30 April 2008
Monday was a sit a listen and watch her demonstrate session. In the two hour period, I learned some really great tips-an easier way to level a cake. a way to bake a cake without a dome on it (then you don't need to level it!), and how to ice a cake and make it look like fondant. We also rolled our own parchment decorating bags-a really inexpensive way to decorate!
For next week's class, I need to come in with a torted (layered), frosted cake, and my supplies ready to learn the first decorative steps. I will be bringing home a fully decorated cake. I will be sure to post pictures of my results afterward. I am really excited to be doing this class!!!
29 April 2008
28 April 2008
Michael decided to cook yesterday, by himself! He climbed the dryer to get to the shelf where my bowls are kept. He got an egg from the fridge, and some water...
I wasn't home, but Daddy was...Andy didn't find out until he was already at this point...
My proud chef!
27 April 2008
26 April 2008
Update at 4 PM:
OK, I was excited to try NetLibrary, but I have yet to find a book I want to read on it! When I hear about new technology, I want to try it. I think this will eventually bea viable option, but not yet!
25 April 2008
24 April 2008
I know what you are thinking, "What's the big deal?" Let me share with you a story about me and the library. Growing up, I was always overdue with returning my books. Not by a day or two, but by weeks, sometimes months. My sister was guilty of it to. I can't explain it, it just happened. As I grew older, the pattern continued. So, within the past few years, I turned to just buying the books. I love to own them, and I do have visions of having walls of bookcases one day. For now, though, I will try borrowing.
So, this morning, I went onto the library's website. There were a couple of reads I was interested in, and I wanted to see if I needed to put them on hold, and to see if the library even had them. My library is literally two blocks from my house, but it has literally needed an update since I was in high school. They are putting up a new one but it won't be ready until 2009. Because of this, it is important to check ahead. I also knew that my friend, Lisa, does this pretty often, so I am trying to follow her example.
I had two problems. First, I had obviously used the system years ago (probably to check a fine)because I can't get in. I am waiting for the library to reset my pin. Secondly, the one book that I REALLY wanted was due back from the previous person on January 25. OK, people, it is almost May! I know, I am being done in by a person exactly like me! I am really going to try to do this library thing, but so far, it's not looking good. Wish me luck!
23 April 2008
I woke up this morning with the realization that Drew had not done his homework, and Peter had not finished studying for a test. Yesterday, Peter got home an hour late because my sister had let he and Tim play on the playground up at school. He came in just in time for me to leave and take him to the doctor-ear infection. He was able to do most of his homework while we waited, but he wasn't through reviewing his science. When we got home, I had enough time to get dinner on the table and go teach. Science was forgotten.
So, this morning, I was looking for letter x pictures for Drew. Can anyone think of anything besides x-ray and xylophone? (By the way, Drew informed me that xylophone couldn't start with x because it made a z sound!). So, I helped Drew and Peter finish their work, get ready, eat breakfast, and off to school by 7:40.
When I got back, I started going through my email. Someone had sent me an invite for reunion.com. I went to check it out, and before I knew it, the site had sent out invites to my entire contact list-didn't even ask me if I wanted to-it just did. I didn't realize this until Andy had received an invite via his pager. For those of you who got the email, I am so sorry! That was followed up by his saying, "How embarrassing!" Then I said 'Well, at least the ones that got sent to people at Educate (where I work) would be filtered out by the spam filter." He informed me that it had gotten by his spam filter, actually two of them! Crap! I just spammed my boss!
Then, I was trying to talk to Andy about a friend that I am getting the cold shoulder from. Truly, I have no idea what I did, if anything, but I have tried to contact her to no avail. Let's just say that this situation is laying heavily on my mind.
Andy left for work, and five minutes later, I got a phone call from school. Drew threw up-AT MASS. Honestly, he was fine this morning. Now, he is home, and begging for goldfish and juice. It probably was just his allergies, but I am absolutely mortified. This is the second time he has done this in about 2 months at the all-school Mass.
So, now I am home, and waiting to see if this was just a blip with Drew. I had hoped to go out and get another planter so that I can plant my sugar snap peas. Guess it will have to wit for another day! Thanks for listening!
22 April 2008
By this fall 9 of our nieces and nephews will either be in college or have graduated from college. My nephew, Joe is getting married next year. He was the first nephew I babysat for. I changed his diapers (sorry, Joe!), and in the next few years, he may be doing that for his own child. My mom used to say that she still felt like she was 18 when she was in her 40's and 50's, and that she would look in the mirror and say, "Who is that woman?" I didn't get it then, but I do get it now. As a result, I am trying to take the time to stop and enjoy where I am NOW, not where I was or where I will be. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
21 April 2008
I decided to make some angel food cake because I bought strawberries at the store today (of course, I forgot the whipped cream!). I thought I would make shortcake for dessert tonight-it is Andy's favorite. I decided to put the batter in cupcakes so that they would last longer-I usually end up throwing out a whole cake.
So, I mix the batter, and put them in the oven knowing that I would need to keep an eye on them. I set the timer for half of the time just in case I forgot. Guess what, I forgot (I was emailing Sydney). They didn't burn, but my house is now full of smoke, and the smoke detector is going off (at least I know it works!). I think I will make a regular cake next time.
20 April 2008
It is also why I am happy to be in the Midwest. Sure, we had the second highest snowfall on record (around 100 inches), but I can now put that behind me. It is over for a few months, and we can enjoy the sunshine-which is what I am about to do!
19 April 2008
I am a practicing Roman Catholic, and proud of it! My parents gave my siblings and I that gift, and I cannot thank them enough for it. I am often saddened when I hear of people who have fallen away from the Church, and I pray for them to come back one day.
I am watching Pope Benedict XVI as he blesses children with disabilities. The mothers look so hopeful as they receive his blessing. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to have three healthy sons. It also gives me hope to watch this visit. Hope for my family, hope for the Church. During these days of his visit, I continue to pray for him as the leader of the Church, and for those who will see him. I pray for peace for the Church and for the world.
My friends and I got together for our first crochet night. This was a huge success and I am really enjoying having a new craft. I have two projects I am working on right now. I have started a potholder and a blanket. I like to switch between the two for some variation. The potholder gives me some quick results-I can see it taking shape, while the blanket takes longer to see some results. I was on-call last night at work, and I spent some time working on each of these projects.
My other hobby these days is reading. I have always loved to read and typically have 4-5 books that I am working on at any one time. I also joined the group on Goodreads to try and read 50 books this year. Before I had kids, this would have been no problem. Now, the time constraints I have with kids and work make it difficult to get in as much time as I would like.
So, the question remains-What do I do? I love having hobbies, and I love taking the time to do these things. Andy likes to tease me that I have about 50 projects started that I haven't finished. I don't want this to be the case. I want to get my things done. oh, why can't there be more hours in a day?
18 April 2008
Personally, in my opinion, this is one of the hardest ages between 18 months and 3 because they are trying to spread their little wings, and they don't quite have enough language or enough common sense. Michael is very independent, and stubborn. I think he is much more stubborn than my older two boys. He knows what he wants, and he wants it at that second. If he doesn't get it, it is tantrum time or he pulls his chair over to what he wants and climbs to it! And it is making this Mama tired. I love you, Michael, and can't wait for you to get a little older so we can get past this stage.
17 April 2008
16 April 2008
15 April 2008
The question remains, what should I make? I bought some beautiful, soft yarn in a heathery purple today. I could make myself something with that. I also got some baby blue yarn tonight. With boys, I thought I could use it for something, perhaps an afghan, or I could save it for making baby blankets for friends. The possibilities are endless. Right now, though, I am off to bed. It is late, the boys are up early. So I go to sleep with the words echoing, "yarn over pull through...yarn over pull through...yarn over pull through...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
14 April 2008
13 April 2008
When I was younger and had more free time, I had many crafty things I liked to do. I learned how to cross-stitch when I was eight, and quickly moved onto the counted variety. When I first became an aunt, I had visions of doing a piece for each new niece or nephew. The babies started coming way too fast (there are 25 grandchildren on my side of the family), so that idea quickly went out the window.
I also started scrap booking when Peter was born. I got about two pages done. We also moved a few years later, and I can't find any of my scrapping stuff. Andy's Aunt Peg has her own Creative Memories business, and she recently hooked me up with a computer program where I can organize my pictures (which are all digital anyway) into memory books and have them printed. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!
Now, though, I am going to give crocheting a try. I bought a couple of hooks, and have been practicing my chain stitch this weekend. I found some great how-to videos on youtube, and Michelle is going to give me a lesson on Tuesday night. My sister, Mary, loves to crochet as well, so I know she can help me too. I have been told that crocheting is very relaxing, so it sounds like just what I need!
12 April 2008
After dinner, we played a game called Fictionary which is like the game Balderdash. When it is your turn, you pick a word from the dictionary and write the definition. Everyone else writes a definition for the word, and then everyone votes on what they think the actual definition is. We had a lot of fun! I learned a new word tonight as well! Callipygian. The meaning: having a shapely bottom. Who knew there was such a word to describe me!!!
11 April 2008
Yesterday was my niece, Monica's birthday. She turned 21! She is the fourth oldest of my nieces and nephews, and in her junior year of college.
10 April 2008
This topic actually dovetails my post the other day about my nieces' school, WIVA. The students in that program are succeeding, and, if some people had their way, it would close. Students score dead last in MPS, and they say nothing. Where is the justice in that?
I think it is time to rethink how we are doing things. I don't have all of the answers, but these students cannot continue to be passed from grade to grade if they are not meeting the minimum expectations.
As a former classroom teacher, I didn't really fit the mold. I was against teacher's unions-I still am. Teachers, in general, want things both ways. They want to be treated as professionals, and they want the protection of a union. My in-laws are both factory workers, and I do think that in those situations, they need a union to make sure that they are getting fair wages and treatment. Teachers want to be assured of wage increases, and I understand that, however, how about having some accountability? If you are a good teacher, you would have no problem with merit based increases. I would have been all for that because I was secure in what I was doing as a teacher.
In some way as well, parents need to be responsible for making sure that their students go to school. They need to attend conferences about their child. I am not usually on for the "It takes a village" philosophy, but we need to be working together for these students to succeed. Pumping more money into the system isn't the answer. If something isn't done, we will have a generation of students who can't read and write, and who are dependent on the system.
09 April 2008
08 April 2008
I really enjoyed the show last night. It was fun. It had really good music. For example, they took the song Toxic by Britney Spears and re-wrote the words to turn it into something about the cafeteria food. The one thing that struck me was how much all girls schools are essentially the same.
In the 20 years (gulp) since I graduated from high school, I would have thought that these institutions created to instill strength in young women would have changed. They haven't. They still poke fun at the nuns who work there. There is the male teacher that everyone loves. Even the chants are the same. After the show, the girls started with the "Seniors, seniors" chant that we did. We also would chant "eighty-eight, eighty-eight, eighty,eighty, eighty, eighty, eighty-eight". Guess what-they did the same chant, except it is now "zero-eight". I was talking to Clare afterwards about this, and her response was, "Wow, '88! That was a long time ago." It makes me feel old, but I am glad that although my school has closed, there are other all girls schools still in the area where you can find "Knowledge and Virtue: United"! (Our school motto.)
07 April 2008
The picture on the left is actually of our tulips from last year. Andy loves to garden, and when we moved into our house, we purchased bulbs online from Holland. We literally have hundreds come up each year, and the number grows because tulips multiply! I really have to thank Andy for all of the outdoor work he does. It really is beautiful! I'll have to post pictures of our lillies this summer.
06 April 2008
05 April 2008
His teacher's response? She had been testing him that morning (third quarter report cards come out next week). She told Drew to start at 1 and count as high as he could. She said she had to stop him at 122! As a guide, I should say that when Peter was in K4 (at another school), students were expected to count to 30 by the end of the year. She also said that he could name any random number she pointed to. I know he's only 4, and I know we have a long way to go, but I am really proud of him!
04 April 2008
03 April 2008
First of all, there are two scores given. One is for content, and one is for conventions (otherwise known as grammar and mechanics). I love that we have a score all its own for the gramar and mechanics. This is one of the pieces, in my opinion, that I think is lacking from the SAT scoring. In both of these tests, we do what is called holistic scoring. This means we have guidlines for the overall picture of the essay. For the SATs, I have always felt that there was not enough emphasis put on how to write an essay. Because of technology today, teens are missing an important part of the writing process. The computer now corrects both grammar and spelling, so there is little need to know how to do it yourself. It is my opinion that students' writing is suffering because of it.
The second difference is that these students are writing stories. Initially, I was amused with the thought of reading 4th grade stories. Then, I realized that the stories fall into two groups. The boys are writing about dragons or aliens, and the girls are writing about fairies and jewelry. Even in training, this is getting a bit mundane. Wish me luck, it is going to be a LONG month!
02 April 2008
What I really want to write about, though, are the women I was with. Lisa, Michelle and Sydney mean a lot to me, and I want to make sure they know this. I have said before that these three brought me through one of the hardest times in my life, but what amazes me is how we can talk for hours. They are so wonderful, not just in the bad times, but ALL the time. Ladies, I value your friendship, and am so blessed to have you in my life!
01 April 2008
I have never been a big fan of April Fool's maybe because I have never thought I was creative enough to come up with a gag on my own. I do remember when I was in about second grade, the twins in my grade switched classes. That actually was pretty funny because the whole class was in on it. The teachers never caught on, and the boys finally owned up to it because they were bursting with excitement.
I was reminded of this story this morning as I was trying to explain April Fool's to my oldest son, Peter. He and Drew are at a funny age in that they try to make up their own jokes, and they think they are hilarious, but they don't seem to make sense to anyone else. This afternoon, Peter tried to fool his cousin, Tim with the "made you look" trick. As you can guess, it didn't work. I guess I should be glad he hasn't quite figured it out yet. Seeing as I am the only female in my household, I have a sneaking suspicion that in a few years I am in for real trouble!