Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sad Desk Salad

Sad Desk Salad

Okay, my friends, you know for a very long time while my children were infants/toddlers/pre-schoolers, I subscribed to the only real news I believed existed--wait for it--Us Weekly. I literally loved everything about celebrities, and my narrowly focused life felt somehow more expanded by reading about celebrities. Pathetic, no doubt. But seriously, who doesn't love the "Stars, they're just like us" pictures? They pump gas? They open their car door? They hail a cab? Holy Shit! That's some of the very same things I do! WOW! It's so ridiculous, I have to spend my hard earned salary on a $4.99 glossy that tells me Rihanna opens a car door. I mean, what the heck-you only live once. Part of the reason I loved reading  Between You and Me was because I felt like I was reliving the Britney drama all over again. If you haven't read that one, be sure to check it out!

Mandy's Blogger Book Club
Anyhow, Mandy over at the Well Read Wife sent me Sad Desk Salad as part of her Blogger Book Club. She was so very kind and generous to send me the book, and I devoured this book! I'll frontload you with the scoop so you can get your booty out, and buy this book!

The Down Low: Alex Lyons is a blogger on a website called "Chick Habit." Alex, and her co-workers report on all things pop culture (bonus for the uber recent material Jessica Grose!) . She has an over-zealous boss who always wants Alex and the lot posting about scandalous shit. Well, Alex hits the jackpot on a story, and risks everything she has, including personal relationships in the pursuit of page hits. Her plans hit a snag when someone starts BTCH, a hate website. Alex cannot rest until she finds out who is trying to sabotage her. Does she ever find out? You, my fellow reader, must pick this book up to find out.

Confession: Two half sick days were sacrificed in the finishing of this book. *Cough**Sniff* I do feel much better now.

Here's the link up to the discussion posts on Mandy's site:#MBBCWRW

I cannot believe this year is almost over! It's been an incredible year filled with so much growth, both personally and professionally. I wish you all well during this holiday season. Much love, always. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mentor Text-Symbolism and Inference

What can I say about Grandpa Green? This book, by Lane Smith, is wrought with symbolism and beauty, it is difficult to sum up in words. I used this the other day at our SIOP training, and there were many teachers in the room crying when I finished. In fact, it was difficult for me to finish myself, as it is so touching. The premise of the story is that a little boy is telling the story of his Grandpa. Grandpa Green studies horticulture (great vocab in the story), and tells the story of his life in garden sculptures. The sculpted bushes symbolize all of his major life events. First, Grandpa Green was born (garden hose squirting water represents crying), then as he ventures into boyhood his friends are from Oz, and the little engine that could. He didn't even have a cellphone or video games (gasp!). Instead Grandpa Green always played outside and the garden was his friend. Later in the story, Grandpa Green goes to war, gets married, and has children and great-grandchildren. The problem is, that Grandpa Green always forgets. He forgets his garden hat on one of his sculptures. If you read into it, I think that lets you, as the reader, know that he has Alzheimers. So, so sad! At the end, guess what? Tragedy...
This book is so wonderful to use as a mentor text for inferring, and symbolism. Both are very difficult skills to teach, so why not use this book as a segue into this skill? It is worth every penny I paid for it.
Here is an Amazon link for the book:
Grandpa Green Book on Amazon

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Things a Brother Knows CYRM Book

I finished reading Things a Brother Knows, a nominee for the California Young Reader Medal this morning. Wow! All I can say is "wow"! If I had known about this, this would have perfect as a follow up to Home Front by Kristin Hannah. In Things a Brother Knows, Levi, a high school senior follows his brother Boaz, who's returned from the war. He founds so much out about his brother on this journey. I cried at the end! It was really, truly, a beautiful YA read. Why are all these amazing books Young Adult? Teens these days are lucky to have these books. I sound like an old lady now, don't I? I strongly suggest you read this book. Loved it!

Mentor Text Post #2-Watch your words

It is very difficult to teach children to be careful about what they say. Sometimes we say things, and they just pop out of our mouth before we can catch them. This book is perfect for that. I recently read it to my 1st and 2nd grade groups. It was so adorable when I got to the part where Leo told his mom, "I hate you", they all gasped. The play on text and image in this book is fabulous. Definitely a great read for young children.

If you liked this book, you may also like...

The color red is a big bully, always telling the other colors that he was the best. Until one color was brave enough to stand up to red. It only take one person to be the brave one. Great text to teach about doing the right thing, sticking up for yourself, and those weaker and less powerful than you. 

