PKNA #24 - Twilight

New issue! Featuring NO sparkly vampires, but SEVERAL high-tech cyber-Vikings.

PKNA #24 - Twilight

Its Gone Missing

I think i've lost my blogging mojo. No scratch that - i know i have. Its between going back to work after the Christmas break, and starting a new business where i have to do paperwork of an evening after getting home from my other job, and a now 2 yr old who has discovered the Terrible Two's .... i'm stuffed by the end of the day and doing a blog post is the last priority.

Don't get me wrong - i still WANT to blog. I have every intention of posting and then my fingers hover over the keyboard and i find that i have nothing to write. You know except " I'm tired! " or " Cant someone else cook dinner for a change ? ". And i'm still reading all your blogs, alughing along with you, sharing your stresses, all the usual stuff. I just cant get anything to consistently onto MY page.

Maybe i need to go find myself one of those 30 day challenges, so i'm pretty much given a topic and forced to write everyday? I know when i did the Ralph Waldo Emerson challenge last year that it really renewed my passion for my blog. So - any suggestions? I dont want to do a photo challenge because the aim here is to get me writing again, so can anyone recommend a writing challenge to me? Or can anyone suggest a topic - something you want to aske me, or want hear my opinion on ( haha ) ?
Help me people!

PKNA #23 - Memory Lapse

Banker's back with another issue!

PKNA #23 - Memory Lapse

A day in the life of my guest teacher...

I have a few awesome guest teachers that I try to have in my room when I need to be away.  Let's face it- we'd rather not be sick or out of the room at a meeting.  It's more work for us!  Most times, I'd rather be teaching :)  Today, however, was the exception.... I got to go on my 4th grade son's field trip to a local science museum.  My years are limited for field trips (they are getting older), so I try to go to every one if I can take the days.
Anyway, my teaching partners over the years have teased me about the length of my sub plans, but I've been burned in the past when something happens or I get sick the night before.... Somehow, I always get the teacher who has never step foot in an elementary school- let alone a kindergarten or first grade room!  I'm generally one hot mess of worry on those days (and I reteach everything when I get back).

Today, was not one of those.  One of my favorites and my teaching partner's former student teacher was in my room.  I'm sure she was excited to see my sweeties again today!  They adore her :)

Click HERE for a peak into what my guest teacher saw yesterday/today.

P.S. You're not crazy... they really are over 7 pages sometimes :)

Mama Makeover Time

So.... i've decided that 2012 is my year, gawd damn it! Seeing that there are many things coming together for me and my family, and that the wedding is well and truely over, I decided that it was time for a little makeover. Nothing too crazy, nothing too way out - just a bit of a shine and polish if you will. And what better time to do it than for my 28th birthday? So Saturday morning, the day before my birthday i went off to have my hair " did " - a new cut and a bit of colour is exactly what i needed to kick start my "new year, new me " campaign.
Lets take a look at the "before " me:
Oh yea - so NOT sexilicious! Plain dark brown hair, just past shoulder length, long enough that when i'm feeling lazy ( which is 99% of the time ) i can just chuck it up in a ponytail. Oh, and as you may have noticed, zero makeup. Au naturel bathroom mirror shot baby!

And, a few hours later, the " after " :
Better! A sleek bob which pretty much only needs a straightener run through it and, though you cant really tell in the bathroom light, its had a chilli red colour put through it. A bit of makeup - including lippie! - and i was ready to go out of for dinner with my boys. This is what i wore:

So the pic isn't all that awesome, so apologies for that. But there I am with my sleek new hair in one of my favourite simple dresses in navy blue ( $10 from SES! ) and my gorgeous cage heels courtesy of my generous Dad.

So - what do we think? Worth the money i forked out at the hairdressers or what?

Opinion letters & FREEBIE!

Last week, we had a professional development day.... we accomplished a lot, but the most interesting part was getting a new unit that is aligned with the Common Core for writing.  We are transition in over as our county develops and pilots new units for us.  We use units of study based on Lucy Calkins' books (as well as Kathy Collins).  They needed to be more focused to meet our changing needs, so local intermediate school districts and teachers are working on them over the next year.

