Monday, July 21, 2014

NEW! Teacher & Homeschool Planners

Now that summer is more than half over (I know...say it isn't so!!) I, as well as many other teacher friends I know, are starting to prepare for the new school year. As much as I hate to see summer go, I LOVE Back-to-School. It's a fresh chance to get organized and a new excuse to spend a day buying school supplies :)

Last year, I had many teachers tell me that they would love to see a teacher planner in our shop. We were just venturing into the world of printables and I didn't feel experienced enough to put something like that together. But after a year of researching, making printables and custom orders for teachers from various grade levels and disciplines, we've finally settled on a set of planner pages that we HOPE will meet your needs this school year :-)


As a teacher myself, I understand how crucial it is to be organized and on-task throughout the week, especially when you take into consideration how much there is to manage outside of the classroom too. I could have made a million printables to go with this set, but I'm trying to follow some of the advice I was given from some of my other teacher friends, which is that "less is more." If your school is like mine, we are working hard towards a "Go Green" initiative, which means that a lot of the paperwork we used to have to fill out is now being submitted and shared electronically.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PLANNER-LOVING TEACHERS OUT THERE?!!

No matter how "Green" I have become as a teacher, I refuse to let go of my paper. It's how I plan best. The Teacher Planner was designed with planner-loving teachers like me in mind. It has a TON of wonderful options and includes printables that teachers of all grade levels can use. It also comes in two sizes, LARGE (8.5 x 11") for people who need a lot of room to write, and SMALL (5.5 x 8.5) for people who like their planner to be a little more portable. As of right now, The Teacher Planner is sold as a set, but we will be listing some of the individual dockets and pages separately in the near future.

Now, for all of you HOMESCHOOL teachers out there, we haven't forgotten about you either. We've adapted our Teacher Planner to meet the needs of a Homeschool classroom with many of the same printables customized to your needs. We offer the Homeschool Planner in LARGE and SMALL as well.



There are so many things I love about our Teacher and Homeschool Planner. For starters, I love having options and the flexibility of individual pages means I can build the perfect planner for ME. I can choose how to set them up and because the calendar and lesson planners are undated, I can use them year after year. Also…I love that I can build my planner in my beloved Martha Stewart Discbound (or any other planner or binder that suits your needs).



As you can see in the picture, I decided to create some word art to go with our teacher and homeschool planners. It was going to be an extra page to use somewhere in your planner, home or classroom, but I liked it so much, I decided to use it as my cover page this year!!! There are two different word art printables to choose from, or you can go with one of our two standard covers. 

Perhaps the most important part of this planner is the Weekly Lesson. Every teacher has their own system, but I decide to go with one of the most requested layouts I have had from teachers, and I included 3 different options so that you can pick between 4, 6 or 8 subject boxes. 


In addition to standard monthly pages and weekly lesson planners, I have also included a Daily and Weekly Docket to both the Teacher Planner:


And the Homeschool Planner


These Dockets are very different from your average weekly and daily pages, but the purpose of them is to give you a fun day or week-at-a-glance that highlights just the important stuff you want to accomplish. And because not everyone uses the same headers, our planner set comes with blank versions of these pages as well :)

Even though having a variety of monthly, weekly & daily pages is great for organization, sometimes you just want a good old Notes Page or ToDo list. Well…we have you covered :) Check out all the AWESOME pages this planner offers.


As much as I LOVE color in my planner pages, the cost of ink is outrageous these days. But for me, a black and white planner just doesn't make me smile. So, I tried my hardest to make this set as bright and functional as I could, without breaking the bank. And because you can use this set year after year, it's a wise investment :) I hope you love them as much as we do!!

To view more pictures and details about each planner, head over to our Printables shop! Here are some some quick links that will take you to each of the planners and sizes:


So…any of you teachers and homeschoolers out there want to 


We will be giving away planners to FIVE LUCKY TEACHERS!! You will get to pick which planner and which size you want!! But hurry…this giveaway ends Thursday!! All winners will be chosen and notified this Friday.

**Please note that this giveaway is for the printable planner PDF file only :)

GOOD LUCK & HAVE A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR!!



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Thursday, July 3, 2014

10% Off Your Printables Purchase this Holiday Weekend!

