Saturday, December 31, 2011

Keeping Up with the Laundry

Keeping Up with the Laundry

So it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. After Halloween I decided that I would go through my entire house and reorganize, de-clutter and regroup. So, off to Home Depot to pick up large boxes, 10 to be exact! Everyday after work, I would change into my “de-clutter” clothes, turn on the music, open a closet door, a kitchen cabinet, a dresser drawer and began to access the importance of each item; oh, here it is, or why in the heck did I buy this? Sometimes running across things that I was confused about what to do with; should I keep it or should I get rid of it, hmm?

Two closets and all the kitchen cabinets complete. If I have not used it in a year, it had to go. Wow, 3 boxes full already. I will just move them here (in the living room). Over the next week I have 7 boxes full of stuff sitting in the living room. When I entered the door from work, why was I feeling so overwhelmed?

The problem was, I did not realize how much effort this would take considering, work, ballet class, theater class, out of town Thanksgiving trip, Christmas decorating, Christmas shopping, guest coming for the holiday, wrapping gifts, etc.…HELP MOM, I NEED YOU!

Mom prides herself on her organizing skills. She always boasts how she raised 5 kids in a two bedroom home. I have to say, our home was always perfect. Each one of us had our own drawer with carefully ironed t-shirts and undies. On Saturday mornings, we could hear the washer going before we were even out of the bed. She just knew what to do. Everything had a place and it stayed that way. Now that I think about it, I have no idea where she kept our toys. I can tell you for sure, they were never all over the house.

In comes mom, a week earlier than usual. Normally I fuss with her about things I should or should not do. (You know, the typical mom-daughter relationship), this time though, I was quiet. I took in everything she told me, including the best tip for keeping up with the laundry; “wash smaller loads and fold them as soon as the dryer stops.” That makes all the sense in the world. I’m not sure why I always waited until my washer was filled to maximum capacity!

Over the next week, we worked hard, tackling my daughters’ room while she was away at school. I learned a long time ago that it is next to impossible to get rid of anything while she is standing there watching my every move. “No mommy, I love that doll”, or “I will miss her mommy”. All those little bitty parts that belong to some plastic toy that she only plays with in the tub…gone. The more important ones, I put in a basket and waited to see if she would ask for them, she didn’t, GONE! My conscience told me it was okay, as it is Christmas time and a slew of new toys is coming her way. I felt good.

With 10 boxes full, a large desk removed from downstairs that allow for the cutest playroom, and lots of things to donate. I felt great! I turned to my mom and gave her the biggest hug. She was happy because I was happy. I love you mom.

by Anita Smiley

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011


The beautiful maple trees at my home and neighborhood are glowing in beautiful autumn colors right now.
I love it!

Not a maple, but stunning red and orange colors.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Being Grateful

Now is a wonderful time to open your heart and share with those who are less fortunate. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

 Had a blast for Halloween.
Check out the photos.


Superman and Wonder Woman having a serious conversation.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We love, Love, LOVE Halloween!

We have a bunch of fun things going on for Halloween.
First, a visit to the library for some really spooky Halloween books to get us into the spirit.
Up goes the halloween decorations, a halloween craft day, a fun carnival at a family members and finally, "Wonder Woman" will go trick or treating with a classmate.

Make sure you check back after Halloween for  lots of pictures!

Fun Books
Trick-or-Treat, Smell My Feet
by Lisa Desimini
The twin witches spell of "no candy for halloween" backfires when a baby sock accidently falls into the brew. Something cute and fuzzy happens.

The Witch's Child
by Arthur Yorkins
Illustrations by Jos. A. Smith
This witch longs for a child of her own, but she is mean and evil and the child will not come to life until she is rescued by a loving little girl that gives her hugs.


Craft Day

Create a Halloween Pin for a special teacher or grandparents

Your child will have fun creating this special Halloween pin. She may want to keep it for herself!
Click here to find instructions for this fun craft.


Halloween Pictures

This witch is in trouble!
We saw this high on a telephone pole while driving home from school today.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Proud Teacher

I am a very proud teacher. My students create fantastic work!
Here's a sample of what we are working on:
Students are to create a Pop Art poster of a personality or leader that inspires them
Create a poster of themselves and tell what or who they are inspired by.  
I love it!

Inspired by MOM by Rosario Herrera

Inspired by DAD by Crystal Lopez

Inspired by Noel Torres, accordion musician by Jose Galindo

Inspired by James Baldwin by Nick Ross

Inspired by Art by Phuong Hua
I love when my students have a passion for art.

Inspired by Being the Best by Javonte Long

Maya Angelou by Jorge Cervantes

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Special Day for Mommy

A Special Day for Mommy

We were going out of town over the weekend and I needed to pack and get things organized before taking off. My daughter saw me sweeping the floor and decided that she wanted to clean the house too.

Now I have to tell you, she is not the cleaning type. She pretty much throws everything on the floor if she has no use for it. I generally run behind her, picking up string cheese wrappings, toys, tiaras, clothes and shoes until I’m exhausted.  But today was a special day for mommy. She swept all of her coins that she dumped out of her bank into a neat pile. I suggested that she return them to the bank. She told me she wanted to use them later to skate on because they are slippery.

