Monday, July 28, 2014


Today's post is straight from the heart.... even if no one reads it. It is something that has been on my mind for a while now and I need to just get it out....

 yeah, I know. I can't really use a hashtag on a blog. But it's how it feels right now. I'm struggling.....

I'm struggling with the fact that I have been working hard on TpT, and my blog, and my FB page, and my IG for over 2 years now, and I am just not as good as anyone else. I have 33 followers here on my blog. I have 66 likes on my FB page. I have 212 in my TpT store..... don't get me wrong. I am grateful for EVERY. SINGLE. ONE OF YOU! You each believed in me enough to follow me, to buy from me, to comment and interact with me. But again.. #thestruggleisreal. Because I could have more. I could be like my teacher friends I met back in March and have hundreds or thousands. I could be gaining followers like crazy every day and my business could be just exploding..... But it's not. And the struggle isn't because of money, or vanity, or pride, or my ego. It's because I compare myself and wonder, "Why am I not good enough? Why can't I be like that? What's wrong with me?" and I let the enemy into my heart and ruin what could be...what IS so good!

It may sound like a pity party... but I can't be the only one feeling this way... can I?
We women compare ourselves to one another. We compare our looks, our size, our clothes, our hair, our families, our homes, our jobs, our everything. We just do, even when we don't want to. Even though we know we shouldn't. {because none of it truly matters, it's all earthly} But... #thestruggleisreal, even if we don't want to admit it.

So lately, I have had to stop and reassess myself, my priorities. I used to praise God every time I got an email notification from TpT to my phone telling me I sold something... every time I heard the "ka-ching" of the TpT app. But then, I didn't seem to anymore....and I can't be like that. Every follower, every like, every comment, every sale is straight from Him. Because HE SENT IT. HE chose to bless ME in that moment. He doesn't have to.. I certainly don't deserve it. But He does. And HE deserves the glory. That was my goal with it all from day one... to honor and glorify His Name, and I've been dropping the ball lately. I've let it get to me. I've forgotten that is all for Him, and I already have everything I need. He walks along with me and gives me everything I need exactly when I need it. Yet it's not good enough for me. Well, it hasn't been, but I'm working on that..... like I said, #thestruggleisreal. Do you feel me? Or am I alone in this feeling? I can't be right, can I?

But through the struggle I will focus on Him. I will step back and stop making this about ME... because it's NOT ABOUT ME... it's only about Him!

If you happen to be reading this...thanks for reading. Thanks for following. Thanks for liking. Thank you, above all, for believing. For believing in teachers and women, like me, who struggle every day to be better, to be "good enough," to have what everyone else have.

YOU ARE! no matter what you think. #TheStruggleIsReal...but we are STRONG!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

fLiP BooKs!

Hey there friends!

Have you ever made or used a flip book in your classroom?? What did you use it for and how did you feel about it?

Last school year, I was preparing to teach long division to my third graders, and was super nervous for them about learning and remembering the steps. I wanted them to have something that would show them step-by-step how to solve a problem, with an example problem as well. I didn't want them to see the steps along with the entire problem already, and I knew I wanted it color coded. While talking with my 3rd grade colleague about different ideas we saw on Pinterest, I realized I needed a flip book of sorts. I also knew, though, that it needed to be smaller, more referenced sized rather than the size of a notebook or large on an anchor chart. I wanted them to each have their own..... so that night, I quickly got to work!

Eventually I came up with My Long Division Flip Book.

