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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This Mama's Goin' Bento

I think I’m going Bento, I think I’m going Bento I really think so!   So why all the rage on compartmentalized lunch boxes?  Okay, it’s not a rage yet, but it should be!  Not only are they the cutest darn things you’ve ever seen, but beneficial when out of plastic baggies.  To run with this idea, I first filled my library cart with Bento books and then headed over the second largest bridge in Texas again, to find these stackable food boxes.  World Market and even Wal-Mart had a version of Bentos that we bought, but the girls have since found traditional Asian Bentos online, thus now warranting a trip to the Asian Market.  The only downside here is the amount of time they take to make, so I do most of the work the night before.
  But as you can see, it's well worth it. And, what a hit they are at the kids lunch table!

Our Inspiring Bento Romps

Okay, so there’s a story dancing in my head and I can not ignore it anymore. I’m putting it into motion, and hoping to bring about a “Loofah Revolution.” Why am I so into these odd fiberous cucumber looking tree climbers?   Not sure, maybe it’s their odd texture, or the fact that they look like giant penises hanging from the tree.  (My apologies, as that went a little further south than I usually go.)  But seriously these things are the coolest, and a big hit in my classroom.  I could see this turning into a great science book, so off I go to bathe and write with my loofah.   Is it loofah or luffa - the world may never know, or will they?    
“To make a good loofah harvest you should read them stories,
 especially Halloween ones.”  Little Reader

On a side note our kids at school have become obsessed with a video of the world’s biggest domino line.  Little Reader now wants to make her own and off  to hunt for domino books. 

Some Good Reads

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark
By Diesen, Deborah

It’s like Christmas morning every time I find a sequel to a favorite book.  The Pout- Pout Fish is back with its same catchy rhyme and wacky adventure.  When clam looses her pearl, Mr. Fish comes to the rescue and ventures down to the murky depths of the ocean to find it.   Yes, powerful and great things can be accomplished with friendships.  This one is not quite as good as the first, but still a great blue read fav in our house. “There’s lot’s of Pok√©mon in this book mama!” Little Reader

Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King
By George, Judith

Ho-hum with this story, but it’s lengthiness surprisingly kept Little Reader’s attention.  Zarafa, a gentle giraffe was to be a present from the ruler of Egypt to the king of France and here is a mapped detailed journey of her travels.   Felt like there was too much description and not enough story, but Little Reader loves minut details so will have to say this one worked.

Skunk Dog
By Jenkins, Emily

First off, how can you not love the name Dumpling for a dog, and especially an overly enthusiastic canine without a sense of smell to boot?  After a move to the country Dumpling goes on a mission to find a four legged friend and in the end does build one stinky friendship.  And in case you were wondering tomato juice or V-8 will take the smell out, not speaking from experience though.  A book everyone will enjoy with a tucked in look at how friendships can survive obstacles. 

I’ll See You In My Dreams

Brilliant colors shoot against the sunset sky in this grieving story. Not to scare you off but Mavis powerfully connects the subject of death to Amelia Earhart in a creative way.  Life is fragile and this read offers a sense of comfort and hope.  It took some explaining during our read and in the end, Little Reader’s response, “that was a sad book and the author wants you to be sad.  But that’s okay because it’s only a book and I liked the pictures.”  Well put and this is about all she could get from this being she’s still young.

Tell Me the Day Backwards
By Lamb, Albert

Have you ever tried to tell your day backwards?  This bear cub plays a game with his mama bear by recounting the day’s activities backwards.  A cute read and the fact that it was the first day after hibernation seem to stick with Little Reader.  Great for sequencing skills and a unit on hibernation. - My teacher light is shinning, but aren’t we all teachers.

Shark and Lobster’s Amazing Undersea Adventure
By Schwarz, Viviane

Little Reader was most excited that in this book. “The reading goes up!”  And the fact that it’s printed vertically is half the fun.  Yep, my next manuscript will be submitted upside-down!  So back to the story, basically we have a shark and lobster that are scared of tigers, and bring in their friends in on a protection plan.  Nope a fortress isn’t enough, but maybe a bigger sea monster is what they need.  Or is there really a need for concern? All's well that ends well.  Little Reader liked it more than I, and predicted it was going to be a tiger shark questioning why there would be real tigers in the ocean.  “I guess writers write whatever pops in their head, even if it doesn’t make sense.” - Little Reader
Yes they do, and I question how these words get published.
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sweet Treats

Here’s my bunch on the first day of school!  Yes, most of them tower me and it's official, we are the Imelda Marcos of basketball shoes.  I’m new to Pinterest and currently looking for a four kid cubby big enough to hold teenage stuff.  Want it to look nice though, as it will be in our entry hall.  Open to any suggestions, as my house currently looks like a medley tornado of Foot Locker, Nike, Charming Charlie, and Amber Bows.   So yes school’s underway and besides sleepy Sims, the only negative is our heat index of 104 degrees - “Ugh, so over the heat!”  

