Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bout of Books Day #2

Okay so my report from yesterday--an hour or so of my audio book, Jane and Austen.  I should have added my listening to the Book of Mormon to my goals specifically too, but I got my listening in on that.  It is so nice to be able to listen to that while I start my day and get ready for school.  Unfortunately did not get to Princess Bride, fell asleep pretty quick after I hit the pillow. I'm home earlier tonight so we will see.

Today I'd like to see if I can do the scavenger hunt on The Book Monsters' site.  Unfortunately I do not have an Instagram account, though I have thought about it--no time to set it all up tonight however.  So...we do it here :)

Looking for:
Book Scavenger Hunt:
1. A Book that begins with “B”  (for Bout of Books!)
2. A book you’re planning to read/currently reading for Bout of Books
3. Blue Book(s)
4. Books from your favorite genre!
5. A book on your TBR shelf, or your full TBR shelves
Though it starts with "the"...we are reading this very first for English this year.
The Book Thief
The Book Thief Pic courtesy of Goodreads
I am currently reading....
The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride Pic courtesy of Goodreads
This is my favorite book and it has blue in the title...
The Blue Castle
The Blue Castle Pic courtesy of Goodreads
My favorite genre is hard...I like just about anything fiction wise though someone might say I read waay more YA than anything else.  My favorite from this summer was...
Wonder
Wonder Pic courtesy of Goodreads
What would I like to read soon....
The Golden Specific (The Mapmakers Trilogy, #2)
The Golden Specific (Sequel to Glass Sentence)
Pic courtesy of Goodreads
That was actually a lot of fun! Thanks gals :)  See you all tomorrow for another update.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Bout of Books Day #1

Yay it is day one of Bout of Books!! If you're not sure, here is the sum-up
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Goals:
1. Read!! It is the first week of school so that is a huge goal. I am writing this at such a late hour because I came home around 8:15 pm after a back to school night.  Then I had to go to the grocery store and put all the food away....I haven't really read yet today but I will do a little bit before bed to wind down.
2. Finish The Princess Bride--book club is on Friday.
3. Finish my audio book--Jame and Austen by Stephanie Fowers...it is a little light romance.  It has been nice for the drives back and forth from school.

Bout of Books
Wish me luck!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Here

As I was thinking about this prompt today, I was thinking about where I was most of the day today--school.  School starts two weeks from yesterday.  I have been coming and going over there for the better part of three weeks, and I still don't feel ready yet! However, as I was thinking today about this word here...I decided that the reason that I spend so much time "here" is because that is where the most important work is.

Today I worked on organizing the list of students that need extra help learning English and support in their classes because English is not their first language.  I spent some time helping my fellow teachers set up a bit of their own classrooms and talked to them to see what they needed.  My classroom looking nice this year is very important to me. I spend a lot of time at school and I want it to be warm and inviting for the students, but also a place that I can feel proud of being there.

I should have taken some pictures today of my classroom and what I have so far, but it has a lot more color than your typical classroom.  One of my best teacher friends explained it one time to her mom as to why we take so much time and money at the beginning of the year to decorate our classrooms.  What is the one thing that you think of to compare the environment of a school to?  This mom said a hospital--it is so sterile, white, and plain.  Exactly our point--why would you want to spend a significant portion of your day in such a sterile environment. So I tried to make it not so sterile...


I will hopefully take some pictures tomorrow and add them to the post...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Review: Chasing Lincoln's Killer

This is my effort to restart this thing! Wish we luck :)

I am on a mission right now to try to finish a book every day or two. I finished this book Saturday and another book today!

Title: Chasing Lincoln's Killer
Author: James Swanson
Chasing Lincoln's Killer
Goodreads Listing
Genre: Young Adult Non-fiction/Non-fiction written in more story form
Rating: 5 out of 5

Why Did I Read? The 8th grade students are reading this at our school this year.  While I'm teaching 7th grade English, I am teaching 8th grade US History and I will have 8th graders in my ESL class so I wanted to make sure that I read it before the school year.
  
Summary: John Wilkes Booth is frustrated with the end of the Civil War. He has been wanting to take Lincoln out of the equation.  Now, the war is over and he really needs to stop Lincoln.  He finds out that the Lincoln family will be attending a play at the Ford's Theatre.  As an actor, he knows the theatre very well and feels that this is his opportunity to kill the president.  He gathers his fellow conspirators to also assassinate the vice president and the secretary of state. The next twelve days starts off a huge manhunt for the man that just killed the president.

