photographing, cooking, laughing through life


Where I’ve Been…

So, it’s been awhile since my last blog post. The life of a teacher, coach, photographer, sponsor, organist, etc. has gotten in the way lately. I figured that while my students in digital journalism were blogging, I would go ahead and blog too!

This year my classes have changed dramatically. I’m still teaching all of the classes I taught last year – yearbook, newspaper, digital journalism, digital photography and 21st Century Media, but now I’ve added Computer Graphic Design, Introduction to Video and the Video Production classes to the mix.

With the addition of the classes (and no addition to the school hours) I’m teaching a few classes during some of my blocks. For example, my newspaper and video production classes meet during the same block. While sometimes this can be difficult, I’ve decided to turn this “negative” into a positive…and help my students become more prepared for the real world of journalism in the process.

Check out our first class production – with MANY more to come.

Sonic Summer of Slush #15-25…

I’ve been slacking on my slush reviews over the past month or so (with vacation, I got out of the routine of posting). However, I have not been slacking on my plan to try and review all of the slushes from Sonic’s Summer of Slush. Today, I tried my last slush…and I figured, I better get you all up to date on my slush reviews!

Summer of Slush #15 – Cherry: This is one of the flavors of slush I used to get ALL the time when I was little.  It’s one of those standard slush flavors, plus you get a special “bonus” with the cherry on top.  I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, I want more from the cherry slush, so I usually opt for something different.  However, it’s still pretty good.  Rating: 3/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #16 – Lemon Berry: Traditionally I rotate between either a Lemon or Lemon Berry slush when I’m not trying out all 24 flavors…and now I’ll add Lime to the mix.  I really prefer the fresh fruit slushes to the other ones.  This will continue to be a favorite for a long time to come! Rating: 5/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #17 – Grape: I started the summer by trying out the Grape Nerds slush – Grape was my absolute favorite as a little kid, and the Nerds really added to it.  I found that I actually missed the nerds, but overall the grape was still good.  Not sure if I like grape for the flavor so much as I like it for the color!! Go Cats! Rating: 4/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #18 – Powerade Mountain Blast: I’ve never really been a huge Powerade fan – I prefer Gatorade and I wasn’t really sure what Mountain Blast was supposed to taste like – turns out it tastes “fruity” – it was actually pretty refreshing – although kind of generic in its flavor (Maybe it was so refreshing because I was so thirsty that day).  This is probably one I won’t have again.  It was just okay. Rating 2.5/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #19 – Green Apple Nerd: I surprised myself by actually somewhat liking the Green Apple slush. Traditionally I don’t like apple juice (and, obviously the slush is more like a green apple jolly rancher).  However, I can’t really say the same for the Nerd version.  I don’t know if the person who was putting in the Nerds got a little heavy handed, but there were WAY TOO MANY nerds in this slush – the bottom was caked with them – and it really made the flavor change dramatically.  I wasn’t much of a fan. Rating: 2/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #20 – Sour Blue Raspberry: Now, I had the exact opposite opinion of the Nerd Blue Raspberry and the Sour Blue Raspberry.  I think because the Nerd version of this slush is not “sour” I was much more of a fan of the Nerd one than the non-Nerd one.  Sour and I do not mix…why would you want to do that to your taste buds?! Rating: 1/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #21 – Watermelon: I had been putting this one off because I’m not a huge watermelon fan. So, with trepidation, I ordered the watermelon slush (in a small in case I hated it). I was super surprised that I actually kind of liked it! My biggest problem with watermelon is the texture of the actual watermelon – so this had the flavor without the texture.  It was sweeter than I anticipated.  Not my favorite, but better than I was expecting by far! Rating: 2.5/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #22 – Strawberry: My final slush of the fresh fruit slushes, the strawberry, is one that I’ve had before also.  It doesn’t have the tang of the Lemon Berry and this makes it feel like it’s missing something. It’s pretty good, but not “amazing.” If you are a strawberry lover, this would be a good option – keep in mind you’ll probably be sucking large strawberry pieces through the straw… Rating: 3.5/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #23 – Cherry Nerd: When I went to get my green apple slush, a couple of my students came up to my car while I was waiting.  One of them had a Cherry Nerd slush and she told me to try it…oh my goodness it was SOUR!!!!! I thought maybe they had made a mistake with her’s, so I ordered mine and when I took my first sip it was also super sour. I opened up the slush and it didn’t seem to be mixed very well.  Once I mixed it, it was MUCH better.  Rating: As made 0/5 Sonic straws….After I mixed 3/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slush #24 – Watermelon Nerd: No…just no…I did not like this combo AT ALL.  I’m so glad I ordered a small.  Rating: 0/5 Sonic straws

