Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tears of a Tiger

Most Recently Read Book:

Tears of Tiger

By Sharon Draper

I am a Sharon Draper fan but I haven't read too many of her books! I've actually seen her speak twice and heard her talk about the books in this trilogy. I finally picked it up at the library this week and I am so glad I did. This book seriously tackles teen death and how it impacts teens. I like how she incorporates letters, newspaper clippings, conversations and other snippets to put this story together. It starts off strong and ends strong. The characters are dynamic. I'm anxious to read the other books in this trilogy!

P.S. Longer Letter Later

Most Recently Read Book:

P.S. Longer Letter Later

By Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin

I grabbed this book because I was thinking about my 7th grade student. The girls in this book are in 7th grade when one of the girls moves away. They write letters back and forth to keep in touch with each other. One girl deals with a new school and being away from her friend while the other is dealing with major family problems. I wasn't expecting anything earth-moving in this book and it actually surprised me because it does delve into deep issues with families. I am happy to recommend this to my 7th grader!


Most Recently Read Book:


By Ellen Hopkins

I have so many thoughts about this book I'm not sure where to begin! First of all, I thought the writing in this book was phenomenal. I didn't pick up this book sooner because it seemed soooo long...but I saw it on CD in the library and picked it up to find it was only 4 CDs...which is short. Confused, I flipped through the book to realize it's written in verse. I checked it out because it seemed like an intriguing book.

I didn't realize it's about a teen's experience with drugs. It was very intense and extremely well-written. Definitely for at least HS-age students because it is so intense.

My only complaints were that 1. the main character had an alternate personality...which I've seen more and more recently and I just struggle with that; and 2. it almost romanticized doing drugs too much without enough of a lesson in the end. I learned yesterday that it is loosely based on Hopkins' daughter's experience with drugs. It's hard to argue with real-life but I wish it had a stronger message about how it ruined her life. Don't get me wrong, the book strongly illustrates what someone on crank and sometimes other drugs is going through and thinking and helps someone understand what it might be like to be on drugs. And, I also found out this is the first in a trilogy so I'm going to have to read the other books to see if they further the message.

I truly enjoyed the amazing writing in this book but I'm wary of recommending it to anyone who isn't in high school yet...and even then, if it was my kid, I'd want to talk to him/her about it for sure.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weird Wondering...

Please, someone, explain to me how this sign makes any sense at all!

If the door is locked, how are the kids going to be able to enter at all? They're gonna jump a custodian and get a key...they're the kind of students who can pick locks...they have their own set of keys but shouldn't use them (thus defeating the reason they might have a key) (but kids don't get keys...)?

Come on, I'm wondering how this sign makes any sense - at all. I have to walk by this at least two times a day. I'm about ready to tear it down it's so conundrumtious to me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yo-Yo a Go Go!

My friend Lindy, at Collage Cafe, e-mailed me about Swap-Bot and even found a fun yo-yo swap for me! I finally got a chance to put together what I'm going to send to my two partners.

Swap-Bot has tons of different crafty swaps to participate in. For my swap, I was partnered up with two other people. I had to make 4 yo-yos for each of them, plus send along a coordinating skein of embroidery floss and 4 accent buttons. Both of my partners are readers so I whipped up some simple bookmarks out of the same fabric. I think everything turned out really cute and I can't wait to send them off...hopefully I'll make it to the post office tomorrow!

The fabric I chose is Debbie Mumm, she has tons of prints at JoAnn's and they are all adorable if you ask me!

Yo Yos!
Fabric Bookmarks (with simple embroidery)!
Floss and Buttons!
I can't wait to get my packages in return...the deadline to send out our packages is at the end of this week so they should be coming within the next week or two!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


With my Christmas money this year I replenished my Mary Kay makeup. I'm not really a high maintenance kind of girl so spending so much money on makeup drives me crazy. I always wear blush and mascara and usually some concealer on my eyes.

Being pregnant and being so tired lately, though, has made me feel like I look like a zombie so I forked over the money for concealer and foundation. This is the same makeup I wore for my wedding (without the eye shadow). I was anxiously waiting for it to arrive!

