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Sunday, January 30, 2011

"I'll just have a Bud Light, please."

My mom posted on Facebook yesterday: "Abby just ordered a Bud Lite in their pretend cafe." {Yikes!}

As any good parent would, I immediately defended myself: "For the record, we do not even drink Bud Light!"

To which my sister replied: "Well, what bar is she hanging out in then?"

I am not quite sure where my 7-yr-old angel learned to promptly order a Bud Light while my 3-yr-old was taking orders in the pretend cafe at the park.  However, if she begins ordering a "merlot" or a "nice pinot noir" I may begin to look within.   {again, yikes!}


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

zzzzzzz.....((whisper, whisper, tickle, tickle))

When I got home today, I felt like I could just pass out.  So I did, on the couch, during an intense round of Wii Speed Racer.  Well, when I fall asleep, my #1 fan (Catie) leaps into action.  She suddenly thinks my ear is her playground.  It's a little difficult to sleep when your getting sweet little kisses IN your ear, getting tickled with the end of a fuzzy pencil, listening to "secrets", and other goings-on of her day at school. 

Just now, as I folded the blanket I had used, I found this note, which was an apparent attempt to rescue me by Abigail.  Very sweet.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

More BaNg for your buck :)

Just went shopping for a few things for the week, and needed PoPcOrN!

That reminded me.  My team teacher, good friend, and advice guru, Mary Phelps, told me that her daughter had judged a Science Fair recently.  While there she saw all kinds of interesting projects including one about PoPcOrN!  After extensive testing over several brands of the delicious snack, the brand that popped the most kernals when nuked was.......Act II!!

Yay!  A round of applause for all of the frugal moms out there that have been simply buying this brand out of pure thriftiness and all the while giving her family the most....BaNg (or PoP)  for her buck!!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Typical day...Surprise!

We were so happy to get a surprise visit from my sister yesterday since we've recently moved 70ish miles away from her.  I found out about her surprise visit via text at the very end of my school day just as I had become trapped by a lurking parent at school.  Don't get me wrong.  I love talking to parents about their kids, just not the lurky kind at 3:30 on a Friday after my car line duty is complete and my kids are bouncing all over my classroom and my phone is ringing, dinging, and beeping (my people know what time school lets out...and by my people, I mean my husband and sister this day.)

Anyway...back to my point.  So, I escape (a little rudely) to meet my sister who is waiting for me in my driveway.  As we approach,  the kids are screaming out of the windows, "Aunt Britt, Aunt Britt!"  We enter the itty bitty rent house, which was just fine before we left for school, but suddenly when a visitor enters I see it.  All of it!  The battleship game pieces on the floor, the 2 trash bags for Goodwill in the hallway (which I cannot find in my new town...Where do you people bring your old clothes?) , the tiny patches of Pepper's fur that must be swept daily, the laundry I failed to conquer the night before, and on...and on...and on.  The house typically does look at its worse on Fridays since major cleaning happens on Saturdays (as I sit here blogging on this Saturday morning).

Anyway, that wasn't the point either....back to it.  So, we take Aunt Britt to see our new house with its nice, new brick and driveway.  Usually we just ride along in the car to the new house and back.  Everything is fine.  But, now, with my sister in the car, the noise is deafening all of a sudden.  And I realize, this may all seem exhausting and overwhelming to my sister who was lucky enough to sit in the back seat with the crew.

"I feel like I'm in the movie theatre with all of this smacking," she says.  Yes, the kids usually get a snack after school, so they took each a crunchy bag of chips in the car.  I offered to put on a DVD for her, but she declined, although Cate was up for the 567,432,789,654 showing of "Alvin and the Chipmunks".  This perked my ears to the noise in the backseat.  Yes.  Lots of it.  Constantly!  How do we live like this?  I guess it all just washes into the background usually.  This is how it sounded, and most of the talking is 3-yr-old Catie.

