Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quick Vacation Recap

We had a GREAT time in sunny Florida for spring break!  I'm having some issues with the internet on my desktop (where I store all of my pictures) so the better quality pictures will be coming later.  For now, a few cell phone pics will have to do.

We started out our week on Fort Myers Beach at our lovely family condo.  The weather was PERFECT with clear skies and sunshine all day!
The sunset on our way to dinner (that is our condo on the left).
We had a relaxing time in FMB.  Our daily "schedule" included waking up to a walk on the beach (anywhere from 1-3 leisurely miles).  This included lots of people watching since the beaches were crowded with snow birds AND spring breakers!  After that we would usually go back to the condo for some lunch then head down to the pool to soak up some sun, do some reading and take a dip when it got too hot! 

After Fort Myers Beach, we took a mini road trip to Key West.  Neither of us had been before so it was really fun.  We only stayed one night/two days, but we were able to see a lot.  Our B&B was a few blocks away from Duval St. so it was an easy walk to all the fun bars, shops, and restaurants!
Our adorable B&B  in Key West.

We also did a little shopping.  The hubby broke down and bought me an awesome gift but ONLY because we got a crazy good deal.  This beauty was in the red-zone clearance where you could take an additional 40% off and we had a 30% off coupon.  Seriously, best deal eva'!
Did I mention this is my first [full-size] Coach? :)

After Key West, we were scheduled to fly out of Miami so we drove up there to stay the night.  Little did we know, EVERY hotel in Miami (in our budget) would be booked.  We finally found one for a good deal so we booked it.  When we arrived it was SUPER shady.  I think my hubby thinks I'm a snob when it comes to lodging.  I swear I'm not.  This place was awful.  The mini fridge was broken and had leaked a puddle of water onto the TV (safe?), the bathroom was dirty and had cracked tiles and a dropped ceiling that was close to dropping on my head, the whole place reeked of cigarettes, and I was sincerely creeped out the whole 5 minutes time I was inside.  After a small anxiety attack, I decided to google the motel and found out there had been a murder in the parking lot in October 2010.  Um, no thanks!  We got our $ back and headed to Weston, FL.  This was a super cute little suburban-like town with a fun shopping area where we found an Italian restaurant for dinner.  We ended up booking a suite in a "resort" type hotel for only $20 more than the seedy roadside motel in Miami!  I guess it's all about location!
We didn't end up on our flight out of Miami (long story but overall, I don't recommend Delta to anyone).  We got re-booked for a flight out of Fort Lauderdale that night so we were able to spend one more day at the beach (not a bad deal afterall)!
Our extra day at the beach!

Overall, a great vacation!  I can't wait for our next mini-vacay.....a trip to Hocking Hills with some great friends in mid-April!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Catching up after Spring Break!

I know I haven't posted for a while...I'm still trying to get into the swing of things after spring break!  We had a few flight delays coming home so we got home a day and a half later than expected which caused some stress!  We also had a painter coming Monday to paint a few areas in our house (pics to come soon)!

Now, onto regularly scheduled programming (nerd alert!)....

What I'm wearing Wednesday.  (I'm actually depressed about this because last Wednesday I was in a bikini on the beach) and now it is SNOWING here at home.  Thanks a lot, Ohio.  I'm more than ready for Spring/Summer!!
Coral 3/4 sweater from Macy's, black pants.  (This was before I added accessories.)  Somewhat boring, sorry!
When I got back from vacation, I was overly ready for Spring.  (I have actually been ready since September...)
Anyway, I decided to make a quick, little spring craft.  I've seen rag wreaths on tons of blogs and they look super easy.  I headed to JoAnn's and bought a few fabrics and a sytrofoam wreath form.  I think it turned out cute, but it's really too small for the front door (I bought the biggest size they had, maybe I needed to check somewhere else)!  I decided to go with a yellow theme to create a "sunshine" wreath!

The finished product.  I moved it inside to our coat closet door.
These fabric squares were $1 each!

After reading my Classroom Tour post from last week, Hadar from OUTfitted and INspired asked how I use my "I See" chart.  Here's your answer, Hadar!
 My chart is actually a larger version of a book from Hubbard's Cupboard.  I love this sight and get a lot of materials from it for my K/1 kiddos.  I print the color teacher book to use for predictions and inferring.  Next, we use the chart I create for shared reading.  I print keep books for the students to practice reading at home.  For this book, I covered up some of the words and we talked about what we can do to figure out those words (look at the picture, notice patterns in reading, etc.)  The kids were so excited when they guessed the hidden text!  I also usually do a writing response related to the short story.  This week our prompt was "I see" and the students had to write what they saw.  In our writing, we are working on starting sentences with capital letters and ending with periods.  We also talk about how our illustration should match our writing.
I See chart
Writing prompt page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Classroom Tour!

