we purchased to store foods and miscellaneous kitchen play items. 
Also, the salon chair on top so they can get their hair done, of course. : )

Here's where we used the tension rod; spread between the two bookshelves and the "bedroom" underneath that. One thing about the tension rod: it kept sliding down, so we just rested it on top of the bookshevles for now and it works. 

Our next project is to paint her room. Now, that will be exciting! 

Hope you found this idea useful!