Thursday, February 26, 2009

Choo Choo!

Jordan spent the night at Gama and Papa's on Saturday when we went to the shower.  He loves going over there to play with Papa's train set.  It is so cool to see how they put the track together.  Check it out!

The Calder Game

Most Recently Read Book:

The Calder Game

By Blue Balliett

I just finished the third book in this series about three kids who get wound up in art/math mysteries in and around Chicago.  I like this series a lot.  The writing is great.  Sometimes the stories are a little outlandish, but I like the characters and the writing makes it completely worth reading.  In this book they learn about Alexander Calder, a famous artist who created mobiles.  They go to the Art Institute in Chicago to see his exhibit.  It has me wanting to go to the Art Institute!  I cannot wait for summer to roll around when we'll be off during the week and it will be nice enough to drive or take the train downtown.  I'm so excited!  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saturday Night Shower

Saturday night we went to Rockford for a baby shower for our friends Jason and Alisha.  They are scheduled for a C-section on March 17th!  Only three weeks away!!! We ate delicous cake, played silly games, and watched them open presents.  One of the games involved Chad being blindfolded and feeding me baby food faster than all the other couples.  Another game was a relay race for the boys to undress, change a diaper, and dress a bay doll.  It was fun!  We were excited to see our friends Leslie and Billy there, too.  We are can't wait to meet Baby Boy Brown!   Jordan is especially excited to have a new friend!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast

On Saturday morning I toughed out my day of the stomach flu in order to go to the Anderson Bookshop's Children's Literature Breakfast with my friend, Kathy.  Thankfully, she drove so I could relax on the trip down there.  We got there perfectly on time, didn't have to wait in line for one second, and got the best seat in the whole place!  We met Meg Cabot (love her!), Sharon Draper, Steven Kellogg, and Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul, and Mary.  It was great.  They were able to sit at our table with us and chat.  I was a little too excited to see Meg Cabot...but she is one of my favorite authors.  Kathy brought me a fun tiara and we both wore tiaras when we met her.  Meg Cabot didn't even think we were weird at all!  I wish I had been feeling better and could have chowed down on all the yummy food...there's always next year!

Kathy, Meg Cabot, and me

I have read all the books in the Princess Diaries series which I love.  I have also read a lot of her other young adult books.  I have never read any of her adult books so I added them to my list!  I also added her new series, Allie Finkle, which is for the girls who are too young for the Princess Diaries series.  I just can't get enough of Meg Cabot.  She even got me signed up for Twitter...

Sharon Draper
Steven Kellogg

Me and Peter Yarrow

As a kid, I listened to Peter, Paul, and Mary on channel 11.  I was talking to a co-worker today who had never heard of Peter, Paul, and Mary..although she did know Puff the Magic Dragon and some of their other songs at least!  Anyway, I was so excited to meet Peter Yarrow.  He was a little "friendly" with me...but it didn't matter because it was Peter Yarrow.  When it was his turn to speak he sang!  It was great.  I could barely sing along because I was so emotional about the whole thing...oh, and because I felt like I was gonna hurl.  It made me want to go buy his CD so I can play the music for Jordan.  His music just has the greatest message.  I tried to take some video:

This Little Light of Mine

This Land Is Your Land

Don't Laugh At Me

Fly on the Wall

Most Recently Read Book:

Fly on the Wall

By E. Lockhart

Great easy read!  I loved this book.  It was actually totally not what I expected but very thought-provoking.  Gretchen is a high school girl who doesn't feel like she fits in and is going through high school drama until one day she wishes she could be a fly on the wall in the boys' bathroom...and her wish comes true.  It sounds silly but she learns a lot in her week as a fly and I think teens, and even adults, could learn from this book, as well.  

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Okay, I'm not sure if this has a point but I thought it would be fun to try Twitter.  After seeing Meg Cabot use it I decided I would try it out.  It's kind of funky to get used to, but I like that I can just text Twitter from my phone and it will update my Twitter site.  I think part of it is that I like saying Twitter.  You can see my Twitter feed on the left and you can click to connect you to the Twitter site if you want to.  Tell me if you join!  

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cool Dude

You can't get much cooler than this kid!  We bought him these fun sunglasses last weekend.  I need to remember to have them with me when we are in the car because Jordan freaks out when the sun gets in his eyes.  Today on the way home he was saying, "No sun, no sun!"  

I have this picture as my laptop background and one of my students was looking at the picture and said, "Why is he giving you a thumbs up?"  I didn't really have an answer because he's totally not doing it on purpose...he's just cool naturally...


Earlier in the week we decided to take our little mallrats to Chuck E. Cheese per Chad's request.  It was fairly crowded, but not too bad and the kids had fun bouncing around from one game to the next.  Seriously, there is just too much stimulation in there but once in a while it's okay.  It goes without saying that Jordan had a complete blast!  Here's Jordan with Chuck E.!

