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Have Two, They're Small

Updated: 2018-03-08T09:57:07.486-05:00


Unintentional Resolutions


www.thefresh20.comWell, hey there, 2013.I'm not sure if I've mentioned this in the past, but I've never been one for making resolutions, especially the New Year's kind. For years I never did, then for a while I kind of did, feeling the need to do it because everyone else was (yeah, that's the kind of peer pressure I give in to). But to be honest, in general I just don't do it. I've got nothing against 'em, I guess we just weren't big into making them when I was growing up, and I just have always felt that you should either do something or not, regardless of the date.So imagine my surprise when, as the year began, I found myself somehow making and keeping unspoken resolutions when I hadn't actually resolved to do anything. Weird, huh? For example:Out of necessity, I started going to bed earlier. I was tired when school started back after break (Hey, parents, you know how your kids were off school for two weeks and going nuts? Guess who gets all their extra complaints and energy in January when school starts up again?), and then I found out I wasn't so tired when I went to bed at a decent time. Who knew? Well, probably a lot of people, including me. There you go, unintentional resolution #1.Out of lack of time/extra money (and the fact that a certain big-name coffee chain stopped giving me my flavors for free with my 'gold card' status), I made another unintentional resolution of frequenting coffee establishments as little as possible. It's the beginning of Feb. and I have purchased coffee out 3 times, only paying for it once. Not too shabby for a girl who liked to go to the big-name place once a week and that Canadian Hockey Guy's coffee place at least twice a week.My last unintentional resolution, however, is the BEST ONE YET! I purchased a groupon for a meal planning service. Yes, I actually paid money to do something I could have done myself. I'll explain... I have dabbled in meal planning before, but I'm not good at it, I know a lot of bloggers and moms have a very good system and use it without fail. I'm not one of them. My meal planning has always been more of, "Hey, what sounds good for dinners this week?" along with a little, "Hey, what's hanging out that I really need to use?" and not much more than that. Therefore, when I did sit down to plan out meals in the past, I didn't necessarily take into account what I needed and how I could maximize my ingredients to make the grocery shopping worth my while and not end up with a bunch of unused ingredients in my fridge or pantry. Then things got busy with all four of us going to four different schools and meal planning totally fell by the wayside, at a time when it should have been a priority. In the last year, it has become a little better, in that I planned out crockpot meals and had a general idea of what we'd eat. But I still wasn't making efficient use of my time and ingredients, since I'd make several trips to the store and still have extra things in the fridge that resembled a yucky mush once I forgot about them. I know - eeew.So, when I saw the description of The Fresh 20, I was intrigued. Meal planning done FOR me, with five dinners and a shopping list of 20 ingredients? Yes, please! The fact that they have a gluten free plan (one gluten free eater in the family means everyone eats gluten free at dinner, especially if that person is doing the cooking), and that the ingredients are fresh and healthy totally sold me the rest of the way. I guess hat also created another unintentional resolution of eating healthy dinners? Maybe, although we typically eat fairly healthy dinners here already. Let me tell you, I am in some serious LOVE with this whole process! I get a shopping list each week telling me what I need and how much of it, then a list of prep ideas that maximize my time in the kitchen and get me prepping things ahead of time. Then there are the recipes - 5 of them, spelled out so that even the most non-cooking member of my household (cough - hubby - cough) can follow through without floundering. The most unexpected result has been that my picky vegetable[...]

In a Nutshell...


