Listen To Your Mother

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 No comments
Behind the curtains, I stood and waited my turn. I was like a 5th grader waiting in line to have her picture made~brushing through my hair, sucking in ever so slightly, and rocking back and forth on my heels. 

I walked to the podium. Lights blinded me and I was glad. I stood tall. I had a story to tell. I read my piece. I cried. I read some more. I cried. I did it.
I walked off the stage, feeling very proud to go the right direction. Benjamin told me my sister heard me. I cried some more. I was in shock that I had read my story in front of all of those people. 

A bit of my soul was now floating around the Strand. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I listened to everyone's beautiful stories and I still wasn't sure about mine. 
The bows and applause ended. The lights faded and I headed off the stage looking for my family. The nerves had not left me as I inched through the crowd. A woman came over and said, "Your sister is my sister. Thank you for sharing your story." She hugged me. I cried. Another woman came and put her hands on my shoulders, "My sister is my best friend. I love her the way you love your sister. Your story spoke to me." Another woman came over, "I loved your story. You are so brave."

The nerves skated out of me. At that moment, I knew I had done the right thing. I'm so glad I told my story. I'm so thankful for the experience. I'm forever grateful to Listen To Your Mother for the opportunity, the friendships, and the encouragement to tell my story. 

More to come.

Summer Reading=Free Book

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5 comments
Barnes and Noble is doing it again! They are encouraging students to read, read, read over the summer! They are also offering readers in grades 1-6, a free book if they read 8! 

The form is available HERE (or by clicking on the pictures) and it is super easy! The choices for grades 1-2 include works by Nick Bruel and Dav Pilkey. There are other great authors, too!

Print a copy now and hang it on the fridge! Tell your friends, too!

I'll be passing this along to all of my teacher friends and the students in my class. After all, my students will all be reading wayyyy more than 8 books over the summer, so they might as well get a little treat along the way! :)

Dansko Giveaway!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 18 comments
(That was in my very best Olaf voice!)

I can't believe summer will be here in no time. I'm not ready on so many levels. I mean, soooo many levels! 
When it comes to footwear though, I'm covered! Check out my beautiful new Dansko sandals. They are perfect! I wore them for the first time over Easter weekend and I can't wait to wear them on a regular basis!
Hello Jovie! I knew I'd love you and I was right! My size 10 1/2 feet love you, too! So comfy and so cute! I received lots of compliments on my Danskos, which is the same reaction I receive with my clogs. My response is always the same, "I'm a Dansko girl."

Dansko loves teachers (one more reason I'm a Dansko girl!) and they are having a promotion right now for Teacher Appreciation Week! You can enter to win a new pair of shoes for you AND some teacher friends. 
Now for even more good friends at Dansko would like to offer one my readers a pair of Jovie sandals!! Enter! Tell your friends. You will love these shoes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will choose color. Dansko will ship. US only. I reviewed these sandals but was not compensated. All opinions are my own, as always.

Leftover Jelly Beans? Experiment!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014 No comments
T racked up on the jelly beans at our neighborhood egg hunt. There were like 1,000 multicolored balls of sugar in his bag. His eyes started to glisten with the thought of eating every last one. NO WAY! It's not like they were Jelly Belly, Starburst, or Jolly Rancher (not that we play favorites around here!) 

They were the 1,000 for $1.00 kind. They were made for neighborhood egg hunts! Hmm....what to do? Oh I know! Let's melt them! 

The color started melting and we could see the sugar middle.
Going from solid to liquid was very cool. Watching the colors melt together, also very cool!
The result was a brownish red sticky goo. He tasted it. "EW! MOMMY!" 

We predicted what would happen if we removed the pot from heat. He thought it would stay gooey. It did not. It was a hard sugar rock! We smashed it outside on the sidewalk. That's like the perfect way to end an experiment!! 

That wasn't enough for this family, though! We had to try it in the oven, too. Results were the same and the smashing on the sidewalk was just as fun! 

What are you going to do with all of your leftover candy?

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 20, 2014 1 comment
Happy Easter from My Mommy Reads!

Disneynature's BEARS!

Disneynature's Bears opened on Friday and if you haven't seen it yet, Go! We loved it! 

T and I learned so much about brown bears. They live in Alaska. They have an amazing sense of smell. They go to the same place every year. The females have one or two cubs. Mommies take care of the babies for about two years. 

