Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Mother's Daughter

A lot of my students this week were asking me who invented Mother's Day, why we have it and the biggest question was why there isn't a kids day. I responded by telling them that to a mom every day is kids day so it seems only fair that mom should get a day all for herself.  And isn't that the truth y'all? I feel so blessed to be my mother's daughter and think she deserves way more than just one day a year to celebrate how wonderful and amazing she is.

She has always been encouraging throughout my whole life including supporting me (emotionally, mentally and financially) through my undergraduate and graduate programs reminding me every day that I could do it. And I should tell you those 5 1/2 years also included at least 6 moves which involved a lot of boxes, 100+ degree heat and no less than 200 trips back and forth from the car. Did I tell she's amazing?

Graduation- 2012

                                                                Graduation- 2013

She has always been my cheerleader- even when I did things that I am sure surprised her like deciding on a whim to become a cheerleader with no cheerleading experience.

She cheered me on through that adventure and so many more. She was cheering me on the whole time that I was looking for the right job and was of course the first person I called when I finally got the job that I know she had been praying so hard for me to find. 

She is always there for a phone call when I have had a great day or a horrible day or just a completely normal day. And I know that I may sometime take her being there for granted but it is truly special to have a mom who, no matter how busy she is, always makes time for me.

I hear a lot that I am definitely my mother's daughter. Sometimes it is after people see me and they realize that  I am her twin. Or sometimes when I am anxiously worrying about something silly or being just a little bit accident prone. But no matter when I hear it, that statement makes me feel so proud. She is someone I aspire to be like and I hope as I continue to grow into adulthood that I will continue to hear people say "you are definitely your mother's daughter". Because that means I am doing something very right in my life. I am a momma's girl for sure but how could I not be when I have the best mom in the whole world?

I love you Momma!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm Back- With the Hodgepodge!

I have been slightly absent recently- blogging is pretty tough! It's been pretty busy around here so I thought I would ease back in with the hodgepodge! Link up with my mom's blog to play along! 

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Are you blooming where you're planted as we begin the month of May?

I think I am. I feel like I have really bloomed as an adult this year. I have gotten a job, become financially independent, am moving to a new more grown up apartment. While there are times when I wish I could live at home and be a kid again- moments when adulthood is just pure exhaustion, there are many more times where I find that being an adult and doing what I love, making new friends and having new experiences is so amazing! 

2. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no big deal, and 10 being full scale panic, rank your fear of spiders.

Full scale panic. Definitely. I have a completely irrational fear of spiders! The following sums up my relationship with spiders perfectly: 

3. May is National Salad Month (who knew???)...besides lettuce, what are two must-have ingredients in your favorite salad?

Cheese!! That is a must have ingredient on any food if you ask me. Is it bad that my first must have for a salad isn't a vegetable? My other would most likely be tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes in particular on a salad. 

4. I mentioned on my blog last week that my Daughter1 will be moving to Washington State after she is married. Of the following sites in the Northwest, which would you most like to see in person-Crater Lake (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Vancouver (British Columbia), San Juan Islands (Washington),  Mt. Rainer (Washington) Oregon Coast (Oregon), Mt. St. Helens (Washington), or Olympic National Park (Washington)

I would have to choose Crater Lake, it is just such a picturesque location.

5. This coming weekend marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby...when did you last race (literally or figuratively) to cross a finish line?

The last time I physically raced was in high school I'm pretty sure- swimming. 
I feel like I am currently racing (figuratively) to cross the finish line of the end of my first year teaching. We only have a couple weeks left and I feel like I am definitely in a race to the finish, trying to squeeze in every last ounce of learning before statewide testing and  of course squeeze every ounce of sweetness out of all of my precious little ones before I have to say goodbye to them at the end of the year. 

6. What is something little you love?

Reese's peanut butter cups :) Pure deliciousness in such a little package! I am a sucker for anything peanut butter.

7. Would you say you are more of a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Elaborate.

Visual. I'm cheating by picking two but I have my reasons. I like things to be written down and in front of me to learn. I love taking notes and reading to learn. I feel like I need to be able to have something in front of me to really learn it. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

If you read my mom or my sister's blog you know that we have some exciting things happening in my family. My big sissy is engaged!! I am so excited for her and loved getting to be a part of her special engagement weekend filled with giggling, screaming, talking and admiring her new bling :) I will leave you with this picture of us celebrating her big news out in NYC.

Check back in the next few days I have 3 yummy recipes I am going to be sharing with you! Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gotta Start Somewhere...

