Last Friday of summer break

What a summer it has been. Some highlights:

** The weather – we had some warm days in late May, in June – but not many! We have had a very mild, lovely summer. We have also had some decidedly Novemberish days of cool and rainy. The upshot is that we arrive at the end of the summer with lush green lawns, a full pond, an idle air conditioner – no complaints from me. Days of full sun for outdoor fun, and then days of grey for cozy inside jobs. Lovely, lovely.

** College visiting accomplished. The man about the place took the our middle son on a tour of potential schools, and the youngest went along for the ride. Leaving NC, they covered 5000 miles in 2 weeks, camping along the way. Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, Roger Williams, Cornell, University of Washington St. Louis… and drumroll.. the favorite of the trip – University of Vermont. It was an epic father/sons trip, with fishing and camping and eating in tiny local places, seeing schools, attending 2 baseball camps, attending a Yankees game and taking in the view from the top of the St. Louis arch….It helped clarify what he liked and didn’t like, and how he envisions baseball fitting into the college picture. And he finished his Honors Chem course along the way, some nights at the highest point of a campground to get good signal to submit assignments. We have a tough senior year ahead – and a couple of schools still to visit and consider. But clarity is coming.

**I had a 2 week staycation. The oldest was home, but is mostly at work – where he eats. So for 2 weeks I had no schedule to follow, no meals to cook, no boys to drive anywhere. I worked on school work mainly, but attempted to achieve a balance to my days – something healthy for me (a run, walk, good calorie control), something fun (a favorite TV program, a swim in the pond, stitching something, visiting a favorite store), something housework related (drawer cleanout, closet cleanout, dusting… it never ends), something useful (filling out school forms, paying bills, running errands for the man about the place while he was gone), something school related (working on pacing guides, and lessons and emailing with students working on summer assignments, and training – oh, the training… three required this summer!) – It was an interesting time. I enjoyed it very much, and felt myself unwinding in a way I haven’t for years. And by the time they drove back in the driveway I had a greater appreciation for all that they are, and all that I have been blessed with, and a better toleration of the dirt and noise they bring with them. Rejuvenation!

For this last day – man at work, oldest at work, middle one at school for Dream team planning, youngest planning to help grandma next door with work around her house. I am heading in to get my back to school hair cut, then on to by back to school underwear and maybe some new shoes and do my last fun thing of the summer – visit the fabric store. Then home to finish up school work, prep a literacy presentation I give Monday at our back to school faculty meeting (Math teacher presents importance of literacy!!!) and just enjoy this last carefree weekend.

Posted in Plain old everyday | 2 Comments

Recent sewing….

Just a few recent sewing pictures. When school is out for the summer I make a list of unfinished projects of all sorts and try to get them wrapped up. Sometimes the projects were started the summer before, and never finished. Sometimes they are Christmas or Spring break projects… sometimes they have languished for several summers…

Simplicity 3789 

 

 

IMG_0430.JPG (2)

 

and Butterick 5924

IMG_0424

 

Sadly, both are a little snug since it had been a year since I cut them out. Being in my late 40s, I am battling the weight gain. I have been walking/running and counting calories all summer.. nothing much budges. Very frustrating as these 2 shirts came out quite nicely and I would like to wear them. Will continue to plod on with my diet regime….

Posted in Plain old everyday | Leave a comment

The blog world…

I have never had a huge following on my blog. I write mainly for my own memory. But I have a large number of blogs I followed… some blogs were full of inspiring ideas, some blogs mirrored women living lives similar to mine, some blogs were followed because the life of the writer was vastly different than mine, and intrigued me. I followed knit blogs and quilt blogs and garden blogs and sewing blogs – all because these are my favorite hobbies. Some blogs I followed for the pictures, not the writing. Others for the writing. 

Then I went back to work full time. My blogging time was cut, my following time was cut. My mothering and hobby time changed direction. I worked hard trying to find a balance. I gradually became in infrequent poster.But that was okay – I still had blogs to follow. 

But these days, there are few of those bloggers that still write. First was the jumo to ravellry for the knit bloggers. I LOVE ravellry for all it does. But it isn’t the same as the blog posts on a knit bloggers blog about a newly finished project. Elsewhere, life has given way to instagram and twitter and sitting down to write a full blog post seems to be a thing of the past for many blog writers. This makes me sad, because while those photos are lovely, they just aren’t the same as the window you get into a person’s life when they share a blog post. 

But such is the world of the internet – constantly evolving, often before we know how to cope with it. I clearly remember scoffing at the man about the place when he suggested we get internet in our first townhouse – what would we need internet for? And now – if it goes down, I panic and wonder how I will survive. 

The impetus for blogging for me was often having read a blog somewhere else that sparked a thought or a comment or a desire to share my own experience. A little bit like having a dialogue, even though it wasn’t a real conversation. But it was reacting to what others posted. Someone completed a sweater, so I would post my progress on my latest knitting project. Someone would share a family favorite recipe, and that would remind me that I had wanted to make my grandmother’s cookies. Etc. Now, with that dialogue mostly gone, I need to find my own reasons for blogging, primarily to help remember all the thousands of moments that occur in our busy life. And I still cherish those that are blogging on a regular basis. I still have a blog reader that I check every couple of days, hoping to see posts from some of my favorites. Feeling relief when someone checks in after a bit of an absence. Keep blogging people. Your posts go great with my tea break!

Posted in Plain old everyday | Leave a comment

Test, test… anyone there?

