heart to heart

Sometimes in life you just have to really have a good heart to heart chat to make sure everyone remembers we’re all in this together.  (But really I’m in charge, so listen up kiddos.)

Heart to Heart Conversations of the week so far:

  1. You should not have to burp that much.  I appreciate that you say “excuse me” but if all of this burping continues, I will need to call your mother and suggest she bring you to the doctor, because something might be wrong with your body.
  2. While yes, surprises are fun, it makes teachers really worried when you hide (poorly) to jump out and scare them.  It is important that your teacher always knows where you are.
  3. Yes, I know you are in kindergarten.  I know that being in kindergarten is very exciting.  However, whenever I say the word “kindergarten” or “kindergartners” it does not mean you need to enthusiastically shout out, “I’m in kindergarten!”  We are all in kindergarten.  shhhhhh.
  4. These sentences mean very different things: “She is hitting on him” vs. “She is hitting him.”  (Actually I did not address this, I just died laughing on the inside instead).
  5. Yes, I have freckles on my face and arms.  No, they are not germs.  Let’s say it together, “FRECKLES”.  Please do not go home and tell your parents that your teacher is covered with lots of germs.
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Harp + Ocean Waves. It must be rest time.

After seven years of teaching kindergarten, I have a few thoughts about rest time.  Today I want to share my thoughts on the rest time music that I play for my children.  I don’t claim it is high quality music.  I don’t really like to spend a lot of money on it, so some of it is from the Dollar Tree 🙂  You know you are only getting the best when you buy things there!   If I am going to have to listen to this peaceful music each day, I need some variety so I don’t lose my mind.

There are the generic classical music CDs I have with sleep inducing titles, such as “Peaceful” and “Serenity.”  I will not let any music aficionados listen to these CDs, but it at least brings some variety into our lives for the right price ($1). Plus, BONUS – if you pick the right disc, you might get to hear a song called “Whispers in the Dark” played on the panpipe and blended with the gentle sounds of birds and a mountain stream.  Win! 

The CD Soothing Sleep is harp with ocean waves.  It was a dollar, so I bought it, but then I realized the cover could bring about questionable giggles by the children.  So I try to be as stealth as possible when putting this CD in. 

This summer though, I had the best find ever.  I really enjoy the lullaby CDs that are renditions of your favorite artists – it makes the music more tolerable.  Lullaby versions of the Beatles?  Coldplay?  yes and yes.  But this summer, I came across a Taylor Swift lullaby CD on clearance.  CLEARANCE?   Yes, you are probably as shocked as I was.  Naturally I scooped it up into my cart and we listened to it for the first time yesterday.  The jury is out whether it is horrible or amazing.  But I can tell you this: the cover of it is beyond fantastic.  Yes, it is a foal with T. Swift’s hair.  Best thing I’ve seen all day. 

So next time you think a kindergarten teacher has the easy life with rest time built into her day, remember two things: 

  1. The kids rest, not the teacher, so really it isn’t that awesome.
  2. Feel free to feel bad for the teacher who is forced to listened to rest time music every day.  Thank goodness for things like ponies with long blonde curly hair to ease the pain.

As a little bonus, here is a photo of me after I accidentally clicked the “capture” button on photobooth, even though I was done snapping pics of CD covers.  I don’t know why I panicked – it is my computer – I could have just deleted it… 🙂 but instead, I cringed and shielded my face. 

Bedtime Stories with Laura vol. 1

Sometimes your roommate has boring dreams about touring college campuses, and needs you to tell a bedtime story.  If you don’t know any off the top of your head, feel free to read this story instead.  Otherwise, do what I did and draw inspiration from things you’ve seen on TV, and things you’ve not seen in the wild, but thought that you did.  Grab a glass of milk, your slippers, and cozy up for this epic tale of bedtime-ness.

don't settle for reading the phone book before bed. there are better bedtime stories out there.

Once Upon A Time….

There was a little squirrel named Stella.  Stella Squirrel was SO excited, because the day she had been waiting for had FINALLY arrived.  Yes, it was the day of the Woodland Creature Beauty Pageant.  Stella had been rehearsing walking in heels, smiling with grace and ease, and twirling her flaming baton for months.  And today; Today she would get to show off her talents, skills, and love of world peace for all to see.

