Monday, April 30, 2012

Celebration of the Arts

Hi Friends!

I am in the home stretch of the home stretch of having a kiddo in elementary school.  I can hardly believe it.  For the past 5 1/2 years, Clayton Elementary School has been my go-to destination for volunteering.  I've helped out with kindergarten centers and as a room mom (in at least one classroom of every grade level). I've served on the PTA as both the Staff Appreciation Chair and Reflections Chair.  I've helped with the Harvest Festival, movie nights, the end-of-the-year carnival, and Wacky Games.  I've chaperoned field trips,coordinated art projects, planned classroom parties, made bulletin boards, graded papers, and made copies.  I've tutored students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade and helped run science experiments.  One year, I taught journalism to 5th graders.  I've covered recess duty and filled in with Training Camp coverage.  I've eaten lunch in the cafeteria and served breakfast to teachers before school.  I've cooked meals for the entire staff and baked cookies and brownies for orchestra concerts.  I know the principal, the secretary, the custodian, the librarian, and all the teachers. 

I'm telling you this not to pat myself on the back, but to illustrate just how big a part of my life Clayton Elementary has been since we moved up here in 2006.  In a lot of ways, Clayton helped me find my place when we moved back to Wisconsin.  Not only did they help make the transition easy for my kids, but they found plenty of ways to make me feel welcome and needed, as well.   My first friendships were made at the Harvest Festival and on a school bus heading to a field trip.  Members of the PTA welcomed me with open arms, and teachers trusted me to teach and craft with their students.  To say that Clayton Elementary is a special place would be an understatement;  it has been a constant blessing in both my kids' lives, and my own since day one.

This week Clayton will hold its very first Celebration of the Arts.  The idea for this program started years ago, when I read this blog.  I loved the idea of a school setting aside an entire week just to celebrate the arts.  Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get a school district to set aside an entire week of curriculum in order to do art.  However, I believe celebrating kids' creativity is important, too.  I remember the art room at grammar school--it was magical place.  I remember being in the grammar school play.  I loved being in band and writing stories.   Creativity is important.  The arts are important.  After 3 years of proposing the idea of an arts celebration, I got it to stick--and just in time--Jack has only a month left at Clayton.  We have 130 entries for Thursday night. I'm beyond thrilled at the response.  On Thursday night, students will show off their artwork and sculptures and collages.  They'll also perform dances and play their instruments and sing.  Stories and poems will be on display, and samples of culinary delights will be offered.  It's going to be awesome--a night where every student can shine.

Celebration of the Arts is my last official "hurrah" at Clayton, and I can't think of a better way to go out.  Thanks for the memories, Clayton Elementary.  You will always hold a special place in my heart.



Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Friday!

Hi Friends!

Yahoo!! It's Friday!  This week has been a long one, but the good news is that this weekend is going to be awesome;  at least until 10 am Sunday when I drop John off at the airport.  John's parents are coming up for the weekend and we're all super excited!  They winter in Arizona, so we haven't seen them since Christmas.  That's a  super-long time ago!  Here's to a great weekend, everyone!



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Incomplete List of Things My Parents Told Me That May or May Not Be True

Hi Friends!

Yesterday I woke up with a pimple on my nose. The first thing I thought was, "When did I tell a lie?"  Seriously. There is so much wrong with those two sentences.  First of all, what is up with pimples after 40?  In the scope of life, I'd have to say that pimples after 40 definitely leans on the "not fair" side.  Secondly, the fact that I still equate pimples on my nose with telling a lie speaks volumes about what my parents taught me as a child.  They seriously told me that if I told a lie, it would show up on my nose.  And obviously I believed them, because I still pause every time I see a spot on my nose and review my recent behavior.

Now, don't get me wrong;  my parents taught me all kinds of good things about life--they taught me how to be a good person and to believe in myself.  However, a few of the things they said still make me pause to consider whether they are right or wrong.

1.  I am a princess.  Turns out this is false.
2.  Sisters are forever.  True.
3.  I am lucky to have a big brother like Tom.  True.
4.  It's got to hurt a little to be beautiful.  Unfortunately, true.
5.  It never hurts to polish the apple.  True.
6.  If I don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all.  True.
7.  294 is the worst, most dangerous expressway in the world.  False:  285 around Atlanta is worse.
8.  Thank you notes are important.  True.
9.  Brussels sprouts, lima beans, and spinach souffle are good for me.  False. Nothing that gross can have redeeming qualities.
10. Someday you'll thank me for this.  True
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for all the (true & false) lessons you taught me!