Happy reading! Xo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Girl Unmoored

Today also brings you a post on a book I finished a couple weeks back (gah, so behind!). I read Girl, Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer in two days. It was simply riveting. I cannot remember how I found out about this book, but no one warned me about needing tissues! I highly suggest you read it. I will, however, warn you to keep tissues at hand. It is the story of being an awkward girl, with no mother, and your dad struggling to make sense of his life without your mom. Don't all men replace their wonderful wives in a heartbeat? Maybe that is just my interpretation. (*whispers* it does happen). This girl becomes friends with two fellas who are charming. Whenever you have characters you fall in love with, an author usually keeps you on your toes by spelling disaster, which is exactly what happens. You will not be disappointed by this book. I think it is slated as YA, but who the heck cares? It is a gem. A sapphire, because it will leave you a little blue.

Happy Reading!

Mentor Text Post #1-Story Structure

I know how much we, as teachers, struggle to teach skills that are supposed to be taught in an excerpt provided by a publishing company. Very rarely are the stories engaging, and I have noticed that very few of my students were able to make connections to those stories. Teaching summarizing? Try it with this story. Fail. Need to clarify? Try it with this story. Fail. I could never get that equation right. The students would do what I asked them to do, but they would never remember to connect it to their learning in another text. Last week I saw the wonderful Lori Ockzus speak at the California Reading Association's Professional Development Institute. I was riveted by her keynote, and decided to change up my practice in the classroom. I have always used mentor texts, but never as my sole practice for teaching a skill. It has changed my students! They are engaged, attentive, and are transferring skills that they never had before. I am so pleased with their progress, I thought I would share the books I am using with you! These two particular books are used to teach Story Structure: plot, setting, problem, resolution. Revisit them every day during the week, and see if your students can identify:
1. The setting/time
2. The problem
3. The characters
4. The solution (in 6th grade I use denouement)
5. Advanced skill: Character traits

We also started a reading challenge at my school. I am loving all of the energy that I feel in the air with reading. Hope you are all doing well!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One PInk Line

Once again, I have found a book that I love! One Pink Line by Dina Sliver is an amazing book. This book was well worth the money I paid for it, which in my opinion, was not a lot. best of all, buy this book in the month of October, and she donates $1 to breast cancer. Leave a comment if you want to talk about any "spoilers".  Much Love!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Reading Promise

After being inspired by the book, The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma, Kyler and I are on a mission to have our own "Reading Promise." The premise of Alice Ozma's book is that she and her father had a reading promise that they would read books together every night. That is...until she went to college. Reading the book felt a little like watching Toy Story 3, when Andy goes to college and gives his toys away to that little girl. Tear jerker! I actually met Alice last year when she came to a local children's bookstore to sign books. Long story short, that's what I have been doing this month- reading with my children. So, ultimately, this means that my own personal book choices have had to hit the back burner. I will NEVER get these precious minutes back when I can read with my son, so I could care less. It has been so wonderful to curl up, and read together. I do  miss my chick lit, though!

I'll share with you book #1 of our reading promise:

Middle School the Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson. Kyler loved this book! It was very engaging for a young boy (9-12), and has pictures to go along with some of the text, which Kyler loves. The writing is superior to the Wimpy Kid series (his fave), and this book does deal with some heavy subject matter. I loved the conversations we got into as the story twisted and turned. The important thing is that Ky was totally into it, and always said, "one more chapter." Some nights my eyes would be closing, but he wanted more, so I kept chugging along. 

Here's his say on the book:
"I'm too surprised about the book, I can't say anything. It was so good." 

Eloquent, right? Errr...we're working on elaborating responses. 

Next up:
A Sequel!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Will you do me a favor, and give these people some love? They write the kind of books I love, so give them a hit! Thanks, loves! xo

Sarah Pekkanen Link

Emma and Nicola's Site

Book #22 and 23 of 2012-Done!

I found this lovely little gem under the "Daily Deals" tab in the Amazon store. I follow Sarah Pekkanen on twitter, and I have heard a lot of great things about her work. When I went to see Jennifer Weiner in Pasadena, she recommended Sarah's work, and I trust her judgment. So, I decided to start here. I am so glad that I did. Skipping a Beat was a book about a girl who's life is changed dramatically by her husband's near-death experience. It was a perfect book to teach you that money is not everything (we all need reminding), and it is so important to realize that before it is too late. The story line is engaging, and it quickly draws you in. I would say it is definitely a -BUY IT

Speaking of Buy it! books, this one falls into that category. I plan to do everything in my power to meet these two at some point in my life! They have a new young adult book coming out "Over You." I will definitely be picking that one up after indulging in this juicy read. For a long time Us Weekly was the only thing I read (ok, that just flew out of my mouth, and I am embarrassed to admit that). However, it's true, gossip mags were all I turned to for reading. I remember when Brittany Spears had her mental breakdown, and when she shaved her head and jammed an umbrella into a paparazzi's car. Crazy! Well, Britt was their muse, and this book will not disappoint if reading about that is up your alley. I also follow them on twitter. Love those two girls! 

