summer background

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sneak Peak and Bathroom Update

A rainy day in Michigan. . . what are ya going to do? Well, you could clean a room. . . Nah!
You could clean a closet. . . heck no!
You could go to lunch with friends. . .yes ma'am!
You could make a new activity. . . absolutely!
I'll give you a sneak peak. . . ..

I should be able to finish this and get it up to my store later tonight. . . .  

But. . . my husband wants to paint the bathroom when he gets home from golfing. . . so I may not get it completely done. 

Remember the bathroom remodel? You can click on that link to refresh your memory. 

Here's a couple pictures of what it looks like today. 
 This is the new tile on the south wall. There's a little mosaic across the top. Tomorrow he'll finish the top. (that's why it looks crummy up there!)
 This is the middle and the north end of the tub. The niche in the wall will be tiled tomorrow also.
This is the tub with the floor showing. I am a long way from my froo froo purple bathroom that I used to have and I am SO glad! This looks great in person. . . not sure if you get the full effect from the pictures. My builder pays very close attention to details and everything looks perfect!

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blog Ettiquette

I want to share with you a blog post that all of us need to read every once in a while. Christina Bainbridge wrote a long but very important post today about blogging and creating things for TPT or Teacher's Notebook. 

I know that I had to ask a lot of questions from others when I first started blogging and thankfully they were all very helpful. But some people aren't asking the questions and they are making some strong errors in their adventures of blogging. 

I would encourage you to jump over to Christina's blog and read it now. And if you have questions, please feel free to ask her or come back and ask me. We aren't meanies! We just want the blogging world to be a fair place with people who like to play well together. 

And I will add one piece of my mind right now. 

I make several freebies to give out to anyone who wants them. There is no strings attached and you get to use it for yourself and your students. I just hope that you love it and your kiddos really learn from it. 

However, don't we work hard to teach our students to be polite? Don't we insist that our own families learn to say "please and thank you?" Wouldn't you expect that from your coworkers? 

When I look at my stats, I can see how many people downloaded my freebies. For example, right now my Take Home Writing Journal has 283 people have grabbed it. Yea! That's a nice number. . . but only 11 people have stopped by to say "Thank you or leave a comment." Doesn't that shock you?  Here's another stat. My March Adjectives has been downloaded 1,165 times. . . and 5 people said thank you! 

So here's what I'm thinking. . . . I'm not asking for a book to be written. .  . but just leave me a couple words or a sentence telling me what you think. . . that's all we ask. . . . is that so hard? 

Ok, lecture over and please go to Christina's (if you haven't already) and read what she has to say.


Laminating Tips. . . (Just in case you do it differently)

I know many of you have the laminating pouches and the home laminators. So you probably do things differently than I do. 

I use the laminator at our school and I would like to share with you a tip that has helped save a lot of laminating film. 

Since I started following blogs and TPT, I have used a ton of laminating film. I feel that if our school is going to let us use unlimited amounts of film the least I can do is to be resourceful with it. 

I've seen some people laminate using two pieces of paper at a time. Set this way only two pieces of paper can fit at a time. (even if you turn them the other direction, there isn't enough room to put more than two in at a time.)
This is fine if you can't trim the paper.

These two photos show how putting two pieces of paper at one time in the laminator looks.

But if you trim off the extra paper on the sides and tops first, you'll be able to put three pieces of paper in the laminator at one time. 

It's not real clear, but you can see that there are three sheets of trimmed paper at the same time in the laminator.

And when it comes out the back, this is what it looks like.

 You can see the difference in laminating two 
pieces at a time versus three. 

I understand that there are times when you don't need to trim the papers. But in the cases where you do, you can save a lot of film by doing it this way. 

If you are wondering why I laminate first and then cut apart the individual pieces. . . I use just regular paper instead of card stock. So there isn't a chance that the film will pull apart from the paper. It saves a step from cutting them up into little pieces, laminating, and cutting all over again. 
If you're like me, 
I look for all the time savers that I can find. 

So that's my tip for the day. 
I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you do it. 

P.S. Shown in these pictures are activities from Fern Smith's Froggy Goes To School Syllables

Story Problem Task Cards for August by Casey Turner from Second Grade Math Maniac

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gina's Blog Birthday Celebration

Summer is melting. . . melting. . . melting away. For many of you, school starts this coming week or next. Here in Michigan we can't go back until after Labor Day. 
(It's the law!)
The Count down app on my phone says I have 5 weeks left. That doesn't count the week before that we have 3 days of inservice, or the days before that we will be working in our rooms on our own time. (Why is it that it takes elementary teachers a couple weeks to get ready, and high school teachers just walk in the first day and they are ready?) 

