Category: about me

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!


A Matter of Degree

By , October 18, 2008 9:13 am

Many times when people find out that we have no TV they look at me as if I am from another planet.  I suppose to them, it is as if I am saying that we have no indoor plumbing, or running water.  TV has become as much a part of our lives nowadays as central heat and a flush toilet.  Most people take TV for granted and view it as one of life’s necessities.

However, just because I have no TV does not mean that I am a luddite.  Obviously I love my computer and my high-speed internet access (perhaps too much).  Technology can be a wonderful thing, but like many wonderful things, I believe that it is best used in moderation.

Deciding to adopt an unplugged lifestyle is a matter of degree.  The one extreme would be no TV, videos, computer…nothing with a screen…EVER.  The other end of the unplugged spectrum is to allow the use of all those things, but in moderation.

For those of us who do wish to live some form of screen-free life, the degree to which we do so is very much a matter of personal choice.  What works for one individual or family, might not work for another.

My family is somewhere in the middle.  Although we are without a TV signal here in this remote part of Arizona (having chosen not to install cable or satellite), we do own “the box” which I inherited from my mother.  I allow occasional videos or DVDs.  I also allow some limited computer time for the two oldest who like to play educational games.  We have no TV-based video games and I even try to avoid loud talking, flashing toys.  I prefer quiet ones that offer more open-ended, imaginative play.

When we are away from home and someplace with a TV, I allow the kids to watch some.  They find this totally fascinating and consider it a big treat.  What’s more, they’ll watch ANYTHING and are just as happy watching the Food Network as they are PBS Kids.

So for anyone who has been lurking here because you are considering reducing or eliminating screens from your family’s life, I hope you feel encouraged by this post.  It never occurs to many people that it is all simply a matter of degree!

You don’t have to cut it all off.  You don’t have to do it cold turkey.  You don’t have to rip out your plumbing and build an outhouse.

My advice:  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Adjust your screen time until you find just the right balance for you and your children.

YOU Inspire Me!

By , September 3, 2008 9:09 pm

I am truly touched by all the wonderful responses to my last post! Honestly, I was a bit nervous when I hit the “publish” button for Blog Fears. It was a little more personal than I normally tend to get, but now I am SO glad that I wrote it.

It is very comforting to know that other mothers around the world share the same feelings that I do. And I am glad that you all realize where I am coming from too.

If anyone else out there has ever felt down about their blog, a nasty comment, or even simply a bad day at home with the kids, I encourage you to read the amazing comments that people left for my Blog Fears post.

Thanks to all of you, I am now feeling renewed, invigorated, and encouraged!

I’m sure I’ll still feel the sting when the next mean remark comes my way, but I’ll look back on all your comments and remind myself that there are far more wonderful people in the world than not.

Thank you all so much for lifting my spirits. YOU are the ones who inspire me!

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