Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blog Year in Review

This might be the first time I've stuck with a New Year's Resolution!!!

Here is the e-mail I sent to family & friends a year ago:
Hi Family and Friends!
I wanted to send out a Happy New Year e-mail to start my year off right. One of my resolutions for 2008 is to stay in better contact with people and reconnect with old friends!
How am I going to do this? Well ... one way was for me to start a blog so people can see what I'm up to on their own. So I'm putting some of my resolution on you! I have a couple of friends that have blogs and they inspired me to get my act together.
I think I'm off to a good start so far because I actually got my blog up and running before the end of 2007!
So here it is: ! Go bookmark it and check back often. My plan is to post something every day. I'll write about anything and everything ... just so it doesn't make me lose my job! If you're lucky, you might even be featured on my blog ... I promise to be nice. Just go check out Mom playing Play Station 2's Guitar Hero yesterday! Feel free to comment on my page. If you don't have a g-mail account, you can comment anonymously, but I'd love it if you sign your name so I can see what you have to say!
[Also, if you see any Google ads on my site that look interesting, click away! I get paid per click ... whether or not you do any real shopping or browsing on those sites!]
One of the things I'll post about every week is my Etsy "Deals of the Week". If you don't know about yet, you should! It is very similar to eBay, but it is all homemade items and you don't have to bid on them ... you can just purchase them right away. Last summer, I started crafting and putting things on Etsy for sale. It's a fun way to justify all my crazy crafting that has taken over my house and room!
Here is my Etsy site: !
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break with family and friends!
Here's to achievable resolutions in 2008 ... I'm on my way!

I successfully posted enough to have an average of one per day. The only thing I didn't stick with was my weekly Etsy "Deals of the Week". I did do them more often than I thought I would, though.

Here are some stats for the last year:

  • Blog posts: 372
  • Comments posted: 823
  • Number of labels used when posting: 50
  • 5 labels used the most: Friends, family, school, Minnie, TV
  • 5 labels used the least: Downtown, books, bars, art, snow (Hmmmm ... more TV than books. No surprise there. Ellen also tied for least used, but I'm sure that will change. She's only had a few days to make her way onto the blog.)
  • Etsy sales from posts: 12
  • Month with the most posts: January '07
  • Month with the least posts: June '07 (That's when I was 'homeless', so I think I had other things on my mind.)
  • Money earned from ad clicks: $103.51
  • Family members that I've gotten to start blogging this year: 2 (I still have Mom to work on.)
  • Number of visits: 15,000+
  • Hours spent blogging: endless! I could never count.
Thanks to all of you that have followed me through 2008!!! I won't be posting every day this year ... the plan is to wait for the really important things that I want to share. It might be hard to post less because I've gotten so used to sharing news daily. I do have another blog project in the works ... I'll be sure and share it when I have time to get it figured out! I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Eve with friends and family! Cheers!

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Five Aunties

Today was our girls' baby shower for Becca! It is so rare when the 6 of us can get together, so today was a real treat. Our moms were all there to help Becca celebrate ... and give lost of motherly advice.

Becca got some goodies for the baby, most importantly, some of her super cute crib bedding! Since Becca is the first of us to take on the role of Mom, we all get to sit back and learn from her. That also means that she gets to take advantage of the five Aunties that are anxiously awaiting the arrival of little _________. (Kreme, Grabe, Maebe, Bar, Beak, Reba, Mecca??? The list goes on and on!)

There were other great pics, but I'm too tired to post any more tonight. Thanks for a wonderful day, girlies ... safe travels to those of you that are heading back to your homes tomorrow!

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's that time of year!

Last night was the Annual Cookie Decorating Party for the Wagner family. They've had this party for family & friends for 19 years and I've been lucky to be a part of it since my freshman or sophomore year in high school!

The rules of the party are quite simple. Decorate sugar cookies using any of the many colors of icing you want and any or all of the sprinkles provided! I've won many awards in the past for great cookies:

My "Teacher Set"

I won the Lifetime Achievement Award for this beauty below in 2006.
Here is Miss USA, complete with coke under her nose and a beer bottle in her hand. I've learned that if you decorate a cookie as something big that happened in the news that year, it might hold up in the judging. I also know the judges well (Emilie, Mr. Wagner, Em's bro-in-law & cousin and Mr. Tobin), so that helps.

