Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The One With The 2015 Park Challenge #sol15


Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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Two years ago, my husband suggested a park challenge where we try and visit a different park every day all summer. This year we decided it was time to bring back the park challenge. We've decided to start July 1st and see if we can get to September 1st. One park everyday, no repeats.
When I told a colleague about the park challenge, he asked if there would be enough parks to last two months without duplicating. Lucky for us, living outside of Chicago, there are! Our main goal is to get our kids moving and make it fun for all of us. But then I had an idea.

What if we could get other families excited about movement and play by sharing the park challenge? So we've started charting out parks, remembering our favorites, and inviting friends to join us throughout the month. We'll share all the fun we have and rate the parks so others can see just how awesome play can be. We're hoping to take lots of pictures, make a few movies, and get our kids talking about what they love about the different parks we visit. I'll share posts here on Tuesdays with updates on our adventure but will also be using the #parkchallenge hashtag on Twitter and Instagram if you want to follow along or join in. Even if you don't do the daily challenge, we would love to see where you play and hear what you love about it. 

I'm really looking forward to this! I love seeing my kids explore and have fun and this is such a great way to get us out and moving and trying new things. I can't wait!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/29/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
When we recovered from our drive back from Florida, I snuggled up with Katie Wood Ray's In Pictures and In Words. I started it before but reread and then kept going and I love it. So excited to share snippets during Teachers Write. Peanut and I are still reading Oggie Cooder and we finally got to the exciting part...just before he fell asleep!

Last Week's Post: 
Click on any picture above to read my post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm looking forward to finally finishing up Oggie Cooder with Peanut. I have two days of work this week. Two more days and then I say good-bye. It also means two last days of an hour-long commute and I'm hoping to listen to Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. (The only thing I'll miss about my crazy commute are my audiobooks!) I have a bag of picture books I'm excited to read this week, too. I know Little Red Henry by Linda Urban is in there!

This Week's Posts:
 
Check back throughout the week to read these posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Let's Celebrate LOVE FOR ALL!

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

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This week I'm celebrating LOVE FOR ALL!

*throws confetti*


It seems like the Internet is awash in celebrating the Supreme Court ruling to support same sex marriage across the United States...and it should be! Hooray!

I'm sure you've seen the words Justice Anthony Kennedy in the ruling at the end which are perfect in my opinion. In case you haven't, here they are. And in case you have, I want to plaster this all over everywhere, so hopefully you're happy to reread it and let your heart swell with happiness again.

As I write this, I realize not everyone shares my supportive stance on this decision but I hope all the positive energy will encourage more people to see how this is a good thing. How letting people be free to live their lives and make their own decisions empowers people to better be themselves. And doesn't that make the world better, too? In the end, love wins.

What are you celebrating this week?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Poetry Friday - Imagine

 Today Poetry Friday is at Carol's Corner
Be sure to visit and check out all the great poetry posts!

I was excited to wake up and know that it was my tenth wedding anniversary...and then I started reading through all my social media favorites and saw people celebrating the Supreme Court decision to rule in favor of same sex marriage and it made the day ten times better. 

The words to John Lennon's Imagine popped into my head. 

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

I've always loved this song but it's especially perfect today. I had to pull it up on Spotify and listen to it again and again. As I listened, I thought about how great  this song would be as a writing prompt. It would be perfect to make connections between current events and the state of the world when John Lennon wrote the lyrics. But it would also be great to ask students to think about what they dream about and start their free writes with, "Imagine..." and then dream up anything they want. I'm glad we don't have to imagine a country where anyone can marry whomever they want. That makes me feel like dreaming matters.
  1. Imagine
    John Lennon
  2. Imagine there's no heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today...
    Imagine there's no countries

    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace...
    You may say I'm a dreamer

    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one
    Imagine no possessions

    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world...
    You may say I'm a dreamer

    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/22/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
We were at Disney World all last week...it was amazing but we were definitely either in the parks, at the pool, or asleep. I'm excited for summer to start and the book fun to begin.

Reviewed Last Week:
 
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to get back to Harry Potter on audio and finally finish Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff. If you have any amazing summer reads already, send them my way!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Let's Celebrate 35 Years!

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

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This week I'm celebrating 35 years!

*throws confetti*

Until last week, I had never done anything for 35 years. But now I can say I've been alive for 35 years. I've been a daughter and a sister and a niece for 35 years and that's pretty cool. It was a great excuse to invite my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and my aunt to go volunteer at Feed My Starving Children with us. Feed My Starving Children is a non-profit organization that give volunteers the opportunity to hand-pack food that will be sent to children in need around the world. 

When I look at how many people need help around the world, it breaks my heart. I'm sure there is more I could do and I'm not sure how much help volunteering for Feed My Starving Children actually does but I hope it's something even if it's small. 

This was the first time that Little Bean came to help us pack food...and he only last a short time but he did get a little bit of the experience. I'm glad I had time like this with my family and that we have this memory to share. I'm hoping to go back soon!
 
 
 
 
What are you celebrating this week?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Poetry Friday - Rock, Paper, Scissors

 Today Poetry Friday is at A Year of Reading! 
Be sure to visit and check out all the great poetry posts!

I've got another song for Poetry Friday today....but I just can't help myself. I adore this song. It's catchy, it's different, it's smart. I'm making a big change this summer. I'm leaving the school district I have worked in for thirteen years and I'll be starting in a new district in the fall. It's such a huge, major shift and I'm so very excited. 

Of course, with any kind of change, I'm grateful for the people who help me find the positive in the change because I think that's what it's all about. Any situation can be seen from different perspectives. I value my optimism and believe it makes life a lot more fun. I'm happy to not dwell on the not-so-good things and instead to celebrate the good things. If something goes wrong, I would much rather asses the situation, make the choice that seems best, and move forward. 

Sometimes people say, "It was meant to be." And maybe that's another way of looking at things. But I like the sentiment in Rock, Paper, Scissors because it reminds me that I have a choice. Whatever choice I make is one I'll have to live with. There might not be a wrong or a right, there is just a choice. Even when I lay out the pros and cons and look at everything from every possible angle, sometimes I decide to go with what feels right and make the best of it. 

We are all iterative; assessing, making choices that seem best, and moving forward until we see the need to pivot again. I love looking at life this way because it means that if you pick one choice and it doesn't work out, there is always time enough for another choice and to continue to learn and grow. There's some solace in that and this song is a great reminder to me of how important it is to know that we make decisions that we have to live with but that doesn't mean we can't make another decision that will take us in another direction. 

It does feel like this new position opened up at exactly the right time and that I was ready for a change at exactly the right time and that I have the right kind of experience at exactly the right time. But I know that I made decisions in my life that led me to this place and I know that I still have work to do to prove that I'm exactly right for this position. In the end, it's up to me. 


Rock, Paper, Scissors

Everything you want, everything you do
Everything and anything is up to you
Every single day starts with a riddle
You can go left or right, down the middle

So take a little trip down road and see
What you gonna find, who you want to be
But you have to pick between the three

Rock, paper, scissors
Which one is it? It's your decision
And no matter what you choose,
You're gonna live it
Rock, paper, scissors

Everybody wants to be happy, so
Take a look around, find a hand to hold
If you really want you can change like the weather
And no matter what you do it'll keep getting better

Everything you want that is who you are
You can be the sun and the moon and the stars
Or the bass or the drums or the lead guitar

Rock, paper, scissors
Which one is it? It's your decision
And no matter what you choose,
You gonna live it
Rock, paper, scissors

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The One With My Girl Crushes #sol15


Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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I love music. I love all sorts of music. I grew up listening to what we called "the oldies" in the 80's and 90's...which was music from the 50's and 60's but I also listened to NKOTB and Debbie Gibson and Tiffany and Madonna. In high school I found alternative and went to see Oasis, Dishwalla, and Counting Crows in concert. I love CCR and Green Day and Barenaked Ladies and Garbage. After college, I started listening to country and lately I'm back to pop but I still am always on the lookout for songs that catch my attention. I have a friend who I'll ask to send me a song-of-the-day, especially when I need something different or unique to get my mind off of things.

But recently I heard a song that made me cringe. It's called Girl Crush by Little Big Town. You can watch the video and the lyrics are included if you do (FYI, it's not very kid friendly). Basically, the song is all about a girl who envies another girl because the guy she likes is in love with the other girl. I really like the song...the tempo and the mood...and I was intrigued when I heard girl crush until I figured out what they meant by a girl crush. Honestly, I'm all for girls crushing over girls but not in the way Little Big Town suggests. Why can't a girl be inspired by another girl instead of being envious of her? Why can't a girl look at another girl and see her confidence and wish she could be like that too? Why can't a girl look at another girl and stand taller knowing she's a girl and she rocks, too? It really irritates me. 

What I would say to any girl who has a girl crush like Little Big Town suggests is: Look. Forget about him. If he loves her, he loves her. You go be you. Be awesome. Be passionate. Pour your energy into the things that make you happy and people who appreciate you. Love yourself. Love life. And love will find you. 

So in the spirit of girl crushing my way, I'm sharing some girl kid lit authors who I've so totally got a girl crush on right now. All of these women are doing amazing things for children's and young adult literature. And, lucky me, these are only a few of the amazing women who inspire me as a teacher, reader, writer, mother, but most importantly, as a woman.

Kate Messner

Ame Dyckman

Jacqueline Woodson

Raina Telgemeier

Jenny Han
Who are some of your girl power author heroes in kidlit?
Girl power for the win!