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Tips & Tricks :: Make-Your-Own Customized Planner Stickers

Custom Erin Condren Stickers

If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve been working on getting my Erin Condren Life Planner set up for when school starts. I ended up ordering the sticker book they sell, but found that I still wanted more stickers to decorate with. I googled around a bunch and realized there really isn’t a good way to order your own stickers without buying them in packs of 500. I did find some on Etsy that would work, but I kept thinking, “If all these other people can do it, why can’t I???” That’s when I came across this YouTube video for how one person decorated her planner and it contained one of these wonderful sticker makers.

Suddenly, I figured it out! I have millions of pounds of scrapbooking background paper sitting upstairs that I haven’t touched since my daughter was born and I know I could quickly put it to good use by running it through a sticker maker and cutting it to the right size to fit my planner. Not only that, I could have my students make their own stickers, use it to create name tags, labels for my classroom, and a million other things too! How did I not know these things existed!? Of course, I immediately went out and bought one.

Custom Erin Condren StickersI ended up getting a slightly bigger version of the sticker maker in the YouTube video, a Xyron 5″ one instead of the 2.5″ one. They also make 9″ combination sticker or magnet maker too if you’re REALLY hard core! None of the machines need electricity or heat. You just stick the thing in you want to make into a sticker, turn the crank, and you’re done. I’d venture to say it’s just as easy as the laminator I use.

Back to the planner goodies. Here’s what I did to make my own custom stickers to fit my Erin Condren Life Planner!

– Make a template to fit each section of the planner. Fortunately for you, the most time-consuming part is already done 🙂 Just download and use what I made, here! It’s in Powerpoint format, and set up to fit vertical Erin Condren Life Planners, but you could easily resize for other planners and customize with your own fonts, images, and text size!

– Print the stickers onto colorful paper. I used a bunch of sheets from this pack because it seemed like most of the colors already matched the colors in the planner.

Erin Condren Stickers

Erin Condren Stickers

– Cut the stickers into strips to fit through your sticker maker. Since I have a 5″, I chose not to use the middle column of stickers on the template so that I could divide my 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper into 2 strips that were 4.25″ x 11″ long to feed through.

Erin Condren Stickers

Erin Condren Stickers

– Run through your sticker maker and cut apart with scissors or a paper cutter.

Erin Condren Stickers

And you’re done! The template I made contains stickers for the weeks, months, headings, and notes sections, so you can easily make your own to fit any section of the planner!

Erin Condren Stickers

I’m definitely thinking of making a bunch of these for one of my friends for her birthday. Do you have any good classroom uses for a sticker maker!? I’m dying to try out some new things with it!


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Tips & Tricks :: 8 Easy Ways to Make Mondays Better

Making Mondays BetterLet’s face it. Mondays are probably most people’s least favorite day of the week. I’ve never really LOVED Mondays even before I had a “real job,” but after working in schools, I can safely say that Mondays can feel like the.absolute.worst. I mean, you’re jolted awake before you’re ready to face the world by some type of alarm, the students are grumpy, you’re rushing around to the copier to try to get all your lessons set for the week…only to find 4 people ahead of you wiping out every tree on earth copying 450-page packets for their own 30 students.  Sigh. It’s just really the worst. So this week, I set out on a mission to try to make my Monday less bad. I wasn’t expecting a 10/10 day – I was even willing to accept 6/10. As I went through the day, I tried to think of all the things I could do to make it slightly better. Sure. I didn’t end the day skipping down the halls singing the Sound of Music or anything, but I definitely noticed my own attitude was much better!

Make Mondays Better1. Make your bed

I’m going to be honest. If I had all the money in the world, I would pay someone to do this for me. It’s one of my favorite parts of staying in a hotel, but I really dislike doing it myself! However, a few months ago, I read this advice for living from a Navy Seal and it changed my perspective on this hated chore. So, last Monday I made myself take the 3 minutes it actually takes and did it. Naval Adm. William McRaven explains:

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed…And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

2. Say a genuine hello to the first person you seeMake Mondays Better

Whether it’s a gas station attendant, school custodian, or that teacher next door who complains incessantly about anything any everything, say hi! Even if you’re not sure you have anything in common with them, I guarantee they don’t like Monday mornings either, so that’s something! Ask about their weekend, give a smile, let them know it’s nice to see them. I guarantee greeting someone with a smile will make you feel better.

