Sentence Fix-Up #3

Friday, April 21, 2017 No comments
Directions: Read the following sentences, then edit to fix errors in grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, or usage.

Sentence Fix-Up #3

  1. mr alexander writed a book.
  2. Jason and Kate and Melody walk to the store yesterday
  3. did you see the movie the jungle book!
  4. i took a fotograph with my moms camera.
  5. is this sweater your's.
  6. Did you right a report on president george washington?
  7. I live at 42 maple street.

Sentence Fix-Up #2

Friday, April 14, 2017 No comments
Directions: Read the following sentences, then edit to fix errors in grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, or usage.

Sentence Fix-Up #2

  1. you done a well job on the quiz yesterday
  2. congradulations were so proud of you
  3. she could of helped but we didn't ask.
  4. i like apples better then bananas!
  5. is it to late to call my freind.
  6. if it is raining out than the game will be postponed
  7. Violet runned in the race she came in second place.

Writing Prompts: Start with a Confession

Monday, April 10, 2017 No comments
Typically stories don't start with a confession from a character. More often than not, confessions come later in the plot toward the climax. That way, the suspense has had time to build, the characters have been developed, relationships have been forged, and the conflict is well established. But the challenge of these prompts is to begin with a confession and go from there. Delve into the backstory and create characters to fit the confessions. Are you up to the challenge? Go!

Scenario #1: Romance

"Here goes... I love you... I've always loved you... And I know I should've been honest a long time ago... And I know it's probably too late and I missed my chance... But before anything else changes, I just needed to let you know..."

Scenario #2: Crime

"I did it, okay?! Geez, I can't take it anymore. I can't stand hearing your conspiracy theories and your incredibly wrong assumptions. You've got to be the worst detective in the history of the world because here I am, right under your nose where I've been the whole time... Obviously guilty! Okay?! I did it!"

Scenario #3: Drama

"I... lied." He took a deep breath. "It was meant to be just a simple fib so you wouldn't get upset about the truth... But you kept asking specific questions and it just got so out of hand... I didn't know how to tell you or when to tell you... I just couldn't admit it's been going on so long, but I can't keep track of the lies anymore. Other people are getting involved... And it's getting exhausting."

Scenario #4: Non-Descript

"I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry that it happened at all. I knew what I was doing when I did it... And I did it anyway. Hell, I didn't even consider stopping. I knew what I wanted and I knew, well, hoped anyway, that someday we'd end up here... And, look, here we are. So, to quote Shakespeare, all's well that ends well... Right?"

Scenario #5: Mystery

"I knew all along it would come to this... That's why I wrote the letters... That's why I made it seem like you were all going to receive this huge inheritance... That's why I played along like I knew more to the story than I did... I never knew her. I knew who she was, sure, but it was because of you. It was all a way to get closer to you. It worked, though, didn't it?"

Sentence Fix-Up #1

Friday, April 7, 2017 No comments
Directions: Read the following sentences, then edit to fix errors in grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, or usage.

Sentence Fix-Up #1

  1. one of the affects of the storm was falled branchs!
  2. Wash you're hands before you come too the table?
  3. watch where you step ore you'll fall in the whole
  4. me got fourty pages left to reed in the book
  5. look out the floor is wet up a head.
  6. dew you know the rite way two go!
  7. me and my sister play outside yesterday.

Rain Drops Outside My Window...

Thursday, April 6, 2017 No comments
As much as sunshine beaming through the windows makes me feel invigorated and ready to get out and conquer the day and be a productive member of society, there's something about a rainy day that inspires me.

I think it's the feeling of not wanting to go out in the rain and get all wet that makes me eager to get stuff done inside. Luckily, Cam is getting to an age where he entertains himself in his bouncer, exersaucer, or with his floor toys. I can get a solid half hour of writing, designing greeting cards (my main project as of late), or housework completed before he starts to get antsy and need me once again. Even better, I can enjoy a cup of coffee or grab a quick bite to eat without having to juggle him and food. It gives him time to explore and learn through music and play while spending time in the same room with me. Slowly learning autonomy at seven months... Not too shabby!

