Wednesday, July 23, 2014

good fishing

This picture wins for sure for best facial expression.   I think I'll use it at school for an inference lesson.  You can't see what is in the towel but you can sure use clues from the picture to tell. 

Hubby's parents have gotten a little place in town to stay part-time.  With me working and hubby traveling some, and both kids playing sports, it's going to be nice to have an extra set of hands, or two, with the kids from time to time.  

Their community has a few lakes and one is right behind their building.  

And the fishing is good!  We caught blue gill, sun fish, and bass.
I'm sure the fish will catch on, but it was one of those times when you throw your line out and pull one in, and repeat.

We fished maybe 45 minutes this evening and each fisherman caught 5-6 fish.

Lou has decided we should just keep our poles in the car so whenever we get the itch to fish, we're ready to go.  Good idea buddy. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

summer visits

The poor 'ol blog has been mostly pictures of my kids doing summer things and what we have going on here (except for the pencil sharpener giveaway), but school will start soon enough. 

So, it's more family summerness for today.  The kids and I got the chance to go visit my dad for a few days.  It was a little chilly for July but we spent most of the time on the lake, which is the kids favorite. 

especially when they get to drive the boat!  (driving in 2012- Lou with his curls)

Tippy joined us too.  Have you ever seen a happier dog?  He apparently is a farm dog and a lake dog.

Look at that sweet guy, he seems to be saying thank you.  I can't believe we ever considered not keeping him, he's been a perfect dog for our family.

 The first day was so late in the evening we just went for a 'cruise,' as the kids call it.
Bee loves the water.  She talks about moving back to Florida as soon as she has a choice.  I just hope she takes me with her. 

This photo of Lou and my dad is my favorite from the boat.  Both of the boys look so natural and at ease.  It's good to see Lou at ease. 
We got to ride in the convertible, which is a treat for all of us.  Bee and Lou had my poor dad pull over a dozen times, "Can you put the top up, it's too windy?"  "Can you put the top down, we want to feel the air?" Repeat.

I forgot to collect electronics.  That silly boy may have a small addiction to electronic devices. 

Once he was forced to put the device away, Lou enjoyed the convertible best of all.  Don't worry dad, I'm at a red light.   (I'm wearing a cardigan in July!)  Look at that face, I'm pretty sure we will have to keep an eye on that one.

My dentist office has this event this summer where you travel around with a paper 'fan' of one of the dentist and take your picture with him doing fun things.  We don't know what the prize is, but the kids and I sort of want to win.  It's almost embarrassing how many photos we took with Dr. Adam. 

He also joined us at a petting zoo where he was almost eaten by a goat and rode a donkey. 

On the second day we tried to avoid getting in the water by just canoeing, but Lou and I ended up in the lake anyway.  We both lost our shoes too.  The water was fine, but air once you got out was brutal.  On the third day it was finally warm enough to get into the water.  The kids and I tubed.  I did lots of tubing since they both wanted to ride with me.  Bee tried on her own for just a few minutes.  She hardly weighed enough to keep the tube going correct and I had to get back on. 
On the way home, we stopped by my sister's.  Because Tippy is apparently a farm dog and a lake dog and a woods dog. 

We did some fishing.  Bee and my sister both caught fish, but nothing happened for the boys.  There was also a crawdad who wanted a worm.

 We were supposed to go to a park and zoo the next day, but we picnicked by the river for lunch (because there were some 'uncertain people' by the picnic area and the kids (and sister's boyfriend's kid brother) played in the sand and dirt for the afternoon instead. 

Then we drove home.  The house smelled awful when we got back.  Hubby had been out of town for work all week and the kids and I were gone most of the week traveling.  I guess I left something in the garbage disposal.  We had the plumber in through the week doing some work in the bathroom and the gal that watches the cats was in some too.  They probably think we're just gross now.  It was foul.  the cat girl even sent me a text that said, "I took out your trash."  Nice, she smelled it too.  Too bad it wasn't the trash.   Lesson learned- check disposals before leaving. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

the pencil sharpener of all pencil sharpeners! GIVEAWAY!

From the Hive-  Giveaway!  Ends August 4!

I've written about the best pencil sharpener before, and you'll hear about it again today.  But today, I get to give one of these bad boys away!  I have two (red and greed) and will never spend money on another type of sharpener!  It took 9 years of burnt out motors, clogged and jammed machines, noisy-beast fails, but I've found the solution. 

This great sharpener I'm talking about it from Classroom Friendly Supplies.  If you're a teacher, you know the struggles we face with pencil and sharpeners.  It's ridiculous.  Like, seriously it leaves you scratching your head.... or banging it on the wall.  Even if you are not dealing with 50 pencils a day that need sharpened, this is a great piece for you to add to your homework desk area or home office.  

