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A Visit With Maha!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I had been looking forward to meeting Maha as she traveled around the country, so I was delighted that she chose to stop in my town to visit. I had meant to be a better welcoming committee, but I had had a therapy session, then spent the morning cleaning my friend's house while she was in chemo. I worked a little too long and had an attack of low blood sugar so I had to hurry home to eat and revive. I did NOT want a repeat of falling and landing on my head.

So I missed being there when Maha pulled into town, but was not too far behind to drive up to the park to finally get to meet her. She told me which camp site she would be in, but after reading her blogs, I would have known her darling Toyota Dolphin anywhere. What a pleasure to pull up to the park and finally meet her!

Unfortunately, Ohio did an even worse job of welcoming Maha in than I did. It was sweltering hot, and the electric sites did not have much shade to speak of. That being said, we enjoyed each other's company immensely in spite of the heat. Maha is as delightful in person as she is in her blogs. I feel like I have met a sister spirit.

My only regret was the shortness of her stay and the tightness of my schedule, however, in spite of the heat the time we had was quality time. It was sad to see her off, and I am looking forward to reading her blog about the park in Indiana she is headed for. It looked like a very pleasant park along the Ohio River.

Maha, thank you for the delightful visit and have a safe and fabulous trip home.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARLASUE 8/13/2010 4:42PM

    That is great!

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KRITTERKEEPERS 8/13/2010 12:55PM

    emoticon How fun to meet another Sparker from a different part of the country. You must have had a delightful time!

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MAWRTIAN 8/13/2010 12:27PM

    How neet! Go Spark!!!

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MARYMAC45 8/12/2010 10:50PM

    What a nice visit. Glad you enjoyed it.

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MEOWMAMA3 8/12/2010 10:42PM

    I finally figured out that Maha is a fellow sparker! I thought she was some famous traveling health guru or something!!!! lol!!! I just had coffee with a local sparker and that was really nice, we've met up twice now and I'm going out for Eritrean food with another local Sparker before summer's end. One day I'll get out to Yellow Springs...this summer's car trip fizzled out for various reasons, the best one being that I've been busy with embroidery orders=money!
Glad you had a nice visit with the Mighty Maha!!!! emoticon

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OLDERDANDRT 8/12/2010 7:59PM

    How cool is that!!!!


P.S. I'd love to play with rambunctious Stella anytime!!!!

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    All that traveling and meeting Sparkfriends must be fun!

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LAGREBE 8/12/2010 5:27AM

    There is an idea: All Sparkers living in RVs visiting each other!!

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KJE_3001 8/12/2010 1:09AM

    So glad to hear that a good time was had by all!

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MARY1313 8/11/2010 10:09PM

    Oh how wonderful! That is so grand! I'll be waiting for your blogs!

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MCGS62 8/11/2010 9:19PM

    OMG!!! thats way too cool!!

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WATERMELLEN 8/11/2010 9:09PM

    Playing with Stella: how lovely!!

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VALERIEMAHA 8/11/2010 7:52PM

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED Stella in all her rambunctious glory!!! She's EXACTLY as I imagined her in all her loveliness!!!

And NOW, at 7:50pm, the rain having let up and the humidity barely tolerable, AND having finished a bowl of fresh blackberries and yogurt from our shopping spree at Tom's Market (where else???) yesterday, I'm off on my Trek to explore this park and head down to the Ohio River.


Comment edited on: 8/11/2010 10:40:25 PM

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PUDLECRAZY 8/11/2010 7:38PM

    I am so glad you got there with nary a hitch and I hope the park is lovely and at least a little bit cooler.

I forgot to add in my blog, that the Diva was not the Hostess with the Mostest. She was quite rambunctious - OMG!

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JUST_TRI_IT 8/11/2010 7:37PM

    how fun to have a visit from Spark Land!!

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VALERIEMAHA 8/11/2010 7:17PM

    Well, lookie that! I'm just arriving to Charlestown State Park in S Indiana, and what do I discover upon finding out that I actually have a faint internet signal, but that Chris has been talkin' about me! And Chris, the time we spent pulling the trip itinerary for today together (when you should have been in bed!) was well spent for me. I got here with nary a hitch!

