Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Helping Without Hurting

When I was in high school, I went on a couple of those short-term missions trips. The kind when you go somewhere (preferably far away) with the intention of changing someone's life through painting walls, running VBS, or street evangelizing. 

Now I understand that trips like these, while they may do good for the teenagers on the trips or have their place in a believer's life, I don't really think they do that much for the communities we are trying to serve. This is unfortunate, because missions trips like that take such prevalence in the way that many people see "missions." 

Enter someone like Jen Hatmaker. 

Please, even if you don't read any more of my ramblings, go read her post.

Jen is supporting and promoting real, true service to people in need. She is working with people who live in and know the communities they serve, people who are empowering the impoverished, sick, and disenfranchised. Organizations like Help One Now are truly lifting families and children out of poverty and giving them a means of supporting themselves, and that is invaluable. 

"Hundreds of children are now in school instead of working, hundreds of families are kept intact instead of devastated by disruption, and ten years from now, hundreds of young adults will contribute to the local economy and take their rightful place as the next generation of local leaders."

Isn't that so much better than awkwardly helping with a VBS in a language you don't speak? 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


A few weeks ago, Sister and Psuedo-Sister (AKA Meg) were hanging out with me and we decided to try our hand at some new granola.

I make granola all the time, it's way cheaper than buying and I like being able to control the ingredients. I posted about it a while ago, and gave you my basic formula. Usually I go the route of coconut and cranberry, since it's Dan's favorite.

Plus, with coconut oil and honey, it's a pretty healthy staple.

But this time, us gals wanted a something little more exciting.

We mixed up some old-fashioned oats along with multigrain oats (for a little added texture), added some melted butter, and confectioners sugar. We toasted this with a handful of almonds for 12 minutes (mix once at 6 minutes).

Once it came out of the oven and warm and delicious-smelling, we added shredded coconut, dried blueberries, and...another dusting of confectioners sugar.

We dubbed it blueberries and cream, and boy was it tasty. Definitely a sweet treat and not an everyday type of granola, but worth every bite!

Hmm, maybe I'll have to make another batch of this soon...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Classroom Reveal!

This school year has hit me like a ton of bricks, but I'm going to do my utmost to stay up to date on here! There might be fewer posts, but I will do my best.

(I think that's my mantra for the my best, don't sweat the rest.) 

Anyway, I did snap some pictures of my finished classroom before the kiddos arrived! I apologize for the blurriness, I actually brought my real camera to school but I was in a hurry and apparently I did a pitiful job. Ha. 

Bulletin board #1--learning materials

Bulletin board #2--morning meeting materials

The whole circle time area, complete with the Word Wall

We use that general area for our morning meeting, read alouds, and whole group learning. 

Focus wall, so parents can easily see exactly what we are working on!
This is also useful when I want the kids to be able to restate their objectives. =)

Learning centers, math and literacy. 

Our class library, which I spent hours organizing, labeling, and making generally pretty.
'Cause books are important.

The kiddos have since decorated those white magazine holders above the library--those are their book boxes, where they store "in progress" books. We also ditched (well, gave away) that brown table in the lower right hand corner, which made the space much more open and comfy. 

Whole room shot. I love those huge windows!

Teacher's desk area.

It took many hours to get to this point, but I'm so happy with the overall result! 

It's already interesting to note exactly how we use the room so far, and think about what might shift as the year progresses. This is my first permanent teaching position, and I keep having to remind myself that if it doesn't work, I can try something different next year!