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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The 1st Grade Field Trip: creepy, crawly and educational.

Today I took a break from the repeative life of a lunch lady and stepped out with the 1st graders on their field trip to a local county park.

I was put in charge of four kids, one of them my son and shortly after 9 a.m. we loaded onto one of two school buses for our adventure.

Here's what I learned:

  • Any ride on a bus lasting more than five minutes is considered LOOOOOONG by 1st graders.
  • These six and seven year olds know alot more about insects than I do.  For example, all insects have three body parts.  Without googling them can you tell me what they are called?  My son's class could.
  • March in PA is a little early for an outside hike, but enjoyable none-the-less.  Just don't plan on seeing much wildlife as they are a lot smarter than humans.
  • I am bigger than a bobcat and smaller than a buffalo.
  • That Cheese-Its come in very tiny bags.
  • Kids ask AWESOME questions like:  Why are boy birds prettier than girl birds?  Did the (taxidermied) beaver get run over by a truck? Do all hippos have mustashes?  Does the queen bee wear a crown?  I wish...she'd be a lot easier to find.
  • Butterflies have tounges like party blowers.  I bet that makes them ideal party animals.  I mean they come already decorated and with their own favors.
  • Dobson Flies still freak me out.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Update: a little here, a little there

It's time to start baseball.  Son is playing t-ball again this year.  It's his last season and then next year he will move up to C ball.  Friday was his first practice and it was 38 degrees.  Needless to say, we didn't really practice.  We just forked over fundraiser money and agreed to meet the following week.

Looks like Little G might be the oldest on the team.  Seems like there may be a lot of newbies.  The sad part about that is we are practicing in a field.  Not a baseball field.  Just a field.  It's kind of hard to teach little kids how to run to to first base and stay in the baseline when there is no first base or baseline. 

I'm excited that we are on the Pittsburgh Pirates this year but am confused as to why the coach thinks that they wear yellow shirts.  I'm that's my neck of the words and I'm certain that they don't wear yellow.




Of course, we already own gray pants and white pants and his coach wants him to wear black pants.  I suppose I could have guessed that one.

Here's hoping the weather warms up a little this week so baseball becomes a little less painful.

Saturday and Sunday were low key days which is great because next week they both look crazy busy.  I finished the first major edit on my book.  Still not sure what, if anything, I'm going to do with it.  I've taken to reading a lot of teen fiction lately and a lot of times I find myself wondering how did this person get their book published.  I mean, let's be honest, unless you have an in, it's hard to get even a look.

Knowing that is a bit depressing.

Here's hoping you had a fantastic weekend.
Friday, March 25, 2011

Lessons from the Lunchlady: Waste Not Want Not

I only had to work four days this week but yet those four days felt like fourteen.  I'm not sure why?  I think there were multiple factors, which include daylight savings time making it hard to leave my bed, my childrens' inability to get up unless it's Saturday and my constant state of cranky,  irritability associated with my menstrual cycle.

Seems I hate being a lunch lady while I'm PMSing (who knew?  Shut up, D.)

Here's what I learned this week, while serving time in the dish room.

This is an actual picture of the garbage disposal chute in our building.  It's full of broccoli and noodles.

  • Broccoli and Noodles.  What do kids eat?  Because obviously they hate rottini noodles and broccoli.  Which reminds me of a joke I heard this week.  What's the difference between broccoli and boogers?  Kids don't eat broccoli.
  • I like cheese.  Last week I remarked about the fact that cheesy broccoli and the dishwasher don't like each other.  A few of you questioned what the sauce was really made of.  I can't attest for your school cafeteria but in our cafeteria that cheesy substance is....cheese.  An entire block of it.  Melted and gooey and all-together delicious.  I hate cleaning it--but I love eating it.
  • Pasta Pisses Me Off!  Okay, that's a little harsh, but seriously, I hate pasta day.  Pasta day is messy!  There's red sauce all over the tray.  This week, just for fun, we added a small spring salad, which as you can guess the kids loved. (Pretend that was written in a sarcasm font).  Picture trays covered with random stray noodles, red sauce, sprigs of grass and ranch dressing.  I hate PASTA day.
  • Chicken.  Why do we have to have sooooo much chicken?  I understand that the kids like it, but twice in one week seems like A LOT.  Especially when we only have school four days.
  • Cheese sandwiches.  I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  In a perfect world, no child would ever get a cheese sandwich because their lunch bill wasn't paid for.  If your economic circumstances have changed it takes just a few minutes to qualify for free or reduced lunch.  In a perfect world, I get to take your lunch and give it to your child while you eat the cheese sandwich.
Here's hoping you weren't elbow deep in pasta this week and that you learned something worthwhile.
Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writer's Workshop: I have been known to irrate

I'm going to let you on a little secret. 