Lately I've been leaving my laptop setup in the "other" room in our house, too. (I honestly don't know what to call this room anymore... It used to be the bar room, but the bar has since gone out to the garage. Now it has a table and chairs in it and Cam's toys, but it's not exactly a playroom either.) I think having my computer easily accessible has done wonders for my productivity. Whenever I get a spare moment, I can work on a card or a resource without having to wait for my computer to boot up. If I only end up having two minutes to myself before the timer goes off for dinner to be checked or before Cam wakes up or before the laundry needs to be changed or before Brody or Lily need to go out... Okay, okay, you get the idea... I can just hop back to what I need to do without feeling like I didn't spend those two minutes wisely. I'm not a huge fan of leaving the computer out on the table all the time, but my OCD can deal.

I had a great idea for a short story a couple of nights ago. And instead of ignoring it and hoping I can remember it when I'm not falling asleep, I forced myself to get up and write it down so I could see if it'd be worth writing when I woke up. Turns out, I still like the idea. I'm hoping to get a few minutes to work out the details and start writing this weekend, but we'll see... Tomorrow night, Nick and I are going bowling with friends and Cam is going to my parents' house and Saturday we're celebrating my brother's birthday (Cam's first time going to a bar for wings and pitchers of beer, should be fun!). I'm looking forward to getting out and doing things, but I also get a little bummed when we don't have a good "recharge weekend" to relax. Luckily, Sunday looks like it'll be spent at home (I'm planning on cooking a turkey), so that should recharge the batteries a little.

Wow, I guess I had more I wanted to say than I realized. It feels nice to just write again. It's been helping clear out the cobwebs in my head (since I was pregnant and had Cam, I feel like I'm losing my vocabulary and thought-organizing abilities).

Hope you're doing well as you're reading this! :)

Unfulfilled Wishes

Have you ever thought about how terrifying life would be if your 12 year old self had gotten everything she ever wished for?

Imagine it... If every fantasy MASH ending had come true? It would be pretty horrifying. I mean, seriously, I think of the guys I had crushes on, the fashion trends I wished my parents would let me follow, and the type of life I thought I wanted. I cringe at what I thought I wanted as a middle schooler.

I always think about how lucky it is to have unfulfilled wishes. Unanswered prayers (for Garth Brooks fans). Unrealized dreams. It's pretty lucky that we don't get everything we want because if we did, we'd probably all be in the midst of some pretty messy lives.

I think that the things we do achieve in life - the goals and dreams we actually reach - are the things we really want. We work hard to earn them, we make plans to achieve them, we save money to buy them, we make habits to become them... If they're fleeting dreams (like "omigosh, I hope that boy notices me!" or "I wanna dye my hair pink!"), then they fall by the wayside and we move on. But if they're truly important, we keep trying until we figure them out.

Which unfulfilled wishes of yours are you most happy about not having come true?

Question Starters

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 No comments
Even though fact-based questions can be helpful in assessing what students know, those types of questions aren't very open-ended. They usually require a specific answer. The more open-ended a question is, the more we can understand what a student knows (or doesn't know) because it requires him to explain what he knows in his own words.

But even more revealing than how a student answers is a question is the type of questions the student asks after a lesson. We can better understand what they already know and what they're confused about and what they still have questions about based on the things they ask. That being said, sometimes it's difficult to get students to formulate questions for us.

Use some of these question starters as a starting point when your students have a tough time coming up with their own questions:

  • Why...?
  • What if...?
  • When ___ happened, did that cause...?
  • Who...?
  • Where was...?
  • Was ___ a result of...?
  • I wonder...
  • I don't understand...
  • I was confused when...
  • How did they...?
  • Another way I could have solved this...
  • What am I trying to find out...?
  • When the author said ___, did it mean...?
  • Why did the character...?
  • Am I right when I infer that...?

Writing Prompts: Start with the Setting

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 No comments
Part of writing a quality exposition is describing the setting of the story you're about to tell. Letting the reader know where and when the story takes place is an important part of the plot.

