Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekend Warrior Linky 3-2-1 Bio

I couldn't resist linking up with the Weekend Warriors for this 3-2-1 Bio linky. Check out what others are posting at Primarily Speaking (and link up too!).
 This linky is based on the popular 3-2-1 method you can also use in your classroom. First up, 3 things about me as a teacher:

1. I get bored easily so I like to change things up quite often. Don't get me wrong, I live and die by my classroom routines and procedures. My classroom runs like a well oiled machine (by about October), which frees up my creative side to bring in fun lessons, activities, games, centers, and new things to keep the kids on their toes.
2. I'll try just about anything techy. I just spent two days at a tech PD last week and I have a few more planned for the summer.
3. I'm so lucky to be team teaching with 2 amazing coworkers this year and I will only have to teach math this year! Woohoo! I love teaching math because even though there is usually only one correct answer, I love teaching different ways to get there. I didn't love math growing up (I'd rather read), but now I prefer to teach it over any other subject.

1. This overlaps with the teacher in me. I have trouble just sitting still and doing nothing. I must have something to do, read, or think about. My mind is constantly 3 steps ahead of what I'm currently doing, which can cause me to be somewhat impatient with myself and others. I can't stand to not feel productive and get things done. I can relax, but it is only when I'm reading.
2. I know most people don't like to clean, but I really really really hate it. The problem is that I like living in a clean house. Disorganization drives me crazy. I just don't want to be the one to do the actual cleaning. When my kids were very young I taught them how to do many chores around the house and now we clean the house as a team. All of us just work really hard for a couple of hours on a Sunday and get it done. I feel much better if I'm not the only one cleaning. It also helps if I have some good 80's music blasting on Pandora. 
My bucket list is pretty huge, but my #1 thing would be to travel through Italy eating fresh pasta and anything else they want to put in front of me. My grandmother is Italian and she recently taught me how to make pasta, but I want MORE! I want to go to Italy like Liz in Eat, Pray, Love and just taste everything! In order to justify eating all that pasta, I will walk and walk and walk amongst the beautiful buildings, museums, and sights.

Are you ready to link up? Here's what you'll do:
1. Visit Primarily Speaking for the blank templates.
2. Fill them in accordingly.
3. Link up!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Week 2

Our challenge this week is to list the BIG goals we have for TpT and why we work so hard to reach them. Honestly, my goals have evolved over time. Originally I wanted to make a few extra bucks to help pay for my daughters' club soccer fees, uniforms, tournaments and gear. Now, I'm dreaming big! Why not??
1. Financial Freedom: I mean, who doesn't want this? It would be so nice to be able to pay my bills and mortgage and have p-l-e-n-t-y of money left over so I wouldn't have to stress about unexpected expenses that inevitably come up. I would also really LOVE to not have to clean my house. Seriously, that is a big one for me. I don't think I would stop working (yet) even if I had this elusive "financial freedom" but it would sure be nice to be able to if I wanted. It would be super cool to have everything paid off too. I'm dreamin' BIG, right?

2. My girls have a little college fund but I would love for them to graduate with as little debt as possible. The oldest heads off to college in August and we just found out that her tuition and room/board went up. Sigh. I would love to help her out now and then so she could start her life without the burden of student loans to pay off. My youngest is planning on med school so I think debt is pretty much guaranteed, but it would be great if she started off with her undergrad covered. 

3. I know I get a retirement (in 14 years) from teaching, but my hubs doesn't have that guarantee. I want him to be able to contribute the max to his 401k so we can make our retirement dreams a reality. 

4. I dream of cruises, beaches and european vacations on a daily basis. My husband and I work extremely hard and vacations are the only way to keep our sanity. My dream is that my whole family can take a cruise together! 

5. I would love to either have the extra money to donate to charities, or the time (by not having to work) to volunteer more than I do currently. If I ever hit the big time, I dream of setting up an after school club for kids at my school to learn to cook, get some exercise, use technology and get help with their homework or reading & math skills. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Makeover Madness-a bit late to the game

I was so excited to see that some awesome TpTers (see below) had the idea to start a TpT Seller Challenge so I just HAD to join.

