My Real Wish List Then and Now Day 21 #SOL21

A few days ago I was reminded of a slice I wrote during the #SOL18 challenge titled My Real Wish List. I thought it would be interesting to compare my pre pandemic 2018 wish list to my 2021 wish list. My birthday occurs during the March challenge and three years ago my husband was asking me for birthday ideas which prompted me to think about what I really wanted at the time.

My Real Wish List Then And Now

#1 2018 A puppy I don’t have time for to replace the hurt in my heart from losing my girlfriend.

2021 I have an almost 3 year old who acts like a puppy every day and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

#2 2018 A birthday phone call from my mom and dad.

2021 This one hasn’t changed. There’s so much to tell them.

#3 2018 To relive my stay-at-home mom years with my two boys.

2021 We’ve added two daughters-in-law since then and I would love nothing more than to be able to celebrate with the four of them this week.

#4 2018 The time before I knew what Secure in Place means.

2021 Life to return to what it was like in 2018.

#5 2018 The time before there was a need to pause for 17 minutes during our day to remember those who have been lost.

2021 The time before our president had to honor the 400,000 who were lost on the eve of his inauguration.

#6 2018 The time before we had to take off our shoes to board an airplane.

2021 Being able to board an airplane at all to travel somewhere.

#7 2018 The time before there were so many digital distractions.

2021 Thankful we’ve had the technology to stay connected to family and friends during the last year.

#8 2018 To teach the learners I have rather than the learners Common Core dictates I should have.

2021 I still have this wish.

#9 2018 All my remaining school years to be filled with the same joy of this school year.

2021 Though I have a great group of students this year my wish is that I will never have another year of #pandemic teaching.

#10 2018 Sunshine every day.

2021 I cherish every sunny day we’ve had this past year.

I’m hopeful the rest of 2021 will be filled with sunshine, gatherings with family and friends to celebrate and catch up and a renewed commitment to build relationships.

I am participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge by Two Writing Teachers. This is my third year of daily slicing during the month of March. Thanks for stopping by!

After thirty-one days of slicing . . .

#SOL18 Day 31

“What are you going to slice about today?” My husband has been asking me this question for the past thirty-one days. I wonder if he’ll ask me tomorrow.

Like others, I have been thinking about this final slice for a while now. This was my first year participating in the SOLSC and along the way I have learned and experienced more than I can put into words this morning.

After thirty-one days of slicing I’ve learned that I am capable of writing every day.

After thirty-one days of slicing I’ve gained a better understanding of what my students experience when I ask them to write every day.

After thirty-one days of slicing I have learned to notice moments in my day that could turn into stories.

After thirty-one days of slicing I’ve become more mindful of the joyful moments that happen in my classroom and my life every day.

After thirty-one days of slicing I have learned about a number of ways I can write. Six Word Slices, found poems, spine poems, memoir pieces, writing from the perspective of another . . . and I am thankful to all the other slicers who have so willingly shared.

After thirty-one days of slicing I have become a better teacher of writing.

After thirty-one days of slicing I have met new friends.

After thirty-one days of slicing I have found a community of encouragement. Unlike other social media venues, this community focuses on the positive and not the negative.

After thirty-one days of slicing I know I can take on other challenges I have been avoiding.

After thirty-one days of slicing there are slices that have gone unwritten. I’m just not ready to write them yet. A Letter to Mewritten by Carrie Cahill at Carrieiswriting, posted on my 54th birthday, the 24th birthday I’ve celebrated without my mom, is a slice I just can’t write . . . yet.

After thirty-one days of slicing I wonder if I’ll continue to write regularly.

After thirty-one days of slicing I wonder if anyone will still be reading . . . and commenting.

After thirty-one days of slicing I wonder if I have become a writer.

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers Community and co-authors Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Beth Moore, Deb Frazier, Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, Melanie Meehan and Lanny Ball. This has been an amazing experience that I honestly never thought I would be able to complete. Maybe next year I’ll figure out how to give credit to the challenge and the community at the top of each of my blog posts.

Together Again

#SOL18 Day 30

my day awaits

there’s time to hesitate

no school today

family on the way

returning again

just for the weekend

gathering together

longing for fair weather

celebrating each other

a mother, a father and brothers

this thing we call family

we didn’t happen randomly

brought together in love

that came from above

no matter the distance

we’ll love with persistence



The Man in My Kitchen

#SOL18 Day 29

There’s a man I’ve invited into my kitchen almost every weekday morning for the past 20 years. He’s a bit older than me but I still enjoy his company. He’s been there as I have readied Thing 1 and then Thing 2 for preschool. He was there the morning they each went off to their first day of kindergarten and their last day of high school. He was even there the mornings their dad and I took them to college.

We’ve been through a lot together. His friend Dave left but I still stuck by him. A new friend named Pat arrived who I wasn’t so sure of at first. It turned out okay. My friend didn’t show up in my kitchen for a while because he needed to take care of his health. He was missed and returned as an advocate for all who would listen. I was there the day we said goodbye to our friend Pat, forever. I’ve been there on days he’s said goodbye to his cats and I’ve been there on days when he’s joyfully welcomed new ones into his life.

He’s been there in my kitchen recently keeping me company in the quiet mornings of my empty nest as I pack my lunch and enjoy the first cup of coffee of the day. He doesn’t join in though, he prefers Pepsi instead.

