Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted about reviewing a new book.  I love when people find my blog and contact me about stuff like this!  Not only did they provide me with a free e-book to do the review, but I was able to get a lot of valuable information from the book.

The book is Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys: How to Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives.  Pam Allyn is a very inspirational lady and is also the founder of LitLife.  Read more about her on her website!

While reading this book, there were a lot of quotes that stood out to me:
“True equality both in the school environment and in the workplace will come when we can embrace differences and affirm them, celebrate them, and move past them.” – page 8
  • I thought this was very meaningful because not everyone seems to be ready to embrace differences.  I think a lot of people notice differences (especially in students), but the important part is to embrace, affirm, and celebrate those differences.  Not only will this help to bring your classroom together as a community of learners, but the students will respect each other!
“For many children, reading is a journey that requires a measure of courage and risk
taking. It is also one of the most deeply satisfying and pleasurable of all human endeavors
and inarguably one of the most profoundly useful. My mission is to help all children achieve
not only functional literacy but transformational literacy. The kind of literacy that will allow
them to learn something new every day, connect to all people everywhere, and to invent
new ideas that could change the world.—And in this process, to learn, through reading,
how to be the kind of person they want to become.” – page 9
  • I really enjoy how you can see Pam Allyn's love of reading come through in some parts of her book.  As a teacher, it is important to model a love of learning.  I like how Pam doesn't just discuss reading as an academic skill, but a lifelong skill that will help our children to succeed and reach their goals.
Using the READ model, there are four essential elements to crafting a reading life: Ritual, Environment, Access, and Dialogue.” – page 13
  • In Part 2 of the book, Pam introduced the READ model.  She goes into detail describing each aspect of the model and how it can help our children to become lifelong readers. 
Part 2 of the book also included a variety of questions with answers from Pam.  I really enjoyed reading these questions and answers and I think they would be beneficial to teachers OR parents!  My favorite question was, "When should I stop reading aloud?" Pam starts off her answer by saying "Never!"  I think this is something that a lot of parents (and sometimes teachers) struggle with.  My mom always read aloud to me and I always enjoyed it.  I remember classmates rolling their eyes when our teachers in middle school would want to read a book to us.  However, I think if you catch the child's interest, it can always be beneficial to read aloud, read together, or just read at the same time.  I am a big advocate for modeling a love of reading!

Part 3 includes suggestions of books for boys on various reading levels including emerging, developing, and maturing.  Allyn includes a brief description of the story and sometimes includes discussion points or similar stories.  She has split up the book lists to be organized by subjects (examples: adventure, comic books/graphic novels, fantasy/imagination, history/historical fiction, etc.) so you can easily find something to interest your boy(s).  I loved this part because I can easily use it as a reference after doing an interest inventory with my students.  The end of part 3 includes additional resources such as magazines and web sites!

In her final thoughts, Pam describes how her reading differs from her husband’s reading.  I found this to be interesting because I talk to my husband about it all the time.  I always wonder why he can’t get into books like I can.  He prefers reading magazines, online articles, or even e-books. He just doesn’t like the old school paper books for some reason.  It used to drive me nuts but as long as he’s reading, I guess it’s all the same!

Overall, I think this book would be a great addition to a teacher's professional development library and I also think that parents would benefit from the purchase of this book!  If you have a boy who is struggling to get into reading, definitely check out the book.  I even think it could be a good idea to look at the book lists in Part 2 with your boy and head over to the library to help motivate him!

The book is available on Amazon for a great price and you can also read the wonderful reviews that Amazon users have left (it has 5 stars)!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Giveaway for 100 Followers!

I honestly can't believe there are 100 people that want to follow MY blog!  I hope you all enjoy what you read here and if you have ANY ideas of how I can improve my blog or make it more interesting, please feel free to comment or email [my email address is on the right sidebar]!  I love comments so leave me some love!!  I put my brand-spankin' new button above so make sure to grab it when you enter!

In honor of having 100 followers, I am hosting a giveaway along with

Thanks to Giveaway Blogs and UPrint, I am able to offer one lucky winner 250 (2"x3.5") custom Sticker LabelsDetails: 70lb Label Matte, Front Only Printing, 4 Business Days Turnaround.  UPrint has free templates on their website since YOU get to design your labels!

I am giving you 3 chances to win this giveaway!

1st Entry: Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me how you would use these labels.

2nd Entry: Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your post.

3rd Entry [optional]: Like UPrinting on Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment telling me you did so!

