Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Learning Fun: Rock People

The other day, my daughters and I created a fun learning experience.  We collected rocks of various shapes and colors in our yard.  We looked for rocks that were sharp, flat, bumpy, shiny, speckled and smooth.  We noticed some rocks were one color and others were muti-colored.  We found rocks that were special shapes like hearts, triangles, and ovals. We also found some rocks that we had saved from our trip to the beach.

My oldest daughter decided to make rock people and we all loved the idea so we joined in.  We glued googly eyes to some of our rocks.  We created other features with yarn and beading string.

We then named our rock friends:  Bob, Rocky,  Harold, Junie, Nora, and Sally.  Then the fun started!  We took them camping.  We gave them away as presents when we played Christmas Eve with our dolls.  We used them as prizes when we played raffle.  We created stories about our rock people. 

I think our rock people will have more adventures this summer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Slice of Life


A scary thing happened the other day.  We were at a birthday party for a three year old girl.  There was an above ground pool.  I was in the pool with my daughters.  It was a beautiful summer day filled with the excitement of a birthday party.  There were lots of little children in the pool splashing and having fun. 

Suddenly, I look across the pool and I see that the birthday girl has fallen in the pool with no vest on.  I was the only adult in the pool.  There were several children between me and the girl.  I could see the look of panic in her eyes.  Her arms were wailing so her head was staying afloat...but barely.  As I tried to move across the pool, her head was going further down into the water.  She lifted her head back. I pushed through the water but the force of the water made it difficult to walk fast enough.  It felt like lead bricks were attached to my thighs and they were preventing my legs from moving as quickly as I wanted to.  I stretched as far as I could.  I reached over towards her.  I pulled her up out of the water and lifted her to her mother on the deck.  I sighed a huge breath of relief.    I will never forget the look on her face.

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This week I read and enjoyed...

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

Eye of the Storm

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

The Lemonade War

Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres

Up, Down, and Around

I am now reading...

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

School's Out

The last day of school...

bittersweet memories of how fast time goes by...
the end of third grade...
the end of kindergarten...

Yet, there is so much to look forward to...

playing with friends,
trips to the beach,
swimming in the pool,
campfires and s'mores,
spending days together again,
summer camp,
family vacations,
staying up late,
making  new memories,
starting fourth grade...
starting first grade...
starting preschool...

Letting go...
New beginnings!

It's Monday! What are you reading?

This week I read and enjoyed...

Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride by Pam Munoz Ryan

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

The Night Before Father's Day by Natasha Wing

The Night Before Father's Day

Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

I am now reading:

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

Eye of the Storm

The Daily Five:  Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades
by Gail Boushey and Joan Mosey
The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, GG


Thursday is my grandmother's eighty-ninth birthday.  She is a very special lady.  My oldest daughter could not say great grandma so she is known as GG now. 

I loved Sunday dinners at GG's house when I was little.  Turkeys, roasts, and ham were the staples but, once in a while, we were treated to Irish potato pancakes.  Holiday dinners always ended with pies and thin mints.  We also always had butter rolls from the local bakery.  As I got older, I realized that the trick to getting the best butter roll was to help in the kitchen.  While you were helping, you could inspect all of the rolls and find the ones with the most butter on the bottom. 

I remember fondly our summer days being spent at GG's beach house.  Sitting on the porch, walking to the beach at any time of day, taking outside showers, building card houses and playing Parcheesi were all the best parts of those lazy summer days.  Waking up to the sound of birds walking over the roof of the beach cottage while hearing the ocean waves crashing against the shore are sounds I can still hear with a smile on my face.

GG was the one to come and take care of me when I was home sick from school.  I remember her making me scrambled eggs and crushed ice each time I was sick.  She would spend the day crushing the ice with the back of the wooden spoon.  She always made sure my raccoon slippers were right next to the couch waiting for my cold feet.

My grandparents were the ones who attended every event, babysat when my parents worked two jobs, took us out to restaurants and traveled with us to Florida.  My grandparents were two peas in a pod...always bickering but always loving and close together.  GG lost my grandfather 9 years ago.  My oldest daughter was born a month early and I know it was so that my grandfather could meet his first great grandchild.  He died one month later on my actual due date.

