Vote for Me!

Okay, so not really for me. For my kids. As you may know, I teach 11th and 12th grade English in Gallatin, TN, outside of Nashville. We have the best kids. Period. I truly love coming to work each day and watching them learn and learning from them.

In September I asked for help with collecting Limeades for Learning stickers for books for my classroom. We didn't get enough stickers (I found out about the program near its end), but the grant was funded over Christmas break by three donors and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a result, my darlings received 43 new books for our classroom library. On the first day I had them ready to check out, 10 of my 18 standard level juniors left with a book that they chose. I didn't tell them they had to (they will, eventually), they were just excited to read. I nearly cried.

So now I'm asking for your help again for these wonderful kids. Our prom location gave our date away and now prom will be held at our local community center. That may not seem like a big deal, but for many of our kids, prom night is one of the few times they leave town. It is certainly the only time most of them dress up and have dinner somewhere nice. They are a little bummed at having prom in the place where many of them play basketball after school and smells like chlorine. I really want our kids to have a special night and to forget about the location--to be transported to their "Isle of Enchantment." And since I like to talk about decor and party planning on this blog, prom decorations certainly fit!

So here's what I'm asking:
Click Here
Select Gallatin High School from the list (we are the third from the bottom)
Enter your email to vote

You don't have to sign up for anything, get any junk email, or even give your name. You can vote once a day per email address. So if you have eight email addys like me....

I--and my students--really appreciate it. Let me know in a comment if you vote! I'd love to be able to thank you.


New Year, New Routines

I DO NOT make resolutions. I never keep them, then feel guilty for not keeping them. Why do that to myself? But, the new year is a good time for starting new routines, trying new things, getting a fresh start.

So my goal for the next few months is to simplify my life, to establish routines that will make our lives easier, and to help me feel not so overwhelmed. See, I have this problem of taking on alot(September 2009: 2 out of town conferences--one I presented at, Homecoming Assembly--I chaired, friend's wedding--I coordinated, decorated and made the cake, and there's something else, but I think I'm blocking it out.) I should take on less, but I know myself well enough to know that's not likely to happen, so my hope is that if I can establish routines, our world can stay relatively orderly even when I doing 8 things at once. I'm really wanting to get this under control before moving so I don't take all of this mental clutter to the new house with us.

But here's a problem with me and organizing: I come up with elaborate plans that I can never follow through with. And I spend so much time on the system that by the time I'm ready to implement it, I'm tired of the whole thing. Does anyone else do this?

So this time I'm thinking big and thinking small at the same time. Here's the big part...

I'm all about having everything in one place, so this is the cover to our new Family Binder. Isn't it cute? I used a free digi kit from Kevin and Amanda {blog} as well as some elements from a kit by Shabby Princess. These are the colors I'm planning to use in my new kitchen. LOVE. THEM. Annnddd..turquoise was just named THE color for 2010, but I had the idea before reading that. I feel so on top of the trends :).

But the design is not what's important; the method is. If you see on the tag, the notebook will have sections for calendars, routines, meals, couponing, ideas, contacts, gifts, household info and whatever else I think of later that doesn't fit into one of those categories. That's ALOT. Too much. If I said that today I will manage all of these areas of my life with aplomb, I would quit by tonight.

That's where the small part comes in:

I'm not doing all of this. well, at least not right now. have you ever read Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography? Probably not, unless you majored in English and have taught American lit for 8 years. Anyway, there is a section in the work called "Arriving at Moral Perfection," where Franklin outlines his plan to become perfect. He basically identified 13 virtues he wanted to possess and then made a plan to focus on one until he had it down. Then he would add another virtue, perfect that one, add another....you get it. I'm not aiming for perfection, just a level of control amidst chaos, but his plan is right on. Right now I'm going to work on organizing our meals (this overlaps some with couponing, and some with my goals to re-lose weight). Once that feels in control and I have settled into a system, I'll move to the next tab. I have no idea how long this will take, and have no firm timeline in mind.

I'm really confident in my ability to do this...so long as I work on it in chunks. I'll share the meal organizing system I'm stealing next week, but for now, here is a weekly calendar I made to match the binder. Leave me a comment with your email if you want either of these files (jpg or psd if you want to edit); I'm happy to share!!
And...if anyone has any secrets to a more organized life, please leave a comment and help a girl out.

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