Thursday Therapy

Last Thursday, I wrote about wanting my girls to always have hope. Last night, I finished up reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. The women at my church are reading it to discuss at this weekend’s retreat. The book is fabulous as are the findings of Brown’s research about shame and vulnerability — worthiness and loving and living wholeheartedly. I’m sure I’ll have lots to write after the weekend. What stood out to me last night, though, was how tied to resilience hope is. I knew that on some level. And in my grad studies, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about and writing about the importance of challenge and struggle, getting to the other side of tough stuff and how important that is. Brown’s words are so concise and beautiful:

“Hope is a function of struggle. If we want our children to develop high levels of hopefulness, we have to let them struggle. And let me tell you, next to love and belonging, I’m not sure I want anything more for my kids than a deep sense of hopefulness.”

Yeah. That.


Works for Me Wednesday — Fast Salt Dough

I volunteered to mix up some salt dough for Caroline’s class this week. The directions specified that the quality of the dough was directly impacted by how long I kneaded it. And I got bored pretty quickly with kneading it. A quick google search inspired me to throw it in my Kitchen Aid. (I think any heavy-duty stand mixer would do.) And voila! Quick and easy salt dough. So easy, I mixed up a batch for the girls to play with while I cooked dinner last night.

2 cups of flour

1 cup of salt

(mix together in mixer)

slowly add a cup of water with the mixer running on low speed

Just let ‘er go for five to eight minutes, until the dough forms a ball

Then the kids can create whatever they want (with cookie cutters or their hands). To dry it, bake it in a warm over (about 200 degrees) for an hour or leave it sitting out overnight. They can paint their creations when it’s dry.

Tech Tuesday — App Pick — Dinorama

I’ve played a lot of apps over the past six months, but a few have certainly stood out and that’s what Tech Tuesday will mostly be about.

Dinorama is one of those apps that is well worth the price tag because of the amount of time kids will spend engaged with it and the learning value it offers. You can read my full review and learning evaluation at the link. For $1.99, kids become entrepreneurs running a dinosaur amusement park. They have to balance finances while attracting customers and caring for the dinosaurs. I may enjoy it even more than the kids. Or I needed quite a bit of time to play and explore in order to adequately review it…yeah, that’s the ticket! If you have a road trip this summer and want an app that will keep kids busy for a few hours, this is a great choice!



Must-have Monday — Two Faced Matte Eye Shadow Collection

twofacedI have been wanting Too-Faced’s matte eye-shadow set for quite some time now and had a special Sephora coupon a couple of weeks ago and decided to finally get it! Don’t let the overly made-up eyes on the packaging discourage you — this can be a great natural daytime shadow, too.

I love that it is matte. That’s what I wanted. Maybe not all 39-year-olds agree, but me, personally, I am too old for shimmery or glittery eye shadow. And some many seem to have a touch of shimmer to them. Not this. And the colors include what I actually wear — shades of grays and browns with some pink/purple. (A little green would make this set absolutely perfect for this hazel eyed girl, though.)

For an everyday t-shirt and jeans casual look, I just use the three big colors and it’s just right. For a more pulled together and made up look, I can add one of the middle shades in the crease. And when I want a more dramatic look, I can add the last, darkest row as a liner.

Thursday Therapy

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

— Phillipians 4:6-8

I’m not a worrier. I don’t get overly anxious. I know that whatever troubles I encounter, I can get through — not that it will be easy, but that I can get through it. But boy, there’s some hard stuff going on in the world right now, and the reality is, I know that I am not immune. It may seem calloused, but some things don’t phase me as much as they do others. I don’t like crowds (or running), so my family isn’t going to be at a big event like the Boston Marathon. But Sandy Hook, that got me. Classrooms full of kids dying. And West, Texas. A small town blown up. So I pray. I pray for safety for my girls. For protection for them.

But above that, I pray for them to be resilient. The stories lately that really make my stomach churn are of these girls abused and then humiliated who took their own lives. These girls had probably the worst thing they could imagine happen to them, and then had it broadcast to their peers. And they felt so hopeless that they couldn’t see beyond that. So they ended it. That breaks my heart. This world is temporary. High school is especially temporary. Devastating situations are, too. As hard as it can seem to get past it, YOU DO. I remember when my mom was sick, when I realized that there was no doubt she was going to die. I planned it out a few different ways — mercifully killing us all, mommy, daddy, Mary, and myself. But I was never actually suicidal. I was too practical and realized that something could go wrong and one of us be left alone. That would be even worse. So, life went on. And it’s a wonderful life. You smile again. You laugh again.

