Gathering Graces 3/30/2019

*The crocuses are in full bloom in front of the house, and in the backyard.  Spring is bursting out all over around the yard, and I LOVE it!!
*Paul, Zoe and I headed out to the new breakfast restaurant in Pinehurst, Goose ‘n the Tree Fresh Baked Cafe , and enjoyed breakfast before Zoe headed back to Nampa.  We all enjoyed our breakfast.  If you have not had a chance to try this place, I highly recommend it!  I believe you will not be disappointed!!  Plus they have fresh baked good for sale as well. 
*Paul completed the fence around the vegetable garden.  Now comes the planning.  What to plant in the raised beds?  What to put in pots in the other spaces inside the garden.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  But, oh so excited to get these decisions made and brought to fruition!!

*It was hard to say goodbye to Zoe, because it was such a wonderful visit.  But she needed to get back home.  She made it home safe and sound, and reported no ants had returned to her apartment, which she was very thankful!
*I don’t follow the NCAA March Madness that closely, but I did get our Amazon Firestick to broadcast the Gonzaga vs. Texas Tech game this afternoon.  I was on edge, and I am not even that big of a fan.  My sister, brother-in-law, brother, and many of my friends must have been having some tough moments at the end of this game. 
*Down to my classroom I went to teach six classes tonight.  I have hit a milestone in my teaching....1,000 classes taught since I began in July.  The nice thing about getting to this milestone is it opens up some other opportunities that I hope to take advantage of when they become available through VIPKID.


Gathering Graces 3/29/2019

*When three out of my six classes this morning were Pre-VIP classes (all three students were five year olds), I had quite the workout with all the smiling, singing and moving I did in those three classes.  Whew!!!
*Paul was up bright and early and outside working on the fence he is building around our vegetable garden bed.  Paul is the master of reusing material.  The wood that he is using for this fence was a wood deck on the back of our house that he dismantled after living here for a couple of years.  The wood then became our raised beds, and have been for the past ten years or so.  We knew the raised beds were falling apart at the end of last summer, so Paul took them down and we purchased some horse troughs to use this summer as our raised beds.  So now the wood gets a third life....the fence around the garden.  How cool is that???

*My nap is always needed in the morning, but it felt really good this morning.  Paul, Zoe and I ate some lunch then headed to Coeur d’Alene to do some shopping, Paul needed a haircut, we stopped at Starbucks for some drinks, and then we headed to Daft Badger Brewing to meet Molly and Cosette for dinner.  What a wonderful establishment to enjoy some drinks and dinner. It just has a really nice feel.  We had a great time with our conversations centering around what two of our daughters do for a living, working with Special Education students.  And, I also had a bonus at dinner.  Tri Delta sister Lisa Ellison was also at Daft Badger Brewing and she came over to say hello and it was so great to see her.  It was a wonderful evening that came to an end all too quickly!!  I am so glad Molly and Cosette were able to come and join us for dinner.  We need to do that more often!  Hopefully next time Travis and Taylor can join us as well.
*When Zoe, Paul and I arrived home, we had just enough energy to play a few more rounds of Racko.  The Racko gods were not in my favor tonight.  Zoe and Paul both had some great rounds!!

Gathering Graces 3/28/2019

*One of the advantages of working from home and teaching classes early is having the rest of the day free to hang out with Zoe who is here for her spring break. 
*We went to Wah Hing for lunch, and enjoyed some delicious food. 
*When we got home, we spent a few hours playing some games on Nintendo Switch.  Most of the time we spent playing “Mario Odyssey”, a game Zoe had played with me when she was here at Christmas.  My skills from my early Nintendo playing days back in the early 1990’s came back a bit as I enjoyed playing this game.
*When Paul arrived home from parent/teacher conferences, we decided to play a game of Scrabble.  I couldn’t believe I was the big winner!  But we did really good using the board, and coming up with some really good words!!  Playing Scrabble always reminds me of Mom. Since we have our own Scrabble board, Zoe asked if she could take Mom’s Scrabble game home with her, and we said of course!!!
*We are also on a Racko kick, so we played that as well.  Paul was the big winner tonight!!  What a fun day hanging out with Zoe!!


