Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Most Recently Read Book:


By Laurie Halse Anderson

This is the third Laurie Halse Anderson book I have read. I have read Speak and Fever 1793. I think I liked Speak the best, but this book probably takes a close second. Speak is about a girl dealing with having been raped. It was a very hard book because you had to infer so much about what happened to her, I mean hard, I guess, thinking about my students trying to read and understand it. Anyway, this book is about a boy...which I NEVER would have guessed from the cover. Even the summary on the back was very vague and didn't really give to much info about the book. If you want to know, I'll tell you a little more about it!

Twisted is about a boy in high school whose life basically gets all twisted and turned upside down. I have read a few books about boys dealing with girls and school and family...but this one gets pretty intense. At one point he contemplates suicide and it was very real to me. It was extremely well written. I felt like I was in the room with him. I have to say the book started off like a kind of fun book but it got pretty serious, that kind of threw me off because I didn't really have any inkling it would go where it did. I have to say, it did make sense though, I can see how a few choices you make in your life can change everything. I think that's what this book was really about, making choices and dealing with the consequences. I would definitely recommend this to someone at least in high school.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cool Book Blog AND Giveaway

I just found out that the third book in The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor was recently released. Hello? Why didn't anyone tell me? Somehow I missed that it was released on the 16th. In my travels in the blog world I stumbled upon this blog: Ramblings of a Wanna Be Scribe. Sadly, I missed out on the ArchEnemy giveaway...but she just posted a shiny new giveaway starting today! I know y'all like giveaways so head on over and check her out!!! Here's the book I'm hoping to win:
Doesn't it look fantastically fantastic?

TAg Team Day #10

My picture is on the left...don't hate me! I just am getting a project ready for the next Chicago Craft Social and so it kind of led to me starting my Christmas cards. Kathy's is on the right...a pile of books always just looks like heaven to me!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I just got an award!!! Woo hoo! I've never won a blog award before! Thank you, Lara!!!! Here's my first one!

It's the Honest Scrap Award. So here's what I have to do now:
1) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me. 2) Tell those 7 people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP and inform them of these guidelines in receiving the award. 3) Share "10 Honest Things" about myself.

Here are 10 honest things about myself:

1. I'm a tad obsessed with being on my laptop...I love to check my e-mail, check Twitter, check blog updates, check FB, shop online, digital scrapbook.

2. I forgot to take in a half gallon of chocolate milk last week when I was bringing the groceries in and then forgot that I forgot it in the trunk...for the whole week...I did finally pitch it was G-R-O-S-S.

3. I can't fall asleep at night unless I've gone in to see Jordan and whispered that I love him (just one more time) and said my prayers.

4. On the first day of the month, I try to remember to say, "Rabbit, rabbit," before I say anything else because in high school I heard somewhere that it would bring me good luck for the month.

5. At some point in my life I developed a crazy Kleenex folding routine for when I have to blow my nose in order to get maximum use out of each tissue.

6. I want my hair to be just like Evangeline Lily's. She's Kate from Lost.

7. It's actually hard to think of 10 honest things about me when I actually have to do it...

8. I can make friendship bracelets blindfolded...the colorful ones made from embroidery floss.

9. Sometimes I have very little, if any, patience for people who just can't seem to understand something that seems to simple to me...and especially no patience for someone who refuses to understand/accept something that just makes sense.

10. Kevin is my favorite Jonas brother. (He just seems to be the most normal and mature and no one likes him...but I do.)

I am proud to bequeath this "Honest Scrap" award to the following people:


Most Recently Read Book:


By Walter Dean Myers

I honestly had heard of this book before but didn't really know what it was all about until I grabbed it the other day when I was at the library. It's a very short book but it's also a very interesting book. It's about a boy who is on trial for a robbery/murder that happened at a drugstore in his neighborhood. The boy tells his own story by writing it as a movie. The book follows him through the trial. I liked that this book really made me think and analyze the different characters. Courtrooms and trials are so not my thing so it kind of made me feel out of my element to listen and try to figure out what all the people involved were thinking and if they were telling the truth. At the same time, I think it's healthy to read about things that are strange to us because it helps us challenge our thinking. I definitely would recommend this book.

