Over The Top Mommy

Everyone Loves a Carousel!

My favorite kind of day is one where I can stop and enjoy the moment without being in a hurry.

Emi and I had one last “Mommy & Me day” before she went back to school. She usually has a vision in her head of how most occasions will play out so first off, she needed to get appropriately dressed up.

Our first stop, was the nail salon. With the start of 3rd grade being SUCH a big deal, she wanted to make sure to have just the right design on her nails (and toes).

I LOVE little nails and toes and wish I could get away with having something this adorable on mine!
Our next stop was lunch. Nordstrom Cafe is one of our favs, especially the tomato soup and kids grilled cheese! I can’t say that a cookie wasn’t also snuck onto our tray.
After lunch, we walked around the mall for a long while, getting back to school necessities. Although my little girl is growing up too quickly, I love that she still asks to ride the carousel!
Everyone loves a carousel!

You’re Never Too Old For Rainbow Loom!

I think I’m reliving my childhood…again! Emi has been asking for some friendship bracelet maker, you know, to go with the other 3 that she already has? We just happened to be at Michael’s looking for Halloween stuff (yes in August) and there it was…RAINBOW LOOM! Of course Emi was the one who pointed it out to me and ran right over to grab one. It’s one of those as seen on TV items. Click
here to see it on the Michael’s page. (The suggested age for this kit is 8 & up) So I caved in and bought it, along with 2 extra packs of pink & aqua blue bands/fasteners because 1) we were going home to do crafts together already and 2) it was on sale! It was actually on sale, for about $1 off the regular price, so that counts, right?  The lady working at Michael’s actually gave us a short demo, showing us how it works. Then she suggested that we start with the basic bracelet pattern, which is pictured in the enclosed instructions and then pursue more advanced patterns on You Tube. As soon as we got home, the fun began. I attempted the first one and I swear I was hooked! Emi was waiting patiently for me to finish so she could start one, but I honestly just wanted to hog the darned thing all to myself! If it weren’t 4:00 p.m., I would’ve sent her to bed so I could be alone with it! SO MUCH FUN! I think Emi spent all night until about 9, making bracelets for all of her school friends, her new teacher, and of course both Daddy and I got one as well.

This is what the kit looks like.
From the teacher point of view, I see it would be great for developing fine motor skills.
This is the tool that comes with the kit, that is used to weave the bands.
I think she made about 18 of these in one night.
So how old is TOO old for being “The Queen of the Rainbow Loom”?

1st Grade is Where It’s At!

Today was the 1st day of school for me as a teacher, the start of my 18th year! When I was first hired, I had JUST graduated with my BA in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in English-Spanish bilingual teacher. It was the year that California passed the 20:1 law and needed a MASS quantity of new teachers hired. For the first 8 years of my career, I taught bilingual first grade. This meant that all of the reading and writing and ‘rithmetic were all in Spanish. I actually really liked it and I LOVED all of my students so much. (I still do). Eventually, politics got kind of ugly about the whole “teaching in Spanish thing” and we became an all English school.
I still have the same type of students, I just have to push them even harder now. I sometimes think the general public only see my students as statistics….most of them are English Learners, all of them are impoverish, and perhaps many of them are in The U.S. illegally? I don’t know, it’s not my job to worry about that, because they are just kids and none of that is their fault or their doing. What I DO know is that my students are often doing TWICE the work of typical students who live in “regular areas”. Not only do they have to learn to read, write and do Math like all first graders are expected to do, but they also have to learn English too! Many of them succeed, some continue to struggle and, of course, some fail, most are doing it with very little or no parent support. I have hope for them though. This is why I keep going back to work there. I don’t live anywhere near where I teach. I pay $12.50 a day to take a toll road to get to work on time each morning and back in time to pick up my own daughter from school. Some days are harder than others, some years are too, but it can also be very rewarding. These students are so sweet and appreciative and make the job worth it!

