Wednesday, March 30, 2016

An Old Lady Neighbor

"Chloe, it's such a nice spring day. How about I get the bubbles and we play outside after your after-school snack?" Momma said.

I hadn't properly explored outside our new house yet, especially the back yard. "Yes, yes, yes." I dropped my backpack at the front door and started to run to the kitchen.

Momma cleared her throat. "Young lady, is that where this goes?"

"Oops. Sorry." I picked up my school things and carried them to their tote in the kitchen. Momma really was smart about those things. She had put the box in the kitchen which was what she called her domain. Whatever that meant. I just knew the room she could be found in most of the time was the kitchen. She checked my backpack for any notes and left it there so we always knew where to find it in a hurry.

I gobbled down my apple slices, only getting choked a couple of times then gulped the last sip of milk. "I'm ready." I jumped to my feet.

Momma stood at the railing of the deck and blew bubbles out into the back yard. I had only missed two, letting them pop when they hit the grass.

All of the sudden a little breeze caught a group of bubbles and sent them whizzing toward the neighbor's yard. I pushed my legs to run, trying to keep up. I wanted to be ready when the bubbles started falling down to my reach.

"Little girl. Little girl." A voice squeaked out from a patio chair.

"Oh, hello. I'm running after my bubbles." I shielded my eyes from the sun and stared as the soapy circles whipped over the woman's roof. "Aw, there they go. Missed those."

The lady was hunched in a chair with bright green pillows under her and behind her back. She wore a fluffy pink robe. Momma always frowned upon wearing night clothes outside the house.

"My name is Chloe Ann Parker. We are neighbors." I talked a little loud because my grandma had grayish white hair like this lady, and we had to speak in almost a yell for her to hear us.

"No need to scream at me. Have mercy." She smoothed the fur on her robe. "I'm Mrs. Smith, and I don't much like kids." Mrs. Smith mashed her lips together and squinted her eyes. Reminded me of my Aunt Bella when she called my cousins down for doing something bad.

"Nice to meet you. And well, I just love old people."

"Umph." Mrs. Smith crossed her arms over her chest.

A white streak whooshed from behind Mrs. Smith and stopped right in front of me.

"Aw, what a cute little puppy dog." I bent down to pet it. "What's its name?"

"That's Rosy but don't get no ideas about playing with her or nothing."

Mrs. Smith was sounding more like she had missed her nap or was sick. Momma called that a grumpy-bear.

Little Rosy tickled my hand with her tongue. Her knobby tail twitched back and forth.

"Have you made a new friend?" Momma walked up behind me.

"Momma, this is Rosy and that is Mrs. Smith." I pointed at the old woman. "I think she might have missed her nap or maybe she is udder the weather. You know, a grumpy-bear."

Momma smiled. "That's under the weather, dear. And I hope Mrs. Smith isn't ill." Momma tiptoe-walked up to the patio. "Hello, I've been meaning to come over and introduce myself. I'm Charis Parker. My husband is the new pastor over at the Baptist church."

"Yes, yes, that's nice." Mrs. Smith patted her leg. "Rosy, come here."

Rosy turned and looked but stayed put.

"Rosy! Come here, now." Mrs. Smith pushed on the chair arms and stood. She shuffled to her sliding door and cracked it open. "Rosy, dinner."

The little white dog licked my hand once more and then raced inside the house, disappearing in an instant.

"Wow. She is fast." I couldn't believe Rosy's short legs could move so quickly.

Mrs. Smith nodded one big nod. "Good day." She slipped into her house and slammed the door.

Momma grabbed my hand and we started to walk back to our yard.

"I think she's one of those crabby old people."

"Chloe Ann, you shouldn't talk about someone like that."

"Well, she is," I whispered to myself.

Later, when it was already dark, someone rang our doorbell. "Who could that be?" Momma said.

Daddy shrugged and hurried from the den. Me and Momma followed close behind.

As the door swept open, there stood Mrs. Smith, still in her fluffy pink robe. She propped her hands on her hips. "Where is my dog?"

Momma scooted next to Daddy. "Honey, this is our neighbor, Mrs. Smith. Chloe and I met her today." Momma motioned to Mrs. Smith. "Please come in."

"No, thank you. I just want to know if this little girl lured my Rosy over here. I can't find her anywhere." Mrs. Smith glared at me.

I jammed my fists on my waist. "Are you saying I stole your dog?"

"If the shoe fits." When she said the word fits, spit shot out.

I wasn't sure what a shoe had to do with her missing dog, but I was pretty sure she was accusing me of taking Rosy. My ears were getting hot and I gritted my teeth. Just as I started to tell Mrs. Smith how crabby I thought she was, Momma pushed me behind her.

"I can assure you, Mrs. Smith, that Chloe Ann doesn't have your dog. I don't appreciate your accusation. If we should spot little Rosy, we will let you know. Good evening." She shut the door, looked at Daddy, and blew out a big breath.

"Now do you see that she is a crabby old person?" I stomped my foot.

Daddy rubbed his chin. "That's the impression I got."

"Now, you two, we don't know anything about her. She may have a good reason to act that way." Momma led the way back to the den.

"When I act like a grumpy-bear, I get sent to my room with no TV or anything. Mrs. Smith needs a time-out!"


Have you ever had to meet new neighbors? How did you feel? Describe what that time was like.

What are some reasons someone would act like a grumpy-bear like Mrs. Smith? Brainstorm some reasons.

Chloe was accused of taking Rosy. Have you ever been accused of doing something you didn't do? How did you feel?

Make a prediction. What do you think happened to the little dog, Rosy?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Break Antics

I stood back and admired my invention.

"Chloe Ann Parker, what in the world are you doing?" Momma stood at my bedroom door with her hands on her hips and a serious crinkle in her forehead.

"Momma, you're just in time to see me test my zipline with Mr. Moose." I stood on my bed and reached my stuffed moose high. I hung his arm over the cord and gave him a shove. He whooshed down about halfway before stopping. "Aw shucks. I can't seem to get him to zip the rest of the way. But I'm thinking if I try, I can keep myself going."

"Oh no you don't." Momma rushed to the bed and grabbed my arm. "Now get down from there."

"But why? I made sure to tie a good strong knot up around the ceiling fan."

Momma closed her eyes and shook her head. She let out a big breath of air and opened her eyes. "Honey, those strings from the window blinds are not strong enough to hold you. And besides, they aren't made for you to create a zipline."

"It's just that I got a little bored. The more I studied that rope on the window, the more it looked like the ziplines Daddy showed me when we went to the mountains."

Momma smoothed my hair away from my eyes. "Please promise me you won't do that again. You could get hurt."

"Okay. I promise. I'm sorry." I poked my bottom lip out.

"I'm tired of unpacking boxes. How about we make some play dough?"

"The eatable kind?"

"I think I have everything for the edible kind."

"We can have play dough and a snack all at the same time."

"You're right. And Chloe, I'm sorry."

"What are you sorry for, Momma?"

"I need to spend some time with you and not fret about those boxes. And don't forget, Katie is coming Thursday."

I squeezed Momma in a big hug. "I love you."

"I love you too. Let's wash our hands."

"Right." I scrubbed my hands real clean.

Momma opened the cookbook and pointed to the first ingredient. "What do we need first?"

"Peanut butter." I ran to the cabinet and grabbed the jar of peanut butter. I looked at the next thing on the list. "Corn sss..."

"That's a hard word - syrup. Corn syrup. I keep it right here."

I stared at the other two words. "Powdered sugar and powdered milk."

"Very good."

I helped measure and mix. I announced everything to our pretend audience like the lady on the cooking show Momma liked to watch on TV. We put half onto two placemats to play with and left the other half in the bowl to eat later.

Momma made animals out of her dough. I tried real hard to make a giraffe, but his neck just kept flopping down. That made us catch a case of the giggles.

When we could finally calm down, Momma poured two glasses of milk and we pulled off pieces of dough from the bowl and ate them. We left some for Daddy, since he really likes peanut butter.  

Mrs. Potts wasn't the only one like Mary Poppins. I had the bestest mommy in the world.


If you would like to try Chloe's eatable play dough, here's the recipe:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup powdered milk
Mix to a good consistency. May need to add extra sugar. Divide into two parts - some for eating and some for playing.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Like Mary Poppins

Momma picked me up after my second day of school. The principal, Dr. Crum, had been right. I really liked my teacher, Mrs. Potts. In fact, I just loved her.

At supper Daddy asked about my day.

"Well, I have to say that it hasn't turned out stinky at all. I've already made a friend. Her name is Katie. She likes to giggle. She sounds like a little squirrel. And my teacher is like ... she is like Mary Poppins!"

"Practically perfect in every way?" momma asked.

"No, the other ginormous word."

"You mean supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?"

"That's it! That's what she's like. Super - frog - alicious."

Momma nodded. "I'm sure she would be happy to know she's super-frog-alicious."

"Yeah." A yawn slipped out. "I know. I'll make her a picture. Will you help me write the big word on it?"

"Of course. Now finish your supper. You seem a bit tired."

"Today we had PE and recess and I had to use my thinker a lot." I swiped my hand across my forehead. "Whew. Kindergarten can really wear you out sometimes."

Later I slipped into my princess pajamas and climbed into my bed. I sat up, criss cross applesauce. Momma walked in and hung some clean clothes in my closet.

"Momma, did you know that next week is Spring Break?"

Momma sat on the side of my bed. "Yes, Honey."

"Well, I was thinking that maybe my new friend Katie could come over. Do you think you could talk to her momma?"

Momma patted my leg. "I believe I could do that. I'll be helping with your spring activities tomorrow. I think Katie's momma is helping too. I'll try to talk to her."

"Oh, try real hard, Momma.

Momma kissed my forehead. "I will. Now, time to pray and then rest that thinker for tomorrow."


After saying our bedtime prayer, I scooted down under my comforter. I kept thinking and thinking about all of the fun things me and Katie could do when she came over. We could play princesses and camp out in the tent in the living room and bake cookies with Momma and make a craft and go on a mystery adventure in the back yard and ........


Chloe likes her teacher and all that she does for her. She will show Mrs. Potts her appreciation by making her a picture. Is there someone you appreciate? Make that person a picture or write that person a note.

Chloe falls asleep thinking up all the ways she and Katie can have fun during Spring Break. Make a list of fun things you could do during Spring Break.

Check in next week during Spring Break to see what kind of fun Chloe and Katie might have.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Chloe and the Silent H

"Class, we're going to go back to the tables for an activity. I put the name cards out so look for your name, " Mrs. Potts said.

I hopped up from the rug and thought about finding the spot for my backpack. But my tummy still rumbled with those rocks.

My new friend, Katie, waved her hands over her head. "Chloe, I think you're here at my table."

Mrs. Potts had put my name card across from Katie's at a round table. I sat down and studied the sheet in front of me. Digging into my backpack, I pulled out crayons, scissors, and stick glue. Coloring, cutting, and gluing were my favorites. I would do an especially good job and show Mrs. Potts what a good student she had gotten.

The boy on my right side nudged my arm. I knew it was my right side because I was using that hand to color and he almost made me go outside the lines.

I stopped my masterpiece and looked at him. "Please stay on your side. I'm trying to do my best work."

The boy with the black hair tilted his head and stared at me. "That your name?" He pointed to my name card.

"Of course. Chloe Ann Parker."

"Mrs. Potts just taught us about the CH sound. It says 'ch' like choo choo."

"Yes, I know about that."

"Well then why isn't your name chu - loee?"

This boy didn't know as much about letters as I did. "My teacher, Mrs. Johnson, taught me that there are silent letters. The H in my name is a silent letter."

"That's silly."

I scrunched up my face and propped my fists on my hips. "Excuse me?" I glanced at his name card. "So what's your name?"


"You mean bah - buh buh - ee?"

"What?" Bobby's eyes got real big.

I pointed to his name card. "See? There's two B's together." I grinned my biggest grin. "Obviously, you have a silent letter in your name too."

Bobby made a low growling sound in his throat and rolled his eyes.

Too bad for Bobby that I was smarter about letters than he was. But ever since our neighbor at our old house would come home from Kindergarten and tell me what she had learned that day, I wondered if I really needed Kindergarten anyway. I knew all that stuff.

Daddy always said, "There's always something we can learn, Chloe Ann."

Maybe moving to a new school in the middle of the year wasn't too bad an idea after all. Mrs. Potts just might have something I could learn, and Bobby could definitely use my help.

Chloe likes coloring, cutting, and gluing. What is your favorite? Why?

Chloe wants to do her best job for her teacher. Why do you think she wants to do an especially good job for Mrs. Potts? Do you try to do your best when you color, cut, and paste or do any kind of work at school? Why?

Chloe's daddy tells her that there is always something we can learn. We can learn from our parents, teachers, and friends. We can learn things from books we read and shows we might watch on TV. What is something you have learned today? Think hard.

Be on the look-out everyday for what you can learn that day. Make a list of things you would like to learn about. Ask your parents or teacher to help you find a book on one of your topics.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Adventures of Chloe Ann Parker

Once a week you can read about the life of Chloe Ann Parker. Please subscribe through your email, so you won't miss any of her story. At the end of the section there will be some questions that parents can discuss to encourage comprehension and extension.

My name is Chloe Ann Parker. I have a momma and a daddy. My daddy is a preacher, and it’s his fault we have to move. I told my momma it stinks that I have to start a new school in the middle of the year. I didn’t think that was even legal.
My eyes leaked a little when I told my friend, Sabrina, goodbye. Momma said I’ll make new friends.
I looked in the mirror. My new pink dress was beautiful, but I still felt grumpy. I stuck my tongue out, and a little giggle squeaked out.
“Chloe, time to go.”
Oh, no.
My feet moved slowly down the hallway.
“Come on. You don’t want to be late.”
“Momma, my tummy feels funny. Maybe I shouldn’t go today.”
“Honey, you just have butterflies in your stomach.”
“What?” I grabbed my belly. “I have bugs inside me?”
“No, no.” Momma patted my shoulder. “It’s just an expression because that nervous feeling is like fluttery wings in your belly.”
“Nope. I don’t have butterflies. More like rocks.”
Momma smiled. “You’ll be okay. There’s no reason to be nervous.”
“But what if I puke like that time I sang in front of church?”
“Just take a deep breath. Here’s your backpack.”
I dragged my backpack by one strap to the car. After I buckled my seatbelt, I crossed my arms real tight over my chest. “If I do feel sick, what should I do? I mean, I don’t want to puke on my new teacher.”
Momma shrugged and shook her head. “Use your backpack.”
We were at the school lickety-splick. That means really fast. I didn’t put my backpack on my back since I still wasn’t sure I wouldn’t have to use it for something other than my school supplies. I tried very hard to think about anything else. But my brain thought about Sabrina back at my old school. That made my shoulders droopy.
The front door of the school buzzed and clicked. Momma pulled it open and grabbed my hand, pulling me inside. “We have to go to the office first.”
I squeezed momma’s hand a little tighter. In the office were three desks with a lady sitting at each one.
Another lady with brown hair, a dress, and spiky heel shoes smiled at us. “Welcome to our school. This must be Chloe. I’m Dr. Crum, the principal. Let me show you to Mrs. Potts’ room.”
“Chloe is a bit nervous about starting school in a new place.” Momma winked at me.
Dr. Crum stopped and looked at me. “Starting school in a new place can be hard, but you’re going to really like Mrs. Potts. I just know it.” She started walking again.
The principal stepped into a room and momma followed. I let go of her hand and stood with my toes in the classroom but my heels still in the hallway. A group of boys and girls were sitting on a rug. All of their eyes stared at me. Those rocks in my stomach rolled around.
“This is Chloe. She will be in your class now.” Dr. Crum glanced at me. “This is Mrs. Potts, your teacher.”
A lady with dark hair knelt in front of me. Her skirt looked like it would be good for twirling around. “I’m so glad you’re joining our class. Let me show you where to put your backpack.”
I pulled my backpack closer. “You might want me to keep it for a while. Momma said if I need to puke, I could use it.” I looked up at momma and did my show-my-teeth grin.
Momma smiled just a half of a smile and her face turned a little red. I wonder if she has rocks rolling in her stomach?
The kids giggled and snickered. A girl with curly black hair and a little pink bow motioned with her finger and patted the floor beside her.
I stepped one foot all the way in and then the other. I inched a little closer to the rug. My throat felt lumpy and I swallowed.
“Chloe, why don’t you sit next to Katie,” Mrs. Potts said.
I scooted in beside the girl and she cupped her hand next to her mouth. “Your dress is pretty.” She used a whisper voice.
I whispered back. “I like your bow.” I was pretty sure I wouldn’t need to puke into my backpack, but I kept it with me just in case.

Have you ever had to go to a new school? How did you feel?

Have you ever felt nervous? How would you describe that feeling? 

Do you think Chloe will like her new school? Why or why not?

On a piece of paper write down how you would make Chloe feel better about coming into a new class. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

After the Book Launch is Over

Wednesday was the fabulous book launch for my third grade writing peeps.

Their desks were arranged in a u-shape, draped with a plastic table cloth. Each student had made a nice large name card - quite decorative, I might add. Each author displayed his book next to his name plate. They each had a pen poised to sign the special cards we had made for the guests.

After the autographs, there were cookies and punch for celebrating.

When all the guests had left, I read Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess. I then told the kids there was a big reason I had read that to them. I asked this question: "After I do a book launch, do you know what I do the next day?"

Some of them shrugged their shoulders and others tried to offer ideas.

"The next day after celebrating, I sit down at my desk and I start writing another book."

One girl said, "So that's what we can do too, right?"

"Exactly," I said. "I'll be back next week to start on a new writing adventure. What do you think?"

The excitement glinting from their eyes hinted to me that they're ready to go.

Just a hint: We're going to dissect sentences and make a crazy flip book.