Saturday, September 5, 2015

Out of the Box Saturday

It's all about me discovering something that is different. I don't want to post things that you and I have more than likely heard before. I want to find something different. I'll cover something sing | songy one week, and artsy | fartsy the next.

I really love the illustrator Lane Smith. Have you ever heard of him? He studied at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, at the encouragement of his high-school art teacher, Dan Baughman, helping to pay for it by working as a janitor at Disneyland. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration, and moved to New York City, where he was hired to do illustrations for various publications. 

He's done work for editorials, but is most noted for his children's books. He's won a few Caldecott Medals.

He uses an oil wash technique. with layers of Crystal Clear between layers. It's always been a no no to layer acrylics with oils, but he breaks that rule, and found a way to make it work by using oil washes instead of thick oils.

The first book I got of Lane Smiths was The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.

I have not read all the books he's illustrated, but I continue to discover illustrations that he's created that are so charming.

All Artwork Belongs to Lane Smith!

Visit Lane Smith's website!
Email Lane Smith here:

Friday, September 4, 2015


Travis turned 40 this last weekend. We had a discussion: Is 40 over the hill, or is 50? I said that it depends who is celebrating it. It's up for interpretation. He thinks it's 50. 

We went out to a highly recommended Mexican restaurant the night before. It wasn't open on Sundays. It was good.

I gave him a few small things. We agreed that getting new cell phones this summer would be our gifts for our birthdays. 

On his birthday we went out to breakfast. He thought it was funny that one of his artist friends was sitting near us, but he didn't see him. Travis was sent him a message on facebook to see if his phone was set up to chime when he got the fb message. He was even being a creeper, and took a photo of him. We were laughing.

The boys were not our children that day. Meaning they were brats. I only say this because usually they are nice kids. They went to bed about 9:30 Friday and Saturday nights. I know my boys - when they don't get their sleep they are punks! I'm not excusing their behavior. It's just the way they are.

Isaak got himself dressed in a shirt that was way too small. Then he wanted to wear his straw hat. I made him change shirts, but told him I didn't care if he wore the hat. Apparently Travis cared. That was an issue.

We went to the zoo and Mica and Isaak kept saying how much they hate the place. I don't get it. 

Isaak and Mica kept pushing each other. Isaak would yank on my arm and purse going up hills. Both boys tried touching the water and fish in the Desert Dome. Even after they were told not to. Mica was talking about how he was starving even though we had a late, and huge breakfast. They were just being naughty! 

But...Isaak would stop and say, "Mom can you take my picture?" Everyone else had grumpy looks all day. So...I got lots of Isaak shots.

We went home. The boys ate lunch, took a bath, and layed down for a few hours. I told the birthday boy to go relax in a hot tub of water.

Have you ever had a birthday where you celebrated, did fun things, but it was not a very good birthday? I felt bad for Travis. After Isaak napped he was back to his singy, whistling self. Mica never napped, so he was a selfish punk that went to bed early.

Random Tid Bits

  1. It bugs me when people call good friends, "Uncle" or "Aunt" to their kids. I just think it's confusing to the kid(s), and everyone else. Why don't they say, "Go to our good friend Sam!"? or whatever their name is. I'm in no way knocking you if you do this. I personally have good friends, and I even have a sister that does this. I just have always found it odd myself.

  2. I never mentioned that my cell phone ring works now. Remember when I had trouble with it? My brother-in-law took one look at it, and fixed it. Apparently i-phone 6 has to be set to have the mute off to have it ring. It's the opposite of what you'd think. Thankfully he fixed it, and I didn't have to go running around to Verizon stores again. 

  3. I have an older student from Russia. It's lovely hearing her talk. She writes Russian in her notes.

    I gave a lecture on creativity; part of what I talked about was being culturally literate. Learning something about another culture stimulates you. Whether it be to research their art, eat foods from their culture, listen to their native music, or having a pin pal from that place. It really helps to think outside our little box that we live in here. 

  4. We have a new Education Director here this year. She's popped into my lectures twice already this year. I don't mind. One of my fellow teachers said, "It feels like driving down the street, and having a cop following you." That's totally how it feels. Luckily she popped into interesting lectures. One was about the re-branding of ice cream. I actually gave the students ice cream during the lecture. The other one was about tangents in art, and how to avoid them. How do you feel when someone is watching you work?

