Friday, May 30, 2014

Library Wrap Up

Year two of being a librarian and I think that I can say (though it feels disloyal) that I like being a librarian even more than I liked being a Spanish teacher.  I can't decide if that means it's a better fit, or if it is just that it is much easier to teach children when you are all speaking the same language.  Anyway, I love it.

This semester we circulated 30,085 books!  We had amazing parent volunteers who came to the school in the afternoons to shelve books and have a checkout time for kids.  I even had two parents who came and helped me do inventory of all 8,000 books in the last week of school.  I was nervous about losing our Para this year, but our parents really filled the gap.  

I read 603 picture books and 36 chapter books.  I learned that I need to have a concrete goal or I won't find time to read.

The Spring Reading Party was "Origamirama" and 36 kids earned a ticket.  We made Origami boxes with lids and made candy sushi to put inside the boxes.  The kids loved it.  One 2nd grader even showed his box the next week at 4-H for his project talk because he thought it was "the coolest thing he had ever made"  because "it didn't even use tape to hold it together".    

I saw the Roald Dahl's Miss Honey Social Justice Award when it was announced at the end of March and decided at that moment that we'd figure out some kind of project to enter, and since I have wonderful teachers to work with, we did a month long festival of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory activities that culminated with a week of making blankets for babies in Ecuador.  A rowing friend from KSU lives and works in Ecuador, and she allowed us to partner with her.  She works with women who are in jail, who keep their children with them until they are two years old.  Our kids got really excited about making blankets for these babies, and made 13 tied fleece blankets and 22 embroidered flannel blankets.  Even if we don't win the fabulous prizes, the kids learned how to embroider, how to think a little about the rest of the world, and some little babies got something soft to hold.  

And now HERE'S TO SUMMER!!!!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Insanity: Summer 2014 Edition

I've been frustrated in my attempts to make a Summer Schedule because there are so many variables, so I thought I would try a weekly schedule instead.  

It just made me feel crazy!  Here's the first week:

Summer 2014 Schedule:  May 25 - June 1
6:00 -- Up, Shower, Dress
6:45 -- Breakfast, prep day, kids breakfast, Anna work animals with Daddy.
7:30 -- Kids up, dress, eat, clean up.
8:30 – Go to Pierceville VBS
          Mama and Jimmy run errands in town.
12:00 -- Make lunch and lunches, eat and deliver
1:00 -- naps K and J, A free time.
3:00 -- Up and pool clothes
3:30 – Swim
4:30 – Sno Cones
6:00 -- Home and dinner/dinners
7:00 -- Chores and piano
8:00 -- Play outside
9:00 -- Kids Bed
10:30 -- Bed

Monday:  Memorial Day-Concert at 12:00 at Cemetery
Tuesday-Thursday: VBS
Wednesday:  Piano Lesson 6:30
Thursday:  Anna to TX with Grandma. 
Friday:  Municipal Band 7:30
Saturday:  Betsy and Anna go to Church 5:30

Sunday:  Betsy and Anna 4-H Concession Stand 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

And the second week isn't better at all!

Summer 2014 Schedule:  June 1 – June 7
6:00 -- Up, Shower, Dress
6:45 -- Breakfast, prep day, kids breakfast, Anna work animals with Daddy.
7:30 -- Kids up, dress, eat, clean up.
8:30 – Garden, mow, play outside.
12:00 -- Make lunch and lunches, eat and deliver
1:00 -- naps K and J, A free time.
3:00 -- Up and pool clothes
3:30 – Swim
4:30 – Sno Cones
6:00 -- Home and dinner/dinners
7:00 -- Chores and piano
8:00 -- Play outside
9:00 -- Kids Bed
10:30 -- Bed

Sunday:  Betsy and Anna 4-H Concession Stand 10:00 am - 12:00
Monday:  Betsy’s Class Begins
Tuesday:  Anna Archery 10:00 am Big Pool,  Sign up for Summer Reading, Water Aerobics 6:15-kids to Poppa 6:00.
Wednesday:  Piano Lesson 6:30
Thursday:  W. A. 6:15-kids to Poppa 6:00 
Friday:  Municipal Band 7:30
Saturday:  BETSY PRAXIS TEST 7:30 AM BE EARLY!!!  Double check ID, etc.
AND it occurs to me that I ought to schedule in when we're going to work on Anna's 4H projects, because she picked such hard dresses to make....  I don't know what to do.  It's not like we follow these closely, but it really helps me to remember things like dinner if I have a schedule.  I got completely stuck on week 4, there's no time for dinner in there at all!  :/

Is this normal???

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I heard this song on the radio last week and it made me cry.  We need some of this.

I keep listening to it.  Like a prayer.

Monday, May 19, 2014


This darling girl is nine years old.  

Parties have been big in her class this year so she asked if she could have one for the 3rd grade girls.  

We did it at the arts center, where the girls all got to make a 3D sculpture and paint it.  It was really fun and I think everyone had a fantastic time.  

She's always smiling in the chaos.  Nine years is halfway.  It makes me ache.  We're so thankful for our precious sweet big girl.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Matchy Matchy

Anna picked out this fabric for her Birthday dress and oh so generously allowed me to use the same pattern I've been using to make her dresses for the last 6 years.  Simplicity 5226  I think I've made it almost 10 times now.  

But it's perfect and lovely!  I made dresses for both girls.  

And a tie for Mr. Jimmy using this tutorial.  Here he spotted a tractor driving down our road.  

I had to get pictures right away.  MJL was busy working so these are mostly taken with me standing on a ladder throwing a ball up and down with one hand while trying to take the pictures with the other.  

He looks like such a little man here.  

