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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thinking Things Through

I'm not always good at thinking things through, but this latest "non-thinking-it-through" episode may rate as one of the very worst.

You may remember that a few weeks ago the transformer near our house got struck by lightening, causing a lot of damage to several things in our house.  Our dishwasher was not working well before the storm, but after the lightening storm, it didn't work at all.  Dishwashers don't last long in Tipton anyway, because of the hard water.  I researched dishwashers for over a week, then finally decided I was ready to order a dishwasher.

Before it was ordered, I showed my husband the dishwasher I wanted.  It had a handle on the front and the controls were along the top of the door, instead of on the front, where they're typically found.  I liked the way it looked, but also liked the idea of hanging a pretty dish towel from the handle.  My reasoning was two-fold:  decorative and useful.

This past week the new dishwasher came in.  It was partially installed one night and the completely installed the next morning.  I was so excited about the dishwasher, but before it was totally installed, I realized that the handle I was so proud of would probably make it impossible for the drawer to the left of it to open.  Sure enough - I was right. It wouldn't open!  In order for it to open, the door of the dishwasher has to be opened first!  I should have thought about this before, but I didn't.  It did make me feel better when I was telling a friend about it and she said that their builder did the same thing when he built their house!  If a professional could make this mistake, it didn't make my mistake seem quite as big. (at least in my mind, it didn't!)

You know?  I put a lot of thought into purchasing this new dishwasher.  I read reviews, looked at different models and brand names, compared prices, and finally, looked at several dishwashers in the store before ordering.  I thought I had done extensive research on the product.  My husband even measured the space to make sure it would fit with the new specifications.  After all of that, I still made a mistake.  It's a mistake that we will adjust to, but it was still a mistake.  There was more to know and more I should have known.

There's a lesson here about life.  No matter how much we "think" we know - there's always more to learn.  We can learn by reading.  We can learn by hearing.  We can learn by seeing.  We can learn by sharing.  We can learn by doing. We can learn by living.  And, we can learn by our mistakes.

Have a great Memorial Day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jungle Journey VBS - Part 2

VBS 2010 is over!  It was a great success! Let summer vacation begin :).
My 1st and 2nd Grade Class and my two oldest children, Lauren and Zachary, who were great helpers this week!
I posted the recipe for these cute little sheep cupcakes last time.  The children did a great job decorating their own sheep, but their favorite part was eating them!
Tuesday the children made edible altars, to go along with the Abraham and Isaac story.  I let them pick two snack sized candy bars for the rocks, just because I had too many marshmallow craft/snacks scheduled.  Plus, most people want chocolate!  The wood was pretzel twists.  The fire was red fruit roll ups.  We used animal crackers to represent the ram in the story as the sacrifice.
The children also made non-edible altars.  I bought rocks at Dollar Tree.  Modeling clay from Walmart was bought for all teachers to use.  It worked great and the children enjoyed using it to hold the rocks and to form the ram sacrifice.  We gathered a few real sticks for the wood.  The fire was pieces of red, yellow, and orange tissue paper.  The children were so excited about their altars.  These were displayed on the table for the Wednesday night open house - where family and friens could see them.
In the story of Moses and the Amalekites, Moses names the place "The Lord is My Banner".  The children made a banner craft using the same sentence.  I made the banners in advance and found a way to make them super-cheap.  Dollar Tree sells a flour sack towel.  I cut four pieces from the towel, each in a rectangle shape, the width of a small dowel stick or a wooden skewer (with point cut off).  The towel already had a seam to put the rod through and I didn't even finish the remaining seams.  The banners worked great!  The foam letter stickers came from Walmart. 
Lauren with her own altar.  She enjoyed making the crafts, too.
Zachary eating the pieces of the edible altar.  I think he just enjoyed the food!
In Thursday's lesson, we studied about shepherds.  Each child made a paper staff out of paper (newspaper would have been better).  A fan was put behind the taped starting line.  Balloons were the sheep.  Two children at a time "herded" their "sheep" to the finish line.  It was lots of fun!
For a craft, the children made handprint sheep.  Thank you to Zachary for tracing the children's hands and to Lauren for cutting them out.  Cotton balls made the sheep's wool coat and googly eyes and a mouth create a face on the thumb.  All the tips of the fingers were colored black for the sheep's hooves.  Very cute!
My four children - posing....because I MADE them (I'm mean, aren't I??? :)  They'll be glad I take a lot of pictures, someday (I hope, anyway!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I'm borrowing tonight. Yep, I'm borrowing my post from our family recipe blog and letting it do double-duty and be my post for "Shine" tonight.  With VBS going on this week, I'm just too tired to "think".  I'm sure you understand.  I think you'll enjoy this recipe for these cute little sheep cupcakes.

