Ice Cream for Homework

Monday would have been my Dad’s 70th birthday! I told my students about his birthday and a little about him. Suddenly I had a brilliant idea…”You have homework tonight!” I announced to surprised moans and groans. Before the complaining got carried away, I told them their assignment included a choice. Here’s what I said, “For homework tonight, I want you to do something kind for someone else. Go out of your way. Surprise someone…to honor my dad. He did that all the time.”

The grumbling quieted because they realized this was no ordinary assignment. “The other choice is eat ice cream.” I was met with blank stares and looks of confusion. “Dad’s favorite food was ice cream. I want his memory to live on, so go home tonight and have some ice cream. When you ask your parents for ice cream, tell them why.”

I have never seen so many students scramble to write down an assignment before. Here’s one of my favorite agendas:  img_0719

I announced the success of the assignment on Instagram with my own picture of ice cream, Friendly’s Peppermint Stick…


The next day students in my other classes heard about the assignment and begged for their homework. They told their parents. They performed acts of kindness and they ate ice cream…

Waterlogue 1.3.1 (72) Preset Style = Vibrant Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces


Waterlogue 1.3.1 (72) Preset Style = Vibrant Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

All because of my Dad! Love you, Dad!

sitting on Dad's lap


Every Tuesday I post a slice of life. Here is my slice for today…
slice of life

Traveling changes my perspective. 

I get a chance to slow down and look at things from another angle. My cousin got married this weekend and I drove up to Massachusetts to be there.

I could have flown, but there’s something about that long drive that brings me peace. I know the route like the back of my hand, so I can relax into the drive. 

It’s been fifteen years that I’ve been taking this route home and I feel like I  notice different things each time. This trip brought brilliant autumn leaves. I love the freedom of leaving before the world wakes up and watching the sun rise. 

Rest stops provide a moment to stop and look around.

Flying might save time, but it doesn’t bring me peace of mind. I figure things out on the road. Sometimes the music blares and a belt out a few tunes and other times I listen to audiobooks or podcasts. It’s time when I must be mindful and pay attention to the road…time when I think about life. 

Arriving at my destination feels like an accomplishment. I left one place and I arrived in another. Seeing the happy faces of my family and getting the hugs…it’s why I travel.
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No one seems to understand why I drive. I get looks of confusion and furrowed brows. Questions like, “How long does it take you?” and “Wouldn’t you rather fly?” greet me each and every trip. The answer is no. I wouldn’t rather fly. I get to drive! Is there traffic? Yup. Construction? Sure. Bad drivers? Certainly. Driving is about the time and the quiet and stopping and looking around in a world that’s so busy. 

Sunday Routines

Today is my 15th  slice for the March Slice of Life Challenge on Two Writing Teachers.


Rebeccalee wrote a beautiful post about the routine of Sundays, so I’m going to write one of my own. (Thanks for the inspiration, Rebeccalee!) 

Sundays have always been an important day in my week. Growing up, Sundays were family days. Church. Sunday dinner at Grammy & Papa’s house. Family. When I moved to Virginia and away from family, Sundays were always hard for me. I spent a lot of time paying attention to that day and making it special.

I’m in a season in my life when Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week. My day starts with church. Greeting friends and listening to uplifting music and listening to an important message inspires me…it’s what I need every week!  Church is followed by a trip to Target or Wegmans. If I go to Wegmans (a huge grocery store that has a FOOD COURT inside it), I usually bring schoolwork or reading or writing and sit upstairs for a few hours before I do my shopping. Sometimes these Sunday afternoons at Wegmans include friends, often they are a time for me to reflect and write or get some work done. If I go to Target, I usually stop and pick up a sub to bring home for lunch.

When I get home, it’s yoga pants, music or Netflix and chores or a nap or time spent playing with Bella. Sundays are for me. I often journal or paint or do something crafty on these afternoons. I like spending the day preparing for the week ahead.

What’s your favorite day of the week? Why?

Journeys are Always Better with Friends

Today is my FIRST slice for the March Slice of Life Challenge on
Two Writing Teachers.

March 1. My world changed eight years ago on March 1st. I lost my Dad. He died months after an aneurism burst in his heart. He had a strong heart…a full heart…a heart that was big enough to show everyone he met love and compassion and acceptance and humor. Dad taught me about strength. He showed me how to work hard. Dad LIVED his life. He and I had long talks about life and school and the world. Dad thought about things. Dad SAW me. Dad loved me!  It’s fitting that the Slice of Life Challenge starts on the anniversary of his death. Dad never walked away from a challenge. I think he would like my writing about him today.

This year, I’ve invited student to slice with me. THIRTY accepted my challenge! Woo Hoo!! I can’t wait to take this journey with them. Long journeys are always better when you aren’t alone. 

