Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: My Grandchildren!

I know you're shocked that I would use a Wordless Wednesday to share pictures of my grandchildren, but here they are. These are all from a recent trip to California by my Georgia grandchildren, The Model and Number 6.

The Athlete, The Model, Miss Sunshine, and Number 6

The Monster and The Princess

Miss Sunshine and Number 6

The Athlete and The Model

The Princess and The Model


The Monster, The Princess, and The Model


Okay, this is where you leave a comment telling me how adorable my grandchildren are! Thanks.

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Monday, August 4, 2014




Win $500 in zulily's Back To School Giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

There is nothing better than getting all of your back-to-school shopping done in one place…unless you can get it done AND paid for! Enter to win the zulily Back To School Giveway where both you and I can each win $500 in zulily credits! While you're back-to-school shopping on zulily.com from 8/4 - 8/11, pick out your favorite item (apparel, shoes, accessories, gear and more) and post a link to that item in the comments section below. zulily will announce their winner on 8/12, and if we win, I'll announce who my winner is on 8/13! Thanks zulily for making the task of back-to-school shopping fun!

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Celebrate Your Mom with zulily


 

Celebrate Your Mom with zulily

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.



 Is your mom a hero, a great cook, an inspiration, your best friend... or something else equally as special? Every mom is one of a kind. zulily wants to hear about yours. This Mother's Day, zulily is celebrating moms by asking kids (big and small) to share photos answering the prompt “My Mom Is _____.” The photos will be displayed in a gallery for the world to view at http://www.zulily.com/mymomis.

To participate, visit the zulily #MyMomIs webpage, download zulily’s sign or create your own, snap a picture with the sign and share the photo via social media by tagging #MyMomIs or uploading the photo directly to the gallery.

And to learn more about zulily and shop for the hottest trends for moms of all ages and their kids go to http://www.zulily.com.



My mom is my rock!   What will you say about your mom? Leave a comment, then head over to zulily to upload your picture!


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Saturday, May 3, 2014

DIY Filing Cabinet Makeover

Guess what, y'all! I went and got crafty! I know! Who would have thought?

Well, my foray into craftiness was brought about by necessity. See, the teacher who was in my classroom before me left me 3 filing cabinets when he retired. Apparently his filing system included using a sharpie on the outside of the cabinets themselves.

Filing-cabinet-before
 
It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do with the cabinets, but I knew I wanted to do something. Whatever I did had to be fairly simple because I needed to work on it during the school day between classes and during lunch. I couldn't take the cabinets apart because they were already full, and there was no room in the classroom to conveniently store the contents while I worked on them. Also, it needed to be cheap. If I'm going to spend a lot of money in my classroom, it needs to be for something that will directly benefit my students -- books for example.

At first, I tried using decorative scrapbooking paper, but that tore too easily. Then I hit on the idea of colorful duct tape. I was able to do one drawer at a time without leaving a big mess for the kids to get into to. It was easy enough for uncrafty me to do and still looks good. Here are some pictures in progress and finished.







I used a variety of patterns of Duck brand duct tape plus a washi tape trim to make it look tidy and finished.

I'm really happy with the way it turned out. It adds quite a bit to the classroom. 

What projects have you done with the decorative duct tape?




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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If You Give a Teen a Book


Title-If-you-give-a-teen-a-book

Reading is magic. Reading transports us from our humdrum, everyday life to places we’ve never been before: some places that we long to visit and other  places that exist only in the fairy castles of our imaginations. In the reading of nonfiction, knowledge miraculously jumps from the mind of the author into our waiting crania.

W. Somerset Maugham said, “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” Sadly, some of the people most in need of this refuge never develop that habit.

Here at Commonplace Crazy I sometimes often generally grouse about my students and their lack of study habits and their atrocious behavior. I trust that my readers understand that this is not because I don’t care about my students. It’s precisely because I do care about the children entrusted to my care that I find the difficulties in teaching them to be so exasperating.

One of my greatest areas of dismay is getting them to develop a habit of reading. I know that if I could just find the right book, I could hook Antonio so that he wouldn’t fall asleep on the second page of every book. Antonio’s problem is not a lack of ability; it’s a lack of interest. No one has shown him the right book that will unlock its magic for him, turning him into a lifelong reader.

So why don’t I just show Antonio the right book, along with Destiny, Gurpreet, Levi, Chelsea, and Alyssa? Because it takes searching through piles of books to find just the right book for each child, and access to books is a problem.

I teach in a school with 1300 students. Our library was built when the student population was much smaller, and it struggles just to have enough books for each student check one out. Due to budget cuts, many of our books are old and not relevant to today’s student.

