Friday, April 29, 2011

Teacher's Aide

A bright spot in this crap week. (Lest anyone think I am being irresponsible, I have already looked through the papers, and Miss P is merely adding stars and retracing a few backward numbers.)

Tell more about the crap week, you say: let's see - bed requiring migraines the last two days (after full days work), 10 % pay cut for next year announced, nothing planned for me for teacher appreciation week AGAIN, l-o-n-g fruitless meetings about students (and then I have to start my hours of prep for the next day at 5:00 p.m. with Miss P hangin' with me, and husband with STAR testing and adjunct duties unable to help. Anniversary is this weekend and there is no babysitter and no plans. And at this point, I could care less (no offense to the husband). Shall I go on?

So the name of this blog always brings me back to the bright side, which is my Miss P, singing me lullabies through my migraines and being the perfect poster child as she sits in my room (not allowed to interrupt me for over an hour) as I deal in all these ridiculous meetings. I also work with a pretty amazing staff.
Sometimes I just want to complain. : )

This evening Miss P and I will head home, turn off the world and turn on the royal wedding. Hope you are having a better week!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Field Trip

Got to take off my teacher hat (sort of) and play mom on Miss P's field trip today. Got off easy and walked the kids to a play - The Ugly Ducking. E will be riding a bus to Oakland Zoo next month!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hello, Friend

Our little neighborhood is having quite the magical evening. We live in one of maybe 50 (?) townhouses - ours is on the community park (very coveted spot). We have met a few really nice neighbors, but haven't made any real connections. However, there are two things that have really stood out since we've moved here - 1) Half of the residents have dogs. I mean, I have not seen so many dog owners before. People are walking their dogs around the park at all hours (and we have a front row view). It's kind of happy. 2) People are super friendly, and always saying 'hi.' Guests at our house have really noticed this.

Anyway, as we were finishing dinner tonight, we could hear some lively activity outside. Then the doorbell rang. P and E rushed to get it. I heard the sweetest voice say, 'hello, friend.' It turned out to be the 5 year old who lives behind us. She and P had played once about 9 months ago at the park, and then again the other weekend. Her and her nine year old brother had walked over alone, and while he read a book under the tree, she moseyed on over to ask P to come out and play. This is the first time a neighborhood child rang the doorbell and said, 'can P come out and play?' (She didn't remember P's name, which is why she adorably said 'friend.') As P headed out, barbies in tow, we took a look at the rest of the park. Here is what we saw:

*brother reading under tree
*older woman doing tai chi to music
*family with toddler flying a kite
*someone walking their dog (of course)
*a family group with toddler (and dog) playing around the play structure.

Good news: It's great to feel part of such a lively, happy community.

Bad news: Now, I have to drop the grumpy mood I was in and go jog!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring Surprise!

Over Spring Break, P - who is pretty in touch with her feelings - shared with me that she felt that she, E, and I don't spend enough 'family time' together. Although I feel like I am so focused on together time, I bit my tongue and just tried to hear her out. She was very passionate about wanting more uninterrupted time with just the three of us.

So I had the idea to do the coolest thing. This week, when E had Spring Break, P and I played hooky. I got a sub, set my student teacher up for a day of success leading the class, and one hour in, went home, packed up and returned with E. He had the office pull Miss P out of class -- she has always wanted to be dramatically pulled from the room, as in the intercom announcing " Mrs. T, Please have P get her things, she is leaving for the day."

And that is just what we did. When P and E returned to the car, I was hiding and popped up to take the picture above. E had told P she had a dentist appointment we had forgotten about. P was disappointed because her class was outside writing poetry. Once she got over the shock, she was excited to go.
Once there and inspired by the gentle breeze and lapping waves, she decided to stay in the scholastic spirit and write some poetry. Here is our favorite:

The Sea
When you get to the sea
The wet water will splash on you...
Watch Out!

and another

The Ocean
The ocean, emerald and blue
reminds me that you like me
and I like you!
We had a fun time of chatting, reading, people-watching, sand play, chasing, and frisbee-throwing. I think it is one of the coolest things we have done as parents, and am hoping to replicate it each year.

