Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just so I remember...

Tonight while my sweet little six year old and I were chatting before bed, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. "Um, maybe a fireman," he said thoughtfully. "Oh, no, not that because I'll probably vote for myself for president." When I asked him what about being a professional soccer player (which is what he wanted to be a few nights ago, even though he insists that he HATES soccer) he said, "Yeah, that too and maybe I'll be on the Tigers and play for MSU." Boy do I love the innocence and the imagination and the big dreams of six year olds, especially mine. And then he started asking me which president is on every different piece of money and what 'big thing' he did. So that's when I said goodnight.  I'm going to have to start studying to keep up with this one!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Candy Gram

Here is the candy gram poster for Mackenzie's teacher!  I thought it turned out pretty cute, and Ms. Jones got a kick out of it.  The best part is that I was able to include the $100 Target gift card on there!  I should have used a larger board, like one of those presentation boards, but I wanted to keep the cost to a minimum, so I had to cram everything on there.  I even left off a line or two (which my kids were happy about because they got to eat everything I didn't use!).  I used rubber cement to glue the words down (which I was carded for - weird), and I used double sided tape to stick all the candy down with.  I spend about $15, not including the gift card, which was donated by a parent.

Teacher Gifts

Teacher gifts were quick and easy this year, and an idea from Pinterest.  For both teacher's I made a 'bag of sunshine.'    Mackenzie's teacher also got a candy gram, which I'll post in a minute.

Cameron's teacher got a bag to go to her new condo in Florida, including a Smash journal since she loves to scrapbook.  I spent $35, including the basket that I put everything in and the gift bag.

I spent a little more on Mackenzie's teacher, because I was using class donations.  We were originally going to just get her a gift card to Target, but a parent donated a $100 gift card (which I used in another gift - see below), so I spent the $60 donations plus about $10 of my own money on this gift, again including the gift basket and gift bag.  This teacher is changing grades next year, so I got her a few things to pamper herself with this summer, and then a few things she can use next year, including some holiday and classroom printables (here's where I got them: http://first-grade-fever.blogspot.com/) that should come in handy.  I also included a Tervis cup since I'm not sure if she drinks coffee - she could use it for hot or cold drinks.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

gift idea

I think this is so cute!  One of my mom's friends gave it to her for her 60th birthday and I think I'm going to make one for Mack's teacher (minus the liquor and lottery tix!) - I'll post a pic if I do.

Pay no attention to the "Happapy Birthday" sign - thank you Oriental Trading for the major typo!  And I didn't even notice it until after it was up - a party guest pointed it out and thought it was an inside joke that I had done on purpose...  Um, no, but it will be now!!!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A life of service

Mackenzie was able to participate in an amazing opportunity today. As a part of student council, she and the other council members got to volunteer at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. They were also able to tour the kitchen's greenhouse (yea to urban farming!), and visit/work in the On the Rise bakery that services the kitchen. Out of respect for the homeless men and women that Mackenzie served lunch to, I didn't take any photos at the soup kitchen. It was a really powerful experience and Mackenzie was hopefully inspired to continue to help others.

On a side note, yesterday they had a disabilities workshop all day yesterday, showing the kids first hand what it's like to have a disability, including autism, a vision impairment, a physical handicap, tremors, etc. Another powerful experience. I love seeing all of this through her eyes <3

