Pin of the Week: Holiday Stovetop Potpourri

Saturday, November 21, 2015
What in the world did we do before Pinterest? I don't know how I was able to plan my wedding without it! Have you seen those quizzes out right now that shows your most used words on Facebook? Pinterest was one of mine. I think it's safe to say I have a healthy addiction. So with that being said, let me introduce you to this week's Pin of the Week!
Are you hosting any holiday parties at your house this year? Put away your candles and plug-ins… this recipe for stovetop potpourri will make your whole house smell amazing! You can find dozens of different recipes on Pinterest, but this one is my favorite for the holidays. This specific recipe was found on the I Heart Naptime blog.
Here is what you need:
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange (sliced)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks (broken in half)
  • 1 TB cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2-3 cups water
Here is what you do:
Combine all of the ingredients in a pot and simmer on low for as long as you have guests over. It is very important to remember to continue to add water to the pot as it gets low. Burnt cranberries and cinnamon sticks just don't smell as good :)

Need a quick holiday gift for a friend, co-worker, or your child's teacher? Bag these ingredients up and gift the holiday smell! I found a ton of cute labels on Pinterest but you can find a few of my favorites here and here. 
I love this so much that I used this pin for my latest segment on Gayle's Guide to Pinterest, check out the video below. 

DIY Turkey Craft!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience.
We are just about 1 week away from Thanksgiving! I think I have filled my Pinterest board with more festive pins than I will have time to complete. The other day while I was searching for some fun Thanksgiving crafts, I came across some cute little turkey gifts out of baby food jars! Um, perfect! My kitchen is filled with these since Kameron just started out on solid foods. I have been saving the jars because I want to make my own baby food and will use them to store the food in. My husband keeps wanting me to throw them out but boy let me tell you, one person's trash is an SLP's treasure!
I always love pairing crafts with a story. This week we have been reading 

I have a cute freebie in my TpT store that goes with this book. You can snag it here!
If you need a list of Thanksgiving books to use, check out this blog post!
These turkeys are so cute and very easy to make.
Here is what you need:
- empty baby food jars (one for each turkey)
- construction paper
- scissors
- pen/pencil to trace with
- goggly eyes
- something to put in the jars. I used M&M's but any little treat will do. I have also seen these jars painted instead of filled. Whatever floats your boat!
 Here's what you do:
1. If you're going to fill the jars, it makes life easier if you do this step first.
2. Trace your student/child's hand on construction paper- 3 hands were plenty for the jars we used.
3. Cut the hands out.
4. Glue the hands to the back of the jar so they look like turkey feathers.
5. Add a beak out of orange construction paper and goggly eyes!
Ta Da!

These turkeys are perfect for little gifts or even table decorations at the kids table on Thanksgiving! Your students can practice lots of language and fine motor skills as they create their own little craft. Happy crafting!

Object Function Interactive Placemats!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Labeling and identifying objects is something we teach constantly. 
"What is this called?" "Where's the cup?" 
It's second nature to some people to just ask these questions to our little ones about common objects. But how many of your kids know what each object is used for? Object function and use is just as important as knowing what the item is called. 
I created these Object Function Interactive Placemats for one of my students, but I also use it with my daughter. This packet contains 16 object placemats with matching function cards. To use this, print out all of the object placemats and 2 pages of function cards. I like to cut out the individual cards on one of the pages, then velcro them to the second matching page to keep it organized. These can be presented one at a time, or put together like a book with binder rings (as shown in my photos)
 Present the object placemats one at a time. Have your child search the function card page for the correct card to complete the sentence. For some kids, the entire page may be overwhelming. You can present a 2-3 cards at a time if that better suits your child. After they found the correct function, have them read or imitate the sentence.
"I write with a pencil."
This is a fun, hands on way to teach object function! You can download a copy in my Teacher Pay Teachers store, here.

