"No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy. A motto of the
British Special Air Force is: 'Those who risk, win.' "

Monday, December 31, 2012

Final Book Club Update of 2012

  1. The Funny Thing Is... by Ellen DeGeneres
  2. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
  3. A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
  4. Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
  5. Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen
  6. What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker
  7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  8. The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
  9. Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  11. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
  12. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  13. The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  14. Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest & Irreverent Look at Mommyhood: The Good, The Bad, and The Scary by Jill Smokler
  15. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
  16. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
  17. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  18. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  19. In Session by M.J. Rose
  20. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  21. When Farts Had Colors by Mark Lawton Thomas
  22. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  23. Criminal Investigation: Evidence, Clues, and Forensic Science by John D. Wright
  24. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  25. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
  26. Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen
  27. The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
  28. The Adventure of the Blue Carbunkle by Arthur Conan Doyle
  29. The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
My goal this year was 35 books, so I am a bit short... But all in all, some great books read this year. I'd say my top 5 favorites were--

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen (I really enjoyed the entire Royal Spyness series)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

FINALLY... is Christmas BREAK!

This *short* week has been extremely LONG!

Certain people have been ALL OVER my nerves and I am BEYOND glad to have a break from them! (Yeah, I got your Christmas spirit right here!)

Today was especially insane. I was attempting to help the school secretary get the report cards printed- ready to hand out when we return in January. While on break, CO is switching our online grading system over to a new one. Thus we HAD to get these printed before we left for break. We literally worked from 8:30-11:00 this AM on this mess. I seriously hope this new system really is better... and easier... and so help me-- EVERY 3rd-5th grade teacher WILL use it, damnit!

So now the real race begins. I have GOT to do some Christmas shopping! Thank GOD for Amazon! Most of Miss Priss' gifts have come that way-- and I just ordered my dad and step-mom's... My goal is to get out and about tomorrow and Friday and get the rest done. I hate shopping. Hate.


I think I shall listen to Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris while I "do around" the house this afternoon...  Yes, that always help get me in the spirit. The Santaland Diaries it is!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Lesson in Heroism

Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day for many teachers. There is no doubt that students will be talking about the events from Friday in CT. I am sure there will be questions asked, many without answers to give. I am a firm believer in being honest with kids-- but honestly, I don't know what to say. Please send encouraging and positive vibes to all the teachers out there-- but especially those at Sandy Hook Elementary. Their worlds are shattered. I cannot imagine losing my colleagues, my principal, and especially ANY of my children. School is, or should be a SAFE place, and I hope we can restore our students' faith in that beginning tomorrow.

I can't remember being this upset about an event since 9/11. There have been other school shootings, and they are, of course, upsetting. But the fact that this was at an elementary school (like the one where I teach) really hits home. And the utter senselessness of it makes it worse. That guy's mom wasn't there at work-- he had already killed her-- so why, WHY come to that school and do that to the innocent? I cannot wrap my head around it.

I am angry. I am devastated. I have cried all weekend off and on. Most of my teacher buddies have done the same. As a teacher, you are charged with not only instructing, but caring for and protecting your students. I have over 100 students I see in my classes daily, but honestly I consider every student in that building one of MY students. And just like with my daughter, I will be damned if you are going to come into my home (in this case, my school) and hurt any one of my kids! Every teacher I know would do what much of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary did-- die for those kids.

Tomorrow will be emotional. While I do not usually let my gushy emotions show that often at school, I have a feeling tomorrow will be different. And I think that is ok. I think it is important for these kids to see how upset we are, and to know that we would do for them what the teachers at SHES did for their students. I think sometimes students don't see or know how much we really do care. Sure, we assign homework and give tests and ride their cases until they do things the way we want them done. And many "get it"-- my teacher wouldn't bother if he or she didn't care. But I don't think most realize how much teachers care.

No one goes into education for money. And no one goes in to education for glory. It's something that is inside you-- a desire to help children. To help them grow and learn and become good citizens. And sure, we don't win every battle-- not every student that passes through our classrooms and our lives is going to succeed. But as teachers we need to make sure that EVERY student knows how much we care and how hard we are trying for them while they are in our charge.

