Friday, June 25, 2010

This is my Mom...

Isn't she pretty? This is at my brother's wedding reception, I don't really have many photo's of her, because she's like me and hates getting her picture taken! But I liked this one, and if she gets mad at me for posting it...oh well!

Today is her Birthday, and I just wanted to take a few minutes to wish her a very Happy Birthday. Last year I told you about her journey as a mother, and some of the struggles she's been through and how strong she is. You can click here if you missed it.

She really is the glue that holds our family together, and I just wanted her to know how much I love her and appreciate her!

We're going to the ReAL game tonight...I'm so excited! She's never been to one, but she's heard me endlessly ramble on about how fun they are, so I'm excited to introduce her to the fun!
Happy Birthday Mom!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Do you say "field trip" or do you say "fieldwork"?

Why my school ROCKS! Part 1

Okay, so it's not actually MY school. But I am blessed to have been very involved in the founding of our little K-9 school. I serve on the board of trustees and have responsibility for helping insure that the vision and mission of our charter are adhered to. To learn more about public charter schools go here. It's been a long, rocky road these first 4 years (actually 6 if you count the time spent before we actually opened our doors!), but I wouldn't trade the experience away. Although if you had asked me a few weeks ago, I may have jumped ship eagerly! More on that another time.

But for all the anxiety involved with my responsibilities and the stress I have felt these past few months particularly, the trade off has been an educational experience for my children that I know they could not have received at any other public school. I said before I would share why I think our school is so awesome, so today is the first installment!

One of the things that sets us apart from other schools around us is our philosophy on field trips. We just don't believe in the darn things! What we do believe in is fieldwork.

Our curriculum, or the state standards, is delivered through semester-long thematic units called Learning Expeditions. Then all the disciplines (reading, language arts, math, science, etc.) are taught within this learning expedition. Their assignments have a purpose which is to lead them to the answers to the guiding questions that are driving the expedition. Hopefully I can illustrate what this means a little better in a minute.

When our students leave campus it is to perform fieldwork that is integrated into the learning expedition. Each expedition also includes a final product and a service element. Often the final product is a service project.

This year Cowgirl's class (3rd grade) had an expedition on the forest. Their final product was an informational website on the forest. They went into the field (the forest in this case) 3 times during the course of the expedition. The first outing was when there was still snow in the mountains and they went snowshoeing! Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of that. Each time they went out they were conducting research for their expedition. They planted trees, studied animals and collected water and insect samples.

I've put little smileys on the other students in the following pictures for the sake of protecting their privacy, but wanted to share with you some of their fieldwork experiences!

Here the ranger is playing different bird calls he has downloaded on his ipod, and when the birds would come, they would see if they could identify what bird it was, based on the studying they had already done on birds.

Here cowgirl is getting her waders on to go into the river and start analyzing the "health" of the water.


This is my favorite. Don't they look so adorable in their gear, marching down to the water?

Here they are collecting water insects. They had already learned that class 1 insects means a healthy river, class 2 means fair, and class 3 means that the river is unhealthy.


Here is the "water analysis" station. They collected water samples and then added a few drops of a solution that would measure the Ph level. The solution turned their water dark green. Green is 7.5 on the scale which is pretty healthy. 7 is the perfect score. Orange is in the 3's and is very unhealthy.

Needless to say, the things they learned will stay with them a lot longer than" just until the test is over".

For art, the Middle School art teacher came in and taught the students how to sketch animals. Each student was responsible for creating a page on the website for a certain animal, and the page included at sketch of their animal.

In the end they had a product that is a service to an authentic audience (the site is linked to our state's education network) and some real knowledge that they gained through active learning. We don't have textbooks, but I think the experiences our students have help them really learn and retain the things we are trying to teach them. I won't post the website, since I don't want to broadcast where my children attend school for all to see, but if you're interested in seeing the students' work, shoot me an email and I'll send you the link!

Fieldwork is one reason my school ROCKS!

