Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zoom!!

Does anybody feel like life is on a constant ZOOM!  I was realizing that April is like completely over...considering I spent about half of it on bed rest I feel like I missed it all!  We are already talking about May showers coming and the plans for the summer.  July doesn't seem that far away and it is still a couple of months away.  I already have had to cancel summer ideas because the planning didn't get done while I was down...not a huge deal just bittersweet. But seriously this is what I mean about ZOOM!  If we're not careful life just keeps moving right along without us!! 

So here are some other cool things about ZOOM!

1. I just love this quote from Wikipedia...
Zoom is an onomatopoeia sound that indicates swiftness.
2. I also think of zoom lenses...which are so useful when taking pictures of faraway things (as long as it doesn't get blurry)

3. I also can't help but think of the old car commercial in which the little kid whispered, "Zoom, zoom."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yarn

As a knitter, I have learned a lot about yarn in the last couple of years that I have been doing this.  I don't know if this happens to other knitters but I get partial to certain types of yarn.  Because I do a lot of baby blankets I am very partial to Bernat Softee Baby yarns.  The blue, pink, yellow, green, and purple are perfect colors for babies in a variety of combinations!!

I also really like Red Heart yarn...mostly because it is cheap! LOL! I also love Lion Brand yarns...but also really love their website for FREE patterns--and not just for knitters--they have crochet patterns too.

Y could also be for yawn....I did my first full day back to work after my fainting spell....and it really wore me out--so I'm going to bed!  Good night all!
Yeah I should totally take pictures for Bernat...haha def not with my cell phone

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Five Favorite Front-Page Features

Last Sunday that this gets to show up as the A to Z Challenge comes to a close.  It has been a fun month to do that and I look forward to doing a wrap-up of it on Wednesday.

5. Bush Presidential Library opened...whether you like/approve of his politics or absolutely hate him....it doesn't matter to me.  He was still president and I thought he was a class act this week by coming back into the media to finish his last real job as president. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dedication-of-the-george-w-bush-presidential-library/2013/04/25/0b9e2e9a-adba-11e2-a986-eec837b1888b_gallery.html

4. White House Correspondence Dinner...the nerd prom :) http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/27/politics/white-house-correspondents-dinner/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

3. Lots of news swirls around about the Boston Marathon bombers...it is almost hard to figure out what is accurate and what isn't it http://abcnews.go.com/US/boston-marathon-bombing-investigators-piece-life-tamerlan-tsarnaev/story?id=19060527#.UX3UmxyG2n8

2. Bangladesh building collapses, a fire breaks out, 377 dead http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/28/us-bangladesh-building-idUSBRE93N06P20130428

1. Possible chemical warfare in Syria...if this ends up being true it will be interesting to see what happens next  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/world/middleeast/us-says-it-suspects-assad-used-chemical-weapons.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130426&_r=0


Saturday, April 27, 2013

X Marks The Spot

X Marks the Spot is an English idiom that makes people think of treasures.  Usually there is a treasure map and at the end there is this really big X telling you where the treasure is.  You see how I did this?  I made an X post all about treasure. Hee Hee...I'm sneaky :)  Treasures are different for different people.
To me there are lots of treasures.  Sometimes treasures are the little pieces of chocolate that I eat--they are actually called that because they have caramel inside.  My beliefs are a treasure.  I hold on to them when times get tough and people bug me.  Books are a treasure to take us on adventures that we can't afford ourselves.  

Treasures can be the mountains around us, the beauty of the earth around us.  I love my Provo mountains.  For other people, money is literally their treasure.  I like money as much as the next girl--it buys me pretty clothes, a nice car, a great place to live--but the biggest treasure of all is the people that we love.

What are your treasures?

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for While You Were Sleeping

One of my favorite movies is While You Were Sleeping. Sandra Bullock (as Lucy) does a great job acting in this movie.  I love how we can totally get on her side the whole movie! You are rooting for Lucy to get the Peter (Peter Gallagher) character because she so wants him at the beginning.  But as soon as she meets Jack and we start to understand that Jack (Bill Pullman) really likes Lucy, we start rooting for Jack to steal Lucy.  Lucy is wanting to be apart of a family so much but she can't stand to tell the truth.  If you haven't seen this classic you are truly missing out! It has a great happily ever after...which to me makes it a great movie.  

It also has some greats in the movie world...like Peter Boyle (from Everybody Loves Raymond), Glynis Johns (from Mary Poppins), and Jack Warden (from All the President's Men and 12 Angry Men). 