Buy 'em!
Hope you had a fabulous Labor Day weekend!  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Book #21 of 2012-Done!

I just finished reading Wonder by R.J. Palacios, and it was a gem! I strongly encourage anyone who has school-age children, or even teenagers to read this book with their child/teen. The intended age for readers is "Middle Grades", but I think it is a message that all of us need to hear at any age. The resonant message is that when you are given the choice between being right, and being kind, always choose kind. 
"Greatness, lies not in being being strong, but in the right using of strength. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts." If we all chose to be a little nicer, I really do think the world would be a better place. not perfect, just better. Maybe people would smile more, laugh more, think more of the influence their words and actions have on people.
I would be lying to you if I told you I didn't cry in this book. I actually started bawling at the end of the book. It was a great way to start my weekend. Buy it!
Just as an aside, I have read 4 books (a lengthy number of pages into them) that I gave up because I didn't love them. I am only brave enough to name one of them. The other three will remain a secret because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. If you look at my previous posts, you will see at least one of them. 
Have a great weekend. Here's to a little more kindness.

Much love,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wasting time...

I hate the feeling of wasting precious time on a book I do not love. I think it is fine to not adore every book you read, I just hate the feeling of disappointment that you wasted all that time when there are other wonderful books out there. Sigh.... First world problem, I know.

On another happier note, I was at the library yesterday when this little boy, no more than two or three walks confidently to a shelf, pulls out Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and sits down at a table by himself. I won't tell you about the part where I obsessively worry about where his mother is. Wait, I just did. Anyway, he starts reading the book to himself. It was the most adorable thing I have seen and heard in a long time. Absolutely precious. I eloquently told my son, "I die of cuteness." He said, "me too." Equally adorable. I actually forgive that mom because she is obviously doing something right, and because when I finally spotted her, she seemed to be browsing for her kids. Fine lady, you win.

Friday, August 3, 2012

My New Adventure Begins & Book #20!

Starting Monday I will be a full-time reading specialist! I am thrilled to begin this new adventure, and excited to see all that will come from having the opportunity to teach children to read, or in some cases, read well. My goal is to instill a love of reading in my students so that they will continue to read long after they exit my doors. I also finished Book #20 last week.
Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai was a story about a Vietnamese family who flees the country during the war. A beautifully woven tale of a refugee family. It reminded me of a student I once had who refused to speak. I assumed he refused to speak because he was so traumatized (a complete assumption) by his experiences in a refugee camp in Cambodia. Reading this made me think of why some remain silent. If you have any English Learners in your classroom, it is worth a read. Written in a sort of free-verse, poetry/prose fashion. Very easy read. 
Have you heard of this one? It is getting rave reviews, so I decided to pre-read it in the hopes that I would use it for our GATE students as a book club. Wonderful book. I am not done with it, so you'll have to wait to find out my final verdict. 

It's the weekend, so enjoy! Be blessed.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book #18 and 19 of 2012-Done!

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate, is a beautifully written book that I read for my Summer School Intervention. It is based on the true story of a real gorilla in the Zoo Atlanta. According to the publisher, this book is appropriate for children ages 8-12. Although some of the material is way over the head of most children, it is one you should read aloud to your children. Another suggestion I have that is a wonderful read-aloud is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I read it to my students every year. It is the story of a toy rabbit who learns what's really important through loss. Impeccably written by Ms. DiCamillo, who is an amazing writer. I strongly suggest both for classroom reading. I dare you not to cry in either book! MUST BUY for both books.

In the Bag, by Kate Klise, was a gift from the FABULOUS Liz and Lisa over at Chick Lit is Not Dead. I hope you will follow their blog for your own chance to win books such as this one. In the Bag is a story about two parents, and their teenagers whose paths cross multiple times. There's a bag mix-up, and the story that ensues is wonderfully written. It was a quick read, and the story line is engaging enough to keep you up late nights just to see what happens to Daisy and Andrew. It truly makes you want to grab a bag, and go travel. This is Kate Klise's first adult novel, and I would say it is very well-done. I'd say Buy it if you are in the market for a paperback, otherwise it is definitely a check-it-out. Well, that's it for now, folks. It's almost back to school time, so I wish you all a blessed weekend. See you back here soon.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Book #17 of 2012-Done!

Wow! First off, I rarely suggest that you go out and buy a book, and most of the time, I think supporting your public library is the way to go. But... GO BUY THIS BOOK! Please, do yourself a favor, and buy this book. It was so wonderful. Delightful. I am floored that this was a DEBUT novel. I mean, who writes like this on their first shot out of the gates? Such a heart-warming and soul satisfying read. The story follows the main character, Ellen, through her life's journey. From a deeply religious family, she has a difficult time navigating when her life gets turned upside-down. So many things reminded me of my own mother. When life gets tough (like, real nitty gritty tough) she always encouraged "trust in the Lord honey", "say your prayers." I only wish I had been blessed with an ounce of her grace. I literally read 200 pages just today. A huge shout-out to my sister-in-law who took my kids today. I am sure she was thinking I would be productive, and do something like clean, run errands, buy the K cups I need (or I won't have coffee tomorrow). Instead, I devoured this book, and I am so glad I did. I am blessed. Loved it!! 

