Monday, July 29, 2013

Discovering New Blogs!

How exciting to turn on my computer the other morning and find that Lauren from The Traveling Teacher had nominated me for a Liebster Award - a fun way to discover new blogs (like this one)!  Thanks, Lauren!

Now I have the (somewhat awkward) pleasure of talking about myself in this post.  (I am sooo much better at talking about random school-ness than myself.)  So, if you choose to read on, here's what you're about to find out about me:
The Acceptance "Rules"
1. Link back to Lauren's blog (because she nominated me, of course)
2. Nominate 5-11 new blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by Lauren (my nominator)
4. Share 11 Random Facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for the blogs I nominate
6. Contact my nominees & let them know!

Whooooooaaaa! That's a lot for this one little blog.  Okayyy, here it goes...

1. What song describes your personality?
Carry On, by FUN - I'd like to say it's because I can always keep trudging on in adverse times (like this past school year, wow!) but really I just like this song a whole lot at the moment.  It's probably not quite "fun" enough for my personality.  (See how I did that? Ha!)

2. What is one item in your classroom that you could not live without?
I couldn't live without my chart paper & (ok, I know it said "one" but...) my Crayola Poster Markers.  I have about 10 packs of these markers because I go through them so fast that I feel the need to pick up a pack anytime that I see them in the store.

3. How did you end up teaching at the school you are at?
After college, I looked and looked for a job (they are soo hard to come by in rural PA).  Finally in August, my best college friend called me.  She'd just been hired at a school & they were still looking for a first grade teacher.  I sent my application in that very afternoon.  I felt like my interview was a disaster (I cried during it & afterwards my car battery was dead, ughhh).  But they gave me the job (two days before school started - OMG) & it's been an amazing journey so far.  And now that I'm heading into this military life, stay tuned to see where my next teaching adventure will be... 

4. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
A wedding planner! I can just picture myself pulling off a wedding like J-Lo.  I love planning a party and having friends over - I don't get to do it nearly enough.  Now, let's hope that my inner wedding planner can make it through these next 4 months till my own wedding... hurrrrry November!

5. What is your favorite hobby outside of school?
I love to get a good workout in.  It's my favorite thing to do either early before school or right away when I get home.  A good run outside or a kickboxing video with Jillian Michaels can clear my mind & make me refreshed to deal with my little learners again.  Bonus: I feel energized & just amazing after a workout!
nike quotes | Tumblr

6. What is your favorite unit/concept to teach?
Pre-Common Core, one of our science/social studies topics was "animals" - how broad!  But I always threw in a unit about the tropical rain forest.  It's got to be my favorite of all time.  We read so many fun/informative books, dig into them with a variety of comprehension skills, and create our own rain forest in the classroom (construction paper of course).  Plus, I usually teach it at the end of the school year, & wow can those little firsties read big words by then! Love it.

7. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere my soon-to-be Mr. wants to go.  I'd live in any state or country as long as he's beside me to share in the adventure.  Although, Australia or Italy just might get my vote if I HAD to choose.

8. What is your favorite thing about having summers off?
Having time to travel! I loooove traveling & have been lucky enough to find some amazing friends who do, too!  My bestie & I (sometimes along with others) always plan a girls' getaway in the summer.  We're working on checking off all 50 states! 
Here we are out in Washington back in June.

9. How do you spend your weekends during the school year?
During the past few school years, I've either reserved my weekends for fun with friends and/or my fiance.  There have been many, many weekend trips to & from DE.  I am so hopeful that this school year I won't have to be so on the run every weekend - woo hoo for living under the same roof!

10. How do you unwind after a long day of school?
A nice long run, an afternoon nap, & my DVR.  If I've had a long school day, these are my go-to's!

11. If you could time travel, what era/time period would you go to?
I'd go hang out in the 50's.  I love organizing my house & cooking dinner (thanks Pinterest).  Unfortunately, those are definitely not the first things on my agenda during the school year.  I think I would've made a fabulous 50's housewife.  Just sayin'...