Happy 4th of July weekend, friends!! So that we can celebrate the holiday with our family, both of our shops will be on vacation from Thursday - Sunday. Our Printables shop will be accepting orders, but only Instant Downloads will be sent during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience, but we hope you will enjoy 10% off your Printables purchase THIS WEEKEND ONLY!!


To view the coupon code, please "Like" ThePolkaDotPosie on Facebook or Instagram :-)

We hope you enjoy your weekend!! 

God Bless America!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

FREE 4th of July Printable!

It's hard to believe that the 4th of July is already next week!! To help you prepare for all the parties and festivities, we wanted to share our fun and patriotic 4th of July Printable!!


This sheet of twelve, 2" squares can be used as cupcake toppers, treat bag tags, plant sticks and more!! You can download it for free HERE {but please link back to our shop if you share}.


Simply print this sheet on white card stock and either cut or punch each square. I used a 2" scrapbook paper punch to make it a little easier.

Get creative and have fun!! 

Happy 4th of July, fellow Americans :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Month 5: Get Organized for Summer

After the winter we've had, I didn't think summer would ever arrive. But here we are…a week away from Memorial Day!!

To most, Memorial Day is the official kick-off to summer. For us, Memorial Day is the official kick-off to CAMPING SEASON!! And party season. And beach season. And enjoying-every-minute-of-sunshine season.

I feel like summer breaks get shorter and shorter every year. It doesn't help that my kids have several snow days to make up too. We already have a list a mile long of summer activities, camping trips, parties and cookouts and I just know this summer is going to fly by.

So before all of the summer chaos begins, and before the kids are out of school, I think it's time to...


I know, I know…Summer is about RELAXING! Taking it easy, being spontaneous, throwing our schedules and routines out the door. Trust me…I can't wait to turn off our alarm clocks and take a break from school pick-up lines and homework. But at the same time, I'm a planner. I like having things in order (or at least as close to "order" as I can get). I want to be organized for our camping trips and the parties/cookouts we plan to host. I also want to keep up with meal planning and household chores and projects. I also need to keep the kid's summer activities straight and still schedule time for all the fun little things we want to do together.

Luckily…I have a bunch of GREAT tools and resources to help us get organized for the summer craziness. 

First up…a book to add to your summer reading list :)



For the last few years, I have had the privilege of reviewing all of the books in the 100 Days series by Jennifer Tankersley. Her newest book, 100 Days of Summertime, begins THIS SUNDAY and is packed full of fabulous inspiration, motivational tasks and activities, printables and more! Here is a little excerpt from the book:


What I have always loved about these books is the way that Jennifer not only helps you manage the chaos of summer (or the holidays), but also reminds you to slow down and enjoy the season. It's great to spend your break organizing your home and preparing for the school year ahead (which this books helps you do), but don't forget to celebrate the little summer holidays like National Ice Cream Day and create new traditions with your family, like Olympics Day in your own backyard.

And speaking of your backyard, don't forget that June 28th is the Great American Backyard Campout! I had no idea this was actually a "holiday" until I read this book last summer. Camping holds a special place in my heart…it's been one of the greatest bonding experiences for our family and we have already made some of the best memories together. If you haven't ever taken your kids camping…make this one of your summer goals. Whether you stay at a national park or pitch a tent in your own backyard…I promise it will be one of the highlights of your summer {Special Camping Post Coming Soon!}. 

100 Days of Summertime comes with 34 different lists and planning pages, including monthly calendars. And if you aren't a paper person, the ListPlanIt app will help you keep all of your lists right on your smartphone!

Now, since I have no idea what it means to NOT be a paper person, here are a few of our NEW printables planners!!

This first one is our Happy Camper Planner, NEW in the shop this month! It comes in Large (8.5 x 11) and Small (5.5. x 8.5).


And for all of your summer party planning needs, here is our new Party & Events Planner! This set also comes in Large (8.5 x 11) and Small (5.5 x 8.5).


The beginning of 100 Days to Summertime is all about getting your summer schedule in order. Deciding when you will travel and what parties and holidays you plan to host are important details. But what about your days at home with your kids? We all know how loooooooong some days can be when everyone is "bored" and looking for something to do.

Last summer, when I was struggling to come up with something fun to do with not only my two kids, but also my niece and nephew, I followed Jennifer's plan from 100 Days and set up a Day Camp at home! I planned out different weekly themes like "Ocean Week" and "Space Week" and then every Tuesday, we would have Day Camp!

The Internet and your local library are the BEST resources for setting up your own Day Camp. Our library already had themed "Vacation Bags" filled with books and a DVD. I also found some fantastic websites that have FREE printable worksheets, games and activities for a variety of different themes and grade levels. My three favorites are RoyalBaloo...

Jump In to Learning Ocean Theme - Week 2   A summer learning program for toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.


Printables Packs from 1plus1plus1equals1


Having one day a week to spend on "school practice" made such a huge difference for us, and the kids really looked forward to each new theme (and so did I). It did take some prep each week to get the activities together, but having it planned out in advance made things run a lot smoother.

In fact, I found that planning out our entire week each Sunday night was helpful for all of us. The kids and I would talk about what we wanted to do that week, what camps or activities we had scheduled, and then I would decide what errands and to dos I needed to accomplish. Lately I have been doing the same type of weekly planning and it has been working out well. I currently use the Working Mom Weekly Docket that we have available in our shop, but I decided to make a fun, summer-themed weekly docket as this month's FREEBIE!!!


{You can download this fun freebie in 3 sizes HERE}

I realize that 5 paragraphs ago I said that I understood that summer was about RELAXING, and yet all I have done is talk about planners and schedules and day camp :-) I know I am not alone in this, right? Maybe what all of us type-A planners need to do is set some goals that do NOT include organizing. I'll go first. Here are my Five R&R goals for summer:

1. READ MORE BOOKS.

2. GARDEN (and by garden I mean grow a tomato plant).

3. GO FOR MORE WALKS.

4. GO TO BED EARLIER

5. UNPLUG (at least a few hours every day).

So…once all of your summer planning and organizing is done, what will your Five R&R goals for summer be?

100 Days of Summertime ends with a quote from Henry Rollins…

We know that in September,
we will wander through the
warm winds of summer's wreckage.
We will welcome summer's ghost.

We wait so long for summer…and it's gone in a blink of an eye. Above all else this year, be sure to enjoy every moment with your friends and family. Read good books, eat ice cream for dinner, swing in a hammock, cook some s'mores over a fire, and make lots and LOTS of memories :)

HAPPY SUMMER 

{Purchase your digital copy of 100 Days of Summertime HERE}

Monday, April 28, 2014

Free Printable Teacher Appreciation Gift Card Boxes

This year's Teacher Appreciation freebies were designed after receiving lots of feedback from my teacher friends last year. As much as they all love a pretty plant with our "Thanks for Being a Wonderful Teacher" plant stick, or a cute framed copy of our Subway art…what my teacher friends really appreciate are gift cards.

GIFT. CARDS.

Many of them buy their own supplies (hello Target) many of them buy their own music for their classroom (hello iTunes) and many of them survive on coffee alone (hello Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts). Obviously, gift cards are an incredibly thoughtful and practical gift to give the teachers we appreciate so much. But for the parent who wants to get crafty and make their gift special...a gift card  is BOR-ING. Unless you can find a way to add a little cuteness.

And that's where our new Teacher Appreciation Freebies come in!



We designed three different gift card boxes (based on our favorite gift card sayings) and you can print and assemble them at home with only a few basic supplies.

{click here for downloads}



Each gift card box can be printed on standard 8.5 x 11 card stock. All cutting, folding and gluing instructions are on the printable to make the project simple enough for your child to help :)

Once your box is put together, just fill it with a gift card and special note and you are set!!

And to all the wonderful teachers out there…we hope you feel loved and appreciated this week, and every week throughout the year. Thanks for all that you do!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Month 3: Spring Cleaning

Spring

A word we've all been longing to hear {and feel} for the last 5 months. And now that the sun has finally been making a more regular appearance and the temps are slowly rising…it's time to open up the house and do some SPRING CLEANING!!!


Once again, our monthly organizational post is coming in under the wire, but I found it hard to talk about "Spring" cleaning with snow still on the ground. So now that we are finally seeing the sunlight shine through our dirty windows and I am running out of room to shove toys in closets…it's time to start tackling the madness!

Because I am far from a cleaning expert, I often rely on the tips and advice I find on various blogs and websites. Over the years, I have made a list of some of these resources and I will share them below, along with some of the things that have worked especially well for me.


Martha Stewart's Spring Cleaning guide is incredibly helpful, especially now that it's broken down by rooms. She also shares basic cleaning tips and how to organize a Cleaning Kit {or caddy}. I've been using one for years and I keep it under my sink.


In it I keep:

Glass Cleaner
All Purpose Cleaner
Bathroom/Antibacterial Cleaner
Carpet Spot Cleaner
Dust Mit
Microfiber Cloth
Mr. Clean Eraser Sponge
Scrub Brush {for bathroom shower}
Disposable Rubber Gloves

I can carry this caddy from room to room when I am cleaning and have everything I need. I also keep a container of antibacterial wipes under each bathroom sink for quick clean-up.


I LOVE Real Simple's Spring Cleaning Shortcuts list because not only does it cover all the important areas of your home, but it gives you both the "Short Cut Version" for quick clean-up, and the "Long Version" if you want to be more thorough. Each area of your house is also broken down into steps and they include a handy Tool List of everything you will need. I have actually printed each list and put it in my Home Management Binder for future reference. 


I've been following Organized Home for years and I've carried around their Spring Cleaning Chore Checklist since Eric and I bought our house. It has been such a helpful list for us, I actually decided to make my own version for my planner, along with a helpful checklist for indoor and outdoor maintenance. The printables turned out so cute, I thought this post would be the perfect place to share them!


I've created the printables in 3 sizes and you can download them HERE.

You will see that one of our Spring Cleaning Tasks every year is to have a Garage/Yard sale. I know these can be a ton of work, but it is really one of the best motivators for us to clean out our house and garage. And the best part is that our town makes it easy by having a specific "Garage Sale Weekend." Charity trucks will also make pick-ups the Monday after the sale so that they can take away clothing, baby items, furniture and other unwanted items and give them to local organizations in our area. You would be surprised by how many towns will do this, so make sure you check into it if you have a garage sale planned. 

Also, if you need some helpful tips for setting up and planning your own Garage or Yard Sale, Organized Home has a special article for that too :-)


I subscribe to Parents Magazine emails and I have to admit…they share some really helpful tips! Last week I got an email titled "Spring Cleaning with Kids" and I thought it was something perfect to share in this post. The video is only a few minutes long and the mom talks about how to get your kids involved with Spring Cleaning. She suggests turning everyday chores into a game by using timers or playing fun music. The article also suggests setting up a special Chore or Reward Chart for each of your kids to use year round. I did this for my kids recently and although my 4-year-old son isn't as enthusiastic as his 6-year-old big sister, I can say that they have both been very motivated by the end-of-the-week reward :-)

In addition to the reward at the end of the week, my kids also took more of an interest in their Chore Charts when I did two important things:

1. I made their chart special by putting their name at the top and designing them with their special interests in mind. My daughter's chart has a little ballerina on it and my son's has Batman :-)




2. I made sure that the chores and tasks I picked for their chart were appropriate for their age. For example, my daughter's chart has chores like "Do the Dishes," "Feed Pet," "Make Bed," "Finish Homework," etc. 


For my son's chart, I knew that having him in charge of feeding our fish was NOT the best decision, nor was asking him to the dishes. But right now, we are practicing getting dressed ourselves and putting on our own coat so those are two chores or "tasks" that I have on his chart, along with "Pick up Bedroom" and "Put Away Toys." 


You will notice that I laminated both the charts and the chore/task cards and that is simply so I don't have to reprint a new chart every week. It also gives me the ability to change out certain chores or tasks throughout the week. For example, if my daughter doesn't have homework one day, I can swap it out with something else. All I do is use Poster Putty on the back and they easily peel right off and I can restick them over and over again.


To check off her tasks, my daughter prefers marking her squares with these little pink magnets we found at Target. My son, on the other hand, likes to use markers so we use our washable Crayola dry erase markers and they wipe right off each week.


I can't believe that both of my kids filled their entire chart over Spring Break. We got a ton of spring cleaning done and now that they have both earned their rewards…they can't wait to do it again this week!

 If you've been struggling to get your kids to help around the house too, or even if you have been searching for the perfect reward or chore chart…be sure to stop by our Printables shop today and check out our new line of Personalized Kids Chore Charts!!!


Right now, we have 12 different designs to choose from for boys and girls and we will be adding more soon. And don't forget, we are always happy to take custom orders :-)

Your personalized Chore/Reward Chart will also come with 2 sheets of chore/task cards that you can print and cut. Another great way to get your kids excited about their chart is to let them help pick their daily chores and tasks. I never in a million years thought my daughter would be excited about making her own bed, but once she added it to her chart, she couldn't wait to check off her first square.


I've been a subscriber to Better Homes and Gardens for a few years and I have ripped out a million articles. One of them that I kept from last year was about the importance of having your children help with chores. I thought the article was fantastic, and it also helped break down what chores are appropriate for which ages. But reading the article again got me thinking…if the whole reason we are establishing a chore or reward chart is to get kids motivated and into a routine…then why not do the same for ourselves?

I don't know about you, but I am TERRIBLE at following a routine when it comes to housework. I always try to set up a schedule and fail miserably. But maybe if we had our own little Adult Chore Chart {with or without weekly rewards} we could be just as excited and motivated as our kids! And what a great example to show them.

So with that in mind, I decided to put together a little Adult Chore Chart that you can print and hang on your fridge, or stick in your Home Management Binder or planner. It' is available in all 3 sizes.



It's nothing fancy, but it certainly does the trick! Just make a list of your household chores and then check off the days you complete them. Most cleaning gurus will tell you that laundry, vacuuming and pick-up should be done daily, while other things like bathrooms and windows should be done weekly. You can download a copy of this chore chart HERE.


Well thank you all so much for stopping by our blog today!! We hope you found these Spring Cleaning Tips, Checklists, Links and Chore Charts helpful :-) As always, please feel free to comment with any Spring Cleaning tips or tricks you might have!!

Until Next Month!!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

40 Bags/40 Days Declutter Charity Challenge

For the last few years, I have participated in a challenge that I first saw introduced by the lovely Sarah over at Clover Lane. It's called the "40 Bags in 40 Days challenge" and the idea is to rid your home of unneeded and unwanted "stuff" by filling a bag every day during the 40 days of Lent. By the end, you will have donated/sold/tossed 40 BAGS of clutter.

I have to admit that the first year I did this challenge, I was a bit overwhelmed. Sarah suggests writing down 40 different areas of your home that you want to focus on during the challenge, and that was definitely helpful for me. I broke things down into very small categories and even dedicated one day to just cleaning out file drawers {not even my whole desk}. Following that daily plan of one small area at a time made things much more manageable. Also, instead of trying to fill an entire big garbage bag each day, I would focus on grocery size bags for the small projects. In the end, I had collected 21 black garbage bags/boxes and 19 grocery bags of STUFF we didn't need. Some went into the recycling bin, some went to our garage sale, and some went to charities.

As much as I enjoy the decluttering process of this challenge, I think the part that I love most is finding new charities to contribute to. Having "too much stuff" is a blessing we take for granted sometimes. There are people that would do anything to have shoes without holes, dress clothes appropriate enough for a job interview, pots and pans to make meals at home, toys for their children to play with, glasses to see with, etc. And if we have extras of these things lying around, unused, why not give them to people who need them?! Use this challenge and every day of Lent {regardless of your religion} to give back to your community. To give to people in need. To do something good with all those blessings you take for granted.

This year, I plan to use my 40 Bags/40 Days list a little differently. Instead of listing 40 areas of my home, I am going to list out my 40 "bags" and where they went. I want to be able to look back and see how much I was able to recycle, how much I was able to sell and most importantly…how much I was able to donate to people in need.

Although there are many places that will take most of your items {like AMVETS, Salvation Army or Red Cross}, there also some other wonderful charities that are looking for specific items like shoes, dress clothes, eye glasses, plastic toys, etc. Here are links to some charities I have worked with in the past and some I hope to work with again this year:

For gently used shoes: Share Your Soles
For gently worn or new dress clothes: Dress for Success
For old {good condition} eyeglasses: Lions Recycle for Sight
For gently used plastic toys: Second Chance Toys
Used books: Reading Tree
Old cell phones: Cell Phones for Soldiers
Gently worn coats and jackets: Operation Warm

I am so excited to get started on this year's challenge and hopefully get my whole family involved too. And of course, to help you all out with this challenge, here is a free planner printable to help you track your 40 bags/40 Days. 



Use it to plan out the 40 areas of your home you want to tackle in the challenge, or use it like I am and track your "bags" and where they are going.

Start Spring off right with an organized home, and a full heart :-)

Download the Large {8.5 x 11} list HERE.
Download the Small {5.5 x 8.5} list HERE.
Download the XSmall {3.75 x 6.75} list HERE.