11 Tips to Help You Find Your Happy in Your 30’s & 40’s

11 Tips to Help YouTwo years ago I was having a real crisis of self. I was Casey and AJ’s mom. I was Bill’s wife.  I was Mrs. Bietler to hundreds of children but who was Tina? Somewhere with all these different titles and roles I played through the course of the day I had become lost.

I had a conversation with my best friend where I basically asked the question, “Is this it? Is this all there is? I wake up and start working on the house and kids. Then I go to work. I come home from work and cook dinner, spend a little time with the boys and help them with homework. Then I grade papers, kiss my husband goodnight, and go to bed, only to repeat the entire process day after day after day. Is this really all life is? Work until you die? Where did my fun go? Where did my happy go? Where did Tina go?”

I expected her to look at me and tell me to stop being so dramatic, but like a good friend she didn’t. She listened to me and then, to my surprise told me she often felt the exact same way. I wasn’t nuts, I wasn’t a drama queen, I was lost.

Over two years I made some changes and did a lot of self discovery. I moved myself higher on my own priority list. Watch my video below if you want to see some of the changes I made in my days to make me find the spark, the very essence that is ME.

Elementary Box December 2015

Elementary Box December 2015

I was very lucky to receive a free box to review from the Elementary Box subscription service. I love, love, love subscriptions services and probably order more than I need to but this one really excited me. A box devoted strictly to teachers! How awesome is that?

A little info on the service, it is a monthly subscription and it is customized to your specific grade level. So the box I am opening is a 4th grade box but if you teach a different grade your items would be different from mine.

The cost of the subscription is $29 a month, $81 for three months, and $150 for 6 months. Shipping and Handling is free no matter which length of time you select. The longer you subscribe the cheaper the box becomes and the promised value of each box is $40+.

The contents of the box is mostly for use in the classroom, but they also make a point to tuck an item or two into the box for the purpose of pampering an exhausted teacher.

Here are the contents for the 4th Grade December 2015 box!


The first item I took out were Snowman Myface Bulletin Board Accents. I was very happy these accents were winter/seasonal themed as opposed to be holiday themed. As I teach in a very multicultural district I tend to decorate my classroom based on the seasons as opposed to monthly holidays. Plus, a perk to season decor is I only have to decorate three times a year instead of monthly. Plus once you put pictures of your students faces in these they will be adorable. Retail value, $4.99 for 36 accents.


Next was a package of Mini Polar Bear erasers that were just too cute. They are very small so they are more for prizes or rewards as opposed to being longterm useful erasers but children love to receive little trinkets like these. Again, I like that these are winter themed. Retail value, $3.00 for 48 erasers.


I think the idea behind these Tasty Task Idiom, Adages, and Proverb Task Cards is brilliant. It is a pack of 50 two sided cards with a variety of phrases that people use everyday in context based sentences. Then students have to guess was the idiom means. An answer guide is provided so I would make two or three copies and laminate so students would have the ability to self check their answers. It also came with two metal rings so you and make two packs. This would be great for four children to work in groups of two and practice. One can be a reader and the other a guesser. Then the reader can check the answer sheet to confirm if the guesser was correct or not. After three chances the two students would swap roles. This item makes for a super easy learning center or even an activity to work on during a Daily 5 rotation. Retail value, $9.99 for set.


The item I was most excited about was the Exploring Nonfiction set. It contained 24 glossy cards with a high interest nonfiction article on one side and then Common Core aligned questions on the back. The articles include many feature of expository text, such as words in bold print, tables, information charts, titles, subheadings, and the like. These would be perfect for projecting on to your white board and dissecting the text as a whole group, or even making copies of the front and back and using as mini assessments to see if your students are applying the different skills and strategies you are presenting during Daily 5 or reading in general. Retail value, $12.99 for a set of 24 article cards.



The last item in the box was the pampering item for the teacher. This month is was a jar of Hanna Herbals Peppermint Foot Cream.


This is a very thick cream made from peppermint oil, almond oil, jojoba butter, and shea butter. I like that it is all natural ingredients. The smell is wonderful and the peppermint would definitely feel good on tired and achey feet. Retail value, $10.99 from www.etsy.com/shop/HannaHerbalFarms


I have to say I loved this box. I really thought the items inside were incredibly well curated, extremely useful, and things I will incorporate into my classroom almost immediately. I think I will order the three month subscription since $81 is easier to afford than $150 and that brings the per box price down to $27 a box! To order your own visit www.elementarybox.com.

I would love to know what you think of this subscription service.

To see more about this box click the link below:







Christmas Children’s Book Favorites

Christmas Children's Book Favorites

I love so many children’s books, but there is a special place in my heart for Christmas ones. The stories are so charming, and they bring back memories of days long ago. Here is a list of books that I love to read not only to my classroom, but to my own boys as well.

Many of these books are as much of annual tradition in my home as hanging stockings and leaving cookies for Santa. For years I shared these stories with AJ when he was small and I still love to cuddle up with Casey at  bedtime and read with him. If you want to share some amazing stories this holiday season with your family check out the list below.

