Simple Sunday – Blue Cheese and a Breakfast Menu

I have completed two of my eight weeks of full time student teaching.  It has been going very well and I am loving it!  It also leaves me feeling exhausted and with no motivation to do anything of much else other than take care of my family, go to bed, and then wake up to do it all over again.  Hence the lack of blogging going on over in these parts.

But today is the first day of our mid winter break, one full week of no school.  I still have a seminar and a meeting to attend at my college, a résumé and a cover letter to compose and lots of lesson plans to write but…

So last week I asked Cody what breakfasts he would like to eat over break.  During the school week our typical breakfasts consist of a variety of the following: yogurt, English muffins or toast, cold cereal, and fruit.  Cody is our big breakfast eater and prefers a hot breakfast to a cold one.  Here is what he came up with:

mid winter break menu

As you can see the teacher in me made him write out his menu, my excuse for this was so that I would not forget his requests not so that he could practice his handwriting.  Yesterday, per his request, I created an omelet bar.  It was a huge success!

As I cooked, Carter, who has really gotten into arts and crafts lately, had been at the breakfast table using markers to draw this great picture of me standing in a field next to a tree.  I look a bit like a blue faced turtle but at least I am a happy blue faced turtle.  The blue is groundwater, and if you look closely you can see the grass’ roots reaching for a drink.

Carters picture of me with tree

When Carter’s omelet was ready for him to fill, he loaded it up with shredded white cheddar cheese and cut up little smokies.  As he was eating, he exclaimed, “Look momma, my white cheese is blue now!”  Apparently the white cheese that he had carefully loaded into his omelet, little handful by little handful, had turned blue from the marker that had not quite made it onto the paper but had make it most plentifully onto his little hands.

Blue cheese.  So if you happen to find yourself as a guest at our house and Carter offers you blue cheese, consider yourself warned.  You might not be getting what you expect.

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Simple Sunday – The Super Wall

A few weeks ago, after hearing about a great way to display students’ work in the classroom – work of their choosing, that they were proud of – I decided to create such a wall in our home.  I don’t feel like I can make such a wall in my internship classroom, but I do like the idea and may try it in my future classroom.

So, using my family as guinea pigs, I created The Brag Wall with the sub title “Have you Heard the Buzz?”  I taped up the title, a couple paper insects the boys had made and four squares of colorful paper, each with their own paperclip.  One square for each member of the family.  Other than the immediately pointed out problem that, “Momma, don’t you know it is not nice to brag?” by Cody, it has been going along rather well.

Super Wall 1

Every Friday each of us remove our super items and replace them with new super items from the week.  I have displayed such things as a graphic organizer explaining the difference between expository and literary narrative writing and an index card of my notes from the day I was lead teacher for the full day.  Carter tends to lean towards colorful artwork and lists of sight words and Cody prefers to highlight math papers.  Husband, who is not terribly keen on the whole thing (or he simply just forgets to trade out his super items) displayed a screen shot of a database he has been working on at work.

Here are the picks for this week

Carter – his hand traced and cut out.  I would never tell him this but it looks a little creepy handing there on our wall.

Super Wall 2

Cody – a picture he drew of the knitting needles he just started using at the knitting club he joined at school.  They are blue, 10.5 (size? – I know nothing about knitting), and he taped “variegated” yarn (his word not mine!) to the paper to represent the act of knitting.

Super Wall 3

Husband – just switched out his database screen shot to a picture of the delicious peanut butter chocolate pie he made for Pie Day yesterday (if you are curious about Pie Day just type it into my site search box and you can read about our other Pie Day celebrations).  The pie was amazing!

Super Wall 4

Me – I was given 15 minutes to write and illustrate a story in my Art, Music, and Movement class last week based off the book The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems.  I decided to display this as my super item of the week.

Super Wall 5

As some of you may remember, Hool is Carter’s most beloved stuffed animal, an owl.  The story has a touch of dark humor near the end when Hool, who finally gets his pet mouse, discovers that it has been a long time since breakfast.  The second to the last picture shows Hool with a little black tail sticking out of his beak and a small burp in a speech bubble above his head.  Then he states that he has changed his mind and would rather have a plump, cute, chipmunk as a pet.

I rather like our family Super Wall.  I like that we each get to display something we did that we are proud of and I enjoy the conversations that stem from it.

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Simple Sunday – How the Rock Stars Party

I should really watch what I say, think before I speak, choose my words more cautiously.

