Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's the Little Things

It's the 'little' things in life that tend to make such a BIG difference! From quarks (the smallest elements of matter that we know of today) to a kind deed; it's the 'little' things that I want to remember in this coming year! On that note, I better start here I go.

It was one rain drop that led to another to produce this great storm that just left today. It was perfectly delightful to hunker down and stay inside on a very rainy yesterday. We read a 'little', I crafted a 'little', cleaned a very 'little' and watched a 'little' football. It was the perfect storm!! Rich also put up a 'little' bit of plastic on the roof of his 'castle' (read "workshop") and it weathered the storm well. Now if we could say the same for the broken window that is still a
waiting repairs!!

It will be 1 'little' degree that can make the difference if our lettuce freezes tonight as well!! I have loved the rain but I still want salad!! I t
hink I'll go harvest right now.

Rich and I had a great time being Santa's 'little' elves on Christmas Eve. We visited a friend in the hospital, dropped off goodies to more special friends and made sure that all the gifts were wrapped and ready to go to for Christmas day!! You know, being on e of the Big-Guy's 'little' helpers was great fun.

It was the 'little' gem in the middle of this 'little' hat I crocheted that really adds the bling! Hero, our 'little'-est granddaughter loved the sparkle. Thanks, Jennie, for recommending the 'little' touch.

It was one 'lit
tle' rocker arm in the 2nd cylinder of our car's engine that caused our rough ride and need for the car doctors!! The awesome car doctors were able to fix it with a very 'little' HeliCoil. Gosh, one 'little' thing out of whack sure did undermine our mighty carriage!! We love our car and are so glad that she's back in great shape and that the repair, although major, still came in a 'little' less than OUCH! Can you believe how the 'little' things can make such a big difference?!?

The power of letters!! They are the 'little' things that make up the words in the books I read and 1 letter makes all the difference!

Because I have small-type ones that may read the blog I did the unforgivable and edited this cover. It's just one 'little' letter, but it makes all the difference when you know those of impressionable ages - AND you're a teacher - AND you're someone they watch!! But gosh-darn-it, this was one funny book. I read it in 2 days. Snarky, acerbic, and much more of a dishy take on Alison Arngrim's experiences on Little House on the Prairie. I enjoyed Melissa Gilbert's memoir back in the early fall, but I do believe that this is a 'little' better. (No, not a 'little' a LOT better!) Ms. Arngrim portrayed the girl everyone hated - Nellie Oleson. Ms. Arngrim loved her experience playing Nellie, she loved the cast members she worked with, and this book left me with such a positive feeling for appreciating what we have. Ms. Arngrim did not have an idyllic childhood but she's not one to sit and mope, NOPE! She has met her adversities with a terrific sense of humor. She has lost herself in volunteer work and causes. She believes that it is the 'little' things that make all the difference. And so do I!!

(Please forgive me, Book-police, for taking the liberty of editing for my audience ....ME!)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Group Choices 2011

This doesn't look like much but it is actually the annual Book Group yearly choice night!! (Those little scraps of paper are titles or GoodReads lists!)

Book Group Selection Night feels like a beauty pageant as we parade our nominations...even the swimsuit competition comes into play as we show off covers and artwork! But fun it is!! You can see people writing down rejected titles too - they appealed to some, not all, I guess! It is all in good spirits and it is one of my favorite nights as we select old favorites and new to read books! I love it because it feels like a long book commercial. (Our only stipulation is that the book be available in paperback OR that the library have enough copies for several people to share!!)

I used to be in a Book Group in Tucson that chose a theme for the year and all of our books revolved around the theme. It really exposed me to a world of books I would have never read. (A lot like blogging does for me today!) Maybe someday we'll try that! Until then I guess we'll go along as we've been doing for a while!! I've been a part of this Book Group for over 11 years so we've got quite a reading history together!! Our choices this year aren't new books, as a matter of fact there is even a book I read back when I was in high school!! It will be great to become reacquainted with it again. Oh, how I love the camaraderie of friends who love books!

