May 4, 2014

Liebster Award and a Freebie

 Hello there!  Hope everyone has had a wonderful start to spring!  I haven't gotten a chance to post about spring break, so I'm going to start with that.  Then we will get into the Liebster Award and lastly, a freebie.  Hang tight, it's going to be a long one.

I've had a great week off spending time with my little one.  I found this awesome recipe on Pinterest for homemade fruit roll ups.  It's made from just 3 ingredients...strawberries, lemon juice, and the sweetener of your choice (we used organic Stevia!).  They came out fantastic...Bella LOVED them and they are soooo much better for you than the store-bought packaged ones.

First, we washed and blended strawberries in our food processor.  Then we added a tablespoon of lemon juice, and an equivalent to 3 tablespoons of Stevia.  Next, we put the mixture into a pot and heated it on med-high heat for about 10 mins.  Bella was so proud that she got to stir it!

After about 10 minutes, we spread the mixture on a sheet of parchment paper.  We baked it on 170 for 3 hours.  The final product was delicious!  Click here for the recipe, and for the blog where we found it!
We also got to enjoy our fire pit for the first time this year.  We've been so crazy busy and the weather has been so chilly lately.  It's finally been nice enough to enjoy it.
Ok, so let's get on to the Leibster award.  So, basically it's an awesome way to gain some followers of your blog and find some really great blogs that you can follow as well.  You also get the opportunity to learn about 5 wonderful teachers too!  Hang on, it's gonna be a long ride, but it's worth it! :)

Thanks you to A New Box of Crayons for nominating me!
Step 1: Answer the 11 Questions Your Nominating Blogger Provides
1. Who was your favorite teacher?  How have they influenced you today?
I would have to say my favorite teacher was my first grade teacher.  My family and I moved to a new town the summer going into first grade.  I started the year in a new school, and was very nervous about it.  My teacher made me feel welcomed and helped encourage new friendships.  Now, I always try to create a comfortable environment in my classroom where all my students feel welcomed and important, just how my teacher did for me.
2. What is the best part of your teaching day?
I would have to say just whenever I have my students!  As a resource teacher, I teach reading and math all day to different groups.  Luckily, I do get a planning time and a lunch time.  Since I'm in charge of IEPs, special ed paperwork, my favorite time is any time I teach and not have to do paper work! :)
3. What is your funniest school memory?
Hmmmm, I'm sure there were a lot of fun times I had, but I'm having a hard time thinking of some worthy of writing about.  It wasn't funny then, but I remember one time in gym class we were playing a game.  Another girl and I (being my clumsy self) collided into each other.  somehow my tooth hit her head and she started bleeding a little.  I walked her to the nurse, and I ended up needing the nurse myself.  I remember feeling very woosie (spelling?) and the next thing I know, the nurse was holding those smelling salt strips by my nose.  I'm not sure why I felt like that, but it was probably from seeing the other girl's blood.  To this day, I still get woosie and will pass out from blood.  I look back and now it's kind of funny, but it sure wasn't then!
4. What are your hobbies, or how do you unwind after working all week?
Aside from spending time with my hubby and daughter, I love to do Zumba and workout.  I try and go at least 5 days a week.  The place where I go does other classes as well, so I like to do a mixture of zumba, zumba interval training, and a butts and guts class they have.  I feel wonderful after working out!  Hubby and I love movies, so we like to just chill and watch a movie too.
5. How do you spend your summers?
The last 2 summers I either tutored or did compensatory services for a couple students a few hours a week.  Aside from that, I enjoy my time being a stay at home mom.  When Bella is in bed, I work on some things for my blog and sprucing up some of my classroom lessons to put on TPT.  I haven't made my decision if I'm going to be tutoring this summer yet or not.  We shall see!
6. What is your favorite dessert?
Mmm, I'm getting hungry thinking about it.  I would have to say anything peanut butter and chocolate!
7. What new instructional practice have you found success with?
I would have to say Learning Centered Teaching.  We had training on it this year, and it has helped me to become a better teacher.  I learned to let the students take more control over their learning.  Instead of showing how to get an answer, they would try to find their own ways to get it.  I do explicitly teach skills, but students also are in charge and make some choices on their own and collaborate with others.

