Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dirty Dog!: A Sunday Pooch Poetry Post

The Infamous Jack Murphy

Here's a link to my second guest blogger post at the law blog of Jonathan Turley. It's about my daughter's Labrador retriever Jack--who is a real rascal!

Boo! Big Thanks to You {GIVEAWAY}

With Halloween here, it means that GET YOUR GHOUL ON! MONTH is officially over and I wanted to say thanks for all of the wonderful comments and feedback you've shared throughout October.  It really means a lot to know that the ideas and projects you see here actually inspire you.

On that note, I have to give a shout out to two AFOMFT readers, and my lovely friends, Kyla and Tamlyn who threw a Boo! Bash using some inspiration they got here with results that were beyond spooktacular.   Just look at this spread!

The food looked frighteningly fabulous.

And the details were creepy and cute!

It's no surprise that all of the little ghouls and goblins had so much fun!

Thanks to Kyla and Tamlyn for sharing their scary soiree, and if you've thrown a party or done a project inspired by something you've seen on AFOMFT, we want to see!  E-mail us pictures and details at

Since this post was all about saying thanks, what better way to show my gratitude than with a giveaway?  And fittingly, it's for a set of 16 Thank You Cards from Pear Tree Greetings.  They have wonderful notes to express your appreciation for any occasion.  I want to get these for Gabrielle and Alaina to send out after the holidays.

This design is great for the entire family.

And these are perfect just for me!

To enter to win 16 Thank You Notes of your choice from Pear Tree Greetings, post a comment here telling me what you're most looking forward to this holiday season (this is mandatory).  For additional entries:
  • Visit Pear Tree Greetings and post a comment telling me which Thank You Notes you'll choose if you win.
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  • Follow Pear Tree Greetings & AFOMFT on Twitter (@PearTreeGrtngs & @AFOMFT or click the birdie icon on the sidebar) and tweet this post by clicking the graphic above or this giveaway:  #Win 16 gorgeous Thank You Notes from @PearTreeGrtngs from @AFOMFT -
  • Click here to vote for AFOMFT on Top Baby Blogs and post a comment here that you did - Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs.  You can vote once per day per computer so if you vote every day or on different computers, be sure to post one comment for each one.
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  • Blog or post on Facebook about this giveaway with a link to this post (worth 2 entries so please post two comments) and make sure your comments include a link to your status or blog post.
Please leave a separate comment for each entry (two if you've blogged about the giveaway) and make sure to include a link to your tweet, blog post, etc. All entries must be posted on AFOMFT as a direct comment to this post.  Comments on Facebook will not count as entries.  This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends November 5th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be selected by and announced on AFOMFT on November 6th. If the winners don't contact AFOMFT within 48 hours, a new drawing will be held so be sure to check back to see if you've won!

Please note that I am now a Pearista, which means I have partnered with Pear Tree Greetings to offer great giveaways and discounts to my readers.  I do not receive any monetary compensation from them but they will occasionally send me free product to try out.  Whether I choose to post about their company or not is totally up to me and my opinion of their products is solely based on my experience using them. 

Images: Pear Tree Greetings

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Giles Corey: An Iron Man Who Was a Victim of the Salem Witch Hysteria

My first guest blogger post for Jonathan Turley's law blog is up.
Giles Corey: An Iron Man Who Was a Victim of the Salem Witch Hysteria

CRAFTASTIC: Get Your Glitter On!

With the big day less than 24 hours away, I have one last Halloween-themed craft project to share with you.  And this one is a doozy!

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you!  That is one sparkly pumpkin.  Don't you love it?  Lucky for all of us, Kristy from Posh Pixels Design Studio has the full how to for how to glam up your gourds.  I think that I'm going to glitter some up for the holidays.  Wouldn't they make fabulous centerpieces?

Speaking of the holidays, starting Monday, AFOMFT's HOLIDAY HAPPENING will be kicking off!

