Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dinner Theater

Last night was Dinner Theater night at the library. The Story Quilters from the Sonora area came to entertain. As usual, we had a blast. The Modesto Bee covered the event last night. Read about it here. There are some pictures posted on the website. If you look very carefully, you can spot Sabi and me in the first picture. My grandmother called me this evening to tell me that she spotted us!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Winding Down

Including today, I have three more days left of school. I have completed report cards and organized my class cummulative files in the office so all of the BIG things are done. Now we just have to get through the next few days.

The last week of school is always loaded with events. Here is what we do in 2nd grade:

Assembly in the morning and a visit from CSU Stanislaus future teachers. A group of 24 future teachers come to our school to do a science project with our second graders. 4 teachers come to each class and work with 5 kids a piece. They practice their teaching skills on our kids while performing a science experiment. It is always a lot of fun.

In the afternoon, we had our field day. The kids got to rotate through 2 different stations outside and do different activities with water and chalk. It was hot but fun. We ended the day with popsicles!

Today is the staff vs. 6th graders baseball game. I have never played because it is always too hot. I also don't like to play because if I do, there is no one to watch my kids.

In the afternoon we are having a movie day and an end of year party.

Spelling Bee! This is my first time ever doing a Spelling Bee with my students. I am SO excited and they are too. We have been practicing for the last two weeks.
In other news, Sabi and I will be flying to Panama on Monday. I have been going crazy trying to prepare for my trip. We have been shopping for items that we need, trying to pack and taking care of things that need to happen around the house.

One of the things I have been working on is boarding my cat while I am gone. (My mom left for Panama already!) I have never boarded a cat before so I am new at this. My mom and I discussed keeping the cat inside and having a friend come and feed him. When I was thinking about this idea I kept getting visions of a feline version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off! I decided to look for a place to board Sagwa. I called a LOT of places and went to visit a few. The first couple I saw were gross! I finally found one that is ok but it is expensive - $14 a day! Due to the fact that there were no vacancies at many of the kennels and that the ones that had openings were disgusting, we are going with the $14 a day place. I am still a bit worried about how it will go for my cat but I guess that there is no other option.
In other news, The LA Times just had a huge article on Panama this past weekend. The write up is nice, the pictures are good and so is the music. (look to the right of the screen to see the pics and hear the music) You can get there by clicking here. Thanks to Margie for sharing it with me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

They're back!

I have been enjoying the Copa Mundial but last week something terrible happened. The World Cup pre-empted my re-run novelas on Televisa. It wouldn't have been so bad if the first half hour of my pre-empted novelas was taken over by the stupidest show of all time "Derbez." the shows are back! My line up includes "El Precio de tu Amor", "Mi Destino Eres Tu" and "Entre el Amor y el Odio." I have seen 2 of these shows before but I am a die hard novela fan! One of them I watch as I get ready for school and the other two I tape and watch in the evening as I cook dinner and clean up around the house.

Yay for their return!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What is Happening in Modesto

Today's forecast is for 110 degrees. I will melt sometime today, I am sure of it!
International Festival:

Our annual, well known International Heritage Festival has been canceled this year due to lack of funding. This event has always taken place in October. It is one of my favorite local events here in town.

It may return in 2007 if $ is found. How sad. More on this story here.
Yesterday's Protest:
Yesterday I was shopping at Safeway and I saw a group of protesters standing on the corner of McHenry and Briggsmore. I saw a lot of American Flags waving in the air and I could read one sign from where I was. The sign said "Future Minuteman." I knew then that it was an anti -immigration protest. I was a bit disgusted. As I left the store, I drove back around the lot so that I could drive by the protesting crowd. When I drove by, I notciced several brown faces and "This is Aztlan" signs. People from both sides of this argument showed up on the same corner! I got a bit worried. Just then, around 5-6 police officers started driving up on motorcycles.


I reached for my camera to get some take some shots but I only could take one picture as I had no room left on my memory stick in the camera and the traffic light turned green! Read the Modesto Bee coverage of this event and see the Bee pictures here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Gwinnett County Library - No More Spanish Books

My friend Mary Mageean Morado is my special guest blogger for this entry. She responded to an article regarding the Lawrenceville, Georgia library that decided to not purchase any new adult books written in Spanish. Her letter has been published in the Ceres Courier, on and now here!
Here is Mary's Letter:
It deeply saddens me to see your county's refusal to purchase adult library materials in Spanish. Regardless of the misguided racist views of some members of the community, purchasing materials in languages other than English is not catering to undocumented immigrants. As an adult learner of Spanish, access to enjoyable reading materials in that language has been one of the keys to my success to communicating in Spanish. The miniscule percentage that the library had scheduled to spend on adult Spanish titles (less than .5% of the total budget or $12,000 of a $2.2 million budget)represents a much smaller percentage of the tax revenues than your Latino population contributes to your local government in taxes. (One of six of the local residents is Latino.)

