My First REAL Five for Friday! (on Saturday)


Last spring - when I started my blog - I really wanted to join this Linky party at: :  , but I didn't know how to join so I used to do "Five For Friday - My Own Version."  I'm only telling this story to show how much progress I've made.  Now I can REALLY participate - except I officially start school next Tuesday, and the students come on Thursday so the random information will be more about me.

1.  My younger son, Andrew, is preparing to move into the $3,000/month apartment - possibly today.  The other day, he and his friend, Alex, went over to chat with the people who currently live in the $3,000/month apartment, only to find out there is a "rat" problem.  I guess Boston is famous for its rat problem, and the Mayor has been on the news to say landlords must address the rat problem.  Well, I should certainly hope so - especially for $3,000/month!  Now I'm afraid to go to the apartment because I don't want to find myself face to face with a rat.  I might have to bring along my dog for protection.

2.  I got my classroom organized this week, and I'll be back to share pictures next week.

3.  Yesterday I went out for lunch to a restaurant that is new to me - The Center Café - in North Reading, MA.  I ordered a tuna melt and enjoyed every bite.  This was a BIG treat for me because I LOVE tuna melts, and I have not eaten something so indulgent since joining Weight Watchers.  YUM!

4.  Yesterday (Friday) I went in my pool for probably the last time this summer.  I did a thorough vacuuming so we can close up the pool this weekend.

5.  Today we are having our fiesta in the afternoon.  The weather has changed from sunny to rainy, but I'm hoping it will change back since I'm making a barbecue.

I'm so excited to actually participate with Doodle Bugs!  I'll be back next Friday with more school related news.

P.S.  This is what my son needs in his new apartment!

Giveaway at one of my favorite blogs/Four Day Weekend!

One of my favorite blogs:
is having a 250 follower giveaway.  This is the prize that I want to win because I would LOVE to have a variety of colorful lanyards.  There are other prizes to win, too, so head on over and check it out!

If you do enter the giveaway, try to spend a while and browse through this delightful blog.  The author is from Alaska, and she has recently started making her own clipart and "mini me's."  She is quite talented and artistic.

Yesterday I spent over 2 hours in my classroom.  Even though there is still more to do, my room is looking quite neat and organized. 

Enjoy the weekend!


Thursday = Thank you day! 

Today, I'm linking up with:
to thank a fellow blogger.  I'm thanking Deb who is the blogger behind:   Crafting Connections! 

I love Deb's blog because it is so colorful and creative - look at this blog button - how adorable is that!  Additionally, she has all these amazing craftivities that she has created, and I'm so excited to announce that I won her Plot Craftivity offered on her blog!  If you want to check out, Deb's TPT store and blog, you will definitely be QUITE IMPRESSED!  Here are the links so you can enjoy reading her inspirational ideas:
While you're at Deb's TPT store, check out the Plot Craftivity - Deb said it was a very popular purchase at the TPT Back to School sale.  You might want to pick up one of the craftivities while you're visiting.
Thanks, Deb, for being such an inspiration!

Last Win, Loss & A Thing Of Cost Of Summer Vacation......

Today, I'm linking up with Digital: Divide and Conquer and Third Grade Galore to tell about a win, a loss, and a thing of cost.

 Win!  I won another rafflecopter prize!!!  It's going to get announced on a blog tomorrow so I don't want to spill the beans a day early.

Loss!  I lost ONE pound last week at Weight Watchers.

A Thing of Cost:  On September 1st, my younger son, Andrew, will be moving into a 2 bedroom apartment with 3 friends.  The apartment is near Northeastern - where he goes to college.  Monthly rent = $3,000.  That's A LOT OF rent!  Yikes!


I"m being featured as a new blogger!

Today - Tuesday, August 27th - I'm being featured on this blog:

Please make sure to go check it out!  Thanks to Dana for introducing us new bloggers!

A Peek at my Week - A Lovely Linky Party & A 300 Follower Giveaway to Enter!


Hello there!  I found a new and fun Linky Party about plans for the upcoming week - how exciting is that!  Any way, this is the first week that Jennifer at
is having her link up so I hope you'll consider joining up, too.