It's a whole month filled with great gift ideas, creative crafts and party planning tips for the perfect holiday celebration.  We've had such an overwhelming response from people wanting to participate that we'll be posting several different features each day so if you have a product you think AFOMFT readers would appreciate or would like to do a guest post on crafting, cooking or party planning, e-mail me at  After all, this time of year, the more the merrier!  Oh, and did I mention we'll be holding at least one giveaway a day?  That's right - you don't want to miss it!

Images: Posh Pixels Design Studio

Friday, October 29, 2010

CRAFTASTIC: Last Minute Halloween Projects

Just two days until Halloween!  Are you ready?  Here are two simple projects from Martha Stewart to make sure you are. 

What are your kids going to use to collect all of their loot?  If your answer is "Ummmm....." give these Pillowcase Trick or Treat Bags a try.

They're easy to make and you can make them even easier by skipping the closure and using a Black Sharpie to draw the faces on.

And if your trick-or-treaters will be hitting the streets Sunday night, you're going to want to send them off with a few of these Flashy Lights.

They're even simpler to make than the treat bags and your kids won't complain about being safe with something that fun! 

Images: Martha Stewart

An Original Fairy Tale Poem & Information about My NCTE Poetry Sessions

Here’s another poem from my unpublished collection Excerpts from the Fairy Tale Files.


Important message. Urgent. Read!
Our sage advice you must now heed.
Stay in the cottage. Don’t go out.
Your evil stepmom’s hereabout.
She’s dressed up as an ugly crone.
She knows that you are home alone.
Go lock the windows. Bolt the door.
Hide in the closet. Please ignore
Her coy attempts to sell you things:
Poison apples, combs, or rings.
She’s bent on murder. She won’t rest
Until her mirror says she’s best.
Don’t let her trick you. Use you head!
Or she’ll be fairest. You’ll be dead.

Here are links to previous Wild Rose Reader with witch poems and poetry and picture book recommendations for Halloween

Witch Poems

Children’s Poetry Books for Halloween

Picture Books & Poetry Books for Halloween

Bone Soup: A Great Halloween Read-Aloud

Tailypo: A Ghost Story

Poetry for Halloween

Picture Book Review: The Three Bears’ Halloween

Great Halloween Read-Alouds for Little Listeners

NCTE Annual Convention News
I’ll be presenting at two sessions at the NCTE Annual Convention in Orlando.

Session Title: Poets and Bloggers Unite: Using Technology to Connect Kids, Teachers, and Poetry
Date: November 19th
Session/Time: A.09—9:30 am to 10:45 am
Format: Panel

Other children’s literature bloggers who’ll be participating in the session along with me are Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children and Tricia Stohr-Hunt of The Miss Rumphius Effect. The poet members of our panel will be Lee Bennett Hopkins, Jame Richards, and Marilyn Singer.

NOTE: I'll be featuring Lee Bennett Hopkins at Wild Rose Reader next week!

Session Title: Poetry for Children and Teachers at Its Best: The 2009 Notable Poetry Titles
Date: November 19th
Session/Time: C.20—12:30 pm to 1:45 pm
Format: Panel
Panel Members: The NCTE Excellence in Poetry Committee


At Blue Rose Girls, I have an original poem titled Look at the Man: A Poem Explaining Why Women with Mates Gain Weight, which I previously posted at my blog Political Verses.

Toby Speed has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Writer’s Chair.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Frighteningly Free! {FREEBIES}

I can't believe GET YOUR GHOUL ON! MONTH is almost over!  It's been so much fun featuring lots of Halloween goodies.  The only thing that can alleviate my sadness is a fabulous freebie.  Or nine!

Dress up your chocolate with printable candy wrappers from Lil Boo and Co.

Top off your treat bags in terrifying style with bag toppers from seven thirty three.

Or these from Ormolu.

Get printable place cards:

And treat boxes at Woo! Jr.

Trillustrations has the perfect solution for making for non-candy treats - bubble wrap labels!
And Leelou Blogs has Halloween cards to share.

As well as a banner to decorate your doorway.