A lot of my blogger friends have been sharing pictures of their classrooms lately.  I am crazy obsessed love checking out other teacher's rooms and ideas!  Here are a few [horrible quality] cell phone pics I snapped so I could share with everyone.........

My chalkboard.  I only use the chalkboard as a magnetic surface.  I do my writing on that small whiteboard or chart paper.  Above this I have some of our "I can" statements that we're focusing on right now.
My "nest".  This is after I de-cluttered a bit, I usually have a ton of student work and copies hanging around.  The bulletin board behind my desk is split in half with a small bottom part for myself and the top half for "Star Students".  I am trying to think of a new idea for the top half.....maybe student goals?
My meeting area.  This is where I meet with my reading groups.  I wish I had a kidney table but they are hard to come by in my school.  [Insert Snooki whine]  I love my little tabletop whiteboard easel from Lakeshore!  I use those 3-drawer organizers for my reading groups - each group gets a drawer for all materials!

This is my storage area.  This is where I keep books for reading groups, student work, extra copies, games, etc.  I try to keep this pretty organized so I can find things very quickly!
Our school uses the Fountas and Pinnell LLI program.  A lot of people ask how materials are organized.  I use these 5-drawer containers to organize my lesson books and take-home books.  Each lesson gets a [labeled] gallon baggie for the books with the title and lesson #. 

I know I've posted this exact picture before but I love this bulletin board.  We vote on a new book every week and do short "author studies" each month by reading and voting on 4 books by the same author.  I got this idea from Beth Newingham and my kids LOVE it!

I'm not sure if there is anywhere to link-up to other classroom photos but if there is, fill me in!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I have hypertension.  At 25.  So my mom has this blood pressure machine at her house to monitor her blood pressure. I decided to test it out one day and my blood pressure was above quite a bit.  I figured the machine was messed up and tried again later.  Still high!  Let me start out by saying that I'm not overweight, I don't sit on my bum all day, and I don't have a sodium loaded diet (I like to think I eat somewhat healthy....ish).

Anyway, my mom got worried and sent the machine home with me.  It's kind of cute so I wasn't mad.  I was on strict mom orders to take my blood pressure every day and record it in a journal.  I did this and noticed that it was high on a very consistent basis.  I actually never got a "normal" reading.  I decided (after mom's persuasion) to call the doctor and ask if I should make an appointment.  The nurse said definitely so off to the doctor I went.

I was expecting to have a brief chat and leave with some advice on lifestyle changes or something....maybe more leafy greens, more exercise?!  Instead, I left with less blood (can't remember what they're testing it for) and a referral to get an ultrasound on my kidneys.  Oh yea, I also got a spur of the moment EKG.  It doesn't hurt and it didn't cost me extra (hopefully a bill doesn't show up in the mail), but it wasn't expected so it made me nervous!  There were so many cords attached to me with little shiny stickers....

Yuck.  I don't like going to the doctor and neither does my wallet!  Let's hope I have two healthy kidneys!  The specialist called the other day so I'll be headed to the hospital to get my ultrasound the Tuesday after we get back from Florida.  The thing I'm most worried about is drinking 32oz of water beforehand and NOT using the restroom!  I will die.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Green Outfits, Shamrock Writing & More!

First, I must finish up my What I Wore Week of Green.  You can see what I wore M/T/W in this post.
Thursday Outfit #1: green 3/4 sleeve top from Target, AE jeans.  This was taken at the mall BEFORE hair cut.
Thursday Outfit #2: Irish t from Marshall's, AE jeans.  This was taken AFTER hair cut (just a trim!)
Friday: light green polo from Kohls, Refuge jeans.
Did anyone else wear all green this week?  My kids LOVED it!  :)

I mentioned my [school] St. Patrick's Day plans in this post.  I used the same book, but changed the writing assignment a bit to better align with my students' needs.  Instead of making predictions about the story, I had my students retell the story in their own words.  Our focus was to retell the story in 4 parts using the words First, Next, Then, Last.  We talked about including only important details!  Here is what we ended up with:

We leave tomorrow for Florida!!  I might post a bit but I'm not promising anything. :) I'm super excited to get away from Ohio (even though the weather has been reallllly nice lately).  I'm having a mini panic attack though because I haven't started to pack!  Can't wait to be here:
our view from the beach one evening a few years ago

Fill in the _________ Friday!

It's that time again........I'm linking up with Lauren @ The Little Things We Do for some Fill in the Blank Friday fun!

1.   The best deal I've ever gotten is     probably our bedroom furniture?  It's nothing crazy expensive but I L-O-V-E it!  We have plenty of storage, I love the contemporary look of it and I got it all (1 chest of drawers, 1 wider dresser + mirror, bed frame with headboard, 2 nightstands, swiveling bookshelf with floor-length mirror) for $500!  I found it on Craigslist from a girl who was moving to Cali.  She had purchased it only 6 months ago and when we bought it, the set was still for sale in stores for over $1700!