Once again, how very sad and silly it is that the actions of your local government reinforce the stereotypes of the Southeastern region as ignorant and backward. Make an informed decision. Much research has been done regarding the acquisition of a second language through pleasure reading. An excellent source of this information to assist you in making more informed decisions would be The Power of Reading by Dr. Steven Krashen from USC.

Libraries are the key to our common success as a society. Don't waste their potential by using them as a weapon to punish taxpayers who because of their legal status are not as empowered as your board members.

Mary Mageean Morado
Modesto, CA

Non-Fiction vs. Fiction:

I love to read.
Well, really, I only love to read fiction. I enjoy murder/mystery stories, some romances (not many), true crime, historical fiction, trashy smut, (not ashamed to say it!) and other types of fiction novels.

What I don’t do much of is read non-fiction. Since I don’t read much non-fiction, when I do have to read this genre of literature, I find myself quite challenged at staying engaged in the reading and retaining information that I have read. What have I done to remedy this situation? I have steered clear of anything that is not fiction! I have tried to run as far away from possible. Why stretch my brain if I don’t have to, right?

Well, it appears as if I have finally run into a wall. Next month, I am supposed to work at a workshop for teachers. I was sent the book Professional Learning Communities at Work by DuFour and Eaker to read and familiarize myself with prior to the workshop.

Required Reading

It looks like quite an interesting book. Here is a quote from the book that is supposed to summarize it:

“The most promising strategy for sustained,
improvement is developing the ability of school personnel to
function as a
professional learning community.”
-DuFour and

Here is the problem: I have tried picking up this book this week with the best intentions to get through the book one chapter at a time. Guess what? I can’t stay with it. My mind keeps wandering!!!! I have resorted to my devious college ways and have been looking online for reviews of the book. I know… I AM BAD!

You want to know what is even worse? I bought several books (fiction) that I was supposed to wait and read on the plane and I have already read two this week. I just can’t train myself to focus and concentrate on the important stuff.

I know – it is terrible for me, a teacher who knows the value of non-fiction reading, a teacher who stresses a good mix of both genres of literature for children, to be so selective with my own reading. I guess that I will just have to keep at it....ugh!


Oh! By the way - one of the books I read this week was the latest Janet Evanovich book in the Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series, Twelve Sharp.

Book 12 is coming soon....

It was good! There was a lot of good Joe and Ranger action with a kooky twist of Grandma Mazur and Lula in the mix as well. Those of you who know the series know what I am talking about, right CAD?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Burning Up

Today's Forecast is a high of 108 degrees. I hope I can make it through the day!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Happy Tío's Day!

Instead of Father's Day, today we celebrated Tío's Day at our house. Sabina made her Tío Ruben some special art and cards and gave him some presents. We ate our Baker Family favorite, waffles and chipped beef gravy. A great time was had by all.

Later on, we called my dad in Panama to wish him a good Father's Day. My brother, Nebur, wrote a nice Father's Day post. Check it out here.

Meme of Five

Meme of Five
I found this meme a couple of weeks ago over on
Guusje's Blog who found it on Chalkdust’s blog. It looked fun so I am doing it!

5 items in my fridge
1. Paradise Iced Tea (2 Jars full - it is getting hot!)
2. A bag of Mixed Greens for salads.
3. Chipped Beef Gravy: leftover from our waffles and gravy breakfast (It's an East Coast thing - don't knock it until you try it - YUM!Waffles with Chipped Beef Gravy
4. Non-Fat Milk - For my morning coffee
5. Fat- Free Hazelnut Creamer for my morning coffee. Yum!
*Note: I drink coffee with my milk NOT milk with my coffee. (Melissa: Is this a Panamanian thing? That is how my dad drinks it too!)

5 items in my closet
1. A LARGE box of winter clothes
2. Dresses I never wear (Not practical at school)
3. Pants - lots of them. (I usually only wear about 3 pairs of them though)
4. Unironed clothes (Who has the time to iron?)
5. Presents for Sabina that I hide and then forget about when it is time to give them to her!