I am starting a new category with my book reviews: Check-it-out(like library style), Buy it, or Skip it.
Can I get an Amen get a: Buy it!

In addition, I have to thank (profusely) Stephanie from Booking with Manic for my copy. If you want the insiders scoop to great new books like this one, you must follow her site. 

Much love, 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Book #16 of 2012-Done!

You must know that I am a huge Kristin Hannah fan after reading Night Road. It was the first of her books that I had ever read (I know! Way behind), and I was an insta-fan! This book was also a delight to read. It deals with very heavy stuff, that I could never relate to as I have no relation to anyone in the armed forces. For anyone who has had anyone serve, or is currently serving in the military-I salute you. What an incredibly tough job. This book is honest, and true to the journey a family takes when someone goes off to war. It was a tragic story. The evidence-I cried during gymnastics class after a very concerted effort to distract myself. It was to no avail. I cried because I was thankful that someone has the courage to fight for my freedom, and that I am negligent to what happens when they return. I can honestly tell you that I have a new-found appreciation and respect for our military. That's not to say I didn't appreciate them before, I just realized there is a whole new world for them when they come back. A world that is not always so kind to them. I hope you will read this one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Club -July

Anyone want to join me in reading this book in July? You will have all month to read it, and the bonus is that we never really discuss, but mostly drink! Ha! If you join me, we will meet in early August for our book club. Want to read reviews before you agree to join? Click here. I hope you will decide to join, as I have missed my book club people! Comment on the blog, or send me an e-mail/Facebook message to let me know if you are interested. 

Mel who's glad to be back home! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I love book recs!

Thank you to everyone who has always encouraged me, and supported me and my blog! You are loved and appreciated!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book #15 of 2012-Done!

If you love Bethenny, and all things reality TV, then I think this book will suit you just fine! I have watched her show, and I felt like I was reading about all of those things that happened in her life. I love watching reality TV (shamefully) and this book felt like I was reading from a reality TV show. There were parts of the book that lulled, and I was wondering if it would get better, but it always did. The beginning details the young and reckless life in N.Y. and L.A., and progresses into the television realm. I personally waited in line in Los Angeles to get a signed copy of this book, and I didn't regret it. Happy reading to you all!    

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book #14 of 2012-Done!

I devoured this book after I dropped 50 Shades of Grey like a bad habit. On the heels of a very disappointing 200-page jaunt with EL James' famed erotic sex book, I needed a redemption. Luckily, I found it with this wonderful book. This story was short, sweet, and definitely a page-turner. The premise is this: what do you do when your life turns upside-down? To find the answer she found, you'll have to read it for yourself. I cannot compliment this book enough. I read it in one and a half days, and the ending was enough to keep me satisfied. a bonus...(I'm whispering) there are sex scenes in this book! Happy Reading everyone!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book #12 and ___ -Done

Well, I just got finished laughing my butt off (I wish that statement was true) at the hilarious memoir Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. If you were Kenny, you'd hate this book. Why, you ask?  Because your wife wouldn't be able to pipe down her laughing enough so that you could get a wink of sleep before waking up at 4 a.m. Aaaaanyway, I generously deleted the book # for Ms. Lawson because she freakin' hates the number thirteen  after twelve. You're welcome Jenny. I read the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, and this is like a really funny version of the same type of terrible stuff that happened to Jeanette in her memoir. (I highly recommend it, by the way). She writes a blog, and if your an asshat conservative person, then you will hate this book, and her blog. Otherwise, you will laugh and be thankful that this IS NOT YOUR LIFE! I guess that's all....except this: . Scroll down to the title "If this is Saturday, then I'm in Maryland." Totally sacreligious, but so, so funny!

Oh, book #12 was this adorable book for young readers called One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia. It is great for young readers. I enjoyed reading it for our Book Talk at school. The parents enjoyed it as well, so I'd recommend it!

School's out for summer, so let the reading begin!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book #11 of 2012-Done!

I finished this wonderful book a couple of days ago, and my internet went down. So, now I am posting to share with you another winner of a book for me. Another Piece of my Heart by Jane Green. I am a fan! This is the first piece of her work I have ever read, and I am impressed! Another Piece of my Heart is the story of Andi, stepmom to the worst behaved teenager, who has a problem. The story unfolds around this problem, and I kept wanting to read more, and more. I don't want to give too much away in case you readers decide to pick it up!  Anyone who enjoys chick lit books will love this one.

I would like to extend a huge thanks !!!! to for this book. I have a profound love for Liz and Lisa on that site. Check them out. Most (if not all) of my book recs come from their site, as well as

I am currently reading One Crazy Summer for a Book Talk at my school, but I think I am going to go to the dark side soon....I am talking about you, 50 Shades.  

Looking forward to the weekend! Be blessed!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Just finished this book today, and I loved it! In the way that I loved reading Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. I found myself not wanting to go to work this morning because I only had 20 pages to go, and I wanted to finish it. Instead, I ran to Carl's Jr. at lunch to finish it with a Famous Star in hand. What would you look for in a second match? How  would your life change if your first marriage didn't work out? Would you get married again? These are all questions the main character wrestles with in this book. Very quick, enjoyable read.
I also finished the Journal of Best Practices. Funny memoir. Oh how I have empathy for that guy's wife. Phew! It has to be exhausting.
Only 19 days of school left! I can't wait for the summer to get caught up on my "To Be Read" pile. Hope you are blessed!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I lost my sense of humor...

So this year in class, I have a kid with Asperger "symptoms." That's code for "I am not a Dr., but I am diagnosing this." I love this kid like CRAZY, and sometimes that's what he makes me. Like, bat-shit crazy. You have got to love all the quirky little nuances about him though. For example, he had a scenario where he could quote me how much I would save on car insurance depending on which carrier I switched to. In case you're wondering, I would have saved the most with 21st Century insurance. Today we were doing a reader's theater, and he comes up to me (DURING the middle of a group's freakin' performance) to tell me he does not have a sense of humor. I responded by telling him to sit down, and explaining we were in the middle of a group's performance. Two second later (this is so like him), he comes back up to tell me the only thing he would find funny is if a mountain goat scratched its own butt with its horn, and pulled out a dingleberry. Yep folks, that's it, word for word. Immature as I am, I began laughing uncontrollably, and could not compose myself. I simply waved my hand in the general direction of his desk (his cue to park it). He smiled. Maybe he didn't lose his sense of humor after all.

What brings this on, is that I am half way through The Journal of Best Practices by David Finch. I was desperate to understand the behaviors of a growing number of kids with autism coming into our schools. This one is a good book, and it really does make me think, what will happen to these kids when they grow up? I may be reading the answer.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book #8 of 2012-Done!

It's Hard Not to Hate You a memoir by Valerie Frankel. At least this author admits her failings openly (which, by the way, I could never do).

Here are the three things that resonated with me in the book:

1. "Brats are made, not born"-essentially you are neglecting your child by indulging them. Quite the spin on indulgence, eh? I couldn't agree more with the ideology. We give our kids a LOT, but we still make them do chores, be respectful, and mind their manners. It's the least you can for your kids right now. After all, do you really want your free-loading grown child blaming you, saying, "it's because you never made me do anything! I never learned how to _____________." ? I say nooooooo!!! Parents, do not fight all of the battles for your kids. Fight some, hell yes! Most of them, no!
2. Don't be a BFF parent- The author actually experienced a kid tell her mom, "Hello! Refill?". What? Parents, don't let your kids diss you. Ever. Not in public, or in private. Never. I find myself gushing over kids with polite manners. Why is this not the standard to be polite? My children are very polite, but only with CONSTANT reminders. It starts early, and you have to be consistent.
3. You only need three friends- really, research has been done, and once you get older this is more and more the truth. That, and I have little patience for any kind of BS. I thought I was bad ten years ago. have not even tipped the iceberg on this beeotch.

It's hard not to hate a lot of things in life. But there are so many more things to love. I am so incredibly thankful for all I have been given.

Just switched my bracelet. Take that. (book joke)
xo, Melody

Monday, April 2, 2012


I have really been slacking in the reading department! It's been a busy two weeks with Open House, Spring Break, family get-together's and what not. I am reading It's Hard Not to Hate You by Valerie Frankel, and I am ALMOST done! It's a really light-hearted, hilarious read if you are into memoirs.

I saw the Hunger Games movie, and the cinematography left me feeling really nauseous. It panned this way and that, and I had to look away a couple times. Hopefully it won't be as bad when Catching Fire is released. Suzanne Collins is amazing! I am happy for her success.

Hope you are having a great week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book #7 of 2012-Done!

What a great book! I read this book after a friend of mine recommended it as a book all moms should read. It is true, all mothers should read this book. It is heartbreaking. It brings me back to being a teenager when a string of kids that were around my age were dying. How in the world would I be able to deal with it? (It is my prayer every day: that God understands I am not strong enough, so please don't out me through that). Now, looking back, I think of their mothers. How did they do it? It is inconceivable to me. They seemed like they were handling it so well, but truth be told, they were probably the opposite. Here are five things I want my kids to know:
1. Do not let anyone make you feel like you are not good enough: a lot of kids will try and make you feel a lot of things. Ugly, unwanted, lonely, unworthy. You are none of these things. Never allow someone's words or actions define you. You are unlike anything that has ever walked this Earth. You are the most precious gift God has ever given me, and do not let ANYONE take that away from you, not even for a second. 
2. I will always be there: sometimes you will feel like you want another mother, and that hurts me, but it's okay. We all go through that. No matter what, under any circumstance, I will be there. No questions asked, I will be there. But, children, expect a lecture and consequences if necessary. Expect it!!!!
3. When you look at someone, see them through their family's eyes: It is very easy to judge someone by just looking at them. We have all been the recipient of someone's judgment, and it does not feel good. When you feel like you are judging someone, think of them through their family's lens. That is someone's daughter/son/cousin/uncle/aunt, etc. They love that person. We all have something redeeming about us, and we must look for that quality in all the people we meet. Think first, and be slow to judgement. Turtle's pace, my loves!
4. For my son: I will always love you more than anything else in the world. No one can love you like I do. Son, when you meet a woman you want to be your wife (waaaah-that's me crying about that thought), here are some things to remember: do some laundry, wash some dishes, pick up your damn underwear after you take a shower, and always treat your lady better than me. Yes, I said BETTER than you treat your mom. Give her everything she wants. Happy wife is a happy life. She'll love you so much more than you can imagine. If she doesn't, then there's always my wrath. I think she'll choose your way. :)
5. For my daughter: I will always love you more than anything else in the world. No one can love you like I do. For my girl: value yourself above all others. Treat your body sacredly, and love yourself first. There will come a time when all you will do will be for others, that time is called motherhood. Until then, enjoy life, do not get tethered down to a relationship when you are very, very young. Be kind to others, and be careful of the words you speak. They hold a great deal of power, and can leave scars that run deep.  Don't be a mean girl! You are smart, you are kind, you are special. Read The Help by Kathryn Stockett when you are 13.  Then read, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee when you are 16.  

For both of you: Do great things in the world. 

Love, Your Mom

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book #6 of 2012-Done!

Just finished Outside the Lines. It was sort of bittersweet for me because I felt like I was left hanging! In true fashion to the tone of her book, Amy Hatvany did not tie it up neatly. She wove the story with an element of the unknown, just like mental illness. You never know how it is going to hit you. However, it is worth a read. I'm happy enough (the control freak in me wants to know EVERYTHING!).

As I was reading the book during my daughter's gymnastics class, a couple sitting next to me interrupted my reading to ask me what I was reading. We got into a conversation about parents, and about how our generation of parents are failing kids. By the way, I don't feel like we are failing our kids. Not all of us. The issue of failing our kids is not unique to this generation. Parents have been failing their children for generations. Want a good read about failing your kids? Read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.  Her dad wins the jacked-up parent award, and that was a long time ago!

The moral of the story is: do the best you can for your children. Spend time (not money) with them. That's what they'll remember.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Currently Reading and another recipe!

I am currently reading Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany. Heartbreaking. One word. Heartbreaking. If you have ever been an addict, or had an addict in your family (hell, even if you know anyone), this book will resonate with you. I am about 85% done at this point, so I cannot wait for the end, but I am wishing at this point it does not end poorly. By poorly I mean, not in the way I have it all bundled up in my mind. I am hoping for the Hollywood, everyone lives happily ever after, ending. Of course, as you know, with addicts, things are not predictable. It also does not end up pretty, and tied up with neat little bows. I will keep you posted on the outcome.

The main character was a gourmet chef, so I posted another yummy recipe that makes me think of her. I have tried these meatballs, and they are delish!! Don't they look good. I'll bet Eden would have made these.

Asian Meatball Recipe 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book #5 of 2012-Done!

So I finished reading Point, Click, Love, and well...I really enjoyed it. I felt like I needed to use some of the comprehension strategies I have my students use, but once I got the characters down, it made it easy to follow, and I wanted more.  The women in the story are really relatable, and their story lines are juicy enough to keep you coming back for more. I finished it this morning, and I'd recommend it to all my friends who are chick lit lovers.

I was so excited to win Four of a Kind by Valerie Frankel, and if you do not know who she is, you don't know what you're missing. It's Hard Not to Hate You...can you say hilarious? Of course you can Valerie Frankel! She's an amazing author. If you do not immediately love this book cover, I am going to have to come over there and slap the funny into you! Thank you for the book. So stoked!

