Saturday, February 28, 2015

March is Reading Month ~ Door Decorating

I am a Creative Arts teacher in an elementary of grades Young 5s through 6th grade. I am also the March is Reading Month coordinator for our building. I have had this position for many years now. Each year every classroom decorates their door based on a specific book or author. They are SO good! The kids and adults alike love walking through the building checking out everyone's door!  Last year I asked my colleagues if I had their permission to share their creativity with my Sister-Dipity readers. I told them our creativity was just too good to keep to ourselves! We must share it with the world....or you know, Pinterest, at least!

This post is photo heavy and many pictures are just self explanatory so just enjoy....











Each child made an owl!

 
Each child colored a rainbow and a photo of their face was on the cloud!










Each child made a piece of candy to go with the door!






Each strawberry had a child's photograph on it! So sweet!

Each child drew a pigeon! So cute!











Lyle is our tech guy at our school and the office staff made this poster in honor of him!




This was my classroom door! This book is a HUGE favorite with my younger students. My Young 5s kids each made a shoe and their little school picture is on it!


















Our paraprofessional staff did a door based on their favorite author, James Patterson! It was fun to see them share their love of reading with a popular adult author!


I am so excited to see what happens this year in our school for March is Reading Month!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gimme 5 Series: 5 Ways for Busy Moms to Get a Workout In


I am so excited to have my dear friend (and unofficial personal trainer) Mandy Haag guest blogging today on a topic that seems to be an issue for so many mamas! Take it away, Mandy......

1. Put Yourself on the Calendar
We are the LAST person to get scheduled into the week’s events. Every weekend sit down and set times to workout through the week. Pre-planning gives you time to make adjustments and make it work! Make it known to yourself and to your family that these times are non-negotiable!
 
2. Pre-Plan Your Workouts
Now that you have your workout times blocked off on the calendar, get a little more detailed in your own personal planner. You can cut quite a bit of time and mental energy from your overall workout if you know before you even lace up the shoes what workout you’re about to do. I find this particularly helpful for early morning workouts. When I know that I’m going to be getting up before the sun to fit in my workout, because that’s the only time in the day that was available, the job is much easier when I pick out my clothes AND my workout the night before. Then all I have to do is stumble out of bed, pick those clothes up off the floor and press PLAY. No thinking required! So after you’ve blocked off your time on the family calendar, sit down and specifically write out which workouts you want to do on each day. And as you accomplish them….CROSS THEM OFF!! (Ahh yes.)

 3. Play Dates for Kids = Workout Dates for Moms
Kids love having time to play with their friends, and your workouts can be both more fun and more effective with a partner. It’s a win-win! Kids can be much less needy when they have some friends to play with, especially if they have this opportunity somewhat consistently. So pick someone’s house and a workout DVD or a park, the track, a stadium, pack up the kids and the toys and gett'er done.

 
 4. Think of it as Interval Training
As a mom we know that we don’t live in a perfect world. Because there, in that perfect world, every workout would be uninterrupted. Babies would get in their full naps as anticipated and the other children would play peacefully together and wouldn’t need help reaching their toys and drinks of water and to go to the bathroom during our workouts. But since we don’t live in that perfect world, we have to be mentally prepared for those interruptions. It doesn’t do anyone any good to get all huffy and frustrated when we’re needed. We are mom, after all. So think of it as interval training….high intensity/low intensity within the workout. The moments when the kids are content and the baby’s still sound asleep go at it pale male….all out. You truly don’t know how long that’s going to last. Then when someone needs their Cinderella dress zipped and the play-doh cup opened, you can take it down a notch and jog in place as you play mom for a second, secretly relieved for the chance to bring your heart rate back down. When you work out at home, know that these interruptions will happen. If we accept them ahead of time, we all win.

5. Know that part of taking care of them is taking care of YOU
No guilt. It’s hard as a mom to take time for ourselves. You have the most important job in the whole world. But if mom isn’t feeling well, doesn’t have enough energy, isn’t happy with herself, she can’t be the best possible mom and wife. You have to make your health and fitness a priority, it’s non-negotiable. And there isn’t room for any guilt in that.


Thank you, Mandy...and Macy & Molly too!
Yes, she is pregnant! She is 8 months pregnant and fit as can be, not letting anything slow her down! Such an inspiration!

For more fitness inspiration from a mom who KNOWS how it is, follow Mandy Haag: Health & Fitness on Facebook. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Stitch Fix Review #1

I have been seeing other blogger's Stitch Fix reports for a couple years now and reading them with a longing....a longing to have my own. *Sigh* I've lost some weight this past year and have been packing away some of my "too big" clothes! {HOORAY!} In January, I decided to treat myself to a Stitch Fix Subscription. 

