*student portfolios*

On the last day of Pre-K, my son came home and proudly showed me “a book all about him”.  It was a student portfolio documenting his learning with math, reading, writing, geography, art, and so much more.  My favorite part were the pictures of him throughout the school year. My goodness how much he had grown and changed!  I had already forgotten. I could see why he treasured it and was so excited to show me. He had learned so much in Pre-K and this portfolio gave us a small glimpse of his hardwork.


As I flipped through it the 100th time, I realized I was a fool for never doing this for any of my students or families. I knew I needed to make it effortless, while still being valuable.

So here it is… 11 pages of what you’ve always needed to document student learning for the whole year!!! And not by just using paper pencil assessments! Student portfolios allow you to collect students’ projects and assignments, while also documenting their learning through photographs. The best part is how students are actively involved in their progress and learning. This is a great tool for teacher and student lead conferences any time of the year.

Student Portfolio Checklist and Organization by Rescue Your Dreams

What’s Included…

– How to use the student portfolio
– An extensive checklist of student work and photograph ideas to include in each portfolio.
– Four front cover choices
– About the author page
– Student self reflection pages
– Seasonal page dividers to stay organzied
– Seasonal pages for your photographs
– Student handprint activity

All this for the very low price of $1.50!  I promise skipping out on Starbucks one morning will be worth it. :) Just head on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers store to download.

Rescue Your Dreams

-♥- Amanda


*let’s flamingle*

Flamingle from Rescue Your DreamsYes you read that correctly!  When you throw a flamingo themed birthday party for your two year old daughter and know people will mingle around, you of course have a FLAMINGLE!  I was a little apprehensive about finding anything flamingo that didn’t involve a luau. But, it turns out flamingos are quite popular these days.

Here are my Flamingle tips for any party:

  1. Pick at least two colors for your theme. One color can be boring or even overwhelming. I obviously choose pink and used aqua and lime green as accents.  Picking colors for your party makes it much easier to decorate and the party will be more cohesive when the plates, napkins, table cloths, decorations, etc. match.

    Flamingle from Rescue Your Dreams
  2. Have a decorated dessert table. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s very easy and always adorable. I suggest having at least two desserts because not everyone will enjoy the same things. Dust off those cute serving platters or cake plates and your desserts instantly look better! Hang a banner or some decorations behind the dessert table and don’t forget to label your desserts!  I used these adorable printables from Chicfetti.  
    Flamingle from Rescue Your Dreams
  3. Print your own banners as an easy and more personal decoration. I like using my children’s name or their age. There are a gazillion free banners on Pinterest.  Just find what you like, print, and cut!  If there is a theme for your party, like flamingos, look for clip art you can print on card stock to make your own themed banner. Mini Style has these adorable flamingos I used for the banners and in the flowers.
    Flamingle from Rescue Your Dreams Flamingle from Rescue Your Dreams
  4. Make your own personalized T-shirt everyone will adore.  DO NOT purchase one on Etsy!  Save your money!  I once spent $45 dollars on two personalized onesies. While they were very cute, I realized I could have probably made them myself.  Find a cute basic t-shirt and iron on letters from a craft store.  You can create a shirt with their age, their name, saying “birthday boy” or “birthday girl”, or an image matching the theme.  I spent less than $10 and 10 minutes making this one.
    Flamingle Party from Rescue Your Dreams

Rescue Your Dreams!


*4th of july mantel*

4th of July Mantel by Rescue Your Dreams

Target’s “Dollar” Spot and I have a great relationship.  I need cute and cheap seasonal items and can always count on them to provide.  I do not decorate my entire house for each holiday or season, but I do love decorating my fireplace mantel. Even though it’s the end of May, I’m putting up these 4th of July cuties. I figure if Target is selling them…I should be using them!  Plus, I don’t have to change it for another 2 1/2 months.  Bonus!

4th of July Mantel by Rescue Your Dreams

Here’s what you can do to create your own 4th of July mantel:

