Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yes, I Can Be Bought!

It's no secret. Anyone who knows me knows I love Skittles. My family, my friends, my co-workers and everyone who attends my training classes. Especially those in my training classes.

You see, in order to promote classroom participation, I tell them that I am willing to add time to their breaks and lunches/dinners. If they don't want to participate to earn the additional break time, I tell them that I can also be bought. With Skittles. It's mostly a joke, as the class does laugh, and the ice is broken at that point.

In each class I usually get a small vending machine bag or movie box sized Skittles. Most of the time the bribes are anonymously left at the instructor position.

This morning I arrived to class and squealed in absolute delight when I saw this. A full sized bag of pastel colored Skittles! Pastel. Colored. Skittles. I would have given the class half a day off, if I could have!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cade and His Classmates Did It!

Remember this post?

Forsyth County students set Zumbatomic world record
UPDATED 3:45 PM EST Feb 26, 2013

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A group of exercising Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school students now owns a Guinness World Record.

More than 1,100 fourth- and fifth-grade students set a record Feb. 1 as the largest Zumbatomic class in a single venue. Zumbatomic is a version of Zumba meant for children under 15.

The students completed a 30-minute class featuring two certified instructors and dozens of helpers. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines also participated in the class.

The record was part of a month-long challenge to get students at 19 schools to move at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, as well as perform one nutritional practice each day this month.

The previous record was a class of 383 children in a Texas class last year.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cade had to write a story and provide artwork. Here's what he turned in, A Snowman Story.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

From Today's Journal

Bill would require teaching cursive writing
David Rolfe/Journal
A second-grade student at Jefferson Elementary School in Winston-Salem practices cursive handwriting.

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013 8:45 pm
Updated: 8:58 pm, Sat Feb 23, 2013.
Associated Press

In the age of texting, tweeting and other technological ways of communicating, North Carolina’s elementary school students could soon have to master a more old-fashioned craft: writing in cursive.

A bill introduced in the state House this week would once again make cursive handwriting a part of the curriculum in state elementary schools.

The “Back to Basics” bill also would require elementary students to memorize multiplication tables, though state education officials say that’s already part of the curriculum.

North Carolina’s move to bring back cursive comes at a time when other states from California to Massachusetts also are trying to revive what’s become a lost skill.

“Every child should know cursive,” said state Rep. Pat Hurley, an Asheboro Republican and a primary sponsor of the bill. “Our children can’t write a simple sentence. They think printing their name is their signature.”

But others see teaching cursive as a waste of time. James Cunningham, a retired UNC-Chapel Hill professor and former director of literary studies, said teaching manuscript — or print — handwriting make more sense for the modern world.

“The research says that adults who write manuscript, they write just as quickly as adults who write everything in cursive, but it’s more legible,” Cunningham said. “It’s just a simple matter that there aren’t any advantages to cursive handwriting.”

Hurley disagrees. She said learning cursive helps children with their brain development and motor skills. And she thinks it aids students in reading documents such as the Declaration of Independence or simply letters from an older relative.

State Rep. Chris Malone, one of the bill’s sponsors, said teaching cursive makes students more well-rounded, both in terms of disciplining them to learn it and in helping them express their creative side.

“It lends to our humanity to know cursive,” said Malone, a Wake Forest Republican who was a Wake County school board member until January.

Traditionalists have bemoaned how cursive has been getting less attention in North Carolina public schools for years, even though it was officially part of the curriculum in grades 3 through 5.

But this school year, cursive supporters became more upset when North Carolina became one of 45 states to implement the “Common Core” standards in language arts and mathematics. Common Core — aimed at providing uniformity in what’s being taught in classrooms nationally — doesn’t mention cursive.

The elimination of cursive as a part of North Carolina’s curriculum made the front page of The Wall Street Journal last month.

Maria Pitre-Martin, director of K-12 curriculum and technology for the state Department of Public Instruction, said Common Core doesn’t explicitly prevent schools from teaching cursive. But she said the state doesn’t know how many school districts still teach the skill.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported in December that the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system has no written policy requiring cursive instruction, according to Jane Costello, the school system’s program manager for English and language instruction in K-12. Some teachers instruct children in cursive and some don’t.

The backlash over the lack of cursive in Common Core has resulted in California, Georgia and Massachusetts reinstituting cursive as a requirement. Such legislation is being considered in Indiana and Idaho.

Hurley’s bill, which would go into effect next fall if approved, says that public schools should be required “to provide instruction in cursive writing so that students create readable documents through legible cursive handwriting by the end of fifth grade.”

