Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Moments with Mimi and a Brand, New Teenager!

Happy Monday!  This Monday is especially special for our family!  Why?  Because our oldest has officially become a teenager.  That's right...Tucker is 13!  We are so thankful and blessed by this special young man and cannot wait to see what lies ahead for him!!! :-)  We love you, Tuckman!

This week Mimi has a bit of encouragement about learning from surprises.  Read, share, and enjoy!  Shannon :-)

Green Frogs and Great Surprises

Surprises come in different shapes and by different means, but they come to all of us!!!  Some are better than others.  On rare occasions, I have been greatly disappointed by surprising news, but for the most part, I think it would be fair to say I enjoy surprises!!!  

I relish the moments of anticipation when I know a surprise is coming.  Joy may be found in waiting before I unwrap my special Christmas family photo calendar.  Or it may be the wait in between the sound of car doors slamming and the grandkids running inside for hugs.  These surprises are small, but they are special surprises that I treasure. 

But, yikes, sometimes there are sudden happenings in life that we do not treasure or even like at all!!!  Such happenings catch us off guard and are sometimes even hurtful.  We can find ourselves in difficult predicaments as a result of “surprises” like these.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a few days of really nice weather.  I ventured into my backyard and pool area to piddle.  Really, what can you do in January, but piddle???  There is not too much gardening that can be done.

I have a large blue tub that sits on my deck for storing pool toys.  During the course of several rainy days, the tub had filled with water.  I wanted to empty it, but I was very aware of the possibility of uninvited critters hiding in the tub. 

It was getting late, and I had somewhere else to go.   I am not afraid of green hopping or even slithering residents…I just didn’t want them on my legs that day.  I hurriedly turned the tub on its side, but failed to properly place it away from me.  As the water was emptying, I quickly reached in to pull out the toys.  The green frogs picked that exact moment in time to exit the bucket.

I could almost hear them croak “SURPRISE” as they jumped to freedom toward me.  I stepped back and came very, very close to slipping off my small deck.  Actually I did misstep, but I remarkably recovered with an awkward maneuver.  The two froggies went on their way, and so did I!   

The next day, as I was cautiously picking up the scattered pool toys, I had to shake my head.  No surprises today!!!   Surprises?!  I knew there had been a possibility of frogs being in the pool toy bucket, so why the earlier mishap after all?  Could it be that I was in a hurry, not paying attention, and just carelessly reaching?

As I apply that to my own life, it speaks volumes to me.  What a life lesson!  Let’s be sure that our actions and our stance are such that when untimely events come, we are not taken aback or shaken around.  

Sometimes we must pay close attention to how we are standing.  Actually the two green frogs were not a great surprise at all.  I was just in no position to get out of their way!!!!  Let’s be ready for the lessons God sends our way.  Good or bad, there is much we can learn from daily “surprises.” 
Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)

1 Samuel 12:16, “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Some Goodies and Pics from Our 100th Day of School

Hi!  Just thought I would share a few goodies from our 100th day.  Here is my little 100 year old, all ready for the 100th day.  We had a blast getting her ready, but whew...the grey hair paint surely was messy!  She ended up with grey ears, great eyebrows, and a grey nose. ;-)

I LOVE THIS BOOK!  We read it to start our day of learning fun!
100th Day Worries
These are just a few of the learning activities you will find in my 100th Day Unit, prefect for improving critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, and problem solving in your little learners.  This resource contains tons of goodies including: Simple Science for the 100th Day, 100th Day Creative Writing Prompts, Stationery/Writer's Workshop Paper, 100th Day Definitions, Dice Games, Math and Measurement Problems, Sudoku Puzzles, Logic Puzzles, Creative Thinking Activities, Bulletin Board Ideas, Favorite Crafts, 100th Day Game Play, 100th Day Word Play, plus lots, lots more!!!! (  

How about a 100th Day Word Sort?
Or a game of 100th Day Strike Out?!
Sudoku puzzles are perfect for older students...
And for Younger Ones!
We also added several new differentiated 100th Day learning experiences based on the tale Sleeping Beauty.  Here are a few snapshots from that unit pack as well.  Complete with cross-curricular resources that teach critical thinking, creative thinking, and communication, students have a blast in Sleeping Beauty's kingdom! Use these alone, in tandem with other literature activities, across content areas, in classroom learning stations, etc. This pack is loaded with ideas that can be used with your whole group, in small groups, or for centers. The possibilities are endless! (

Although I currently teach gifted, these are also wonderful for use in the regular classroom! What a great way to celebrate the 100th day by developing great thinking!!!  Have a great Friday tomorrow, everyone!  Shannon :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--Jack and the Beanstalk Enrichment Fun!

