Thursday, July 28, 2016

Five for Friday: a snake story

Many thanks to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting this linky party each week - it motivates me to get my thoughts together! :)

Day 1 in the classroom this summer: I brought my husband and son to move the furniture.  I expected they'd stay for 30-45 minutes and bolt as soon as everything was in place.  But instead, they also:

  • helped me unpack my team's warehouse order;
  • moved a bunch of books onto bookshelves;
  • unpacked several boxes;
  • wiped all of my classroom chairs with Clorox wipes;
  • and kept asking, "What else can we do?"

They are saints! :)

After they left, I took a look at this bookshelf.  The bottom shelf holds half of my picture books that aren't in another category (e.g. nonfiction, poetry, author study).  It used to be so full that the kids literally could not get books in or out - and sometimes, I couldn't, either.  So I moved some elsewhere.

The last week of school last year, I had my kids take all the picture books off the shelves and sort them into piles on the desks.  I gave each child a sticky note with a letter of the alphabet to put on his/her desk, and then handed over a random armful of books.  They had to sort the books by author's last name (which was a fiendishly difficult task when the author wasn't listed on the cover of the book . . . we learned a lot about title pages and publication/copyright pages!).  

[This is a great activity for the last week of school, by the way.  They're physically active, mentally engaged, and they keep finding books they want to read - so when all the sorting is done, most kids are reading!]

I cut up some old file folders and made quick tabs so we could preserve our hard work.  And then I left it for the summer.  

And so now I have to figure out: 1) Do I just want to let all the books get mixed up again, and re-sort them in June, or 2) Do I want to figure out how to get my class to keep these books sorted by the author's last name?  And if we're going to keep them sorted by author (which is how my easy readers and chapter books are grouped, too) then what can I use as dividers?  Help!

An adventure at home:

My husband found this snake beside the house.  It was 3-4 feet long, and I volunteered to help him move it.  (Or maybe I WAS volunteered.  By him.)  Anyway, I gave it a try but discovered the snake wouldn't let go, no matter how hard I pulled.  Then I realized that he had woven himself through the landscaping mesh protecting the new grass and was actually stuck.  

So then it got tricky - no more standing back with a long hook; now I've got to get up close and personal with this thing while wielding a pair of scissors.

I am not afraid of snakes, and my husband kept reassuring me (from a safe distance) that this one isn't venomous, but I AM a little leery of getting bitten.

So I went inside to get the scissors and came out in a parka and gardening gloves.  (Have I mentioned yet that it was 98 degrees that day?  The parka was a nice touch, I thought.)  I figured the parka would protect my arms and would be a much softer material for Mr. Snake to sink his teeth into than me.

I actually had to cut the mesh away from him in two places.  I was all busy congratulating both of us for surviving this scissors-against-scales experience, and pulling him away, when I realized he wasn't budging and I had to do it again.

Thankfully, other than wrapping his tail end around my hand and coating me with a foul-smelling liquid, he didn't protest much.  He held mostly still, even when I was clumsy with the scissors at the beginning, and he didn't open his mouth as if to bite at all.  (My husband reported that last bit from an even safer distance; I wasn't watching the mouth, just the scissors.)

When he was free, we herded him down the backyard and toward the woods.  He seemed to be just fine. :)

My daughter has been in camp the past two weeks: horseback riding, swimming, gymnastics, team sports, etc., all outside, all day.  There is actually no indoors area at this camp other than the horse barn, so she's been out in the 95 to 100 degree temperatures every day.  And she's fine.

We got to watch riding one day:

She was pleased as punch that on this one day, for a few brief seconds, while her family was watching, she was actually able to post correctly while the horse trotted. :)

I've been trying something new for breakfast lately.  I need something healthier for the mornings; last year, my go-to breakfast was an English muffin with peanut butter, a banana, and coffee.  

No, I'm not getting rid of the coffee.  That stays.

But I wasn't thrilled with the white bread English muffin.  And the whole wheat variety, just, ugh.

Enter YouTube.  Specifically, The Domestic Geek, who has some amazing food videos (and I am NOT a food video person, so that's quite an endorsement!).

Now I'm eating "overnight oatmeal," and it's COLD, and it has YOGURT in it, and if that's not enough to scare you off, then keep reading. :)  (Personally, the idea of cold oats kind of grossed me out.  And I will eat yogurt, but only because it's good for me, not because I particularly like it.  But then, this.)

After a few weeks, I've kind of refined my recipe.  Now I make the basic oats (1/3 cup of old fashioned oats, a little less than 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt, and 2/3 cup skim milk because I do NOT like it sticky) and put them in the fridge overnight.  Separately, I cut up some fruit and put it in the fridge (you're supposed to put the fruit on top of the oats mixture, but as I said, I'm refining it here . . . ;)

The next morning, I dump the cut fruit into a bowl (here: mango, strawberries, blueberries):

Add a sliced banana (or half of a banana):

And pour the oatmeal mixture on top.  (Then I add about 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts - oh my goodness, that just makes it amazing.  It would have made this picture look amazing, too.  Believe me.)

As my husband says, "That looks . . . appetizing." 


You'll just have to trust me.  It's delicious.  And it's completely healthy.  And I am NOT hungry before lunchtime anymore.  In fact, some days, "What lunchtime?"  Win!

Not a Pokemon Go player, and I don't have a dog, but I thought this was hysterical.

Coming soon: a back-to-school tool you will NOT want to live without and a freebie!


  1. Oh my goodness! That snake is my worst nightmare!! You are MUCH braver than I am!! I not afraid of much (in fact, my kids know to call me instead of my husband for spiders!) but I can NOT handle snakes!

  2. You handled the situation with the snake much better than I would have! Clever thinking with the parka and gloves :)

  3. I love reading your blog. You crack me up. I would NOT NOT NOT be going anywhere near that snake. The poor thing would've stayed stuck. I felt goosebumps on my scalp just from reading your title. He/she/it should be very thankful that you were willing to bundle up and save him/her/it. I wrote down your oatmeal recipe and plan to try it! Thanks!
    Laughter and Consistency