Thursday, April 29, 2010

Interesting Blog

My friend, Rosina, became a follower and I always check to see what kind of blogs people read.  Chances are there are some I'd like to read as well.  I stumbled upon one in particular that I LOVE.  It's called Fed Up With School Lunch.  I love the message it's sending.  It's about the types of foods the schools are serving and how they present it on the menu.  If you are a fan of Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution, you should head over to this blog.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Helping Preschoolers Learn Their Name & Numbers

Being a teacher I definitely don't want Little Man to start school without knowing his letters and how to count using one-to-one correspondence.  He can sing his ABC's and on most days count to 20.  I thought it was time for him to be able to identify his name, and recognize numbers. 

Name Matching Game

Cut up a brown paper bag into two rectangular strips.  On both strips write your child's name.  Set aside one strip.  Take the second strip and cut between each letter of your child's name.  Let your child use the first strip as a guide, and the cut-up strips to match up.  It's really pretty simple.  As your child gets more advance, take away the guide.  Once they can easily put the letters in order, move on to tracing the letters of their name and/or writing it on their own. 

One-to-One Correspondence

One-to-one correspondence is where a child is able to count by pointing to each item.  My mom (also a teacher), purchased Little Man some Counting Picture Cards.  He loves them.  He counts each item and I help him find the correct number.  Right now we are just working on identifying numbers 1-5.  After he can count and match up the correct number 100% of the time, we'll move to the bigger numbers.  So far, he's doing pretty well.  He can count without error, but needs help identifying the numbers.

What are some things you do to help out your Preschooler?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Little Miss thinks she's big. Real big. Adult big.  Like stand on the couch and jump off big.  So big she needs sunglasses to complete the outfit. 

Little Man thinks he's funny.  Real funny.  Ridiculously funny.  Like laugh at your own jokes funny.  So funny, he sometimes needs the above 'tough guy' face to get his point across.

I've got some personalities over here, and I'm not quite sure where they get it from...

Monday, April 26, 2010

House Update

Our house has cabinets and doors,
windows and floors!


Now for the part Little Man is most excited for...


What?  You no likey?

Okay, so maybe they're not our new appliances, but Little Man was still excited to see a random oven and microwave in the garage.  We found it pretty amusing that the workers brought their own mini kitchen with them.  I'm really contemplating taking this set up on our next picnic...and a generator.  Classy.  I know. ;)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Down Right Scary

Beautiful, beautiful Spring day.  Birds were chirping.  I was driving to work with my windows down.  I was early (no kids then).  Life was good.  Opened my classroom door and started on my usual morning tasks.  Unload bag...check.  File graded papers...check.  Write assignments on the board...check.  Respond to emails...check.  Wait, there's a voicemail...listen to voicemail...

"Why on Earth would you send a {bleepedly, bleep, bleep} kid home with a {bleepedly, bleep, bleep} backpack, loaded down with {bleepedly, bleep, bleep} books.  Are you {bleepedly, bleep, bleep} insane?  I should have you pay for her {bleepedly, bleep, bleep} medical bills when she has {bleepedly, bleep, bleep} back problems you stupid {bleepedly, bleep, bleep}.  If you don't have room to store all these {bleepedly, bleep, bleep} books, then that's your problem.  Not my daughter's."

-End of Message

Wow!  What a refreshing way to start your beautiful Spring day.  The day you were early to work (because you didn't have kids).  The day you were feeling great. 

After I composed myself, I contacted my principal, forwarded her the message, and was advised to not ever contact that father.  Never.  Ever. 

Okay, no problemo.  Didn't want to call him back anyway.

So Little Janie (not her real name) walks in, and I proceed to ask her why her father thinks she has to take all her books home?

"I don't know Mrs. Torres.  He just thinks I do for some reason."

"Oh, that's very interesting."

"Yes, Mrs. Torres.  That is very interesting."

The rest of the day went on.  Little Janie not making any eye contact at all.  Hmmmm?  Guilty?  I think so.

I let it go.  She knew she was lying.  I thought I'd just let her sweat it out.  Until....

Dismissal bell rings.  Door opens.  Kids file out the door.  Giving out hugs, reminders to those who have homework, and WHAM!  Right in my face is Mr. Crazy. 