I am not an organized person.

Don't get me wrong, I don't need to be featured on "Clean House" or heaven-forbid any show featured on TLC.

That being said, I tend to have trouble putting things away.  I tend to have trouble caring if our socks are folded.  I tend to have trouble keeping anything organized or in a drawer in my craft room/office.

I spend an immense amount of time looking for things like nail clippers, Tylenol, and for cryin' out loud where are all the hair brushes in this house.

My husband is an engineer.  He likes all things in order.  If he had his way, the food pantry would be alphabetized.  Everything would have a place and everything would be in its place. 

Living with me must be some sort of penance for him.


This post inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

$$ If I had $100 Million Dollars $$

Today at work we were all dreaming of millions and laughing about what we would do with all that money.  I thought it might make for an interesting blog post.

If I had 100 million dollars I would...

  • Pay off my debt.  First and foremost, I would pay off all of my debt.  I would write a check for my house, I would bring cash into the bank and payoff my van.  (How much fun would that be?)  I would pay off my families debts too.
  • New Car.  I would get a new car or truck for my husband.  He always seems to be driving the older of our two vehicles and I'm sure he'd rather have something a little more "show-off" worthy.
  • Donations.  I would make a significant donation towards diabetic research.
  • Publish my book.  I'd publish my own book and I'd buy a bunch of copies of it.
  • Tips.  I have always wanted to give an exuberant amount as a tip to a tired, well-deserving waitress.  I would definitely do that.
  • Work.  I think I'd be bored if I didn't do something during the day.  I'm not sure I'd continue working as a lunch lady, but I'm not sure I wouldn't either.  I enjoy writing for the paper, so I'm not sure I'd quit doing that either.
  • Playground.  I would put a playground in at both the elementary I work at and the intermediate my girls attend.  It would be a fantastic, imaginative area filled with age appropriate play. 
  • Travel.  I've always wanted to visit Australia.  Plus I'm dying to take oldest to Harry Potter World.  Those two places would be first on the list.
  • Beach House.  I'd buy a house near the beach and whenever my friends could get away we would never have to worry about the cost of renting again.
If you had $100 Million dollars, what would you do?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hot Topic: New Car Seat Recommendations

Unless you've been living under a rock and don't have internet access, you've most likely heard, seen, twittered about or had your Facebook wall plastered with comments, both for and against, the new car seat recommendations recently released by the American Academy of Pedatrics.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about them.

The recommendations, in a nutshell, are as follows:
  • Children should ride rear-facing to age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. (The old policy from 2002 cited age 12 months and 20 pounds as a minimum for when to turn a seat around.) 
  • Children should use a booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years old.
  • Children should ride in the rear of a vehicle until they are 13 years old.
I hated when my babies were rear-facing.  That being said, I turned each and every one of them around between the ages of 12-14 months.  Oldest was likely rear-facing the longest as I was always worried about breaking her.

It's hard for me to imagine letting my child walk to the car, climb into the car and then buckling them up facing the rear.  I completely understand the reasoning behind the recommendation.  In the event of a head on collision, the seat--not the child's neck and spine--absorb much of the impact.  I'm still uncertain what happens if you're hit from behind or slammed from the side.  Is it still better to be facing the rear?

As much as it pains me to admit this, I'm short.  I'm 5'2 and my children are not tall.  They likely never will be.  My 12 year old just barely makes it out of the booster seat guidelines.   While many of her friends consistently ride in the front seat of their family vehicle, I have been adamant on the fact that she is not allowed to.  The airbag is simply too dangerous and she must be 13.

Knowing how much she balks at the idea of remaining seated in the back, the thought of putting her into a booster seems downright impossible and somewhat comical.  She is nearly the same size as me.  How can I logically impose these restrictions?  Because I said so is such a pathetic answer.

It appears the Academy would also encourage me to have my nearly 10 year old and my 7 1/2 year old in five-point harness, forward-facing car seats.  I have worked dilegently with my children teaching them the correct way to wear their seat belts, the correct way to position the belt and to never remove the shoulder belt, no matter how annoying it can be.

My son will remain in his basic booster seat until the age of 8, which is currently PA law.  At that time, he will likely graduate out of that seat, just like his sisters did before him.

I believe we all want our children to be as safe as they possibly can be while riding in a car.  I believe the Academy has done dillegent research and is providing information that all parents need to evaluate and decide on.

Personally, I don't believe that keeping my children harnessed and boostered until they are nearly driving age is going to guarantee their safetly.  Teaching children how to properly behave in a moving vehicle, how to correctly use their seat belts, and modeling good driving habits will go a long way.

But let's face it--in the United States about 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes.  That's one death every 13 minutes.  Any given day it can be us--on the way to daycare--on the way to work--on the way to the third school board meeting of the week.

We need to put down our phones.  We need to stop being in a hurry to get here and go there.  We need to think about the precious cargo in our van, in the car in front of us, the school bus behind us.

We need to remember who is watching us from the back seat.
Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend update: A visit with my mother

I had a throw down, yell-at-the-top-of-your-lungs kind of fight with my mother last week.  It was ugly.  It was the kind of fight that you don't easily recover from.  The kind of fight that makes it hard to go back to the the way things were.

The good news about that is that I'm not completely fond of the way things were.  I'm not completely satisfied with our relationship and I'm hoping that by airing out a little bit of a ton of our frustrations we will be able to move past the ugly.

Past the things that happened in the past.  Past the disappointment.

I'd like to start fresh with her.  I'd like for her to be a more integral part of my childrens' lives. 

I'd like her to start keeping her word.

I'd like her to visit more.

I'd like her to be happy and content with her life.

She said she wanted to see me.  She said she wanted to come and visit this weekend and to see the kids.  She and her husband came out Saturday.  We had lunch.  We did a little shopping.  Oldest gave her a makeover.  We smiled.  We laughed.

It was actually a nice time...a good visit.

Here's hoping....
Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lessons from the Lunchlady:

I've been quite the blogging slacker this week.   I have no real excuse except S-P-R-I-N-G fever!

The weather in PA over the last few days has me longing to be outside and not in front of this computer.

I realize that the thousands five of you who regularly read my lunch lady laments have been disappointed for days.

Better late than never....here's what I learned this week.

  • Cheesey Broccoli.  This stuff doesn't come off of trays.  Even in an 180 degree dishwasher.  Curious.
  • Head Injuries.  My son cracked his head HARD on the gym floor this week.  I thought the school nurse was over-reacting a little when she told me he needed to be seen by a doctor.  However, on the way to the pediatrician's when he threw up all over the van, I realized that perhaps she was correct.  Mild concussion.  He is much better now.  Thank....GOD.
  • Taco Salad.  When one of the three workers in the cafeteria has to leave for a family emergency (a.k.a. head injury) serving taco salad alone can be complicated....but not impossible.
  •  Bad Words.  The public park our students play at during lunch recess was decorated with some colorful language courtesy of some neighborhood holigans.  The little kids kept telling me they saw "bad words" all over the place.  "How do you know they're bad?" I asked.  "'Cause we ain't allowed to say them."
  • $$$$.  Nothing lowers moral more than talks of budget cuts and position relocations.  Here's hoping that, at least for a few days, we can all focus on more positive things.
What did you learn this week?
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Weekend: By the Numbers

 This weekend was the Walk to Defeat Juvenile Diabetes in North Carolina.

As a recap I thought I would share my weekend with you by the numbers. 

Why?

Because it's fun to do that and I want to.  LOL

Number of kids I traveled with: 3

Number of dogs I traveled with: 1



Number of words my husband spoke the entire 16 hour round trip drive:  45

Number of words I spoke when I made the same trip alone with the kiddos in January:  4,701



Number of smiles:  87,165

Amount of money raised by our team:  $3,700

Number of times I laughed:  lost count around 92,432



Number of times I was asked if my daughter (right) was related to her friend T:  64

Number of miles walked:  3

Number of times my kids jumped in the bounce house:  6,000



Number of times I had to threaten oldest G's life to get this photo:  6

Number of times I would do it again:  infinity

HERE'S HOPING WE FIND A CURE AND THE WALK IS CANCELED!
Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan


Praying for all of the people of Japan and the entire world.

photo credit : www.guardian.co.uk

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lessons from the Lunchlady: fill your pockets with the goodness of lunch



This week in the cafeteria I've been laughed at, mocked, poked and touched far too much and that was just by my co-workers.

  • Meal Qualifications.  I continue to be amazed and appalled by what the Federal government considers a reimbursable meal.  I've lamented before about "Walk Away Tacos" but this week I learned that a tiny-ass Trix yogurt, a milk and a pack of gram cracker bugs is, indeed, a lunch.  Who knew.  I always thought that was a snack.
  • Juice vs Fruit.  On this side of the ring, peaches, pears, pineapples and oranges slices on the other side artificial fruit juice in flavors that include fruit punch, apple, and orange.  Guess which one kids prefer?
  • What's in your pocket?  I picked up one of my friends kids at the bus stop this week because his sister wasn't feeling well.  He got in the van and said, "I didn't know you'd be getting me today.  Mr. George (our janitor) said I could take these.  He pulled Rice Krispy treats from lunch out of his pockets.  BUSTED....LOL
  • Budget woes.  We learned this week that our hours will likely be cut.  It's a good thing because I was starting to depend on all that extra cash.  Actually between you and I, my last paycheck (which was for 7 days instead of 10) was so pathetic that I think it may have actually cost me to go to work.  It's a good thing I LOVE to do dishes and touch wasted food.
  • LENT.  I gave up green scratchy scrubbing pads and hairnets for Lent.  My boss said "No go".  I tried to file a religious discrimination case against her but I couldn't afford the paperwork.  LOL
What did you learn this week?
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Friends aren't something you collect on Facebook

I've been thinking a lot about what makes a good friend. 

My oldest daughter is at the age when fitting in and feeling loved by your peers is so important.  I suppose if we are being honest with ourselves fitting in and being loved is important to all of us no matter what our age.

I've been stressing to her that quantity of friends doesn't matter.  That quality is a better attribute.

Recently I posted as a Facebook status "How did we meet and how long have we known each other".  It was so fun to see some of the answers.

I'm not forty (yet) but I've had friends for over 20 years.  One of my friends commented about how we were on the same peewee cheerleading team.  We were seven!  That means I've been friends with her for 31 years!  That doesn't seem possible.

I recalled dancing at a teen club with one of my other friends.  She was incredibly pregnant!  We were so young.  Both of us flabbergasted by the fact that she was really having a baby.  "Do you think he'll like loud music?" she asked me, as we both danced near the speakers. 

That little boy isn't so little anymore.  He'll be 23 this year and yes, he does like his music loud.  LOL

I had one friend say I was her first "American" friend.  She and her family moved to Ohio from England when our kids were just wee little things. 

When the stay-at-home phase of my life merged with the-kids-are-starting-school phase of my life I met even more wonderful people.  The principal of my daughter's school recalled meeting me when Oldest transferred here from kindergarten in Ohio. 

I vividly remember Oldest getting down on the ground during that meeting and running her hands up and down the principal's pantyhose and saying how soft they were.  That was mortifying.  I didn't really think I would ever be considered her friend.  Yet now she has lunch with me and the other lunch ladies just about everyday.  And to think that my little kindergartner from that story will soon start middle school.

I have friends I've met through work at the paper, through work at the school district.  Many of whom I can share a glass of wine with and laugh about the day.  I have neighbors (and former neighbors) whom I would drop everything for.  Whom I would bail out of jail.  Whom I would give a kidney.

I have had the privilege of meeting some wonderful moms through preschool programs that I truly feel blessed to know.  Many of them (especially K) make me proud to be a parent.  They fill me with hope, with gratitude and with awe.  I secretly want to be them when I grow up.  I think their kids are the luckiest little people in the entire world.  A&J are going to do amazing things and I hope I'm around to see it all!

Without my friend, B, I would likely explode.  She listens to me gripe, she takes care of me when I'm sick, she watches my kids, she picks up gallons of milk for me, she goes on vacation with me and she reads my manuscripts and tells me that she loves them.

We have a secretly language and usually without words we know if the other is hurting.

It is my sincere hope that you have friends that you've known for decades, for years, for months, that bring you great joy.  Whom you can't remember life without.  Whom you don't want to live life without.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What do you find offensive?

Let's face it.  Humans are strange.  We all have different viewpoints.  We all have different lifestyles.  We all have different likes and dislikes.

That's why when I hear that something is actually offensive to someone that is completely benign to me I become intrigued.

This weekend I learned that some people are offended by.....Easter Eggs.

Seriously?

Apparently there are a few people attending my church who don't want Easter eggs or bunnies on the church bulletin board.  After all there is a daycare there so we should probably make sure that we don't scare those attending with these atrocities.

After all, you can't be a good Christian and like the Easter Bunny....or can you?

It's your prerogative if you don't want to explore the wonders of fantasy with your children.  If you want to eliminate the Easter Bunny from your kids life...who am I to stop you. 

But let's be clear...you don't get to eliminate the Easter Bunny from my kids life. 

I'm fine with a spring bulletin board that has flowers on it.  It can stay up longer and makes for less work.  But I also remember a time when churches held egg hunts and communities gathered there in camaraderie.

My grandfather used to spend hours decorating eggs, which he would have blessed.  Sometimes he delivered his egg-artwork to shuts in and hospitalized.  Guess what--they weren't offended.

It's true...the egg is a pagan symbol of rebirth and maybe it doesn't have a place on a church bulletin board.  But I can tell you this, if it somehow ended up on one, it wouldn't offend me at all.

And perhaps it shouldn't.
Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lessons from the Lunchlady: My Butt is Ha Ha Lirious



This week dragged on and on and on.  Here's what I learned.
  • Read Across America  -  Going to work in your P.J.s  Rocks!  Forgetting your wearing them and going into the bank at 2:30 in the afternoon in your pajamas will get you some odd looks.
  • Lunch Switching --  My boss has decided that since more than 100 days of school have passed we will no longer be allowing you to change your mind about your lunch choice.  If you pick a hot dog you get a hot dog.  This rule is more upsetting to teachers than to students.  Newsflash:  They don't eat not matter what lunch they order and so far none of them have starved.
  • My Butt.  My boss dropped a tray with pizza sauce on it and when it hit the ground it looked like a crime scene.  Forgetting I had a bunch of 3rd grades standing in front of me I yelled, "Did you get that all over my butt."  The laughter in line was contagious.  Personally, I'm happy I said butt and not ass.
  • TMI.    The lunchladys in elementary school are like the bartenders in your adult life.  Be aware that your kids tell us everything.  Including the fact that you had an adults only party in the middle of the week that was so loud your kid didn't get to sleep until after 11 p.m.  I'm not sure what kind of party it was, but couldn't it have waited till the weekend?
  • THANKS.  After handing out 25 trays while saying "You're welcome" in the hopes that someone would say thank you, I leaned over to my boss and whispered, "No Manners."  The very next kid said Thank You.  How do they know what I'm thinking?
What did you learn this week?
Thursday, March 3, 2011

Writer's Workshop: What I was blogging about this time last year.



Mama’s Losin’ It


Mama wants to know what I was blogging about last year at this time and I thought it might be fun to look back and see.

  • LOST.  I spent a lot of time recapping the final season of LOST and as I glance back over the pictures I remember what I loved so much about this show.  I'm pretty sure it had little to do with the plot.
  • THINGS NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED ME TO DO.   The list included baptise their baby; cook a gourmet meal, sing at their wedding, gut a deer, change a tire, co-host the View, shingle a roof and build them some furniture.  Sadly, a year later and I have yet to be asked to do any of these things.
  • WEATHER.  I spent a lot of time blogging about the evils of Mother Nature and what I may have done to vex her.  If it wasn't snow it was pouring down rain.
  • JDRF.  March is the time of the year when my family gets together for a walk in support of my nephew.
  • MY PEDOMETER.    I loved game that my husband found for the DS.  You could make your own mii and it came with a little gadget to where on your shoe or belt.  Alas, I ruined it over the summer when I jumped into the pool while it was still in my pocket.  I should think about getting another one.
  • A DO OVER.  I spoke candidly about a day in my life I'd like to do over.  It was the last time I could remember having fun as a family unit.  Before my parents divorced, before my sister moved too far away.
I also posted this picture of my son and daughter playing.  She had out her Strawberry Shortcake house and doll set and he brought some Star Wars figures to visit.


Little G said, "It's always nice to stop by and see friends before you go to battle."  That still makes me smile.

What were you blogging about this time last year?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Feelin' Crafty Wednesday: Disney Autograph Books



I've posted some of these before.  I made these ones about two weeks ago.  Since March is National Craft Month I thought I'd share with you how they are made.

The plain 6x6 books I got in a stack of 25 from Ebay.  The Tigger and the Pooh are cut using the Pooh and Friends Cricut cartridge.  It's an oldie but a goodie.  I think the Tigger is 3 1/2 inches and the Pooh is 4 inches.  I used the Mickey Font cartridge for the names.  The background papers were part of a DCWV Disney stack. 

I used plain 12x12 paper for the inserts which I cut into quarters.  There are approximately 24 sheets in each book.  Before binding it with the Bind-it-all I slid both the front and the back covers into a page protector and sewed the open end shut using my sewing machine.  That what if there is an unexpected shower the book will be less likely to fall apart. 

The are bound with a 1 inch bind it all o-wire. 

If you make any, shoot me the link.  I'd love to see them.

Happy crafting!

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kisatrtle
I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some crack...um...I meant some comments.
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