Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Peanut Head fixed our white trash mailbox last weekend. Isn't it sturdy looking?

I really appreciate all the fabulous advice you all left in regards to the mailbox. I especially loved Kathy's comment as follows:

I say, if you're not friends with your neighbor already, Jill, make friends! Since he is cemented in, I would ask if you could extend a piece of wood across to your post {that would be attached to his post} and then attach your mailbox to that. You might have to take it out of the pot and just have the post be a snug fit between the sidewalk and the wood base piece. You know, enough where you have to use a rubber mallet to tap it into place snug. {This is suggested based on one cup of coffee and a bad night's sleep so I apologize if it is "stupid"!}.

Although our neighbor is a nice enough guy, I could just picture his eyebrows raising over our "reinforcement" using his mailbox. It made me giggle.

I'm happy to report that I'm on Spring Break right now, and so far I haven't done anything productive. It's been pretty great. I had a very stressful and full first quarter and my only goal for this week is to be a slug. I love that goal.

In addition to being a slug, I helped Peanut Head shop for a new ride. Right before we went shopping he said "It can't be white."


Since I'm on spring break this week, the task of getting plates and insurance fell to me. That meant I got to be in possession of the Peanut Mobile for a day which also meant I had a little fun messing with Peanut Head.

Check it out.

First of all this truck has a six speed transmission, and I've never driven a six speed before. Turns out I didn't even need gears five and six in town. I can drive a stick just fine, but my van is an automatic so I had fun pretending that I had lost all my skillz

Oh yeah, and I sometimes curb hop when they're superfluous and in the way. Or my depth perception is off. Whatever. I'm not a fan of night driving.

I edited this screen shot because Peanut Head called me a not nice word and this is a family blog.

That opera? We went to see Hansel and Gretel because Glitterman was playing in the Orchestra. That and we need more exposure to culture around here.

None of us knew that it was going to be an opera. Thank goodness it was all sung in English though. Not that it helped. It was very hard to understand. Like Peanut Head said "Opera is people screaming on pitch."

Stinkerbell did not enjoy it one little bit. She kept asking me "What are they saying?" At times I would lapse into a coma and forget where I was, so that every  time she asked me that question, all 500 times, I would reply "Hang on a minute. I'll concentrate really hard and bring you up to speed." It was mentally exhausting. I can't even imagine what it would have been like if I didn't already know the story.

Apparently Peanut Head doesn't believe that I'm really that irresponsible. What he doesn't know can't hurt him, can it?

You've probably noticed that the text message says it's from "Clark Scott." That's Peanut Head's real name and yes, I know it's weird. I've been married to him for 20+ years and I still can't get used to it.

I've tried to change his name to Peanut Head in our contacts, but when our contacts synch it goes back to the real name. For some reason he doesn't love his nickname. He more tolerates it than anything.

I'm so glad I got a picture of this before he peeled it off. He did not appreciate it one little bit.

It's a good thing I didn't order those personalized plates then, isn't it?

Or did I?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Just a Few More Days . . .

This is just a quick reminder that there are just a few more days left to leave a comment that will donate $1 to Reading is Fundamental. Yes, I'm talking to you too, MOM. If you haven't already left a comment about your most inspiring teacher, please take a minute to do it right now, here. I wouldn't ask if it weren't for a good cause. Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Inspired to Teach

This is Skippyjon Jones, my hero.

He's a Siamese cat that thinks he's a Spanish-speaking Chihuahua. I love him because he has an imagination much larger than his gigantic head.
That and he's super naughty like Dennis the Menace. I like that.

Skippyjon Jones reminds me, on those days I need to be reminded, why I love being a teacher. Skippy JJ is full of curiosity, fun, and adventure. Just like kids.

When I was a kid I wanted to become a teacher so I could boss people around and make them listen to me. As I grew up and started making that dream a reality, my motives changed and became more about wanting to inspire kids to learn, and more importantly, to never stop learning.

I think I got that inspiration from my own teachers growing up. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure it started in junior high where I was exposed to many different teachers and their respective teaching styles. I had teachers who were passionate about their subjects and teachers who made me laugh.

Among the teachers I loved, I remember Mr. St. Onge most vividly. He was a nerdy hippy, if you can imagine that, and he taught eighth grade history. Sadly, I don't remember much about what I learned in that class, but I do remember watching Mr. St. Onge act out history before my eyes. He was so passionate about his subject he made history come alive.

He also had some pretty imaginative classroom management strategies. For example, when kids would dare fall asleep in his class, he woke them up with smelling salts under their noses. It was extremely entertaining to watch a sleeping student wake up and be immediately alert.

Mr. St. Onge maximized the entertainment value inherent in his subjects as well as his subject. He also hated gum in his class, so when a student was caught chewing gum, he would make them spit it out into an old cigar box. At the end of the year he would present the disgusting gum and germ filled cigar box to the student who had contributed the most gum to the blob in the box. It was nauseatingly disgusting, but very, very memorable.

I appreciated Mr. St. Onge's personality and I wanted to be him. Except without the nerdy hippy thing going on. I wanted to teach and laugh with my students--and have a personality.

Oh how I wanted a personality. So. Badly.

I think that's part of what I enjoyed most as I started taking college classes. Not only was I exposed to a whole world of information I never even knew existed, but there were all these amazing, inspiring people, people with varied personalities, imparting that knowledge. It was an educational playground, and I didn't want to get off the merry-go-round.

From the first day I started teaching, I have strived to be myself around my students. I want my students to see the humor in everyday things and to learn to appreciate the unique personalities of all the people around them. I want to laugh every day.

I want to make them wear sarcastic signs when they have to go potty.

Actually, this was my attempt at curbing some of the frequent trips to the restroom. It's much less cumbersome than the clown shoes I used to make my students wear to the restroom. Initially the sign backfired on me because everyone wanted to wear it. Thankfully the novelty has worn off.

I am very comfortable teaching with laughter and sarcasm because that is who I am, but the reason I teach is to inspire my students to learn and to want to learn more. I want them to know there is a whole big world out there just waiting for them to explore, there are so many things they don't even know they don't know, and they can have so much fun learning about those things.

My teachers did it for me, and I am inspired to pay it forward. I'm in such an important position to be able to inspire my students to really Be All That They Can Be. Not to steal the ARMY's most excellent retired slogan, but it really sums it up nicely.

I want my students to really feel how much I believe in them and how amazing I think they are. Even though I tell them all the time, I don't think they really get it, so I have this quote up in my classroom, in hopes that it will be etched into their memories forever. It's my favorite quote because it expresses what I want my students to know and remember for the rest of their lives.

My passion for teaching and learning is shared by Capella University, a rigorous and supportive learning community that transforms education into work that makes a difference in the lives of others. Check out their graduates' stories to see what some of these amazing students are doing with their lives and how they're making a difference. At Capella, students develop the knowledge to help others reach their potential. Your degree can change more lives than just your own!

Go forth young Jedi. Be AMAZING.

Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did they influence you?

This post is sponsored by Capella University. For every comment left here answering the question above, BlogHer will donate $1, up to $500, to a charity of my choice - Reading is Fundamental.

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total donation entries by leaving up to two comments in response to the prompt on this post.
This promotion is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
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This promotion runs from 3/20/2012 - 3/31/2012.
Visit the Capella page to check out more blogger stories and for more donation chances! Also, visit Capella University on their YouTube channel and Facebook to watch inspirational videos and get more information!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day

Did you celebrate Pi Day today?

Pi Day is celebrated by mathematicians every March 14th because like Pi, March 14th can be written as 3-14, or 3.14.

It is also celebrated by Scientists and, in general, geeks the world over.

Like this guy.

Peanut Head tells me that scientists like him take Pi out to the hundred thousandth digit which is 3.14159. In 2015 we'll be able to take our Pi date out to the ten thousandth digit because we'll write Pi Day as
3-14-15. How cool is that?

Super cool, let me tell you. Just nod and agree. Or nod and roll your eyes. I'm flexible.

We celebrated Pi Day today in our 6th grade classes, and we had a lot of fun with it. We started on Monday when we decorated enough digits to put Pi up in the hall to the 100th digit. We couldn't even put all of them on the same wall, we had to wrap them around and go back down the other direction.

It was pretty neat to see all the digits up on display, and to see the pride the students took in pointing out the digits they decorated. They were all so different.

I've been anticipating this day for over a year now. Last March I spied this Pi cookie cutter, and I knew I had to make it mine.

I made a bazeellion Pi cookies with it last weekend.

My plan was to decorate all of them and make them into perfect Pi specimens like the very talented Bridget of Bake at 350.

I carefully measured, sifted, whipped, and concocted her very special Royal Icing so that my cookies would be ever so perfect like hers.

I decorated exactly two cookies like the one above, and then I was done.

And while I wouldn't go so far as to say my cookies even came close to hers in terms of Pi Perfection, I did think they looked pretty ding dang cool.

And then I tasted one.

Excuse me while I stop and interject . . .

BLOGGER! Why, oh WHYEEEEEE do you not provide me with emoticons with which to illustrate my feelings?!!!! I need a projectile vomiting emoticon STAT!

I'm even at a loss for words to express my violent feelings. How do you spell AAAACCCCKFFFFPTTSPEW-E-E-E-E-PTUI? I know no other way to make vomiting noises with print. Please insert your imagination here.

All I can say is that these pretty Pi cookies are not made for eating, just like some couches are not made for sitting. If I had to describe the taste of Royal Icing, the closest I could come would be to say that it tastes like Milk of Magnesia with a hint of sugar. Except hard, like chalk, and perhaps a wee bit close to cardboard.

I decided right then and there that I wasn't going to defile a bazeeellion perfectly good sugar cookies with gravity defying sugar cement.

Instead I took store bought canned frosting and sprinkles with me to school and we let the kids decorate them themselves. That was a much better idea anyway because I didn't lose twelve hours of my life that I cannot get back by decorating them. 

And I had a great Pi Day as a result.

How about you? What did you do? And, just curious here, but what do you think of Royal Icing? Is it me, or is it from the Devil?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

White Trash Mailbox

We've been having some mailbox issues lately. We live in a subdivision where the mailbox doesn't come standard with the house, and as a result, our neighborhood is full of a mish mash of eclectic mailbox set-ups. Ever since we moved in, we've had a boring metal mailbox cemented into a ratty old wine barrel planter.

I never loved the mailbox, but our choices were pretty limited given that the sidewalk cement has been curing for years, and bolting anything into it at this point requires specialized equipment. Equipment that we don't have.

The picture you see above is our updated mailbox. We replaced our ratty white mailbox with a shiny new, black mailbox, and I had Janae cut me some fancy gold vinyl numbers for the sides. I love the numbers. 

Then Peanut Head and I went shopping for a new pot for our shiny new mailbox, and we found a pot that I loved.

Even after the concrete dried and popped our pot open, I still loved it. I rationalized that I could find some matching caulk and patch it up once Spring came. No problem.

Yeah. That was my first mistake. I think I've mentioned before that it's a wee bit windy in Idaho.

So windy that it toppled our mailbox over several times.

I don't think I can fix this mess with caulk.

Especially since now we have to prop our new mailbox up with our old mailbox.

It looks so white trash, I'm sure our neighbor loves having his sturdy mailbox standing next to ours. It look as if our mailbox is threatening to take his mailbox out with the next big gust of wind, doesn't it?

Peanut Head and I are now brainstorming ways to fortify our mailbox. I've always wanted to try bricklaying. Maybe we could encase the bottom half of the post in bricks and mortar?

We're rather stumped here. Do you have any suggestions? We can't be the only people with this problem, can we?