family · life

What is next to check off the list?

Ahhh the never ending feeling of what next. I spent time today revising my lesson plans for next week. I realize I was crazy to do so many weeks ahead of time. I tried to get the whole month of Sept done, but then when you get to the end you realize, what was I thinking?

I’ve had to tweak the schedule of my classroom and move things around to make it work for all my students. I am still working on what things do I do twice to make sure most of my students get the activity and which ones do I say… oh well you missed because it wasn’t your day at school.

The same feels for life at home. I am trying to figure out a schedule to get things done. I want to get most of the cleaning and shopping done during the week, but then that leaves me little time for me. I had a whole year of being home and there are times already where I miss those quiet moments that I had during that year. I feel like I’m either trying to cram in things for work or cleaning or doing some other things that needs to get done before the boys get home. Then it is homework, dinner and evening activities.

I need to remember to carve out those “me” moments in life. The fact that Richard and I get up at 5:30am and workout helps. I start the day doing something healthy for me, but then life gets busy to get everyone off to school and work. There is a bit of time in the mornings before I leave, but often times I find this filled with bits of this and that. I need down time. I realize that I have only been teaching officially for 10 days and things will smooth out. I realize that I know what I need and I just need to make it work. But for now, I’ll keep the feeling of what is next? And then check it off the list!

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family · life

Almost the start of fall

Yesterday was the first time that Richard and I did not get up to complete our workout. We did it when he got home instead. Well then both of us were achy and slept like crap. I guess we need to get up and workout in the morning from now on!

Since we were tired and so were the boys we had a slow morning today. Richard decided to go on a bike ride by himself and then he needed to take his bike into the shop. The boys headed off to the playground with a football and I decided to clean and put up some decorations. For the last few weeks I’ve been saying I need to put out my fall decorations. Well since it’s already half way through Sept. I decided to put up my Halloween decorations too. I did not put out the outside ones, just the ones in the house.

I always like this time of year. Time to open up the windows. Time to decorate for the upcoming holidays and so much more. This is the beginning of the craziness of the holidays, but also the beginning of the fun.

This week I have salsa stoup and chili on our menu. Since the 21st is the official start of fall I guess I’ll get into the fall spirit. (One of my students tried to convince me that fall already started, ummmm nope sorry it hasn’t. Labor day is the unofficial start of fall… the autumnal equinox is not until Sept. 21)

This means plans to go apple picking, pumpkin picking, decorating for Halloween and so much more.  I can tell you one thing I won’t do, have anything pumpkin spice. I don’t like pumpkin spice. I do not get the fixation everyone has with this smell and taste. Personally it does nothing for me. Oh well to each their own.

Are you ready for fall? Do you like pumpkin spice? When do you decorate for Halloween?

family · life

It’s FRIDAY!

It is Friday and we made it.

Today was my first day with the kiddos and it went… ok. There are a few personalities that are interesting and a few behaviors that will need to be quickly addressed, but hey it’s only day one.

Today we are going to North Park for Pour at the Park. This is an event we went to last year. They have restaurants and microbreweries set up tents. You pay a fee to get in, the proceeds of which go to the park itself, and then you get a tasting cup. You can go around and sample beer and food. They have music playing and just lots of fun stuff.

I’m ready!

Hope your week went smoothly and your weekend is enjoyable!

family · life

Cleaning schedule

It’s Tuesday! I love long weekends, but I also know that it means that I now have 5 days of work to fit into 4 days. I slacked on housework last week BIG time. I did get a few things done, but I need to work on creating a new schedule so that everything gets done on a regular basis. This is my idea for now:

  • Monday- floors- vac, sweep, mop
  • Tuesday- bathrooms
  • Wednesdays- groceries
  • Thursdays- sweep, iron
  • Fridays- nothing or make up items missed

I figure laundry will happen as needed. I typically dust every other week or so. I try to clean the kitchen nightly. We will see how this works out.

Do you have a weekly cleaning schedule? What have you found works for you, and your family??

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Painting, yard work and working out

Life has been so busy lately.

Richard and I finished painting the basement! We painted the media area the dark green and then the stairwell the light area.

Saturday, Richard and I spend about 3 hours working outside. We seeded, fertalized and did a bit of other work on the yard. We replanted 3 plants that outgrew their pots. We also made 2 new spider plants out of my spider babies and a new pothos plant with clippings from Colby’s plant. Then we took on the way back. Richard got out the brush cutter and I took the large loppers and we went to work cleaning out lots and lots of brush. It’s crazy when you realize how much you cut, and then look at how much more needs to still be done back there. But hey, at least we made a dent.

We went on a bike ride/hike yesterday.  It was nice to get out on the trails after a long busy week. I ended up hiking just over 3 miles.

Today we started our FOURTH week of Liift4 on Beachbody. I can definitely feel myself getting stronger and am able to lift heavier weights. I won’t say that I’ve seen a ton of difference in my clothes or on the scale, but I feel a lot better getting up, working out and focusing on eating healthier. I am not following their food plan exactly. I am more focused on eating healthier instead of working on measuring out portions and counting the amount of each type of food I eat. I always feel that heath, fitness and nutrition need to be natural parts of your life not forced pieces if you are going to keep up the work. I know the fact that I’m lifting will burn calories. I know that the HIIT parts is the best way to get cardio. I also know that eating more veggies and lean protein will fuel my body in a healthy way.  Now I make all that knowledge work for me!

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Kayaking

Since moving to PA, we have been trying to get out and do a variety of outdoor things with the boys. The took mountain biking lessons, we’ve gone hiking, they learned to sled, ice skate and make snowmen. We are enjoying the county park that is located about 3 miles from our house. We love that we have 3075 acres of nature to explore and enjoy.

Out latest adventures was kayaking. We have always seen tons of people out kayaking and stand up paddle boarding on the lake in North Park. We often talked about getting out on the water and trying out kayaking. Saturday was the day we got out. We went through LLBean Outdoor Discovery School

. (We went with them on 2 hikes last year) Our feeling was to get with an instructor who would help all of us begin to understand the techniques of kayaking.

Each of the boys was able to paddle their own kayak, which was a big plus. None of us were perfect, but we had fun. Colby struggles in the beginning, but Richard helped him muddle through the basics and then his paddle stroke became near perfect. Blake on the other hand just went at it. His stroke is a bit sloppy but that doesn’t stop him from going.

For me I found turning to be the most challenging, part, but I’m getting there.

Richard has the most water craft experience, so this was a lot easier for him. (he is the one who had the camera, hence the picture of me)

While on the water we saw lots and lots of Canadian Geese, they are starting to practice for their migration flight. We saw Harry the Great Blue Heron and a snapper turtle who decided to pop up right in the middle of all of our kayaks.

Education · family · life · through my camera lens

First day of school

Image result for first day of school

This has been a great summer for us. Hershey, trains, mountain biking and lots more. But that time of year has come: back to school.

P1000335Today is the boys’ first day of school. They were up and ready to go. While there may have been a bit of nervous energy, they were excited to get back to it. Both boys enjoy school. They enjoy learning and exploring knowledge. Blake thrives off the routine of the school year. Colby was psyched to go see his friends and find new ones too.

It’s hard to believe that Blake is starting 6th grade. Sixth grade is such a huge transformation grade. This is the time where kids go from being kids to being a younger version of their adult self. Yes, I know they still aren’t even teens, but trust me this is the year that so much growing and maturing in personality and maturity happens.

Colby is starting 5th grade. While the change isn’t as dramatic from 4th to 5th there is stillP1000337 a change.

This will be Blake’s last year at the school he is in now. He will have 4 teachers instead of 2. This is the school’s way of getting them ready for middle school. Next year the boys will be in two different schools, they haven’t had that since Blake was in K and Colby in preK.

I can only hope that they learn, grown and mature. That they take on challenges. That they push themselves to expand their knowledge base and learn. I want them to make mistakes, failure is a good thing… it is the means to growth. I want them to hold their heads up high and know that they’ve got this…. no matter what this is!

Education · family · life

Changes and News

Yesterday I took the boys to their school. The teachers aren’t there, but it is an opportunity to find their classrooms. This year they are in the same biome (the school labels the hallways by biomes). Colby has the teachers that Blake had last year and Blake is just moving down the hall to 6th grade. Colby found two people from his class last year that are in class with him again this year. He is happy about that. At this time, Blake doesn’t know who is in his class, but those who know enough to contact are in his biome never mind his class. Oh well that will be good for him, meet and get to know other kids.

I know I haven’t talked about me job search in a while. I was contacted by three different preschools over the summer. I interviewed with all of them. Two of them I went back and taught a lesson. The third one offered me a position at my first interview, that was last Thursday. Yesterday I did a second interview at the other pre-school I was considering. I made a decision today. I accepted a job teaching kindergarten prep.

Image result for preK

I will be working from 8:45-12:45. I decided this would be perfect for our family. I get to teach and have the fun and challenge of doing what I’m good at doing, but I’m also home when the boys get off the bus. I can do the grocery shopping, cleaning and other things during the week and we can still have our weekends to do fun things.

It will also give me time to do more work on my Teacher Pay Teachers store! I am looking forward to this change and less teaching stress.

I’m excited to take on this new adventure and step in my life.

family · life · through my camera lens

Carnegie Science Center

Yesterday Richard took the day off to spend some time together as a family. We had been trying to find time to head into the Carnegie Science Center, but hadn’t managed yet. Right now they have a special display called the Art of the Brick.