Our choices for 2011.....drum roll, please!

January ...... Fat Cat by Robin Brande
February ......The Help by Kathryn Stockett
March - it's Mystery Madness - we read any one of three OR a mystery of our own choice and share a little about's a mystery!!.....Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins or O'Jerusalem by Laurie R. King
April .....All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriott
May.....The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
June.....Dewey, the Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
August .....Uglies by Scott Westerfield & Maze Runner by James Dashner
September.....Doing School: How we are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic and Miseducated Students by Denise Pope
October.....Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
November.....The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Want to join us?? We'd love it. The more the merrier!
I can't wait to start.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

For unto us a child is born, a Son is given...and His name shall be called; Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace...

Enjoy a Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm a Christmas-Wrapping Machine

Yep, that's me!! I am a Christmas-wrapping-shopping-baking-machine!!! (And I am loving every minute of it.) It is not stressing me out at all and I have had several shopping miracles along the way. What a difference this year. Now I'm enjoying the time to sit and wrap while watching know the annual viewing of White Christmas, The Santa Claus, Jack Frost and Rudolph!!! (Throw in a chick-flick or two and the time flies.) I still have a few fun projects to finish up and the books are calling my name...I am loving this holiday this year!
The last two weeks of school were a whirlwind.... end of quarter assessments, the Reindeer Run, the All-school Holiday Sing, the class party, Christmas-crafts, report cards and ....continued learning!! Ah, yes, the rush of school compared to the rush of the holidays. I'll take the change, thank you!

Just a funny thing - I did notice a BIG difference in the Christmas gifts my 3rd grade students gave me compared to my first grade little guys!!! (SMILE!) I often got flowers with roots attached, pre-loved stuffed animals, and dollar store statues and candy!! This year, in 3rd grade I got BOOKS, book gift cards (my students know my passion) and iTunes giftcards, to name a few. Now, I have never been one to care much about those things at all. That's not what I expect or want...I teach at a Title 1 school for a reason...but I was so touched at the response of my students to my hobbies and loves. I am so touched at their generosity. Now to find that perfect classroom read-aloud with the giftcards....a great way to share!! Any suggestions??

Assorted notes and thoughts - - -I finished Nectar in a Sieve awhile back and still need to write a review for myself. It was breathtakingly beautiful and has really stuck with me. Rich and I are half way through Cesar's Way by Cesar Milan (trying to be better dog-grandparents) and I am finally finishing The Bee Keeper's Apprentice by Laurie King (it's super!)

Rich and I went to see Jeffrey Deaver at The Poisoned Pen in all the December madness. He was there pushing his newest book, Edge. What a terrific night. Mr. Deaver was a very interesting speaker and he read a bit from his book to bring across the point on how we could learn to care about his character when it was written in 1st person narrative. He was RIGHT! We were captivated. Now that's a skill I really need to teach to those 3rd graders!!

You know it is pretty sexy to see my handsome honey surrounded by books!!

What a great morning to sit and review a little of what's been going on before I return to the madness....bring it on!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Double Take

Today Rich and I were driving down the street when I glanced up at a sign and did a double take!!

We actually turned around so that we could read it again (and get a picture!)

"Where were you driving?" you may ask....

Wait, wait......

by a paint store!!!!!
Too funny!

PS. No reading by this cards, Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, and work!! Ach! (Well I wonder if one could count our third grade Book Club book -
by Mary James

Shoebag, a happy young cockroach who finds himself suddenly changed into a little boy and changes the lives of those around him before returning to his former life ... well, it is a book! My third graders love it and they are loving their first experience with Book Club!! It's worth missing lunchtime one day a week for this!! And it is the extent of my pleasure reading....Things will get better soon!) Until then, keep smiling!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Part of our heart flew off to San Antonio, Texas and Air Force Basic Training today.
We are so proud of you, Drew!
"Nothing will stop the US Air Force!"
Good luck and God bless,
Love, Mom & Dad

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Hangover

Not fun but....

I had a fantabulous Thanksgiving,
my lesson plans were complete for the week,
I slept all day,
I didn't even worry about my school kiddos,
I have a cell phone to play Pandora music to me all day long while I lay abed,
I don't have to worry about dinner,
I have plenty of books to read...
if only I felt good enough to read!
Gosh, it must be a Thanksgiving hangover!

Here's to tomorrow!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oh no, say it ain't so....

They're coming.... the holidays!!! I went to the first of many Holiday Boutiques yesterday to support a friend. What beautiful workmanship of many hands. Annie's work is so understated and beautiful. It was fun to see her on display. I'm starting my Christmas shopping lists. Yikes. This time of year is a real balance of school, family, projects, shopping and the inevitable report cards. How can time fly so fast when there's so much to be done? I really want just a day to sit and read, watch a football game, go to a movie.... count my blessings! Can it be that I am going to participate in a blogger activity?? I am really going to put myself out there and do something more than just read and comment on posts! Yeah me! I just signed up for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap . (On another note, it is my tacit way of saying that the holidays are indeed approaching. I must come out of my denial phase!) I am actually excited to participate and extend some hands of friendship through these invisible force fields!!! Thanks, Book Nut for peaking my interest and encouraging us!
On the book front I finished Willow by Carolyn Brown this weekend. I guess this was just now the book for me. I realized that about page 3 but I blame the "clean you plate" attitude I get at times and I just kept reading. I amazed myself that I kept at it. Guess I was thinking about all those "starving people in China" as I read. This book really needed an editor!! It was full of awkward sentences, time period adjustments and noun/verb agreements. But I think my biggest pet peeve was a 44 word sentence!! After a slew of "gunshot" sentences that were short on words and meat, this particular sentence rambled on and on. I think I read it over and over just to marvel at it. I am hoping to fall into the next book and find that it is the perfect fit for me. Life is too short for anything less....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Silly Bands and the Coolness Factor

I'm wearing two silly bands as I type this.
Now if you know any kids of elementary school age then you know that these are all the rage!! Now I am hip. I am uber-cool to have my OWN silly bands. One is in the shape of a frog and the other a dog. These were given to me by two very "cool" students who wanted to share their "coolness" with me. (All students who don't keep them on their arms at all times "get" to share their "coolness" with me....but, I'm losing my focus... these two were freely given, lest you think poorly about the behaviors in MY class!! :))

Now to my point. I think I am pretty 'with-it'. I am not totally in the stone-age. I keep up with a lot of the trends. I am aware of new candy bars, that Reese's peanut butter cups won the Candy-smackdown. I try to be at least aware of some of what is slightly in fashion - so I don't make the Don't s list somewhere!! Heck, I even have a DroidX phone (Name dropper - name dropper!) This makes me super-super cool-Hey, I realize that my kids have to help me and give me pointers all the time, but it's the fact that I OWN it that is so cool, right?!?!?

Ooops, I got off track again.

Well, the other night while we were trunk-or-treating, a sweet little spider (who shall remain nameless) sat down beside me and said, "YOU have silly bands? YOU know what they are?" Ack! I was crushed. What did this spider think? That I'm old or something? That I'm out-of-it? Gosh, my silly bands even glow in the dark (which I discovered last night in the middle of the night ! I had to hide my arm from myself so I could go back to sleep!)

All this has started me thinking. I'm pretty comfortable marching to the beat of my own drummer, I thought. I do follow some trends like ... least I am aware of what's the coolest color in house decor!! And I do try to keep up with the book world. Or at least I thought I did. (I mean I read Mockingjay - only a month after it was released. ) I guess more than anything was that I was comfortable in my own skin until I saw myself through the eyes of another. That was just weird.