3. Do as much as you can Sunday

My mom’s really going to love this one! Before going to bed on Sunday, I make sure my clothes are laid out, my breakfast/lunch is ready to go, and I’m showered. Now, I know many people aren’t a fan of the night shower, so an early morning Monday shower may be a necessity. However, everyone can save themselves the agony of standing bleary-eyed in their closet laying out exactly 4,523 outfit combinations and wondering why the heck you didn’t go buy that new pair of pants you had planned to get over the weekend. So instead, you think to yourself, “I’ll have to swing by the store on the way home and get those. I literally have nothing to wear.” Congratulations, you’ve already added an item to your to-do list. Moral of the story, just lay the darn outfit out the night before! By doing as much as I can Sunday night instead of Monday morning, I save myself a good hour in the morning and have perfected the “wake up, feed baby, make bed, dress/makeup/teeth, and get out of the house routine” to 40 minutes. I’ll take the extra hour of sleep!

4. Leave yourself a note

I first started doing this before long breaks from school because I knew I’d be in a grumpy mood after coming back from 2 weeks of Winter Break or a week of Spring Break. I’ve since extended it to Mondays too! Before leaving work on Friday, I leave myself a post-it note. Somedays it’s an inspirational quote or mini pep-talk. Other times it’s a list of 5 things I’m thankful for in my life. A few days, all I’ve been able to manage is a quickly-drawn smiley face before I rush home. But, regardless of how grumpy I am when I get to my room, something positive always greets me on Monday morning. Maybe you could get a few co-workers to go in with you and leave positive notes in each other’s mailboxes!

5. Take it one day at a timeFriday

One of the things that makes me feel grumpy about Mondays is realizing there are 5 WHOLE DAYS separating me from the weekend. Then I start thinking about the group I still haven’t planned for on Tuesday, that stressful meeting I have on Wednesday, the paperwork that’s due Thursday and my head is spinning a mile a minute before I even get to my desk. Instead, this week I made the intentional effort to take things one day at a time. Monday things first. When I get past the immediate needs, then I can look to the future, but only then.

6. Save something special

This week, I made a playlist of the music I’ve been playing in the car recently on my 45-minute commute. Instead of listening to it Tuesday-Friday, I saved it for Monday only. Then, the remaining days I did other things (listened to the radio, called a friend on bluetooth, listened to an audiobook, etc.) Sunday night, I started thinking about how excited I was to have my music back again on Monday instead of how much I was dreading driving to work in the dark! You could also try to do this with other things too like going out for lunch, eating a favorite food for breakfast, recording your favorite TV shows to watch Monday night. You get the idea. Make Mondays a splurge day!

7. Slow Cooker mealsSlow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

There are literally 100,000,000 recipes out there for slow cooker meals. After adjusting back to a chaotic week after a relaxing weekend, the last thing you’ll want to do after work when you get home is cook. Instead, grab a freezer bag you’ve pre-filled will all the ingredients during a more ambitious day and dump it into the crockpot before heading out on the day. Delicious aromas will greet you when you return home…..mmmmmmm. Dishes are also a breeze!

Family8. Perspective

So, I don’t want to be morbid, but the average human being only gets around 3,500 Mondays in their life. And while that may sound like a lot at first, by the time you’re 20, 1040 of them are already gone. So, assuming most of us are 30-50 years old, we have probably around 2000 of them left. I don’t want to be sitting at the end with my life facing the fact that I complained about my day 1/7th of the time. I’d much rather know I spent my days getting out there, finding SOMETHING to be joyful about, and making the most out of that time. Whether I feel like it right now or not, someday I’ll wish that I could come back to this day. I I don’t know whether it will be to revisit a friend I’ve lost touch with, or see a loved one who passed, or just to remember what it was like to feel “that young.” Someday I’ll want nothing more than to wake up to THIS DAY. I want to make it count!