What Did I Love: It was very well-written.  It was very readable and I miss being able to read a book that fast--it only took a couple of hours.  I appreciate learning a lot about that night in a really fun easy way.

It is a great book for teachers to use! With really needing students to read higher level things and read non-fiction that they can really connect to--this book really fits the bill!


What Did I Hate: It was only from the John Wilkes Booth perspective.  I really liked thinking about how it would fit in with some facts about the other conspirators--like how Mary Surrat was the first women hung by the federal government.  If you're interested--watch The Conspirators on Netflix.

From Google

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Try

http://katemotaung.com/ Go there for more info
So I haven't written very much o this blog even though I have TRIED and TRIED.  This is one of the reasons why I was so motivated to write on Five Minute Friday's prompt today. I saw it and it really got me thinking about how much I have tried to do this summer.  I am not use to this whole summer off thing--if you don't know me well yet, I'm a teacher and this past school year was my first time at a public school.  My previous school was a year round private school--and more than just your typical year round--365 days a year, year round.  They only didn't have school on major holidays: i.e. Christmas.  So I was actually really excited for the summer, it would be a chance to do all of the things that I never felt that I had time for.  I was feeling super ambitious and optimistic at the beginning of the summer when I wrote down a three page To-Do List separated into categories.  One of those categories was this blog.  I had also just found out about Teachers Write and I was excited to practice my writing, one of those things that I never felt good at personally and then felt even worse about as a teacher when that was the place that I had the lowest scores in on our end of the year testing.  But I just TRIED on this list--I haven't even had the nerve in the last few days to get it out and see how I have really done.

The biggest thing that I know is that I haven't come anywhere close to doing anything for this blog. I was going to have a schedule of when I was going to post stuff when, a schedule for the school year, and hopefully even schedule some of those posts and maybe even spread them out throughout the school year, but no such luck.

Wow--five minutes can go by so fast when I just sit down to write...I will leave you with this concluding thought and get to the positive part of what I was going to say because I hate it when I turn to this blog just to whine to cyberspace.  The word tried doesn't mean fail.  I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis.  I attempted, I did something, that does not mean that I did nothing.  And you can always try....and because you tried means you didn't completely fail. So I didn't fail at my summer just because my list isn't done...I tried at my summer and I can try again next year as a wiser, more experienced summer person.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Teachers Write Week 1 Catch-up

The first week of Teachers Write is over and I missed all but the first day.  Getting ready for trek this week and then going was a great experience! I really should sit down and write about that instead, but I spent the evening reading through comments and blog posts from the guest authors and really felt like I needed to put pen to paper.  (And I was glad I found an empty journal to scribble in--I learned I write better fiction old school...weird huh?)

The hardest part for me was the fact that I really needed a story.  I don't have a WIP or an MS already going, but I thought that if I am going to do these prompts well that I need to start something--even it if it is just a simple short story or a random narrative that doesn't go much farther than the summer.  It can even change so that I have more than one going on at a time, but I needed something.

This week seemed to have a theme of sorts--character development through observation and imagery along with specific voice for your characters.  I decided that it would probably burn me out to try to catch up on all of the prompts from the week, but I decided that I would try to flesh out some characters and give them a distinct voice. It really evolved while I wrote it--and I'm kind of excited to see where it takes me. Here we go....

Mom is so tired that she can't move anymore.  Her baby is crying so loud and no matter how much she bounces that baby it will not be quiet.

Her teenage daughter (probably about 14) looks at her mom (as she turns up her I-pod even more) with a look of disgust.  "Why did she have t have another kid?! Did she not get enough of this with the first two?"  Her little brother is hiding somewhere.  The ten year old annoyance was actually not being annoying at the moment.  Maybe he was just as annoyed about the newborn baby as she was.

Yep, he was annoyed alright. He had been the one mom had spent her time with. Allison was turning too much into a teenager for mom to want to be around her.  What was with his sister? She's all mood and angry all the time.  It worked out for him though--he got to spend all that time with mom. "Got" being the key word there--past tense.  That was all gone now. This baby had infiltrated so far into his mom's life that she didn't even have time to sit and talk anymore.

Excited for week 2 to see where I can take these three--and see if I can't flesh out a possible dad in the mix.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 1 of TeachersWrite

So I haven't written on this blog since February.  My bright idea of writing everyday in 2015 crumbled much faster than I had expected.  This school year really kept me busy and I let my writing slip.  One of the things that I learned this year is that my lack of confidence in writing is harder to deal with when I'm focused on teaching it 100%.  Yes teachers aren't suppose to focus too much on their end of year test scores from their students, but this was an area where my students definitely struggled more than others in my classroom.

This lead me to think about what could I do to improve my writing teacher ability. I thought about taking a class, but I didn't want to be tied to something with deadlines/money/etc.  I stumbled across TeachersWrite on Facebook and I immediately decided that this might be something for me.  It will encourage me to write everyday, put me in the position of a student again, and even better: it is geared to teachers!

One of the things that I feel like will make me unique in this group is the fact that I am not working on a novel nor do I plan on coming up with one. I have often thought about doing that and maybe something will start with this exercise.  Today's prompt asked us to wonder and to make a list of those wonderings.  I have been thinking about it all day and I don't know how many I really have but we'll give it a go...

  • I wonder what other wives of the Founding Fathers (other than Abigail Adams) thought of their husband's political careers and the new nation.
  • I wonder if I will ever be really crafty.
  • I wonder if I will get my house ready for the school year.
  • I wonder how people really just keep moving and never stop--like those Energizer bunny people that are always busy and scheduled and seem so perfect.  How do they do that without burning out?
  • I wonder if I can keep the blogging up during the school year--I wonder if I can have a better outside of school life this year or not.
  • I wonder where this journey of writing will take me.

The other idea given out today was to basically make a list poem of the project that we are working on right now.  It seems more geared to people who are working on a story....but I guess to an extent this blog will be my story of this journey and it is really my project for this month.

This blog is all of my musings as I think them
I often write about knitting, reading, and teaching
That's how I came up with Inspirefly--it is everything that inspires me. 
I started it to get some web presence with the idea of maybe one day having a business.
It became more than that--it became a place to interact with people on a different level
It became a way to express what I was thinking and feeling
It became a way to write
I started this journey to improve my writing
To help my students improve their writing
To give both groups a place to keep writing and writing and writing
I hope that at the end of this month I can look back and say that I definitely learned something. 

Looking forward to this amazing journey!

For more info: Click here 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Thoughts of a Tired Teacher

I have gotten really behind on this blog....because I am always so tired as a teacher everyday.  This is what I was worried about when I started this challenge again.  It was hard for me to do it the first year I did it because my job always wore me out. Having to teach all day long with 120 students is a different ball game.  It doesn't wear me out as much some days--but intellectually yes.  So that makes it harder to really come up with good stuff to write.

I saw this today...and it really hit me today that this was my day!! I gave up my prep and lunch so that students could work in my room.  I didn't mind, but it was just one more thing.  Then I had a parent e-mail wondering why her son is failing my class--very often the answer is he didn't turn in his homework.  Yep exactly the problem here. Thankfully I didn't have someone throw up on me!!!


Thanks to Unique Teaching Resources

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Annotating--It is a Reading and Writing Strategy!

So today I was really trying to decide what to write about--I didn't want to do another post about reading since I felt like I'd done that a lot this week.  I was looking at my Pinterest board of blog writing ideas and stumbled across a list of things to blog about--one of which being to re-post one of your old articles.  This made me wonder, what was I blogging about in January 2013--I was still excited about this project then and was trying to come up with ideas.  I stumbled across a post from January 10, 2013 which now has over 1,000 page views! I was surprised because I thought my knitting pattern review was still higher.  I read this post again, and it really fits with what I'm dealing with right now.  I'm trying to teach my 7th graders that reading needs a closer study and if they mark things then their writing and evidence would be better! Though the story is a bit old now, and I'm pretty sure this student has not thought once about reading since he left my old school--seeds are still planted and I will have one student some day go--I am so glad that she taught me that!