"Mom, when am I going to go to Aunt Britt's again?" "I don't know ask Aunt Britt."  "Aunt Britt, when are we going to your house again?"  "Mom, when I go to Aunt Britt's, just drop me off and I'll walk in.  Don't get out of the car.  I'll go all by myself""Aunt Britt, when you bring me back to my house just drop me off.  I'll walk in all by myself""Mom, tell Abby to stop sucking her thumb!""Abby, stop sucking your thumb.  Zac leave her alone.""(Whining) Zac, leave me alone, Mom said!""Mom, you said we could get some candy.  Can we go to the candy store?""Later.""But, you said we could.  Can we go now?"" Mom, Can we go now....Mom, can we?  Mom?  Mom?  CAN we?   Mom, Can we go get some candy??  Mom? ""Yes, later.""Abby stop sucking your THUMB!...MOM!""Waaaaahhh, leave.  me.  alone.  ZAC!""Leave your sister alone, Zac.""Mom, can we go to the store and get some candy?""Mom, we need to go home because I (Catie) have a lot of homework."

Okay.  You get the point.  I started counting during the silent moments and never got to 4.  My sister often reminds me of why she has no kids.  To which I tell her as all moms do.  "It's different when they are your own."

 This exact scenario is going on now as I type this.  The pows and bangs of the Wii, the bickering of 2 sisters, my husband rumbling around for his lost ruler, and the dog barking at the door....and I barely hear a thing, but still manage to answer every question, solve every problem, and comfort every boo boo as I go (except for finding the ruler), all while managing to fit in a blog post.  Pretty amazing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

YOU want me to clean WHAT??!!!

Abby's week for the dishes {exciting!!}.  It is day 2 of her chore.  She just turned to me and asked, " I supposed to clean the inside AND outside of these dishes??"

Guess I missed that detail in Dishwashing 101 a couple of days ago.

(Paper Plates for everyone!)

Lesson learned.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Teacher Tip: Getting that dang straw into the Capri Sun is a skill

So, it is MLK Day today, and we are off of school.  I'm doing my lesson plans (late...I know) and thinking about a lesson I learned in my first year of teaching.  I've applied this lesson in the classroom and with my own kids. 

I was teaching first grade and had a student who struggled in her independent work, but seemed to know it during whole group lessons.

There were small clues of the culprit throughout the year:  She couldn't do a lot of things the other kids could, like opening her chip bags, getting a straw in the Capri Sun, organizing her desk.  But the biggest red flag was when she needed to open the flip-top on the ketchup bottle.  "Mrs. Adrienne, could you open this for me?"  I couldn't believe that she had never had to open a ketchup bottle before in her life??? 

Then, we had our Christmas party.  All of the moms were invited.  Well, it all became clear as her mom began opening all of the Capri Suns,  putting napkins on laps, opening chip bags, etc.  When there were no more bags to open, she began emptying and cleaning out her daughter's desk.  She was left with an immaculately clean work area.  You get the point.  This little girl seemed oblivious to anything going on around her that may require any effort.  She was completely taken care of by her wonderful, but well-meaning, mom.  She was a wonderfully sweet lady who adored her children.

The Lesson:  Kids who are never allowed to problem solve will not be successful problem solvers in the classroom either.  Math requires problem solving, of course.  However, this is also a key skill for reading comprehension (figuring out why and how something happened even if the author did not clearly state it.)  This skill carries into Science, Social Studies, and every other subject learned in school.

Problem solving is a skill that we must teach our kids to ensure their success.  I teach 4th grade now, and I guarantee you that my most successful kids in the classroom are also my best problem solvers.  This skill comes easily to some, but not so much to others.  Of course, there are the kids with developmental delays, and this post does not include that group of kids.  Some of our kids will struggle, and that's okay.  But, even those kids will benefit from learning independence.

When we don't teach our kids to figure out things on their own, we are handicapping them.  When teachers are taught how to teach, they are taught to include "HOT" or Higher Order Thinking in every lesson.  These are those questions that you have to think of the how and why.  You cannot answer yes or no to them.  These are the hard questions on tests that some may perceive as tricky (those meanies).  They really only require extra thinking to figure out.