2.  If I were hosting a dinner party and could invite people from my fantasy guest list it would include    This is really hard.  I would definitely invite some people who are missed in my life like my grandmas.  As far as celebrities, I'm really not sure....I'd have to think about that a little longer!  I would probably invite someone like Anne Hathaway so I could borrow something fun to wear to the party :)

3.  Something that inspires me is    kids.  They have the most amazing imaginations and ideas and it inspires me to think outside of the box on a daily basis!

4.  If I could only choose to eat one flavor of food for the rest of eternity (sweet, salty, spicy, bitter....) I would have to go with     How about a combo of salty & sweet?  I think I could probably live off chocolate covered pretzels or something similar. It's the best of both worlds, right?

5.  I dream about     crazy stuff.  I have the weirdest dreams.  I will remember them right when I wake up, but if I don't write them down (I never do), I forget them within 15 minutes.  One that I had recently that I do remember was me driving down the highway with my windows down.  All of the sudden a bird flies into my car and gets caught in my hair - CREEPTASTIC!  I almost crashed but then I woke up.  Phew!

6.  My weekend will be spent      being busy!!  Tonight I will finish up some laundry, tidy up the house, and begin (and finish) packing for our trip to FL.  Tomorrow I will wake up and finish packing (we all know I won't get much done tonight), head to a birthday party for one of my great friend's sons (Austin is 2!),  and then head to the airport!  Sunday we will be in Florida maxin' and relaxin' (ha!)

7.  If I could only  watch one movie or TV show for the rest of my life, it would be    The Office.  I can watch episodes of this show over and over!  I am the same way with Friends and Seinfeld.  Let's be honest though, I could never settle on one show for the rest of my life!

Head on over and link up with Lauren!  TGIF :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What I'm Wearing and Giveaways!

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I promised my kiddos that I would try and wear green EVERY day this week.  I honestly thought I owned more green clothing but I have been able to plan my outfits without purchasing anything new!  Here is what I wore.....all week so far!
Monday: green tank from Macy's, white Ann Taylor 3/4 sleeve v-neck, black pants, green jewelry from Gladys!

Tuesday: dark green v-neck from Forever21, black Old Navy cardi with ruffle details, dark wash bootcut jeans from AE.
Wednesday: Express 3/4 sleeve green shirt with ruffle detail, black pants.
Now, onto some super amazing giveaways.  Seriously, there are TONS going on right now!  Crossing my fingers for some Irish luck this week! ;)

Mrs. Thiessen at The First Grade Sweet Life is giving away a $20 gift certificate to Scrappin' Doodles!  Mrs. Thiessen makes the cutest games and activities using this clipart and I would love to win the gift certificate and create some of my own games to share!  Check out her blog...especially all of her FREE printables!  My kids love them. :)

Rachelle and Natalie of What the Teacher Wants are giving away a $100 gift card to the container store!  OMG, I've talked before about how I like everything "contained".  I have to avoid that store so I don't drain my bank account.  I can only begin to imagine all of the fun things I could buy for my classroom with that gift card!


Next, Diane and Kelly of Made for 1st Grade are giving away their Laura Numeroff Circle Story Unit!  I don't know about you, but my kids love Laura Numeroff books!  They are great to teach a variety of concepts.  My favorite thing to do is use them when noticing patterns in stories or author's writing styles!  This unit includes 135 pages of fun activities!

Steph at Nursing in Red Stilettos is giving away OPI nail polish!!  Seriously, these are awesome giveaways!  I love OPI polish.  I'm still obsessed with gray so I'm currently wearing "Moon over Mumbai"'s a nice cool, bright color that's getting me in the mood for warmer weather!

Mrs. Sauod at Primari Grafitti and Kacey at Doodle Bugs Paper are giving away one of Kacey's awesome portfolios!  These things are so cute and I would love to win one to keep myself just a little more organized!

Doodle Bugs Paper

I know this is never-ending but I want to keep you all in the loop so you can hopefully win something!  Cara a.k.a. Mrs. Carroll from The First Grade Parade and Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour is giving away some CSN gift cards!  Visit hear teaching blog (The First Grade Parade) to enter to win a $25 CSN promotional code.  Visit her domestic blog (Pearls, Hand Cuffs, and Happy Hour)to enter to win a $60 promotional code for CSN!

Miss Griffin of Fantastic First is working with Mrs. Claborn from A Burst of First to give us the chance to win something super fun: a $25 gift certificate to Scrappin' Doodles!  I love their clipart!!  This is the 2nd chance to win a Scrappin' Doodles gift certificate so I'm keeping my fingers super crossed!

