How fun is this!?

I have quickly become addicted to this blogging thing, which is strange seeing how a year ago I had never looked at a blog before.  I'm not sure if I even knew exactly what a blog was.  Wow, was I missing out! Between the blogs and Pinterest my mind is swimming with all these great ideas for my classroom.  The only down side of that being that I am finding it a bit difficult to turn them off in my mind when I finally make myself shut down the computer and head to bed.  Not sure how that will work when school is back in session as I am normally in bed by 9:30 on school nights.  What will make me time on the computer or less than eight hours of sleep?  We shall see...

I was thrilled when Liz over at Floating Through Fifth nominated me for the Liebster Award!  What a great feeling to have someone telling you to keep doing what you have become addicted to!  Thanks Liz!

 To accept the Liebster nomination I must do the following:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5 - 11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them

Let's start with Liz's questions:

1. What are you most excited about this school year?
I am excited to see how my recent endeavors will impact what I do in my classroom this year.  I had never even been on Pinterest before, so I have been amazed at all the great ideas out there.  My "to-do" list for this year is growing every day!
2. If you had an unlimited budget what would you do to your classroom? much time do we have?  Unfortunately, my building is old and in disrepair.  I would like some simple (but costly) things like a window that doesn't drip condensation and end up moldy, built in shelves that don't have nails sticking out in the back, a sink and counter tops that can come clean...and so on!
3. If you could spend your summer anywhere, where would it be?
I would spend it in our cottage in Petoskey, Michigan.  Northern Michigan is so beautiful in the summer, and though we are able to go up on occasion, it doesn't ever seem like enough time.  Now that my kids are growing up (okay, grown up), we have three people with summer time work schedules.
4. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I think my favorite thing about blogging is reading all the other great blogs out there and finding a wealth of creative ideas!
5. What is your #1 teacher must have?
There are a million!  Probably the #1 thing I couldn't do without in my room would be books.  I think every classroom has to have an enormous library for students to choose from on a daily basis, not just each week when they go to the library.
6. Who would you love to have come and speak to your class and why?
This was a hard question for me for some reason.  I thought about it a long time and finally settled on J.K. Rowling.  The Harry Potter books are magical for me and my whole family. I would love to have her talk to my students and inspire them to write!
7. What is your favorite topic to teach?
My favorite topic to teach is the Revolutionary War period in Social Studies.  I think it is one of the most interesting time periods to learn about, and there is so much material to get kids excited about history for the first time.
8. Where are your go-to stores for teacher outfits?
I would have to say The Gap.  I am typically a khaki pants and turtleneck sweater person. But the turtleneck must be very tight around the neck!  I have often been teased about the fact that I wear a turtleneck every day from October until March, but I must admit it's the truth.  Last year, Gap had the best "tight necked" turtlenecks ever!  I think I bought two in every color!
9. What would you say is the most difficult part of our job?
 Wow, Liz, you are really asking some tough questions here!  Many things that are difficult boil down to never having enough time.  There's never enough time to do the prep work that you need to do, never enough time to work with students as much as you would like, never enough time to get through the curriculum...
10. Any advice for first time teachers?
Find people (in your building preferably) who are willing to share.  It doesn't have to be the same grade level, just someone who will tell you everything you need to know about working in that building and troubleshooting with you throughout the year.  I have also learned to always go back to my lesson plans after the lesson and immediately change what didn't work so that next year when I look at that unit, I will already have those adjustments made.
11. Tell a funny school story.
There are a ton of funny stories over the course of 22 years with fifth graders, but one in particular I remember was two years ago.  I had a student named Sean who was on the spectrum.  It's not often that a student's meltdowns are funny, but for some reason, Sean's almost always were.  One day he had obviously had enough of school.  He walked up to the board, looked at the agenda, and said, "Math...boring!  Social Studies...boring!   Writing...boring!  Homework books...I don't even know what that is, but it's boring!"  I cracked up!  Thankfully, he never got mad when I laughed.  It actually seemed to bring him down a bit.  

All right, 11 random facts about me...

1. I don't feel that old...It's hard for me to believe, but I have been married to my husband, Timm, for twenty-two years.  We have a daughter, Bonny, who is nineteen, and a son, Jake, who is seventeen.  I knew I was getting old when I had the daughter of a former student, and that was several years ago!
2. I am allergic to many foods but the hardest one for me is chocolate!  I am really good about avoiding my other ones like wheat, cheese, yeast,... but who can truly live without chocolate?  
3. I love doodles!  Dog breeds that are mixed with poodles, that is.  I am constantly looking at adorable doodle puppies on line, labradoodles, sheepadoodles, ever seen a Bernedoodle?   Oh my gosh! 
4. I am a huge Michigan Wolverines fan.  My favorite song is Hail to the Victors, which is my ring tone, and yes, I do the fist pumps when my phone rings, and no one is around! (Would I be going too far to say I want my ashes spread on the field at the Big House? Okay, I won't say that.)
5. The best book I read this summer was The Fifth Wave.  It is more of a teen fiction book along the lines of The Hunger Games about an alien invasion.  I am not normally into science fiction, but I couldn't put it down!  I got my son  and daughter to read it too, and they both loved it as well.  My son said it was the fastest he had ever read a book.

6. My favorite sport is hockey.  I was raised in a hockey family.  My dad was the coach, and my brother was the goalie.  I used to get so nervous when my brother played, my mom gave me a marble worry stone.  Apparently, I have the goalie curse.  My son turned out to be a goalie too.  Unfortunately, a worry stone can't touch the worry of a goalie mom!
7. I love reality tv!  Hey, at least it's not the trashy stuff.  I love Top Chef, Project Runway, Flipping Boston, Survivor, American Idol, and (okay, it's a little trashy) The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. 
8. I love to read!  I feel like I grew up in a library, because my dad was a librarian.  The books I read as a child are still so special to me, Anne of Green Gables, Little House in the Big Woods, and too many more to mention.  When I got a book at Christmas, I was thrilled!  I think Meg Ryan said it best as Kathleen Kelly in You've Got Mail, "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.
9. I have a sweet tooth! If it wouldn't immediately go to my hips, I would bake something every single day!  I can make pretty much anything I want gluten free, cake, cookies, pies...If you are sensitive to gluten, you have to get The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free.  The Strawberry Cake and Honey Bun Cake are two of my favorites!

10. I bought my dream car...a Prius!  My son, Jake, does not understand how a Prius can be my dream car, but it is.  Every time I drive it, it's like a game to get the best gas mileage ever.  One time I got 99.9 miles to the gallon!
11. My labradoodle, Emmitt, is the best dog ever!  He is the sweetest, goofiest dog you could ever meet.  It is impossible to be lonely living with Emmitt.  He literally goes everywhere I go.  If I go in the bathroom without him, he scratches at the door until he is let in!

Wow!  That really took some effort to think of that many things to talk about.  Sorry it's so long!

These are the people that I have nominated for a Liebster:
1. Whitney at At Whit's End.
3. Elizabeth at Seconds at the Beach.

So, for all of you, here are your 11 questions:

1. What is the best book you read this summer?
2. What is your hardest food to resist?
3. What is the best thing about the grade level you teach?
4. If you had to move to a different grade level, what would it be, and why?
5. What is your favorite vacation destination?
6. What is your favorite thing to do unrelated to school?
7. If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be?
8. If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
9. What is your all-time favorite read aloud?
10. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
11.What would you tell a college student considering being a teacher?

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