Word of the Day

Drag the tiles to make one word. When they link together, they are correct. Word Of The Day Puzzle provided by Quote Puzzler.

To find the meaning of the obscure word you just created, go to www.dictionary.com.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sheep in a Jeep

I don't know why, but Daniel finds "Sheep in a Jeep" by Nancy Shaw to be absolutely, roll on the floor laughing, hysterical. I mean, he just went into full belly laughs tonight while we were reading it, to the point where he was having trouble catching his breath! I'm not sure what exactly sets him off. Is it the simple rhyming text? "Sheep in a jeep on a hill that's steep." "Uh-oh, jeep won't go." They all get out to push: "Sheep shove. Sheep grunt. Sheep don't think to look up front." (This is the part where the belly laughs start.) Or is it the pictures of 5 sheep falling down in the mud while trying to chase the jeep which has now gone downhill? Whatever it is, it works. Luckily, there are more books in the series that we will be exploring:

"Sheep Take a Hike"
"Sheep Out to Eat"
"Sheep on a Ship"
"Sheep Trick or Treat"

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I just Stumbled Upon this picture. Doug says "Never, ever, ever paint anything with Daniel in the room!" Could you imagine walking in to this?


Have you ever played the game "Dots" as a kid? You make a grid of dots, and take turns connecting lines. The object is to complete a box, put your initials in it, and go on to make a string of boxes after that. My high school science lab partner and I used to make gigantic grids while we were supposed to be doing experiments. There is a trick to winning...there's a way to end up forcing your opponent to give you more boxes every time. Once you learn that, it's hard to be beat!

I was tickled to find this site today, where you can play the game against the computer. Dots I just played, and remembering my little trick, beat the computer 41 to 8!

Monday, February 26, 2007

What Should I Read Next?

I love to read fantasy novels, and sometimes science fiction. However, quite often I find I've exhausted an author's works, and am not sure what to try next. This site is perfect for just such a dilemma.

What Should I Read Next?

Their description says:
Enter a book you like and the site will analyse our database of real readers' favourite books (over 20,000 and growing) to suggest what you could read next. (You can register on the results page and build your own favourites list)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Stumble Upon

I've been having the best time with my new "Stumble Upon" tool ever since somebody mentioned it over on the Babble chat! It's a little tool bar that goes with either Firefox or Explorer. You check off categories that match your interests, and when you click the "Stumble!" button, it will randomly take you to a website that you might like. As they say on their site, it basically lets you channel surf the web. Try it, I bet you won't regret it. It is addictive though, I must warn you!

Routines Schedule

Two of the comments on my "tricks" post reminded me of something I use at school that could easily be adapted for home. I started out teaching 4th grade for one year. That year, I had a white board that listed the times and events of the day, so the children would know what was happening. When I moved down to kindergarten, I brought that same idea with me. I used the computer and made a sign for each activity we did with a picture. I stuck them on construction paper, laminated each one, and put a magnet on the back. On one of our big chalk boards, I have morning activities listed and afternoon activities listed. I still remember during that first year, before I finished making the schedule, the children would always be asking me "What's next" or "When do we..." After the schedule went up, everyone's life got a lot easier! They could tell just by looking what was going to happen, which took out the mysteries and surprises of the day. I have a few question marks laminated for when activities come up that don't fit one of the pre-made signs. When the kids spot the question mark, they immediately ask what's happening at that time!

I can see how this could easily be adapted for home use, with signs for breakfast, play time, tv time, outside time, shopping trips, etc. I know you can get paint that turns a surface magnetic, or lacking that you could use velcro dots and a flannel board, or use a pocket chart, etc.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Making Cake

Daniel was helping Mommy stir the cake earlier this week! No special occasion, I just had a huge craving for cake and ice cream.

Kicks From the Outside Now!

This morning I got some pretty vigorous kicks. I put my hand on my belly, and actually felt them from the outside!

Friday, February 23, 2007

3 Teacher/Parent "Tricks"

There are 3 "tricks" that I use as both a parent and a teacher that I find to be very effective. (Settle down for a while, this is a long one!)

