Saturday, April 30, 2011

tea parties and the pinkie police

I just love a good tea party!  Why is it that sandwiches taste sooo much better when they are cut up into teeny tiny shapes.  And why is it that tea tastes sooo much better when you drink it out of pretty little china cups.  My daughter loves to have tea parties and so the other day, for a special treat, my mom and I took her to a tea house to have a lovely afternoon tea.  We had tea in pretty china cups and ate little fancy sandwiches and tea cakes. 
They even had hats and accessories there to dress up in.
   My daughter chose a great outfit for herself and an extra special hat for me!
My daughter was displaying her best tea party manners and made sure that my mom and I did too- including keeping our pinkies up when we drank or ate.  We called her the pinkie police because every time we would put our pinkie down, she would let us know about it! 
Tea parties are one of the fun things about having a girl, don't you think?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Love Bug Season!

It's Love Bug Season!  Those people who have ever lived in Florida or visited Florida around May, know that I am definitely not talking about an old Disney movie when I say that it is love bug season!

They know that I am talking about actual bugs.  I really do feel sorry for the bugs.  They are harmless little black flying bugs just trying to get their hump on.  (They are usually joined together with another bug when you see them)  I read that they are attracted to fumes from cars and that is why they hang out near highways catching their deaths.  There are also many rumors about love bugs having been genetically created by USF in order to control the mosquito population, but that turns out to be untrue.  Besides, they don't even eat mosquitoes.  Click the link for more info. about them.  LINK
After a long drive this morning, I came home with my car just covered in them.  At one point it was like driving through a love bug storm!  When you spray and swish your windshield wipers, they do not come off, they just leave streaks all over it.  So, I have been googling (again) how to get them off of your car and learned that if you don't remove them after about 24 hours, then their little bodies become acidic and can ruin the paint on your car.  I also learned that there is someone right here in Florida who invented a special spray to remove them.  I think I am going to run out and get some.  I only have 10 hours left!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 I love you!

My child and the kids in my class will never have to look something up in an encyclopedia.  They may not even know what one is.  I am so in love with the person who invented!  I rarely go a day without googling something.  (They even added the word "googling" to the dictionary so I am not sure why it is underlined in red?)   AND did you know that you can even google from your phone?!  My recent googles have been on a variety of subjects some of which are:
1) Venice Beach Florida, shark's teeth
2) How do you remove dirt stains from clothes
3) How do you get love bugs off of a car
4)  How do you dry a sponge from the beach
5)  What if your hermit buries itself

Inspired by one minute bloggers- reference

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Break and Plan of Attack

My daughter and I went to dinner last week at a cool new burger place nearby and while we were waiting for our food, we outlined our plan of attack for Spring Break.
So here is what we came up with:
1)  Kick it off with our first time on a sailboat!

2)  Pick out our giant rock for my daughter to play on in the backyard and have it delivered.
3)  Start a veggie garden in our backyard.
4)  Clean out, paint and fill our hot tub!
5)  Go to the famous Venice Beach and find shark's teeth.
6)  Go to fun camp.
7)  Go to Disney World.
8)  Spend Target gift card on toys (guess who put that on the list)
What do you plan to do for Spring Break?  Anything fun?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mystery Monday

It is a mystery to me where all my bandaids disappear to.  What could my daughter be doing with them?!

It is a mystery to me how my daughter's socks can get so dirty.  I mean, she wears shoes, high tops even, so how do the socks get filthy?

It is a mystery to me how my daughter can have any energy for the basic functions of life when all she eats for dinner is plain pasta with no sauce.  As a matter of fact, she has so much energy people are surprised that she is not on a diet of straight sugar!

What is mysterious to you today?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I just love Easter!  Here are a few reasons why:

1)  Easter egg hunts.  My friend had an Easter egg hunt for the grown ups last year and we had so much fun, like being a kid again!

2)  Easter dresses.  I love, love, love those beautiful Easter dresses and little white shoes and purses.

3)  Sunrise service.  The Catholic Church that I grew up going to has a beautiful sunrise service right on the water.  Watching the beautiful sun rise over the water, you really feel that Jesus is risen.

4)  Breakfast with the family and neighbors.  Always delicious and great to get together.

5)  Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!  My favorite candy are the Cadberry Easter Eggs!  Mmmm! 

6)  Dyeing Easter eggs!  I love that no matter how hard you try, you still end up with purple or blue fingers for church in the morning!

7)  Easter Baskets!  My mom still makes me an Easter basket.  This year I got chocolate covered jelly bellies, Cadberry eggs, lip gloss, lotto tickets, notepad and a cute egg cup.  She is so good to me!

8)  No School!  Yay, yay, it's a holiday!  Which is the best of all!  Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

these darn sneaky holidays

I think after this one, I am going to protest these darn sneaky holidays.  You know, the ones that you have to wait and wait and wait until your kid falls asleep before the Easter Bunny or Santa or Tooth Fairy can finally come along and do their business.  I am so bad at this.  On Christmas, I forgot to fill the stockings and had to go "check" to see if Santa came yet.  I was sweating so bad that I needed a shower!  The last time the tooth fairy came, she did not manage to come until the morning and my daughter had felt under her pillow for the second time!  So, tonight it is close to 10 and I am trying to keep my eyes open waiting for the Easter Bunny to come.  Why do we parents have to do this?!  There has to be an easier way!

the ding dong and ditcher

Every day this week during one of my classes, some kid has been jiggling our classroom door handle several times and running off.  Each time it would happen, the kids would get all riled up about it and take forever to settle down to work again. So, we discussed the ding dong and ditch issue together as a class and came up with a plan.  Talk about the scientific method in action!  So, yesterday at 11:55, we paused our "Feeling Good About Growing Up" movie and assumed our places.  I stood pressed against the wall on one side of the door, with a kid on the other side sitting down in a chair.  Two kids went through to one of the adjoining rooms, and two went through to the other and acted as lookouts.  My students pretended to all watch the movie and we waited...  Finally, I noticed a kid walk up and stand right beside the door, reach out for the handle, and... WE CAUGHT THE DING DONG DITCHER!!!  The kids all saw him and verified that he was the one they saw doing it, and were yelling "write him up, write him up!" and were cheering and clapping that the doorknob jiggler will be brought to justice and now they can learn in peace!

Friday, April 22, 2011

5 question Friday

1. What is your favorite Easter tradition?
 Sunrise service in the park along the water with family and friends, followed by brunch at my parents house with all of our wonderful neighbors and an Easter egg hunt.  The egg hunt is sometimes straightforward and sometimes creative.  My favorite was the year we had to fish in the neighbor's pool to get the eggs out. 

2. Are you a "shower" or a "long, hot bath" kind of person?
I would love to have time in my life for a long, hot bath, but unfortunately it is the shower for me with a prayer for enough time to shave my legs!

3. Can you parallel park and if so when is the last time you did it?
I am an awesome parallel parker!  There is absolutely no place to park at my kid's school, but many times since I can parallel park, I can get a spot!

4. What is your favorite Easter candy?
Cadberry eggs!  Followed closely by Jelly Belly jelly beans.

5. Easter: do you go all out with the Easter Bunny or focus on the religious part of the holiday?
We do both the bunny and Jesus! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the day they have been waiting for!

Remember when you were in middle school and you (finally!) got to hear the birds and the bees human growth and development talk?!  Well, I don't.  It must have been just that bad for me!

Today, I had my students begin by reading the information in the textbook and writing down 10 facts they learned on a piece of paper.  I also had them write down any further questions they were wondering about on a separate paper which I collected from them, and oh my did they have all kinds of great questions saved up special for me!  Here are the top 8:

What happens to the umbilical cord after it is cut off?
Can a man have a baby?
How could a woman know if she is pregnant?
How can a twins fit in there?! 
Can twins be connected?
After you have a baby, do you still stay a little fat?
Do I HAVE to have a baby if I am a girl?
And (my favorite)  How many baby teeth do you loose? 

