Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Book Whisperer

After relaxing in my sweats cozied up to Netflix the past two days from snow, I had the honor and pleasure to listen to Donalyn Miller speak at the Write to Learn Conference here in Missouri! You may be familiar with her from her book The Book Whisperer, which I know have a signed copy! (insert dorky smile here).

Buy it on Amazon here

Throughout her presentation (all day!), I kept thinking that everything she was talking about was realistic and do-able. I have sat in workshops before and felt like there was no way I could manage it all  or do that in my classroom. Today was different. She spoke to us like educators and shared practical strategies and ideas. 

I'll share more of the ideas and thoughts pouring out my head soon.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Smash Book!

Currently, I'm blogging from the comfort of my warm and cozy home. You're probably thinking, "Oh! She has the flu!" No no... my health is in prime condition, instead I'm stuck inside my house because of the SECOND snow storm to hit the midwest in less than a week! I've continually checked for snow totals, but let's just say... we're getting dumped on. 

While perusing the isles of JoAnn's last Thursday, I stumbled upon their Smash Book section.  I picked one up and started making one of my niece and nephew. I grabbed their birth announcements, cards, letters, holiday cards, invitations, and my favorite pictures and started sticking them in. The book I bought was specific to babies/kids, so it had pre-made pages that went with a theme. Here are a few of my pages:

I plan to pick up another book before my family jets off for vacation this summer. If you feel overwhelmed by scrapbooking (like me!), I would recommend a Smash Book!

Now, what shall I do with my snow day? Last week I watched a record number of movies. Maybe today I'll top that. Netflix... here I come!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alexander the Great

A few days ago, a friend of mine reached out to several of her Facebook friends asking for stories about their pets for a social media campaign. I jumped on the chance to write a little story about my favorite and most believed pooch of all time, Alex. 

After writing it, and wiping my tears, I wanted to share it with you fine people - because I know I'm not the only dog lover around these parts. 

There was no question who ran our household. A four pound fluffy black-haired little pooch ruled the roost in our home. I will never forget walking home from school in the third grade and seeing my mom relaxing in the living room. My sister and I both titled our heads to make out the little fluff she was holding. Eventually, we both discovered an adorable Yorkshire Terrier waiting to be loved and adored by two sisters. He was the runt of the litter and found a quick way to our hearts. He was given the name "Alex" because he was the son my mother never had. The name stuck because of his human like qualities including, but not limited to: snuggling, sitting at the table, taking trips to the lake, waking up the family, and visiting college - to name a few. I could sit for hours and recount all of the memories that I hold with Alex. It's incredible how a four pound creature not only takes up a little space in your house - but eventually consumes your entire heart and sweeps your family off their feet. Any dog (or cat) owner can feel exactly what I'm referring to. Not only did I love Alex, and the way he greeted me every time I came home, but my friends adored him too. During my freshman year of college, as Alex has turned into a grayer version of himself, he found my dorm room quite cozy for weeks at a time while I snuck him in and out of the doors. My friends would pop over to visit my little pooch.. He was our best kept secret! His favorite spots were in the sunshine and cuddled up in your spot underneath the covers in your bed. Many mornings I was woken by Big Al staring at me in the face with a squeaky hamburger reminding me that it was time for him to take care of business and I needed to move it. 

As any pet owner can agree - there comes a point when a dog becomes more than a dog. The same could be said for cats... if you like cats of course. From the moment I met Alexander the Great (a dog with many many names) he would forever be a part of my life. As Alex grew older, his heath couldn't keep up with his outgoing spirit and spunk and sadly his time came. Since that afternoon in third grade, a four pound little pooch left an impression on my heart that will forever be imprinted and stitched with love, fur, sweet memories, and precious snuggles. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

What a delightful treat to be featured on Ashley's blog One Fine Day. Check out my picks in her weekly special "Need Read Greed". 
Is everyone all right out there? Check your pulse. Are you sure you're okay? I haven't updated you on my Book Club's recent selections. How have you been surviving these past few months? Sheesh! How selfish of me. Don't fret - I've got all the picks I've neglected to update you on right here. 

Whew! Rest easy. You're updated now. 
Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chocolate Rhubarb

Do you have a reserved time for read aloud time in your classroom? During my year in second grade, we read a story, if not several, each day and my students loved it. I worried as I transitioned into an upper grade that my students wouldn't quite love read aloud time as my second graders. Boy, I was wrong. Whether I'm thumbing through a picture book to jump start a unit or caught in the middle of an incredible chapter book - my students enjoy it. Fifth graders may get pegged as the "older" kids, but they are still suckers for a good book, too. 

Our current read aloud is Drizzle written by Kathleen Van Cleve. We picked this book because in Missouri it is recognized as a Mark Twain Nominee. We reached Part Two this afternoon and I knew I had to share it with my fellow teachers - because you might not be aware of this little gem!

Here's what you would find on the back of the book:
"Eleven-year-old Polly Peabody needs to make it start raining. For her entire life, it has rained at exactly one o'clock every Monday afternoon on her family's magical rhubarb farm, until one Monday, when it stops. And then Polly's brother gets sick, really sick. Polly has to figure out how everything is connected and make it rain before her beloved Aunt Edith sells the farm.  She has help from the farm itself, in the form of the plants and insects, including her best friend, Harry, a chocolate-tasting rhubarb plant.  They all push Polly to confront her fears.  But is it enough, and more importantly - is there enough time?"

I had my reservations prior to starting this book. Honestly! I thought, "a magic farm? chocolate rhubarb? a best friend that is a plant? oh boy!" It wasn't one I would have picked up in the library on my own. Thankfully, I have smart students who can spot a good book from a mile away. Not to mention, it's FULL of rich language  to use during writing time. 

I'm even anxious to get back to school tomorrow to continue on - my mind is swirling with the possibilities and FATE of this poor farm!

What are your favorite read alouds?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sending Love in a Box!

If you've been a follower of my blog for some time, you may know that I'm an aunt to the cutest and sweetest niece and nephew. Now, I don't live in the same town as them but I'm close enough to pop over for dinner or invite myself over for the weekend. That's something aunts do, right?

This year, I wanted to surprise BDE and Libby on Valentine's Day with a gift. My original plan was to ship a box full of goodies in the mail and have it arrive on Valentine's Day. Since I was making a trip home to celebrate my Dad's birthday, I decided to present the gift in person! (Sorry Post Office.. you'll get my business next time). I had intended on making BDE wait until Valentine's Day to open the present, but I quickly realized that would have been cruel and unnecessary punishment for a 3-year old.  I have so much to learn.  

Inside the box, I stuffed loads of candy (you're welcome, sista!), onesies and dresses for Libby, and Jake and the Neverland Pirate goodies. Did I mention my nephew is a pirate? Yes, he's a pirate. On top of the gifts, I cut out several hearts on my Cricut and dumped them in the box. 

BDE made sure to bypass the paper hearts and get to the stuff that mattered ... like tootsie rolls and skittles. I can't blame him, those are my favorite candies as well. :)

He dug through the box and found his Jake goodies, but I had to reel him back in to find Libby's gifts. After, of course, he stood inside the box. 

Even though I won't be able to spend Valentine's Day with my favorite little ones, at least I was able to shower them with love in the form of paper hearts, candy, and coloring books - all wrapped up in a box.

What Valentine's Day plans to you have in store?

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I love how holidays provide perfect opportunities to give gifts with good puns. I wanted to give my students a cute little Valentine with a clever pun attached. Now, I can't take credit for the pun, but I can take credit for the execution! 

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

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