Sky is the mommy. Scout and Amber, her cubs, are adorable!! Scout is very Tesque. He starts off looking for his tough and strong bear role model. He finds that role model and that was the sweetest part of the whole movie! 

John C. Reilly is the narrator and his voice was the perfect fit! 

The movie goes so fast because you are literally hanging on every word. I'd say it is made for the 4 and up crowd~nothing too scary and no sad parts....if you know what I mean!

Here is a big set of FREEBIES! Click on the pictures to download and enjoy! There is something for every age and every teacher! 
All photos and docs are courtesy of Disney.

Remember, if you see it this week, Disneynature is donating a portion to National Parks! 

My Preschooler and 911

Thursday, April 17, 2014 No comments
I worry a lot. In fact, if I was a character in a book, I might be Wemberly from Kevin Henkes' Wemberly Worried. I was actually getting better...
and then I became a mother. It's like worrying is my full time job and everything else is overtime! 

So when I read the story a few weeks ago about the child saving her parent's life by calling 911, I knew it was time. 

I sat T down on the couch and we had a conversation about emergencies. He knew some, as we have talked before about what we will do if there is an emergency at home or somewhere else. We have plans in place for everything!

We have not talked about 911 though. I asked him if he had heard of it and he said no. I told him that 911 is the phone number for the police. That sparked many questions and I answered all of them. We talked about why someone would call and how the whole thing works. 
Then I handed him my phone and told him to show me how to call someone. He swiped his finger across my iPhone and pushed the phone icon. (I didn't know he knew that!) I then showed him how to push the 9, 1, and 1. I pointed out the green button and told him that would be the button to push next. I cleared it out and then did the whole thing a few more times. 

When N came home, we did the same thing with his phone. We showed him on the house phone, too. (Yes, we still have one of those.)

I'll randomly ask him the number for emergencies just to make sure he remembers. I hope and pray he never needs to dial it, but at least him knowing the number is one less thing I'll have to worry about!

What safety tips do you share with your child, and at what age?

3rd Graders Are Soooo Funny

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 3 comments
While visiting our family in Mobile, I had lunch with the coolest 3rd grader ever, my niece A

Wait, let me backup. Days before this special lunch, I told my sister that I needed to look hip and cool (which is like the opposite of me) when I went to have lunch with A. She was all like, "Well, that's never going to happen." I was all like, "I'm serious." 

After realizing none of my Spring Break beachwear would do the trick, I decided to make a stop at TJMaxx. My dear, sweet little sister rolled her eyes, but joined me anyway. I tried on 17 shirts (or 3-whatever) and finally settled on a cute little green number. I said to her, "Does this make me look hip and cool?" She said, "As close as you are going to get." I high fived the dressing room mirror and skipped along to the car! 

I woke up early that morning, spent time on my hair, and put on my hip and cool green shirt. I asked my mom, N, and T if I looked like a hip and cool aunt. They all said yes. I gave myself a another mental high five and went on my way!
We had a wonderful lunch. We chatted with the other 3rd graders. I loved them! A told her very sweet teacher that I was a great teacher and a blogger and that I do "important stuff." (Seriously should take her everywhere I go AND I should also mention she has never said anything like that about me before. I almost cried. So cheesy, right?) It was a happy aunt moment. 

I was so happy when her teacher said we could walk her back to the room. The hallways were so quiet. The kids so well behaved. It was lovely. I was the hip and cool aunt and A was proud of me, almost as proud as I am of her. I was so happy I could burst! I was walking on clouds I tell you! 

We slowly walked into her classroom. I noticed Daily 5 pieces, books I love, and more. I was admiring their work when a student in A's class looked at her, looked at me and said, "Hey A, is that your grandma?" I looked up, then looked around wondering if my mom was surprising us. No mom. I looked at T, who was laughing so hard he couldn't contain himself. I was stunned. I couldn't believe it. This girl wasn't kidding. She was serious. A said, "No that's my aunt" and went on about her business. T laughed all the way to the car. "Mommy, did you hear what she said? She asked if you were her grandma!!" 

I checked with my sister to see if A had a visually impaired child in her class. I figured that might make sense. She however does not. I asked if she might have lied about her own age and therefore the children thought I was old enough to be her mother. She said no (not sure about that one though.) I asked if she had purposely sent me to school in an unhip and uncool aunt shirt. She assured me she had not. (The verdict is still out on that one, too!)

