Eating Einstein


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Easter is coming! And that means . . . why a centerpiece of course.

Seriously, who doesn’t love Spring Baskets and the treasure hunts we make for our (grand)children? I love planting flowers and peas and dividing strawberries—okay, maybe not the last one, but I love eating the results in a couple of months. And don’t you love seeing flowers spring from bulbs around your yard and blossoms on the apple and cherry trees? Yep, good things.

I’m hosting Easter Dinner this year. My daughter-in-law is bringing the ham—Einstein went to the butcher a couple of months ago. She’s very practical about this. My son refused to get to know him because he knew he would later eat him. When I visit her she shows me the calf she’s feeding that will be exchanged for a beef calf when this one is weaned. And the chicken named “Dinner” that is on “death row.” However that event is not certain because a rooster has taken a liking to her. I love how she is so connected with life.

Anywho, today I planted wheat for my centerpiece. I’ll let you know how it turns out. (I do have a back-up plan.) It took all of 10 minutes for this project, including moving ladders in the garage to get to the potting soil. So easy.

I soaked the wheat over night. The trays are from the dollar store.

I soaked the wheat over night. The trays are from the dollar store.







I ended up using some dry wheat to fill in the gaps.

I ended up using some dry wheat to fill in the gaps.








More soil, water, and a sunny window. Fingers crossed.

More soil, water, and a sunny window. Fingers crossed.








I'm also working on some miniature gardens for the patio. :-)

I’m also working on some miniature gardens for the patio. 🙂









I took three evenings to cut out the butterflies. (A punch would speed this up). I hope to attach them to picks and stick them in the grass.


My china has a lot of blue and pink. It works for Easter.

My china has a lot of blue and pink. It works for Easter.



Inspiring Children with Biographies



[This post is in response to a request following my last one.]

a-kid-readingOffering, even encouraging, our children to read biographies brings them in contact with real life examples of men and women who conquered great odds or simply the lazy, worldly attitude of “getting by” and became heroes within their own spheres. Well-chosen biographies introduce your child to the possibility that they too can change the world.

When your child reads about these “heroes” help them understand:

  1. The Providential placement of that individual in history.
  2. What was responsible for their character development and training?
  3. What character attributes did they possess that distinguished them?

Here is a very short list to start with (this was geared to boys, but there are many excellent accounts of women, such as Abigale Adams, that can be found).

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

This is the story of Nathaniel Bowditch, sailor and mathematician, whose love of learning, led to a quest for mastery.

In remembering Dr. Bowditch at his passing, his associates in the Salem Marine Society said of him: “In his death a public, a national, a human benefactor has departed. Not this community, nor our country only, but the whole world, has reason to do honor to his memory. When the voice of Eulogy shall be still, when the tear of Sorrow shall cease to flow, no monument will be needed to keep alive his memory among men; but as long as ships shall sail, the needle point to the north, and the stars go through their wonted courses in the heavens, the name of Dr. Bowditch will be revered as of one who helped his fellow-men in a time of need, who was and is a guide to them over the pathless ocean, and of one who forwarded the great interests of mankind.”

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder  Yes, boys love this story—especially the chapter that tells the story of the sleigh ride on Sunday.

Benjamin West and His Cat, Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry This link also offers other biographies for young children

Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia by Opal Wheeler. This is a wonderful story about perseverance and diligence.This link also leads to other stories of composers.

Matthew Maury (I don’t have a preferred author for this one)

William Tyndale by David Daniel

Education of James Madison

Sir Walter Scott, Wizard of the North by Pearl Henriksen Shultz   This is a biography is the perfect prelude to reading Ivanhoe

The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles A. Lindberg

Other fabulous sources are family histories and books about Pioneers such as Follow Me to Zion. A book like this could be shared one story at a time while the children gather around and a parent or older sibling retells it at their level.



Boys and My Major Weakness


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I don’t write romance. Not straight romance. Not girl falls in love with tall-dark-and-handsome stuff. I have to add adventure, suspense, mystery, and a bit of danger. I’ll forever be a tom-boy.

??????????????????????????As a child I played with my brothers—cowboys, basketball, and catching minnows in irrigation ditches. I climbed trees, through coal-shoots, down laundry drops, out of windows and onto the roof. And I read books. My favorite was Joe’s Boys—the sequel to Little Men. I decided I wanted a family of boys with one or two girls.

Right now my life is filled with boys. My tutoring students are all boys and my Sunday class consists of 6 boys and two girls. Life is good.