“It’s not going to be inappropriate for students to learn something we learned, and be able to stay connected with their grandparents,” Hurley said, adding that she became interested in writing the bill after noticing that all the letters she got from children were written in manuscript.

But Cunningham, the retired professor, said lawmakers should be “spending their time on something that really matters” instead of requiring cursive.

“I think manuscript handwriting is superior as a system for teaching children because then the letters they write look more like letters in books that they learn to read,” he said. “If you pick up a book to try to read it, it is almost never written in anything vaguely similar to cursive handwriting.”
I found this article to be very interesting. Sam was taught cursive (though it wasn't called "cursive" in school, it was "handwriting.") and so was Cade. Sam's cursive is teeny tiny and barely legible. I wish he'd print more so I could read it easier! Cade rarely writes in cursive. My own handwriting, including my signature, is a combination of cursive and printed letters. Before reading the article I agreed with Cunningham. I don't think there is any real merit in teaching cursive writing. I disagree with Malone in that I don't think knowing cursive writing "lends to our humanity," but I do understand the importance of reading historical documents.

Still, I'm not sold on this bill. What do you think?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

23 Adult Truths

I saw this on Facebook recently...
  1. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
  3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  4. There is a great need for a sarcasm font.
  5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
  7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind-of tired.
  10. Bad decision make good stories.
  11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
  12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue-Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
  13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
  14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
  15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
  16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.
  17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
  18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
  19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
  20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. 
  21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
  22. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the  snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.
  23. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Last Night's Feature

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a powerful psychological thriller starring Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unraveling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha's reality and delusion begins to blur. -- (C) Fox Searchlight

I saw the previews for this movie early last year and immediately added it to my Netflix queue. Cult movies have always fascinated me and the preview really drew me in.

While I do agree that Elizabeth Olsen gave a very good performance, this movie is not a “powerful psychological thriller” and there was no “rapidly unraveling.” It was a rather boring story, at times extremely tedious, with a very abrupt ending.

I found it laughable that Marcy May would happily prepare a drugged drink for the new recruit’s “special night” with the leader, participate in several home invasions and then “unravel” at seeing a man stabbed (all assume to death). The cult allows Marcy May to leave and up until the (possible) murder Marcy May is content.

The filming is beautiful and simple. Still, I was disappointed as I was hoping for something more meaty.

Friday, February 15, 2013

I Am Loved

I had a very nice Valentine’s Day yesterday.

I was surprised by a flower delivery at work.
(I love the red vase!)

After work I came home to a very nice dinner: salad, french bread, raviolis (not the Chef Boyardee kind!), a glass of my favorite white wine. Pink, white and red cupcakes for dessert. So delish!

After dinner I opened a box carefully wrapped in heart studded paper. I squealed in delight opening each of these little cuties. It’s the Bunny Cupcake Stand and Bunny Egg Cup I wanted from Pottery Barn. I will be using these on my dresser as display pieces for all my Sabika jewelry.

Cade was equally happy with his Valentine’s Days gifts. He got the Hotel Transylvania DVD, a Hot wheels car and two Pilot G2 Gel pens. 

All in all it was a very nice Valentine’s Day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Official!

The New American Is Arriving

We are pleased to announce that American Airlines and US Airways will combine to create a premier global airline. Our combined airline joins two highly complementary networks with access to the best destinations around the globe – offering you increased choices, improved efficiency and better options to explore the globe with our oneworld® Alliance.

The combined company will retain the iconic American Airlines brand name, and will provide you with more choices and better service throughout the world. The combined company will be headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth and will maintain a significant corporate, operational and hub presence in Phoenix.

I invite you to learn more about the American Airlines-US Airways merger and its many benefits by exploring this section of our website. For additional information, you can also visit

Thank you for your business and your support – we look forward to continuing to serve you on US Airways and on the new American Airlines.


Doug Parker
Chairman and CEO, US Airways
The New American Is Arriving

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I received my catalogs in the mail today. I AM SO EXCITED! Oh. My. Goodness. I have spent an hour pouring over the new items. I am salivating over two particular trays. I cannot wait for my party on Monday so I can try on the bracelets and chokers.

Art Hearts

Cade made this in Art today. Perfect for Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I'm Hosting a Sabika Party!

Sabika’s NEW Spring/Summer Collection, plus select items from the Classics Collection will be there to see and try on!Also, remaining items from Fall/Winter ’12 will be available.

This is your first chance to see Sabika’s NEW Spring/Summer Collection in person!

Come take advantage of February’s Specials.Buy one item at full price ($69 or more) and receive 5 Fall/Winter items at 50% off!

