Friday, November 30, 2012

Magi on the Move! (Join Us on a New Christmas Journey!)

I am so excited to tell you about a brand new project created by my sister and me!  Developed as a new Christmas devotion activity for our own children, "Magi on the Move" is a children's picture book written about 4 loveable characters Pete, Wes, Lou, and Cal.  
These friends find themselves in many "silly situations" along the way as they follow the star to find Jesus, the Son of God. 
This electronic book and devotion resource also comes with pages and pages of printables and family fun ideas...76 pages in all!!!! It also comes with templates and instructions for making your own Magi on the Move!
Many families have traditions already in place...Advent, looking at lights, carolling, etc.  But how about incorporating a new favorite?  One that has Christ at its center and is a ton of fun for you and your little ones!  We would love for you to make "Magi on the Move" a new tradition in your families.  Enjoy fun hide and seek with the Magi on the Move from night to night as they follow the star throughout the book and throughout your house looking for the "treasure" of the Christ child.
This is the perfect resource for Christmas or for Epiphany!  Please follow one of these links to see more.


Not a member of Teachers Notebook or Teachers Pay Teachers?  Not a teacher--not a problem!  Just sign up for a FREE account and you will have access to easy checkout and browsing.   As a December special, the book and family resource guide will be available for just $12.25.

You can also follow our journey on Facebook at  

Blessings and Merry Christmas!!!! :-)  Shannon and Dana


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday Moment with Mimi--GIving Thanks for Circles

Hi, everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  This week Mimi inspires us with her words of reflection and wisdom about circles and snapshots.  Enjoy!  Shannon :-)
Giving Thanks for Circles

For those of us who hold dear this Season and its reason, it is a wonderful time!  But even for those of us who purpose to fill our days between Thanksgiving and Christmas with love and laughter, it can still be somewhat trying! Grrrr...As a result, we aggressively determine to avoid life’s frustrations.   But this can become a task!!!

Last night as I listened to a sermon from Romans, a small quote gave me a reason to reflect.  It put in perspective my last few days.  For me, I can truly say that I started off last Wednesday with a prayer, a purpose, and a determination to have a meaningful Thanksgiving, one way or the other!  By the following Sunday night, I realized that I had indeed enjoyed a heartfelt “Giving Thanks” weekend.  

This all happened by remembering my “circles.”  I thought back over the snapshots—the Kodak moments—of my days around this Thanksgiving.   These moments were actually blessings to be thankful for.  Can I take a moment and share my hearts turning with you, a circle at a time?

  Thursday morning all in our family were up early, cooking, preparing, and eagerly awaiting the noon meal to eat and fellowship with those we are so thankful for.  And even just to see those we only see once a year.  In either case, everyone brought a dish to be devoured, and we all enjoyed the devouring. 

Before we began the meal, our family formed our traditional circle for the prayer and to each share a moment about what we are thankful for.  My family truly circles around each other and knows this circling power.   We circle to have prayer for the sick, to cry for those we have lost, and even to laugh at those remaining!!!  We circle.  My first blessing snapshot is family. 
Then came the afternoon activity.  It is sometimes a project, sometimes a craft – but always a time filled with laughter and fun.  Several family members changed into less festive, less dressy, active wear for this year’s afternoon entertainment.   This year it was neither a craft nor a project, but rather a volleyball game. Spirit-filled, I might add.  I was the oldest and therefore got to be one of the team captains and put together a team.  Later it became the Ladies vs. the Men.  The youngest player was maybe 6 – but all were still a part in this family event.

  We circled again.  This time in a “girl” huddle for a chant or cheer hoping to throw the guys off balance; it almost worked.  If only they had been more honest in their rotating and did less gloating in their spiking!!!  J  In this huddle of ladies,  I am a part of the second blessing snapshot—fun!   The afternoon volleyball ended and all claimed to be the victor, for various reasons.  Some because they had been on the ground, and some because they had not.  All had reason to brag! 