From "Life's a Bowl of Cherries":
First of all, I must admit that my sheep cupcake has some flaws. I used a chocolate cake mix instead of a white cake mix because that's what I had in the pantry. SOOOO, there are a few crumbs in sight as you can tell by this picture! But, the real reason there are crumbs is because this little sheep was made as a sample and trial run for tomorrow.

This week is VBS and tomorrow my 1st and 2nd grader class are learning about God, the Shepherd and studying about Psalm 23. Their snack craft will be these cute little sheep. I made this one just to see how it would look. I didn't want to use up ingredients trying to make him perfect (There's a lesson there: Sheep aren't perfect. People aren't perfect. But, sheep cupcakes are sweet. We should be sweet, too :). I can't wait to see what the VBS children's sheep look like! I'm pretty sure theirs aren't going to be perfect, either!


1 cake mix (white is best, but any kind will work.)
Homemade buttercream or store-bought vanilla icing
Large marshmallows
Small marshmallows
Mini chocolate chips

Mix cake mix according to package directions and bake into 24 cupcakes. Allow them to cool completely.)

Ice cupcakes with a thin layer. Put a small mound of icing in the center. Cut mini marshmallows in half. Arrange them in two circles around the edge of the cupcake. Cut one large cupcake in half. In one half, using a toothpick (use a twisting motion), make two holes for eyes and one hole for a nose. Place the half with the holes on the icing mound, making the face. Cut the other marshmallow in half and place next to each side of the face, making ears. Cut a few more small marshmallows in half and place them behind and on top of the little sheep's head.


Jungle Journey VBS - Exploring the Nature of God - Part I

Immediately after school is out, our congregation begins our  annual Vacation Bible School.  Usually it falls on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after Memorial Day, but this year it is a week before, due to the way the May calendar falls.
This year's VBS theme is Jungle Journey - Exploring the Nature of God.  What a great topic and focus for VBS!!  To go along with the "jungle" theme, I chose to decorate my 1st and 2nd grade classroom in monkeys.
Each day the lesson focuses on a specific quality of God.  Each lesson inspires those who hear God and learn how he works in the lives of people.Thursday's lesson is Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd.)  The focus is on God our Shepherd..

Wednesday's lessons are about Abraham and Isaac.  God asks Abraham to sacrifice his own son.  Just as Abraham is about to obey and kill his son, an angel of the Lord tells Abraham to stop.  Then he provided a ram for the sacrifice.  The focus today is on "God, our Provider."
God helped the Israelites with an unusual victory over the Amalekites.  As long as Moses held his staff up in the air, they would win the battle.  Soon Moses got tired.  Two men came to the recuse and held Moses arms up over his head.  This is one of Wednesday's stories with the focus on God, our Strength..
Day 1 - today, was spent on learning about Day 1 - 7 in creation, as well as about Adam, Eve and the first sin.  The focus was "God, our Creator".
This is a black light story about Creation I share with you about a year ago.  Children love black light stories!

This picture is blurry, but I was trying to get a picture of the lights on the fake tree and hanging in the room..  It's kind of neat looking.
More pics from myVBS  room.
The hallway...decorated BEAUTIFULLY!!
God Created Me crafts.  Each student made their own little person.
Each of these statements are the nature of God.  He's our Creator, our Father, our Shepherd, our Strength, and our Provider.

Tyler posed for a safari picture.  It's been great having him in my VBS for the first time this year!  It's been great, too, having Lauren and Zachary for my helpers.  They've done a great job!
The children made flourescent serpents, which glow with the black light on. 
Genesis 1:1:  In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Nelly, as well, as all of the students made marshmallows.  While melting the marshmallows and butter/margarine, add food coloring to make the mixture blue and green.  Mix popcorn with marshmallow mixture and stir.  The proportions of popcorn and sticky marshmallow aren't exactly what they should have been, but all of the children seems to enjoy their times play.
These monkeys are the children's attendance.  Each day that a child attends, they are given a banana sticker.

Eve believed the serpent (Satan) and she ate of the fruit that God has said NOT to eat. Eve shared the fruit with Adam.  Sin entered the world.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Teacher of the Year 2010

I remember mentioning last year that it seems like the whole month of May, I spend decorating and undecorating (I remember because I put out a plea for an least favorite part of decorating!).  This year I've actually had a lot of help un-decorating, so I can't complain.
Last Friday I had the opportunity to decorate for what is probably my favorite decorating event in May - our school's annual Teacher of the Year reception.  Although I enjoy decorating for everything, I especially like this event because it's fun to customize the decorations for the winners. 
Our school has a local Tipton school winner, as well as a winner at a juvenille detention center in a nearby community.  This person is a part of the Tipton School faculty, but it's usually not someone I know very well - if at all.  Decorating for this individual is more challenging, but I still try to find out about their likes and hobbies from friends, family, or co-workers.
This year our Tipton School winner was Mr. Masoner.  My oldest children have had Mr. Masoner as their math teacher and they knew he liked OU.  My daughter decorated his chalkboard. Mr. Masoner used to coach and even coached my husband and his brother.  The 1978 football (Loaned  to me by Mrs. Masoner for this occassion) has my brother-in-law's name written on it.  They had a great team that year so the whole team gave him a signed football.  It's fun to use pictures and other things from the winning teacher's past.  It makes it extra-special for them and their families.
Congratulations, to the Teachers of the Year - here in Tipton, as well as other places! Your dedication and hard work is greatly appreciated!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Working Together and Common Denominators

