Sailing Into Second Grade!

My mini me started second grade a few weeks ago and I am happy to report that so far second grade has been smooth sailing! As a mommy educator I have been looking forward to this age and stage! There is less drama then the previous grades and although second graders are gaining independence they still have the sweet innocence of a young child. Second graders are comfortable with school. They were introduced to critical foundational skills in first grade and are now ready to apply those skills in second grade! It’s so much fun seeing my mini me make those connections! Her reading and writing skills have taken off and she is working independently with just a little help from mom and dad. She is confident and loves school!

But her love of school isn’t simply from the skills she is beginning to master but rather from the amazing teacher who is guiding her! This is the first time my mini me has had a young teacher. After working with inspiring young educators this summer, I was drawn to their energy, excitement and pure optimism! So when I found out Mrs. Leeper was going to be my daughter’s second grade teacher, I was thrilled! Mrs. Leeper was born in 1996 (so she’s young to this fifty year old noteworthy mommy) and she embodies the young educator vibe. With her inviting classroom, warm smile and infectious love for her students and her Lord and Savior, she exudes positivity and enthusiasm. After a few days I could tell Mrs. Leeper is naturally intuitive. Based on some of her comments I told the hubs, “What a blessing it is that our daughter has a teacher that really “gets” her! I know we are going to have a fantastic school year!”

My mini me with Mrs. Leeper, her 2nd grade teacher.
Making homemade sugar cookies with Nana. A back to school tradition!

Jesus Loves You Cookies– Now that my mini me is a big second grader, we no longer needed to read The Kissing Hand to prepare her for going back to school. However, I know there will be times when my mini me will feel sad, frustrated or anxious. There will be times when she is faced with decisions to make and will feel unsure. I reminded her that Jesus walks beside her wherever she goes and that she can turn to Him for support. Jesus hears our prayers while we are at school, when we are on the soccer field or at a friend’s house. We can talk to Him through prayer in the morning, afternoon or evening. He is there to listen when we feel happy, worried or sad. So my mini me continued the tradition of baking homemade iced sugar cookies with Nana but instead of making kissing hand cookies like they did in years past, they made Jesus loves you cookies! Heart shaped to remind us that Jesus is with us wherever we go and crosses with hearts to remind us that Jesus loves us so much that He died on the cross so our sins could be forgiven. My mini me enjoyed making the cookies with Nana and shared them with teachers and administrators at school.

Cookies to share with Zion teachers and administrators.

I wish all of the teachers, students and parents around the world blessings for a wonderful school year! Whether it’s your first year or twenty-ninth year in education (like me) I pray you have smooth sailing. When you find yourself in rough waters (there will be those days) know you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, make sure you take care of yourself and know that Jesus loves you!

Brilliant Bogg Bags…Filled With Function and Fashion

I have never been first to get in front of the newest fashion trend but this time I jumped on the Bogg Bag bandwagon and have sported one of these amazing bags all summer!

A group of teachers in Alabama sporting Bogg Bags!

I was first introduced to the Bogg Bag phenomena in early June when I trained teachers in the south…South Carolina and Alabama to be exact. Every other teacher walked into my sessions sporting a Bogg Bag or a similar Simply Southern bag! It was literally a Bogg Bag takeover!


It’s easy to see why people are crazy about these bags. Thoughtfully made from easy-to-clean, lightweight EVA foam (think Croc material), this do-it-all tote is the perfect companion for fun in the sun. Comfy straps and a generous interior provide easy access to your essentials during a day at the pool, beach, lake, gym, ballpark, or teacher in-service! And the bags come in any color you could possibly dream of, making it easy to sport a bag that matches your favorite team!

I find myself replacing my swim/boat bag at the end of every summer but those days are in the past since the Bogg Bag! This bag will last forever!

My Bogg Bag

After I convinced the hubs that this was the summer bag for our family of three, we went online to buy one and couldn’t find one anywhere! Disappointed, I accepted the fact that I’d have to wait until their popularity waned. A week later I came home from a work trip and was surprised to find a limited edition patriotic Bogg Bag waiting for me! My amazing hubs came through and gifted me with my very own Bogg Bag to sport during the summer of 2022!

Only in My Dreams…a Girls Night Out With Debbie Gibson and My Mini Me!

My fifteen year old self still feels like she is dreaming! This past weekend my family of three packed up the car and drove to Chicago to see Debbie Gibson, my favorite singer, in concert. Being a huge fan it isn’t surprising that I’ve seen her in concert a few times before. Most recently in September when the hubs took me to Vegas during her brief residency at the Bellagio.

But I became a Debhead in 1987 when Debbie released her debut album, “Out of the Blue.” I was 15 years old and had the album on cassette tape. I wore the cassette tape out playing it over and over again! Deb and her music were so relatable. In an industry that is all about money and image, Deb always remained true to herself by writing the music she loved and wearing the clothes she felt comfortable in. My parents took me to see the “Out of the Blue” tour because I just couldn’t get enough of Debbie’s heartfelt lyrics, which she has always written and composed herself. In fact, Deb was the youngest female artist to write, produce, and perform a number-one single. That was followed up with the “Electirc Youth” concert during my senior year of high school. Everyone at my high school knew I was a fan of the princess of pop and I often got teased but that didn’t stop me from being a proud card carrying DGIF member!

Debbie had an illustrious run as a Broadway actor performing in many beloved shows on and off Broadway and on tour. I saw her play Rizzo in the touring production of Grease in 1995 and had the joy of meeting her backstage.

Deb and I after a performance of Grease in 1995.

As Debbie matured, so did I, and her music continued to resonate with me. Her ten studio albums are the soundtrack to my life! When I hear one of her songs, I am immediately transported back to what I was doing, experiencing, and feeling during that time in my life. Thank you Deborah, for creating such memorable music that speaks so deeply to me.

My husband has always supported my love for Deb’s music, making sure we incorporated some songs at our wedding reception. He accompanied me to see Debbie in the NKOTB Mixtape Tour and took me on an anniversary trip a few months ago to see her amazing concert with Joey McIntyre in Vegas.

Live in Las Vegas in September 2021.

And that brings me to her latest album, “The Body Remembers” and her June 2022 concert tour. Although I always say that her latest music is the best, this album is simply AMAZING! I fell in love with the songs the first time I heard them. A few songs have shades from the past but there are lots of fresh, new sounds too! It simply has all the feels and since it’s release in August 2021, I have listened to it thousands of times. This is the first album Deb has released since the birth of my seven year old “mini me,” so she knows all of the lyrics and loves to dance and sing along!

When Debbie announced her June “The Body Remembers” tour I got tickets for my family of three to see Deb perform at the family friendly Des Plaines Theatre outside of Chicago, IL. I also splurged for VIP passes so my mini me and I could meet Debbie! Deb did not disappoint. She was so sweet, getting down on my daughter’s level and engaging her with talk about her dog Joey, who we had met earlier in the lobby, and shared some of the songs on the set list. I got to tell Deb how proud her mother would be of this album and tour and how much her music means to me! It was truly a night to remember!

My mini me with Deb’s dog, Joey.
Meeting Debbie Gibson on “The Body Remembers” tour in June 2022.

The concert was amazing! A wonderful mix of old and new material. Deb spent time at the keyboard and followed that with fun dance numbers with “The Bookend Baldies, who we also got to meet! They are wonderful guys and my mini me loved watching them dance. So much talent on the stage! I think she enjoyed Eddie and Buddy just as much as Debbie! We jumped out of our chairs and danced and sang all night long!

Me and my mini me with the fabulous Bookend Baldies

As the concert drew to a close, Deb sat at the keyboard one last time to play one of her iconic songs “We Could Be Together.” Then the most amazing thing happened, she invited fans to join her on stage. My mini me was invited up and I followed! What a dream come true, singing and dancing with Deb and Eddie and Buddy and the band she selected for this tour. My mini me stood beside Deb at the keyboard, fixated on her hands, following along to every move Deb made. I swayed back and forth with other Diamonds, some having traveled internationally to see their star on tour. Introducing my mini me to an artist that continues to inspire me as I enter my 50’s was a dream come true for this Noteworthy Mommy! I also met new friends on stage that night and for a few minutes I was transported back to a simpler time where music and friends and being together was all that mattered in my world.

A video of the Noteworthy Mommy and her mini me on stage with Debbie Gibson.

It’s Not All About You

Below is the devotional I wrote for Zion Lutheran Church’s Fruit of the Spirit Easter devotional book written by the pastors and some of the congregation at my church. As you will read, Kimberly has made a positive impact on my life and helped shape the Christian woman I am today. The minute I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted Kimberly to be my daughter’s godmother. Kimberly (Aunt Kay Kay) continues to be a blessing in my life and is an extraordinary Christian mentor for my mini me!

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Matthew 5:5

It’s Not All About You

By: Jennifer Freeman Talley

Although often associated with negative connotations, meek does not equate to being weak, helpless, or timid. Meek is the opposite of arrogant and conceited. Meek people are not hoity-toity, presumptuous, or self-assertive. A meek person does not act superior to others. Being meek means showing grace to others, forgiving, and not holding grudges. The best example of meek is our loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! In Matthew 11:29, Jesus describes Himself as being meek. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

In my young adult life, I placed greater importance on worldly things (success, power, popularity) then I did on being meek like Jesus. Although I went to church and volunteered in Sunday School, I was focused on myself.

During this time, I met a Christian co-worker named Kimberly. As our friendship was developing, she began telling me, “Jennifer, it’s not all about you!” If she had brought this up once, I probably would have dismissed it, but it came up again and again. At first it was hard to hear, and I admit I was a bit offended, after all, no one wants to be told they are selfish or arrogant! But after observing Kimberly, I realized I had much to learn from her. I was immature and self-centered, and I knew I could do better. Kimberly looks outside of herself and treats everyone she encounters, even strangers with kindness and respect. Although Kimberly is a sinner like every one of us, she is a beautiful example of what it means to be meek because she makes a concentrated effort to show godly attributes wherever she goes.

I thank God for putting this amazing friend into my life! What a blessing to find a friend who freely shares her love for Jesus and walks in His image. She loves and cares deeply for others and wasn’t afraid to call me out so I could be a better version of myself!

I recently experienced a situation where I wasn’t assigned to do something I really wanted to do. I took a step back and reminded myself, “Jennifer, it’s not all about you!” God has a plan, and I need not interfere as He has others in mind to take part. It’s about Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the life. Striving to live in His meek image has brought me more happiness than I could ever imagine!

Prayer: Dear God, help me be quiet when it is fitting but give me strength and courage to raise my voice when it will benefit Your children. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, so I can receive the reward of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. Amen

Reflection: Can you, like Jennifer, point to someone in your life that reminds you to get outside your own needs to focus on others? How does Jennifer’s description of ‘meek’ differ from being ‘weak?’ In what ways do the “meek inherit the Earth?”

With Kimberly (Aunt Kay Kay) on the day of mini me’s baptism in 2015.

Everyday is Easter…Easter Blessings From the Noteworthy Mommy

After the emotional journey to the cross during Holy Week, I was looking forward to Easter. As I got ready on Easter morning I was eagerly anticipating the hymns filled with alleluias, the scripture of promise, the brass quintet trumpeting the good news of a risen Jesus, and the brightness of lilies and colorful Easter outfits. All of these images hold a stark contrast from the quiet, silent, darkness of worship, a mere two days prior on Good Friday. Suddenly my thoughts of Easter celebration were interrupted when I heard the distant wailing of a lawn mower slicing through green grass recently awoken from a winter slumber. I asked myself, “Who would be cutting grass on Easter morning?” On the way to church my thoughts were shaken once again as I passed a huge car show with hundreds of immaculate hot rods on display and spectators spilling into the parking lot from a line a mile long. Again, I asked myself, “Who would have a car show on Easter morning?”

The thought of doing anything but praising our resurrected Savior on Easter got me thinking of the people in our world who don’t know about Jesus. But it also got me thinking how many times I have put worldly things in front of Jesus. Maybe not on Easter Sunday but certainly on other days. A friend posted on social media that every Sunday is Easter when you know Christ as your Savior. I would add that every day is Easter when you know the ending of the story.

But I certainly don’t treat every day as if it were Easter. Worries, social media, to do lists and busy schedules filled with activity consume my thoughts on most days. How many Sundays have I sat in the pew, in the Lord’s house, yet, Jesus did not receive my full attention? My mind wandering, distracted by the outside world. I know that Jesus has forgiven me but I can do a better job of making a concentrated effort of treating each day like it was Easter! That may come in the form of reading a devotional, doing a bible study, attending worship regularly, praying and sharing the good news of Jesus with others. Or finding a church to attend while on vacation and gathering the family together for evening devotions. It may be doing something kind and unexpected for someone else without intending anything in return. I can do better and if you’re still reading this, during this Easter season I challenge my Noteworthy Mommy readers to do better…treat each and everyday like it is Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

I found this in my daughter’s art table. No fancy paper or script but just the reminder I need each and every day of the year!

Fifty & Fabulous!…50 New Things During My 50th Year

On Christmas Day, December 25, 2021, I turned 50! Although I had some small celebrations with family and friends around my actual birthday, I chose to celebrate my BIG 50 for an entire year! If Walt Disney World can do it, why can’t I? During my 50th year I am going to do 50 things I have never done before. Some things will be small like reading a book I have never read, seeing a movie I’ve never seen or eating a new food. Others may be a bit more complex like trying a new hobby, experiencing a new activity or traveling to an unseen destination. Throughout the year I will challenge myself by participating in activities that force me to reach outside of my comfort zone. This will be a year filled with learning and discovery! I hope to include family and friends on some of my adventures, so if you have suggestions to add to my list please comment below. I’ll be documenting my “50 new things during my 50th year” on Noteworthy Mommy so make sure to check back often to keep up with my adventures. I look forward to experiencing 50 new things this year!

Celebrating my 50th Christmas Birthday with a giant donut!

Joy and Light For Christmas, During the Dark of Winter, and All Year Through

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Year 2022 from my family of three!

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Noteworthy Mommy! My family of three had a wonderful Advent season with beautiful concerts, lavish gatherings, meaningful church services and many wonderful memories made with family and friends. I celebrated my 50th birthday on Christmas Day (more about that in another post) and as I look back on the weeks leading up to our Savior’s birth, I am greeted with nothing but warm, happy memories.

But my family of three has had a rough start to the new year and as I sit here writing this greatly overdo message, I’m recovering from COVID and the overwhelming feeling of joy I felt during that time has faded. When I pass by our tired Christmas tree and see other decorations still decking our halls (I’ve been too exhausted to take them down), the once festive décor has lost its magical glow and now stands sadly forgotten in the shadows; eagerly waiting to be attended to, packed up and forgotten until next year.

Then I am taken back to some of those wonderful memories and am reminded how everywhere I looked throughout the season of Advent and during the season of Christmas, I saw or heard the word JOY. Not unusual since JOY is the word assigned to the third week in Advent and the song “Joy to the World” is in the top ten most beloved Christmas carols of all time. Or perhaps, after living in a COVID world for two years, we are all simply looking for some JOY.

And thanks to YouTube (click on the highlighted links below) I listened once again to the sermons my pastor gave regarding JOY on the third Sunday of Advent and again on Christmas Eve. I can hear Pastor Rouland say, “Joy is not just a synonym for happiness because happiness is fleeting, something that happens to us or wells up inside of us.” Like the feeling I get when I think of the fun I had celebrating with friends and family, the excitement I have playing music and singing in my church choir or the thrill of giving and receiving Christmas gifts this year. The feelings are real but fleeting, as the sins of this world bring us from highs to lows like a roller coaster of emotion. That is not joy. For JOY is different, a much deeper thing. Pastor Rouland continues, “JOY comes where faith, and difficulty and life connect. JOY is realizing that the struggle of following God in this life is worth it. That’s JOY that comes from Christ to you.”

So as I write this message I am certainly not as happy as I was in those memories, a mere month ago. My house is a mess, I’m not feeling 100% and my mini me is driving me crazy as she is literally bouncing off the walls but guess what…I have JOY. Pastor Rouland reminded me that JOY is not just the culmination of what is happening to me or how I feel. I have JOY because I know what Jesus has done for me. I have JOY knowing that He died for me and I have JOY because one day I will experience unimaginable, everlasting JOY in Heaven with Him. And because of that JOY I also have thanksgiving. I am thankful for God and all He has given me, the good and the bad. For the deep days make me stronger and help me see the tiny glimmers of light that come in the form of hope, peace, joy, and love. And through this dark time of being sick and helping my husband recover from surgery, there are waves of light that come in the form of friends and family who are praying, bringing food, and sending daily texts. And all of this light is created by God. For He has placed these beautiful people in my life. He is the light of the world, the center of my world, and He is JOY.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice! PHILIPPIANS 4:4

Even though this message is late, I hope you take the time to listen. My daughter’s talented teacher, Amy Bernhardt, gives the children’s message in both services and if you watch the entire Christmas Eve service you will see and hear me singing in the treble choir. “Mary Did You Know,” one of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs, is the selection my choir sings during communion.

Christmas Eve Service 2021- 3:00- Zion Lutheran Church

Christmas Card Prayers

What do you do with all of the delightful Christmas cards friends and family send you? This year we got some beautiful cards, including many photo cards, and it would be a shame to throw them away or put them in a box in the basement without doing something special.

When my friend Kristin shared this idea with my Moms in Prayer group, it was simply too good not to pass along to my Noteworthy Mommy readers! Kristen and her family put all of their cards in a basket. Each day they pull a card from the basket and then, as a family, they pray for the people who sent them the card. I simply love this idea! It’s a great way to enjoy your cards one last time before tossing them or packing them away and it allows you to connect with family and friends through prayer. Since most of our cards were photo cards, my mini me will see a picture of the people we are praying for. And what a lovely way to incorporate prayer and praying for others into the home. This will be the start of another fabulous Christmas tradition. Thank you Kristin for this brilliant idea! If you have additional ideas of things to do with Christmas cards, please post a comment and share.

Uncle Boyd…A Genuine Renaissance Man

Words can’t express how much this wonderful man will be missed here on Earth. How much I am missing him. Uncle Boyd was truly one of a kind. A Renaissance man with so many God given talents and a fun loving personality to go with those talents.

Uncle Boyd took up drawing in his retirement and these are some of the amazing birds he drew.

He loved children and always made sure they were included, going out of his way to make sure they felt special and were recognized. He got down on their level (which wasn’t easy to do with his tall stature) and softly spoke to them instead of at them. I loved seeing him interact with my mini me. Although they only met a few times, I have pleasant memories of my daughter laughing at her Great Uncle Boyd’s jovial antics. And as a mother, I appreciated the authentic connection he made with her.

Uncle Boyd loved children.

Uncle Boyd was a wordsmith. And when he spoke I hung onto every word! I can think of nothing I loved more than sitting in a comfy chair in his living room and listening to Uncle Boyd share his thoughts on education and learning. He was so well read, so well spoken…a brilliant mind! I always walked away from one of those conversations enlightened, looking at things in a new light and feeling more optimistic for the future. And like all great teachers, he never stopped learning. He constantly sought new experiences, studied and acknowledged differences and was willingly open to challenging himself. You would always find him reading a new book or two, often one for pleasure but always one or more on education reform or how the brain works or on how people learn. He never lectured “at you” but with his warm and gentle manner, guided you to think outside of yourself and to look at things in a different way. What a blessing those mini lectures were! What a blessing Uncle Boyd was to me and to my family of three! I truly am a better person because of him.

Uncle Boyd had so much fun with my mini me!

After my husband and I married and Uncle Boyd and Aunt Dixie became my new relations, I always made a point to meet up with them when I was in Minnesota for work. The educators I worked with would often comment how nice it was that I would take the time to visit my husband’s aunt and uncle but what they didn’t realize is I was the one benefiting from those visits! Uncle Boyd always asked me questions and he listened to me with interest and full concentration. When we were engaged in conversation I felt safe and carefree, as if the world and all of it’s problems were put on pause and the only thing of importance was our present conversation.

Uncle Boyd didn’t know a stranger. He was beloved everywhere he went. When I accompanied him to many of his favorite establishments (Punch Pizza, Nicollet Island Inn, Culver’s, just to make a few) he was given a personal greeting. Uncle Boyd always took the time to get to know others whether it be his neighbors, students, workers, church members or the servers at his favorite restaurants. In fact, I was beginning to wonder if Uncle Boyd could go anywhere without being recognized! When he and Aunt Dixie traveled to our wedding, a consultant friend of mine saw Uncle Boyd at breakfast and asked, “Dr. Purdom, what are you doing in southern IL?” He was one of her favorite college professors and she couldn’t believe I was marrying his nephew! Another time I was training teachers and happened to mention Uncle Boyd. Several teachers and an administrator commented how they had him as a professor and he had changed their views on child advocacy and adoption, inspiring one to become a foster parent. He noticed people, made them feel important and his smile and gentle nature always made people happy and at ease.

One of the many fabulous dinners we enjoyed together over the years.

My family of three hosted Christmas for the first time this year and before we even heard of his illness I had planned to read one of Uncle Boyd’s poems before dinner. It seemed fitting that his most recent poem was about family. He loved his family so very much. Along with education, those memorable conversations in his living room would always include stories of family. Stories of his days as a professor and his students, many who were like family. Aunt Dixie and Uncle Boyd opened their home up to college students during the holidays and always made sure that students who couldn’t be with their families had a place to gather. His face lit up as he shared stories about his daughter Angela. How very proud he was of his little girl! Some tell tale stories about his brothers and his wife and her sisters would always provide some good laughs! Uncle Boyd was a man of great faith and a conversation would never go by without him acknowledging his Heavenly Father and his love for his church. Uncle Boyd brought joy to all of us and we will all miss him. The lessons he taught, the jokes he played, the words he wrote, the pictures he painted and the love he showed to all of us, will never be forgotten. He will live on through each of us and through future generations. Until we meet again, my dear Uncle Boyd.

Uncle Boyd’s 2021 Christmas poem.
Due to COVID and being unable to safely travel, my last visit with Uncle Boyd was on August 28, 2018.

First Grade is a Sweet Place to Bee

Last week was my mini me’s first day of first grade! As an educator I would declare first grade as the most important year for the young child. For it’s in first grade where children develop reading and writing skills. These skills are necessary for future academic success. Children come to first grade with an introduction to academics but it’s in first grade where these foundational skills are developed and refined and put into practice. First grade is where students either fall in love with learning or if they are struggling and don’t receive proper support, may begin to dislike school. Since first grade is so important it is imperative that dedicated teachers who understand the reading process and the development of the young child be assigned to teach it! It is a difficult grade to teach because at the beginning of the year some instruction looks like kindergarten but quickly shifts into more rigor and by the end of the year, looks like second grade! I often say a good first grade teacher could successfully teach all of the grades!

My daughter and her teacher, Mrs. Bernhardt.

A Dedicated Teacher– My daughter’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Bernhardt, really took the time to get to know her students before school began. She did a personal Zoom with each child, sent out welcoming post cards, wrote an introduction on her blog, had parents fill out a survey and scheduled a one on one classroom visit for each family. She picked up on the fact that my daughter loves animals and unicorns and used that knowledge to build a relationship with her before school even started. But what impressed me the most, was her open invitation to chat over the phone and discuss questions and concerns. She called me one afternoon and we chatted for 45 minutes (yes, you read that right… 45 minutes!) We talked about my daughter’s needs and she took my concerns seriously; offering suggestions and brainstorming things she can do to support my daughter this year. I know we are going to have a fantastic school year because my daughter has a teacher who genuinely cares for her well being. My daughter has a teacher who will share and model the love of Jesus with her students, build a partnership with parents and go over and beyond to ensure that the students entrusted in her care have success not only in school but in life!

Busy Bees– Mrs. Bernhardt calls her students her busy bees and during open house she had them buzz around the room and collect the following items: a sweet treat, zoo stickers and a family devotional. What a wonderful way to get the children quickly acquainted with the classroom!

Sweet Dreams Poem– At open house Mrs. Bernhardt gave each student a copy of Sweet Dreams and instructed them to open it on the night before the first day of school. Inside was an original poem to help ease any anxieties they had about first grade. A bag of confetti was included and my daughter enjoyed putting the special confetti under her pillow at bedtime so she would have sweet dreams and be well rested for the big day! A few nights later I fell asleep while reading to my daughter in bed and my daughter said, “Momma, you must have some of the sweet dream confetti under your pillow!” Mrs. Bernhardt also shared a recording of herself reading the book, The Night Before First Grade. Click here to watch the video. I

The Kissing Hand- Before my daughter went off to school as a three year old preschooler, we read the Kissing Hand and my parents helped us make homemade kissing hand cookies that we shared with her teacher. Click Here to read all about it. We continued the tradition when she entered her second year of preschool and when she went off to kindergarten last year. This year my friend, who my daughter affectionately calls, Auntie Jaime, helped us bake and decorate kissing hand cookies. We added some crosses and hearts to remind our favorite teachers that Jesus loves them and that He is with them every minute of everyday!

It’s All About Reading– Some children will learn how to read no matter how we teach them. But the majority of children need to be taught the code to reading which includes some important parts (phonemic awareness, phonics with decoding strategies, word building, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension). As a reading consultant my biggest fear is that my daughter will not develop adequate reading strategies. So when my daughter’s teacher projected the image of Scarbough’s Reading Rope during parent orientation, I was ready to jump out of my chair in celebration! Now she was speaking my language and any worries I had about my daughter receiving solid reading instruction were put to rest. (I told my husband I would be happy to give him a PowerPoint presentation on then since or reading when we got home) And when Mrs. Bernhardt announced that reading with your child would be the only homework this year, it was clear that she is a teacher, who like me, understands the importance of reading. In fact, she said although they will do science and math, she could easily teach reading all day long!

A Back to School Message From the Noteworthy Mommy- May you and your family have a blessed 2021-2022 school year! Whether your child is going off to preschool, beginning middle school, high school or college, I pray they have a terrific year! For the families who home school, may your school year be filled with learning and fun. And for the children who are returning to face to face school after a year or more of virtual or hybrid learning, I’m sending you prayers for a safe and successful school year!