Dear Judgmental Stay-At-Home Mom


Dear Judgmental Stay-At-Home Mom,

You might remember meeting my family a few weeks ago at Five Guys.  We were the exhausted looking parents with two super cute little ones.  Our conversation started out great!  You reminded us that even though being parents to a 1 and 3 year old could be overwhelming, that this is an awesome time of our lives that we will miss when our kids have grown up.  Had the conversation stopped there, we would have went on with our day a little happier and a little more mindful about how lucky we truly are.

But you didn't stop there.

You continued by asking if I stayed home with my kids.  I explained that I have been fortunate to be able to take an extended parental leave from my job as a special education teacher for the last 16 months.  I told you that I have treasured the extra time I have gotten to spend with my little ones while they are so little but that I needed to return in the fall.

You laughed.  And then said, "You don't NEED to return.  You are choosing to."

Puzzled and feeling like I needed to explain, I told you that we considered me staying home longer but we found that we could not afford it.  We have bills to pay and so I need to return.

You shook your head and said, "Nope.  Everybody has a choice.  You can make sacrifices and stay home like you should."

Cue the GUILT.

I don't remember what I said to you in that moment but I do remember the weight of your words hitting me like a ton of bricks on my way home.  Am I choosing a career over my kids?  Am I a bad mother for going back to work?  

Ever since then, your words creep back into my mind and I have thought about what I should have said to you.  Here goes:

Everybody does have a choice.  The choice is mine and not yours to judge.  There are so many factors that go into making decisions for what is best for a family.  You know none of mine.  You are assuming what worked best for your family is the only way to do it.  That is unfair.

It is unfair that you made me feel like a terrible mother.  It is unfair that your words still whisper in my ear when I think about returning in a few weeks.

Parenting is the hardest job in the world.  It is the most important job in the world.  Whether you stay home with your kids all day or work, you can still be a great mom!

I am a mom.  You are a mom.  Something I learned since becoming a mom is that there are many
"right ways" to be a good parent.  I love my kids as much as you love yours.

I have let your words play in my head enough times.  As I get ready to go back to work, I am going to put my focus on the time that I do get to spend with my kids.  I will focus on all of the benefits that going back to work has for me and for my family.  I am letting you go.

Please, the next time you run into exhausted and frazzled parents, remind them that this is the best time of their life.  Remind them to soak up every single moment.  Remind them that time is fleeting and that one day they will miss their babies being so little.

And then, go back to eating your dinner.


A Soon To Be Returning To Work Mom

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How To Pin & Spin

A few months ago, I was thinking about going back to work and wondering how I am going to manage doing so many things at once.  Right now, I am parenting, exercising, cleaning, and TpTing and feel like I can hardly handle everything.  Starting in September I will be doing all of that PLUS teaching full time!  I don't know how some of you do it, but I guess I will find out in a few months.

That thought turned into thinking about how I will manage the varying levels within my classroom.  I wanted to come up with an idea that could keep kids busy learning, without much adult support.  I wanted it to be fun and engaging.  I wanted it to be hands-on and to have immediate feedback.  

Finally, after a lot of thinking and planning, I came up with a self-checking activity and the Pin & Spin series was born!  My first set was Beginning Letters - A Pin & Spin Activity and is my all-time best selling product!  
I currently have almost 40 Pin & Spin Activities for grades Pre-K-6 that cover a variety of topics.

Now for the fun it works!  

Before using these in your classroom, you will have to do a little bit of prep work.  All you need to do is print the cards, double sided.  I like to use cardstock and then laminate so they will be super durable.  That's it!  I told you it was a little bit of prep work!

First, your students will read the prompt in the middle of the card.  Then, they will use their clothespins to "pin" their correct answers.  


Next, they "spin" their card over to find out if their answers are correct.  The clothespins should match up with the correct answers on the back.  

 That is the best part of this activity!  It is self-correcting so students can use this totally independently.  Each card provides immediate feedback and students love using the clothespins to choose their answers!


The cards used in the pictures are from my CVC Words - A Pin & Spin Activity set.  

Would you like to try Pin & Spin in your classroom?  How about trying it for FREE?  You can find a FREE sample of my Beginning Letters Pin & Spin here.

I currently have almost 40 Pin & Spin Activities in my store!  Topics include additionsubtractionword familiesparts of speechmoneyABC ordermultiplicationdigraphsfood groupsfractionslife cyclessyllables, and much more!

If you have any special requests for a new Pin & Spin topic, please email me.  I will be happy to help!  

