Thursday, July 24, 2014

TBT: Our Wedding....

*One Year Anniversary* 

So we just had our first wedding anniversary on Monday (we spent the weekend in Asheville to get out of the new house and celebrate, so that was VERY nice)!! In honor of our recent anniversary, I thought I'd complete a #THROWBACKTHURSDAY post to share a few wedding ideas and pictures with you!! Sorry it only took a year, but I hope you enjoy it! 

The Destination: We decided on the Beloved Hotel at Playa Mujeres (a few miles north of Cancun), Mexico. It was an all-inclusive resort, which was absolutely amazing.

The Party Favors: 

If you could zoom in, it says: "Don't be blinded by our love; take some shades!" The baskets were rented from the hotel, so I didn't have to bring them from home. One basket contains sunglasses, and the other holds handheld battery - operated fans (This was inspiration from a cousin's outdoor wedding). They were bought from Oriental Trading, and very cheap.

These were also from Oriental Trading. I saved the ones that were left over for the treasure box in my classroom :)

The Guest Book: 

$4 from Walmart. I bought a frame, and will {one day} place our picture in it to put up on the wall. This *amazingly* fit flat in the suitcase and was never ruined! :) 

The Wedding Party Gifts: 

Spanish Phrases for Dummies!! (We were in Mexico...) These were $1 each - impulse buy from Office Depot. I bought like 20 of them, lol!! 
Yes, I had to pack one full suitcase for wedding accessories and gifts. They couldn't be assembled until we got there. The girls received custom t-shirts for our morning brunch, the necklaces and earrings to wear for the ceremony, and a cute little personalized poem. I also bought their hair and makeup at the spa, for their main gift, because the jewelry was VERY cheap. They knew about their gifts ahead of time :) but the t-shirts were a surprise. The boys received a "coupon" for one 30-minute jet-ski session with the groom. Yes, that was his idea. That's what he wanted to do. Then, of course, everyone got the Spanish for Dummies book  :) along with a pair of matching sunglasses to wear during the sunny ceremony (I couldn't survive without glasses outside, so I didn't expect anyone else to either)

Everybody's role in the wedding party (bridesmaid, maid of honor, mother of bride/groom) is listed on the front with our wedding date in the middle (7*21*13)

The numbers on the back made an excellent guessing game! It's equal to the number of years I've known that person. My mom=my whole life. LOL. And my number stands for the number of years I've been waiting to be "Mrs. Kramer" (the number of years since we met. lol) and I met the Mother-in-law one year after we started dating (only because she lives in NY)

The bouquets: 

The four girls had a mixture of yellow & white roses with white ribbon. Mine was the opposite - mostly yellow with some white roses mixed in, but with yellow ribbon. I didn't want a white bouquet for me, and yellow for the girls, because then it wouldn't stand out from our dresses. This was the PERFECT blend.

The centerpieces: 
These were *Very* Cheap. I made the print outs, brought the ribbon with me, and cut the bows after we arrived. The white flowers were made from tissue paper, and the vases were pop-out cardboard (All was packed flat, and then assembled when we arrived). That set came from Party City. The yellow flowers are artificial flowers from Wal*mart (99 cents per piece!) Bringing these from home saved me about $600 (at least) versus paying for real floral centerpieces. 

The dancing shoes!

Flipflops: $3 from Old Navy. Stickers from walmart, stuck on with modge podge and extra tape for just in case!

My Something's: I never did get a picture, but my something new was my tiara, which perfectly matched my something old - my grandmother's bracelet and my something borrowed - one of my bridesmaid's earrings that she wore on her wedding day. My something blue was my garter - which was from Walmart. I didn't care that it was under $5 and I knew my husband wouldn't, either! lol

The boy's suits: The boys wore Sean Jean separates (from Macy's). We got them on sale, and each groomsmen (and my dad) only paid around $60 for a matching set of gray/plaid dress pants and vest. They all were kindly asked to wear a white button down, black shoes and socks (just for the ceremony).

