Four Ballerinas

Four ballerinas
On a cold day–
Teacher says work,
But they want to play.

One short, one middle,
And two tall the same.
They might look sweet,
But they’re not all that tame.

They gripe and they grumble
And talk up a storm.
They’re here for fun,
Couldn’t care less about form.

Plié, tendu,
Second, and first,
Arms in high fifth?
That is the worst.

Don’t hang on the bar.
Don’t sit on the floor.
But if you say, “Don’t,”
They’ll just do it some more.

The mommas, they sit
In the next room and listen,
And catch a quick glimpse
From their hidden position.

They’re noisy, they’re ornery,
But, boy, ain’t they cute?
Prancing around–
Pink tights, and black suits

What’s that? 5:30?
I guess class is now done.
We’ll see you next week
For more dancing fun.

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Smack-Ya-Mama (And Not Your Four Year Old) Black Beans

The black beans tonight at dinner were smack-ya-mamma good.

Too bad Chica didn’t figure that out until she was almost the one getting the smackin’.

We’re in a bit of a dinner time rut.  We bought ¼ of a cow recently, so every meal includes some kind of beef.  We stopped trying to be creative, and we’re stuck on a predictable cycle of pasta, hamburgers, hamburger steak, and calzones.  Seeing as how Chica doesn’t do beef in any form (by her own choosing), feeding her is quite a challenge these days.

In theory I really like the idea of making both kids’ plates with exactly what we are eating and just saying, “too bad, so sad,” if they don’t find something they like that night.  We’ve tried that, and some nights when I’m feeling particularly strong, we give it another whirl.  But most nights we just feed them what we know they will eat because, well, we’re tired.  And we’d rather enjoy a conversation about our day then endure a battle over the plate.  So it’s macaroni and cheese or pasta or grilled cheese or hotdog….over and over and over again.

Beside the usual sides of carrots and craisins, I usually serve her one more thing from our plate, hoping that one day she’ll magically morph into a kid whose menu includes more than just ten items.  So tonight it was the black beans.  And the rule was one bite.  One lousy spoonful.  Our standards have reached a new low.

What follows is a brief survey of some of the tactics used over the 30 minutes of dinner in efforts to get her to down that one spoonful:

“MMM…..maaaaan, these beans are good.”

“Ohhh, Bubba likes these beans.  They must be good.”

“They taste like bacon and salt….two things you like.”

“I’m going to have ice cream.  Don’t you want some too?”

“You don’t know that you don’t like them because you haven’t tried them.”

“No, you can’t get up until you’ve had that one spoonful.”

“You can have some more pasta when you’ve eaten your beans.”

Meanwhile, the offer-it-and-maybe-they’ll-like-it strategy has worked for Bubba.  He’s downing them like they’re going out of style.

beans

When he finishes his two servings and helps to finish mine, I finally ask Jay to take out Chica’s one required spoonful and give Bubba the rest of her serving.

So while he’s literally licking the bowl, we’re still fighting her.  Finally we busted out the, “Enough.  Eat them now or we will start yelling and there will be a consequence,” line, and it worked.

“Hey.  They didn’t taste like anything!  They were good.  Can I have some more?”

And so it goes.

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Smack-Ya-Mama (And Not Your Four Year Old) Black Beans

Ingredients:

1 can of Walmart brand black beans (drained but not rinsed)
1 cup of chicken broth
¼ cup bacon bits (the good kind…not the crunchy ones)

Directions:

Combine in a small pot, and cook on medium heat until the rest of your dinner is ready.  Serve hot, but don’t expect anybody to eat them until they’re cold.  They’ll still be good.  Promise.

A Few Friendly Reminders

Students are people too.  Their moms get cancer and their grandfathers die and their parents make bad choices.  Cut them a little slack when you can.

If you have a temporary crown, you should not eat Hot Tamales.

If your temporary crown pops off, Vaseline apparently does the trick to stick it back on.

Oatmeal, when left on the table for a day, can be substituted for glue or even cement.  (No conclusion yet as a substitute for the Vaseline in the above situation.)

Four year olds know when you try to shorten a book by turning two or three pages at once.  In the end it only makes the whole thing take longer.

Four year olds, however, are still magically delighted with the most simple of Valentines.  $2 = Too much fun.

Thirty year olds with two kids should not stay up until midnight night after night.  This is hazardous to their health.

Even if you attempt to stall by writing a lame blog post, the dirty dishes will still be there.  Ugh.

