Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Printable: Motivational: Laughing is Exercise

Not only is it exercise, it's really the best kind I've ever done. We've all heard the phrase, "Laughter is the best medicine."  There are actual benefits to laughing that not only helps boost a body's immune system but there's nothing than sharing a good, hard, deep, belly laugh with someone that makes you feel happy and gets you on the right path for the day. I feel like I've gone through these before but I can't for the life of me seem to find where so I'll summarize.  Laughing relaxes your body which relieves stress and tension, decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and anti-bodies, releases Endorphins which relieves pain and protects your heart by increasing blood flow. So whatever has got you down, making you feel bad - start with a laugh.  The rest will follow. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Thoughts on Being a Teacher

Those who can't do, teach. 

When I declared Elementary Education as my major it was at the very end of my sophomore year but it had taken me a lot to get there.  In high school I'd gone through wanting to be a marine biologist, a pastry chef, to wanting to do something with the FBI.  I entered college as a Criminal Justice major.  At the end of my first semester I transferred college and went undecided.  For the next 3 semesters I was going to major in biology, sociology, american studies before I got struck by idea lightening and it all was crystal clear.  Teach.  I was going to be a teacher and I had such passion for it and loved everything that had to do with training to become one.  And I thought I was that exact phrase I started this blog post with.  I tried and couldn't complete so many other things that I got relegated to teach but I was going to embrace it and those next 2 years I truly felt like I was home.  Then I graduated and it was time for me to step out into that teaching world all by myself.  The very first thing I realized in my first year of teaching was that phrase I wrote first in this post was completely wrong.  In order to be a teacher you had to be someone who can do everything.   Just because the school day ended doesn't mean your day ends and just because there is no school day doesn't mean you have a day off.   I've gone into school in the summer, on weekends and even spring break.  I've come home 90% of my nights with another 5-6 hours of work to do.  No other profession I know pours as much of their own money back into their job than teachers do.   You believe I have a summer vacation and holidays off.  My summer vacation - if I'm not in workshops my school has for me then I'm doing stuff on my own.  I'm constantly looking for new things for my classroom or to do in my classroom.  I put my heart into my teaching.  I have Cupcake - she's my child that I actually gave birth too.  However, every year when I have a class they are my children too and I care for and love them as well.  I put not only my heart but my blood, sweat and tears into teaching, into my school and most importantly into my students.  And I know of thousands, if not millions of other teachers anywhere not only in this country but also the world who do the same thing.   
However, that is the side the world doesn't wish to see or comment on.  I'm in a profession where I am constantly the bad guy.  If one teacher is in violation of something and it makes the news then you make us all in violation of something.  I'm not saying every teacher is amazingly fantastic but don't assume because you come across one that is less than stellar that is how we all are.  It takes amazing strength to be a teacher because the deck is constantly stacked against us.  Little by little the autonomy teachers used to have has been stripped away.  You think teachers have a say in what they teach, how they teach it?  No, everything is decided by someone else and passed down to us.  You don't think we want kids to play?  You don't think we want to make it fun?  Of course we do!  If you think otherwise than you really have less of a clue than when I started this blog post.  No, we are told we have to give this test in March/April and your students have to do this well on it and there is no time for anything else.  Not only that, you are constantly being questioned by parents and administrators about the things you do in your classroom.  The number of social media posts or articles on websites I've read about parents complaining about something a teacher did.  No matter who is at fault or what happened, it's always the teachers fault.  Yet, no one cares about the actual person a teacher is.  How many times I've tried to reach a parent during the day about situation at school and couldn't?  More than I can count.  How many times that a parent's gotten angry at me because I didn't get back in 10 minutes when it's not even school hours anymore and I'm at home or it's the weekend?  More than I can count.  I'm a teacher, yes, but I'm also a person with a life like you.  I have a child and pets and other commitments and emergencies pop up in my life too.  So how do I not count as an actual person?  I have relatives and they too also pass away.  My second day teaching I had to leave half day because my grandmother was dying in a hospital in another state.  Yet those never seem to matter.  We live in a profession where no matter how great something we do is, someone will still have a problem with it and we'll still get called into a conference.  I know in life we won't ever make everyone happy but we don't even get the moment to bask in accomplishment.  The latest viral teacher post going around is a dad who is upset that a kid got a stamp about needing lunch money on his arm.  And again, we are bad.  I know exactly why it's being used - the little papers that say it don't get home or if they do they don't get to parents or they get pushed to the side for later and then forgotten.  Instead of going and talking to the school, the dad went straight to media.  We, as the American public, do love our drama but it's always at the expense of people who work hard.  Teachers constantly have to keep doing more and being better to keep their certification, they take workshops, classes and get an advanced degree.  Being a teacher is constantly an uphill battle.  Yet, we still come back each morning, each school year because we are going to get through to our students and we are going to make them better.  Instead of criticizing a teacher or assuming you know how to do their job and attacking them for it take a moment and think of all they do.   The teachers I know are selfless, hardworking people who want to put good in the world. Yet the world only gives bad back to them.  Don't assume because you read a story or see something you don't like that all teachers are like that.  That's all I'm hearing in the news lately is to not judge all by the actions of one, yet still I see teachers still being the bad guy.  
If you are a teacher and you are reading this, you are amazing.  It doesn't always feel like that, I know most of the time it doesn't.  You have strength to keep giving your entire being to your students because everything we do is always for our students.  
If you are not a teacher and you are reading this, do something nice for a teacher.  It doesn't have to be big - in fact, we teachers love small, thoughtful gestures.  
Those who teach, have superpowers. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Disney: Recommendation: Enchanted Tales with Belle

