zootopia coloring pages fun!


Zootopia comes out on March 4th, 2016, but from the excitement exhibited by Miss L, you’d think it’s coming out tomorrow. I downloaded these Zootopia Coloring Book pages for her tonight and she immediately went to town coloring Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. She laughed hysterically at all of the clips we saw at D23 Expo in August, and she’s so ready to go play along with all of these animals in the movie theater!

In case your kiddos are nuts over this zoo crew of characters as well, I thought I’d share those coloring pages with you as well!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE ZOOTOPIA COLORING PAGES or click each image below to download them separately!

Judy HoppsNick Wilde
YaxMr. Big
Jerry Jumbaux, Jr.Flash
FinnickChief Bogo

there’s more to a migraine

I created this post as part of a campaign by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I received an American Express gift card for participating.
If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know how that it’s not just a “really bad headache.”

A bad headache can be alleviated by eating or rehydrating or just waiting it out.

A migraine is something that takes over your body and doesn’t let go. It may start out feeling like a headache, but it soon takes a left turn at normal and dives straight into a cycle of all-encompassing pain.

How do I know? Well… I’ve unfortunately had my fair share of migraines throughout my life. My first one hit in high school, and they’ve been sprinkled throughout the years ever since. For me, they start out with a deep dull pain in my head, usually around my eyes and temples. The pain just deepens as the hours wear on and that’s usually when the throbbing begins.

At that point, my body just decides to go into all-out war. In a desperate attempt to gain my attention, my body tries to do everything it can to get me to stop life and take a time out. I get nauseated. My senses (sight, smell, sound) become incredibly sensitive and it’s like people are screaming at me while I stand underneath a direct spotlight.

The migraine is trying to get me to crumble into a ball in a dark room, but it never seems to hit at a time when that’s convenient or feasible. Instead, it’s at 11am during a workday. A time when I think it’s just a headache. But when you realize it’s so much more, and it starts going crazy, you’re stuck at work at 3:30pm and need to concentrate enough to get home, pick up your child from daycare, etc. Those are the days when you know the end isn’t coming that night and you’ve got a long journey ahead to get back to normal. My migraine cycle is 12 hours at minimum, and because life usually can’t stop 100%, it can last multiple days in the worst scenarios.

I often thought I was alone in my suffering, because migraine sufferers aren’t usually out frolicking in public with their symptoms. You usually don’t tell your friends what’s going on when you are in the middle of being sick because you try to lowball your suffering. “Sorry, I can’t come tonight. I’m sick.” Generic excuses and little mention of the embarrassing fact that you’ve been knocked off your feet for hours upon hours. But then I learned that about 18% of American women suffer from migraines, and that it’s one of the world’s most prevalent medical conditions. (Migraine Research Foundation)

And that’s why I wanted to share a little of my story. Because we all shouldn’t be suffering in silence and thinking we’re the only ones. If you, or someone you know suffers from migraines, visit MoreToMigraine.com to learn more about them.


Our Super Bowl 50 NFL Experience

Next Sunday, the Broncos and the Panthers will play in Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. So this past Saturday, our family headed down to San Jones to revel in a bit of the frenzy before the big game.

In anticipation of the madness, I purchased tickets for the NFL Experience way back when they went on sale in November. This allowed us to take advantage of buying NFLXtra passes for the day, which are essentially “fast pass” tickets that let you jump to the front of most lines in the convention center. It was an extra $25 cost to the regular ticket, but they’re sold in a limited amount each day. For us, it was well worth it to just enjoy the day and attend everything without any worry about lines. Even with the fast passes, we still spent 7 hours at the NFL Experience!


 Upon arrival at Moscone Center, we went to pick up our tickets at will call and browse through the merchandise at the NFL Shop. The shop was filled with everything Super Bowl 50: shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc. Unfortunately, if your team did not make the Super Bowl, there wasn’t a lot to offer. Oh wait, they did have $110 kid’s NFL jerseys for every team. But despite the puppy dog eyes from Miss L for her own authentic Jets jersey (kid… I don’t even own a real jersey!), we left the store with only one purchase: a small Super Bowl 50 football ripe for autographs. Oh… and I saw Joe Montana and met Left Shark!


We crossed the street, went through security, and officially entered the gauntlet that is the “NFL Experience.” Outside of the pavilions, there were agility games from the NFL Combine set up for your enjoyment. And by enjoyment, I just mean an opportunity to laugh at yourself while you realize how sub-par you are athletically in all of these categories.

Out of those offerings, we decided to run the 40-yard dash against Miss L. First time through, Mr. M let her win. The next time, I ran as fast as I could and beat her… which, if you realized how slow I run, was actually an accomplishment in my book.

Once inside, all of our senses were accosted by ALL THINGS NFL. Truly. At one point in the day, Mr. M said he was going to go find a quiet spot and relax. Turns out that quiet spot was a quick game of football target throwing… which, to his credit, was in a relatively quiet corner.

So here are just a few of the things we did:

  We took silly photos and put them on old Super Bowl tickets. (We picked the palm tree one because it was pretty).