So, I haven't been doing much on here, based on the fact that I last posted LAST OCTOBER. Yikes. I try to justify it by saying that I so so much living of my every waking thouht aloud on Fbook and Twitter. But still, I kind of miss the writing. I do.  This has been the last 11 months in a nutshell: I survived my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad school year last year. YES!So far, this school year has been a wonderful, fabulous, so-good, very great year. Double YES!My own children=sweetness and wonderfulness and light, with a side of sassy and crazy. It's all good.C is wonderful and supportive and great. The fact that there is stuff going down with other people we know and love has made us that much more appreciative of each other lately.When I last wrote, we were contemplating adding a dog to our family. We adopted this guy as a puppy back in February. He's nuts, he eats nasty things in the yard and last week he ate through our living room carpet, DOWN TO THE WOOD FLOOR. Ugh. Thankfullly he's cute and loves us, and we love him. I'm not sure I'd call it unconditional just yet, but I'm pretty much there. My mom aptly put it, "He brings an element of chaos to your house that has been missing for quite some time." Yep. Big sister seems to be okay with him. Most of the time.Husband busted his ACL over the summer, had surgery to repair it, and is in PT. This is all good and he's healing. Yay! I have extra kid pickup duty and am looking foward to that ending soon, becasue my head is starting to spin.I hung out with teenagers and worked at an inner-city youth center on a mission trip with them. It both made me thankful for my life and renewed my faith in our youth. We swam. A lot. We traveled around our beautiful state.Oh, hey, we had lice. For the first time. Ever (as in, neither of us ever had it growing up or in 30 combined years of classroom teaching). One of the kids picked it up this summer and there you go. I think  we are nit picking gurus now. We still nit-comb and sleep in olive oil and shower caps once a week *just* to make sure nothing survives or comes back. I highly recommend a nit comb in every house and oil & shower caps in every cupboard. And wine. Wine helps, too (that's for you, not the lice or the children). In the end we also hired professionals, but I'm thinking of sending C to do this for his next summer jub. i'm only half kidding.My daughter is a swimmer. A SWIMMER! On a TEAM! I can't tell you how it makes my Mama heart go pitter patter to see her hop in the pool in her Speedo and swim cap. First meet is coming up very soon!That's that. It's been some time. I'll see what I can do about getting on here more often. I'd love to start a cooking blog of some sort but so far all I do is make other people's recipes. So, maybe not so helpful? Maybe I'll do a weekly post on what I've tried? Hmmm...[...]

Love This Girl


A popular topic of conversation among my children is how our dog is old, whether or not she will be healthy for long, and what we'll do when she is gone. So much so that K has taken to talking to the dog like she's just on her way out the door, "Ooooh, poor old girl, let me snuggle you."

While it's sweet, it also FREAKS ME OUT! Not that they talk about it, but that the Crazy 8 will not be around forever. I was never a dog person growing up, so I didn't understand, until we had a dog, the connection. Now I can't imagine that one day she won't be around, and I really, really can't imagine how our kids will deal with it (not very well is my guess).

To be clear, she is a very healthy dog, and at 11 1/2 still acts like a puppy. I really don't see anything changing anytime soon. As you can see, she's also kept her puppyish figure. ;)

We've contemplated, off and on, getting another dog. Do we do it while we still have an older dog around, so they can be buddy-buddy and help each other out? Or, are we just asking for trouble and setting a younger dog up to be verrrry lonely when the older one isn't around?

She's awfully cute, the old girl... :)



So, I'm not so great at updating this, am I?

I was just thinking about and looking back to the post where I said that I was having my most challenging school year ever.


14 days into this year and I'm quite sure someone is laughing at me.

How is that possible? How can a person have an utterly awful year and then a more utterly awful start to the next year? I'm starting to wonder if it's me. Is it my attitude? Am I getting old? I don't think so. Really, I don't. But apparently my, "If I make it through this year, next year is sure to be better," attitude last year wasn't exactly correct. I am determined to come through this impacting lives positively and with my sanity intact. Then I really need to figure out how this keeps happening and what I need to do to have a sane year next year.

So far, I've learned that large groups of middle school boys will fart. Constantly. I've also learned that they are highly motivated by team competitions involving raffle tickets and prizes of food/drink/free time. It's been a busy 14 days.

