First Day Back

Thursday, March 26, 2015 No comments
Today is my first day back to school since having my second little guy. Naturally, I've been getting a lot of "Are you ready?" comments. 

I think God kind of handles situations like this so we don't have to worry about them.  Two weeks ago I was in the carpool line (not my favorite place) and several of my first graders were waiting for their cars. This was the first time in six weeks of carpool that I had seen these particular kids. I went all super cheesy and started smiling and waving. What did they do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In that 5 seconds, I seriously thought they had forgotten me. I'm not kidding. Then my car blocked the sun and they saw me! They started yelling and waving and pointing and jumping. Whew! Thank goodness! 

Then I surprised the class last week while visiting the school for a meeting. I felt nervous, just like the first day of school. I walked in and they all, every single one of them, got up and ran to me. I was overwhelmed. Two of the little monkeys even cried.

But wait, there's more!! Over the weekend, I was snuggled up with T in bed and he said, "Mommy, when are you coming back to our school?" I told him the day of my return and he gave me the biggest hug. "I can't wait to see you." 
Ah, there's my answer. Yes, I am ready. 

Balance....Yeah Right!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 No comments
As I prepare for my return to the classroom, I've been on the search for balance. Yes, I can hear you laughing all the way over here! While I know there really is no such thing as balance, I am trying with all of my might to be as prepared as I can be. 

I love being a mommy. It is the greatest job in the whole entire universe and a gift that keeps giving! I love being a teacher, too. It is the very best career for me! I want to continue being mommy and teacher because that is what makes me happy and fulfilled. To do both well, I think I need some kind of balance. Right?
and if it makes you happy, don't let it go! 
Is everyday rainbows and sunshine at home with little ones? No way! Is everyday rainbows and sunshine in the classroom? HA!! Not even close! That's what makes both so fantastic and me so lucky because I get to do both and they actually do usually balance each other! Especially now that T is in school. We love just coming home and I love my gripes being about school, not home. It's what works for us. 

I love and appreciate my work hours, the weekends, the breaks and of course, summer- because those are our family times. I love helping a student learn to read, come out of their shell, try something new, and become a problem solver, too.  I love every minute I am with my own children AND I get to do those same things with them! I love that they see me happy being a teacher, happy doing what I love. T thinks I am so cool and my niece A even tells people I'm important. I can't mess with that kind of perfection friends! But I can't divide these two happies and I'm not sure I can balance it all.....again.

So here I am with lists and sticky notes and piles. I've got everyone's clothes laid out for the week, including mine. I've prepped lunches and put this month's homework in the folder. I've created some makeshift lesson plans (I'm really just planning on hugs and reading and maybe some math!) and have even started my class newsletter! I've texted our family schedule to N, though he will pretend I have not. :) I've made a grocery list and planned a menu I know we never will eat. 
I figure I was pretty good at this mom teacher thing before, so here's hoping I can keep it up! Here's hoping I can balance it all! Nah! I think I will forget balance! I think I have to! Instead I think I will just live, make mistakes, and enjoy! I think I'll stick with my seesaw of balance and laugh and cry and moan and smile along the way. I mean, it has worked so far! :)

Do you have tips for balance living? 

Spring Has Arrived!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 No comments
Spring is here!! Spring is here!! Spring is my second favorite season of the year, after fall of course. The flowers are blooming, N and T are sneezing, the wind is cool, and I am all smiles! 

It's also sandal time. I love comfy sandals! My friends at Dansko sent me this pair of Paolas to review and I love them! 

Dansko and I get along beautifully! They are comfortable, fit just right and are not too heavy. I wear them all year-clogs, sandals, and even flops! Teachers need comfy and cute and Dansko delivers!! 
Look at all of these color options!!
These are new style for me. They are a little dressier than my previous Dankso sandals and I like it. The color is caramel and I think it will be perfect with cute dresses and shorts the same! 

I buy my Danskos in store at The Walking Company and online at 6pm. I like trying on all the styles in store and deciding which ones I must have and which ones I will wish list! 

Now I'm off to pick out a new sundress to really show off my Paola sandals!  

