Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Addition

As Gina the Civic's lease was coming to an end, it was time to look into adding a new addition to our family. And here she is.......

I am now officially taking suggestions for her name!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Look Who is in the News!!

All-day kindergarten extends, expands learning opportunities

By Julie Slama (Murray Journal)
November 10, 2010

Horizon kindergarten teacher Lindsey Romero helps Josue Godinez pour sugar while making applesauce as part of the extended-day kindergarten program. During the exercise they talk about the concepts of more and less.

Three years ago, Madison Wold entered kindergarten knowing some letters and sounds, but couldn't match colors with their names.

Madison entered the optional extended-day kindergarten as one of about 24 students who needed the extra help at Horizon on the three-year program. Similar kindergartners entered the program at Liberty and Parkside, the other two funded programs, partially from the legislature and partially from Title I funds Murray School District channeled to the kindergarten program, said Asst. Supt. Steve Hirase.

"It made all the difference," Madison's mother, Nikki Wold, said. "She learned so much in Mrs. (Lindsey) Romero's class. She knew everything — her colors, numbers, reading. She just thrived and loves school. She knew so much more and was prepared to go into first grade. Kids absolutely need all-day kindergarten. They need the extra time to work and learn."

Madison now is doing well and is performing grade level in Horizon's Spanish Immersion program, her mother said.

Her kindergarten teacher credits the extended-day program with the time needed to cover more curriculum.

"It taught the half-day program before this option," Romero said. "It's nearly impossible to cover everything. This allows more time and the mastery of skills, instead of just the introduction and general coverage."

In all three extended-day programs, the teachers emphasized more time for literacy skills. By the end of the program, students were reading on grade level or above. Math mastery with number recognition and patterning also were explored.

This is the last year of the legislative funding and the future of extended-day kindergarten is uncertain.

"Unless the state funds the program or we have money from another source, we don't have the funding option to continue," Hirase said. "This program has closed the gap to almost non-existent between these students and those in the normal kindergarten program."

At Parkside, 23-year teaching veteran Rachelle Peterson said that at the start the year, many don't know their names, and some have never held scissors or a pencil.

"I read them a book and when I was done, there was just silence and eyes full of wonder. Many have never been read to. Then, one of them asked me to read it again," Peterson said, and she read the book again.

Art, music, poetry, folk tales, science, social studies and other areas are introduced and enriched in their curriculum during the day, often integrated into literacy and math lessons. But the teachers agree it's the small group and one-on-one attention, with the help of a full-time aide in each classroom, that makes the difference.

"It's the extra time that we have for literacy in the extended-day kindergarten that we don't have in the two-and-one-half hour kindergarten that makes the difference," Peterson said, adding that attendance has improved with all-day kindergarten students. "We can't make up for the lack of opportunities in five years without the extra time in schooling now."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A few days? Ya right!!

Well, in my previous post.....which was WAY too long ago.....I previewed some of the happenings in our ever so busy lives. I said I would treat you all to those items in a day or 2....whicth turned into a week or 2...maybe even 3. So, I thought that as I sit here and wait for my Parent Teacher Conference appointments to come and visit me in my cave (also known as my classroom in the forgotten hall at my school) I would do my best to update all of my adoring fans on the happenings of your favorite people in the entire world....being Cam and I (obviously!!)

Let me begin by sharing with you all a little bit about my bout with pneumonia a few weeks ago. It all started with what I thought was yet another cold. Everyone says that after your provisional years as a teacher, your immune system is tough and you won't get sick all of the time. Well my friends, that was a lie. I think this school year, I have been sick more than in years past. Cold, after cold, after sore throat, and throw in another cold! Hopefully, I have rid myself of all future colds, pneumonia cases, and hopefully the flu (Thank you MSD employee flu shot clinic!). All I can say about pneumonia is that it SUCKS!! I literally sat hovering over my humidifyer for 3 was the only solution to my cement filled (seriously, that is what it felt like) lungs. I took a day off work (3 days would have been best...but you know how I feel about leaving my little darlings), got some medicine, and spent UEA on my couch trying to get better. It was a very unpleasant experience that I hope I don't have to deal with anytime soon. I truly feel for people who have chronic breathing issues now. Feeling like you are breathing through a straw is miserable! Luckily, my lungs are pretty clear now, and coughing is the only issue. Let's hope that was my "killer" bug for the year!

As we all know, I am an avid amateur chef. I love to cook, and to eat (hence my amazing physique), so naturally when Satan (AKA my sis) asked my mom and I to compete in the annual "Fall Harvest Smackdown" (which is an Iron Chef inspired cooking competion that Satan's man friend (The his is quite entertaining)spear heads) last year I was totally in! Well, since all of the Bradley's have a gazillion children to bring and stuff the ballot box when voting on the best dishes, we were shut out last year. I was really miffed about the whole situation to be honest. First of all....what the HELL is a jelly melon?!? And, what kind of secret incredient is that?!?!? It tastes AWFUL!! What can you make with this that won't be VILE?

Even after last years competion, and in my opinion rigged results, my mom and I decided to participate again this year. I was literally afraid of what the secret ingredient would be after last year. How could it get any worse? Well, to my surprise (and I think it is safe to say everyone who participated surprise), that this years secret incredient was this....

Yes, the spicy, yet delicious habanero pepper! I was actually pretty excited about the ingredient this year. I can deal with spicy! Last year we only entered 3 items (an entree....which was the bomb, BTW, an appetizer, and a dessert), we decided to go for 4 this year. For our entree we made a habanero lime marinated salmon with a garlic habanero compound butter. Yum! Our side dish was roasted corn with garlic and habanero. Also Yum! The appetizer we made, which wasn't my favorite but everyone else seemed to love it, was sweet potatoe fries with a mango habanero dipping sauce. And finally, the big hit of the night was my dessert. It was a delicious peach trifle with habanero whipped cream....and boy it was sinful!! We had a lot of fun cooking and getting ready for the competion....and our hard work paid off this year. Team Pneumonia (thank the Gimp for that team name) took home the prizes for best side dish and best dessert!! That's right, we took 2 prizes!!! Now, Seth (the ultimate Bradley smack talker) thinks we rigged the competition this year (because we requested that there be be true to Iron Chef). What I have to say to that is....may the best chef prevail....and prevail we did!!

And to Seth the smack talker.....did you misplace your trophy? Next year you should take better care of your winnings :).

Now, on to more serious things of note.....

In the past few months, I have learned some valuable life lessons. As many of you know, Cam is finishing his last year of nursing school. And with that, comes a lot of school work. I am amazed at what Cameron is able to do. I watch him study and listen to his online lectures to prepare for tests....and to be honest, I feel like I am listening to someone speak in a foreign language. All of that medical talk, and prescription names make my head spin! I could never survive nursing school, let alone all of the yucky hospital stuff. To get Cameron through school, we have had to make a lot of sacrifices....mostly financially. As strange as it sounds, money has never been an issue for me. I have always worked (since I was, almost 11 years now) and bought myself what I needed/wanted. The first two years of our marriage, we seemed to be able to buy everything we wanted and needed....clothes, any Apple product we could get our hands on, basic day to day name it.....we needed/wanted it, we bought it. Well, that all changed when Cameron started school. We had to change the way we viewed money. I will be honest, it was hard. There were many months that near the end....I was afraid. Cameron is going to kill me for sharing this....but I have learned so much in the past year. Like everyone says....that which does not kill us makes us stronger. I am now a firm believer in that. I also learned how to grocery shop without spending a fortune! Cooking is my stress reliever. Some people read, or run, or, I want to cook. So coming home from work, and cooking dinner really helps me calm down (and with my job, there are days that I need a lot of calming down). Unfortunately, some of the things I like to cook are not cheap....and I have had to learn to make do with what I have. I have also learned that cheaper, store brand foods taste almost the same as the more expensive name brand items. I know that may sound silly, and make me sound like a total snob, but lets face it.....sometimes I am. So, not only am I so incredibly lucky to have such a smart husband, who is giving up so much to go to school to better our future together, I am actually appreciative for the experience it has given me. It in a way, brought me back to reality....and somewhat made me a more grounded person who appreciates the little things. Too bad it too me almost 26 years to figure that out. Today, I am a stonger, and more fiscally responsible person which will help me greatly in the long run.

Well, I began this lovely post at about 2 PM this afternoon, and it is offically 8:20 PM now. I am officially DONE for today! Only 2 more conferences tomorrow!

Until next time America!