Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Well, here I am...better late than never...
A couple of weeks ago, one of Paige's cousin's gave her some hand-me-down copies of Disney's Princess Magazine. In one of the issues there was a craft to make Princess Ribbon Bracelets that I thought was cute, so when I saw that the Unplugged theme was ribbon, I thought it'd be a good time to check it out.
Well, last week was a horrible week. Michelle and Roland both had strep throat, and Paige spent a lot of time at Grandma's to keep her from catching it. Also, our landlords kept calling and/or coming over to the house, harassing us to get out. Finally, my graduation was Sunday. So it was a hard week to do anything. Saturday morning I gave the ribbon bracelet idea a try, and Paige had little interest.
Basically it was just braiding some different colored ribbons and then you tie the ends off with a piece of tinsel, curling ribbon or something, and then you can tie the ends together around the wrist to make a bracelet. For some reason I was having trouble getting the ribbons to braid without slipping out from under the piece of tape I was using to hold them down. Once Paige saw that there were scissors in the picture listing the materials needed, all she wanted to do was cut the ribbon with her scissors, so I let her. I got out some contact paper and tried to have her make a "ribbon collage" with scraps of ribbon. That occupied her for a couple of minutes.
Last night we tried the ribbon bracelet again with Michelle, and we made one for her, but the braiding concept was a little advanced for her and it didn't hold her attention much. I then got a straw out and we tied ribbon on it and made a princess wand, ribbon stick kind of thing for her to wave around. She seemed to enjoy that best.
Sorry, no pictures this week - maybe next week will be better.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Yesterday was the day that we were originally supposed to be out of our house and we are not. We sent the landlord a letter that said we wouldn't be out by the 15th, and life has been fairly miserable since. The landlords are husband and wife, and one or the other or both have been calling or showing up at our house, harassing us about getting out of the house. They are telling us that if we aren't out by May 27th, their sale is going to go through. Now we are really thinking, "so what do we care?" and we could push it and stay here, but we aren't sure if it is worth them making our life miserable. It has been very stressful, especially for Michelle, since she is disabled and home during the day when they are calling and/or coming over.
So, we are going to rent a POD, and are moving for what will hopefully be only a couple of weeks into my sister-in-law's house. She owns a three family, and the third floor is currently unoccupied. Roland's mother lives on the second floor, and Paige has a room that she uses when she sleeps over, so the plan is that she will sleep there, and Roland, Michelle, and I will be camping out upstairs.
The problem with the place that we put our bid in on is that it is a short sale. This has been one of my new vocabulary terms since all this began. For an online definition of a short sale click here.
Basically, it means that the property was about to go into foreclosure, but the bank could accept our bid on it instead of going through the foreclosure process. However, it makes the whole process longer, because we need to wait for third party approval by the bank. The bank has had our bid for over three weeks and had not assigned anyone to look at our proposal yet. We were told at one point it could be at least 30 days before anyone even looked at our bid. So we are closing in on the 30 day mark, and hopefully once they look at it they'll accept it and the ball will be rolling again, but it doesn't seem that it could all possibly work in time for us to be out of where we are now in time. So, we will hopefully only be displaced for a short period of time.
This whole process has been very stressful, and although I hate the idea that we are being bullied out of where we are, it isn't worth the stress to stay. A month's worth of rent at my sister-in-law's and the price of the POD for a month roughly equal what we pay in rent to stay here and be harassed for another month. So, it seemed to make sense to throw in the towel and get out.
So now I get to spend the next week and a half or so packing and trying to get all of my stuff into the POD, and trying to figure out what I'll need to camp out for an unknown length of time in a tiny third floor apartment. Maybe we can make s'mores up there or something while we are camping out.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
This week's list is pretty lame. I've only got two links - not much of a "list." Things are getting pretty stressful around here due to harassment from our landlord, Michelle and Roland having strep, and my preparing to graduate on Sunday, so I haven't had as much enjoyable blogging time this week.
Here's an adorable monkey cupcake that I just came across.
Pop-Up Pancakes sound kind of cool!
To make up for my lack of linky goodness, I'd like to first correct a blogging faux paus. When I first started blogging, Jennwa at Ramblings of A Crazy Woman gave me this wonderful blog award.
At the time, I didn't know that I was supposed to pass it on. So you will please forgive me, and I will do that right now, giving you a couple of blogs to check out instead of my usual list.
I would like to pass the award on to two bloggers who encouraged me to begin and keep going with this blog in its very early stages. Mommy Matters and Forever Daisies.
Thank you ladies for encouraging me and supporting me while I doubt myself throughout this new process.
Miss Daisy has also given me an award, and I hope to have a list together of who I would like to pass it to in the next couple of days.
Monday, May 12, 2008
This week's Unplugged Project theme was newspaper. I had a hard time with this theme. The only thing I could think of was paper mache, and I really didn't feel like tackling that project this week with all the rest of the things I had going on.