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Mackenzie is a reader.  Not just a normal reader but an I-can-read-for-eight-hours-straight reader.  She has found her niche in her new school, where the librarian encourages them to come in anytime to check out books.  She has a teacher that has over 1000 classroom library books, and we've been frequenting the local library, which is literally 3x the size of our previous library.  She is in book heaven!  And to add to that, her school recently hosted "The Battle of the Books."  This is an event for 4th and 5th graders to read some excellent books (I read all of them, too!).  After they've read the books, they take a computer generated quiz on them.  If they read and pass quizzes for 6 out of the 10 books, then they qualify to be on a battle team.  Of course Mackenzie read and passed the quizzes for all 10 books, so she was definitely on a team!  Myself and a parent from a nearby school were coaches for this team and we spent a few Saturdays at our local library, and had a few after school meetings.  The kids spent this time coming up with a team name, a team motto, and a costume.  Then the other parent and I bombarded them with possible quiz questions.  Not only could they get basic trivia type questions during the battle, but they also had to be prepared for questions that might tie the books to each other, to core democratic values (ie life, liberty and the pursuit of justice), or to character education traits (ie kindness, respect, honesty, etc).  There were some tough questions!  Mackenzie's team didn't win, but I think it was a great experience for her and she's excited to do it again next year!
 Nervous before the battle!
 Who is that masked beauty???
 Ahh there she is
 Getting her medal for reading all 10 books!
 Posing with the sign
 Walking with a cheese-puff headed competitor
Everyone from her school who read all 10 books
If you're looking for some good reading material, here are the 10 books:
The Search for Wondla (Mackenzie's favorite)
Trouble Twisters
Amelia Lost
Out of my Mind
Touch Blue
The Danger Box
One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
Heart of a Samurai
The Other Half of my Heart

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Camster

Cameron has been a busy bee!  Cub scouts has had a few fun outings, and he'll be starting soccer and baseball soon.  He also got to go to a rock climbing birthday party (he was not a fan of the big rock climbing wall), but he loved spending time with his new friends!  Here are a few of his favorite pics from the recent events:

Pinewood Derby
Cameron's car is the red sports car.  It didn't win any races, but that's because I had to bring it to weigh in and I didn't add any additional weight :(.  Well lesson learned for next year!

Fox 2 News Studios
The boys had a great time sitting on the 'Big Brown Couch,' going behind the anchor desk, and standing in front of the green screen.  They even got to meet a few local celebrities from the Fox 2 News team!


Monday, October 22, 2012

So I'm a little behind...

Ok, so it's been about two years since I last posted... but rather than make up for lost time, I'll just start over again.  But let me catch you up:

We moved!  We now live in a much bigger home where we can stretch out and fit all of our crap.  We have a nice backyard and room for all of our family and friends to visit.  We're also closer to all of our parents, which is so nice.

Cameron's in first grade.  He is an amazing reader and loves to read Pokemon books.  His drawings are full of detail and so thoughtful, but he only does them when he's asked to.  His favorite thing is hanging with friends and he has a bunch of them.  He's still a mama's boy and love cuddling with me :)  I will never get tired of that!  He plays soccer, takes swim lessons, is in cub scouts, and will soon be joining the Math Pentathlon and Destination Imagination groups at school.  He has a great time at all of these social events, but at the end of the day he's a homebody and would prefer to be playing at home.  Speaking of which, he would play games all day every day if we let him.  He just received a few new games for his 6th birthday, which we celebrated by having a family 'Minute to Win it' game night.  Cameron continues to be sweet, thoughtful, kind, conscientious, energetic, friendly, and always smiling.

Mackenzie has started the fourth grade this year!  Boy how time flies.  She is an avid reader and always has a book nearby (sometimes two or three!).  Her new school has been a perfect fit for her, as she already has more than one close friend.  And, they TEXT each other!  There are numerous opportunities to be involved at the new school, and she is taking them all on!  She takes swim lessons, but also participates in girl scouts, Destination Imagination, and Battle of the Books.  We're still waiting to find out about student council, classroom officer, and math pentathlon.  She is very into fashion and likes to always look her best.  While growing her hair out, she has recently taught her self to style it with clips, ponytail holders, and even braids!  Mackenzie still likes to play with her toys (like her American Girls and Barbies), but is starting to prefer 'hanging out' to playing with toys when friends are around.  She is insightful, funny (the one liners she's been coming up with are priceless!), sweet, creative, and a great companion on any outing.

I am a lucky momma.

