Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reflections on 2014

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
― T.S. Eliot


I spent much of my year involved with work activities, I hope to change the focus toward living and savoring each precious moment. I plan to retire sometime during the upcoming year, more likely near the end of 2015. I want to make this last year of work the best ever! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Book tree for Christmas

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I saw this idea for a book Christmas tree on another blog and wanted to make one. I love books, have lots of them so it felt appropriate for me. I usually have a tree in lots of rooms in my home and I thought this looked simple.  It made the sixth one, if I count the all trees, small and undecorated. This year I felt Christmas came way too fast for me. I am a procrastinator so I'm never completely ready early, but time seemed to slip away too quickly. 

I can think of several reasons why each day and week flew past.

1. My work kept me very busy, I travelled 1000 miles the first week of December
2. My husband had dr appointments with 2 new doctors
3. I had a root canal
4. My husband was in the hospital
5. We both had a virus
6. I was deep cleaning the house because company was coming
7. Family members had December birthdays that were celebrated
8. I was having repair work done in the house
9. Shelving was being installed in the barn loft.
10. Both required extra clean up
11. Fall leaves needed blowing, raking & burning one afternoon
12. Did I mention how busy I was with work? 
13. My brother started the celebrating at his house on Dec. 20.

When Christmas Eve arrived I had to buy a few groceries so I could  cook dinner for our guests. Weather was rain mixed with snow and that made it feel like Christmas. Later we opened gifts and watched the highest grossing movie of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy. It was a nice time visiting with our son and his new family. 

Christmas morning I prepared the turkey for roasting and our guests made sticky rolls for a nice breaksfast. At 1:00 pm we took the food to my Father-in-law's house and enjoyed lunch for 33. The first great nephew asked the blessing. After lunch we opened gifts. I bought books for the 8 grand nieces & nephews. I tied bows around the books instead of wrapping them because I wanted the children to see it was a book and not a toy. I worried about them being disappointed in receiving a book, but smiled as I saw one father reading the book to the youngest great nephew, who just turned 1 on December 11. 

Christmas night I cooked dinner for my brother, two of my sisters and their families at my house. We had a nice time visiting, sharing memories and catching up with family stories. 

It finally felt like Christmas, the rush, excitement, non stop cooking, visiting with family, giving and receiving gifts. 



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Last Minute Shopping Ideas

THE 12 LAST MINUTE GIFTS OF NATURE <BR>And Now for a Completely Different Shopping Experience



The ideas expressed in this article would also make great birthday gifts, a special reward day at school, or activities for bad weather days. I have modified the list with classroom full of students as my focus.



Number 1 - a coupon book for time to chose an approved activity is always a fun, unique gift.

Number 2- a techno fast for the day provides a new prospective for the digital natives in the world today.

Number 3 - building a miniature tree house, fort, or nature scape requires cooperation and trial and error, skills.

Number 4 - teachers can create a GOAL bag (get outside and learn) to be used during a classroom hike. Include an air thermometer, hand lenses, notebook and pencil, ruler, camera, bug collection boxes, etc.

Number 5 - planting seeds (sunflower, acorns, etc.) in the classroom can encourage scientific exploration.

Number 6 - instead of purchasing a park pass, you could take students on a virtual park visit or find grants that pay for class field trips.

Number 7 - use an old blanket to make a small tent in the classroom, let students use it for individual reading or writing.

Number 8 -bring in nature items you have collected on a hike such as acorns, galls, insects in a bug box, leaves, sweet gum balls, shed antlers, snake skin, turtle shells, etc. Be sure to collect items from areas that allow collection, most parks do not. Most bird feathers can't be collected because they are protected under federal guidelines.

Number 9 - take students to the library and help them find an appropriate, related book to check out.

Number 10 - read an appropriate chapter book every day during a part of the class time.

Number 11 - write about a place in nature that you love, share with students and have them write about their special places.

Number12 - be present, show your curiosity, your infectious attitude will permeate the group.



I would love to teach classes that encourage students to get outside and learn! Every day!