Miss L tested her skills in a variety of games throughout the convention center floor.

Then she signed up for a 30-minute skills exercise (with current NFL players Roy Helu and Marcus Smith) on the Play-60 kid’s field.


Mr. M bought a customized Jets football from the Wilson booth. 

And we got our very own “Smith” autographed football. Mr. M and Miss L got autographs from the Super Bowl winning Smith brothers: Marcus and Steve. And I got to meet Alex Smith!

And we got to see this year’s Lombardi trophy!
All in all, it was an exhausting but extremely fun day where we got our NFL and Super Bowl 50 fill!


cookie cutter watercolor art


Do you have cookie cutters in your house? And watercolors? Some watercolor paper? And maybe a pencil? Well then, my friends, you’ve got an easy afternoon of kid art ahead of you!

The rainy and dreary winter weekends are officially upon us, and I like to have some sort of art project available for Miss L during those time to brighten up the day in any small way. I flipped past a cute art project idea for Valentine’s Day with overlapping hearts on Facebok and from that came the inspiration for an artsy afternoon! 

Why don’t we use our vast array of cookie cutters as stencil shapes?

So, out came the cookie cutter box, along with a few sheets of watercolor paper and a pencil. She immediately grabbed to the Mickey Mouse cookie cutter and was eager to get started. I modeled the first few steps for Miss L in order to show her that we wanted to actually overlap the shapes just a little, and despite a bit of a protest, she obliged.

She dutifully traced the outlines and after completing 10 Mickey Mouse heads, she declared that phase done. Then we moved on to the paint. We mixed up a palette of greens, blues and purples from our Watercolor set, and then I gave her a brush to have at it. I carefully explained that we wanted to color over the lines and mix the colors, which was initially met with a “MOM YOU ARE INSANE!” look. You see, we work really hard to get kids to color neatly inside the lines for so long… so when you tell them to break that rule they really look at you like you’re crazy. Eventually I convinced her it would work and be great, and once she saw the colors mixing, she was game!

So she painted to stay in the lines, but also painted to mix them up. And in the end, I think we came away with a pretty nice piece of art!

Over the weekend, we replicated the same technique with candy cane, stars, suns and Christmas tree cookie cutters and all with fabulous results. Watercolors can be hard for kid’s to work with as normal paints, so I enjoyed the outline/coloring aspect of this project! I think it helped Miss L really get a feel for moving the water and paint and she really gained painting confidence as she finished each page.

The next time you are caught looking for a quick and fun art afternoon, grab some cookie cutters and trace and paint away!

Project sources:

Reeves Water Colour Paint 

Paint Palette: Michael’s

Watercolor Paper 

Paintbrushes: Hand Made Modern Paintbrushes from Target 



Leveling your library at home


Now that Miss L is officially a voracious reader, I wanted to make her library a bit more reader friendly. Back when I was teaching middle school, I knew that one of the biggest hurdles my students had to becoming successful readers was finding the right level books for their reading level. It’s always important to have texts where you can be a successful reader along with those that challenge you, and sometimes it’s difficult figuring out which are which. Knowing a student’s reading level helped me guide them to the right books and I really became sold on them as a teacher. So, in order to help Miss L advance her reading skills, I grabbed some colored dot stickers and my smartphone and got down to the task of creating a home leveled library. 

There are many popular reading level systems, but the most popular three are: Lexile Levels, DRA Levels, & Guided Reading Levels. 

· Lexile Levels are designated on a numerical scale from 0L-2000L.

· DRA Levels are on a scale from A1-80.

· Guided Reading Levels are on an alphabetic scale from A-Z.

I decided that using Guided Reading Levels would be best for our library system, as it is a familiar scale to Miss L at age 5 and… well… it’s easy to write on a little label for book spines!

First, I came up with a color coding scheme for my dots: GREEN for A-I, PURPLE for J-P and YELLOW for Q-V. I saved the final color dots for another day in the future, as there aren’t too many 6th grade plus reading books on her shelves right now.

Then, it was up to me to start finding all of the levels of her books. For this task, I went with the easiest option and downloaded a book scanning program for my smartphone: Scholastic Book Wizard. I just scanned the UPC code of each book and each one was added to Miss L’s library with information on its all of its reading levels. (p.s. I also downloaded Lit. Leveler and it worked well too!) For books that I didn’t find on the app, I then tried looking up the Lexile Level on the web and then assigned it the corresponding Guided Reading Level using this comparison chart.

Finally, using the list, I attached dots with the appropriate letter rating to each book.

With the colored dots, Miss L doesn’t have to worry about shelving the books in the “right spot” or in the “right order.” It’s so powerful to watch her pick up a ‘C’ book and read through it all on her own with no issues, and then go and select another book she’ll be successful at. We still read together every night, but more and more I end up finding her flashlight tucked under her covers in the morning as she squeezes in a bit more words after we say goodnight.   

Oh… And if you purchase books from Scholastic flyers, they list the reading levels under each book! I love that they do this now for parents and teachers alike!