Favorite Things Giveaway and Blog Hop *Gift Cards *Memberships

Hello everyone!!!

Favorite Things Graphic

Today we are throwing a big, humongous bash to celebrate YOU!
Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, this year we have decided that we will share with you our favorite school things! So here we go:


The first FAVORITE THING that I’m going to share with you is an awesome reading app for iOS devices. This app is a must-have for kindergarten teachers and for 1st grade teachers at the beginning of the year.

Kindergarten teachers, this is a great resource for the classroom or to recommend to parents. It has 20 little stories that each feature a word family. It also features sight words that students should be learning at this level. I love the option to click on the word and hear it. This really helps the students improve their skills and practice new words.

First grade teachers, remember those first few weeks of school when it seems like your students didn’t even go to kindergarten. They’ve forgotten how to form letters and they definitely can’t remember the sound each vowel makes. My phonics curriculum assumes that they remember all of this like it was yesterday. So, it does a quick 2 page review of short vowel sounds and then jumps right to the long vowel sounds. What?? Welcome to reality! I have to pause the curriculum and spend a few weeks of solid short vowel instruction. This is a GREAT time to utilize the Rhyme to Read app! It will give your students extra practice and build their confidence as beginner readers.

There is even a sale going on right now! It is only $4.99. You can find it here in the app store.


My second FAVORITE THING to share with you – binder rings! These things are so great to keep little cards together. I’ve used them to organize sight words, spelling word lists (keep the list with your word work centers), QR code stories and more! Here they are holding together sets of QR code stories.

I’ve purchased these rings at Amazon and Staples. It is so nice to have a big box of them. I’ve found them at Wal-Mart, but they are usually different sized rings and many different colors. 
I’ve also used them to make “books” using multiple sheet protectors and some of these rings.
I mentioned QR code stories. Do you know what those are? Students scan a QR code that has been programmed to play a video when scanned. I have many of these sets in my TPT store. My codes use safeshare.tv links so that when a video plays the students don’t see other youtube videos that are around that one or any comments. The videos are all of someone reading a book. Many times the video shows the pages of the book (pictures and text) so that the student can follow along as they listen to the book. These are great for Daily 5 rotations (listen to reading). Here is a picture preview of the Winter Stories QR code collection.

My 3rd FAVORITE THING is apple cider! I have had this love/hate relationship with apple cider in the past. I always think it sounds like a wonderful idea. I worked in a restaurant when I was a teen and loved making hot apple cider there for a treat on a cold day.

So, I buy a box of the single serve packets. I might even make a packet. It just tastes OK. The box of cider packets just sits in my pantry until it is eventually thrown away. The next winter this process is repeated.

This year, I passed by a box of K-Cups of Apple Cider and it sounded so good. I thought it might be a repeat of my previous experiences, but decided to just give it a try. I loved it! I don’t know why it would taste so much better than the packets. Hotter water? Better ratio of water to cider? More evenly mixed? I don’t know. I just know it is totally worth it to buy the K-Cup versions of this cider! I use 8 oz. of water. I am so happy to have finally found a delicious apple cider!

Thanks for joining us to hear about our favorite things. Now, on to even better stuff – great prizes to win!!

Once again we want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!






Enter the Rafflecopter to win this prizes!!!
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Come and visit my other teacher friends’ blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!

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Holiday Cookie Hop 2015 & FREEBIE!

I’m excited to link up with some fabulous bloggers at Classroom Tested Resources to bring you some delicious cookie recipes!

My recipe will be one that is super popular in my house! They are a sweet no-bake cookie and they are really easy to make! You just make a cookie “dough” and shape it into logs that you wrap in waxed paper. The joke at our house is always that we each need a whole roll to ourselves – forget slicing them into cookies! We will come to mom’s house and see the rolls and comment “here is my roll – I don’t know what the rest of you are going to eat!” They are addicting!

This recipe is from my Nana. We started calling her Nana Betty when my mom became a Nana and there were two Nanas around. Her real name was Marjorie, but she went by Betty. She grew up in New Zealand — hence our name for the cookies. I have no idea if they are common there or just a family recipe. 

Nana married and moved to Minnesota where she raised 3 children. When her oldest grandchild – me! – was born, she moved to Las Vegas to be close to us. My dad was stationed in the Air Force at the time. I was a completely spoiled grand-baby and was always telling her I needed a trip to K-Mart to fix some boo-boo — real or imagined! 

My family ended up moving to Washington state and Nana stayed in Las Vegas. We visited there often while I was growing up. Eventually, she moved to Oregon and later moved into my parent’s house. That was the best because I was able to see her more frequently. She played UNO games with us — and usually won even when she appeared to have no idea what was happening! We took her with us on trips with all the cousins (her great-grandchildren) for things like Pioneer Farms where she watched as the kids milked cows and cut wood with an old fashioned saw. She was 92 when she passed away. Days before, I was able to leave school and drive 3 and a half hours to spend time with her in the hospital and hold her hand. I miss her and think of her often. I was so blessed to have such a sweet Nana!

The main part of this recipe is a “dough” made of crushed vanilla wafers and sweetened condensed milk. You only need a small amount of the other ingredients. The recipe is at the end of this post. 

First, you crush a box of vanilla wafer cookies. I use a rolling pin, but a food processor makes this even easier. 

Next, you mix the crushed cookies with a can of sweetened condensed milk. Then, add some mini marshmallows (colorful ones make it look nice), raisins, chocolate chips, chopped maraschino cherries and chopped nuts. I use walnuts and chop them a little finer than the chopped walnuts that you can purchase at the store. I love this little chopper by Pampered Chef. It’s perfect for little jobs like this. 

It looks a little messy at this point. It should be a moist mixture that can easily be molded into logs. 

Separate the mixture into 3 piles and roll each one into a log. Then roll each log into coconut. *Hint: roll them on a counter top or plate – not the waxed paper like I did. It’s too sticky so I had to discard this waxed paper and get another piece to wrap them.

Wrap the log in waxed paper and refrigerate for several hours. These can also be placed in the freezer and then refrigerated to thaw a bit before slicing. Slice each log into individual cookies. Enjoy!!

New Zealand No-Bake Cookies

I hope that you enjoy this recipe! Check out the other bloggers for recipes that look absolutely delicious. Many bloggers have also included freebies. 

I’ve made a SCOOT multiplication freebie for this blog hop. Scoot games are great because the students move (scoot) from desk to desk so they get to move. If ever there is a time that students need to move – this is it! This freebie can help you (and your students) make it to winter break! Just click on the picture to go my TPT store and download the freebie. I’d love for you to leave feedback and follow my store!

 Multiplication Freebie

So, make some great cookies, a mug of apple cider (my latest favorite beverage — try the Keurig pods!) and find a quiet place by the tree to just chill this week-end. You deserve it!