Thursday, July 28, 2011

This is going in a frame on my wall

I usually do not post twice in one day, but I am sitting here reading (while the girls are playing/sleeping quietly) and I came across this quote in The Literate Kindergarten by Susan Kempton (a must read for every kindy teacher) and I typed it up to frame and put on my desk.  I just wanted to share - I'm sure one of you creative types could do a fancier job (if you do please send me a copy)  Happy Thursday!

Teaching Kindergarten Requires the Flexibility Of

This is Why I haven't Posted in 2 Weeks!

I just realized it has been 2 weeks since I've posted anything and I have to say I am very proud of myself.  I am fully into summertime mode.  I've completed 6 out of 10 books on my summer reading list and just got back from a relaxing beach vacation with my sisters (and 4 nieces & nephews!!) Here is why I have been away from my computer and away from my blog for a few weeks:

Hanging out at the ape house at the Oregon zoo

Maddie & Lola sharing a snack & a story on the floor

Lola turned 2 on July 15th - here she is enjoying her new slide.

Here is the crew at the Oregon Coast Aquarium

Maddie & my 2 nieces trying to catch some waves at the beach

Maddie went camping with Mr. M

Lola & my newest nephew Fin

The entire fam on the beach

Taking Lola for her first walk on the beach - she was NOT digging it
Waiting for my sister & brother-in-law to bring home their new cousin - FIN!!

My birthday is on August 5th so I am giving myself until then to relax and enjoy my summer, then it's back to school mode!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top Ten New Blogs I've Discovered Through Pinterest

Yes, it's my Tuesday top ten (just two days late).  I've been so good at relaxing and not thinking too much about teaching and school that I forgot to put together my Tuesday Top Ten! 

Like most of you I've discovered the world of Pinterest.  I've even started a few of the projects I pinned.  I'm making a birthday banner for Lola's birthday party on Saturday and I'm making the milk crate seats that I pinned to my Creative Classroom board.  Tonight I'm trying a recipe from my Yum that looks good board - the Flank Steak and Avocado Taco Salad. 

Since I've discovered the world of Pinterest, I've also discovered several "new" blogs.  I put new in quotes because these blogs are new to me.  So I thought I would share them with you! Here are ten new blogs I'm am now following:

1. Eighteen25 - This blog has SOOO many wonderful DIY gift ideas and fantastic recipes. One of my favorites is the teacher appreciation ideas.  They include step by step directions and printable labels.

2. For the Love of Cooking - LOVE THIS SITE!!  Tonight I'm trying the steak and avocado salad.  However I've pinned several more recipes I intend on trying before my summer is through (just because I have more time to cook)  Each recipe has step by step directions, pictures for each step and printable directions.  Tomorrow night I may have to try the Mediterranean Orzo salad with Grilled Vegetables.

3. Handprint and Footprint Art - One of my goals this upcoming school year is to include more purposeful art in my teaching.  When I stumbled across this art blog I got giddy!  Just look at this idea for a crab handprint picture with song!

There are LOADS of other wonderful art and parent gift ideas - all made with finger, hand and foot prints!

4. It is What it is - another fabulous blog with DIY ideas. Beth has a segment called What's on the Nightstand where she shares what book she is reading. All of her ideas come with directions including printable labels.  I noticed that MANY  people have pinned the Smartie Pants idea in their classroom pins, that came from here!

5. Meet the Dubiens - this is yet another wonderful craft and food blog written by Jill, a mom from Canada.  She is so creative and crafty.  I found some super cute sock monkey cupcakes I'm making for Lola's birthday party on Saturday (her bedroom is a sock monkey theme).

6. Mrs. Beam's First Grade - I thought I was following just about every kindy, first blog there was.  Then I found Jenn's blog. It was here that I found this handwriting poem.  She also has resources for writing workshop and great homework ideas.

7. Mrs. Picasso's Art Room - another excellent resources for art projects for your classroom (or home). Mrs. Picasso is an art teacher and each of her projects has step by step directions and which grade level they would be appropriate for.  This is one I'm trying next year!

8. No Dime Design - This blog is written by a mom from Alaska (where there is no Pottery Barn or IKEA, can you imagine?!?!) who find ideas from places like The Land of Nod and makes them herself (CHEAP). It was here that I found the directions for how to make this chalkboard table.

9. U Create with Kids - If you have kids or work with kids, then check out this blog. Such creativity!  This is where I found this fun food project - it may be lunch tomorrow!

10. Hungry Happenings - which I discovered when I found UCreate with Kids! Look at these Starfish S'mores!  I'm making these when we take our annual beach trip at the end of the month!
 I hope you have discovered a new blog or two out there or even a new idea.  What things have you discovered through Pinterest?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Writer's Workshop Resource & I'm Jumping on the Bandwagon

I've been doing so well at really enjoying my summer and not thinking too much about work and teaching. The fam & I have been spending lots of time at the farmer's market, enjoying our new patio set and grilling out in the backyard. I haven't even done any back to school shopping (although I've bookmarked quite a few things I liked in the Lakeshore catalog)  However I knew it was inevitable that I would find something to get me thinking about teaching again.  I am a fan of Two Writing Teachers on Facebook (they also have a wonderful blog which gives all kinds of tips and resources for writer's workshop).  They have just published a new book about Writer's Workshop and being more reflective in your own teaching of the workshop model.  You can preview it on line here!!!  I've already read through the first chapter and am looking forward to reading some more!  If you like them on Facebook you can get a whole week's worth of free tips and resources from the book.

