Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Our Wedding Favors: Reids Chocolates, Candy Kabobs and Seasonal Soaps

I've been to enough weddings to have (gratefully) received the gambit of wedding favors...glasses, picture frames, candles, seeds, wine bottle openers, bath salts, lip chap, homemade cookies and chutneys.  In case you didn't know, I am getting married in a few days after being crazy in love with my hubby-to-be for the last decade. Our wedding is going to be intimate, during the day and very non-traditional in many ways.

I was on the fence about giving anything away to our guests unless it really meant something to me/us. We're already doing things a tad bit unconventionally so I felt like we could get away with nothing but the traditional bride-to-be in me didn't feel right about our guests walking away empty handed.

My first idea was scratch and win tickets because the tags could have said "we feel lucky you celebrated our special day with us!" but there are too many children on our guest list. #underagegambling #notcool

My second idea was to give everyone something that was local, editable, reasonably priced and had sentimental meaning to us. The fact that I could eat a million of them was irrelevant.  It didn't take long for us to come up with an assortment of our favourite chocolates from an amazing shop called Reids Chocolate, Candy & Nut located in my hometown of Cambridge, Ontario.

I have immensely enjoyed eating their chocolates, mixed nuts and other delectable treats since I was a young girl.  Everyone in Cambridge has either bought or received treats from there in the last 60 years. It is truly our hometown hero. Bob and I always make a point of popping into the store when we are in town visiting my family.  The smell alone is worth the visit. Truly, you've never smelled heaven until you've walked into Reids.

It was difficult to chose just a few to include but after the mandatory taste test, we knew what we wanted to share with our guests. Inside our clear plastic packages (available to purchase at Reids) we included one of each of the following: tortoise, truffle, sea salty, English toffee with nuts and a rosebud.

In images, taken directly from the Reids website, I present to you what our guests will sit down to once they arrive at their table.

Tortoises are the Louis Vuitton chocolate version of a Turtle.  The combination of dark chocolate, crisp pecans and homemade caramel is truly perfection.  I could eat these every day, all day.
A rich dark chocolate whipped centre, anyone?  Truffles were made to be eaten.  Look at that melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Sea Salties are vanilla caramels sprinkled with sea salt.  A bit chewy, a bit salty, a whole lotta yummy.
Second from the top left is my second all time favourite from Reids, English toffee with nuts. Imagine a Skor bar only much tastier and that's what it is. In my opinion, it deserves its own picture, but I'm happy to show you this one mixed in with some other gems that didn't make the cut.
Last but not least is the small but delicious rosebud.  Rosebuds remind me of my late Nanny that lived just a few doors from me growing up. She loved roses and chocolates so it seemed fitting that a rosebud was included in the mix. I know she'll be smiling down on me on our wedding day...sniff, sniff!
Now, you didn't think that I would give those fancy pants chocolates to the kids too, did you?  For some reason, our son prefers candy to chocolates so we decided that each of the kids will get his favourite Candy Kabob filled with sweet and sour gummies.  It comes all wrapped up in cellophane and always looks tantalizing.  Our little guy goes nuts for these kabobs!
And finally, for the few guests that have nut allergies, I made up packages with hand soap.  It's too bad that they can't eat the chocolates but I know they will love their Bath & Body Works soaps just as much.

What did you hand out at your wedding?  Any complaints, compliments or regrets?

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Welcome to what promises to be an awesome Swap Meet Product Swap/Blog Hop and Giveaway hosted by the darling Hanging Around In Primary and Momma With A Teaching Mission.  I'm so happy you are here :-)  
I had the privilege to be matched up with Brooke Brown from Teaching Outside The Box.  I knew we'd hit it off since both of our first names start with the letter B aaaaaand my last name is switching to a B too at the end of this month #bridetobe #cantwaitfornovember28

I was a tad bit overwhelmed with how many amazing products Brooke has in her TPT store.  She was kind to direct me to some of her awesome looking STEM products.  Have you seen this one for the holidays?  The three challenges in this product are so adorable and motivating.
The only problem is...I don't teach Science.  Booooooo :-(

Instead, I decided to try out her Spooktacular Halloween Literacy Centers for 2nd and 3rd Grade.  Lemme tell students loved it!
The product includes 6 centers.  The first one we tried out was "Top Tricks and Treats" as a whole group activity.
The students brainstormed all of their favourite Halloween candies. As you can see from my chalkboard, it was a long list.  I had never heard of Airheads before...does that mean I am one? LOL
Number 1 is candy corn?  Noooooo thank you.  Funny how you either love it or hate it.
My students were so motivated to write their lists.  I also gave them a plain piece of paper to draw some of their treats in their Halloween bags.  We glued both together and created a bulletin board display.
The second activity we did with great success was "Letter to a Creepy Critter."