Enter to win a pair of Strength Vienna Earrings!
  1. Wear Sabika jewelry to the party – 1 ticket
  2. Arrive by 5:15 p.m. – 1 ticket
  3. Bring a friend – 2 tickets
  4. Place a jewelry order – 1 tickets
  5. Bring an outside order – 2 tickets (for each order)
  6. Book a show – 5 tickets

Thursday, February 07, 2013

US Airways, American Airlines Close To Merger Deal

A new American Airlines 737-800 aircraft featuring a new paint job with the company's new logo sits at a gate at O'Hare Airport on Jan. 29, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

US Airways and AMR, the parent of American Airlines, are close to reaching a merger agreement, in a deal that would create the world's largest airline, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The deal is close to being complete, CNBC learned, but an announcement of the deal could come in the next couple of weeks.

People close to the discussions said an all-stock deal between the air carriers would be executed as a reorganization plan that takes AMR out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The combined company would be worth more than $10 billion.

Under the deal, American creditors would own about 72 percent of the airline and US Airways shareholders would own about 28 percent, according to people with knowledge of the deal.

The air carriers' unions have already approved the specifics of the deal, sources said. But the transaction is still awaiting the finalization of certain financial deals and approvals from creditors.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Tonight's Feature

I guess Cade had a good time watching a movie with me last night that tonight he simply asked what we were going to watch. He was a bit disappointed that Hotel Translyvania wasn't on Netflix yet. He was ready to watch Rango again but then we saw The Lorax was available, so we settled on that.

It's a very cute story. Boy likes Girl. Girl would do anything to see a tree. Boy leaves the safe city to go find a recluse who knows about trees. In the flashback story there were cute cuddly bears and singing and dancing fish that made Cade and I laugh. Once the flashback story caught up to the present day, Cade's attention waned a little. A little chase and a musical number reeled him back in.

I think we both liked last night's feature better, but this was thoroughly enjoyable and colorful.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Tonight's Feature

When your 10-year little boy asks if you want to watch a movie with him, you immediately drop everything and excitedly reply, "Yes!" It doesn't really matter the movie. Singing chipmunks, racing cars, talking dogs, escaping hamsters, etc. It's about the time spent sitting side by side on the couch.

Tonight's movie was actually a very good one; and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Faraway adventure, pirates, ships, boats, planes, cars, motorcycle, lost treasure, intrique, and a cute little dog called Snowy.

The animation is absoultely astounding. I was amazed at the level of emotion in the characters.

If you haven't had a chance to see it, I highly encourage you to rent it or watch via Netflix. And if your son (or daughter!) asks if you want to watch, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

This Afternoon's Feature

Just finished watching this on Netflix and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the spectacle of the movie - Julia Roberts' dresses, the costume ball, the pre-wedding ice skating festivities. I also loved the dwarfs and the plucky Lily Collins as Snow White.

Overall a very cute movie with a very happy ending. Make sure to continue watching the credits. There's a little musical number that sure to make you smile.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Cade's School Participated

Forsyth County students attempt to dance into record book with Zumba
Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 7:53 pm | Updated: 12:39 am, Sat Feb 2, 2013.
Arika Herron/Winston-Salem Journal
Nearly 1,200 area students attempted Friday to shake, shimmy and shuffle their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students from six Winston-Salem/Forsyth County elementary schools took part in what was billed as the world’s largest Zumbatomic class – an aerobic program for children under the age of 15 – at the Benton Convention Center Friday morning to kick off the Go Red and Get moving initiative.

Go Red and Get Moving is designed to get children active and healthy and raise awareness of heart disease during the month of February.

Event coordinator Cheryl Lindsay said the event had three goals: break the world record for largest Zumbatomic class, start the Go Red and Get Moving campaign and teach kids about making healthy choices. It’s a lesson Lindsay said she hopes the students will adopt now and continue a lifetime.

“It’s something that contagious,” Lindsay said. “So it’s important to get people started early.”

Mayor Allen Joines joined the 1,121 students and their teachers for the 30-minute dance workout. As dance music blared, students followed choreographed routines performed by instructors on stage.

“It was really fun,” said Cecilia Beck, 9, a fourth-grader at Kernersville Elementary. “I’ve never done this before, so it was a new experience for me. I loved it.”

She wasn’t alone. At the end of the 30-minute session, students showed their enthusiasm with hugs, cheers and high fives. Many kept dancing to the music and rushed to the center of the floor for the finale balloon drop.
“Keep moving,” encouraged Forsyth County District Judge Denise Hartsfield.

