Sunday, July 31, 2011



Looking for some fun this weekend? Come out to Whiting, Indiana's Annual PIEROGI FEST where the Pierogi's are out of this world!


There will be food, fun, and contests for both the young and the young at heart! They have arts and craft booths and other specialty vendors. I'd love for you to stop and see us at our booth where you can meet new authors, buy autographed books, or just stop by and say HI!

Click on the link for more details!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take a moment to say THANKS! - HONOR FLIGHT CHICAGO

I looked up the word VETERAN in the dictionary...


a person who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or the like: a veteran of the police force; a veteran of many sports competitions.


a person who has served in a military force, especially one who has fought in a war: a Vietnam veteran.

...and for lack of a better description, these definitions, while true, are quite blah. 

Over the years our military has done so much for our country and they still do today! Our veterans are not just those who once served in the military; they are the ones who fought the battles, made the sacrifices, and helped to keep our country "The Home of the Free"  because of them ... the BRAVE!

HONOR FLIGHT CHICAGO is helping to honor those veterans from the Greatest Generation...WWII.
Click Here for their website -

Please take a few minutes to look at some pictures and videos of what Honor Flight Chicago and its volunteers do and how they are going above and beyond to help honor our veterans who went above and beyond for us!

Video of Chicago Honor Flight July 20, 2011

Video of Don Chapin on his Honor Flight to see the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. on 06/29/2011

If you want to get involved, say thanks, or just show your support, CLICK HERE

(The next Honor Flight is August 10th, 2011!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pierogi Fest - Weekend FUN! Don't miss it!

Looking for some fun this weekend?  Come out to Whiting, Indiana's Annual PIEROGI FEST where the Pierogi's are out of this world!  

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

There will be food, fun, and contests for both the young and the young at heart!  They have arts and craft booths and other specialty vendors. I'd love for you to stop and see us at our booth where you can meet new authors, buy autographed books, or just stop by and say HI!

Click on the link for more details!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Part Two of Other People's Money

I would say here's "the rest of the story", but it's probably just the next chapter... The principal from the CPS school who threw away perfectly good school supplies because they were "taking inventory" and wanted to see what they had was told to go empty the dumpster and get out all those supplies. 

But, as usual, just like any beauracracy...we can't just deal with the situation at hand, we have to make a BIG problem out of it.  Let me say I believe what this principal did was absolutely WRONG and she should have to answer for it, but now new CEO "Bizarre"  is stating that there might be an "organizational shake-up" next week. What could that mean?...  A new committee to oversee school supplies, more paper-work to fill out; whatever that "shake-up" will entail, I am sure it will just make it harder for teachers and students to have the basic supplies needed in their classrooms.

If CPS wants to cut waste and cost, they should check out the dumpsters after free breakfast and lunch is passed out each day!  Now there's a crisis!

(Listen to the video at approximately 2:30)

CPS Superintendent Promises Change in Policy for Handling Unused School Supplies

Updated: Friday, 22 Jul 2011, 9:18 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 22 Jul 2011, 6:41 PM CDT
By Dane Placko, FOX Chicago News
Chicago - The head of Chicago’s public schools said he was angered after watching FOX Chicago’s report Thursday night on unused school supplies being tossed in the trash.

CPS Superintendent Jean Claude Brizard spoke on FOX Chicago Sunday, and promised some changes in how school supplies are handled.
We found thousands of dollars worth of unopened school supplies and books in a dumpster behind the Northwest Middle School in Chicago’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.

The materials had been tossed by the school's principal, who said she needed to clean out their inventory.

That new directive about returning unused school supplies went out to principals in an e-mail Friday, and a formal letter will be sent next week.
Northwest Middle School Dumps Thousands in School Supplies | Originally reported by:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Other People's Money

I cannot believe this principal's excuses for throwing out these school supplies...everything from glue, to paper, to books, and tape.  What can you do with tape if you don't have a proper tape dispenser???  Really?? And she's a principal.  Teachers are told every day that they are going to be held accountable.  Where's the accountability here? 

Again, we see what happens when people are busy spending other people's money (in this case the tax payers)!

