Wednesday, June 29, 2011

4th of July Craft Party!

We are already on our 4th week of summer...oh my, it feels like it is just beginning still, and yet it is almost halfway over. Anyway....we have been busily moving from one activity to another. Tomorrow we are having a July 1st craft party to decorate and celebrate the 4th with our playgroup friends.

Miss P and I tried out the snack above last night. Simply dip an ice cream bar into red and blue (and if you want white) sugar sprinkles and voila! If you want you can add a Popsicle stick to the end as shown (maybe for easy handling?)

Here's another simple one - kids can decorate cups for themselves, or even make a set for the family - just need star stickers, clear plastic cups and a sharpie!
Finally the piece de resistance - the 4th of July lei. You need - elastic jewelry cord (some other kind of string may work), and medium size foam red and blue stars with a tiny hole punched through the middle (Family Fun recommends a sharp pencil prick).I am actually hoping to use red, white, and blue large star buttons. Red and white straws cut into sections finishes it off. String foam stars onto cord, alternating with straw pieces. Knot it, and you have your patriotic necklace!

(yikes - picture and Family Fun website having trouble loading. Will try again later.)
Here's the last craft, and the one that inspired me to do this party in the first place - the fireworks display. All of these crafts are from Family Fun, by the way. Anyway, I see two ways to do this. FF suggests using white glue to form these kinds of explosions, and then dropping loose glitter over them. I say, just go straight to the glitter glue! Draw these 'spider like' designs with long legs using a light touch. Fabulous!

If you try any of these, let me know how they work out for you. How are you crafting/decorating for July?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

summer so the numbers...

6 days of swim camp
5 parties attended
4 books read
3 nights camping at the beach
2 bug bites
1 very satisfying June

Thursday, June 23, 2011

soccer mom?

Last night, Paige had her first soccer team 'kick-around.' When P was little little, I used to dream about when she'd be old enough to play a sport (or dance). When she finally came of age, she wasn't super interested, so we didn't push. We felt busy just managing school and work, and swimming lessons (which felt like a necessity), so it just didn't happen. And Miss P loves her downtime, and hanging with friends. Now, she is at the ripe old age of nearly 7. Some friends invited us to help them form a team made up of mostly girls from school for one of the city's rec leagues, and I jumped at the chance. (Notice the use of the word 'I'.)

Paige was willing, mostly because she has friends who are to play on the team. But she had/has concerns - what if her team always loses, what if she feels too busy? E and I had concerns - the team is 'U8' - meaning she'd be playing up in slightly older age bracket (having never played before and not naturally athletic/coordinated.) The team was having early summer practices before the season started - what were we getting into? Should we push her a little, if she isn't sure she wants to do it? Do we overthink things? (YES!)

Well, she and I had an absolute blast. The structure of these 'kick-arounds' is kind of 'co-op'-ish. Parents helped the kids with some basic drills and then had a little scrimmage. Paige loved the team camaraderie with her friends and listened to the coach really well. I enjoyed getting some exercise! I don't want to get too excited, but maybe we'll be a soccer family yet!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Summer is buzzing along. Well, actually, today was the first day of summer, right? Since we've been out of school since June 3rd, we are really in the swing, no matter what the calendar says!
So are my pals above. Last Friday, Paige wanted to celebrate her Build-a-Bear Roxy's birthday - we knew it was her birthday because we have the birth certificate of course. : ) Paige invited a few friends over and they made crafts (necklaces for themselves and animals), dressed up their stuffed friends in various doll clothes, and played inside and out. Other than tears over who got to push which doll buggy, things went pretty well.
We hit a couple of birthday parties on the weekend. At one we spontaneously lit sparklers. My kid has the life, let me tell you!
Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday. Minor old-age freak-out. I did get an excellent pedicure, some free time, and dinner out. Tonight I had a small group of friends over for dessert. Lots of laughter and I am left with way too many food and drink as usual! Do I overbuy?

Tomorrow, we prep for our 3 night camping trip at the beach, leaving Thursday. I am so tired of Target! (Never thought I'd say that!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

The logo above is in honor of my husband, who (I hope) is having a super fun Father's Day! He planned his own day, which is going as follows:

1) Sleep in
2) Coffee and paper
3) ESPN on immediately and unlimited
4) Giants game on at 1:00
5) Ballpark atmosphere with hot dogs, beer, and popcorn

We surprised him with a horseshoes game set, wrapped in Paige-designed paper. It's hard to gift the guy who loves to shop! He likes playing horseshoes with his brothers and friends, when we've had BBQ's and whatnot. I don't think he is bowled over, so we'll see if we keep it!

It has been so nice to indulge in his favorite past-time all day - relaxing at home. Hope everyone else is having a great Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Camp Daddy

A week into Summer vacation, and what did I decide to do? Take a professional development course in Reading! You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but... A plus was that E had the week off and could watch the Miss, and a negative is that it is pretty much his only week off. No worries, we'll still have plenty of time for family fun.

Paige and E had a blast together. This was not a given, as they are known to push each others buttons. Of course I suggested many activities they could do together, but the two of them were content 'hanging around' most of the time. They did hit the pool a lot, watched a movie I think, and played some Legos.

Tomorrow, E heads back to work and I'm back on. Paige is having three school girlfriends over to celebrate her build-a-bear's birthday. You can see who is back in charge!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Workout Mystery!

Arrived home this evening to the flyer above posted at our park community area. This spot is right in front of our house, so I thought -- how can I not go? I suited up and marched downstairs with the required gear. Paige even turned off the TV and hurried out with me. Guess who showed up to train us?

Nobody, that's who. That phantom trainer did an OK job though, because once I got out there, of course, I had to go for a jog and play tag with my little shadow. Not sure if Mr. Bootcamp was conducting a social experiment and hiding somewhere to gage community response to the poster (one other dude showed up to 'check out' the session.) Paige got a lot of free entertainment out of the whole experience as well, looking for clues and making a list of potential reasons (or hipoothasiss) why he/she was a no-show.

Now all I need is for someone to post this flyer - 'Joggers needed, Free Starbucks after each session!' And I'm totally in business....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

a little wave hi

Just a quick check in...I'm having a hard time settling into a lazy summer. This week I've been in my classroom settling up loose ends and helping others with theirs. Paige had her first play-date of the summer. In between I've been working on my poor dusty house that desperately needs a Spring Cleaning. I made a whole list of things to accomplish -- 8 things in about 9 weeks. There are a few other things I'd like to do, but don't dare add to the list! For Paige's sake, I'm going to try and lighten up a little bit...

We have lists of fun things we are doing too. I have just finished The Hunger Games, which completely engulfed me. I now need a break from Katniss' world of paranoia, so here are my other reads:

2 by SF cozy mystery writer (started with #3 in the series, because that was what was available in the bookstore, the other two are coming via amazon):

1) Bundle of Trouble
2) Motherhood is Murder

3) Friendship Bread (author Darien Gee, who also goes by Mia King, another 'cozy' type writer, similar to The Friday Night Knitting Club variety)

And, Miss Paige and I are together reading about our third American girl character. We read about the 'Girls of Today,' and have journeyed to Hawaii with Kanani who educated people about endangered monk seals, and to a Denver Ranch with Nicki, who learned to raise service dogs. Each mini-series has two books. We are now following the life of Boston Lanie who is studying nature, including birds and gardening with various challenges from family along the way.

We are also looking at reading the 100 Dresses and Freckle Juice this summer.

I think we are taking a break to go to the pool now. Just afraid once I settle back with my first chilled beverage and magazine, I may not return!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Family Meal Monday

Have not had one of these posts in awhile, but this yummy dish definitely merited a mention - Trader Joe's Orange Chicken. Have you had it? I've heard it tossed around, and remembered to try it tonight. Could. not. have. been. easier. Or more delicious. Paige found the sauce a little spicy, so she had hers plain. Definitely a new staple for us!

Goodbye 2010/11 School Year!

This topsy-turvy school year is oh-va! I was blessed with two awesome student teachers this year who loved the kids as much as me, and who were great sources of support and inspiration. Above is #2.

My class is/was full of so many special students. I am excited for their future journeys. My big goal this summer is to get my classroom more organized. I also want to revise units in every subject area, yet I know I shouldn't get too ambitious. Maybe just reading, math and science? O.K., reading and math.

Miss P had a fabulous school year. I was most proud of her for growing in confidence and for her energy and excitement for learning. Learning to read was another huge achievement. Here she is on a zoo field trip with her BFF!

E chaperoned the trip and lived to tell the tale!

I am so excited to spend my summer having fun with my little gal. P and I were chatting about summer plans over breakfast. She wanted to know how we could make it the best summer ever. She would really like to go to Disneyland, or on some kind of vacation, which we won't be doing this summer. (And also to have a lot of play-dates, which we will be doing!) I told her a lot would have to do with our attitude. Enjoying and making the most of our experiences. Because life is what you make it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tacky Time!

Occasionally I have to be a little tacky and b$#@%. It is how I stay so sweet the rest of the time. : ) Where else can I do this but my blog, which is fairly anonymous I hope (along to venting to my husband, who typically ends up more fired up than me by the end).

So, last day of school was today. It was terrific. Kids had a great time. Everything went smoothly and happily. People in the know, (staff and my savvy parents) have commented many times on what a challenging year I have had and how hard I've worked to meet everyone's needs. I had a very understated Teacher Appreciation Week, and actually felt like maybe families didn't like me. Lately, as the year has wrapped up, people have come out of the woodwork telling me they really notice the difference I've made.

Despite how busy things have been, I wrote P's teacher a detailed card and got her a nice, sizeable gift, even though I've had a lot of expenses lately and am entering the summer sans paycheck. When weighing how to acknowledge her, I thought: She has taken care of my daughter for six hours a day and taught her to read. As today wrapped up, a lot of my families who are somewhat disadvantaged gave me sweet cards and cookies. I was touched. More prosperous families gave me verbal, genuine-sounding thank-you's and that was it. See ya.

I have spent so much of my own money on my classroom and things for the kids (due to lack of classroom donations), not to mention the time, time, time I give. I love it. It's my job. I do get a salary. But doesn't my work merit, just a $5 Starbucks card at least? Do you tip your waitress, or figure she/he gets paid already? I take care of your precious child all day and teach them life skills. I'm just baffled.

Sorry. Told you it was going to be tacky. Next post will share some end of year great memories with Miss P and summer plans.