Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Even Italians like Glee!

I'm following a couple of the Glee cast members on Twitter & one of them shared this video today. I'm always amazed (and get emotional) by Flash Mobs!

There are TONS of videos on YouTube if you don't know what I'm talking about. Molly also shared one that she thought was cool on her blog early last year. If you still don't know what a flash mob is, you've probably seen this GIANT version that took place in Chicago just for Oprah!

Anyway ... watch & enjoy! Oh ... and if you aren't watching Glee, you've got a few months to get caught up on Hulu, Netflix or get the DVDs before it picks up again in April. It's one of my all-time favorite shows. A must for anyone that likes music!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Canine Instincts

I think it's so funny to see dogs (that have NEVER been wild) show their canine instincts. Just a few weeks ago, I shared a video of Minnie howling, which I had never really heard her do. What was she howling at? A fire-truck driving by. Seriously.

One of the other things she does is pretend bury things in blankets or comforters. When I have my phone laying on my bed, Minnie finds it immediately and starts burying it with my covers. Where did she learn this? She has NEVER buried anything ... we don't even have a yard!

I was quick enough to grab my camera tonight to take a short video of the latest treat she was burying. Do any of your dogs do this?

P.S. If you listen close enough, you can hear when I was doing on my kick-ass Saturday night. Yes, that's SNL playing in the background. I decided it was too cold to go out ... AND ... I have from now until January 4th to enjoy my break!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009


Beautiful sunset on my way home from work! It's nice to see some color in the sky after many, many days of gray skies!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A feel great story that is also a bit sad

Someone on Twitter posted a link that led me to the following story:

Couple together for 59 years; die moments apart

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS – He was quiet. She wasn’t. He liked to hunt, while she loved her potted plants.

She was 16 when they met in a skating rink. They eloped in a dump truck later that year.

After 59 years of marriage, James and Lolie Brackin died Saturday morning only moments apart.

“They say when you die, you’re immediately in the presence of Jesus,” said their youngest daughter, Dana Troublefield. “I think she got up there and said, ‘Where’s my husband?’ And Jesus said, ‘Just a minute. I’m working on that.’

“She didn’t like to go anywhere alone,” Troublefield added.

At the time of their deaths, James was 79 and Lolie three years younger. They called each other “Honey” so often that one of their granddaughters thought it was her grandfather’s name.

They had four daughters, Carol, Debbie, Cindy and, finally Dana, who came 20 years after their first.

James told their oldest daughter, Carol Gruver, almost a decade ago that he was worried about dying first because he didn’t think Lolie would be happy without him.

“He was just waiting for her to go home to heaven so he could go with her,” Gruver said.

James spent more than 25 years in the Army, completing tours in Vietnam and Korea. Lolie was a homemaker, who stepped into her husband’s duties during his absences and stepped back into hers when he returned.

They faced challenges over the years, but never argued in front of their children.

“They completed each other,” said their third oldest, Cindy Spence. “I remember as a teenager, my parents had a big Mercury station wagon. My mom would always sit next to him.

“When they would walk somewhere, they would always hold hands.”

Recent years had brought increasing health problems to the couple. Both had memory loss. He was blind and had suffered strokes. She was in a nursing home on and off for years, while he stayed at their home with their youngest daughter.

The week before the couple died, it had become obvious that he was too weak to stay at home and arrangements had been made for him to share his wife’s room.

They spent one night together before they died, waking up Saturday morning and having breakfast together.

They were watching Animal Planet, one of their favorite shows, when a nurse’s aide checked on them.

“I’m going to die today,” Lolie told the aide, who asked her if she needed to go back to the hospital. No, she just felt “different,” Lolie told her.

When the aide came back a short time later, Lolie wasn’t breathing. Moments later, they discovered James had also passed away.

The doctor said he believes James heard that his wife had died and the shock killed him.

James and Lolie had always dreamed of having a church wedding, but it never happened. They will be buried together and share a funeral service on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Woodlawn.

“We’re going to miss them terribly, but we’re glad this happened the way it did,” Gruver said. “He was waiting. It’s a good thing that he was in the room when she passed.”

You can click here to go to the article & to see pictures of the couple.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crossing my fingers!

