Monday, December 29, 2008

Yep. Still Sick

Yes, we are all still sick, but not quite so bad. Becca made it out of her house and onto the couch today. She watched about 12 hours of cartoons, so her brain is probably dead, but she is feeling better. I, however, stayed in bed most of the day. Mostly because I can't stand listening to more than about an hour of cartoons. So I plugged my laptop in next to my bed and camped out there for the day. I watched a couple of movies on Netflix (The Buccaneers mini series was great!) and redesigned my blog (as you can see) and caught up with friends on Facebook. I really never got the whole concept of Facebook until I tried it, and now I'm hopelessly hooked.

Kenzie spent her day playing with her IPOD Touch, entertaining the dog and drawing. tough life, huh? Hopefully tomorrow brings the return of our health and we can at least get out of the house for awhile!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Still Sick

Just an update, although there isn't much to report. Becca is still sick, sick, sick! Yesterday she started throwing up. Nasty. So that meant loads of laundry. Today she slept in her room until 5:pm. Yep. That's right. She didn't even come out to watch TV or anything. She just slept on and off all day. No music, no reading, just laid there. That's pretty bad.

McKenzie and I are still in the early stages. Bad cough, headache, low fever, lots of snot. I did find that Benadryl really helps. Of course Kendra + Benadryl = 3 Hour Nap, but that's not an entirely bad thing. Thank goodness Mike has been home to help take care of us.

As a side benefit, I had time to pull out my Cricut Expression and play around with it a little bit. It came with two cartridges. I ordered 4 more on the internet (Oh My Crafts has a deal where you could buy four cartridges for $100 and I had a coupon for 10% off so a really good bargain) and I bought the Cricut Design Studio so I can hook the Cricut up to my laptop and manipulate things around a bit. Loads of fun!

Other than that I've mostly been sleeping and surfing the net and McKenzie has been playing with Becca's new Nintendo DS (it's not like Becca is using it!). Kenzie has also been drawing a lot. I got her this fashion creator thing from Klutz and she's been messing around with that a lot. Becca, she's been sleeping. And the dog has been sleeping. And Mike? World of Warcraft of course!

Friday, December 26, 2008

But Santa, we didn't ask for that!

Well, Santa brought some pretty nasty germs with him and now three of us are fighting them off. Actually, the germs have been here, but they have gotten worse in the last 24 hours. Becca has been fighting off a cold for a week or better. She has had a cough, stuffy nose, low fever. . . in other words, your garden-variety cold. But starting Christmas morning, she said her ears hurt. Bad. Really bad. She even had a hard time eating the prime rib I made for dinner because it hurt to chew. Poor kid. Also, she sneezed while opening gifts (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) and this long string of greenish yellow snot came shooting out. It was truly impressive in a disgusting sort of way. And you would have been so proud of Becca and how fast she jumped off the couch, hurdled all the gifts and sidestepped the dog to get to the box of Kleenex.

So around two o'clock or so Kenzie and I both started coughing. Thanks for the Christmas present Becca. But you REALLY shouldn't have. Now we are fighting off the cold. (sniff. sniff.)

The kids climbed into bed around 10 or so and I checked in on Becca around 11:30 or so when I went to bed. She felt really hot so I took her temp: 102.6. Not good. I took Becca to the doctor this morning. Dr. Peck said that both of Becca's ears are definitely infected on top of a sinus and respiratory infection. Well, swell. . . so off ot Walmart to get the Rx. But they were swamped so we dropped off the Rx and came home. We got home around 11 and Becca went straight back to bed. That was over three hours ago and she has been out the whole time. I know she is very sick. It would take something serious to keep Becca away from the TV, computer and her new Nintendo DS voluntarily.

Other than that, we had a nice Christmas. We had our neighbors over for Christmas Eve. They have an 8 year old daughter and a two year old daughter. K is one day older than my niece Ellie. F is a total doll and is in love with Mike. When it was time to go, she said, "NO! I want him!" Well, sweetie, he's not for sale. Too cute. It's been a while since I've seen Mike play with a little girl. He is such a great dad. For dinner we had ham, cheese, and pesto roll ups, clam chowder and salad (with pecans, blue cheese and dried cranberries YUM!). Easy and very tasty.

Christmas morning the girls slept in until after 9. Being sick will do that I guess. Becca got a really cool scooter, a Nintendo DS, and a vanity mirror. Kenzie got a bow & arrow, an art easel and watercolor supplies, and an IPOD Touch. I got speakers for my laptop, but I think I may take them back and get cordless ones. The ones Mike got me sound fantastic but there are cords everywhere! One for power, one to the computer, cords between the speakers, etc. Not terribly convenient. Mike's big surprise was a pair of leather overstuffed drafting chairs for the office. They are very comfy, but they weren't packed very well and both have rips in the leather, so we are going to end up sending them back for replacements. Disappointing and a pain in the ass, because I looked around for a long time to find just the right ones.

Well, I'm off to Walmart to pick up Becca's Rx. And then back to do some cleaning up. WIth any luck, I'll get a few spare minutes for a nap as well!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not Much

Not much going on here the past couple of days. Becca has been laid low by a bad cold so we've been stuck home for the most part. She had a little cough on Friday, a low level fever and cough Saturday and by yesterday (Monday) she had a continuous cough and a fever of 101.1. Poor thing. She spend yesterday, the whole day, on the couch watching TV. She didn't even get up to play on the computer! That's when you know she seriously doesn't feel good. A day without checking in at Club Penguin and WebKinz World? Unheard of.

We've been giving Becca meds to bring down the fever and quiet her cough. The meds must be stronger than I thought. When Mike was putting Becca to bed on Sunday night she whacked her head hard on the headboard of her bed. He thought for sure that she was gonna cry, but she got a goofy smile on her face. Oh no, he thought, she knocked herself silly! So he asked her, "Becca, are you okay?" and she said, "Yeah. All that medicine made it not hurt at all." Oops. We may want to look into that.

The good news is that my house is pretty clean. Yesterday I had time to do my room, my bath and the kitchen from top to bottom. Kenzie took care of the main bath (also known as Sophie's bath since she is the only one who showers in there). Thanks Kenz! Today I need to finish wrappping so I can clean up the disaster of my dining room and tidy up the living room and I'll be all set. The office is a lost cause, but since I don't go in there except to retrieve the occasional print-out, I don't consider that my problem anymore. :) One of the best things about having a laptop with a wireless connection is that I don't have to sit in the God-awful uncomfortable chairs in our office anymore! Mike and Becca can stand it for hours, but my little hiney was not made for hard wooden seats. I like my soft leather sofa much better!

