Cousins and Friends

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I am lucky to have been blessed with lots of cousins. With ten of us just on my dad’s side, most of us married with our own kids, we have created us a pretty big crowd! They don’t all live nearby but we are still close with them and with the internet and texting, we have been able to stay in touch with them much more than ever.

Lisa is the cousin I am the closest with. She lives only a few minutes away and is one of my favorite people in the world. Since we grew up living so close to each other, we got to spend lots of time together growing up. Family dinners, holidays, playdates…we saw each other all of the time. She is seven years younger than me but since the six New Jersey cousins were spread out over a ten year span, we were always able to find things to do together and spent most of our time laughing!

When I got married, she was 16. She was the youngest bridesmaid in my wedding. When I had my first son, she was just 20 years old and still in college. I always though of her as my little cousin but now, as adults we have become closer than ever. We don’t notice the age difference anymore….well maybe through my wrinkles but that’s all….

Today is her birthday! She is 40~

Now, as I sit here, I am trying to figure out how in the world she could be FORTY,  because, if she is forty that could only mean one thing – since I am still seven years older, I am that much closer to…..FIFTY! (Yikes even that number was tough to write!)

Now, Lisa is a wife – I was her OLDEST bridesmaid.  She is an amazing mom. She is smart and successful, working in New York City and is still one of the sweetest people I know. We have so many things in common and every time we are together is guaranteed to be a good time. There is a special bond cousins have – no friendship can match it because there is no one that understands the craziness of your family like a cousin! Cousins know us better than anyone else and help us keep a little bit of childhood forever in our hearts!

Happy Birthday Lisa! I love you!

Bridging the Generations

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This school year, I wrote and received a grant to “Bridge Generations.” The idea was to bring my kindergarten class to a nearby senior citizen center a few times during the school year to “bridge the generational gap.” I have often read about the benefits of mingling the young and old and decided to see for myself.

Today was our second visit. In December, we went with our music teacher and sang with them and shared a snack. Today, our art teacher joined us and we created mini-masterpieces with them.

Most of my students have been looking forward to this for weeks. We counted down the days  until today arrived! A few of the kids were nervous but their fears were diminished as soon as we got there and they saw that the seniors were just as excited to see us as we were to see them!

My favorite part about the experience was listening to them chat with one another as they colored and shared snickerdoodles. The innocence of these children as they conversed with these these wise souls brought out such sweet conversation. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the kids help the seniors open their Capri Sun juice pouches. Some of them had never seen one before! We will try to visit one more time before the end of the school year but if we can keep this program going, I hope to make it something we can do every year.

Dreary

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Rain, rain go away….

It feels as if it has been raining for days. It is so dreary and unpleasant outside. The kind of raw dampness that chills you all the way to your bones! Spring is here but it surely doesn’t feel like it. I guess we are making up for all of those sixty degree February days we were blessed with earlier this year.

This is Hunger

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This evening I had the opportunity to see, “This is Hunger” an interactive experience on wheels that sheds light on the profound prevalence of hunger in America. Over 42 million Americans struggle with hunger everyday. This is 1 in every 8 people. 13 million of them are children.

Mazon, is a national non-profit working to end hunger. They are traveling across America in an 18 wheeler to spread the word and engage communities in conversation. One of their goals is to protect SNAP, (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.)

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“President Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress have already indicated they plan to make drastic changes that will gut long-standing and vital programs for the most vulnerable Americans, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has previously introduced dangerous proposals to change the structure of SNAP that will eviscerate the program and its funding. Now there is a real threat that his plan could advance, causing millions to suffer.”

Join me in signing the petition, urging Speaker Ryan to not impose structural changes to SNAP.

Here is one of the activities I tried tonight. Using this placemat, try to create a meal for Julie and her family. Choose one item from each category. Add it up and multiply it by 4.IMG_3187Do it….before reading any further

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Did your total for the family meal exceed more than $5.60? If so, try again and make a meal that will fit that budget. It is not easy.

Visit their website. Find them in your area and try to go and see this powerful presentation. Get involved, sign the petition and do what you can to help.

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Tuscan Show

How perfect was it that in my Facebook memories today, this photo popped up!

Drew Surfing USA 2011This is from 2011, when Drew was in fourth grade performing in the Tuscan School Show. This same weekend, six years later, the Tuscan Show is still going strong.

Today, the students of Tuscan School, directed by many of their very talented parents, performed in their third show of the weekend. They put a lot of time and effort into these shows and as always, they put on a great performance. Way to go Tuscan School – once again, you were amazing!

Follow Through

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I saw this sign this afternoon. It is posted at one of our local middle schools. I love seeing them around the town and in the schools. There has been a lot of negativity portrayed in our community over the last few weeks.  Our usually open, diverse and welcoming town has been has been dealing with quite the opposite image. These signs, can’t just be posted. We need to follow through, act upon these positive beliefs and prove to once again be the town we have shown we can be.

Gratitude

When you work in a place that you love, it makes you want to get up and go to work each day. Although we are made to feel appreciated quite often at our school, some days, our PTA goes over and beyond to show us – like today at our Teacher Appreciation Breakfast.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to teach the children of this community and thankful for all that their families do for us.

National Puppy Day

Although our girl is far from a puppy at 13 years old, she will always be our sweet pup. We couldn’t have found a sweeter rescue dog than her and we are so lucky to have her in our lives.

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Willpower

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23 days into Lent and I still haven’t eaten sweets. That’s what I gave up this year. I know, it seems odd, as I am questioning my religion and “trying out” different churches to see where I feel a good fit. Through it all, I still keep the Catholic Lenten sacrifice going. Not that giving up desserts and sweets is really a sacrifice, but it is tough. Last year I gave up cheese. Now THAT was a sacrifice!!

I am always able to succeed during Lent. Catholic guilt? Maybe because somehow I do it every year. There is no other time of the year that I can stick to a diet or eating plan. My willpower falls to the wayside every other time but during Lent, I don’t cheat once. Ever.

There are all sorts of blogs and articles written about not giving things up but instead doing something for others during Lent. I decided that I’d give away my sweet treat everyday to someone else. My Random Snacks of Kindness find their way into coworkers’ mailboxes each day. To me that is the fun part. I look forward to it each morning. I don’t even get to see their reaction, but I like to think it brings a  bit of happiness to their day.

Writer’s Block

Some nights I just have nothing to write. The photo prompt doesn’t work for me tonight, and I am just too tired but my intention is to write every single day so, I looked to the web for some inspirational quotes and this popped up:

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So, I will leave it at that and hopefully get back at it tomorrow.