Then Black Friday came with frenzied shopping with beloved family members.  But near the end of the shopping day, we changed our pace.  We looked at Christmas trees at a local museum and hiked around a small, serene pond with dear, dear friends.  Can I mention the small serene pond walk was a circle of its own???  My third blessing snapshot would be friends. 
Saturday came early, and I found myself in the throws of my two daughters as they were on a mission to complete a project they were designing.  The project would allow the Christ of Christmas to be in the forefront of a new family activity.  As I sat around the table with them, I listened intently to their conversations, opinions, and views. I was privy to listening to their hearts and being part of a circle once again.  My circles since Thursday had reduced in size, but not in power.

This last circle is the hope of every mother. This circle is the beginning of future circles for future generations.  This blessing snapshot was the final of the four and the grandest.   It was a Kodak moment seen and recognized by all of us—faith!!!! 

I would encourage you this Season to daily see your life in simple snapshots of BLESSINGS to be thankful for.  Appreciate your own circles large or small; these are picture perfect moments that you have been blessed with.  Let these snapshots reveal the real joy that encircles you.  Then your Thanksgiving will truly be about Giving Thanks!

The scripture I referenced earlier in Romans 1 said, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…”  I always want to sit encircled with my snapshots spread out around me…seeing the blessings in them and giving thanks to Him.  The busyness of my Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t about a task; it was a treasure—all because of I recognized my circles of blessings!  Mimi (AKA Anne)

Friday, November 23, 2012

After Thanksgiving Deals!!!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!  We surely did! 
My sister and I have been pounding the pavement all day, shopping til we dropped!  We even took along a couple of mini-shoppers with us! :-)
I wanted to take a minute and tell you about 2 more fantastic shopping opportunities that will enable you to access a ton of savings!!! 
Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting a HUGE CyberMonday sales event!  You will receive 28% off at my store when you enter the promo code CMT12.  The link below will take you to my store on TpT.
Teachers Notebook is also hosting a sale as well.  Both TpT and TN are offering shoppers an extra 10% off, on top of the tons of sales goodies available in the Bryant's Brain Train store.  My Teachers Notebook link is shown here as well.  Click here
Thanks so much for stopping by!  Happy shopping!  And praying you had a Thanksgiving full of Thanksgiving blessings!  Shannon :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours!!!!

There are so many things I have to be thankful for--my family, friends, faith, health, salvation, job, home, freedom...the  list goes on and on.  Truly, my cup does runneth over!  I truly wish the happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours this week!  

Thanksgiving also brings a touch of sadness as well.  Family members will be missing around the table this year, children will be older, grandparents a bit more feeble.  I am so thankful that moments like Thanksgiving help us reflect on the love we have for each other, for the legacy that was left for us, and for the new memories we are able to make moving forward.

Whatever your situation, I pray that the peace and contentment of the Father surround you as November winds to a close.  So excited about turkey, squash casserole, and a family volleyball tournament tomorrow.  Great times and good memories!!!  Blessings, Shannon :-)

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever!~Psalm 107:1

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi--Even Pink Christmas Trees

I love today's story from Mimi!  God is so good, in both big ways and small!  Read, share, and be encouraged!  Shannon :-)
Even Pink Christmas Trees

This weekend was another one of my eventful trips down I-16 to visit with my youngest daughter and to get hugs from my sweet 3 year old granddaughter.  Eventful is not really a complete assessment of our weekend, nor does it even begin to describe the working of our bucket list for those 2 days.  At the end of a mere 30 hours, we had accomplished much, and it was time for me to come back on I-16 again.  I left with even more to do than when my trip started, but that will be left till later—much later…I need to recover from this trip first.  J

Saturday morning we found ourselves in a quaint little shop purchasing beautiful Christmas ornaments for a 4-foot, pink Christmas tree for Catherine Anne’s room. Actually, we were in several stores, including the quaint shop I mentioned, Michaels, and Home Goods—because this year this tree would be beautiful!   Catherine Anne’s tree is 3 years old, just like her. Her tree serves as a reminder of God’s surprise gifts He gives to us—it is a pink tree that has a story. 

In 2010, shortly after Catherine Anne was born, my daughter Dana wanted a special tree for her newly decorated pink room.  But the special Christmas tree she wanted was a bit expensive and could not be justified as a part of the household budget.  Dana actually located one at Home Goods that she put in the buggy and put back on the shelf a couple of times, but finally decided against purchasing it—that amount of money could be better spent on something else.  She thought maybe next Christmas, the household budget will be bigger and allow for a $60.00 pink tree.   In her words, “ I was good with my decision to wait.”   