It has been an entire school year since I have visited this space. Work and family life have kicked my posterior – too much to do, no time for everything. And we are even currently halfway through the summer. Whew. But, as I blog mostly to record the events in our lives, I need to get back to it, updating and keeping track of our family’s history. So, if anyone is still reading, stay tuned…. and if not, that is okay…this record is mostly for me. 

The time of year when picking and processing garden goodies takes a great deal of time.

The time of year when picking and processing garden goodies takes a great deal of time.

Posted in Plain old everyday | Leave a comment

Finished a sweater….

Labor Day is here – and we have been recovering from the first week of school. Here is where I am at – sorry for the bullet points, but time is of the essence.

http://www.wral.com/low-pay-forces-nc-teachers-to-choose-between-profession-state/12828323/

http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/north-carolina-ends-teacher-tenure-85899493655

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/07/nc-law-ends-pay-raises-teachers-masters-degrees-blow-college-finances

**Morale amongst teachers is at an all time low, thanks to local government and all the policy changes.

**My work week to prep for students was useless because every piece of technology I was supposed to use to teach my class broke. Projector broke on my smartboard – all my lessons are designed for this. No bulb in the building to replace nor anywhere to steal one from. Finally obtained the expensive bulb, to find it is the projector – and no spare projectors. Phone, desk top, everything broke. Week was rather hard to deal with.

**First week of school. My lower level classes are not supposed to be over 25. A stretch at 29. Right now I sit at 33 and 33. Plus 32 IB Students.

**By end of first week of school another teacher had quit to go elsewhere. In the math departments of the 2 high schools, we have lost 2 teachers to competing districts where the supplement is higher, 1 to stay at home – too expensive to have children in child care on her salary – 2 to pursue alternative, more lucrative careers, and 2 we know are finishing out this year to move on to different pursuits next year. Enrollment in teaching programs in the state went down 17% this fall….so soon, there will be no one to replace missing personnel with. Not to mention, enrollment is the highest its been – class sizes should require more staff.

**Am trying and failing to be positive. But will continue for the student’s sake. But it is one tough road right now.

**2 late nights this week, working a football game and Open House. At least those are out of the way.

**Surviving early morning PT for my frozen shoulder – making good progress and grateful there is a time that fits into my day and gets me to school by 8.

**Have manged so far to not miss a run in the couch to 5k program I started. Not planning to run any specific 5 k, but did want to amp up the exercise. Walked all summer long, but don’t have an hour to walk a circuit as I did this summer – by running I can cover more territory more quickly. But I am not a runner. So starting small, and sticking with it. Must be healthy.

**Garden overhaul right before school started, and fall garden planted. Peppers still coming in faster than I can handle, so dealt with 2 basket-fulls today.

**Sweater finished. Looking forward to cool weather to wear it. So here are some cheerful sweater pictures to round out this depressing post.

P1110022 P1110025 P1110027 P1110028 P1110031

 

Posted in Gardening, Handmade, Handwork, knitting, Plain old everyday, Whinging | 1 Comment

Minion Cake Pops

The middle son will soon be 17, and the youngest son and I decided to make him some Minion Cake Pops because  – well, you just have to know our middle son.

It started with Bakerella – she is just so talented. Here is her version of the minion cake pop. http://www.bakerella.com/mini-minions/ We used a lemon cake and lemon icing to make ours. We had never done cake pops, but she has basic directions that are easy to follow and we had no trouble with the making of the pops themselves.

P1110004

But I had also seen these on Pinterest, and this video tutorial made me think we could do them no problem.  The woman doing this tutorial has an entire You Tube Channel: Mycupcakeaddiction….

http://pinterest.com/pin/262686590738322481/

The video is very clear, and the means of decoration made me feel my 12 year old could do alot of it, so we followed her guidelines.

P1110006A couple of tips from our making of the cake pops….

  • You need enough space to stand up your cake pops… we had a square of styrofoam we thought was large enough, but we did have trouble banging into not dry cake pops. A cake will make about 48 pops, and they need space for you to reach between them and place them in the foam. We found when a stage was dry – for example all the blue pants were done and dry, we could lay down the pops on wax paper and start with an empty square.
  • You really want fluid candy melts. Watch the video and notice when she bangs the cup to settle the candy melts. It took us a try or two to get the right consistency – and we ended up adding Crisco per the instructions on the candy melt bag, and it was also mentioned in the video.
  • We used store bought eyes, but really liked the rim around the eyes she made in the video from candy necklace pieces. So we put a dot of chocolate on the dried yellow cake pop and then pressed the white candy eye into it – same effect achieved.
  • We did hair, eyes, and face- but called it quits when it came to arms and hands. At that point, the 12 year old boy was done, and so was I.

P1100998P1110008P1110009P1110012P1110011P1110014Yes – there is a three eyed Minion – youngest son’s creation. And the middle son was thrilled and ready to eat them all. Alas, he is having to wait until after dinner.

 

Posted in Cooking, Family, Handmade | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Visitors

 

 

P1100982 We have had an abundance of deer this season. I like deer, and think they are lovely in the landscape – but I do get tired of them foraging in my flower beds and eating our apples off the apple trees. This was the smaller of 2 bucks on the dam.P1100983IMG_0212 IMG_0213IMG_0214And this a mom  – she has twin fawns – and she is dangerously close to my flower beds and veggie garden. Shooooo…..

Posted in Gardening | 2 Comments