Okay, so train wreck alert-The Bachelor special is on tonight, and I am compelled to lose brain cells at all cost. Like a LOT of brain cells. I must curse all obscenities at the TV tonight (I'm talking about you Courtney!). Luckily US Weekly mag is on a smear campaign so all in good time people, all in good time. 
Peace and Love!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Currently Reading...and a Yummy Chicken Recipe

For all you Sex and the City lovers out there-this one's for you! The main character Katie is the same age as I am, so I can relate with the issues she faces. To a point. My husband and I are on great terms, and I can't say that much for her. So far, I feel like killing off one of the husbands...but enough of my pent-up rage. Relationships are so complicated, and this book weaves a story line that reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw and the like. If you are faint of heart with regard to sexual references (then you are lame)...kidding...but seriously, you may not enjoy this if you are leery of that type of thing in books.

Now, for that yummy chicken recipe-

1 cup mayo
1 tsp Garlic Powder ( I used 1 1/2 tsp of granulated garlic)
1 tsp (or more) Lawry's Pepper
1 tblsp Garlic Salt

Mix together with a spoon, and spread over two chicken breasts. About 25 minutes through I pulled it out of the oven, and sprinkled mozzarella cheese over it, and put it in for another 20 minutes. The cheese was really crispy, so if you want it less crispy put it in for about 15 minutes.

375 degrees, for 45 minutes

Have some good eats, and read this book!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book #4 of 2012-Done!

Just finished this book, and it was incredible! Once it was rolling, I couldn't wait to finish it! Sarah Jio does not disappoint. I liked this book even more than The Bungalow, and I loved that book. After reading this, I long to book a flight to Seattle, and spend a couple of days on Bainbridge Island. The author takes you there, and makes you wish you were part of that scenery. I downloaded this book on my Kindle, so I unfortunately cannot give away my copy, but I hope you will read this one. TGIF! Have a blessed weekend everyone.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Downton Abbey (is awesome)... and Currently Reading

I love this show! I don't know what is so appealing about it (I've been asked, and I cannot explain it), but it is just wonderful! I'm late to join the bandwagon of DA lovers, but I am a fan. In fact, in twenty minutes it comes on, so I am anxiously waiting. 

On another note, I am reading another Sarah Jio book, The Violets of March, and it makes me want to book a flight to Bainbridge Island stat! I love her work, so this one is not a disappointment. Sarah is brilliant at building character plots, and intertwining them seamlessly. I'll keep you posted, I am about halfway through. Hope you are having an exciting Sunday!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book#3 of 2012-Done!

The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson

Can I tell you how much I loved this book? It tackles a tough subject matter that no mother wants to face. Another woman trying to take the reigns in raising your children. I don't think so! Right? Goodness knows we have all had dark days after the birth of our children, but no one talks about it. I just devoured this book, and in the end I actually felt a sort of softening for one of the characters. You must read it to find out if you agree with me.

Today, looking at my kids, I thought of how fragile life is. I started smelling their hair, and kissing their faces. Of course, they responded with, "MOOOOM!" I replied, "What? I just love you sooooo much." I do. No one can love them like I do, which is true. Nevertheless, (omg, I just made a funny-read the book) other people can love them a lot. They can love my children in their own way, just not MY way.

They are growing up so fast. I feel inadequate, like I wasted so many moments when they were babies. I am being too harsh on myself. This book, I hope, will have you seeing your family differently. We are all only composed of our parts. Sometimes you put the pieces of the puzzle down wrong, and you have to pick it up, and try to fit it into the right spot. Once you do that, you can see the beautiful picture.

Because I love this book, and want to share the love, I'm giving my book to one lucky person. Enter your name in the comments section if you really want this great read!

With a full heart,

Don't win the book? Order it here Underside of Joy

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Underside of Joy, Currently Reading

The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson starts out with a bang, and will have you wanting more from the get-go. As I am reading it, I find myself infuriated at the the birth mom. I cannot imagine how it would be to lose the one(s) I love, and try to pull myself together so no one thought I was not fit to be a mother. Already half way through, so stay tuned for my final write-up. Hope you are all enjoying this weekend.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book#2 of 2012-Done!

I just finished reading The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it has risen in the ranks to my top three books of all time. Within that top three, there it stands triumphantly at number one. It is the best book I have ever read. It is tragic, and devastating-I wept openly while reading it, but for some reason you fall in the love with the characters, and when something bad happens it hits you where it hurts. Hard. I am only surprised that John Green thinks it's a young adult book.  You will not be disappointed if you read this book. I think you may even look at life over your laptop and say, "Damn! I'm alive! I better get my butt outside and enjoy these lungs that breathe for me, and this body that works for me." Take your kids to the park, and for God's sake, put the phone down while you are at a restaurant and enjoy your family. I know I will.

Peace, Love, and Health.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Fault in our Stars

Do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK! It is witty, and sad, and just so delightful! I am loving this book. It is not for the faint of heart, or for anyone who has an aversion to cancer patients and their sufferings. John Green is my geek crush right now.

Read it!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book #1 of 2012-Done!

