Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dog Park

Since Ben and I have been home all week, we decided to take Riley to the local dog park today.  She had a blast and came back super muddy!  Just wanted to share some pics of her at the park with new doggy friends.

 (Okay, this isn't from the dog park but I thought it was a really funny picture so I wanted to share)

Christmas Cheer

It's always so sad when Christmas is over...I spend months looking forward to it, decorate a month in advance, and its all over in 24 hours.  But it's a great 24 hours!  I was going to be good and take down the Christmas decorations today before school starts up again...I only got as far as the stockings before I decided they could stay up a little longer : D

So I'll blog instead!

Christmas was great in the Alvarez household.  We spent Christmas Eve day with my parents where we exchanged gifts and got some really great things (an ice cream maker, clothes, cable!, and other great gifts), then we went to my grandparents' house for Christmas Eve dinner and some more presents (more clothes, my TOMS shoes!, china (yay for me!), and other great gifts).  As always, it was a loud, chaotic time but it was great.  We opened some gifts, ate lots of yummy yummy food, took silly pictures, and frequently checked the NORAD Santa tracker to see what part of the world Old Saint Nick was in.  Finally, we headed back to my parents house to collect Riley and head home!

Christmas Day was just as wonderful.  Ben and I made a compromise to get up at 6:30am and I must say that Ben did well and got out of bed within five minutes of me waking him up!  (It's a compromise because I am used to a 5am wake up on Christmas Day while Ben is used to 10am).  We opened our presents while Riley chewed on a peanut butter rawhide and nosed around in her stocking.  Ben spoiled me so much!  My favorite present was a pair of seat warmers that he will install in my car!  I never knew such a thing existed!  I am so excited to have a toasty bum and back on the way to work now!  I think Ben's favorite gift was this cable that transforms his iPad into an amp for his guitar...pretty cool!

After presents, we made a big breakfast of french toast, flapjacks (not pancakes, something TOTALLY different...I can explain if you really want to know), and bacon.  Then we laid around being lazy and enjoying our Christmas goodies.  My parents and brother came up in the afternoon to hang out and see how our Christmas morning was.  We tried out the ice cream maker and it was awesome!  Yummy vanilla ice cream in 20 minutes!

That night, we went over to Ben's parents house for Christmas dinner.  His Aunt Judy flew in from Texas and it was great being able to see her and spend time with the family.  Christmas dinner was soooo good and again, we were spoiled by the Alvarezes!  (clothes, a heated throw blanket (LOVE IT!), snow tracks for our shoes (so I don't fall on the ice again!), and other fabulous gifts).

 Riley is modeling her new Redskins scarf

All in all, Ben and I had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, love, and great times!  We hope that you had a wonderful Christmas as well and remember the reason for the season!

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
~Luke 2:1-15

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Look at how stinking cute my dog is!  She reminds me of Max from the Grinch!

Christmas Survey

Just thought this would be something fun to do on Christmas Eve Eve!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper all the way!  Unless the present is too weirdly shaped to wrap.  Regardless, each present is decked out in ribbons and bows!

2. Real tree or artificial?
I grew up with artificial trees so I am an artificial girl.  Especially a pre-lit, artificial tree.  I like artificial because they don't make a mess, I don't have to remember to water the tree, and I can put it up right after Thanksgiving and leave it till New Years and not have to worry about the tree dying!

3. When do you put up the tree?
Weekend after Thanksgiving

4. When do you take the tree down?
Usually right after New Year's Day, depending on the schedule

5. Do you like eggnog?
I've never tried it but it doesn't sound very good.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Too many to count!  I loved getting games, movies, clothes, books, cool things...I love every present!

 7. Do you have a nativity scene?
I don't!! :(  That is on my to get list for next year's Christmas.  It's hard for me to find one I like because I LOVE the one my parents have.   

8. Hardest person to buy for?
This changes every year....sometimes the hubby, sometimes the brother-in-law.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My parents and brother because they provide lists!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail of course!  With a cute picture

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I have gotten some un-fun Secret Santa/White Elephant gifts, like a little vial of "gold flakes" from the West.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?
All of them!  I especially love the classics like the Grinch, Charlie Brown's Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty, etc.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Usually November....try to at least

14. Ever recycled a present?
I don't think I have but maybe!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Oysters, sugar cookies, molasses cookies, mac & cheese...yum!

16. Clear lights or colored lights on a tree?
Clear...they look so much prettier! (And that's what usually comes on the pre-lit trees, haha!) 

17. Favorite Christmas song?
The First Noel and Sleigh Ride <--- my favorite one to play on my saxophone

18. Travel at Christmas or stay at home?
Sort of but I do stay in the state of MD.  No more than 90 minutes in the car.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Duh...that's a silly question

20. Angel or star on top of the tree?
A star...they are so much cooler than an angel

21. Open the presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Both!  Christmas eve with my parents, brother, and grandparents
Christmas morning with the hubby, then his family

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
People.  Traffic.  Parking Lots.  Spending money. Thinking up gifts for those hard people.