Such a lovely and gracious woman is my pal Chris! CHECK IT OUT:
She took me into the village and accompanied me while I chowed down some lunch...and we then cruised the streets some, while I got the cook's tour. She had made a haircut appointment for today with her gifted and wonderful haircutter, so she showed me where Wavelengths is. She insisted I take some brown basmati rice (I was going to buy some), she gifted me with a yoga class which was one of those... AHHHhhh...experiences, she prepared us a refreshing and perfect light dinner before her water aerobics and my yoga, she rescued me when I was miserably lost after dark, AND she made me an individual whole wheat peach/blackberry cobbler (that would be a resounding YUUUUMMM!) as well as leaving me a jar of her handsome DH's special homemade mustard that I'll be trying with my avocados!!! AND!!! I got to meet and play with rambunctious, loving STELLA!!! YAY!!!!!! And all this transpired between like 1:30 and 11:30pm!

I'm sorry you had a rough PT, but you know what they say..."No pain, no gain." Hope it applies here!

Today I had another wonderful experience with Rachel, another local and another SFriend!!! I must blog about my rendezvous with Place and People!

Blessed be!
P.S. After I finish a bowl of fresh blackberries (from Tom's Market) and yogurt, I'm off on my Trek to explore and encounter the Ohio River!

Comment edited on: 8/11/2010 7:49:46 PM

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IUHRYTR 8/11/2010 6:59PM

    Isn't it nice having a visitor like that? Glad you had a nice time. -- Lou

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Healing, Healthy and Happy

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A great day all around!

I started the day with my Alexander teacher who worked with me on some back release methods then did cranial sacral work with me. She also explained some new things I could do to release the tension in my neck and back that jams up the rhythm of the cranial fluid exchange. I felt about 2" taller after I worked with her.

In the afternoon, I got together with my singing trio. We played and sang for 2 hours and had a wonderful time. We have made a lot of progress together, still have much to work on, and really enjoy working together. The three of us have been good friends for decades, and about a year ago, we added singing together as something we make special time to do.

Yesterday, I signed up at the Y so I could start getting a pattern of routine exercise started before the beginning of the school year. It will be much easier to keep it going if it is already established. I am keeping the aerobics easy until my back is healed. Today I took my first water aerobics class after a 5 year hiatus. It was really fun. I did tell the teacher in advance that I would make adaptations when there were exercises that were contraindicated for my back. After taking the class I know more about what to ask my physical therapist about what I should and should not do. I had already planned to ask her about gentle twisting because I miss that in my exercise routine. My back is actually feeling stiffer after having bending and weight restraints. I know I need to heal, but I do want to move more naturally.


Tomorrow I plan to try out the water program for arthritis as well. That one is just before the water aerobics, so I think I can do both - providing my PT agrees that it will promote healing. I have to admit to a little bit of impatience. I love to move. I love yoga. I enjoy weight lifting. And I miss them all. I know that slow is fast and I will be the first to remind others of that; too much too soon can prolong the healing process and make it take longer. What I know intellectually and what my body wants to do, are a bit at odds with one another at the moment.

To top of an already enjoyable day, on my way home this evening there was a beautiful rainbow! I haven't seen a rainbow in quite a while and this one was spectacular. What a treat!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 8/12/2010 10:39PM

    So glad you're on the mend and feeling good! I'd love to swim at the Y, working it into my schedule is tough. There are no decent ones in the city so I'd have to go to a burb. I'll not be a total naysayer, sometimes I get overwhelmingly motivated and make things happen!!! I'd love to hear you sing, any chances of a vlog debut on SP???? emoticon

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CANBDONE 8/5/2010 10:12PM

    I'm a firm believer of cranial sacral therapy. I've had a lot of it! Release that pain! emoticon

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    Getting your routine set befor school is a great idea. You'll stick with it and be more flexible too!

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    I just came across your blog & I don't know what event took place in your life but I infer that it was quite traumatic.

Your writing is so positive & all the things you're doing must surely help you in the end. It's good that you remind yourself to be reasonable in the demands you place on your body as it heals.

Good luck on your journey!

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WATERMELLEN 8/4/2010 8:34PM

    Good healing plans -- and thanks for your comment on my brain blog (hope your article is all done!)

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OLDERDANDRT 8/4/2010 3:14PM

    So glad you are on the mend and I kind of envy you doing water aerobics. I have a couple different places I could for a price, but it's all to much trouble and expense for me. (Blah, blah)
Just like to be in water. hehe
You'll be right a rain all in good time. Practice patience and all will be well before you know it.
Stay sweet as you are and all my love to Stella!!!!!