Happy Father's Day

Today I wish my wonderful Dad, and my amazing husband a very Happy Father's Day!

And my heart goes out to those I love who are missing their Dad this Father's Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The "bomb", and "Da BOMB"!

Hello my friends! Friday already? Guess it's time to link up to Mimi's "bleep-bomb" Friday. That's what I've decided to call it from now on...I have Young Women who read this blog! I know I'm a weirdo, but it just sounds not quite as bad to me. Not that I'm saying you're bad MiMi! Okay, I am.

KIDDING! I love your guts - you know that!

Anyramble...on to the story. This comes from a couple years back when Cowgirl was turning 8. My kids don't get "friend" birthday parties every year. Only on "milestone" birthdays. 8 is a special birthday because that is the age you are able to be baptized - so 8 is a very big deal birthday. Cowgirl had chosen, what else? A cowgirl-themed party. 16 girls! So I was scrambling around trying to get ready while she and Bookworm were at school.

Pixie was helping me out, since she was in Kindergarten at the time and only had half-day school. This would make Monkey just about ready to turn 2. I sent Pixie to the outside garbage to throw something messy away, that I didn't want to throw in the kitchen garbage can. She went out the front door, then came back in. I was wiping down the counters after preparing the food. After a couple of minutes I noticed that Monkey was missing. I yelled to her and nothing. I asked Hubby if he knew where she was, and he said "did she go outside when Pixie took the garbage out?"

I immediately began to panic as it had been a couple of minutes since Pixie went out, and we live on the corner of an intersection that is fed from the main road. Sometimes people don't like to decrease their speed appropriately.

I rushed out the front door...saw no sign of Monkey. There was a lady walking her dog who I started to call out to, "Have you seen a little..." right then I looked down...cursed and then quickly retreated into the house (where I found Monkey safe and sound).

Why did I react that way you ask? Well you remember how I was wiping down the counters? I have ruined many a shirt while wiping down counters using Clorox Clean-up with bleach. I happened to be wearing a brand new shirt for the party, and since my big kids were at school and I just needed to give the counters a quick wipe-down, I had hurridly taken off my shirt just to wipe down the counter, which I quickly forgot in the panic of losing my daughter temporarily. Yes, I had run out onto my front porch topless. And nearly engaged a strange dog-walking woman in conversation.

At least I had my new pretty bra on.

When I informed Cowgirl of what had happened, she said matter-of-factly, "Mom, you embarrass me."

Okay...on to the less humiliating topic!

Can you believe I haven't mentioned SYTYCD yet? it's because I had to miss the auditions portion of the show due to a bunch of school meetings and crap. But last week I watched the show where the top 11 were introduced. I quickly got up to speed. There is a whole new format that I'm sure I will rant about in a future post...this fan is NOT happy with the new deal. But I still love the dancing.

Last night was the first night of competition for the public votes. It was a great show. Here are my early favorites: Make sure to hurry and watch the videos NOW, before they get yanked by Dick Clark Productions (jerk-faces).

Billy Bell. I told you of my adoration for this boy last season, when to my dismay he had to leave the show due to health issues. He's back!!! And still an amazing dancer. I loved this piece. I thought it was really fun - although it wasn't the best piece to highlight Billy's strengths. Still way fun to watch though!

Cue video to 1:21 if you want to skip the intro.

Next we have Alex, I watched him through the audition process during a previous season (can't remember which one). He was really stunning, but had to withdraw due to a contract conflict he had with his previous committment to the Miami Ballet. Soooo glad he is back. Beautiful dancer, and this number may be my favorite piece of work in SYTYCD history. Definitely in the top 3!

Cue video to 1:12



I will probably be annoying you with a rundown on my SYTYCD thoughts and expert insights throughout the remainder of the competition. At least Amanda will read. And I think I've wrangled JennyKate into being a fan of the show also. I know a few others share my obsession, so hopefully I won't lose ALL the interest of my readers!

