Tuesday, December 31, 2013

*Heart Flutter* Funnies


Ok these commercials CRACK. ME. UP! I love how real they are! This one might be my favorite because it reminds me of one of my *heart flutter* students that I had last year.

I love teaching fourth grade, but they just aren't as funny as the first graders I taught my first two years. They try to be funny, and think they are funny, but....sometimes the miss the mark. First graders don't try and are often serious and then you get in trouble for laughing!

Thankfully I have some friends who have little kids who can keep me in the laughing world. I have two stories to share about one of my friend's four year old son.

Before Christmas I was talking to his mom about our up coming book club white elephant Christmas party. I was telling her that she needed to bring a white elephant gift and he very concerned cried out, "But we don't have a white elephant!"


Today we met for lunch and I asked the kids what they were going to do to ring in the new year. I was greeted with blank stares, here is our conversation:

Me: Today is 2013 and tomorrow will be 2014 and people stay up until midnight and count down then yell "Happy New Year!"
Boy: That sounds like a good idea. Mom, we should do that!

It just cracked us up! (It may have to been one of those things that you had to be there to fully understand the beauty of the conversation.)

Do you have any "kids say the darndest things" moments? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, December 30, 2013

TTT~ Books I Read in 2013

Brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

Last Top Ten Tuesday of the year! Crazy that the year is over but I am looking forward to 2014!
Looking back over my year of books, I was a little disappointed. It started at our book club Christmas party where we vote on our favorite book of the year and the person who picks it wins a present. No one really liked many of the books we read. Sadly, looking back at my list, I had the same thoughts. There were a few that I enjoyed, but some that I don't ever even want to admit that I read! Many of the ones that I did end up liking were jFic books that I read with my students or read in hopes to recommend them to my students.

Here is how things shook out for the year:

  • Dragonfly in Amber/Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
  • Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne's House of Dreams by Lucy Maude Montgomery 
  • The Dark Zone/ Cosmic Storm by Dom Testa
  • A Year Down Yonder/ A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck
  • So B. It by Sarah Weeks
  • Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
  • Dead End in Norvel by Jack Gantos
  • Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  • Soup on Ice by Robert Newton Peck
The books that I really did not like were:
  • Forever by Judy Blume 
  • Poisonwood Bible by Barbra Kingsglover
  • State of Wonder by Ann Pachett
I really like how Goodreads keeps track of books that I have read and they did a handy "Books of 2013."

What were a few of the books you read in 2013? Favorite? Worst?

New Year's Resolution

It is that time of year again, the time when you reflect on the past year and look forward to the upcoming year. Although I sometimes think that New Year’s Eve is a rather pointless thing to celebrate (all depends if I have plans or not.) I do enjoy the excitement of starting a new year. Ok let’s face it, I like the beginning of a new month too!

As many people do, they make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know anyone who actually keeps theirs the whole year. Is that even possible? I am not exempt from this group of people. I have made them, and have given up on them just as quickly.

This year I want to say it is going to be different, but I do have that small fear that it isn’t going to happen. The difference this year, I REALLY want to keep my resolution.

I have thought and searched Pintrest and the Internet for some creative resolutions, but most of them are healthy/weight loss and even though I do need to get some work done in these areas, I didn’t want to have that as a resolution. I wanted something more *heart fluttery*

I kept coming across this quote every time I searched:
 
I took the quote and made my own "picture" of it.

So I got to thinking that maybe I wanted this to be my resolution.  What does this look like? How do I “measure” if I am still keeping up with my resolution? I suppose this can be shown in loads of ways, but I have picked one way that I want to focus on. Random Acts of Kindness.

Earlier this year I made big plans to do RAOKs every month and even wrote out a plan with ideas. Didn’t happen.

2014 is going to be different. On the 14th of every month, I am going to perform one RAOK, NO MATTER WHAT! There isn’t any good reason or excuse of why I couldn’t accomplish this task.

So please join me and hold me accountable to this resolution. Some the recipients will know that it was me, and others they will not. I will most likely blog about each one, unless it is to be anonymous and that person may read my blog.

I am pretty excited about my new motto and also for the fun of blessing others.

Two questions for you today:
  •   Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If so, what do you do and how do you do?
  •   Any ideas of RAOK I could do? I would love some creative fun ones.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weekly Plans

It's me again! Eager to blog and say something, but slightly lacking a topic. I decided that not only do teachers and students take two weeks off for the holiday season, so does the blog world! I have missed "Finish the Sentence Friday" and reading other people's blogs that appear to be either busy or taking it easy. Thankfully Top Ten Tuesday is still up and running!

