Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sewing Clinic!

Today I had the pleasure of taking Holly to a 4-H sewing clinic sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension.  Holly is signed up for Sewing 1, where her ultimate "project" will be either a pair of pajama pants, a skirt, a pair of shorts, or a 9-patch pillow.  I think she's leaning toward a pair of pajama pants as of right now.

First, the girls were given an introduction to the project judging day (which happens in July, a month or so before the actual fair), and were told what to expect at the "fashion revue", which is a fashion show in the afternoon, where they display their projects for an audience.

Learning the parts of a sewing machine...
Practicing sewing a straight line, turning, and sewing a curved line...
Then the girls split into groups and worked their way around 5 stations where they learned the different aspects of sewing and clothing construction.

Learning to cut out a pattern...
Taking measurements to correctly size a garment...
At the end of the stations, the girls then selected material and made a drawstring bag.  Holly loved every part of the day!

Working on the drawstring bag...

We both learned so much!  I can't wait for spring break when we have hours on end to play around with patterns, fabric, and the sewing machine!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Snow Day!

Last week at this time we were gearing up for what I feel was one of the best Super Bowls of ALL TIME!  I thought the halftime show was absolutely fantastic!  We stayed home that night and listened to the wind howl and the snow blow.  And then the MOST wonderful thing that could happen to a teacher on a Sunday night actually happened: school was cancelled the next day due to the weather!  (Actually, I was a little bummed because I am really looking forward to a nice long summer vacation.  Every day we are off in February equals a day we are NOT off in June...)

Anyway, the next morning dawned bright and beautiful...

unless you were a farm kid.

Yep, we were summoned out of our nice warm beds to shovel the feed bunks.

Only the bunks that had an easterly exposure had to be shoveled, and that was really only 2 1/2 feed yards worth.  (One feed lot is a little ways down the road, so the kids and I had to walk a bit.  My mitten got in the way, but I wish you could see my beautiful view of the quiet road and the fresh snow; it was magical!)

I felt bad for the cows (and I don't remember this from my shoveling days as a kid...) because as soon as we got the snow out of the bunks, the cattle were right up behind us licking up what was laying at the bottom, they were HUNGRY!

Breakfast for the cattle was a little late that morning, but as soon as the guys got the drives plowed and the snow scraped away from the bunks (what we had shoveled out), they started filling the feed wagon and by late morning, everybody was back at the bunk for seconds!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


I set a goal of three posts per month for the bloggity blog.  Only 2 made it to January, but I'm going to work really hard on 4 for February.  That'll make up for it, right?

I've been accomplishing lots in place of the blog, if that's worth anything...

PHS hosted the 2nd annual Fresh-Soph Academic Bowl Invitational Tournament on the 22nd of January, and it was another great success!  Pec came in 2nd, which I am proud of, but I would have been more comfortable if we would have placed a little more mid-land.  Last year we were 4th out of 8th, which I felt good about.  2nd out of 10 this year was a little too, "Thanks for coming and letting us beat the pants off you."  We've just kind of lucked out with a strong team this year!  You just never know who knows what out there...

Anyway, after everyone left and the school was put back in order, I was tidying up my room and getting ready for the next day.  As I went to write the next day's "problem of the day" on the board, I saw this and had to chuckle:

How true, how true.  Gotta love nerdy kids!

In other news, I'm teaching a computer programming class this semester.  More like: I'm learning computer programming a little bit at a time and trying to teach the students what I know, but really they just take my nugget of information and run at lightening speed, looking up other stuff on the internet and using my one little resource book.  Last week I put them to work designing new name plates for the teachers' doors.  They learned to use a "for" loop to draw patterns.  The students each picked a name out of my Scooby Doo bucket, some swapped with other kids if they had a special relationship with a teacher.  EACH and EVERY one of the kids took so much ownership and FAR exceeded what I expected out of them.  I finally finished laminating them last Friday afternoon and the kids will hand-deliver them on Monday.  They are really looking forward to sharing their hard work!  I CANNOT begin to tell you how much I'm enjoying this class and group of kids!

Hope all is well!  What's new with you!?!?!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

An eggcelent start to any morning!

Sorry for the pun.

Awhile ago, I mentioned my new obsession with clean eating.  Here's my answer to breakfast clean eating:

I take a (microwave safe) bowl and crack one egg and add a splash of milk.  Whisk it together for a few seconds, then dump in a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, a tablespoon of either diced ham or crumbled bacon (maybe not the cleanest...) and then chop up 3-4 spinach leaves.

Give it another quick mix and pop it in the microwave (covered loosely with plastic wrap or a plastic lid) and zap for 3 minutes.

Be careful, though!  The bowl will be HOT!  It's delicious and filling.  I eat around 6:50 am on school mornings (once the kids are on the bus), and I stay full until my lunchtime, after 5th period at 11:45 am.

