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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Star Thrower

I haven't blogged for a long time. Five months -that long! Reason? After 9 years, I moved to a new work place. The bomb? After 21 long years, I moved from teaching Kindergarten to teach second  grade. Sounds easy huh, but it's not. The way education works now is so much different from the way it use to when I started 20-something years ago. So, yes, it is whats keeping me busy these days.

I like the move. Starting with a clean slate (translation: clean classroom, empty closet -hahaha. Free from accumulated junk!) Fresh ideas, new friends and lots of challenges. Busy, yes, as it always is when something is new. But things are getting better and am learning a lot.

Time is speeding by so fast. Our school has just completed the first of our four-grading periods and I realized I haven't even written a thing about this new chapter in my career/ life (these two are inseparable!)

Before school officially opened, our principal gave us a dainty starfish key chain accompanied by a colorful hand out about the inspirational story of the Star Thrower. I just thought I'd log it here to mark this beautiful beginning  at this new school.

Here is the starfish that our principal gave us. I took out the key chain ring and made a pendant out of the starfish. I wear my starfish necklace every day to remind myself that each day is a new opportunity to make a difference

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley 1907 - 1977

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." 

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

There is something very special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our visions the power to shape the future.

We must each find our starfish. And if we throw our stars wisely and well, the world will be blessed.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Newport Beach

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Newport Beach for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of the many perks of being a teacher is having a long two-month vacation, and ours start on the first week of June! Woohoo! My two girls can’t wait to hit the road for a long-awaited summer get-away! By the mention of summer, the beach is the first thing that comes to our mind!

 Like us, you’re probably in search of a getaway destination that will exceed your vacation expectations. In search of pristine waters, unparalleled views, family outings that are fun for all and a resort that renders a relaxing environment?  Newport Beach boasts an ambiance where “SoCal sophistication” meets “laid back beach town.” This balanced beach destination provides the most rewarding experience for the family in search of a carefree vacation spot.

Feel like a local in this idyllic seaside destination that is widely celebrated for its natural beauty and vibrant yachting community. Enjoy the views alongside stylish accommodations, eclectic coastal cuisine and upscale shopping.Your family will feel right at home in the quaint city of Newport Beach.

The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach hotel currently has promotion for families: Buy one room at full price, receive a connecting room for kids 18 and under at 50% off. The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is a resort-style bayside destination on 26 acres and boasts 3-pools and whirlpools, shuffle board, ping pong, a 9-hole, par-3 golf course. Call 800-233-1234 and mention the Family Plan to book today!
What are your favorite beach activities? Watching the sunset, riding beach cruisers, having a picnic, beach volleyball.. Which do you think your family would love to try at Newport Beach?

Visit the website now and check out the kids summer camps: from sailing to surfing to Star Wars and Harry Potter, the city of Newport Beach offers hundreds of camps for kids ages three and up. Which activities would your kids love to experience this summer?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Yam's Bedroom

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Leviton for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

This summer, one of the items in the long to-do list  is Yam's room. It's about time we  redo her  room. She has outgrown the butterflies in her bed sheets and the flowers on her walls. We are thinking of repainting the walls from pink to red/orange. She wants something bold and bright.

She wants to do most of the things herself -pretty much how she and her sisters did with her room the first time they painted and decorated it. Like last time, we  guide her in making decisions, but we step aside when it comes to the hands-on task, so she can fully experience most the job. She wants to change almost everything including the old butterfly  light switch has to go.

As early as now, Yam has been excitedly checking stuff online. She enjoys  browsing around for little things like  curtains, pillows and pillow cases and such. She discovered several notable sites. One of which is   Renu

Renu<sup>®</sup> > Brands > Solutions from Leviton Web Site

As seen on the DIY Network, Leviton’s newest product: Renu® is the smart new way to update the look of a room in a snap, now and later.

If decorating is your passion, you’ll love Renu®! The Renu® collection includes: -Switches -Combination switches   - wall plates  -   dimmers  -Tamper Resistant Outlets -Tamper Resistant GFCI Outlets -QuickPort Connectors. All of which have faces you can update yourself whenever you’re ready for a new look. Available in 20 popular paint colors, Renu® products can blend in or contrast with a room’s walls or trim. Renu® turns the electrical device into a decorative, easy to change accessory. When only the perfect color will do, Renu®!

Leviton Image.png

Lastly, Leviton is hosting a twitter event on May 2nd at 9pm EST. By participating, you'll get the chance to win 2 sets of Broadway tickets as a grand prize for the twitter!

Join in on the fun and see if you'll win! Just follow @Leviton and #Renu for the twitter events and you can have possibly win some Home Depot gift cards!  Don't forget to follow Leviton on Facebook

We can't wait for summer break to start so we can begin decorating Yam's room. The countdown begins!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mother's Day Special

Don't be caught in a rush, shop now for your Mother's Day gift. 
Enjoy 10% OFF until May 15, 2012 with Coupon Code: mom2012 .

