Thursday, May 31, 2012

a creation story

I have great memories of Sunday evening UMY time, so when my niece Brooke asked me to help her as she revived the program at Mt. Olivet, I had to agree. We kicked off the program on Superbowl Sunday a few years ago. It was both exciting and nerve racking to make this commitment. We both work with kids at our jobs, but neither of us have been trained in ministry. It was definitely a God led decision and journey. For quite sometime we used lessons from purchased curriculum. And it worked. The lessons were pre-planned, the games were suggested, and we felt comforted knowing that someone, somewhere, thought that this was good stuff. There were suggested questions for discussion, and sometimes even printed answers for those questions. Our kids participated in the readings and discussions. They brought in prayer requests. But more and more we noticed that we seemed hungry for more. Brooke and I were always looking for better curriculum. We knew that our kids were ready to dig a little deeper. Many of them had been coming to UMY for several years, and not only had they grown up, but their relationships with God had grown. We had to find a curriculum that gave us a more intense study of God's word - we wanted to get past "object" lesson and focus more on Bible lessons.

The kids were ready. But Brooke and I were a bit intimidated. We knew that we wanted more reading of the Bible and more student led discussion. While at Veritas, we visited a "share" room for leaders. We found a few books that we thought might be a beginning. When we returned, we decided to make the leap. But where to begin? Duh! At the beginning. One Sunday evening we gave the kids assigned verses to read for the next week's lessons. The kids didn't complain at all. They returned the next Sunday with verses read and eager to discuss what they had read. We took it slow, spending several weeks reading and discussing the first few chapters of Genesis.Some nights we were all searching indexes, search engines, and other chapters to find answers or even more questions. We might only discuss a few verses each Sunday, but we were gaining a depth of knowledge that just wasn't possible with our old way of presenting lessons.

Last night we had our end to the year party. We swam, grilled burgers and hotdogs, and returned to the church for a lock in. We have had a lock in  each year. The kids love it, so Brooke and I suck it up and let them have fun. I was trying to come up with an activity that we hadn't done at a lock in - just to liven things up a bit, when I got what I thought was an original idea. First I thought the kids could paint a canvas with their favorite Bible verse or a cross or something else. Then I thought why not tie it in to our year a little more and have them paint the creation story. I gathered canvases and paints. At about 10:30 I started dragging out the materials. We discussed what I had in mind. The kids were nervous to start, so Brooke searched Google images for some ideas. We had canvases of various sizes. The kids chose days,and some worked in groups. And the painting started. It was a great review of some of the things we had studied during the year. The kids searched verses to be certain of just what could be in their day's painting. Some were uncomfortable with the actual painting, but they were comfortable in discussing what should be represented in the picture. We crawled in bed around 4 a.m. And then Caleb put a few finishing details on his painting after breakfast this morning. I also had to make some adjustments to my canvas this morning. I had day three - the creation of sea creatures and birds. Mine had birds flying in the distance, a seagullresting on coral covered rock, a dolphin, and octupus, and I painted the cutest little sun setting on the horizon. Then Caleb pointed out that God didn't create the sun and moon until day four.

As always there is a lesson here. Brooke and I knew our kids were ready for more. But just as some were uncomfortable to put paint on that white canvas, we were worried about making a mistake. Through studying Genesis, we've had a genesis of our own. It's amazing to see God work in our little group. Just like our art project, some are more comfortable with lots of little details while some need a much more broad stroke. This new way works for us. Some are very independent and self-directed while some need the comfort of a partner or even the help of someone a little more experienced. But everyone has something to contribute.

After Lulu very quickly finished her in the beginning canvas, she worked for a while on another canvas. She instragrammed a picture of her finished project with the tag best youth group ever - and I have to agree.

When we come back in the fall, these paintings will have verses added and will be hanging for the kids to enjoy. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

week 1 done

Last week decided to join Jasmine and Heather in their #4realfitnesschallenge. The idea is to commit to 40 minutes of fitness 4 days of the week for 4 weeks. Today ends my first week - and I'm still alive to tell about it.

I love Heather's running/porn analogy. I feel much the same way. The thought of someone watching me run is not a happy thought. It's the exact reason that I only walked while I was at the lake. I did lots and lots of walking. I got in lots of exercise. But I just couldn't get up the nerve to break out in a run. I planned to. I thought about it. I prepared for it. But I came up with every excuse not to. And I just walked.

I've mentioned before that I am determined to finish my c25k app this summer. Several times in the last year I have gotten to week 4 and, for one reason or another, not conquered it. But that's going to change soon. Today I finished week 3 day 1. It was hard. And my pace was embarrassingly slow. But I finished it. As I was running up that last little hill, I had a running conversation going on in my head.
 I can't run another time.
Oh yes, you can. And you WILL.
Nope, can't do it. This knee is killing me, and I just can't do it.
You are going to do it. You will not quit. Even if you have to drag that leg behind you.
And then the wonderful words COOL DOWN. I was so glad to hear it. And I've looked at the next run; it's a repeat of today's so I know I can do it too.

I have walked every or done the c25k app every morning this week. Tonight is our end of the year UMY swim party and lock-in. There will be no running or walking in the morning. I think I'll do some stretching, maybe some yoga tomorrow and let these legs have a day to rest so that I can work on increasing my pace some on Friday.

So Wednesday's will be my day to report my weekly progress. And guess what? Next Wednesday I will be camping again. I'll be pulling out Tuesday morning for 4 days of fun on a girls only trip. Hopefully I'll have enough service to post from my phone. I've only camped at this place one other time; the people there don't know me - maybe I'll get up enough courage to run while I'm there. I will be camping with a friend who is a runner. Can I run in public with a real runner? Hmmmm?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

bring on summer

and camping season!

Late yesterday afternoon, Jus and I returned from a fantastic weekend of camping with family and friends. It was four days filled with fun, sun, water, and delicious food. Food is a very important part of our camping trips. I think we started planning our menu on mother's day, or maybe even earlier. We eat sandwiches for lunch, but breakfast and supper are big productions. When we are eating supper, we discuss what we'll be eating for breakfast the next morning, and when we are eating breakfast, we discuss what we'll be eating for supper that night. It's a never ending circle - a very tasty circle.

leah cracked and stirred eggs for omelets monday morning and she helped to fry the fish saturday night

At each meal we cooked for about 20 people, sometimes more. And when cooking for that many people, it takes A LOT OF FOOD.  See that tray of empty egg shells? We cooked all of those, got some from the neighbors who were heading home, and sent Spanky to the store to buy some more - and that was just for omelets on Monday morning. It also takes everyone working together.

The kids waiting patiently for their omelets to be cooked. But they also hauled trash, watched the dogs, pushed the baby, and made trips back and forth to fetch things from one camper or another.

Supper menus included grilled hamburgers and hotdogs on Friday night, a fish fry Saturday night, and smoked ribs and chicken with grilled deer kabobs on Sunday night. Breakfasts were filled with bacon, sausage, hot links, biscuits, pancakes, and eggs. It is somewhat of a tradition that we have omelets on the last morning. It takes a bit of slicing, dicing, and crumbling - but oh the yumminess!

Mike and Jen handled the griddles and man did they do it up right!

Everyone gets to choose his/her fixin's. Some want meat and cheese only. Some want the works.

this is john's - he told jen to throw it all on there - and she did

This year's omelet bar had bacon, sausage, hamburger, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cheese. Some people topped theirs with salsa. Heaven in a skillet I tell ya!

Here's mine. Jen added a garnish to pretty it up for the picture. That was the BEST omelet. No omelet at home can ever taste as good as these. And this type of breakfast is why we changed out of flip flops and hit the road for a long walk every morning. Between morning walks, walking the dogs throughout the day, and time in the water, I easily kept my commitment for the #4realfitnesschallenge.

If you have never camped, I say grab a tent, pack your ice chest, and drag your family to the nearest park ASAP. Our kids love it - the oldest "kid" brought her baby this year

he doesn't want me - he wants my phone!

