Fitness Goals

Monday, December 31, 2012 No comments
Oh bloggy friends, it's like this linky party is speaking to my heart! 12/31-the day to type your fitness goals.  Here it is. Wait for it. Wait for it. Waaaaaiiiitttttt for it............

I'm going.
I'm going to.
I'm going to do.
I'm going to do something! 
My fitness goal for 2013 is to do something every single day. Walk, run, jog, stretch, dance, etc. I'm going to stop pinning it and start doing it! Ha!

What is your fitness goal? Link up!

Downtime: Real or Make Believe

Sunday, December 30, 2012 No comments

I'm a little late on this linky party, but I just had to do it! I love stuff like this! After thinking long and hard about my professional goals, I turn now to this thing called downtime. 

I visited Ninjawords to find the definition of this word that has eluded me for years. 
Well that explains it! "Beyond one's control." That my friend is something I am not a fan of...maybe/hopefully that is true for most teachers. :)

2013 will be different for this no-downtiming girl! I'm going to control my downtime. HA! Look at that! I am going to MAKE myself do nothing. I need this. I really do. No reading/blogging/cleaning/planning/professional reading/momminess/creating/worrying/etc.

I can do this....right? Have you done it? If so, share your secret-I beg you!

Hmmmm...Professional Goals

Saturday, December 29, 2012 3 comments
Some of the blogs I absolutely, positively love, are having a linky party. I was intrigued and inspired when I read some of the professional goals from other teachers. So, here goes!
Before I even begin, I need to say that this list could have 7,462 things on it, but I'm sticking with 3. Why?  I don't know. Maybe I don't want to disappoint myself. :)

1. I want to be a better planner. I guess it isn't really the planning, it is the putting it on paper so that maybe someone, anyone, could understand it. 
2.  Read. I need to read more. Some may laugh at this, because I read kid lit more than any one person should. I need to read more professional lit. Some may laugh at this, because I read more professional lit than one person should. Point is, I need to read kid lit with the "I want to write one of these one day" goggles. I need to read professional lit with the "I should write my own ideas down in hopes they will come in handy one day" goggles. 
3. Balance. I NEED balance in my life. I have got to work smarter, not harder. (I think I may have said that a time or two before.) I need to put things away instead of letting them pile up causing me to stay late resulting in less time with my little guy. That's just one example, but I think you get the idea. 
Join us! Share your professional goals! Be inspired! 

Books Santa Brought Us!

T and I are smiling big after our visit from St. Nick! Look what literary treasures he put under our tree!
Gingerbread Mouse
The Night Before Christmas
Welcome to the World, Zooborns! (Ready-to-Read. Level 1)
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
That last one is mommy's! :)

Free Trial! Totally Cool!

Friday, December 28, 2012 No comments
The friendly folks at Learning A to Z are offering a FREE 7 day trial of all of their fab websites. My school is very fortunate that we have Raz Kids for all students K-2.  We LOVE it and so do the kids and parents! Raz Kids is online reading at the just right level with quizzes. They have hundreds of books including fiction, informational, and poetry. Kids can record themselves reading and you can listen to it later, too. It is a wonderful resource! However, we do not have Reading A to Z.....
Reading A to Z has printable, leveled books along with fluency practice and poetry. I am taking advantage of this trial and am going to download several books for struggling readers. I'm also going to print some of the How To stories (you can do a search) for our writing unit. Why stop there? I am going to print a few books to support our social studies and science standards, too! What am I REALLY loving about Reading A to Z? The option to project books for the whole class AND the pocket size books that save paper and ink!

Their other sites seem great too-Tutoring A to Z (might have to try this one with a friend and her email,) Vocabulary A to Z (not sure I need this one as much,) and Science A to Z (probably pretty cool!)
If you did not receive the email, click here or on the pics to visit the site. Once you sign up, the trial lasts for 7 days. I'm starting a folder on my desktop to download the goodies so I can have them forever! 
Happy reading! 