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garden Talk - Planting Mix

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Recently, I posted about our small Veggie Garden -it is looking luscious and abundant. But last year was a different story. Drought hit Texas so bad, we lost several of our most cherished plants during that summer and even beyond. On top of the drought (or because of it) our community reduced watering time to two days a week -that hardly counts in Texas -never mind the drought- geez! If you've experienced summer in Texas, you would know what I mean. Twice-a-day-watering in Texas is like a drop of water in a heated pan -it's gone before it touches the surface.

Our yard is still smarting from that blow and already summer is around the corner. We're still apprehensive. We are not taking our chances this summer. We need a good planting mix -one that can hold more water that basic potting soil. After seaching in the local garden centers, we found  Miracle-Gro® Expand ‘n Gro™ Concentrated Planting Mix.Up to 3X the flowers and vegetables versus native soil. Significantly improves soil for multiple years.Concentrated planting mix expands up to 3X when water is added. Feeds for up to 6 months. And most of all, all natural fibers hold up to 50% more water than basic potting soil. Our serch is over! This is what we're looking for. We'd rather invest in good planting mix than mulch!

EnG Product Shot.png 

We can't wait to try our free give-away Expand 'n Gro(TM) and get our plants big and beautiful! Whether they're in the ground or in pots, we'll use Expand 'n Gro to be sure our plants get the best!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Veggie Garden in a Container

Container Gardening Part 1 : Banana Peppers
Miriam's Container Garden!

Spring is here and what do you know... the Garden Centers around the area are selling all sorts of tempting plants and gardening stuff! But hey, it's cheaper to buy a pack of seeds. Check out Yam's Banana Peppers.

My 11-year-old niece, Miriam, and her container garden - Banana peppers.

We thought they were full grown at 6-7 inches. . . 

Yam harvested them to use them for Dadads's dish - "Dinuguan" (blood stew)

Don't they look huge? 

But the ones that we did not harvest grew bigger! Turned out, the ones Yam harvested are still babies.

See how much they've grown... see how healthy and robust they have become. 

And they keep growing! Who would have guessed they have always been planted in a small rectangular pot since they were seedlings?

 After a few more weeks, I harvested some more.. and they were this big already!

The ones that we left on the mother plant, surprisingly,  turned red.

Here's a days harvest. Looking good huh.

Gardening doesn't always have to be  on the ground. Container gardening has its benefits too. For small yard and tight spaces, container gardening is the best option. 

Here are some things to remember about container gardening. Make sure you choose a sturdy container that can hold the pressure of your plant's growing roots. Check and make sure it has good drainage -roots become weak and rot when they are soaked for a long time. See to it that you situate your container in a spot where your plants get at least 6 hours of full sun exposure. Make it a point to invest in good potting soil, complete with the necessary nutrients - that are supposedly readily available to ground-based plants, to sustain your thriving plants. Periodically check for bugs and other pests.  Remember to pressure-wash the leaves and stems of the plants to keep it clean and pest-free. However, water moderately on the base of the plant. Unlike ground plants, your container will hold water and might overly soak the roots of your veggies. Plants hate "wet feet"  this can cause root rot and can kill your plant.

Stay tuned for  more container gardening tips and photos.
Happy Gardening Everyone!

Jenny Matlock hosts this cool meme! Thanks, Jenn! It's been awhile..
Jenny Matlock

Sunday, March 11, 2012

St Patrick's Day Is Here!

It's not too late to shop for St Patrick's Day! Place your order now and enjoy expedited shipping at NO extra cost!

Science Fair Project for Fifth and Fourth Graders

Here's a Science Fair Project that my fifth grade niece performed.  The materials are easily available and not at all difficult to find. The experiment is exciting and interesting, not to mention easy. So easy that she was able to share the trick with a lot of her friends and classmates and they were able to perform the experiment a couple more times long after the Science fair was over.

baking soda, balloon, water, vinegar, funnel

With a marker, draw a line on the narrow-mouth bottle to indicate an inch and another inch on top of the first.

Label the lines with WATER on top, and VINEGAR on the bottom.
Pour vinegar all the way to the first line.

Then add water until it reach the second line.

Your concoction should look something like this.

Now fill one-half of a deflated balloon with  BAKING SODA 

Without spilling the baking soda, stretch the opening of the balloon on the mouth of the narrow-necked bottle. 

When balloon is securely attached to the opening of the bottle, release the baking soda inside the bottle

Watch as the mixture slowly inflates the balloon

See the powerful reaction when you mix water, vinegar and baking soda.

Baking soda particles settle in the mouth of the bottle

Amazing huh! Now, it's your turn to try it!

Good luck and Keep safe!

Working from Home

Thanks for the article from Jermaine Haynes

My uncle has worked for a major company for many years and had a pretty high level position. When the economy started going bad, his company gave him the option to retire early with a pretty good pension. My uncle decided to take the offer and retire early. He thought it would be better to go ahead and do that now than wait around and see if he might get laid off with downsizing later. He decided to open his own consulting business and work out of his house in Rockford, Illinois. My aunt decided to quit her job and work with his as his assistant. His business has become pretty productive, and now he had to hire a couple more people to keep up with everything. This involved having to purchase a lot of expensive computer equipment that he kept in his house. Once he bought the equipment, he had to get a security system from ADT Security Rockford because he did not want to risk someone breaking in and stealing everything that he had invested so much money into. I am considering going to work for him because he has made me an offer that I don’t think I can refuse. My kids are in school now, and we could certainly use the extra money.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Extreme Couponing

Written by Fermin Washington

I have been watching this new show on TLC called “Extreme Couponers” on Directv Tulsa. It is amazing to me how much money these people can save by strategically using coupons. There was a lady on the last episode that would have spend thirteen hundred dollars, but only had to spend sixty dollars because she had so many coupons. Most of the people on the show have what they call a stock pile of all of the extra stuff they buy. They have pretty much a lifetime supply of deodorant, toothpaste, paper towels, diapers, and cereal. They spend days gathering all of their coupons, spend a whole day shopping, and then another whole day organizing everything they bought. I do not know if they will ever use all of the stuff they buy. Some people donate the extra supplies to charity or churches. I think it is fascinating that they are able to save so much money, but I do not think that I would have the patience or the time to be an “extreme couponer.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Calgary Apartments

Looking for apartment or house for rent in Calgary? Look no more with  Calgary apartments for rent.

My co-teachers, Purva and Preti  both have Canadian residency even while they work in America.  They cannot make up their minds where to live permanently. When they left the country –India- they decided to apply residency in Canada because they like the privileges accorded to Canadian citizens, esp. the medical benefits. But a job opportunity in the US was available, so they moved to the US and retained the residency in Canada. A common friend of ours, Deepa, decided to push through with the citizenship in Canada and left US. She and her family moved to Calgary and have found a delightful house for rent.

I spoke to her some time back and she said they have no regrets in moving to Calgary. They opted to live in the city (instead of the rural areas) and enjoy the amenities offered by a typical metropolis.   They can't help but talk about this move. Their living a good life -what  with low cost of living, low crime rate, job opportunities and most of all, A+ medical benefit. They did not even have to wait long to find some apartments for rent. All they have to do is rely on an online locator and several options were presented to them –apartment, loft, condo, house. These made things easier. It even saved them time and effort to shop on wheels.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Support Walgreens

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


My carpool friend’s eight year-old son has to be rushed to the hospital every time he has asthma attacks. It has been difficult to know when the attacks will happen. Most often than not when my friend and her husband sense that their son might have an episode (especially on weekends when the doctors might not be available)  they call up Walgreens right away for Apoorv’s asthma meds. In minutes, the meds are ready for pick up. Walgreens has always been everybody’s friendly community pharmacy.


But recently, Poorva told me that it isn’t the case with Walgreens anymore because Walgreens and Express Scripts contract expired on December 31, 2011.  This is a sad loss for my friend and her family. Now instead of just calling for Apoorv’s meds, they need to drive farther to buy the meds, not to mention the inconvenience of battling with the hectic rush hour traffic just to get to the pharmacy in time as oppose to Walgreens 24 hours pharmacy.


To help ease their customer’s burden, Walgreens is  offering a special discount on annual membership for its  Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens. For $10 a year, a family membership covers everyone in your immediate family, including a spouse, dependents 22 and younger and pets. Individuals may join for $5. Join and receive discount prices on your prescriptions. 


Other benefits include: Savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and all generic medications, discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers and diabetic supplies 
Bonuses when you purchase Walgreens brand products and photofinishing services.


Support Walgreens and stay updated by liking  Walgreens on Facebook   and following  Walgreens on Twitter - Twitter @Walgreens. 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Houston Morning

Early morning drive, Houston

The sun's claws reach out and spread  beautifully as our part of the planet rotate to face it's blazing splendor.

Being a Texan

Authored by Rickey Combs

Being a Texan all my life meant I knew I was going to stay here. After college I didn’t even entertain the idea of moving anywhere else so I landed a great job just a few hours from my parent’s house. I love being self sufficient and finding out things like texas electricity providers in Spearman on my own – it’s nice not to have to ask dad for everything. I love it here and I feel really connected to this state and I’ve got big plans for this little job. Once I get good at sales I’m planning on branching off and starting my own consulting company and I know it could work because I’ve been doing market research practically my whole life. I love being in a place I love and I know that no matter how great the job offer was I would have hated living somewhere like New York City. It’s important to me to be close to family and In a place with good weather!

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