I am looking forward to what they will throw at me tomorrow when I read them a cute book about hormones, display some fancy diagrams on periods, and show the famous "Feeling Good About Growing Up" movie.  Man, am I looking forward to Easter break!

my dirty little secret

I have a secret to share with you.  It is the secret of how I manage to keep it all together as a single mom and middle school teacher who is always, always, always on the go.  Are you ready?  I have a house keeper.  Yes, I do.  You may think it is expensive or extravagant, but I would eat ramen noodle soup every night if I had to, to be able to afford to keep her.  She takes great care of us!  She helps me catch up on laundry, dishes, cleans the bathrooms and floors and even helps in the yard sometimes.  She always moves knick-knacks around, or hangs things up that I never thought of, or didn't get around to.  My daughter follows her around and helps her, and she fixes all the stuffed animals and babies on her bed just so!  Having my house keeper allows me to come home to a tidy house where I can make dinner and hang out with my daughter, without having to worry about sitting in a big mess or cleaning up after a long stressful day teaching teenagers.  And more time with my daughter is worth every penny to me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

the latest in the hermit crab saga...

You knew it would happen.  If you were here right now with me as I am laying on my bedroom floor peering beneath my bed, you would say, "I told you so".  Crabby Abby, Tom the hermit crab's best friend has disappeared.  She is on the lam.  And she took her shell with her.  We have looked and looked and cannot find her.  We have called her, we have put a shell with water down on the floor, we have sat very still and listened for little hermit crab footsteps, and we even let Tom out and followed him to see where he would go.  He did not lead us to her, he just hid behind the bed.  Where is Crabby Abby and what do you think she is up to?  Is she reading books on the bookshelf?  Is she in the toybox?  Is she hanging out with the zhu zhu pets?  My mom said that we should say a prayer to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, but I am not sure that he can find crabs.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tom the hermit crab and the Dora shell

My daughter now has her 3 hermit crabs set up in a proper aquarium with all of the comforts a hermit crab could possibly need.  (You can review our struggle to get to this point here).  We did still have one thing weighing on our hearts, though, and that is poor Tom, the crab.  You see, Tom is stuck inside of a shell with Dora the Explorer painted on it.  In our extensive hermit crab research (we love you,!), we discovered that living in a painted shell is not healthy for a hermit crab.  So, we boiled some other shells and placed those in their "crabitat" to see if he might like one of the other ones better.  Well, last night was the first night in their new home, and this morning, my daughter woke up and ran down to check on them and began yelling for me.  I came downstairs to see what all of the commotion was about and I spied the empty Dora shell!  Tom has flown the coop!  We did read that a crab could leave it's shell behind to jump out of its cage, so we scanned the floor to no avail.  And then we spotted one of the boiled shells moving!  Tom has a new shell!  And now our hearts can rest easy because we know that he will be healthy now in a natural shell that does not have a girly cartoon character on it. I mean what kind of boy crab would want to live like that?!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

hermit crabs and visa cards

We were at Tarpon Springs being tourists the other day, looking through the kitchy stuff in all of the gift shops, when my daughter came across hermit crabs.  They were selling a little plastic case with one crab, a shell, sponge and food for 15 dollars.  My daughter wanted to spend her own money to get it and caught me at a weak moment, so I let her.  I mean, come on, she is so cute, how could I say no to this face?! 
I have always heard that if your kid wants a pet, you should make them read two books about it, and do a report before you let them get it.  As I said, she caught me in a moment of weakness, and how hard can it be to take care of one little crab? 

