Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Favorite Day of the Year

My favorite day of kindergarten is the Ant Picnic. We conclude our insect study with a picnic, bug hunt and lots of playing. It is at one of the BEST parks in Orlando-Langford Park. Langford Park is downtown-off Central in the Thornton Park neighborhood. It has a huge field perfect for flying kites or water balloon fights (see below). It also has a nice size gazebo perfect for eating lunch. There are two playgrounds (one is for kids under 7), large sidewalks perfect for riding bikes, covered tables and not covered tables. They even have an inside area with VERY clean bathrooms that has kids nature classes during the summer. I LOVE Langford Park! Too bad I had a cold and didn't feel to well. I had a lot of fun, but I didn't play with the kids as much as I normally do. Reminding myself-you can't be 100% all the time :)

Decorating bug boxes

Hunting for bugs-on the right one of my kids is using a bug vacuum. If you ever go on a bug hunt you must have one-even I have my own :)

Water balloon fight!!!! No getting the teacher :)

Bubbles are just so fun!

Perfect ending to a VERY fun day :)

My Week

So I've been sick this past week, like cold of the century sick :( Because of my sickness I only made 2 bentos.
Contents of bento: Enchilada, orange, grapes and apple

I am really unsatisfied with so many things about this bento, but part of me needs to accept that I can do everything 100% all the time.

Contents: Tangelo, apple slices, caprese salad and lemon pepper chicken

Lesson from this bento: Don't try to be all decorative when you don't feel well. I really hate the way the lettuce looks under the chicken.

On the school front:

This week was full of lots of fun!

Super cute art work done by one of my preschoolers. I wish I could have a room FULL of children's art work.

Some of my kindergarteners really love learning to spell. I have a bunch of clip art glued on to construction paper and they practice spelling words. This is done in their free time when they could be playing toys or computer. I love kids who love to learn.

My kindergarteners are learning about insects. I had a create your own bug project. I only had two that were student done. It makes me so mad that parents don 't give their children the experience of doing their own project. How does a child learn? I could on about this subject for at least another 4,000 words. But I'll stop :) PS. This bug eats monsters :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Heart Popcorn Flicks

Once a month Enzian puts on Popcorn Flicks in Winter Park's Central Park. I love it. I bring dinner and dessert and watch a fun movie with about 300 other people. This month's movie was Casablanca. On April 1st they are showing Gigi, which I've never seen and I can't wait! If you live in Orlando or ever visit you should definitely come. It's so much fun!

Happy Easter

What Easter means to me:

What can take a dying man and raise him up to life again?
What can heal a wounded soul?
What can make us white as snow?
What can fill the emptiness?
What can mend our brokenness?

Mighty, awesome, wonderful
Is the holy cross
Where the Lamb laid down His life
To lift us from the fall
Mighty is the power of the cross

What restores our faith in God?
What reveals the Father's love?
What can lead the wayward home?
What can melt a heart of stone?
What can free the guilty ones
What can save and overcome?

It's a miracle to me
And It's still a mystery
It's a miracle to me
The power of God
For those who believe

Mighty, awesome, wonderful
Is the holy cross
Where the Lamb laid down His life
To lift us from the fall

Mighty is the power of the cross

Worship You Jesus
By your wounds we are healed
By your wounds we are saved
Mighty is the power of the cross
Thank You Jesus for the Holy cross

My week:

So it was Easter week at my school. Which involves A LOT of activities. My least favorite is the Egg Hunt because my principal insists on using real eggs. This upsets me for many reasons 1. I feel it is a waste of food 2. I hate the smell of eggs, especially when they are boiling 3. I love the surprise of opening a plastic egg to see what's inside.

Another thing I like to do is make Easter bonnets for the boys and the girls. From Discount School Supply you can get HUGE coffee filters that the children spray with watercolors. Then, I tape them around their heads. (Press the filter flat so it covers their entire head, have the children hold the sides with their hands, and tape all around the head at a wide point)

The next thing we do is make Bunny Bread. It's cute and the kids love it.

