Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Currently: January 2015

Goodbye 2014 and Hello 2015!
I can't believe we are here already.
I've neglected this here blog the past two years  but I have tried my best to post whenever I have a spare moment. I've always loved Farley's "Currently" Linky Party  and I can't think of a better way to end/begin the year.

Listening: I love all of Wes Anderson's movies. He has such a lovely style. I can only imagine that he loved Roald Dahl as a child.

Loving: Max is 14 months old, and he is jabbering away all day long. Sometimes it’s just baby talk and sometimes it’s real words. It is so exciting to hear a new word being used correctly. It’s magical, I tell ya!

Thinking: I dread going back to work because January is slammed. I’ve got report cards to test for and then complete, computerized benchmarks to administer (bleck), a door to decorate (double bleck), and few other time-consuming things…

Wanting: Of course, I’d want more time off.  I adore staying at home with my lil monkey.

Needing: My expensive printer claims it needs a new printhead and I just haven’t gotten around to get a new one because I’m too mad at it. Maybe when I cool off I’ll see how much this “printhead” costs and take care of the problem. But until then, I will continue to scowl at it and pretend to beat it with a golf club.

Yes: I will continue to keep Max and Scott as my number ones and school as my number two. (Not an easy thing for this oldster.)

Maybe: I might blog more... Now that Max isn't AS needy as he used to be I can spare a few minutes to blog or even peruse the inter webs.

I wish: I'd be in hog heaven if I was able to organize my closets, office, garage, and classroom better. But if it doesn't happen... Oh well. ;)

Happy New Year to all!!!
Good Luck in 2015!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Well, I did it!

It took alllllllll summer of doing things I do NOT normally do, but I did it!  
I ran a 5K... not 3.1 miles in # minutes...
This post is not all teaching stuff, 
but it is about a student I adore and my way to detox…

I’ve posted before about being on Ethan’s COTA (Children’s Organ Transplant Association) fundraising team.  Ethan is listed for heart transplant.  We have had several fundraisers since March including a VERY SPECIAL teacher bundle (still available until October). 
But my BIG job was to organize a 5K. 
It was an enourmous job. Many people did offer to help, but it usually came with “except finding sponsors”.  Well, guess what… 90% of the work was sponsors…  I am a kid person, but not really a “talk to adults” person…especially strangers, 
but I did it.
I went everywhere, every day (all while teaching summer VPK!)  I got the required applications, permits and insurance.  I hired the runner’s timing company.  I RESEARCHED (pinned) as many 5K “how-to’s” and sample flyers as I could find.  I made sponsorship brochures and forms.  I created the registration forms and flyers.  I was blessed with a mom from my class who could take my crazy sketch and design ideas and turn it into the CUTEST shirt logo ever!! I printed the flyer and even hung it up in my house in May… it’s still up.  

And then every day, I made myself pick one new place or do one new thing or call back one more business.
It was hard.
They asked how many people to expect??? 
100?? 200?? (am I dreaming?) 300??(my goal)  How much will this event fundraise??? I’ll pray for $5,000 but my goal is $20K. 
(The runners guy said I “might get 100 runners,  we will see” and the ”big races can raise more than $20000”  Dude, challenge accepted.  
While shy, I am competitive... my motto- where there’s a Jill, there’s a way)
The running guy also told me “take your lowest sponsor value and double it”.  And then shoot for the moon on your top sponsor values.  So I did. 
It was a super hero theme and the “Superman sponsor” was $5000. Hey, why not? This kid needs a new HEART, for goodness sakes.
It was slow going.  I talked to many new people and many of our school families as I ran into them over summer and finally things started happening. Most were in the $200-$300 range, but I was feeling better.  First, I just needed to be able to pay the bills I was creating! I wanted a cardiologist as a sponsor *and given I am frequently told "my blood pressure is too high", I even made an appointment for myself 
(**yes, the medicine is working well-but,geez, I’m not that old!). 
Well, my new cardiologist was also on the board for our local VNA and POW! I got a SUPERMAN sponsor!!!  I cried, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t breathe ~ it was cool.  
I did it
The summer had ups and downs. So many visits to so many places.  The yes’s and no’s where fine, the call backs and maybe’s weren’t so fun.  I went to 2 other 5K races to watch what the coordinators did.  The more people I talked to, the more leads I investigated.  And the more connections I made in my community ~ that felt good.  I took Ethan’s older sister, Izzy, with me often.  