Northwest Middle School Dumps Thousands in Unused School Supplies:

Northwest Middle School Dumps Thousands in Unused School Supplies

Updated: Friday, 22 Jul 2011, 8:21 AM CDT
Published : Thursday, 21 Jul 2011, 8:51 PM CDT
By Dane Placko, FOX Chicago News
Chicago - At a time when Chicago Public Schools are struggling for money, residents might be surprised by what FOX Chicago News found in the dumpster behind one school on the Northwest Side.
Thousands of dollars in school supplies - most of them unused - tossed in the trash at Northwest Middle School in the 5200 block of West Palmer, in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.
The concerned viewer, who tipped off FOX Chicago, was outraged by the waste they found. As school officials preparing for the new year dumped boxes and boxes of unopened school supplies straight into the trash.
The tipster said to check the dumpsters behind Northwest Middle School. Sure enough, in one of the dumpsters lay thousands of dollars worth of books and unused school supplies that had apparently been tossed out in just the past few days.
Boxes and boxes of unopened chalk in packs of 12, enough to supply hundreds of classrooms for an entire school year, were found in that dumpster. At $0.89 a box, that’s just over $10 per pack, wasted.

There were also reams of unopened writing paper, drawing pads, bottles of glue at $1.19 each, boxes and boxes of books – some used, others brand new - and hundreds of textbooks and test preparation booklets.

Not a single page was marked.

Hundreds of rolls of adhesive tape, at just under $6 a piece, had been dumped, still inside the office depot boxes that were delivered to the school.
FOX Chicago wondered how Northwest Middle School could afford to simply throw away these valuable supplies, at a time CPS is facing a budget deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
When asked the reason behind throwing out all the supplies, Principal Marilyn Strojny explained they were conducting inventory.
"To actually know what our inventory was,” Strojny said, “to actually straighten it all up, to know what we had."
The principal said the supplies and books had been taking up space for several years. She also said she offered it around to other nearby schools but there were few takers.
Strojny didn’t know if there was a way to send the supplies back downtown to the central office, so they could dispose of it in another way.
The principal said she tossed out the tape because she didn't have the right tape dispensers, which she said cost $70 a piece.
"If I don't have a tape dispenser what do I do with it?"
Why throw out cases of chalk and erasers?
“Cause everybody uses overhead projectors,” Strojny said. “So we don't use it."
She didn’t know of another school that might have used the chalk and erasers.
A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson sent FOX Chicago a statement Thursday night about the findings:

"While we did not personally bear witness to this, FOX's account of the situation is very troubling to us, especially as we just kicked off our own back to school campaign. We would encourage anyone with school supplies, regardless of their condition, to donate them to cps by calling our back to school hotline at 773.553.3277." 

CPS finds this "troubling"...but quickly glances over the issue and asks for more!  Now that's troubling!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is It Really Awesome?

When we overuse words in our language they become less effective and eventually  can even lose their original intended meaning.  The one word that comes to mind today is the word AWESOME!  It is so over-used that it doesn't have the same impact it had years ago.
Today we hear that food is awesome, that car is awesome, those shoes are awesome, saying the word awesome is awesome and so on and so forth.  I'm sure you can think of many other examples.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines awesome as:

 1 : expressive of awe <awesome tribute>
2  : inspiring awe <an awesome task>

And it defines awe as:

 : an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime <stood in awe of the king> <regard nature's wonders with awe>

For myself, I find many foods delicious, and some disgusting, but never awesome.  Cars can be reliable, get good mileage, be a classic, or just be a dud, but never awesome.  As far as shoes are concerned, if I find a comfortable pair that fits I'm just happy, not in awe.

Are there some things that make me stand in awe and wonder? Sure there are...


A Newborn baby!

The Grand Canyon

Glaciers in Alaska

Mackinaw Sunset

All I can say now is...

(What leaves you is awe?)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Discipline VS. Counseling

The latest  public school news is that students and parents want more counseling in school and less discipline.  I submit the reason we have many of the day to day problems in the public school today is because of the lack of discipline. 
Over the last decade self-esteem has replaced self-respect. The overall disregard for authority has increased  to the point where many students will break rules just because "they can". Why do they think they can, because they know  from experience nothing will be done if certain rules are broken.  It starts at the top but the results filter down into the classroom every day.  If a classroom teacher "follows the rules" and others dismiss those rules whether that means the school disciplinarian, the administration, or the Board of Education itself (depending on the infraction), the student now realizes the teacher "can't" do anything and will continue to break the rules. 