And now... 11 Random Facts about ME:
*I sometimes feel OCD & sometimes I couldn't care less that my house is a mess.
*I make a pretty banging carrot cake cheesecake.
*I met the guy I'm marrying in high school, but it didn't work out for nearly a decade.
*I love sending those funny ecards to my teammates to make them laugh.
*For the past 6 years, I've lived less than a mile away from my college roomie (that's her in my Washington pic above) & now I'll be almost 5 hours away - sadsville on that one!
*I think Melissa McCarthy is a hysterical actress.
*I grew up in rural PA & loved our house in the woods - it was like a secret hidden place.
*I am scaaaaared to pieces for the day that my soon-to-be hubby tells me he's going on another deployment.
*I loooove a good car karaoke session (preferably when I'm driving solo, ha).
*We're getting married on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (& my parents ALSO got married on the Saturday after Thanksgiving).
*I'm almost halfway done with my visit 50 states checklist.

Bloggers I'm Nominating (check out their cuteness):
Sara from Primary Buzz
Elizabeth from A Classroom of Smarties
Cindy from First Grade A to Z
Jamie from Teaching Tidbits & More with Jamie
Mrs. Z from Mrs. Z & Company

Now if you're not nominated, you can stop reading. :)  If I nominated you, read on for your 11 questions!

1. Which holiday is your favorite & why?
2. Pick a new state in the US to live... where would you love to start over at?
3. Tell us your one top teaching tip of all time...
4. Are you a late nighter at school or do you bring your work home with you?
5. What is your preferred method of parent communication & why?
6. What song wouldn't you be able to resist belting out when it came on the radio?
7. What is your top summer read (educational or for enjoyment)?
8. Have you had a "that's why I became a teacher" moment during class? Details, please...
9. What is the most adventurous thing you've ever done?
10. How do you get to school each day (are you a walker, bus rider, car rider... ya know, ha)?
11. What is your all-time favorite dessert?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Listening Station Organization & Curing the Classroom Blues

I have been getting so antsy for school to start (I will totally regret saying that in a few weeks when I can't sit outside with an iced coffee all morning).
I've been spending all of my spare time thinking about how I want my classroom to look and flow - brain draining! Wow!  But, I did come across a few great ideas that I just had to use.

My listening station has been in need of some serious reconstructive surgery.  I typically use plastic Ziploc gallon bags to store individual books and CD players (Yep, CD players... I'm stuck in the stone age)
But after seeing a photo on this fabulous blog here, I knew I had found my inspiration!

I pulled out some plain bags that I'd found at the Dollar Tree last summer (for a poor project idea that was left to die in the craft closet), some scrap fabric, and fabric glue.

I cut out a number for each bag and came up with this...

But it looked sooo boring.  Cue more scrap fabric and polka dot cutting:

And the final project:

I'm not a HUGE fan.  I would love to go back and switch the fabrics that I used (the striped polka dots just aren't really doing it for me), but they're done.  If there's one thing that teaching has done, it's knocked the perfectionist right out of me.  So while they're not perfect, these are still much improved listening bags - they get *sprinkles!*

And about my classroom blues...  I am struggling with not being able to get into my classroom to set up for the new school year (I'm usually all set up by the beginning of August and can relaaaax till in-service), but no such luck this year!
So, I cured my blues with this (best purchase ever):

And I spent all evening in a crazy laminating coma while my fiance stared dumbfounded. (How could he not see the excitement in this?! Ha!)

Well, I'm sure there's much more to create AND LAMINATE around here - have a sprinklicious Sunday!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pinterest Overload!

It's the LAST Friday in July - I can hardly believe it! Where did July go?!
This week has once again been a busy one... car in the shop, school prepping, {still} unpacking, & repacking to head home for my little cousin's wedding this weekend!

However, I have been able to carve out plenty of Pinterest time in my busy schedule. (All while watching my Pittsburgh Pirates keep rocking and rolling - raise it {the jolly roger, that is}!)

Anywhoooo these were my favorite pins this week:

Healthy Candy Bar Shake: Peanut Butter Twix Bar ...only 165 calories .. Can I please have this on my liquid diet ?!
A {healthy} Twix shake?! With peanut butter?!?! But the link takes me NO WHERE! :(
Does anyone have the recipe for this? Help, please!

totally toned arms.
After I finally figure out that Twix shake, I'll need these arm exercises.  Especially since I've got an amazing strapless dress to sport down the aisle in, uh, 4 months!

NO! You're too fat!
This CRACKS ME UP! It's exactly how my poor fiance probably feels every evening when I smoosh my way onto the couch.  {I'm the annoying black cat, of course. And side note *the fiance does not call me fat, thank goodness.}

No Regrets.
And finally... This fits me perfectly right now with my many life changes happening simultaneously.
No regrets though!