Over the years he has kept me informed of local happenings and worldly events. I listen in as he chats about the weather with his friend Elliot. I sometimes went crazy trying to follow the forecast. He once was the voice who informed me of snow days but technology replaced my friend and the news now reaches me long before he arrives in my kitchen.

He’s clever, he’s witty and he’s smart though he’ll tell you he’s not. He claims to suffer from inertia though he manages to accomplish a lot before the light of day arrives. He loves trivia, game shows, The Who, plaid Converse and cats. Sometimes we agree but sometimes we don’t and that’s okay. He makes me laugh and sometimes sends me to my computer to type up a reply; I’m not one to pick up the phone and chime in.

The man in my kitchen has been coming through the airwaves for more than the 20 years I’ve invited him in. Tomorrow will be the last day he shows up. He’s retiring with his lovely and talented and heading to warmer climes. He’ll sip umbrella drinks, sit by the pool and hopefully sleep later than he’s used to. It’s a much deserved break but The Morning Guys just won’t be the same without Uncle Kev.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement Kevin Nelson!

Slices of Life from 2nd Grade

#SOL18 Day 28

My second graders have been slicing this year. During the summer I decided I wanted to have my students write Slice of Life stories but I didn’t want to undertake blogging with second graders due to technology constraints and issues with permission for students to use a blogging site.

IMG_8650I created Slice of Life journals for my students and worked with my instructional coach and fellow slicer (you can visit her at🙂 to introduce the idea to my students.

As I have been getting my students ready to lead their spring conference I have found some gems in their Slice of Life journals. I hope you enjoy these second grade Slices of Life .

Here’s a few Six Word Slices



Is it exited or excited? I think it works either way:)










Time for a mini lesson on homophones! Make sure you find all the hidden trolls!



This one might be my all time favorite and what a great sentiment for adult slicers too.


Duckling Update

#SOL18 Day 27

“What’s that thing Mrs. H.?”

Several students pointed to the overhead projector that was near my desk this morning when they arrived.

“It’s called an overhead projector. It’s what we used to use before we had a document camera.” I replied as I walk across the room.

“What’s that thing then?” Alice asked as she pointed to the projector hanging from the ceiling.

“Well, that’s a projector too but it’s different than this one.” I said placing my hand on the archaic device.

“What’s that one for then?” Geoffrey asked pointing to the overhead.

“We’ll be using it later in the day to look at our eggs.” I answered.

There were shouts of “COOL!” and “Wow!” before settling into our morning routine.

Today was day 7 of incubation which meant we could candle the eggs to see if they were fertilized. To candle the eggs we needed to darken the room. There was much excitement as I lowered the blinds and rolled the projector to the front of the room. There was as much interest in the overhead projector as there was about the eggs.

The projector is used with a candling box, a shoe box lid with a hole cut in it the size of an egg. The light shines through the egg to reveal whether or not the egg is fertilized. A fertilized egg will begin to have blood veins visible by day 7.


We have 7 eggs in our incubator and at least 5 are fertilized. We’re hopeful the other two are just developing a little slower. If you look closely at the photo (the best I could do in the dark with my phone) you can see some blood veins in egg #3, one of our Welsh Harlequin ducks.

After candling the 7 eggs my scientists got to work drawing diagrams of egg #3. They colored their eggs yellow and orange and labeled the blood veins and the air cell of the egg. They were excited to see the development inside the eggs. Soon there will be questions about how the eggs got fertilized but that will be a slice for another day!

“We didn’t DO math today!”

#SOL18 Day 26

“We didn’t do any math today Mrs. H.” Katie stated. 

“What do you mean? We just had an hour of math.” I replied. 

“Yeah, but we just talked we didn’t DO math.” She stated firmly. 

I laughed and wondered if my math lesson bombed. Today, we started a new math unit on time, which isn’t the most interesting 2nd grade concept, but much-needed. 

We learned about the difference between analog and digital clocks, the difference between the hour and minute hand, how the hour hand moves compared to the minute hand and other characteristics of an analog clock. 

In an attempt to make the lesson more engaging, we made a human clock with some of the children representing the hour and minutes of the clock. We formed a circle, I passed out the hour numbers, we made sure the numbers were evenly spaced starting with 12 and 6 and then 3 and 9.

“Oh, what am I going to be?” giggled Casey.

Six did a nice dance for us as the other hours were placed around the clock.

We gained an understanding of half, quarter and the 5 minute increments using our human clock. I’m hoping this activity helped to develop the understanding of half past, quarter past and quarter to when telling time. Time will tell.

Students worked with partners to show various times on the clock with special attention being paid to the position of the hour hand. This is always a stumbling block for 2nd graders when learning about telling time. We talked about the etymology of o’clock and had a mini lesson on contractions. I thought we were DOING math.

I don’t know whether or not my lesson bombed today but I’m going to choose to believe that Katie’s claim of not DOING math today means I pulled off making telling time engaging, Katie was DOING math and didn’t even know it.

Early Morning Slice

#SOL18 Day 25

The house is full and so is my head.

Thoughts of school and life have driven me from bed.

Grading, planning, conferencing, filling me with dread.

Reading, writing, commenting, slicing instead.

Sleep adjourns.

The fire burns.

The coffee brews.

Wishing there weren’t so many To-Dos.