Yesterday after a brisk jaunt with Haley at the off leash dog park, we came back home to have lunch before heading out again to run errands and go see a student performance of Cinderella at my internship school.  Four of my first graders were in the play (three pumpkins and one mouse – and they were simply adorable).  Cody and Carter did not want to go out again.  They did not want to run errands.  They did not really want to go to the play.

carter:  Where are we going first?

me:  Well first we need to go to the post office.

carter:  And ‘gain where? (He struggles with the “th” sound at the start of words.)

me:  Then we are off to the bank and the school to see the play.

cody: And then where are we going?

me:  Then we need to go to Michael’s.

The conversation goes on like this for a while until finally we get to the part where we head back home.  It was here where I embellished.

carter:  And ‘gain where momma?

me:  And then we get to go home and party like rock stars!

Carter loves to party.  He got all fired up and immediately started planning this big, grand party we were going to have at the end of our day.  The party required a fire in our fireplace.  It required candles.  It required music (well, of course it did).  And there were going to be stations with various activities for us to do.  Lots of stations.

Oh dear.

And so we got home with armloads of groceries and a dinner that still needed to be planned, prepared, and eaten.  I got to work in the kitchen while Husband helped put away groceries and started a fire.  The boys disappeared into their bedroom to plan the upcoming event.

The party was a smashing success.  The boys build a curved, multi-tiered wall out of cardboard bricks to separate the party area from the dining room area.  Husband queued up some festive music starting with The Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get It Started”.

There were activities for all kinds:  a paper snowflake making station, a dance station, a hot wheel car launching station, a sit and watch the fire station, a throw the rope down the hall for the dog station, and my personal favorite – a snuggle and read a book station.

The night went long and bedtimes were pushed back to ensure completion of all stations.

While I doubt this is how real rock stars party, it is how we party.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rock on and party hard!

And don’t pass up that paper snowflake making station – it makes for a great time.

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Simple Sunday – Preparation

This weekend I spend most of my time writing lesson plans and completing coursework in preparation for the coming week.  This week, while I am still three weeks away from taking over as lead teacher for a period of eight weeks, I will be teaching all day Tuesday and Wednesday.  My mentor teacher offer up the opportunity and I would be a fool to turn it down.  While I have taught large chunks of the day, I have never been lead teacher all day.  It will be an experience!

Since my life seems to be of the all or non variety as of late, I was not surprised that both my supervisor and the principal wanted to schedule formal observations for this coming week as well.  Oh, yeah.

And so this weekend I prepared.

I feel ready.  I know there will be moments throughout the week, probably lots of them, where I will feel far from ready, but right now in this moment – I am ready.

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Simple Sunday – A Loud Surprise

Yesterday Husband and I surprised the boys by taking them to Monster Jam at the Tacoma Dome.  In retrospect, it would have been better if we had not made this outing a surprise because it was so out of the ordinary of what we usually do.

Neither right nor wrong of us, our family activities tend to center around quite, peaceful, and educational events.  We have been to the local history, art, and glass museums several times.  We enjoy the zoo and the science center, walks with the dog in the park or on the beach.  We go to small community festivals and farmer’s markets.  We shy away from large crowds and the noise and chaos that go along with them.  But sometimes it is good to break from the norm and try something different.

Monster Jam.  There were a lot of people.  And it was loud.  Very loud.

Monster Jam 1

Even with our squishy neon orange earplugs, it was a feel-it-in-your-core-eyeball-buzzing loud.

Monster Jam 2

So with no idea what they were in for, we parked, walked with a herd of people who   swarmed the sidewalks waving black and white checkered flags as they went, entered the large cavernous space that is the Tacoma Dome, took our seats, and jammed earplugs into their ears.  Carter started crying.  Cody’s eyes welled up as he held his hands over his ears and told us again and again that it was too loud.

Not one of our best parenting moments.

But we stayed, we talked yelled over the din about what was going on (to the best of our ability, for we had never been to one of these either), and slowly they started to relax and watch.  There were still times when the noise was too much for them, and during those times I pulled out my smuggled in contraband: string cheese and organic carrot slices (oh, how rebellious of me to sneak such items in!)  They happily munched on cheese and organic carrots to sooth their sensitive souls and chose to sit on our laps instead of in their own seats, snuggling in close when the engines revved up.

Monster Jam Collage

In the end, we all had fun.  The boys did have one request for us though.  They asked that the next time we had a surprise for them, that it be a quiet one.

Monster Jam 3

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Welcome to The Magical Taste Shop

If you had chanced to drop by our little house in the woods last week, you may have been surprised to discover that in the place where our house usually rests, you would have found what appeared to be a restaurant.  Above the warn and curl-edged drawing Carter created and taped to the front door a while ago of two stick figures, who happen to have very large heads and speech bubbles with “I *shape of a heart U” that I am sure has confused the UPS man a time or two, was taped a sign you would typically see when entering a restaurant.