As the Christmas season approached, we were just fine having our precious Catherine Anne sleeping sweetly in her baby bed, with or without the much sought after pink tree for her room.  We were just thankful for her safe and healthy arrival. 

Surprisingly, I got an excited call one morning from my daughter, and she exclaimed that we would not be on the lookout for a pink tree any longer.  Why?  It had been delivered to her house in her front yard in the rain!!!  Well, maybe not exactly in her front yard…but right next door, in her neighbor’s yard.  

That is the back-story, and this is the story.  One particular early morning, it was raining, and my daughter went to check on Catherine Anne in her baby bed.  Dana pulled back the window blind to see how hard it was raining, and behold, there was a pink Christmas tree—one just like “THE pink Christmas tree,”  and it was sitting right there.  It wasn’t exactly in my daughter’s yard, but it was close—just a few feet away. 

Dana told William (my grandson) to stay in the house and let her run go see what this tree was doing right out front!!!!  She put on her husband’s slippers, slipped a pullover over her P.J.s, and hurried out the front door in the rain. 

See, Dana’s neighbor was having a yard sale and the tree was there for $2.00.  The perfect tree.  The exact tree that we had been looking for.  Hallelujah! 

Dana asked the neighbor if she thought the pre-lit tree would work since it had been out in the rain.  The neighbor replied with a maybe and then reduced the price to $1.00.  Amazing!  So Dana gathered up the tree in a black, wet trashbag—dripping in her wet attire—and walked back home with her treasure.

That first year, in 2010, Dana just put the tree in Catherine Anne’s room with no decorations, only covered in the lights that miraculously worked in spite of being rain-soaked.  Somehow that first year we didn’t need to have decorations on her tree to be pleased; we were just so grateful for the gift of the tree. This was a God wink, a surprise gift, and note to self that He gives us the desires of our hearts.  

I came back up the Interstate after my weekend visit remembering this story, but more importantly remembering my morning with my precious Catherine Anne. We shopped for her new festive ornaments to decorate her beautiful pink tree.  And then we returned to my daughter’s house and decorated a true gift from God—an answered prayer in the form of a pink Christmas tree!  Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!  Mimi (AKA Anne)
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Some New Goodies and a Web Page for Your Weekend!

Hello!  I am so excited to share 2 new products with you.  My students and personal children absolutely love dice games, and in particular the game of Yahtzee.  They were the inspiration for my 2 new math learning games just posted yesterday on TpT and TN.  Follow the links below to see for yourself and visit my stores where absolutely everything is on SALE!!!!

Happy "Turkey"ahtzee Day! 
"Merry"ahtzee Christmas!
I hope you enjoy these as much as my kiddoes have.  I am also working on the next installment--"Frosty"ahtzee!  

I also wanted to share with you another web favorite.  Looking for some fun and educational Thanksgiving games?  Check out these free, fun favorites on Primary Games at  
You will find some favorites there like Turkey Pardon and Turkey Games.  What a gobble, gobble, good time!  Enjoy!  Shannon :-)
Turkey Pardon  Turkey Run 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Book of the Week Wednesday, Thanksgiving Edition

Gobble, gobble!  Hi, everyone!  This week's book of the week goes along with the Thanksgiving enrichment and extension activities we have been doing to enhance learning in our classroom.  We read The Turkey Saves the Day, which is one of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving books!  This book is a great way to launch a discussion of creative problem solving.
Then my students completed a Thanksgiving glyph about their own Thanksgiving traditions and preferences.  They used their responses to complete construction paper turkeys.  You will see examples of these below, and they are absolutely adorable.

Want more information about these fun, classroom learning experiences?  Then check out my Thanksgiving resource pack on TpT and Teachers Notebook.  You will see it listed below.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  I am THANKFUL for you!  Shannon :-)

Look for my other fall/Thanksgiving activities there as well!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi--Purpose to Praise

Read, share, and enjoy!  This week Mimi reminds us all of the importance of letting people know how special they are to us--a great reminder at this busy time of year!  Shannon :-)

Purpose to Praise

My youngest son-in-law’s birthday was this week, and I find that birthday cards are the perfect opportunity and venue to genuinely compliment and praise a beloved family member.  As I was writing out his birthday note, I was trying in words to express my appreciation for his life and his many contributions to our family circle.  It occurred to me was it only once this year, at the mailing of the birthday card, when I had complimented and praised him?    

