My Virtual Holiday Card!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

 It's time again for my virtual holiday card. I truly enjoy writing this post every year. It forces me to sit down and go through all the photos in my phone. I am reminded of all the small, special moments we experienced during a crazy year.  It also makes me incredibly grateful and humbled that over 23 thousand of you are still here and show support to my little creative corner of the internet. 
Since we just got our family photos done, I figured it would be the perfect time to write this post. 

A funny (well, funny now!) story about this holiday shoot is shared at the end of this post!

This year was definitely a year filled with firsts. So many firsts. First time homeschooling.  First time being a teletherapist! First time both of kids rode their bikes without training wheels. Kenzie played her first season of softball. Well, I use 'season' lightly. She played two games and then COVID hit and shut everything down. She learned that she loves dance more than softball and probably has hung up her glove for good. But I'm so proud of her for trying something new. We also got to experience our first year of drive through birthday celebrations. To be completely honest, I hope these stay around! My kids got so excited to decorate our car and drive by friends and teachers' houses to wish them a happy birthday! 


In June we jumped into the world of milkweed, caterpillars, and butterflies. This was such a fun learning experience for us all. Watching the lifecycle of a butterfly is absolutely amazing. But clearly raising caterpillars just wasn't enough and we decided to also get a Goldendoodle puppy! Our little Chip joined our family on June 19.  You can read the whole post about our little guy here.

In July I tried paddle boarding for the first time! It was such a fun girls day out on the water. July also brought the grand opening of the new Pier here in St. Pete and our annual trip to Rainbow River. Kameron started speech and had his first therapy session with Ms. Bethany on July 1! 

School started back up in August. We decided to send both kids back to school instead of continuing the virtual option. They have both had a fantastic year so far. In September my car was in a crazy freak accident while parked in my office parking lot (I shouldn't be surprised, after all it is 2020!) We joined the Elks Lodge (what we call our neighborhood clubhouse!) Kameron started his first season of T-Ball (no more pre-tee for this big guy!) He was awarded Most Improved Player. 

November was a big, emotional month. It brought us a new family member. My sister gave birth to my niece, Willa Blue! We also lost a family member. On November 20th, my grandpa gained his wings and made it to Heaven. He was such a special man. I am so glad that my kids got to know their Great Grandpa so well. 

And now here we are in December. This year has been one like no other. I think my biggest take away from the year is to slow down. COVID forced us to slow down and say 'No' to so many things that we think we have to do. I have learned that a slower life is a happier, richer life. My kids don't need to be involved in every activity. It's ok if we miss a practice. It's ok to not check your email at 8pm. It's ok to say no to things that don't bring us joy. In the words of Living with Landyn, "If it's not a hell yes, it's a no."

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. Thank you for reading my posts. Thank you for supporting my TpT store. I read every review. I celebrate every sale. I truly enjoy having every single one of you along with me for this ride. 
Merry Christmas.
Happy Holidays.
and cheers to an even Happier New Year!

As promised, here is the behind the scenes story of this photo shoot!

Oh this is a shoot I will always remember. Ready for this Instagram vs. reality story? So about 15 mins before these sweet family pictures were taken, I had to wrestle a dead squirrel out of that cute little puppy’s mouth. My bloody hands had to be edited out of these pictures. (By the way, the cute puppy is now named Cujo) And the whole situation caused me to almost pass out! I had to use a cold can of Busch Lite to ice my wounds. It's ok, you can laugh. I laugh about it, too. I will always remember this shoot and the story behind it. 
Thank you to Erika Johnson Photography for always capturing our family so perfectly (dead squirrel and all!)

Christmas Jokes Approved for Speech!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

December is here! I have pulled out all my winter holiday stories and we are ready to have as much holly jolly thematic fun as possible. Although most of my students have come back to see me in the clinic, I am still doing a few teletherapy sessions a week. A few weeks ago one of my teletherapy students told me a joke at the beginning of our session. I loved how it just lightened the mood and started our session out on a happy note. So now, I start all my sessions out with a joke!

Since it's no secret I love a good theme, of course my jokes need to be themed as well. I have been searching the internet for the best, kid approved seasonal jokes. I wanted to compile a list of Christmas themed jokes here to share. So here are 15 Christmas jokes approved to tell in speech, enjoy!!

 (If you have any, please share. The cornier the better!)

What does an elf study in school?
The elfabet!

