Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back To School: Sales, Giveaways, and New Beginnings!

The time is near, my friends!  Some of you may have already started your brand new school year. Others may have another few weeks to make summer memories, prepare classrooms, and sleep in!  As for me, I am homeschooling my youngest year-round, while my middle son goes back to school in just (22) days!  And my oldest son turns (21) this month and is preparing to leave for Basic Training for the Army National Guard in a few months!

A new school year is all about new beginnings. A fresh start.  And then there is school shopping!  I don't think that I will ever lose my excitement for back to school shopping whether it be new crayons, backpacks, lunchboxes, books, and of course classroom decor and  curricular materials!

Speaking of curriculum, you are probably already aware that Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School SALE  August 4-5.  My store is already on SALE with 20% off ALL items today.  If you need something for tomorrow, you can grab it now!  Starting tomorrow, August 4th, use coupon code BTS14 to get a total of 28% off ALL of my items!

Some of My Favorite Printables:

I also have writing prompts for September and other months. Click here to see all of them.

This is my #1 best seller that I use!

Have the First Day Jitters? Check out this literacy packet for use with your little ones:

 And, you don't wast to miss this one:  Wouldn't you love to win an iPad Mini?  What a way to kick-off the new school year! Don't forget to enter the iPad Mini GIVEAWAY that I am participating in along with (20) other bloggy friends. Click the pic below to enter!

And speaking of new beginnings, I am so, so excited to be part of the Jamberry team as an Independent Consultant!

Later this month, I will blog about why I started, all the benefits, and how I NEVER did my nails until I discovered Jamberry Nail Wraps!  Here's the short version:  in just (2) weeks as a consultant, I made enough money to take my son BTS shopping!

If you would like a FREE sample nail wrap, please click below to complete the Google Doc, and I will mail out your sample along with information for application.

If you have already purchased a Jamberry Nail Wrap, you know that it is LOVE at first sight!  My customers are telling me:  "I applied my Jams last night, and now I'm totally hooked!"

If you want to check out the current spring/summer catalog click here to visit my website.  You have until August 31 to order any of the wraps you see.  After that, the online catalog will be replaced with the fall collection.

AND, there are many~ (138) current wraps that are being retired and will NOT be available again- EVER after August 31.  Click the pics below to view all 138 wraps that will be gone forever after August 31.

You can order directly from my website.  If you are at all interested in hosting a Facebook party (where I do all the work, we play games, I have giveaways, and YOU can earn FREE wraps), click here.

If you want to take the plunge and become a consultant, I would love, love to have you on my team that also has many other teachers and mamas!  I will support you every step of the way on your new adventure.  Click here to view the details.

If you have any questions, please ask, and I will be happy to help!  Teachers love Jamberry- me included!

A new school year and new beginnings can be a little daunting, but I say BRING IT ON!

May you have a restful and relaxing Sunday!

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

iPad Mini-Giveaway!

How would you like to win a FREE iPad Mini to start off a new school year?  Oh, the possibilities for you and your students! 

Check out this site~ iPad Kids to check out the best kids' Apps, App reviews, and free Apps that you can use on the iPad Mini.  If you are not familiar with this device, this is a good starting point for a vast list of educational and entertaining Apps for teachers and parents.

Wondering how to use an iPad Mini in your classroom?  Click here to view 103 ways!

And finally, follow my Pinterest board "Tech for Teachers" for over 100 ideas for using technology in the classroom.

Now, you have to enter to win!  Good Luck!

***  PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is only open to teachers (classroo.m and homeschool) who are living in the contiguous United States. The winning entry will be verified and proof of eligibility may be required. Please see the complete terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway for more information

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The blogs below all contributed to this giveaway. You'll want to visit each one of them to get tech tips, reviews and more

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Would You Like to Party With Me?

Today's post is all about YOU!  Whether you are a teacher, a parent, or both, I understand completely how busy you are.  In fact, you are probably so busy, that you take little time for yourself whether that be sitting down for a few minutes to read, rest, or to indulge in a little pampering that you so deserve.

When I was working full time and had an only child, I had the money and some time to visit the nail salon for a mani, pedi, or both. However, it was still difficult to arrange for childcare, and I never felt comfortable spending that much money on my nails.  Most of my "extra" money was spent on my family and for my classroom.  Plus, I never quite got used to the harsh chemical smell of the nail salon.

Now, many years later, I am a mother to two young boys and the oldest of the three is in college. I have become a stay-at-home-mom, homeschool mom, teacher-author, and literacy tutor.  I thought the days of having my nails professionally done was over, and I was ok with that.  After all, I now have less money and less time.  

Then, I discovered Jamberry Nails.  As I requested a sample, I was doubtful that these vinyl nail wraps would be affordable, durable, and easy to apply.  I tried the samples and became hooked!  I immediately ordered a set of nails wraps for $15- which- is enough for about (2) manicures and (1) pedicure or (3) manicures.  That is $5 per mani.  Yes, I could afford this!  I watched the application video on the official site and was beyond pleased at the results.

Then I hosted a Jamberry Nails Facebook party where I was able to earn free products, meet new friends, and have FUN, all in the comfort of my own home while my consultant did all the work!

In fact, I was so pleased with this product that I became a-  wait for this-

To say I am excited about this new adventure is an understatement!  Jamberry Nails were created by women for women, just like you and me!  I have never been in direct sales and have only hosted one party many years ago for Pampered Chef.

To celebrate my new adventure, I am hosting a Launch Party on Facebook next week, and I would love for you to join in on the fun, games, giveaways, and prizes!  There is no pressure to purchase; you can come and go as you please without leaving your house!  If you are at all curious, have questions, are interested in hosting your own Facebook party (where I do all the work for you and you can earn free products), I warmly and enthusiastically invite you to my party.

Please send me an email at with a link to your personal Facebook page.  I will then request to be your friend, and can send you your official invitation with a link to the party page!  Please title your email I Want to Party.  

If you would like to browse through my Jamberry store to learn more, watch an application video, or to place an order (special deal:  Buy (3) get one FREE!) click  here.

I so look forward to hearing from you, and can't wait to party with all of you!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Three Ways to Sustain Learning Over the Summer

We have all heard of the "summer slide", and you know I'm not talking about water slides! What is the best advice to ensure that your child will not lose the skills and progress they made during the school year?  How can parents keep their children mentally active over the summer?

I have been an educator for 25 years and a parent for 21 years. My two youngest boys are ages seven and eight.  As you might expect, all three boys are completely different in personalities, strengths, and learning styles.

But one thing remains constant: children are children and as my dear friend says, "Children are wired to learn!"  The key is to discover your child's learning style and interests, and run with it.

Top Three Ways to Engage Kids in Summer Learning

1.  Let them play-  All children, no matter their age, learn through play, whether it is solitary play or collaborative play. This is my #1 advice to parents:  provide unstructured free time for children to explore, discover new learning on their own, take risks, experiment, and yes, make mistakes.  Just yesterday my boys took their battery-powered monster trucks outside to play.  They worked together on building a dirt pile that the trucks could climb without falling over. They did not ask for my help, I did not interrupt, and they learned a whole lot about science and forces of motion.  Kids are born curious!  Watch this short video that offers advice in a more eloquent fashion: 

2.  Child-Led Interests- Ask your child what they would like to learn this summer.  My youngest wanted to grow pumpkins in the garden because he was curious about how they grow.  So, we are having fun and learning much about the life cycle of a pumpkin! My middle son is immersed in Greek mythology and is enjoying reading, drawing, and writing his own myths.  Are you going on a summer vacation?  Study your vacation destination by researching on the Internet, looking at the Atlas, and reading books about your destination. Calculate the miles, the cost of fuel, food, hotel, campground, etc.  Encourage students to keep a journal where they can write, glue pictures and postcards, and draw their experiences before, during, and after the trip. To answer those burning questions that kids have, allow them to visit the fabulous site, Wonderopolis.

3.  Reading and Academics-  I don't recommend forcing kids to read over the summer, but rather to encourage authentic reading and content exploration. Personally, I'm not a fan of bogging down kids with keeping a reader's log. Nor, am I a huge fan of offering extrinsic rewards for reading.  If this works to motivate your child to read, then go with it.  I keep a log for my kids, but usually they want to take ownership of it and being boys, they like to post the log on the fridge to compete to see who is reading the most books.  I scatter books of interest here, there, and everywhere throughout the house. This will pique their interest, and I allow them the freedom to choose what and when they will read.  I read aloud to them at dinner, at breakfast, or whenever we need quiet time. They have chosen to be part of the summer reading program at our local library (motivated by the prizes), but I did not force the issue.  My youngest wants to learn more about geometry, and the eight year old wants to learn multiplication.  Run with whatever their interests are!  Encourage and praise them for any reading they do whether it is learning how to make a paper airplane, reading a recipe, or staying up past bedtime to read with a flashlight.

Ban the worksheets and workbooks, let kids be kids, encourage play time, learning, and watch what happens!

For many more summer activities to keep kids engaged and learning over the summer check out this amazing new blog I recently discovered that is a treasure trove of crafts, games, and outdoor summer activities for kids of all ages! Just click the picture below to visit!
Personal Creations

Have more ideas?  Please share in the comments section!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer and the Child With Selective Mutism: 10 Tips for Parents~ Part 2

Last time, I shared with you five tips for helping the child with Selective Mutism make the most of summer vacation.  Here is the introduction to that post; you can find the complete blog post by clicking here.

For the child with Selective Mutism, summer can have both positive and negative implications.  For some children, making the transition from the structure and familiarity of the school setting can be upsetting and cause even more anxiety. This is especially so if the child will attend a daycare or summer camp setting while mom and dad work.  For others, like my son, he was relieved that he could stay home and not have to face his fear of school and talking on a daily basis.  In either case, summer is an opportune time to work on pragmatic communication skills, to assist the child with stress-relief techniques, and to work on social and school phobia issues.

While I am no expert in Selective Mutism, I do have a seven year old son that was diagnosed with S.M. at the age of three.  I have researched this topic extensively and partnered with my child's psychologist, therapist, counselor, and teachers over the last 4.5 years. Although children with S.M. can be described as being on a spectrum, I have a few general tips to share that you may find helpful as we enter the summer vacation season here in the U.S.

Tips for Making the Most of Summer

6.  Vacation plans that involve traveling away from home can be stressful for the S.M. child.  Notice the sober expression on the little one's face in the above picture?  Before our first trip to the lake, I prepared my little one with exciting anticipation of all the fun things we would do- together with his father and me, with his brother, cousins, and grandparents.  I was sure to let him know the sleeping arrangements, we looked on the map, and read about our destination.  I made no mention of an expectation for him to talk and did not force him to do any activity (like the water slide at the water park) that he was uncomfortable with trying.  As the week wore on, he began to relax, experiment with new things at his own pace, and feel more comfortable.

7.  Summer camps are usually wildly popular with most kids, but not so for many with S.M.  For years, I have been trying to get my now 7 year old to try a day camp program with his older brother, to attend an art or music camp, or basketball camp. These are all activities that he is interested in, but is reluctant to try because he knows he will have to talk and will be away from his comfort zone for hours at a time.  So this year, he asked if he could take swimming lessons where I can watch from the sidelines, there will be a small amount of other children, and it only lasts for 50 minutes.  It's progress, and baby steps is the key to success!

8. Other summer activities like Bible School, seeing old school friends at the local pool, at the park, etc. can cause anxiety.

Picture Courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net

I would suggest never forcing, coaxing, or dangling a carrot with rewards or bribes for the child to attend, to talk, or to become actively involved.  Just getting the child to a new destination where there will be many children will be success.  If the child appears anxious, try deep breathing exercises, go for a walk, distract the child with conversation, or ask them what they would like to do later that day.

9.  Encourage children to play- to have lots of free and unstructured time for them to play, explore, learn social skills and cues, and to practice these in a nonthreatening environment where they feel comfortable. This may be at home, at the park, or at a relative's house.  Limit the time the child is engaged in solitary play (like video games) and instead carve out time for board games, creative play (Legos, Barbies, reading, etc.), backyard play with parents, siblings, friends, and relatives.

10.  Prepare for the end of summer and the return to school, especially if your child is attending a public or a private school.  It is here that most children with S.M. feel the most anxiety.  You can read a post I wrote last year about the "Back to School Blues" and how to help the child with Selective Mutism prepare for a new school year here.

Picture Courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.Net

With much love, patience, encouragement, and faith, your child will be able to make the most of the summer and will bloom in his own time.

Do you have more tips to share what has worked for your child?  Please share in comments section!

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