My Word...

Thursday, December 27, 2012 1 comment
I've been asked to think about one word. 
One word for my life/family/blog. 
One word to inspire/encourage/describe/encompass what 2013 will be for me. 

One word. Uno. 1. 
Will it be one syllable? good. fun. cool. 
Two syllables? awesome. thrilling. super. 
Three syllables? radical. wonderful. triumphant.

dream. That could be it. I mean, that would be good, FUN, and cool! No.
relax. Ahhh, that would be just dreamy. Nope.

Neither one of those will work though. They are a close 4th or 5th, but not THE word. THE word needs to be my choice for the year. It needs to reach out and GRAB me. It needs to PUSH me to do my best. THE word needs to be nothing short of PERFECTION

So here it is folks. My word, THE word for 2013 for me--mommy/wife/teacher/blogger/dreamer/world changer is................

My word for 2013 is give. Why?

This year, I WILL
*give up some old habits.
*give the clutter away....both literally and figuratively.
*give more time for myself.
*give more and take less.
*give my husband and son more of my time.
*give more than I get. 
*give everything my best shot!
*show my son how good it feels to give.
*encourage others to give.
*not give up!
*give myself a break once a while!

What is your word for 2013

Join me in Trash Can Bloggers Prompt Fun! 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 No comments
from our family to yours.....

Defending Myself

Sunday, December 23, 2012 3 comments
"Ah, L, the Do Gooder. It must be nice to have all that money."
"Doesn't your husband make enough for you to not have to work?"
"There are people with a lot more money than us out there." 

All 3 statements in a two day time period. Wow. I usually don't get fired up about things people say to/about me. I am pretty good (most days) at turning a cheek, tuning out the ridiculousness of others, or well, to be honest, pretending they don't exist if only for a minute. :)

With the holidays upon us and the tragedy at Sandy Hook still haunting my dreams, I can't help it this time. I (even though I know I don't have to/shouldn't have to/may regret it later) am going to defend myself and my actions. I'm taking a stand for what I believe in people! 

1. Um, you do know what I do, right? I'm a TEACHER. By definition, we have no money. What money we do gather from the couch cushions is usually spent on something for our classroom...and by something I mean ink, cardstock, and pens for editing-not cool stuff like shimmery paint and scratch and sniff stickers (though I would love to have both if you are out holiday shopping.) With that said, I am not poor. We can feed our family, get to work, and come home to a warm house. BECAUSE we have what we need, we feel it is our duty to give to others. This holiday season we donated toys and clothing to children in need and funded vaccinations for children in developing countries. We are not saints, we just do what we can. Not only that, but (GASP) we think others should too.

2. N does have a job. YAY! We are so thankful for that! Does he make enough for me to not work? I don't know. I LOVE being a teacher. Deal with it. I don't want to stay home. I want T to go to preschool and make friends and play and learn. I want to teach and come home to my little guy, spend every minute away from school with him, and have him know how much mommy loves what she has chosen as a career. I hope that one day he has that, too. Is it easy? No. Can I complain a little? Yes. Is there anything I would rather do? No. 

3. Ah yes, there are indeed people in this world who have more money than we do. Should I wait for them to change the world? No way! My days are numbered friends. Life is short. Why would I choose to not make a difference today? Why wait? A friend said this to me when we were discussing an email she received from Red Cross. She couldn't believe "they are still asking for money." STILL? Without being too dramatic (yeah right) THE WORLD IS IN CRISIS! Of course the Red Cross needs money! Shot@Life needs money to vaccinate kids. Reading Is Fundamental needs money to put books in homes. Children's Restoration Network needs money to support homeless women and children. Donors Choose needs money to support teachers in need across the United States. Mental health organizations need money for awareness and prevention. I could go on and on. 

Ahhh. I feel better. Today, and everyday, we should give a little of ourselves to others. Skip Starbucks, your Marlboro lights, the cream filled donut, the crap from the Dollar Tree, a dinner out on the town, and donate it to someone who needs it more than you. 

