Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 Reading Challenges

     I have decided on the reading challenges that I'm going to take part in next year. I'm going to do a few of them.


1. Keyword Reading Challenge hosted by My Soul Called Life     
My Soul Called Life 
 For this challenge, I need to read at least 1 book per month with the following words in the title:

Here Are Your 2017 Keywords 
JAN- Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand
FEB- And, Rose, Promise, Every, Deception, Blazing
MAR- Shall, Go, By, Silence, Her, Saga
APR- From, Trigger, Tale, His, CrownMist
MAY- Four, Wind, All, Fury, Days, Shade
JUN- Without, Know, Good, Watch, One, Have
JUL- Before, Final, All, Freedom, Life, Dream
AUG- Sun, Infinite, Big, My, Wherever, Most
SEP- Sand, From, Between, Ever, Reasons, Clash
OCT- Darker, You, Ashes, Out, House, Sea
NOV- Place, War, Heart, Why, Give, Meet
DEC- Forget, Twilight, Only, Crystal, On, Will

    This will definitely make me choose my books from my to-be-read pile rather than randomly pick one. (I'm a little OCD about this. I have my quirky methods, which is why my books are always so random. Matt has made fun of me for years about this.)

2. Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted by MY READER'S BLOCK
My personal goal is: Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
   In this challenge, I am supposed to choose books from my "To be read" pile, which is currently a bookshelf... plus a really tall pile on my bedroom floor. I would estimate that I have 100 books in there currently. I think 24 is a noble number considering I'm going to be tackling a few challenges at once. 
 
3. My personal Goodreads challenge will be to read 50 books over the course of the year.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reading Challenges

   I'm coming up with some of my goals for the New Year this week. I am considering trying some reading challenges. The only challenge I've ever done was my Goodreads reading challenge to read at least 1 book every month. This was way too easy for me so I kept increasing my number until I thought I wouldn't reach it without trying, which is why I'll probably fail my goal of 50 books this year. I'll probably finish 45.  Maybe if I go for 50 next year, and have that goal in mind, I will reach it in 2017.
      One of the challenges I'm considering is the Keyword Reading Challenge hosted by my friend, Claudia at My Soul Called Life.  It sounds really interesting and different from my normal way of  choosing my books.
   Are there any other challenges that I should be checking out? What are your reading goals for 2017?

Genealogy

     Another one of my hobbies is genealogy. My family is filled with some genealogical mysteries that I would like to figure out in my lifetime. Neither of my parents are really interested in "where we came from" as people, but the stories of others is always intriguing to me. As I've mentioned before, the daily lives of others and learning how other people live is just fascinating to me. I would love to learn about what makes me "me."
    My largest problems with genealogy are found with 2 of my great-grandparents. My maternal great-grandmother died a few days after giving birth to my grandmother. She was part of a large Irish family and there is not much proof of her existence in records. I would like to find a picture of her so my grandmother and I could see what she looked like. My grandmother is in her 90s.
     The other issue is on my dad's side, his grandfather. Apparently he changed his name at some point so I don't even know if what our original family name is.

      One really exciting thing is that I received the Ancestry.com DNA kit for Christmas. I will be doing that fairly soon. Maybe I will write a post about that when I take it. I am so curious to see if there will be an surprises. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reading

    How many of you love to read? I have been reading a lot of book blogs lately and daydreaming about spending more time reading.  (I have also daydreamed about letter writing, but have been unmotivated to pull everything out since my house is really clean right now.. ha ha. Anyone want to come over?)  I will often talk to people who tell me that they really dislike reading and I don't understand that at all. Reading relaxes me and exercises my brain. Being the nerd that I am, I often will read things that I will learn something from- memoirs, biographies, non-fiction, a text book here and there, historical fiction, etc. I also enjoy a good novel.  I have a whole bookshelf dedicated to my "to read" list.  Currently it is overflowing and there is a large stack of books next to it as well. In addition to loving books, I find that I often connect really well with other people who like to read.  So, I think I'm going to include a bit more about the books I read here on my blog.   I will not claim to have any great insight, but I often don't talk about my opinions of books so I figured I'd stretch myself a bit. I might also write about some of my other hobbies as well. I'd like to connect with more people this year.