Here are my requirements for a good sharpener.   1. quiet    2. clean   3. must last the whole year (longer would be a plus)    4. doesn't cost a fortune (cause you know I'm paying myself!)    5. doesn't clog and fuss at us, especially while I'm trying to teach!    6.  actually sharpens the pencils    7. easy to take apart and fix when some lovely child tries to sharpen their pen or their eraser end of their pencil or something equally as brainy.     Wouldn't you know if this one meets every requirement!   Even my former preschoolers were able to sharpen their pencils!

I've shown several teacher friends my sharpener and now many have their own.  I've given them as teacher gifts from my kids and have even taken it to show other mom friends on the playground (cause I'm seriously that cool).   The sweet teacher next to me last year even came over and borrowed mine afterschool everyday, after she saw my sharpener but before hers came in the mail. 

This year I ordered new blades, which is a feature I've never seen from a company that sells pencil sharpeners.  Both of my sharpeners are two years old and have sharpened at least 30 pencils a day through two past school years.  They still are going strong, but I felt like they earned some new blades. 

If my opinion isn't good enough, check out this end of the year writing from one of my students.  I asked them to write about third grade, what they will miss, the good, the bad, and everything in between.  This little friend said, "I would also miss that pencil sharpener by the door in my room.  It is very easy to sharpen pencils with."  Out of the mouth of babes. 

I give my third graders a little demonstration a the start of the school year although there is even a video on the website.  It's different from every other sharpener the kids have used.  I go over a few of my personal rules  1. only the pencil sharpener person may dump the shavings  (they all love to dump and it makes a lovely excuse to be out of your seat)  2. no colored pencils (I feel like the wax creates an issue), no pens, no erasers, no metal ends of pencils   3.  No pencils under 3 inches (personal pet peeve).  Of course we have other procedures (do all kids need micro managed like this?)  about when you can sharpen, how many pencils you can take up at a time, how any kids can be in line at a time.  Honestly, it's so quiet and nonintrusive I really don't care when they sharpen as long as it's not during instructional or some type of sharing time.

Ok, here's how to win: 
1.  Follow them on their facebook page. MUST DO TO ENTER
2.  Leave me a comment telling me that you followed them and what color you like best. (see colors here)  I have red and green and love them both!    Be sure to leave me an email address to contact you, should you be the lucky duck chosen. 

Additional entries:
1.  twitter:  tweet about this giveaway or this pencil sharpener.  Whatever works for you.   Leave an additional comment telling me you have  #classroomfriendlysupplies  
2.  facebook:  do one or both of the following-  leave them a comment on their facebook page or repost or share this giveaway on your facebook page.   Leave me an additional comment saying that you did so.
3. pinterst: pin a photo from this giveaway or one from their website.  Leave me a comment saying you did so.

Rules and such:
1.  US shipping addresses only- sorry my international friends. 
2.  Giveaway ends August 4th (2014) because that's my first day back at school (seriously)
3.  The selection of the winner will be random. 

What if t's not winner winner chicken dinner day for you?  Or you need extra parts? Or more for friends? They have also created a special 5% off discount code that you can use when checking out of the online store. F7Y39  This code expires on Sep 5.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

And then all of a sudden, she turned nine!

That Bee of ours went and turned nine.  That's like, old.
She wanted a slumber party.  She got it, but it might not happened again for some time.  I was up with the giggling girls until at least 3 am. 
I think it's almost more tiring to sleep for 10 minute increments just to be woken again, than to just stay up. 
Her birthday wish list had grown up things on it, not a single toy.  She wants clothes and electronics and gift cards and her room to be redone.  She wanted the 'little girl' feel out of there and a 'modern feel' to take over.  She got it-  I'll have to see if she'll post pictures on her blog of that!

Bee wanted Smores, although we had already had plenty of sweets.  She wanted cream cheese squares and strawberry shortcake cupcakes along with chips and  Papa Johns Pizza. 

They swam and then opened presents in the tent.  I had hoped for them to swim a good deal longer, but they were really pushing the activities along.  Since this was a 'no stress' party for me, I planned little.  The theme for both kids parties this year was 'no stress for mama'.  Most food and treats were prepared ahead of time and all the activities were simple and mostly kid play.  I've certainly done parties with gobs of detail, this was not that.

They watched Soul Surfer and then set off paper lanterns.  I love paper lanterns.  And then we almost set two neighbor's roofs on fire.  Take note, I will not be doing paper sky lanterns again.   I scurried for a garden hose and hubby ran for a ladder.  We managed, but it was a little hairy for a moment. 