Dollar Tree Valentines

So there’s a reason I don’t write a craft blog. It’s this:

workspace

I never clean up as I work. If you write a craft blog, you have to take pictures along the way, so you clean up as you go. Me? I make a mess, scoot to the next open space on the table, and plan to clean it up when I’m done. Or tomorrow. Ok…..so definitely by two weeks from now.

Actually, there are a few other reasons I don’t write a craft blog. I’m always doing dumb stuff like cutting my own fingers with scissors or pressing print before I double check my spelling. I also am frequently missing essential items like a paper cutter or a whole punch, and my improvised tools don’t work so well. Projects that look like they’ve been cut out by a second grader don’t make for very good close-ups.

I definitely like to be crafty, but most of the time it seems that it takes too much time and money…two things I don’t have very much of that is unspoken for already. But tonight the pinspiration hit me, and I managed to pull off homemade Valentine’s for both of my kids’ classes. (Oh gees…I really did just use that word.)

Jay was at a meeting at church, and the kids and I had a few hours to kill. I now have just enough experience as a mom to know that if I wait until Wednesday night to figure out Valentines, it will be disaster all around. That’s certainly not enough time to pull off something homemade, and the only premade cards at Wal-mart will be either very expensive, inappropriate, or something you’ve never heard of in your life. Yeah….been there, done that.

So I pried Chica away from My Little Pony (what is it with that show these days??), loaded both kids up, and headed to the Dollar Tree. Actually, first I showed her a few non-food Valentine ideas that I thought we could pull off with stuff from our one-stop shopping trip. She didn’t seem particularly thrilled by any of them (I was rooting for these), so I told her we’d just be on the lookout for something else there that would inspire us. And then, of course, I had to define inspire.

After nixing the heart shaped mazes (Come on….”You amaze me”……so perfect!), the silly straws, and the bugs, she finally landed on glow sticks. We had seen a glow stick idea before we left, so I liked the idea of something I wouldn’t have to recreate. I also found bubbles for Bubba’s class (I was thinking, You blow my mind, Valentine), glue sticks for Chica’s teachers (I’m stuck on you), and lotion for Bubba’s teachers (Thanks for making every day so smooth). Oh, and she picked out a card for her daddy, complete with jokes she didn’t really understand, and one somewhat useful item from the man aisle. Useful if you were stranded on a deserted island, maybe?? We made it out of there and managed to only drop $15.

Anyway, I got home, made the usual Daddy’s-not-home dinner (PBJ), and decided to look for ways to pull off these projects quickly and easily. Guess what?! I found something ready to just print, cut out, and tie or tape on for three out of four of my projects. Since we’ve only recently acquired a printer as a hand-me-down, I am just now realizing the miracle that is the “free printable.” Jackpot!

In case you need a quick, cheap, and easy homemade Valentine, here’s a rundown of my sources:

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Glow Stick Printable. All that’s left to do is to have Chica sign her name to all 17 of them. You don’t think that will take all week, do you? : )

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Bubbles Printable. This mom made the pattern to fit Dollar Tree bubbles, so they were absolutely perfect. This turned out to be my favorite of the night.

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Stuck On You Printable. Her actual craft that goes with the printable is way cooler than my dollar store glue sticks, but my glue sticks are way more useful in a pre-k class, I guess.

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I couldn’t find anything I really liked for my lotion idea, so I used these gift tags and some super-cute fonts I found here to make my own.

Oh gees, it’s 11:00. Wrap this thing up, Tracy!

So here’s the big money idea (or maybe two) for the night: creative people are really just people who are good at borrowing other people’s ideas. Don’t reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to. If you have an idea, chances are someone else has had it before too. If it’s something crafty, check Pinterest and Google images to see if you can mooch off their hard work. And spend the time you saved yourself on cleaning up your work space when you are done. (Ugh…still have to do that.)

Big money #2: I am not too proud to admit that this project today was 95% about me. Chica would probably be much more thrilled with a box of My Little Pony tear off cards than her homemade Valentines. Bubba’s classmates might enjoy the bubbles, but they’ll be oblivious to the perfectly-sized wrap I so carefully (ha!) added. But seeing this project from start to finish has made me feel good. I like creating (or recreating, I guess) and admiring the finished product when done. Oh, and I like writing about it.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wish you a little time this week to do something you enjoy doing, too!

My Week From A to Z

Art Show:  My students’ recycled materials art was featured in a real-live art gallery this weekend during First Fridays.  They were a true hit, and we had so much fun!

Breast Cancer:  Two young women in my life, both with young kids, have gotten this diagnosis in recent weeks.  Many thoughts going their way.

Compliment:  Earlier this week I read my students a prize-winning poem that I wrote in high school.  When I was finished, one student chimed in and said, “Mrs. Proffitt, you’re a better writer than <The Other Teacher> is at math.”  I’ll take it.

Doughnut:  On our surprise two hour delay Friday, I decided to head to school at the normal time to get a little extra work done.  At some point during the morning, this announcement was made, “Attention staff, if you are here this early, you deserve an award.  I have some doughnuts I bought for a meeting this morning that ended up being cancelled.  Come get one!”  You better bet I was there.  See J.

Explosions:  I’ve had just about enough of Bubba’s bodily fluids this week.  Sheesh.

Field trip:  Planning is underway for our fourth grade overnight trip.  Bring it.

Grandma:  She totally saved the day, or two, this week.  She spent Thursday and Friday with Bubba.  See E.

Hundredth Day:  Ruth and I have been planning a celebration that will bring our students’ together…mostly so we have an excuse to work on a project together again.  Check out our silliness in the video we made to introduce the day’s activities to our students.

iTunes:  When Jay’s accompanist cancelled at 6:00 a.m. this morning, iTunes saved the day.

Jeans:  When you only own two pairs of jeans, and one begins to not fit, it’s time to do something about it.  (I type with a candy cane in hand mouth.)  See W.

Knee surgery:  Chica’s nana had a knee replacement this week.  She’s one tough cookie.  See W.

Laughter:  My students continue to crack me up.  This week I was trying to get them hyped for converting fractions into decimals with a fake “crime” they had to solve.  “When you finish your warm up, come get the evidence sheet and you’ll be on the case!”  Which was followed by, “Mrs. Proffitt….is this is real case or like a worksheet case?”  I couldn’t help but laugh.

Mouth to mouth:  Bubba has a recent fascination with kissing, except it’s more like he’s trying to resuscitate you.  Not sure what to do about that….

Newspaper:  In my endless attempts to entertain a 14 month old, I recalled a memory of making tubes out of rolled up newspaper as a kid.  Bubba enjoyed hitting things with them, and Chica pretended they were her old woman cane.  See Y.

Outside:  Chica and the neighbor kid have spent much of their evenings and weekend exploring the woods beside our house.  It figures that she would finally realize what fun it is to play outside on one of the coldest weeks of the year.

Post:  This week my friend Cheryl wrote, “I want to go into great detail and tell you how great things are these days, but for now, I’ll be brief, because brief is better than waiting for perfection and then not posting at all, right?”  Thanks for the reminder.

Quiet time:  I need it.

Randolph College:  Many Sunday afternoons I head to the library for my very own paper grading party, and today was no exception.   While there, I noticed the birds’ nests in the huge vines climbing Main Hall, a book written in Spanish that I wish I still knew how to read, and General Jones’ interesting choice of attire.   I still love that place.

Spelling Bee:  I had two bee the judge this weak four are school be.  Talk about pressure!

Twin bed:  Bubba has suddenly graduated to the big boy bed, but we have yet to take down the crib because of its effectiveness as a threat.

Underwear:  Chica was wearing none (nor pants) when she came to the top of the steps to greet a school friend of mine that stopped by yesterday.  That kid.

Valentine’s Day:  I am so thankful for room moms who plan these things for me.  Two years ago I didn’t even know what a room mom did.  I’m very blessed.

Weight Watchers:  In preparation for her surgery, Nana jumped back on the bandwagon and lost a bunch of weight.  Between her inspiration and J above, I think I’m almost ready to jump back on too.

eXtra Money:  This week in the mail I received my award for the video contest.  I decided I wanted to actually spend it on something good instead of just rolling it into the same pot for food, gas, etc.  My best ideas so far are dinner out and a night at the Craddock Terry with Jay or treating a few friends to a “Girl Day”…maybe painting pottery and going for ice cream.  We’ll see.

Yes, it worked!:  Most ideas I find on Pinterest require way too much planning and forethought, but occasionally I find one that is simple enough for even me to carry out.  Today I gave Bubba a pile of clothespins and a big, empty apple juice container.  The biggest indication that this was a hit:  I was able to load the dishwasher without stopping while he was in the same room.  Miracle.

Zzzzz:  Is it time for bed yet?

Image:
MAGNETIC LETTERS  
© Davosmith  | Flickr Creative Commons