Friday, September 13, 2013

Hi, My Name is Scarlett, and I Am Addicted to Fabric

Maureen at Maureen Cracknell Homemade is having another fabric give-away.

First, I think she should change the name of her post today to Friday Fabric Give-Away. I think it sounds/ better than Fabric Giveaway Friday. Alliteration is pleasing!

Second, Blogger is being a butthead again. I can't click into the 'compose' box to type, which means the only way to start a new post is to enter a link or a insert a picture. And once I'm in the compose box, I can only maneuver using the arrow keys; my mouse won't work. Pain in the patootie! Hence, the only time lately I am motivated enough to post something when there's a fabric give-away involved because...fabric!

I am loving me some fabric.

I am making a summery-beachy white quilt with blue-ish, aqua-ish, teal-ish, and light green-ish colors and have been having so much fun buying fabric from The Intrepid Thread. Not only is it my favorite online fabric store, it is my only online fabric store. Such a wonderful selection, and until she opened a brick-and-mortar, SUPERB personalized customer service. Now it is only great customer service. But that's about 10 times better customer service than I get from any other store (online or brick-and-mortar), so I am NOT complaining.

Anyway, Maureen's give-away is sponsored by the Thread, hence this blog post. It gets me another entry. And I'm an addict, so I do what I gotta' do for my fix.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fabric Give Away

Maureen over at Handmade
is having a fabric give-away.

Often, these bloggers will allow an extra entry if you blog about their give-away as this will increase their traffic.

Unfortunately, I have all of 3 followers so it doesn't do Maureen any good for me to blog about it, but I still am.

The fabrics are from Julie at The Intrepid Thread and I don't normally enter these give aways from blogs I don't already follow but I fell in love with this fabric colorway:

I love it because my niece, Rita, who just started quilting about a year or so, just finished this quilt:

I really want to make one like this. I just love the colors and the Simply Style aqua and lime colorway would be perfect for it!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Aghast, I Say!

Last week during the last day of summer term, I was giving a lecture on Performance Feedback Systems (also known as Public Posting). 

I gave a few examples about how public posting is used in society, such as when workplaces post those "44 Days Without An Accident" signs;

organizations use huge, fake, wooden thermometers to track and display funds raised for something; and police departments place electronic speed monitoring and display devices in target enforcement zones to slow down drivers.

As a fun segue to how public posting should be used in the classroom, I was going to point out that Hogwarts had a public posting system. Whenever a Hogwarts teacher gave or took points from a House based on the appropriate or inappropriate behavior of a student in that house, that same number of marbles appeared in or disappeared from large jars in a common space in the school.

I cannot for the life of me recall if this was in just the books, just the movies, or both. So, before I began using this fabulous example, I asked who in the class had read the Harry Potter books.

Only one student raised her hand.

I'm still aghast. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Careful What You Wish For!

Way past time for a new post!

I think blogging has lost its allure for me. Maybe. Or maybe it's just a lack of topics. My life is boring.

Last week had an interesting occurrence, though.

I picked BB up from half-day summer camp to take her to her reading tutoring session, and when she got in the car, she looked at me all sad-and-puppy-dog-eyed and told me she didn't want to go to tutoring. Usually she likes it, so I was surprised to hear that. I acknowledged her comment, but I think she wanted to push the point and said something to effect of "I wish I didn't have to go to tutoring."

But on we went. Got on the expressway to travel across town, and took a (long curving mile-long) ramp to exit one freeway to get on another.

Just ahead I saw billowing smoke. A semi-truck was on fire, and traffic had slowed to a crawl to get around him. We were just 8 cars away when a squad car pull in front of traffic to halt the attempt of cars to pull around the truck. All in all, a smart move. One should not try to pass a semi-truck on fire. But the downside? We were stuck.

And it looked like this.

And then it looked like this:

And then the smoke got thicker:

At this point I began to worry that the truck might explode. I had no idea what was burning, and I began to worry if we were breathing toxic fumes.

Seven years ago it would have been an annoying adventure. With a 6.5YO in the car, it was more like a "should-I-abandon-my-car-on-the-freeway-ramp-to-get-as-far-away-as-possible-in-order-to-protect-my child?" adventure.

We were stuck there on the ramp for about 30 minutes when it became apparent that the police had also been thinking along the lines of "get as far away as possible" because they did something I had never seen before on a highway: They had closed off the ramp at the entrance point and began turning us all around to go the wrong way back to the entrance to get on the other freeway.

At some point during our "adventure," I turned to BB and told her it looked like were weren't going to make it to tutoring. I asked her if she knew why. Of course, she knew it was the burning truck, but I reminded her that she had wished not to go to tutoring. Her eyes got big as she realized what I was saying.

I (mockingly) sternly told her that she had to be careful what she wished for. And then I smiled at her. She thought a minute and smiled back.

