Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No sugar Day 9

I have had no sugar for 9 days.  I'm dying here.  I really believe that the lack of sugar is going to my brain.  I am forgetful, tired, and bitter. Ha!   Here is my ode to sugar.

Sugar you are my sweet dream boat,
You make my world stay afloat.
I miss you with all my heart,
Sugar we should never be apart.
When you return my life will be peachy,
never again will you be far from my reach-y!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Goof around

Today I'm trying some goof around writing.  This is a three word story.  Every sentences is made of only three words.  My students like to try these kinds of stories.  It can be challenging choosing the right words. 

My Monday Morning

Got up today.  Got in shower.  Almost fell down.  I hate Mondays.  Woke up Tatum.  She was GRUMPY.  Wake up Tess.  She was playful.  Make my coffee.  Mmmm it's warm.  Can't find shoes.  Under the couch?  Nope not there.  In my room?  Nope not there.  Tess come back.  Got my shoes.  Not nice Tess.  Get in car.  Strap girls in.  Buckle my belt.  Off we go.  Another beautiful morning.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Jeep

Every once in a while, my husband will bring home this junky, old, beat up, jeep wrangler. Believe it or not it is his company's extra vehicle.  Just in case one of the work trucks breaks down, they will then have a 50/50 chance of getting this hunk of junk started. 

There are many reasons I don't like this jeep.  First off,  it leaks oil all over my driveway.  Then we have sprinkle the driveway with kitty litter to soak up the oil.  I'm sure the neighborhood cats love this.  Second, the top barely zips on anymore.  It is not recommended that you ride in it when it is cold or raining.  One fateful night last January my husband had to rush me to the emergency room for kidney stones.  When I hobble outside in extreme pain, in the cold and rain, I notice that the vehicle "warming up" in the driveway is the jeep.  That was a long ride! 

With all this said, I do love the jeep when it is a warm, sunny, blue sky day.  We all piled into the jeep today to cruise the countryside.  We cranked up the radio and let the wind blow our hair.  Tatum and Tess love to ride in the jeep.  Tatum puts her hands up like it's a roller coaster ride.  Tess kicks her feet up and lets the wind blow through her toes.  All in all it is handy to have around on a day like today. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Review: Downton Abbey

My students did a unit on reviews a couple of months ago, and I'm going to try one now. 

The television show Downton Abbey is an addictive English period drama.  It is full of history, colorful characters, and costumes.  The show takes place in a large manor house, Downton Abbey, in the early 1900s.  The plot revolves around the Crowley family and their house servants.  While watching Downton Abbey you are transported to the time right after the turn of the century, where wealthy aristocratic families rule England, and marrying for money is a sport.   In season one the family deals with the loss of the heir apparent of Downton Abbey, when he goes down in the Titanic.  Should Lord Grantham's daughter Mary inherit the manor house?  Not likely.   In season two, Spanish Flu hits the house, and  WWI is as much a character as the Crowleys and servants.  The drama is mouth watering, scandalous, and sometimes back stabbing.  You can catch Downton Abbey  on Masterpiece Theater on PBS.  Although you may have to rent the seasons on DVD.  Season two just finished.  Season three is set to air next fall.  I don't think I can wait that long!  For now I will just have to wonder what is in store for Lady Mary and Matthew, Mr. Bates and Anna, poor Daisy, and the rest of the Downton gang. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Small Town Life

I live in the sticks in northern Indiana.  My little town has a population of about 900 people, most of which are amish.  Our little hamlet is very rural, but we do happen to have two liquor stores, a bar, and a VFW, all within the same block.  I'm not sure what that says about my sleepy little whistle-stop?  I am creating another list tonight, but it is all about why I love my dinky but lively little town.

1.  The hand made, hand painted sign, nailed to the telephone pole as you come into town that says, "Welcome to Millersburg, where your business is everybody's business."  I would love to know the story behind that sign.  I am actually surprised that I don't know the story behind that sign. 

2.  I dodge chickens, horse poo, and amish buggies on my way to work.  Once I had to stop in the middle of the road in order to let six, giant, amish work horses rush past my car.  One horse got so close it brushed my side mirror.  Tatum still talks about it. 