From January 10, 2013

Today I am inspired by a quote:

Books are not made to be believed, but to subjected to inquiry.  When we consider a book, we mustn't ask ourselves what it says but what it means...--Umberto Eco (Author of The Name of the Rose)

Honestly, never heard of that book or author, but I like the sentiment.  Part of reading is actively thinking about what you are reading and responding to it.  One of the things that is hard for students to do is actively respond to their readings--especially if it is a non-fiction reading.  With stories they can relate to the characters or the plot line gives them motivation to keep going. But with non-fiction readings students respond with, "It's boring!" or "It's too hard!" or "It's too long!"  Sometimes they will just skim it and then they do not do well on the project, analysis, etc. that you have after the reading.  As a result, I have started to make students write all over their readings. I taught one of my new students this technique because he struggled a lot with a Thoreau reading.  After working with him individually on the first few paragraphs, he began to figure out that as long as he was thinking about the reading and writing that thinking down he will understand it better. I call it active reading writing assignment with my students.  The cool thing is that after a while it becomes second nature to them and they respond without me prompting them.

What do you do to help students understand "what it means"?
Thank you to http://bestclipartblog.com/31-book-clip-art.html/book-clip-art-19

Friday, January 30, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Wait

Here comes the next Five Minute Friday:  the word this week is wait.

FMF - WaitI feel like a lot of times we end up waiting for whatever comes next.  I am waiting for life to calm down so that I can down other things that I really want to do.  But if I keep waiting then I will never get to do that because we all know that life never really calms down.  I will then end up waiting for forever.  However, I often wonder if I need to let some of these to not fill up my plate so much.

I love music.  However, I don't often make time for music.  I joined the Uintah Basin Orchestra and Chorus so that I could enjoy my love of singing and continue to learn more.  This season I came back to the Roosevelt Pops--community orchestra here, because I hadn't gotten my violin out in way too long.  It was so nice to play it for the first time in years a couple of weeks ago.  However, it is very hard to remember to practice.  It is very easy to have other things take priority because they have to be done by tomorrow and push the practicing to the next day.  Did that yesterday....have I practiced today? Nope. I will be going to bed after I published and share this post.

I am also really needing to set up a gym membership and go so that I can be ready for trek come summer. And I know that it is something that I should do to relieve my stress.  However, I have been trying to go sign up since Wednesday and I still haven't.  We have a habit of waiting as procrastinators....but is it really worth it?  Is the stress really worth all of it or do we just stress ourselves out more as a result?

Five Minute Friday - 4

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Review: The Brothers

Prologue: The Brothers (The Great and Terrible, #1)Title: Prologue: The Brothers
Author: Chris Stewart
Genre: Religious Fiction/Drama
Rating: 5 out of 5

Why Did I Read? My book club suggested it.

Summary: It is before the Earth has been formed and the spirit children of Heavenly Father have just been presented the Plan of Salvation. This plan allowed for us to come to Earth and be able to grow and progress.  We meet four spirits: Samuel, Luke, Ammon, and Elizabeth.  They are getting prepared for their time on Earth, but are also being tempted to join the side of Lucifer.  Will they give up their chance for salvation or take the risk of going to Earth?

What Did I Love:
  • I really love the story line--the fictional characters become very believable and the liberties that the author takes with sacred figures becoming characters in the book is done very tastefully. 
  • I loved the insights that I learned about myself and why I am tempted the way that I am.  If you aren't LDS but just Christian, you will still benefit from the insights and the Spirit that is in this book.
  • The narrator for the audio book does a great job!
What Did I Hate:
  • Honestly nothing--I immediately wanted the next five books in the series. Currently listening to #2.  This is the Great and Terrible Series

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Challenges I Am Doing This Whole Year!

I loved my challenge post from before and it was a lot of fun to put the pictures together.  Okay so I might have just completely overwhelmed myself--but I want to motivate myself to read more!!  I am hoping I can read a lot over the summer too. So here are the reading challenges that I'm doing this year:

Challenge #1:
Absolutely am super excited for this one because I have been wanting to finish sequels/series! There are points attached to the books that I do finish so even if I don't get a lot done its not like I didn't do anything!

preqseqbutton
http://novelheartbeat.com/2014/12/2015-prequel-sequel-challenge-sign-ups/
Challenge #2:  This challenge is all about spelling out Mocha Girls 15 with the titles and author's last name of books.  This was is going to take some planning, but I really liked the concept.