Favorite Quotes:

Lucy: I'm having an affair. I like Jack.
Jerry: Who's Jack?
Lucy: Peter's brother.
Jerry: So?
Lucy: So he thinks I'm engaged.
Jerry: To who?
Lucy: To Peter.
Jerry: Lucy, I really don't have time for this.
Lucy: No, you have to tell me what to do.
Jerry: Tell the truth.
Lucy: If I tell Jack I lied to his family he will *never* speak to me again. And Ox and Midge and Mary and Saul.
Jerry: Saul? Who's Saul?
Lucy: The next door neighbor. But you know what? Actually, he knows.
Jerry: Lucy, you are born into a family. You do not join them like you do the marines.
Lucy: So what should I do?
Jerry: Pull the plug.
Lucy: You're sick.
Jerry: I'm sick? You're cheating on a vegetable.

Lucy: Peter once asked me when I fell in love with Jack. And I told him, "It was while you were sleeping."

Ashley: Peter Callahan is engaged to me. I object to this wedding!

Priest: Get in line.

Ashley's husband: And I object to your objection.

Mary Callaghan: Who's that?

Peter: Ashley's husband.

Midge Callaghan: You proposed to a married woman?

Peter: Yes. And I'm in a coma when my brother makes a play for my- sort of my fiancée

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for a Very Random List of Things

So....I'm still taking some great pain meds and I went to work for the first time today.  It was a part day but I am still pretty tired and worn out.  I might have pushed it a little bit too much today but the drugs I came home to take have done wonders!  So my brain is having a little bit of trouble focusing.  I want to go to sleep but I can't come up with a great post--so today is lame I'm sorry!  Here is the top three things I thought of that went great with V.

3. The Velveteen Rabbit....a cute cute story that every child should really read. It is a serious classic.
You can actually go read it here: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html
2. Viva La Vida by Coldplay....one of my all time favorite songs.  And even though Ben Folds said this was pitchy....I love it partly because of what Noteworthy did with it on the Sing-Off

Coldplay by Viva La Vida on Grooveshark

1.  Violin--I play...kind of.  I need to get back into the city orchestra...one day when I have time :)

Sad..I don't have a photo of me playing on my computer--they do exist but I guess not here....oh well.  Thanks for reading my sad post though :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Under-appreciated Teachers

U is for under-appreciated teachers today.  I have been telling lots of people that this is a hard time for teachers.  The education world is trying to change--and go in six million different directions.  I just hope that everybody is actually learning something somewhere!  I saw this article from Huffington Post a little while ago. The purpose of his article is the people shouldn't become teachers.  This is one of my favorite quotes from the article:

Teachers are being told over and over again that their job is not to teach, but to guide students to learning on their own. While I am fully in favor of students taking control of their learning, I also remember a long list of teachers whose knowledge and experience helped me to become a better student and a better person. They encouraged me to learn on my own, and I did, but they also taught me many things. In these days when virtual learning is being force-fed to public schools by those who will financially benefit, the classroom teacher is being increasingly devalued. The concept being pushed upon us is not of a teacher teaching, but one of who babysits while the thoroughly engaged students magically learn on their own.
Sometimes it really does feel like that. I spend a lot of my day grading and instructing students on appropriate behavior not actually teaching them about a great story in literature or history.  We all have a favorite teacher because they cared and actually taught us something.  I worry that the next generation won't have a favorite teacher.  Then....really we won't have many becoming teachers because they aren't inspired.

Go read the article--he writes so much better than I do!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Trials

So I am still not back at work....which makes me really frustrated.  This A to Z Challenge has gathered an unofficial theme of "What is wrong with me?!" I am still in pain, but I still don't know what is wrong with me.  Doctor's yesterday was very inconclusive...but we ran more tests.  She did tell me to start trying to eat normal food again--but then I woke up today with the worst nausea ever.  And she did tell me to try to act more normal, but just take it slow and stay home for a couple more days.  So I went to work yesterday for a second to get my grading--but I still haven't touched it today!  I really want to know what is wrong with me. 

This now brings me to my word for today--trials.  Trials make us stronger and give us perspective on things that we didn't think of before.  I felt right away with this adventure that it would all make sense as I went through it and I thought I would share a little bit of what I have learned so far.

1. I never thought that I would say this but I am really really wanting to go back to work.  I am grateful that I have something that takes me out of the house every day.  I have always had a special place in my heart for my students but sometimes they drive me crazy.  Now I just really want to go back to helping people.

