Easy DIY Teacher Appreciation Gift


Here's a Montessori themed Word Cloud

Did you know that the first full week in May is Teacher Appreciation week? I’m not sure when it became an official “thing”, but it’s been fun brainstorming and getting things together for both MaM and the Fox’s classroom teachers.

While I was mulling over what to do, I had a burst of inspiration. And since it doesn’t happen often, I thought I’d share.

One thing I think most teachers enjoy (I know I did) is receiving sentiments from their students. One of my most favorite momentos ever is from a little girl who drew a picture of the two of us, and her dad wrote the story about it on the back. I wanted to coordinate sentiments from the Fox’s entire class- and all of a sudden it came to me. WORDLE.

The school administrator took the time to have each child say what they liked best about each teacher.

1) I created a word doc that included all of the quotes from all of the children, including their names.

2) I pasted that document into the text box on the wordle.net website.

3) I played around with the Wordle text by pressing “randomize” and tweaking the color and the font until I hit upon what I wanted.

4) I saved the file by selecting print, and then instead of printing, I saved it as a PDF.

5)I I printed the PDF on photo paper, and popped it in a 8 x 10 frame.


What was really amazing about this project was that the words that “popped” on each teacher’s Wordle were dead-on. The teacher who spends time outside and teaches art had outside, monkey-bars, art, and paint in large type. The teacher who practices sight words with the children, sings songs and prepares snack had words like read, sings, and snack were the largest words on her word cloud. I can’t wait to give them to the teachers next week!

Wondering what you can do if you can’t get the whole class to contribute quotes?

a) Include the teacher’s name, and the class roster

b) Include the subject, along with special projects or unit themes that have been covered

c) Include reading lists, people studied, or lists of other topics covered

The possibilities are endless- have fun thinking of groups of words that might work for the special teacher in your life. He or she will appreciate it.




Seven Things You Don’t Ever Need to Store

This week the empty POD was taken away. After going through most of the boxes and crates and garbage bags of stuff, I have a few tips.
Without further ado, here are the top seven things you should not put in a storage unit, ever.
1) Boxes of half used crayons. I have unpacked approximately elevenity hundred used crayons. I have another bazillion inside my house already. You know what you don’t need to bring with you, wherever you’re going? Used crayons.
2)Glitter. If you weren’t doing glitter crafts before you packed up, what makes you think you’ll suddenly start wanted to do glitter crafts when you unpack?
3) Clothes your kids have outgrown. If you have to fill out paperwork to become parents like we do, and your 99% sure you’re not going to feel compelled to do that again, just let them go. Yes, baby clothes are cute and sentimental. Know what’s more sentimental? Pictures of your kids in said clothes. Make a favorite outfit flipbook and move on.*
4) Toys your kids have outgrown. See #3.
5) Cleaning rags and towels. I unpacked a box full of old towels and cleaning cloths. Why, I ask? Oh why?
6) Perishable toiletries and food items like cough drops. This isn’t from me, it’s from a coworker who packed up his medicine cabinet and left it in storage for over a year. Cough drops melt. Saline leaks and rusts things. Deodorant turns to goo. If you are trying to declutter, commit to using up what you’ve got and resist the temptation to stockpile more. But don’t pack toiletries for storage.
7) The Blender. You know when you’re going to want frosty beverages and smoothies? When your blender is at the back of a storage unit, unable to be unearthed. It’s not that big. Trust me on this one.
I could go on and on, but sometimes you don’t really know what you don’t need until you don’t see it for awhile. I remember going to Goodwill so many times while we were packing, and I went to Goodwill so many more time during our 40 bags in 40 days month. Guess where I’ve been dropping loads off weekly every week in August? Goodwill. Yes, we paid to store a lot of things I ultimately unpacked and then proceeded to get rid of.
Oh well. Live and learn, right?
*I’ve also come to the conclusion that there is enough baby stuff in the universe that should a child fall from the sky and into your lap, long after you’ve passed on your baby goods, that child will not be naked or wanting for anything. I am convinced of this, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who can prove to me otherwise.

Still For Sale…..

In just a few weeks, we’ll be passing the one year mark on our storage unit. It’s been a year since we decided to put our townhouse on the market, a year since we replaced the carpet and had some bathroom updates done in hopes of a quick sale. A YEAR.

It’s frustrating. Only one townhouse in the neighborhood has sold all this time. There have only been five showings. Each time there’s a showing, after I’ve frantically cleaned the house, I reward myself with an hour or two of looking online for our new home and perhaps some new furnishings. Sometimes I just look for things totally different that what we have now (post-college random, I like to call it) and imagine a house full of  modern decor. Sometimes I think about room colors, or dream about a two car garage.

Then a small child sprints back and forth across the room and I’m snapped back to reality*. And I realize we need to get St. Joseph upside down and into the ground, pronto.

*Seriously, the children run sprints back and forth, from one wall to the other, both upstairs and downstairs at all hours of the day. These kids need a basement, or a bonus room, or an indoor dog run of some sort…..