8. Do you love and use technology in the classroom, or are you sometimes intimidated or frustrated by it?

Haha, kind of both.  I love it and use it a lot, but it does often frustrate me when things down work out the way we want them to, hehe.  I loved using the iPad for many things, and I use my document camera every day.  I am lucky enough to have a Smart board (probably just for this school year though), so I love using that as well.

9.  What is your favorite children's book?

I have a lot that I just love, but some of my favorites are all the Strega Nona books by Tomie dePaola.  .  They teach good lessons, and they are hysterical!

10. What is the most exotic place that you have traveled to?

For our honeymoon, hubby and I went to Ochos Rios, Jamaica.  We have never been anywhere tropical like that (except Florida), and the only other time I left the country was to go to Canada when I was younger.  We stayed at Sandals, and it was all inclusive. We loved Jamaica!   It was absolutely beautiful, and we had an amazing time.  We are hoping to go back one day!

11. Do you have pets?  If so, what kind?

We have a kitty, who just turned 1.  His name is Rocky, and the name fits him!  He is one feisty little cat!  We would have had 2 (a female named Adrian - just like the Rocky movies, hehe), but unfortunately she was sick and passed away when she was about 2 months old.  I find this strange, because in the movie, Adrian passed away as well.  What a weird (and sad) coincidence!!  Pete wants to get a pet dog, but I am not ready for another pet, especially a dog.  I love dogs, and grew up with one, but they can be pricey, because of vet expenses and everything.  Plus with our busy schedules, I feel like I couldn't give him/her the right amount of attention.   Maybe one day! :)

Step 2: Here are 11 Random Facts About Me

1.  I am originally from Long Island, New York and moved to North Carolina almost 4 years ago.
2. I married my high school sweetheart. <3
3. My daughter, husband, and I (kind of) born on holidays.  My daughter was born on 4th of July, hubby was born on Valentine's Day, and I was born the day before Halloween (which I looked up and it's known as Mischief Night or Devil's Night - creepy!!).  I guess when we try for our next baby, we should aim for around a holiday? hehe
4. My favorite color is purple.
5. I have 2 older brothers.  One is 15 years older, and the other is 17 years older.
6. I became an aunt at 4 1/2 years old.
7. I use my hands to talk a lot.  At my bridal shower, I was talking and my hands were going, and I accidentally knocked into someone and their food plate went all over the floor!
8. I'm quite clumsy (see above)!
9. I LOVE the beach (but somehow moved 4 hours away from the coast!), but I guess this makes for some good vacations.
10.  I love Zumba and working out.
11. I got my black belt in karate when I was 12.

Step 3: Present the Liebster Award to 5 New Bloggers with Less than 200 Followers

Here are 5 blogs that I think are awesome!  Go ahead and check them out for yourself!

Now, here are your 11 questions:

1. Who/what inspired you to be a teacher?
2.  What is your favorite vacation spot?
3.  What do you love to do outside of teaching?
4. Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
5. What is your all-time favorite movie?
6. What advice would you give to a new teacher?
7. What is your favorite quick "go-to" meal on a busy weekday?
8. What is your favorite children's book?  Why?
9. If you weren't a teacher, what other career do you think you would have?
10. What is your favorite quote?
11. How do you plan on spending your summer this year?

Thanks for stickin' around through all of that.  It's been a long post!  Now for the freebie...

Click on the picture to download it for free!  I love to use this in a small group, or even individually.  My kiddos love playing this.  When they play it in a small group, they like to see who can fill up a column first.  If you like my freebie, you can also purchase the full sight word packs in my TPT store!

I hope you have a wonderful week!



  1. Thank you so much for nominating me for the Liebster Award! I am so glad I found your blog, and I greatly appreciate your nomination!!

  2. I am so honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award. I am also thrilled to have found your blog. It may take some time before I do a post for all of your questions and nominate others since this is such a busy week for me. With this week being teacher appreciation week, I want to make sure my stores are set and ready. As a kindergarten teacher, I have so much going on in school. I am doing screenings for next year as well as an orientation for incoming students and parents. Thanks so much. Regina

  3. Wow! Thank you so much for the nomination! I can't wait to get started! :)