2. I really needed a break--and I probably wasn't going to give it to myself.  Despite the not knowing I have been able to really just relax--yes some moments I have been frustrated that I can't clean my house or get something done but I have a perfect excuse to just lie around.  I should really take advantage of it.

3. If I felt under-appreciated at work before, they are starting to get what I do every day and it is nice to know that I am very much missed.  Hopefully I am back there soon!

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Social Studies

I currently teach English and Social Studies at my school...but my number on love is Social Studies.  I feel that it is really important for students to understand the world around them.  World Geography starts them off with a great foundation--you need to know where everything is!  World History continues this foundation by allowing us to explore how civilizations started/ended/interacted.  United States History gives us more information about the country that we live in, how our country came to be, and what still influences our present.  Government class gives us the ins and outs of how our government system works, other country's systems, how we participate, and what rights we have as citizens.  

I always tell my students that it doesn't matter if you remember all the dates of every little thing...what matters is that you get the big picture and know the important stuff! My biggest goal is that if Jay Leno comes up to them on "Jaywalk" they know the answers!  We are teaching people with productive citizens...and that is my main goal.

I am often asked, "What is your favorite part about Social Studies?"  My passion is US History and Government.  I love learning more about our country...it gives us a sense of identity.  I love the stories of the people who came before and set up the country that we lived in.  They learned a lot through mistakes--whether they did anything with them is for us to learn too!  

Did you enjoy Social Studies classes in school or did you absolutely hate it?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Five Favorite Front-Page Features

This is our Sunday feature while I participate in the A to Z Challenge....which is quickly coming to a close.  I don't even know exactly where to go with this with it being such an interesting news week...but as always this is just my opinion of the top stories from the week--and sometimes it is just what I remember first.

5. Immigration Proposal made....though I love how people can't stop talking about 2016 and Marco Rubio....but at least they're not bringing up the State of the Union response again! http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/gang-introduces-immigration-reform-bill/story?id=18992123#.UXSFgRyG2n8 

4. We've moved North Korea back a little bit...the media has really put this off to the side--for obvious reasons.  Until I looked it up, I had no idea what was going on over there to be perfectly honest.  So I looked it up....apparently we are still moving rockets around.  http://news.yahoo.com/north-korea-moves-two-more-missile-launchers-report-035049930.html

3. China earthquake...6.6-7.0 magnitude...186 people dead...kind of got buried here in the U.S. with everything going on here http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/21/world/asia/china-sichuan-earthquake/index.html?hpt=hp_bn2 

2. West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion...this was a very sad accident...I hope the families get closure. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/19/17825505-investigators-texas-plant-explosion-death-toll-raised-to-14?lite

1. Boston Marathon...quite a week...I hope that everyone currently in the hospital continue to recover and we only lose three civilians and one officer in this tragedy.  As always...CNN has a great collection of coverage to help with the catch up http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/21/us/boston-attack/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenews 

We are Boston Strong! **Start singing "Sweet Caroline"**

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rest

So...ever since Wednesday night I have been resting.  I have apparently eliminated my dark circles under my eyes. And I have gotten NOTHING done for school.  I have been forced to do nothing but lay around.  I have pretty much caught up on all of my TV shows and watched waaay more TV than I would care to admit to. I wish I had actually read a bit more, but being so tired TV just made sense.

The balance that I'm now trying to figure out is how much rest do I really take.  I don't know 100% what is wrong with me until Monday...at least I hope to find out then.  I don't want to push it....but I also don't want to sit around for much longer.  I am a little stir crazy...here's to getting done soon.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quite a Week

It has been quite a week in present...and in the past.  Still on bed rest today (see yesterday's post for more info) I have been watching a lot of TV.  Today's coverage has been all on the manhunt for the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.  I am glad to be listening to the wrap up press conference of the day as I am writing this post.  The law enforcement officers have helped so much to bring this to an end, and the people of Boston are now safe today.

I am reminded this week of the anniversaries that are occurring this week...and I wish that the media would spend a second to remind people of this.  Those families are reliving their fears today--and I hope that none of them currently live in Boston!