The girls had planned to sleep in the tent, but a noise early on scared them into the house.  The good news is the girls finally fell asleep, I finally fell asleep, a few girls brushed their teeth and  no one had a roof fire.   Always signs of a successfully party I guess.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Merango Cave

Our next day trip took us to Marengo cave in Marengo, IN.   I'd never been in a cave and was the most excited of any of us to go.  Marengo cave is one of the most decorated caves in the United States, said the sign.  I didn't have anything to compare it to, so it was pretty decorated.

It was 52 degrees in the cave.  It was in the 90s out, so it felt wonderful!  Plus we learned a lot about cave formations.  In this picture, we have a collection of stalagmites, stalactites, soda straws, columns and a curtain.

Our guide was super informative and had some cave jokes that kept the tour lively.  There were two tour options and we took the one mile, one hour tour.  We will come back and do the shorter tour next time because they cover different areas of the cave.   It was an easy walk and none of us felt claustrophobic or closed in at all.  It was extremely dark, of course, but there were enough lights along the way so we could see where we were going and see the cave structures that our guide pointed out.  At one point, he turned out all the artificial light and we were in the most absolute darkness. 

This cave was discovered in 1883 and was immediately open for public tours. It has been used in many capacitates over the years, a church, concert hall, wedding location, boy scout campground, refrigerator, and ganster hide out.  We don't really know about the gansters, but I figure as much.

There was a neat mining experience for the kids.  You bought a bag of sand at the gift shop and took it out to the mining trough and washed away the sand. 

Bee was left with gemstones and Lou was left with arrowheads.

Then he went back and bought another bag using his own money.   Four arrowheads is great, but ten is better.

What another great day trip!  Now it's back to regular days.  The grocery store is calling my name.... and the laundry... and the garden.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

new harmony, Indina

I usually am vague about specific locations we visit, except today I'm not.  It was a little but of a drive for us, so I'm just putting it out there.  The fam and I found ourselves with a few vacation days for hubby and no real plans.  We had some plans and then we tried to do too much and anyway, canceled something and ended up with a few days at home. It worked out.  We took a day trip to New Harmony, Indiana. 

Murphy Park  "Playtopia"

It's a small town that has one of those peaceful, restful paces about it, cute quaint shops, downtown walking and unique sites.  The residents travel in gold carts and some streets are walking only.  The town itself has a great history, being settled as Christian refuge in the early 1800s and then artist utopia almost one hundred years later.  This lesson in history is vague and rough at best.  Anyway, it's full of artists and hosts historical tours, art festivals and music events. 

Bliss Artisan Icecream

We visited the quaintest little icecream shop.  It had funky vintage d├ęcor that pretty much fit the eclectic feel of the entire town.  It also had pretty great homemade ice cream.  It was Lou's #1 event, we ranked the activities on our way home. 

Bee found an ancient typewriter on the floor and hung out there.  (She has decided not to blog anymore for awhile saying that she is too busy for that and also it turns out it's just not her thing.) 

A big part of the attraction in the town are a series of historic buildings.  There are houses and shops from two different historic eras, one being in the early 1800s and the other at the end of the 1800s.  There are old log cabins next to Victorian homes, next to current modern homes.   

Some of the buildings are open only during festivals and special events and during the twice daily walking tours.  My favorite site of the day, which happens to be open most every day is the oculus house.    It's stinking amazing.  You step into this dark cabin and shut the door.  There are benches on the wall to the right and left of the door.  The door has a hole in it and after letting your eyes adjust, you can see everything outside the cabin as though it's being projected on the walls.  It's amazing, it was my #1 event.   

There are miles and miles of trails to walk and a lake with turtles to feed. 

And rocks to be skipped.

One of the neat things I had heard about but had never been to is the roofless church. 

We literally stumbled upon it.  It's sort of a walled in court yard, that's the roofless part.  Then there is this roofed structure in the middle.   I think they do weddings and such here but don't have regular church services at the present time.

There were lots of little tucked away spots for sitting and such.  There were little gardens and fountains tucked away in shady corners.  It was very peaceful. 

As we walked around town, we saw dozens of water well pumps like this one.  Bee and Lou drank out of every single one-  Bee with her hands, Lou with his whole face.

What I thought would be our favorite activity, but didn't make anyone's #1 spot was the labyrinth.  It's like a real life tall bushes maze. 

Although a labyrinth isn't really a maze, but rather a meditative waking trail.  Something like that.  Here's a stock photo borrowed from the iupui website.   If you follow the path and don't take any cheats, you will mindlessly wind your way to the prayer chapel in the center.  I think you'd be walking like an hour if you did. 

We have another fun day planned for tomorrow for our impromptu stay-cation.  The pizza stop on the way home will no doubt be Lou's #1 for the day.