Friday, December 28, 2012

When the cat is away...the crazy come out to play.

What happens when the rational, sane person in your teaching group goes on maternity leave?.... You end up with a whirlwind of activity from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Let the story begin:

Mara and I are good friends and think similarly. We both think each other's ideas are fantastic, but in reality sometimes we just come up with some crazy ideas that end up being a lot of work (and fun). Fortunately we have a third member of our group that keeps us grounded. Well two years ago she went on maternity leave and during that time Mara and I had genius ideas of fun and creativity, and no one to tell us no when we presented ideas.

It is also good to know, that we do have a very small school, with one class per grade level, so instead of grade level teams, we group as a cluster of grades 1-3, and this year ( because I switched grades and didn't want to be left out!) grades 1-4. We try to plan activities for the all of the students to participate in as a group.

Around Thanksgiving, I was working on a small Native American unit and my students were making  costumes and headbands. We're not sure how it really happened, but somehow we decided to dress the 1st graders up as turkeys and the 2nd graders up as pilgrims and have a "Great Turkey Hunt".  It also happened that the year before we went on a field trip that focused on Native American tribes and many of the students had bought spears  (not sharp) as a souvenir and those came on the hunt as well. So on a Friday afternoon we walked to Central Park ( we don't have a playground or an area to run) with three classes dressed as turkeys, pilgrims, and Indians, so they could hunt the turkeys.  During the middle of the day and especially around Thanksgiving, there are many tourists and they loved seeing the kids in the park and the parade of students down the street.

So now, it's tradition. The parents and students look forward to the Great Turkey Hunt each year and the 1st graders love it when they are no longer the turkeys. This year it was really funny because we added 4th grade and couldn't decide what role they would play. The students decided they would be wild animals in the forest and help protect the turkeys from the pilgrims and Indians. The 3rd graders finally thought they made it to the top of the food chain and weren't happy when we added the wild animals to compete with them.

Getting Ready for the Hunt in Central Park

Well, apparently the Turkey hunt wasn't enough for us and we decided to stage a Christmas Musical as our December activity. Wow, a lot of work, but great fun. Again, this has now become tradition and keeps us busy in December. This year we performed Elvis and the Sleigh Riders by Teresa Jennings. Most music teachers know about the website Music K-8, but if you are like us, and your music program and grade level performances are separate, it is a great resource.

After School Set Paining

Rehearsal Clip

And though great fun, that is the reason why from Thanksgiving until Christmas break we are full of activity. 

The Moral of The Story: Don't let the rational, sane teacher in your cluster go on maternity leave:)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Woo Hoo!, 5 Followers and a Blog Nomination!

Hi All,

Well as our title said, we hit 5 followers (This is big for us, as we have no followers) and were nominated by Lindsay at Welcome to Watters' Wharf for a Liebster Blog.

The following rules were given to us:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the question that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with under 200 followers to nominate and link them in your post.
5. You cannot "tag back" the other blog, but leave a comment on this post with the URL of your Liebster post so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

Mara's and Lauren's 11 Random Things:

1. Mara- I disinfect my nail clippers with alcohol before and after each use
    Lauren- My family calls me Ralph (As in Ralph Lauren)

2. Mara-  I go by three different first names 

    Lauren- I play the piano and clarinet 

3. Mara- I am fully bilingual and bicultural 
    Lauren- I don't eat food from the sea

4. Mara- I hate boxed food (natural all the way) 
    Lauren- I have a degree in Music, but don't ask me about popular music because I won't know

5. Mara- I didn’t know how much I loved dogs till I got one 
    Lauren- As a kid the TV show Unsolved Mysteries really used to scare me

6. Mara- I was raised as an only child 
    Lauren- I have 2 brothers and 3 sisters

7. Mara-I love the sound of laughing 
   Lauren- I'm really stubborn- I sang the "Crab is the King of the Bocean" even though my   parents told me it was ocean. Now I know why people were giving me weird looks.