With Becca's bad cold and the horrific weather conditions in the northwest, I'm kind oof glad that my folks weren't able to make it for Christmas. Or that we didn't try to fly home. Somebody would be stranded in an airport somewhere, I'm quite sure. And Becca is better off resting and not contaminating more family members than she already has. This is the silver lining on that particular cloud. And my folks will be here in April and we will all go to Daytona Beach together. That sounds like it will be lots of fun! Kenzie is already planning a return trip to St Augustine to see the fort that we didn't get a chance to see last time.

I've had a fun time catching up with old friends on Facebook this past week. People that I didn't even know that I was missing until I talk to them again. And then I remember why we were friends in the first place! Moving around so much makes it very hard to keep in touch with friends scattered near and far. There are just some people that you will remain friends with no matter how much time passes.

On the tech front: my camera appears to be working once again (it was having problems detecting the memory card and wouldn't record pictures), my printer should be up and running again once the new printhead arrives this week, and I still don't have a cell phone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Little Nerdlings

Have I ever mentioned that my children are brilliant? Not just the my mom thinks I'm brilliant kind of brilliant, but the I'm-headed-to-Harvard kind of brilliant. Progress Reports went home yesterday. On the teacher end I deal with many kids who look at me in disbelief when they take home that D or F. "What do you mean I got an F. I never do any work but that shouldn't affect my grade, right?"

On the parent end, progress report day is a great day! My kids each brought home straight As. Not just ordinary A's but the over 95 and even over 100 type of A's. I'm so proud. Bet you couldn't tell.

Speaking of nerdlings. . . we have a friend visiting tonight who is every bit as nerdy as my own two geeks. Becca and her friend were talking in the back seat about what they want to do when they grow up. Becca said that she wanted to be a famous writer (this is a new one), but didn't think it would really happen. Her friend's goal? To solve the mystery of the disappearance of Jamestown. When I asked if she wanted to be a researcher, she said, "No. I want to be a historian. Actually, a presidential historian." What eight-year-old spits out, "I want to be a presidential historian?" What happened to being a ballerina? It just goes to show that our little friend is probably headed to Harvard, too.

Big NerdlingLittle Nerdling

Honorary Nerdling

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday, Monday. . .

Happy Monday! I've been in a great mood all day. Not sure why; it defies rationality. It's Monday, I have to work, I'm tired, and yet I've been smiley all day!

Maybe it's because I am finally feeling better. For about a week or so, starting on Thursday, Dec. 4, I ran a low grade fever. Never above 100 degrees, but it hovered around 99.5 for several days. No other symptoms except for a small headache and a few chills, just a slight fever. Needless to say, it sapped my strength. I ended up leaving work early on Dec 5 because I was really dizzy (my first sick day taken for me in 4 years) and I mostly stayed home last week and went to bed early. I stayed home on Wednesday but more because I was waiting for a Christmas package to be delivered that I had to sign for (Ivar's Clam Chowder!!! YUM!) than because I couldn't work. At any rate, I am feeling much better now.

Maybe I was so chipper because I'm finally feeling in the Christmas spirit. The tree is finally up and decorated and there are a few packages under it. Mike put the lights up outside yesterday and I put up a few other outside decorations. We have even started to get some Christmas cards in the mail! Some people obviously have too much time on their hands.

Maybe it is because it is 75 degrees outside in Port St Lucie and exceptionally cold everywhere else! it sounds like most of the northwest got covered in snow over the weekend and now it is frigid cold and windy. It's absolutely gorgeous here: warm and breezy with highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s. It doesn't get any better than this!

Or maybe it is because I spent the last two days on Facebook catching up with old friends. It's like a 24-hour reunion of Moses Lake grads at that place! It's been so much fun catching up with people I haven't seen in years! Of course my house is a total disaster, my fridge is empty and I haven't spoken to my kids or hubby in two days either. Talk about addicting! It's crazy. There are always friends to chat with and email, there are photos to browse and links to click. There are games to play and applications to look at. It's neve rending!! I even lost two pounds! I was so busy messing around online that I didn't even stop to eat! Okay, that's an exaggeration. . . but I definitely held off on the snacks. Hmmm. . . the Facebook diet. That's a novel idea.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Getting to Know Me Christmas-style!

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I have gift bags and I tend to think that they are more environmentally friendly, but there's really nothing like tearing into a Christmas present and ripping off the paper, is there? Plus I like to be creative and paper is more conducive to that.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial, are you kidding? Have you seen the price of a real tree in Florida?? And I think it would be hard to keep it fresh in this kind of heat.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually the Saturday or Sunday after Thanksgiving, but we were gone this year. So Mike got it out last Sunday and finished putting it up Tuesday night. It is a pre-lit tree and several of the light strands were not working, so Mike took ALL of the lights off the tree. Each one had a clip that had to be snipped off and he had to unwind every strand from each and every branch, etc. It took approximately 1800 hours. Okay, only about 10, but you have to respect the guy's tenacity. If it was up to me? I would have gone to Sam's Club, bought a new tree and been back in under 20 minutes.

4. When do you take the tree down? I guess I don't have a tradition for that. I should start a new one. Wouldn't it be great to look forward to taking down the tree instead of dreading it more than a dentist appointment? I'll have to think about that one. . . I think it usually comes down the first weekend after New Year's.

5. Do you like eggnog? Revolting. Seriously, like milk that's been left on the counter for a couple of days.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Sadly, nothing specific comes to mind. Blame that on my poor memory, not on skinflint parents! My mom was so incredibly generous at Christmas that we always got tons of great stuff. I remember always getting a new babydoll every year, which I loved. My dad made me a rocking chair when I was 15 which I still have. It's in my classroom and I sit in it to read to my class each day.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Mike, definitely. He has very simple tastes. He usually buys the stuff he needs and there isn't really anything he wants. Becca, to a lesser extent. She always asks for impractical things, like a pony or a baby or something like that.

8. Do you have a nativity scene? Shockingly, no. You would think I would have one considering all of the angels in our house.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? I had photo cards made this year, but haven't mailed them yet. I will probably send an email to friends and family on Christmas Day, too.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm. . . probably something from Mike. I love him dearly, but he is definitely missing a gift-buying gene. Last year he bought me sheets for our bed. And they were light blue. Whut?????? And too small. He is, however, good at keeping receipts.

11. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas, with Bing Crosby. Ever before I was a Gonzaga alum, I loved that movie. More recent? Home Alone.

12. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually around Labor Day or so, I start thinking about gifts and I pick up things here and there. This year I got a late start. I didn't buy anything until after Thanksgiving.

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably once or twice, but not on a regular basis. But I don't think that there is anything wrong with regifting. A gift is a gift.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? As a kid, I remember having Chico's Pizza for Christmas Eve and usually ham for Christmas Day. Now we always broil a big, juicy steak for Christmas Dinner. Last year we had Christmas Eve with friends and had Cuban food. This year I ordered Ivar's Clam Chowder. They mail it to you frozen. How much does that cost you ask? Too much, but I ordered it anyway!

15. Lights on the tree? What kind of question is this??? Are there seriously people out there who do not put lights on their tree????? That's got to be against the law. And I prefer all white. Not that I find the colored ones offensive or anything. I just like the simplicity of all white and I think it makes my angels look better.

16. Favorite Christmas song? Do I have to pick just one?? I have about 500 in my ITunes Library. And yes, I know all the words. And yes I sing along. LOUDLY. Favorite traditional songs: O Come All Ye Faithful. O Come Emmanuel, The Holly and the Ivy Favorite contemporary? The River, I'm Just a Candy Maker, Let's Be Naughty and Save Santa the Trip.

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? As a kid, we almost always stayed home (one trip to Bend, Oregon that I can remember). Since I got married: 1995-1997 (traveled from Utah to Moses Lake); 1998, Leavenworth; 1999, Moses lake at Brant and Penny's teeny-tiny house with my folks and Penny's whole family; 2000, Ogden Valley (prettiest Christmas EVER!); 2001, Hope, Idaho (butt-cold); 2002, Birch Bay, Washington; 2003, Austin, Texas; 2004, Arrow Point, Lake Couer d' Alene; 2005, Daytona Beach, Florida; 2006, Orlando, Florida; 2007-2008, Home in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Of course. . . You know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Did you doubt me? I told you I know every word of every Christmas song.

19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Given my penchant for angels, you would think an angel, but no, I don't like total predictability. Actually since the tree is covered with angels of every size, shape, and color, we crown our tree with a gold thingy. . .um. . . don't know if it has a real name. . . my vocabulary fails me. . . ugh! Okay, it's gold, about 14 inches high, has two vaguely spherical parts and is pointy on top. Please let me know what this type of thing is called. . . it's going to drive me crazy. [Note: Kenzie says it's a spire. . . but that still doesn't sound quite right.]

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? For the past couple of years the girls open one present a day, leading up to Christmas. This way they take the time to enjoy each gift instead of being so overwhelmed by everything. This has worked out very well for us. Mike and I open all of our presents on Christmas Day and the girls get their stockings, big Santa gift and gifts from each other.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Having to work! Eighth graders tend to be semi-insane all year long, but Christmas time is even worse. Plus, I really miss being a SAHM this time of the year. I loved having time before to make handmade gifts and bake treats and decorate the house, etc. I've had to make a lot of sacrifices since going back to work and scaling down Christmas has been one of them. Of course, with a paycheck I can afford to give way better gifts.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color? Angels of course. We have five trees in our house, each with a different them: The big tree in the living room is covered with angels and gold and silver ornaments. Kenzie's little tree is covered in seashells, blue, teal and green ornaments. Becca's is covered with hot pink, purple, and bright blue ornaments. Mike's tree is covered in baseball players (his mom sends him the Hallmark one each year) and red, white and blue ornaments. I also have a little tree that I keep in the kitchen that is covered in all of our homemade ornaments from over the years. It's probably the ugliest tree ever, but it is beautiful to me.

23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Rib-eye steak. YUM! We get T-Bones, now, so that Sophie can have a special Christmas treat too. On the side, homemade rolls, mashed sweet potatoes, homemade chunky apple sauce, and grilled asparagus spears with Hollandaise sauce. Usually apple pie for dinner, although last year I made Key Lime Pie.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? I've already posted by Christmas wish list. Mostly I want some peace and quiet and time to enjoy my beautiful family.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kendra's Christmas Wish List

My Christmas List

In random order as I think of things:

Measuring spoons








These ones from Crate and Barrel seem especially nice. Really anything from Crate & Barrel.



A great, big prep bowl (for making Chex Mix, stuffing, caramel popcorn, etc), preferably stainless steel



New oven mitt and potholders (cream, red, orange or green).Not silicone, I'm an old-fashioned kind of girl.



Speakers for my laptop. I want to be able to use my laptop as a stereo so I can listen when I am cleaning.


ITunes gift certificates. I don't actually have an IPOD, but I use I Tunes to listen to music on my laptop.



New knives. Wusthof or Henckels (based on Consumer Reports tests). Mine are from my wedding (a looooooooooooong time ago) and I must admit that we haven't taken really good care of them.


Cookware (I'm not desperate, just greedy) I have one Calphalon pan and I absolutely love it!!


Mini deep fryer. Something pretty small, just big enough for a batch of sweet potato fries or a few chicken strips.


A book on HTML so I can figure out this whole blogging thing. I'd like to be able to tinker with the look of my blog a little bit more. Right now I just cut and paste from other people. That's kind of cheating, don't you think?


A new cell phone. Yeah, this should probably be at the top of the list. I lost mine in Orlando. I think it might have been at Downtown Disney. Oops. This is the same one I dropped in the toilet. Twice.
Apparently, I also need a new printer/scanner. According to the Canon website, Error 5200 is not good. It doesn't tell you what is wrong, only that you must take it in to an authorized repair shop. Closest one? Boca Raton. . . 87 miles away. Yeah, right. I'm thinking that it would be cheaper to get a new one from Santa Claus!


A Tree of Life Necklace.


I like this one from Walmart, but there are lots of really beautiful ones available on the internet






Good Quality Vanilla (I'm too cheap to buy it myself. I always get the imitation vanilla)

Salad spinner (I always buy bagged lettuce, but I could use the spinner for rinsing cilantro, which I am addicted to. . . is there a 12-step program for guacamole addicts?)

Kenzie's Christmas List

1.
2.
3.




Nothing. McKenzie doesn't make Christmas lists. She is morally opposed to the idea. She likes to be surprised so she doesn't ever tell me what she wants. This is not a new thing. It's been this way since she was about 5. And it does make for some great WOW! moments on Christmas morning. But I know it makes it hard on loved ones to buy gifts. So my advice: Books are always good, craft items, clothes (Size Women XS on top, Size 0 on the bottom), tickets to movies, plays, performances, etc.