So I did a little web surfing to try and find toddler/preschool newspaper activities, and had a hard time coming up with a lot. I did stumble upon cutting out pictures of food from the paper and gluing it onto a list to make a grocery list at Angry Chicken. Another example here. I don't even get a newspaper regularly, but I do get a flier circular thing in the mailbox, so Paige and I went through and cut out some of the foods she likes and we glued it onto a list. She seemed to think this project was ok, but it didn't thrill her.
Most amusing was that I showed Roland our project and he said...hey, where are strawberries 2 for $4? and I had to figure out what circular we'd cut up!
Next, I tried to make a sailor kind of newspaper hat with her, but it turns out my circulars aren't the right shape.
So then I decided to give this last project idea a whirl - newspaper puppets. Now these were a huge hit. She loved these. When we were rolling up the paper for the puppet she said, "this is fun!" So, I made one too. Basically, you just roll up a piece of newspaper and tape or glue it closed. Then cut one end of the roll into fringe for hair. The web page has facial features that you can just print out and attach to your puppet, or you could make up your own. Paige opted not to color them, she just wanted to use the tape to stick them on. For some reason she decided to put the eyes at the bottom, with the nose in the middle, and the mouth on top. It was really hard for me not to tell her that it wasn't the right way to do it!
I mentioned this to Michelle and Roland tonight and they said that perhaps I'm looking at it upside-down - maybe Paige thought the fringe part was a beard or a dress. Perhaps Paige was wondering why I wasn't doing mine the right way!
Paige actually seemed to have the most fun dancing with the "puppets," using them more like pom-poms. That's when it seemed so simple - newspaper pom-poms would have been the easiest idea and the most fun. Leave it to the three year-old to figure it out. I should let her plan the projects from now on. :)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Last week I was going to make Mexican Sugar Cookies with my class, and also wanted to make a recipe with Paige. Roland does the grocery shopping and very nicely bought a box of butter for me, which I brought to school. We weren't able to get a chance to make the cookies, so the box was just sitting in our little classroom refrigerator.
On Friday I decided to grab two sticks of butter out of the box and bring them home, in case Paige and I had a chance to make the recipe this weekend. Since I had finally caught up with my work, and because it was Mother's Day weekend, I decided I wasn't going to bring any work home. So I popped two sticks of butter in my purse, all the while telling myself over and over, "don't forget the butter in your purse...don't forget the butter in your purse..." Now mind you, I have ADD, and I knew there was a good chance I'd forget all about it. I had visions of leaving the butter in my purse, ha ha ha...so I was sure I'd remember it.
I just opened my purse...guess what I found? Two sticks of butter. Luckily it wasn't too hot this weekend, so it I didn't end up with a buttery mess. But, I did manage to leave the butter in my purse. And, obviously, Paige and I didn't get to cook this weekend because we needed flour that I forgot at school. Maybe I need a bigger purse.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
You may have noticed that I've been a wee bit quiet this week.
I've been pretty tired - this was my last week to finish up the standardized test portfolios that I have to do for my students. I turned them in on Thursday, and the assistant principal thought they looked so good she rewarded the nurses and me with a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Oh how I love thin mints.
The other crazy thing in my life is of course the whole house thing. We were told that it could take up to 30 days for the bank to make a decision about our offer. Then we were told that the bank could take 60 days. Then we were told that the whole process of buying the house could take 60 days. It is just so overwhelming. We were supposed to be out by May 15th, which is this coming Thursday. We sent the landlord a letter that it just wasn't possible, as we were still waiting on this house thing. He said that they were closing on where we are living now on May 30th. He said that our lovely neighbors said a condition of the sale was that we have to be out, or they won't close. So, I don't know if we'll be ready to move by the 30th, but now I feel like I need to or they'll lose their sale. Roland could care less if their sale falls through, and now we are all tense. I just would like to know where I'm moving and get it done already.
So between those two things in my life I've been a little tired. I have also been suffering a bit from perfectionism writer's block. I'm having a hard time thinking of what to write about in here. I know that I end up making it be too big a deal - I keep thinking about what a great post topic would be, one that everyone will love. Then I forget that I am mainly blogging for me. So, there I go getting stressed out over something that's supposed to be fun again. LOL
So, I guess my question is, how do you come up with ideas of what to blog about? Do you just blog about whatever comes to mind, or do you have a greater plan?
Oh, and to all of you Mom's out there, Happy Mother's Day!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
I'm a bit late for May Day, but I really like this little hanging goodie holder. Might be good for next year, or for some other time.
This looks like a yummy trifle. The hard part for me is I'm the only one in the house who likes pudding, except maybe for Paige. Anyone know of a trifle made without pudding?
More yummy stuff - Triple Hit Brownies.
What a cute daisy cup craft!
I am fascinated by decoupage projects, but I'm usually afraid to try to do one of my own. I've got to try one soon - maybe something like this adorable table and chairs?
I think this is a cute Mother's Day present idea.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
This week's Unplugged Theme was "green." For some reason this topic made me think of a book I'd heard of but hadn't actually checked out before: "Go Away Big Green Monster" by Ed Emberly.
From the back cover:
What has a big bluish-greenish nose, sharp white teeth, and big yellow eyes? It's a Big Green Monster!
But don't be frightened. Turn the pages of this die-cut book and watch him grow. Then, when you're ready to show him who's in charge, just turn the remaining pages and make him disappear.
With Go Away, Big Green Monster!, Caldecott Award-winning author-artist Ed Emberley has created an ingenous way for kids to chase away their nighttime monsters.
I brought it home and told Paige I had a surprise for her (I love this age where any little thing can be a wonderful surprise). I read it to her, and she fell in love with it, asking me to read it to her over and over again. I pointed to the words "GO AWAY" and told her what they said so that she could help me read them. I waggled my finger at the end where the book says, "And don't come back, until I say so" and she copied me and then would ask me to read it again. We then pretended to be monsters, with her calling me "Momma Monster" and me calling her "Little Monster."
A couple of days later she requested I read the monster book again and crinkled her fingers at me like monster claws.
I had a couple of ideas of things that could go along with the book, such as making monster face cookies, but we didn't get to it. It might be something to think about again around Halloween. :) I tried asking her to draw her own monster, and I think she's just a little too young for that because she tried to copy the monster in the book and got frustrated because she couldn't draw what she was seeing. I wanted her to draw her own monster, and she wasn't ready for that concept yet.
I stumbled across a printable for the book. I printed it out and cut out the different monster body parts. Paige immediately told me that we needed tape to tape the pieces on. (She loves tape.) I explained to her that if we taped them on we wouldn't be able to take the parts off when we told the monster to go away. I then read through the book and had her add the body parts onto the face as I read the page, and then had her remove them as I read about them. She enjoyed this and we did it several times. She even requested it another time on her own when she saw the pieces sitting on the table. ("Let's do this!" she'll say.)
I'm toying with laminating the pieces and maybe putting a bit of magnet on the back to make them a little sturdier for her. I also thought it'd be fun if I could make or find more monster parts for her so she could mix and match and make her own monster faces. Who knows if I'll ever actually get that far, but for now, I think we've found a new book to add to our collection.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, my students got some fliers to bring home about a local summer program. One of the classes the kids could sign up for was called, "Crafty Readers." This piqued my interest. I love crafts and to read. What exactly is a crafty reader? Well, it was basically reading books and making doing crafts and activities associated with the book. Even though I am
supposedly an adult, this sounded like fun to me. Of course, this is something I do with my students all the time. I started thinking that it might be a fun little section on my blog - the Crafty Reader group. I'm a little scared of Mr. Linky - or I could make it a little carnival thing. I think I might just start posting some of my ideas and challenge my loyal reader to do a crafty reader project of her own. How's that sound?
This past week we finished our month of reading books by Patricia Polocco. The last book we read was "Thundercake."
From her website:
Thunder Cake The Story
(From Leah Polacco)
"Grandma looked at the horizon, drew a deep breath and said, ‘This is Thunder Cake weather, all right. Looks like a storm is coming.’"
Thunder Cake is the story of how Patricia Polacco conquered her childhood fear of Michigan thunderstorms with the assistance her grandmother. By encouraging the young Patricia to ignore the approaching storm, the two wander outside to gather the ingredients for Thunder Cake, the perfect recipe for a rainy day. After the cake is in the oven, Grandma recounts the day’s events, convincing Patricia that only a "brave" girl would climb out from her hiding spot to collect eggs and tomatoes, milk the cow, and venture through Tangleweed Woods to the dry shed. Realizing that her grandma is right, Patricia welcomes the storm and a warm slice of Thunder Cake, never again to fear the "voice of thunder."
This was a really cute story. I was really excited to find that the book had the recipe in the back. However, the recipe was a little involved for my students - it involved separating eggs and needed cake flour. (I'm on a tight budget.) So, I decided to come up with another version. Since the secret ingredient in the book is tomatoes, I came across a recipe for "Chocolate Tomato Soup Cake" and knew we had to give it a shot.
Everyone at work thought I was a little crazy, but we followed the directions and baked it in my toaster oven. The only pan we could find was a muffin tin, so we made Thundercake Muffins. I also didn't make the frosting the recipe calls for, but instead used some store bought frosting.
The funniest part is that we had a couple of fifth grade girls visiting at lunch and they helped my students frost the cupcakes. When I came back from getting my lunch, they were both enjoying one. When they finished, I said, "Did anyone tell them what the secret ingredient is?" No one had. I told them that there was tomato soup in the cupcakes and they flipped out! The reactions have been hysterical. However, if you are wondering, most everyone agreed that the cake ended up tasting like gingerbread.
Now I know that not everyone will be interested in making this silly recipe, but how about this for a challenge? Here's your mission if you choose to accept it: make a recipe related to a book. Or, make a recipe with strange ingredients and surprise someone with it. If you do, please post about it on your blog or write about it in the comments. I'd love to know what other Crafty Readers come up with!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Here's this week's group of interesting links!
My grandmother really likes granola, and I know she makes her own, so this recipe is being kept here for future use. Is granola a weird Mother's Day gift?
More structured ideas for time home with the kids - along the line of last week's preschool calendar idea.
Great idea for temporary plate painting!
Really cute way to recycle a Crystal Light container!