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The Best Part of a 5 Hour Flight...

... is that I started and completed an entire product.  Even better, I had zero interruptions!  I mean, unless you count the flight attendant asking what I wanted to drink and snack on!  TpT time and snacks served to me?  Yes, please!  

I could have done without what the pilot called "moderate turbulence" that brought me to tears, but my work kept me distracted enough.  

Anyway, I just posted it and it is 50% off until Monday night.  Check it out!  Syllables - A Pin & Spin Activity

 Syllables - A Pin & Spin Activity

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600 TpT Followers & New Blog Launch Giveaway!

Right now, I have a lot to celebrate!  I have reached over 600 followers in my TpT store, I started this brand new blog so we can share ideas, and I am in Las Vegas for the SDE and TpT conferences!  

Here are some pictures from my Las Vegas trip so far:

My husband, Ed and I 

My friend Gina from All Things Algebra and I are hanging out with our old pal, Gwen Stephani.
I have been to some great conference sessions, have met a lot of wonderful people, and even learned to play Black Jack in the SDE Exhibit Hall!  

Now, to the celebration part.  I am so excited to announce this giveaway!  

There are three great prizes that you can win.  First, you can win $30 credit to my TpT store.  You can receive an awful lot from there with $30!  I am also giving away $25 credit to my FAVORITE clip artist's store.  I just love everything that Sarah from EduClips creates!  Finally, my friend Megan donated $25 credit to thirty-one when you order through her.  I just LOVE thirty-one (see my last post).

The giveaway will run through this Sunday.  I will announce the winners here and on my Facebook page.  Good luck and please share with your friends!
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I LOVE thirty-one!

Have you heard of thirty-one bags?  I love them.  LOVE them!

One of my students introduced me to thirty-one when he gifted me my first thirty-one bag for Christmas.  Right away, I started using it for my teaching bag.  It was perfect, except one thing: I wished it had a zipper.  
Organizing Utility Tote

Even though it didn't have a zipper, I still loved it because it was the perfect size and had a great pattern.  The outside pockets were awesome for smaller items that I wanted easy access to.  

Earlier this year, it was brought to my attention that the same bag now came with an optional zipper called the Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote.  Say what?!?  So excited!  

This is the one that I ordered, except mine does not have the butterfly.  
Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote
They also came out with a larger size tote that I love.  They call it the Super Organizing Tote.  It is the exact same bag, but larger.  I am currently banned by my husband from buying any new bags for the time being, but I want this bag too!
Super Organizing Tote

I would love to show you my entire thirty-one collection (totes, thermals, wallets, cinch bags), but it would take me days to write up!  

Now here is some GREAT news!  Tomorrow is the first day of my 600 TpT Follower/Blog Launch Giveaway!!!  

Stop by tomorrow to enter to win a $30 credit to my store, Learning Lab, a $25 credit to Educlips, or a $25 credit to thirty-one when you order through Megan Cuyler!

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July Currently

This is my first time participating in a Currently Link-Up!  I am linking up with Farley and a bunch of other teacher bloggers.  

I cannot believe that it is already July!  It always seems like summer moves too quickly.  Hopefully it will slow down because I am really enjoying playing outside with my kids and we don't get to do that much when our long winter rolls around.

Here goes...

Listening - My kids are napping!  That means I am listening to silence.  I started outside but it started to rain so now I can hear my fish tank.  Sweet silence, I love you!

Loving - We are getting a new privacy fence to keep our kids and dog in and hopefully everything else out!  So far, they just put the posts up but it is looking great already.

Thinking - Oh my goodness!  I have so much to clean, organize, and pack before we leave.  I should be doing something other than blogging right now, but I don't want to risk waking anybody up.  

Wanting - Lately my kids have been taking shorter than normal naps and I would love for them to take an extra long one today.  

Needing - Hopefully my husband will take the kids out today so I can get a lot done without my two littles hanging off of me. 

4th Plans - The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays.  My entire giant family meets up at our camp, Duck Lake for an amazing day of food, family, and fun.  We have a few boats, a swimming area, a fire pit, a playground, and so many picnic tables all to ourselves.  In the evening, everybody lights flares around the lake for a "ring of fire" and several camps shoot off some fireworks.  Everybody has a blast!

In the coming days, I will be hosting a giveaway that I am super excited about!  Sarah from Edu-Clips donated $25 and my friend Megan donated $25 towards a thirty-one order with her.  I'll also be giving away $30 to my own TpT store!  

I hope you have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

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