November 27, 2014

I'm Still Here!

Since I'm on Thanksgiving Break, I figured I'd pay a visit to the old blog to see what I've been missing these past few months. I was shocked when I realized that I haven't blogged since JULY. Seriously??? July?? So much has happened since then! I'll see if I can catch you up a bit on my life, and I promise (pinky swear promise!) to be better about blogging from now on.

Despite a few bumps along the way, the beginning of the school year went well. I always seem to forget from year to year how much step-by-step modeling is needed to get my firsties to become independent little learners. But it has paid off! I absolutely adore my class this year: they are affectionate, funny, enthusiastic, and hard-working. It doesn't hurt that I also have a group of supportive, involved parents. I'm very lucky!

Princess A, Deedle, and me on the first day of school. Doesn't Deedle look thrilled?

Princess A settled right into a routine. It doesn't hurt that she has one of her very favorite people for a first grade teacher this year! Deedle, on the other hand, had a harder time adjusting to Kindergarten. He struggled with knowing that I was right down the hallway, but he couldn't see me whenever he wanted. Thankfully, he has an amazing Kindergarten teacher, and she helped to ease him into a routine. Still, the first few days were exhausting for him!

Kindergarten is tough!

I had the opportunity to take a personal day during the first part of October to accompany Deedle's class on a field trip to the pumpkin patch (I was a chaperone on the same field trip last year with Princess A's class). I can't tell you how fantastic it was to be Mom for the day, and not Mrs. Shafer! 

Now THAT'S a pumpkin!

Halloween, as always, was a blast, both at home and at work. Halloween is always Pajama Day at our school, and I love this tradition! It eliminates a lot of problems and chaos, and there is nothing better than being able to go to work in your pajamas! The fact that Halloween was on a Friday this year was an added bonus.

My little pumpkins

The day after Halloween, Princess A and I made the trek across "The Bridge" to go see "Frozen on Ice" in Baltimore. It was amazing! (It's entirely possible that I enjoyed it more than Princess A.) Having the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with Princess A was priceless.

Once we got through the month of October, November seemed to practically fly by! We always have a three-day weekend during November because of the local Waterfowl Festival (only on the Eastern Shore of Maryland!). We never go to the exhibits, but we sure do enjoy the people-watching and food!

Princess A and Deedle standing in the exact spot where KShaf and I said our wedding vows nine years ago. 

Now that I've caught you up on the goings on in my life (exciting, I know!), I hope that you'll stop in again. I promise I'll be better about blogging! Head on over to my Facebook page to check out the Fan Freebie that I posted recently...I hope you can use it!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy the time you have to spend with your family!

July 2, 2014

July Currently

Can it really be July already? This summer is flying by! The family and I are in northwestern Pennsylvania right now, visiting KShaf's family for the week. There has been a lot of four-wheeling, pony patting, and good food eating!

Princess A has learned how to drive the four-wheeler. She is a speed demon.

Princess A fell in love with Grandma's pony, Pepper.

I'm super excited to finally have the chance to link up with Farley for her Currently's been too long!

Thank goodness for classic Disney movies being shown in that critical half hour before lunch is ready. I'm not sure Princess A would have made it without a meltdown otherwise!

I stumbled across Kreative in Kinder on Facebook, and I am so, so in love with the shirt that I ordered from her the other day. 

Adorable, no?

I've been due for an upgrade on my phone for awhile now, so I finally sucked it up and ordered the iPhone 5 this morning (IN PINK!!!). It should be here by Thursday, and I can't stinkin' wait!

My summer vacation began less than two weeks ago, and I have been as lazy as can be every day since it started. I have been napping with the kids every afternoon, staying in my PJs until 10:00 in the morning, and taking more trips to Target than I can count. I could live like this forever.

Before we left for PA, I downloaded two new books:

 I love Emily Giffin.

Yay for Jennifer Weiner!

I've started the Giffin book (it's slow going so far, but I'm optimistic that it will pick up soon), but the kiddos have been keeping us so busy with toad stalking and lightning bug hunting that I haven't had much time to get into it. Not an awful problem to have, though.