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Project Life Update//April 16-22

Hi Friends!

Another week, another fun Project Life layout!  Yahoo!  Last week was dominated by drama--play practice drama, that is.  Emily was the sound crew leader for Neenah High School's production of "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" and "The Terezin Promise".  Have you seen that show?  It's about the Jewish children who were sent to Terezin concentration camp during WWII.  The show was extremely heavy, deep, and real, yet also lovely and hopeful.  It was a difficult choice for a high school production and I'm so proud of all the work the NHS students put into the show.  I was blown away by the acting, and the set, and of course, the perfect sound effects! It was awesome. You know what wasn't awesome?  All the driving to and from rehearsals (only a few more weeks...!).  The rehearsals got longer as the days got closer to opening night.  Emily never complained, but she was pretty darn tired by Sunday.  Every now and then Emily's friend Thad would drive her home after rehearsals.  In exchange, I would bake him treats.  It was a win-win situation, for sure!  : )

In other exciting news:  Jack made it into the Magnet program for next year and Emily made it into Wind Symphony.  Yahoo!  John took Jack and some friends to shoot arrows, and he took Maddie to hit golf balls.  We're all trying to cram as much "John time" in before he leaves for Peru again on Sunday (boo!).
 Last week I wrote a couple of fun list blogs which I copied and stuffed behind some photos.  We also did a whole bunch of gardening this past weekend. I'm hoping for a bumper crop of raspberries and strawberries this summer!
The bottom two pictures are from the play.  The set was awesome!  And yes, I know I'm missing two names on the second picture--for the life of me, I can't remember what those two girls' names are!  Five out of seven isn't bad, right?

I've started a new fairly intensive workout routine, so I wanted to note that in PL. On the back of the "A Year From Now" quote I jotted a few of my starting points.  Can't wait to see the difference in a year!

Here's to another great week!



PS I'm linking up this PL layout over at The Mom Creative.  Want to know more about Project Life? click here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Heart Free Stuff {Especially When It's Fabulous!}

Hi Friends!
Wow!  What did we do before Pinterest?  Well, for one, I'm pretty sure I would have missed out on all kinds of fabulous free printables. Tomorrow you'll see a couple of these fun little freebies incorporated into my Project Life layout.  If you like what you see and want to print out your own cards, I've added all the links at the end of this post.  Here are a few of my favorites:
I love the ones that look like library cards.
So cute!
Yay for color!

I love these orange and aqua designs:

Cute day-of-the-week cards:
Cute little flags:
 Fun primary flags:
Yay for fun, colorful, well-designed freebies! 

Happy Crafting!

The colorful cards and the library card printables are from here. The cute days-of-the-week cards are from here.The fun little pastel flags are from here. Cute pennants are from here here. The fabulous orange and aqua cards are from here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Makes Me Ridiculously Happy

Hi Friends,

Happy Friday!  Did I mention that my Friday started Tuesday afternoon?  My Thursday class was cancelled because of a teacher conference something-or-other (must not be for adjuncts because I know zip about it), so I've been enjoying a 5 day weekend.  Yahoo!  Yesterday I had nothing on my schedule (nothing!) so I ended up playing in my craft room and printing out a whole mess of freebies (more on that in a later post).  I also went through and organized all my Project Life supplies.  During the day, I like to sit down in my office and create, but at night I like to be up with the family.  I have been schlepping my supplies up and down the stairs for a few weeks now.  Yesterday I decided just to pair down everything into one easy-to-carry basket.  Voila!  Everything I need right at my fingertips.  It kind of makes me ridiculously happy. It's the small things in life, right? : )

What is making you happy today?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

I am Weird

Another list.  Enjoy.

1.  I collect old wooden spools of thread, but I do not know how to sew.
2.  I can not eat anything that looks even slightly runny, like sunny-side-up eggs or custard.
3.  I never look at the author's picture until after I finish the book.
4.  I get mad if the author's picture is on the back cover.
5.  I love to take pictures of people, but I hate to get my picture taken.
6.  I only check my voicemail about once a week.  If that.
7.  I really don't like wearing shoes.
8.  I am awesome at sweating.
9.  I have conversations with Buster, and I feel free to answer on his behalf.
10.  I love anchovies.
11.  I listen to ESPN all the time in my car.
12.  I laugh when I see people fall down--but only if they are okay.
13.  I also laugh when I get scared on roller coasters.
14.  I hate socks even more than shoes.
15.  I really, really wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader when I was younger.
16.  Mushy things gross me out, especially cookie dunking.
17.  The Star Spangled Banner chokes me up.  Every time.
18.  I love quarters.
19.  Nothing freaks me out more than swimming into a hairball or a used Band-Aid.
20.  I hate writing in pencil.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Incomplete List of Really Cool Stuff I've Been Lucky Enough to Do