I have enjoyed my first week of break thus far and am looking forward to the second half. I seem to have been pretty busy the first week getting ready for Christmas, traveling and Christmas itself. Thankfully the second half is still pretty open.

Here are a few things I plan to do in the up coming week:


This year I have had a lot of my classroom books fall completely apart (sadly some of them have been my favorite books!) and while I am sad about this, it gives me some crafting supplies that I would feel really bad about throwing away! I am going to cover an old coffee table with said book pages and put it in my classroom in the reading area. Thanks to Mod Podge Rocks for the constant inspiration.


Get started on my Sweet Summer Fling with the first book of the year followed by the movie. It has been torture for me to not get started already, but I am holding strong and waiting for January 1st!

Host the first book club of the year! Book club is probably one of my all time favorite things I have in my life! It was the first social thing I did when I moved to this little town on the plains! I have been the youngest member of this club for the past six years and have learned so much! I hold all of the people in the club close to my heart and look forward to seeing them all each month! Hosting it  at my house is a great reason to get my house cleaned!

How about you? Are you off this week? Are you working? What are your plans?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sometimes You Just Have to Write

I have an urge to blog and had a topic to blog about, but can't get the pictures off of my phone, so that will just have to wait. I couldn't think of anything to blog about so I made my way over to one of my favorite writing prompt sites that I use in class and picked a random number. So here it is.

Write a mini-story (100-250 words) that begins with, "They had nothing to say to each other."

They had nothing to say to each other, everything had already been said. He turned to leave as the snow softly drifted down upon them. It was so silent except the faint, almost non-audible sound of snow falling. She knew that this is what was best for both of them. She loved him and knew that he loved her, but the cycle was unhealthy for both of them. She finally had to be strong and make the choice for both of them.
 His footsteps in the snow were almost deafening as he walked away with his head hung. She watched him climb into his truck, drive away and herself turned and walked away. Knowing that the pain would eventually subside, she let the cleansing tears run down her cheeks. It was all part of the process.

 Once she arrived home, she put the tea kettle on the stove and waited for it to sing. The house was almost as quiet as outside, but this silence she found comfortable. Grabbing her well loved Bible, she sat down at the kitchen table with her cup of tea and opened her heart asking to be held by her Heavenly Father. She knew that He truly was the only one who could bring her comfort. He wasn’t going to take away the pain instantly, but she knew that He wouldn’t leave her alone. He loved her and would hold her until the pain went away.

Just a random quick write without any pre-thought or plan, but got my writing bug out. I think it would be fun to revisit this prompt again another time and see what comes out! 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday~ Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

Dear Santa,
     I feel that I have been fairly good this year. There were a few times that I wasn't, but I hope that you can turn a blind eye just this once. I don't ask for much, but this year, I hope you might place some of these top ten books into your big, red sack.


From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos

I really enjoyed the first book and have high hopes for the second one. Our school library doesn't have this one yet, which is why it is on my list.



The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech


LOVE. LOVE. LOVE Sharon Creech. It is my goal to read all of her books.





The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech


See note above.





Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Gilmore Girls fan? I know that there were writers that wrote Lorelai Gilmore's humor, but I am hoping that there is some of that humor in this book.





Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

I have enjoyed every book of Kate DiCamillo's that I have read. My students really enjoyed "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" and hopefully this one doesn't disappoint!



More Like Her by Liza Palmer

Liza Palmer cracks me up! "Conversations with a Fat Girl" and" Seeing Me Naked" made me giggle and "Field Guide to Burying Your Parents" made me think. I don't even know what this book is about, but it has Liza's name on it so I am sold!





Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech again! This one I have read. You can read my review here. I want to add this book to my collection since it is one that I will read again.






The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

I read this book years ago and enjoyed it. I recommend it to everyone (even though NO ONE has ever taken my suggestion.) This makes me wonder if it really is all I remembered it to be. I worry that if I read it again, it might not be good. I mean there has to be a reason no one picks it up after I tell them about it. I enjoyed the movie and have seen that a few times, so I think I might be safe!



4,000 Questions for Getting to Know Anyone and Everyone by Barbra Ann Kipfer

Super random book. Found it at a cute little shop but didn't want to spend the money to get it. I think it would be fun to use with friends and family but I also feel that I could use it in my classroom.






Wolf Story by William McCleery

It has been YEARS since I have read this book. I was thinking today that I am pretty sure that this is the one and only book that my dad has ever given me. We (mainly he and my sister) have a wolf thing going on and he gave me this book. I recently found a copy (no idea where mine is) but gave it to him. I have only seen it in the stores the one time. Also one that would be reread and put on the to keep pile.



