Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Photo #208/365: Brand New Markers

Every year I order a dozen of each color marker to last us all school year. If we take care of them and put the caps on carefully, they will last all the way until June. Here is our marker supply for the 2011-2012 school year. Take good care of them, kids!

Photo #207/365: School Supplies

Today I went into my classroom to work for a few hours. I moved desks, put away supplies, and started rearranging my classroom library. Don't you just love stacks of brand new school supplies? I sure do. Maybe that's why I'm a teacher.

Photo #206/365: New Purse

I love a good bargain, but I don't go shopping very often. That's why this past weekend was so unusual. Not only did I go to one mall, I went to two. I still went with a plan and on a budget.

The summer bag I have used for the past three years, broke at the end of last summer, so I have continued carrying my winter bag. I've been keeping my eyes open for something to replace it. That's why I was very pleased when I found this bag on the sale table at Dillard's for only $15.99. It isn't what I would usually choose, but now that I've carried it for a few days, I'm really starting to like it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Photo #205/365: Soft Pretzel

I am really sick of the hot weather, and while it isn't as hot today as it has been during the past week, it is way too hot for my taste. With the heat and humidity, I have no interest in spending time outdoors, so I went to the mall today. I hadn't been there in a while, but I went with a specific task in mind. While I was there, I had to stop at Aunt Annie's for a soft pretzel. I just like the original with a little bit of salt. I really need to find a recipe so I can make my own, because $2.96 for this little bit of dough is too much, in my opinion. They are good though!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Photo #204/365: Cafe Table

The Pappajohn Sculpture Garden has lots of signs telling you not to touch the art, except this one. People are welcome to sit at the Cafe Table. I don't think you will be rearranging these chairs though.

Photo #203/365: Air Gets Into Everything Even Nothing

This white enameled tree is really interesting with lots of details. It is another one of the sculptures in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

Photo #202/365: White Ghost

Yesterday I went downtown and spent some time walking around the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. This sculpture is the newest sculpture to be added, and I haven't been down to see it. I'm not sure what I was thinking about, because it was really hot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Photo #201/365: Tweet Up in Grinnell

Today I drove to Grinnell to tweetup with two friends that I met via Twitter. Actually I met Kathy Kaldenburg on Twitter (@scsdmedia) and she introduced me to Jan Johnson (4aLakeview) who is a fourth grade teacher. From left to right, that's me, Kathy, and Jan is on the right.

Kathy and Jan both teach at Lakeview Elementary in Solon, Iowa. Kathy is the media specialist there. Both of them are into using technology in education, and I am learning a lot from them. Last school year, my students were pen pals with Jan's 4th graders. We exchanged letters and they made Animotos for my kids. This year we want to do a lot more.

We met at Yumi's Bakery and Deli. The food was good, and they had free wifi. It was air conditioned, but on this day that reached 99 degrees, I could have used a little more of that.

Photo #200/365: Bank Window

I was in Grinnell today for a Tweetup. The architecture of this bank immediately caught my eye, especially this window and door. The details are incredible.

Photo #199/365: Lillies and Coneflower

This is another photo from my flower garden. The steel lilly is from a steal artist. He is always at Artfest Midwest, which is held at the State Fair Grounds. I like to buy his pieces, and I have several.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Photo #198/365: Attack of the Monster Vine

When I was driving by a few days ago, I noticed this trumpet vine that had almost consumed the speed limit sign and telephone pole. Do you think a police officer would accept the excuse that you couldn't read the sign?

Photo #197/365: Shelby Makes a Voki

We had our family get together last night. This time I brought along my netbook and iPad so I could show Shelby how to make a Voki. Our family is at a point where most of the kids are now adults or close to it. Some are becoming parents themselves. When we have a family get together, Shelby doesn't have anyone to hang out with or much to do.

Shelby went right to work creating her Voki while Aunt Lola (her grandma) watched. You can see her finished Voki below. I'm always impressed with how kids can take the things to the next level. Her Voki is much better than mine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Photo #195/365: My Flower Beds

I love summer, but there is a cloud that hangs over it all, and that is YARD WORK. By the time I am out of school and have time to work in the yard, the weeds are out of control. Since I've been home, I'm trying to work outside for at least 30 minutes a day. It doesn't happen everyday, but I am making progress, and once I get out there I usually work for longer. My flower beds near the house and garage are finally looking good. There is still the one across the back, however, it's a jungle back there.

Photo #194/365: Snowballs in Summer

I saw a lot of these shrubs when I was in Minneapolis. We have them in Iowa, too, but the flowers were so big and lush in Minnesota. I didn't know what they were, but they look like snowballs to me. I Googled it, and sure enough, it's called a Snowball Bush. They are also called Viburnum shrubs.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Photo #193/365: Cherry Walnut Scones

When I was visiting my daughter over the weekend, her boyfriend, Colin baked scones for us. They were delicious, and it really inspired me to bake some myself, now that I'm back home. I have a package of dried cherries in the cabinet. They're delicious and I've been trying the think of some ways to use them. I definitely do not want them to go to waste.

