Feb 022016
I have been obsessed with books and reading lately.  I have been adding a ton of books to my “To Be Read” list on Goodreads and have also been snooping around on Twitter and blogs during my lunch (when I’m not reading Kindle books on my Ipad ;)
Books that I have already read are in BLUE and books on my “To Read” list are in GREEN
February 7, 2016
1 THE REVENANT, by Michael Punke. (Picador.) Left for dead after a mauling, the master tracker Hugh Glass is consumed by a singular desire for revenge; an inspiration for the 2015 film. 5
2 THE MARTIAN, by Andy Weir. (Broadway.) Separated from his crew, an astronaut embarks on a quest to stay alive on Mars. The basis of the movie. 65
3 MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, by Elena Ferrante. (Europa Editions.) The first installment in the author’s Neapolitan series, about the lifelong friendship between two women. 21
4 BROOKLYN, by Colm Toibin. (Scribner.) An unsophisticated young Irishwoman leaves her home for New York in the 1950s. The basis of the movie. 13
5 THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho. (HarperOne/HarperCollins.) A Spanish shepherd boy ventures to Egypt in search of treasure. 390
6 A MAN CALLED OVE, by Fredrik Backman. (Washington Square.) An angry old curmudgeon gets new next-door neighbors, and things are about to change for all of them — and others. 4
7 ROOM, by Emma Donoghue. (Back Bay/Little, Brown.) The entire world of the 5-year-old boy who narrates this novel is the 11-by-11-foot room in which his mother is being held prisoner. 42
8 THE CHOICE, by Nicholas Sparks. (Grand Central.) How a North Carolina man’s decisions about love and death play out in his life. 22
9 TRUTH OR DIE, by James Patterson and Howard Roughan. (Grand Central.) A lawyer discovers a shocking secret that must be kept out of the wrong hands. 3
10 THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, by Philip K. Dick. (Mariner.) In this alternative history, the Allies lost World War II, and America is ruled by Japan and Nazi Germany. The basis of the Amazon TV series. 9

  1. RADIANT ANGEL, by Nelson DeMille (Grand Central)
  2. ORPHAN TRAIN, by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow/HarperCollins)
  3. 14TH DEADLY SIN, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Grand Central)
  4. THE STORY OF A NEW NAME, by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions)
  5. THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND, by Katarina Bivald (Sourcebooks Landmark)

Have you read any of these books? I’ve heard The Revenant was an awesome movie, not sure about the book?

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Nov 072015

Highlights from the week of October 31- Nov 6, 2015:

  1. Hanging out with Erin and her boys
  2. Having Stew do my brakes (and saving quite a bit of $$$ on labor)
  3. Having Jeffrey back home for a few weeks and getting to see him
  4. Trick or Treating around the neighborhood with Bash & Dash
  5. Having the boys baptized in front of family and their Godparents
  6. Beautiful tribute to Flip Saunders (RIP, Coach)
  7. A quick, cheap fix at Schmit’s to fix a minor problem with my new brakes
  8. Getting info on our schoolwide iPad rollout coming in 4 weeks!
  9. Committing to creating another school yearbook
  10. Last treats of the season from Pine Tree Apple Orchard
  11. Take-out from Donatelli’s
 Posted by at 8:09 am
Nov 012015

Highlights from the week of October 24-October 30:

  1. Dinner at Teppanyaki Grill with Denise and all my boys
  2. All plans in place for Bretton and Sebastian’s Baptism
  3. Sebastian’s First Year video is all done!!!
  4. Finishing The Mighty Miss Malone
  5. Counting and shipping off Box Tops for Education
  6. News that my colleague Megan had her baby boy
  7. News that two other staff are also expecting babies
  8. Breaking News that they have a “person of interest” in Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance from 1989
  9. Crazy hair day at school
  10. No school on Friday to do report cards
  11. Shopping at Kohls and walking the boys around the mall
 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Oct 242015