Just Read: The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge

 The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones
      William Marshal is a man who has always piqued my interest.  I was first introduced to William Marshal in Elizabeth Chadwick's book, also called A Place Beyond Courage. Chadwick has a series of books about William Marshal, and I have read all 3 of them. Knowing that the series written by Chadwick were classified as historical fiction, I didn't know how much about Marshal was true and how many of the stories were exaggerated or just good for entertainment. When I saw an unedited proof of the Asbridge book, I knew I had to read it.
    This book follows Marshal  through the reign of the 5 English kings he served- Henry II, The Young King Henry, Richard I, John and John's son, Henry III.  Surprisingly, many of the events and people in Asbridge's book had been mentioned in Chadwick's book so I was delighted to see how closely she followed his life.  The contrast between what we think of as knightly chivalry and common practices of that time period (like the punishment of prisoners in battles or what would happen to someone who went against the baron in charge of a certain area) was pretty eye opening. It examines chivalry and daily life during this period of history.  
     I was excited to learn more about this knight who seemed very influential in the lives of the kings he served as well as many of the noblemen of the area. The copy I read was an unedited proof so there were supplemental materials that would be included in the final book that were not in mine.  These include various maps and a "Who's Who" section, which would have been helpful since so many men named their heirs after themselves or other important people of that time.   One thing that I got slightly aggravated with was the constant mention of a biography of William Marshal which his eldest son, William II, commissioned to be  written less than a year after William's death in 1219. On one hand, I love knowing that the information that I'm reading is accurate and knowing the original source material something was taken from. On the other hand, it was mentioned so many times that it made me wonder if I should have been reading that instead. Then I realized that the original title of The History is "L'Historie de Guillaume de Marechal"  and was grateful that I now had access to this source since I don't speak French. 
     I would be very interested to read more from Thomas Asbridge. I found this book to be very interesting and I liked his style of writing. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

NetGalley

     As I was reading some blogs this week, many people mentioned NetGalley. Have any of you used it before? If so, what are your experiences?  Thanks!

 
    
    

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Loved

     As a teacher, I love getting special little things from students, but it really doesn't matter to me if they give me holiday gifts or not.  I have a really special set of 8th graders this year.   This year, 2 girls whom I am especially close to decided to do something special for me. So, they asked to come to school early to give me my gifts. One of them made caramels for me. The other got me a lotion she knows I wear. Together they put together a gift basket that had an ornament, a Christmas tree door hanger, a Christmas tree decoration, an ornament throw blanket, a Christmas tea towel, holiday themed hand soap, a votive holder, a serving platter and a candle. Then, remember my Thanksgiving tree?


    These 2 girls painted me this sweet little Christmas tree and cut out ornaments for all of the other 8th graders in chorus. All of the ornaments have really special and personal notes to me on the back of them.  (Some of the kids even attached other ornaments behind the first one so their message could be longer.)  I was extremely touched by this gift and by all of their messages. I am really blessed to be able to influence this group of kids and to help them develop their talents. I felt extremely loved when I left school for Christmas vacation.

Secret Christmas RR #2

I still need to receive about half of my cards, but these are my latest cards received in this round robin.

From Treksek in Estonia (Daire, have you always lived in Estonia? I thought you were from a different country for some reason)
 From Winterwolke in Germany
 From Mondkind in Germany

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Secret Christmas RR- #1

     For the past few years I have participated in the Secret Christmas Round Robin in the Postcrossing forums. I love seeing Christmas wishes from different countries. Here are some of the Postcrossing cards, as well as some from penpals around the world:

Varnoja, Lithuania
 Ognesk, France
 Angie, US-
 Masako-k, Japan-
Manu86, Germany
 Barbizon, Netherlands
Christina and Tobi, Germany- Advent calendar
 Donna, Canada


     I will add more posts as they come in. Wishing all the people who read my blog a wonderful Christmas filled with many blessings!

