Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What We've Been Up To and Cute Clothes Pins, Two Ways

I knew it had been a while since my last post, but almost 3 months have gone by without a single post! Let me tell you what has happened since my last post!
I've mentioned before that my husband is a school principal at a K4-12th grade Christian school. We actually met at that school about 15 years ago. Jim had been teaching there for a few years, and I joined the faculty as the first grade teacher right after my college graduation. We taught together for 5 years (2 of them as a married couple) before Jim left the school to start his years of golf course management (a job change which allowed us to afford for me to be a stay-at-home mom). I stayed on at the school for almost 2 more years before Drew was born. Last fall, after several years away from the school for both of us and another baby later, our pastor contacted Jim to let him know that the principal position at the school had suddenly opened up mid-semester (long story) and to ask if Jim would be willing to consider the job. Jim was hired in November of last year, and he has been enjoying his role as principal since then.
I have loved being home with my children for the past 8 years, but it has always been my desire to return to teaching some day. I've done quite a bit of subbing since Jim became the principal, and I have enjoyed that very much. Jim's mom has very graciously watched Maddie when I subbed.  Our school expended its preschool program this year to allow a 5 full-day option, and our plan for next year was to enroll Maddie in preschool a few mornings a week and have her go for full days when I subbed.
In January, we found out that the current first grade teacher was pregnant and that she wasn't planning to return next school year. First grade was where I taught for most of my teaching career, and it is a grade that I know and love well. When we found out about the opening, we decided that this might be a good time for me to return to teaching. Maddie could go to preschool each day while I teach, and she would be right across the hall from me. We know it will be a big transition for our family, but we feel that God is leading in this change, and we are excited to see how it will all work out.
I have spent the past several months researching, planning, and preparing for first grade. Because the current first grade teacher wasn't officially announcing her pregnancy until late February, I had several weeks of knowing about my return to first grade without being able to talk about it! During those weeks, I found the Internet - between teaching blogs and Pinterest - to be such a fabulous resource (much more now than it was 8 years ago when I was teaching before!) as I look for ideas to incorporate in my classroom.  Some of what I plan to do is that same as what I've done in the past, but I have found so many fun, new ideas to try.
I have been going through my old teaching materials and gathering new things. I am excited to start putting my classroom together in another month or two, and I will post pictures when I have it all done.
I have some pictures of a few school projects to share today. I am planning to use clothes pins to display student work in a couple spots in my classroom. I didn't want to just use boring, plain clothes pins though, so I made two sets of fun clothes pins. The first set is some crayon clothes pins.  I used a razor blade to slice down the length of the crayon wrappers, and then I cut them the width of the clothes pins. Using Mod Podge, I attached the crayon wrapper strips to the clothes pins, covering the entire front of each clothes pin. I thought these turned out so cute!
 For the other set of clothes pins, I used scrapbook paper, which I trimmed fit the top and bottom sections of each clothes pin. I ran the edges of each paper strip across a brown ink pad, to make the edges stand out a little more, and then I used Mod Podge to attach the paper strips.
I bought my clothes pins from Dollar Tree, and I used paper and crayons I already had, so this was a very inexpensive project. I think these clothes pins would also be cute with a magnet on the back, stuck to a fridge or magnetic board.
I will try to share a family update soon with some pictures of what Drew and Maddie have been doing in the past few months, and I have some more projects to show you too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Project Life 2014 - Weeks 40 and 41

Week 40:
We started this week by running some errands for Jim.  We took a deposit to the bank, and Maddie had to entertain herself while I waited at the counter.
Drew's class works on puzzles after they finish their seat work, and his teacher sent me a picture of Drew and his buddies with a completed puzzle.
Drew had two days off from school at the end of the week while Jim and the other teachers were away for a conference.  Drew made himself some Ben 10 costumes out of paper.

Maddie got into the fridge and helped herself to some salami while I was in the shower.
Jim brought me a souvenir tote bag from the conference.  The bag is from my alma mater (and the college where my dad is a professor still).
We went to Target on Saturday, and we all shared a bag of popcorn.
We also went to the library and borrowed some books.
Here's what I did for Week 40.
Week 41:
One evening after school, we drove out to a local cider mill.  The guys checked their heights.
I got the kids (and Jim) to pose for me.

One of the best parts about the cider mill is the donuts and cider, and they were delicious!  We sat at a picnic table by the mill to eat.
So yummy!
The kids climbed up onto an old wooden wagon.  We had such a fun afternoon at the cider mill!
Drew's class had Pumpkin Day one day, and they did lots of pumpkin crafts and ate some pumpkin snacks.
Pumpkin head.
We went out for breakfast on Saturday morning at a little diner we like.  The boys had a stacking contest while we waited for our food.
Drew loved his french toast,
and Maddie gave her breakfast a thumbs up!
I had a delicious Greek omelet - so good!
Here is Week 41,
and here are Weeks 40 and 41 together.
I feel like I am getting caught up in sharing my 2014 Project Life - at this rate, I might be to Christmas by Easter!  :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Project Life 2014 - Weeks 38 and 39

Week 38:
Drew got a fun balloon sword in Sunday School!
Maddie still loves her little George with all her heart, and she likes to push him through the house in her stroller or shopping cart.
Coloring (and losing her hair bow).
Birthday selfie.  It was my birthday this week, and Maddie and I took a selfie on my birthday as we got ready to go out for the day.
The boys got me a new purse (my first Coach purse) for my birthday.
I also cashed in on a bunch of free treat coupons I got for my birthday.  I had several free coffees and some other freebies I got to enjoy that week.
We stayed for the games after school on Friday night, and Drew scraped his head on the ground while riding a swing on his belly.  Jim stopped after the game to pick up a new nun chuck for the Wii, and that seemed to cheer Drew up from his injury.
We taped it all up to keep it clean (and because bandaging seems to bring instant pain relief to children).
We went to a combination birthday party/gender reveal for some friends on Saturday evening.
We had a fun time at the party.
Here's what I did for Week 38.

