Pageviews past week

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Plymouth Plantation Day 2013 or How 50 Cans of Soup DO a Stew Make!!!

 We took a fieldtrip 4 miles south of our school to our farm, but we dropped back in history four HUNDRED years!  Yes, the pilgrim children DID play leap frog!
 They played "Flying Dutchmen" as well (although that is a little known fact based upon the assumption that while they were in the Netherlands for a brief period they picked up on the Dutch culture.  I can tell you're still not buying it.  OK, YOU find me some other Separatist children games then!!)

 We pulled molasses taffy as well.  My astute readers will respond with, "Oh, but excuse me, Madd.  Molasses taffy is an early 1800 activity!"  Once again, find me some Separatist candy recipes and I'll gladly whip them up!  Sheesh....
 They DID dip candles.  Perhaps not 3 at a time using birthday candles as a base and clothespins, but candles nevertheless.  Furthermore, you find me a jollier candle dipper, and I'll eat my Squanto!
Meanwhile back at the apothecary, Mr. Hadd helps students conjure up herbal salves.  Kindly ignore that pile of unsightly debris.  On this particular day our attic dormer was under construction.

I have it on good authority that one student (who had his head repeatedly stepped on while on the trampoline) rubbed this calendula salve on his forehead on the resulting goose egg resulting in a miraculous healing!!
Of course, no good activity I plan outside can take place without high winds, blinding rain, and life-altering hail.  This one was no exception.  While some of the 50 crowded shivering and dripping on my grammy flower porch, the more sporting played football while we waited for the bus.  And as the sun slowly set on this fieldtrip, we all called it a smashing success--albeit only semi-historically factual.
A hearty Miles Standish shoutout to breadmakers and mother helpers!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This 'n That about One Thing and the T'uther

In an age where it may appear even fashionable to give up blogging, I appear to have followed suit.  Au contraire!  I am pleading "the Fifth" or actually "the Fifth Grade"!  My world has resembled Upside Downton Abbey since the end of August, but I am coming up to speed.  Here's a quick recap:
  • first day Smithsonian Lifesaver racing cars 
  • class/family cook-out
  • chocolate fountain/Monster's Inc. Friday night incentive party
  • knitting instruction!  This warms my heart to see my boys particularly taken by it! Thanks to my knitting group, In Stitches, who furnished all the needles and yarn!
  • Tom Sawyer as our first readaloud
  • Class jobs and funny money monetary reward system
  • weekly spelling bees in which my students absolutely REVEL!  Go figure! 
  • Carry overs from middle school--"What's in the Hat?"; "BACON!!!--we are learning our states' capitals with this crazy game--ALWAYS a mega-hit"; "Tortuga" which is really a carry over from Mr. Munk back in the 60's; Tickets; Skippy and Prince Charming; Farkel; and Grammar Rock and of course--Happy Pants!!
  • fieldtrip to Grand Teton National Park
  • red and green ukuleles!  Stay tuned for our part in the Christmas program!
  • Go Math--common core--I'm wondering if anyone has drawn the same conclusion that I have:  We throw the apple core away, right?  Apples--oldest symbol we have for education...Quickest route I've seen to absolutely de-fun the system.
Other news on the homefront:
  • Paco Minnesota-ed for a few weeks.  Mugsy moped, and I limped by.
  • We're in an attic renovation.  I'm leaving that up to the reader's imagination, but remember that bats have inhabited that attic for a long long long time...
  • I'm getting fit!
I'll post some pictures soon.  Bring your hazmat suit and a mask and come on out to the renovation!  All the guano you can carry away!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


