Sunday, December 27, 2009

My New Year's Resolutions. 10 in 10.

1. Cease drinking soda. Not only will this eliminate one more plastic item from my life, but it will improve my health!

2. Do not purchase new clothes for one year. I really have enough clothing to survive work and play without any new purchases.

3. Save the savings. Every penny saved when shopping for groceries will be physically put aside.

4. Reduce my personal belongings. I own way too many items! My goal this year will be to reduce the excess by at least one item a week! Of course, I will also remove one item for each item that I bring into the house.

5. Read at least 3 books to improve my teaching skills.
I am currently reading "Differentiating Math Instruction", so I am off to a good start on this one!

6. Keep my tax records more organized for 2010. I do manage to keep the majority of my receipts in one place in preparation for my income tax returns, but there are always a few items that slip through the cracks. I will keep better records for 2010.

7. Walk 10,000 steps each day. This is probably the easiest one on this list as I walk A LOT during the week. I have found in the past that keeping track of my steps with a pedometer motivates me to exercise more. So, I have dusted off the pedometer and will keep track of my steps.

8. Reduce my fabric stash. This is one that I often start and then it gets away from me. I never want to see fabric go to waste, thus I save every scrap and accept every box of fabric someone else wants to give me. (That is how I ended up with 5 boxes of fabric scraps last summer!) So, this year, I will NOT purchase any fabric that is not for a specific project. All of my projects MUST have some fabric from my stash incorporated into them. I will also make charity quilts from my stash to speed the reduction in my excess fabrics.

9. Make time for ME! This is a full category, as it can include any activity that is geared toward 'me time'. I initially wanted to say something about spending time quilting, or watching the movies I have stacked up to watch, or reading the books I have piled on the bookshelf. Then I realized that I could lump all of these activities into one category and call it 'me time'. I know that I am re-energized when I have a sense of accomplishment and that includes accomplishing an activity for myself.

10. Blog about these resolutions every month. Then I will be accountable and I will be able to see what I have managed to accomplish!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Preparing Your Life

I was watching a movie in which this quote was used:
God will send the rain when he's ready.
You need to prepare your fields to receive it.

I decided that it was a good place to start my New Year's greeting to all of my friends and family.

The reason I liked this quote is that it can apply to anyone's life. Ask yourself what you are doing with your life. Are you just going through the motions or are you building and creating something wonderful? Each and every day should be looked upon as a new adventure, as one tiny part of your entire life, but holding an immense amount of value. It should not be wasted. In our society today, there are so many issues struggling for our attention, for our time. We often forget to take time for ourselves, and in so doing, forget to give time to others. Our focus is sometimes off kilter and needs to be readjusted from time to time. Take the time to adjust your focus.

Some people make New Year's Resolutions. I normally make one every year and work hard to keep that one. My resolution is one that will improve my life or someone else's life.

Give thought to where you are, where you are going, where you want to be. Then lay the groundwork to get there. Prepare your fields. If you are ready, it will happen. This year, I will be making plans (resolutions, if you choose) that will simplify my life as well as improving it.

What will you do?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dry Erase Markers

One of the best inventions for a classroom is Dry erase boards and markers. They are neater than chalk boards, clean up somewhat easier and you get to use a huge variety of colors!

The biggest problem I have with them is that the markers are PLASTIC and not recyclable! It was only the other day as I was throwing yet another marker away that I realized what a huge amount of waste is created by these markers!

I did a bit of research on the internet and found EcoSmart markers, which state they are made from recycled material, are recyclable and most importantly are REFILLABLE!!!

I am awaiting my Terracycle recycling credits so that I can order the starter kit.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cold weather, Warm fires.

Now that winter has arrived in Tennessee, it is time to stoke the fire in our woodstove to heat the house. Daily, wood is brought into the house and piled in the metal washtub to keep it off the floor (thus preventing SOME of the dirt from reaching the floors!). Vince is best at starting fires in the woodstove, but I am learning (or should I say 'relearning') how to start a fire.

It never fails that I will be watching Vince start the fire and the Chicago Fire song pops into my head. You know the one:

One dark night
When we were all in bed
Old Mother Leary
Left a lantern in the shed

And when the cow kicked it over,
She winked her eye and said,
"There’ll be a hot time
In the old town, tonight."


I believe I learned this song at Girl Scout Camp!!

Nevertheless, I sing it a lot during the winter months and Vince really doesn't enjoy it, but he laughs anyway.

I did a bit of research and found these expanded lyrics

I also liked this essay about the O'Leary Legend. It provided a lot of insight into the history of Chicago at that time and the evidence that supports that Mrs. O'Leary's and/or her cow was responsible for this devastating fire.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday Fun!

My day started off a little mundane. I traveled to the 'big city' of Jackson to drop off some of the printer cartridges one of my student's parents gave me this week. They are the large laser printer cartridges and I have FOUR LARGE BOXES in my truck. The local office supply store only takes FIVE a day, so I gave my five cartridges and left to complete the rest of my errands in Jackson.

I spent a very little bit of time in Hancock Fabrics as I needed a piece of fleece for a project. Fortunately, I found a lovely dark blue one in the remnant section and then had to brave Target for dog food for the puppies. Fortunately, I managed to find a check out lane with NO LINE and was out in no time!

Then I traveled south to Henderson, and visited with mom for a while. I hooked up her computer and got her connected to the internet. When I left, she was happily browsing the internet.

Off to home to have lunch and visit with my hubby for a while before heading off to a wake and then dinner with a friend.

I have watched the movie Fireproof, graded papers and rinsed out all of the drink pouches from this week's collections.

I then remembered that I needed to get my holiday bibs into my Etsy store. I had to take photos and so I set up the rocking horse near the stairs. This is the photo above. I took the pictures and returned upstairs to post the bibs.

While I was working, Narnia told me she needed to go out. So, I opened the door and called Kashmir to go out. Not really paying attention, it took me a while to realize she was not running upstairs to go outside. Then she started barking. Well, Kashmir rarely barks. I would say that she saves her barks so that when she does bark, it must be VERY IMPORTANT!! Kashmir was downstairs barking, and Narnia became confused and she started barking outside, and then ran inside and barked inside.

Only then did I realize that I had left the rocking horse at the bottom of the stairs with the panda bear sitting on it wearing his santa hat.

Apparently Kashmir had her own opinions on my scenery! It took her about 3 minutes to gather her courage to run past the terrifying panda bear on the rocking horse (or perhaps it was the Santa Hat!).

Life is never boring here!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

4-H Service Projects

When I first started teaching, I did not want to take much of an active roll in the 4-H activities that take place in my class. There is one meeting each month where the students learn different life skills and participate in demonstrations and contests. The goals of 4-H are to develop leadership skills, life skills and citizenship.

So, as I stated, I initially did not want to be very involved. My observations that first year lead me to conclude that without my involvement, many of the students would not participate in these monthly meetings. I also began to see each meeting and as a teachable moment!

One of the activities that 4-H promotes is community service. At first, my students wanted to settle on the fact that we are recycling in the classroom and that is a community service project. I agreed with them, but told them that the recycling was my idea and while they could use that as one of the projects for this year, they needed to come up with at least two more on their own!

In a meeting in October, my students decided to start collecting money for a local animal rescue group to help purchase food and supplies. To make the collecting easy, the class comes back to the classroom for lunch on Fridays, but in order to pass through the door, they have to donate $0.25. We have over $30 so far!

One of their other service projects was to sponsor two needy children from the High School's Angel Tree. The children are all members of our local community, so the students are happy to help out someone close to home. We sponsored a little boy and a little girl and today I cheerfully gave the gifts that my class brought in to the Angel Tree Coordinator.

I also got them involved in, and they are busily answering questions every day and collecting their grains of rice! (I like FreeRice as it gets them thinking!!)

They have plans to help out at the local thrift store one Saturday, and have not decided on their final project.

The secretary wrote up the reports for the 4-H officer so that the class can receive credit for completing these projects.

It is amazing to watch them brainstorm ideas and then carry them through to the end. At least some of them are learning how to take responsibility for themselves and others, how to help out someone less fortunate than themselves, and they are proud of their accomplishments. I am glad that I got so involved this year, as the students abilities are really shining through!