We love New Fantasyland.  We love Beast's Castle, Little Mermaid, the circus complete with Casey, Jr.  and you can even see footprints of various Disney horses.  One of the neatest experiences we have come to love is Enchanted Tales with Belle

Park: Magic Kingdom
Area: Fantasyland
Fastpass+ available

This is such a fun experience.  First tip - get a Fastpass for it.  We've done it twice and it's much easier to get a fastpass, otherwise it's an hour wait.  You are taken through Maurice and Belle's cottage to a magical picture that opens up and takes you into Beast's castle.  They tell you they're going that Belle is coming and they want to surprise her with a retelling of how she and the Beast met and fell in love.  Then they pass out parts.  There are all kinds of parts!  For as many kids want to be involved is how many can be apart. They have ways to stretching the characters.  As far as getting picked for the role you want - be loud and be up front.  Make noise, get noticed.  Since there is no way of getting separated from your child so we've let Cupcake be in the front and we hang back.  Cupcake has scored two pretty big roles - the very first time we went in February 2013 she was the Beast.  She loved it and you actually get to spend a bit more time with Belle.  The second time she was Maurice.  She enjoyed getting to act in both roles.  You can see pictures below.  This has always been a great experience and we highly recommend it.  Even dads get in on the act - they get chosen as the Knights in Armor.  Superman got picked the time when Cupcake was Beast.  Whatever you do, make sure you hit this at least once in your Disney life. 

Waiting to go in and get started - Knight and Beast

That's where he had to stand the whole time

Getting ready to make her big entrance

And what an entrance she made

They got to pose with Belle

It all ends with Belle dancing with the Beast

Cupcake as Maurice

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Printable: Word of the Week: Illuminate

While it may not be very "educational", the hands down best use of the word illuminate comes from the Genie in Aladdin.  
"Master! I don't think you quite realize what you got here. So why don't you just ruminate whilst I illuminate the possibilities."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Poster: Teaching: What Can I Say To Myself?

Our students always have a million things to say and think because they believe those thoughts will make it okay for them to give up, to not try, to not do their best.  Um, student?  Have we met?  I'm your teacher - I'm never going to let you sell yourself short and give up?  Today's printable is just something to hang to help them retrain their thinking.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Printable: Lyrics: Ever Ever After

The hardest thing in the world to do is to be you - to embrace your good, your bad, your nerdiness, your skeptical, your flaws.  Remember you are exactly who you are meant to be and be you - it might be the key to unlocking your happiness. 

Printable: Disney: Just Keep Swimming

In honor of Finding Dory, here's your reminder to just keep swimming.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Printable: Faith: Grace Magnifies

It's no secret that we are flawed beings.  It's a fact that when troubles rain, they pour down on you.  So what do you do in a situation like that?  How do you handle it?  It's precisely when troubles abound that your true character shows, the amount of grace you show certainly magnifies your personality.  That's why it's so important to have grace, it's a place where God is.  Stamping feet, throwing fits, getting mean, never solve anything, so get your grace and your troubles won't be gone, but smaller and manageable they shall become. 

Printable: Motivational: Far Better Things Ahead

The future is great - while there is an idea of it, it's never set in stone and it only deals in possibilities.  Just another reason to keep moving forward. 

Printable: Father's Day

To all you dads out there - you are awesome!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Disney: Snack Recommendation: Alice in Wonderland Cake Cups

Before our last Disney trip we heard of a delicious snack being served in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.  Superman and Cupcake were lucky enough to get to enjoy this delectable treat that satisfies any sweet tooth (I was at the spa).  They discovered the cake cups at Cheshire Cafe.

Park: Magic Kingdom
Area: Fantasyland

I have a huge sweet tooth so this would have satisfied me to no end.  Superman's isn't as big as mine so he said it got a little too sweet and rich for him.  They come in 4 varieties - Mad Hatter Mocha Chocolate, Cheshire Cat Birthday Cake, White Rabbit White Chocolate and Red Queen Strawberry Shortcake.  It's layers of cake and icing.  Delicious.  This is not on the regular menu at Cheshire Cafe so you'll have to check if it's being served.  If you're lucky enough I hope you enjoy - seems a good one to share.  

Cupcake gives it her seal of approval

Monday, June 13, 2016

Printable: Lyrics: Brave by Sara Bareilles

My definition of brave: doing anything that puts you out of your comfort zone.  So anytime you put yourself out there - whether the results are disastrous or phenomenal - you have been brave by being you, by standing up for something you believe in, or doing something you never dreamed was a possibility but by circumstance are now doing. So go and show me your brave.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Printable: Disney: Ohana Means

On a day after a tragedy or on a day when you feel like your life just might be crumbling you need to remember that family means you won't get left behind or forgotten. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Printable: Faith: The Moment You Were Created For

As soon as I came across the verse it resonated with me.  Your life is not about big moments.  They are about little moments and happy moments and sad moments and angry moments and scared moments and so on forever.  And how do you react to those moments? We're not always at our finest - we're human, we all have things to work on.  But in that little or big moment how are you reacting.  And just perhaps for any of those given moments it's the exact reason you were Created for. How are you going to be remembered for that moment?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Printable: Motivational: Do What Makes Your Soul Sparkle

Today's saying has become more of a mantra to me.  I've struggled being comfortable with who I am.  This year I feel I've made great strides in that department for I have embraced my Disney Side, my love for singing with my terrible voice, and to dance the way the music moves me.  However, very recently I was challenged to rediscover who I am and what I should pursue and it's gotten me thinking on what I love but lost so while I'm not ready to reveal what that is and add it to my blog fodder I am excited to get back to me. So with that I bring you today's printable...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Disney: Restaurant Recommendation: Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe

Tucked away in the Magic Kingdom is one of my favorite quick service restaurants. What can I say I'm a sucker for singing green aliens.  Today I'll talk to you about Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe.

Park: Magic Kingdom
Area: Tomorrowland

We discovered this place in our usual fashion - it was night extra magic hours at Magic Kingdom, we got hungry and this place was open.  What we weren't banking on was the delicious food we were served.  Cosmic Ray's has a variety of food from chicken, burgers, and sandwiches. Everything has been well seasoned and juicy. Definitely a pleasant and welcome surprise.  Also the break you need to finish using those magic hours.   There is also a topping bar here which means you can customize your own sandwich.  In the past they've had a delicious tomato soup as well.  It's not listed on the menu on the website but I'm not sure if it ever was.  It's usually listed at the cash registers as a special thing and you can make it your side. We also love to sit down where Ray is and listen to his corny show. We do love it though.  Superman has recently returned from his solo trip and said Ray was gone.  Not sure if he's gone for good or if he's being refurbished.  We'll check it out when we return (in under 60 days!).  Go give it a try. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Printable: Word of the Week: Vivid

Here's your next word - I like this word and what a great way to start getting kids to start using more colorful vocabulary in their writing

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Printable: Lyrics: Don't Stop Believing

The message here is pretty simple - don't stop believing. Ever. Always hope, no matter how many times you have to hope, no matter how many days you have remind yourself to even try to have it - don't give up, don't stop believing.