Dad lived in New Mexico. I’d visit him during spring break. He would take a couple of days off from work and drive over two hundred miles up to Durango, Colorado to enjoy the hot springs. The best part of that trip was the long drive. We’d talk and talk for hours. Long journeys are better with friends and family. I’m looking forward to taking this trip with you!


Dad reading a book to me.

My Name is Auntie Chelle

In school, you know me as Ms. Haseltine. When I am home with my family, I’m Auntie Chelle.


It’s so much fun being Auntie Chelle! I get to be silly and laugh. I have interesting conversations. I make silly faces.


I play games. I go on adventures! I act as a jungle gym.


Monday night I got to take a car ride and see Christmas lights!

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I was flabbergasted with the amazing lighting displays! After, we stopped at a family favorite, The Pizza Shop, for a cheesy concoction! Mmmm!! While we waited for our food, we practiced our writing…


Jack is writing in my notebook.


“See what I wrote, Auntie Chelle?”


Jillian can write words too!


Here are some of the words that Jack knows already!



DAD: Flash Slice

Warning: This is a sad flash slice of life! I seem to want to write about sad moments in my life for this kind of writing…interesting. I wonder why?

An early morning in fifth grade, Michelle Haseltine is preparing her classroom for the day ahead. A phone call. Dad’s sick. Colorado. Get there…now. How? What about my class? My dog? My life? Friends jump into action. Hours later, she’s holding her dad’s hand in the recovery room, grateful that he’s still here. 


So Many Slices, So Little Time…

I’m finding that as I’m looking for things to write about…more and more things present themselves to me! I’ve started a list of slices I want to write, so I don’t forget.

I love to sleep. I love my comfy bed and my pillows. I love curling up with a book. All my life, I’ve fallen asleep easily. I think my mom would say that I was even a good sleeper as a baby. High school changed that…temporarily!

High school was a time where there was so much living to be done, that I didn’t have any time for sleep. Homework to complete, books to read…ok, I should be honest…I needed to hang out with my friends! We’d stay up late and do all sorts of things that high schoolers do. While I may not have had time to sleep, I still needed sleep, so mornings became a tough time around my house. No one ever had to wake me up before this time in my life.

My bedroom was on the first floor and one morning my dad noticed that it was getting late and I was still in bed. He opened the door and said, “Michelle, you need to get up and get ready for school.” He left quickly. I stayed in bed. He came back again and repeated his request. This time I groaned and rolled over. He warned, “The next time I come back, I won’t be asking.” I mumbled agreement. He said, “Michelle, I mean it. I’ll dump a bucket of water on your head if you don’t get out of bed.” I pulled the covers over my head. (In my defense, I was still sleeping and didn’t believe him.)

A few minutes later, my sister and my mom came into my bedroom. I could hear my sister giggling. I was curious, but still sleepy. Suddenly, the covers where whipped off of me and I felt it. ICE COLD WATER! I screamed! Kate and mom and dad were laughing. I leapt out of bed. You can guess, I never, ever overslept again!

I wrote this today because this morning, my sister sent me a message. Last night she was reading a book to her kids and when she read this page, she thought of me…

bookI don’t know what book this is from, when I find out, I will include the title and author!

My Grandfather

Papa and Jack

Papa and Jack

I am so sorry that I won’t be in school with you on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I am in Massachusetts. My grandfather, my Papa, died a couple of days ago. Now I’m with my family saying goodbye to him. I miss you guys a lot! Please make good choices! Behave! Do what you’re supposed to do! You can email me  if you need anything. I’ll be back in school on Thursday. 

Jillian and Papa

Back to School Night & Happy Birthday

I’m looking forward to meeting the parents tonight at Back to School Night! Just want to say a quick Happy Birthday to my nephew, Jack. He’s FIVE today!

Wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jack! I love you! 

Happy Birthday Grammy

Quick write for Grammy’s birthday:
 Grammy and me
Sometimes I hear the voices talking over one another and the
laughter as we share our stories
Sometimes I see Grammy, standing by the stove,
stirring and talking and listening and being with her family 
Sometimes I still hear the chairs scraping on the linoleum floor as I
drag them from the basement for Sunday dinner  
Sometimes I smell the garlic and Aqua Net hairspray and Listerine mouthwash and I
smile…those smell like family, they smell like home
Sometimes I see the triangular slices of cheese sitting on the shelf
waiting for little hands to grab and smush and gobble it up
Sometimes I taste cucumber salad and meatballs and macaroni and chocolate cake with white frosting…made with love, just for me.
Sometimes I feel Grammy’s hand holding mine with love.
I wonder if Grammy still sees me today and
I wonder how she made the best meals and
I wonder if I’m anything like her and I wonder when I’ll see her again and
I wonder if I close my eyes really tight, maybe…just maybe I can still feel her holding my hand.
I love you!
Happy Birthday Grammy!
(Here’s a link to a short video of Papa talking about Grammy!)
 Papa talking about Grammy