Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day/Do you remember???

May 30, 2011 Memorial Day

I want to say thank you to all of those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that my family and I can live in a country that is for the most part: safe, fair, just, blessed, beautiful, free, and ________________.  Just fill in the blank.  There are many words that we can use to describe the US. The list is limitless (my creative resources are though!!)

Everytime I go to Honduras, it makes me appreciate my country and it limitless opportunities!!

 Besides the service men, I want to thank all of the families of those service people.  I teach at a military base and we see the stress and sacrifices that the families that are left behind go through on a daily basis.  All I can say is.......................


When you work at a military base for over 20 years, you eventually have a child in your class who looses a parent in service to their country.  I have had several through the years and it is always a sad and humbling experience.  We just got word that another student from our school lost their father in Afghanistan.  I didn't work with this child, but my thoughts and prayers are with this child and his family.  Please take a moment and pray for them!!!

My Memorial Day:  It was so great to sleep without the alarm clock going off!!  Thank you, Summer vacation.  My son is home from college.  He will be going back though for a summer job.  We were glad to have him home and we decided to go visit my mom.  If you know me very well you know that I don't cook much.  I do  cook a mean Low-Country Shrimp Boil.  I decided to pick up the fixings and cook this at my mom's house.  It turned out great & we enjoyed it.  We missed having my older son there.   We love and miss you Lucas!!!!

Low Country Shrimp Boil
corn on the cob
spicy sausage
Old Bay seasoning
red potatoes
cayenne pepper
(A simple search on the internet will tell you how to make this.  You need a huge pot to cook it in!!!)

On my agenda:

I have been letting the house slide alittle, so I have lots of straightening and organizing to do in the next few weeks.  I have several weeks to go before I leave for Honduras, but I have lots of things I need to do.  Below, you will see my current redo that I have done in the living room.  We gave away our old couch and bought a new one. 

 This couch is more modern so, we needed some new wall decor.  It's like If you give a Mouse a Cookie.  Do you get the reference?  The book starts out, "If you give a mouse a cookie.......He will want a glass of milk to go with it."   If you buy a new couch, then you will need a new coffee table to go with it.  We've made some changes, but we're not finished yet.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I just finished my 28th last day!!!???

May 26, 2011:  If my figuring is correct, I have just finished my 28th last day with students.  Where, oh where has the time gone?  I really don't know.   It doesn't matter how sweet your students are, you are always happy for the last day to come around. 

I'm happy it's the last day!!

I love my new Toms shoes!  One for One!!
 My children were sweet this year, but many were immature and most were rowdy.  I jokingly told some people that my class did really well doing nothing. (Which translates:  They were pretty good because they didn't have any work.) This week was jammed backed with special stuff.  I tried to keep things as normal as possible, but that is kind of hard to do when there is a fun event every day.

Monday: My class earned an ice cream party with toppings from the PTO.
Tuesday:  We earned a giant cookie from the Spanish teacher, our last class store
Wednesday:  Jazz on the Lawn & a Sock Hop
Thursday:  Last day Pizza Party from me & Awards

Sock Hop (The kids had fun, but didn't understand why it was called a sock hop!  I danced too and burned some calories!!)

Here's some pictures that I took of some of the fun!

Jazz on the Lawn (The 101st Jazz Ensemble played for us.)  My class didn't sit still for long!

Second Grade Award

These are two of my students who earned the 2nd and 3rd most points on Reading Counts.

Even though it was stormy last night, we were able to enjoy some play time outside.  Cool temps had arrived after all of last nights storms.

 Last day to get on the bus for 10-11 school year.

We have a tradition of standing on the hill and waving good-bye to the children as they leave.  Check out this video that I made with my camera.

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We were very lucky at our house.  Wednesday night, I slept in my "Safe Place".  (Our safe place is a small half bath and a coat closet.) So, I set up an inflatable mattress in the hallway between.  I find that preferable to waking up half asleep in the middle of the night.

Here's Cocoa in the "Safe Place".

Well friends, it's time to say good-bye for now.  I have one more teacher work day tomorrow and I'm done.  I have MANY things to do though.  My house is a disorganized wreck, I need to start thinking about Honduras, & I'm still making jewelry for the Saturday market.

I would love to do this..................

IT'S SUMMERTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Irons in the Fire

Friday, May 13th  I guess you think that I fell off the face of the Earth.  Well, I haven't, I have just been running on the hamster wheel that is called my life!!!  One of my favorite sayings is this, "Teachers earn 75% of their salary during the first and last months of school.  If you aren't a teacher, you probably don't know that the name of the game is data collection.  (Pre-test/Post-test, achievement testing, unit tests, baseline assessment, etc.)  All of these tests have to be completed and recorded. 