The snow FINALLY decided to show up tonight! Every teacher I know is crossing her fingers, jumping & and down, wearing her PJs inside out, sleeping with a fork under her pillow and saying the hopeful chants for a snow day tomorrow!

I don't want to get too excited, because last night I stayed up too late (thinking we would have the day off today) and I was dragging ALL day! The snow really is pretty ... I just don't want to have to drive in it and get up early to walk Minnie before work in it.

Okay, enough whining. I'll just leave you with a few nice pictures I took tonight. I hope you are all staying warm!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ellen!

At this time, exactly a year ago, we were at the hospital, visiting Molly & Erik and meeting Ellen for the very first time. That day was so hectic & crazy. I was holding my cell phone all day just waiting for updates from Mom or Molly. Some people at work didn't understand why I was so excited, "You know that YOU aren't having a baby today, right?" They didn't really understand. My only sister was having her first baby. A wonderful milestone in my life!

Aunt Susan told me that she fell in love with each of her nephews and nieces the first time she held them. I felt that, too! It didn't really matter what else was going on or had happened on that day ... December 3rd will always be Ellen's birthday! Emilie told me that Aunt would be my favorite title ... and she was definitely right!

We've had quite a first year together as Aunt Betsy & niece Ellen ... I'm so lucky to live close and be a part of Ellen's (almost) weekly life. I know not everyone is able to live near their families, so I do my best to not take that for granted! I've also been lucky enough to share our past year with all of you through this blog, the photo blog, Facebook and talking with you in person (whether or not you had asked - thanks for listening)! I can't even begin sum up how much I love Ellen & how lucky I feel to have her in my life. For that ... you'll just have to keep coming back when I post about her! :)

The birthday celebration will actually be happening with family on Saturday. I'll be sure to post afterwards!

Happy Birthday, Ellen!
I love you to pieces! :)

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Do Johnson County dogs have anything to howl about???

Apparently, they do!

We are REALLY close to the highway, but in the 18 months that I've lived here, I've gotten used to the sounds that are always coming & going. The first few nights, I couldn't sleep ... now the traffic helicopters don't even wake me up in the morning.

Last summer, I was sitting on the couch, when a fire-truck drove by our condo on the highway. All of a sudden, Minnie sat up & started howling at the sirens going by. I've NEVER heard her howl ... I didn't even know that she knew how to make those sounds. It just goes to show that dogs have canine instincts, no matter how cush their lives are. She "makes her bed" before she lays down to sleep, she likes to "bury" my phone or remotes in blankets ... and now this!

I was fast to get out my handy flip camera just in time to catch her howling at the trucks going by. Excuse my howling to get her started ... I couldn't let this moment pass my flip by! :)

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

She's so talented!

If you have been in my life for a long time, you may remember that our old dog, Sophie, used to push a basketball around the backyard for hours & HOURS! It was great exercise and it turned into a great game for her!

Well, at the GEAR sale last week, I found this mini basketball & thought that Minnie might like it. The problem Minnie & toys is that she wants to puncture every toy I give her OR she wants to pick it apart with her teeth. I can't tell you how many toys I've thrown away because she starts tearing them into little pieces & swallowing them. {Does anyone have suggestions for this?} I thought this basketball might do the trick. I could teach her to push it around & it's too big for her to bite through. Check out the video ... she's definitely trying to sink her teeth into it!

Here is her latest trick from today! I can't leave my blinds open too much in the dining room because Minnie likes to bark at EV.ERY.THING. that is outside! Squirrels, people, cars, people at the mailbox, landscaping crew, leaves, cats, EVERYTHING! I know that my neighbors and can hear her and I know that you can hear her from the street, so I try not to temp her too much.

This morning, she was so intent on getting closer to the action below that she decided to jump up on the window sill. It's only 4 inches wide, so I'm not sure how comfortable it is to sit up there, but she seems to like it. The first attempt landed her on the floor on her side. Thankfully, she figured it out this time for the video! What is it about schnoodles that make them think they are part cat?

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


One of my all-time favorite videos of Ellen is from when she was just a few months old.

The video shows her hilarious reaction when Mere is making funny noises! Ellen figured out causes & effects very quickly!

