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Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Overload!

Hello my dear, sweet friends!
My posts are beginning to be fewer and farther between-
this makes me sad-
1) because I love writing.
2) because I love that you are reading it.


We have had SO MUCH CHRISTMAS packed into our Christmas break.
For Real.
Like Christmas EVERYDAY.
Our Christmas morning was great! Lots of oohs and ahhs . And batteries, And loud noises. And wrapping paper. And naughty puppies. And smiles and hugs. And coffee- and more coffee.

The day after Christmas we went to Santaland. After going through some drive through lights, we ended up in a tent with bungee jumping, spider crawling, and rock wall climbing.
All the things you would expect to find in Santaland!
There was also a petting zoo.
I said petting zoo.
There were frisky bunnies. Greedy goats. A grouchy (smelly donkey) and chickens and roosters.

As some of you may know- Betty is lost! So when  I saw those chickens I was so anxious!!!!

This is Colonel Cluck, he is new to our home and is helping us to find her. I hope we find her soon.

For those of you who do not know who Betty is- It's okay- As you get to know me, it all starts to make sense.
(Not really, but it makes me feel better to say that).

Yesterday we went to see MORE lights and ate at Patti's Settlement in Grand River KY.
Ignore the "do" on "Thumbs". He was wearing a hat. When he took it off, there was a slight resemblence to Conan O'Brien.

The food was AH-Mazing! The Mr ordered a 2lb pork chop.
I like to call it a small roast.
Not kidding. The leftovers alone fed two Littles.

Some of you may remember last Christmas when we went to "Cock of the Walk" in Nashville. It was, again, great food.
It was very smiliar to Patti's. Food was different. But check this out:

Made it a little hard to enjoy the great food. I did my best to drown it out.
We are going to have to start scoping out the places we eat during the holidays a little better!

Ugh. That's all I have for that one.

Grandma saw an opportunity to make them be SERIOUS in a photo- which they NEVER ARE.
She gave them guns.
I hardly ever see my Littles without their glasses. So this is a nice one to have.

We trolled all of the little gift shops. Everything was half off and if it was Christmas related- 75% off.
So we went to all of the shops.
I picked up these tiny guys.
Love them.

When we got home, we just started to vege. I was in a great place.
Had my coffee.
My footed jammies. (I totally look like I belong in  a Dr Seuss book when I wear them).
But nonetheless, I was ready to blog.
I wanted to share my Holiday Adventures with you.
So I grabbed my Mac, went to plug it in-
The cord to the adapter was ALL CHEWED UP!
Wonder who did that?!?!?!

Oh, don't say how cute he is in any comments cause this little guy is in BIG TROUBLE!!

Well a Non Educational Post from Squirrels wouldn't be complete without involving a funny search or the word "Poop".
No searches tonight.
So what does that leave us with?

This was in the Littles' stockings.
The side says "Grandpa says: If you rub chicken poop on your lips, you'll never lick 'em!" Which in turn I guess keeps you from getting chapped lips.
The best part is the disclaimer. "Contains no real poop." on the side.

Also, they say that things are "tailored to you" when they show up in your sidebar. Really?

So this has been a random collection of "stuff"!

Tomorrow brings napping cleaning, napping organizing, and celebrating.
(Really, I will be celebrating)
So chances are, I won't see you until next year!

Caution: May include mushiness.

Thank you everyone for your ideas and support and love in this beautiful bloggy world! I really feel like I have become a more thoughtful and reflective educator. I just feel like I am on the best possible team that I could be on with all of you! Blogging brings new meaning to the word collaboration!

Enjoy the rest of your break and best wishes to you and yours in 2013!
Happy New Year!!!
Button Courtest of Jen Ross
Click above to head over to my shop and save Dec 31-Jan 2!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Crafts and Wishes

Are you ready?
Are your boughs decked with holly?
Cookies baked?
Presents wrapped?
House clean?
Ready to travel?

I can place check marks next to only a few of those.
Insert sad face here --------------------->  ( )

School ended for me at 1pm on Thursday and I have been able to work on some of the family stuff . I have to have everything finished no later than 10am on Monday the 24th, in order to host Christmas Eve in my house and then after they leave and we drift off to sleep- we will wake up to what Santa has brought us and also the Mother in Law.
She will be here Christmas Day til about the 30th. Should be lots of fun!

Really- she's one of those fun grandmas!

Speaking of fun:

There was lots of  fun to be had in my room for the last week.
We worked on what we were going to ask Santa to bring us. These are Miss Kindergarten's Dear Santa Craft

 I hope this sweetie gets her pony. I asked her if she had a fence. She doesn't. I told her that when Santa knows she has one, then he might bring one.
(I should probably let her mother know I told her that) But there's always hope for the My Little Pony.

 Chickadee always has her boots on when she comes to the school. She has all the girls in my class wanting them! You're Welcome Parents!
 This guy needs WHEELS! A skate board, "woaler" skates, a sit down skate board, and 4 "weeler" and for the days he can't be mobile, an iPod and a Playstation 2.

 This girlie always scores high in the "Voice" dept of her writing-
She wants a "jilyon" monster high dolls!  I love that we work within the 120 chart and a "jilyon" is a number she chooses.
 And everyone else conformed to the face that Hadar originally created for the craft. We had one go rogue.
Amish Santa?
 I don't know.

 We also worked on our gift to our parents.
We made these last year, as well.
I learned a few lessons after last year. The main one was to have lots of back ups! 

 Yes, this a weightlifting snowman. There is also a pirate.
 I don't know what happened when I turned away, but the pirate apparently got shanked because he is bleeding. There is police officer on the other side where his thumb ended up. So I wasn't too worried, I figured Officer Frosty could keep the peace.

They had fun! I sent an "advance" email that didn't give away the present, but let them know that something very delicate was on it's way home.

The Mr was supposed to work today and I was going to get a ton of stuff done.
In my kajamas.
With a pony tail and a hoodie.

He wants to go "finish up".
There will be a "jilyon" people out there.  I'm not in any mood to go.
Every time I witness Holiday Stupidity I lose a little of my Christmas Spirit- kind of like every time a bell rings...- but the total opposite.
I hope to be back before the Big Day- If I am not, I hope that you and yours share a wonderfully warm and safe time together!

(And Special Holiday Wishes for those who are here via these searches):

Also a Super Sweet Holiday Wish  to the young man who took the liberties to give me and my Littles a discount last night at dinner:

Thank you, Michael O.,  you lifted the spirits of EVERY ONE ELSE I know. May your holiday be bright.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reflections, Revelations, and Refried Beans

Soooooo...How long until you are out for the Winter Break?

I'm not sure...
I have to think about this, I mean really, I hadn't even thought of it...

Yeah, right!

I just can't wait!
We will be running around here like Betty's with our heads cut off!
Christmas Eve is at our house (again).
Then Christmas Day is actually pretty uneventful.
And the day after that, The Mr's parents are going to be in town.

So in addition to working for the next 7 school days, I have to do all the regular
pull-your-hair-out Christmas things.
Last minute shopping.
Present snooping.
Present snooping.
Present snooping.

(if you are ever inclined to give me a gift, which  I am about the most grateful person you will ever know BTW, be sure that you do not have to hide it -
or heck, for that matter, even have to leave it unattended for any length of time.

I'm a snooper.

I can't help it!
I have to look.
I literally cannot help myself.

I have even had conversations with myself.
Like "Self, you know how disappointed you would be with the Littles if they were snooping and ruined a big surprise."
(I pretended that I listened to myself, I didn't)
I waited until I wasn't looking and then I peeked anyway!!!

With all of the crazy holiday stuff going on in the Squirrel household, we have developed some terrible
and I mean TERRIBLE eating habits lately.
I have come home sooooo wiped out!
I have meals planned(sometimes), but we have to pass three or four places to get to the house and it is so much easier to stop and throw away all the dinner trash then it is to go home, cook, listen to the Littles and the Mr complain, and then have to clean it all up!!

But I walked past a full length mirror (those should be outlawed in EVERY STATE) when I took
the oldest male Little to the Dr the other day- and wow.
Gee- Willikers, Beav.
I was shocked and amazed!

That was not the same person that was in there a few months ago-
I don't know where she went, but she was not present in my reflection.
Maybe she left for Winter Break early?

So the Mr and I talked.
And he is a VERY intelligent man, so he disagreed with every flaw that I saw in that EVIL full length mirror.
He swore I must have been seeing things.

Technically, I was.
I was seeing LOTS of things,
Lots of round things.
There were round cheeks (top and bottom)
some roundish hips
and when I stood sideways, there was a little bit of "round-i-ness" there too.
At first I was perplexed because I distinctly remember having the last Little almost 9 years ago-
so I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was.

And then it hit me.
I saw a hint of a #3 with no onions from Mickey Ds. I saw a little of a #4 with no tomatoes from Wendy's- with the $.99 Frosty
(can't argue with the price)
There was also A LOT of Dr Pepper and a ton of other yucky meals and food choices rearing their ugly heads!

So it was decided that we (I) would get back on track.
Making that menu every week.
Shopping responsibily.
Cutting out the empty calories.
Having more fruit on hand.
Portion size.
Portion size.
Portion size.

So we spent a little more than usual (kind of ironic- spending more to eat less)
 and we bought a few things that were already portion. And lots of ziplocs to pre-portion- that way a box of something doesn't disappear in the blink of an eye.
We reinstated the Fruit is the only snack after 7 rule.
I like that rule- I love some sliced fruit.....

We are brave little squirrels, knowing that candies and cookies are going to find their way to our door step over the next month or so. And it is going to be rough getting back into my kitchen fulltime
(I really don't enjoy it that much)
As in I LOATHE it.
Like if I were a housewife in the 50's , they would have burned my apron, taken away my batter bowl and mixing spoon, and blacklisted me from any potluck socials-
I'm not a "bad" cook- I just don't do it with a smile:)

I did make a yummy EASY dinner this evening-
I credit it to the 5 Ingredients or Less Cookbook that the Mr bought me a few years ago- I was a little insulted.
(Not as insulted as the year he gave me Trivia for Dummies for Christmas, but perturbed nonetheless.)

It was super easy.
You only need
1 bag of tortilla chips
1.5 lbs of ground beef
1 can cream of chic
1 16 oz jar of salsa
shredded cheese

Spread some cooking oil on the bottom of the pan. Put 3/4 of the bag of chips in. Pour the cooked ground beef mixed with cream of chic soup on top.
 Add the jar of salsa, then cheese. bake for 25 mins add the rest of chips, bake for 5 more or til chips are golden.
 I also made these easy peasy burritos

1lb ground beef
1 can refried beans
shredded cheese.
I think the pics explain....

 (There are only 5 of us, but the Mr always makes the next day's lunch from the leftovers)

 A box of spanish rice.
And Voila!
It's a meal that even Truman would beg for:)

 So let's recap.
I had a revelation about our horrible eating habits and I cooked one meal!
Yippee for me!

(Really, it's the little things that make me happy)

I have two more Easy Peasy meals on my menu this week- if things don't get too crazy, I'll tell ya about those too!

In the mean time,
stay away from any Full Length Mirrors-

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dear Diary, This Saturday I.....

 Hello and LIVE (from not New York) IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!!!!

Don't get too excited, cause if you are reading this shortly after I am posting it,
your Saturday night is as exciting as mine.

(I will pause briefly as you shed a tear with me.
Later we can light a candle and reflect on what "Saturday" used to mean).

We took the Littles out to eat
(Because I busted a nail while I was cleaning today. So I had to venture out to the mall to get them fixed. Which took time away from the nap that I had planned LAST weekend. I was in no mood to make ANOTHER mess that I was going to have to clean up!!)
Plus my nails just looked too good to be messin' with dishes!!!

We had to pick up a few things at Wally World after we ate.
Chickadee commented under her breath that  the
"Guy behind us doesn't have anything in his cart but beer and cups".

I turned to look at the (pretty cute  young) dude behind us and
sure enough-
Just cups and beer.

I told her, "That's what our cart used to look like."

I turned back and looked down at my cart.
Contents of cart:
Boys Boxer briefs
a new iPhone Charger (Barkley 1    Charger 0)
laminating pouches
and sheet protectors

Let me pour one out for my homies.
One for me, one for Saturday's lost....


I had to get my sheet protectors though-
because it's time to get my January binder out of the house office and into the classroom.

I started these this summer and moved what I had in file folders into binders.
I made myself a solemn vow
 (and it was not the one where I promise to never drink again if the "bed spins" would just go away)
This time it was different.
I swore that I would not keep ANY extra copies of ANYTHING.
"There can only be one master."
(Isn't that a movie quote?)

There is just no reason to save all those extra multiples.

So inside of each labeled binder, I have some masters in sheet protectors, seasonal centers, parts of displays...Here I'll show you a few.
The ones that haven't gone to school yet.

A header for Winter Poems that I won't have to remake.

Gingerbread men that are already cut out (leftovers).

One of THE MOST IMPORTANT additions to my monthly binders has been these reading fluency passages.
I started them this year when school started.
Love them!!

You may remember when I told you about them this Fall. NO?
Well you are in luck- CLICK HERE to check that out.

I found them on Jodi's blog.

Fun in First

Those were the passages from the Fall Pack.
I have already used a week's worth from the Winter Pack and I am putting them in their proper binder.

It is 12 weeks of daily passages!!!
Each week is themed. This week we will be doing the December Holidays week. I will put two passages on the back of this weeks newsletter. Part of their homework is to read this at home. We are working on Retell for benchmarks so I am also having them record two sentences to tell about what they just read. One passage a night, both Mon and Tues night.

They love them! It is the first thing they do when they put their newsletter in their binders is to turn it over and see what the passages are!! (Yes, they are first graders and they have sheet protectors and binders.......I am rubbing off on them.)

For the classroom, I have each passage and it's corrosponding skill page together in protectors so that we can go over the skills after reading it together on the "big screen".

 Did you see the red numbers and letters at the top of the first picture? Those my friends, are the CORRELATING COMMON CORE STANDARDS!!!!
Yet another reason why I love them so much.
Sometimes it's a skill we already know and can practice- and sometimes it's something new
(and then I trick them and tell them- "uh oh! Don't tell anyone I taught you that already- they might want to put you in a second grade class tomorrow because you are already so smart!!!!"
They love it!
They all pretend to close their mouths, lock them tight, and throw out the key-
and then of course locks get picked and they open again,
but they never tell on me:)

Jodi has these in her Tpt store.
You can pick just one theme for a week's full.
You can purchase them by month- 4 themes put together-
You can take the plunge and go for the Winter Pack!
Trust me, you want to take that plunge.
Click this pic to head over and check it out:)


As much as I am in the mood to get things together for January-
I have got to finish up DECEMBER!
I've got the Littles cutting out some reindeer tonight.

I have had so many out with either the tummy flu or the head/chest flu that I have
children's work scattered everywhere!
I have piles of stuff that need to be cut.
I have piles of stuff that need to be completed.
I have lists of sweeties who have missed testing and have to be tested.
I have some who were there this whole time and they have stuff in the piles that I mentioned before!!!!

I have not had a full class in three weeks.
I am missing at least 3 but up to 5 each day- it is nuts!!!

Of course I want them to be better so that they are in there learning- but I also want them in there so that they can complete their projects that are missing from the hall display!


It drives me crazy every time I step outside of my door!
So i figured this weekend that I would get my Littles to do the cutting and I will give my sweeties
Monday to get theirs done- and it they aren't,
I will hire the children of teachers in the building to finish them up:)
They can be so easily bribed! It is amazing the amount of work you have done for you with just pieces of chocolate!!!

Aren't those reindeer adorable??
They are from Stephanie at Falling into First.

Falling into First

She made the sweetest writing activity!
Click Pic to check out full description.

I even turned her Santa's Reindeer Application into my main display!!
{Notice anything fishy with the age???}

{I need to make Miss Squirrels a Santa Hat!}
They had some great reasons why Santa should choose them:

I love that she let him know about her availability!!! Good thing he'll need her on Monday the 24th this year!

We had tons of fun working on several activities from the pack.

Well my cheap free labor for the night has had some major dispute that is going to undoubtedly awaken The Mr. who has to be to work at 3 am tomorrow-
If that cage gets rattled he wakes up, things can get super ugly and I still have stuff for them to do want to spend a little quality time with them!
I hope you are enjoying your Saturday night as much as I am !!
See ya soon!!!
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