Thursday, June 22, 2017

Day 4 Sedona, Arizona

We arrived in Sedona and unloaded the trailer at Cave Springs campsite.  Josh read about a hike that was one of the most popular and family friendly in Sedona so we thought we would give it a try.  It was the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail in Sedona, Arizona and just 2 miles from our campsite.

This hike started with a valley full of apple trees that descended down into a canyon with overwhelming red canyon walls that followed along a beautiful creek. 

We took Bean with us and allowed him to run off his leash whenever the trail was clear.  He provided us lots of laughs. He LOVES to run ahead then come back to us and make sure we are sill following him. 

We went through 7 of the 13 creek crossings and stopped for a little swim in one of the bigger ones.  Bean jumped in for a swim too. 

This hike was easy and absolutely gorgeous.  We ended our night with apple races down the creek.  We put our apple on the bridge, gently pushed them off, and watched the current take it down stream. I’m pretty sure my apple won but don’t tell Josh and Jenna because they think they won.

Day 5 Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

Don’t go chasing waterfalls because you might GET DEAD!

Day 5 was planned months ago and required special equipment.  Ladies, this is my warning to you>>>>Do NOT be couch warriors!!  If your best friend asks you to do an 8 mile hike through the Arizona desert to a beautiful waterfall and your watching The Bachelor eating ice cream……PAUSE THE TV AND THINK LOOOOOONG AND HARD ABOUT THIS!!!  I DID NOT do this. While sitting on the couch feeding my face watching trash television I said, “that sounds fun”.  4 miles out and back does not sound too hard. We could totally do this.  Yes, this is what couch warriors do.

Josh ordered a special water filtration system that we would need and I was still oblivious to the  magnitude of this hike.  He also purchased permits for us which are required  2 weeks in advance because this is a serious hike and I think they need to document who goes down to make sure they actually make it back up.

We were ready to start the adventurous journey at 8 a.m., it wasn’t too hot and we were pumped to make it to this beautiful hidden waterfall in the middle of the desert, despite the signs at the beginning of the trail.

The trail was very rocky and there were several steep declines, by the time we reached the waterfall we had descended 1,500 feet.  At one point when we were climbing down it crossed my mind that we would have to climb back up this but I was still feeling like a warrior and wasn’t too concerned.  It took us about an hour and a half to reach this desert oasis.

It was BEAUTIFUL!!  We tried to slowly climb in because the water was cold but the rocks were slick and they helped make the decision on how fast we should enter the water.  Yes, I fell in.  There was a cave beside the waterfall that we swam to and cliffs that looked over the deepest part of the waterfall were made for jumping. 

I’m not really into heights or jumping off things (remember my Grand Canyon feelings) but this wasn’t too bad and I didn’t want to regret not doing something, especially after a 4 mile hike to this place.  So I jumped!!

….and Jenna jumped too.  

 We explored everything, ate our packed lunch, and enjoyed just sitting and looking at this amazing wonder in the desert.  This is where the water filtration just ordered several months ago became crucial.  We needed to refill our packs and he was able to do this with that pump.  We knew that we were going to need to leave soon because it was a little over 4 miles to get out of this so we packed up and started back.

We made it about 100 yards out when Jenna said:

“I’m hot”
“I don’t feel good”
“I’m tired”

Not good.

Seriously, Josh should be a motivational speaker because at this point he sat her down and explained that it was going to be hard and that she would need to dig deep to finish.  He said this is just like the things that you will face in life and you’re the only one that can determine your outcome.  You can work hard and push through and then look back at what your hard work accomplished.  During his pep talks in the beginning I pretended that he was talking to me.  Of course the last mile and a half he was talking to me.   We had to stop almost every 100 yards or as soon as we came to some shade.  We used this time to catch our breath, rest our muscles, and cool off.  The heat from the ground was so intense. Have you ever opened the oven while something was baking?  This is exactly how the ground felt on your legs. I felt my heart beat in my face and behind my eyes.  My body was getting chills and my knees were hurting so bad.  I literally had to tell myself the steps to pick up each leg and put it in front of the other one.  This may have been my near death experience.