Gathering Graces 3/27/2019

*Our puppet show went well today, and the students seemed to enjoy the presentation.  Jordan, Naomi and Brianna all did a great job!!  We told the story of Rupunzel in a very unique way, as a puppets portrayed Mother, Father, Ogre, Witch and Demon Radish.  Yes, there was a Demon Radish in the show (portrayed by the Dragon puppet).  Zoe came to watch and said it was good.  After the puppet show, we cleaned things up and went into the library and played Apples to Apples with some of the students until it was time for them to go home.  It was a fun afternoon.
*Earlier, I had gone to Kellogg High School to meet with Rachel, one of the counselors, about helping start a program for the high school students to prepare for College and Careers.  And I was so lucky, that while I was there the school had a fire drill!!  LOL!  After my meeting I went up and put some finished touches on my pottery piece that I have been working on.  It will be fired during spring break, and I will be able to start glazing it the following week.
*After Paul returned home after Parent/Teacher conferences, I went down to set up my classes, and he and Zoe decided we should all play some “Racko”.  It was a fun game to play as we visited.
*Here are a few pictures from the puppet show.

The part of the Mother and Father were portrayed by the Queen and King.

The part of the Witch was portrayed by the Mermaid.

The part of the Demon Radish was portrayed by the Dragon.

The part of the Ogre was portrayed by The Pirate.


Gathering Graces 3/26/2019

*Christy’s cats were enjoying the warmth of the living room when Paul, Zoe and I arrived at around 8 p.m.  We typically don’t ever see the cats upstairs, because they don’t arrive until the dogs have gone to bed.  So it was a treat to have some of the cats around for the evening.  I took a great photo of Grayson (above) sitting on the back of Everett’s chair.
*Bill, Debbie, Patrick and Meagan arrived around 8:30 p.m. and we had a nice visit with everyone for a while before this early rising teacher needed to go home and get to bed.  It was fun to all get together again before Patrick and Meagan fly home tomorrow.
*Typically I don’t do the after school drama program on Tuesdays, but, because of parent teacher conferences this week, and spring break next week, there is no after school program on Thursday.  So today two of the students and myself practiced our puppet show that we will perform on Wednesday for the rest of the students in the after school program.  We are hoping a third student will join us tomorrow for the performance, but, if not, we three have it covered!!
*Earlier in the day, Michele and I met at The Bean for coffee and to visit more about me taking over as Treasurer of our local P.E.O. chapter.  After talking through some things on the computer, we drove up to U.S. Bank in Kellogg to get my name on the signature card.  Tami Atkins helped us through the whole process, and was wonderful to work with.  Even thought I bank at U.S. Bank, I rarely go into the bank building, as I do much of my banking through the ATM.  Sadly, the Kellogg branch of the U.S. Bank will be closing at the end of June and we will then have two branches left in the valley, one in Wallace and one in Pinehurst. 


Gathering Graces 3/25/2019

*I spent a wonderful afternoon catching up with Kellee Crall Mills.  We met at Radio Brewery in uptown Kellogg for lunch, then we came back to my house and opened some Christmas gifts our friend April M Lee had sent us from Italy.  We enjoyed each receiving a book about a woman growing up in Tuscany,  and a Hoberman Sphere.  We made a video thanking April for the gifts and sent it to her.  Such an awesome way to spend a Monday afternoon.
*Dinner plans I had made got canceled, so  I didn’t eat much for dinner, and Paul found something when he got home from Driver’s Ed. I have been eating pretty poorly the last few days, so it is time to start eating better.
*Zoe let us know today she changed her plans, and will be driving up to Kellogg tomorrow.  She originally was going to come up on Wednesday from her home in Nampa, but decided to come a day early.  She is on Spring Break this week.