Dansko provided these amazing sandals for review. All opinions are my own, as always!

Cinderella Printables!

Monday, March 23, 2015 No comments
Do you have a Cinderella fan in your house? Check out these free printables from Disney!

Click the pictures to download your own set and be sure to check out our review here

Remember, in all things-have courage and be kind! 

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, March 22, 2015 No comments
Every once in a while I come across a book that I just can't put down. It might be a just for fun romantic comedy or an amazing teacher resource book. It really doesn't happen that often, but when it does, I am one happy camper! 

I am happy to say that this book right here is one of those reads! I am obsessed!
Brain Rules, 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina is all about the brain. The book shares what scientists know about how our brain works-how exercise improves cognition, how memories are volatile, how sleep is powerfully linked to our ability to learn, and how stress changes the way we learn. 

I am about half way through and am loving it as a teacher, mom and woman! He tells the facts but also shares stories to go along with them. It's absolutely enjoyable and I wish I had a two hour block all by myself to sip coffee, take notes, and finish it! I just added the kid version to my cart!
As for T and I, we are reading Aesop's fables at bedtime. I highly recommend fables if you are looking to spice up night time reading! He is finishing the Fly Guy series and our latest Mo Willems addition on his own.

What are you reading?

Baby Expo!

Friday, March 20, 2015 No comments
If you are anywhere near Atlanta, save the date! Saturday, May 2nd is the Atlanta Baby and Child Expo!
The Atlanta Baby and Child Expo is considered the premier event for expecting and new parents (that's me!) in the Southeast. They bring in the ultimate parenting and baby products, as well as top professionals! I've heard it is an elite experience that is intimate and not overwhelming. I'm really looking forward to attending with this guy!
The event features a red carpet entrance for attendees (what should I wear!!!), a fashion show, awesome baby gear to buy and try, lots and lots of giveaways, and so much more! 
The Expo is being held at the Fox Theater (my favorite!) and I hope to see you there! Invite your friend, take the husband, or call your mom and make an afternoon of it! 

How Do You Show Your DisneySide?

Monday, March 16, 2015 4 comments
We had so much fun sharing our DisneySide with friends and family! What does that mean? It's just sharing a little of the Disney magic with people you love! Everyone has a DisneySide whether it be talking about a trip to the park, a favorite character, or favorite movie. When someone starts the Disney buzz everyone can join along! 

Part 2 of our fun included a play date with friends. We were soooo happy the weather cleared up for our festivities! 
Our snack of goldfish and flavored water was perfect and our Mickey and Friends tablecloth served as the perfect picnic blanket for the still damp ground! It was also perfect as a superhero cape and parachute! Yes, there are 3 children under the parachute/tablecloth. They loved it!
Then we were off to make our Mickeys. They could use anything they wanted as long as it was natural. T loves nature you know! Here are a few of their masterpieces! I can't wait to print these on HP cards as keepsakes! 

While I had a captive audience, I also did a short PSA about pods. I love the smell of All detergent and the convenience of pods! I also know as a mom and teacher that they are super tempting to play with! There was no standing ovation, but I think they got the picture~pods are a chemical, leave them alone. :)
We loved spending time with our friends and family and sharing our DisneySide! Thank you Disney ParksMomSelect, and the amazing sponsors for the opportunity! 

Be sure to check out Part One of our #DisneySide @Home Celebration and last year's too

Now the only question we have is........ 
I have received complimentary products in order to host a DisneySide @ Home Celebration. The opinions here are my own, as always. 

CInderella and Frozen Fever!

Friday, March 13, 2015 No comments
My little Prince Charming and I attended a preview of Disney's Cinderella a few days ago. I fell in love all over again! 

The movie starts with the much anticipated Frozen short, Frozen Fever. We loved it. T especially loved the little snowbabies. Ok, I did too! Here's the trailer for it! 

As for Cinderella, I was nervous. I was worried it might be too different (though I hoped Disney would not do such a thing!) I wondered if the ending would be the same because, well, I love a happy ending. I hoped with all of my heart that I would love Lilly James as Cinderella and Richard Madden as Prince Charming. I was just plain nervous guys! 