April 15, 2013: Boston Marathon Bombing

April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech shooting

April 19, 1995: Oklahoma City Bombing

April 20, 1999: Columbine Shooting

It has been an interesting week in this country before...and now it is again in this interesting week in history.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pain

Alright...well I promised an update soon--and today's letter seems to fit.  It won't be a very Inspirefly moment...but it is a very Kimberly moment.  Yesterday, I was at a Young Women's activity (for my newer readers....an LDS weeknight for girls 12-18 to get together and hangout--I am one of their leaders).  Out of nowhere I got a VERY sharp pain in my lower abdomen...around the place where my pants start.  It felt like someone was stabbing me from the inside.

We got up to walk into a different room to laminate some cookbooks we were making, and I was really having trouble walking. I decided it was probably time to go home, and I was talking to a really good friend of mine about it.  She was asking me if I could make it home and I don't really remember what I said because I started to feel really faint.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not a big fainter--but I regularly faint when I have blood drawn--so I knew what my body was doing. I sat down on the ground and I think I began to freak some people out.  I definitely freaked myself out. I never completely lost consciousness just the ability to really communicate.

Brian came, picked me up, and we ended up at the ER.  They hooked me up to an IV with morphine....which helped a lot with the pain!  They ran a whole bunch of tests...and tried to give me an ultrasound.  The key word in that sentence was tried!  Apparently a not full bladder is required...which I did not have.  They ended up sending me home after all the other tests came back clean and there wasn't anything that they could tell is wrong with me.  They did send me home with some pain killers which have been really nice today.  I have my ultrasound tomorrow...so we'll see if we know anything soon.

I stayed home from work today and I am really just taking it one day at a time...so with the pain today and appointment coming soon--I am staying home tomorrow too.  Crossing my fingers that we know more soon!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Ouch

So this is a short post...I was admitted to the hospital tonight.  I am fine right now--they sent me home.  Nobody is quite sure what was causing my abdominal pain but we ruled out all the bad stuff.  We are going back tomorrow for more tests and I will update more tomorrow.  Right now I am just go to sleep...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Need

We hear this word a lot....I need this....I need that.....sometimes they are legitimate and they are in more of a complaining attitude.  Today I am going to explore two examples of that.

Today was a very interesting day at school....being a boarding school--especially a therapeutic boarding schools weather affects us very uniquely.  We can't really have snow days...we still have to shovel our way to the cafeteria to eat, for example.  We are having our April snow right now in Utah...usually around this time too.  But...this has been like INSANE! We have like 6-8 inches on the road.  It is insane.  So today I needed significantly less snow....but I also needed electricity!! We had no power when I got to school today for about three hours.  Computers or no computers necessary...we don't have enough windows with natural light to really make seeing really all that easy.

My complaining attitude example I won't spend too much time on....I am trying to be more positive with life.  Ha ha I NEED to be more positive. But I think one thing that we can always say is that we need more time....and the people around us need to give us some more respect and more patience.

What do you think that you need?

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Mentors

Often people talk about mentors in a variety of ways--usually with a grateful attitude.  We learn a lot from them and are often influenced by their abilities.  As this is Inspirefly...I love looking at how people influence us.  With the events at the Boston Marathon today, I am thinking about the mentors in the hospitals, the police force, and creepily enough I am thinking about the mentor that the "bomber" may or may not have had.  (Yes I am using "bomber" in quotes because as of this post this nobody knows for sure anything about who is responsible.) How many of us are influenced by our mentor?  Are we influenced because we choose to be or is it "forced" upon us?

I have been thinking a bit about the people that have influenced me....some people are considered mentors, and others have been considered just people that are around me.  People that are around us, I think we have almost a subconscious decision to be influenced by them.  People that are considered mentors--how they influence us is usually taken by choice because they are there to help us improve.  But what happens when these mentors don't influence us in a way that will move us towards what we want?  Or what happens when the "mentee" doesn't take the advice?  It isn't always so simple.

So on this somber day, I wonder what mentors have been affected and what mentees were affected. We might not really ever know completely what happened today, but it is interesting to ponder the lives affected outside of the family/friends circle.

How have you been influenced by a mentor?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Five Favorite Front-Page Features

With it being Sunday, we take a day off from A to Z Challenge...so I bring my current events post to Sunday for this month instead of Friday :)

5. Margaret Thatcher died...a great example to women everywhere---you can run a country! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1034634/Lady-Thatcher-honoured-State-funeral.html

4. The weather!! Goodness gracious...how crazy is it?  This was my "favorite" video from the week...I grew up near there!  http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/374535/3/Shenandoah-Valley-Elementary-School-damaged-no-class-Thursday

3. Catholic Priest earns Medal of Honor....this is a very cool story.  It is great for those that he was with were able to see this awarded http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/catholic-priest-medal-honor-18936141?tab=9482930&section=1206853&playlist=18936680

2. Gun Control....more discussion this week. The big thing that happened? The Senate voted to debate the issue....and apparently this is a huge deal.  I liked SNL's skit last night....and I don't even watch this stuff usually.