And this little man loved it. He was passed from Momma to Daddy to GeGe to Grandad to aunt to uncle to cousin and back around again. He was pulled in his wagon, pushed in his car or stroller, and just carried around. We splashed with him, we played ball with him, and we did whatever he found entertaining. I'm betting that this morning he is wondering where everyone is and why we all aren't just out his window waiting to play.

Today I'm doing the laundry and packing it all right back because I'm leaving in a few days to go on another camping trip. This time girls only - no husbands or kids allowed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sweet summertime

It's here! It's finally here! Summer 2012. School is over and the living is easy. Or at least that's what I'm hoping.

I have such big plans for this summer. Oh, no grand travels, no big house remodels - but big plans nevertheless.

While my house will not be freshly painted at the end of the summer, I am planning a remodel - of me. I've been working on fitness for a while now. Just not consistently. I have lost a few pounds, but I want more. And this summer I'm doing it. This morning, on my first morning of summer break, I got up and completed week 2 day 2 of my c25k program. Yay for me! And I'm committing to join Jasmine and Heather in their 4 real fitness challenge as a way to start my summer workout plan.

One of my favorite things about summer is reading. I can stay up late to read every night if I want. I can read in the mornings as I drink my coffee. I can read before my afternoon nap. The schedule is wide open. A few days ago my UPS man delivered several new "teacher" books. And this morning I came across this list. Where to begin, where to begin?

I've got several crafty projects lined up and waiting. My niece asked me the other day about a t-shirt dress that I promised to put together. It's coming Abby, I promise. Just last weekend, I picked up some cute fabric to make me a purse.

But first on my agenda - THE LAKE! I'm packing up today and heading out first thing tomorrow morning. My brother is a principal, my sister is a pre-k teacher, my niece is a speech therapist, and we are a family of tired, stressed, overworked educators. We also have several tired, overworked students who are ready to hit the water. In the last few days there have been several calls and texts about the menu for the weekend. Lake food is high on our priority list. We don't mess around when it comes to cooking at the lake. There will be grilling. There will be smoking. There will be frying. Brother and I will batter and fry just about anything. But I will work off those calories walking the dogs, swimming out to my island floatie, and trekking back and forth to the bath house.

I'll try to post an update from the my phone this weekend, but service at the lake is very iffy. And sometimes I just get so busy having fun that I forget all about posting. Gotta go pack my books, my sunscreen, and my tennis shoes. Whatever your plans, stay safe and enjoy your weekend.

Monday, May 21, 2012

i think i can, i think i can, i think i can

It seems as though I've been channeling that little engine all day long.

Getting out of bed this morning was a challenge. Last night my back was hurting so I took a muscle relaxer before going to bed. But honestly, I don't think it had anything to do with the difficulty in getting up. My sister tweeted this morning that her body had made the switch to summertime already - I think mine has too. So I had to tell myself, "I think I can. I think I can."

Once at school, I was faced with an overwhelming amount of tasks to be completed. The biggest being packing my room for summer; the most pressing being typing my semester test that kids would take at 10:00. I started typing it twice last week and got interrupted. The test got typed, the test got given, and the test got graded; the packing got, well.... I think I can. I think I can.

After school I treated myself to a mani and pedi. It has become my last day of school treat. But I just didn't thing I could make it until Wednesday afternoon. When I got home, I sat out in my porch swing while the dogs played in the yard. The cool breeze felt so good that I felt guilty sitting there on my butt wasting such perfect weather. So I got up, change, and put on my shoes. I knew that it was time to get back to my C25K. I have started this program many, many times, but never have I made it past week 4 day 1. I am determined that this summer I WILL finish the program. Several weeks I started it again. And then I hurt my foot while stepping off the back deck. I debated starting over but decided to just move on to week 2 day 1. I made it. I. Think. I. Can. I. Think. I. Can. Man, I was chugging up my tiny hill very, very slowly there at the end. And then when my time was over, I looked back and realized that I hadn't run since April 30. Really? No wonder I was huffing and puffing so.