Generally boys are not interested in clothes, styles, or crafts. They do like swords, disney-walt-09-grockets, and daring adventures. And they dream big. One of my students is doing a“hero project” on Walt Disney. Some may think of princesses when they think of Disney—this young man sees an innovator, a man five steps ahead of everyone else in his industry (you might say he created his own industry), and a successful businessman. Plus he had a lot of fun.

When I teach boys I challenge them—I set high standards and bring new ideas for them to think about. This is not gender specific—I loved learning new things and exploring ideas, but where girls generally like to learn new recipes and the latest holiday craft (I do), boys like science and industry.

I also tell them stories that inspire. I have seen boys near tears as they imagine the events of a historical moment—one where an ordinary man became a hero. Boys need heroes—tons of them. Fathers are essential. But reading biographies is also invaluable. The more examples they learn of people who made tough choices for good while the world around them fell apart, the more they will find strength in their own times of choosing.

It’s also good to keep a sense of humor—especially with boys. Be witty, look at the humorous side of everyday tasks, smile from inside, and don’t let ten minutes go by without laughing.

This reminds me of my weakness. Unfortunately, I’m easily charmed. One year a 14yr. old math student said to me, “We can’t take you serious Mrs. Dayley. When we get noisy, you act tough, but your eyes are laughing.” It didn’t help that that particular young man had dimples!

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop


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romance is in the airThe best part of a Giveaway hop is the Giveaways!

From an electronic, randomized drawing, I will give the winner a signed copy of Cold PursuitColdPursuitCover—the mystery romance with 4 different endings! Seriously, you can read it with a friend, or put it on the shelf and a month later have a completely different story. (This is a $17.99 value, plus shipping).  Or receive a $10 gift card to Amazon.  Your choice.

To enter, do these simple things:

  1. Share this link on FB or Twitter.
  2. Comment below with your name, email, and

A romantic idea for a Valentine Gift (keep it G or PG rated th33RPMZZF).

That’s it. Couldn’t be simpler. But don’t forget to include your idea.

Read about Cold Pursuit here.

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Click here to view the complete list…

My Mean Friend Lori and a grammar quiz


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my grade school

my grade school

In second grade I spent far too much time talking to other children in my pod of four desks. My teacher moved me to sit across from a quiet boy–Bernie Mo. It didn’t matter. I talked to him too. I don’t know how I remember his name because I don’t remember my teacher’s name or any of the subjects she tried to teach me. When I got my report card my dismal grade in spelling reflected my level of (rather lack of) learning.

Looking at the grade, I finally decided to take my education seriously, though spelling and grammar never became strong subjects for me. In HS, after twice acing an advanced creative writing class, my teacher suggested I take a basic class in grammar. Sigh.

Actually people call it grammar when they include syntax. A basic difference (how I help my students differentiate) is grammar includes the correct use of words (Lori and I plan to go skiing. vs. Me ‘n Lori plan to go skiing.) (“Why is Lori so mean?” my mom would ask.) Syntax is more the construction of sentences. I’m actually very good at dissecting sentence, but my Idaho roots still haunt my grammar.

diagra15My enjoyment with syntax is contagious. At a training last summer several teachers expressed that their students hated to diagram sentences. I tried not to gasp. I’d never encountered that problem. In fact, a mother of one of my students that I tutor in language and math recently told me about a form her 13-year-old son filled out. (This young man is athletic, responsible, a handsome charmer, ambitious and makes friends easily.) One of the questions asked him what his favorite school subjects were. He wrote, “guitar and diagramming sentences.” See, contagious.

Just yesterday I had a room of students diagramming the simple structure of subject / linking verb / predicate adjective: “The eight skinny boys were belching.” They clambered to have turns at the board.

Side note: a fellow teacher once told me that Steve Jobs said (I haven’t been able to find the quote, but I keep passing it on) that he wished more students learned to diagram sentences because it taught analytical thinking and problem solving. Whether he said so or not, he should have. It’s so true.

Still, these many years later, my 2nd grade scores squash my confidence. I have studied spelling rules to aid what doesn’t come instinctively. You know those people that have always been great spellers? (Let’s have a moment where we all stick our tongues out at them.) They are usually strong visual learners. The rest of us have to learn rules and etymologies. Just this last summer I finally learned to spell diligence without spell check correcting it. Because it comes from a Greek word, there is only one L. Oh.

For those of you who enjoy grammar and syntax, here’s a quiz posted by The Pioneer Woman. Take it and see how you do. (There are no rules, and I admit there was one question I had to look up–I wasn’t sure about the different types of pronouns.) Unfortunately the contest is over, but the good part is, the answers are now available. Although I didn’t win a prize, I was glad to see I’ve come a long way since 2nd grade. I was one of the 403 out of 10,061. I’ll take that. (Just don’t ask me to figure what percent that is.)