What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Frosted Flakes!

Why do mummies like Christmas so much?
Because of all the wrapping!

What do you call Santa when he stops moving?
Santa Pause!

What happens if you eat the Christmas decorations?
You get tinselitus!

What is a cow's favorite holiday?
MOO-year's Day!

What did the gingerbread man put under his blanket?
A cookie sheet!

What do you call a greedy elf?

Why did's Rudolph get a good report card?
He went down in history!

What is another name for Santa's little helpers?
Subordinate Clause

What did one snowman say to the other?
You're cool!

How much did Santa's sleigh cost?
Nothing! It was on the house!

What kind of music do elves like?
Wrap music!

What does Santa use to keep his house clean?

What's the difference in a Christmas alphabet and the regular alphabet?
The Christmas alphabet has NOEL!

Winter Wardrobe with W A N T A B L E

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Even in Florida, there really is nothing better than a cool breeze, a cozy sweater, and a hot cup of coffee. I was wanting to spruce up my winter wardrobe but going to the store to try clothes on is basically impossible these days. I have been a huge fan of having Wantable delivered to me monthly. I get to try the clothes on and decide which ones to keep and which items to send back. 

I have teamed up with Wantable to share some of their cozy items from their limited time, Home for the Holidays Edit! I love these items. They're so versatile and a great mix of basic staples and statement pieces. 

I very much have a jeans and a tee-shirt kind of style.  It's rare you will find me in a pair of heels. But to make it into my closet it has to check 3 boxes:  casual, cute, and comfortable. When you shop with Wantable, you complete a style quiz before your first box arrives so the stylist knows exactly what you like (and what you definitely don't!) 

This camel sweater (pictured above) is the softest thing I own. I have worn it almost every day since it arrived. It's perfect paired with jeans, a dress, or even dressed down with some pajamas! 

If you want to check Wantable out for yourself, check out the link here
Using this link will get you $25 off your first box.

A Wantable subscription box would be a great gift idea this holiday season! Wantable has women's style boxes, active boxes, and one for the guys in your life, too!



Photos were taken by Erika Johnson Photography
Check her out on Instagram @photosbyerikajohnson 


Thanksgiving Jokes Approved to tell in Speech!

Monday, November 9, 2020

November is here! I have pulled out all my turkey stories and we are ready to gobble up as much thematic fun as possible. Although most of my students have come back to see me in the clinic, I am still doing a few teletherapy sessions a week. A few weeks ago one of my teletherapy students told me a joke at the beginning of our session. I loved how it just lightened the mood and started our session out on a happy note. So now, I start all my sessions out with a joke!

Since it's no secret I love a good theme, of course my jokes need to be themed as well. I have been searching the internet for the best, kid approved seasonal jokes. I wanted to compile a list of Thanksgiving themed jokes here to share. So here ya go, enjoy!!

 (If you have any, please share. The cornier the better!)

Q: What do you call a running turkey?

A: Fast food!


Q: What did the turkey say to the computer?

A: Google, google, google!


Q: Why couldn’t the Thanksgiving band perform?

A: Somebody had eaten the drumsticks.


Q: What’s a Turkey’s Favorite Dessert?

A: Apple Gobbler!

Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

A: Pilgrims! 


Q. What happens when you’re mean to cranberries?

A. They turn into blue berries.

Q: Who isn't hungry at Thanksgiving?
A: The turkey because he’s already stuffed.


Q: What’s the best dance to do on Thanksgiving?
A: The turkey trot.


Q: What’s the key to a great Thanksgiving dinner?
A: The tur-key.


Q: What do you get when a turkey lays an egg on top of a barn?
A: An eggroll!


Q: Why was the Thanksgiving soup so expensive?

A: It had 24 carrots.

Q: Did you hear grandma sat on the pie?

A: Now we are having squash for dessert!


Q: What did baby corn say to mama corn?

A: Where's popcorn? 

Monster Speech Theme!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

October is here! This time of year is so much fun because we get to jump right into some of the most fun holiday therapy themes. There are so many options for spooky stories and ghoulish games, but sometimes those are a little too scary for our little ones. So I always love incorporating a (friendly) monster theme into my sessions this time of year. I wanted to do a round up post of all my favorite monster themed activities so you can join in on our fun!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you purchase something using my link, I may make a small commission. 