We are often busy and don't get to spend as much time with GG as before.  My daughters adore GG as much as I do.  She has a special place in our hearts.   Happy Birthday, GG!  We love you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This week I read:

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

I enjoyed this book about a girl who wants to learn to play the piano but her parents get her an organ. 

Hound Dog True
Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

I also enjoyed this book about a very shy girl who moves in with her uncle and writes in her notebook.  I love the line, "You can't have brave without being scared."

The Art of Miss Chew

The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco

Another great book that I enjoyed this week. This book is about an art teacher who inspires a child to believe in herself and her art. 

Marty McGuire

Marty Mcguire by Kate Messner

In the words of my nine year old when we finished listening to the audio book, "That was good!" 

I am now reading:

Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers:  The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

The Lemonade War
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Tuesday, June 5, 2012



It is so difficult to know what path to follow.  I left teaching nine years ago when my oldest daughter was born prematurely.  I am extremely grateful for the time that I have been at home with my daughters.  I still have my elementary teaching certificate and continue to read professionally and keep abreast of current topics in education.  My husband works hard to support our family so that I can be a stay at home mother to our three daughters.  My youngest daughter just turned four years old.  She has one more year until she starts full day kindergarten.  Our initial plan was for me to stay home until all of our daughters were in school full time and then I would return to teaching.  However, the economy has thrown some kinks in our plans.  My husband lost his job a few years ago and is unsure of the future of his current employment.  Our taxes are higher and the cost of living keeps increasing.  Our food bill just keeps getting out of control never mind the price of gas.  The opportunities for teaching jobs is minimalistic and extremely competitive in this area as more and more districts are laying off instead of hiring teachers.  I worry about our financial future.  Do I wait one more year to start substitute teaching?  Or, do I put my daughter in a full time preschool (daycare), so I can start substitute teaching next year?  My daughter is extremely attached to me and is very anxious about attending preschool.  We also do not have a lot of choices for preschool in our rural community.  Thanks to the assistance of my parents, she will attend preschool next year regardless of whether I am working.  It just depends on whether it will be full or part time.  I love my daughters with all of my heart but I sincerely miss teaching.  I can't wait to return to the classroom.  On the other hand, I enjoy being a stay at home mother and feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.  I have been a substitute teacher in the past and I understand the difficulties. Nonetheless, I hope with all my heart that I will be able to return to the classroom to follow my passion for teaching.  But there are so many questions.  How do I fill in this gap on my resume?  What is in the best interest of my family?  When is the best time to return to the profession that I love? How do I return to the classroom? Do I return to the inner city classroom or try to stay in our local community?  There are so many questions and it is so difficult to know which path to choose.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What Are You Reading?

I read...
Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Magic Cake Shop

The Magic Cake Shop by Mekia Hashimoto

Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet (Fancy Nancy Series)
Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet by Jane O'Connor

I love, love, love The One and Only Ivan!!  I can't wait to share this book with my oldest daughter this summer.  I truly enjoyed reading all of these books.  I love this line from Fancy Nancy:  "You're jealous.  But your heart is generous and warm, it will melt the bad feelings away."

I am now reading...

Teaching with the Brain in Mind

Teaching with the Brain in Mind by Eric Jensen

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Teachers Write!: Assignment #1

I am participating in Teachers Write! Summer Workshop.  This is a new experience for me and I am excited and scared about this opportunity. 

Assignment#1:  "Make a writing plan for your summer and school year."

As I thought about this, I have decided that I need to cut back on internet time in the morning to make room for writing.  I make it a point to wake up in the morning before my daughters.  I will exercise first and then write for 15 minutes while I have my cup of coffee on the front porch.  I am inspired by the view on my front porch in our country home.  As a back up plan in case I sleep late, I will bring my notebook with me when I am taking my daughters places so I can write then.  During the colder weather, I would love to make a "writing space" in my bedroom closet.  I would love a small desk surrounded by books, pictures and quotes. 

I have not told anyone about my plans yet but plan to share with my husband, daughters and mother.