I can't believe I'm posting this, but here's a picture of me in the morning, straight out of the shower pre-makeup.
And here I am post-makeup and with dry hair. Isn't that better? It's amazing how much better I feel about myself in general just knowing I look at least like a living, breathing human being.
I believe it's so important for women to take care of themselves. I have especially agree with this more and more since having Jordan. There is lots of pressure to be a great mom: to take care of kiddos, to clean the house, to do laundry, to go to work...the list goes on and on. I know that if I don't take care of myself and do things for myself once in a while there's no way I could even start to live up to an ounce of the mom I want to be.

I do also believe in balance in life. I don't agree with moms who do everything for themselves and don't really spend time with their kids. There comes a point when taking care of yourself can get extreme. But I believe it's okay to be selfish and do something for yourself now and then.

So, women out there (mothers or not), make sure you take care of yourself while your taking care of everything else: read a book for yourself, go out to dinner with friends, buy yourself a drink AND a treat at Starbucks (I love the apple fritters), get a pedicure (hot pink? red?), get a massage, buy some new makeup. LOVE YOURSELF!


Most Recently Read Book:


By Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson's book The First Part Last is one of my favorite books, especially as a mother. I read it when I had just had Jordan and it is such a beautifully written book. One of my students had to read Heaven in class so I picked it up. It is actually part of a trilogy of books, and another book in the trilogy was The First Part Last. I had never realized it was part of a trilogy of books so I was excited to read this one.

Unfortunately, this book wasn't as extraordinary as The First Part Last but I did like elements of this book. The two books seem to stand alone with two overlapping characters. This book focuses on Marley, who finds out her parents aren't really her parents. I guess knowing that going into the book made it less exciting to read. The book is a little confusing because it jumps back and forth from Marley to letters from her Uncle Jack. I like the parts that focus on Marley and how she deals with finding out that her parents aren't her real parents, and I like the resolution of the book but overall it wasn't an earth-shattering book for me. (But, if you haven't, go read The First Part Last!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Most Recently Read Book:


By Sharon G. Flake

I've been looking for books to recommend to my 8th grade African-American male student. He's a really nice kid who hasn't really caught the reading bug. He's read one Bluford series book but wasn't too into it. I gave him The Outsiders last week and he seems to be really liking it. I have a soft spot for The Outsiders because it's just a great book so I'm so glad he likes it. Someone recommended Sharon Flake would be a good progression after the Blueford series.

This is the first book I've read by Sharon Flake and it was interesting but kind of weird to me. I've come to realize that if too much goes on in a book or too many weird things that I feel like are way too unrealistic I just don't like it. I guess I need to expand my brain and realize that crazy things do really happen...but I haven't reached the point yet.

Anyway, this book is about a boy growing up in a rough neighborhood where shootings and death are common. His little brother is actually killed and it traumatizes the whole family. Their dad kicks the main character out because he's worried that he's not tough enough and not enough of a man. He scared the because he's so weak he's going to get killed, too. His solution is to abandon him so he can figure out how to survive. It seemed really messed up to me, I guess if his dad is so upset and is just trying to do anything it might make some sense, but it just seems weird to me.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be recommending this book. It's a bummer...I'm back on the hunt. I think I'm gonna try Sharon Draper next. I've read two of her books but the two I have read are not ones I think my student would like...but there are others that just might work. Any suggestions, people??

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shattered Silence

Most Recently Read Book:

Shattered Silence

By Melissa G. Moore and M. Bridget Cook

I am so proud of myself for finishing this book! I think I started it on Friday and I was so not in the mood for it...but I stuck with it and finished last night. It wasn't the book's fault, I wasn't fully prepared for too many gory details but it didn't turn out to be that grotesque in that kind of way. This book is, however, completely sad due to all the craziness this poor woman has had to endure throughout her life. If you aren't familiar with this book, it's about a girl whose father was a serial killer. He murdered many women.

Besides having such a troubled life with her father, she also had it hard with her mom, step-parents, friends, was brutal. It's amazing that she found the will to survive. I have to say this was an interesting book but I haven't put this on my must-read book list. It is a fairly easy read and a positive one in the end so you'll have to decide for yourself!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Thanks to Jordan's friend Maddy who is way into dinosaurs lately, Jordan has been a roaring machine. Chad and Jordan have been play wrestling and roaring all week. It cracks me up because he has to call me to save him and I have to roar at Chad to make him back away but then Jordan heads for him again.