I have seen some interesting posts on this tragedy this weekend--

FB post:
Little children are dead. Principal is dead. School psychologist is dead. Teachers are dead. Stories of incredibly brave teachers huddling children into closets, cubbies, locked bathrooms. Teachers putting themselves in between the shooter and the children they love. Teachers leading their children to safety. Please tell me again how teachers are the cause of what's wrong in this country. Go ahead Scott Walker, and all the rest of you anti-teacher governors. Tell me.

Another FB post:
I understand the sentiment to simply move on from this weekend, But for me, I've been thinking about my students all weekend. And how much I can't wait to see them tomorrow morning. And part of me feels selfish because I know in Newtown, CT, some teachers at SHS don't have students to return to, and some students don't have teachers. Good thoughts are to come, but we can't avoid this part of it al
l. My patron is Don Bosco, as many of you have learned over the past few months. He is known as the "Father and Teacher of the Youth," as Pope John Paul II declared on Jan 31, 1988, on the first centenary of Don Bosco's death. My favorite quote by him is: "For you I study, for you I work, for you I live and for you I am willing to give my life." That's my philosophy of education. It's why I became an educator. To devote my life to the education and inspiration of young people. This weekend has not only furthered my commitment to that calling, but has strengthened my desire for Monday morning.

And another--
Next time you get frustrated with your child's teacher about homework, the grade they gave them or not letting them talk while trying to teach, remember that we treat each student as our own children. We are always doing our best to take of their safety. So just remember the teachers that have put themselves between a bullet and their students and gave their own life to protect their students. No evaluation process takes that into consideration! Bless the teachers in Connecticut!

Personally I feel that all teachers are heroes. Thankfully most of us do not have to make the ultimate sacrifice for our students. The staff at Sandy Hook showed how brave, heroic, and resourceful teachers can be. They are examples for all of us. I hope peace can find them all soon-- and their families, students, friends, etc. 

Fa La La La La La...

The holiday season is in full swing! And while it is hard for me to really get into the spirit since we have had such warm weather, holiday parties always help. :)

Last weekend the Hubby and I were invited to a really cool party held at a local brewery. We were invited by a couple that we met randomly at a local bar. The Hubby noticed this guy in a Manchester United sweatshirt and proceeded to "criticize" it-- fast friends! And this Christmas party was SO much fun! Great food, fantastic beers, wonderful new friends, a brewery tour, AND a dinosaur! What more could you want?

 Look closely and you will see a Saccharomyces Rex on my glass

Touring Saw Works Brewery


Saccy has a sample

Saccy moves from beer to scotch

Happy Holidays!

Check out the tasting room here if you haven't!

Check out Saccy's holiday party review!

Also check out Saw Works Brewery-- DO IT!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Club 2012 Update

  1. The Funny Thing Is... by Ellen DeGeneres
  2. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
  3. A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
  4. Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
  5. Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen
  6. What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker
  7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  8. The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
  9. Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  11. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
  12. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  13. The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  14. Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest & Irreverent Look at Mommyhood: The Good, The Bad, and The Scary by Jill Smokler
  15. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
  16. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
  17. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  18. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  19. In Session by M.J. Rose
  20. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  21. When Farts Had Colors by Mark Lawton Thomas
  22. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  23. Criminal Investigation: Evidence, Clues, and Forensic Science by John D. Wright
  24. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  25. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
  26. Masked Ball at Broxley Manor by Rhys Bowen
  27. The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
I'm currently reading Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson-- this going along with studying the Civil War with my 5th graders. A friend recommended Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown-- so I might add that to the Kindle after I finish with Mr. John Wilkes Booth. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Month: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

Day 17: Thankful for some time spent with my Aunt. Miss Priss and I picked her up at the airport and headed straight out for some shopping! MP was hilarious and I am glad that my Aunt got to spend some time with her.

Day 18: Thankful for a day with nowhere to be! This is rare! It was nice to just stay home and get some things done. MP took a nice nap, Hubby went to work for a few hrs, so I was uninterrupted!

Day 19: Thankful this is a SHORT (2 day) week at school. I am exhausted!

Day 20: Thankful for former students who remind me that there is hope in the world! Worked the last home basketball game of the season, and one of my former students was a big help with MP. She even did the cake walk with her and WON!