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    So glad to hear you are on the mend. It's tough to accept physical limitations after being active most of our lives. Instead of mourning the movements we have lost, we need to focus on being grateful for what we can still do. Several years ago I lost the use of my hands for a period of time. My husband had to cut all my food for 3 years! I have learned not to take them for granted, and when I start feeling pain, I stop what I am doing. Please treat your back with utmost care.

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SOON2BEFITSLP 8/4/2010 11:09AM

    I have been wondering if I should join the Y as well. There is one in my town and one in the town where I go to school. So that could definitely be beneficial.

So glad you are a positive person! It really helps keep me motivated! It is so nice to see how happy and fulfilling life can be, it encourages me to get out and do things too! emoticon

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LADYNETTIE 8/4/2010 1:05AM

    I love your positive spirit and bet you sing beautifully emoticon

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CLEVAGAL 8/3/2010 11:44PM

    G'day Chris, I love working in the pool and Im thinking of doing some water aerobics while Im here in Melbourne for the month. swimming I believe may be beneficial for your back. Speaking of rainbows, when I was on the plane yesterday coming home from Brisbane the plane made astrange rainbow kind of circle against the clouds- I noticed it whe I looked out the window. Im so glad your feeling little more upbeat these days. Cleva xxx

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MCGS62 8/3/2010 11:37PM

    Slow and methodical recovery is the fastest and most complete.
I'll keep reminding you if you keep reminding me.

picture two dogs tied to opposite ends of a rope one chases only east bound cars the other only west bound cars.
together they make one good dog that stays in the yard or at least the neighborhood.
It is funny that you are doing water aerobics (story in your mail)

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PENNYAN45 8/3/2010 9:53PM

    All the different forms of physical activity that you are initiating will have to yield some really good health and healing benefits for you.

Keep getting better.

emoticon emoticon

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HOPERISING 8/3/2010 9:25PM

    you are such a calm peaceful spirit

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A Tasty Little Food Blog

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I have been enjoying summer for having the time to cook and the delicious summer foods to cook with. And as you know, I love photography! So combining the two - a little dinner blog.

Two personal sized blackberry cobblers ready to go into the oven. Place blackberries in the bottom of the personal sized pie tins, top with your favorite whole grain biscuit recipe, sprinkle ever so lightly with sugar, and bake in a 410 degree oven for 12 minutes.

Thai jasmine brown rice: Place in the rice cooker before starting the fish. It will be done when the rest of the meal is finished.

Red trout: place in a pan lightly coated with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary, and place in 350 degree oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Grate fresh peach over the surface and bake for 10 more minutes.

Spicy sweet potatoes: slice very thin, coat lightly with olive oil, a little salt, and some red pepper flakes, then bake along with the fish at 350 for 20 minutes.

Kale: chop and wash. Steam for 10 -15 minutes until it is tender but not mushy. Salt to taste and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

Prep and cooking time all under 30 minutes ending up with a delicious, nutritious, and appetizing meal.

With blackberry cobbler for dessert.

Bon Appetite!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 8/6/2010 9:30PM

    Looks lovely!! and yummy :)

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PENNYAN45 8/2/2010 10:01PM

    Thanks for the yummy photo recipes! I will print this out and give them a try.

Glad you are feeling better.


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CATHYGETSFIT 8/2/2010 10:12AM

    Looks really Yummy!! Thanks for posting with the fabulous pics and all! emoticon

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MARY1313 8/2/2010 2:19AM

    Thanks for sharing the simple recipes for making good food even better! I'll be copying this I know.


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MTNCLIMBER88 8/1/2010 10:41PM

    What a beautiful, delicious, FANTASTIC dinner and blog! I wish I was eating at your house tonight :)

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CLEVAGAL 8/1/2010 9:49PM

    Cobbler, havent had it for a while. I will go and find a recipe for peach cobbler now......Cleva xxx

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OLDERDANDRT 8/1/2010 8:55PM

    Wow, girl!! Is there anything you can't do?? You're just gonna have to move down here to Hickory and teach me all this neat stuff!!! And even with my belly full of chili, your blog makes me hungry for a fruit cobbler! Yum!
Be well and mend and just be happy, my friend!! Stay as smart of your are and above all, keep being my friend!!! You are irreplaceable!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon


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PUDLECRAZY 8/1/2010 7:26PM

    It isn't difficult at all and it IS delicious. That's why I posted it with instructions - I love yummy food that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and like to share the wealth.

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WATERMELLEN 8/1/2010 7:05PM

    Oh, this looks appetizing and not too too difficult even for me!!

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Good Eating, Good Exercise, Good Life

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good eating emoticon and good exercise emoticon today.

I love summer food and also the luxury of time to prepare it. I started the morning with a fresh organic egg (not one from my chickens - they aren't laying yet) and an oat bran/wheat germ/ blueberry waffle. For sweetener, I just added some more blueberries, uncooked, to the top of the waffle. The recipe made 2 waffles so I froze one to become a toaster waffle tomorrow. A glass of milk topped off breakfast.

Then Mike and I went to the farmers' market to enjoy the morning, socialize, and buy some fresh produce. The young men I buy my beets from were there with some choice beets. One of them asked me if I ate the greens ( I do) which reminded me of borscht, which I haven't made for a long time. We bought the beets, some Hot,Hot,Hot PepperJam, blackberries, more eggs from the Amish girl who sells them at the market, and some purple potatoes for Mike. Thinking of the borscht, we stopped at the groceries store and bought some organic low sodium chicken broth and some no fat sour cream.

When we returned home, I started the borscht for dinner. I peeled, cleaned and sliced the beets, put them in the chicken broth to boil along with a dash of apple cider vinegar. While the beets were softening, I chopped up the beet greens, then added them to the soup. Once the beets were tender, I put the soup in the refrigerator to chill for dinner.

For lunch, I prepared green smoothies for Mike and I. The smoothies included two large kale leaves, 1 chard leaf, 1 stalk of celery, 1 Granny Smith apple, half a cup of plain yogurt, and enough cold water to make it a good drinking consistency. Put the blender on the smoothie setting and voila! A delicious lunch. Along with the smoothies, I served pita chips with a side of goat cheese mixed with a little bit of the Hot,Hot,Hot Pepper Jam. Mmmmm!

Snacks - blackberries so tart they made my mouth pucker. What a treat!

A few days ago, Mike ordered peach cobbler from Bob Evans. It was very disappointing; for starters, it appeared that either they messed up his order or they had NO idea what a cobbler is. It looked like peach pie - top crust, bottom crust, and some peaches that were probably frozen. After that experience, I decided to prepare Mike and I peach cobbler, done right, for dinner. Done right in our house means whole grains and no sugar, as Mike is diabetic.

I made biscuits using flour, wheat germ, baking powder, olive oil, and a little cold water. The cobbler was easy. I used individual mini-tart pans, chopped a peach into each one and sprinkled them with a little cinnamon. I patted out the biscuit dough to cover each tart pan, sprinkled with a little more cinnamon, then popped them into the oven for 15 minutes.

Dinner included fresh borscht and the deli chicken that Stella didn't steal emoticon. Peach cobbler for dessert.

That's what I love about summer - healthy decadence!

Physical therapy is the motivator I needed to get back into a reliable exercise routine. I start with the 5 exercises I do for PT (2 times each day) then added on exercises for upper body strength as well as the ones I am doing for back and leg strength. Of course, Stella and I go for several walks a day, as well. This evening, I will not only do my PT exercises, I'll put in an hour of guitar playing - which (for you musicians out there) is a trackable cardio exercise.

I have been very disappointed about my bicycle. Now it is cool enough in the mornings and evenings to ride it, and riding my bike would be a great form of exercise while my back is recuperating. However, with a five pound weight restriction, I can't put it in my car and take it back out again. It isn't safe to ride out here in the country, although a lot of people do. I prefer to ride in town or go out on the bike path for longer excursions. A little creative thinking and I realized that Mike could load it into the car for me. A friend could meet me at the school and unload it. Then I could leave it in my classroom so I can go out riding when I am in town. I plan to be back to normal activities by the time the school year rolls back around so it won't take up classroom space when the children are there. In the mean time, it will be locked up and safe in a place where I can easily access it.

By the way, I definitely decided to write about the importance of freedom of movement for children to maximize their academic learning. I think it is a crime that so many schools are cutting back, or even eliminating, recess so they have more time for that infernal testing. My article will be positive, though, I won't rant. (But that's why it is so hard for me to write about things I am passionate about - I WANT to rant!) I do feel so very fortunate to teach in a school where children can go outside to play, we can go outside for lessons, and the children have freedom of movement within the classroom. For my newsletter articles, I try to show the philosophy that guides what I do educationally.

My eye is looking quite a bit better, although it still draws comments and concern. My chiropractor has been making some cranial adjustments and my Alexander teacher has been working with cranial/sacral balance.

Here are a couple of photos I hadn't included in my vacation blogs:

This is a photo of the children from Changde. Hannah is kneeling in the second row at the far left of the photo.

This picture includes the children from Changde (in orange T-shirts) and their siblings (in white T-shirts with orange writing.)

They are a very happy and well loved bunch of children, all of whom were a pleasure to spend a week with.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Oh, no! you should be happier about your bike. I hope you can work it out.

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    Your peach cobbler sounds delicious! That would make a great dessert with a cup of herbal tea!

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JUST_TRI_IT 8/1/2010 3:20PM

    What a lovely blog entry today! You took u s on a nice ride :) I feel thoroughly relaxed now. emoticon

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OLDERDANDRT 8/1/2010 11:27AM

    I think eating at your house would definitely be a healthy excursion!!!! You'll get back to your exercising. You have that "never say die" attitude that is essential for success and I really value having you as a friend!
Glad you found your paper topic and really glad you're healing nicely. With your great healthy habits, you'll be all healed and back to normal activites in no time!

Hugs and more hugs, my friend!

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MARY1313 7/31/2010 9:56PM

    great healthy recipes! glad you are having some good days!!!!

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HOPERISING 7/31/2010 9:18PM

    those peach cobblers sound delish - I bet you didn't even miss the sugar!

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B2B2BA 7/31/2010 7:21PM

    Sounds like a wonderful day. I am going to try that smoothie recipe. Another way to use up some of my kale.

Love the pictures, too! Thanks for sharing such a lovely moment.

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Bye Bye Birdies

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I am back to doing PT exercises for my exercise. Well, that and walking and organizing closets and playing my guitar and tending the chickens. Overall, it is a pretty pleasant way to burn off calories and maintain flexibility.

I bought a waffle iron the other day, the traditional kind which is hard to find - the Belgium waffle irons have become much more prevalent. When I visited my friend in NC a week ago, she made waffles for breakfast and that made me want to replace the one I used to have. I made up my own waffle mix using whole grain flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and a tiny bit of sugar. That way, I can make up enough batter for only one waffle by adding an egg, a little milk, olive oil, and blueberries right before cooking it. It is a tasty, yet wholesome, treat in the morning - although tonight I had a waffle and smoothie for dinner.

When I brought the chicks home this spring, I brought the kindergarten teacher's roosters home to raise for her. She only has enough room in her yard in town for a flock of 4 hens. This was the evening she came to pick up her two roosters - the barred rock and one of the australorps. I hated to see them go, although 3 roosters could be problematic in the long run. So now Denty is officially King of the Roost.

I can't believe it is almost August already. I have to write an article about education for the school journal by the end of the weekend, but as usual, I am having trouble getting started. I had originally been planning to write an article called, Let the Kids Do It, about letting them conquer frustration instead of giving them so much direction their work is no longer their own. Now I think I want to write about the importance of the freedom to move especially for highly active children who have a hard time sitting still. Whatever I write about, I've got to get started!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GERBALMAMMA 8/3/2010 11:02AM

    I imagine by now you've finished your article and have moved on. Who was your audience? I now both topics you chose are important.
I've noticed a trend in the last ten years or so of students waiting to be told what to do before ever trying something new. My goal has been to try to get them to move into the "what now" thinking instead of the, "now what " habit. Critical thinking makes for independence. Independence creates problem solvers and we need more problem solvers.
Hope you are recovering well.

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DJS-DEBBIE 7/31/2010 6:17AM

    Both topics sound like really good ones - I am sure it will be a great paper once you get it started!

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    Denty is a very handsome rooster! My Black Australorp pullet would think he is mighty fine!

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OLDERDANDRT 7/30/2010 3:11PM

    Oh my!! Denty has sure become quite a handsome lad!!! Hard to believe, but he had great rearing!!!
Glad you are on the mend, you'll be right as rain soon!!
Now, go get to work on that paper! It'll get done quickly and super duper!! I have faith in you!!!


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LMB-ESQ 7/30/2010 9:39AM

    That's Denty??? Boy, did he turn out to be a beautiful boy! For a chick who almost didn't make it out of his cracked egg, he sure has done well.

Good luck on your article!

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/30/2010 9:01AM

    Both of the articles sound interesting! Don't you hate writer's block though????

So good to hear you chipper and recuperating from your fall.


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MARY1313 7/29/2010 11:28PM

    I am sure it will be a great article. Your waffle sounds so good!


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STARLASUE 7/29/2010 10:19PM

    Wow - is that Denty all grown up?? Who'd a think it! :-) Handsome rooster, that.

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