Category: about me

Mrs. B

By , October 4, 2013 6:47 pm

One of my earliest art memories is of Mrs. B who used to bring her lamb to school every spring for us to sketch … and take turns feeding with a baby bottle.  How cool is that when you are 5, 6, or 7 years old? Or any age for that matter.  If my college physics professor had brought a lamb to lectures I would have retained so much more information.  (Note to all teachers and professors:  Bring a lamb for greater long term retention.)

Mrs. B was my beloved art teacher in my early elementary years.  I vaguely recall that she was a very sweet, grandmotherly lady who we all loved.  She was not very tall and seemed rather elderly.  I think she had short, white hair. Maybe that’s why she seemed old, perhaps she was really 25 and prematurely grey?  I suspect not, but who knows?   It is so funny how childhood memories work.

She had a big, exciting cardboard box full of fat, paperless crayons clearly meant for little, imprecise hands.  Since they had no paper wrappings, the fat crayons had bits of all the other colors stuck to them.  Yellow, the lightest color, was particularly contaminated.  I was never quite sure how I felt about that…

We had no glue sticks back then and used to stick things with a thick white paste that smelled lovely (almost as good as fresh damp “ditto copies” smelled) or “rubber cement” that smelled nasty and rubbery and came in a glass jar that had a clever lid with a built-in brush.  The rubber cement was fun because of the cool design of the brush-lid.  Plus, you could apply it to a desk (naughty!!!), and when it was dry, you could roll it up and make a rubber ball with it.  Plus, the ball bounced really high!

A few kids in my class liked to eat the white paste.  Not me though, I swear! It’s probably a good thing that nobody ate the rubber cement.

Today I did one of my favorite Mrs. B projects with my little ones at school.  It is not original, but it is simple, and super fun when you are little.  It obviously made a big impression on me!

Thank you Mrs. B.  I think of you often and hope I will make as lasting an impression on my little ones that you made on me.  Without the lamb though…but I do have a few chickens.

PS.  This post started out as an intro to a much-loved Mrs.B project, however it turned into its own tribute to Mrs. B.  I will post the very simple project that inspired this memory in the next few days.

Fall, First-Graders, and Fowl

By , October 15, 2012 10:35 am

Fall has arrived.  The leaves were lovely but most have now dropped. The air is cooler, and everywhere there is that wonderful fall aroma of roasting green chiles (one of my favorite sensory experiences here in the Southwestern United States).  My children are eagerly awaiting Halloween.  They are debating costume choices and strategically planning their trick-or-treat route.  My class just enjoyed a muddy, blustery trip to our local pumpkin farm and returned with many lovely round pumpkins


I have been missing the blog and hope to be back in a few months with some more frequent posts about some fun things I have discovered for my class and for home.  In the meantime I must content myself with this quick, little check-in.

At school this year,  I took advantage of an unexpected opportunity to move up to teaching the Lower Elementary Montessori class.  This older age group (7 to 9 year-olds) have such excitement and enthusiasm for learning. I enjoyed my little ones last year (3 to 6 year-olds), but this year I find I can go into more depth with the material and the children are of course more capable of independent work.  So far I am delighted with my new adventure!

At home we recently moved into a house on more land with a barn and no golf course behind us! That means no 4AM lawn mowers, no rude golfers searching the back yard for lost balls, and most importantly, no “homeowners’ association”  … which means we finally have some chickens!  Chickens are a new experience for us, but we just love our two very friendly and hilarious hens!  The fresh eggs are a nice gift also.

Once my Lower Elementary training course is over in February, I would really love to make more frequent appearances here.  I have found so many wonderful ideas and resources on the internet and via my coworkers, that I really would love to “pay it forward” and share them here for all to borrow.  Perhaps someone will stumble upon the very idea that they are looking for and will have a better day because of it!

~Happy Fall (or Spring, depending on where you live) to all!~



New Directions

By , October 26, 2011 1:02 pm

For anyone alert enough to have noticed that my last post was dated March 18th and it is now October 26th, I can assure you that I am still here on planet Earth! Between a wee taddy bit of “blog burnout” and a new direction in my life, blogging went to the back burner.