First on the list, books! Some of my favorites are: The Color Monster, Go Away Big Green Monster!, and Don't Push the Button! These are all fun books for young children. The monsters are cute and there are so many great story extension activity ideas out there.  Check Pinterest if you need some inspiration. 

The Color Monster is a great book to use for all ages. It talks about different emotions and relates them to a color. This book has opened up some great opportunities to talk about feelings and why we feel that way. Our office is using this book as our book of the month for October. 

 Go Away Monster! is a fun board game where students have to reach into a bag and pull out different pieces of furniture to make their bedroom. If they pull our a monster instead, you throw the monster into the box (we call it the monster dungeon!) and yell, "Go Away Monster!" You can always change that tag line to something that incorporates a specific target word or speech sound. 

Another really fun monster game is this Half Match Monster Edition game by Minds That Play! This is a super cute way to work on social skills, attributes, and asking questions. The game suggests two different ways to play (one is like Go Fish and the other is like Guess Who) but you could definitely use this open ended or even as a reinforcement after tasks are completed (how many monsters can you create before the session is up!?) To learn more about the game, check out their website, here!

A fellow SLP shared this adorable monster snack holder on Instagram the other day. I immediately ran to amazon to purchase one because I knew it would be perfect for my monster theme! There are literally unlimited things to do with this adorable little guy. We have been feeding him spiders (spider rings) as a fun reinforcement activity.  Someone mentioned that this would be great for feeding therapy and I absolutely agree! 

On the iPad: Toca Kitchen Monsters!
I have had this app on my iPad for quite a while. My students love it and it has some great language opportunities. You first choose the monster you want to cook for, then you choose the food, how you want to prepare it, and finally feed the monster. Sometimes they love the food, sometimes they don't (which is always pretty funny to see their reactions!) You can download this app in the app store for iPhone and iPad for FREE, here!

And what would a good theme be without some good ole ART-ticulation color pages?! I have monster themed articulation activities in my TpT store. You can check them out here! 

What monster activities do you use in your sessions? Please share below, I love finding new fun things for my students!

September Favorites!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Another month has come and gone. I wanted to do a quick round up post of my most used (and top requested!) activities in September.  

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. This means that if you purchase something using my link, I may make a small commission (thank you!)

First up, the My First Crayola Touch-Lights! This thing is the coolest little doodle board. Since sensory bins seem to be a thing of the past these days, I figured this would be a fun option. The board plays music and the lights change colors. It's been a fun way to work on sensory skills, requesting, shapes, letters, and even sight words!

Next, the Learning Resources Mini Muffin set. This may actually be the #1 requested activity. I love it because the kids work on sorting, color naming, number recognition, counting, and fine motor all in one activity. 

Beep, Beep! Here comes the Garbage Truck and mini garbage cans! I originally purchased this because I was warned one of my new students was absolutely obsessed with garbage trucks. I had to win his heart over, so I ran to amazon and snagged this truck! Turns out almost all of my students love playing with this truck. I have incorporated the truck into the therapy activities and also used it as a reinforcement toy at the end of a session. 

Last, but certainly not least, the Critter Clinic!  This is a favorite of mine as well. The kids get so excited to use the matching color keys to open the doors and see what is hiding inside. The kit comes with a stuffed cat and dog, but I will often take those out and put in specific objects to target goals. It also comes with a doctor kit so the child can give the animals a checkup- fabulous for pretend play and lots of language!

How I Plan My Teletherapy Sessions on the Fly

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
I debated even writing this post. It's definitely not one of my most eloquent, detail oriented, type A personality posts. But planning for therapy isn't always a luxury. Some days you wake up late, the Starbucks line is around the building, or your kid can't find her shoes.... and you have a teletherapy session in 15 minutes. I figured I would share how I plan for my teletherapy sessions on the fly! 

The majority of my caseload is preschool to early elementary, so this post is about planning for them. I have said it before, and I will say it again, themes are the best thing to have ever happened to my therapy sessions. Themes give me a plan, direction, and focus for finding materials. So on the days that I didn't get time to plan the details of my upcoming session, this is what I do.....