Tonight, Minnie & I went over for dinner and to play a bit with Ellen before her bedtime. She knows EXACTLY what is going to happen when Minnie gets close. The two girls get SO excited to see each other, that they can hardly contain their excitement. Ellen starts shaking about and Minnie immediately runs up to Ellen to lick her hands, face, arms, feet ... whatever she can get ahold of.

Ellen has started to push away Minnie, but tonight she had a new reaction. She actually squirmed & winced before Minnie got to her because she knew was was coming!

I now present exhibits A and B:

Too funny! Ellen was such a good girl tonight. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my child. She's started this new let-me-bark-at-every-noise-I-hear-because-I'm-the-neighborhood-watch thing. SUPER annoying ... and doesn't work well in a house with a sleeping baby! The barking, paired with the non-stop, germy licking of all of us were too much for me! That might have been one of Minnie's last visit's to M&E's house for a while. Maybe she'll learn her lesson.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Still playing catch-up

I feel like I've been playing catch-up since I returned from my 7 sick days. Being gone from work when you are sick is SO MUCH WORK when you are a teacher. In many other jobs, if you are sick, I assume you don't need to leave plans for others while you are gone. I bet you might need to leave instructions or directions to find things, but you don't have a substitute for the day coming in to do YOUR job. Granted, I've only had a job as a teacher ... but I'm guessing that is how it works.

Sometimes when I don't feel well, I'd rather just stay at work than make lesson plans and directions for a substitute. I'm so anal that I tend to over plan and write out more details than necessary. You never know what kind of a substitute you are going to get in your room. I'd rather leave too many instructions than not enough and return to things not done correctly.

Thankfully, of the 7 days I had to be gone (plus one more day for a curriculum meeting), I had only 3 substitutes. 1 was our building sub who knows the ins & outs of 4th grade ... 1 was just for the first 1/2 day when I came but had to leave with a fever ... and 1 was there for five days. She even cancelled other jobs to come back to my class when I found out I had to stay home longer than planned. She was GREAT!

Long story short ... I've been back at school for almost five full weeks and I STILL feel like I'm playing catch-up. I've stayed late at work almost every night. I hate being the last car in the parking lot, but I have a hard time being productive during the day when I'm surrounded by friends, students, to do lists and more!

Minnie's gotten the short end of the stick because I've been working ten hour days and when I get home, it's too dark for a long walk. Poor baby!

I keep thinking things will slow down ... let's just hope it will happen sooner than later.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

No pictures! No pictures!

Ellen is already aware of the paparazzi ... now that she's famous!

In case you didn't hear, Ellen was the Grand Prize winner of the Kansas City Star's Cutest Costume contest. Say that three times fast. Molly got the call early today and by the time we got home from shopping & running errands, they had already posted the news online!

Check out this screen cap. There is our little salmon sushi roll ... on the front page of the website! The other winners had some GREAT costumes, too!

Thanks to all of you that voted for her online. I'm not sure how Ellen will top her first Halloween, but I bet Molly already has some idea in the works! :)

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Best Sushi In Town???

Okay ... that's not really what we are voting on, but we are voting on who was the Best Dressed Kiddo in KC this Halloween!

Miss Ellen is one of the 166 entries in the latest KC Star contest.

She would LOVE to win and she's begging you for her vote! :)

Here's the scoop:
  • She is submission #139 out of 166 of KC's best dressed kids. {You should seriously check out her competition. Some of the pictures are so blurry you can't even tell if it's a pic of a child or a magazine picture! Ellen has a real chance to win!}
  • The winner is the photo with the most number of votes. Voting is open from Wednesday, November 4th at 5:00am - Friday, November 6th at 5:00pm CST, once per day. {It's not too late to get a vote in today!}
  • You do have to register on the site to vote (wah, wah, wah). Be sure to check the box to not send any unwanted emails. After the contest, you can send an email to privacy at to remove your email from their list.
Here are the links you need:

Click here to REGISTER (it took me a while to get my confirmation email ... don't give up! It will come.)

Click here to VOTE!

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Completed while waiting for Trick-or-Treaters

I spent my Halloween evening with the Chittums, enjoying some yummy veggie soup, salad, bread & sweet treats.

Earlier in the day, I hung out with family & took about a trillion pictures of Ellen's first Halloween costume. You've GOT TO follow the link to see her cute, homemade costume! Jill had mentioned that she'd like to do a jigsaw puzzle, so while I was at Mom & Dad's I picked one up. I LOVE completing puzzles and the one I chose was one of my favorites growing up.

This particiular puzzle is called a Talking Jigsaw Puzzle. The picture on ours is an office building, but apparently they were made of a high school, hospital, hotel and other locations.

What is unique about these puzzles, is that the picture on the box is NOT the actual picture of the completed puzzle. They've jumbled up all the "windows" on the building so you don't know what the puzzle is supposed to look like. You have to read what is happening in the windows to figure out where all the pieces go. Here is an example:

You can see that these two people are talking so they would go side-by-side, but then we also had to use all the other clues to figure out what rooms & floor these people were on. There were 9 floors in our office building and 12 rooms on each floor.

Jill was in charge of the details. She would use the puzzle box to put together the individual windows. I was in charge of the big picture, so I would read all of them to figure out their exact location. There IS a way to check your progress. You can turn over the pieces (which are all the same size & shape) to see if the words "congratulations" match up where they are printed many, any times!

It only took us about 3+ hours to complete. Yes, I realize we are missing 3 pieces, but apparently when I was little, I marked the locations for the 3 missing pieces on the box. That helped so we knew when we were actually done.

This was a fun way to pass the time ... I wish that I had more of these, but after searching for a link to share, I've realized that they are no longer made and the ones that are for sale are going for $30-$70 each. Yikes! Thanks, I think I'll pass.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two different dogs?

Minnie about 2 weeks ago:

Minnie today:

I finally made an appointment for her to be groomed. Minnie's haircut is the same price as mine and we both were due to get a cut this month. Thankfully, Mom helped me out by treating me to MY haircut, which meant that it didn't hurt my bank account too terribly today when I paid for Minnie's cut!

I like how Minnie's ears start to fold over again when her hair gets long, but I also know that she looks SUPER cute when she is groomed! I've been taking Minnie to PetSmart to be groomed since she was a puppy, and today for the first time, they gave me a report card on her behavior.

Here's how she did:
Skin - "Splish, splash, gave 'em a bath". The other choices were bad reports about needing flea treatment or having itchy skin.
Teeth - "Picture-perfect smile". (Too bad my vet says $185 will make her smile better.)
Coat - "Fur-riffic head to toe". The other choices tell owners to buy more products.
Ears - "Perfectly ear-resistible".
Nails - "Trimmed, but a nail grinding will smooth over the rough edges".
Notes - "Minnie is SO adorable and very sweet. I really enjoyed grooming her today! I would love to see her again! :)"

I know the attached coupons for new products are the real reason behind the new report cards, but it is nice to hear what they've checked on her. Normally, I just pay and then they hand her over.

She's had a rough day and is already fast asleep on the couch! Getting pretty is exhausting! :)

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

I love fall ...

... and this is one of the reasons why. What's better than this beautiful sight? Not much.

That's it. That's all I wanted to say. Nothing else to share. :)

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Career choices

Ellen has lots of choices when it comes to possible jobs as a grown-up.

She can be ...

the lead singer of an 80s cover band,

a percussionist in a symphony,

a foodie,

and an American Idol.

Today we've found a new possible career. It's either a package loader at UPS or a Mommy pushing a stroller. You decide!

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Modern day journal post

Outside my window... the leaves changing colors. I love fall & I love that I live in a place where the trees actually change.

I am thinking... about all that I have to do this week! Today's goal is to get some new earrings on my Etsy page.

I am thankful for... a healthy family and friends that I can count on at all times!

From the kitchen... went to the grocery store this week, but only for treats for work. Hooked on Honeycrisp apples right now!

I am wearing... jeans, running shoes, favorite scarf & hoodie. Pretty much my normal weekend wardrobe.

I am creating... new earrings for Etsy store. Also working on my photography skills every day. Would love to make it a bigger part of my life!

I am going... to enjoy my "me" time this weekend and use it to catch up on relaxing & DVR :)

I am reading... hmmmm ... reading. What's that? Haven't picked up a book in a long time, but I read multiple blogs every day. Does that count?

I am hoping... to travel to visit friends before summer comes.

I am hearing... the TV, cars outside and knitting needles.

Around the house... you'll find piles & piles. I haven't had a chance to really spend a few hours deep cleaning. Needs to happen before I go crazy OR Minnie starts eating stuff she finds. One or the other.

One of my favorite things... being creative. Spending time with friends. Sleeping in. Playing with Ellen. Wait, did you say one thing?

A few plans for the rest of the week... parent/teacher conferences Monday & Tuesday night and all day Thursday. Crafternoon on Friday with the girls!

A picture to share...

A fun "edited" picture of me & Ells from last week. I like how it looks kind of like a watercolor.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Who let the dogs out?

From my visit with Ellen today. She is now all over the house, crawling, scooting, climbing & pulling up! Today we read lots of books, watched the falling leaves out the window & played with EVERY toy in the living room! I love the way she talks to herself and "sings", too.

Pretty darn cute!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Like the Sky Mall catalog ... only better!

So, I got my mail today after work and found this catalog in my mailbox. It's the Harriet Carter - Distinctive Gifts Since 1958 catalog. By the picture on the front, I assumed it was for pet supplies.

Then ... I opened it and realized that this catalog is like a giant As Seen on TV infomercial. Are they watching me at home? Do they know that I LOVE watching infomercials? Well, I realized that I've ordered some products online (that I've seen on TV) and they probably sold my name.

Anyhoo ... started flipping through this baby tonight and found some GREAT items ... and some not-so-great items. I thought I'd share:

Portable Yarn Organizer: Jill, aren't you lucky that I know you already have a yarn organizer? Check out this thing! This is for serious knitters!

Rolling Pants Trolley: Seriously? I'm pretty sure I have a wire frame for hanging files at work that looks just like this! I can't really decide if this would do great things or bad things for nice work pants.

Domino Holder: Now, I think this item would actually be helpful. It is kind of tough to see your tiles when they are perpendicular to the table you are playing on. Do I want to pay $13 for all my domino teammates to have the holders? No.

"Peek-a-boo" Dog Bed: Why would Minnie want this bed when she can just play peek-a-boo in MY bed covers? I would only be interested in paying $25 for this if the cute pup came with the bed!

Alphabet Cake Pan: I think you can click any of these pictures to see a larger image, but you might want to look closely at this pan! It's pretty inventive. I bet Erik's Mom would love to try something like this. I'm wondering how well the cakes actually bake in this movable pan.

Hair Umbrella: Can you imagine if you walked into your hair salon next time and everyone were wearing one of these? I would die laughing! I can't imagine that it's really that much easier to clean cut hair out of all the folds in this "collar" than it would be to just sweep up your floor.

Big Top Cupcake Set: Amy emailed all of us this summer with information on this Cupcake Set. She had been up in the middle of the night feeding Griffey and saw the infomercial for this. She had to write to confirm with the girls that this was either a) the stupidest invention ever OR b) something that she could call and order immediately!

Daughter-In-Law Afghan: Your DIL doesn't want this, I promise you that. She would rather that you just gave her the $30 you would have spent on this blanket that would never leave her linen closet.

Microwave S'Mores Maker: Huh? What? Are you telling me that I can't put my marshmallows in the microwave & watch them grow 500x their original size anymore? Thanks S'Mores Maker, for taking the fun out of my yummy treat!

Shredder Scissors: These shredding scissors seem like a good idea ... but I'm here to tell you that they aren't. I bought a pair through our school fundraiser last year. I've used them about 3 times. It's next to impossible to cut through an old credit card with them and it takes too long to cut through junk mail with them. Not only that, but you can't use them as regular scissors (duh) when you need to simply cut something. My hands are MUCH faster at just ripping up mail I don't want anyone else to read. Save yourself the $6.85.

Cat Talk Book: Minnie was thinking about buying this for the mothers of her two kitty friends, Betty & Gracie. I told her that wasn't necessary because their mothers already know what they are saying, "Get that schnoodle away from me AND out of my house!"

Dickey: Should stop being manufactured. Period. End of discussion.

