Sunday, October 25, 2015

Best Halloween Chocolate

Cute little corn-shaped sugar balls, and witch-shaped chocolates, oh my!
Halloween Best Chocolate - Teacher Ink
Please consider the alternatives:

Dark chocolate with less sugar is a start.  Halloween Candy, Halloween Chocolate Gift , Happy Halloween Solid Gourmet Dark Chocolate 8" (14 OZ) Big Witch Halloween Gift, Wrapped with Orange & Black Ribbon Ready for the Witching Hour!

If you absolutely must go eyeballs and pumpkins, at least go dark.  It's a bit healthier!  Dove Halloween Dark Chocolate Pumpkins and Milk Chocolate Eyeballs (Limited Edition Pack of 2)

Consider swapping the cheap eyeballs for gourmet organic dark chocolate.  Your kids will develop a taste for it, and they'll thank you someday...yes, SOME day...

Here are some of the best gourmet chocolates:

Endangered Species Wolf, Natural Dark Chocolate (72%) with Cranberries & Almonds, 3-Ounce Bars (Pack of 12)

 Equal Exchange Organic Very Dark Chocolate Bars, 3.5-Ounces (Pack of 12)

Both have a touch of chocolate liquor, and are amazingly rich--and not overly sweet.

Theo Classics 85% Dark Chocolate, 3-Ounce (Pack of 6)

And if you happen to live in New York City, Kee's Chocolates are some of the best anywhere.  I passed by this tiny hole-in-the-wall store front dozens of times before I noticed it.

Brooklynites swear by Mast Brothers in Williamsburg.

Some more wonders:

Pacari Ecuadorian Organic Chocolate Raw 70%, 1.76-Ounce (Pack of 5)  

Amano Chuao Chocolate Bar  

Chocolat Bonnat Chuao 75% Dark Chocolate Bar 

There's no doubt that a little dark chocolate, in moderation, is very, very good for body and soul.  It also protects you from raiding the candy bin for sugary no-nos, for weeks after Halloween is over.  

Have a spooky and fun Halloween!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How To Teach Kids to Write with Humor for Halloween

You can teach kids to write with humor. 

 Halloween Writing Bubbles

It’s especially fun to write funny stuff for Halloween.  

 Humor happens when two worlds collide, and when they come together unexpectedly.   It’s funny, playful, and creative—as long as no one gets hurt in the crash.  Let's see how the magic happens...

Halloween Humor - Teacher Ink Renee Dawn

A hat on your head isn’t funny.  A toad on your head is, and so is a cat that thinks it’s a hat.

Start with a character or a setting.  Add an unexpected or surprising detail…

·         A look, expression, or object: a ghost with a wig…or a gold tooth

·         A sound: a crow barking like a dog

·         A feel:  a cat with hair standing up, sticky with hair gel

·         A Mood: a Frankenstein monster giggling

·         An action: a bat flying upside down, in its sleep

·         An exaggeration: a vampire who wants to sink his teeth into 100 slices of pumpkin pie

·         A usage: a witch on a skateboard…or on a drone

·         A behavior: a cat warming its fur on top of a jack o’ lantern

That’s funny. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How to Flatten and Secure Adobe PDFs

How to flatten and secure PDFs in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro; simple step-by-step.
Flattening prevents others from lifting material such as clip art, out of the PDF.  Securing prevents others from editing the PDF--a must-do if you create products for the internet.

If you can select, copy and paste pictures or text from your PDF file, it is not flattened and secured.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or improvements.  Thanks so much!

If you'd like all this info in a convenient PDF, How To Flatten and Secure Files, it's here and it's free.

Save as Adobe PDF

1)      Open a PowerPoint completed file 
These steps will also work for a
Word Document.
2)      File/ Save as Adobe PDF (left nav bar)

3)      [Name it]/ Save as type: PDF files/ Save [replace any older version]

4)      [The PDF will open in Acrobat.  Check it for accuracy and correct layout!]

Flatten PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Flatten the PDF

5)      Tools [top tool bar]/ Print Production [center pop-up]

6)      Flattener Preview [far right nav bar]


8)      Preset: High resolution

9)      Raster: 100

10)   Line Art: 1200 ppi

11)   Gradient 300 ppi

12)   ☒ preserve overprint (check)

13)   Compression setting for flattener:

a.       Monochrome: CCITT Group 4

b.      Grayscale: ZIP

c.       Color: JPEG2000

14)   Quality: maximum

15)   Apply to PDF/ All pages/ OK / Apply/ Yes

16)   [Close out Flattener Pop-up]

Faint White Lines – PROBLEM & SOLUTION
Sometimes, after flattening, you will see very faint white lines. These can appear in a box shape around your clip art images or text boxes—often only on your cover page.

When you print, these lines will not show up.

You CAN, however, erase the lines from your PDF.  The solution comes from Adobe: 

Solution 1: Export as PDF 1.4 or later.
In the Export Adobe PDF General settings, select Acrobat 5 (PDF 1.4) or higher from the Compatibility options.
Solution 2: Turn off the Smooth Line Art option in Acrobat.
1.Choose Edit > Preferences (Windows), or Acrobat > Preferences (Mac OS) to open the preference dialog box.
2.In Categories > Page Display deselect the option Smooth Line Art, and then click OK.
For more solutions to this and other problems,

Secure the PDF

17)   Tools (Top tool bar)[With older versions of Microsoft,you may have to click on "Document" tab]

18)   Protect [right side, nav bar]

19)   Restrict Editing [Top center tool bar]

20)   [Enter my password twice, as indicated; use letters, numbers and symbols for best security]/ OK/ OK

21)   More Options (Top center toolbar)

22)   Security Properties

23)   Description TAB

a.       File [Name of Product]

b.      Title [Change this from ppt presentation to the same as the file name]

c.       Author: [Author’s name]

d.      Subject: [eg, Phonics]

e.      Keywords: [List all words in lowercase, with a comma.  Add my author’s name, and my blog name]

FOR KEYWORD METADATA, I create a word doc in my product folder called: [PRODUCT NAME] TEXT.  So if I ever have to re-create my PDF, I simply copy and paste the keywords.

24)   Additional metadata (tab on center, right)

a.       Copyright status/ copyrighted

b.      Copyright notice/ [type:] © [YEAR] [MY NAME] 
             e.g.,  © 2015 Renee Dawn

[For ©, press "number lock" (this is optional on some keyboards), hold down the alt key, press 0169 on tiny keyboard to the right side of alphabet keyboard]

c.       OK

25)   Security TAB

a.       Security method: password security [NOTE: IF KEEPING ALL PREVIOUS SETTINGS, SKIP TO # k BELOW]

b.      Change settings (tab on far right)

c.       DO NOT CHECK: Require a password to open document

d.      DO CHECK: Restrict editing and printing

e.      Printing allowed: High resolution

f.        Changes allowed: commenting, filling in form fields, signing

g.       DO NOT CHECK: Enable copying of text…

h.      DO CHECK: Enable text access…for visually impaired

i.         Compatibility: Opens with Acrobat 7 or higher (NOTE: lower than 7 is not as secure!)

j.        YES: Encrypt all document contents except metadata [Do NOT CHECK the 2 other boxes; this allows search engines to find your metadata]

k.       OK/OK

The security pop-up should look like this:

The  Password Security Settings  should look like this (after you click “Change Settings”):

And, in "Show Details"...
Save the Final PDF

26)   File (Top, Far left)

27)   Save as/ Save as PDF

28)   [Choose location/ Folder]

29)   NOTE: This will replace the un-flattened and unsecured file by the same name.

30)   [Name the file in a way that indicates to you it is secured]:

31)   E.g.; Phonics Fun + [The plus sign indicates to you that it is flattened and secured]

32)   Save [Note: the PDF isn’t secure until you save it]/ Yes

Check the Final PDF

33)   Must check the final PDF for correct layout of pages, clip art, etc.

34)   Upload the flattened and secured PDF

About Adobe:

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is the best program, by far, for flattening and securing PDFs.  

If you're a teacher or student, you can save quite a lot by buying the Student and Teacher Edition.  Here's the Windows or Mac version.  You can upload it instantly, and begin using the trial version for a month before you must confirm your teacher/student status: 

IMPORTANT: Please read the verification process carefully before you purchase.  If you do not qualify for Teacher or Student status, you will be obligated to pay the full price.

Special thanks to Laurah J for her cool video on securing PDFs.

Special Notes for Preview Files:

Many preview files when flattened, become too large to upload to TpT.  The solution I found is:
1)  In Flattener Preview page, Preset: Low Resolution, and Compression Settings/ Quality: Minimum.
Be sure to change these back to High Resolution and Maximum for the actual resource (that is, not a preview).

2)  When Saving the Final Preview: File/ Save As/ Reduce File Size (tiny check box at the top)/ Choose Folder/ [Type: File Name PREVIEW +]

If your Preview file is still too large…

1)  Go to
2)  Upload the file, compress it and download it.
3)  Repeat the steps 1 and 2 in Preview Files section above, to flatten and secure!

Also, for Preview Files: In your password security > settings > change settings > printing allowed > [select NONE] 

Change BACK to “High Resolution” for a printable resource!
If you'd like this entire file as a convenient PDF, How To Flatten and Secure Files, it's here--and it's free.

Best wishes to you on flattening and securing PDFs!