Sunday, November 30, 2008

Website of the Week

Since this is a big part of my job, and a lot of us have preschool and school-aged kids, I thought I would start posting free, educational websites that I have used and liked. One of the best educational websites out there in my opinion is Many of you may already know it. I would say that it is most appropriate for 3-8 year olds.

The "ABC" section is great for helping early learners with letter names and sounds. Maya loves it. She just points to where she wants me to click. All of the letters have fun little sounds and animations that the kids really like. By the time they are 4 or 5, they can "follow the sparkles" in the letter section which give them a clue as to where to click next. Kindergarteners love this section. There are various interactive letter name and letter sound activities at the end if you keep clicking the sparkles.

For kids that are a little older, starfall has a "Learn to Read"section that helps them chunk and sound out words. It has stories that help reinforce vowel sounds and common digraphs such as sh, ch and th.

For kids that are a little further along, there is an "It's Fun to Read" and "I'm Reading" sections. Here they can choose interactive stories to read. They have fiction and non-fiction.

Overall, this site is easy to navigate, even for pre-readers. You really need to have audio for this website to be effective. It is a good one to check out if your kids are this age.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Christopher Robin

Well, you both went out with the blue balloon, and you took your gun with you, just in case, as you always did, and Winnie-the-Pooh went to a very muddy place that he knew of, and rolled and rolled till he was black all over; and then, when the balloon was blown up as big as big, and you and Pooh were both holding on to the string, you let go suddenly, and Pooh Bear floated gracefully up into the sky, and stayed there-level with the top of the tree and about twenty feet away from it.
"Hooray!" you shouted.
"Isn't that fine?" shouted Winnie-the-Pooh down to you. "What do I look like?"
"You look like a Bear holding on to a balloon," you said.
"Not-"said Pooh anxiously,"-not like a small, black cloud in a blue sky?"
"Not very much."
"Ah, well, perhaps from up here it looks different. And, as I say, you never can tell with bees."

From Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, Chapter One: In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh, and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin.

Yes, she dressed herself :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. On Thanksgiving, I always give some thought to what I am thankful for, but this year, considering the difficult time that so many people are having, I feel even more grateful for what I have. Some of the things I am thankful for:

1. The family I grew up in- My parents and brothers and sister were a great family to be born into. We had so many interesting experiences and had and continue to have so many good times together.

2. My family I have now- I am thankful to have a husband who I still laugh with on a regular basis who loves me for who I am and kids who bring a smile to my face (and a lot of other expressions...) every day.

3. Free public education- I got a long way with not much money through free public education and very reasonably priced college and graduate school (Go Sundevils!) I am a huge believer in free public education and resonable college and university tuition.

4. My job- I always said that I wanted to have the kind of job where I wasn't watching the clock all day and I was there to accomplish something rather than watch the hours tick by. That is definitely true of teaching. Also, it is fairly secure, which is important in times like these.

5. My house and my 30 year fixed motgage- When so many people are at risk of loosing their homes, I am very grateful to know what my house payment will be for the next 23 years. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost or may loose their homes. Hopefully more regulation of the mortgage industry is on its way.

6. Good health-Mine and the people I care about.

Of course there are many, many other things. Those are just a few. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Box Part 2

Different box, still a good time...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Better Late Than Never

I don't know why this took so long, but here are a few Halloween pictures. Shayne was a ninja and Maya was a kitty cat (with pink feet). Our neighbors get really into it and we always have a great time.

Where There's a Will There's a Way

As many of you know, Maya is a natural in the water, more at home there than anywhere else. Anyway, since it has gotten colder, she has really missed going swimming every day. Here in Arizona, we can swim from April to mid-October. Since we stopped going for the year, she "swims" in the bathtub any chance she can get. The other day, it was about 70 degrees outside and the grass had been over-watered, so she took the opportunity to put on her bathing suit and go "swimming". Once that first spring day at the pool rolls around, she'll be one happy girl!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Most Disgusting Thing

Rick has a "corneal abrasion" on his left eye. Actually, two small abrasions and larger one from Maya accidentally swiping him before retracting her claws on Friday. At the time, it didn't feel like much and he didn't give it a second thought, however a few hours after the injury it was practically swollen shut and totally red. The next morning (Saturday) it was even worse, pretty much stuck shut. We went to urgent care and they said he had an infected corneal abrasion and they gave him some antibiotic eyedrops. Tonight it is slightly better, but he can still hardly see out of it and it is oozy and sensitive to light. Hopefully tomorrow will bring more improvement. I will post Halloween pics soon. I haven't even uploaded them yet. It has been a busy few weeks. Also, as I'm sure you can imagine I had a great November 4th. More soon...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Election Day Experience

Most of know I have been following this Presidential race closely for almost 2 years now, as a lot of people have. Anyway, it promises to be quite a day tomorrow, with record numbers of people showing up at the poles. I would love to hear about your voting experience. If you voted, I would like to know if you voted early or on election day. If you voted on election day, what time of day did you go to your polling place and how long did you wait? What was the mood there? If you didn't vote, why didn't you? Anyway, I will let you know how things went for me tomorrow. I would love to hear any feedback you have :)