Hi!  I am so excited to share the newest installment in my Fairy Tale Fun series with you:  Jack and the Beanstalk.  Your little learners will love these interdisciplinary learning experiences and so will you!  Packed with gobs of printables and creative learning activities, these will be a hit with both children and giants alike! :-)  Just follow the links below to see for yourself.

Also, look for my other 2 Fairy Tale Fun resources also available now: Sleeping Beauty and Princess and the Pea.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  Hope you have had a terrific Tuesday!  
Shannon :-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Moments with Mimi--The Meaning of Special

Tonight's inspirational post from Mimi is such a great reminder about the beautiful simplicity of childhood and the pure faith that children have!!!  I love this sweet story and hope you are blessed by it as well.  Thanks for dropping by!  Shannon :-)
The Meaning of “Special”

For those of you that have wondered when my Christmas decorations would finally be coming down, wonder no more!!!   Early Saturday morning we began the ordeal of packing away the season until next year.  With my granddaughter’s help, we divided and conquered the task of putting away the nativities, trees, Santa collections, and greenery. 

Friday night we had a sleepover and kicked off the morning early with delicious pancakes she helped me make, cook, and eat!!!  Our fun was put on the back burner for awhile, however, with all of the morning’s work left to do!!!  I gave her simple, but precise instructions, for the jobs at hand.  We were basically undoing all the decorating that she and her older brothers had done just a few weeks earlier.
After all of these years, she knows the routine well!!!  She started with the red and gold tree in my den.   I told her that all the tree’s bows were to go in the tall box, unbreakable balls in the gold wire container, and all the rest were to be put in the oblong, blue plastic container. 

Then, I handed her a large zip-lock bag for the “special” ornaments…as I wondered if she really knew the qualifiers for my “special” ornaments.  I possess a few new fragile and older sentimental ornaments that need to be bubble-wrapped.  I could do that later.  For the moment, I just wanted them carefully put into the plastic bag to keep them separate. 

I left her happily in charge of the den tree and was sure she had her part of the task under control.  The last stern instruction that I gave her was NO CLIMBING; I would be back to do the higher branches myself later!!!!  All was well and understood!!!

After checking on her progress and even helping with the high branches, I was very, very pleased with our progress.  I returned to my task of gathering up the greenery, cards, and miscellaneous trees from other rooms.  I heard her say she was done, and she asked me what was next.  I turned to look at her as she proudly declared, “Mimi, I even have your very special ornaments done.” She held up the large zip-lock bag for me to see.
The bag was not filled with the older sentimentals or even new breakables, but rather her chosen “special” one.   The only item in the bag was a six inch spike nail tied with a red ribbon.  The bag was sealed, and she had successfully completed her part.  She handed me the “special” ornament in the bag with a sense of great accomplishment. And in that moment the only response I could even articulate was, “Well done, my sweet child!!!”

Like some of you may already know or may even have yourselves, the nail ornament is nothing ornately special, but it hangs in the branches of my tree year after year as a tribute to the birth and life of Christ.  Later I asked her, “Sadie do you know why that nail ornament was special?” She nodded and said that she remembered talking about it when we all decorated the tree.  She thought a minute and then added that the nail story happens in the Spring—usually in April—when her birthday is. She pondered another minute, and I could clearly see the child’s mind whirring, “Mimi, I am glad that my birthday is when the cross and the nail story is, because it makes my birthday more special?”

