Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rule Breaker

Are you a rule breaker? Do you follow some of the rules? I think that most of the time I follow the rules but do know there are times that I break them just a little.

Recently in class we did a "Write On" (a.k.a  a quick write) that explored our rule breaking bad selves. I told them that we were going to make a list of 20 rules we had broken. They were excited about this until they actually sat down to make their list.

I had to "strongly" tell them that they just needed to write and to not think about it so much. Sitting down to write my own list, I realized how hard this really was! The task was cut down to ten rules broken. Easier, but still not easy! You would think that it would be easy, but it isn't!

I was able to come up with eleven rules that I was able/willing to share with 23 nine and ten year olds.

11 Rules I Have Broken:
  1. Driving faster than the speed limit
  2. Cheated (a few games, a spelling test, math tests a few times)
  3. Stole candy from City Market and a few other things here and there
  4. Lied (I tend to do this one the most.....oops.)
  5. Blew through a stop light (on accident, but it was still a rule broken)
  6. Used my phone in class
  7. Not used my turn signal (again not a BIG deal, but still a rule)
  8. Tore a page out of a Garflied comic book from the library because I wanted it
  9. Failed to touch the wall with two hands while doing the breast stroke
  10. Texting and driving
  11. Snuck into the drive in movie a few times
What do you think? Think you can come up with 20 rules you have broken? How about 10?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Domestic Divas

It's HUMP DAY! That means we are on the downhill slope to the weekend!

Speaking of weekend, this weekend I was able to cross a big project off of my to-do list!

My dad has a Masonic event coming up and he needed some gifts to give. So Molly and I got our craft on and for about 24 hours attempted to be Domestic Divas. It was probably a good thing that we didn't have video cameras out.

We decided that we would make a gift for the ladies and made plans to make therapeutic bags. Fabric was purchased, tables were cleaned off and we set off to work!

Here are a few things we learned:
  • Ironing isn't affective if the iron isn't plugged in
  • Sewing machine bobbins have minds of their owns (but thanks to YouTube they were defeated)
  • Spools of thread aren't never ending
  • Wal-Mart doesn't always have everything one might need at ten o'clock at night
  • Sewing machines can jam up
  • Sewing machine needles will break if you are a She Hulk
  • You will make mistakes at the end of the project if you are tired
  • Seam rippers are your friend
Molly sent this to me Monday morning and it pretty much reflected my last outburst before I left her house with the last bag to finish!
Overall, I had a fun time working on this project with my sister and we had lots of laughs. Hopefully the ladies who receive them enjoy them as much as we did making them.
Molly and Bailey couldn't wait for me to leave so they could take a nap!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunshine Award

Since school has started I have been super busy and super tired. So tired and busy that I have not had time to redeem my Sunshine Award nomination from my kindred spirit Cassie! Today I decided that I HAD to redeem it if it was the last thing I did! So here we go!

The Sunshine Award is an award given by a blogger to another blogger that brightens their day. So basically it is a fun way of saying *heart flutter*

The Rules:
1.  Include award logo in a post or on your blog (above).
2.  Link to the person who nominated you – Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead
3.  Answer 10 questions about yourself.
4.  Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

Now I get to answer questions and who doesn't like to talk about themselves?

1. What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

Probably my month in Point Roberts, Washington with my dear friends, the Bells. Oceans, beaches, Canada, ferries, and friends.

2. Tell me one terrific thing about your week.

Spending time with my friends after a tough day. I truly am blessed.

3. Would you rather be stuck neck-deep in the hole of an outhouse for an hour or stuck in a porta-potty rolling down a hill for five minutes?

Wow! Creative question. I would pick neck-deep in the hole of an outhouse. Especially one in the mountains that is on private property and not used often. AND one that is a two seater with Cassie in the hole next to me! ;0)

4. What was your favorite class in high school?

I would probably have to go with Show Choir with Mr. Everret. I think of those times often.

5. If you won the lottery today, what would you do?

I would pay off all of my student loans, medical bills for both myself and my family, donate a good chunk of it and probably go on a trip some where.

6. If you had one day in which you could do and say whatever you wanted, and you would be the only one who remembered that day, what would you do?

Ummm.....I am not sure. Could Channing Tatum be involved?

7. Which sounds like a fun Friday night: drinks, dinner, and dancing, or couch, P.J.s, and movies?

Since I am an old lady teacher now, I would go with couch, P.J.s and movies as long as it was with friends.

