Sunday School Room Make Over

Hi Friends!

I wanted to share what I’ve been working on with you! You might remember that I am currently the Children’s Ministries director at my church.
Well, I’ve been hard at work rearranging and reorganizing our Sunday School/Children’s church room and I wanted to share the end result with you!


Just like any classroom, it’s really important that our Sunday School room is organized and functional. I, of course, forgot to take before pictures, but I do have one “in the process” picture.


The main issue with the way the old room was organized was that it really wasn’t. There were a lot of random things in the room that were taking up space, and it just wasn’t functional. However, all of the nuts and bolts were there, they just needed some assembly. I spent a lot of time decluttering and removing a lot of the excess from the room, and this was the end result.


There are two chalkboards in the room that were basically unused. I took this one and created a welcome bulletin board. Our theme is Fellow-Ship kids.


I also labeled and organized the activities in the room. Before, the kids came in and had free time, then had their lesson and activity, followed by more free time. There were two problems with this “system”. First, the kids had a tough time “reigning it in” after free time. Second, there were very few activities, and they weren’t well organized. I labeled each bin and organized the activities. I also bought a few new activities and games from 5 Below (checkers, Jenga, etc) and grabbed some of my centers from my attic from when I was in the classroom. Now the kids know what goes where and that makes a huge difference. I also created a new schedule- Welcome Work, Lesson, Activity, Center Choice.


This was the other unused chalkboard. I threw some Dollar Tree wrapping paper on there and a border that just happened to match my letters (score!). I’m going to add pictures of all of our volunteers to this board with their names. We have a rotating schedule, so this will help the kids know the teachers and helpers a little better.


Of course, I had to get a little creative. I made these signs to hang around the room, and I’m in love with how they turned out. I just printed on card stock and hung in Dollar Tree frames. (Click the picture to grab these posters.)


We already had the easel and art center, I just reorganized it and put it in a more accessible spot.


When our room was originally designed, they put this adorable chalk banner up. I’m not sure what it originally said because it was blank for a while, but I thought this was the perfect 5 letter word. :)


I  created a nice little meeting area for the lesson time. The chair was already in the room, and I had the plastic bins from my classroom. I really want to start incorporating music, so I bought a CD player and brought in my Slugs and Bugs CD’s for the kids to sing along to each Sunday. (If you’ve never listened to Slugs and Bugs, you’re super missing out.)


Here’s the view from the door. The room is organized in a circle. The kids come in and do Welcome Work at the tables (a word search, puzzle, maze, etc), then move to the carpet area for the lesson.


After the lesson, they can choose a center (from the bins or the art center) until their parents come to pick them up.

And that’s it! Simple, but functional.

Before a go, I just wanted to let you know that I finally finished my First Grade Welcome Work Bundle, and am very close to finishing my First Grade Common Core Activities by the Standard Math Pack! I highly recommend purchasing it NOW before the price goes up! :)

Here’s a few picture of it in action from Ms. Smarty Pants!


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Safari Birthday Party: A Wild ONE

Hi Friends!

I’m really excited to share something non-teaching related with you all today. My daughter turned 1 on April 21st, and we celebrated with a Safari Themed birthday party!


Here are some of the highlights. Click on the pictures to check out where I purchased the items.


My amazingly talented hubby built the sign from a picture I gave him, and the balloons are from Oriental Trading. We just bought one of the cheap-y helium tanks (like this one-Balloon Time Disposable Helium Tank) to fill them up ourselves. There’s also a sign I created on the from door directing guests to the backyard.


The napkins, plates, table clothes, and cups are from Oriental Trading as well. (Also, I took this before putting out all of the bananas.)


The leaf trays are from Oriental Trading (are you noticing a theme?) And I made little signs for all of the different snacks. We kept it simple when it came to food since it was Open House style.

7These adorable and delicious cupcakes are from Bake Everyone Happy and if you live in NJ, I highly recommend them! Click on the picture for this awesome cupcake tree. :)


As our favors for the kids, I just put some animal crackers in a ziplock baggie and attached this cute sign I created. I also had thank you cards ready to go for all of the adults because, let’s face it, I wasn’t going to remember to mail them out anyway. ;)


We also kept it simple for drinks. I made homemade lemonade (sugar, water, lemons) and had water. I loved these bamboo straws from Oriental Trading. I also got the burlap from there as well. The ribbon was from Michael’s and was left over from baby girl’s nursery. I made the labels. :)


Above the food table, we hung her monthly pictures.


This was one of my favorite decorations, and I my sweet niece pointed out that it looked like a smile!


I had tons of safari themed props, so I put them out for the kids with a cute little rhyme that told them they could take one or two to play with. They were a HUGE hit! To check out these- (hatsmasks, binoculars, nets are no longer available)

11I also set up this cute bean bag game for the kids, although the adults were more into it than the kiddos. Super cute, but it only comes with 3 bean bags (which is obvious in the description, I just wish it came with more).

12We set up a large tent that we borrowed from my hubby’s dad. Safari lanterns from- you guessed it- Oriental Trading (I swear, I’m not on their payroll) ;)




And I made her birthday banner. You know those things that shouldn’t be that complicated, but are? This thing took me forever! I joked with my hubby that we’re going to just change the 1st to 2nd and then 3rd and then 4th… I was kidding. Sort of.


Under the tent we had some seating and a collage of pictures of the birthday girl.


I had this idea for a finger print giraffe, so I went to my amazing hubby and told him what I wanted. He painted this! (FYI- he’s also a clip art artist on TpT) I did have directions for the brown to be used for the giraffe and the colors for the balloons, but some people didn’t read directions- oops! Luckily, I think it still turned out really cute. :)


We also set up a DIY photo booth, and it was CRAZY fun!


I typed up step by step directions on using the self timer, and I just taped them to the tripod.


I had a bin full of fun props- mostly from Oriental Trading. I also used a big piece of cardboard and construction paper to make a jeep.


Here’s a picture of my hubby, the birthday girl, and I testing out the photo booth.


Our guests were such good sports, and the kiddos really enjoyed operating it themselves.


And of course my nails had to match everything as well. ;)


I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t a lot of work to put this together, but seeing this little girl so happy and getting to celebrate her (and making it through the first year of parenting) was 100% worth it.


And the icing on the cake? This little girl went right to sleep after a fun, busy day. :)

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EXCLUSIVE TpT Follower Freebies

 Do you follow me on TeachersPayTeachers?

If not, you should! A little later this week, I am offering an exclusive TpT follower freebie. You will ONLY be able to access it if you are a follower in TpT.

Exclusive TpT Follower Freebie

Here’s how it works:

  • Follow my store on TpT by 4/8/2015.
  • On 4/9/2015, I will send out a message to all of my TpT followers. (please allow a day or so for delivery)
  • Check your inbox for a link to a quick form. (so I can email you your FREEBIE!)


  • I’ll email you your EXCLUSIVE freebie to you by Tuesday, 4/14/2015!
  • Enjoy your FREEBIE!

It’s as easy as that!

Are you wondering what the freebie will be? Well, it will be an ENTIRE, top selling paid product that is already in my store! I promise, you won’t want to miss out!

BUT wait, there’s MORE! (said in my best infomercial voice)

My hubby is the artist behind Picture Paradise, and he’s also offering a TpT follower exclusive freebie!

Exclusive TpT Follower Freebie picture p

So, go to his store and repeat the exact same steps as above to ALSO grab an EXCLUSIVE clip art freebie!

So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Primary Paradise and Picture Paradise, follow our stores, so you don’t miss out!

*Must follow the store by 4/8/2015 to receive freebies.

*Freebies may NOT be shared with other people.

*If you do not fill out the form by 11:50pm EST on 4/13/2015, you will not receive your freebie.

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How to Create a Complete & Secure Product Preview for TpT

How to Create a Complete & Secure Product Preview

TeachersPayTeachers has become a staple in the teaching community, and for good reason. It’s a wonderful place to find fantastic resources to use in the classroom. I hear SO many great things about TpT from teacher friends. However, one of the frequent comments/complaints I hear about teacherspayteachers is that teachers want to be able to see the entire product before purchasing.

As a buyer, I can complete understand this. I mean, who doesn’t love to go to a book store and flip through a book before purchasing?

As a seller, my concern is that, if you post the entire preview, even as a secured PDF, there are programs out there that would allow people to work around those security features. So, I recently figured at a great way to both secure my previews AND allow my buyers to see the entire product.

Here’s a tutorial on what I do to provide a completely secure preview:

Note: Some steps might differ depending on the version of PowerPoint you use.

Step 1
First things first. You’ll need to complete your product. I’m using a recent Activities by the Standards Pack as an example. Make sure to save a copy of your product BEFORE starting to create your preview.

Step 2

Once your product is complete, create a new PowerPoint presentation and write the words “Preview” throughout the WHOLE page. (I personally make my words slightly transparent, but that’s not required.) I recommend saving this PowerPoint so you don’t have to redo this every time.

**By request, click here to download the above page.**

Step 3

Click on “select all” so all of your previews are highlighted.

Step 4

Click on copy (or just control +c).

Step 5

Go back to your finished product and click paste (or control + v) on the second page, and then continue clicking on each slide and pasting the words “preview” on each slide. I don’t put the words preview over the cover page or the credits page, personally.

Step 6

Once you’ve pasted “preview” on each slide, go to “save as” and save the presentation as PNG (you could also choose JPEG).

Step 6.1

You want to select “Every Slide”. This will save each slide as a PNG picture in a folder. At this point, I also like to save the slideshow. Make sure to change the name so you don’t save over your original product. I typically just add PREVIEW to the end of the file name.

Step 7

In the lower left corner, it shows you how many pages are in your slide show (mine has 47). Next, delete ALL of the slides except for the cover and credits page.

Step 8

Then, create a blank slide, and then copy and paste until you have the correct number of pages (in my case, 47).

Step 9

Click on the 2nd slide, and then click on “Insert” then “Picture”. Go to the folder where you saved each slide as a PNG image and click on the folder.

Step 10

You’re on slide 2, so you’ll click on slide 2 and then click “Insert”.

Step 11

It will paste directly on top of the slide. You won’t need to move it or resize it. Now, repeat with the rest of your slides.

Step 12

When you get to the last slide before the credits page, you’re done! I leave the credits page as is so the links are still clickable.

Step 13

Next, you need to save your preview as a PDF. Click “save as PDF”. If you Adobe and can protect your PDF, I recommend still doing so, but it’s not necessary. I set mine PDF previews so they need a password to be edited, and printing is not allowed.

At this point, you could be done, depending on the size of your preview. It is now secure, but still allows your buyers to see the entire product. Even if someone tries to unlock the PDF, they will not be able to remove the “previews” from the picture, so it would be unusable.

Now, TpT limits preview files to 5MB or less, so if your file exceeds that, here’s what you do.


Step 14


Go to

Step 15

Simply drag and drop your file.

Step 16

Once your PDF file is compressed, click Download File Now and save it. Notice, it tells you the size of your file. If your file is under 5mb, you won’t need the next step.

Step 17

If your file is over 5mb, you will need to go back to your PowerPoint file. Click on any picture and then “Picture Tools” will pop up. Click on “Compress Pictures”. You want to uncheck “Apply only to this picture” and check “Delete cropped areas of pictures”. Then, select “Email” if you need to greatly reduce the size, or “Screeen” if you’re only off by a little. After doing that, save it as before and THEN go back to and compress the new file.

Step 18

Last, you will upload your new, complete, and secured preview to your product page!

Step 19 final pic

And now, when a buyer clicks on my the preview for my product, they see the entire thing which makes it easier for them to decide if they want to purchase it!

I hope that was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!

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Sample It Saturday: Common Core Math Edition

Hey folks! So, I was planning on doing Sample It Saturday once a month when I started it in November, and this is my 2nd installment… Hmmm… Maybe I need to get on this! Ha!


So, if you’ve been following me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you know that I’ve recently been working on my Activities by the Standards Growing Bundle!


I’ve currently added packs for all of the Geometry and Measurement and Data Standards, and will be working on the Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Number and Operations In Base Ten next.

Each pack specifically addresses that one particular standard, which is great for schools who use standards based report cards.

Each pack also features interactive notebook resources, posters, and printable and activities with answer keys included. It’s honestly a 1st grade teacher’s dream! It will take SO much of the work out of your prep!

Here’s one pack in use by a sweet little homeschooler. :)

(Click on each pack and then click on the preview to see the entire pack)


And here’s the interactive notebooks for every other pack- so fun!







Each pack is $3 separately, BUT if you purchase the growing bundle right now, you’ll get all 24 packs for $30 when they’re finished which is a STEAL!

So, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. Click the picture below to try out this sample from my recently uploaded pack in the series- 1.MD.C.4!


I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below! :)

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