I’m not sure what went on inside of Jenna but she never complained again.  She pushed through like a champion.  I have never been so proud and in awe of her.

I’m not sure when Josh did it but he took off our water shoes from our packs and added them to his.  I am so grateful for Josh’s planning, wisdom, encouragement, and strength.  It took us about 3 and a half hours of walking through the scorching desert up a canyon wall to get back to the trail head.

 This experience was by far the hardest thing I have ever done so far in my life.  The life lessons I’ve learned from this incredible experience were many. 

We are so much stronger than we think we are.

Surround yourself with people that see what you’re capable of, believe in you, and gently push you.

The reward for hard work is a lifetime worth of treasures.

Oh, and mac and cheese with a side of French fries is the perfect reward. 

We are sooooo sore this morning but are enjoying our stories of perseverance and near death as we head to Los Angeles. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 2 and 3 Kirbys Go West

Well we made it to the Grand Canyon after another looooooonnnng day of driving. 

And this was first thing we see when we pull into the park so I’d say it was well worth the drive. 

But wait, there’s more…..once we park and walk into the visitor center we find these guys just roaming around.

Park Ranger: Ma’am, I’m going to need you to pick up your dog so that he doesn’t upset the animals.

Me: {thinking…hmmm, I’m not sure that’s really going to be a problem considering the animals are at the visitor’s center hanging out)  Yessir.

Jenna and I weren’t really sure what to expect leading up to seeing the Grand Canyon.

Jenna: So dad, is the Grand Canyon basically a hole in the ground??

Josh:  (silently chuckles) I can’t wait for you to see it.

Seriously, I DO NOT have words to describe the beauty and magnitude of what we saw.        IN. CRED. I. BLE!!   BREATHTAKING!!

….but I had NO IDEA how disoriented I would feel seeing my family getting close to the edge.  Ya’ll, I cannot even handle it.  It literally makes me sick and these two LOVE doing things like this.

Although, it makes me dizzy and nervous I just want to take a picture of everything to share the beauty with the world but pictures just don’t seem to it justice.

We were up early this morning to take a short hike down the canyon.  It was a wonderful trail but again it was hard for me to walk and look at the same time.  The first step I took I slid which made Jenna and Josh think about leaving me back at the campsite where I wouldn't be a danger to myself. 

We passed mules on this trail!!!  People ride mules down the canyon.  I wanted to tell all of them to get off because the were scaring me but I didn’t, I kept all my crazy thoughts to myself.   I want to know how many people fall off and die!  There are no rails around this thing it’s just this grand canyon that you can walk up to and look down into. 

We’ll be back this evening to experience another beautiful sunset, I'm sure it will be GRAND. ;-)


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Day 1 Kirbys Go West

Day 1 of Kirbys Go West

Well not a lot of excitement unless you’re into lots of driving, and watching dirt devils out the windows.  Seriously, it’s not the prettiest of drives so it  required a little of this

excuse, my 17 relaxed chins.

and a lot of that. #lubbock

Jenna gets motion sick so she usually takes a Dramamine pill when we first start out. 

Jenna:  That was really hard to swallow and it was kind of stuck in my throat.

Me:  Honey, it’s dissolvable.

Jenna: Yea but I don’t like to do that. 

Our first stop was really just to break up the driving but if you know Josh, he researches places before we ever make a stop.  Just a sleepover or quick break becomes a big part of our adventures.  Our first stop was Villanueva State Park but in order to get there we had to drive through the town of Villanueva.  Wow, the rocky cliffs and high plains canyons were gorgeous but we were completely shocked by the rundown and impoverished town that we drove through to get there. 

Our campsite was right across the street from the Pecos River and a huge rocky ridge wall.  People were floating down the river with small tubes and air mattresses. (that was actually a great idea because the whole family could float together-lol!)