3.  Stickler's Auto Shop.  Reminds me of Kooter from the Dukes of Hazard. 

4.  The town's barber shop is also a tattoo parlor.  Cut and ink for one low price. 

5.  I once followed a red pick up truck with two amish men and a cow in the back.  The men were feeding the cow with a giant baby bottle.  Got milk?

6.  No matter when you go to the one gas station, you are guaranteed to run into someone you know.  It is inevitable, no matter how bad you look, or whether you have morning breath while grabbing that 7:00 am on a Saturday morning jug of milk, you will see your neighbor. 

7.  Speaking of the gas station, it is the town's only conveiniance store.  Which means the prices are incredibly expensive.  We had to mortgage our house for milk, bread, and eggs one morning. 

8.  Our neighbor plows our driveway in the winter.

9.  We have well water and a septic tank.  Enough said.

10.  We have so many fantastic, do anything to help, always ready for fun, friends!  This tiny town may be out of the way and a little eclectic, but you can't beat the kind of people who make this town great.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I wonder?

Another notebook strategy I introduce to my students is writing down any "I wonder" questions that they might have.  My I wonder questions today included:

I wonder who cleans up after Clifford the Big Red Dog?
I wonder how you tile a back splash?
I wonder if my dogs like the taste of bones, or if they just like to chew?
I wonder what underwear was like a long time ago?

Now, obviously some of these questions I can research and answer, and some of them just make me giggle and wonder. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's in a Name?

Do you know the history of your name?  Are you named after someone, or did your parents just like the sound of it?  One of my many idiosyncrasies is my quest for the perfect name.  Every opportunity in which I have gotten to name something has left me doing some deep soul searching.  This is evident in my very first blog post.  I deliberate and debate and agonize over the perfect name.  It is such a large part of your identity.  I feel sorry for those who are not at peace with their name.  At the beginning of every school year I ask my students to write a notebook entry about their name.  It is interesting to see what they know about their names, but just as interesting to see what they would rather be named.  In my opinion, whether you are Apple or Joe, a name needs to be meaningful and important. 

My daughter Tatum Lea  got her name from a fantasy football league draft.  My husband and I had a boy named picked out but we had many arguments about girl names.  When I was about 6 months pregnant, my hubby had a bunch of buddies over to draft for fantasy football.  If you don't know what this entails it is hours and hours of looking of lists and choosing players.  I was trying to save myself from the depths of boredom by looking at all of the funny names of some of the football players.  Parents sure can be clever.  Then suddenly as if the heavens parted and a choir of angels began to sing I saw the name Tatum Bell.  I fell in love with the name Tatum instantly.  I knew of Tatum O'Neal because I have a slight Paper Moon obsession, but I had not considered the name until that moment.  Later I came to find that Tatum means cheerful.  This name has turned out to be perfect, and it is funny to think that a 200 pound football player helped to name my teeny, tiny, wispy blond daughter. 

My daughter Tess Anne was named after Dick Tracy's girlfriend Tess Trueheart.  I really loved her name, and I loved who she was as a comic book character.  Strong, independent, loving, and true, everything I would want my daughter to embody.  I knew that I wanted a short sweet name and had been kicking around the name Tess throughout my pregnancy.  I actually wanted to name her Tess Trueheart McCauley, but my husband said that was a bit much.  I guess I was teetering on the edge of Inspektor Pilot and Banjo.  Both of which are actually celebrity baby names...I know can you believe it!?  Anyway, Tess Anne's name was not finalized until one fateful night when we were watching Jeopardy on TV.  Alex Trebek said, "Dick Tracy's faithful girlfriend."  The answer, "Who is Tess Trueheart".  Game over!  Fate stepped in to settle the baby name debate. 

I could not imagine my girls having any other names.  It was destiny, it was fate, it was their mother's mental issues.  There are stories behind my dog's names too.  As far as I am concerned there is a lot hidden within a name.    

