Category Archives: Uncategorized

A New Adventure


I have been saying no for at least 4 years.  Eric asked.  Matthew pleaded.  Grace begged.  When the Humane Society came to Eric’s work last Monday, with furry friends to be snuggled, I knew the battle was over.  It didn’t help that his coworker sent me this picture of Eric holding a ball of fur with the caption, See you tonight?  


My reply back was Cute! Just as long as it’s not coming home with him, he can pet it all he wants. :)   A cat and two kids are enough right now.  I have no idea what happened next, because less than 5 hours of seeing that picture, I agreed to adopt an 11-week old puppy. Continue reading


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While looking for a new book to read and share with my middle school students, Pax kept coming up as a recommended read.  This is the first book I have read by the author and in many ways, it brought me back to my childhood and reading Where the Red Fern Grows.  (Ahh, I loved that book!)  Pax carries the same punch and beautiful writing as that book.  It also tugs at the heartstrings, for anyone who has ever had a pet will instantly connect with the main character in this book.  Although it is written for upper elementary to lower middle school children, there is much that adults can connect to, and the writing is anything but “childish.”  Great sentence structure, vocabulary, and a powerful story creates an unforgettable book and journey as boy and fox try to be reunited again amidst a great war.

paxPax, by Sara Pennypacker

Genre: children’s literature; nature; animals

Summary:  Peter and Pax are inseparable, ever since Peter found Pax alone and abandoned as a kit.  However, years later a large war is looming, and Peter is forced to drop off Pax in a forest as Peter’s father enlists in the war.  300 miles away Peter moves in with his grandfather–a move Peter bitterly regrets.  That night Peter realizes he should have never dropped of Pax, alone and vulnerable, and sets off on a journey to find and rescue his beloved friend.  Meanwhile, Pax sets off on an adventure of his own, trying to be reunited with his owner. Continue reading

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Brown Girl Dreaming

Teaching to adolescents, I am always on the lookout for a great book that grabs you right away.  Many adults have short attention spans, but young adults? Even shorter.  This novel is actually a memoir, but it’s told in poetry form.  The author hooked me right away, and I was drawn not only to the language and word choice, but the gripping story that unfolded.  I could not put it down.

brown-girl-dreamingBrown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson

Genre: memoir (told in poetry form)

Summary: This memoir is about a young African American girl born in Ohio in the 1960s.  At a very young age, her mother leaves her father to move back home to South Carolina and takes Jacqueline (the author and narrator) and her two siblings with her.  Her mother then leaves for New York City, to try to obtain a job and a better life for her children.  While she is gone, Jacqueline is raised by her grandparents.  Later, her mother returns for the children, and she spends the rest of her childhood in NYC.  This is a bittersweet story of resilience and the desire to belong. Continue reading


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Top 15 Christmas Baking Recipes

Yesterday we had snow and ice and school was cancelled.  So what did I do on my day off?  I made a cheesecake.  Why go outside in the freezing rain (literally–it came right after the snow) and try to build a snowman in 1/2-inch of snow?  I think I’ll take my warm kitchen.  Actually, Matthew did try, but the moment he opened the door, he changed his mind.

So while I am working on getting the cheesecake recipe ready, I thought I’d give you my top 15 holiday recipes, in case you need inspiration or a new idea.  Tomorrow, I am making the chocolate sandwich cookies and bringing them to my work’s Christmas party, along with the rest of the cheesecake.  Is it weird to bring a half-eaten cheesecake? Maybe. On the fence about this one.  I put the recipes in alphabetical order because I couldn’t decide on how I wanted to order them as they are all my favorites.  Anyway, enjoy and happy baking! xoxo

Top 15 Christmas Baking Recipes

Black Bottom Brownies


Brownie Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting


Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


Chocolate Revel Bars


Christmas Cake Balls


Christmas Scones


Homemade Sauces


Mitten Sugar Cookies


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Fig Bars


I have three 100-year-old maple trees in my yard.  One in the front, one on the side, and one in the back–all closely surrounding my house.  My house is like a cocoon, tucked neatly under the blanket and protection of the leaves.  These trees I love in spring and summer, but fall…well, that’s a different story.


I know that trees have this internal clock, and it starts with the falling of one leaf.  It reminds me crisp mornings are on the horizon.  Then they really taunt, letting a few more leaves drop.The days are getting shorter, they remind me.  School will be starting soon, they gently whisper in the wind.  I will be slowly dropping all my leaves and you will spend every weekend in the fall cleaning them up, they laugh with the drooping of their branches from the heavy load they bear.  This is what I hear mid-August.


(This picture is from 2 years ago on Halloween, when half the leaves had dropped.  Matthew thought tromping through the leaves was a blast.  I just thought the smaller the leaves become, the harder they are to sweep up.  Sigh…) Continue reading

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