Friday, December 28, 2007

Winter "break"

We are on winter break. It is a break from school, but a foray into extra housework! :) We worked on both girls' rooms on Wednesday, purging, reorganizing, cleaning and rearranging. On Wednesday I also cleaned out my "junk drawer" and three cupboards. Then, on Thursday, I finished putting away all the Christmas decorations (as well as the husband removing the tree) and I got out my collection of snowmen. They relieve the sadness of removing Christmas decorations. I also rearranged the living room furniture. My goal of achieving things around home before I begin the longterm substitute position has been met thus far!
So far, today, I have cleaned out the pots and pans cupboard and am moving onto a fun task: reorganizing my scrapbook supplies, having gotten some for gifts for Christmas. I also need to decide what album to begin next, and assemble the supplies I will use for it. Over the last two months I was busy making gift albums for my in laws and parents, so I need to put that stuff away, as well.
I did get my cards written and out in the mailbox five minutes before the mail truck came on Friday-the last day to mail local cards! I wrote a note in almost all of them, running out of time required a typed note in a few! I have a few "Happy New Year" notes to people who sent me cards that I received on the 24th or 26th.
We have had some fun visits with family in the last two weeks. We went to my hometown to see my family last weekend and enjoyed getting to see them. We got to see some family I hadn't gotten to spend quality time with, too, which was great! Then we had my husband's parents, grandmother and sister here for Christmas eve. They attended our church service with us and then we had dinner at our house. We made turkey, avocado, bacon, and spinach wraps, sweet potato fries (yes, homemade), and cantaloupe with creme brulee for dessert. We also tried something new for adults: butterscotch martinis, which those who tried them enjoyed!
Then, on Christmas day, we woke up early to our daughters' voices. They had woken up at 5:45am, but knew our earliest limit was 6. They say they tried to go back to sleep but couldn't. :) They came in at 6, and we were done with gifts, breakfast and clean-up by 7:30. Santa was good to them, but the gifts that were exchanged among the four of us were very thought out and thoughtful, as well! Next, we went to the husband's parents', with his sister and brother's family. We had such a nice time, with family, which is what the season is all about!
I also had a mole removed on the 19th, not fun, still having four stitches, but they come out on the second. Hopefully the tests on it come back fine.
I ended up teaching my youngest daughter's class for five days instead of one, due to her teacher's leg injury that required surgery. I have my long term assignment coming up on the 3rd and lasting until at least the 15th of Feb. It will be nice to be in the same place everyday and spending consistent time with the kids. The changes around here should be interesting. :)
My busier schedule has wreaked havoc on my running schedule. I took more time off, and I really noticed it even on my short five miler yesterday. My goal is to get a regular time in my schedule to have time for running! But, we'll see, work and family come first...
That's all the rambling I have for you right now. I hope you all are well, holidays have gone smoothly, and the new year comes in positively for you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Loved this

Saw this on someone else's blog and loved it. Here's to the crazy ones!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


We have had a busy December, thus far! On the 1st, we went and cut our tree. Our yearly tradition is to start the day at Tim Horton's with my husband's parents. Then the six of us take the looooong drive to the tree farm, wander about looking for that "perfect" tree, and we choose the one we want. Then we cut it down, drag it back, pay and head into town. This is where we have lunch at a little "mom and pop", old fashioned restaurant. After lunch is the long drive home, the husband sets up the tree, puts the lights and angel on and then the girls and I decorate.
Since then we have gone shopping, for family, friends, and the church's giving tree, played some family games, made ornaments, my husband and younger daughter had a "Y-Tribe, Indian Princess" meeting here at our house where they decorated small gingerbread houses, and got together with my husband's brother's family. We still have much to do. The girls' school break starts on the 20th, I think. We will head up to my parents' home state that weekend and celebrate before Christmas with them this year, which is unusual, but should be fun... barring no more family disputes...
Then, it will be Christmas, and afterwards, I will be cooking and freezing food because when school starts again (Jan 3) I will have a long-term substitute position. I will be teaching first grade until Feb. 15th. Should be very nice to be in the same classroom everyday and know all the children well. I look forward to the opportunity and hope all goes well.
I finished the first scrapbook gift I was making and am in the process of the second. I hope to get it all done! :) It's been fun to work on something for someone else. Makes me try new things to make it nicer for them.
I am back to a regular schedule in running, as well. I took a break for a while, due to a tired body. My runs were leaving me feeling like lead. So, after a break, I ran 10 miles on the first, 8 last week (on the ice was not fun... I repeat NOT fun), and am back to a 5 mile per day schedule, for now, also.
One more thing. A friend of mine told me she has a "prayer basket": when someone is on her heart or mind to pray for, she puts their name and her prayer for them on a piece of paper into the basket. Then, when she has her prayer time with God each morning or before a long drive when she can pray, she takes a few of these slips of paper and prays for/over them. If there is a resolution, she removes them. I thought this was a great idea... only I didn't find any baskets I liked yesterday, when I thought of it. So, I bought a four dollar tin, two pieces of scrapbook paper and one sheet of plastic stickers (Faith themed). I went home, spent about half an hour-including writing my current prayer concerns-and finished with this:I am happy with it and have prayed over some slips already. The box sits at my office desk and is within reach, as well as easily noticeable, so it won't be forgotten.
I'd love to type more, as I am overdue, but I must go write several Christmas cards. Happy holidays to you and yours!

Monday, November 26, 2007

More school ideas

Our daughters' conferences a few weeks ago and I received some good information from their teachers. I previously posted some writing tips, now here are a few more I found in another information packet.

This packet was for parents of middle schoolers:
  • The article pointed out that middle school students have to juggle multiple classes and multiple chunks of homework. However, they are still learning time management and time past the "present tense". They suggested, to "sharpen those skills" by asking the child to "estimate how long it will take to run an errand and get home."
  • One paragraph stated that "bouncing quickly from one subject to the next" can be difficult for some students, especially if multiple classes give homework on vocabulary. It suggested that the student may "run out of linguistic gas". For this the article instructed parents to (when the student isn't swamped with homework) have him/her review their notes. Then, using different color index cards for each subject, jot down the different terms used in each class. This way, during homework dealing with these words, the correct cards will be at hand.
  • One of my favorite suggestions, to help students to be "better wordsmiths", to write the numbers 1 to 10 on separate slips of paper and drop them in a hat. Have the child write ten sentences about a favorite thing (ie sports team, or band). But before they write, they must pull from the hat. If the number nine was drawn first, then the sentence must be nine words long; if the number three is picked, the sentence must be three words long. "It only takes a few of those exercises until they don't need them anymore."
  • The article also says that most middle schoolers have given up the minute-to-minute "what I did at school today" conversations in lieu of "nothing". They say, instead of asking the child as soon as they walk in the door what they did at school, ask them 20 minutes before bedtime, and a sleepy middle schooler is more likely to chat. :) My oldest used to tell me all about her day, the whole 10-15 min. walk from school was her talking... not anymore. Not a word. I've even tried more than "What did you do at school today?" I have tried: "Anything weird happen today?" "Did anything cool happen today?" "Did anyone unusual get in trouble today?" "Who did you eat lunch with today?" Nada, zip... Scary how the doors of communication close... This is not good for a worrier like me.
In another packet, we received some tips on encouraging math and the enjoyment of it:
  • Make math hands on; have kids make their own games and puzzles.
  • Take math outside; walk around outdoors and study patters of seashells, pine cones, spiderwebs, etc.
  • Take math on vacation; enjoy shapes and patterns of landscapes.
  • Encourage kids to keep a sketchbook and observation notebook to write or sketch about what they see.
  • Make charts and graphs with your children, such as rates of growth, weather, school sports, household task completion or donations to charities.
  • Encourage interest in architecture such as drawing plans for rooms, houses or gardens.
  • Keep sport stats.
  • Play with codes, such as sending an affectionate message in code or have them write you a note in code.
  • Take math into the kitchen, dividing recipes, measuring, cutting apples, etc.
  • Make math a holiday event; make a mobile or mosaic or cut our stars or snowflakes. Talk about balance, symmetry and measurement.
  • Throw a math party; map a treasure hunt or shape a cake into numbers.
  • Encourage math activities, without necessarily using the word math. This makes some kids nervous.
  • Encourage students with verbal ability to see the connections to math; ie poetic meter, or palindromes.
  • Don't rush in. Don't solve the problems for the children, let them work at it.
  • Don't be reluctant to expose children to difficult concepts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankful Feather Turkey