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Bucket List

I am 32 years old.  I get a little choked up saying that.  Why does life seem to move so slowly when you are a child or a teen, but so quickly as an adult?  I can remember saying, "I can't wait for high school!", "I can't wait to drive!", "I can't wait to graduate!"  Little did I know that I was wishing my time away.  Time seems to speed up at the age of 21.  You hit that milestone (Some hit it a little harder than others!), and life moves at double time.  So, today I'm looking at my life in perspective.  I figure I have about 40 to 50 good years left.  It's time to make a bucket list.  I have my students create lists all year long in their writer's notebooks, and I have an abundance of lists in my notebook, but I've never created a bucket list.  If you don't know what a bucket list is, it is a list of things you would like to accomplish before you die.  I'm keeping it realistic.  Here it goes!

1. Visit Yellowstone
2.  Own a pool
3.  Tour Asia
4.  See a saguaro cactus
5.  Drink a cafe au lait in Paris

This was much harder than I expected.  It's definitely a work in progress.

Monday, March 12, 2012


As suggested, today I am taking some time to reflect upon what I have written so far.  Before I began this challenge, I suspected that the majority of my writing would be based upon my family.  This week I am going to try and branch out.  In my classroom we try all kinds of writer's notebook entries, and my challenge, for the next ten days, is to try to include a notebook strategy each day.  Hopefully, by trying out these notebook strategies, I can come up with some clever ideas to write about for the next ten days.  I can feel the slump of day twelve.  Knowing that we are almost half way to our goal is a motivator.  On with the challenge!

On a different note I have given up sugar cold turkey.  Sugar and I have a love hate relationship.  I am the proud owner of an enlarged sweet tooth.  I blame my father.  It must be genetic.  My other problem is I love to bake.  Residing in my house, I have a husband who doesn't really care for sweets, a five year old who eats like a bird, and 14 month old who is lucky if she can get the food to her mouth.  Who ends up eating the sweets...me.  Enough is enough.  So, my second challenge this month is to dump the sweets.   Godspeed everyone!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Watching My Chick Fly

We had amazing weather today.  My family spent part of the day doing our usual Sunday grocery shopping, but the rest of the day we spent outside.  My husband fiddled with his new car stereo, and I tried to clean all of the french fries, straw wrappers, lost toys, and receipts off of the floor of my car.  Tatum and Tess played outside. 

Pretty soon, Tatum wanted to get her bike down from the bike rack.  When she hopped on her purple and pink princess bike, it was painfully obvious that she has done some growing of the winter.  Perhaps a new bike is in the works for her birthday.  Anyway she cruised around our driveway but informed us that there just wasn't enough space.  So, we allowed her to bike around the road in front of our house.  We live in a quiet, kid friendly subdivision, so we don't have many worries about people driving too fast or reckless.  Nearly everyone in our neighborhood has children.  Many other kids were out as well.  Tatum, my little chick, was ready to spread her wings and fly.  So, she asked if I would walk with her while she biked around the loop. We went for a quick stroll.   

As we were rounding the loop there was a little girl riding circles in front of our house.  I knew that she had seen Tatum out riding earlier, and was looking for a friend to ride with her.  I told Tatum that I think that little girl's name is Mya, and she is wanting to play with you.  I reminded Tatum to introduce herself and to play nice.  There was a little hesitation, and an awkward introduction, then they were off and running.  The next thing I new, my little chick was riding all over the neighborhood.  There was a group of about five young kids, riding and racing bikes around,  and Tatum was right in the middle.  Then there was a game of basketball, and of course sidewalk chalk.  She and Mya played for a couple of hours before it was supper time.  When we finally got Tatum inside, all she could talk about was Mya.  Hopefully something will blossom there.  I think this is the first summer where Tatum will be old enough to really get out there, and play with the other neighborhood kids. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of playing with my neighborhood friends.  I only hope Tatum can have those kind of memories.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ice Cream in a Bag

I tricked my third graders Friday.  Thursday was our last day of ISTEP testing...for now, but I decided to trick them into thinking that we had forgotten a section and had to make it up.  So, when they arrived back to the classroom after lunch, I had ISTEP written on the board.  They dutifully sat in their seat ready for more testing.  Then I began writing:
Ice Cream
Everyone wants to