What books would you like to have Santa leave under the tree for you? Have you been naughty or nice?

Top Ten Tuesdays brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pomegranates and Roller Derby

This time of year I sometimes have to look really hard for *heart flutters* to keep me going. This year seems to be especially tough for some reason. So I am making it a point to blog more this week in hopes of pushing me through to the other side!

This last weekend was full of firsts for me and I had a blast experiencing each one! This is just Saturday with Sunday to come soon.

I celebrated Christmas with my sisters (minus one since she had to work, and we missed her tons), dad and the nephews. I love to see those little guys and see how much they have grown since the last time I saw them. The oldest one is about to turn six and I just can't believe how big he is getting! Anyway...I like to bring him a little something each time I see him and this time I brought him a pomegranate. He was excited to get a gift but wasn't sure what to do with it once I handed it to him. I remember my Grandmother teaching me how to open one up and how to peel it apart to get the juicy ruby like seeds from the inside. So Grandpa and I taught Marcus how to do just that!


I think he enjoyed pulling it apart but he didn't eat too much of it. I think part of it was his attention was more on the presents in the other room other than the strange fruit in the kitchen. It was also a good thing that he had on an old undershirt since I forgot how juicy it can be and that it does stain! I don't care if he enjoyed it or not, I did and I opened his world just a little bit more!

That night we went to see Ali in her roller derby bout. OH. MY. GOODNESS! I want to go back!! It was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen. I knew NOTHING about roller derby walking in to it and still don't know much, but loved every minute of it!

Ali was on team Ho Ho Hos and rocked the number 714 (for her mom and my step-mom) and her name was "Mistle Toes." I loved the names of the girls and some of their outfits. Sadly the Grinches slaughtered the Ho Ho Hos but they never gave up and rolled hard!

I am very proud of Ali for getting out there and trying new things. Of all four girls, she would be the last one you would think to participate in roller derby but she rocked it! I can't wait for the next bout this spring!

How was your weekend? Did you try anything new?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

I should be sleeping, but I am too excited about Top Ten Tuesday to make myself go to bed. I am sure that this post could wait until tomorrow and will I grumble about being tired at some point tomorrow? Probably.

I figure that this is going to be a long week. The kids know that Christmas break is so close they can taste it. They know that there are three days of school left. Down fall of teaching them how to read a calendar. So why not find something that makes my *heart flutter* and have that little moment, even if it is past my bedtime.
Brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

I have been waiting for this Top Ten topic for three weeks now! It is "Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2013" and I had a pretty good list! Some I will read more books from, and others...not so much.  


  •  Kathrine Applegate – The One and Only Ivan (could any sweeter book be written?)
  • Claire Vanderpool – Navigating Early
  •  Diana Gabaldon – Outlander
  • Ivan Doig – Whistling Season
  •  Ann Patchett- State of Wonder
  •   Stephen Chbosky – The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  •   Jack Gantos - Dead End in Norvelt (Please put my name on the hold list for book two)
  •   Richard Newton Peck – Soup on Ice (Dear Publishing Company, start printing these books again!)
  •  Robert Peck – The Grandma Dowdell Series (would LOVE some more adventures with Grandma)
  • John Boyne – Boy in the Striped Pajamas 
just realized that 50% of my list are YA/Jfic authors and that excites me. I am then able to share with my students books that I think they should read!

     Have you read any new-to-you authors this year?




Friday, December 13, 2013

Traditions

I love traditions! I want more of them in my life and can't wait to start some that are on the horizon. Christmas is full of traditions (even if you don't realize it!) Some die out as you get older and move on into adulthood and some stick around and are passed on to your own.

Here are a few that are done in our family.

This is probably the oldest tradition that we have. I am guessing that my mom started it, but every year we got a "fang scraper" in our stockings. I remember mom asking me what I got in my stocking, and I always seemed to leave the toothbrush out in my excitement of reciting what I got from Santa. She also would ask if I got a fang scraper. Should have been my clue on who really brought it to me.


New pajamas every year. Last year Molly and I decided to skip this one and get each other pjs for Easter. My reason behind the switch was that I had more winter jammies than I did summer and needed to stock up. I don't think either of us really liked this because pjs are back on the gift list!


I am not sure how this tradition got started, but it is one that is just between my sister and myself, although she is cooler than I am and have gotten others calendars also. Each year we buy each other a new calendar. I love this one, because it makes me think of her so often! She always does a good job on choosing a calendar for me and I get excited to see what she picked!