When I used to eat a pop-tart or a bowl of cereal, I'd be ready to gnaw my arm off by the end of 3rd period, 10:15 am.  In fact, in the olden days (pre-November 2014) this would  be my daily trip to the soda machine in the teachers' workroom.  Now, I make it a point to drink more water each day and I don't feel nearly as exhausted by the end of 7th period (1:50 pm) (AKA sugar crash time).

I've even been known to throw one of these concoctions in a tightly-lidded dish and zap it up for lunch!  What do you eat in the morning that keeps you full til lunchtime?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy 2015!

Is your new year off to a great start?  Ours is, and I credit it to how well we welcomed in the new year!  On New Year's Eve, we had a fantastic time bowling and then hanging out at our friends' house.  This is the 4th year we've all gotten together (I think), and every year we ring in the new year with lots of good food and tons of laughs.  My arm was sore for a week from the bowling, though.

The first day of 2015 was spent relaxing, doing some crafts, watching movies, and playing Monopoly!  I even got up that morning and took down the Christmas tree.

Here's where it gets interesting:

I was taking the last ornament off the tree when it struck me: I hadn't taken 1 single picture of the first Christmas tree in our new home or that classic picture with our children in front of it!  What a mother-fail.  There will be no "Christmas 2014" page in the scrapbook. Ever.

Oh well.

Speaking of the new house, I did decorate the mantle of our beautiful fireplace.  I had enough foresight to take a picture of it:

And, then after everything was put away, I sat down at my sewing machine and whipped up this cute pennant banner thing to go in place of the garland.  (Incidentally, I had purposely glittered "Love" instead of "Peace" or "Joy" or "Noel" so that it could stay up well through Valentine's Day.)

I'm happy with the way it turned out and that I didn't have to buy anything to complete the project.  Everything was scrap from my sewing tub!

My next project is a sewing machine cover.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love Pinterest!?!?!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As 2014 rolls to a stop...

here are some things that I will definitely carry over into 2015.

1.  My garden and it's dehydrated, canned, and frozen produce.  I cannot WAIT to get back into that garden.  I was at Farm and Fleet the day after Christmas and they already have the seed display up! But, a big sign read, "not for sale".... yet....

2.  Clean eating.  An old schoolmate, Fitastic Mom Amy Williams, challenged me to a 5 day clean eating challenge via Facebook last November, and I found that after 5 days of no processed foods and junk, I really felt a lot better (and
my clothes fit better, too).  I've tried to stick to it a lot, but the holidays and all that goes along with them has me back to feeling bloated and sluggish.  As we speak, I'm making a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup to start getting us back on track.  Please notice a slice of dehydrated red pepper and a chunk of dehydrated tomato floating in the most delicious, clean, and filling chicken noodle soup I've ever tasted!  Also, check out Amy by clicking on her name above!

3.  I need my sleep.  Actually, we all do.  This first semester was a whirlwind.  We managed to be on time everywhere we needed to go, we only forgot our binder (full of 8th grade homework, not to name names or anything) once, and we stayed healthy.  So, for me, starting January 4th, it's back to setting the alarm clock for 5:30am and going to bed by 9:30pm.  I do a pretty good job of making sure that the kids are in bed at a decent time each night, but we've been lazy the last week and a half!  You know what they say, "If you're going to soar with the eagles, you can't hoot with the owls!"

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Go Pec Pacers!

A few years ago, a couple of 4th grade teachers at Pecatonica Elementary School started a running club for the 3rd and 4th graders.  Their intention was to get kids up and moving, to teach kids to set a goal and work toward achieving it, and share their own love for running.  The club is called the "Pec Pacers" and has a spring and a fall session.  The spring session always culminates with the Crooked River 5K on Memorial Day weekend, the fall season ends with a 5K fun run around town at the end of October.

The Pacers met Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from when school let out until 4:15pm.  The Key Club members from the high school came up and scanned each runner's lanyard bar code as they completed a lap around the middle school track.  Each runner got a charm after every 5 miles run and they got special charms if they attended fun runs, held on Friday nights or Saturday mornings. 

A few weekends ago was the culminating race, a 5K around town.  Another mom took this picture.  It pretty much sums up how it went:  Mom trying to gently cajole Holly into running "a few more feet".  I even at one point was singing "100 bottles of beer on the wall" just to keep her mind off of -insert whine here- how sore her legs were, how tired she was, how she was SURELY going to die any minute.

Drew loved being a pacer when he was in grade school.  He loved pushing himself and racking up the miles.  Holly, on the other hand, really enjoys the social aspect; whether or not she'll be a cross country runner, like her cousins and grandfather, we won't know for a few more years!