5 on Friday

Happy Friday, y'all! Here's my Five...

So I wrote on Monday that we were under a tropical storm warning here in Alabama. Not just a watch, it had legit been upgraded to a warning. Max was on travel and I think I might have been a bit spooked because I developed a nervous twitch that remained throughout the week (I kid you not). Parker was stoked because when we've had severe weather in the past, he's been able to watch a full-length movie, so when I told him Monday morning that it was a weather day and school was cancelled, he was giddy at the prospect of watching a movie (remember we're those oddballs who don't have T.V. and rarely give our kiddo screen time). The weather wasn't supposed to roll in until later that day, so we filled up with gas and ran a couple errands before hunkering down with popcorn and Monsters University

I made comfort food (tuna casserole), had candles lit, and kept all our devices charging just in case we lost power (it doesn't take much for a power outage here - one fallen branch in the wrong spot and the power lines are down). But, Irma ended up losing steam before she ever reached us, and our alert was downgraded to just a wind advisory (though school remained canceled on Tuesday, even though it was just another rainy day). 

My happy helper and I took the rainy day opportunity to get our Halloween decorations out. I unloaded three boxes, thought we were done, and the next day came across another box I had completely missed! I'm not sure if this means I have too many Halloween decorations... no such thing, right?

Feeling much spookier in the house now 👻

Speaking of spooky, I signed up for our neighborhood Witches Ride! Last year was the inaugural year, and Parker talked for months about the witches who rode bikes through the neighborhood and tossed candy out to the kids (they close off the streets and everything!). So this year, I told P that the witches asked some of the mommies to come with them 😉

All the feels for fall weather! Parker and I both got to bust out our rain boots this week - little man calls it hot chocolate weather ☔

Y'all. The top I blogged about last week is 40% off 🙊 They're limited on sizes in the gingham print, but I'm thinking of picking up one of the solid colors because I was so in love with my gingham one when it arrived. A perfect fall transitional piece, plus comfy to boot. Happy shopping! 




Sight Word Work

Leading reading groups was one of my favorite activities as a first grade teacher. Teaching a little one to read is just the best thing ever, and my mama heart is so happy that I get to do it now with my own child! Parker started out from the get-go with an interest in letters and words. At age one he was "reading" Exit and Stop signs, and his obsession just grew from there. He knew all letters and sounds at age two, and surprised us on his third birthday with the ability to read several sight words. It was at that moment I realized I could begin more formal reading instruction. 

When working with an emergent reader, there are two things to consider: blending (the ability to "sound out" the letters in a word), and sight word recognition. Of the two, sight words are actually most important in my mind. As an adult reader, you might not even realize that the majority of the words that you're reading are actually memorized. If you think about it, you're not sounding out the words you read, but rather are so comfortable with them that they flow easily in your mind. Add to this the fact that the English language is quite tricky and contains numerous "rule breakers" - words that you simply cannot sound out (was, said, who, are), words that you need to know by sight in order to be a fluent reader. 

Shortly after little man turned three, I began using one of my old sight word lists from first grade to track and record his progress. There are numerous different lists you can download from the internet, and the majority cover the same 100 words that make up - wait for it - 50% of the material we read! 

So, how did I introduce and reinforce new sight words? I called upon my old reading group materials - the Rigby PM series of books. Now, these are educational materials not really intended for use outside the classroom (where I left my set), but I did find them for sale on Amazon (though on the pricier side). To me it was worth it since I knew I liked the way the stories introduced new sight words and allowed for a way to practice them. 

We started with Up And Down and On And Off:

Then we moved on to The Go-Karts:

An emergent reader with limited sight word knowledge would be ready for these stories. For each new book, we start with a "picture walk" where Parker explains what's going on on each page to see if he can come up with some of the words on his own before actually trying to read them. I might also "front load" before reading and show the new sight word on cards or sticks. 

As you can see, the pages are quite repetitive, allowing for lots of practice of the same words (and picture clues for the other ones).

For the follow-up practice, having the words on sticks or cards provides tons of different opportunities for practice. If your little one is still warming up to the words, put them out and ask him or her to pick up each word you say, or make a sentence with them and have your little one put them in order. As the reader becomes more comfortable with the words, they can make up their own sentences with them, or read them to you flashcard style. You can also have your reader build the word with magnet letters, write it in marker or make the letters with play-dough. Sometimes I'll write a new word on our chalkboard wall for us to look at all week, and you could most definitely use sidewalk chalk for practice, too.


As your reader learns more and more sight words, he or she can go up in levels! I've learned that the platinum collection, for some reason, is more advanced (I'd say platinum level 1 is the same as a level 2/3 in the regular series).

Some of Parker's favorites: We Can Run (platinum level 2), Looking Down (platinum level 2), Bubbles in the Sky (level 2/3), My Little Dog (platinum level 2).

Happy Reading!



Hello Monday! Huntsville schools are closed today because, wait for it, we are under a Tropical Storm Warning. When we first talked of moving to Alabama, experiencing a tropical storm was the last thing I thought we'd encounter here. Thoughts go out to those who were really in the hurricane path, of course, and hopes that it dissipates by the time it reaches this far north. 

On to happier times - this past weekend Parker and I headed out to Monte Sano State Park for a Mommy & Me hike. We were on our own since Max was on business travel, and Monte Sano is just a quick fifteen minute drive from us. Plus, the weather was gorgeous.

I loved seeing those first signs of fall (and also capturing them on my beloved 50mm lens using the Canon 5d).

But my favorite subject to photograph is this sweet guy. He adores being outside so he just couldn't have been happier.

We checked out the children's play area and then headed out on one of the shorter hiking paths.

We followed our hike up with a swing through Costco for $9 mums (a must for any autumn southern front porch, y'all!). Parker got a kick out of riding in the cart with them and trying to hide.

Our weekend was also filled with donut yumminess...

Relaxing for Mama while Parker played in the yard...

And picnicking at The Botanical Garden (our favorite!).

And since Max was gone, I did my favorite "treat yo-self" activity - picking up fresh flowers! Old Frond Floral Co. had to-go bouquets in phenomenal fall colors.

I used this wet foam at home and arranged them in a container. They just keep getting prettier each day! Plus they're just so cheerful to have in the house while husby's away. Bonus - I get more photography subjects!

Happy almost fall, y'all! 

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