Back to School= Delayed delayed post!

SCHOOL HAS STARTED and it is back to 100 mph warp speed folks! I wanted to do a "classroom reveal" but that might not happen until Christmas vacation.
 It's like one minute we are all "gearing up for back to school" as teachers and then the next minute we are in the thick of it! And boy do I mean the thick of it! There is no "easing back" into early mornings, chaotic days, not eating or using the bathroom for many hours at a time, and being just about ready to pull out a sleeping bag on your classroom floor because you'll be back in less than 10 hours anyways! God Bless whoever made Labor Day weekend the weekend after the first full week back at school! I adore what I do, but goodness gracious what a busy exhausting first week back! 

 I am blessed with the sweetest group of TK students, but I always forget just HOW much training I do in the course of the first month let alone the whole school year! Routines, routines, routines! We are learning those important classroom procedures that make the school year run like a well oiled machine. I actually had a sub one time leave a note for me that said my class had run like a " well oiled machine" and I think all teachers would agree that if you can have a sub say that about your sweet class then your "pulling out your hair" moments with your little ones is well worth it! :)

So, I'm sure that you are over this England trip that I took over what seems like years ago by now! I left off on my last blog post stating a "Part 3" was going to happen next being one to try my hardest to always keep my word I am going to give a  short recap on the last leg of my summer vacation so we can all just move on with our lives already ( or maybe that's just me)! Ha!:)

One of the adventures we had in England was our trek to the "Lost Gardens!" We found it so obviously it wasn't too "lost." Har har....bad joke. The gardens were beautiful and divided up into several sections. I took many pictures but only the food shot made it into this post.

Cornish pasty meal

If you have read every one of my England posts ( you deserve an award), you will remember that we stayed with my Aunt and Uncle in Oxford, England. My Uncle is a professor of Chinese at Oxford University. 
These are the kind of books that lined every room of my Uncle's home in Oxford!

He gave us an exclusive "backstage pass" kind of tour when we were there. It was amazing! The architecture was beautiful. I love buildings with rich history!

One of the highlights of our trip was meeting my English second cousins ( twin boys). I had a limited time to play with them so I had to work all of my Kindergarten teacher charm on them. One of the boys, Max, warmed up to me and we had a nice time playing in the garden. His brother wasn't so sure of my crazy ways and decided to stay closer to his mom ( thus why I don't have a picture with him). 

Swings are always a great ice breaker!

Congratulations if you have made it to the end of this post! Go get yourself an ice cream or something! I know that I am going too! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Don't labor too hard! :)

*This post was written on Labor Day weekend and obviously didn't get posted until now! Have I mentioned that Back to School is really consuming?! :p

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The Seaside and City Tour-England Part 2!

Hi everyone! Remember me? The "blogger" who naively stated that , " I will blog 2-3 times per week!" Go ahead and laugh now...because believe me I am laughing right along with you! :)
While I could pretend that I am "on top of things" with my blogging in addition to back to school chaos and all of that good stuff...I must make a confession. I wrote out my England trip posts as soon as I got back aka "when I wasn't consumed in the black hole known as my classroom now!" Boy am I glad that I wrote these posts earlier or else it would be like my trip never even happened ( in the blogging world that is)! 

The second half of my England adventures included a trip with my British cousins to the Seaside. I thought that was the British word for "beach", but really when we got there it wasn't the sandy kind of beach that we like here in So. Cal. There was the water (freezing) and a bunch of wet sand, but it was still packed just like you would find our So. Cal beaches here during summer. My cousin Hannah took surfing lessons. While it was tempting since I've always wanted to try surfing, I didn't think it would be the best choice for me to try my first time surfing while this far away from home (with my luck I'd get seriously injured), so instead I cheered my cousin on and had a couple of an extra creamy Cornish ice cream. They use "clotted cream" in England and oh my word is it creamy! It was so delicious I didn't even know what to do with myself! :)
 My cousin got up on the board in a couple of tries. She is fifteen years old and ridiculously athletic! Oh, and I also got quite a tan! I thought by foregoing my trip to Hawaii this summer that I was missing out on my summer tan, but I guess going to England is kind of the same thing!? Surfing, beaches, and tans! Who knew?! And to think I brought a raincoat and clothes for cooler weather....I ended up wearing the same pair of shorts almost everyday on this trip (which means that you will probably never see me in them again)! Those who know me are nodding their heads because they know THIS IS TRUE!:)

And now the tour of London town on a double-decker bus! We had a short time in London so we had to do a pretty quick trip. We figured the tour bus was the quickest way to do this and you can jump off and back on at any point on the tour.

Took this pic especially for my  bestie Abby!

Big Ben ! Sorry if I am insulting your intelligence. I don't want to assume everybody knows this landmark.

