Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

½ cup butter or margarine (I use butter)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices, undrained
maraschino cherries, drained (use as many as you want)
chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1 package yellow cake mix (I use the pineapple upside down mix)
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup thawed, frozen whipped topping


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Melt butter in Family Skillet (This is a 12” skillet from Pampered Chef that can go in the oven. I think you could use any pan you want for it though.)
3. Remove pan from heat; stir in brown sugar until well blended.
4. Drain pineapple; reserving juice.
5. Arrange pineapple slices and cherries in pan, sprinkle with nuts.
6. Add enough water to pineapple juice to measure 1 1/3 cups of liquid.
7. In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pineapple juice/water, eggs, and oil. Wisk until well blended and smooth. Pour over fruit mixture in skillet.
8. Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
9. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes and then loosen the edges of the cake. (I run a butter knife around the edge of the pan.) Invert pan onto large serving plate.
10. Cool slightly and then garnish with whipped topping. (I don’t do this part.)
Disclaimer: This cake is awesome. Whenever I make it I wind up eating WAY too much of it. The same thing may happen to you! LOL

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Get to know me a little better!

I read My Life written by jannelle and she posted this on her site here. I thought this meme was cool. A nice way to tell you more about me, hence the name, "meme".

She got the questions from a string of other blogs that she reads.

My uncle once: gave the eulogy for my grandmother's funeral (I only have one uncle.)

Never in my life: received a speeding ticket

When I was five: I had to have my tonsils and adnoids removed and tubes put into my ears. I was almost deaf in one ear due to fluid build up!

High school was: um, . . . 12 years and another lifetime ago? I had an okay time. I have never been a big partier. I started dating Jimmy my sophomore year and worked almost full time my senior year so my mind was else where for most of it!

I will never forget: oh, lots of things. I have a memory that can remember what I was wearing on the first day of fifth grade (acid washed jeans, Guess t-shirt with a wrinkly puppy dog on it, and big earrings - one pink and one blue, high top Reeboks - the kind with two strips of velcro) but can't remember that we are out of milk. On a more serious note, my wedding day, and the birth of my two kids.

Once I met: a boy with beautiful blue eyes and an earring. (A few weeks later I asked him out and four years later we got married. That meeting was almost 16 years ago now.)

There’s this girl I know: hmm . . . no idea on this one - I know too many great women.

Once at a bar: I was asked to leave because I was not yet 21. (My bachlorette party actually!)

By noon, I’m usually: ready for lunch?? Tired of talking and ready for a break.

Last night: I fell asleep while watching TV. It was BEFORE 10:00. The first week of school always wears me out!

If I only had: a never ending cash flow that would allow me to just do whatever I want. You know, like not have to work, but volunteer in all my friends' classrooms. (I am stealing this answer from janelle.)

Next time I go to church: I will talk to the pastor about Meagan wanting to be baptised.

What worries me most: retirement/getting old and ill (I am not a big worrier but it has recently dawned on me that I am not getting younger.)

You’ll know I’m lying when: I say I like to exercise.

What I miss most about the 80’s is: having no responsibilities. (And not realizing how good I had it and not to rush through being a kid!)

If I were a character in Shakespeare, I’d be: Kate - she was the feisty one right?

A better name for me would be: Messy, Disorganized, Forgetful Seriously, my parents wanted to name me Tomi (after my deceased grandfather) I always wondered if I would have a different personality with a different name - probably not!

I have a hard time understanding: politics. And how to keep score in tennis, no matter how many times Jimmy patiently explains it to me.

If I ever go back to school: Well, I go every day mostly - they get mad if they have to call a sub for me too often! Seriously, I would love to go back and get a PhD in curriculum but financially it just doesn't make sense right now.

You know I like you if: we laugh a lot together. (This is different from me laughing at you. :)

Take my advice, never: keep holding onto the ski rope when you have lost your footing (Happened to me when I was 10 or so and I never tried to ski again.)

My ideal breakfast is: something that is not a normal breakfast food. (Leftover pizza and a coke sound good to me.)

If you visit my hometown, I suggest you: get tea and eat steak strips at Dairy Burger.

Why won’t people: just agree to disagree instead of arguing about everything. So much more could be accomplished.

The world could do without: parents who do not do their jobs.

I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: there is NOTHING worse than what this suggests!

My favorite blondes are: Meagan and Garrett

If I do anything well, it’s: surf the web?? Make homemade chicken noodle soup, teach reading strategies.

And, by the way: Don't drive fast even if you are running late. As my mother says, "Better late than dead."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Well . . . the first week is over

My feet are killing me, my voice is almost gone at times, and I am exhausted!

On a good note:

Things have been going well behavior wise.

I am finished with one of the beginning of year tests I have to give and almost finished with the second test. (I have a third beginning of year test but I don't have to give it to too many of my kids.)

The new principal has been great about meeting with us and hearing our ideas for the year.

I am almost finished planning for next week (I even have some of the copies I need made already!)

We have a three day weekend! I want to use part of my free time to make some long range plans for reading. (My teaching partners plan math, science, and social studies.)

Meagan loves middle school and seems to have had no problems with the transition from elementary school.

Garrett is doing well in kindergarten. (His teacher, however, is more exhausted than I am. She has had 32 kids all week. We are in the process of adding another K teacher to make the classes smaller. She is in my prayers!)

On a totally different note: We are in the cone of uncertainty for Hurricane Gustav. Please pray for whoever will ultimately be in Gustav's path.

Check out this sign!!

It feels great to have all of our hard work pay off! (And by our I mean everyone at school - staff and students!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pirate Garrett

Garrett enjoys dressing up in his pirate "costume." My mom bought him the accessory kit to go with his Halloween costume last year. Unfortunately, the shirt and pants no longer fit him, so when he dresses up he just wears the accessories!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School Pictures!

I'll write about the first day of school tomorrow - when I'm not so tired!

I think a bat flew in my house and bit Garrett

Calm down! NOT FOR REAL! He is suddenly obsessed with Batman, hence the title. He's actually obsessed with all superheros.
Jimmy bought this Lego set on vacation and Garrett bothered him daily until Jimmy opened the box and put the set together.
Here's Jimmy. You can see all of the Lego pieces on the table. The pieces are now sorted into the correct piles to assemble.
Garrett checks out the back of the box. He tells us that he wants ALL the other sets to finish his "collection." Once Garrett buys a toy that has other toys advertised on the back of the box he wants ALL of them!
Dad reads the instruction booklet and Garrett supervises.
My boys with the assembled Legos.
A closeup of the assembles Legos. The kit contained Robin and his car and The Penguin, his vehicle, and two tiny penguins. Garrett insists on calling Penguin Mr. Penguin, or Mr. Penguin Man.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My new haircut

Here is my new haircut. This picture was taken on my first day back to work.

The whole district meets at the high school for opening ceremonies (for lack of a better word) by the superintendent. We also always have a motivational speaker to kick off the school year. (He was really good this year!)

So, anyway, I spent a while on my new hairdo, actually put on make-up, and went to the high school. I was late due to the hair/makeup so I didn't get to chat with anyone.

After the speaker we all were told to go back to our campuses to continue with our staff development there.

Guess who was caught in a HUGE rainstorm?

If you guessed me, you would be correct.

New hairdo? totally flat and stringy.

Make-up? Smeared.

Note to self: buy an umbrella and carry it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Personality Quiz

I found this on another teacher's blog. I thought it was interesting! (I like her site too. I like reading other teacher's blogs. If you know of any more please leave me a comment!)

You Are the Warrior

You feel that it's your role to defend and protect society. (Um . . . I do stand up for my children at school - does this count?)

You'll fight for what's right, and you especially like fighting for the underdog. (See above comment.)

You love getting things done, especially if it means working with your hands. (Once I am in the mood to work, I do like to make progress. However, I am often lazy and procrastinate often!)

You also have a great mind for strategy... whether it's military strategy, legal strategy, or chess. (Um . . . not sure about this one at all. I do know that chess makes NO SENSE to me!)

You love being challenged, and you love challenging others. You are eager to prove how powerful you are. (I like to be right . . . does that count? Hey! At least I admit it!)

You are ready for a (literal or figurative) fight at any time. Maybe a little too ready.
(Argue? Yes. Fistfight? Never in my life!)

I'm not sure if I agree with all of it. You can see my comments in pink italics. Maybe some of you who know me in real life can chime in on which lines you agree/disagree with!

To take the quiz yourself click on this link:

What Role Do You Play?

I work with the best teachers ever!

Here is a gift bag full of goodies that V brought me: Club crackers to ward off munchies during our planning period, a pretty pink mug for my water, a cool round hair brush, chocolate (yum!), Lysol spray and hand sanitizer. This is what E brought me: an adorable pen/note holder, two mini staplers (I'm famous for misplacing mine!), a note cube, a memo pad, hand sanitizer, and white out tape (we go through A LOT of this stuff!).
Thanks girls. I LOVED both goodie bags.

The two girls that I work with are amazing (and not just because they brought me great beginning of the year gifts)!

V and I have worked together for five years. She is the most organized person that I have EVER met. She is also a math whiz. She is busy with three beautiful children of her own but still finds time to get us organized for whatever is coming up. She is great with coming up with projects for all of our kids, but excels at working with gifted children.

E is new to our school. She was a first year teacher last year, however, if you walked into her room you would NEVER know it. She has reminded me what it is like to be a teacher who is excited about teaching and sees the students for who they really are. When you teach in a grade level with high stakes testing (and who doesn't these days??) it is easy to lose sight of what really matters. Working with E has allowed me to step back and see the big picture.

We are very close and work together extremely well. We complement each other. We can even complete each other's sentences. Somehow, I have the job as our spokesperson. (I don't know how that happened! <--- read with sarcasm!) V is our long range planner who keeps us organized, and E is our cheerleader who keeps us going, even when the going gets rough.

Girls, thank you for being you and making our grade level a great place to work!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I won a Pay It Forward Contest!!

So, I got an e-mail a while back from Clarabella at Living and Learning telling me I won her Pay It Forward contest! Fast forward a few days and guess what I saw on my porch the other day??

This box!
When I opened the box I found all sorts of goodies! There were some really cute flip flop candle holders and yummy pear votive candles to go in them. They have a new home on my dining room table. There was also a cute little journal, pen, and bookmarks that will be perfect for when I start back to school. The photo album will be great for showing off my vacation pictures. (I like to show my students places that I visit.) The kids also hit the jackpot! For Meagan there were sparkly pony tail holders. For Garrett there was a set of magnetic alphabet letters that we promptly put on the refrigerator. These will be perfect for quizzing him on his letters. He is already sorting them by color. The outside toys (airplanes, Frisbee, and chalk) will be great as soon as it stops raining. (We have had an unusual amount of rain around here lately.)

Thank you so much Clarabella! The prize box was just what I needed to cheer me up. (I'm a little sad about my summer ending.) The goodies for the kids were perfect for those I'm bored and I've played with everything in my room end of summer blues.

Stay tuned because I will be holding another contest of my own during September to keep the Pay It Forward game going!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our visit to Bloomington

On Thursday I took a break from working in my classroom. My mom and I (along with Meagan and Garrett) drove to Bloomington, Texas. Bloomington is a small community outside of Victoria. We went to visit my grandmother whom I call Aunt Celle. (Don't ask why - it's just always been that way : )

Here is a picture of Aunt Celle and I.
Here is one of Meagan, Aunt Celle, Garrett, and me.
Here is Aunt Celle and my mom (Grandma Silly to my kids)
The kids were really well behaved the whole day. They had fun playing with all of the toys in Aunt Celle's spare room. They really enjoyed playing Pharmacy.

We went to eat lunch at a really good Mexican food restaurant. My mom had enchiladas, Aunt Celle had flautas (I hope I spelled that right!), I had beef and chicken fajitas with grilled shrimp. Meagan, who does not like Mexican food, had pancakes and bacon, and Garrett mostly ate tortilla chips. (He ate later.)

We then spent the rest of the afternoon (except for snack time - see below) doing what we love to do best, sitting around chatting about anything that popped into our heads. We discussed what was going on in the big town of Bloomington, what the kids had been up to, what Mom and I had been doing, etc. We caught up on Aunt Celle's kids and their kids. We just talked and talked and talked. Mom, the kids, and I had a great visit and we won't let so much time pass before we go back again! We love you Aunt Celle!

We went to Dairy Queen for our afternoon snack - Yum!

Garrett had a dipped cone and did not want his picture taken, as you can tell by the look on his face!
Aunt Celle had a strawberry cheesecake blizzard.
Mom had a turtle sundae in a waffle cone bowl.
Meagan had a hot fudge sundae.
I had a heath bar blizzard.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My classroom . . . A progress report

In my last school post I wrote about 6 different areas that needed to be cleaned/organized.

After working in my room on Tuesday morning for a couple of hours and Wednesday for about four hours, here is a report of how I am doing:

1. Under the sink - done! (I wish I could make check marks on the computer : ) I can't actually take credit for this area though. The custodians dusted and stacked everything back so neatly I didn't have to do anything. I do need to wash, iron, and hang the curtain I use to cover the area.
2. Listening center - didn't touch this
3. Math manipulatives shelves - done!
4. Reading manipulatives shelf - it is organized but I have a small rolling cart of reading things I wanted to put on it but they just aren't going to fit. I hardly ever use them so they may wind up in a box in the closet that is easily accessible if I want them.
5. Classroom library - this is where I spent most of my time today. As I mentioned we teach using the balanced literacy model. A cornerstone of this model is a classroom library organized by genre/author/subject, etc. I spent A LOT of time going through all of my various book baskets making sure only the proper books were in them. All of the baskets I have out are now correct. I still have three large bins of books to put out however. I can't do this because I am OUT OF SHELF space. I am waiting on our new principal (she was just appointed yesterday!) to get a chance to approve some shuffling around of furniture so I can have more shelf space.

Once I have more space I can get out more books and file them in baskets I already have started or create new baskets. I also need to label the books with some sort of sticker so the kids can put them back in the correct place. I used library sticks (well, paint stir sticks) last year but the kids really didn't do a good job with that. I want to apply colored stickers to all of my books so kids can match the sticker on the book to the sticker on the basket it goes in. I also need to put library pockets/cards in my books and label them with AR data. I have to type each title into the computer in order to do that. Luckily, this year we converted to the online program that AR has, so I can bring the books home a few at a time and check them online when I have time. As I bring them home to do this, I plan on checking for pockets/cards, labeling them with the correct sticker, and typing up an inventory list. Whew . . . I'm tired just thinking of it!

6. Writing Center/Student supplies area - done!

I also cleaned out my huge built in closet/shelving unit today. (Well, all except one section which I refuse to think about!)

When I go to school on Friday I plan on putting up my two bulletin boards and various posters/wall decorations. My team and I will meet on Monday to plan, and we will begin inservice on the 19th. The kids' first day is the 25th. Boy, summer went by in a flash this year!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm in love!

With my new couch and chair that is!

Jimmy and I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase a new couch and chair. We decided on leather because after doing some research I learned it is better for kids with asthma and allergies. Especially those children who are allergic to dust mites - which is one of the things Garrett was really allergic to. (More about asthma and allergies later because I have some new info on that front too.)

Here is the chair. Please ignore the fancy table and sippy cup on the side of the shot!
Here's the sofa and again, ignore the cup and table.
Here's a closeup of the side of the arm rests. Here is a closeup of one of the feet - is that what you call this part of the couch?? You can also see the scroll work that runs along the bottom of the couch and chair.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Preparing my classroom Step 3

Deep cleaning - for my classroom - is organizing. (At home I consider it deep cleaning when I clean all of those things that I never clean: baseboards, dusting walls, etc.) Oh, how I hate this step. I hate this step because it seems like everything gets worse before it gets better. I think that this is true with any organizational job because you have to dig everything out, organize it, sort through it, and then put it all back from wherever it came from.

At the end of the year I just stuff everything back into the cabinets any way it will fit. During the summer while I get my room ready for the next school year, I go through everything and reorganize it for the new year.

I have already reorganized my teacher shelf. This is the shelf where I keep all of my TE's, resource books, etc. By doing this I was able to throw away enough old, outdated stuff to clean off one bookshelf completely. This allowed me to have another book shelf for my library.

I still need to go through my filing cabinet. I am slowly trying to move all of my files into binders instead of file folders. However, this will take up more shelf space.

Other places I still need to clean/organize:
1. Under the sink - This is a catch all for plastic tubs that I don't have a use for at the current time.
2. Listening Center - This is a small job.
3. Math Manipulatives shelves - This won't take long because, for the most part, all of the manipulatives have their own containers. I just need to clean out extra stuff that finds its way to these shelves during the year.
4. Reading Manipulative shelf - Hopefully this won't take too long. I am trying to consolidate some of the items so they don't take up so much room.
5. Classroom library - I'm not even going to write about this one right now! (More about it later.)
6. Writing Center/Student supplies area - This won't take too long. I do want to repaint the shelf that I use for this. I need to see if my mom has time to help me with this task. She is the handy person in our family.

Next to last step . . . decorating the room.

To be continued . . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Preparing my classroom Step 2

After I decide where to move my furniture I have to actually move it. This can be tricky because your room is already full of furniture so there isn't a lot of room to move things around. We are really lucky in that our custodians will help us move things around. The two teachers I work with also are also very generous with their time - we try to help each other out with this type of thing. (Well, really, we help each other with everything, that's why we make such a great team but more about that later.)

Once I get my furniture in place I continue working through all of the boxes/piles of stuff that isn't where it is supposed to be. We don't have to box everything thing up at the end of the year. I wind up piling some things in boxes just to get them out of the way for the summer. (During the summer the custodians come in and deep clean. They dust all the shelves, shampoo the carpet, clean the mini blinds, clean the desks inside and out, scrub the chairs, and do a hundred other things that people don't think about that needs to be cleaned I'm sure. We are blessed to have great custodians!)

Once everything is in the right area of the room, I begin my deep cleaning.

To be continued . . .

Friday, August 8, 2008

Random Teaching Thoughts/Preparing the classroom Step 1

Well, I thought I had found a neat signature for my posts (see last post) but I don't know how to have my blog "remember" to end each post with it.

I think it is time to get to the teacher part of my blog. I have spent most of the summer posting about the mom part of my life.

I am a third grade teacher and will start my tenth year of teaching at the end of August. I can't believe that I have been teaching for nine years already! The time has really flown by.

There have been lots of changes over the last nine years. TAAS was replaced by TAKS, the TEKS for math have been updated, the language arts TEKS will be updated next year, I moved from fourth grade to third grade, etc. etc. etc. Over the last 9 years I have worked with 12 new teachers. (Just in my grade level) I've also worked with long term substitutes several times. It has been interesting to work with new, different people but I am so glad that this year, for the first time in several years, I will have the pleasure to work with the same two collegaues that I did last year.

I have worked in my room for four days this summer. I don't work the whole day. I go in at some point in the morning, stay until the kids drive me crazy because they are tired of being together in my room, come home, eat lunch, and then go back to school for a couple more hours. In the afternoons the kids stay with Jimmy because he gets off by 2:00 usually.

Of course, lots of time is spent the first couple of days catching up with everyone that you haven't seen over the summer.

When it comes to putting my room together I start by sitting and staring. I learned this technique from a friend who teaches second grade. She swears by it, and you know what? It works! The first day I was at school I didn't move anything. I focused on cleaning out boxes of old papers, etc. While I did this I debated where to put my furniture. We teach reading using the Balanced Literacy model developed by many educators. We use this book by Fountas and Pinnell. This means I need to have a community area (where the whole class can sit), a writing center (this contains dictionaries, theauruses, paper, etc.), a word study area, a teacher table where I hold small groups, and a library organized by author/genre/subject. I also have five computers and a printer (plus a teacher computer). I am self contained so that means I teach all subjects (math, reading/language arts, science, and social studies) so I have to have all of the materials that I need for those subjects. Thank goodness we have a science lab so all of the lab materials are kept in that room. I have a shelf that is full of math manipulatives organized into plastic tubs with lids.

So, back to my story. The first day I putter around and stare. I then form a plan about where I want everything to go. This year I did something totally different. I moved my computers away from the wall (they were in a straight line) into a square of desks. This gives me more wall space for my library. I had three huge plastic tubs full of books that didn't get put on my shelves last year because I simply didn't have room for them. I hate the fact that I had books that my kids couldn't access. This new design will allow me to free all of those books from their plastic prisons!

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wii love to play!

We finally did it. We bought a Wii. Actually, we finally found one to buy. I have wanted a Wii for a while now but whenever our Wal-Mart had them in stock I was not ready to part with the $249.00 plus tax that would be required to make it mine. Plus, the cost of the extra remote, games, etc.

Well, while we were on vacation we played the Wii at Auntie Darla's and Uncle Chuck's and Jimmy was sold on the Wii. Meagan also ramped up her pleading for a Wii of our own. (She had already been asking for one for Christmas.) If you have read some of my other vacation posts you will know that Hurricane Dolly made landfall in Brownsville while we were on vacation. This brought lots of rain to the Houston area. Lots of rain meant some of our vacation activities had to be canceled.

Anyway, on our last day of vacation we stopped at Target and guess what?? They had Wiis (is that even a word???) in stock. Jimmy and I decided to buy one for the family due to our rainy vacation.
It came with the sports game which is a lot of fun all by itself. We also purchased an extra remote that came with an extra game Wii Play. (Well, the game came with it for $10.00 more - but it was still a great deal.) The Wii play has air hockey, ping pong, a shooting game, etc. There are ten mini games in all. Well worth the $10.00. Since then we have purchased Mario Galaxy which the kids and I enjoy. It has elements that are similar to the original Nintendo Mario (the only game system and game that I ever owned.) It is 3D (I don't know if that is the right description) and some sometimes you are walking upside down on planets. Once you get used to that it is a lot of fun. However, I have no friends to depend on to show me how to conquer the creatures and where all of the extra coins/free men/star bits are. You see, none of this stuff is in the instruction book. You just have to play the game and figure it out all by yourself. I used to rely heavily on my friends to show me where all of this secret stuff was.
We have also purchased Cooking Mama which Meagan has for her DS. We all like this game and it has totally different recipes from the DS version. Your arm does get tired from all of the "cooking" you do. Or maybe I'm just a wimp.
We have played the Wii every day since we brought it home. I know this will change as school/sports start but overall I think it was worth the money!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Swimming Lessons

In July the kids took two weeks of swimming lessons. Thanks Grandma Silly and Grandpa! (The swimming lessons were their treat because Grandpa thinks a child can never have too many weeks of swimming lessons.) The kids had a fantastic teacher - Miss T. She is the coach of our local swim team. She did a great job with the kids and they really learned a lot. Meagan can swim all on her own now, even in deep water. She is still working on diving and learning different strokes. She also needs to work on breathing while swimming. Right now, when she takes a breath she stops swimming.

Garrett is going great too. As long as he has his noodle he will go anywhere or do anything in the water. When you take the noodle away, he knows what to do but acts like he can't swim. Next summer he will work on swimming independently. (Considering last year he told me, "No thanks, I'm just going to sit on the side of the pool." We are really proud of him.)

This is Garrett jumping off of the diving board with his beloved noodle.
This is Garrett doing a toothpick jump. When you do this type of jump you wind up going quite deep into the pool. He came back up just fine!
Here he is swimming to Miss T. after one of his jumps.

Here is Garrett swimming to the edge of the pool after one of his jumps. This proves to me he can swim when he tries because Miss T. wasn't even there to catch him and send him to the side. He jumped off of the board, came to the surface, and swam to the side of the pool all by himself.
This is Meagan swimming to the shallow end of the pool after jumping off of the diving board.
Meagan does a handstand in the shallow end of the pool. We need to work on keeping those legs straight!
Meagan doing a cannonball.
The kids had a blast and keep asking, "Are we going to Miss T.'s next week?" Unfortunately, she was booked/we were on vacation/busy, etc. for the rest of the summer.

The kids have had the chance to practice their new skills this summer though. As I have posted about before we found a great pool in Aransas Pass that the kids have really enjoyed. Maybe one day Alice will have something like that!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Houston Children's Museum

On our first day of vacation we went to the Houston Children's Museum. I was pleased with the museum. All of it was hands on and kid friendly. There were several neat exhibits. Meagan is at the point where she wants to read everything and really learn about stuff and Garrett is at the stage where he wants to run around and do the hands on stuff without caring why things do the things they do. Does that even make sense? To sum it up, Meagan wanted to travel through the museum slowly and read everything, and Garrett raced through touching everything.

This is the front of the museum. I think it looks really cool.

Here we are in front of the museum. Garrett has that funny, no smile, the sun is in my eyes, are we done yet look on. Unfortunately, he has that look on his face in most of the pictures from this vacation.
Meagan and Garrett created this path for a ball to roll down. It was neat to watch them test the maze and then fix it as needed. (The object is to get the ball to roll from the top to the bottom without falling.) They had a good time moving the pieces around to create a maze that worked. Yes, they actually worked together!

There were these neat phones that looked like pay phones but also had a video feed so you could see the person you were talking to. They also had a huge robot looking man made entirely of telephones and telephone parts. Cool. Very cool.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Phone robot - too cool

Extra, Extra, Read all about it!!!!!!!!!!

I just discovered that TEA (Texas Education Agency) just released school accountability scores for the 2008 testing period (07-08 school year). We are RECOGNIZED!!!!! WOO HOO!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Aransas Pass Aquatic Center

A couple of weekends ago Jimmy and I took the kids to Aransas Pass. I had heard about this great pool that they had with slides like Schlitterbahn. Well, I love Schlitterbahn, but for right now it is too big for us. Meagan and Garrett are five years apart and like totally different things when it comes to places like Schlitterbahn. Anyway, this park sounded perfect for us. As you can see, it was!

I LOVE the look on Garrett's face in this picture!

There is something for the entire family at this pool. They have three slides: a short green one that makes you go really fast, a blue one that is open on the top, and a yellow one that is totally enclosed (think Soda Straws at Schlitterbahn).

They have a huge kiddie area where Garrett played for most of the day. There are several things to interact with in this area like these umbrellas. Jimmy and Garrett pretended that they were in jail and the water was like the bars.

They also have a high and low diving board. Meagan jumped off of the low diving board several times, swimming to the side each time with no problem. The water is 13 feet deep! I am so proud of her. She is really doing well.

I am so glad that there is something like this within driving distance to us because it has been so HOT lately! I think we will be making lots of trips to it now that we know exactly where it is and just how much fun it is!