While in the midst of wondering, I was reminded of a devotion that I recently read that pointed out two kinds of praise, both of which are very important.   One is unplanned and unintentional, and the other is calculated and deliberate.  One involves the pouring out of true feelings by writing on both sides and the back of a card you are sending, and the other is just being thoughtful enough to send a card.  Both have their place! 

Praise that is unplanned and unintentional can lead to spontaneity, which is wonderful and exciting!  A funny card signed and sent often fits the bill suitably.  But this is usually just a quick response to something and not typically a full disclosure of how deeply feelings run.    

I find that a card such as this mirrors what often occurs in my daily life.  I am openly grateful and pleased with the loved ones around me, but do they REALLY know what they mean to me?  (No, I am not advocating that I should go around, clutch people by their shoulders, turn their head with my fingertips, look them dead in the eye, and share with them a dissertation of their special place in my heart and life.  I am sure that, as a result of an encounter such as this, they all would no longer be part of my daily life at all.   Rather they might be a flash before my eyes, dashing to escape the crazed lady reaching for their shoulders.) J 

But on the other hand, is a compliment in passing or a half-hearted, hurried hug really conveying adequate praise to those that I care about?   Yes, these may show my feelings and may be warm and fuzzy gestures, but these acts alone are not enough.  Adequate time should be taken or invested in letting these people know how special they are to me.

As we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, don’t be pulled into or crushed under the pressure of the giving of gifts to express your admiration for someone young or old.  Let your praise and appreciation be calculated and deliberate and delivered to them by you.  Maybe over coffee, maybe over a shopping cart, maybe over a 3 year old’s coloring book, maybe over a 12 year old’s board game,  or maybe over a 80 year old’s crocheted scarf…let them hear you say what you admire them for.   Don’t let it be in passing, after a winning game, after a sweet service, or even after a gift exchange.  Don’t let it be after anything at all.  Let it be when there is no reason, only that you have thought about it carefully and purposed to say it.  Isn't that what calculated and deliberate really means? 

Maybe during the upcoming weeks, we should also be willing to offer deliberate praise to the One that means the most to us.  And yes, it is coming up on His birthday.  Let’s also remember to express our praise for what He is to us--not with a card, but with our heartfelt love and obedience!  Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--A Web Game for Your Weekend

Hi, everyone!  I hope you have had a great weekend.  Ours has been exhausting, but in an awesome way!  This morning we filled over 150 Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child boxes with our children's church kiddoes.  Want to find out more about this awesome ministry?  Just follow the link below for more info.
Then we had our fall festival at church this afternoon.  It was a full day, and I must admit I am a bit tired this evening!  Here is the Bryant family below.  This year we had a UGA player, an army man, and Rapunzel at the festival with us.  :-)

This weekend's web game is "8 Letters in Search of a Word" at the web site  

My students love using 8 letters to make as many words as possible.  It is such a great way to improve spelling, critical thinking, vocabulary, etc.   Try it in the lab, in your classroom, or on your SMARTboard.  Your kids will love it, and you will love the learning you see them doing!
Have a great weekend and a very happy Veterans Day!  I am so thankful for all of the veterans who have done so much for our country!!!  Thank you if you have served in our armed forces or have a family member who has!  We appreciate you so much! :-)  Shannon

PS--My Veterans Day Sale continues on TpT and Teachers Notebook through Tuesday!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Moment with Mimi--Lineage, Legacies, and Family Trees

Enjoy Mimi's inspirational post for this week.  It reminds me of what I heard a few years ago at a Beth Moore conference, "Live your legacy now!"  I am so thankful for the Christian legacy of Mimi and other precious ladies the Lord has placed in my life!  Read, share, and enjoy!  Shannon :-)
Lineage, Legacies, and Family Trees

