Christmas Food Web


Who knew “Frosties” were part of the “Energy Pyramid”?

12-22/365 ~Nancy


Baby Cakes


With two more days of school left, I still agreed to help watch my three
granddaughters while my son staged a surprise birthday party for his

Early today, I received an email that he had posted on my Facebook wall,
“Baby Cakes!”

When I arrived home, I set my usual stack of papers down on the table
and found a little box with “Nana” and a big smile drawn on the outside.

“Baby Cakes!”

12-21/365 ~Nancy


This morning I dressed in many layers and headed out for a brisk wintery run.  It felt good.  Upon my return home, I looked down at my running watch to see how long it had taken me to run my 7 miles.  What I wasn’t expecting to see was frost right on my arm.  If only I had a top hat and a carrot, I could have posed in our front yard as Frosty.

12-20/365 ~Shannon

A Gift of Wreaths


Teri and Dennis Whalen have been our neighbors for several years. The
first time I ever talked to Teri was to say, “Good morning!” when I saw
her standing on her front porch soon after they moved into the house
across the street. Her reply was, “Every day is a good day if you live
in Shelbyville!”

They are from one of our northern neighboring states, and it seems they
fell in love with the “Ville” as they passed through on a trip. They
moved here, and eventually Teri opened “Whalen’s West Side Floral Shop”
on Main Street.

With all of us so busy, we don’t get to see each other very often, and
visits are captured pieces of conversation between our “comings” and
“goings”. Every Christmas, though, we receive a beautiful gift. This
year it was two surprise wreaths left on the front porch. I knew exactly
where I would put them, and this evening, with the front porch lights
on, I knew this was my “moment” for the day.

12-19/365 ~Nancy

Christmas Gold


Christmas is the time of year for families to gather together.
Tonight we did just that.

My daughter-in-law had her family from Chicago down for Christmas, and we were invited for dinner. Spaghetti, wine, and plenty of desserts were followed by the gift exchange. Add to this an abundance of laughter as we each opened our white elephant gift.

Renee loves to fill their old house with trees and decorations, and of the many pictures I took, these two were among my favorites. It seems they reflect the warmth and love that we all felt being together.

12-18/365 ~Nancy

Library Hours


We have only three more days of school until we break for Christmas.
As I drove home, I passed our library, and the lights and warm glow were
very inviting.

At 23 degrees, the street corner was cold, but I was just a few blocks
from my front door. It will be a quick walk over my break, and then I,
too, can be inside where I can find a comfortable chair, a fireplace,
and a quiet corner to choose a good book to read.

12-17/365 ~Nancy

Santa’s Bag

The 4th graders in the school where I teach are part of an organization called  K-Kids.  It is the Junior Kiwanis membership.  Our students love being K-Kids and it is a fantastic way to teach them about community service projects.  They rake leaves for shut-ins during the fall, clean up the trash at the park, collect canned goods for the local food bank, as well as other various projects that promote awareness of our community.  During Christmas, in lieu of a classroom gift exchange, the kids buy presents for 3 families they adopt.  The generosity of these kids is incredible and the families are very appreciative of what is collected, wrapped, and delivered for their Christmases.  Today I snuck over and took a picture of the inside of one of the MANY bags that are ready for delivery.  The 6 year old boy and 4 1/2 year old girl will think these gifts were from Santa’s bag….and that is all that matters.

I love our K-Kids..

12-16/365 ~Shannon

Christmas Craft


Every year at this time I contemplate doing a Christmas craft with my students.  I love crafting.  I just don’t love crafting with my class.  It sucks every ounce of patience I have right out of me.  I don’t know why.  I can’t explain it.  The teachers with whom I work know this to be the case and are baffled by it.  They can’t believe that I have as much patience as I do when we are in the computer lab doing a multi-step project.  So I put out a plea on Facebook.  It looked something like picture 2.


Aaaannnnddd…I caved.  On my way home from Altamont last night, I stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up some supplies to make the little snowman ornament you see.  While my daughter was at church tonight, I gave the project a test run.  She came in the door and exclaimed, “How cute!  Are we going to make those?”  My reply, “Yep.”  And then I heard a “Yessssss!” 

Thanks to those who offered your honest opinion.  I appreciate it, and tomorrow we will be crafting in Room 149 instead of geeking out in the computer lab.  Wish me luck. 

12-15/365 ~Shannon

Gingerbread Houses


This evening we held a workshop for a great bunch of teachers in Altamont, Illinois. These little houses were drying and on display in the main hall as we entered the building, and were the work of the first graders of the Lutheran Interparish School.

We marveled at the amount of candy that made up each house, and how the kids were kept from eating half of the “construction materials”.

“Lots of volunteers,” was the answer.

12-14/365 ~Nancy

The Dam Hill


No, I didn’t say what you thought I did, but it IS a heck of a hill!

Today was the first snowday of the school year, and even as the sun was setting with temperatures in the single digits, kids were still climbing its steep side for one last run. I could hear their voices encouraging each other to keep climbing. I overheard one shout, “I hate this hill!” and his friend reply, “I love this hill!”

This is the hill on the face of the Shelbyville Dam where my children spent every snowy day sledding, and where they fostered their love of the thrill. The same thrill you get as you climb your first roller coaster, and how you feel after you climb out of the car at the end of that first crazy ride. It’s an addiction, and the ride down is always followed by, “Let’s do it, again!”

12-13/365 ~Nancy