The last picture is something that turned out really pretty. My younger children made stained glass eggs out of wax paper and streamers. The kindergarteners made stained glass scenes. Wax paper and cut up streamers. Their scenes were Easter eggs in grass. Trust me it looked a lot better in person :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pillars of the Earth

There is NOTHING I love more than a good book. I have always been a fast and voracious reader since I could read. I have such fond memories of books. Every Valentine's Day my mom would give us a book for a present. I still average one to two books a week. How do I do it? I try to cut out as much television as possible. I am even in a book club, which is so much fun! Since I read so much I'm going to try and post some book reviews.

Pillars of the Earth (how do you underline on this thing?) was recommended at my book club. When the book was first explained the girl said she couldn't stop reading it and that it was one of her most favorite books. Okay, I was intrigued. Then, she said it was about Medieval Times and I was put off. When she added that it was close to 1000 pages two things happened: 1. I was put off 2. I felt challenged. So I bought the book from Amazon.

I have to say it was one of the MOST amazing stories I have ever read. Even if you are not interested in Medieval Times, like me. Pillars is a story of family, friendship, and survival. There are so many strong and likable characters, as well as, characters that you love to hate. And like the girl at book club said I could not put it down and finished the book in a week. Yup 1000 pages in a week.

And while the author does describe things he does not go into boring monologues or over describe things, which often happens in period books.

Pillars is not a recently written was written in 1989 (which while some of you may like to think was recent...its close to 20 years ago). However, Pillars recently soared in fame from being an Oprah selection. The author was right in his forward...Pillars is a word of mouth book. You love it and you spread the word. And there is a "sequel". I put sequel in quotes because it takes place 200-300 years later, but the characters are related to the ones in Pillars.

Quick Review:
Stars: ***** out 5

Summary: Pillars of the Earth is about Prior Phillip's quest to build a huge Gothic cathedral in 12th century England, Tom Builder who is Phillip's architect, and Aliena a wealthy girl with a shameful secret. This epic novel is about the struggle for survival and family during a time when England was war-torn and the impact the feudal system and the Catholic church had over the people.

If you like: There is really nothing I have read like this book.

Smut Rating: I would rate this book a solid M for mature audiences. There are graphic sex scenes and disturbing scenes of violence. Although I must clarify this book is more centrally based on the struggle for survival and following dreams
then smut.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

So I'm not Irish and of all the holidays I celebrate at school St. Patrick's has to be my least favorite. The best thing for me is the leprechauns. Every year we make a leprechaun costume and a leprechaun trap. The kids usually bring things for the trap (either green, shiny, or rainbow) well this year only one kid brought something . So this year's trap is the least creative and my least favorite. It didn't help that St. Patrick's Day was on a Monday so even though they wrote messages to their parents I couldn't remind them, which helps a lot. Hey, I know parents are busy! It was still lots of fun! The leprechaun left us stickers, necklaces, Lucky Charms to do a counting activity with, and and green coins. The leprechaun costumes look super cute! Sorry for the blurred face I don't want to post my students. Tomorrow is preschool Egg Hunt!

On the Bento front: I've been making a lot of repeats for lack of recipe inspiration, but I've ordered a new cookbook so hopefully in the next week or two I'll have some new recipes...this from the girl who used to eat the same thing for a two weeks then new things every day is a change for me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Future Starving Artists

If you are in the Orlando area and are attending the Winter Park Art Festival be sure to stop by the student art exhibit, specifically tent number 9. My kindergarten students will have art work on display. And while I am not an artist, some how I have been given the ability to break down art and teach young ones how to recreate it. Here's a sneak peak of my favorite piece:

No the picture is not crooked. It is framed, but who cares about the frame. I guess this is my favorite because penguins are so dang cute and every penguin deserves an igloo, right? Here's one final sneak peak:

Now I am not a cat lover by any means, but what girl doesn't love a pink cat? Kinda reminds me of Hello Kitty. Actually, now that I think about it there is something that I really love about every piece. Maybe after the show I'll post the rest, but if I post them all now my Orlando readers will have no reason to check it out.

Now on to bento stuff. I LOVE LOVE LOVE lasagna. I didn't discover this love until around 1-2 years ago. I've always had lasagna, but was so so about it. Now my passion for lasagna runs so deep I have eaten it THREE times this week, including lunch today. So here's my lasagna bento:
Pretty easy. I think prep time was like 10 minutes (including making the salad and cutting the apple). Lasagna, mango, tangerine, apple, salad with balsamic dressing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Caprese Chicken Bento

Today's bento was not that good...I mean it was tasty, but it was rushed and I wasn't thrilled with it. So this is one from my absence. This is one of my favorite recipes and I am proud to say I invented it. I'm not claiming that no one has ever made it before I am just saying I made it up from my head. I call it Caprese Chicken. It's so easy peasy it should be criminal.

Here's what you need:
Chicken Breast
Bread Crumbs (I use Italian)
Tomato Slices (cut to fit the size of the chicken breast)
Mozzarella Cheese (sliced to fit the chicken)
Olive Oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Cut chicken breast to desired size. For the bento I cut it smaller. Pour olive oil and bread crumbs into separate cereal bowls. Dip chicken in olive oil then in bread crumbs. Place on pan lined with tin foil (makes for easy clean up). Place tomato, then cheese on top of chicken. Cook until chicken is done...maybe 20-30 minutes...maybe more depending on how thick your chicken is.

Also in this bento: Underneath the chicken is ravioli, in the bear is pasta sauce for the ravioli, green beans with balsamic dressing, grapes, kiwi, tangerine

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Meet my little girl

I would like to introduce my little girl, Roxie.

Roxie was a birthday gift from my siblings 2 years ago. She is half pug/half chihuahua. And I realize she is not a real person and only a pet, but for 13 pounds she has A LOT of personality.
Roxie loves going for runs and playing fetch. She is also VERY sneaky and steals markers, pens, paper towels, pencils, food wrappers. I am much better at human discipline then doggie discipline.

Roxie has very unusual eating habits. She is on a raw diet and she LOVES vegetables.
Your eyes do not deceive you. Those are peas she is eating.

The cutest thing about Roxie is her "lovies". I am a sucker for human children and their lovies. I think it is the cutest thing. Meet Roxie's 4th lovie, Bernie (The previous 3 were duplicates of the same lovie, Smokey. Smokey was a Siberian Huskey that Roxie "conquered" aka destroyed...yes all three of them in less than 2 years)

It's obvious Bernie has been loved lots and lots. The sweetest thing ever is while she is sleeping, Roxie will suck on Bernie's face. Hence, the missing face. Here's the two of them together:

So now you have meet, Roxie.

My favorite bento

Sorry for falling off the planet! I was sick and had to throw my sister a baby shower and then last week I was just too tired. This is one of my favorite bentos. On the left is organic yogurt (it's plain, which is for sure an acquired taste) with mangoes. I buy a HUGE bag of frozen mangoes and just plop them in the yogurt frozen.

Frozen fruit is a working girl's best bento friend. It is SO nice not to have to chop up fruit and deal with that mess. Frozen fruit is perfect for bentos whether you refrigerate or not. You can just plop them and they'll be ready by lunch time.

On the other half is cherry crepe. Ohhhhh SO delicious. It's SO easy. And crepes are a moderately healthy "pastry". With hardly any fat or sugar. To keep it healthy in a small sauce pan add whatever frozen fruit your little heart desires and put the heat on medium and "melt" the fruit. (This week I had cherry and last week I had mixed fruit, both were SUPER yummy.) You DON'T want to make a sauce. You want to keep most of the fruit "in tact", meaning only let about 1/8th-1/4th of the fruit become a sauce. To make a bento sized crepe cut the crepe in half and layer them on top of each other. This also makes your crepe extra sturdy. Also in this bento are strawberries and grapes.