I'm Lighting the Night! Giveaway!

Thursday, August 28, 2014 6 comments
This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #cancersucks

I was standing in Kroger, on the peanut butter aisle when my best friend called. I don't remember her exact words, but I remember everything sounding muffled. Not because she was crying, but because I was shocked. Her Dad, Mr. Tim, had cancer.
Photo courtesy of Michele and Ashley!
Mr. Tim, now a proud survivor, had lymphoma. I'm embarrassed to say, I was not even sure what kind of cancer that was. Michele taught me though. Lymphoma is blood cell cancer and it impacts people of all ages. She filled me in and even when I wasn't really sure what she was talking about, I listened. I cried when we were on the phone. I cried when we weren't. I couldn't believe it. If I couldn't believe it, how on Earth could his wife and daughters feel? 

Fast forward seven years (HOW HAS IT BEEN SEVEN YEARS) and Mr. Tim is doing great. Not only that, Michele and her amazing sister Ashley have started working with LLS (Leukemia Lymphoma Society) Light the Night to raise money for a cure. I interviewed these super sisters and I'd love to share it with you!
Photo Courtesy of Michele and Ashley!
Why LLS Light the Night?
We were so grateful Dad made it through. We just wanted other people to be cured just like him. 

How did you guys start raising money?
In our short three years of fundraising, we've asked for donations through our giving page, sold t-shirts, hosted home parties and donated the proceeds, and this year we are also having a bake sale! I'm happy to report we have raised almost $2,000!!

How is the actual Light the Night walk?
The walk is amazing. Everyone is handed an illuminated balloon. Red for supporters, white for survivors, gold for those who have passed on. Seeing all the people, knowing everyone has been what we have been through is amazing. Seeing the gold balloons makes me extremely sad, but grateful that I am not carrying one. They have tons of activities for the kids~jumpy houses, cotton candy, face painting, someone making balloon animals etc. They also have food catered from local restaurants. When its time for the actual walk, the speaker gives everyone a pep talk, and leads everyone in prayer. We all get together and ready set go and then we take off (walking lol!!) A local high school band played music for us and their cheerleaders cheered us on. The walk is about 1.7 miles, not very long but seeing everyone walking together, and knowing we are all there for the EXACT same reason makes me feel good. i look over at the person next to me, smile and they smile back, its like we all have this connection. it makes me feel good being down there, like I'm helping someone that i know, even though I don't know them ---like I'm helping a friend, thats what it feels like.
How does it feel to have friend and family support you and your LLS mission?
The support we have been getting from our family and friends feels AMAZING!!!! Every time we recieve a donation from somone, i just want to cry. It's not the amount that matters, just knowing that they took the time out to log in to the site, go through all the clicks, get their credit card out, make that donation, etc. That means the world to me (us). it makes my heart smile. i know im sounding corny, but it really does.
This fall, I'll be supporting LLS through Michele's giving page and I hope to attend the Light the Night event! I'll also be spreading the word about leukemia. It's time to shine a light on finding cures and providing access to treatments for blood 
cancer patients.

You can help, too! This year, Sylan Learning is partnering with LLS through Light the Night, with a commitment to raise $250,000! They are also (WOW!!) donating more than 12,000 hours of free tutoring in communities nationwide to help young blood cancer patients and their families with the transition back to school. (Teacher in me is smiling ear to ear!)

Join me this year, and walk the walk! There are nearly 200 Light the Night events this fall!
Now for the giveaway!! You can enter to win this super cute and sturdy tote bag! Look how much it holds! Enter the rafflecopter below!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Loving!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 No comments
(Sad face)

I will not be attending the Decatur Book Festival this weekend. I LOVE this festival and the book geek in me goes into complete overload! 