Have a sunny, sprinkle-y weekend!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I'm Lovin'...

It's a beautiful Wednesday & there is so much to be thankful for and love today!
Here' what I'm lovin' right this minute...

1. Sweet Italian Creme Coffee Mate Creamer - Oh myyyyyy! This stuff is out of this world.  I really cannot drink my sweet summer iced coffee without it.

2. My new Hall of Fame frame for my firsties' clip chart. So excited to use this!

3. The tags I made for our laundry sorter... the fiance tends to get a little confused.  Cross your fingers that this helps sort it all out. ;)

4. These $1 AMAZING magnets from the Target Dollar Spot.  (I always send these funnies to my teammates, so when I saw these I just had to snag them for our fridge.  Too funny!)

5. This guy.  It's L-O-V-E.

Check out Covered in Glitter and Glue to see what everyone else is lovin' today!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What Is the World Made Of?

Speaking of science today... one of my favorite books to use when teaching about matter is

It's a non-fiction text, but works perfectly for primary kiddos (like first grade, obviously) because it introduces each state of matter and uses age appropriate examples that are easy for the kids to understand and relate to.  I read only the section of the book that discusses the state of matter we're learning about at the time (solids first, then liquids, and finally gases).  It also helps tie them all together because we're always going back to the same book throughout our entire unit.

Did a mention there are a gazillion vocabulary words in the books?! It's faaabulous! We have lots of discussions on the word "property" and then sort the different properties: Properties of Solids, Properties of Liquids, Properties of Gases.

I can't wait to see what other fun science books are out there!

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's What Day?! Lovin' on Pinterest!

I don't know about you, but my brain is in full summer mode as far as what day of the week it is - now if only everything else could magically get done so I could lay outside in the sun for a few houuuurs.
Aaaaaaa - that sounds so wonderful right now.

I have found time to get my Pinterest fix in a bit most days though. (Thank goodness!)  So, I'm sharing them here along with Cara over at one of my favorite blogs The First Grade Parade.

Here's what I'm lovin' on Pinterest this week (click on the pics to check out where they're from)....

Bathroom Organization
Today's Mission:  BATHROOM ORGANIZATION!!! That's been my mission EVERY day this week and I haven't touched it - but TODAY, oh yes, today it will get done!

Empanadas! | Twice Around the Pan
My super sweet college friend, Jenn is a fabulous cook.  She shares lots of her adventures on her blog Twice Around the Pan.  Don't these look delish?!

Turn boring furniture GLAM with chrome spray paint and glass knob! And other ideas too.
I have some old night stands in our guest room that could use a little face lift... maybe like this chrome one?

what a neat idea for listening center organization (plus many other great center organizing tips here!)
I think these listening bags are a WINNER for my listening center this year.  I always use ziploc bags that the kiddos can grab and take to a comfy spot, but they get sooo yucky.  This looks much cuter.

Yes - Click image to find more DIY & Crafts Pinterest pins
And finally... when my life is absolutely chaotic (like noooow - aaahhh!) I need to remember to pray, pray, pray!

I can't wait to check out all of the other favorite pins today - I think I'll be pinning lots of classroom stuff in the next few weeks (eeep)!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Favorite Things: Feels Like HOME

After all of my moving (I'm STILL not completely unpacked by the way - my poor fiance has to navigate around piles of boxes in the master bathroom), I thought I'd share some of my favorite new home pics today - that's the theme for today over at Across the Hall.

Favorite Graphic

We worked and worked and WORKED in the 90+ degree heat and humidity over 4th of July weekend.  And I'm SO glad we did.  I'm in loooove with the front yard view!

The inside has been difficult, trying to fit everything that once was made for my apartment into this new space.  But, I think it's coming along quite nicely.  My favorite DIY wall art has found a home!

And my amazing parents bought us our back deck table and chairs.  Forgive me for not uncovering them for a photo - it's scorching out there!
We were able to sit out on the deck one morning and one LATE evening so far (not nearly enough).  It needs to cool off about 10-20 degrees so I can sit out and enjoy this relaxing spot more.