We made plastic bag ice cream.  If you have never done this with a class, it is a must.  We used it as an opportunity to brush up on following written directions, measuring, and science skills.  They loved it!  The first time I did this lesson was in college with a group of second grade students.  It didn't go so well.  As a matter of fact, my professor said something to the tune of, "Well, I bet you'll never do that again!"  But, you can't keep me down, I persevered and perfected this lesson.  Everyone had yummy ice cream to eat, and it was so relieving to see pure joy and fun in their eyes, after a week of hard work. 

Friday, March 9, 2012


Do you know your lineage?  Do you know where you come from?  I can honestly say that I don't know much about my family tree.  My maiden name is Kaffenberger, which I know is German, but that is as far as I can go with that.  There is a show on NBC called Who Do You Think You Are?  Every week a new celebrity goes on a trek to find out about their ancestry.  I think this show is fascinating, and every week it makes me want to learn more about who I am.  I think that knowing your history is important.

My mom is a history buff like me.  She really enjoys the show too.  Usually, we watch it, and then call each other to talk about it (She lives about 4 hours away from me.  I miss her!).  My mom is a retired teacher, with some free time on her hands, and I keep trying to talk her in to researching our family history.  Maybe for Mother's Day I will by her an Ancestry.com membership.  That's not obvious is it?  I keep telling her that currently, I am to busy creating and raising blood lines, to do any research about my blood lines. 

From talking with my maternal grandmother, who passed away 5 years ago, I know that somewhere in her lineage there is a relation to Rutherfor B. Hayes.  Her father was a newspaper man, and apparently a bookie too!  My maternal grandfather, who passed 7 years ago, was an extremely interesting man.  He was in Patton's army in WWII, as a radio man.  He was a fantastic story teller, and education and learning were important to him.  He wrote poetry and short stories.  He grew up on a small farm in Osgood, Indiana.  I remember visiting that farm once when I was a little girl.  Now when I remember back on it, the images I create are those of Dorothy's black and white farm in Kansas.  I wish I knew more about where these two amazing people came from.  Maybe I could find a little bit of myself in their histories. 

My husband's paternal family tree has been traced clear back to Ireland and Scotland.  With a name like McCauley, it wasn't hard to guess that that is where his roots would end up.  My husband's aunt did all of the research, and has created a DVD with history, documents, and pictures.  I think this is a great gift to the family.  My girls will some day be able to learn about their namesakes. 

Perhaps when I have more time this summer, I can get my mom to help me do some research.  I have this nagging voice inside my head that tells me I need to dig deep and find our family's secrets.  My gut says there is something out there to be found.  My past is calling.  It's time to answer!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Some Thoughts

I'm a single mom tonight.  My husband is off coaching a boys and girls club basketball team, so I'm just going to muse on some of today's events.

Sara Blakely, the maker of Spanx and my hero, has made the Forbes billionaires list.  Yes, that's billionaires with a "b".  She is the youngest woman to make the list without the help of a husband or an inheritance.  You go girl! 

My daughter, Tatum, has her first loose tooth. We were brushing her teeth this evening and low and behold the adult tooth is beginning to pop and both of her front bottom teeth are wiggly.  Is this normal?  I was not ready for this milestone.  Now all she can talk about is the Tooth Fairy.  I'm afraid she is going to yank her tooth out before it's time.  Talking with the kids at school, I know that the Tooth Fairy is paying a pretty hefty fee for teeth now a days.  Guess the economy is back on track?!

Finally, I have to say that I am relieved the applied skills portion of the ISTEP test wrapped up today.  By the end of the day the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers were looking like zombies.  My third grade students have a week off before we are yet again blasted with a standardized test.  This time it is the IREAD 3.  This test has pretty heavy consequences.  Those students who do not pass will be held back in third grade.  This is the dark cloud that has been casting shadows of doubt on some of my students this year.  I hope they can break through the cloud and see the light...I can.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Oceans, Werewolves, and Third Graders

What do the Earth's oceans, werewolves, and third graders have in common?  They are all influenced by the moon.  I don't know if you know this or not, but tomorrow is a full moon.  "Ahhh!" you are saying. "Well, that explains_________"(there are many options to fill in this blank).  Apparently, there is some crazy solar flare stuff happening with the sun too!  So what happens when the two most constant and predictable features of our lives suddenly become less predictable?  The kids go crazy.

You have heard people say, "It must be a full moon!"  Some say that a full moon affects births, deaths, seizures, emergency room visits, and admissions to psychiatric hospitals.  Some people believe that the extra light the full moon provides interrupts human sleep behavior and therefore causes us to go off our rockers.  Of course the human body is mostly water, so perhaps it is just that the moon is causing strange and intensely pulling tides inside of our bodies. 

This week my third grade students have been a little nutty.  They can't seem to be settled, be quiet, or be responsible for their words or actions.  This is not normally a problem for our class.  It could be the change in our routine because of the ISTEP tests (I would like to thank them for the timing of this test) or it could be the approaching full moon.  I'm going with the full moon.  So, as people have done for hundreds of years, I look to the night sky for answers.  Aaaawooooo!  Howl with me now!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

100 Greatest Books for Kids

In the March 2012 issues of Scholastic's Parent & Child magazine they have created a list of the 100 Greatest Books for Kids.  I enjoyed reading this article, as I have read many of the books. The list was created with input from educators (yea!), literacy experts, and mom bloggers (yea!).  They took into consideration popularity, longevity, and literacy and/or illustration excellence.  The list includes books for children, and adults, of all ages.  This is a great list to debate with colleagues, family, or friends.  I personally see this list as a reading challenge.  Here is a link to the full list:  http://www.scholastic.com/100books, and here are some of my personal favorites that made the cut:

#16 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. This is my favorite children's book of all time!  I was so pleased to see it on the list.  It is a book that is easily overlooked.  My mother, who taught for over 30 years, had never read this book until I recently suggested it.  This book is beautifully written, with a plot that evokes every emotion, and thoughts about life, death, and the possibility of eternal life. 

#19 Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems.  This story cracks me up.  Perhaps it is because I can relate to the book whole heartedly.  As a mother of a child who carried and sucked on a flannel blanket for years, this book brings back memories...good and bad!

#41 Matilda by Roald Dahl.  My favorite read aloud.   The main character has a love of knowledge and reading.  Your students will laugh and laugh and laugh.  My favorite scene is Bruce Bogtrotter and the cake.  I still laugh when I read it!

Check out this list.  It really will have you reminiscing about and discussing good children's literature. Enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rise and Shine

My mornings are hectic.  Any wife and mother would probably say the same thing.   Here is my timeline for an average morning.  My alarm goes off at 5:40 a.m., but I hit the snooze.  Nine minutes later the bells ring again.  At this point I am considering getting up, but I weigh my options. More sleep versus getting up in time to do my hair and not look like an old hag.  Sleep wins again!  One more hit of the snooze.  As I lay there unable to catch a few more winks, guilt begins to set in...I really need to get up.  So, I roll out of bed, where I am suddenly reminded that I'm not twenty-something anymore.  I work out the creaks and cracks as I make my way to the bathroom.  Is that my ankle popping or did someone pad my carpet with bubble wrap?  A quick shower, blow dry and makeup routine finish my look.  Dressed and ready to face down the dragon. 

Who or what is the dragon you ask?  This would be my beautiful, angel faced, five year old daughter.  Although she gets her wit, humor, and big brown eyes from me, I have to say that her morning demeanor (and breath) was genetically given to her by her father.  Waking Tatum up in the morning is a 20 minute ordeal.  You must approach the sleeping dragon cautiously and wake her in gentle steps.  Step one, I start with a gentle shake and I turn up her light dimmer.  Step two, get her clothes and throw them on the bed, preferable on her head, so that she is forced to turn her head or move in order to continue breathing.  Step three, lights on, mommy's getting impatient.  Step four, I literally begin to take her p.j.'s off.  This usually makes her mad enough to get up and dresses herself, but not mad enough to hate me forever.  When you see Tatum sulk off to the living room with her socks in her hands, you know that your wake up routine was a success.  Warning!  Do not deviate from the morning routine.  The results could be disastrous. 

Next, I go in to wake up Tess Anne who is much more amiable in the morning.  She gets up and instantly wants to snuggle and giggle.  Which I know there isn't time for, but I do it anyway.  Tess Anne immediately needs a fresh diaper.  After a quick change, she is off and running chasing down Rocky and Bogey for their morning snuggles.  I pick out two outfits to put in the diaper bag, because as any mother knows, one outfit is never enough.  A wrestling match usually ensues soon after this.  It is hard to get those little piggies into socks in the morning.  Round two comes later, when I have to wrestle Tatum into her socks.  My children and socks are like oil and water, they don't mix.

When I finally make it to the living room and kitchen I am sweating and wondering why I bothered to shower that morning.  My husband makes his way to the kitchen now.  He has helped in some of the morning details, but his main job is to remove the children from the house and deposit them at our babysitter's house.  That is when I can finally brew my coffee!  Ahhhhh! Time to start the day. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Do you ever get that feeling of joy that is so strong it actually makes you feel warm inside?  It happens to me often, and sometimes for no apparent reason.  After a long day, when my little baby, Tess, crawls into my lap and I rock her to sleep, I am joyful.  When my little girl, Tatum, says something out of the blue that is so sensitive, profound and smart, I am joyful.  When I catch my husband snuggled on the princess couch, covered in a pink blanket, with a daughter in each arm, reading a LaLaLoopsy book, I am joyful. 

Today I had an overwhelming moment of joy on our way home from an uneventful trip to Lowe's.  Tess is in the monkey see, monkey do stage of life.  She tries to copy her big sister constantly.  So, my two girls were in the back seat playing a very loud game of "Who Can Make the Most Annoying Sound Ever".  I look over at my husband, who is driving, expecting to see him gritting his teeth with steam coming out of his ears, but no, he is calmly driving us all home.  Acting as if he doesn't even notice the two monkeys who have replaced his beautiful children in the back.  I suddenly got this intense need to scoop them all up and hug and kiss them, and thank them for bringing me so much joy. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Doggone it!

I have two Boston Terriers named Rocky and Bogart.  They are my furry little men.  We love them and treat them like they are members of our family, but they are notorious for destroying things when we are not home. 

It all started when Rocky was a puppy.  My husband (then boyfriend) and I bought Rocky my junior year of college.  Rocky was my buddy and I was thankful to have him around.  He was cute and innocent until he destroyed nearly a hundred dollars in college library books.  This descended into a downward spiral of shoes, rugs, and furniture.

 Being a glutton for punishment, a year later we purchased a female Boston Terrier name Scout.  This gave Rocky a partner in crime.  She was Bonnie to his Clyde.  Together they managed to destroy our apartment kitchen linoleum and our kitchen chairs.  They chewed the chairs so bad, I thought perhaps I was sold beavers instead of dogs.  Sadly, we had to put Scout down about 6 years ago.  We had her cremated.  She sits in a little urn on our mantel.  We still miss her. 

About a year after we bought Scout we again added to our pack of dogs with a floppy eared, droopy eyed Boston name Bogart.  We called him Bogey because in golf, a bogey is one too many, which is what he was...one dog too many.  Rocky, Scout, and Bogey were the three amigos.  They ran the show in our house.  My favorite destructive memory of this trio was an eventful trip to the grocery and video store.  Of course we took the dogs with us because if we left them at home something would get destroyed.  We ran into the grocery and bought some fresh items from the deli.  Sandwiches, beans, potato salad, chips, etc. Then we decided to run quickly into the video store.  We were gone 15 minutes, but the dogs managed to devour our groceries.  Wrappers, cartons, and food were tossed about the car and the dogs.  It looked as though a tornado had ripped through our car.  The fearsome threesome strikes again!  Over the years there have been more incidents than I can count.  Pizzas on the counter, a pound of fudge (that lead to a late night call to the vet), multiple magazines, and of course the red marker that met it's demise on my living room carpet.  Bogey was caught red pawed on that one. 

We have learned how to avoid these "messy" situations by shutting our dogs in our laundry room.  This leaves them nothing to chew up, and they can be messy with little damage done.  Tonight I broke the lock down rule, and forgot to shut the door from the laundry room to our kitchen. When walking into the house my husband's reaction was a shocked and angry, "You left the door open!" Upon our initial inspection everything seemed OK.  Then we notice there was a plate on the floor that used to hold a few leftover donuts from breakfast.  Doggone it!  Now, in Rocky's prime he could jump over a 4-5 foot gate without a running start, so jumping on our kitchen table or counter is child's play for him, even in his old age.  My daughter was the first to notice the chocolate cream filled donut smeared all over the hallway carpet.  My husband just handed me the carpet cleaner and scrub brush.  This was my punishment for foolishly leaving the door open.  I love my dogs.  This is part of being a dog owner.  What I'm most surprised about is that they left the 3 dozen freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on the counter alone.  Either they were already full from the donuts, or they are not quite as adept as they used to be!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Piece of Cake

Hello Kitty cake for my daughter's 4th birthday. 
 What is my passion?  I was asked this question recently, and I knew my answer right away.  I love baking cakes.  I find the process of sifting, mixing, and measuring to be relaxing.  The science behind baking fascinates me.  Cake design is my creative outlet.  It is my form of meditation.  My greatest joy is baking cakes for others to share.  It still amazes me how a little butter, flower, and sugar can mean so much and make someone so happy. 

Owl baby shower cake for my best friend Casey.
  I always dreamed of being a pastry chef.  My senior year of high school, I was accepted to a culinary school in New York City, but it seemed so far away from home.  I got spooked and applied to a state college in Indiana to major in elementary education.   I love teaching and I truly believe that it was the right professional choice for me.  Do I still dream of owning my own bakery...absolutely. 

Princess cake for my daughter's friend Bella
 I am an uneducated baker.  I have learned through trial and error, and from what I have seen on the Food Network.  I would love to dive further into my passion by taking a course or two, but have yet to carve out the "me" time needed to do it.

Belly baby shower cake for my sister-in-law Katie.
I bring up this topic today because my daughter's 5th birthday is fast approaching.  I make an extravagant, over the top birthday cake every year.  This year's party theme is a very mature...Barbie.  I have a multitude of pink, white, and black designs swirling in my mind.  I hate the fact that my two girls are growing up so fast.  Every day they get a little bit older, and I get another wrinkle.  But with every passing day we get closer to birthday cake time!  Even with all of this confessed cake love, I have a dirty little secret.  I don't really like to eat cake...I prefer pie.

Dino cake for my little buddy Max.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What...me, blog?

This is my first blogging experience and I am actually pretty excited.  I am a faithful reader of a few blogs, but never considered writing my own.  I mean, what would I write?  Then I was approached by Ruth Ayres to try the Slice of Life challenge, and before I knew it my fingers were finding their way to my computer.  Before I began this journey into the realm of an online wordsmith, Ruth had warned me that choosing a blog name is the hardest part.  As I stared blankly at the empty box where I was to produce a blog name, I began to understand the pressure of finding a blog name with "meaning".  Finally, after tossing some blog names at my husband, to see if any would stick, I settled on TheMOTHERship.  The fist thing I think of when I hear or see the words mother ship, is that large alien vessel that Will Smith blows up in the movie Independence Day.  Not exactly the image I wanted for my blog, but upon further review, I found that a mother ship is really a larger ship that provides safety and supplies for many smaller ships.  This idea totally relates to my life as a mother and teacher!  I spend most of my life providing for my smaller ships.  Whether it is love, guidance, knowledge, discipline, clothes, or food, my job is to provide for and protect my smaller ships.  So, TheMOTHERship was born.  I hope it becomes an outlet for my thoughts and experiences in motherhood, teaching, and life.