Monday, February 28, 2011

pollen season

Even though we can't measure the passing of the months here in Florida by the seasons of winter, spring, summer and fall; we do have different sort of seasons. We have lovebug season, when you can't walk anywhere without ingesting one of these small black bugs. We have snowbird season, when the northerners come down for a visit and test our driving skills by not using their blinkers, and driving slowly in all of the left lanes. We have a season in the summer where you stay inside, unless there has just been a thundershower, because it is just too hot. And we have pollen season. During pollen season, it looks absolutely beautiful outside, but do not be deceived. Even if you do not have allergies, you can find yourself sneezing and itching your eyes. Since I have allergies and asthma, I have to be extra vigilant in the pollen war. After I have been outside, I have to wash my face, hair and squirt out my nose with this big horrible squirter. Hot. I also had to break down and turn on the air conditioner, even though it is really nice outside. The good thing is, as all Floridians know, as soon as it rains, all the pollen washes down from the trees, and it then is OK to go out again. So, for now, I will be sitting on my couch in the air conditioning watching the Real Housewives re-runs, and waiting for the rain so I can go outside again!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

sleeping over and going with it

Last night was a major milestone for my daughter: her first sleepover! My dad has been battling cancer, and I went to go sit with him last night, and let my girl stay at her godmother's house. She has a teenager who had a few other little friends stay over too. My daughter has stayed there a few other times, but not with other girls there too. First, I let her pack her own bag; in it she put pajamas, clothes, a toothbrush, CD, DS, Magnetix and Oorbeez (because those are the necessities for a sleepover!)

In the car on the way there, my daughter said that she was going to stay up till midnight. "Midnight!" I say. "Well, maybe only 11 o'clock", she tells me. I guess that turned out to be about true, because when they went out for ice cream and then got back, that was about when they got to bed. I gave her a call when I woke up this morning and asked her if she wanted me to come get her and take her to the beach, and that is where things got interesting. She said, "No, we are going to the mall, you can come get me around 6 tonight". (MALL?! TONIGHT?!) When I asked her if she was sure she wanted to stay all day, because tomorrow she will be at her dad's house all day, she replied "Mom, just go with it". UGH!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Single Mommy Math

Here was my math lesson for the day:
1 allergy shot + 1 new inhaler + IWEIGHHOWMANYPOUNDS!!!
+ 1 new car door handle (MOMMY, LOOK WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I GOT IN THE CAR!) + 12 new library books (no fine, yes!) + 9 gallons of gas + 3 stores + 2 birthday presents (Ugh, another invitation?!) + 10 spelling words written in sentences + 6 chicken nuggets + 2 bedtime stories
= 1 EXHAUSTED mommy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Parent Conference Night

Conference night is one of the most important days of the school year for teachers. I remember when I first started teaching, I was so nervous before my first conference night. Thank goodness that the school that I taught at did their conferences as a group, with all of the teachers together with the parents, so I had some good models to help me along. The thing is, by the time the kids get to middle school, the parents are not surprised by what you tell them because they have probably heard it before. Most of the time, the problem is organization (those poor little 6th graders are just so unorganized with all their stuff from all their classes!) One other thing is that you could go all year without meeting the parents of the really good kids, which is too bad! This week I had to sit in both chairs; the teacher chair and the parent chair.
First came my conference night, and I held 17 conferences in 2 1/2 hours. It was overwhelming, but by now I am an old pro at this conference night thing. I always start with what my students are doing right and then put together an action plan to help them improve their grades.
Two major signs that you know it is time to set up a parent/teacher conference are:
1) You have not heard anything from the school all year and when you ask your kid if they have homework, they say "no".
2) You can add their percentages together in all their classes, and your child is still not passing.
As a teacher, I know when it is time to wrap up the conference when:
1) The parents start yelling at their kid in English and end up in another language.
2) The parents, or student (or I) start crying.
3) There are 4 more parents lined up at the door waiting.
Later this week, sitting in the hot seat at my daughter's school, I was ready to hear that she talks too much and needs to improve her math and spelling. I was also prepared to confess that I let her do her homework by herself and fail to quiz her on her spelling words and addition facts most nights. Well, come to find out, she is above level in just about everything, especially reading, and they are thinking about testing her for gifted classes. I was so surprised that I was almost in tears, so her teacher wrapped it up!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cheating, Winning and Playing Games

