Saturday, February 22, 2014

Girl Scout Cookie Booths Are Awesome!



 

Patty and her fellow Girl Scouts kicked off Cookie Booth Season 2014 with a bang! 
The weather was awesome, sunny and sixty, and the cookies were flying off the table!  We put together this cool little "bling your cookie booth" stand (made of PVC pipe, foam core, and recycled cookie boxes) and the girls stayed busy coloring a Sales Goal sign and asking everyone "would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?"  So proud!  And I'm happy to report they more than doubled the goal of 100 boxes by selling an awesome 202 boxes today!  Way to go Girl Scouts!!!!!  One cookie booth down.....five to go!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Today is Snow Day No. 11

Today we are embarking on our eleventh snow day of the school year.  And that means our kids are going to be seeing their last day of school pushed from May 16th to somewhere around June 2nd.  I guess it's understandable that most parents are upset that our kids have to makeup these days which can't be avoided.  Mother Nature is a beotch, you know.  Making up snow days really doesn't bother me as much as I'm worried about how it affects the learning process.  Are kids going to recall what they were last studying by the time we get back in class?  It goes without saying that I'm really shocked and saddened by some of the comments left on the school's facebook page.  I don't know why the school allows people to leave comments, I'm pretty sure you can turn off that option in your facebook settings.

Anyhoo.... someone left a comment stating that our state requires 1,050 hours of school each school year.  Hmmmm.  Last night I went to the school's website and printed a copy of the school calendar and then dug through the kids school papers to find their school handbook.  According to the handbook, my kids elementary school day begins at 7:45 and ends at 2:35.  Do a little math and that makes the school day 6 hours and 50 minutes long.  There are 175 days of school scheduled this year.  If you do a little math (175 x 6 hours 50 minutes) my kids are scheduled to be in school for 1,195.8 hours this school year.  Do a little more math (1,195.8 - 1,050) and you will see that my kids are at school for 145.8 hours a year that aren't counted toward their education.

WTF?

Of course, a very helpful person (on FB) pointed out the fallacy of my logic.  You see, that additional time above 6 hours a day that our kids are in school is not counted toward "instructional time".  Nope, lunch, recess, and any time spent in the halls is not counted toward their school day.  I'll have to throw in another WTF here.  You'll have a very difficult time convincing me that kids aren't learning something during these, I don't know what to call them, down times?  I feel confident saying that kids are being "instructed" to sit down and be quiet while they eat their lunch, and to walk in a line and be quiet while in the hallways, and to act like something besides barbarians while running around on the playground.  Instructional time begins the second my kids get out of my car in the morning and ends the second they get back into my car in the evening.

Now, I'm guessing that this additional 50 minutes of each school day is a necessary evil and we are all powerless to have a say in the matter. But, if my child must be present from 7:45-2:35 in order to be counted as "present" for the school day, that entire school day should count toward the total number of time required for the entire school year. Am I crazy for thinking this?  I think not.  And I'm really curious to hear what the Governor's office will say to the inquiry I sent this morning.

My kids have been in public school for just the past few years, but I find myself continually wishing for the confidence to home school them.  Sadly, I never wanted to grow up and become a school teacher.  Just the idea of being in a classroom day after day with thirty or so angelic little faces is enough to give me hives!  But, I can't shake the thought that school is no longer really about learning, it's just about punching a time card and meeting a quota.  And, that just doesn't seem like a good way to do business, if you're business is to educate young minds.  Thoughts?

After Thought:  I just have to mention that I have a very strong dislike for the use of hand sanitizer over good old fashioned hand washing. In the past, I assumed the argument pro-sanitizer would be that there simply isn't enough time for good old fashioned hand washing. Well, now that I know there's fifty throw away minutes in each and every school day, I must say I think there is plenty of time in the school day for good old fashioned hand washing. Next year, for every bottle of sanitizer I'm asked to send, I will be sending a bottle of hand soap and a roll of paper towels instead.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013: A Review

Happy Early New Year!  I really can't believe it's (almost) already a new year, seems like we just got last year started.  Anyhoo, here's a little recap of how my 2013 went!  And I owe this little post to Joy at I Can Say Mama; I'd never have put this together on my own!

Gained or lost weight?  Gained.... like, the doctor said go on a diet.

Predominant feeling in 2013?  Hmmm, feelings are tough.  Any given day is a roller coaster of emotions.  But, predominantly, I guess the feeling for 2013 was complete and utter chaos!

Predominant feeling for 2014?  I predict the chaos will follow me right into the new year, but if I could wish for it, I'd have nothing but complete and utter peace in 2014.