8. What not-on-the-air-anymore sitcom do you love?

I have been thinking about this for a week! I am going to go with "Boy Meets World" I love me some Cory and Topanga with a little bit of Sean Hunter thrown in.

9. If you could go back in time and tell your 17-year-old self one thing, what would it be?

That high school is really just a small blip on the span of life. It matters, but your life to come is more important and so much better.

10. What irrational fears/phobias do you have? (I promise I won’t use them against you).

Mustard and I don't get along very well. I tell people that it is almost a phobia. Weird I know.

I don't know if I have ten blogs to nominate but I will give it a go!

1. Marilyn @ Heart Song
2. Kerith @ Brielle and Me
3. Tina @ Monkey, Moose and Tater
4. Carrie @ Carrie Elle
5. Sarah @ Play 2 Learn with Sarah
6. Jordon @ Life is Better Messy Anyway
7. Shelia @ Book Journey
8. Gigi @ The Late Bloomer's Book Blog
9. Kari @ Kari Chirstoferson - The Nica Side of Life
10. M @ A Great Title

Here are my questions.
1. Can you keep house plants? If so, do you name them?
2. If you could have lunch with anyone; real, make believe, alive, dead etc., who would it be and where would you go?
3. What is your favorite Sandra Bullock movie?
4. Have you ever given or received a RAOK (random act of kindness)? Explain.
5. What quote or saying inspires you or that you use often in your life? Where did it come from?
6. Over or under?
7.  What meal would you pick if you had to pick one and only one to eat for the rest of time?
8. If you could be the star of a musical, what one would it be?
9. Favorite literary character? Why?
10. List five things that give you *heart flutters*

Thank you Cassie for the nomination and I apologize for taking so long to redeem this *heart flutter* but I know that you understand how the beginning of school can be!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

RAOK Reversed

I am so excited! I was on the receiving end of a RAOK today! I was so sappy and happy about it, my eyes reacted they way they do during the national anthem, Visa Olympic commercials and the end of Cool Runnings.

The call of coffee was strong and I had to heed it, so I made my way to the nearest Starbucks drive-thru. Who knew that the same call came to fifty other people at the same time. There was a race to get a place in line and each person inching closer and closer to edge out the next person. I sat patiently and waited my turn. Patience does pay off!

Finally I made my way to the order box, placed my order and continued to inch my way to liquid heaven. The window opened, the fun barista handed me my cold cup of Joe and I went to hand him my gift card. I was then informed that the gentleman at the counter inside wanted to pay for my order! Epic *heart flutter* All of the baristas were confused and one of them even asked me if I knew the guy. I told her not that I knew of and she thought that was weird. I on the other hand was having a hard time containing myself!

I smiled the rest of the way home and still hours later am reaping the benefits of a strangers kindness.

Not only did I get free coffee, but I got a lesson in how others feel when I am honored with the chance to bless them! Best part about the weekend by far!

What was a *heart flutter* for you this weekend?

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Burning Love

August 16, 1977 in Memphis, TN, Elvis Aaron Presley left the world. I can imagine that if there was Internet back then, he too would have crashed it with news of his death. EVERYONE (born before 1970) seems to remember where they were when this happened and what they were doing.

I on the other hand was not alive either on that day. I didn't come along until the end of 1982. I would have loved to have been alive when Elvis used his pipes to bless eager listening ears all over the world, but sadly, I just get to hear other's stories, watch his old movies and listen to his music on my ipod.

Many people have told me they think it odd that I like Elvis so much when I wasn't even around when he was.  Well I will tell you why.

  • He is "A Big Hunk O' Love"
Have you seen the kid?! He is pretty dreamy!
  • He was in the Army
I don't know what kind of soldier he was, but he is a man in uniform. You know what they say about men in uniforms.

  • He could dance
Even if Forrest Gump taught him how to do it. I mean a guy who can shake his hips like that...

  • He "lights my morning sky"
I can't help singing along and enjoying my day with his songs.

  • He could sing "like a sweet song of a choir"
Almost everyone can name at least one Elvis song.

  • He gives me chills
Have you heard "How Great Thou Art"? Enough said.

  • He is the Kind of Rock and Roll
Who else in music is in both the rock and roll hall of fame and the country hall of fame. He has several number ones (I don't think he holds the record for the most number ones anymore) and he was in numerous movies (even if they weren't very good. Sorry honey, you aren't a very good actor.) Only one other person (that I am aware of) has been given the title of king and that would be George.

So there you have it. A few reasons why I like Elvis. I love that in Lilo and Stich, Lilo loves Elvis also. She must be a kindred spirit!

How about you? Are you old enough to know what you were doing when The King of Rock and Roll fell of the loo?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mah Na Mah Na

I. Am. Tired.
Thankfully I made it home and am not drooling on my desk.

School starts tomorrow and twenty-two fourth graders will be flooding my classroom at 7:50 if I am ready or not.

Today is also the 14th, which is the day that I planned on doing a RAOK each month. Didn't happen. I was so busy and I only left my classroom to go to the office and to eat lunch. I did help out my teaching partner some but that happens all the time because we love each other.

So epic fail on doing it on the designated day, but there is still a few more days left of August.

Well, not much of a post, but I hadn't posted in a few days and thought I would do so. Now I need to go finish getting ready for tomorrow. Got to pick out that first day of school outfit!

Here's to everyone starting a new adventure of a new school year!

P.S Excuse the random title that appears to having nothing to do with this post. I couldn't come up with anything and this song came on while I was thinking. What can I say?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

10 on 10 August 2013

I have been waiting for August 10th since July 11th and it is finally here! I found this fun blog that's main purpose is photography and she has a thing called "10 on 10" where you take a picture every hour for ten hours. I wanted to do this!

I woke up with a plan and ten hours ahead of me. Out of the pictures I took today, I was only really please with one of them. I had a great day with friends, but just wouldn't work the shutter to save my life.

So I will wait patiently for another month and then give her another try. In the time being, I will share with you ten pictures I have taken, just not today.



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Living

It is light, but it is there!
This picture represents life for me.


In October 2011 my step-mom passed away. This was my first encounter with a grief stronger than I had ever known. My whole life changed that day in ways that I never thought were even possible.


I was very, very (I can’t stress enough) lucky to have the support of my team teacher, friends and boss and was allowed to have a week and a half off to deal with what I needed to do. Yet as we know, grief is not allotted to a week and a half time frame, and eventually I had to go back to work.


I know it would have been ok if I had had hard times at school, but how do you explain to twenty nine and ten year olds why you are crying in the middle of their math lesson on fractions? So I pushed aside a lot of my grief while at work. At home I was able to let the tears flow freely while I sat on the floor of my closet while trying to figure out what to wear that day, but not at school.


So when summer came and I no longer had to push anything aside, the grief over took me. I had a very hard summer. I rarely left my house and hardly communicated with anyone. I am trying to think of one thing I did last summer, and I can’t really. When I did leave the house, I suffered from severe social anxiety issues and questioned every interaction with friends. Sadly, I fear that some bridges may have been burned during this time.


It is hard to know if what I went through was a helpful way to deal with the gaping hole that was now in my heart and in my life, but it was what happened.


In May as the school year was coming to a rapid end I decided that this summer I was going to live and the bucket list was born. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have a repeat of the summer before.


Back to my picture, in order to get a glorious Chaco tan, one has to be outside in the sun. In order to be out in the sun, one can’t sit at home on the couch. I got up and I got out there doing things that made my *heart flutter* and built memories. Thank you to all that helped me live this summer and also for your patience and understanding when I wasn't.


I lived this summer.


This is not to say that I forgot about my grief or that there is still a void in my life that I am not sure will ever be filled again, but it does say that Sandy would have been proud of me and wouldn’t have wanted me to spend another summer not living. She always lived her life even when she knew that the end was near and could have easily just given up.


Thank you, Sandy for once again being an inspiration and guide and still making an impact on my life. You were such a kindred spirit with *heart flutters* and truly understood that it is about the little things in life. I love you Blue Box Mama.

Reading RAOK

I can not understand why my RAOKs don't always go as planned! I suppose it adds a little bit more of a challenge.

Today I did this RAOK for a friend from high school to honor her on her 8th wedding anniversary (married on 8/8 and this year is their cool is that?!)

I met Trina our freshman year when her class from Crawford came down to Hotchkiss to go to high school. We also worked at the pool together for a few summers and this is where I really got to know Trina and fall in love with the person that she is.

Trina has such a beautiful heart and love for life. I very much enjoy following her goings on with her family and uber cute children! She is an amazing mom and loves her children with her whole heart.

Amazing pictures taken by Trina's SIL. Check out her website at

For my RAOK I wanted to hide a little something in a book. I choose this because while working at the pool when I was sitting at the front desk reading and she was on her break from guarding, I would read to her from whatever book I was reading. We read parts of the Left Behind Series and also explored "Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1) by Louise Rennison. So I planned to put my little something in Angus since that book just makes me giggle.

So I made my little something and headed to the library.

