Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best Crazy of 2012

Before we start, let's have the Last English Class Pop Quiz of 2012:
Use the words there, they're or their to fill in the blanks in the following sentences:
1. Put the gifts of chocolate right over _____.
2. The students aren't annoying me today because _____ all at home, and I'm not _____ with them.
3. _____ all sitting over _____ eating _____ candy and plotting _____ annoying moves for when school starts again.
4. Santa's elves are all resting _____ weary heads after a busy toy-making season.
5. _____ are only 358 more shopping days until Christmas.
Answers are at the bottom of the page.

I first started blogging in October, 2011, so 2012 was my first full year of blogging. It's been such a fun year, and you all made it that way. My cozy little kitchen has been a warm and wonderful place to visit with you and enjoy your comments.

It's New Year's Eve, so I want to share with you my favorite posts from 2012. They're not necessarily anyone else's favorite, but I enjoyed writing them, and I feel that they represent my very best.

See which of my favorites are also your favorites. If you missed any of them that sound interesting, then by all means go back and check them out. Or re-read the ones you liked.


I started the year with a grammar lesson in which I discussed the difference between Sit and Set.  We also discovered that The Princess has a very unusual allergy.

Next, I introduced My Wonderful Boy in a post that many people took as a personal ad in which I'm looking for a daughter-in-law. I'm really not, but he is pretty awesome, ladies.

Another grammar lesson dealt with the difference between May and Might.

One of my more serious and important posts dealt with isolation and social networking. If you haven't read it, find out how social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be so important to people suffering from social anxiety.


Let's get this straight. This is not now, nor will it ever be, a cooking blog. However, by popular demand, I've shared THE WORLD'S GREATEST PIE CRUST my own way.

In February I also shared A Valentine for My Hillbilly. Here are 10 reasons why I am hopelessly in love with this Missouri Ozarkian Redneck Hillbilly.


In March I shared a writing assignment from my students featuring The Zombie Apocalypse.

March also saw the first blog post written by my husband, The Hillbilly. In this episode of The Hillbilly's Corner, we find out about outhouses and snakes and what happens when the two go together!

Of course there was an English lesson in March: Affect or Effect: The Big Showdown.


In April The Hillbilly discussed some of the more interesting pets his family had when he was growing up on the farm.

April's English class lesson dealt with using quotation marks properly.

Finally, The Hillbilly gives you his version of our first date. Don't believe all of it.


To get to know me a little better, and for a couple good laughs, read 5 Things That Drive Me Crazy--About Myself! 

My mother is the greatest woman in the world, and in May I wrote her A Mother's Day Card.

Just for you I willingly embarrassed myself by sharing pictures from my high school yearbook.

May's grammar lesson addressed 3 commonly used words that aren't words at all. Stop using them!


In June I explained why my sister hates me. All because I'm so thoughtful!

We also finally addressed the dreaded apostrophe question! Now you have no excuse for messing this up!

I also shared my very favorite lesson of all time: Who or Whom with Gilligan's Island! Now there's one you don't want to miss!


In July I shared a list of the things I would and would not miss if I were to retire from teaching.

I took a funny look at the news. What could be funnier than a dead body on an airplane?

In "Let Their Confidence Shine" I shared tips from moms who have successfully brought up children to be self-confident adults.

The Hillbilly told a hilarious and terrifying tale of coming face to face with a bear.

Once more I humiliated myself for your entertainment by sharing the contents of my overloaded purse.


In August The Hillbilly and I took a cross-country driving trip, and I was driven to cartooning.

This led The Hillbilly to tell his side of the story.

On that same trip, The Hillbilly and I almost did hard time in the Deep South. If you missed it, you've got to find out how we're just like Bonnie and Clyde!


With school getting started, September was a light blogging month. I did discuss texting and driving and took a break from all the political news with something to make you smile.


October, my first "blogoversary" was pretty rough, and I shared two posts that explained why:

It's a good thing I have a sense of humor!


In November we flew to Florida and discovered the Northwest Florida Regional Airport of Doom!
First we flew into the airport, and then we flew out of the airport. Doom Doom Doom!

On the other hand, I explained why being a Grandma is better than being a mom. Hint: Just think about sleeping all night.

