Saturday, July 26, 2008

JKCEF & Backpacks - what a day!!

We are fortunate to have the Joe and Kristina Crosby Education Foundation (JKCEF) located in our community. This year, JKCEF gave every elementary child in our county (probably around 4,000+) a quality backpack filled with school supplies. I hardly have the words to express my appreciation to this couple who are giving back to our community with such generosity. Not only did they do this, they both were present on site working! The day was filled with face painting, jumping room, beaded name tags for the backpacks, free ice cream, free fruit, hot dog plates ($2/ea) and support for parents. In addition, they give all the elementary teachers a Staples card for $100 in October on Make A Difference Day. As a high school teacher, I can state without any jealousy that elementary teachers deserve this and so much more! Thank you, Joe and Christina, for giving back and helping children to reach their dream!!
Most people think students drop out of school in high school. That may be when they physically drop out but it starts in grade school. Usually, I can trace back to the 3rd grade my students who eventually drop out. They drop out long before they ever get to high school. It's sad.

Deniska was very proud of his face painting of a dog. I would have gotten a picture of Nikolai's batman but it was ruined by the time we got home. I think most of it is on my shirt!

Friday, July 25, 2008


OK, I admit that I am not a pre-teen girl nor do I have a girl child! But, I did buy me a present just a few days ago. I bought the American Girl Doll - Ruthie.
Ruthie's story takes place during the Depression. My mother, whose name was Ruth (Daddy called her Ruthie), also grew up during the Depression - the "Great Depression" as she and dad referred to that era. Mama died this past December and it just seemed right for me to have Ruthie. She is sitting on my filing cabinet to keep me company and I like to think of her looking over me during the day. She is a gorgeous doll and has the same coloring as my mother did as a young girl! My mother (who loved dolls as much as I do) would be proud that such a beautiful doll was named after her!
My friend, Joanne, sent me lots of patterns to borrow to make clothes and accessories for Ruthie. I am a happy girl! (My boys have loved looking through the AG magazine and making suggestions on what 'we' should buy next!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Husband - the Knight!

I am so very proud of my husband. Dennis belongs to the Knights of Columbus in our church. (This is our church - isn't she pretty?!) The Knights do all sorts of fund raisers and give all of the money away to charitable organizations. These are men who have a heart for others and are willing to put some elbow grease behind their words.
Sunday was their monthly Sunday Morning Breakfast and Dennis worked from 11AM -2:30 PM washing dishes - by hand!!! Now, that's what I call a dedicated member! I'm proud of you Honey!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Boys, Cats, and Spider

Doesn't Sam look thrilled to have Deniska laying on top of him? A boy and his cat! Sam (the cat) is so sweet and tolerates everyone loving on him. Of course, he loves me best! I know this because I woke up this morning with him laying on top of my face. A mouthful of fur is always an eye-opener!

These two are getting ready to go back to school. I packed the boys' "Back to School" supplies today and in the middle of putting things out, Sam & Anna decide to take a nap. I thought they looked so sweet sleeping next to each other.

Isn't this writing spider beautiful?! She laid her eggs today in the web. She decided to spin her web right outside our deck door. Did you know that if a writing spider writes your name on her web you will die? That's what I have always been told. I sure hope I don't see a name in her web.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Nothing new here to report. I have spent the last 4 days in my classroom getting it ready to go back to school. I am happy to report it is ready for students. No stress in getting me classroom ready at the beginning of the year! Woohoo!! We have to pack everything up at the end of the year. It's such a hassle to unpack and rearrange. The boys were such a huge help this year. They are growing up too fast!

Nikolai is well and finished with his medication for MRSA. I hope that's the last we see of it forever! I am giving him benedryl every night to keep him from itching. He breaks out in small bumps (just 1 or 2) right when it's time to go to bed. It's never in the same place. It does seem to be on his legs more than anywhere. We have changed his soap, laundry detergent, and anything else we can think of. I have no idea why he is breaking out. It's not the bed because it happens before he gets in bed. Odd.....

Nikolai has a really loose tooth and is having trouble eating. I suspect it will be out before the end of today!

These are pictures I made at lunch today. I just LOVE to see kool-aide circles on little boys, especially my little boys! Anna slept through the whole lunch! She woke up as we finished. She is such a sweet kitten!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

MRSA! Oh my!!

Nikolai's pediatrician called me Thursday to tell me that Nikolai has MRSA. I had taken him in on Monday with a leg infection. I suspected it was staph since it looked like what Deniska had had last summer. They took a culture, grew it, and then did a sensitivity test on it to determine what medicine to prescribe. She, fortunately, had given him the correct medication for it and everything now looks good. I wasn't too concerned until I talked to lady today whose son is extremely sick with MRSA and I started researching MRSA and now I am very concerned, not only for Nikolai but for our entire family and friends. I am not sure if Nikolai has hospital-associated MRSA or community-associated MRSA. I know that the doctor said if he got another infection, that he might be a carrier and she would have to treat him for that. He did have surgery the first part of June and I wonder if he contracted the germ in the hospital. Please join us in prayers that this will be the only outbreak and he, nor Deniska, will not be affected by this terrible disease.

