August just flew by

August just seemed to fly by this year.  Between getting ready for back to school, marching band camp for my youngest, taking her to Des Moines for a 14 day stint at the Iowa State Fair (I should probably take some time to write about the Iowa State Fair), two trips to the state fair myself, visiting a couple of friends in Ames, and starting back to school, I am surprised that I was able to get anything done.  Let’s check on how I did with my summer goals:

Goal # 1

I managed to read 8 books this month.  Not bad considering all of the driving I was doing, plus the days spent at the State Fair. Overall I did manage to read 21 books this summer, not too shabby considering everything else going on.  I have fallen behind my goal but should be able to get caught up with the school year starting.

Books I read were:


The Runaway Brida and the Orphaned Twins

Forever Cherished

The Christmas Play


So. B. It

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Last Summer at Eden

Goal # 2

Crafting Time: I didn’t get much crafting time at all in August, I was either on the road or just plain exhausted much of the time.  This should pick up more this fall again.

Goal # 3

DeClutter this house.  Nope, not much of that happened at all, besides the flooding of the basement in July. This seems to be an ongoing process as I slowly go through things and try to get stuff organized.

Goal # 4

Filing, I really hate to do this, but it looks like I should just force myself to sit down and get it down.  I could probably get totally caught up and a bunch of stuff thrown away which would help Goal # 3 if I would just spend a few hours doing this chore.  Anyone want to come and sit with me while I work on the filing?

Goal # 5

Writing More, totally gave up on this goal.  I did manage to get a couple of blog posts down this summer, but that is about it.  I need to tear myself away from the computer and Facebook and spend some time just writing.

Goal # 6

School stuff, I did manage to get a few extra things done and ready for school to start but no matter how hard I try, I can never seem to be 100% ready by the first day of classes.  Guess that there is always next year.

Thinking that maybe I should take some time and come up with a few fall goals, even though several if not all of my summer goals will make it to the fall goals list.


So what kinds of goals do you have for this summer.


July Recap

Okay, I know it is August 6th and I am a bit late on this recap.  I didn’t think that this would be a good month as it is county fair time.  Two county fairs, one that my daughter competes in for 4-H and I am the co-chair of the Creative Arts open adult class so a busy two weeks and then I work at another county fair selling tickets so that is 5 days there.  Basically, that left one week free and the fairs seem to zap the energy right out of me.

So how did I do?

Goal # 1 Reading.  I only read 6 books this month, but the good news is that I have already read 6 books for August.  Hopefully, things will be getting back to normal.

  1. Kingdom Keepers 3: Disney in Shadow
  2. Ranger in Time: Escape from the Great Earthquake
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale
  4. Hidden City: Lost in the Shadows
  5. Disrupting Thinking
  6. The Blessing

I read Disrupting Thinking for the Penny Kittle Book Love Book Club.  Wow, lots to think about with this book.  The online discussion was deep and full of ideas. I can’t wait to try some of them in my classroom.

The Handmaid’s Tale was for another online book club.  I really enjoyed this book, but it had a different feel to it.  I know that this was a book club for teachers, but I am not sure if I would be willing to teach all of this book in a high school class.  My daughter saw me reading the book and informed me that she to read this for one of her classes in college.  It was fun to be able to talk about a book with her.

The author of The Blessing sent me a copy of her book to review.  You can find my review below this post on the blog.

Goal # 2 Crafting Time

Managed to get a little bit done here, but not much since I was at the fair so much.  Surprisingly this tends to pick up more once fall comes.  There are many Saturdays when I am the only one home.  I will go into my craft room and play all day, one of my cats likes to join me during this time.

Goal # 3 Decluttering

The weather decided to help that goal along a bit.  A couple of weeks ago we received somewhere between 3-7 inches which of course meant water in the basement.  Thanks to this, we had to go through and get rid of things.  We were able to salvage some things, but much of the basement has been cleaned out, items washed and either donated to Goodwill/Salvation Army, thrown away, or cleaned up and taken to the storage unit.  Just a small section in the basement to go.  I hope to start redoing the basement and turning it into a family room sometime during the next school year.

Goal # 4 Filing

I did get a bunch of stuff filed and the pile was almost nonexistent until the flood, then I found 4 boxes of things that I needed to go through.  Much was trash (why do we save some of the things that we save)? but I also found the bill from the hospital when I was born and then the bill from when my oldest daughter was born almost 24 years ago.  Those were fun to compare.  Now I have some more stuff to file.

Goal # 5  to write more

Nothing happened at all on this goal sad to say.  Someday I will be able to participate more with the Teacher’s Write.

Goal # 6 School Prep

Once again not as much as I would have liked.  Actually, I knew there wouldn’t be much in July, had hoped to get more done in June.  I did do a little bit with the Interactive Notebook and spent one day this month in my classroom trying to organize and update my classroom library.  Since we go back in a week and a half, I will probably get more done in this area for the month of August.

