Something a Little Surprising…The Liebster Award

Liebster Award 2When I started blogging, my main purpose was to hopefully drive some traffic to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  While I have been only mildly successful in that department, I have discovered that I actually really enjoy writing my posts independent of how much traffic my store gets from here.  Blogging has many unexpected joys–connecting to people from literally all over the world, having a creative and intellectual outlet for some of my thoughts and writing, and an gaining unexpected sense of accomplishment each time I hit “publish.”

One of the crazy things about blogging though is when you have people that you don’t know and will probably never meet expressing interest in what you have to say.  I don’t do social media (outside of my blog) and so getting followers (that are not my mother) is a rather novel experience for me.  On Tuesday something even crazier happened…a fellow blogger decided they like what I write enough that he nominated me for the Liebster Award.  This is totally flattering and awesome while simultaneously kind of like being assigned a completely unexpected and surprisingly lengthy homework project.  Since the nomination came early in the week I figure that it might as well be my blog post for today.

So what is the Liebster Award (other than something my autocorrect wants to make into the “Lobster Award”), and what do you do if you are nominated?  Here is a bit of background:

Liebster Award 3

The 2018 Liebster Award (You can follow this link for more info.)

“The Liebster Award is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers.  The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011.  Liebster in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”  –from the official rules page

Additionally, only newish blogs that have 1,000 or fewer followers can be nominated for the Liebster Award.  In this respect, the idea is to recognize new blogs, encourage their authors, and boost their readership.

According to the blog who nominated me, here is what to do if you are nominated:


  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or “gadget.”  (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your computer, and then upload it to your blog post.  There are several more images to choose from on the official rules page.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself which will be provided by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide eleven random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5-11 bloggers that you feel deserve the award, and who have less than 1000 followers.  (NOTE:  You can always ask the blogger how many followers he or she has, as not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information.)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (you can copy and paste from here.)  Once you have written and published the blog, you have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you have nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post, so that they may learn about it.  (If you want to be considered for the official end-of-the-year award, make sure you visit the official rules page and submit your link there.)


So here it goes…

Step One:  A Thank You

Because what says thank you better than a prairie dog with roses?!

A big thanks to Non-Euclidean Sofa for nominating me in the first place.  This tea-loving blogger just finished grad school and writes really funny posts–about teaching, about her cat, about life observations , and so many, many other things.  (There is a really great one about bees here and another about graduation ceremonies here that I particularly recommend.)  While her blog is fairly different from mine, her near-daily posts make me laugh right out loud on a very regular basis.  If you have never checked out Non-Euclidean Sofa, I encourage you to visit it immediately!


Step Two:  The Award Itself

There are two already above already, but here is another one:

Liebster Award 4


Step Three:  Non-Euclidean Sofa’s Questions for Me

  1. What is a story you would be comfortable telling a stranger over the course of a 3-minute elevator ride in a hotel you have doubts about.
    • So despite the fact that I am completely comfortable in front of a classroom full of students and have performed on stage in front of crowds of a couple thousand, I am not much of a talker to random strangers in random places.  I really can’t think of a reason why I would tell a story to a random stranger in a random hotel, questionable or otherwise.  I would probably just stand quietly in back corner and wait for my floor.  I might give a polite smile at others in the elevator if they happened to make the effort to catch my eye, but that and possibly asking someone to push the floor button I need would really be the extent of my conversation.
  2. Would you ride a horse? 
    • Yes, and I actually do.  I know how to drive them too (that is sitting in a carriage while holding reins and telling the horse where to go for those of you who don’t know the terminology).
  3. Would you ride a horse into battle?
    • I try to never say never, but I find that I am more and more of a pacifist as I get older, so most likely not.
  4. Would your previous answer change if you knew “Battle” was the name of a grocery store, and you would not be charged for the damages you and your steed would certainly cause?
    • ride-3389356_1920
      Where is this “Battle” of which you speak?
    • So that is an interesting prospect.  It could be kind of fun to go grocery shopping with my horse.  You’d have to be careful in the produce section–my horse particularly loves pears and doesn’t turn up his nose at apples, carrots, lettuce, or much else there, so it might be kind of hard to get him out of the fruits and veggies.  But it would be pretty awesome to see the looks at the bakery counter when I rode up and nonchalantly asked for my loaf of bread to be sliced.  Also, I feel like I would need to get the correct outfit.  I imagine doing this in either a really awesome dress with a big skirt while riding sidesaddle (that I would have to learn how to do…) or one of those English fox hunting get-ups with the tailored coat, high boots, and top hat.  My horse would probably need special non-skid shoes too because those tile floors can be slippery underhoof and riding a horse that falls would kind of kill any image I was trying to cultivate.
  5. What is a song that has been stuck in your head that you would be embarrassed to be caught singing under your breath at a coffee shop?
    • The Paw Patrol theme song.  My daughter is almost four and completely obsessed.  It plays in our house often.
    • Or maybe the Manamanah song from Sesame Street.  Because I would feel badly for passing on that craziness to anyone who heard me.  (If you are not familiar with it, just look it up on Youtube, but if you watch it, it will be stuck in you head for days–you have been warned.  Oh, and I apologize to anyone who because of the mere mention of this song now has it stuck in your brain–blame Non-Euclidean Sofa, she asked the question!)
  6. If you were left alone on a deserted island, what do you think you would use to build a friend to chat with to pass the years until an aircraft carrier rolls over your little island like a steamroller over a bag of grapes?
    • I have to admit I’ve never seen Castaway and other than teaching The Island of the Blue Dolphins, I haven’t given much consideration to being stranded on a deserted island–the kind that gets run over by large watercraft or otherwise.  I do talk to myself at times even in this non-deserted-island world, and since the conversations are pretty decent, I think I might not feel the urge to make a volleyball-headed stickman.
  7. Do you dip something in your coffee or tea? My students said I was weird for dipping a cookie in my tea, and it haunts me. 
    • Absolutely!  If I am drinking black tea (ideally with some cream in it) gingerbread cookies if there are any in the house or, even better, Biscoff cookies are delicious dipped in just long enough to soak up tea but not long enough to totally disintegrate into the bottom of the cup.  And your students obviously don’t know what they are missing.  Besides, when my students tell me I am weird, I take it as a compliment.  It means they are paying enough attention to care.
  8. If you were given unlimited funds for 12 minutes, what would you do?
    • aladdin-2029718_1280.png
      “What is your command?”
    • Since I don’t think you can (or should) buy a car or a house in twelve minutes, I would get as much of the money as I could of it in hard cash and head to the bank to make the biggest deposit of my life.  Or is that like wishing for more wishes from the genie…
  9. What book have you been meaning to read?
    • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee is probably top on my list.  I love To Kill a Mockingbird so much that I would really like to get to this one.
  10. What is something weird or arbitrary that just gets to you; do you have a weird pet peeve?
    • I would not classify this as weird, but NOT USING THE OXFORD COMMA–I don’t care what anyone else says and what sort of “expert” they claim to be, “My heroes are my parents, Superman, and Wonder Woman,” is just not the same without that second comma.
  11. If you became a ghost when you die, where do you think you’d haunt. I would be the specter of Whole Foods whispering “it’s not really gluten free” to all you passed through my domain.
    • While harassing people at Whole Foods could be a whole lot of fun, I think I might pick the zoo.  I love the zoo, and I think I could happily spend a very long time there.  Do you think a tiger would let a ghost snuggle with it?  I bet the otters would let a playful specter splash and swim with them!


Step Four:  Eleven-Fold Randomness about Me

I have training as operatic singing and have even sang the role of Casilda in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers.

For the first 18 years of my life I lived in one house.  Since then I have lived in nine different towns across five states.

They seem cute and friendly…

When I was a toddler, I was bit by a flamingo at the zoo.

I love most veggies, but I hate asparagus, like make-me-gag, I-can-hardly-even-choak-it-down-to-be-polite detest the stuff.  That is unless it is pickled, in which case it tastes more like vinegar and hot peppers which I love.

I was sixteen when my now-husband asked me out, so we have been together for over half of my life.  I came home from our first date and told my sister, “I could marry a guy like this.”

I am rarely left speechless, but one of the most memorable times I was wholly without words was when I was first teaching.  I made a phone call to a parent to explain that their son, a high school senior, would be receiving a zero on a paper because he had plagiarized the nearly the whole thing.  The parents response was, “Well, did my son know that plagiarism isn’t allowed?!”

I skinned my knees three different times while in college.  None of them involved alcohol.

I swear significantly more since becoming a teacher.  I think it is because you can’t swear when you teach children, and so it all has to come out when you are not in the classroom.

Okay, so “normal” and “me” have never really gone hand-in-hand.

I went through a phase in late middle school and early high school where I wanted to be an astronaut.  This would not be so odd except I made this decision after seeing Apollo 13.  Yeah, I know, doesn’t seem like the movie that would inspire a career in space travel, but there you are.

I can point my toes so that my feet are past 180 degrees from my legs, but if I try to bend them the other way (i.e. bring them up towards my body), my ankles will barely bend enough so that my feet are at a 90 degree angle to my legs.  This is because when I was little I wanted to be a ballerina and walked on my toes all the time.  Considering that thanks to genetics and puberty I am built more like one of those opera singers that wears the Viking horns than a sylph-like classical dancer and my coordination (or lack there of) strongly encouraged me towards other pursuits beginning in about second grade, ballet was never going to be a professional option, but I do have the ankles of a dancer!

I am terrified of spiders.  Even the little ones.  And if they move fast, well, you get the picture.


Step Five:  Questions for My Nominees

Now it’s my turn…

As I tell my students, imagine there is a “Why?” or an “Explain.” after each question!

  1. Would you rather be thought of as a hard worker or naturally gifted?
  2. What is one book that has truly influenced your life?
  3. If aliens (the non-homicidal, friendly, out-to-make-connections-with-humans sort) visited your house and offered to take you with them as they continued on in their travels, but they could not guarantee your return to Earth, what would you do?
  4. What is one thing about your life today that would surprise your 15-year-old self?
  5. If someone could tell you when and how you are going to die, would you want to know?
  6. What is one book or movie that you love that you are a little embarrassed to enjoy so much?
  7. If you could have an actual conversation with your pet (i.e. Doctor Dolittle), what would you talk about?
    • kitten-3405961_1920 a.jpeg
      “You have something to say, human?”
  8. Which is scariest–vampires, zombies, werewolves, or monsters?
  9. If a book could become real and you could live in it, what book would you choose and who will you be in it?
  10. If you could suddenly become a world-class athlete, a world-class business person, a world-class romantic, or a world-class cook, which would you choose?
  11. If you could change one thing about society, what would it be?


Step Six:  Blogs That I am Nominating (and Suggest You Visit):

  • Saved By Words  (A daily dose of food for thought from a retired professor)
  • Counterintuitive Advice  (This blogger doesn’t post often, but he writes some really interesting stuff when he does!)
  • E is for Explore! (Erin is a really, really gifted graphic artist who makes some incredible and fun resources for educators and our classrooms.  She also is a pretty great poet.  You can read two of her poems here and here.)
  • Story Trekker (A great young blog on books, teaching, and other topics relevant to education and raising young humans.  Leslie is also a poet.  You can find two of her poems here and here.)
  • Repeat After Me (I particularly like her posts about building a shed house.  Here is the first.)
  • Life in the Middle of It (A fellow middle school teacher and mom, her posts are sometimes about teaching, but not always.  The most recent post on four-leaf clovers is very sweet and I totally connect with bus duty.)


Well, that is that for my response to my nomination.  Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about me, and I encourage you to take some time to check out my nominator and my nominees!

Have a great day, and…

Teach On!



Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific -


This Week’s Featured Product

Summer Reading Project

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Designed for rising 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, this product has everything you need for a great summer reading project for your middle school students!  Covers reading, writing, critical thinking and response, analysis, and more!  For more details or to download this product, click here!


This Week’s Journal Questions

For the teacher:  Design an award that you would like to give to a friend or colleague.  What is the award and who are you giving it to?  Why?

For the student:  Design an award that you would like to give to one of your teachers.  What is the award and who are you giving it to?  Why?


A Recipe from My Kitchen

Maple-Blueberry Muffins with Granola Topping

Blueberry-Maple Muffins.jpg
As you can see, one muffin didn’t even make it to picture time!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    • Note:  The maple flavor in these muffins is fairly subtle.  If you prefer a stronger maple flavor, replace the sugar with an equal amount of maple syrup (the real stuff, not the fake junk).  Your batter will be just a touch more liquidy, so you may need to bake them just a touch longer.
  • 1/2 cup granola, plus more for sprinkling
    • Hint:  Use whatever kind you have, though I recommend something without dried fruit or a very distinctive flavor that might clash with the flavor of the muffins.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup maple yogurt
    • Hint:  For the best muffins, use whole milk yogurt.  Brown Cow makes some great stuff if you are looking.  It is available at many health/whole food stores.
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 400º.
  2. Line muffin tin with muffin wrappers and spray wrappers lightly with cooking spray.  (Unless your muffin tin is slightly bigger than average, this recipe actually makes closer to 14 or 15 muffins.  If you don’t want to fill only a couple cups of a second tray, you can make a small mini-loaf of bread too.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, granola (make sure to break up any large chunks), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Gently stir in blueberries until they are coated with the flour mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.
  6. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry mixture and stir until just combined, being sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl so all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
  7. Fill your muffin tin (and mini-loaf pan if you are using it).
  8. Sprinkle a little extra granola and sugar on top of each muffin.
  9. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin center comes out clean (blueberry juice doesn’t count).
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 or so minutes before removing muffins from the pan.
  11. Enjoy warm or let cool before eating.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Mary Straw says:

    Congratulations!!! Well done~and well deserved! And so much useful information I can use to rattle you with! xo,M

    Liked by 1 person

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