With this being a new blog I thought it might be nice to share a little about myself so  that you can get to know me a bit better. The first thing I should tell you is that I love lists. If making lists was a sport  I would totally earn the gold medal in the list making olympics. So when I decided to share some things about myself with you guys I figured a list was the way to do it!
Here it goes...

Five Fun Facts! (Hint: All lists need a catchy title)

1. I have an awesome family! I am lucky enough to be best friends with my sister and am so thankful for the love and support I get from both my parents.

2. I LOVE my job. Of course I hate getting up before six am every day and I may spend more time at school than at home but I get to hang out with an awesome group of third graders and all the exhaustion doesn't even compare to hearing their excitement over a good grade, their  basketball game win or hearing the words I love you from one of my munchkins. I love knowing that just by being at school with them every day I am making a difference in their life. That makes it the best job in the whole world. 

3. I have an amazing boyfriend. I am sure he will be mentioned quite a bit on here so you'll be hearing plenty about him later on. We don't see each other nearly enough since we are separated by 3 states but he is wonderful at making me feel special and important in his life. Aren't we cute?

Photo Credit: My Awesome Momma! 

4. My next fun fact is that I have scoliosis. I have had it since I was 12 and wore a brace for about 5 years. At the time it was something that I hated and thought was horribly unfair- of course it was also a time when I was a slightly moody teenage girl so that may have had something to do with it. But as an adult, looking back on it, it's a huge part of who I am and I am grateful for it. It's a challenging thing to explain but someday this topic can have a whole post of its own. 

5. Last but not least, I think sharks are really cool. I had to throw a silly one in here because let's face it, that last one was a little serious. I've always been fascinated by sharks and if I hadn't fallen in love with the idea of teaching/ been miserable at science I might have ended up as a marine biologist. But instead I watch shark week every year and pretend that I'm an expert which is just as good right?

I will leave you with this hilarious photo I found via Pinterest that goes nicely with fun fact #5...enjoy!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five on Friday

I'm linking up with The Good Life today for Five on Friday. And y'all I am so ready for Friday so let's go!

1. SPRING FEVER!!! I say it in all caps because that is how I have been saying it in my head or to anyone that asks me how life in my classroom is going. Whew! My kids have it bad. They are so talkative and full of energy which is so out of character for my little angels. So I will be begging for accepting all prayers as we try to make it through this last week before spring break.

2. What is the cure for a run-down teacher? A girls day of course! My sweet friend, who teaches with me, and I are going out to lunch tomorrow followed by some retail therapy. And of course there will be lots and lots of talking. I am so looking forward to some quality girl time!

3. I got a new beach bag!

It's a 31 bag, which I have recently become mildly obsessed with. They have super cute patterns, it isn't outrageously expensive and the bags hold so much! I don't have any plans to go to the beach right at the moment but they are in the works. Plus it is officially pool season down here so I can't wait to fill this with some good pool side books and of course a ridiculous amount of sunscreen :)

4. I pack my lunch for school most days and tried something new this week that was delicious- nothing fancy but very yummy! All you need is a tortilla, cucumber, turkey and laughing cow cheese. I spread the laughing cow cheese on the tortilla in place of mayo or something then put on the cucumber and turkey on and voila! It is actually really flavorful and delicious. Bonus: It's healthy! Sometimes it gets really old packing my lunch each day so I get pretty excited when I come up with something new.

5. Can we just talk about Chick-Fil-A milkshakes for a second? I got one on my way home to ease the stress of a long Friday and was reminded about how delicious they are. I highly recommend one for you as soon as you can get to a Chick-Fil- A :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Today I am linking up with my mom's blog and the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Click on the link if you'd like to join too! Let's get started!

1. Since these questions are posting on the first day of April it seems only right to ask-when was the last time you did something foolish? If you can't answer that one, try this one-when was the last time someone fooled you?

As a teacher of third graders April Fool's Day is a pretty big deal- all of my little ones were trying to trick me all day and they had some pretty clever ideas. Luckily I was on guard and managed to figure out their "pranks". However, on the morning news our IC made an announcement about weather for next week showing a huge drop in temperature from our current gorgeous weather (See question 8) and said the weatherman said there might even be snow! Even though I was pretty sure it was a prank, my heart did jump a little bit at the thought of MORE cold weather.

2. What's the last biography or non-fiction book you've read? Was it any good?

For school or for pleasure? I read quite a few non-fiction books with my students. The last one was called "Fossil Hunters" and was all about fossils. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone over the age of 8 but my little reading group enjoyed it :) For pleasure I think it was "I Am in Here" by Elizabeth Bonker and Virginia Breen. It is a fantastic story about a child who has autism and cannot speak but writes wonderful poetry which becomes her way to communicate. It is written by her mother but also includes a large selection of the young girl's poetry. It was such an inspiring read and I recommend it to anyone!