Stella packed her tiny squirrel suitcase and headed out to the city bus stop.  She paused at one point, needing to check just one more time that she had truly packed everything she needed.  GASP!  Where is her pink sequin evening gown??  How can she compete without her pink sequin evening gown??  Oh my.  Stella Squirrel ran back to her nest as fast as her little squirrel legs would carry her.  She searched everywhere.  To no avail.  [dramatic pause here]

Stella was so busy crying machine-gun bursts of sobs  that she didn’t notice the arrival of Beatrice Butterfly – her fairy godmother.  Beatrice wiped away Stella’s tiny squirrel tears and asked what was the matter.  Stella squeaked her response while making frantic (yet very small, because squirrels have small arms) gestures to indicate how important this dress and this day was to her.  Beatrice fluttered around, sprinkling glitter and warm fuzzies.  She waved her butterfly wand, and wah-la!  A beautiful sequin pink evening gown!  The day has been saved!

Stella took no chances that she would forget her dress this time so she put it on quickly, deciding to wait for her updo until she got to the site of the pageant.  Stella Squirrel looked at her bedazzled watch, to realize she only had 3 minutes before the pageant started.  She had long since missed the bus, and she had no other way to get to the pageant!  Or so she thought.  Panic was beginning to set it.

Beatrice Butterfly fluttered her wings again, sprinkling more glitter and warm fuzzies.  Then she whistled louder than Stella thought a butterfly could whistle (really any whistle would be louder than expected, so she was under the impression butterflies could not talk).  Out of the woods she heard some rustling.  Could it be?  Yes.  It was Wild Turkey Tom to the Rescue!  Stella hopped on the turkey’s back and clung tightly to his neck feathers as he raced off into the sunset.

Of course they made it to the pageant in time.

And of course, Stella won the pageant.  Bedtime stories end happy.  It is a rule.

Sweet dreams!

Class Rating? 11/10.

Have I mentioned that I have the best kids ever this year? Because I honestly think this might be the overall best class I have ever had.  I am still getting to know my students, their personalities, and secret talents, but 1.  I am really enjoying them so far and 2.  They are super well behaved.  3.  Did I mention that they are completely adorable?  Win!

Here are some gems from so far the in the school year:

  • Today I was walking in the hallway and I asked a girl in my line a question.  She just smiled in response.  I looked at her again and she put her finger up to her lips reminding me that we are supposed to be quiet in the hall.  I clearly should not be trying to get her to talk….
  • I asked a child how to be a good friend, and he recited John 3:16 for me – KJV style.  It was awesome.  I asked if that is what he wanted written down on his paper and he said yes, and then dictated it to me phrase by phrase.
  • During breakfast today, I overheard a child saying, “No seriously, my mom is a princess and I am a prince!”
  • I have been compared to Ms. Frizzle (of the Magic School Bus).  I think it is my crazy red hair and educational dresses that really bring us together.
  • “Ms K, I like your tie!” “Thanks!  I like to call it a scarf.”
  • I learned that memory verse boy also likes to sing.  I asked if he wanted to sing a song for me and Shawn.  He took some time to think of a song, and then came back and sang “How Great Thou Art.”  It was awesome.  I love finding some great performers.  I will probably see if they need anymore vocalists for the worship team at church.  I feel he could be a real asset.
  • One boy comes out to the lockers and says, “When are you going to come back into the room?” and I ask, “Do you miss me in there?” and he said, “Yes”, took my hand, and escorted me back to class.
  • Today we had an early release.  Two girls (probably third or fourth grade??) walked into the cafeteria while the staff were getting situated.  We had plates with kettle corn, pretzels, and fun-sized candy bars.  One comments to the other, “So this is what the teachers do at meetings: they eat candy!”
  • I was standing still on the playground, talking to a co-worker as we supervised several slides for proper slide etiquette.  A child runs towards us from behind, crashes into my leg, falls down, then gets up and accusingly says, “Your leg tripped me!”  hmmm… yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and say that is not what happened.
And that wraps up another week of work!  The thought of sleeping in tomorrow gives me great joy.  Now I shall climb into bed and read an assessment manual.  Yes, the school year has begun.

Oh College, back when life was simple.

Sometimes it is the perfect day for a college tour.

This day for me was on Saturday.  You see, pretty much everyone at my church either currently attends the University of Minnesota, or did attend it at some point in their lives.  Except me.  So naturally I pretend that I attended the U and create fictional memories to bond with other U of M graduates.  

Well, no longer do I need to live a lie.  No, I did not graduate for a second time over the weekend.  But I did make some U memories of my own.  Some memories were unexpected, some should have been expected, and others went as planned.  And then I remembered that I do actually have some memories of my own.

Unexpected Memories: For whatever reason, I did not expect to stumble upon a traditional Latin American dance group.  I heard drums, saw giant feather headdresses, and didn’t question it.