Day 21: This may sound selfish-- but I am so glad for some time to myself today. Took MP to daycare, am running a few errands, and then plan to enjoy a mani/pedi! It has been FAR too long! And MP got me a gift certificate for my b-day... time to relax!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Month: 14,15,16

Day 14: I am SO thankful that the Social Studies Fair is OVER at school! I must say, the kids did great this year! We had some of the best projects ever! And-- I am beyond thrilled that EVERY student had a project!! This is the first time I've not had a student say, "I didn't do one!" I am not personally a huge fan of this event. It is one of the county mandated things that I feel I could handle better on my own. I LOVE for the kids to do projects, but feel our time could better be used doing them IN class on topics that I know will be assessed. Alas...

Day 15: Thankful that we have a field trip today. I am EXHAUSTED after the last couple of weeks. Not that field trips aren't tiring on their own-- but it's nice to get out and get some fresh air. We went to Tuckaleechee Caverns today-- one of my fav trips!

Day 16: Thankful that today is Friday and I get to pick up Miss Priss from my Dad's. She's been there "resting" after her tube surgery. Not sure how much actual resting she has done-- but I know she has had a great time. She loves Gramma and Grandaddy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Month: 12, 13

Not too far behind this time! WOOHOO!

Day 12: This will sound sort of hokey-- but I am thankful for the internet and all its wonderful resources! I especially love that I can find a recipe for ANYTHING at any time! Through the years  I have come across some fantastic finds. Last night I made a french onion soup that I found last year-- it is SO yummy and perfect for a rainy, cold day.

Day 13: I am thankful for such a brave little girl! Miss Priss got her ear tubes this AM-- and she did great! They gave her meds to relax her (though I think these should have gone to me!) and when the time came, she went back with the nurses no problem!

When they brought her back she was wide awake and chatting up a storm! She rested awhile there and at home, but has since been running like a crazy lady! 

Now let's hope next year I can be thankful for fewer ear infections!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Month: 7,8,9,10,11

Catching up again! (Seriously, is anyone surprised?)

Day 7: I'm thankful that I live in a place where there are good doctors, and that I have the means to take my child to see them. Miss Priss visited the ENT and it was decided that she will get tubes next week. I think this is the right choice-- I certainly want her to feel better!

Day 8: I'm thankful to have a principal at school that doesn't intimidate me or make me feel uncomfortable when she comes in my room. My princi dropped by and ended up staying through 2 class periods. I hear other teachers complain when this happens-- it makes them nervous; they feel like they are doing something wrong, etc. Not that I am a perfect teacher! (FAR FROM IT!) But I know I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, so why would I be nervous?

Day 9: Thankful for a great school community. We had our Veteran's Day assembly since V Day is on Sunday this year. We had a good turn out of veterans-- many parents and grandparents-- and we had a very nice assembly. One of our TA's put a lot of work into pulling this together, and as a sister of a Marine Vet-- I deeply appreciate it.

Day 10: Thankful for an amazing day! My good pal from Nashville came up for the UT game (which sadly we lost in 4 OTs!)-- but we had a great time there, followed by a nice evening out in dowtown with snacks, beer, old friends, new friends, friends of friends.... We went by a buddy's 30th bday which was a lot of fun.. and rounded out the night at our fav Mexican place for FOOD. It was a gorgeous day and a lot of much needed RELAXING fun!

Day 11: As mentioned before, I am extremely thankful for all the Veterans, past and present, and for everything they do and go through for us. It takes courage I don't know that I could ever posses. I've had many family members in the military, but am particularly proud of my little brother. Semper Fi!

Some pics from this weekend:
Gramma's new puppy-- name is in the works

Apparently there was an earthquake in KY that was felt throughout TN... we were at the stadium and missed it-- but this picture cracked me up!!

This place is great. Go there! Now!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving Month: 3,4,5,6

Whoops! Time to catch up!

Day 3: Thankful for friends that can help me escape when needed. It's always nice to have that one person that will listen and not judge, and will offer honest advice-- or just refill your champagne glass!

Day 4: Thankful for my beautiful daughter who often keeps me sane-- or insane, but that's ok! The beauty of a two-year old is that she is always learning and making new discoveries. SO MUCH FUN!

Day 5: Thankful to have a job with some amazing coworkers that are there for me personally as well as professionally. Knowing when I go to work that I am cared for is awesome!