What a sweet remembrance for the close of my Christmas Season.  I smiled thinking of the nail ornament in the tightly sealed baggie that she had designated as “special.”  This ornament’s reminders are not relative to age or frailty, but rather eternity and strength.  I have since then been back through the oblong blue plastic container to pull out a few of my fragile ornaments that she missed.  But in retrospect, she really did not miss a thing!!  I have my ornaments securely bubble wrapped, and they are ready for the attic journey until next year.  And next December, I will smile in my heart, as I have added one more special ornament to my precious zip-lock bag.  Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)
Luke 18:16, “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Friday, January 18, 2013

MLK SALE This Weekend from Bryant's Brain Train! :-)

Hi!  Hope you have a wonderful long weekend!  Just wanted to let you know that EVERYTHING is ON SALE in both my TpT and Teachers Notebook stores.  Stop by for great deals and lots of new goodies!  Shannon :-)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Moment with Mimi and a Brand New Fairy Tale Fun Pack

Hi, and Happy Monday! :-)  Before we get to this week's Monday Moment with Mimi, I wanted to take a quick minute to tell you that I just finished another Fairy Tale Fun Pack.  This one focuses on the story of the Princess and the Pea and contains learning activities that are both rigorous and adorable for elementary students.  Stop by one of my online stores below to see for yourself.

Enjoy this week's post from Mimi about my own little princess, Sadie.  I love Mimi's challenge to us to live lives worthy of being imitated!  Have a great week!  Shannon :-)

Ballet Pictures on the Wall

Have you ever been actively engaged in something, and suddenly you had a vivid remembrance—a sudden flashback of a fun time in your life, a time well spent that made your heart smile?  I don’t mean just an incident that happened in your life, but an era of your life. 

It happened to me Saturday as I was shopping for special ballet tights with my daughter and granddaughter, Sadie.  I recalled my many, many years of dance recitals, with elaborate costumes, invigorating music, and yes, my own cherished special tights.  

At that young age, we were just a room full of silly, laughing, little girls—little girls that had grandiose dreams and aspirations of the day that we would all star in great performances of Swan Lake on stages of our choosing.  We all were future prima donna ballerinas in our minds and in our hearts!!!!

Pictures of truly great dancers were hung along the walls of the studio that I faithfully attended—pictures that one day surely would include us.  We walked with confidence down the halls to our ballet practice rooms.  We proceeded to our designated areas and grasped the wooden exercise bars that were attached to a long wall.  We would begin our warm-up routines in silence.  In that moment we became our dreams, as we imitated the moves of the many graceful dancers pictured along the walls!!!!  Ahhhh, memories…

When we came back to the house on Saturday, Sadie continued to allow me to bask in my precious memories as she excitedly ran to change into her complete attire in order to model for me. As the bathroom door swung open, she entered my den with all the grace of a true “wanna be” ballerina.  

Her leotard was in place; complete with her recently purchased tights.  Her small pink ballet shoes were on her tiny feet—and she was dancing.  In that moment she too became her dream as she imitated the beautiful dancers in her mind!!!!

Whether it is from simply a picture on a wall or a visual from the recesses of their own little minds, how wonderful it is when a child excitedly breaks forth and accurately imitates others actions!  From the pirouettes of a ballerina to the final touchdown run of a football hero, children are all emulating actions…as they see them!!!!  

And oh, how we smile when our little ones are copying our own familiar stances or expressing our common sayings.  As our children grow, why not purpose ourselves to live lives worth imitating?   Actions copied from a way of life lived in front of them that is wholesome, healthy, and true.  Moves that we make that edify goodness.

   As Sadie posed for me so that I could capture her special moment with a picture, I thought how truly wonderful it would be if all of us were just as excited about posing as an imitator of Christ.  Like I once focused my little eyes as I grasped the wooden workout bar in ballet, so also let my focus now be on engaging in a performance that is worthy of being imitated by those around me…a life spent imitating Jesus.  Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)

Philippians 2:3-5 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gifted Gab and the Classroom Corner--A Twist on the 100th Day...

What is that saying?  You know, the one about Necessity being the mother of invention...
I have to confess.  The 100th day is kind of like that.  It sneaks in after 2nd semester, and I am always looking for a great and engaging series of lessons to follow up all of our learning fun we have had around the holidays. 
BUT, there is a similar saying that I also love--A problem plus an opportunity equals a probortunity!  This year the 100th day was just that--a launching pad for a brand new resource from me! 
I am excited to share my most recently developed resource pack with you.  How about celebrating the 100th day with a trip to Sleeping Beauty's kingdom...where everyone has been asleep for 100 years?!  This link will take you to my most recent enrichment and extension resource on both TpT and Teachers Notebook.  I hope you love it as much as I do!
I also am providing the link to my traditional 100th Day unit.  This is also a HUGE hit with my little ones each year.  It is jam packed with interdisciplinary, differentiated learning tools for you and your little ones.
I hope you have a great weekend and an even better 100th Day!  Shannon :-)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Moments with Mimi--Making Choices in 2013!