Painting Pinecones!

Yesterday morning, Jordan woke up and basically said he wanted to paint as soon as he was out of bed. We got the paints from the easel and set ourselves up at the dining room table. What were we painting...pinecones! This is one of my favorite things to paint. Last year we painted pinecones and made them all glittery. Jordan had a few pinecones that he brought home from Patty's house so we painted those. He's a happy painter. Cheese!
I love that Jordan just mixes all the colors. I had to come to terms with that because I'm so not a carefree color-mixer but he is. We just keep loading more and more colors on the paint and he just puts his brush into all of them. It works!
He was even rolling his pinecone in the paint. Can you see his little pinky sticking up? So cute!
A close up of Jordan's masterpiece. I made one too but mine had more pink on it...he made sure I put pink on the plate for me because he knows I love pink.
After the pinecones were all painted we went for our hands! He loves to paint his hands and make his handprint! Messy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tag Team Day #9

Tag team pictures from yesterday!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

5 Friday Favorites!

It's been quite a in almost (but not quite) a year since I last posted one of my "5 Favorite" posts. Coming at you now: 5 Friday Favorites!

1. Really relaxing. It feels so good to be home, to be done with the week, to know I don't have to get up early tomorrow...unless I want to for (most likely) something fun!

2. Comfy clothes. It's kind of an unwritten rule that you can be comfy and casual on Fridays. I have some schools that wear uniforms so I don't let myself wear jeans (gasp!) but today I broke out my sneakers. My feet felt light all day...I actually ran to my car from one of my schools and it just felt great.

3. Movie Night Somehow Friday night seems to end up as a movie night. I think it's just the best way to really relax and wind down. After a long week, we're usually so tired we just want to veg.

4. Perfectly Hot Air Popped Popcorn Yum! Well, what did you expect? You have to have popcorn if you're gonna watch a movie! We bought a hot air popper at Wal-Mart maybe a year ago for $20 and it's one of the best investments we've made!

5. Pizza! Growing up, I feel like we almost always had pizza on Friday nights. Silo, sausage, deep dish pizza. Double yum. Triple yum, in fact. We don't seem to order pizza as much on Fridays as we have in the past...but believe me it's one of the best nights for pizza. Maybe we'll bring the Friday night pizza night tradition back!

What about you? What are your Friday favorites?? I think it's important to recognize and celebrate the good things in our lives!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Secret Science Alliance

Most Recently Read Book:

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook

By Eleanor Davis
I loved comics when I was a kid but it's been hard for me to read graphic novels as an adult because I seem to have such a hard time following the story and taking it all in to understand what is happening. Some of them seriously give me headaches. This book...and I so hope it becomes a awesome!

This is the story of Julian, a complete science nerd who really feels like he doesn't fit in but is excited at the chance to move to a new school where no one will know him. He doesn't really fit in all that well at his new school until two unlikely scientist/inventors uncover his true science nerdy-ness and they become a team of inventors. Complete with secret clubhouse, an evil scheming adult and a mystery, this book rocks!

I really enjoyed the illustrations and already shared this book with one of my eighth grade students who really connected with the text and thought Julian was a great character.

The Naked Mole-Rat Letters

Most Recently Read Book:

The Naked Mole-Rat Letters

Mary Amato

Love it!!!!! I really enjoyed this book. The main character of this book, Frankie cracked me up. Frankie basically goes into freak-out mode when she finds out that her father his a love interest - a woman he met randomly while at a conference in New York. Frankie doesn't really know how to handle it and goes into full-on sabotage mode, writing e-mails to this woman, not doing her homework, lying at school...I think it's unfortunate that she does lie and forge e-mails from her father, but I do think it's something relate-able for junior high school kids. It's not right to lie but at that age even though you know it's not right to lie I can see how you can get caught up in not knowing how to deal with the situation or how to talk to your dad about the issue of him dating.

