Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunset at the beach

Gorgeous, 80 degrees at the beach day! Had to watch the sunset and capture these shots with my cheapie camera. We love the beach!

Let's all go to the pumpkin patch!

A couple of years ago we started a tradition of going to the pumpkin patch the last weekend in September. We join two other families and go to Half Moon Bay, the place to get your pumpkin, before the rush. After, we go to the beach to enjoy Indian summer.

I used to joke that I prefer the more commercial patches that have the decorations and attractions, but this 'rustic' patch has grown on me.

There is hardly anyone there when we go. Our group of friends begins with a picnic lunch at a shaded table. Then its off to pick pumpkins and take pictures against the festive landscape of orange and green. It goes nicely with the 'Giants' colors.
The pumpkins are cheap!
And the smiles are free!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I've been a little grumpy lately......working like crazy, babysitter quit suddenly. Today was a good day. Here are 10 things I'm currently happy about.

1) Awesome, hands-on student teacher!

2) Did two great lessons today - a math talk that promoted language and critical thinking, and a game that incorporated cooperation, problem solving and reading skills. It went off without a hitch!

3) Miss P learned how to do the monkey bars this week!! She can go all the way across!

4) Positive and productive parent/teacher conferences so far.

5) Just bought Sophie Kinsella's Mini-Shopaholic, and just got THREE new magazines. Going to s-a-v-o-r them slowly.

6) Tomorrow is Friday!

7) We are going to the pumpkin patch and beach this weekend with friends!

8) It's premiere week!

9) I prepared meals on Sunday and we've eaten at home every night this week.

10) Tomorrow and Saturday we will have deserved dinners out!

Happy Friday everyone. ;)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Real Housewives Party

I'm a big fan girlfriends, get-togethers, and silly fun. I was particularly into the Real Housewives this Summer, with the New York cast so engaging, especially Miss Bethenny. So! I had to have my own Real Housewives of Silicon Valley party!: ) Despite being more organized than usual, I was still running around during the last few minutes, so I don't have the fantastic shots of how it all looked at setup time. Here's how I did it though:

I created a simple Evite using downloaded pics of the NY Housewives. As the ladies on the show are always supporting charities, I asked my guests to come dressed as their fav housewife from any season and consider donating books to a local school's library. I wrote a script and a few girlfriends and I shot our own short episode of The Real Housewives of Silicon Valley, including all the inside jokes of mommies in our area.

To decorate, I wanted to create an official looking 'Step and Repeat' for the ladies to pose in front of.
I had difficulty making one without breaking the, I took a cue from Bravo and made these talking bubbles with all of the great one liners from various seasons. All it took was some sparkly lavender scrapbook paper, scissors, and my printer! Check out these ditties....

As a party activity, we took turns posing in front of the backdrop. Below is 'Jeana', the real estate agent from the O.C.Around the food and drink tables (not pictured set-up), I framed greeting cards that meshed with the mood
Of course I had themed treats, like Bethenny's SkinnyGirl Margaritas, Ramona's pinot grigio, and food from Teresa's Skinny Italian cookbook. After viewing our Real Housewives movie, at the end of the party, guests took home a sway bag

Inside each bag was a water bottle with the label above that I created. I also purchased some goodies from the $1 section at Target, like these sparkly paper weights with each guest's initial.

A fabulous time was had by all!

I am linking to the CSI project's latest challenge.


Monday, September 20, 2010

a mini-portrait of P

Have I said lately how much I love age 6? I apologize for being so disgustingly braggy, but I couldn't be a prouder mom. I have a few new things about P that I want to share.

P is taking her first theater class and is so excited to be cast as a mermaid in her school play - Buried Treasure. I think she has found her niche in the arts. P is not a super strong student academically, but so enthusiastic. Every teacher has noticed how passionate she is about her work.