I have mentioned in the past that we do Thankful Feathers to celebrate Thanksgiving: We send out "thankful feathers" to our close friends and family with a letter reminding them how thankful we are for them, and a few specific things each family member is thankful for. We send them out in the first week of November, and hope for them to be returned by Thanksgiving. As these feathers come to us, we read them as a family and remember all we have to be thankful for. Sometimes we get caught up in the busy-ness of the holidays and skip right over the Thanksgiving to get to Christmas. At our house, those feathers coming in the month of November helps. We have had paper mache turkeys, white board turkeys, and paper turkeys (as well as others I can't remember) to display these feathers. We've been doing this since 1998 so, we've had quite a variety. Well, I saw a model magic (fast drying clay by crayola) turkey on the crayola site, I think, so I planned on trying one to hold the feathers this year. Our local store was out of the clay, so I thought I'd try a gourd that my dad had grown, but had been dried last year. I sanded it, painted it, sculpted a bit of model magic (we had a tiny pack) into a waddle and feet. Here's the finished product.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! (If you celebrate. :))

Friday, November 16, 2007

Writing Exercises

My youngest daughter brought home a creative writing booklet by bic writing instruments to encourage creative writing in children. Their article said, " 'art' is nothing more than playing with color, form, sound, movement, or words." Also, "Creative expression helps with academic success and enlivens our world." I thought this booklet had some great ideas that I would love to use them at home and in a classroom, as well. I thought I would share some of my favorites. As I read through these, I also considered that these would be fun ways for children to practice using their spelling words, too, in these same writing activities, but using a certain amount of their words from their spelling or vocabulary lists.
Some of their writing prompt ideas:
  • Use old family photos as writing prompts. They can write what they see, and this may also trigger topics such as what their own daily life is like, smells from their childhood kitchens, tastes and more.
  • Grab paint chips from a paint selection area and have the child write a story or poem using one or all of the imaginative paint color names.
  • Use a cookbook or recipe for inspiration. The story can talk about the food, what occasion it was made for, who the guests were, or a silly story about what happened after the guests ate it.
The booklet also stated that children should become comfortable writing, and these ways "help them to realize words can come naturally":
  • Bubble Trouble: sticky notes cut into circles and placed on family photos, magazine pictures, or newspaper articles for the child to fill in with what they think the people are thinking or saying.
  • Caption Action: Cut out newspaper cartoons and leave off the words. Encourage the child to make up their own version.
  • Quote catcher: Designate a small board (bulletin, chalk, white/wipe-off) in a central area and encourage family (or class) members to post their favorite quotes. The "simple exercise of writing another's words teaches kids how well-written words flow."
Be a writing role model (as a parent or teacher):
  • share/write your story, try to get family members to participate, as well. I try to do this in my scrapbooking.
  • write notes to your child. I also try to do this, and when I student taught, I did this for the students, as well and put them in their desks, in their journals, etc. to let them know I thought they were special, as I try to do for my own girls.
  • Keep a journal and have your child see you writing in it.
  • Encourage written thank you notes. I don't see too many people doing this... but I do it. Even things that aren't tangible gifts. For instance, my daughter got more one-on-one time with the piano teacher yesterday and the teacher took special time to teach her a fun, new song: Over the river-a Thanksgiving tune! My daughter had so much fun! So, I sent the teacher a thank you note today. I truly feel it is a dying art.
  • Use a dictionary and keep several handy around the house.
  • Be encouraging, not critical of your child's work.
  • Limit television and computer use and listen to "books on tape when driving so children can begin to hear well-written language."
Their last section in the booklet was "Word Surge"... to expand word wealth.
"Research indicates that the number of different words a child is exposed to in the early years is a key predictor of future reading and academic success."
  • Word of the weekend: post a word of the weekend on the fridge and challenge each other to slip it in casually to conversation over the weekend. The first person to do so gets to pick the following weekend's word. (could do word of the week for a classroom)
  • Play word games like Scrabble, crossword puzzles, etc.
  • Vocabulary Vertigo: Write child's weekly words (spelling, vocabulary, or make up your own themed list) on bright, colored index cards and tape them to the ceiling over their bed (or reading area in the classroom!) Decorate them with stars, planets, etc. and expand your child's linguistic galaxy.
  • Ransom letters: Have your child cut up old magazines and newspapers. They can choose big, fun, bold fonts, or words, pasting them together to write letters, "stories or phrases with eye-catching appeal. "
They also had a list of other tun writing websites:
Mad libs
Create a Play
The Story Starter
Magnetic Poetry for kids, online
Word of the day
Online dictionary/thesaurus, word games, etc.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Desk decoration

Desk decoration
Originally uploaded by jkhenson
This one is small, but quick and fun to do.

Girls' frames

Girls' frames
Originally uploaded by jkhenson

Frame for in-laws

Frame for in laws
Originally uploaded by jkhenson

Frame I made for home

Frame I made for home
Originally uploaded by jkhenson
I didn't continue getting Christmas things out yesterday because I had more pressing chores to do. I did, however work on some decor/crafts with my two daughters today. We spent about an hour today working on these frames. I saw the idea on Ali Edward's blog, and it's a simple way to include my girls in crafts. They don't have school today or tomorrow due to teacher/parent conferences. We had both girls' conferences last night and they were great! We're very proud of them. Back to the craft, we worked on these this morning. The small white frame and brown frame together, are theirs. They liked picking out papers, chopping and gluing. :) I made the black frame for our house and the other small brown frame for our house. Then I thought I'd make one for my in laws, as we are going to their house on Saturday. Thought I'd take it along.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I always grumble that the stores are putting out their decorations for Christmas, before Halloween. However, this year I saw on Ali Edward's blog that she thought she'd extend the season. I thought about this and we don't put our decorations up until Dec. 1. Then we visit my parents right after Christmas, so those decorations are taken down on the 26th. So, as I walked through a local craft store, I saw the silver ornaments (see upper right) and loved them. However, we get ornaments as gifts about every year and have a ton, so what to do with them? Wreaths were 40% off, so I got one, brought it home and put it together in about twenty minutes.... now to get the rest of the decor out... although I have far too much to be doing today!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Short Run

Yesterday the winds were between 20 and 30 miles per hour. I was being blown off the bike path! I thought to myself, "I only have to do a couple... I could turn around now." Then the thinker said, "But this is what we'll be running in all winter, now that we're training for a spring marathon." So, I got almost five in, a short run, but with the wind it felt much longer. And "stink"... I'm doing a spring marathon. :) I normally hope for a hard winter, snow days, playing and shoveling... but hmmm, now I'm hoping for a mild winter. :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cold Weather

Cold weather makes me want to bake. I want to bake homemade breads, cookies, get the jump on Christmas cookies-to bake and freeze... but I have no oven. I can't even make garlic bread, or quiche to go with dinner... I miss my oven. I can't wait until the new one arrives.
A related note: I'm contemplating baking multiple loaves of quick breads for neighbors, instead of cookies, this Christmas. We get plates of cookies, we all give plates of cookies. How about a loaf of zucchini bread, a loaf of strawberry bread, a loaf of pumpkin bread... and what for the fourth? I have a "fa la la la latte loaf" or eggnog loaf that is good. Or the old standby of banana. Anyway, nicely wrapped, something different?
Back to missing my oven and baking... Any good recipes I can dream about?

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Started the day by sleeping in a bit late (8:20 is late for me), then running almost 7 miles. I went for a run in the cool air, and didn't take my watch for the first time in months. Ran for fun. I felt the fatigue of a marathon less than two weeks ago and it still felt good. I committed myself to doing the Cinci. Flying Pig in the spring. I have heard winter training is much, much harder... And I need to add in hills.... but I've decided it is my next goal. Glad to have a goal.
Then I ate, showered, daily activities, then headed to the running store to resign with my marathoner in training group.
Watched my football team win, then headed over to the hubby's parents' house for a wonderful dinner and family time. Was great, as hubby's grandparents were in from out of town and it was so great to see them. Got a few good pictures, too.
All for now. Hope your weekend is going well!

Friday, November 02, 2007

First Grade and Friday

Well, the day of substitute teaching in first grade flew by! I really enjoyed the class and all we did: we talked about pumpkins! We made books, wrote "How To Carve a Jack-O-Lantern", read pumpkin stories, made a paper chain of order words (first, second, third, etc.) and more! I am feeling like I need a nap on one hand and on the other I can hardly wait to go scrapbooking tonight! I can't wait to get started on a scrapbook gift for my in laws! :) I hope they aren't reading the blog lately! :)
In other news, my oldest signed up for "Jazz band" at school and will start practicing next week. I enjoy jazz music so I'm interested to hear them. I hope she follows through and practices the necessary amount... so far, for regular band, she has been lax in bringing home her horn to practice... hopefully that will improve.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Miles Logged and Halloween

