Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord

Happy Sunday Y'all!  I'm linking up with my girl Michelle again for her Sunday Smorgasbord. 

This week has a bit tough for me. Ever have those weeks where you just don't feel prepared and can't seem to catch up?  That was my week and man do I hate that feeling. 
      Every summer I work at a camp here in MD. It's an awesome opportunity for my kiddos because the camp has all these activities and classes that are far beyond what we do as a family (AJ went stand up paddling boarding this week!) Since the kids get to attend with me and are exposed to things they wouldn't be if I didn't teach there I'm very appreciative of the opportunity and I try my best to give the campers in my group the best kindergarten prep I can. Well, I started my four weeks on Monday and perhaps it's because of just returning from Vegas, or because I was in denial that my summer break was ending, or I was having too much fun last weekend, I showed up on Monday feeling very underprepared and I HATED it.  If it weren't for TPT and my friend Karen who had prepped and emailed me our weekly lessons beforehand I wouldn't have maded it. 
Here are some of my campers playing Cara's Race to the Top game. 

Other areas I felt unprepared in were my eating and exercise goals. I fully intended to participate in Rachelle's #3weeksnocheats challenge but found when I woke up on Monday I hadn't really planned it out well and didn't have enough gluten free stuff to keep it up this week. While I don't think I have celiac disease I do notice a huge difference in my body and how I feel when I eat a lot of gluten.  So I'm trying to eliminate it from my diet but man is it hard. This week I've already stocked up on my gluten free faves so I should be good.
Since I started camp this week my schedule was off and once I added my 3 afternoons of tutoring I couldn't figure out my regular Pure Barre sessions. It sucked big time. I only made it 3 times.  I felt horrible for not going and not eating well but I know I just need to suck it up and move on so I'm signed up for my regular 6 times of PB for this coming week.  I did make it class yesterday and worked my seat off so I rewarded myself with new Lily and Laura bracelets, I firmly believe in celebrating small victories 😉 

Skipping several PB has given me lots of time to read. This week I read Kim Bearden's Crash Course, loved it!! I swear I have most of the book highlighted and am already planning my trip to RCA. I was hoping to go April 3 for my birthday weekend but just realized it's Good Friday so I'm back to the drawing board. Kim's book interested me so much I quickly got Ron Clark's The Essentsil 55 on my kindle. I finished it last night and also really enjoyed it. Thankfully I prepared for finishing his book quickly and picked up The End of the Molasses Classes and a few chick lit books.  If you're looking for some good inspiring PD books I highly recommend all three!

Are you guys participating in Blog Hoppin's Scavenger Hunt?  I am. My sweet kids and camp counselors are very into it and so I've been in able to knock out a lot of items over the last few days. Check them out by following me, Racey7 on Instagram. I'll also post some of my faves on Tuesday. 
Before I go I want to share my kids latest pancake obsession: Mel's Kitchen Cafe's Blender Rollup Pancakes!!  Absolutely delish (gluten and all) and easy to make. We had them for breakfast and my kiddos asked for them in their lunches right away.  Be sure to check them out!  Actually I love her whole site and her recipes are always winners. 

Tomorrow I'll post day one highlights and lessons from my Vegas sessions. Till then 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Vegas Recap in Ten Tips (Fun Stuff)

As I mentioned in my last post I thought it would be fun to give y'all a detailed recap of SDE's I Teach First conference. Today's post will be about all the fun stuff and some random tips that may make your visit better. Tomorrow I'm thinking I'll share what I learned or struck me most from each of my sessions. This is not to say it the sessions weren't fun, because they totally were but after four days of presentations my head was and still is spinning a bit. All the ideas, the inspirations, the potential I just need a bit more time to process it. 

So any who, I was lucky enough to go to Vegas with two of my best coworkers.  While I saw a lot of people who went alone I would not recommended it.  Thankfully my girls Sharon and Meghan were just as pumped about the presentations and trip as I was. 
They were quite sweet and let me be all fan crazy when seeing the blog hoppin' ladies I read so much from. They also weren't too bothered by my 5 am wake ups. I had such an amazing time with these two girls. I'm not sure my trip would have been as fun without them. So my first tip to anyone considering going next year go with at least one teacher friend. 

Tip 2:  Bring your own snacks!! I'm not ashamed to say that I thought Vegas was more than a bit expensive. Thankfully I packed granola and Kind bars for each day of the trip. It allowed me to not spend $ on snacks between meals. 

Tip 3:  Stay at whatever hotel the conference is held at. We stayed at the Palazzo and man was it beautiful. It allowed us to sleep a little longer, offered plenty of entertainment, shopping and having everything in one place made it even more convenient. We actually only left the hotel one night. I'm sure I'll venture out more next year but for my first time it was perfect. 
The gondolas in the Venetian were my favorite. 

