Monday, December 14, 2015

the annual "in search of the perfect picture of the dog in front of the tree" post

Ya, I'm that person who takes Christmas pictures of the dog. Because, well, he's cute. And he has a jingle bell collar. And because he pretty much camps out in front of the tree every night. Hope your day was merry and bright!





Wednesday, December 9, 2015

you've never heard o holy night quite like this



My friend Jody (who happens to be a music teacher at a private school in Nashville) always sends me the link for this fabulous little video every year around this time. I've probably shared it here before, but it's so "good" I'm going to share it again. Enjoy!
Merry Christmas

Monday, December 7, 2015

the day i taught 50+ women how to make a craft

So Saturday was the Christmas luncheon for the ladies at my church - An Old Fashioned Christmas.


This was my 5th year planning and organizing the event. Every year I try to make it a little bit different. Somewhere in August or September I got the idea to include a craft when I saw this one on pinterest.
I thought it looked old fashioned and seemed easy enough. My friend Barbara and her husband were super helpful, and I couldn't have done this without their help. She ordered a sample kit and they used that to get the dimensions for the wood that was bought in long pieces and cut down.Her husband did a lot of sawing for us. The heads were purchased in bags in the three different sizes. We punched stars out of heavy glittered cardstock, cut the wire and twine, and printed out the tags, and painted the pieces for Mary and Joseph. We used acrylic paint mixed with a tiny bit of water and there were four colors they could choose from. Everything was bagged up and ready to go. We found hot glue was the quickest and easiest way to hold everything together.

All last week I was so doubtful that the ladies would like it or want to do it. Totally was wrong on that. They all loved it and had a great time. And even though we only had like 10 glue guns, they all just hung around and chatted with each other while they waited.

We put out some finished samples on the tables and I typed out direction sheets just so they could have a reference. (I talked them all though it before they started, but just in case, they had something they could look at if they forgot.) The picture below makes me laugh because we had told them the shoulders would be painted, but the feet would not and this was one of our samples :)

I didn't decorate a table this year because, well, I really didn't need to because we didn't have as many women come, and I was busy getting the trees ready so I really didn't have time to do a table. I also brought in a collection of canning jars to set out on top of the piano with tea lights.
Ours ended up being taller than the pinterest original, but they turned out super cute and everyone had lots of fun making them. Lessons learned: 1) don't be afraid to add a craft to a women's event. 2) keep in mind it's a lot of prep work to make it happen. 3) have samples and printed directions ready. 4) don't make it too complicated.
If you look closely at the above picture, you might see one of my origami stars (they were all on the tree on the left), the oranges I dried, and a doily garland. All pinterest ideas for an old fashioned Christmas, of course.

Monday, November 30, 2015

it's the most wonderful, super busy, crazy, can I take a nap yet time of the year

Holy cow, tomorrow's December 1st!

I've got 3 more weeks of class and then a break until January 11th. I'm reading about 80-100 pages a week for my Children with Exceptionalities class, and as I was telling someone the other day, "It's no Harlequin Romance, that's for sure." Which is funny because I don't think I've ever read a Harlequin Romance.

This coming Saturday is the Ladies' Christmas Luncheon at our church. I'm "hosting," I guess you would call it, or maybe it's just planning, organizing, coordinating, and mostly pinning lots of cool stuff for our Old Fashioned Christmas theme. I am trying to go vintage without breaking the bank. Or maybe it's more rustic, with holly and berries and stuff like that. . . plaids, candles, canning jars, paper doily garlands, popcorn and cranberries strung, and stuff made out of old sheet music. Someone gave me a couple of old piano books several years ago. There's like one Mozart sonata that I can somewhat play, the other stuff is way out of my league. So I watched a couple videos and now I'm whipping up some origami 5 pointed stars. The first one was a challenge, but they're much easier now. I'm trying to get a good collection to put on the trees we'll have in the room where the ladies will be meeting. I'm spritzing them with some glimmer mist and sprinkling a little glitter that looks like sugar crystals. Then I'm going to use that fuzzy stuff to hang them up with.
I'm also drying out some orange slices in my oven right now. They'll be turned into old fashioned ornaments as well. They've been in for almost 3 hours and it smells amazing in here.
Over my Thanksgiving break I managed to whip up some simple invites to my cookie exchange. Super simple because I just didn't have a whole lot of time, but I really wanted to make something for my people. Because if you make cute invites, they will come. And this year I'm totally breaking the rules of making cookies and I'm making buckeyes instead. I know. Oh so bad, but oh so good.
Happy December, people. May your days be merry and your blog comments long. No, may your days be merry and MY blog comments long.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

on teaching vocabulary words to five year olds

I subbed in two different kindergarten classes last week. In the first classroom, I introduced a new vocabulary word for their reading unit: slender. We talked about what it meant and looked around the room for slender things like pencils and straws. We even chatted about how Abraham Lincoln was tall and slender.

Three days later I was in another kindergarten class in a different building. A student says to me, "Teacher, you're not very slender." I gave my usual canned response I give to all students who comment on my size (as I'm saying to myself), 'Wow, he really learned what that word meant' was, "Well, not everyone is the same size. We all come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was the same size."

Ya. That was my week. How the heck was yours?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

sunday stuff

eating nothing at the moment.
drinking water, but I'm about ready to make some tea.
hoping I wrote my 3 IEP goals out right for tonight's assignment. My current class is Children with Exceptionalities and I'm learning all about special ed. stuff. There are more acronyms in special ed. than I've ever heard in my entire life.
listening to silence. Well, the hum of the laptop, I guess.
loving these flowers brought to me on Saturday just because.
procrastinating on sweeping and mopping the bathroom floors. Maybe tomorrow. I did get the carpets cleaned this week, so at least I have that finally done.
finding some bargains at Goodwill this week. Two brand new pairs of Lane Bryant jeans and a brand new Land's End sweater. That never happens.
napping this afternoon for an hour. Phil had a class (he's learning the ins and outs of starting a private practice) and I worked on homework for a while before I decided to go for it. It's been a while since my last Sunday afternoon nap. Wilson happily joined me. I didn't want to get up. It was so dark already and he was being snuggly. He has a birthday coming up this week. My birthday boy is going to be 4 years old!
cheering for the home team. We went to a Portland Trail Blazer's preseason game a couple of weeks ago and football has been on pretty much every day. Monday night football, Thursday night football, Saturday college football, and Sunday the Seahawks are on. Since when did football take over the entire television???
gearing up for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie and/or pumpkin crunch cake, anyone?
loving the fall colors. A lot of trees still have their leaves, or like, half their leaves. But we've had some rain last night and today that will probably zap a lot of them. The sky has been pretty cool lately too.
anticipating Christmas stuff. Ladies luncheon at church (our theme this year is An Old Fashioned Christmas) and the annual cookie party and being done with my class and not having homework for almost a month.
admitting that I haven't walked my dog in a week.
needing new shoes. I have the hardest time finding shoes. The bottoms of my feet are super sensitive, so no stitching or bumpy stuff at all. It's a pain to shoe shop.
making not a whole heck of a lot. I did design the tickets for the Christmas luncheon last night. That's about the extent of my creativity. I was in a kindergarten class a week or so ago and these flowers on the wall caught my eye. The teacher told me she made them for her wedding and then brought them to hang up in her room. They're made entirely of paper.

reading my textbook. and blogs. and a message board or two.
wondering about how I can try to get ahead a little bit with school work so I don't end up in the crazy house in mid-December.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

fall break

So my 6th grad class ended October 16 and I had until the 26th before my next class started. Ten days of freedom!!! It also just so happened to be parent-teacher conference time when I wasn't working. When I saw that was going to happen back in August, I told Phil, "We are going to the beach." And we did. We went camping. Well, not exactly. We went cabining. Because who wants to set up and sleep in a tent at the beach in October? Not me. (In other news, I think our tenting days are done. But back to the story.)

We looked online for either a pet friendly cabin or yurt so we could take the world's best dog. Turns out, there aren't a lot of choices. But Cape Disappointment on the Washington coast has three pet friendly (heated) cabins. And that's where we went. Neither Phil505 nor myself had ever been to Cape Disappointment, and, unlike Lewis and Clark, we were not disappointed. It was so beautiful!

Cape Disappointment is on the north side of the Columbia River in the bottom corner of Washington. So in some spots you see the river and the jetties and in others you see the Pacific Ocean.

We left Thursday after Phil got home from work and we got to the beach just in time for the sunset. This is the view from Beards Hollow Overlook.


The first night we were the only people in our loop except the camp hosts. That changed Friday night when we were invaded by two Boy Scout troops on both sides of the cabins. Middle school boys are. . . interesting.

We hiked the Benson Beach Trail and ended up here. This, I guess, is Benson Beach on the Pacific. Wilson was the only dog and there were only two other people out here that we saw.

Looking north you can see the North Head Lighthouse. The other white building is the keeper's quarters which you can rent out in the summer.
I didn't remember ever going to see this lighthouse, but Phil505 assured me we had. When I saw the pointy spire thing on top, then I remembered.

Just mere steps away from our cabin was Waikiki Beach and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Tucked up on the hill is also the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. We didn't make it up there this time, but we plan on going back for sure.
The beach was small, and tucked in between this cliff and the jetty. It was one of the best beaches I've ever been to on the coast.

It was a nice relaxing getaway with my guy. He even drove me to Long Beach so I could get an ice cream cone. Huckleberry cheesecake in a waffle cone, in case you were wondering.
Wilson is a great camping dog. To an extent. Then when he can't tolerate being on the ground anymore, he wines for a chair. He does love the beach though, no doubt about that.
From our little picnic table area we saw a whole lot of wildlife. Can you spot the bald eagle? I saw it fly across the lake. That was so cool.
We had a blue heron and another kind of crane fishing just on the other side of the lake.
There were deer all over the place. We also saw raccoons and otters.
And then there was my personal favorite, the wooly bears. The term wooly bear is an Ohio thing. We have wooly bear festivals and all kinds of weirdness about wooly bears on the 6:00 news' weather report. This was only the second time I've seen them in the northwest, so I had to take a picture.
Saturday night it started to rain. We were fine, heated cabin and all. We drove home earlier on Sunday than we had planned after we stopped for breakfast. It was like driving through the clouds. The rain has been (an annoying) welcome around here after our extremely dry summer.
And now we're back and I'm deep in the books again. I'm taking Children of Exceptionality this subterm. It's class #7 out of 12. I'm on the downhill slide now and hope to be finished by the end of August 2016, just in time to hopefully get a job for the fall.