Becca's Christmas Wish List

Okay. . . not a traditional Dear Santa letter this year. I got handed a post-it the other day with the following items on it:

Nintendo Wii
Nintendo DS Lite
Bella Sara cards
Webkinz

That's it. What's a mom to do? The first two cost an arm and a leg! The Bella Sara cards are like $1.99 for a packet of 5 and a Webkinz is like $10 (she already has five I think). Not much help Becca.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Too Tired!

Sorry it's been a while since the last posting. We've been crazy busy.

Our family spent the Thanksgiving holiday scattered around. Becca stayed in Port St Lucie with her friend Rachel and had a great time. According to Rachel's mom, they were very LOUD!! Not something we usually hear about Rebecca. But Rachel is an only child, so it probably did seem very loud to have two eight-year-olds talking non-stop for five days! Since Rachel's mom is a second grade teacher, I'm sure she'll recover!

McKenzie spent six days out in the swamps of Okeechobee riding ATVs, singing around the campfire, playing hide-and-seek in the dark . . . cool, huh? She spent Thanksgiving eating outside with a family group of about 40 or so. They had seven turkeys, two hams and pork ribs! Not a traditional feast, but much enjoyed I'm sure. Kenzie came home with a few scratches but no broken bones.

So why were the children gone from home for the holiday? Well, Mike and I were at the Old Spice Classic basketball tourney in Orlando from Thursday through Sunday. We found out in August that Gonzaga would be playing and since we NEVER get to see them play, we decided to go. Even when GU is on national TV, the games are on too late for us to watch. We considered taking the kids along but neither is a big sports fan, so we decided to go just the two of us. Please don't think we are selfish. This is our first overnight trip away from our kids since March of 2002 and only our second trip since McKenzie was born. This was VERY out of the ordinary for us.

So Mike and I got to watch Gonzaga win three games (YEAH!!!! #5 in the country!!!) and we also got to watch a few other top-caliber teams play. It was so strange to be able to watch a game without someone asking "Is it over yet?" "Can we get another drink?" "I have to go to the bathroom." "Is it over yet??" "I'm bored." "Is it over yet???" I really enjoyed the games. Gonzaga is really fun to watch.

We also got some Christmas shopping done. Big city, no kids, why not? We even watched a PG-13 movie, Quantum of Solace. Very good, by the way. The last movie that just Mike and I went to was in January 2000. Crazy huh?

So Mike and I pulled into PSL around 12:30am Monday morning and had to get up to go to work (the girls came to school with their respective friends). Needless to say I was a bit sluggish, but the real exhaustion hit today. I had three people tell me I looked so tired! Okay, I get it!! I graded papers until 5 and then the girls and I headed to Sam's Club for groceries and dinner. I barely made it thru dinner before I fell asleep on the couch. I woke up in time to see The Biggest Loser. So I am watching that now and typing (gotta love the laptop with wireless internet). I'm sure I left out lots of details, but now you know the gist of our Thanksgiving. I'll try to add photos and more as time and energy permit!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday in Fort Pierce


We have had a spell of much cooler weather these past couple of weeks. Kenzie and I especially have enjoyed the chilly weather. It just makes us so happy to be able to wear sweaters and feel the cool air on our faces! On Saturday we spent the morning doing chores and then headed out to IRSC (Indian River State College) to see a program at the Planetarium, fittingly called "The Planets." After that we walked through a little craft/food fair sponsored by DECA. Lots of fun Christmas crafts, but we ended up buying sunglasses for the whole family! Hey, you can't beat $5! After that we drove down to the Fort Pierce Marina to see if we could find any manatees. They are in our area from November through March and we have never seen one. We still haven't ever seen one. Yep. We struck out. But the weather was nice, sunny and cool, so we took a drive over the causeway and went to the beach. It was crazy windy. We even saw some windsurfers and they were getting some major air! It was way too cold (for us wimps anyway) to go in the water, but we had fun watching the tide come in. The sun was setting and hitting the waves just right so it made for some pretty pictures.

Family Literacy Night

Last Thursday (November 20) our school celebrated Family Literacy Night. We had a turnout of about 250-300 people so that was a nice success. Last year only two families showed up for Lit Night!!! It was horribly embarassing and so sad. . .

So this year we changed it up and tried to make it sound like a lot more fun. As the Design Team co-chair, I automatically got volunteered as co-chair of the event along with the Reading Coach. Our plan was to focus on fun and building community. The schools around here don't have much for parent involvement, at least not compared to other communities where we have lived. An average PTO meeting might have 12-15 people and 10 of them are teachers and admin. Keep in mind that our school has 1600-1700 students. Pathetic, huh?
So our theme was "Have a Dog Gone Good Time Reading!" We served hotdogs and chips and all of the events (well, most of them) had a dog theme. There were six activities for 4-8th graders and six activities for the parents of K-3rd graders. The K-3rd graders themselves made doggie masks and performed in a skit, "The Three Little Puppies," based loosely on the Three Little Pigs. It was really cute.


Everyone who came got this cool little kit with a whiteboard, dry erase marker, book, index cards, highlighter, etc. We gave away tons of stuff: craft kits from Lowe's, free kids' meals from Chili's and TGIFridays, coupons for free books, etc. Becca even won a manicure! She is very excited about that.

Turnout was good, not great, but everyone who came had a really good time. And I am so thankful that it is over!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Honor Roll Assembly

Today was Honor Roll day at SLWK8. Both girls made the Honor roll for for the first quarter. Rebecca made the Principal's Honor Roll (straight As) and McKenzie made the A Honor Roll (all As with a B in math). Of course I forgot my camera! I never forget my camera. I got a couple of shots with my camera phone, but it's just not the same! Plus I didn't save them to my memory card, so I can't get the pictures off my phone! Oops.

McKenzie was really disappointed that she didn't make Principal's Honor Roll (she had made it 7 times in a row and then missed it at the end of last year with a B in science). She really struggled with her multiplication fact timed tests at the beginning of the quarter and it sunk her grade. we think it is a good time to learn a lesson. McKenzie would whine about not doing well, but wouldn't spend time practicing so she could improve unless forced to. We reap what we sow. Better to learn the lesson now than later.

Again, sorry no pics. Maybe one of my friends will come through with some photos?

RIP Alice

I just found out my brother's family dog, Alice, passed away yesterday. Just wanted to post some photos of her. She was a really great dog.
Unfailingly patient with people, her fellow canines, and even cats!

