Finding Balance In The New Year

Aloha my friends!  Happy New Year's Eve day.  My daughters and I just returned last night from our trip to Colorado.  We had an absolutely marvelous time and I am a little sad to be home.  I purposely did not take my computer or any sort of work with me so that I would relax.  Wow, I really needed that!

I slept in EVERYDAY, watched movies, played in the snow, shopped, and ate lots of yummy holiday treats!  My sister was a wonderful hostess and I could not have asked for a better time.

Here are a few pictures of our fantastic time, which you may have already seen on Instagram.

My girls were in heaven in the snow! The cabin we rented with my sister and her in-laws is behind them.  It was gorgeous!

Adults playing Headbandz on a snowy day.

Uncle Jim helping with the Gingerbread house.

We got a permit to cut a tree from the forest nearby.

Trimming the tree

My daughter looks like a little fox in the snow.  We actually did see a beautiful red fox a few times. He didn't say anything.

The uncles built some awesome tubing runs on Christmas Day.

  That's me!

Whew, made it!

One of the most wonderful things about this trip was reconnecting with my sister and having my daughters spend time with their cousins.  They grew up apart, but were just really happy to be together.

Another big moment for me was realizing how different my girls are being raised on a little island without television and commercial exposure.  Honestly, all these girls wanted was a "white" Christmas. They did not ask for any toys or presents of any kind.  Seriously, I asked them to write a letter to Santa and neither one of them could think of anything they wanted.

I saw this a few days ago and it really rang true for me.

As a teacher you know that we did not enter this profession to become wealthy, we did it to make a difference in the lives of our students.  When I became a mother I didn't have a Mission Statement or goal, except to do the best I could to raise my kids to be happy, healthy and to be able to take care of themselves. 

Going to the mainland was a huge eye opener for me.  There was so much material wealth and store after store after store.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some shopping, but it really made me appreciate our quiet little town and the simple things that others take for granted.

Here in Hawaii we call this Paradise Tax.  The high cost of living takes away from material goods that we might otherwise be able to purchase somewhere else.

I am thrilled that my children took the experience from this trip and the memories over the material goods that would quickly be lost or broken.  

That being said, I want to spend this year finding the balance that I need with my family and work.  I feel this last year I spent a lot more time working than I did playing.  It goes hand in hand, I need to work to be able to play, but sometimes I think work pushed out my play time.

Denise over at Sunny Days In Second is asking what your One Little Word for the year is.

So how am I going to do this?  Well for a type A personality such as myself I need a planner.  I am going to make sure I schedule in my play time.  Sounds crazy, but with work, my daughter's after school activities, blogging,  and creating items for TpT, I am going to have to carve out the time for myself and my family.  Simple things like going to the beach, watching a movie together or just watching the sunset get pushed aside by all of our "other" activities. I really want to bring back some of the simple things that I used to do when my kids were babies.

The fun part is now finding a planner that will help me organize my home life.  I know there are tons of options and I will keep you posted on what I find.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful and you were able to spend some time with family.  Do you have any goals for this New Year?  How do you balance out your busy days?   

I also want to thank each and every one of you for your support and kind comments over the past year.  I have grown so much as an educator from trying new ideas and learning from other teachers around the world.  I hope that you have taken away a few ideas and tips to make your teaching life a bit easier.  


Unwrapping Your Favorites - Holiday Food

Aloha sweet friends!  Ahhh, the end of the last teaching Monday of 2013!  Only 4 more days to go and this lady is heading out on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!!!

I am linking up for some week before vacation fun with Daina from Sticky Notes and Glitter and Tamara from Mrs. Russell's room.

Here are my two favorite sugar cookie recipes.

Is it just me or does that little red cup with an Eggnog Latte or Gingerbread Latte just make you really happy?!

Hmmm, I guess two out of three aren't really foods, but I do love them so at this time of year! I do have one more holiday food, but I need to save it for tomorrow!  Now it's your turn.  Go link up with Daina and Tamara!


The Final Countdown

Aloha friends!  How are you holding up on this last week until Christmas break?  At my house we have had one activity after another.  Dance recitals, dinners with friends and holiday parties.  I love them all, but I am exhausted!!  And who is going to do all of this laundry?

Daily chores have taken a back seat, and on top of that my daughters and I leave this Friday night to go to Colorado for Christmas.  I think I know what I am asking Santa for this year.

Honestly Santa, is this too much to ask for!!??

In school this week is extra busy with the final rehearsals for our big winter program on Friday.  We also need to finish our  gifts for our parents.

For parent gifts we made clay ornaments and we are going to do an acrostic poem.  I have the students use this template.

We review how to write an acrostic poem.  I use a simple poem like MATH.

I help the students with ideas, but most of them get the hang of it and do really well.

Once they write their poem then they decorate each little square with something Christmassy inside like a bell, reindeer, ornament or tree.  You could also suggest a pattern of pictures like tree, ornament, candy cane, reindeer.  Or they could just color it.  I have them use colored pencils or crayons to keep it neat.

When they are done I glue them onto a piece of red construction paper and laminate them.

Here is one my daughter made when she was in second grade.  I still love looking at it each year.  She gets a little embarrassed now, but I know she will enjoy having it in years to come.

I have created 3 new templates for you to use. Just click on any of the pictures to get them from Google Docs.

I also whipped up some new tags to add to our award necklaces.

My kids LOVE adding tags to their award necklaces.  I am planning on stuffing their stockings with one of these, some pencils, erasers, a candy cane and some chocolate kisses.  Just click on the picture if you would like a copy.

Before I go I just have to add that I am soo excited to call myself an addict.  I think you all know I am a surf addict, but now I have a new addiction.

I am officially a Melonheadz addict and I am not alone.  Nikki has started a little club for anyone who loves her amazing graphics.  Just click on the picture above to find out how to join in the fun.

I am off to print my Christmas tags and start pulling out the few warm clothes that we have for our trip to Colorado.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.


Christmas In Paradise Giveaway

Aloha sweet friends!  I am so happy to be teaming up with my sweet bloggy friends from Hawaii.  We have come together to bring you some warm wintery fun for your classroom.

You can win 7 different holiday/tropical goodies, plus a fancy new pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly supplies.  Click on the images to check out the descriptions on TpT.

You can enter by using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


December Currently

Aloha everyone!  Are you ready for December?!  I really am hoping that I have all my ducks in order because the next 3 weeks are going to be a whirlwind of activity!

I am linking up with Farley today for her fantabulous Currently.

I woke up this morning to rain and wind.  This is our winter weather.  It is just pouring outside, but of course that never seems to stop people from surfing.  The Triple Crown contest is streaming live right now and I am watching my favorite surfers instead of getting in the water today. The contest is actually just a few miles from my house, but I get a much better view from my computer.

The rainy weather makes for a messy, muddy yard.  I would love to have a mud room, but all we have is a porch for muddy shoes and feet.

So I am going to have to clean and scrub instead of just laying on the couch like I'd like to.

Our favorite tradition here is going downtown to Honolulu and checking out the lights and Christmas tree that are all decorated.  We always stop for hot chocolate, even though it's not usually cold, and just enjoy being downtown.

Okay, I told myself I had to get off the computer and get some housework done!  Go link up and share out!

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