I was almost overwhelmed Sunday as I drove home from a wonderful weekend ladies retreat with my two daughters.  I received a lot of Biblical knowledge and spiritual renewal to chew on for quite a while.  Much was put into the Lineage of Grace theme of our retreat and much is required for me now to recall it all.   Typically after I participate in one of these much needed retreat weekends, I like to reflect and catalog exactly what my soul fed on.  I try to reflect and apply honestly all that I have taken away from these magnificently-orchestrated weekend retreat. 
 Funny as it seems, in spite of all the knowledge and renewal I enjoyed as a part of the weekend, what I remember most is a game that we played at one of our round tables.  In small groups of 7 or 8, we were given a piece of poster board with 2 specific names listed.  In a strictly-timed (but very fun) game, we were asked to trace these two people back through generations of bloodlines, marriages, births, and deaths in order to make them connect. 

In all actuality we were tracing backwards through their lineage or family trees.  In our timed game we were frantically tracing a blood line for the highly sought-after grand prize—a pack of Pixie Stix.  I quickly listed names of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, etc. across the poster board that we had been provided   

As I worked to connect the two names on my board, thoughts crossed my mind of all the folks that I was quickly listing.  They were just names—hastily written—that, once put together, had become a funny looking family tree…a slanted lineage…a family heritage scrawled on poster board.   There were precious names listed there that made me smile and recall sweet memories.   

It really was not so much the game or the names listed that impacted me.  It was the reality of the thought that one day when future generations sit around a round table and play a game such as this, I may be a name included in the lineage.  And yes, I would like to think a smile or chuckle might cross their minds when they think about Anne Lyles (Mimi).

So why was I still (60 hours later) continuing to ponder the “lineage game” and not some deep spiritual insightful point?  It suddenly became clear to me.  I want to be more than just a written part of a lineage; I want to be a shouted part of a family legacy.  I don’t want to be just a name haphazardly written; I want to be a voice consistently remembered.  I want to be more than just part of a family line; I want my energy and enthusiasm to make others want to boldly underline my name!     

It takes little or no real contribution at all to be a line on a branch of a family tree.   But understand this—it takes purpose and determination to be a part of a legacy that produces good fruit on a family tree…a family tree that is healthy and thriving…a tree that has resulted in a family rooted firmly in Truth and living mightily in Love.  A tree like this bears fruit that has been harvested generation after generation for others to enjoy.

Is my life producing a harvest for future generations to partake of?   Not this present generation, not the next generation, but future generations…the generations that are four or five lines down the hypothetical poster board family tree.  Is my life producing a fruit harvest that’s worthy to discuss a century from now?  The Lineage of Grace study by Francine Rivers that was at the center of our retreat weekend carefully examined the placement of precious women in the ancestry of Christ, portraits of the redeeming love that God offers.  We must also live out our legacy for future generations to learn and live!  

 I stop now to remember an older lady who invited me to my first Bible study/mini-retreat, The Study of Philippians – Chapter of Joy.  She did not just invite me.  She was waiting patiently for me, Bible in hand, in the parking lot of her church.  She took my daughter to the nursery, took me by the hand, and made sure I was at her table.  The tables of Godly ladies there that day were part of a legacy that impacted me.  

I pause now and reflect on this past weekend that I enjoyed with my sweet daughters.  As I look back and think about them sitting in their own table groups, I pray that there will continue to be ladies in the lineage that will continue to Live Out the Legacy for them and for their children and grandchildren.  Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)
“For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.” (Psalm 61:5)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--A Web Site for Your Weekend

Hi!  I am just home from a wonderful ladies retreat with our church, and I am so very tired but am feeling so very blessed!  This weekend served to remind me of one of my very favorite sayings, "No one can make a new beginning, but anyone can start from now and make a brand new end!"  I was also doubly blessed, because my mom and sister were also able to attend this weekend's retreat with me.  So thankful for moments like these!

I wanted to take a minute and share with you about a TERRIFIC new web site!  Have you visited Clip Art Stand by Tina Anne?  
Clip Art Stand by Tina Anne

Her site can be accessed at 
Clip Art November

Her hand-drawn graphics are adorable and guess what is even more awesome?!  Right now her November color set is completely FREE!  Access it here by following the link below:

I can't wait to purchase her other adorable collections!  They are all so reasonably priced, and I also love that you can purchase them in color or black and white sets!  Hope you have an awesome week!!!  
Shannon :-)