The following prompts are centered around different settings. Take one and run with it!
  • There was no way anyone was going to get me to leave the solitude of the cabin in the mountains until my reservation ended the following week.
  • Being snowed in at a bus station in the city wasn't an ideal way to spend Christmas Eve, but I suppose there are worse places to be on the holiday.
  • A nurse paging a doctor over the intercom woke me up out of the daze I was in. I glanced at the clock on the wall. 12:02 AM. I guess that's why they call it a waiting room. I had nothing else to do but wait at this point. 
  • Staying on campus over spring break would be boring compared to the Cancun vacation my roommate was going on, but at least I had the dorm to myself for nine whole days.
  • The year was 1933 and Prohibition had just ended in the United States.

Energy Boost

For over a year, I was either pregnant or breastfeeding... Until Sunday. I cannot believe how much energy I'm finding I have all of a sudden!

Usually, Cameron wakes me up and I'm dragging until his morning nap, when I try to catch a few minutes of sleep myself... But the past two days, I've been able to wake up with him and stay up - for the WHOLE day! I know, it probably doesn't seem like an impressive accomplishment to stay awake for an entire day, but it's truly noticeable and fantastic to be the one experiencing it.

I loved being pregnant, but once I had Cam, I realized how relieved I was to not be pregnant anymore. (Especially after going into preterm labor and being on strict bed rest.) So far, I'm finding I have the same feeling when it comes to nursing. I know it was difficult some days to keep going (especially the pumping - my god, the pumping!), but I didn't really think it was taking much out of me. But without it, I'm realizing how much of my energy was going to milk production.

Basically, I'm just really happy to be feeling like my "old self." It has me excited about going out and doing things... About spring coming... About a fun summer ahead of us... And even about going back to school in the fall. It's amazing how motivation can build when I actually feel well-rested!

Greeting Card Worthy Occasions?

Sunday, April 2, 2017 No comments
I love receiving cards and notes from my husband. Even though he tells me he loves me multiple times a day and shows he loves me through his actions on a daily basis, there's something about reading words of love that makes me feel so special (that's probably why my Love Language is "Words of Affirmation").

But maybe part of the reason I enjoy getting cards is because it only happens a few times a year. I usually get cards for my birthday, our anniversary, and Valentine's Day. Even though I love the thoughtful birthday and anniversary presents he gets me and the candy or jewelry on Valentine's Day, I so look forward to the card and the words my husband has written to me within it.

Since Cameron was born, we've been receiving greeting cards for every holiday from his grandparents. It's something my grandparents did when I was a baby, too, and I think it's a cute gesture. He'll only have one "first" holiday and Nick and I celebrate those milestones with mini photo shoots, so it's nice that Cam also receives cards for the occasions.

But when we get older, we don't send each other greeting cards for every holiday. We might write the obligatory "Happy Birthday" post on Facebook or send a text or even call those we're close with, but for the most part, unless there's a party or you're especially close with someone, a card isn't going to enter the equation after a certain age.

So what makes you take the time to go to the store and peruse the greeting card aisle until you've found the right card? Do you only send cards to certain people, or do you only pick out cards for specific occasions?

Start with a Cliché

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 No comments
Sometimes we look down upon writers who frequently use cliches. Sure, these tired phrases can be annoying to read over and over since we're used to hearing them in our everyday conversations. We should be using original thoughts in our original creative writing, right?

The thing is, I don't see anything wrong with an exercise which celebrates the use of cliches and even makes them the star of the show (especially when we're experiencing writer's block). Writers write, even sometimes borrowing their words from tired phrases.