The unit we were given is "Writers Write Opinion Letters for Social Action".  I love this unit!  It gives our young writers to care about the world around them and use their literacy skills to create positive change.  Another awesome part is that the unit is front-loaded with mentor texts that will support the idea of an opinion and letter-writing, understanding that not all children have experience with letters (reading or writing them).  This unit will also tie in nicely with our social studies curriculum in a few areas.

Here are some mentor texts I will be using:
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Since I was creating a few things for this week, I thought I should share.... it's been a while :)  I'd love to hear how your county/district is rolling out the CCSS.  Enjoy!

                2-sided (2nd page has just bulleted lines)
         Letter paper                                                  Idea page

Additcted to anchor charts...

Hello, my name is Michele and I am addicted to anchot charts.  I'm not kidding.  One of my students brought this to my attention this week during Writer's Workshop.  My mini-lesson was innocent enough- punctuation.  My modeled writing was one sentence that started at the top and went all the way to the end of the page.... no punctuation, just the word "and" connecting every thought.  We've all seen this, right?  Any way, I made a big deal out of getting rid of the word "and" by crossing it out each time and adding in a form of puntuation.  My parting words, "So writers, today and every day, use punctuation at the end of your thought- not the word: and."  One of my little sweeties got up to go to his work area as I flipped the chart paper.... saying, "Why do I feel a chart coming on?"  Bazinga!

The jig is up- they figured me out!  Here are a few that I happened to take pictures of during the first few months of school.  The ones in my room right now are readers and workshop focused (I should probably take a picture of those too so I don't forget for next year!).  The reading ones came from McGregor's Comprehension Connections.  I LOVE this book as a suppliment to my county's worshop lessons. 

PKNA #22 - Fragments of Autumn + bonus stories

Bonus stories by Aspargus32, and issue #22 by Banker. But you've probably figured out the system by now.

PKNA #21 Bonus - Starring the Great Burton laValle
PKNA #22 - Fragments of Autumn
PKNA #22 Bonus - Extracts from the Info Guide S.U.P.E.R.

Unfortunately MegaUpload has been taken down (the entire site!), so we're down to our MediaFire links now. I'll probably set up some mirrors soon, just in case, but for now this is what we have.

I have a request for anyone who'll help me, though: We're missing issues #0-#11 because they were only hosted on MegaUpload. The files are still somewhere on my computer, but it'll take me a while to find them and make sure it's actually the final version. My back-up file-keeping isn't particularly organized.

So if you happen to have downloaded some or all of these issues from the site and have them readily available, could you upload them on MediaFire and post a link in the comments? I'd appreciate the help very much.

Putting The " Pee " In " Potty "

It seems that every " Mummy " blogger worth her salt has done a post about toilet training in the past few weeks - and, as late to the party as i may be, i'm jumping on that bandwagon too. Or the Toilet Train, if you want to go that way.

Flynn turned 2 last month and Mick and I had already decided that particular milestone would signal the start of offical potty training. I know your supposed to wait for all the "signals " but if your child is showing some, but not others well... whats a Mama to do? We'd bought a potty back at 18 mths old at the advice of our child health nurse, just to get him used to the idea of what it was and what it was for. It sat next to our toilet, and Flynn would sit on it of a morning ( fully clothed ) to brush his teeth. Occasionally i'd ask him if he'd like to try sitting on it, maybe try doing a wee when Mummy was going to the toilet, but the answer was pretty much always a polite, but firm, " No Mum ".

But turning 2 was Flynns D-Day. I started sitting him on the potty once before lunch, once after his nap and then right before his bath for a few days to get him used to both the concept and how sitting on the potty actually felt. We had a poo on the potty on the 2nd day, and the one after that ( my son has an admittedly very regular schedule for those, so i think we fluked it ) and i thought " Oh man, this going to be a cinch! " And then... nothing. He didnt want to sit down when i asked him, and he'd just wait til his nappy was back on and then he'd go.

