Sunday, August 17, 2014

Are You Wondering about Stitch Fix?


Earlier in the summer, I was curious about Stitch Fix.  I kept seeing pictures on Instagram of people posting of their most recent "fix".  I did a little research, but I was still hoping to find someone I knew who had tried it.  Not too long after, my friend Erin (from Kleinspiration), posted about using Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix is an online styling service that puts together a "fix", which is a box of clothing and accessories for you and delivers it to your door in a package.  Based on your personal style preferences, a stylist chooses the clothing and accessories for you.  There is a $20 styling fee. That $20 fee is applied to your order if you purchase any of the items in your fix. You try the clothes on at home.  If you like them, you can keep them.  If you don't like something in the box, you have a few days to return it in a bag that they include in the box.  Each fix comes with 5 items.  If you keep and purchase all 5 items, you receive 25% off your entire purchase.

I scheduled my first fix this summer.  You choose the date that you want your fix delivered.  You can also choose to have them delivered automatically on a schedule (once a month, every other month,etc.) I chose to just go in an schedule my own dates if and when I want a fix.

I'm so glad I tried Stitch Fix! It was so much fun!  
This girl who likes to shop at TJ Maxx and thrift stores has a stylist!
Her name is Grace and she left me a cute little note in my box.
The whole experience is just plain impressive!

I started by creating a style profile by answering questions on the Stitch Fix site.  There are lots of questions, so they can really get to know your preferences.  It took about 20 minutes for me to finish my profile. They even let me leave a link to a style board on my Pinterest account, so they could see what I've been pinning there.

My first Stitch Fix arrived last week.

Everything was wrapped so nicely in my box and my stylist left me instructions for how to give her feedback for next time. The box also included instructions for how to return anything that I didn't want to keep and suggestions for how to mix and match the things in my fix.  

Honestly, I was shocked how well the things in my box fit.  My box included a pair of black pants, a black/white striped dress, a blue long sleeve shirt, a green silky blouse and a pair of silver earrings.

I don't normally post selfies on my blog, especially not modeling any clothing for goodness sake. But, when you're 4'11" and a complete stranger picks out a box full of clothes that you would not normally wear and they mysteriously fit way better than anything you normally pick for yourself...I decided it was worth you seeing my toes.



After I decided that I loved everything in my fix, I was able to go online and leave feedback for my stylist about what I liked and did not like about each item.  For example, I LOVED the pants.  They are super comfortable and very well made.  So, I left feedback saying that I loved them so much that I would buy another pair.  I have only purchased about 3 pairs of pants that did not need to be altered to fit my not so tall body in my whole life.  And that is because those 3 pairs were capri pants and they just happened to look like normal length pants for me.  Every other pair of pants that I purchase has to be altered.  Yes, even the petites.  But not these pants...THEY FIT! And I love them!

I'm definitely scheduling another Stitch Fix soon.  If you'd like to try it yourself, I'm sharing my referral code below.  If you use my referral code, I get a credit towards my next fix.  The real reason that I'm writing this post is because so many of my friends and family members were curious about how I liked Stitch Fix.  So if I end up getting a credit, it will be an extra bonus for me and I'll be able to schedule a few more fixes.  Ha!

Just click on the image below and you can get started by filling out your style profile.


Here is the referral code in case you want to share it with someone else: 
http://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3940981

Dear Grace, 
I loved my first fix!
Thanks for being my stylist. 
This customer is definitely impressed.
XOXO, (that's how she signed the card in my box) 
Kimberly


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Favorite Back to School Purchases Linky Party


Even when I was a student, back to school purchases were extremely exciting!  I remember packing and unpacking my school backpack over and over and over during the weeks before school started. I still love buying things for school!  Just wish I had a larger budget. Ha!

I'd like to invite you to linky up with your favorite back to school  purchases!  
Please grab the linky images from my post and add them to your post.

Here are some of my favorite back to school purchases this year.