*This giveaway will close on Sunday July 3rd at 5pm.  I will announce the winner Sunday night or Monday morning!*

As a teacher, I see a lot of fun ideas for these labels....
  • bookplates for your classroom library: "This book belongs to Mrs. ______'s Classroom Library"
  • a stationary sticker to personalize any fun, themed paper: "A Note from Mrs. _________"
  • a fill in the blank type sticker for students: "This Writing Notebook Belongs to _________"
  • Nametags for students
...the possibilities are endless!  Good luck and once again, thanks for following, I love all of my followers and super love those who leave fun comments for me to read :)

Note: This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive labels for hosting. Check out standard label templates on  This giveaway is limited to US Residents 18 years of age or older.


I can't believe it's already Wednesday!  Time to link up with Jamie!

I'm loving that I've been super productive so far today.  Before 9am, I had already vacuumed most of the house, started my 2nd load of laundry, and sorted through my coupons to get rid of expired copus.  I also felt the need to brag about this via my facebook status since I'm never that productive before 9am unless I'm working!

I'm loving that I have a 50% off coupon for hair color services at a salon near-by because I haven't had my hair colored [at a salon] for a few years.  I'm tempted to get some me into it!

I'm loving my new recipe binder that I made.  My old recipe book was a small binder where I had to handwrite all of my recipes (annoying and time consuming)!  It also had pre-made tabs that didn't match up with my needs.  This one will be totally what I want ....and cute, and free since I had all of the supplies to make it!
I'm loving my new shirt from F21.  Lately I haven't been able to find much at all.  I always see my blogger friends posting fun finds from F21 and I always have NO luck there!  I was excited to find this shirt and I've already worn it twice.....might be a summer staple because I'm loving stripes right now!
I'm loving my amazing pupper-lups (don't make fun). 
I'm loving my wonderful husband and our home that we've made together <3

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dollar Spot Finds!

While catching up on my blogs, I saw a post about some Target Dollar Spot finds over at Primary Perspective.  While I was out of town, I was definitely missing my Target.  I'm usually found at one of the local Targets anywhere from 1-5 times a week.  Embarrassing?  Yes.  How can I resist with a Starbucks inside, though?!

Either way, after reading Brooke's post, I had to see what was available at my Target.  The Dollar Spot did not disappoint!

I found a bunch of goodies for my classroom!  Even though I don't know what grade level I'll be teaching next year, it's still worth it to me to pick up these goodies that I know I'll be able to use at some point in the future!  I got a bunch of leveled readers that will be good for emerging readers as well as non-fiction projects, some rewards, mini white boards (lined), mini whiteboard erasers, Dr. Seuss stickers, a M-F magnetic notepad for myself, flashcards, and more!  I hope Target keeps the Dollar Spot stocked for teachers for the rest of the summer!

I also wanted to mention an awesome giveaway at a new blog that I found!  Eric at Erica's Elementary Excitement is giving away some giftcards.  Target and Lakeshore to be exact!  Erica is giving bloggers 4 chances to win so head on over and enter!  :::crossing my fingers:::

Monday, June 27, 2011

Post Vacay Update!

We got back from Arizona Saturday a little after midnight.  Sunday I attended a bridal shower and was a busy girl unpacking and getting situated back at home!  Today I had a dentist appointment and was still getting situated (a.k.a. catching up on my DVR, laundry, painting my nails, etc.)!  Here is a quick sneak preview of our trip.....haven't uploaded anything from my camera yet so beware of bad-quality cell photos!

First, we encountered this stylish 'do at the airport.  This guy seriously had PERFECTED his mullet.  It looked like he used about a bottle and a half of LA Looks hair gel and had a perm but only on the bottom half.  Total amazingness!

 On our first day, we had planned to "relax" and settle in due to the time change.  Instead, we went on an amazing hike since it was right down the street from our hotel.  This is the view from a little ways up Bell Rock.
 Still hiking Bell Rock.....great views!
 We also spent some time shopping "in town".  They had some really cool vintage buildings and this was one of my favs. 
 We had dinner at a restaurant with an awesome view.........everywhere I went they had sweet potato fries.  I loved it!
 Another thing I saw everywhere we went: Prickly Pear Margaritas.  Obviously I love myself a marg but this was deeee-lish!  I must find the flavoring somewhere here in Ohio.......I'm already missing it!
 I needed a snack for our mini road trip to the Grand Canyon (~2 hour drive).  I thought animal crackers sounded yummy and found this super cute Lilly Pulitzer special edition box at the gas station.  Fun!
 There was a lot of sun ......which I loved!
 The sun led to heat.....which I also loved!  Like everyone says "it's a dry heat".  While it still felt hot, it was a lot different than Ohio instant sticky feeling (yuck)!
 We also visited the Grand Canyon and hiked down into the canyon.  Very cool experience but very HOT on the way out of the canyon!

