Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011 and Good Riddance

I'm not doing a summary my year-other than:

It sucked.

It wasn't what I expected 1 year ago. In any area.

I am not sorry to see it go.

2011 can kiss my ass

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I love chocolate covered pretzels.  For co-worker gifts this year I decided to make some.
omg-they are SO easy.  If I knew how easy I would have made them looooong ago.

You need:
A bag of chocolate chips (your choice, milk chocolate or semi-sweet--or both)
decorations (optional)

That's it.

Microwave the chips in a bowl...I put them in for 45 seconds, stirred, the in 30 second increments stirring until smooth.  Took maybe 2 minutes.

Then take the pretzels and dip.  i used stick pretzels so I spooned the chocolate up high...swirled until it went all the way down.

Put on wax paper...sprinkle with decorations.  I used colored sugar, sprinkles and peanut butter chips.

Let cool.  When they were cool, I slipped into gift bags.

Done.  And it took 30 minutes at the most!

I think used 2 full bags of chips and 1 full bag of pretzels (I may or may not have eaten a handful or 2.

These pictures are not great-since the husband took them with his phone.  Also, what you see in these pictures is the entire amount of counter space I I couldn't get them all on one counter (and some are even on the table)


Sunday, December 25, 2011

More December ramblings

I found one of my favorite Christmas movies from childhood on you-tube.  The Christmas that Almost Wasn't.  I loved this movie as a kid-and our local (now fox) station played it every year.  It's a cross between A Christmas Carol and a musical.  It is amazing how many of the songs/scenes are familiar-when I have not seen it in a very long time.  decades. plural. The movie is older than I am...but I still love it.  Nostalgia and all that.

We went on our annual Christmas Eve night pilgrimage to find driveways and streets lined with Luminaries.  I love luminaries.  The ones made from lunch bags.  (There are no pictures because I drove.  The husband was whining miserable from a Man-Cold and didn't think to take a picture.)
We found some-but not as many as my childhood, where entire neighborhoods would be lined.

We also looked at lights.  Christmas fact:  If you find a house or street with amazing lights at 11:45pm on Christmas Eve-someone in a hurry pulls up behind you and doesn't care that you are looking at the lights. Without fail, if I turned one way-so did whatever car was behind me at the time, turned that way, too.  I pulled over, put flashers didn't matter.  Cars always found a way to come up an insist I move.

It is 5pm on Christmas day and the Husband is still in bed with the aforementioned Man Cold.  He must really feel bad.  He slept through football yesterday and we didn't go to his family.  *It should be noted that *I* had this cold last week and took a 4 hour nap after our foster class and maybe 2 sinus pills.  The end.

The husband got a train for Christmas.   He has been wanting one-so I picked up a cheap one-not the Lionel set of his dreams.  He played with it, man-cold and all, for an hour last night-until we both could'nt stand it any more.  The cheap train sounded like a weed-eater.  Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz SO LOUD that we couldn't hear the train noises-or the music it played-or the TV for that matter.   Guess who will be in line returning it tomorrow.  I can't get it out of the house fast enough.  Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!


My favorite Christmas tree.  So many memories come with it.....

Friday, December 23, 2011

December Miscellaneous Rambings

I went to my first funeral for one of my students.  I pray to God it's the last one.  He was 5.  He beat cancer twice.  The third time snuck up on him and took him almost before anyone knew something was wrong.  The family went from decorating for Christmas and waiting for Santa to shock and grief in 2-3 days.

My husband and I are really not into Christmas this year.  My November funk has spilled over into December despite my best efforts.  I have been sick (finally feeling (mostly) better) and now he has it. We still don't have decorations on the tree (lights! lights! 1 strand of lights! are out on our prelit tree and we can't figure out why) and I have not made any cards (I always hand make them).  I also think the years of celebrating without a child have caught up to us.  We thought *this* was our year-and can't forget it.   I have tried to reverse this thinking I-am doing the 12 days of Christmas for my husband-a gift a day for 12 days before Christmas.  I think he is enjoying it a little.  The tree will be finished (I am going to turn that part to the window-really, it's not that noticeable--just 1 layer of lights) and presents will be wrapped.  Christmas cards, however, may be New Years cards this year. Or sent telepathically.

We have finished our final required class for foster care, which included a bunch of weekly classes, CPR/First Aid and a Crisis class--the last one was not scheduled until now.  We passed our home inspection and went over the home study.  We submitted 2 inches of paperwork and clearances. We have one (surprise!-just when I checked off the last requirement they whip this out) thing left.  We both need to write a paragraph about something.  The instructions were vague.  Autobiographical in nature.  1 page-no more.  (fyi-the 20+ page home study is ALL autobiographical so this requirement mystifies us).  I would have preferred a little more guidance...

We bought a crib, a carseat (for a child 5-100lbs to cover all bases) and a stroller.  The crib and carseat was a requirement.  It was really hard putting together the crib and also seeing it there now-empty-without knowing if it will ever actually be used.  The carseat sits in its box, covered by miscellaneous items in the garage.  At least we didn't have to install it for the inspection.

I submitted my (required) Christmas list to my husband on time.  It is 12/23 at 1am and he has not started yet (except to "buy me" the salt water fish he wanted too).  Most of my things needed ordered (thank you Michelle for the wonderful what to get the amateur photographer gift posts here, here, here and here.  I may or may not have just printed off these lists and substituted Nikon compatible stuff.  Oh-he got a kick out of my "revised" list (see this post).

In the spirit of optimism and ending this mood-I asked my husband how we were going to handle Santa next year.  All the important questions like Does Santa wrap?, How many gifts does Santa bring?  Fortunately, I knew these questions could be a little controversial and was prepared for the husband's possible reaction.  *His head exploded* when he found out Santa didn't wrap at my house....and further explosions happened when I mentioned that Santa wraps in special paper at some houses.  Apparently, Santa wrapped and used whatever was available at his house and he liked it.  I guess Santa will be wrapping here....but I'm still thinking he will use his own paper.    And he will bring as many presents as he least we agreed on something :)

Off to work on those damn lights!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Apps I use frequently

Several people have asked me about apps for preschool children.
These are the apps I use frequently with my students.  They are not all "speech" apps.
I am sure I am missing a few on my list-I have so many (too many!) apps now that need gone through.

The reason I have too many apps is I get a lot of free apps by looking every day at Freeappalert (dot) com.  There is a lot of junk-but I have found some goodies over the last few months (including  several eye contact apps for autism (not on this list because I have not yet used them with a student-but they look great!)  I download them-and can delete them if they are not any good.

Also, Starbucks gives away a free app each week (usually for adults, but sometimes for kids).  I got one of my favorite apps this way (The monster at the end of this book).  You have to go into Starbucks on Thursday and get the app card (there is also an itunes card with a free song so make sure you look at what you pick up).  It isn't always an app I can use...but I always check.

Here is the list--in NO particular order...I just typed as I paged through....

Toca Boca Tea Party
Toca Boca Store
Toca Boca Hair Christmas

Most of the apps from

Match it up 1, 2, 3
Families 1, 2,

Alligator apps has some nice ones-sign up for their free email to get free apps

Adventures for Kids
Monkey Thinks
Old Mac HD (from duck duck moose)
Wheels on bus HD (from duck duck moose)

iblower apps (there are several free)   Hint:  they are really sound activiated.  I use them for those minimally vocal kids.

I like books-37  free (gives you 37 free books-great topics, photos and reads to kids)  Search for it this way and you get all 37 books at once- instead of searching for each individually

Monster at the end of this book (I love this app.  I got it free from Starbucks-but it is wonderful, I would have paid for it)

Toy Story Read along book/app free.  Love it

iwrite words lite

Articpix  I like this app.  It’s one of the pricier ones.  Phonopix I don’t like as much because my students don't usually "get" minimal pairs-you can truly set articpix to do phono by only choosing the sounds/positions you want.

Wordslapps.  I like this app because you can upload pictures and create your own receptive “find the” categories.   I use it a lot-I uploaded students pictures (to see if child knew who everyone was), I snapped pictures from our weekly abc books-and quizzed kid on them (great vocabulary tool!)

First Phrases Lite-  I will probably pay for the full version of this app soon
Fun with Directions Lite - I will probably pay for the full version of this app soon
Picture the Sentence LIte I will probably pay for the full version of this app soon

Preposition Remix (my only complaint with this one is that the kids have to touch the ITEM that is on/over, etc.  If they just touch the general picture it's wrong-some of my students have a hard time with this.  For example touch the banana over the scale.  3 pics are presented.  my student will touch the right picture-but it says it is wrong unless he actually touches the bananas)

I hear Ewe (for some reason the kids love this one.  I can covertly suggest pics to touch to one of my kids with severe autism and see that she can find them...versus 0% accuracy when presented with paper pictures)

FUN (reinforers):
Fireworks 1, 2, 3 (also can be used for sentence building)
Bubbles HD
Paint sparkles
Peekaboo HD. 
Talking Tom (he repeats back what you say… there IS a way to turn off the “violence” in settings (you can punch him and knock him out) 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Sensory box

For this month's sensory box I took long garland and cut it into approximately 2-inch pieces.  I gathered some small ornaments, some reindeer, presents and, of course, a Santa.  I also tossed in some bells.  (I only show a small sampling in the picture--other than the Santa, there are multiple of each item)
I am looking for a small sleigh to add this week.

xmas box
xmas box items

The students love it!  Everyone who has played with it has spent a good amount of time with it.