5 items in my car (For the record... there are WAY more than 5 items in my car -Here are 5 of them!)

1. Spring Water for my tadpoles at school
2. Sabi's Stuff - All over the car - (How does that happen???)
3. Water- I like to travel with lots of liquid - you never know when you will need it.
4. My i-Pod - Don't go anywhere without it
5. My training binders for my new teacher trainings that I do.

5 items in my purse:
(notice: I don't mention $. Why? I never have it!)

1. Wipes for my glasses
2. Ibuprofen
3. First Communion Picture of One of My Students - He just gave it to me - so sweet!
4. Cell Phone (With all kinds of cool ring tones!!!)
5. Camera - I take it everywhere

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Random Stuff

This week we have had weird weather. We have had windy and cool days with not much sun and we have also had HOT (100 degree) days. I think that today will be one of the hot ones. It is 8:37 in the morning and it is already warm and muggy inside. That is not a good sign.
Graffiti Fest has been going on for the past two weeks here in Modesto. This is annual tribute to the movie American Graffiti . Why? Modesto is the hometown of director George Lucas. The movie was based on his experiences growing up here in MoTown. There are many scheduled events going on around town. During the week there was a HUGE gathering of old cars at a restaurant close by. The entire strip mall parking lot wher ethe restaurant is house was packed. That didn't make me too happy when I went to Trader Joe's to shop which is also in that same parking lot! When I was in high school, Graffiti Weekend was big. People would cruise up and down McHenry Avenue in their vintage cars and not so vintage cars. Not too long after that though a city ordinance was passed banning cruising.
I won't be partaking in any of the festivities today though. Today is the big birthday marathon day starting at 1:00 until ....
More Bushisms -
" The illiteracy level of our children are appaling"
-Washington D.C., January 23, 2004

"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis."
-CNBC; April 15, 2000

Is grammar really that difficult people? Come on...

Friday, June 16, 2006


I found this poem over on Classroom Connection. I like it so much I am going to post it too.

Have a good weekend everyone!


Some people sit – some people try.
Some people laugh – some people cry.
Some people will – some people won’t.
Some people do – some people don’t.

Some people believe and develop a plan.
Some people doubt – never think that they can.
Some people face hurdles and give it their best.
Some people back down when faced with a test.

Some people complain of their miserable lot.
Some people are thankful for all that they’ve got.
And when it’s all over – when it comes to an end
Some people lose out and some people win.

We all have a choice – we all have a say.
We are spectators in life or we get in and play.
Whichever we choose – how we handle life’s game.
The choices are ours – no one else is to blame.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

No Bargain Today and other random stuff!

We found shoes. Yesterday's bargain made up for today's purchase. These fancy kicks cost $42.94. Ouch!

The New Shoes

Today began the June Birthday Cycle. We went to a birthday party this evening for a 5 year old friend of ours. His Very Own Cake - WOw!On Saturday we have 4 birthday parties to attend.THe Piñatamaster Two of them are from 1-3. How we will do that - I just don't know. We then have two more to go to next week!


Dr no

In other news - AMC- American Movie Channel is having a Viva Bond Week. I absolutely LOVE all 007 movies. James Bond ROCKS! T\Yes, there are too many corny lines and women are made out to look weak in many of them. They even have crazy names like "Pussy Galore." I just don't care. I love James Bond. I have been trying to figure out which James I like better: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby. (are you proud of me for remembering that one Nebur?) Sean Connery has to be the best with Roger Moore as a close second. They are all good though. Who is your favorite James Bond?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Shopping at the Mall - The Good and The Bad

The Bad:
Sabina is now offically in women's shoe sizes. She wears a size 7. Why is this bad? The shoes cost more, the shoes are not so cute - no Dora the Explorer or Strawberry Shortcake in women's sizes and did I mention that they are more expensive??? !!! We went all over the Mall and couldn't find any shoes that she liked that were under $40. I really don't even want to go over $30 because the girl is 7, almost 8. The life of a tennis shoe for a 7 year old, a ROUGH PLAYING 7 year old, is about 3 months - if I am lucky! I will go broke! We are still looking for shoes. We will hit Mervyn's tomorrow - maybe we will get lucky...

The Good:
As we were walking through the Mall, I did a little window shopping. Ok - I tried on clothes! I couldn't help myself. I found a pair of cute pants that were on sale for $19.99. I went up to the register to pay for them. As I pulled out my wallet I remembered that I had a coupon for the store. I figured that it was for 10% off. I handed it the the sales clerk. Guess what - it was for $15 off a purchase of $15 or more!!! That means that I got my pants for a grand total of $5.36. Do you know how exciting moments like this are for me? BIG TIME exciting. I love deals like that! Woo-Hoo! I have been feeling the urge to frame my receipt. I won't - but I will save it! :-)

Monday, June 12, 2006

80's Music "is like so cool!"

Have 5-10 minutes? You have to take this 80's music quiz. It is awesome! Thanks to Robin from The Other Mother for the link!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Too Much To Do - So Little Time

I have 3 weeks left of school and a million things to get done before then.

1) Report Cards
2) Student Cummulative Folders
3) Room Clean up and Prep for next year. (That could take a month all by itself)
4) Carnival Booth Prep: The 2nd grade is doing a fishing booth at the carnival this year. (augh!)
5) Art Show and Science Expo: Why did I say I would help organize this at school?
6) Testing
7) Packing for my trip. (both of us!!!!)
8) Find passports and tickets for trip!
9) Various meetings, parties and commitments around town.
10) Make sure that I get to the gym

I hate June because it is always hectic and it seems like the month just drags on and on forever and ever. I can't believe that it is only the 11th because it feels like it should be the end of the month already. I am looking forward to boarding my plane on the 3rd of July because I will have to have finished everything that needs to be done by then. I will be able to sit down and (hopefully) relax.

In other news...
I found out that one of my favorite series of books by Janet Evanovich is scheduled to be released on June 20th.

Book 12 is coming soon....

It is the 12th in the series of Stephanie Plum books. Usually, I buy the books on the release date and read the entire book by the end of that day. This year, I am thinking that I should hold off on reading the book so I can have something to read on the plane. It is killing me though to think about someone else reading the book before me. I am already jealous just thinking about it! If you read it, PLEASE don't spill the beans to me!

Friday, June 09, 2006

New Post

Sabi went to her great-grandmother's house today and had lots of fun. She wrote about her adventures this week and her grandmother typed it up for her. Check it out here!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Take Your Daughter, Granddaughter and Niece to Work Days

On Monday and Tuesday Sabi came to work with me. Yesterday she went with her Bubbe to work at the High School and today she will be going to work with her Tío at his law office. She has been having the best time.

It was funny to hear her talk about getting ready to go to High School. The first thing she did was run around the house doing the happy dance and singing "I'm going to La Secundaria, I'm going to La Secundaria!" Then she had a serious thought about wardrobe. She decided on her Frida Kahlo t-shirt and some black gaucho pants/shorts because "It is cool mom. It's what the high school students wear!"

Today she is going to the law office. She told me that she didn't have anything to wear. I said "You have a closet full of clothes!" She then informed me that on tv when people go to court they wear suits. She doesn't have a suit. I convinced her that a dress would do just fine.

I think she will be writing about her adventures on her blog either today or tomorrow. When she does, I will add the link to her new post.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Busy Day

Today was another fun filled day at school.

We had two visitors today. Our first visitor was the husband of a fellow teacher. He came to show the kids at all grade levels how they can perform science experiments at home with items that they have readily available to them there. He was great. He got lots of OOOH's and Ahhh's from the kids as he showed them the experiments. Sabina's favorite was the make it yourself lava lamp. We will make it soon, take pictures and post on her blog.

Another Snake

The next visitor was Python Ron. Python Ron comes every year to show the second grade kids his collection of animal friends.


Today he brought a skink, a monitor, a Red Tegu, Several Pythons and other snakes, a scorpion and a Magdagascar Hissing Cockroach. I had to miss the event as I was in meetings all afternoon but my sub graciously agreed to take pictures for me. They are a bit blurry but better than nothing. The kids were VERY impressed by Python Ron and his animal collection. He also got lots of oohs's and ahhh's!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Today's Dinner

Today's dinner was Tabouli Salad.

Tabouli Salad

I kind of followed the recipe for this salad and then tweaked it a bit to suit my liking. I didn't measure anything that I put in except the olive oil so when I say "about" - that means that I really don't know exactly how much I put in - I just put in as much as I wanted!

Here are the steps that I took.