Dog Tweeter: I just thought this was funny because of the name, "dog tweeter". Like this was going to update to the dog's Twitter account as they were on a walk. P.S. I'm fairly confident that if Minnie had a dog whistle on her leash, every time she pulled we'd have all the dogs in the neighborhood following us around.

White Wizard: This product is definitely worth the $7! Erik's Mom, Ann, gave me a tub of White Wizard and I can't tell you how many times it's come to the rescue! Maybe you should know that I'm a complete klutz, I have off-white carpet and I've spilled red drinks on my floor approximately 10 times. I have ZERO drink stains on my carpet, which should tell you how great this product is! If you ever see White Wizard out in the stores, you should buy a tub to have on hand just in case!

Those are the Harriet Carter products that I felt were either completely ridiculous OR totally worth the money! I hope I may have helped out with some of your Christmas (or White Elephant) shopping!

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Monday, October 5, 2009

The extent of my fall decorations

My glitter crafty project started with the glitter acorns I saw at Curious Sofa last week. I saw them and thought, "I can do that!" as I do quite often. Well, that night, I collected a bag full of acorns from Molly & Erik's backyard.

Then ... I was sick for a week. I didn't have the energy to deal with the acorns I brought home. When I finally opened the bag, I found that all of the acorns were moldy & went straight in the trash.

So, I found pine cones on the ground during my walk with Minnie. I started with just 6 ... and then went to pick up 10 more ... and then found a bag of plastic pumpkins, acorns & squash at Michael's today.

I think they turned out really cute!

I then went in my storage closet to find the rest of my Halloween/fall decorations and they were all housed in that cute Trick or Treat box. So ... I set it all out. I'm not a HUGE fan of Halloween decorations, but I do like these. AND, my fun glitter decor can stay out through Thanksgiving (I think) with maybe some new turkey-inspired decor. Anyone have any ideas?

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Checking off the list

This map shows the 24 states that I've visited. I adjusted it from the original 15 I had with the help of Dad. {I think I need some help from family ... am I missing some states? 15 doesn't seem like very many when we did a lot of traveling as a family when we were growing up.}


Visited 24 states (48%) shown in red.
Create your own visited map of The United States or website vertaling duits?

I saw this on another blog today & thought it was a cool way to keep track of your travels. There are many other states that I'd like to visit ... most of them in the Northeast.

Do any of my readers have a bottomless bank account that would like to take me on a trip? ;)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Teeny, tiny, little tongue

She was SO focused on getting a treat from me!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I know it's a while until the season starts ...

... but I saw this today and HAD to share it! Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!


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Monday, September 28, 2009


You know how every Monday morning you hear your alarm and think, "I wish I could just sleep in and lounge around today!"? Please tell me I'm not the only one that thinks that. Well, I got to do that today.

Although, I am only lounging on the couch because our wonderful school nurse sent me home after she told me I had a 100.1 temperature before the bell even rang this morning. I think teachers are SO lucky to have a nurse at their workplace. Without her, we would all probably just walk around spreading our germs even more. I woke up and wasn't feeling great but thought it wasn't bad enough to stay home AND I had zero lesson plans, so I had to go in. Well, I rushed around for 90 minutes to get plans made and then walked out the door and came home to retreat to the couch.

I had 5 kids out sick in my room, across the hall in Brenda's room, she was missing 14 (that's 1/2 her class) and her student teacher went home sick right before me, and Mitzi was missing 6. Next door in 3rd grade, one of the student teachers went home in the morning, too. The end of our pod must just be a breeding ground for germs & the flu. Yuck! Word from all the parents is that someone in the family has been diagnosed with H1N1, unofficially, because they don't want sick kids infecting others by coming to the hospital/doctor's office ... and then it just spreads between siblings, neighbors and friends. With 9 & 10-year olds that don't know how to "sneeze into your elbow" and "REALLY wash your hands" the flu is bound to spread and multiply quickly.

Well, my temperature has been going up and down all day (as low as 99.0 and as high as 100.8) and I'm home tomorrow again for sure. If my temperature isn't normal tomorrow, I have to take Wednesday off as well. While that sounds find & dandy that means I'll have to sneak up to school when everyone is gone for the day to make plans. Those of you that are teachers know how painful it is to make sub plans. I'd much rather just be there myself to teach.