Yesterday, when I picked her up from her half-day summer camp to go to tutoring, she got into the car, looked at me, and said, "I wish I didn't have to tutoring" and giggled.

It's moments like these that I love being a mom.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

BEST Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. Ever.

Occasionally, I peruse the pantry for open items that will deteriorate if not used used up. Those items may determine what I will make for dinner or what treats I will make and take to an upcoming event.

This week, I noticed an open bag of raisins that would certainly go to waste because no one in this house eats raisins much. I can't even remember why I bought them. But there were a lot of them because I bought them at Costco.

And then there is this:

That's 20 lbs. of quick oats my friend. Twenty pounds.

Though the shelf life of this (and most unopened Thrive products) is 25 years, the shelf life after opening it is 1 year. I can't remember when I opened it, but I'm guessing it's been about 6-9 months. And I'm pretty sure I only used a cup or two.

Time to make something with oatmeal.

I wanted to make a treat for a baptism on Saturday. No brainer. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

I went to my trusty, tried, and true resource, the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. I don't know why, because for the past 3-4 years, I pretty much use the Internet for any recipe. Except chocolate chip cookies (saving that for another post).

What resulted was a batch of the worst tasting, worst looking, nastiest bleh cookies I have ever had the misfortune of passing down my gullet.

Okay, I guess they don't look that bad, but they taste, well, not nasty but definitely bleh.

Made the whole darn batch even though I could tell right off they weren't right. I should have known from the recipe. It called for baking powder. The ratio of butter to flour was way off. And no salt. No salt! The horror.

I wanted to try again because now I had a hankering for oatmeal raisin cookies. Yesterday, on my daily visit to Pinterest, I found what looked to be a great recipe. I went to the site of smitten kitten.

Her take on oatmeal raisin cookies is right. on. the. mark. Bullseye. Go there. Out of respect, I'm not even going to print the recipe here or use her pictures. GO THERE!

She is a cookie goddess.

She started with the Quaker Oats box recipe and made it better.

But what is absolutely amazing is I made it EVEN BETTER. Me!
How? I added coconut. Also, I used butter flavor Crisco. And pecans instead of walnuts, though I only used half of what the recipe called for.

I'm telling you, these cookies are TO. DIE. FOR. Exclamation point.

As promised by smitten kitten, they are crispy on the outside, chewy-gooey on the inside.

They are so good, I ate a half dozen. That's so bad because I started Weight Watchers 2 weeks ago and have lost 4.4 pounds and was doing great this week until tonight.

6 cookies was too many.

4 would have satisfied just fine.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

In Plain Sight

I love almost everything about my husband. Even those pesky quirks.

Like this one: I don't know how many times a week I hear, "Honey, do you know where the ____ is?!" I'm pretty sure that's a married guy thing. I certainly remember my father hollering this out to my mother regularly. And I've heard friends' husbands say it.

In my husband's case, the most frequent scenario in which I hear the aforementioned phrase is when the 'fridge is open. And usually, all it would take for him to find the desired item is to move something out of the way. Or look on the lower shelf. Can I hear an "amen," sisters?

Also (and somewhat related), is the fact that he will rarely eat fruits and vegetables unless reminded to and when placed in close proximity to his mouth, but other than a regular banana at breakfast time, he is not much known for exerting any kind of energy to ingest them.

Took me awhile, but I now use these "quirks" to my advantage.

I've shared in earlier posts my addiction to Diet Coke. Though I don't believe my husband shares this addiction, he does have an addictive personality, which manifests in, well, let's say a "more is more" (as opposed to "less is more") attitude. In short, my husband has no concept of portion control. A few cookies? No, the entire box. A couple of slices of pizza? No, the entire pizza. One glass of the diet coke from the 2 liter bottle? No, the entire 2 liters.

The result is that I must hide the diet coke. I like to think I hide it to protect him from himself. But really, it annoys the bejeebers out of me to reach for my mood-enhancing d.c. at about 10:45 a.m. to find none! Talk about mood-enhancing. Grrrr.

I used to hide it in my hobby room, but he has discovered it, and I had to find a new hiding place.

I found one!

In plain sight.

Does this make me sneaky?

In a bad way?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More Birthdays!

I met my friend, Lynn, about 10 years ago. We were in the same church congregation. She and I share a birthday, and I think that was actually the reason we first talked to each other. I immediately liked her, and we discovered we shared other things in common, like our hometowns were about 20 miles apart. Even though she was about 16 years younger, we became fast friends.

She was diagnosed about 14 months ago with the exact same kind of breast cancer I had, yet hers metasticized to her brain and spine. She was only 32 when diagnosed.

I thought I was young when diagnosed; my first diagnosis was when I was 37. I lived to celebrate birthdays 38, 39, 40, etc., until 47, when I was diagnosed with my second "onset." Still, I lived to see my 48th birthday, and I will likely see 49 and many more. *fingers crossed*  *knock on wood* etc. etc.

