Archives for : Being Healthy

New Life Adventure!

Before and After2

My Favorite Thing To Do IsI am taking my passion for health & fitness and starting a new business adventure!  After browsing around here, head over to my NEW blog to read about my own personal health and weight loss journey and see more before and after photos and videos. 

I have always been inspired by people who have put themselves out there with their struggles with food and fitness and I am hoping to help inspire and motivate others now!  You can also follow my daily posts on Facebook by clicking here!

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Midnight FLASH FREEBIE – More Mystery Graphic Organizers!

We are wrapping up our Mystery Unit next week :(  I really love this unit because it is so engaging for my students.  This year we created “case files” to go with our books and I made a bunch of graphic organizers.  I blogged about one last week and how I used my character trait cards during this unit…you can read about it by clicking here.

I also made some other graphic organizers that go into more detail about the specific characters, questioning strategies, inferring (based on clues), etc.  This pack has many more options as far as graphic organizers than the simple one I wrote about last week.  Click the pic to visit my TPT store and snag them!  They will only be free until I wake up in the morning!

Mystery Graphic Organizers - Full Page Cover Image

My class actually put together “case files” using these ones!  It was a blast!  Of course, there are some things that I wish I would have done differently (but isn’t that always the case?).  Here are some photos!Making the mystery case files!

Making our mystery case files!

Getting their assigned case!

Learning all my mystery vocab!

Completing all the "paperwork"!


I am sad to see this unit come to an end, but we are planning a fun project for next week to celebrate the end of the unit!  Check back to see that!

Finally, I am linking up with Farley for the March Currently and Gina for Slim Down Saturday!

march currently

Listening – I am listening to complete silence.  Everyone (husband and pets) in the house is sleeping…except me!  I am up and it is 2:30am!!!  I am such a night owl and it makes for difficult mornings!

Loving – I CANNOT WAIT FOR NEXT FRIDAY AT 4:00!!!!!!!!!!!  SPRING BREAK!!!!!!

Thinking – We have a wedding to go to tomorrow and I have nothing to wear and my hair is atrocious!  I will be shopping in the morning…

Wanting – Conferences are all next week and am I prepared for them…no…but that is me.  I procrastinate until the very last minute and then I work at my finest!

Needing – Report cards have to be done on Monday and have I started…no…but that is me.  I procrastinate until the very last minute and then I work at my finest!

?????? – So, it probably isn’t the most difficult mystery question!

Onward!  Slim Down Saturdays are really turning into me saying the exact.same.things.every.week.  I need to drink water…yada yada yada.  I need to stop drinking so much soda…yada yada yada.  I need to workout…should I even go into it all this week?!  Mexico is officially a week away…well at least I haven’t gained any over these past weeks!  I will keep at it though!  Click the pic to link-up (this link is not live yet – so keep checkin back!)



Have a great weekend!

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Five For Friday Linky and Slim-Down Saturday Linky!

Even though it’s Saturday, I’m linking up with Doodle Bug’s Five for Friday Linky!  Here are some random things from this week (and some older stuff that I just want to share!).


Back in December, we taught a Rainforest Animal Research Unit.  Along with a written report, students had to create a visual aid.  It could be as simple or elaborate as students wanted.  Here was a conversation I had with a student.

Student:  Mrs. McDonald…my project is probably like 16 feet long!

Me: {thinking…okay, that is an exaggeration}  Oh wow!  I don’t know how we’ll display a 16 foot         project! {thinking…he must be confusing feet with inches}

(fast forward a week later)

Me: {jaw drops as mom brings the anaconda project into classroom}….

Anaconda Door Decoration

I didn’t know how I was going to display it!  Last year, I did the whole tree and vines around my door.  As I was visualizing that display, I thought I could rig it up outside the door!  I used trusty 3M hooks and string!  You can imagine what all the students’ reactions were as they walked down the hall and saw it!


The week before Winter Break, I was out sick for 3 days with pneumonia…yuck!  I wanted to share this funny post-it that a student wrote while I was gone.  I can always count on someone in the room to report the major offenses while I am out!

Funny Student Note


Have you heard of these fabulous little inventions?  Pen-Pals!!  Not the kind you write letters to.


 I found them at Office Depot or Office Max…can’t remember which one.  They were $0.99 each.  You can probably find them even cheaper online.  They have an adhesive back and I stuck one to each desk.  For kids that like to pick and peel things off their desks, they will come off.  If they come off I use Crazy Glue (shhhhhh…don’t tell our custodian).  Try peeling that off now kiddo {muah ha ha ha}!


This week we tackled strategies for all our basic facts!  When we got to the 9s, I wanted to show them the finger trick.  As I was awkwardly trying to show my hands to them and describe what I was doing, I decided to quickly trace my hand and cut it out…sooooooo much easier to show them and explain!

Learning 9s Facts


This week we continued our country study in Reader’s Workshop.  We learned how to use an index to find specific information and on Friday we focused on finding information about their Country’s history.  After students jotted history facts on post-its, they attempted (keyword: attempted) to put their facts in order like a timeline.  It didn’t go that well…but that’s okay!  Reading about history is hard unless you have a lot of background knowledge (which they don’t).  I  was happy that they could use the index!

Creating Timelines

Click  here or the image below to join the linky and share 5 things from your classroom!


I am also linking up with Gina over at Third Grade Tidbits for Slim-Down Saturday!  Here’s how my week went:

Slim-Down Saturday

Come join us and stay focused with your health goals!  Click here or the picture below to take part!


I am off to make a late dinner!

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Need a Valentine’s Day Book and Activity?

This 3-day week felt LONG and my sleep schedule is extremely off-kilter.  It’s to the point where I was nodding off at the wheel on my way to school – not good!  Anyway, a few things for you today!

1) A Valentine’s Day Book and Activity
2) New Neon Frames (Sneak Peek)
3) Slim Down Saturday Linky
4) Our Country Study Kick-Off


1) A Valentine’s Day Book and Activity

The book Heartprints is a cute little book about kindness!  It doesn’t necessarily have a connection to Valentine’s Day other than the hearts – but the message is powerful!  I always read this book in the beginning of the year but it would be very appropriate this time of year too!

After we read, the kids write down kind things they can do to leave heartprints behind!  I just copied some little paper hearts on a variety of colors and each student got 6 hearts.  If you want to snag the hearts template (it is nothing fancy), a pdf of the book cover (it has my class library label on it – see the picture below), and a Smartboard file for this activity, then click here!  Here is our door display!

Heartprints Book Display

Heartprints Book

As I was Googling to find a cover image of the book, I found another blogger, Primary Practice, who wrote the definition of a heartprint.  You can get a copy of it at her blog here or click the picture!

Heartprint Definition

Have fun spreading love and kindness!


2) New Neon Frames (Sneak Peek)

I have been tinkering around with creating digital frames and borders and I am excited about these bright and glowing neon frames!  They aren’t quite ready yet (hopefully in the next couple of days), so follow me for updates or keep checking my TPT store (there are a few other fun frame freebies to grab while you wait for the neon ones)!

Neon Frames


3) Slim Down Saturday Linky

It is Week 2 of Third Grade Tidbits Slim Down Saturday Linky!  I didn’t do so hot this week…oh well!  Join us to Slim Down by clicking here or on the picture!



4) Our Country Study Kick-Off

Now, for a little bit from our classroom this week!  We kicked-off our Country Unit in Reader’s Workshop!  Here’s how the kick-off went:

Of course, they really aren’t bored with it at all – they are LOVING it!

Day 1 – Students just browsed all the different country books and then they wrote down their top 2 countries.

Day 2 – My fab colleague, Kelli over at Tales of a Teacher printed out some super cute “plane tickets”.  I filled out their plane tickets, which told them what country they were “going to” and who they were “traveling with” (their partner for the unit).  It is amazing how a little pretend plane ticket brought so much excitement!

Day 3 – We learned that before we “travel” (or read a book about a country) we usually have questions about the place we are “going to” (or reading about).  So we listed as many questions as they could think of.  That day as they read, they jotted any answers they found!

Day 4 – I cut apart all our little questions from Day 3 and we categorized them based on similarities.  Here we are categorizing.

RW Country Unit

We had some good discussion about where different questions would fit.  I really let the students group them.  We came up with these groups (sorry for blurry photos):

RW Country Unit

After this, students had to come up with a heading for each group (synthesizing…this is usually not easy for my class!).  They did fantastic!  Here are our final categories (I had to help them with the “values” category):

RW Country Unit

Students realized that no matter what country they are reading about, the books are usually organized in a similar way…by these big ideas!  Finally, we turned these headings into “essential questions” and now students are reading voraciously to answer them!  So fun!

That’s it for today!  Thanks for visiting!

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For the first time ever…

Well, I did it!  I have been debating this move for awhile and finally just did it.  It was a difficult decision but one that I am not regretting!  What did I do you ask?


{insert the shocking dun dun duuuun music}

Every night (and always with good intentions) I lug home a bag FULL of stuff plus a bin FULL of stuff.  I am sure you can guess what happens.  It…just…sits…there.  But it doesn’t sit silently.  It guilts me every night as I neglect it.  Not anymore.  It was an amazing feeling getting out of my car when I got home with nothing but my purse to carry in!  From now on, my teacher bag (and bin) will only come home on the weekends…no more weeknights!  I need more time for me!  My bag of school work will be there waiting patiently for me in the morning!

Curious…how much work do you bring home with you every night?

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Free Valentine’s Day Clipart and Frames!

I don’t know about you, but I love lists…organized lists!  I am going to attempt to organize this blog post for you because it is LONG and I completely understand not having the time to (or just not wanting to) read all of it.  So here’s the outline…read it all or scroll to something more interesting!

1) The Weather and One Little Word Linky
2) Weight Watchers and Slim Down Saturday Linky
3) My Blog Twin
4) Free Valentine’s Day Frames, Bubbles, and Hearts


1) The Weather and One Little Word Linky
Imagine walking outside and having all the snot in your nose instantly freeze!  That is us today and tomorrow up here in Minnesota…yah you betcha it’s cold!


And we just got word that school is cancelled AGAIN tomorrow!  With Winter Break and now these cold “snow” days…I feel so out of school mode!  Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE having days off!  Speaking of love, I am linking up with Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade  with “My One Little Word for 2014”.  Here is mine!  Click the image to link-up with your one little word!


There are days when I feel so stressed and worked to the max at school that I forget what I LOVE about it (and there really are too many things to list).  Here are just some of the things I LOVE about my job:

      LOVE the Kids!

  • Seeing them learn something and being really proud of it
  • Affirming them when they peak up at me from their desks looking for encouragement
  • Sharing their excitement about sleepovers, birthday parties, and family events they tell me about
  • Hearing their funny and awkward stories, questions, and comments
  • Watching them interact with each other

      LOVE the Creativity!

  • Being able to create (lesson plans, smart board slides, worksheets, classroom decorations, whatever!) – I love the process of creating ANYTHING…I get an adrenaline rush when I finish something!
  • Being able to decorate – my classroom is colorful, bright, and cheery yet also very homey and cozy!
  • Being able to create positivity within my room (okay some days this doesn’t happen…).  I honestly believe our thoughts project invisible energy (I know I might sound like a wacko).  Honestly though, on those hard days (the kind where I want to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs), if I can force myself to think positively, smile, and be happy – everything and everyone around me is happy too (usually)!

      LOVE my Team!

  • Kelli Olson (visit her over at Tales of a Teacher) and Scott Swedeen are my rocks!
  • We are 3 peas in a pod
  • We constantly collaborate, support, encourage, listen, help, and have fun together!

 I have to remember the things that lift me up…especially on the days when I feel down!

2) Weight Watchers and Slim Down Saturday Linky

As part of the New Year, I rejoined Weight Watchers (for the 1,353,892 time)!  And this time it is going to stick!  Here is the history.  In a time long ago, as a young college student, I gave up the Mountain Dew and Pop-Tarts and I lost 53 pounds!!  Fast forward 10 years and I actually have kept most of it off (except for a few sneaky pounds)!  However, my eating and exercising habits swing from one extreme to the other (and that is not healthy).  For some extra accountability, I am joining Gina at Third Grade Tidbits for Slimdown Saturdays!  Which is perfect because my WW meetings are on Saturdays!  Click the images to head over and join us!



3) My Blog Twin

Three weeks ago, I was trying to come up with a name for my blog.  My last name is McDonald.  Whenever I have to create a login anywhere, McDonald is always taken.  So I shrink it up to McDee.  I thought why not use that in my blog name?  Then I wanted something cute (of course), so I started thinking of rhyming words.  I came up with McDee’s Busy Bees.  So there I was, happy as a clam, with my new blog ready to go.  As I was perusing through the world of blogs, I spotted this button {eyes wide and bulging}

Miss-V-Busy Bees Button

My heart….just….dropped.  OMG – I had used the same name as someone else…not just someone else…Sara from Miss V’s Busy Bees!!  I felt like I had committed a blogging crime…I felt so guilty!  I had just set up my entire blog!  I was mad at myself for not researching similar blog names beforehand!  Now would I have to change it?  Do I ignore it?  Do I contact her?  Do I erase everything I have created and start from scratch?

I put myself in her shoes.  If I had an established blog and I saw that someone had basically the same name as me…I would probably wonder is it a coincidence or copying?  So, I headed to her blog to find her email address.  I sent her an email confessing to her my blogging faux paux.  I really wanted to respect her blog!  I eagerly awaited her reply (and was fully prepared to start my blog over from…the…beginning).

Her response came quickly.  I read it {heart beating}.  I couldn’t believe it.  She responded with the most kind, supportive, encouraging email and said her only suggestion would be “to keep on bloggin’, girl!”  Wahhhhooooooo!!!  Guilt relieved!!!  I felt so happy!!!  Sara will now have an honorary spot in my sidebar forever!  Thank you blog twin!

P.S.  We both have kitties that look almost the same…here is my new kitten, Peeta.  Check out her cat, Socks, here!


4) Free Valentine’s Day Frames, Bubbles, and Hearts

I have been dabbling in the world of creating graphic images!  I am just learning and have made only a few items.  Hopefully, there will be many more to follow!  Click below to snag some of the Valentine’s Day freebies for yourself!



Kelli also made come cute little Valentine’s Day hearts!  Grab them in her store or click the picture below!


If you made it through all of that…well done!  I am off to enjoy the rest my “snow” day today!

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