Overall about what I predicted for the month of July.  June is usually the month that I am most able to get things accomplished.  Once fair season hits, then there doesn’t seem to be much time or energy for anything else.  We still have one more fair to hit.  I will take Kristen out to the Iowa State Fair early tomorrow morning.  She is on the State Youth Council for 4-H and will be at the fair grounds for 2 weeks.  She gets to spend the first few days cleaning out the 4-H building and getting everything set up.  Then she will spend the rest of the time either assisting with animal shows (she is excited that she gets to help with the pig release, please don’t let her bring one home) and with many of the communications events in the 4-H building.  The last two days of the fair she will give her Educational Presentation and then her Extemporaneous speech.  Sarah and I will make a trip out to Des Moines in a week for a couple of days.  Looking forward to this time with Sarah as it has been a long time since she was able to attend the State Fair. We will pop in and check on Kristen during that time, maybe even get a picture or two of her working.  Then I will be going back out on Friday after PD so that I can be there for her two communications events and of course to bring her back home for the start of the school year.

June Recap

Well, June didn’t go quite as well as I wanted it to go.  Looking back at my post to begin the summer, I said that my number one goal was to get over the cold.  I ended up spending most of June not feeling well and fighting a cold/respiratory illness and some gastronomical problems. I will spare you the gory details.  Needless to say, I didn’t feel like getting much done.  I did manage to make two trips to Madrid Iowa and the 4-H camping center, one trip to Des Moines to drop off a child and then a 5 day trip to Houston with my husband.

The first goal on my list was to read.  I did manage to read 7 books this month.  Would have preferred more, but hard to read when you don’t feel well.

  1. Become the Inspiration by Kurt Kreiter
  2. Patterned After Death by Elizabeth Lynn CaseyTakin
  3. Taking on Twins by Mollie Campbell
  4. Promises of Love by Juliette Duncan
  5. Haley’s Hangdog Holiday by Tamie Dearen
  6. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander 
  7. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Scan_20170702Patterned after deathHaleys hangdogPromises of Lovetaking on twinsthe crossoverThe Uncommon reader


The Bold book was for one of the book clubs I signed up for.  I am really enjoying the information and discussion from this book club.  This is for the Book Love book club hosted by Penny Kittle’s Book Love Foundation. I haven’t added too much to the discussion yet, as I just got home from Houston a couple of days ago and didn’t have internet access while we were there.  Trying to get caught up with everything.

My second goal was crafting time.  Once again not much accomplished with this one, when you don’t feel well and are running to the bathroom every few minutes, well need I say anything else?   Managed to get a few scrapbook pages done, but not much.

Goal three was to declutter.  That never happened, nor did goal four filing.  The pile is still sitting on my file cabinets and desk that need to be filed.

My 5th goal for the summer really is for this month and that is to write more.  I have signed up for Teacher’s Write camp and that begins June 10th.  Hopefully, I will find the time to work on that one this month even with the fairs.

The 6th and final goal was/is school related.  I did manage to get one of my classes completely ready to go on Canvas and also created a vocabulary list for each unit on Quizlet.  I have also gotten some stuff done on my Interactive Notebook for Language Arts 10 but still have lots to do for this one.

Let’s hope that July is a more productive month, even though there are two fairs during this month.  During county fair time, NOTHING else gets done.  I am happy to barely survive during those weeks.


It is officially summer vacation.  77 glorious days until I start back to school again.  These days are filled with so much potential and promise.  77 days staring at me, I want (need) to make these 77 days important.  I want to accomplish so much during this time.  Granted several of the days are already blocked and committed to some activity.  Next week will involve two days of travel from Eastern Iowa to the Clover Woods Camp and Retreat Center (the former Iowa 4-H Center) as my daughter was selected to be on the state 4-H council and they will begin their training during this time.  Then there is the trip to Houston with my husband.  He has meetings and training, I will go to play and relax.  Let me know if you have any suggestions of things to do or places to eat in the Houston area, but will be without transportation as we are flying.  Does Houston have a good public transportation system?  I would think so.  And then in July, it is county fair time, always a busy week in the Flathers household.  August creeps in with it’s Iowa State Fair, one last chance at summertime before it’s time to start the next school year.

So what are some of my goals for this summer?

  1.  Read, I have several books that I want to read plus I have signed up for a couple of different book clubs for teachers.  Anxious to get those books and begin the study.
  2. Crafting Time- I want to finish a couple of scrapbook albums, I also have several challenges that I need to finish. (ok, start)
  3. DeClutter my house, this is a goal every year and while I manage to get a bit done on this, never enough and by the next summer you would never know I had decluttered.
  4. Filing.  I hate to file and tend to put it off.  Every summer it takes me about 1 day to get caught up on the filing.
  5. Write More- this will be the third summer that I have signed up for the Teachers Write camp hosted by Kate Messner, Gae Polisner, Jen Vincent, and Jo Knowles.  Maybe this year I will actually finish it.
  6. School Related- I also have a couple of goals related to the new school year.  I want to get my classes set up and first units ready to go on Canvas, I am also trying to develop an interactive Notebook for my language arts classes.  If you have any suggestions or links to places I can go for ideas and information on this project I would be grateful.  So much of what I have looked at looks like it is geared more to elementary age and not high school aged students.

