Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Canada and New England Cruise 2014 Part 2

Last week we cruised on the Holland America Maasdam heading from Montreal to Boston. This was actually a continuation of the previous week’s cruise because this was a back to back cruise (14 days).

Day 5 (9/24/14 Sydney)

Here is the link to the pictures.

DSC_0002Yesterday we went to Sydney and I went back to the craft fair to visit the knitters. One lady knitted little people and I liked them so much that she gave me the pattern! Then we went back to the ship because we were invited to an Indonesian luncheon which was fabulous. I don’t know what I ate but it was amazing! After lunch we went to the movie theater but the speakers were broken and we couldn’t hear the movie so we left and walked around town some more. At 4, we went to happy hour in the Ocean Bar and then at 5, we moved to the Crow’s Nest happy hour. While there Don spotted some whales so we had the whole bar in an uproar! After dinner we went to the show which featured the comedian Derrick Cameron.

Day 6 (9/25/14 Halifax)

Here is the link to the pictures.

DSC_0016Since we were just here last week, we walked around town some more. We tried to find out about this FRED (free rides everywhere downtown) that someone told us about but the visitor center said that it ended a few years ago. So, we walked all the way to the casino and found an elevated walkway that went from building to building. It took us almost to the citadel at the top of the hill which was nice. On the way we went through the Scotia Mall and we walked around. We returned to the ship for lunch and then had a nap until happy hour. It was formal night at dinner and then we went to the show called Road House where the singers and dancers sang country songs. It was an enjoyable day!

Day 7 (9/26/14 Bar Harbor)

Here is the link to the pictures.

DSC_0006It was an interesting morning. We had to go through customs on Deck 8 at 8:15 because we were entering US soil and then we went for breakfast. We thought this would give the crowds to empty from the tenders. After breakfast we went to the showroom to get our tender number at 9:45. We didn’t get on the tender until 11:18! By the time we got into Bar Harbor, it was almost noon. We walked around town and admired the changing leaves. We had some issues with our rental house and spent some time coordinating things with our daughter and son in law (who are absolutely wonderful for taking care of things for us!). After we had walked around town, we took the tender back to the ship. After lunch we packed our suitcases and then rushed to happy hour! All four of our dinner mates were there! We are so lucky to have had 2 weeks with fantastic dinner mates! At dinner, the waiters sang a traditional song to me for my birthday (two different times) and they gave me a birthday cake! It was a wonderful evening.

Day 8 (9/27/14 Debarkation)

We were told to be ready to get off the ship by 8:15-8:30 and we were called around 8:20. We got off the ship and quickly found our bags. It was fast and easy to get off the ship! Then we found the taxi stand and easily got the second taxi out of a long line of taxis to the Hampton Inn (Boston Logan Airport). It cost $27 + $3 tip to the hotel about 15 minutes away. (I would not recommend this hotel for a park and cruise package because they only offer the shuttle to the ship and you have to take a cab back to the hotel.)

Summary of Overall Cruise:
1. Service: The service was excellent all around the ship. No matter where we went, crew members always greeted us and were smiling. Anything we wanted or needed was given to us immediately.
2. Dining room – Our service was wonderful! Sulaeman was our main dining steward and he did a great job considering he was stuck with us for 2 weeks! He was always patient and helpful. The service was quick enough but not rushed so we could make the show and get a good seat. Ketut was always there outside to give us mints and ginger as we left the dining room.
3. Stateroom: Our cabin felt large with a bed and a sofa in it. Our cabin steward was excellent and our room was cleaned around breakfast time while we were gone and then dinner time.
4. Ship: The size of the ship was perfect for us. It was not too small where we felt bored or confined but small enough where we saw other people we became friends with and could talk about the day or excursions that were taken. The ship was clean and well taken care of!
5. Tender: Absolutely dreadful! We waited over 90 minutes in the showroom to get off the ship. Some people waited two hours! There had to be a better way of organizing this because we have done this on other ships where it was done quickly and efficiently.
6. Food: There was a great variety of food on the ship and they tried hard to vary the dinner menu from the first week so we didn’t just have a repeat of the first week. This was a really nice thing to do.
7. Entertainment: The shows were good along with the singers and dancers. I looked forward to going to them. We also saw a couple of comedians that we enjoyed. They also changed the entertainment from the first week so it wasn’t a repeat also.
8. Cruise Director: Jeremy Whited was absolutely awesome! He was very personable and always took time to have a conversation with us. He had a great sense of humor when speaking to a group. On the day we had to cancel Bar Harbor due to weather on the first week, we heard him speak about the Halifax explosion and he made it interesting to hear.

Things I Learned:

1. Pauline shared with me how to cook a “jacket potato” her way. First I punch holes in it and cook it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. Then cover it in oil or butter and salt. Then cook it in the oven at 350 degrees until done.
2. St. Georges Island in Halifax was used as a prison by the British for Acadiens.
3. Halifax was founded by the Portuguese.
4. I never noticed before that the nickel and dime do not have the number value printed on them. Our dinner mates from the UK asked about them and I guess I’ve always taken it for granted and never noticed it.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Monday, September 29, 2014

Canada and New England Cruise 2014 Part 1

Last week we cruised on the Holland America Maasdam heading from Montreal to Boston. This was actually a continuation of the previous week’s cruise because this was a back to back cruise (14 days).

Day 1 (9/20/14 Montreal)

DSC_0071We didn’t have to check in again since we were already on the ship the week before. You can read about this day on my previous posts: Part 1 and Part 2. The most exciting thing was watching a fire start up on the roof of an apartment building and then blaze into a huge fire. (I later looked it up on line and no one was injured but it took 125 firemen to put it out!)

Day 2 (9/21/14 Quebec City)

Here’s the link to the pictures.

DSC_0005After breakfast we went out to the city again and it was much warmer than it was 2 days ago! Today had a low of 55F and a high of 67F (compared to the low of 35F the other day!). We walked along the  streets to past the Citadel and near the hotel with the round glass restaurant at the top. Then we walked back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we went to the movie theater to see the movie: X Men Days of Future Past which was pretty good. After dinner we went to the show and enjoyed it. We got a letter before dinner from the captain saying he is expecting about 13 foot waves during the night and tomorrow so make sure all loose items such as suitcases, cell phones etc. are all secure and to wear appropriate shoes. They also told where to get seasick medicine if needed. Tomorrow may be an interesting day!