So i asked my parents advice - Mum said put him in undies. Tell him they're for big boys and it might have two effects: 1) he'll feel proud wearing them like a big kid and 2) when he does wet them he'll soon figure out it doesnt feel too good and want to go on the potty. So we've been trying it - on the days i dont work Flynn goes into undies as soon as we get up, and only wears a nappy for sleeps and when we go out. It had been two weeks of wet undies, one pair of soiled jocks ( strangely, he still managed to hold in those #2's until a nappy was on ) and lots of begging and pleading on both our behalfs. That is.... until yesterday.

Monday we had a successful poo in the potty. I clapped and i cheered and i told him how proud i was. We flushed it down the loo and waved goodbye to it. I told him that if he could do a big wee in the potty that there would be a pay off - a " special present " for learning how to be a big boy. I worked Tuesday so he was in nappies most of the day. But Wednesday afternoon, after an hr and half in undies without an accident before his nap, and a dry nappy when he woke up, i knew the time was right. We sat down together, me on the floor and him on the potty. We read " Olivia " twice. He begged to put a nappy on but i told him no, a wee was going to come, and he could do it in the potty. And then, just like that, we had action! I was so happy i almost cried. Ok, maybe i did a bit. But we had success, and then after a trip to Big W to buy the "special present " ( he chose a new truck... ) we had two more successful potty attempts that afternoon, and one this morning.

I know this isnt all over - its gonna be a while yet before i can say Flynn is day trained, and even longer before we have nights covered, but i'm just happy that after almost a month of frusturation for everybody that we've had that maiden success. I'd love to have him out of nappies during the day by winter and thankfully i have both his daycare " Mum " and my parents on board, so he can be nappy free most places he is during the day. I'd love any suggestions, tips or tricks you fellow mamas might have on how to help him along aswell. So - how did your kids go? Any potty training secrets you should be letting me in on?

A Peek in My Week...

I'm a sucker for a play on words.... especially if it has a naughty innuendo attached!  As I was trolling tonight, I read Mrs. Bainbridge's blog about "showing her's" (lesson plans).  I think I posted mine at some point, but I've changed things around due to kiddos coming and going for interventions and such.

You'll notice that my writers workshop is light this week... we are finishing up a unit and having a share day tomorrow.  I'm starting a new unit on Monday.  All of my readers and writers workshop lessons are written (more like scripted) in separate binders, by unit.  That way i can make notes and changes as I go for next year.  i also add in possible anchor charts that will be useful to my kiddos.

You can download my plans as a pdf for a closer look.  I modified the format from Jessica Meacham.

I used to write in a plan book, then transfer them to my computer format (Word).  I have to email them to my principal each week, so I decided to make the leap this year and go right to the computer.  I edit them as I think of what to add/change.  Monday morning, as I start my day, I send the final draft to my principal.

Let me know if you have any questions or post your plans (I LOVE spying on other classrooms!).

Mrs Ranty Pants

It may not be Monday but i've got my ranty-pants on today. Why? Because one of my colleagues is annoying me so much i'm trying desperately to control the urge to punch him in the head. Violent? Yea, maybe. A means to an end? Yep.

For the next two weeks i am working in my department by myself. Rather than this fill me with dread at being run entirely off my feet, i'm more worried about running out of things to do and spending my days fighting off boredom. You see, with our optometrist on leave, so are his patients - which leaves me with only paperwork and filing to catch up on. Not the most exciting of prospects, and the likely situation is that i will have finished playing catch ups this afternoon and be left with 4 more shifts and not very much to do.

So, knowing this, at 9am this morning, this particular colleague is over in my department, poking around, putting deliveries away. Ordinarily I might appreciate a bit of help, but in this circumstance he was being kind of unhelpful.