Do you know about Stitch Fix? 
Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that assigns you a personal stylist and has you fill out a style profile, asking you lots of questions and having you give your opinion on different outfits. They do this to get a feel for what you like and don't like, your preferred price range, what your day is like (what you dress for,) and the type of fashion that appeals to you. You pay a $20 styling fee each month and then 5 custom selected items are mailed to you. You can try them on in the comfort of your own home and see how they work with pieces you already own. You then send back what you don't want and the $20 styling fee comes off from what you do want to keep. 


I was SO excited to have my first box arrive!


Your stylist sends you a little note with your package. As you can see in the photo below, the note from my stylist includes fashion tips for the items that she sent. One of the COOLEST things about Stitch Fix is that you can send your stylist the link to your Pinterest Fashion board or even create an exclusive Stitch Fix board on Pinterest. Your stylist can then look around your board and get a feel for what you like. As you can see in the letter, my stylist mentions my Pinterest board and even sent me an exact item I had pinned! (Which I loved and kept - see below.)


The stylist also includes style cards which show different ways to wear each item that is included in your box.


So do you want to see what I got?  Here we go...



This striped shirt was so comfortable. It had dolman style sleeves which I love! The fabric was so cozy too. I did not keep this one for two reasons:  1) I don't feel comfortable in horizontal stripes and 2) While it was comfy, it was a bit long and I felt a tad sloppy in it. It wasn't an item I really needed either so....it went back.


The Patrick Chino Pants fit like a glove and the fabric! Oh, the fabric was heavenly! They were so soft! I LOVED how they felt! The downfall though, the color wasn't real appealing to me and they were $100. (My most expensive item in the box.) I looked through my tops to see what I had that would go well with them but nothing really clicked for me. For $100 I wanted to love them and need them. They were sent back. 



This polka dot tab sleeve blouse by Pomelo was something I had pinned on my Pinterest Fashion Board. (See HERE.) I was so impressed that my stylist had noticed it on my board and had made a point to include it in my fix. I tried it on and loved it! Love, love, love it! I needed some tops that could be dressed up a bit and this was perfect! It was a keeper (and I've worn it every week since I received it!)

I also LOVED this shirt. It is casual but has that extra bit of lace on the bottom which adds interest and femininity. I didn't keep it though because I have a shirt just like it! I was actually wearing it the day I opened this box! 


When my daughter Claire (6) first saw this cardigan by Mak B she said, "Oh, Mom! That is totally you!" It really is me! This cardigan is soft, lightweight but cozy. It is cream colored and really goes with so much! I kept it and have worn it a lot - with skinny jeans and boots, with tunics and leggings, and once even with my pajamas in the evening because I needed some extra warmth! It is a great staple for my wardrobe. Claire's comment about it being "totally me" is really representative of the whole first box I received from Stitch Fix. I am so impressed with how well my stylist did choosing items based on the information I provided her with. She did good!

So, all in all I kept 2 out of the 3 items. Had I chosen to keep all 5, I would have received a 25% discount! Another bonus to Stitch Fix! My fashion goals right now are to weed out my existing wardrobe by getting rid of things that no longer fit or that I just no longer wear. The other goal is to focus on quality, not quantity. In the past I may have purchased something because it was a good deal only to have it unravel or fade sooner that I'd hoped. I have also been guilty of purchasing items that are a good deal and then allowing them to just sit in my closet. I intend to make purchases that compliment and supplement my current wardrobe and, as previously stated, focus on quality, not quantity. 

Soooo...here's what you do with the items you don't want to keep...a prepaid, addressed envelope is included in every box so you can easily return what you decide you're not purchasing. Easy Peasy!



I knew what I was getting into by signing up for Stitch Fix. What I did not realize was how beneficial it is to have these items shipped right to your home where you can try them on with items you already own. I knew that was a perk to this service but to actually experience it was a real eye-opener. Also, I could try them on and pair them with other items ON MY OWN TIME. I could do it after the kids went to bed. SO much better than having little people in a dressing room with me in a department store. It also amazed me that EVERYTHING FIT! When does that happen?! It was amazing to slide each item on and ta-da! It was all good! 

The closest mall (or Kohls) is an hour drive for me. We live in the middle of nowhere! In December I went shopping and picked up a couple items for myself that I needed for Christmas festivities. When I got home (remember an hour away!) I found that the ink security tag had not been taken off my new blouse. I had intended to wear it two days later. I work full time and am busy with 3 little kids. I DID NOT HAVE TIME TO GO BACK! In that situation, I was blessed to have a friend who was headed that way and took it back for me. With Stitch Fix, I don't have those worries - no long drive (saves gas $ too!), no searching in different stores for what I'm looking for, no children with me in a dressing room, and no frustration with items that don't fit right. Plus, I get a fun package delivered to me each month and who doesn't love getting things in the mail?!

Click HERE to get your own Fix!

Stitch Fix