Friday, July 18, 2008

Picture Book Suggestion: Punk Farm

As part of my job, I get to read lots and lots of children's picture books as I look for that elusive great book to use as a mentor text in my reading/writing lessons. I think I will start sharing a few of them for those parents out there who have little ones that love to be read to at night. I will have to tell you though that even my 6th graders love having me read to them just as much or even more than I ever could have imagined. As one of my friends' kids just told me the other day, "You sure know how to pick out the best books, they are sooo funny!"

So, thinking of Alana and the boys (actually R and the hilarious head/login incident made me clear this was a book for them), here is my first entry:

Punk Farm followed by Punk Farm on Tour.

These farm animals are soooo rockin' that they even have their own website, where you can listen to their punked out version of popular kids' songs from the book as you read, and their own pretend myspace page (not a real one, very safe for the kids to visit and pretty hilarious). So, all of you moms and dads out there who always wanted to rock out, now is your chance. Susie, your kids will LOOOOOVVVE these books too! I can just picture "T" doing the air guitar!

As for teachers, great for character studies, voice, circular stories, etc. My 6th graders went nuts over these books and even created new characters for the band, plus song ideas.

So, in the immortal words of Punk Farm, "You Rock Colorado!!!!"


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Curvaceous Update for July

Dragged myself in for weighing and measuring today. Here are the results:

weight lost - 4 pounds

fat lost - 3 pounds

inches lost - 3

Total weight lost for year: 14 pounds

Car batteries dead: 1

Sounds out of my mouth upon realizing this: Priceless


Where I'm From

Time: 8:07 a.m.

What I am doing: Procrastinating

As I sit here doing everything other than going to Curves like I am supposed to (it is the dreaded weigh and measure day), I was visiting a fellow teachers' blog about her writing territories assignment she is making up for her kids the first week of school. Now for those of you who do not teach, a writing territory is part of your life that only you can write about. The kids make lists of all sorts of things in their lives that could be interesting writing starters (seeds) and post them in their notebooks so on the day when they are sitting there with nothing to write about, they have a whole list of ideas to turn to. So, this blog post reminded me of a writing project I had my 6th graders complete last fall. We wrote Where I am From poems. I created my own to model for the kids, and then they wrote one about themselves, then interviewed a family member and created one for them so we would have parallel poems. The kids loved it and the parents loved getting to spend actual real live face time with their prepubescent child.

You are asking where this is going? Well, I thought for the fun of it, I would share with you my poem. Call it a meme of sorts in poetic form. Mine inspired a whole group of teachers to write one of their own. It gives you a great opportunity to reflect on yourself as a child growing up in whatever decade that might be. Thanks to teacher and author Nancy Atwell for the basis of the idea. Maybe this will encourage you to create one of your own. It was a lot of fun tripping down memory lane. Hope you enjoy my trip and maybe it will spark an interest or memory in yourself.


I am from Barbies, Mad Libs and Clue
Playing soccer with the boys, running like the wind, Alley Wiffleball in gym and cheating at Spotlight
I am from albums, 8 tracks, cassette tapes & CD’s
Madonna as a Material Girl, Michael Jackson in Thriller, Hair bands and the Go-Go’s
I am from Crushin’ on Tom Cruise as Maverick in Top Gun, loving the brat pack and Molly Ringwald, Harrison Ford in Star Wars and Indiana Jones
I am from dancing with Kevin Bacon in Footloose, Friday the Thirteenth and slasher films, ET phoning home
Wishing I lived like the kids on Family Ties, The Cosby Show & Growing Pains
Not like the kids from Roseanne, Married with Children or the Simpsons
I am from Pop Rocks to Zotz, collector Pez dispensers to Razzles (first it’s a candy…then it’s a gum)
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, reading Lord of the Rings and Nancy Drew
I am from blowing up Julie’s mom’s first microwave oven, cordless phones, and the rise of Apple Computers
I am from Nixon and Watergate, Jimmy Carter and his peanuts, Reagan as a president (not an actor)
I am from 26 years in Washington State, with a sprinkle of California (like gag me with a spoon you know), Idaho and New York thrown in
Mount Saint Helen’s erupting, the Pepsi Challenge, and the space shuttle Challenger flaming in the sky.
My life is like a bad 80’s movie with a splash of chick flick thrown in
Even though life in the 80’s may have been the decade of excess, today, I still Want My MTV.

Kelly Christine Neal

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tales of a Non-scrapbooker

Help! So, hubby and I have made it through the home study portion of our adoption. Super Cleaning Woman came out for apparently no reason other than to hear, "Is your entertainment center always so dust free?" I almost died of laughter at that one being a pet owner who has to dust and vacuum religiously! Although, hubby and I do have an arrangement made with our marriage vows. He will dust the house (job I loathe) if he never has to clean a toilet 'til death do us part. "I do!" So, I know that on toilet cleaning days, which I think I have OCD in this area, at least the dust bunnies will be rounded up and the spiders will have to build new homes.

Now to the real reason I screamed help at the beginning of this gibberish, we now have to make an album so that the agency can basically sell us to the birth moms. I am panicked never having scrapbooked in my life! I have told friends, when invited to their scrapbooking parties, that I will come to a party when I have kids. Who needs to scrapbook just yourself???? Now, I am at that point and have no abilities to turn paper into anything looking remotely cute. So, I am calling in reinforcements. Does anyone know if you can print pages from Smilebox? If so, I am technically savvy enough to handle that, I think... Also, any tips on just scrapbooking would be greatly appreciated as some of my pictures obviously predate the digital age of the camera, cue the dinosaurs. Thanks in advance as we are now one step closer to having our baby hopes and dreams realized!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blueberry Heaven

As I was standing at the sink today pondering over what to do with the 14 pounds of blueberries I recently picked here, (yes, we went a little nuts), I thought I should share two of my favorite recipes involving said berries. The first is Blueberry Buckle which is the yummiest coffee cake and can be made with any type of berry. I remember as a kid, waking up on a Sunday morning to the most amazing and heavenly aroma wafting up the stairs and tickling my nose. Good grief, now I want to make some!!!

The second recipe is for a lowfat, but still very scrumpdillyicious blueberry smoothie. Gary and I indulged in one of these the morning after our berry picking adventure. To double the recipe, just add another half cup of berries and another half cup of milk. Enjoy!


Blueberry Buckle

Beat together:
3/4 c. sugar1/4 c. butter2 eggs1/2 c. milk
Sift together:
1 1/2 c. flour2 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. salt1/2 tsp. nutmeg1/4 tsp. cloves
Stir into egg mixture then carefully fold in 1 quart blueberries or 10 ounce package frozen berries.
Top with:
1/2 c. sugar1/3 c. flour1/2 tsp. cinnamon1/4 c. butter
Mix until crumbly.
Bake in preheated 375 oven about 45 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched. Serve warm cut in squares.

Blueberry Breakfast Shake

1/2 cup blueberries , picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons honey
5ice cubes

Place all ingredients in the jar of a blender, and process until smooth. Serve immediately in tall glasses.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Exercise Woes

This summer, I decided that exercise was going to be a priority in my life. I am not going anywhere, have few obligations and no excuses. Besides, if Gladys, my 83 year old workout buddy at Curves can be ready to hit her 1000 workout, I have absolutely NO excuses. So, I dusted off the elliptical and my Curves membership, put on workout wear (no spandex here girls) and hit the fitness trail. My exercise regime has consisted of not only the above mentioned modes for working up a sweat, but biking here (B-towners, did you know you can get an annual pass for $45)and walking the pooch and myself around more than just the block. Sooooo, why when I stepped on the scale yesterday had I gained 4 pounds?!?! The numbers are supposed to go down, not up! I know, you will all tell me I have gained muscle and not fat (blah, blah, blah), but my brain says, "Who cares" if the numbers don't show it! We are a society driven by the numbers, and I don't like what I saw. I figured with my recent bout with food poisoning, I would have purged enough to show some weight loss, but alas, no.

I am not giving up though. Everyone says it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, and I am now officially addicted to endorphins! Besides, Sadie, the best pooch ever, is loving her mommy's new found addiction. Now, if I can just get up the courage to go have my physical done for our adoption, life will be grand. I am just afraid the doc is going to say that I am suffering from Death by Chocolate! But that is another hurdle to jump...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Poison...Not the 80's band

Here it is, the Monday after the 4th, and I am down with what my hubby says is food poisoning. What a way to kick off his one and only week at home before football starts. Oh, the joys of living in B-town and being a "Raw, Raw" Pirate wife. Think the aforementioned poisoning stemmed from hubby's dire need to eat here after church, or he would just die. Normally we can't eat there as said hubby has a severe "blow up like a pufferfish" allergy to shellfish, and we all know what other restaurant chains with the above mentioned fried chicken eatery. Found out they do not fry the chicken in the same grease, so he was appeased, and two hours later, I felt like I was in the bathroom at a bad 80's hairband concert (hugging the porcelain God with one end and a bucket with the other). Why is it in times like this that your pastor decides to call???? I am sure Dave loved hearing me scream at hubby to get me a bucket before I lost it on the floor. Alana, I think bathrooms should be our discussion this week in blogland:)

Needless to say, I am starting to feel better thanks to a lot of the pretty pink stuff and some 7-up. I have to suck it up and feel better by tomorrow as I have to turn into Super Cleaning Woman!!! Why you ask? Our friendly social worker, Annie, is arriving on Wednesday afternoon to finish up our adoption homestudy. Yeah!!!!!!! So, for now, back to the couch, my comfy blanket, and more 7-up...