Cheese on the carousel!
Jordan and Alex riding one of the rides!  

Adios, Mamita!

The gang's all here...
Gama, Jacquie, Mamita, and me. 
Mamita, Alex and Jordan.  They love their Mamita.

Last weekend we said goodbye to our Mamita.  I hate saying goodbye to Mamita...but she said she's coming back in May so I handled it pretty well this time.  We had a farewell dinner at Sweet Tomato's on Sunday.  I'm sorry, but I love Sweet Tomato's...if I could eat there all the time I wouldn't mind being a vegetarian.  

I Am the Messenger

Most Recently Read Book:

I am the Messenger

By Markus Zusak

I loved The Book Thief by this same author and this book was just as well written.  The plot for The Book Thief was amazing and this one definitely had me thinking about life, but The Book Thief was amazing.  Anyway, this book is about a dude who is kind of just going along with his life when one day he's in a bank while it is being robbed and he saves the day by catching the robber as he's trying to get away.  After that he gets a series of missions that he has to complete.  He ends up finding out how just a regular guy can make a difference in the world.  Love the message!

The Three Willows

Most Recently Read Book:

The Three Willows

By Ann Brashares

About a month ago I got to go meet Ann Brashares.  I was so excited because she is the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series which I loved.  This book is kind of cool because there are new main characters, three in fact, but there are links to the Traveling Pants series.  The Traveling Pants girls are older and kind of a legacy for these new girls.  It's another good story for Brashares.  I might add, this book is more for middle school girls.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Red Tent

Most Recently Read Book:

The Red Tent

By Anita Diamant

I finished this book just in time for book club.  My goal is to start reading the book club book a little bit sooner...the last couple of times I've waited and have cut it close to be able to finish in time...but I can say that I have read every book so far all the way through!  

I enjoyed The Red Tent.  I especially liked it after we got all the background information out of the way and actually got to more of the meaty part of the story.  Don't get me wrong, this book would be nothing without all the background info.  After I finished the book I went and read the Book of Genesis from the Bible from which the author got the idea for the book and it definitely gave me some perspective.  The Bible really does just state what happened so matter-of-factly and it does basically sum up Dinah's story in a few sentences.  It made me look at the Bible in a different way, this whole book came out of just one little section of the Bible, how much was going on behind the scenes or that is not really explained in the Bible.  I think it made the story in the Bible more personal for me.  I don't mean this to be all about religion, but it is religious fiction and I just realized how if I were to go read the Bible right now, that I would read it with a little bit different perspective.  I love books that make you think and evaluate your own life.  Hmm.... 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Forever Friends

On Saturday we celebrated the Lanzara boys' birthdays and got to hang out with our friends from college, April, Tom, and Emily, and her husband Derek.  We are pretty spread out across from northern Illinois to southern Illinois so we don't get to hang out as much as we would like.  We always have fun when we do get together and it's as if we do see each other every day.  To me, that's an indicator of a true friend.  I already can't wait for the next time we get together!  Here I am with the girls, April and Emily!

Happy Birthday, Lanzara Boys!

On Saturday, we made the trip down to see our friends Jake and Braden Lanzara and to celebrate their birthdays with them.  Jake turned 4 and Braden turned 2.  We played with their fun toys, played with Play-Doh, ate heart-shaped pizza, baked and decorated sugar cookies, and took pictures in matching outfits from Emily.  It was a fun-filled day!

Jake showing off his cool scootering gear.
Braden and Jordy being goofy!
Opening presents...Play-Doh!  Jordan loves Play-Doh and loves to play all the time.  
The boys sat at a little picnic table and made fun Play-Doh creatures!
Yum!  Heart-shaped pizza!
April had a new sugar cookie recipe that we tried and she made her awesome frosting.  
Emily bought the boys matching shirts and we tried to take a picture of the three of them.  They had more fun being goofy on the couch.  

Audacity of Hope

I am so inspired by President Barack Obama.  I am just completely enamored by his presidency.  I think he is just a great person and I am so happy knowing he is in office and looking out for our country.  My students read a short story about his life last week and then I decided I really wanted to read Audacity of Hope.  Listening to it on my iPod allowed me to hear Obama read his own words.  I liked that there were some candid parts that made me laugh out loud and other parts that were truly inspiring.  I have to admit that there some parts that were just over my head, seeing as I really only have a basic understanding of our history in the last 50 years.  When he mentioned specific names there were many I kind of recognized but wasn't familiar with.  I think every American should listen to this book because it is inspiring.  I love this guy!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Hmmm...the picture doesn't look as good as I remember it looking at the time...but this was a delicious meal.  It seems like lately we haven't really been eating dinner at home as a family.  Chad has been coaching the girls' basketball team in tournaments for the last two weeks and he hasn't been home for dinner.  Finally, he was coming home and I told him I would make him dinner instead of him having to stop for something to eat or having to come home and find something to make himself.  I whipped this meal up and when it all came together it was actually pretty good.  We had lemon-garlic salmon, broccoli, Spanish rice, and cheddar-bacon-sour cream baked potatoes.  I didn't really do that much work, but it was nice to have a great looking and great tasting meal together.  