Something you did for the first time in 2013?  I'm not a "try something new" kind of person, but I did, for the first time ever, give an injection.  My aunt, who has diabetes, began a new medication and I was the lucky person who got to give it to her.  It's an epi-pen type thing, very fool proof.  I passed the torch to my mother in December, though.

Something you did again in 2013 after a long pause?  No clue.  Oh!  I started "digital scrapbooking" again!  Sort of.  I was really surprised to see that I hadn't worked on any of our family photos since May 2010!  I am waaaaaay behind.

Something you unfortunately did not do in 2013?  Sadly, I did not stick with my little line-a-day idea that I had at the end of 2012.  Better luck this year!  Nor did I manage to read one book a week.  So much for those New Year's Resolutions I made!

Word of the year?  Yes.  Sadly, it will not carry over into 2014.  2014 is going to be the year of big, fat NO.  Sorry people.

City of the year?  Evansville, the most travelled to city anyway.

Hair longer or shorter?  Shorter, then longer.

More or less money spent?  Probably more.

Highest mobile phone bill?  I think the highest was around $220, we have four lines and the husband continuously goes over his data plan.  Yes, we've had many fights about it.

Hospital stays?  Zero, thank goodness!  Unless you count one out-patient procedure?

(Fallen) In love?  Still in love.

Most called person?  Casey.

Whom did you spend the most beautiful time with?  My kids.  They drive me crazy, but there's nothing better than being home with them.

What did you spend most of your time with?  I probably spent more time sitting in the waiting room while the kids did therapy than anything else this year.  Or, possibly, more time sitting in the car in the student pickup lane at school!  It'd be a toss up between those two.

Song of the year?  Oh, gosh.  This is a tough one.  The funny side of me wants to pick What Does the Fox Say, because I do have that one on my playlist.  But, really the song of the year has to be Lorde's Royals.  Patty and I both love it.

Book of the year?  This reminds me, I didn't complete my one-book-a-week resolution in 2013!  Bummer!  But, I guess my book of the year would have to be....hmmmm.  I read a handful of "classics" that I found for-cheap on Amazon.  I can't pick just one of them as book of the year, so I guess all things Signet Classic, will have to do.

TV show/movie of the year?  Oh, this one is beyond tough for me.  I am a tv-a-holic in desperate need of a 12 step program.  Like, seriously.  Hmmmm....  I'm going to pick X-Factor.  This was my second year watching the program and I absolutely love it.  Oh, but I really liked the Dancing with the Stars cast this year too!  And who can forget about Survivor, my all time favorite!  See, serious tv problem.

Insight of the year?  You can't be in two places at once, but multitasking is almost the same thing.

Three things you totally could have done without?  1. Lack of Facebook Etiquette, maybe it's just that I don't feel strongly enough about anything to leave a disagreeing comment on one of your personal posts, but there was a time this year when a lot of people thought it was more than appropriate to voice their views on my Facebook posts.  2.  Weight gain ;-}  3. Too hot summer days.

Most beautiful event?  My children's birthdays.  Hands down.

More short-sighted or more far-sighted than 2013?  About the same, I think.

The most dangerous thing you did?  Ha!  I don't live a dangerous life!  Unless you count posting my opinion on Facebook, that has proven to be quite the taboo lately.

The most expensive thing you bought?  I ordered an expensive Fossil bag, but returned it because it was absolutely huge!  So, I guess the Silhouette Portrait was the most expensive purchase of my year.

The most delicious meal or food you ate?  Oh geez, another thinker.  We make these little cookies every Christmas, we call them Secret Kiss Cookies, and they are to die for yummy.  They are the highlight of my Christmas candy season.  Sadly, I have not made them this year.  I am taking my doc's advice to drop ten pounds seriously, and having those little yummies in the house would be diet suicide.

The best party?  If it had cake, it was the best!

The most important thing you wanted to convince somebody of?  Regardless of diagnosis or family status, I believe kids are able to achieve great and wonderful things.  They just need a little push, a little guidance, and their own cheering section.  Get your pom-poms ready.

The most beautiful present you gave to somebody?  Hmmm.  I don't think I gave any profoundly insightful presents this year.  Sorry, folks!  In fact, I got more than a little irritated when someone made a remark about getting money, instead of the gift I put a lot of thought into purchasing.  I predict, next year, a lot of folks will be getting a lot of nothing.

The most beautiful present that somebody gave you?  My kids are the gift that keeps giving.

The most beautiful sentence someone said to you?  My kids saying "I love you, mommy".

The most beautiful sentence you said to someone?  I tell my kids on a regular basis, "You can do it.  I know you can."