  1. Search for 4th of July decorations. Obviously stop by Target’s “Dollar” spot.  Even though not everything is a dollar, the most you will pay for an item is $5.  The Dollar Store, Walmart, Micheal’s, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnne Fabrics are other great places to find goodies as well.
  2. Don’t spend more than $20 on your vignette! I will not buy a seasonal item if it costs more than $5.  You are only using it for a short amount of time.  And with all the places you can find cheap holiday decorations, you don’t need to spend a lot.
  3. Search for free printables online. There are a gazillion to choose from.  You can obviously put them in a frame, but think creatively too.  I taped the smaller printable inside a white crate.  I liked the dimension and character it brought to my vignette. You can find the 4th of July Subway art HERE and the Proud to be an American printable HERE. 
    4th of July Mantel by Rescue Your Dreams
    4th of July Mantel by Rescue Your Dreams
  4. Layer your pieces! It’s OK to put items in front of one another.  Notice I even have a banner on top of another banner. Your mantel will look much more interesting.
  5. Incorporate some of your older pieces. I love how the stack of old books, the crackled white window, and ball jar add more character to the mantel.
  6. Add different textures.  I have burlap, twine, cloth, pallet board, glass, paper, wood, and metal.  Combining these elements will make your display more dramatic.
  7. Don’t always use items for their intended purpose.  Remember the white crate I used for a picture frame? And you would never know, but the wooden stars are actually a banner.  I took it apart and placed the red and blue ones on top of the window.  I used the white ones to add more layers and dimension.  To make the white stars “pop”, I drew a design with a red and blue sharpie.
  8. Try, Try, and Try again!  It takes me a few days to be happy with the final product.  I’ll move things around several times.  It will not be perfect right out of the gate, so just have fun and let your creativity flow.

4th of July Mantel by Rescue Your Dreams

Happy 4th of July and Rescue Your Dreams!

-♥- Amanda


*diy metal letters*

DIY Metal Letters
Sure I have dishes in the sink and endless amounts of laundry piling up, but I’ve been dreaming about my two favorite things…metal and letters! I am drawn to all things galvanized these days and for years I have an obsession with fonts and letters.  My husband says we have enough words, letters, and quotes around the house, but I say add more! So I did!

I went looking for metal letters to spell EAT for our dinning room and DREAM for our bedroom.  I didn’t realize I would run into so many problems.

  1. Metal letters can be super pricey. I was looking at spending over $50.00!
  2. For longer words, it’s challenging to find all the letters you need.
  3. Finding letters that are just the right size for your space. You may want tiny or super huge.
  4. Hanging metal letters means making lots of nail holes in your walls.  I have a trick to avoid that!

So obviously, I decided to tackle this DIY project myself!  I searched Pinterest and tried many different techniques.  I finally created the perfect DIY metal letters. It may seem like a lot of work, but I promise you it isn’t.  I broke it down into step by step detail so yours will turn out perfectly too! The best part is I spent less that $15.00!!!

Here’s what you need:

  • Letters!  I choose ones made from chip board.  You could pick letters made of flat card board, 3D cardboard, or wood letters.
  • Silver tacks
  • Chrome, black, and copper paint. I choose Folk Art’s Sold Bronze and Silver Sterling.
  • Bowl or paint pallet for the paint
  • Hammer
  • 3M Double sided foam tape.  (You can find it here or anywhere office supplies are sold.)

DIY Metal LettersPlace the tacks where ever you like on the letters and hammer them in. I like using the corners or edges because that’s where two pieces of metal would be riveted together.

DIY Metal LettersPaint the letters black using your fingers. The letters do not need to be perfectly covered. Allow to dry for 5 minutes.

DSC_1207Using your fingers, apply the chrome paint over the black.  Use a circular motion to mimic galvanized metal. Again, it does not need to be perfectly covered.  You want a little of the black to come through. Allow to dry for 10 minutes.

DSC_1217If you do not want a rust look on your metal letters, you can skip this step.  Use your fingers to apply the copper paint around the edges.  Use as much or as little copper paint you want to achieve your rusty look.  I used very little and swiped it along quickly. Allow to dry for 5 minutes.

DIY Metal LettersDIY Metal Letters

And….done!  Now to hang them. Here’s my trick to avoid using nails.

  • Place two or three little pieces of 3M double sided tape on the EDGE of the letters. My pieces were about 1 cm in width and height.
  • Position the letters on your wall.  PRESS LIGHTLY!
  • If one doesn’t look just right, slowly take the letter off.  You can use a box cutter or knife to slowly cut the tape.  This is why you put the tape on the edge.  It will make it easier to remove.
  • Once it looks perfect, you can press the letters firmly to the wall.
  • This tape has never removed paint off my walls and can be taken down months after hanging something.

DIY Metal Letters

DIY Metal Letters

DIY Metal Letters I hope I’ve inspired you to create your own metal letters too! Let me know any tips you’ve found in the comments below.