Last year I won the People's Choice Award for this OK Magazine cover! It took me FOR-EVER! I used toothpicks to place each one of those tiny sprinkles.

Other good cookie entries have been a Plaza skyline, complete with lights, and I've also had great competition. Kristin always goes all out with one cookie that takes her most of the evening. She's made Priest Holmes, Napoleon Dynamite, Coach Mangino, Cat in the Hat, etc, etc, etc. First time contestants are also notorious for winning: Mark's billiards balls & cue, Sandy's 3-D tree, etc.

This year, I came in with very few ideas, which was my problem to start. My entry (see below) made it into the top 20, but then, I was out of the contest. I guess I need to start thinking of ideas for next year's party!

Here we are after all the decorating and awards have come and gone.

This was my one good entry. I also made a gingerbread man missing a leg. There were a few other Obama logos, but mine was the only one with the motto on it.

This is Megan's 1st place winner! Megan is also quite the decorator. She's had many awards in the past with Fruit of the Loom characters, a to-scale KU bball court, and McDonalds fries & burger.

This was Kristin's winning entry for this year. She took my idea to the next level. I think she won 2nd runner up.

Here is a sampling of some of the cookies. Look closely at the Miss Pac Man in the top right, the Mexican-themed entries (this year's party has a Feliz Navidad theme), the other Obama log, and on the bottom right is a hand in a popcorn box.

Here are Kristin, John & Meg decorating.

And Julie pretend eating Mike's 1st entry. This was his first year at the party, and Julie's come-back after several years of being OOT. Mike decided just to pile as many colors of frosting and sprinkles on the cookie as he could.

Kristin was the one who got the pinata to finally crack! No surprise there!

And this is at the end of the evening. I was taking Julie & Mike home, and Matt asked if he could have a ride, too. I told him, "Sure, but I'm not sure that you'll fit!" Turns out, I wasn't too far off. This is why I am never asked to be the driver. Poor Matt was practically eating the windshield and Julie and Mike were packed like sardines in the back seat.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

A day late,

but it is still cute!



Minnie was asked to be in this video, but she had prior engagements that kept her from the rehearsals. :)

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day with family and friends!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

If you aren't a teacher, you wouldn't understand

Somehow, as a teacher, our bodies know when we are too busy to be tired or sick. It is often more work to be gone from school than to just suck it up and go for the day, no matter how crappy you are feeling. I've had my flu shot for the past few years, and I've never been more sick than a weekend cold or a non-stop cough on parent/teacher conference week.

What typically happens is that I'm fine during the whole work week, and as soon as the weekend comes ... I get sick! I've missed out on visiting friends that came in town, fun parties and just enjoying time off from school. I've been sick over Memorial Day, Labor Day, winter break and been diagnosed with strep the first day of summer break. Mitzi can commiserate, as she spent her entire Thanksgiving break sick on the couch. Every time Julie comes in town on a break, she seems to be sick, too. It's NOT on purpose, and it's NOT fun. I think it's just that our bodies know when we have some downtime to rest.

Well, without fail, being sick has already ruined the beginning of my winter break. I came home last night and wasn't feeling great, so I got curled up on the couch to watch TV with Minnie. I fell asleep there and woke up at 3 really not feeling great. Basically from 3am until 11am, I was sicker than I've been in a long time! Not only was I bummed that I was sick on my winter break, but I knew that this meant I couldn't join the family for Christmas Eve dinner. :( Mom came earlier today to bring me some Fresca and meds and take Minnie for me. I could hardly get down the stairs to take her out.

I'm feeling a bit better now after napping the majority of the day. My 100.5 temperature is making it's way down and I'm eating for the first time since dinner last night. I got a call from Molly asking if I wanted to postpone opening presents in the morning. I'm hoping I'll feel better by morning. Even if I'm feeling better, I've been told that I can only stare at Ellen from across the room tomorrow. Bummed that I can't cuddle up with her, but definitely don't want to send home a sick baby with Molly & Erik.

I hope everyone is enjoying some QT with family & friends. Merry Christmas!

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Already in trouble?

Molly just sent this picture of Ellen for me to pass along to Adam & Jill. They picked this cute onesie up for Ellen last week and she's strutting her stuff in it today!