Day 6: Thankful to have the rights and privileges I have. SO many have died in this country to ensure and protect those rights. I'm also thankful for the brave men and WOMEN who have stood up so that all people, regardless of color or gender, are guaranteed these


(if you haven't already!!)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thanksgiving Month: 2

Today I am BEYOND thankful for all of my friends, old and new. It's my birthday. My 36th birthday-- now closer to 40 than 30.. eek! This has been a stressful week, and all of the emails, texts, Facebook messages, and kids stopping me in the hall to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY has definitely brightened my spirits.

I'm fortunate to still be good friends with many friends from high school and college... and I have some AMAZING co-workers (past & present). As a teacher, and before that a colorguard instructor, I have so many students and former students that keep in touch that it's incredible.

Recently I've had a few pity-parties for myself, feeling that I wasn't important to much of anyone... but not today. And I will do my best to remember this next time I feel sorry for myself. Clearly there are many people that still think of and like me.  :)

Thanks everyone, big time. Love.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Month: 1

November is FINALLY here! My favorite month! Not just because of my birthday... but because the weather gets cooler, leaves change color, the holiday season begins-- but things aren't too stressful just yet!

I am going to do my best to post something everyday that I am thankful for up until Thanksgiving. So here goes!

Today, as I am home with a sick toddler, I am thankful for a good job that allows me to stay home when needed and that provides me with insurance to get meds for my baby.

Case in point-- took Miss Priss to the Dr (AGAIN) yesterday... Night before she screamed most of the night while pulling on her left ear-- clearly her ear infection is not gone. Turns out she has a rupture in her left ear drum. (sigh) The Dr. prescribed some drops for the left ear to help it heal. When I went to get them, they were $20, which I find ridiculous for the tiniest bottle of ear drops EVER, but if they help my girl feel better, GIVE THEM TO ME... But the most shocking was what was on the pharmacy paper that comes with them-

Um, I'm really glad it did-- but WTF?! HOW can those cost $188.08? And HOW do people without insurance do it?

So even though I do not LOVE my job all the time, today I am thankful for it. (And hoping Miss Priss feels better tomorrow so I can get back to it!)

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Some cool Pinterest finds this week--

Bluetooth shower speaker-- complete with a clock!

I seriously could have used this just last week. Always seems to happen-- a recipe calls for Cream of Chicken soup-- and I never have it... Might have to seriously give this one a whirl!

Chocolate Peppermint Roll
If THIS doesn't make you start thinking about Christmas-- well, you're just BROKEN!

And finally-- something that made me chuckle--

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Flashbacks

So I'm not sure if it is the book I am listening to (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) or my slight obsession with Song Pop, or some kind of weird dementia, but I've been thinking a lot about things from the past. Good things! Not those sad, sentimental, regret-filled things... So today I thought I would share...

This one I know I can blame on the kid... I introduced her to one of my childhood favorite cartoons, and now she will ask to watch it. "I watch the white mouse on the computer, Mummy." Dangermouse, in my opinion, is sheer brilliance.

I am not ashamed to admit, nor have I ever been, that I am a HUGE Debbie Gibson fan! Still am! I am glad that she is still around doing lots of cool things... I think The Electric Youth tour might still be one of my favorite concerts EVER! Seeing her in Grease was pretty cool too!

And can someone please explain to me why You Can't Do That On Television hasn't been released on DVD?! (At least it hadn't been last time I looked for it...)

So is it obvious I spent a lot of time watching Nickleodeon through the years?
Here's one I loved-- and would like to get on DVD to use at school...

Even the theme song is cool-- reminds me of the theme from The Neverending Story...

OK, enough for today... I'm sure I can dig up more treasures later... Until then, enjoy these gems!  :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012


To celebrate this cool date-- Miss Priss and I had a girl's day!

First thing she wanted to do when she woke up was paint-- so paint we did!

We enjoyed a nice lazy AM watching Pocoyo and The Fresh Beat Band...

Once it warmed up-- it was time for our big outing-- to the ZOO!! We LOVE the zoo! Especially the Ellies, Giraffes, Monkeys, and Lions! 
King of the Nap

It was a BEAUTIFUL day-- and thankfully not overly crowded!



Sweet Bird!
Look at the Funny Face!

It was a successful Mummy-Daughter Day! Yay for Fall Break!!