Not surprisingly, the students who normally follow the rules and don't complain will eventually start to break some rules too.  Some have told me themselves the reason they do this is because if the kids who always break rules don't get into trouble, why should anyone have to follow them?

Now when it comes to counseling, there is a time and a need for that in the school system, but that is for a very small percentage of the students.  The majority don't need nor want  counseling.  Unfortunately, when society keeps excusing bad behavior and labeling it as the latest "syndrome", "disease", or "disorder" it's no wonder everyone wants to excuse bad behavior.  Sometimes it's just what it looks like...bad choices, bad decisions, growing up.  If it goes beyond that, in many cases, it becomes a police matter, and then it's out of the school's hands.

Parents again need to step-up and be parents.  They need to be an active, positive part of their child's life.  If they see their child is struggling seek out the help they need be it tutoring, counseling (even family counseling), or as a parent communicating with your child and helping them in the best way possible. The parent in this article stated, "The answer is not more police in schools, or harsh discipline practices, but for CPS to invest more than the current $0.8 million to provide more social, educational and emotional support that will give our youth a more positive learning environment and not set them up for failure,” she said.

If expecting students to follow basic school rules, like not cutting class,  is setting students up for failure, we're really in trouble.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mother Nature Wins Again!

The sun was shining as I dragged myself out of bed yesterday morning.  My husband was turning up the radio to better hear the weather forecast.  I listened to the radio and looked out the window.  The weather they  were describing was certainly not what we were seeing.  By the end of the report it was clear that there were storms brewing and flying through the Chicagoland area  at a very fast clip.  We turned on the TV and even the lady at WGN said their lights were blinking and the outside shot from their studio looked like the dark of night.

Since the sun was still shining through my windows I decided we had nothing to worry about, but within 15 minutes day turned to night and the wind picked up with a vengeance.  I decided I should shut down my computer should there be a power surge.  No sooner did I click the "shut down" button and walk out of the room the lights went out.  

That was the beginning of our day as pioneers.  We got our "old fashioned" land-line phone out and called the electric company only to hear a message that over 800,000 people are without electric and it could be several days before everyone's electricity is restored. 

 Out came the coolers and a trip to the store to get ice and lots of it but not before having to get into the garage which was like being on a jungle gym to manually open the door.

Once our food was secure in the coolers there wasn't much to do but wait.  We went outside, visited with neighbors and found out being without electric was nothing compared to a few of our neighbors who now had trees on their roofs.  We ate out of our coolers and it was warm enough in the house now to pretend it was a picnic but not nearly as much fun.  Finally as night was approaching, I sat down to read and fell fast asleep. 

About an hour later, I was startled awake by odd noises.  I looked around and realized what those odd noises were...the hum of my neighbor's air conditioner, the refrigerator motor, and voices from the TV that had been on earlier this morning!  Yea!  We got our electric back and it took  about 13 hours instead of days.  I was re-energized now knowing we would not have to be pioneers any longer.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who's HOT?

The weekend is fast upon us and the summer temperatures are rising!

If you find yourself hot or sweaty.  If you find yourself uncomfortable and longing for cooler weather.  Just remember...
You don't have to shovel sunshine!

Take a look at these two videos and it should help put things back in perspective!

Have a great SUNNY weekend!

February 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Casey Anthony is found NOT GUILTY, but is she? Tell me what YOU think!

jury reaches verdict in Anthony trial The airwaves are filled this afternoon as the verdict of NOT GUILTY was heard across the world in the Casey Anthony case!   She was only convicted on Lying to Authorities...I know people have very strong opinions on this and I'd love to hear yours!  Click Here to Voice Your Opinion!

Read full article here-

Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

And the Winner is...

Thanks again to all who purchased books during the month of June!  The winner of the Kindle Contest is Sydney Heard. Congratulations Sydney!!

Just a friendly reminder that today is the last day to purchase My Hero, My Ding AND be entered in the contest to win an Amazon Kindle Reader.  Contest ends at midnight tonight and the winner will be picked tomorrow.  Thanks to all who are participating already and GOOD LUCK!!!!

To make a purchase, click on the PayPal links on the right side of the page!