I remind myself to be happy with anything that works, picture wise.  I don't know how much longer I'll be able to dress them up in matching outfits.  I know there are 4th graders whose parents still do, so at least one more year, right?  Aren't they sweet?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Serger victory

A few years ago MJL got me a serger, but then at some point children messed with it and it got unthreaded and crazy and it made me frustrated and sometimes I cried and it just wouldn't work and I was really upset about it.  I was going to take it when I went to see my aunts at Christmas, and then again at rescheduled Christmas, but we had sicky children.  

But my very favorite napkins in the whole world were falling apart, and not just looking bad, but actually fraying to bits because the serging had come off and I had to fix them.  (As a side note-if you ever see a set of Vera napkins (like this) at a thrift store-YOU SHOULD BUY THEM!  I got these at Goodwill and I think it's not an exaggeration to say they'd been washed at least 500 times before the serging started to come out. (10 years, twice a week?)  They never wrinkle, they don't stain, they're just lovely and perfect. If you don't want them, buy them and send them to me.  

Anyhoo-It was hard and scary to cut off the frayed edges and the remaining serged bits, and it occurred to me that I was hurting their "value" by doing this-and then I rolled my eyes at myself and sternly reminded ridiculous Betsy that their "value" was in being used and loved every day.  Sheesh.  

And I sat down with the book and the serger one more time and went through each and every step slowly and carefully and I fixed it!  I got it working!  So exciting.  

Here they are!  I didn't buy yellow thread but the white is just fine (she reminds herself with another eye roll).



Monday, May 12, 2014

Mending Basket

I finally finished the mending basket!  It really only took three days, but it took over a year of procrastinating, so it seemed like longer.  I cleaned the office and then tacked the basket, taking pictures to keep myself motivated.  

I taped up this tractor book which was destroyed.  

I realized that I needed steam to fuse the fleece to these little pants I was fixing, but I didn't want to go upstairs.  So I used ice from my juice.  Isn't that lazy creative?

Here are the little pants.  Part of a set of jammies my Mom made for Anna.  I wasn't sure how to fix the three holes, so I just fused some fleece patches on the inside and then zig-zagged over the tear.  It seems to be holding for now.  

These pajama pants ripped the very first time they were worn!  This is a terrible fix but honestly-they're jammies.  There were more projects too, but I didn't think of the motivational documentation until the third day.  

And it's not mending, but I also got EVERYTHING that had been accumulating to be mailed and got it boxed up and sent out.  I always forget that the Oklahoma kids finish college early, so their box missed finals week, but I guess was a good "You're all done!" kind of present.  

Getting that all done feels so good!  Only one more class this summer!  I wonder if having the extra time will always feel nice, or if I'll get all used to it and forget what it was like to have to take classes in my "free time".  I hope it's a lasting thankfulness, like I have for the working washer and dryer.  

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Bed in Summer

I remember pulling the book "A Child's Garden of Verses" from the shelf and reading this poem when I was in bed and it was light outside, just to console myself that it was a universal problem.

Every year at this time I wish I had it memorized so that I could recite it to Katie when she explains to me that it can't be bed time, because it's not dark yet.

I have it hanging up this year, and I'm working on it...

Monday, May 05, 2014

Beautiful Christmas

I have been trying to figure out why dozens of strangers started following my Beautiful Christmas board on Pinterest and then I got this email.

Good news!
Your board is now being featured onPinterest.

Hi there,
One of your boards has been picked to be one of the recommended boards for new Pinners to follow when they first sign up for Pinterest.
What this means: we think your board is amazing, and it really demonstrates what Pinterest is all about! Also you might notice a bunch of new people following your board for the next little while.
Thanks for Pinning with us,
- The Pinterest Community Team
Get back to Pinning

It makes me giggle.  I think that this board is the silliest and least practical of all of my boards.  It's just pictures of old cards and other Christmas things that make me smile and sigh a happy sigh.  

The internet is a funny place.  Here's the board if you're curious.  

Follow Betsy's board Beautiful Christmas on Pinterest.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


We going to try to be big kids starting this month.  We've never had a written down, categorized, stick to it kind of budget.   Partly because it's very hard with a farm, and partly because we didn't want to have money be the driving factor in our decision making, and partly because we have very heartily resisted growing up in all forms and hang on to any kind of irresponsibility we can get away with.  Look how cute we were 14 years ago.  Do those kids look responsible?

I've kept track of everything in Quicken for years, and so I knew where our money was going, and in looking at everything closely, it seems like our general policy of "just be frugal but don't be crazy" has worked pretty well.  Our one extravagance, which is no surprise to anyone, is eating out.

We eat out a lot because it's MJL's favorite thing to do and my favorite thing is when he's happy.  And because of the perfect storm of living 20 minutes from town, having people in the family who MUST EAT WHEN THEY ARE HUNGRY OR ELSE (that's not me.  I easily forget to eat when I'm on my own.)  and the fact that I'm super bad at planning ahead.  So instead of looking at the day and thinking "OK, we have to be in town at 6:30, so we need to leave the house at 6:00, so we need to eat at 5:15, so I need to think about dinner and get started right after school"-I look at the clock at 5:45 and think "Good job, Betsy!  You thought about leaving the house WAY early!  We're totally going to be on time! (no we're not)  And then I remember about food and we're sunk and end up eating in the car on the way to or from something.

But we sat down and made a budget and we're starting small, with just a little cut here and there.  I mostly just want to try to think ahead a bit more.   Just a touch, because I love living here by the seat of my pants.

This post is boring.  Here are two things I saw online today.

A post about wind and drought.

Making rope from fabric scraps!