If you don't have it in you, and that makes me sad, keep it to yourself. 

Those who have should give....time, donations, or kind words. 

Prepping for the New Year

Saturday, December 22, 2012 No comments
I had a few free minutes (yeah right) and was thinking about activities for when I return to school. Instead of doing lesson plans, I made this to go with a fun New Year's hat. We complete the lesson after reading two of my favorite New Year's books.......

As I was loading this, I started thinking that I need to do this myself! I need to make these first grade resolutions because maybe, just maybe, I'll stick to them! 
Click the picture above to get your copy free. It would be great for a family activity too! 
Now, I'm off to do some real work......ha! Not really! Maybe that should be school goal-stay on task!

Parenting is one tough business.....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 No comments
When I signed up to be a mom, I thought I was "ready." Financially we were ok, I had my education and so did N, we had a home, jobs, and a pretty good perception of the world. I was a teacher and figured if I can handle a gazillion kindergarteners all day, surely I can handle one kid. I am empathetic, funny, and I love me some cuddles! I was also an aunt to the most beautiful niece on the planet. I was pretty good at that, too. I was her 2nd favorite (out of 2) and I was proud of that. I had dozens of childhood development classes, CPR training, AND happened to love children's literature. If this was a job opportunity-I'd be hired on the spot! 

However, in 2009, my son arrived, I forgot everything I thought I knew. I was starting over. I wasn't ready. You're never ready.

Nothing can prepare you. Nothing. The happiness is overwhelming. The rough and tough moments-the "He doesn't look so good." and "What have you done?" and "Stay with mommy." and "Mommy needs to tell you something." leave you feeling like your empty and heartbroken. The love a mother has for her child is unimaginable. 

We've had our moments.....
Year one-he had tummy problems. He cried. I cried.
Year two-my sister, his beloved Aunt Nina, passed away. He cried. I cried. 
Year three-violence is out of control and strikes a first grade classroom. I cry, he wonders why.

Let me be very clear and say that we have also had MANY wonderful blessings over the last almost 4 years. TOO MANY to count. We've had our moments though. None of them come even close to what the parents in Sandy Hook are going through right now. If the events in our 4 years broke my heart for minutes or days, I can't even imagine what these parents must feel. I hope I never do. 

Live. Go. Do. 

No Words

Sunday, December 16, 2012 No comments
Praying so hard for families in Connecticut. 

Santa Action

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 No comments

Hi guys! Come check out my post on Label Daddy! There are all kind of Santa goodies for FREE! 

Click HERE! 

Let me know if you have one to add!

Hanukkah Have To's!

Friday, December 7, 2012 No comments
You HAVE To HAVE these Hanukkah books! While we are not Jewish, we hope to instill in our son the value of learning about and respecting other people's beliefs and cultures. As a teacher, I try to do the same with my students. Here are 3 of our favorites!

Product DetailsHow Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? Jane Yolen/Mark Teague

Your preschool-3rd grade reader will LOVE this story! The dinos fuss and play and do all the things kids, I mean, dinos do during the holidays! If you've never read one of the Dino books, you should! As a bonus, the names of the dinos are hidden on the pages! That helps mom and dad with naming those 'saurs!
Hanukkah: A Counting BookHanukkah~A Counting Book, by Emily Sper

Counting + learning new words=Fabulous! This book is simple, the pictures are beautiful and you are learning all the while. I had a friend help me with pronunciation. (Just being honest, friends.)
The Hanukkah MiceThe Hanukkah Mice, by Steven Kroll and Michelle Shapiro
For some reason, mice and the holidays just go together. It's true! There are hundreds of books for children starring mice! This one is sweet. It takes us through each night of Hanukkah and special, little surprises! 

But maybe you are looking for a little something different? Click here to visit Amazon's recommended reading list! 
Do you have a favorite? Please share! T will be thrilled!

Feeling Bloggy?