How will you celebrate New Year's Eve?  I want to be snuggled up on the couch watching tv.

What will you have for dinner?  Maybe, pizza.

What drinks will be in your glasses to clink?  Ha!  Pepsi.  Whoopsie, I have given up caffeinated soft drinks since I first wrote this, so now I will be having a nice glass of Sprite to celebrate the New Year!

Will you ignite any fireworks?  No, not even if it's legal.
- I think there are states in the US where it is not allowed to ignite private fireworks on New Year's Eve so for all of you who are not allowed (or other countries where this is not allowed): What is a special tradition you normally do on New Year's Eve every year? Will you do it this year, too?

What are you going to wear? Comfy or glamorous?  Pajamas, totally comfy.

Did you have any resolutions for 2013? And how about 2014?  I want to make my doctor proud, and lose weight in 2014.....along with all the other foolishly optimistic people!  I want to read more, and get caught up with my family photos, too.

What are your wishes for the new year?  Good health, and happy hearts.

In one word: 2013 was...  Pivotal.

Joy @ i can say mama: 2013 Wrap up

Friday, December 13, 2013

Meet the Lollipop Critters

The Girl Scout Christmas party was a raging success!  It was such a blast we ran out of time and sent the Lollipop Critters home for completion.  But, here's a little picture of each critter and how they turned out. 

I used dum-dum suckers and I think they would have been cuter with a little bigger, rounder sucker.  I'm now wondering if Tootsie-Pops would have worked? 

I was a little disappointed with Santa, he just looks a little rough around the edges.  It's probably because I just unrolled a cotton ball and glued it on.  I'm sure giggly girl scouts could have had way more fun gluing on the cotton for his hat and beard! 

But, those googley eyes really make these little critters pop, don't they?

And I did shrink them down quite a bit from the original version, so maybe next year we'll make the full sized ones instead!  Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Letters to Santa

The kids were out of school again yesterday from the lingering snow/ice we've had the past five days.  So, they really caught me off guard when they wanted to write their letters to Santa. 

See, I like to have cute paper for those oh-so-special letters and well, I just wasn't ready yesterday morning.  But, being the go-getter he is, JT simply grabbed a sheet of copy paper from the printer tray and got to work.  I had to write the letter for him, and he busily copied it onto his own paper.  I transcribed Patty's letter and put it on the table for her to copy.  She's one smart cookie, though.  She said, "That's a lot of words!"  And just what did she do? Simply folded my paper and put it in her envelope!

I'm trying to be proactive this year, so I scanned their letters into the computer this morning and printed a copy to mail to Santa.  Yes, I keep the original; I'm sure Santa doesn't mind.  If you want to really mail your letter, go to the Santa Claus Museum's website

I'm not sure if this is new, or I just never noticed it, but there is a print-at-home feature on the website!  I opted to do this and now I am ready for Christmas Eve!  I'll still mail their letters, I like the idea of their Christmas wishes being a part of a Santa Claus Museum they could visit one day with their kids, but this year I'll put a note saying please don't send a reply. Save a tree, save a stamp.  Note: be sure to do a "print preview". I had to adjust the bottom margin so that Santa's signature wasn't cut off the page! 

If you're sending your little ones letter, it must be received before December 21st, a Saturday this year.  I'd get that letter in the mail no later than December 18th!  Merry Christmas!

In other news, I took to the internet to find an additional copy of our The Night Before Christmas story book.  See, we got that book for Patty's first Christmas, found it at the old Walmart in Henderson (they now have a Super Walmart), I'm pretty sure Grammie purchased it for her, and never would I have thought to buy more than one since Patty was only four months old, little did I know that I would be pregnant with JT only two months from that Christmas. 

Anyhoo, I took to the internet last night thinking I'd find a copy on Amazon.  Uh, no.  I did finally find it on Barnes and Noble.  For $142.67!  Wow.  I'm keeping our one treasured copy under lock and key, the kids will just have to fight over it when I'm gone!  I had to pull it up again this morning to share the link and the price has gone up to $157.67 over night!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sometimes, Kids are Whiny and Annoying

My friend shared this link on her Facebook page:  How to Raise a Kid Who Isn't Whiny and Annoying.  I liked it so much I blog-stocked it all the way to it's original post on LyzLenz.com.  And, I think I like the original title, Pinterest Stress AKA White Girl Problems, better than the Huff Post title.  And I find it utterly amusing that, in the four or five articles I read, this mom and blogger refers to herself as white and/or middle class in nearly all of them.  But that's not what I was inspired to write about.  I love that she writes, "I don't care if that kid took your toy, get it back yourself, that's street justice."  That line is in the Huff Post copy, in case you read both.  I never think of street justice as a white girl problem, but something about that line really wheedled it's way into my brain. 