You knew that if you waited long enough, inevitably, I would be in an insomniac state (cue giggling among some followers--of which I have about 4, so I probably ought to just name names).  Oftentimes these wee-in-the-morning posts yield soul searchings or true confessions or even pictures of trash composters.  I'm certainly not in control of them!  A cold has me up.  One of those laryngitis kind where you feel like something large and zoo-like is parked on your chest.  And your breathing takes on a Star Wars villain quality.  Other than that, I'm quite spry.  I take that back.  I have a bunch of stuff on my brain that knocks me out of the spry running.  People who spend 18 hours a day occupied in their job cannot claim any part or portion of balance that would qualify them to boast any part of spry.  Right about now I'm asking myself the following:  Why did I change grades?  Why did I succumb to a lifeless lifelist of pursuits?  Have I learned anything about education in the last 30 years?  What part of my fifth graders' education can I salvage?  Is ANYBODY going to rise up and point out the sheer NAKEDNESS of the emperor??  How much more can we tamper with kids and remain out of the clutches of any sort of legal system?  Better yet, does anybody care...?
I have many questions.  No answers.  And there I will stop.  There stoppeth I.  She halts.  She's mute.  She's clammed up.  No more.  Nada.
The rest is topic for a roadtrip.  Call me if you're up for it.
  • Paco is right in the middle of his annual fall canning frenzy.  I'm fully expecting to come home to a jar of ex-Mugsy parts on the counter--canning gone terribly wrong.
  • Snow.  Tomorrow.  In high places.  Like Brrrrrrrrrr Lake.
  • How many months after someone passes do you stop reaching for the phone to call them?  sheesh...
  • A big big surprise is arriving in the mail for my 5th graders tomorrow.  They have no clue.
  • We had payday at school today. Everyone earns $2 a week for jobs performed.  My banker is very very good at his job.  He suggested today that we give some raises.  I was thinking more along the lines of a fake hurricane victims' fund.  They're all socking money away for a pre-Christmas silent auction.  I may rock their boats just a little along the way. mwahhhh...
  • I wonder at what point my Mucinex is going to take over.
  • Fire drill tomorrow at 10:10.  First and only place I've ever received an invitation to a firedrill!  They've taken all the spunk out of it! 
  • I have a student who has been doing class pet research.  She's found a couple of hedgehogs in Illinois that she assures me will meet us halfway.  Ah, the optimism of youth.  A couple of geography lessons will shake that right out of her unfortunately.
  • Paco shows up every Monday as Monseur Hadd complete with a French beret, French children's songs, and bon bons.  Today he brought a recipe from Ratatoullie for a French cake that needed to be reduced to 1/6th its size.  I sit in the back.
  • I don't want to talk about my Subaru.
  • Christmas Eve is 3 months away.
  • I had to google how many weeks in a year today.
Fading.  I love me some good legal drugs.... 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Do I Look Like I'm Going to Throw Up??"

My life is one continual battle to keep my camera and cellphone within reaching distance.  More often than not one or the other or both are AWOL.  Currently I can tell you exactly where my cell phone is (although it's probably dead), but my camera is still lounging by the pool in CA.  One out of two...that's what I can manage. All of the nifty comings and goings in my new 5th grade class remain basically, therefore, a blank mystery.  That is a dismal shame.  I did, however, hijack another camera for our recent trip to Grand Teton National Park.  I remain cautiously optimistic that my camera will come home to roost AND that my phone will remain tethered to me THUS enabling me to communicate AND blog!
 In spite of the astronomical "exise" the great state of Idaho puts on fieldtrips, this one came off.  Call it planet alignment...
 We huddled on a bus eating our lunches and awaiting a break in the clouds.  Then things got frisky.
 "Look at us!  We're not in school!!!"
 This guy looks like a giant bumblebee, doesn't he?  Sometimes MY planets align, and I get the honor of siblings.  This kid's sister was awarded my Happy Pants award last year.  Lucky lucky me.

These dumpsters may be bear proof, but they were NOT 5th grader proof!
Bless mothers who volunteer for fieldtrips.  This one poses with an "adopted" kid while hers opts out of EVERY picture. 

Good cute little friends.
On the trail!

This was a potty break--apparently WAAAAAY out of some kids' comfort zones, but hey...
57 of us.

