Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Left To Tell

Most Recently Read Book:

Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

By Imaculee Ilibagiza

I am on a roll reading adult novels this month, I think this is number four for me (which is sooooo rare). Crazy as it is, I actually heard about this novel from Danny Gokey on his Twitter and ordered it at the library. This is an amazing story of a woman's trust in God and her survivla through an insane killing spree in Rwanda in 1994. I was on in 8th grade at the time, but I really don't remember hearing about it. How sad is that? I'm really bad at keeping track of current events. To know that genocides like this one still go on in the world I live in make me want to be more aware about what is going on. That might be my a new leaf I need to turn over next week, I think I avoid the news because it's so depressing and it just makes me feel helpless and hopeless but I hate feeling guilty for not even knowing what others might be going through in the world. I definitely recommend this book if you are interested in people's stories of overcoming indescribable hardship.

Turning-Over-A-New-Leaf Tuesdays (#3 Follow Up)

Okay, here's the pic, in all it's cheesiness:
I think with the long shirt it looks okay actually. I do feel like this is turning over a new leaf for me. It makes such a difference to wear something new or cute (and OMG, comfortable!) once in a while. It does make me feel refreshed.

I'm still not sure which shoes to wear, I have black flats, or brown strappy sandals...I've decided to take both to work and switch off!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turning-Over-A-New-Leaf Tuesdays (#3)

Well, this week's turning over a new leaf is actually completely random, but for me it counts as turning over a new leaf. It kind of relates to being healthy in the sense that I'm trying a new look and I'm kind of excited by it and it'll be a healthy mental refresher for me. Today was a beautiful day. I am so excited for the weather to be warming up that I wore a skirt. But tomorrow, I have decided to wear {drum roll, please} leggings.

I know it's random and weird but I am so not a legging girl and I have not bought into the whole legging fad that's been trending for a while now. Tomorrow is the day. (Let's just see if I don't completely wimp out.) I haven't decided which shoes go best with my outfit but the rest of the outfit is planned....I guess I should have worn it today since it's Tuesday...but I just realized right now I was going to make the leap into leggings. It's definitely turning over a new leaf for me. I honestly can't remember the last time I wore leggings...hmm....I guess I did have a pair I wore when I went running a few years ago, but before that it might have been those ones with the loops on the bottom for your feet, the stirrups? Yeah, that long ago. I'll post a picture in the morning if I'm still brave enough at that point!!! This is definitely outside of my box...I'll probably have nightmares about it tonight...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicken Boy

Most Recently Read Book:

Chicken Boy

By Frances O'Roark Dowell

I hate books that I can't decide if I like them or not...this is one of those books. I listened to this book so it might be partly the narrator's part. The voice reading the book on the audio reminded me of the voice who narrated The Teacher's Funeral that I read not that long ago. That book is set in the early 1900's and this book I think is supposed to be set closer to the present. See, they main character has to type a paper but at the same time takes care of chickens for their eggs. I know some people still have chickens, but they talked about farmers like farming is still like it would have been back in the early 1900's like in the other book I read. I don't know, all that set aside, I think I liked the story. It's about a boy whose mother has died and his family life isn't so great and he's not popular at school and doesn't have any friends and then things start to change for him. I struggle with books that have too many things going on and then don't really tie things up at the end. Ah, I don't know what I thought of this book! (Sorry I'm not helpful with this one...has anyone else read or heard of this book???)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Most Recently Read Book:


By Michelle Moran

This is a must read! I was so excited to read this book and for being almost 500 pages long I finished it quickly. It reminds me of The Other Boleyn Girl and Beneath a Marble Sky, and I loved those as well. I love historical fiction, I love that I get a rich, expertly spun story but that it has some historical reasoning to it so I feel like I'm really learning about the past (even though they aren't completely based on historical fact, obviously). This book is about Nefertiti, a famous Egyptian...she married a pharoah and eventually co-ruled with him when she named herself the first female pharoah. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you read this book!

Just Grace Goes Green

Most Recently Read Book:

Just Grace Goes Green

By Charise Meracle Harper

I was so excited to find this book, it was exactly what I was looking for. It's the fourth in a series about a Just Grace. She's funny, she's a good friend, she's motivated. I love her. The book is cute because there are lots of pictures to go along with what Just Grace is talking about and this book was very informational because it talked about how kids can go green. I read the beginning of it with my 2nd grader and I would stop to explain a term and then we would go back to reading and the next line would explain exactly what I explained. It was cool that she didn't just use big words, she explained them but also fit it seamlessly into the text. My student was eager to take it home to finish over spring break. I can't wait to hear what she thought of the rest of the book...I think I'm going to have to pick up the others in the series!! (BTW, this isn't the book I have most recently read...I almost forgot to post about this book!)

Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy

Most Recently Read Book:

Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy

By Kimberly Willis Holt

I just realized I never posted about Just Grace Goes Green which I read before spring break. I was just going to say that I liked Just Grace better than Piper Reed but they are both cute books. This book seemed to have a lot going on in it. I grabbed it thinking it might be a book to recommend to my 2nd grader. I think she would like this but the way it is written makes it hard to figure out what the real plot really was. In the end she learns a lesson about realizes how much she appreciates and loves her family but lots of things went on to get to that point. It's a cute book. (P.S. This wasn't the first book in the series so maybe I would have liked it better had I started with the first book...)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Danny Gokey Contest!!!

We need your help!

The school my husband teaches at has been chosen as a finalist in the "I Don't Want To Miss" video contest. There are five finalists and now the public can vote to decide who wins!!! We need your vote!

Here's the coolest part: the video with the highest number of votes wins the grand prize! Wanna know what the grand prize is???? Danny Gokey will go to their school and teach a 60-minute music class! Danny Gokey! Did your eyes pop out of your head? You all know Chad is a huge fan of Danny Gokey. Just in case, let me remind you:

The contest "people" ask that you only vote once per day...but you can vote once every day! Please feel free to share the link with friends, family, neighbors... The students worked really hard on the video and they really did a great job. It's a fun video about staying healthy so you don't miss out on exciting stuff.

Here's how to vote! Simply click on this link:

Then click VOTE or "Click here to vote" and then view:
Bannockburn School I Don't Want to Miss 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010


Here are the baby booties I whipped up yesterday! I love these simple little crafts that are fun but easy to get done. I realized that even though I thought these could be gender neutral, it's way easier to make them for girls. I think they are so sweet...not sure if they are wearable, I mean, I guess they are, I'm just not sure how practical they are. I just like making them!
Close-ups! I did a few fun stitches on this pair, the French knot, the satin stitch, and then I'm not sure what the curly one is called...but it was a new stitch for me.
These are probably my favorite. The colors are just so cute. I also put little hearts on the back!
And here's a bonus picture! I realized I really haven't taken that many pictures of myself during this pregnancy. This is my lame attempt to take a picture of myself...I felt really silly so my smile looks goofy. I was six months last week! Can't believe it. This pregnancy is going fast and slow at the same time! I'm cherishing being pregnant, I love to feel the baby moving around in my belly, but I'm dying to meet him/her at the same time!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Food Matters

Most Recently Read Book:

Food Matters

By Mark Bittman

I'm so glad one of my librarians recommended this book to me when I was looking for some healthy, whole-food, vegetarian cookbooks a few weeks ago after reading Fat Cat. This book is a perfect companion to Eating Animals. I'm glad I read this one after Eating Animals. This book was easier to read for me and I think I enjoyed it more because I had the background about where our meat is coming from that allowed me to embrace the ideas in this book. This book doesn't promote or demote vegetarianism, it supports both, but it does point out that Americans in general need to eat less meat. He talks about the impact of what we are eating on our health and the environment but doesn't go into as much detail as Eating Animals. I loved that this book sets up a plan. Eating Animals sets up the stage for a life-perspective switch, but doesn't follow-through with any kind of action plan. This book does just that! Part II focuses on simple recipes. I'm not a fan of any kind of recipes that have way too many ingredients or steps and these are all super easy. He also talks about cooking larger amounts of veggies or beans or grains ahead of time to use later. I love the idea of saving time. I already made a list of ideas I'm going to try and incorporate into my life to support my new vegetarian outlook. I'll post about them in my Turning Over A New Leaf Tuesday series!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crafty Crafty Crafty

I'm having so much fun getting projects done! I've been collecting materials and ideas for so long now and I've finally had a chance to get things done! I looooooove it!!!! Monday I whipped up two of these aprons! I used a Sewing For Dummies pattern I had bought forever ago. It really was so simple anyone could have done it. It was perfect for me because I could follow a pattern and have them turn out really cute but not have to put all that much energy into it. It's kind of hard to looks like there are jelly beans on this fabric, but it's just a small paisley print. The pattern called for pockets, but I thought it was cute without pockets. (Plus, I couldn't think of what I use the pockets for on my I didn't do pockets.)
Yesterday I started on baby booties that I'm working on. I cut out the pattern, cut the pieces out for 4 sets and now I have to put them all together...I think that's my plan for tomorrow.

