Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween 2014: The Cat's Away......

 Submitted by Linda
Craig seems to do a lot of traveling in the fall, partially because it's football season and the APU cougars do a lot of traveling as well. Coincidence? I think not.  I don't love it when he's gone, but as they say, 'When the cat's away, the mice will play!' 

Well, my 'playing' is pretty mild. No 'girls gone wild' here. I usually just gather my FRFs (front row friends) for some paper crafting. In September we used the Fancy Favor die to create these cute halloween treat bags (I know that I keep using this die - but it's too cute not to). I delivered these today to my Kindergarten teammates and the office ladies.
Then Craig was gone recently, to South Dakota. He was there for a football game, but ended up also having a meeting with the four presidents at Mt. Rushmore. So I took off for Michelle's neck of the woods in LaQuinta. It was a beautiful day for a drive.
There we decided to make Halloween treats for our students. I had been wanting to make these candy corn treats using the Pennant Punch.
We used the skinny cello bags and filled them with tangerine and buttered popcorn Jelly Bellys. This involved my first ever outing to Winnco. If you haven't been to Winnco, you are in for a fun outing. It's kind of like a grocery store, Costco and Sprouts all wrapped into one big store. The bulk section is amazing. This pic shows only a tiny portion of just the bulk candies.
These are all wrapped and ready for my kindergarten friends.
As for my cloche, here's my October version. I found this sweet giant decorated tag at Barbara Cheatley's in the C-Mont village.

It's hard to believe that soon we turn the calendar page and November will be here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bullet Journal (Don't be a hater)!

Submitted by Linda (but I've converted Michelle to the bullet journal as well)

So, have you ever been on Pinterest, when you find yourself clicking around someone else's pins, just because you're curious? Well, our fellow Stampin' Up friend Rachel had been pinning a bunch of stuff about 'bullet journals', and after seeing some of the pins, I began researching in earnest.

Disclaimer: If you are someone who loves lists, and organizing things, this will be fun for you. If not, you will think that we are obsessive, crazy control freaks. (No comment).

I've always been somewhat of a list maker, and I always say that I'm 95% organized. But that 5% of disorder always gets me in the end. Pictured below is a cute clipboard with a bunch of stamping 'lists': things to buy, things I wish for, projects I'm planning to do during 2014, which tags will go in the Christmas tins, and so on. 

The 'clipboard system' works pretty well, except that I have various clipboards, post its, grocery lists, and so on scattered hither and yon. Then I have notes to bring certain things to school (crock pots or potting soil, for example), and notes to bring things home from school (projects to prep, things to repair, etc.) Then I put appointments in my cell phone, and/or my big kitchen calendar.  It's a lot of lists and notes in a lot of places.

The purpose of the bullet journal is to get all of those ideas, thoughts, to dos out of our brain and gathered in one place. Many proponents of the bullet journal talk about how for our analog brains, a digital app or calendar isn't as effective as the old school of 'writing it down'. 

You will find tons of pins on Pinterest about bullet journaling, and lots of helpful videos. Many folks buy expensive leather bound journals, but I just decided to use a nice blank journal I was recently given, and when I got Michelle all excited about this project, she was happy to use a grid-paper composition book.

One of the first things you need to do is decide on your icons for your daily lists. We wanted to keep it pretty simple, so we chose what you see below. Many people have tons of icons, but again, we were going for functional rather than complicated. (I did bust out my big box of scrapbooking stickers and washi tape to do some decorating, but it really can be super simple).
The next thing you need is an index. After you have numbered all of your pages, you can begin adding lists for anything, as long as you note it in the index. In Michelle's journal below, you can see that October doesn't have an ending number, because the month isn't done yet. This will make more sense below.
Next, you make a master list of tasks for the month, and we decided to add a calendar for the month. Michelle drew hers in, but I just xeroxed my paper calendar that I usually carry in my purse.
Next, you use your icons each day to make your list. When thoughts, ideas, appointments, to dos come to you during the day, you write them down under todays date, and check them off as you go. If I don't get them done, you 'migrate' them to another day or to a date on my calendar.

As I have been using my journal, I really felt like I needed a 'week at a glance' along with my lists, so I drew in the week. I have since created this 7 day strip on my computer and I now will print it out and glue it in each week.
I have also included a sticky note here and there for grocery lists and other things that don't deserve 'real estate' in your journal.

In the very back of my journal (you can see it says page 197), I have listed all of the stamping stuff that was on the clipboard. And the page is noted in my index.
At the end of October, we will note the ending page of the October notes in our index, and will begin a category for November.

So far, it has been working really well. I love it that all my important stuff is in one 'easy to find', portable location.

And if you like checking things off of your list, then this is for you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: A Mishmash of Parting Shots

Submitted by Linda
So it's time to wrap up Italy.  I've been home for seven months now, and I still am eager to go back one day, to stay longer, learn the language, see more, and do some cooking. In the meantime, here's a few more random pics. 

Florence's symbol is the flour de lis, so I purchases a soccer jersey that represents their town. I thought the girls would like the purple. I also brought back a national jersey, which is royal blue.
Students made their own "Italian" soccer jersey.
 Venice, beyond gondoliers and canals, is known for the Carnivale of Venice and the beautiful masks. I brought a couple back, and the kids did do a mask project, though somehow, I didn't capture it with my camera. Our masks didn't turn out quite as elaborate as these.
 Maybe because it was spring when I went, I was a bit obsessed with trees. This one was in Venice.
 When we arrived in Stresa, I was obsessed with this tree and the blossoms that had fallen on the lawn in front of our hotel. I dropped my bags, and ran out with my camera before the sun went down. Sure enough, the next morning they were all cleaned up. But I got my shot.
 Another nod to spring, in Florence.
 Pizza. Sorry. Couldn't stop myself.
 This tiny police car was on the Isle of Capri. The weather that day was absolutely wretched, pouring rain, so my photos really aren't worth sharing. Though we did have a great time there.
The little town of Stresa (up North by the lakes) has a unicorn for their city symbol. Which is lovely on this wrought iron gate. And a lovely thought as well.
 Another thing that endeared Stresa to us quickly is their small but moving memorial to 9/11.
...and gelato. You probably remember that I made it a point to eat pizza every day, whereas Craig's vice was gelato. It truly is an art form there. And I'm sure the stuff that I bought and fed our kindergartners wasn't even close to the real stuff.
 A favorite memory is tea time on the grand canal. This is going back on my bucket list, so hopefully I can do it again.
Since I was behind the camera most of the time, I have this rare pic of me that Craig snapped in Verona.  I love so many things about the way the Italians do life. I feel like my face here reflects the calm of a mealtime where they will never bring you a check unless you ask.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: Mamma Mia Pizzeria!

 Submitted by Linda
Craig and I made it a point to eat pizza every single day whilst in Italy. No matter where we went, it was fresh and tasty, with a thin crust. In Verona, we had lunch at the Mamma Mia Bistro.
Our choice that day was a veggie pizza.
 I snapped this pic of some pizza-makers just outside the ruins of Pompeii.
So here's my version of the "Mamma Mia Pizzeria". The students made their paper pizzas and described what they chose to put on them.
We didn't have access to a brick oven, so I asked Craig to bring over our bar-b-que and grill up some pizzas for us. We used bread dough, olive oil, and we let the students add sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
The kiddos made a chef's hat, and we added the Italian vibe with a mustache. Here is my friend Chef Jackson.
I posted these pics above my brick oven, where it says 'Ciao! Mi chiamo Linda' (my name is Linda). For privacy I've hidden the student names below.
 My colleague Denise always makes everything fun. She made us try out the mustaches, too!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: Michelangelo and DaVinci

 Submitted by Linda
Again, I'll just be sharing a glimpse of the beautiful art that we saw at the Vatican (Rome) and in Florence. Trust me when I say you could spend weeks in either of those cities and not see it all. 

When we first arrived in Florence, we drove up to a park above the city for a photo op. I tried out my big long camera lens and I got this pretty shot of Il Duomo di Firenze (the Basilica of Saint Mary).
 Beautiful Florence (which ranks right up there with Venice in terms of charm) is known for fashion and art.  This photo shows the Ponte Vecchio, which is a famous bridge with shops all along the inside.
This photo was taken of a replica of Michelangelo's David, since the actual statue is in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, where pictures are not allowed.
At St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, we were able to see Michelangelo's Pieta (Mary and Jesus), and also the famous and beautiful ceiling of the Sistene Chapel. I loved the portion of the ceiling called "the creation", where God is reaching out to Adam.

I bought the poster shown below while I was there. I genuinely don't want to minimize the incredible art that it is, but in kindergarten the nakedness would have been a huge distraction. So I gave Adam some board shorts so that we could keep our focus on the message of the painting.
I learned while we were there that Michelangelo probably did NOT lay down to paint the chapel, as prior sources reported. According to his drawings of the location, it is believed that he was standing on scaffolding while he painted, because his vision was so poor he needed to be close. Either way, it would be a big challenge to paint on a ceiling that is quite large.

So to simulate the experience, we did some drawing under the tables.
My students thought it was very exciting and fun to be under the tables, but they quickly learned that it is difficult to create a decent product when your canvas is above you. It was also tiring.
 I was not able to see DaVinci's Mona Lisa while I was there, since she is housed at the Louvre in Paris. However, we felt that it was important to introduce our friends to this famous lady whose creator was another of the great Italian artists.
We did a basic 'direct draw', and I was so excited to see how their pictures turned out. In order to prepare for our annual spring trip to the Huntington Art Gallery, our friends learn about line, shape, color, texture, foreground and background. They were able to use many of those concepts in this simple drawing.
Next up....bringing Italian food to kindergarten! Yum!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: Pinocchio

Submitted by Linda
The story of Pinocchio originated in Italy, and it is a staple in the tourist stalls. I saw collections like this in most Italian cities I visited. I'm guessing it's very popular with tourists (probably more popular with tourists than locals.)  Nevertheless, I was excited to find an Italian children's story that was familiar.

 Along with the several versions of the story that I bought, I also brought this Pinocchio doll home with me for my classroom collection of 'artifacts'.
The project we ended up doing was a jointed Pinocchio which I modeled after TLC art projects. If you are a kindergarten or pre-school teacher, you will definitely want to check these out for your students. To go the the TLC website, click HERE.  Basically, TLC art projects are directed lessons, where students learn to cut rectangles and squares into a variety of shapes to make their project. What I love about it is that it builds confidence in the students, and it gives them the ability to create something about of basic pieces of paper.  So each child's project comes out uniquely theirs.
Speaking of art and artists, next I'll be sharing how we brought Michelangelo and DaVinci to kindergarten!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: Venice

 Submitted by Linda
The truth about Venice is that it is as magical as you've heard. It truly is silly for me to try to capture it in one blog post. And even sillier to think that I could see it all in just a couple of days. Nevertheless, here are a few glimpses of our moments there.

Forget about street signs, or of remembering how to get somewhere. Just follow the signs toward the Rialto bridge, or St. Mark's Basilica and keep walking.

By foot, the city is beautiful and full of charm at the turn of every corner and at every one of the many bridges.

 Everything is brought in via boat (food, supplies, luggage, etc.) And trash is also hauled out via boat.
 I loved the Murano glass lanterns by the Doge's Palace.
 The bridge of sighs.....
 And a picture of the gondoliers to show the kindergartners.
And by gondola ride, it's even better!
Did you know that in the past these 'barber poles' signified a home's entrance for gondola passengers? Different colors for different families. 
Such a happy time!
So here's how it translated to kindergarten. The students made their own gondolier to put in the canal near the Rialto bridge. They also created the buildings complete with wrought iron, flower pots and awnings.
 Then we set up a photo op with a cardboard gondola and the kid sized gondolier outfit I bought in venice. Here's my friend Gia.