Sadly, I was teaching at a camp all week and was beyond tired at the end of the day. I finally got around to blogging about the makeover I recently gave one of my first products. It was a very basic (and obviously beginner) set of math task cards. Gag!
I actually cringe at the sight of this product! Here is the new and improved version:
What a huge difference! If you ever downloaded this in the past, please go back and download it again. It's like a whole new product! I'm also putting it on sale for $1 until I complete the next TpT Seller Challenge!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Birthday Blog Hop with The Education Highway

Hey everyone! I'm super excited to be in this blog hop to celebrate Celeste's birthday (from Education Highway) this week. Hop around to find fabulous freebies, crafts, summer recipes, 3 huge giveaways and lots more. Check it out!
I absolutely love summer because I get to do all the things I never have time to do. One of my favorites is a backyard BBQ. I also love all the summer fruits available, such as peaches. One year my sweet grandma brought over a huge box of delicious Colorado peaches. These peaches taste like peaches should taste! I had way too many to eat so she suggested that I freeze some and make a cobbler with some. I found this amazing Paula Dean recipe (a stick of butter y'all) that is crazy easy and delicious. Top it with some vanilla ice cream and you'll be the hero of the BBQ.
Click the pic below to take you to the recipe.

Summer is all about fun, but I always made my kids sit down for 20-30 minutes a day to work on the skills they learned in school. You want to keep those hard earned skills from slipping so here's a sizzling hot freebie to practice skip counting. 
Click the pic below to get your freebie!

My kids are teenagers now, so keeping them entertained isn't too hard. All they want is money and the car keys! When the family comes over they have cousins to play with and they usually just sit around on the phones. I love this idea to get them away from their phones and playing and interacting with each other. To be honest, I'd like to play too!

click the pic below to take you to the pin
It may not be what you want to think about right now, but for those of us who plan and scheme all summer, my Back to School Memory Book and First Week Activities is on sale all week for just $4!!!
Click the pic to take you to this product

Finally, three awesome giveaways! 
I think this one is the best only because I'm giving away any one product from my store!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's an ebook that lists all the sponsors of this blog hop (click the pic). To check out more bloggers on the hop, click here

Sunday, June 7, 2015

5 Reasons I LOVE summer...

This morning I was writing in my journal and I decided to flip back several pages to read some entries I had written earlier this year. I try to be positive, but REAL in my journal but I was dismayed to find that most of the entries had the theme of "just get through to the weekend" or "all the things I need to get done". I could feel the stress building just reading those entries so I went back to today's entry and noticed how calm and happy it sounded. It must be summer!

Of course all teachers love summer! I really, really, really, really love summer and not for the reason you think...

Reason #1: popsicles and flip flops any time of day or night. I buy several cheapo flip flops at Old Navy in fun colors every summer. For popsicles, I love these, especially the lime flavor, which tastes like a margarita:
Reason #2: time to be creative. I get to work on crafts and furniture refinishing projects this summer! I recently refinished a dresser from my great grandmother using chalk paint and it came out great so I'm going to give a few of my existing pieces an update! Check out my Furniture Redo Pinterest Board:

I also have time to work on new products for my TpT store, classroom and my friends. 

Reason #3: reading!!! I spend all spring cultivating my summer reading list and then I pop on my library's website and start requesting books. Here are some of my must reads this summer:

Reason #4: cooking! I love to cook, especially when I don't NEED to cook, like when 3 people are asking me what's for dinner and I'm not even home yet and I'm tired and still have to stop and get gas and I have no idea what's even in the house to know those times. I recently learned how to make homemade pasta from my sweet grandma and now I want to conquer more culinary feats! One of my favorite movies is Julie & Julia, which is so inspiring to me! Now that I've learned to make pasta (ravioli, fettuccini, spaghetti) I want to make this Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu my sister found on Bon Appetit except that I'm going to make homemade ribbon noodles instead of rigatoni:
click the pic for recipe
Reason #5: Chillin...I always feel like I have the need to do something, to be productive, or busy. This summer, I'm going to chill on my hammock and take a nap or read or sit on my back porch with a popsicle or slice of watermelon. I'm going to visit my grandmas and just hang out. I'm going to spend some time with my girls and my hubs. I'm going to schedule some chill time. This little beauty is going on my screensaver:

I have about a thousand more reasons I love summer but I figured that would be kinda like bragging. What do you love about summer?? Reply and I'll send you my newest product! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June Currently

I'm SO stinkin happy it's June! I love the feeling of having the whole summer ahead of me to do as I please. I'm linking up with fab Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her monthly Currently. First off, I am a dog lover and would be devastated if my Scruffy was ever lost or washed away like so many animals in Wimberley, TX.