When we got home, I googled hermit crabs and I was shocked at how much more they need.  I am surprised it is even legal to sell them by themselves in those little cages!  First of all, they need to live with other hermit crabs- not alone such as the name "hermit crabs" would suggest. Second of all, they need to be in a 10 gallon tank with three inches of moist sand to dig in- humidity is key.  Thirdly, the whole painted shell thing?  Bad.  They should be in natural shells, of which they like to have a few to roll around in the sand and pick from.  The other important things I found out are, if they molt, you must not touch it, but take the others away from it for a few days, or cut the top portion off a two liter bottle and place over it as protection from the other crabs.  They like fruits and vegetables and even cereal to nibble, not just those horrible smelling pellets.  And, the coolest part of all, they switch shells whenever they want to, not just when they are molting. 
So, yesterday my daughter, the crab in the painted Dora shell named Tom, and I went to the pet store to pick out the supplies we needed:
Coconut husks- to mix in with sand to keep moist
Climbing material- for Tom and friends to climb on
2 new friends for Tom
Salt water drops- for one water dish
De-chlorination drops- for the other water dish
Calcium starfish- to help the shell harden after a molt
Spongy beach balls- to help tank stay moist, and in case the little crabbies want to strike up a game of sand volleyball
Hollow Log- for them to relax under
We already had a ten gallon tank, seashells from the beach that we boiled, and a bag of playground sand from WalMart (thanks to Gran!)
So, the moral of the story is that unless you want a 15 dollar crab to turn into a 50 dollar commitment and a mad scramble for supplies, make your kid read the two books and do the report BEFORE you get suckered into a new pet!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

tourists and powdered sugar cookies

Today I was a tourist.  I drove to Tarpon Springs with my daughter, walked around all the shops, the sponge docks and had a Greek lunch.  I have always loved Tarpon Springs, not only because of the traditional sponge diving tour you can take, and the yearly dive for the cross during epiphany, but also because of all the kitchy stuff you can find in the gift shops, like alligator heads, Florida t-shirts, name keychains, evil eye pendants, sponges, olive oil soaps and seashells.  We had a delicious lunch of chicken souvlaki and flaming cheese, OPA!, and a cheeseburger and fries (um, how Greek!)  We got sunburned walking around browsing, and bought goodies to bring home from the bakery.  I bought some of those lovely powdered sugar cookies, and ate one in the car while I was driving home with the air conditioner on, and was covered in powdered sugar and sticky for the rest of the drive. It may have been one of the best cookies I have ever had in my life.  We also got a new pet there, which I will discuss in a whole other post.  Needless to say, we did not read two books about how to care for this pet before riding home in the car with it, and I think I got suckered in to a little more than I bargained for.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

how to entertain 25 teenagers after testing

Standardized testing is so serious around here.  It is nothing but business in the morning on test days.  Then comes the afternoon.  So, what can you do to entertain these teenagers who are bursting with energy and were just forced to sit still for 2 hours?
Idea Number 1- Show a movie.  Works the first day.  Maybe the second day.  But after the third day becomes quite ineffective.
Idea Number 2- Math Art.  Teach the kids how to fill in large addition or multiplication grid, then have them substitute patterns in for the numbers.  Or have them make tessellations like the artist, MC Escher.
Idea Number 3- Make a garden.  This one is my personal plan of attack.  These kids carried about 100 bags of dirt from one side of the school to the other, dumped the dirt and formed rows, then planted seedlings they grew in egg cartons.  I went home dirty and sweaty every day for the past week, and I am sure the other teachers are wondering what the heck happened to me when they see me walking out in the evening.
Idea Number 4- This one came straight from the kids.  They walked into my class, said "let's have a dance party", "can we move the desks", "we promise we will put them back" "can we play music", proceeded to move the desks and begin dancing the "dougie" all before I could even blink an eye or answer them yes or no!  Hello?!
Idea Number 5- Get fed up and make them work!  They will call you mean and say "but we just took tests all morning!"  But hey, they just tried to throw a dance party!

