I'm totally loving have 16 days off for winter break.  I actually do not return until Jan 6th!  Last year we got 1 full week off and then went back on Jan 2nd...not a good deal!!!!  I can't believe tomorrow is Jan 1, 2015!  Time flies when you are having fun!

We took three road trips and even got to go to a Bowl Game!! My children are amazing travelers and they are great sports!

I haven't thought about school, so I need to get organized for school...but it can wait a few more days!

I couldn't fit all my YES, MAYBE, and I WISH in the box.
YES: Taking time to enjoy things!  Sometimes I rush through things and I don't stop and smell the roses.  I need to smell more roses.
MAYBE: I can beat my best ever 5k time (which occurred 4 years ago)!
I WISH:  I do home visits sometimes, and I know that not all the students at my school have a happy life like my children have.  I wish all children could have happy homes where they are loved and they get to be a kid and not have grown-up worries!

The day before Christmas Break, I was at a Professional Development where they talked about ways to help with classroom management.  I loved this idea!!!

You assign one or two students to be a Work Station Manager.  While you are at Guided Reading, if the light is on (see picture below), then students ask the Work Station Manager for assistance.  This means you get more time to teach and less interruptions (hopefully)!!!

 Some tasks for the Work Station Manager Include:

  • Computer Issues (logging in, etc)
  • Help with Directions at a Work Station
  • Finding Materials if someone needed something

I found the lanyards and the press light at the Dollar Store!

You can get a copy (FREE) of the Work Station Manager Badges here!

If you have other ideas to help with classroom management during literacy work stations please leave a comment :)
If you are looking to level your classroom library in 2015, Literacy Leveler has been a helpful app for me!!  It costs money (I paid $2.99 a while ago, and now the price is $3.99), while Scholastic has an app that is free.  It provides both Lexile and Founts and Pinnell Levels.  Using it for book baskets during guided reading has been very helpful!

What a fun linky!!! I loved 2014!
 Blessed.  There is no other way to describe 2014.  
Find "cool" new things to do locally!  In May 2014, I signed my children and I up through the public library for a wagon ride to see herds of buffalo. Little did I know, they were just a few miles from my house!!!!  

 There is no way I can just have one favorite memory.  We went to the Caribbean for spring break, and then my parents took our entire family on a Disney Cruise in June!!!  I also went to Las Vegas with friends (notice the limo trunk on the way back to the airport)!  The weekend before school started we took a road trip to Colorado!  Here are some pictures :)

 This one is tough..because all my traveling pictures are my favorite and any picture with my children in it are also a favorite!!!  However, one morning in September, this was my view on my to work!! I love sunrises like this!!!!
I finished my Doctorate in Educational Leadership!!!

My favorite blog post was my one about the penny folders to use at guided reading!!!

This pin is so not school related....I got lots of compliments when I used it this holiday season for gifts!!!

 I think the graduation gifts my family gave me were my favorite! Plus having so many people travel from so far away to be at my graduation was priceless!!!!!  In addition, they streamed the graduation live, so my aunt in New York and my sister-in-law in Texas were able to watch.  When I checked Facebook that night, there were all the screen shots they had taken from the live feed and posted them on my Facebook Page :)
 On our trip to Colorado, we went to St. Mary's Glacier.  I always wanted to go on a glacier, and it was SO much fun!!! It was like we were on top of the world!!!
Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs, Colorado.  Lots of gluten-free choices!  Fun atmosphere and GREAT food! 
Amazing Race!  Someday I'd love to be on this!!!
 I had three...Million Dollar Arm, Malificient, and Lone Survivor!  The first two are great for families...the third one is not!
 I like accessories...especially scarfs.  

What a great linky :)  Be sure to check out the linky party!


What a fun linky!!! I love Christmas.  We are celebrating Christmas this weekend with my family.  Then on Christmas day we are driving 4.5 hours to celebrate Christmas with my in-laws.

I love Josh Groban's Christmas music.  Then I just download Darius Rucker's Christmas music :)  Pretty much I like anything Christmas :)

The peppermint milkshakes are just crushed candy canes, chocolate chip ice-cream, and milk- all blended!!!  :)  YUMMY!!!

I went to this professional development this afternoon and one of the sessions I attended was "Teaching Children with Trauma."  Working in an inner-city school, the trauma that the students at my school have experienced is tremendous!!  However, as teachers and caretakers, it is very easy to develop compassion fatigue.  Helping students that have experienced trauma can be emotionally draining for teachers!  We often take care of everyone but ourselves!!!  I am hoping that this list is helpful!!!

Here are some tips to help take care of yourself*:
  • Get Enough Rest
  • Eat Enough
  • Exercise
  • Vary the Work You Do
  • Do Something You Enjoy
  • Focus on What you Did Well
  • Learn from Mistakes
  • Laugh
  • Pray, Meditate, or Relax
  • Support a Colleague
I love to do things I love!! However, I have to work hard to make time for exercise!  I know I feel so much better when I am doing things I enjoy outside of school :)  This includes being a "carpool" mom, reading books, blogging, and catching up on my DVRed shows!!!

I also keep a journal.  It is beautiful and pretty with fancy parchment paper!!  It is my gratitude journal.  I am not as faithful as I should be about writing everyday, but I need to make a better effort because overtime I write in it, I feel so blessed.

If all else fails, and you only have 5 minutes...watching YouTube videos of babies giggling is a sure way to put a smile on your face :)

This break, I hope everyone has a chance to rejuvenate and get ready for an enjoyable (not exhausting) 2015!

*These were from a handout that referenced proqol.org

We had a crafting day at our house yesterday!!!  My children have numerous food allergies, so for the past four years, we've had a crafting day instead of a baking day!

We made snowman jars for almond bard pretzels, a JOY sign, and NOEL letters!

Snowman Jar Materials:
-mason jar
-almond bark

This was pretty easy.  We melted almond bark and dipped the pretzels in them.  Then once they dried (we laid them out on wax paper), we put them in the jar.  We added buttons and a red ribbon for a scarf!  Here are the gift tags :)

Joy Sign Materials:
-Scrapbook paper

Download this template.  I printed it on scrapbook paper that looked kind of rustic.  Then I punched holes in it and ran ribbon through it!

NOEL Sign Materials:
-modge podge
-spray finish
-spray paint

I first spray pained the letters. Once they were dry we covered them in modge podge and spread glitter all over them.  After shaking off the excess glitter we had to do some touch up spots.  After it dried, I sprayed it with acrylic finish. Make sure to keep the spray about 18 inches away from the letters.  This will help not dull the glitter, but will seal the glitter.

**A special thanks to Melonheadz for the graphics on the gift tags and Cara Carroll for the font on JOY!  

I got instructions for how to do this from House on the Way.  The sides are painted black.  Please excuse the paper towel background...I was trying not to make a mess!  I bought the letter from Hobby Lobby that was 13.5 inches tall.  I think it was about $2.00 a letter - when they were on sale :)  
This gift is for my husband.  He and my son collect shells from all the beaches we've been to.  I got this little jar with a cork lid from Michaels for $2.29.  We were careful and turned the jar on its side then filled it with shells.  I thought he could put it in his office at work.  I'm kind of wishing I had collected some sand.  Next time...

This is one of the projects my daughter and I are doing next.  If you click on the picture it will take you to Melissa at the Polka Dot Chair's original post on how to make them.

This ornament gets so many compliments!  One of my co-workers gave it to me and I smile every time I pass by the tree :) 

This was the sunset driving home from work last night!  I love it when the clouds get puffy like a million individual cotton balls!  

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