Quick Update


So I had crazy plans to keep blogging 3x a week…even as all the back to school madness began. I’m not sure what I was thinking but I have made some SUPER cute curtains for my classroom, taken a trip to Kansas City to photograph a temple sealing, and prepared my classroom for Meet the Teacher Night (which is TOMORROW!). I will have my camera with me and post LOTS of pictures. I promise! And besides I can’t wait to share how much I adore my room! :) Stay tuned!

Etsy Finds: LDS Version


Here’s another post about some of my favorite finds on Etsy but this time I am sharing my favorite LDS related finds! Enjoy! :)

I love this skirt. Super cute. Perfect length.


Click here for the shop.

I am loving this beautiful wooden sign.


Click here for the shop.

Being a convert, I find it difficult to make my closet into modest wear. Not now, check out these cute slips!!! ♥


Click here for the shop.

The perfect baptism gift. So precious.


Click here for the shop.

I love chevron and turquoise. The perfect cover for the best book(s) ever written! ;)


Click here for shop.

Do you love Etsy too? What are some of your favorite finds! Leave a comment and let me know!

New school year, new classroom…TOUR!


So two of our team members decided that they wanted to departmentalize this year. One will teach math, science, and a little social studies and the other teacher is going to teach all literacy and integrate some social studies too. The other three of us on the team decided to stay self contained. The two teachers that are going to be trading classes were diagonally across from each other in the hallway. So I asked if one of the teachers wanted to switch rooms with me to make things easier on all of us. :) She agreed.


So every year we have to take EVERYTHING out of the classroom so they can wax the floors and deep clean and some years they paint. So I stopped in my classroom to grab a few resources because technically they don’t want us working in our rooms yet until the whole school has been waxed. You can clearly see in the pictures below that my room has a beautiful wax job completed. :) These pictures are NOT of a completed classroom. Just the clean slate that I’m starting with.

Enter the doorway…


Immediately to the right as you walk in. Student cubbies which are filled with classroom library bins and textbooks. Everything is just kind of thrown up there because we don’t have much time to get our rooms completely cleared out. So then everything kind of gets thrown back in so they can wax the hallways…


I’m moving in a counter clockwise direction around the room. Here is my LONG white board and STAR board. Anyone else have a STAR board? I’ve had SMART boards in the past and I can’t tell much difference with the STAR. That little beige desk with the bins on top is actually my student computer desk and it’s clearly not in the place that it will actually be when school starts. :) In the corner up ahead (under the flag) is my teacher desk and filing cabinet. Anyone else have a print center? Our district only allows 100 copies per teacher per month at the school building. We have a print center where we have to send things off to be copied. It stinks in some ways because you  have to be prepared way in advanced to get things back in time. SO I have to store lots of copies in my filing cabinets.


Next up you’ll see lots of bookshelves and cubbies along the wall. I actually use those cubby shelves for my classroom library. You’ll see later. :)In the far corner you’ll see all my stuff piled up high. Such a fun thing to come back to…


All the student desks are just set in here in a cluster but look at all that cabinet space back there! I have worked in other schools where I had little to NO storage space. I love to keep things organize in there! ;)


The back wall has more student cubbies and some more blue shelves. :) (For my classroom library of course!)


And finally the last wall that brings back around to the classroom door. I have a white board and a bulletin board over here. I feel like I have tons of boards and LOVE that! However, this white board in the corner is going to be tricky to use. It’s just in a funky spot but I’ll make it work. I’m already thinking about doing lunch count and classroom jobs back there on it!


Thanks for stopping by to view my classroom before it I can really get my hands on it! :)Any suggestions? Please share in the comments! I love it!

Hands-On Math Problems


The 2012-2013 school year was the first year for third grade to implement the Common Core Standards. Math instruction didn't change too much because the district had already implemented CGI Training for teachers.


What is CGI? CGI is Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) is a professional development program that increases teachers’ understanding of the knowledge that students bring to the math learning process and how they connect that knowledge with formal concepts and operations. Developed by education researchers Thomas Carpenter, Elizabeth Fennema, Penelope Peterson, Megan Loef Franke, and Linda Levi, CGI is guided by two major theses. The first is that children bring an intuitive knowledge of mathematics to school with them and that this knowledge should serve as the basis for developing formal mathematics instruction in primary school. This thesis leads to an emphasis on assessing the processes that students use to solve problems. The second thesis is that math instruction should be based on the relationship between computational skills and problem solving, which leads to an emphasis on problem solving in the classroom instead of the repetition of number facts (e.g., practicing the rules of addition and subtraction).