Summer of Slus #25 – Banana Taffy: So, I finally got to the end of the list…I had been “saving” this one until the end because it did not sound appealing to me at all. I like bananas, but I don’t like “fake banana” taste.  It’s not something I think of when I think about a kind of drink I want – who wants banana juice? Now, a banana smoothie, okay… So, I got a small and when the car-hop brought it out – he assured me it was one of his favorites… I tried it and found that the banana flavor wasn’t overpowering, but it also wasn’t something I really liked.  I can see how maybe a little kid might like it, but it wasn’t a winner for me. Rating: 1/5 Sonic straws.

This summer challenge was interesting for me. I found some new kinds of slushes that I really did like – and some that I will never have to try again.  It was a fun challenge that got me out of my comfort zone…which I don’t do that often when it comes to my slush choices.  I will say, the last two times I went to get a slush they didn’t have the traditional red Sonic straws at my local Sonic, which, I think, detracted from the slush experience!

Thanks for following my Sonic slush journey!

Road Trip Here We Come

I’m super excited about our upcoming road trip to Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota.  First of all, I’ve always wanted to see Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, etc. Secondly, I love getting to experience new things – and I’m excited that my 7 year old niece, Rebecca, is going too.

I got to thinking that we are going to be in the car for quite awhile…so I decided to put together a travel notebook for her to do in the car – and she can also use it as a place to keep track of all of the adventures she has (she hasn’t started a blog…yet).

So, I got a hot pink notebook from the store and some sheet protectors…and got to work!



My first project involved putting together a BINGO card for her to try to accomplish during the trip.  My sister gave me the idea because Rebecca got a bingo card the other day that had reading activities on it and she loved it.  The activities I decided to include on the card varied from different activities to keep her busy in the car, at the hotel and enjoying the different places we will stop.  I really hope she has fun with it!!!


I took to Pinterest for some ideas and stumbled upon a car scavenger hunt (not pictured) and a license plate sheet for her to keep track of the different license plates we see.


We are going to be traveling through 8 states, and I found these awesome state activity sheets on – the site requires you to register, but you get several downloads free each month. Each time we cross the state line, she’ll get to do a new state sheet! Kansas will obviously be first!


I also found tons of other activities that she can do in random places online. She really likes word puzzles, math, decoding games and color by numbers, so those are ones I printed off.  Each category of activities gets its own sheet protector – so all 6 crosswords are in on sheet protector and so on.  Activities I found were: Mad Libs, Word Searches, Crossword Puzzles, Decoding Activities, Color by Number, Word Scrambles and Mazes.


I also printed off some A-Z Brainstorming sheets.  This is actually something that my high school students do for review, but I thought we could modify it for the trip.  A lot of times we do the alphabet game when we are driving (choosing a topic like “Frozen”) and then we go around the circle and say different words that go with that topic in ABC order. So, using the “Frozen” example we’d say “Anna, Building a Snowman, Coronation, Duke of Weselton, Elsa, etc.) I’m going to change it up a little and we’ll try to come up with as many as we can, writing them down, instead.


I thought it would be good for her to do something having to do with the destination, so I went to the National Parks website and found the Junior Ranger Gazette which will teach her a little about the National Parks we will visit before we get there.


Also in the notebook, I added some blank writing paper, so she can write a little summary of each day – and we’ll make it into a journal, with drawn pictures, tickets, and photos of the places we visit. I am putting all of this in a tote for her with markers, colored pencils, regular pencils, crayons and a pencil sharpener – so she should be all set.

I really, really hope she has fun with it – and I can’t wait to leave for vacation!!!


Book Review: Page by Paige, by Laura Lee Gulledge


The summer reading program at our local library encourages readers to try different kinds of books – one of the genres on the list was a graphic novel.  I have never really read a graphic novel before, but I got a recommendation from my mom that this one was really good, so, I chose “Page by Paige,” by Laura Lee Gulledge as my graphic novel.

