Showing posts from March, 2011

Day 104- Breakfast and Take-out

I wrote last year about a student who became very near and dear to my heart.  He was the only one I had to write a detention for during student teaching, and he also became one of my proudest examples.  After a rocky start, we ended up truly learning a great deal from each other.

I have another student who reminds me a lot of the boy from last year.  He got himself into a whole lot of trouble but has been working hard to turn himself around ever since.  I try my best to support these changes in every way I possibly can.  I want him to rise above his circumstances and mistakes.  More importantly, I think he is finally starting to want these things for himself. 

When he came in today, he was acting more like his old self.  He didn't want to work, had a bit of an attitude, and was squirrelly to the max.  This was disappoint to me to say the least after all of the progress he has made.  I wracked my brain to try to figure out what might possibly be causing today's shift.  It dawn…

Day 103- The USO and "Care"

Instead of connecting today's donation to last year's post, the somewhat difficult ice cream topic, I'd like to connect it to what made my day today.  That being said, it makes most sense to flip flop the order here.

I had a really annoying song in my head all morning.  It was driving me crazy.  I won't tell you what it is because I'd like to spare you from this type of anguish.  Suffice it to say it was bad.  To make matters worse, it was not a school appropriate song, so this made the fact that it was running through my head over and over and over and over and over even worse. 

I decided to try to shove it out of my head space by listening to something else on repeat once I got to school.  This is not an entirely uncommon practice.  My laptop hooks up to some decent speakers to enhance my rockin' out, and I have myself a good time.  I selected an inspirational song for this morning's concert, "Care" by Kid Rock.  I've loved the song since t…

Day 102- Big Cat Rescue and Tutoring

Tom was giggling over kittens last year, and I still giggle thinking about it all.  I let him pick today's charity, and he was slightly off the wall once again.  Our donation today was made to Big Cat Rescue

Their mission

Big Cat Rescue, founded in 1992, is an educational sanctuary devoted to rescuing and providing a permanent home for exotic (i.e. wild, not domestic) cats who have been abused, abandoned, bred to be pets, retired from performing acts, or saved from being slaughtered for fur coats, and to educating the public about these animals and the issues facing them in captivity and in the wild. The sanctuary houses the most diverse population of exotic cats in the world, with 14 of the 35 species of wild cat represented among more than 100 residents. Today the sanctuary is devoted to its vision of a world where animals are treated with respect, and its mission of providing the best possible home for the animals in our care.

Big cats need love too! …

Day 101- St. Charles City-County Library Foundation and Kelsey*

I wrote about a studious student last year, a girl who actuallyrevised her paper and took my suggestions the first time I gave them.  It was really quite magical.  She was a quiet girl, a fabulous writer, and one of the most avid readers I have ever met. 

I decided to make a donation in this student's honor to our local library foundation.

When she wasn't revising her paper (woo hoo!), she spent countless hours at the library reading whatever she could get her hands on.  This was evident in all of the work that she did in my class.  It also reminded me of fond childhood memories of my own.  Every summer, my mom would take Manda and I to our little Parma Library at least once a week.  We'd check out stacks of books at a time and rush home to jump into each new adventure with gusto.  I know for sure that we read through every Sweet Valley High book every written, including the special edition character stories, and I'm pretty sure we…

Day 100- Baby Buggy and Meat Mallet


I really like the tagline for this charity: Love.  Recycled.

This organization ties in well with my activities last year.  A year ago today, I was at a baby shower for my dear friend Annieka to celebrate the new life she would be bringing into the world.  Little Maks, who had not yet been born, brought in some good loot that day :).  It was also clear by looking around the room that he would be surrounded by love.

The Baby Buggy charity can't provide kids with love, but it can sure help out with the loot!  It helps families in need with "essential equipment, clothing, and products for their infants and young children."  There are three different ways to get involved with this non-profit.

1. Volunteer
2. Recycle- they thrive on donations of gently used essentials
3. Donate

Since I don't have any kids yet (an no gently used items to go with them), I made my donation for the day online.

Is anyone out there donation with me?  Today or any other …

Days 98 and 99- FIRST and Lots of Happy Hours

After a brief hiatus, I'm back in the game.  More on that later.

Last year around this time I was singing the praises of my USB port and all that it allowed me to do.  It still blows my mind sometimes to take a step back and look at the technology that has been created in my short lifetime.  My students are a daily reminder of each generation being more technologically advanced than the one before, and I'm constantly in a race to keep up. 