The other day I was up in bed working on the computer when Jordan came running in and found this hiding spot: (Can you see him?)
Here's a close up! It cracks me up that he can fit into these spaces!
As soon as Chad crawled over though he hopped out and started roaring at him!
This is his mean dinosaur face. Who wouldn't be afraid of this face?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Snowy Pictures

I was thinking about how we haven't really had much snow this week. I don't think we've had any snow since last week. Well, in honor of our absent snow and my absent babe (Jordan is at Gramma and Papa's) here is a snowy post!

Chad and Jordan were out sledding in our backard!!!
Ready to go!
Chad pulling Jordan back up the hill!
I love Jordy's sweet face. The snow was falling like crazy that day, it looks so cool to me.
Chad started pushing Jordan down the hill you think he liked it!?

Miss Spitfire

Most Recently Read Book:

Miss Spitfire:Reaching Helen Keller

By Sarah Miller

This book is a historical fiction piece all about Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher. I really liked being able to red more about who Anne Sullivan was as a person and about her life before she started working with Helen Keller. It was very interesting. I also liked how this book describes how difficult it was when she first started working with Helen. Overall, it's an interesting book to read but not necessarily a must read if you ask me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

Most Recently Read Book:

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

By Ally Carter

I have so been in the mood for some good chick lit lately, maybe it's the pregnancy thing...but I saw this at the library and grabbed it. This book is the 2nd in the Gallagher Girl series. It's about Cammy Morgan, a girl who goes to a private all-girl school for...SPIES! It is very fun. In the first book Cammy is out in town on a class assignment when she meets Josh and she starts sneaking out of the school to go out with him. It's super cute. In this book, the CIA has made her promise to never see Josh again...which was pretty sad, I must say. The girls have to deal with boy spies who join their school for a short time. Honestly, I am sad about the Josh thing and I hope Carter brings him back into it more...and, I'm dying to know what happened to Cammy's dad. No one knows where he is or what happened to him, just that he disappeared. I think it's gotta be out there somewhere...maybe book 3?

Her Fearful Symmetry

Most Recently Read Book:

Her Fearful Symmetry

By Audrey Niffenegger

I am so happy to be posting about another book written by Niffenegger. She wrote my beloved Time Traveler's Wife and I have been anxiously awaiting another book by her. This book is definitely a completely different book though...I enjoyed it but not the way I adored TTW. I know lots of people who agree and disagree with me about TTW so there's a chance that if you liked or didn't like it you may or may not like Her Fearful Symmetry!

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. When it comes down to it, this book is a great ghost story. I guess I wasn't expecting it to be as much of a ghost story as it was. I really liked the characters and I liked the idea of the book but I wasn't a huge fan of the ending...I so wish I could share more but I don't want to ruin it for anyone. If you have read it, or once you do, e-mail me though so we can discuss!!!!!!

On a side note, the younger girls in the book grew up in Lake Forest which is also where I grew up! It was cool to hear them talk about Lake Forest and going to the beach. There really isn't that much reference to it, but it was still cool!


Most Recently Read Book:


By Kristin Cashore

Ugh, I have to admit that I am so behind on my posting as far as books go. I finished this one before Christmas. It was a great book. This book is the sequel/prequel to Graceling. I loooooooved Graceling. It is a very cool fantasy book about a land where some people are born with two different colored eyes. These people have special skills that are called graces. It's a very cool love story/adventure/fantasy. This book actually takes place before Graceling even though it was written after it. There is only one character in common between the two books. Fire is about a different land where there are monster creatures that are regular animals except they are extraordinary colors and are considered monsters. One happens to be a girl who has magnificent red/orange/pink hair. It's another story of love/adventure/fantasy and it is another great book by Kristin Cashore.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's All How You Look At It