Week 39:
We enjoyed some time just hanging out together at home on Sunday afternoon.
Maddie woke up crying (screaming) in the night on Sunday night.  She said that her knee hurt.  She spent part of the night in our bed with us, and we slept late Monday morning after a rough night.
She was in terrible knee pain on Monday morning, and though there was no swelling, I knew something had to be wrong.  Her teachers told me that she had tripped over a toy in her class Sunday night, but she had been running around and acting fine after church.  That was the only thing we could think of that would have caused her to be injured, so I took her to the urgent care near our house to get her checked out.  They did an x-ray, but nothing showed up.  The doctor said that she had probably gotten a bad knee sprain when she tripped, and to let her rest her leg and take Motrin for the rest of the week.
She lay around on the couch for about three days (which is highly unlike her!), and she cried, got hot, and sweat through her clothes whenever I had to move her to change her diaper.  It was pitiful!
We kept her knee propped on a pillow, and we iced it off and on.
It was hard to see her go through all that pain!
Toward the end of the week, she started trying to change positions on the couch.  She still wouldn't put any weight on her leg, but she was at least moving around a little.
It was a little like going through the first year of a baby's life that week.  At the beginning of the week, I could leave her on the couch and come back later to find her in that same position.  As the week went on, she was rolling around and scooting, and then she started cruising the furniture.  She wasn't confident enough to walk without support, but she was doing a lot better!
Over the weekend, we ventured out for the first time since urgent care on Monday.  Maddie was still limping, so we carried her/let her ride in shopping carts, but it was nice to be out of the house for a bit.  We stopped at a new thrift store and shopped for a Halloween costume for Drew.  A whoopie cushion
and Darth Vader were contenders, but we ended up going with Spiderman.
Here's what I did for Week 39,
and here are Weeks 38 and 39 together.
I hope you are having a great week!  I hope to be back soon with more Project Life and some other things I have been working on.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Project Life 2014 - Weeks 36 and 37

I have two more weeks of Project Life to share today.  So much of last year's Project Life is finished, but I am behind in sharing it here.

Week 36:
This week started with Labor Day weekend, and the guys didn't have school on Monday.  We stopped at Sonic for ice cream.
Our school started the school year with about 40 new students, many of which enrolled in the last couple of weeks before school started.  It was the first time Jim and his secretary had ever started a school year in their current roles at the school, and with all of the new students, they got a little behind.  I spent several days during those first few weeks helping out in the office.  Maddie came with me one day.
She amused herself in all kinds of ways.
My friend, Kristen, texted me one afternoon of this week to tell me that she had an extra ticket to a Piano Guys concert in Detroit that evening, and she asked if I would go with her and her son.  Jim made it home to stay with the kids in time for me to go, and I had such a good time!  The Piano Guys are known for their YouTube videos, and they played many of their videos on the large screens behind them as they performed live.
The concert was at the Fox Theater in Detroit.  I had never been to an event there.
It was beautiful inside!

We stayed for the soccer and volleyball games after school on Friday.  Maddie was clapping for the girls.
We had a full, busy day on Saturday.  Our church picnic was held at the school this year.  There was lots of food and lots of fun things to do - a bounce house, volleyball, kickball,
the playground,
and corn hole.
After the picnic, we went to a fundraising spaghetti dinner for Jordan, one of my former first graders, now a Junior in high school at our school.  He was having a kidney transplant the following week, and his donor was his cousin.  Jordan's insurance covered all of the costs for his surgery, but his cousin's costs were not covered.  Jordan's family was trying to raise money to help pay the cousin's expenses.
A large group of school families and faculty came to the dinner to support Jordan and his family.  The transplant surgeries and recoveries went really well, and Jordan and his cousin are both back to school and work now and are doing great!
Here's what I did for Week 36.
Week 37:
Maddie and I were both sick with colds this week, so we stayed home on Sunday and rested.
Maddie is a very busy little girl, but she also loves to snuggle.  We hung out on the couch some this week as we tried to get over our colds.
Jim was gone at school camp for much of this week.  The secondary students spend a week at camp at the beginning of each school year, and Jim went with them this year.
They had a great week!
Drew, Maddie, and I had a pretty good week at home.  I am a recess mom one day a week, and Maddie and I went to help supervise a recess.  Drew and his friends were out at that recess, and Maddie had fun running around with them.

Drew's class (second grade) got together with the kindergarten class to read.  Drew's teacher sent me this picture of Drew reading to his little buddy, James.
It was raining one afternoon as we got ready to leave the house to get Drew from school.  Maddie and I had our hoods on, and I snapped a picture.
Our pastor's oldest son got married this weekend.  Jim's mom was planning to keep Drew and Maddie for us, but she wasn't feeling good, so we took them with us to the wedding.  Jim's tablet saved the day and kept them occupied during the wedding and afterwards as we waited to be be dismissed from our seats by the bride and groom.

We ate some cake in the gym before going to the dinner reception.

Jim's mom said she felt good enough to keep the kids during the dinner, so we dropped them off and headed to the dinner.  We sat with the other church staff families and had a good time.  Jim photo bombed a picture of our music pastor and his wife (Drew's teacher).
Here's what I did for Week 37:
Here are Weeks 36 and 37 together:
I hope to be back with more posts next week.  Have a great weekend!