Monday, December 5, 2016

A few glimpses into daily life

This weekend we had a lot of holiday activities. Here's some pictures from events lately. It has been a bit of an aggravating night so I'd like to spread some beauty around.
 David watching the live nativity at a local church (orange and gray jacket in front of pole)









 Look what we found! A giant post office safe. It's in a church hall. Yes, I know I'm a nerd. Yes, I'm proud of it.









 Matt and the boys at our Christmas tree lighting


 Our town's tree this year before being lit. It's a little.... Charlie Brown-ish this year






 That's a bit better.

 We have a festival of trees to benefit our historical society. People/companies decorate trees (with ornaments, gift cards, presents, etc) and then they raffle them off. I always lose. Someday I will win. Here are some trees (and a really creepy elf in the first one.. lol)


 Books! I was half intrigued and half upset that they ruined the books. lol Cool star though

 The church where I performed my Christmas concert on Sunday








Santa- not the best conductor. I like the enthusiasm though.


Our concert was videotaped and broadcast. If you'd like to hear it, here is the link. Sounds of Christmas Concert I don't play too much in this concert, but the music is nice.  Start at about 22 minutes. PS. Santa's violin was a prop. There was great concern. Check out what the audience sounds like at 1:59: ish 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Blessings

Based on my overwhelming response from the last post (none), I decided not to go with my original idea.  Instead I'll just check in occasionally.






Although I always try to be mindful of my blessings, I think Advent is a good time for me to slow down to prepare my heart for Christmas and to acknowledge the blessings that I have on a daily basis.
      Here are some special moments over the past few days:
1. Starting Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp with my family. The family time is as wonderful as the message and the activities.
2. The sweet and simplistic prayers of my sons. Why do we make praying so complicated sometime?

3. Today was a student's birthday. This is a student who is especially close to me. She has been singing for me for 4 years in 2 different groups, plus the musicals. I have also had her brother as a student so I have known her family for a long time. This is her last year with me.  I decided to get her a small birthday gift. So, I asked Matt to buy some candy that he has made at work. We picked out a candy cane, pecan turtles and some fudge. When I gave it to her, she was surprised that I had gotten her a gift, which was expected. When I told her that it was candy that Matt had personally made (She has met my family at concerts and has run into them a few times outside of school), she got a little teary and thanked me and told me that we made her feel "really special."  I guess that was my intention, but I didn't think it would mean THAT much to her.

4.  On my drive home tonight- rushing, as usual- I needed to stop at the post office to get something postmarked. The community is on the coast. As I rode up to the top of a hill (right by the governor's house), I was greeted by a beautiful view. The ocean was slightly choppy looking and the color of the sky was fading to the colors of dusk. What really drew my attention was the clouds, which looked like they were illuminated from below.

5.  I came home to a giant pile of mail! I will share my week of mail at the end of the week. I've been getting some great stuff. I probably won't share any of my picture cards since I won't usually put a picture up without asking permission (except my father-in-law that one time..)


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Screen free weekend

     This weekend my family and I cut back on screens A LOT. I will admit, I did play Bingo Blitz for a few minutes a day on Facebook because I'm sad, but other than that the TV, cell phone, e-mail, etc. were off. It was wonderful. Part of me wishes we could do this every day. Each day seemed so much longer. I got a lot of writing done (Postcrossing RR with 15 Christmas cards, 2 letters), cleaning, LOTS of board games (I love David), and we even painted together. Unfortunately, I didn't do much grading so I will be working hard for the rest of tonight.
     Today we set up our Christmas tree. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday.
    I was thinking that I haven't been writing much here lately and I'd like to do more. I thought about snapping a picture every day in December and just giving a glimpse into my everyday life. Is that something that might be interesting to you? Any topics you want me to write about?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Lately