I haven't uploaded any pictures this week, so when I sat down to finally get pictures off of my camera tonight it was kind of like a fun surprise! Over break I dug out my old digital camera because I wanted to take pictures of Chad and Jordan playing outside in the snow. Later, I was goofing around with Jordan and taking a picture of him with his fuzz. Here's a picture he took of me, frizzy hair and all:
Now, here's a picture I took of him being goofy and showing me his foot. I love the shadows in this picture.
Here is the really cool part though...I didn't realize it, but Chad had our little digital point and shoot and was taking a picture of me taking a picture of Jordan. This was such a cool surprise because I had no idea he was taking the picture and it's kind of cool to see what Chad sees. It is so completely candid...hell, you can't even see our faces, but it's a cool picture if you ask me!
This is me showing Jordan the picture I took because the kid has to see very single picture you take right after you take it. I'm so thankful that Chad took these pictures because I don't have any pictures like them at all.
Last one, this is another one Chad took earlier in the week. I do remember him taking this picture...I'm making chocolate-covered pretzel rods in the background...I asked jokingly if he had just taken a picture of his cherry Coke and he explained that just like I take pictures of stuff he wanted to take a picture of his cherry Coke. I think it's cute that this is the picture he took. It's fun to see his perspective on things, it's so not the way I would have taken the picture but I love the bag of chips and salsa cover on the counter, I love the magnets all over the fridge, I love me in the background and our messy stove. It's our life!
This might possibly be my favorite post ever because it's such a genuine look at our family.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reading is Rad

I was thinking about how much I read today and realized it's a ton. I keep a list of every book I read every month for each year and when I printed it out it was crazy this year. It's wild to think I was able to read that many books, but I did it. How do you ask? Here's a few of my tricks.

1. My biggest trick to reading so many books: I listen to books on CD in my car. It's amazing how much time I spend in my car. I have a 45-minute drive to work and then another 45-minute drive back. Besides that I drive from school to school all day so I have 10 minute spurts here and there. I remember when I was listening to the Twilight CD, I used to jump at Chad's suggestion to go to Target because I was dying to get back in my car, even if it was only 5 minutes to Target. Every little minute adds up.

2. Before I lost my iPod, I was importing books on CD into my laptop and then putting them on my iPod. That meant I could listen while I was doing housework or working out. When I saw Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips on my list I instantly remembered running around my neighborhood and listening to that earlier this summer. Anything mindless, like working out or doing housework totally warrants audiobooks to me.

3. I always have a book with me. Whether I'm waiting for a doctor's appointment, waiting for a meeting to start, waiting to meet friends for dinner: I have my book. In November, at book club, one of the girls called the restaurant to tell us she couldn't make it. She told the hostess there would be someone with a book...I cracked up when the hostess came over and told me that because there I was reading a book! I've always been the kind of person who can read anywhere at any time. I can block out background noise and just focus on my book so it works for me.

4. I read at lunch. I've never been a staff lounge kind of person. I have so many schools and my schedule changes from day to day so I usually eat on my own. What do I do? I bring my lunch, either eat while I read or eat (it so doesn't take 30 full minutes to eat) and then read for the rest of the time. I learned early that those 30 minutes are my 30 minutes so I make sure to chill for a little bit and read instead of getting work done because it's just healthy.

5. I read before bed. I've found that the best way for me to transition from being awake to getting to sleep is to read before bed...or do a word search or Sudoku. Some nights Chad will be watching TV and I'll burst into tears or yell out and he gets all confused. I love my books. Other nights, he'll be watching TV and I'll turn the page and he'll think I'm closing my book to go to sleep but I'm really just turning the page to read more. If I'm tired I don't last long, but some nights I can read forever because I'm so into a book. I love to read in bed.

In my mind, it's all about your mindset. As a teacher I need to be reading what my students are reading so I can talk to them about book and make recommendations to them. Since I love to read, I made it a goal to read as much as I possibly can, to benefit my students and myself. Where and when do you find time to read??? Please share!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

I just found this cool reading challenge! I'm all about it! If you want to check it out you can go to J.Kaye's Book Blog to read more about it and sign up on her blog!

Here's the challenge:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. There are four levels:

--The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.

--Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

--Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.

--Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not purchased at a library sale.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

6. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

I know you all want to participate in this! I love the library and I think it's a great resource!!! It's FREE people! I'm going to go for the Super Size Me level. In 2008, I read 87 books. In 2009, I read 129 books! I read books, I listen to books, I read adult books, I read young adult books. I hope you do, too! Just try and read books and see if you can read at least as many books as you did last year or more!!!d