Liebster Award!!

Happy Thursday, everyone! I have to say... I cannot believe just how quickly some things can change! 
I started this little blog and selling on Teachers Pay Teachers about a year ago. I did not, however, begin to focus myself until this past fall. In the last month or so, I have found a spike in sales, QUINTUPLED my Instagram following, and jumped from 7 TpT followers to 124! It took a lot of crawling and climbing, but I am finally beginning to feel like I have chiseled out my own little part of the internet.
Honestly, though, I cannot take the credit for it. About 2 months ago, I sort of stumbled into a group of teacher-bloggers and I am truly overwhelmed with the incredible support that everyone has to offer! These beautiful ladies have helped me to build a little online confidence, but also to get my brand out there. These ladies are truly inspiring teachers and I feel humbled to work among them.
And that leads me to my next point...

The ever-so-lovely Melinda at Tales of the Sassy Teacher has nominated me for a Liebster Award!
You may be asking, "What is the Liebster Award?" Well...
The Liebster Award is a way for newer bloggers (with less than 200 followers) who have great content, to link up, meet other bloggers, and share a little bit about themselves!
I was given 11 questions to answer so here goes...
1) Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I created my blog roughly 2 years ago. I began posting somewhat regularly about a year ago. To be completely honest, I started my blog a bit reluctantly. I had an incredible mentor during my first two years teaching. She constantly said, "You've got to write that down!" and "You've got to share that with the staff!" She started encouraging me to sign up for committees and other leadership opportunities through our school and district. It was through these different opportunities that people kept saying things such as, "I wish I had your passion..." and THAT was when she suggested I start a blog.
So I created one. I designed it myself... I posted once or twice... I didn't think I was worthy.
Last year, my mentor found out that she was being moved to a new school. She insisted that I continue blogging so that she would know what I was up to. Though it was just a joke (obviously, we've got email, phone, etc...), I spent last summer working to post more regularly and I came to love it so, so much! I took a leap (albeit a small one), and got a paid blog design to freshen everything up. Hey, we can't do it all! Now that I have made some connections and developed new relationships with the blogging community, I could not be happier! I tell my husband all the time that I cannot imagine life without blogging!

2) What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Sincere. This blog has moved from a teaching blog to a me blog. I hope for my blog to be honest, to cover all areas, and to never hide anything. I hope to create an open dialogue about some topics. I hope to inspire new ideas in others. I hope to learn from those blogs that I visit and collaborate with, and from my visitors and commentors, also. I view myself as a pretty open book and I truly hope that my blog reflects that. 
3) Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey that you wish you knew before?
This is kind of tricky... I don't think there really is anything, just yet. I still feel so new at this... and I know that I have a ton more to learn, but... really, the only thing that I can say is that I have learned to use my own voice. Don't be what you think someone wants to read. Be you.

4) What is your favorite pastime other than blogging?
I. Love. Golf. I love love love golf! 2 years ago, I came home on my birthday to find a bag full of clubs. I won't say that I was disappointed, because I wasn't. I was more... befuddled? My husband had only played a handful of times at that point and me... I had never even swung a club!
The following day, he and his 2 best friends took me out to a little 9-hole course. Oh. Em. Gee! I LOVED IT! I was terrible at it, but I LOVED IT! We had a blast and I haven't been able to put the clubs down since! I'm still a terrible golfer, but I have learned so many new strategies and techniques. I just can't get enough.
5) How many hours a week do you dedicate to your blog?
This answer is simple. NOT. ENOUGH. In the fall, I tried to post at least twice each week, plus a link-up or two. This winter, my husband and I adjusted our focus -- buying a house, starting a family... and I let it slip. I start tons and TONS of posts, but I fail to finish so many of them! My goal is to go back to the 3-4 day/week blogging. Hopefully, all of these started posts will help to make that pretty simple ;)

6) What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I love reading posts where teachers reflect on things that went wrong. Sometimes we just get too caught up in all of the perfect classrooms, photos, and activities. I love seeing how teachers, and people in general, overcome obstacles, turn situations around, and make lemons out of lemonade. 

7) Where does your blog inspiration come from?
I am inspired every day when I enter my classroom. My students drive me to be better for them. My colleagues push me to be better for myself. Every day is a new adventure with questions I've never heard before, struggles I have never seen, and the successes that fill me with elation. I credit all that I am to my students and colleagues. Every single child that I meet teaches me something new about myself and my instruction.

8) Which post that you've written are you the most proud of?
At the moment, the post of which I am most proud is actually not a teaching post... and, technically, not an actual post! My "Weight Loss" page took a lot of guts on my part. As stated on that page, I have struggled with this area of my life since I was 10 years old. I barely remember a life without that concern. I never speak about these struggles -- never. This was the first time that I opened myself up to the opinion of strangers. The most difficult part? Posting about it on my Instagram which is 100% public and often viewed by friends and family. Ultimately, I knew that it was the right choice. I vowed to be honest on here and that part of my life is part of it. Without addressing it, I'm not sure that I could ever feel completely truthful.

9) Is there any post that you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?
I have 9 posts sitting as "Drafts". Yes, you read that right... 9! I have got a sight word acquisition post, letter-sounds post, beginning of the year procedures, student organization, and so many more. I need to wrap some of them up and set them free!

10) What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
I love the community that I am now a part of. I love the support we all have for one another. I love how open everyone is to share ideas and how motivated we all are to improve the lives of millions of children. It is so refreshing to be able to open up my classroom to advice from other areas and to hopefully provide a little inspiration for someone else.

11) Which idea from a blog would you like to try yourself?
I wish that I had something specific, but at the moment, I am scanning the blogosphere for PBAs (Problem-Based Activities). Our district hasn't offered much PD in this area and I am eager to kick it off. Any suggestions for where to start are oh, so very welcomed!! :)

Now, onto my nominees! Hop on over and check out the following:

1. Elisabeth from Literacy and Lattes (formerly Teaching with Coffee)

2) Megan from Mrs. Baker's Dozen

Now, all you've got to do is:
1) Place the Liebster Award button on your blog
2) Answer the same 11 questions as I did
3) Nominate some new bloggers!

I can't wait to see what you all have to say! :)

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