Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coffee Date for Mom

Today I'm linking up with Mama Kat's Writers Workshop.  The prompt I chose was:

1.) Friends are on their way to your house for a coffee date . . . what kind of afternoon can they expect with you?

It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm expecting my friend Sarah.  I haven't seen Sarah in awhile so I'm really looking forward to our coffee date.

Sarah and I met through our kid's elementary school and at church.  We became friends when our girls were little.  Now, our oldest girls are freshman in high school!

It's so easy to let a week (or three) slip away without spending time with good friends.  I'm guilty of this.  I don't like it.  I need my Sarah coffee dates!

So, we came up with a plan.

Every Tuesday afternoon is CRAFT DAY!

We meet at one of our houses, generally drink coffee, eat some cookies, and work on our latest craft project.  And we talk and laugh, a lot!

Sarah is crafty.  I am not.

Yet, our Tuesday afternoons inspire me to try new things.

After several Craft Days, I finally finished a scarf I started 4 years ago!  This is thanks to Sarah and her knitting prowess.

Here's Sarah knitting a cowl.

Craft Day at Sarah's house
That darn cowl wasn't working well, so she switched to knitting some very cool arm and hand warmers.  HINT HINT:  I'd like a pair for Christmas!

Now that my scarf is done, I've switched to creating cool, handmade cards.

I love them and think some may even be Etsy worthy.  We'll see about that later.

For now, I'm happy to spend coffee and craft days with my good friend.

Maybe next Tuesday we'll have margaritas (like we did last week).  Super fun!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How To Avoid Being Bullied

I am not a bullying expert.  I'm not a psychologist or researcher.

I'm a mom.  And a Junior High teacher.

I've been thinking about bullying a lot lately because it's been in the press quite a bit.  I've been formulating these ideas for awhile, and I really think there's something important here.  Both of these ideas stem from the same concept, which is "putting out / throwing water on the bully fire" before it has a chance to grow out of control.

Two ways to avoid being bullied:

1. Make fun of yourself first before a potential bully even has a chance.

2. Embrace your "uniqueness" and make it cool.

Here are two examples of what I mean:


I met a woman who had a very dramatic experience in high school.  She had a very bad bladder infection and accidentally wet her pants during lunch.  This kind of incident could be huge fodder for bullies.  She could have been known as "That girl who peed in her pants," for the rest of high school.  But, she purposely came up with a plan.  And it worked!  When she returned to school the next day, kids started teasing her about wetting her pants.  Instead of getting upset or mad, she said, "Yeah, can you believe it!  I wet my pants.  Crazy!"  She was making fun of her own situation.

Why this works:  By taking the initiative to make fun of herself, she doused the bullying flame.  If the person doesn't feel bad (or gets others to believe she don't feel bad), then there's nothing for a bully to tease the person about.  It's not fun to tease someone if they already find the situation goofy or funny.  The bully has no ammunition.


There's a student in my class whose name is Seven.  In our urban junior high there are plenty of unique names, but I've never heard of a name that's a number.  This has high bullying potential.  But Seven "doused the bully fire" before it even got a chance to ignite.  On the first day of school, Seven wore a name tag with the number "7" written in large letters.  Excellent idea!  He embraced his differentness and made it cool.  I've haven't heard a single nasty comment about his name.  The flame was put out.

Why this works:  If a person embraces their own quirks that might have bully potential, then the bully has no power.  What does the bully have to tease about if the person doesn't think it's bad.  Even more so if the person thinks their differentness if cool!  Bullying avoided.

When this doesn't work

These two tactics take quite a bit of self-confidence.  By junior high, especially, many kids are already suffering from low self-esteem, making this type of anti-bullying approach difficult.

What can we do:  

What if we were able to teach our kids these types of strategies early on?  What if we gave them the tools they need to help them avoid being bullied?  I imagine that bullying will always exist.  But, I bet we could really help decrease incidents of bullying if we helped out children early on to learn different techniques to counteract bullying behavior.

I'd love input.  What do you think?  Does this make sense?  Do you think we (parents, teachers, etc.) could help our kids learn how to "put out the bullying fire" before it becomes a problem?

I'm linking up with Just Write over at The Extraordinary Ordinary today!  Go check out some of the other thoughts and ideas from today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Some Things I Know About Wild Turkeys

Since it's almost Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share some fascinating and informative things I know about WILD TURKEYS.

Wild Turkeys in my backyard during summer.

I've learned most of this information first hand, through careful observation of the flock (or rafter: see below) of wild turkeys that roams around my neighborhood.

So, on to the list.

Some Things I Know About Wild Turkeys

1. Wild Turkeys can fly!  
Domestic, cook-'em-up turkeys, do not fly.  But wild turkeys can and they do.  They don't fly great distances.  For instance, they don't migrate South for the winter.  But, with a burst of effort, they can fly from tree to tree.

2. Wild Turkeys sleep in trees.
In fact, the neighborhood turkeys are in the trees above my house RIGHT NOW!  I took these glorious pictures to prove it to you.  The first time I saw a turkey sleeping in a tree, I thought it was a giant vulture.  Then I saw 12 of them!  Luckily, I quickly figured out they were the friendly turkeys and not a gang of vultures leering down at me.

Wild Turkey in my oak tree.
See those dark blobs?  They're turkeys.  I swear.

Two blobs (aka. wild turkeys) in the tree above my house.
3. Wild Turkeys do indeed "gobble."
They make loud gobble, gobble, gobble sounds.  But they also make noises that sound like little squeaks and squawks.

4. Wild Turkeys are skinnier than Domestic Turkeys.
Wild turkeys are basically shaped like upside down light bulbs.  Skinny at the top and plumper at the bottom.

5. A group of Wild Turkeys is called a Flock or a Rafter.
A group of baby turkeys is called a Brood.  Just as an FYI, a group of crows is called a Murder.

A flock, or rafter, of wild turkeys.
6. Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the turkey.
In a letter to his daughter, Franklin wrote that the eagle is "a bird of bad moral character."  He continues to write that the turkey is a "much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America."

So there you have it, some fascinating turkey information.  I will continue to monitor the local flock and let you know of any new developments.  For now, I just hope I count the same number of wild turkeys on Friday as I do tonight.

Recommendation:  Don't eat Wild Turkey.  Too skinny.  Buy the plump (free range) turkeys from the store!

Happy Thanksgiving!