On the upside, we are doing super fun master suite renovations at our house (woot!) and they're almost completed after two weeks. When I say 'we' I mean trained contractors, of course. The other 'we' doesn't do renovations like this. It'll totally make these weeks on the air mattress worth it! :)

And my kids are loving school this year. As predicted, M is going through his typical, "I want to be good but I'm so darned impulsive!" adjustment period. Color cards have been changed, but his teacher tells me he's just sweet and silly, not 'bad'. I guess that's the 'good' kind of getting in trouble? All in all, not a bad adjustment considering he came from a small, private kdg. to a large 1st grade in our neighborhood school, and his sis isn't at the same school with him. K is loving 3rd grade and has a new teacher this year (they loop for two years with the same teacher), so that has been exciting for her to have new faces and routines.

How have your school years started? Are we all exhausted? :)

The One With All the Zucchini


I've recently come to the conclusion that there is no need to hone my disastrous vegetable gardening skills. As much as I love vegetables fresh from yard-to-table, the simple facts are A)People will give you their garden extras, and B)What would I do with all that produce that comes in right before school starts? Case in point: Last Wednesday, we visited C's grandparents. They offered me a large bag of produce, which I politely declined with the explanation that we had lots of produce at home and I didn't know if we'd use it all. Well, imagine my surprise when we still ended up coming home with a large bag of tomatoes, a bushel (is that what you call the big box?) of peaches, and a bag of 5 HUGE zucchini. It's a good thing I politely declined. I wonder what would have happened if I'd been just plain rude? On Thursday I was supposed to attend/present at a tech conference. I was halfway there when they called to tell me it was cancelled due to lack of power. So there I was with the day ahead of me and large amounts of produce on my kitchen counter. I then went through some strange, end-of-summer-induced, nesting ritual, the likes of which have never before been seen in the TeacherFam household. First I canned spiced peaches. Well, I take that back. First I went to the store, bought canning jars and tools, came home, sanitized them, peeled the peaches, cooked the mixture, and THEN I canned the spiced peaches. I think they turned out well. I used this recipe, which I liked becuase it had the steps all laid out for a novice canner like me. ___________________________ THEN I sent the tomatoes home with my mom because she told me she'd take care of them. And that's how I roll. ___________________________ THEN I made this pie! With homemade crust and raspberries added to it! That was just for fun. It was much prettier than my first attempt (we won't include a picture of that). Here's the pie crust recipe, which makes enough for 3 lattice-topped pies (from Amish Country Cookbook) Pie Crust - Esther Nisley 6 c. fluor 1 tsp salt 2 c. shortening 2 eggs, beaten 2 tsp vinegar 2/3 c. cold water Mix dry ingredients. Mix liquids in another bowl. Add flour to liquid mixture and work togehter. Divide into 6 equal pieces and refrigerate. Can be wrapped and frozen for later use. ___________________________ THEN I took a nap! Because I could! Did I mention the kids were at the in-laws' because I thought I'd be gone all day and C had plans? Bahahahaha... ___________________________ THEN I went to the fabric store, bought myself a yard of fabric, and recovered two garage sale stools to use in my classroom. ___________________________ But that STILL left the issue of the zucchini. Oh, the ZUCCHINI! Then I remembered that, when I was younger, my mom used to make this mock apple crisp dessert where she'd use zucchini instead of apples. Only you would never guess there was anything but apples in it. So I went on a Monica & Phoebe-like mission to figure out what she did to make that dessert. I actually asked her, but she was out of town and hadn't made it in so many years that she didn't nkow the recipe by heart. Yesterday I tried a couple of recipes. First, I tried this recipe. I made it, but it still tasted rather zucchini-like. It had a really good topping and a lovely cinnamon taste, but that zucchini did NOT pass as apple! To be fair, I didn't de-seed the zucchini first (but to be more fair, the recipe didn't say to do that). But it definitely missed the tangy apple taste. Then I found THIS recipe. I knew right away it would be better because it called for cooking the zucchini in lemon juice, which I was sure would give it more of a fruity taste.Also, the recipe told me to de-seed the zucchini, which I'd already figured out by then, but hey, it was still nice to know. Then my mom called and said, "Hey, I found a recipe from the Taste of Home website that is just like[...]

Here Fishy Fishy


Having too much fun this summer to blog! :)

Dog Days are (almost) Over


So close. So very, very, very close.



46: Fish Face, originally uploaded by teachermom74.

Wow - how is it possible that Miss K is now 8? I so clearly remember her being so very new and little. I told her yesterday that all of a sudden she looked older to me. She replied, "Well, I AM eight now, you know." Yes, I am painfully aware, my love.

How I know my daugher is getting older:

8. She asks me why I don't like certain singers/songs.
7. She sleeps with her bedroom door closed at night now.
6. The drama. Oh, the drama.
5. All of a sudden she is interested in cooking, planning meals, and even *GASP!* trying new foods.
4. The circle of friends has grown. Exponentially.
3. She enjoys reading many of the same books my students read.
2. She quotes us back to us as a way of making/proving her point (eek!), and is often correct (double eek!).
1. The girl formerly known as Katie has asked us to call her 'Kate'

On the flip side, the following things have NOT changed over the years:
8. She loves to sing
7. She still loves to snuggle and have 'chit chat' before bed.
6. The drama. Oh, the drama. :)
5. She still makes mealtime fun and interesting, and loves to talk during them.
4. Her friends are sweet and kind and they all 'get' each other.
3. She enjoys having us read to and with her.
2. She takes to heart the things that we say.
1. We all know she has a history of changing names. I'm thankful that this time she's at least sticking with a variation of her own. :)

I love being a parent.

i365me Day 23: New Again


23: New Again, originally uploaded by teachermom74.

There's the upside to having a husband with packrat tendancies. Bitty boy is having a BLAST with Daddy's old toys. Right now it's the Micro Machines. Star Wars Micro Machines, to be exact. Good times. M loves playing with them, and hubby enjoys that he's enjoying them. It's all good.

Although I can't get the old commercial out of my head.

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Watcha Readin'?


15: Bookish, originally uploaded by teachermom74.

Any good book recommendations? Hmmm? Hmmm?

I have a few...will have to think and get back to you. In the meantime, I'd like to hear what you like.

And just so you can tailor your list to suit my needs ;) -
- I don't like sci-fi (much) or fantasy (at all)
- I don't like the Twilight series (I KNOW! But really, I don't)
- I DO like historical and realistic fiction

Talk amongst yourselves. :)

Do Me a Favor, Will You?


A couple of months ago, a friend of a friend lost her husband. I've never met this couple or their family, but we have many mutual friends. She is pregnant with her third child and newly widowed. I'm sure all you wives and/or mothers out there probably relate to the feelig of this being something you wouldn't even want to imagine, let alone experience.

There are a couple of bloggers who are donating their ad money for the month of January to this family. So, do me a favor, will you? Click on Pennies on a Platter and let the ads run. While you're there, check out her recipes. I only started going there this month to help out with the clicking and such, and surprise! I really like the blog! Okay, maybe not a surprise, because frankly there are a lot of blogs I really like, but still...

So go there as many days as you can for the remainder of the month. Click. Let stuff load. Check out some recipes (I'm eyeing the white chocolate cereal bark for K's bday party). It's a little thing but little things help, too.

i365me Day 11: Sick & Snuggly


11: Sick & Snuggly, originally uploaded by teachermom74.

...and just so sweet.

My little guy is on day 3 of a fever. While I am thankful that he has been in the very capable hands of his grandmothers for these last two days, I wish I was home so I could lay in bed and snuggle with him until the fever's gone. I mean, really, who can turn down this sweetness before leaving for work?

(It may or may not also have something to do with the fact that he's like a human space heater right now. I'm not gonna lie.)

It's Monday...


3: It's Monday, originally uploaded by teachermom74.

...and on school days, Monday means a veg-out wrap (with hummus) and ginormous iced tea. Even if it's 20 degrees out.