The trial hair-do at a local salon: With my wedding being a destination, I did a trial hair style with Taylor Brooks Salon. They were awesome, and I went right after my birthday, so I used my $20 off coupon :)

The blog/wedding website update before the trip: This site was super easy to use, and I was very impressed with out great it turned out!

The silly father/daughter dance routine: Since I have been a "Daddy's Girl" since Day #1, I knew I need to do an upbeat song to eliminate tears. So I started with a slow-dance (instrumental version of the Dirty Dancing Song: I've Had the Time of My Life), and created a custom choreographed dance to a custom set of clipped songs. So our slow-dance quickly transitioned after about 30 seconds, and we broke the ice with "Do You Love Me?" (Now that I can dance... HEY!) by the Contours, and a few other fun dance songs including the Cotton Eyed Joe and the Chicken Dance, ending with "We Are Family" as our finale. It was the best start to an amazing reception, and it really set the mood for the whole night.

The songs that I requested for everything! First dance, perfect! Cake song, perfect! Bouquet toss, Garter toss, Walk-out songs, perfect, perfect, PERFECT! I honestly started thinking of songs WAY in advance. Fortunately, my sister-in-law got engaged a couple of weeks before us and she had her wedding in March. Her music was so awesome throughout the entire ceremony & reception, that I thought about the songs for my wedding the entire 9-hour car ride home. And I continued thinking about it during every jog that I took. I tuned into particular Pandora stations (oldies), thinking songs may pop up that would be perfect. On spring break, I officially started organizing a list on a Google Drive document, that could be updated on my cell whenever and wherever I was. I also started searching daddy-daughter dance routines, and formed the entire ensemble myself (with a little help from a friend ;) hehe).

Piece of Advice:  Honestly, they say that wedding planning is REALLY stressful, and time consuming. For me, it really wasn't that bad. I maybe had 30 emails back-and-forth with my planner, and never spoke to him on the phone. He broke the process up into bearable sections. I would think and plan ideas in my head for weeks before I got back to him. When we finalized one decision, he would pick something else. Yes, it was a LOT of decisions (which is difficult for someone like me), but I did have a vision in my head, and I took my time (it took all 7 months to get everything straight), and it really came together in the end. 
The most important thing is to visualize your perfect day over and over. The more visualizing you do, the more it comes together, and the more you enjoy it when it all does come together. I envisioned my dream day every morning when I woke up, when I went to work out, and when I went to bed. I am so glad that everything worked out perfectly, but I don't think I would have been so pleased if it wasn't for all of the planning I had done in my head.

Our photographer made a very awesome slideshow of all of our wedding pictures, and you can see that video here:

So after everything, I don't think anything could have POSSIBLY been more perfect for us. I wish I could re-live those moments over and over again. Every girl (and guys too, I suppose) deserves that happiness on their wedding day! Please let me know if you have ANY questions about my planning, budgeting, or wedding that I didn't cover here (I started to slack with the details at the end, but thanks for sticking with me)! I'd be HAPPY to help, and especially happy to help make others' dreams come true, like mine did at the Beloved Hotel on 07.21.2013 ....

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lunch Bunch

"You teach something called 'Lunch Bunch'?! What kind of class is that?!" 

That's right..... I'll get to that answer. But first, let me explain:

This year, I'm looking forward to the fact that this is the *FIRST YEAR* (out of 5) that I will be able to roll into the SAME EXACT position. I will be teaching most of the same kids from my caseload last year, and my schedule will be very similar. My position requires me to focus the majority of my schedule on benefiting students with social/emotional skills, and to "push-in" (Co-Teach) students for main content areas, as needed. Therefore, I only pull students into my classroom (resource setting), for morning priming and Lunch Bunch, to teach social skills.

My program (split between myself and 3 parapros) have a group of lunch bunchers for each grade level first through fifth. Our program revolves around students who have an identified need for social skills instruction. We create groups that include both our students as well as a variety of same-aged peers. We have a rotation, so different kids come each week, but the same group will come twice per week (either on Monday & Wednesday, or Tuesday & Thursday).