So here is my writing challenge for today... Write a story using a cliche as the theme! I've chosen some cliches (listed below), but feel free to use your own favorites! 
  • All that glitters is not gold
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • Don't count your chickens before they've hatched
  • Good things come to those who wait
  • The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
  • When it rains, it pours 
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket
  • What goes around comes around
  • One bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch

Types of Relationships

Sunday, February 26, 2017 No comments
We all interact with people in our lives. Even the most obscure hermit had parents at some point in his life. So this list is devoted to the types of relationships we can forge throughout our lives. I'll no doubt forget a few along the way, so this may be a work in progress as my brain comes up with more!
  1. Husband
  2. Wife
  3. Boyfriend
  4. Girlfriend
  5. Fiancé 
  6. Friend
  7. Best friend
  8. Mother
  9. Father
  10. Son
  11. Daughter
  12. Brother
  13. Sister
  14. Coworker
  15. Boss
  16. Employee
  17. Customer
  18. Aunt 
  19. Uncle
  20. Cousin
  21. Niece
  22. Nephew
  23. Grandmother
  24. Grandfather
  25. Granddaughter
  26. Grandson
  27. In-Laws (too many types to name!)
  28. Exes (significant others)
  29. Steps (parents, children)
  30. Greats (grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles)
  31. Acquaintance
  32. Spiritual Leader (pastor, priest, rabbi, etc)
  33. Pet (c'mon, our pets are like family!)

Five Stars

How do you rate the books you read? Do you consider the writing itself or the story? Do you evaluate the amount of plot twists or character growth? Do you pay attention to how long it takes you to finish reading the book and rate the page-turners higher?

When I read a book, I have a very difficult time giving it up, even if I'm not connecting with the characters or it doesn't do a great job holding my interest. It's just the type of reader I am. Once in a while, I'll abandon a book, but most of the time I will end up revisiting it to finish it (it's the OCD in me). But even if I do complete one of those books that I didn't enjoy, I end up rating it with only one or two stars. But what about a book littered with grammatical and spelling errors that has an exciting story, enticing characters, and elaborate setting? I end up rating those higher because of the story itself (that is, if I can overlook the butchering of the English language enough to get drawn into the story). Since I can't forgive the errors, though, I can't give it five stars even if it's the most creative story I've ever read. A girl's got to have standards, right? Ha. It's interesting to think about, though.

What makes a book a five-star read in your eyes?

Writing Prompts: Character Centric

Saturday, February 25, 2017 No comments
These prompts are designed with a character in mind. Use the brief quotation to create a character of your own!

"There are two types of people in the world: those who hire someone to do a job and those who are determined to be a do-it-yourself-er."

"The last thing he expected to do that day was run into the person he had been desperately trying to forget since the last time they saw each other."

"She was and always would be the best part of my life... Too bad she didn't know it."

"The people who raised me were practically strangers to me now. It wasn't my intention to be gone so long,  but as I walked up the sidewalk of my childhood home, I couldn't help but feel anxious. Should I just knock on the door? Would they even recognize me?"

"Who was this man? Sure, we'd all known him for the four years we'd been attending this school, but as I looked at him, I started to realize how little I knew about him."

Writing Prompts: Start with Dialogue

Friday, February 17, 2017 No comments
A great way to "hook" your readers is to start a piece of writing with dialogue. I wanted to focus on writing some engaging (and open-ended) dialogue that could inspire you to exercise your craft. Here you go! (I'd love to read what you come up with - feel free to share it with me!)

"Congratulations! I just heard the news. That's so exciting!"

"Look, you're the only one who knows the truth. So what's it going to be? Are you going to share it or is the secret going to die with you?"

"That's the funniest thing I've ever heard! What happened next?"

"You have to make a decision and you have to make it now. We've waited long enough..."

"Please step aside. This area is going to get really busy as soon as those doors open."

"Can you believe it? Tomorrow's already the big day. How do you feel?!"

"We don't handle that kind of issue here. You're going to have to talk to someone in another department..."

Things that Squeak

Thursday, February 9, 2017 No comments
I haven't done a list post in a while, but I think it helps get my brain working when I do... It's actually one of the reasons why I like playing the game 94%. It requires the player to generate the most popular responses to different prompts, like "Things that are Red" or just broad categories, like "Teenagers."