In "How Much Do You Think a 12-inch Centipede Weighs?" I shared some of the crazy questions my students ask me.

Here's a quickie with an example of why I love my daughter-in-law. She cracks me up.


In answer to a reader's question I explained the difference between Accept and Except, which prompted The Hillbilly to give an English lesson of his own. Sigh.

Well, it's been a busy year. Thank you to all of you have stuck with me. And of course welcome and thank you to those of you who've jumped on for the ride somewhere in the middle.

As always, your comments are what makes my little kitchen chat worthwhile. Which posts were your favorites? Did you discover any new ones or rediscover a favorite that you'd forgotten?

English Class Pop Quiz  Answers:

1. Put the gifts of chocolate right over there.
2. The students aren't annoying me today because they're all at home, and I'm not there with them.
3. They're all sitting over there eating their candy and plotting their annoying moves for when school starts again.
4. Santa's elves are all resting their weary heads after a busy toy-making season.
5. There are only 358 more shopping days until Christmas.

How did you do? I'm sure you all got 100% because my readers are all brilliant! 

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Hillbilly's Sweet Tooth

I don't know why my Hillbilly thinks he needs sweets at every meal, but you'd think he'd have the common decency to at least get a little fat! No, he stays slim while eating cookies, and I gain a pound for every chocolate chip. So unfair! But I'll let him tell you about it.

Since my recent blog about river hillbillies seemed to have frightened everyone away to where they wouldn’t even comment, (wimps), I decided to talk about sweets.  Yes, sweets!  You know!  Those things we cannot leave alone such as cookies, candies, cakes, pies, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and ice cream!  Yum!  Yeah!  
Cake by Alyssa

Just with me mentioning them, I bet you are already thinking, yeah I would like to have some of that!  It’s all good.  It is just diet food ---- eat it today, diet tomorrow --- or at some distant time in the future.

I will admit --- I am a sugarholic!  I was raised on a farm where we ate well!  We raised cattle, chickens, and sometimes hogs!  We had large gardens with such things as potatoes, corn, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, radishes, beets, turnips, okra, and rhubarb.  We had an orchard with apples and peaches.  We had a strawberry patch.  Black berries, goose berries, elder berries, pokeweed, and also walnut trees grew wild on the farm.  With all that available to eat fresh and to can and/or freeze, we ate very well.  And every meal had a desert or at least jams, jellies, or apple butter to put on toast.  I was one well fed hillbilly!
Pie by Cynthia

Unfortunately, I learned to eat very well but not to cook well or at all.  That wasn’t my job on the farm. Unfortunately, after things went bad in my life, I was forced to learn to cook.  I could already grill, but the weather is not always great for that.  Being hillbilly tough, bad weather didn’t always stop me.  At various times, I have grilled hamburgers for my kids when it was nighttime, about 15 degrees outside, windy, snowing, and with 10 inches of snow already on the ground.  The burgers were great but I wouldn’t suggest doing that on an ongoing basis.

  At any rate, I learned to cook a few things such as a spicy spaghetti, tacos, roasts, etc.  But ---- my real talent came in what I love ---- desserts!  Being a sugarholic/dessertaholic, leaning more towards being a cookie monster, I became a cookie aficionado.  I stretched on into other things for which I would get hungry, such as cakes, pies, breads, and so on, but cookies were and are still my passion.
Chocolate chip cookies
Okay, I don't know who made the cookies. I found the picture on wikimedia.

In a normal month, for potlucks, family events, etc., I probably bake twelve dozen cookies a month.  Being in that holiday stretch from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, I am into cookie marathon time.  For Thanksgiving, I baked about 5 ½ dozen Chewy Chocolate cookies and Cynthia baked 2 pumpkin pies.  

The next day, for a 2nd Thanksgiving celebration, I baked about 5 ½ dozen Reese's peanut butter cup cookies and Cynthia baked what I consider to be the world’s best pecan pie. 

 For my son and daughter-in-law’s early holiday season get together, I baked 5 ½ dozen Chewy Chocolate cookies and Cynthia and I made 3 gallons of Milky Way ice cream.  

Then the next day for a potluck, I baked 6 dozen of the Reese's peanut butter cup cookies.  

Then for my customer appreciation, I baked 9-10 dozen Almond Roca bars, 5 ½ dozen Chewy Chocolate cookies, 6 dozen Reese's peanut butter cup cookies, and 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies.  