One of Jenna’s things on her bucket list was to try new things that she may otherwise be fearful of.  We just knew that she wouldn’t want to do this BUT she did. 

She loved it!

And really, how could you not??!!

One of the things that I really enjoyed the first night in New Mexico were all the different types of birds.  Yes, I said birds.  Not only does my glittery hair and wrinkles around my eyes say I’m getting older BUT  the fact that I enjoy watching birds now.  I saw hummingbirds, small birds with yellow breasts, and other colorful birds that will require me to buy a bird book so that I know what I’m looking at. #old

Speaking of birds here’s a few of our conversations about birds in the past 24 hours:

Me: I LOVE all the birds here.  They are soooo beautiful.  They should really make something like bird googles to watch them.

Josh:  ….like binoculars??

Me:  awwww, yes.

Jenna:  Look at that bird.

Me: Yea, that a dove.  We have those at home.  People actually go dove hunting in Texas.

Jenna: what?! People eat birds?!

Me: Yes, Ms. Chik-fil-a.

Jenna: oh yeah, I forgot about that.

{face palm for both of us}

Well, next stop is the Grand Canyon.


Friday, March 24, 2017

MATH with 4 corners

Here's a quick, fun game we played this past week to review and practice understanding our numbers. I labeled each corner in the room with a sticky note that said EXPANDED FORM, WORD FORM, STANDARD FORM, MODEL FORM....and then I had one more spot in the room for the kids to go,  SHOW IT ANOTHER WAY. 🙃

First, I showed the kids a number in any particular form on the board. Next, kids had to decide quickly how they were going to represent that number on a whiteboard. Then they would walk nicely to the corner of the room that I labeled with a sticky note: EXPANDED FORM, WORD FORM, STANDARD FORM, MODEL FORM. 

Example: I write 200+10+2. They choose a way to represent that number. Let's say they choose standard. They write 212 on their board and walked to the corner labeled STANDARD.

Finally I roll the dry erase dice that I labeled with each corner plus I added a LUCKY YOU which means no one gets out.

We have since changed the game a little to no one gets out to you earn a star if your corner is rolled.  

100 MORE, 100 LESS, 10 MORE, 10 LESS, LESS, MORE

Seriously my kids cannot get enough of 4 corners.  They even asked begged to play during my most recent walk-through. This time we used digit dice (number dice :) to roll and put in a place value chart.

After the students wrote the number, they then had to decide how they wanted to change it.  Either by 100 more or less, 10 more or less and walk to the corner of the room marked with a sticky note with what they did.   

Side note:  I write on mine with a Sharpie so that when I roll it  doesn't come off.   When I want to change it I write over the Sharpie with a Dry Erase marker and it comes right off. ;-)

These things are great!  You can get some here. I marked on the dice 100 more, 100 less, 10 more, 10 less, more, and less.  I roll the dice and whatever it lands on then those students get to draw a star on their board. If it lands on more then the kids that showed more 10 or 100 get to add a star and if it lands on less the kids that showed 10 or 100 less get to add a star.  

You could easily do this with paper dice but it is a fun way to get out of your seat and quickly review previously taught skills.  It also allows you to quickly see who is struggling but this game allows them to participate and learn from their peers too.  

I hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine do.

Have fun!!


Monday, February 13, 2017

What I LOVE about YOU

Well, it's a good thing that Valentine's Day is tomorrow because my kids need a reminder of what is so GREAT about each other.  

We will spend the VERY first part of our morning making and then PROUDLY wearing our necklaces. 

I will place 6 colored hearts on each child's desk.  The students will BE CHALLENGED to silently walk around the room and write "what they LOVE" about each other on the hearts. Once all hearts have been written on they will go back to their desks, cut out their hearts and string them on a necklace to share with everyone.

You can get the template for the hearts here.

