Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I knew someone would know!!

Thanks to Eve for explaining "under the weather!" See the comment in the last post. Thanks, Eve. I knew someone would know, and I didn't have the energy to look it up right then. Much more fun this way anyway! She has three blogs and I can barely keep up with one!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Under the Weather

I wonder where that phrase came from (Grandpa W?)? Sorry I've been spotty here lately. I haven't been feeling myself since last Thursday, but I think I'm on the rebound, so we should be back to our regularly scheduled program soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Eternal Bump



This is my son's arm.
He has this bump on his arm from skateboarding that never goes away. It's got to hurt. Wear pads?? Oh, I don't think so, that's uncool.
Ah, teenagers.....what can you do? Really! I'd love some advice.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Down Syndrome Walk



The birthday party was a huge success. He had four friends over for skating, video games, and pizza.

Two of them spent the night.



We went to the Down Syndrome walk yesterday. One of my students' families is very sweet every year to invite us. There was a small petting zoo there complete with a porcupine on a leash!

Crazy.

We saw Rachel Coleman of Signing Time and heard her touching story and the fact that she and her sister are no longer going to be able to continue Signing Time financially because they have no corporate sponsor and so it won't be on any more after Oct. 1.

I saw another student who launched herself at me. Love 'em!

This is why we teach.

Hope you had a great weekend, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!!

Today is my son's fourteenth birthday. He woke up this morning and yelled "I'm Fourteen!!" Must be something more magical than 13, because I don't remember him being this excited last year. Unfortunately, his big present isn't here yet, my bad, but he'll have some small stuff to open and friends to spend the night. Happy Birthday to my baby!

Name Three Things...

I've been playing a categorization game at school with my kids this week. They choose an acorn, read the prompt, and then name three things that belong in that category. My favorite so far has been "stomach" as the answer to name three containers. Clever, huh!?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hail to the Chiefs

Last night we attended the ceremony to induct the new Naval Chief Petty Officers. It was a great ceremony. At our last duty station we attended many retirement ceremonies and promotion ceremonies, but this is the first we've been to here. The stage was set with a huge US flag and alongside were all 50 states' flags. It was really touching to see all the family members go up on the the stage to help 'pin' the new Chiefs and to see all the pride shown by those in attendance.

Congrats to all the new Chiefs!

Monday, September 15, 2008

HD




Well, it's official. We're HDified.











Didn't even have to have the Geek Squad come install it. We had our own Geek Squad.










Then, they played a preview of tonight's Monday Night Football game on Madden 2009.

Go Cowboys!!


Now we just need to call Dish to get the HD channels.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Will Never Forget

It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since "the" September 11th. A day that certainly changed our lives, and we were nowhere near New York. I remember a student coming in telling me a plane hit the World Trade Center. Then the announcements came on and asked us to have all TVs and computers turned off, so I wasn't sure what happened. I remember listening in horror to the talk radio on my (then) hour drive home, and when I walked in the house, I burst into tears. I made a scrapbook of the occasion that has all the names listed of people who lost their lives.
What else can you say?

Children's Books

I have been teaching for a long time now. You know, when your dear hubby says "You're probably one of the 'old' ones," Yeah. He's right. He means it in a loving way.

So, I've not only noticed a downward trend in children's and parents' behavior, I have noticed a downward trend in the quality of children's books. Children's Literature was one of my favorite subjects in college, I actually aspired to be a children's book author at one point. Don't tell.


Here are some examples of books. Each entry is from one random page in the book. The first is from my favorite book, Miss Rumphius.





From the porch of her new house, Miss Rumphius watched the sun come up; she watched it cross the heavens and sparkle on the water; and she saw it set in glory in the evening. She started a little garden among the rocks that surrounded her house, and she planted a few flower seeds in the stony ground. Miss Rumphius was almost perfectly happy. "But there is still one more things I have to do," she said. "I have to do something to make the world more beautiful." But what? "The world already is pretty nice," she thought, looking out over the ocean.



Miss Rumphius was published in 1982. The pictures are beautiful.


Here's another one:



"Tangerine!" Gabby shrieks. Grandpa nods. "Tangerine, tangerine. All she talked about was tangerine!" "Well, did you make her one? Did you, Grandpa?" "Finally, I did." "I bet it was pretty, too, almost as pretty as my purple coat could be." Suddenly Grandpa clicks two fingers in the air. "I have an idea, " he begins. "Of course, one needs an exceptional tailor...." "You're an exceptional tailor." Grandpa stands a little taller. "This year I will make you something very special," he announces, "a coat that is navy blue on one side-and purple on the other. Reversible!" Gabby jumps high in the air. When she lands, her socks are scrunched around her ankles. "Let's make the purple side first."



