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Using Your Cricut to Organize Classroom Supplies


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.


As teachers, it is not new news that this year is going to be unlike any other and that heading back to school in the midst of a pandemic is going to require us to rethink many of the ways that we organize our classrooms. One that immediately came to mind when I thought about my classroom were the supplies. If this were a typical year in my classroom, our supplies would be communal. There would be caddies on tables holding pencils, highlighters, and sticky notes and a variety of bins around our room containing art supplies and math manipulatives. But with all of the precautions in place to keep our students safe and students rotating the days they are in school, I had to get a little creative when thinking about storing student supplies this year. Thankfully, labelling materials has never been easier by using my Cricut Joy! Check out some ideas for organizing supplies below:

Idea #1: Supply Boxes and Pouches

It’s no secret to teachers that students come in each year with their favorite pencils, markers, erasers, and other small supplies. This year, however, it is going to be extremely important that students keep track of which materials specifically belong to them. To help keep their handheld supplies organized, pencil boxes or pouches are small but mighty! If you don’t already have these on your supply list, I found them for $1 or less each at a variety of stores, so they are both useful and affordable!

Idea #2: XL Supply Storage Bags

Once smaller supplies are organized and labeled, there are folders, notebooks, workbooks, etc to worry about. This year, I stumbled upon some extra large, heavy duty plastic bags that will easily fit all of these larger supplies, along with the smaller pencil cases or pouches inside with no problem! I used the Ziploc brand Big Bags, but you can find a variety online. With students sharing desks on different days (hello hybrid model), it is going to be so important for students to easily pack up materials. I am thinking I will have students hang their bag in their cubbies when they are not at school for easy storage!

To create both projects, the steps are basically the same. Read on to find out what you will need and how to personalize your own organization materials in the classroom!

To personalize these projects, you will need:

-Your Cricut Joy Machine

Cricut Smart Vinyl in a color of your choice

-Pencil cases/boxes or pouches and/or oversize bags for each student

Step-by-step directions:

  1. Create a design in Cricut Design Space that you can begin with and change student names as needed. If you do not have a Design Space membership, you can create one here!

A few important notes:

*Make sure that you pay careful attention to the size of the design so that it will fit within the clear space on a pouch or on the top of a supply box.

*You can use any fonts that you love, but if you like my design, I used the Cricut font “Straight and Simple” for the tall student names and “Lia’s Wedding Font” for the other words on the box. Both are free with your Design Space membership!

*To insert clipart, like the pencil you see in my design, simply use the Images tab in Design Space and look for an image you may want to insert. It helps to filter it to “cut only” and “single layer” for easier cutting.

*Don’t forget to highlight all parts of your design and press “Attach” before cutting to keep your words and images in place!

  1. Once your design is ready, cut your Smart Vinyl to size and load it into your Joy Machine and begin your cut. Remember that you do not need to use a cutting mat with Smart Vinyl!

  1. After your cut is complete, peel off the excess vinyl and weed out the inside of any letters or images.

  1. Using transfer tape, stick your design to the pencil box, pouch, or bag, use your scraper tool to firmly stick the vinyl, and peel off the transfer tape.

  1. Follow steps 1-4 for each student in your class (simply by changing the name on the design) and you are ready to go!

And that’s it! If you have any questions or need help with your design, send your questions my way! Happy organizing and best wishes for a fantastic (but crazy) school year!

The Best Teacher Backpack Round Up

As the school year approaches, I am in the market for a new teacher bag and this year, I’ve decided I’m going to kick it old school and get a teacher backpack! I asked my followers on Instagram to send their favorite teacher backpacks my way and after being asked to share, decided to round the most common answers up into one place for you all. An important note: I personally have not used any of these backpacks. However, any that I’m sharing were suggested multiple times from other teachers, so they’re tried and trusted from your fellow educators. Read on to check them out!


The Teacher Tote Backpack – $79.99

This was overwhelmingly one of the most suggested teacher backpacks. With two pockets, a laptop compartment, and an insulated lunchbox space, it’s no surprise that as I write this post, it’s sold out! The website says it will be launching mid-August, so keep your eyes open! 


Photo Credit: The Teacher Tote


Himawari Backpack from Amazon – $39.99 for regular size, $48.99 for large size

This one was also highly recommended! It comes in two sizes, regular and large, and has lots of inner pockets and a laptop sleeve inside. It comes in SO many colors, too! 