In honor of this amazing literacy weekend, I'd like to share a few pics of Decatur Book Festivals past......
Eric Wight, Frankie Pickle author and illustrator
Judy Schachner, Skippyjon Jones author and illustrator

To all you book lovers out there, head to Decatur. Have fun for me! Discover new books and new authors and new illustrators and new friends and be sure to take a picture! 

Happy reading! 

He is a Genius!

Sunday, August 24, 2014 18 comments
I'm dedicating today's post to the first time I realized my child is a genius. In fact, I'm dedicating it you too and the first time you realized your child is a genius. It's a pretty happy moment. 

We had made a trip to Macy's (big fan) and he asked the clerk if he could have a hanger and some little plastic sticks (not sure what they were for.) He was 2 1/2 and looking super cute. She obliged. He held it all the whole way home. He hopped out of the car and asked if he could have my bag. I said sure. Then this happened.

With a little tape and a lot of determination, he made a kite. 
It was a first. The first of many experiments, creations, concoctions, and disasters. It was a happy and healthy first that I feel so fortunate to have shared with my little guy.

As a champion for global immunizations, I am thrilled to share with you that Walgreens is supporting the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life program by donating a vaccine for every comment made on this post or any other Blogust post this month. These vaccines will help children in developing countries have their very own happy and healthy firsts. 

Thanks for helping out by sharing this post, leaving a comment, and/or liking my Instagram picture. That's it! Soooo easy! 

Bonus: Share one of your child's happy and healthy firsts! 

Countdown to School Puzzle!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 No comments

We try to do something each year to build excitement and lessen anxiety at book to school time. (Again, mostly for mommy!) 

We loved this countdown to school puzzle and making it was a snap! 
Post by Astrobrights.
Print your own template at DLTK for FREE! :)
Has your countdown to school already started?

Type A! That's Me!

Monday, August 18, 2014 No comments
Have you ever been to a blogger conference? They are amazing! I attended my first conferences last year and now I am hooked! 
I'm so excited to be partnering with Type A Parent this year! Type A was my very first conference and I learned soooo much. In fact, as a newbie, I learned the questions I needed to ask. This was HUGE for me! There is something for everyone! You don't have to be a parent. You don't have to know what is going on (points finger to self.) You just have to show up and learn. LOVE! I learned about great pictures, Pinterest tips, SEO, and more! My brain was in overload!
Friend, Leticia Barr, talking tech!
I hope you will join us this year in Atlanta for fun, learning, networking, and connecting with brands. 
Did I mention Disney is a sponsor? Who doesn't love Disney??
If you want to come AND save a few bucks? Click HERE and enter the code BLOGPARTNER to save 25% on your ticket! This is a great deal and is only available for 24 hours! 

Have questions, please ask! :)

What We're Reading Sunday!

Sunday, August 17, 2014 No comments
Happy Sunday! Here is what we're reading!

Back to school has reignited T's love for Pete the Cat! His teacher is using these favorites as anchors for all kinds of fun lessons! T is especially thrilled about this because he can "read" Pete the Cat books! Thank you kindergarten teacher! 
We are partial to the Eric Litwin and James Dean Pete books. :)

As for me, I'm reading student work samples, parent love letters, and two of my favorite magazines!
My heart is broken. Honestly, it is broken.
I love this magazine and this month's edition is AWESOME!

Do you have a favorite print magazine?

Tooth Drama (Mostly for Momma!)

Saturday, August 16, 2014 No comments
T started kindergarten two weeks ago. I'd say I handled it pretty well. He is right down the hall from me and I see him at least twice during the day. It really is ideal. I think to myself, I can handle this kindergarten thing.......even though he is still my baby. 

I was a little sad when he walked into his classroom with no hesitation. I was a little sad when I went to help him through the lunch line and he had already made healthy choices and walked away merrily. I was a little sad when a colleague said, "Wait 'til he starts first grade." Ugh. So maybe I am having my moments.