London Eye

London Bridge

The Queen heard it was our Anniversary and had us over for tea! Kidding!:)

 I might have had a lot of fun saying British words in a fake British accent for most of the trip, much to the delight embarrassment of my sweet hubby. Ha!

Okay, I thought that I could wrap this trip up in this post but it's looking like I will be needing a part 3!

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Books from Buckingham Palace!

If you know me, you will be shocked to hear that I did not buy ANYTHING (not even clothes) while in England...well except for a few children's books from Buckingham Palace ( The Queen's Shop)! I am linking up with Courtney from Ramona Recommends today for her Tuesday Travel Link Up!

 Ramona Recommends

I think that buying children's books as a souvenir when traveling is a great idea! Unlike a cutesy magnet or even t-shirt (while those are fine souvenirs), a book is the "gift that keeps on giving."  Last summer I bought the book Goodnight Hawaiian Moon while on vacation in Hawaii. This past school year, I read it most days to my littles right before their quiet rest has a nice beach waves background soundtrack, that combined with turning my classroom lights off, puts me them to sleep (or at least calms them down). It's one of those great books that is short enough that every child knows the words after a couple of times reading it. It even includes a lullaby sung in Hawaiian. Many of my girls (on their own) would start hula dancing every time they would hear it. That spawned the idea that our class should have a Luau, which we did for Mother's Day. That is a separate post for a different day. But, needless to say, this book was definitely a class favorite!

Now let's get to the European goodies!I am excited to go back to school in a couple of weeks and share these gems with my new class while telling them about my adventures in England this summer!

1. Madeline in London
 I have always loved the classic Madeline books , so it was absolutely necessary to buy this one while in London! What little girl ( or even big girl) doesn't love Madeline?

2. Does The Queen Wear Her Crown in Bed?

I had to get this book because (besides the cute title) I immediately thought of the dozens of little girls that come thru my class thinking they are princesses-ha! Kindergarten is definitely the age where make believe and reality has a fine line. Everything is princess themed! Princess dress up, princess pink, and princess movies /books! It seems that when you start out in life THE DREAM is to be a princess...and it's even cute! But, do you know somebody that thinks they are a princess now in their adulthood? Not so cute anymore right?! :)
I also LOVE how this book shows what life is like INSIDE THE ROYAL PALACE! There is even a picture of William and Kate ( the royal couple) getting married! Such a fun book!
 This book really satisfied my curiosity, since when you go to visit Buckingham Palace you don't actually get to go inside any of the rooms.
 *Side note: Shortly after I left England, they opened some of the rooms and gardens for tourists to visit!

3. Paddington at the Palace

Who doesn't love our furry friend Paddington the Bear ? Another classic children's character book that I had to have! Join him as he has his own adventures at the palace! So cute!

Now, you definitely don't have to go all the way to England to buy these books. Good ol' will get these to you in a jiffy! But, it sure is fun that I will be able to tell my students that I bought these books for them at the "Queen's House!" :)

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So. Cal Blog Surf!

Happy Blog Hop Saturday! This is my first Blog Hop ever! I am SO excited to be a part of this with my AMAZING So. Cal teacher/blogger friends. I can't wait for you to "meet" all of them ( if you haven't already) as you surf on over to their blogs! Get ready to be informed, inspired, and just impressed! These ladies are the sweetest, the BEST teachers, and all around individuals!

Well, for my beach themed post I decided to do a review of my new teacher lesson planner for this upcoming school year! It is C.Jayne's "Teacher Anchor!" I just love it and I think that you will see why! I've been a loyal Erin Condren fan for years (and still am)! But, I just couldn't resist this adorable, yet extremely practical lesson plan book that C. Jayne has developed. Just look at the cover!

I have been really into the nautical theme lately! So much that I am very tempted to do my classroom theme as nautical this school year, except that I just have so much owl themed stuff that I've decided to keep the owl theme again.

I just adore anchors though! They are a meaningful symbol for me and they go along with one of my favorite Bible verses..."We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. .." - Hebrews 6:19 (NIV). I have this verse in my home as well as my classroom. It has always spoken to me in my life even before I became a teacher. Now, as a teacher, it is a truth that I cling too! I just can't imagine this life or teaching without my faith in God! He is my anchor! Everyone has something or someone that is their "anchor" in life. It gets them through the hard and challenging times in life. Who (or what) is your anchor?

On the C. Jayne website this is what it states as the meaning behind the "Teacher Anchor:"

"The anchor has long been a symbol of hope and steadfastness – two words that any teacher could use to describe her journey each school year. When an anchor is raised on a ship, it signifies that a new journey has begun."

