Tuesday, December 22, 2009

See You Next Year!

Like many of you, I'll be taking a blog break to spend the next few weeks with my family. I hope you all enjoy special times with your family and friends. See you in 2010!
What does my blog have in store next year? I have three vlogs in the works, my quest for an agent, more tunes for Tuesday, concert reviews (I haven't been to one in almost two months! I'm slipping...), poetry, a meme tag from MG Higgins, writing stuff, excerpts from my grade school diary, and general nonsense! Hope to see you then!
A quick thank you to author Mary Rand Hess! I won her book, The Day I Met the Nuts, on her blog last week! The Day I Met the Nuts is a story about food allergies and is published by Earth Day Publishing. Thanks so much, Mary!!
I'm still listening to my Christmas mix on the iPod with my fave Elvis, Jewel, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance and No Doubt holiday tunes.
But here's my all time favorite.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Poetry Friday, Holiday Fun

Holiday festivities have begun! A Christmas party last weekend, my preschooler's Christmas program this morning, my daughter's class Christmas party this afternoon, a family get together tomorrow night and the list goes on.
Here's some easy and festive food fun for the kiddos.

1/2 cup dry oatmeal
1 TB red and green sugar crystals or glitter
Mix up!
Write on the bag...
Sprinkle this reindeer food out tonight.
The moonlight will make it sparkle bright.
As the reindeer fly and roam,
this will guide them to your home.

Fun holiday food for kids:
Here's a nutritious and fun snack that I make throughout the year for my kids. For the holidays, I use green and red jello. I brought this to my daughter's class party today.

Cantaloupe Jello Slices

1. Cut cantaloupe in half and spoon out seeds. I put the cantaloupe halves in a bowl to keep them steady.

2. Boil one cup of water, mix boiling water with one 3 oz package of Jello gelatin.

3. Let cool five minutes then fill holes of cantaloupe with jello water.

4. Put in refrigerator for four hours or more to firm.

And here's a link to the most famous Christmas poem of all!

Love this quote:
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. - Burton Hillis

Have a blessed holiday!
Susan Taylor Brown has the Poetry Roundup today!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Teacher Gifts

It's that time of year again. Time for gifts for everyone, including your child's teacher. Most teachers seriously do not expect a holiday gift from their students, but it is a nice gesture. Your child's teacher spends the majority of the week with your child. What are some good ways to thank them for this?
One: Thank them! Yes, especially if money is tight this year, write a sincere thank you note to your child's teacher. Mention specific things on how he/she helped your child or lessons you or your child enjoyed. Your child can also make his/her own thank you or holiday card as well.

Two: Gift Card. Let them splurge a little or be practical. I know from experience that most teachers use their own money for some supplies in the classroom. They can spend the gift card on themselves or use it towards the classroom. Better yet, have a parent collect $5-10 from each student to buy one gift card or certificate from the class. If a class of 20 each gives $5, that's a nice $100 gift certificate for the teacher and a small price to pay for the students' families as well.

Three: You and your child can create something for your teacher. Every year when my children and I hang ornaments on our tree, I put up homemade ones from former students and tell my children about that student who made me the ornament. A parent also once made me a beautiful ceramic Christmas tree that adorns my house each year.

Four: Supplies for the classroom. Ask ahead of time if the teacher needs anything specific from extra pencils or paper to manipulatives or books (most likely he/she will have needs these days).

I'm a former teacher who now buys gifts for my children's teachers. In the past, I have given a Target gift card with sometimes a book to the teachers. This year money is tighter, so I bought Frango chocolate mints on sale and a book for the teacher to use in the classroom. For my preschooler's teacher, I bought a book on games from all around the world (they study a different country each week). For my second grader's teacher, I bought Insectlopedia by Douglas Florian. I looked on the website to see the second grade curriculum and insects and poetry were both on the list so I knew this would be a good fit. For my fifth grader's teacher, I bought Operation Yes! by Sara Lewis Holmes. I just read this book and it's a great, inspirational story that fifth grade boys and girls will enjoy.

What gifts did I enjoy when I was a teacher? Ones that stick out in my mind are the homemade ornaments mentioned above. One student gave me a Christopher Radko angel ornament that was lovely, but what stands out in the gift was the sentiment along with it. The parent told me I was an angel to her daughter which I really warmed my heart. I only received a gift card once or twice and that seriously was like a little bonus, too. Not everyone enjoys extra food at the holidays, but I've never said no to a box of chocolates either!

So if you do decide to give a gift for your child's teacher, give it some thought, write a sincere sentiment to go along with it, and your child's teacher will appreciate it! Do you have any other good ideas for teacher gifts?