I introduced the activity by reading Lucille Colandro's "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat!" as there are lots of creepy critters in the book.
Of course, some of my students pulled a Sarah Palin and went rogue. They asked if they could write to a favourite movie character instead of  a creepy critter.  Here's a cute letter to Joy from Inside Out.
And here's another one to the Wizard that got swallowed by the old lady.
I was really impressed with how motivated my students were to write on both occasions.  Well done, Brooke for making my job easier!

Feeling left out because you don't already own this unit? You are in luck!  Enter below to enter our Swap Meet Giveaway for your chance to win all 15 swapped products.
You'll have to know this in order to enter...
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Witches Brew Recipe

I served this Witches Brew punch at school on Friday and my students went nuts for it.  At the last moment, I decided to add a bit of whip cream.  I highly recommend the extra decadence and visual appeal it brought to the drink!

(serves 22 students)
2 L of apple juice
1 package of lime Jello powder
1 L of ginger ale
whip cream

Mix the apple juice and Jello powder together.  Slowly add the ginger ale.  Squirt a bit of whip cream into the bottom of a cup.  Add the punch over top and allow drink to rest for a minute.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Halloween Tangram Fun & A Freebie

Before you judge my highly advanced technological skills, please remember desperate times call for desperate measures.  I must have pressed something on my desktop computer because my document camera no longer works.  As there was no AV contact around to fix this, I needed to bring back technology from the 1960s.

I searched high and low in my school for an overheard projector and I eventually found one in a deep, dark corner, dust bunnies and all.

One of my all time favourite books to bring out in October is "It Was Halloween Night...A Scary Math Story-with Tangrams!" by Marilyn Burns and Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Matthew Straub. I know I've had it for a long time based on how I labelled the spine with a happy face orange sticker. That was when I only owned a few books. Sadly, it appears as if this gem of a book is out of print but the concept is easy to duplicate.
The story goes like this: the main character, a young boy by the name of Greedy Pete, is followed around on Halloween night by animals created out of a piece of broken tile he receives at a house his mother told him NOT to go to.  I love stories that emphasize how mothers know best, don't you? #youbetwedo ;-)
I start reading the story and then hand out a tangram to each student once I get to the part where the first tangram animal starts to take Greedy Pete's candy away.  Let me tell LOVE an interactive book.  And if you were wondering, I keep my tangrams in plastic sandwich bags.
I used to have my students copy each animal as I gave step-by-step instructions on the overhead projector.  Nowadays, I'm all about inquiry.
Instead, after they hear which animal is chasing Greedy Pete, they create it.  We do a "Tangram Walk" around the room to check out each other's work and then I show them how the illustrator envisioned it.
When the book ends, I give them some time to play around creating new animals.  Again, it's a tangram lovefest.
I mean, how cute are their creations?  Check out the Blue Jay below in honour of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The following day we revisit tangrams and attempt to put one back together and then create the letters in our name as well as numbers. The first few students who figure out the tangram square get stickers. Deep down I want to point out that they will likely have jobs as computer programmers, airport traffic controllers, or architects when they grow up, but I keep those thoughts to myself.

I urge you to look for this book in your local library or second hand store.  If you are lucky enough to find one, buy it!  Otherwise, turn your Math lesson into an oral story time and create your own version.
In the meantime, don't fret.  I've included this freebie that your students can use to trace their creations on. Class book anyone?  Get ready to be blown away by what your students come up with. I know I am every single time I bring out this story.
While you are here, have you scooped up the freebies from the Trick and Treats! Halloween Blog Hop that I'm participating in?  NO?  Not yet? What are you waiting for?  Start at Mrs.Beattie's Classroom and enjoy.
Happy learning!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tricks & Treats: A Halloween Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Knock, knock...c'mon in!  This Halloween at my house we'll be handing out bags of chips to the 175+ trick or treaters we usually get (you read that right!) but you, my dear teacher peep, get the GOOD STUFF ;-)

I'm so excited to participate in Under the Maple Tree's first ever Halloween Blog Hop and Giveaway hosted by my friend Mrs.Beattie's Classroom.
My post is all about how to turn popular Physical Education items into fun Halloween themed stations by using a little Gym "Hocus Pocus".

Allow me to explain in images:
Fly around the gym like a witch on a broomstick using a pool noodle.
Play "Jack O Lantern Dodgeball" with a squishy ball.
Put on some tunes and play musical hula hoops in "Trick or Treat Tango".
Catch "candy" (a.k.a. balls)  mid air in "Candy Crush" using a scoop.
Bounce a basketball until it turns into a rotten pumpkin in "Pumpkin Smash".

