Friday, March 25, 2011

Sweater Applique DIY

 I love to make crafts, and the other day Lee pointed out to me that I haven't crafted anything for a few months.  I have a lot of painting crafts that I want to do, but the lack of cooperation from the weather has left me staring longingly outside and even MORE longingly at the pile of "projects" (junk?) that I have set aside in the corner of our living room for future crafts.
I poked around on the internet for a while and found website that showed lots of ways to revamp an old cardigan that you don't wear anymore. This was the PERFECT craft for right now, as it involves no sewing, or painting, or going outside.  (Unless you count going to the store to buy some supplies, but I wore a coat, so, hey, no big deal)

You need:
  • Fabric
  • Fusible webbing (stuff you iron on to fabric to turn it into a sticker-like thing)
  • An iron
  • Scissors
  • A pencil

 I cut a piece of the fusible webbing

 and I ironed it on the back side of the fabric
(The side I didn't want showing)

 I traced out the shape of some flowers I found online

 And cut out the shape

 After I had cut out several flower shapes I peeled off the paper on the back and pinned them on the cardigan

 And I pulled off the pins as I ironed the different shapes onto the sweater

 The back of the sweater looks like this

 And the front looks like this

(Photograph by Lee Black, all rights reserved)

I wasn't really wearing the white cardigan anymore, but now I'm going to wear it all the time!
I love how it turned out!

Thanks Mormon mommy blogs!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Today I learned Sudanese

There is a student in my English class who is hilarious.  I'm talking laugh-out-loud, I can't even contain myself, hilarious.  His speech pattern also adds to the amusement, as he enunciates e-ve-ry sin-gle sy-la-ble in e-ve-ry word.  Try envisioning a robot, or one of those text-to-speech functions on the computer, but with a really cute little kid voice and you have a good idea of how funny and adorable it is when this little guy talks...about the military.

He is obsessed with the military.  And ninjas.  AND Japan.  And Beijing, which he thinks is in Japan.    He feels it is his duty to inform everyone about all things pertaining to these themes.  No matter what our topic of conversation he will some how bring it back to something having to do with a military tactic that involved a ninja war in Beijing, Japan (See, Bullies).  Not really in a gory or graphic sort of way, but more in a History Channel sort of way.

Today we walked into class and he immediately sat on the rug, shot his hand into the air, and gave me the giant eyes, please call on me before I explode from suspense, type of look.  I could not resist because I knew it would be awesome.

Child: "Ms. Robin!  I have something to share with the class!"

Me: "OK, come up here in front to share."
Child: "Everyone. pause for effect.  I can speak Sudanese."
Me: Knowing that no other child had any idea what he was talking about "Yes, Sudanese, like, an African language from the Sudan, I'm assuming?"
Child: "Yes.  And I know a song in Sudanese."
Me: "Really?  Um, are you going to sing it?"
Child:  BLAUIIU BIUAINGN OIGUISONEV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  Really, he just belted out a ton of Sudanese? words at top volume with a slight change of musical notes.

When he was finished with the song many of the other children started snickering, and I had to interrupt them to say, 

Me: "Hey!  We wouldn't laugh at someone for speaking English, and we wouldn't laugh at someone for speaking Spanish, so it's not OK to laugh at someone who might be speaking Sudanese."
Child: "I learned about the Sudanese and the war they had in 1982.   They were fighting with a military which had a very large gun, called a Black Hawk Down.  There were helicopters that are also called Black Hawk Down.  I learned about this from a movie."
Me: "Was the movie called, Black Hawk Down?"
Child: "YES!  I know all about the Sudanese and about the wars in Beijing, Japan."
Me: "OK, thanks so much for sharing!  You can go sit down now!"

And that's how I learned my first Sudanese song.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Leprechaun Trap

I'm Irish, in case you didn't know.

That being said, I decided to build a Leprechaun Trap with my class this year.  I had never done it before because most people don't really celebrate St. Patrick's Day the way my family did when I was little, but enough of my students were bringing it up that I thought it would be somewhat meaningful.

I told the students all about leprechauns.  By that I mean, I explained that a leprechaun is like a little gnome who dresses is green and is really funny and REALLY smart.  I made sure to tell the kids several times that they are NICE, and they like to play silly tricks on people.  I sweetened the deal by telling them that if we trapped a leprechaun he would have to give us all of his gold.  This ignited a firestorm of leprechaun knowledge ranging from, "I'm afraid of leprechauns!" (whoops) to, "I know about lucky leaves!"

Then the kids brainstormed several ways to trap leprechauns. These plans included:
  • Putting a hammock across the classroom door.
  • Disguising ourselves as leprechauns
  • Closing the classroom door
  • Getting a piece of paper (no elaboration followed)
  • and...wait for it...the best response EVER....
"You know, one time even I was asleep and I went into my kitchen and I saw a leprechaun and he started pooping out eggs and I cracked the eggs open and there were baby chicks inside."

In the end, we went with the "Hang a box from the arm of the Promethean board projector and put some coins underneath the box" approach.  In order to lure the leprechaun into the classroom we made leprechaun puppets and placed them all over the room so the real leprechaun would think it was a cool leprechaun party, or something.

 Several puppets peered through our barred window.

 A few students stuck their leprechauns to the whiteboard with magnets.  
Because nothing looks more natural than being stuck to a whiteboard.

 Oh, don't mind me, I'm just relaxing in the book corner.

 An old box hangs precariously from the air.
Some paper bag leprechauns look on, luring any would-be real leprechaun right into our trap.

 One of my students is extra thoughtful.
She left a colorful letter K drawing for the leprechaun to look at while he was trapped so he wouldn't be bored.

 Also, this helpful note, two pennies, and a Chucky Cheese token.

 I'm really good at using technology.
Thanks for the smart board, school district!
(Please don't tell them I did this.  
I actually do use it for its intended purpose when I'm not trying to trap imaginary creatures for profit)

 In the morning the kids walked in to this scene.
They had no idea what would be in the box.

 Before I lifted the lid the kids prepared for the leprechaun's escape by getting their hands in the catching position.
We lifted it up and....

No leprechaun.
BUT, a note!  And gold!
Roughly translated, the note reads:

Room 5,
Ha, ha, ha, you didn't trap me!  
Now I'm going to play tricks on you all day. 
Catch me if you can!
Your friend,
The Leprechaun

And, you can just imagine my disappointment when we discovered that the gold was actually chocolate.  That leprechaun is so sneaky!

The whole thing was really hilarious.  The children spent the rest of the day asking me if I had witnessed any mysterious behavior, and noting important clues, such as, "Hey, this pencil has a BROKEN TIP!  I bet the leprechaun did it," and they nearly lost their minds when I told them a leprechaun in Chicago had turned the river green. 

"He must have been a BIG leprechaun!"

Yeah, must have been!

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Was Running: A Birth Story

Ha.  This is not really a birth story.  I just said that because there are about a million birth stories on all the blogs out there.  This is probably because most of the women who blog are Mormon, stay at home mommies.  I shamelessly follow (stalk?) a lot of Mormon bloggesses because I find their DIY crafts ingenious and their economic recipes amazing.  Also, my friend from high school is Mormon and I really like her so I follow her too.  Wait, way of track.  OK, let me try again.

I said birth story because they tend to attract a lot of attention, and while I didn't give birth on Sunday, I did complete the biggest physical accomplishment of my entire life, so it's as close to a birth story as I've got.

I ran a half-marathon.  
Seriously, ran.  
Didn't walk one time.  
For 13.1 miles I didn't walk.

I've never been a big "runner."  Before I started training for the Shamrockn' Half-Marathon I only ever ran if a coach was making me or if I let enough guilt build up, and I usually hated every step.  I did the half-marathon training program with Fleet Feet Sacramento and it completely changed my feelings about running.  I learned how to do it and actually like it.  (The secret, for anyone who is curious, is to go as slowly as possible.  I'm really good at that).

And now, for the photo recap:

 This is my friend and coworker Lindsey.
She is the one who convinced me to do this.
This was, like, her millionth half-marathon.
Or, something like that.

And...We're off.

Lee went to meet the rest of my family in Old Town Sacramento where they were waiting for me to run by at mile marker 9. When Lee asked my brother how long they had been waiting he responded, "We watched them put the cones up." 
Ha ha ha! Louise McFadden strikes again.

Here I come!

See, how fast I am going?  An actual blur!

One of the happiest/in pain moments ever.
(See, like birth!)
(Ok, so not exactly like birth)

 My family = The best family

And my boyfriend = The best boyfriend.
Never in his life has he taken a serious picture.

 The thing about races is this:
You get so much free stuff!

My parents were so cute!  
They brought champagne and a cake!

Christi Black staged this photo.
Christi, do you work in PR?

Highlights of the day included:
  • Being allowed to use the VIP porta-potty.
  • Watching Lee have to get out of bed at 6:00am.
  • Realizing fifteen minutes into the race that I hadn't rinsed out my water bottles well enough and they all tasted like soap.
  • My father running after me after I passed him yelling, "Wait!  I didn't get the picture!"
  • My brother finding me in a sea of people at the finish and giving me the biggest hug ever.
  • Having my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and Lee's family packed into my tiny house drinking champagne and listening to my Aunt Joan talk about her concern over the amount of pedophiles that come from Ireland. ("Because WE'RE Irish and I just never knew it was this bad back then!")
  • Discovering that the people at Raley Field think it's a good plan to store the coffee creamer next to the onions and the mayonnaise.  Barf.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bowling for Bullies on Bulls

This month our school is focusing on standing up to bullies and bullying prevention.  It was my job to prep my English class before our morning assembly which would introduce this new month-long focus.  Here is how the introduction went:

Me: "We are going to an assembly about something very serious.  It's going to be about bullying.  Does anyone know what bullying is?"

Child 1: "Yes, it's like when you have the pins, and you throw the ball like this (ball throwing motion) and then you knock the pins over!"

Me: "No, that's BOWLING.  I'm talking about BULLYING.  Does anyone know what that means?"

Child 2: "Yes, bullies are what you ride.  I've seen my dad ride one, and they have the things like this (motions horns growing out of head)."

Me: "Close...that is a BULL.  Does anyone know about BULLIES?"

Child 3: "One time, I saw in the Karate Kid there was a big karate bully and he had an ARMY of karate bullies!  I like Japan."

Me: "Yes, the mean kid in Karate Kid is a bully.  A bully is someone who tries to hurt someone's feelings on purpose.  It makes people feel sad."

Child 4: "Yeah, like if someone says, 'Oh, I like your shirt!' that is on purpose and then there is a bully!"

Me: "Right...let's go to the assembly."
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