Photo Credit: Amazon


Square Backpack – Universal Thread from Target – $32.99

I absolutely love the look of this backpack, especially the Cognac leather style! It has internal pockets, both slip and zip, and fits up to a 13” laptop. Super cute and affordable!

Universal Thread

Photo Credit: Target

Everlane ReNew Transit Backpack – $78.00

If you’re looking for a modern looking bag, this is definitely the one for you! It is made from 100% recycled polyester and has all the pockets. A perfect bag for a teacher who may commute on public transportation because it has a secure inner pocket and a smaller outer pocket for easy access! 


Photo Credit: Everlane

Madewell Lorimer Backpack – $198.00

Is it possible to fall in love with a backpack? Asking for a friend… This bag is definitely a splurge purchase for our teacher budgets, but it is beautiful, made of real leather, and has internal and external pockets. If you’re a fashion forward teacher, this is the bag for you.


Photo Credit: Madewell

Lululemon City Adventurer Backpack – $128.00

Another one that is on the more expensive side, but this backpack is perfect for on-the-go teachers. It has a lower compartment to keep things like snacks or lunch separate (they say it’s for sweaty gym clothes but, like, come on), an internal water bottle pocket, and a sleeve for your laptop. It is made of water-resistant fabric and comes in a few different colors! 


Photo Credit: Lululemon

Kah&Kee Backpack on Amazon – $38.99

This bag comes in so many different style options that it’s almost impossible to decide which I like best! I love the buff/camel color option! You also can choose to order it in a small or large size. It has a smaller front zip pocket, inside pockets, a laptop sleeve, and a water bottle pouch! Definitely a great and affordable option! 


Photo Credit: Amazon

That’s it for bags that had multiple/many votes! Some other ideas were the Motile Backpack from Walmart (which was sadly sold out at the time of writing this post), Vera Bradley backpacks, Thirty One bags, the Beis Work Tote (not a backpack), and Hershel backpacks. Did I miss any others? Feel free to leave them in a comment below or send them to me on Instagram so I can check them out and pass them along!



TPP Guide to My Hometown!

As you all likely know by now, Kevin and I have been spending the summer in our coastal hometown of Stonington, CT. Whenever I share something about the Stonington area, like downtown Mystic or the nearby Rhode Island beaches, I am flooded with questions about where to eat, what to do, and places to visit in the area. So I’ve wrapped up all of my hometown favorites into one blog post that includes our favorite local spots to eat, drink, shop, and visit in the area. While Mystic itself is amazing and cute, some of our favorites are in other parts of town (no more than a 15 minute drive), so those are included as well! Let’s dive into the hometown tour!


Places to Eat/Drink:

Okay, this needs to be said right off the bat. And by said I mean screamed from the rooftops. If you eat at Mystic Pizza, you might as well be wearing a fanny pack and using a selfie stick because you are the tourist of all tourists. I say this with love: don’t do it. The food is mediocre at best, the vibe is not great, and the movie wasn’t even shot there. Do yourself many favors and eat literally anywhere else in town. There are some killer spots in the area and this is…not one of them. 

Now, let’s really get into it…

Engine Room – one of our all time favorite spots in town! Engine Room is known for its craft beers, yummy cocktails, and pickleback shots. Okay, maybe they’re not known for the last one, but I sure do enjoy them. Their menu is full of delicious comfort foods and you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose. This is where we had our rehearsal dinner, so we definitely have a soft spot for it!


Ford’s Lobster – a local’s dream. Ford’s doesn’t look like much, just a lobster shack on the water, but the food is outstanding and the view is unmatched. BYOB and highly recommend the lobster BLT!


Sift Bakeshop – if you’ve heard of Mystic, you’ve likely heard of Sift. It is home to some of the most amazing pastries I’ve ever had. The giant chocolate chop cookies, macarons, and croissants are my favorites!

Mix at Sift – Mix is the new rooftop bar at Sift! Delicious cocktails, bites to eat, and a gorgeous rooftop view


Red36 – if you are looking for a great spot on the water, Red36 is it! The vibe is nautical, the oysters are great, and the froze is even better. I would say their food realistically is a 6/10, but we definitely frequent this place for the dockside vibe. 


Rise – an awesome breakfast place in Mystic. They have the classics and also their own twists on things like breakfast sandwiches and pancakes! 

