Hide-and-Hug Olaf!

Thursday, June 26, 2014 No comments
Dear Frozen loving friends, 

Have you seen Hide-and-Hug Olaf? As a fan myself, I'm a little excited! 
This little treasure is kind of like Elf on the Shelf. I said kind of! You read the story and then hide a stuffed Olaf. Your sweet child (or class) finds Olaf for a hug! That's right, you can touch this guy! 

They are not available until the end of October, but Amazon is allowing pre-orders! Lots of moms and teachers have already placed their order! I'll be the first to admit that I do not do Elf on the Shelf at school, but a huggable Olaf? Maybe.....
Will you be picking up and Olaf or bucking the trend?

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Book Builder FREE

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9 comments
I can't believe I haven't shared this resource before today! I'm so mad at myself! 

I LOVE Pioneer Valley Press' online bookbuilder! They have a paid version and also a free version. I bought the paid version but often find myself going to the free online version because it so quick and easy! 

Here's how it works!

Step One.
Click on the picture to go the site!
Step Two.
Choose a leveled book! They have a range from level C-J with lots of familiar characters including my favorites, Bella and Rosie!
Step Three.
Type in the name of your student and other names of their choosing. I tell them to choose siblings or friends. They love deciding who will be in the book!
Step Four.
Click build! Ta da! Bookbuilder takes the names and puts them into the book! The kids go crazyyyyy when they see their name in the book!
Step Five.
Print! I always print in black and white, staple down the side and cover the staples with fun duct tape. My first graders LOVE these books and are so proud to share them with peers! 

These books are fabulous! They are great for spiking interest in a reluctant reader, pulling a reader out of a rut, or just making a kid's day!  

I have made several for T with family names and he thinks it is just plain cool to see the names of people he loves! 

I love that Pioneer Valley Press has this free resource! That is teacher love right there! 

Happy reading! 

Grief is not....

Monday, June 23, 2014 8 comments
June is hard for me. 

My sister passed away in June, four years ago. Her birthday is also in June. In fact, it was yesterday. This year has been harder than usual and that is saying something. It could be that T is starting kindergarten in August and I'm reminded of just how much she has missed. It could be the World Cup. We saw it on televisions four years ago while traveling home from India, after learning she would not be there to greet me upon return. It could be that I spoke about her for the first time during Listen To Your Mother this year.  It could be so many things. It could just be that I miss her more than ever. 
Jane Yolen shared one of her beautiful poems on Facebook the other day and it resonated with me. 

Grief is Not

Grief is not getting easier
But becoming more ordinary
As if I've always carried this
stone in my breast,
calling it a heart.

Grief is not going away
Just not arriving in tsunami force.
Rather its a steady high tide 
which makes me wonder about the rocks below.

Grief is not a one-time thing
Not several days, weeks, months
But is a visitor that has moved in for good,
and occasionally helps out around the house.

Grief is not unwelcome here,
for it reminds me of how much I have lost,
And how blessed I was
To have so much to lose.

Man, how blessed have I been? I had a big sister who loved me unconditionally for at least 26 of our 33 years together.  I'm pretty sure she is still looking out for me now. We had this bond and as much as it hurts to think about her being gone, I was indeed blessed. She was the fun to my serious, the craft to my disaster, the calm to my storm. Blessed indeed.

Maybe that is what will carry me through this really high tide. Maybe it will be the blossoming flowers right outside my door that my team planted in her memory. Maybe it will be T talking about her and asking questions. Maybe it will be my little sister visiting next month or my trip home to see my family later this summer.

I'm pretty sure it will be a little of this and a little of that. Ironically, that sounds like something my big sister would say. 


What We're Reading Sunday!

Sunday, June 22, 2014 No comments
We are on a summer hiatus from our weekly posts! Instead we are participating in Donalyn Miller's #Bookaday

Here are this week's reads from the library!
What are you reading?

Come Meet My Georgia Friends!

