Monthly Archives: February 2016

Leap Day, Oscar Night, and the Quest for Free Time

I have two things on my mind today: Leap Day, which we only get to celebrate once every 4 years, and Oscar Night, which to me feels like something I celebrated in a past life.  Both of them happening just a day apart makes me think about having extra time and how to use it best.

I used to be a movie buff.  I made sure I saw every Oscar nominated movie before Oscar Night.  I studied the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards and read movie magazines and made signs to cheer for my favorite movies and made elaborate charts about who I wanted to win and who I thought would actually win.  And, not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at it.  I had a high rate of accuracy on my “think will win” list – even in the more obscure categories like “Sound Editing” and “Art Direction” (which I see is not even called “Art Direction” anymore).  That all seems like a lifetime ago.  I have not seen (not do I have any desire to see) any of the Oscar nominated movies this year.  In fact, the last 2 movies I saw were Les Mis and The Lego Move.  And they were both fantastic, by the way – I will be rooting for both of them to win an Oscar tonight, as futile as that may be…  A moot point anyway though because odds are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Sid the Science Kid or Handy Manny will most likely be playing in our house as the awards are announced.

Remembering when I used to have free time to see movies leads me to think of Leap Day.  A whole extra day!!  What to do with all that extra time??  Sadly, extra time is not necessarily free time.  And if it were free, I seriously doubt I would spend it in a movie theater.  I would want to spend it doing things with my little family because I constantly feel I don’t have enough time with them as it is.

Which lead me to my blog.  I started this blog when I left my teaching job at “real school” because I was worried I would get bored with all of my new found free time and that I wouldn’t have enough opportunities to be creative without teaching in a public school.  Luckily, I have found that my job teaching preschoolers gives me plenty of creative opportunities – even more than “real school” actually!  However, the “new found free time” has still not been found.  So I am going to start doing my blog posts a little less often.  Rather than once a week, I may just post whenever I have a fun seasonal idea to share.  I must admit I feel guilty – even though it was a self imposed “assignment” to do a blog post each week, I feel like I am letting myself down by scaling back.  But then again, what good are all the seasonal activities I share if I’m too busy to actually enjoy them with my family?  So with that, happy Leap Day and happy Oscar Night… or as it is shaping up to be in our house, happy cuddling on the couch while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse night.

February Poem of the Month: Valentine to America

I realize it’s a bit late in the game for 2016 to be posting a poem of the month for February.  It’s just that February is such a short month and so packed with holidays: Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, even Ash Wednesday and Leap Day this year… it was hard to squeeze the poem in before now.  At least you could use it next year if you’d like.  And the coolest thing about this poem is that it actually manages to combine 2 of the holidays: Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

This is one of the few poems I use that actually rhymes.  I learned in college that children (and adults) are often intimidated by writing poetry because figuring out how to make it rhyme can be difficult, so I generally don’t have children write rhyming poetry.  However, Valentine’s Day just lends itself to simplistic rhyming poetry (roses are red, violets are blue… you get the idea).  In fact, to introduce this activity I usually have the children write a rhyming “Roses are Red” poem as a class.  Then I have them choose some words to describe America and list words that rhyme with those words.  Finally they put the words together into 4 line patriotic poems.  This is a poem written by one of my third graders years ago:

What did you say

About USA?

Hip hip hooray


Not very intimidating at all, and perfect for celebrating both Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.  Just have the kids copy their poems on red hearts and decorate them with red, white, and blue stickers and put them on display.

Valentine Marquees

So obviously this is a little late in the game for this year, but I wanted to share my Valentine’s Day marquees anyway.  If you want to make some, you could always plan ahead for next year, or if you aren’t unexpectedly snowed in like we are at the moment you could make a quick trip to Michael’s and make an impromptu Valentine’s Day decoration.  On a side note, speaking of impromptu, seriously – what’s with this snow?  Come on weather people!  Get it together!  This morning they said we would be expecting one inch of snow starting at about 2:00 pm.  I checked again when the snow started in earnest at about 12:30pm and suddenly they were saying we will get 3-5 inches instead.  That seems like a big change, right??  Also, I don’t understand how the county south of us has a “Winter Weather Advisory” and is supposed to get only 1-3 inches of snow but we don’t have any sort of advisories.  Sigh.  I guess I’m still bitter after the dusting of snow we were supposed to get 2 years ago on Valentine’s Day turned into something like 9 inches.

But back to the marquees.  As with my other marquee decorations, I got arrow and heart shapes from the Heidi Swapp Marquee Love brand at Michael’s.  I painted the outsides metallic silver and cut red glitter paper using the templates provided for the insides.  Then I put the light covers and lights in and that was it.

Short and sweet – but now it’s time for me to start working on our family Valentine’s Day celebration.  We always stay in for dinner on Valentine’s Day – a tradition we started due in part to the fact that there is usually some sort of snowy weather that makes going out a miserable option.  My friend Sara is right – there always seems to be snow on Valentine’s Day  – whether or not the weather forecast knows it.

February Card of the Month: Banner Valentine

February’s card of the month is, of course, a Valentine’s Day card.  I love this banner valentine  from years past that I found in my card file box.

I used red card stock cut to 8 1/2″ by 5 1/2″ and folded in half for the background.  I got an assortment of Valentine’s Day papers from Stampin’ Up and punched out a heart from one of the printed papers.  I attached it to the lower right side of the  front of the card using pop up dots.  I stamped “Happy Valentine’s Day” in red ink on ivory card stock, punched it out, and attached it on top of the heart with more pop up dots.  For the banner at the top of the card, I used a punch to make assorted little “flag” shapes from the various valentine papers.  I put a pop up dot on the back of each one and stuck red and white bakers’ twine to the backs before sticking the whole little banner to the top of the front of the card.  I also added a sparkly heart sticker to one of the little flag pieces for fun.

Inside Banner Valentine

Inside Banner Valentine

For the inside of the card, I used an old Stampin’ Up “xoxo” stamp and stamped it in red ink on ivory card stock.  Then I punched it out with a heart punch and used pop up dots to attach it to the upper left corner.  I also added a little heart punched out of one of the valentine papers and one more sparkly heart sticker.

Happy Valentine’s Day!