I dig the beach!

Spring Break Recap

Our staycation at Casa Fitness was a success! One of the best Spring Breaks we've had. No rush to pack, travel, waste time in the car. No mounds of laundry when we got home. Just seven days of fun! I did not take many pictures though.

One of my goals was to get a lot of exercise in, ahem, Casa FITNESS. I did 4 or 5 jogs, a zumba class, a yoga class, some practice at home, and a few family bike rides. I did not push myself, but at least I was active and that's the start. Miss P did the yoga, her swim class, and the bike rides. She is super into the yoga, likes the swim class, but bike ride are still an 'uphill' battle. : )

We also shopped (yikes), and ate out a lot (double yikes!) But we cooked at home a fair amount too and enjoyed lots of playdates. Miss P's favorite day was when we joined my good friend (hi Jeena!) and her two cute boys for a day at Gilroy Gardens.
On my fav day, P drafted her pop-up book over coffee and milk with me, we shopped for a baby shower, sold back a bunch of books at the Recycled Books shop (and of course browsed for awhile), lunched at the Sonoma Chicken Coop, took yoga, cooked up a batch of yummy chili for dinner and watched the Biggest Loser with E.

Now E is on Spring Break, and Miss P and I are back at school. Stay tuned for a special surprise we pulled yesterday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Miss P's Easter loot

Ok, I'll admit it. We are all a little spoiled around here! I always have so much fun creating Easter baskets for P and others. Read here for goodies from last year's baskets for E, P, and me (near end of post).

I don't do sweets in P's baskets, I feel she gets enough of those already! This year my little stuffed animal lover is getting a little bunny themed snuggimal (above)....
and these adorable Nick and Nora pjs from Target. They are cuter in person and come in different themes, including one with rabbits! I know P will go crazy over these puppies and kitties.
And an 'aqua pet!' She has been wanting one of these for her nightstand table. When you hit the buttons it dances and sings. She will also be getting a Spring themed notebook (doodling is her fav hobby and she can fill a notebook like nobody's business) and the watermelon pen below.

So far E is getting the new Foo Fighters CD. I want to throw a little something else in his basket, but not sure what yet....

Please share your Easter basket progress!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gadget Free Fun - Make a Book!

Miss P and I are attending a baby shower on Saturday for my sister-in-law, that has a 'build baby's library,' theme. We decided for P's gift that she should make a book. We headed over to Micheal's to buy their 'Make Your Own Pop-Up Book,' which was on sale for $9.95 (I had my 40% off coupon just in case).
This turned into a fun two-day project. On day one we discussed ideas, and then at Starbucks (how fitting) she sipped her milk and drafted the story in her notebook, alongside folks and their laptops. She also revised a bit that day, with just a little conferring with me.
On day two, she copied her text onto the hardbound book from the kit. Again there was a little conferring about some spatial elements and how to avoid and fix mistakes. It is a gift, after all!
One thing P has going for her, is drive, when she enjoys something. Thankfully, reading and writing are things she likes. She wrote the whole book and continued with the illustrations in one sitting. (The kit comes with pens and stickers).
My favorite page is this last one, that reads: "This book is good, so smile, OK."
(Maybe we'll have a little punctuation talk when she gives the book its last look.)
By the way, this kit comes with two books, so for $9.95 it was a good deal. (No, I am not affiliated with the Faber-Castell company or Micheal's!) And it's not just Miss P, most of my kindergarten students love making books, especially when they can choose the genre of writing and topic. I've had kids choose making books over playing with toys frequently. Piece of paper= O.K. Book - Yea!

Making a book. Add it to your repertoire!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Wish List

OOh. Easter and Mother's Day are coming, and I am preparing my wish list. (Sometimes I create a little Easter basket for myself - why not?) #1 is this new book by Gwyneth. I l-o-v-e lifestyle cookbooks, and have actually been using them in the past year. I am kind of proud of myself - I've really morphed into something of a cook. Cooking has transitioned for me from a bit stressful to relaxing (might also have something to do with more alone time in the kitchen, no toddler/preschooler hanging on me.) Anyway. I browsed through this beautiful book (30% off at Target) and there are tons of yummy, right-up-my-alley recipes.

