Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rummage Sales

When I went to the rummage sale this morning, I really only went because they advertised bookcases. I'm always on the lookout for bookcases for my classroom. I really didn't mean to come home with an oak rocker, converted antique ice chest, a bookcase/hutch and matching pieces including a three-drawer unit and a small five draw file cabinet.

This addiction was passed down from my mother. If the sale is selling glasses (goblets, wine glasses, etc.), my mom is buying them. She has a hutch in the basement full and numerous cupboards. I don't have the love of glasses, but I love going to rummage sales. Books are my weaknesses as well as furniture.

The IKEA bookcases/hutch/drawers are now in the loft and will be the future home of all my crafting/scrapbooking/photography/writing supplies. I have already established the three drawer unit as gift wrapping. One drawer houses the wrapping paper, one the tissue paper, and the third holds ribbon, tags, gift bags. I am so excited.

The ice chest is now a hutch in my living room, the rocker will soon be outside as soon as I put a protective coating on it, and the rest of my bookcases are awaiting me in the loft.

Did I tell you I was excited?

Summer Tease

Nothing can prepare the body for a 40 degree temperature DROP! Yesterday, I spent the day outside in 85 degree weather. I slept with the air conditioner running only to awake to the frigid temperature of 40 degrees. I hoped it was a fluke and that the temperature would soon be warming up and the sun would come out. That was not the case however. The past two days were simply summer teases. Look what is coming, but wait - not yet. I have not been able to warm up all day. My bones are cold and achy. How in the world did I grow up in the U.P.? How did I survive 7 months of winter and temperatures well below zero?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Get a Move on - OUTSIDE

When the weather is 80 degrees, one must GET OUTSIDE. Forget the electronics - move on outside. Here is how I spent my day (mostly just trying to get a little color on my pasty, white, glow in the dark skin):
1. Enjoyed the warmth of the sun sitting OUTSIDE
2. Drank my morning cup of coffee OUTSIDE
3. Completed (or at least tried) the daily crossword OUTSIDE
4. Finished reading the first Pendragon Book: The Merchant of Death OUTSIDE
5. Put down new red mulch in the front flower beds OUTSIDE
6. Read the NEA Journal and Virginia Reading Association Journal OUTSIDE


7. Ate lunch OUTSIDE
8. Went rollerblading with Matt (he actually ran, but I'm not much of a runner) OUTSIDE

Thank goodness my allergy medication works wonders; otherwise, I would have had to abandon all this time OUTSIDE and spend a glorious day inside. I wonder what I'm going to do tomorrow OUTSIDE? It's supposed to be in the 80's again. What would you do?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Take a moment this day to reflect on the significance of this day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Take a PEEP

Now, I am not fond of Peeps, but when I saw this recipe in Taste of Home, I immediately thought of Matt's Dad. It was because of this recipe that I volunteered to make dessert for Easter. The original recipe called for a packaged yellow cake mix, but since Matt is allergic to gluten, I had to make a homemade cake. I switched it to a chocolate cake recipe I found on The true taste test will come tomorrow, but if it tastes anything like the batter, I'll be happy.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Thank goodness it's FRIDAY!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Power of Listening

Listening gives you power. Power to hear the entire converstion. Power to hear what really is going on. Power to understand the TRUE nature of problem. Power to decide a course of action. Power to calm down. Power to be effective. All because you LISTENED instead talking. Listened instead of getting involved. Listened instead of reacting. JUST LISTEN.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hidden Potential

I love to cook and bake. I recently stumbled upon a blog by a 16-year-old girl who is a self-taught baker. She bakes cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. It is amazing to see her dedication and risks. Quite frankly, I am not about to undertake baking a wedding cake for someone or bake hundreds of cupcakes, but it put me in the mood to cook more than my usual. My usual consists of the homemade food needed to get around Matt's gluten allergy. Today, I baked blueberry-banana bread and for dinner I experimented with a recipe I found in Rachel Ray's magazine. It was Chicken with a Gouda Sauce. It was YUMMY! I also am preparing for another experiment. For Easter, I am baking dessert for our Easter dinner with Matt's family. In the Taste of Home magazine, I saw a cake surrounded by Peeps and I immediately thought of Matt's dad who absolutely loves these disgusting things. Anyway, I loved everything else. The recipe originally called for yellow cake, but since I've never made a gluten-free yellow cake (and didn't want to experiment for Easter dinner), I changed the recipe to a dark chocolate cake. The cake is frosted and then chocolate chips are arranged in circles on top. The finishing touch is surrounding it with yellow peeps. It is supposed to resemble a sunflower.
Today, to get out of the house, I went to Michael's to look. I walked out with 2 packs of notecards, meringue powder, red sprinkles, #12 tip, disposable piping bags, and a daisy cookie cutter. I'm planning on experimenting with a buttercream recipe I found on Kelsie's blog. Maybe make cupcakes with it or make daisy sugar cookies and have fun decorating. The potential is there. My desire it there. It is time to get cooking.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I make lists. It is what I do primarily because if I didn't I'd forget and my life would run amuck. I currently have many lists running my life. Want a sneak peak into my loony life?

