Joy Cowley DOUBLE Giveaway!

Do you remember learning to read? I don't, but I wish I did! Lucky for this teacher, I get to be a part of that reading moment for kids everyday and I love it. I cherish those moments.

Some of my all time favorite books for early readers have the same author, Joy Cowley. I was introduced to her books while I was student teaching 16 years ago. I've been a fan ever since. I've built readers with her books. I've laughed with Mrs. Wishy Washy and stopped with the milkman. I.love.her. When I met her at ILA, I was almost speechless. She is just as I imagined, calm and sweet, a lover of words and children. 
Ah! Sorry for geeking out! I just want to share the Joy Cowley love!! Her books are a must have for early readers, struggling readers, readers who like to giggle, readers who love animals, readers....well, you get the idea! Joy Cowley rocks and Hameray is her publisher! They are hosting a HUGE giveaway and a mini contest, too! Click HERE to enter the mini contest for one Mrs. Wishy Washy big book. 
Hameray Publishing is also giving away a Joy Cowley Collection! The lucky winner will receive an entire set of the Joy Cowley leveled readers (60 books,) Joy Cowley Early Bird lower-leveled readers (45 books,) all of her newest big books (34 of them,) a set of finger puppets and more! The book levels range from C-I and will be an amazing addition to any primary classroom! Read more about the collection HERE.
Enter to win this entire set for your readers! Click HERE or on the pictures! It takes 5 seconds! 

Fall in love with Joy Cowley if you haven't already! Hurry though, contest ends 2/28 and the winner will be announced 3/1!

Motherhood

If the magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone, then magic, pure magic happened almost three years ago when I stepped on the Listen To Your Mother stage to share my story one of my stories with the world. It is a story of motherhood, sisterhood, friendship, and most of all-love. 

Standing on that stage was a once in a lifetime moment. Being a part of something so much bigger than me was unbelievable. The bond I share with my fellow cast members is the best kind. They became friends and family. We still celebrate each other and cheer each other on. I have only the fondest of memories of the entire experience. In fact, I am honored that I was able to share this moment. It is one of my proudest mom/daughter/sister moments. Here it is.
I'm bringing this up in January of 2017 in hopes that you might be inspired to do the same! I hope you will step out of your comfort zone and write one of your stories. Or maybe share the story you  have written down already. OR maybe even the one floating around in your head. The story, your story, can be about your mom, you as a mom, your grandmother, you as a teacher who gets called mom, your significant other....anything having to do with motherhood! :)

If you are not so sure about all of this, watch the videos. My story happens to be a sad one. Some will make you laugh out loud though. Some will make your heart smile. Some will make you laugh, cry, and smile all in one! All of the stories will stay with you and many of them will remind you of a moment of your own.

If you are not in or near the ATL, visit Listen To Your Mother to find a city near you. If you are in or near the ATL, click HERE to find out how you can share your story.  We have amazing producers and alumni! Grab a friend and convince them to do the same. 

Want more? I wrote about LTYM here and here. Let me know if I can help you with your decision! I can read your draft, chat with you about your idea, or just have a drink with you to ease the nerves before you audition! 

Now, let's do this! Let's focus on writing in 2017! 

One Little Word

If you have read any of my ramblings over the years (how has it been years?) you know I am pretty serious about my one little word. I wait for it to find me. I spend hours thinking about it. I say it. I write it in fancy letters like a boy's name on my trapper keeper. I try to be one with the word. I commit to the power of my chosen word. One time I even thought about getting a tattoo of my word (#wimp.) 

Well, that was before I had M. I mean really, I barely have time to tie my shoes and when I do, I think he secretly plots a way to untie them. :) 

This year, my word once again found me, but it was more than a friendly hello. The word hit me like a ton of bricks. Like, HEY YOU! I'M THE WORD YOU SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN ALL THOSE OTHER YEARS.  

Here's my word.
-focus on what matters, including self
-focus on things I can control

Wish me luck with this handful.

What's your word?

Decorations Are Up!

Our decorations are always a work in progress, but this year we were a little later than usual (which is late,) and did not have them up until more than a week after Thanksgiving. In our defense, Thanksgiving was early this year! :)

T chose a shorter, chubbier tree than usual. He said it just spoke to him. How could we say no to that? 
Our tree is a crazy mix of kid made ornaments, gifts from students and family, keepsakes from our favorite places, and treasures A made for us over the years. M has only pulled ornaments off 5 or 6 times and the entire tree itself only once. I am feeling pretty good about that. 

My favorite ornament on the tree is this one. A few years ago, my Granny gave the little sister and I a box of her oldest ornaments. Each year I hang one on the tree. I tell the boys a funny story about Granny as we hang it. I still cry though. She is missed and the holidays always make it a bit harder.
As for other decorations, my second favorite spot in the whole house is our fireplace. Our family tradition is to decorate it with books. The books do not last long before being grabbed. Sometimes they read them. Sometimes we read the books to the boys. Sometimes they build with them. Sometimes we find them in the kitchen, on the floor when we are walking to turn on the lights and almost slip and fall on our face. Sometimes... :)
Another tradition we have is the big reveal. We do not reveal our Christmas card until they have been mailed. So silly, right? I know! 
In the meantime, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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