And my most important goal at least to start this summer vacation with is to get rid of this stupid cold.  It started last Wednesday the night before the final day of classes and quickly became much worse ending in a visit to urgent care on Monday and now it is slowly getting better.   So hard to do much of anything when you can’t breathe.


Goodbye Summer

While I will admit that I am not a very  big fan of summer, there are a few things about it that I have always enjoyed.  Summer always seemed so long and a chance to get things done around the house, have plenty of time to rest and relax and also to get ready for the upcoming school year.  I always have high hopes of having a productive summer and feeling so accomplished.  Here I am on the eve of the first day of the new school year and once again I didn’t even get half of the things accomplished that I wanted to get done.

I started off strong, made a schedule and did my best to stick with it.  Yes, that good intention lasted all of about 7 days.  I did manage to get caught up on my filing (a chore that I absolutely detest).  Or at least I was caught up on my filing two months ago.  Needless to say, I am no longer caught up.  I did get some scrapbooking done, but not even close to my goal of one page a day.  I think maybe a total of 15 pages for the entire summer.  I also didn’t come close to reading the number of books that I wanted to read.  Actually, when it comes to reading, I started the summer ahead of my reading goal according to Goodreads.  Now I am 7 books behind schedule.  Looks like I need to get reading again.  It certainly isn’t because I don’t have enough books, I have about 4 To Be Read piles that are each a foot high, plus the 100’s of books that I have downloaded to my Kindle that still need to be read.  I did manage to get a little bit done on a couple of classes in canvas.

So the question remains exactly what did I get done this summer?  Did I get much done for me or for school or for the family?

  1. I did take a class on writer’s notebook.
  2. I went on a trip to Des Moines twice, once with my husband at the beginning of the summer and then just this past weekend with my youngest daughter.
  3. Took my daughter to the 4-H Awardrobe event in Ames.
  4. Turned around and a week later took her to the state fair for Communications events.

I will admit that the state fair was fun, but tiring.  Kristen had an educational presentation, a dance for share the fun, and did extemporaneous speaking. She was excited to get a seal of excellence on her educational presentation. We were a bit worried when the judge for her room gave the first girl a certificate or recognition.  Share the Fun is not judged, but evaluated.  By the comments the judge seemed to like her dance.  Finally Sunday morning came around and the extemporaneous speaking.  This was the first time that Kristen had done this at the state fair and she was a tad bit nervous.  Her goal was to get a seal of Merit and that it exactly what she did receive.  I am really proud of her for doing this event.  She has never had any coaching or teaching in the area.  This area is completely self taught.

I will need to write more about the state fair, but that is a topic for another day.

In the meantime.  Happy first day of school.  8:15 start time will be here before I know it.

Two Part Summer

For years now, I have always mentally divided my summer into two parts.

Part 1: This started the day school ended for the summer and lasts until the last day of the county fair.  Here I think I have lots of free time, except I am pushing a child to get her 4-H projects done, including the write ups.  This is a never ending struggle that always last up to the very last minute.  This year she finally finished everything around 11:30 pm the day before conference judging, had to be there at 7:00 am. Every year I beg her to begin working on her projects sometime in October, but like a typical teenager, she believes that she needs to sit around the house and not accomplish much of anything.

Part 2: This begins the day after the county fair ends.  All of the sudden, my brain switches into school mode.  I will wake up in the middle of the night with an idea or two or three or…. I then need to get up and write these down or I will forget them.  I start making lists of things that I need to get done in my classroom so that I am ready for the first day.  I start going into school to work, so that I can access the copier before there is a crowd of people and it breaks down again.  So this year the fair was a week and a half/two weeks early.  I was really hoping that my mind would give me a break for a couple of weeks.  Sadly that didn’t happen.  Yes, I was already thinking up new ideas for this year, and today my brain wanted to sit down at my computer and lesson plan book and plan out an entire semester for one class and start to gather things for my other classes.  I even tried to concentrate on planning for the state fair this year.  My daughter has to be there early on a Friday and early on the Sunday, since it is a 3 hour drive, have decided that it would be better to go out and stay for 4 days.  But that didn’t help.  Even as I was researching and planning for the fair, my mind was thinking school in the background.

It won’t be long now.

Summer Plans

On today’s blog for one of my favorite authors (okay, I have lots of favorite authors, I can’t help it), she did a blog post consisting of her summer plans.  I decided that this was a good idea, so I am stealing I mean borrowing her idea.

So for your reading pleasure ( or if you need help falling asleep) here is my list

  1. Read 30 books.
  2. Scrapbook 82 2 page layouts.  More would be better as I want to catch up on what I haven’t done this year so far.
  3. Create the first two units for each of my classes in Canvas (4 different preps, so 8 units altogether).
  4. Get basement cleaned out.
  5. Take a fun, family, day trip somewhere within a couple hours drive from our place.
  6. Find at least 10-15 mentor texts for the next school year.
  7. Take an online course for grad credit
  8. Learn how to use photoshop elements
  9. Write more (okay, begin writing)