Gathering Graces 3/24/2019

*It was wonderful having a few extra people at Family Dinner tonight.  Debbie is here in Kellogg for her spring break for her substitute teaching stint in Eugene, Oregon, and she arrived with her son Patrick Hennessey and his girlfriend Meagan Gibson, who live in Portland, Oregon.  Bill asked if we could have everyone in our home since we have more room, and we were happy to host.  It was wonderful to see Debbie and Patrick, and meet Meagan.  Bill and Debbie provided pizza from a new place in town Zany’s, which is located in the Sunshine Inn building.  Zany’s used to be in Kellogg, then left for a while, and has now returned.  I enjoyed the three kinds of pizza we had, and look forward to having more Zany’s pizza in the future.
*I spent some time after I returned home from church getting some “spring’ into the d├ęcor of the house.  I found my yellow silk forsythia branches and added them to a vase in the front foyer.  I found some other little touches to add to the living room as well.  But I am sorely lacking in spring things.  I may have to do a little spring decoration shopping soon!  All the spring colors just cheer a person up!!
*After feeling tired a lot, I am finally feeling a bit more energized during the day.  It is amazing how the sunshine can help with our energy level.  Next week Paul will get our bikes out and we will get them tuned up and ready for some bike riding during Paul’s spring break.  I can’t wait!!!


Gathering Graces 3/23/2019

*This afternoon I attended the service of another high school teacher who recently passed away.  Mary Jean Hinkemeyer was the P.E. teacher at Kellogg High School while I was in high school.  I worked most closely with her as the Pep Club Advisor when I was the Pep Club President my senior year at KHS.  She was also the Varsity Volleyball Coach when I played J.V. Volleyball.  (I didn’t make the cut for Varsity my senior year).  She also was the girl’s Track Coach, but after doing track my freshman year at Kellogg Junior High School, that was quite enough track for me.  The service was a wonderful tribute to “Mrs. H”.  The service ended with all the KHS grads and teachers in the audience standing and singing the “Alma Mater”.  If you are on Instagram, search #ksdpride, and on the kelloggschools Instagram page is a short video of the Alma Mater being sung. It was pretty cool!!
*One of my revelations about Mrs. H was watching a show on the Spokane Public Television station soon after I moved back to Kellogg.  Mrs. H was one of the people they were talking to, and it was about how instrumental she was in making sure Title IX was followed through in the high schools in North Idaho, making it possible for organized varsity girl sports in this area.
Title IX was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions. Title IX benefits both males and females, and is at the heart of efforts to create gender equitable schools. The law requires educational institutions to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone based on sex. Under this law, males and females are expected to receive fair and equal treatment in all arenas of public schooling: recruitment, admissions, educational programs and activities, course offerings and access, counseling, financial aid, employment assistance, facilities and housing, health and insurance benefits, marital and parental status, scholarships, sexual harassment, and athletics. 
*It was a revelation, realizing that girl’s sports at Kellogg High School was something rather new, and had only been around for a few years once I started high school.  And Mrs. H was a big part of why these sports teams existed.  Girls in the late seventies and early eighties were actually pioneers in organized varsity sports in this area.
*Another part of the service that was a unexpected treat was running into Debbie Alexander and her husband Kim.  Kim was the pastor who performed the funeral service.  Debbie and Kim’s daughter Meghan Mitchell is married to Lori Hinkemeyer Mitchell’s son Tyler.  Lori is Mrs. H’s daughter.  It was fun seeing Debbie in person, instead of just on “social media”, and catching up with how their family is doing.  She is such a delightful person, and I always enjoy visiting with her....plus we are “birthday buddies”....we share the same birthday!
*I went downstairs to teach classes, and Paul finished preparations for hosting the cast party of the play his students performed at Kellogg High School recently.  At one point, in between classes, the seven students came down in the basement and Paul was giving them a tour, and they were all super quiet as I was getting ready to start my next class.  Paul had a great time hosting the party, and by the time I was done teaching and prepping for the next day’s classes, they were gone.