      This school year has been busy- a mix of feeling a bit overscheduled and personally doing a lot of things.  I anticipate my schedule getting  a lot crazier over the next few weeks, but it should be fine if I'm conscientious about my scheduling (and if everybody allows me to be a control freak regarding time. lol Sorry in advance.). At least there are some holidays in the mix so there is some planned relaxation too.
      Here are some recent endeavors of mine.
School:
    On the negative side, I usually see all of the students for the same amount of days per rotation. This year has made 5th/6th end together, 7th ends a different day and 8th grade ends yet another time. I have found that this change is throwing me off a lot it's taking a lot of adjustment.  Hopefully, after a bunch of correcting tonight, I will be caught up and be able to keep up from there.
     On a positive note, I have started my Thanksgiving tree project. These are some  background pages that I made from watercolor paints that will eventually be cut into leaf shapes that I will write my notes on. I really like the bottom one.  My sister-in-law, Sarah, graciously offered to use her Cricut to help me with a making leaves out of some gelli-printed paper. Thanks again, Sarah!

Personally:
     This past week was full of some fun events. I got to remind my kids that we are blessed enough to help others by donating to a local toy drive. While we were there, we were given tickets to go see The Pentatonix! (For those near Boston, this was Karson, Kennedy and Salt from Mix 104.1)

We saw Abi, who was not our taste in music, but she seemed like a nice girl. Then we got to see Us the Duo, who we loved. I had never seen or heard them before. Here is a song they wrote for their wedding. They performed it live and I really enjoyed it. Both of them are extremely talented musicians and I was impressed with the different styles that they performed.
   If you don't know the Pentatonix, shame on you... here is a link to their music too! Here is a cover of an Imogen Heap song they did. Again, incredible musicians.
Oh, and while I'm spreading incredible musicianship around, did I mention Kevin, known as the beatboxer of Pentatonix? Woah..
   Then, we had Veteran's Day off. (Thanks if you are a veteran who is reading this!) I brought the kids up to Maine to visit my parents.  It was a nice time, relaxing.

   When we came home on Saturday, Tim's team won their flag football championship:

     Then we went to Boston to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday! I also got to meet my newest niece, Naomi.


Penpalling:
    I received quite a few letters over the past few weeks, including a few secret letters from the Penpalling & Letters Secret Letter Event. I am sending this one out tomorrow. Then I have a lot of writing to do!!!

Now what?
     Next week I will start working on the musical. I am also auditioning kids for a few opportunities. It is a lot of work. I'm hoping for a week free of negative parent e-mails. 
      If you celebrate Thanksgiving, do you have any special plans or traditions? The week of Thanksgiving we do a really fun volleyball tournament with the students. It's a blast!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Japanese Candy II

     Happy Halloween! We just got home from trick or treating and I decided to do a few more candy trials so I didn't steal candy from my kids. lol.
      Big Thunder II:
     The cookie pieces inside reminded me of a mix between Oreos and the "chocolate crunch" pieces in Dairy Queen's ice cream cakes.

      Frankenstein Candy- no English on the package.


    Excuse my oldest son in the background. Apparently the dog costume and seeing himself on a screen was too much to handle.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Something new in the spirit of Halloween

     Our family will "celebrate" Halloween tomorrow. In the spirit of Halloween, and because I don't understand Japanese, I thought I would try something (scary for me) different.  Recently I received a package from Japan that had many different types of candy. Fortunately/unfortunately, most of the text is in Japanese so I have no idea what I'm eating. (Fortunate because I feel fine trying something new. Unfortunate because Tim has food allergies and now I can't share.) So, David and I decided to make a few videos telling what we thought.  Disclaimer: I'm swapping with someone that I trust and intelligently packed. Obviously, be careful about swapping and eating things you get through the mail.
    We tried 3 different candy bars tonight. The first one was Tirol Chocolate.
    This is my first attempt ever recording a video for the blog and it was spontaneous, so I apologize I'm not all dressed up with makeup, wonderful lighting, etc. This is a pretty good representation of just every day me at the end of a long day.
    Overall, this was pretty good. I think Japanese chocolate tastes a little more sweet to me than American chocolate. It also tastes a little creamier.

Next up... Sequioa?

   Very tasty. Kit Kats are one of my favorite candies here in the US. Ironically, that leads us to the candy I saved for last in hopes that it would be delicious.  I forgot to take a picture.
   Well, that was interesting. This led me to research other types of Kit Kats. I knew there were some crazy ones. Check out this article that tells about "weird and wacky flavors" of Kit Kats in Japan. I will have to steal all the American Kit Kats from my children's Halloween treats to purge this taste from my memory.

      This was a lot of fun. I still have 6 pieces to try so I'll save 3 for one day and the last 3 for another.  People reading from other countries- have you ever had an American candy/sweet that you really disliked?
     

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Currently 10/23


Watching:  

     Life has been pretty busy so I have not really been watching anything on TV. I have seen a few little Halloween specials with the boys. I have enjoyed watching all of the beautiful New England foliage. Our back woods are currently filled with gorgeous yellows, reds, oranges and even a few pretty browns. If it's not raining tomorrow, I will try to go snap a picture.

Reading:
Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul
     I am enjoying this book a lot right now. This year has felt a little overwhelming to me. I don't think I'm really doing anything too out of the ordinary, but I have just been mentally and physically tired for a while now. I choose my next "to read" book in a sort of random way so this one came at just the right time. I think I am going through a season of life where some former priorities and not as important to me and some things I felt I "had to do" aren't obligations to me. This doesn't mean that I'm necessarily taking more time for myself, which maybe I should, but that the time I am choosing to protect is spent doing meaningful things. Here are some quotes from the book that have made me think over the past few weeks:

     "Without conscious intervention, this pattern of chronically overscheduling ensures that the priorities you care about most will take a backseat to the urgent priorities of others every time." (Hear me, Sarah?)    I am guilty of this a lot- every day in fact. How often do I stay after to help a student or to chat with a kid who just wants to hang out for a minute while my own kids are home hoping I will have some "free time" for them? It's painful to think about- especially since I really enjoy my job too.  I have recently attempted to fix some of these imbalances.

      "Put more simply, one of the greatest blessings in life is to love your work, to be satisfied in your daily labors." Amen. My job is hard and has many challenges, but I feel that it is my calling so it makes the little stuff easier to deal with. It is also greatly rewarding to follow through what I feel God has prepared me to do and to use my gifts/talents for His glory.


     
     "Relationships, like every other area of life, require regular evaluation, pruning, and strengthening." Hybels says that there are 3 levels of friendship- circumstancial friends, true friends- for a season and lifelong friends. This chapter challenged me. There have been some friends that have hurt me recently. I thought they were lifelong friends, but perhaps they were just friends for a season. Again, they were good friends and I'm not quite sure what happened, but this chapter has made me feel more at peace. I also have some friends who probably feel the same way about me. Truth is, there are sometimes where people just grow apart- especially if they have different values or motives in life.  Examining my friendships and potential friendships has been a healthy activity for me this week.

Listening:
      My normal Pandora mixes. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Scala & Kolacny Brothers. I really like their sound.

Making:
      David and I just made Apple Betty- one for us and one for our neighbors. It is currently baking and I cannot wait to smell the delicious scent of the cinnamon-y apples.  *I may or may not let my kids stay up to eat a piece.

Feeling:
    Physically I have been struggling. I think whatever was causing the hives last spring is acting up. This weekend my whole body hurt. My feet are freezing. My knee and left leg are hurting a lot. (Remember that bursitis and plantar fasciitis? I think they are going to revisit me). It was so painful todaythat I laid down "for a few minutes" and fell asleep for 3 hours. I feel a little better now, but I'm hoping that things don't get worse before they get better. All of these things could be caused by the inflammation that was going on with the hives.  I have an appointment with the allergist in a few weeks. She will then take me off the medicine I've been on gradually. If things are going to return, it will be then. Wish me luck.

Planning:
   It's getting late tonight, but I would like to correct a lot and finish a letter to Monique in The Netherlands!

Loving:
    I'm loving being grateful for small things. Sometimes the small things in life are bigger than they seem. Here are some things that I've been grateful for: -apples, colorful foliage, dates with all 3 of my boys, a delicious latte I had (usually don't drink them) with creme brulee at a new restaurant, new friends, correspondence with penpals, success of students (especially the ones who don't actually like music but work hard because I have asked them to), talent of the next generation, random acts of kindness, film scores (some music is incredibly beautiful. How do these guys write stuff like this?), cool weather, hot chocolate, people who work with church education programs, previous students, sweet gifts from students (like a Yankee candle I just got- or the flowers sent to me for my birthday), my faith, all of the upcoming holidays.

    What are the "small things" you have been enjoying lately?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

How sweet

    Today is my birthday. I got a call during a class today telling me that there was "something special" downstairs. After some speculations from my 5th graders (and them realizing that it is my birthday), another teacher brought me these flowers. The students were convinced they were from my husband and sons. I didn't think they were because I'd be just as happy if the boys went and made me a leaf bouquet as I would if they spent $150 on roses (probably be more happy with the bouquet since we aren't rich). Well, I opened the card and, wouldn't you know, they are from 2 8th grade girls and a 5th grade boy (brother of one of the 8th graders).  How sweet. In addition to that, they gave me a card and each wrote a special letter to me. I'm so blessed.

 

PS. I was also spoiled at home :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Apple picking- check

Completed another fall event. Every year our family goes apple picking on Columbus Day. We tried a new farm this year. It was fun. Here's me and David :)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Help with a music lesson?

Every rotation, in my 7th grade class, I try to do an activity where I play examples of traditional and popular music from different countries and ask the students to identify where it's from. I listen to hours of music every time I prepare for this lesson. I love that part. However, it would be a lot easier for me if I had a link to your country's popular music charts. I have searched many places but I'm not always sure I have the most legitimate list for the job. If you wouldn't mind helping me, would you leave a link in the comment section? Much appreciated!

PS. This week the kids are listening to music (traditional or on the popular music charts) of Australia, Bali, Brasil, Canada, China,   Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, and the US.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

For you!

    I've mentioned that I'm a musician. Here's my gift to you tonight. I'm in the back playing bells. Sorry if the quality is bad. It was recorded on my cell phone.

   This piece is called Gloriana.

Good for my soul

    This past week was a little rough. It was one of those weeks where you just kind of go through each day waiting to get to the next day. Nothing was great. Nothing was really TOO awful, but things just feel "off."  The week started off well but took a bad turn on Wednesday. Since it wasn't a huge deal, I didn't realize how emotionally weary I felt. The band director suggested I come to the football game to hear the band and just have a night out. In my head I thought, yes, that would be nice. In my heart I thought, one more thing to do- and on Friday night, my only time this weekend that I don't have anything to do. Matt did not want to go. David "doesn't really like football" but Tim, the endless adventurer like me, wanted to come. I thought it would be a special thing for him and I would love to connect him with some of my old students who are in the band.
     So, we went. If you were a band musician in high school, you have most likely played at hundreds of football games. I forgot how much fun they could be. We have a very small band at the moment. Our band director is wonderful and in a few years I bet the band is going to be huge. He's really a classy, nice guy and a wonderful friend to me. It was nice for me to reconnect with families who had "graduated" from the middle school. Many parents came to say hello and to meet my son. Current students said hello on their way by and some stopped to chat. The kids who sang for me and were in band were all happy to see me too. It was a nice (and apparently needed) reminder of the impact of my relationship/teaching to each student. I don't expect that every student will "like" me or that I will be the best match for everyone, but it feels extremely good to see that many of these kids still have a huge amount of respect for me.
     After the game, I was invited to go out to eat with everyone. It was such a blessing to sit with the 25 teens, catch up on their lives, introduce them to Tim and have some great food. I heard good and bad news  about various students (that I didn't always ask for), heard that one of my kids had a 99% average and looks like he might be valedictorian, got invited to other games/events that the kids were taking part in, and reconnected with some kids I was really close with while they were in middle school. One girl, who was very emotionally reserved in middle school and sang for me for 4 years, confessed that she really missed me and thought about me a lot. I confessed that I think about her too every day I have my 7th/8th grade chorus and that I miss her too. I also got a letter from another student that was passed on through the band director. We stayed out until 11:30.
     On my way home, I realized that I had been feeling really low this past week. I was reminded that my involvement with these kids really has influenced who I am as a person and I feel like I am better because of all of them. Last night was a huge blessing for me. I am really thankful my friend "suggested" that I tag along. PS. Tim has been challenged to join the trumpet section in the high school band for next week's game. He is determined to learn the music and give it a try.