I've got two more mornings to pull myself out of bed and go to school. So if you see my huffing and puffing or blowing smoke one of those days, remind me that you think I can.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

a love/hate relationship

In my last post I mentioned that I sweated through a workshop this week. I may have been burning up the entire day, but I love that the information shared was useful. We read and discussed just the preface of Teaching Argument Writing. I'm thinking the book should have some great stuff in it if we spent a large part of entire workshop just discussing the preface. We were given a copy to take home - I love that too.

I hate going to workshops with high expectations and coming home feeling as though I've wasted an entire day. Thankfully, this week's workshop was nothing like one of those.

While I was in the workshop, the facilitator mentioned two other books that she liked. I love that I was able to pull up my amazon account, quickly find the books, add them to my cart (which had one lonely book waiting), and have them delivered to my front door. I've whined mentioned lately that I have to drive to Little Rock to get many things that I need - add books to the list.

I hate that we don't have a wonderful bookstore nearby. The book aisle at my local Walmart just doesn't cut it. They still have the Hunger Games Trilogy featured; I read that several years ago. And (I may offend a few people here) Nicholas Sparks just doesn't do a thing for me. I crave visits to the big bookstore in Little Rock, but I wonder if I would enjoy my visits so much if I could just pop in any time.

I love that my friend Emily messaged me this week and asked if I wanted to meet and walk this morning. I sometimes meet Melissa and walk, and I've wanted someone close to walk with more often. Why did I never think of Emily - she lives just up the road! Maybe because she's younger and in great shape, and I never thought I could keep up. But I survived our two miles this morning. And I'm not at all offended that I was a frizzy-haired, huffying-wheezing, sweaty mess when we finished and Emily, who had run  the mile from her house to meet me, walked the same two miles as me, and was going to run the mile back to her house, looked fresh and glowing. No, I'm not bitter about that at all.

While I am glad that we got in a walk, I hated hearing my alarm this morning. And I was already awake. Why is it that the morning alarm is such an offense noise? My normal alarm is crickets chirping. I thought that might make it a little more soothing in the mornings. But no. Just makes me want the catch every cricket I see and jerk their little legs off.

And now I'm ready to enjoy my quiet Saturday morning. I love Saturday mornings. Just me and the dogs for a few hours. I've got laundry going. The coffee is hot. I've a few new books to browse through before the dew is dry and I have to go mow the yard.

I hate that my coffee cup is empty and the kitchen seems so far away. But I've come up with a brilliant idea. You know those Roomba vacuums that putter around the living room all day just sucking up dust bunnies. I'm going to make a Cofoomba - it will shuttle empty coffee cups back to the kitchen for a refill and then return it to the correct chair in the living room. Doesn't that sound like a great idea? QVC, here I come!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

heat makes me grouchy

Today I went to Monticello for a workshop. It was a good workshop, so I'm not complaining (much). However, there are few things I need to get off my chest.

1. I know I'm hot natured. I understand that my ideal room temperature would send most people into sudden hypothermia. I keep my classroom and my house at my preferred temperature. But when I go the movies or church or workshops, I dress in my coolest possible clothing. I don't expect the thermostat to be at 68 degrees or 70 degrees.  But if it's 95 degrees outside, I do expect that the A/C in the room would be turned on. Even the tiny lady beside me who came in this morning wearing a sweater and a jean jacket was down to a sleeveless shirt before the end of the day. People, I can only take off so much clothing before you all are going to begin to get uncomfortable! And when I know that it's 95 outside, I don't come in wearing much to begin with.

2. When I pay almost $9 for a chef salad and a glass of tea, I expect that salad to be made of a lettuce other than iceberg and that it would come on something a little nicer than a styrofoam plate. And I want a damn refill on my tea!

3. As I was driving to pay for that pricey, but tiny, salad, I noticed a man dressed in a leprechaun suit holding a sign advertising a place that buys gold and silver. Seriously. A grown man. Dressed as a leprechaun. In 95 degree weather. Do you ever see those people dressed in costume holding a sign and think, "Oh, isn't he cute? I think I'll stop off and sell my wedding ring." Almost every time I go past this one intersection in  Little Rock, I see someone dressed as Little Caesar and dancing around with a sign. It never makes me want to eat pizza. Then on the way back from lunch and again on the way home, I saw politicians standing near an intersection waving at people and toting campaign signs. Again, do you base your vote on which candidate waves at you as you speed through the yellow light?

4. While I'm on politicians, lately several candidates have made appearances at school during the day or during school functions. A few weeks ago I was introduced to someone running for judge while I was leaving a softball tournament. I wanted to ask him if he had been to any of the games last year. Or even basketball or football games before the political season had started. And then today I got an email from that same candidate. I didn't give him my email address. I didn't ask him to email me. And I won't vote for him because of that email. I can't stand to be pestered by phone calls and emails. Do you vote for people because they call or email?

5. After my workshop, I ran in to Walmart to get groceries. I called Lovey to see if he needed anything. I got his standard list: dog food, cokes, and scooby snacks. I know to get those things. I don't have to call for that list. I buy those things every time I go.

I'm blaming the heat for this rant.

Monday, May 14, 2012

a graduate project

It seems as though my projects of late have taken an extremely long time to complete. It's not that they have been too difficult, but more that it is difficult to gather all of the needed materials. And today's project is another one of those.

This project is something that did take a bit to plan. The girls in my creative writing class have just been amazingly wonderful this year. And I wanted to do something special for the six seniors. And I knew that I wanted to use a piece that they had written for class. It took quite some time for me to decide just which project I would use. But when I read Ann Voskamp's post about where she was from, I knew that I had to have my girls mimic her style but write their own verses identifying their roots. There was no doubt in my mind that this piece would absolutely be a part of their senior gift.

While they were reading the pieces, I was trying to decide the best way to use these in a project. I knew that I wanted to do the words on a board. And there were just too many words to paint. I thought about choosing a favorite few lines to put on each girls board but really wanted to use the entire piece. And then I saw this on pintrest and knew that I had my project!

On one of our wonderfully sunshiney days, I took the class out to the football field and snapped pictures of everyone. Little did the seniors know, but I was getting shots for my project. I then put their poems with their pictures and went to Staples to have engineer prints done. Problem #1. The first print came out of the machine with lines going all the way across the prints in several places. I questioned the lines, and the girl told me that it was supposed to be that way. Really? I left  there and went to Lowes to get my plywood. I knew that the sheets would fit in my truck, but I would have to drive home with the back tied down. I needed six pieces of wood, so I asked them to cut three sheets in halves. Problem #2. After paying for the wood and paint, I went over to select the pieces of wood that weren't warped, and the guy told me that he couldn't cut that wood. After a discussion, it was decided that he could, after all, cut the wood.  So then I only needed to make a trip to Little Rock to visit a Staples there and get my prints.

These sheets of underlayment are about $11.00. This one has been cut in half already.

I decided that I wanted my shapes to be something like the shape in the pintrest picture but more fairy tale-ish and wonky.

I started with a basic shape and then added some curves and bumps. Until it looked just wonky enough.

I cut them out with a jug saw. Lovey cut two of the six. He's a very precise and proper former construction worker. My wonky shapes were not quite his taste.

The wood is very thin and will splinter easily. I think the splinters just add character. Notice that I didn't stay exactly on my cutting line - if I thought it was too smooth and matchy, I just ignored the line.

After I cut the shapes, I sanded the edges which rounded them a bit.

I painted each board a different color. The other girls in class helped me to decide which girl got what color. It was funny how much we agreed on the colors for the senior girls. While I was at Lowes getting the wood, I went to the paint department and selected colors. I had them mix my colors and got the sample sizes for less than $3.00 each.

After painting, the boards were ready for hangers. I carefully chose hangers for the thin wood. However, after putting the hangers on the first one, there was a problem.

Yep. That's the hanger poking through on the painted side. Redo. Lovey to the rescue! I held the tiny metal hangers, and he ground the ends with his electric grinder. Now believe me when I tell you that I wouldn't let just anybody get that close to me with an electric grinder. But I know that he is very precise, and I still have all of my fingernails.

I had to trim the prints. Then I used spray adhesive to put them on the boards. After that dried, I applied mod podge over the entire board and let it dry completely.

The paper did crinkle a bit when I put the mod podge on, but it smoothed out again as it dried.

It took a lot of mod podge! I had to make a trip to Walmart to get more so that I could finish the last three. Lovey painted the last board while I made my Walmart run. He is such a sweetie sometimes. I had these board all over my house all weekend. The prints were 2 X 3, and the boards are just a bit bigger. Finding room to lay them flat was a challenge.

But with each step, I could tell that I just loved them. And I hoped that the girls would too.

I started thinking that I would love to have these hanging in my classroom.

But this morning Lovey helped me to load them in my truck, and I took them to school. I lugged them into my classroom and lined them up in front of my white board. This afternoon the girls had to come for graduation practice. I had them to all come to my room. I think they were surprised. And I think they really liked them.

I've already told my friend Carrie to choose pictures of her kids. We have to make these for her.

Linking up with

six sisters
uncommonly yours

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

showing some pluck

Are you brave? How do you define bravery?

When are you definitely NOT brave?

I like to think of myself as being brave.

I know people who never spend the night alone. Several years ago when I was coaching cheerleaders, Lovey was at his mom's while I was at a far away game. She must have been sick or recuperating from something because he decided to stay the night with her. I remember that he called me and told me to just have the bus to drop me at her house. I told him no. He said he would come to the house to get me. I told him no. During that very busy time of my life, the thought of sleeping completely alone in an empty house was such a treat that I felt guilty for ignoring his pleas to come to his momma's house. But not guilty enough to go. It really had nothing to do with bravery - I was just tired!

I sometimes have to go out in the pasture to retrieve Lucy Mercer from one of her midnight romps. And I'm usually so mad at her that I don't give bravery a second thought. During deer season, I frequently walk across the pasture (and cross a creek) to reach my deerstand in the cover of darkness. Again, it's not about bravery, in this case it's about not making enough noise to scare any deer away.

Each summer I go camping several times. Lovey doesn't go. I pull my own camper, back it in, and set it up. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have some help from one of the boys or a niece or nephew or brother or sister, but sometimes I do it alone. I can't consider it bravery because usually some extra body ends up sleeping in my extra bed. And if I need any help, there's almost always friends and/or family nearby.

I'm not sure if any of this qualifies me as brave, but I would say that I have pluck.

My sister and I once built a fence around her back yard. I can give a cow a shot. I can install a ceiling fan. I know how to change a tire. And if I had to, I could change the oil. I even caught a possum one time.

Heights of more than 6-12 inches scare me. Truly scare me to death. But if I absolutely have to I can force myself to climb a ladder or stand in a chair.

Yep, I'm full of pluck.

Unless you throw a frog in the mix. No, you'll never see me at Conway's Toadsuck festival. I just can't stand toads and frogs. They. Creep. Me. Out. I have learned to restrain myself from the bloodcurdling screams that have scared the bejeezus out of Lovey since we got married. He has run to my rescue so many times, only to find me standing on the front porch frozen with fear because of a toad between me and the front door.

While I was working on the terrariums this weekend, I went out to get an old screen. Thank goodness I had shoes on. It was dark. And I didn't turn the porch light on. Somehow a toad managed to get back in the house with me. I think I stepped on him and he stuck to the bottom of my shoe! (It grosses me out to even think of it now) Let me tell you, my reaction was anything BUT brave. I did let out a little scream. I whined. I ran away. But then he started hopping further in the house. I just couldn't stand the thought of a big, fat, ugly frog in my house. And the bravery kicked in. I didn't actually touch the vile creature, but I somehow managed to get him outside. I have to admit that if Jus had been home, he would have had to get out of bed and rescue me. But I just couldn't bring myself to wake Lovey up to help. Getting the thing out of my house all alone is probably the bravest thing I've ever done.

No matter how brave I think I am - a frog or toad can bring me to my knees (not literally because I have to be ready to run).

So what's your frog? What scares you most?

When are you the bravest? When do you show some pluck?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

the 15 minute project...

...that took me 2 months to complete.

Or maybe longer. Seriously. Many, many weeks ago I was watching HGTV - I think. It was that show where they feature a beautiful designer room that costs a bazillion dollars, show it to a normal couple and let them fall in love with it, then copy the design for something like $19.99 plus tax. You know the one? Anyway, that day the designer room was a dining room, and just like that poor, unsuspecting couple, I fell in love with that room. Which is even more sad for me, because I don't have a dining room to decorate at all. I loved the lighting for the room. I loved the table and chairs. I loved the mirror on a side wall. But I knew I couldn't have any of those things. And I loved, loved, loved the terrariums as a centerpiece for the dining room table. Terrariums. Like from the '70's. Now THAT I could do.

A few weeks later I went to Little Rock and was able to find a large round container and two apothecary jars. I was so excited to make the project. And then I couldn't find plants for terrariums. So for several weeks the jars just rode around in the back of my truck. I have no idea how they didn't get broken.

Finally, I found some plants at Lowes. But I forgot to pick up some rocks. So the plants have been sitting on my kitchen bar for weeks. And quite honestly, I got so busy with the prom stuff at school that I just couldn't worry about terrariums. (I did consider making them to use as centerpieces for the food table - a genuine '70's vibe.) I have several projects that have backed up because of that darn prom. I was so busy the few weeks before and so tired the week after, that absolutely nothing else got done.

But tonight, I decided that I wanted those terrariums done! So I dug around in several of my stashes and found some rocks. I found an old screen that the cats had ruined and cut it to use. And I had everything else ready to go.

First, carefully add rocks to the container. I was so worried that I would carelessly bang the side and crack it.

After the rocks were in place, I cut the screen to fit. This will hopefully help to contain the dirt.

Next I added the plants. There was no plan. I just put them in where I thought they would fit.

Then I added more dirt to fill the area.

I carefully watered them, and they were done. Seriously about 15 minutes and they were done.

I'm in love.

Do they make my living room look like the bazillion dollar designer room?

Maybe not. But I do think I'm getting closer to the $19.99 bargain room.

see the laundry basket reflection? i stayed up tonight to get some laundry done but this project was more fun than laundry

I'm linking up with

Friday, May 4, 2012

getting out of my routine

Sometimes we all get stuck in a rut. Things become habit. And we get bored.

Well that wasn't my Friday at all. It was a typical start to the day - out of bed, shower, coffee, and drive. I'm in the planning process for a presentation in a few weeks and went to discuss things with my friend Robin. She has some great information from a recent conference, and I'm all about using the resources available. And from 8:00-9:00, she was available. We bounced around some ideas, discussed a few things, and she agreed to help me do some research. I was just leaving when the secretary called on the intercom telling me to call my principal. Today we had the baseball team headed to regional tournament, and the softball was hosting regional tournaments. Because we were short-handed, he asked me if I could do elementary P.E. for the softball coach. It was only two classes.

I've raised two children. I have several nieces and nephews. I normally teach seventh grade. I coached jr. and sr. high cheer for several years. One year I taught a fitness class. I knew that this was something I could do. Apparently, my principal wasn't so sure because the last thing he said to me was, "And Mercer, please don't let any little kids get hurt." That just made me laugh.

I went to get 4th grade first. I teased them about being in elementary and having to walk every where in a straight - that's one of the things my seventh graders are always so happy to leave behind. I told them that we would have to walk in a straight line with me as the leader, and then we played follow the leader from the outside of their building to the P.E. area - there was nothing straight about. We circled almost every pole we passed. Everyone was dizzy when we got to our destination - and I was already a sweaty, stinky mess.

Almost immediately there was a "face plant" that I thought might be an injury - but the boy bounced right up. We were locked out of the building, so the kids chose to just play outside on the playground. There was a very competitive kickball game going on in minutes. Soon the younger kids came out for recess.