If my math is right, I think that is about 44 dozen cookies or bars I have baked, (a gazillion calories), in about three weeks.  
Seriously! Does this look like a man who eats sweets at EVERY meal? It's so unfair!

And I have been good!  I have only eaten ------ a few ---- samples---- here and there.  You know, the broken ones where the calories have bled out, (oops broke another one), the ugly ones that no one else would (ahem), want.  Besides, you have to check them out to make sure they are good you know!  Hmm!  I wonder if there are might be a few left on which I can go and run another taste inspection?  It’s a tough job but I am hillbilly tough and up for the task.  Gotta go to work!

Hope you have a great and full-of-dessert holiday season! 

From the sugared up Hillbilly’s Corner!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name

Naming a child is a funny thing. We try our best to come up with a name that both parents like -- meaning neither of us has ever known anyone annoying who happens to have that name. I'm glad I had both my children before I started teaching. I hear from the younger teachers it's almost impossible to come up with a name that doesn't grate like fingernails on a chalkboard. When both parents teach...well, it's not pretty.

We also want a name that's unique and sets our child apart. When I named Alyssa, I had never heard the name. I found it in a baby name book and thought it was pretty. It reminded me of sweet alyssum, one of my favorite flowers. Also, my dad's name was Al. He introduced his first granddaughter to everyone as "Al-lyssa, heavy on the Al."

Sweet Alyssum
 Shortly after Alyssa was born, Alyssa Milano hit the scene on TV, and suddenly every fourth baby girl was named Alyssa. I understand how all those girls came to be named Alyssa, but as a teacher I see names come and go with the years. It's like watching waves on the beach. First Chelsea comes in, then it rolls back out to make way for Jennifer.

Apparently fourteen years ago, every mom had a burning desire to name her daughter Samantha. I've got three of them in the same class period.

I've also got two boys named Chris and one Christian spread out over three class periods.

I've got two Alejandros and an Alex, two Brandon's and a Brendan, a Jerod and a Jarod, two Jonathans and a Juan.

I've also got  Hailey and Hailee, and Kira and Kiara.

There are two Rickys, two Hunters, two Roberts, two Jessicas, two Michelles, and two Laurens.

Now, understand that I teach a total of 98 students, so 3% of my total population is named Samantha. I also don't have a single Chelsea. That just strikes me as odd. What do you suppose causes these trends in naming? Perhaps when a particular name gets too popular people no longer use it. It goes back to that thing about making our baby's name stand out from the rest. So that explains why names go out of style, but not why a particular name becomes popular in the first place.

I think I understand why certain types of names become popular. For example, one celebrity couple names their baby Ivy, and now everyone wants their baby to have a plant name. Next thing you know, every other baby girl is named Rose or Daisy or Daffodil or Hydrangea or Thistle or Milkweed. Boys are being named Hawthorne or Mulberry or Pine or Dogwood or Snakebrush (Yeah, that's a real plant. I looked it up.).

Snakebrush: Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

By the way, I have an Aunt Violet and and Aunt Fern, both born in the 1920s, so plant names for girls may have been popular long ago. Either that or my grandmother was very crazy eccentric, which is a distinct possiblity. You had to know her.

Anyway, celebrity endorsement may explain why a type of name becomes popular, but why one certain name, like Samantha? What's your explanation? Why three Samanthas in one room?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

10 Intellectual Christmas Carols

This week's listicle topic is Holiday Songs.

There are no rules as to what we do with the songs, so I'm giving you a puzzle. Here are the names of ten well-known Christmas carols whose titles (or lyrics) have been revamped by a thesuarus-wielding sage. Can you figure out their real titles? Answers are at the bottom of the page.

1. From Dark 'til Dawn, Soundless and Sanctimonious.

2. The Antlered Quadruped With The Cerise Proboscis.

3. The Event Occurred One Minute After 11:59 pm With Visibility Unlimited.

4. Personal Hallucinations of an Alabaster December 25th.

5. Testimony of Witness to Maternal Parent's Infidelity with Kris Kringle.

6. In A Distant Bovine Diner.

7. Those of You Who Are True, Come Here.

8. Ornament the Enclosure with Large Sprigs of a Berry-bearing Evergreen.

9. Universal Elation.

10. The Horned Ruminants Do a Slated "Hesitation"

1. Silent Night, Holy Night
2. (Rudolph) the Red-nosed Reindeer
3. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
4. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
6. Away in a Manger
7. Oh Come, All Ye Faithful
8. Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
9. Joy to the World
10. Up on the House Top Reindeer Pause

How did you do? My favorite "intellectual" title is #4; what's yours?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Hillbilly...Teaches English?