That was from The Purple Coat, published in 1986. Another fav with great pictures. These two books have great meaning to the story and rich vocabulary like exceptional, heavens, reversible, announces, tailor. They are kind of long books, very descriptive. Kids used to be able to sit through them and listen quietly. Not any more. A lot of redirecting and skipping of details happens now. Here are a couple more:



After a while, the grass began to grow, the flowers began to bloom, and the birds began to have a party in the sky. Spring had come and, somehow, Charlie knew it was time to wake up.


From Charlie the Caterpillar, published in 1990. Sounds like it's going to be a good story, but somehow to me smacks of only being nice to those that were nice to you.


Here's another:


"Not me!" said Froggie. "Yes, you," said Rabbit. "Come on, I'll read you a story and then you must go to sleep." "Don't want to go to sleep," Froggie grumbled. But he did want to hear Rabbit's story.


From What a Party!, published in 2007. Froggie doesn't even use proper grammar. Kind of like Baby Bop, remember? Drove me crazy! So, judge for yourself. I understand that some books are meant to be easier to read, etc. But I used to be able to spend $30 easy at the Book Fair. We're having ours at school this week. I didn't find one book that was worth buying. Sad.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear Jane Update







I finally finished the Dear Jane table runner top and have started blocks for the real deal. I finished/started these back in June, and have been slacking lately, but started again this week, so I thought I'd share. These little blocks are fairly tedious, and as you can see, I've started with the easy ones with no curves, save one. I tried my hand at hand applique, but it looked horrible, so I sewed over it with a satin stitch. I may try again, or take a class. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, or maybe it just takes time and patience, which are usually in short supply here. I can cross-stitch all day, but the applique thing just may not be my bag, so the quilt may be entirely machine made. Oh well, it'll look great all the same.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Recycle



Every Friday, one of our special education classes comes around to each room to collect paper. They take the paper out to the recycling container in the parking lot. Here are my two recycling boxes. As you can see, I put just about every little scrap of paper in there.










Here's my neighbor down the hall's pile. Ok, so she's only been with us a few weeks, but wow. She even had to write "recycle pile" on it so they would know!


I thought it was funny!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Homemade

Hubby declared a new rule in the house last night. I made some brownies from a box and he said the new rule should be that once you make something from scratch, everything should be made from scratch! Cute. Real cute.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

OKC Zoo


We went to the Oklahoma City Zoo yesterday. It's not the greatest zoo I've ever been to, but it got better as we went along.
The Meerkats were very cute, as always, and the bears were so hot we got to see them in the water.

Here's my handsome young man. He's going to be 14 in seventeen days! Wow....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Success!

Here's what's left. It worked!! It was scrumptious, too, if I might say so myself! The only thing that was slightly disappointing was how thin it was. You know when you go to the Olive Garden and it's like 4 inches tall!? Yeah, mine's like one. But it was still good! I may someday try to double the recipe, but that would mean doubling cooking time, blah, blah, so I'm not gonna mess with it yet.
It's quite a process, but worth it in the end. Here's the recipe first:

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert (from The Taste of Home Cookbook)
3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts
3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 c. melted butter
Filling:
2 pkgs (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened (I left it out at room temp. for about 30-45 min)
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
2 tblsp chopped walnuts

1. Place the graham crackers in a Ziploc and crush/roll over with a rolling pin (this was fun, if you need to release some stress, just pound away!). In a small bowl, combine walnuts, cracker crumbs, sugar, and spices; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 10 in. tart pan with a removable bottom. (I used a spring form pan, and now that I am re-reading this it's called Pumpkin Cheesecake "Dessert" so that may have something to do with it's size).
2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined (if you beat too much air in at this point it will puff up and fall while cooking). Add pumpkin and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon; beat on low speed just until combined.
3. Pour into crust; sprinkle with walnuts and remaining cinnamon. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost done. Cool on a wire rack for 1-1 1/2 hours. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 9-12 servings.

Upon reading the instructions in the cookbook and on the back of the insert in the pan I bought this is what I did: I placed a cake pan filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven. I left it there while the cheesecake cooked for the 40 minutes. When the timer went off, I opened and checked it, and turned the oven off. I left both the water and the cheesecake in the oven for the 1 and 1/2 hours directed. I then took it out of the oven with no crack in sight and placed it into the refrigerator, where it sat until I served it 5 hours later. That is when I took the ring off the spring form pan. Like I said, since it says "dessert" in the title, this may have been beginners luck! But oh well! It was worth it...I think I'll go have a leftover piece now! Enjoy!