One of my favorite crafty blogs is Eighteen25.  Jennifer, Jamie, and Jodie are so creative and have great ideas for any budget!   These ladies are hosting a giveaway week to celebrate their blog's birthday!  There are so many fun things to win over there.  Some of the items include a Jo Totes Rose Bag (I would the pewter color!), 11 pretty colored spools from The Twinery, your very own Silhouette SD (!!!), and more!  The celebration continues so make sure to follow their blog if you love crafting at all.

Good luck, everyone!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


There are a few new giveaways I wanted to tell everyone about!

Janae at First Grade Fun is celebrating 200 followers by giving away a Dr. Jean CD of your choice!  Congrats Janae, your blog is so fun!

Also, Lindsey at The Teacher Wife is giving away a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card!  She won this gift card for herself but decided to give it away - too sweet!  Make sure to check out her blog (love it!) and enter to win!

ALSO....Katie from Persnickety Pickles is giving away her Punctuation People activity packet!

I also had to add that there are only 6 days until we leave for Florida!!  Although the weather has been looking brighter (literally) around here, I can't wait to soak up some real sun in Southern FL!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

St. Patrick's Day plans....

I haven't planned a TON for St. Patrick's Day yet, but I have a few ideas.  (All you gals who plan weeks in advance really stress me out!  But I still love you!)  Around where I live, the holiday books get checked out of the library WEEKS in advance and don't get returned until weeks after.  Luckily I snagged this new Eve Bunting book a few weeks ago and can't wait to use it to practice prediction with my third grade kiddos.
I swear I will figure out how to use Google Docs soon so you guys can "borrow" stuff I post....
For my K/1 kids, I'm using a book from Hubbard's Cupboard.  I use a lot of their printable sight word books so that my students can take the "keep books" home and practice fluency!  Next week I'm going to use Counting Shamrocks.  I printed the pocket chart pictures and made copies of the shamrock pictures.  Each student will choose a card from a green gift bag and write about their card on this reading response sheet.  PLEASE excuse my embarrassingly horrible art skills.  I only do it so the kids feel less pressured to be "perfect".  (HA!)

When I got to school yesterday, my mailbox was full of papers from firsties.  These students aren't even in my class but for some reason, they make me things all the time.  Melts my heart!  :)  Here are a few that brightened my day...
"Your the best techer I ever had in the world."
"Do you like me? What is your farit colors"  - Love the illustration on this one!

Friday, March 11, 2011


TGIF.  Seriously.  This week went SLOW!

First I want to link-up with Lauren at The Little Things We Do for some Fill in the blank Friday fun!
1.   My biggest accomplishment in life thus far is  obtaining my BSE (Bachelor of Science in Education) and graduating Magna Cum Laude.  I worked full-time (sometimes 2 jobs) to pay my own way through college and it was very stressful at times, but I couldn't be more proud of myself!

2.  My favorite place to sit in my house is the winter I love sitting in our family room with the fire blazing.  HOWEVER, I LOVE sitting on our patio in our cozy loungers soaking up some sun with a fruity drink and a good book :)

3.  My fashion philosophy is  cute and comfortable.  I'm not super trendy but I also refuse to leave the house in sweat pants.

4.  Something every girl should have is ....this is too difficult.  I guess I would say a good mascara.  Mascara always makes me feel better if I'm in a blah mood. 

5.  If you looked in my purse right now you'd find.... OMG, I can't even begin to list the things.  Wallet, a keychain solely for all of my scan cards (Kroger, library, Lakeshore, Giant Eagle, etc.), too many lip glosses and chapsticks, a tiny make-up bag with a few emergency essentials, cell phone, camera, pens, copuons, ipod, mints, gum, hand sanitizer, lotion, perfume, work badge, aleve, gift cards, car keys, work keys......I should probably clean it out!

6.  My favorite music right now is   I have too much....I just got the Pandora app on my phone and made a new account.  I added Lady Gaga, Passion Pit, The Black Keys, Modest Mouse, Michael Buble...and a few more I can't remember.

7.  My favorite part of my body is  this is hard.  I guess maybe my legs....?

Ok, now onto some more fun stuff.  I participated in an Accessory Swap hosted by the lovely Elisabeth at The Adventures of Miss Elisabeth.  (I'm linking up to other gals who participated here.)  I was paired up with Gladys of Teaching in High Heels.  After emailing a few times, we found we had similar taste so shopping for her was really fun!  Here is a sneak peak of what I sent Gladys, but head to her blog to see what was inside!

Gladys sent me a TON of cute stuff.  I was so excited to get home and find a package.  (Who doesn't love getting packages?!)

All of the goodies I received!  Thanks Gladys!
Gladys sent me a ton of fun stuff!  An awesome long necklace (wore it today), a few headbands, some super cute bracelets and earrings (the green jewelry is PERFECT for St. Patty's Day!), some notepads, lotion & body wash, candy.....she seriously is great!  Thanks so much, Gladys!