I think it must have been the snow day.  Yesterday was our first snow day of the school year and I had to exercise the mom-arm-of-justice at least once before lunch time.  I had actually taken note that Patty and JT were playing really well together.  I guess I'm terrible since I never really take note of what they're actually playing, I'm just happy they're in the same room (a room I am not in) doing something other than sitting next to one another playing their kindles.  Apparently they were playing a home made version of Candy Land using the round, plastic counters from Joann's teacher section, spread out in a long line on my bedroom floor.  I guess they had found one of the little gingerbread men from the game, but hadn't bothered to look for the actual game board.  Really, they should get bonus points for creativity, or something.  Anyway, during her turn, I gather that Patty had taken too many jumps.  I don't know how they were determining the appropriate number of jumps, but she'd taken too many and JT was upset. 

Later, my two little darlings had liberated all the Little People from a draw in my dresser (because that's where I've been stashing those little plastic weapons for years now, I refer to them as weapons because it's like a bomb attack when you step on one in the middle of the night).  What I could gather through the tears, boiled down to not sharing of the Little People Train.  My first thought was to instruct the crier to "take the toy back" just like Lyz says in her article.  Of course, this conflict was more of a hoarding of the toys and not a "she took that from me!" moment so I said they had to divide the train, since we do have two different trains to begin with.

Anyway, something about her article and the kids bickering yesterday made me think of something else.  Do you have random thoughts pop into your head, or is it just me?  I mean, I was literally making the turn into the school parking lot one afternoon when this popped into my head.  I guess it makes a little sense, it was the scene from Footloose where Ren is trying to leave the school parking lot and Chuck is harassing him from his truck.  I tried to find it on YouTube, but gave up after scrolling through the first nine pages of clips.  I know you know the scene I'm talking about.  Chuck says something like, "I thought only pansies where neck ties."  And Ren says, "And I thought only ass holes use the word pansy," and then drives away.  Gosh, I love Footloose.  When I watched the movie a few weekends ago, I tried to imagine how a teen might react today, some thirty years later, and I see that teen crumpling under the words of the bully.  And that's not what I want my kids to do.  I want my kids to stand up for themselves a la Ren with a witty come back and a movie star smile.

I hope my kids are never victims, and I certainly don't want them to grow up to be bullies.  But, I want them to grow up with enough self confidence to stand up for themselves, whomever the bully may be.  So, why do I feel like kids are no longer raised to do just that?  We've probably all told our kid, when the other kid takes his toy, well just let him play with it for a while and you can have it back when he's finished.  No!  That mean kid just took your little angel's toy, shouldn't you be encouraging Lyz's street justice?  At home, I'd probably say yes, but else where I'm just not sure what the right answer should be.  This also makes me think of The Pioneer Woman and her kids who ride horses and herd cattle.  I mean, my kids can't even ride bikes without training wheels and her kids are chopping down trees and immunizing cows!  Talk about feeling like a parental failure!  And then I must mention that my blogging friend Kristi recently wrote about having her own curling iron at the tender age of nine, and I just can't imagine giving Patty her own curling iron, like, ever.

I want my kids to be gracious, and thankful, and kind, but not at their own expense.  I don't want them to be whiny or annoying or inconsiderate, but that's really just human nature.  I don't want them to fall to pieces every time a friend says "I'm not going to be your friend anymore" and those moments have already started, in kindergarten and first grade.  And I know this is only the beginning of the pressures they will face in their young life.  Oh how I dread the day when they want to sign up for their first social media product or have their own cell phone or their drivers license. 

Sadly, I don't have a miracle formula or sage advice to share.  My kids have a serious case of the gimmes, which I have been trying really hard to squash.  I repeat myself, a lot, when it comes to rules of behaving in public, eventually they'll become the model kid I want them to be, right?  But, most of all, I expect my kids to do the right thing, especially when I'm not watching over them.  I just hope their "right thing" and my "right thing" will always be the "same thing"!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Labels CAN Be Limiting

I don't feel the need to share or comment about everything posted by The Friendship Circle, but yesterday's article is worth passing along.  The title alone, Labels Can Be Limiting, had my full attention. 

I 'm not particularly fond of labels of any kind, period.  I think labels are basically useless and serve no purpose other than to check a box on a piece of paper.  If you didn't already know, I'm a think outside the box kind of person.  I strongly feel that labels play no role in reaching a goal or solving a problem. 

Articles like this strenthen my resolve and give me hope.  I hope it does the same for you!