Capitol City Visit

Capitol City Visit
Madison Wisconsin

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Win A Swarovski Crystal Button Ring from my shop!

Good Morning!

It is time for a giveaway from my shop!  In the past, I have always run the giveaways myself.  They never generated the attention I desired.  So this time, I am having another blog, a blog I advertise my shop through, run the giveaway!  

Please check out Pixel Berry Pie Designs Blog for the Swarovski Button Ring Giveaway!
Rules for entering are on her blog page, along with many pictures of the rings you could choose.

The giveaway runs through 10/14/12.

The winner will be able to choose the color of Swarovski Button from those available and weather to wrap it in sterling wire or craft wire.  The value is $18.00-$30.00 depending on the ring choosen.

Today, instead of posting the rings (I'd like you to go to the Pixel Berry Pie Designs Blog or my shop to check them out), I'm posting pictures of some of the pieces I've created that coordinate well with the rings!

Enjoy!  ~Carol~

Friday, September 28, 2012

What's recharging my batteries????

Well, hello!

If you read my post from a couple of weeks ago, you'll note that at the end I promised to let you know the outcome to my being overwhelmed by my volunteer activities in our school district and community!

What's recharging my batteries?  The answer is writing!  

Shortly after my last post, I saw an advertisement for a short story contest offered by NPR or National Public Radio.  Three minute fiction.  The topic of your writing had to include a US President!  After thinking of my idea for a few days, I sat down and wrote it up in 45 minutes!  The words just easily flowed on to my computer!  Good thing because by the time I saw the advertisement, I only had a week left to make my submission.  So, on Sunday, 9/23/12, after about 7 edits, I submitted my story!  

It was fun. It was useful!  It made me feel good!   My kids liked the story!   My batteries were recharging!

So, on Tuesday, I contacted the teacher who organizes the third grade writer's circle for me.  Yes! Yes, I told her!  I am sure I still want to hold a writer's circle this year!  I am excited to know that in less than a week, I will find out what 6 third graders I'll be writing with this year! For the last two years, we've done units on poetry, persuasive writing, narrative writing, and more.  For the last two years, the student's with me have had their poetry accepted to be published by the National Schools Project!  

For the first time, in a while; my batteries are charging and more is going in that is coming out!  I think I'll keep it this way for now!  

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to stop in tomorrow, 9/29/12, for an announcement about a giveaway from my Etsy shop!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reflection....Seeing a Need.

Today, I'd like to share some very introspective musings with you.  

Lately, I've been engaging in a lot of self reflection.  I'm at a point in my life that I'm questioning what I'm doing and why, exactly, I'm doing "it".  The need for reflection arose due to a feeling I had last fall, that intensified during this past spring, of being over committed and thus, over whelmed by the volunteer activities I had taken on.

So, without getting into too many details, let's just say that I was running two separate groups for our school district. One such assemblage was a new advocacy group for the parents/families of our district's talented and gifted students.  This was a group I had started the previous year, based on a  perceived need that arose from other parents asking me what was going on with TAG education at various levels in our district.  The group met once a month, however a lot of background information needed to be gathered as well as writing mission and vision statements, setting forth goals, and meeting with various district and building administrators.  Needless to say, it has been a difficult and stressful road mostly because the topic of giftedness is, in general, one that people, even educators (or maybe, especially educators) are reluctant to discuss.  All children are gifts, not all children are gifted.  There is a difference. However, this difference is not recognized universally and can be polarizing.

The second group I led is near and dear to my heart.  Nine years ago this fall, I started an elementary, after school garden club.  It was an idea that came to me so I could easily bank volunteer hours. The hours were necessary to hold my Master Gardener Certification in good standing.  I had the support of the principal and a vision.  Bear in mind this idea was well before the current popularity existed for environmental education and outdoor classrooms.  It seems everyone has jumped on this band wagon that no one cared about or barely existed 10 short years ago.  Over the course of the last eight years, I have developed my own curriculum and have been able to attract an average of 30 students per year to an elective educational activity. Wow!  Again, I saw a that I still believe exists to develop engaging community activities for our youth.  I strongly believe that not all learning takes place in a classroom.  I have seen some of my garden club students blossom with confidence and a sense of pride in accomplishing something good, like our school based butterfly garden, for the entire community.  I've also witnessed the empowerment that knowledge enables some children to be able to say, "I know that, because I learned it in garden club".  Yes, Evergreen Garden Club was a good thing.  

In addition to holding monthly meetings for both of these groups, I spent time holding a book club for first graders, a writing circle for third graders, reading with forth graders, and working on language arts with 6th graders, all on a weekly basis.  Lastly, I did what I could to support our local high school band.

Whew, even in writing this, I feel a sense of being overwhelmed.  So, it should be no surprise that when August rolled around and I began to "organize" for these two groups, I started feeling stressed. I knew I needed to make a change.  On the advice of some friends, I sat down and made a list of what I was doing.  To quote one of those friends, I needed to decide, what drained my batteries (so to speak) and what recharged them.  I was to keep what recharged my personal batteries and let the draining activities go.  If you knew me, you'd realize this was so much easier said than done.  

I've always been a person with a strong sense of obligation and loyalty.  How do you stop something you feel committed to?  Well, let me tell you, it is hard!    I saw a need for both of the groups I started, I saw a need for the other activities as well.  All of the activities with the exception of the fourth grade reading and sixth grade language arts classroom volunteer duties, were activities solely being conducted by me.  They were developed by seeing a need, speaking to the involved teacher or administrator, being organized, and starting the groups.  

So, what has happened you ask?  What have I decided?  Well, the outcome is different than I even imagined.  I hope you'll stop back later this week to see what is going to keep by batteries charged!  I'll give you a hint; I've realized that I'm good at seeing what is needed and addressing those needs.  The question is what is needed now?  For me? For our community?  I hope you'll stop back to find out!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Amish Auction! Labor Day Alternative!

Labor Day is always special to me!  The reason for that is I truly labored on labor day, some 18 years ago!  I could have even claimed a FREE crib from IKEA for having a baby on labor day, but since we had the crib (isn't that an essential item????) and didn't live near IKEA, we didn't claim it! 

Well, since labor day's date moves around that first week in September, we weren't celebrating a birthday yesterday.  Instead, we went to an Amish Auction!  We've long been interested in flea markets and auctions, but recently have had a renewed inspiration to actually attend one of these events.  

We drove about an hour from home to arrive at the Auction site in South-Western Wisconsin.  It was located in a small town in Vernon county, a county where many local amish families live.    

What fun we had......there were two rings with very fast talking auctioneers, selling the goods!  My husband got our ticket, left it with me and took off to watch the furniture auction.  He makes handcrafted furniture, himself.  So, he was very interested in the quality, craftsmanship, and price the Amish pieces were presenting.  We almost won a bent-wood rocker, out of black walnut no-less, but eventually got out bid.  Today, my husband is wishing he bid higher!

I stayed outside in the plant auction.  I ended up having the winning bid on some hardy asters.....the variety is called Prince Henry III, a gorgeous pink!  It was fun!  I brought home four! Two are in the ground already!  

We ate some homemade cookies and drove through our state's beautiful countryside!  We had a great day!  Everyone was cheerful and polite!  We will be going back!  I think I'm planning on getting my annuals there, next spring!

Enjoy the pictures.........and thanks for stopping by!

P.S. I have a one day sale in progress; enter coupon code onedaysale20 at check out from  my etsy shop, and receive 20% off your entire purchase! Sale ends at 12am 9/5/12.  Thanks!