Gathering Graces 2/22/2019

*Our book group was not able to meet last month because of members traveling, so we gathered together at Sue’s house today to discuss The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, a novel by Joanna Cannon.  It was an interesting study of people living in a close knit community and making assumptions about people, and how they get it all wrong.  It is a real fascinating study of human behavior.
*We have supplementary classes we can get certified to teach with VIPKID, and one is called Voice of VIPKID.  This is a class where you teach a song to a student for 25 minutes, and then they go on to create their own “music video” for friends and family.  This morning, my first two classes were Voice of VIPKID classes.  From 3 a.m. to 3:30 a.m., I sang about What Animals Do You Like?  From 3:30 a.m. to 4 a.m., I sang about being a Food Ninja. Both students, Kim, who was six, and Eric, who was four, were fun to sing with.  When Eric and I started to talk about apples, he ran off camera, and came back with a wooden puzzle of China, and started pointing to a certain part of the country.  He mom explained that this area was known for growing apples.  I was pretty impressed Eric could point this out to me.  Eric also was pretty cool, because he had a Thomas the Tank Engine mask he showed me during class!!
*During my evening classes, I discovered one of my student plays the flute.  I am hoping sometime in the future we can play our flutes together during class.
*Zoe seems to be making progress on her ant problem.  Thanks to everyone who commented and gave suggestions to help my daughters and their problems with the ants.  Zoe first line of defense was peppermint oil. She is also using cinnamon oil.  She mixes the oils with water, and sprays it on the area where the ants seem to be entering the house.


Gathering Graces 3/21/2019

*The morning was spent getting new colors in my hair and a new cut.  I always enjoy when this day comes.  I had to laugh when I was sitting in the chair after I got there, and Lori, whe massage therapist who works at the salon, came over and was talking to my stylist and as she walked away, I said something and she was surprised it was me in the chair, because she said, “my hair looked too normal.”  Ha! Ha!  I had to laugh.  I can’t really done anything to it this morning, so it was looking a bit flat.
*Through a series of email, I found out I will be having two more drama classes, next Tuesday and Wednesday, with a puppet show being performed on Wednesday.  Today we created some “sets” and props for the puppet show, and read through the script.  It will be fun to put on the show on Wednesday.
*After class I came home and took care of the animals, wrote my blog and prepped for my classes the next day.  Then I drove over to Christy’s house.  She prepared some Taco Salad and invited us over as the “March Madness” plays on the television.
*In a quirky turn of events, as reported through our daily Voxer talks, all three daughters are dealing with ant infestations in their apartments.  Isn’t that weird?  I am hoping the ants don’t decide to show up at our house anytime soon.
*Because of my early morning hair appointment, I didn’t get my nap, so I headed straight for be when I got home. 


Gathering Graces 3/20/2019

*I only have a couple of times left at  after school drama program.  I found this script called “Rapunzel” to have the students perform as part of the program.  We read through it and then brought out the puppets and worked on it a little bit.  I am hoping there are enough students that attend next Tuesday and Wednesday so we can put it on.
*I picked up Christy and we headed to Kingston to our P.E.O. meeting at Debbie Gibler’s house.  It was a wonderful evening getting together with these women.
*Sun, sun, sun again today.  I even opened the window in the bedroom last night.  I love the fresh air!!  And the super moon!!!  Wow!!


Gathering Graces 3/19/2019

*It was another beautiful, sunny, warm, blue sky day in the Silver Valley today.  I went out and ate lunch on the patio, and it was almost too warm to be out there for too long.  What a wonderful sensation!!  The sliding glass door to the backyard was open most of the day.  I love the fresh air filling the house!!
*Last fall I never pulled up the kale that was growing in a couple of the tires where I planted my salad greens last year.  I was surprised when I looked at it today that it looks as if it may have survived the winter, and will come back again this spring and summer.  I will keep my eye on it.  I hope to.  It was really good kale!!
*I spent most of the day finishing reading Barbara Lynch’s memoir Out of Line: A Life of Playing With Fire. It was a unique look at the world of James Beard award winning chefs, award winning restaurants, and Lynch’s unorthodox way of becoming a part of that world.  As I read her book, it made me want to try some different flavors in my food, built a wood cooking stove in my backyard, and travel to Italy to experience more of their cuisine and wine.  It makes me want to plan a trip to visit Boston with Zoe (who bought me this book for Christmas, worked for a summer in Boston, and loves to be adventurous with cooking as much as I do)  and go eat at some of her restaurants.  I would also love to have Paul join us and attend a Boston Celtic’s basketball game as well.  Someday....someday!!!
*When I drove Nikki and I to KHS for our walk this morning, the moon wasn’t quite full, but it was suspended in all its glory above the western horizon.  It was beautiful.  I was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to see it this evening.
*Paul and I are having many conversations about our future, and what our plans are in the next few years.  What do we want to do?  What avenues do we want to pursue.  We have a lot of ideas.  But we need to find the one that fits best, and start focusing on that one.   The only thing we know is we want to do it together.  With Paul’s spring break coming up, we are going to spend much time devoted to prayer, discussions and planning for “what’s next!!!   (Thank you Jed Bartlet!!)