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?
My tree has tons of different ornaments and I love them all.  They make the tree unique!  Though, I am partial to my I Love Lucy ornaments and one called the Jammie Pies ornament.

24. What do you want for Christmas?

Kindle books, Itunes gift card, some Toms shoes, and money for the camera I am saving up for!

The Lion King

Okay, so I think everyone in the world should see The Lion King broadway show before they seriously, everyone should.  IT. WAS. FANTASTIC!  I absolutely loved it.  I think even non-Disney people would love it!   Ben got us great seats that were six rows from the front so we were able to see everything!

The costumes were magnificent and it was awesome how the actors were so well incorporated into the costumes!  I absolutely loved it.  I would go again and again and again!


If you have time and there are still tickets available, you should definitely go!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Decking the Halls

I know Christmas is less than a week away (!!!) but I haven't put up my Christmas decorating pictures yet!  Ben and I decorated over Thanksgiving weekend because that was the only time I had free to do it.

We have a big tree this year which was new for Riley!  She wasn't quite sure what to make of it and the days following the decorating, we would find her chewing on the lower branches or trying to pull out the tree skirt.  Within the first hour of the tree being decorated, Riley knocked off an ornament and ate the top off before we could grab it.  Don't worry she turned out just fine.  She has gotten a lot better about the tree in the past few weeks.

The Final Products!
 Christmas cards!

 Those are some of my Nesting Dolls, the Christmas ones (I collect them!)
 So pretty!  Notice that there isn't any garland or ornaments on the bottom foot of the tree....I wonder why!  This is also the same reason we can't put out our presents under the tree.
Our two tree topper choice on the left and Ben's on the right!  Guess who won?

Action Research Project

For my master's, I have to do an action research project instead of writing a dissertation.....yay!  I'd much rather do a research project instead of writing a really long and boring paper!

My action research will be on how implementing Writing Workshop into the classroom affects students.  I am hoping to see students become more encouraged to write and take pride in their writing.  I chose this project because writing will be a HUGE component of the new common core standards that will be implemented in all Maryland public schools by 2014.

Haven't heard of Writing Workshop?  Click here for more info!

Haven't heard of the Common Core standards?  Click on the Common Core for more info!

This is a word cloud! or are great places to make word clouds.  You type or upload any document into the site and they make the cloud for you!  Both sites pick up on the number of times a particular word is used and the more its used, the bigger it is!  This word cloud is my action research proposal paper.  You can see that students, writing, workshop, sharing, and school are the words I used the most!  Give it a try!  They are really fun to make!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How Do You Know You're a Teacher?

A comical list by comedian, Jeff Foxworthy!  So many of these are true!

How Do You Know You're a Teacher?

  1. You get a secret thrill out of laminating things.
  2. You can hear 25 voices behind you and know exactly which one belongs to the child out of line.
  3. You walk into a store and hear the words, “It’s Ms./Mr. ____________ and know you have been spotted.
  4. You have 25 people who  accidentally call you Mom/Dad at one time or another.
  5. You can eat a multi-course meal in under 25 minutes.
  6. You’ve trained yourself to go to the bathroom at two distinct times of the day, lunch and planning period.
  7. You start saving other people’s trash, because most likely, you can use that toilet paper tube or plastic butter tub for something in the classroom.
  8. You believe the Teacher’s Lounge should be equipped with a margarita machine.
  9. You want to slap the next person who says, “Must be nice to work 7 to 3 and have summers off”.
  10. You believe chocolate is a food group.
  11. You can tell if it’s a full moon without ever looking outside.
  12. You believe that unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, “Boy, the kids are sure mellow today.”
  13. You feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior when you are out in public.
  14. You believe in aerial spraying of Ritalin.
  15. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
  16. You spend more money on school stuff than you do on your own children.
  17. You can’t pass the school supply aisle without getting at least 5 items!
  18. You ask your friends to use their words and explain if the left hand turn he made was a “good choice” or “bad choice.”
  19. You find true beauty in a can full of perfectly sharpened pencils.
  20. You are secretly addicted to hand sanitizer.
  21. You understand, instantaneously, why a child behaves in a certain way after meeting his/her parents.

Birthday Birthday!!

The day after wedding #5 was my 24th birthday!  It was a great birthday.  I did have to do work for most of the day but it was nice to be home with Ben and relax.  Ben gave me tickets to see the Lion King broadway show in Baltimore!  The show is Dec. 18th (today!!!!) and I am super excited to see it!  There are three Broadway shows I've always wanted to see and the Lion King is one of them!  Stay tuned for my review after the show!