Channeling her inner-Lion after a FUN day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Club 2012: Update

I cannot remember if I have listed the contents of my 2012 reading/listening library yet-- so here goes!

  1. The Funny Thing Is... by Ellen DeGeneres
  2. A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen
  3. Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
  4. Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen
  5. What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  7. The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
  8. Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  9. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  10. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  11. The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  12. Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest & Irreverent Look at Mommyhood: The Good, The Bad, and The Scary by Jill Smokler
  13. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
  14. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
  15. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  16. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  17. In Session by M.J. Rose
  18. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  19. When Farts Had Colors by Mark Lawton Thomas
  20. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  21. Criminal Investigation: Evidence, Clues, and Forensic Science by John D. Wright
My goal this year is 35 books... So I am a bit behind perhaps... 

Currently (as in I JUST downloaded the audible version) I am listening to The Perks of Being a Wallflower  by Stephen Chbosky. I've heard great things about the book-- but honestly what really snagged me was a trailer for the upcoming movie. I always like to read the book before seeing the movie-- and I really want to see that movie based on the trailer... so presto! 

So what is everyone else reading?! Do share!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Yakkety Yak-- DON'T COME BACK!!

Just when you think it is safe to get a full night's sleep...


Poor Miss Priss. I have concluded that she is having reactions to her antibiotic. She has taken this numerous times-- but I think this may be it. She has had no appetite, and has randomly thrown up after taking it. Last night she got me first as I rocked her. I, and her beloved Piggy Woo took the brunt of the hit. After getting changed, her cleaned & changed, and Pig in the washing machine-- I put her to bed with me. Bad move, Mom.

Next thing I know-- well, you can imagine. (sigh)

So now I have to relocate Hubby downstairs to sleep in the guest room. Again clean and change myself and Miss Priss. This time strip the bed-- including the cover of the duvet-- reload the washing machine after moving round 1 to the dryer.

At this point, my favorite 2 yr old is wide awake. "I neeeeeed to watch Peppa Pig, Mummy!" So that is what we did... at 2:30am. Well, she watched-- I worked on de-yakking the bedroom. I also went down and cleaned her bed and got it ready for her imminent return. Post-Peppa I got Miss Priss back in bed-- with a slightly damp Piggy Woo (Now Mu and Baby Ellie were in the washing machine for their bath). I managed to calm myself back down, and around 4am fell asleep on the couch.

Hubby woke me when he got up for work a little after 5am-- only to inform me that he has a "dodgy stomach." Great. If he instigates Round 3 tonight, he's on his own! I'm YAKKED OUT!

(Shout out to my teaching pal TG-- she went through a similar 1-3am Yak-a-thon with her daughter-- but also managed to break her toe during the whole shebang. Damn overachiever!) 

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Fall, Ya'll!

Fall Break 2012 is here at last, at last!

I am BEYOND happy about this as I need a break BIG style! Between 4th & 5th graders, a sick two yr old, and becoming increasingly irritated with some people I see on a daily basis (yes, I'm being purposely vague)-- I was pretty close to collapse.

Besides, I LOVE FALL! And it seems last year we didn't get to experience much... it went from blazing hot and sweaty to freezing cold and bitter. I'm so ready for sweaters, scarves and coats-- not to mention colorful trees, pumpkins, and baking!

With this as inspiration as this nasty, rainy day-- which ironically I find BEAUTIFUL-- I have begun my fall festivities... I've done a SMALL amount of decorating-- pictures later when I get more done perhaps... I've made some homemade chicken chili for dinner tonight-- won't Hubby be impressed! (Yes, it's been awhile since I have put ANY effort into making dinner. AND I managed to do this without going to the store for ANYTHING!) I'm also boiling the chicken carcass and various ingredients to make the chicken stock I like to keep on hand in the freezer. 
Chicken Chili

Miss Priss and I have stayed in jammies all day-- which I also LOVE. She is taking a nice nap-- but I am thrilled she has been much more active today than she has in the previous 3 or 4. Hoping tomorrow we are back to normal toddler health and can perhaps go to school for a few hrs so I can do some shopping on my own.

We just celebrated Hubby's birthday weekend-- sadly we didn't get to do all that we wanted (due to the aforementioned sickly kiddo)-- but we did manage to get out for a couple of hours Saturday night, and for most of the afternoon/evening yesterday. LOTS of beer for the Englishman-- which is always a good gift for him! :)  We also met a fun new couple at The Casual Pint in downtown Knox last night. I leave Hubby for a few mins to make a call, come back and find him deep in discussion-- not about the local brew, or the NFL game on the tv-- but about tea. Yes, tea. Ah, the English! So in addition to socks, giftcards, and beer-- we also made some new friends for Hubs' birthday. SWEET!

I think tomorrow (pr possibly tonight) will be a great time to make the first batch of Pumpkin Cookies for the year!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose...
 As a social studies teacher, this is one of my favorite holidays. This past year I got to teach 4th grade SS which includes the American Revolution-- one of my favorite time periods. I did my best to not only teach the facts of this monumental event, but also to instill in the students just how BRAVE the founding fathers were. Had the war ended differently, every signer of the Declaration of Independence would surely have been executed. Imagine how they felt as they put pen to paper to sign their "John Hancock".

To the brave men and women who continue to defend the freedom these heroes fought so hard for, thank you. Ironically it was four years ago today I got a phone call that my brother William had been injured in Iraq. Of course, I immediately thought the worst: IUD, gunfire, bombs... luckily it wasn't THAT bad-- I mean, it was bad-- 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 80-90% of his leg-- but he still has all his parts and is able to be active. Not all were that lucky.

I've done some things in my life that I consider "brave," but I have NO idea what it must be like to put my life on the line for my country. Anyone who does that, or is willing to do that, goes through the training process to do that, etc. truly are heroes.

Because of you all, this continues to be a land of opportunity. Many people still risk their life to come here for something better. Often we take for granted all that we have. I truly hope that all the immigration issues are resolved so that those looking for a better life are able to do so. Having now gone through the immigration process, I KNOW how hard it is, and can see why going the illegal route is so tempting to so many. I'm not saying it's right-- just that it is understandable. Being willing to take that risk shows how desperate some people (and places) are.

O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain, 
For purple mountain majesties 
Above the fruited plain! 
America! America! 
God shed his grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea! 

 So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, America! I hope everyone has a safe, fun day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: FAIL

So perhaps summer was not the correct time to attempt an every day blog writing challenge... Life. Chaos. Drama. oof.

So anyway.... I will just use the rest of the topics as prompts for entries... But probably not EVERY day...

So, where was I? Ah yes.

If I could live off only one food and beverage for the rest of my days, what would it be?
Whoa, this is a hard one.

Food-- Probably pizza. Boring, typical answer I know. But it's rare that I am not in the mood for pizza.
Beverage is trickier... I do LOVE my Diet Dr. Pepper-- though I have seriously backed off this during the summer. Been having only one soda every 4 or 5 days lately... Beer with pizza is always a good idea  :)  And nothing quenches thirst as well as water. Wow, honestly, I'm not sure what I would pick.

Friday, June 8, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 9

Pet Peeves

If you asked any of my students at school, or any former students what my pet peeve is, they would tell you EYE ROLLING! I cannot stand this-- I view it as a complete show of disrespect. I'm not a fan of students arguing with me, or speaking in a hateful tone-- but I can usually handle that better than if they roll their eyes.

5 Other pet peeves:

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink and on the counter instead of loading the dishwasher.
People who ALWAYS talk about themselves.
Selfishness in adults.
Chewing gum like a cow chewing cud.
People who will not even attempt to be flexible. (Especially fellow teachers)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 8

3 things you want to say to 3 different people

First, THANKS to Lacy. Whew! Without you I would NEVER, and I mean NEVER make it day to day. You keep me somewhat sane at school- either as someone to listen to me rant and rave, or as an enabler giving me chocolate and caffeine. You are BEYOND amazing with Maddie-- one of the few I trust COMPLETELY with her. You are caring, unselfish, and kind to everyone you meet. I wish there were more people like you in the world, because truly, it would be a better place. I am beyond honored that I am fortunate enough to call you friend. Now seriously, we should re-think ever taking that CORE class again!

Second, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today would have been my mom's 69th birthday. She always told me that I should spend my birthday doing whatever I wanted to be doing for the next year. I try to practice this on her birthday as well as mine. I have spent time with a good friend, I've run through the sprinklers with Maddie, and I plan to start packing for our trip as well as making a visit to my Gma. I think Mom would approve.

