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.


The Blessing


A few years back author Wanda Brunstetter wrote a short series of books about an Amish Women that decided to give quilting lessons.  (The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, The Tattered Quilt, and The Healing Quilt).  In this series, Emma Yoder decides to begin teaching quilting to anyone that would be interested in learning.  It was a story line that I enjoyed, as it was fun to see how the seemingly unrelated people all became friends and were able to help each other out.  Now Ms. Brunstetter is doing it again but this time it is Emma’s niece Heidi Troyer that has decided to offer cooking classes.  This time instead of being an older lady whose children have grown, Heidi is a young Amish woman that longs for a family.  While she has been married for many years, she and her husband have not been blessed with a child.  Heidi decides to start offering cooking classes to take her mind of off her barrenness and also to give her something to do.  The Blessing is about her second class and the students that have signed up for this class.

I enjoyed reading about this new class of students and how Heidi is able to not only teach them how to cook but also helps them deals with situations in their lives.

A side benefit of the series is that the recipes that Heidi teaches during the 6 weeks of classes are included in the back of the book.  I can’t wait to try some of these.

I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars.  Can’t wait for the next book in the series.

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.


Because of You by T.K.Chapin

Because of you


I was recently honored to be contacted by a new to me author and asked if I would review his book Because of You.  Once I picked up this book, I was unable to put it down. The only thing that made me put it down was that I knew I would have to get up and teach the next morning (and that my kindle was dying). I will be checking this author out and reading more of his work.

I totally enjoyed reading this book by a new to me author.  Samantha is madly in love with her military husband Dakota.  While expecting their second child Dakota is deployed.  Sadly he never makes it home.  Samantha has to learn to go on with her life and be a single mother at the same time.  It seems that she has more than the usual share of troubles, but through it all, she keeps her Christian Faith.  This is a nice, clean romance book, one that I would have no problems handing to my young daughter or nieces.  It is refreshing to read a clean romance that doesn’t have the couple shacking up in bed before getting married, or go into detail about their sexual experience.

D = Drama


Wednesday’s topic was D and the letter I chose to discuss was Drama.

When you teach high school students and have a high school daughter, you will be dealing with Drama quite often.  Especially when your high school aged daughter is also involved in the Drama program. I love watching my daughter on the stage.  She is so at home on the stage. This past year, she had the privilege of being involved in two productions outside of school.  She had one of the lead roles last summer in the Missoula Children’s theater and she was a supporting actress in the first “On the Edge” production Midsummer Jersey. In my opinion, she is good.  I am glad that she has fun with drama and has found a way to participate even after she is out of high school. This kind of drama I can handle and actually enjoy.

Sadly, with a teenage daughter, I also get to experience another form of drama.  This form is not as exciting.  Why is it, that girls can’t seem to be nice to each other?  Why do they always need to find ways to hurt others?  It seems to me that at times, girls spend more time trying to get to each other or to cause problems and fight.

Soon she will be in college and hopefully, the drama will quickly come to an end.

C stands for Courage


I fell behind by a couple of days.  I had the topic for each day chosen, but then never got around to writing for that day.  Going to try and play catch up tonight.

Tuesday, April 4th was the day for letter C.  I had decided that C stands for Courage this week and wanted to write about my daughters.

Both of them have shown courage in the past few years.  Sarah left home to attend college even though she didn’t want to and was worried about being away from home.  While she had a rough start, she didn’t give up, ending up finding her own way in college and is graduating in just a month and a half.  Once she finishes her internship this summer she will be looking for a job and moving on to the next stage of her life.  Yes, she showed courage to deal with life changes and move on to the next step.  I know from conversations that we have had, that she is more than ready to move on again.  Courage helped her grow into the wonderful young women that she is today.

Kristen has been demonstrating courage this week.  High school life is full of drama and sadly life isn’t always full of good times and things, but sometimes the bad seems to come and at times the kids feel like the bad will never go away.  Kristen has continued doing what she needs to do and has not asked to stay home, she is still struggling with a few personal situations and it breaks my heart to see her facing these problems, handling them well and knowing that sometimes you have to go through the fire to become a better more refined person.  Courage is helping her grow to the fine young lady she is on her way to becoming.