I found an organization to donate to that helps kids keeps up and peaks their interests in these topics.  It's called FIRST, and here's what they do:


"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."
Dean Kamen, Founder


Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, t…

Day 97- Computers for Youth and Liquid Love

I wasted lots of free time playing Inspector Parker last year on my computer.  What can I say?  I like something to keep my hands free!  Perhaps it wasn't wasted at all.  It was what made my day, so it must have been good.

This got me to thinking about all of the things I use my computer for that are actually valuable (and those that are just plain fun).  It's hard to remember not having a laptop and an internet connection, and both of these things make a lot of other things possible.  Sooo... I want to help make things like this possible for others too.  That's why my donation today was made to Computers for Youth.

Here's what they do:

CFY's Take IT Home program is designed to improve children’s learning environment at home and to strengthen the school-home connection. Our program is structured to accomplish three goals:
•Enhance the educational resources in children's homes

•Improve parent-child interaction around learning at home

•Help teachers contribute to an…

Day 96- Cascades Humane Society and Larry*

I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with Victor Zywiec on this day last year.  He's my brother and my mom's empty nest companion (besides my dad, of course).  He's also a little black cocker spaniel cutie, in case that wasn't clear. 

I thought about the things Victor likes to try to inform my donation decision for the day.  His favorite thing is my mom, but she already gets to pick a few things this year.  He also adores stinky chewies, chicken, and cereal, but I wasn't super inspired by any of those.  He seems to thoroughly enjoy his... ahem... trips outside, but there was nothing there to draw on either. 

I did come up with a good place to send my money to, though, and I think Victor will approve.  He has been extremely lucky to get to live with my parents.  Having grown up in that same household, I know how blessed he is.  There are a lot of dogs in the Cascades Humane Society in my hometown who I'm sure ar…

Day 95- MoveOn and My Job

Let's reason our way into this one.  I wrote about cheap yet satisfying laughter last year.  For today's donation, I was having trouble coming up with something that would fit this bill well.  I thought about who might provide me some cheap laughs, and I think Will Ferrell definitely fits that roll.  He's all about cheap laughs.  One big charity that Will supports is MoveOn (  While researching this one, I saw that there's a Jon Stewart piece on the home page with the title, "You Can't Simultaneously Fire Teachers and Tomahawk Missiles."  That was good for some cheap laughs!  

I have been thankful for my job a million times on here and in a million different ways.  Today is different.

Public education is receiving less money from the government and less money from tax revenues.  Less money means budget cuts and tough choices.  Budget cuts mean positions cut.  Are you following yet?

I was presented with a real possibility sev…

Day 94- Queen of the Miraculous Medal Parish and Manda's Poster

Since I wrote about hymns last year, I thought it would be a nice idea to donate to one of the places that taught me most about hymns.  Yes?

I grew up attending Queen of the Miraculous Medal Parish.  I attended CCD there, made my First Communion there, served as MOH in the Philo wedding there, and spent countless Sundays there with my family.  I also learned many different hymns there, songs I still adore and sing my heart out to on a regular basis.

It's only fitting that I donate to the religious education program at Queen's today as a small thank you for my musical education.


Dear Manda,

It was nice to see you today, and we were so pleased to get to see your poster and to have you walk us through it.  It is even more impressive in person.  It was really cool to see what you do every day, and what you do every day is really cool!  I'm proud of your successes at work (including your most recent one that you shared tonight... I won't mention it here and spill you…

Day 93- Student Athletes Leading Social Change and Desserts

We're baaaaack! (reluctantly... I'm pretty sure I asked Tom to move to Mexico at least a dozen times)

Our vacation was just right.  We ate, we drank, we read, we got nice tans, we ate, we drank, we read... it was everything I had hoped it would be and more.  We're relaxed and happy and think it was worth every single one of those piles of pennies we paid.  I'm also glad that the blogs I wrote before we left posted when they were supposed to : ).  All of that being said, let's get down to today's business.


Our Michigan hockey team won the CCHA Championship on this date last year.  Unfortunately, this was not repeated this year, but we did find out that the boys will be playing in the NCAA tournament just down the road in St. Louis on Friday.  There is even speculation that the recent loss may be just the fuel the team needs to reignite their fire going into the NCAA tournament.  Let's hope that's the case.

In any event, I found a fabulous organiza…

Day 92- My Tan

One of my coworkers challenged me to a contest before we left.  She was going to Florida, and she said that we should see which one of us would come back with a better tan.  Clearly I have fooled her with my wintery-white-hasn't-been-thoroughly-tanned-in-three-years-but-still-tans-well-when-given-the-chance skin.  It is also apparent that she does not know me that well yet.