 Having so much attention on her brother is hard for her, having mom have to up and leave for medical reasons is hard.  At my house she gets to be the little sister and just play.  But while out working on the race, I saw a new found mission for her to help her brother (let’s face it, little brothers can still be annoying…)  She would help me keep motivated “where are we going next??”  (Oh my, I thought I was going home!)
By 2 weeks before the race, I got a second Superman sponsor (and I really was hoping for the cool string backpacks, they had at another race-ha!)  I got those backpacks for the kid’s fun run and so much more.  
AND SCHOOL STARTED!!! Holy Cow-oly! At 7 pm after the first day of school, I drove 2 hours north to pick up the race t-shirts!! Crazy!
My kids and their WONDERFUL friends, helped me pack all of those “swag bags” and so much more.  They all had jobs for race day were ready to make it happen. 
Forever thankful
Ethan, however, was not doing so well.  Coughing up blood ~ since only one lung really works, the blood vessels search for their own ways to find oxygen and sometimes that is straight into the lungs.  He ended up missing the first week and a half of school with a trip to his cardiology team at Miami Children’s Hospital.  Before being listed, they would go in and cauterize the stray blood vessels, but now surgery is not the best option since we want him ready to go for transplant at Shand’s Hospital on a moment’s call. 
So Ethan and his mom missed the race.
Do you know what is crazy?? It was OK!  
People came out in droves; we registered over 70 people that day!!!  Everyone was dressed in the super hero gear posting pictures to FB for Ethan to see!  
It was really breath taking. 


Izzy and I represented the Hendon family, my school family came out and manned the registration tables and water stations, 
My principal with 4 the 22 teachers who helped!
our JrROTC family were the course marshalls, the Hendon's crossfit family handled food and awards, my family ran and did all of the crazy jobs I assigned (including babysitting picnic tables and dealing with a bathtub FULL of ice) and my extended family of teenagers did an AMAZING job with everything I threw at them. 
(Izzy being spoiled by teenagers, my daughter -top left, my son -batman)
As the runners were going by, I stood there in tears. 
One of my son’s friends, Jake, came over and put his arm over my shoulder and said “Look what you did”.
Yup, I did it.
I led a whole gaggle of wonderful people to run, walk, fly, and work 
for Ethan and I thank them all.
I still have so many stories along the way, but this was mine.  I am still collecting checks, organizing information, attempting to clean my living room of race stuff and 
still waiting for a call…
sadly, a painful call for someone, 
but a lifesaving call for Ethan. 
Are you a blood donor?
Are you an organ or tissue donor?
Be a super hero, sign up today.

~ Jill
to donate or learn more about Ethan go to

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently September 2014

Goodbye Summer and HELLO Fall!

I am now beginning my third full week of school and things are busier than ever! Thank heavens for Labor Day. We've already had walk-throughs and major meetings, so it doesn't feel like an easy transition into the new school year, it feels like I'm already really behind!

Other than that, I'm totally exhausted from my Kinders. If only to bottle all of that energy... Slowly but surely, they're getting the hang of this school thing - except for lunch. They stink at EVERYTHING to do with lunch time.

On to something way more exciting, Currently! I'm linking up with the fabulous Farley   Here's my addition to the Currently family.
Listening: The quiet noises of a sleeping house. Love :)

Loving: This one is kind of stupid, but I've recently discovered the joy of my huge IKEA bag. I don't know why I haven't thought to use it before! This thing is huge and I can shove my teacher bag, my breast pump bag, my lunch box, my beverages, and Max's diaper bag all inside of it. One trip from the car. Score!

Thinking: My thoughts are with Yolanda's family. I am so sad to hear about her passing. Her blog, Oceans of First Grade Fun, was one of the first blogs I followed and loved. I loved her spirit, and she always had me chuckling while reading her posts. She was an amazing teacher and person. She will be missed.

Wanting: Max's molar to come in already! He goes from being a happy camper to a weepy mess in a hot minute. Poor guy :(

Needing: I have so much to print, laminate, and cut. I need another week of preplanning to get it all done!

3 Trips:
1.  I can't wait to see the Grand Canyon. An American wonder that I want to visit and marvel at with my family.
2. Way before The Lord of the Rings movies came out, I've wanted to visit New Zealand. It's so beautiful. Something about New Zealand just speaks to me, and I've always wanted to visit or maybe live there one day.
3. I need to visit Japan one day. The culture, the architecture, the FOOD! Love it! (I wish I spoke Japenese, though. It makes me nervous to travel anywhere where I don't speak the language!)