Oh, dear. The Hillbilly wants to teach y'all something about English. He's even modeled it after my last lesson, "Do You Accept, or Do You Except?"

 I'm not sure how this could possibly turn out well, but here goes.

The Difference in Axe and Acts!

I will begin this post by explaining that not one of Cynthia’s readers have ever asked me to explain the difference between use of words in the English language.  I misspoke; Alyssa did ask the difference in hillbilly and redneck --- that is kind of English --- I guess.  Anyway axe and acts, though they sound somewhat similar, are in no way similar.  However, on a particular, current, popular talent show, one of the emcees continues to say things that sound like – "The next axe leaving the competition is Charlie Brown!"  I then laugh and mimic him.  This happens several times during the show! (Cynthia's Note: Yes, it does. The Hillbilly is easily amused.)


Ax or Axe is a noun.  It can be made into a verb if you add an ed or d, depending upon which spelling you use.  Anyway, these are slightly different spellings for the same tool.  Some people use another spelling, (adz), for kind of the same basic tool. 

 An axe can be a double or single blade.  They can be broad head, (as were the ones used for beheading), or regular.  They can have various length of handles, depending upon its particular use.  I have about worn them out splitting wood, clearing brush, and cutting small trees down.  I cannot lie; I never cut down a cherry tree with one.  
The Woodcutter', oil painting by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1.5 x 9.2 in., William Doyle Galleries

The Woodcutter', oil painting by Cornelius Krieghoff, 1.5 x 9.2 in., William Doyle Galleries

Let us use it in some sentences.
I would run from a crazy man with an axe!
If I had to, I would split wood with an axe. (I used to enjoy it.)
I would gladly loan you an axe to split wood, so I don’t have to myself.
Axe splitting wood


Acts, on the other hand can be a verb or a noun.  As I mentioned, though the words acts and axe sound similar, they are much different.  Let’s begin using acts as a verb!

Cynthia acts kind of funny if she gets her medications confused!
Little Johnny acts up every morning!
lump of coal
Here's what Johnny gets for Christmas!

Now let’s do a couple of sentences using acts as a noun.
Only four acts are left in the competition.Bringing food and babysitting the kids were great acts of kindness!
Let’s go a little further with this and make various sentences with these two words.
John’s axe is sharper than Paul's!The director axed scene four of act two.Or my favorite:  The acts who got axed due to the hateful comments by two of the judges, got even with them when they chopped them up with a dull axe!

I think that about does it and should show everyone the difference in ask and axe.  Hey, it might even meet Cynthia’s English standards ---- if her medications get mixed up enough!

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!

Nope. My meds have never gotten that mixed up. So...ummm...did anyone learn anything?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Do You Accept, or Do You Except?

A reader has asked me to write about the confusion between the words accept and except. This is a little tough for me. It's not like explaining affect and effect which actually are related in meaning. Accept and except sound similar, but they have nothing else in common. However, since I love and adore my readers, and since it's Christmas time, I'll give it my best shot.


Let's start with accept. It's a verb, something you do. When someone offers you something, you can accept it or refuse it. 

I'd be happy to accept a lot of things.

I'd be happy to accept a box of chocolates!

I would gladly accept a little help with the housework. Or a lot of help.
If you're in a buying mood, I'd certainly accept these cute shoes!


Except, on the other hand, is used to exclude something. Perhaps you can use the similarity in spelling except and exclude to help you remember that. "Everyone except The Hillbilly takes their shoes off at the beach."

I'd accept any of the chocolates except the coconut ones!

I'd be happy to accept any maid service except these three. They scare me.
I'd accept shoes except these. Maybe you like them,  but not me. They make me shudder.