To make my scones I adapted a recipe for cream scones that I found a while ago on I had never actually gotten around to making that recipe, so I had no idea how my adaptation would come out. Well I'm here to tell you that these are good!

Cherry Walnut Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream or milk (I used Silk Vanilla Almond milk)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Add the dried cherries and chopped nuts. Stir to distribute throughout the dough. In a small measuring cup combine the milk, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix.

Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round. Then, cut into about 6-8 wedges or use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. Place the wedges on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing a few inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream. (I left this step out, but I think I'll try it next time.)This helps to brown the tops of the scones during baking. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the scones with granulated sugar.

Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. These scones freeze very well. (If they last that long.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Photo #192/365: Shopping My Way to Minneapolis

I am not one of those travelers who drives non-stop to their destination, intent on making good time. I stop along the way. In fact, I stop a lot, and one of my stops is usually at the Preferred Outlet Mall at Medford, which is about fifty miles south of Minneapolis. I always stop there to pick up my yearly supply of shower gel and body lotion at Bath and Body Works. You really can't beat 75% off of regular price. I picked up this entire bag of gel, lotion, and handsoap for just $19. Boy am I going to smell good!

Photo #191/365: The Tea Source

While I was in Minneapolis, Lisa, Colin and I spent time hanging out at The Tea Source. The Tea Source is in St. Paul and it is one of my favorite places to go for a good cup of tea. They sell some of my very favorite flavors of tea, including Moon of Madagascar, Tropical Storm, and Tea Source Gold. The Tea Source Gold is very good iced, by the way. While I was there I picked up a fresh supply, and a new mug to hold my morning cup of hot tea. I made a pot this morning, and was able to extend my trip just a little longer.

Photo #190/365: The Minneapolis Lifetime Fitness Triathlon

The Triathlon started at very early and was held around Lake Nakomis. It began with the swim. I was very worried about the weather because it has been so hot. Fortunately it was overcast, and that kept temperatures down in the early part of the day.

This is Lisa coming out of the water and heading to her bike. All the bikes are lined ready and waiting for their riders.

After her bike ride, Lisa heads off for her run around the lake. And my favorite photo of all, the triumphant athelete. She did it!

Photo #189/365: Downtown Minneapolis

My daughter, Lisa, competed in the Minneapolis Lifetime Triathlon over the weekend. She is an experienced marathoner, but this is just her second triathlon, so I wanted to be there to see her compete. I drove up on Friday afternoon, and was able to go with her to pick up her packet.

There were about 3000 people participating in this event, and packet pick up was in downtown Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This beautiful church was located across the street from the convention center. It is Central Lutheran Church. I was also interested in the lines of the downtown buildings.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Photo #188/365: New Classroom Website

One of my projects for this summer is to build a new classroom website. I have had one for two years at Iowa Pages. I decided I wanted to try something new. A friend on Twitter told me about Weebly. So here it is! The unveiling of my new class website. You can check it out at

Photo #187/365: Purple Flowers

I am a lover of color. That's probably why I love flowers so much. I don't really know what these purple flowers are called, but this plant was here when I bought the house ten years ago. When I first started working in my flower bed early this summer, I really thought this plant was gone. That is the great thing about perennials. They come back each year as a gift from the garden.

Photo #186/365: The Coneflowers Are In Bloom

I love Purple Coneflower. I started these by seed several years ago. They come back every year and proliferate.

Photo #185/365: Salmon Day Lilly

This is the time of year that my flower garden is in full bloom. The foliage is thick and lush, and the blooms are large and numerous. Even though I have lots of photos of flowers, I am still drawn to try more. I love these salmon colored day lillies.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Photo #184/365: A Real Hot Dog

Bailey and I went for a walk tonight, but this photo was taken a week or so ago when we went walking at Copper Creek Lake. It ended up being a pretty hot walk. Today I was playing around at That's how I added the speech bubble. This website was tweeted by @shannonmiller on Twitter. It's a really fun website to play with. Give it a try!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Photo #183/365: Paint Chips

One of the many tasks on my long summer "to do" list is to paint the living room. I already know that I want to paint it a soft sage green. That sounds easy until I go to look at the shades available. So do I want a green with blue tones or yellow tones? How do you pick just one?

Photo 182/365: Summer Fun

It is the Fourth of July weekend, and that means it's time for the Good Guys, the Good Guys Auto Show, that is. It is the one time that no matter where you go on the east side of Des Moines or near by, you will see antique cars. I usually don't know what model I'm looking at, but I still enjoy seeing them. This red one caught my eye in the Lowe's parking lot.

Photo #181/365: A Sign of Summer

My trips to Quik Trip have greatly increased during the past month. That's because they are having their summer sale on pop, and I love a nice cold Diet Coke.

Photo #180/365: Wooden Face

I had dinner with my friend, Chris Arvizu, on Thursday evening. I have known Chris since I started teaching at Phillips 21 years ago. She was a first grade teacher then, and we taught together for several years. She has since retired and moved on to other things. She has always had a wide variety of interests. She is now a massage therapist. She also, and has always been, an artist. She is a wood carver, and she has created some marvelous things. This little wooden face is just one of great things she has created for her massage room.