Lynn won't get to celebrate her 33rd birthday (at least not on earth). She died this past Sunday. Easter Sunday. The irony.

I've heard people describe a deceased person as having been "full of life" and "vivacious." Man oh man, that was definitely Lynn. I always thought of her as a rebel, but not in a bad way (generally and religiously speaking, rebellion is bad). In my mind, I called her the Reverent Rebel. I may have told her that at some point this past year. I hope so.

I've been feeling survivor's guilt all week.

I once heard a speaker at church say that guilt is useless unless it gets us to act. So as I try to figure out what I can/should do, I've found something you can do. 'Cause that's how I roll.

Even though you probably do not know her (I'm having a hard time thinking of her in the past tense), you likely know someone who has, had, or will have cancer. Here's something that you can do that may improve their chances of celebrating more birthdays.

Consider enrolling in the American Cancer Society's research study about cancer prevention. Just consider it.

If you've never been diagnosed with cancer (except skin), you are eligible. They are trying to enroll 300,000 subjects but are about 120,000 short. It is a nationwide study, so it doesn't matter where you are.

If you are in Columbus OH, here is the link:

If you are anywhere else, here is the link for more information:

Please just think about doing it.

But not for me.

Think about the one person you love most in this world and consider doing it for that person.

Just in case.

For more birthdays.

Birthdays come with cake. Win win!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Denial and Dyslexia

I've noticed that it's been well over two months since I posted. Not a good track record and not good for people who tune in to see what's up in my life.

Here's an update:

I've been in denial about my child's lack of progress/success in kindergarten. Please don't jump down my throat about development and "every kid is different." I know that. But I also know that Heavenly Father blesses mothers with special "power" regarding their own children. And I've been ignoring what that power has been telling me.

BB's teachers tried to tell me in our first P-T conference in November. I showed a common sign: denial. And kept that denial up until mid-January, our second P-T conference. When her teachers told me that they wanted BB to have a "growth year" (read: hold her back for another year in Kindergarten).

Wake up call!

I've been trying to teach BB her letters and letter sounds since she was three. Yes, we read to her almost every day. We sing. We rhyme. We play word games, matching, I spy, etc. Everything you are supposed to do to build up phonemic awarenss. My child knows 4-6 letters and 3-4 letter sounds depending on the day. She knows some one day, can't remember those same ones the next day. Class signs of dyslexia.

I had her informally tested by a friend who runs the reading clinic at my university employer's main. The CTOPP (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing) is one of the many tests used in combination to diagnose dyslexia. BB scored really, really low. The result of this one test is far from a definite diagnosis, but it's another sign, that when put together, points in the direction of dyslexia.

At about this time (January 1), I (and all my higher ed colleagues) found about about a law that the State of Ohio just passed that mandates that beginning in 2014, every teacher who earns a teaching license in the state of Ohio must have a reading class about teaching students with dyslexia. I immediately let my coordinator know I want to teach that class. And then I immediately began taking the training required to teach kids with dyslexia to read.

Dual purpose fueled by the power that makes mama bears tear apart any one who gets in between her and her cubs. This might be a good time to indicate that reading instruction is not my area of specialty.

The hallmark of effectively teaching children with dyslexia to read involves systematic, explicitic instruction in combination with a multisensory structural language instruction approach. I've got the first half of that and am learning the other half.

So, things got interesting when, two weeks ago, my coordinator called a meeting with me and the reading instructor for our regional campus and told us that she wanted to start a reading clinic at our campus in order to address the need that the 3rd grade reading guarantee has produced. She wants us to offer a reading endorsement because our campus doesn't offer one and if teachers in our area want one, they have to go to a "competitor" or main campus. Generally, teachers in our area won't drive as far as main campus, so our competitors are getting the business.

I understood that I was in that meeting because I want to teach the aforementioned dyslexia class, which is a part of the reading endorsement.

And then she dropped the bombshell. She wants me to run the clinic and teach the clinic class. (Oh, I should probably mention that the reading guy isn't tenure track, so technically, I outrank him even though he has about 100 more years of experience).

Um. Excuse me?

Yes, I want to teach this class and run this clinic. But it's a lot of work, and much of it will be uncompensated. And I have a child that needs to be taught how to read, requiring lots of tutoring from a trained tutor (no, not the ones that will be tutoring in the clinic...they won't have the skills yet).

I am remind of a quotation from a leader in our church. I'm paraphrasing here, but it's something like, "No amount of success outside of the home can compensate for failure inside the home." So, yes, I want to save the world (our country?) by getting teachers trained to teach children with dyslexia how to read.

But I need to take care of my child first.

The hard decisions in life are never about a choice between a good option and a bad one. They seem to always be about a choice between a good choice and a better one.

Ugh. Being grown up is hard.

So, that's what I've been up to.