Monthly Archives: January 2015

One Done

This year, when I decided to continue writing my blog, I chose to approach it a little differently.  I had found a Photo Challenge and since I had just gotten my new camera, I thought it would be a great way to incorporate the photography and blog into one.  I wasn’t sure if I liked it…and to be honest, some of the prompts were tough!  It has definitely forced me to take at least one photo a day though!

On January 1st I said I would stick it out for the month and make a decision on the 31st whether or not I’d stick to the photo part of the blog.  I realized, that it was very easy to keep writing because the prompts are really open ended.  I got “stuck” way less often when unsure about to write about.  Even Drew and Dave got curious about the prompt for the day.

February’s list is up.  I am up for another month of the photo challenge.  As long as I can keep thinking of things to relate the prompts to, I will keep on doing it!!

The idea behind the photos, for “real photographers” is to learn more and become more creative.  For me, I am taking it a bit differently.  For example, #22 last month was Color Blocking which I learned was a type of creative way of shooting photos.  I used it differently and wrote about Martin Luther King and Kindergarten.

I have already looked ahead and seen some of February’s prompts and some of them look tough.  We will see how it goes.  Today’s prompt was One Done.  One month down.  It was fun.



Today’s photo prompt Commitment is an easy one for me to write today. Commitment can be looked at so many different ways. For Dave and me, today commitment means giving up the afternoon and evening to sit by my dad’s side as we wait in the hospital to find out what is wrong this time 😳

He hasn’t been feeling well and even with our pleading to get himself checked, he refused and attempted to get better on his own leaving us right back where we were several times last year- in the emergency room – just waiting.

His spirits are good, but he’s frustrated. So are we. Not with the hospital. They’re wonderful. It is hard to say I told you so to your father but…

Always looking for “signs” I noticed his room number. A mix of two of my lucky numbers. Maybe it will bring us some karma. For now we will wait and see….




This afternoon, our school had a “Code Red Drill.’  A complete lock-down of the school where everyone goes into hiding and waits until the police have deemed the building safe.  It was only a drill.  Everyone in the school has been taught where we are to hide and be out of site and the drill went smoothly.  22 children, our full time classroom nurse, a parent volunteer and I all sat silently in our hiding space and waited….for over thirty minutes.

Imagine keeping 22 five and six year olds quiet for over thirty minutes! Not an easy task, yet they did it.  I kept reassuring them that it was a drill and only one was very scared.  She held my hand the entire time and we just waited.  These drills are unnerving but so important.  It makes me sad to know that children need to grow up in a world where these practices will be the norm.  After the experience DJ went through in November with a suspected active shooter in his building, I realized even more how important it is to know how to react.

As we were sitting, all crushed together in our hiding spot, I noticed a group of our feet all jumbled together.  The photographer in me wanted to take a photo of it so badly, but knew that I couldn’t do it during the drill.  Right then, I knew it would be my blog though.  Tethered, is today’s photo prompt and although we weren’t tethered by string or rope, we were tethered together body to body, side by side. After school, I took three photos of the place where we were all cramped together and then realized there was no way I could post that either…without giving away our hiding spot!  So, instead, here is a picture of my boot.  The one I was wearing during the drill.  The one that was intermingled with six or seven little feet surrounding it.

I will always be tethered to my students it is my job and I wouldn’t change it for the world.



Playtime. There is nothing like it.  It is my students’ favorite part of the day.  As we go around the circle each day as we end our class, I make every child tell each other what their favorite part of the day was.  “Playtime” is the answer that comes up most often.  At first, I tried to discourage that from being the answer, hoping that they would think about more academic things that happened each day. The whole idea behind, “Favorite Part of the Day,” when I started it, was so that when they went home after school and their parents asked, “What did you do in school today,” everything is still fresh in their mind and they didn’t answer, “I can’t remember.” I have quickly realized that there is nothing wrong with choosing playtime as their favorite part.  I sometimes have to remind myself that they are only five. They SHOULD like playtime the best.

Playtime is still one of my favorite things.  When my boys decide that they want to have a game night, I jump at the opportunity!

Today’s photo prompt is Play and I knew I would have no problem with a picture for it and I didn’t.  I took several but decided that I was going to share one from yesterday.  Playing out in the snow, on the big hill in town.  Drew, even at 13 years old was out there with his friends – playing.  Having the best time I have seen him have in awhile.  Drew is a kid who still plays, and while he likes video games, it makes me so happy that the games he likes to play most are outside.  Backyard hockey, baseball, football….he loves it all and even at 13 years old, he needs that release at the end of each day.

Kids need the time to just be that.  Kids.  They will be working for the rest of their lives and although he has to have homework done first, I encourage him to go outside and play. I am looking forward to the longer days when the sun is up late and he is outside playing until we need to nearly drag him back into the house.

Maybe everyone should build a little bit of playtime into each day.

The Snow Day

The blizzard that wasn’t.  The weather forecasters predicted close to 3 FEET of snow for today.  School let out early yesterday, was canceled for today and there was a state of emergency so everyone was ordered off the roads.  Even New Jersey Transit shut down!

We went to bed with batteries and flashlights nearby expecting power outages with winds expected at over 50 mph! We woke to about 6 inches of snow.  Powdery, soft, easy to shovel snow.  That’s it. I must say, I was actually slightly disappointed, although it did allow for easy removal and we weren’t snowed in for several days as was predicted.  I worked on report cards, made a big pot of potato leek soup and biscuits are going into the oven soon.  The plan was to stay in my pajamas all day long!

