Thursday, July 11, 2013

Liebster Award Nominations

I can't even begin to tell you how excited we are to be nominated by Krystyn at Ms. Richards's Musings and Stephanie at Polka Dot Palace for the Liebster Award!!  We are so honored!!  We've only been doing this since January and we are still learning as we go.  We love connecting with other teachers, learning and sharing new ideas, and making new blogging friends!

*After creating this post, we received some more nominations from Jessica at Literacy Sparks, Andrea at Bouncing Through 3rd Grade and Jen at Sparkling in Second.  We are seriously overwhelmed!!   

In order to accept the nomination, this is what we must do:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted to you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

Our nominations:
*Amy @ 24/7 Teacher

Krystyn's questions for us:
1. What is your favorite part about summer?
Carrie: I love being able to sleep in and spend some quality time with my husband working on our house, visiting family, going to concerts, and just hanging out.  
Caitlin: Definitely have to agree with Carrie on this one!  I am definitely not a morning person-so a few extra hours of sleep a day is my happy place!  This is my favorite time of year to catch up with high school and college friends! I love the luxury of so much time to have lunch dates, pool dates, dinners, bonfires, and going to concerts!

2. How do you relax?
Carrie: I'll admit I'm a TV junkie and I love to relax watching TV, listening to music and reading blogs.
Caitlin: Again-I'm with Carrie.  I pretty much only watch reality shows on TV {my husband thinks I'm crazy and absolutely cannot stand any of it! Some of my favs are Real Housewives of OC/NJ/Beverly Hills, Bachelor/Bachelorette, Kardashians..I do have a newer fav and that is GIRLS on HBO...Pretty much makes you feel awkward the whole time you watch the show! 

3. What is your favorite non-school related activity?
Carrie: Spending time with my husband.  We love going to Illinois Basketball games together.
Caitlin: ummm...well if you ask anyone who knows me, without a question, it's home decor shopping!! I am an TJ Maxx Homegoods fanatic. It's pretty much my second home. 

4.  Why did you start blogging?
Carrie:  Two years ago I switched grade levels and starting reading blogs to get ideas.  I was inspired and wanted to start my own but was intimidated.  This past school year Caitlin and I were co-teaching and thought it would be fun to create a blog together, to share ideas with other teachers, and here we are!
Caitlin: To be honest, I didn't really ever look at blogs even before January.  Once in a while I would read posts through pinterest, but never thought twice about it.  And then last November my good friend Amanda from Learning to the Core told me that she started blogging and creating TpT products.  I was so inspired!  I figured why not give it a shot!  Of course, soon enough, I also became very addicted and have loved learning through others and sharing what we've been up to!  Since blogging, I feel that it has kept me on my toes to keep up with the latest practices!

5. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Carrie:  I would live in New York City.  I am obsessed with NYC!  We've visited twice and I couldn't get enough.  I can't wait to go back and visit again.
Caitlin: Hmmm...I love California-being near the ocean and the mountains...definitely can't get anymore scenic than that!  But I also love Denver, Colorado and South Carolina! Really, just anywhere  where there is landscape and warmer weather for most parts of the year, unlike Chicago! 

6. What is one thing you want to try with your students next year?
Carrie: I want to incorporate more math centers and small groups during math time.  
Caitlin: Use ipads for reading responses during guided reading groups. 

7.  What is your favorite Pinterest inspired meal/activity/etc. that you have made or want to make?
Carrie:  I'm not much of a cook, but I discovered a "skinny shrimp salsa" that is to die for! It's very easy to make and something that I like to create for my school lunch.  Delicious!
Caitlin: Creamy garlic pasta and Caprese salad on a tooth pick! Both very simple yet tasty! Click on pictures below to check them out 

8.  What is your favorite blog? (besides mine)
Carrie:  There are so many it's hard to choose.  The first blog I discovered was Step Into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons and I love following her!   I've gotten a ton of great ideas from her.  
Caitlin:  I would have to agree with Carrie!! I also love going to Learning to the Core because they have such great ideas with how to integrate technology with basically E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!! They are a 1:1 school, so technology plays a critical factor in their teaching practices. And I am so fascinated with  how interactive and engaged students become by adding unique tools into their learning! 

9.  If you weren't a teacher, what would you be?
Carrie:  I'm not sure . . . . I would love to be a personal shopper!  That would be so much fun!  
Caitlin: I would be a home decorator, no doubt! 

10.  What is the one thing you are looking forward to next school year?
Carrie:  Co-teaching with Caitlin again and working with my team!  I work with an amazing bunch of ladies and I can't wait to work with them next year!  
Caitlin: Aw, thanks Carrie!  I couldn't agree more!  Carrie and I have built such a unique and fun teaching environment and friendship! Also looking forward to new activities and sharing with all of you! 

11.  When was the last time you were on a plane and where did you go?
Carrie:  Summer of 2011 I went to NYC with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece for my niece's graduation present.  A week in the Big Apple was amazing!!
Caitlin: Just a few weeks ago my husband and I went to Montreal, Canada with his family to celebrate his step-mom's 50th birthday!  Amazing time in a beautiful city!