Two very very talented young women!  Look for them in about 7 years!!!!
The little friend on the right gets credit for the title of this post.  She seems to be on the upswing in this picture, but she was always on the verge of losing her lunch.  Good sport.  I kept her in Juicy Fruit, water to sip, and a big old black bag on the bus.

Can you spell H-A-N-D-S-O-M-E?
 About a month ago the kid on the right accompanied Paco and me and a few other friends on a trip down the Snake River.  He's a good egg!

Our good weather Karma exits stage left, the storm clouds gather, and...
the HAIL descends!!!!!  "What cannot be described must be experienced."  (Smithsonian Magazine, sometime, somewhere)  But these mothers' faces tell it all!  Thanks for the grand adventure everyone!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

WARNING!! This Post Contains 61 Pictures!!

I apologize that those of you who knew Iceland was yet to come have been waiting and waiting while getting ready for school and surviving the first few weeks of school took center stage.  Not to worry.  Here's Iceland!!!!  This is our hostel in Rejykavik.  The owner was a pleasant chap who spent his college years in a horticultural college somewhere in the U.S. 

Not a housing for the space shuttle.  This is a Christian church--quite the edifice.  Apparently it was originally built quite shabbily and had to be re-constructed.  It had a decided sci fi aura to it.

"You know you're in Iceland when Leif Ericsson takes center stage in multiple locations.  No one appreciates him like the Icelandic.  He's their "Christopher Columbus".

See what I mean about the church?????

Ahhhh.....friendly turf....(breathe deeply...)

Lopi sweaters by the thousands.

And of course, when you're tired of knitting sweaters and hats, you can cover a pole!

A walk around the nation's capital.  Rejkyavik (I intend to spell it differently each time I write it) would probably remind me of Anchorage--if I'd ever been to Anchorage.

This little doll modeled her sweater perfectly for me bringing my number of kids with ice cream cones count to 2.

Carved wooden pigs in a backyard--the fence is painted sky blue. 

Window shots...bleah...

I saw this photograph in a curio shoppe.  THESE are the sheep that produce Lopi wool up to their necks in snow!!!!!!

Charming yard into which I peered.

Typical dwelling.

In case you forget how to tie a tie????

These French hikers shared our hostel.  Who knew Iceland was a favored hiking destination???

We hopped on a tour bus for a day trip.  First stop was this guy's greenhouse--cooled and heated by natural springs.  Here he's holding a box of bees--imported.


Greenhouse guy's fam. I think they make up about 10% of the country's population...not really, but almost.

Headed for geysers.  A big big deal in Iceland.

Impressive waterfall!!!!!

I stalked this couple, or rather their sweaters, for longer than I dare admit, to get a good picture.

Think Old Faithful on a sluggish bad hair day.

Now, this German woman had been planning her whole life to come to....wait for it....Iceland!  Her husband gave her the trip one Christmas and then promptly died.  These two strapping sons finally brought Mom on the trip of her lifetime---3 weeks worth of geysers, lobster, and....sightseeing, I guess.  We obviously needed to hop in a car and really give Iceland our full attention! 

I'm a sucker for knitted hats.

This place has some outlandishly unpronouncable name.  It is a UNESCO preserved sight as well.  Ancient Icelanders gathered here to powwow and are credited with one of the oldest democratic exhibitions in the history of ancient man.  I sooooooooo am not giving it the homage that our tour guide did.

I can picture tribes camped here sending delegates to the council fire.

A remnant of a council hut.

Here you go!!  Think scout jamboree/family reunion/hunting weekend perhaps!

A passing tour group guide in native costume.

Such a nifty Icelandic Lopi sweater with a HOOD!!!  These folks wear sweaters EVERY day in the summer!  I KNOW!!!...the dark underbelly of Iceland...mwahhhh...

This guy is clapping because he must have been predicting that THIS would be the last photo of our trip!!!!  And he was correctamundo!!!!  We did it...whew...that was quite  a blogger ride, no?

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley