Friday, December 02, 2011

December 2

Today, I took a picture of some of our family for my December daily photos. We try to meet on Friday mornings with my husband's parents, at Tim Hortons, before school/work. My brother in law usually comes, and recently has been bringing my twelve year old nephew. Our two girls, my husband and I go.

Today is Friday, thank goodness. The week has been long, and I stayed up way too late a few nights this week-my college basketball team played at 9:35pm one night this week and I stayed up for the whole game-It was a great game and my team won, but wow, it was late and I have felt behind on sleep since!

I have only gotten one run in all week. My husband and I went and walked laps around the grocery store (it's a big Meijer grocery store) and after a few laps we got our groceries. It was really nasty weather outside and we can't walk together on the treadmill! :)

We get our tree on Sunday and I'm so excited! :) That always makes it feel really like the Christmas season has arrived. :)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

December

Wow, December, already.
*I didn't have Starbucks today.
*I had tea in the afternoon.
*I didn't run.
*I went to see my youngest daughter's basketball game.
*I have a lot of shopping to do for gifts, still...
*Our Christmas cards came today, so I need to label them and get them out in the mail.
*I only have three pages done in my December daily album, so I need to get going before it's December 4th! :)

Hope your December has started well! :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Update

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving visit to see my family. It all went too fast and I didn't feel like I had long enough time to spend with my grandparents, but it was a great trip, otherwise. We had a delicious feast at my brother and sister in law's house. So many good things to eat! :) We stayed at their house and it was a delight to spend time with my brother, his wife and my two nieces. An absolute joy. We got to hold the baby and I had the pleasure of taking my sister in law, my mom, older niece and our two daughters to see the Muppet Movie. It was a cute movie, but the best part was being together.

Our trip was cut short, however, due to a problem at my husband's work. He tried to help long distance, but was unsuccessful and problems persisted. He had to go in yesterday, even, and worked for 9 hours. He didn't get home until 11:45. Hopefully it is a problem he has fixed and things will run smoothly for a while.

We are back to work today, back to schools. Our oldest is feeling a little stressed due to her school work load right now, and with exams right around the corner. My youngest is getting more excited by the minute for her first basketball game on Tuesday.

My NaBloPoMo fell by the wayside, but I really have enjoyed posting. Maybe I can post all of December... we won't have much going on then, right? ;)

I hope you had a wonderful week and are refreshed-ready for a delightful week ahead!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Friends

I had dinner tonight with two dear friends. They were teachers from the school I worked at the last two years. They are great people to be around. They are smiling and fun. They really care about their students and it was a nice dinner. I enjoy the staff I have, currently, too, but I haven't had as long to build the relationships that I had with these two teachers. I worked with them for two years, and they really took me under their wings. It was also nice to hear how all of my old staff members were doing! I hadn't seen most of them since last June. I miss them all and it was good to hear most are doing well! It was really a bittersweet feeling. I enjoy my job, now, and I feel I've grown in the aspect that I am now a middle school teacher and my style has evolved a bit. My previous staff was like family and I enjoyed all their joys for teaching and each other, too. I hope to find that at my current position, as well. It's hard right now, though, since I'm there only half time. It has caused me to think about the stages of my life thus far and how one stage often prepares you for the next...
I hope the stage you are in, reader, brings you joy and joy to others! :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday

I got quite a few things accomplished this weekend!
Work/To-Do List:

School-I didn't read anything for my own class, but feel in a good place to start that today. I did get a few things organized for the classes I teach, including selecting a chapter book to read to my students, thanks to a librarian whose blog I really enjoy.
Paperwork-I finally completed this giant task! It took quite a while shredding, organizing and replacing, but it is finally done and I am relieved.
Garden/Annual bed-I did not go out in the rain to do these things, but I'm hoping for a nice day (not today, still raining) later in the week!
Birdfeeder Prep-see weather report in garden section. :)
Christmas Cards!-I have the card with pics in it, letter done, but need husband's ok to let me know he likes it before I order them.
Fun:
Running-my daughter's high school has a 5K fun run for a fundraiser -check! Had a great morning. My goal time was around 24 and I ran a 24:09, so I was pleased.
Scrapbook-I worked just a little bit on the kit I had started, but didn't finish it.
Office-just a couple more things to finish in the office (hoping to finish today before I head off to school) and I will breathe a sigh of relief and be able to work in peace! :)

Also: I cleaned house, got caught up on some laundry, started reading my diet book that I mentioned a few posts ago called Small Changes, read my Bible the last three days, changed the inspirational quote on our family chalkboard, wrote a note to a friend, made our gourd turkey's feet since our dog ate them off last year, and paid bills (part of the paperwork on my desk).

All in all, I thought it was a very productive weekend! Hope your weekend was productive, too! Have a great week!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday

Some of Friday's list is complete.
Best parts of my Saturday?
Running the 5K today, part of which was with my oldest daughter, and seeing her smiling with her friends afterward.
Also, some friends over for dinner and games this evening. The little girl we had over during the summer and her dad. We had so much fun! Really glad we get to be part of their lives! :)
My youngest had her first basketball scrimmage today and my husband said it went great, too! :)
Now back to my list! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finally Friday!

I had my first conferences as a middle school teacher last night! Was a nice evening with great staff who care so much about their students!

So much to do in the weekend ahead.
Work/To-Do List:

School-I must start my own class work, as well as continue planning for the students I am teaching.
Paperwork-I am going through files (I still have them in two locations and need to purge to one... the question is what to keep, what will be needed in the future? Something I say I need to organize frequently but haven't taken the steps, yet.)
Garden/Annual bed-I still have some plant removal, cleanup work to do in my garden and annual bed.
Birdfeeder Prep-I need to make some trays like these. I like the ones they have on the site, but I need a few and I can't afford to pay 53 (or more!) dollars each! My birdfeeders are in landscaping and the birds throw the seeds down, growing weeds. I love having the birdfeeders close to the house, but my husband does not like the mess! :) I have a bird bath with a heater that I got for Christmas but never did anything with, because I wasn't sure where I was putting it, and I will be working on that this weekend, too.
Christmas Cards!-need to get those done (since I didn't previously) at least photos uploaded and ordered and labels printed, maybe the letter written, but we'll see...
Fun:
Running-my daughter's high school has a 5K fun run for a fundraiser and she and I will be running in it tomorrow morning
Scrapbook-I am almost done with another mini kit and am considering it as a Christmas gift. I want to finish it, get started on the December Daily album so it's ready to fill in December
Office-finish cleaning and organizing so I can work in it instead of thinking "I need to reorganize so I can use this better" each time I sit down. Very distracting!

I think that's enough. Last time I made a weekend list I didn't complete things, so let's just stick with this length! :) Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another One

Another day got away from me without a post. The end of the posting each day in November. I have missed two days, now.

Tonight I have conferences and then attending a school board meeting. The latest levy in our area didn't pass, so now district wide cuts are being implemented-no sports and no advanced/AP/Honors classes are being mentioned. Having a daughter who is a junior, will be a senior next year, I worry about her senior year and college perceptions. We will go tonight and hope for the best. I have prayed and it is in bigger hands than mine.

I have projects going on in all three of my classes. They are working on making board games with partners to show what they know about the last chapters. I thought it would be fun, but some of my students aren't impressed. Not everything we do can be wrote memorization, sometimes it's learning how to apply the information or to analyze it in a different way.

Thanksgiving is a week away. Time is flying. I have lots of work to do-a long list of things I need to do for myself-an eye appointment, a filling in my tooth replaced (it has come away from the tooth from being in there so long-20 years or so?), a dermatologist appointment... all these things I am putting off. Maybe I will schedule them all next Wednesday...that sounds like a fun day off? ;)

I am still enjoying pinterest. Fun to get those creative juices going. I have gotten the last two kits from scrapscription. I love their kits. It satisfies my need for new, creative scrapbook materials and minibooks, but encourages me to finish something before the next kit comes. I need to order pics and place them in the mini books, but that is something I can do in the car on long car rides to see my family over the holidays, or snow days (we will have snow days, right? ;)) I can't wait to get started on the latest kit-the December daily!! Then I can work on it all through December... just like I blogged all through November... ;)

Hope you are well, Dear Reader, and that the sun is shining where you are-in the sky or in your heart!! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday

It is Tuesday.
It has been cloudy and windy.
I gave tests to two out of three of my classes, and have graded most of them. One class did wonderfully. The other did not do so well. The third class takes their test tomorrow. We'll see which way they fall. :) I felt really good this time about how I had taught all three classes. I feel that it may be my teaching that wasn't successful... however I gave them a very detailed study guide on Friday, asked for any questions yesterday and played a review game yesterday. Most students told me that they didn't have questions but hadn't studied yet... and that was yesterday. To hear that they try to study and remember the entire chapter in 24 hours is a frustrating thing for a teacher! :)
Well, will post longer later. Husband would like to go for a walk. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Missed a day

Well, after posting twelve days in a row, I missed the thirteenth. :) I spent the day at church, with my husband's family for our Thanksgiving dinner since we'll all be in other places on the actual Thanksgiving, and at home grading many papers. I had gotten behind, and my students have tests this week, so I wanted to give their papers back. :) I still have more to do this morning, but wanted to pop on and blog so I don't miss another day! :) So thankful for family time. We were getting ready to pray the other night, we pray as a family each night, and my scrapbook things were out. My daughters and husband began playing with items-punching circles in things, printing labels, slicing paper... it was silly and fun! Just one of those moments that make me smile. :)
I hope you are smiling on this Monday!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day has always been important to me. Primarily due to my wonderful grandfather. He was a WWII veteran. He was in the Navy, the Seabees/C.B.s His primary location was the Philippine Islands. He was on a construction force that would go into the islands and prepare the area for our soldiers to come in. They were instructed, at first, to only fire on the enemy to protect what they built, then they would fight. He saw a lot of combat. His stories he told, when we were kids, were interesting, but I didn't listen as closely as I should-heck, now, I would take notes!! Now that he's been gone for twelve years, now that I'm teaching Social Studies, I miss him even more. I would have loved to have him come talk to my classes. They would have loved listening to him. I miss him a lot.

I have other veterans in my life, family friends, second cousins, a great uncle who died on the beaches of Normandy, and one of my close cousins and her husband who retired from service yesterday, fittingly on Veteran's Day.

I am thankful for those who protect and serve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Late night

Meant to post about Veteran's Day. Taught about it all day. Was very tired tonight. Still stayed up too late watching basketball. Will post tomorrow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't Forget!

Don't forget, friends and bloggers who like to take photos: Friday is (I know, Veteran's Day, save that for another post) 11-11-11. I'm going to take photos at 11:11am on 11-11-11, if I think of it. ;) It would be great fun to scrapbook! :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Bad Habits

Bad habits... don't we all have them?
I find I work on them, but often they come back.
It's like a rollercoaster... up and down, up up, up... and down down down.
My bad habits right now?
*Too much facebook distracting me from things that are important-I have it set so it's one of the few folders that open when I log into my computer
*too much junkfood, evening noshing, which is settling around my middle again.
*not enough running-with no goal race in site, daylight dwindling and schedules getting busy again, I let running slide
*not enough Bible reading-I don't know why I don't do it, since I feel like myself when I do (I feel the same way about running)
*had no starbucks yesterday but only went a day. Husband and I got some to drink while in line to vote. :)
*not enough reading-feeling behind on a lot of reading-personal, online class...

My best habits:
*positive, happy and smiling :)
*working on my schoolwork, trying to be an excellent teacher
*talking about issues with my girls-like voting and the issues on the ballot
*sincerely caring about others (but not always DO-ing something to show them....)
*enjoying my family time-I never wish away time with my husband and my girls-my favorite time is my time with them. :)


Do you have habits you want to keep or change? :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Election Day!

Our school is asking for a new levy. I'm not sure people are going to vote for it. I hope the schools aren't effected like they say they will be if it doesn't pass... Education and educators are really under fire right now. It's frustrating.

We also have 3 state issues on the ballot. I'm always surprised at people who say they aren't voting on things because they don't know enough about the issue... there are so many ways to gather objective information, and it's not like the issue just popped up yesterday and they are asking you to vote today... there is time, sometimes almost a year, to find the information.

I know some people who don't bother voting at all, but then complain about the results... Frustrating.

I don't care for politics and most politicians, which are the typical can't-tell-if-I-can-trust-them type people... but I don't want their job! :) Running a classroom of kids keeps me busy enough, let alone a large group of constituents! :) We are lucky that we are free, that we have the opportunity to vote, however, and I feel like we need to take advantage of it.

Next year at this time we'll be voting for President, again.... and amidst mudslinging ads. hoorayy... ;)

Have a great day!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Finish it Friday-on Saturday check in

Saturday I posted about Friday's "to do" list.
I also forgot to mention that all of our recipes turned out great on Friday night! :)

To the list...
Must Do:
*laundry-aren't totally caught up but made good progress-got the girls to help! :)
*finish housecleaning-some not all (the list isn't looking so good.... ;))
*schoolwork-I have a little grading, a lot of planning and preparation-some but not all
*start my online class-I have begun to read through!
*pick Christmas card photos-no...

Fun:
*watch my favorite sport-or listen to it while I work-love football-check!
*go to my sister-in-law's bag/purse party-check. Got two Christmas gifts for the girls-they were there and picked out what they would like, since we didn't get them new school bags this year, these will work. :)
*go on a 6.6 mile run-no...I got no running in this weekend.
*getting a haircut! -I got my hair chopped! Short short! The girls got to come, too, instead of their "great clips" haircuts, since they were so helpful with getting everything ready for company Friday night.

We went to church and life group on Sunday night, which was nice, and we spent time at my sister in laws on Saturday. I also spent quite a bit of time on American Airlines stuff-remember our lost baggage? We had sent all the pertinent info, talked with them etc. They said they were having all our receipts translated, etc. They got back to us, said they were sorry but we needed to contact the company (that they booked us through...) that lost our bags, so I had to write a new letter, copy more information and assemble the packet to send to France. Fun fun. So that took up quite a bit of time. All in all it was a busy, productive weekend. I just didn't get done everything I had hoped.

Also-first day without Starbucks! :) And I will be off to the dentist soon, too!

I hope you had a productive weekend!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Purchases

I remember when Pampered Chef and Tastefully Simple were all the rage around here. When the girls were small it seemed like I was always going to a party of a friends' for these things. They haven't disappeared, they're just not the latest thing, anymore. Then there was Stampin Up. Over the last year it's been Thirty-One bags/purses. I'm not a big bag/purse person, but I do love the two bags I have for carrying my teaching supplies. My sister in law had a thirty-one party yesterday and it was a nice get together-she had made great food! :) I bought two bags. Our girls had not gotten new school bags this year and had really liked some we saw yesterday. So, Christmas presents were purchased. :) It just got me to thinking about the latest trends in purchase parties and seemed like a good thing to post today before I got back to schoolwork. What purchase parties have you been to, enjoyed?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Finish it Friday-on Saturday

We were having friends over last night so cooking, cleaning, and teaching were on my list! We made a beef roast (seasoning, cream of mushroom soup, can of cola, some garlic and onion in the crockpot for most of the day), Ina's Roasted winter vegetables, this apple waldorf salad, and this cheesecake.

Onto my weekend to do list, my Finish it Friday-on Saturday.

Must Do:
*laundry (seems like we're always behind!)
*finish housecleaning
*schoolwork-I have a little grading, a lot of planning and preparation
*start my online class-they have sent me the information, but I wanted time to sit and dig in without interruption and it hasn't happened yet!
*pick Christmas card photos (choosing from the Italy photos, of course ;)), and plan the list of who I mail them to, as well as print out labels. I know, it's November... but I want to get them printing while I'm working! :)

Fun:
*watch my favorite sport-or listen to it while I work-love football
*go to my sister-in-law's bag/purse party-I love sturdy, pretty bags that I can transport school items in, and this company has a few I'd like. I thought about skipping out on it-see list above-but it will be fun.
*go on a 6.6 mile run-I have a route that has a few hills, but I feel terrific when I finish, so I'm hoping to tackle that this weekend, too.
*getting a haircut! I am in the "I like it a little longer" vs "I always like it short and I want a haircut/change" phase. Torn between them. I'm not sure what I will go with.


I think that's all for today. I hope all was wonderful this week-and its events left you smiling! :)

Friday, November 04, 2011

To Read

I have books to read in a basket on my desk.

*Heaven is for Real-my youngest daughter received it for her thirteenth birthday from a faithful friend and she devoured it. My daughter said it was wonderful and wanted me to read it. Then, when my parents were visiting, my mom said she read it and liked it, too. Then my oldest daughter read it and liked it... now it's my turn. I'm a chapter in and look forward to reading it soon.

*Small Changes, Big Results-my husband and I were deciding on ways to eat healthier. Some friends of ours tried the 17 day diet, but when we started reading it, I would have had to give up bread and grains. I know, 17 days isn't that long, but that's not something I could stick with. I like bread, crackers, and pasta. I know they aren't supposed to be great for you, but in appropriate portions, I shall keep eating them. :) Anyway, we thought this book better suited us and have decided to read it together, just as soon as we finish that bag of tortilla chips in the pantry... ooops. ;)

*Wonderstruck-this book is by the same author who wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which we loved, both the pictures and illustrations, so we were delighted to see this, albeit very long, book!

*101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home-I have skimmed the topics, already, and I'm not even sure our oldest would want to do them in the next year, but it would be fun to try to accomplish them, if she did! :)

* I have the latest Beth Moore book on order, but it won't be in my "to read" basket until May. I look forward to reading it, along with my Bible.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Challenges

I'm trying to blog everyday in November. I have slacked off, again, and want to get myself back to it and NaBloPoMo was a nice push! :) It will be a challenge, with all the school work I have to do, as well as taking a class of my own, to get it completed.

My youngest daughter is enduring basketball tryouts this week, which is a challenge she hasn't encountered before. She made it through the first and second round and one more to go... she is nervous and excited, but doesn't feel her skills are as good as some others. We try to encourage her, we've seen them all play, and we know she is on the same level, but her nerves have her worried. We will continue to pray for her and send her good vibes! :)

A few more challenges I've been thinking of-
*quitting facebook for the rest of the month...
*stopping coffee stops at Starbucks (it has become a daily habit again, and December '10-April '11 I had broken the habit... only to cave in when the "free birthday coffee!" coupons came).
*wine in the evenings... inevitably, I don't just have a glass, I have snacks like potato chips, too!

However, I look at that list and there isn't anything that would make someone sigh in concern-nothing life threatening, just little challenges for me. What sorts of challenges are on your list today?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Kindness

Today I saw someone's post on Facebook that made me unhappy, even though it wasn't to me. It was just unkind. It was one of those posts that, when you read it, you feel yucky, as if their words were an ooze that spread to you. My first thought is to respond, but then I know that's not what I should do. So, I immediately post a "kindness quote". That usually relieves me from the ooze. As I was searching for the perfect quote today, I found these and thought I would share. Again, I hope you experience some kindness this week, more than normal, and share some as well. We have the power to change the world-at least in our own corner, and a great way to do that is to spread kindness. :)

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com


If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. ~Bob Hope


Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up. ~Jesse Jackson


A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. ~Charles H. Spurgeon


It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. ~Author Unknown


Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Blogging my heart

Again, I read Stephanie's post about blogging my heart and what better time to do it than during NaBloPoMo? :) A good post topic, certainly! :)

1. My niece, my brother's family/daughter, along with most of my family members, all live in a different state than we do. We don't get to see them as often as I'd like, with all our busy schedules. I know too well, from seeing our girls growing up so fast, that my 5 year old niece will, too. We've started Skyping and it's been delightful. She said "Aunt Jen, will you read me another story?" last time we were on. I read to her and enjoy the book sharing-I have all the picture books for seasons, for younger children, that I had for classroom teaching... but I'm with middle school, now. I enjoy being able to share them with her.

2. Currently, there is a ladybug in my lamp. I heard a funny noise while I typed. I located the sound and saw the little beetle. It's that time of year.

3. I haven't been running much, letting my sore legs heal. I've only run 2-3 times per week since the half marathon. However, I have enjoyed an evening walk with my husband almost everyday. It has been wonderful. I enjoy his friendship and company on our walks and am thankful that we have a friendship as well as a marriage. :)

4. I really enjoy blogging-even if I am not informing anyone of anything significant, except what is happening in my life, I enjoy the process. I enjoy how it makes me look inward.

5. My parents came down for the weekend, last weekend. I always enjoy their visits. The visits never seem long enough. We probably won't see them again until Thanksgiving. I haven't seen one of my grandmas in far too long. I feel terribly guilty about this. We usually visit her, do lunch, etc, but we went to my family's cottage which is another hour away from her last time.

6. I have already begun to Christmas shop. I'm not anywhere near finishing, but have begun the process-I started at the end of October! Now, let's see if I finish before December 24th... ;)

7. I still worry too much. I pray for God to protect my family, and that is the best we can do. Our oldest went to a friend's party last weekend and I wanted to text her every few minutes. My husband reminded me that she was a great kid with a faithful, moral background, and in two years she will be off at college... Eek! She is kind and smart, but there were going to be a lot of kids there. She came home at 10;45, instead of the just before midnight she was allowed.

8. I haven't been picking up my Bible and digging into the word like I need to. I always feel better when I do. I would love to do a Bible Study at our church, but I just don't have the time in our schedule, right now. I would love to read a book and have it guide me through the Word, and to be able to discuss it with another faithful person. For now, I play "Bible Roulette" and know that God is guiding me to the passages I need to read. Maybe a blog/online Bible Study?

9. I found something Stephanie said very interesting-her number 8. She talked about reading other blogs and feeling inadequate. I read hers and I feel that way, too. She takes care of four kids, she blogs about each of their characteristics, blogs her real, honest feelings, and scrapbooks it, too! I can't get through daily chores, sometimes and I have two older daughters, who could fend for themselves. She is an amazing woman, an example of faith and I appreciate her blog.

10. I still feel overwhelmed by my job sometimes. I know I need to spend a lot of time, energy and brain power into making it what the kids need. I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish it all, let alone to throw my own family into it all. But I'm trying really hard and I felt, today, like the puzzle pieces fit. Hopefully that continues for a long time! :)

That's all for now, I think. I hope you are well, Dear Reader. I hope you experience kindness this week, and find time to share some, too! Many hugs!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Giveaway

There is a giveaway on the Dear Lizzie site. It's a giveaway of adorable items that can be put together for a December Daily album! I really would love to make one! :) You should go enter, too! :)

Will be posting again, soon! :) Hope all is going well!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dogs

I read Kendra's post today and chuckled. It made me think of our two crazy dogs. We have the two dogs, Merlin: the big goofball I chose and Percy: the little, chubby fluffball we inherited. :)
Merlin:
*He cries when his is anywhere other than the room people are in, such as when we have company and put him in his kennel. It sounds as if we have trapped a child in the basement.
*He eats underwear-if we leave our doors open to our rooms and the girls have left dirty clothes out, he shows his anger at our being gone by eating part of the pair of underwear-leaving some for us to see his disdain.
*He has discovered our invisible fence is broken, nope, he isn't stupid... he has wandered a little farther and a little farther... until I found him on the neighbor's patio! Now I must watch every move!
*He has decided in his old age (11 years old) that he doesn't have to follow old rules anymore. Much like an old human curmudgeon, he grumbles at anything he doesn't like and has changed his sleeping arrangement... We never let the dogs upstairs and he has come up more and more often. I find him almost every morning sleeping outside one of our bedroom doors. Every now and again I hear him poke hard at the doors with his nose, hoping for an in to sleep where we are.
*He digs in the trash-bathroom, bedroom or office. He eats what he likes and leaves a mess on the floor of that room.
*He sheds-used to not shed as much, but sheds a lot now. His fur and skin are oily and he smells like old dog.

And still, I love it when he licks my chin to show me he loves me or hides under my desk so he's touching me when it thunders. I know he's loyal and has a heart for me/our family.

Percy:
*Eats anything that hits the ground, including balloons-if a water balloon pops at a party you'd better catch the remnants quick! :) Bits of yarn, clothing, anything.
*Also sheds a lot-always has-enough to cover another dog!
*He barks like a fool-hears a UPS truck (they don't even stop here very often!) and he will bark even after the driver has driven three blocks away.
*He licks his skin until it's red and raw, even with meds. He's older, too, so this and his snorting, full nose has too. We have to hide Benadryl in cheese for him to eat sometimes for our ten year old dog.
*He drags his bottom on the only rug we have in the downstairs, on the hardwood floors.
*When Merlin gets ill/sick to his stomach, he heads for the door, to be ill outside. Percy, he heads for the only rug downstairs...

Percy has come a long way. When we got him he wouldn't even look at me. He would show love to everyone else in our household, but he disliked me, it was like I took my sister in law's place as his mom and he didn't like me. Even with all his flaws, I'm so happy he has become one of my boys. When I get home he wiggles and wags past other family to get to me first, to tell "Mom" hi.

Both dogs are pretty cute and very loyal. They want to protect our family and home, and to show us love. I'm lucky. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

1/2 marathon 2011

My second half marathon was yesterday. It was chilly and the wind picked up as we waited for the start. I was standing in corral C with 17,000 total other people. My 1/2 marathon last year was 1:54:34. This year I set my goal a little higher, my time a little faster. I wanted 1:50. I took off too fast. I was surrounded by people and filled with the desire to pass them all. What I didn't remember was that my time mattered more to me than beating these people I didn't know. :) My first splits were all faster than goal and I was riding high! Until... right calf cramped at mile ten. I had to stop and stretch while my brain yelled at me, "See, this is why we pace ourselves!" I only stretched briefly, two different times. My neighbor came up and cheered me on as he passed me on his way to a full marathon. I saw my family three different times-all at spots where I really needed the lift. So, helpful to have people rooting you on! One of my students was there cheering on her mother, and cheered for me, too. :) When I hit the cramp/mile ten I didn't think I was going to make it. I felt my time goal slipping away. I looked down at my arm where I had written an inspiring quote I had gotten from a fellow runner: "I don't quit when I'm tired, I quit when I'm done". I pushed on, and cruised into the last mile on target, but just. I worked the last hill, every step aching, and then downhill to the finish. I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish. I looked down and tears sprang to my eyes as I read 1:50:23. :)) I am still pretty happy, even if my body is not... ;)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Ridiculous

I read this article and was offended. I found it ridiculous. The article states that women's record times will be erased from record books if they ran with male paces/male runners nearby. As if women are running fast because they were running with men. Ridiculous. If that were the case I could run near men in all my races and be so much faster.... not the case. These women have their own talent, their own hard work they put in. Argh! I find this so frustrating and extremely sexist!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Usual

Things are going well here.

Running is going great-did a 12 miler alone last weekend and was a tiny bit faster than race pace, so I am pretty sure I can do 13. :) I'm sore and tired, but now it's time for a taper, coming back on miles until the race day Oct. 16.

Girls are wonderful-oldest is running and working hard on school subjects and youngest is playing soccer and working hard in school. Both are great girls and I feel very blessed to be their mom! Thursday our youngest turns 13-two teenage girls in our house! :)

Grandpa is doing well, probably doing more than he should but this is not a surprise to anyone in my family. ;)

Weather has turned cold, here, and my garden has seen its last. I pulled all the dying plants out but have left one plant in: the orange bell pepper. We didn't get any peppers from it all season, and this week it has 10-12 small green nubs about the size of the top of my thumb. I'm not sure they'll have time to ripen, but maybe... I think it was shielded by tomato plants and once I removed them it got the sun it needed.

The job is going well. I hope it continues. I am working on revising my vision for how things are going/should go. The more I teach middle school, the more I see my strategies evolving. I just hope they are learning! :)

I haven't read anything lately other than the social studies I am reading to plan for the classes. I haven't scrapbooked, crafted or knitted...

My sister in law got married two weeks ago-a lovely simple wedding, my oldest daughter had high school homecoming last weekend and looked lovely in her purple dress. She just went with friends and it was a nice evening for her.

My mother in law turns 60 in a couple weeks so we are conversing with the family as to what to plan for her special birthday... she is adamant that there be no surprise party, so we won't be doing that! :)

I hope all is well with you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grandpa

Grandpa is doing great! Long story-hope to make it shorter, here-over the weekend Grandpa's tests revealed more involved heart issues than originally expected. He had a leaky valve, weak heart muscle, one 90% blockage and two that were 75-80%. His kidneys weren't doing great, either. He had a heartbeat issue, also. So, I headed there on Sunday, leaving my family at home, which was odd in itself. I'm the parent who is usually home with them. :) Gramp went in for a 1-1 1/2 hr procedure (which ended up lasting 2 1/2 hours) and he had two stints placed, one angioplasty (a balloon through the blockage), and his heart stopped and restarted. The doctor thinks the kidney and heart valve issues are due to the heart working so hard to get blood through the blocked places. He is doing well. He got to go home yesterday, already! I hope he doesn't overdo it! He doesn't like to keep still. Although, he is ready to be in his own bed/lounge chair. He said the hospital wasn't a place to get any rest! :) Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday?

Wow, it's Friday? :)

The week has flown by. I gave two tests today, one in seventh grade and one in eighth grade and I give another on Tuesday to the sixth graders. That means grading for me, and stress for the students. I think testing still is stressful to me, the teacher, also, because I want the kids to have understood everything. I want to know that I have taught them in a variety of ways and that they understand-that is the essence of what is being assessed-have I taught it to them well and have they retained it. Time will tell.

Then the question becomes, if they aren't successful, did they not study the guide I gave them or did I not teach them thoroughly enough?

Running was good these last few days. I feel mentally ready for another try at eleven tomorrow. Hoping for good things. :)

My oldest has a cross country meet, my youngest has a soccer game, my husband will be assistant coaching tomorrow, also. Then we have a dinner out for my sister in law and her fiancee-a "bachelor/ette" get together, but just a nice dinner out.

We got new neighbors yesterday. Such a strange feeling. We moved in here May 2000 and they were here before that. We had broken ground on our home (the building company did ;)) in Nov. 1999. We've been friends with them since we moved in. Yesterday they moved into another home and new neighbors moved in. They are nice people, too. Just a strange thing...especially for someone who doesn't like change. :) Too much this year! :)

As I type, I worry and pray a bit for my Grandpa. He is having a heart catheterization done to check on his heart. He's a tall, lean, healthy man who likes to wander around his acreage or bike over to my brother's nearby home. He had some issues yesterday and now they're checking things out. If you pray, please add him, if not, good vibes are welcome. He's a good kind man who enjoys working hard. He loves to go to a local restaurant and visit with everyone. He never sits at his own table for long. :)

Tonight we have a birthday party for one of my nephews and one of my nieces. Should be a fun evening!

Sunday we are going to a college fair at a local college, where they host several other colleges and we can go begin to gather info for our high school junior. Yikes! :)

Hope your weekend is full of smiles!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On My Heart

Saw this post on Stephanie Howell's blog and this post on Ali Edward's blog. Both REAL, about real things in life. I appreciate that.

Today, on my heart:
1. Every time I hear sirens while my girls are away from me, I pray that it isn't for them. I know it's silly, but I worry when I think of them. I can get so caught up in the worry. I am a make-yourself-sick-worrier. I know God calls me not to, He calls me to give it to Him... and sometimes I do... and sometimes I take it back and worry some more.

2. I am feeling behind and almost overwhelmed with this job. I tell people I'm treading water, not drowning but not yet swimming. Many teacher friends say that is the whole first year... scary. I want to be a smooth, confident teacher, and I'm still learning all the ropes. What if I'm failing these kids? I hope not and I'm working hard at teaching them the material and letting them know I care... but... is it enough?

3. I took three days off of running. Too close to the half marathon to do that. I had been so sore, so worn out, worn down, that I needed the break. I still have a month to go. Did ten miles last week and felt like... well, poo. My legs were heavy, my breathing was labored... I worried that I couldn't get over 10. We'll try 11 this week. Cool mornings like we have today will help.

4. I feel bad when I complain like number three. There are people with much worse situations...

5. I'm so proud of my girls right now. My oldest is taking all AP/Honors courses right now and working really hard. She's doing such a good job, even though it requires a lot of time and effort. My youngest is a hard working, smart girl, too, with good grades. We saw another family at her back to school night a couple weeks ago and they said "Your daughter has such a heart for the Lord! We are so glad she's friends with our daughter!" YAY! :) What a nice feeling. Any kind of faith you believe, it's nice to know, that when she's not with us, she displays good character, morals and positive behavior!! :)) Always good for the heart to hear. :)

6. I'm tired. I'm worn out, and my house is a mess. And I'm only at school half day. No, most days I'm not blogging in the morning hours. :) I take my youngest to school, grab a coffee and go home to grade, plan and organize. I should be ahead, and cleaning house, cooking, etc. Hoping to get to that point.


I hope your heart is full of happiness, today, and the cleaning fairy has visited your house. :) Show your heart today, either on your blog or to a friend. Don't forget to let those people who are important to you know in an outward, positive way, today! :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Apologies

Apologies for the infrequent nature of my posting, and for how short this post will be.
I will get back to a more regular basis, but for now I'm working at my NEW JOB! :)
Long story short (through a series of interesting moments) I applied for a new experience.
I had applied for a middle school position and got the job. I am now a middle school social studies teacher!
I'm excited, overwhelmed (I got the job on a Tuesday afternoon, spent the weekend throwing a shower for my sis in law, and started teaching on the next Wednesday morning-a week later!), and nervous... I am ready for this new challenge and am crossing fingers and toes that I do a good job.
Will post more later. Hope you are well, reader!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sinful Recipe

We had a cookout for my husband's company two weeks ago. I decided to try a new recipe, for which I had seen the picture on www.pinterest.com. While I was cooking it, I posted a link to it on facebook. It turned out to be delicious, and I even used the wrong size brownie mix. Anyway, it was funny to see people from the party posting the recipe on facebook, also. Funny to see something travel or spread. :) Here's the delicious sugar overload! :) It's called Ultimate chocolate chip cookie n oreo fudge brownie bar!
http://www.kevinandamanda.com/whatsnew/new-recipes/ultimate-chocolate-chip-cookie-n-oreo-fudge-brownie-bar.html#ixzz1TDK6oKBH

Monday, July 25, 2011

Catching Up

Hello! Today, I wanted to list some tasks I have completed that were on my summer (year long? ;)) to-do list:
*Cleaned out all the laundry room cupboards. They had become a catch all during the school year.
*Worked on my garden so far this summer. My goal was to plant foods we regularly ate to cut costs and provide my family with pesticide-free foods. I have done that. We have had leaf lettuce like crazy-to the chagrin of my youngest daughter. ;) She eats it, but lets me know she's not in the mood for it "again". We have had zucchini, green beans, peas and best of all-BASIL/pesto! :) YUM! My daughter used this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_26396_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html and I couldn't stop eating it! :)
*I have been running almost daily, except for our Italy trip since my running shoes were in my lost baggage. I have taken off a couple little pounds. :)
*I have been reading more. Today I start a book that we are reading as a church life group called "Radical" by David Platt. Supposed to really make us take stock in our faith lives.
*I have been talking to colleges about beginning my masters degree, although I'm not sure where my future will lead me.
*I have tried new craft projects-expanded my idea of "creating". I made my second "creation" in 4 days. :) Thank you, Pinterest. :) I've encouraged more creativity in my girls too, who have been writing and creating more, too! :)
I think that's all for now. :) Below are pics of my two latest craft attempts! :) I recently posted, but will post again. I got the original ideas here and here. Let it be known that they can sell their wonderful crayon art because it is beautiful! Mine... well, it's "art". What's that saying about beauty in the eye of the beholder? ;)


Have a fabulous week! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pinterest

I, my friends, have discovered a new time-waster, I mean learning tool. ;)
It is www.pinterest.com "Pinterest is a place to catalog the things you love, Pin anything that catches your eye" is what they say about themselves. Previously, here, I mentioned I'd like to "create" or craft more. So, I saw this art piece on Pinterest, pinned it, thought it over and the girls and I created our own version: http://www.cmybacon.com/2011/07/melted-crayon-art/
It is not nearly as neat or beautiful as this artist's, but it was my first try and my daughters enjoyed creating them.

This week's art piece is this "painted wall art for non-artists"
http://twogirlsbeingcrafty.blogspot.com/2011/02/painted-wall-art-for-non-artists.html

And maybe a doily lamp! :) http://www.moredesignplease.com/moredesignplease/2011/3/4/diy-doily-lamp.html

I'm also planning my sister in law's wedding shower and have found lovely ideas like these (she is having mason jars as part of her reception)
http://emmalinebride.com/handmade-wedding/mason-jar-centerpieces-floating-candles/
I'm going ot make invitations to the shower like these http://ohsobeautifulpaper.com/2011/02/rustic-pink-burlap-wedding-invitations/
a possible food idea http://www.ohparty.net/party-recipes-gourmet-smores-table.php with marshmallows the colors of the wedding
and flowers on the tables like this with flowers the color of her wedding http://pinterest.com/pin/71169969/

But, you type something in, you look at the images/articles, you "pin" them and wow, the time flies! :)

I hope you are well and your happy time is passing slowly, while your sad moments are fleeting.
Hope your week starts off wonderfully!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Books

On our trip to Italy I took four books:
Rick Steve's Italy 2010
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Mile Markers...Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong
In The Company of Others (Father Tim series #2) by Jan Karon

I read the Jan Karon book completely and a few pages in each of the others. I thought I would read more, on the trains and planes, but I was stressing out about delayed flights, where everyone was sitting... will this re-started plane make it to its destination? I did some sudoku and fill in puzzles as we took off and landed and read very little. I also listened to the Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, which we had bought on cd to listen to, and I downloaded to my ipod. My spare time in cities was spent trying to locate our baggage for the first few cities, and then taking pictures, which I dearly love. I read a lot more in Rome at our apartment in our nap/downtime. I finished the Jan Karon book.

I headed back to the library today with the girls, my reading appetite whetted, again. :) I picked up one teen/youth fiction chapter book: The Visconti House by Elisbeth Edgar about a girl who lives in Australia in an old house once owned by an Italian man. It's good so far.

I picked up one other from the juvenile fiction section: The steps Across the Water by Adam Gopnik The cover and cover blurb sound different, in an interesting way.
I have a nonfiction book I wanted to read before we left but got caught up in packing (fruitless effort? ;)) and am anxious to read it. It is On the Road with Francis of Assisi, since I read some about him before our trip and as we wandered, following his steps.
I grabbed a book in the "just returned new adult book" section, mostly because it made me think of my husband and his puns and goofy jokes: The Pun Also Rises by John Pollack
I had enjoyed some Stuff You Missed In History Class podcasts about the Medici family and then we heard a vast amount about them while in Italy. So, I picked up one nonfiction book about them.
The nonfiction book is Murder of a Medici Princess One more fiction book, linked to Italy, is Signora Da Vinci

Will I finish them? Even start them? It remains to be seen. Although, I haven't been called about any more pending classroom teaching jobs... I got down to the last two candidates in two Christian School jobs, but my downfall was that the other candidate "had experience" of their own classroom and I did not. Frustrating. I'm thinking of becoming a librarian. :) Hope you are well, Dear Reader.

Update: Finished The Visconti House on 7/21/2011 Good read. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Letters

I've often stated how much I like to write and receive letters. Yesterday I began the challenging task of a letter I did not enjoy. I was writing a letter to American Airlines after our unpleasant experience flying to and from Italy. Yes, all 8 bags were lost, but it was more than that. We came across three planes that didn't work properly-thankfully we arrived home in one piece! :) We encountered rude people, when the situations we were put in weren't our fault. Our flight to Italy was supposed to take 12-14 hours and it took over 24. Our flight home was supposed to take 12-14 hours and it took over 48... Among other issues. So, I began the letter, requesting compensation, etc. Not fun, but necessary.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer To-Do List

At the beginning of the summer we made a list of things we wanted to do over the summer. We have accomplished some, like number 8 ;) and others hopefully will be finished in the next month before the girls start school. They start earlier this year, starting 11th and 7th grades a month from yesterday.

1. Visits to the two local pools
2. Library visits/reading program (check)
3. Local metro park that is special to our family (check)
4. Zoo (check)
5. eat outside at Sonic {this is a restaurant that has drive-up, like the old A&W restaurants}
6. Kids cooking/cooking as a family (we've done this once, I'm hoping much more before school...)
7. Get ice cream from the ice cream truck {this one might not be accomplished. We used to have a truck that stopped almost every summer night, but it hasn't been by at all this summer... maybe gelatto at every stop in Italy made up for it? ;))
8. Italy Trip!! (check :)) Next we need to make sure it's all documented and scrapbooked before it's forgotten!
9. New local taco restaurant, as well as two other dinner spots {all three are within walking distance and we have walked to 2/3}
10. Camps for girls {our youngest has done basketball and our oldest is going to her cross country camp early August}
11. Write letters to family and friends
12. cookout for my husband's company {on the calendar for this weekend}
13. Family basketball/knockout tournament {a game where you try to score before the person in front of you in line, it's fun! :)}
14. Church lifegroup cookout at our house (check, the weekend before we left)
15. Jeni's ice cream trip {Jeni's is ice cream made with local ingredients-very yummy, still need to make the trip...}
16. Sleepovers {each girl has a friend/two over, family-just us four in the basement, and the girls have their local cousins over}
17. Art museum {Although the girls said they just had two weeks of "art" experience... that may have to wait until right before school starts ;)}
18. Topiary Park {There is a local park full of unique topiaries, and we've never been there}
19. Youngest daughter wanted to: practice basketball, soccer, sew and write, begin stories. She has completed all.
20. Camping in our camper {We still need to pick some dates... our calender is getting more full as I type this list! :)}
21. Relax, sleep in, stay up late (check)
22. Eat outside (check)
23. Movie nights (we saw X-Men First Class right after school was out and we hope to see Harry Potter tonight)
24. My goals: ride my bike more-I have, run-I have/ran 6 on Saturday/am training for the half-marathon, read-I have including finishing the latest Jan Karon book while on our trip, work more with camera-of course I did that on our trip, and garden-I have gardened and we are getting lettuce, green beans, zucchini, and strawberries, too! So, all of these are (check)
25. Sit on our new front porch and listen to the rain (check)
26. Local Farmer's Market
27. Bike to Farmer's Market and Library
28. Create a place to capture gratitude, and get back to doing it regularly
29. Enjoy homemade ice cream {hmmm, my list is going to make me fat! ;)}
30. Watch less T.V., unplug from electronics (check-it helped that tv for the last two weeks has been in Italian ;))
31. Walk around our local uptown, maybe attend their monthly evening activities, it's a nice town, but we haven't been up to it much lately.
32. Hike (6 local metroparks and dams)
33. Water balloon fight
34. Sprinkler fun
35. Bubbles {I have always loved bubbles :)}
36. Look at the stars, search for constellations
37. Family game night(s) {My youngest daughter and I love to play games, but my husband and older daughter have to be in the mood ;)}
38. Have a tea party/picnic day
39. Girls movie evening with my sis in law (check, we went to see Midnight in Paris, got our nails done and had dinner out-was a very fun evening!)
40. Go on walks: with or without dogs, after dark, evening or in the rain

Looks like less than half have been "checked off" my list. Lots to do in the month ahead! :) What has been on your list for this summer?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Home!


After two weeks, we have returned home. Italy was beautiful! Here is a recap... The above photo is our daily breakfast while at a bed and breakfast in Florence, about mid way through our trip.
We started our journey as a family of eight. My husband and myself, our two daughters, my mother-in-law and father-in-law, my sister-in-law and her fiancee. We took flights from the US to Venice... we had some flight issues, including missing a connecting flight due to "heat sensor issues" in the plan from Chicago, causing a layover in Helsinki, and an hour and a half on the tarmac. After said flight issues (more than I listed here), we arrived in Venice, but without all 8 of our checked bags... they were "lost". So, bagless, we headed to Venice for two nights. The hotel was in a less busy area of the town and was very nice. We took a tour that had us walking around, hearing the history in the morning, a break for us to find lunch and then heading back for a boat tour in the evening.
Next, we headed on to Vernazza, one of the Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre means 5 towns, and Vernazza was the one we stayed in. One day we went to the Northern most town and hiked back to Vernazza. The hike was 3K and took us about 2 1/2 hours-it was on the side of the cliff, sometimes with no railing, just a drop off. It was scary, invigorating and a joy for the eyes. Beautiful sights, wonderful food and wine and swims in the ocean. We still didn't receive our bags, so we bought swimsuits, sunscreen and a few necessities.
The next day we all traversed on to Florence, another beautiful, historically significant town. Florence was more busy than the first two towns, quite a change. On our second day there we took a tour which bussed us first to Sienna, then on to an organic farm that showed us around their family farm, served us a delightful lunch and wines all made there except cheese. Delicious! After lunch, we boarded the bus and headed to San Gimignano, the city of towers, and after that we went to Pisa. Yes, we took the silly photos holding up the leaning towers. ;) We returned to our hotel to find that our bags had still not arrived.
We called and told the airport to send our bags home, when they had been found. We were going on to Assisi, my parent-in-laws were heading on to Rome and my sis-in-law and her beau were heading to the Amalfi Coast. Too much trouble to try to get the right bags to the right people in three spots.
We four went to Assisi and followed in St Francis and St Clare's footsteps. Amazing, simply beautiful, the religious sentiment and the town, too. Not nearly as touristy as Florence and peaceful. It was warm, but it had a wonderful breeze. It was nice for us to share that time just us four.
The next morning the four of us got on a train and headed to Rome, where we were all meeting back up for the remaining last three days. Amazing ruins everywhere you looked! At this point I was nearly on information overload, seeing the statue of David in Florence, as well as many other historical artworks, then Sistine Chapel and Vatican City in Rome, the Coliseum, so much to take in, so much to learn or relearn... a once in a lifetime family trip, for sure!
Then, we had more flight issues, and learned from a neighbor that only 6/8 bags had arrived at home. A missed connection (our flight from Rome to Madrid was held up to wait for a late family-thirty minutes late, which put us eleventh in line to take off...) you guessed it, missing our flight from Madrid to JFK. We had gone through security and all eight of us ran through the airport to make it with a minute to spare, so we thought...The plane was still at the gate in Madrid but they told us, even though we had one minute to gate closing time, we couldn't get on. :( The airline wouldn't check for another flight, just told us we were scheduled for the same time... the next day. A total of thirteen people missed that flight... The airline put us up in a nearby hotel, with three free meals. We didn't go venture out, knowing we'd have to spend more money, when we could have free meals at our hotel. It had internet and a nice pool, which made it bearable. :) The weather was beautiful that evening!
The next day we hopped onto our flight and then sat in JFK for our four hour layover... then our plane from JFK to our home airport wouldn't start, so we sat on the tarmac some more and they came and jumpstarted our plane... always makes the passenger feel safe. ;) But, we made it around 11 pm, exhausted and ready to sleep in our own beds. :) Another bag came while we were in Madrid, but my husband's was still missing when arrived home. It came on Friday, twelve hours after we had been home. No luggage for two weeks... We had packed too much, probably, and were very thankful not to have to lug them uphill to some hard-to-reach hotels, but it was frustrating, also.
I have uploaded the (about) 1500 pictures from my camera, as well as our girls' cameras. I need to weed them out, still, get rid of duplicates, etc, but that will come later this week. I have been catching up on emails and reading blogs, as well as doing the small bit of laundry we had to do. Another bonus of losing luggage? ;)
Thank you for making it all the way through this post! :) I will be posting more, and more regularly, now that hte preparation for international travel and the actual trip are over. :) Hugs to you, dear reader! :)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Summer Break

Summer Break has begun for me, today being my first day. The girls are on their second day, ending a day earlier than me. I have spent the day sleeping in a bit, and then napping a bit. This is not because I have had an exhausting year or anything... but my third antibiotic-requiring-illness has struck. I have had been worn down and tired, but was determined to fight whatever it was that was ailing me. Then, over the last two days, my lymph node swelled and my tonsil became "gigantic", in the doctor's words. I was told that "even if the strep test comes back negative, you need antibiotics". So, I am and I am letting my body rest and recuperate. We are going to have a lazy (read healing, for me) day or two around here and next week begin to tackle summer to-do lists. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sing anyway...

Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway. ~Emory Austin

Mind is everything. Muscle - pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind. ~Paavo Nurmi

Wanted to share two more quotes I liked today.

I've been working on my rubber muscles, ran three days, today being a rest day. Feeling pretty good about it. Was fun to see my blog friends enjoying the prayer that I find so meaningful. A prayer I need each day, for sure! :)

Can't believe only 10-11 days of school left. It has gone so fast!

Garden was beaten down by the rain/storms the last 24 hours, but will perk up with some sun, hopefully. Deer/rabbit fence needs to go up tomorrow.

I hope you are well. Dear Reader

Thursday, May 19, 2011

St Francis of Assisi prayer

I love this-in fact, my family loves this prayer.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I would love to be that type of person...

There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go. ~Frederick Faber

I would like the above quote to be what people say about me. I want to find joy everywhere and leave it behind me when I go. Today I didn't do that.
I was not "positively" mom when I came home and snapped at one daughter for not watering the obviously thirsty dogs and the other for asking to attend a far away track meet on Saturday to watch the remnants of her team compete. I told my husband the beef stew he had prepared this morning smelled "interesting" instead of thanking him for making the meal before he headed off to work where he provides for us. I felt so grumpy and tired, and it showed.
The funny thing is that I am less patient with my family, the ones I love most. Those people I would be an empty shell without.
I try hugs, smiles and cheer to encourage those that aren't smiling, outside of my home. I don't do nearly enough of that in my home. I consider all attitudes contagious. I want to leave people better off than when I found them, to share the Light. That should go for my family as well. I need to let them know how much they bring me smiles, cheer and happiness.
I often think of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" and how George Bailey, in wishing he were dead or trying to kill himself, has no idea how many lives he had touched in a positive way until Clarence, his guardian angel, shows him. I want to be positively touching lives-so many that I don't even realize how many until God shows me... I've definitely got work to do! :) I hope you have positive people and light in your lives today, and always, Dear Reader.

Monday, May 16, 2011

48 Hour Book Challenge

Thought this was a great idea! Not sure if family commitments will allow that weekend, but am willing to think it over. My two daughters will love this, I'm sure, especially if it gets them out of their weekend chores! :) I do have a lot of things I'd like to read... How about you? Are you up for a 48hour reading challenge??

Also, Molly, I have had tea today and am feeling better after tea and rest! :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday

Today my husband worked (and worked, and worked...) on that dirt pile, spreading it out around the yard. He should sleep wonderfully tonight... and complain of a backache the rest of the week! :) I tried to help a little but I hadn't slept all night last night, so I felt the illness settle in. My husband chased me back inside. I took a bath this evening in my favorite I-have-a-cold remedy: Then, my husband made this "Max and Erma's Tortilla Soup" recipe. Delicious! Not exactly like the restaurant's recipe, but wonderful! Helped clear out my head... let me say it's not good for you, but sure tastes good on a cool, rainy evening! :) We missed church and life group this evening which floods me with guilt, but my husband kept reminding me that I was sick! He said no need to share germs-that's how I got them. :)

Other than that, not a lot to report-I haven't run, read, paid bills, organized or done laundry this weekend. I have done a lot of blowing my nose, coughing, checking on the husband's progress, whispering since I've lost my voice again, drinking water/sprite/juice, and napping. I hope your week starts off wonderfully and you stay healthy this week! :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dirt pile



Since having our porch put onto the front of our house, we have been in need of yardwork and landscaping. We have killed the grass that is left (read: weeds), got a load of topsoil, since our home was built in a new subdivision (at the time) they left very little dirt, and the grass hasn't grown well, at all. Anyway, we got a load of topsoil, and today my husband used a rototiller and turned up all the existing dirt/dead grass. It was quite an undertaking! He also turned up my garden's soil and I planted vegetables today! Now it is raining... good for my veggies, but not the mud yard! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

20 photos in 2 minutes

Becky Higgins' post a few days ago talked about "real life: home office". I know I love to organize my home office, but cannot always control the clutter/paper mess as it enters the room. She posted that we should take 20 photos or so, in 2 minutes. 20 photos took me closer to three minutes, but I captured photos I liked.

Here is the shelf where I keep all my school files, information I have already documented, copies of timecards, etc.


Colorful thread, to hand sew or sewing machine, I just like how the colors look


Inspirational items taped to the door: names of God/Jesus through the Bible inserted into www.wordle.net and a quote from a dear friend: "Worry often gives small things a big shadow.-Swedish Proverb"


The shelf above my desk with scrapbook magazines, journals, books to finish reading and my two favorite willow tree angels-well my only two. :)


This is where I sit-my chair and mac


My mom/parents got me these two containers-the big basket holds papers, embellishments, in plastic sleeves and the container with the green lid has hanging file folders that hold sets of matching papers and embellishments.




My scrapbook table with an exercise ball to sit on while I work, if I want. :)


Project Life binder (above) and items to go in it (below)



Basket of yarn... I always love the idea of knitting, but I don't get very far and I only know how to "knit" not pearl, etc. But the yarn is pretty... :)



My Sam and Sara box. This is important to me because it holds memories of the two babies we lost. It has things like our ultrasound pictures of them, pictures of our girls painting the nursery with Dad, and condolence cards sent to us.


Messy desk

This picture I loved, bought from an artist on etsy.com and then, when decided on how to redo this bedroom into my office, I used it as my inspiration.



This is a picture of an Australian beach. A dear friend took it. I printed it out on canvas to hang in my laundry room, to invision I was on the beach not in doing laundry, but loved how it looked in here. :)

Inspiration bulletin board



Love this, can't wait to clip up other inspirational things or things I'm working on


my board of embellishments above my scrapbook table


My dog, who isn't supposed to be upstairs, sneaks up while I am working and "protects" (naps ;)) in my doorway.


My mom and dad got me this willow tree angel. I love her. Her tag says "Close to me"-even when we're far apart, you're still close to me/my heart. Isn't that sweet? I love her-my angel and my mom :)).


This angel-the angel of good health-is another of my favorites. My husband and daughters got her for me as a good luck gift before my first marathon in 2005.


There you have it, twenty photos into my office. What does your work spot look like? :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quotes

This week my status updates in facebook have been positive quotes. I thought I'd share a few of them:

"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo

"Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?" ~Dennis and Wendy Mannering

If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want. ~Oscar Wilde

I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet. ~Ancient Persian Saying

Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day. ~Author Unknown

There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate. ~Robert Brault

Have loved this quote since the first moment I read it. "A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." ~Roald Dahl

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. ~Francesca Reigler

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit

Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life's Little Instruction Book

Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. ~Bill Meyer

What's been extra nice is that people are thanking me for doing so, that they have enjoyed them, as well. One friend who is a teacher said she shared one with her students who wrote them in her journal and said she'd like to hear one everyday. :)) You never know how you'll positively affect a life. :)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Another Day

Hello! :) I am sitting here, looking at the date, and wondering where the school year has gone! It has flown by! I have enjoyed my job, and the staff and students tremendously. I am still hoping for a classroom of my own, however. I have resumes and applications sent to quite a few places. Wondering where God will put me next fall! :)

My achilles felt a little better yesterday so I ran with my oldest daughter. It was sore, but I had a nice run, nonetheless. However, today when I went out, I only made it about five minutes. I'm wondering if it's dress shoes that I wear to work? Anyway, the pain was excruciating today, so that made me sad. I'm hoping to start the marathon training at the end of this month or beginning of next...

I finished a project-yes, scrapbooking!-this past weekend. I had posted a while back about the albums I had made for the grandparents, and I had made one for my mom's birthday/mother's day, too. From those, I had extra pictures-I ordered too many! So, I made a little 6 x 6, 22 page album with patterned paper and embellishments that matched, glued onto 6 x 6 squares I had cut out from cardboard. Then, I punched two holes in each and tied them together with ribbon. I was pleased with the 1 1/2 hours of effort turning out so nice! :)

I will end today on that note. Look tomorrow for quotes! :) Hope you are well, dear reader, and enjoying sunshine-at least warming your heart. :)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

So Behind

Just got home from a trip to Indiana. Will post more about that later...

Here is the May photo scavenger hunt on Postcards from the PP. I didn't do a very good job with April's list, but am hoping to do better with May. :)

I have completed many organization tasks, see previous posts, but not all of them.

I am taking a little break from running-soreness in my achilles tendon area. Don't want it to turn into something worse... wondering if it's from my dress shoes, need of new running shoes, breaking in the vibrams... not sure.

Had a wonderful Easter/birthday weekend! Saw Mary Poppins on stage and it was Wonderful! :))

That's all for tonight! More details tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

April 5 2011

Paperwork organization, done. I had worked on this not too long ago. Got some bills later today that will need to be taken care of tomorrow. Long evening at a snowy track meet. :) Our oldest daughter did really well, running a 6:17 mile. :) Feel blessed to be able to cheer her on, and know that she is such a great person, too! :)

Monday, April 04, 2011

April 4 2011

I have done the organization task for today-bathroom cabinets. I did our powder room cupboard, my bathroom cupboard and our medicine cabinet. I had done it over Christmas break or Thanksgiving break, I think, so it wasn't too bad but still needed tidying.

Very rainy day here, sometimes with terrible downpours, and our backyard looks as if my husband and I need to begin on that ark! :) I hope you are well and dry. :)

New Recipes

I mentioned in a previous post that we'd tried some new recipes last week. We liked most of them so I thought I'd share:

This one is from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, which is a wonderful, seasonal cookbook. I love it!
Tostadas with Garlicky Spinach, Grape Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
4 6-inch flour tortillas
1 C grape tomatoes, halved
2 TBSP minced fresh cilantro leaves
salt
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces baby spinach (about 6 Cups)
2 ½ ounces fresh goat cheese, crumpled (about ½ Cup)

Move an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425*/ Brush a large baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil and arrange the tortillas on the baking sheet in a single layer. (I just sprayed the baking sheet with Pam)
Toss the tomatoes, cilantro, 1 Tablespoon of the remaining oil and salt to taste together in a small bowl. Set aside to marinate for several minutes.
Heat the remaining oil and the garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach and salt to taste and cook, stirring constantly, just until the spinach wilts, 1 to 2 minutes.
Divide the wilted spinach evenly among the tortillas. Top the spinach with a portion of the marinated tomatoes and then sprinkle with goat cheese.
Bake until the tortillas are crisp and the cheese softens, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

Another I tried, which was also very tasty, served with crusty bread to soak up some of the sauce, Roasted Mussels.

One more, which was in the Dream Dinners cookbook. I cooked the recipe (tripled) so we ate a serving and froze another, which we pulled out and ate with the tostadas, above! :) Enjoy!

Orzo Salad – Serves 25

Ingredients

3 c Orzo Pasta, boiled in water 10 min, or just until soft.
1½ c chopped scallions
1½ c drained and chopped Kalamata olives
1½ c crumbled feta cheese
¾ c fresh chopped dill
¾ c olive oil
½ c plus 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
¾ c red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper
Directions

Rinse pasta with cold water.
Combine the orzo, onions, olives, feta, and dill in a large bowl.
Set aside.
Whisk together the oil, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of dressing over the pasta mixture and stir to coat all over.
Toss with the remaining dressing just before serving.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

List of Awesome

Last week Cathy Zielske's blog talked about a list of Awesome. I thought it was an interesting list, like our thankful feathers around Thanksgiving. I've been working on keeping a "gratitude list" here on my desk, so I can write things down when I think of them, also seeing those positives. I have been putting some thought into my list. I have 36 items, since my 36th birthday is this month.

My April List of Awesome

1.My family(I am so lucky God put these three amazing people in my life/home!)
2.Sunshine (I say as a little peeks through the clouds, in July I will move rain to my gratitude list! :))
3.Photos, camera
4.My job (I love teaching children, and it's not a conventional classroom, but I get to interact with children everyday and see many of them learn as we work together)
5.My faith and my church
6.This blog (I have met many interesting people through posts and comments, made friends from far away.)
7.Morning Bible reading time (My husband and I have gotten up each morning since March 6 and quietly read our Bibles. The house is quiet, the coffee is hot and I like interacting with God before life speeds up.)
8.My extended family and in-laws (So lucky to have a good relationship with them all.)
9.My turquoise office room (I can scrapbook, read, write, type, and create here. Thankful my husband relocated his computer to another room, so I could make this room my own.)
10.A good night's rest
11.Music (I like all kinds, but the other day I heard some Bach and played some Yo-Yo-Ma, as well as my contemporary Christian and felt happy. :))
12.Hugging my kids-and getting hugs back! :)
13.A husband who is an involved dad that goes to far away track meets in the cold, rainy weather
14.Being able to run, the feeling running gives me, especially when the goal I've set has been accomplished
15.Nicely worded rejection letters (they seem less like a “no” and more like a “maybe later”)
16.Good books (well written and books that are just fun, fast reads)
17.The Bible
18.My new purse (I'm not usually a purse or shoe person, except running shoes, but I got a purse/bag last week that fits everything in a nice, organized manner, and it is wonderful!)
19.Birds, the birds chirping, welcoming spring
20.Coffee (homemade, Starbucks, warm, cold, any kind. :))
21.Drawing a bath for my daughter after a long, cold track meet(ten hours in the cold and rain, running and cheering on her teammates, and I got to make her a warm bubble bath to soak and recharge in.)
22.Painting my younger daughter's nails (she liked the way I did mine, so I got to paint hers, too)
23.Getting my younger daughter a hot chocolate at Starbucks after her cold, wet, muddy soccer practice (It's fun just to do nice, surprising things for them. :))
24.Trying new recipes (my favorite way to cook)
25.Freezing meals ahead, and pulling them out for dinner after a busy day
26.Warm showers on weekends that aren't rushed like weekdays
27.Afternoon naps on the weekends, especially during rain
28.Inspirational bulletin boards
29.Organized closets!
30.The positive feeling of hope
31.Prayer
32.Friends who wonder how we are, or send cards when they read of sad times on the blog/Facebook
33.Sending mail
34.Receiving mail
35.Birthdays and annivesaries
36.Completed to-do lists

What's on your list of awesome? :)

April 3 2011

Day three of the organization challenge is kitchen utensils. This one took me a bit longer. I had a container we keep by the stove and three drawers of silverware, knives, measuring cups, etc. I went through it all in about 15 minutes, even wiping them out before I replaced things, and throwing things away. We don't need those "kid cutters" for pumpkins anymore... or those twisty straws that you can't get cleaned... so, clean! :)

Hoping to finish up laundry, among a few other things, today since we're all back to the regular schedule tomorrow. I hope your weekend ends well!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

April 2 2011

Organization challenge, day 2: I had begun the work on my closet yesterday, during "spring cleaning". I had not, however, finished removing clothes that didn't fit, or I knew I wouldn't wear. I still haven't removed all that are too small. Once I'm into summer running/training mode, I hope to be back in them again. I did turn all the hangers facing out yesterday, so when I clean it again I know what I didn't wear all season. I got rid of a few sweaters this week that hadn't been worn all winter. I love the backwards facing hanger trick. I can see what clothes have literally not been worn at all. They haven't moved. So, I spent my organization time today plucking out things that were not worn last summer/spring, and I checked our coat closets for coats/jackets that don't get worn, either. What a nice feeling! How is it going for you?