Today I got a whole new group of kids. I can already tell it’s going to be great year.
Here’s some of what I see in my new students:
At first, they’re hesitant and unsure. It’s a whole new world in first grade!
I love that they are curious! They explore and question. They want to know it all!
Sometimes they’re observant. They sit back and take it all in!
 Teachers love when students are motivated, especially when they’re motivated to learn!
Today I met 29 tiny but determined new first graders! I can’t wait to watch them grow & learn!
Room 7 is ready for the 2013-2014 school year!

What Happens in the Teachers Lounge, Stays in the Teachers Lounge

Today was my first official day back to my school site for an inservice! After being off and home with my daughter for 10 1/2 weeks, I was kind of sad to be away from her. I do know that I’m more fortunate than most people though to even have that much time off at once. (even though teachers don’t get paid when they don’t work)

Of course, it was all temporarily better the moment I got a hold of this…..
Seriously though…everything is better with a donut….and some coffee!
My most favorite donut in the whole world is a sprinkled donut!
So tell me, what’s yours? *cue for YOU to leave a comment

I’m Going to Blended 2013!

I can barely contain my excitement about the fact that my first blogger conference is going to be Blended! When I first found out that the 2 SUPER WOMEN behind this conference are BOTH named, “Wendy”, (Wendy from Around My Family Table and Wendy from Choosing Love & Arizona Moms Network), I just KNEW this was meant to be! I’m thinking we’re going to need to start our own “Wendy Club“, right?  
Blended is a one-day conference which will be held on Saturday, September 28 at The Double Tree by Hilton in Tempe, AZ. It’s a great opportunity for bloggers to gain knowledge from some powerful guest speakers, meet some of the sponsors and have the chance to network with other bloggers, which I’m finding out, usually up turning into fun, new friendships! 
In addition to the hosts, there will be 3 guest speakers at Blended. Maureen Fitzgerald from Wisconsin Mommy, Kimberly Sneed from A Night Owl, and Christine Pittman from Cook the Story
I am anxious to hear all of them speak and meet them in person, after having followed them online.
You can look at the full conference agenda here.
The ticket includes all sessions, materials, snacks, lunch and what’s sure to be everyone’s fav part….SWAG!!! Everyone loves SWAG! If you live in, or near, Arizona, you should attend! I’m coming from California! You can register for Blended here!

So what are you waiting for? Get registered and come meet me in Arizona! I just KNOW it’s going to be fun! (mostly because I assume that fun follows me wherever I go!)
 
Make sure to connect with Blended on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
and sign up for the Blended Newsletter here.

Disclaimer: I’m a Blended Conference Ambassador. I was provided a discounted ticket for my promotion.
 

How many more minutes til’ Halloween?

Today I almost fell over from excitement when I saw a TON of Halloween decorations at Pier 1 Imports that I *NEEDED! Seriously, there was even a Halloween tree with ornaments! I told myself that FIRST I need to get past “Back to School” before I’ll allow myself to think about anything Halloween. (I have little pep talks like that with myself all the time) Then I started looking back on some of last year’s Halloween party pics and I really just can’t wait!
Last year, I ordered these adorable shirts from https://www.facebook.com/sweetmadys for the kids. The girl’s version had a cute little witch on it and the boy’s version a Frankenstein. The shirts are personalized with their names. I was tempted to order myself one! Go check out her page!

Did I mention that photo booth is pretty much a requirement at my house?
Yep, I’ve got my daughter pretty well-trained…and my niece and my nephew and my friends!
And sometimes I’ll even hop in there…but not often!
So how many more minutes til’ Halloween, anyway?

I’m Craving Apple Pie Pops!

I’m not sure if it’s because today seemed kind of like the beginning of fall, even though I know it’s not, or what is going on but I’ve had the biggest craving for apple pie pops all day! They’re like little heavenly pockets of apple, in an adorable little crust and served on a stick!
I actually made these back in May after I saw a post on http://aimeebroussard.com/tag/pie-pops/! Mine came out nowhere NEAR as adorbs as hers did, but it was my first attempt, so perhaps my next batch will turn out cuter than these did. Regardless, they tasted yummy and I sure wish I had some right now!