Each section of the book shows one part of the long division problem. Each section then builds upon the last, so that students aren't overwhelmed looking at the entire problem and trying to go step-by-step that way. When it's assembled (I just used two staples at the top) it looks more like this:

When it's assembled, you can then see only the steps themselves. It provides two different ways to help your students. Some students just need prompted with the steps, others need to see how to complete each step. Either way, it gives them a little more independence when they are working so YOU don't have to take them step-by-step, they can try on their own! 
I used the black and white template in my classroom because it was easier for copying and printing. I then had a pre-made color version for myself. When I introduced the book, I let the students color the cover and write their name to make it their own. We then went through each step and they color coded it to be EXACTLY like mine. I liked doing it this way (rather than just handing them a version already in color) because they went through each step completely and thoroughly with me. They reaallly had to pay attention too, in order to color each number or letter(s) I told them. I made them use the same colors I used in the color version for two reasons: a. so that their final version matched mine and b. so that it would match the anchor chart we had previously made. I used those same colors to demonstrate a problem to hang in the classroom for another reference point. This made everything cohesive while working through this tough concept. 
Eventually, some students didn't need to use the books anymore. Others needed to just have it out on their desk, in case. Some students who were struggling, used it often and flipped through it frequently. It was a great tool that became differentiated the more we worked on this skill. may be wondering.... why am I blogging about a skill taught later on in the school year!?!? Well, for one thing, it's never to early to be prepared! Another thing... you might teach it earlier in the year than I do, especially to gifted students. Another reason, it would be a GREAT resource for review at the beginning of 4th grade. It would also be a great RTI tool for older students still struggling. No matter when/how you use it, it can be a GREAT way to help your students. I definitely saw success from my students and feel that it was because of this tool.

The other night I was laying in bed thinking about other TpT products to work on (as I usually do because once I go to bed I don't seem to be tired anymore). My brain went to other flip book ideas and then it dawned on me...why not make an editable, blank template!? That way, you can make a flip book for EXACTLY what you and your students need! Everything about the booklet is already set up for you, so you don't have to worry about making the pages the right size in order to line up okay. You can just add in the text boxes, select YOUR font choice, and add in clip art if you want. Then print, and go! You can make it colorful or leave it black and white, and you can make AS MANY AS YOU WANT!

You can check out all of my flip books here in my TpT store... more to come soon!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 Reasons I Love Summer!

Hi Friends!

So, I am sure that I can safely assume that as a teacher you are just like me... you love having summer off! Am I right!? It's not the reason I am a teacher, and I am sure it's not the reason you are either.. but it's a great perk to an already amazing job [scratch that] LIFESTYLE!

I am also sure I can say that most of us like having summers off for most of the same reasons. But I started thinking about these reasons last night as I snuggled into bed to count my blessings, and thought I would share them with you!

Thanks to Cara Carroll & KG for the awesome fonts
and The Creative Chalkboard for the sweet graphics! :)

5. School Supply Season - Though this season {which is already upon us!!} marks the countdown until we return and summer is officially over.. I am a total school supply nerd! I love shopping for markers, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, post-it notes, and new planners. I love the bright colors of the new binders on the shelves and the stacks of notebooks. I also love searching for those awesome penny deals at Staples and Office Max week in and week out. I thoroughly enjoy opening new purchases and putting them away at gives me a small thrill! :) haha

4. SUNSHINE! - I am sure most people love summer for this reason. Sunshine just makes me so happy! I REALLY enjoy laying out {more than I should} and you won't be the first one to tell me to put on sunscreen instead of tanning oil and how bad it all is for me. But I just love a good summer tan, and tan lines - they rock! I love the warm feeling when I lay out on a towel and soak up the sun, the blue sky, and the fresh air of God's amazing Creation. I also get to chill out with my pup some more and slow down for a bit. It's my "me time" and I get it as often as I can!

3. Babysitting My Nephew - Caleb is my ONLY nephew... and I just love him! He can be rotten at times {his mother's word, not mine!} but I wouldn't trade my special time with him for anything! I usually get to watch him 2 days a week, and though it is exhausting, I NEVER regret it! He helps me mow the grass {he rides on the mower with me :)} and we go to the park and play for hours. He keeps Reagan young and can't wait for Uncle Dave to come home. In fact, I get to watch him tomorrow and can't wait! 

