Monday, June 27, 2011

Kerry, Kerry Quite Contrary...

...How does your garden grow?

I have been hearing and reading a lot about gardens lately (Check out the garden fairies here or here or here).  It makes me feel like quite a slacker.  I don't garden.  I don't own any house plants.  I don't have a green thumb!  My Grammy Belle would be so disappointed in me if she knew.  I am sure she is in heaven shaking her head saying "What? You don't have a garden?" I'm banking on the fact that she is busy playing BINGO in heaven and doesn't have time to check on my garden (or lack thereof)!  Grammy Belle was always outside (in her bare feet no less) planting, watering, pulling weeds and harvesting whatever she could.  She could grow anything, anywhere!  Fortunately, her way of life has been passed on.  Yesterday my family got together at my sister Kerry's house.  At least four times she took people to her garden to show off the fruits of her labor. 
She had some squash that was ready to be picked.  I don't even know what I would do with a squash, but I couldn't help being happy for her.

Here are the green peppers , begging for someone to oooh and aaah over them.

Jalapenos are hanging out, waiting to be turned into salsa.

I Spy...a pickle!  No...little cucumbers beginning to come to life.

There are also several varieties of tomatoes.  Kerry got them at roadside stand and couldn't resist leaving any behind.  So they all found a home with her.  Meet Roma, Better Boy, Heirloom and Beefsteak.

Kerry, your garden is lovely.  You are doing a great job.  Grammy Belle would be proud!

Friday, June 24, 2011

What are you reading?

I am a reading teacher, therefore I read...Or...I read, therefore I am a reading teacher.  However you put it, I love to read.  When I was in school I read novels - mostly teenage life kind of novels. As I have gotten older (easy now, I'm not that old!) I have expanded my book shelf to include titles that are a little out of my comfort zone.  And you know what...I have found some books that I just love!  Autobiographies, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction - not typically books I would gravitate towards at the book store. But I have learned that there are so. many. good. books.  I have a stack on my shelf that I want to read this summer.  Do you?  What are you reading?  Leave me a comment letting me know what you are reading and/or your favorite book.

I am currently reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.  A fellow dog lover recommended it to me and so far it's great.

Here's a list of books that I have recently read  (within the past year).  Maybe you'll find something you like from this list.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picolt
House Rules by Jodi Picolt
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (possibly one of my all time favorites!)
The Noticer by Andy Andrews
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Hotel of the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
City of Thieves by David Benioff
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

These are all great books of different genres.  Go on...step out of your comfort zone and try someting new.  You might like it!

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. ~ Dr. Seuss

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sink or Swim?

Holly and Steve finally got their boat!  We made a deal that Rodney and I would buy a camper and they would buy a boat...we bought our camper 5 years ago and have been on many exciting camping trips together.  None of them involved a boat!  This week they got their boat and we couldn't wait to take it out.  Holly, being the Nervous Nellie that she is, said several times that she hopes the boat actually floats. 
 She couldn't even watch as Steve and Rodney backed it into the lake.  And once we were on the boat she worried about everything...getting to close to the dock, strange noises, going too fast, were the anchors big enough... 
And if you think that is bad, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Ellie is a worrier just like her mom.  After we were on the boat for about 10 minutes she told her daddy it was time to take the boat back and go home.
We actually spent about 5 hours on the lake and we all had a great time.

Steve was a great captain and even though we were all on the lake I think he was on Cloud 9!

 Rodney had to make a few work related calls, but at least he was with us and not at work! 

 Shawn and his friend Andrew couldn't wait to try Big Bertha.  Steve made sure they had fun and only lost them once!  It's good to have a big kid behind the wheel.
 And talk about the need for speed...Do you see Kate's thumb up?  For those of you who don't know boating terms, thumbs up means faster.  At one point when I was on Big Bertha with her, Steve was going really fast (so fast I thought I was going to lose her) and Kate turned to me and said "This is Super fun!  My dad knows how to have fun, doesn't he?" 

Holly & Steve, thanks for sharing your boat with us.  We had a blast!  Can't wait to go again.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Go ahead...I dare ya!

Leave me a comment to let me know what you think.  It's easy! 
1.  At the bottom of my posts you will see how many comments have been left.  Click on the word "comments."
2.  In the comment box type your message.
3.  Choose your identity.  You can choose Anonymous if you don't have any of the types of accounts listed.  If you want me to know it's you and you choose Anonymous, you can put your name in the comment box with your comment.
4.  Click submit.  Sometimes you might have to click the submit button 3 times to get your comment to post - don't ask why, just do it.

I told you it was easy!

Old Fashioned Fun

Friday afternoon I took Shawn and two of his friends (Lake and Cade) to the local creek to play and have fun.  I was sure that we wouldn't be gone long because the water is still very cold.  I took a book and my computer (and of course my camera) just in case I needed something to do.  I am glad I did.  They stayed for about 3 1/2 hours.  They made up games, got dirty and just had good old fashioned fun.  The only thing that made them stop was their stomachs! It makes me smile to know that they didn't need to be entertained with cell phones, X-box, ipods, etc...  They were happy with muddy water and ropes.  I will take them to the creek anytime they want to go! And the next time I will pack some food!

Yup...that's my boy - undies and all!  We'll have to work on tightening those babies up!

This is Cade reaching for the rope swing

 Lake coming in for a landing from the rope swing

What do you say?  Get your kids outside this summer and let them have some dirty old fashioned fun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tag! You're It!

What do you get when you mix a bunch of teenage boys, forty year old men,  four cute girls and a truck load of guns?  FUN!!!
This is the 5th year that we have played laser tag for Shawn's birthday.  It is one of those games that the kids will never outgrow.  In fact, the dads look forward to the party as much as the kids.  This year we handed Tyler's invitation to his dad, Steve.  Steve RSVPed saying that he would be there but he wasn't sure about Tyler!  Tyler...we're glad your dad brought you along!

The Laser Tag guy is amazing.  He runs the whole party, leaving Rodney free to play and me free to take pictures.  This year we booked him from 9:30-11:30 at night.  Shawn thought it would be cool to do late night laser tag.  We probably should have warned the neighbors.  Imagine laying in bed and hearing a very loud, deep voice yelling "Come out and fight!"  Then you look out your window and see 30 silhouettes running around carrying guns.  Mental note for next year - warn neighbors!

There was an uninvited guest that would not leave.  The girls brought him in and then he refused to leave when asked.  I escorted him to the farm behind us twice and Rodney's dad escorted him once, but he kept coming back.  I guess he was a party animal...

The kids all fell in love with Twinkie (as they decided to name him).  Several of them asked their parents if they could take him home.  But Twinkie belongs on the farm with his mom and brothers and sisters.  I can only imagine the tales he went home and told his family!
Happy 13th birthday Shawn!  I hope you had a blast!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I do not like the word "bittersweet."  It's either sweet or it's bitter.  When recipes call for bittersweet chocolate, I use milk chocolate (I know, call me a rebel!).  But I don't want something bitter messing with my sweetness! It just doesn't make sense!  So why am I writing about this??? Because today was a super bitter sweet day!

Shawn played his last regular season Little League game today at 1:00.  It didn't  hit me until about 11:30 that this was it.  Tears actually came to my eyes at this realization, and as I wiped them I thought, "What is the matter with you...this is just baseball for heaven's sake!"  But there is something magical about Little League.  I don't know how to explain it, but things just won't be the same.  It's almost as if Shawn's childhood is over (a little dramatic, I know).  So why wasn't today just plain bitter??? Well remember when I wrote here about Shawn being a solid hitter?  He has been on base almost every at-bat this year.  In fact, Rodney just said today that he is going to find out what Shawn's batting average was for this year because he is sure it is outstanding.  He has had singles, doubles, triples and a ton of RBI's.  Well today Shawn's coach told him that he has been playing all season for the team and he wanted Shawn to play today for himself.  Coach told Shawn to put one over the fence and if it fell short and someone caught it, that was okay.  Today was about Shawn.  It was his worst game this season as far as batting...he struck out, hit a pop fly out and singled.  When he came to the plate for his fourth and final Little League at-bat, it was all about Shawn.  He crushed the ball to left center field and over the fence.  I was so stunned at first that I forgot to take a picture until he was rounding second base. Shawn's dream of hitting a home run at his Little League field has come true. Sweet!

A little hop in his step!

A little hand shake from Coach!

A little smile on his face!

A little strut in front of the other fans!

A big pile of teammates!


Who knows...maybe the next time I make chocolate chip cookies, I'll actually use bittersweet chocolate chips!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Yesterday I found out that my school is going to be two people short next year.  Our truancy officer's office is literally inside my  classroom.  I see her and talk to her everyday.  Her job is now being eliminated.  It stinks to work so closely with someone who now has fallen victim to the economy.  I will miss her and I wish her all the best.  She is very talented in many areas, so I am sure she won't be down for long. 

I also found out yesterday that one of our assistant principals will be leaving our building.  The district is rearranging some of the assistant principals which will leave our building one principal short.  I can't imagine what it will be like with one less administrator.  I know our whole school will miss him.  He is a treasure! 

I wanted to find a way to say thank you to these wonderful co-workers.  I saw this idea in a book a long time ago and thought I would try it.  It is a bouquet of money themed candy with a card that reads "Thanks a million!"  It is quick and easy to put together, as well as inexpensive.  And if I do say so myself...I think it makes a nice presentation as well. I hope this will help ease their transitions into a new phase of life.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wham! Bam! Strawberry Jam!

I love fresh strawberry jam.  I could eat it with a spoon.  Unfortunately strawberries are only in season for a short time each year. 

Lucky for me, my family has a rich history of preserving foods...including strawberry jam!  Each year my mom & dad, my sister Kerry and I get together to make jam.  We end up making a lot of it, but it's much more fun to do it together.

You can make jam with almost any fruit, and it is really not that hard.  I usually end up with at least two different types each year.  Strawberry is my favorite, but only if it's homemade... I guess you could call me a bit of a jam snob!
Isn't it beautiful?  Just like the memories we are making each year.  In a world where things are so easily bought, I hope I can pass on the value of creating traditions and memories.
Happiness is like jam.  You can't spread even a little without getting some on yourself.   ~anonmyous