Halloween was last night and my oldest, who is twelve, didn't trick-or-treat. She stayed home and gave out candy, as well as helped out with neighbors' smaller children. She did go to a Halloween party over the weekend and dressed as a bat, with wings, fangs and black clothing. She had a great time! My youngest went as a bunch of grapes: purple clothing, green face paint for the stem, some leaves in her hair and purple balloons sewn all over her upper half. She got many compliments and a neighbor said she should pop her balloons and go back out again as "raisins". :) We like to put together costumes, rather than buy them.
I subbed a few days this week, tomorrow will make three. I'm headed back to first grade to a class I did last week. I enjoyed them immensely, so I look forward to the task.
I have ran four times since the marathon, totaling fourteen miles. Nice, easy runs. It's been windy, and I don't like running in the wind. Although, it's been nice to get out running. A few days the schedule didn't allow it.
The husband's grandparents are coming down for the weekend so I look forward to that visit. As well as scrapbooking at a nearby store tomorrow night. Have to get working on some gifts for Christmas! I also have to mail out the thankful letters soon, too!! :)
That's all for now. Anyone else trying to post every day in November? :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Happiness is new running shoes...Well, for me.
As I have previously mentioned, I am not a big fan of shopping. Shopping for myself is my least favorite shopping (unless we're talking scrapbook materials or books, the I could look for hours). And then there's the running items... You saw my watch and the joy I got from it. And my family's gift of running shoes that I loved. Thank goodness my husband spoils me. :)
Well, I got to get new running shoes today. Mine had over 600 running miles, not counting that I (this a big no-no in the running community:) wear them for my everyday shoes, too.... I couldn't get new shoes after hitting the 500 mile mark (the mark all sources say shoes are not good for running feet anymore) because I would need work at breaking them in for the marathon. Anyway, now that the marathon is over... I got some new, beautiful, comfortable, and did I mention new? shoes. :)))) They are orange. I like orange. :) They are great. Ahhhh. I might sleep in them....
Just kidding. :)
Here it is:They do have me dreaming of doing another marathon... spring or a year from now, with a half marathon in the spring? Hmmm, "what's next" is the running question to ponder.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Other Information

Marathon update: my body feels great today. Monday, as I noted, I was sore, stairs were painful and the mole surgery didn't help anything. Tuesday, I was tight. Bending down to help clean up children's spilled art boxes made it difficult to get back up. By Tuesday afternoon, I felt pretty good. Today I feel great. The sore from the mole removal is not much better, but the muscles from the marathon feel great. So great, I didn't even take an advil today and I felt like running in the rain! My MIT group said DON'T RUN due to many little muscle tears from a marathon, but wait until Saturday to begin again, slowly. The mole area is in the middle of my back, so any muscle movement is a bit painful (good thing I didn't run, hm? :)) but that will get better soon, as well.
The teaching has been very fun. I look forward to returning tomorrow. And my muscles have probably benefited from being on my feet most of the day: stretching without being too strenuous.
I have a "to-do" list of scrapbooks and crafts I would like to get done by Dec. 31 but we'll see. I have Thankful Feather Cards to finish up so I can get those mailed this week. (see October 27, 2006 for explanation.) My husband would like to change it up a bit this year, so I will keep you posted as to what "feathers" transpire this year. I am handmaking the cards this year. They all have leaves, acorns and "thankful" in some form or another.
That's all for now. Going to go try to get the last of the aforementioned cards done. Hope all is well for you, on this day.

Grade One

I have been a substitute in first grade the last two days, and am in first grade tomorrow, as well. I found some tidbits I may use when I get my own classroom. Here are a few of them:
  1. To encourage the children to lengthen their stories and use more detail, they had gloves at their desks (the cheap, knit kind) that said "beginning" on the thumb, "middle" on the next three fingers, and "end" on the pinky. Then when they were rereading their stories, to see if they needed more, they could put the glove on to double check. A small thing, really, that just helps them not to get in a hurry to move onto their next work by making a two sentence story. This was a simple reminder to make it five. :)
  2. In the calendar area of the room, where they meet everyday, there was a pocket chart. It had $$ in it. Fake coins, actually. The "helper of the day" had to make the amount of change four different ways for the day of school-example, it was the 39th day of school, so there had to be four different ways to make 39 cents on the pocket chart. :)
  3. The teacher had a 30 sided dice so, when playing a game, reading aloud, etc, where kids all raised their hands and wanted to help, she rolls the dice. The number up is chosen.
  4. On the word wall, the children's names were up under the first letter, and it had a picture of them beside it. :) A simple way to make them feel special.
  5. For the lunch count (in the school system I am teaching in, they have to choose lunch A-today was pizza, lunch B-today was Chef Salad and breadstick, lunch C-is always peanut butter and jelly crustable, or packed a lunch) they had to choose a piece of (again fake) coin/money to tell what they were having. Lunch A is a nickel, B is a dime, C is a quarter and pack is a penny.
  6. There was a very large construction paper pumpkin up in the back of the room covered with fall words, in case they were doing journals or story writing and needed to spell a fall word.
I have enjoyed first grade very much. They are a great age, eager to please and learn. And respond well to all the positive encouragement I like to give out. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Final Stats and Moles

My ipod said I had completed 591.05 miles since I began training in May. As well as 23,000+ calories burned, and 90+workouts.
Moles... not the furry, blind kind that dig in your yard. Nope, I had another skin mole removed today. My day to rest from the marathon marred by surgery. The dermatologist said he wanted to remove 3 in the same area, and I requested to wait after the marathon. He said I could, as it wasn't immediately necessary, but then I should come in the very next day... so surgery 1 of 3 today. It went much better than the surgery of a year and a half ago: this was 20 minutes at most, four stitches, still not super painful. Maybe doing it the day after the marathon helps by using the leg pain as a distraction? :)
I hope your fall day is as beautiful as mine is currently!!

Update... few hours later, after anesthesia has worn off...ok, now it's painful... :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Finally the Marathon day!

Well, time wasn't what I'd hoped today. Truth be told, my MIT group said I was setting my sights a bit high for a second marathon. Husband had said that, too. I did, however, beat my last time by half an hour, so that's good. And I finished a marathon, which is a feat most cannot say they have completed. :) My calves quit/cramped up at mile 17, even though I thoroughly hydrated well last week. was drinking at the water stops, as well. I even gave up coffee and wine so that I wouldn't be depleting my water supply. Then, at mile 23, my quads joined the calves. I They cramped up, which is not a normal thing for me. I've had the calf thing before. Husband and daughters were four different places on the course, which made me feel great! Some neighbors, were there twice, which was so nice! It always helps to see familiar faces.
I tried to enjoy the ride this time. I took in the sights (like being on the Ohio State Campus) and people (there was a "princess" in a tutu, tiara and see through white tights! Ach! As well as a lady with MSU Spartan heads on her calves). The start was completely packed, downtown, from side to side, the streets were so full, I could not stretch, I only had room to stand! It was a sea of people running down the street in front of me, and it took me three minutes to get to the start line after the horn to "GO!" went off. The weather started out good at 58 degrees. It finished hot, however. :) Then I got sick on the way home. I don't think my stomach was ready for the "after" race, Gatorade.
I am very sore; arms, legs, abs, back... I haven't been able to catch the phone when it rang because I'm moving to slow and painfully. :) But, I've showered and napped. I slept the best during my nap that I've slept in the last few days, due to nerves. :)
I do still have all my toenails. :) I also still have the temporary tattoos the girls put on me last night: a snail on my calf, a star on one shoulder and a pair of wings on the other shoulder. Oh, my time was 4hours, 22 min. I was 641/1348 women, and 107/217 for my age group.
Anyway, I finished my second marathon and I'm happy about that. :) Thanks to the well-wishers!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Three more days, just three more days

Tomorrow I go to the expo center and pick up my "official race packet" because I won't be able to on race day. It will have my "bib" in it with the racing number and who knows what else. I will have to update you. :)
I've got a portion of my "gear" ready; the gu, the ipod, the outfit...
And wow, am I getting nervous! :) I'm ready for it to be here, to get it underway. Although, I'm sure the next few days will pass quickly enough.
We had a great time with family this past weekend. Got some great pumpkins from my mom and dad. (See right). I almost hate to carve them. The yellow one has stem on both sides, thus my husband said it was a Frankenstein pumpkin, so maybe it's found it's "to-be-carved face".
That's all for now. I will update more, soon.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: The Environment

I read on the always-informative-Ali Edwards'-Blog that today is Blog Action Day: The Environment. So, here are some new sites that I have found to help out or salute the environment:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Various Topics

I had a few days off from subbing this week, so I caught up on laundry, tackled the paper pile on my desk and made necessary phone calls.
I got my short runs in-twelve last weekend-and a few runs in during the week. The weather changed drastically to cold temperatures. My runs seemed long, slow and sluggish this week. I am worried about the marathon-its temps, as well as my ability. I just realized this week that my goal (3 hours and 45 minutes) is only five minutes off the qualifying time for Boston Marathon in the spring. Hmmm. If I make it, I will train in the winter, the dark and cold, to run a hilly, people-packed race right around my birthday... if not, well, I need a new plan. We shall see a week from Sunday.
My oldest daughter finished out her cross country season this week with a good, strong race on a hilly course with a distance longer than she normally runs: her race courses are usually 2 miles, this last one was 2.5. She did great.
My youngest will be finishing her soccer season tonight. She has found the position she loves is defense, and second best is midfield. We will see if that's the same in the fall.
Today my husband and I both blocked the day off from work/subbing and went to see the William Wegman exhibit at a local area art center. It was awesome-his postcard art, and my favorite: the weimaraner photographs. Wow. He has a sense of humor and great photographical eye.
Tonight I scrapbook after soccer, at my sister in laws,with the ladies. Then tomorrow we head to my parents' home in the town where I grew up for my niece's first birthday. Will be nice to see the family.
Hope your fall has started off wonderfully!

Monday, October 08, 2007


I saw a bumper sticker today that made me smile:
"What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?"

Saturday, September 29, 2007


This morning I tackled the dreaded 24 miler. I did the first twelve by myself and then a friend jumped in and ran the second half with me. I have the marathon in three weeks, so I hope I didn't do something crazy running this today. The plan says 24, so I did it. I ran it slower than race pace (I ran in 9:11 per mile pace and I'm hoping closer to 8:30) but ran it nonetheless. I'm tired and the muscles around my knees are a bit sore; woke me from a nap, actually. But other than that, I'm moving and feeling good (so far. :)) I am planning on easy runs from now till the "big day", with the weekend runs being 8 and 12, sorry if I've already said that. :) After the mentally defeating issue on the 22 day, I was happy to know I could do it. Now, lots of water, healing muscles and shorter workouts as I count down.
In other news, I am still in the kindergarten classroom, subbing for a teacher who is ill. Boy, those kids wear me out. They are walking (or running!) bundles of energy. They are fun little people, they just wear me out. I've gotten a lot of hugs and a student even brought me an "apple for the teacher" this week. It was so cool. The teacher will be back part time on Monday and Tuesday and see how she feels. I haven't been able to get every thing done at home, but that's ok, I'm doing one of my favorite things: teaching! My frozen meals from two weeks ago sure have come in handy on the busy nights! We had a few chilly nights this week and it was nice to have a warm, filling casserole for dinner. My husband said again that one of them was the best thing I'd made, ever: "thumbs up"! :) It was easy and froze well, except I didn't put the crumbs and butter on top until I thawed it. Here's the recipe:
Chicken Noodle Casserole

1/2 c plus 2 T butter, divided
1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 c rich chicken stock
2 c sour cream
1/2 c white wine
dash nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb egg noodles, cooked 6 to 7 minutes
4 1/2 c cooked chicken, cut into pieces
1 lb mushroom, sliced and cooked
1 c soft bread crumbs
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Clean and slice the mushrooms and sauté in a 2 tablespoons butter until soft and slightly browned, about 7 minutes.

Remove crusts from 2 or 3 slices of fresh bread and with steel blade in food processor, process bread until soft crumbs form.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan, over medium heat, and whisk in the flour. Cook 1 minute. Gradually add stock, sour cream and wine. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste and blend well. Arrange the noodles in an ovenproof casserole. Layer chicken, mushrooms then sauce to cover.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter and mix with the bread crumbs. Top the casserole with the buttered crumbs and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

Serving idea: have with buttered green beans and biscuits.

Hope your week went well!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Such An Interesting Site!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sites & Books

Some new sites I like right now...
And the two books on my desk to read


The 22 mile challenge... I didn't make it. The 22 mile run ended at 18. My calves seized again. In fact, they still hurt. I tried to push myself through it, telling myself I'd made it 20! To no avail, I walked home. I tried running here and there, but was left mentally defeated. My husband reminded me that I'd run over three and a quarter hours, and that was a good workout. This weekend will be back to twelve. Then next will be 24 and my last over 20 until the actual marathon, which is in 31 days.
I am working everyday, too; subbing in kindergarten, currently. A friend came down with an illness leaving her in the hospital from last Sunday to yesterday, so I've had her class all week, and will all next week, as well. She's a dear lady, and I'm lucky to be in her class! There are 23 students in the morning and 21 in the afternoon. They're great kids, and I'm lucky they know me from assessments at the beginning of the year, so they are accustomed to seeing me there. It's also nice to know where I will be each day, with subbing I may get a call at 6am, letting me know what school needs a substitute, and it could be one of fifteen elementary schools. This way I can develop a stronger relationship with the kids, as well. A day here and there makes it hard, because I'm not their "real teacher". This way I can get to know them a bit better. I believe that helps me to teach, knowing their needs/strengths in learning.
My grandparents are heading here tomorrow, here overnight. They haven't been in about a year and a half, so it will be nice to have them see our patio, our girls' activities, etc.
With company coming, I've been trying to clean when I am home for lunch or between work and taking the girls to their activities. I've run out of hours in the day! :) This makes me appreciate the meals I cooked last week and froze! We've had a few of them! My husband even said one (cannelloni with cheese sauce, although I couldn't find cannelloni at our store, so I used manicotti) was the best food he'd eaten! He ate about three helpings and had leftovers, too! :) Yesterday was a New England style pot roast. It had parsnips, which I love roasted, and turnips. It was interesting, although not a favorite, with the children or myself.
My oldest child took her time down by another thirty seconds at her cross country race on Tuesday. She's been working at finding her strength and speed. She's fifth or sixth on the team, depending on the race, but she works hard, is improving almost every race and is having fun!! All are the most important reasons for running...
My youngest is working hard at school, as well as soccer (she loves defense but hates being goalie!). She's in third grade and found out yesterday that her reading level is just above 6th grade reading level. She's the highest in her class and thrilled. She also worked hard on her practice math on Tuesday to do well on her math quiz yesterday, getting all the answers right! Both girls are so smart, if I do say so (yes, I am a bit biased! :)) Two people I am so thankful for! :)
With teachers and friends I know coming down with different illnesses, family problems, etc, I am reminded again, how very blessed I am. I was thankful in my last post to remind myself of all that is good in my life, because sometimes I get frustrated and don't remember those things. (Like when I dwelled on 18 instead of 22 miles....)
Hope you're happy as well, reader. Take care!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I am thankful for:
  1. wonderful teachers & schools
  2. a terrific family & great friends-soooo many fantastic people in my life
  3. the means to buy groceries to feed my family
  4. my faith and my God
  5. sunshine
  6. rain
  7. autumn and cooler days!
  8. feeling great when I ran today & the ability to run
  9. my home, and my country where I have many freedoms, such as the freedom of speech
  10. meals prepared before my husband walks in the door, and his kisses when he does :)
I read Ali Edwards's blog and yesterday's post was about gratitude. We have so much to be thankful for, and I am posting a few of the reasons that I am happy. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Long Few Days

I tried the 12 miles, Saturday, that should have been easy after 20 the week before... but not so. I struggled mentally and physically and felt the same on my runs so far this week. My body's worn down, I think. Not enough sleep or something. I am very anxious about the 22 looming large for Saturday. We'll see how it goes. I ran almost 7 today, but was supposed to do 8. Not a lot of time in the schedule.
Sunday I made a plan/searched for "make ahead freezer meals" online. Found about ten I liked and put together a grocery list. I also planned for lunch items for the girls' packed lunches and easy dinners slid in here and there.
Then yesterday I did it: shopped for two+ hours, two full shopping carts, and a van load of money to pay for it all. Then I came home to cook 6lbs. of chicken, 5lbs. of ground beef, and two rolls of sausage. I also cleaned out the pantry to make room for everything I had bought.
Then today, I assembled three of the dishes (cooking pasta, cutting vegetables, putting everything together), and cleaned out the freezers to make room for completed dishes.
Still more to finish tomorrow, but then I will have about ten meals, more if counting leftovers, ready even on busy nights! I'm excited. Just a few days of cleaning the kitchen up after cooking.
That's all for now. I will post the good recipes! :) Hope your week is going well!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Harry Potter

My youngest daughter and I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone this weekend, also. We had been working on it, on and off, throughout the summer, depending on what she was reading alone and whether she just wanted to read her own book or have me read Harry Potter to her. She loved the book and wanted to start the second right away! She also wanted to see the movie of the first book, and so we started it tonight as a family. We watched an hour of it, but it was a school night, so we shall watch the rest later. Then, we begin Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
It is so much fun reading books with my daughters, sharing our thoughts and surprises, enjoying books together!