PageLines- mochagirls-650x650.jpg
http://www.mochagirlsread.com/2015-mgr-reading-challenge/
Challenge #3: 2015 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge---I liked this one because it is going to encourage me to get some variety. They picked 24 "tasks" and I am a little bit interested to see if I like all of the tasks...a couple will be really easy--others will be really hard.  I am excited to join the Goodreads group and Tweet with #ReadHarder
goodreads footer
http://bookriot.com/2014/12/15/book-riot-2015-read-harder-challenge/
Challenge #4:


I am sure everyone has seen this....I am excited to see how many of these I can get.  I'm not going to necessarily try to do all of them...just see how far I can get!  http://www.popsugar.com/love/Reading-Challenge-2015-36071458

Challenge #5: 2015 TBR Pile Challenge

I talked about Roof Beam Reader's pile challenge earlier this month.

Challenge #6: 40 Book Challenge with school--I started this in August with the students--but I don't know where I am exactly and I need to figure that out!!  And I will finish with this school year and start back up again the next school year so I need to keep it on here so that I can keep track.



WOW LOTS OF READING!

Monday, January 26, 2015

50 Question Survey Part 1

From The Classics Club 50 Question Survey that I stumbled on awhile back--I am going to do this in two parts. 
  1. Share a link to your club list.
  2. When did you join The Classics Club? How many titles have you read for the club?  I joined the club in 2013.  I have finished five books....unfortunately I'm behind my idea of reading 10 a year.
  3. What are you currently reading? I'm currently listening to Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot and reading Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
  4. What did you just finish reading and what did you think of it? I just finished listening to The Brothers by Chris Stewart-- I loved it and it is the first in the series so I'm excited to get the next books.
  5. What are you reading next? Why? I want to read the second book in The Great and Terrible Series--the series I mentioned earlier.  The first book is really like chapter 1 of a six part series.
  6. Best book you’ve read so far with the club, and why? My favorite Classics Club book so far would have to be 1984.  I loved teaching it to my six seniors!
  7. Book you most anticipate (or, anticipated) on your club list? I am excited to re-read Little Women again. 
  8. Book on your club list you’ve been avoiding, if any? Why? I am avoiding Pickwick Papers because I started it and it was very boring.
  9. First classic you ever read? Um....not sure-I have read Classics since I was very young
  10. Toughest classic you ever read?  The Fountainhead
  11. Classic that inspired you? or scared you? made you cry? made you angry?  My favorite classic will always be The Blue Castle 
  12. Longest classic you’ve read? Longest classic left on your club list? One I've read? Maybe Catch-22...actually probably The Fountainhead....left on my list? Probably Les Miserables
  13. Oldest classic you’ve read? Oldest classic left on your club list? Not sure of the oldest....
  14. Favorite biography about a classic author you’ve read — or, the biography on a classic author you most want to read, if any? I have read many sections of biographies on Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott and I have enjoyed both 
  15. Which classic do you think EVERYONE should read? Why? I think everyone should read 1984.
  16. Favorite edition of a classic you own, if any? I love Oxford Classic editions of my book
  17. Favorite movie adaption of a classic? Love the newest Pride and Prejudice
  18. Classic which hasn’t been adapted yet (that you know of) which you very much wish would be adapted to film. I would love to see a new version of Anne of Green Gables
  19. Least favorite classic? Why?  Not a big fan of Steinbeck books
  20. Name five authors you haven’t read yet whom you cannot wait to read. Emily Bronte, H.G. Wells, John Milton, A.A. Milne, and Tennessee Williams
  21. Which title by one of the five you’ve listed above most excites you and why? Wuthering Heights 
  22. Have you read a classic you disliked on first read that you tried again and respected, appreciated, or even ended up loving?  Catch-22
  23. Which classic character can’t you get out of your head?  I love Mr. Darcy :)
  24. Which classic character most reminds you of yourself? I have always related to Anne Shirley
  25. Which classic character do you most wish you could be like? Valancy Stirling from The Blue Castle

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Priorities

Today has been a day where I have been super overwhelmed with everything that I have to accomplish--and honestly I really don't feel like this blog post is a huge priority right now.  However, I am grateful that I have an outlet to write, even if I only write for a minute or two everyday. I feel like it is a lot of who I am--to express myself.  I don't see myself as a writer per se, which is why I think I like doing this blog because I would like to become a writer.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book Review: The Wish List

The Wish ListTitle: The Wish List
Author: Eoin Colfer
Genre: Drama
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Why Did I Read? My book club suggested it.