I laughed with surprise as I read my mom's post for today.  Why?  She shares her goal here of being aware of the choices that come her way 2013.  And guess what goal I had set for this be to whatever possibilities come my way.  I guess the Lord is pointing us both in a similar direction?!  Her words were such a great reminder to me today, and I hope they are a blessing to you as well.  Enjoy!  Shannon :-) 
Making Choices in 2013

Happy New Year!!!!!  I am so glad to be back organizing my thoughts and writings again.  I have missed the past few weeks of not typing “Mimi-thoughts” for our weekly Monday Moments with Mimi.  Trust me, my ideas and inspiration have definitely been present!!!!  But whew…my insights and ideas have just been weary and scattered amidst all of the other December busyness.
In this second week of January, I find myself wanting to ask you a couple of questions like, “Did you make any profound New Year’s resolutions?”   (I did not, but I do purpose in general to try and be better, or at the least, a more “improved” person in 2013.)  My second question for you would be, “Have you taken down your Christmas decorations yet?”   I have not, but…I have purposed to have that done by…a later date!!! J

When I was growing up, by December 26th our tree would be noticeably absent and all evidence of Christmas would be packed away in the attic or beside the road waiting for garbage pickup.  It was an organizational obsession and a traditional necessity from my mom.  She insisted on promptly resuming cleanliness as we ended the Christmas Season and ushered in the New Year.

When January 1st came, we celebrated New Year’s—totally void of any evidence of Christmas.  We replaced December festivities with dried black eyed peas and collards at noon on New Year’s Day.  Between those two foods, plenty of good luck and much money was surely to come our way.  Ahhh, financial peace! J  Of course, we all knew better, but it was our tradition for years and years.  I say that, because I have since broken rank with this tradition.  This year I did not have my longstanding meal with peas and greens, and I am still admiring all my Christmas decorations even as we move deeper into January.

What went awry for me?   The simple answer is, “Nothing went awry.”  I just made a different choice this year.   I chose a trip out of town for the New Year instead of a  noon meal, and I will choose when to end my Christmas celebration, not the calendar.  I am resolved in 2013 to see choices this year.  Life is about choices!

The Bible points out that God and His Son too had choices.   In our human frailty, we immediately see urgency, feel pressure, and respond accordingly.  In doing so, we think we have no choices and feel options are not available or even worse…they are tragically bleak.  But God has other plans.  He is the author and creator.  With Him, nothing is impossible.

So my resolve this year is not about making the right choices, but thoroughly recognizing that I have choices.  I have opportunities!  Black eyed peas and greens are no more the real source of luck and money, than luck and money are the real source of peace.  Peace comes from within, not without.  Peace comes from being a warrior, not remaining a wounded victim.  And yes, we may get wounded; even warriors get wounds.  Peace comes from seeing ourselves as the victors by claiming, “Even in this, I have a choice.”

As I enter into this second week of 2013, I thought it might make you smile to know that I have just turned on the lights on my Americana Christmas tree and straightened up the Joseph in my nativity scene.  I have made a good choice, and I am pleased with my decision for this year.  And see, because of my choice, I am not late cleaning up after 2012, but instead, I’ll be ahead for 2013. Even my gold bow on my mailbox is holding up beautifully!!!!!  Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)

James 1:17-18 “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year and Exciting News about a SALE!!! :-)

Hi, everyone!  Happy New Year!!!  Call us crazy, but we decided it would be fun on such a cold night to celebrate with indoor sparklers in our kitchen with the kiddoes at midnight.
We did have 2 important rules that everyone had to follow, though:
1) You have to stand on the tile, not the rug.
2) Do NOT catch your little sister's hair on fire! ;-)
Silly times and sweet memories with the Bryant bunch!
I wanted to let you know that absolutely everything is on sale in both my TpT and Teachers Notebook stores!  I love the celebration, hope, and promise of each New Year.  A HUGE SALE seemed like the perfect way to begin 2013!  Enjoy!  The links below will direct you both of my online stores.

I also wanted to share a few of my winter goodies you will find there, along with LOTS more!  Here are just a few examples.  Stop by and see me!  
Also join me on Facebook at  Shannon :-)