This is the e-mail Molly sent along with the picture:

Aunt Betsy -
Please tell Adam and Jill that I love my shirt (despite the fact that I look like I just held up a convenience store and got caught by the cops in the picture - my mom sucks at taking pictures!)
Love, Ellen

I guess I need to prepare myself to being the cool, hip Aunt that will bail her out of sticky situations. :)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yes, it really is that cold out

We're not making it up. Here's a picture of the clock & thermometer in my car last night. It is a bit blurry because my hands were so frozen that I didn't get a chance to take a good pic! Even though it was it was 3 degrees, I know with the wind chill, it had to have been much colder!

My little car is great, but it doesn't fully heat up before I get to most places I'm going. Last night when Minnie and I went to Adam & Jill's, I was sure to bring an blanket to wrap around us on the drive over and home.

Today I went up to school to get some work on done on my kids' grades. I would have stayed longer if it were warmer inside. We keep getting e-mails from the district talking about ways we need to save money (like shutting off lights and computers over the weekend) and I think they cranked the heat down to save some money over break.

After working for a few hours, I went over to check on little Ellen and watch her so Molly could get a nappy in. Molly said that after Ellen's appointment this morning (she's now 7 pounds, 2 ounces) she was up most of the day and she was being a pill! I rushed over to try and help out. Both Mom and baby slept for about 2 hours, which was really nice. I delayed leaving because I didn't want to go back in the cold AND I didn't want to leave Miss Ellen.

I'm finally back home after a long day and Minnie and I are curled up on the couch again. It's too cold to go for much of a walk outside, so we are getting a bit of cabin fever. Oh well, it looks like it might snow again tomorrow and then finally warm up a bit!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Today is Molly's birthday!

I think she got the best gift you could ever get ... Miss Ellen!

I went over yesterday to see how everyone was doing and I did my tiny part to help by getting E to take a nappy. Hopefully she slept for a few hours. Molly & Mom went to run a few errands yesterday, even though Molly says she's not getting cabin fever yet. It's too cold out (wind chill of -10) to even want to go outside.

Have a great day with friends tonight and Miss Ellen! Love to you both!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Marshmallows, and Skittles and Graham Crackers ... OH MY!

This last week of school before winter break is pretty much a joke. The kids are antsy. The teachers are crabby. The learning is minimal. We tried to make the best of it by doing a a fun crafty project for the first time.

We made Gingerbread Houses and got to help 1st graders do the same thing! It was a 2 day project and it was a lot of fun ... but so wild & crazy that I'm not sure if we'll do it again. The good news is that my room smelled like icing all week. The bad news is that the kids desks might be permanently covered in icing and candy crumbs.

Here are a few of the best houses. I loved how creative some of them were with the construction and their decorating!

Pretty cool, huh?

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Thursday, December 18, 2008



Here is a little version of "Find the Differences in these Photos":

I've carefully cropped out the Spelling Bee winners from today's after school Bee. A Mom took this picture to turn into the local paper. I came home and she immediately e-mailed me the picture with the subject line,"LAUGH at Spelling Bee pics".

It's a good thing she thought it was funny, because I'm pretty embarrassed. I've noticed lately in pictures, I always make a strange fist with my hands. Apparently my fist turns into a rude gesture when also I'm holding a pen and a student's arm. Yikes! SO glad that she did some quick photo-shopping to fix my rude behavior! ;) Looks like she also did some brightening up of the pic. Too bad she didn't get rid of the chins and spare tire!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

5 marriages? Seriously?

Thanks to Jilly's Tweet earlier today, I saw that stoopid Drew Peterson is engaged ... AGAIN!

I'm almost speechless. I cannot believe it! This guy must be made out of diamonds and ice cream and puppies, because I don't know what else would attract so many women to him.

Maybe he met his new 23-year-old fiance on the radio dating show he went on just months after his current wife "disappeared". Keep in mind, that he's still technically married to Stacy Peterson who's body is still missing. He became engaged to Stacy when he was in the process of divorcing his 3rd wife that "drowned" at home. Turns out, she didn't actually drown and it was more of a homicide.

I wouldn't typically site FOX News, but this was a simple summary of the women in Drew's life:

Drew Peterson, the retired Bolingbrook, Ill., police officer who is named a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife is engaged to a new woman. Here is a look at his four previous marriages.