Day 3 (9/22/14 St. Lawrence River)

After breakfast we did 2 loads of laundry. I was surprised that I was the only woman there and all of the others were men. I must not be training my hubby right! LOL At noon we had the Mariner luncheon. After lunch we went to the movie Fault In Our Stars which was good but a tear jerker. Then it was time for happy hour before we had to dress for the formal dinner. We had an early night since I only got about 4 hours sleep the night before because we went to bed late, had to turn our clocks forward one hour, and then I woke up early.

Day 4 (9/23/14 Prince Edward Island)

Here is the link to the pictures.

DSC_0013Prince Edward Island is referred to as PEI. We walked around town again but went to areas we didn’t go to last week. Then we stopped at the Northern Watters Knitwear store again to say hi to Bill (the owner). We also asked him about the Brewery tour that we thought about going on but from his reaction we decided not to do it. It sounded like a tourist trap to just make money. He wasn’t very positive or proud about them charging $10 for a microbrewery tour. So we walked around some more and then returned to the ship for lunch. After lunch we took a nap before happy hour where we bought some margaritas ($6.95 for the first one and $1 for the second one). At 7:30 we had a cocktail reception with the captain and senior staff which was nice. After dinner I hoped we would go to the Indonesian Crew show but there was a 90 minute gap until the show and we fell asleep and missed it!

Things I’ve learned:
1. Quebec City is pretty even if it is raining.
2. Always bring a rain poncho just in case it rains.
3. The washer cost $2 and the dryer $1.
4. People in the UK slap their children’s hand for putting their fork in their right hand after cutting their meat.
5. In northern England people think those who drink a New Castle brown ale can become loopy. Is also known as lunatics broth (but don’t say it to their faces)
6. Don’t take the brewery tour in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
7. In PEI, they always stop their cars to let tourists cross the road wherever they are trying to cross.

Original photos by Pat Hensley

Friday, September 26, 2014

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 9/26/14

tools1Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Writing Mysteries with Writers – “Learn how to craft your own spooky story. This workshop includes writing tips, strategies, and challenges to help you write a mystery. When you're done, you can publish your own mystery online!” (L:G; SA:LA)

Halloween Web Hunt – “Discover the history of Halloween traditions and learn about mummy burials, vampire bats, and other frightful facts.” (L:E,M; SA:SS)

The Halloween Tooth: A Max's Math Adventure“In “The Tooth” (grades K–2), a learning activity from Scholastic’s Max’s Math Adventures series, students first read a fun, rhyming poem (with audio) about Halloween candy. Next, they must complete this activity page by making a pattern of candy objects.

Finally, students can complete four Extra Challenges of varying difficulty levels: two challenges about making patterns, one about counting, and one about probability.” (L:E; SA:M)

What Colors Communicate – “I will show you how to choose your colors wisely by understanding what they communicate” (L:G; SA:A)

The Right to Food:A Window on the World – learn about world hunger and malnutrition (L:A; SA:SS,S)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Keeping Students Involved

engagedIn It is NOT the device – It is Engagement!! From Thoughts By Jen, Jennifer  states,

“Whether it is an ipad click, a playdoh squeeze, a spaghetti/marshmallow skyscraper, a skype call, fingerpainting, ….. you fill in the blank — our students HAVE to be given opportunity to “engage.”

It amazes me that we are still having these conversations. I have been hearing this for the past 30 years.

When I started teaching, we had mimeograph machines (Do you remember the ditto sheets with the blue ink that smelled so good? If so, you are probably from my generation. If not, you missed a good thing!) When they came out with Xerox machines, we were so excited because that was going to make teaching better. (not easier, but better). It was going to help us keep the students engaged because we could give them many more worksheets!

When computers first came out (Do you remember the Apple IIe?) Those were really supposed to help us keep the students engaged! I remember that it helped the teachers keep grades on the computer if they could figure out how to program it. It seemed like the students could play DOS games on it as rewards but I don’t remember a lot of real learning going on there.

When whiteboards came out, it was supposed to be so wonderful compared to black chalkboards. No longer did we have to worry about chalk dust or washing blackboards. White boards would be easier to clean and we had different color markers to use! Again, this didn’t really improve teaching or help students be more engaged.

Then Smartboards and Promethean boards came out and that too was going to revolutionize teaching and learning! I saw many teachers who had no idea how to use these tools and they were left unused in many classrooms. Eventually teachers started using it but it was a tool to enhance teaching and not replace teaching. Yet, it really hasn’t seemed to do either.

Now we have come to a time where iPads/tablets are the newest and best thing in the classroom. I’m not sure yet and I don’t think they have been used enough to tell the outcome yet. I hope this is the answer everyone is looking for.

As much as I love new tools and gadgets, I wonder if we are wasting tax money in the classroom by depending on them for learning. I wonder if we shouldn’t use more money training teachers and professional development through a learning community and collaboration.

What do you think? Please share.

Image: 'So happy =)'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Adults They Have Become

adultsIn The Teaching Life – They Grow Up from Practical Theory, Chris Lehmann shares,

“As teachers, we get to play a role in the development of the lives of our kids. More often than not, the role we play is small but, if we do it right, the role has meaning. And when we are lucky, we get to know the adults our students become.”

I really love keeping in touch with former students. It is amazing to watch them grow into adults and see what they become. It is a lot like creating a cake in the kitchen. You add all the ingredients and put it in the oven, but you are never really sure what the final results will be. You hope the cake comes out looking beautiful and not lopsided or burnt.

As a teacher, I try to give my students keys to open learning. Hopefully they will continue to learn after they leave the classroom. Besides teaching them the content that I think they should know, I also try to teach them how to learn. I want them to know how to find out the information they need when I am no longer around them. This is as important as learning the content at the time.

It is truly heartwarming when students contact me and let me know about the careers, their personal lives and loves, and about the new things they have learned. Some of my former students now have children who have graduated high school and boy, does that make me feel old! But I feel so rewarded to know that they not only are still learning but encouraging learning to a new generation.

I like to share with my current students stories about my former students. I want them to see how once they are in my class, they become part of my family. I want them to know that teaching and learning is a personal thing to me and that their success is also a personal thing to me.

So, I encourage teachers to find a way to stay in contact with former students and their parents. I encourage students to stay in touch with their favorite teachers.

mage: 'nobody ever said growing up is easy'
Found on flickrcc.net

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New England and Canada Cruise 2014 Part 2

Last week we cruised on the Holland America Maasdam heading to Bar Harbor and Canada!

Day 5 (Wednesday 9/17/14 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)

Here’s the link to the pictures.

