teaching & learning

Learning: Letting Go

By on January 24, 2017

One of my biggest struggles when I scroll through Instagram are all the lovely photos of what appears to be student led/interest led learning. There are days that I struggle because I know this girl child of mine does not like school. It doesn’t matter where it happens, learning is just not her thing…unless she’s learning what she wants to learn. But still we press on and I try to motivate her by all sorts of different means. And I long for the time when I can see her delve into a subject and get excited about it.

But after finding a branch covered in bracket fungus yesterday, she has spent the morning with a microscope which then led to a nature walk to collect more lichens and fungus from the park. All of these things pushing aside our plan for the day, but bringing to real life all the things we’ve been reading in our science read aloud.

These are the days that I long for and yet when they come I’m so frustrated because my plan has been thwarted. But this is the beauty of it all and while I struggle I also learn to let go. But isn’t that life? We long for something and then when we get it we are frustrated because it disrupts our life.

I’m thankful for these slow days and slower seasons that are teaching me to set aside my plans and open up my heart and life to His.


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embroidery | etsy | goal setting | homeschooling | planning | teaching & learning

Organizing: Calendars

By on July 23, 2015

This Fall is going to be full of some big changes in our house. The boy is headed to 6th grade (middle school here we come) and the chick is staying home and doing 3rd grade with me. That’s right. We have entered the wild world of homeschooling. Because I’m going to have to balance my work time at home with school time with her, I had to come up with a better system for planning.


¬†Enter the doctored up planner. I have a planner from Plum Paper which I do really like. I can’t say I’m 100 percent sure I’ll reorder another one from them for 2016 (I’ve kind of got my eyes on this one), but if I do I know some of the changes I’ll make (such as ordering a family style layout instead of breaking the day into morning-afternoon-evening). I knew I didn’t want another planner or anything else to carry around with me for school planning. I really wanted it to fit into this book too. But the spiral rings were throwing me for a loop with trying to figure out something to fit in there. I did a bunch of searching online for how to attach page protectors and discovered these little gems.


They are called sticke clips and I found them on etsy. I actually had these smaller sized photo pages from another project (score!) so once my clips came I was ready to go.

my insert pages for planner

My planner is set up with one month page at the beginning of the section and then a group of weekly pages. Into each week, I will stick that weeks homeschool plan. I drafted up this planning page (which I’m sure I’ll have to adapt more once I’m actually using it) and I have one printed for the next week slipped in on the other side. Untitled

I also made this little bookmark with my goals for the week. I know I could write these on the side (and I might do that) but for some reason having this little extra bookmark in there makes me more likely to actually focus on those things (I’m beginning to understand where my child gets her ADD from). I actually made this by just cutting on of those photo pages off. The bookmark just slides in there and I haven’t had any issue with it falling out yet.


One other thing I need to work on in the next year is blogging. Come August I have an awesome blogging related announcement, but I also wanted to get back into a better rhythm of just writing and posting in general. I found this gem of a planner here and I shrunk it down to fit into one of my photo pages and I’m planning on keeping it at the beginning of each month’s section.

Here’s a copy of my weekly planning page if you are interested.


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sewing | teaching & learning | the crooked stitch

rambling thoughts and memories

By on September 17, 2013

I was thinking the other day about my first teaching job. I was fresh out of school and we were living in a new town and new state for that matter. My new principal looked at me and 2 other newbies and said, “I need one of you to teach the multi-handicapped class, one of you to teach language arts and one of you to teach math.” The other two girls piped up pretty quickly and snagged up all but math…which left me teaching math.

The thing was, I sucked at math (and still do actually).

When I told my husband and my parents that I was going to be teaching middle school math, they all laughed and said “good luck.”

It was that bad.  (Did I mention that these students were deaf too?)

To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.