1.  Get paid to go to the USA Olympic Swim Trials, watch world records fall, and write stories about it all.

2.  Ride my bike from Houston to Dallas in one weekend (325 miles) to raise money for AIDS research.

3.  Spend my 40th birthday in Paris with my sister.

4.  Have three babies naturally.

5.  Raise $7,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

6.  Be mayor for the day.

7.  Get paid to go to graduate school.

8.  Sponsor a child in Africa.

9.  See U2 in concert, twice.

10.  Marry the right person the first time.

Just feeling especially blessed tonight.  Life is good.



Monday, April 16, 2012

Project Life Update

Hello There!
I am *officially* all caught up on my Project Life album--yahoo!   From here on out, I'll be focusing on just the goodness of the current week, and I'll only be doing an update once a week.  I'm kind of in love with these last three layouts.  I think I might be hitting my stride with this project. 
 I loved that John responded to my Love/Hate blog, so I printed out both of our answers and put them in the book.
 Spring Break and Easter happened in the same week around here, so I had an abundance of photos.  I decided to do a little insert of just the Easter pictures. 

 Here's an up-close shot of the Easter insert:

 I love when there is a nice similar color pallet for the photos of the week. Last week there was a whole lot of red for some reason:

Aren't those trampoline photos of Jack amazing?  John took them.  We are loving our new camera--and we haven't even come close to tapping into its full potential.  I'm hoping to take a photography class this summer at the Tech.  One of the things I love about Project Life is that it forces me to take more photos.  I am having a blast capturing all of life's big and small adventures!

Want to learn more about Project Life?  Check it out here.

Have a wonderful day!



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Antiquing With Dad

Hi Friends!

Check out that picture of me and my fabulous dad!  He came up this weekend so we could go antiquing together.  Big Brothers/Big Sisters hosts a huge antique sale every April, and this was the big weekend.  Dad and I love to go and hunt for treasures together;  he's my favorite antiquing partner.  We collect completely different things, but that's okay;  at least we don't have to compete against each other when we see something we like.  : )  Dad likes to find special treasures in hiding in glass cases.  He owns a huge collection of page turners.  He also likes anything sterling silver or pewter.

I collect Bauer pottery, old spools of thread, and anything that's colorful and catches my eye.  I loved this little pail, but not $140 worth of love.
I also collect old paper and photographs.  I always wonder how people's beloved family portraits end up at an antiques fair the middle of Wisconsin
 I am a sucker for anything aqua or turquoise.  I loved this set of Pyrex, but it was $179.  I had to leave it where I found it.
I thought this little push helicopter was adorable:
But not as cute as the owl on this can of nutmeg.
 I really wanted this vintage Kleenex display.  I loved that her dress was made out of a Kleenex.  John's company, Kimberly-Clark, makes Kleenex.  Unfortunately, she was $45, and I thought that was a little too much.
Dad ended up with a couple of treasures, including something he picked out for Father's Day from John, the kids, and I.  I know it's early, but I'd rather have him choose something he likes than have to pick something out on my own in June.  I ended up spending a grand total of $6 on myself for these beauties which I am going to add to my collection:
I love old ornaments, don't you?

I'm off to make some homemade pizza for dinner!



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Project Life Update #3

 Hi Friends!

I've been cruisin' on my Project Life layouts~I'm almost caught up!  I am having so much fun doing this!  I'm definitely glad I took the plunge!
Pictures and thoughts from the women's conference ended up taking up a whole page.  Amy and I had so much fun that weekend.  I'm still laughing at some of the things that happened!
After I posted my first layouts here on the blog, Maddie pointed out that she wasn't even part of my Project Life yet.  Just when you think they aren't paying attention!  : )

 I've noticed that some weeks I have a whole big bunch to say, and other weeks I have a hard time filling all the slots.  I guess that's kind of like real life, huh?

I've also noticed that I'm taking a whole bunch more pictures.  I like that this project makes me capture little things that I might have ignored before.
I've asked Emily to write about her trip to Chicago with the Drama Club on that blank card.  I like the thought of having everyone in the family contribute to this album.  Hooray for Project Life!