Stephanie's questions for us:
1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
Carrie: When I was younger, I would spend a week in St. Louis with my grandparents.  We would go to the St. Louis zoo, visit the arch, the Magic House, Six Flags, go to a Cardinals game (which is where my love of the St. Louis Cardinals came from), swim in the pool with my cousins, and my grandma would let me decide where we ate or what we made at home.  Since we lived 3 hours away from my grandparents and cousins, it was so nice to spend a week with them in the summer.  I loved spending time with them.
Caitlin:  Several family vacations to Wisconsin Dells and Disney World.   I am from a family of 6 so going on vacation was such a luxury for us!  Always had a blast at the waterparks and roller coasters!

2.  Tell me about your least favorite teacher in school.
Carrie: I had a geometry teacher in high school that was terrible.  He played definite favorites and I didn't learn anything from him.
Caitlin: pre-calc teacher in high school.  So maybe I chatted a little bit too much to my BFF in math class.... So what?!?!  She was so done with me that she even called me mom!! I was appalled!  {Clearly, I was never one of those that ever got in trouble and just thinking back to it still gets under my skin!}

3. What is your dream teaching job?
Carrie: I would love to teach in a year-round school with a multi-age class.  Our year round calendar would be four 9 week sessions of teaching and then 3 weeks off for a break with seven weeks off for summer break.  Our curriculum (or themes) would be on a cycle so each year would be different.  I would love to incorporate as much technology as possible - iPads, laptops, IWB, etc.   I would want a smaller class size so each child could get as much individualized teaching as possible.  I would want to be an integrated classroom with a co-teacher.  I would love to have as many learning excursions as possible.  So many times our students don't get to visit what's around them.  Students would learn an instrument and to speak another language at an early age.
Caitlin: I love how Carrie has a lovely long list of what her dream teaching job would be!  To be honest, I love most of the way my job is set up!  Half my day, I teach 1:1 with 1st graders, and the other half of my day I get to co-teach math and guided reading with Carrie.  I guess if I could change it, I would love to co-teach all day long!

4.  Would you ever want to be an administrator?  Why or why not?  
Carrie:  No.  I want to teach the children, not worry about the paper work and dealing with all that an administrator is in charge of.
Caitlin: Heck no!  Our administrator works her butt off and stays at school until crazy hours into the evening, pretty much on a daily basis!  With that being said, I couldn't imagine being response for zillion things! I would never be able to keep it all straight!  On top of that, I wouldn't want to deal with all the discpline issues, parents' issues, budgets, teacher issues, data on all students, never ending evaluations, teaching the staff!  Sounds very overwhelming and too much for one person to manage!

5.  What was your first car?
Carrie:  My first car was a 2-door maroon Honda Accord and I've had Honda's ever since!
Caitlin: Well, you couldn't be more cool unless you had a brand new chevy cavalier with a sunroof and     fancy rims! haha...still can't believe that's what we bro and I shared!

6.  What was the last movie you saw in the theater?
Carrie: We saw "White House Down" - great movie!!
Caitlin: Argo with my lovely co-workers and Carrie!

7. If you have kids, how did you come up with their names?  Something you liked, family significance, etc.  If you don't have kids, what would you want to name them if you ever did?
Carrie:  I don't have any children yet.  (We had one dog and he was named after an AC/DC song.)  I'm not sure what names I would use, but I would like to use family names for the middle names.  
Caitlin:  No idea really, I don't have kids either.  Haven't really decided kid names, but it would be nice to incorporate some family names or even students who have inspired me! :)

8.  Tell me about one of those lessons that just went wrong, it didn't work.
Carrie:  I'm having a hard time thinking of a specific lesson.  I know that there have been many, but I can't think of a specific one.

9.  What do you do to relax?
Carrie: I'll admit I'm a TV junkie and I love to relax watching TV, listening to music and reading blogs.
Caitlin:  Watch a lof of reality TV, pinterest, instagram, facebook, bloglovin, and of course working out every once in a while! :)

10.  What was your most memorable vacation?
Carrie:  I'd have to say my first trip to NYC.  My husband and I stopped in New Jersey at Carlo's Bakery (Cake Boss on TLC).  It was delicious and worth the wait!  We then spent a few days in NYC and saw as much as we could.  I loved walking thru Central Park.
Caitlin: My 30 day trip to Europe right after my senior year of college!  This was definitely one of the best decisions and most extraudinary experiences I could have ever asked for!  Got to visit All around from London,Paris, Rome, Florence, Amsterdam, Lucern, Barcelona, Madrid

11.  Are you a Coke or Pepsi person?  If you don't drink soda, then what do you drink?
Carrie:  If I had to choose, I prefer Coke, but I am a Mt. Dew person!!  
Caitlin: Love me some coke!  But not too much!! 

11 Random Facts About Myself:
1.  I love Dave Matthews Band!!!  Their music is my "happy place".  We go to a concert every year and it's one of my favorite things to do.  (We started our vacation seeing them in Darien, NY and we just decided to go to Hershey, PA on our way back to see them!!)

2.  I married my high school sweetheart.  We grew up in a small town of about 1200 people and our parents live about 4 blocks apart from each other (which makes visiting home very convenient).
3.  I am a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan and I married a diehard Cubs fan.  If you know anything about Major League Baseball, those two teams are huge rivals, so it makes baseball season very interesting!
*at a rooftop for a Cubs/Cardinals game at Wrigley

4.  My favorite job was working as a lifeguard and managing our local pool.  Best tan ever!!
5.  We had a dog Jax that our friends had rescued.  We saw him at a Christmas party - sleeping quietly under a piano.  We told our friend that if no one claimed him, we would love to have him.  He was 10 months old and he was a part of our family till he was almost 13.  (He passed away in January.)  He was our baby and we spoiled him rotten!!  We miss him like crazy!!

*My niece and nephew adored Jax (or "Jackie-boy" as they called him)
6.  My first teaching job was in Houston, Texas.  I am from Central Illinois and moved there right out of college knowing no one.   Luckily, I made some very good friends the 2 years I lived there.
7.  Right before I was born, my parents had decided to name me "Emily".  My grandfather didn't like that name, so instead I was named Carrie after my great-grandmother.  Six years later my sister was born and my parents named her Emily and my grandfather forgot that he said he didn't like that name!  
8.  My husband and I are also diehard Illinois Basketball fans.  This year they played in the March Madness Tournament over our spring break.  They won their first game, so we decided to head down to Austin, Texas, to see their second game.  Impromptu road trip!  Even thought they lost,  it was a great game!!  We had a great time and even went back to the place we got engaged - the Hula Hut - right on the water.

9.  My favorite children's book is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is also one of my favorite movies!
10.  This past summer I walked the Color Run in St. Louis with my good friend, my sister, niece, nephew, and my cousins.  (I have RA and am not a runner!)  We wore tutus and had the best time!!!

11.  I love to scrapbook and created cards.  I have a shop on Etsy and love making things for other people and scrapbooking my own pictures.  

1. Spending time with the hubby! We enjoy fancy dinners, concerts, stay-cations, VEGAS, playing with our kitties....

2. I absolutely love home decorating!  Last year, my husband and I bought our first home and ever since, I have been doing little house projects here and there! I love greys, whites, and blues, french inspired, and distressed furniture! 
3. Love to lay out and catch the rays at every chance I can.  My husband & I became Lifetime members this year, and I can't get over their amazing pool!  I have been pretty much spending every day that I can there this summer! 

4. Obsessed with TJ Maxx!  I am definitely one of those TJ Maxx Fashionistas!  Not only do I purchase pretty much all of my home decor from there, my wardrobe is from there too!
5. Concerts!  I always love a good concert!  This past school year I saw Justin Bieber {still can't believe I did that!}, Dave Mathews, & Robin Thicke..later this summer I am seeing Steely Dan and Buddy Guy.  

Our 11 questions:
1.  What is your favorite grade to teach and why?
2. Tell us about your pet.  If you don't have one, what would you get and why?
3. What is your favorite blog (besides ours)?
4.  What is your favorite musicians and have you seen any of them live?
5.   What is your favorite children's book?  
6.  What is something new you've tried in your classroom that worked really well?
7.  Where would you go on your dream vacation?
8.  If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
9.  If you could create your "dream" school, what would it be like?
10.  What are your favorite movies?
11.  What do you like to do in your spare time for fun?

Now, that was an extra long post!  Thank you for hanging in there with us!  We are so excited about our nomination and can't wait to read what our nominees write!!

*Carrie and Caitlin


  1. Hi ladies,
    Congratulations! I can't recall how I found your blog, but I've been following for a little while. That must be so fun to co-teach! Carrie, I love that you admitted to being a TV junkie. I always feel bad telling people how much TV I watch. I really can't help it though. There are so many good shows!

    One happy follower,
    Super Sparkly in Second

    1. Thanks Carol!! I'm glad to know there are other "TV Junkies" out there. I definitely have a long list of things I love to watch!! Great to have something to watch while I'm working on school work! So happy you are following us!!

      Table Talk with C & C

  2. Oops! Apparently, you weren't on my Bloglovin list! I've been following on Instagram and I guess making my way to your blog from there. I changed that right quick and can stay up to date now. ^_^

    1. Ha! I've found that's happened to me a lot too! I'm following someone on Instagram or Bloglovin but not both. Getting caught up though!

      Table Talk with C & C

  3. Hi Carrie I loved reading your answers. Your Jax was a beautiful boy, he looks so sweet. I too have a Honda (an Accord) & I LOVE IT, my next car will definitely be another Honda. Thanks for answering the questions, you ladies definitely deserved this nomination, I love your blog.


  4. This was so fun to read about two of you at the same time!

    Thanks so much for the nomination! I consider it an honor coming from you two!

    24/7 Teacher: Amy Harrod

  5. Thanks for the nomination!

    I loved seeing the house pictures - nice job on the decorating!

    Learning in the Little Apple