OK - now to the second part of my title - "JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON"  Thanks to Lindsey over at The Teacher Wife  I am now a member of Pinterest and although she and many others warned me, I am addicted.  I almost burned my Parmesan & Basil Orzo the other evening because I was so busy pinning. I do love this sight and how organized it's forced me to be with my ideas.  I also like it because I can find so many fantastic ideas from so many others without searching too hard.  Now the key is to put those ideas into action.  One of my boards is a Yum That Looks Good board about foods I want to try and I am actually trying one of those recipes this week.  I also like Pinterest because it's very visual, so if you are a visual person (like me) it's perfect for you.  It also gives a link back to the website where the original pin came from so I've found many new and excitting websites & blogs that I never knew exisited.  Feel free to check out my Pinterest boards. (

If you are interested in checking out my boards & pins & getting your own account, please leave me a message with your e-mail address and I'd be happy to send you an invitation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Top Ten . . . Free stuff!

In honor of the celebration of our country's birthday, I have decided to write about my favorite things that are free(thanks Mr. M for the idea) This is a random selection of things you can get for free or sign up for. Being a teacher, and a relatively cheap person I fully take advantage of all and any free items in the world.  So with out further ado:

1. Baskin-Robbins ice cream.  On your birthday you get a free ice cream cone or scoop.  It's fantastic!! My fav flavor is Jamoca Almond Fudge!  If you live by a Baskin Robbins and you haven't sign up yet - just go here!

2. Parks - I know that seems a little silly and maybe somewhat lame, but I am so thankful that parks are free for everyone to use.  I spent most of the morning at the park today with my girls and some friend's boys we were watching.  It was wonderful!!!  There was bicycle riding and scooter riding and running and swinging.  The best part is that after we got home there was also napping!

3. Fonts (free ones of course)  There is currently a fav font linky party happening in blog world and I should have joined up (maybe I still will).  There are several websites I use for free fonts.  They are:

4. Books (from the library) - I am so thankful that there are many libraries in our community and that they have such a HUGE selection of books, reading clubs, reading programs, etc. Our family is a family of readers and if we have to buy all the books we read, we would a) need a bigger house and b) have NO money!

This is our new library they are opening downtown in 2 weeks!

5. Water - this may seem a little strange and I guess technically it's not free because I go get my water bill at the end of the month, BUT it's amazing how much fun you can have with a hose and some cups.  It offers HOURS of summer fun and enjoyment. (and again a nap when playtime is over) However there is a lot of free water like lakes, rivers and oceans and during the summer my family and I spent a lot of time camping, running, walking and hiking along most of these.

Our FAVORITE beach destination - Pacific City, Oregon

My sister & I half way up the massive sand dune you see in the first picture

6. Summer concerts in the park - our local park sponsors these concerts all summer long.  They have classical music on Wednesday at noon and rock n roll concerts on Thursday evenings.  And the best part is they are FREE!

7. Farmer's Markets - I think I am becoming a Farmer's Market addict.  I absolutely LOVE them.  If I read about a new market or one I haven't been to I will go immediately.  Of course it costs money to buy things form the market (which I always do) but what's free is the atmosphere, the information and the samples. Last weekend we tested out the Hollywood Farmer's market (IT WAS AWESOME) and came across the Green Living Project booth. We signed up to get their free educational curriculum that they are creating. We also sampled some wonderful wine and delicious fruits!

8. Public education - I had to mention this one since I am a teacher, but I think it's important that we live in a place where every child has the opportunity to go to school for free!

9. Dinner (did you notice a food theme here?)  There are so many places that offer a free dinner on your birthday!  Around me there is Red Robin, Old Spaghetti Factory (free kids meal), Black Angus, Vancouver Pizza Co.  I could go on and on.  I think I go eat out at least once a week for free during August (my birthday month) It's a good thing I run otherwise I would need to find another way to burn off all the food I eat!

10. Blogging - Thanks to all the blogs and their owners who offer your advice, ideas and friendship for free!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summertime - The Mom in me is here!

Summertime has FINALLY come to the Northwest.  For those of you that are not familiar with our climate, the joke around here is that summer starts on July 5th because the weather up until then is awful!  This year that appears to NOT be the case.  We've had 2 beautiful days of sunny, 80 degree weather and another week of it on the way. YIPPEE SKIPPY!!  So I would like to ask all of my followers to be patient with me over the next few weeks. I'm deep into my summer reading list which means I will need time to think, process & create.  I will be posting, but probably the content will be more related to my family and our summer adventures.  I will keep up my Tuesday Top Ten ( I really look forward to that post) and my teaching posts will return in late July/early August. (I already have some ideas planned for anchor charts for reading & writing workshop) But that doesn't mean you can't stop by and check in on the fam.  Yesterday we hit the Hollywood Farmer's market and bought our weight in Hood strawberries, wine, tomatoes & bread! It's one of my favorite things about summer.

You have to admit my girls are pretty cute!
It also means that I will still be checking in and reading all of your blogs.  I'm really enjoying all the posts out there about school supplies!  Enjoy your summer and I will "see" you all soon.

Happy 4th of July everyone!!  Be safe!