A Pussycat’s Christmas~ Margaret Wise Brown

On Christmas Eve~ Margaret Wise Brown

The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy~ Jane Thayer

A Very Marley Christmas~ John Grogan

It’s Christmas, David!~ David Shannon

The Night Before Christmas~ Jan Brett

How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas~ Jane Yolen

Dewey’s Christmas at the Library~ Vicki Myron & Bret Witter

An Elf for Christmas~ Michael Garland

Oliver All Alone~ Catherine Harris

To hear more about these stories click the link below!





Adapting to Teach Tough Classrooms

Adapting to Teach Tough Classrooms.jpg

I would love to say that as a teacher every year I am blessed with a classroom filled with angels and saints. This is the real world, though, and some years you get easy classes that listen to every word you say, and some years you get a class that is actually bouncing off the walls.

In the past I would get incredibly frustrated when I felt the class just wouldn’t follow my lead or my rules. With experience comes wisdom, and the knowledge that sometimes you have to go with the flow and throw your traditional rule book out the window.

At the end of the day I am there to teach the children I have been given, so this year I made a lot of changes to the way I do things in order to best meet their needs. Click the link below to hear the many ways I have adapted my classroom this year to create a more peaceful environment, make the most of the times when my students are most attentive, and not lose my own sanity while doing so.



Stocking Stuffers for Her

Stocking Stuffers for Her

All year long I made a point of keeping a running record of amazing things that I came across that I thought would be wonderful stocking stuffer ideas. Here is a collection of items that vary greatly in price that would make pretty much any lady very happy.


The first item is from Chelsea Charles and it is the Count Me Healthy Bracelet in Peony Crystal Silver for $98. I have been wearing this bracelet for a couple of months and get compliments on it often. Also, the beads slide back and forth so just like tying a string on your finger, you can use this bracelet to keep track of how many glasses of water you drank today or anything that you are trying to remind yourself to do daily or weekly.

Chelsea Charles has given me a code to let you save 30% off your holiday purchase. Just click the link below if you want to see more about their bracelets.




Next I have several beauty items that definitely kick up the luxury factor. The first is the Dior Fluid Stick in Ciel Rose ($36), a very universal color for most skin types and make-up looks. The next is Yves Saint Lurent Rouge Volupte Shine in the color Pink in Paris($36). This is another universal color that will please a lot of ladies. Finally there is the Boscia Pink Peppermint Blotting Linens which are very inexpensive but the scent is lovely and it is a limited edition item for $6. All of these items can be purchased from Sephora.com

Stocking Stuffers for Her gg.jpgNext I have some lovely bath products for the ladies who have sensitive skin or allergies to fragrance. Even though we are sensitive we still want to sink into a tub full of bubbles like the next girl. So I have here the Wild Argan Oil Bubbling Bath from The Body Shop. This large bottle is only $15 and worth every penny. Luscious bubbles and soft skin. Then I have the Peppermint Intensive Foot Rescue. Minty and so cooling this is the perfect product for your feet when they are dog tired.


I have developed a deep love for The Rifle Paper Co. They make the most beautiful stationary products in prints that are to die for. Plus the have phone cases that are simply stunning. This is the Parisian Notebook Set ($15 for both) from this as well as the Clear Rosa phone case ($30.60 for the 5/5S). They are just so girly that I absolutely love them!


If you are going to give her a pretty notebook you might as well toss in a sparkly writing instrument to go with it. Here are three gorgeous pens from PenGems.com. Each pen was only $9! They are filled with small genstones and topped with a large matching colored gem. Plus they have a great deal on shipping. If you spend $25 or more shipping is free.


Wrapping up my stocking stuffer list I have the Speak Stick Water Proof Portable Speaker. This is one of my favorite little tech devices. This little speaker puts out a lot of sound for being so small, plus you can use it in the shower, by the pool, or at the beach. Finally, I have a Smart Cloth by Toddygear.com.  These little clothes wipe your device screens crystal clean, wash easily and are easy to toss in your purse thanks to the little zipper case they come with.

So that is everything. I hope you like it!!


Count Me Healthy Bracelet by Chelsea Charles~
Use Promo Code GIFT30 to save 30% off your purchase!!

Dior Fluid Stick in Ciel Rose~

Yves Saint Lurent Rouge Volupte Shine in the color Pink in Paris~

Bosnia Pink Peppermint Blotting Linens~

Wild Argan Oil Bubbling Bath~

Peppermint Cooling Foot Rescue Treatment~

Fresh Sugar Lip Party Favors Gift Set~

Parisian Notebook Set~

Clear Rosa iPhone Case~

Designer Pens from PenGems

Speak Stick Blue Tooth Portable Speaker~

Toddy Smart Cleaning Cloth~
Click the Link below to save 10% off your purchase.

To see the YouTube video showcasing these items just click the link below!







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