1.  It would be nice to not have North Korea on here again next week....but I kind of doubt that.  Do they have a missile?  Don't have one?  On Thursday I was "attacked" by my students to find out if our security threat had increased to Def-Con 2 with everything that had happened. The only thing that I had heard was the South Korea had increased theirs to Def-Con 2...if we had it was for a short time because by the time I was able to look it up it looked like we were at Def-Con 3.  The interesting thing is that today/tomorrow is the anniversary of the founding.  Sounds like another "enemy" that likes to play chicken...

How long will you keep playing?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Like

I saw lots of people were doing the word "love" today...so to be a little bit more original...I thought I would do the word like.  We use this word in a variety of ways.  Lets explore this today... :)

According to dictionary.com like means:

of the same form, appearance, kind, character, amount, etc.: I cannot remember a like instance.
corresponding or agreeing in general or in some noticeable respect; similar; analogous: drawing,painting, and like arts.
bearing resemblance.
Dialect likely'Tis like that he's gone mad.
Dialect about: The poor chap seemed like to run away.
in like manner with; similarly to; in the manner characteristic of: He works like a beaver.
resembling (someone or something): He is just like his father. Your necklace is just like mine.
characteristic of: It would be like him to forget our appointment.
as if there is promise of; indicative of: It looks like rain.
as if someone or something gives promise of being: She looks like a good prospect for the job.

It is also the only word that I am aware of that can be considered an adjective, preposition, noun, verb, and interjection. But seriously...we use this word for A LOT OF THINGS!! Like seriously :)

How many of us know a "valley girl" or a teenager that says "like" every other word...or it is there version of the word "um". Facebook has completely taken this word and made it a phrase like "Google it" specifically go "Like It".  

In addition, it is like the number one phrase at the beginning of a relationship...you don't want to say that "L" word so you end up asking...."Do you like me, like do you like me like me?"  See how I was able to do that..I used it four time in one sentence.

So....from all middle and high school teachers everywhere....lets get a thesaurus and come up with a different word. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kimberly

So...maybe I'm just lame....but I had trouble thinking of a good word for K today. I had lots of ideas but no real winner. Then I thought of the fact that the A to Z Challenge is suppose to help other bloggers to learn about each other.  So today I will give you some more information about me...through an "I am Poem"

This week for National Poetry Week in World Geography and World History we talked about the theme of "Impact of the Individual" and did these poems about different influential members in history.  I thought about having them do themselves....so I'll do one for myself instead. For the format go to Read Write Think. Though actually this is a different format than we used in class.

I am organized and smart.
I wonder where I will be in a year.
I hear my to-do list in my head.
I see the day that is not so busy.
I want to feel successful.
I am organized and smart.

I pretend that I have a clean house.
I feel the feelings of inanimate objects.
I touch student's minds.
I worry that I will just coast though life.
I cry for hopeless matters, because there is really nothing we can do.
I am organized and smart.

I understand that even though I'm organized, I am really messy in other places.  (However, I don't understand why).
I say effort is required in everything.
I dream of the day that motivation is easier to come by.
I try to get my work done.
I hope for the day that I feel like I was really really accomplished.
I am organized and smart.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Joel, like Billy Joel

Time to share another lesson plan idea! Though I can't take full credit it for it....I stole and combined.    With April being National Poetry Month, I have been trying to bring poetry into not just my English classes more but also my Social Studies classes as well. What a perfect way to do that than with a song like We Didn't Start the Fire.  How many history teachers love the fact that it is a whole list of historical events (even if they might not be really historically significant in everyone's mind).

This week, in U.S. History and Government we started a project that asks the students to figure out what all of the events/people are in the song.  In preparing this lesson I learned that Billy Joel actually wanted to be a history teacher at one point and was shocked when someone told him that nothing happened in the 1950s. So he wrote a song (If you believe Wikipedia that is).  I also learned while preparing this is that he actually does it in order by year through the 1950s and 60s. A great place for the lyrics is here because it has the years listed.  If you watch the music video that Joel made it is really kind of random and the kids won't fully appreciate the song...so I actually show this historical based video.