Third, I MISS YOU to Justy! It constantly amazes me that we have known each other really only a short amount of time, but I feel it has been forever! (In a good way, of course). I SO wish we lived closer and could get these crazy kids together more often... and then enjoy a tasty beverage while they napped.  ;)  You crack me up, inspire me, and help me more than you will ever know! Just a silly text or "special" picture from you can turn my whole mood around. There is no one I would rather lose my teaching license with than you! GIG! FISH! MP!

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 7

Do you read? What are your favorite books?

Oh my YES! And, I have several!

I have always been a voracious reader. Not as much now-- unless you count Maddie's endless books on pigs and Goodnight Moon-- but I do try to keep one book and one audiobook going at all times.

I love the Harry Potter books. All of them. LOVE. My mom turned me on to them. At first I was very skeptical-- but as usual, mom was right. I read the first 3 in a week, then had to wait patiently for #4 and all the others to come out. I was one of the crazies at the bookstore on midnight on release days-- having slept most of the day so I could stay up reading. And then I discovered them on audio (Thanks again, mom!) Oh my. I still listen to them regularly. I'm blown away by the character and plot developments throughout the series.

I'm definitely more of a mystery reader. Most of the books I get on audio are mysteries. And I love stories set in England. Lately I have been listening to the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie King. An interesting concept on if Sherlock gained a female apprentice later in life.

Last year I read The Help which I found amazing.

One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to read The Hunger Games-- mainly b/c I was SO tired of everyone asking if I HAD read it. (When you like Harry Potter, everyone assumes you will love the next big thing in young adult fiction. To answer your question, NO, I hated Twilight)- this is probably what made me hesitant with Hunger Games. I can admit when I am wrong-- I really enjoyed the series-- though I felt the last book was rushed and somewhat disjointed.

Some other books/ series I love:

The Royal Spyness Mysteries by Rhys Bowen
The Flavia DeLuce novels by Alan Bradley
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French
The English American by Alison Larkin
Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 6

I've fallen behind AGAIN! Oof!

Day 6: What band or musician is most important to me

Well, this is a weird one. I'm not sure which artist is most important to me-- but there are MANY that I LOVE and certainly add to my life.

Being a former band and orchestra nerd I have been fortunate to be exposed to many genres of music. There are few that I don't really like. Basically it depends on what kind of mood I am in at the time. From classical and musicals to gangsta rap and heavy metal-- my iPod has it all!

Recently, like most everyone else in the world, I've been listening a LOT to Adele. I've loved her for MANY years now and I'm really happy she has found success. Her voice is so unique and full of feeling, and her lyrics hit home.

Of course, anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE fan of cheesy 80s music... If only I could sing I would be a kareoke dynamo! I still love Debbie Gibson and New Kids on the Block. I know all the words to Baby Got Back and Buttermilk Biscuits! Nothing is better on a road trip than some Garth-- followed by some Def Leppard and Duran Duran, of course!

Music has been, and continues to be, a very important part of my life. I am so excited that Maddie seems to love music (& dancing) as much as I do. So I guess in answer to today's topic, MUSIC itself is important to me!

Monday, June 4, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 5

HUZZAH! This post catches me up!

OK, this will be a fun one!

5 Places I Want to Visit

#1: Italy-- This has been tops on my list for a long time. I want to see the touristy stuff, but also spend times in the small country villages-- think Under the Tuscan Sun.

#2: Alaska-- I'd never really thought about it much until Little Bro's girlfriend went with her family. After seeing her pictures-- WHOA! Now if I could just talk Hubby into it!

#3: Maine-- Other than New York, Pennsylvania- that area, I haven't travelled much in the northeast. And I guess since 5th grade- when my favorite show was Murder She Wrote-- and Jessica Fletcher lived in Cabot Cove, Maine-- I've always thought it would be an interesting place to see.

#4: Chicago-- I know, I know! I can't believe I haven't been there either! Even Hubby has been! We have discussed a trip, possibly even later this year. One thing there I REALLY want to try-- Chicago style pizza!

#5: California Wine country-- I would love to get a group of girlfriends, a chauffeured car, and hit the road, sampling wines for a few glorious days. I love CA, and have explored various areas, but never the northern part.