20 miles

My run on Sunday (my oldest had her first cross country invitational, so I couldn't get my long run in on Saturday) was 20 miles. Alone. I was really very nervous. I did it. It was warm weather by its end, but I made it. I wogged (walk/jogged :)) a bit in the 18th mile, but finished the 20! Some runners say, for your first few times at that long of a distance, you're trying to run your pace, but keep working on forward progress. :) I finished in 3 hours and 21 minutes. Not the pace I want for the actual marathon in October, but it's a base for mileage! Since starting the marathon training in May I have run at least 411 miles. :) I ran off about 2000 calories on the 20 miler. :) I do feel much more fit than I have in years. I am noticing the little spots around my middle and "rear" disappear. :) I can feel real muscles! :) I have noticed I sleep less, sometimes it's because my muscles are not so happy... and my appetite is smaller. I usually go through this in the hot weather, not wanting to eat as much but I'm working on eating well. Tonight we had wonderful grilled steak, sweet potatoes roasted on the grill and fresh, diced peaches. MMM. And yes, the chocolate milk after those long runs is still a must! :)
As I mentioned, my oldest ran in her first invitational. She was a bit nervous... then she saw the 22 other teams and was very nervous! The other parents noticed that she was a bit pale about 1/4 the way through. She adjusted and worked hard. She ran her best and ended up beating her best time by 30 seconds! She did great! My parents came in town so they could be there. It was great to have them running around the course cheering for her, too. :) They enjoyed it as well! And my oldest was thrilled to have them here.
I haven't gotten a full time teaching job, though I have still been busy working. I have been doing kindergarten assessments since school started and have one more day at it, tomorrow. The teacher is there, but more can be tackled if there's help! We ask the children questions and have them do tasks to see the current levels where they are beginning kindergarten. They are such interesting little people at this age. Beginning school for the first time, some are excited, some are nervous, some inquisitive, some already knowing how to read, others hungry to learn. It is a fun time to see the children enter their school year. I enjoy it. It is fun for me later in the year, also, when this teacher calls me to be her substitute, to see how the children have changed, and grown.
It was nice to have my husband home for the day. We went as a family to a nearby city park and walked, looking at the ponds and gardens. See the frog at right, who floated lazily in the sun, thinking he was hidden...
Back to school tomorrow, a four day week, and next week, into the swing of a full week. Fall is on its way, and summer is saying goodbye. Hope all is well with you, reader.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Back to the Info

Well, today's run is complete. Ugh. It was super hot. At 18.25 or so, my right calf began to cramp, like seize up. I would run about ten to fifteen steps and it would cramp, causing me to gasp, walk ten to fifteen steps, then feel better, begin shuffling steps, then running...until the next ten to fifteen steps. It was a pain, but the coaches who were there said it was better to do this (or quit and go home, which was unacceptable to me) than injure myself. All totaled, my run ended up being 19.35 miles, walking included. And 20 next week??!! Well, I will cross that bridge next week. :)
Some foolish person (ahem, me) scheduled a neighborhood (6 families and ours) get together at our house for today. Yes, today. We... I mean I wanted to have the party on the patio before the start of school, sports, etc. Only now there is pending rain in the forecast. Can you believe it? Drought conditions for months and now some rain on my patio party. Well, good company and wine will cheer me up. :)
Other information from earlier this month: we went to Cedar Point with family. I wasn't keen on the idea because I don't like heights, speed or twirling until you lose your lunch. However, my husband does, my children wanted to try it... you know. Well, we got there with my brother-in-law and his family, went to Soak City (I'm not a fan of water, either.. I'm rather wimpy :)) We had a nice evening there, then the next morning, onto the roller coasters! My husband said, "Come on the Iron Dragon. It's not bad at all." When he saw my pale face after, he stopped asking me to ride. I had fun with my daughters and little nephews! I also had fun taking photos! My daughters fared much better, braving things that made them nervous. It was a fun time had by all. (FYI, I'm brave about other things like big dogs and riding horses.... Really.) :)
I haven't informed about anything lately, so:
My daughters were in the mood to listen to "kids' music" instead of our usual contemporary Christian, so I broke out some of our old favorites. Some of them are quite funny, and poetic in their words! Here they are:
Well, the thunder is approaching, so I must go bring some of our outside things into the house. Bummer.

It's been a while

I have let more time pass than I like to in between blogs, so there is much to update.
Currently, I wait for the clock so I can go for my long run. 19 miles today. I was so exhausted and sore after 17, and the weather has been so hot and humid that I am very nervous for today's run. It should take about three hours. I should be ready to eat and nap when it's over. Hopefully the chafing I've experienced in recent weeks isn't a factor today, but I suspect it might be. The purple toenail I have that "serves as a badge of honor", so says the running store owner, hadn't been bothering me, so I hope that's true today, as well. Our group has plenty of water and Gatorade stops, so we can stay well hydrated, I have my three packs of gu, the ipod, and my watch. I took it a bit easy this week, due to the heat index over 100. I know to be careful in the heat, but I still feel guilty not achieving what the schedule says.
I got my hair cut two weeks ago. Very short, shorter than I've had in a while. It's fun, low maintenance and cute on me, but hard to keep out of my face on run days. "Bobby pins" will have to do. I hope they hold for three hours.
School starts this coming week and both girls are very excited. We went school shopping and paid an arm and a leg, as both girls have grown an inch over the summer! Of course nothing they had still fits them...
Our oldest had her first cross country scrimmage this past week, in the heat. She ran a smart race; starting slow, picking off people and getting faster as she went. She had a good time!
My youngest has started soccer and knows many girls on her team. She's excited to start a more regular practice schedule.
Well, it's time to head off on the run, I will write more later. Take care!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another Run Down!

We are going after Vacation Bible School tonight, to meet up with my parents and camp with them for the weekend! I'm very much looking forward to it! But, I didn't want to worry about what I ate tonight, how I slept and a longer drive to meet the crew that I train with on Saturdays, so I ran today. I ate pasta last night to help, although my appetite has decreased lately. I ran-get this: 16 miles!!! By myself! I was nervous, because I haven't done over 14 this year, as regular readers know. At mile 15, I was hurting, of course, but I did it! It was not nearly the time frame I'd like: the 8:30 range, although I'm pacifying myself by remembering that it was 72 degrees when I started!!! I got up at around 5:30am, got ready, filled my Gatorade and water bottles, etc. I left around 6am and got back a little after 8am. Still, it was so humid and hot, it was very hard to breathe! But, I did it! :) I am excited, can you tell?? :) My minute per mile time was in the 9:00 range. Like I said, not the 8:30 I hoped for, but I will get there!! :)
The humidity is supposed to move off tonight for most of tomorrow, but not the heat, so camping in our pop up camper should be fun!! :)
My quest/hope for a teaching job hasn't led anywhere, yet, but I'm still hopeful, looking at the positives. :) School doesn't start for another month... :) I got out my tubs of information I've been saving for years and cut it down from two tubs to one, recycling all those notes from college classes with abbreviations I no longer remember the meaning of... Some pages I have far too many copies of, when I only need one... These types of things. I also have begun reviewing some of the newest, most relevant information, just in case...
The girls are growing up so fast, at our house. My oldest careening towards cross country practice-a school organized sport and 7th grade, as well. My youngest racing to grow up just as fast and in the process, growing up faster than it seems our first did! She's very excited about heading to third grade!! Counting down the days.
I am reading a new book that was recommended to me: Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy through Jokes I am always looking for a nonfiction book to read, but one I will like... This came highly recommended as very funny and fun to read-while you're learning! :) So, I thought I'd try it. I'm only on the first couple pages, so I will keep you posted on that.
My garden looks awful-the heat is scorching it and the lawn, despite repeated watering. Although the beetles seem to be less...
That's all I have from here! Have a great weekend, reader!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

More Vacation Bible School

I'm in the midst of another awesome week of Vacation Bible School. Our church does three sessions, one evening session at our main campus, one evening session at our newly added campus, and one morning/daytime session at the main campus. I signed up to organize and run games for the two evening sessions. Now, we're in the second session! I mentioned a few posts ago that the last session I did was smaller than in years past. Well, this one is smaller still, but we're having fun in different, but still fun, ways. At our main campus, the only play area we have is inside the gym, which has slippery floors, so we can't play the water games. This second campus has areas outside where we can play water games! So, I'm picking up sponges for a water relay tomorrow and I think (being that it's supposed to be 94 degrees tomorrow!) they will thoroughly enjoy getting wet! Each game has a message to go with our week's Bible Points and theme, as well.
That's all for today; I just wanted to share the joy I feel over seeing kids be excited about God/Faith and singing with happiness. It's totally contagious and very fun to be a part of it!! :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

The latest

Our patio didn't get finished until today, due to thunderstorms. But, it's finished today, some clematis were inserted to grow up the arbor posts, some ornamental grasses, a fernleaf buckthorn tree to grow up and shield the air conditioning unit, and sod where they hadn't placed it, yet. It is lovely! The husband and I sat out there and played mancala (mancala rules) last night with a glass of wine. (Here is an online version of mancala-fun!)It was a wonderful end to a busy weekend!

The grandparents' anniversary party was terrific; many family, good food, games of cornhole, including a family bracket/tournament and great weather! We got to see children we hadn't seen in a year, so they'd changed quite a bit. The grandparents hadn't had a cake at their wedding 60 years ago, and got one this weekend, even feeding it to each other which was a treat! I took about 200 photos (the count, of course, is before deleting the not-so-great photos or pictures my husband took of me when I was unaware...)

The thunderstorms also ruined my plans for getting my thirteen miler in on Friday, but I was determined to tackle it on my own Saturday before heading out to the family get together. I did it!! My ipod lost the results again, which stunk. I didn't get to see my average per mile time, but the total was 1 hour and 54 minutes.

I am taking the girls to pool in just a few minutes, but wanted to get a blog in. I hope the end of July is treating you well and the beginning of August greets you warmly...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Arbor

The workers will come and tighten up the cords for the lights tomorrow, after we have decided that we like their positioning. Other than that, we are done! Yeah! Well, they will put in one small "decorative shrub/tree" to the right of the arbor, but they will be done-totally done-tomorrow.
There is someone here, today, also replacing my garage door and I'm happy that will be done, as well! All except for the $$$, that is. :)
I ran the scheduled 14 miles this past weekend and OUCH! I felt great about the 13, but the 14 was the "unlucky number" for me last week. This week we go back down to 13, though, so I can drop that 14th. I'm sure part of my problem was that we did two mega hills in the midst of the 14. Ugh. Anyway, I tried the GU again and it went great.
I finished the latest Harry Potter book-not one to give anything away, it was a proper ending, I thought. There were rumors at the local library today that there would be an eighth book... Though this wasn't what the rumors said, this was what was written about an eighth. I got several new books from the library today, hoping to enjoy them on the new patio, but school is zooming close very quickly!
We are heading out of state this weekend (so my run will have to be on my own...uh oh!) for my husband's maternal grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary! What a special occasion and so many family members will be there, some we haven't seen in quite a while! We're all looking forward to it.
That does it from here. Hope your summer is going well-glad to hear Isabelle isn't totally flooded out! I have wondered if you were in the midst of the water!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Organizing Site

Well, this site is new to me. :) I was searching for a new organizer/planner, as the one I have is big, and bulky...but with the busy schoolyear ahead, I like to have a planner ready! :) Anyway, I was googling some things and came across this site (and I love things that help me organize. :)) Enjoy!

Busy as summer bees

My garden is full of busy bumblebees buzzing 'round my Russian Sage and Lavender. The rest of my garden is looking pretty pathetic. I was watering every morning, even though the neighborhood doesn't like you to... and my plants were still crispy and brown. So, I quit watering and some of them have perished. The new plants I got to replace the beetle attractants didn't have enough time to build up before the heat and drought hit this year. We are in drought conditions. We got a little rain last night, which was helpful for the new patio landscaping and sod that was laid around it, though. Our water bill will be huge this month, I'm afraid. One plant that is doing well, however, is the morning glory that my youngest daughter and I planted from seed. It just started blooming this week and she's excited to see it!
The patio is almost finished. There is to be an arbor on the left side of it, but it hasn't been put in yet. Other than that, it's done.This is the view to the right from the hubby's den window, and the new table we got. The arbor will be at the bottom right of the photo. In this second photo, you can see the ground level and the firepit. Sorry about the screen in the photo, it's another one from hubby's den window.
We've already eaten almost all our meals out there! :)
In running news, I made the 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 48 minutes on Saturday! I was so happy! That was right where I hoped I'd be. This week: 14! This week's four and five mile runs have taken some working up to. I think I need a break, but can't take one. I ran with the oldest daughter at cross country workout yesterday (run by a pair of parents, not official or required). It was fun; they got to see their course, some of them for the first time. It is FLAT! So, hopefully some PR's ahead! :) They ran the course (2 miles) slow just to see where it was, got some water and stretched, and then ran it again trying to get their second mile better than their first. My oldest girl ran it pretty well for her first time, and having ran two miles previous to the actual workout. She did great!
This weekend the husband finished taking down the girls' wooden swingset/playset because they are too big to fit in it! He got down to the last few parts, and asked the girls to clean up the small things while he finished tearing it down...I said, be careful! Those nails are dangerous, they can go through those plastic shoes, etc. Well, the husband says that I worry too much, they'll be fine...and nolonger were the words out of his mouth and he steps on a nail!!! Right up through the shoe, and sock and into his foot-quite a long nail. OUCH! I took him to the urgent care office, where he got a tetanus shot and some antibiotics because the dr. said his shoes were "like a petri dish" waiting to spread germs; that he'd have been better off to step on it in bare feet. I did not say "I told you so"... but my husband did say to the girls, as we left for the urgent care: Girls, this is why you should always listen to your mother. :) He's doing fine, walking on it ok, now.
While we were at the hospital my husband said the nail wasn't rusty...but there was a poster in the office that said "tetanus shots aren't just for rusty nails anymore", that they were for anything that punctures the skin like bee stings, splinters or nails. They used to be good for 7 years, but now they're good for ten years.
In reading news, I finished Water for Elephants, which went fast, but was graphic in some spots, I thought. Not a favorite for me, although I did love the different perspectives of the old and young. I also finished The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, which is the latest in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. I read the first two or three and liked them in previous summers. I saw the latest in the library and thought I'd pick it up. I enjoyed it and it went by quickly, as well. I am still in the middle of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with my youngest daughter. We're reading it together. She didn't think she'd like it (mainly because my oldest read the first two and declared that she didn't like the books...) But my youngest likes fairies, magic, fantasy, etc, so I thought she'd like it. She hates when we put it down, now! I am also still in the middle of the Mysterious Benedict Society with my oldest, as well. They are enjoying their summer reading of other books as well! They have been so great about trying new books instead of sticking with the same series as they may have done in years past. They knew what they liked and only wanted to read those. I sometimes get like that myself, (ie the Tea Shop Mysteries)!! :)
Well, enough for now. I'm off to put furniture back where it belongs, as my husband cleaned the carpets last evening.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Well, I met my goals of eleven miles two weekends ago and twelve miles this past weekend. This was the first weekend, the twelve miler, where I didn't feel like myself. I felt like I was lethargic, my legs were lead and my enthusiasm wasn't up, either. This week it's been "work" to get myself into the workouts instead of "fun". I dread the nagging aches and the humidity. This is the first time, this summer, that I've felt so "blah". I'm working on it; reading Runner's World, trying to get myself iced and stretched to stave off some of the aches, and trying to push through it. I am looking forward to our run this coming Saturday, of only 8 miles. It will feel good to know I will have success at a shorter distance-anything ten and under seems like no problem. Then it's onto the next challenge the next week: the 13=half of my goal. So far, all of my long, weekend runs have been between 8 and 8:30 per mile average! And, until this past week, have felt great! Yeah!

The patio is coming along nicely, should be done not this Friday, but the next. It's been slow progress week due to the holiday in the middle and they couldn't come Monday because some of the crew were unable to get here. They have a good base of the wall stones up and are beginning the paver stone work, as well as a LOT of sand and gravel brought in and leveling done. The dogs have not enjoyed the process, but they are surviving. I don't remember if I'd mentioned that our Weim has figured out how to open the door? And he chased a worker to his truck on Tuesday...Other than that, he's been pretty good. :) I recalled that I hadn't sent pictures of my Weim (I don't think...) so, here he is in our backyard in June. Meet Merlin. I will post pics of the patio when it's complete.We had a nice Fourth of July, actually on the 3rd, we headed to the big town nearby for their huge show.It was difficult to take pictures, but I tried. We went with my in laws and had a nice evening of it. Then on the 4th, we had dinner at the in laws' house, as well. A very nice day.

Vacation Bible School went extremely well, and the week totally flew by. We only had 40 elementary aged children this time, so that was smaller than in years past, but fun nonetheless. I have thoroughly enjoyed having the girls home for summer vacation and it has flown by, as well. I can't believe it's already July and zooming along towards August!!

That's all for now. I have to go get daughter #2 from piano lessons. Hope you're enjoying your July!

Friday, June 22, 2007

One Word Answers?

I have been tagged by Isabelle at In This Life. I must answer the questions with only one word. My husband is thinking, "One word?? She can't do it!" :) I shall try! And I am tagging (hopefully you haven't been tagged....) Momo, Christy, Runner Susan, Molly and Ali.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Relationship? cornerstone