Monday, April 11, 2011

kindness and fairy godmothers

In my lifetime, many people have been kind to me in many ways, however, one time stands out in my mind more than any other.  I had been sick with the swine flu (before it became an epidemic!), was mentally and physically exhausted.  My poor child just wanted someone to play with her, and I could barely get out of bed.  My best friend called to check on me- I must have sounded pathetic, because one hour later Auntie H waltzed into my house like some sort of fairy godmother!  She plopped down a box of Disney videos and McDonald's toys for my daughter, cleaned up my disaster of a house, even made me get out of bed to change the sheets, put some food and Gatorade in the fridge, and left.  She is the sort of person who doesn't just say "oh, how are you, do you need anything", but just shows up and takes care of business, because sometimes you don't know what you need until someone wonderful shows up and brings it to you!
-prompt courtesy of one minute bloggers

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Faith is what makes you keep going when you think you cannot possibly go any further.  Faith is what gets you through things you never thought you would get through in one piece.  Faith is how I know that everything will be OK even when things look grim.  Faith is knowing that if you fall, you will get up again.  Faith is knowing that the impossible can be possible. 
-prompt courtesy of one minute bloggers

fish fight

I have an awesome fish tank with African Cichlid fish in it set up in my living room.  I spend a lot of time arranging the tank with coral so that there are lots of hiding spots for the fish (about 15 of them). Cichlids are known to be aggressive, but mine usually aren't.  There is one that swims around to the other fish and shakes his tail in there face, then darts off.  I researched this and found that it some sort of mating thing.  Can't you just see running up to some guy, shaking your butt at him and running off?  Well, I guess it is working out well for her because we have had a few baby fish appear in the tank, and I assume that they are getting there from all that tail-shaking. The other night, I was watching the fish, and getting ready to feed them, when all of a sudden two of the fish were locked jaw to jaw and splashing all around- a fish fight!  How do you break up a fish fight?!  I jumped up and banged on the glass, and they let each other go and swam away.  They seem to have left each other alone since then.  I wonder if all the other fish were yelling, "fight!" (in fish talk) and swimming in a circle around them like they do in middle school.  I didn't notice. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Uterus, uterus, uterus!

As I was driving my daughter to school this morning, we heard a report on the radio that the Florida legislature was trying to ban use of the word uterus.  Here is the story.  They said that Democrats are wearing pink "uterus buttons" today as protest.  Someone called in to say that they should get serious up there in Tallahassee, balance the budget, pay the educators and policemen and knock it off.  I agree, because I don't want to have any more conversations about uteruses (uteri?) first thing in the morning.
Daughter- "what is a uterus?"
Me:  Hmmm.
I thought for a minute and then said "It is where a baby grows and you even have one on your insides!"  She said that she likes the word, and repeated it several times.  At this point we were almost up to the drop off point in front of the school and I started thinking that maybe I should not send her in to her classroom saying "Uterus, uterus, uterus!"  I can just imagine the phone call from the school I am going to get for this one. 
Here are the buttons they wore on the house floor.  Incidentally the buttons have been banned too!  See here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

swimming and snorkels

After my daughter spent the entire summer swimming like a fish, I decided to sign her up for swimming in October.  I was never able to join a sport when I was young, so it was a big deal to me that my daughter be able to have that experience.  I even thought maybe I could learn along with her.  We could be a cute mother/daughter swim team.  People would look at us and say, "wow, who is that?!  Look at how good they are!" (I am a great snorkeler after all).  Well, after flailing around in the pool for nearly 6 months, I have decided that this swimming thing is just not for me.  I try to swim back and forth, but I am always gasping for breath, and end up doing the backstroke and watching the clock to see if my time is up yet.  I was telling my dad that I am either going to give up my swimming career, or have to just use a snorkel and ignore the "real swimmers" who will point and laugh at me for sure.  He assured me that it is not any worse than wearing goggles and a swim cap, that they would probably not laugh, and said, "Hey, we are great snorkelers.  We are just not swimmers."  At least I have figured this out before the lifeguards had to fish me out of the water and embarrass my kid!

Monday, April 4, 2011

grocery shopping on the OTHER side of town

I always do my grocery shopping at the the same store.  It is quiet, clean, and they carry just about every item I use in my house.  They bag my groceries in paper bags, (I can never remember those darn cloth things, but I know that plastic bags are evil!) and they walk them out and load them in my car for me.  They give a free cookie to your kid, and I don't think the prices are too high.  Today, I just needed one thing, so I decided to run into another store in a different area of town to get ground beef and corn.  Well, it was not quiet and I felt dirty just walking in.  I headed to the back of the store for the ground beef, and the only kind they had was 80/20.  Eww, that is the kind that surprises you when you bite into it with little hard bits, plus it is more fattening.  Since the ground beef was a bust, I looked at the ground turkey.  They only had 80/20 in that too.  At this point it was getting late and I was becoming hungry, so I grabbed the turkey.  Then I found some corn for like a dollar an ear!  I was disappointed that the people who shop on the OTHER side of town don't have better choices.  They can come over to my store anytime!  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Annoyance, Tardiness and Smiling

When I hear the word "annoyance", one person comes into my mind- my Baby Daddy- BD for short.  He is a complete annoyance!  So much so that you wonder if he is trying to annoy me on purpose. 

As a teacher, I am very mindful of time, having every moment of classroom time every day planned out to the minute.  BD is not.  He shows up late every time he comes to get my daughter, or bring her back.  And not just 5 or ten minutes- at least a half hour or an hour.  My 8 year old daughter has even figured out that if she wants him to come over by a certain time, she should tell him an hour ahead so he will be here on time.  Also, he is late paying my child support every month.  I have to ask for it every month.  Me: "Do you have my check?"  Him:  "Oh, is it the first already?"  Me: "No, it is the 6th" 
Another thing he does to annoy me is that he is a mumbler.  I can never understand what he is saying, especially on the phone.  You know how when you don't hear someone the first time and you say "what?" and then you still don't hear them and you say "excuse me?".  You can maybe get away with one more "could you speak up a little, it is hard to hear you", and then you just have to nod your head and smile.  In his defense, when I am nodding my head and smiling, I am probably agreeing to allow him to pay me late and show up late, if only I could understand what he is saying!

Friday! Friday!

What a rainy week!  I guess I shouldn't complain because I understand that up north it is snowing!  The good news is it is supposed to clear up today and be a beautiful weekend!  We have absolutely no plans this weekend and are looking forward to just relaxing!

1. If I don’t _brush my teeth____ in the morning, my day feels off.  I will wonder all day about it.  Did I brush my teeth or did I forget to?  Can anyone tell?  Is my breath bad?  If I chew some gum would that fix it?  Then I count down the hours until I get home to my toothbrush.

2. When someone walks into my house for the first time, they usually comment on _the size of the house____
You have to enter the house through the garage and what looks like a back alley.  Once you come in, you see a garden in the front and in the back there is a covered porch, screened porch and a small backyard.
3. Every time I see the movie, _pretty much any movie_____, I cry.  There is just something about the music at the end of a movie that gets to me.  My daughter always looks at me after a movie to check and see if I have any tears.  More than half the time, I do!  How embarassing.

4. My feet feel best when ___in the sand___ There is nothing like putting your feet into the cool sand- it is the best feeling in the world!

1. Have you ever had surgery?  I had a c-section when I had my daughter.  I don't remember a darn thing!

2. Ever ride in an ambulance? One time I thought I was having a stroke.  My arm was numb and one leg was wobbly.  I could not really thing straight either.  I called them and asked if I could take my daughter too (since who else was going to take her?!) and they said sure.  But by the time they had come to pick me up (glad I wasn't dying!) my dad had come over to get my kid.  And by the time I got to the hospital, I was seeing spots and they figured it was a migraine.

3. How are you in a medical emergency? Panicked? Calm?  You never know until you are in that position, I think I would handle it better than I think I will.  (Does that make sense?!)

4. Do you have a garden? Flowers or veggies?  I love to garden!  Flowers, veggies, whatever!  I have a nice garden in front of my house and am going to put one in the backyard over spring break.  We just broke ground on our school garden today- had 20 teenagers digging up grass before we put down our soil!

5. When did you move out of your parents house? I was 23 and had just gotten my permanent teaching assignment.  My closet in my bedroom at my parent's house had collapsed under the weight of all the clothes and stuff, and my dad said, "Well, I think it is time for you to find your own place to put all of your junk!"

Enjoy the beautiful weekend and find a new blog to follow today! 

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