Here's a holiday tune from the Smashing Pumpkins. I just heard that lead singer Billy Corgan was dating Jessica Simpson! That is a unique match. I hope some good new Smashing Pumpkins tunes comes out of it at least!
Enjoy "Christmastime." I love this song!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wish List

I do like the holidays. It's crazy busy, but it is fun to buy for others. It's even enjoyable to get a few merry gifts, too. I'm having trouble this year though making my "wish list." My family is very practical and has the adults and the children make a wish list each Christmas. You get what you want, and no one has to return anything, and well, it's just easier.
Since my sister and I were in junior high, my mom has taken us shopping the day after Thanksgiving to buy us our Christmas presents. She said she was sick of returning gifts we didn't love back to the store (who has time for that?), and it's a fun day of girlie shopping. When I met my husband, he couldn't believe that's the way we received our gifts, but we really, really like it that way. We even still do this! Yes, my mother takes her two adult daughters out to the mall. My sister and I all try on clothes in the same fitting room (which isn't as much fun for me to see my sis and my bare midriffs side by side as my sister is extremely tall and thin, but hey, we're family), and my mom even squeezes in for commentary. You want honesty if that shirt looks tight or the jeans look awesome!
This year I'm getting two pairs of jeans, two cute tops and a belt from my mom! I know it sounds a little weird, but we love the day together and sometimes we even forget an item or two when it comes to Christmas Day. Don't worry, we buy Mom lunch that day!
Besides this shopping trip, we also make lists for the inlaws and my dad's side of the family, and this year I'm having trouble making mine. This year our household has been majorly budgeting due to the recession, and I really haven't splurged all year on myself. I received a TJ Maxx gift card for Christmas last year and used a little at a time to stretch it out til October! You'd think I'd have a full list, but I guess I'm realizing I don't need much.
So, I have a few CD's on my list, a few books, a Wii fitness game, and that's about it. I cannot think of anything else! I do love concerts so was thinking of putting a Ticketmaster gift certificate on there....but is that lame? I can't afford the price of good seats for my fave concerts right now, so that would make me happy. I know, I know I should wish for world peace and a publishing contract, but seriously we are living in a material world (and if I could really wish for those and they would happen, I would!).

Any suggestions for my wish list? What's on yours?

Really, all I want for Christmas is front row to a My Chemical Romance concert. (They aren't on tour right now, but I hope they will be in 2010!)
Here's their version of "All I Want for Christmas Is You."

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I love to laugh, and I'll share some things that made me giggle this week.
1. Rihanna and Shy Ronnie
Did anyone watch SNL last night? I watched the first fifteen minutes or so and this SNL Digital Short made me laugh. Andy Samberg is always so funny, and Rihanna has an incredible voice. This is goofy, but the song is actually pretty catchy, too. I can't get this song out of my head. Now I'll be singing "Speak up!" for days. (the clip is PG-13)

Adrienne posted about this My Life is Average website and I've checked it several times since. It cracks me up. A sample MLIA post:
"Today I got a papercut opening a Bandaid box. MLIA."

3. I've mentioned that the tv show, The Soup, makes me laugh every time I watch it. Another favorite is How I Met Your Mother. My third favorite comedy show this year is the new one, Modern Family. Anyone else watch it? The dad is deadpan funny!

4. My pups
I dressed up my dogs for a holiday picture. Don't they look cute? My son said it was animal cruelty to do this to them, but it made me laugh anyway. But I only made them wear these silly outfits for ten minutes. Daisy, my puppy, really did act like she was humiliated, so I felt slightly bad. Goofy, my old dog, didn't mind, but probably because she's blind and didn't realize how ridiculous she and Daisy looked!

5. Tabitha at Writer Musings is having an amazing book giveaway. Go to her blog and comment and/or follow and you can win one of three piles of awesome books!! That will make you smile!

What made you laugh lately?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday, December 1

Can you believe it is December already? Where does the time go? This week I'll be putting up my Christmas decorations. Luckily my kids are wonderful about helping me put the tree and ornaments up while listening to Elvis, Jewel, and Chicago Christmas carols. I still need to buy that Weezer Christmas CD....I also know seven people that have a birthday today (four friends, my cousin, my goddaughter and my grandma!). Happy Birthday!
Today is also World Aids Day. I'm wearing red today to commemorate it. I also became a fan of (RED) on Facebook, you can also go RED on Twitter too! Click here to see other RED products that support AIDS programs in Africa. Also, find more info at my last year's World Aids Day post!
Today's Tune for Tuesday is by the band, Creed. I think you either love or hate Creed. I so loved that band in its heyday. I spent way too much money on a concert ticket to see them once, because it was sold out. It was a great concert, but I cringe thinking how much I spent to go. I have also seen the lead singer, Scott Stapp, solo in concert (for much less money and much better seats). I went to a concert to see INXS (with the new lead singer, JD from the Rockstar:INXS show), and Scott Stapp happened to be opening for them! Speaking of him, I have read that he's a bit of a d-bag, and that may have contributed to Creed's break up. The other members formed a band called Alter Bridge with another lead singer for a while. But now Creed is back together, and hopefully Scott is more amiable. But the guy does have a great voice!
Some of my favorite Creed songs are "My Own Prison," "With Arms Wide Open," and "My Sacrifice." When my oldest son was 2 1/2 and in a Mom and Me class with me, the children would take turns picking songs for the class to sing. Usually it was "Wheels on the Bus" or "Itsy Bitsy Spider." J-Man stood up and sang the chorus to "My Sacrifice!"
Today's tunes for Tuesday are by Creed. One current song and one from 1998.
"One" is an inspirational song (and my favorite Creed song) that fits World Aids Day.

"Rain" is their newest release from their album Full Circle. (and it's the title of the song, not the hunky singer/actor that Ello keeps posting about ;)