No worries though, it was only one thing. I thanked him and asked him to leave anything else for me to do. " Oh, dont you want me to come over here and give you a hand cleaning it out? " Umm... no, thanks, i can do it myself. It wont take that long. " Oh, but dont you need me to do some of your filing ? " Umm.... no thanks, i'm here by myself with no patients remember? " Yea, but how about i do some phone calls for you ? " Umm... seriously, no. I can do it by myself. ( Now get out of my department ).

So sure, that sounds pretty petty. And it is - but when its a person who is very rarely doing his own work, at his own desk, poking around your department playing 20 questions, its gets a bit much. As does his attitude to his own work when its there to be done - seeing that he was busy chit-chatting to someone ( and i mean chit-chatting, having a catch up, not actually doing business with them ) i answered his phone. I couldnt help with the callers query ( you know, seeing as its not my department ) and when i cleared my throat, did the whole " Umm, excuse me - this lady needs blahedy blah " you know what he says ? " I dont know. Cant help her " and turns back to his friend. How. Effing. Rude. Rude to me and rude to the caller. I had to jump back on the phone and tactfully explain that he wasnt sure of the answer and transfer her elsewhere.

When he finally finished his chat and his friend had left.... well copped an evil eye and a mouthful from me about how rude he was. I'm telling ya - he carries on like this for the rest of the fortnight he'll be headed for an early grave....


Even though I teach first grade, I love reading blogs from other grades (especially when they are witty and make me laugh!).  One of my favorite non-firsties is Farley from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade.  She is so funny and I would totally dig working with her :)  Here is my post to link up with her "Currently" feature that she does (such a smart idea!):

If you are wondering what OLW is, chack out Farley's post about "one little word" and New Year's resoluitions.  My word for the year is BALANCE.  Can I get an Amen?  I think as teachers, we all need some.  We know how important our profession is to hundres of children, so we try to be the best.  At times, at the expense of our families, health and emotional state.  If you need an OLW, I don't mind sharing mine :)

PKNA #21 - Tyrannic

Banker's back with another issue.



Hello Up There!

Dear God/Universe/Who Or Whatever Is In Control Of These Things,

What the hell is up with the weather lately?

By lunchtime today the temperature here in DubVegas was only 18 decrees Celsius. 18 freaking degrees, in the middle of summer! That is just beyond ridiculous.... that has to be at least 15 degrees cooler than normal summer temperatures. We had to turn the heating/cooling system off in the office because 3 of us had goosebumps and i was pretty sure if my fingertips got much colder they might have dropped off!

So what the crap is going on Mother Nature? You need to get your act together and give me some reasonable summer temperatures so that i can wear summer dresses, and swim, and get out in the sunshine while i still can. We're taking Flynn to the beach in Februray and it will be his first time seeing the ocean. If its too cold for him to swim i will be one very unhappy camper!

Yours Truely,
Amy ( a January born water baby. Who loves summer and HATES the cold! )

Something To Talk About - " Choose 5 " Link Up

So Melissa from " The Things I'd Tell You " has decided that she'd like to start a weekly link up, wherein she'll post a subject/theme/idea dn if you feel inspired you can get on board and write your on post. Which is what i'm doing this week because this weeks topic is hot. Or should i say hawt?
In a fantasy world, forget about spouses and loves, if you could fall in love with {or be best friends with, I don't think it should all be about who you'd shag , so lets have some from both categories } a movie or tv character, name 5 you would choose. Not the actors but the movie characters. You have to tell us why.
So here goes:

1. Noah from " The Notebook " - yes i know its a stereotypically mushy chick-flick adored by women everywhere. But Noah is pretty much the most romantic male lead ever ( to the point where women weep - hell, they SOB - at how sweet he is... ) and the fact that he's played by the divine Ryan Gosling doesnt hurt either.

2. Wesley/The Dread Pirate Roberts from " The Princess Bride " - Wesley gets the nod because a) " The Princess Bride " was one of my favourite movies as a young girl; b) the film was probably my first taste of romance and; c) he's romantic AND he's a pirate. Oh, and he can sword fight, and rock climb, and outwit a Sicilian, all with a flip of his perfect hair, a wink and a grin. As you wish...