Teachers (at least second grade teachers) have to keep some semblance of normalcy because once the students sense a change, they start going bonkers.  Without boring you to tears, here's a list of things that we have done, or have to do, as well as special activities that will be going on.  Keep in mind that anything "different" will set them off!!!
1. STAR reading test (on the computer)
2. STAR math test     "     "     "
3.  Reading benchmark test
4.  Reading end-of-the-year test
5.  Problem solving assessment
6.  Writing assessment
7.  Award's Day
8.  Jazz on the Lawn/Sock Hop
9.  Penny Wars
10. Field Day
11. Ice Cream Party (that our class earned)
12.  end of the year Pizza party

Pictures from a few of the end of the year events: Nick got me a new camera, and I think my upload problem has been solved.  I have had to also figure out some new things about my new camera.

I spent Mother's Day with my son and mother.

Field Day

Haha, These girls were doing an Irish jig.  One of them had seen dancers do that at a wedding.

Inflatable Day

Play by 4/5th (can you say poor acoustics?)

With the exception of Mother's Day, all of these events took place on the next to last week of school.  Now you know why teachers are constantly whining.  Actually, the fun days are fine.  It's the time leading up to them when they are wild with anticipation.  I don't remember getting do to that many cool things when I was in school!!!

May 21, Saturday:

Well, I didn't finish my school "to do" list, but I'm sure I could add at least 10 more things.  Today was my first day at the Clarksville Downtown Market.  We had great crowds.  I made over $150!!!!!!!!!  (I haven't added up my final total, but I think it's more like $200+.) I never did that much in one day last season.  It just proves that when you set your sights high and you have faith, God takes up the slack.  My goal with this season's profits is to build my own house in Honduras.  The cost is between $1,000-1,400.  I had a little sign explaining my goal & the rest is history. (Sorry, I may have already told you this before!)

  With today's profits and my current donations from church.....Well, I have approximately $400!!!!  As I said on Facebook.....God is good!!!!  Hang in with me.....I'll pick back up with the blog when school is out.  I checked my stats and I have tons of random hits.....Why? I'm not sure.  I hope they that can read English and get the message, otherwise, I may be hearing from some long lost cousins from Nigeria!!!

Gone Wild!  Last Saturday, I participated in this event and had a great time.  It was two hours and the proceeds went to Precious Friends Animal Shelter.  I have a picture that I got off Facebook.  I'm on the right side toward the back with a peach tank top on.  I'm also adding a video that I took on the event. Let me tell you, it's hard to take a video while people are dancing and you are trying to dance also!!! :0)

(I apologize again for the quality of this video,  but I wanted you to get a feel for the music & the instructors!)

I will start blogging more regularly in T- 5 days!!!!!
Summer is coming my friends!!!
xoxo PJ

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day/Teacher Appreciation

May 5, Thursday This is a very busy time of the year and I wanted to let you know that I will not be posting very frequently until school is out.  This week has been Teacher Appreciation Week.  Don't forget to hug your local teacher!! Just like everything else,  people tend to complain about education and tend to forget to say thank you! I'm not whining, us teachers can just feel under appreciated.  (I'm pretty sure that was poor grammar!)

I was trying to show you my messy desk top, but that's hard to do with a self-portrait.

Today was fairly uneventful, but I would have to say the students really have Spring fever.  We are studying about Earth Day/Conservation and you can see a picture of the class playing a game about conservation.  They were having a big time.  If you were wondering how I could tell, well,...........the noise level is always a good indication!!!

Wednesday, May 4:  The theme of this day was, "The best laid plans of mice and men........".  You can see that I'm doing the reverse chronological order trick.  I will tell you about the reason why all of my plans were changed on yesterday. (which will be next!)

Depending on where you live, you may or may not have heard that we have had lots of rain and have had flash floods.  I have pics here, but the pics don't do it justice.

This is a flooded golf course in Cadiz, Ky.

You may recognize that these pictures are from Kentucky.  Read ahead and you will see why I was in Ky. on Wednesday.

Wednesday was a beautiful day in Ky.  I actually "played hookie".

I'm watching American Idol and I have to say that if you have hips, you SHOULD NOT WEAR HAREM PANTS!!!  JLo is gorgeous, but she doesn't need to be wearing those pants.  I have hips and I will be taking my own advice!!!!

Okay, I was playing "hookie" because I had a dental emergency.  I had a temporary crown put in during Spring Break.  It came off Tuesday night.  Wednesday, I realized that I couldn't go around with a big whole in my tooth, so I had to take off to see my dentist.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, (it depends on how you want to look at it), my dentist is in Murray. 

 Several years ago, I switched to him because he was able to work with me with my Flex-spending account.Wednesday was topped off by a great Zumba class and a wonderful ladies' Bible class.  You may remember that we have been studying a book about  fear.  Check out this cool video that we watched.  It's amazing.  A little girl tells the story of David and Goliath.

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Tuesday, May 3:  Tuesday was fairly uneventful, other than the usual wild children and realizing that I have lots to do before the end of the year.  Plus, I'm still stressing and wondering what I will have the children make for their mothers.  And, I still need to schedule my observation!  After school, I went to Zumba class at APSU.  I love this instructor.  She probably weighs about 90 lbs. and she is tough, but great!!!! 

