January 3rd, 2015

New Year’s Day was bitter cold out, too cold to ice skate, or to go sledding, or even take a short walk. School was closed. So any “Can Do”who could catch a ride was welcome for a play date at Orrie’s house.

Grandpa John and Grandma Maureen had come by to help Orrie’s mom with table games and serving snacks. Willie asked, “Grandpa John why do adults make New Year’s Resolutions”? Before Grandpa John could answer, Annie asked,”What are resolutions anyway?”

Grandpa John stopped handing out fruit and sat down at the table with the “Can Dos.” All eyes were on him as he thought of the best way to explain what a resolution is.

He cleared his throat and began by saying, “Well, resolutions are kind of like promises to do things that you need or want to do. It’s about doing things that you need to do but may not having being doing such a good job about doing so far.

For instance, let’s take sharing. You know that sharing is usually the right thing to do, but it is hard to do. So, you might make a resolution, a promise to yourself or to someone else that you will be better at sharing.”

The “Can Dos” were all quiet for awhile, then Nellie asked,”Why do people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day”? Grandpa John smiled and answered. “That’s a very good question Nellie. The new year is seen as a new beginning, a time to begin again. A time to do things you want and need to do. So people promise themselves and their family to make changes in themselves and their lives.”

“Hmmm,” said Arthur J. “Maybe we should each make a resolution for the new year.” Hector shook his head. “Not me,” he said. “I like myself just the way I am. I don’t think I need to change a thing about me.”

Maria, his sister, tossed her head and said, “Think again brother. There are a few things you need to change… like being late for school a lot and using my stuff without asking.” Hector turned red and answered, “Okay, I’ll stop taking your stuff without asking but I can’t make two resolutions, so I’ll have to wait on promising not to be late for school.” Everyone laughed.

Grandpa John said, “Let’s go around the table and each make a resolution. I’ll start. “I promise to help Grandma Maureen around the house more.” Grandma Maureen gave Grandpa John a big smile and said,”You heard that children. You are my witnesses, he promised to help me more.” The “Can Dos” all laughed.

Then it was their turns to make resolutions. Nellie promised to help Grandma Hattie with the housework. Orrie promised to turn off his computer each night the first time he was asked to do so. Willie promised to empty the trash without moaning and groaning about it. Kathy promised to share with her sister Annie more and fight less. Arthur J. promised to help his brother with his math homework when he was having a problem.

Did you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you going to make any resolutions? What do you promise to do?

resolutions

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December 27th, 2014

ice

The day after Christmas found several of the “Can Dos” ice skating on the  ice rink behind the community center.

Jay has his own skates and is a good skater. He learned to ice skate when he was three, before he and his family came to “Can Do” Street. Annie and Kathy are also good ice skaters, but Nellie and Willie and Arthur J. are beginner level skaters.They need to take lessons and get help from the other “Can Dos’ who know how to skate.

Here are some ice skating tips from Jay, Annie and Kathy to help you with learning to ice skate:

  • Don’t push. If you are not doing well, wait a while and try again.
  • Bring a pocketful of small stuffed animals and if the rink’s not crowded practice bending over to pick them up.
  • Play Red Light, Green Light to practice starting and stopping.
  • Make sure to lace or cinch your boots tightly. If your foot wobbles in its skate boot, you won’t have any stability on the ice.
  • Unless you are playing ice hockey, don’t wear knee pads. Instructors say they restrict moving too much.
  • To improve your balance, don’t look at your feet and hold your arms out in front, as if putting them on a table.
  •  Grab your knees if you feel a fall coming on. This will lower your center of gravity and may prevent the fall.

Keep practicing and you will get good at it.

Happy Skating!

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December 21st, 2014

pageant

Christmas Pageant Day dawned cold but clear on “Can Do” Street.

When Willie and Nellie made their way down the stairs for breakfast, Grandma Hattie was already hard at work in the kitchen making the casserole she promised for the community center lunch following the pageant. Grandpa Dooley was busy flipping pancakes for breakfast. He knew how Willie and Nellie loved them.

Willie and Nellie ate in silence. Grandma and grandpa gave each other knowing looks. Holidays were hard for Willie and Nellie with their mom in the military. She couldn’t always get leave on the holidays to be with them.

Grandma Hattie gently reminded them that it was time to change into their costumes for the pageant at the “Can Do” Street Community Center. This year the pageant performance was ” A Christmas Carol.” Nellie had a speaking part, and so did Willie. 

Willie and Nellie nodded and got up from the table to go up stairs and dress.

A few minutes later, they came down  in their costumes. Grandma Hattie could see Nellie had tears in her eyes. She gave her a hug and Nellie said, “I wish momma could see me in the play.” Grandma nodded and said, “I know child. Your mom will be home soon, but for now you need to think about the Christmas pageant. It is almost time to leave.”

Willie and Nellie played their parts well, so well that Miss Sue called them back on stage at the end of the show to take an extra bow. Then she told them she had a surprise for them. Just as she said that, their mom popped out from behind the stage curtain. She was still in her uniform. She came right from the airport to see them in the Christmas pageant!

Everyone in the audience stood up and cheered as Willie and Nellie hugged and kissed their mom over and over again.

At lunch, following the pageant, Willie and Nellie sat on either side of their mom. After supper, Willie and Nellie, their Mom and Grandpa Dooley and Grandma Hattie helped to pack treats for the local senior residents. When they got to the senior residence, they helped distribute the gifts and sang carols with all who lived there!

It truly was a Christmas Pageant to Remember!

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December 15th, 2014

With Thanksgiving behind them, the “Can Do” kids were looking forward to the coming Christmas holiday.

it was time for some Christmas activities; so, Miss Pat invited Grandpa Dooley to class to share the Legend of the Christmas Stocking.

The “Can Dos” all knew and liked Grandpa Dooley. They especially liked his storytelling. His booming voice made his storytelling extra special. Willie and Nellie were always so proud to have their grandpa tell stories to the class.

Christmas

Grandpa Dooley cleared his throat and began. “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Everyone knows this poem. But, do you know who wrote it?” Not even Orrie had the answer, and he has most answers.

Grandpa Dooley continued with his storytelling. “As far back as 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” stockings were being hung near the fireplace, awaiting a visit from Santa Claus. At the end of the poem, St. Nick “fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,/And laying his finger aside of his nose/And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.”

But where did this legend, this practice of hanging Christmas stockings come from?

While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example:

Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after he wasn’t around to take care of them.  Passing through town, St. Nicholas heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn’t accept charity. He decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags, which contained gold, through an open window. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after.

This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

A tradition that began in a European country originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. Many families create their own Christmas stockings with each family member’s name applied to the stocking so that Santa will know which stocking belongs to which family member.”

Grandpa Dooley put the paper down that he was reading from and looked at the class. “Now it is your turn to speak. Tell me about your Christmas stocking traditions.”

Hand shot up and each “Can Do” waited politely to be called to share about their Christmas stockings.

 Sources information: Wikipedia

 

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December 9th, 2014

germsMiss Pat noticed that Hector came in from recess with dirty hands and an open snack, which he continued to eat with his dirty hands. Oh no, thought Miss Pat, all those germs going into his mouth!

Before Miss Pat could speak to him, he scooped some snack with his hands and gave it to Willie, who put it in his mouth.

UGH, thought Miss Pat. No matter how many times I talk to them about when and why it is important to wash their hands…they forget. They forget about how germs are spread.

I know, she thought, it is time to visit the US Center for Disease Control, CDC, website that has a great graphic showing children how germs are spread.

Miss Pat called the class to order and asked everyone to focus on the White Board. Then she clicked on:

Dont Hand Those Germs to Me

The “Can Dos” stared at the graphic from the CDC. They couldn’t believe their eyes! It was so easy just to hand germs to others! It was also so easy to get germs from others who did wash their hands often.

The class got quiet. Then Hector and a few others raised their hands and asked to go wash their hands.

Great, thought Miss Pat. They got the message from the CDC graphic…it is so easy to spread germs!

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