And finally, we watch Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas. We are a Muppets family and love Kermit. The story is such a sweet one and a good reminder what friends and family really are.

As I was looking for a picture, just learned that
this is a book! 
What are some of your Christmas traditions? I'd love to hear them and maybe steal some ideas! ;0)

P.S Were you too singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof?

This has been a Finish The Sentence Friday post. The sentence is “My favorite Christmas tradition is…” brought to you by Finding Ninee.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

I get to participate this week!  Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR is the topic for this still very cold December Tuesday.  Cold weather makes me want to curl up with a book, blanket and cup of warm liquid.


Let's see what I have stacked up! (Sorry I don't have pictures of the books. Maybe when I am older.)
  1. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  2. The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
  3. Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
  4. In the Company of Secrets (Postcards from Pullman #1)  by Judith McCoy Miller
  5. Whispers Along the Rails (Postcards from Pullman #2) by Judith McCoy Miller
  6. An Uncertain Dream (Pos cards from Pullman #3) by Judith McCoy Miller
  7. A Distant Melody (Wings of Glory #1) by Sarah Sundin
  8. A Memory Between Us (Wings of Glory #2)
  9. Blue Skies Tomorrow (Wings of Glory #3)
  10. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
What are a few titles on your Winter TBR pile?

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Official

It has happened. I am finally into the Christmas spirit.


Here is what pushed me over the edge...

 
Christmas concert with the girls.

Secret Santa Day #1
 
First ever Ugly Sweater Party
 
How about you?
Are you like this guy?
Or are you more like this guy?
 
 



Saturday, December 7, 2013

*Snapshot Saturday*


Happy Saturday! It is still pretty chilly here and seems to be sticking around for awhile. I feel that if it is going to be this cold, it at least needs to snow. No one asked me though ;0)

Anyway, my *snapshot saturday* is a picture from earlier this week. A few weeks ago I had made a bet with a student on the outcome of the Bronco game and gained myself some tasty cookies. It became a class discussion and I am sure I said some flippant comment about students bringing me cookies. Well they don't take me serious when I try to teach them how to do two-by-two digit multiplication, but they take me serious when I am far from serious.

My sweet little student comes up to me a few days later and asks me if I like raisins. I tell her sort of and her face falls. (Wrong answer!) She then tells me that she got me oatmeal raisin cookies! I quickly told her that I do in fact like oatmeal raisin cookies and her face lite up! This sweet little package is what she handed me!

THEN, I talked to mom last night and get the back story of the cookies. The family was at the store and each child was told that they could have a dollar to get something that they would like. The younger brother quickly picked out his choice and she thought for a second and said, "I don't want anything, just the cookies for Ms.Wilson." Be still my fluttering heart!

The best part about receiving this little gift was the fact that I was having a slight pity party on the side of low self esteem and she changed my day around. Something so simple as a package of cookies with a beautiful green bow tied around it.

What are you going to do today to change someone's day around?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Forbidden Fruit

One of my favorite childhood memories is…ok more than one, would be the time that I spent in the mountains with my family. There are so many stories that I am not sure that I can just pick one, or even remember all the details.

This is what we hoped the mountains would look like!
The moment that the snow was no longer on Lamborn and Landsend, we could head for the hills. Whenever I asked dad when we could go he always told me to look at the mountains, when the snow was gone, then we could go. Then every weekend from that point until the last second we would go to the hills, leaving Friday night after work and coming home Sunday evening.


We were lucky enough to leave our slide-in-camper on private property and this is where we grew up camping until sadly that property was sold.

I learned how to start a fire, was dishes while camping, how to squat behind a bush, that coyotes were more scared of you than you are of them, that rocks can look like bears, not to climb on gates, that it is easier for guys to pee on a fire than it is for girls, what stinging needle is, rotten-meat-dog-farts are the worst, the difference between an elk and a cow, and how amazing it is to just sit and be while in the mountains.

Not THE red gate, but a relative.
Probably the most favorite memory that we get a laugh out of the most is the time that my sister and I climbed on the gate when we were told not to do so. The owner of the property had just replaced and painted the gate that went across the road that lead to his personal cabin. We were told not to climb on it, and I am convinced that if Dad hadn't said anything, we wouldn't have even thought about such a thing. Can you say forbidden fruit? We were like moths to a flame and went for a "walk." This walk ended up down at the gate, which we promptly climbed on. Little did we know and forget that my dad has been paid to stalk and hunt prey. He too went on a little walk of his own through the trees and watched us do the exact thing he had told us not to do.