Over the years I have used my own money to keep my classroom library full, but students lose books, or the books just wear out. Right now, my library looks like this. 


bookcase


The books on the top shelf are what I have available for my students to check out. This after I have spent several hundred dollars in the last two months.

On top of everything else, our school library has already closed for the year due to various causes. This row of books is the only resource many of my students have now. This has to serve as literary food for my gluttonous readers as well as those who don’t know they’re starving to death.

By now I’m hoping some of you are wondering how you can help. If you’re not already wondering, I’m begging you to please consider helping. Here’s how.

I have set up a wishlist at Amazon. If you could purchase just one book from the list for my classroom, my students and I would greatly appreciate it. Just follow this link to make your purchase, and the book will come directly to me. You don’t even have to worry about a trip to the post office!

The link is:
http://www.amazon.com/registry/giftlist/HYHV6UM1MAJX

Thank you from Mrs. Meents and her junior high students.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

An Easter Recap

The weather was glorious Easter Sunday, and the company was perfect. We started the day, just as we do every Sunday, by celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord. As always, the worship service was uplifting.

After worship, we all assembled at my mama's house for a wonderful dinner. There was ham, potato salad, fruit salad, broccoli salad, and green salad, along with hot, delicious bread. For dessert we had strawberry shortcake. To celebrate the Hillbilly's birthday, we had the teeniest cake I had ever seen.

birthday-cake

Of course we had an Easter egg hunt for the grandchildren. Miss Sunshine didn't gather as many eggs as she could have because every time she found a plastic egg, she had to open it and eat the candy before searching for another egg.

Miss Sunshine with a slightly chocolate face
Easter-egg-hunt




The girls all looked lovely in their Easter best.
Easter-egg-hunt
The Athlete, Miss Sunshine, and The Princess
And The Monster posed for pictures too.
Making-faces

This reminds me of my brother. There's not one picture of him from age 3 to 18 where he's not making a face.

Every year on Easter we take family pictures in my mother's beautiful garden.

grandparents-with-grandchildren
The Hillbilly and I with our little gang





My mama and her girls
We were missing two of our grandchildren, The New One and The Model
Easter-funny-face-painting
We wish they could have been with us!


Once all of the formalities were over, the children were left to their own devices. They chose to hunt snails in the garden. They found plenty. Then The Athlete decided to invite one out to play. As in she tried to pull it out of its shell. Forcefully.

I'll just leave you with that little image to occupy your mind until my next blog post.

How was your Easter? What funny things did the children do? Leave a comment!



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Monday, April 7, 2014

A Toddler in the Tub

There's not much cuter than a toddler in the bathtub; I'm sure you'd agree. Here's one now!
Sesame Street Bathtub Bumper

That particular toddler happens to be my second granddaughter, The Model, in an ad for the Sesame Street Bath Tub Bumper, available at Amazon (affiliate link above).

Toddlers in the tub are adorable with their cheery smiles, their playful giggles, their hair full of bubbles...their noisy splashes, the water everywhere except in the tub. Well, Grandma still thinks they're cute!

If you think water all over the bathroom is not the cutest thing in the world, then you need this latest gizmo of which I've recently become aware! It's the Tubby Table bathtub toy.



This nifty bathtub table let's your child play in the tub while increasing the likelihood that the water will stay in the tub where it belongs! You know how little ones play, running their toys along the edge of the tub, especially boys like my grandson, The Monster, who turns any toy into a car to be driven along the most convenient road.

I recently received a Tubby Table to try, so I invited The Monster over to give it a trial run. Here's what happened: 

















      



 All in all, the Tubby Table was a huge success. The water stayed in the tub, and The Monster had fun. In fact, every time he comes over now, he wants to take a bath!

The Tubby Table engages children ages one & up with 5 multi-colored, numbered and shaped cups, and a surface to play on for hours of endless fun. The table is height-adjustable to grow with your little one. The Tubby Table sells on the website (tubbytabletoys.com) for $39.99 (including shipping), and on Amazon for $29.99 + $10.00 shipping.

I assembled the Tubby Table myself, and it went together easily. 

 Tubby Table is currently hosting a Facebook sweeps (through 4/20) and giving away an $80 Amazon gift card—the perfect amount to purchase two Tubby Tables! You can enter here: https://www.facebook.com/TubbyTable/app_194975693850063


( I received a free Tubby Table for review. All opinions are my own.)



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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Think I'll Be an Expert

As I look around the Internet, I see a  lot of sites about a lot of topics, all written by experts in their fields. Now, I don't know how these experts got to be experts, or who declared them experts, but I'm sure they are because they sound so experty. They speak with authority and confidence.