  5. Our Education Director wants our files a little different than we're all used to. I'm pretty organized with mine, but needed to add something to all 3. I was in class, and added what she wanted me to add, went to her office to show here where I added it to. Later I went to lunch, and saw a note on my desk saying, "Come talk to me after class about your files." I was stressing about it all day. Thinking, Goodness what did I do now!!! I went to talk to her, and she said, "You already talked to me. That was put on your desk this morning before you talked to me." I need to stop stressing, and imagining the worst. When someone says, "I need to talk to you." I imagine that I really screwed something up. It's more my problem than hers.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

African Grasslands in the Works

If you ever come to Omaha, Nebraska, this is by far the hot spot.

Henry Doorly Zoo has been rated number 1 in the world in 2015. 

I'm going to share a little section of the zoo each week. Keep in mind that this is just a little piece of the gigantic zoo.

The zoo has one HUGE spot that is getting an overhaul. Their African Grassland is a $73 million endeavor 28 acres in size, the largest project in Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's history.

Phase I: Opening in its entirety summer 2016.

Currently being constructed, this phase will include major exhibits for elephants, giraffes, white rhinos, cheetahs and impala, as well as mixed-species habitats, animal wading pools and interactive demonstration areas. A children's African pygmy goat petting area will also be open to visitors.

The African Lodge marks the center of the exhibit. It features the Tusker Grill concession area, a newly themed train station nearby and serves as a rental space for private functions and overnight experiences. Phase I also includes the Giraffe Herd Rooms, now open, and the Elephant Family Quarters, which is currently under construction.

Phase II: Projected to open in 2017.

This phase will focus on an elevated site  showcasing Africa's top predators and their prey near the Skyfari terminal overlooking the existing Lagoon Valley.

African wild dogs and sable antelope will roam near a pride of lions that will be seen perched atop tall, rocky outcroppings. Skyfari riders will need to look up to see these majestic animals as they arrive for landing at the station.

A safari tent camp will also be nearby to provide groups and families the opportunity to stay overnight. Exhibit construction is visible from the public pathway.

One hot spot is the giraffes. We got some new ones. They have a temporary home right now. In the summer of 2016 they'll have land to roam. If you are coming towards Nebraska for a visit, I may wait until the summer of 2016. There will be so much more to see.

Meet Okapi. The giraffe's closest relative.

The okapi has a similar body shape to that of giraffe, however, with a very much shorter neck relative to its body size. It shares other distinctive features with the giraffe including unusual fur covered horns, specialized teeth and tongue, and a ruminating four chambered stomach. Interestingly, only the male okapi has horns. With its stripped butt, one would think it's related to the zebra. It's head, tongue, and face structure is more like a giraffe.

The giraffes were in their new make shift home. They were just put in their, so we were asked to be quiet. Even though I didn't like their background so much, I loved watching them! They don't need a lot of space, but will get some very soon!

They like to lick other giraffe's horns after eating.


I guess people can be around giraffes. I understand why they keep people away at zoos though.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Little Farm on the Way

This summer when we went on a little trip, we were driving back home, and saw this sign that said, "Feed the goats and sheep." I said, "Why not stop to stretch our legs?

The kids were excited! Can you tell we live in the city?

A random rabbit was hopping around.

Some pigs in a pen.

The most fun the boys had were with the sheep and goats!

You could feed them, but I was mostly out of change. We just visited the capitol; where I spent change for parking. Isaak and Mica fought over change they found on the ground at a gas station. I convinced them to use their change to feed the animals. Then I found some change in the bottom of my purse.

It was cute watching the boys feed the animals.

Travis loves animals. I always feel bad for him that we can't have any furry critters.

It was a fun little, random spot to stop!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Student Council

This year Mica was able to run for Student Council. Back up a moment: Running for Student Council is something I would have NEVER done. Mica has a confidence that I never had. He knew right away that he wanted to run. 

He wrote a speech. It basically said that he was going to make things better at his school. Travis and I kept asking, "How are you going to make things better?" He knew he wanted things better, but didn't know how. I told him that he sounded a bit like our current president. He stood for hope and change, but no one really asked what that hope and change would be about.

I gave Mica a few ideas of how I might make a school like his better. Then I told him to brainstorm on ideas of his own. He failed miserably the first night. Meaning that he wouldn't listen to me, refused to brainstorm, and he had attitude. I sent him to bed early that night. I said, "If I'm trying to help you, you have to work with me. A leader doesn't have attitude."

The next night he was on a roll. Maybe he needed that extra sleep!

In his speech he included 1/2 of my idea, and 1 new idea that he came up with to make his school a better place.

I said to have a Farmers Market to replace a fundraiser. He changed it to expanding the school garden to have fruits and veggies. The students could help with it. The fruits and veggies could be sold as a fundraiser, or used to go along with school lunches.

His other idea to help the school is to have a friendship program. He said that everyone would be assigned a friend that they would write weekly, and give special cards to during holidays. That way no one would be friendless. I was pretty happy that he came up with that idea!

He kept saying that he knew he'd win because he's popular, and well liked. Ok so that does play into things, but I was trying to get him off that mindset. This boy's main flaw is that he can get cocky. I kept telling him not to brag, and to give others compliments. 

Towards the end of the week I asked him who he thought gave the best speech? He said someone's name. Then I asked who he voted for? He listed off his friend's names, and not the person who gave the best speech. We talked a little more about voting in who you believe in. It's hard for a 4th grader to understand. They believe in their friends. It didn't matter to him who gave the best speech. I hope we got through to him. It's all a learning lesson.

There's 3 kids on the Student Council Board from each class. He was voted in. Will he be able to make the changes to the school that we talked about? Maybe. Changes like that usually have to come from higher ups. At least I got him to think! That he did effectively.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete 6th Season & The Originals: The Complete 2nd Season Giveaway #TVD #TheOriginals

I have to admit I've never watched The Vampire Diaries. I really don't watch anything vampire related. They are HUGE with young adults though. I've heard many of my students talk about vampire shows for the last 5 years. If you are into vampires, or know someone that is, this post is for you!

This is a a great giveaway for you CW fans!  

There are 4 blogger exclusive interviews with the creator of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, Julie Plec.  

These super fan videos feature Julie confessing her favorite moments & top 5 episodes from the recent seasons of both The Vampire Diaries The Complete Sixth Season and The Originals The Complete Second Season.

This is a “Viewing Party Eats: Recipes to Satisfy Friends & Enemies” Downloadable PDF. 

It's sure to impress your guests. With index card recipes and party-ready place cards included, we’ve made it easy to prep some snacks to satisfy during your marathon watch-party.

About The Vampire Diaries The Complete Sixth Season
The Vampire Diaries continues its sixth season with more delicious drama to sink your teeth into. In season five, after a passionate summer with Damon, Elena headed to Whitmore College with Caroline, not knowing Bonnie sacrificed her life for Jeremy’s. Meanwhile, Stefan and Caroline’s friendship deepened as they stood up to the Travelers, a nomadic witch tribe driven to strip Mystic Falls of magic and cast out its supernatural residents. In the shocking season finale, Damon, fearing he would lose his loved ones on the crumbling Other Side, made a huge sacrifice to bring them all back — with catastrophic and heartbreaking results. Season six follows the characters’ journey back to each other as they explore the duality of good versus evil inside themselves. Matt Davis reprises his role as Alaric Saltzman, recently returned from The Other Side. Plus, the season will make you misty-eyed as the departure of a major character will turn lives upside down and leave us asking what happened to Mystic Falls.
Contains All 22 Episodes From The Sixth Season Plus Two Featurettes, An Audio Commentary, The 2014 Comic-Con Panel, Deleted Scenes, And A Gag Reel
The Vampire Diaries on Facebook: The Vampire Diaries on Twitter:
About The Originals The Complete Second Season  
As Original vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson returned to the vibrant, supernaturally charged city of New Orleans in season one, he was stunned to learn — along with his siblings Elijah and Rebekah — that Hayley, a werewolf, was pregnant with his child, and his vampire protégé, Marcel, whom the Original siblings had thought long dead, was ruling the French Quarter. Soon, a bloody war escalated between vampires and witches — the stakes raised by powerful teenage witch Davina and by Klaus’s bond with Cami, a student with a painful past — and a ruthless pack of wolves seized the opportunity to stage a violent coup. Now, in season two, a new status quo must be adjusted to, as the newly empowered werewolves control the city. Klaus struggles with weaknesses as Elijah desperately tries to save Hayley — now a hybrid — from a vicious spiral of self-destruction. Meanwhile, with the re-emergence of several Mikaelsons, “family is power” takes on new meaning.
Own The Originals The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD September 1, 2015
This contains All 22 Episodes From The Second Season Plus Never-Before-Seen Featurettes and much more! 

The Originals on Facebook:
Ask The Originals on Twitter:

This blog app has some fun features!
• Take the "Are you Fit for Vampire Life?" Quiz to find out if you have what it takes to be a creature of the night.
• On September 1st come back to take a new "Could You Be a Supernatural Being?" Quiz - the app will be automatically updated with a new quiz experience, so be sure to take both!
• Scroll through all the images from the shows and come back every week for new unlocked content.

Win it!

Each US or Canadian household is only eligible to win (1) The Vampire Diaries Season 6 or The Originals Season 2 chosen at random via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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