Today I had to make a trip to JoAnn's to pick out fabric to line a diaper caddy have been trying to make since last August! I fell in love with a chunky green yarn I found at JoAnn's and started working on the panels way back then. I finished the knitting part up over winter break and now I sewed the fabric for a lining and put it all together. I used plastic canvas in between the outer and inner layers. I'm so happy with how it turned out! It's not perfect, but I think that's part of the charm of handmade things. I can't wait to get some newborn diapers to load this baby up. I have some extra fabric and I'm gonna try to make a diaper changing pad to match.
I'm hoping to have booty pictures to post tomorrow!

A Day Out With Jordy

Yesterday Jordan got to spend the day with me. It was fun to hop in the car just the two of us and go off on our little daily adventure. We headed to meet our friends Kathy and Maddy. Jordan and I got to the restaurant a little early so we took a walk over to the train station and were there just in time to see a train go past. It kind of freaked Jordan out but we were still excited to see the train and to wave as it zoomed past. We met our friends for breakfast and then were ready to paint at Color Me Mine. After we went to see Santa this year and Jordan was upset that he didn't get the train he asked for and had to wait until Christmas, I was prepared and made sure to tell him we would paint our dinosaur and then pick them up later. Luckily, he had no problem with that. Phew.

Jordan looked at all the cool things to paint and chose a really cool T-Rex. Then he picked out his colors. Of course, black had to be one of his colors. He had fun painting the dinosaur...and the table!
Here's me with my munchkin...please ignore that I forgot to put makeup on...Jordan just looks so cute I had to post this picture despite my horribleness.
The kiddos having fun!
I also sponged up a tile so Jordan could put his handprint on it. (I helped Chad out here...this is my yearly Mother's Day present...but it does mean he can now get me something else...wink, wink).
Jordan playing with all the stamps that were up on a magnetic wall. Super smart...
Next up, we went to the Kohl's Children's Museum. I love to see the chicks and Jordan got to see them, too. (Although it did have me thinking in light of all the reading I've been doing about how animals like cows, chickens, and pigs are treated...)
After that we were super pooped and ready to head home. Jordan fell asleep in the car after a few minutes but woke up when we got home. We watched Alice in Wonderland until Dad came home and the boys played outside. It was such a fun day!

The House On Mango Street

Most Recently Read Book:

The House On Mango Street

By Sandra Cisneros

My school district is sponsoring this book as a one book, one school activity soon. I think there is a picture book that goes along with it for the younger grades. I definitely think this is a book for at least high school students. Not based on content but based on the writing style. I didn't expect it to be a fast read, but the chapters are really short so it went really fast. It's the story of a girl growing up in Chicago. Each chapter tells about an experience or a person who lives in her neighborhood. I think the style might be higher level reading because it does talk about so many different people and it's not written as a narrative with lots of description. The description is vivid but so much is told or implied through the dialogue. Students will have to make lots of inferences to understand this book. As an adult, I really enjoyed the book. I love Cisneros' writing style, especially the description that goes along with the characters' actions and feelings. I love her short story "Eleven". I'm sure it's on the Internet if you look for it. It's a sad story about a young girl on her birthday, but I love it's message about growing up but knowing it's still okay to act like a younger version of yourself sometimes. Love it. This book was such a great extension of that idea and about finding yourself and following your dreams.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Turning-Over-A-New-Leaf Tuesdays (#2)

Last week I switched from cow's milk to soy milk. So far it hasn't been a problem...although I've just limited it to the milk I drink...I haven't given up ice cream yet. Baby steps. That's my motto.

This week I've decided to switch from being an omnivore to being a vegetarian. I actually started two Fridays ago and it's been a little bit tricky, but overall, not that bad. I thought it would be hard for me to find meals I would like and that would still be healthy for m but I'm doing okay so far. I've tried the MorningStar version of ground beef once, we made stuffed green peppers with that mixed in with brown rice, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. It was awesome. It was really hard to even tell the difference. Last night we had dinner at Big Bowl and I loaded up a bowl full of vegetables that they cooked up for me with brown rice and tofu. That was really good, too! I'm being conscious of trying to make sure I'm getting iron and protein by eating lots of fruits, veggies, and grains.