Send your healing thoughts my way. My flu shot is on October 13th and I was hoping that I could make it until then. Clearly, that didn't happen ... but I would still like to get better ASAP!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A tour of my "office"

Thanks to Twitter & "meeting" all types of educators on the web, I've seen ideas and classrooms all over the country. Many of these teachers shared pictures of their rooms as they were decorating and preparing the last few weeks of summer. I enjoyed seeing all the different classrooms and even got some new, great ideas for this school year! {Thanks, Kelly for the RR pass idea ... it's working well!}

Sooooo ... I thought I'd take some pictures of my home away from home & share them with all of you, people in my Twitter PLN or the rest of my readers. I spend about 50+ hours a week in this room, so I do the best to make it an enjoyable place to be. It's exactly as I like it to be, minus the VERY messy "teacher corner" and some of the other messes around the room that are unavoidable! I hope you like seeing how things turned out this year!

This is the front of my room. Fancy new SMARTboard that I got last year and what little space we have on the floor for class meetings and story time.

My corner that is ridiculously messy! I just can't manage to keep it clean. Even if I start the day with a tidy desktop, it is buried by noon. How does this happen?

Counter with turn-in folders. Month-long calendar and birthday cupcakes. I bought these bulletin board sets my first year of teaching (when I got hired 3 days before school started) and I still love them. This cabinet is full of supplies so the kids don't have to come ask me for them. In the drawers: notebook & scratch paper, highlighters, grading pens. In the cabinets: rulers, crayons, markers, scissors, pencils, etc.

Here's my helper chart. I have 15 jobs and rotate the kids (cars) under the jobs along the road each week. They'll have 15 weeks of jobs & then have 11 weeks off. It works well for me. Love this chart because I have a VW Bug. :) Cutting board in front is from my class my 1st year. They all signed their names on it. They are 7th graders now.

Our built-in cabinets & counters. The paper dividers on the bottom left are their mailboxes.

Bulletin boards above my Reading Groups table. The one of the left has "Summer Headlines" on it now, but it changes for the holidays & seasons. I have the kids make themed art to decorate the board. The one on the right with the 6-Traits of Writing stays up all year.

My classroom library. I have so many books, the rest of them fill another cabinet and an entire file cabinet. I pull out themed books throughout the year to put around the room.

These are our new cubbies that we got last year. They are INSIDE our classrooms, which I was very leery of at first. The cubbies used to be in the hall, so I was worried about the mess. I'm now more of a stickler about leaving a mess AND I'm loving the extra storage & display room they provide.

Overall view of my classroom. The decorations from the ceiling also change with seasons and holidays. Laterns --> GIANT spider web & spiders --> snowflakes --> conversation hearts --> shamrocks --> wind chimes --> flowers. I love to change my decorations!

The view outside my classroom. This wall used to be on the outside of the building. After our building remodel and addition, it now is a hallway for 3rd & 4th grade classrooms. To the right of that bulletin board is a door that goes to the playground. We love the easy door for recess.

More of my messy corner & my computer desk. See my cute curtains? They are new this year & a FABULOUS colleague surprised me with them the week before school started. They are so girly & fun and SO me :) I got lucky with 2 corner windows that look out onto the playground.

Another close-up view of the disaster area. See that Diet Coke on the floor? One of my lovely parents brought it up to surprise me as a Happy Monday present. I was so excited, I hugged her in the middle of my lesson! You can also see the rolling cabinet I saved from the condo dumpster & recovered this summer.

Classroom door, ABC spelling cards, and an area to show my Jayhawk pride. Rock Chalk!

A new initiative this year: Word of the Week. So far it's going really well. They announce the word on the video broadcast every morning, the Spanish teacher teaches them how to use it in a sentence, there is a quiz over the definition. I think it's a great idea!

Board at the front of the room with all sorts of important information. Daily Schedule, Classroom Norms, Specials' Schedule, NO HOMEWORK incentive poster, etc. My Elmo is also on this front table. I don't love it here since when I'm writing, my back is to my class, but I can't find a better spot for it.

Okay ... are you bored yet? That's all I have. I hope all my teacher friends are off to a great start. We have progress reports due this Friday. How in the world are we already half-way through the first quarter? I feel like I just met my class! :)

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