Now, when a student comes to me b/c they can't open a piece of candy, I refuse to open it.  Not because I'm a meanie, but because I am 100% positive that if the kid really wants the candy (and she does), he/she will figure out how to open that wrapper.  If I really get my way, they will also teach the next kid on the playground how to do it.

So, do your kid a favor today. Refuse to do something for them that you know they can do.  Let them open their own Capri Sun.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

7-year-old girls make lousy housekeepers

...Day 3 (or is it 4?) of "punishment from anything fun" for Abby.  She STILL has not fully cleaned her room from the impromptu dress up day earlier in the week.  Furthermore, the chore schedule clearly shows her designated areas as the living room and kids' bathroom. Ugh!  These are currently the messiest rooms in my house.  Back to the drawing board!

In other news...3-year-old Catie insists on ONLY sleeping in her big girl bed!  Woohoo!

Lesson:  7-year-old girls make lousy housekeepers.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pinching an inch...(or more...ugh)

Okay, I know, the start of the new year, and suddenly all I can think of is getting in better shape.  How cliche!  Still and all, it controls my every thought these days.  How do I work out, what do I eat, how often should I workout, how can I do this and not loSE MY MIND!

The truth:  I am usually very good about what I eat...until I'm tired, and don't feel like preparing
something, and feel I deserve it!  And have too much to do!!  And...well, don't I deserve just one treat??!!!  You get the picture.

My downfall is carbs and the snacks that we have in the house for the kids.  Not all of them, just chips and crackers mainly.  I never eat their packaged honeybun type garbage.  SO, the plan?  Buy everything packaged, since those are the things I don't touch.....Well, not a good plan!  Now, it has become the forbidden fruit! And I want these things that I don't even like.  Plan B?  Don't buy the junk at all.  Now I will stick to Gogurt, string cheese, honeybuns (because I still don't eat those), fruit, popcorn, and some cut up veggies.

I know, first I enforce a chore system, and now I'm shoving veggies down their poor little throats.  So mean...they may end up running away.  If you see them, give them some Pringles and send them home.

(I am also secretly considering keeping the candy treats out of my classroom because I eat those more than I give them as treats!......What!?  There is stress in the classroom, too!  If you know my students, you may soon see them running around the playground with stalks of celery.  Play along.)

Anyhow, the lesson learned...when trying to control eating habits, one will eat just about anything out of spite.  In addition, my kids will suffer along with me...and my husband (he's lost over 25 lbs. recently, so he doesn't count.)

Now, if this Arctic freezing weather would leave long enough for me to brave a grocery store, we'll be on our way.   I'll keep you posted.


By the way, the kids are punished today because all hats and scarves from yesterday's escapades are still covering what used to be referred to as their rooms....and Zac officially hates doing dishes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

tick, tick, tick........andd.....TIME!

72 hours, almost to the minute.  That's how long it takes for the novelty of a new chore system to wear off.  Rats!  I was hoping for at least a week of this thing called bliss.  Now, I'm just the mean mom that makes them do so much work.  Back to reality. 

Currently, the kids are banging around in their rooms amid hundreds of dollars worth of sparkly new Christmas toys...playing with their coats and scarves.  The object is to see how many they can pile on themselves.  I wonder what kind of reaction I'll get when I break it to them that they have to pick up every last bit of it...with ZERO help.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cinderella, Swiper, Snow White, and Diego on a bridge

For brushing a toddler's teeth.  Tell them you can see their favorite characters hiding in the back of their mouth.  Sound appalled...shocked even.  They can run all around the mouth until you have brushed every last molar.  Finally, they end with a crazy, funny dance on the bridge (front teeth together).  Works like a charm!  I also let them try to get them out themselves before I do the final chase down (or brushing).

Good Luck!


Monday, January 10, 2011

4-Letter Words...Yikes

Scrabble Slam.....a game whose object is to make as many 4-letter words as you can in a short amount of time.  You already see where I'm going with this.  Each player slams cards, one upon another, creating words on top of words, on top of words.