Today's list will be devoted to things that squeak!
  1. Mice
  2. A door's unoiled hinges
  3. Newborn Cam before he started crying much (now I'm pretty sure the neighbors can hear him!)
  4. Cam when he starts laughing so hard that he goes super high-pitched 
  5. Floor boards under the carpet (I'm getting better at avoiding them when Cam is sleeping lol)
  6. An old boxspring
  7. A rocking chair against a hardwood floor
  8. Brakes that need to be looked at (or ones that are wet after a particularly hard rain)
  9. A dog's chew toy (when it's new... Brody and Lily usually make sure they stop being able to squeak within minutes of gnawing on them)
  10. New sneakers on a waxed floor
  11. Freshly-brushed teeth
  12. Wheels on an old wagon or cart
  13. Playground swings (especially ones with rusty chains)
  14. An old vacuum cleaner's belt (or one with a lot of hair wrapped around its brushes - having two dogs and long hair give me a lot of experience with this one)
  15. Joints (especially my ankle... oh boy, I'm getting old!)

Knock, Knock

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 No comments
"Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul and you answer." - Star Richés
I have to admit... I have been such a slacker when it comes to listening to the cravings my soul has been having in terms of creating lately. Every day, I intend to find time to write, whether it's in my journal, blog, or in any of the unfinished novels I've started. Aside from jotting down some reflections on a couple of pages of my favorite purple Moleskine notebook, this is the first time I've actually written anything substantial. So when I saw the quotation above, I felt like I had to do my soul a favor and do a little writing. Life has been busy and exciting and tiring and it's really so great!

Cam keeps me busy and days go by quicker than ever. Between feedings, I keep up with housework and try to bake once a week or so and spend time with my wonderful husband. I started working for my parents again here and there, which has been great because it gets me out of the house with Cam, I get to see my family relatively often, and I'm earning some money. It's not always easy to leave the house (I bring four bags with me - Cam's diaper bag, my pump bag, my nursing pillow, and my bag with whatever I need) and plan around feedings and whatnot, but it's nice to leave the house once in a while. It'll definitely get easier once I'm not breastfeeding anymore, but I know the struggle is worth it. Other than that, I've been reading a lot and having regular trashy TV days with my best friend, catching up on the latest episodes of The Bachelor and bingeing on reruns of Catfish. I'm enjoying my time as a stay-at-home-mom, but trying to ease into rediscovering some of my former hobbies. 

Cam is growing like a weed and he's changing so much every day! He's been eating vegetables for a month now and he loves them (some more than others - he is not a fan of sweet potatoes!). He's almost rolling over, constantly doing pull-ups as he tries to sit up on his own, and whines if we don't support his strong and stubborn desire to stand up on our laps. He's not on the go yet, but I have a feeling that once he is, we're going to be chasing him all over the place! He wakes up babbling now instead of crying, giggles when we play with his toes during a diaper change, and is taking baths in the kitchen sink since he outgrew the baby bathtub. I can't believe he's nearly six months old. Sometimes it feels like that's so much older than he seems, but then again, I struggle to recall what life was like before Nick and I were parents. It's been an incredible journey so far and every day is so full of joy and pride... even the tough, exhausting days!

So maybe it's not a profound reflection on the human condition, but I'm happy that I finally made time to write and post something here! I don't know when I'll be able to fit it in again, but hopefully soon!

Help and Let Help

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 No comments
People aren't made to be alone. We are meant to live, love, learn, fight, hate, date, befriend, marry, procreate, empathize, and everything in-between with our fellow man.

Nobody is reinventing the wheel on a daily basis. We use the knowledge and ideas from the past to work toward our future. We build upon the technology and innovations we already have in our world to make innovations of our own.

I probably wouldn't enjoy the happy moments in life without sharing them with my nearest and dearest. I know I wouldn't make it through tough times without my friends and family. I also know that I wouldn't have pushed myself as much as I do now without having a few adversaries along the way.

Alone time is great and now that I'm pretty much with my little sidekick, Cam, 24/7, I relish in the few minutes of alone time I get each day. But sometimes after craving alone time and getting it, I find that I miss those I'm closest to... Because life is meant to be a shared experience. Otherwise, what's the point?