I hope you have a LOVELY day.:-)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

"Times" for Multiplication and Division

I LOVE teaching my 2nd graders the beginning of multiplication and division.  They feel all grown up and like true mathematicians!!  Their littles eyes light up and they act like they can now conquer the world.  Nothing else matters as far they are concerned.  Adding, subtracting, regrouping, borrowing...who needs that?!  We can multiply and divide.

I think I enjoy teaching this to the kids because it is a nice break from borrowing and regrouping -- which is a gray hair creator for teachers.  And if you asked 9 out of 10 second graders what they want to learn in 2nd grade they will say "times", which means multiplication.

We used Laura Numeroff books to get us started.  First we read If You Give a Pig a Pancake and then make a list of all the things that we could put on top of a pancake and create their multiplication problem with a craftivity to match her books.

I've created templates for a variety of her books, math work mats to help work out the problems, and templates for students to write their very own word problems.

You can pick these up in my tpt store. 

I hope y'all have a blessed week! 

Monday, January 16, 2017


Hi friends!  This past week we were learning about dramas and plays but I wanted to talk with the kiddos about MLK, Jr. before we were out for school.  I hit the jackpot when I found this little gem.

It's a reader's theater with 3 different versions and a comprehension check to use at the end of the week.  The kids enjoyed it and took it very serious to practice reading their parts so that they were reading effortlessly and sounding fluent.  You can pick this up here.

I always find it a little hard to teach because the kids are so young and they really DO NOT understand that there was a time when things were different and people were judged by their skin color.  It is hard for them to wrap their heads around this.  Some of the books that I read this past week were:

click here to order

click here to order

We are constantly working on social skills at my school so we discussed "Just" and "Unjust" situations that they could relate to.  We made an anchor chart....(no picture-sorry) and sorted through and placed situational cards based on our discussion in the JUST or UNJUST column.  

click here for this FREEBIE

My kids sat knee to knee and eye to eye while I read a card.  Then they had 2 minutes to discuss why or why not this situation was fair (just) or unfair (unjust).  Wow!-they had very deep and personal discussions and I LOVED listening to them share their thoughts, opinions, experiences, and feelings.  

Then a fun writing and craftivity to wrap it all up is perfect.  How do you teach your kids about MLK?

click here

I spent a full lazy day on the couch yesterday putting together some reading activities for Main Idea, Buddy Reading, and Reading Response activities.  If you are looking for anything like this hop over to my last blog posts {here} for the links.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Couch Work = Reading {{GOODIES}}

There is nothing better than rainy, dreary days so you can just sit on the couch and play on the computer, read books, surf Pinterest, catch up on crafts, and EAT. Yea, that's what today has been like.  

Here's a little of what I've been up to:

I cleaned up and added a few things to my Story Activities unit.  I will use the Buddy Reading spinners for my Reading Station and for buddy reading.  We have buddies (another grade level) come read with us and this will be a great way to lead a discussion with them about what was just read.

How about a travel brochure for the setting of your book??

The kids LOVE the idea of creating a travel brochure all about the setting of their story.  They are so creative and very convincing.  You can pick these up and others at my tpt store.

I wanted to make something for my kids to practice main idea and details.  This is a struggle for some of them and the more they do it the better they will be....right?!  I made these to work on in stations, with a buddy and in small group instruction.

The kids will need to find the right roof with correct main idea.  Then they will need to find the shrub, window, and chimney with the details.  Just another way to practice. 😜 You can pick this up here.

...and since we've been doing a little reading cleaning, I decided to clean up My Sticky Recall.  These were some activities that I made while working on my masters.  

Use the cards below to make necklaces for the kiddos to wear.  The teacher gets to interview the characters from the story.  This would be great to do after learning about character traits.

The student/teacher could use the question cards provided to ask the student/characters questions.  This is a great way for students to really think about what they are reading and respond from the character's point of view.  You can get all of this here.

Well, I think that it's time for me to move from the couch...😏.