Random Facts About Me

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Lunch Lady Brownies

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Oh so chocolately, oh my!

 

 

 

When I mention lunch ladies, what comes to your mind? Long ago memories fleeting by of hairnets and flowery aprons? Sometimes kind and sweet ladies but many times grumpy stressed ladies stood before you to serve what you thought was food but you weren’t really sure  of it’s contents. I remember one lunch lady from elementary school, Mary Allbee. She always smiled at me and made me feel warm inside. I sure appreciated that during a hectic day of school and peer pressure, even in fifth and sixth grades.

 

 

 

When I remnisce about Mary, I think of the plain white bread she served with smooth and sweet peanut butter topping. It just was bread but the peanut butter sure tasted much better than ours at home. What was her secret? To this day I don’t know but it was delicous and that ‘s one of the few elementary lunch memories I have, besides the soggy limp carrot sticks my mom lovingly packed in my brown paper sack.

 

 

 

This Lunch Lady brownies recipe was shared on Facebook a few weeks back in the depth of summer. At first I thought, hmmm, I never remember great brownies baked by the lunch ladies, but maybe there were at other schools. The recipe intrigued me and I read the ingredients with a restrained awe. Then I tried them, baked them for my family and frosted them with the yummy chocolate buttercream frosting. I think the frosting made them even more delicous but I refrain from thinking that they would be good bake sale items. The frosting may be too messy to sell but great at home. The brownies are just as delicious without the frosting as well!

 

 

I share this recipe with you in hopes that you have good lunch lady memories and if you don’t, perhaps these delicious brownies can soothe your wounds. I stumbled upon this delicious recipe on Life-in-the-Lofthouse.com. Holly Lofthouse is the owner, wife and mother and has a great collection of recipes. Check it out!

 

Lunch Lady Brownies

 

1  cup butter, melted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla

 

Chocolate Frosting, if desired
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup milk ( I used Lactose free but you could use 1 or 2%)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar

 

 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine  melted butter and cocoa powder. I mix them together with a hand mixer.

Add the flour and sugar. Beat together then add eggs and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Don’t over mix. (Batter will be thick)

 

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Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.

 

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Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove brownies from oven and let stand 15 minutes before frosting. You want the brownies still warm when you frost them!

 

Chocolate Frosting:

Beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Pour and spread over warm brownies. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Enjoy this little dose of chocolate…for we all know that women have to have their chocolate!
All My Best,
Heart and Soul

 

Goodbye to Summer As I Know it

My little garden with a few edging work to do.

 

 

Here’s a little goodbye to summer…

as I finished the first week of school, a short version due to the Labor Day holiday. Ten days ago I walked the shiny polished floors in school for the first time since June. Everything looks clean and polished and all classrooms look equipped and ready for the kids. I unpacked my corner and organized miscellaneous items piled on my table. My corner looks fresh and soon I’ll be taking groups of readers for reading sessions.

 

Even though it’s a little sad to close another summer chapter, I feel that it’s time. My spoiled summer routine consisted of getting up without the blaring and annoying alarm. Summer days consisted of gardening, seeing relatives and writing my blog. By mid August all my free time feeds a dire need for purpose and so I welcome the start of school to make a difference.

 

I really miss the children, their lit up smiles, their funny comments and the way they make each day worth getting up for. They bring meaning to my life and that’s why I work at school. I can’t imagine working and teaching anywhere else. I’m truly blessed to be involved with such a special school, faculty and the children there.

 

Summer is over  for me as the New England air cools down, a sneak peek of Autumn days is here. I’m pretty excited for fall days, my favorite season of the year! Bring on September and lovely colorful days!

Blessings to you all as you say goodbye to the season.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

Mother’s Day: Grateful For These Women💗

On this Mother’s Day I’m reflecting upon special women in my life and their roles. I’m extremely grateful for these moms!  As a mom myself, I wish to honor them, for how can I truly enjoy this day without paying homage to my loved ones who have made a difference and influenced my mothering?