My daughter is a cheater. Yup, whenever we play a game, she cheats. When we play UNO and she gets a Draw 4 card, she will draw only 3. When she deals in a card game, she chooses her cards VERY CAREFULLY, if you know what I mean. When we play Feed the Kitty, she does not admit it when she has ran out of mice. She even cheats at Pretty, Pretty Princess! So, here is my question; when you play games with your kids, do you let them win? Am I wrong for calling her out on her cheating? More importantly, does anyone else HATE the game of LIFE as much as I do?! I am thinking about hiding it from her...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

it's not easy being a single mom

I have been having a really hard time lately juggling it all. I am usually pretty good at handling this busy life, but sometimes I just can't keep up with it all. I have my work ball (which as a middle school teacher is a very heavy ball), my mommy ball, my daughter ball, and my friend ball (which I am sure has fallen to the floor!) I had the car ball thrown in also this week when my daughter came inside as we were trying to get out the door for school one morning with the car door handle in her hand. Oops! So, how do YOU do it all? Any advice for a worn-out mamma?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

stuff I found in my washer

Here you see one of several silly bands, candy wrappers, a penny, a bouncy ball, a sticker, pink rubber hair bands and a yo-yo shaped like a hamburger. There was also an orbee and a piece of gum stuck to the inside of the washer. I guess I need to start checking my kid's pockets before washing her clothes! I also guess I should have purchased the extended warranty on the washer and dryer, oh well!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

birds, bees and a ringing in your ears

Today I had a special guest speaker come speak to my middle school classes on teen pregnancy prevention. What with me being out sick for myself and my daughter, the "Just Say No to Drugs" lady coming in once a week, and everything else that has been going on lately, I ended up having to switch the presentation dates with another teacher, and did not even have a chance to so much as warn the kids about what was coming. Ha, ha, ha! The speaker started off with a very basic birds and bees anatomy lesson, and then progressed into a few activities where she shows the kids how much baby items would cost, and how small an actual premature baby would be (which is more common for teen moms to have). I really like the lessons because they are real life problems that kids don't think about facing when they are in the heat of the moment, and I believe that even if it saves one of my children from becoming a teen parent, or contracting an STD, it will be worth it. Being a single mom is hard enough when you are older, I could not imagine trying to do it as a teenager (but that is a story for another time). Well, about midway through the lady's presentation in one of my afternoon classes, a little boy came over to me and said he felt like he was going to faint and that he needed water. I looked at him and he was swaying on his feet and getting ready to hit the floor, so I grabbed his arm and started dragging him up to the nurse. He kept saying that he just needed water and that his ears were ringing and he was seeing spots. I just kept dragging him along up to the office- I was afraid he was going to pass out on the floor right in the middle of the hallway- then what would I do?! I have never seen a kid so pale and clammy! When I (finally!) got him sitting in the nurses office, I asked him if the pictures bothered him and he just looked at me with these big eyes and said "I don't think so", but I think maybe they had!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

SWAN Night!

A few years back a girl friend of mine from work decided to start a tradition for all the single girls to go out on Valentine's Day together. It was called SWAN for Single Woman Appreciation Night. The first year I felt a little bummed to be single, you know- alone on Valentine's Day and all that, but it was pretty fun to have some friends to spend a fun evening out with. Over the years, though I have come to look forward to it. I bring my daughter along (because she is a SWAN too!), and we meet up with all the girls for a nice dinner at a cool restaurant. Last year, I mentioned my plans to a married lady from church, and was surprised that she seemed jealous. She told me that truly she would rather be going out with us because it sounded like such fun to her. So, to all the single ladies out there, call up your girlfriends and find somewhere fun to go out tomorrow night- no sitting home feeling sorry for yourself- IT'S SWAN NIGHT! Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A day at the FAIR!

We survived our day at the fair! We started the day off with a show (and deep fried oreos), then headed to the marine life exhibits (with a cup of Friske french fries- the best!). Next, we headed through the expo hall and looked at all the vendors in there (while snacking on hot buttered corn), then over to make butter, seed necklaces and squeeze our own orange juice in the kids farm area (as we shared a caramel apple dipped in M&M's). Try as we might, we could not find the mashed potatoes on a stick, but we did find Elvis- on stilts. Next we sat in Cracker Country and listened to the band (while munching on fried pork rinds and drinking hot lemonade). Just walking into the fair, the smell of all the different foods are like nothing you have ever smelled before. My dad was happy to get out, and we did well pushing around the wheelchair, as soon as my sister-in-law figured out that to get it over a big bump, you have to turn it around backwards (not get a running start like I tried to do with it!) I told my daughter that she could ride one ride and play one game. The ride she picked was a roller coaster, and I could not believe that she won a huge stuffed animal in the game she chose to play! Oh, and I discovered my new favorite food-on-a-stick, the fried corn, WOW that was yummy! Needless to say, we are all ready for bed and had a great day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

what a girl wants

Apparently, another kid in my daughter's class was talking about his mom having a date and her teacher said that my daughter piped up and said she was glad that she doesn't have to share me with anyone. So her teacher asked her doesn't she want to have her mommy find a nice boyfriend and she told her no, that she likes having me all to herself.
Then the other day I was visiting my dad in the hospital and I was telling him that I am planning on him walking me down the aisle someday, so he better get well. He said yeah, I guess because it may be awhile. Ha, ha, ha. Then, one of the male nurses comes in and my dad says to him "my daughter needs a man". He said "sorry, I can't help with that". He left the room as I was trying to figure out whether he was gay or married, when my dad looks over at me and says, "hey, your zipper was down". Classy.
I have been single for a while now and I enjoy my life with my daughter, so a guy would have a large bill to fill for me to want to go out on a date at this point in my life. After all, going on a date as a single mom involves finding a babysitter that does not charge an arm and a leg. Picking her up to bring to your house, and then waking up your kid to take her home at the end of the night. Not to mention actually applying makeup to my face and lotion to my legs. (I am still working on that) Oh yeah, and shaving them too. Probably I would have to paint my toenails too. My kid will usually do that for me if I pay her a dollar, but she puts polka dots on them.
Anyway, on to him. If I did go on a date, I would like to go out with a good old Florida boy. I love Florida- being on the water, hanging out at the beach, swimming, fishing, so I would like to date a guy that likes that too. One with a boat. Oh yeah, and a job and car and the liking kids part too. But did I mention a boat?

the fair and food on a stick

My family and I go to the state fair every year. We have a blast looking at the animals, watching shows, looking at all the exhibits, watching the Elvis impersonators and best of all, eating fair food! I am partial to food on a stick, while my brother always loves to try the hot new item they have every year. My daughter always gets pizza, and then only eats the crust (as usual). A few years back they invented deep fried snicker bars. They are on a stick, so of course they are a favorite of mine. Last year the big thing was fried pepsi (I didn't like it- but then, it was not on a stick), fried butter (I couldn't do it) and krispy kreme donut burgers (my brother loved them). This year, the new foods are bacon cupcakes, fried ice cream burgers and- wait for it- MASHED POTATOES ON A STICK! Sign me up for that one! It is going to be a pretty big outing for us because my dad has been in and out of the hospital since Thanksgiving, and this will be our first big outing with him in a wheelchair. I am a little nervous about pushing him around in the crowds, but I figured if I can do it with a stroller, we can probably make it with a wheelchair. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good days, cell projects, and crockpots!

Some days everything just seems to go right, and TODAY was one of those days! This morning I picked out a cute outfit, and did my hair like the hairdo video blogs I have been watching- basically I got all prettied up for my OBSERVATION today. My principal was coming in to observe me teaching my class and I had a great lesson planned. Also, today was PROJECT DAY! All the kids stopped by before school with all of their cell models. I love the way they creep in with a big proud smile on their faces and their projects in their hands! Well, all of the kids did their projects, even one kid who I have in my class for the second year in a row. (I called his mom to tell her how proud I am of him!) My lesson went off without a hitch. (If you know a teacher, you probably have heard how nerve wracking these can be!) My daughter has been angel today- homework is done, yes! And I came home to the smell of BLUEBERRY CHICKEN in the crock-pot! Man, there is nothing like coming home to dinner already cooked. What a great day!

Blueberry Chicken

Cook chicken as desired. The way I desire is that I place two frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot in the morning on high. Also add 1 can of chicken broth, 1 cup of blueberries, 3 tablespoons of jam (I use blackberry because it was in the fridge), 1 cup of nuts- I prefer almonds, but walnuts would be yummy too. And VIOLA- you have delicious blueberry chicken waiting for you when you come home from work. Although, my picky kid will probably just eat cereal- see here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You'll Eat it and You'll Freakin' Like It!!!!

My kid is the pickiest eater in the world! Of course this could be some sort of karma coming back to me from when I was a kid and would only eat hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, or mashed potatoes without lumps, but COME ON! My brother and I did not hold a candle to this girl! My daughter will not eat any vegetables except tomatoes. And I think that a tomato is actually a fruit and does not count. She will only eat noodles without sauce. Sandwiches without crust- forget it, she doesn't even eat sandwiches- not even PB&J. What is wrong with this kid?! Breakfast for dinner is a nearly every day occurrence in our household, because believe it or not, in addition to sugar laden cereal, she will actually consume eggs. Even when I take her to the dreaded McDonald's, she STILL won't eat all four chicken nuggets or finish her fries. Although she will drink an entire milkshake- she is human after all. Once in a while, I can talk her into eating a "crabby patty", but you can't use that trick every day- only about once a week. I even tried that Jessica Seinfeld book where you trick the kids into eating healthy by serving them chicken nuggets coated in broccoli puree ("why is there GREEN stuff on my chicken nuggets, I am NOT eating them") and disguising cauliflower as mashed potatoes ("these mashed potatoes SMELL FUNNY, I am NOT eating this"). I have tried bribing her ("I will give you a yummy dessert if you eat your dinner"), tricking her (see above), and threatening her ("fine, then you will not get ANYTHING to eat for the rest of the day!) She does not care and has a will of steel. So, lately my strategy is to cook what I want for dinner and if she won't eat it, give her a bowl of cereal. Any ideas for how to make a picky kid eat besides screaming "YOU'LL EAT IT AND YOU'LL LIKE IT! at her?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Middle Schoolers and Crooked Spines

Remember the whole scoliosis screening from back in middle school? Today I had to take my class to get theirs. Middle school is apparently a good time to check kids for scoliosis because if they can notice it while they are still growing, it is easier to fix it. Plus, kids carry those HEAVY backpacks which can make the problem worse.
I remember back in middle school having to take the letter about the scoliosis screening to my parents, begging them to write me a note so I would not have to do it, being told no, then forgetting about it until the day of the screening. Where I promptly FREAKED because I had forgotten to wear a swimsuit under my shirt, and was COMPLETELY embarrassed over having to take off my shirt to let the school nurse see my spine. I don't remember what happened after that, so it must not have been as bad as I thought it would be.
Now, my class could not walk in a straight quiet line, even if I paid them a dollar apiece, but on the way to the screening today, they were in a silent, straight albeit VERY slow moving line. When we arrived outside of the screening room, one little girl looked at me with very large eyes and said "my mom said I didn't have to do this". I said "do you have a note?" She said no, so I told her sorry. So, they all went in the room and then I ran up to the office for a few minutes. When I came back to pick them up, they were all standing there laughing, and told me that they didn't even have to take off their shirts. They also said that it felt like a massage and tried to convince me to go get one too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

my second favorite holiday

Tomorrow is February 2nd, Groundhog Day! It is my favorite holiday (after Halloween, of course). These are some reasons why I love Groundhog Day so much:
1) Punxsutawney Phil is so fat and cute.
2) I get to read Geoffrey Groundhog saves the day to my classes, and offer the kids extra credit if they can tell me if Phil saw his shadow or not.
3) I am fine if there is more winter, and fine if there isn't- then again, we live in Florida!
4) They show the Groundhog Day movie on TBS!
5) Gobbler's Knob is so funny to say!
6) It is a holiday where I don't have to put out any decorations, dress up or mail any cards.
So, as Geoffrey Groundhog says, I hope that you have the biggest, groundhoggiest, Groundhog Day EVER!

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