Carol Brown

Drew Peterson’s first wife met him in high school in Villa Park, Ill. She married him in 1974 and stuck with him for six years until she found out he had cheated on her, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Victoria Connolly

Peterson’s second wife married him in 1982 and told the Tribune in 2007 that her husband of 10 years “was a legend in his own mind.” They divorced after he started dating Kathleen Savio.

Kathleen Savio

She met Drew Peterson while he was still married to his second wife. She was found dead on March 1, 2004, in her bathtub. Following the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, Savio’s body was exhumed and her death reclassified a homicide. At the time, Savio and Peterson were divorcing and he was dating his soon-to-be fourth wife.

Stacy Peterson

The 23-year-old mother disappeared on Oct. 28, 2007, after failing to meet up with relatives. Drew Peterson contends she left him for another man, though her family doesn't believe she is alive. Her husband has been named a suspect in her disappearance.

Future Fifth Wife

She remains a mystery, though Drew Peterson told author Derek Armstrong that she is 23 and lives within 15 minutes of the former cop's Bolingbrook, Ill., home.

I just don't get it!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Can't we stay inside all week?

Minnie told me it's too cold to go out ... even with a sweater on! Actually this morning, she literally stopped walking because the snow & ice was too cold for her little paws. She laid down and curled up and started licking her paws. I had to carry her in. Poor baby! I hope it does warm up at some point this week. I'd like to be able to get out and run some more errands and get a walk or two in this after school. We try to walk for at least 10-15 minutes a night, but on days like today when the wind chill is below zero, the furthest we walk is to the mailbox across the parking lot!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's days like these ...

... when I wish I had a yard with a fence!

This picture isn't from today, but it's a good example of what Minners likes to do in the cold weather. When we go out for a potty break (her, not me) she likes to do anything BUT do her business! In the mornings, she insists on just sniffing around and looking at me because she knows that I can't leave for work until she does her business.

When there is snow on the ground, she likes to stick her nose down into any holes in the snow (or she'll make her own) and then gets angry when the snow goes up her nose!

When it's windy out like today, Minnie will go CRAZY chasing any leaves or trash that are blowing around. We just went out a few minutes ago because she was scratching at the door to go out. Instead of doing what she was supposed to be doing she did everything but!

The temperature dropped today very quickly. Today's weather stats are a high of 60 degrees and a low of 4 degrees! Right now it is 12 degrees, but feels like -5 degrees due to the 15+ mph winds. Jilly just texted to say that the sleet has started. I've never had a yard for Minnie to go out on her own, but every winter I think of how nice it would be just to put her outside on her own. It is particularly bad in the morning when we go out before work. Off to go out again. Let's hope we can go in and out quickly ... I can hear the sleet hitting my windows, and it doesn't sound too nice out there!

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I don't need any other Christmas carols

I am finally listening to the Christmas mix CD that Molly & Erik send out in their Christmas cards. I don't have a stereo in my place and the one in my car is broken. While I'm making & wrapping presents today, I thought I'd put the CD in my laptop to listen to it.

Well, I get to song 9 and jump up to come to my laptop to try and figure out what song it is. It's called "The 12 Days of Christmas" by Straight No Chaser. After googling to see what it is, I found a whole group of their videos on YouTube. They are an acapella group from the Indiana University.

Here is their version of "The 12 Days of Christmas"!



Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Whaddya say Urbanspoon?

Last night, after a few of us went to the Young Friends of Art Happy Hour at the Nelson, we were anxious to get to some food for dinner. The happy hour was 6-8pm and by the time we left the museum it was close to 8:30.

We were standing around to figure out where to go eat and we looked to Jilly's fancy, new iPhone. She has downloaded the Urbanspoon application and it's the greatest! If you haven't seen the commercial for it, Urbanspoon is like a slot machine that helps you to pick out a location in town, a type of food, and a price point when going out to eat. Each one of those topics has it's own spinner on the slot machine and you literally shake the iPhone and it spins. After a few requests for location and price (just $ or $$), we ended up being happy with the suggestion of Blanc Burgers + Bottles.

Blanc Burgers + Bottles is right in the middle of all the Westport excitement. After driving around all the streets looking for a parking spot, we finally got in there and put our name in. Needing a table for 7 would mean waiting for a while. Once we finally got seated, we immediately ordered. None of us were drinking, but we all ordered fabulous things on the menu!