3. Mr Darcy from various incarnations of " Pride and Prejudice " - seriously, how was there any doub that i WOULDN'T pick Mr Darcy? I havent seen the Colin Firth version ( i know, i know ) so i'll go with Mathew McFadyen played opposite Keira Knightleys Elizabeth ( i seriously have a girl crush on Keira KNightly, but thats a whole other post ). Perhaps not as physically gorgeous but there is something about that stand-offish , repressed passion that really draws me in.

4. Roux from " Chocolat " - i have two words for you: Johnny. Depp. Do i need to explain further? OK - how bout a movie set in France, in a chocolaterie, where Johnny plays a handsome gypsy who knows how to play guitar and fix things? I want to replace Juliette Binoche, take him out on that barge and jump his beautiful gypsy bones...

5. Hyde from " That 70's Show " - this one is purely because Hyde is bad boy 70's super fly, and i want to run my hands through his white-boy afro. ( oh, and over his bum in those tight 70's style jeans. Yea, i think i'd like me a piece of that ...)

Readers Workshop Lab- Conferring

Wow! What a day I had!  As I mentioned before in a previous post, I have been going to visit another first grade room and studying Readers Workshop at a deeper level. Today's topic was on conferring with students individually. This has been my main focus this year (the last goal was on the basic structure and mini-lesson). I'll try to be concise in my thought and not repeat my friend Jaime- you can check out her notes on a similar training day at: What's The Buzz in First?
Taking notes during conferences:
We had a great discussion on the the importance of taking detailed notes during our conferences with students.  A lot of teachers have methods that work great for them, but others may not attach to it as well. 
  • One teacher uses mailing labels with each child's name pre-printed on it.  After she write on all of the (she has gone through the whole class), she starts a new one.  These stay on a clipboard until another rotation of conferring has passed (in order to refer to it in the next conference).  Then, once she starts the 3rd round, the 1st round of labels go into a binder that has a separate page for each student.  She will use that big page with the small labels in order to evaluate reading growth for report cards and such.   
  • Another teacher uses a grid pattern to show the whole class at one time.  I used this at one time, too, but needed more space to write my observations and teaching point.
  • Many teachers kept a binder with a page for each child, along with a calendar that had certain students schedules for specific days.
  • If you want to track specific aspects of reading (fluency, decoding, etc.) for the report card, a check-chart could be used.  This is fast and easy, but doesn't give you any details to base later teaching on for the student.
I am extremely organized when it comes to my conferring notes (I have a terrible memory, so I write down everything I need to remember- even in my personal life).  This year, I created a sheet that is formatted to the structure of the conference (research, compliment, teaching point/skill).  This has become my life-saver!  I use this to re-check goals from last time and even track compliments so I don't get stale or repeat myself.  It will come in handy to back up student grades and progress in development.   I will also be using this when I look at my own growth (professional development check point).  If you are interested, I have it on my TPT store:

Teachers Pay Teachers

What to teach during the conference:
This was the meat of our discussion.... and a great exchange of ideas!  We are from a few different school districts, so resources, support and books vary with the area.  However, one thing was the same- we all get our basic curriculum (lessons & pacing guide) from our County Intermediate School District.
  • I always start my conferences with something like, "So, tell me what you are working on as a reader today."  This is just part of our class lexicon and they know to expect this question (it will help them in later grades).  Most of the time, they will answer the mini-lesson.  However, lately, they have been focus on the concept of meta-cognition and how "real reading" happens.  They love big concepts and words!  As a result, they are looking for things that they are struggling with or that they do not understand.
  • Use mentor texts to refer to when teaching a comprehension or decoding strategy.  We were thinking about gathering a handful of books that we all have (leveled) that we can go through next time.  Inside of these books, we will put post-it notes with possible teaching points like the characters feeling change, etc.  They will be at a few reading levels, so we will always be prepared (carry around during conferring).
  • One school (mine) put together a short list of teaching points (new features) for each level of book.  These were designed as 2X4 labels.  they could either go inside books or in a flip-style binder on index cards.  The information came from my go-to book for this year, as I learn to teach at different levels of reading.
           Jaime and Kate (our district trainer) created some for book series.  It can be
           found here: What's the Buzz in First? TPT.  There is also a sample pack for
           free there :) Thanks Jaime  and Kate!
  • Another important teaching point is a check-in on how previous goals are progressing (look at past conferences to see what student was working on as a reader).
  • Above all, make it authentic to their reading lives.  If adult readers don't do it, why would we ask a child to practice it?  I'm all about reflection and accountability, but that doesn't mean filling in a bubble on a comprehension worksheet to check for understanding.  I'd rather have real conversations- like adult readers do.
Phrases that caught my attention:
  • "Which organizer are you going to use to help retell?" (refernce tools made by the teacher to support fiction and nonfiction texts).
  • "Can I share something with you that will help you out with that?"
  • After hearing what they are working on in ther reading and listening to them read a bit, "I'll see if I can help you out with that/ give you a tip."
  • Make compliment specific to the reader and true (should be different for each child, helping them develop a reading identidy).
I know this was long (and I'm still processing it!).... thanks for sticking it out for the whole post.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these things!

Under construction...

Please be patient... your eyes are not going wonky on you!  I'm playing around (not cleaning the house or lesson planning!).  I still have to fix the button.  God help me, I totally forgot how to capture the image of my blog title.  Grrr....

Also, I didn't forget about the list of awesome blogs I promised :)

Here's my new button photo:

Versatile Blogger.... me?

Thank you, Traci!  My sweet new friend from Dragonflies in First just gave me this honor.  What a nice way to end the week :)  So here are the rules....

1. Thank the person who presented the award to you and link back to them.
    I feel so honored that people actually read my blog-let alone refer it to others.  Thank you again, Traci!

2. Tell seven things about yourself.
  • I was in retail management before I had kids and went back for my teaching certification.  I'm not a huge fan of shopping (unless it's for books!), so it was like a slow torture every day.
  • I buy the HUGE jar of dill pickles at Costco and eat them myself- not all at once.  I love me some pickles!
  • I am eligible to retire the same year my student loans are paid off.
  • I compulsively label things in my room (and home).  I also make lists for fun.... I prefer bullet points to numbers.
  • I started college at an art school (ran out of money).  I switched to a university and failed the same math class 3 times in the business department trying to get a "normal" undergrad degree.  Sad, but true.  I ended up with an art history major and minors in art & business.  I found teaching when my boys were small and went back for my masters in education.  I LOVE the winding road :)
  • I love the way books smell when they are opened for the first time.  The sound of pages fluttering actually get me giddy.  I'm very torm between my Kindle and traditional books.
  • I have the best job in the world.  I have learned so much from my students.  They make me laugh, cry, sing, dance, try harder, tell bad jokes, lose sleep, and make my heart bigger.  I fall in love with each new group and feel like they are a part of me.  I hope they remeber me when they are adults and are reading their kids to bed at night. 

3. Pass this onto 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they've received the award.

I need to go to bed.... I don't want to wake up with computer keys stuck to my face!  I'll finish my list tomorrow :)

Okay, all!  I'm back and ready to finish what I started :)

According to Ashley (kindergarten)
The Best Endings (all about books)
Teaching in the Early Years (huge amount of great info)
The Bubbly Blonde (funny & first grade)
Hopping into First Grade (under 100 followers like me!)

Tattling to the Teacher (love the title- first grade)

First Grade Shenanigans (great ideas & photos)

Trendy Tech Tips (K-5 resources)

Oh My Little Classity Class (first grade)

The Accidental Teacher (K-1 loop)

Sarah's First Grade Snippets (lovin' the pictures of projects & ideas)

Savvy Teaching Tips (very talented- primary level)

From My Mixed Up Files (grades 1-2)

Teaching is My Game (first grade)
Primary Paradise (first grade)

Now I must peel myself from the coach and get some cleaning done! :)

My sweatpants are getting jealous...