Then Wednesday happened. I picked up my guy from after school care and he had a sad face. I asked him what was going on. He said, "The pretzels were too hard and it hurt my tooth. It is wiggly but don't touch it." I was all like, whatever, crunchy pretzels, his tooth is not really loose. I gave him a big hug and we went home. 
Walking upstairs, he said, "Mommy, you can wiggle my tooth now." I looked inside and there it was.....his first wiggly tooth. Bottom front. It was out of place, leaning forward, staring at me. I was heart broken.

I've handled most milestones ok I think. This one has me though. Every time I look at him (which is at least 1,000 times a day) I think about that tooth. I think about the tooth fairy, and the next tooth he will lose and his first girlfriend and teaching him how to drive and when he will leave for college. I don't know why this tooth has such control over my momminess. It does though. 

I feel like stuff just got real. My kid is growing up. He will soon be a toothless wonder and I will be wishing I could stop time just like I have wanted to do for the last five and a half years.

P.S. I blame his teacher. :)

Elf on the Shelf~Did You Know??

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 No comments
We LOVE our elf. We (even my husband and I) look forward to his arrival each December. We do not go wayyyy over the top like some parents, but we enjoy the tradition! 

I attended The Elf on the Shelf Birthday Celebration over the weekend and I've got to tell you....I'm counting down the days until our guy makes his appearance! 
While celebrating Elf with cupcakes and goodies, we also heard from cofounder, Chanda Bell. There is just something about women in business sharing their story. It is so empowering. She shared her story with us and I felt so proud for her! I also learned a few things! 
Did you know.....

*The original book is based on their real family tradition?
*Chanda and her mother self published the book originally?
*When they started, there was no business plan, no marketing background, etc? They simply knew what kids like!
*In 2013, they launched Elf on the Shelf Birthday? Your elf can come back for one day only and celebrate your birthday with you!
*$1.00 from the sale of each birthday set goes to support Charity Water?
*The Elf on the Shelf site is full of fun games, certificates, and activities!
*Elf on the Shelf also carries birthday decorations and this super fun calendar countdown! T can't wait to put this to use! 
*Coming in November is Chanda's latest work, Elf Pets~A Reindeer Tradition! (I can't wait!) 
*Elfontheshelf.com has an entire TEACHER SECTION with lesson plans, letters from Santa, etc?
I told you I learned a lot!! Family owned and operated, Elf on the Shelf is made for smiles. They are dedicated to making family moments. In fact, that is a quote. Sounds like a mission statement, too! 

Check out Elf on the Shelf on Twitter to stay up to date AND be the first to know about Elf Pets! 

Do you have a favorite elf moment? Please share! 

Binding Books is as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Monday, August 11, 2014 No comments
Tired of lining up the holes to bind your class books? Looking for an easier way to make journals for your budding writer? Let me introduce you to the world of duct tape binding! 
I started stapling and duct taping my class books a couple of years ago and I've never looked back! Here's how you do it!

I use Astrobrights paper to make my books look extra snazzy! 

Be sure to enter the #colorizeyourclassroom contest! There will be one winner in every state! Click HERE to learn more! 

How else could you use this time saving trick?

What We're Reading Sunday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014 No comments
AH! School has started and even in the chaos, we are making time to read! Here are our latest reading treasures!!


We are in love with every single one of these books! T's reads are all relatively new books and they are amazing. NAKED is probably his favorite, but Hooray for Hat made him want to make his own hat and The Watermelon Seed reminded him of a time he swallowed a seed. We are 3 for 3 this week!

What are YOU reading?

Coolest Paper Airplanes Ever!

Friday, August 1, 2014 3 comments
Are you looking for something super fun and meaningful to do with your class during back to school? Well, HERE YOU GO! :) 

This is a video I made with Astrobrights (I'm a fan!) all about making paper airplanes with my class. Click HERE to go see the short video or watch below! 

Cool, right?? Your students (or child!) will love making these planes and the learning is embedded!

Happy weekend friends!  #colorize


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