Alice has been a part of the family for so long; it will be strange to not have her around.
Good-bye Alice. We'll miss you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stampin Up! Roller stamps

I'm looking for someone who is willing to give my Stampin' Up! roller stamps a good home. I have nine rollers, the handle and two ink cartridges (green and black). I rarely stamp these days and I never use the rollers. I hate to just give them to Goodwill. What if they went to someone who didn't appreciate how special they are??
So first come, first serve. Just let me know that you will take good care of them and I will mail them to you just in time for making Christmas projects! : )

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All Work and No Play

I remember thinking of a good title for this posting when I was driving to work this morning, but now I have forgotten it. . . maybe I will remember before I am done!

Another crazy work week. Monday was a professional development day, so all the teachers spent the day at our third full day of Kagan training (not Kegel training!). Kagan is a way of planning instruction to maximize student participation and engagement. Instead of asking, "who knows the answer to this question?" and one student answers you would have students write the answer, share with their shoulder partner and then have pairs confer with other pairs, etc. It's a way to get everyone thinking instead of just the one or two kids who already know the answer anyway. It's good stuff but I've already had the training before and then another two days at the beginning of this year and then Monday's training. I've got it already!!

Tuesday was glorious. I stayed home with the kids all day and did laundry and cleaned and got caught up on chores and played on the computer. Of course I had stacks of papers to grade but I decided to be a homemaker for the day. McKenzie had a friend over and I helped them with a school project. I was so not feeling like grading that I actually contemplated cleaning out the garage and the kitchen junk drawer! In the end I spent about two hours grading student work.

Wednesday it caught up with me because I had to stay at work until 7:30 grading papers, inputting them in the computer and printing progress reports (goes home every two weeks). Bleh!!! Needless to say I was exhausted by the time I got home. The girls had gone home with some friends from school and Mike and Sophie picked them up and they all went out to pizza. I went to Arby's. That doesn't seem quite fair, does it?

Today the girls and I stayed until 6 o'clock. I finished up a bulletin board and then spent an hour trying to find my desk again. If this keeps up I should just leave a sleeping bag in my closet. I am looking forward to putting my feet up and watching Survivor and going to bed early! Such an exciting life we lead!

Dang! I still can't remember what I was going to name my next post. It was really cute, I promise. . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day


A big thank you to all the men and women out there in the military who risk their lives to ensure our freedom every day!

And, most of all, thanks DAD! We love you and we miss you!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pioneer Woman

Do you wanna know what I do when I am procrastinating? When I really don't want to fold the laundry or grade another paper I head over to www.thepioneerwoman.com. You should check it out. But beware, it's addicting.

Stuart Air Show




So on Sunday, we packed up the little troops and headed south to Stuart for the annual Visiting Nurse's Association Air Show. I'd heard about it before, but we had never gone. In fact, I don't think I've been to an airshow in my life (I'm sure my mom will correct me if I'm wrong!). So we got to the airfield around 11 a.m. and found a place to set up the lawn chairs and the blanket. It ended up being a great spot. Who knew?? Beginner's luck, I guess. The day was absolutely gorgeous, south Florida at its best. Seventy-eight degrees, a slight breeze and loads of sunshine. The airshow was open from 9 a.m. to 5:00 with the performances beginning at 1:00, so we had a couple hours to look around before the excitement was set to begin.
Of course we started with food, because everyone knows a hungry kid (or spouse) in a cranky kid. Becca had a hotdog, Mike and Kenzie split an Italian Sausage and I had something called a Chicken Devine. It was "divine" but a messier meal I have never had in my life. Chicken Devine was pita bread crammed with shredded chicken, cooked onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and sour cream type dressing. Before I was finished I had spilled on my jeans, my shoes, my shirt three times and gotten it on my face and in my hair. I kid you not. But YUM!

After lunch we headed over to the airplanes (aka static exhibits, as noted on the map). They all looked different, but I can't keep any of them straight (very sad). We went into a big navy airplane. There were also small and medium planes, but we chose the big one and got to visit with some airmen and look at the cockpit.


We had to wait about 15 minutes or so to get into the planes, so we only went into the one. There were a lot of smaller, private aircraft that we looked at too, but my children were even less interested in the particulars of the aircraft than me. So we took pity on them and took them over to the KidZone (rides!!). The girls were told they could choose one ride and one ride only (what can I say? The rides were $4 each and I'm cheap!). So they went on a swing thing that they both loved! It was worth the $8 to see their smiles. At the end of the day we let them go on another one because we had extra tickets and they had been so very good.



Here was Ride #2, The Rock and Rolla, which rolled on a track like a hamster wheel. It was pretty funny watching the girls fly by, upside down, screaming, with Kenzie's hair flying around. You can see the mixed reaction on the girls' faces: "That was soooooooo cool!"


"I hated that! I can't believe I lived! I thought I was gonna die!



After their first ride, we headed back to our seats to see the show. . .


It was really amazing! There was definitely a patriotic vibe, being Veteran's Day weekend and most of the performer's made special dedications to all the men and women who are risking their lives for us around the world in the name of freedom. I found it very moving and fought back tears a few times. We saw lots of different military jets, old and new, from World War II models to Top Gun jets. The F-16 is LOUD! Crazy loud and amazing to watch. So fast and maneuverable in the air; it really is awe-inspiring to watch. The sun was behind the planes so it was a little difficult to get really good photos. But I tried to capture a few and even shot some video:













video





video





So what did my children think of these death-defying, miraculous feats of airmanship?






Sometimes, a picture says MORE than a thousand words!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whistle while you work!

Two more long days at work. . .

Yesterday I stayed after school until about six o'clock (thank God I have patient children who can entertain themselves for long periods of time) dealing with union stuff. I am one of the union reps at our school and I had invited the union president to come visit so we could share our concerns and she could answer a few questions. All in all, things are pretty good at our school. But it's always nice to have an outside viewpoint. So that took a while. It's one of the only chances I get to visit with teachers in other grades. I feel so segregated! I work in a separate building with only 8th grade teachers and I eat lunch with all the 8th grade teachers, so I really don't see the K-7 teachers except at trainings and faculty meetings.

Today we were at school until 6:30 or so. I stayed until about 5 helping the Reading Coach put together the flyer for Family Literacy Night at the end of the month. It is one of those things that was supposed to be taken care of by a committee but the committee kept shifting the duty to someone else and suddenly it had to be done NOW! We don't have school next Monday or Tuesday so if it didn't get done and printed for tomorrow, it wouldn't go out until next Wednesday and then it would be too late. . . Anyway, it got done and it looks very nice I think. Then there was some visiting. . . one of my vices that keeps me from ever leaving at 4 when the day is supposed to be over. . . and then I spent an hour poring over test results from the District benchmarks and getting my plans ready for tomorrow. I have been playing catch up constantly for two weeks now. Ever since I started my blog. . . hmmmm. . . strange coincidence, wouldn't you say?