1.  This is the last full week of summer vacation so I have to finish cleaning my house - I'm not talking about regular cleaning, I mean windows, closets, kitchen cabinets, under the beds, etc.  Of course, I'll never get it all done, but I'm hoping to get SOME of it accomplished.

2.  I'll be going into my classroom to finish setting it up.  I'm quite excited about the labels I made for my book bins in the library.  Check them out:

The square polka dot label I got free from TPT at:

Also, please notice the numbers on the labels with the letters.  I put my books in alphabetical order by title.  Each book in those bins will have a round sticker with a number on it; the number will tell what bin the book belongs in.  I got this idea from another blog, but I think it's a GENIUS idea and will help to keep my library much more organized.  I forget the name of the blogger, but if you know who it is, please let me know so I can give her credit for this brilliant idea.

The round labels I won, but you can get those at TPT, too:

3.  Next Saturday we're having a party for our friends and their families.  I'm planning on offering an assortment of salads and healthy fare.  I finally found Butterball turkey burgers which were highly recommended by the leader at my Weight Watchers meeting.

Overall, it's looking like a fun and busy week.  It should be a ball!  (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Here's a 300 follower giveaway to check out, too:

Head on over to this blog from NEW ZEALAND to enter:


Sunday Smorgasbord!

Happy weekend!  I LOVE the weekend, and this is the LAST weekend before Labor Day.  I'm still baffled by how fast the summer FLEW by.

Sunday = time to link up with:

Here are some random details from my life:

1.  I went to my classroom every day last week for about 2 hours every day, and I am very focused and efficient because I know that I only have a very limited time to work.  Most of the heavy lifting is done, but I still have some loose ends.  I'm really trying to organize my library better.  I'll show pictures soon.

2.  My dog sheds A LOT.  There is black fur all over my house.  I haven't had a chance to vacuum all week so the tumbleweeds of fur are EVERYWHERE.  Of course, I love my dog so much that I'll still keep her, but I now understand why people avoid dogs that shed.  As you can tell, she's BIG!

Big dog = big amount of fur that is shed.

3.  Here's the message from last week's Weight Watchers' meeting:

I LOVE this message.  It all comes down to choices, and it's not easy; I'm still wanting that Kit Kat bar and other assorted treats.  I have to say that paying $40 per month is an effective incentive for me to want to lose weight.  I just have to keep it up.  Plus if I don't buy the treats, I can't even have them.

4.  I am totally loving my new Weber gas grill.  I've been making chicken on the grill every Sunday, and the food cooks much more evenly.  Plus the new grill is so clean - I hope I can keep it this way.

That's it for now!


Healthy Habits = Happy Teachers


Oh, dear, I was browsing through my posts, and I realized that I had uploaded this graphic because I wanted to participate in this Linky party hosted by:, but I never wrote the post.  Now that I'm doing Weight Watchers, I have been  making healthier food choices - I know why I gained 5 pounds during the first few weeks of summer vacation and why it's taking me so long to lose those pounds. 

Any way, here are some healthy tips I have learned along the way:

1.  Eat oatmeal for breakfast.  I found quick cooking oatmeal that you can make in ONE minute - that's what I'll be making when I start school.  The problem with most instant oatmeal is that there is so much added sugar.  When I make my own oatmeal, I sprinkle in some cinnamon and add some 1% milk. 

2.  Make your own lunch the night before.

Here are 2 non-food related tips which are very important to me:

3.  Pick out your clothes the night before, too.  This saves so much time in the morning; this way you can focus on getting ready and out the door ON TIME.

4.  Get a Dropbox account.  I just found out about Dropbox, and I think it's a genius idea.  A Dropbox account is a free and secure file cabinet in cyberspace.  You can access your documents from any computer - no more flash drive or lost files.  Of course, I still save everything in my computer, too, but I know I have my documents saved in my Dropbox - it's just an added sense of security.  To get your own Dropbox, head on over to:

Additionally, if you have any healthy recipes, the Blessed OCDiva is having a recipe Linky party at her blog at:  She would be so delighted if you participated.


Thank You Linky Party!