Thursday, June 19, 2014 10 comments
Exciting news!! I've joined 25 fabulous Georgia teachers in a blog hop full of freebies and fun! Welcome to the peach state, friends!
About 8 years ago, my husband and I made Marietta our home. We love it here! We are in the 'burbs right outside Atlanta and it is the perfect place for our little family! 
We can see the Braves and the Falcons, visit Six Flags, Stone Mountain, World of Coke, the Georgia Aquarium, Dahlonega (first Gold Rush!) and more in just a short drive. It's awesome....ya know, except for that whole Atlanta traffic thing! 
So what's a blog hop without a freebie, right? I'm sharing my visualization freebie! You can download this first grade favorite here.

We'd also like to give you a chance to win a bushel basket full of our products. To enter from my page, you just need to follow My Mommy Reads on Facebook! Easy! You can enter once from each person's blog! Check out all these peachy prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit my friends and pick up those southern freebies! Thanks for stopping by! 

Bookshelf Chaos!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 16 comments
I am an Astrobrights Color Expert. All opinions, as always, are my own! 
Do you have bookshelves that look like these? If so, keep reading.     If not, I'm jealous!
One of our summer plans was to get this shelf organized. I mean seriously, it is a MESS! We can never find the one book he wants to read and we usually do a bulk book return squeezing books in where ever we can. This shelf is our last stop before bedtime and we really do not think about it outside of that time! Shameful, I know! If this were my classroom, I would go bananas!

So where to begin? After putting it off for days, T and I finally starting pulling books and sorting. Summer reading is a priority for our family. As a first grade teacher, I like to practice what I preach! 
As piles grew, we decided we needed bookshelf markers. We wanted the markers to be bright and colorful, but also sturdy. We decided to use our Astrobrights card stock. We discussed what pictures and words to put on each marker. This was such a fun conversation to have with my 5 year old.  He picked the color for each marker, too! He chose orange for holidays "because it is like Halloween" and pink for Jan Thomas "because pink is silly." T has now linked those colors to the books and now even if he can not read the words, he will be able to replace the books! The colors really pop on the shelf and it looks pretty neat, too! This is also the same system I use for organizing the professional reads in my classroom! 
The books are organized and will be easy to replace thanks to the shelf markers. I know that having T help with this project is what will likely make our organization stick! That's one way we #colorize! I'm also happy to report that since we can actually see the books, he is reading new titles and meeting new characters! That's a summer reading success! 
I'm not quite ready to turn my home into my classroom with bins and labels, but I am absolutely ready to draw my son into the world of organization with color! 

If you would like a copy of our shelf markers, you can download them HERE for free. It was an easy project that brought color and organization to our home....just like Astrobrights already does in my classroom!

Speaking of classrooms, Astrobrights is preparing for a HUGE back to school contest for teachers called #colorizeyourclassroom. From July 7-September 12, teachers can share a photo of how they Colorize their Classroom at Facebook.com/Astrobrights. So save the date and stay tuned on Instagram, Facebook, Tumbler, and Twitter for more information! 
When you share pictures, be sure to tag #colorize or #colorizeyourclassroom so we can learn from your creative ideas! 

What will you be colorizing?

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 2 comments
We love going to the movies as a family. I can't remember how long it has been since I saw a grownup movie at the theater, but that is beside the point! We love family movie night! 

Last week, we saw How To Train Your Dragon 2. T loved it! I was worried there might be too much action for a 5 year old, but it was fine. The bad guy is pretty mean though so I wouldn't recommend it for younger ones! 
There were a few scary parts, a few sad parts, lots of exciting parts, and LOTS of amazing animation! I thought to myself at several points, "how did they do that?"

Have you seen it yet? Are you planning on it?

Library Card!!!

Friday, June 13, 2014 4 comments
Big news in the world of My Mommy Reads! We made a pit stop at the library today and T signed up for his very own library card!! AH!!!!!
Our librarian gave him a little talking to, had him sign his name and we were off to the children's section! 

Me, "Do you want me to hold your card while you look through books?"
T, "No mommy, I've got it." 

Hours later, we headed to the checkout. I asked if he wanted to do self checkout (that's new by the way) and he looked at me like I was crazy! He wanted to hand HIS card to the clerk! 
5 books for T, 1 Magic School Bus movie, and 1 book for Mommy later, we were done! 

Me, "That was so exciting!"
T, "I'll hold my card, but do you want to carry all these books?" 