DSC_0040We walked around town on the main streets that ran from the ship and back in the morning and enjoyed looking at all the shops. Then we returned to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon we walked the streets that ran from each side of the main streets. I found the Gahan Brewery that the lady in Sydney recommended but since we already had lunch we didn’t stay. I did get her some business cards for her to give out. Then we stopped at Northern Watters Knitwear and met Bill, the owner. He was fabulous! He showed us thrummed mittens and socks which were amazing! Then he shows us the staff working on the knitting looms, piecing the parts together and then doing the finishing work. After that, the pieces go to his wife Wanda for inspection. After that, Bill recommended that we try some red beer and suggested going next door but they didn’t have any red beer so we went to the next place called Fish Bones. We got 2 very large beers (maybe 16 oz. each?) for $7 each. It was a great beer and we will look for that when we get home. After that we got back to the ship and took a little nap. After dinner we went to the comedy show of Julie Barr and then watched the Philippine Crew Show.

Day 6 (Thursday 9/18/14 St. Lawrence River)

DSC_0117Today was a sea day and we didn’t get off the ship. It was so cold outside and around the ship! After breakfast we went back to bed and huddled under the covers! Then we ate a snack on the Lido deck around 11am because we had a Mariner Luncheon at 1pm. This is for repeat guests of Holland America where they introduce the captain and hotel director and then give us a souvenir tile. After lunch we went to a lecture by a captain (H. A. Dalkman) who had been with Holland America for years and wrote a book about its history. After the lecture we had a meeting for guests who were staying on another week and then we saw the movie The Amazing Spider Man 2 which was very good. But the theater was freezing! When we changed for dinner, we asked our cabin steward for some blankets which he got for us. Dinner was formal night and we had surf and turf (filet mignon and lobster tail).

Day 7 (Friday 9/19/14 Quebec City)

Here’s the link to the pictures.

DSC_0079We got off the ship around 9am and a free shuttle dropped us off at the end of the Lower part of Old Quebec. We walked along the water and up tons of stairs to a boardwalk. Eventually we walked up 310 steps to the Governor’s Promenade and the Fort. Then we walked through the shops of Old Quebec and it was pretty. After stopping at the train station, we walked back to the ship. In the afternoon we watched a movie called Failure to Launch with Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker which was funny. Then we went out to watch us pull out of the port and head to Montreal. We went under a bridge with only 6 feet clearance between the bridge and the top of the ship! After dinner we saw the movie which was Grace of Monaco.

Day 8 (Saturday 9/20/14 Montreal)

Here’s the link to the pictures.

DSC_0071We got off the ship easily and was given an “In Transit” card so we could return to the ship without standing in lines. Montreal was okay but I wasn’t that impressed. The city looked dirty and smelled of horse urine. We walked about 6 miles before returning to the ship for lunch. When the ship was leaving the port, Don noticed a building was on fire and it caught the attention of everyone on the ship. It looked like a really bad fire and we hope no one was hurt. For dinner we sat at the same table we had been at last week and 2 of the ladies (Agnes and Dyann) have returned also.

Things I Learned:
1. Thrummed mittens are really really warm!
2. People on Prince Edward Island are really friendly.
3. Red beer is pretty good.
4. I want to find the book that tells about Holland America’s history by the captain we talked to.
5. It was 35F in Quebec when we got there.
6. There are a lot of hills and stairs in Old Quebec.
7. Montreal was a dirty city and reminded me of New York.
8. The buildings from the Expo 67 were all around the city.
9. They charge to go into the big old churches.
10. There was a protest going by the police and firemen and other government workers and we didn’t know about it as we walked around the city.

Original Photos by Pat Hensley

Monday, September 22, 2014

New England and Canada Cruise 2014 Part 1

DSC_0064Last week we cruised on the Holland America Maasdam heading to Bar Harbor and Canada!

Day 1 (Saturday 9/13/14 At Sea)

Here is the link to the pictures.

The shuttle left for the ship about 9:45am and porters were waiting for us when we got off the shuttle. We tipped them $1 for each bag to check it in and then we find out that the check in was only about 30 feet away past the shuttle and we could have taken them there ourselves! Oh well, a lesson well learned and it only cost us $3! Within minutes we were through security and checked in to the ship. An hour later we boarded the ship and our cabin was ready. We immediately went to the Rotterdam dining room for our Mariner lunch and sat with 4 other people who were interesting. At 1pm I had to go see the Maître’d to change our dining from any time to assigned seating and we were given Table 68 at 7:45pm. Then we walked around the ship for a while before going back to our cabin to unpack our suitcases. At 3:15 we had our life boat drill and then went to taste a couple of desserts on the lido deck. After that we ended up sitting in the Crow’s nest watching us leave because it was so windy and cold outside! We met 12 people who were on the ship that had been in a fraternity at Indiana University years ago. Then we went back to the cabin to rest for an hour before getting ready for dinner. We sit with Diane and Agnes from Virginia Beach and Hebe from South Africa and Eve from England. They are so interesting!

Day 2 (Sunday 9/14/14 Bar Harbor)

Here is the link to the pictures.

We decided to go ashore after breakfast since we had to tender in this port. During breakfast it was announced that tender operations were suspended because the conditions were too rough and dangerous. Around 10am, it was announced that the port was cancelled and we were leaving. We felt bad for all the people who had never seen Bar Harbor before. They decided to have a Bloody Mary happy hour until 11am so we had a a couple of them. At 11am, Jeremy, the cruise director gave a talk about the big Halifax explosion in 1917 that killed or injured about 25, 000 people (half the population of the town). At noon we went to the dining room for lunch and then another lecture about the Montreal Expo ’67. After that we went to a cooking demonstration where we had a sample of Butternut Squash soup that I really didn’t like. We went to the Lido deck and got some dessert and I had the bread pudding which was wonderful. After a nap we had dinner and it was formal night so we dressed up. At 10pm we saw the show Bob Mackie’s Broadway where the singers sang Broadway songs dressed in Bob Mackie costumes and it was nice.

Day 3 (Monday 9/15/14 Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Here’s the link to the pictures.

DSC_0040After breakfast we left the ship to explore Halifax. We walked along the boardwalk and then took a ferry to Dartmouth, NS. It cost $2.50 per person exact change so we had to go to the RBC bank and exchange some money. There was a $3 fee for any amount of exchange so we exchanged $100. When we got on the ferry, the man gave us paper transfers to get back on the ferry so it didn’t cost anything to come back. When we arrived in Dartmouth (about a 20 minute ride), Don saw a map on the wall showing different businesses and one of them was Dartmouth Yarns. So, we walked to the yarn shop but they were closed on Mondays. After walking around a little, we headed back to the ferry and Halifax. We walked some more around Halifax when I looked up and saw The Loop sign. I vaguely remember that name coming up when I looked on the internet for yarn stores in Halifax so we went in. The girl there was so nice that I couldn’t resist buying some Opal yarn. Then we went back to the ship for lunch. We left the ship again to do more exploring and walked past the Citadel and around that area. Finally we decided we were tired and went back to the ship. We had walked over 10 miles! We had a little snack and then took a nap before dinner. After dinner we went to the show featuring a band from Cape Breton. They were quite good!