I'm sure I'll find time in the next few days to give a real update about what's been going on lately in my life!  I've missed reading everyone's blogs for the past week!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Friday and a few Giveaways!

I had an interview today.  I was excited about it, but also hesitant because of some things I had heard "through the grapevine" a.k.a. HR!  The position was a 1st grade position (yay!) but it was open due to the previous teacher being RIF'ed.  She was lucky enough to be placed somewhere else and another teacher was placed in the 1st grade spot.  However, the new first grade teacher resigned because she is moving.  Hence, the opening.  To make a long story short, I was told that the principal probably wants her old teacher back but "is required" to interview me.  Interview practice is always good, not to mention getting my name out there.  It was just a little disheartening.  Either way, she was a very nice principal and I'm glad I went!  Plus, if the other teacher comes back, that will just open up another position, right?  ....trying to stay positive here folks! :)

Now it's that time.............
1.   The last movie I saw was     Killers with Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher.  It was pretty cute....entertaining but not something I'd buy.  If it had someone other than Katherine Heigl, I might not have watched it.  I like her, though! :)

2.  I want to    finish my friend's wedding place cards and then start packing for our trip!

3.  Surprises are     fun.  I have to agree with Lauren though, if I know the surprise is coming, I hate it because I'm uber curious!! :)

4.  The best accessory is  a fun bracelet or a fun pair of earrings.  Headbands are also cute lately!  I would say a good bag but I don't feel accessorized with just a purse!

5.  My favorite warm drink is     most common warm thing I drink: coffee with flavored creamer.  Most fav: sbux white chocolate mocha or peppermint mocha.  YUM!

6.  My favorite cold drink is    skinny iced vanilla latte, cherry coke zero, lemonade, most juices....

7.  Currently loving   that we're leaving for vaca tomorrow AND the summer weather we've been having.  When we get back from AZ I have to get myeslf to the pool immediately so my pass doesn't go to waste! 

Head on over and link up with Lauren at The Little Things We Do!

Now that the weekend has officially started, make sure to check out these amazing giveaways!

The Lesson Plan Diva is having a giveaway where EVERYONE is a winner!  Check it out by clicking her button below:

Also, Mrs. Kelly's Kindergarten is hosting a giveaway with Mrs. Patton.  Head on over to Stephanie's blog to check out the amazing prize!  I'm excited about this one!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wedding [festivities] Wednesday! .....a day late :)

I meant to make this post yesterday and totally forgot.  Oops!

Either way, this past weekend, my girlfriends and I threw a bridal shower and bachelorette party for a really good friend of mine.  The guest of honor, Kelli, has been a close friend of mine for over 10 years!  I love Kelli to death and I feel like we can talk about anything, laugh about everything, and even cry to each other, if needed.  She is one of my very best friends and I'm SO glad she had a fun weekend.  Here is a quick recap of our weekend [I'll leave out the totally inappropriate stuff....hehe]

Bridal Shower hosted at MY house!  This turned out great and Kel got a ton of super fun gifts!

We made a road trip down to Cincinnati for the Bachelorette party!  This is us at dinner at Benihana :)

Our chef, Andre.  He was VERY entertaining.  He made this heart beat for us :)

The bride-to-be with her 'Suck for a Buck' bouquet.  This was quite successful and easy to make, too!

One of her first "deals", ha!

Cadillac Ranch!

Kelli really wanted to ride this bull.  She had tons of fun UNTIL she busted her chin open.  Poor girl :(  She was a trooper, though!

On our way to Mynt (we ended up going back to our hotel instead).

Kelli: I hope you're reading this.  It's time for you to make a blog!  One month and one day until YOUR BIG DAY!  Can't wait :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

I'm linking up with Jamie today for WILW!

I'm loving that in 3 days, I will be on my way to sunny, relaxing Sedona, AZ! 
I'm loving that tonight I get to spend some time with my friend Kristin and her super cute son, Austin.  Seriously, he's such a cutie, I can't stand it!

I'm loving that Rice Krispie TREATS cereal is back!  I resisted the urge to buy this but I'm still really excited about it.  It's the little things....

I'm loving that some opportunities for next school year are finally arising.  To read more about it, check out my post from yesterday here.

I'm loving that we had a very fun and successful bridal shower and bachelorette party for my friend, Kelli, this past weekend!  [New post with pictures coming soon!]

I'm loving that my gardens are looking quite pretty as of lately!  
Backyard lily garden :)

Front garden....still waiting on snapdragons to bloom!

Sorry, Mr. Mailman....I promise to transplant this fall!

New hydrangea bushes from the hubby!

My stargazer is blooming finally! [These were our wedding flowers.]

As always, I'm loving my wonderful husband and our two fur babies, Chip and Dixie!
Super cuddly when I woke up early one morning :)