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


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?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just Bloggin'

Is this you waiting for me to blog?
Humor me and say yes.

Is this my first post in November? I can't even remember when I blogged last. Tomorrow is pay day which also means that the month is already half over! Where is my life going?

I am finally feeling better physically and emotionally and hope that maybe I will be able to blog more. Now I just need to find some stuff to blog about!

I caught up on my friend Cassie's blog tonight and am going to copy here "cop-out" idea for the night. Here are just a few things recently that have made my *heart flutter*

I have a very sweet student who has a great sense of humor and seems to "get" me. We have often quoted this commercial in class and I started saying "E-I-E-I-O" whenever there was a disappointment or a frustration. Something happened one day that fit both these and she said, "E-I-E-I-O, huh Ms. Wilson?" These small little moments that I share with my students with some humor are my favorites.

Tonight I FINALLY got my bangs cut (no more Justin Bieber bangs) and then came home and started a blanket
and watched
I loved the movie! It was so cute and Mr. John Wayne is a handsome man! My favorite part is where he drags her off the train and five miles back to her brother. I giggled the whole time!

And finally the end the night, I am addicted to Today's Letters. I probably give Em and Tim about 95% of their page views. I check their blog about once a day and have used some of her quirky sayings from time to time. To be honest, I have even written my own letters, using her idea. (Is that plagiarism? If I use her idea but my own words, is that ok? If so, sorry Em! You are just such an inspiration!)

Well it was a late, emotional night last night so I better tuck myself into bed so I am ready for Breakfast Burrito Friday! Thank you paleo challenge for allowing cheat days!

What is your favorite John Wayne movie? (This is only the second one I have watched.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pintrest Party Projects

Good news folks, I am finally feeling better! I took my last pill of my meds today and I am up and running. I still have a slight cough that surfaces every once in awhile, but I can live with that!

At the beginning of the month I had to cancel a Pintrest party because I wasn't feeling well. Yesterday we were able to cash in that rain check and get our craft on!

Erica, Bre and I crafter for a few hours while chatting, listening to music and snacking. It was so relaxing and was a great way to spend a Saturday.

Here is what we made:

Beer bottle wrapped in twine with some added fall flowers, makes a pretty cute vase.

Coffee filter wreath

Reused mason jars with paint on the inside, scrapbook paper punches and Modge Podge.

Twine wrapped wreath.
We already have plans for a winter Pintrest party this time with some hot drinks, movies and blankets.
What are some things you have gotten off of Pintrest?