BLOGGER OPP: Christmas Cash Bash!

Sign up to participate in a FLASH giveaway, running from 12/9-12/12! There will be TWO winners! One will get some Christmas spending cash, and the other will get the DVD's pictured above! Sign ups close at 11:59 PM on 12/8! Don't miss out! You can even get some cash by winning the referral prize! If you're interested, fill out the form here!

On the first day of Christmas....Donors Choose!

Saturday, December 1, 2012 47 comments
On the first day of Christmas, My Mommy Reads gave away, a $20 donation.....
Today is December 1st and I know there are lots of teachers with AMAZING projects posted on Donors Choose right now! To celebrate the season, share my love of education, and my gratitude for people visiting my blog, I'm giving away a $20 donation!

Let's do this and let's make it easy! Enter below!

*If you want to leave a little description, that might be good, too! Some sponsor elves might be visiting this page with $5 donations! :)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! May all of your DC dreams come true!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ReBook (Recycling for Books!)

Saturday, November 24, 2012 1 comment
Inspired by my friend Jenn Barth and my Mom Congress crew, I held a book drive at my school last year. We asked for gently used books to "ReBook." ReBook is recycling your books-giving them a new home, a new child to love! We donated almost 700 books to homeless shelters in the metro Atlanta area last year. Read more here! Success! 

Well, that was so 2011! This year, we set the goal higher and we exceeded that goal! With the help of our media specialist Dawn and our PTA, we collected more than 1,200 books! With the help of my friend Susanne, we donated such treasures as Magic Tree House books, Eat Pray Love, Amelia Bedelia, spiritual reads, art books, and even some comic books! We know the new readers will be thrilled with their new books!  
Want to help readers but don't want to host a drive? Donate to Reading is Fundamental! Giving Tuesday is the perfect day to help make a difference in the life of a reader! 

Want to host a book drive at your school? Do it! The holidays are the perfect time! 
Here's how:
1. Contact your local homeless shelters or an organization that supports them. Ask what they need. Ask if they need books to replenish their libraries. Ask if they have a library! 
2. Ask your principal (if you are a teacher OR parent) if you could host the event at school. 
3. Hang signs, make announcements, etc. Set the timeline (1 week is good!) 
4. Count the books! Put them in totes or reusable boxes (shelters can reuse these hard to come by goodies) and deliver!
5. Share the results with your donators! Celebrate sharing the love of reading!

How do you make a difference this time of year?

Gobble, Gobble!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 No comments
T and I are sooo ready for Thanksgiving! I have been cutting, stirring, baking, and mixing for hours...oh wait, that's my little sister-not me! (Have I mentioned how much I love her?) Back to T and I! We are sooo ready for Thanksgiving! How do T and I get ready for turkey action? We read! 

Here are our Top 5. These Top 5 are also perfect for my 
first graders! Click on the books to visit them on Amazon!
Product Details 
Love, love, love! Compares two families Thanksgiving holidays. One mom wears pearls and makes homemade pies. The other wears jeans with slippers and has store bought pies. One is loud, the other is quiet. They come to realize that though they are different, they both are holidays filled with love. Every child (and grownup) can relate to some part of this story!
No hidden agenda here-the book is a countdown to Thanksgiving. Family traditions are covered, it rhymes, it is is simple and fun!
With a familiar tune, this one has a surprise. Without ruining it for you, there is an ax! No worries-there is not a turkey massacre-just a fun filled adventure where the kids save the day!
Celebrate family and taking time to be thankful!

One more fave! 10 Fat Turkeys is a silly counting book. Take time to read the pictures in this one! They tell a great story! 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from our family to yours! 

Oooh!! Cute, Free Stationery!

