Friday, February 24, 2012


Finally it's giveaway time...

I've played with the idea of celebrating my blogging anniversary, but always felt weird about it, although I'm not sure exactly why. This year I decided to bite the bullet and just do it! So, leave a comment with your email address and let me know which one of these fabulous prizes you'd like me to send your way. 

If you've been lurking out there and haven't left a comment before, this would be the perfect opportunity. I'd love to know just how many readers I've got, and who knows, you just might win.

You could choose this 2012 Seasons of Mackinac calendar,

or one of these two hand-appliqued pillow covers.

The navy one is 18 X 18 (about 45.75 cm X 45.75 cm,) the red and green one is a touch smaller at 17 1/4 inches by 17 1/4 inches (about 44 X 44 cm.) Both have a zipper on the back so you can insert a pillow form. I bought them when I was in Egypt, visiting my mom, back in 2010, and had intended to give them away right after I got back, but somehow I never got around to it.  I am willing to ship internationally and will be just as happy if a first time commenter or someone I've known for ages wins. So go ahead and comment - even if you never have before.

Next week, say on Wednesday evening, I'll draw three names and email the winners. Good luck!

On a completely different note, I hear that Arnold Line will begin running again on Tuesday. Wahoo!!  Such good news. Usually this time of year the Straits of Mackinac look like this:

 It's been such an odd winter - we don't really have any ice at all this year. Sure ice chunks blow in and out every few days but there is a lot of open water...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm Still Here, Really

I didn't forget about the giveaway - really I didn't. Life just kind of got in the way. I have been so crazy busy this school year that I just haven't had much time to post. I know I have alluded to it before, but I have never really said exactly what has me so darn busy this year. 

Financially, Michigan is in a bit of trouble, and of of the ways our governor tried to save money was by cutting the funding for K-12 schools. So, for our little school to make ends meet, we had to make some pretty drastic cuts.

One of those cuts was a teacher. Thankfully she retired and no one was let go. But either way we were one staff member short and the school board decided that the best solution was to rearrange our elementary students.  Since we are a K-12 school with only about 85 kids, we have always had combined grades: a K-1 split, a 2-3, a 4-5, and a 6-7; the high school students move from class to class just like in other high schools.

Given the numbers of students in each grade it was decided to combine the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades into one group. (Keep in mind that those four grades contained a total of 15 students.) I'm not saying it was a good solution to the problem, or a bad solution to the problem. It was just the solution. The plan was to keep the four grades together for two years - until the number of students in the group would be too large keep in one classroom. Oh yes, and our special education teacher was cut to half time.

So, as you can imagine I've been busy - teaching 4th - 7th grade math as well as science to the 4th and 5th graders in the morning, and then teaching math, science and social studies to the 2nd and 3rd graders in the afternoon.   I'm trying my best to cover all the material, give each student the individual attention they need, plan meaningful lessons and activities, and grade and return work in a timely manner - not to mention have a life outside of work.

You can imagine how I felt when, earlier this week, the superintendent told us the that the school would most likely be able to separate the 4th - 7th grade group next year and that our special ed. teacher would be able to come back full time. We'll still be down a teacher, and I'm sure things won't be back to "normal," but it's a step back toward "normal," and that will be a good thing...

Friday, February 10, 2012


Today The Quilted Turtle turns four.
Four years,
471 posts,
and more new friends than I can count.

Starting a blog was actually my husband's idea. Back in 2008, for Valentine's Day, he bought me my DSLR camera. So with camera in hand and support from my good friend, Maggie, off I went into the blogosphere. The rest, as they say, is history.

I've really enjoyed this space. Though sometimes I think I must bore people. My life isn't that exciting - just kids, crafts and a dash of Mackinac; not much drama. But that's just the way I like it.

As a way to celebrate my little anniversary, and show you all how much I appreciate your comments and kind words, I am having a give away.  Check back in a day or two to see what I've got to share...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Moonlight Madness

Last night we had a  gorgeous full moon. It lit up the Grand Hotel so beautifully this morning as I walked to work (at about 6:00) I just couldn't resist taking a few pictures. 

By about 7:15, as the moon was setting over St. Ignace, the scene looked more like this. Cold, quiet, and so very peaceful...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

To Brighten Your Day

If you have kids at home, you've got to make a batch of this dough. It's playdough that actually conducts electricity, and let me tell you - it's really cool and so easy to make.

Conductive Dough Recipe 

1 cup water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup salt
3 Tbsp. cream of tartar*
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
 food coloring (optional)

(*9 Tbsp. of  lemon juice may be substituted)

  1. Mix water, 1cup of the flour, salt, cream of tartar, vegetable oil, and food coloring in a pot.
  2. Cook over medium heat  stirring constantly.
  3. The mixture will start to boil and then get chunky.
  4. Keep stirring the mixture until it forms a ball.
  5. Once a ball forms in the middle of the pot, place it on a lightly floured board. The ball will be very hot. Flatten it out and let it cool for a couple minutes before kneading
  6. Slowly knead the remaining flour into the ball until you are happy with the consistency
  7. Store in an airtight container. While in the container, water from the dough will create condensation - it's normal - just knead the dough after getting it out.

I just can't tell you how much fun the kids have been having with this stuff. We didn't have any of the fancy equipment they suggested, so we just used 9V batteries and pulled LEDs out of a string of Christmas lights.

(If the LEDs don't light, you may have to pull them out of the dough and stick them back in the other way. They'll only light with the electricity going in one direction. You'll also want to make sure the pieces of dough touching the contacts on the top of the battery do not touch one another. If they do touch, there is the possibility that the battery will overheat and rupture.)

I had so much fun watching my five and seven year-old build electric circuits and then troubleshoot when the lights wouldn't light. Sigh. Such good science. I am so going to use this stuff with my 4th and 5th graders at school...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Three Cheers

Lots of little girls are cheerleaders on Mackinac Island.
(Elementary school age.)
This year two young men
have been welcomed into the squad.

After all, who can resist pom-pons and
super-cool dance moves?

Not my son.

He's taking a bit of flack from
a couple of the other kids at school,
but he doesn't seem to care.
I try to remind him to be true to himself
and not worry about what other people say.

So far, so good...