Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Clouds before the storm by Joe-Butler

I am thankful for a breeze.

I sure can't complain. We have had week after week after week of 70 degree weather. (It is probably closer to two months, but I realize the winter some of you have had so I won't rub it in too hard.) Our weather pattern has only been interrupted by one day of rain and two days of 80 something throughout that time, until this week. We are on our third day in the eighties. The humidity hasn't ramped up yet and today there is a fabulous breeze.

I am thankful for the breeze.

Yes, we have central air and many days I am thankful for that, but Beirut also has rolling black outs daily. When our power supply is cut we go onto a building diesel generator. The generator greatly reduces our electric supply thus no air for those three hour chunks. (And on days that the cut is 6 a.m. - 9 a.m. it is often cut again at 6 p.m. until who-knows-when.)

Today we were due to be without power from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. (How do we know when it will happen? There is a pattern - and an app - to figure it out.) It is hard to come home from a long day, trudging up the hill with a little one, to end up in a toasty house. (Yes, #firstworldproblems, I know.)

As we were walking up the hill today I noticed a breeze. At first I thought it was simply because we were getting a lucky breath right off the water, but as we took each step away from the water and the breeze continued I started to get hopeful. Sure enough, I opened the slider to the balcony and the breeze was still blowing. After opening the entire house it was only moments before my daughter went in search of a hoodie.

I am thankful for the breeze.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Birthday Success?


I think all of her needs were met. (Talking with another mom this weekend, it is interesting how the needs of children vary so greatly. What mattered most to her child was that they got lots of presents. That wasn’t what G was concerned with.)

She wanted the house decorated - I put up streamers while she was sleeping.

She wanted a balloon - She woke up to a mylar '5' hovering in her room.

She wanted a cake, not cupcakes for school - We made it together, chocolate with pink frosting.

She wanted a '5' candle - pink to match the frosting.

I also had little PlayDoh containers for her to give each classmate.

She also had a list of other friends she wanted to celebrate with. Thankfully there were all church friends so Sunday we did cupcake brownies for the kids and a round cake pan of brownies for the adults, but really it was to hold the five large sparklers that are common on cakes around here.

She wanted to celebrate as a family and she wanted all of her presents on her birthday, not some then and some in Seattle. My in-laws made the delivery when they came last month and after dinner she opened her family presents (as well as a couple of others from church friends).

I also made her a "Now I Am 5" shirt and she had a ‘5’ crown a friend had given her.

I think she felt pretty special. J and I are happy with the price tag. We'll see if her satisfaction continues when we are at a big shindig for a classmate on Saturday.


WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.

Monday, May 26, 2014

What Are You Reading?

“It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is a chance for book lovers to share their reading accomplishments as well as what is on the proverbial nightstand. She even does a giveaway. Subsequently Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Textsadded an opportunity for those reading kidlit to join the fun. Since I read both I will post to both. Check them out, join the conversations, and discover more great books.

Books marked with an '*' I would put in my classroom library.
(Books marked with a '#' would be in an middle or high school library.)


 Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate *
This is the first person account of an adolescent boy who has just arrived in America. He observations and reflections as well as his inner journey are avenues for greater cultural understandings and empathy.

 The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is NOTHING like Eat, Pray, Love! This long novel (512 pages) walks the reader through the life of the Whittaker family, particularly focusing and the dad and a daughter in the 18th and 19th centuries. It starts as a ‘pull your self up by the boot straps’ adventure and turns into looking into the life of privilege while spanning the globe with an eye on botany.

 The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig #
I enjoyed this novel focusing on life of the family of a bartender in a small town in Montana. The marvel of Doig’s writing, once again, draws the reader in.

 Eight Keys by Suzanne Lafleur *
A student recommended this book, as she loved it. I can see why. This is the story of a girl as she transitions to middle school. What does it mean to have friends? Family dynamics play into the scenario as her mother died when she was born and her dad died many years ago, but he left things for her.

 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Millet #
I am not a fan of mythology, but this read as a novel, but with some characters and plot lines I was familiar with. If recommending to students you need to know there is a homosexual relationship as part of the story line.

 Butter by Erin Jade Lange #
A high school boy who weighs over 400 pounds shares his journey of friendship, eating, family dynamics, the ‘in’ crowd, and school.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Easy (And Inexpensive) Play Dough

When you live in random places on the planet there are things you can't get. This recipe is easy, fast, and things I always have on hand.

IMG_2844Our latest batch

1+ cups of white flour
1/4 cup table salt
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon cooking oil

Mix dry ingredients. Slowly pour in the combination of oil and water while mixing. Now you will need hands to mix. Add flour until the desired consistency (about half again as much flour).

If you want it to be colored you can add water based paint. If making the entire batch the same color you can put it in with the water/oil mixture. You can also go 'natural' which is fun, especially when using it to 'bake'.

If not used regularly the water will separate and just needs to be remixed.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Christmas in May?

My daughter’s birthday is next week. Many conversations have evolved around how her birthday will be celebrated, but that is for another post. I realized, after the conversation I am about to recount for you, that she had never talked about the acquisition of stuff. It isn’t because she doesn’t have a wish list.

This is how I know…

While walking to school she tells me she wants three things Christmas. I find this odd, with her birthday in a few days, but continue to  listen. 

A Christmas Gift
Initially she doesn’t want to tell me, as she will ask Santa. I remind her that Saint Nicholas sometimes needs Mommy’s and Daddy’s help (I might also have added that I could help deliver the message.)

After some time to ponder this she asks me to lean over so she can whisper in my ear.

“I am going to ask for a laptop. A real one. And walkie-talkies. And a phone. A real one. And I meant four things. An iPad. A real one.”

She is grinning with excitement.

I tell her that I can guarantee that she won’t get any of those things, but she can ask.

As she scampers ahead my husband mentions his surprise that I am so definitive about her list. I realize he hadn’t hear the list and once it was recounted for him he smiled, agreeing. She won’t be getting any of those things.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The ratio has changed

Wo st 01/Wikipedia
The end of the school year is coming, but not as rapidly for us as for some. I was talking with friends who take even more holidays than we do, (they had yesterday off for a holiday that fell on Sunday). On top of that they get out a week and a half before us.

We are flying out the first flight possible. They are staying for nearly two weeks. How do I know? They fly the same day we do. On top of that, we are on the same airline.

She is Irish and he is American. When they said they are flying the same day we are I figured we would be on the same flight as we are flying through London this trip. London would be the natural connection to Ireland. To my shock they are headed to his family’s first, which means we are together all the way to Seattle!

This is terribly exciting for many reasons. First of all, G adores their children. (They have four ranging from a few weeks to 5 years old.) J is headed out before us for a conference so we would have been on our own. The ratio has now changed. Instead of one adult to one child, we are now three adults to five children. A grand improvement for them and I am excited too as helping kids make it through the grand journey from here to there I’ll take any help I can get.

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Should have seen it coming!


© BitchBuzz (Attribution)


I am an advisor for our elementary student council. The student council is hosting a talent show this year. We asked for interested acts of third – fifth graders to sign up. I now get to sit through 60 auditions. (I won’t get started on the fact that these all have to take place during the school day and no grade level has the same recess time.)

I don’t know how I didn’t see this coming. (You are going to catch on VERY quickly.) The first act is two girls singing a song. When I ask the title they replied with a grinning, enthusiastic, “Let It Go”!


Are you laughing at me yet? How did I not see that coming?!?

As they were working their way through the song I had a brilliant idea. After everyone auditioned we would take all of the girls wanting to sing “Let It Go”, put them all together, and give them each a few lines. What a great way to incorporate more kids into our talent show? (Our show is a talent sharing, of the non-competitive variety.)

Brilliant? I thought so.

Now comes the real shock.

They were the only act that sang “Let It Go”.