I finished reading Bungalow by Sarah Jio, and it was good. It was a mix of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, and a mystery. It is set during the war in the South Pacific, and two friends (nurses) end up in Bora Bora. Something awful happens, and the story unfolds quickly. The ending is heart-warming, and the story had unexpected twists and turns. It was a delightful first read. I would definitely pick up a book by this author in the future. I never got the chance to meet her in Pasadena, but one day I hope to!

Next up...The Fault in our Stars by John Green which has gotten some recent acclaim. That worries me a bit because of hype that surrounded Tiger's Wife, and I couldn't get through the whole book. No matter, I will give The Fault in our Stars an unbiased start.

Oddly, I bought the newest book (Fault) after reading Amazon reviews, and ran to Target where there were...wait for it...signed copies by the author. At Target! Now I will not have to look up any appearances to have my copy signed. Hope you are enjoying the first day of your weekend.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Bungalow

Love it! I have been using every excuse to pull this book out and read it. I'll admit, I picked it up because it looked short, and with school being in session, I hardly find the time. I have been looking forward to reading when I come home. Hoping for a great ending.

She's going to be at Vromann's Pasadena tomorrow, and I think I might go. 7pm. What the heck! Life is short.

Bungalow by Sarah Jio-so far, so good! Yay!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crossing my fingers!

I am putting a great deal of hope behind a book I picked up at Target today called  Bungalow by Sarah Jio. She was highlighted on a blog that I follow, and I am trusting her advice. I have been telling you lately that every book I have touched has been an epic fail! I need to read more to be a better example to my children, and for them to know that I value and respect reading. I also want them to see that people actually DO read for pleasure, and not just to fulfill the requirements of their homework assignments.

On a side note, remember how I posted a while back about something important happening soon? happened! I did it! I can't quite post just yet what it is, but you will know soon. That has been a positive highlight because I totally suck at sticking to a diet, and have fallen off the wagon. Actually, my leg is hooked to the wagon, and I am being dragged along with bloody stumps. I am just going to continue moving forward, and delight in the fact that now I can fire up all of those recipes I found on Pinterest. I started with the Taco Bake, and it was yummy. I also kept it a bit healthier by substituting Turkey for the ground beef. It was sooo delish! Hope your New Year is starting off well. Good things are happening.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life is precious

Having a bad day? Put your hand over your heart. Feel that? It's your heart beating. You are alive for a reason, and you have a purpose. So go out there and do something important today!
-adapted from a Pinterest post

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Fiend Shop on Etsy. I love their stuff, especially this magnet! Makes me laugh.



I have alway been a skeptic of the book The Secret, and all that it entailed. I think it made people act a little too crazy and believe that they were going to receive all of these wonderful things in life without a key essential! I'm not saying it never worked for anyone. In fact, I believe that circumstances that were destined to happen to people already ironically fell during the time they happened upon this book and its methodology.

I don't want to say it is "bad" to believe in positive energy, in fact, it's quite the opposite. I think it is of the utmost importance to believe in good things, set goals and dreams for yourself, work hard, love deeply, and always look on the bright side even when there doesn't appear to be a bright side. The thing is, that is not a secret! You didn't need her to tell you all of those things, you just needed to look deep within yourself. It was ALWAYS there.

That being said, I am putting all of my hard work and energy behind something right now that I have dreamed for myself. Stay tuned to find out if my prescription worked. Have a great Saturday!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pinning is Winning

Have I mentioned my love for Pinterest yet? It has literally become the site I look at once I log onto the computer- before Facebook. BEFORE Facebook! I love all of the ideas I get for my classroom, home, etc. The ideas for cooking are the best. I had no idea there were so many creative people out there. We really have some amazingly creative folks here in the good ol' US of A. The unfortunate side effect of my new pinning obsession is that I am on that 17 day diet now, and the Dorito bake looks amazing! Or the green chile sour cream enchiladas. Sigh... I'll never stop pinning though because pinning is winning, and I am clogging the shit out of my computer's reading list for when I am off of this diet!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Time Flies

Two days ago I started reading The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. I'm on pg. 81, and so far it's Darn it! That's two in a row that have been hyped up, and are now disappointing me. Oh yeah, the other one was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I actually read 115 pages of that thing, and then refused to pick it up again. I need a recommendation of a book that I haven't read that I will love!

I did, however, read Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor. It is a YA book, and was delightful! There are a ton of "mom" issues in the book, so if you have a student/child who is looking for a book to read, and may have this going in, it is great! You will actually get angry with this worthless mother. The worst part is there are women like this that exist.

As a complete aside, I started a new "eating healthier"/working out plan, and I lost five pounds in one day! No, seriously! My husby was telling me he lost five pounds in one night, and I was muttering under my breath and cursing men in general for their fast metabolisms, when I heaved my own butt onto the scale and BAM-five pounds down! I retract all of my cursing Lord. Source: The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno