Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Box

So that I don't go crazy over Christmas break with my daughter trying to get me to do something every second of our vacation, I cut up some slips of paper and placed them in a box.  Each day, she gets to choose one slip out of the box and we only do that activity.  She does not get to pick until her room is clean each morning.  This seems to be working so well, that I will probably re-fill the box and use it during the summer too!  Here are some ideas for activities:
Play at the park
Sandcastles at the beach
Ice skating
Play 2 board games together
Cook in the easy bake oven
What do you do to keep your child busy during breaks from school?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

6 word Saturday

Christmas Eve and we are SWIMMING!

Wearing my Christmas t-shirt and shorts!
I have been on Christmas break all week and it has been over 80 degrees here in Florida every day.  I just can't get over this summertime weather we are having here!  Even though the weather is beautiful, it has not helped much to get me in the Christmas spirit this year.  What this weather has done, though, is make me blow off sending out my Christmas cards and doing last minute Christmas shopping, for hanging out at the beach making sandcastles instead (the water was a little bit cold for swimming!)  It has also helped me run up a large power bill from keeping my AC running in my house!  So, it does not appear that it will be a white Christmas in my neck of the woods- how about yours?
Can you describe your life in just 6 words???

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Years Resolutions

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

I like to make them, but I try to make them a little more creative- for example, one year, I decided to read the bible- took two years, but I did it! One year I decided to exercise for at least 10 minutes every day- I did pretty good with that one too! Last year, my resolution was to do a better job taking care of myself. I do so much taking care of others- my daughter, my students, etc... that sometimes I leave myself with nothing- see here. I'm going to keep on trying with this one, because if I don't take care of myself, then there will be no one to take care of everyone else!

I have a friend who makes the most creative resolutions! Last year she tried one vegetable she hadn't tried before each month. This year, she is going to try one new chocolate each month. She is also going to go through all her CD's, listen to them and either toss them, or convert them to MP3's.  I like her approach to resolutions. It makes them fun to keep.

This year I have decided to make one fun resolution, and one tougher one. For the first one, I am planning to play one game a week with my daughter.
For the second one, I don't want to go to bed with dirty dishes in my sink.
Anyone who knows me, knows which one will be the tricky one!

What resolutions are you planning on making for the new year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sneaking in

It all started with a thunderstorm.  It was thundering, and there was lightning and my daughter was scared in her room, so I let her crawl into bed with me.  A few days later, there was another storm, and she did the same thing.  Next thing I know she is trying to sneak in every night- "Mommy, do you hear thunder?  I think I hear thunder..."  
I have never been a fan of letting my kid sleep in my bed.  Even when she was a baby, I always put my daughter down in her own bed at nap time and bed time.  As a single mom, it is important to me to have my own space after a long day of trying not to kill taking care of my kid.  Now, she wants to sleep in my bed every night, and I am drawing the line!  There is a lot of research out there about the wonders of having a "family bed", but I am definitely trying not to have one in my house!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kids and Nature

Teaching my students all about nature!

Many kids today don't get to go out into nature much.  It is too bad, because when I was growing up, I remember running around outside from after breakfast till the streetlights came on!  We caught crayfish and minnows from ponds, went exploring in the woods, tried to catch birds, picked berries, built tree houses and had great times in the outdoors.  These days we have to take our kids on field trips to get these types of experiences.  In our area we take a field trip out to the woods where our kids get to ride in a boat, catch critters from a river, hold snakes, turtles, gators and chicks, learn to use a compass, build a shelter and run around in the woods.  Many of my students have never done anything like this in their life!  They ask a million questions, take two million pictures with their cell phones and have the time of their middle school lives!  What are you doing to introduce your kids to nature?

Can you describe your life in just 6 words???

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Music

I love Christmas music!  Here are a few of my favorite Christmas CD's.

I am a huge Chris Tomlin fan!  My favorite song on this CD is Glory in the Highest and Winter Snow by Audrey Assad!

A very upbeat Christmas CD I never get bored of

Can't believe I got this CD, but it is really good- Under the Mistletoe is my favorite!

Christmas morning in Florida just isn't complete without the Jimmy Buffett Christmas Island CD!

What is your favorite Christmas CD?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

bah humbug

I know you are going to gasp when I say this- but I am not a fan of Christmas.  (I heard the gasp from here!)  I'm sorry, but to spend more than a month of preparing, fighting crowds, desperately trying to get great presents for everyone without going broke, the sneaking around to hide then trying to find and wrap the gifts, and the last minute freak-out over the stockings are just all too stressful for me.  Then your family opens all the presents in 5 minutes and you are done!  I get the worst after-Christmas let-down.  My dad used to be the same way, and now without him here, I am all alone in the down-with-Christmas parade.  Some things that I do love about Christmas are the music, movies, the Christmas Eve service at church, and my book club Christmas cookie exchange.  I am trying so hard to stay focused on the positive things and not let the rest of the madness get to me!  How do you stay sane during the Christmas season?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Things I Never Thought I Would Hear Myself Say

If I hear you say "pee" one more time, you are in trouble.
Stop flipping over the couch.
Every time you leave a sock on the floor, you are paying me a quarter.
Because I said so.
No, I do not want to see how loud you can fart.
Come here and let me smell you- I guess you can skip your bath tonight.
Are you buckled in?
Did you do your homework?
Do I look like "google.com"?
That girl drew a picture of a what???
No, you cannot turn on the TV.
Sorry, but you are just going to have to hold it. 
Alright, you can sleep in my bed- just this once.
Did you brush your teeth?  Really?
That is sure to give you diarrhea.
I guess you can have a brownie for breakfast, as long as you have milk with it.
You'll eat it and you'll like it. 
Ok then, I am leaving without you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Science Family Night

I hosted my first science family night tonight!  It was totally worth the effort and a great night!  I had my students each complete a science fair project over the past month and I invited them to bring their families in to see all the projects displayed.  I had slips for the kids to fill out with their favorite three projects.  It was great seeing how proud the kids were of their work and to see them show their parents around!  I must share with you that some of my kids barely speak English, and others have learning disabilities, while still others are very, very bright.  They all walked around and carefully judged everyone's work.  Many of them didn't even vote for themselves which was surprising!  Today was one of those days where I just love the fact that I chose to be a teacher.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trottin'

A fun Thanksgiving tradition is to run in a "turkey trot" with your family and friends!  Unfortunately you only burn enough calories to equal one slice of pie, but it is a fun way to start the day.  The trot that we do is a really big one- there are bands along the way and people dressed up like turkeys and lots of people wearing turkey hats. 
What do you think about this healthy Thanksgiving tradition?
Running for the finish line!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankfulness Part 2

Each day of November, I have been writing down what I am thankful for- counting my blessings.  I said before that when you count your blessings, it helps you to focus on all the great stuff you have instead of noticing all that you do not have.  (You can read the first part of my list here).  I am happy to share the rest of my list with you!

Day 13:  I am thankful for living in Florida- where I can go to the beach up until December, and where I drive by the beautiful water on almost a daily basis.
Day 14:  I am thankful for my big bed.  I love spending an afternoon laying there reading.  I also love when my daughter sneaks in with me during a thunderstorm or after a bad dream.
Day 15:  I am thankful for the cooking lessons that my parents signed me up for before I moved out of their house.  It is thanks to those lessons that I have not starved, my daughter hasn't starved, and I have impressed the occasional date!
Day 16: I am thankful for the library.  Full access to free books, movies, CD's!  We love the library.
Day 17: I am thankful that there are still a few nice guys out there in the world- guys who will open doors, send a text with only a smiley face just to let you know they are thinking of you, and bring you flowers.
Day 18:  I am thankful for my sense of humor that helps me get through lots of tough times and awkward moments.
Day 19:  I am thankful for getting to see the Grand Canyon over the summer.  The beauty and peacefulness of that place has totally stuck with me.
Day 20- I am thankful for my scrapbooks.  I am glad that I have stuck with this scrapbooking thing for all this time and that I have these beautiful memory books to pass on to my daughter.
Day 21- I am thankful for this fabulous country we live in where we are free to worship how we wish, say what we feel and elect our leaders.
Day 22-  Beyond all this, I am thankful for enough food to eat, clothes to wear, money for the bills, and our good health.
I truly wish all my readers a blessed Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Mayflower, Corks and Boat Races

Whose Mayflower can sail the fastest?
The "SS Swag"
Sometimes I get my best teaching ideas at the last minute.  On Friday at about 4 in the morning, I woke up and was laying there staring at the ceiling, when all of a sudden the most awesome Thanksgiving lesson idea hit me- Mayflower boat races!  
My middle school science classes had been learning all about global wind patterns (such as the trade winds, horse latitudes, etc...) this week and this was the perfect tie-in.  We had talked about how the Mayflower had to use the wind (not a motor!) to sail all the way across the Atlantic ocean.  Then I gave my kids the following materials: a cork, a paperclip, 1/2 sheet of paper, string and tape.  They had 5 minutes to form their own groups and gather materials, 5 minutes to sketch out their design in their lab notebook, 10 minutes to build and then we headed outside to two large bins of water that I had set up.  One side of the water bin was "America" and one side was "England".  Their job was to get from America to England as fast as they could with only wind power!  The kids (and I!) had a blast!
Some kids only folded up the paper and put the cork underneath.

The boat to the left was the fastest one all day!

The square boat design worked pretty well!
These designs were so creative!  
And nothing gets by these kids- as one group was busily constructing their design, one girl turned to me and said, "so where did you get all these corks from, Miss?"  I looked at her without missing a beat and said "from the science room, so, no dear, I did not have to drink 7 bottles of wine to get them!"  Her group was cracking up and so was I!

Can you describe your life in just 6 words?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Career Day

Career Day is one of the best days of the school year.  Kids love to have people other than their teacher talk to them for a change.  There aren't that many people these days that are willing to do this.  Thank God for those that are!  I surveyed my classes today and asked them what job they would like to have in 5 years and what job they would like to have in 15 years.  They gave me some great answers!  Lots of kids wanted to start out working in grocery stores, the mall, fast food places or for their parents.  Their goals for after college were things like veterinarians, doctors, architects, lawyers, cosmetologists and even a few who want to be teachers.  There was one kid who told us he was going to be the next Justin Beiber- he wouldn't sing for us though.  I told my class that the most important thing they can do is to intern in the field they are interested in, and find out about as many different jobs as they can.  When I graduated from high school, I thought a pharmacist would be a great job- they make good money!  While I was busy flunking my chemical calculations class, I worked part-time in a pharmacy- and hated every minute of it!  After that, I took a career and life planning class where I took all sorts of tests which told which job I would be best suited for.  It kept coming up that I should be a teacher, and I had always been interested in teaching, so  I changed my major to teaching.  While you are taking teaching classes, there are a certain number of internships that you have to go through.  I was glad to sign up for mine right away!  I planned and taught my first lesson on my own, and was hooked!  And that is how I fell in love with teaching!  Do you remember career day?   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Best Day Everrrr!

Today was the best day everrrr!
I got a brand new computer for my classroom AAANNNDDD, I GOT AN ELMO!!!!
I took a training for how to use an ELMO 6 years ago and have been waiting for one ever since.  But today, today I finally got it!!!!!

AAAANNNDDD today was also Thanksgiving lunch day.  That always makes me happy!!!!  
Extra gravy please!

Finally, when I got home, I had a package waiting with some homemade jam that I won from Baer's Pantry.  They sent me a flavor that I was in love with- even though they were sold out of it!  YES!
What a great day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting ready for a date

Getting ready for a date is such a process!  My preparation goes something like this:
Shower and don't forget to shave legs.
Start with the easy stuff- hair- it is straight and pretty, if I do say so myself, so nothing much to worry about there.
Move on to make-up- extra eyeliner- got it.
Clothes- hardest part.  Try to find something that doesn't make me look like I have muffin top.  If I do 50 sit ups real quick, will it make a difference?!  Settle on loose fitting jeans and v-neck shirt.  I guess I gotta show him a little something to try to distract his attention from the extra junk in my trunk- look, cleavage!
Ugh, paint toe nails! 
Mad cleaning spree in case he comes in when he picks me up- take out trash, close doors on bedrooms.  Helpful hint: shove all dishes clean or dirty into the dishwasher- presto!
Stop!  Throw up a prayer to the Big Guy- please, God, don't let him be a weirdo!
Do you do anything special to get ready for a date?

For a great book on dating, check out
Undressed by Jason Illian

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I have been thinking about Thankfulness!
Being Thankful for what you have takes your mind off of what you don't have.  Any time that I start to feel bad about myself, or start to compare myself to others, I stop and count my blessings.  Many people have been posting one thing that they are thankful for to Facebook each day of November.  I really like this idea.  We are all so blessed!

Day One: I am thankful for my daughter.
Day Two: I am thankful that I had my dad as long as I did- he was my partner in crime and my daughter's best buddy
Day Three: I am thankful for my wonderful family, especially my mom. 
Day Four: I am thankful for such wonderful neighbors. They are more than just friends, they are like family too!
Day Five:  I am thankful for my house.  Even though the real estate market has tanked and it is worth about half what I paid for it, there is nothing like owning your own house.  I love it!
Day Six:  I am thankful for a nice reliable car that runs.  I love bumping my music with the sunroof open and driving around town.
Day Seven: I am thankful for a stable fun job, where students try their best to learn (and to make me laugh) and I get holidays and summer off
Day Eight: I am thankful for our Disney passes- we have so much fun when we go there, it really is the happiest place on earth
Day Nine- I am thankful for my housekeeper.  It is such a blessing to have someone to help me keep up with all of this mess.  I would eat ramen noodles everyday to keep her around!
Day Ten- I am thankful for my bookclub, I love those ladies!
Day Eleven- I am thankful for my BFF who has helped me through thick and thin. Every time we talk, it is like we picked up right where we left off even though we are miles away.  Check out her non-profit organization: www.islanddog.org
Day Twelve: I am thankful for my church.  It is such a joyful place- I love walking in there on Sunday mornings!
Can you describe your life in just 6 words???

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

put a puzzle out

Do you want to bring people together?  Put a puzzle out on a table in your house or in your classroom in a central location!  You will notice how everyone who wanders by becomes drawn to it like a magnet.  People will sit around and start working on fitting the pieces together.  They will start to chat.  Puzzles are such a fun and social thing to do- try it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book Clubs and Cookies

I Love, Love, Love My Book Club!!!  
The only way I can keep track of how long we have been meeting is by counting our Christmas Books we have read!  Let's see:
Skipping Christmas- fabulous- everyone loved it and we watched the movie afterwards
The Christmas Jars-  one member got a Christmas Jar for all of us! 
The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog- our favorite Christmas book so far
The Boat of Dreams- by Richard Preston 
The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror- we all agreed, this one was horrible!
A Redbird Christmas- everyone liked
If I didn't leave anything out, this will be our 7th year meeting!  WOW!  And in case you are wondering, our Christmas book this year is Comfort and Joy by India Knight.  Our December meeting is extra special because when we meet to discuss the book, we also exchange Christmas cookies!  There is a lot of competition to see who can make the best cookies!
My book club is made up of an awesome group of women: 2 of which are librarians, and all of which are great friends!  We have a core group of about 6, and a few others that join in from time to time.
Our rules for selecting our books are simple: the books should be relatively short, and should be available at the library.  We also tend to choose mostly funny or happy books.  It is also a rule to go to book club whether you read the book or not- this way, those people that actually read the book can tease you!  (My mom gets teased a lot.)  We always meet at a small, local restaurant where we talk about the book for about 15 minutes, then eat, drink and catch up for the next hour or so!  We meet about every 6 weeks or so, to allow everyone time to get the book and read it.  
The best book club so far was when we read the book, Honeymoon With My Brother by Franz Wisner and I surprised everyone by having him call us on the phone and talk to us about his book.  He was so nice!
Our other most favorite book was probably A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith.  Everyone really liked it because it was about Florida history, and one of the husbands even read it!
Our library has a program called "Book Club in a Bag" which has made it really easy for us to choose our books.  They have a large list of titles to choose from, and they already have 10 books and a discussion guide packed in a little bag for you to come pick up- super convenient!
Do you have a book club or any great books to recommend for ours? 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

5 minute dinner- seriously!

Want a fast, easy dinner???
Buy this:
Lloyd's barbeque

All you do is microwave it.  Put it in a taco shell with some tomatoes or a wrap with some lettuce and you are done!  I love this stuff! 
Now, let's have some fun: share your 5 minute dinner ideas in the comments section!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Women's Purses and Men's Brains

There is nothing more fun than going through someone's purse.  I love those magazine articles that show the innards of some famous person's purse or refrigerator!  One time, I was at a teacher workshop where the keynote speaker was a guy named Bill McBride.  He studies and presents at workshops about the differences between the male and female brains.  One point he made is that women are much more able to plan ahead than men are.  Then he walked all the way through the audience to the back of the room TO ME!  He pulled me and my purse up on the stage in front of about 500 people, then asked me if he could go through my purse.  He pulled out stuff like this:
my prized possesion: red elliott lucca wallet! (stuffed full!)  
Make-up bag
from my makeup bag: bandaids, sunblock, floss, powder, eyeliner, lip gloss, nail polish, perfume, eyeshadow, tweezers, hair clips, mascara and migraine medication
the bottom of my purse: mints, an eraser, some change and a tissue- don't you love the red lining!
Then Bill McBride asked me WHY I HAD all this stuff in my purse???  My only defense was JUST IN CASE I NEED IT. (I am apparently even better than most women at this ability to think ahead stuff!)  Next, he handed me his wallet and had me go through it.  He literally had about 4 cards and a twenty.  That was it!  Are you kidding me?!  I could never walk around with just that!  But, I also would never try something like this:

See, men and women's brains are VERY different!

I am linking up here: 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fiasco or Halloween Blah Pt. 2

I got off work a little early today, went and picked up my daughter from after school care and headed home.  When we got to our house, we had about half an hour to get her costume on before heading over to my mom's house to trick or treat through her neighborhood.  I told my daughter to put on her costume and I went upstairs to lay in my bed and recover (I teach middle school, after all!) for a few minutes before the non-stop action that this evening would surely be.  Well, I had about 1 minute to myself in my bed before my daughter came in to tell me she couldn't find her costume.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T FIND YOUR COSTUME!!!  I spent about an hour turning my house upside down and finally came to the conclusion that she LEFT IT AT HER FATHER'S HOUSE!  Luckily, we found a dress in her closet that worked.  
What do you think?

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