I liked the author's writing style in this book. Some of the description was really favorite part was when Frankie tries to put hair curlers in her hair. I can't get that out of my brings me to tears if I try to tell anyone about it! You have to read this book!

Whatever Happened To Janie?

Most Recently Read Book:

Whatever Happened to Janie?

By Caroline B. Cooney

After the cliffhanger ending to the first book in this series: The Face on the Milk Carton I just had to get this book, the sequel. And guess what? It goes on! So now I'll have to get the next book. I wasn't sure I would enjoy the first book but I did and I liked this one also. I think I liked the first one better but this one was also good. In the first book, Janie Johnson realizes she was abducted as a child. The girl who abducted her took Janie to her own parents and told her parents it was her daughter. Naturally, the parents took in the little girl as their granddaughter and raised her but had no idea the little girl's own family was looking for her and mourning her loss. In this book we get to see what happens after she reconnects with her biological family. As a mother it was really hard to read and think about what all the family members were going through. I like that these books have really had me thinking.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tag Team Day #8

Ode to Jordan aka Mr. Fuzz, also owner of a new handmade Find It beanbag! Thanks again, Kathy!

Photo Meme

I've been tagged! I don't think I've ever been tagged on a blog before. This is fun!

A Meme, in case you didn't know...I didn't! I had to look it up! basically a infectious idea. At least that's what one website said. So I've been tagged to do a photo meme, and this one in particular works like this:

1. Open my first photo folder.
2. Find the 10th picture.
3. Post the picture and the story behind it.

And here's my photo! I've had my laptop since January...but Chad uploaded some pictures from our old computer so that's the first folder of pictures. I'm lucky because I was only a few pictures away from posting a picture of me with Lovie Smith or Chad with Rex Grossman. Luckily, this is number 10! It's Chad and me at a hockey game down in Bloomington when we went to go visit our friends Emily and Derek. You can see Derek off to the left next to Chad. It's such a weird angle, but it's cute. We stayed the weekend with Derek and Emily with our other friends, April and Tom. It was a crazy, fun weekend of hanging out with college friends!!!

And now I have to tag some people to play along! I hope you do!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tag Team Day #7

We're still going strong with the Tag Team photos. It's just too much fun! I love to see what we come up with! I love how what Kathy takes a picture of (right) could totally be my picture, too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes Crockpot Creation!

I have been a little crockpot crazy lately! I requested this book from the library: Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly. I asked Chad to go through and see if he found anything that looked good to him. Right away he found the following recipe. I mixed it up this morning and then we had it for dinner. It was really good...except I think I cooked it too long not realizing after it goes through the timer it will automatically go to the "Keep Warm" setting. Now I know I'll just set it for the right time and then it'll turn itself down. I 'm learning!

I didn't take a picture just because it didn't turn out looking all that kind of ended up a big mixed up mess. And even though it says "undiluted" soup I did do the can of soup and another can of milk. I used a lot more cheese than it called for...and I think next time maybe I would put in Velveeta cheese. It did taste delicious either way! I'll be making this again!

Ham and Scalloped Potatoes
Betty Chalker
Dalhart, TX

Makes 8 servings
(Ideal slow-cooker sze: 6-quart)

1 1/2 lbs. 98% fat-free ham, cut into 8 pieces
8-10 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper, or more, according to your taste
1 cup fat-free grated cheeddar or American cheese
10 3/4 oz. can 98% fat-free cream of celery soup

1. Layer half of ham, potatoes, and onions in slow cooker. Sprinkle with half the salt and pepper, and then half the grated cheese.
2. Repeat layers.
3. Spoon undiluted soup over ingredients.
4. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4 hours.