But…early in the afternoon, I got an email asking if I’d be able to take some sledding photos for our local website. Drew and his friends were already out sledding so I decided to venture out – I think EVERYONE in town thought the same thing.  Memorial Hill was packed with people, sleds, snowboards and innertubes.  The cold didn’t keep anyone inside!  I thought for sure that the photo prompt, Nourishment would be simple. I would just use one of the hundreds that I took on the hill.  The joy of those children nourished my soul.

As I was driving home from the park, I decided to pick up a special treat for Ruby, a little girl in my class who broke her leg on Sunday.  She was skiing with her family and has a terrible break.  She will be out of school for awhile and from what her mom told me, had been in a lot of pain. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Ruby but even more, about her mom who had to see her little girl in such pain!  Yesterday, our class made her cards and had them delivered to her by her sister and her mom told me how happy it made her.  I figured, even if I couldn’t see Ruby today, I could hope that this giant smiley face cookie might make her smile.

When I got to her house, I was so happy to see her. There she was, all bundled up, sitting in her wheelchair on her porch.  Her sisters had given her a big tray and filled it with snow, making her a tiny snowman to play with.  Since she couldn’t be out in the snow playing, they brought the snow to her.

That right there was my nourishment.  My heart was filled seeing that enormous smile on her face.  It made this day even more perfect.


Small Comforts

Outside, the wind is blowing, the snow is swirling and the temperatures are dropping quickly but inside my house it is warm and it smells amazing thanks to an “appley” delicious dessert I saw posted on Facebook by my friend Lindsay.  I had all the ingredients in the house so I decided to have Drew help me whip it together.


Teamwork.  I peeled the apples, he chopped them and whisked the ingredients together.  The photo prompt for today is Move and since we are stuck inside until this “epic blizzard” is over, the whisking is the most movement I will see for awhile.  School has been canceled already.  Today was an early dismissal.  A state of emergency had been issued.

I am not worried about being snowed in for a day or so.  Lots to eat, games to play, movies to catch up on. Clean up will be tough, but as long as we don’t lose power….all will be okay.  Stay safe out there!

(The finished product)



“Resolve” today’s photo prompt, made me think of my many commitments/projects that I take on.  This year, I resolve to make them all work.  To make sure that my life, while always busy, is balanced.  My family, teaching, photography, blogging, my chloe + isabel jewelry plus all of the charitable work I enjoy doing.  I will find a way to make it fit.


If I am not busy doing something, I am not complete. I don’t sit still.  I can’t sit still.  It is who I am and I like it that way 🙂

It Didn’t Stay Away


I guess it was bound to happen. Snow.  About 6 inches of it.  Enough to need to be shoveled, but not enough to keep us home bound. Despite how much I complain about it, it is beautiful.  Today is the wet, heavy, snowball making kind of snow.  Fun snow.  Plus, it is not too cold out there so it wasn’t miserable to be out shoveling. With all four of us and our neighbor working together we got our enormous driveway completely done within an hour.  That driveway – no exaggeration, can fit about 16 cars parked side by side in it! We share it with the neighbor so there are six cars parked on it daily and still plenty of room for more.  A great driveway for the kids playing sports out there, but not so great when it comes to shoveling.

One storm down.  One due overnight on Sunday.  Hoping that’s the worst of it this winter….but there are still two months to go.

Photo prompt today, “Who and What” so the “who” in this photo are the four of us working together to get the job done.  The “what” the kids basketball net filled with snow which made for a great shot even on this gray day.

Light Overpowers Darkness

Following along with yesterday’s blog about MLK and our white egg/brown egg experiment, today, my class met with their 4th grade reading buddies.  Once a week we meet and the children read to each other.  This week we changed things up a bit and I read a book to the two classes about Martin Luther King and then they worked with their buddies to come up with a way that they could create something great in our world.  Every pair of buddies came up with wonderful answers, but this one made my heart melt.


“Even though there’s darkness in the world, light can overcome it.”

It really could not be more clear.  If only everyone could think the way children do.  The world could be a pretty amazing place.

As soon as I read this, I knew it would be my blog for today.  The photo prompt was “On the Third.”  The only way I can relate the topic to my blog is this…today is the 3rd Friday of January.  There was no way I was skipping this beautiful message so it will have to do 🙂


I didn’t follow the photo prompt exactly today. It was Color Blocking but I thought that since “color” was the idea behind the lesson, I would make it work this way instead.

I write about this every year this week.  My favorite lesson to teach.  “The White Egg Brown Egg Experiment.”  I have been teaching this for years and it never gets old.

  color block

One of the greatest lessons to teach diversity to young children.  After talking all week long about Dr. Martin Luther King and how he changed our world, is it a great way to tie it all together.

I show the students one white egg and one brown egg and we talk about how different they look on the outside.  For the most part, it is just the color that they notice but we also talk about how they are the same.  They are both oval shaped, they roll, they are fragile.  Then they relate it to themselves.  They are all Kindergarteners.  They are all children.  The answers go on and on.

I crack the eggs into a clear bowl and we look at the insides – which of course are exactly the same.  Just like us.  Even the children realize this.  Inside, there is no difference.  One child even said that if we held up an x-ray, we wouldn’t be able to tell if it was from a child with brown skin or a child with peach skin.

Exactly.  Lesson learned. 🙂