But the more I thought about things the more I decided I still like myself. I like most of the choices I make. I am still becoming who I want to be but I am not finished yet. Maybe I'm still experimenting, courtesy of my Maker. So, in the meantime I may surprise some by wearing cool silly bands, by decorating in urban chic, and I may read something totally off the wall - for me! It keeps people wondering about my coolness factor.

PS. Tatiana de Rosnay's book Sarah's Key is totally cool.
PPS. One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni is also totally cool.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

(We graphed my reading for last year to practice line graphs!!)

My 3rd graders know I'm a Book-a-holic. They know I love to "get in the zone" and just read. They know how excited I get when the weekend comes and there's time to read.

Yep, I'm indoctrinating them. (Hope I'm teaching them too - just a side thou

But weekends have been busy with lots o
f activities and reading time is taking a bit of a back seat. Here's the evidence....

A trip to Tombstone and Helldorado Days. (They do have a library!!)

Ride'em Cowboys!! (and girls...)

Doc Holiday was quite the reader and loved a soliloquy or two, but the day of the Gunfight at the OK Coral he was a troublemaker extraordinaire!

Three adorable Primary performers!! What fun to sit in church and cuddle with these lovelies. The trip to your house was worth every mile!

Halloween decor at every turn in my daughter in law's house.It was so much fun to be there and see the traditions of t
heir family. Jenn, can you come decorate for me?? I love every detail!!! (Look at the apothecary jars contains eyeballs!!)

My partner (in crime & life) knows that I'm still a cotton-pickin' Texan down deep, so when I spied cotton growing off the highway on our journeys, he pulled right over for a great photo -op!

Books are still traveling with me thoug
h...right now I'm working on 3-4. Well, a girl's gotta have some fun!

A book group book that is humorous, intriguing and very readable.


I'm still avoiding reading reviews and holding my opinions on this one. I think I need a little more time to fall "into the zone" with it, hmmm....maybe this weekend!~

(Now that Parent-teacher Conferences are over, I may even sneak in a little midweek reading too....)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Break Reading

Fall Break reading is fantastic!! I'm finding time to read a little non-fiction, some ""just for me" books, a little Dave Ramsey, and some escape books..... Here are the most recent finishes:

A twist on a fairy-tale, Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry is full of beautiful writing, an intriguing story line and characters begging for more depth. Isn't that the way it goes have all the makings for a really good book and somehow it just doesn't all come together the way you hoped it would?!?! It's like the dessert that needs a little more - -oomph!

I truly enjoyed a lot of the story. Lucinda, our Cinderella character, was orphaned at age 5 and now lives with her aunt and uncle in a run-down jewelry shop. Lucinda's world changes when a mysterious customer, known as the Amaranth witch, visits the shop and entrusts a precious and powerful stone to their care for repair. Lucinda's life becomes even more complicated at the visit of the crown prince and is quickly followed by an encounter with a quick-witted street ruffian. The story was really intriguing then; I do love a fairy tale twist, when it took a left turn.... I just wasn't ready for the other worldly twist. I felt like the story lost a lot with this stretch and the characters and their development suffered because of it.

Lucinda was likeable enough, I just never really felt invested in her. Peter, the "Aladdin-type" ruffian, on the other hand, was full of quick wit and reparte. The book was fun and fast paced when he was around. However, my favorite character was "Dog" the goat!! Now I would read another book just about him!

Julie Berry's writing is beautiful. I truly would enjoy reading more of her work but I hope for a little more ... a pinch of something, a dash of this or that, you know - a little more oomph!

Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay was a book I found hard to put down. It was intense.
(Let me give you a language alert though, this has frequent rough language that may put more than one or two people off. I was willing to read past it as the story was intense but it may not be for many readers. Just beware.)

Taut writing. Twists and turns. A good ol turn the page mystery. I had some of the plot figured out along the way but I was truly intrigued to see where the author would go with it, how it would all pan out. The ride was a wild one, that's for sure.

David Harwood, a small town newspaper journalist, husband, father, has his life unravel before his eyes when one Saturday afternoon outing turns into an unexplained disappearance. David now becomes the news he has often reported. The more David uncovers the worse things look, for him!

I don't typically frequent books with such blue language but it was fun to have a good storyteller. I'll be looking for another book by Barclay in the future, I just may need to check my language-meter, I may not be quite old enough to read some of those words!!

I'm a little behind on those darn Report Cards. Geez, I wonder why!?!?!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Plans in the Making

Am I going anywhere over Fall Break this year?!?!? Well, let's see. Right now I'm in Promise Falls courtesy of Linwood Barclay. I've a towering TBR pile to choose from for my next destination too. Reading is TOP on my list of Fall Break plans!
Other assorted items on the agenda....

Report Cards - 6 a day!

A pedicure

Paint the bathroom
What's next......

* A date or two with my BFF, Rich. (I love a mid-week date!)

* Catch up with a few close friends - let's do lunch!
* Shop with Jennie :) (Hint, hint!)
* The State Fair starts Friday. Entrance is free that day and the Fry Bread is tempting me already.
* Helldorado Days in Tombstone on Saturday.

Gosh, doesn't the week sound awesome?!?!?!?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monsoon Madness

Hello Dorothy!! Didn't I tell you this isn't Kansas??
(This baby was spotted a mile from our home!)

It was a wild ride when storms hit two separate times at school.... of course the last big storm hit at dismissal! Can you say pandemonium? Arizona kids squeal at the sight of rain.

But, the ride continued. When we arrived home we discovered that 19 power poles had fallen in our area. Trees were down up and down the street and neighbors yards were full of roots and branches. We were afraid to turn into our driveway! We were lucky. This is what we found:

(The wind picked up this baby and threw it 15 feet through the window!! You may doubt it, but this is not how or where we store our trash cans. Granted, it would make taking out the trash easier, but I just have a small issue with that!)

Needless to say, our backyard is an ocean and our side yard is full of blown off roof tiles and refuse from neighbor's yards. Wow! I know the animals were glad to be inside for this storm! We feel more than blessed. Our trees remain strong and true and the insurance adjusters will call tomorrow. Until then, I'll sweep up the glass, we won't stand under the corner of the roof outside where three more tiles hang precariously, and we'll count our lucky stars that no power lines were down...we couldn't bear to be without our dear Internet!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I love October!!
  • My brain says fall even when the thermometer says 104! That's brain is pretty powerful and the rest of me believes it (most of the time!)

  • It's report card time.

  • Football - football - football!! I can even hear the band play and the announcer at the high school a mile away each Friday night. That brings back great memories. (It might be dangerous to picture me in my cheerleader outfit NOW, but it fit really great back then...pompoms and all!)

  • It's Conference time!! Twice a year our church broadcasts a weekend of meetings; special messages of guidance and counsel from Salt Lake City to around the world. I love attending conference but this year we chose to stay home and save some dollars. I miss the fall leaves and the smells and the traditions so I was thrilled when the doorbell rang last night and a sweet friend brought over some NEW traditions~~~ a box of scones and muffins for Saturday breakfast, a recipe book of goodies she makes every year AND this spectacular notebook for recording my thoughts during conference!! (As IF I would write a word in this beautiful baby!)

  • October Break!!!! Yes, it's almost here..... I'm feeling a roadtrip urge, a magnetic pull from a stack of books, a desire to smell a campfire, loving the Halloween candy shelves, and celebrating all the possibilities. Yippee!
  • Gosh, I love October!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reason # 431


(Salmonella virus)



cute little karate-grandson, Jase


a 6 day/night stay at Cardon Children's Hospital.

Now this

for another 10 days.

To say we've had enough of hospital in this family is an understatement.
But now it's resolving and maybe I won't be SOOOO preoccupied!

Well, I can dream....

We are counting our blessings!