Once we got our fill of being a rebel, we headed back to camp. Dad was sitting in a chair just chillin. We thought we were in the clear. Wrong again. We were totally busted. That was the last time that my dad spanked me.

Molly or I never climbed on a gate again.

This has been a Finish The Sentence Friday post. The sentence is “One of my favorite childhood memories is…” brought to you by Finding Ninee.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Lists make my *heart flutter* and Top Ten Tuesday is just the thing for me! I found The Broke and the Bookish while I was looking around at other's blogs that are participating in the TBR Challenge 2013. It is book related and strangely enough, I can't really participate this week. The topic this week is "Top Ten 2014 Release I'm Dying To Read." I thought about this long and hard, but I think that I am just in the dark because I don't know any books that will be coming out in the year 2014! I only know of "old" books that I want to read.
So I thought that I would still do a top ten list of my own for this week.

Top Ten Things I Am Looking Forward to in December
  • Winter/Christmas flavored lattes
  • Time with friends and family
  • Secret Santa at school
  • Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas
  • Celebrating the birth of our Savior
  • Christmas break
  • Reading cuddled in a blanket over Christmas break
  • Ugly Sweater Party
  • Morgan County Chorales Christmas Concert
  • Getting Christmas cards in the mail
What are you looking forward to in December?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

*Snapshot Saturday*

*Happy Sigh* It is the end of Thanksgiving break and we start back to school tomorrow. It has been a good break and I got in some much needed R & R.

This weekend I did some "moving" at my house and also helped a friend move. My friend, Sarah Joy, and her husband recently moved in with her mom, so I helped them on Saturday and then a little bit today.

Since they were moving, they found that they had an extra bed. Well I needed a new bed and was slightly stressing about the bill that comes along with a new bed. Put these two together, and this girl gets a new bed!

New bed for *snapshot saturday*
 
I had to do a little rearranging to make room for the new bed and now my house is a little turned upside down. This is also a good time to sort through things and get rid of a few things. Still lots to do which makes me a little sad that we are going back to school, but gives me something to do during Christmas break if need be. Plus I have BIG plans for a crafty headboard!

I hope you all had a relaxing time with friends and family this holiday weekend. Now let the countdown to Christmas begin!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ruby Holler


"You are now entering Ruby Holler, the one and only Ruby Holler! Your lives are never going to be the same—"

"Trouble twins" Dallas and Florida are orphans who have given up believing there is such a thing as a loving home. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple who live in the beautiful, mysterious Ruby Holler, but they’re restless for one more big adventure. When they invite the twins to join them on their journeys, they first must all stay together in the Holler, and the magic of the place takes over. Two pairs of lives grow closer and are changed forever. (source)

Sharon Creech has done it again! I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book! I often had to check and make sure that I was reading a book that is at a fourth grade reading level and geared for children. There was so much in it that was just amazing!

When Dallas and Florida go to live with Tiller and Sairy, they have a hard time accepting that they aren't going to starve and be put into the dark, damp, cobweb infested basement for the many things that they do wrong, and believe me, they do plenty wrong. Chopping down the tree Tiller planted when their kids were born, chopping a whole in the barn roof to allow light in, breaking a window, breaking the porch rail, losing the bucket down the well, are just a few to mention. Every time they do something wrong, they get ready for the punishment, but it never comes in the form that they are expecting.

Instead of being thrown in the basement, Sairy, especially try to teach them with love. For example, when the window is broken, they are told that they will be taught how to fix it. Or when they chopped a whole in the roof for a window, the response was simply, "Why didn't we think about that." The twins just don't know how to handle this and just think that the two older people are just old and crazy!

Finally, Florida can't take it any longer and asks Tiller why he doesn't get mad when they goof up. It takes Tiller a few moments to answer, but his response is wonderful. He tells her in his own calm, Tiller way, "...Maybe I'm too old to get mad, or maybe what you consider goofs aren't what I consider goofs-- it's just stuff that happens."

So often my first response is to get angry and punish when a student does something wrong, when what simply needs to happen is a teaching moment. I have been thinking about this a lot lately with some changes that have happened in our building this year at school. I have really stopped to look and see if my current style of discipline is affective or not. I often forget that sometimes the students need to be taught and not punished.

I loved the characters and the bond that they had with each other and who they were as people. The transformation from the beginning to the end was heart warming.

I feel that I could go on and on about this book, but we don't have time for that, and it might take away from the book.

Not only will this book be promptly placed on my bookshelf, but will be read again and recommended to anyone who will listen!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wait, What Is Today?