So basically the students are using previous knowledge, strategies, and manipulatives to solve problems and develop new strategies and understandings. What I love about this is seeing the kids really work hard to figure things out but what I don't like are the kids who really struggle without explicit instruction, they just sit or copy someone else's work and you cross your fingers that during the share time that they actually learn something from someone else explaining how they solved the problem.

So I try to incorporate both. I try to do a hands on problem at least 2 to 3 times a week. They can also be used as an assessment.  Here are my Hands On Math Problems... each problem is tied to a common core standard. There are 38 total problems and you can find them here at my shop! :)

Monday Made It: DIY Chevron Lamp Shade


I have this adorable little lamp in my classroom that has a super cute lampshade on it but since I’m changing my theme…I have to change the lampshade. Have you ever tried googling chevron lampshades to purchase? They are SUPER duper expensive. I didn’t expect it really because of how popular chevron is. I knew that this would be my chance to make my own. It was a lot of fun! Yay for DIY Chevron Lamp Shades!


Here is what you will need:


Lampshade $7 at Target

Painters tape (I LOVED Scotch Blue) $5 at Lowe’s

Paint (I really enjoyed the quality of the Martha Stewart brand) $1.99 at JoAnn’s

Sponge roller (or sponge dabbers would work well too) $1 at JoAnn’s

Scissors *not shown*

Paper plate


I could not wait to get started on this project. I didn’t measure a single thing. I just started taping and getting after it because I wanted to see the final product. IMG_3349

I think what I love the most is that it’s not perfect and I’m completely okay with that. The lines are not all the same width and the same length but I don’t mind.


I was a little apprehensive on the paint color. When I first squirted it out on the plate it looked like sky blue but I went ahead with it anyway.


I started out trying to roll the paint on and honestly it didn’t work that well. I ended up dabbing the paint on. It went on so much better. The reason I chose Martha Stewart’s paint is because it was multi-surface. I’m sure most acrylic paints are too but I wanted to be sure that it would do well. :)

These bubbles you see below really started to concern me but I found a solution. It’s just air. So, I blew on them lightly and they disappeared instantly! And really didn’t hang around as the paint dried. Yay!


So I only taped one side at a time. I guess I thought it would be easier but let me tell you, it’s not and you’ll get crooked lines. Or lines that don’t match up.


Here is the final product. Isn’t it great?! :) I love how it turned out.


And that sky blue color I was so worried about…well, it dried. It dried darker and matches my theme colors almost PERFECTLY! :) (If you didn’t know already, I’m using Schoolgirl Style’s By the Sea theme.)


My Journey to Becoming a Mormon (Part 2)


***If you are just joining be sure to check out Part 1.***

I was excited about moving to Arkansas. New place. New home. New school. New friends. New boooyyyyyssssss. I was eager for the change but still missing things about Texas (home). I knew that it would be much harder to find a church so it wasn’t even a priority.


My first day in my new school I met a girl named Adrienne. She was different. She was cute, blonde, athletic built, a cheerleader, smart, and sweet. And I wanted to be JUST like her. She was ‘that’ girl. You know…the girl that everyone likes. That was Adrienne.  What’s funny is that now that I look back She had the Holy Spirit with her. That’s what made her beautiful and kind and sweet and a girl that everyone likes. We became friends instantly in Mrs. Epley’s class. Adrienne was the first known Saint that God placed in my life.

At some point, I don’t remember when, Adrienne invited me to church with her. I think I went to one Sunday, one Young Women’s class, and two Seminary classes. At the time I was “recovering” from a break up and I needed to turn to my Heavenly Father. My heart wasn’t ready then. I was too deep in a teenage relationship. I wish I could go back in time and shake my 17-year-old self and say WAKE UP! However, my life wouldn’t be what it is today.