 Today I'm linking up with:
     to thank a fellow blogger who was helpful and/or inspiring. 

I'm thanking Autumn from Anchored in 3rd Grade.  When I started my blog in April, I saw so many Linky parties, and I didn't understand how to join/participate.  I wrote to Autumn, and she responded to my question right away, and now I LOVE Linky parties and am able to add my two cents.  Thanks, Autumn, for opening up a whole new part of the blogging world for me!

 Also, click on the button to the left to check out Autumn's awesome blog!

Wednesday - Already!?! - Win/Loss/Cost Linky Party & A CHANCE FOR YOU TO WIN!

Today, I'm linking up with Digital: Divide and Conquer and Third Grade Galore to tell about a win, a loss, and a thing of cost.
Is time flying or is it my imagination? 

WIN!  Last week I won this amazing and awesome prize package from:

I got some tremendous products from very generous teachers.  As I implement my new materials, I'll showcase them with a link back to that teacher's store.  I am very excited and thankful about winning SO MANY PRIZES - WOW!

Loss.  It FINALLY happened last Sunday.  This week I lost twice as much weight as my husband at Weight Watchers (and, he is NOT HAPPY about it).  I lost TWO pounds while he lost one pound.  I know that I should not be gloating, but he's ALWAYS losing weight so easily. This is a loss worth celebrating for me! 

A Thing of Cost

Prize #1!!

I LOVE THIS WATCH!!!!   It's being offered as a prize on another blog - I'll post the address at the bottom of this post.  Any way, I might just have to buy a watch just like this if I don't win because I LOVE the colors and design.

To enter to win this beautiful watch as well as 2 other prizes, head on over to:

Of course, even though I'm hoping to win myself, please let me know if you WIN so I can celebrate with you!


Check out my gift and this recipe!

I did the teacher gift exchange with Kathryn whose blog is:

Here is a picture of my very practical and exciting gift:

How awesome is every part of this gift!  I LOVE NEW and COLORFUL Expo markers; sticky notes in many different colors; the zebra striped scissors (my favorite part of the gift)....I've been reading a lot about Washi tape, and I got some of that, too.  I'm very thankful to Kathryn                   for sending me such a useful back to school gift.  Also, if you can, head on over to check out her blog - the address is at the top of this post.

If you want to check out some of the other teachers' gifts, head on over to:

I'm also linking up with:

for easy back to school recipes.  Here is a recipe that I make very frequently because it is easy, fast and delicious.

Balsamic Chicken


Perdu thin sliced breast cutlets (I think the thin sliced cutlets by Perdu are the way to go - the quality is excellent, and they cook up quickly)

Whole wheat flour

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar


1.  Dip cutlets into flour - set aside.

2.  Heat olive oil in pan.

3.  Cook cutlets - 2-3 at a time only - turning one to two times until done. 

4.  Set cutlets aside until all are cooked.

5.  Lower heat to medium low.  Return cutlets to pan and pour balsamic vinegar on top; turn cutlets over to pour balsamic vinegar on other side.  (I usually let them sit for a minute so they're all warmed up).

These are great leftover, at room temperature or cold.

Super, Sensational Sunday Smorgasbord

So it is a sunny Sunday here!  I'm linking up with:

1.  I'm off to Weight Watchers shortly for my weekly weigh-in.  Last week I gained one pound so I'm hoping for some promising news when I step on the scale - it seems like I weigh MORE at the Weight Watchers scale - has anyone ever noticed that?

2.  Last Friday I stopped in at school and spent an hour at my classroom.  Here's a peak at my desk:

I started going through my library book bins - I didn't do any serious cleaning or organizing - that's for the upcoming week.

3.  My father and I took our weekly stroll at Deer Island, and I took a picture of him with the Boston skyline in the background - he always wanted a picture like this.

4.  Yesterday, my father and I were having lunch at Donna's in East Boston, and a woman came up to me to tell me that she was my dance teacher.  She remembered me as a little girl with red hair.  I was shocked that she even knew who I was - considering I took dance over 40 years ago.  She might remember me though because I was always tripping over my feet - now you know why I am not a ballerina.

