Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Currently (Barely) The End Of December

This has become a bad habit... Posting my "Currently" on the last day of the month is a bit of an oxymoron. Hmmmm. I'm not sure if I have ever used that word in a sentence that wasn't on a task card, a worksheet or a white board!

Love these cute frames/fonts from Jen Jones HERE on TpT

There are just a few more hours in December... and in 2013. In some ways, it doesn't feel like December. It is supposed to be close to eighty degrees outside all week! Normally I would love this weather... but a little chill in the air would certainly help make the Christmas season last a little longer...

However, the sense of "vacation" is obvious! I got up late (Well, 6:00 is late for me!) and we went out to breakfast--on a Tuesday! Now it is noon, there is football on TV and I am happily pounding away on the computer. And it's still a Tuesday! Time is moving gloriously slowly!

The tree is still up. It is a beautiful tree. I am not ready to refer to it in past tense yet. It still smells good and most of the needles are still on the tree instead of on the floor. There are lots of JOY ornaments and heart ornaments and purple ornaments and Starbucks ornaments... and it just makes me happy!

Here's a picture of my tree... and the JOY cup from Barbara Gruener (from The Corner on Character). She is a real JOY-bringer! If you don't know her, you have to go over and meet her right away. In fact, if you click the picture, you can read a post she wrote about JOY. Yep, she's a true buddy!


At the moment, I don't feel any immediate stress... but it is there... lurking behind a brain cell. I just keep trying to hurry away before it grabs me!

There were MANY things I wanted to accomplish during my time away from school. Most of them will likely remain on my To Do list. I have a bad habit of working on the things I like to do. It's not like I really NEEDED to revamp four sets of fraction task cards, but I had fun doing it. And I made the whole week of Morning Welcome pages for my "smart board" (We actually have Promethean, but that always looks weird when I type it--like I am trying to talk about mythology when that is not the topic I am addressing!). I love to match the background paper to the action buttons on my morning greetings. And it IS necessary to have those pages ready for next week--just not necessary to spend a few hours trying to make them look pretty when it should take less than forty-five minutes to get them all done! Still, I had fun!

Of course, I haven't graded the pile of papers that I brought home. I don't know where we are going next in Readers' Workshop. And I can't bring myself to write that lesson plan on the lithosphere--or was it the hydrosphere?--for earth science. Yawn. Sorry! Maybe a trip to Starbucks will help? (Doesn't a trip to Starbucks always help?)

So that's it for Currently... Which will shortly be "Previously." Once again, I am the last one on the block to link up!

But that's okay. I'm sure Farley will have the January Currently up before the clock strikes midnight--or soon afterward. So I will tell you just a bit in advance (and, likely a few times in January as well!): Happy New Year! See you in the NEXT Currently link up!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy JOY-Filled Day!

Season's Greetings! Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Wednesday!
Whatever it is that you are doing today, I hope that it is a day filled with JOY!

Hang on... the turkey is burning... REALLY!
Be right back!

Okay. Crisis averted... at least temporarily! Anyone who knows me knows that I DON'T cook. I have no idea what possessed me to try to make Christmas dinner. The smoke coming from the kitchen should have been my first clue that this was not my best idea. Oh well. Guess it was the JOY of the season...

Speaking of JOY, don't you love Krista Lyn's graphics? Everything she designs always makes me smile. I will tell you that you can click on the link to get to these very elves, but I am sure, unlike me, you are probably already thinking ahead to New Year's celebrations or even Valentine's Day! No, not me. I am perpetually behind... In fact, I linked up with a fun holiday questionnaire with just THREE minutes to spare! THREE minutes! Whew! Just in the NICK of time! (heeheehee... Just a little Santa humor)

Be right back. Checking on the turkey again...

Okay. The turkey is still oddly beige. (It was the oven that was smoking when I was first alerted!)
So here's the questionnaire from Fabulous in First. I think I was the last "linker," but there are lots of wonderful bloggers who shared wonderful thoughts and reflections. Click and see what other thoughts of "sugar plums" (etc.) were nestled inside bloggers' heads...


Hot Chocolate or Eggnog? 
Ohhhh. I love all things chocolate. My favorite Starbucks drink is actually MOCHA... which translates (in Italian?) to hot chocolate with coffee poured in. I've had egg nog. It' a bit too egg-noggy for me (I don't even like eggs!). But I must admit I liked it better when it was served to me with "accouterments," if you know what I mean...

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them underneath the tree? 
We are big "wrappers" in my family. I think wrapping is like a special geometry Christmas gift. I just LOVE when all of the edges match just perfectly. We drive a few hours to celebrate with family, so I gave up on ribbons a while back. But I do love wrapping presents ... probably even more than purchasing them!
And reflecting on my childhood, we come from a long line of wrappers. Santa ALWAYS wrapped the gifts unless the present was too large--see the mention below of one of my favorite Christmas gifts...
Real tree or fake? 
Growing up, my mom was into these really "avant garde" trees. Like a white flocked tree with black bulbs with gold glitter (It WAS the fifties and sixties... but it was still odd, even in my own neighborhood!) I also remember some giant rotating four-colored contraption that "colored" the tree while it was illuminated from two large "spotlights" clipped to the curtain rod above (Isn't it funny what stays in your head in for fifty years?!) One year I asked for nothing for Christmas but a real tree... and I never looked back... (Neither did the rest of my family!)

Colored lights or white?
At this minute, we have colored lights on our tree. LOTS of colored lights!  Happy. Happy. Happy. I have learned, however, that it is possible to incur eye/nose/facial impalement by just by breathing in a giant breath of Christmas goodness! How about that giant sparkly star on top? (See below!)

When do you decorate? 
Oh, how I would love to say Thanksgiving. In all honesty... I decorated four days ago. Honest truth: Four days ago, I started cleaning, decorating, purchasing, and wrapping. In fact, decorating (etc.) almost always coincides with getting out of school. Except last year. Last year, we had nine people for dinner at Thanksgiving. That was the first (only?) year I was decorated for Christmas before December!
What Tops Your Tree?
An over-the-top, crazily illuminated Christmas star. It was an angel for many years, but we inherited this star somewhere along the way and it is simply a familiar part of the whole tree-trimming process.

Favorite Christmas Memories or Traditions?
We have always celebrated Christmas eve. I loved having my family all together in one place. I only have one sister, so we are not a huge family. My "Grandma Sunshine" lived with us for a while when she was in her seventies or eighties and I have fond memories of my nephew carrying her into the house (She adored him!). I have had various friends join us along the way... but now my good buddy and her daughter have been joining us for almost twenty-five years. My "little nephew" is now a daddy with a sweet wife and two adorable littles.

For the past FOREVER, I have always been the one to pass out the presents. It is a calculated process to make sure that presents are distributed equitably and that the timing is critical. Kids can only wait so long, and you never want anyone-even grandparents--to feel forgotten. I try and keep a close eye on what lies ahead so I can space things out. It's kind of like being one of Santa's elves... with a good dose of management and product distribution thrown in!

FINALLY, my great nephew (yes, I am one hundred years old!) is old enough to read the tags and pass things out. Time to pass the torch...
Do you remember your favorite gift as a child? 
One year I wanted a "kitchen set." It was only made out of cardboard, but it was my greatest wish. At one point on Christmas eve, my dad convinced me that he heard sleigh bells. Then he suggested that perhaps Santa had dropped something off in the attic. And. There. It. Was.  We never had much money and it never mattered to me that my beloved kitchen was cardboard. I thought it was the BEST kitchen set on the planet. There was a refrigerator and a stove and a cupboard with a (pretend) sink. I was so excited, I sat down on the steps and cried. And I still remember how breath-takingly happy that moment was!

Do prefer giving or receiving? 
I love trying to find the perfect gift for each person I am shopping for. That is a little easier with computer access... but I still love finding the item that will just tickle the recipient. And, for the record, I am more-than-a-little uncomfortable opening presents in front of people. I always worry I won't have the reaction they were hoping for (even when I am truly delighted). I never open presents from my students at school. I just tell them I will enjoy them all on Christmas morning. And I do!

What is your favorite Christmas song? 
I like "contemporary" songs like "Mary Did You Know?" and "Joyful, Joyful" and I love almost all traditional carols. My "favorite" song changes from year to year... This year I have been taken with David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing "Little Drummer Boy"... (Remember I AM a hundred...)

I included a link below. Sorry you always have to watch an ad first!

Candy Canes. Yuck or Yum? 
Ummmm. I like chocolate. Sorry candy cane lovers. I like Junior Mints. Does that count?

Favorite Christmas Movie? 
I just watched King of Kings... I sobbed through it. 

Do you shop online or at stores?
I hesitate to go into malls. I am afraid of so many people in one place! I do a lot of shopping online, but I do make a list of what I need at the mall and I approach this task very systematically. I have to know what I am looking for. It is just too nerve-wracking to "browse" in a crowd. Unless I go very early in the morning or late at night... Then I can do a little more "looking." I could kiss my family members each year for giving me a list to provide some shopping guidance!

Photo Cards, Letter or Store Bought Card? 
I just LOVE when I get cards from the brave people who still send them! Does that answer the question adequately? The last time I sent "real cards" (besides those attached to the gifts I give at school) was... uuummmm... I am guessing at least twenty years ago! If it takes me four days to get a blog post together, it would take me years to do all of the thinking for cards.

I think I am late for getting the mashed potatoes going. Sorry for the elaborate commentary. There is a lot of time to fill while you are watching a turkey! Whatever you do today, I hope your day is wonderful and filled with JOY!