Here is where things start to "fall apart," I can't find Angus! I look all around the young adult section and it isn't there. So I hop on the card catalogue and it is no longer even at the library anymore! Strike one.

Ok, no big deal, just find another funny book. "Matilda!" Strike two! It was checked out. Which I shouldn't complain about because some child somewhere is really enjoying a good book!

Now what am I going to do? I see tons of great books I can hide it in, but they aren't funny and since I added my P.S I had to find a funny book.

So I found "A Long Way From Chicago" by Richard Peck. Success!


I don't know how popular this book is (it should be read by everyone in my opinion) so I don't know how long it will take for it to be discovered. It will be fun to see if it is still there or not next time I go to the library.

Happy anniversary Adam and Trina!     

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Revamped Ideas

I was once again blessed with pairs of little helping hands in my classroom again today, and boy howdy did we get lots done! As Abby exclaimed at the end, "It's starting to look like a real classroom!"

Back in July I posted about the idea of the Reading Graffiti Wall and that I had the dream of implementing it in my class this year. It almost didn't happen! *Gasp* The really cool makers I bought weren't going to work and I was going to have to use white paper. This wasn't much of a problem, but I really liked the idea of the black. Well with some quick thinking and tween obsession with polka dots, Abby helped be fix said problem! Her idea was actually even better than my original idea!

We would still use the black paper, but the students would write their quote on some sort of paper and then tape it on the paper. Abby used the di-cut to make circles out of regular copy paper and we added a colorful border and had complete success!

I like this idea better because it is a unique but also the students will be able to write on the dots easier than on the wall. Also if they make a mistake they can get a new dot and won't be scribbling on the black paper. Plus when it gets filled up, I can take the dots off and we can start over. I think it looks so cool!

We didn't just work all day, we even had time for a little picnic in the classroom!

On a side note, I had two other *heart flutters* today. Twice I had two different gentlemen keep chivalry alive! The first time I was carrying a rather heavy box down the hallway and it was promptly taken from me and taken to my destination. The second was while picking up lunch we were walking towards the door at the same time as another gentleman and he picked up his pace so he could get to the door before us and hold it. Of course I said thank you and he responded with a very friendly "have an amazing day." I exclaimed on the way to the car that chivalry was still alive and sadly Abby asked what chivalry even was. (She didn't seem all that impressed when I explained.) It just made me happy. Aren't nice people cool?

Here's to revamped ideas, creative juices and kind gentlemen sirs!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Friend·ship - the state of being friends

“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”  
-A.A. Milne
My smallest "things" are two of my youngest friends. True kindred spirits and life long friends.
When I started teaching, I never thought about actually becoming friends with my students. I am pretty sure that this concept is probably frowned upon. Good news for me, they aren't my students anymore! I also never would have thought about having such a good friend that was 15-20 years younger than me either.
I realized that age really has nothing to do with friendship.
My team teacher and good friend, Kris, and I are about 20 years apart and I am not sure if we could get along any better. The age difference between Kris and myself is the same difference between Bre, Abby and myself. So who says I have to wait until these girls are 30 to become their friend?
The point of this post is to share how these two girls have filled my heart with flutters the past week.
The other day Abby and I had our annual August date. The past two years we have gone to the county fair for her to show me her projects but this year we decided to shake it up. We had ourselves a craft date and it was outstanding! I showed her a list of projects that I needed to get done and let her pick which one. We ate mac and cheese (always better shared) and decorated our notebooks for school. We also spent a little time working in my classroom (would have spent more time there to Abby's liking but had to go move the water on the lawn.)
Bre helped me with my classroom today. It isn't any secret that I have been slightly freaking out about being ready in time for school to start. With the ceiling caving in and my room being cleaned again I feared it wouldn't get finished in time. Bre's mom is our new secretary at the school so it worked out well for Bre to come and help me. What makes Bre the perfect candidate to help me is that she was in my class last year and she helped me pack it all up at the end of the year. I could just hand her something to do and she knew where and how I wanted it. Thankfully she had two other little helpers with her also. Oh how much we got done today! When I wanted a break and a snack, they wouldn't let me, they wanted to keep going! I wouldn't have gotten as much done today without them, both because they helped, but also kept me going!
Both girls touch my heart in different ways. I have known both of them for about the same amount of time (going on eight years)  and have gotten to know their families as well. We share some of the same interests and just enjoy each other. I have learned so much for them in their young lives, and am grateful for their friendship.
 I know that no matter where life takes us, and no matter our age, we will have a special bond. Strengthened by time, books, hot drinks to put our hands around, fun words and memories.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I'm thinking....