Staphylococcus aureus , often called “staph”, is a common type of bacteria that can be found in the nose and on the skin of about one out of every three people. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also called MRSA, are staph that are not killed by many of the antibiotics doctors used to prescribe most commonly for staph infections. Until the mid-1990s, MRSA mainly affected patients in hospitals and other health care settings. Since that time, a new strain of MRSA has emerged. This new strain is called community-associated MRSA, and has rapidly become one of the most common causes of skin and soft tissue infections among otherwise healthy people in the community.

Skin infections occur when the bacteria get in through small scrapes or cuts, sometimes too small to notice. The infected area usually begins with a red bump that resembles a pimple or insect bite. If untreated, the lesion may become hard and painful or may drain pus (often called a “boil” or a skin abscess). Unlike hospital-associated MRSA, most community-associated MRSA infections can be treated with several types of antibiotics, including some that can be taken by mouth. Not all MRSA skin infections require antibiotics; treatment decisions should be made by a doctor or other licensed healthcare provider. Occasionally, community-associated MRSA can cause blood stream infections, joint infections, pneumonia, or other severe infections in an otherwise well person.

MRSA is most often spread through direct physical contact with an infected person. Draining lesions are highly infectious and represent an important source of spread. MRSA can also be spread by touching objects that have been soiled with drainage from an infected wound- e.g., bandages, towels, or athletic equipment- although this is less common than direct person-to-person spread. Outbreaks of MRSA have occurred within households, on sports teams, in prisons, in daycare centers, and in other settings where people have close contact or share equipment and personal items.

To prevent MRSA skin infections, practice good hygiene:

Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Wash any cut or break in the skin with soap and water and apply a clean bandage daily.
Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

If you have symptoms of MRSA, see your doctor:
Keep draining wounds clean and covered.
Wash your hands and forearms before and after caring for the wound and frequently throughout the day. Use soap and warm water for 15 seconds and dry your hands on a clean towel or paper towel.
Take all antibiotics as prescribed
Report new skin sores or boils to your doctor immediately.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I made chocolate chip cookies this morning for all the kids that were here: Jamie, Noah, Deniska, and Nikolai. I stored them in this cute glass jar that I have and thought I might as well take a picture of these cookies because they looked so yummy. (Everything looks good when you are on a no carb diet!)

Hey - where did that hand come from? Deniska!! Get out of my cookies, you're going to ruin the shot. No, not before lunch. Now scat!!

OK - back to my shot. Aren't these lovely? Of course, they are all gone by now!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's raining

It's raining, it's pouring;

The old man is snoring.

Bumped his head

And he went to bed

And he couldn't get up in the morning.

Isn't it funny that when you see something, a nursery song will run through your mind? At least it does with mine. When I looked out and saw the rain, I immediately starting singing this little song.

What joy it is to me to look out my office window and see rain, beautiful, glorious rain! We have been in an extreme drought situation for well over a year. It rained a little last night, but this is a slow easy constant rain - woohoo!! I hope it continues for just a little while. We desperately need rain.

Since I couldn't take a picture of the rain, I took a picture of Deniska's motorcycle seat. It's so nice to see droplets of rain on there. My grass is brown; the weeds are even dying. Pretty bad when you can't even grow weeds!

I can almost hear the plants breathe a sigh of relief at the water.

Thank you God for the rain.

PS - OK, I'm a little obsessed in using the "r" word. I used it 10 times in the above paragraph. Hmm, must be raining!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Say Cheese!

My mother-in-law, Joyce, recently visited us for a few days. The night before she left, I took a picture of her, the boys, and Dennis. It took a few tries to get everyone on the same page at the same time.

Hey! Look at me, not the TV!!!!! Don't I have a handsome husband?! Thank you, Honey, for looking at me. All the rest of you, look at me! I don't know what was so interesting that they were all looking at the TV. Did I mention how handsome my husband is? Oh, I see that I did.

Let's try this again. Ready? Look at me. Smile, say cheese!!

Much better! That's about as good as it gets. What a sweet family!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Superhero and Bad guy

Superhero: Nikolai donned a mask, towel, and my latex gloves to become the latest Superhero.
He is very serious about this task - to rid the house of the bad guy. Today has been a no TV day, so their imaginations are running rampant!

Bad Guy: Deniska is the Bad Guy today. He looks a little, well a lot, deranged in this picture - which I guess a bad guy should look! Yikes!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Cupcakes for the sweet

I took these pictures as Deniska, Noah, and Jamie decorated cupcakes for their lunch. (Noah and Jamie are friends of ours.) They had a good time with this task! Nikolai, who doesn't like cupcakes (funny kid), would not participate in the cupcake decorating.

Put it on like this?

No, you can't lick the knife and use it again! Get a new knife!!

Let me show you how to do this correctly.

Ooooo, I love those sprinkles!!

Let's start on the 2nd one!

Mine are very pretty! See how pretty?

Can't have too many sprinkles!

What a good job they did!

Visit from Grandma Joyce

Dennis' mother, Joyce, is visiting with us for a few days. We are glad to have her here. Deniska took her picture which I think turned out very well.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Inside this beautiful, although dirty, antique jar is a poor little brown frog who had the misfortune of crossing the paths of these two little boys. Poor frog! It took some persuasion on my part to convince them that the frog must be set free in order to hop home to Mrs. Frog and children. Reluctantly, they freed the frog (outside my house) and he hopped off to freedom. Don't come back Mr. Frog!!

St. Therese

St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore, and tell Him I will love Him each day, more and more.