Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Funnies

Yippee, it's Friday!  I must have been feeling in a funny animal mood this week because my most recent funny pins were all animals. :)

golden retriever, gentle dog, cats rule, cat and dog friends

This poor dog does not seem to be enjoying his day in the park:
dog funny, funny dog picture

golden retriever care package, golden retreiver, dog chew toy
Hope you enjoyed these funny dog pictures as much as I did!  There are more on this Pinterest board of mine if you need more laughs today!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Gift for the GUYS

Okay really this could be a gift for any gender teacher but the male teachers are especially tricky sometimes.  You can't send in a candle or lotion set, they don't want a Hobby Lobby gift card, and probably wouldn't be that thrilled with a potted daisy.

Enter the Grill Gift.
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"Mr. XYZ, You deserve an A+ for a job well done!"
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I used picmonkey to create the tag.  The little plastic organizer is from Dollar Tree and will be useful even after grilling season.  

You can't see all of the contents but this gift includes:

  • Red and white plaid napkins
  • Blue basket
  • Grill themed kitchen towel
  • A1 sauce (no off brand here!)
  • BBQ sauce 
  • Lighter
I added some red curly gift-wrap ribbons and dropped this goody off at the school during Teacher Appreciation Week!
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Shared here

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Updated July 2017!
pinterest for bloggers, making the most of pinterest, how to use pinterest to grow your blog

Are you a blogger?  Are you on Pinterest?  Recently I was talking with some bloggers who are new to Pinterest and I shared a ton of my tips for using it to bring traffic, gain followers, etc.  Most of these tips focus on integrating Twitter and Facebook to help promote your Pinterest.
Here is my JUMBO list of tips!

--you can stalk me on pinterest here: and see how I have my stuff set up. 

1. Make sure your post has a pinnable image.  Have SOMETHING on your post that can be pinned.

2. Edit your board covers every so often. . . people want to see something new and fresh.
      Here is how to edit the covers if you don't already know:
First, hover over the board and click "change cover"

This is what it will look like, click the arrow to sort through your pins from that board until you see the one that you want to make the new cover.
 Once you get to the picture you want, click the red "Save Changes" button and you're all done!

3. Pin seasonally.  Did you write a great DIY post 2 years ago about making Halloween garland? Pin it again this Fall when people will be looking for seasonal ideas.   
Speaking of's what you'll see when you peek at my Fall board:

4. Tweet a pin every now and then.  Example:

5. Have a variety of boards.  I may find a Pinner from their personal blog about home organization.  But when I click to their boards and see all of their content, I'm usually drawn to follow several other boards.  Yes, they have great organization ideas but then I see their "Birthday Parties" board and follow it and their "Hairstyles" board looks good so I follow it too and so on.  You can certainly have a niche but don't be afraid to branch out and let your personality shine!

6. Go back to old posts of yours that are being repinned a LOT and make sure there is A.) a pinnable image and B.) Add a welcome to visitors.  You can see how I did that here on a reading post: click link.

7. Promote your pinterest boards withIN your blog posts.  Here's how I did it in a recent post.

8. Pin properly!  Make sure the pins go to the actual source and not just a google image!  Eeeek!

9. Tweet or Facebook when you reach a particular pinterest milestone.

Or when you are about to reach a milestone. Here's a facebook post I did when I was stuck on
699 Pinterest followers:

10.  Tweet or Facebook link to specific boards. Some people may not want to follow my Kid's Party Ideas board but might be super interested in Books Worth Reading.  Know what I mean?  In fact, when *I* follow someone I almost always hand pick which specific boards I want to follow. It is rare that I want to see every single thing that someone pins.  Example:
11. Tweet or facebook a popular pin of yours.  "Wow, this rainbow cake has been repinned 200 times. Thanks guys!"  Here's an example of what I posted on facebook over the weekend:

12. Tweet or facebook a popular board of yours. (Sound familiar?  See #10 about why to link to BOARDS).  Here are examples of each:
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13. Pin a variety of content. Again, you'll catch a wider audience of people.  If I never pinned my favorite beauty ideas, then all the people who search for eyeshadow tips would not have a chance of finding me.  However, some pin tips have said to pin anything and everything.  Now THAT is something I neither agree with nor practice. I only pin things that I genuinely like or am interested in.  Which is why you won't find me pinning stuff from Walking Dead. I've never seen it so it isn't an interest. 

14. Some Pinterest tips I've read say to leave a comment for people when they repin your stuff. I've done it a few times "Thanks for pinning my post, I hope you found the snack idea you were looking for!"  I'm unsold on whether or not it increases followers at all and I don't want to look spammy by doing it all the time.  So at this point I'm just kind of testing the waters with that particular tip.  Updated 2017: I rarely comment when people repin.  

15. Update old post graphics.  Case in point: this post.  The main graphic (that says "jumbo list of Pinterest tips") used to be a bright color and have some ugly font things going on.  So I changed it with some more modern fonts and an easier-on-the-eyes color.

16. Verify your account.  You can verify your account with Pinterest and have access to analytics!

17.  Watermark your images.  This can be easily done for free in PicMonkey.  Sometimes I click a pin to learn more and get a bogus spammy site that just took the pic for clicks.  But I can use the watermark and a 10 second google search to find what I wanted.  If you want credit for your work, watermark!
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18.  Utilize group boards.  I don't do tons but there are a couple that I use. It's a nice way to get more ideas for that topic and get your pins seen by more people who may not follow you (yet!). 

19.  Use a board to store gift ideas.  You can do a gift idea board for members of your family (if they don't also use Pinterest!) and also a wish list of things you would like.  I have a board where I stick things I want to remember to get for my classroom.  

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Number Recognition/Ordering Game (Cookout Theme)

When I saw these ketchup and mustard bottle die cuts at our local Dollar Tree, I had to buy them!  12 of each comes in a pack for a dollar which made it perfect for a matching up game for my preschooler.

I simply added numbers to the ketchup bottles and corresponding dots to the mustard bottles.

 Kids can play with this hands-on math set a couple different ways. First, simply match the number to the dots (like in the photo above).  For more difficulty, you can lay all of the card face down and do more like a traditional Memory Game where you turn over 2 and see if they are a match.
 If you have more children at home or friends over to play, they can take turns finding a match, or give them the ketchup bottle cards and hide the mustard cards around the house or yard.  Then turn the kids lose to find the mustard cards that match their ketchup number cards!

With Memorial Day today and July 4th and more summer cookouts coming, I thought this Dollar Tree set was the perfect theme for summer number practice!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Funnies

Today's funnies are alpaca/llama themed.  Not long ago I drove by a small alpaca farm and they had BABIES, it was just about the cutest thing ever. :)

Happy Friday everyone!

llama selfie, llama funny, llama spit on tourists

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come te llama, llama funny, llama joke, llama meme

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Perfect Love.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thanks for "BEE"lieving in Me

*Update 2016-Welcome Pinterest friends! Over 1100 repins!  I'm glad so many of you are finding this idea helpful.  The principal I gave this gift to seemed to really like it.  I finished my bachelor's degree and am a real teacher now!

*Zucchini Summer Blog is an Amazon Affiliate. Links may be affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

You all know I'm plowing through the last semesters of my elementary education degree.  This semester I was in a Kindergarten classroom.  

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My time there is done and I wanted to do something to thank the principal for allowing me to be in her school. *I did a gift for the classroom teacher too, that will be a post later!Here it is!

Here is what I came up with:

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Obviously preservice teachers could use this gift idea for their cooperating teacher or principal, but it also works for lots of other gift recipients. Piano teacher gift from their student?  Dance coach gift from the child?  Cheer coach gift from the squad?  

In keeping with the bee theme, the gift itself is a bee shaped wind chime ($8 at CVS): 

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Add some sharpie-drawn lettering and bumblebees, a twist of ricrac ribbon (Target gift wrap section) and some yellow tissue paper, and this gift is ready to go!

Similar wind chimes:

Need more ideas for teacher appreciation gifts?  Try my Pinterest board!

shared at: Take A Look Tuesday and Serenity Now

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Funnies

Time for Friday Funnies!

Now this one, I am guilty of. Are you?
So true!!!

For all of you stuck in workplaces like this:

Finally, it looks like Dennis is having a pretty lousy Friday:

Funnies shared at Serenity Now linky party!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Funnies

Remember to enter the Jamberry Nails giveaway if you haven't already. And if you have, be sure to grab your Word of the Day bonus entry each day!

May is here and Friday Funnies are back!  

I've got three good ones for you today!

First, ever have an event like this??

sorry I'm late ecard, didn't want to come ecard, family holidays

Second, I know the show "The Office" is off the air now, but Dwight Schrute can still make us laugh!  Here he weighs in on dinosaurs:
Dwight, dwight schrute, the office comic, the office funny, dwight dinosaurs

Finally, this is not a picture, but a link to a post by Honest Toddler.  He's applying to be CEO of Target.
It will crack YOU UP!  Go read!

Mother's Day Giveaway

Hosted by:

Co-Hosted by:

Come and join us in this great giveaway

You can be the lucky winner for

KitchenAid KSM75SL 4.5 Qt. Classic Plus Stand Mixer, Color silver

May 9 12:01am EST. To May 23 11:59pm  EST.

Valid only in the Continental United States
Void where prohibited

18 years or older to enter/only 1 entrant per household

 Winner is chosen through

All entries are optional.
All winning entries will be verified.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Zucchini Summer is not responsible for the awarding of the prize.  If you have any questions about this giveaway, please email the host at  This blog, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media network is not associated with this giveaway.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

One Lost Sheep (Review of an adorable book)

Who loves children's books?  I do, I do!

Zondervan kindly sent me a copy of this adorable children's book:

Plot:  "Step, step, step up mountain, steep. Where, oh where, is that lost sheep?"  One Lost Sheep is written by Rhonda Gowler Greene and is based on the Biblical parable of the lost sheep.  A shepherd is tending to his flock of 100 sheep when he notices one is missing. The shepherd leaves the 99 sheep and goes to search for the lost one.  He eventually finds the lost sheep and rejoices!  The parable is, of course, symbolic for how special we are to God, our Shepherd; how he would search and search for us if we were lost, even if he already had 99 others.

Review: The parable/symbolism is a bit too deep for little ones to understand (they will think it is an actual, true, story), but the book is cute and provides a good introduction to Bible stories.

What struck me the most about this book were its gorgeous illustrations.  My photo doesn't even do it justice!

One Lost Sheep also boasts a sweet text that rhymes, making the story fun for little ones to listen to.  This book is the perfect read-a-loud for bedtime (or anytime).  My 3 year old enjoyed listening to it!  We also loved that it is hard back book at an affordable price ($10).

This book was provided for me, all opinions are my own, and I receive no payments if you happen to choose to purchase the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

My Nail Evolution (+ Jamberry Giveaways!)

You already know that I can't whistle.
I also can't paint my finger nails worth bunk.
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When I first heard of Jamberry nails a year ago, I didn't pay much attention.  Then my cousin signed up as a consultant and I saw how cute her nails were.  She had a party and I went.  Oh. my. gosh.  Finally I can have good looking nails!

Jamberrys are nail shields. You apply a little heat (like from a hair dryer) to activate the adhesive, stick it on your nail, and file off the excess.  It is seriously easy.  If I can master this, anyone can!  Plus, they have a great deal that I took advantage of.  When you buy 3 sets, the 4th one is FREE.  4 sets is enough to do my finger nails 16 times!  Whoop whoop!
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What I loved too was that when it was time for my sample nail shield to come off, it came off easily and  left no damage to my nail.  Plus, they are Made in the USA!  How awesome is that??  With over 250 designs to choose from, you're sure to find just what you're looking for.
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Buy 3, get 1 free still not enough nails for you?  You can host a fun facebook party with Amanda.  You just invite your friend to the "event" online, Amanda does all the work, and you earn more FREE nail sets!  Hostesses can get exclusive designs too, like this cute Popsicle one for May hostesses:

If you are nail obsessed and need some part-time income, Jamberry is also accepting new consultants.  More information on that is here.  I am not a sales rep but I'm sure Amanda could walk you through how to get your own website set up and start your parties!

Now, on to the GIVEAWAYS (plural!!)
Amanda has two ways for you to win!  

First, 25 names will be chosen to win a sample set!  TWENTY FIVE of you can try Jamberry!  You will get one sample along with instructions on how to use it. It is designed to be cut in half so that you can do an accent nail on each hand.  Accents are all the rage right now.  Here's an example I found online of a cute manicure using Jamberry for an accent: (sample designs may vary from the one shown)
Zoya PixieDust Stevie
source: i heart pretty polish

AND, 1 lucky person will win an entire set of Jamberrys!  A full set ($15 value) will do your nails FOUR times.  
This is the autism awareness design.
The design the winner receives may vary and is up to the Jamberry Consultant to determine.

Giveaway open to U.S. residents only (international shipping is too pricey), ages 18 and over.  Winners have 24 hours to respond to email notification before a new winner will be drawn.  I will choose 26 winners via Rafflecopter. The first name will be the winner of the full set, the remaining 25 will win the sample.

Good luck!

UPDATED: Winners have been chosen and are being notified!  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 2, 2014

Xtra funny!

Phew.  The a-z challenge is almost over. Today's letter is X.  (Next Monday I'm taking a day off from the challenge to tell you about a new GIVEAWAY being hosted here. Be sure to check back!)  Next Tuesday and Wednesday we will finish with letters Y and Z.

Thinking about the letter X, all I could think of was eXtra.  And since I usually do a Friday Funnies post on Fridays, let's do funnies!

Hope you all get an Xtra (see what I did there?) laugh today!

My mom doesn't want your advice.
Oh how I needed this shirt for when my kids were babies. Heck, I need it now. Think it comes in sizes 4 and 10?? 

Jim Gaffigan on kale.
It's like he read my mind.  

Okay this one is not my kid, but. . .
kid found a marker
Tell me that your kids have also done something similar. I'm like "DUDE. If you want to draw on yourself, at least don't use a SHARPIE!"  And while we're on the topic-how is it that I can never find a Sharpie around here but give the kids 5 minutes alone and they can not only find one but also "tattoo" themselves or the couches?  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

When I Grow Up (Book Review)

WIGU is a new series of books that start "When I Grow Up..."

We received this one to review:
Wigu Publishing | #childrensbooks #firefighter 

My 3 year old is really into fire stations and such right now, so this was the perfect fit for us!  The book follows a little boy named Will whose class is taking a field trip to the fire station.  It is super cute and a neat mix of illustrations and real life photos. See what I mean?

This book addresses some fears about fire and firemen. Will is scared particularly of the gear that the firemen wear.  This is a common fear for children and it's good to see it addressed in a book.  He eventually overcomes his fear and decides that he might like to be a firefighter.

The book is a bit long---we read it in two settings for the 3 yr old.  A class of first graders could sit and listen to it all at once, but if you have a preschooler you may need to read it in two different settings.

You can purchase the book on Amazon for under $10.  Perfect addition to a classroom library, or as a birthday gift for any young future firefighters!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. WIGU publishing provided the book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.