Highlights from the week of October 17-Oct 23, 2015

  1. Almond Bark and chocolates from Candyland in Stillwater
  2. Scenic drive to Red Wing and Lake Pepin
  3. Dinner at Smokin’ Oak
  4. Sunday family dinner at my folks’ with Gram and Gramps
  5. Being able to sing Happy Birthday to Gramps (90th!)
  6. Healthy check-up with a new Dr (Fernandez)
  7. Phone talks with Noemy, Bradie, Mary and Leslie ;)
  8. Wearing orange for Unity Day
  9. Stopping at Walmart for $5 pumpkin shirt on my drive into work
  10. Having  Bretton try on his Halloween costume
  11. Hearing about Dad and Brian’s trip to Cairo, Dubai and Milan
 Posted by at 1:11 pm
Oct 172015

Highlights from the week of October 10th-Oct 16, 2015:

  1. Celebrating Sebastian’s Birthday with my mom, Michelle and the kids
  2. Helium balloons from Dollar Tree are only $1!!!
  3. Surprise party for Sebastian with Obachan and Grandpa Dennis
  4. Sukiyaki
  5. Finding a new scenic route on a drive through the country
  6. Discovering a beautiful property on the St Croix River
  7. MEA Break and having two extra days off work to spend with the boys
  8. Finally trying Teppanyaki Grill in Fridley. Yum!!!
  9. Running into a former student from Saturn Riverfront Academy (Vincent & his wife)
  10. Dinner at DSpot


 Posted by at 8:09 am
Oct 102015

Highlights from the week of Oct 3- Oct 9:

  1. Open House at Hugo Fire Dept
  2. Riding in Firetruck with Bretton, seeing helicopter up close
  3. Hanging with Rich & Jackson at Oak Shore Park
  4. Dinner at Great Moon with Rich & J-Man
  5. Playtime at Shoreview Community Center with Mary and the boys
  6. Scenic drive along St Croix
  7. Dinner at the Drive-In at Taylors Falls
  8. Playtime at Teddy Bear Park
  9. Cool fall weather
  10. Rollerskating party for my school
  11. Celebrating Bashy’s birthday with my mom, Michelle and the kids
 Posted by at 10:31 am
Oct 102015

Dear Sebastian,

Happy Birthday Bashy Bear! How can it be that you are already one year old? This past year has flown by faster than ever.  You have grown from a little peanut who was not quite 8 lbs to a squirmy little monkey of 22 lbs! There are so many words I could use to describe you: sweet, happy, curious, lovable, smart, problem-solver, tolerant of your big brother, lover of outdoors, observant, and talkative, just to name a few.

The joy you bring to me every day is so precious.  While I already miss  how tiny you were as a little baby, I hold those memories so close to my heart.  I am thankful that I had the foresight to catch a few moments of you on video every day since you were born.  As I look back at those moments, my heart swells with love.  I hope you appreciate these videos as you look back at yourself and your brother growing up together.  You both mean the world to me.

At one years old you are such a great eater.  You love to try new things and love to eat meat, especially chicken. You kind of skipped over the baby-food stage, preferring the foods that we all eat instead. You still drink a bottle but are at the very tail-end of getting breastmilk.  Mama made it the entire year of supplying breastmilk to you, you lucky boy.

You love your blankie and your stuffed cow, Bessie.  Elmo also puts a huge smile on your face. Whenever you see a stuffed animal, you always hold it close to your face and give it a hug.  It is pretty adorable.  You have also been watching your brother Bretton play with trains and cars and want in on the action! It is so cute to see you try to make the cars “go”.  You and Bretton are already fighting over toys! I didn’t think I’d have to worry about that so soon but you always want to play with the toys he is playing with, and vice-versa.  Bretton has been learning to share with you and soon I hope you also learn how to share.

Sebastian, I have no doubt how smart you are already.  You understand so much of what we say to you and already you can follow simple directions.  You are also starting to say some words.  You have been saying “Dada” for months now, trying to get you to say Mama too! I have heard you say “ball” ,”ama”(grandma), and a few other words that sound close to what you’re trying to say (all done, car).

You have been mobile for several months now, crawling since 7 or 8 months and cruising the furniture ever since.  You have no fear on the stairs and climb all over pretty much everything.  You are truly a monkey! You are now taking steps at a fast pace and I am sure you will be walking on your own within the next week, the exact same age Bretton was when he started walking on his own.

I might be biased, but you are one CUTE little kid! We get stopped by strangers quite often who tell us how adorable you are.  Your best feature these days? Your HAIR.  It is fuzzy and sticks straight up and is cute as can be.  You get more comments on your hair, Bashy!! So who do you look more like? Mommy or Daddy? That is a toss-up, it depends on who you ask.  I think you looked more like my side of the family when you were really little but you are reminding me more of Daddy as you get bigger.  I can’t help it but I have always said you remind me of my favorite animal, a baby orangutan.  I mean that in the most adoring way.  Your big, closely-set brown eyes, your fuzzy hair, the way you cling to me, and your monkey-like climbing skills are all the signs.  You are much more adorable than an orangutan though ;)

Bash, I hope you know how much I love you.  You will always be my baby and I promise to continue to look out for you.  You are going to grow up to be such an amazing person!

Love you with all my heart,


 Posted by at 8:03 am
Oct 032015

Highlights from the week of Sept 25 – Oct 2, 2015:

  1. Wedding celebration for my cousin Nick and his new wife Julie
  2. News that one of my cousin’s is expecting a baby!
  3. Pumpkin spice latte
  4. Visit to Pine Tree Apple Orchard
  5. Baby Tate’s 1st Birthday
  6. Bianca & Bennett’s Flag Football Game
  7. Read Walk Two Moons
  8. Read The Crossover
  9. Gorgeous autumn weather


 Posted by at 8:49 am
Sep 262015

Highlights from the week of Sept 19-25:

  1. A beautiful weekend with sunny weather
  2. Scenic drive through the country
  3. Dinner at Khan’s Mongolian after a loooong time
  4. Planning and updating my science lessons for the year
  5. Getting my young students excited about learning science
  6. Catching up with Noemy
  7. Taking the boys to King’s City
  8. Overnight with my parents
  9. Updated pics of my parents’ new Florida home
  10. Reading about Jeffanda’s travel adventures at jeffsetter.com
  11. Getting more goodies from Kohls.com
  12. Updating my “to be read” list on Goodreads with Newbery winners and Maude Hart Lovelace nominees
 Posted by at 1:24 pm
Sep 202015

Highlights from the week of Sept 12-18:

  1. Senior Photoshoot with Taylor, my colleague Patty’s daughter
  2. Having Patty and her husband Don watch the boys while the girls and I were out taking photos
  3. Major shopping trip to Target x2
  4. Editing photos while boys took naps at the same time
  5. Using up Kohls Cash and then 30% off while shopping online (x2!!)
  6. For the first time ever Sebastian slept 11 hours straight
  7. Catching up with Denise which included a dinner of stuffed pork chops, stuffing, corn on the cob and wine
  8. Getting my daily lesson plan template set-up complete with standards and learning targets
  9. Starting the editing process on Bashy’s First Year video
  10. Spaghetti and Meatballs with my parents
  11. Upgrading to IOS9 on my iPhone6
  12. Payday
  13. Happy Hour at Burger Moes with come coworkers
  14. Take-out dinner at Cossettas complete with all our favorites
 Posted by at 9:42 pm
Sep 122015

Highlight from the week of Sept 5-11:

  1. Family dinner at the lake for Labor Day
  2. 4 Day work week
  3. Making our 2nd trip to the MN State Fair this year with the kids
  4. First Day of school (for the 36th consecutive year… 19 as a student and now 17 as a teacher)
  5. Sending several cute Birthday wishes to Bradie on her bday
  6. Visit from our Superintendent
  7. Overnight with my parents
  8. Happy hour overlooking the lake
 Posted by at 9:29 pm
Aug 302015

Highlights of the week August 29- September 5, 2015:

  1. Boating with my parents, the boys, Brian and Bennett
  2. Grilling hot dogs on the boat
  3. Homemade sukiyaki
  4. Opening Week of my 17th year in SPPS
  5. Long phone convo with Noemy
  6. Finding out my friend and colleague Ashley has taken a new position and will be working with my school
  7. Lunch with Ashley at John’s Pizza Cafe
  8. Science conference at Harding
  9. A Dog’s Purpose
  10. Major shopping spree to update my wardrobe
 Posted by at 9:43 pm
Aug 292015

Highlights from the week of August 22-28:

  1. Angela and Jordan’s Wedding at Majestic Oaks GC
  2. Having my MIL watch the boys so I could attend the wedding
  3. Visiting Bri & Mich and new puppy Captain Steven
  4. Sunday prime rib special at Norman Quacks
  5. Cool, rainy weather
  6. Started & Finished The Good Neighbor in 2 days
  7. I’ve read 12 1/2 books since May thanks to the Kindle & Overdrive Apps
  8. Reading about Jeffanda’s travel adventures in Hawaii and Tahiti on Jeffsetter.com
  9. Unauthorized Full House Story
  10. Scenic drive to Taylors Falls
  11. Visiting Erin and new baby Dexter (Channy and Mav)
  12. Overnight with my parents
  13. Bonfire overlooking the lake
  14. Taking the boys to the the Great Minnesota Get-Together
  15. Free tix to MN State Fair
  16. Hearing Def Leppard play as we strolled through the Fair
 Posted by at 7:38 am
Aug 232015

Highlights from the week of Aug 15-21

  1. Homemade chicken chili
  2. Using leftover rotisserie chicken and sweet corn to make the chili!
  3. Spicy gyros at Dino’s for lunch
  4. Hanging out with our neighbors
  5. D-Spot is open in a new, bigger and better location
  6. Sukiyaki
  7. Cool, rainy weather and no need for A/C
  8. Finished An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (boring!)
  9. Lunch date at The Tavern with Gram and Gramp
  10. An overnight with my parents
  11. Taking a great PD course on Using iPads in the Classroom
  12. Chicken taco dinner with my parents and the boys
  13. Introducing Sebastian to all the foods we eat (he is a great eater so far!)
  14. A new, much shorter haircut and haircolor
  15. Johnny Appleseed wings and Emma James burger at DSpot
  16. Spending another precious week at home with my babes
 Posted by at 5:47 pm
Aug 152015

Highlights from the week of August 8- 14:

  1. Japanese Ginza Festival at Midwest Buddhist Temple
  2. Chicken Teriyaki at Ginza
  3. Italian Beef and Hot Dogs at Johnny’s Beef.  Best cheap east in Chicago!
  4. Dinner at Ruth Cris’ Steak House for the first time with Uncle Mike and Marisa
  5. Bleu cheese-crusted ribeye at Ruth Cris’ was amazing
  6. Bretton and Sebastian were well-behaved for our fancy dinner at RCSH
  7. I finished another book: The Orchardist
  8. Taking Bretton and Sebastian to Dunkin Donuts for the first time
  9. Delicious pork steaks grilled at Uncle’s house
  10. Family dinner at Giordanos with the Morimoto ladies and Uncle Mike
  11. A nice drive back from Chicago with a stop at Texas Roadhouse in Eau Claire
  12. Coming home to a clean house
  13. Having cold a/c in our house with this miserable heatwave
  14. Friday-night family dinner up at the Lake
  15. Seeing my nieces and nephew and how well they play with Bretton
  16. Rotisserie chicken and freshly picked corn on the cob
  17. Finishing the June videos of the boys
 Posted by at 10:53 pm
Aug 092015

Highlights from the week of Aug 1-Aug 7:

  1. Seeing Eric Gales at Famous Daves
  2. Date night at Tongue in Cheek
  3. A speedy and quiet drive in to Chicago
  4. A whole plethora of duck hybrid toys from the crane machine in Tomah at Kwik Trip
  5. Our first-ever visit to the Brookfield Zoo
  6. Dolphin show at Brookfield Zoo
  7. Dinner with the Morimotos at Irish Times
  8. Johnny’s Beef
  9. Pequod’s Pizza with Marisa
  10. Portillo’s
  11. Shopping at the Fashion Outlets of Rosemont
  12. New Pumas for the boys
  13. New bag and sunglasses for me
 Posted by at 10:59 pm