2. Creating TpT Products - When I am in the mode.. I HAVE to work! Usually during the school year, that time comes few and far between. No matter how hard I try, I just can't set aside ample time to work and just CREATE. But that's okay.. because I make up for it in the summer! I love looking through clip art and digital papers to make a beautiful design for that item I just haven't had the time to make for school. You know, that one that would be so nice to have but is stuck at the bottom of your to-do list {the to-do list teachers never get to finish!} It's nice to just and create and see what inspiration God gives me that day.. because let's face it - I could NEVER come up with stuff on my own!

1. Sleeping In! - I know, I know.. that one is pretty obvious. I mean who doesn't love the feeling of not having to set an alarm and get up when you feel well-rested!? If you're like me and are NOT a morning person, this is definitely number one! I LOVE to sleep. But there are 2 other reasons I love sleeping in that for the simple fact of sleeping itself.  First, every morning before he leaves {as long as I was smart enough to remember to pack his lunch the night before!} my hubby comes in to kiss me goodbye and tell me he loves me. Now, usually, I am a giant grump when I first wake up. But this is the ONLY time where I am not. It makes waking up for that 5 seconds absolutely wonderful, and he does it every. single. day. {swoon} As soon as he leaves, my other favorite reason for getting to sleep in occurs: my sweet pup Reagan jumps into bed and cuddles with me until we decide to get up for the day. Both things make every summer morning (or snow day, or holiday, or any day off) my absolute number one reason why I love summer!

I could DEFINITELY go on, and on, and on....and on! with more reasons why I love summer! Time to read, take Reagan to the dog park, baseball games, my family reunion, wedding season, etc., etc.. but those 5 top the list! It really is the little things in life that make us happiest and why I am O-H SO BLESSED!!

I hope you'll join in on the conversation with me and share your top 5 reasons for loving summer too! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Christmas in July!

I am so excited to link up with all of the AMAZING bloggers over at Blog Hoppin' for a Christmas in July sale on TpT!

Every day I will have a different product on sale in my TpT store! 

Today, it's my Chevron Classroom Management system! It includes a chevron themed clip chart, monthly calendar logs for your students to record their behavior (includes months August-June) and a behavior goals page for your students to use to set behavior goals each week and describe how they will reach that goal. PLUS, you need only to buy it once! I'll update your monthly calendar logs EVERY YEAR so you just redownload it to use it again! It is usually $6.00... but you can get it today for only $4.00! 

Visit my TpT store and click on the banner you see below.. it will take you directly to my deal of the day! There are TONS of amazing teachers participating.... click on Santa above to check them all out and shop with their deals too!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I have never done a link up before, let alone host one... but hey! there's a first time for everything, and if you wanna do something, why not go ALL IN!?

Speaking of all in... that reminds me of poker... which reminds me of Vegas... which reminds me that I'M NOT THERE RIGHT NOW!! Ugh! I SO wish I was going to be at the TpT conference tomorrow. I have seen SO. MANY. PICTURES. from the SDE events and blogger meet-ups happening RIGHT NOW, and I have to admit, I'm jealous! So many of my sweet teacher friends are there having fun, learning, growing, and making strong friendships with some A-MAZING teachers! I'm not there because, family reunion is this weekend. We have it every year and if I missed it, I don't think I could face my family members ever again! But next year, NO MATTER WHAT, I will be there! I don't care if they decide to host it in Alaska, outside, and make us wear our bikinis in the middle of December.. [okay, I know that would NEVER happen, but you get the point, right!?] I WILL BE THERE!

But, until then, I am consoling myself with ice cream and working hard on more products to post.... I posted 4 within the last 24 hours! I think that's a new record! haha.... and to console all of us who aren't there having a blast in Vegas, my whole store is on sale through Sunday 20% off! Join me and throw a sale of your own if you wish you were in Vegas right now too! Link up with the picture below :)

The amazing Krista Wallden at The Creative Chalkboard made the graphics
and the fonts are [of course] from KG!

If you ARE in Vegas right now reading this... HAVE FUN! and keep posting those pictures! Though they make us a tad jealous, we are still loving seeing who you're meeting, what you are learning, and what Vegas looks like! :)