No matter how bad it gets, it gets better. Sooner. Later. Or maybe not until eternity. But it gets better. So I pray for my daughters. For safety. For protection. For resilience. And that they always know hope.

What’s up Wednesdsay

Two days in a row at the Y. Whoo hoo! I can do this, nice and slow — a pound a week is the goal.

Summer: We are counting the days already! Caroline counts weekends — 43 more days. I don’t — 32 days! Our schedule is filling up. In June, we’ll vacation on the Emerald Coast (that’s the panhandle of Florida — road trip!) Then we’ll do VBS with St. Luke’s on the Lake, one of the bigger Episcopal churches in the area and then just the girls will have VBS at Bethany Methodist with some friends. For July, we’ll go to the lake and to North Texas to see family, have our week of cousin camp, do an evening VBS with St. Julian’s (Narnia!). And the girls will do one week of dance/theater camp. I’m keeping the three weeks of August free for the list of summer things we want to do.

Caroline: All of the second graders at Caroline’s school are given the OLSAT test in the fall. Based on those scores, Caroline’s teacher recommended we have her tested for the Talented and Gifted program (TAG). She got it for Language Arts, which was honestly a surprise to me. I expected her to get in for math. She’s excited. She was also chosen for the Level II performance team at her dance school I’m pretty proud of that girl!

God Sighting: The VBS theme at St. Luke’s is Paul’s Dangerous Journey to Share the Truth, and each day, the kids will share God sightings. Well, my VBS journey kicked off with a very clear God sighting. I saw the theme and knew the girls would love it — they love learning about other cultures, and this one is set in Athens. I registered the girls and felt I should email the director, since it isn’t our church, and introduce myself and offer to help. I explained that we had met once before and that I was with the new Episcopal church plant and were going to do an evening VBS with a Narnia theme and could help if she needed any volunteers (though, I said, I’m sure she was all squared away with that.) The next morning, I had an email that just made me smile. I was an answer to their prayer the day before, asking God to show them someone for the last station they had open — preschool games. AND they had just finished doing the Narnia program we are doing for VBS during Lent and offered me the use of the wardrobe they made for the program. It was thrilling to see God move so obviously and to be *told* about it. It’s easy to forget our prayers, so the timing was lovely.

In other news, I made a blogging plan of writing topics to keep me updating here regularly — Must-have Mondays, Tech Tuesdays, What’s Up Wednesdays, and Therapy Thursday. Stay tuned!

I know I’m just supposed to enjoy the moment…but planning ahead has always worked for me

In 17 months, both of my kids will be in school full-time. I let my teaching certificate lapse in 2009 when I had a newborn and had not done a lick of my required 30-hours per year of professional development. I think I can renew my inactive certificate with 150 hours of professional development, so I’m starting that now. If I complete ten hours a month, or about one course per week, between now and then, I can be up-to-date before Elizabeth starts kindergarten and spend some time that year subbing if I want. Then I can figure out what to do from there — teach full-time, continue sporadic freelancing, teach part-time, work at Sephora and spend my whole paycheck there…

Regardless, if you don’t actually know me — surprise! I’m a planner. So with 17 months until I have my days free, I need to make a plan. I have found lots of options for FREE online professional development and have already completed four hours. I plan to move into the paid online options when I exhaust the relevant and free online options, and then I can sign up for some actual seminars and conferences to finish off the 150 hours.

Back when I taught 8th grade in a 6-8 middle school, I ONLY wanted to teach 8th grade, so I took the 8-12 English-Language Arts TeXes for certification. Now, I wonder if I should add the 4-8 to may repertoire as I am not so afraid of 6th graders anymore. (As an 8th grade teacher, it was rare for a kid to cry in class, but it happened and when it did, it really bothered me. I’d just do that yell-whisper to the crying kid, usually a 13-year-old boy, to go to the bathroom and meet me in the hallway when he calmed down. I knew that the 6th grade teachers dealt with that a lot more and didn’t want to travel that road. Now, crying is part of my daily life, so I think I can handle it.)

Some great FREE online professional development I’ve found follows:

ATPE offers 41 hours of various courses online for FREE. I did one of their three-hour courses today.

Concept to Classroom has several free online courses.

The Library of Congress has many one-hour professional development courses.

My latest freelance client has some great options for professional development, too, with Common Sense Educators. I’ve completed one of their courses.

There are even more paid courses, and I’m sure there are more free ones, too. Hopefully the InterWebs have enough that I can get most of my credits done from home.