Please Email the Government to Help Oregon Schools!

The economic crisis has ripped an $800 million hole in the current year's budget. Oregon's schools could have to cut $322 million before June 30th.

To protect kids and schools from devastating cuts, we must take action today by writing to government representatives.

The legislature's budget-writing committee will meet this Wednesday* to discuss the impact of the shortfall on education. Let them know we support them as they make tough budget decisions.

Thank you for taking action!
Holly Pruett
Oregon Executive Director

Please consider attending the President's Day rally, and please spread the word by inviting 10 friends to it. http://capwiz.com/stand/taf/

Dear State Representatives,

I am a third grade teacher in Springfield, Oregon. I began this job this September after teaching for three years in Salem. Because I am new to my school district, seniority dictates that if job cuts are to be made, I am to be one of the first on the chopping block despite 4 years of service.

I went to school for five years to do this job. I am in debt tens of thousands of dollars in order to do this job. I work between 45 and 60 hours each week to design and implement effective instruction for my students. I LOVE what I do, and plan to make a life-long career of teaching. If funds are not provided to support Oregon schools, my school will lose a dedicated teacher, I will lose the career I love, and next year's students will not be helped by my efforts.

The huge, and varied implications of funding problems make it abundantly clear that it is a "Rainy Day" in Oregon schools. Please make prudent use of Oregon's reserve funds to prevent devastating cuts to the current school year. Please prevent good teachers like myself from losing the jobs they love, and making the difference they make.

I stand with and behind you as you target funding to programs that produce the best results, make prudent use of reserves, and raise revenue responsibly. However, increasing class sizes and the laying off of dedicated staff is not a consequence a thoughtful government would impose on children. Please make decisions regarding Oregon schools with the future in mind.

Sara Hos-


Found Strangeness Series, Continued

Found on the north side of Fern Ridge Reservoir, a floating restroom. While this unit is currently docked for the season and parked in the parking lot of a marina, I assume its job is to float in the middle of the lake for bathroom emergencies while motoring around Fern Ridge on a boat. Not only is this a floating restroom, something I had never heard of and is quite amusing, but check out the name of the barge thing this restroom gets to float on.

This makes me wonder: Good idea? Bad idea? Good joke? Bad joke? And, if the name holds any truth, does that mean people might as well just pee in the lake? And if so, what is the point of a floating restroom?


I Always Hated Bambi

...but this real-life Bambi and Thumper might be cute enough to make me vomit.


Found Strangeness Series

Found on the beach in Yachats on January 17:



Here is a link to the article in today's Register Guard about my class's inauguration activities. It's a great one.


Appreciate it by giving us paper - Schools are in such dire straits right now and people have no idea. Grrr.

Also, please think about attending Stand for Children's President's Day Rally on February 16 at the state capitol building to defend our school from losing FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS next year, leading to cuts in staffing, programs, and materials and increased class sizes.


Yes, it really is this bad. Double grrr.



For all of you out there who don't get Twitter...




Check out the Many Adventures of Phaedra, the most recent addition to my blog list.

In other news, the River House Blog has been remodeled and is lookin' good. Check it out!

In other, other news, Val got Apples to Apples for Christmas and it is GREAT.


Preemptive Strike - Don't Kill Me, Mama!

Is your cat plotting to kill you?
...and because of this, I have decided to make her a STAR!

Check out Mama Cat's Flow:

From time to time, feel free to let her know how much you like me and that you would really be bummed out if she killed me. Thanks, guys.


Nice Taters.

A little bit of fun from my kitchen to yours.

Shepherd's Pie

In keeping with my previous blog posting, I figured inventing my own recipe was reason enough for a sweet new blog post, even if the purpose is only to help me remember the recipe later. the story of this one is that I had been looking around for a shepherd's pie recipe that I could get into. I looked through about 5 recipes and chose what I liked. Here it is!

Sara's Shepherd's Pie:
6 Potatoes
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 lb ground beef, turkey, or sausage could be good too
seasonings: I like salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. I also used some creole seasoning in the peas and carrots layer
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 large carrot
2 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. cheddar cheese cheese
bread crumbs

First, prepare the ingredients in each layer.

Potato Layer - 
It's basically mashed potatoes. Boil the potatoes 12-15 minutes until soft. Whip with a hand mixer along with 1 c. sour cream. Add chicken broth a little at a time. Add salt to taste, but don't be overly stingy - This is the only salt in the whole thing. Make sure the consistency is more pasty than runny. Set aside.

Peas & Carrots Layer
Dice the carrots into small pieces and saute for 3-4 minutes. In the meantime, rinse the frozen peas to thaw them, and throw them in with the sautéed carrots for another minute or two. Add seasonings. Set aside.

Onion & Garlic Layer
Dice the onions and garlic. Cook on medium heat until brown. Set aside.

Beef Layer -
Cook the ground meat fully, adding seasonings of choice. Drain the fat. Set aside.

Top Layer - 
Dice the fresh parsley and grate the cheese. Have your bread crumbs handy.

Now get ready for loads of layering fun...
In a deep casserole dish, or a 9x13 pan if you want to grate more cheese for sprinkling on the top, layer the ingredients in this order:
  1. One third of the potatoes, spread evenly and flattened with a rubber spatula
  2. One half of the peas & carrots
  3. One half of the onions & garlic
  4. One half of the ground meat
  5. One third of the potatoes (add the same way as before)
  6. The rest of the peas & carrots
  7. The rest of the onions & garlic
  8. The rest of the ground meat
  9. The rest of the potatoes
  10. All of the shredded cheese
  11. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup bread crumbs over the top
  12. Sprinkle parsley on the top
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes on the bottom rack until the top has browned. In a 9x13, you may have to take it out earlier or cover it. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then serve. It is gloppy and delicious.