Crossing the Wire

Most Recently Read Book:

Crossing the Wire

By Will Hobbs

Gosh, I'm so glad this book has been written. This book tells the story of one boy who tries to cross the border from Mexico into the United States in order to be able to work here and send money back to his family in Mexico. His father has died and he feels that his only way to help his family is to cross the border to make money in the U.S. himself. It has always been hard for me to understand why and how people illegally travel to the United States and this book really gave me a picture of why people might try to get to the U.S. and what the trip is like for them. I can't say that I agree with it, but I can definitely have more understanding for what might make them do what they do. I think this is an important story to tell because it really is going on in our world today and there might not be enough awareness or understanding of it. I think people easily judge that it's illegal and therefore wrong to cross the border without thinking about why people would try and cross. I wish I had a solution that would help everyone...but I'm not sure what that is.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bug-A-Licious Digital Scrapbook Pages

I've caught the bug! For my birthday, I got an Apple giftcard from my parents which I used to buy Adobe Photoshop Elements. I am totally new to Photoshop so I had no idea what I was doing, but I played around with it a little bit and asked for help when I went to my Apple One-To-One sessions and I figured it out for the most part. I'm positive there are still lots of things I can figure out and there are probably easier ways to do somethings...but I'm definitely getting the hang of it. I love that I can be sitting on the couch watching football with Chad but also be scrapbooking!

Here are some of my latest creations! I have found lots of great freebies all around but my favorites are from Delicious Scraps. She has some really great kits you can download for free. You can get papers and embellishments and they are all super cute!

I used the kit Bug-A-Licious to create all the pages from spring break this year. I think they really turned out fun! Here are just two of the pages I have made!

Daddy and Jordan

Chad realized the other day that we don't seem to take enough pictures of us with Jordan. It's hard to get Jordan to pose and smile nicely and I think we get out of the habit because of that. Yesterday I got this picture sweet is this picture? These boys have so much fun playing with each other. Jordan is lucky to have such a great dad!
Caught! Look who's in a box!
I love his cute face! I got another good smile. *Notice the Rescue Pack in the background! We're been collecting pieces for Jordan's Diego costume! Almost complete!

Tag Team Day #6

And the tag team picture posts continue!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tag Team Day #5

This cracks me up..."Rarrrrrr, go away work, no one likes you! I will shred you to pieces with my sharp teeth!"

Once a Witch

Most Recently Read Book:

Once a Witch

By Carolyn MacCullough

Seriously people, I understand that it makes sense to write a series because you get to write more books and you get paid more but I'm getting frustrated with these books that don't officially end. I really enjoyed this book. It's about a girl who's family are all witches and have Talents that manifest when they are eight except for her family hides her Talent from her and she goes on thinking she's the only one in the family who isn't Talented until one day an evil/dark witch comes along and tricks her into helping him. She gets caught up in trying to help him and realizes she does have a Talent. It's actually a well-woven tale and I was definitely reading to see what would happen next. And there is a romance going on which I really liked. Give me romance, give me an assertive guy, give me something actually happening versus her just wanting something to happen and I'm happy with the romance in a book. Because this book seems like it will become a sequel I think she didn't intentionally put more into the book and instead focuses on what witchly challenges the main character may have to face next. All in all, I did like this book. I actually think it would make a splendid movie! I definitely think high schoolers would like this book, it's probably okay for middle schoolers but there is some drinking and smoking that was a little weird to me so I wouldn't necessarily push it on my middle schoolers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ms. Julie Andrews

I am still on cloud nine after being in the presence of Julie Andrews for two nights in a row. Julie Andrews. Yes, Julie Andrews. Mary Poppins, Maria, Princess Mia's mattress-sliding grandmere. Julie Andrews!

Tuesday night we saw her at the Tivoli theatre in Downers Grove where she answered audience questions.