Monday, November 19, 2012 No comments
WOW! Have you heard of

Let's just say, it will make your holiday checklist a little shorter! You can create and send personalized greeting cards and they will even let you do one for FREE! That IS a TREAT

Treat is Shutterfly’s exciting new greeting card brand that makes it easy to create and send one-of-a-kind greeting cards. Treat cards are perfect for holidays, birthdays, congrats, thank yous and every occasion in between. It’s crazy fun. It’s super easy. And it’s totally personal. And it is a real TREAT

T and I just made one for Daddy's birthday! Shhhh! It's a secret...well kind of! 
free! free card, free shipping, FREE! 

Offer is only good today and tomorrow! (11/19 and 11/20) with code TREATBLOGR

Go make your free card! I think the only issue will be narrowing down which one! 

Floppets Flash Giveaway!!

"Mommy, mommy, my doggy Floppet went down the slide with me and he liked it!"
What is a Floppet you ask? They are these totally cool, totally attachable little creatures from the land of Floptopia! 
**They are attached to a velcro piece that easily hooks on backpacks, flip flops, shoes, fingers, and T's favorite-his lunchbox!            

**T also loves that they twist and turn and "hang on" no matter what!
**They are a big hit around this house and the playground at school! 

They even have an interactive Floppet website!
Want to check these out for yourself? My friends at Floppets want to send you a few! Woo hoo! Stocking stuffer!

It's EASY! Leave a comment here or on FB telling me which Floppets you want for your little someone! Want two entries? Like Floppets on FB and tell them I sent you! 

Flash giveaway ends tomorrow night! 

Brainpop Freebies

I love BrainpopJr. I love it for my first graders because the videos are short, to the point, and fun. They teach important standards and have a quiz at the end. I love it for T because the videos are short, it teaches stuff he is super curious about, and they are fun. 

Our school subscribes (yay) but you can enjoy some BrainpopJr videos for free! Click on the pic to go straight there! 
T and I watched the FREE video of the week last night. It is all about Thanksgiving! He loved it and as much as we love Charlie Brown-this video is slightly better because it doesn't say the s word (stupid.) <gasp!>
Check it out! The video of the week changes, well, every week and it is usually something seasonally related. Bookmark the free page and make the most of it! 

Older kids? No worries! Brainpop has freebies, too! Click the pic to go there!
Please share your favorite freebies!

Grant Writing

Sunday, November 18, 2012 6 comments
Writing a grant is tough. Honestly, it takes time, effort, and perseverance! It also takes thick skin because you get turned down....a lot! However, sometimes you get a yes and it is AMAZING! 

Picture this...I'm on a field trip to the Nature Center, devouring my veggie plate lunch so I can be sure to have enough time to show my little monkeys the beavers and eagles when SUDDENLY one of my kids says, "There's Ms. Principal." I didn't even look up because A. I thought it was someone who probably looked like Ms. Principal because why on Earth would she be on our field trip and B. We had like 12 minutes to eat and I was determined to eat my broccoli after opening 13 packs of ketchup, 4 milk cartons, 2 Capri Suns, cleaning up one spill, and wiping a nose. 

Then I hear, "Oh Mrs. Teacher....." I look over and there are very official looking folks and Ms. Principal. There are cameras, a giant check, and lots of screaming!
When I say this was an amazing experience, I mean A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! My class was cheering, I was tearing up, and well, I think you get the idea! The giant check was, to say the least, totally cool. I mean, I seriously felt like I won Publisher's Clearing House! 
We received $2500.00 from the Cobb County Schools Foundation to create STEM To Go bags for the entire first grade team! Our 180+ students will have the opportunity to take home bags with really cool activities that will strengthen their science, math, engineering, and tech skills. Most importantly, it will improve problem solving-which we know helps students across the board! Better yet, they will share these experiences with their families! The take home bags will include Legos, pvc pipes, paper airplane materials, garden supplies, lincoln logs, and more! They will build, create, graph, record, and share, share, share! We are sooo appreciative and can't wait to get started! Thanks Susan for helping and my team and admin for their encouragement!

Do you want a copy of the grant? I'd be happy to share! Leave your email in a comment and I will send it your way! 


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