I hope at least one of those inspires you to try out something new these next two weeks with your students!  What Halloween Gym activities would you recommend to others?  Please share in the comments below.  I always love comments even more than Kit Kat bars.

After P.E., head back into the classroom and try out my Batty about Addition Halloween themed Math freebie.
Before you go, don't forget my Secret Word!  Winning a $25 TPT Gift Card would be sweeeeet :-)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Ready for some more (calorie free) treats?  Haunt on over to The Groovy Teacher's blog now.
Looking for some fun Math Halloween activities? Check out these in my TPT store.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Weekend before the First Day of School

In a few days, I'll be back at work.  My classroom is just about ready to welcome 20 new-to-me students and I am really looking forward to my 16th year of teaching.  Say what?  Yes, this will be my 16th year of working as an elementary school teacher and I am so thankful that I get to teach Grade 2 again because #grade2rocks.

Here's my favourite new quote from Alan November, a former teacher-turned-author and lecturer:

His words are like music to my ears.  I love it when you read an article and it really makes sense to you.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below if something stands out for you after reading it too.  

Happy Labour Day Weekend everyone.  Enjoy these last gorgeous summer days!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Coronation Street-The best trip of my life

I don't drink beer, but here is my best impression of pulling a pint at The Rovers
My Dad taught Geography for over 30 years so it should come as no surprise that we spent a lot of time travelling growing up.  We took planes, trains and automobiles exploring Canada, the United States, exotic islands and historical Europe.  During my childhood, trips were regular occurrences. Looking back, I can see how my family was not the norm.  Some families are really into sports and eating out.  My parents decided that vacations were high on the priority list.

Let me be real though...I was miserable for a lot of these trips. They didn't seem like privileges and there were no ipads, ipods, portable DVD players (or even CD players yet #70s child) to entertain myself with.  I had a journal and books and my imagination.  In other words, my idea of heaven in the summer.

Now let's get to Miss Monica from I Heart Grade 3's linky topic this week which is all about the best trip of my life. It just so happened that this occurred very recently back in October 2014. It was a bit of an early 10 year anniversary surprise present from my hubby and it was over the Thanksgiving weekend. Yep, we went to England for a long weekend!  #crazykids

I grew up watching Coronation Street with my Mom and am a huge fan.  The show recently moved into a new studio in Manchester and they were giving tours of the old set until it gets turned into condos or something ridiculous like that.

It's always been a dream of mine to visit the set so...this was a bucket list vacation for just the 2 of us.

We flew into London, stayed at a posh hotel in Notting Hill, visited friends in Milton Keynes at their amazing farmhouse and then took another train to Manchester and flew out of there.

Here are a few pictures of our time in London-

The Tower of London's "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" installation of 888 246 ceramic poppies.
The King and Queen of our family of 4 (sans tiara sadly)
My Bobby with authentic British Bobbies
Donating my son's old Halloween "Fruit Bat" costume because donating is cool anywhere, anytime
London was amazing, as usual.  I think this was my 4th time there?  It never gets old, just more expensive. I only wish we would have had time to visit our relatives.

Now onto the dreamy part...visiting the Corrie Set!  I was soooooooooo excited and it was hard for me not to cry from happiness.  I did oohhh and ahhhh a lot.  Honestly, it was the best afternoon ever.

It was a drizzly day but I didn't care. I had a list of classic/cheesy pictures I wanted to recreate and I made my hubby swear that he would be patient and let me just live out my crazy fantasy.  It took me weeks of coming up with these and I had the BEST time posing. Unfortunately, you can't take pics inside the old set (no idea why...but you can't) so I had to really think about outside shots.

For your laughing pleasure, I present to you a taste of Coronation Street à la Bryn.

The alley way where all the juicy story lines go down (Peter and Tina made out here!)
Having a pretend "fag" (aka what the Brits call a cigarette) outside The Rovers.  This was a pen I had in my purse that I stuck in my mouth backwards.  Although smoking is not cool, Liz the barmaid smokes and I love her so had to just improvise in the name of artistic impression.
Trying to look sneaky/sultry like Tracey fail but this pictures cracks me up
Pretending to break in a window like David might with the overpriced umbrella we just bought from Buckingham Palace
Crying on the steps of Underworld (Fizz?) after not making my quota of knickers for Carla
Reliving Tina's tragic ending on set.  It almost looks like there's blood around my head too but that's just my hair...don't worry!
So there you have it, a few pictures of the best trip of my life in Manchester, UK.

Anyone else love Coronation Street as much as I do?