 

 

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Thank you to my mom, who has supported me from day one and loved me unconditionally. I owe so much to her for helping me grow and overcome so much, when I was younger. She was my go to person, who I could always  count on, until I stood on my own two feet. What I love about her is that she has always listened to me no matter what. When I’m down and out she whispers sweet little prayers for me aloud. It does my heart some good to know that mom is still looking out for me, even though I’m grown and a mother myself now. Happy Mother’s Day to the lady who gave birth to me so long ago with love.

 

 

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There’s another sweetheart in my life who befriended me at work so many years ago and brought me to her home for a hot meal and loving conversation. That day I met her only son, who happens to be my husband now.

 

On this special day I can’t write this post without mentioning Theo, my second mom. I’m so thankful for my mother in law and her friendship. She’s always been there for me and a champion for our family. We’ve done baseball games together, camped with the kids in the summers and spent several Christmases cooking a meal. She’s been an outstanding grandmother to her grandchildren and has always been there for her four children. That’s the kind of lady who sets an example and someone I learned from when I was starting out. Happy Mother’s Day to her with love.

 

 

 

I must mention my sons today as well. There’s not a day that doesn’t go by without my grateful feelings for my two sons. Being a mother has been the most learning, humbling, exhilarating and rewarding experience of my life!❤️ If I would want to be remembered for anything once I pass on, it would be that I was a great and loving mom and that I was happy doing it. I have no regrets, even with mistakes I made because I know I made up for them with love. Also that’s what makes me human!

 

 

Last but not least, I’m extremely grateful for the group of women I work with. We all work in an elementary wing and every teacher and para there are kind, like old friends who support each other with love. I have to thank Laura, Carol, Anne, Brittany, Beth, Darcy, Aimee, Joanna and Donna who work together with joy, their main goal is to teach children, support them and provide a safe loving environment. These special women are all mothers in one way or another through their nurturing and loving actions with the school children. Kudos to these heroes I know, who are teaching our future leaders with a grace and confidence that’s impeccable!

 

As I wrap up this post, I challenge you to think of the special women in your life.  Have you made the time to visit them, message or call? Most importantly, have you told them that you love them? That means the world to mothers , coupled with tight hugs and lots of kisses.

 

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms out there! I hope you receive precious time with your children and hugs too!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Moments That Matter

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Upon entering the school door, you just never know what emotions you’ll come across that day!  There are happy beaming faces with rosy cheeks. Sometimes you will encounter somber and crying faces. Then there’s the excited gleaming children with a twinkle in their eyes. A deluge of  emotions can sometimes be packed into one school day. Sometimes a kind word and smile will fix it. Sometimes not. It’s our job to reassure children that all will be okay.

 

I can’t promise that I’ll totally fix what’s wrong or make it go away. I do know I can listen and sympathize. Then I go home and on my terms, I pray. I pray for that little one and their school career. I hope that his or her life will end up being beautiful and blessed by God. Sometimes that’s all I can do but it’s enough.

 

 

 

Just yesterday my heart swelled with love and appreciation for my job at school. Like any vocation, it has it’s tough stressful times and like others, I persevere because most of  the time I truly love what I do. At day’s end I went to the office to ” punch out” when a little boy in Kindergarten saw me and beamed the biggest smile, lighting up like a Christmas tree. ” Hi Mrs. Blowey!” That special energetic greeting uplifted me, reminding me why I do what I do at school.

 

Kindergarten students are the most excited when they see you out of your element. If shopping at Wal- mart with their parents and they see me, outstanding smiles grow and even one little boy asked me one day, ” Why are you here and not at school?” This reminds me of a book I read with some of my groups about the teacher sleeping at school. Does she sleep at her desk? Does she sleep in the gym? No, she sleeps at home in her bed!

 

It’s the moments kids come running up to you in the classroom, begging to come see me  to work. I think most of them  love being singled out, one on one attention to get work done and squeeze a little meaningful conversation as well.

 

 

 

This job is a magnificent blessing in my life, a chance to try to make a difference in a child’s day. A chance to positively affect lives in the smallest way. At the end of the day, these precious moments actually mean more than the paycheck and that’s why I work at a school.