My children at school know exactly what is expected when. They know that when they first come in, they need to: hang their things up, select their lunch choice, check their job for the day, and start their morning work. The morning work itself is a routine, they know they have to get a paper from a basket, show me when it's done, put their stamp on the paper, and start either their journal or their upper/lower case letter coloring book. They know that when those tasks are all finished, they may then either work on a computer, color, read, or do a puzzle. And that's just for the first 30-45 minutes of the day. Everything we do is consistent and has it's own routine. Woe be to the substitute teacher who doesn't do things my way! The children are sure to tell him or her! It takes a good two to three weeks in the beginning of the year to get to this point, but the payoffs are wonderful. The children know exactly what is expected when, and can be very independent without needing me to tell them each step. They also know what will be coming next, which helps them transition from one activity to another easily.

At home, I find routines to be very helpful as well. It's obviously not quite as structured as school, but Daniel and I still have some things that we do the same way every day. During last summer, we would get up, watch a little TV with breakfast, and then play for a few hours. About an hour before lunchtime, I would take him outside to play. Then we'd have lunch, and take a nap. After his nap,there would be some more playtime, then dinner. We'd watch some Little Bear after dinner to wind down, and then the bedtime routine would start: bath, teeth, diaper, pajamas, story, bed. He often knows what's coming next, so it's less of a hassle to change activities than it might be.

I am a strong believer in giving children reasonable choices. It offers them the chance to be decision makers, gives them ownership of the task they are doing, and gives them some control in a world that is often controlled by others. As a teacher, there are many things I need to do during the day, but they don't all have to be done a certain way. My children at school are conscious of which things are choices and which are not. They will often ask me "Is this a choice?" It's their choice whether they use crayons or colored pencils when coloring something. Whether they finish it or not is NOT a choice! I consciously create situations where they can have a choice about how they complete something. I find they work better after they've been allowed to choose the way in which they do it.

Our learning center time is very strongly arranged around choices. I have about 16 learning center activities that I want the children to complete throughout the week. They work in pairs (of my choosing) and may decide what centers they want to do first. As long as they complete all the tasks by the end of the week, what difference does it make what order they do them in? I used to have centers organized by groups working on 4 centers a day (no choices), and find that with the partner/choice system I'm doing much less directing of what they should do and more on the spot helping with the ones who need extra support. They are also much more motivated to keep working when they decide where they want to go. Sometimes there will be a pair that starts to fool around, and I simply say to them "If you can't choose where to go next, I will choose for you." This quite easily gets them back on track!

At home, I do the same thing with Daniel. I do limit his choices somewhat, only so he doesn't get overwhelmed. For instance, in the morning he gets to pick which of two shirts he wants to wear. He gets to pick what he wants for breakfast from a menu of mom-approved items. He can pick what stories he wants to hear at bedtime. He has a choice of whether he wants to calm himself down in the living room (or wherever he's throwing his fit) or in his crib. This gives him a bit of that much-longed for independence that all children want, but he is still working within the limits I give him. I do have one warning for those offering choices...never give a choice unless you're comfortable with which one your child picks! You can back yourself into a corner that way. Make sure both choices are legitimate. You can tweak the choices though, to encourage one over the other. For example, when I ask Daniel to choose whether he wants to calm down where he is or in his crib, he will often try to settle himself where he is rather than go back to his crib. However, if he cannot settle, he ends up losing the choice by default. If he's choosing to not calm down out in the living room, then back to the crib he goes.

At school, (and at home, but this occurs less often due to Daniel's age) we also talk about good choices and bad choices when it comes to behavior. If a child pushes another child because the first child "budged" we talk about choices. Was it a good choice to push? What would have been a better choice? What will they choose to do next time? Since they did make a bad choice, what should they now do about it? This leads to my last "trick", logical consequences.

Logical Consequences
One of my students wrote on the table the other day. She had to scrub it clean during her playtime. Another student was throwing a puzzle piece across the room. He was told he could not play with the puzzles any more that day. Two boys broke a leg on the music teacher's dry erase board when they were fooling around while there was a substitute. They had to sit during their playtime and write an apology letter. I helped them with sounding out the words, but they did the writing and delivering. These are just a few examples of the logical consequences I use during the school day. Sometimes the logical consequence for a certain behavior is a loss ofprivileges. Other times, the child "fixes" what went wrong somehow.

As a parent of a toddler, logical consequences come naturally. If Daniel makes a mess, he needs to help me clean it up. If he has a tantrum, he needs to go somewhere to calm himself down. It's basically cause and effect. The children (hopefully!) realize "Oh, if I do this, then I end up having to do this" or "If I do this, I lose the right to do this." It's logical!


What tricks do you have as parents? What have you used in the past that worked well, or what do you use now? Feel free to comment!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lost Easter Eggs

Ok, the post about teacher/parent "tricks" is going to have to wait for a less intense tv night! Between 2 hours of Idol, and Lost following it, I don't have the time to go into a thoughtful post.

That said, here's a great blog site that gives you screen caps of all the Easter Eggs that show up on each episode of "Lost."


For instance, did you know that a polar bear shows up on each episode? I didn't, until I saw this site!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Teaching vs. Parenting

A while ago, someone asked me my views on teaching vs. parenting.
I'd be interested in your ideas about teaching and parenting, and (if this makes sense) the connections or lack thereof between the two. Are there "tricks" you know as a teacher that work in parenting? Has being a parent altered the way you teach?
I will say that in many ways they are connected, albeit on a different scale and to different degrees. Most of the differences are due to the number of children. You do need to be able to multi-task MUCH more as a teacher, when there are 19 children needing your help at what seems to be all the same time. Also, the depth of what you can do with 1 to 3 children is much different than what you can do with 15-20. Therefore I try to break my instruction up into different groupings as much as possible. Sometimes we're a whole class discussing a story, sometimes we're working in small groups for learning centers, and sometimes I'm working one on one with a child. Flexibility is a huge key...you can't be a teacher and not be flexible!

As for similarities, I find that in both teaching and parenting, consistency and fairness are the key. The child(ren) need to know that you mean what you say, and are willing to enforce it to whatever degree needed. They need to know that there are no hidden surprises waiting to trip them up. When they know what to expect, and what you expect, it makes life much easier for all concerned.

Being a parent has and has not affected how I teach. Specifically, I haven't really changed my teaching techniques, but I have changed how I relate to the parents, especially at conference time. Being a mom has helped me to realize that each parent that sits across from me loves their child and only wants the best for him/her. They also think or hope that what they've been doing up to this point has been the best for that child. So I'm a little more compassionate in how I try to discuss unpleasant behaviors, and much more conscientious in reporting the good things I see in their child as well.

This has gotten pretty long, so I'll save the "tricks" I use as a teacher and parent for tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Definite Kicks!

I was just sitting here reading an online article, when I started feeling definite thumps from the baby! I also felt that same squirmy movement I was mentioning earlier. Hello in there!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chocolate Help Needed!

The boys and girls had their Valentine's Day Party yesterday, due to the snowstorm. I was at a computer training class all day, so missed it. However, the substitute teacher left me two chocolate bon bons, which were simply fabulous!

So now I'm trying to figure out where to get more of these. It's beginning to feel less like a search of curiosity and more of a pregnant woman's obsession. Anyway, if anyone here can help me out, I'd be eternally grateful!

They were individually wrapped in gold foil wrappers that were twisted on each end. There was a red circle for the name area, which said "Whisper" in big letters and Chocolate Bon Bons in smaller letters. They're made by the Arco company in Argentina. They're chocolate on the outside, with a wafer shell and very light peanut butter on the inside. And they were delicious!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Blizzard of Birds

I've had a blast today during the storm. I'm not sure of the exact total, but it looks like around 2 feet of snow out there, or very close to it. Daniel and I spent much of the day watching the birds gorge at the birdfeeder outside the dining room window. I had a hard time narrowing the pictures down from 31 to only 9!

First, for perspective, this is last night before the storm started. Note how tall the bird feeder is......and this is the next afternoon. The storm hadn't finished at this point either.
My house was the place to be if you were a bird!These last two shots I waited at least a half hour for.

"Painting Book Mommy! Please?"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's Coming!

It's started snowing! We've not had a major blizzard-like storm for a few years, so everyone is very excited around here. Especially the kids and teachers! I'm looking forward to a nice day at home with Daniel, watching the snow fall. Oh yeah, I'm near Binghamton, right in the middle of the biggest snowfall area. I know it's not much compared to western NY, but it's a lot for us!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Brainwashing Scene

This is the brainwashing scene from "Lost" run backward. There is a message within it. It's a woman repeating the phrase "Only fools are enslaved by time and space". Very creepy.

Video sent by DarkUFO

Baby Moving?

Maybe I'm going nuts, but I swear every now and then I feel some slight movement!

With Daniel, he had an anterior placenta, so his first announcement was at 17 weeks, with three or four quick pokes. I don't remember feeling any light movement leading up to it.

This one is a posterior placenta, and I swear if I focus sometimes, I feel light rubbing or squirming. I really noticed it today during a meeting after lunch. I'm 14ish weeks now, so I guess it's not too early!

I felt a squirmy sensation just now....

See America

If you're planning a big trip for winter or spring break, or even if you're just an armchair traveller, this is the site for you.


It lets you click on each state, and highlights some of the major attractions that are there. For each state, it will give you the Official State Website, let you request an Official Visitor's Guide, and connect you to the state's Department of Tourism. Additionally, for each major city or attraction listed, it will directly link you to the official website.

It also gives you state facts, weather, travel articles, trip ideas, and much more.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another Ear Infection

Poor Daniel. Two weeks ago, we took him to his doctor because his ear hurt, and he was starting a cold. His doctor told us that he had an ear infection, and gave us a prescription for Amoxycillin. That seemed to clear it up, as he finished the bottle this Monday, but he's had an awful lingering cold the whole time.

This morning, he woke up fussy, and told me his ear hurt again. We went to the general walk-in, as his doctor's office isn't open on Sundays. The doctor there said yes, that ear was very inflamed, and the other ear was infected as well. In addition, he was having some sinus drainage that indicated a sinus infection. He gave us a prescription for a different antibiotic, and told us to call our pediatrician for a follow up appointment.

I find it very strange and scary that Daniel's never had an infection before, never had antibiotics before, yet the infection he has now is already resistant to the most basic of antibiotics. That he, who has never even had a need for antibiotics until now, has been double-whammied by these bacteria that have mutated in such ways that they need stronger and stronger medicines to stop them. What will it be like in another 20 or 30 years?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ice/Snow Sculptures

Ok, one more in keeping with the cold/frozen theme. These are ice and snow sculptures from Russia. My favorite is the last one. You need to click on it to see the picture in its full glory. Amazing.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Lost Returns!

I ran across an interesting blog over on USA Today called Pop Candy. There was a post about ideas regarding the return of Lost called "'Lost' in a flash: Comments of the week." It has some interesting ideas about various elements of the show, and also has a link to screen caps of the brainwashing scene.

If you want a great discussion board about the show, go to The Fuselage.com: The Official Site of the Creative Team Behind LOST, Sponsored by J.J. Abrams (or the Hanso Foundation, depends on where you place your mouse!) Just don't bother trying to go there during the episode itself, unless they've updated their server. You can get spoilers, read discussions about possible theories, read discussions about various cast members, and much more.

Television Without Pity, or TWoP, has another good forum on Lost. Go here to check it out.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Versoix, Switzerland

Keeping with the iced over theme, I got another email from my dad with pictures of Versoix, Switzerland, near Geneva City. The water in the background is Leman Lake. Click on the pictures to see any close up...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Niagara Falls, 1848

I recently received an email with pictures of Niagara Falls frozen over. That sure put my whining about the cold into perspective! Here is a picture of it, along with information I found at this site. I pared down the quite lengthy article to only a somewhat lengthy size. Go to the site to read the whole thing, if you're interested.
There appears to have been nothing terribly unusual about the winter of 1847-48 nor the onset of spring in March. Nor was there any evidence that the ice on Lake Erie was unusually thick. But during the night of March 29-30, 1848, the great cataracts over both falls diminished, slowed to a trickle and then stopped completely! When the local residents awoke on the morning of the 30th, something felt wrong...indeed, something sounded wrong. There was...silence. No roaring water filled the ambient background as it had every morning in anyone's memory.

Despite the limited and slow communication network of the day, a reported 5000 people from as far as Hamilton, Ontario and Buffalo, New York converged on the scene, jamming local roads. Thousands attended special church services, convinced that the incident was a prophetic sign of greater disasters yet to come.

But many brave souls took the opportunity to descend into the Great Niagara Gorge and explore the never-before-seen basin at the foot of the Niagara Falls. Some retrieved a variety of relics from beneath the Falls, including weapons from the War of 1812: bayonets, musket barrels, swords, pistols and tomahawks.