I don't lose.

I have been responsible.  I have tons of sunscreen and a hat, and I have been very careful to tan in the safest way possible.  I know that no tan is really safe, but I also know that it makes me happy to be toasted a golden brown every now and then.

Plus, I like winning.

Thank you, my tan, you made my day.

Day 91- Vacation Wardrobe

Usually at this point in the week I'm trying to figure out what in the world to wear to work.  I'm ready to be done with dressing up, but I have not yet reached Casual Friday.

I'm not having that problem here on vacation.  I have been waiting for this vacation for so long that I had already picked out the perfect vacation wardrobe in my head before I even went shopping for it.  There are dresses-- oh, there are lots of dresses.  A dress is easy.  It's one clothing choice instead of two.  I like it.  There are shoes but not too many shoes.  I picked out two neutral colored pairs of shoes that go with everything else in the J. Ferri Vacation Collection.  I may just be wearing my flip flops 24/7 by now.  I'm totally okay with either of those scenarios.  Whatever I'm wearing must be fabulous because I only brought fabulous with me. 

I'm not sure if I'll be able to go back to my day to day clothes when I come back.  I'm thinking maybe I can just add a c…

Day 90- Total Relaxation

I've been away from my job, my computer, my phone, my stress, my worries, and all my other "stuff" for a few days now.  I'm thinking it's probably pretty safe to say that I have entered the total relaxation stage of vacation by now.  I'm maybe even to the point where I'm taking one of those dorky pictures with my toes in it to show that I'm where I am, and you're not.

Yeah... Tom did that on our honeymoon.  I don't even care that it's dorky.  I'm relaxed, remember?

Thank you, total relaxation, you made my day.

P.S. Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Do you think they celebrate that in Mexico?  Ummm... yes, I think WE celebrate that in Mexico.  In the most relaxed way possible, of course.

Day 89- Reading for Pleasure

I do a whole lot of reading on a daily basis.  A lot.  A ton.  A bunch.  Whenever the kids write something, I end up reading over 100 pages of work.  This happens often.  I teach English.  Whenever the kids are reading something in class, I read it six times in a row.  I'm constantly reading e-mails and brochures and teaching books and possible texts to use in my classroom and all kinds of other things.

What I don't always make time for is reading just for the fun of it.  Don't get me wrong, some of the other things listed above are fun to read.  However, there's some kind of purpose behind that reading.  Even if I didn't want to do it, I still would.

I am reading for pleasure this week.  I'm finally making time to read the Hunger Game series that all of my kids have been reading about.  I'm getting to some of the books I haven't read yet from Christmas.  I'm reading like crazy and loving every minute of it.

Did I mention I'm reading by the pool…

Day 88- Cool (but not too cool) Pool

I bet we're enjoying the weather.  If we're living in the forecast we saw before we left, we are happy campers.  By campers, I mean we are happy guests at a resort... a resort with a fabulous pool.  We are certainly not complaining about the hot weather because we are periodically enjoying dips in the pool to splash our way back into extreme happiness.

Thank you, cool (but not too cool) pool, you made my day.

Day 87- Eats and Drinks

Seeing that we are at an all-inclusive resort, I would guess that we are enjoying some amazing eats and drinks today.  Have we made it to the buffet yet today?  Hmm... probably twice.  Have we tried out on of the fancy schmancy restaurant choices for dinner?  Oh... I would think that might just be a safe bet.  Did we take advantage of the all-inclusiveness at the pool all day in the most icy fruity drinky kind of way? 

I'll let you answer that one for yourself.

Thank you, eats and drinks, you made my day.

Day 86- Explanation and Safe Travels

Blogger has a handy dandy feature that will allow me to "post" while I'm gone on vacation.  I'm hoping that this works out!  If it does, there should still be something posted every day until we get back.

I'm going to be donating to one charity this week instead of one per day, but this is something I had planned on doing anyway.  Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of the day my grandpa got to meet God face to face.  I can't believe it's only been a year, and I can't believe it's already been a year all at the same time.  I still miss him and think about him all the time, and my heart still aches for my grandma and the rest of my family as they try to heal.  We all have necklaces made from his fingerprints, and I know that this is just one of many ways that we all continue to keep him close to our hearts.