 
Well everyone else is talking about Thanksgiving, so I might as well too! I was trying to think of some creative, interesting way to tell everyone what I am thankful for, but I got nothing. So I guess I will just do a list of a few things (and by far not even close to mentioning all that I am thankful for, and not in any particular order.)
  • My family, real and pretend
  • My friends, near and far
  • My teaching partner who makes my job a thousand times easier
  • My job and students, if not I would be bored
  • That a new mattress has been provided for me
  • My health, even though we have been at odds for two months now, over all I can't complain
  • That I can read and share my love of reading with others
  • The ability to find the *heart flutters* in almost everything around me
  • My education
  • That I can listen to Pandora at work
  • My faith and that God is always there for me
I am headed to a friend's house for lunch today and taking it easy. May your time with friends and family be blessed and full of joy!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sweet Summer Fling 2014


The 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge is hosted by Bookish. The challenge will last from January 1, 2014-December 31, 2014. Any genre, length, or format of book counts. Books must be released in 2013 or earlier and off of your shelf at home.

My goal is to go for Sweet Summer Fling - 31-40 books, which will probably clear off a whole bookcase if I am lucky!

It is just silly that I have so many unread books on my shelves. They need to be read and what better way to do so with a challenge.

Thankfully the list is not set in stone and can be changed and rearranged. This is what I came up with (all without looking at my shelves since I am housesitting.)

31-40 TBR Book List

1.       Before I Die

2.       Anne of Ingleside #6

3.       Sidekicked

4.       And the Mountains Echoed

5.       Mary Mary #11

6.       Cross #12

7.       Double Cross #13

8.       Cross Country #14

9.       The Gift

10.   Body Surfing

11.   Night Road

12.   Winter Garden

13.   True Colors

14.   Rainbow Valley #7

15.   Rilla of Ingleside #8

16.   The Boy Next Door

17.   Plain Truth

18.   Every Boy’s Got One

19.   A Hopeless Romantic

20.   The Love of Her Life

21.   I Remember You

22.   The Green Mile

23.   Forrest Gump

24.   The Pact

25.   Gap Creek

26.   A Distant Melody

27.   Nothing Daunted

28.   Blue Skies Tomorrow

29.   Chasing Down the Dawn

30.   Before Green Gables

31.   A Memory Between Us

32.   Out of the Canyon

33.   Thanks for the Memories

34.   The Horse and His Boy

35.   The Last Battle

36.   The Silver Chair

37.   A Voice in the Wind

38.   An Echo in the Darkness

39.   As Sure as the Dawn

40. Christmas Book


I have not every done anything like this officially and not through a blog so it will be interesting to see how I do. I am already a little confused on what all I have to do to get set up, but I know how to use my resources and am getting it figured out!

Do you have a challenge for 2014 yet?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

342

Random number? I think not (ok maybe a little bit.) Three hundred forty two is the number of books I have read since January 1, 2007.

For some odd reason I decided that I was going to read 1,000 books before I die. Why 1,000? No idea. Just sounded like a good number at that moment in time.

Now seven years later I have read 342 of them and have big plans for the next 658 books.

I also feel like I need to tell you why it is 342 and not a normal round number. It is simply because the pack of papers I have to write to books on ended at 342.

To "celebrate" this mile stone, I decided to share ten books that really stand out on the list. Some of them will be series and some jfic books, but none the less, outstanding books.

  • Even Now and Ever After by Karen Kingsbury
I have never felt a book more down in the depths of my heart as I have with these books, especially Ever After. I felt so much while reading this book that I actually wrote to the author! I have always felt that if you felt true emotion, no mater the emotion, then the author has truly done their job. I have not reread either of these books and don't know if I will, but I do think about them often and the impact that they had on me. They sit proudly on my "to cherish and keep" shelf.

  • The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
Laugh out loud, might have to change my underpants funny books. I love these books and enjoy how easy and quick they are to read. I first read these books in a very dark time of my life and there were times that these books were the only thing that could even make me smile. They are silly and all tend to read the same, but that doesn't stop me to eagerly await to read the newest book. Team Ranger or Morelli?

  • The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
I hesitated putting this on the list. I really liked this book, but fear that if I read it again, I might not. I don't know why. This is not one that I have on my shelf yet, but would like to get it. I also enjoyed the movie and have seen it a few times. I actually liked the movie ending better than the book ending. I recommend this book often to others looking for books to read. No one has taken me up on the recommendation, so I don't really know what that means.

  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
I have read this book at least three or four times and know that I will read it again. I don't know if I can explain what draws me to this book. It is a jfic book and probably is geared more towards middle school students and has also won a Newbery Medal. The heart break and longing that Sal has for her mother is almost heart wrenching. I found that the last time I read the book I could connect with Sal more than I had the time before. I mentioned this book in this post.

  • Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
There are a plethora of gems in this book. Sadly, I can't remember any of them and don't have my book here with me. I hope to reread this book again soon. It is one that can be read over and over and still make your *heart flutter* One of my favorite parts is towards the beginning when Novalee Nation is way pregnant and has to go to the bathroom. She begs her guy to pull over so she can go (without knowing that this is the point where her life will change.) As she finally experienced the relief of release, she laughed because she found the small pleasures in life. Sounds like a *heart flutter* to me.

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
If you haven't read this book, then you need to. I couldn't put this book down and recommend it first to anyone who is looking for a book. I also can't wait to see the movie! The figurative language in this book is outstanding! I have read a few of Zusak's other books and this one by far is my favorite.

  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Now who couldn't cheer when Minny served her pie to Hilly Holbrook? Sweet revenge to the fullest. Skeeter is a remarkable woman who stands up for what she believes in and takes action. I also loved the fact that she wasn't a "beautiful" woman but she was radiant in my eyes for her strength. I have even seen a few toilets in yards and busted up laughing. I thought that they did a good job on the movie too.

  • The Grandma Dowdell Series by Richard Peck
Another jfic book series, but one that makes me smile and almost brings me to tears. I LOVE Grandma Dowdell and here sense of justice. The way she goes about it in her own way is usually laugh out loud funny. She teaches her two grandchildren (and others in her small town) a few lessons here and there. There are three books in the series and where the third one is not as good as the two before, I am still including it in the list. I really enjoyed reading it with some of my students and teaching them some history to go along with it.

  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Such a sweet book and outstanding illustrations. I laughed out loud and wanted to throw "me balls" at people at times. A great story about friendship and loving others. It gives me great pleasure to see this book floating around my classroom from student to student. I understand completely why it won the 2013 Newbery Award.

And finally....
  • The Anne of Green Gables Series
Be still my beating heart. It isn't a secret how much I love these books (and I am not even finished with the whole series yet.) I can quote several parts of the book and do so often. I love Anne. I love her spirit, her desire for life and how she sees beauty in everything. Even when she is in the depths of despair she still manages to try to find her way out. For instance when she thought that Marilla was going to send her back, she asked if she would call her Cordilla. This way she could experience having the name she always desired to have. What difference did it make what Marilla called her if she was going to send her back anyway?  Also who can't laugh at all the troubles that Anne gets herself into?

Well that ends this list. There are so many good books out there that it was hard to narrow it down. Hopefully I inspired you to read at least one of the books if you haven't already.

What are some of your favorite books?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Literacy Lunch

I have promised a certain little reader for two weekends now that I would get this post up, and I am finally getting it done!

At the beginning of October my team teacher and I introduced the Literacy Lunch Club to our fourth graders. This summer I came up with the idea to do a book club type thing with my students outside of the classroom work. I didn't want to have to do too much work to pull it off, but still wanted to have some fun and share some book love. Out came the Literacy Lunch Club.

Each week on Wednesday, five students who have signed up eat lunch with the teachers in the classroom and present a project that they did on a book of their choice. The club is open to any reader who wants to join. My main goal was to involve the students who don't normally get to do these type of projects. The students can do any book and do any project to go along with it. The canvas is totally blank!

I would have to say that for the most part, after two months, the club is a success and I have students who can't wait to sign up in the next open slot!

I don't have pictures for every project, but have a few that have really stood out.

George's Marvelous Medicine

 
Bridge to Terabithia
 
 
The Witches

 
Super Fudge
by Judy Blume
 
It has been a lot of fun sharing these special lunches with the students and seeing their hard work and creativity. At their age I wouldn't have been able to do projects like these, not sure I could as an adult!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thoughts From My Early Morning Shopping Trip

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope that where you are the wind isn't blowing like it is here. I went to town and driving in this wind and dodging tumbleweeds was a challenge.

I woke up about 4:30 this morning and while trying desperately to fall back to sleep I started thinking about what all I needed to do. There are a few items that I needed to get from the store but was having a hard time picking when I was going to go in to town. I was ready to go right then but knew that was just silly. Then I had to make the decision of what store to go to and what coffee shop to swing by. I had a few different options and my choice was going to be based on how busy each place might be.

8:30 in the morning is a great time to go shopping! I drove by our Safeway which is having a Re-Grand Opening this weekend after their remodel and addition of a Starbucks. I thought that it was going to be VERY busy with pre-church goers, who wanted to get their first Starbucks before church. I was way wrong!

 
I think that Safeway is a genius! I first saw this bag three years ago when I was visiting my dad in San Diego and loved it. How easy is it to donate to your food bank this way?

Let's face it, we are lazy, myself included. I would want to donate, but would stand in an isle stressing about what to get and what was really needed. Then if I was lucky enough to overcome this silly thinking, it would sit in my car for weeks until I figured out where it needed to go and find the time to take it there. This way, I don't have to worry about what to get, I don't have to take it anywhere and I help out. I just love that they do this!

 
Well I can't mention that Safeway has a new Starbucks without myself having to check and see if they are any good. So to celebrate my early morning shopping trip, I got my first red cup of the season! My dear cousin Sarah loves the red cup season and I had to send her a picture letting her know I was thinking of her.

Now on to my other thought about getting my red cup. I love it when people use my name. When you go to a store and they take the time to figure out what your name is and use it. They asked what my name was to put on my cup, which is normal, but after the cute barista called my name with my cup, I cheerfully told her thank you and she said, "You're welcome, have a great day Sarah!" That was the highlight of the trip.

Even though I like this so much to be done to myself, I am horrible at doing it to others. I have a better chance at knowing their name than they do of mine, but I just get scared and my voice runs and hides. I REALLY need to get better at this. It isn't like it is a hard thing to do.

Ok well I better get going, I have lots to do today since I have company coming over to watch the NASCAR race and I have to clean up and make cookies. I just wanted to make sure that I blogged about my *heart flutter* filled morning.

What are some of your Sunday morning *heart flutters*?

Friday, November 15, 2013

100th Blog Post!

In school, especially the younger grades, we celebrate the 100th Day of School. Since fourth grade is super boring, we don't celebrate this landmark day (E-I-E-I-O) much to older siblings dismay.

So why am I talking about the 100th day of school when we still have a few months before this day even happens? Well tonight I want to celebrate a different 100 milestone.

This is my 100th blog post!



Now there are probably tons of bloggers out there who have reached this milestone a long time ago, but I am surprised that I made it this far.

I like to blog. I just have a lack of confidence in my blog, my ability and what I have to "say." I often think to myself, "Oh! I could blog about that!" but then talk myself out of it thinking no one will care.

I need to get over this thinking. Clap if you agree...

To celebrate I decided to look back over the 100 and revisit the top six most viewed posts.

1. I Wanna Be Loved Like That

Comes in with 71 views. This excites me since this was probably the most raw, real and honest post I have written. Maybe I need to post more posts like this?

2. I Call A Redo

This post was my second attempt at blogging. I tried to blog and not broadcast it on Facebook, but then no one was reading them, let alone commenting. So I had to once again over come some fear and post the links on Facebook. There are times that I don't blog about certain things because I don't want Facebook land to know about it, but that is probably ok since it probably doesn't need to be shared in the first place.

I think that this post got 66 views because it was my "first" one and people wanted to know what was going on.

3. Salida *Heart Flutters*

I learned with this one that the more people you tag in the shared link on Facebook, the more views you will get! 65 views from friends of all three of my sisters and my dad came and read about our adventure of remembering our mom.

4. "Stealing Ideas"

I had to go back and reread this one since I couldn't remember what it was about based on the title. Update on the graffiti wall. Slight E-I-E-I-O moment for Ms. Wilson. It as several other ideas, get put on the back burner and either never happen or start out and don't go very far. I got it started, but then I didn't really tell the students about it until later in the year and then it just became part of the decor in the room. Although! Lately a few kids have put some quotes up, so someone is thinking about it at least! 60 views total.

5. Get Your Nerd On

I met an author and a "famous" DJ! This post was about attending a meet and greet with Dom Testa, author of the Galahad Series and morning DJ for Mix 100 in Denver. I had an in since my cousin and his wife are friends with Dom, so yes, I name dropped and got some extra perks of meeting him. I still have not read the last book of the series but eagerly await his upcoming series. 59 views total.

6. Summer Bucket List 2013

I am glad that this one made the list with 56 views. I had an amazing summer filled with many adventures with friends and family. I plan on making another list next summer to ensure that I get done what I want to get done. (The fall list fell on its backside.)

Here's to a total of 5,602 views total and to the next 100 posts. Thank you to all that have been on this journey with me and I hope that you stick around for more. I promise to try to be more confident if you promise to comment every now and then. ;0)

Do you have a favorite post of mine?