So that about covers it. There's nothing left to do except to accept comments. Let me know how clear this is or isn't. What else can I explain to you?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Hillbilly Faces Danger

Once again, here's My Hillbilly:

I have been thinking about writing a little more about hillbillies.  As you can imagine, there are different levels of hillbillyism!  For instance, a friend of mine’s mother and sister both smoked pipes and also chewed tobacco. 

One level I haven’t talked about is river people or river community people.  In my experience with them, they are quite different.  They make loyal friends but terrible enemies.  Usually, no one, including conservation officers, law officers, or much of anyone else wants to mess with them.  In fact, it can be dangerous to your health.
River People

 I believe that this comes from a tradition of taking care of themselves.  If you think back in time, say a hundred years or so, if something happened, it would have taken a half a day for anyone to have contacted the law.  Then, it would have taken another half day for the law to have reached them.  Then after reaching there, they would have been around a group of people that were not all that cooperative because they already had, or wanted to take care of things themselves.  Generally, they did!

 As the years go by and things have changed, this is starting to get some what watered down, but old ways die hard!  The following is some of what I have heard from other people who have been around them or that I have heard directly from some of them.

A friend of mine, let’s call him Tom, became a good friend of one of these river guys.  Eventually, the river guy’s family kind of took a liking to Tom.  One of the members of the river family told Tom that if anyone ever gave him any trouble, to let him know and he would take care of it.  Tom’s feeling was that the guy meant to take care of it permanently.

Another friend of mine, (now deceased), let’s call him Dick, became a good friend with one of these river community guys, (also deceased).  They took a several day float, fish, and camping trip.  Dick said that they came around a river bend to find themselves facing a guy with a rifle pointed at them.  He commanded them to come over to where he was.  Dick’s river buddy pulled up a pistol and pointed it at the other guy and said I don’t think so.  Dick continued to paddle the boat, while the other two guys continued their standoff.  He said that quite some time and miles had passed when suddenly, someone started shooting holes in their boat.  When the shooting paused, Dick’s river buddy asked Dick, where the shots came from.  My buddy told him that it came from behind a large rock on top of the bluff.  Dick’s river buddy took aim and when the shooter’s hat came up above the rock, he fired.  The hat went flying.  Dick was scared to death.  He asked his river buddy, should we go check on the shooter.  Dick’s buddy, who wasn’t excited, said, “No, he won’t bother us anymore."  Dick, had nightmares about it for years!

Years ago, I became friends with an older river guy with whom I did business.  Let’s call him Harry.  Harry kept inviting me to come down to go on a fishing float trip with him.  I finally did.  It was an  experience,(understatement).  Like me, Harry was an outdoorsman.  He liked to hunt, fish, etc.  Being born on the river, he was practically born with a gun in his hand.  In fact he was carrying one that day.  He was using it to shoot snakes, (now against the law), and also because he was uncomfortable without a weapon.

 At any rate, I told Harry that I would kind of like to have a small gun like his to carry for safety.  I explained to him that I had been in a situation or two that had made me uneasy.  Harry then told me that he had the perfect gun that he would sell me.  I asked what it was and Harry told me that it was a 410 shotgun pistol.  I asked how long the barrel was and he told me that it was probably 10 to 12” long.  I told him that with a barrel that short, it would be an illegal weapon.  He then told me that when he made it, he hadn’t been too worried about legalities.  Being naturally curious and dumb, I was stupid enough to ask Harry why he had made it.  Harry then told me that he had made it to kill a guy and to then throw away.

As you can imagine, this Hillbilly is now talking to himself.  Hillbilly, you are in the wrong place.  Hillbilly, just shut up.  Hillbilly see no evil, hear no evil, etc.  Hillbilly, why did you get yourself into this stupid fishing trip and so on.  I was hoping he would end his explanation with that.  But no!  He went on to explain that he had planned on taking care of a bad guy, (a convict out on parole).  One who had gotten away with raping some young girls because their families were afraid of him.  The ex-convict had begun to cause problems for some of Harry’s family.