I can only imagine how difficult it must be when you’re 8 and your mom hands you one of these but says NOT to eat it! Does she seriously expect you to just pose with it a whole bunch of times and NOT bite into it? Poor Emi! She’s such a good sport. Just look at those pleading eyes!

Don’t worry, I let her eat it eventually….in addition to a few more!

 

Getting Ready for Back to School

I feel like summer has just flown by and little by little I’ve been getting ready to go back to school.
For me, there are 2 kinds of “going back to school”. First, I have to go back to my own first grade classroom. A couple of weeks after that, I have to get ready for Emi’s first day of school!

The first day of school for Emi is kind of a big deal around here. (I’m sure no one is surprised, right?)
I start “hoarding” things for her 1st day of school breakfast, as early as June! I stick them in cupboards, closets, and in the back of my car! I don’t think I even sleep the night before her first day because I’m so busy setting everything up just perfectly, like I’m throwing some big party or something! I’m pretty sure Emi is just excited to see donuts sitting at the table each year.

Earlier today, I was looking back through my pictures from what I did last year and I just can’t believe it’s been almost a year since Emi started 2nd grade!

Whenever there’s a special occasion or a holiday, I love to decorate with printables by Lauren McKinsey! She always has the most adorable collections, some of which you can even personalize before you print! Last year, I was able to use this particular collection for both this table AND in my own classroom!
Check out her collections here: http://www.LaurenMcKinsey.com
This was some of the back to school swag from last year.
I was in LOVE with this lunchbox by Timree, which actually has a chalkboard inside to write a note in.
The personalized folder is also part of Timree’s school supply collection.
You can check out more of her stuff at: http://www.timree.com
These were little pretzel bags filled with Hershey’s Nuggets that were each wrapped with a printable, also from that collection. The best part about assembling these the night before, was that there was no one else around to count how many I’d eaten!
 
Always remember to send something for your child’s teacher on the first day.
Emi likes to bring something for her new teacher and something for all of the former ones.
(Teachers appreciate that kind of gesture, even if it’s just something small.)
I feel like I’m going to have a hard time outdoing myself this year
after looking over what I did last year!
 Guess we’ll find out in a couple of weeks!

On the More Serious Side

I’ve recently come to learn that a friend of a friend’s daughter has been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic (M3) Leukemia. Her name is “JoJo” and she’s the same age as my own daughter. When I look at her pictures now, I just see someone who looks like she’d be one of Emi’s friends, an adorable, regular little girl who probably likes doing crafts, having sleepovers & watching Disney shows like “Austin & Ally”. I also see someone who, at the age of 8, is about to take the hardest journey of her life, along with her entire family and all of her friends! Currently, she’s receiving treatment at CHOC in Orange, California.

Yesterday, Jojo pulled this lock of her own hair out (it didn’t seem to be that difficult) and made this mustache with it, jokingly. I know that she was kidding around and actually doing so in good spirits, but it still tugged on my heart strings to see it and read about it.  I do know that her hair isn’t the most important part here, her health is!

It’s hard for me to keep reading about her journey, but I also can’t stop. I can’t help but want to do something to help. Jojo has made “a wish” for her own Macbook, which is the least she should have to keep her occupied with all of the time she’s going to be spending in bed and getting treatments, etc.
Many friends and family are pulling together to raise money, in order to make Jojo’s wish come true, as well as raise money for CHOC hospital’s Oncology unit.
Cynthia Briggeman is a stylist for Stella & Dot who has so generously donated 100% of her commissions from this online trunk show towards Jojo’s wish. There are some adorable bracelets that look like this, within the latest collection, but check out the trunk show and see if YOU like anything!

 
 
I’m also linking her Facebook page, which is open to look at and/or join. 
Stay tuned for more updates on Team Jojo! <3