Friday, September 28, 2012

Perspectives Photo Challenge


I've thought for several weeks that it would be fun to participate in the Perspectives Photo Challenge hosted by Lena B Photography, Agape Love Designs and When Shutters Click.  This week's theme is "Around Town" which seemed easy enough, but I'm not great at having a camera with me on a regular basis.  Still, I managed with a new photo I snapped as well as some older ones snapped by The Author.  I think they're kind of fun.

We're big fans of Doctor Who, so earlier this week when Mr. Adventure came running in the house saying, "I found it!" we had to go investigate.  Sure enough, the TARDIS is parked in a nearby back yard.  I wonder what The Doctor is doing in town?
I wish the camera would have had a better zoom, but for the distance we were, this isn't too bad a photo. This would have been perfect for last week's "Far" theme.

Ah, there's The Doctor!  (S)he decided to check out the zoo, particularly the Desert Dome.

Last is this view of downtown from the unique perspective of the middle of the river.
This was captured on our riverboat tour earlier in the summer.

Whew, that wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  I should do this more often.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday 10 - My favorite things

I decided to change the topic a little for this week's Tuesday 10.  Instead of "10 things I wish I'd known 10 years ago" I'm sharing some of my favorite things lately.  I may not actually hit 10 things.  Oh well!
I'll admit, I shamelessly borrowed this photo from my sister's blog since I don't have any in my house at the moment.  Thanks Becky!
Hello Panda Cookies
My sister suggested trying these cookies.  She sent some home with The Artist last summer.  It took months, but I finally found some in one of our Targets.  I've seen them in the regular snack food section, but why pay more when they're generally available in the dollar section.  These things seem to jump into my cart every time I walk past.  They're the perfect size for a quick snack while out shopping or when I want a treat but don't want to have to share with the kids.

My favorite store. I could shop there every day.

I'm loving a little bit cooler weather with a nippiness in the mornings.  Now my grass has an excuse to look brown and dry instead of lush and green.

Quiet days
With all 5 of the older kids in school, my days are pretty quiet, especially when it's naptime.  Quiet = happy time.

I'm enjoying my early morning walks in the church gym while my oldest is taking her religion class.  Kind of like above, quiet, me time = happy time.

image borrowed from ABC
After a summer off, my Monday nights became complete again with last night's season kick-off of a new season of ABC's Castle. All is right with the world again.

Feeling appreciated
I love feeling like I make a difference to other people.  Even though I get overwhelmed and swamped sometimes, I enjoy feeling valued when I'm asked to help with school events or at church.

I got the brainstorm one day to say "Thank You" to our elementary teachers and staff.  I took three loaves of zucchini bread in along with a sign expressing our appreciation to them.  They must have enjoyed it, there were only crumbs left the next morning.  I'm also enjoying my bi-weekly Saturday mornings volunteering at our local Bountiful Baskets site.

 Sherpa throw
I'm loving these sherpa throw blankets we found at Costco.  Sure, they're 100% polyester (probably why they can be so cheap) but they're so soft and snuggly.  Plus, if you get their coupons, you can save $5, making them less than $15!

Well, I made it further than I thought. Nine favorite things is good, right?
Come back for next week's installment: "10 geeky facts about me".  Hmm, might need to adjust that one, too.  We'll see.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What's happened to patriotism?

I made an intriguing observation this past week.  Last Tuesday was the anniversary of the September 11th attacks here in the US.  Everywhere I looked on Facebook, there was another "We will always remember/we will never forget" photo/post.  You would have thought the day was very patriotic, and to those that were sincere in their sentiments, it was.  I noticed that both the high school and elementary school had their flags flying at half-staff.  Most of the businesses that fly flags had lowered theirs.
However, as I drove around our neighborhood, I found it interesting that ours was the only house on our street flying a flag that day.  Two houses with permanent flagpoles both had the flag flying, but only one had been lowered to half-staff.  I saw one other house as I was leaving the subdivision that had a flag posted.  So, of the 40 or so houses I passed, only four had flags outside and only three of those were deliberately placed that day.

In contrast, on Saturday there were three houses just up the street all flying Nebraska flags prominently.  I know from past observations, there are many others throughout the neighborhood.  As I went shopping, I saw red shirts everywhere I turned.  Here in the heart of Husker country, game days are almost treated like a holiday, yet days of historical significance to our country are glossed over and hardly given a second thought.

And so I ask, why the difference? Is patriotism a value that just isn't being taught anymore?  Have we as a people lost our sense of patriotism?  I've always felt a strong sense of patriotism, in large part from the influence of my grandfather, who was a World War II veteran.  His stories and example taught us about patriotism and he gave clear expectations for us to follow.  My parents also taught us to respect the flag and our country, especially as my brothers progressed through the ranks of scouting.  However, I am thinking more and more that I am in the minority.

This brings up the thought as I look forward to The Artist's homecoming parade on Friday -- how many will give the flag the respect it deserves?  I'm sure you've seen this photo:
I find this image so touching, and at the same time, so telling about society.  I don't remember exactly from last year's homecoming parade, but I think my children and I were some of the few gathered on the street to actually salute the flag as it passed by.  My guess is that this lack of respect isn't something that is unique to the United States.  This apathy probably exists everywhere.  My hope is that patriotism and respect can be resurrected and not become lost to the selfishness of society.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Time for another round of Blog Angels

 If you've been around the schoolhouse for a bit, you probably remember my posts about being a Blog Angel.  If you think this might be a program you'd like to take part in, it's your lucky day.  Sign ups for the next round are opening tomorrow.  Here's more information from organizer, Rosie:

You might have heard the name 'Blog Angels' popping up all over your social media over the last few months and wondered, what ARE they going on about?
Blog Angels is run by Rosie at Craftbotic. Every two months 100 bloggers get the opportunity to help each other out, build friendships and community in the Blogosphere.
The principle is easy. By signing up to be a Blog Angel you are promising to help another blogger for a whole month.  The least you need to do is comment twice a week on their blog, but the possibilities to do more is endless.
In the first two rounds of Blog Angels we had people commenting, guest-posting, giving social media shout outs, new blog design features and warm words of encouragement. Some people swapped addresses and sent little packages. The choices are endless.
So what's the catch? Well, it's all done in secret. For this round, things are changing slightly. Here are all of the details:
1. Sign up is on 15th September. The form you fill in can be found at Rosie's, but also on these sites:
 2. The form is slightly more detailed to help with the matching process. It still takes less than 5 minutes to complete though.
3. The project will start on 1st October and will be secret for the first two weeks. This will allow you to get to know your blogger, build up a relationship and start to act to help them. You would need to, as a minimum, comment twice a week on their blog.
4. After two weeks you link up a 'reveal' post at Craftbotic on 15th October.
5. You can then communicate with your blogger and give them more specific help, build friendships and develop your role. This is the newest part of the project and came out of a long conversation with the angel regulars.
6. On the 31st October you write a 'reflection' post reviewing your experience of Blog Angels and what you achieved with your Blog Angel.
It's pretty simple. These small steps will help you to be part of growing community of bloggers who care.
On a serious note, there is always a 'drop off' of Blog Angels. Those folk who get busy and disappear. Apart from being incredibly uncool, it is completely unnecessary. Please make sure you have time to help out in October BEFORE signing up. If life gets crazy you just need to email and let Rosie know. Orphaned bloggers can then be reassigned.  In Blog Angels the only thing you are guaranteed is the opportunity to help some-one else.
What an amazing opportunity that is! The first 100 people to sign-up before 25th September will be taking part. We all hope that it will include you!

Photobucket Photobucket PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket 
I suppose that counts as my first-ever guest poster here at the schoolhouse.  I had a great time in August with the Blog Angel program and I'm looking forward to finding out who I get to stalk support in October.  Won't you come join in the fun?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tuesday 10 - Goals

When I saw that this week's Tuesday 10 theme was goals to accomplish by 2013, I knew I had to participate since I already had most of the work done with my Bucket List post.  At least I started out thinking that way.  In actuality, most of my goals are longer-reaching than 3.5 months, but here's my best shot:
Could this be the last box of diapers I ever buy?
1 - This one is a total surprise and not one I would have even thought of a couple weeks ago:  Buy my last package of diapers.  Who knows, I may have already done this.  I don't even attempt potty-training until my kids are 3.  Who would have thought that Bugaboo would want to start on his own at 2 1/2?  I suppose I should add little boy underwear to my next shopping list.

2 & 3 - I'm combining these two goals since they kind of go hand-in-hand.   Declutter my house (at least the main living areas) and host a Christmas Carol Sing-along party.
4 - Learn to knit.  I have a specific project in mind, but since my older girls read my blog, I won't give away the surprise.

5 - Finally read the Old Testament (I've hit the dreaded Psalms roadblock.  You'd think after I've waded through all the tediousness of Numbers and so on that Psalms would be easy -- they're short and poetical.)

6 - Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.  I do pretty good with getting 4 or 5, but more than that is extremely difficult.  I think I've found a solution that should work involving hair ties worn as bracelets.  We'll see.

7 - Finish personalized Christmas stockings.  Last year I posted this photo as a sneak peek to the stockings for Little Miss Sunshine and Princess:

That's still what their stockings look like.  Hopefully by the time Christmas rolls around this year they'll resemble something more like this:

8 - See if I can master the art of homemade wheat bread.  I think I've finally found a great recipe, it just ends up a little softer than I'd like.

9 - Visit a corn maze, either on a date with my hubby or with the family

10 - Add shelving to our laundry room.

What goals are you hoping to accomplish by the end of the year?  Come share them at Mom2MemphisAndRuby's Tuesday 10 link party.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adventures with Bugaboo

As grandparents were visiting this past weekend, one grandma observed that Bugaboo is always going at 90 miles an hour.  It's true, he is a busy little boy.  He's adept at throwing temper tantrums, complete with flinging objects and banging his head on the floor.  He also gives the sweetest hugs and loves waving good-bye and blowing kisses.  He can make a mess in 2 seconds flat, but will gladly help to clean up the mess with a smile on his face.

I recently took him shopping to get new shoes.  I spotted a pair that I thought would work and pulled them off the shelf to try them on.  However, he had a different idea and latched on to a pair of Spiderman shoes.  We put them on, checked the fit, then set him on the floor and told him to walk down the aisle so I could see how they fit.  He must have thought he was free as he took off running.  About three steps later he stopped, looked down in confused frustration at the elastic cord preventing his perceived freedom and promptly ripped the price tag off in his attempt to get his shoes unrestricted.  It's a good thing we bought that pair of shoes.  (On a bit of a side note, do you know how long a two-year-old can stay enthralled with banging his shoes together to watch them light up?  The inventor of light-up shoes deserves a bonus in my book.)
Another lesson learned on this shopping trip:  try the dress shoes on BEFORE the fun character sneakers.  Plain black shoes are much more difficult to try on wiggly feet of toddler screaming, "No, Mom!" as he points to his much cooler Spiderman shoes in the cart.  It's also best to store the Spiderman shoes out of sight and/or reach on the closet shelf for Sunday morning if you don't want a repeat of the in-store tantrum.  Now you know, if you ever have to deal with an opinionated two-year-old.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday 10 -- School Memories

Today I decided to link up to Tuesday 10 at Mom2MemphisAndRuby.  (By the way, I'm super-excited to be hanging out on her sidebar this month.)
This week's topic is school memories.  As you might imagine from the schoolhouse-theme to my blog, I have a few of those memories. The problem is that they happened a long time ago.  (Remember from my Bucket List post that I'm old:  next year will be my 20th high school reunion!)  Here I go back into the far-reaches of my brain to dredge up some old recollections.

10 - Chicken Pox
I actually had chicken pox twice.  Once was in preschool where I'm pretty sure I caught them from one of my classmates.  We were doing some kind of circle game and she had a couple spots on her hand.  Mine was a fairly mild case.  I caught them again in 3rd or 4th grade and had a big outbreak.  I think I might have missed the last day of school and then shared them with all of my siblings.

9 - First Grade
I had the fun privilege of starting first grade at the same time as my aunt.  She was a brand new teacher and I was a student.  She taught first grade for many years before finally "graduating" to third grade.
8 - The Hobbit
My 3rd grade teacher read this classic to us.  I won a gift certificate to a local bookstore from the school-wide reading competition and bought this as well as the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Another aspect to the reading competition was earning the chance to spend the night at the school.

7 - Challenger Explosion
I was in 5th grade when the principal came into the classroom and said that he had a short video he wanted to show us.  We knew the Space Shuttle was launching that morning, but hadn't heard what had happened to it, so we all sat there excited to be watching a movie, then in horror as it launched and then exploded.

6 - Young Woman of the Year
Today this program is known as Jr. Miss.  For a few years the name was changed to put the emphasis on it being a scholarship program, not a beauty pageant.  I had seen some of my older friends go through the program, so I decided I would participate during my junior year.  My experience wasn't particularly noteworthy, but I did make many friends, increased my poise and confidence and won a scholarship for my efforts.

5 - Newspaper
Much of my high school experience revolved around the newspaper staff.  I was on the editorial board my junior and senior years with various responsibilities: Entertainment Editor, News Editor, Business Manager.  I spent many late nights and early mornings getting the paper ready to go to press.  Our staff had a lot of fun with trips into town for food and just a general camaraderie. I also worked for our local newspaper and then continued on to work on the college paper for my freshman year.  At one point I had decided to teach journalism, but then reverted to my original elementary education plan.

4 - School bus
I always rode the bus until I started working in high school.  My senior year was also my youngest brother's kindergarten year.  On that first day, my parents decided they wanted all 8 of their kids to ride the bus (our district had all schools with the same time schedule, so high school and elementary rode the same buses).  We were all lined up in our driveway and trooped across the street to file onto the bus.  It was the one and only time I rode the bus that year.  The rest of the time I drove our old monster van.
Snowflake by MarieH Designs
3 - Snow days
Every year we hoped for snow days.  Our district was usually the last one in the valley to cancel, so we spent many mornings listening to the radio while we were slowly getting ready, hoping to hear those magical words that our district had cancelled.  As a parent now, I dread those same words, knowing that means my kids will be hyped-up and probably up at the crack of dawn in the morning.

2 - Teaching
From the time I entered Kindergarten, my career goal was to become a teacher.  I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up -- a teacher.  I did lean toward an engineer for a year or two, but came back to teaching.  I founded a Future Educators of America club my senior year.  When I went on to college, I changed my focus from secondary education to elementary.  I had many experiences teaching in classrooms through practicums and my student teaching.

1 - Freedom
Nowadays, school means more freedom for me.  All I have left at home is my little Bugaboo during the days.  We don't have to stick to any particular schedule, we can go on playdates or shopping trips without needing to be home for a bus to drop off.  My days can be as full or as lazy as I want them.