Each week is geared around a particular social skill, so we work on role-playing and discussing the topic for a week or a few weeks, and we may build on the topic, depending on how complicated it is. We have an essential question, and short discussion, and then we often play a game. Here's what our bulletin board looked like last year:
1st-3rd: Working on Nonverbal Cues & Perspectives to Achieve our Bucket Filling Friendship Goals
4th & 5th: Working on Reacting Appropriately to Various Social Scenarios
Typically, the first and second grade plans are very similar - just differentiated for lack of experience (1st) or higher order thinking (2nd). I usually keep 3rd on the same track - but just add much more difficulty :) And for 4th and 5th, I usually plan for them to do a quick discussion on a social scenario, and then they get to chat about whatever they like (there's more teachable moments in listening to what they have to say, anyways!)

Some of the quick games that we play are:
    *Apples to Apples Jr.
    *Crazy Eights

I've used SO many awesome resources from other great bloggers, but I plan to make my own social scenario cards and games based on the needs of my students from difficult scenarios that they've experienced. So, STAY TUNED! :)

I love my job to death, and it's definitely a one-of-a-kind position. So hopefully people like you can read my blog and find ways to implement some of my teaching strategies into your part of the world. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

What a cute linky party idea!! I had seen it before, but this will be my first time linking up with Miss DeCarbo (from Sugar and Spice) for Wordless Wednesday.


CONFESSION #1:  Okay, honestly... This picture is not from today. It's actually from a few weeks ago... but I was at a lack of words when I saw this. I would have shared this sooner had I not been busy moving and starting summer school! I just KNEW that I HAD to share this, because this was the best chicken soup for my soul that I think I've ever received. I mean, how cute is this end of year gift?!

CONFESSION #2: I guess this picture isn't quite wordless.... It's quite WORDY, in fact. But oh well.... Anyway, here is a close-up of the tag:


To remain confidentiality, I've blocked the student's name. However, this was a student that I had taught for a short time at the end of the year. He was in my small group for the week of the CRCT, but he had another resource teacher as his case manager. So we primarily worked one-one-one for Affective Skills to develop anger management. I was teaching the "Unthinkables" from the Social Thinking program, but all we could do was talk about it. With little time and no other small group participants, we never got the chance to role-model situations. With that being known, here's the one thing that I guess really clicked in his head:
(Picture courtesy of Kelley Hively)
*Click on the picture to visit her blog: Baldwin Elementary S.C.O.R.E.S Program

If you teach social and emotional skills, and haven't heard of Social Thinking, please see more at and visit my Pinterest boards here and here

To teach your kids about Glass Man, you may watch this Glass Man Video which was made to created to specifically model inappropriate and appropriate behavior: 

I have to give credit to the awesome team of teachers who made this video!! Aren't they great?! :D

BOTTOM LINE: I guess it's easy to make a difference, after all. I NEVER would have guessed that I had made such an impact on this child, but I guess I did! Overall, when times get tough, ALWAYS REMEMBER to *KEEP CALM [find your Chicken Soup] AND TEACH ON!* 

Then, look back and smile because you did.


Click the picture below to return to Miss DeCarbo's blog and the other Wordless Wednesday posts!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Currently July 2014

I don't think I've posted in a year. I remember posting this time last year with WEDDING BRAIN. I cannot believe that our 1-year wedding anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks!!!

Well... Here's what's new!

Since this time last year, I've moved twice, started two new jobs, and remained busy the entire year! Overall, I would say 2014 has been an awesome year, and I can't believe that this year is almost halfway over! 

After moving, I'm especially addicted to HGTV to get inspiration for decorating our new house. We've done some painting and updating appliances, but so far: Nothing major. It took a few weeks before we actually moved in, but we moved in on my birthday (ugh) and we've now been in the house for a couple of weeks already! I'm so relieved to be done with moving, but still have SO much reorganizing and decorating to do!!

Well, that's all I have time for right now! Must. get. some. sleep (I feel so old)!! 

Good night!