But, for the two years that I taught math at that school, I was probably the best teacher I ever was. I think it was because I struggled with the subject that I was having to learn, re-learn and then teach to students that were learning it too. I truly had empathy in a way that I wouldn’t have had were I teaching a subject I knew backwards and forwards. I remember those two years and those students like none of the others I taught for the 7 years after. I know it was partly because they were my “first”, but I also like to think it was because I was being challenged to learn along with them. I think it truly set the stage for the rest of my school teaching career.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about as I start this new business teaching sewing.
I didn’t go to design or art school. I don’t have a background in retail or business or fashion. What I know is what I’ve learned along the way. It’s what I’ve shared in small pieces with others. It’s what I’ve shared in this space for nearly 7 years. It’s filled with many crappy seams, horrible button-holes, garments I’ve made for friends I’m crazy embarrassed about now, stitches that never matched up and who knows what else.

But I think because of all that it makes me a better teacher.

Sometimes the best teacher is the one who is learning along side with you.

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crafting | going green | homemaking | living green experiment | pinterest | teaching & learning

summer 2013 wrap up

By on July 25, 2013

It may still be crazy hot outside and the calendar might still read July, but summer has come and gone for us. Our schools go “year round” essentially, which means we have a shorter summer break but longer breaks during the year. We love it and both my kiddos were excited to head back to school.

We didn’t do hardly anything on our science of summer list. These few weeks off went by like a hurricane and before I knew it I was standing in the library at school during open house! But we did do a few things that were pretty fun and broke up the monotony of the crazy rainy summer we had.

On one particularly dreary and boring day, the kids set up a nerf gun shooting range. Using some boxes, ping pong balls and golf tees they had fun trying to shoot all the balls down.

nerf gun range

I will admit this was a pretty messy activity that was kind of short lived. But they did enjoy it while it lasted.

nerf gun range


One day my son was busy doing something else so the chick and I decided to make a box puppet theater. The only box I had laying around that would work was this Priority Shipping box from the post office. It’s kind of flat so you don’t have a ton of room to move around in it, but honestly it worked out great and doesn’t take up of ton of space either!

box puppet theater

We cut a hole in the top part of the box for the flap to lift up to make the name for the theater. I had a dowel rod laying around that we used for the curtain to hang on. The curtain I just cut out of some scraps with pinking shears and just quickly stitched a seam across the top for it to slide on.

box puppet theater in use

The back has a hole in the bottom for you to stick your puppets up through. We just printed out some coloring pages of specific animals the chick wanted onto cardstock. She colored them and we collected some sticks from outside (Popsicle sticks would work better, but alas couldn’t find any) to make holders for them.

box puppet theater

We used construction paper to decorate the front and make a backdrop inside. All pretty simple, but fun!


The other thing I did this summer that was on my personal list was making bug spray.

DIY bug spray

I combined a couple of recipes I had seen floating around Pinterest and ordered some essential oils and put it all together. Here’s the recipe I put together:

50/50 mix of distilled water and witch hazel
30-40 drops of citronella oil
20ish drops of lemongrass oil
10ish drops of tea tree oil
few drops of glycerin

Overall it works pretty well. You can’t let it sit though and then use it again. I really think you have to mix it up fresh. I love how it smells and I love how cold it feels going on. The husband gave up on it though and went and bought the “real stuff” just because he is like a mosquito magnet.

I also made some citronella “candles” using mason jars, water, floating candles and some citronella and lemongrass oil. They worked pretty good too and man oh man they smell great!

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journal | mothering | parenting | teaching & learning

traditions: memorial day

By on May 27, 2013

It’s funny how we’ve tried so hard to create traditions for Advent, Christmas, Easter, birthdays etc in our family, but have done next to nothing for days like today. Today is Memorial Day and both sides of our families have a rich history of serving in the armed forces. I think because it never really effected our lives growing up or our lives right now, we tend to forget how many of our family members fought for our country; some of them even giving their lives.


This Memorial Day we decided to change that. We woke up early and drove the drive out to my father-in-laws grave and had the kids plant flags at his graveside. We met up with an uncle that we never see and realized how precious time is and how much we take it for granted. We were reminded how there is family out there that we don’t pursue and family out there that we don’t share with our children for all sorts of reasons.


My father-in-law never knew his son and obviously will never know me or our children, but his service to our country and his giving of his life is an important lesson that we need to celebrate and teach our children to respect and honor.

So for him, for all our uncles and for my dad I say “we celebrate you” and the service you gave.

Happy Memorial Day!

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