Sunday, May 14, 2017

How-to Writing + the Owlet

I've been on maternity leave the past week, but still no baby A! I'm sitting at 41 weeks today, just waiting for him to be ready to make his appearance. Since I am told this is common for first pregnancies, I haven't been worrying. Instead, I've been working away on new projects/products that have been on my to-do list. Siting around and taking it easy are two things I am not particularly good at!

I just finished and posted a new product that I am in LOVE with! It's perfect for my English language learners because it involves reading comprehension, writing, and sequencing events using pictures. Really, that's perfect for so many students! I might be a little ahead of myself, but I'm already envisioning using it and my other products with baby A once he's school aged. Ah, the life of a teacher's kid!

I'm loving this format (and excuse to use all of my new clipart!) and brainstorming more ways to use it. I am thinking of making this into a series of sorts, perhaps adding on a fairy tale/traditional tale set. Maybe a set with longer stories/more sequencing for more advanced students? If you have any great ideas, throw them my way! My plan is to create as many items as I can this summer while baby is sleeping.

And speaking of clip art - I hope everyone caught the teacher's appreciation sale on TpT last week! I went a little crazy buying up clip art sets from LittleRed. They make the MOST adorable style of clip art and I am bit obsessed. ;)

In baby news, I purchased an Owlet last week to use once baby A arrives. Like any new mother, I've been hearing horror stories about SIDS online and thought, that's it - I'm splurging and buying the Owlet for my own sanity! I saw that the updated Owlet 2 was released a few months ago, so I chose that one. Has anyone else used it with their little one? Since it never goes on sale, I found the best deal on it through Bed, Bath, and Beyond - free shipping, plus 2% cash back if you have eBates! (psst...If you don't have eBates yet - what are you waiting for? I LOVE getting a payment 4 times a year just from my online shopping habit! It's ridiculously easy to use if you have the app or browser button). And no, the 20% off Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons are not valid on the Owlet - I already tried! :(

                   Not this kind of owlet!
Not this kind of owlet!
THIS kind of Owlet. ;)

**Disclaimer: the links leading to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I may get a small cut**

Monday, March 27, 2017

I'm back!

Time has sure flown! In the two years since I last posted, I've had many changes. I was ready for a change at work and switched to a position as an ELD (English Language Development) specialist last school year, which I love. I work with all grades K-5. I really enjoy challenging myself and trying new things out.
And speaking of trying new things out, I have a REALLY big change coming soon: a new role as mommy! My husband and I are thrilled to be expecting our first child - a boy! - in early May. These sonogram images were from my 7-month appointment and I'm now 8.5 months along. This baby is a true blessing and miracle of science because we went through IVF last year, which was quite a long process, but so very worth it!

We have a head!
We have a head!
And a leg!
And a leg!
Now that I'm 34 weeks, baby is now a butternut squash and boy, do I feel it!
I am now 34 weeks along and baby is as big as a butternut squash!

Since we found out the gender at the 5 month ultrasound, I have been going crazy with baby fever! I've wanted a kiddo for so long and FINALLY it's time for a child of my own! I scoured Pinterest for nursery ideas and spent lots of time creating my dream baby boy nursery. One of my favorite things to do is find ideas I like on Pinterest and find a way to do them cheaper, which I'll share below.

I wanted a peaceful, serene nursery that was not too baby-ish. Something our baby can grow with. I focused more on the neutral colors of gray and white for the accessories and an espresso finish for the furniture.
{Furniture from Million Dollar Baby, ordered from an adorable local boutique
"Silvermist" paint from Sherwin-Williams, I used the Emerald base}

Pinspiration: stacked up ABC blocks and a glass jar full of pacifiers (the jar is empty here, but full now!)
{A-Z bookends and elephant pull toy via Pottery Barn Kids. 
White ceramic owl bank by Mud Pie via Amazon
Light/sound projecting owl by Skip Hop via Amazon
Baskets by Sweet JoJo Designs, similar via Amazon
Swaddling blankets by Aden & Anais via Amazon
Musical lamb by Gund via Amazon
Mini hot-air balloon via Amazon}

Pinspiration: cheap IKEA Mosslanda picture ledges used as bookshelves! 
I stocked up on super cheap board books at the local library's used book sale and cleaned them all up.

Pinspiration: gray glider chair from Pottery Barn. 
My much-cheaper version is by Delta via Target.
{Changing table, mercury lamp, diaper pail, and large basket via Target
Poopoose wiggle-free changing pad via Amazon
"Baby stuff" tote via Home Goods}

Pinspiration: set of 4 animal pictures from Restoration Hardware. 
My version: prints purchased from Etsy and Sondrum frames from IKEA.
{Similar fuzzy white pillow via Amazon
Similar fuzzy white blanket via Amazon
Rolling laundry basket - to get up and down the stairs easier! - via Amazon
Gray & white wool ball garland on crib via Etsy}

 Pinspiration: gray floor pouf from Restoration Hardware.
My version: from Walmart 
Pinspiration: gray and white striped rug via Crate & Barrel
Splurged and bought the C&B version because I couldn't find a cheaper version I liked.

{Cloud mobile via PBK, mobile arm purchased separately
Stuffed llama sold out on PBK, similar on Amazon
Stuffed penguin by Aurora via Amazon
Light-projecting stuffed frog prince from Amazon
Crib sheets by The Peanut Shell via Amazon
Owl security blanket by Blankets & Beyond, similar via Amazon}

In addition to all this baby fever, I've spent many hours working on creating more products for my TpT store. I've been focusing a lot on creating Spanish/English bilingual products (with my wonderful hubby as my editor) and even more mini-books about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) because I found that there was a lack of resources for both on TpT. I previously had only created NGSS materials for 2nd and decided to expand to other grades as well. They are definitely a passion project of mine! I now have 13 mini-books in my NGSS collection, which you can see here.

Some of my new Spanish products:

Some of the new NGSS products I've created for grades 1-5:

All of the topics I have currently created science mini-books for:
* animals
* plants
* matter
* force
* weather
* the Earth
* the Solar System
* dinosaurs
* the human body
* energy
* organisms
* waves
* water

If you have any ideas/requests for more Spanish or science products, message me or leave a comment below!

Just for fun: a picture of my yorkie Chloe at my baby shower (wearing her "I'm going to be a big sister!" shirt from Amazon)
All those guests and games were too much for her!

**Disclaimer: the links leading to Amazon are affiliate links, which means I may get a small cut**

Monday, January 26, 2015

What a Year!

I can't believe it has been a WHOLE YEAR since I've posted on my blog! I have some pretty good excuses though, I swear! I got married to a wonderful man from Peru (not only does he help me improve my Spanish, but he is also a talented computer engineer and helps me with all things techy!), went on a honeymoon to San Francisco, and bought our first house. 2014 was full of moving, wedding planning, and home improvement for me! I am now a pro at throwing an affordable wedding, so you can ask me for tips. =)

As for teaching, I am still teaching and enjoying 2nd grade - I am just more busy, working on my house and learning to cook, now that I have a husband to feed. :) I'm also still loving Zumba and still going 3-5 times a week! I've been slightly obsessed with my new FitBit Charge HR (an upgrade from my old Polar watch) and new favorite cookbook, so those keep me motivated to stay healthy. :) 

With all that has been going on, the time I have to create my own teaching materials has definitely dwindled to school breaks only. My latest education-related obsessions are science and interactive notebooks. My kids enjoy them, I enjoy them - it's a win-win! Over the winter break, I had major inspiration to dig into the Next Generation Science Standards for 2nd grade, since they were kind of thrown at us last spring and I had no time to do anything with them. I wanted to make sure I covered all of the NGSS this year but wasn't finding any materials I liked, so I spent a week of my break creating my own - just like old times! Here is the result: 4 mini-books covering all of the NGSS. 

Each book took me roughly 8-9 hours to complete. My husband was amazed at how much time I spent working on them. This was his first time witnessing me in my full-on teacher creation mode. :)

My friend Myranda, whom I've known for many years, has been inspired to start her own blog about teaching 5th grade and just started her journey selling on TpT. Her blog and store are full of fantastic resources for teaching math to 5th graders!

Friday, January 3, 2014

January Activity Book

I'm down to the last weekend of winter break and I don't know about you, but I am NOT ready to return! I started having teacher dreams already. You know the kind... dreaming that I'm walking my kids in the hallway and one of them starts throwing up all over. Yup, just like the dreams I get in August!! ha!

Anyways, my winter break has been wonderful and productive (not so restful, but I'm really bad at just relaxing and being still, it's just not my thing!). I've been going to the gym like crazy - doing Zumba every day, sometimes twice a day! It feels so luxurious to sleep in, then go to Zumba at 10am on a weekday - I could seriously get used to that lifestyle!! Can I just be a stay-at-home dog-mom??

I've also been busy FINALLY finishing up my monthly activity packs. I posted January, February, and March - one a day. *whew* Got them done just in time to use with my class!

January Activity Book:

I was also pretty very excited to find out that my TpT store was briefly featured on the TpT front page!
Thanks to Teacher Laura for the head's up and screenshot!!

 And since it is that time of year, my RESOLUTION for 2014 is to add some diet to my exercise! ha! I've already been really good about hitting the gym 4-5 times a week (which is the main reason why I don't get to blog very much!), but I still eat whatever I want. I'm really impressed by the people who "eat clean" and do meal prep like this every week:
 What a clever idea! Ready-to-go-salad!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Teaching Blog Linky Party

I can't believe that I haven't posted since Thanksgiving! 
Winter break is halfway over already, so I thought I'd better get on it! 
The break has been wonderful, I've been going to the gym like crazy (I went to Zumba 9 times last week alone!) and finally got to pick up a book that I haven't been able to touch since summer (I'm reading the Mortal Instruments series).

Now that I'm on the second half of my much-needed break, I'm turning my attention back to TpT and my blog. I have several items to create on my to-do list, the first being the January activity pack. I'll post right here when I finally get my projects done. =) 

In the meantime, I'm joining up with Jennifer at Simply Kinder on her Teaching Blog linky party. It's simple - just a great way to discover new teaching blogs and resources that you may have never heard of before.

And just because I can... my Chloe wants to say hello! ;)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Let's Talk Turkey!

Things have been so crazy at work lately (almost everything that can change in my school has changed this year: new principal, new tests, new staff, new schedule, I could go on!) that it has been SO wonderful to have a long weekend to catch up. I am celebrating my mom's 60th birthday today (my grandma's 95th is next Sunday!) and catching up on projects that have been on my to-do list for MONTHS. Tomorrow I'm hanging out with some co-workers to make Christmas cards and drag them to Zumba (I know they'll love it like I do!).

Since Thanksgiving is already right around the corner, I thought I'd better use my time wisely this long weekend and work on November activity books I'd been meaning to do. 
I finally got around to making my November activity book
(September and October got skipped, whoops! I'll get them next year!)

And just for fun, I also created this little Thanksgiving coloring/writing booklet:
 My plan is to pass these out right before the Thanksgiving break so the kids have something to work on at home during the long weekend. I used to work with a kindergarten teacher who brought in a huge pumpkin pie and gave all of the students a little slice, so I just might do that too (even though I hate pumpkin pie myself!) =)

And I had such great news at the end of October, I have to share!
My new 2nd grade classroom came without a rug for the students to sit on during carpet time (and no funding available to buy one). This made me so bummed that I decided to post a grant request for one on DonorsChoose. It went awhile with no funding, so I resigned myself to the fact that I may never have a class rug again. Then shortly before Halloween, I got an e-mail that Chevron had fully funded my request and on Halloween day it was delivered!!
I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this Lakeshore rug! It has 30 squares so it can accommodate a large class and it has nice, roomy squares so that even my 2nd graders can sit comfortably with no one in their "bubble". This is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving!