Sunday, January 5, 2014


On New Year's Eve, as I was making vats full of meatballs, sausage, and sauce for our family New Year's Day celebration, I noticed that Michelle, One Grateful Teacher,  had nominated me for my very first "blogging award" ever! I must admit I was honored to even think that I put Sunshine into someone's day by writing!  Michelle is quite the blogger and I Slice with her on Tuesdays, Celebrate with her on Saturdays, and follow her on Twitter!  Michelle certainly inspires me, but due the the holiday week filled with cooking, eating, Scrabble playing, and movie watching, I put off responding because oh my, there were a lot of questions and this would take some time!  

Then, two days ago, I was nominated for another Sunshine award by Janna.  "Holy Cow" I thought to myself, "Janna is also a blog I LOOK TO for SUNSHINE."  I Celebrate with Janna on Saturdays, Slice with her on Tuesdays, and am inspired by her regularly.  She finds the good in everyday life!  "Yikes," I concluded, "I better start thinking about this."
Here are the rules:
1.  Acknowledge the nominating blogger - done
2.  Share 11 random facts about yourself - below
3.  Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger creates for you - below
4.  List bloggers - hmmmm I really like you guys :)  and I like lots of other bloggers who have already done this "chain letter" sunshine award.....for anyone else...please know that SOL and Celebrate Saturday comments ALWAYS bring me SUNSHINE!

5.  Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they've been nominated.  Don't nominate a blogger who has nominated you. - done! 

Eleven Random Facts about Me: 

1. I love to wake up in the morning at the beach.  There is something magical about the orange sun on the horizon, a good book, and some hot tea.   

2.. I collect old basal readers.  I started with a few that were my grandmothers but my collection is much larger now thanks to friends and the Stormville Flea Market!

3. I met my husband in the library.  My kids think this is so weird!  One of my kids avoided libraries because of this potential! 

4.  I blindly followed my faith until I became a CCD teacher when my own children were growing up.  My students challenged me to rethink my beliefs and to back up what I said with the Bible.  Now, my faith is a conscious decision and a guiding force in my life.

5. I love on top of a mountain in a place called Stormville.  It is named for the Storm family who settled here long ago; however, it has earned its name thanks to the weather that rolls through!  They close the interstate near here all the time!  They often say "snow" above Rt 84 (the interstate) and rain below!  I don't know how the storms can "see" the interstate but they do!

6. I often slide down my long, steep, cliff-filled driveway on snowy or icy mornings.  I wrap a long coat around me and try not to go too fast! No matter what, it is safer to have my car at the bottom!  It makes for good stories at "cocktail parties" but then the truth is always stranger than fiction.

7. I have been writing phonetically based children's books for my students for many, many years.  Some of them are pretty good!  Someday, I hope to publish them!

8.. These days, I teach beginning readers during the day and graduate students at night.  I am really blessed as I really do love both jobs; however, there was a time when at least one school district did not consider me worthy of a teaching job. I know now that it was a lesson in holding tight to your dreams.  

9. I love to eat sea food: salmon, shrimp, scallops, crab and even octopus.  I learned to eat all this as an adult after I "became" Italian through marriage and our diet morphed to more closely to what they eat in the old country!  Until then, I thought of canned tuna and fish sticks as seafood!

10.  I never kept a journal until I started blogging to be an example to my grad students.  I TOLD my own kids to do so, and they did.  I told zillions of kids to do so, and many of them did.  I never followed my own advice.

11. I love my Kindle reader.  I can have a book in a second.  It would take me at least 90 minutes round trip to get a book at the nearest bookstore!  I have enough books downloaded to survive 1 month of snow days!

Here are the questions from Michelle...

1. What's your favorite quote? Why? 
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. (Lincoln)  I always knew that life was fragile, but when I lost my brother to cancer a few years ago, this quote took on new meaning.  We need to make every day of our lives count. We need to tell those we love that we love them/  
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

2. What's your theme song? Why?
I don't really have one, but when my kids were younger and didn't want to help clean the house on Saturday mornings, I used to play Beach Boy music while I cleaned.  Now, it makes me happy and remember those Saturday mornings when I would blast Barbara Anne until they did some cleaning!  
3. Who inspires you?
There are many people who have inspired me in different aspects of my life.  My sister in law was an inspiration as a mother and wife.  Professionally I have been inspired by Donald Graves who proposed that we all had a story to tell.   
4. If you had a weekend (and money was no object), what would you do? Who would be with you?
I might fly to California and spend it with my cousin, Karen.  We'd probably hit TJ Maxx and a farmer's market before catching a movie and eating too much popcorn and then staying up too late talking! OR I might just pack up and hit a beach somewhere warm and invite Karen, or my kids to join me!
5. What's the best part of your day?
Coming home and eating dinner with my husband,  Even after all these years, there is something special about sharing our days.  We don't eat together every night, even now, but for many years it was a rare and special treat.  
6. Three high points of 2013?
A family retirement celebration at West Point
A 25 mile bike ride this summer
My family-filled holidays this year
7. Secret guilty pleasure?
popcorn - love it - too much
8. If you could spend time with anyone living or dead, who would it be? 
The list is long but it would include my brother and my sister in law who left us much too soon. 
9. What are you reading right now?
Close Reading - Lehman and Roberts - it's pretty great and for my school book club
Assessing Learners with Special Needs - Overton - it's for my grad school class
10. All time favorite book from childhood.
11. What's your one little word for 2014?

Here are the questions from Janna
  1. What was the best surprise you had last year?  I had a couple of students who grew (as far as reading goes) exponentially last year!
  2. How did you start blogging? I was trying to model writing for my grad students in a writing class. 
  3. When and where do you like to do your writing?  In my office on my desktop computer in the morning.  
  4. What drives your life? my faith and my family 
  5. If money was no issue, where would you like to travel and why? if I had longer than a weekend, I would go to Italy (northern) and learn to cook like Lidia!  
  6. What is your favorite love story (film or print)? Notting Hill
  7. You have four days; no need to do school work or house work. What would you do? read for fun - I have lots of books on my Kindle 
  8. What is the best thing about twitter and other social media?  My PLN - although after all the time I have spent on this I am not so sure!  
  9. What is your next challenge? I am trying to find time to exercise!  
  10. What creative thing are you planning to do next? write a book that is rolling around my head 
  11. What is the favorite place that you have lived and why? Right here - in snowy, cold Stormville.  I am close enough to the city and immersed in the country.  

NOW, KNOWING FULL WELL THAT SOME OF YOU MAY NOT HAVE TIME TO COMPLETE THIS FOR A LONG TIME, I propose these questions to some bloggers who inspire me! 

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