Summer Reading for Teachers!

Thursday, June 12, 2014 No comments
Our friends at Scholastic's Instructor Magazine have composed quite a list of summer reads for teachers! 

The list includes a little bit of everything and there really is something for everyone!

*Books for lessons on life and teaching
*Inspiring professional development reads
*Just for fun reads (you can share with kids!)
*Award winning teacher blogs

Here's a little sneak peek of the titles.....

Click HERE to read the whole article! 

Do you have one to add to the list?

Disney's Fire and Rescue Freebies!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 No comments

Is your little pilot excited about seeing Dusty in his latest flick? Mine is! 

Click on the picture to download all kinds of goodies~Bingo, facts pages, etc~and play games!
Download Print & play Activities
While you're at it, like Disney Planes on Facebook to stay up to date on the big release! Fire and Rescue will hit theaters July 18th!! 

Mr. Pete, Where Are Your Feet?

Monday, June 9, 2014 1 comment
We LOVE reviewing books! When a friend and fellow Georgian shared this treat, we were tickled pink! Our neighbors have pet birds and T loves to watch them and listen to them! The star of Mr. Pete, Where are Your Feet? is a beautiful blue parakeet! T was immediately interested and had background knowledge for days! 
Mr. Pete, Where are Your Feet is all about being different and that being different is ok! It is a sweet read for the preschool crowd and T even brought up the book during our dinner conversation.

We also really enjoyed the vibrant illustrations in the story! Making this story even more special is that the stars of the book are author, Katherine Bartlett's own birds!  

Check out the book on Amazon and support a Georgia author! 

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, June 8, 2014 No comments
Thank you for checking out our weekly post, What We're Reading Sunday! We are on a summer hiatus though! We are participating in #bookaday! That means we are reading one book everyday! 

Want to join us? Upload a pic of your reads and tag it with #bookaday
We're reading Koala Lou, I Ain't Gonna Paint No More, Giraffes Can't Dance, Daddies are for Counting Fireflies, Rain and two favorites from Pioneer Valley Press~Playing Together and We Like Hats! 

What are YOU reading?

Design and Drill Socket to Me

Saturday, June 7, 2014 No comments
*We received the Design and Drill Socket To Me set from EI to review. We were not compensated and all opinions (as always) are our own.

Summer is here and we all know it can be hard keeping our little ones busy....especially on rainy days! 

Thank goodness my friends at Educational Insights sent us this Design and Drill Socket To Me set to review! It saved the day last week! We had read ten books, watched a cartoon, drawn pictures, played with Legos, played tag, etc. 

I was running out of options! 

I pulled out the Design and Drill box and we started phase two of rainy day fun!

He loved using the wrench to screw in the pieces. I couldn't help but think of how great this simple act was for building his finger muscles! 

The set comes with a plastic robot, boat, train, and car along with several tough, plastic screws and the wrench. We thought there would be a drill, but it was ok!

T had lots of fun lining these up, trying to hook them together, etc. Then we decided that this toy might be best for a newly 4 year old. In fact, we packed it up and shared it with our neighbor! He LOVES it and has even taken it to the pool for outdoor fun!

If you have a 4 year old in your life, check out the Design and Drill Socket To Me set from Educational Insights

WW~Who Doesn't Like a Free Doughnut?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 No comments
Check with location to see if they are participating!

Meeting Mrs. Cowley!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 No comments
I'm guest blogging on Hameray's site today! It's all about how authors are like rock stars to teachers and students! 
Who is your favorite rock star author?

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, June 1, 2014 No comments
Thank you for checking out our weekly post, What We're Reading Sunday! We are on a summer hiatus though! 

Not a hiatus from reading though! We are participating in Donalyn Miller's Summer Bookaday! There are few rules with #bookaday, just committing to trying to read one book everyday. You can even cheat a little and read two in one day to cover for not reading one day! I love that! T and I are all over #bookaday! 
We are starting today and will share our reads each Sunday. Our plan is to check the bookshelves to revisit some oldies and also read any that we have picked up and never read! Now is the time! 
(Mommy's reading To Kill A Mockingbird.)
We hope you will join us for some casual summer reading! Take a pic and post it, too! #bookaday 


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