Summary: Meg Finn has gotten herself in some trouble...really big trouble because it got her killed! On her way to either heaven or hell she gets stuck in limbo.  She has an equal amount of good and evil in her "aura". She goes back to Earth to try to help with the amount of good and helps out the man that she was robbing when she died.  He has three things that he wants to do before he dies, and she helps him get it done.  

What Did I Love:
  • I liked the plot line--it seemed very well planned out and I liked how the characters developed. 
  • Speaking of characters--Meg is a strong female character that seems to learn a lot and tries to improve.  
What Did I Hate:
  • The audio book is unique.  It is read by a British narrator, and he probably does it right--with the Irish accents too.  However, it made it hard for me to multitask and listen at the same time.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

2 Quotes That Just Fit Today

One of the things that is hard for people to deal with is the idea of change.  We all mess with it---and it is on my mind today.  Since it is very late and I'm very tired--we go with the quote angle :)
Always one of my favorites--from Mormon Channel

Thank you to my friend Diannah for sharing this today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Three Blogging Challenge To Try--My Guest Post

Guess what!!! I'm a guest blogger!  I have "met" Karissa over at A Fresh Start and she needed a guest blogger. Click this link and go check it out!!! I wrote about the three challenges that will help any blogger to get going.




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

I saw this quote today and thought that it would be cool to share with everyone today
One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.  Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away. --Stephen Hawking
I loved it because it really puts everything in perspective.  You should really live life to the fullest. Try to make sure that you don't just get stuck in a rut and with your head down.  Tuesdays are my long days and I can feel like that each morning.  I've been home about an hour and should really go to bed--but I will never give up!

black and white photo of Hawking in a chair, in an office.
Thank you to Wikipedia for the pic!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals are an absolutely great idea!! I wanted to tell you some of the things that I have done and figured out today.  First of all, I want to tell you that there are a lot of people that do this online.  I stole everything for this day at Who Needs a Cape? blog. She has a post called 40 Meals in 4 Hours.  She actually put up all of the recipes--to double so you can get 40 meals.  And then she put up a grocery shopping list.

Second--you really need to block out a day--this took me WAY more than 4 hours!  The grocery list was so helpful because making that the last time I did this took sometime.

Third--make sure you have a good spot in your kitchen with a bunch of room.

Fourth--make ones that fit your family.  I love crock pot ones because I don't have to be home to start it 90 minutes before we want to eat.

Fifth tip--I'm not sure where I read this but it made a lot of sense to me--put the meat in last!  This actually really helped me with this, because I did the first half of some of the bags one day and then put the meat in the next day.  It also puts the meat at the bottom of the crock pot.

Sixth tip--Come up with a schedule and put together a binder.  I put all of these recipes in a binder and then we pick one or two each week to plan on having a certain day.  I have to start defrosting the night before so having it scheduled ahead of time makes sure that we actually use them! And this way I can mark what we might change, what sides worked, etc.  So I can do it all over again eventually.

Finally, label your freezer bags before you get started.  This helped me to make sure I got everything in the bags that were suppose to and then you have it on the label for the freezer too.

Here's my pictures :)

This is my command center--the kitchen table!

I filled up my whole bottom two shelves of my freezer!

Brian got a picture of me working away.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Raspberry Rib Knitted Blanket

I have not done a knitting post in awhile so I thought today might be a good day to do that. This pattern is called Raspberry Rib Blanket.  I got in a book called Easy Timeless Blankies sold by E-Patterns Central. I think I will give this one 4 stars because it can be really easy to get off set with whether you are doing a knit stitch or a purl stitch.  Because I am often a multi-tasking knitter, I like simple patterns.  But I absolutely hate having to tear things out because I messed up.  And with this pattern I didn't notice a HUGE mess up until I was rows and rows away.  I think that's the other issue is I put a blanket up for awhile and I don't get back to it for weeks--so I forget where I am!