Happy Birthday, Chloe!

I totally can't believe I didn't post these pictures...but they are too cute not to post even though this birthday party was last week.  We went to our friend, Chloe's, 2nd birthday party.  Jordan had fun playing with Alex and loved all the great equipment/toys they had there.  

Jordan was the perfect age to climb right up and slide right down the slides! crawl under the slides!
Jordan thought he was funny rocking on this and saying, "Rocka, rocka, rocka!"
They did the teeter-totter.
And played in the balls!
Silvia helped to make the Little Einstein's Rocket cake!  Ra, ra, ra, for rocket!
Blow out the candles!
We gave Chloe a fairy tea set and this beautiful crown.  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weird Wondering...

I have had a completely stressful week at work, mostly due to major changes that are going to be happening in our department next year.  We found out that our district cut four positions in our little 8.6 people department!  I feel horrible for the people who were cut and overwhelmed when it comes to thinking about what next year will be like.  

Anyway, I brought chocolate to lunch yesterday when we met knowing it was a chocolate-deserving kind of day.  And then I got to wondering about the Hershey's Miniature bars.  How come you can't get a Mr. Goodbar in a big size candy bar???  Or a big size Krackel bar?  What's up with that?  What if someone really likes the Mr. Goodbar candy bar enough to want to commit to a full size bar?  

I'm not sure which is my favorite...quite frankly I like them all.  A co-worker asked me last week what my favorite candy bar is.  Is it bad if I really don't have a favorite?  I'm enough of a chocolaholic that I will except any form of chocolaty goodness?  

Which is your favorite miniature...or favorite candy bar?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Most Recently Read Book:

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

By Kate DiCamillo

Great book!  I have to say that dolls being alive or being able to think kind of freaks me out.  I read The Doll People by Ann M. Martin not too long ago and that one really freaked me out, this story wasn't as bad, but it is still a little creepy.  This is the story of a porcelain rabbit (doll) who is, quite frankly, snotty, until he is separated from his owner, Abilene, and he is thrust into a harrowing journey.  I have to say I teared up at the end.  Super short but really sweet.  


Most Recently Read Book:


By Jenny Han

I had no idea what to expect from this book...I guess I need to read the back cover more closely. It wasn't until I started listening to the book that I realized it wasn't shug with a short u that rhymes with hug, but Shug with a long you short for sugar.  Anyway!  It took me a while to connect with the text because I was listening to the book on CD and the reader's voice was kind of depressing sounding.  Once I got over that I could really listen to what the book was all about.  It's the story of a 12-year-old girl starting middle school.  Of course, there is the usual boy/girl drama but it really is a nice story.  I could relate to it and to me that is one essential element to a good story.   

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Most Recently Read Book:


By Neil Gaimon

I took a break from Shug to stop and read Coraline because I am excited that the movie is coming out.  This is such a cool but freaky story.  I read a book in the fall called The Thief of Always that a student of mine lended to me and it kind of reminded me of this.  In both book the main character is a little kid who's bored and complains about his/her life when he/she is taken into another world/dimension where everything is as they wish.  I think the plot is an interesting story because everyone seems to get bored or tired with life at some point as a kid.  Coraline is a cool kid though, I like her character and the other characters in the book, too.  I can't wait to see the movie now!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I admit, I'm a little obsessed with this cheesy King Arthur bread recipe.  I made it again just now...I just took it out of the oven and it's cooling as we speak.  OMG!  It looks amazing.  The first time I made it it didn't quite look like the picture on the KA website, but this time it looks like it's supposed to.  I can't wait to actually try it.  I love love love this recipe.  Here are the pictures of my latest batch of what they call "grip it and rip it" bread. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

No More Dead Dogs

Most Recently Read Book:

No More Dead Dogs

By Gordon Korman

This was a cute story about a boy who always tells the truth.  He gets in trouble when he has to do a report of a book about a dog...and, of course, the dog dies at the end.  He gets in trouble because he tells the truth and his teacher is deeply offended that he doesn't like the story.  

I just finished reading Swindle and the writing is pretty similar because it's the same author. I think Gordon Korman is a great young adult author.  I think boys and girls would like his books.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Build A Bear Bash

I totally forgot to post our visit to Build A Bear last week!  Alex, Rob, and Silvia gave Maddy a gift card for Christmas so we all went together to watch her pick out a friend.  At first she didn't know what to pick, but she decided on a cute puppy that she named Frenchy.  It was too cute!  

Here's a video from last night.  Jordan loves to read the blog and look at the videos and this one is just too cute.  These kids are awesome.