Since my parents have been a huge part of my summer, I feel that I haven't done as much as I would like to have done with my blog. BUT, I wouldn't trade that time with them for anything. 

I'm home now for at least a week, while my other siblings take some shifts to be up there with them. So now, I can make some progress with this blog and my store. 
Plus that bathroom remodel. I'm not ready to show you any updates, yet. But I can tell you the new tub is in and it's 5 inches deeper than the old purple one! 

Do you know Gina Szczodrowski  from thirdgradetidbits

She is over the moon with celebrating her blog's birthday. What's a celebration without a little fun give away? 

You can click on that picture above to go to her page on today and enter to win. She will have new prizes each day for a week. But here's the fun part. . . If you forget to enter on today, you'll have time to enter on Tuesday, even though Tuesday's prizes are visible . . .But if you come back on Wednesday, you won't be able to register for Monday's. . . . do you get it? You get two days for each day to enter.

I'm giving something away on Monday. So if you're a fan of mine, and you've been wanting one of my thingies, you can enter to win this below.

and if you like that you might want to pick up the companion to this which is: 

Just click on the picture above to see it in my TPT store.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Non Extreme Makeovers

I am approaching my one year of selling on TPT. It's been fun and so helpful to me to create things that work for my classroom. That's why I make these things. And if on the chance that YOU could use them too, I decided to sell them. I know that many people make similar things. So I get that you might buy from someone else. That's ok with me.I know I have my favorites just like you do too. 

This summer it has been one of my goals to update and market my wares better. That's what this post is all about. I wanted to give you a sneak peak at a few things that I have updated. I realize that you are a long way from these holidays. But if you're like me, you might need some extra time to get therm around before the holiday actually approaches. 

You can click on each picture to take you
 directly to that product in my store.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more 
updates real soon.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back to School Pronouns and Facebook Freebies

Here's a pic of my newest Back To School product! I'd love for you to get one to introduce or review pronouns to your students.

I have had good luck with these pronoun cards and have made them for many months or seasons throughout the year. You can see the others by clicking each link below. 

Have  you seen the new Facebook page 
dedicated to freebies? 
It's perfectly filled right now with many things that just 
might fit what your needs are. 

Just click on this apple and it will take you to the page. Like the page and feel free to search for things that you will need for your class. And don't forget to leave the people some loving after you grabbed their freebie. 

We must remember our manners, shouldn't we?


Monday, July 22, 2013

Destruction in a Bathroom. . enter at your own risk!

Today is a day of destruction. . . 

In my bathroom at least. . . . I will show you what it looks like, 
but you MUST promise not to judge!

Seriously! You may not do any shaking of your head, or tsk tsk tsking with your tongue!

Ok, here goes. This is what my bathroom looks 
looked like this morning.
Yup, you are seeing it right. . . that's a purple tub. We used to have a purple sink and toilet too, but we've replaced them over the years.
 Now this next part is the gross stuff. . . 
Are you ready?  
Grab your nose and hold your breath!

 Look at all that mold around where the faucets were!
Gross! Yuck! Pew! Icky!
This is a cast iron tub and it will take a lot of strong burly men to hoist it out of here. Come back tomorrow to see those strong men! Maybe they'll take off their shirts. . . no wait, I don't think I want them to do that! I've seen my construction men. .  they aren't the kind you see on the cool commercials!
More sickness!
 That mold and wet rotten floors are bugging me. 
I know we are clean people, but we seriously didn't know the shower was leaking that kind of a mess. 
This is the final picture for today. All tidied up and ready for a rest. Tomorrow the tub comes out and they'll begin working on the new up to date plumbing. 

Can you imagine new tiling on the wall and a tile floor? That's the plan. Now if you can just invision that until we get more work done, you won't have nightmares tonight!

Like I said, please don't judge me. I have mold, not a bad amount but some. . . we'll get rid of it. Do you have some? Are you sure? 
You may not know until you pull out the walls and the floors and really check.  


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Update on Mom and My Store.

I really thought I'd be able to blog a lot more than I have this summer. But somehow LIFE gets in the way! 
I sit and read the Facebook posts and wish that I was involved right in the middle of all the fun and drama that goes on there. But if I do that, then I don't get anything else done. 
So for the past week, I've been a lucky gramma babysitting my grand daughter, a faithful daughter taking care of my own mother who's health is declining, and a diligent wife who's trying to keep a tidy house and get ready for a bathroom remodel. 