First of all, the story centers around Paige Turner (her parents are writers – which is why she has her unique name). Paige and her family have moved from Charlottesville, Virginia to Brooklyn during the Christmas break.  Paige must adjust to a new school, a new town and the intimidation of making new friends.  Paige chooses to write about her struggles, hopes and fears in her sketchbook – which is what the graphic novel essentially is – Paige’s sketchbook.

The story was a typical YA story about a high school girl navigating the perils of high school life with the added struggle of dealing with being the “new girl.” While the story was typical, the drawings were awesome! I was amazed at just how fabulous and intricate the drawings were.  I am so jealous of people that are so gifted in drawing (it is a skill that I never mastered).  As a reader, it gives you so much more to work through than a typical novel or short story. I really, really enjoyed the experience – I think partially because I enjoyed the topic. I’m hoping to looking into Gulledge and see if she has any more to read!

Book Reviews: “Page by Paige,” by Laura Lee Gulledge 4/5 stars.

Turkey, Provolone, Avocado Wrap

I had a student whose mom used to always make wraps for her lunch on Wednesdays – we always joked that it was “Wrap Wednesday” – so today I decided to try a wrap I’d seen on Pinterest.  It’s one that I will definitely be taking to school for lunches this year.

Ingredients you need:


  • Tortilla (I chose low-carb wheat)
  • Sliced Turkey (I went with the smoked)
  • Provolone Cheese (2 slices)
  • Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow cheese
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Red Pepper
  • Avocado

1. Spread the Laughing Cow cheese over a tortilla.


2. Layer the spinach and turkey.


3. Layer the cheese, red pepper strips and 1/4 of an avocado (sliced)


4. Roll up the wrap and slice into approximately inch and a half pieces.


This was a fantastic light supper – I had it with a delicious mango I picked up at the grocery store on my way home. I love summer!


Sonic Summer of Slush – #14 Green Apple

My latest visit to Sonic was an opportunity for me to try another slush.  Today it was the Green Apple slush.  Going into it, I figured the green apple slush would be similar to a green apple Jolly Rancher – or the green Skittle (speaking of…even though I didn’t particularly love the lime Skittles, but I think the green apple ones throw things off). After trying the slush, I can tell you that I was exactly right to expect it.  This slush tasted JUST like a green apple Jolly Rancher.  It was sweet and refreshing – and not sour AT ALL. I’m not usually a fan of “apple stuff” unless it is actually an apple, but I found that I really enjoyed this slush!

Sonic Green Apple Slush 4/5 Sonic straws

Something New – The Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill

Today I was doing some work at The Gazette and decided that I would take full advantage of having a “real world” lunch break by trying one of the many restaurants in downtown Emporia.  I could have gone with the old standbys – Bobby’s D’s or Amanda’s (both excellent options), but I decided that I’d branch out and head to a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try but had never found the time: The Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill.

The restaurant, located at the corner of Mechanic Street and Sixth Avenue (like that AP Style? It’s obvious the AP Stylebook has been my friend the last couple of days), is not a large place, but is comfortable with tables around the perimeter and a bar on one side. On this July afternoon, it was a nice, cool relief from the hot sun outside.  I enjoyed the decor – all sports memorabilia, including ESU and EHS. I chose to sit at one of the two booths by the window – so I could watch the cars passing on Sixth as I waited for my lunch.

While the menu wasn’t extensive, there were several different items that piqued my interest. I settled on the Slaw/Kraut Reuben with homestyle chips. I love a good reuben sandwich and was excited to try it with the added “twist” of having coleslaw on it as well as sauerkraut.

I didn’t have to wait long to try it out.  The service was really fast and soon I was enjoying my lunch.  The sandwich was the perfect amount for me – and it was fantastic! A toasted marble rye sandwich with sliced meat, tangy coleslaw, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and cheese. It was a great choice! The homestyle chips were thick-sliced and a great addition to the meal.  I left full – and satisfied.

Pricing was very reasonable.  Most sandwiches were $7-10 and included the side item. They also have salads and wraps as well as many different appetizers and wings.  They have daily specials – and a nightly happy hour from 10-11 p.m. I will most definitely be heading back to The Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill to try something else (if I can keep myself from ordering the reuben again!)




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 80 other followers