Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Winds of Change....

As cryptically mentioned in a previous post, there have been some happenings here that will change our family's rhythm entirely.  But this little story starts from last fall, when we started the new school term.

Benjamin is in 11th grade this year, and Dale and I had been talking for a while about sending him to a Christian school for his final year.  One reason was for the diploma.  I admit it, I have no desire to wrangle through the red tape of obtaining a bona fide high school diploma through the state.  There are other reasons, more importantly, that have to due with growing up, learning more independence, responsibility, etc, that were the majority of our consideration and prayers.

Now, try to keep up.

Mr. and Mrs. Greene... Bruce and Sheri, run the retreats and camps and the teen Bible study and recreation the kids attend and you see me allude to here on my blog.  Sheri also teaches our ASL class each Wednesday.

Their ministry doesn't stop there.  Bruce is the principal of the Christian School, not far from us.  So, naturally, we've been asking lots of questions of them both, and chatting about Benjamin attending there.

One night after Teen Rec time, I was chatting with them both while some of the teens were sweeping up the gym floor.  I think we were talking about transcripts, graduation requirements, and finances.  Then Bruce said, "I have an offer for you and Dale to consider.  If you agree to teach the Pre-k/K class, then any or all your children can attend for free."

(My next statement proves that I would never be good at a job interview).

After I caught my breath, I said, "You know I don't have a college degree, don't you?"

He assured me he realized that, but liked my character, and appreciated the way we are raising our children. I agreed to think about it, talk to Dale about it, pray about it.

All of which we did.  To no end.  Both Dale and I felt it warranted a day of observation at the school.  Bruce suggested I come on a Tuesday, and oh, by the way, we have volleyball practice that day, and you can help if you like.

IF I like????? Ummm.... YES!!!!!

To make a long story ... well, longer, I guess, I got to the school on the appointed day and expected to spend most of the day with the class they intended me to teach.  What I failed to realize was that there was no such class... yet.  They haven't had a Pre-k/K teacher in years.  I missed that somehow in all our chatting about the school.

That was fine.  I spent the day getting tours, asking questions, talking to the other teacher (there are 4 teachers there now.. and the Home Ec teacher is only there on Wednesdays, so I didn't meet her) and spoke to the students, in short, disrupted the classes and the usual routines of the day.  It was fabulous.  :P

I was VERY pleased with what I saw, and got very satisfactory answers to the questions Dale and I had.  They use an ACE curriculum.  Dale graduated from that and hated it.  But it has changed A LOT since he was in school 30 some odd years ago.  There was band practice, ASL class, they have wood working and Home Ec (those didn't happen on Tuesdays, so I didn't see those, but I did see the projects the students were working on, and they were impressive!).  I saw projects they are working on for competition.  I saw one on one work between teacher and students.  What I didn't see was a lot of time sitting at their desks.  I don't know what it is like in other ACE schools, but one of my main objections to this curriculum was all the sitting down time.  I didn't see that at all.  The students were busy, all over the place, but there was order to it, if that makes any sense.

It was a very busy, very informative, very good day.  I shared all with Dale privately when I got home (we hadn't told the kids what we were thinking about yet) and the decision was made:  I would accept the position.

I still had to meet with the school board.  The meeting was set up on a Monday evening, the week after I spent the day at school.   I was again struck by how horrible at job interviews I am.  I have to say the atmosphere of the meeting was very friendly, I was completely at ease, and it was like having a friendly conversation at a church function with someone you just met.

For example:

Board member: "Did you attend college?"

Me: "No, I got married and got my MRS degree."  They thought that was funny, thankfully.

Board member: "Did you ever attend a christian school?"

Me: "No, I went to public school."

Board Member: "Have you ever used the ACE curriculum?"

Me: "No, I haven't."

Board Member: "Do you know anything about it?"

Me:  "Just what I learned when I was here observing."

Oh, and then I mentioned that my husband graduated from it and didn't like the curriculum.

Great, eh?

We adjourned the meeting, and I left.  They had another applicant coming in right after me.  I figured she had  her doctorate in child education and development, and probably helped co-write the curriculum (not that I over exaggerate or anything... LOL).

Still, I felt at peace.  If I didn't get the job it was no skin off my nose.  We would still send Benjamin for his senior year, but I can home school indefinitely, and quite happily.

A couple days later Bruce called and offered his congratulations. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

There was an open house for the school last weekend on Friday and Saturday evenings.  We have been at the workday they had at the school to help get ready.  And we needed to get ready.  The room that was to be my classroom was basically a catch all.  We had to set up book cases (donated from a local library that had just remodeled) and get out everything that wasn't supposed to be there.  We helped schlep books from downstairs to my upstairs classroom, games, manipulatives, and painted the backboards and set up the desks and dividers.  There was also repainting of hallways and bathrooms going on,  It was a good day.

Since then I have been back several times to decorate the classroom, and the older kids came to help.  I have to say, that by the time the Open House came along, it looked like I was ready to start class!

The Open House seemed to go well, I thought.  There were many families with children that would be in my class, if they so choose to send them.  I haven't heard of anyone who is signed up yet, but it is early.  I know I'll for sure have at least one student... Isaac.  He is old enough to start this year.

The timing for this is perfect for our family, and it will totally change our routines and schedules.  The kids, of course, know what is happening now.  We told them after the day I went to observe. They are excited and are already making some friends.

The twins and I go to the volleyball practices when we can.  They both want to be on the team next year, and Bruce agreed to let them work out with the team.  I go to help with drills and scrimmaging, etc.

This summer we will be very busy.  Well, I will.  I will have to go for some training in Ohio, I think for a few days.  I also have to get my classroom set up for REAL, not just for show.  All the files in the filing cabinets need to be sorted, and I need to set up my lesson plans, go through the curriculum, basically get organized.

This is a private school, so there are uniforms.  I've inherited some hand me downs, but I will need to supplement.  Mrs. Greene gave the website of where they buy their uniforms, so I will have to start that process.  I've written down sizes and who needs what.  Now to just spread the purchasing out so we don't have to sell off our firstborn to clothe them for school.  Oh, and it is FULL uniform... button down shirts, dress shoes, ties the whole nine yards for the boys.  Benjamin is so excited about that.  NOT!  Hehehehehehe.  It's good to know I can still torture him in some way even though he won't be under my teaching.

To all my homeschooling peeps... please don't hate me. LOL!   I have always, always said that we'll home school as long as the Lord tells us to.  He is now leading us in this direction.  Some of the benefits is that Dale can now take some classes towards his Masters degree, and do more studying.  He'll be getting a part time job, too, and we are looking for a second vehicle.  The kids will have to have placement evaluations, and I'm sure there is a boatload of paper work for me at some point.  There is a HUGE adjustment for us when the new school term begins.  We'll get through it.

I'm not sure what else to say.  Our schedule is busy, and will continue to be so through the summer. Not just because of school changes, but life in general has a fast pace for us right now.  It is pleasant, however, and we are watching the children blossom and grow after our move last August.

Here are some pics from the open house of my classroom:

Speaking of busyness, it is time for music practice with the kiddoes, so I'm out of here.

Have a blessed day everyone!

A Few Finished Objects

I know, this is my third post today.  I am playing catch up, and instead of lumping everything in one long post I've decided to categorize everything.

My blog has been quiet, but I have been busy.  Very busy.  Some has been quilting, some knitting, and some has been life changing... but is yet another post.

For THIS post, I just wanted to share some of my finished knitting projects.  I have some quilting I have been working on, and though one is almost finished, I'll wait and post about that another time.

I finally finished Dale's sweater late in February.  It was supposed to be for Christmas.  Pffft.  I loved the pattern, Hallows Pullover, which I purchased from  I had to alter the pattern a wee bit to accommodate Dale's long arms and torso, and thus needed to buy an extra skein of yarn, wait for it to arrive, and then finish it up.  I am pleased with how this came out.  I think it is my best attempt at a sweater to date.

This is a ruffle scarf made from some Paton's novelty yarn.  The girls and I all bought some around Christmas time and I found them to be a nice, quick, instant gratification project.  I have another skein, with coral and tan, and off white that I will make for this spring.

This is a cowl, made from extra bulky Lopi yarn.  I have all the details on my Ravelry account.  It was made from a free pattern by Laura Farson.  Very easy, very quick.  I've started another on in apple green.  I know, just in time for Spring, and warmer weather!

 Here is a close up of the stitching:

That is it for now.  Have a great day!  

Product Review: Culottes

First off, I want to say that I recently found a new (well, new to me) site for culottes and skirts.  The girls and I really needed some new culottes, and with my time constraints, I thought that having them custom made would be a good idea.

The site is... 1611 Skirts.  Obviously, they also have culottes.  For the price of their denim, and the fact they are CUSTOM made, you can't go wrong.

I took all our measurements (all four of us gals) and sent them in.  Now, sometimes when you do this, what you get in return isn't what you measured.  I don't know if they assume I've made a mistake, especially with Esther's measurements (she is SO tall and lanky, hard to believe her measurements!) and feel at liberty to modify what I tell them.  So annoying.  I have had many times when the length wasn't right, or I had to rip out the back closure of an elasticized waist and tighten it up.  Annoying, as I already said, and feel compelled to repeat, as I just PAID for a custom made item.

Not so with this little company.  Not only did we get properly fitting culottes (actually perfectly fitted, much to my surprise), but the denim is good quality, AND we got all four pairs in the mail long before I thought they would arrive.  I hate to admit it, as a long time seamstress, I have to say, they did at least as good a job as I would have done, if not better (they serged the seams.  I don't have a serger, so they get the points for extra neat work! LOL).

I am SO pleased with 1611 Skirts that I may never make another pair of culottes, and just send the order to them.  I was THAT happy with the service.  The girls and I have been wearing our culottes several times a week, and they are wearing like iron.  I highly recommend purchasing from 1611 Skirts.

I keep forgetting to get a pic of the girls in their new culottes, but I finally corralled them the other morning.  Now, when we received the culottes, they weren't wrinkled and they had that nice brand new smell that fabric has before the first washing.  Anyway, here are my happy girls!  (Excuse the leggings under the culottes.  Apparently they were cold.  Why they didn't put on longer sleeve shirts I don't know.  Go figure.)

Have a wonderful day!

Ultimate Craft Book FREE!!!!

Here is a wicked awesome freebie for everyone!  The Ultimate Craft Guide, free ebook for a limited time.  I got the link through a daily email from Not just quilting... there are knitting, crochet, jewelry making, and paper crafts... and more.  I've perused it very briefly and have already found several projects I would love to try.

Here is the the Link... The Ultimate Craft Guide.

Enjoy!  What's to lose?  If you can't find anything worth keeping, just delete the book from your hard drive.  :)

Have a blessed day!

Friday, March 1, 2013

So Much For Resolutions!

I began this year by resolving to blog at least a couple of times a week, even if it was a boring update, no matter what... but obviously I've not kept up on that!  Since starting the Fitness Friday posts, I've been rather remiss.  I do have good excuses,  but that doesn't help the fact that I just haven't been posting.

So... this is a catch-up of sorts.  :)

Mostly, since the last post, we've been dealing with varying degrees of sickness in the house.  Mostly it has been that yucky cold/flu that is running rampant right now.  Today, for the first time, I think we are all on the mend!  For the first time in about a week I feel like my head congestion is clearing up.  We've all had days where we had no energy and couldn't do more than a little bit of school work and then just lay down for the rest of the day.  I had a couple days at the beginning of the week where I wouldn't have been able to get out of my own way if my life depended on it.  Overall, I'd say the family is on the mend, and everyone is generally showing more energy and able to get things done normally.  I am actually very thankful, because it could have been MUCH worse (you know, involving buckets and the like... blech.... ) so we aren't complaining.

On days when I had more energy I was able to work on some quilting.  Sometimes I just snuggled down and worked on some handwork, but I was able to finally finish up Isaac's monkey quilt.

I had lots of corners from making the snowball blocks so I made this wonky pinwheel quilt.  I'm working on a baby quilt for my nephew who was born in December, but once I'm finished with that, I'll quilt the wonky pinwheel.  It was made entirely from my stash.  :)  I took pictures while making the wonky blocks so I will post a tutorial on that very soon. Also, for once, I actually know how I'm going to quilt it!  I can't wait to get started!  I'm planning on doing some experimenting.  

Elizabeth made some healthy-ish biscotti about a week or so ago on a day when she was feeling particularly energetic and creative.  I'll be posting the recipe for that very soon too.  (Sorry about all the plugs for future posts, but I don't have time to do the tutorial or dig out the recipe right now.  Plus, maybe that will get me back on here before next month!  LOL!)

Hope everyone is healthy!  Have a great evening!