So, I guess I learned a lesson on my once a year lunch with my niece and it's a good one. It's one I'll remember next time for sure! Hip and cool shirts don't make the aunt, the hip and cool niece does! 

We Love Label Daddy!

Monday, April 14, 2014 No comments
Disclosure~I received labels for this review. All opinions are my own.

As this school year quickly winds down, I am thankful for many things~my son's amazing teachers, all of the wonderful things he has learned, and of course-our Label Daddy labels. 
Their customizable labels have outlasted more than one set of school gear for T. They are washable, ordering is easy, and there are TONS of designs to choose from. Did I mention Marvel, NHL, and DISNEY? Those are just a few of the choices!

If you haven't met my sweet little guy, please come see for yourself how he is the kid Label Daddy thinks of when designing their sturdy labels!!
We are prepping to order our next set. They are going to be a different design....check back soon and see what he chose! 

Visit Label Daddy to learn more and save big for summer camp labels! My friend Melanie has already ordered! 

Man, I need to get with it!

Comfort Zone, Smomfort Zone!

Sunday, April 13, 2014 No comments
I've busted out of my comfort zone! Come read all about it on the Listen To Your Mother page! 
Want to see this rebel moment for yourself? Join us on April 26th at the Strand Theater!

What We're Reading Sunday!

This week's What We're Reading Sunday includes some classics and new loves! 

T's reads for this week include....
He's a big fan of Brown Bear (me too!) and I love how when we read this one, I am the audience. I just smile and grin as he reads it to me. I'd love to freeze this moment in time!
A new member of our family, The Odd One Out is already a favorite. T loves the rhymes and finding the one creature who is slightly different than the rest. My first graders love it as well. We did a little close reading of the poems and they too loved finding the odd one out! 

Mommy's Reads....
I stumbled upon this book at our used bookstore. It is written by a local author about a special education student in middle school. He has been in small group his whole life and is looking to join the rest of the population. It has a few turns and the teacher (and mother) in me cried once or twice. It is happy though and I recommend it. Quick read, too.
I'm ashamed to admit that I had not read Number the Stars. until this week. I know! Shocking! As a HUGE Lois Lowry fan, I felt like it was time. I started and finished it within an hour. Lois Lowry is a master. This is not my usual read-war, Germans, Denmark. I mean, it's like the opposite of what I usually read. I loved it though. I'm actually going to read it again. Then, I'm going to read more of her works. I'm having my own Lois Lowry book club. I mean, how does one write Gooney Bird Greene AND The Giver AND this? Oh Lois Lowry, thank you!

What are you reading this week? 

Snack for T's Class!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 No comments
At T's school, each family provides a healthy snack for the class once a month. I know that sounds a little crazy, but he has 11 kids in his class. (Celebrate that, right!?!) 

We always let him help with the decision and we include him in any cutting, baking, etc. 

Sometimes he chooses fresh fruit. I really love chopping fruit into bite sizes pieces and cutting grapes in half. I really do.

One time he chose cheese, pretzels, and ham. That was pretty easy and fun. 

Other times, when I'm lucky, he wants greek yogurt tubes (yum) and Pirate's Booty (love!) Ah, those times are awesome! In fact, that time was last month. I felt kind of bad (not really) but that is what he wanted! 

So this month, I felt like I needed to kick it up a notch. I mean, I'm fresh off spring break and I need to up my game! So off to Pinterest I went, and this my friends is what I found:
I thought to myself....we can do this! My mom (yay for a visiting Oba!) handled the hot glue for the eyes and antennae. T then decided to decorate the fronts and backs with markers. Sooo cute! Then he and I filled the bags with goldfish and snapped them with the clothespin. He was quite the helper and even counted several times to make sure we had the right amount. 
We'll be sending sliced grapes too, but felt they might be better served in a bowl.....and we couldn't put those in the bags ahead of time! #confession
Cute, right?

Do you have a favorite snack idea? Please share! I still have May to go!!

First Grade Here I Come!

Monday, April 7, 2014 3 comments
As a kindergarten teacher, one of my favorite parts of the day was writing. I love kid art. I love invented spelling. I love seeing the progress over time. I love this very same thing as a first grade teacher and as a mother. 