It's true.  My sweat pants are jealous of my work clothes.  After spending 2 weeks of quality time with them, I had to go back to my school clothes.  It was a rude awakening putting on real pants on Tuesday (whoa- someone snacked on carbs and laid on the couch reading around here!).  So, I'm back on Weight Watchers.  I need structure.... and the shame of weighing in each week to keep me on track.

Anyway... once I dealt with that, I was able to get back into the swing of things at hyper speed.  Thank you to our "Sunshine" committee for buying that Keurig!  I was refilling my cup when I met up with a student that needs special attention from me and handled some things for him.  I won't go into it, but some days, you just know that you made a difference and it had nothing to do with academic teaching.

The morning went as planned and I was especially impressed with my kiddos during math stations.  They were so on task!  They must be all out of Christmas cookies at home.  Kidding!  No, not really.  I was sharing this at lunch when.... I got distracted and switched to Wicked.

I might not be smart enough for this series.  My brother got me the series for Christmas (yes- REAL books, my Kindle is mad- another story!).  I'm around the 4th chapter and am getting confused already.  I think I need to concentrate more.  I will confess that I was reading mind candy over break and I may have dumbed myself.  I actually shared this with my students during readers workshop and one sweetie asked if I was having trouble with the words or just not thinking while I was reading.  I would have been offended had I not taught her about meta cognition.  Darn kid, thinking about thinking!

I think I may have attention issues in general (I'm hoping it's not dementia at 36 years old).  Someone snag me if I leave the house in my pajama's, wandering around, looking for a stapler.  I was teaching guided reading, but saw by some books that had number labels instead of letters (a la Fountas & Pinell).  Crap.  I tried to ignore it.  I have more pressing things!  Really.  I do.  So, instead of prepping and making my plans for next week during my prep time (including sub plans for 2 days), I spiralled out of control and started re-labeling books and making new book bin labels for a few new series that I added this year.  In the middle of that.....

I remembered that I was working on a weather unit (will show up on TPT at some point) and need to remember to take photos.  My teaching partner still has my camera.  At that point, I packed it in and went home shaking my head (lugging everything I didn't so at school with me). 

Which brings me to now.... my jealous sweatpants.  They need some of my time tonight.

Today post is dedicated to Laura Numeroff :)

Taking Care Of Business

So the first week of running our new business has been .... interesting. There have been a few tanties thrown, a bit of crying, one " i cant do this! " and a whole lot of phone calls for help.

Its not that anything is overly hard, as such - its just that for me, EVERYTHING is new, and though Mick may be an old hand at the physical aspect of running the business, he's never had to do it all by himself. Which means ( as i expected ) that this week has been a little tricky for each of us. Like i said, Mick has been running around town doing all the physical stuff on his own ( though i did give him a hand on Wednesday morning, not that i did it very successfully ) and i have been doing the "paperwork " of an evening when he gets home.

He apologised to me last night because it seems, to him, "so hard ". But its not hard, just time consuming - all i am doing at the moment is basic MYOB data entry, its just that i dont know delivery prices for thngs yet, or the correct address for every customer, or what the hell half the stuff we deliver some days even is! So i have to keep referring back to the notes the precious owners generously made for me, or calling someone who might have a better idea. Plus, i have to set customers up in the system as we sell to them, so i have to do that before i can register a sale. Suffice to say ( without going into further very boring detail ) all that takes a while.

But its all good. Mick seems to be stressing a bit, but i'm keeping my head up and knowing that this is only the first week - check back with us at the end of the first month and we'll be much more comfortable. Plus, as time-consuming as it may be to learn now, getting a handle on how our business is run, and then being able to run it the way that works for us will benefit our family for years to come. We need to forget the first week jitters and concentrate on how good it will be in a year, or 5 years or 10. Onwards and upwards i say!

PKNA special 1998 - Zero Slash One

There are times when I love this site. And there are times when I REALLY love this site. When it means I get to read a brand-new issue of PKNA that was never published in my country, I really, really love this site.

Huge thanks to Banker for yet another great translation.

Oh, and scroll down for the PKNA #20 bonus story, in case you missed it.

PKNA Special 1998 - Zero Slash One

PKNA Special 1998 - Zero Slash One

Happy 2012!

"What have I accomplished in 2011?" - I posted this question on my facebook status. The replies I got were:

1. Someone priceless - *blush* yes, I'm a rather lucky girl aren't I?

2. A lovely new place - It's just a 5room HDB resale flat, nothing fancy but it's home. I really do love my ShoeBox.

3. New job - challenging. Sometimes too challenging. But I'll grow to fit the hat I'm sure.

4. "You ate a lot" - erm... YES, I did.

5. "And drank a lot" - Yay! (Don't judge)

Note - replies 4 and 5 were from two different friends. Oh well, I suppose I can't blame them for correctly forming the impression that I am a glutton, given I write this blog and relentlessly post food pics on my facebook page.

*****2011 in a (very small) nutshell*****

I can't say that 2011 has been a complete bed of roses. There have been really tough patches, which thanks to my loving friends and family, I managed to scrape through. Looking back, I've learnt that it's moot looking back. Rather than look for lessons to learn from my mistakes, I think I will just look forward. It's amazing though, how the year ended on such a sweet note. I'm truly blessed.


First up, my Teetotaller Experiment. Recently a few of my good friends found out they had (thankfully mild) problems with their livers. I went for a liver test too but surprise (surprise), my liver is in the pink of health. But this episode made me realize that it's time to take a break from the booze and wagyu beef. So I decided to challenge myself - to abstain from alcohol for a month. Famous last words?

Maybe. Or maybe I can pull it off and emerge a better (and leaner) person.

I still love my wines though. But everything in moderation. Bordeaux trip in August, yay!

Let Them Eat Cake

So between the chaos of Christmas and New Years, in our house there is Flynns birthday. Oh yea, poor boy had the misfortune of being born in that no-mans land week between parties, which means he pretty much gets all his presents in one big go and is devoid of the pleasure of unwrapping for the rest of the year.
However, though the presents might be the important part to him ( even just turning 2 he already knows the excitement of " ooh - presents!! " ), the important part of the day for me as mama is the cake.

Or, should i say cakes - this year Flynn daycare " mum " ( he goes to family daycare, and i dont like just calling her a "carer " or babysitter... ) asked if they could have a little birthday bash for him on the last of care for the year ( Dec 23rd ) so i had the pleasure of making two lots of birthday cakey goodness this year. And i say pleasure because although i did stress a bit about how they would turn out, i actually enjoyed thinking of a cute idea and then making and decorating the cakes

I decided for daycare it would be nicer to do cupcakes, that way each little kid on their own piece, all the same size, no arguments. But i didnt want them to plain old cupcakes, i wanted some kind of theme, something Flynn would like. So i thought a bit and came up with " ooh- Sesame Street! The boy loves Sesame Street! " So for daycare Flynn got these:
Can you tell that theyre supposed to be Cookie Monster? Vanilla cupcakes with blue coconut icing, mini marshmallows for eyes and mini choc-chip cookies jammed in where his mouth would be ( because what else would Cookie Monster have hanging out his face ? )
And for the official day i had to do a proper birthday cake. One that caused me a bit of anxiety as to how to make it. One like this:

ELLLLLLLLLLLLLMOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! This was the stressful one - how do i make the eyes? How do i make the nose? What shape should his mouth be? In the end i went with the semi-circle mouth carved into the cake, eyes made of chocolate biscuits, the nose from a Monte Carlo and everything iced the appropriate colour. I need not have stressed though - Flynn was amazed by the whole Elmo cake but he didnt actually eat any! ( he was too busy playing... )

So how do you think i went? And are you a home-made or a store-bought kind of person?

PKNA #20 - Starring the great Burton laValle

Who also da man?
Aspargus32 also da man.

PKNA #20 - Starring the great Burton laValle

PKNA #20 - Starring the great Burton laValle