Monday, June 15, 2015

TPT Seller Challenge #1: Makeover Madness

I'm participating in the TPT Seller Challenge this week and the first task was to revamp one of our older products and blog about it.  It's crazy to see how much better my product designing has become in just 3 short years.  I look back at some of my very first projects and cringe just a little inside because now I KNOW I can make them look better.  However, I'd honestly rather work on a new product than spend precious time going back to an older one.  Thankfully, this challenge gave me no choice!  I knew immediately which product I wanted to give a much-needed makeover to.  It's my all-time best-seller and was one of the very first products I put into my shop waaay back in 2012.  Its cover previously looked like this:

and now it looks like this:

I guess it took me a few years to learn that the description can be in the listing instead of on the cover page. Haha!  I'm very happy to have a cleaner, more inviting cover page to advertise one of my best products.  I also changed the backgrounds for the anchor charts and updated some older fonts with my own.  It's so neat seeing your own handwriting on a product!  So what do you think?

You can check out the newly-edited product in my store HERE.  It'll be on sale for the next 4 days!

Thank you, thank you, to the girls behind this Seller Challenge.  I knew it needed to be done, but it took a good swift kick in the butt to make it happen.  Visit the ladies below to see all the sellers participating in this challenge!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Reading Linky

There is so much going on in my life right now, it's not even funny.  My husband and I are in the process of purchasing our very first home.  If all goes well, we will be moving in on July 15th.  Can't wait!  We've also been doing infertility treatments that sometimes require us to make the 2 hour (one way) trip to St. Louis four to five times a WEEK!  This is serious business, folks! And on top of all that, the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup Finals.  As you can see, my free time so far this summer has been very limited.

All that being said, I always have time to read.  The best gift I ever received was a Kindle from my dad for Christmas.  I was worried I'd miss holding actual books in my hands, but honestly, the thought never crosses my mind anymore.  It's just so convenient!  I haven't had much to blog about lately, so I thought I would join Molly's linky party over at Lucky to Be in First.  My summer reading list just keeps expanding, so what's a few more, right? ;)

Books I Want to Read This Summer:

1) After The Storm by Linda Castillo
I love the entire Kate Burkholder series! Simple living + murder = right up my alley!

2) Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite novels.  I named my cat Atticus in honor of it. Hopefully this only makes it better!

3) Those Girls by Chevy Stevens
I love murder mysteries like this!

4) Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Recommended by a teacher friend. Honestly, I don't know how I haven't read this already!

5) Meditation for Beginners by Yesena Chavan
Boy, oh boy, do I need this in my life right now!

Books You Should Read This Summer:

1) A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I honestly can't say enough good things about this heartwarming book.  Everyone I've recommended it to has LOVED it!

2) Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I didn't expect to like this, but I really got into it!

3) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This one lived up to all the hype for me.

So what are you waiting for?  Get reading!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fun with Fonts

Oh my goodness, it's been ages since I've update my blog!  Life sure has been hectic and crazy around here!  My husband and I have been going through the whole infertility process and every appointment, blood draw, ultrasound, etc. requires us to drive to St. Louis, which is a 2 hour drive one way.  Needless to say that's where a lot of my time has been going!  We start our first injectable cycle tonight, so keep your fingers crossed that we magically get pregnant the first round!  Not likely, I know, but stranger things have happened!

Anywho, on to the good stuff!  When I am home and not working on school stuff, I've been playing around with fonts.  I think it's safe to say that my font addiction has now gone from collecting to creating.  I know the last thing the world needs is more fonts, but I just love them so much, I couldn't help myself!  I have 42 fonts up on TPT right now (7 sets of 6), as well as a listing for my entire collection, (including all future fonts!) for a great discount.  I'd love for you to check them out by clicking HERE.  If you do use my fonts on a product, I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Self-Care and a Sweet Giveaway!

I apologize for being MIA here lately.  Adjusting to my new school has been stressful to say the least.  We are expected to do so much with so little that at times I wonder if it'll ever get better.  I found myself working non-stop, through dinners, through weekends, with no breaks whatsoever.  I'm sure that scenario is very familiar to many of you.  We care so much about what we do, it is actually a deeply ingrained part of who we are.  I think that's all fine and dandy until it actually starts to take over who we really are and turns us into someone we don't like being.  Sadly, that has been the case for me this year.

In an effort to balance my life, I decided to start volunteering some of my time.  This would force me to get away from my duties as a teacher and help those outside of my classroom.  Selfishly, I also wanted to be reminded that my life is pretty good, even though it hadn't felt that great since school began.  I chose a cause very near and dear to my heart, violence against women.  I had to go through an 80 hour volunteer program. The training took all my nights from 4-9 for 2 months, but somehow I made it through and I feel proud that I was able to "balance" it all, no matter how ugly it got at some points.  This experience really showed me that somehow, some way, the work all gets done, the papers all get graded, and the kids learn just as much (if not more!) as when I spend 100 hours a week prepping, planning, and copying.

Through my volunteer experience, I've learned a lot that surprisingly applies to my teacher life.  They stress that volunteers need to practice self-care above all else so that we avoid feelings of burnout, helplessness, resentfulness, etc.  As we were reading about all the signs of being "burnt out," I was mentally checking off each one.  I was officially and truly burnt out as a teacher.  I wanted to give my all, every last drop of the 100% I had to give, but I just couldn't.  I was becoming irritable (just ask my husband) and no fun to be around at home OR at school.  I had little patience for my students and their misbehavior and I had constant feelings of resentment towards my colleagues and my administration for all of the pressure they put on me.  It wasn't pretty, folks!  I knew something had to change because I could not teach another year if it was going to continue on in this way.  I was sick of Googling "What do teachers who quit teaching do?" and my kids were sick of having a grumpy and tired teacher.

I wish I had a magic pill to make it all better.  If I said that overnight I miraculously found a new-found love of teaching, I would be lying. It's hard. It's a very tough job that most people THINK they can do well until they actually try it.  We are so much more than glorified babysitters.  We are caregivers, but we are also leaders. We are role models. We are confidants. We are motivators. We are the smile and kind message that some kids will never hear at home. The list goes on and on, but we cannot forget that we are people, too.  We need support and love just as much as our kiddos do. Just as we teach our students to love and take care of themselves, we must do the same.

For me, setting boundaries and sticking to them have made all the difference.  I've been leaving my work at work when I leave between 5 and 6 (still 2+ hours after contract time some days) and took my school email off of my phone.  Weekends are my time to spend however I'd like.  Saturday there is not one drop of school work allowed. (The hubby is so sweet to monitor this for me!) I still grade and do quick planning on Sunday nights. Someday I hope that will also change, but for right now, it's a huge improvement!  I've been able to come home and be a wife and a friend and a volunteer and all the facets of myself that I've been burying under piles of schoolwork.  It's not easy. There are days when there is so much grading to do, I cheat and grade while I'm watching TV, but I give myself permission to take a break and breathe.  I know that when I get to school in the morning all of those things will still be there, but so will I. And for a change, I will be refreshed and ready to take on my day with a smile, because I allowed myself to be human.  Miraculously, I am not any further behind in planning, grading, etc. than I was when I was working myself to death.  AND my students are happier because their teacher is happier.  What are some boundaries that you set for yourself?  How do you practice self-care?  Tell me in the comments below!

So, in the name of self-care, I am participating in a holiday giveaway!  The giveaway has taken a ton of time for my sister (you know her as Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs) to design and put together, so a big THANK YOU to her!  You can win my 'Gearin' Up for Graphs Pack' (great for grades 2-4) or a $5 credit to my store.  Some other great sellers are also offering store credits and you could win a $30 Starbucks gift card!  Show yourself a little self-love and enter now!

1. Rebecca Boudin - Featured Item:
2. John C Hughes - $5 TpT Store Credit
3. Christi Fultz - $5 TpT Store Credit
4. Tabitha Carro - $5 TpT Store Credit

PRIZES: $30 Starbucks Gift Card & $20 TpT Store Credit or Featured Item

DETAILS: Here is all the information you will need for you Facebook Post and/or Blog Post for 12/10. Please include clickable links per each TpT store if you decide to do a blog post. I have included the store links at the bottom of this post. 

The contest will run for 24 Hours via Rafflecopter. I will setup this Rafflecopter shortly and post the link below in this thread for you to copy and paste into your FB Post and/or Blog. This contest is eligible worldwide since gift cards will be sent by email. 

**Please don't use my real name in the post. Be sure to say either "Zippy" or "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs"

1. Classroom Compulsion -
2. Created By Mr. Hughes -
3. Ms. Fultz Corner -
4. Flapjack Educational Resources -

a Rafflecopter giveaway DAY #10 GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
1. Classroom Compulsion - Featured Item or $5 TpT Store Credit
2. Created By Mr. Hughes - $5 TpT Store Credit
3. Ms. Fultz Corner - $5 TpT Store Credit
4. Flapjack Educational Resources - $5 TpT Store Credit