Because of this and because of the fact that most of my posts last year around this time had to do with this, I will be making this week&#…

Days 84 and 85- The Red Cross and Anticipation

The footage of the tsunami damage is hard to watch.  It is impossible to even begin to imagine what it must be like to live through it or to have lost a family member or to still love someone who has not been located or to have lost everything...

Stuff like this just makes you want to help, doesn't it?  I seriously contemplated joining the Peace Corps in college because it seemed like a good way to actually do something.  For now, the best I can do is to pray and to donate.  My donations for yesterday and today have been made to the Red Cross and earmarked to help victims of this most recent tsunami.

Tom and I have been working our buns off, and we have not been on a proper vacation since our honeymoon (that was almost four years ago, for those of you who are counting).  In just a few hours, that statistic will change.  The anticipation has been building for months- months!- and it has been at an all time high for the past few days. 

It's been r…

Day 83- The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Maddie*

My former (and future?) applesauce obsession, referenced on the blog on this day last year, can be traced back to one seed, I suppose.  The seed leads to the tree, the tree leads to the apple, and the apple leads to the most delicious of fruit sauces.  Mmmm.

It is only natural that I donate to The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation today in honor of my beloved applesauce.  They are a nonprofit focused on planting edible fruit trees.  I love the lovely language they use to speak about the work they do:

Simply put, our goal is to encourage and inspire the planting of 18 billion fruit trees around the world. The land lives for fruit trees. Trees improve the soil, air, and attract water. Water attracts animals. Animals enjoy fruits and spread seeds. 18 billion fruit trees can spring out of the soul of one human being — we believe in thinking big, and loving even more.

That last line is especially pleasing to me.  Plant on!

As I was nearing the end of yet ano…

Day 82- Sunshine Kids Foundation and Bridesmaid Dress

It's funny sometimes how these days line up.  I cracked up when I looked at last year's post about my bright yellow sweater and how I wore it to "sunny up" my day.  It turns out that I did the exact same thing today with a blousy floral shirt. 

In the spirit of the yellow sweater and what it represents, today's donation was made to the Sunshine Kids Foundation.

The Sunshine Kids Foundation adds quality of life to children with cancer by providing them with exciting, positive group activities, so they may once again do what kids are supposed to do . . . have fun and celebrate life!

We look forward to the day when The Sunshine Kids Foundation will no longer need to exist. Until that time, the entire Sunshine Kids family is dedicated to providing the most exciting activities, trips and events for as many young cancer patients as possible.

I hope my donation can help bring a little bit of sunshine to someone else. :)


Day 81- Loads of Hope and Paczki

Clean laundry is somewhat hard to come by at times in the Ferri household lately.  Tom has been really good about picking up my slack on this one a lot of the time, but it seems as if there is always laundry to be done.  Even when it's clean, it needs to be folded.  When it's folded, it needs to be put away.  I'm sure you know what I mean. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm still totally and completely in love with clean clothes.  I love the smell of laundry.  I love how it feels and looks too.  While others dream of sleeping in piles of money, I dream of sleeping on mountains of clean clothes.  I must admit that this has been a little too close to my reality lately... I'll get this whole Superwoman-I-can-do-everything act down soon, I promise.  I'm getting closer!

In any case, I wish for clean laundry for everyone.  The Tide Loads of Hope program shares that very same goal, and it is a perfect place to make my donation today. 

In times of disaster people turn to th…

Day 80- Girl Scouts of the USA and Little AM in the A.M.

It's funny to see that I was enjoying Girl Scout cookies at this very time last year.  It makes sense.

I already made a donation to the Girl Scouts a few weeks ago, and my husband did too.  However, we got many boxes of cookies out of the deal.  Today I made another donation to these lovely ladies independent of any kind of transaction of sweets.

Beyond their delicious treats (oh boy are they delicious), the Girl Scouts are good for all kinds of other things too. 

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls—all girls—where, in an accepting and nurturing environment, girls build character and skills for success in the real world. In partnership with committed adult volunteers, girls develop qualities that will serve them all their lives, like leadership, strong values, social conscience, and conviction about their own potential and self-worth.

Even though my own career as a Girl Scout was tumultuous and short-lived (check out last year…

Day 79- Growing Voices and Royal Beach

Last year at this time, we were laughing our buns off at Zach Galifianakis on SNL.  It turns out that his girlfriend Quinn Lundberg co-founded a great charity called Growing Voices.  I'll be supporting this in my small little $5 donation kind of way today.