Tip 4:  Do plan to attend any blog meet up the Blog Hoppin girls host. Let me tell you those ladies know how to throw a party!! They had so many freebies and swag it was a teachers dream. I got to meet the author of Teach Like a Pirate 

AND I won a Tieks gift card!! 

Tip 5:  Bring nice, cute, colorful clothes and dress in layers. On the day I met Hope King I was wearing workout clothes and felt way underdressed.  It is also FREEZING in all the conference rooms so bring a sweater or long sleeves. 

Tip 6:  Bring more $ than you think you'll need!!  Even if you don't gamble you're going to find stuff in the exhibitors hall you never knew you needed. I waited till the last day to buy a t-shirt and stamps but if I'd known all the great stuff people would be selling I'd have gone better prepared. 

Tip 7:  Bring a large suitcase so you can take all your goodies home and not be forced to leave some behind, it's hard.  

Tip 9: Don't be shy!! Make friends with the other teachers in your sessions. Chances are they're a lot like you and who doesn't need more friend who just get it?  

Tip 10: Make it happen. Save up, write a proposal or start fundraising, whatever you need to do to be there next year start now. It's so worth it! 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sunday Smorgasbord July 13th

Hi y'all!!  I'm not sure if Michelle will be hosting a Sunday Smorgasbord linky today but I have so much to share I want to be ready just in case!! O-M-Geee guys Vegas was AMAZING!  If you've never been to SDE's I Teach 1st or I Teach K conferences you must find a way to make it work next year!  I attended so many fabulous sessions I thought it might be fun to share my main take way from each one so in the coming days I'll do just that.  For now though on to the Smorgasbord..... 

1) First and foremost I got to meet Michelle in Vegas!!  It may have been one of the biggest highlights of my whole trip. I means she's just so stinking cute and her amazing ideas, blog posts and products have helped shape the teacher I am today, so to meet her in person was surreal!!  When I first started teaching 8 years ago I had these high hopes of making teaching fun and unique just like the great teachers in my grad program had taught me. Within a couple years I noticed I was getting comfortable and just following the routine that everyone else told me to follow. I used the Basel, did the workbooks and to be honest I started to hate teaching.  I knew better, I knew that teaching without passion was not making the difference I wanted to make in my students lives. I knew there had to be more than workbook page after workbook page and that just because the week ended didn't mean our learning had to shift to the next topic.  I felr we were doing what was most convenient for us not what was best for our students. So I decided to search for a new lesson plan template in hopes of getting ideas on how to teach with the Basel not being the guiding force. This search led me to Michelle's blog and my teaching was changed forever!! Not only did she show me how a fabulous 😉, a classroom could look, she led me to other bloggers (Hello Cara and Abby) and so many ideas on how to make learning fun! Her reading instruction and block was exactly what I was looking for. It was proof what my professors taught me at Marymount could be done.  Since then her blog is one of my first stops when searching for ideas. I'm pretty sure I've read the whole thing at least 3 times, there are two others I've done that with but that's a story for another day. So finally getting to meet her?  Amazing 

2) I feel I must share that even though I was in Vegas Sunday-Friday of this week I still worked out 5 times!  This is huge for me. I made sure to go to Pure Barre before leaving last Sunday and then workout in the Palazzo gym and ran outside a few times.  May be the time I've come home from vacation not having gained weight. 

3) I've now been doing PB for 3 months here are my comparison pics.
This was after 50 classes at the end of June. 
I can totally see a difference and feel much stronger. I have a ways to go but certainly feel like I'm on my way.  If you want more info on PB here a link to a write I did as my studios fan of the week.

4) I'm so happy to be home with my kids but also so happy to have gotten away for a bit. Before leaving I was so nervous about it and worried about every aspect of being away from them. Now that I'm home I realized it's ok to leave them every once in a while, sure I may come home to find my husband has cut my oldest's hair because of a knot (yes it's true I may have cried as I've only had her hair cut once) and ya the house might be a hot mess but I also came back more patient, more loving and willing to answer my 4 years old constant chatter in a way wasn't before.  Leaving them made me appreciate coming home to them even more.  It also reaffirmed that I chose the right guy to build my life with. He took awesome care of our kids and made their week just different enough that they missed mommy but had a great time. Peace of mind is a wonderful thing. 

To some this whole randomness all up I had an amazing week.  I got a few days way and was reminded that even in Las Vegas am still an in bed by 10:30, up early non partying girl. I'm a mom and my idea of fun away from my kids is meeting a whole bunch of other teachers who are even more passionate than I am. This week allowed me to focus on my two favorite things, being a mom and improving my teaching.   Monday we start camp. (sob) The kids will all be attending the same camp I am teaching at. It will be Ellie's first time and AJ will be participating in Adventure Camp which means she'll being on her first solo overnight camping trip.  Fun stuff!