April 16, 2009

Cowboy Culture

Only 5 more weeks of school!
We are starting our final unit of cultures this week: Cowboys!

Yee haw!

When I first started at my school, I was so excited to work with a curriculum that focused on multiculturalism. Our director wrote a book with some others on this subject.
For more information, click here.
She then told me about the problems she had with the publisher about the last unit in the book: cowboys. They didn't really consider that a culture. To which she responded, "Excuse me! Cowboy IS a culture. It's MY culture!"
I love that story, and with my being from Texas, I can totally relate.

We are starting with Texas flags this week. I love the simplicity of the Texas flag. This will be a good chance to teach the kids colors: red and blue. And also: top, bottom and middle. Today we'll make 'em out of construction paper. Tomorrow, we'll paint 'em.

Remember this?

Skirt shot in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico...

Texas, our Texas, all hail the mighty state
Texas, our Texas, so wonderful so great!

April 15, 2009

Picture Day

Still behind... so what else is new.
I'm in Skirt 14, because two of my students love the color pink and one especially loves butterflies.

Skirt 14 is also a good place to nap. It's exhausting playing Tinkerbell.
It's nice to know that my kids got their class picture and even if they don't remember me, at least they'll have some sort of memento of me. 

For Picture Day, meet CousCous, the French bulldog.

Check out this little guy's smile...

Kind of reminds me of this

I want one!

April 12, 2009

Good Friday Cont.

Spring has sprung here, but the weather is still unpredictable.
Something fun that I saw on the way home the other day:

Where are you going with all of those beautiful flowers?

That made me want to go and find some on my own.

Field of dreams...

I'd never seen a beautiful pink poppy before.

Here's a gorgeous red poppy for good measure.

This is just half of my adventures from last Friday, but I'm trying to be better about posting in a more timely manner.

Here's another Easter project I did with my twos:

It's similar to the pin wheel project, but instead of using regular paper, we used a heavy translucent paper that could take the weight of the Mod Podge without wrinkling too much. I had the kids place small squares of tissue paper on top of a thin layer of Mod Podge. And, after the squares had set, I applied another thin layer of Mod Podge over the sqaures, and the kids decorated with "pinkles,". (That's two-year-old language for glitter.) However, when I went to the teacher store to laminate the eggs, I wasn't allowed to because of the glitter. Glitter will NOT mess up a laminating machine, it just runs the risk of getting glitter on other things to be laminated later. What's wrong with that?

In the end, I laminated Mexican style: using contact paper. Worked like a charm.

Happy Easter!

April 11, 2009

Good Friday

I pulled this skirt out because it's comfortable. It's a bit big, so I safety pinned the sides together so it doesn't fall off when I walk...

There's some pretty detail.

The folds remind me of origami folds...

Out and About in the City...

Will post more later...

I'm off to play with the tigers.

April 9, 2009

Happiness is...

A warm mug.

I'm starting to ween myself from caffeine. I had a doctor's appointment the other day, and for the first time ever in my life, my blood pressure was a little high. I don't know how long I've been drinking coffee, but I am past the point of enjoyment. It's a necessity, and I need to cut back. Waaaaaaay back, but I don't think I can quit cold turkey.

I've been writing down my caffeine intake for the past week and noticed where I can cut back or make changes. I've switched to black tea in the mornings. This morning's chai was delicious and tasted heavenly. I was tempted with a cup of coffee later, and when I drank a sip ~ well, it was not as lovely. I've also discovered decaf lattes and mochas, because sometimes the smell of caffeine and warmth of the drink is enough to get me going. I think I can do this and think it will be good for my body. No more half and half, no more heart palpitations, no more twitching muscle spasms. This is going to be a good thing for me, and right now that's where my focus is: doing good for myself.

April 8, 2009

Pin Wheels and an Egg Hunt

Do you like my Easter display?

I made the bunny, and helped my kids make the pin wheels.

Here's how we did it:

First, I had the kids decorate a square sheet of construction paper. I had them draw on one side, and for the other side used a tissue paper technique with Mod Podge. 

Place small squares of tissue paper on top of a thin layer of Mod Podge. (Believe it or not, little fingers CAN do this.) After the squares have set, apply another thin layer of Mod Podge over the sqaures. This will seal all of the pieces, give the paper extra strength and make the back of the pin wheel shiny.

Following the instructions that were online here, I folded the square into quarters on the diagonal.

Next, cut 2/3 to the center, up from each corner, like so:

Make sense?

Next, bring each corner to the center and tack with a straight pin. I used brads at first to tack the corners, but later when I assembled the pin wheels I realized this would not work. The instructions suggested a straight pin, which works well. These are some of the best pin wheels, because one side was completely covered in marker design.

For assembling, the instructions also suggested using a bead between the paper and a dowel. I didn't find this necessary. Also, I didn't use a dowel; I used a cardboard tube from a wire hanger. I wrapped crepe paper around the cardboard tube with hot glue to decorate it. I used green crepe paper to create a pretty stem. Subconsciously, I was trying to convey spring flowers with pin wheels.


Because the pin kept coming out on some pin wheels, I pushed hot glue through the top of the card board tube. I thought it might act as EXTRA reinforcement. =)

I was delighted when the pin wheels actually worked.

So were my kiddos. This made us all smile.

Eye see you...

A cool pic by a 4-year-old who didn't know the camera was backwards.

My Easter gift to my students:

bubbles and gourmet jelly beans packaged like fat carrots.

So, this is what our school calls an "Egg Hunt."

This little bunny is just waiting to get her hands on the eggs...

Pretty pink tule skirt.

Pretty pouffy orange taffeta skirt with a hot pink petticoat.

Confetti from the cascarones.

It's been 9 hours and I'm still brushing confetti out of my hair.

Lucky me! Tomorrow I get to do it all over again!

It's Not Easy Being Green

Anju pear: delicious, but not as good as the Korean pear.

Didn't Kermit sing that song because he felt that he didn't fit in?
Boy, can I relate... Anyway, this is what I saw yesterday when I looked down as I drove away from work, and "It's not easy being green," is exactly what I thought.

I'm still working on my post from Saturday. Stay tuned for: art, community events, skirts, and more kid crafts.

Everyday is a new day, a chance to start over.

April 6, 2009

My Friend Guy...

Guy's model of the Zocalo in Mexico City.

Guy’s bird Fancy.

I found out this weekend that two of my students from Mexico were in a horrible car accident last Friday night. One is ok, but shaken. The other, my friend Guy, took all the impact and is in a coma.

Guy is a very talented artist and special, well "guy." He would talk me out of my American raged hissy fits when I couldn't get things done immediately.

"Miss ~ Chill out. You're in Mexico now... Miss you can't talk to them like that, they just don't get it ... You're on Mexican time now, just relax..."

I sound crazy now that I write about it, but eventually I did get it. He is a sweet, gentle soul with a loco side...(puro Mexicano). I really admire his LOVE of Mexico, and his talents allow him to share the best parts of Mexico with us: the architecture, the fiestas, the music, the food and yes, the lifestyle.

Please, if you can send positive thoughts his way. He is fighting for his life right now...

April 3, 2009

Fiesta Friday!

Today's skirt is on loan from my mother. It's part of her "China Poblana" costume, which is one of the national costumes of Mexico. This skirt has sequins and beads in the shape of the Mexican eagle and snake, chock-full of sparkles! It's typically worn with a white cotton blouse and red sash.

For more sparkle, I brought my sombrero in.

I set it on the floor and we all danced around it. But, that didn't last too long...

It was more fun to take the animals on a ride. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Today was Fiesta Friday, a tradition that goes back to the year I taught high school Spanish. I brought in Mexican dulces and galletas (sweets and cookies) for the kids to try, but also stuffed the piñata with good intentions...

Smarties for my smarties.

The piñata turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

I loved the way the streamers danced as I pulled it up and down. Eventually it broke, once every kid had a turn and out fell the treats, stickers and Playdoh.

¡Olé and Happy Friday!

April 2, 2009

Sparkle & Lights + What you can do with a plastic water bottle...

Some Sparkle
Today's skirt is soft and cuddly, and oh so cute! It's made of pretty pastel flannel. Come to think of it, I don't have a flannel skirt...
Check out her sparkly shoes:

I think everyone should have something sparkly to look at. Some ladies have diamonds, I have teeny tiny feet(s).

Sparkle & Lights 
Last night on a stroll around One Arts Plaza, I tried to capture the night lights in a skyline and got this shot:

Which led to more of these...




:) This one looks like a smiley face, doesn't it?

More Sparkle & Today's How To...
Here are some Mexican inspired crafts that are made from plastic water bottles:


Shake, shake, shake!

What's inside?  
A mixture of sparkly confetti, pony beads, and small rocks.

The kids helped mix it all together and we used the funnel to pour it in the bottles.

Once the bottles were filled, I let the kids decorate their bottles with stickers... They loved this! Glue the tops on to avoid a mess.

One More & More Sparkle

How do these bottles turn into our next project?

Almost like a monarch itself!

First, paint the bottles black or brown, or what ever color you wish.

What do you see here?

Next, cut out wings from a symmetrical shape.
Have the kids paint on one side and fold it over to create an paint blot print. Perfect to use later in life for the Rorschach personality test...

Add glitter to the wings for just a little bit of sparkle.

Don't forget MY sparkly shoes!

Once the paint is dry, hot glue the wings on to the bottle.

Add a pipe cleaner for the antennas, and draw a face on the lid of the water bottle.

The wings go "Up and down! Up and down!Up and down!Up and down!Up and down!Up and down!" etc., for hours, until the wings break, or the monarch mysteriously disappears.