* 16 ozs cracked wheat (we got a very finely chopped grade at the Middle Eastern Market)
* Finely chopped parsley (about 1 cup worth)
* Finely chopped mint leaves - no stems (About 10 large leaves)
* 4 tablespoons lemon (that is what the recipe called for - I doubled it since I like
the tang! )
* 6 tablespoons olive oil
* Chopped green onions - the entire stalk (about 10 of them)
* Tomatoes - peeled and chopped (I used about 6 medium sized tomatoes)
* Cucumbers chopped up small. (I used about 6 small English cukes)
* salt to taste


Pour cracked wheat into a large bowl and cover with cool water for about 20-30 minutes. You want the wheat to be soft - not crunchy. Taste it to make sure it is ready. When it is ready, place it in a colander and squeeze out as much water as you can. Place it back in a large bowl and add parsley, lemon and green onion. Stir well and refrigerate for an hour.

1 hour later:
Peel the tomatoes by placing them in hot water for about 1 minute and the taking the peel off. Cut in half and squeeze out the seeds and liquid. Chop up finely and add to the salad. Chop up mint and cukes and add to the salad. Add the olive oil, add salt to your liking and stir again. Refrigerate again until chilled and serve.
* Notes -
- I substituted limes for lemons because that is all that we had
- Add more or less of the veggies to you liking.
- I couldn't wait to eat my salad. I ate some before I refrigerated it the second time. It was YUMMY!!!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


My dinner looks so good tonight that I have to blog about it!!!

Green Bean Salad

About 2 years ago, my family and I went to Laguna Beach and had lunch at Scott B's house. Mrs. B., his mother made several different salads. One of them was this yummy dish. We make it in the summer time. It is a very refreshing salad that serves as the entire meal for us since it is so filling.

Here is the recipe:


1 ½ lbs green beans
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
¼ c. olive oil
1 tsp. tarragon
½ tsp salt
½ cup parsley (minced)
½ cup chopped olives
1/3 lb. Swiss cheese – in small strips or cubes
½ cup each red and green pepper
3 to 4 T. lemon juice
1 T. red wine vinegar
½ c. toasted sliced almonds (or more)

Steam beans until tender. Rinse in cold water. Drain. Combine other ingredients except lemon and vinegar and almonds. Add beans, toss and marinate 2-3 hours. Add juice, vinegar and almonds 10 minutes prior to eating.

Notes –
You'll want to about double the recipe for potlucks.
I add in the lemon and vinegar with the rest of the marinade
The original version uses ½ t. dill and 2 tsp mustard. Add if you like it. My mom loves it that way but I prefer it this way.

I am making tabbouleh for for dinner tomorrow. If it remember, I will take a picture of it and put the recipe up as well!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

El Bongocero

One of the stories in our second grade reading book is a story called Moses Goes to a Concert. It is about a boy who is deaf who goes to hear a concert with his classmates who are also deaf. When they arrive at the concert, they are surprised to find that the percussionist in the band is also deaf. She is able to keep up keep in sync with the rest of the members in the band by not wearing shoes allowing her to feel the vibrations of the music. The little boy, Moses, wants to be a precussionist when he grows up. It is a great story!

Carlos Caro
Today, we made the story even better. My friend Carlos Caro came to visit my class. He is a percussionist too, a Bongocero. He brought his Bongó to class today and mesmerized my students and the students next door with his Bongó skills and information about music. He was great. The kids couldn't get enough of him.

Carlos Caro

Not one student misbehaved or was not paying attention. He had 100% of their attention. He taught them all kinds of vocabulary such as:

* tuning
* pitch
* martillo: A Bongo Rhythm
* macho : the smaller of the two drums on the Bongo
* hembra: the larger of the two drums

The kids had lots of questions for him and he gave them very good responses. My favorite answer that he gave though was to this question "Are you famous?" He replied something to the effect that while he has a CD out and people know about him around the world he isn't famous, at least not like what the kids equate to famous. He went on to say that while he may not be famous in that way, he felt famous because he had the opportunity to be able to come and talk with the kids. I know that most of the kids didn't get that but the other teacher and I did for sure! What he was able to really drive home with the kids was his love and passion for his job as a musician. He told and showed them through his talk that they can do anything they want to, and be happy at what they are doing, if they work at it.

We had a great visit. After our visitor left, the kids talked about how they all wanted to be a Bongocero when they get older. What an inspiring visit it was!
Now for a shameless plug:

You can visit the following two sites to get more information on Carlos and his band Vission Latina here:

You can also download his songs on itunes. Which songs would I recommend for you to buy? ALl of them! They are all great. Sabina and I know the lyrics to almost all of the songs. It is in the car and we play it everyday!!!