So now I am home. Mike made us dinner and is now walking the dog with McKenzie and Becca is in the bathtub, so it is nice and quiet. All I can hear is the dishwasher in the background. Ahhh. . .silence is bliss after a long day at work with hundreds of very loud children.

So tomorrow I go to work early for a Design Team Meeting (I am co-chair) where we will spend one last meeting finalizing everything for Literacy Night. There are 44 volunteers and six committees to oversee. Then a full day of teaching, a parent conference during planning (ethics prevent me from saying any more about that) and then off to McKenzie's Drawing class, the one night of the week where we are not at school until 5 or 6 at night. Whoever thinks that teachers have it easy should spend just one day shadowing me. What I do is hard work and exhausting, mentally and physically.

Ah, Sophie and Mike and Kenzie are back and Survivor just started. Must be time to go.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

My students were very excited about the election today. They voted in their U.S. History class and our team chose Obama over McCain 98-20. Young people, at least in our neighborhood, are really excited about an Obama presidency. I was glad I voted with an absentee ballot and did not have to suffer through long lines.

Long day at work. Three IEPS! That more than I attended all of last year! Of course last year I was on an ESOL team and this year I am on an ESE team, but still. . . three in one day is a lot. So I was in and out of my classroom all day which is hard to plan for. Plus I am busy coordinating Family Lit Night and getting ready for a union meeting after school tomorrow. After school the girls and I stayed until 6 so I could get a few grades in the grade book and clear off my desk (it gets out of control very quickly). By the time we got home at 6:15 it was dark out! I hate that. But I must admit I like having sunshine in the morning. It's not fun to get up in the dark.

Mike is finally all moved in to his new digs at work. He has been in the same building on the FAU campus since we moved here, but now the new building, the permanent home, is done, so he has spent the last week coordinating the move. He has been wearing jeans and T-shirts to work and he said he could easily be mistaken for one of the moving crew! I'll have to get him to post some pictures of his new space. It sounds like it has been a pain in the rear moving all the instumentation and making sure that it is all hooked right and with all the safety protocols in place. I gather that Mike was very specific in his requests for what needed to be done and he was very frustrated when things were not done as he requested. I must admit Mike does not suffer fools lightly. : )

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Day in Stuart

Saturday morning we spent at home, playing on the computer, watching TV, reading, doing laundry. McKenzie is reading "Twilight" again. She read all four books of the series in 12 days Z(well over 2000 pages) so now she is rereading since she inhaled them whole the first time through. I was working on genealogy at ancestry.com; Mike was playing World of Warcraft; Becca was catching up on Hannah Montana.


Around one o'clock or so we drove into Stuart (town just south of us, about 20 minutes away) and had lunch at the Ashley. It was fabulous! I had a green apple salad, with spring greens, grilled chicken, candied walnuts and blue cheese. Mike had a prosciutto burger. McKenzie had a smoked salmon and avocado panini. And Becca had cheese ravioli in a bechamel sauce. Very good and under $50 for the four of us.

We had gone to Stuart because the little heritage museum there was having a Kid's Day. There were a lot of volunteers about and they had some special exhibits going; one was about firearms and another was about Seminole Indian dolls. It was fun and the weather was perfect for walking around.




One of the volunteers was quite taken with Becca and commented on her "incredible eyes." He must have mentioned how pretty she was at least three times. A little creepy if you ask me. So I kept her close by. She told me that it made her feel weird to be told how pretty she was, but also feel kind of cool, too. People comment on her eyes frequently, but she's a bit uncomfortable with being told she is pretty. Her front teeth have come in rather crooked and she is self-conscious about it, especially since her baby teeth were so perfect and straight. I'm sure braces are in the near future. About the time McKenzie is done, it will be time for Rebecca to start. So for the next 4 years or so I will be visiting the orthodontist monthly. It's a good thing the office is close to school!

After we poked around the heritage museum for a while we walked out the back to take a short stroll. The museum backs up to the St Lucie River and there is a boardwalk that follows along the river for a ways. It was destroyed during the hurricanes of 2004 (like most of Stuart) and recently rebuilt. We happened to catch a lovely rainbow on our walk.





A little game called "Husband Tag"

I'm stealing this idea from Nicole. Thanks for the idea, Nic!

1. Where did you meet your husband? We were both going to Gonzaga and I had just joined the men's crew team as a coxswain. The first time I saw Mike he was late coming in to practice (Shocking, I Know) and he set his textbooks (why didn't he have a backpack??) before he got on an erg. I can't exactly remember the titles of the books but I think it was Advanced Calculus and Analytical Chemistry or something like that. So I knew right away that he was smart as well as very good looking. I decided to forgive the always late part.


2. How long did you date before you got married? We dated for about 2 1/2 years before becoming engaged and got married when we had been dating for 3 years, 3 months and 5 days. (I'm weird about this kind of stuff)


3. How long have you been married? Thirteen years this past June.


4. What does he do to surprise you? Ha. Ha. That's funny. He doesn't surprise me frequently, but once, for Christmas, he really surprised me by contacting our wedding photographer and buying all the negatives from our wedding so that I could have all the photos that were taken. I had been having a hard time putting together a wedding scrapbook because all I had were a few snapshots. The professional photos were all in an album and didn't copy well (which was against the copyright, too) so Mike decided to get me the negatives so I could do the wedding album the way I wanted. You're sniffling aren't you? That's alright. I bawled like a baby I was so overwhelmed and touched by his thoughtfulness.


5. What is your favorite feature of his? Eyes, for sure.


6.What is your favorite quality? Honesty and deep-down goodness


7. Does he have a nickname for you? Nope.


8. What is his favorite food? Almost anything, but he loves it when I bake for him (peanut butter cookies, coffee cake, apple crisp, etc)


9. What is his favorite sport? He likes to golf and watch college sports and MLB.


10. When and where did you first kiss? March 13, 1992 in Riverfront Park, in Spokane, Washington, overlooking the falls.


11. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? We like to talk, hang out with the kids, and eat out.


12.Do you have children? Yes, 2 girls


13. Does he have any hidden talents? Hmmm. . . apparently not, because I can't think of anything.


14. How old is he? 36


15. Who said I love you first? He said "I think I'm falling in love with you," and I said, "I know I'm falling in love with you."