So what did we actually do? I passed out the lyrics with a bit of an introduction and we watched the video.  Then as influenced by this facts list I split the students into groups and split the lyrics into sections.  Each group researched what each person/event was.  Later on we will write our own lyrics to the song for present day as influenced by this site.

I was a little bit worried about what the kids would say...it is an old song and maybe not readily appreciated.  But they actually thought it was pretty cool and enjoyed the scavenger hunt idea of it.  And they actually asked if they could come up with their own and were pleased that eventually we would.
From the actual video...thank you to http://www.metrolyrics.com/we-didnt-start-the-fire-lyrics-billy-joel.html 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Inspirefly

I thought with the letter I, I would talk about why I call my blog Inspirefly.  It wasn't exactly easy to figure out a name for a blog....as I'm sure my fellow bloggers are aware. I wanted to be able to cover so much stuff on my blog that I needed it to cover a lot of areas.

So I made a list of what I really wanted to talk about: knitting, lesson plans/teaching, and books.  I came up with a lot of words that might fit these topics.  I found a couple of word/title creators through a Google search, putting all of these topics into the generator. They would sometimes add endings....that's how I came up with "fly". I realized that I wanted to be inspired by what I experienced, saw, did, etc. so I combined the two together and Inspirefly was born.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for House

So...I was thinking earlier today what to do for H--nothing seemed obvious until Brian and I went and looked at our first house option today.  EEK!  I can't believe that I am really thinking about buying a house.  We have talked about this on and off for the last six months or so.  We have really been thinking about this because of how much money we have been putting into rent for the last 4 years we've been married...and our time before that too. So it is hard not to think about how much money we could have been putting into a house.  I mentioned once on here before that last year was the first time I had never actually moved...so I think that's another reason we are looking at our options.  We've been in our little town almost three years now so that seems to be a bit permanent.  BUT....!

Buying house=SCARY!!!

So seriously I know like nothing about buying a house.  People throw out these fancy words like escrow...inspectors...offers... Realtor....closing costs...etc.  So that makes it really really scary.  Then there is the money thing--do we really want to spend this much money?  Do you realize that a 30 year loan won't be paid off until 2048! That's intimidating....and the fact that you need to be in the same spot for about 3 years to make it worth it....that is worry making too. I can't predict where I will be in a year....maybe I have just learned with my life constantly changing.  But seriously if I keep thinking that I will never buy a house.

So we are starting to stick our toes in the water...we might not end up buying a house but we might....stay tuned!

P.S. Any advice?

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for General Conference

Getting back on the A to Z Challenge today...with the letter G.  This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the 183rd Annual General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For those of my readers/visitors that are not aware, this is an opportunity for the leaders of our Church to instruct us all weekend long.  It is a spiritual feast even if you don't believe in what I do...you can appreciate being able to be instructed in what you believe in for 2 hour periods twice a day in a weekend.  Today I will do my favorite parts of each session.

Saturday Morning Session
Memory: I got to be at the Conference Center for this session.  So that was awesome! It was great to hang out with cousin Thomas!
My favorite speaker: This session was a tie between Sister Dalton and Bishop Davies.  Sister Dalton talked about the power of women and Bishop Davies talked about the strength that comes from a sure foundation in the gospel.  Both were what I needed!!

Saturday Afternoon Session
Memory: Cuddling with my nephew Evan--he did such a nice job staying quiet for everyone to be able to hear.
My favorite speaker: Elder Cook talked about finding peace in this time...another thing that is really need!

Sunday Morning Session
Memory: President Monson...he put Vivian Park on fire!!
My favorite speaker:  But really President Monson was my favorite speaker because his talk reminded me that obedience is the thing that I really need to focus on.

Sunday Afternoon Session 
Memory: A very hungry Avi and "Stuff a turkey through its beak!"
My favorite speaker: That quote came from Elder Holland--all about believing!!

The Conference Center!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Top Posts of March

With my A to Z Challenge, I am catching up on my top posts of March today since it is a "break" from the letters.  The cool thing about today's post it is the 100th post on my blog! And I have completed 25% of the 365 challenge...wow I didn't think it was that long already!

3. Seed Stitch Baby Blanket...posted on March 26, 2013
This is my first pattern post...I want to do more of these. But I'm glad that I met my goal for March, to do more knitting posts and I'm glad you guys liked it

2. Five Favorite Front-Page Features #10...posted on March 8, 2013
The cool thing about this post...I really didn't have to write it--I wrote my lesson plan and I put it up!  I hope that teachers are stealing these great resources.  I do this every week and always label them so find them on the side.

