Chore Chart

Summer break started off with a bang and a sprint out of the school gates.  Then, we had a few trips, routine shaken up a little, naps were skipped, and meals not fully eaten…you get the picture.  Things weren’t like they were when everyone was in school still.  Before I knew it, I had an almost five-year old screaming at me, “YOU MAKE ME DO EVERYTHING!!!”

Y’all, it was all I could do not to laugh.  I am sorry my future internet-surfing child, if you are reading this, but take this gem and use it yourself one day.

Rather than giving up and continuing to do everything, I thought like a teacher.  Funny how hard that can be to do for your own children, especially when you ARE a teacher.  I ordered these pocket charts  from Amazon and hung them on the fridge with their handy magnet attachments.  It was instant OOOHS and AAAHS from my wanna be teacher daughter.

Then, I made a series of notecards.  These are first drafts, and may get updated later with lamination and clearer images.  We will see how long they last abuse from almost two-year old son.  Anyhow, when said chore is done, she takes the card from the yellow side and transfers it to the blue side.  Yesterday morning, she was done with all but 1 card by 10 AM!  She was begging me to find some clean clothing to put away so she could transfer her last card.  I am just hoping the newness and novelty of this card chore system doesn’t wear off.  Maybe if it does, that is when I up the ante and make sparkly cards!  I am dying of laughter at the though of glittery chore cards – how she would love them.

Seriously though, the best part of this system though?  Little brother is watching and mimicking!  Soon I will have two politely trained kids, right?!  I can dream.

Since it was a four pocket chart set, the other two are now handy holders for the magnet shapes set.  It corrals the extra pieces nicely, and creates an empty workspace for their creations.

How do you encourage your kids to help out?  I love tips on raising thoughtful and helpful children.

Greensboro Weekend

A couple of weekends ago I went on a whirlwind, three-day trip to Greensboro, NC.  I went completely solo – this was the first time I have traveled alone since before my eldest was born – more than five years!  I was so excited to have plenty of time for friends, and let’s be honest, to eat my way through Greensboro!

My first stop upon landing, after getting my rental car and phoning in a to-go order to Fishbones for their best in the world burritos, was to stop at Bestway.  Their wall of beer has only gotten more thorough and fuller.

Fishbones hasn’t changed, and the decor is still as funky.  I almost always ordered some type of their burrito – the way it is steamed and stuffed with cabbage and some delectable sauce.  Yummm.

The Fishbones burrito is on the left, along with one of my favorite brewery’s beers – Foothills Jade IPA.  Then, for dinner, I hit up my favorite Thai place – Bangkok Cafe – for the Pad Thai Jade.  After filling myself with delicious food, and an afternoon at the pool, I slept perfectly in my quiet and dark hotel room.  Actually, I woke up insanely early because my body is just accustomed to waking with the birds and my early riser son.

The next morning, I did some driving around to check out old neighborhood haunts – including our old place.  I was sad to see the dogwood tree was gone.

I had breakfast with a friend, at Scrambled, and I have to say it was so-so.  I guess I should have stayed with the tried and true, and stuck with my favorite Greensboro breakfast place – Smith Street Diner.

After breakfast, we had to walk off the full stomachs, and so we headed over to the Greensboro Arboretum.  The magnolias were stunning, and everything was in bloom.  It was a hot and lovely day for a walk – just like Greensboro summers tend to be.

After a graduation party full of former colleagues, friends, former students, and good eats, we headed to the coliseum for graduation.  I have not ever had the chance to get to graduation and see former students walk across the stage, but I have to say, it was well worth it.  Sitting with my friend and former colleague, Mary Elise, watching our former students was the biggest thrill a teacher can get.  We laughed, cried, cheered, clapped, shouted, told hilarious stories, and marveled at how grown up each and every one of them looked.  It was easily the highlight of my school year, and maybe my career so far.

I rounded out my trip with two more meals with friends and former students.  Pizza at Sticks & Stones never disappoints – the Kiss Before I Go is covered in fried eggplant!  The hot chips and Sir Charles tuna with wasabi sauce, paired with an icy IPA from Natty Greene’s is also a winner.  I have actually had dreams about this patio, food, and world-class beer.

Obligatory photo with Nathanael Greene – the Quaker who fought in the Revolutionary War.  The rich history in the south was something I absolutely loved to learn about – it seemed so much more ancient and romantic than what I already knew about the Midwest.  Revolutionary War reenactments, complete with cannons, never hurt my love of the history in Greensboro.

One last walk around the lovely neighborhoods of Greensboro was on my to-do list,  and I tried to bring her the remnants of my 6-pack of Jade.  Oops.

I hopped on a plane, after meeting some former co-workers after their school day ended, and headed home.  I know faces of people are absent from this post, but they already lead such public lives, that I thought I’d focus on places and foods.  I can add y’all, with your consent, especially since you are what I miss most about Greensboro.  Not the food, not the places, not the spaces, not the landmarks, but my own personal history.  I am so grateful for all the people I got to see, laugh with, hug, cry with, and catch up on your doings.  Thank y’all so much.

New Artwork

I finally finished an artwork that I made for a coworker’s nursery.  She sent me some color requests – pinks and grays, 2 quotes she liked and a general idea for the artworks.  I got to work, slowly, much more slowly than normal.  But, hey, it was a busy spring for me.

The quotes are printed and then collaged onto the canvas. I sealed the collaged areas in my favorite collage material – gloss gel medium.

The flowers are also collage, done from painted pages from an old dictionary.

I used a palette knife to rough up and wrinkle the collaged words, for a more aged effect.


The flowers were inspired by some of favorite and currently blooming flowers – peonies.  This huge, pink beauty of a bloom was picked from my backyard earlier this week.

I started with watercolor paint for subtle all-over color.  Then, switched to thinned tempera paint for the bolder magenta hues.

During this project, I actually ran out of white acrylic paint – the first time in forever!  A good problem to have – it means I am actually creating something.



My pile of scraps and old credit card that I use to ensure a smooth adhesion to the canvas.  This pile of cut petals and printed scraps was a goldmine for my daughter’s budding creative mind.

“Can I make something out of this pile, Mommy?”  she squealed with delight.

“Of course, you can!  What do you want to do with them?” I asked her.

“You’ll see,” she replied with a grin.

She set to work, glue stick in hand – gluing, tearing, cutting, and arranging.  She set up her paint space and requested her paint colors.  I was amazed at the care and time she vested in her painting.  She was so proud of her careful brushstrokes and the fact that she did not get any paint on anything other than her paper.

Her finished masterpiece. We will be doing much more of this kind of collaborative work in the next few weeks, now that school is officially out for me.