Is it just me, or are celebrity cookbooks really on the rise? Eva Longoria's cookbook - Eva's Kitchen - is now on bookstands, along with Cheryl Crow's If it Makes You Healthy.. (get it?)

In the fiction genre, I'm dying to get Friendship Bread by Darien Gee. She also writes under the name Mia King, and I have read and enjoyed all of her books.

Most people want new sandals for Spring - I want books! (Although, I'd happily accept some new Spring clothes as well....) : )

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mealtime Monday - Healthy Breakfast!

OK, I'll admit, I've been a breakfast skipper. Now on my new eating plan - Flat Belly Diet - I have found a healthy breakfast that I love. (Not that I haven't always loved breakfast food - French toast, anyone? - but this meal is super good for you, super fast, and I'm making time for it!)

Flat Belly Diet - Yogurt Parfait
Mix 6 oz. of Stonyfield French Vanilla fat free yogurt with 1 cup of Kashi Whole Grain Puffs (which on their own taste like a rice cake), and a smattering of sliced almonds. Delicious!
About 350 calories. Great way to start the day.....

Casa Fitness!

This week is Spring Break, and while many of our friends are in Hawaii, Tahoe, England, San Diego or Palm Springs, we are.... home (E is working). So, Miss P and I have themed our Spring Break....(drum roll)....Fitness and Friends! We have checked into 'Casa Fitness' for our staycation and are having a great time so far.

Yesterday we got Miss P a new bike as her old one was preschool-sized and we kicked off the week with a ride. I am working out (got a run in this a.m.) every day, and trying some new classes at the gym. P and I are splurging today and getting pedicures and stocking up on beauty supplies at Target. We have a picnic with playgroup friends, a mom and daughter dinner out scheduled (while E goes to the Giants game Wednesday), and a Gilroy Gardens trip on the horizon. (Yes, I did create a full-on week calendar on the computer, with all of activities listed. Doesn't everyone do that, along with theme-ing their week? : )

Naturally, P's stuffed animal friends couldn't be left out of the action, so we checked them into their suite last night. (It's a pet friendly resort, thank goodness). They are currently receiving their first treatment.

Naturally, with all of this fitness, there will be a lot of book and magazine reading as well. Excited for the week!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Break Kick-Off

Remember this play-date? I was brave enough to have the same little friend over + one more to celebrate SPRING BREAK kick off! This time I set ground rules: 1) Stay in house or on grass; 2) Keep clothes on! 3) Ask first!

On our way home from school I was entertained by a rap about diarrhea. All three girls then promptly got wet on the play structure and had to change into P's clothes. (At least they changed inside, so keeping clothes on rule stayed intact, mostly.) A camp-out was had in the living room, my patio furniture was rearranged, and they asked to put on swimsuits and get in the bathtub together (uh, no.) Anyway, an improvement over the first one, but we still have a way to go!

The weather is beautiful today and I am giddy for our week. It's just Miss P and I this time. I remember when she was little, I would get hyped up for Spring Break, and then realize, 'oh yeah, there is never a break, I'm still changing diapers and fighting over naps.' Now with a 6 1/2 year old it is totally vacation time, baby! We are ready for a road trip, but E is not having it! I printed out a blank April calendar and we are in the process of planning our week, and are throwing around fun themes, like 'spa week,' (think gym, pedicures, yoga, shopping, and diy spa cuisines), or 'fun, sun, and friends.' (lots of playdates, picnics, and the beach). We are still deliberating!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Latest reality tv lineup!

This premiered last night and I have it dvr'd. Can't wait to watch! New York has been my favorite group - I think they are the most classy and....normal? I still watch O.C., but have thought about pulling the plug as there is a big trashy element. I'm still waiting for a NorCal Real Housewives!

