Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Tomorrow is December so cookie season will officially begin. Hooray!

Monday, November 28, 2022


Just after finishing Thanksgiving dinner my husband's pager went off; the Mackinac Island Fire Department was being sent to the Mackinac Island Public School due to smoke in the building. Thankfully, it wasn't a fire but steam from a malfunctioning boiler. The fire department went back to the school on Sunday afternoon, again for steam. Everything has been fixed now, but the kids and I sure were thankful for our extra day of vacation.

I used my extra time to shop Lands' End's 60% off sale, make a giant batch of Scottish shortbread, make a batch of Spritzgeb├Ąck (German spritz cookies), felt a pile of wool sweaters, and to start putting up the Christmas tree. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Halloween 2022

Halloween this year was different as there were no mama-made costumes; both kids kind of did their own thing with what we had on hand.

My son 3D printed and painted a version of this mask, while my daughter created her own Dr. Horrible costume. Everyone thought she was a Ghostbuster, but she was using my Proton Pack as his Freeze Ray, so it wasn't surprising.

(Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible)

This year's candy haul was 17.6 pounds (about 8 kg) for my son and and 8.4 pounds (about 4 kg) for my daughter. It may seem like a big difference, but my sone and his friends covered quite  bit more ground than my daughter did. K and I just hit the houses close to home.

Sunday, November 13, 2022


It felt so good to come home! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my time with my family and I'm thrilled to be able to help, but I missed my family. And my bed...

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Small World

After my sister-in-law got home from work today I popped out to do a little thrifting. 500 miles (about 800 km) away from home and what do I see at Goodwill? Not only did I find this Mackinac Island sweatshirt but I found Round Island Lighthouse as well.

Sadly, no ceramic Christmas trees, but I'll keep looking...

Tuesday, November 8, 2022


Since J has gotten out of the hospital, she has been sending me out each day to do the shopping. Today's list called for: yogurt, relish, an onion, batteries, skim milk, 2% milk, cups, hotdogs and a bag of Caesar salad. It felt so strange grabbing the little cart when I enter the grocery store. I'm use to my carts looking like this:

But that's what happens when you only make it to Wal-Mart or Meijer once a month. To be honest it has been kind of nice to "run out to the store." For me shopping usually takes all day, so popping out to the shop and being back home within an hour has been a nice treat.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

On the Mend

My mother-in-law came through her surgery like a champ; now has a Gor-Tex repair to her aorta as well as a new aortic valve. Well, new to her; its former owner was a pig. 

The first couple of nights were loud and filled with pinging machines all night long. (She was hooked up to about eight different gizmos that all "pinged" at slightly different pitches.) But today her condition was downgraded (or is it upgraded?) and we moved to a lower care floor. Three of the five IVs were removed and she has been off all narcotics for 24 hours now. At this point, she only has the heart monitor.

Now that the heavy drugs have stopped she is much more herself, which is wonderful to see. I'll tell you, if you live near Indianapolis, this guy is the doctor to see if you need a valve replaced or an aortic aneurysm repaired. The care my mother-in-law has received at St. Vincent's Ascension Hospital was top-notch! 

The best news is, there is a good chance she will be discharged tomorrow. She'll still need help for several weeks, but things are moving in a good direction!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Heading Out

It was a beautiful morning to catch the first boat (even if it was a slow boat.) Today I am heading south to help my mother-in-law. She's having open heart surgery tomorrow and needs to have a family member in the hospital with her. Everyone else was either unavailable of out of leave time, so I get the honor of caring for her. (I mean that seriously - she's been wonderful to me.)

Hopefully I didn't forget anything. Leaving eight days worth of teaching plans for a substitute is a daunting task. Luckily, my mom is subbing for me. As a retired teacher, this isn't her first rodeo so that made things much easier. And, I suppose, I'll only be a text away if I did forgot something.

So please keep me in your thoughts today (as I make the eight hour drive to Indianapolis), and keep JB in your thoughts for the next few days as she has surgery and recuperates.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Halloween Fun

I like celebrating holidays in my classroom, but I try to do it in the most academic way possible. (You know, there are only so many days of school and there numerous standards to teach - even more for me since I teach multiple grades.) So, my holiday parties generally involve a Breakout activity. They may involve a lot of prep, but the kids love them. 

Each group of students begins with a puzzle. Working together to solve that puzzle gets them the combination to the next box, which contains their next puzzle. One by one they solve the puzzles, and hopefully "breakout" and solve the problem.

I can't think of a better way to teach / practice cooperation and problem solving skills! (And, of course, eating snacks and having fun.) Most of the puzzles I use come from Breakout EDU, though theirs are designed for one big group to work on together. I've found working through a series of locked boxes in small groups works better for me that having the entire class working together on one puzzle at a time. In my experience that allows the kids who struggle a bit with problem solving to sit back and let the other kids do all the work. When they work in pairs or small groups, it allows all of the students to actively participate. This year they were able to unlock the boxes and save Trunk or Treat. Yippee!