Three more dancers I'm really liking so far are Robert, Lauren, and Kent. Time will tell which ones will lose my interest, and which will gain my approval. And we all know my approval is what it's really all about.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gettin' my groove back...

2 posts in 2 days! Can you believe it? Yeah, I'm totally gettin my bloggin' groove back! And I plan to get my crafting groove on this summer too because I have been SLACK-ING! Today I'm taking a baby step and linking up an old post for the Dollar Store Challenge.

But first things first...Yesterday I told you about my dear Hubby's Birthday. How interesting is it that my husband's birthday is just 3 days before my boyfriend's birthday? Yeah...Chris Wingert turns 28 today. Yes, I know he's a little young for me, but age is just a number right?

Happy Birthday Chris!!!

I told Tanielle I was thinking of jumping out of a cake for him, and she offered to bake it for me. But I think it would have taken all the bags of flour in her whole food storage to bake a cake that huge. It's the thought that counts, right? Now on to the challenge!

I did these projects last fall, and I know we're going into summer, but I thought this was such a fun party that I just couldn't pass it up! So you're just gonna have to deal with the fall-theme. Sorry. Them's the brakes.

For this project I used these awesome poseable fall leaves that came in a 10-pack from the Dollar Tree, as well as a dollar store picture frame that I spray painted and distressed a little. I also used some scrapbook paper from my stockpile and spray glitter. Those of you who know me know that spray glitter is my true BFF.


I sprayed the leaves with glitter, followed by a coat of clear acrylic spray to keep it from wearing off, cut the scrapbook paper down to size and glued it all how I wanted it (glue stick on the paper, and just a couple of dabs of hot glue for the leaves) and there you go!


The picture doesn't do it justice, it's very pretty and sparkly! This project cost me $2, because I already had the paper and glitter spray. It helped me turn this:



Into This!: Next I took these fun little gourds. They have those little plastic beads on them that make them kind of sparkly, you know what I mean? Anyway, I confess that these actually came from Walmart, not the dollar store...but they were still only $1!


These flowers that WERE from the dollar store,




And I glued the flower heads around the base of the Gourds...I love how they turned out! I used them to replace the candles I had in my candle holders on the mantel.






My mantel BEFORE: And AFTER!:



See how cool the leaves look, just scrunched a bit? And the glass and vase on the left are just filled with little mini-gourds I picked up from the dollar store...something so simple, but it really adds a lot to the mantel.


Last I took more of those Dollar Tree flowers, and this grapevine wreath that also was from Walmart...it cost me $3! (gasp!). I rounded up a few pinecones from my backyard, glittered them with my spray, and also used a few small pumkins I had left over from another project. I arranged everything how I wanted it,then went through and secured it all to the wreath with my hot glue gun.

Again, the picture doesn't do justice, you can't see the sparkles! And the flash doesn't show the true vibrancy of the colors. Please excuse the messy work surface, it's still on my craft table!




Here's a little close-up so you can kind of see how full it is!

This whole project cost me $8...Do you know how much one of these is at a boutique, or a home decor store?


So next time I blog about a craft...it will be new! Promise! For now head over to the CSI Project to check out more Dollar Store Crafts, or to link up your own!!


Visit thecsiproject.com


Monday, June 14, 2010

This guy...

Dontcha just love him?


Sunday was Hubby's 38th Birthday! I know...he's totally an old man. But what can I say? I like older men.