I've decided that I can be an expert too. In fact, I'm not satisfied with being an expert in only one area. I can be an expert in multiple fields; I just need to write with that tone of expertiness.

Let me share some of my expert advice:

Parenting

Don't kill them if you want to have grandchildren someday. I assure you, as an expert grandparent myself, that grandchildren are worth all the trouble of keeping your kids alive.
Walking the floor with a fussy slobbery granddaughter, and loving it!

Blog Design

You're going to want to include lots of things on your website, and that's good. You should include things like a header, some social networking icons, a link for readers to subscribe, links to popular posts, a way for readers to contact you, a link to your other pages, and hopefully some advertising. Just don't forget to leave some room for your actual blog posts. That's pretty important for a blog.

Job Seeking

Job is right between Esther and Psalms.

Cooking

Okay, I'm going to tell you how to make my mom's Enchilada Casserole. Sorry there's no picture, but I haven't had a need to cook this much food in a while. You all know this is not a cooking blog, but I am an expert cook. So let's get started. Here's how you get ready:
  1. Chop up an onion and a bell pepper
  2. Grate some cheddar cheese, oh about a pound. More or less.
  3. Brown a pound of ground beef and season it with some chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (or use fresh garlic). Drain.
Now add a half a bottle of taco sauce and 2-3 small cans of tomato sauce to the ground beef. Stir in the chopped bell pepper. Heat that all up until it's warm.

Now go find your 9x13" casserole dish. Also find some corn tortillas. They probably shouldn't be in the same place, but I don't know you very well, so whatever. I won't judge.

In the dish make layers like this:
  • Tortillas
  • Sauce
  • Onion
  • Cheese
Keep making layers until you're out of ingredients. I don't mean all the ingredients in your kitchen; that would just be silly. The ingredients in this recipe will do just fine.

Now you take your dish full of ingredients, cover it with foil, and put it into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take it out and serve it with some stuff like a salad, some corn, and a nice loaf of sourdough bread.

Let the kids do the dishes. It won't kill them. Now how's that for a full circle of expertiness?



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Thursday, March 6, 2014

No Bake Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

I can't believe I missed it! March 1 was National Peanut Butter Day, and I didn't know it until now! I hate missing such an important date. It's like missing my own birthday (which is coming up on March 19 if you wanted to send small monetary gifts). 


By Alex Buell (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

According to Wikipedia, the history of peanut butter goes back to the Aztecs. Chalk another one up to the Aztecs who also brought us chocolate. Just think, if not for the Aztecs, we wouldn't have Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! I think we need a National Thank an Aztec Day!

Anyway, in light having missed National Peanut Butter Day, I want to share my favorite peanut butter recipe. I don't know where it came from or where my mom got it, but it's been in the family since my early teens. It's so easy that I was able to make it way back then. It's so yummy that nobody can eat just one. You may have made them yourself, in which case you know I'm telling the truth!


I'm talking about the peanut buttery goodness of No Bake Surprise Cookies! You heard me! NO BAKE! You don't need a cookie sheet; you just need a sauce pan. So with no further ado, let me share that recipe.

Bear in mind, this is not a cooking blog, as I have mentioned before. So you'll have to bear with me because I have to do this my own way.

Let's start by getting out that sauce pan. While you're at it, get out:
3 cups of oatmeal (I guess the one-minute kind is what we've always used.)
3/4 cup of peanut butter (We prefer creamy, but I don't suppose chunky would hurt anything if you really insist.)
1 cube butter (That's 1/2 cup just in case your cubes are different where you're from. Also, use real butter, not that runny margarine. Real Butter!)
1/2 cup milk (Whatever kind you have in the house is fine. We use 2%, but whatever.)
2 cups sugar (I said delicious, not low-cal.)
1 tsp vanilla (I have no comment on vanilla. It's just so...vanilla!)
1/2 cup cocoa (optional) (I've made it with and without, and it's really yummy either way. Go with your heart on this one.)

Now here are your directions:
1. Bring butter, milk, and sugar to a rolling boil in your sauce pan. (Where else?)
2. Boil 1 minute and remove from heat.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients (oatmeal, peanut butter, vanilla, and cocoa).
4. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper, and allow to cool. 

Delicious peanut buttery yumminess with chocolatey goodness!

  Dig in, but don't overindulge because...well, okay. Overindulge. Save some for the kids though. Because that's just the nice thing to do.


Have you ever eaten these before? Aren't they the yummiest? What's your favorite peanut butter recipe?

Oh, and happy belated National Peanut Butter Day.


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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Games We Play

 English Class Pop Quiz: What's wrong with this sentence?
When you've paid all that money for a weeks’ vacation, you don’t want to spend two or three days recovering from jet lag.