To Do: Letters to Write
1. To my unborn nephew
2. Denyl
3. Mary Jo
4. Stacy
5. Melanie

To Do: Grocery List
sour cream, milk, coke, frosting, cleaning sponge, dryer sheets, rice noodles, white rice flour, ground chicken breast, tomato sauce, eggs

To Do: Grad School
write grant proposal
teach a writing to learn lesson
finalize portfolio pieces

To Do: School
copies - tests, projects
sub plans
professional leave form
lesson plan for research unit

To Do: Home
organize closet in guest room
learn feng shui principles
plan, t hydrangea plants
order flowers for aunt birthday

I also have lists for books I want to read, things I want to write, dreams I have, etc.

Learning to Listen

These are the stories I would love to listen to.
1. Stories about me and my imaginary friend Emily.
2. Stories about my childhood.
3. A story about my aunt smelling roses.
4. The story of my wedding day.
5. Stories about my parents as children.

Stories are around us everywhere. Too often we use the excuse, "I have nothing to write." My advice - just listen. Just listen to your surroundings. What do you hear? Just listen - then write. Listen for the stories are need to have a voice. Listen for the stories that are out there waiting for listening ears. Just listen. Just write.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Arrivals

You know it is spring when:
1. Allergies go crazy - itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; runny nose; sinus headaches; nasal congestion; drainage - YUCK
2. Barlett Pear trees in bloom - pollen in the air
3. Lilies are sprouting up through the mulch - (I didn't kill them!)
4. Sunshine - warm weather that makes you want to stay outside
5. Bathing suits in stores
6. Strong desire to go to the beach
7. Start counting down the days until the last day of school.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Rituals? What rituals? I have no writing rituals. I would love to say I have a dedicated spot for writing, such as a large desk faced in front of a window that overlooks a garden in full bloom or the beach or the red rocks in Sedona. I think all three would be awe inspiring views. However, this desk and window are imaginary. I have no such desk, no such view, no such ritual. The closest thing I have to a ritual is picking up Pen on Fire, reading a chapter, grabbing the laptop, and start writing. I really don't even think I can count this as a ritual, because sometimes I don't even read a chapter. I just write. Doesn't sound too bad to me. Just write. For the time being, while I am creating my writing ritual, I will focus on my see-saw writing ritual. Some days I'll read then write, and other days I'll just WRITE.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Child at Heart

Life is too short to grow up too fast. Kids fascinate me. Their innocence is much appreciated in an age where seventh graders have seen, heard, and experienced more than they ever should at that age. I anticipate the stories from my co-teachers who have young children, as well as, the stories from my cousins. Kids say the darnest things was a wise choice for a television show. It is true. They are trustworthy, but don't forget when you let them down.

Doctor to Conner: Okay, young man, we are going to just have to lean back now.
Conner to Doctor: Why?
Doc: Well, I just need to to examine you. It is nothing to worry about.
Conner: I don't think so. The last doctor told me that, and the next thing I know he yanked out a tooth.

Kids are amusing. On the morning Amy's Kailey learned how to crawl out of the crib, she heard her knocking on the door and yelling, "I'm out. Let me out. Let me out."

My little cousing Peyton is a neat freak just like her Dad. When she saw her baby cousin Hannah eating, she was disgusted to find food all over her face, hands, and on the highchair. Looking at my Aunt Rosie she said, "Grandma, aren't you going to do something? Get her a towel. She's full of food."

I think it is important for all of us to remember our child at heart. When the stresses of the day overwhelm us, we need to step outside of the adult world and look at things from a child's perspective. What can you do tomorrow to renew your child spirit? How about puddle jumping after the rain? Make a pitcher of lemonade. No, you don't need to set up a stand outside selling it for quarters, but why not if you have little kids. Take a break and watch a movie for kids. Go outside and play. Find yourself again. Have fun. Don't let your life pass you by.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What makes me happy?

Right now I feel stressed, overwhelmed, and sick. I know what makes me happy, but for some reason this last week, I have been shoving aside happiness. Let this be a lesson: when you put aside your happiness, stress seeps in and takes over. Starting tomorrow I will regain control over my happiness.

I will stop trying to control everything.
I will get all the paperwork, books, and supplies ready for small group novels in the morning.
I will start walking the track again.
I will continue to write.
I will be consistent with my allergy shots.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Smell the Roses

I've got another first line to add. I thought of this one after speaking to my mom on the phone.

She can smell death. I'm not talking about sniffing corpses or road kill or anything. Smelling death has nothing to do with holding your nose trying to desperately search for fresh air. She can smell death coming. She smells roses and waits for death.

Monday, March 3, 2008

First Lines

I am a list maker. Post-it notes and scraps of paper can be found anywhere. There are lists on my fridge, in my car, on the table, and on my desk at work. I need lists; without them I would be at a loss. The recent chapter in Pen on Fire talks about first lines. Obviously, the first line is important. It will make or break it for the reader. Quite a daunting task if you ask me, but low and behold her suggestion was to create a list of first lines in part of my notebook. I think I can manage that. After reading the chapter, I remembered a sticky note on my desk at school. I wrote the two words "unfinished life" after reading the sentence, "Without love, life is unfinished." I think I will start with this.

I am currently reading "The Merchant of Death: Book 1 in the Pendragon series by D.J. MacHale. I grabbed the book to see the first line. I'd have to say it is catchy. "I hope you're reading this, Mark." I will now be on the lookout.