Well my “sweet treats” classroom came together beautifully as you can peruse below.  Now I’m just trying to get the Abeka curriculum down.  Little Reader loves her school and is the kindergartener taller than most second graders.  My classroom library is still in the making and I decided to add Mr. Bear for our B. E.A.R. time. (Be Excited About Reading)  My big class of 8 just can’t get enough of our gigantic cuddly friend.   Yes, I said eight!   Through much prayer, I’m a blessed private school teacher, and did I mention I’m done @ 11:30 a. m.  So will I ever teach public school?   Um probably not, and not to offend those that are, but I have such an awesome gig.  I have time to perform my Mom jobs; tween-age taxi driver, Mad Hungry chef, bed time tucker-inner, under the weather fixer upper, homework helper (excluding  eleventh grade AP/GT Calculus), luffa, long handled dipper, or whatever the hell will grow in this heat garden tender, and of course library romper. 
My “Sweet Treats” Classroom

Lollipop Reading Center
The lollipops I made by first curling a wacky noodle, and then stick a pvc pipe through it to hold in place.  Next, I wrapped the top part in blue tissue paper and  clear cellophane, while my oldest daughter made a matching bow and hot glued it to the stick.   Simple, inexpensive, and most of all the kids love them.  Even  Little Reader wants them in her home library, but not sure where we are going with this yet!
Room Snapshots


Now leaving the school zone, and on to the Dipping.  It’s a Baptism, mine and my oldest daughter’s to be exact.  Coming from the Methodist church and now a Baptist, we had to be more than just sprinkled.  Though Little Reader couldn’t grasp the whole water submersion thing and questioned why there weren’t balls for the dunk tank.  But seriously, isn’t it amazing knowing you’re a part of something bigger?   And what a special church treat it was to hear Steve Scheibner share his story as well.   As an American Airline pilot he waited to finalize his Flight 11, from Boston to Los Angeles assignment, but at the last moment was bumped off his assignment by Captain Tom McGuinness.  And as we now the events of 9/11, it was Sequence Failed Continuity.  Steve Scheibner shares his remarkable journey of faith knowing that Tom McGuinness died in his place, just as Jesus did.  We are all looking for a sense of purpose, and if you are prone to ignore book recommendations, don’t miss In My Seat.

Books You Can’t Bear to Miss
Bear Says “Thank You”
By Dahl, Michael
I know board books are not included in our romp, but this “adorbearable” book spoke to me.  Aren’t we continually reminding our children to say thank you?  In short, Bear’s impromptu rounds of “thank yous” delivers an important message of thankfulness.  And your gonna love Mama Bear’s ending response, “Your welcome.”  My Little Reader Bear response, “I can see bears being nice, but not gorillas.”
What’s interesting about this read?: It’s very similar to one of my stories. Characters differ, but similar dialogue, and mine overall is more catchy.  Maybe my book series should be submitted to publishers under the category of board books?  
Bear In The Air
By Meyers, Susan
Told in rhyme, a young boy looses his stuffed bear while on a carriage stroll down the boardwalk.  The bear’s seaside ocean adventures are beautifully sequenced and charming.  Liked the simplicity and muted details, and also that’s it’s not too busy.
Big Smelly Bear
By Teckentrup, Britta
Do your kids dread bath time?  Here you will meet one smelly bear who refuses to take a bath.  And after meeting another bear, it becomes obvious his smell is just too unbearable.  But do not fret, this stinky itchy bear cleans up his act and realizes the usefulness of bathing.  Cute read, but I need a book on how to get a child out of the bath. 
The Woods
By Hoppe, Paul
Much like Where the Wild Things Are, -- an imaginary nighttime journey into the woods.  When one little boy’s pink bunny goes missing, he goes into the woods and encounters some not so scary monsters along the way.   Creative, captivating, and I’m a true believer that things do come alive in the night. 
Other’s In the Bag
Betty Bunny Wants Everything
By Kaplan, Michael
Finding this new Betty Bunny made Little Readers day!  Some deem Betty Bunny as a bit obnoxious, but I love how adorably she delivers the lesson of moderation.  So what happens when she goes toy shopping and told she can only have one toy? I’m not telling, but will say you won’t be disappointed with this sequel. 
I’m Here
By Reynolds, Peter
Really, don’t waste your time, leave this one on the shelf! How did it get there anyway?
Edwin Speaks Up
By Stevens, April
What kind of animal is Edwin, and what’s up with all the gibberish?   Little Reader seemed confused and asked to stop the read after the fourth page. I’m surprised she made it this far.  Terrible book!  
My Friends
By Gomi, Tarō
A delightful, colorful, simple look at how we learn simple things from others.  See how one girl identifies with the world around her, “I learned to jump from my friend the dog, to watch the sky from an owl, and to read from books.”  A poetic conversation starter that had Little Reader making up her own. - “I learned to love from your heart, and Daddy learned to shoot guns from Black Ops.”  Really Dad!
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