Sunday, January 30, 2011

the pencil sharpener

Most of my students last year behaved horribly. They made me want to quit my job. Everyday. I got through it (with a lot of prayer) and have lived to teach for another year. BUT, the pencil sharpener didn't. The kids last year sharpened God only knows what in it and broke it. I had one boy from Cuba who was absolutely amazed by it. Apparently in his school in Cuba, the teacher sharpened their pencils with a knife. I finally had to restrict him to one sharpen per class so he wouldn't stand there the whole period. The sharpener was a heavy duty one that cost about 100 bucks, so all I could afford to do this year, without dipping into my own pocket, was to get an old school one and screw it up on the wall. One thing that I found really funny is that many kids today don't really know how to use a pencil sharpener that is not automatic. They look at me like "hey Miss, help me out here!" every time they go to use it. Finally, they seem to have caught onto the fact that you have to crank your hand fast on it, and empty it out often, to get it to go, but now the screws have pulled out of the wall. I tried to screw it back up myself but didn't have screws that are small enough, so now it is laying in pieces on the back counter. The kids are REALLY starting to give me odd looks now. They look at their pencil and then at me, like "now what, Miss?!" One girl even decided to take matters into her own hands, pulled this out of her backpack and suction cupped it to the desk. See how much better the kids are this year!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

HGTV and sprucing up the house

Ever since my daughter and I have been sick this winter, I have become hooked on the Home and Garden TV channel. We like the show called House Hunters, where people get to look at 3 houses then choose the one that is right for them. I especially like the international one. Houses are cheap in other countries! But still not cheap enough for us to get one anywhere- it doesn't stop us from dreaming though. They also have the decorating shows. Watching them makes me want to spruce up my place a bit. So, I have been taking advantage of the commercial breaks to improve a few areas of my house. I started by creating a craft corner. It is a great place for me to sit and scrapbook, and then everything can be easily tucked away. (Which is good because it is in the corner of my bedroom.) Another thing I did was to get a new desk for my daughter's room. I got a great deal on it, got it all set up, and already put all of her junk on it. The last thing I did was to change a broken fan pull. I managed to do it without even electrocuting myself which is impressive! I am not sure what I am going to take on next, maybe re-doing my kitchen cabinets!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


My daughter is so bad about taking medicine! I guess she comes by it honestly, because when I was little I remember my mom having to call her brother, who is a pharmacist, to order a special grape flavored cough medicine for me- that I still threw up. But, I think that my daughter has me beat. First of all, she throws up cough medicine and pretty much any liquid medication I try to give to her. I have tried having it flavored, giving her a popsicle to freeze her taste buds, and threatening to spank her if she does not SWALLOW IT NOW!!! A few years ago I tried to get her a flu shot, and my doctor ended up having to chase her around the room trying to stick her with the needle. The next year, my doctor suggested I either look into the one that just sprays up their nose, or just take our chances, but she was NOT going to give her another shot. I even had her speak to a pharmacist, her doctor and my mom about why it is important to take her medicine. So, do any of you moms have any tricks up your sleeve for how you get your kids to take their medicine?

microscopes and hand sanitizer

Do you remember how cool it was looking through microscopes when you were in school? I remember being in 7th grade and going into a small lab room filled with microscopes. We would all stand there in the dark observing all the cool stuff we could find in a few drops of pond water. It is amazing to me how many little critters live in just one tiny (gross!) drop. It also makes me want to wash my hands- a lot. The pond water lab has always been one of my favorite labs to do with my students every year. I enjoy hearing them squeal over what they see swimming around in their drop, and I don't even mind when they go through an entire bottle of hand sanitizer!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What a good number one will do for you...

I had a boy in my class today that I noticed was sort of clutching his stomach. I asked him if he was OK and he said that his stomach hurt. So, I went through the typical teacher interrogation: did you eat lunch? what did you eat? do you have to use the bathroom? would you like to go see the nurse? He tells me "No, I am sure it will pass". So I said "why don't you go walk out to the bathroom and get a drink of water, maybe if you walk around a little it will feel better". Well, he was gone for a few minutes, and he comes back, and on his way to his seat he tells me "well, I guess all I needed was a number one- I feel much better now!" Fabulous!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A sick day will wear you out

My daughter and I have both been sick for two weekends now. We have been coughing sneezing with fevers and she has a confirmed case of the flu. Even though she is sick, she never slows down- not even with a 104 degree fever! I think I probably could have gotten more rest if I had gone in to work and taught 120 middle schoolers. Seriously. Here is a sampling of what we did yesterday: woke up at 7:30, played some games, watched some tv, built fairy houses with acorns, leaves, mini-bird houses and hot glue, had lunch, watched a little more tv, snuck into the library for 10 minutes to switch out our library books and went through the McDonalds drive through for ice cream (I swear we did not breathe on anyone!), took naps, made some crafts, painted each other's nails, cooked dinner that she wouldn't eat, watched a little more tv, colored pictures, took bubble baths, watched a little more tv, read some books and FINALLY went to bed! I am exhausted just typing this! What do you do when your kids are sick to entertain them?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Justin Beiber's forehead and side effects

What do you think of Justin Beiber's hair? Personally, I think it is a little funny, but some people think it is pretty stylish. I even have quite a few boys in my classes that wear their hair like his. This week in one of my classes a boy was lifting his hair up off of his face, and showing us that his little forehead is white under there. He said that he has worn that hairstyle for awhile, and plays soccer outside a lot. I guess the hair is the perfect sunscreen for his forehead. It really cracked me up because I never thought of this particular side effect to wearing a Justin Beiber hairstyle. Now I have the urge to peep under his bangs if I ever meet him!

Monday, January 17, 2011

cds, records and reading

I remember back when I was a kid, I had my own record player. I would play Disney tunes or my dad's old albums like Ohio Express (he never let me play the good ones like Jimmy Hendrix or Led Zepplin). Another thing I loved to play on my record player were these story records. The record came inside of a little storybook, and you played the record and read along. Whenever a little bell would ring, you knew it was time to turn the page.

When I got a bit older and was driving a long way to work everyday, I discovered books on tape. There was no bell to tell you to turn the page, most were abridged so it wouldn't matter even if I did try to read along with it, but they were very entertaining for me and helped the boring drive pass quickly.

The other day when I was browsing through the library with my daughter, I noticed something called a "book in a box". Inside the box was a CD and a book to go with it. I was so excited to see these and checked a few out. She loves to be read to, but I always feel like she needs to read more on her own. I think that these "b in b's" are the perfect compromise!

Friday, January 14, 2011

kids, giggling and farts

Farts are soooo funny. Especially to middle schoolers. Today in class, I noticed two kids scootch over a few chairs and hold their noses. Then I looked and saw another kid giggling and trying to move closer to them- he was clearly the one that dealt it. Each time he moved down one seat, they moved down one seat, until I told them to please return to their assigned seats. I was giggling too. But, it got me thinking about the different kind of farts that we have at school. One fart middle schoolers like is the BOMB FART. This is when one kid farts, and all of them jump back and all point at one another. It is nearly impossible to figure out who dealt it. Another kind is the SNEAKY FART. This one seems to come from no where and all of a sudden comes upon the class. Everyone looks at each other like, where did that come from?! In here?! In the hallway?! From the class next door?! Holy cow! The last fart, my favorite, is the WAVE FART. In this fart you see one kid hold their nose, then the two kids next to him, and the two kids next to them, until everyone in the room is giggling and holding their noses because, like I said before, farts are funny!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

exercise and pizza

Why is it that whenever I exercise, I think of food? When I am on the treadmill at the gym, I find myself watching the food network. Or when I am walking with a friend, sometimes we will swap recipes, but this time I crossed the line. Tonight, I was walking around the track and I noticed a sign that said DeLosa's Pizza. MMMM, that is the best pizza anywhere, but they are so far away! Why do they have a sign hanging here, I asked myself. So I googled it and found that they just opened a new shop- SCORE! Suddenly, it hit me what I was doing- GOOGLING PIZZA WHILE EXERCISING!!! What is wrong with me?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Halloween already?!

My daughter and I both love Halloween, but I think things are getting a little out of hand. It is January and like 65 degrees outside (hey, it is Florida!) and my daughter is already planning for Halloween. As I was driving her to school this morning, she informed me that she has already chosen her costume for this year, and that she wants to be Pippi Longstocking. I don't think your average kid today even knows who that is, but my kid is absolutely hooked on the old Pippi videos where the kids lips don't match their words because they are really speaking Swedish. Anyway, then tonight, when I went upstairs to tuck her into bed, she had 2 stories ready for me to read to her- and they were BOTH Halloween stories! I think she may need a Halloween intervention!

Friday, January 7, 2011

boil water warning and middle schoolers

This week a water main burst near my school and we were on a "boil water alert" until the water was clear again. The water fountains were all covered up with garbage bags taped over them. I had to warn my middle schoolers not to drink water out of the bathrooms or try to stick their heads under the bags to get a sip or else they would get diarrhea for sure- (they love it when I say diarrhea!) Of course as soon as you tell someone that they cannot drink water, they get very thirsty. When they would start to whine to me, I would remind them that we just got back from our nature field trip and what did we learn about surviving in the wilderness? Which would cause them to hang their heads and reply "that you can live for 3 days without water" and sit back down in their chairs. Well, today was the 3rd day of the boil water alert and I was just waiting for one of the kids to tell me that it had been 3 days and they were getting ready to die of thirst, but at about noon, they said it was OK to drink again. And they all cheered and ran to the water fountain to celebrate!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

movies and middle schoolers

Every once in a while you just have to have a movie day with your class. I like to show them older movies that they have never seen. Here is a list of my favorite movies to show to my middle school classes:


A nerdy boy saves the frog and gets the girl! Most kids recognize Elizabeth Hurley from Saved by the Bell : )

The Witches:

Spooky story of real life witches that can turn kids into mice. Based on the book by Roald Dahl.


Great movie about a geeky teenage boy just trying to fit in.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid:

Hilarious movie about what it is like in middle school. Whatever you do, don't touch the cheese!

The Sandlot:

Great movie about a group of kids who love baseball.

Chrissa Stands Tall:

Movie about a girl who is bullied. The bully is excellent and the kids all want to kill her by the end of the movie!

Akeela and the Bee:

Based on a true story of a girl who wins the spelling bee.


Adventure/mystery about a boy who is on a spy mission. Based on the book by Anthony Horowitz.


Great story about a group of kids fighting to save owls from losing their home. Based on the book by Carl Haaissen.

What movies do you enjoy showing to your class?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


As I was sitting by the pool the other day, (in December!) I had this feeling of complete contentedness come over me. It was a beautiful day, my daughter was swimming like a fish, I was laying in a lounge chair browsing a magazine and it hit me- it just doesn't get any better than this!

Later on I decided to make a list of all the things that make me feel that way. Here are a few highlights:
*Sitting by a fire and chatting with friends or family
*Laying in my daughter's bed with her, reading stories together before she goes to sleep
*Being out on the water in a boat on a sunny day
*Having my students really get excited about a lesson that I created
*Disney World (it IS the happiest place on earth after all)
*Curled up on my couch watching a smutty reality TV show
*Wandering around in the library
*Singing along with some great 80's band in my car and even better than that is when my daughter knows the words and sings too!
What makes YOU happy?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions, Lotion and Screen time

Welcome 2011! My daughter and I are ready for you! I am not one to make resolutions that I will only break in a month. I like to make resolutions that are easy to keep. So today, my daughter and I sat down and made our lists and here they are:
1) Go to Disney more
2) Cook with my mom more
3) Have more fun with my mom
4) Take better care of the garden
5) Learn more
1) To have more fun with my daughter
2) To take better care of myself, and remembering to do the small things, such as putting lotion on after a shower (how did my legs get so dry?!), taking my allergy medication and putting on make-up on in the morning. Basically just not doing things like remembering my daughter's lunch for school, or swimsuit for the pool and forgetting my own!
3) To manage my money and budget better by using
4) To limit my screen time. Yes, I know this is something you are supposed to do for toddlers, but lately it feels as if I am constantly either watching TV or playing around on the computer. It is definitely time to rein it in and pay attention to real life more!

Ringin' in 2011

Back in "the day" I loved to spend New Year's Eve out, staying well past midnight, drinking champagne and watching fireworks, as well as New Year's Day hung over and tired (well I didn't love that part of it). Anyway, now that I am a bit older and a mom to a 7 year old things have changed. We started off the night at early at a bonfire at a friend's house. Even though I wasn't much in the mood for partying, I remembered how much I loved running around with the other kids at parties when I was my daughter's age, and really wanted her to have that too. The kids started out playing this game called "Band Hero" upstairs on a big screen and the adults were out by the bonfire and the treat table. One by one, the adults began disappearing and not coming back, until there were about 2 of us left by the fire. We wandered upstairs only to see that the kids had been kicked out of the band and the grown ups were all playing. I watched for a little while, and then the next thing I know I grabbed the microphone and was rockin'! Not sure what came over me, but I totally got sucked into the band. Not long after that I decided it was time to head home and we rolled in the New Year looking through my daughter's new telescope and drinking hot chocolate. Not a bad way to end the year!

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