Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wish List Wednesday!

Happy Wish List Wednesday, y'all! (I think blogging makes me a wanna-be southerner)!


Miss Rebecca Reid is hosting a Wish List Wednesday linky party on her blog, Line upon Line Learning, so I thought I might as well jump on the linky bandwagon and give it a try. :-)

I'm feeling a bit funny about writing a wish list right now, because I should be creating a list of everything I am grateful for instead.  Oh well, Christmas is right around the corner, and with that comes BLACK FRIDAY, CYBER MONDAY, shopping 'til you're dropping, and holiday wish lists!  That also means something to TpTers...A SALE!  I am excited to finally announce TpT will be hosting a sale on Monday, December 2nd and Tuesday, December 3rd!  All products made by A Chocolate Dudley will be on sale for a total of 28% off, including my newest product, Help Wanted at the North Pole! I must must MUST do a separate blog post about this Creative Writing Letter of Interest Project & Craftivity ASAP!   (Just an FYI to buyers, you will see my store's sale price set as 20% off, but upon entering the promo code, CYBER, your discount will be increased to 28%).



Now that the big TpT sale is coming up, there are a few (okay, many) products I'd like to go ahead and purchase.  Check out my TpT and Christmas Wish List below.  I'll try to control myself and be reasonable. :)

1. Game Boards Galore by Krista Wallden- I'd love to start making boardgames for math fact practice!
2. Money Digital Stamps Set by Ginger Snaps Clip Art- Isn't her style too cute? I just KNOW I'll need this soon!

3. 3rd Grade Common Core Writing Rubrics by Katie Leseman- I may not need these at the moment, but I'd sure love to have them in the future!  They look easy to use and very detailed.  Great idea!

4. Britt Trapper Minnetonka Moccasins- I am in desperate need of some new slippers as mine are dirty, falling apart, and now have kitchen paint splattered across them.  I love this pair of cinnamon moccasins at Famous Footwear, but have seen a similar style by Minnetonka in a sparkly charcoal color at Macy's that are also cute.  

5. Wool Blend Toggle Sweater Jacket by The Loft- I tried this on the other night, when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping for other people...oops!  It felt incredibly warm, which is exactly what I NEED! Mom, I think I am an XS...hehehe.

6. This one is a biggie.  A new LAPTOP & PRINTER- I don't have pictures this time, because I'm not exactly sure which brands & models I'd like to go for.  My laptop is falling apart, literally.  A couple weeks ago, the plastic piece above the function keys started to pop up because the screws holding it in place are completely worn out.  Now, each time I tilt my screen, the plastic pops up and down. Aside from that, my computer has been slower than ever.  Especially PowerPoint, which is the program I mainly use nowadays as I'm creating TpT products.  My computer constantly overheats, and always shuts down a few minutes into any sort of video.  The keyboard mouse no longer works, and the battery is completely dead, so my laptop must always be plugged in.  The power cord is fraying, and I honestly am afraid it will set fire to my computer, even though Sam insists it could never produce enough heat.  As far as my printer goes, the print quality has decreased drastically over the MANY years I have owned it.  Both pieces have lasted quite a while, and I am thankful they have held up for so long! Thanks for letting me vent about my technology issues.

7.  My biggest wish of all is for my family, friends, and all of their loved ones to have a safe, healthy, and happy 2014.  I love you all so much!

Now, Fabulous Friends, Family & Followers, what is on YOUR WISH LIST this year? 

Happy Beginning of the Holiday Season, everyone!  Enjoy your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping!

XO <3, C

I'm Still Alive!

Hey everyone,

I've been wanting to post something new for a while now, but miraculously I been SO BUSY!  It's hard to imagine how busy I am considering I'm not working full time, but there hasn't been a dull moment around here in a while!  There is too much going on to explain everything in full detail, so instead I'd like to make a list to recap the past month:

-I have been subbing a fair amount.  Usually 2-3 times a week.  I typically go to the same PK-2nd grade school, and I am really loving it there.  I feel like I've been there enough to now feel comfortable in the building and with knowing my way around.  Most of the children recognize me, know my name (or some version of it, hehe), and say hi to me when passing by.  I have learned many teachers' names, where their classrooms are, and some of the routines and procedures of the school.  I am starting to feeling at home there, and I am incredibly thankful for that!

-A few weeks ago, I hosted a Stella & Dot trunk show party.  I was a bit apprehensive about this because I didn't want any of my invitees to feel they were being conned into purchasing jewelry.  I thought the party would be something to look forward to and keep me busy since about a month ago I was feeling bored and lonely. 

I'd say the party was a success!  A small group of friends attended, and it was nice to have a relaxing "Girls Night In" filled with yummy appetizers, a wine cocktail, and fabulous jewelry!  The S&D stylist who attended the party is super nice, and because of her, I am now thinking about joining her team and becoming a stylist  myself.  If all goes as planned, I would consider registering and hopefully hosting my own trunk shows this spring after returning from California.  Hopefully, my very good friend, K, and I will find a way to embark on the S&D endeavor together, although we're not sure it is possible to sign  up as a twosome.  Wish us luck, and let us know if you want to host a trunk show!  We need some very kind and thoughtful friends and family members to help us launch our "store"...hint..hint.. ;-)

a. Bardot Hoop Earrings, b. Eden Bangle, c. Janie Flower Studs, d. Garden Party Chandelier Earrings

Above you will see my Stella & Dot purchases.  Well, I guess they aren't technically considered purchases because I received them for free thanks to all of the points I earned from my friends' purchases!  Thank you, friends!  I did receive a couple other pieces for free as well, but those ones are gifts for certain special people. :)

-The night of my jewelry party I decided we absolutely MUST paint out kitchen.  The house was almost immaculate at that point.  Every room had been dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed, and organized for the trunk show, and less than 12 hours later, the whole house was torn apart.  Yup, the following day Sam agreed to my idea, and we started knocking down beams and tearing bead-board down! I have to admit, the demolition phase was the best part!

Since then, we have been busily at work, in a complete rush to finish the job since we are hosting Thanksgiving in 2 days! EEEEk!  Luckily, we FINALLY completed our 2nd coat of paint on the walls last night, and boy, do I feel RELIEVED!  If anyone saw my Facebook status the other night, you know how incredibly overwhelmed and frustrated I was!  I plan on doing another blog post soon once all of the final details are complete, so you can see our kitchen's transformation.  Until then, the only other piece of info I'd like to add is I ADORE our new kitchen wall color!  Any guesses on the shade we chose?

-The weekend after the S&D party, Sam & I joined our friend, M, and several other friends on a private tour of Flag Hill Winery, and it was AMAZING!  I've been there a couple times before, each time learning and picking up on new information about the wine-making process.  This time, we had the opportunity to wine taste in a room all to ourselves!  We were given a checklist of the wines, spirits, and liqueurs we were able to try so we could take notes as we went.  My new favorite (still second to the Apple Cranberry Fruit Wine) is the Red Plum Fruit Wine.  So sweet, incredible, and delicious, people!!! Too bad it's seasonal only. :(

-My last new bit of information is I signed up for and began YOGA!  I thought about trying yoga for a long time, but never felt comfortable going ahead with it as I hate trying new things on my own.  Recently, my tension headaches came back with a vengeance! Out of nowhere, I was clenching my jaw every day, all day, even in my sleep.  My head, jaw, and neck, throbbed for almost a month straight, when I finally decided enough is enough! I forced myself to go to yoga all alone and discovered I really enjoy it (so far at least).  In fact, going on my own wasn't a big deal in the least bit!  It gets better though, after trying out a couple classes I discovered a friend of mine, L, was also looking for someone to go to yoga with!  PERFECT!  Hopefully we can keep it up together. :)

Adios chicos and Happy Thanksgiving!

XO <3, C

P.S. My tension headaches disappeared after the 2nd yoga class! :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gobble Gobble!

Okay, okay, we may not have even celebrated Halloween yet, but just like all the retail stores out there, I'd like to hop on the Thanksgiving bandwagon!  November 1st is only a week away, which means I need to start planning my Thanksgiving dinner.  This year is a special one, and should be interesting, because for the first time yet, I'll be hosting a family get-together and serving a FEAST!  ...Scary!  So far I know my mom is going to bring gravy, mashed potatoes, her delicious sweet potato casserole with the brown sugar crunchy topping (my FAVORITE!), and Swedish apple pie.  YUM!  Sam and I will take care of the turkey, and Sam is hoping his mom will make her pumpkin pie, but ...well, the rest has yet to be decided.  I'm starting to get some great ideas from good ol' Pinterest!

Everything looks TOO GOOD!

I also have been starting to get my act together with Thanksgiving TpT projects/activities. I just finished my first one, called Invite a Pilgrim to Thanksgiving Dinner, which is a creative and persuasive writing project meant for 3rd-6th graders. 

The basic premise of the project is students need to write a persuasive letter inviting a Plimoth Plantation Pilgrim who has time-traveled to the present to their family's Thanksgiving Dinner.  To do this, kiddos need to research The First Thanksgiving.

They will record their findings on the graphic organizer above.  Next, they will fill out a similar GO on their own family's Thanksgiving traditions, and then use a Venn diagram to compare their traditions to The First Thanksgiving.  

After a lot of preliminary work, students will examine and discuss the above example persuasive letter, and eventually write their own.  They will focus on the friendly letter format, writing an introduction to a letter/invitation, using persuasive language, comparing/contrasting, and writing a conclusion. They will be writing across many genres all the while letting their creative juices flow!

This product comes with teacher directions, objective/goal posters written in student-friendly language, vocabulary posters, a scoring rubric, an editing/revising checklist, and final draft paper. 

For the culminating activity, students will create a paper plate turkey invitation to go along with their persuasive letter. Don't you love him?!

Check out my Invite a Pilgrim to Thanksgiving Dinner Project and Craftivity here at TpT!  I hope you enjoy it!

Best Wishes for the week ahead!

XO <3, C

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Chocolate Dudley has been SKUNKED!

Well friends, it is safe to say I had a smelly boy on my hands last night!  As many of you already know, the inevitable happened.  A certain skunk that lives under the next door neighbor's shed sprayed his cutest victim yet!  Yup, The Chocolate Dudley himself was sprayed. At 6:30 PM. Right before we were about to set out on the road. To drop Dudley off with my parents. So Sam and I could spend the weekend in Boston.  MAJOR disappointment!

Sam was busy sanding the trim in the downstairs bathroom, while I was FINALLY finishing up a Thanksgiving Creative Writing Project (Can't wait to share it later this weekend!), when Sam smelled something a little odd.  He poked his head outside to call Dudley in, and the D-man was no where to be found.  After a bit of calling, Duds made his way up to do the deck, foaming, frothing, and drooling!  My gut instinct was to take him in the house because hello?! there was a skunk outside!  Within about 2 seconds, we quickly realized the house was the wrong place for Dudley!  He had already been skunked!  

We tied poor Dudley to the deck railings, gave him a bowl of water in case he wanted to rinse his mouth out, and then I called the emergency vet.  Their number is posted to our fridge because I call them at least 3 times a year, which may seem silly, but most times I contact them he ends up needing a visit and prescriptions.  This time the vet was extremely helpful over the phone, and provided us with a recipe for de-skunking.  Keep this handy, everyone!  It helps very much!

Mix the following:
-1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
-1/4 cup of baking soda
-1 tablespoon of dish detergent

Sam and I hosed Dudley down, and used a loofah to work the frothy suds into his fur and skin.  Afterwards, we had to let the concoction sit on him for about 5 minutes until it was time to rinse, towel dry, and then repeat.  We bathed him two times, which really did the trick!  This was the very first bath he disliked, and the first time he didn't pounce on the hose.  :( Instead, he cried while we rinsed him as he was shaking from the cold.  This broke my heart.

I'd like to say he has learned his lesson, but honestly? Of course he has not!  He thinks all furry animals are meant to be played with!

Now it's up to  Sam and me to take care of this skunk.  We heard through the grapevine a sock soaked with gasoline can be dropped into a skunk's burrow to encourage the skunk to find a new home.  That sounds great and all, but just one question- How will we put it there without getting skunked ourselves?!

 One sad and chilly puppy.
 Still drooling, but not nearly as much since we had rinsed his mouth out by this point.

Thank you to our neighbor who gave us a bucket of supplies and bottles of hydrogen peroxide!  Dudley's eyes are fine now.  Who needs Saline Solution?

XO <3, C

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fab Math Vocab!

I FINALLY finished the 3rd Grade Common Core Math Vocabulary Posters for the second half of the year to go along with enVision MATH.  OH MY WORD there are so many important words in Topics 9 - 16! Even if you don't normally dedicate a bulletin board or special area to math vocabulary, I highly suggest having some sort of visuals on hand because the language in the second half of the year becomes extremely intense.  Think of all the vocabulary that comes along with fractions (numerator, denominator, mixed number, equivalent, simplest form, etc.), geometry (point, line, line segment, ray, polygon, trapezoid, rhombus, etc.), and measurement (capacity, weight, mass, inch, foot, mile, etc.)! YIKES!