Moowi Puppet! A Product Review

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Another Tuesday is here! What's on your lesson plans for the week? Are you diving into Thanksgiving stories yet? I love when I am able to add hands on visuals with stories that I read with my students. Print outs are fun, but puppets are even better! I was very excited when the  people from Moowi contacted me about reviewing one of their puppets. According to their website, the Moowi Puppets are speech and language therapy tools to help make articulation exercises fun! They each have a large mouth with teeth and tongues that can be used to demonstrate speech sounds and oral placement. Plus, so many kids love puppets that it will help keep active and easily distracted kids engaged in therapy. 
There are so many ways that puppets can be incorporated into therapy sessions. Here are a few ideas I came up with while playing with our own Molly the Dinosaur (yes, we named her!)
- Articulation drill (imitate what the puppet said)
- Teaching how speech sounds are made and about the articulators. 
- Following directions (I can speak from experience saying that kids follow directions better when they come from a puppet!)
- Story characters for books read during therapy.
- Have your students practice social skills and holding a conversation with the puppet. (Puppets are often less intimidating!)
- Asking and answering questions with and about the puppet.
- Making inferences about the puppet.
- Have your students make up a story with the puppet as the main character.
These puppets are made with durable, yet very soft material. Kenzie and I had a great time using the puppet with our little Kameron and making him laugh! My husband's hand was a very tight fit, but the puppet was a great size for myself and my daughter to use. If you visit the Moowi website and look under materials, you can view all of the puppets they offer. There are dogs, cats, bears, and dinosaurs... just to name a few. They just recently added a giraffe, too! These puppets can be a great addition to your therapy bag of tricks. This dinosaur puppet is now permanently added to my early intervention bag! You can learn more about the puppets and purchase your own by visiting the website, here. Moowi is based out of Poland and the prices are in Euros, however, they do have a currency exchange feature that will allow you to see how much the puppet or puppet bundle will cost you. 
Moowi did provide me with a puppet in exchange for a blog review, however, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Pin of the Week: Veterans Day Craftivity!

Monday, November 9, 2015
Veterans Day is on Wednesday! Do you celebrate this holiday with your students? Both my dad and my father in law served in the military so this holiday is very special to my family. I wanted to do a fun activity with Kenzie to honor the holiday, so of course I went to Pinterest for a little inspiration. I found this pin by B-Inspired Mama!
Handprint crafts are fun. We made butterflies out of Kenzie's footprints and flowers out of her hands and decorated flower pots for Mother's Day gifts. When I saw the handprint flag, I knew she would enjoy it. This is a very simple craft with just a few materials necessary. Besides the potentially messy factor with the painted hands, this is a great activity to do in school or at home.
Here is what you need:
- Paint (red, white, blue)
- Paint brush
- White Card stock paper
- Blue construction paper

Here is what you do:
- I printed "God Bless America" on the card stock first. Happy Veterans Day or Thank You For Your Service would also be a good option if your were going to give this as a gift. (I used KG font, Always a Good Time incase you were wondering!)
- Paint your child's hand to look like a flag. Make the blue square on the palm of the hand near the wrist but away from the thumb (see the photo below)
- Press the child's hand onto the blue construction paper.
- Cut the handprint out and glue it onto the card stock.
Ta Da! That's it!
Have a wonderful Veterans Day! 
If you're local, this pin will be featured on Galye's Guide to Pinterest on Wednesday, November 11th! Check us out on Channel 8 at 5:45 :)

Halloween 2015 & The Switch Witch!

Monday, November 2, 2015
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. 
Well another Halloween has come and gone. This was probably the most fun Halloween we have ever had as a family because Kenzie is finally old enough to really get into the spirit and celebrations. If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know about Kenzie's obsession with princesses. Each day she is a different princess and requests that we call her by that name. We all get names, too. I can't tell you the last time my husband and I have been called mommy and daddy. Most recently we have been on a Cinderella kick. Kameron has been called Gus Gus pretty much since he came home from the hospital, Kevin has been Prince Charming (it's adorable hearing her call him that every day) and I am, you guessed it, The Fairy God Mother. 
 Well, on Halloween we made her dreams come true and became our characters for her. To say she was excited would be an understatement. The look on her face when we came out of the room in costume was priceless. I only made it in my costume for about 20 minutes. That's a Snuggie I am wearing and we live in Florida. It's still almost 90* here… we are impatiently waiting for it to cool down.
Between festivals, school events, and local trunk or treats over the past week, our house was over flowing with candy. Every morning Kenzie would wake up, dump out her bucket, sort the candy, and plan out what she was going to eat that day. The battle of "No candy before breakfast" was daily and was getting old fast. Then I learned about an amazing little thing called, The Switch Witch!
The Switch Witch is a brilliant idea! I can't believe I didn't come up with this :) Think Elf on the Shelf but for Halloween. She comes to stay with you before Halloween. Then Halloween night, you leave your candy out for her and she replaces it with a toy. The Switch Witch needs the candy because it helps her power her broom and magic!
Kenzie was thrilled to leave her candy out for the Switch Witch (hallelujah!!)  She ended up getting a Minnie Mouse watch! We will definitely be continuing this tradition each year! I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween, now let's get ready for Thanksgiving!!
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