16. What is his favorite music? Classic Rock I would say although he doesn't listen to music all that much. I think in the car he listens to talk radio when he is by himself and when the kids and I are with him, he lets us control the radio, which is really very sweet.


17. What do you admire most about him? In 16 years he has never once lied to me. He doesn't have a deceitful bone in his body.


18. What is his favorite color? Red


19. Will he read this? I hope so.


20. People I tag: Carolee, Lisa, and anyone else who would like to participate.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jack-o-lanterns



Here is the photo McKenzie took of her and Rebecca's pumpkins. They created them al by themselves. (Normally I would have helped but I was chained to a sewing machine!) Mike supervised but he was distracted by a coconut, so the girls were pretty much on their own.


I know that you are asking yourself, "What coconut?" so I will explain. . . A few weeks ago Mike found a couple coconuts on the ground. I can't remember if it was while he was golfing or at work or what, but he comes home with two coconuts. The dog thinks they are great fun and has been playing with them in the back yard. She chews on them and pulls the husk stuff off, so they have been put to good use. Well, when we went out to buy our pumpkins this year, Mike said he didn't want one becase he was going to carve the coconut, a Florida jack-o-lantern, so to speak. So while the girls were scooping out pumpkins guts and carving their masterpieces, Mike had out the Dremel and created his very own one-of-a-kind coco-lantern.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween Everyone!
The wings got finished last night. Now I know why all the wings that we have had in the past have been purchased! Kind of a pain. . . and they turned out kind of wonky. But overall my girls looked fantastic and very beautiful.
We went to Tradition, a nearby neighborhood/shopping area. They had live music, food, hay rides, trick-or-treating. We met our friend Michelle and her daughter Rachel there and walked arond for a couple of hours. It was fun and the weather was absolutely fabulous. It was around 72 and breezy. It has been (relatively) cold here with lows in the 40s for the past couple of days, setting cold temp records. So it warmed up some today with highs back in the 70s.


Aren't they stunning?

Here are Kenzie, Rachel and Rebecca posing at Tradition Town Hall. Cute, huh?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wings Done (well, almost!)

Okay, so they are not quite done. But the wings are sewn and I just need to thread some wire through the seam allowances around the edge. I think that they're going to look so cool! Nothing like waiting for the last minute.

The girls don't have school tomorrow, but I have a teacher workday. This is the first scheduled workday since before school started and it is desperately needed. We only had three days before school started to get ready and one full day was taken in Kagan training. There was another day of team meetings, department meetings, attendance procedures, etc. leaving only one day to prep for the year. Crazy. . . We've had several days for professional development this year. Too many I think. I'd rather have work days to spend in my classroom creating bulletin boards, filing, cleaning my desk off! It gets messy fast because you really can't take the time to put things away properly when you're trying to teach and supervise large classes. It amazes me sometimes how many things I can do at one time. I catch myself having conversations with two or three kids at a time while pointing to another kid and tapping on a desk to redirect a lazy student all at the same time!

The girls carved their pumpkins tonight and Mike carved a coconut. Long story. . . I'll have to tell it another time. It's late, I have wings to finish, and a bed that sounds very inviting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Skirt is Done!!

Whew! Two and a half hours of ripping, cutting, sewing and fitting and Kenzie's skirt is done. It looks really, really cool. It's row after row of ripped strips of fabric. I was going for an organic type of look- - Think Puck or Titania from "Midsummer Night's Dream." I can't recall ever seeing any wood nymph costumes, so I was on my own with this one with just McKenzie's and my visions to guide us. It's after 10 or I would have made her try it all one. But tomorrow is a school day, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow. Darn.

Tomorrow night will be Wing Creation Night. Wood nymphs and golden fairies have to have wings right?

So the girls and I left school at 6 and picked up food at the Golden Chopsticks and got home around 6:30 to find a note on our door from Animal Control. Something about a call about our dog barking. Now our dog can be a pest; she licks, she jumps on you, she occasionally whines if you don't play with her. But she rarely barks, like hardly ever. Maybe if she sees a lizard, or a balloon. She has a thing about balloons. But enough for a phone call? So our back fence neighbor came over to say that she thinks that our next-door neighbor (the only folks in the neighborhood w/o dogs) called to complain about her dogs and our dog. Now the neighbor, Gloritha, has four Yorkies, and I will admit, they can be very obnoxious and yappy. But they're only out of the house for a few minutes here or there. They bark like crazy when they see Sophie and they yap and run like crazy along the fence, so I can kind of see why the neighbor would call about that. But Sophie is out for 8-10 hours per day with not a peep. Why complain about her? Of the twelve closest neighbors, eleven have dogs, so we are pretty sure it is the one family that doesn't have dogs that called to complain. I hope it doesn't go any further. I'm not really sure what options we would have. I can't fathom leaving Sophie inside all day. Or leaving her in a crate inside. Never.

Well my grading is done. Finally. I'm sure that I will have a little make-up work turned in tomorrow, but the bulk is taken care of, and progress reports are printed. Yeah! Tomorrow is an early release day set aside for professional development. Our team has a specialist coming in to talk about hearing impaired children, since one of our students has lost his hearing (from an ear infection!). It's hard to even comprehend the emotional side effects. He's a trooper and handling it very well so far.

Well, time to shower and hit the hay. Have you ever thought about actually sleeping on a straw tick? I'm very spoiled and I really love my pillowtop mattress!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday

Quick update.

Kenzie went to the orthodontist today and got new wires and new bands (orange and silver). Then we went back to school so I could grade papers. I did that for two hours and the kids worked on homework. Then we met some friends for a quick meal at Bob Evans. So we got home at 8 o'clock.

Last night I did get a lot done, but never got around to working on the costumes and didn't get through all my grading. But I did get a load of laundry done so that was a bonus! McKenzie also told us that, surprise, she has a big project due on Wednesday! She has to write a 3-5 minute speech supportin John McCain and Sarah Palin and create a campaign poster. Great. Cuz we're not busy or anything. So last night she wrote the speech and now, after a quick shower, she is making the poster. For the most part, Kenzie can take care of projects on her own. I just hate how she waits until the last moment. She has had two weeks to work on this!

So back to grading (definitely one of the downsides of middle school teaching and a roster of 120 students). . . and hopefully I will not poop out before getting a little sewing done.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday

Update on Costumes: I finished McKenzie's top. Yeah! Still need to do skirt and wings for both girls. Am I crazy or what? For some reason, I just cannot fathom buying costumes. It's become such an important tradition and I really love the creative part of it. I just wish it wasn't so time consuming!