I'll sit down at my desk with my laptop, a cup of coffee and my clipboard to jot down my plans. The first place I will go is to Vooks or Storyline Online. (If there is a book I know I want to read, but can't find it on one of the mentioned sites, I will also search YouTube. There is a read aloud available for almost every book out there. But word of warning- always watch it before you show your students, just to be sure it's appropriate and actually the book it says it is.) I love using stories and holding literacy based therapy for all students.  Once I find the book I want to use, the rest is easy. My next stop is Starfall. I will choose a target letter to work on that goes along with the book. For example, if we are reading, When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore, I will choose to use the letter Dd activity on Starfall. Pro tip: keep these tabs up and open as you find your activities. That way you don't have to search for them again during the live session. 

Ok great! So now we have a story where we can address vocabulary, wh-questions, inferencing, predicting, story grammar, etc. And a phonemic awareness activity. I will then go to Boom Learning to look for a related (if possible) activity to address other goals. For example, today I read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Following the story, I used a free boom card deck where we counted hearts. We expanded sentences while we counted ("I see 4 Purple Hearts.") If you search, you will probably find a boom deck that relates to the story or theme you're using. Or you could always create your own boom deck to fit exactly what you need (....but my session starts in 2 minutes so no time for that right now!)

Last but not least, I will go to YouTube to find a song. I will usually open or close (sometimes both!) with a song that also relates to the theme we are working on. If the child is acting shy when we first begin, I will start with a song- usually one that also has a dance or movement to go along with it. Last week we talked about space so I played a preschool song about the planets by PinkFong. Super Simple Songs, Story Bots, and MotherGoose Club also has some really great ones. 

Thanks for reading, I would love to hear how you plan your sessions. Have a fun site or online resource you love to use? Please share!!

When the SLP Needs an SLP

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
I remember when I was first pregnant with Kenzie, someone told me “You’re going to be an even better therapist when you’re a mom.” At first I was insulted. I mean, I have 2 years of experience as an SLP and I know everything  (just kidding!) But then I learned how much truth came from that statement. I did become a better therapist as a mom. I was more compassionate with parents. Cautious of their feelings as they placed their child in “special education.” More understanding of busy schedules and why that homework folder wasn’t always returned. 

When Kameron was almost a year old, we learned that he needed Eustachian tubes and his tongue clipped. That experience has given me the opportunity to talk and emphasize with parents when their doctor brings up having the same procedures done. The anxiousness sitting in a sound proof room for a hearing test. The panic in the waiting room as he was put under anesthesia. But let me tell you, I would do it again if we needed to. The improvement in his language and balance was amazing. 

Fast forward to last week. Wednesday July 1, 2020 was Kameron’s first day of speech. Yep. Just because I am an SLP doesn’t mean my kid talks perfectly. But I want what’s best for him. I want him to be successful and not embarrassed by the way he says certain words. And maybe this story will help another parent out that has been on the fence about getting their child in speech. We all need help sometimes. Be your child’s biggest advocate. If we aren’t, who will be?

Summer Speech Therapy- Don't Forget the Academics

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
I am one of the odd ones when it comes to working in the summer. I actually really, really enjoy it. The kids come in excited and refreshed. They didn't just get done with a full day of school so they're eager to work, or "play" as we often call it. 
This post contains amazon affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you purchase something using my link, I may make a small commission. 

One of my most favorite age groups to work with are the kids that are just about to enter kindergarten. I love working on letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and fine motor skills. I wanted to be a teacher before I learned about speech language pathology, so the way I geek out over activities that work on more that speech and language doesn't surprise me. 

I frequently ask teachers what they would ideally would love for their students to know or be able to do when they walk into their classroom on the first day. I use the skills they mention and try to add them into my therapy activities. I am listing some of my favorite activities here. Most of these activities, or something similar, can be done by parents as well as therapists. 

Read! When reading books with your kids, talk about the cover before you even open it. Point out the title, the author, and the illustrator. These are skills that the kids should have in kindergarten. Discuss what the author and illustrator's jobs entail. Later, let them draw a picture of the best part of the book and explain that they are being an illustrator! If your child is working on articulation skills, point out words that have the target sound in them when reading. Depending on your child's age/ability, say the words wrong on purpose and have them "teach" you the correct production. They usually enjoy this and think it's pretty hilarious. Of course when reading you can also work on answering questions, labeling, and story grammar (characters, setting, problem, solution, etc)
You can also check out Vooks and StorylineOnline for fun, online versions of stories. 

