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


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


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.
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


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...
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


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...

*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


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! :)

*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


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


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,

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


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!