Should Have Expected Memories: The reason for our visit was because our friend Tim had extra gopher tickets and invited us along.  TCF Bank Stadium was pretty great. Tim has AWESOME seats.  Or at least I thought row 12 was awesome until I talked to my six year old friend who was sitting in a suite.  His description of the game experience included the nonchalant sentence, “And of course we had heaters.”

You might think this is just a photo of the field. While it is that, it is so much more. Five points if you can find my friends in this picture!

There was some pretty incredible people watching too.  Giant-hair lady (Beth Moore??) was in front of us, blocking Tiffany’s view of the field.  Flirty Dancy girl was two rows up.  We learned some great dance moves for the next time we are in a public place and feel like having a personal dance party.  She was seated next to mysterious-age man and friends.  Is he Flirty-Dancy-Girl’s Dad?  Or Boyfriend?  Is this okay?  Or inappropriate?  And everyone always loves I-Want-You-All-To-Cheer-With-Me-or-I-Will-Yell-At-You-Guy.  Did you see Knit-Beer-Can-Hat-Guy?  Or the cute 3 year old next to us who loves Goldy?  So much going on.  So many emotions surrounding us as the game progressed.  What we should have expected but didn’t, is that the Gopher’s seem to play sports just like every other MN team.  I call this MN strategy: Try really hard to win, but also try hard not to win and just see what happens.  Teams seem to think this is a fan favorite, as it keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole game.

Typical Memories: We ate dinner afterwards at Burrito Loco.  I was excited to eat there, as I have heard so much about it.  It was pretty much as expected.  I had a pleasant experience.  I also was excited to see Stadium Village Church, where my church met before moving into our current building.  It was good to put a face with a name.  I also figured that Tim would be able to regale us for hours with tales from his glory days at the U.  I was not let down in this area either.  The whole experience lasted from 1:15-9:00pm.

Remembered Memories: Who knew that I did have U of M memories prior to this weekend?  Our tour reminded me or the yearbook/journalism day I went to as a high school student, marching band day (who wouldn’t be proud of their days wearing spats and and ice cream bucket hat), seeing Flight of the Conchords and the fire alarm going off – but not one took it seriously until we were forced to evacuate – come on, it is Flight of the Conchords – why would we think there potentially was really an emergency?  The alarm sounds like a ridiculous sound effect.  How were we to know?  Then there is bowling with Marcus and Sara while they legitimately were students, and getting Jamba Juice with Sara while accompanying her during rush hour traffic to drop off(?) some paperwork(?)  Good memories.

See, I basically am a U of M grad!  So many memories – I don’t need to fake it anymore!  I am so excited to throw around some building names and U student lingo to conform and fit in with my friends!

(Calm down, Bethel, you know I am kidding.  I wouldn’t trade my days on your campus for anything!)

see Bethel? Look! We have real memories too!


Homemade Granola!

This recipe is courtesy of my amazing Aunt Laurie.  If you get a recipe from her, you know it is going to be good.  I should probably get stickers for my cookbook that say, “Aunt Laurie Approved”.

It was super easy to make, and is obviously delicious!  (I know people don’t really trust my opinion on what is easy to make, but I promise you will also think it is easy)

 

Ingredients:*

  • 4 c Quick Cooking Oatmeal
  • 2 c Whole Almonds (raw or roasted – no salt)
  • 1/2 c Sunflower Seeds – no salt
  • 1/3 c Flax Seeds
  • 1/3 c Olive Oil
  • 2/3 c Honey
  • 1 c Golden Raisins
  • 1 c Chopped Dried Pineapple

Preheat oven to 300*  Line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

In large bowl, mix the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.  Warm the honey in microwave (this makes it easier to coat above mixture).  Add the honey and olive oil to the dry mixture and mix until well-coated.

Spread evenly over the prepared jelly roll pan, pressing down lightly with the back of your spoon. 

Bake 30-40 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely.  In large bowl, break apart the cooled granola.  Mix in the raisins and pineapple.  Store in an airtight container.

*Don’t let this recipe limit you – feel free to add whatever nuts or dried fruit you prefer!  

I like to eat it with yogurt and fruit.  But you do what you want to.  I’m not there to make sure you eat it the same as me. There are no rules here.

In case you are wondering how good it really is, my students were watching me eat it, and were quite envious.  They wanted to know where I got it.  They said they’d seen it on TV.  One kid said “ew” and I said “that makes me sad.”  So obviously they changed their tune and so now I can say that 100% of children think this looks delicious. 

the most obvious of questions

I cannot even count the times I have read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom in my life.  It is one of those books that I can pretty much recite to you.  Yet I still love it.  And I encourage all children to love it.  I have even dressed up as this tree for Halloween.  Fall Festival. 

In all my years of reading this book (starting from when I was little and reading it to my brother) I have never had a child ask me this question until this year:

“Why did the letters go up in the tree?”

Why has no one questioned this before?  It makes so much sense to be wondering that!  Usually I’m pretty quick on my feet, but I had nothing to say in response.  So I did what any good teacher would do, and asked, “Boys and girls, what do you think?  Why DID the letters go up in the tree?”

Apparently the answer was pretty obvious.  It was clearly because the letters wanted to drink the coconut milk so that they can have babies.  

Noah’s Ark and the lost puppy

I started in my new (and by new I mean half awesome new kids, half old favorites) Sunday school class yesterday.  I love the kids in my class, and I adore my co-teachers.  They are so enthusiastic and excited about teaching Sunday school!  I love it!

This week’s lesson was on Noah’s Ark.  As my co-teacher was reading the story, she got to the part where Noah sends out a dove.  She must have mumbled, or the kid next to her must not have been listening very well, because he looked up incredulously at her and repeated with a voice dripping in skepticism, “A DOG????”

I love the mental picture of this.  Yes, we corrected the misunderstanding, but what a great misunderstanding it was.

Where’s Waldo Phobia

This is not to say that I am afraid of Waldo himself, but the real life situation of needing to find someone in a crowd, or even not in a crowd, gives me anxiety.  If we are friends, there is a good chance I’ve been looking for you, walked past you, and not seen you.  Don’t take it personally.  Just shout my name and flail your arms and eventually I’ll find you.

Sometimes in life you are meeting people at Caribou, and you don’t usually meet these people at Caribou, and you are wondering if you will remember what they look like, and if you will be able to find them in the potentially crowded coffee shop. Panic begins to set in.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, as I did today, try doing a little mental preparation.  Just talk yourself through the situation, step by step, and what you will be doing every step along the way.

“Ok, Laura, when you go into the Caribou, just casually scan the room as you nonchalantly walk up to order.  See if anyone sticks out to you.  Is it crowded?  How are the tables grouped?  Does any look familiar at this point?  If not, it is ok.  Remember to walk slowly so you have plenty of time to finish stage one.  Then order your drink.  It is ok to focus solely on ordering at this point, and not on who is around you.  Otherwise you might embarrass yourself by mixing up your words.  Finished ordering?  Now you have two choices.  If you have located your friends, you can go and sit down with them.  Say hello and set down your things.  If you haven’t spotted those acquaintances, go wait at the drink counter, and methodically scan the room, while giving off an air of perusing the wall decorations.  Don’t look scared and confused.  You will find them during this time.  Have confidence.  If that doesn’t work, use napkins and a sharpie to create a sign, like someone would at an airport, with the name of your party on it.  Stand in the center of the room, hold the sign in front of you, and slowly rotate so everyone can see your sign.  Eventually, someone will come and claim you as a friend.  If that doesn’t work, just sit down on the floor and cry.  Then go home.  And never go to that Caribou again.”

However, all your careful strategic planning will be for naught if you went to the wrong Caribou.  Just sayin’ – it could happen.

*This may be a true story about my day.  No one knows for sure.

Spending an inch of gift cards, and other non-important things in life

Remember this picture? I finally brought my inch think stack of Target gift cards to the store to spend them.  After Cashier-Boy rang up my things, I said, “Please don’t hate me, but I have a lot of gift cards to use.”  He was quite good natured about it.  The ladies behind me in line?  Not so much.  I apologized to them.  To which they spent the rest of the time he was scanning all the gift cards sighing and mumbling under their breath.  Pull yourselves together ladies… your lives will go on.  You will survive this.  My receipt was approximately 26 miles long due to all the gift card scanning.  Awesome.

I only made one child cry this week, and I’d like to think that I helped another child stop crying.  So really, it all evens out in the end.

I hid some leftover cupcakes in my brother’s fridge when I went to his birthday party yesterday.  I wonder if he has found them yet.

The student becomes the teacher: 

You have a watch.  You can tell time.  You can’t go back in time.  Unless you build a time machine.

Thank you small child for the brief lesson in the boundaries of time.  For further reading, I will probably bring him this Time magazine article from 1991.  To think, if I hadn’t helped him get a paper towel, I never would have gotten this nugget of knowledge.

And now, I shall stop procrastinating and go back into work.  Fare the well.