That's all folks!
Go off and have a relaxing Labor Day!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

What's your favorite back to school "have-to" items?
Hello's time to be getting our classrooms ready!  
Andi and I (Jill, the sister) have joined in the linky fun of sharing a few of our 
B2S favorites.  Hope it sparks some good ideas for you too!  We are so glad that you stopped by to see what our must-have items are for back to school.  When you are done browsing through all of our blogs, we hope that you enter to win one of our Amazon gift vouchers so that you can buy some new back to school items too!  We have $370 to give away.  Don't forget that the more you enter, the higher your chances of winning are!

1 - Getting Organized
 Bins, bins, bins, people!  Why do I still need bins?!?!  Really? mmmm-yes! I love these clear rectangular ones.  I put a label on the front, but I can still see if it really has what I need.  I have all sizes.  The sweater size hold books nicely because the sides are not at an angle- no squishing the bottom book.  Let me also tell you my new favorite- TWIST top bowls.  Kindergarteners can open these and not bust the lid.  This makes me happy and now everyone has one for their daily math manips:)  Electrical tape also makes me happy.  Goes on and peels off clean.  It partitions areas so nicely - dry erase boards, cabinets and ~my favorite~ the darlings that need to learn "personal space" at the tables.  ahhhh 

2- Pretty Paper
Pretty paper ~ I have a large collection of paper, yet I am still a MISER when it comes to using it.  I am also very particular- it must be for just the right occasion and, well, if the document just needs a little jazz, but doesn't merit color- I make one and then copy B/W so I still see cute stuff.  Now, I am newly addicted to cute clip art too, but pretty paper is a favorite. Dollar store even surprises me with some fun paper which I might feel I can share with the children :).  SortKwik goes along with the paper theme and calms my germ issues while sorting and collating stacks of paper.

3 - The COVETED Mr. Sketch
 My most special summer purchase each year ~barring budget~ is Mr. Sketch markers.  Last year, Office Depot had them 50% OFF!!! I got a box for Andi too (awww).  Now I share a lot of things with the dear children ~ HOWEVER, these are called "teacher tools".  DARE NOT TOUCH Teacher Tools.  I know Scentos are great too, but I'm old and sentimental.  I am devoted to Mr. Sketch ~ my first true love.  Perhaps, if you truly are a wonderful and trustworthy child, you MIGHT get to touch my old Mr. Sketch (yes, they are labeled each year), but don't try pushing boundries- I don't budge.

The story goes... I am not allowed to paint my walls.  They are teal, not white or something that flows well with primary colors.  No, they are teal.  
The crazy hodge podge of colors was getting to me, soooo 2 summers ago~ 
I accepted teal into my life - "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"
And since I have a few obsessive issues -  If it's not teal or brown, it does not stay.
I even reupholstered my 30 year old, discarded from my old school's office, couch 
- stitch by stitch- Sewed all new cushions and even reused the original zippers!
When I went to get some brown leather material, I told the lady my room color and her face lit up - "oh, we have this lovely teal on sale over here...." 
OMGG my couch is teal, but I love it and I will NOT be re-doing it in the next 30 years.
So back to the sheets... Do you use these for your bulletin boards?? I used to use fabric, but flat sheets are so much cheaper and they fit better! 
Love, Love, Love & lasts through tons of stapling - highly recommended!
And now onto Andi's Favs
(btw, I second her recommendations- good stuff)


Hey, this is Andi! I wanted to share a few of my favorite things, too! I'm sure some, or all, of my favorite things are on your list as well because they are just so darn handy!

Number 1

Contact Paper

I love me some contact paper. Every summer, I pick up a new roll (or two!) The name tags you see in the picture were purchased in the year, hmmm... let me see... it must have been in the year 2004. They are still in great condition. This is because I don't tape them onto the desks. First, I laminated them and then I used the contact paper to stick them to the desks. I've done this every year I've taught so I have 14 years of experience sticking them to the desks without bubbles! It takes some muscle, but it is well worth it to not hear little pucker noises if you leave air bubbles!