Gathering Graces 3/18/2019

*The Silver Valley Christian Academy had a pastie sale and we could pick them up today.  I heated a couple of for our dinner, and they were delicious.  Very filling, too. It was a great fund-raiser for the school, and I am glad we could contribute!!
*The weather was so warm and beautiful today!!  The sun was wonderful, but it was strange being out in the backyard feeling warm, surrounded by the snow that is still on the ground.  But is it slowly retreating.
*I was so thankful for our REAL Women meeting tonight.  What a wonderful discussion, and each time I attend I am so encouraged.  This group of women is such a blessing.


Gathering Graces 3/17/2019

*The whole time Pastor David was preaching this morning, I bet he didn’t realize that he had a bit of a St. Patrick’s Day theme to his message......his message was about the covenant God made with all living creatures regarding the rainbow.  This nice thing is, we don’t find actual gold at the end of our rainbow....instead we find a God of love who cares for all living creatures, and He promised never again to destroy all life by flood.  In Genesis 9 is says: “And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
*My sister-in-law Laurie came to visit this weekend, and was able to help lead worship during our Sunday morning service.  (Keep my friend and our church’s worship leader Chris Schonewald Meyer in your prayers.  She is dealing with some health issues, and could use your prayers so her body is healed.)  It was a wonderful service today.
*Laurie had never eaten at Radio Brewery in uptown Kellogg, so Paul and I took her to lunch.  Laurie and I both enjoyed a Bahn Mi sandwich and Paul enjoyed a green chili burger.  It was a wonderful time of talking and visiting on a beautiful, sunny, almost officially spring day here in Kellogg, Idaho.
*When I returned home I baked two loaves of Irish Soda Bread (low carb keto style) for our family dinner tonight.  If you like to try and make this delicious bread, you can find the recipe here. There is also a Guinness Dipping Sauce you can make to dip your bread in that is really good as well.  You can find a link to it on former link for the bread.
*Paul went outside to work in the yard some, and the temperature was so mild I decided to open up any window I could to let some fresh air and sunshine into the house.  What a delight to have fresh, clear, crisp air making its way through the house.  Paul said our “big pile of dirt” had been covered with snow a few days ago, and now the snow is almost gone.  I can’t wait to see things start coming up in this fertile pile again this year.

*As Paul and Laurie headed out for a run, I got ready for tomorrow’s classes so I could have it all read to go before we headed over for tonight’s dinner.
*Christy prepared family dinner tonight, but since our numbers were a little bigger tonight, with the addition of Jane McShane and Laurie Roberts, Bill hosted the dinner because he had more room at his table.  We had a wonderful menu of food items as you can see below, with contributions from Christy, Jane and myself.

Our menu for our St. Patrick's Day Family Feast


Gathering Graces 3/16/2019

*It was nice starting teaching at 4 a.m. this morning.  It is amazing how an extra hour of sleep helps.  I can’t wait until I start teaching in the morning when there will actually be a little bit of light outside.
*Paul was exploring around the yard and said there was something yellow blooming in the front flower bed.  Hello crocuses...the heralder of spring!!
*Zoe is applying to graduate school so she can obtain her teaching certificate to teach Special Education.  She is applying for a program through Boise State University.  She had sent Paul and I a letter for us to edit, so we spent some time editing the letter this afternoon so she can submit it before the April 1 deadline.  She also took a Math Praxis test that she passed last week.  Then Zoe called, and we talked about options for financing the cost of the Masters Program.  She applied for the FAFSA, and she is looking at other kinds of aid as well. 
*When Paul and I don’t feel like cooking and want some fast food, one of our “go-to” keto friendly orders is a special hamburger at a local drive in called “Humdinger”.  The burger has ham, bacon, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and onions.  We both get it without the bun.  We just cut it up and make it into a salad.  It is filling and delicious.  We don’t indulge that often, but every once in a while it hits the spot!!
*My classes went well tonight, but teaching until 9 p.m. seemed a bit late.  I will change to ending at 8:30 p.m. instead in a couple of weeks.