What do you think so far?!  And FYI, I LOVE visitors... :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pete's Magic Sunglasses

Wow - July is half over already?! This month has been C-R-A-Z-Y! (Yes, in capitals!)
Lots of moving, unpacking, landscaping, and a week at home that was JAM PACKED with wedding planning (only 4 1/2 months to go!)
When we finally got back to our house (exhausted of course), I plopped myself on the couch and did what relaxes me most - Amazon book shopping!  Well, among many others, I came across this little gem that is going to be released this coming October.

Of course I pre-ordered it.  I'll be so surprised and excited when it shows up in my mailbox sometime between October 7th and 11th - Sprinkles for that!

Immediately my mind went into teacher mode, and I decided that this book could provide a great little springboard for a quick compound word review.  My first graders are typically very good at compound words, but a little review never hurt anyone!

Does it take you to the document if you click on it?!  I'm so new to all of this technology stuff!

I can't wait for this book to come - I can hear Pete singing now! Can't you?!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rockin' Classroom Decor!

I definitely had a million and one things to do/organize/unpack/clean today... so INSTEAD, I baked some super yummy (yet not quite so cute looking - I'm far too impatient when it comes to icing) cupcakes for the 4th of July & started working on some things for my classroom.
I am all about the Rock Star theme - looooves it!  It seems to get us pumped up for a fun year of learning.  We always need some days of the week for our calendar area, so I made some Rock Star Days of the Week.  I'm in debate over the font.  I adore it, but am not sure how well my firsties will do with it - it may need revisited come September.  But for now, I'm happy. :)
 I am going to have to keep the ball rollin' on this decor so my classroom is festive come the fall!

Monday, July 1, 2013


I am bloglovin' having all of my favorite blogs right in one spot!
Follow me too, {HERE} (or click that cute little + sign over on the side, since I'm not super tech saavy yet) so that I can share more from my new DE and teaching adventures!
Lovin' these graphics from Teaching in High Heels (like I do for 180 days a year) & Teachin' in Texas - Thanks ladies!

July Goals!

I'm all kinds of excited about July (maybe just because June was so maddeningly CRAZY)!  So to keep me on track, I'm borrowing this super cute goal sheet from Jessica at I {heart} Recess!

Personal: It's been just over a week since I moved to Delaware.  While I LOVE living with my fiance, we're definitely not used to having so much time to spend together.  Plus there is stuff EVERYWHERE that needs put away (it's like a box of mazes and random things), and that is not helping my stress level - I need some organization for my sanity... PRONTO!
Family:  5 months 'til the BIG day! We've got lots of wedding planning to get done.  Future hubby is taking a few days of leave so that we can head home and knock out some important items on our to-do list... tuxes, dress hemming & bustling (ugh, being short), FOOD & cake TASTING (his most important), & maybe even a little dancing.  We've also got to work on music choices, put together invites, and register! WOW!
Health:  Last month my running goal was 30 miles... I did 40! *Sprinkles for that!*  I'm going to stick with 30 for this month, but I'd like to get in at least one longer run each week (5+ miles is longer for me).  I am also missing my friends at JH Fit Club back home and their amazing circuit workout.  So, I'm making it my goal to get in at least 2 circuit workouts each week - the fiance even (finally) put up the TRX for me in the garage.
School:  As I mentioned before, I moved! So, I'm on the hunt for a new j-o-b... nerveracking for sure!  It's a lot of work trying to land a teaching job!  But, I know God has a fabulous plan for me this upcoming school year and I'm super excited (and a little nervous, ok a lot nervous) for all of the new adventures that await!
Blog:  I found a new book that I cannot wait to use for the beginning of the school year! (Ok, I can wait a bit since I'm loving summer and don't want to wish it away too quickly.)  Hopefully once I'm done with all of my unpacking, jobbing, excercising, and wedding planning I'll have some time to think about exactly how I want to use it and share what I come up with!
Outside the Box:  I NEEEEEED to finish unpacking and organize this place!  Seriously, I've got a gazillion boxes yet, two kitchen tables, four living room couch/seating, 3 toasters, too many cupboards of glassware, 2 sweepers... you get the idea. This combining stuff is hard work.  Ugh!  It will be conquered though!!!
I hope with all of these goals that I'll still be able to find some much needed time (if it EVER stops raining) to just lay in the sun with my Nook!
What are your July goals?!
Oh! And while you're just blog hopping today, go enter Jessica's giveaway HERE!
Happy JULY!