Thursday, June 15, 2017

My Favorite Summer Tradition.... The Gift of a Day!



Hello Friends!  Happy Summer!!!

Woo-Wee! I have been a busy girl lately! Oh, you know... wrapping up the school year, shuttling the kiddos from sport camps to sport practices, trying to keep the house clean, the yard weeded, and the family fed!  Whew!  It's enough to make you think you don't have time to blog!  LOL   But I have missed y'all...and knew I needed to hop on here and share some of the things that have been rolling around in my "summer-mode-brain!" 
Now, if you’ve ever read my blog or followed me on Instagram (hollyehle) or Facebook (ehlekindergarten), you probably already know I’m a family tradition nut! 

I’m ALL about making memories and trying to be “intentional” as a parent. However, I’m human and as hard as I’ve tried, I just can’t manage to add hours to the day or extra days to the week…so I’ve had to be creative in the ways of creating family traditions.  I have to find ways to make a BIG impact with the limited amount of time I seem to have.  I think I’ve come up with quite a few pretty cool traditions that are “do-able” for parents with limited time, if I do say so myself!  Today, I'm sharing one of my favs!
One of my favorite summer traditions is what we call 
 
I mean, really…Fewer things sound more delightful than spending a day doing exactly what we want, right?!! To our family, “The Gift of a Day” tradition reminds us that sometimes we need to put our obligations and our work aside and just BE.  We need to spend time with our loved ones, in our favorite place doing our favorite things, completely relaxing and forgetting about the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. “The Gift of a Day” is about making the most of every moment and approaching all that you do with purpose and love.  It's about keeping the people and activities we value the most in the forefront of our minds so that we don't get distracted by all those things that aren't important.  It's about feeling the satisfaction of truly giving and appreciating life around us and not taking one single thing for granted.
I may not be able to be “SUPERMOM” every day of the year….but this tradition allows me to be just that for a least one day! LOL   And when you stop to think about it… If you consider how the events of a single day have changed the course of history… maybe, just maybe, giving your child a “Gift of a Day” may just change their lives forever too!  
So this is how it works in my family. During the first few weeks of summer, we have each family member complete their own "perfect day" card. (We currently just have our kiddos fill them out…but every few years “we” {mom& dad} have filled them out too!) We have each person write down all of their favorite things, the things that they would love to experience packed in one day!  (NOTE: This is NOT about going to fancy, expensive places or about buying things.  This is about doing the simple things each kid loves, like spending time with their best friends in their favorite places, picking their favorite home-made meals, etc.)  We then store each member’s card in his/her envelope on their specially assigned page in our “Gift of a Day” memory book.
This is what OUR little "Gift of a Day" keepsake book looks like.
(Keep in mind, we started this YEARS ago!  You can tell from the style! Hee! Hee!)
You can use any time of keepsake booklet or even just a storage box with cardstock cards!

 

Here is a peek at the inside.  The first pic shows a little description of the tradition and the next two pics are examples of the inside pages.  Note that the photos of my boys are glued onto actual envelopes that are glued onto the pages of the mini-scrapbook.  The cream cards then slide into the envelopes for keepsake keeping!



This is just a small scrapbook that has an envelope glued to each page with a name on each. Nothing fancy….just simple and organized. {You could also just have a special envelope for each person that you keep in a pretty little storage box. The container doesn’t matter.  It’s the memories that will!} 

During the summer, we commit one day to giving each family member the “Gift of a Day.”  We secretly plan these days without our children’s knowledge and then surprise them on the morning of their special day by decorating their door and other places around the house with simple posters and balloons. Even though we have done this for over seven years and the kiddos know their special days are coming, the look on their faces on their “Gift of a Day” mornings is priceless!
One of our favorite parts of this tradition is actually looking back in each of our envelopes at the past years’ “Gift of a Day” cards and photos.  My kids get a big kick out of looking back at what they used to think was “the best thing ever” and giggling at those things! 

Here are a few pics from some of our past "Gift of a Day" activities....
 
Lexi's 2008 Gift of Day: Spending a "girls" day with her best friend, big cousin and Mommy!  We went to Build-A-Bear, went to the animal shelter and made some animal treat donations, and played with the animals waiting for homes.  #futurevet  




Lexi's 2010 Special Day:  Another girls' Day at the animal shelter with her big cousin and a few friends! I love that almost every year her idea of a "perfect day" involves serving!  





Colton's 2008 Gift of a Day: He just wanted "his people" (cousins, aunts, uncles and friends) to come over and play tractors with him in his room.   We had a cookout menu of hotdogs, carrots and beans. (His choice!) We had over 50 people show up to celebrate Colton's "Gift of a Day" and have pictures of everyone of them in his "tractor room" with him!  #lookatthatsmile 


(Thought you'd get a pic out of a throw back family pic!)
 