The menu has minimal choices in each food category (salad, burger, sides), but could be overwhelming when looking for drinks (beer, wine, sodas). I ended up ordering the Turkey Burger and the regular fries. The burger came with avacado, spinach, swiss cheese and tomatoes. It was served in a giant brioche bun. I ate nearly every bit of it. My regular fries were a bit crunchy for my liking, but we also got the sweet potato fries, onion rings & truffle fries to share. All of those were great. They also came with their own homemade condiments.

For 7 of us to eat, our bill was only $104. Not too bad! We didn't have any "real" drinks, but we all got burgers and 5 shopping carts of fries to share. Our waiter also brought us 2 orders of kalamari fries to share since our order was running a bit late. We were STARVING, so that was nice of him.

If you're looking for someplace new to go for burgers, I definitely recommend Blanc Burger! Great for lunch or dinner. And for those of you with iPhones, go get the Urbanspoon app. It is worth hours of fun!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hmmmm ... I've never seen that before

Minnie & I just walked in the door tonight. At the last minute we went over to Mitzi's to watch a little NBC, do a little knitting and have a little dinner. Adam & Jill were there, too. The evening was just what we all needed! We're getting close to the end of this semester and the stress levels are very high for all of us! Minnie joined us, because my friends are nice enough to let me bring her to their houses. I hate to leave her at home at night after she's been cooped up in my room all day, too.

Minnie & Mitzi's cat, Betty, got some play time in. In fact, I think Minners gets so excited about being around Betty that she wears herself out. We've been home about 10 minutes and she's already conked out on the couch! We thought they were starting to get used to each other after so many "inner-species playdates", but at one point, I saw no animals around me and it was silent. Silent animals is not always a good thing. I went looking for Minnie and sure enough, Betty had trapped her on the back stairwell by sitting right at the top so Minnie couldn't get up! It wasn't as bad as the Kitty/Puppy fight that Jill caught on video, but poor Minnie was so sad. (P.S. you HAVE TO go watch the video for a laugh!)

See how concerned Betty is that Minnie is trapped? Not very! If you look closely, you can see Minnie's ears pinned back ... she does this when she's in trouble or when she's scared. Poor baby! This picture makes it look like she has two friends for back-up at the bottom of the stairs. They are either running shoes with reflective spots on them OR animal ghosts sitting at the bottom of Mitzi's stairs.

Anyhoo ... we were driving home, ready to do some relaxing on our own couch before bed and I saw THIS as we drove in the parking lot at home:
This isn't actually my picture because the two critters ran away before I could stop, get my camera out and take a picture ... but this is what it would have looked like! I drove up and saw 2 raccoons scurrying out of the dumpster area and hurry into the storm drain before the car got close. YUCK! I guess THIS is why there are signs posted all over to close the dumpsters before you leave and make sure that they aren't overflowing. Clearly, someone didn't follow the directions.

I never thought that was why you had to close them. I thought it was just to be curteous. Now I know! This also made me very thankful that Minnie gets to walk on a leash at our new place. If she were off-leash, she could get into all sorts of trouble. It's one thing to get her booty kicked by a house kitty, but quite another thing to get beaten up by a gang of street raccoons!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Note to self :

After a crummy day at work, this is all you need to see to make it all better!

Ellen says, "Thanks Aunt Betsy for my new footy pj's! I love them, even though I'm still too small for the newborn size. My feet will probably end up curled up by my belly by the end of the night!"

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slip slidin' away!

The excitement surrounding the potential snow yesterday was overwhelming ... and today it was CRAZY! As soon as the snow started during my plan time this morning, the kids were wild the rest of the day! They hadn't even seen the snow when I went to pick them up from Music, but their attitudes and attention spans had automatically changed! If you aren't a teacher, then you don't know about the skill of knowing when the weather is going to change just by observing your students! ;)

So ... we watched out my windows the rest of the day. At first, it was just a little bit of snow, then by the time recess started (indoor, even though some asked if we were going out) the grass & sidewalks were all covered. The kids talked of a snow day some more, and even I got excited. I projected the weather radar maps for them to track during our silent reading time at the end of the day.