The cause of the water stoppage appears to have been a perfect ice dam formed at the source of the Niagara River near Buffalo. A strong but slow-moving storm system passing through Lake Erie basin was the most logical suspect in the water flow stoppage. The combined force of wind, current and waves jammed the ice blocks together in such a manner that a completely impenetrable ice dam was formed. Thus, waters no longer flowed through the Niagara River toward Lake Ontario and the Niagara Falls.

The shift in wind also brought very warm air temperatures which rose to 16 C (61 F) on the 31st. The combination of warm air and pounding winds and waters eventually broached the ice dam, and flow into the Niagara River was again restored, some 30 hours after it had ceased. During the night hours of March 31, a "low growl" began upstream of the Falls and then suddenly a wall of water rushed down the riverbed and leapt over the Falls. Local residents returned to their beds, relieved and again comforted by the assuring roar of waters over the great Niagara Falls.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sleepy Boy

I think I wore my little helper out yesterday! Actually, it was the cold medicine that knocked him out around 9:30am.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mommy's Helper

I've been cleaning house off and on this weekend. Daniel loves to help me! Give him a baby wipe, and he'll do the walls....Floors...And yes, he even does windows!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Clutter Organization

Stidmama asked me in the comments of my computer room post:
Perhaps a silly question: where will all the stuff go? From a master packrat...
Well, some of it needs to be either thrown out or recycled. Some of it can go up into our newly created attic space. The computer stuff will go downstairs to the future family room in one corner. Anything crafty will go into another corner, in a new craft area that I am envisioning. This means I have two corners to clear out downstairs of course...a few boxes of books to move, an ironing board, and a dresser that stores tablecloths. The books are easy, I'm going to donate those to either our local library or YWCA. The dresser I think can go along one wall in the garage.

A few years ago, before we moved into this house, I found a wonderful website to help control the clutter and get your house under control. I still use some of the principles I learned there today when I do everyday cleaning. For example, one of the things I learned is that you can do anything for 15 minutes. If I just work 15 minutes a day in that room, eventually it will get cleared out. I still use a timer to clean, even if it means I set it for another 15 minutes once the first set is done.


You can subscribe to the site and get tons of emails, but I find that it ends up being computer clutter that I don't need. So I've just gone there and browsed around, read and learned. If you are overwhelmed by clutter and want to get out from under it but don't know how, this is the site to start with!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Snowy Evening

Penny Postcards

Nancy, and the readers of Journey Woman's blog who enjoy her postcard series, you might find this site very interesting! It is a USGenWeb Archives website that lets you see postcards from the early 1900s for your specific county and state.
Penny Postcards

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Computer Room

Ok, in order to shame myself into starting work on the computer room, I'm going to post the horrible before pictures. Now that I've been taken off restricted activity and I have more energy than I did a few weeks ago, I think it's time to start plowing crud outta here and making room for baby.

Note: This is the room where I would toss things and shut the door whenever company came. The rest of the house, while often knee deep in toys, is not quite so disorganized.

From the doorway looking in:Looking toward the closet, doorway is on the right:Looking at the computer desk, doorway now on the left, standing (very carefully) by the closet area:
Send me good luck wishes and a hardhat!

13 Week Midwife Appointment

I had my monthly appointment yesterday, with an ultrasound to check up on that subchorionic hemorrhage. The good news is that it has reabsorbed, and I'm off restricted activity, yay!

It was too early to see much on the ultrasound regarding gender. The tech did look for me, and all we saw was a mound and a tiny point, which from what I've read could either be the start of the penis or the clitoris. I'll have to wait until the end of March to know for sure. Baby was relaxing and pretty mellow this time, and we got some really cute pictures of the profile, a hand, and the soles of the feet. (Note to self: get a scanner!)

I've gained 8 pounds in 13 weeks, which my midwife says is fine, thankfully. I was afraid it was too much for the first trimester, but I think since it was a big jump in the first month, then settled down the past several weeks, she's not concerned. The morning sickness has remained away and I have much more energy than I did a few weeks ago.

All in all, it was a pretty routine appointment. The only interesting thing was that I had a migraine, and the nurse who was taking my blood pressure and other stats asked me if the flourescent light was bothering me. When I said yes, she offered to turn it off, shut the door, and let me just lay down until the midwife was ready to see me. Ahh, bliss. It was the best I had felt in about an hour. While the frequency of my migraines has gone up, their duration has shortened from their typical two days to one thankfully.