 Colton's 2009 Gift of a Day: All he wanted was to have his family over for an "Ehle chicken" cookout and set up his tent!  We actually took pictures of all 60 people who came!  It was incredible! #hesapeopleperson #ehlechickenisfamous



Colton's 2010 Gift of a Day: Oh, you know.... The year that he wanted "his tribe" to come over for a play date in his teepee.   LOL.  Yes, yes I did paint a photo prop for the occasion.  Hey! It was on his "perfect day" request list! Oh... Did you check out all the cool teenagers he invited who painted his nickname "Bubba" on their chests?!   #everyoneinEhlevilleappreciatesthistradition



Hunter's 2008 Special Day:  Hanging out at Chuck E. Cheese, Crazy  Pins and Steak and Shake with his best friend, Ty.   Ty has been a part of Hunter's special day for 11 straight years!  The picture memories are incredible! #bestbuds


 Lexi's 2014 Gift of a Day: This day included chillin' at our pond with her bestie! #simplelifeisgood



So that’s it! It’s pretty simple really….but it has had a HUGE impact on my kids. 
My kiddos are now 15, 15 and 12 and they still LOVE it!  They know I can get “busy” with my job….but they know I know how to “stop the bus” (ß Reference to Ron Clark’s latest Move Your Bus book here! If you haven’t read it yet….do it! It’s great!) and put things in priority. 
 
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my family and this is just one simple way I can show them!
 
If this post has inspired you to try granting “A Gift of a Day” to your kiddos (or hubby), click below to snag my template of our “Gift of Day” cards and give it a try!

 



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Try this AWESOME Easter/Spring Tradition... It's an Egg Tapping Tournament!

Looking for a fun Easter/spring tradition for your family or group of friends? Start an egg tapping tournament!  It’s simple, inexpensive…and SO much fun!



1. Simply hard-boil one egg per friend or family member in attendance.  (You may color or decorate the eggs as desired, or just leave them plain. )

2. Print out the egg tapping bracket (that can be downloaded for FREE at my TPT store) if you have 16 players or less.  (If you have less than 16 players, you may have to fill in some of the “first round” lines as “byes” or give each player 2 eggs.)
 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Egg-Tapping-Tournament-Tradition-and-Bracket-FREEBIE-3112482
Click HERE to download the free bracket!
 
If you have a larger group of participants, you may wish to go to www.freebracketgenerator.com and customize your own bracket.

3. Fill out the first round (lines on both outer edges) slots with players' names or their “egg team names.”

4. Begin the egg tapping tournament by having two players that are pitted against each other hold their hard-boiled eggs with the “points” facing each other.  The players “tap” the eggs together with the intention to break the other’s, without breaking one’s own. 

5. Amazingly, only one egg will crack each time.  The player whose egg does NOT crack or break moves on to the next round of competition.

6. Continue play until a final winner is determined!

Want to know more about the history of egg tapping?"
Click HERE!


Enjoy your new tradition!                           


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rolling Out the Red Carpet at the 2017 Teacher Blogger Retreat!


 
Every year at our Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat, after a day filled with connecting with other educators and filling our hearts and minds with the most inspiring professional development imaginable, we inject some pure fun into our retreat weekend in the form of a "Saturday Night Social Event!"
 
This year, our Saturday Night Social Event was all about rolling out the red carpet for the amazing educators in attendance...and making them feel like the celebrities that they are!
 
As teachers ourselves, the planning committee knows how many hours of over-time teachers spend doing all that they can to make each day's lessons special.  We know how much of your own money you spend equipping your classroom with everything it needs to make learning come alive. 
 
And to us... Well, that makes you a VIP worthy of celebrating!
 
 
 
Our goal was to provide those attending the full red carpet experience...and the help of a few amazing sponsors, we made it happen!
 
The theme for our evening event wasn't a hard one to come up with! We knew right away that the evening had to fit hand-in-hand with the objective of our retreat...spoiling (and thanking) educators who work so hard in the trenches everyday.  However, figuring out how to pull off a true red-carpet event was going to take some expertise and major support!
 
Without hesitation, ESGI stepped up with excitement to team with us to bring our dream to life!
 
And we (the planning committee) weren't surprised a bit!  ESGI is ever-present, year-round, supporting teachers as they seek to be the best they can be!  They have been long-standing, loyal supporters of our annual teacher-blogger events, and their true love for educators shows in everything they do! 
 
 
 I mean, after all.... If it wasn't for ESGI helping the entire planning team with assessments and report cards, saving us EACH over 400 hours a year (That's real people! Not an exaggeration!)... the planners would never have time to plan the Spring Teacher Blogger Event! LOL
 
Y'all... Just in case you haven't heard about ESGI and how it will totally change your "teacher-life"... let me enlighten you! 
 