Calendar Skills! When my students come in the room, the first thing we talk about is the calendar. Understanding how a calendar works is a great life skill and something they will use in school. We name the days of the week and the month (there are great youtube songs to help teach this!) This is a great way to also work on number recognition and counting. Talk about what day it is today, what day tomorrow will be, and what day was yesterday. Any special events coming up? Make those down, too! I bought this pocket chart calendar from amazon. 

Fine Motor! Writing and cutting are important skills your students and children should have when entering kindergarten. Have your student practice writing his/her name. If you're working on a specific speech sound, have them practice writing that letter. (I like to use a yellow highlighter and have the child trace over what I wrote for practice in the beginning.)Talk about the letters and what sounds they make. Cutting and ripping paper are also good motor skills. 

Following Directions! Play fun games with your kids to work on following directions, like Simon Says. Being able to follow directions is a big deal in kindergarten. If kids don’t quite understand what their teachers are asking them to do, it can affect their participation, their learning, and their success in the classroom. In a 2018 study, researchers noticed the importance of instructional verbs and wanted to see if the verbs could be learned during interactive shared reading experiences. Five kindergarten teachers selected 12 verbs that they believed children should know by the end of the kindergarten school year: identify, predict, match, sort, create, select, illustrate, locate, describe, discuss, respond, and demonstrate. Try using those verbs during speech activities to help better prepare your kids for school!


 Counting! Number identification, naming, and one to one correspondence are all important skills. For example, a child should know what the number 3 looks like, be able to say the number when he/she sees it, and count 3 objects. I use any opportunity I can to count objects.   Last week we made pizzas out of play doh and counted how many toppings were on each one. We also tied in receptive and expressive language, role playing, symbolic play, requesting, and asking questions. Probably the most requested activity that I get to address counting with is with Easter eggs. Who cares if it's July, your students will almost aways be down for an egg hunt. Any small items work, but I love using the colored counting bears to stuff the eggs. You can also target naming colors and sorting with them, too! Here are some options to purchase on amazon. I put a certain number of counting bears in the eggs, hid them, then let my student find the eggs. This was a great opportunity to work on spatial skills (I found the egg UNDER the chair!) When all the eggs are found, we open them up one by one and count them. I use a sheet that has the numbers we are working with and the matching number of dots under the written one for a little extra help.
Pro tip: Assess their number knowledge first. If your student counts like, "One, two, three, fourteen, eleven....." only focus on numbers 0-5 so you don't over whelm them. Set them up for success. If they are being asked to count to multiple numbers they don't know, they will just get frustrated. 


When my students get tired of practicing articulation words, I pull out the nerf guns! I use a binder clip on the bottom of flash cards and let them shoot away. They have to tell me the word they are trying to get first, then say the word(s) that they knocked down. If they're more advanced, we make a sentence for the words. This would work great with flashcards for colors, shapes, sight words, math problems, vocabulary... anything. 
 There are tons of fun and free activities you can find on Pinterest that can target these skills in a fun way. I am a huge fan of themes and love reading books and completing activities that go along with a theme. My entire Pinterest board is organized by theme. You can check it out, here. 

These are a few more great websites I like to use: (I love this for preschool skills- lots of letters, counting songs, and more) (tons of academic games that let you filter by age, grade, and subject)

Research study mentioned for following directions: 

Our Family Grew by Four Paws!

Monday, June 22, 2020
Friday June 19th will forever be a special day for our family. It is the day that our family grew by four paws! My kids have been asking for a dog, specifically a mini Goldendoodle, since they met our friends doodle in January. Kameron even named this future dream dog 'Chip' during our drive home from their house.
Fast forward 6 months and we finally have our perfect pup. We had been researching breeders, searching Doodle Facebook pages, and reading articles about Goldendoodles for months. From one of those Facebook groups, I made a friend named Allison. Allison  had been helping me find our "Chip." She connected me with a breeder from Texas who was so kind and loving to these pups. Chip was the only male in the litter and only one still available. 
For us, he was meant to be.
Allison also helped us find a flight nanny to get him from Texas to Florida. Who knew that was even a job?!
 After a long day of anxiously waiting, multiple missed flights, and a rollercoaster of emotions trying to keep the secret from my kids.... we had our pup in our arms at 10:30pm.

He is a tiny dog (currently only 4lbs!)  with a huge personality. He's so sweet, smart, and fun. The kids just can't get enough of him.
  Welcome to our family Chip. You are already oh so loved!

Photos by Erika Johnson Photography

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