1. My Pinterest Cleaning Tip...posted on March 16, 2013
The funny thing about this was that I did not think that I would get that much response to this...but my sister even tried it!  I didn't think that it would get so much response!

My official work photo for CRA

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Five Favorite Front-Page Features

So though it is a Saturday this seemed like a great day to do Five Favorite Front-Page Features.  For my A to Z Challenge visitors/new visitors...this is a weekly post that I do on Fridays that talks about the five top news posts...in my opinion.  I usually give a bit of commentary to show why I think that it is an impact on our lives/history.  I also do this from the mindset of a Social Studies teacher and try to include links from a variety of sources for fellow teachers to steal to help their students understand the impacts of these events.

5. Even though this is probably really a publicity stunt, it allows students to go over the Sequestration again which was really a history making type of thing.  President Obama will give 5% of his salary back....my question is how much is that really and where does that money go now? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/04/us/politics/to-highlight-pain-of-budget-cuts-obama-to-return-of-part-of-pay.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130404&_r=0

4. Nelson Mandela hospitalized..while not super news, he is old and hospital visits are to be expected..it can be a great tie-in to who Mandela is and how he has affected history especially in South Africa http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/06/world/africa/south-africa-mandela/?hpt=hp_zite1_featured 

2. I have noticed that today's students care more than my generation did about how the economy is doing...I think it comes from becoming more aware of the recession.  When I mentioned the stock market rising and setting new records a few weeks ago it started a great discussion about recession v. Great Depressiona nd what stocks are etc.  So seeing how a jobs report affects everything is a great lead in too http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economywatch/jobs-growth-hits-slowest-pace-nine-months-1B9229443

1. North Korea and U.S. tensions are still going and who knows when/where it will end....this is a great thing to make sure that students know.  Found a CNN resource that allows students to explore where their questions are http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/world/north-korea/index.html?hpt=hp_t3 

Saw on Facebook...and I thought it was hilarious!

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Escape

To my regular readers, Five Favorite Front-Page Features will appear tomorrow as it makes perfect sense with the letter "F".  So today being E...I thought of many many words that I could do--from English to Elvis to Emma (the book) to energy and excitement etc. But I have finally decided on escape because it is late and I'm getting this in under the wire--it is tomorrow in like 30 min.

I am calling it escape because that is Provo, Utah to me now.  For those of you just meeting me, I live in rural Utah in a little town called Roosevelt.  It is little..like very limited shopping and things to do little and everyone knows everyone and everyone's business--kind of.  It helps that everyone is related to each other. So when I need big city time and pretty much anything that "normal" people would do I go to Provo.  It is my escape.  When I first started at my job and trying to adjust to the rural life I lived for my Provo weekends.I could just feel the stress leave and I use to be able to tell in my body when I was almost back to Roosevelt because all of the stress comes back.

Now that I have been out in Roosevelt for about 3 years, it is not such a profound feeling going home but it still is driving in. I love "my mountains" and the hustle and bustle--though I still don't like driving in it.  And honestly I don't want to move out of Roosevelt as much as I use to--the little town has really grown on me. And I think part of it is that I do have this escape.

Do you have a place to escape to that lets you really let go of everything?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Differences in Learning

I thought it might be time again for another education op-ed type thing. One of the things that I hear a lot as a teacher---especially in my particular school is from parents and sometimes students--"My son/daughter/I have learning differences."  They usually say it in this whiny voice with an intent to look for an exception or a teacher to spend ALL of their time with them and ignore all the other students that they have.  I have taken to saying something like, "That's nice, so do I."

Parents will usually pause and the kids will stare at me like, "Really you are a teacher and super smart?!"  I continue talking about how everyone learns differently.  If we all learned the same, we would all have the same personalities, and then we might as well be robots.  We have to figure out what helps us to learn best--but we can't use it as an excuse.  I know that I learn well with visuals and sounds--so when I am learning something I figure out how to make that happen.  That is what our students need.

As parents and teachers we want to help our students to be independent.  So, don't let them use the fact that they are totally different from everyone else as an excuse--use it to empower them.  You learn differently?  Great! What are you going to do to help yourself?  How can you advocate for yourself?  Just because you have an IEP does not give you license to not work and it definitely does not allow you to just sit back and not work hard.  Will you have to work hard then another student because of that?  Yes it is possible, but they have to work hard at something else that is easy for you.