In all fairness, Harry had talked to law enforcement.  They said that the guy was no good but their hands were tied.  According to Harry, they had told him to kill the ex-convict if he gave him trouble!  This seemed a little off to me, but perhaps they meant in self- defense.  I am not sure that they and Harry were on the same track.  Anyway, he went on to explain that he had beaten the guy up once and told him to leave his family alone.   While he was telling me the story, he mentioned that when he went after the guy that time, he had been reaching in his pocket for his brass knucks but they weren’t there.  The more he talked, the more uncomfortable this Hillbilly became.  Now to my relief, he went on to explain that he didn’t wind up killing the guy.  After about the 4th time Harry went after this ex-convict, the ex-convict wised up and backed off.  All I can say is that the ex-convict’s IQ must have only been about 4 if it took 4 times of having Harry after him to decide to move along.

I might say, being both stupid and bad, a few years later, this ex-convict, went on to cause trouble for another family.  I knew this group.  They were like a whole family of Harrys.  Surprisingly, they were nice enough to warn him off rather than to just kill him.  They, like Harry, would have killed him.  He backed off!  I don’t know what ever happened to the ex-convict.  Usually someone either does kill them or they wind up back in prison.

At any rate back to the float trip.  Harry continued to tell me more stories and facts, including the fact that he, if he didn’t have another gun, would at least have a 25 caliber automatic in his back pocket.  He was never unarmed even if he was at church.

As the day wore on and the list of illegalities committed or illegalities planned but not committed, and other eyebrow rising stories continued, the Hillbilly became very aware that his moral line and Harry’s moral line were nowhere close.  In fact, they weren’t even in the same state or perhaps even in the same country.  I did discuss some of these things with him.  He respected my opinions but was not swayed.  Though I continued to do business with him and remained friendly, I did not hang around with him anymore.  I might add, that before I left that day, Harry showed me the 410 pistol he had made and had me shoot it.  He sat up a coffee can about 30’ away.  I shot at it and almost completely destroyed it.  Years later, I thought to myself, --- oh great!  He got my finger prints on that gun!

A few days after I took this float trip, I talked to the same friend whom I called Dick, (earlier in this post),  about this float trip saga.  Dick told me that he had once gone hunting with Harry and his family.  He said that once was enough.  He like I, had had experiences that frightened him and he didn’t want a repeat.

My experiences and some of these stories I was told are from 25 to 40 years ago.  Most of these people are long dead.  However, a lot of the culture of these river towns or even small country towns that are some distance from major law enforcement is much the same.  My stories are from Missouri but could just as well be from most states. In fact, a good buddy of mine that was in law enforcement said that this type of thing was what he ran into in a river town in Oklahoma.  He said that most of the officers would not go there for much of anything without backup. Like me, he thought it was just the culture.  It is not that they are bad people but generally, they are a hardy, self- reliant, clannish, and feel like they are self-governed.  This being the case, they are suspicious and standoffish to strangers.  I don’t mind being around them for a short time but I am a gregarious hillbilly that can visit with them and pretty well fit in.  In fact I will and can talk to about anyone!  Just ask Cynthia or about anyone who knows me.

From the Hillbilly’s Corner!

     Umm...yes. The Hillbilly can talk to anyone. Anyone! By the way, I didn't hear these stories until after he had me safely married so I couldn't get away. He knows some scary people!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

10 Examples of My Greatness

Okay, first of all, this post was not my idea. I've been trying to find time to get back together with the excellent bloggers who share lists every week on the Monday Listicles hosted by the lovely Stasha.

So, finally I got a chance to pop over there and see what this week's topic was, and this is it.

Actually, I see nothing wrong with giving yourself affirmations, but sharing them publicly is way out of my comfort zone. It's not that I don't think I'm great, because I am, but I'd just hate for you to think I'm conceited and lacking in humility. 

Anyway, this is the assignment, so let's see if I can come up with 10 explanations for my greatness.

I am great because:

1. I raised two really great kids.

2. I'm reliable. Mostly.
3. My students tell me I'm awesome, even after I inform them that this won't help their grades.
4. My grandma says I'm as cute as a button.
5. I have been known to "adopt" stray children and sometimes stray adults too.
6. Ilana says I'm the coolest mom on Twitter, and I'm sure she wouldn't lie.
7. I make the World's Greatest Pie Crust.

8. I have recently been told I also make the World's Greatest Pecan Pie.
9. I have an IQ of . . . well, it's a very nice number. 
10. Oh, yeah! I totally forgot my sense of humor. Once in a while, someone tells me I'm funny. 

So there you are. What makes YOU great?