      Speaking of teaching, if you are a teacher and have not seen this, check it out. It is important to remind your students that they seen and appreciated. I wish every school would do this or that every child would have a teacher tell them that they are cared about. If you aren't a teacher, check it out anyways. I know that all teachers have felt this way about at least 1 student in their career. I am sure many can name 100s of students they felt this way about.

Update on the fall to do list. Things I've done so far:
Celebrate Tim's birthday
Visit Grammy and Papa
Snuggle in a cozy blanket
Drink hot chocolate
Go see a high school football game
Go hiking/ for a walk
Enjoy a cup of tea on a chilly morning
Get a massage

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Happy October!




      Happy October! October is my favorite month. I get to celebrate my oldest son on his birthday. My birthday is also in October. I'm not a big Halloween fan, but the town I grew up in did not have trick-or- treating, so I enjoy eating my children's candy watching my kids get to go interact with people in our community.
    I love the autumn air. I enjoy the beautiful colors that surround me as the leaves change color. I love sitting down with a warm cup of cocoa (coffee, tea, anything..) while I sit an write my letters or read a book. Baking yummy treats with my family- or eating the ones Matt makes is also fun! School isn't too crazy- except Halloween. Middle school kids are crazy on Halloween.  October just seems like a very balanced month.
     What do you like about October?






Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Package from Germany

    This past weekend I took a course for professional development. It was about film scoring in the music classroom. I was excited to take it because I knew it would be interesting, but I was apprehensive because I knew it would all be new to me. The course was Friday night and all day Saturday. When I arrived home on Friday I was greeted with this by the kids:
(Not the ink- that was a gift to myself after I received this pen from a student who brought it from Italy to me!)

     The package was from a penpal, Christina in Germany. Her son Tobi writes to Timmy. They sent him a birthday gift and note from Tobi. David even got a nice book in German. (I can read most of it Christina. I will have to look up a few words, but I read better than I write my own ideas!) Then, in addition to my letter, she sent these treats for us:
     These taste like little crackers covered in chocolate. (Like puffed rice a little). Timmy thought they were pretty good and I liked the contrast of the sweet with the ... not sweet.
 Gummy snacks. Haven't tried yet.
 Tea. Can't wait to try the Roobois.
 Black licorice. Traditionally, I don't usually like black licorice, but I like the black licorice from The Netherlands WAY more than here in the US, so I'll probably at least give it a try.
 Chocolate pudding.
 Not quite sure what these are yet. It will be a surprise.
 "Kisses" with hazelnuts. Can't wait to try these too.
We have Werther's here too. Delicious.
 I treated myself to this chocolate bar. it was sweet but light. I liked it a lot. I liked the crunchy bits too.
Cute little erasers. I like the "decision eraser." It has answers like yes, no, maybe, later, etc. in German. I would put it on my desk at work but I know some student would "accidentally" take it.

      I loved being surprised by this sweet treat! Thanks Christina and family!