"Why didn't you call me back?'

"Well Mr. Crazy, after seeking advice from my principal, I was advised to not have contact with you given the abusive language you used on my voicemail.  I would have been happy to discuss with you any issues you have, given you would have addressed me with a certain level of respect."

"Why should I respect someone who decides to send a fourth grader home with a backpack heavier than them?"

"Sir, we're going to have to move this into the office with supervision.  Our school police officer is here today, and he would like to offer his assistance if I need it."

"Fine, but I don't know why you feel threatened."

{conversation moves to office with Mr. Police Officer, Mr. Crazy, Little Janie, and myself}

"Mr. Crazy, I'm not sure why you think Little Janie needs to take home all of her school supplies and textbooks, but that information is incorrect."

"Because Little Janie told me and she has never lied to me."

I turn to Little Janie, "Little Janie, is this true?  Did you tell your father that I force you to take home all your school supplies and textbooks home each night?"

"Yes, Mrs. Torres.  I did."

I'm going to end the story here, because I think you get the point.  His child lied to him (gasp)!  You see, Little Janie did a lot of piddling in class.  A LOT.  Consequently, she had loads of homework. She didn't want to be in trouble at home (I can totally see why).  To cover her tracks she made up a story that there was no storage in the classroom.  Everything had to go in their backpacks.  I think a normal (rational) person would think this was a little bizzare, but then again we are dealing with Mr. Crazy. 

So my moral is this...

If your child comes home telling you an unbelievably crazy story about their classroom teacher, chances are it is untrue.  However, you should contact the teacher just in case.  Just don't use profanities ;)

Oh, and I never did get an apology from Mr. Crazy, and I check my mail everyday...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Make Shift Car Mat

It would be my luck that I pack up Little Man's car mat, and then he wants it.  So a make shift car mat he gets.  A fair warning to all readers...I am not an artist.  This car mat is ghetto.  Real ghetto.  But, Little Man was happy and that's all that matters.  I seriously hope he doesn't realize that his mom stinks at art until he's much, much older!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trees and Raisins

Family recipe time!  I love this one.  It is a perfect pair with grilled chicken...or hamburgers...or brats...or sandwiches.  Okay, so it's a perfect pair with anything!  Super easy to make and will be gone quickly. 

Trees and Raisins
1/2 cup mayo
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar (we use Splenda)
2 broccoli crowns, chopped
1-2 snack boxes of raisins (depending on how much sweetness you want)
1/4 cup diced red onion
4-5 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • In a large bowl, combine the first 3 ingredients.  Mix well, and taste test.  We like ours tangy-sweet, but others in my family like it overly sweet.  So depending on your taste buds adjust the flavor.
  • Stir the broccoli in the dressing mixture and coat well.
  • Add the remaining ingredients.  If you are not serving immediately, refrigerate.
Happy Cooking!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Family Road Trip

Our family recently took a little road trip to Missouri to visit my grandparents and to attend my dad's ordination ceremony.  We had such a great time with our family that I wanted to share a few pictures with you.

My grandparents took us to their local park and let the kids feed the geese.  Little Man and Little Miss had a blast.  Mase did a great job throwing a few Cheerios out at a time, but Addie dumped out her whole bag in 2.5 seconds flat. 

Recently, my grandpa was released from the hospital.  He was such a the superstar at the park.  He and my grandma chased our kids all over.  When the kids took to playing at the playground, they sat down to rest.  I love this picture of them.  They have been married for over 60 years.  I am so thankful for the both of them!

The kids had a great time playing at the park.  Little Man is growing up so fast. 
He keeps me in shape by running all over the place.  The kid is fast.

Now Little Miss keeps me in shape too. 
She's fast.  She's fearless.  She's independent.
Here she is going down the big slide with no assistance.

Another prime example of Little Miss Fearless. 
You can't swing her high enough...

The next day, we loaded up and headed to a rural part of MO to see my dad get ordained as a pastor of a church.  We took Old Route 66 to get to the town.  It was really cool to see all the dilapidated buildings, and a life size cow mounted on top of someone's house.  However, the smells were not so cool.  Most of the land is currently farmland.  Farmland that was being fertilized with manure.  Let's just say by the time we got out of the car we were smelling our clothes to make sure they didn't absorb the funk.

