Thursday, May 21, 2015


Amelia has been very into inchworms lately.  Her teacher sent me this picture from recess.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ipad Keyboard and Case

I purchased a case and keyboard for my work ipad and I am loving it.  Part of me is wondering why I even need a laptop now that I have the keyboard.  I also love the orange color.  I was afraid it was going to be too bright, but it is just right.  You can't beat the price, less than 30 dollars on Amazon.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

17th Anniversary

Today is our 17th wedding anniversary.  We are celebrating with dinner at Willy's Steakhouse tonight, along with mowing the lawn, going to a soccer game, and cleaning the house.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Purgatory Chasm

Purgatory Chasm is now charging for parking.  Seems like a hard thing to patrol with all the cars parked all over the place.  Very disappointing, as Sam liked to bring the kids there often.

Charter School at OSV

Old Sturbridge Village is looking to start a charter school and looking for a principal to do it.  I'm very interested in watching this process and seeing what they end up with for a curriculum.  They could have a fabulous program there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blue Apron

 My friend Jenny has been using Blue Apron for a couple of weeks and was able to send us a free trial week.  Blue Apron is a company that delivers the ingredients and recipes for meals to your house each week.  I picked out the three meals we wanted online and waited for our Tuesday delivery.  You have a choice of 2 meals for 4 people or 3 meals for 2 people.  We went with the 3 for 2 because we knew the kids wouldn't eat much of them anyway.

The box comes with a large ice pack and packing to keep things cold.

The first thing we pulled out were the recipe cards.

 Here's a look before we started taking things out.

Some of the ingredients

 Some more

 So Tuesday night Sam began making the fish tacos.  Each of the recipes said they would take about 30 minutes, they definitely took quite a bit longer, at least two of them took over an hour.  There is a lot of prep work involved.  Tuesday night was the night I took Amelia to the hospital, so I left mid-way through the preparing of the recipe.  Sam ate it alone, but saved some for me.  They were delicious.

I didn't get pictures of the other nights, but they were equally delicious.  Hearty portions, you could end up with leftovers, and ingredients that we wouldn't normally buy.  Mexican chocolate for our mole sauce, cactus for strips in our enchiladas.

Bottom Line:  Great for trying new dishes, love all the little packages and portioned items, expensive ($70 for 3 meals for 2 people), very time consuming, would be better if they did some of the prep work for you, delicious entrees and sides, great website, easy to pick out the meals you want, easy to cancel, easy to skip weeks if you just want to take a break.

I did cancel just to try out the cancelling process, but I think it is something we will use again, but not on a weekly or even monthly basis.

ETA: It's actually 59.94/week.  Also, my friend does have four free weeks to give away so if you are interested in trying it free for a week (you do have to cancel to not get charged for another week) then let me know.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Here are some things I made recently:

Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole This was quite good, a smitten kitchen recipe.  I find all of hers to be great.

Avocado Cucumber Salad - This was delicious.  I'll definitely be making it again to bring to summer events.  Again, smitten kitchen.

Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies - These were good, but nothing special, pretty much a chocolate chip cookie.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Tuesday morning Amelia woke up and as she was coming down the stairs she complained of stomach pain, but she didn't feel like she was going to throw up.  We headed off to school and throughout the day she still had intermittent pain.  By the time we got home around 4:30, she was still having pain and she had a fever, along with a stomach that was sensitive to the touch.  I called the doctor, they said to take her to the ER.

Because I don't feel like typing it all down, I'll refrain from all of the negative things I was going to say about the Pediatric ER at UMass University Campus, but it wasn't good.  One good thing was that one of the ultrasound techs was a girl that had been my friend when we both worked at Victory.  I hadn't seen her in 18 years, so it was nice to catch up for a minute.

Amelia had surgery on Wednesday around 1:30.  The surgery showed that her intestines are lined up differently than most people.  Her colon is one side and her small intestine on the other.  (We are supposed to follow up with this, but I think at this point I'm not planning on it.) He also nicked her colon, but assured me that he only had to put one stitch in and it would be fine, but then of course they decided to keep her overnight just to make sure it would be fine.

UMass finally came through once we were admitted on the Pediatric floor, lovely nurses, great playroom, and just a general good experience. I also highly recommend their ChildLife program which is made up of employees who work to make the child feel comfortable throughout their care.

We left on Thursday and she's been doing well at home every since.

 Early on in the ER

 Before Surgery

 After Surgery

1 day post-surgery

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sam Turns 40!

Today is Sam's 40th birthday.  Last weekend we celebrated with my family and Sam's family.  We also celebrated my grandmother's birthday.

We went with Sam's parents to our favorite restaurant in Chinatown, the Gourmet Dumpling House and had lots of sweet and sour pork, along with grated potatoes (my favorite dishes from Qingdao).

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Books/Movies/Television Shows

I'm busy watching the final season of Mad Men with Jenny, only two episodes to go.  The season has not been good.  They keep introducing new characters which is not what you want at the end of a series...

I'm also watching Call the Midwife and continuing to enjoy it.

Sam and I watched The Theory of Everything.  I knew nothing about Stephen Hawking and found it to be informative and well-done.

We are watching Boyhood tonight and we all watched Night at the Museum 3 last weekend.  It was a great movie, lots of laughter.

As far as books, my cousin had recommended Dear Committee Members and I loved it.  It's a novel written as a compilation of reference letters.  I laughed out loud in many parts.  I have also read The Art of Hearing Heartbeats which was fine, but I didn't love it.  I can't remember if I've already talked about All the Light We Cannot See but it was fabulous, WWII, a blind girl and her father, excellent writing.  I finished Me Before You also.  At first I thought it was a light-hearted romance and thought to myself, I should read more of these.  I feel like everything I read is heavy and emotional.  Then I kept reading it and realized it wasn't a light-hearted romance, but it was very good.  It seems like everyone in our grades 3-5 is reading The One and Only Ivan so I read it also.  It was cute, touching (if you're a child and maybe if you're an animal-loving adult) , but not a top book for me.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring is not here!

I'm sorry that I left you with a Spring is here post for so long.  It's not here, it's freezing.  I hope summer will make it this year.

 My grandmother goes to art classes each week.  This is one of her paintings.  She is very talented.

 Monday we had a big rainstorm and when we got to school there were worms everywhere on the asphalt.  Toby and his friends worked together to save their lives. :)  One of Toby's friends came up with the plan to have a club and assigned jobs, now they are just waiting for the next big rainstorm.

Amelia started her fourth soccer season on Saturday.  She has the same coaches and many of the same players and she loves it.  She has practices on Wednesday and practices/games on Saturday.  They decided their team name would be the Navy Thunder Dolphins.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Easter Pictures and Art in the Valley

We have another successful year of Easter pictures.

Lucy's artwork was selected for Art in the Valley.  She was last selected two years ago and Toby was selected last year.  It's always nice to get a chance to see the art that is being made at various schools.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Touching the Ceiling

The PE teacher sent me a picture of Lucy making it to the top of the gym by climbing a rope.  She's one of the few people in her grade who can do it.  Amelia was very much anticipating her first time getting to do this, but was disappointed in her abilities.  One girl in her class was able to climb half-way, but "that's because she's practiced in gymnastics." :)  Toby was happy to get a little above the knot on the rope this year.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Reading and Curiosity

The keynote speaker this morning was Stephanie Harvey.

Here's a list of some of the quotes/ideas I took away.

Imagination doesn’t appear in the standards.
Wisdom begins in wonder.

Instantaneous access really changes your life.  What never changes is the need for curiosity.  What you really need to do is teach people to be curious. – Eric Schmidt

Schools drive the curiosity right out of them.

The more kids learn, the more they wonder.

I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious. – Einstein
It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. - Einstein

Interaction is at the core of engagement. – Harvey and Goudvis

Whoever does the most talking in classrooms does the most learning.
Receive info, then process it.  Four minutes at the longest between turn and talk. 

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder. – E.B. White

Inspire curiosity through images. 

Content changes. Evidence changes.  Pluto, for example.

The questions a student asks after reading a text are a better assessment than the questions that a student can answer about that text. – P. David Pearson

Why is it that the kids who need the most time to read get the least?

For every year kids are behind they need to read twice as much.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

MRA Conference

I am at the Massachusetts Reading Association Conference in Quincy for the next two days.  Attending some sessions as a teacher, some as a principal.  I've only been here listening to the keynote address by Georgia Heard for 45 minutes and already feel inspired.  If only all teachers could attend things like this, I believe it would lead to an increased enthusiasm for teaching.  It's hard to come back and try to inspire people with what you heard, first person is much better.

Tonight I get to see my brother also, which is great, and I'm spending the night at Lowell and Barbara's!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


It's 2am in the morning and I just got home from work.  I was home from 4:15-5:30 this afternoon.  Then I headed out for two interviews followed by doing the report card comments for my class which are due in 7 hours.  I couldn't find my house key and Sam had locked the door so I had to knock on Lucy's window, but she let me in which is great and a definite advantage to having her downstairs.  When I forgot my key once before it took over an hour for me to get in the house because Sam sleeps so soundly.

I'm excited about the interviews.  It's great to have a good pool of candidates.

I'm also tired, yet feeling energized, probably because I had a coffee at 10:30. :)  But also because my third quarter report card comments are done, which means I only have one more set of report cards to do in the foreseeable future.  I'm looking at everything in my classroom now, as this is my last time to do it...sometimes that brings a feeling of relief, depending on the task/item, but mostly it makes me a little sad.  I'm thankful for this class of students.  I couldn't have asked for better ones to end my teaching career with.

I'm also discovering that I have much to learn about being a principal. I am not eloquent.  I am direct and logical without a lot of need for extraneous speech.  I think being eloquent as a principal is a good trait to have.  Is eloquence something one can learn?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Grandparents' Day

Every two years our Elementary school has a morning where grandparents can come and hear a musical and then spend some time in the classrooms.

 What Amelia thinks she will look like when she is 100...

Monday, April 06, 2015

Happy Easter!

We had a wonderful Easter weekend, full of family.  Multiple egg hunts, delicious food, and a church service where we were able to proclaim that "He is risen!"

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Seelos Film Series

Have you heard about this?  Seelos Film Series at Holy Cross  Our neighbors told us about it.  Fairly recent movies shown for free, bring in your own snacks and enjoy the movies in an auditorium at Holy Cross.

Friday, April 03, 2015


Here are the books I have read recently:

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats I'd give this a 3.5/5.0.  I think the author tried too hard to create a surprising plot.

Yes, Please - This is Amy Poehler's book.  I don't know her at all and I didn't think the book was that great.  I read Tina Fey's book a long time ago and while I don't know her at all either, I thought her book was much better.

All the Light We Cannot See - I almost didn't finish this book because I really don't like WWII/Nazi books, but I did finish it, and it was excellent.  I'd give it a 4/5.

Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look - This was my favorite, definitely a 5/5.  Barbara originally loaned it to me and I ended up buying it for myself because there were so many pages I wanted to highlight.  I read it in one night and cried my way through it.  I think this will be a book that I take out occasionally just to read over the parts that I marked.  I don't think it was spectacular writing, it was just a book that I needed to read.  So if you read it and say, "Wow, that was awful", keep in mind I didn't recommend it for others. :)

Here's one part that I loved:

But what I needed was love, to wrap me up in its arms and tell me how beautiful I was and to make me laugh.  I needed a love that smiled.  And I needed to know that God was't my dad or my mum, but when you're little, he is.  He is the face of your loved ones.  But your loved ones make mistakes. And God doesn't.  That isn't something you can see, though, when you're nine years old.  Yet there are always glimpses.  There are those nights when your dad reads an extra story or sings one more song.  There are those thunderstorms when your mum lights candles and you all stand on the back porch and count the Mississippis after the rumble until the sky cracks with light.  There are fresh homemade carrot cakes baked for your birthday and homemade stockings stitched with your name on them and home-sewn dresses out of red velvet and there's your dad making you and your sisters a playhouse in the woods.  There are family trips in the tent trailer to the Maritimes and there are pets; Misty, my cat, and then our dogs: Argus, a yellow lab, and Christy, a quiet black Newfoundland who laid down when she ate.  There is cross-country skiing and tapping maple trees and going square dancing.  There is hot maple syrup on snow and there's the Harvest Festival.  But when you're young, you see the gaps more than you do the glimpses.  You see the hole more than the donut.

I am thankful for the glimpses my parents came me as I was growing up...

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April Fool's Day Pranks

Yesterday was an exciting day for me.  I love April Fool's Day!

Lucy slept  over my parents' the night before and I had promised not to do any tricks on Toby because he is still scarred from a few years ago, so that only left Amelia.

I put food coloring in her cereal bowl (under the cereal) so when the milk poured in it would turn blue.  This totally escaped her notice because we eat sugar cereal (gasp!) so the milk is normally some interesting color.  Then I put paper towels in her shoes.  This just made her angry because she's not really a happy person in the failures at home.

At school in just the first 10 minutes, I was able to get 22 people with the "Your shoes untied."  But again that's just boring.

One of my students brought me in a bag of pistachios that was actually a can of tuna.  Fun!  Then they put plastic bugs around the room which I pretended to be horrified about, and then they stuck on sticker on the back of my pants.  That one, I really was horrified about, so good for them. :)

My main trick for the day was I told my students that our classroom was special so the school was giving each of my students their own ipads to use for home and school.  I said I had a cart of them in the hall and I would call them out one by one to get it and put it in their backpack.  As each child came out I gave them an "Eye Pad".  Haha, I thought it was hysterical. Only one child in tears...

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Sixth Grade Invention Fair

Lucy participated in the Invention Fair this past week.  Her invention was the Book-Bright, books that glow in the dark, so you don't need a book light and you can read all night.

When you looked in the box, there was a glowing page of a book that you could read.  She created it by painting glow-in-the-dark paint onto the page.  She tried a variety of glowing materials and this was the best.