Adrienne and I stayed very close, even when she left for BYU. We wrote letters until she returned a year later. She ended up going to college back in Arkansas but we gradually talked less as our lives went different directions. What’s great is that Heavenly Father wasn’t done with me and continued to place amazing Mormon women in my life. In fact, there were very short amounts of time when I wasn’t being influenced Saints. :)

10/2001-8/2008 Adrienne

8/2008-5/2011 Sierra

3/2012- 10/2012 Ruby

5/2012-8/2012 Mary

8/2012- 6/2013 4 students & their families

3/2013- to current Cristy


You see, there have always been (for the most part) people in my life who have had such a positive impact on me. Now I can see that these people were all a part of my plan. The timing of the friendships. Their roles (even small ones) made an impact on me and what’s great is that they are all still involved in my life and are great friends! Even my students and their parents! They all led me to my extremely important decision. Stay tuned for Part 3. ;)

Levels of Understanding Classroom Posters


So I've already mentioned how I’m already in school mode. I don’t know that I ever really left school mode this summer. This is my first summer on a year round school calendar. A 5 week break is just not enough time to ‘shut it off’. Don’t get me wrong, I've had LOADS of fun with my family and friends but I've always had school ideas hanging out in the back of my mind. I guess that’s normal for a teacher, right?

So I came across this fabulous teacher… Miss Nannini is the author at Young Teacher Love. I cam across this post of hers where she talks about data binders. What’s great is that I already carried out this concept in my own classroom this past school year. After teaching a lesson I would have students show me on their hand if they “got it”. (scale of 1-5, instead of 0-4) Miss Nannini created some super cute posters of levels of understanding. I, however, love for everything to match my theme. My theme this year is By the Sea from Schoolgirl Style. You can check out her fabulous theme here and you can purchase my posters here. I can’t wait to have these guys hanging in my classroom this year! :)



************Don't forget about my giveaway that ends today!***********************

Throwback Thursday


Tomorrow our precious Audrey will be 2 years old. I’m throwing back to the day that we welcomed her into this world, one day old, and a few days old. Her little personality is changing so much and I feel so proud to be her momma. She is loved for sure.

IMG_0157  IMG_0170


4th of July: Bithell Bash


4th of July this year was so much fun! It seems like as your kids get bigger they can enjoy more activities. It’s so hard when you have littles (under 1). Which Hank and I have done a lot of talking about having another baby. Right now we are content with being done. I may change my mind in a few years but things are great with a 5 year old (about to enter Kindergarten!!!!) and a little girl that’s (GASP!) about to turn 2 years old this Friday. Can you believe that 2 years have passed? I love that my princess is learning to smile on the command of say cheese! :) (Just ignore the fact that she has blueberries in her teeth below…)IMG_2921


This is the first 4th of July we have spent in our new (to us) house. We were invited to a block party called the Bithell Bash. About 20+ families gathered together for fun bouncy houses, lots of grilling/food, and fireworks. Tryp was having a blast! IMG_2924IMG_2920                     IMG_2913 IMG_2929

Audrey wasn’t quite sure about it all at first so she hung around her daddy quite a bit. Not to mention that we left the house to get to the bash at 6:30 which is shortly before bedtime. So technically the kiddos got to stay up late. ;)IMG_2934IMG_2923IMG_2915IMG_2925



This is the “I don’t really like what you’re telling me.” face. hahaha IMG_2931

This is much  better. This is the “If I smile do I get to play longer?” face. :)


The kids really had a great time! Of course we had melt downs when it was time to leave but we enjoyed the good food and playing with our friends.

IMG_2936I can’t get over how adorable my little girl is. I know that ALL parents think their kids are cute but seriously…how can you resist this face!!! :)IMG_2941IMG_2927Tryp wrapped up our fun with a few sparklers. We headed home after that for bed. The kiddos were exhausted. And we heard fireworks ALL NIGHT LONG. I have to admit. I was a TAD grouchy about it but it only happens for a short time during the year and what it represents is well worth the noisy night.

IMG_2944IMG_2945What did you do for the fourth of July? I hope you had fun like we did! Another year of celebrating our freedoms! :)

Back to School Giveaway!!!


So I’m already in school mode. Yes seriously.

Some of my coworkers tell me that I need to take a break but honestly there isn’t much time to start preparing for next year. I may have mentioned it before but I’m at a school that is on a nontraditional calendar. So our last day of school is June 19th and our doors open up to start preparing our rooms on July 22nd. PD starts on July 29th and the kids first day is August 1st. Yes that is less than a month away! So because I am changing up my theme a little this year (stay tuned for that post!) I decided I should giveaway my classroom job chart. But that’s not all.