And if you want to give your blog a frightastic facelift, check out their free Halloween backgrounds and layouts.

Images: Lil Boo & Co., seven thirty three, Ormolu, Woo! Jr., Trillustrations & Leelou Blogs

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain..... In memory of a departed brother-in-Christ (WFW and TT)

This picture is taken by my friend at Saipan.

This picture and verse reminded me of the purpose of our life here and the blessed hope we have for all eternity. I post this in remembrance of a dear brother-in-Christ that just went home to be with our Lord recently. Please read my sharing below...

Dear Friends,

Thanks for stopping by! Thank God for His goodness to us daily.

♥ Thanks for your prayers and encouragements! I missed all of you so much and it is so good to be back to post a picture and Bible verses on Word-Filled-Wednesday and to count my blessings and thank God together with you on Thankful Thursday!

♥ Thank God for strengthening me day by day and I am much better now. I do still experience a little dizziness every now and then especially when I am tired but the intensity has lessened and so I am more functional. I am still learning to pace myself and everyday is a challenge. Recently, besides weakening health some unforseen circumstances cropped up and thank God for helping me to cope.

♥ Thank God for restoring me from a bout of very bad throat infection and cough which triggered off my asthma. The Lord is good and has given me much peace and simple joy in Him as I wait upon Him. I had to take a break from usual activities. Thank God that I am feeling so much better now. There were very bad haze in Singapore recently due to forest fire in our neighbouring country, Indonesia. This has been bad for my asthma and I had to stay indoor most of the time. Thank God that the haze is clearing and my asthma is stabilising.

♥ Thank God for His goodness and mercies to one of my brother-in-Christ who was just called home to be with Him recently. I have known this brother and his wife for almost 20 years and greatly saddened by his sudden home-going. But I am comforted that God is in total control and His timing is the best for us. While we are here, we labour for Him for the extension of His Kingdom and when our work ordained by Him here is completed, He will then take us home to enjoy our eternal rest and unending worship and fellowship with Him. It is at that time that we shall enjoy too the fullness of His love. What a blessed hope!

Thank God for enabling my brother-in-Christ to maintain a very good testimony for Him, by His grace, at home, at work, in church and in the University where he just graduated with a Master Degree. They all have such high regards for him and loved him and missed him very much. He was a teacher for 10 years and almost 400 students wrote notes of condolences on Facebook even students who did not know him but have seen him before in school. He left such a deep impression in their heart and many of them wrote that they will never forget him and his contributions to the school and the difference he made in their life.

Shortly just before he was called home, he shared with his beloved wife when they were talking about the behaviour of some people who fear death, who live in fear as if there is no hope. He told her, “A true believer should not fear death, because he knows that it is better to depart and to be with the Lord, and to die is gain.”

From this conversation, we are greatly comforted because we know he was ready to die, even though it had to be so sudden. This conversation is God's token of mercy to her family and to my church, to assure us that our dear brother was not afraid, and was ready for the Lord to take him home. His work on earth is done, but the Lord still has work for us to do. Saying goodbye is always hard. But one day when our work on this earth is done, the Lord will take us home too and we shall all meet again never to say goodbye.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 2 Corinthians 5:7-9

...thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15 : 57-58

Here is a very touching video his students did for him with the following encouraging words in between the pictures:
"He always love us, more than he love himself
He always make us happy when we're sad

He enjoy life to the fullest, yet never neglect us
Teaching us everything in life and making us a better person

He'll give chances when we make mistakes
Allowing us to learn from the mistakes we've made

His life make all our lifes a better life
Paving the path of our life, never letting us walk alone

We love you
We miss you"

♥ I thank God for my family, my church, my friends and everyone of you, my dear blogging friends, and for your prayers and encouragements. They mean a lot to me and I thank God for every one of you. You have made a great difference in my life and used by God to encourage me and show me His love by your friendship and encouraging notes. You are in my thoughts and prayers too.

For more Word-Filled-Wednesday, visit here.

To read more Thankful Thursday, visit here.