Number 2

My Yearly Planner
I've gone through many a planner and so far these planners by BlueSky are my favorite. I've even had the expensive one (you KNOW which one I'm talking about.) Although, it was super cute - it was too bulky. Too heavy for my purse. Too wide for my teacher bag with my teachers editions and grade book. This one is slender enough to fit in my teacher bag and yet big enough for me to schedule my scope and sequence, school events, personal events, and I use the weekly spots for note taking during those very "important" school meetings. It's a win-win in my book.

Number 3

Personal Laminator
I'm sure this one is a no brainer. But you know what??? I waited several years before buying one. What was I thinking? This thing is so handy. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. My laminator is by Fellows. I purchased it at Staples (with a coupon.) It costs more than the Scotch one at Walmart, but I'm hoping it will last longer. Of course, I buy my pouches at SAM's Club. Twenty bucks for two hundred pouches is a great deal. :)

Number 4

Paper Cutter

My goodness this bad boy is so old! I purchased it at SAM's Club in the year 2002, and I have yet to change the slicing blade. I don't NEED to! This thing slices paper beautifully. It is perfect for our large 18x11 construction paper. I'm very frugal with my school supplies, so I like to pre-cut my construction paper into smaller sizes. There's less waste and it's more manageable for little hands.

Well, those are my most favorite things.
Can't wait to see what yours are and steal some ideas!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**If you've read this far... I also have a very special bundle fundraiser for COTA in honor of one of my students who has been listed for heart transplant**
Check that out here for your chance to help change a life - thanks xoxox

Enjoy~ Jill and Andi

Currently - August 2014

It's already the dog days of August, and I'm asking myself where did my summer go?
Well, let me tell you that the summer of 2014 will go down in the record books as a winner for me! Hands down so much fun to have a little one to share your summer with. Granted, I still have zero free time. I haven't gone running in forever. I didn't get to do anything for school. However, I did get to love on my Max. Wouldn't trade that for a million bucks!

  Alas, this will all come to an end soon. Very soon. Like tomorrow! So, I'm soaking up as much love as I can and heading to my classroom with a very heavy heart to get my room in some sort of a workable state. Ho hum. #whereismyassistantalready

Anywho, I'm linking up with the ever so fabulous Farley for her Currently Par-Tay!
Listening: I usually have a pretty quiet neighborhood, but tonight someone is having a rager! At first I thought it was a dog fight! Ha!

Loving: We traded in my gnarly Jeep for the mom mobile and I LOVE it! Truth be told, I've always wanted a minivan. There's just SO much room. It's the best.

Thinking: I love teaching like more than anything in the world, but I hate the first six weeks of behavior training! Saying and modeling the same thing over and over and over and over and over... It's mind numbing.

Wanting: I don't know why we have school during August because our air conditioning is always broken. One simply cannot learn in one hundred degree humidity. It just can't be done!

Needing: This may have to be a permanent answer to the needing spot. I need a clone. Or two.

First day back: Technically, teachers start back on the 12th but our k/1 teachers are heading in early for kinder camp and some preplanning workdays. It's a good thing I LOVE my team or I would be one sad mama!

I hope you all are enjoying your last bits of summer with your loved ones! Don't forget to join the linky and follow the rule of three.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Florida Teacher Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Sunshine State! Enjoy yourself as you take a tour around our wonderful {and large!} state! Grab some freebies along the way, 
and be sure to enter to win our Bundles of Sunshine

**Hi everybody!  It's Andi's sister, Jill, learning how to do a Blog Hop :)**
To see how much fun Andi and Max are having
Check the IG roll over here------->>>>>> 
Starting out as a military baby, I've lived in quite a few places but most of my life has been spent here in Vero Beach, FL. Even with a few jumps in between, I managed to get my first teaching job at the school where I went to Kindergarten - 
AND Coach Jones was still there - love him!
Spent most of my high school days here at the beach.  Which is Vero's most popular draw for many now that the Dodgers left us. :(
Vero is a quiet, pretty town. Our claim to fame are Piper Aircrafts, Inc., Flight Safety, and our Polo Venues. We have a large art district- Museum of Art and several nice theatres - even our high school theatre brings in some special performances.
 Pictured above and below is what consumes my life now-a-days.  I have two teenagers who like to be outdoors.  Soccer, four-wheeling, and fishing are common for many kids around here.  Agriculture is also very big here - Indian River is known internationally for our citrus, but there are also many farms with livestock and horses galore. My daughter loves riding and working with horses.  She rides both english and western. She loves games, shows, trails, obstacles and jumping.  
We have 2 mini's at home, Simon and Belle.
 They share space with 15 chickens, 
a guinea hen, and a crazy dog.  I really want a "Have you hugged your chicken today?" 
t-shirt, but my kids will disown me! - how rude :/ 
(ps.  All my chickens have names and I do hug them, especially Shadow, Road Runner and Red)

Here are some locally grown cuties we get to see around town now and again.  
Both have foundations to help children here in Vero. 
Jake will end his tour here in October. His shows are always the talk of the town.