Here is what they do:

GV creates a direct line of support between donor and recipient, which addresses issues of accountability and promotes a humanistic approach to giving. We hope that by providing a network geared towards a respectful informational exchange, gifting, and no fee volunteering, you will be inspired to participate in change at the grassroots level.


On vacation, I don't want to turn red.
I'd much rather tan in a tanning bed.

This will help me to prepare,
so I won't burn when I get there.

Is there anything else? you ax (ask, you know)
Why yes, it helps me to relax.

While I won't tan my life away,
I did let it make my day today.

Thank you, Royal Beach, you made my d…

Day 78- Orphan Foundation of America and Panera Rachel

Another teen, another donation :)

The Orphan Foundation of America helps teens in countless ways.  Here's their "What We Do" that gives the basic idea.

OFA helps former foster children become successful adults. In most states, foster children leave the social services system when they turn 18. In the eyes of the court they’re adults, but few 18 year olds are emotionally, mentally or financially able to support themselves. Without someone to guide them, too many end up homeless, unemployed, incarcerated or pregnant. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I must confess that we cheated on our regular Panera for dinner.  The nice thing about a good chain restaurant is that the delightful food is the same delightful food no matter which location you go to.  We got a bonus bit of joy from Rachel, the girl who waited on us.

When Tom told her he wanted a pick two, she told him they were out.  "Bummer, huh?"
When he ordered his chicken noodle soup,…

Day 77- and Divine Intervention


I was dreaming sweet Pottery Barn dreams on this day last year, thanks to that dang catalog coming in the mail.  My donation today was made to a place that helps others to dream those sweet design dreams.

The tagline pretty much says it all.

"Architecture for Humanity.  Building a more sustainable future using the power of design.  Through a global network of building professionals, Architecture for Humanity brings design, construction and development services to communities in need."

They currently have many projects going simultaneously in the U.S. and around the world.  I'd like to build the world a home/and furnish it with love... :)  Sustainable future for people in need?  Yes, please.

I just can't fail to mention this divine intervention!  The rest of this definitely can't be written in bad poetry form.  It wouldn't work.  You'll see.

I was driving home the regular route from work tonight.  The day a…

Day 76- Teen Living Programs and The Promise of Smileys

In honor of a teen who made my day last year, I'd like to donate to a place today that shares my mission to change the lives of teens in the most positive way possible.  Whatever I see at school, good or bad, can often be traced directly back to what's going on at home.  What if there is no home?

The Teen Living Programs organization does wonderful work that I believe in.  Check it out.

"We believe all youth are entitled to a home where they know they are loved, independence is encouraged, competence is expected, and compassion is exemplified. Thousands of youth never experience this kind of home, and many become homeless. Every year 9,000 youth in greater Chicago experience homelessness, and every night there are 2,000 youth who have no place to call home. Teen Living Programs, established more than 30 years ago, exists for these youth.

We deliver comprehensive, long-term solutions to youth without homes who strive for self-sufficien…

Day 75- Operation Homefront and Pinwheel Steaks

Last year's entry sure made this year's donation easy!  I wrote last year about a yellow ribbon I always spied on the way home.  It is a symbol for those who are serving our country, but it is also so much more than that.  The yellow ribbon also represents a family back here at home who needs support as well.

Operation Homefront gives assistance to military families while their loved ones are deployed.  They provide a whole variety of services, from food to auto to moving to furniture to holiday programs and all kinds of other things.  I can only imagine how tough it must be for some of these families while their loved ones are away, and I am thankful for the opportunity to help them in my own tiny little way.

While it may be just a small gesture I can make, there is a big thought attached to it... and a bunch of prayers too.  It may be a little selfish.  I like watching those videos of people coming home to their families.  They ma…

Day 74- Princess Project and "Charles"

Around this time last year, I was coveting one-shoulder dresses.  It turns out that since then, I actually finally got myself one.  I wore it to a wedding this past summer, received a few compliments, and found myself pleased with the whole thing. 

Fast forward to the present.

While trying to find some kind of way to give another girl a special moment in a special dress, I stumbled upon Princess Project.

This organization collects gently used formal dresses and distributes them to girls who cannot otherwise afford to go to prom.  I've heard of places like this before, and I absolutely love the idea in so many ways.  First, while going to prom is not a must do kind of thing, it can be a huge deal for a teenage girl.  Being left out seems as if it is a big deal at the time too.  I adore the idea of helping girls to have their "princess" moments where they can feel special in pretty dresses and be a part of it all.  It appeals to the Cinderella l…