This is so true! One of the best pieces of advice as a teacher was that, "Tomorrow is a new day!" I have tried to live by this advice. And on the really rough days, sometimes I tell myself that , " Each hour is a new hour!" I'm sure that all teachers can relate to this! We are a persevering bunch aren't we? We don't let our students give up and we certainly don't give up ourselves! :)

Love this!I am a huge proponent of parent communication in my class!

When I first received the "Teacher Anchor," my first thought was, Oh my word it is heavy! Am I really going to carry this thing around? Teachers already carry around a storage unit in their crates/tote bags/cars everyday! But, as I opened it up, I saw that it was very intentionally thought out page by page of what elements every teacher needs to have in their planner.

You will find that there are the Common Core Standards for EVERY grade level included. Yes...every grade level. At first I just thought it was just adding unnecessary bulk to the planner, but really it is a GREAT idea to have access to every grade level for differentiating our lesson plans! We all know that not every student is at "grade level" when they come to us, so this resource is great for meeting the needs of each individual student in our class! Also, this is handy for the teachers teaching more than one grade at a time. Hats off to you if you do!

Since this IS a beach themed Blog Hop, I just had to share my absolutely favorite beach with you all! I love this beach so much it is where I got married! This picture was taken at Ka'anapali Beach, Hawaii !

Check out my beach themed freebie here on Google Docs...

Beach Themed Getting to Know You

Well that was my review! Thanks for surfing on over here! It's time to catch the next wave! But before you do....what blog hop would be complete without an AMAZING raffle?

Make sure to enter! You could win a $25 gift card to TPT and enjoy some of the phenomenal products that my teacher friends have created!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now surf on over to my sweet and talented friend Kristen from

She is one of my biggest inspirations and helped me to get started with my blog!

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England Adventures Part 1!

I am back from my trip to England! Even though I'm very jet lagged, I wanted to write down all of my trip highlights while they are still freshly swirling around in my head! While we had many exciting adventures and enjoyed gorgeous landscapes, there really is no place like home!:)

I went to England with my husband and my parents. We went to a mini family reunion (whoever could make it)! My mom's side of the family literally lives across the globe ...from Canada to England to China! As you can imagine, we don't see each other very often. So, when everyone decided to get together this summer, my hubby and I switched out our annual Hawaii summer trip ( just us) for some family time.
We love our Hawaii trips and even got married in Hawaii! I think that we have gone every summer for the last four years. So, it was kind of major to not go to Hawaii this summer.I might have been a bit A LOT more excited than my hubby to go to England this summer instead, but I convinced him to go by telling him that we had to visit the place where our last name ( Preece) originates from! Plus, where else are you going to get authentic fish and chips? So off we went!

When we arrived in London after a 10 hour flight ( plus travel time by bus), we were exhausted! Plus, we arrived the morning of the next day, so it was still another full day before we got any sleep! Our first stop was my aunt and uncle's house in Oxford. I have been here a couple of times throughout my life. They live in a cute green and white English house near the center of Oxford.

We were there for a quick 24 hours before my family that was on this trip ( 12 people) packed into two cars and drove 4 hours to the countryside of Cornwall. We rented a cottage for our family to stay in for the week. Now, I know what you are thinking...cottage implies a small, cozy house and as you can see by the pictures this place was not small! In fact, it was previously a  barn that was converted into a holiday rental house next door to the owner's house. It was AMAZING! I absolutely loved it and the countryside was literally all of our backyard! I will let the pictures speak for themselves...

Loving the wooden beams and windows!

The perfect place to have a morning cup of coffee!

Gorgeously green and peaceful right? It really was the greatest get away! I never imagined that I could live in the countryside, but I really liked the simplicity and slower pace of life there. I think that I could even get used to hanging my clothes up on a clothes line outside to dry!:)

We did many things during our week in the country. One thing that I will never forget are the country roads! Navigating those roads was an adventure all on their own! They are super narrow and what you think is only enough room for one car to drive through somehow allows two cars to pass by each other (barely)! I definitely was glad that I wasn't in the driver's seat there! Whew!

My Canadian uncle (on the left) navigating while my English uncle (on the right) has all eyes on the road!

The next pictures are of some of the really pretty and quaint towns that we explored.

Anchor Cottage! I love nautical and anchors! Now this IS a cottage! 
 We went on an EPIC coastal hike in the breathtakingly beautiful town of Port Issac. It was a KILLER workout but oh so worth it for the views!

My love and the most beautiful place! So blessed!

Fish eye view of the town.

 Who says you can't keep up your fitness on vacation?

The water was gorgeous shades of blue!

Well, I hope that you enjoyed part one recap of my trip! In order to keep this from being a mega-long post,  I will share the second half of my trip in the next post. Cheerio!

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