Thank you for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed day!

Warm Regards,

Pens v Lightning

Tonight the Boys are in sunny Florida to face the Tampa Bay Lightning after an extra loooong weekend break. But we're going to rewind and go back to Saturday's OT loss to the Blues because longtime good Friend of The Show Jaime was there and took a bunch of great pics for us. :) Here they are preceded by her own captions:

Flower Power! It's Marc-Andre to Conks. :)

Sidney's pre-game routine.

Part of Malkin's pre-game routine. I wish I could have got one of him while he was on his back with his legs up in the air. :P

Geno! Geno! Geno!

I was able to stand at the glass behind the net the Pens were practicing at before the game. Yes, he was this close...I did not use my zoom.

Superstar! At one point, he skated at full speed toward those of us who were down in front behind the net taking pictures and jumped into the glass right in front of us. :)

This is another one of those faceoffs between Crosby and Backes....but this one has TJ Oshie in it. :) Unfortunately, this is the best picture that I got with both of my favorite players in it.


Sidney & Geno in one picture? It's a power play....:)

Sidney lost his helmet... [snoop:] This happened after Polak put Siddo in a headlock and popped his helmet off. I don't know about you guys, but I was literally screaming at the TV when I realized there would be no penalty for that.

Letang fell down! :P And he stayed there for the longest time. It was quite funny watching him yell at Jackman from down there. :P

My favorite shot of the night. I'm thrilled that it came out so well! [snoop:] This one is my fave, too! :)

Many, MANY thanks to Jaime for sharing her pictures with us. Spoiler alert: she may have something a little extra for us in the coming days... ;)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!


“我不仁 。。。”




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Eyes Have It!

I bookmarked this great Halloween idea from Jacinda at Prudent Baby last year because it's so simple but also completely spooktastic.

Yup, those eyeballs are suspended in Jello.  Frighteningly fabulous, right?  You can make them for your kids but Jacinda shares a naughty version for mommy too.

Either way, whoever you're serving will certainly get an eyeful! 

Get the full how to at Prudent Baby.

Images: Prudent Baby


Congratulations GOLDENMAMA!  You've won a Martha Stewart Score Board

You can use it for so many fun crafts, like these DIY Milk Cartons. 

Don't forget to download the template here.

Please e-mail me at by end of day Thursday, October 27th to claim your prize. If I do not hear from you by then, a new winner will be chosen. 

Want a Martha Stewart Score Board of your own?  This coupon is good for 40%off one regular priced item at Michaels through Saturday, 10/30.  Happy shopping!

The Blue Rose Girls Blog Gets a New Look

Blue Rose Girls has a great new look thanks to Anna Alter, Alvina Ling, and other contributors to the blog.
The Blue Rose Girls
(From left to right)
Elaine Magliaro, Alvina Ling, Grace Lin, Meghan McCarthy, Anna Alter, and Libby Koponen

Read Alvina's post titled Ch- ch- changes! to find out about the revamped Blue Rose Girls blog.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Good News!

Hooray! I got my computer back this morning!
I have a lot of work to catch up on.


FYI: I've been asked to be a guest blogger on Jonathan Turley's law blog next week.

In his post, Introducing Our New Guest Bloggers, today, Professor Turley wrote the following:

I am happy to report we will be implementing another one of your suggestions for improving the blog. Various people suggested a year ago that we have guest blogging to allow regulars a chance to make entries on the blog. With my upcoming speech in France, I thought it would be a great time to try this out for a week from October 31st to November 6th. I have selected three of our best known and most respected regulars: David Drumm (aka Nal), Elaine Magliaro (aka Elaine M) and Mark Esposito (aka Mespo).

You can read the rest of Professor Turley's post here.
You can read Jonathan Turley's biography here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Education Week Blog Article: No Teacher Speech Rights on Curriculum Court Decides

Still without a computer! Borrowing my husband's MacBook again.


Here's an interesting article I read yesterday at The School Law Blog (Education Week).