8. Mara- I don’t like designer things which are too easily recognized (if I am advertising I want to be paid) 
Lauren- As a kid we had to do the arm hang in gym. I never realized why I fell immediately. I still have no upper body strength.

9. Mara- I love working with my hands- If I was male I would probably be in the construction industry 
   Lauren- If I could have a TV character for a friend I would choose Chandler from Friends
10. Mara-  I do not own a dryer – I line dry everything to be green and keep the structural integrity of my clothes (A note from Lauren: I keep trying to make her see how awesome dryers are, but she won't listen!)
  Lauren- I love NYC and Texas- Where I will live in the future will depend on who I marry

11. Mara-  cartoons make me cry
      Lauren- I really want to go on a haunted tour in Gettysburg

Our Answers to Lindsay's Questions:

1. What made you decide to start blogging?
A friend of mine (thank you Lauren) turned me on to it. And then we decided we were funny and we should share our stories with people. At this point 5 people follow us, maybe because we are funny, maybe not. Oh, and we also decided we wanted to write a book and if we had a massive following that would help....... we have a long way to go- haha
2. What was your first job?
           Mara- Student aid - I worked in my high school office to take money off of tuition
          Lauren- Hollywood Video Store
3. How did you meet your oldest friend?
           Mara- In school.. second grade through college
           Lauren- In 4th grade Megan was new and sat in my chair, so of course I couldn't be her friend.  Somehow I  got over it and we are still friends today.
4. Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were meant to teach?
Mara-In eight grade I was sent in to help the Kindergarten teacher during an art project , I thought hey I like this craziness, it is fun and rewarding
Lauren- No, actually I kept running away from teaching and it kept pulling me back in. I eventually realized that this was my path.
5. What is your favorite dish to cook?
           Mara- I have fun making fresh pasta
           Lauren- Chicken Parmesan, but I make it with pork, but Pork Parmesan sounds weird.
6. Do you live near your hometown?
Mara- Yep- I live right in it (10 minutes away form the hospital where I was born, but will soon be leaping over the Atlantic to live in Italy)
Lauren- Nope, Good ol' San Antonio, TX is quite a distance away.
7. What is your favorite book to read to your students?
           Mara- I have a few but I really like “A Chair for My Mother” by Vera Williams
           Lauren- I can't choose, too many good books
8. Where would your dream vacation be?
           Mara-  I want to go on Safari in South Africa with my husband – and our dog if that can be arranged in any way..
Lauren- Ok well 2 things- One exploring old castles and 2 anything haunted. I say the haunted stuff, but when it comes down to it, I might run away.
9. What is your favorite Christmas song?
            Mara- Dominick the Donkey
           Lauren- Away in a Manger, the Gustav Holst version ( Yup I'm a music nerd)
10. Are you a cat or dog person?
           Mara- Dog all the way!
           Lauren- Dogs

Benito( Mara's Dog) and Katie ( Lauren's Dog) sporting their Doggles Sunglasses!

11. What is at the top of your bucket list?
           Mara- Live life as a retired person (FYI I am not yet 30…)
          Lauren- I really don't have one

Our Questions For the 11 nominees:

1. What is your favorite article of clothing?
2. Name on thing that always makes you happy.
3. What is your tastiest meal?
4. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and during what time period?
5. What bill do you hate paying the most?
6. What made you become a teacher?
7. If you had to choose a TV character to be your friend who would it be?
8. What is something "quirky" about you?
9. Which category do you fall in: "MAC" or "Other" when it comes to computers?
10. When teaching do you like tables or desks?
11. What is your favorite standard to teach?

Our Nominations

 1. Two Peas and a Dog

Currently December

And we currently feel this way because.......

Lauren’s Listening- My apartment building has steam heat so I love the clanking sound (well not in the middle of the night) the heater makes and the sound of steam because I know my apartment will be nice and toasty!!

