Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My November Nightmare!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the 
Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.

As writers, we know the importance of noticing things in our world and listening.  This past week, I kept having a nagging feeling to check the deadline for a guest blog post that I volunteered to share on an author's blog.  Imagine my surprise, no horror, when I finally looked up the email to discover that the "November deadline" (my mind was thinking mid-November) was actually not later than November 1. Last night I opened my email account to discover a pleasant note from the author with this polite request, it would be great if you could get me the post by Thursday!  This polite request sent me in search of a scapegoat for my current predicament, and you, my friends, became the sacrificial offering.  Without your nudges each week, I would never have arrived at the point where I thought I had something worth sharing with other teachers.  Wish me luck!  I'm off to vanquish my November nightmare.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Color my World!

                        So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!
              It is fun to live my week thinking about what I will celebrate on Saturday!  
Discover. Play. Build.
Fall is my favorite time of the year.  October marks the arrival of both my children's birthdays, Halloween edges ever closer, November nudges our hearts toward thankfulness, and December declares its arrival with celebrations of light!
Today I celebrate by sharing pictures I captured this past week.  When I went in search of another brilliant red tree that I noticed last week, I discovered that it was almost bare.
Do it today, and don't delay.  Celebrate fall by noticing the colors of our world!  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Grandma Angie's Cookies

 Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"   
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.

Saturday afternoon typically means grading papers for me and dealing with the finances for my husband.  However, last Saturday we took a few moments detour from that familiar pattern.  My husband found a recipe on the internet for a pumpkin cookie just like the ones his grandmother, Angie, used to make.  After a quick trip to the store for ground cloves, he set about making the cookies.  Something I discovered long ago is that each of us has strong territorial rights in the kitchen (translation:  "It's not a place where we work together well.").   After offering my comment about the size of the cookies, I knew it was time for me to get out of the kitchen.  After all, I've never made Grandma Angie's pumpkin cookies.  I do recall having them when we visited the farm
in Phillips County, Kansas thirty years ago.  
Soon the house was filled with the delicious aroma of pumpkin and spice, and I decided it was time for me to sample a cookie!  I ventured downstairs to discover that the frosting recipe featured with the cookie was not what my husband remembered.  He recalled a frosting that was darker.  I knew the kind of frosting he wanted, and I reached for this favorite cookbook, Old-Fashioned Country Cookies.

A quick check in the index and I located Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting!  
Four simple ingredients:  butter, brown sugar, milk, and powdered sugar.  
Here's our finished product! 

And now we have an ample supply stashed in the freezer.  
Set one out in the morning, and it's a perfect snack for a  chilly autumn afternoon!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Celebrating Parents!

                       So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!
         It was fun to live my week thinking about what I would celebrate on Saturday!  
Discover. Play. Build.
Mid-trimester was a week filled with catching up (after my quick trip to New York), grading papers, and contacting parents regarding student progress.  Each time I contacted a parent, I received a thoughtful, supportive response in return.  I name my classes each year, and this year's students are the Superstars.  Their parents deserve the same title. I'm thrilled to share a year in the life of their child with each of them.  I received a perfect fall treat from a student who explained that he and his mom had baked this delicious pumpkin dessert.  I enjoyed the first slice and fully intended to share the second slice with my husband that evening.  I left it at school. The next day when I returned from lunch wishing I had something sweet, I remembered this creamy pumpkin treat in the closet. Finally, our entire staff enjoyed a Spooktacular lunch this week provided by our PTSA.  I loved the food, the decorations, and seeing friends who seldom join us in the staff lounge for lunch.  
Check out these smiles!
Thanks to our wonderful team of parents for this delicious lunch and fun decorations!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Four Days of Bliss!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Two Writing Teachers.
Day 1:  picked up at the airport by daughter, shopped at the mall for several hours, stopped to purchase pumpkins and apple cider doughnuts, shared a late lunch at the Ithaca Bakery, and enjoyed an evening walk to Ithaca Falls (only ten minutes from their place).

Day 2:  slept in, graded papers* in my PJs , indulged in my chosen vacation read (The End of Your Life Book Club), took a nap, strolled to the Bookery (when daughter arrived home early from work), and enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the drive to our delicious dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg.
*I'm always nervous to take student papers when I travel.  What if I lose them?  So I chose carefully (PWOW vocabulary & SS key terms), knowing that if they were lost, I'd give everyone an automatic 100 for the lost work.  No losses on this trip!

Day 3:  celebrated with an early morning stop at the Friends of Ithaca Library book sale,

enjoyed whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes and bacon for breakfast, visited with my daughter's landlady who lives in the duplex next door, graded a few more papers,

took a short hike to Taughannock Falls, 

watched Princess Bride (my first time) with daughter and son-in-law (who has watched it so many times that he can quote most of it by heart), graded some more papers, and enjoyed a fabulous chocolate caramel walnut tart baked by daughter for a game night with friends (a friend was in town visiting her two former roommates).  Meeting friends of friends, a great way to connect with folks in a new community!

Day 4:  enjoyed attending church together, skypped with son and daughter-in-law, shared a delicious asparagus frittata (my daughter is a great cook!), packed up (way too soon for my visit to be almost over), drove through the Cornell campus with son-in-law pointing out the interesting buildings, sat in the backseat with daughter who shared phone tips with me for the iOS 7 as we drove to the airport, and reveled in a "squeeze-the-stuffing-out-of-you" hug from daughter that must last me until our next visit sometime in the spring.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Beginning Saturday Right!

                       So excited to join Saturday Celebrations with Ruth Ayres!

Discover. Play. Build.

I'm enjoying a four day holiday visiting my daughter and son-in-law in New York.  There is much to celebrate, but we started today with a stop at the Ithaca Friends of the Library book sale.  It's a great sale that continues for the next three weekends with prices reduced further each week.

Daughter kept reminding me, "Remember, Mom, everything you buy has to fit in your suitcase."

My reply, "There's always media mail!"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Squeezing in a Speedy Slice!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
It was one of those crazy nights at school.  I was there "mopping the floor."  Actually that's a figurative term for doing anything except what I should be doing.  Someday I'll slice about the origin of that phrase.
Tomorrow I fly out on a red-eye to visit my daughter and her husband in Ithaca.   How will I ever be ready?  Sub plans are still a work in progress, just put the laundry in the washer, and nothing is packed, but I can do that after school tomorrow!
Why was I mopping the floor?  What were the distractors that kept me from working on my real work for the evening - my sub plans?
Well, I needed to call a parent.  The student missed the last two days due to a funeral, and information arrived in my classroom this afternoon about the Natural Helpers Retreat that he's attending tomorrow.  The parent had a long distance cell phone number that I couldn't reach from my classroom phone, tried to use the phone in the front office - no luck, so I finally resorted to my cell phone.
And then I wanted to get the Wonder Wednesday bulletin board up.  I did locate the bulletin board letters, but left it all on a desk, hopeful that I can squeeze it in tomorrow before school starts and after the morning meeting.  It may still be waiting for me next week.
And I phoned Scholastic because my student's tin of books arrived dented.  They'll send a replacement.
And I had the usual mop-up after a day of work.  Where did I put the papers that I need to grade tonight?  Did I post the homework to Schoology?  Am I prepared for tomorrow morning's meeting before school?  Have I looked at the pre-assessments in preparation for the meeting I'll miss?  And where to stash these papers until I return next week?   And do I really want to take papers to grade on my trip?
In the middle of this stress, I break into a smile as I remember the conversation I had with a student today.  I gave my students a week without slicing (having my students try out weekly slicing this year).   The intent is to give me time to catch up.  I'm the one who's behind with reading slices and commenting!  I told my students that they only need to slice or comment this week if they've missed a slice or missed commenting on someone's post from their writing group.  One student asked if he could slice anyway because he loves writing his slices every week!  And it's tender moments like this that I treasure in my heart to carry me through days like today!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Check out my $9 bargain stack!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 

Fabulous Finds at Fall Book Sale

Library friends who gain early admittance
we stand with boxes in hand, 
impatient for the chance to scour
the tables in search of books 
to see us through short days
galloping toward us.  We head for
our favorite spots, each seeking for
treasure to brighten the coming gloom.