The exciting news (for me anyhow) is that I have made a major career shift. Over the years I have been a flight attendant, lawyer, flight instructor, professional pilot, writer, and stay-at-home-Mom. I have now ended my stay-at-home-Mom phase, and have taken a job as a Montessori teacher in a 3 to 6 year-old classroom.

I am just finishing up my Montessori certification, and began work at the start of the school year in August. I have been heavily involved with this little school for eight years as a parent, classroom volunteer, and enthusiastic supporter, so this is an obvious and happy progression for me.  My primary areas of responsibility are Science and Geography/Cultural, which, as you might have guessed by reading my blog, are probably my two most favorite subjects.

So far I am loving my new career.  I feel very fortunate to be spending my days with absolutely the best co-workers and children out there!  I am also excited to personally share many of the ideas from Unplug Your Kids with a wider pool of children.

I have spent a lot of time during my hiatus wondering about the future of Unplug Your Kids. Obviously I have a lot less free time now, and my life focus has shifted a bit.  However I hate to simply abandon the blog, especially after four and a half years of hard work and love!

So the logical solution is to shift the focus of Unplug Your Kids to better align with my present life.  I plan on using Unplug Your Kids as a platform for sharing fun books, teaching ideas, and projects that I discover or create.  Since the blog has really always been about art, science, books, and activities, I don’t think there will be a drastically noticeable change.  There may just be a bit more talk about Montessori than there used to be.

Since many of you who read Unplug Your Kids are homeschooling families, or families seeking supplementary fun and educational activities for their children, I hope that you will welcome this new direction!

Thrift Store Success!

By , March 9, 2011 7:27 pm

I am not one of these stylishly-dressed women with elegantly-decorated homes who swear they acquired their every single AMAZING possession via flea markets or thrift stores.  Their homes are usually white, their clothing black.  Do you know what I mean?

What is it with all the decorating magazines that feature “Thrift Store Style.”  Clearly those people are not from “these parts.” (Sorry, I am a bit obsessed with this topic.)

I really like thrift stores though.  I don’t like gambling, but I do get a teeny, tiny electric (gambling?) thrill every time I smell that unique thrift store scent.  I walk into a disorganized, messy, smelly space and see Possibilities (and junk). I have the chance of finding a treasure, the next Hope Diamond, or maybe just some cool books (or junk).

Books are my major weakness.  We have so many and we need no more. Yet I still crave the occasional unexpected thrift store book-find to keep me going.  I discovered  Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and Snipp, Snapp, Snurr at the thrift store.  Also, the amazing Cynthia Rylant Cobble Street Cousins series.  I found Science Experiments You Can Eat there too.

Today I went in searching for books for our school’s charity used book sale.  I know, you’re not supposed to SHOP for that!  You are supposed to purge, not acquire.  But I rationalize it this way:  I get the addictive thrill of thrift store book shopping, and when I buy, I have the satisfaction of knowing that my money goes to a good cause.  The books I buy will be sold at a sale benefiting a different good cause!  I am using books to help two worthy charities (and myself because it is fun).

I found a lot of great kids’ books today, but my favorite find was a giant collection of Origami books that had been dropped off mere moments before.  I left the 3D origami books behind (seemed too complicated and time-consuming), but bought nearly all the rest – for $5.00!!  I gave them $10 because it was for our local pet shelter, and it was a much better option for me than adopting yet another cat …

I hope you all like Origami and paper crafts.  I see big inspiration here!


New on Fridays: A Tiny Slice of Time

By , July 8, 2010 7:23 pm

On Fridays I am going to try something new.  Since I am continuously trying to dance a fine line between blogging about being an “unplugged family” and actually unplugging myself, I thought it might be fun to try quickly posting a simple photo once a week of an unplugged moment.

Hopefully it might be a less time-consuming way to encourage others to unplug, even if just a little.  For those who come here more for activity or craft ideas, they still might find something to produce that inspirational spark without a lot of words.

It’ll be kind of like a yard sale or a thrift store, you never know what you’ll find each Friday (but I’ll try to make it pretty) … and it will take me very little online time to post a tiny photographic slice of our unplugged time.

See you tomorrow for a Tiny Slice of Time!

PS. I could be brutally honest and balance this out each week with a photo of our NON-unplugged time, but that would mostly be photos of me on the computer in many varieties of clothing (shorts, jeans, dresses, pajamas…), so I’ll just leave all that to your imaginations!

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