This weekend, we have freebies for you to enjoy! Stop by each of our blogs for an activity or idea to use in your classroom. To grab my freebie just click here!

This freebie is because I LOVE Whole Brain Teaching! Several years ago, Andi and I went to one of their day in-services, back when it was called Power Teaching - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  We tweaked what they had a bit to fit us, but still follow their protocol.  We start our day, every day, by saying the rules.  My "helper of the day" loves to be the leader for this.  Mrs. Shipley doesn't know me, but I've followed her blog for quite a while and she is such an inspiration and great role model/ resource for implementing WBT.

The Florida teachers below have two fantastic giveaways for you! You can enter once from each one of our pages. All you have to do is follow my blog! Hop around to all the blogs listed below, and be sure to follow them to get more entries. The more entries you have, the more likely you are to win! Each pack also includes a Starbucks gift card (because, well, a teacher's gotta have a coffee!).
Come find out more about the beautiful state of Florida by 
reading about these other sweet teachers!

**If you've read this far... I also have a very special bundle fundraiser for COTA in honor of one of my students who has been listed for heart transplant**
Check that out here for your chance to help change a life - thanks xoxox


~Enjoy~ Jill

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

# i heart ethan

#iheartethan Early Elementary Bundle

to Raise Funds for COTA in Honor of Ethan H

Meet Ethan~ a super hero and miracle.  7-year-old Ethan has been recently listed for a heart transplant at Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. He was born with Hypoplastic Left heart syndrome – in Ethan’s words “half my heart works”.  Ethan has already endured 3 open heart surgeries and many other smaller procedures.  A very special #iheartethan bundle fundraiser is available for those who make a $20 (or more) donation to COTA in honor of Team Ethan H.  Funds are being raised to assist with transplant-related expenses.
(click here for link to meet Ethan)

Donate Now!
Click here to Donate!
Please forward your donation receipt to  to receive your bundle 
(worth over $100!)
Thank you to these very special Blogger/TPT sponsors:   An Amazing Fairy Tale Unit RL.1.2 RL.2.2 RL.3.2  Phonics Games: oo, ir, er, ur, ow, ou, igh, i, ind, oi, aw  Memory Book for the EOY  Differentiated Fluency for Firsties BUNDLE {August - June}
   August-June BUNDLE!!!

My Buttons  {Label It!} Language & Vocabulary Building Activities for

More Time 2 Teach  Vertebrates Unit {Reading Passages, Booklet, Writing Conne

Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas  Addition and Subtraction Spring Mega Math Pack - Printable

  All About Nouns

  Get Your Kindess On. Kindess Packet and Craftivity

  Kitty Cat and his Cool Sunglasses

  Informational Text Features All About Me Book 

Kelly McHaffie from
  Beg Borrow Steal   End of Year Silly Awards!

  Summer Ready, Set, Print!

And ME, Jill, guest blogger and sister of Andi @
(And bestest Auntie of my sweet nephew, MAX!)

   High Frequency Word Fluency Kindergarten- supports McGraw   The Empty Pot By Demi - A Five Day Close Reading Lesson Plan  Science Fair Project - Pendulum Swing

Ethan came to my public school kindergarten class 2 years ago and has a permanent place in my heart.  Please consider helping too.   A minimum donation for the packet will be $20 - includes more than $100 worth of products!  Donation here

Please forward your donation receipt to to receive your bundle.

Ethan’s family has asked for assistance from the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA), a national charity based in Bloomington, Indiana.  COTA is dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds for transplant-related expenses.  COTA’s services are completely free of charge, and 100% of funds generated by COTA community fundraising campaigns are available for transplant-related expenses.

Ethan’s family needs an estimated $75,000.00 to pay transplant-related expenses.  I want to thank everyone in the cyber -community to join us in an effort to help give Ethan a second chance at life.  100% of the profits from the #iheartethan bundle will assist with transplant-related expenses. 
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts ~Jill and Ethan