I am teaming up with some amazing K-1 teachers~Keeping Up With Mrs. Harris,  Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano, and Fun in Room 3 (featured on Mrs. L's blog) on a four part blog series all about preparing your kindergartener for first grade. Topics include phonics, phonemic awareness, sight words, and mine--the power of drawing and writing! Join us and grab all of these freebies, too!
I am a firm believer that a forced writer is an unhappy writer. I've been the forced writer and I've been the teacher with the unhappy writer. Thank goodness times have changed, I've learned a thing or two, and the world of education has a better idea about what makes a great writer. 

So how can parents with a child starting kindergarten or a child transitioning to first grade prepare their writer?

Step 1: Write. Let your child see writing in your life~grocery lists, notes to the teacher, etc. 

Step 2: Write with your chid. By write, I mean draw and write. Sit next to your little writer and let them draw whatever they want. If they have trouble coming up with something, bring up a memory~a special place, trip, family member, favorite animal, etc. Once they have a picture, help them label the picture with the beginning sounds, or the whole word if they are ready. For example, if they draw a house, you would help them sound out the word and your child might write HS. That is awesome!

Once the masterpiece is done, you could have them give their work a title. (See freebie below!) The title for the house picture might be "Our House" or "Where I Live." Let them come up with it! It can be silly and fun! It can also be a few random letters stringed together. That's ok! When done, "read" the picture with your child. Whatever you do, don't write for your child! They will expect it next time and every time after that! You can write a letter on a sticky to show them how to form the letter, but don't write for them!  

If your child is beyond this stage, move to helping your child with words and putting them into a sentence. (See freebie below!) Have them draw first (this helps them remember what they will write) and then write their words. Encourage them to talk while they draw. This (oral rehearsal) will help when they start writing their words. 

If your child is beyond this or really loves this, staple pages together to make books or buy a fancy journal. If your not sure where your chid is as a writer, check out this great graphic from HeidiSongs
Step 3: Celebrate your child as a writer! Hang up the pictures! Call the grandparents and have your child read their story (words or not!) Make it the screensaver on your iPhone! Post it to Instagram! 

Step 4: Repeat and repeat often. 

Becoming a better writer is much like becoming a better reader. The only way to get better at it is to practice, practice, practice! Keep it fun. As soon as it becomes stressful for you or your writer...stop. Do something else and revisit it later! That's what real writers do! 

Here are two freebies to get you started! Each set includes one title paper and one paper with lines. The first set is vertical and the second is horizontal. Happy writing!

Now head over to my friend Amy's blog for amazing phonics tips and a FREEBIE!
Learning Lessons with Mrs. Labrasciano
If you have another tip to share or a question, leave a comment! Thanks for checking out our hop!

What We're Reading Sunday!

Sunday, April 6, 2014 No comments
I know, I know. This What We're Reading Sunday post is cutting it pretty close!! Sorry! I've been doing lesson plans and prepping meals for the week! Yes, I waited to the last minute for that too! 

T's reads!
We picked this one up at Barnes and Noble. He said "TAJ MAHAL!" and I was sold. It is pretty cool! The info is not overwhelming and the pictures are fantastic! I like the whole series! There really is something for everyone, especially those looking for some social studies action!
I connected with Corey Rosen Schwartz on Twitter and I'm so glad I did! My class loves Three Ninja Pigs so T and I had to check out her newest one! We love it! He's a musician at heart, so this was a really big hit! 

As for Mommy, I read a couple of beach novels at the beach. (I KNOW!!! I ACTUALLY READ FOR FUN!) I also knocked out 2 magazines and caught up on 3 of my favorite blogs. In other news, I also practiced my piece for Listen To Your Mother Atlanta. Oooh, I haven't officially announced that yet! This week, I promise!!

What are you reading?

Beach, Bug Bites and the Best Spring Break EVER!

Saturday, April 5, 2014 No comments
Sorry for being a little MIA this week! It is Spring Break here and for the first time in a really really really long time, I kicked back and relaxed!

In fact, I can honestly say this Spring Break has been the best one ever. That is really saying something since Spring Break my senior year was pretty amazing! Ha! I kid....sort of. :)

My family headed down to Dauphin Island for most of the week and it was great. While I like Gulf Shores as much as the next Alabama girl, I'm glad we chose the peace and quiet of the island. Other than the bug bites, we only have the best memories of Spring Break 2014!

Come see for yourself!
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I hope you and your family are having an amazing spring kickoff! 

Where did you go? Where are you going? We're always looking for a next adventure!


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