* Cats in literature

You must check out the Bluebird‘s post for the cleverest connections of cat photos to literature.  My faves are “Macbeth” and “Little Women.”  Teachers could use this idea to spark interest, compare-and-contrast, and book conversations!  The one below is “Bambi,” of course.

via Happy Caturday — literary edition — bluebird of bitterness

* Three Things Thursday

I love Nerd in the Brain‘s weekly blogging challenge to add thankfulness to my blog.  This week has been a challenge but there’ve been some great points, too.

Number One:  Fire in the Hole!  I did not set fire to a student, myself, or the classroom when we did experiments on the element carbon.  Yes, it was close, but no cigar!


Number Two:  How old are you …?  Birthday cakes are just an excuse to play with matches, especially when the kiddo has double digit candles.  Whee!


Number Three:  Tooth Fairy Time.  At my age, I don’t want to be losing teeth, but how adorable when it’s your baby teeth!  This sweetie is losing the other top front tooth now, so I wonder how she will eat and speak!  Somehow we all survived this.  And some of us got rich in the process.


* Stunning Greenglass House

Greenglass House is a children’s mystery, probably enjoyed most by upper elementary kids and middle schoolers.  Written by Kate Milford, this book goes far beyond the realm of mysteries and suspense in its development of characters and heartfelt emotion.  The story takes place during Christmas break at an ancient but gorgeous “smuggler’s” inn, occupied and operated by the Pine family.  Greenglass House is as much a character as the people, with its huge, mysterious stained glass windows and shady past.  Milo Pine, a 12 year old, is looking forward to a quiet vacation with his parents when when an odd assortment of individuals arrive unexpectedly at their inn.  Milo’s world is tipped upside down when he meets Meddy, a stranger who initiates a roleplaying “campaign” to learn more about these peculiar guests.  Milo and Meddy are both strong-willed individuals who couldn’t be less alike.  Their interactions are priceless.


Milford is a master of layering themes and creating complex events which force characters to confront their motivations and fears.  For instance, we learn that Milo struggles with issues related to his adoption and the reaction of others to his appearance (he’s of Asian descent with white parents), torn between loyalty to his loving parents and a desire to know more about his biological family.

Milo and Meddy have no idea what their campaign will uncover and believe me, you will be shocked.  But the tenderness and healing, along with wild and wooly events, will keep you riveted to this book.  A word of caution: If you are reading this aloud, be prepared to cry in front of your kiddos.  The ending is truly amazing.



* Jessica Daniel, clever detective

I just finished reading the third of Kerry Wilkinson‘s Jessica Daniel series and can’t wait for the fourth (and final- for now).  Wilkinson, a British author, has written real winners with this series.  The Killer Inside is a clever thriller with believable characters and no need to suspend disbelief.  Jessica Daniel is a detective who just won’t give up;  she is passionate about justice and has such a clever mind.  Wilkinson has created a strong young woman with a fairly normal past and present.  She faces many challenges in The Killer Inside, including apparent random serial murders occurring in locked homes, along with other professional and personal issues.  I couldn’t stop reading and was thrilled to discover the rest of the series.  Plus, I identify with her approach to paperwork: falling stacks of paper but she knows where everything is.  Read this book and you’ll be hooked!

The Killer Inside.jpg

* Chocolate in any tone…

… is yummy!  Gotta love the color beaver.  And this fudge is good for you- naturally sweetened, organic cocoa, and everything.  This is my post for Jennifer Nichole Wells’ Color Your World challenge.

beaver-2 beaver-3

* Black as night

After our recent snow event, a lot of us headed to car washes to remove brine and grime.  I sat in my car, enjoying the view and relaxing after a long day.  Yeah, my life is full of adventure.  Here is my entry for black in Jennifer Nichole Wells’ Color My World challenge.


* Banana man

I know, I know.  This could be one of the world’s ugliest cakes.  I am SO challenged in craftiness.  The good news?  It looks a lot like banana mania, a color in Jennifer Nichole Wells’ Color Your World challenge.

banana-mania                                banana-mania-2

* Fallout: atomic tangerine

I took this photo last autumn, knowing I needed 120 different colors for Jennifer Nichole Wells’ Color Your World challenge.  I thought “atomic” meant a bit more explosive, but I’ve included Crayola’s subdued icon, FYI.


atomic tangerine 3.JPG


* Building a future

In the news:  Parents with autistic children are planning a $12 million community to provide future homes and care for their adult children.  Headed by a Dallas couple with an adult, low-functioning son, this community will provide 15 homes, a community center, and an academic academy.  Read more about the details in this article by the Dallas News.  Although we see many moderate and high functioning kids in an inclusive setting, the low- to-moderate group faces unique challenges as they age related to behavior, social skills, and ability to earn a living.


Autism Speaks addresses the challenges of providing long term care.  They report that only 24% of caregivers reported that they were on a waiting list for community services and only a quarter of families are saving for future housing needs.  If families cannot secure alternatives, this population is likely to be housed in group homes; as Autism Speaks points out, group homes are confronted by the “not in my neighborhood” mentality.  I did a search of resources in North Carolina and the list looks slim.

As an elementary teacher, I don’t always see where my kiddos end up, but I’ve known a couple of families struggling to care for low-functioning adults in their 60s.  Distant cousins, already in their 60s as well, were strapped as they tried to support their needy relatives.  Thankfully, organizations like Autism Speaks are drawing attention to alternatives and options.