5.  I sent out my welcome back to school letters to my students.  Wow, it's really time to go back to school!

Teacher Tips -

Today I'm linking up with:

This is the final day of their Teachers' Week, and today's topic is Teacher Tips.  Since I haven't been back to my class yet, I don't have pictures - I am stopping by today because each teacher is getting a gift card to Lakeshore Learning to buy classroom supplies.  Lakeshore is about a ten minute drive from my house, and I'm super excited to get some supplies.  I'm still debating whether to buy the cardboard book boxes or buy the plastic ones at Target.  If any of you have a tip on that subject, please let me know.

Here are some of my tips:

1.  Color code your plan book.  I always highlight my plan book for recess duty, specials, etc.  The week before I always fill in this information FIRST.  At the top of the page, I write in the EVERY DAY information, such as recess, lunch, lunch recess, and after school duty assignment.  Then I fill in the class work I'll be teaching.  Again, I highlight this information in a different color.  By the way, I do this highlighting just in case there's a substitute in my room because when there are substitutes in my neighbors' rooms, these are the questions I am always asked.

2.  To the right of my plan book, I have a folder for each day of the week.  Inside each folder are that days' papers, including homework.  The papers go right along in order with the plan book - the whole day is organized.  Of course, I like knowing that everything is all set for the day because there are several days when I have no specials so there's no time to copy papers.

3.  Get as much of your copying done the week before.  I usually know what papers need to be copied the week before so I set aside time to copy the papers early and then I start putting them in the correct folders for the next week.  My perfect week would include leaving on a Friday and having every day's papers in the folders for the next week (this is a goal - usually I have Monday and Tuesday 100% done and some of the other days as well).

4.  Have a hanging folder for each month of the school year.  I put my special monthly work/read-aloud books in these folders.

5.  I love the chimes that are in the book, The Daily Five.  I bought my chimes at Lakeshore last year, and I love the sound they make.

Also, if you have time, please read all the other teachers' AMAZING tips and ideas at the link above.  I am learning SO MUCH from all these other bloggers, and I'm so thankful to them for sharing their ideas.

Hola, hola Coca Cola! Es el tiempo por "Win, Loss & A Thing of Cost."

Today, I'm linking up with Digital: Divide and Conquer and Third Grade Galore to tell about a win, a loss, and a thing of cost.

Win = Loss Again:  This week in Weight Watchers I gained back one pound.  However, the Leader of the meeting emphasized that losing/gaining weight is just a number and a part of the process of making better food choices.  Now I'm really rethinking my daily food choices because I REALLY want to get to my goal weight for 2 reasons:

1.  I won't have to pay $40+/month.

2.  I'll have more daily points each day so I can afford a small treat once in a while.

Here was the main message of the meeting:

This is a perfect message for all of us gearing up for school - needing to plan healthy, quick and easy food.  I was even thinking it would be a fun linky party if we all shared one favorite quick and easy recipe, but I'm not sure if anyone would participate.  Please let me know what you think.

A Thing of Cost.  I already mentioned the WW monthly fee.  Now our kid car - an older Toyota Corolla is getting fixed up so it passes inspection.  You know what happens when your car goes to the mechanic to get checked out = $$$.  Of course, I've been having to drive the kid car for a variety of reasons, and one of the issues is you can only open the driver's side door from the outside by rolling down the window.  Then, there's the Nintendo character on the dashboard - no wonder people are always cutting me off when they see the kid car.

The other thing I wanted to mention  is that I can't really participate in the classroom or organization linky party because I still haven't been to my classroom, and I have never taken pictures of it before.  This makes having a blog EVEN BETTER - I can share what my room looks like, and I've never done that.  I'm going to start going in on Monday - we start back the Tuesday after Labor Day; the kids will come on Thursday.

That's all for today!


This Giveaway Has 6 Prize Packages!/All About Me Linky

Head on over to this blog:  to explore all the prize winning opportunities being offered at this blog!  On top of that, if you scroll down past all 6 prize packages, there are links to FREE back to school products.  How cool is that!