Normal day at work. My students have been busy evaluating the validity of sources this past week, not an easy skill for eighth grade. We were comparing different biographies of Edgar Allan Poe and noting inconsistencies and then determining how we could figure out which story got it right. It is so hard to get eighth graders to think for themselves. Typically, they just want to know "what do I write in the box?" And I am trying so hard to get them on the path toward critical thinking! It's tough. For those of you who are not familiar with my position, I teach reading. I have no curriculum, meaning no textbook to teach from. I have a list of 47 essential skills to teach, but it is entirely up to me how to teach them. I like the total control but it in overwhelming to find everything on your own. It takes tons of planning and prep time.

The quarter ends on Wednesday so it's time to catch up on all the grading, etc. Of course today is when the district's server went down, so we had no access to our electronic gradebook. Ugh! Tonight I need to grade a stack of papers (and hope the server is up in the morning so I can input grades), write lesson plans for the rest of the week, create and print the schedule for student book talks, and develop the rubric for next week's in-class project (writing an obituary for Edgar Allan Poe). And oh yeah. . . finish two costumes, feed two children, and clean the kitchen. My life is crazy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend News

So what are we up to this weekend? A lot of nothing much.

Friday, after school, McKenzie had her drawing class at the Community Center. She has been doing that for two months now and she really enjoys it. She is very, very good. If I remember, I'll have to scan some of her drawings. The first month she was taught how to use colored pencils and how to blend them. This month they have been working on blending with charcoal pencils. McKenzie did a very lovely drawing of sailboats last week and this week it was a pear, I think. The community center was crazy busy with hardly any parking because of early voting. I think that's a good sign that there will be a big voter turnout this year. Mike and I have absentee ballots so that we don't have to fight the crowds on Election Day.

After drawing class, the girls and I went to Kohl's and Michael's and stopped at Taco Bell for dinner, a rare treat for Becca. TB is one of Becca's faves, but not high on the list for Kenzie and me. At Kohl's we had $30 in Kohl's Bucks from our shoe shopping trip last week that had to get spent this week, so we picked out some hand towels and a candle (Spiced Plum. . . yum!). At Michael's we picked up some supplies for Becca's school project -- a poster advertising a favorite book. Rebecca chose the book "Dragonfly and the Web of Dreams." So she has decided to create a huge rainbow web for a background and we needed poster board and some clear glue. Glitter and paint we have gobs of! I'll post a photo when she is finished.

After dinner we headed to Joann's Fabrics to pick out supplies for Halloween costumes. We are getting a VERY late start this year. And of course the girls have picked out very ambitious costumes for me to sew. Rebecca wants to be a golden fairy and McKenzie a wood nymph, both inspired by "Anne of Green Gables" that I read to the girls in September. Of course there are no wood nymphs in "Anne of Green Gables", but that never stops Anne from imagining that there are wood nymphs cavorting around the Lake of Shining Waters in the moonlight and golden Fairies sitting in the trees along the White Way of Delight. Again, I'll post when I am done. . .

So we got home at 8:30 or so and there was a very happy and excited dog waiting for us. Sophie absolutely loves running out to the car to greet us when we get home. She runs full out and falls all over us, licking us and jumping around. I would say that it is very annoying, but how can you be upset when there is someone in the world that is soooo excited to see you??? She loves with such intensity. I think that is a trait unique to dogs. I've seen a cat glad to have me home, but nothing like the display Sophie puts on.

Saturday I spent the day sewing. and sewing. and sewing some more. Well, technically I spent the morning cutting out the fabric and helping Becca start her school project. Then I started sewing. I sewed until 9 when I went to bed! So exciting. Rebecca's underdress and vest are done, with wings still to go. With the pale gold color scheme she chose, she looks a lot like an angel. The girls and I had ordered a DVD from Netflix of "Anne of Avonlea." It's a 1975 version done by the BBC, and we were so excited to watch it, but it was a flop. Nothing like the 1985 version with Megan Follows. So much for that.

Today, I read for a bit this morning and looked at the morning paper and then we all went to lunch and took Mike's car to the car wash. He is still driving a 1999 Chrysler Concorde. It has 145,000 miles on it. We are thankful for every month it keeps running. It is blessedly paid for and it is nice to only have one car payment. Keep your fingers crossed that it continues to run until mine is paid for. Well, that might be pushing it. . . I have about 3 years to go on mine still.

After lunch I started on McKenzie's costume. I had to create hers from scratch because she is an odd size right now. Too big for the children's costume patterns and too small for the misses patterns. So I modified Rebecca's pattern and had to lengthen it and then do some major darting, etc. Kind of fun, doing the tricky stuff. If I had a dress form I could totally pretend I am a contestant on Project Runway! So her vest is halfway done with the skirt and wings yet to be started. It's gonna be a rush to get it all done, but I'm sure it will. Probably on Thursday night at 11:30!

Well, I have had my break and the sewing machine is calling to me to get my butt back in gear.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rebecca Hispanic Heritage Celebration

Rebecca and Kacey both volunteered to be a part of the Hispanic Heritage Night at school. The third grade performed the Macarena. So cute! Becca concentrates so hard on doing everything perfectly that she forgets to have fun!! But she did a great job and she sure looked cute.

Kenzie October Student of the Month

Top 100 Children's Books

Educators' Top 100 Children's Books
The following list was compiled from an online survey by NEA (National Education Association) in 2007. Parents and teachers will find it useful in selecting quality literature for children.

The ones in italics I have read:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Oh! The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Crunching Carrots, Not Candy by Judy Slack
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willlems
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Tacky the Penquin by Helen Lester
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type Doreen Cronin
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
Olivia by Ian Falconer
The BFG by Roald Dahl
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Bunnicula by James Howe
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Frederick by Leo Lionni
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
No David! by David Shannon
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch
Swimmy by Leo Lionni
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
The Empty Pot by Demi
The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop
The Giver by Lois Lowr
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A Pop-Up Book by Keith Faulkner

Top 100 Books

Okay Carolee, I'm stealing your stolen idea. I'm not sure where you found the 100 books (I didn't find the list at the Big Read website) but I think this is a great list of books! The ones that I have read are in bold.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen****

2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34. Emma - Jane Austen

35. Persuasion - Jane Austen

36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41. Animal Farm - George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery ****

47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52. Dune - Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding

69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72.Dracula - Bram Stoker

73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses - James Joyce

76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal - Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession - AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte's Web - EB White

88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94. Watership Down - Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, May 26, 2008