Court: No Teacher Speech Rights on Curriculum

By Mark Walsh on October 21, 2010


Teachers have no First Amendment free-speech protection for curricular decisions they make in the classroom, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.

"Only the school board has ultimate responsibility for what goes on in the classroom, legitimately giving it a say over what teachers may (or may not) teach in the classroom," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, said in its opinion.

The decision came in the case of an Ohio teacher whose contract was not renewed in 2002 after community controversy over reading selections she assigned to her high school English classes. These included Siddhartha , by Herman Hesse, and a unit on book censorship in which the teacher allowed students to pick books from a list of frequently challenged works, and some students chose Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman.

A group of 500 parents petitioned the school board against the teacher, Shelley Evans-Marshall, calling for "decency and excellence" in the classroom. The teacher also had various run-ins with her principal. Despite positive performance reviews before the controversy, the principal's evaluations afterwards criticized Evans-Marshall's attitude and demeanor and her "use of material that is pushing the limits of community standards." The school board in March 2002 decided not to renew her contract, citing "problems with communications and teamwork."

Evans-Marshall sued the Tipp City, Ohio, school district and various officials in 2003, alleging that her termination violated her First Amendment free-speech rights. In 2005, she won a ruling from the 6th Circuit that allowed her case to survive a motion to dismiss by the defendants. The court said at that time that it appeared that Evans-Marshall's termination was "due to a public outcry engendered by the assignment of protected material that had been approved by the board." (Education Week reported on that decision here.)

The suit proceeded to discovery until the school district defendants sought summary judgment last year. A federal district court granted the defendants' motion on the grounds that Evans-Marshall could not prove a link between the community outcry and the school board's decision not to renew her.

In its Oct. 21 decision in Evans-Marshall v. Board of Education of the Tipp City Exempted Village School District, a 6th Circuit panel ruled unanimously for the school district and other defendants, but on other grounds. (The appeals panel said the teacher had clearly shown that "her teaching choices caused the school board to fire her.")

But while Evans-Marshall's case satisfied two earlier Supreme Court standards on public-employee speech (Pickering and Connick), she could not survive the court's most recent decision in this area: Garcetti v. Ceballos. In Garcetti, decided in 2006, the high court held that public employees do not have First Amendment protection for speech "pursuant to" their official duties.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

So what did Ma Ying-Jeou say?

Background see e.g., "Despite his clarification and similar statements by other officials, some commentators insisted that the AP report showed Ma's intention to start political negotiations with Beijing if he wins re-election." - Focus Taiwan