As for Jason and I, there's not too much to report.  We've recently celebrated our ten year anniversary, and although our relationship has changed and evolved a lot in the past ten years, we're still a happily married couple who really like to spend time with each other.  I've been substitute teaching, and the extra paycheck, not to mention getting myself back into a classroom, has been really nice.  I've put my Master's classes on hold until we're totally settled into our new house and our new lives (a lot changes when you move across town!).

So, I'm thinking I'll use this  blog as a way to document my children and their lives, my gardening adventures (ok gardening is not really an adventure, but I like doing it and writing about it!), and maybe throw in a few teaching ideas/resources/strategies for all of my fellow substitute teachers.  And that's where I'll leave off.  Let's see if remember to come back... :)

Friday, November 05, 2010


Quick update: Cameron loves school, Mackenzie is taking guitar lessons and now that soccer is done she is officially a Brownie. We are always sooo busy with school, extra curricular activities, my PTO stuff, family stuff, etc etc etc but it's a good kind of busy :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day of Preschool

Cameron's Birthday Party

Here are some pictures from Cameron's first birthday celebration - there are two more to come! This was his family party - his real 4th birthday will be on Friday with cupcakes at preschool and then dinner out, and then the following weekend we're off to Great Wolf Lodge!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Square Foot Garden September 2010

Well I thought in September I'd be writing about taking down my garden, but that is not the case! Not only is my garden still producing, I've even attempted to start some new carrot, spinach, iceberg, and romaine lettuce plants. Squirrels dug up some of the spinach, but everything else seems to be doing quite well! As for the rest of the garden...

  • My gourds are out of control, now going around and in front of the box, up the fence, and even into the neighbors yard! They say they don't mind, but I'm guessing I may need to go over and do some pruning soon...

  • there is a green pepper growing on my pepper plants that didn't do too well this summer, as well as a bunch of buds, so I may just have a late green pepper harvest,

  • I just got another giant zucchini for yet another round of zucchini bread (the kids and I never tire of it!),

  • there are two summer squash in the making, even with a plant fighting against powdery mildew (all the squash, gourd, and cucumber plants have it - cukes are about done)

  • the Roma grape tomatoes are never-ending (I must pick 5-7 of them a day),

  • all of the other tomato varieties (there are three other plants are still producing except the grapes - I didn't care for them and the plant seemed to be dead anyway so I pulled it

  • there is a whole new crop of jalapenos - at least 30 of them between the two plants, and the same with the cayenne peppers,

  • the hyacinth bean vine looks beautiful even if I don't care for the taste of the pods (but Cameron eats them right off the plant),

  • basil is full and tastes great,

  • rosemary is beyond hardy and has grown right through the prolific squash/gourd vines that are taking over box #1,

  • popcorn has been harvested and is drying in the kitchen (along with about 20 cayenne peppers)

  • I'm leaving the corn stalks in the ground to dry and to protect my new little seedlings from the hot end-of-summer sun

  • and dill pickles are ready to eat!

It wasn't all a beautiful harvest, though. We did have some problems. We had (have) the powdery mildew that I mentioned earlier. I've been treating it with an organic copper spray which hasn't cleared it up, but must be doing something because there is still a ton of growth on the plants that are affected by it (besides the cucumbers).

There were a LOT of bugs in the corn - little black ones that got in the top, worms that were eating like crazy from the inside, and even a grasshopper that I caught to show the kids, but he escaped. Unfortunately we weren't able to enjoy the corn this year, but hopefully next year I'll be more proactive. We actually got about 8 really good ears of corn before the bugs got to it, but it had a terrible texture. It must have cross pollinated with the popcorn, which I guess is easy to do. Next time I'll remember to keep some distance between the two!

The squash type plants also are infested with some type of worm - I've seen the evidence in the stalks, but haven't caught the little bugger(s) in action. However, it seems that maybe because the plants were so strong by the time they were invaded that the worms haven't killed them. I'm probably not getting as many veggies because of them, but we're still getting some, so I'm ok with it.

On a side note, I found a peanut plant in one of my boxes - planted by a squirrel no doubt! I'm going to look into what it would take to grow them next year - another gardening adventure :)