Saturday, October 20, 2012

If you're interested...

As part of my job, I have to keep a blog for parents & students. So, here's the link in case you are interested in seeing what cool things the MCSD's G/T department is doing:

Happy Birthday Case!

 We went to Case's favorite restaurant for his birthday supper. Mighty kids meal!
The crown on Case's head was there ALL DAY long! Mrs. Wolf, his Pre-K teacher, provides a crown for all birthday students.

Case is learning to read. I have been working on am, at, an, ad phonics. So, as you can see, he remembered some of the words we have read: dam, mad.  Kinda funny! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Job

Well, I am officially a Muscatine School District employee...again!

Last spring, I was beginning to think in the next two years, I will need to find a job. We have three college-bound kids in a few years! :) So, ideally, when Case begins kindergarten.

However, an opportunity arose in April that a former co-worker urged me to apply for. Not one, but TWO elementary Talented & Gifted teaching jobs opened. One teacher was retiring and the other wanted a change of scenery and transferred to a 5th grade classroom.

I thought I was DONE with teaching, so I had let my license expire. *oops*

In the back on my mind, I had always thought, "the ONLY way I would EVER go back into education is if I had the opportunity to be a TAG teacher (aka GT specialist)."

So, I went up against a dozen other applicants, had an interview a couple weeks ago, and was offered the job. I asked for a few days to think before signing a contract, during which time I was able to arrange childcare and preschool enrollment, as well as really consider what I would be doing in going to work full time.

I made an appointment to sign my contract and "go over the terms" with the HR manager. I came to the meeting fully prepared to negotiate. Thankfully, I didn't have to! He started me out two years past where I thought I should be and gave me credit for the 46 hours past my BA. So, I am getting a much better salary than I thought!

My license is in the process of renewal, I took two short online classes to speed the process, and I have a year to show that I will take classes to complete the process.

Now, I need to earn my TAG endorsement, which I will be doing online through Morningside College. It is 12 credits, but all I need is 6 credits beyond that to earn a Master's! So...yep, gonna start my Master's program September 12th. One class per semester, two in the summer, one class fall 2013, one spring 2014 and I'll have a MA. I am, typing on my new school issued MacBook Air (!), feeling slightly overwhelmed, but also very excited to meet my new students! I will be at two schools, Mulberry and McKinley.

...and the ride begins!
Some friends invited us to spend an "Adults Only" weekend with them & other couples at the Lake of the Ozarks. We had a blast. It was super hot, but they had an awesome boat and there were 12 of us who enjoyed the lake and tubing. I found out I get kinda seasick, though. Dramamine helped quite a bit, though. So...I wonder if a cruise is in my future or not?

Happy Birthday Tennis Friends

My tennis friends get together every month to celebrate birthdays, and this month we celebrated Linda Stone, me, and Sandy Hayes. Linda Stone made the cakes and they were gooood. I am requesting her recipes!


Brooke made quite the cake in celebration of Oscar & Wynne's 55th Anniversary.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tennis Lessons

We have been taking lessons this summer with former UI men's & women's tennis coach, Charley Darley. He has been taking the girls to the next level in their game. I didn't get a shot of Moriah, but there will be plenty of time this weekend at the Muscatine Tournament! Go Steele Girls!
dd caption

Summer of 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Clinton Jr USTA Tournament

So, 99 degree weather, heat advisory, wind advisory...yep, it's a good day to play tennis. :)

Brooke played in the Clinton tournament today (Monday, June 18, 2012) and ended up in the consolation bracket after losing the first match (1-6, 2-6). She won the second match (8-4), and played a friend from Muscatine for the winner of the consolation bracket. She lost that match (2-8), but it was fun for her and great experience.

So, this is Case in church (before the service began), will notice "Perry the Platypus" next to him! It belongs to Katie, who is one of Haley & Moriah's friends, whom Case has a special fondness for.

Girls & guns!

In the Muscatine Journal, there's a good article about the class I took on Saturday regarding "Girls and Guns" and gun safety. The photo of the target above is after my first 30 rounds.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dan in Canada - Surprise back home

Dan has been in Canada fishing with some guys from work, sort of a work-related "retreat." They left last Saturday and will be home tonight. It looks really pretty there, although he said there are lots and lots of BIG bugs, and though it is sunny today, the past few days have been very, very cold and rainy.

So...while he was gone, we wanted to do something special for him to let him know we were thinking of him every day. The girls and I decided to tackle something we weren't sure if we could accomplish in just one week: Take on the Garage! We wanted Dan to be able to breathe easy next time he was looking for a tool, and we thought maybe he'd enjoy parking in the garage! - he's on his way home today from Canada, and we are really hoping he is surprised and is happy with what we've done. *gulp!*

So, here are a few "before" pictures:

 Note the white tall cabinets - you won't see them again in the "after" pics. :)

 ...and here are a few "after" pictures:
Haley had a great time organizing small items into these bins...
 I had fun putting the power tools in one location, and also the pool supplies found a couple shelves, too.

 Haley & I assembled a workbench for Dan, which was pretty fun to do! Moriah, Haley, & Brooke found lots of hand tools and misc items to hang from the peg board.

 If you saw in the "before" pictures the white cabinets that were on the wall, we took them down. Dan has said he wanted them gone and they were very impractical, so we replaced them with shelves we already had in addition to one more we purchased. Moriah went through all the old electronics & cables, Brooke & Haley put similar items together, and then we started labeling and re-shelving.
 We placed long items on this "long item rack" above the car. Note also the deer antlers! The black cabinet on the left side contains all the painting items. Not in the picture, but later I added a tennis ball on a string from the ceiling so the girls know when it's time to stop driving forward. :)
And the wood pieces are sitting in a rack that I built, which isn't that great. I chose the wrong casters to put on it - I should've bought heavy duty casters, but hopefully we won't need to roll the cart too often.

It was a fun project, although fairly time consuming. As a motivation, we said we would treat ourselves to new cell phones at the end of the week IF we actually could pull this off. Well, by Thursday night, we had two parking spots (hopefully Dan's Suburban will fit in that empty spot), and by Friday morning, we were on our way to Verizon!

Happy Early Father's Day, Dan!!! We love you, and we missed you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Another use for the welding helmet....

...looking at the partial solar eclipse around 7:20 pm, Sunday, May 20th, 2012.  It looked something like this:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beautiful Day to Stain the Deck!

Case is in his 7th day of chickenpox, so he skipped school today. Instead, he helped me stain the deck!
See Tilly? She gave birth to kittens a few days ago, and apparently thinks it's awesome to sit on and/or near fresh stained wood. There's Case's hand dipping into the can. Brooke is doing a nice job with the post.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This is Case, fast asleep late in the afternoon. If you'll notice the little spots on his face and above his eyes, those are chickenpox! This is Thursday, May 3rd, and his pox got progressively worse, but today (May 8th) he seems to be clearing up. He got the vaccine for chickenpox back on 10-21-2008, which is 97% effective. Guess he's the lucky one!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


So this is the Italian Torte I made ahead of the brunch I hosted last week at our house. For the brunch, I tweeked the recipe and also made it in individual serving bowls.
These are some of my friends from Tuesday Morning Bible Study...we all serve on the leadership team for the study, so we ended our year with a meeting and some yummy food!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Set for "Annie" the musical

Finishing up the final set item...Daddy Warbuck's "marble" staircase.

The musical is a production of the Muscatine High School. The showtimes are this Thursday, Friday & Saturday (April 19, 20, 21) at 7 pm at the high school auditorium. Moriah is in the musical.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Perry Goes Swimming!

Good Friday - the greatest day of the year...well, actually Easter is equally as spectacular.

Wondering...if you're reading this, if you have any spiritual beliefs? Ideas? Thoughts on heaven and/or hell? Would be curious to hear your views....

Our Good Friday was spent with a few hours over at Dan's parents' farm. I took Perry down to the pond, off leash, and he did great until he discovered a goose, who it turns out was nesting on three eggs. He sprang into action at leaped into the water. The look of terror filled his face as soon as he realized he preferred chasing birds on land than in water! I wish I had had a video of it.

Perry sniffing in the long grass down by the pond on Good Friday.

This is a great picture of Perry.

Here's Perry AFTER going for a swim - he lunged into the pond after one of the geese, then found out he might not like swimming. The geese were pretty perturbed because he was inches away from their nest of 3 eggs!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

...and dance by the light of the moon

Well, I don't know about you & how it has looked the past few nights, but for us here in Southeastern Iowa, the moon has had several spectacular nights!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunrise with Perry

Well, I am a little disappointed with the quality of the picture, but what can you expect from a camera inside a device that is supposed to be a PHONE?! :) What you can't see is the brilliant orange "ball" in the sky directly above Perry. It was absolutely beautiful this morning. God's beautiful creation.

You also see that Perry is "down" on the bike path. This is the new path that leads from our house and winds its way to Weed Park, then on to Riverside Park, and all the way down to Musser Park and beyond to the Soccer Complex. You have to go on streets from there for about a mile and a half to the Discovery Center, but as you can see, most of Muscatine is now connected by a path. For serious bikers, though, it's not long enough - I think you can get about 14 miles in and that's if you go one direction and then turn around. For me, however, it's great!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Just A-Swingin'

It was simply a beautiful Sunday afternoon today. We had 84 degrees. The pool is NOT open yet. :) This week, our high temps are supposed to be in the 60s, so it will be a few weeks yet.

Do you know how hard it is to take good pictures with a cell phone?

hedge mantel

Here's what's left of the tall "stump" of the hedge tree.

Here's Dan after sawing a 6 1/2 foot section from an old hedge tree, that we hope can become our mantel for the fireplace.

This is NOT the mantel, but this is the idea that we are looking to create:
More to come...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Some Kitchen Progress

Well, as you can see, there is one bar stool. We ordered one, "trying it out" in case it wasn't what we wanted. Well, it's pretty comfortable, so 5 more are on their way.

We went with a couch, loveseat, and two "modern" swivel recliner chairs. The fireplace still needs a mantel, and we still need to trim out the room & windows, but the floor is in, and furniture is in place! We can relax!

We need to get some pillows for the couches. The stool is a makeshift side table for now.

We are enjoying the gas cooktop in the island, the raised bar, and the "hidden" dishwasher. We also like the deep one well sink. We splurged on an instant hot water faucet for teas & coffees.

Still need to do backsplash. We are enjoying the deep and wide drawers. I like the round table, but it only accomodates 5 chairs, and we don't have a 100% concensus regarding the table. So...probably on the hunt for something bigger and/or different.