A sweet and sad story - today her teacher pulled me aside and said that during writing the students were creating their take of David Shannon's book 'No, David!' Paige became withdrawn, left her paper blank, and said she wanted to go home. This is unusual. Her teacher assumed that she was stumped by this new writing technique and suggested we pre-load tonight with the next book, The Okay book by Todd Parr. After school, P immediately told me the story without my having to ask. She shyly explained that everyone else was modeling their David Shannon 'No, David!' piece after a younger sibling or pet, and she has neither. It made her sad. We brainstormed that she could use her 3 year old cousin Johnny as a muse for the book. (No offense, little J!) She was so thankful to me for helping her come up with an idea and excited. She started a book right then and there. (This was not expected or required.)

The silver lining of the story is that she came to and shared what happened right away. Like I mentioned in the Ramona post below, it struck me that Ramona held in a lot of her problems. Now obviously, Ramona is a fictional character, and Beverly Cleary needed to create conflict. However, I'm guessing there are kids who are not so forthcoming about what is going on in their world.

I heard recently that by age six a person's personality is formed for life. P has always been full of love. She makes friends so easily! I'm pretty sure I did not have this many friends at her age. She is very interested in fashion and likes to dress up all the time. I am disappointingly casual, and she is always asking me not to wear jeans at certain events. Kind of like fancy Nancy and her un-fancy family. It can be a bit embarrassing when she tries to impose her style ideas on other people who are not into clothes (like, 'are you going to change into a dress?' Not in a rude way, but sincerely wondering.)

I guess I have to write all this down, so I can re-read it in ten years when she is driving me CRAZY, right?


These pictures can't project the liveliness of this group of 2004 babies and sibs. Last Saturday, five dads from our playgroup did up a guys' night with a baseball game in the city. The moms pulled together our own mini shindig with our kiddos, pizza, playtime and a movie. We moms drank a little wine and caught up while the kids tried to outdo each other in the weird and gross out category. These kids are spread out over three elementary schools and don't see each other regularly anymore (sob), but still have g-r-e-a-t camaraderie.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ramona the Brave, Paige the Happy?

Miss P and I have been reading the Ramona books lately. We just finished Ramona the Brave, in which the heroine is 6 and in first grade like P. Life was sure different in the 1970's! Which is better? You decide.

Ramona: Begins bedtime routine at 8:15. Independently takes a bath, brushes teeth, and puts self to bed.

P: bath routine started at 7:30. Mom assists and sometimes plays at side of tub. After, dad brushes teeth, and mom selects clothes. Stories by mom, and good night kisses and hugs from both.

Ramona: walks to school by herself. One day is accosted by a dog.

P: is driven by mom or dad. Walks only to classroom solo.

Ramona: never has playdates. Only hangs out with neighbor Howie outside of school.

P: plays with kids on the playground after school every day. Playdates almost weekly.

Ramona: is bored a lot during summer and on weekends at home.

P: has frequent plans to go to friends' houses, movies, birthday parties, etc.

Ramona: keeps feelings from parents - upset day after day that her teacher doesn't like her, scared to sleep in her new room. Fearful of looking like a pest and a baby.

P: seems to confide in me about everything! (Partly due to my 'gentle prodding.')

Bottom line. Ramona seems more mature and resilient? P seems happier and with less problems.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Last summer (wow, that makes it seem like such a long time ago), I got bitten by a crafty bug. Unfortunately, I don't possess crafty 'skills', patience, tools, or much time (anymore). However, while perusing gorgeous home style blogs, when I find something that looks like I could actually do it, I give it a whack. So far, I'm averaging about 2 out of 3. Anyway. What's this above? Well, I got the idea here. It's a piece of art! It's a dry erase board!

The fancy frame is from Ikea. The original idea involves using fabric. I improvised and used wrapping paper (attached via spray adhesive to the cardboard backing).