One of my very FAVORITE bloggers, Katie Klohn (aka Miss Klohn) is going to give away 3 (YES 3) of her products from her store. She’s super generous. You can visit her blog here. She taught 6th grade and is now going down to 1st! Talk about brave. Except that her heart has always been in the lower grades so it’s just meant to be. :) Enter the giveaway below. Good luck y’all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Resources for the lds mom on the go


I have a surplus of amazing LDS women in my life. They have all impacted me in some way or another. Today my dear friend Sierra is going to share some of her favorite technology resources for any LDS Mom on the go. Enjoy! :)





Okay, so I am a full grown adult, but yet I have to make a confession, I can literally waste an entire afternoon on this website. There are so many things to do, look at, and download. So when I hear the, “I am bored mom, what can I do?” Then this is where I send my kids, even the 13 year old. Because when you get to this website it will show you the current month of the Friend, but click on the Friend tab on the side and there are games and activities, scripture stories, videos, etc. And don’t even get me started on all the images on the link on the side, too many to count.


Resources for any organization the church has can be found on this website. It is full of helpful information, including lesson helps, song helps, and talk helps. If you are in the primary and you just don’t have time because your son/daughter has kept you up all night, then you can come here, it has sharing time ideas, power point presentations to go with lessons, newsletter templates, etc. I could spend hours on this website, but the point of this is to save time, not spend unnecessary time.

Also, become a Facebook friend of Greg Olson! I love his work and he posts pictures and quotes pretty regularly. It makes my day to go on Facebook and see one of his pieces.


Most of these apps should be available on both Androids and Iphones. The first three all come from Lds.org and are the official apps from the church. I’m not going to say much about them because you probably already have them.

gospelGospel library light

LDS Music

LDS Hymns

LDS youth

scripture a dayScripture a Day

I have installed this widget on my Samsung galaxy, I absolutely love it. Not only do I use it every day, but so do my daughters. They ask me, what was the scripture for the day? The widget shows the entire scripture and the chapter/verse. But then when you click on the scripture it takes to the standard works and shows you the entire chapter. Some days I have to be honest, we only get the scripture of the day read, but we try to always read the chapter also. The scripture of the day varies, so far the only book I have not seen any scriptures from is the Pearl of Great Price, but let’s face it, compared to the others, it’s really small.

lds children's songbookLDS Children’s Songbook- by the LDS Dudes

I don’t know about the rest of you, but it seems the car is the one place my three darling can’t find it in themselves to “love one another”. So this little app comes in handy in conjunction with my Bluetooth. I can search a song and within minutes it is playing throughout my car. It definitely calms everyone down really fast when they are listening to, “Love is Spoken Here.”

book of mormon touchBook of Mormon touch

It’s like the sticker books you used to have, except it’s on your phone and it’s the Book of Mormon stories.

unnamedThe Book of Mormon stories

Remember the Book of Mormon stories books you used to have when you were a kid? They have been made into videos, and lds.org has put them all online. This app is a direct link to the lds.org website and has all the stories by chapter listed, all you have to do is click on the chapter you want. They are coming via your internet connection however, so they may pause.

And last but not least… I know most of the apps and websites I mentioned have to do with your kids. But let’s face it, when your kids are quiet and reverent, you can’t be spiritual. But this last app is just for you. One hundred percent kid free, at least for another few years till they become the dreaded teenagers. J

lds quotesLDS Quotes

I LOVE this app. It has pictures with a quote from either the scriptures or a general authority. The pictures are gorgeous, usually an outdoor scene or a temple, and who doesn’t feel that sense of peace and calm when seeing those things. So this app is my oasis, my recharge, my escape.

new years


Sierra was raised in Utah in the LDS faith and is now married with three beautiful girls, 13, 11, and 9.  She is currently a 4th grade teacher  and spends most of  her time at the softball fields or basketball courts. During summer break she likes to catch up on reading books (that are NOT school related) and spend time on pinterest.







Thank you so much Sierra! As a new convert I can totally soak up this post to find great apps to use when I’m on the go. :)