I hope you will find the posters I created helpful for you and your students.  Take a sneak peek...

The above are just a few examples of the posters, and I am not stressing few lightly.  In total there are almost 110 vocabulary words! 

Just so you get the picture, take a look here...

YIKES!  If you're interested, you can find the Grade 3 Common Core Math Vocabulary Posters here at TpT.

As always, thanks for reading and for your support!  Happy Wednesday!

XO <3, C

P.S. You may be interested in reading my original blog post on 3rd Grade Math Vocabulary Posters (Topics 1-8) here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Campers on the Cape

How was everyone's LONG weekend? 

Sam, Dudley, and I had an awesome weekend camping with my parents at Nickerson State Park on the Cape.

These two pictures were taken soon after first arriving and setting up our little two-person tent.  You would think the tent would be perfect for Sam and I, but be aware, Dudley slept in the tent with us!  We ended up being quite cozy, which made for a bad night sleep on the first night.  At least we were toasty warm, even when the temperature hit a chilly 39 degrees on the second night!

We began our first day of camping by heading out to lunch, and then taking a walk around the park.  Dad stayed behind as he preferred to hang out by the fire with Marshal, who very much enjoyed his "camping" kennel!

 My beautiful mum was bundled up for Arctic temperatures on our walk and for most of the long weekend!

We took the Flax Pond trail and discovered the beginnings of beautiful fall foliage!  The only problem- keeping Dudley out of the water so we wouldn't be sleeping with a wet puppy that evening!

 You can bet Dudley wanted to keep trekking through the grass towards the pond,...

 and of course Sam kept us entertained the entire time!

The first night we hung around the campfire, dining on homemade soup, cornbread, and apple crisp!  Yum!
Dudley enjoyed relaxing by the fire from a distance.  Maybe because he once burned his nose on a campfire when he was a puppy?
The following day, we made the drive out to Provincetown.  We lucked out with the weather!  What a gorgeous day!
Unfortunately, this was the only whale we saw as all whale watch trips were cancelled due to rough waters. 
Instead, we had an absolutely delicious lunch at the Lobster Pot.  The restaurant reminds me of The Lobster Pot in Bristol, RI where Sam and I had our rehearsal dinner.  I highly suggest the bread bowl of clam chowder!  Amazing!

 After lunch, we took a few more touristy photos.  Here you can see Mom, Dad, and Dudley as "the cat"! We shopped around a bit and may or may not have picked up a Christmas present for a certain someone.  Of course, we could not leave without purchasing some delicious homemade fudge!
Since the whale watches were cancelled, Sam wanted to check out the Pilgrim Monument.  This was his first trip to P-town and The Cape so the two of us went to the top, while Dad hung out in the car, and Mom watched Dudley outside the monument museum. The Pilgrim Monument was built in the early 1900s to commemorate the Pilgrim's voygage to the New World.  It was built on The Cape because the Mayflower first landed in Provincetown.  The Pilgrims actually spent a bit over a month exploring Cape Cod, before they finally sailed on to Plymouth. 
Much to our surprise, we noticed a little (and sleepy!) fox hanging out in front of the monument.  It seemed to pay little attention to the visitors walking by. 

After hiking up the ramps that covered 116 steps, we made it to the top of the monument.  The view was gorgeous, and I loved seeing ocean from almost every angle! 

Dad wanted to stop by a beach on the way "home" from P-town so Sam could see some beautiful Cape Cod dunes.  We ended up missing the beach Dad wanted to visited, so we stopped here, at Pilgrim Heights, instead.  The Pilgrim Spring Trail begins at this location, and even though we didn't have a chance to take it, I was excited to learn the trail has a special marker pointing out the spot where it is believed the Pilgrims first discovered fresh water.  

We finally made it to a beach just before sunset.  Sam, the dogs, and I were the only ones interested in playing!  Sam and I explored the dunes, and then let the dogs out for a quick break from the car.  Again, we had the challenge of keeping D out of the water!

The second evening was a bit more chilly!  We enjoyed steak, beans, and s'mores while hanging by the fireside!

Above is the view of Flax Pond across the street from our campsites.  I'm thankful for the beautiful long fall weekend spent outdoors with family! It was great to show Sam Nickerson State Park, where my family and I have made many camping memories, as well as create new memories with Sam and my parents!

Dudley, who enjoyed himself very much, was all tuckered out on the ride home. 

Talk to you soon, friends!

XO <3, C