My Erin Condren Life Planner...
Oh, how I love my Erin Condren Life Planner!
It's my 2nd year with one of her planners.  
This year, I chose to add family pictures.


The front...

The back...

And because I am a tiny bit of a freak about wanting the pages of my planner to look nice, even when my schedule is BONKERS.  I searched the whole first half of the summer for a way to write in my planner with something colorful, but erasable.  I hate whiteout.  It's bumpy.
Thanks to Jennifer, from First Grade Blue Skies, I discovered a solution.

The colors are beautiful.
They write just the way I wanted them to.
They really do erase - perfectly.
They also have erasable highlighters.
I seriously love these markers!  
I assigned a color to each family member 
+ red for the whole family activities 
+ blue for school/work events

I use the  purple highlighter for planning/recording my exercise.
I originally planned to use another one of the highlighters for meal planning, 
but since I barely know how to cook anything I decided to junk that plan.


I also purchased new book bins for my classroom.
This summer, I've been on a mission to reorganize my classroom library for 2nd grade. 
I bought these amazing chapter book bins from Really Good Stuff.
Each bin has dividers to make 3 sections.
I'm going to keep a different series in each section.  
The 3 different series in each bin will be the same level.


My Ticonderoga pencil jar was the best deal of the summer.
I bought this adorable straw pencil jar for 50¢ at a thrift store.
I made the label with my Silhouette.
It might earn a bow before school starts.


I hope you'll link up with your favorite back to school purchases!
I can't wait to see what you bought for your classroom this summer!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher!

Linking up with Stephanie from Falling Into First for a Meet the Teacher linky today!


My name is Kimberly.  I'm a mom to two kids who we think are amazing!  Marissa is 11 and is a dancer, a singer and a lover of books. She will go to the middle school where her dad teaches this year. Donavon is 8 and plays travel baseball and soccer.  He also swims on a swim team.  My handy husband, who is a technology education teacher, keeps me laughing and reminds me how important it is to be flexible.  He also cooks.  I know - lucky girl.  We pinky swore before we got engaged that I would clean the dishes and he would cook.  Deal of the century!  Oh, how I love him!


Our family goes on a camping trip in northern Michigan each year.  During the trip, we visit Mackinac Island for at least one day.  We have a family tradition of riding our bikes around the island each year and taking a photo in the exact same spot.  You can read about it and see the collection here on this guest post that I did on Maria Dismondy's blog last summer.  This is the photo from this year in "our" spot.  We rode our bikes around the island twice that morning (which is a total of 16 miles), so excuse my hair.


My teaching experience includes working as a Speech-Language Patholgist, teaching Young 5's, kindergarten, 1st grade and a K-2 Literacy Intervention Specialist.  This year, I'll be looping with my class to 2nd grade for the first time.  I'm super excited to keep this group and begin our 2nd grade adventure together.


 THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...
Windex (for real - I LOVE Windex. Yep, just like the guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.)
Sharpies
Mr. Sketch Markers
spoon rings and bracelets
fresh flowers
Dt. Dew...but I am currently on day 7 of my 3 Weeks No Cheats (no Dt. Dew) TORTURE session

CHEER FOR ME FOLKS!!!! This is TORTURE!

 IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
something in educational leadership
or
the owner of a vintage/antique boutique (I already have a name chosen for my shop...but it's a secret.)
or
a fruit stand worker (who wears overalls and pigtails)
or 
a stay at home mom!

THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.


dedicated, organized, goal-oriented

FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________,  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"

"Finished my to do list!"

IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?

Sister Mary Victor - my aunt who was a nun.  She died years ago, but I have so many questions I want to ask her when we meet again.

And Oprah, and Mother Theresa and my grandma.

 IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
So, I'm Not Cosmetology Material After All
(My high school guidance counselor told me that I could not go to college, because I was "more like cosmetology material".  I honestly have no hair or makeup talents...but I sure do love to teach.  I wrote to her (and to the school board when I graduated with my master's degree, which was a double major in elementary education and speech-language  pathology.)

YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?

keep my kids little

 WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?

Carpe Diem!

IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Puff the Magic Dragon (my dad used to sing that song when he was in a band)...
but I would never make it to the stage without having a cardiac arrest.

  ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?

I'm a morning person 
who stays up almost all night at least a couple nights a week. 
(sleep issues are a big fat bummer)

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?
I really love using my Writing My Opinion unit with my students! 
 My students love using the graphic organizers and their parents love the rubrics. 

 SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU! 

I am 4 feet 11 inches short.
I once danced in a local production of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
I hate hot drinks.
I'm a terrible cook.
I love to hunt for treasures at thrift stores and antique shops.
I really want to visit Italy (my mom was born there).

You can "meet" other teachers by visiting Stephanie's blog.
Photobucket

And if you have time starting on Thursday (August 14),
I'd love for you to link up with my Favorite Back to School Purchases linky party!
I'll have the post up on Thursday morning so we can get the party started.
Write your own post, invite a friend or just stop by to peek at everyone's favorite purchases!



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chop! Chop! Chop!

Do you hate when your favorite teaching book keeps flopping closed every time you walk away, stop to answer a question, get distracted by social media, let the dog out, feel thirsty or blink?  

Well...chop, chop, chop folks!  

The nice folks at Office Max (prices and locations may vary), will chop the binding off my favorite teaching books and add a spiral binding for just $3 or $4. It goes like this...I take my favorite teaching book to the counter (with another one that already has my favorite kind of spiral binding with me as a sample).  I hand over my book and give them a lecture about how precious it is and how I don’t want them to remove, lose or misplace any of my sticky notes.  Then the nice folks there stick my book into a giant fancy chopperooni machine (I’m sure it has a more official name) and CHOP (goodbye old binding)!  Then PUNCH (holes added)!  Then TWIST (new fancy spiral binding added)! 
Voila!

Just like that...I can check Instagram, get a drink and let the dogs out and MY BOOK STAYS OPEN!  

Oh happy day...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Every Teacher Loves a Sale!


It's time for the annual back to school sale on Tpt!  This adorable button was made by More Than Math by Mo.  You can download it free from her Tpt store here.

All of my products will be 20% of during the sale, but you can use the code BTS14 for extra savings on everything in your Tpt shopping cart.

The most recent additions to my store...

Super Spelling Forms 
 forms to use with any spelling words + easy Super Spelling Power Stations
Autograph Bookmarks
bookmarks + autographs = increased accountability 


Turquoise and Lime Green Book Bin Labels
Fact Power Folder Set

Some of my other products...
Writing My Opinion 
opinion writing prompts, graphic organizers, book covers, rubrics, anchor chart pieces 

Fall Math Journal Prompts
(winter and spring prompts are also available)

Personal Reader Sight Word Stories
and a BUNDLE are also available)
Activity Pack for Back to School
Sharing My Writing Through the Year
No time for show and tell?  
Let students share their writing with these fun prompts and turn it into a keepsake book to send home at the end of the year.
Digraph Activities
Funky Fun Vowel Games


Funky Football Fan Fun
Daily Classroom Schedule Words
Camp Read A Lot  Classroom Campout Fun
Information Highway 
Informational Text Unit for March is Reading Month or anytime of the year.
 (passport registration for the Information Highway)

Here are a few of my favorite products from some of my teaching blogger friends.

Sight Word Poems by Jodi from Fun in First.
You can buy this set as part of a bundle as well.

Shark Close Read by Jennifer  from First Grade Blue Skies.
Jennifer has several different close reading sets that are amazing!

September No Prep Math and Literacy Centers by Annie from The Moffatt Girls.


Spring Is In the Air Digital Papers by Corinna from Surfin' Through Second.
She has several sets that I love!

Time to fill up your cart with great deals!
Happy shopping!
Don't forget to use the code BTS14!

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's August and I'm CURRENTLY...