Mara’s Listening – Our house is being gutted and extended, and my husband and I have decided that we are going to live in the house (in the basement) while this happens. My husband had a valid reason- he is helping with the construction, I just don’t want to leave my family (him and the dog). Anyway CURRENTLY there are only beams left and I am sure that someone is going to misstep and fall into the basement through the sheetrock!

Lauren’s Loving- So I'm not sure anyone else has this problem, but Old Navy is a real hit or miss with me. I can go in and want to buy the whole store and love everything, or walk out with nothing because NOTHING was my style or my taste. And it's never an in between. Well recently it has been a hit. They had their $19 dress sale so I ordered a new and inexpensive wardrobe online.  I like to order online because when I go to the store it’s never the size or the color I want, but I do like the jewelry selection in store. 

Mara’s Loving- Lauren got me phenomenal Doggles for the dog! He looks like a superhero/ bouncer!

Lauren’s Thinking- If I'm being honest, I'm always thinking I need to clean my apartment because it's always a mess, but........ thinking doesn't always mean doing:)

Mara’s Thinking- So living in the basement could be worse… but there is still plenty of time for it to get much worse…so I will be very still and shut up … there is time yet!

Lauren’s Wanting- I love TV. I love watching TV series' and get way too into them. No one interrupts Vampire Diaries night....sad but true. Well living in NYC I sometimes waste opportunities. I waited too long to get tickets this summer to see the play Harvey that was starring Sheldon Cooper (by the way I refer to stars by their character names, not their real one.) and then wasn't able to see it. BUT I will see the Heiress with stars Matthew Crawley/ Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey!!! Yup, super excited. Now I'm just deciding if I'm going to be a super nerd and stand by the stage door and have him autograph my Downton Abbey DVD.

Mara’s Wanting- This is a really long list, but mostly for home Internet to be restored! (They ripped out every wire during demolition 

Lauren’s Needing- Dog Hair, Dog Hair, Dog Hair. How an 8 pound dog loses so much hair is beyond me. But what is even worse is that my coat seems to attract the majority of it. Nothing like white dog hair all over your black coat.

Mara’s Needing – I thank God for what I have, so I only ask that things continue as they should!

Lauren’s RAK- Love this, but won't share what I did..... Just a personal way of looking at it.

Mara’s RAK- I agree with Lauren, I like the idea but wont share.. I will share what I support that isn’t random. I fully and actively support Women for Women, it’s a great organization and a great way to give if you are looking to do so!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Hi All,

Sorry we haven't posted in awhile. It's been a long month, especially with the hurricane and nor'easter. Fortunately we were both blessed and not tragically impacted by the storm. Mara stayed up all night to make sure her house didn't flood  (she lives on the water) and I listened to the wind howling, saw the lights flicker, and watched the news from inside my apartment. All of our students and faculty were safe, although many lost power for numerous days and had to stay with family and friends. While we were fortunate, many were not and our thoughts and prayers are with them. It is weird to be in a city divided. After the storm my neighborhood went back to its normal hustle and bustle. Yes there were down trees and branches, but we had heat, water, electricity, and our homes. Families 20 blocks away lived in the opposite conditions- no power for multiple days, no heat, flooding, and no open stores to shop at. Others a few miles away lost their homes, all of their possessions, and in even more tragic cases members of their families. There are schools in the city that were flooded and destroyed and the students and teachers need to find new locations. Please donate to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, many families need our support.

A few photos of our experiences:

This line in the grocery store wrapped all the way up to the front of the store before the storm. It took me a looooong time to get to the front.

I had to walk the dog the night the hurricane started and this tree was already down.

 More down trees
 East River after the storm
After the storm

This line of cars is the end of the line for the gas station that is 10 blocks away.

Boats washed up after the storm

Please pray for the families who were hit by the storm and if possible donate time, goods, or money to the recovery efforts.

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps people affected by disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes.
Please consider making a donation today to help the thousands of people who have been affected by these disasters.