Knitting_Pattern_Inspirefly
See that big mess up!
The other thing with this blanket is that either I am really bad at measuring or this is a pattern that is really hard to measure!  It ended up being huge! I measure as I get farther and then I figure out how many more rows I need.  People that do this for real probably do a gauge before they start, but I just want to get to making something that I don't really gauge. I guess somewhere down the line with this pattern I thought I needed so many more rows before I measured again.  I didn't really need that many! I thought about tearing it out but it looks fine, it's just huge.
Inspirefly_Raspberry_Rib_Knitting
See what I mean?!
This, however, is the first blanket that I made with the intention of selling it.  Usually I make blankets with someone in mind but this one was just for fun and I thought about selling it.  Would you guys buy it? With or without the mess up?  Now that I know what I'm doing I could just do another one and try not too mess up :)

Yarn_Inspirefly_Knitting
What it is suppose to look like :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Put the Lord First

President Benson taught that we should put the Lord first in our lives.  This what I am teaching tomorrow and it is the first lesson in the new manual.  I wanted to share these two quotes.  I can't take credit for the pretty--but I gave credit to some great blogs!

Love this reminder- takes all my stress away and reminds me what's most important
From http://www.cknscratch.com/ezra-taft-benson/
how-are-we-living-the-great-commandment-loving-the-lord
From http://classicmomscorner.blogspot.com/2014/11/ezra-taft-benson-lesson-1.html 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Send

So I quick introduction before I get started--I found out about this community that has a word that they just write about for five minutes on Fridays--all they do is write.  They don't edit it, they don't re-read it and fix it, they just write what comes to mind. I will definitely be fixing typos as I go....It is the English teacher in me.But I promise I won't re-read or change my thoughts after it is written.  So here is my first attempt at this!

Send:
The first thing I actually thought of was the last snail mail I sent out.  In the state of Utah our end of year test are called SAGE.  Because last year was the first year with this new test, the students didn't receive the scores until almost Thanksgiving.  I had a lot of students whose parents didn't come to conferences and who I knew would not actually give the scores to their parents--so I mailed them home.  It actually took quite a bit of time because I hand wrote each envelope and stuffed each one full.  I did about 40 all in one day.  The interesting thing about that is people send us things all the time-but do we actually acknowledge that they sent them to us. I haven't heard from any of the parents that it was helpful or not.  I did hear one of my students say--hey you mailed that home---but that's just the one.

That's the other thing about sending---we send information out all the time.  Does anyone actually care? I was thinking that today as I considered what to write about and then remembered this little deal.  Does anybody really care what I write about? If I just send these blog posts out into the void each night and then suddenly stop, the world doesn't clamor--did that once before.  No one really notices but me--and maybe that's the point--I am suppose to care and it really is only for me.  Though it would be nice if it was for other people too.

Final thought on send since my five minutes are almost up.  We send a lot of emotions around to people on a daily basis--how does that affect your day and their day?  Do we even think about that or do we just move on with our lives.  Interesting to think about....


Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 TBR Pile Challenge List

This year I want to try again with the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge with Roof Beam Reader.  I am excited to get through some of the books I didn't get through last year and add some more to the list!

So this year's list will be (the first four are what was on last year's list that didn't get done):

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
  3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (2011)
  4. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (1791)
  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847)
  6. The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (1988)
  7. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)
  8. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (2003)
  9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)
  10. The Firm by John Grisham (1991)
  11. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (2009)
  12. Son by Lois Lowry (2012)
I gave myself quite the variety so hopefully that helps!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More From President Benson's Life

This is Flora
So a couple of weeks ago, I shared some insights about President Ezra Taft Benson.  I started writing too much and decided two posts would be smart...so here's part 2!

I loved this story that was shared of how President Benson met his wife Flora.
In the fall of 1920, Ezra went to Logan, Utah, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Whitney, to enroll at the Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University). He was with some friends when a young woman caught his eye. He later recalled:
“We were out near the dairy barns when a young woman—very attractive and beautiful—drove by in her little car on her way to the dairy to get some milk. As the boys waved at her, she waved back. I said, ‘Who is that girl?’ They said ‘That’s Flora Amussen.’
“I told them, ‘You know, I’ve just had the impression I’m going to marry her.’”
Ezra’s friends laughed at his declaration, saying, “She’s too popular for a farm boy.” But he was undeterred. “That makes it all the more interesting,” he replied.
Ezra went on his mission after they started courting, and shortly before returning Flora felt that Ezra needed to finish his education before they got married and settled back on the farm. She later said
“[I] prayed and fasted for the Lord to help me know how I could help him be of greatest service to his fellowmen. It came to me that if the Bishop thought I was worthy, [he would] call me on a mission. The Church came first with Ezra, so I knew he wouldn’t say anything against it.”
So she went on her own mission and Ezra finished his degree.  I just thought that this was an amazing example of a woman who knew that she needed to act on the idea that education was important and support him in this matter.  She turned it over to the Lord, and he helped her find a solution.  This education served him well as he was continually asked and given jobs as agricultural agents. He helped many farmers through the Great Depression and eventually served as the Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower while as a Member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. Without that decision early on, he might not have gotten that appointment which served as a great moment for the Church to be heard of by more people.