It seems that most couples have their own private games they play. I don't mean those games. I mean the games that somehow got invented during the relationship and are unique to this particular couple. The Hillbilly and I have our own favorite pastime called Guess What Word I'm Thinking Of. The Hillbilly gives me clues, and if I can guess, I win. We play it A LOT!

Hillbilly: Do you have a bottle of that stuff?
Me: I have lots of bottles. Which bottle?
He rubs his fingers together on one hand.
Me: Lotion? Hand Sanitizer?
Hillbilly: Hand sanitizer.
I WIN!

Now understand that the game is never announced. It just begins with no warning.

Hillbilly: You know that singer from Oklahoma?
Me: Blake Shelton?
Hillbilly: Yeah. He did a duet with the gal from Missouri.
Me: Sara Evans?
Hillbilly: Yeah.
I WIN!  Now the only reason I know those two is because that's how The Hillbilly always describes them.

Hillbilly: He reminds me of the guy from that one show. The show with the cops and the lawyers.
Me: Umm...
Hillbilly: It has SVU.
Me: Umm...Oh! Law and Order!
Hillbilly: Yeah, that's it.
I WIN!    

And this:
Hillbilly: You know those little animals? They're like possums on the half shell.
 Me: ???
Hillbilly: They get run over all the time.
Me: ???
Hillbilly: ....Armadillos! That's it.
Me: ...POSSUMS ON THE HALF SHELL??
Sorry. There was no way I was winning that one.



So do you and your family play this one? What's the craziest description you ever got? I'll bet you can't beat possums on the half shell.




Pop Quiz Answer: Weeks' should be week's. We're only talking about one week and the vacation that belongs to it. If the apostrophe comes after the s, it indicates that the noun is plural. We discussed this in a previous post.



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Monday, February 17, 2014

Memorize This!

Stasha over at Northwest Mommy runs a nice little weekly link-up called The Monday Listicles (It's a list. It's an article. It's a listicle!). This week's list is 10 things I've memorized.

I've memorized lots of things, some interesting, some not. Some of them were memorized when I was young, some more recently. Some of the early ones I still remember, but others I've forgotten.  Let's take a look, shall we? Well, of course we shall, or else I don't have anything to blog about this week. Here we go:

1. Countless phone numbers. Interestingly, with speed dial on our cell phones, it's been years since I've actually memorized a phone number. Like most people, I'd be lost if my cell phone died. I don't even know my daughter's phone number! What was the most recent phone number you actually memorized?

2. The address of the house I lived in until I was twelve: 313 N. Cooper Dr., Santa Ana, CA. 92703. Yes, I even remember the zip of the house we left 42 years ago!

3. Those countless little things we all memorize: addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, my ex-husband's girlfriends' names. You know. The routine stuff. 


4. When I was very little, I went to Vacation Bible School one summer. We memorized, "Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

5. We also memorized "Even the winds and the sea obey him." I didn't remember where that was located, so I looked it up. Mark 4:41

6.My high school locker combination: 10-34-4

7. This list of helping verbs: is am are was were be being been should would could may might must do does did have has had can will shall
Source
 
8. In the sixth grade we had to memorize two poems. One was 
"El Dorado" by Edgar Allan Poe. I still remember the first stanza:
          
          Gaily bedight
          A gallant knight
          In sunshine and in shadow
          Had journeyed long
          Singing a song
          In search of El Dorado

You can find the rest of the poem at this link


9. The second poem was "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll. I still remember most of it. Let's give it a try and see how I do. I'll write it from memory and then make corrections in red.
 
Drawing by Lewis Carroll




'Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogroves
And the momeraths, outgrabe. 

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son.
The jaws that bite! The claws that snatch!
Beware the jub jub bird and shun  
The fumeous Bandersnatch." 

He took his vorple sword in hand  
Long time the manxome foe he sought
Then So rested he by the tum tum tree
And stood a while in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood
The jabberwock with eyes of flame
Came whiffling through the tulgy wood
And gurgled  burbled as he it came.

One two! One two! and through and through
His vorple sword went snicker-snack.
He left him it dead, and with his its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day!   Caloo, calay!"
He chortled in his joy. 

'Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogroves
And the momewraths, outgrabe.
 
Except for misspelling a lot of the nonsense words, I did pretty well. You can check it out hereWhat did you have to memorize for school?


10. Sometime in college I tried to memorize Shakespeare's 18th sonnet. I didn't do so well. All I ever remembered (and still remember) is this:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Stan Shebs [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

It's really a beautiful sonnet. Be sure to read the whole thing.

So that's it for me. What interesting things have you memorized?


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