Going into year eight of teaching, I find myself wanting to change up the small things. The current thought on my mind is the name of my groups. Currently I have colors for both reading and writing. I have the same four colors for each subject and that just seems so boring!

This wild idea came to me first at the end of last year and I asked my current class if they thought it was cool if I had "fun" names for my groups and they resounded with a YES! All summer I have been wondering what to do. First I thought of doing reading characters for reading and then authors for writing, but it just never seemed right. I couldn't hear myself shouting out the names I had picked out to call up the group.

Tonight I am sitting and watching the very first Muppet Movie and it hit me! I could do Muppet characters! There are a good eight of them and I could print out their pictures. Then I thought maybe I could do superheroes.

To sum it all up, I still haven't decided what to do and I have only a few days left!

Teachers out there, what are the names of your groups?

Non-teachers, you could have some good ideas too, what should I do?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup. Yum.

Today I got to meet up with one of my dearest friends/roommates from college. She currently lives in Nicaragua and I don't get to see her often, so we make the best of the time we do get together. What better way to celebrate than chicken tortilla soup!

While I was eating a few bites of her soup (because I wasn't smart enough to order it,) I decided that I really need to try to make my own soup. I think the reason that I have not tried yet is because I am afraid it isn't going to be good.

Well this is nonsense! I am just being a footler! I need to get my tookus into the kitchen!

Now the task of finding a recipe. There are more recipes for this soup than I have unread books on my list!

So I am asking for your help.

What recipe for chicken tortilla soup have you tried? Please share. I will make each recipe shared and whichever recipe I like best will receive a prize.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Out of My Mind

I am so stinkin' excited right now! I can barely contain myself! I have been given the green light to do read aloud in my classroom this year!

When I first started teaching fourth grade, we had a scheduled time to read aloud to the students and honestly that was my favorite time of the day. I would turn the lights off, turn the lamp on and sit in the rocking chair while I read to them. I made it through several books that year. Then because there just isn't enough time in the school day, it got cut. I was able to do it sporadically but it just wasn't to my satisfaction.

Here are a few reasons why I think it is important to do read aloud at any age (these are all based on my personal opinion and not necessary backed up by research):

  • Allows students to hear what a fluent reader sounds like
    • Modeling is such a huge piece in student's learning. If a student isn't read to at home and they only hear their classmates read, they may never hear what a fluent reader is supposed to sound like.
  • Exposes them to books they wouldn't read on their own
    • Once again, I feel like this helps the lower reader tremendously. If a student is reading at a lower level, they are missing out on some grade level appropriate content.
    • All students benefit from this because often students will get stuck with only one type of book (sports, animal, vampires etc.) and once again miss out on some great literature.
  • Sometimes it is just nice to sit and listen to someone read to you
    • I like this as an adult and wish I could experience it more often
  • It builds community
    • One great thing about read aloud is the discussion that can come with it. During this time students have to learn to listen to each other and to respect other's ideas and opinions.
  • It makes memories
    • This point is probably my favorite. When I was in first grade, my teacher read to us every day during our milk time. She read James and the Giant Peach, Stuart Little (per my request), Indian in the Cupboard and there may have been more, but I remember those the most. I remember getting lost in the story and how much I enjoy it. Now 24 years later, I still remember it.
    • Now that I am the teacher, I have students come back to me with comments about the books I have read to them. Every year I read Where the Red Fern Grows to my class, no matter what. Every year an upper class man always asks if I still am reading this book to my class.
Which leads me to my last point. It kind of goes with the modeling.
  • Shows students it is ok to have emotion
    • Up until this point, many students have never read a book that has made them feel anything. They are just books and stories to them and they may get enjoyment from them, but haven't really connected to it. Isn't that one of the big reasons to read? While reading Where the Red Fern Grows, I cry. I cry like a baby, long before the sad part even happens. I am ok with this. It shows the students that it is ok to cry at a book. It is ok to show emotion and that a book caused that emotion.
Ok well, that is my little opinion on read aloud. I can not wait to share the world of books with my students. I have picked to read Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper to start the year out. In the blog world, this book has been raved about and recommended for read aloud. My new blogging friend Sarah posted about this book not too long ago and it totally made my day! I was able to find questions, writing activities and other activities to go with it. My job is done other than reading the book to them!

I am sure there is more to come on this adventure I am about to take my students on.

What about you? Do you remember your teachers reading out loud to you? What books did they read?