Day 4 (Tuesday 9/16/14 Sydney, Nova Scotia)

Here’s the link to the pictures.

Sydney was an extremely friendly town! We walked around town and looked for a yarn shop but it was closed down. After walking around town, we went back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we walked to the craft show at a local church and I found a bunch of knitters sitting there knitting! I showed off my socks and they invited me to knit with them when we come back. I bought a bookmark from them for $5. There was another craft shop that we stopped at while exploring and the prices were much higher. We stopped at the cruise terminal where there was a craft show and their prices were even higher. I enjoyed the friendliness of everyone that we met though. Before dinner we went to see the movie Draft Day with Kevin Costner and it was wonderful! After dinner we didn’t go to the evening show which was the movie Maleficent because we were too tire.

Things I Learned:

1. Boston in September can be pretty cool in temperature.

2. Don’t tip porters to check your bags in at the port in Boston.

3. Quebec Sugar Pie is really sweet and tastes like Mary Jane candy.

4. Chocolate Mousse Pie is wonderful. It is light and chocolaty!

5. Get a transfer before you get on the ferry to get back for free.

6. They were afraid of getting invaded by America and becoming Americans.

7. Many died in the Crimean War (which is in the Black Sea.)

8. There are a lot of beggars in Halifax.

9. Sydney is a very friendly town!

10. Sydney relies heavily on tourism.

11. Tim Horton’s sold diet Pepsi.

Original photos by Pat Hensley

Friday, September 19, 2014

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 9/19/14

tools2Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Interactive Historical Thinking Poster – “Teaching history involves showing students how to use clues from primary and secondary sources to ask and answer good questions.Primary sources give us many clues about the past. They are the evidence—such as letters, newspapers, drawings, photographs, tools, or clothes—from the time period under investigation.Secondary sources are written by historians who use available materials to interpret the past. They provide analysis, summary of historic moments, and change over time.Use this poster with your elementary students to help them learn how to be history detectives.” (L:E; SA:SS)

Fakebook - “’Fakebook’ allows teachers and students to create imaginary profile pages for study purposes.” (L:G; SA:A)

How To Do Research – an interactive map for doing research (L:G; SA:A)

Heganoo – “Creating beautiful maps with your personalized rich-content points of interest, is now easy as blogging. Include Sound Video Forms Links Text & Images. So be sure to sign up today for free!” (L:G; SA:A)

Photogrammar – “Photogrammar is a web-based platform for organizing, searching, and visualizing the 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information (FSA-OWI).” (L:G; SA: SS)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Heroes

herosIn The Importance of Heroes from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

“Who are your heroes?”

This would be a great activity to do with students. While visiting my niece, I saw that her fifth grade daughter had this writing prompt for the first week of school. Her son who is in his freshman year of college also had this writing prompt. Both children wrote about their dad who passed away suddenly last November. It would be interesting to see if students write about someone close to their lives or if they pick famous people they don’t know personally.

When I saw Sioux’s article, I decided to write about my heroes too. My heroes are close family members who are an inspiration to me.

1. My father – He will be 95 years old this year and he is the most positive person I know. He has never believed in the words “I can’t.” He came to the United States as a young child (around 11 years old) all by himself. He didn’t speak a word of English, arrived in Vancouver, Canada and took a train to Boston, MA to meet up with his father. Growing up, I always knew my father could fix anything. Even as an adult, he built shelves for my apartment after I graduated from college, visited us after I was married and did repairs on my house, and when I wanted worm compost bins, he made them for me. He and my step mom continue an active lifestyle and I’m so proud of him.

2. My oldest sister who passed away in 1974 from Lupus. At the time, little was known about lupus and I’m sure it was a scary time for her. At the time they didn’t give her long to live but she lived nine years after her diagnosis. She was only 27 when she passed away.

3. My middle sister who has lupus but bravely faces daily challenges. No one can really understand what she is going through but I know life is hard for her. She stays involved in different activities and we are closer to each other than ever now.

4. My 42 year old niece who lost her husband suddenly last November. She is a single mother now raising her ten year old daughter alone. She amazes me by keeping her young daughter involved in many different activities and keeping a smile on her face. We spent a week with them and I saw an endless supply of energy and patience. I know that I wouldn’t be able to ever do all that she is doing! I’m so proud of her!

5. My husband – he believes in me. If I want to try something new, he is more than willing to help me achieve my goal. I feel as if I am the center of his world and he makes me feel loved!

Who are your heroes? Please share!

Image: 'Universal Captain America'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy Memories

happyIn Keep your audience captivated: article in GTC Scotland magazine from Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education, Ewan McIntosh asks,

"Take a moment to recollect your happiest memories as you learned something new. Where were you? What kind of activity did you undertake?

I learned to knit about seven years ago. I was at home alone and decided to teach myself to knit by watching YouTube videos. It is amazing how many videos there were out there on knitting and seeing different people using different techniques really helps to find one way that works for me. I loved being able to create something new that looked nice. It is so rewarding when others see the finished product and say how much they like it. I also found a local group who helps and supports me when I struggle with a problem. I learn so much from being a part of this group too.

I need to remember these memories and good feelings so I can help my students feel the same way.

Try to make the learning relevant. If there is a certain skill I want them to learn, can I find a way to teach it while focusing on a topic that they are interested in? If it is a topic they are interested in, they will be more engaged and willing to learn something new.

I want them to learn new things but they may to see different ways in order to find the best way that works for them. By expecting them to learn only one way may end up frustrating them more than helping them. Allow them to explore different ways until they find the way that works. This means I have to step back and give them time and space to find it.

Creating new things feels so good that I need to encourage my students to do the same thing. When they are creating things, I don’t have to worry about cheating and puts the burden of learning on the student. Besides that, creating is fun!

Allow students to get in groups to help each other. Sometimes students learn better from each other than from me. Sometimes they can explain things differently than I can. It never hurts to get a different perspective.

What happy memories do you have about learning? Please share.

Image: 'All That Matters'
Found on flickrcc.net

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Active Listening

listeningIn Put the Laptops Away from Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski  states,

“This is about recognizing what types of learning you are doing in class and when technology makes it richer and when it dilutes…Paying attention to one another is the best use of time. The laptops then provide a wonderful supplement for alone time and thinking.”

We teach our students that there are different tools we use for different purposes. We use almanacs, dictionaries, reader’s guide to periodic literature, and encyclopedias for different uses. We use hammers, saws, and screwdrivers to do different things. We might drive a car or ride a bicycle or simply walk depending on what we want to do and where we want to go.

The same thing applies for using technology or not using technology in the classroom.

Technology (laptops, internet, word processing) would be great to use when researching, looking for information, organizing thoughts. It would be good to use technology when creating something new with other people where you need tools that are available there.

But the exchange of ideas when in a face to face group needs to be done when without technology. Looking at each other’s body language and hearing tones of voices are as important as the ideas themselves. Interaction between people can have a big impact on the idea.

When building something, architects and builders come together and discuss the actual plans. The face to face meeting is as important as the blueprints. They may work separately to complete their individual tasks but when they have to collaborate to create the final product, it takes more than separate jobs. It takes the meeting of the minds, collaboration of ideas, and working together to solve any problems that may come up to end up with a final product that both can feel proud of doing.

Technology is great for the initial stages and supplementing ideas but it cannot be the only thing.

When collaborating, we need to stop and listen to others but this can’t be done if we work individually focusing on ourselves instead of others. We may be hearing others but not listening to what is said. Listening involves the participant taking an active part and hearing is a passive action.

So, when I have class discussions, everyone will put away technology. If I am sharing information, then I don’t mind people using what they need to take notes or find information.

How do you feel about the use of technology in the classroom? Please share.

Image: 'My Listening Ears'
Found on flickrcc.net

Monday, September 15, 2014

Trip to New York 2014

DSCF0369Last week we spent time on Long Island, NY with my family. I was amazed how different the area looks like and then I realized that even though I spent my first 17 years here, I’ve been in South Carolina for 38!

It was a lot of fun going to my niece’s daughter’s soccer game over the weekend. I’m amazed how skilled the 10 to 12 year old girls were! It was also hotter than usual for New York so the humidity felt a lot like home!

Day 1 Pictures

Day 2 Pictures


NYC 2014 Day 1 Pictures

1. Parked near the Babylon train station (.25 for each hour so we put 15 quarters in the meter) while we took the train into New York City. It is so much fun to just people watch while we wander around the city. My husband loves to ride the trains and the subway! There are so many people in one area that we aren’t used to it!

2. Staten Island Ferry was free. We had great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

3. Chinatown – saw where my mother grew up. Ate dim sum at Hop Shing (9 Chatham Square). Lunch cost $11 plus $2 tip. Saw a Chinese funeral. Walked through the park where a lot of elderly Chinese people were playing cards and some kind of board game.

4. Union Square – went to Lion Brand Yarn Studio

5. Times Square – stopped at Hard Rock Café (clean bathrooms). McDonalds had large teas for $1.

6. Broadway – found the August Wilson theater (Wed. Jersey Boys tickets). Stopped outside the Late Show with David Letterman. Henrik Lundquvist (goalie for the NY Rangers showed up!). Met Fernando (doorman of the Broadway Theater) who invited us in and gave us a tour of the theater which was playing Cinderella. He showed us the set and the costumes.

7. Radio City Music Hall

8. Rockefeller Center


NYC 2014 Day 2 Pictures

We started the day off by going to Brooklyn to the NY Transit Museum. Then we went to Grand Central Terminal which is still beautiful. After that we went to Chinatown again for lunch. After lunch we went to Wall St. and Federal Hall where George Washington took his oath as our first President.


NYC 2014 Day 3 Pictures

We had an awesome day in the city yesterday. We walked along the High Line park which was free. It was a park on an old elevated train track. Then we walked around the city until lunch time. We had lunch at Carnegie Deli where I had a pastrami sandwich which was so huge and cost $18! After lunch we went to see the Jersey Boys and it was fabulous! Even my hubby liked it and he usually doesn’t like musicals.


We spent the morning looking for an air pump because I left ours at home by mistake. This took all morning because my husband refused to buy one from the company called Slime. We ended up at Lowes and buying a Kobalt one. Then we met my sister and brother in law for lunch at TGI Fridays. In the afternoon we repacked our suitcases and then packed the car.

Things I Learned:

1. Youth League soccer games are fun to watch.

2. Allow people to get off the subway before getting on.

3. Reading train schedules can be daunting but eventually figured out.

4. Mondays are black Mondays on Broadway where most theaters do not have any shows playing.

5. Henrik Lundquvist will end up in the Hockey hall of fame

6. After walking 10 miles, my feet hurt!

7. The NY Transit Museum was worth seeing.

8. I’m glad we went to The High Line which was better than we expected.

9. Theodore Roosevelt was born in Manhattan in NY.

10. If you want to buy something at the store of a Broadway show, it is better to go after the show than during the intermission.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 9/12/14

tools2Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Math Word Wall Posters – free posters to download (L:E; SA:M)

Newseum Digital Classroom - Primary sources, interactives, videos and lesson plans bring history, journalism and the First Amendment to life for students. (L:M,H; SA:SS)

ReadWorks – “ReadWorks provides research-based units, lessons, and authentic, leveled non-fiction and literary passages directly to educators online, for free, to be shared broadly.The ReadWorks curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards and the standards of all 50 states. Most importantly, ReadWorks is faithful to the most effective research-proven instructional practices in reading comprehension.” (L:E; SA:LA)

What gives a dollar bill its value?“The value of money is determined by how much (or how little) of it is in circulation. But who makes that decision, and how does their choice affect the economy at large? Doug Levinson takes a trip into the United States Federal Reserve, examining how the people who work there aim to balance the value of the dollar to prevent inflation or deflation.” (L:M,H; SA:SS, M)

ABCYa’s 100 Number Chart – “The One Hundred Number Chart Game is a fun and educational activity for children learning numbers. The chart will help children to see relationships and patterns between numbers one to one hundred. To play the game children must place numbers on the correct spot of the chart.” (L:E; SA:M)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 11, 2014


bloggingOn September 16th, I will have been posting on this blog for 7 years! Yes, I have been doing this for 7 years – Monday through Friday. I don’t think I have missed too many times overall. If you told me 7 years ago that I would be blogging this long, I would never have believed you!

I thought I would give this a try back then and hoped that I would have something to write about. I promised myself that if it wasn’t fun, that I would stop.

I have continued blogging here because:

· I like writing.

· I like sharing my thoughts.

· I have learned a lot by reading comments and links to other blogs.

· I have grown professionally.

· I have learned about new tools, techniques, and strategies for the classroom.

· I have been involved in discussions about educational trends.

· I like the conversations that develop with others.

· I have made new friends and met some of them in real life.

· I enjoy doing this!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts and if you have any suggestions or topics you want me to write about, please contact me.

If you have been coming back to read what I have written, I truly thank you. You are important to me!

Image: 'blogging'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Asking Questions is Important

questionsIn The role of questions in learning! From On an e-Journey with Generation Y, Anne Mirtschin  asks,

“Do you get many questions from students? How important do you think that questions are? What role do questions play in learning?”

Questions are so important but we don’t’ treat them this way.

Unfortunately I feel that we make students afraid to ask questions and then stifle this so much that they don’t know how to ask questions.

Many times I hear teachers tell students to listen because the directions won’t be repeated. Or if students ask questions, they are accused of not listening closely or paying attention. Sometimes it takes some students longer to process the information more than others so while they are still processing, they might miss something.

Other times students’ questions are treated as an inconvenience or an interruption so that students learn that asking questions is not a good thing. I think if this happens, it would be good for students to write their questions down on a post-it note and so that the question could be asked at a later time rather than not answered at all.

I also feel that we don’t teach students how to ask the right questions. We tell them to ask but we don’t help them learn how to ask the questions they need to ask in order to get the information they need. I think this would make a great lesson all by itself. I could give students a problem and have them write questions asking for the information they would need to solve the problem. The more that they practice this skill, they find it easier to do in the future.

How do you teach students to ask the right questions? Please share.

Image: 'questions'
Found on flickrcc.net

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Favorite Place

homeIn Give Me Serenity! From Sioux's Page, Sioux asks

“What is your favorite place? Why does it draw you?”

This was really hard for me because we do a lot of traveling. We love going to new places and finding new things. We also like revisiting places we enjoyed. When I was thinking of all of the places we have been, I tried to decide which one was my favorite and I couldn’t do it. Then I realized why.

My favorite place is my home. Even though we travel a lot, I always look forward to coming home. Many people like their comfort food but I like the comfort of my home. We do a lot of traveling to many different places and I love traveling too but there is no place like home. I love sleeping in my own bed and being surrounded with all of my familiar things. I know how my internet works, my TV and all the channels that I like to watch, I can cook the foods that I like or go to restaurants that I’m used to.

I know what to expect when I’m home. I know where my grocery stores are and the food that I want to buy. I know my friends are near me and I will be able to see them. Familiar places are all around me and it is a comfort to me.

When we travel, I never know what to expect. I don’t know how the place we will sleep will be. Will it be clean? Will I find the bed comfortable? Will I be able to adjust the temperature? Will I feel safe?

Seeing new places is fun but I don’t know what to expect when we get there. What will we do? Will I like it? Will it be fun? What will the weather be like? Will it be expensive? Will we be able to find places to eat?

The actual traveling to places can be an adventure too. Will there be a lot of traffic? Will we find gas stations when we need it? Will the weather be nice while we are traveling?

Even though I don’t know what to expect, it is still fun to go on adventures but it is also great to come home.

This would be a great lesson to do with students. By answering this question, you also might get insight into their lives. By opening up a conversation with them about their lives, you could develop a better rapport with them. Your interest into something personal about them will help throughout the year as the students learn to open up to you more and this will also help with discipline in the classroom.

Where is your favorite place? Please share.

Image: 'Tunisia-4634 - Storks are everywhere'
Found on flickrcc.net

Monday, September 8, 2014

Setting Up Expectations

expectationsIn I do not embrace failure… from Blogush, Paul Bogush shares,

“My first words out of my mouth on the first day of class are ‘this will be the most amazing class you have ever been in.’ My last words at the end of the class are ‘prepare to change the world.’”

Most of the time my students are very aware of my attitude before they begin an assignment.

Over the years I’ve learned:

· If I’m excited about a lesson, they will be more engaged and interested in the lesson.

· If I let them know that it is not the most exciting lesson but I have to teach the concept, they will not stay focused and have some trouble with the lesson.

· If I tell them it is a complicated lesson that they might get confused so they really need to pay attention, then they have a lot of problems.

Once I saw what a difference my beginning attitude made, I changed the way I introduced my lessons.

If it wasn’t the most exciting lesson, then I needed to find ways to make it exciting. It was my job to make it worth learning. If it wasn’t worth learning, I needed to think about the reason that I was teaching it.

If it was a complicated and confusing lesson, then I needed find ways to break the lesson down into manageable tasks. I needed to make it less complicated and confusing. Maybe I needed to break it down into smaller lessons.

I learned that if I told them that the lesson would be fun, they looked forward to the learning. I know I would feel this way too. If it wasn’t worth the time for the teacher to make the lesson worth learning, why should a student bother learning?

Students learn from the cues they pick up from their teachers. Tone of voice and body language is so important. Presentation is part of the lesson and needs to be included in the lesson planning.

How do you set up expectations? Please share.

Image: 'Expectations - Roland in Vancouver459.jpg'
Found on flickrcc.net

Friday, September 5, 2014

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 9/5/14

tools1Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Numbeo – “Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. Numbeo provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.” (L:M,H; SA:SS, M)

iCivics – “Founded and led by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics provides students with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action, and teachers with the materials and support to achieve this. Our free resources include print-and-go lesson plans, award-winning games, and digital interactives. The iCivics games place students in different civic roles and give them agency to address real-world problems and issues. They are rooted in clear learning objectives and integrated with lesson plans and support materials.” (L:M,H; SA:SS)

Ology – Lessons covering 14 topics in science from the American Museum of Natural History. (L:G; SA:S)

Global Schoolyard Bioblitz! - Project Noah is teaming up with the National Environmental Education Foundation and National Geographic Education to launch the Global Schoolyard Bioblitz mission. We're collecting and sharing wildlife observations from schoolyards around the world in an effort to get kids outside and exploring nature. Help us spread the word and let's see how many students we can reach! (L:G; SA:S)

NASA’s Kids Club – Games and activities for elementary school students (L:E; SA:S)

Original Image: Tools by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Writing Tools

writingtoolsIn What Do You Count On? From Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,

“What writing tools (or tools of diversion) do you rely on?”

I didn’t think I had any until I sat down to write this post. I started thinking about the process I use to write a blog post and then all of the tools I use for this.

Here are the things I might use when writing my blog posts:

1.      My computer.
2.      Inspiration from other blogs, news stories, or something I’ve seen in person.
3.      Software such as Word or Google Doc to write up my article.
4.      Windows Live Writer – software I use to publish my post.
5.      Blogger – The platform I use for my blog.
6.      My camera – to take photos I might use on my blog.
7.      FlickrCC – a website I use to find photos with the creative commons license that allows me to use them on my blog.
8.      Social Media such as Facebook, Plurk, and Twitter to share the link to my post so others will read it.

What tools do you use when writing? Please share! I’d love to find out others that I might not have thought about using.

Image: 'Tools'
Found on flickrcc.net

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Carnival Sunshine 2014 Day 12, 13, 14,15, and 16

This is the last post about the rest of our cruise on the Carnival Sunshine.

Day 12 (Curacao): Here is DSCF0288the link to the pictures!
We got off the ship in the morning and wandered around the town. First we crossed the floating bridge and walked around the historic buildings and the floating market. It was pretty hot outside already but there was a little breeze. It was a lot of fun crossing the floating bridge and staying on it while it opened to let the boats through. Then we went to Rif Fort Village and found a bar to have a couple of Coronitas (7 oz. Coronas) that were 2 for $6. After that we headed towards Starbucks to meet Karin and Joseph. They took us to this Steak, Ribs, and Seafood place on the upper level of the fort where we enjoyed lunch. We had seafood soup and crab salad. After lunch we went to Starbucks to enjoy coffee and visit until we had to return to the ship. It started raining a little while we were there but we were under a giant umbrella and enjoyed our visit.

We got back on the ship by 3 and went to the VIFP reception for gold, platinum, and diamond members. We were very disappointed in the reception and could tell it wasn’t very important for the Captain. One of the perks for diamond members is to take their picture with the Captain but the Captain didn’t show up because he had to be on the bridge to take us out of the port. Then why plan this reception at this time and day when the next day is a sea day and could be done then?

Day 13 (At Sea): Here is the link to some pictures!
DSCF0294We had a quiet day at sea and didn’t get to walk because the winds were blowing 45 mph. Instead we sat at breakfast with a wonderful couple from Crystal City, FL (Walt and Maggie). Walt is a computer geek like I am and we had a wonderful talk about Apple computers and has me convinced that my next laptop will be an Apple. We had such a great time talking with them that we sat there until the dining room closed at 10am and moved to the Lido deck to talk some more. We stayed and talked until noon when we decided to meet for lunch. Then we all had lunch in the dining room and stayed there until they closed the dining room at 1:30. Then we ended up sitting in the Ocean Plaza on deck 5 and talking some more. In the afternoon we took a little nap. At 5pm the Captain stopped the ship and turned it around to look for a small boat that needed to be rescued. After an hour long search, the coast guard had found the boat and we were back on our way. Before dinner we went to the show featuring Will Cotton who walked on glass, hammered a huge nail up his nose and then swallowed 2 swords. Fascinating is all that I can say! Dinner was pleasant and after dinner we went to the comedy show to see Mark Simmons who was quite funny.

Day 14 (Grand Turk): Here is the link to some pictures!
DSCF0303We went to the beach on Grand Turk and I was able to try out my new underwater camera that I bought in June. I like how the pictures came out underwater! It was hot out so we did some snorkeling at the beach right near the ship. The lounge chairs were on the beach and didn’t cost anything. After the beach we came back to the ship for lunch, a shower, and a nap. In the evening we went to the show, dinner, and then the comedy show. It was a nice day!

Day 15 (At Sea):
We headed back to Florida and spent the day at sea. We went to brunch in the dining room and then walked on the track. In the afternoon we packed our clothes. Dinner was nice but I am ready to get off the ship and eat some normal (non-rich) food. Walt and Maggie came by our dinner table and invited us to meet them after dinner. We enjoyed visiting in the Ocean Plaza lounge.

Day 16 (Debarkation):
We were up by 6 and had breakfast in the dining room at 6:30. Then we went to the Limelight Lounge around 7:30 to get priority debarkation. Around 8am, they started calling self assist passengers and then Zones 1-3 to begin getting off the ship. When we left the terminal we were told to go to the transportation desk where I gave the guy our voucher and he put us on a shuttle immediately. By 9:30, we were in our car at the Hampton Inn.'

This was our least favorite ship and will probably not sail on it again. I thought the food and the service just wasn't up to par with past cruises. We also didn't like the layout of the ship and the way it was redesigned. Not all change is a good thing and I hope that the company doesn't do this to more of their ships because that will really impact our decision making when booking cruises.

On the Lido deck, the ice machines, drink machines, and even the food bar ran out of items frequently. Seating was a premium and hard to get in all public areas especially the Lido deck and the theater.

The sports deck on this ship is a great asset that was enjoyed by a lot of people of all ages. There was variety activities available for everyone.

We really are thankful for Anthony (our personal cruise consultant with Carnival) who was able to get us the same cabin for both weeks so we didn't have to pack and move after the first week. That made staying on the ship much easier and more enjoyable.

Things I Learned or Wish Others Learned:
1. There are more people in the county that I live in than there are residents in Curacao.
2. 80% of the people who live in Curacao are Dutch citizens.
3. There are more than 40 different nationalities that live in Curacao.
4. When eating with other people in the dining room, you should wait until everyone has been served their food before you start eating. If you are the last one waiting to be served and you know it may be a little while before you get your food, it would be nice if you encourage others to eat their food while it is still hot.
5. If people are in line, ask someone nicely what the line is for. Don't just barge up in front of the line and act like you are more important than all the people who showed up before you and are waiting patiently.
6. Not all cruises are the same and some ships are just better than others.

Original photos by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Carnival Sunshine 2014 Day 8, 9, 10 and 11

We stayed on the ship for another week (called a back to back). We stayed in the same cabin so we didn’t even have to pack up!

Day 8 (Debarkation and Embarkation): Here is the link to some pictures!
DSCF0201We arrived back at Port Canaveral and watched people get off the ship. At 10:30 we met in the lobby area and they escorted us off the ship to the first hallway where we met the customs agent. He looked at our passports and collected our customs slip and we immediately turned around and got back on the ship. We went up to the Havana Bar and waited for the lunch buffet to open. After lunch I met up with an online friend from Instagram that saw our pictures and let me know her and her family were coming aboard this week. After that we went up on the Serenity Deck and relaxed in one of the clamshells that gave us shade. When we got too hot we went back to the room to wait for the lifeboat drill which was much faster this week. After tDSCF0205he drill we went to the meet and greet with the cruise critic/Facebook friends. Around 5, we got a hamburger so we wouldn’t be starving by the time we had dinner at 8:30. It was a lovely day.

Day 9 (At Sea):

We had brunch in the dining room and we ordered the steak and eggs and a dessert. We sat with an interesting group of people and had a lovely chat but they ended up leaving before we ever got dessert. Finally we gave up on them ever bringing dessert so we left. We walked on the track before going to the food demonstration. After the demonstration we watched TV until tea time. We had another great conversation with a couple who are full time RVers (Don and Susan) and stayed there until they kicked us out of the dining room. After that we walked on the track again and by then it was time to get ready for the show and dinner. I sat with Becky (my Instagram friend) and her family. She told me that she would be going to the same knitting retreat I am going to next June! After dinner we went to the late night comedy show.

Day 10 (At Sea):

We had another lovely lazy day at sea yesterday. After breakfast we went to the future cruise and travel talk which was better than I expected. She talked about the different Carnival ships and their classes. She also talked about the Mastercard and four months ago they stopped charging foreign interaction fees which was exciting to us since we will be able to use it in Canada in a few weeks. The rest of the day we didn’t do much and I was able to finish Don’s scarf and cast on for my scarf. We tried to walk outside but the winds were over 50 miles an hour and they closed the sky deck. We watched the movie Grown Ups with Adam Sandler which was cute too. Before dinner we went to the show Studio VIP which featured songs from the 70s and we enjoyed it. I think the new group of dancers this week is much better than last weeks. Service at dinner is much better than last week too and I’m glad we are sitting at a different table.

We had a lovely day in Aruba yesterday even though we didn’t arrive until 1pm. We had breakfast and lunch on the ship. Then we walked around town for a few hours but it was so hot! We had planned on going to the beach but it was too windy and I didn’t want the sand blowing in my face all day. We stopped at Burger King at one end of town for a drink before we walked back towards the ship. I stopped at a department store and bought a sun dress for $10. When we got back to the ship I had a hamburger. Since we had seen the same show last week we didn’t go again and just went to dinner. I had a pork chop instead of my nightly steak and it was big and tough so I didn’t eat much of it. We had tiramisu for dessert. We weren’t supposed to leave until 10pm but we must have had everyone by 9:30 and the ship left then.

Things I wish others would learn:
1. If assigned seating at dinner is 8:15, you need to be on time. The waiters wait on their group at the same time. It really disrupts everyone’s meal if you show up at 9:00. This is not any-time dining so if you want that, you should switch to any-time dining.
2. Wearing hats in the dining room is inappropriate. There is a dress code for the evening dinner. Please follow it. Some of us like this part because it gives us a chance to dress up and have a nice sit down dinner. If you don’t want it, have dinner at the Lido deck buffet where you can wear what you want.
3. Don’t stand in the middle of the walk way and have a lengthy conversation with your family. It causes a bottleneck and everyone has to stand there and wait until you finish your conversation!
4. If there is a line waiting to get into an event (dinner, show, etc.) Don’t walk to the front of the line and try the door. Ask someone if this is the line for the event. It is not like we are standing in line just because we think it is a cool thing to do!
5. When getting on an elevator, wait for people to get off an elevator before trying to shove your way on to the elevator.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monthly Review of Goals from August

GoalsAugust whizzed by because we did some traveling. We tend to exercise more when we are traveling so I did get my steps in on most days. All of my goals can be found here.

Yearly goals:

  1. Try at least 12 new recipes (one per month).
    1. January – Quinoa Meatballs
    2. February – Mushroom Lasagna
    3. March – Chicken Quesadilla
    4. April – Grilled Asian Chicken
    5. May – Simple Green Smoothie
    6. June - Barbecue Ribs with my father’s secret barbecue sauce. This is the first time I’ve made ribs.
    7. July – The plant engineer at the school gave me loads of squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. So, I diced up some chicken and sautéed it with the diced up squash, zucchini, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and garlic. I added oyster sauce and soy sauce too. It came out really tasty.
    8. August – Fantastic Meatloaf from the Trim Healthy Mama book. I tried several new recipes from this book. Some were good and others were just okay.
  2. Reach my target weight by the end of the year. – I lost one pound this month.
  3. Knit a Fair Isle vest. (not started yet)
  4. Learn to chain ply some handspun yarn. (I finished this in July and I’m glad I tried it. I think I overplied the final yarn though. I need to learn to treadle slower so it doesn’t twist so tightly and kink up on itself.)
  5. Dye yarn and fiber. (not started yet)
  6. Spin my camel, yak, and cashmere fiber. Amended to add: or try different techniques
    1. January - spun camel/merino/silk blend fiber in
    2. March – tried drafting back when spinning instead of my usual short forward draft. This made my yarn turn out much loftier.
    3. April – Spun my yak/merino fiber

Daily/Weekly/Monthly goals:

  1. Daily - Read the bible and keep a log so I can tell how I am doing. – I’ve read it every day in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.
  2. Daily - Do strength exercises for 30 minutes each day. – I have done this every day.
  3. Weekly - Walk at least 10,000 steps for 4 days every week. (4.3 miles per day for 4 days/120.4 miles per month)
    1. a. January – 159.01 miles (avg. 5.1 miles per day)
    2. February – 130.27 miles (avg. 4.7 miles per day)
    3. March – 161.13 miles (avg.5.2 miles per day)
    4. April – 166.86 (avg. 5.5 miles per day)
    5. May - 144.34 miles (avg. 4.7 miles per day)
    6. June - 139.99 miles (avg. 4.67 miles per day)
    7. July - 117.02 miles (avg. 3.77 miles per day)
    8. August – 139.24 miles (avg. 4.5 miles per day)
  4. Weekly - Keep a journal and write down 5 things that I’m thankful for. – Every Sunday I take time to jot down the 5 things. – I did this for 2 Sundays out of the 4.
  5. Monthly - Read one non-fiction book every month.
    1. January - Life in Stitches by Rachel Herron.
    2. February – The Spinners Book of Yarn Design by Sarah Anderson
    3. March – To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
    4. April – David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
    5. May – The Biography of Shirley Jones
    6. June – Spartan Up by Joe De Sena
    7. July – Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
    8. August – The Little Book Shop of Stone Gap by Wendy Welch

I’m happy with how my progress has been this month. My exercise is better than July. I didn’t get anything new done with my spinning and knitting because we have been on the road. I did read a nonfiction book and tried many new recipes this month. I had hoped to dye some yarn this summer but the weather was always bad when I wanted to try it. May this fall I will have a chance.

Image: 'Goals
Found on flickrcc.net