Slice of Life 2013

Slice of Life 2013 Day 31: Easter Surprise

Slice of Life
I’m participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at Two Writing Teachers.

Life is full of surprises, isn’t it?

We were planning on having a quiet Easter at home, just the two of us. Neither of our kids could make it home this year, and we made plans accordingly. Last night after making my orange-carrot-pineapple jello salad and ice-box cake, I settled into my chair and had just dozed off when there was a loud knock at the door. I wasn’t too alarmed as my daughter had told us that a friend of hers was going to be stopping by to pick up a pair of boots. Husband answered the door and guess who was waiting out there on the porch?

You guessed it: both of our kids!

Matt (our oldest) is a fight instructor at Embry Riddle in Florida. He had a flight student with him who had just flown from Daytona Beach to Raleigh to complete a cross-country flight for his instrument rating. They needed to fly a certain distance and they decided (at the last minute) to fly to Raleigh and surprise us. Of course Matt called Katie and convinced her that she needed to come home, too, to complete the surprise. Being the trooper that she is, Katie made the trip (again!) and met up with her big brother and a few other friends.

Within minutes, our formerly empty nest was full once again : )

Today has been a lovely day starting off with a beautiful Easter service at church (sang the first few words of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and was in tears), a delicious meal (good thing I decided to cook!), and some precious time with my little family of four. We are a tight-knit group, we are. Our time together in the past few years is so precious, as it’s rare we are all in the same state at the same time.

I have never been big on surprises, but I am learning to embrace them as gifts.

As I wrap-up this last post for the Slice of Life Challenge, how fitting that it was not what I had planned to write today. But since we are talking about surprises, it does fit in that category. It has been a delightful surprise to be a part of this writing adventure with all of you. Thank you to those who took the time to read my posts and especially those who responded to so many of them. It really means so much to me. This experience has been so much more than I ever expected and I believe has started me down a new path.

Congratulations to all of you slicers who made it to this 31st post!

Thanks again, Stacey and Ruth, for hosting this life-changing event.



Slice of Life 2013 Day 30: Orange-Pineapple-Carrot Jello Salad

Slice of Life

I’m participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at Two Writing Teachers.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I find myself in the midst of preparing a holiday meal for my family (correct that: husband). The kids were not able to be home this weekend, so it looks like it is just the two of us, plus Rosie, of course.

Since it was just going to be us two, I suggested that we go out to eat for Easter dinner. Husband wasn’t feeling it. Thought it “would not be right if we didn’t have our Easter ham” and lo and behold guess what I’m making for dinner tomorrow? You guessed it : ham!

This isn’t surprising as we all have our dearly held holiday traditions. Some are our own, some handed down from family.

Tonight I am making my mom’s orange-pineapple-carrot jello salad, and for dessert her “ice-box cake” which is not a cake but does reside in the “ice-box” (remember when we called it that?).

My mom died this past October, and I find that one of the ways I keep her close to me is by making some of the dishes she loved and looked forward to, especially around the holidays. If it’s Easter, you must make a ham, little red potatoes, fresh asparagus, and orange-pineapple-carrot jello salad (served with the meal, even though husband feels this is actually a dessert). The ice-box cake is a nice addition for dessert (which mom ate at every meal and never had to diet her whole 85 years!).

So, Mom, you will be thrilled to know that your daughter (who you thought didn’t cook enough “real meals”  for her family) is making you proud by serving your favorite Easter meal.

I miss you, Mom.

me and mom


Slice of Life 2013 Day 21: What Makes You Happy?

Slice of Life

I’m participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at Two Writing Teachers.
In my Thursday afternoon email, I received my NY Times weekly update and saw this What Makes You Happy?  It’s a student questionnaire, but I thought I would use it for my slice tonight.
From the article:
The United Nations declared March 20 the first International Day of Happiness, declaring that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.”

What specifically makes you happy? How do you make others happy? If your nation had a Gross National Happiness Index, as the Kingdom of Bhutan does, how happy do you think people would be? Why?

All great questions, right?
I am going to share this with my students, as I would be interested to see their responses. Would they be family, friends, fun or my iPhone, X-box, and texting?
What makes me happy?

For me, I am happiest when my family is happy. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing my children smile and knowing that for them, all is right with the world.
I’m happy when my husband gets a chance to fly his remote control airplane (his “mistress”) on a beautiful, day with a Carolina-blue sky and no wind. His joy is contagious.
I’m happy when I watch my dog, Rosie, wrestle and play with her friends at the dog park. When I watch her play, I am in the moment and I can’t help but capture her sheer joy at the freedom and fun of playing with her friends.
I’m happy when I get together with a good friend to share a meal or a cup of coffee and we have a chance to catch up and really talk. These experiences “fill my cup” like no others. I treasure them.
I’m happy when my students are so engaged in learning that they lose track of time and are shocked when the bell rings (“What? The class is over?! But we were just getting started!”).
I’m happy when I find “that book” that changes a child’s life. Whether it’s the non-reader who becomes a reader or the book that’s read at the right time, it’s the same: life changing.
I’m happy when I spend time writing and I am able to craft a piece that perfectly expresses what I feel with precisely the right words.
I’m happy when I get my daily “slice” written and posted on time. Challenge met.
How do you make others happy?

I think I make others happy by being a good listener. I genuinely care about people and try to be sensitive to their needs. I enjoy being able to give to others and serve them when they are in need.
If your nation had a Gross National Happiness Index, how happy do you think people would be? Why?
Hmmm…that’s an interesting question. My guess is that the United States would probably not rank at the top of the happiness chart. I think it might even be a 60/40 split right now in our country, due to the economy, wars, gas prices, unemployment, stressful jobs, etc. I also think that being a materialistic nation that places such a high emphasis on acquisition of things puts us at greater risk for unhappiness, because if your happiness is based upon how much stuff you have, there is always going to be someone with more stuff than you.

So what about you? What makes you happy?Rosie 5 months


Slice of Life 2013 Day 15: The Best Kind of Slice


I’m participating in the March Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey Shubitz and Ruth Ayres at  Two Writing Teachers.

Okay, I have something to admit.

Ever since I first heard of the “Slice of Life Challenge,” my first thought has been of pizza.

Yes, pizza.

You see, when I hear the word “slice,” my immediate word association is “pizza.”

Why? I don’t know except that I am originally from New Jersey where a “slice” means one thing:  a slice of pizza. But not just any old pizza. We’re talking New York style, thin crust, “foldable” pizza, oozing with cheese and loaded down with toppings of your choice (for me, veggie; for the hubby and daughter, pep).

Heaven on earth.

I decided to share my favorite slice with you, my fellow slicers, so that you could experience (albeit vicariously) the highlight of my Friday night experience:  Cozzi’s pizza night!

Every Friday (with very few exceptions, and you can ask my husband—he will verify (grudgingly) we have pizza night.  After a long week of school, I look forward to a night where I don’t have to cook and I can just relax and enjoy my meal. We have had this ritual for as long as I can remember.

My wonderful husband orders the pie and picks it up on his way home (this adds to the ease of my Friday nights!).

With a cold beer or glass of wine, our Friday night slice is one of the highlights of our week.  

This slice symbolizes the start of our weekend. Anything is possible!

So, in honor of my first Friday night slice, I share with you my very own “slice” of life:



cozzi's box