I left shortly after school ended, bag of grading in tow JUST IN CASE of a day off tomorrow. I was worried about making my way home because I drove to school this morning with my gas tank on E the entire time. I should have followed Dad's important rule and never let my gas gauge get that low. I would have filled up last night, but I was too tired. Big mistake! The entire drive home, I thought for sure my car would run out of gas and I'd be one of those "stranded" cars that was only making the traffic worse.

My heart started pounding even harder when my usual 8 minute drive home, turned into a 45 minute drive home! For those of you that know where I am ... the stretch on Antioch from 119th to just North of College to the gas station took me 20 minutes! Well, I finally made it into the gas station and filled up before I could drive another 20+ minutes / 2 blocks home. In those 2 blocks, I saw 2 different wrecks right in front of me. My little Bug isn't the greatest in icy/snowy weather, so I was scared the entire way home. I did end up getting home safe and sound.

I hope all of you got home safely, too, if you had winter weather arrive today!

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Are we talking about that already?

Today was the first time this school year that people started hoping & wishing for a Snow Day!

I heard two staff members at school say something about not being at school tomorrow due to a snow day. Then some of the kids in my class were talking about it at the end of the day, too! Looking back at Jilly's blog, I see that our first snow day last year was on December 11th, so we could be on track to have one. It would be a bit stressful to have one before the end of the semester (because we are already trying to cram things in), but I'll welcome an extra day off any time!

While I know we aren't going to have a day off tomorrow (the ice/snow won't start until the morning and it's still in the 40s right now), it is always fun to think about how to spend an unexpected day off from school!

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

He's gonna be a bit busy on the weekends

This morning when I woke up to the news, I saw a crawl on CNN that David Gregory had been picked to be the new moderator of "Meet the Press"!

I'm so excited! I love to watch David on The Today Show, and now I'll get to watch him on the weekends, too! David did a great job with all the election coverage the last few months, I think they were "training him" to be in charge of this long-running show!

Don't get me wrong ... I'm still sad that Tim Russert isn't here to moderate, but I think that David is a great replacement!

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Winter inside and out

I told you all earlier this week that I was taking pictures of my classroom to share. Well, now I finally have time to post them. I change the decorations in my room with each season or holiday. The fall leaves and turkeys came down on Monday and up went the winter decorations. They are some of my favorites.

Here are the "factor trees" we made. Our unit in Math right now was on finding the prime factors for any number and then creating a number sentence using exponents. It's a hard thing to learn, but the kids really seem to like it. It is also one of my favorite units. Last year I pulled this project idea out of nowhere. They turn out really cute and give us decorations for the bulletin boards out in the hall. Please don't make fun of the fact that I have hung the trees so some of them are "floating" up from the snow. With 25 students, there was very little room for all the trees on this 4'x8' bulletin board!

It's snowing inside! I really like the way these snowflakes look hanging from the ceiling. The kids owe me classroom money if they start hitting the snowflakes or tugging on them. They've almost learned this rule since throughout the year I have lots of things hanging from the ceiling: wind chimes, snowflakes, conversation hearts, shamrocks, butterflies, flowers, etc.

The door to my classroom. That is garland of little plastic candies. I think they are really cute, but by the time January comes, I'm happy to take them down since they clank and hit against the door every time it opens and closes!

This snowman magnet set came from Aunt Susan last year. I used to have white magnetic walls that it looked cute on. When those walls went away, I was happy to realize that this AC vent is magnetic. It looks really cute on here!

And here's a view of the front of my room. I've been meaning to take a picture of the projector for quite a while. I was AMAZED to see how big this screen was when they put it up in September. This is a picture of the PowerPoint I use every morning for announcements and morning work. If you look at the door on the right, you can see just how big this screen is! I now keep it down most of the day and just type from my computer when I have notes the kids need to copy. WAY better than writing on the board!

That's it for now! Just wanted to share some pics from my second "home"!

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Friday, December 5, 2008

We match the blog!

Went right after school to the hospital to check on everyone and see how they were doing. Molly looked great and said she was feeling well. Erik was off to meet his Dad at their house to set up the pack-and-play and Ann was there holding little Ellen. The report was that she had a much better day and was eating well and sleeping well. Molly said she was a bit cranky for the first time, but quickly fell asleep and was fine.