3. Garlic-friend or foe? What's your favorite dish made with garlic?

Friend! Best friends in fact. I love all dishes with garlic and never shy away from it. I love pasta dishes with big chunks of garlic, roasted garlic that gets sweet and delicious, mixed into mashed potatoes or any other way you can think of. Recently I tried a salad that had this yummy garlicky/gingery dressing. Here is the recipe- enjoy!

4. Several Spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April. Of those listed, which would you most like to see in person...The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Washington, The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville Tennessee, The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington North Carolina or the Daffodil Festival Weekend on Nantucket Island, Massachussets?

Definitely the tulip festival. No question. I love tulips and would love to see this!

5. How do you choose which blogs to read?  What is something that will make you stop and read every time? Something that makes you say, 'eh, think I'll skip this one and move on to the next'?

Well being new to the blogging world I am still kind of sorting this trick out. I have always kept up with my mom and sister's blog as well as a few friends from college/high school. But lately as I browse through blogs recommended by my mom, sister or my trusted friend pinterest I usually just read through a few posts and decide if it is a blog I can relate to on some level or another. I love a blog that has a lot of pictures and is written in a very approachable way.

6. April is National Mathematics Education Month so tell us, when did you last use math? 

All the time! I was grading just before writing this post and that uses math so 30 minutes ago?

7. In honor of the A-Z challenge kicking off on April 1...choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe your yesterday.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

It was 82 degrees here today! I was in 7th heaven at recess and loved my drive home with the windows down, sunglasses on and music up. Pool weather is here friends!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Words, Words and More Words

As a teacher I am constantly looking for new ways I can help my students reach their full potential. Well with our state testing right around the corner, I've been searching for some innovative review strategies that will actually help my students rather than turn them into mindless drones as I ask them to fill in just one more bubble. (Can't you just hear the groans?) So where do I go? Pinterest of course! I found a fantastic idea to review or even introduce some vocabulary that they will need for the upcoming test and their future reading career- it's an interactive vocabulary review board.

This is the picture I used for inspiration from We've Got a Diem to Carpe:

Then I got to work making my own. I decided to make the words and definitions magnetic so they are moveable which allows me to do a lot of different activities with the board. I used my leftover whiteboard space right next to my pro board so that my little ones can reach. The first step was to make a list of words I want them to know backwards and forwards. I did this based on what we've covered this year and also using some sample test questions. Then I printed them out, mounted them on colorful card stock and laminated them so I can use them for years to come. I typed up the definitions using the same language I used to teach them and mounted those on black paper. I will tell you that I was so tempted to use more colored card stock but I refrained in order to avoid color overload. Then I stuck on the magnets and arranged them on my board. I will tell you it took me a little bit of time to make them but totally worth it.

Ta da!!!

(It's not a great picture- sorry! The words are big enough for the kids to see I promise!)

I love it and am so excited to begin using it! How I am I going to do that? We'll I'm glad you asked! Every morning as part of my students morning work they will have a definition on their desk that they will have to put under the correct word or vice versa. I will move the pieces around periodically to keep them on their toes and be sure they learn the words and not a pattern on the board. I'm also planning to do some partner and group activities with the words. I will pass out words and definitions and students will have to find their partner- once they find their partners they can put up their match. And we can also have some friendly table competitions where each group gets a handful of words/definitions and has to match them all up. The first table finished wins! I hope that these activities will keep my students from being stopped in their tracks by a scary word on their test while also encouraging them to use the skills and strategies that we are talking about in their reading.

I started using it today with giving students a quick run down of all of the words and then having each of them match a definition to the correct word. They LOVED it! I had no idea that vocabulary could be so entertaining for them but they really enjoyed it. So I will definitely be keeping this up and maybe starting one even earlier on next year.

So fellow teachers what do you think? If you have any other creative test prep strategies I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ready, Set, Go!

I've been contemplating starting a blog for a while now and I finally decided to just jump in and go. It is no secret that I love to talk and anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a lot to say! I also come from a blogging family with a mom and big sister who have blogged for quite a while. I used to feel like it wasn't for me and think well what would I even write about?

Then I became a grown up with a big girl apartment and a big girl job teaching the third grade. Well let me just tell you that being a first year teacher has given me plenty of things to blog about. My life has been filled with new experiences, fun ideas, questions to ask and lessons learned that I can't wait to share with you. And what goes good with stories and sharing? Cupcakes of course! Or any other yummy snack you can think of. I love to cook and bake and have a ton of fun and delicious recipes to share with you. I'm excited to document this time of my life and am so happy you're along for the ride!