4th Plans
It has become a tradition to get the kids showered and into PJs, and then, KShaf's UD sets off fireworks in the backyard after it gets dark. The kiddos look forward to it every year (and I admit, I do, too!).

So, that's what I've been up to. While we've been in PA, I've had the chance to troll Pinterest, and I've gotten some great ideas for next year. I'm excited to get started on some projects when we get home.

Have a safe Fourth!

June 24, 2014

Summer, Summer, Summer Time!

After what has to have been the longest school year ever, summer has finally arrived. Not a moment too soon, either. I am so excited to have time to read for pleasure, nap whenever the mood strikes, take day trips to our local beach with the kiddos, and, of course, blog! I thought I'd start by catching you up on what I've been up to the past few months (if you're even still interested...I've been MIA for so long!).

At the beginning of May, my work bestie, SpurDog, and I walked in our local March for Babies. This is something that I feel very strongly about because I went into preterm labor with Princess A at 28 weeks (you can read more about my experience here). When I think about the challenges that she would have faced if she had arrived that early, it makes me so grateful for my two, full-term babies.

Both Deedle and Princess A walked with us. They slept well that night!

Speaking of SpurDog, together, we accomplished a personal goal in mid-May: we ran our first 10K! 

We ran 6.2 in 1:13. Not too shabby, especially for an old girl with two young kids who used to hate (and I really mean hate) any kind of exercise. The free beer at the end of the race was awfully motivating, too.

As the end of the school year approached, everyone started getting a little slap happy, especially the teachers.

This is just appalling. I borrowed this hat (with fake, disgusting hair attached) from one of SpurDog's students on Crazy Hat Day. Not a good look for me, that's for sure!

My teammates and me, enjoying the world's biggest (and most delicious) donut ever. This is quickly becoming an annual tradition.

Princess A has had a pretty busy week. She graduated from Kindergarten!

She will desperately miss her teacher...she just adored her!

Then, this past weekend, Princess A competed in her second horse show. She continues to amaze us with her focus, determination, and hard work. We are so incredibly proud of her!

She won fourth place ribbons in each of her three events. 

Princess A is spending this whole week at camp here (this is also where she takes her weekly riding lessons), and then, we'll be on our way to Pennsylvania to visit KShaf's family. We try to spend a full week there each year, and it is easily one of my favorite parts of summer. We go four-wheeling, wild raspberry picking, lightning bug hunting, horseback riding, and visiting with KShaf's relatives. It is what summer is all about! 

Speaking of summer, I need to go pack the beach bag because as soon as Princess A is finished with camp, we are heading to the beach for the afternoon! I promise to be better about blogging, now that I have some time to think, reflect, and be creative. Enjoy your week!

April 21, 2014

Spring Break Wrap Up

I'm ashamed of myself. This blog has been woefully neglected these past few months. But now that the long, snowy, cold winter is over and spring has officially sprung here in Maryland, I feel rejuvenated, and hopefully, I'll blog more faithfully.

These past few months have been beyond busy! Even though Dr. Seuss' birthday was rescheduled several times because of snow, when we finally got around to celebrating on March 5th, we had a blast making green eggs and ham and reading our favorite Dr. Seuss books!

My sister said my green eggs looked nauseating when she saw this picture. My firsties clearly disagreed: they asked for seconds!

Warning: shameless parental bragging ahead! My girl had her very first horse show on March 22nd, and she did an AMAZING job! She was the youngest girl in her class by at least five years, but she held her own. We were incredibly proud!

Three sixth place ribbons and a fourth place ribbon!

OK, enough bragging (about my own kids, that is). During our writing block, we have been working tirelessly on animal research projects for the last two months (yes, it took us an embarassingly long time to finish our projects, mostly because of snow). We used Susan Moran's Common Core Writing for First Grade pack, and the kiddos' projects ended up being just adorable! We even invited family members to join us for an Author's Celebration.

This is what my back table looked like before our Author's Celebration began.

One of my adorable students and his father, sharing his book about lions.

Deedle celebrated his fifth (!!!!!) birthday on April 14th. I am still in denial that my littlest one will be in Kindergarten in the fall, but at least I still have a few months to wrap my head around it. 