And behind all of those necessary things are a teacher who just wants to sit at a computer and create and blog non stop!

How's a person supposed to get it all done? 

First, let me give you the short story on my mom. If you've been following since Christmas, you know she went from acting like a 70 year old to being hospitalized and to begin acting like the 90 year old she is. She is now on oxygen but still very active and can get around the house anywhere she wants to go. Her kidneys are in renal failure and she has congestive heart failure. Those two things together are going to take her life in the near future. But for now, I talk with her on Skype, visit her every week for a few days, and feel like outwardly she is doing fine. It's when I talk to the Hospice (God's Angels!) nurse who comes once a week, that I can clearly see that mom isn't the strong person she used to be. 

I'm accepting her future as best as I can, but I do feel it has zapped the energy out of me. I don't feel like doing a lot of the things I used to do. . . so bear with me. I'll snap out of it in time. If you're a praying person, of course, I'll take any prayers for peace and comfort for her and dad. 

So when I have found some time, I have updated a few things. Mainly I wanted them to look better. Ya'll are so creative I wanted to be competitive with you. If you already own these, don't forget to go and get the updates if you'd like to. If you don't own them, you can grab them at my store. If I have done this right, you should be able to click on the pictures of each to take you to the actual item in my store.

Driving in Order isn't just ABC Order, it is also in sequential order which can be tough for some 2nd graders!

This Verb Tense is practice finding the one word that is either spelled wrong or doesn't match the verb in the girl picture. You'll cut them apart and the kids have to match them up, then take out the one that does not fit correctly. You can see in the sample below what I'm talking about.

It may seem like Halloween is a long way down the road, but if you get this now, you'l have time to copy, laminate and cut it out so that it's ready by October 1st!

And it's really a LONG LONG time until Easter, but if your class needs practice on place value, this really can be used anytime because they are just eggs, nothing referenced to Easter. 

This last one is a test for your kids to see if they recognize how a contraction is spelled. Is the apostrophe in the right place? Are the right letters taken out? They have 3 choices to pick from. 

And if you are not sleeping yet, I do want to announce that I did have one winner from Christina's Feedback Linky last month. Andrea contacted me and was able to pick something that was perfect for her in my store.  There will be another Linky Party each month, so be sure to leave good feedback and YOU could be the winner next time!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Feedback Linky. . . Did you buy something from me?

Did ya notice? 

I've actively blogged for 4 days in a row! 

FOUR in a Row! 

That is just redunkulous!

I guess that's what summer is all about!

Thanks for coming back today to see about That Time Of The Month. . . 

Time for Christina's Fabulous Feedback Linky Party.

You see, we have been watching the things that you say in your feedback that you give us after you download a freebie or buy a product.

We love to hear good constructive comments. Sometimes a "Thank You!" is just fine. But other times, when you say more than that, we can get a better idea of how we are doing.

Here are the two picks that I felt very special about. Read them and maybe the next time you pick up one of our products, maybe you'll be chosen as the winner!

Oh and the best part! If these two buyers see this post and 
contact me at, 
they get to choose ANYTHING from my store for FREE! 
Yep, that's it! For FREE!

So if you know one of these girls, please let them know. 
And then go back to Christina's Blog and see who else is leaving some good feedback. . . 
it could be YOU!

You can check out the FREE Take Home Journal here.

You can check out the Eggstra Value activity here.

Feedback pictures have clipart from Ashley Hughes at the School Supply Addict.

I hope I hear from Jody or Sleepiedrea. . . 
I want them to be a winner!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

That Time of the Month.

It's that time of the month again. . . . .  . EGADS! 

No, NO, NO, NOT THAT time of the month!

It's time for The Fabulous Feedback Party.

If you have bought anything from me and IF you left me some FABULOUS FEEDBACK, then come back here on Friday and maybe, just MAYBE I picked yours as my winner. If I do pick yours, you get to choose anything one thing that you'd like from my FABULOSO store.

If it seems like I'm YELLING at you with all my caps on, I'm not. I'm just trying to get your attention and get you to check back on Friday.

Also, don't forget to stop by Mrs. Russell's Room because she's been having a big celebration all week long. On Thursday and Friday she is featuring one of my products. Wouldn't that be great if YOU won it?

Click on this picture below to go to her blog. 
(I'm just thrilled that I know how to connect this picture to her blog now
. . . so humor me and try it!

 photo bloggerversarybutton_zps6b7b6d3a.jpg

That's it for now. . . Don't forget to come back now, Ya hear?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

String Art Is Great for Math Skills

Have  you ever heard of String Art? I used to do it in my classroom at least once a holiday. I always felt it was a great academic activity for my 2nd graders. Doing string art taught them to focus on following directions, reading numbers carefully (12 is not 21!), and being patient while they complete the activity.

But with more stringent regulations on reading, math and testing, it was a frivolous thing I had to put aside. I still have past students who ask if I still do that, so I  know that it was something they enjoyed and remembered. 

This week my sister is in charge of a 4H camp and she asked me to teach her kids how to do String Art. 
I was super excited because I do love this activity. 

I wanted to show you some of the pictures that go
into making these pictures.

You start with these patterns. The back side is where the directions are. This is where you start with the needle and crochet thread. There is also a sheet of directions that tells you to go down a number then up a different number. 
(You don't go in order like 1, 2, 3,  . . . but you would go down 1, and up 15, down 2 and up 16. . . etc.)

This is my tub of crochet thread.

And here are some of the finished products.

They are very cool looking.

All this testing sure makes me miss doing the fun things that were also important for kids. 

Sometimes they say the pendulum will swing back . . . maybe there is hope someday that we can go back to doing what's important for kids and good for them too.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh MY JUNK! I'm Baring My Soul!

As promised I am here to show you my junk piles! I'm joining Christina and her Linky Party

(click the picture to find others doing the same thing!)

This is where you wipe away your pride and share with me and others what your mess looks like. 

So . . . . here. . . . goes. . . . 

I'm not even going to make them bigger for you! It's bad enough to see them just like this!

My goal is to take all these files and some how organize them in those plastic tubs. It's a darn good thing that nobody is dying to use that Ping Pong Table. Does ANYONE ever play Ping Pong anymore? Or does EVERYONE use their table as a clutter catcher?

So that's it. . . Now you see it. . . I sure hope that by the end of August you can come back and compare and see that I truly have done what I wanted to get done this summer!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Guess What I've Been Doing for a Week?


What's that? I certainly haven't done it for a week!

You see I went to Houston to visit my daughter and her husband. From there we visited San Antonio and the River Walk. .. and of course we had to "Remember the Alamo!"

If you've never been to the River Walk, and you get anywhere near there, you really should go and take the boat tour to hear the history of the city. It's an amazing thing to see. 

We also went to the a water park called Corp Logo Color Hi JPG
It's been said that they are the BEST in the Nation. . . I just might have to agree, since I've only been to a couple other water parks in the nation!

Then we went to a wedding of a young lady that my daughter teaches with. I was able to meet many of the other teachers who she works with. What a rush that was . . . 
to hear what they think of her and to hear how they respect her. 

Sure made this mamma pretty proud! 

I need to give a shout out to Amber, Cecilia
Oscar,and Ashley.

Before we went on our vacation, I was able to help Christina Bainbridge (I know you ALL know her!) plan our Michigan Meet Up.  We had 12 people come to P.F. Changs for lots of good food, talking, laughter, and good old fashioned teacher talk!

If you know any of these faces you are an avid blogger. . . but just in case, here are the names and their blog names in case you want some new fabulous people to follow.

These were the bloggers that were there:

Holly Wasilewski- (there in spirit)

Betsy Leatherman- Kelly's mom!  :)

Then while I was in Houston I got another chance to meet a fellow blogger. Her name is Barbara Gruener.
 She has a blog called The Corner on Character. 
She is a counselor in several schools in the Friendswood area. 
She is amazing and it was so special that we got to 
share some time together. 
We found that we have a lot of things in common! 

We liked what these posters said. 
They were there for the Coffee and Yogurt shop we were in, 
but we also felt they stood for most teachers also!
Do you agree?

Now, One last thing before I need to get away from here! Tamara Russell is having a Blogversary Celebration for each day this week.  As you can see there are some awesome prizes there. . . plus each day she has a Flash Freebie (for a short amount of time) and a Forever Freebie (which is as it says,  is Forever!)

Just click on the pictures to go to Tamara's Blog.

My item will be listed on Thursday and Friday. 
Be sure to come back each of these days to enter! 

Good luck!

If you come back tomorrow, 
I'm going to really get out of my comfort zone. . . 
Thanks to that dastardly Christina that I mentioned above! 
She is MAKING me do this and she knows 
how weak I am in this area. 
She is having a Linky Party about the piles. . . 
the PILES of school stuff you have in your house. . . 
Of all the nerve! I hate, absolutely HATE to show people my messes. . . there is just somethings that are private! 

But I am bending over for her to show you my junk. .  but you have to come back tomorrow. I am not showing you tonight!