This guy is really amazing. I've said before how hard working he is. But I don't think that really does justice to how much he has really sacrificed. When we started our family, we made the decision that I would quit working outside the home, and be a full-time stay at home mom to our children. My husband has worked 2 jobs for basically our whole marriage up until the last few years. And once we started our business, before he quit his day job to concentrate completely on our carpet cleaning company, he was basically working 2 FULL TIME jobs. Hard, physical labor jobs. He would go to work a little before 8 in the morning to the pipe manufacturing company he worked shipping and receiving for. He would work out in the hot sun or cold wet rain or snow, loading and unloading trucks until 4 or 5, come home, grab a bite to eat and head out to clean carpets. He'd get to a business around 6 after everyone left and he'd clean until 1 or 2 in the morning. Then he'd get up at 7:30 and do it all over again. Some nights, when he had a big job, he didn't get home until 3 or 4. But he never complained. When the weekend rolled around - the time most people look forward to because they get a little break from they daily grind - my husband worked extra hard. He'd schedule his biggest jobs for the weekends. That way he could work Friday night all night, until he was too tired to keep going, come home and go to bed, and head back after he woke up and go all day Saturday. He did this for over 5 years. Looking back, I'm not sure how he didn't die from sheer exhaustion. I would often snicker when I heard people complain about how they worked a 50 or 60 hour work week, or worked 10 hour days. My husband would have done back flips if he could have worked those hours!

Now that he has left his day job, he still puts his energy into the marketing and business side of owning a company during the day, vehicle and equipment maintenance as well as helping me out with the kids, and still goes to work at night. He also dedicates many, many hours of service to his church calling. I am so grateful to have such an example of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice for my children to look up to.

And it takes a REAL man to let his 3 year old deck him out in jewels, then take her on his lap and play "I SPY" books with her!

What a guy, right?

So Saturday evening we went to dinner with our friends M & M, and had a great time visiting with good friends, and enjoying the peace of leaving our children home! It was a great night. After dinner the 2 of us just enjoyed some simple time together running errands and talking about anything and everything. It's good to just hang out and hold hands and have a conversation without being interupted 78 thousand times with "Mom! Mom!...(insert complaining, tattling, whining, or asking for something here )..."

Sunday was spent with my family for a joint celebration of Hubby and my brother D's Birthday. His Birthday is 4 days before Hubby's. We had pizza (request of both birthday boys) and cake and apple crisp. We visited, we laughed and shot my dad's air-soft gun at aluminum cans. Cowgirl did the best of all the kids and almost all the adults! We relished the Celtic's victory over the Lakers and came home tired and content.

So I really am determined to be a more consistent blogger, but the weekend derailed me a little! Have patience with me as I try to arrange my summer schedule! June is crazy with birthdays in my family - Not to mention Father's Day!

As crazy as it is though, I sure do LOVE summer! How is YOUR summer starting out?

Friday, June 11, 2010

OOPS!! And an awesome night!

What a FANTASTIC night we had on Wednesday! Of course, knowing Tanielle and myself...you have to KNOW the night would also include a perfect moment to link up to my best girl MiMi's awesome Friday linky party. So here's the recap!

We started off with some delicioso (like how I said it in Spanish?) Mexican fare from La Luna's, a local family owned spot that is quaint and tasty!

You know we had to document everything...including us enjoying mexican Dr. Pepper! Okay, I just said it was Mexican DP because we were at a mexican restaurant. Whatever...


We visited the team store earlier that day and scored these sweet ReAL caps so we could show our team spirit! We also picked up some cobalt and claret (team colors, yeah that's fancy talk for blue and red) polish for our toes! Keep reading if you want to see the snazzy ReAL tattoos we also sported later on during the night.

After dinner we headed to the stadium. Traffic was sorta slow because of folks heading to the game. Of course Tanielle and I can always entertain ourselves. We're idiots that way. So we're chatting away when T says "Hey! That guy over there on the motorcycle is going to the game too!" I looked over and he was sporting a ReAL jersey...coincidence? Doubtful. So I'm smiling his direction and I'm pretty sure he saw us talking about him. Then he pulls into the lane behind us. We're stopped at a red light and we both look behind us as we make up a story about him (we do this often when we are people watching). We're laughing as we talk about how he probably rode his motorcycle and made his wife walk so he could get a good parking spot, and a bunch of other nonsense. It is very apparent that we are talking about him, as we are gawking over our shoulders and laughing.