Pizzetta – if you insist on eating pizza while in the area, Pizetta is one of our favorites! They have a great outdoor patio on the river and live music each week too.

Deviant Donuts – weekly rotating specialty donuts the size of your head. That’s pretty much it. Check out the menu beforehand (they only do donuts Thursday-Sunday), and get there early, as they usually sell out! The Samoa donut is my favorite of all time.


Breakwater – located in the Stonington Borough, Breakwater has one of the best ocean views in town. Their happy hour is killer and the back deck is sure to provide a gorgeous sunset.

Zest – my favorite stop for savory scones and coconut butterscotch cookies (truly to die for). This is the bakery we got our wedding cookies and cake from and they are just the best! Zest is located in the Velvet Mill, where you’ll find Beer’d brewery, so stop and grab a treat while you’re there!

Dogwatch – honestly, this recommendation is mostly for drinks and a ~*vibe*~, but Dogwatch is right in a marina on the water, so their sunsets are fantastic. If it is open, head back to the “dogpound” for a drink during golden hour!


Water Street Cafe – a small, local spot with some of the best food in town. Their menu rotates daily, but their steak-frites staple is to die for.

Milagro Cafe – another small, local restaurant with the world’s best margaritas. They’re so fresh and so big, so brace yourself if you order a second round. My go-to order is a mango marg and fish tacos!

The Malted Barley – located in downtown Westerly, RI, The Malted Barley is one of our spots for great nightlife and even better pretzel sandwiches. Weekends they usually have a DJ, but stop by midday or in the evening for homemade pretzels or sammies and a craft beer. 

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream – local ice cream in the heart of Downtown Mystic. Prepare for a bit of a line during the summer, but it’s worth it for the waffle cone.


Things to Do:

Visit a winery – there are three in town and all within 15 minutes of each other. Each vineyard has its own vibe, but I like them all! 

  • Jonathan Edwards Winery – where Kev and I got married, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. The rose is my favorite of all time. 
  • Stonington Vineyards – where I worked for the summer! A very chill spot with music on Friday nights in the summer. Bring your own blanket or chairs and chill for the day or evening.
  • Saltwater Farm Vineyards – the building is an old airplane hangar, so it’s a very industrial, cool vibe. We got engaged here!

Visit a brewery – Beer’d Brewery or Grey Sail Brewery are two awesome ones in town!

Shop and walk around in Downtown Mystic – there are lots of cute stores to walk through (Rochelle’s is my favorite for clothes!) and lots to see. At twenty of the hour, the drawbridge will go up to let boats pass and it’s actually pretty fun to see! 

Kayak or Paddle Board on the Mystic River – there are a few local places that rent by the hour. It’s a fun way to see the river and the beautiful homes and boats along the shore. 


Visit the Mystic Aquarium – if you have kids, or just like sea life and want to feel like a local on an elementary school field trip, visit the aquarium! 

Visit the Mystic Seaport – honestly, hear me out. As a kid, I wish I was more interested in the history that the town has to offer and I actually think the Seaport is pretty cool! The planetarium is my favorite!

Walk through the Stonington Borough – this is one of my favorite parts of the entire town. The borough is a quaint little fishing village, home of one of the last operating fishing and lobstering fleets in the state and to many adorable historic homes. Visit the town docks to check out the boats or walk to the very end to DuBois Beach to see a panoramic ocean view where you can spot RI, NY, and CT from one spot! 

Hit the beach or grab ice cream in Watch Hill, RI – one of the biggest perks of my hometown is that it’s a short ride to some of Rhode Island’s best beaches. My favorite is Napatree Point in Watch Hill! But if you don’t feel like hitting the beach or you’re visiting in the off-season, you could simply walk through Watch Hill and grab a lobster roll or ice cream at St. Clair Annex, a drink at the Ocean House, or wander past Taylor Swift’s house (it’s okay, we’ve all done it). 

Visit Clyde’s Cider Mill – we all know fall is my favorite season, and there’s nothing that says fall at home than a visit to Clyde’s! It’s exactly what you’d think: the best cider, warm cinnamon-sugar donuts, and all the feels. 


Well, I think that about sums it up! Honestly, if you are looking for a weekend getaway or to spend a few days in a quaint, New England town, Stonington is the place for you! It really does have it all. Although summer is coming to a close, we’ll be back…at some point likely forever. 

If you visit, please reach out and let me know where you go and if you need any other recs or ideas, I’m your girl! Enjoy my home! 

How We Spent the Summer in our Hometown… on a Budget!

Living in a city during a global pandemic is…not ideal. After months of quarantining just the two of us, Kev and I decided that for our mental health and wellbeing, we would attempt to spend the summer in our hometown of Mystic, CT. We thought a little water, some sunshine, and a change of scenery (when would we both ever be able to work from home again?!) would do our souls some good. So we set out to find a place we could spend the summer months without breaking the bank. 


In May, my mom happened to be walking and stumbled upon a rental in a great area. She sent us the number and we called, assuming that the rental would not be simply for the summer months. To our surprise, our landlord was understanding of the situation and willing to rent to us from May-August. We were thrilled! But then the reality of it all hit and we found ourselves asking, “how in the world will we furnish this place without spending a fortune?” Together, we compiled a list of things that we would need, what we had already that we could bring with us, and what we would need to purchase. When I say “list,” what I really mean is a color-coded, room by room spreadsheet with price lists or where specifically each item was coming from. I’ll admit it, I went a little overboard…but it worked! 

Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 3.39.12 PM

Our goal was to spend the least amount possible and to only purchase what we needed. To do this, we had a few major strategies:

1 – Take what we could from our Boston apartment that we wouldn’t need while we were away and was easy to transport

For example, we had just gotten a new TV stand, so we were able to bring our old one and the TV from our bedroom to use for the summer. We brought our extra sheets and towels, an old clean shower curtain, some kitchen favorites (how adult to have a favorite mixing bowl, no?), and a few photos and all of our plants for decor. 


2- Reach out to family and friends (hello Facebook!) to see if anyone had the items we needed

Between items our families had stored away for us (like our old bed and our kitchen table we took down to fit our Peloton…lol), items they had but were not using (a bedside table, a coffee table Kev’s grandfather made years ago, and an area rug for the living room), and those that friends were looking to get rid of (like a window AC unit and a set of pots and pans), we only needed a few big things.


3- For the things we could not bring or find from others, we purchased budget friendly items

This may have meant outfitting our entire kitchen for $75 from the Dollar Tree (plates and bowls for a dollar each, what?!) and ordering a few items online spending about . Here is what we ended up getting:
-A super cute, but not super comfortable, couch from Wayfair – $285

A floor lamp because we have no built in lighting – $80

Curtains for our big living room windows – $30 ($5 per sheer from Walmart)

-A few organizational shelves and miscellaneous decor items (linked here!) – roughly $150

-I was also fortunate enough that Comfy Sacks provided me with this awesome bean bag lounger that I have been living in all summer. Check out the video below to see how it went from a small box to a six foot lounger:

Obviously, we were very fortunate to be able to spend the summer away and still keep our Boston apartment. We used our vacation/travel fund for much of our time in Mystic because, you know, traveling in 2020 isn’t quite happening for us. It was worth it, though, to spend time in our hometown and with family while we had the opportunity. 

If you are planning a visit to Mystic, be on the lookout for a blog post with some of my favorite local spots! And stay tuned for updates on our move back to Boston…and into another new apartment. Send good vibes because, boy, are we going to need them! 

Adding Big Fat Notebooks to my Classroom Library

While we have been learning from home, I was fortunate enough to receive a few of Workman Publishings “Big Fat Notebook” series books, including their latest release, Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding.


The Big Fat Notebook series includes books that are meant to help middle school students tackle concepts in a way that is easily accessible, attention-catching, and fun. It literally looks as if someone took really awesome notes and compiled them into one big book! Each chapter of the book includes diagrams, drawings, visuals, along with the text, as well as a quick quiz to check your understanding at the end of each section. It’s so appealing as a visual learner and as someone who loves organization, I enjoy how easy it is to follow. I am excited to add them to my classroom library as a reference book for my students!


Now, let’s talk about the Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in particular. I can already think of a handful of students in my classroom who would devour this book from cover to cover! The book covers a variety of topics, including how websites are designed and created, software engineering, and how to read and write code using Scratch, Python, HTML, and CSS. It really delves into some detail, so this is likely best for students who have some type of background in coding and computers, but could be a great supported resource for students who are just starting out as well to get an overview of all the computer science and coding information.


You can find the “Big Fat Notebook” series on Amazon. Click here to shop Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding as well as other awesome BFN titles!

*This post has been sponsored by Workman Publishing, but all opinions are mine.

*This post contains affiliate links