Be okay with the fact that we are all different.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

C is for Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School....because I work there!! Yes it is a mouthful! Often shorthanded as Cedar Ridge Academy/Cedar Ridge/CRA. I thought that since I spend almost my entire day at this school, it made a perfect letter C.  When people hear I work at this school I get very common questions...so here comes my FAQ for teaching at CRA.

What exactly is a therapeutic boarding school?
A therapeutic boarding school to a certain extent is exactly what it sounds like. It is a boarding school so the kids are there 24/7 and we focus on giving them help with through therapy.

What kind of students do you get/why do they get sent to your school?
So first of all, for the confidentiality reasons I can't really say why a student has been sent to us.  But overall, they have had some bad cards dealt to them in their lives and they don't know how to deal with it.  Most of the time they have chosen to deal with it by doing drugs and they aren't really going to school anymore because they avoid with the drugs or something else.

What do you teach exactly and what grades?
I currently teach English and Social Studies to all high school grades (9-12). Yes I have the "prep" nightmare that many teachers talk about--and I do both subjects alone, hence all my grading complaints.  But I am grateful everyday that I have a low number of students so that I only have a few kids in each prep.

Why do you work there? It sure sounds hard!
There are many days--as I'm sure my regular readers know--that I wonder that same thing myself.  As my husband often puts it--the one or two troublemakers in one teacher's class are now all in my classes.  But I love working with the small class sizes that I do get.  Tomorrow I have a class period of only 13 while when I was teaching in public school I had 35-40 in a class.  I also help to shape lives of teenagers in a way that public school teachers can't...you really build a good relationship with students and get to know them.

So if the students are there 24/7, what kind of school schedule do you follow?
Thankfully we're not like other programs that do "moonlighting" teachers--we do school at the regular times from 8-3 everyday--all year long.  That's right...no summer break, no winter break, no spring break, and no random days off really like other schools.  We do take off holidays---like I had President's Day off so there's no school, but that's about it. We also don't have semesters because students can enroll at a time.

Wait no semesters, how does that work?!
Well it does get a bit tricky--but students work "independently" through their courses.  Pretty much they are given the course online and they work through it at their own pace. I supplement with activities in class, answer questions, and fill in the holes when the information isn't making sense for the students.  They are required to do a certain amount of work at a certain quality each week so to a certain extent it works out for everybody.

Well there we go...I think I thought of all the big ones!  Feel free to ask in the comments section if you have one to add to the list :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for BYU Basketball

So today's big thing fore me was the fact that BYU Basketball was playing in the NIT Semi-Finals....so they are my post for our "B" day today.  I came home from school just in time for tip-off and I was very proud that my Cougars were able to keep it really close until the end.  It is really too bad that they lost by 6!

Even though they were kept out of the NCAA basketball they had a really good run in the NIT.  While I'm mentioning it though...I do a March Madness bracket competition (I think I mentioned) with my students.  Of the 14 students and staff that submitted brackets only 4 of us are still in the running.  And the only way I get more points is if Syracuse goes to the championship game! So wish me luck!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for Audio Gameday

I found out about the A to Z Challenge today...which seems like a great challenge to be apart of.  The purpose of the challenge is to do a post each day in April--except Sundays--with a different letter from the alphabet.  My first thought was, "Darn I wish I had known about it earlier to do an intro post!"  My second thought was, "I already am posting everyday for 365 project this gives me a month's worth of ideas and maybe some more exposure."  I hope to get a chance to see the fellow 2,000 other bloggers participating at some point in this month and I hope that they come over and see me.  The site asked for categories...I realized after I submitted that I didn't put up a category..but just as well since I could have been in like four different categories.

Today is opening day for baseball!! I love baseball and I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. I'm very excited to see the St. Louis Cardinals starting out with the Arizona Diamondbacks--they are currently leading by one!  But the best part about this season is that I have finally decided to get Audio Gameday from MLB.com  With living in rural Utah, I am completely out of Cardinal Nation.  I lose track of my team easily and I don't usually get to see them on TV because of how far away I am.  So...for $20 this season (yep the whole season) I can open my computer and turn on Audio Gameday. The cool thing about Audio Gameday is that you can pick what radio station you listen to.  So I can be listening to my St. Louis radio station from my current home in Roosevelt.  So excited for a great Cardinal season!

Yeah its blurry....but hey its the best I can do with a webcam.
Lets see if we can be champions again this year!!