How do YOU make your Mondays days worth getting up for?

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Why I’m Thankful for TpT



With it being November, I’ve been thinking a lot of what I am thankful for this year. In working with the population I do, I constantly try to give thanks for the food on my table, the roof over my head, and the family I grew up in. As much as I may complain in life, I haven’t had to deal with anything close to that which my kiddos deal with every day.

When I was reading around some teacher blogs tonight, I came across Miss Giraffe’s “Why I’m Thankful for TpT Linky Party” and thought I would get in on the action. I’ve never really talked a whole lot about my TpT journey here, and felt like this was a great opportunity!

Ever since I was little, I LOVED designing things. Some of my favorite childhood designs include:

  • A “Gerbil Care Sheet” I left for my neighbor to take care of my pets while I was out of town – complete with no less than 50 gerbil food pellet pictures arranged in a border around the page
  • My own Excel spreadsheet scorecard to keep score while watching baseball with my dad
  • Tape and CD covers for music I recorded with a boom box off the radio
  • Play tests and worksheets for when I played school with my neighbors

While I unfortunately do not have any pictures of said artistic endeavors (believe me, I SCOURED my computer for any remnants of them for you!), you’ll have to just trust me that they looked pretty….uh….fantastic. Fast forward several years, I still loved creating things, but found myself juggling a long commute, growing caseload, and days of endless IEP meetings. I’d come home exhausted with no energy, or any creative juices left in my body.

Then, in October 2012, I was out to coffee with a friend of mine and she asked me if I had ever heard of TeachersPayTeachers. A few teachers at her school had talked about how teachers were making and selling their own original materials and thought of me. She knew I spent a lot of my free time making curriculum for my students and thought it would be a perfect match for me! So I went home that night and browsed around a bit, realizing there weren’t very many school counselors or social workers on it. I posted a few of the products I had made and sat back, not really expecting much. To my surprise, I got a sale the next day…and the next…and then next. Things just snowballed from there into something I never could have expected!

Suddenly I WANTED to plan new things for my students, because it meant I could spend tons of time after work doing something I loved – creating – while also making a little bit of money so that I didn’t feel guilty to be working “outside contract hours” so much. However, I didn’t feel at all like I was “working” because I loved it so much. Sure, it meant many bleary-eyed late nights or early mornings, but it was my release. And through that process, I’ve gotten to be a better social worker too. I’m constantly reading research, looking for best practices, and reading blogs of other professionals to find out what others are doing with their students. I’m spending tons of time doing “professional development,” but not in a board room for 6 hours watching a Powerpoint.

When I come home after a really difficult, exhausting day of work, there is no greater feeling in the world than reading feedback from other teachers, social workers, SLPs, or counselors all over the world about how something I made helped their students. THE WORLD! When I get discouraged that I’m not having much of an impact on the world because I work in a really small district, and 3 of my kids got discipline referrals, and one of them got suspended, and I had to make a child abuse call, and I had an angry parent phone call, I see that something I MADE helped a classroom in Australia! Whoa…

TpT has put respect back into the teaching profession – giving teachers the ability to assert the education and experience we have, rather than assuming the textbook companies know everything. It’s given us power, choice, and a voice in education again and I’m so incredibly thankful for all the people behind the scenes who have worked to make that happen.

But the real reason I love TpT is because it has allowed my husband to stay home with our 7-month old daughter while working on his Master’s degree. We’ve seen every milestone, watched her personality develop, and I’ve gotten to watch my husband grow from the man I married to the incredible father he is. I can’t imagine not having the experiences TpT has allowed us to have by taking care of us financially in the way that it has over the last couple years.


How are you thankful for TpT? Grab Miss Giraffe’s graphic above, write your blog post, and join us for the Linky Party over at Miss Giraffe’s Class!