 

The Simple Gift of a Rock

 

 

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Young children innocently pick up stones and either chuck them or hide them away in their pocket. Our sons chose their favorites over the years in our driveway or on hikes. Sometimes they would leave it as a special gift on the kitchen counter and I would proudly place them in the window as a show piece. Other times my little boys left them deep in their jeans pockets and I would find them on laundry day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a meaningful quote (taken from wisdomquotesandstories.com) that says when a child gives you a rock, take it with gratitude for it may be the only thing they have to give and they’ve chosen you to give it to.

 

 

 

 

Over the years a few small dirtied hands have clasped mine and religiously slipped a rock in mine, walking in from recess. It really is an honor, a simple gift they could give. I placed them gently in the folds of my pocket with the hopes that I’ll never not love this vocation.

 

 

 

A few years back a first grade boy gave me a special rock. It meant the world to me because working with him was a challenge. I would take him a few times a week to work on reading skills, mostly phonological  awareness. Sometimes it was tough and trying because he really had no interest in learning and no matter what fun activity I tried, he bucked the whole time like a wild mustang.

 

 

 

When he gave me his present we gained an unspoken understanding. I knew learning to read would never be easy for him but I had to try to help anyway I could. This meaningful gift touched my heart and even helps me today, as a reminder to not give up on children. I am grateful for this gift that will see me through my career.

 

 

 

 

This child moved away the next year and I was sorry to see him go. My co-worker and I each gave him a remember me sticker and we both had his precious rocks. We held back our tears when he said goodbye to us. Now his family has moved back in the area and he goes to middle school in a neighboring town. Like all the school children, I wish that child all my best in his high school career and life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My little flat smooth rock sits on my kitchen shelf as a testament of  love for the little moments with students. It serves as my remembrance of working with children and how I grateful I am for the honor.

 

 

The rock on my shelf is also a little reminder that you have to remain patient with a steadfast determination when working with children. Flexibility is a must because if a child isn’t having a great day or if events are happening at home that he or she need to talk about, then that may end up being the agenda for the day. (Especially if it’s a one on one group) Other times the child may generate his own cut up sentence so he has his say but is still working.

 

School is their home away from home and you have to get it right, for they are always watching what you do. Knowing this weighs on me, for what if I’m having a bad day? Then I can’t show it because I still have a job to do. Despite this pressure, it’s the best job in the world and in my opinion, the most fulfilling.

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

Sickness Denial

That feeling of being sick…

It all starts with a sore throat and a rampage of constant sneezing. A day later mom’s voice has faded to a Minnie Mouse tone, as coughing violently erupts from the very bottom of my toes.

 

 

 

This year I’ve been sick too many times. My workplace, a school, is a Petri dish for a variety of sicknesses, and so it shouldn’t be a surprise that once again, I’m sick.

 

 

Some of my problem is that my body is trying to tell me, take it easy. Yet my mind appears healthy as ever, striving to go to work anyway. Last week it started and I stayed home reluctantly. The next day I went back but my voice hadn’t returned to normal. I’m sure teachers didn’t want me there but nothing was said.

 

 

After resting all weekend (besides doing needed laundry and cleaning the bathroom), I stupidly trudged into work on Monday. I was in a terrible space and not well enough. At the end of this treacherous day, a teacher walked down the hall with me and candidly said, “Why don’t you stay home tomorrow and get better?”

 

 

Silence.

 

 
I went home pondering this, realizing everyone was thinking this but it took a bold co-worker to relay the message.

 

 

I know what you are thinking…you’re getting everyone else sick. Am I part of the widespread problem? The fact is that it kills me to stay home two consecutive days, slumped on the couch with a hot cup of tea by my side and a box of tissues keeping me company. I not only feel overwhelming guilt but it disrupts my whole week. But it’s the right thing to do and I must do it.

 
Today I slept. I coughed. I watched Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. I blew my nose and rested my Minnie voice. My husband came home and so I talked….no change.

 

 
So rest can be good for a weakened body but will I be able to hang out here again tomorrow? Perhaps I’ll play other Netflix shows, read a little, and pray that I can go back to school on Thursday.

Does anyone else have difficulties listening to his/her own body?