Here are the limited pictures I do have:
That picture was zoomed in and then cropped, this is how far away we actually were!
Here's the poster that was outside the theatre. She's just timeless.
Here's the book that we received and my ticket. It is a wonderful collection of poems and the artwork is great.
Presigned copy of the book. Love it!
Wednesday night we went again to see her but this time it was at the Borders in Schaumburg. No cameras were allowed this time so I took as many pictures as you can take without actually taking her picture. Here I am with Jordan and Chad in front of the display of her book.
Here's the chair she would eventually sit in! You have to imagine her there...
Here's the picture Chad took of me...he was trying to see how it would turn out if he sneakily peaked the camera out of his pocket just enough to take a picture...not bad, but in the end he didn't try it. We were too afraid of getting caught and forcefully expelled from the store. (Why does my forehead look unusually large???)
We got our book signed and Jordan talked to Julie Andrews. It was really sweet. She said we should be sure to read aloud to him from the book and we told her of course we would. I told her that I really like her daughter's book about parents reading aloud to their kids called Raising Bookworms. It was awesome. She was magical. There were some 14 year old girls in front of us in line who were hysterically crying like they were at a Beatles concert. I thought I was going to go into hyperventilation mode myself but I kept my calm despite feeling emotional about being a foot away from her. (!!!!!!!!!)

My friend Kathy was lovely enough to depict what the picture would have looked like had Julie Andrews taken a picture with me. Take a second and just imagine.
Finally, here is my last and probably most desperate attempt to get as close as I could to taking a picture of Julie Andrews. I am downstairs, she is upstairs. See the three windows in the gray area, she's sitting right behind the window all the way to the left. She's really there...really.


Most Recently Read Book:


By Alan Brennert

I wasn't sure I was going to get this book read by our book club meeting, but I did! I'm really glad I read it because it was a great book. I definitely recommend this, it was just a little overwhelming with a deadline to finish it by.

This is a historical fiction book about a girl who gets leprosy and is sent away from her family to an island in Hawai'i where they send everyone who they find to have leprosy. The book chronicles her entire life and the lives of others who are associated with her. It was a well-written book and I found myself really getting involved in the character. It is still hard for me to believe that she had to go through what she went through, I feel like there may have been some other way, but I could also see how people thought they were doing what was best to keep others safe. It's just unfortunate what they all went through when in the end it was pointless. Crazy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tag Team Day #4

I like how we both turned out cameras at the same angle.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Miss Stephanie's Pumpkin Patch!

On Monday I took Jordan down to Miss Stephanie's pumpkin patch! It was pretty cold and overcast...but it wasn't raining! Jordan was excited to see the red barn and to look at all the pumpkins. There were lots of great, big pumpkins!
They were all different colors, lots were green because it's been so gloomy lately. Honestly though, I think they look cool being green. We picked a nice, fat, round one that is green with some orange (I'll post a picture later). There were lots to choose from!
Here's Jordan with all the pumpkins!
Mom and Jordan!
We walked out in the actual pumpkin patch. Most of the pumpkins had already been picked but there were a few little pumpkins out there. Jordan found a white one that he picked off the vine himself.
He was so proud of himself! When Stephanie asked him, "How does that pumpkin feel?" He answered, "Good!"
Here is another view of the pumpkins!
Jordan even got to ride and drive the tractor! He thought that was really cool!
They went around in a circle and then came back!
Jordan driving!
Thank you Miss Stephanie for letting us come pick out some pumpkins! Our house is getting more and more festive. I'm a little loony when it comes to pumpkins though, I just want more and more. I'm sure we'll add even more pumpkins before Halloween rolls around!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tag Team Day #3

It's funny that my picture is on the left, but I so easily could have taken the picture on the right seeing as we were playing trains outside today and Jordan's little fingers were cold! We ended up buying two pairs of mittens at Target today ourselves. I'm having a lot of fun taking pictures!