I'm linking up with Farley, from Oh Boy 4th Grade, for the August edition of Currently.  Please stop by to visit Farley if you haven't already!



Listening - I am truly grateful that my kids get a long most of the time.  Time for them to play and just be kids is truly the best part of summer.

Loving - In Michigan, we start school on September 2.  I’m excited to start the new year with my students, especially since I’m looping with my students this year.  But, I’m also grateful for this time to be with my own kids.  Our schedule gets so crazy during the school year that I sometimes feel like my head might spin right off. This time to catch up, snuggle, exercise, take naps, read lots of books, play and ride our bikes is so refreshing.

Thinking - It’s been a cool summer.  You won’t find me complaining about it one bit.  Just a few months ago, we had over two feet of snow on the ground and several days in row below 0 degrees.  I love snow, but this winter was a bit much even for me.  A cool summer is better than a horrible winter.

Wanting -  In the summer, I work out consistently.  Then September rolls around and interferes with my workout schedule.  Am I the only teacher/mom who ends up putting her workouts last on the to do list?  At night, I’m a full time taxi driver (soccer, dance, baseball).  Then there’s that school work after the kids go to bed...  I WILL MAKE TIME  FOR MY WORKOUTS...somehow.

Needing - My summer book sorting projects  are almost finished.  I sorted chapter book series, the rest of my leveled library and my collection of mentor texts.  Now, to return the mess to my classroom.

First Day - I have a few presentations to do and a couple training days to attend in August, but our first official teacher day is August 26th.  Open House is August 27th and the kids first day is September 2.

Stop by to visit Farley to find out what everyone else is CURRENTLY doing! As always, thanks for hosting, Farley!  



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday - Chapter Book Series (freebies)

In preparation for my looping experience and in celebration of my fancy new bins...I'm working on a giant book sorting project this summer.  It's still a work in progress, but I thought it was a good time to link up with Deanna Jump to share some of my favorite chapter book series.


 At the beginning of the summer, I reread The Book Whisperer

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book, which refers to student reading surveys.

"Their needs as readers, as people, call to me from the pages of those surveys, and I whisper back with books." (Donalyn Miller)

Since I am looping with my students, one of my goals is to really get to know my readers.  In first grade, we poured our hearts into becoming readers and learning how to love books together.  During our 2nd grade year together, I want each of my students to develop their reader identity.  As their teacher, I want to make sure I "whisper" to them by listening carefully to their preferences, fostering their interests, acknowledging that I know and respect their individual reader identity and making sure that I have a variety of books available for them to read independently.  Along with that, I want to make sure my books are organized in a way that motivates my students since they are now more sophisticated readers.  That is how I justify the outrageous amount of money I've spent on new books and bins this summer. Ha!

Another take away I had from reading The Book Whisperer was the importance of giving readers choice.  In her book, Donalyn Miller said that she used to read whole class novels with her upper elementary students.  She said she discovered that lack of control over reading choice was a problem until she stopped doing that and switched to a workshop structure instead. I do feel like I give my readers choice in my own classroom, but after reading this book 3 or 4 times I have a list of ideas of ways I can improve my own instruction.

I made a new Reading Interest Survey to use with my students this year.  You can click on the image below to download a copy.


I also decided to start with reorganizing my books (and buying lots of new chapter books) to start 2nd grade. I found these amazing chapter book bins from Really Good Stuff.  They have 3 divided sections, which are perfect for separating books in a series. They come in a variety of colors.


*We use Fountas & Pinnell levels.  Many of the series on this list are new and have not yet been leveled on many of the leveling sites, so I assigned levels that are close enough for me.  I'm simply sharing the list in this format in case it's helpful for any other teachers out there.  You can click on the image to download a copy of the list.


Today, I am going to my classroom for the first time to move my furniture around.  No flip flops.  Hair in a messy bun.  Pray for me. Surely this will count as my weight lifting for the day.

Head over to visit Mrs. Jump's Class to read about other great books.