ESGI is the simplest, easiest to use assessment platform for conducting one-on-one assessments for emergent and non-readers. They offer over 700 pre-made assessments from which you can choose and use, but you can also create your own!  It's easy-peasy!  Trust me!
 
Sound like something you can't live without?  (Answer YES now!!!)
Well, give it a try! Simply go to www.esgisoftware.com and enter the code: B7296
 
All teachers who register for a free trial account between now and April 10th using this code will receive an EXTENDED FREE TRIAL through August 31, 2017! That's right! FIVE MONTHS FREE for ALL teacher who have always WONDERED about ESGI but for some reason, have never tried it out! That's not all!  All teachers who register for an ESGI trail during this campaign will be entered to win a "Pot of Gold" mystery grand prize from ESGI.  (Announcement coming on April 11th, the day after the campaign has ended.)  ALL teachers who are NEW to ESGI are encouraged to sign up for a trial, and will qualify to purchase ESGI in the fall at the discounted price of $159.
 
** Reading this post after 4/10/17? No worries!  Enter the code (B7296),
and you are still eligible for a 60 day free ESGI trial! **
 
Teachers...once you use ESGI, you will NEVER go back!  It's a game-changer, my friends!
Don't just take it from me...ask any ESGI user, like these friends!
 
 
So.. as quick as a wink, with the help of ESGI, we built a "red carpet dream team" consisting of Chris Pombanyo (LIVE in the Classroom), Chase Mayo (professional videographer) and Kristen Black Sloan (ESGI) to work with us to make the red carpet event happen!
 
 
And.... WA-LA!  We made it happen!
 
 
Check out this crowd awaiting the celebrity LIVE stream!
 
 
Take a peek of some of the incredible LIVE stream clips created by Chris, Chase, Kristen and their gifted team....
 









 
 
 
A.MAZ.ING....right?!!!
 
And that was just a peek at the red carpet activities! 
There was SO much more fun to be had!
 
Take a peek at how attendees were welcomed to the event....in TRUE red carpet fashion!
 \
Yes!  We had actual paparazzi too!  So fun!
 
 
A HUGE shout-out is in order for ORIENTAL TRADING COMPANY, as well!
 
http://www.orientaltrading.com/teaching-supplies-and-stationery-a1-551419.fltr

 
We were so thankful for their generous sponsorship of our event décor!
As every teacher knows, Oriental Trading has EVERYTHING you need to flip your space, whether its a classroom or a ballroom, into the perfect environment for fun! 
 
http://www.orientaltrading.com/teaching-supplies-and-stationery-a1-551419.fltr
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 Did I mention that we challenged the attendees to dress up like their favorite celebrities?  Take a look at a few of the famous look-alikes we had in attendance!!
 

LOVE THIS! 
 
And this dress....The unforgettable outfit that Bjork wore!
DeeDee Wills (Mrs. Wills Kindergarten) rocked it out...while I attempted my best red-carpet pose!  HA!
 
ELLEN showed up as well!
 
It wouldn't have been a red carpet night without this DENIM-atic Duo!
Hello Brtney and Justin!  (A.K.A. Hope and Wade King)
 
 
Everybody's favorite GoNoodle group showed up too!
Hey there, Koo-Koo Kangaroo!
 
And I just HAD to get my picture with this legend!
 
 
It's Britney....and Britney!  LOL
 
Hey!  It's Meighan and Elliott from Teacher Pay Teachers!
We LOVE how TPT seeks to be apart of the teacher community!
Thanks for your constant support of educators!
 
 
We even had some SUPER heroes attend!
 
 
Do you recognize the TROLLS?   
Now that's creativity!
 
And...Willie?!  Willie, is that you?!
 
"Willie Nelson" was the winner of the Star-Studded Red Carpet Scavenger Hunt!
She won her very own HUE HD Doc Cam! 
 

 
Thanks HUE for supporting teachers and helping to sponsor our
2017 Spring Teacher Blogger Retreat!



The evening was also filled with some fantastic music and dancing!
 

 
And our "Red Carpet Event" would not have been complete without an awards show of our own!  
Nominations for several categories were taken early in the evening, then using the Kahoot app, attendees voted to select winners in each category! It was a blast!  
 


 
Winners went home with framed certificates and of course, their own Oscar-like trophy!

 
GoNoodle generously sponsored an amazing professional photo booth for the event!
Leave it to GoNoodle to find a way to record the amazing memories and fun of the night!
 

GoNoodle, We LOVE you!!!

www.gonoodle.com
 
Oh my goodness!  It was quite a night! 
If you were not able to join us this year, be sure and mark your calendars for next year's event!
 
You will NOT want to miss what we have planned!
 
 
And...Until next year.... That's a wrap my friends!