Well, the spelling teacher in me leapt with enthusiam at the mere mention of this fantastic game.  I could not WAIT for Santa to deliver it and play it with the kids.  The mean mom in me often brainwashes the kids into learning and disguises it as quality play time.

Our game was going along fine, starting from cake, to fake, to countless 4-letter words, until it morphed into the word B-I-T-S, then I play F-I-T-S, then Zac plays S-I-T-S.....Abby is frantic, trying to keep up with her 2nd grade word knowledge against ours.  She started pulling out random letters in hopes they would work, Q? AAhhhhh !    "T!!!"  "Mom, Can I play  a T?" Anticipating the 4-letter word that was about to be played during our innocent learning experience...I ears got red heart was thumping....I leapt across the table just as the "T" was about to completely cover the "S"!!  "No, Sweetie, a "T" won't make a word, but this "P" will."

Disaster avoided.  Now, I say to Hasbro...Really???  4-letter words??  REALLY??

Lesson Learned



I have a fan, I have a fan...Yipee!  I have a fan!!!

........................................Okay, it's my mom, but it STILL counts!

Yipee!  I HAVE a FAN!  I HaVe a FaN!  I have a fan, ............................................


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Washing the Clean Dishes

Being a mom is full of challenges, lessons, and rewards.  There is a quote that my friend Callie loves:  "Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away"  Agreed!  However, I have learned recently that my "moments" are measured by how funny they would be on Facebook!  I have a lot of these moments, and I love sharing them.

As a teacher, I see a lot and hear a lot.  Being a mom of three, I learn every day.  I invite you to take this journey with me. 

SO...tonight was the revelation.  I decided earlier in the day that my kids were old enough to really start doing chores.  I mean the big kid chores.  The kind of chores that make my life a little easier, and make them more responsible human beings.  Oh...maybe the responsible human being thing should have come first...oh, well.  You get the point.
Why, today, did I decide to make this happen?  My husband was looking for a high school aged kid to help him on a job at our house which is being built.  He thought of someone, and talked to a friend about him.  His friend said, "No, you don't want to call him.  His mom has him spoiled.  He's lazy, and doesn't want to work."  He gave him the name of another, more dependable kid.  WOW!  I don't want my son (or daughters) to be "that kid".   Lesson learned.

Bring on the chore schedule!!  Well, I've been trying to create a chore schedule for months (because I'm a little too detailed like that at times).  Like most times that I dwell on something to no avail, I made it up in my head with barely any planning.  I called my two oldest kids (Zac and Abby) into the kitchen, and announced, "Tonight, we will start doing chores."  To my shock, they CHEERED!!!  What the heck?  Where's the moaning and groaning?  The kids want to help?!  Wow, another lesson!

Okay, okay...I'm not delusional.  I am fully aware that the excitement and novelty will wear off.  But for now, I'm going with it, and milking it for as long as I can. 

"Zac, you will be responsible for the dishes and the dinner table.  Abby, you will have the living room and the bathroom."  As Zac cheered, Abby looked disappointed.  "Don't worry you can do the dishes next week."  Not fully satisfied. "Okay, Zac, tonight you will have to share doing the dishes."

So, the circus began.  As I prepared an embarrasingly simple Sunday night dinner, the kids (all 3 of them) washed the dishes (standing on stools).  Happily.  JOYfully.  WILLINGly!  They were so excited, they wanted more dishes to wash.  Of course, the argument of who did not get a turn ensued.  So, I did what any good mom would do.  I gave them the clean dishes from the cabinet to re-wash.  They washed them all, washed the dishes after dinner, cleared and wiped the table.  And I had time to....sit.  (For the moms out there, this is when your feet actually come off of the floor because you are able to perch your bottom upon some supportive object.)  It was a wonderful evening.  I was shocked!  Still am.

As I sit here now, in the sea of responsibilty that comes with a family of 5, I can only imagine how wonderful a day it will be when we can tackle...LAUNDRY!