Friday, April 4, 2014

Tori's Tiny Miracles Fundraiser

This may be the hardest post I've ever had to write.  Normally I post teacher related ideas, but today I will take a moment to reflect on the past several years.  Thank you for staying to read as I try to share my story :)

It all started about six years ago on February 5th.  I was sent to the ER after a visit to the doctor for a cold.  My blood pressure was through the roof.  I was just shy of 28 weeks pregnant.  They quickly admitted me to the hospital and was told very little about my condition.  They said, "Oh you will go home on Friday."  Well Friday came and they said, "We are sorry to tell you this, but today you will be delivering."  This was just three days after being admitted to the hospital.  It happened that fast.  

I had a condition called Preeclampsia.  This condition is severely dangerous for both mom and baby.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized how dangerous.  If it were not for modern day medicine, ultrasounds, monitors, and that visit to the doctor for a simple cold, my son nor I would be here today.

Our first child, Michael, came into this world at just 2 pounds 6 ounces.  Yes, tiny.
We called on so many people for prayers and we spent 75 days in the hospital NICU watching him grow ounce by ounce.
Anyone who has had a premature baby can tell you that the NICU is a magical place.  The doctors and nurses there are simply a gift from God.  I have a special place in my heart for them all.

We were so lucky to be able to watch Michael grow up to be a wonderful six year old- strong- smart- loving and caring.  It is amazing now to think of how his life began and all the challenges he (we) have overcome.

We used a small white dog to chart his growth.

Now fast forward to January 2014.  I was pregnant again (and scared to death!) and told by the doctors in the beginning to expect another early bird.  As much as I prayed, it did not hold off the inevitable- delivery.  Almost to the exact day that Michael was born at 28 weeks, we met our newest son, Mason, weighing 2 pounds 8 ounces.

You would think, oh, she has done this before, piece of cake.
No, actually knowing the long process, knowing the ups and downs of NICU life, knowing the heartache of having a preemie, makes it ten times worse. 

We are currently on day 70 in the NICU and it has been a long road for little Mason.  As you read this today he is having surgery to repair a hernia.  We are also waiting for his lungs to develop properly.  We can't wait until the day we can bring our little man home!

We are so blessed to have two tiny miracles.  We are blessed to have so many praying for us and the boys.  We are so blessed to have the extra time with our sons.

This is the part that is the hardest for me. These boys of mine are so precious and so worth every single penny of any cost.  
Unfortunately, the time that I had to take off to care for Michael has caused me to go unpaid for Mason.  And it took us several years to pay off the cost of Michael's hospital expenses that we are left with very little to help pay for Mason.

I can't even tell you what it means to me that two of my best blogging buddies have decided to have a fundraiser for my boys.  Their kindness and amazing gesture has filled my heart with so much joy.  
Jennifer and Angela you are my angels! 

I am also thankful for the many wonderful teacher bloggers offering their products for the fundraiser- it has given me so much happiness that words just can't express.

Please feel free to share with others- I so appreciate it!

Thank you for being here for me.  Thank you for your support and love. 
I couldn't do it without you! 

Click below to check out the fundraiser.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

click to check out the TpT fundraiser store

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flashback post- Around the School- March

Hey everyone!  This is a flashback to an "Around the School" post from last March.  I plan to pick up this monthly post again next school year when I am back on my feet :)  In the meantime.... enjoy this one!! 
ps... Mason updates at bottom!

How often do you take the time to actually LOOK at all the other classroom bulletin boards and displays?  I know, I didn't either until I started this monthly post...but I am AMAZED at all the fun that is going on around the school!!

That brings me to my "Around the School" #3- March style!

So let's get right to it!

I love the simplicity of this project!!  How fun to sponge paint and then waaala... a shamrock! :)

CHICKS!!!  I looove this time of year!  It's chick hatching time!  The whole school watches the countdown to chicks (and I love to sneak in and hold a few ;)

I love how the above left pic shows the color of the eggs- yes this K teacher has a GREEN egg!  Then she shows how many of the eggs hatch!
(and how cute are those chick projects?!)