I loved the idea partly because I had tried my hand at subway art and failed miserably. (In fact the failed project has been waiting on my office floor for a month to be disposed of.) Anyway! The look above didn't look quite right. So I studied the original and tried again below.
Better, maybe. But is the whole thing just too busy????? Maybe. Too dark? I tried again with a simple message.
I think this is the best. What do you think? Still need to hang. I am going to try with some smaller frames I have and other background paper and experiment. Miss P wants one too. What fun!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A 'tweet deal

Pretty cute, right? I recently bought an expensive vintage-y jewelry hanger thingy at a boutique. I love it. Then I happened upon this version at Marshall's for $9.99! It's available in black and white. I got this one for miss P's necklaces - she is working on naming the birds. (Pet-starved child). The top one is Chrissa.
Here it is in action. I'm noting that birds are 'big' right now!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Goodbye Summer!

Summer and I parted ways a few weeks ago when I returned to work. However, we made a festive effort last weekend and took a dip in MIL's pool. This was the only shot that did not feature an adults rear or other body part somewhere in the shot (lot of us in the pool at once). You're welcome everyone! Today it actually sprinkled at recess time. The kids went bananas.

Bring on pumpkin scones, new TV shows, crisp weather, Halloween, beautiful leaves, and settled students. Welcome, Fall!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Life of a kindergarten teacher

Today there was missing curriculum, poop, tears, scratching, phone calls to parents, and climbing the cubbies like a ladder (and no, that was not P.E. sanctioned by me).

There was also dancing and laughter.

There were cheerful shared readings of Don't Let The Pigeons Ride the Bus and Owl Babies

The ABC chart into an 'enchanted object' a la Beauty and the Beast. It played games with the kids and let them take of its 'babies' (8 1/2 x 11 ABC charts that were practiced with and decorated.)

Just another day!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Five signs you are an over-anxious mom (or have too much time on your hands)

(warning: snarkiness ahead!)

5. You ask other parents (that you don't know) to read the personal notes they've written to their child at BTSN. You want to make sure and get your note right.

4. You position yourself on the carpet where your daughter sits. Hmm...would one square closer be better? You ask the teacher how one scores a spot directly in the front.

3. You ambush the principal during an e-waste fundraiser with concerns that your daughter already knows the sight words the class is learning this week.

2. You are upset that the children are fed multi-colored goldfish crackers. Food coloring! Cheese-its are OK.

1. You worry that if your son isn't surrounded by peers challenging him academically in kindergarten, your plans for top colleges are NOT HAPPENING.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School Night(s)!

It's September and that means Back to School Nights for me, Miss P, and E. Missy P's was last night. I got to hob knob with parent friends, sit in the audience, and be a huge nerd taking photos of P's work. How cute is that picture above with the pigtails?

Here is her self-portrait. Love it! She was the only one to fill in the 'background.' Sadly she was disappointed in her efforts and thought that a friend's pic (the one above you can barely see in the daisy outfit) was much better. This led her to a mini soul search on what her 'talents' are.
And finally, here is one of her stories. Can you read it? "I had a birthday party. I turned six. I wore a red outfit." What is better than six????

I am so blessed with my sweet, easygoing girl.

Tonight I had my Back to School Night. "BTSN" as we say in the biz. It was the most chaotic one I've ever had. Nine no-shows (unheard of in K). People coming in late, like really late. Five people brought their kids to the 'adult only' night. Three kids played (somewhat noisily until I intervened) in a corner of the room I set up spontaneously for them. One stayed outside with dad. The other kept leaving the play area to ask me questions. Could I open his water bottle? Could I read him a book? Could he go outside? Mind you, his parents were sitting in the room. Finally, his dad took him out, and then at some point his mom suddenly disappeared. Random!!!! The students in my class are doing nicely, and I do have some really nice parents. So I am not too worried.

Never a dull moment....

Crazy Eyes

No, I'm not talking about Ramona...

It's the newest super-villian in town! Run! Lock your doors! She will s-t-a-r-e you down. Muh ha ha ha ha!