We started by going through The Art of the Brick. This is the art of Nathan Sawaya. He creates and recreates art using Lego blocks. Colby was excited to see this. Before we walked in he informed me that this was going to be his career, but he wants to create abstract Lego Art.

We walked through and looked at the art and sculpture recreations. It was pretty impressive to see how close he was able to get to the original art. The next sections were pieces he created on his own. These too were very creative. When you went through this whole area you then went upstairs where they had a variety of stations with Lego blocks for people to build their own creations. They had a variety of suggested items, but you could pretty much do whatever you wanted.

Then we went into the science museum. This was a decent science center. There was a variety of hands on activities for the children to interact and learn from. I’m not sure I was impressed with the quantity or quality of these activities. (I guess I’m a bit of a museum snob). I’m not sure you would want to go back to this museum on a regular basis, but it certainly was worth going at least one, or once in a blue moon.

They we went outside to the submarine that they have docked on the river. You are able to go through the USS Requin submarine with your admission to the science center (the Art of the Brick was a separate cost, but everything else we did was included with the museum price). We walked through the submarine and realized that this was a very tight place to live for weeks at a time.

We then went to the Highmark SportsWorks. This was nothing like I expected it to be. There are 30 sports related activities. There were long lines at most of it and many were just ok. We did not wait in line for the ropes course, rock wall, human yo-yo or any of the ones that had long lines. They swung a bat, raced, tested their reflexes and a few other things. I’m glad this was included in the price I would not have wanted to pay a separate price for this.

family · life · Must Have Monday

Must Have Monday– back to school (routines edition)

It’s that time of year. Back to school time!

If we still lived in FL, the boys would be going back today. But, here where we live they go back on the 23rd. Yes, I know that there are other places that still don’t go back until after Labor Day.

It doesn’t matter when you go back, it all is the same… change!

While we all know that going back means getting new clothes, backpack and lunchbox. There are so many other things to do to help your child get ready to go back to school.

Work on adjusting their sleep routine back into school mode. I know most parents, myself included, allow the bedtime routines to slip a bit during the summer. Maybe you let your children stay up later, or sleep in longer. Maybe you drop the reading before bedtime or other routines. You should start these routines back up 2 to 3 weeks before school starts. This will help on that first day/week/month getting up and moving in the mornings.

Establish new routines and set expectations ahead of time. Each year your child should be gaining more and more responsibility for their school prep. I’m not talking about making them buy their notebooks. I mean get an alarm clock and have them wake up and get moving on their own. Or have them choose their own clothes to wear. Or have them pack their own lunches. The more steps you encourage them to do independently the easier it will be later in life.

My sons began picking out their own clothes when they started K. They had to put out their clothes on their toy box the night before. I had and still have veto power over outfits. They have school clothes that they keep separated from their play clothes. I keep their bottoms neutral (demin, khaki, navy and black), this makes it easier to put together outfits that will work. When we go shopping they pick out the clothes they have, so they like what they have.

My sons began packing their own lunches when they were in first grade. I packed in kindergarten and they used the same lunch containers in first grade. They used bento style boxes that had three sections. They packed a protein (sandwich, deli roll up, leftovers etc), a fruit or veggie and then a junk (chips, pretzels, goldfish, etc). Now they use zip lock bags, tupperware or thermos to pack their lunches. They know to have a main item (protein preferably), a fruit or veggie and then a snack type item. I do pack the lunch items into their lunchboxes in the mornings. Hmmmm maybe that will be their new thing this year?

My sons became responsible for all paperwork when they were in third grade. At this point I stopped checking folders/binders etc. They could give me everything or they could pick out what I needed to see (I prefer the later). They needed to be on it as I won’t go hunting down permission slips and other papers that need to be filled out. I typically know when things should be coming home and may provide a few gentle reminders at that time but it’s their paperwork.

I also only check homework if they ask me to, that started about 4th grade. It is their homework, their responsibility. I do help if needed, but they need to try on their own before they can ask for help. They come home, have a snack and start homework. They must complete it before asking for any kind of technology. School based technology is the last step in the homework process.

I know there are parents who would feel that I’m way too hands off when it comes to my children’s school work. I want them to own their successes and failures. I want them to learn now that it is not ok to turn in things late. That no one is going to rescue you when you are unprepared. I want them to see that they can get themselves prepared and going. They need to learn to leave time to do the things that need to get done. They can’t be late (or in my opinion on time… as on-time is late). If they learn these lessons now when grades are not as important as they are in high school and college. If they learn these lessons when we are here to help pick up the pieces it will help when they live on their own.

I’m helping my children grow up.