Keeping the kids moving for the rest of the month will be the focus now. The six schools that participated Friday - Cash, Diggs-Latham, Kernersville, Lewisville, Sherwood Forest and Meadowlark elementary schools – are just a few of the 20 schools that will participate in the Go Red and Get Moving campaign for the next month.

Students who participate commit to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week and adopt one new healthy habit for the month of February. Students have been encouraged to set goals such as drinking more water, getting more sleep and eating more fruits and vegetables.

“I’m going to play and exercise and eat healthy food,” said Jaemarius Harper, 9, a fourth-grader at Kernersville Elementary.

Lexi Lovelace, 9, a fourth-grader at Lewisville Elementary, had a different idea.

“I’m going to drink tons of water,” she said, raising a half-empty water bottle.

Those are all good ideas that school administrators hope last longer than just the next 28 days.

Go Red and Get Moving is a way to keep health top of mind for students even after the challenge is over. Nancy Sutton, health and physical education specialist for the school system, said lifestyles today make it harder for students to be healthy. It’s never been more important to instill the importance of making healthy choices, she said.

“We’ve got a lot of things to fight,” Sutton said. “The younger you’re practicing healthy habits, the more likely those will carry into adulthood.”

The official designation of the world record attempted Friday should be announced in the next few weeks. The previous record for the largest Zumbatomic class was 383 participants, set in April 2012.

Musings of a (Bored) Boy

I am goofing off........ well here's my story Just eating at Nacho Daddy's . I'm finished with the cheese Roll over. It is very good but sits as it is a lead ballon In my gut. We got a huge boat in our driveway that looks like a tower against the 4 runner. It is pulled by a huge 2500 Dodge truck. But looks like we are going to talk about different things right now , MAYBE!!!! So we are talking about different things and counting! Standing outside by myself all alone. Well were in the car going to Target to get things maybe. Well my hope didn't come true so now I'm not so happy right now because we had to put back everything in our cart. And one was my Hot wheels and also my Legos I'm mad right now or not that happy so that is bogus stuff right there in Target. But at least we're on our way to our house to see my dog Commander. Maybe he's eating his bone! Well he was eating the bone. So today me and the daddy are hanging out downstairs watching TV and its commercials, darn! Well we're headed to theater alliance to work box office. Well my friend Chad is her because my mom is at work and so is daddy so that is why he is here right now. And we are going to the golf tournament today. Well the golf tournament wasn't in store for today so well we didn't do the tournament. But one good thing is I get to see my sister tomorrow so that's good. We're in he car right now and hopefully we make it to New Jersey and we think we're going to make it and well to tell you the truth I think we yeah we are in the car in Virginia so were half way to New Jersey. But jeez I mean it's a long darn way to our destination. It was a good trip to New Jersey because we got to see Sam. So now were on our way to Charlotte for a wedding. Of course I have to be a Jr. Groomsmen. I'm not happy because I look so stupid in the tux that I'm in.

Update: This was written by Cade on his Kindle during the course of 2012. 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Saw this on Sam's tumblr and decided to copy the picture here. I've been trying to explain this very thing, and the picture does it so simply.

I am very proud for not being the mother standing behind this daughter. Instead, I am a mother standing behind her son; the one in front of her and the one reflected in the mirror.

2013 Goals - 1st Month Update

See a minimum of 5 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows in NYC
- So many shows I want to see, but nothing planned. Maybe April or May...

Read 65 books for my Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge
- I've read 12 books toward my goal: Peter and the Star Catcher,  Milk Like Sugar, Maple and Vine, Love, Loss and What I Wore, God of Carnage, Marbles, Gone Girl, The Vow,; Where We Belong, Letters from My Sister: On Love Life and Hair Removal, The Book of Mormon: The Complete Book and Lyrics of the Broadway Musical and Children of the Fog
- Loved, loved. loved Peter and the Star Catcher, The Book of Mormon and really liked Children of the Fog
- I did not like The Vow at all.
- Gone Girl was thrilling and creepy and creepy...

Read a minimum of 9 books off the BBC Reading List
- I need a new book starting today, so perhaps I'll chose one of this list. We'll see...

Increase my daily steps at work to an average of 3,000
- I didn't hit this goal at all in January. I had two big projects to work on which meant a more sedintary work focus. Hopefully I'll do better for February.

1.The Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA
- Tentatively scheduled to see I'll Never Be Hungry Again on March 2.

2.The Moulin Rouge in Paris, France
- Tentatively scheduled May 11-18, just not sure of the actual date.

3.Walt Disney World or Disneyland
- Maybe EuroDisney?!?!?!?

4.Boston, MA
- Nothing planned.

5.Pittsburgh, PA
- It's been discussed but nothing planned.