Next, she moved into her bedroom, this was really a special treat! She never wants to clean her room. I watched from a non-disturbing distance as she picked up ALL the toys, including the little bitty ones off the floor and put them in the proper container. She straightened books on the bookshelf, separated and reorganized her animal books from the books we read at night. She moved her teacups and saucers to an undisclosed location; put her dolls in their bed with a cover, so they could be nice and warm and dumped all her shoes into the closet.

She bragged about how clean and shinny her room was going to be and that she would clean it everyday!

Boy, I’ve never seen this kind of behavior before. As I walked back into the room to tell her how proud I am, she told me, “I need alone time, go work on your computer”.  I was thrilled to oblige.

A few minutes later I heard a grunting sound coming from her room. I walked over to the door and saw her making the bed. I asked her why she was making such a funny sound as she made the bed. She looked up at me and said, “now mommy, this is hard work!”

by Anita Smiley

Monday, October 10, 2011


Walking Roxie with Mimi
We just returned from a weekend visit with grandma. As I watched my mom and daughter interact, I started thinking about how special the grandma/granddaughter relationship is.

Here's a sweet definition by Barbara Cage that says it all.

What is a Grandma?
A grandma is warm hugs and sweet memories. She remembers all of your accomplishments and forgets all of your mistakes. She is someone you can tell your secrets and worries to, and she hopes and prays that all your dreams come true. She always loves you, no matter what. She can see past temper tantrums and bad moods, and makes it clear that they don't affect how precious you are to her. She is an encouraging word and tender touch. She is full of proud smiles. She is the one person in the world who loves you with all her heart, who remembers the child you were and cherishes the person you've become.

Planting strawberries with Nana

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lunchbox Notes

A Little Note Goes A Long Way

Recently my husband went to an open house at my daughter’s school. When he returned home he told me that kids really like receiving notes in their lunch box from mom and dad.

Per the head teacher, it helps with their self-esteem. They feel happy and secure knowing mom and dad are thinking of them throughout the day. 

We are always in a rush in the mornings, how on earth can I add one more “to do”. But it does sound really special, not something I would do everyday, but a little note here and there might brighten her day. 

So off to the computer I went. Downloading clip art images, writing down cute little sayings, making my husband come up with funny ones and banging away at Photoshop until the wee hours of the night.

Once I had all the cards complete. I secretly put one in her lunchbox. I couldn’t wait to see what her response would be when I picked her up from school. She was so excited about her little special note. She told me that when she thought about me during the day, she would go over and rub her card. I told her every time she rubbed the card; I felt a little tickle in my heart.
by Anita Smiley
Here are some of my other designs
Check back for printable versions

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"My" Nutcracker Dream

My Dream of a Nutcracker Performer

So…I’ve decided to enroll my daughter in theater class, not because I want her to be a professional actress, I just want her to have an enriched childhood.

On the first day of class, the teacher asked that we all join hands. As we walked toward “the circle”, my daughter held tightly to my thigh. So many new faces, she wasn’t sure what to do, “I don’t want to do it” she said. My husband and I looked at each other with a disappointing smile and gently pushed some more.   

After circle time, the teacher kindly escorted us out of the room, pointed out the coffee shop and told us to return in about 50 minutes. I am not sure what happened after that, but when we returned, she was holding the teachers hand and had a big smile on her face.

Okay, I would love to have my daughter perform in the Nutcracker. She and I have had this conversation many times since watching a practice performance at a local college. She now wants to be in the Nutcracker…as the lead ballerina. Uh oh, not sure if that is going to happen at 4 years old, but I give her props for shooting high.

I started doing some research on the effects of theater and education and found some interesting results:
  • Drama improves academic performance.
  • Drama students outperform non-arts peers on SAT (2005 study).
  • The Arts increase student engagement and encourages consistent attendance in school.
  • Drama can play a significant role in the continual development of reading comprehension.
  • Drama builds communication skills and improves self-esteem.
  • Drama helps at bridging the achievement gap by catering to different styles of learning.
So just maybe, theater class will serve a purpose other than my Nutcracker dream.

by Anita Smiley

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Headless Horseman Issue

Halloween Costume Drama

This year I received a lot of Halloween magazines in the mail. Apparently, everyone is now selling children’s costumes, Pottery Barn, Chasing Fire Flies and the many stores that cater to Halloween only.

My daughter loves perusing the magazines. She studies each costume that she likes carefully, sometimes getting into character. There are so many sweet ones, My Little Pony, Butterfly Fairies, even Ariel.

So I was surprised when my girly-girl told me she wanted to be the “Headless Horseman” for Halloween. What? Did I miss something on Nick Jr. or The Hub? I’ve never read this legendary folktale to her. Where did she get this idea?
After a little probing, I found out that she learned of the “Headless Horseman” through a Disney movie (Aladdin) advertisement.

She wants to be the Headless Horseman because it is scary. I asked her where she thought the head might be. She said it was high in a coconut tree, afraid to come down and maybe the Headless Horseman is really a girl.

It took me a few days to get her to understand that this costume might be difficult to navigate, as there is no head. She is now on to Wonder Woman…but she can only be the Wonder Woman that wears the star panties, not the skirt!

by Anita Smiley

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tangled Tea Party

The Tangled Tea Party was great. The girls were happy, the mommies were happy and the birthday girl was thrilled.
(click here to see more pictures)


A yummy chocolate cupcake

October 3rd (the real birthday)
Today we had a small celebration with mom and dad.

More presents from dad