After Zumba, I was heading home and starving.  I had a couple of items that I needed to pick up at Walmart.  I keep flossers in the car and I have found that it's very convenient to floss in the car.  Well, I was flossing and popped out my temp. crown.  Here I was starving & I had to totally rethink what I was going to eat for dinner.  I got a milkshake from BYB & I have to say it was delicious and I was totally satisfied.

So, now you know why I had to play hookie.  It all came out okay in the end!!

Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday.  I got the best Mother's Day present ever 24 years ago.  My son came into the world about three weeks early. It was totally unexpected.  He has kept me on my toes ever since!!!
 This year, he will be spending his birthday away from home!  I have already sent him several boxes and I have many of our church family sending him b-day cards.  He reads my blog, so you can leave him b-day wishes in the comment section!

Thoughts on Mother's Day:  Okay, children, here's the thing.......Be thoughtful!  Do something kind and thoughtful for your mother.  It doesn't have to cost money.  You can:  Call her and tell her how much you appreciate her.  Send her a card or email and write a few sentences about why you appreciate her.  Take her out to eat and spend time chatting. 

DO NOT LEAVE MOTHER'S DAY FOR DAD TO FIGURE OUT!!! Although, Dads, you can always honor your wife as a mother too!  Don't ask your wife what she wants for Mother's Day.  Just plan something and go with it!!!

To you young moms out there: hold your babies tightly, they will grow up before you know it!!!

xoxo PJ

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Money????, Intere$ted???

Are you rich???  Most people in the United States are in the middle class and would say no.  You might ask, "By whose standards?"  You might say, "I'm very blessed."  Let me ask you again (just a few days since taxes were due), "Are you rich?"  I say, I am, you are, 99% of people in America and other developing nations are.  (I'll explain later in the blog.)

Wax Harrison Ford in Vegas (I'm sorry I don't have new pics tonight!)

You may be wondering why I am talking about money.  Well, it's very interesting.  The free website where I post my blog, keeps different statistics of the viewers.  I am able to see how many people view particular blogs, I can see which countries they come from.  Any ideas about which post has gotten the most views in the last month???? It's "This Week/Money Worries".

The statistics also include any words that where searched.  "Cartoon money" and "money" were searches that brought people to my site.  (See cartoon above)  I'm always interested and curious about why people from other countries might have found my blog.  Look at this list of the countries where people are viewing  in the past week.

United States
United Kingdom
South Africa
United Arab Emirates

Do you find this as interesting as I do??

Are you rich?  I tell my second graders all of the time that they are rich compared to most of the world.  None of us are hungry, we all have good, comfortable shelter, we have clothing and are able to work.

Here is a song called "Price Tag" that has been playing in my head lately.  I had to preview the video to make sure is was okay.  It's pretty PG, by most standards today.

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Look at these facts that I have on a pair of Tom's shoes:  

I looked really hard for an image of these shoes and couldn't find one.  The information might be the same as the graph below.

If the world were a village of 100 people:
30 would be unemployed
58 would have parasites
14 are illiterate
40 have no shoes
3 are slaves
20 are malnourished
25 have no shelter
43 live on less than $2 a day
1 has AIDS
23 drink polluted water

Well, I notice all of the information is on the graph.  You should see me trying to read my shoes!!  :0)

Now, I ask you, "Are you rich?"  I think when you look at these facts, we can all say that we are rich and we're blessed in many ways.

Honduras countdown:  You can see how many days I have left until Honduras.  (Check the bottom of the blog.)  I have started collecting donation items for my trip.  I have already put a request in my church bulletin. I'm also adding a list of things below.  It's always difficult, because we have so many personal items that we take and then we use the second suitcase for the donated items. 

 I'm really proud of myself.  This year, between saving money and selling my earrings, I have completely paid for my trip.  I'm excited about my next goal: I want to build a house this summer with the money that I make at the Downtown Farmer's Market!!!!  (This begins in a few weeks!  I'll give you more information soon.)  I let my church family know about my goal and I have gotten  $250 in donations today alone!!!! 

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

If you read the Sunday, April 3 post of the above blog, you will see a complete list of items that we collect to take with us.  As I mentioned, we take the items we collect in our second suitcase.  Getting things to Honduras is very tricky.  Honduras basically doesn't have a reliable postal system.  The group usually ships large things by container, but the deadline is past for that. 

Collection List:
hygiene items: toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, razors, etc.
OTC meds (tylenol, antibiotic ointment, antacids, vitamins, etc.)
small toys (We visit hospitals.)
school supplies
We also collect $$$ for our work fund.  That money is used for food distribution, house builds, dental clinics, Spanish Bibles, etc.

I have many irons in the fire, but it's great to work towards a goal.  I can't quit my day job yet, but I need to start making earrings to get ready for the Farmer's Market that begins May 21st. (I believe)  Maybe I can bargain for a few extra hours in the day!!  lol

Cocoa says hi & we hope you have a great week!! Don't forget next Sunday is Mother's Day.  It has almost snuck on me!  We always have to make things for our mom's in class!

PSS:  I hope the grammar police aren't out tonight.  I feel really off.  Believe it or not, I do reread this many times!! :/

xoxo PJ