I don't care how old he gets. He'll never be too old to snuggle with his mama.

We let him open our presents in the morning before his birthday party. It was a very Titanic birthday, as you can see!

He had a pirate-themed party at our local park, and the kids had a blast!

We had two days taken away from our Spring Break because of all of the snow days we had this past winter, but I'm totally OK with it. Four days for Spring Break has been plenty, and we'll be finished with school on June 19th (believe me, it could have been much worse!). Yesterday, we had our family egg hunt here at our house. I had a tough time getting pics of the kids since they wouldn't hold still long enough for me to snap any!

My little dandelion.

Speed demon!

I hope you all have had a relaxing and enjoyable Easter weekend! You deserve it!

March 3, 2014


Apparently, I only get things accomplished on snow days. Oh, well! So, here I am, enjoying my tenth snow day of the year, and I'm loving every second! I figured I would take advantage of the extra time and link up with Farley for her March Currently.

Listening: My husband and I both work for the local public school system, but because he is considered support staff, he doesn't usually get to stay home on snow days. Thankfully, our interim superintendent is awesome, and she values all of her employees equally. So, today, administrative offices were closed, too, and my husband had the day off with the rest of us! While the kids went outside to brave the ridiculously cold temperatures for a little while, KShaf stayed inside and played ping pong on the Wii (and apparently, he takes his ping pong very seriously).

Loving: I adore my job. I am so lucky to love what I do. But, I'll also be the first to admit that I like a snow day (or eleven). I'm greedy. And shameless.

Thinking: There is nothing quite like a roast chicken on a cold, blustery, snowy day. Mine is very simple: I stuff the cavity of the chicken with lemon, onion, and garlic cloves, and then I rub a mixture of melted butter and Herbs de Provence all over the skin. Throw it in the oven at 375 degrees, and roast until the handy dandy popper thingy pops. Simple and delicious!

Wanting: My car is a 2006 Toyota Matrix, and for obvious reasons, it didn't come iPhone ready. I just want to be able to play Spotify; I don't need anything too fancy. I can't justify it right now, though.

Needing: My son is very particular about his clothes. His sleeves need to be a certain length. His shirt always have to be tucked into his pants. He doesn't like his tummy to show when he raises his arms in the air. It's exhausting. Once he finds an article of clothing that he likes, he refuses to wear anything else. I discovered the other day that even though he has a drawer full of perfectly good pants, he has been pulling one particular pair out of the dirty laundry basket and wearing them to school almost every day. Mother of the year, right over here. So I promptly ordered two more pairs from Old Navy, and they were supposed to arrive today. When they didn't, Deedle proceeded to stand on the back porch in all of his snow clothes and scream. And scream. And scream some more. Oy.

???: The Precipiteachers. Look them up on Facebook. That's all I'm going to say.

Just got the call that we're off again tomorrow...I can't wait to make Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for breakfast and lounge around in my pajamas all day!

Head over to Farley's blog and link up, too! Stay warm!

March 2, 2014

Sunday Funday!

I'm excited to link up with Lucky to Be in First's Sunday Funday linky! I adore Molly's blog and products, and she's always very generous with her flash freebies (like her on Facebook, and you'll see what I mean!).
Last week was the first full week that I've taught in a looooooong time, thanks to our recent crazy Maryland weather. While it was nice to have my kiddos for an entire week, I was exhausted by Friday evening! 

We just finished reading Miss Jill's Ice Cream Shop, as part of our Houghton Mifflin reading series. Instead of reading a (totally boring, if you ask me) nonfiction article about how to make ice cream, I thought that it would be more meaningful for my students if we actually made our own ice cream. I used this incredibly simple recipe to make ice cream in my classroom, and it was a huge hit!

They loved shaking the bag!

There was salty water flying everywhere, and everyone had cold hands, but no one complained once the ice cream was served.

Of course, once I came home and told Princess A and Deedle about making ice cream, they insisted on making their own (chocolate, of course!).

Now, I'm sitting here, coming to the realization that the three dozen eggs and containers of deli ham that I have sitting in my fridge probably won't be made into green eggs and ham until later in the week: once again, we're expecting significant snow. I refuse to complain about the winter weather, though...there is nothing that can be done about it, so I intend to enjoy the time that I have home with my kiddos!

This was my terrifying coffee date early this morning (he was being a dinosaur, of course, and trying to scare me). We went to Target to get some snow day "essentials" (read: craft supplies and new shoes) before everyone in the state of Maryland panicked and raced to the grocery store for milk, bread, and toilet paper.

Head on over to Molly's blog and link up! Enjoy what's left of your weekend, and if you're on the East Coast, stay safe and warm!

February 17, 2014

Craziest Winter Ever

So, I'm a lifelong Marylander. I grew up in Baltimore City, and I moved the Eastern Shore to attend college (yeah, WAC!) when I was eighteen. In all of my thirty-five years as a Maryland native, though, I can't remember a winter as nutty as this one. Don't get me wrong: we've had our share of random blizzards and freak March snow. This winter has been different. Since the first of the year, we've had six snow days and more delayed openings than I can count. In fact, school was closed last Thursday and Friday, so we missed our Valentine's Day party. Thankfully, our principal is allowing us to have our celebrations tomorrow at the end of the day...that's if it doesn't snow again tonight.


I'm grateful for the extra few days. It gave me the opportunity to get a lot of things done that I wouldn't have gotten to otherwise. For example, I actually got around to making Valentines for my students (with the help of my trusty assistants, Princess A and Deedle, of course).

Target had these super cute crayon sets on sale for $0.48! So, I grabbed enough for all of my boys.

Don't worry! I didn't forget my girls! Again, on sale for $0.72!

My tireless helper, putting crayons and Hershey's Kisses into snack-size Ziploc bags.

No, he didn't dress up for the occasion. It's a sweater with the tie knitted into it.

I found these adorable tags here. Cute, free, and they print six to a page, so they conserve ink.

The finished products!

I think they turned out really nicely! I know my kiddos will love and appreciate them...they are a very grateful group!

Well, I'm off to check the weather and catch up on my Bravo TV shows. 

P.S. There you go, Mom...I finally updated my blog!

January 26, 2014

SNOW Much Going On

I haven't seen my students in a full week. Crazy, right? We had last Monday off for Martin Luther King's birthday, and the following day, we got about five inches of snow, along with freezing temperatures and strong winds. Schools were closed Wednesday through Friday, as a result.

I took this pic on Thursday afternoon when we got a second round of snow. It probably doesn't look like much to those of you from the midwest, but the roads were ridiculous. 

I spent my days off, getting organized and cleaning (after I finished my grades and data, of course). I rearranged my crafting supplies, went through my recipe binder and got rid of the recipes that I've never tried, and I even finished getting my math manipulatives organized and re-labeled!

These Dollar Tree "Gladware" containers are UH-mazing. I bought twenty of them, and I labeled them with polka dot labels to match my classroom.

Cute, right?

I also grabbed three packs of these adorable small containers. Ten for $1.00! I use these to put dice in when my students are playing math games (the containers keep the dice from flying across the room!).

Before our unexpected week off, my students had been working hard on animal research projects in writing. I've been using Susan Moran-Jones' Common Core Writing for 1st Grade pack, and I have been amazed by what my students have been able to do! They have chosen an animal that they'd like to learn more about, completed their research (using library books and other resources), and they have been working on their illustrations and captions.

This little guy was SO excited to learn more about lions!

This little cutie was really into learning about hippos. He was concentrating so hard!

I love how this project has brought students together who might not have worked together otherwise.

A completed illustration and caption. I love it!

I'm excited to get back to work on our writing tomorrow! I hope my kiddos haven't lost their enthusiasm during their week off!

I'm really excited to share the other project that I've been working on. I completed a Valentine's Day literacy pack, and I'm tickled with how it turned out (especially considering that it's my first attempt at something like this). The pack has six different activities, most of which are Common Core aligned.
Cover Page
Write the Room (so fun!)
Vowel Sort Coloring Page

Click on any of the pics to go to my TPT store. I'd love your feedback!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and stay warm!