Rescue Your Dreams

-♥- Amanda

Font on cover picture from Graphics from the Pond

*winter writing activities*

Ten Winter Writing Activities

January and February are the hardest months for teachers!  We have spent the last two months looking at endless amounts of super cute holiday themed writing and now….nada!  So way back in October,  I started challenging myself to think of creative writing activities to do over the blah winter months.  This packet has TEN of them and is over 35 pages long!  I wanted something for students to use in a writing center or in my writer’s workshop. I also wanted activities with different ways to brainstorm, like using story elements, lists, beginning/middle/end, thinking maps, etc. Each writing activity has its own lesson plan, brainstorming sheets, and writing paper.  This is certainly what all K-2 teachers need to add a little fun in their students’ writing this winter! Click HERE or on the image above for your winter fun!

Here are the Ten Writing Topics:
1. Two Winter Acrostic Poems
2. Winter Diamante (Diamond) Poem
3. Would You Rather…an opinion piece
4. Edible Snowman Craftivity
5. My Five Senses in Winter
6. The Hot Chocolate Mystery
7. Snowman Craftivity
8. Polar Bears and Penguins Informational Book
9. My Winter Break
10. Persuasive Letter to Cupid

Rescue Your Winter Writing Dreams!


*toddler christmas activities*

Even though I despise winter weather, I adore Christmas time.  I can’t get enough of the twinkling lights, Christmas decorations, the smell of pine trees and cinnamon filling the air, and the endless amount of fun you can have with children. Here are a few activities you can squeeze in before the big day.

Christmas Cloud Dough

My son had a blast with the Christmas Cloud Dough. He was pretending to be a “cookie baker”. This recipe feels similar to cookie dough and allows kids to be in control of the Christmas baking. I added more oil than the recipe calls for, so don’t be afraid to play around. The best part is it is made out of ingredients from your pantry.  If your kiddo decides to take a bite, it will not be harmful. So get out your cookie cutters and sprinkles and let your kiddos dig in!


For more Christmas sensory bin ideas CLICK HERE! 

Winter Songs

These Winter Songs are super adorable and super simple!  They take classic kids songs, like The Hokey Pokey, and turn them into fun winter renditions, like The Snowkey Pokey. Most of them have movement incorporated too!


 FREE Christmas Printables

This Christmas Preschool Pack is perfect for your little ones to practice skills over their winter break. There are 40 pages of free fun to practice counting, writing, cutting, sequencing, and reading.


These colorful Do-a-Dot printables are perfect to take to a restaurant or to give you some time to wrap a few presents.  If you don’t have Do-a-Dot markers,  you can use little pom poms or circular color coding labels.


Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookie Recipe

This Easy Christmas Shortbread Cookie Recipe is a must! It only takes 3 ingredients!!!  It was the perfect Christmas cookie to make with my children.  If you choose to add sprinkles, you can mix it into the batter or sprinkle the cookie before putting it into the oven.  Enjoy!


Have a Merry Christmas and Rescue Your Dreams!


*i love christmas decorations*

You know those huge 30 gallon storage bins?  Well I have not one…not two…not five…but SEVEN filled with Christmas decorations. In my defense, I blame my mother because she has twice as many.  My husband rolls his eyes every year when I say I need more Christmas decorations and promptly reminds me of how many heavy bins he has to bring down from the attic.  Does it stop me though?  Absolutely not!

Since I LOVE decorating for Christmas, I wanted to share a few spots around our house.  I hope some of my Christmas vignettes and tips will inspire your decorating this season.  For additional help, HGTV has a great article with 8 tips for making beautiful vignettes. 

Living Room

Decorating with Christmas Vignettes

TIP: Do you notice how nothing is on the bottom shelves? Toddlers!  Enough said. Don’t feel everything has to have a decoration.

Lay wreaths and pictures against the backs of bookshelves to add height. When you put other decorations in front of them, it will give the shelf depth. Arrange like objects in odd numbers.     Lay wreaths and pictures against the backs of bookshelves to add height. When you put other decorations in front of them, it will give the shelf depth. Arrange like objects in odd numbers.

TIP: I like to lay wreaths and pictures against the backs of bookshelves to add height.  When you put other decorations in front of them, it will give the shelf depth.  I also arrange like objects in odd numbers. Notice the three red candles and the five trees?

Choosing items that are similar in color make your vignette more cohesive.

TIP: On the mantel I chose to decorate with an aqua blue theme. Choosing items that are similar in color make your vignette more cohesive.

Dining Room

Use the Internet for a plethora of free Christmas printables.

TIP: Use the Internet for a plethora of free Christmas printables. I chose to stick with a chalkboard theme. The Oh Holy Night printable can be found HERE.  The Have Yourself a Merry Christmas can be found HERE. The Baby It’s Cold Outside one can be found HERE.

Fill glass jars, bowls, cake plates, vases, etc. with Christmas ornaments and other like decorations.  Fill glass jars, bowls, cake plates, vases, etc. with Christmas ornaments and other like decorations.

TIP: Fill glass jars, bowls, cake plates, vases, etc. with Christmas ornaments and other like decorations.

Decorating your hutch for Christmas Tuck away candies and ornaments in your dishes.   Tuck away candies and ornaments in your dishes.

TIP: A hutch with dishes is a great place to tuck away some tiny ornaments and Christmas candies.

Start your Christmas gumdrop tree

TIP: If you don’t have a gumdrop tree, you must start the tradition this year!  I remember looking forward to doing this with my grandpa every year.  It’s a great activity to put in the advent calendar too.  Mine is from an antique store, but you can also purchase them on Amazon HERE.

Front Stoop


TIP: Don’t forget to decorate your front stoop. Most people only use Christmas lights outside.  During the day though, those twinkling lights can’t be seen.

Merry Christmas and Rescue Your Dreams!



*diy flop*

diy flop...grippy socks

Have you ever seen a DIY clip or found a Pinterest idea and thought it would change your world? I sure have and it was a tutorial on making grippy socks for your kids. For most this is not life altering, but for me it was!  Our downstairs is mostly hardwood and tile, which means lots of wipe outs.

So because the mighty sock gods haven’t created all socks to be skid free, I thought I could fix this problem on my own.  Before running to the craft store, I watched a tutorial clip and followed up on Pinterest to make sure I had everything I needed. My son and I quickly came home and puffy painted his and my daughter’s socks.  We were so excited and could hardly wait for them to dry!

Well folks I’m here to say it was a huge disappointment!  The socks did not become skid free and I would dare say became more slippery.  I even went out two more times to get different types of puffy paint.  Nothing works! Even the puffy paint filled with glitter doesn’t provide any traction.

diy flop...grippy socks

I have even tried covering the entire bottom of the sock with puffy paint.  Nada! The only difference is now my son says all his socks feel funny when he walks.  Bummer! Don’t be fooled or get your hopes up like mine. I am sad to say this is a huge DIY FLOP!

Rescue your sock dreams!

-♥- Amanda

*my endless love for banners*

I have an endless love for banners!  I am so thankful for the creative people on the internet who make my banner dreams a reality.  There are SO MANY FREE printable banners online.  I’m going to show you a few of my favorites and some different ways I have used banners.

I am IN LOVE with the FREE banners and garlands from Chicfetti.  The banners can be edited and allow you to type in the letters you want to use.  My favorite are the chevron banners, which come in 12 colors! There are banners and garlands for every occasion!

free-printable-chevron-banner         pretty-flora-printable-party-banner

For a birthday party, you don’t just have to use a typical “Happy Birthday” banner.   I decorated with this cute YUM banner for my daughter’s first birthday.  We had an ice cream theme and I loved all the free printables from Pottery Barn Kids. I also created this ONE banner from Somewhat Simple for a decoration above the party favor table. This banner comes in a yellow gold with stripes and polka dots. Instead of punching holes and threading string to hang a banner,  simply tape it to some furniture or the wall. It’s much easier and still as cute!

Ice cream banner  Free printable banners

Of course I couldn’t pass up using banners in my children’s photos!  I love these because they were huge, which were perfect for a backdrop. DIY Swank created them in gray too! Click here to print your own.
Free Printable Banners Free printable Banners

I’m into the chalkboard craze and wanted to use a chalkboard banner for my fall decorating. I found a super cute one from Shanty 2 Chic. This site combined my love of burlap and chalkboard by suggesting gluing their banners to burlap. Why haven’t I thought of that?!  But if you don’t feel like printing and cutting anything, I suggest going to Target’s dollar spot.  Recently they have had pre-made burlap and chalkboard banners. Below is the one from Target, but next year I will print one from Shanty 2 Chic.

autumn chalkbaord banner

I hope I have spread a little of my banner love to you!

Rescue Your Dreams

-♥- Amanda

*word wall tic tac toe*

Word Work Tic Tac Toe image

I’m so excited my first product to purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers is now available.  It has been A LONG time coming.  This Word Work Tic-Tac-Toe is a fabulous collection of activities to practice spelling words, high frequency words, and content words. Students can choose between 9 fine motor, gross motor, partner, and independent activities. You can use it during whole group word work, science/social studies, literacy stations, and the Daily Five’s working on words. This product has everything you need to create independent learners! It’s also a great resource to leave for a guest teacher in your classroom. Click HERE or go to the TPT Store at the top of the website to download!

Now that part of your day is planned… go rescue your dreams!  Maybe take a nap?! Or maybe that’s just what I would do. :)

Rescue Your Dreams

-♥- Amanda