Our New-to-Us Piano


4: Ebony & Ivory, originally uploaded by teachermom74.

So, about a year ago K started taking piano lessons. She first practiced on a 20 year old keyboard, a hand-me-down from C's cousin, set up on a card table in the corner of the dining room. We lovingly referred to it as the ghetto piano, and I grew accustomed to hearing K play her pieces in various musical and spacey sound effects.

After we realized that A) the kid was pretty good, and B) she intended to stick with it, we decided it was time for a piano. Many craigslist ads, phone calls, and a fruitless drive to Dundee, MI later (unless you talk to the 3/4 of the family who enjoyed the Cabella's visit that accompanied this trip), we found this little gem not too far from my work. It's a total old-school piano on wheels like you might remember your 60 year-old kindergarten teacher plunking away at while you sat in circle time and sang "The Farmer in the Dell." It's perfect.

We've had it since shortly after Thanksgiving, and frankly I'm not sure how we existed without one all this time.

iPhone Picture of the day


My creation, originally uploaded by teachermom74.

The lovely Nino told me about the i365me flickr group. You upload an iPic each day. Loving it. I love how M is concentrating as K swirls around in the background. This is such a capture of my life these days. :)

Holidays are Like That


Why is it that the time off of school - particularly holidays - rushes by so much more quickly?

I know the answer, really, I do. It was more hypothetical.

I've gotta say, overall, that this year we really had quite a lovely Christmas vacation. Some highlights:

- Christmas Cocoa with some neighbor/church/school friends (Okay - so my brilliant idea of using permanent markers to decorate mugs from $1 store wasn't so awesome...something about the finish on the mugs, maybe, but the pics didn't stick!)

- Christmas Eve with my extended family

- Christmas morning here, with a visit from my parents for brunch

- Christmas with C's extended family. My kids, thankfully, were lovely. I could have drop-kicked C's teenage cousin for being a butt head, but that's another story. I guess it's my middle school job clashing with the middle schoolers in my life? Moving on..

- Day after Christmas - leftovers with C's parents

- Play dates, overnights, visit to local sci ctr.

- Some productive things done around the house - more on C's end than mine, quite frankly.

- NYE with some other couples, kids at in-laws'

I'm currently sitting here, grading papers and drinking tea. Christmas decorations are down and mostly put away. I've been grading off and on since 11:30, when I rolled out of bed. ;-) There's a chicken in the crock pot and my MIL is bringing the kdis back and having dinner with us in a couple of hours.

The kids were happy with their Christmas presents, even though we didn't go overboard. Rather than patting myself on the back and thinking it's becasue we're raising wonderful children, I'm sending up a prayer of thanks that they are still in this lovely phase of their childhood.

Not sure that I have resolutions this year, per se, but let's just call them goals. I liked that one of my friends has a goal to be more purposeful this year, so I am totally stealing that. I also hope to be a more compassionate person in 2011, particularly to the people in my life for whom I often have the hardest time feeling/showing compassion. Hmmm...looking back oon my post maybe I could stand to be a little less judgemental. THAT is going to be a LOT harder, although I guess the three are kind of a package deal, aren't they?

2010 has been a difficult year for many people I know, so I am hoping for us all to have much health and love in the coming year. You really can't go wrong with that. :)



SO...not a whole lot has happened this year, really. Really? Maybe so, but nothing that is completely noteworthy, especially since I feel like most of the people reading my blog are also friends via social networking sites, so you see my silly little updates quite regularlry (ah, the magic of a phone with 'apps'). So, um, what to say?

First off, this year of teaching has been my MOST. CHALLENGING. EVER. I feel it must be said. And of course I can't get too specific here but I feel like I can be a tad more specific than on other sites. The administrators are great (which is an awesome thing!), my coworkers are great...but the KIDS. Wow, just wow. On the first day of school I had to call the a.p. up to my room because I had two kids yelling at/threatening each other (Who DOES that on the first day?), and it went downhill from there. It is better than it was, but anything I thought about the middle school roller coaster ride has before this year was apparently just a kiddie coaster compared to the heart-dropping hills on this ride. And I'd like off, please. Well, not really 'off' maybe, but how about going back to the one that's fun and not terrifying?

So I've started to count my blessings.
1. I do not have to spend 24 hours with these students.
2. I do not have to allow my own children to turn out this way.

Because I know that a lot of it is nature, but so, so, so much of what I'm seeing is nurture. This year has further cemented my commitment as a parent.

It's also testing what I thought I knew about dealing with kids, because I have never dealt with so many different and ongoing issues before. I've gotten a new perspective this year and now I'm trying to figure out what to do with it. I'm getting there. I've gone from 'walk quietly and carry a big stick' to not-so-quiet, and back again. Nothing works all the time, the things that worked before don't always work, and it's always a new challenge. One thing I can say - my job is never dull.

The homefront is really pretty good. Besides this being C's LONGEST hunting season EVER (Hey, and did you know there's such a thing as late bow season? Huzzah!), we are having a lot of time together. The kiddos are fun. Looking back at last year's posts, I was talking about what fun ages 4&6 were. Guess what? It turns out 5&7 are pretty awesome, too! We've got friends and school and homework and's all fun. :)

See? Snooooooze...

Oh, but I found a really great craft website recently. Check it out:
Fun stuff.

Knock Knock, Who's There?


Anyone? Contemplating shutting this down permanently, but want to save the posts and bind them with that whatchamacallit program. Just checking to see if anyone is here anymore. :)

Also? I just noticed today that the fabric in my header is the SAME as a wallet I bought off etsy a few months back. Had no idea until just now! Who knew?!

What does everyone have planned for the holidays?

And so This is Christmas


(image) Every year, my kids understand and enjoy the wonderment of the holiday season even more. Right now they are still fairly unmaterialistic about it, too, which is nice. Each has asked Santa for 1-2 things (knowing Santa just brings one main gift), and that's about it. I love the simplicity of it all.

We have decorated the house and it feels festive and cozy. Surpsingly it did not take very long, probably because I had lots of help. So what if some of the helpers do not decorate in a way that would impress Martha Stewart? :)

We have a tree in our family room where we keep all of our special, family-type ornaments - the ones that C and I have had since childhood, different ones we've gotten through our time together, and of course the kids' ornaments. This is the tree that has the fashing colored lights, and where we will place and open presents on Christmas morning.

In the living room is what K calls the 'fancy tree'. I got it from my grandparents after they stopped putting up a big tree. On this tree I put up the white lights and glass bulbs. Taking it out of storage this year was different. My nana passed away in August, and as I took the tree out I noticed that, even after having this tree for a couple of years, some of the fake snow (pieces of cotton) that Nana had strewn here and there is still in the tree. Of course I'm leaving it there. How could I not? I plan to put a fake bird in it, too, because you were always bound to find a fake bird somewhere in a plant or tree in her house, especially at Christmas.

We will continue with our tradition of giving each child a special ornament. This year it's a child in a karate uniform (a girl for K, a boy for M), because both kids started taking Tae Kwon Do this year. I still remember when and in which stages I got various ornaments from my parents. The kids (K especially) love asking us about our childhood ornaments, and we love telling them.

I've been stashing gifts away through the year, so there's really not much left to do this year but sit back and enjoy it. I wish the same for you all. :)


What are your Christmas traditions? What fabulous craft or decorating ideas do you have? Do you want to send me pictures of your decorating for me to post on here? Just thought it might be fun.

"You Don't Let Any Moss Grow Under You, Do You?"


This phrase has been uttered by my mother a few times over the summer. I'll tell her, "We did __ and ___ (and ___) today, ..." and she'll tell me that I am too busy with the kids (she also tells me that someone has 'Montezuma's Revenge' instead of actually saying the word diarrhea, but that is beside the point...)

It makes me wonder: how busy IS too busy with a four and six year old? We are out and about doing something or other every couple of days or so. Historical village, sprinkler park, zoo, play date w/friends, things like that. Nothing horrifically intricate or anything, and I do try to follow it with a day of some down-time for all of us. But really, isn't that what summer is for? Aren't we supposed to be making the most out of this time off of school/work, while exposing the kids to meaningful, fun experiences? Just curious as to how other people work the summer schedules, particularly if you are home on the weekdays with your children. It's hard sometimes to be out and about, but I feel that at other times it is equally difficult to be home with children who are bored and bickering. On the other hand, there is also the aspect of kids learning to entertain themselves without requiring active entertainment from their parents, which I suppose is a downside to being busy.

I guess it comes down to the fact that I like to be out and about, doing things during my time off, and the kids seem to like it, too, so I figure there's nothing to lose, except sometimes my sanity. Opinions?


When I get back from our camping trip (Yay! Camping!), I plan to try out some new recipes from this show that aired in the Spring. I had a bunch of episodes on my dvr and was diligently copying them, but then we switched tv service and I no longer have the same dvr, so I went ahead and bought the book (even though many of the recipes are on the site for free...but whatever). I play on trying at least three recipes a week, and plan on reviewing them for you all. You're welcome in advance, as I'm sure my reviews will be well-written and riveting.

Hello, Lovelies...


So, I've really been neglecting the old blog lately. It's summer...maybe I will write more on here?

To start, this is what I've been doing with my summer vacation so far. I feel almost productive, and definitely feel like we've started off this summer in full relaxed-but-busy mode.

Oh, and whoever told me that life gets easier once your youngest child hits age four...YOU WERE SO RIGHT! Aside from occasional minor temper tantrums, M is SO easy now! No diapers, able to be reasoned with, fairly portable...seriously! That was sound, sound advice. So, thank you for telling me that, it was good advice that I am passing along (unlike the 'advice' people give you when they tell you pregnancy/labor horror stories...or how their kids slept through the night at six weeks...)!

But I digress...on with my list:

TeacherFam's Summer Vacation, 2000-Fine (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)

1. Play dates with church and work friends (so far: sprinkler park, gymnastics, concert at a park on one of those ungodly hot days)

2. Wallpaper removal off of first floor 1/2 bath, had walls repaired, and then (mostly) painted. Ooooh, shocker of the summer! C said, "Hey, how about some crown molding in here?" Swoooooon! My house is now 99.99% wallpaper free. The only exception is the border in K's room, and we all know that hardly counts. Besides, I think that by the time I change her room, the stipulation will be that she will have to help me remove it! :)

3. Two trips to local historical museum & village (hellloooo, educator's discount on yearly pass! Woot, woot!).

4. LOTS of time with my sis and her family while they are in town from other side of country. It is wonderful that they are here and we are having so much fun! However, it makes me a little sad, too. K and her closest-in-age cousin get along like two peas in a pod, so it's such a bummer to see them together and know they have such limited opportunities to see each other. M gets along great with them, too.

*A funny aside about M and the cousins...the other day at the lake, he finished his lunch and then started to try to scam off of other people's plates. My oldest niece looked at me and said, "He reminds me of Helen Keller in the beginning of The Miracle Worker." Actually, I'd just been thinking the very same thing.*

5. Time spent at my parents' lake trailer, with plans of spending more time out there. The kids are at such a good age for this now. They have always been at a good age, I guess, so maybe I should say they're at a much easier age for this now.

6. I've planned our first family camping trip! Should be interesting...the kids have never camped, and we are tent campers, so I'll be interested to see how it goes! We're going pretty 'luxury' as far as tent camping is concerned...electricity, showers, staying at one of those chain campgrounds with a pool, activities and hayrides for kids and families. I'm no dummy! I'm very excited because it is about 1/2 hour from an area where we spent a lot of time camping as a child, so we are going to head to that state park for a day to do some lake stuff, hiking, etc.

Might be our BEST summer EVER. I'm just saying...

Doing a little research...


K sometimes gets a little to amped up in terms of her emotions. She becomes easily upset over little things, etc. I know that part of it is being a girl, part of it is her age and the fact that she has an active mind and imagination, but it seems to me that she gets a little more upset over small things than many of her friends/peers.

SO, while I was at the health food store today I was looking in the homeopathic aisle and came across this product, which my sister has talked about using with her kids. But, I don't know, I still feel 'iffy' given the fact that I know practically nothing about all the ingredients in the proprietary blend.

Then I was looking at straight-up chamomile drops, which I am still considering, but in the end I decided to try the tea first to see if it had any effect at all. Of course, there's not really a scientific method in determining my child's's unpredictable and rather subjective in terms of measuring it.

What I really want is just a way to get Miss K from this

To this:

Is that too much to ask? :)

My questions for any of you who happen to read this:

1. What do you know about the 'calming' products, in terms of your own research and personal experience?

2. What other things to you suggest? We are working on behavior (talk about your feelings, wait before you respond, etc), and we've had the yoga tapes here, which she does enjoy. I'm not thinking she needs to see anyone professionally or anything, but I'm looking to do some regular activities this summer that promote calmness in general.

Oops, I Did it Again


I always start off with the best intentions. When we went to get our new phones, I went in there saying, "Nothing crazy, just something to help us keep track of things."

Exit: 2 of those fancy phones I make fun of my students for having.

The difference? My parents didn't pay for mine, and I'm guessing my students don't have the recipe spinner app. on theirs.

I feel no shame.

If you have one of these crazy things, what other apps do you recommend?

PS: Spring Break Southwest Style was fabulous! A pic or 2 to share via email w/any interested.

PLS: I typed this entry on my iAddict. Because iCan.

Only From the Mouths of My Kids...


Today K was watching the Yoga Kids ABC video she checked out @ the library yesterday, and as the health precautions were scrolling across at the beginning of the video, she asked me, "Am I a menstruating woman? Because I can't do everything on here if I'm menstruating."

Gah. I'm glad she just accepted my answer of "No" and didn't ask what it meant!

She also asked last week, "Why do we grow hair on our bums as we get older?" She actually asked C, but he threw me under the bus and called me upstairs because he said it was a "Mommy" question. Not to worry, Mr., I will be sure to reciprocate when the boy questions come up. By the way, she seemed okay with my, "Oh, we all grow hair in lots of funny places," answer in which I quickly deflected to Daddy's ear hairs. Take that, C!

M, not to be outdone when it comes to body comments, told my mom, "Oh no. the big p*nis is here. I can't go potty until the little one comes back."


I really have a lot to update in terms of the kids and what they're up to these days, birthdays (6! and 4! How'd THAT happen?!), etc., but I have not had time to blog lately. I'm mostly 'tweeting' and doing the 'social'book website. If you are on either of those and we haven't 'friended' each other yet, feel free to pop an email my way. I seem to only have the time and attention span for short blurbs of 150 characters or less! I blame both motherhood and middle school teaching for inducing adult-onset ADD. I wonder if there is such a thing?

History in a Word Picture


Yesterday was a pretty great day. And I have to admit that, while I am normally pretty jaded as far as politics are concerned, this is the first time in my adult life that I have been excited about a new president, and downright hopeful that this person could be the impetus for the much-needed changes for the better. It has even been enough to make me come out of my Democrat closet with my staunchly Republican family. :)

If you haven't yet tried Wordle, you really must. It takes your text and configures it into a word picture, using different sized fonts depending on the number of times that words are used (the more use, the larger the font). If you are a teacher, it is GREAT to use with your students as a summary activity.

I did not make this wordle, it was already there. This is the wordle from yesterday's Inaugural Address (for some reason I can't get it to embed, so go to the link below):

And then if you look at this site, you can see Obama's speech in comparison with other presidents' speeches. It is very interesting to see the dominant words in the other speeches.