It didn't take long for someone to come limping up. It was a kindergartner; he had fallen and skinned his knee. It wasn't a bad cut, but he sure thought is was. I wasn't sure if he was going to cry or not, so I tried to get his mind off the pain. He sat down, and I started asking him about it. I asked him if he wanted me to make it heal really fast. He said, "Yes, what are you going to do?" I told him that I was going to spit on it with my magic spit that would only burn a few minutes and then the cut would go away. After several minutes of me teasing him (without him crying at all), it dawned on me that I probably shouldn't be telling a kindergartner that I was going to spit on him, even if I was just kidding.

Can you imagine the conversations around the dinner table tonight? "Mom, I hurt my leg today and Mrs. Mer wanted to spit on me." or "My friend got hurt on the playground today, and Mrs. Mer spit on his leg." or "Mrs. Mer spit on a boy today at recess, and his leg starting bleeding." or "Mrs. Mer made a boy cry today. She cast a magic spell, spit in his eye, and now he can't walk."

I quickly told him that I was just teasing him and took his side when the duty teacher wanted to spray the burning medicine on it before she put on the bandaid. Just so you don't thing I'm evil - I asked him if his mom ever put a little spit on her thumb and wiped something off his face. He said yes, she had. I told him that she had magic spit, too - that all momma's had it. The duty teacher confessed that she, a mom, had magic spit too.

In the next class (another group of kindergarten), there were a few small boo-boos. Nothing major that required the nurse or a bandaid. But I never mentioned my magic spit even once.

And when that one little boy told the class he knew the "F" word and a little girl quickly whispered in his ear and he said, "Not that one - the real "F" word!" I didn't even laugh out loud. I just told him that I didn't need to hear any more about that.

Maybe routines aren't so bad. And my principal knows me pretty good - maybe that's why he made that last comment.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

to coupon, or not to coupon

After school today, I had to run to get groceries. I went to Pine Bluff. I traipsed all over the store to fill my buggy and then headed to a register. Isn't that always fun? The gamble at the register.

- Go for a short line only to discover that the cashier is a slow motion queen. Or the one I hate the most analyzes each and every item that I put on the belt. And asks me what it tastes like. Or where I found it.

- Look for someone with very little in her buggy. And then listen to her scream at her husband and/or kids for 10 minutes. Or watch helplessly as the kids come out of nowhere and slowly fill her buggy with their items.

- Find the one line that is moving at a reasonable speed only to have someone move in from behind and crowd MY space. Sometimes I can't even punch in my debit card code because the person behind me is so freaking close. I have been known to give said person's buggy a slight "bump" to remind him/her that there is such a thing as too close.

Today I was dreading the line. The store was very busy. But somehow I found a line that had one family mid-checkout. They had a full load, but the conveyor belt was moving quickly. As I started loading the my things on the belt (in the proper order, of course), I noticed that the woman was price matching almost everything. It wasn't slowing up the checkout process at all. I was amazed at her ability to quote prices from various stores. My sister has always been able to tell me the price of items in her pantry. Many times she has excitedly told me that one grocery store or another is running ketchup for .72 a bottle or something like that. And I always have to ask if that is good or bad. Today the woman in front of me kept glancing my way. I finally told her that I was impressed with her ability to quote the prices. Her husband teased that she has hopes of being an extreme couponer. She explained that they were a one income family and couldn't get by without couponing and price matching groceries and essential household items.

Why did this make me a little uncomfortable? I felt a little guilty with my overly filled buggy and not one thing planned ahead or priced matched or even a single coupon. And I still can't tell you how much I paid for one single item in the buggy. I take that back - there's one thing, just one, that I know the price of.

We all have different talents and gifts. Mine is definitely not menu planning or grocery shopping. I got to my car, went to get gas, and realized that I had forgotten one of the main things I had gone in to get. I'm just not cut out for grocery shopping.  But I sure wish that I was a lot better at price matching and coupon clipping.

Do you extreme coupon? Do you price match? Do you crowd the person in front of you in the check out line? Or do you give a little bump to those crowders behind you?