Also this week, I checked out Pregnant in Heels, and saved Tori and Dean's STORIbook Weddings for when I'm craving a diversion. Both shows look mildly amusing although I don't know if I can take Londoner Rose Pope's voice!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

spring shows

Today was a big day for performances. P's junior dance class had their little show, which was adorable. They danced disco, rock 'n roll, and hip hop.
P really has the shake your hips down. Wonder where she gets it? : )
She also really had the smiling stage face!
I loved their hip hop routine.
So did she.
Then tonight was the first grade musical, Bugz. Love this show!
We didn't have good enough seats (rookies!) to get any good pics during the show; this is just after. P's babysitter even came spontaneously tonight - so sweet.
P's class is the dragonflies. The musical tells the story of a group of insects (all the first grade classes are named after insects). Anyway, the insects are all planning to join a picnic. There are songs and speaking parts and P got to use a puppet. During a firefly song, the lights are cut and all the children turn on miniature flashlights.
I love first grade! I think P and her teacher do too. : )

Gadget Free Family Fun outside

It's not a bird, or a plane, it's a....frisbee! Beautiful weather found us outside skipping, walking, jogging and teaching Miss P how to throw the disc last night. Great way to spend an evening. Loving all this light at night, totally extends the day for the working mom and dad. : )

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are you a bad mom?

Which one are you???

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's no April Fools...

...commenting on this blog is free and easy...I've even removed the pesky sign-in procedure! Chat away!

In other news, I have a few books I'll be highlighting soon. Whenever I want to learn something, or be inspired, I've always turned to a book. One of the books on my 'to get' list is 15 minutes outside by Rebecca Cohen. While perusing it online, I happened across the author's site, which includes an online show all about learning how to have more fun outside with your family (or in some cases, finding more outside time for you). Check it out!

Family Meal Monday - chicken tacos

Does everyone in the world already know how to make chicken tacos? Thought so! I'm still on a cooking learning curve, but made these tonight and E said they were restaurant quality. : ) This is also the first time I made something without following any kind of recipe (although you'll see this is so not complicated.)

Soft Chicken Tacos - make 'em light or luscious
ingredients -
one boneless, skinless chicken breast
few garlic cloves
half onion
flour tortillas (luscious) or
corn tortilla shells (light-er)
shredded cheese
your toppings of choice - lettuce, tomato (light)
sour cream, guacomole (you got it - luscious)

1. Salt and pepper up that chicken breast and cook at 375 for 30 minutes
2. Meanwhile, dice up your garlic and onion
3. When chicken is done, let it cool, then shred
4. Throw the garlic and onion in a skillet and cook for a couple of minutes, then add chicken. Cook it on low for 10 - 15 minutes to further season.

5. Now if you want to make these luscious, lightly butter both sides of a flour tortilla and fry on stove. Just cook it enough to get that light golden shade. Make as many as needed. If you want to go light, simply open up your corn tortilla shells.

6. Scoop chicken into your tortilla and add cheese and other toppings, making it light or luscious. Enjoy!

How do you make chicken tacos?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Stella and Dot

Had so much fun at my Stella and Dot party last night! Our neighborhood had a power outage from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., so the first hour of the party was by candle light -- not the best for checking out jewelry. Thank goodness for daylight savings and big windows! For once, though, I was actually ready for the party on time. My friend and Stella and Dot 'stylist' commented on my flair for styling the food table. All my entertaining books aren't for nothing! Eventually the power popped back on, and I had lots of fun dishing with my friends and going off my diet. : ) I have such fun girlfriends and there was a nice, lively energy in the room. Laughter, laughter, laughter. For those of you who haven't heard of it, Stella and Dot is a San Francisco-based vintage, whimsical, fun jewelry line only available through home trunk shows and online. Check it out!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What the heck??

Do your kids do this? P loves to 'display' treasures and cr@& all over her room in shoe boxes and nooks. I got inspired to clean it up with her and started by gathering the piles onto her bed.
She totally played me by fussing over keeping items like this 'flosser in styrofoam.' So I sent her to chill with daddy while I finished the job. Sucker!
Here she is, a clean room later, modeling this belt and bracelet (did she make the bracelet?) All that is left is that tub of magazines on her bed to look through. (She has outgrown Disney Princess and is now reading American Girl. The end of an era! Her number 1 mag though is Puzzle Buzz. We live for Puzzle Buzz!)