Welcome sign

When Husband got home from work, he was greeted by this welcoming sign and two boys eager to seat him at the dining room table.  Hardly had he a chance to put his keys down and have a seat, but a menu was thrust into his hand and he was told to order a smoothie.

For what Husband has unknowingly stumbled into was The Magical Taste Shop, a shop that specialized in smoothies.  The waiter waited in the kitchen practicing his waiter skills while Carter practiced, well, whatever that is he is practicing.


When it looked as if the customer had made up his mind, he was given a post-it note on which to write down his order.  This was delivered, via waiter, into the kitchen to the waiting smoothie making staff.

The order

The ingredients was readied and the smoothie chief got to work.  The smoothie supervisor, that’s me, reminded the smoothie chief not to remove the immersion blender from the cup while the blender was on.  Repeatedly.

Preping and blending Collage

The waiter, now confident in his skills of balancing his clipboard, er, um, I mean tray, set off across the carpeted dining area while the smoothie supervisor, that’s me again, stood ringing her hands and hoping he would not trip.  He did not.


The customer enjoyed his beverage and surprised the waiter and the smoothie chief with a dollar tip for each of them.  The smoothie supervisor was promoted to chief and waiter and happily created made-to-order smoothies for all.

Cody’s Smoothie:  1/2 kiwi, 1/2 banana, milk

Carter’s Smoothie:  Ice cream (lots, please momma), milk, blueberries, raspberries

Poppa’s Smoothie:  Ice cream, milk, raspberries, 1 kiwi, blackberries

Momma’s Smoothie:  Ice cream, milk, raspberries, blueberries, 1/2 kiwi

My smoothie

While we sat eating our smoothies, the conversation turned to what we thought Haley, our dog, would like if she were given the chance to order a smoothie.  This is what we came up with.

Haley’s Smoothie:  Bacon, ham, rabbit, kisses, peanut butter, and love

Some of these items, well actually all of these items appear to be off menu so apparently there is some flexibility in what you may order although I imagine there would be an additional charge for this service.  And I am not really sure we do rabbit…

What would you like in your smoothie?

Smoothie Menu

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On the Last Day of 2013…

We slept in.

Had a breakfast of homemade buttermilk pancakes.

We got dressed and headed out for an adventure filled day in the city.

On our way into Seattle, we stopped by the Tacoma Dome and picked up tickets for Monster Jam, an event involving big trucks, dirt, and mud (I think).  We are taking the boys there next weekend as a surprise so, shhhh, don’t tell them.

We popped into Ikea to pick up a few items and had some lunch.

On the drive from Ikea to Seattle, the light bulb came on that it was New Years Eve and as such there was a very good chance parking near the Space Needle would be either a total mess, very expensive, or both.

We almost aborted on our plans but decided to forge ahead.

We scored street parking less than a block away from the Seattle Center and ended up paying a whopping $6.

First stop – the Pacific Science Center where we found  out that on Pluto the combined weight of Husband and the boys would be 22.9 pounds.  A nice piece of trivia to pull out and impress the neighbors with.  I declined to step on a scale so public.

2013 weight on Pluto

Next we crossed the center under the looming presence of the Space Needle to checkout the winter train and village display in the Armory.  Our timing was perfect as it was open for novice train engineers.  Both boys got to drive the train.  I think Husband wanted to also, but he did not ask if he could.

2013 driving the train

We ate pizza and had some mild stress as we realized we would not finish our meal and get back to our car before our parking expired.

Our parking expired.  We did not get a ticket.

2013 Space Needle

Last stop of the evening was the Bellevue Botanical Gardens Garden d’Lights festival, a display of over 1/2 a million lights.  We walked through the display twice.

On the walk back to the car, Carter’s very loose tooth finally detached, leaving a cute gaping hole in his mouth.  This was Carter’s second tooth to come out.  I was in charge of holding onto his tooth for the entire car ride home, a lofty responsibility indeed.

2013 Carters tooth hole

We put on our pajamas, and watched Stuart Little, the movie.

With one hour and forty-five left of 2013 there was no way the boys were giving up and going to bed even though I strongly hinted at it.

So…Husband started the movie The Goonies.  I was worried it would be way to scary for the boys, and there were parts that made Carter hide his head under the blanket, but overall they loved it.  On a side note, I  had forgotten how much bad language the movie had and I cringed at every “hell” and “shit” that was dropped but the boys didn’t seem to notice.

As fireworks burst in the sky and drunken people sang and hugged one another, the boys voted to keep watching as the The Goonies searched for One Eyed Willy.

We tucked Carter’s tooth under his pillow, gave them kisses, and went to bed where we waited until we were sure they were asleep so the Tooth Fairy could visit.

This morning Carter was thrilled to find a one of a kind painting from our Tooth Fairy.  He has not yet thought to look under his pillow where he will find a gold one dollar coin.

2013 Tooth Fairy Art Collage

The last day of 2013 has come and gone leaving a new year laid out before us, a new year with adventures and memories yet to be explored and created.

A very Happy New Year to you all!

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Simple Sunday – Snow Day and the Lurking Green Frisbee

The Friday before the start of our two week winter break from school, we had the first snowfall of the year.  It was not a lot but enough for the school district to declare it a two hour late start.  It was my first taste of how it will feel when I am a teacher and such delays and school cancelations occur.  I was as excited as Cody and Carter!

Snowday Collage

The boys bundled up in snow pants and jackets, layering them on right over the top of their pajamas, for there was no time to waste.

My photos are on the poor to blurry side as I had our black furred wiggly two year old lab, Haley on her leash in one hand and the camera in the other.  Haley, our rescue dog who came from sunny California, was quite unsure what to make of all that cold white stuff that dared to drape over her backyard and nip coldly at her toes.  It did not take her long to discover that it was fun to flay around and dig in.

Snowday Haley leaping

We threw snowballs, made a lopsided pirate snowman with a Kosher dill cocktail pickle for a nose (one of his rock eyes fell out and so Carter declared him to be a pirate), jumped on a snow covered trampoline, and tried to teach Haley to catch snowballs but instead ended up pelting her in the face several times leaving us feeling a little bad and her a little confused, we trundled inside to the warmth of a fire and some hot cocoa.

Snowday Carter with large snowball

With the last of the cocoa tipped from our mugs and the melted marshmallow licked from our fingers, we went off down the hall to ready ourselves for the start of another school day.  But what a magical way to start the day.


A final note on the last photograph – I really liked how the snow looked on our rod iron garden whimsy and so I took several pictures.  I did not notice the bright green Frisbee hanging in the lilac bush directly behind it until I had put the pictures on the computer.  At first it saddened me but then I realized that the Frisbee is pretty perfect, a nice representation of our lives.  There may be moments in my life that are pristine and pretty, but there is always a neon green Frisbee lurking around in the background to keep me humble.

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Simple Sunday – Celebrations

Yesterday my friend Amy and I hosted our yearly Christmas party.  Yup, that is me in the reindeer antlers.

Christmas Party time

It is always a great celebration with plenty of tasty food, merry drinks, and fantastic friends.

Christmas party 2013 Collage

It was also a celebration in that I completed my final project for fall semester (*insert fist pump and happy dance here).  I am on break for two weeks, as are Cody and Carter, and I am so looking forward to slowing down and spending time with them.

We are hosting Christmas at Casa de Shoes on the Wrong Feet this year.  It will be a small gathering with my mom and a couple of longtime friends coming to spend a night or two.  I plan to make a roast with veggies and popovers for Christmas dinner as well as baking several cookies and various festive goodies to nibble on through out the holiday.

All the shopping has been done and most of the wrapping too.  I love this time of the year and cherish it even more knowing that the magic of the season will not be forever in the eyes of the boys.  Cody is already questioning how it is possible that Santa can do everything he does in a single night.  Carter is still hook, line, and sinker – there is most certainly a Santa and of course, his reindeer fly.

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As They Say, Better Late Than Never

My latest newspaper article ran in The News Tribune on December 2nd.  I have once again neglected to share this with you, so I am taking a moment to do so now.

The article is a piece I wrote last year around this time and it is one of the original submissions I sent in to the newspaper when I threw my hat into the ring to become one of their Community Columnists.  Apparently they liked it because I got the gig.  Since I have been running low on energy, creativity, and time these days, I updated it to be a bit more timely and offered it up to them for my December column.

The year has flown by and next week I am staring down the deadline for my twelfth and final column.  It will run in early January and then my days of fame will be over.  It has been a great experience and I have felt honored to have had my writing voice chosen and included in such a large and influential publication.

So here you go:  Reflections on Christmas Leave Unanswered Questions.

Please remember that I want to keep my blog and identity hush-hush.  I love comments and shares on the newspaper’s website (thank you to those of you that did so on my other articles!) but try and refrain from calling me Shoes or mentioning ShoesOnTheWrongFeet.  Thanks! 

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