The full excerpt is now published (or here). This is what Ma actually said,
  • AP: So, do I understand you correctly that, if economic issues are
    resolved during your second term, during that term, you might move on
    to political questions?
    President Ma: As I said, it depends on how fast we move, whether these
    issues are satisfactorily resolved, and of course all the policies regarding
    the mainland are very sensitive, and we certainly will also make decisions
    on generally whether the decision receives popular support. So usually
    when we lay out our general policy, we will say that: first of all, it has to
    be something needed by the country; secondly, it has to be supported by
    the people; and thirdly, that it will be supervised by the national
    parliament to make sure that this is a policy basically meeting the needs
    of the people
This is what AP reported
  • In between the poles of union and separation, Ma said his government is prepared to discuss political agreements, including security issues, as soon as the priority economic issues are dealt with. He suggested that those political talks could start as early as a second four-year term if he wins re-election in 2012.
  • "We are not intentionally delaying the talks on political issues. Certainly the economic ones are more important to people here. People also support the idea (of) economy first, politics later," said Ma. Asked if he would move to political talks in a second term once economic issues are dealt with, Ma said "it depends on how fast we move." Political issues, he said, "will come after all the major economic issues are resolved."
Regarding the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, The AP reporter Hutzler has such a loaded question
  • [45:20]
    AP: Now, since you touched on the natural resources, the U.S. has voiced
    some concerns that, you know, there’s the Diaoyutai and then there’s the
    larger issue of the free passage of shipping through the South and East
    China seas and access to natural gas deposits or whatever might be down
    there on the ocean floor. And the U.S. has voiced concerns that the
    mainland is really trying to cut off access to foreign trade in that area,
    which would have, obviously, a poor effect on Taiwan, which really owes
    its existence to free access to those shipping lanes
    . So, do you share the
    concerns of the United States?
    President Ma: Certainly. I think most of the waters in the South China
    Sea should be open waters, the so-called high seas according to the Law
    of the Sea.
    And they’re open to international traffic for sure. Actually, as I
    said, countries started to occupy and garrison those islands a long time
    ago. So this is not a very new issue. We sent our troops, our Marine Corps,
    to station on those islands as early as 1956. Just 10 years ago, we changed
    that with Coast Guard instead of the Marines. I served in our Navy more
    than 30 years ago, and my unit had the responsibility to supply all these
    islands. So I understand this issue well.
    AP: So is China trying to interfere with the open water policy?
    President Ma: No. So far no. And I don’t think mainland China would do
    You know, when they are becoming a power in the region, they also
    become more careful about those issues. Certainly, it wants to maintain
    its sphere of influence but I don’t believe that will reach the level of
    interfering with international traffic
    AP: They often raise objections to the passage of U.S. military ships
    through the South China Sea and they have, at times, taken measures to
    block those ships from passing through
    . The argument that some people
    in the mainland make is that free passage does not extend to military
    , that that can be considered to be preparing the battlefield for the
    future. Does your government believe that these types of military
    surveillance activities are normal and should be allowed?
    President Ma: Well, certainly all the activities on the oceans, particularly
    in international waters, are regulated by the United Nations Convention
    on the Law of the Sea of 1982, which came into effect in 1994. It’s very
    important to note that there are rules of conduct. For instance, a warship
    is not supposed to sail through the territorial waters of other countries, but
    if the waters are too narrow in an international strait, then they certainly
    have to do certain things to make sure that it’s an innocent passage. There
    are rules. I think that each country should follow the rules.
No, Mr Hutzler , China did not object to free passage of international ships in the seas in question, not even US gunboats. China objects to US spy ships snooping some 20 miles by its mainland and main islands only, so far. This is what China's MoFA said regarding the "spy ship harassment" incident
  • "China has lodged a solemn representation to the United States as the USNS Impeccable conducted activities in China's special economic zone in the South China Sea without China's permission," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular news briefing. 
  • "We demand that the United States put an immediate stop to related activities and take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening," Ma said.
Passage is not, and has never been, China's complaint. Especially, if it is passing in the open sea far away from its naval bases.China complained about the "activities", not the "passage".

Mr Hutzler, you need to do your homework before an interview, and you need to go back to school to study how to write a report.

Pens v Blues

Brooksie's back, baby! Orpik will make his return tonight against the Blues after missing six games following a groin pull during the match versus the Canadiens. Whether Flower or B.J. will be tonight's netminder has yet to be determined, though B.J. was actually scheduled to be in goal tonight. Siddo looks to be on the verge of a hot streak, and for that matter, so does Geno. But it is our title man who is now tied with ex-Pen Marian Hossa for top point scorer in the league. He's also 3rd on the goal scorer list, behind Hossa and Daniel Sedin, who are tied for first. (Who else is calling another 50 goal season for El Capitan?) Also of note: Mr. Duff Comrie has got 4 assists in the last 3 games. Now these are the stats we want to see!

Despite this being a weekend game, I am going to skip the recap tonight even though I'm staying home to watch the game. We've had an "eventful" day and a half here - Logan tore a big gash in his foot last night, and today he got stitches.

Logan got some stitches and a goofy boot to protect him from infection. Yep, he hates me right now. :`(

Both Logie and I are exhausted - I'm just hoping I can make it through the game without falling asleep! (Haha, I am sure that the adrenaline will kick in sometime in the first period and help me make it through the entirety of the match!) After tonight, the Boys don't play again until they visit Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!