I have to say I feel super healthy. I completely feel like I have more energy. I wake up rested and ready to go and my body just feels happier. I'm loving it. After reading Eating Animals I have no problem wanting to switch to a vegetarian lifestyle. I feel good morally and physically.

I haven't convinced Chad to switch to being vegetarian yet...although I have influenced him to give up meat for a few meals and that's make a difference. The other day on the radio we heard that Carrie Underwood is a vegetarian and that add a little more fuel to his fire. (The guy loves Carrie Underwood...she's on his "list".)

On the menu tonight we're having chicken taco pizza (made with MorningStar pretend chicken strips)!

Monday, March 22, 2010

When Kids Can't Read

Most Recently Read Book:

When Kids Can't Read

By Kylene Beers

Man, it seems like it's taken me forever to get through this book. It is an academic text after all. I truly enjoyed reading this book because there were so many ideas and there were so many topics that really hit home to me. I have already taken some ideas and put them to use with my students. I love reading books that tie in exactly with my philosophy of giving kids access and opportunities to read books that they are motivated to read. I like that there are ideas for helping kids that need help actually reading words and for helping them think through text and apply reading strategies. This is a definite must read for any teachers targeting reading with kiddos!

Getting Crafty Again!

I'm beyond ecstatic to be able to finally do some crafting again! With National Boards I have neglected my crafty side. Spring break is the perfect time to get back into it all again!!! I have projects all lined up and I can't wait. Step one, cutting out patterns! It's annoying but I always feel like I have accomplished something after getting a pattern cut out!

Eating Animals

Most Recently Read Book:

Eating Animals

By Jonathan Safran Foer

I literally just finished this book, leafed through all the pages of documentation that supports everything it says, and opened my laptop to write this post. I have completely devoured this book in the past few days.

Yesterday, I went up to Jordan's room where Chad and Jordan were working on putting his bed together and told Chad there is no way I can let Jordan eat chicken any more (that was before I even got to the part about beef). It's interesting how people think about meat. Chad looked at me and said he didn't want to hear it, he said, "Well, that means he can't have nuggies at McDonald's...those are the worst...I know about those chickens." It made me realize I have heard the story told in Eating Animals before. I'm sure many people have heard of the inhumaneness of factory farms...and not even just that, the incomprehensible grossness of the meat we buy at the store (everyone knows there is salmonella and e. coli and now even H1N1). But somehow we tune ourselves out to what we know.

After reading this book, I have finally reached my tipping point, the point at which I can't let myself forget and won't let myself forget where meat is coming from. I'm not officially sure how that will change how I live my seems like it will be a huge shift in how I do things, but I'm thinking at the same time it might not be all that hard. One thing pointed out in this book is how even just by making the decision it's going to change where I can/choose to eat. I believe we all have to make our own choices but I feel overwhelmed by the need to make a change and know I am only one person. That doesn't make it seem less important to me.

I do have to say that I was hoping this book would be a little more reader-friendly. I am an avid reader and an educated person and this book was a challenging read in a sense. At the beginning the author does outline what he means by various terms that will be found throughout the book, but most of the book involves these words and other hard words and concepts that it took me a lot of focus to read the book. It's not a bad thing, but I wish it was easier to read and to share with others instead of so much narration. That said, I did read the entire book, was consumed by the information shared, and it was perspective- and life-changing for me so it is definitely a book I recommend.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Getting Air

Most Recently Read Book:

Getting Air

By Dan Gutman

Sheesh, I just realized how many books I have finished between yesterday and today. Lately, it seems like I've been reading so many books all at once for whatever reason and I was able to polish them all off finally. I was lucky enough to read and discuss this book with a group of students through a lit. study in a 7th grade class. It's about four kids who are on a plane when it gets hijacked and how they survive in the wild. I like the idea of it and I liked the character development...but there were some weird parts. For example, it starts raining and they are smelly so they get completely stark naked (the weird part is that it's three teen boys, one girl, a hot flight attendant, and an old-grandma-type-lady who get naked...). Weird? Yeah, one of the boys today said he it was disturbed. So I liked it, but I doubt it's gonna be winning any awards any time soon.