If you'd also like to help out with a donation to WAG, go to Farley's page to donate! Now, here's my June Currently:

Listening: Since my high school graduate (proud mama, sorry!) of a daughter has recently taken over my home office with her job applications, graduation cards, and miscellaneous debris, I have relocated my "office" to my back porch. I live on a golf course right by a pond and I have the most peaceful view. The mornings are cool and fresh so I have been working from here. I have a chorus of bird sounds from sweet hummingbirds, sparrows and robins, to quacky ducks and cooing doves, to these noisy crows and some other unidentified birds. I guess it's my summer soundtrack! At night we hear the bullfrogs too. I feel so blessed that this is my refuge. 

Lovin': Two words: summer break! Enough said!

Thinking: I never truly relax, but I'm ok with that. I have a busy brain so I need to be constantly doing, creating, fixing, and learning. I have lists of lists but I'm making sure to work in some fun and down time. I think it will be good for me!

Wanting: This summer in particular is one I don't want to end. My baby girl is going off to college in August and I'm just trying to soak up as much of her as I can before she leaves. My youngest is also at a funky stage in her life as a 15 year old. She is trying to figure out who she is and is going to need a momma to lean on in the coming years. She's still a sweetie who loves to cuddle on the couch with me, so I'm gonna go ahead and soak that up too. 

Needing: I think I might say this every month. For real this time, though! I'm at the age where I can't eat whatever I want and expect to maintain my weight. I would love to lose a few pounds but more importantly, work on my cardio. I play in a rec soccer league and I would love to be able to run more easily and get less tired. 

Summer Lovin': There are about a billion reasons to love summer. At the moment, I'm reveling in the fact that I can stay in my PJs as long as I want, consume a meal in more than 15 minutes, and have the time to do what I want/need. I forgot that I do love to use the restroom whenever I feel like and drink as much water as I want! (#teacherproblems)

Click the button below to see what everyone else is up to or to donate to WAG. Happy June! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Why I Started Blogging

I'm linking up with Miss Monica from I Heart Grade 3 for her weekly linky party and this week's topic is why you started blogging. Here's the list of weekly topics if you're interested in joining in.

I think this is a really great question! When I originally set up my blog, I wanted a space to record my experiences as a busy teacher/mom and reflect on my life.  The secondary reason is that I thought it might help my TpT store. I wasn't quite sure how, since I didn't have an audience, but it seemed like a good way to get my store going. Since most of what I make are things that I actually use in my classroom, it seemed like a perfect marriage. I also wanted to find a balance between promoting my store and telling it like it is. I wanted my voice to come through in my writing and I didn't want to alienate my readers by shoving my products down their throats. I wanted people to laugh along with me at my struggles or be inspired to try something that worked for me.

I started to read more blogs written by teachers and realized that there is this great big blogging world out there! I also realized that I could use my blog to connect with other teachers across the world.  I started joining linky parties like Five for Friday and Farley's monthly Currently and really enjoyed the new blogs I'd find by joining up. I also made some blogging buddies in my own state and have enjoyed getting to know them too. I first met Melissa at A Teaspoon of Teaching, she introduced my to Albuquerque Amy, and then we had a meet up and I met Mary from  The Apple Tree Room and Laura from Tchr888. These ladies inspire me!

My blog has taken a back seat to my crazy busy life the past few months and I have been less than inspired when I finally drag my butt home each evening, slap some dinner together and pass out. Now that I'm on summer break, I'm really sad that I didn't take just a little time to write more often. I had some great moments at school this spring and I wish I had documented them.

I guess I need to schedule time to write, just like I have to schedule time to prep and plan for school, work on my TpT store, or do housework or run errands.

How often do you blog? How much time do you devote to your blog each week? How do you fit it all in?