A few weeks ago our two middle boys, Zachary and Jacob, decided to build a pitcher's mound out in our field. They worked and worked on this project for about three hours that particular day. As they worked throughout the day, they would come in a ask me to come and look at their project. While I was proud of their hard work and their thoughtful design, I was most proud of the way they were working together to reach their common goal. Being brothers and being 22 months apart, I can assure that this working together and getting along isn't the way it always is with these two! If you're a parent of more than one child, I'm sure you can relate!

Working together takes....well, it takes work, doesn't it? Working together is sometimes easy, but sometimes it's hard. And sometimes, with certain people, it seems almost impossible.  It's not impossible, but it may seem that way.

I like the true story my sister told me years ago about a friend of hers. This friend worked for a large publishing company. One of his co-workers was having relationship troubles with some of her co-workers and she came to this man for advice. After listening carefully to everything the woman said (stories of her inability to get along with several other co-workers), he finally came up with a wise question for the woman. He asked her, "Who is the common denominator in each of these relationship problems?" The woman realized it was her! She was the common denominator!  This man used his wisdom to help this woman, and although it may have been hard to realize that she was the problem, he spoke the truth to her in a kind way...a way that would enable her to work on the relationships that had been damaged. It would enable her to learn to work together better with others.

Working together on this special pitching mound seems to have made a new bond between Zachary and Jacob.  I'm not sure it will be the end of the sibling squables, but it's made them continue to work together for a common goal.  They continue to work together to keep the pitching mound in good shape - especially after it rains.

I think it would be a good idea, in any relationship problem we might have, to ask ourselves the same question my sister's friend asked his co-worker:  Who is the common denominator?  If it's me, then I've got some work to do.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Romans 12:18

Thursday, May 20, 2010

JUMPing Fun Day - Volunteering Teens

Yesterday the Tipton Elementary School held a Jump Rope for Heart fund raiser. Over $750.00 was raised during the event. Not only did the students jump ropes, but the jumped in many other ways, as well.
A request was made for parent/teen volunteers to help with the event.  Knowing our two oldest children would be exempt from taking semester tests, I volunteered then to help.  I didn't ask first because I was sure they would be willing to help.  Sure enough, they were!  They could have complained that they didn't get to sleep late on their first day off of summer break, but they didn't.
Other teens volunteered their time, as well.  When it was certain more help was needed, a plea was made for other teens to volunteer.  Three more quickly responded and came to the school.

It's so nice to see teens and pre-teens who are willing to volunteer to help when needed....and it's okay if they did so at the request of their parent (s).  They still did it.   It's good for them to show that example to younger people, but also they can be a good example to  older people.  Volunteering is good for the soul!

Thank you, teens, for your help with the JUMPing Fun Day!
Your help is appreciated and your volunteering spirit is something to be commended.  Know that those little children you helped yesterday look up to you and that they are learning from your example.

End of School Activities - Elementary Tile Painting

Even though the end of school is so crazy and busy, it's hard to keep up, it is also filled with many fun and memory making events. Today I would like to share one of my favorite events with you.
These first pictures are of something our PTO has been working towards for a few years.  It was actually made possible by a Walmart grant, requested specifically for this project. (Thank you, Walmart!)  The tiles will be taken to Oklahoma City where they will be fired.  It will be amazing to see the transformation of the tiles into bright, shiny colors!  After that, they will be placed around the elementary school sign and plastered into a new planter box.  It will be a lasting memory full of the student's artwork.  I'm so excited!  I can't wait to see the finished project! 
On Monday, each elementary student and faculty member was given an unpainted tile.  Each designed their own tile.  Some took lots of time and put lots of thought into their project (such as 5th grader, Kathleen).
Others just did whatever, such as my own elementary children, Jacob (5th grade) and Tyler (1st grade)!
Tyler's wasn't exactly what I was thinking - or what he was thinking, for that matter - but it will look just fine and be something he'll always remember.
I don't know which is cuter - Xexyz (she had to keep spelling her name for me!) or her tile :).
And, of course...we had to had a Tipton Tiger paw print, made by pre-k teacher's assistant, Ms. Nicole.
Jacob's tile showing his Tiger Pride!
The students, and even the adults, had such a fun time with this project.  We're all looking forward to seeing the completed project - hopefully by the time school begins again in August!
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