Once we felt we were safe to allow people around us, we decided to walk around Main Street.  The town had some quaint little shops that just screamed, "Take a picture here, please!"  Who was I to deny these shops an opportunity to have some fine looking kids model in their store fronts?

After the service, we went to a little diner.  It was delicious, and the bonus part was it had a train in front of it.  I'm not sure if Little Man liked it or not.  You sure can't tell by his face!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pork Chop Dry Rub

It's grilling season people!  I cannot even begin to describe how happy that makes me.  I love warm weather.  Not hot weather, but warm weather.  It means shorts. It means swimsuits.  It means pool time.  It means grilling.

About a year ago my mom passed on this dry rub from my Aunt Pam.  I actually lost the recipe in the move, but I somewhat remembered what was in it.  I had to completely guess use my expert taste buds to measure out the ingredients.  They turned out well.

Pork Chop Dry Rub
6-8 pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil

  • Mix all seasonings together in a bowl.

  • Rub both sides with seasonings, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  The longer they marinate the better.

  • Grill, baby, grill! 

Aunt Pam, I hope I didn't butcher the recipe too much.
Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When You're Small

When you're small you can fit in tight spaces.

When you're small you can hide.

When you're small you can find a tight space, and hide from your mom.

When you're small you can find a tight space, and hide from your mom when she's screaming your name.

When you're small you can find a tight space, hide from your mom while she's screaming your name, and give a little giggle.

When you're a mom you give a huge sigh of relief for that litle giggle and go searching.

You finally locate the giggle but think, "No.  There's no way she's under that bed."

And then you get on your hands and knees to find that she did in fact squirm her way under the bed...

And when you're small, you think it's the funnest game in the entire world. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Getting Closer

{My hard-working hubby standing in the kitchen/living room}

My house is bricked.  It has textured walls.  It is completely enclosed.  It is getting wood floors this week.
What does all this mean you ask?  I am getting closer and closer to living in my dream home!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Train Heaven

If you have a little boy and live in my local area, then Ollie's is a must!  We took our first trip there last week with some of our friends, and we will most definitely go back.  The place was decked out in trains.  Trains outside, trains displayed in cases, trains on the wall, trains running along the ceiling.  Trains everywhere!  Let's just say Mason and his friend Will thought they had died and gone to heaven.  Even Addie, and baby Owen enjoyed the trains too. 
Playing with cars always makes waiting for dinner so much better.

I'm not quite sure what my son is doing, but Will looks cute!

I am fully convinced that boys at this age cannot smile normal for pictures.
Oh well, it's a memory nonetheless.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Beyond the Classroom Walls

Reading, Writing, Grammar (well, maybe not grammar), Social Studies, Math, and Science.  I loved teaching them all.  Each one had an area that would spark interests in kids if taught well.  However, there is one subject I enjoyed teaching above the rest.  Character.

Character is not something that is really focused on in most classrooms or homes, but judging by our society it is a crucial element in how we relate to others.  My motto for teaching was to have students walk out of my classroom better kids...mentally, emotionally, and socially.  Sure teaching kids content is super important, but that will only take them so far in life.  Getting along with others, and having compassion will get a person a lot further than knowledge.

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching a group of students who really grasped the character skills.  It was probably the most challenging year teaching the content areas.  I had 5 kids who were on a Kindergarten reading level, and another 5 kids who were reading at a 7th grade or above level.  Like I said, challenging!  However this group of kids looked to serve others before serving themselves.  These kids were amazing.  Absolutely amazing!  You can read their story here.  It is one that makes my heart sore.  I'm so very proud of this group of kids.  Even though they have hit the hormonal sixth grade year, I still hear stories of how each one excels in this or that area.  Hearing about their successes makes me feel like a proud mama!

UPDATE!  Not only did these kids raise all the school supplies needed for every child at the school, but they also brought items for the teachers and raised $500 to ship 10 boxes to Africa. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life Gets In the Way

Back in December I decided that I was going to run a half marathon in May.  I needed something to challenge myself.  To push me beyond my comfort zone.  At the beginning, I was really shocked with what my body was able to do in the early stages of training.  I just knew that I would get in all the mileage by March and then maintain the mileage until the race date. 

Well, life got in the way.  Between moving and a horrendous winter, my training has gone from a steady pace to almost non-existent.  I'm only up to 6 miles (I need to be around 10).  I'm really going to push myself this month to see how far I can stretch myself.  However, I'm beginning to realize that a half-marathon might not happen for me in May.  If not in May, it will happen this year.  It is a goal, and I'm not one to let goals just slip away...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter 2010

As a Christian family, we have always enjoyed Easter, but this year it was amazing!  If you didn't get a chance to go to my church, then I'm really sorry!  It was great! Over 17,000 people attended the 5 services.  Lots made decisions to let Christ lead their life, instead of worrying about how to steer their own (I'm telling you people, it makes life much, much easier, when you've got someone working for you).  Even more made the decision to be baptized right there in the service.  I was one emotional wreck.  Seeing all those people, and knowing how their life is about to change gets me everytime.  Everytime.  Getting emotional now...

After church, we headed to our temporary home, and co-hosted Easter Lunch with my father-in-law.  We had a blast, coloring eggs, eating, and enjoying family.  Lots of family. Crazy family.  I mean real crazy family.  I think our house was the only house that hosted Puerto Ricans, Swedes, Caucasions, a Native American, Sorta Ricans, and a Cowboy. 

Here's our Easter Pics...

First up, A Rican.  My Bro in Law to be exact. 
He sure looks like one bad dude. 
I call this his 'I have to work Mid-nights tonight so quit messing with me pic'.
Coloring those eggs.
Really though, they're just playing in the colors.
Hope everyone enjoyed Easter as much as we did!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Turkey Veggie Spaghetti

My Little Miss is picky.  Very picky.  I don't know where she got it from *cough, cough, me, cough, cough*.  Mase on the other hand will eat anything.  He also slept through the night at two months old.  He spoiled us.  We had no idea.  Funny how the second child puts things in perspective.

Okay, back to the spaghetti.  Addie's picky, so I have to be creative in getting those veggies down her throat.  I mean that in the most loving way.  She likes spaghetti.  Therefore, this recipe was born...

Turkey Veggie Spaghetti
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 small zuchinni
1 small summer squash
1/2 med red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
1/2 box spaghetti noodles

  • Cook ground turkey with onion and garlic until no longer pink.  Drain.
  • Bring water to a boil for noodles.  Cook noodles al dente.
  • Meanwhile, add in all veggies, and cook until tender.
  • Add spaghetti sauce.
  • When veggies are tender turn heat to low, add Parmesan cheese and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve over noodles.
Happy Cooking!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I love this dessert because I almost always have the ingredients in my pantry.  It's fairly easy to throw together, and it is to die for!

PB Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg milk chocolate chips

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, PB, sugar, and brown sugar.  Mix in eggs one at a time.   Beat well between each egg.  Add vanilla.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add to creamed mixture.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Spread into a 13 x 9 inch greased baking dish.
  • Bake @ 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.  Cool before serving on a wire rack.
Happy Cooking!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Need a Place?

It's no secret that I love my church! The things I have learned there have changed my life in unbelievable ways.  What you give up to become a Christian is in no way comparable to what you gain.  I think so many people are afraid of what they will lose, they fail to see the other half.  The much better half.  So if life is not going too well for you, or maybe it is and you just need a place for Easter, come to Church on the Move.  Service times are Friday night at 7pm, Saturday night at 5 and 7pm, and Sunday morning at 9 & 11am. 

If you're a little unsure because the church is sooo big, check out the about link to the website.  There you will find a story wall.  It has post after post of what God has done in each person's life and some videos of amazing stories.  If they don't bring tears to your eyes, there is something not right with you!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easy Chicken Salad Sandwiches

4 cooked, shredded chicken breast
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup grapes, sliced
1 1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup mayo
Pepper to taste

Here's the easy part...
  • Mix all ingredients together. Done.
  • We like ours on whole wheat dollar rolls.
This is a great meal for a busy night.  You can make it the night before, and throw an easy side together.  Like baked sweet potato slices...thinly sliced, a little butter and cinnamon, bake @ 350 for 30 minutes...Yummy!

Happy Cooking!