Now here are 10 fun and hopefully new things you didn't know about me:
1.  I love to kayak!  Last night I went for a sunset kayak on the lake in Wakefield (where I live), and it cost $15 for one hour - which was more than enough time for me.
2.  My favorite stores are Marshalls and TJ Maxx. 
3.  I do water aerobics in my pool during the summer.
4.  Every morning I drink warm water with the juice of half a lemon in it.  While I'm having my lemon drink, I watch the news on TV.
5.  When my sons were in the high school marching band, I used to drive the equipment truck.
6.  When I was growing up, we lived across the street from a marsh, and I used to climb trees all the time - I loved climbing up the trees to see the different views.
7.  The first book I ever got from the book order was The Snowy Day in first grade, and it's still one of my favorite books.
8.  I LOVE the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and would love to go see the house where she lived.
9.  I make my bed every single morning.  My mother always insisted that I make my bed, and now I've read that Gretchen Rubin says that's an important routine in The Happiness Project. 
10. I LOVE cookies, candy, cake and ice cream!  Now I'm on Weight Watchers, and I need to eat healthier food - I would really love a Kit Kat bar right now, but I'm going to go in the pool instead.
Thanks for reading my list!  If you have time, there are a lot more people to meet at the I'm blog hopping blog - the link is at the top of this list.


Smorgasbord Sunday

It's another Super Sunday - time to link up with: - for realistic random news.

1.  First, here's the answers to my most recent word puzzles:

C + M + C = 4L of E

Core + Mantle + Crust = 4 Layers of the Earth

M + A + R + B = 4T of A

Mammals + Amphibians + Reptiles + Birds = 4 Types of Animals

The interesting part of the above word puzzles is that the middle and high school teachers were slow to get them - I needed to give them hints.  Of course, I can't remember most of their material either - hypoteneuse, Pythagorean Theorum.....I remember the words from long years ago, but the information is no longer part of my memory.

2.  Deer Island - connected to Winthrop, Massachusetts.

My father and I go to Deer Island every Saturday to take a rather short walk - he's broken both femurs and arms - he's mobile now, but it's still tough going.  There is an amazing view of Logan Airport and the Boston skyline from Deer Island.  There's also a paved path that is 2.6 miles if you want to walk the perimeter of the island.  I thought you might enjoy a sample of the view:

In the picture, if you look over to the right, you can see a plane landing.  If you've ever flown out of or into Logan Airport, there's an excellent chance that you've flown over Winthrop.

3.  Today I'm starting to read Wonder by RJ Palacio.  My husband needed a book so I told him to read this book, and he LOVED it!  I'm excited to see what all the buzz is about, too.

4.  I've been browsing around for a back to school outfit, but I haven't found anything yet - I might need to wear something newer from my closet.  I hope NOT though - I've always bought a new outfit for the first day of school.

Have a marvelous week!

Wonderful Weekend - I'm on vacation again!

My week of taking a class has come to an end.  I'm so excited to be back on vacation because now I can be on "real" vacation again.  I missed being home and having my afternoon crossword and reading time. 

My friend, Cheryl F., successfully solved this puzzle:

         SA+LT  JU2RY

The answer is:  Add insult to injury.  Well done, Cheryl!

In my class, we also did other word puzzles.  Here's an example:

A + A + P + I = 4O   

Atlantic + Arctic + Pacific + Indian = 4 oceans

Here are some science word puzzle sentences that the high school teachers in my class were unable to solve. 

C + M + C = 3L of E

M + A + R + B  = 4T of A

The teacher of my class suggested writing these on a piece of construction paper and holding them up to get the kids to pay attention and get their brains thinking.  I LOVE word puzzles so it was fun for me any way.

Happy weekend!

Only a few hours left to enter a GREAT GIVEAWAY!

 Head on over to this blog ASAP!


Click on the image above to enter to win a $20 gift card to Third Grade Galore's TPT store!  Make sure to scroll down to find the entry form.

While you're checking out the giveaway, make sure to browse around and check out this blog - it will definitely be worth your while!

I don't know how I managed to get this formatting, but since I've managed to add all of this extra space, I'll write a quick post, too.
Tomorrow is the last day of my week long class.  I am especially looking forward to being home again because my house has taken a beating.
Back to the class - the teacher holds up these word puzzles to get our attention, and then we have to figure out the meaning.  I've been bringing in the ones from the Boston Globe because I happen to love these word puzzles.  Here's today's puzzle:
I thought this was a tricky one so good luck trying to figure it out - I'll include the answer in my next post.


Where in the world has the week gone?

Today, I'm linking up with Digital: Divide and Conquer and Third Grade Galore to tell about a win, a loss, and a thing of cost.

Win = Loss!  I actually lost 1.6 pounds this week!  I FINALLY lost some weight.  It was a lot of work to lose this weight, but I'm going to keep at it.  Also, here's what we talked about at the Weight Watchers' meeting:
I'm so excited to include this reminder - especially for any of my students who may still read my blog.  It's so important to get good sleep.  I know when I'm tired, I have to have a special treat to give myself energy - sad, but true.  In the meeting, the leader talked about how when you don't sleep enough, it means that you're awake more = you're eating more.  Of course, I've been waking up at 5:30 this week to get to my class, and that alarm is very happy to wake me up - it truly is a very rude awakening.
A Thing of Cost.  The weather has been absolutely perfect, and I've been stuck in my class so I'm missing out on enjoying the beautiful weather.  I miss being on vacation.
It's a short post this week because being in class = using my brain in different ways.  This is a good thing because I do like math - I just like being outside in the summer much more.

Favorite Freebie Products!

Today I'm linking up with:
to share my favorite free products.

Here are three of my favorite FREE activities.

 The first activity - Writing a Portrait Poem would be an excellent beginning of the year activity.  Here's a student example and a link to the product:

In addition, here is the link to this activity, if you would like to check it out yourself.

2.  This ABC Vocabulary Book template can be adapted for any subject, and my students totally enjoyed during them.  Check out some of these student work samples:

If you want to download this project from TeachersPay Teachers FOR FREE, here is the link:

3.  Last, but not least, here is an amazing writing project about losing a tooth.
On the rug, the kids are sharing stories about a memorable time when they lost a tooth.  A few weeks ago, we read the book:  Throw Your Tooth on the Roof:  Traditions from Around the World by Selby B. Beeler.
  This book is very informative - I know that I learned quite a lot about different tooth traditions.  In some countries, people bury their teeth, use their teeth to make jewelry, and yes, some people actually do throw their teeth on their roof.  Here are some student work samples:

 I have to give credit for this idea to a third grade teacher who posted the idea on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Here is the link so you can download her lesson:  Also, I have added a link to Third Grade Cupcakes so you can visit this talented teacher's blog to get more of her creative ideas. (see the List of Blogs I Follow to your right).

I hope you and your students will enjoy these activities as much as we did!


Sensational Sunday Smorgasbord

It's that time again - Sunday morning - time to link up with:

Last week I was sitting in my backyard doing the crossword puzzle, and a painted lady butterfly landed on my crossword puzzle and stayed there for about 10 seconds.  It was definitely random, unexpected and very amazing - all at the same time.

Next week I'll be taking my class at the Northeast Consortium in Topsfield, MA.  Hopefully, I'll be making and creating a variety of math manipulatives.  I'm hoping to share some of my creations in my blog.


By the way, my favorite color is yellow.

This morning my dog, Gabi, and I were taking our weekly Sunday morning walk in Breakheart Reservation.  It was just the 2 of us because my friend wasn't feeling well.  Gabi and I follow a marked trail through the forest.  Once in a while, we even see deer - thankfully, Gabi has a pinch collar or I would no longer have my right arm.  At the end of the trail, there is a lot of vegetation so we were making noise as we made our way through to the paved trail.  Upon exiting, a woman and her dog were standing there looking at us like they just saw a ghost.  The woman explained:  "We thought you were a bear."  Luckily for her, it was just me and my dog.

Just so you can make your
own comparison:
Gabi, the dog, vs. a bear

I absolutely love this picture of
the bear sitting at the picnic
table - it cracks me up every time.

Have a wonderful week!
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