Of course we part ways with motorcycle man as we both head to different places to park. T and I splurged for the good seats since David Cook was performing the National Anthem, and it took us a few minutes to figure out where to go. As we keep heading down, down, down the stairs, we are getting more and more giddy the closer we get to the field. We finally get to our row, and identify which seats are ours...we scoot into our seats and...here comes the moment....wait for it...

THAT's right... our seats are right next to none other than MOTORCYCLE MAN!!! Needles to say we got the giggles and I'm sure confirmed to all around us that we truly are insane.


David Cook did a fabulous job singing the National Anthem. As always I got chills.

The game was exciting. And my boy got to play!! We were playing the LA Galaxy, who we beat last year for the National Championship. We met with them earlier in LA and lost, so it was to be a showdown for this game. LA wes undefeated - the only undefeated team in the league. However WE were going into this undefeated at home. It was quite the match up. A match up that almost didn't happen due to lightning! YIKES! But after a delay of game where we all had to leave our seats and take cover from the lightning...things were back on!

It took until the 80th minute of play for anyone to score! I know that sounds like it might be boring, but all the action leading up to it was anything but!

Please cue video to 2:30 to see the highlight of the night! Just do it...it will only take a few seconds of your time! You'll want to let it go to about the 3 minute mark. But if you let it go a few seconds further you can see the number 2 highlight of the night!

See all those people jumping up and down? Yeah if you could see the other side of the stadium... you would have been treated to the hilarious sight of T and I jumping up and down like that too. How embarrassing. So that's the story of how we sent the LA Galaxy home, no longer undefeated. What a game!

But the night wasn't over! No way! We were then treated to a fantastic set of performances by David Cook. He sounded amazing...and he did a cover of "Just Died in Your Arms"...it was one of the coolest things I've ever heard.


It was a fantastic girls night, eye candy all around, a great time with a good friend, and we will definitely be doing it again!
My ReAL tattoo.

Like the fingerprints all over my sunglasses? A Monkey did that.

Go check out MiMi's to see what other trouble people have to share! Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!! Sorry for the soccer ramblings that many of you may find boring...but thanks for listening!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm back! I'm really back!

PHEW! School. Is. Out.

I thought it would never get here! But I'm pretty sure I'm really back! There are still things to take care of, and I'll share more of my school adventures another day. But for now I am just relishing my being backness....ahhhh.

I'm totally excited for tomorrow night! Wanna know why? Tomorrow I get to see THIS guy!



Yeah...I like this guy. Real Salt Lake #17 Chris Wingert in case you're new here.


Sadly...Tanielle will NOT get to see this guy...

Yeah...Tanielle likes this guy. Real Salt Lake #5 Kyle Beckerman in case you were wondering. Unfortunately he is injured and will not be able to play.
Don't EVEN say you like her guy better than MY guy. Just warnin' ya.


Luckily...we both get to see THIS guy!
David Cook is singing the National Anthem tomorrow night, and performing a post game concert! I'm really excited to have a girls' night out with Tanielle. In case you don't remember, she had to miss our Daughtry concert because of her dad having open heart surgery. He is still in the hospital and has had a lot of ups and downs, so she really hasn't had a night out. I think it will be good for her and I KNOW we'll have such a blast!

I'm excited for the summer. I will be going to Girls' Camp again with the Young Women...I cannot WAIT! We're also planning on lots of family camping trips! More ReAL games for sure, and hopefully we'll BBQ a lot so I won't have to cook that much! What are your plans for the summer?

I can't wait to share with you why I think our school is the coolest public school in the state...maybe even the country...here's a little preview of the fieldwork my daughter did with her 3rd grade class. I LOVE this picture! Even though it sometimes takes over my life, this has been one of the most rewarding things I've done, and I really am so proud of our school.
I have a lot of catching up to do, and I'd love to go back and read through ALL of your posts that I've been missing, but I think I'm just WAY too far behind! I hope you'll forgive me if I just start fresh. I'll be seeing you soon!