Most Recently Read Book:


By Ellen Hopkins

This book is the sequel to Crank which I read not that long ago. I still love that they are written in verse. The voice and the style are just amazingly well done to me. This book made me feel a little better in the sense that I think a YA reader would understand how crystal meth ruins the main character's life. I felt that the first one made the drug sound good in a way, and this one does, but the main character has so many issues she's dealing with that the drugs seem to make her life harder, whereas the first one was all about how great the drugs made her feel.

I was thinking today about how both books don't specifically clarify that doing drugs is bad, the reader has to decide that for him or herself. I think it's especially hard for readers because the main character is the one with all the problems and you should really be disgusted by her habits and her decisions but because she's the main character and the books are told from her perspective I think the reader connects with her so it's hard to hate her...and that means you also don't mind so much that she does drugs. I guess I would have a hard time recommending this to any teen without making sure they talked about it with an adult to make sure they get that doing drugs is so not cool.

I was appalled by the first book and even moreso by this book. As a mother, it breaks my heart to think of how she treats her child. It's horrible to think people are living her life and that it's really happening. I listened to both books and now I'm curious if the text versions have any kind of appendix or follow up or something that lists where kids can go to learn more about the bad impact drugs is having on society or where they can go if they need help or have a friend who needs help. Hmm, it would make me feel better if there was some kind of public service announcement at the back of these books...

A Little Bit Wicked

Most Recently Read Book:

A Little Bit Wicked

By Kristin Chenowith with Joni Rodgers

Can you believe I haven't really seen Kristin Chenowith in performances I don't think...I mean, I know she's been on TV but I've never seen her. I've never even seen Wicked (obviously not on Broadway, but also not the Chicago production of it either). I have seen her on a talk show and then this year on Idol. She's completely cute and her personality is very fun. I like her, I just don't know that much about her. My friend, Lara, said she read this and that you could definitely hear her voice in the writing. I figured she'd have fun stories to read about. I did actually enjoy the book and reading about what it took for her to make it big. I definitely liked the voice that book was written in, it was very personable and fun. What I didn't like was that towards the end it didn't have as many stories in it and I was getting tired of reading it...or maybe that the stories didn't seem to be chronological at the end? I couldn't be sure when things were taking place, it seemed like there was lots of jumping around and that the anecdotes didn't flow. But that's just me being picky. I did like the candidness with which it was written...she talks about her hoo-hoo for pete's sake.

Mary Poppins

Most Recently Read Book:

Mary Poppins

By P.L. Travers

After meeting the wonderful, amazing, breath-taking Miss Julie Andrews in the fall, I realized at some point that the movie Mary Poppins was actually based on a book. I don't think I ever knew that. I've had it on my list of books to read since then. I have to say after reading Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland that was basically exactly like the movie(s) I wasn't sure to expect it to be the same or different. The book actually is very different from the movie. I can honestly say I much prefer the movie better. I feel like the movie at least has a message, even if you have to infer the message: that parents need to live in the moment and cherish their kids instead of always working so hard and not enjoying their children (at least that's what I think it's all about). The book was just about this fairly mean nanny who comes, does lots of weird things, like jumping into chalk drawings and floating in the air...but then also weirder things that don't make it into the movie...and then just leaves. When she leaves the only message we are left with is that she'll eventually come back. I guess that means I should read the next book to see if she does come back and maybe there is more of a lesson in that book, but my heart's not in it. I much prefer my Disney spoonful-of-sugar Mary Poppins.

City of Thieves

Most Recently Read Book:

City of Thieves

By David Benioff

The first few pages of this book had me unsure whether I was going to like it or not, but after that I was hooked and couldn't wait to get back to it to see what was happening. One of my friends just said to me, "Was that the one about the eggs?" And, yes, it is the one about the eggs. It's about a boy in WWII living in Russia. He ends up on a quest for a dozen eggs in the middle of a war where people are starving and struggling for any kind of food.

I truly enjoy historical fiction and this book is an example of why. The characters are great, there is just enough gravity in their situation but all lightheartedness and humor to keep it going. If you like historical fiction I would definitely recommend this book!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Turning-Over-A-New-Leaf Tuesdays

I'm starting a blog series!!! I have never done this before but I'm excited! If you've read my recent blog posts or tweets, you can tell I'm on a health kick lately. I'm excited by it and I'm feeling that it's worthy of sharing.

I've been on a health kick in terms of my own body and also in terms of keeping the environment healthy. Turn Over A New Leaf Tuesdays has stemmed (ha!) from my car actually. I bought a hybrid in November and have become more efficient in my driving so that I'm averaging 47 miles per gallon for every tank of gas. It's amazing. When I first started driving me car it was like a game, the monitor gave me one little, measily leaf to show how efficient I was driving. I had to try and drive more and more efficient to slowly earn more and more leaves. I remember telling Chad how motivating it was for me (albeit somewhat stressful...) and I recently made it to full leaves! It feels great.

Today I turned over a new leaf in my life...I officially have given up cow's milk and made the switch to soy milk. Technically, I bought the soy milk over the weekend at the grocery store...but today was the first day I had soy milk on my cereal. AND, it was good! I noticed the difference on my first bite, but after that it was like drinking regular milk on my cereal. That was the test, and now I'm officially a soy milk girl.

When you hear me ordering my favorite
warm drink at Starbucks you'll hear,
"Can I have a grande decaf
white chocolate mocha
with soy no whip, please?"

My goals for now are to start slowly, to make little changes, baby steps. I don't think I could survive a drastic life-switch but these little steps seem like big accomplishments to me. I'm not going to go into too much detail about why I'm switching to soy milk...I don't want to have to back up what I'm doing or make anyone feel like they need to switch, too. Please e-mail me if you are wondering more though and I'd be happy to chat! Also, please share if you've tried anything new did it go????

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spaghetti Spaghetti Squash

OMG, I am so excited about a new meal we are so going to be eating more often in our house. I have been on a completely healthy kick lately after reading Fat Cat and watching this interview on Ellen. I already put his book, Eating Animals, on hold at the library and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival.

Anyway, yesterday at the store I was looking for whole foods - any kind of fruit and veggie was complete game for going home with us. I was so excited to see a huge spaghetti squash sitting there...all lonesome, it totally needed be in our cart. I cooked it up today and then Chad suggested putting some spaghetti sauce on it...hello! It's awesome! Chad even liked it.

Here's what you do:

Cut the spaghetti squash in half (I put mine in the microwave for a few minutes to make it easier to cut). Scoop out all the seeds and little stringy things in the middle, it's like scooping clean a pumpkin. Place on a pan, cut-side down for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. I pulled them out and rotated them every 10-15 minutes. Take out and scrape the squash off the sides of the halves, it just automatically becomes little strings like spaghetti. Pour your favorite spaghetti sauce over it. Voila! Enjoy!

Here's what it looks like when you scrape it off the really looks like spaghetti!!!

And here's what it looked like with the spaghetti sauce...I realized before I polished it off I should take a picture so there's not much left. I'm so happy with how good it tasted for how easy and healthy it is! Yippee!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pre-Pre-Packing National Boards

I can't believe tomorrow will be March 15th. It will be our packing day with the cohort I have been working with all year while I have been working on achieving National Boards. Today was me pre-pre-packing day! I wore my teacher socks! They are upside down but you can see the chalkboards and the apples!
My parents came over to help me go through all the paperwork and get things in order. Jordy was awake, so actually my mom played with Jordy, Chad was upstairs watching my DVDs to make sure they played all the way through, and my dad sat with me and put everything in order. It actually worked out perfectly.

Can I just say that I have the best parents in the world? They came over, they brought my flowers and a card...AND Coldstone ice cream cakes! (I love Coldstone ice cream!)
Peanut butter chocolate ice cream cake
Mint chocolate chip ice cream cake
Everthing is all organized, paper-clipped, and filed in the proper envelope. Now I take everything in with me tomorrow and my cohort members will sit down and make sure I've got it all in order and everything is ready to mail! I'm so close!
After I mail in my box I have to get ready for the assessment center tests. There are 6 30-minute tests I have to take online at an assessment center. I signed up to do that on April 26th. Then I will be completely completely done...but getting this far with my box feels like a huge accomplishment already. Whee!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Danny Gokey!!!

If you know my husband, chances are you know he is a major Danny Gokey fan. Danny Gokey was a finalist on American Idol last season. We went and saw him in Milwaukee when he came back for his homecoming on Idol. Chad has seen him other times. We saw him on the American Idol tour...and now we got to see him at his CD release party. Chad follows Danny so closely and has been keeping track of all the appearances he has been making and all the promoting he has done for his new CD. We were super excited to see him perform songs live from his new CD.

Here he is! It was a nice small hall up in Milwaukee. There were people there but it wasn't completely smooshed. It was actually really fun.
We had to buy our CDs to get in and then we got them signed by Danny before we left! It was very fun!
I definitely recommend you go listen to his single and the CD on iTunes!!!

Among the Hidden

Most Recently Read Book:

Among the Hidden

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Have you ever read a book, you tell someone you're reading it, and then they tell you they aren't going to say anything? Doesn't that just make you crazy to read it find out what happens? I was about halfway through this book when it happened to me...and I have to say it was as crazy as the person suggested it might be.

I've decided I'm going to read this with my 5th grader to introduce her to science fiction...the future, dystopic society kind of science fiction. I am really excited because this book is very thought-provoking. It's about a boy who is the 3rd child in his family...except, in the world he lives in, 3rd children are illegal. He has been in hiding since he was born, and more recently he's had to stay inside his house because of all the new housing near his house. I can't imagine living like that but it reminds me so much of the Holocaust and even segregation and slavery and more recently, the population law in China and the state of affairs in places like Afghanistan. Great book to get kids thinking about society and how people are treated.


Most Recently Read Book:

Lawn Boy

By Gary Paulsen

Believe it or not, I have not read any books by Gary Paulsen...nope, not even Hatchet. I just have never had any real interest in reading it. I've definitely heard all about it, I know the plot of the story, I've even tried to pick it up a few times and I've never gotten through it. I heard about this book and it actually sounded interesting and I can finally say I've read a Paulsen book. I liked the book but I'm not sure who I would recommend it to. I love that it teaches kids all about economics but I don't know if it's all that easy to understand all the concepts in it. Tricky. I enjoyed it though. Joey Pow was my favorite character!

My Teacher Is An Alien

Most Recently Read Book:

My Teacher is an Alien

By Bruce Coville

I think I read this book as a kid...but I didn't officially remember it. I have been looking for a science fiction book for my 5th grader and I came up with this one. She's really into it actually because it's a mystery at the same time. I like books like this that are so perfect for 4th/5th grade. It reminds me of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Indian In the Cupboard and Harriet the Spy and James and the Giant Peach. Good memories.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fat Cat

Most Recently Read Book:

Fat Cat

By Robin Brande

I am definitely recommending this book...I've already told lots of people about it. I miss reading Meg Cabot's books, she wrote the Princess Diaries series and has tons of other books out there with great female characters and the sweetest boy characters they fall in love with. After all the sci-fi and fantasy it seems like I've been reading lately I was in the mood for a Meg-Cabot-like book not written by Meg Cabot...and guess where I found Fat Cat? Meg recommended it on her blog. Perfect. It was a great book.

It's about Cat, an overweight girl, who decides she's going to go back to living like a cavewomen for a high school science project. The project causes a whole shift in her life and I loved reading about how amazing the changes were. It's part of the reason why I'm totally contemplating becoming a vegetarian...and at least trying to make recipes with whole foods instead of processed food. It just makes sense to me when you think of all the crazy foods we put in our bodies. The non-meat part of it comes from Fat Cat, but I've seen more and more lately about how cruelly animals are treated and I'm kind of over meat. It's weird but reading this book has made me really think more about the kinds of food I eat. We'll see...I've already been to the library to find some cookbooks with more healthy foods so I think I'll start there. I'll post what I find!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trains on the Membrane

Everything with Jordan lately is all about trains. I had my laptop up in his play room over the weekend and we took some pictures of his trains using PhotoBooth. (I love not having to import pictures!)

He was so cute holding up trains for the camera. They aren't the best pictures but I love seeing his little fingers and his serious face...he was hard at work. I'm only sharing three but we took at least 23!

This is Bertie the Bus:
He wanted to show off the names on the bottom! This one is Mavis.
I'm pretty sure this one is Thomas...there are a few blue ones and I can barely tell them apart but this face looks like Thomas.
Jordan can name every single train that he has. He'll line them up and tell you all their names. When he plays at his train table he'll put trains in front of each other and say, "Hi, I'm Thomas. What's your name?" Or he'll say, "Help!" and then bring another train to help the train who is in trouble. It's so sweet. I love listening to him play with his trains.

Chad and I never thought we'd have a munchkin who would be so into Thomas, but here we are! We even get excited when we go to the store or the mall and see new trains we haven't seen or are uncommon. Sheesh.