I knew that I could stay for a bit and then had to go let Minnie out before I was off to help get things ready for the "homecoming" tomorrow. The nursery still needs bedding & tools cleaned up and removed. [Hammers and nails are dangerous for a baby, right?] So, I had to make the most of my time with my little Ellen!

Here she is bundled up in my arms. I could watch the faces she makes all day and night! She likes to squint her eyes when you whisper to her. She scrunches her eyebrows when you move her position or unwrap her swaddling blankets. She makes all sorts of pouty lip movements, too. Hilarious!

Here she is wrapping her little hand around my pinky finger! This is really the first time I've seen her hands since all the shirts are too big and her hands have been hiding in the sleeves!

Then, Mom came to join us on her way home from work. Mom hadn't seen Ellen with her eyes open yet and when she finally opened them, she was facing the opposite way from Mom! All that hair is going to need a bow in no time at all!

This is the little Hugs security tag that Ellen will wear on her ankle while she's in the hospital. The day she was born, Erik was carting her to the new room and we quickly stepped out of the waiting room to see Ellen! The nurse that was with Erik said he had to keep moving away and get away from the elevators. If he stood there too long, and alarm would go off, because that would mean someone had a newborn and was waiting for the elevators. It's a good thing they've got a security bracelet on her, because she is precious cargo, and we don't want her going anywhere without her Mommy & Daddy!
Here's a tiny video of the first time I saw or heard Ellen fussing. Molly was changing her diaper (to wake her up a bit) and she was NOT happy. If you listen, you can hear Molly giving Mom a lesson on her diapers. Apparently, Mom has never seen a diaper! ;) I played this video at home and you should have seen the way that Minnie was staring at my camera. She couldn't figure out what was going on. I can't wait to see how she reacts to Miss Ellen in person! I'm sure she will be very gentle.

Tomorrow is the day she comes home, so the morning will be very busy with both Grandmas and myself running around to finish getting things ready. Can't wait for everyone to get settled in!

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Etsy Deals of the Week - For a Baby Girl!

Since little Ellen is already here, I decided to speed up my Etsy Deals of the Week for new baby girl items! I've already done quite a bit of shopping on Etsy for the baby, but here are a few more things I found that I love!

I've had a great couple of weeks with sales on Etsy, so I like to be able to help fellow sellers any way that I can!

How great is this soft play block in fun fabrics?!? I am, of course, drawn the lime green and pink, but the sellers have many other great options. They make onesies, I Spy bags (you have to go check them out to see how great they are), burp cloths and more!

For those that wish they were crafty or great with scrapbooking! Knit1Scrap2 has made this pre-framed baby girl frame. All you have to do is open up the frame and put your own picture inside. Okay, not YOUR picture, but one of the baby! ;) There is also some room surrounding the picture spot where you could write in your own caption or the baby's info like birthday, weight, length, time of birth, etc. If your baby will be wearing blue ... there's a frame for him, too!

In the past, I have given Molly & Erik Christmas ornaments to represent things that happened over the past year. This year, Molly decided to forgo the big tree that normally goes up to save space and time! This new baby pea-in-the-pod ornament would make a very nice Christmas OR new baby present for a holiday baby! The artist will add lots of personalized information to the ornament at your request.

This Paris/Poodle Boutique burp cloth set is already hiding in Ellen's dresser drawers. I was searching for Paris-themed gifts on Etsy ... and there were a lot, but this one really caught my eye! The cute Poodle fabric actually has cursive names on it and guess what it included? Minnie AND Lulu! What a coincidence. They are very soft & well made. The other items made for sale have just as cute fabrics on them!

I thought this reversible baby sling looked really well made and had a cool, non-babyish fabric! The seller has MANY other great items, and when it comes to the slings, there are directions for measuring yourself to make sure you get the perfect sized sling!

When it comes to Christmas shopping this year, I try to go to Etsy first because you can find ANYTHING you want and buying it would mean supporting a crafty/local artist and you might be able to find it for less than you would buy in a major store!

I normally include something of my own in my Etsy Deals post, but I don't have much that is baby-related. :) Maybe my magnets to show baby pictures or kids' artwork.

As always ... feel free to let me know if you see something of mine that you would like in a different size or color. AND ... go browse around on Etsy! It's always nice to help local artisans out!

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