3. Your hair? bobbed

4. Work? teacher

5. Your sister? in-law

6. Your favourite thing? family

7. Your dream last night? jumbled

8. Your favourite drink? latte

9. Your dream car? free (I liked that one, Isabelle!)

10. The room you're in? kitchen

11. Your shoes? none

12. Your fears? joblessness

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? healthy

14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? family

15. What are you not good at? cooking

16. Muffin? sweet

17. Wish list item? familytime

18. Where you grew up? michigan

19. The last thing you did? classwork

20. What are you wearing? shorts

21. What are you not wearing? shoes

22. Your pet? Weimaraner

23. Your computer? communication

24. Your life? busy

25. Your mood? Positive :)

26. Missing? family

27. What are you thinking about? coffee

28. Your car? essential

29. Your kitchen? redecorate

30. Your summer? patio

31. Your favourite colour? blue

32. Last time you laughed? morning

33. Last time you cried? week

34. School? vacation

35. Love? much

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Running, Hot & Cold

Running: I've still been running, although I've mentioned that I had come down with a back pain. It seems to go away...after about 2-4 miles of running, and then it is still a nagging twinge. It couldn't be old age at just 32, right? :) Both my mom and dad have back issues: my dad can "pop out his back" just by putting his pants on, and my mom put hers out this week doing her hair! Mine hasn't "popped out" but I've always been successful at cracking it. Anyway, it kept me from running three days last week. I made it the ten miles last weekend in average 8:21 per mile. (My goal for the marathon is between 8 minutes and 8:30 per mile= about a 3 hour and 30 minute marathon.) I was elated. For going my farthest in two years, I was very happy with that time! This weekend is eleven miles and hopefully another time goal is met!
Hot: My dad called this week and said he had extra tickets to the NASCAR race in Michigan. Now, I know most people think NASCAR is boring, not fun to watch, etc, but I've really become interested in it in the last three years or so. It's something my dad has always been interested in and it's something we have in common. Once you get into the strategy of it, and watch the shorter track races it can really be interesting! Anyway, he, my mom, a coworker of my dad's and his wife had seats and then Dad had these two extras. Did I want to go to my first race? YES! :) My hubby and I met them at the track, after dropping the girls off at my grandparents'. We had wonderful seats; we could see the whole race and it wasn't too loud because we were higher up. It was extremely hot and sunny, however. If you've read my previous posts, you know I'm a sunscreen fanatic. I was very good about putting it on every hour! My hubby did, too, and was disappointed the next day that he had no tan. :) We were out in the sun from about 12:30 to 4:30...Our seats were on bleachers, metal bleachers, and you could feel the heat radiating off them, and shining down on you. But I had a great time! One of my favorite drivers started in 41 and ended 3, so it was good for him. My dad's least favorite always wins when my dad attends a race. I told him for Father's Day I'd try to break his streak: and it worked! :) His two least favorites didn't do so well. :)
Cold: I am sadly in love of a Starbucks drink. A big conglomerate, who puts the "little guy" out of business...But Starbucks employees are perfectly trained to be positive, cheerful and happy whenever I go in to get the "Grande, nonfat iced vanilla late". MMM. With the weather being hot and dry here, the hot coffees don't sound as good. So, the above drink has become my favorite. Bad for the wallet, for sure, and bad for the "little guy" coffee places, although there aren't any near my house... but a nice little treat for me if I just have it now and then.
In an hour or so, I am heading to a Vacation Bible School cohort's house so we can all put some of the decorations together and finish ironing out our plans for next week's evening Bible School. Then it's on to class number 3's second lesson! I finished class number two over the weekend and started number three yesterday.
The three companies vying for our patio have all brought plans and prices and we've chosen. I had the job of letting down the two we didn't choose and calling the third to let him know he'd be doing our patio. We're excited: it starts next week! :)
That's all for now, hope your summer is progressing nicely!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not a Knitter

Ok, I have begun cleaning out my craft stuff. *If you've read my posts before, you will see that I like to "organize" and "reorganize". Now that summer's here, I'm ready to "purge" from the basement, craft cupboards and crawl spaces.* Anyway, I looked at all my knitting stuff, some cool stuff... but I have no patience (or skill for that matter) for knitting, for sewing of pretty much any kind. I also have lots of cross stitch items, sewing machine, and fabric pieces...but I have no patience for sitting and working on any of it. I thoroughly enjoy scrapbooking, from reading the books, looking at layouts, to magazines and wandering through the stores. That and photographing (which I'm learning more about). I guess I've been thinking about time limitations when I get a full time teaching job, with family, running and regular house chores... I don't have time for a bunch of crafts/hobbies. So, I need to limit, organize, clean out the items I don't totally love doing.

Summer Vacation

Well, the 2006-2007 schoolyear ended yesterday at 3:30pm. We headed from there to piano lessons, which continue through July, only taking August off, then went to the library. The library has a very nice summer reading program with prizes and activities throughout the summer. My girls love to sign up, and more importantly, they love to read. The oldest got three books and is done with 1 and a 1/2 far. The youngest got four and is done with 1 and a 1/2 so far. I got two but am working on these college classes... After the library trip, the girls read for an hour and then we met the hubby for dinner. He had worked late and we wanted to celebrate the end of another wonderful year. The girls both finished with exceptional grades, including the oldest being honored at a school ceremony for a 4.0, so we headed to a local sporting goods store and got them rollerblades. We don't normally get "good grades" gifts, but after an excellent school year and onto summer, we thought it would be fun...and exercise for them.
I have not yet ran today and contemplated not: I have a pain in my back. I don't have this issue normally, but it's making me run awkwardly and uncomfortably. I need to get five miles in today, though. I am looking forward to tackling the ten on Saturday; the double digit mileage is looming large in front of me. Hopefully I don't psych myself out!
Not sure if I mentioned that we're having patio estimates done these last two weeks, had plans presented to us this week and hope to make a decision this Friday. Hopefully... :)
So far, plants in the garden are looking great. Although, the adjustments I made earlier this season, to reduce beetle infestation, have made things look awkward. I am used to full and bright plants, but the first seasons of perennials don't end up that way. They look thin and sparse, even with feeding and watering. It is early summer, so hopefully they will come around. Then in the fall or next spring I can rearrange some things.
That's all for today, onto more class homework. I am almost done with class two!

*note, I didn't get any homework done this afternoon! Some friends called and asked if we'd go to a waterpark. Not like slides and rafting, but a playground, with a waterpad nearby. The waterpad shot out water, filled buckets on poles which then dumped down, and a tunnel with water spraying. The kids loved it and we were there for hours! When they were tired of one park they went onto the other (the playground without water or the pad with water)! We applied and reapplied the sunscreen and they still had lots of fun! :) Hope your summer's going as "sunnily". :)

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I am not a fashion diva in any sense of the word. I buy shoes when my current pairs literally are falling apart. Then the new ones are worn down, as well. Except for running shoes. Those I'm good about getting new ones when I reached the "good for your feet" level, at 300-500 miles. I am also not great about accessories to go with outfits or getting new clothes...either I don't do anything special, or I wear the nice ones until their seams fall out or they get holes worn in them. Except running. I have two hats with dri-fit so that they wick the moisture away from your head, and protect from the dreaded sun. :) I also have a few cute outfits, but my hubby got those for me. They are color coordinated and have no holes. :) Today, I splurged... my old ironman watch finally called it quits after years of service, and it's not just a dead battery. It is old, and past its prime. So, I went today after my nine mile run (8:24 per minute average pace-woo hoo), glass of milk, and shower, feeling inspired. :) I got this little beauty:
First, let me say that I got a discount from being in the marathoner in training program, I didn't pay full price! :) Next, I think my husband will tease me if I wear it all the time, but it does match my running shoes and fit so comfortably! :) Anyway, it will be nice to keep time on those long runs and when I don't take the ipod. I looked for some race ready shorts, but they didn't have any. Race ready means there is a little pocket sewn onto the inside of the waist band so you can take gu, or something like it with you, without having to wear a pouch or belt. During my first marathon, I didn't eat anything and that was not smart. This year I'm introducing some things into my training sessions to get used to them before the marathon. I am not a big fan of the synthetic gu's because of their textures...well I wasn't on 2005...I got a few of them just to try, but I also got some energy beans which are like jelly beans and some other chews which are like gummy bears. My next long run is on Saturday: 10 miles, so I will take one and try it!
Other news: The kids are sooo excited about summer vacation: Monday's the last day of school! The husband is at a local conference this weekend for his work. I am working on my classes online (um, except when I was running, going to the running store and blogging...) The weather is beautiful and the girls are washing my car-for fun! :) Hope your weekend goes great!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Wonder Box

I was subbing in first grade this week and came across something that sounds like so much fun... and will initiate so much learning! They have a small box, like a recipe box, one that holds index cards. On the teacher's desk there are index cards. When they wonder something or at wonderbox time, they write a question on the front of the card. Then later, when they have time, or at wonderbox time, they look in books in the classroom or go to the library, find the answer and write it on the back. Then they've found their answer, and at sharing time, share this fact with the class! It can be anything: I wonder why the sky is blue, I wonder why the sun is so bright, I wonder why there is salt in the ocean, or I wonder how big a bird eating spider gets. The catch is that they also have to note the book from which the answer came and its page number, so we see the fact.
I thought it would be fun to have a wonderbox for each of the girls this summer. They can wonder, and we can (on one of our almost daily trips to the library) seek out the answer! :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Well, I'm back into running again, and addicted. I'm back to that "I hate to miss today's run" feeling. I love it. I started outside training again (after the beginning training on the treadmill for twenty to thirty minute runs, in February through April). I started on April 24th "officially" training for the marathon in the fall. I signed up for a local "marathon in training" program and ran with them yesterday: 8 miles and big hill. Ran in 8:35/mile pace. Felt good! Learned that 1/2 hour after running long runs you should take in protein like chocolate milk. The chocolate makes it taste better. Anyway, I tried it; I was skeptical about milk after a run, but it wasn't bad! Then today I ran the third leg of a relay. A friend who is new to running (this was her first race) was running the first leg, a mile, and then one of her other friends was running the second leg, three miles. I was to do 5. I did it at an 8:01 pace and was thrilled considering I ran 8 yesterday! :) More milk after today and tomorrow is this week's "rest day" with no run. I still felt really good until an afternoon nap today. Then I felt so I needed another nap! :)
I've been subbing a lot lately, three days a week is the regular, now, but that will end in the next two weeks when school is out. Then, I have a few things planned for the summer with the girls: riding bikes on the bike path, our usual library outings, impromptu camping trips, zoo trips, and we're getting a pool pass for the first time this year.
I'm also working on details for the "second annual wine party" as well. We are currently getting patio estimates and are hoping to have the party as soon as the patio is complete!
Well, that is the latest from here. Hope your June is starting well!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In a Moment

In a moment...I have returned from dropping our youngest at basketball camp. She has had it all week and was ecstatic to go!
In a moment...I will go to the last band concert for my oldest, this school year. She has her first solo on her double horn. I can't believe these two girls will be done with school in less than a month!

A friend called and her father-in-law had died. He'd been in and out of the hospital with coughing up blood and no one had checked his lungs for cancer. In a short time, after finding the tumor, he was gone. We never know how many moments we have.

In a moment, tempers can flare and frustrations rise... The siding manufacturer sent us a letter denying responsibility or defect... so my husband called and said "so, what good is the warranty and what DO you cover??"

In a moment the kids grow up, move into summer vacation after finishing yet another grade level, and fit into my shoes and clothing. It's unbelievable how fast it flies by...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Do Just One Thing"

I was reading the {A} blog and Ali referred to a site online that intrigued me. The post was called Speaking to Me. The post was great, by itself, about whole living, but then I followed the link to Body and Soul Magazine. Then, while I was there, I clicked on the Do Just One Thing page, which talks about how it isn't hard to change the world and save the environment. To go green, so to speak. There was a pdf list of things you can do and I thought so many of them are doable! So, here's to you: a challenge to change the world....101 and ways to go green. Good luck in making the world an even more positive place!

(added note: Anyone tried anything new from the list?? Hope so! And hope your week is going well!)

Friday, May 04, 2007

I've done it...

I have done more research on previously mentioned Japanese beetles and the woman at the local nursery said...I think all you can do is remove the plants the beetles like. I can't let the beetles win! They will not defeat me....oh, but they have. I removed some of the plants they like to eat and replaced them with others I hope they don't like. I have begun the transformation of my garden. I have always had a list of bird attracting and butterfly attracting plants and hoped to purchase them someday. So, this week, before I subbed in the afternoon, I went to the nursery and purchased some from my list...hopefully the plants like it here in my little garden and keep away the nasty insects who destroy it. Here is my garden last July in full bloom: The daisies in the middle were subsequently destroyed by the beetles, as were a few others. The zinnias on the right are annuals, but I may try to plant some more because they did so well last year. Hopefully I will have successfully removed the pests from my front garden....

Thursday, April 19, 2007

1 down, 2 to go

I finished my first online class today. I had to create a website for teachers/students and a "webquest" for kids to follow. So, I did, following each of the 12 steps. I had to email the teacher after each lesson, some reviews about articles she had students read (online, of course) and some additions to my site as I went along. The class was about computer integration into the classroom. The next two classes are multimedia and social studies standards.
My daughters had an early release from school, today, which means that they get out an hour early so teachers can have training of some sort. Currently, the youngest is practicing piano, for her lesson this evening, and the oldest is helping her. The oldest is also making art for the great grandparents who live in other states. They like the art and my daughters like to make it for them, if they are reminded to do so.
Last weekend the oldest daughter and I went on a middle schoolers' church retreat with 6, 7, and 8th graders Friday night through Saturday night, arriving home at 8:30 Saturday night. We had a prayer labyrinth with different stations to read a Bible verse and pray. It was very nice! We also went on an adventure walk with a low ropes course, and some getting to know you activities. It rained quite a bit and we were soaked clear through after our long hike. There were six adults, including me, the youth pastor and his wife, and 19 kids. We also had a prayer service and communion while we were there. We had a very nice time, but were both glad to be home.
I subbed yesterday and am scheduled to tomorrow, as well. I had two days last week and one scheduled for next week, too. Tomorrow's job, though, is with a student teacher who is doing most of the teaching, so I will be the back up teacher, so to speak.
I am currently reading "Chamomile Mourning" by Laura Childs, yes, I am continuing with the tea shop mysteries. :) I reserved the next one in the series from the library, also. We head to my husband's sister's house this weekend. We are to help her move out of her apartment and into her new, first house! It takes about two hours to drive to her current place, so I think I can get this tea mystery finished. :) Then next week we are going to visit my family and I will be finishing another then, I think. Which will mean I am caught up on the series.
As far as running goes, I only ran three times on our trip and since it's been sporadic. I ran 4 miles yesterday and am going to pop on the treadmill here in a few minutes. The wind outside makes me happy for the treadmill. :) I also walked a mile last night on it while I watched the American Idol results show. I was very pleased with the results. My daughters were very happy, too. :) I have given up other tv shows that we had been hooked into. Our vacation helped pull away from the tv. However, in the evenings, if the husband is working and my eyes are too tired to scrapbook or read, I have been watching reruns of MASH.
The girls have started the soccer season again, which means Monday, Wednesday and Friday have at least one soccer game scheduled, if not two. Also, Mondays and Thursdays hold piano lessons for the girls.
I have been trying to work in the evenings on the family 2006 album, and it's going rather well. I'm up to May 1st of last year! :) I usually put scrapbooking off so that I can get other things done... but there's always more to be done. So, I've been trying to get a page or two done a day at least.
The sun is shining on and off today, but was out all day yesterday! Still windy and chilly, but thankfully there is no snow!
Well, that is all for now. Hope all is going well with you!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vacations on Sunny, Quiet Beaches

Hello! It feels like a long time since I was in the "electronic age" of email and blogs, when in reality, it's only been six days. My four family members and my parents-in-law headed out last Friday for a vacation in South Carolina. We returned home around lunch time today.
We drove, they in their car, and us in our van, each pulling campers; they pulling their hard camper and we pulled our pop up. We drove for about five hours on Friday, then stopped in a truck stop to pull over and sleep. We got up bright and early, grabbed some coffee from the "caffeine giant" and began our drive. We got to our campsites in sunny South Carolina and began our glorious vacation. The beach was not as commercial as the popular spots, the sands were white and the shells were plentiful.
During our week, we drove to Savannah, Georgia for the day one day, drove to Charleston, South Carolina on a different day, and spent quite a bit of our other time at the beach. The breezes off the ocean weren't sweltering, but they were wonderful in combination with the fabulous sun. For regular readers: you can be sure I religiously applied my sunscreen and came away with nary a tan. :) My oldest said, "You look white, Mom!" and I replied, "Thanks!" :) I applied sunscreen just as liberally to my two girls, but they did come away with a slight tan.
We got up each day, all 6 of us, except the days we drove to other cities, and searched for the "perfect shell". We were searching for conch shells but were unable to find any that didn't have cracks, holes or weather damage to them. There were quite a few shells to choose from and a variety of shell types, colors and shapes. We also got up bright and early and saw the sunrise one day, as well as took a night walk on the beach with our flashlights and glowsticks on a separate night.
Regular readers know I thoroughly enjoy scrapbooking and taking photos (although I'm not that great at it, I still love to do it! :)) My camera snapped and clicked away quite often this week. I got photos of alligators, egrets, crabs, pelicans, gulls and the cities we traveled to.
Then, yesterday, the wind picked up and a cold front moved through. It was absolutely freezing. We got packed up and headed on our way towards home... and all was fine until we hit some mountains and blizzard like conditions! We had to go very slow, as did everyone on the road, with hazard lights flashing and knuckles white. My husband did a great job maneuvering and ignoring my gasps. :) We got to the same truck stop that we stayed at on the way down and snuggled in for a chilly night's rest...then at 11:30, there were harsh raps on the side of my in laws' camper... "State police! Open up!"I must tell you that we were all startled out of sleep. The police officer proceeded to tell us that we needed to move our camper and sleep in a different area. He directed us to the back/far side of the stop, I believe, so that other stoppers (due to the snow!) could park in the many spots we were using.
We got up, got our caffeine, again, and drove towards home. We had to stop about two hours from home due to more snow and visibility issues. We made it home fine. The in-laws stopped for a late breakfast and we headed onward. This was before the second bout of snow. Then we called them on the cell phone and warned them. When they headed back on the highway, a car passed them and slid on the ice down into a ditch, causing them to swerve and slide all over the road! Some scary moments for them, but luckily, they were ok, and their vehicles were, too.
I have started the long process of editing photos and working on the mounds of laundry. My husband has unloaded the camper and taken it to the car wash bay to clean off the sand, road salt and muck.
While on the trip, I started reading the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs. I have mentioned her scrapbooking series, and that I wanted to start these. They didn't disappoint and I have devoured four of them. I am currently into the fifth. My mom had purchased them, and having borrowed all of them from her, I could just pick up the next one after I'd finished! :)
All in all, we had a wonderful vacation with great family time, superb weather and enjoyable sites to see.