I shared my worries with T on our way to the theater. When the movie ended, he turned to me and said, "See Mommy, it was good." It was! I laughed, I cried, I felt furious at the stepmother, I smiled and felt happy. I loved it. I loved the Prince and really all of the characters! Here's the trailer if you are still on the fence!

Here are pictures of two of my favorite scenes from Frozen Fever and Cinderella. 
The movie opens today in theaters everywhere! I hope you will see it and let me know what you think! And for all of you worried about it being a musical-it's not! Though, I'm thinking some singing would have been nice! #geek

Here's to your very own happily ever after and remember, have courage and be kind!
T and I showing our #DisneySide with some kisses! 
PS T's favorite character is Gus! 

Teacher Mommy

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 No comments
Being on leave (and having a great mother in law) has allowed me to volunteer in T's class a few times. I've had so much fun just being Mommy. Of course, I have to bust out teacher mode as needed. The visits have also reminded me how fun kindergarten is!
When I walked into T's room this week, all of the kids said hello. As I walked around looking at their masterpieces, one of his classmates looked up and said, "Hey. What are you doing here?" I explained that I was helping with the science lab. He said, "Shouldn't you be at home taking care of your baby?" I cracked up! I assured him that the baby was well taken care of with Granma! 

A couple of weeks ago, we attended a birthday party for one his friends. I took T to the party. One of his classmates looked at him and said, "Where's your baby?" T said, "Oh, he's in the car." The kid looked at me and was like, "WHAT? You can't leave babies in the car!!!" I explained that he was with Daddy and that they had plans. Geesh kids! Cut me some slack! 

I love this age!

They are too much! Don't they know mommies can do it all? :)

Of course, this still wasn't as funny as when I visited A's class

Happy Hump Day! 

Joy Cowley Book Giveaway!

Monday, March 9, 2015 11 comments
If you are a primary teacher, you likely know and love Joy Cowley! I'm a big fan and am so excited to share some new books and two awesome giveaways with you! 

I recently reviewed several Joy Cowley books thanks to my friends at Hameray Publishing. I've bragged about Hameray books before and am happy to do so again!
 Joy Cowley's characters are diverse and that means a lot to me as a reader and a teacher. She writes about characters from different cultures and age groups, amazing make believe characters, and a favorite with my class-animals! She is a master of writing early readers that are interesting to a wide range of students. I'm a fan! 

With that, my very favorite character is Mrs. Wishy Washy. I love sharing her with my students and my own son. Hameray is once again hosting a HUGE giveaway and that giveaway includes some Mrs. Wishy Washy treasures!
Click HERE or on the picture to enter the Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway! One super lucky, grand prize winner will receive a classroom package of Joy's stories including the newest adventures of Mrs. Wishy Washy and more! This year's package includes 90 leveled readers, 19 big books, a set of finger puppets, and more! The total value is $1,000!

What We're Reading Sunday

Sunday, March 8, 2015 No comments
Thanks for checking out our weekly update~What We're Reading Sunday!

T continues (HELP ME) to want to read only Seuss. A couple of these are new and a couple are just in the Seuss family. He loves them all! We are still waiting on our copy of If I Ran the Zoo though. He can't wait to see the box on the porch when we come home from school! 
As for me, I finished Amy Poelher's biography, Yes, Please and feel like now more than ever we should be best friends! #BFF
I've also been reading articles related to our book club read, Habitudes by Tim Elmore. Love all this leadership, success, and happiness talk!
I started Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden too. I think I'm the only person on the planet who has not read this one and I'm going to be really honest and tell you I might not finish it. We'll see!

What are YOU reading?

Happy Cereal Day!

Saturday, March 7, 2015 No comments
True story-I LOVE CEREAL!! I could eat it everyday at least twice a day and there is a special day for people just like me!! 

It's Happy Cereal Day!! AH!!
I'm not even picky about the kind of cereal! I like it all! In fact, if I was in a contest for naming cereals, I think I would win! 

Please imagine the following list being read in my Forrest Gump voice. :)

Lucky Charms, Shredded Wheat, Frosted Shredded Wheat, Mini Frosted Shredded Wheat, all the Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks, Raisin Bran, all the granolas, Chex, Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Life, Cinnamon Life (my fave!) Captain Crunch, Kix, Golden Grahams, Honey Smacks (childhood fave!) Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, Corn Flakes, Grapenuts (no thanks!) Rice Krispies....I'll stop! 

I'm totally going to add this to my list of lists to make with my class! While not the healthiest choice (depending on your choice) there is just something about cereal. In fact, I'm saying it is at the top of my comfort food list! 

What is your favorite cereal?  

The Science of Happy

Thursday, March 5, 2015 2 comments
Sleepless nights have given me time (ha!) to think about life's great questions. I read an article yesterday about success. The bottom line (main idea for my teacher friends) was that everyone's idea of success is different. With that, some people go their entire lives without having that feeling of success. Some celebrate their little successes and believe that leads to great success. Of course, there are lots of people in between. What is success? What makes it so attainable, unattainable depending on who you are? Do we let others have too much say so in our successes? Deep thoughts, friends, deep!

Then my book club leader who surely thinks I am not reading our book, sent us this video to accompany our read, Habitudes by Tim Elmore. It asks the question, "Does being successful make you happy or does being happy make you successful?" Give it the few minutes and watch what happens when two groups have a little happy and then complete a STEM project!

I'm a little torn on this one. I celebrate little successes and that makes me happy. I am also pretty happy so maybe that brings those little successes my way. Success is personal. It belongs to you, but am I successful? It depends on the day, but I am happy. I'm a happy wife, mommy, and teacher.

That's why I can't help but think of my first graders, too. I think happy kids perform better. I don't mean happy filled with candy, I mean kids who are enjoying their environment, feel safe and loved at school, etc. While like the video, my control group is small, I know it is true. As teachers, we have to bring the excitement, bring the engagement, and then success (at all different levels) is sure to come. 

This concludes deep thoughts with L! Ha! Maybe I'm missing my class a little too much! Maybe it's time for me to write that book I always think about and celebrate the success of finishing and not worry about the success of publishing. Maybe I need to get some sleep! 

What do you think (not about my sleep, but the idea of success and happiness!)

Sharing Our Disney Love!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 4 comments
It's no secret, we love Disney World. We really do. My sisters and I took A when she was 2. We loaded up the whole crew and took them again when T was 2. We've made a couple (or three) more trips since then. We love going with friends, too....especially our Disney experts from Mouseducation

So it is no surprise that when our complimentary #DisneySide box arrived from our friends at Disney Parks and MomSelect, T immediately did a little happy dance! That's the thrill we all feel when we think Disney! He was so excited when he saw the HUGE box! He opened it and looked at each thing. "OOOH we're going to make a cake and look at this pan and stickers AND tattoos AND sprinkles AND girl toys and...." I explained that we'd been invited to share our #DisneySide like mommy did last year. He was all over it! "Let's invite A, P, Oba, Pops, Julianne...." 

That's when it hit me. My plan won't work. I had been planning our celebration in my head for weeks. As it turns out, his plans were better and more genuine than mine! I told him that everyone could not come visit at the same time though. What could we do? How could we share our #DisneySide with friends and family in Mobile, when we are in Atlanta? Hmmmmm.....

I thought about T's face when he opened the box. He was so tickled! That's when we decided to share that excitement with our family and friends. We packed our own #DisneySide boxes with goodies, pics from our trips, and a love note! Then we headed to the post office!
Box One was for Oba. Box Two for A and P. Box Three for Michele and Family.
T asked everyday if they had received their packages yet. "Mommy, did A get her magic box?" "Do you think Julianne got her Palace Pet? She's going to love those." "When is P going to make that rainbow cake?" "I bet Oba paints her nails right when she opens it!" Two days later, the phone started ringing! 
Julianne did have her Palace Pets and she loved painting her nails! Michele popped in her planning DVD and started thinking about their first trip to Disney World! Here's hoping we will be able to join them!
Oba did receive her nail polish and luggage tags! She put them together immediately and started hinting about our next trip! She also went straight to the DisneySide@Home Celebration page to find more recipes! Hoping she will make us a little surprise next time we are in town! Hint, hint! 
A was thrilled to receive her box and took her sweet time checking out each item! She and P decided they will be making the Duff cake for Easter. Yay!! A also starting talking about our next trip while she pulled out her Mickey ears just for fun!

Everyone loves getting a package! It's even better when it is a surprise AND it is even better when it is packed full of Disney love! 

I'm glad our DisneySide celebration part one was a huge success and I look forward to sharing part two in the coming days! For more info on hosting your own DisneySide@Home Celebration, click HERE or check out my Pinterest board!

What would you put in a #DisneySide box to share your Disney love?

I have received complimentary products in order to host a DisneySide @ Home Celebration. The opinions here are my own, as always. 

After School

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 No comments
We love our school! As a first grade teacher and kindergarten mom, I count my blessings everyday! One thing T and I both love about our school is the after school programs. There are several choices and it seems like there is almost something for everyone! T takes art class (LOVES it) and participates in Fit Club (LOVES it!) 

Art has a theme and they create masterpieces using all kinds of mediums. It is pretty self explanatory. He loves our art teacher and often shares his knowledge with us! Fit Club focuses on exercise and nutrition. Each week they exercise, play games, and try a healthy snack-sometimes focused on food groups. The program was created by one of our amazing PE teachers, Mrs. Whatley. She is a rock star!

When it comes to cool snacks, they had ants on a log (peanut butter, raisins on celery,) an Olaf made with half of a pear, yogurt, flavored popcorn, and T's favorite.....Chick-fil-a grilled nuggets!
T is not a fan of nuggets. He is also not a fan of fries. I wish I wasn't a fan! When T came to the room after Fit Club on protein day, he said, "Mommy, I tried grilled nuggets today and I really like them. Can we get some more one day?" 

How cool is that? T is the kind of kid who is willing to try anything once and decide if he likes it or not. Indian food? Yep! Chinese food? Yep! Any veggie in the universe? Yep! Crazy fruit? Yep! I wouldn't have tried the grilled nuggets though. He is a picky meat eater and I wasn't going to go there. So glad Fit Club did! :)

I'm so glad he gets to experience Fit Club for the exercise, nutritional information, and so he can try fun, new snacks. He even leads a little Fit Club at home with us and we just love it. I feel so fortunate that these after school programs are offered!

Selfishly, I'm also thrilled we can add Chick-fil-a to our road trip stops during lunch and dinner time travel! (We already stop during breakfast of course!) 

Does your school have after school programs? Which program do you wish they had?

Happy Monday!

Monday, March 2, 2015 No comments
I couldn't resist!! I'm using my kid to express how I feel before and after my morning coffee! This is much better than a picture of me before and after my morning coffee....just ask the family!
M and I hope you have a fantastic, coffee filled week! 

Read Across America

Sunday, March 1, 2015 2 comments
This week's What We're Reading Sunday is dedicated to Dr. Seuss! 

Kindergarten celebrated Read Across America a little early so T has been in rhyming mode. Seriously, he is trying to make everything he says rhyme. AHHHHHH! Get me out of here! He also wants to read, read, read every Seuss book ever written....which makes this mommy super happy!

He asked where our copy of If I Ran The Zoo was. I was positively ashamed to tell him we do not own it-not at school, not at home, not on the train, not in the rain. I'm going to get it though, I promise! We read these over the weekend and while I know Put Me in the Zoo is not actually Seuss, it is in the Seuss family and T read it to me all by himself. #happymommy
He read several others too and then I remembered that sometimes, yes sometimes, Seuss books drive me nuts! 
Here is my very favorite Seuss book. I'll be honest and tell you that I am so sad to not be sharing it with my first graders tomorrow. We read it earlier in the year, but there is just something about reading it on Dr. Seuss' birthday. I just love it! 
We'll be celebrating Read Across America day when T comes home from school tomorrow and hope you will, too! For ideas, printables, and activities, click on either picture below! There is something for everyone! 

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? 


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