When he was called as a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, he was naturally very overwhelmed and surprised by the announcement.  In the story that relates this experience, it is said that President Grant told him:

 ‘The Lord has a way of magnifying men who are called to positions of leadership.’
This quote really resonated with me as the men that are called to these positions do not necessarily have the background to lead such a massive organization, but the Lord helps them to have the background and gives them what they need.

I have always been so very impressed when I learned that President Benson served as Secretary of Agriculture. This story impressed me even more because it really shows the missionary opportunities that come from Latter-day Saints that live their faith in prominent positions.
Even in his role as a government leader, Elder Benson was open about his Christian ideals, his testimony of the restored gospel, and his devotion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Whenever he conducted a meeting with his associates in the Department of Agriculture, the meeting began with a prayer. He sent President Eisenhower passages from the Book of Mormon that prophesied of the destiny of the United States of America, and the president later said that he had read them “with the greatest of interest.”70 He gave copies of the Book of Mormon to many other world leaders as well.71 In 1954, Edward R. Murrow, a prominent television news reporter in the United States, asked Elder Benson for permission to feature the Benson family on a Friday night program called “Person to Person.” Elder and Sister Benson declined at first, but they later consented after listening to their son Reed, who saw the invitation as a great missionary opportunity. On September 24, 1954, people all over the nation watched a live, unrehearsed family home evening in the Benson home. Mr. Murrow received more fan mail as a result of that program than he had received for any other. People from all over the country and from varied religious backgrounds wrote to thank the Bensons for their shining example.
I felt like I gained two great mottos from reading this section as well:
He repeatedly said, “Remember, Brethren, in this work it is the Spirit that counts.” And he had one standard by which he measured all the quorum’s decisions: he asked, “What is best for the Kingdom?”
The First Presidency when President Benson was prophet

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Great Video to Demonstrate Similes and Metaphors

This is a great video to demonstrate similes and metaphors.  I used this in ESL and they really enjoyed it--it was something to hold on to for them and they can think back to it!! Enjoy!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Bout of Books Wrap-Up

A successful Bout of Books to me is when I have read everyday--even if it is just a little bit.  Then if I finish a book that is a bigger plus! I successfully did both despite being in school!  Today was a super long day so sorry this is all you're going to get, but I successfully read about 75% of a book in a week. Not bad!

Bout of Books

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bout of Books Day 7

This last day of Bout of Books has been a lot of different kinds of reading for me.  I love the #insixwords challenge from Falling Down the Book Hole for today because I can tell you about everything that I've been reading today and give it to you in SIX WORDS OR LESS!! Eek!

My new fiction book: Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor--Off on a new adventure

January 2015 Ensign---Put God First In Your Life

Old Testament 2 Kings 9-13--Be obedient to the prophets

New Testament Luke 1 and Matthew 1--My soul doth magnify the Lord

Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 1--See the tender mercies from above

Bout of Books

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bout of Books Day 6

I just barely finished my audio book!  The book is pretty good..probably 3.5 out of 5 stars by the time I get to doing a review--probably next week sometime when Bout of Books is over.  I'm just proud that I got it done.  That's actually why this post is so late--too late for Bout of Books--is because I just barely finished.  So to make sure that this post ends up on today, that's probably all I'm going to say. I'm going to probably pick a new audio book to start listening to and go keep cleaning.  I have gotten a lot of the kitchen done with the need to declutter!

Bout of Books

Friday, January 9, 2015

Bout of Books Day 5

I have about 45 minutes or so left of my audio book, The Wish List.  Too bad I'm falling asleep while I am writing because I would probably try to finish it tonight. Oh well--probably tomorrow. Today's challenge is your book in pictures.  So let's see what we can find:

http://www.catholic.com/blog/michelle-arnold/the-debate-at-the-pearly-gates

http://chevsy.deviantart.com/art/devil-born-from-flame-105039846

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Insane_old_man.jpg