Ok, seriously Kindergarten teachers make the BEST bulletin boards!

Super cute Lincoln!!

Contraction Caterpillars! Love this idea!!

This cute project is a freebie from The Teacher Wife!

Leprechaun is in this Activity Pack
Banners are here

I absolutely LOVE this!!
Here is a closer look:

I hope you enjoyed this tour Around the School!  
 Let me know what you think! :) 
Mason is growing like a weed!  He is now 5 pounds and loving his bottles.  The only thing keeping him from coming home at this point is his breathing- or lack there of.  He still forgets (quite often!) to breathe especially during his feedings.  This is very scary to mom and dad.  They assure us that he will outgrow this but "when" is the magic question.
Thanks for your continued prayers!!

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bright Ideas~ High Frequency Word Practice

Hi Everyone!  Welcome to the Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  There are 186 fab bloggers participating in the hop- wowsers!  No links, no products, just great ideas!
Special thanks to the wonderful Shelley Gray from Teaching In the Early Years for organizing this amazing hop!

High frequency words (sight words) are so important to young readers.  This idea is a way to make sure your struggling readers have a way to practice and truly learn those words that are often hard to sound out.
This is an easy idea to
 use with any high frequency word list.

First, assess your students on your word list.  I like to highlight the words they can't read in 3 seconds or less.

Then, I create word rings.  I select 3-5 words to put on the first ring with the label "Words I'm Learning to Read."
(see sample labels below)

The other rings will have the other two labels and I will tell about them below.

I write the words on index cards and attach to the ring.   Having a small amount of words on the ring makes the activity quick (3-5 words).  Either a parent helper or I will pull the kids to read the words.  If the child can read the word in 3 seconds or less, a colored dot is put directly on the card.  When the card has three dots, that card is moved to the next ring.

Now ask the child to spell the same word orally.  If the child is successful, put a new dot in a new color.  Once the child can spell that word orally three times, the word is moved to the last ring.

The last step is to have the child write the word on paper or a dry erase board.  Put three more dots in a new color to keep track of mastery.  When the card has 9 dots, it can be placed loosely in the bag to revisit every once in a while.  All the rings can be put in the same ziploc bag for each child.

Why all the rings?
This gives the child 9 opportunities to master each word in a variety of ways: sight (reading), orally (spelling out loud), and kinesthetic (writing).

I hope this was helpful to you!  I'd love to hear how you tackle the tough high frequency words!

It's now time to hop on to your next destination!  You will visit my bloggy friend Jessica at The Littlest Scholars where she will tell you about movin' to learn using brain breaks! Fun!
The Littlest Scholars

If you'd rather, you can go directly to an idea that interests you!  See all Bright Ideas below!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Snow Globe Flashback!

Hey everyone!  This a flashback post to last year February.  It may be too late now, but pin it for next year!  I just love this project so much and I love how it turns out!  
I even had this project published in the Scholastic Instructor Magazine!!
Check it out here:

Thank you also for all your wonderful comments and prayers for Mason.  I have a quick update all the way at the bottom! :)


This is a SUPER FUN project!!
Snow globes!
Now, I cannot take any kind of credit for this adorable project.  My fab teammate made these when she taught kinders and she shared with us! (however, I'll show you how we spruced it up a bit).
Tell your kiddos that they will using their imaginations to think of what it would be like to live in a snow globe.
Then you have to start by taking pictures of your kids individually as they "act" like they are in a snow globe.  I had kids that were shivering, laying on the ground making a snow angel, throwing a snowball (wad of paper), one kid had fists in air and yelling like he wanted out (Um SO cute!!). OH and have them get in their full winter gear too (hat, gloves, scarf etc!)
Then print those and get a parent helper to cut them out completely around the shape of the child.  Print them large enough so that they will be visible in the globe. (4X6)
Next, have the child write using this paper:
 click to grab if you want a copy- sorry it's a scan so I hope the quality is ok
Then you will need a globe/base template- I am SO sorry that I don't have this to share at the moment- but if you trace the outside of a 7" plate and then include a bottom that you glue the above onto- that is all you need!  (see samples below).  Pre- trace for the kids on different colors (I just did blues and purples). 
They cut out, glue their completed writing paper, and now decorate in the "globe" by adding themselves.  You can have them add snow by ripping the top of a 1/2 circle if you want.  They are C- U - T -E and would make a great display!
Here's how to do the rest:
 You will need "fake snow." 
 Put some "snow" on the center of the globe.
 Using a hot glue gun, cover the outside edge of a 7" clear plate with glue.  Then attach to the globe part.  The plates were bought at Party City.
Here are some finished ones:

 Hehe... she is catching snowflakes! :)
 I wish this wasn't so hard to see because it turned out SO cute... she is "shivering" but I love her boots and everything... it just fits so perfectly!
Yes, he is trying to get out! (in his writing he says...I don't want to get sick and I'm hungry-- ha!!)
When my co-worker taught K she made this project with just a snowman (pre-cut and kids added face etc) and they cut the snow globe out.  There was just a base- no writing.  See sample below.

Instead of the fake snow you can also use tissue paper strips as you see here.  

I hope this is a project that you can use in your classroom!


I am pleased to say that Mason is doing quite well (knocking on wood!!).  He has gained over a pound since birth.  He is now about 3 pounds 12 ounces (was 2 pounds 8 ounces at birth).  AND he has graduated into CLOTHES!  This is a big deal as little guys have to figure out how to regulate their body temperature and that can be tricky with clothes on!

Here are some pics:

Trying to dress a preemie in clothes is quite a challenge- just look at all those wires! :)

Thank you SO much for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers.  It means so much to me and my family!  Love you!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Do you remember me?

Hey everyone!
So I know it's been a while.
In's been so long that I almost forgot how to blog.
Seriously people.

But I'm back... for the moment.
To share a bit of where I have been.
Because frankly, I need your prayers, love, and support.

Do you remember when I shared that I was pregnant?
Yeah, that was such a happy time :)

Do you remember my due date?
It's ok... I will tell you...
April 16th.

So, on January 16th I was admitted to the hospital.  On January 24th Mason Robert was born.

Mason- 2.8 pounds
14" long

I was happy and terrified all at the same time.
You see... this all happened once before.

My first son ALSO came at 28 weeks.

Michael- 2.6 pounds
14.5 inches

I guess you could say it's my "thing."
As my friend said... I don't have a bun in the oven, I have a bun in the microwave-
times up!

So I know you are wondering...
how's the baby!?

Well, we are NOT out of the woods, but at the moment he is doing just fine.

Eating and growing.

I am telling you all of this because I WANT to get back to blogging but my plan is to share some older things while I work on operation get Mason home. :)

I'd like to do some flashback posts, BUT I will also include some Mason updates at the bottom.
Look for the first one soon!

Thanks for your understanding as I get my life back in order. :)

Love to you all!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

FB Winter Hop is here!!

Get ready to HOP people!!

So here is how this works...

Start by going to my FACEBOOK page.
Click on the "FB HOP" button once you are there.  It looks like this:

Then you will see a whole list of bloggers.  Here is a snippet of what it looks like:

Start by clicking on the first button which will take you to my freebie.  

Download, save, print, whatever you want to do with that freebie and then close out those windows.  You want to get back to the list of bloggers on my Facebook page.  Everything should open up into a new window to make it easier for you to get back to the "hop."

Make your way through all the bloggers as they will ALL have FAB stuff for you...for FREE!!!  
Each new FB page will have the same "FB Hop" image- just find that and click there.
Make sure you like the page to get your free product.

Oh and say "Hi" and "Thanks" while you are there... we love your comments/feedback!

Finally, before you go "hopping"... make sure you enter this FAB giveaway with donations from many of the bloggers who are a part of the hop!
Man, this hop is a win-win!!
(and I hope YOU win!)  :)

Ok.. what are you waiting for... GO HOP!!

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