July 31, 2012

July Mock 365

Another month under 2012's belt. July delivered in the summer entertainment area...big time.  Every day almost was loaded with something wild and crazy...or just crazy.  I'm kinda looking back at all the stuff we did and wondering how exactly we did that.  July was long.  And rightly so...it's about summer took a chill pill.

Bele Chere
Brandi Carlile
39 episodes of Lost...we might have started that in June though
sno cones

Yep, July was pretty awesome.

So without further ado, here's my month of July, collage style:

 Clockwise::sparklers::Virginia Beach::my Becky and me::Sophie @ Colonial Williamsburg::Jack @ Virginia Beach::Noah @ IKEA::sno cones with friends
Clockwise::watching storms::banjo band downtown::Brandi concert::sno cones::downtown Asheville::hiking Moore Cove::me and Ms. Amy :)

Here's to a just-as-awesome August!!


July 30, 2012

Two Weekends in Asheville

Asheville is very...how would I explain it...eclectic? weird? mountainy?
It's hard to put your finger on it, but whatever it is...I feel lucky to live here. Ya, banjos and bib overalls are the norm and sweet tea runs in the drinking fountains, but in all it's quirkiness, its a gem in a mountain range.

Take last weekend for example...Saturday we headed out to the mountains to hike.  We hiked, then we decided we were only a few miles from Sliding Rock, which is supposedly super cool...a natural waterslide of sorts.

This sucker was crazy! Sophie was too little but Jarrod and the boys rocked some Sliding Rock. (please excuse the pictures...all phone and far distances)

The bottom was 8' deep and the water moved FAST! Jack went once and we decided it was too dangerous for him to go again. He was fine with that decision.

So, that was a big check off the ol' summer list...

And speaking of check marks off the summer list...yesterday we checked one off mine. Bele Chere festival.  Streets full of delicious food, vendors selling their pottery, clothes, and jewelry, people watching is always a treat downtown, bands performing...specifically Brandi Carlile.  It was a check mark in the making.

It was hot, but not unbearable, and the horrific crowds that everyone talked about weren't really all that bad. We walked around, saw the sights, ate great food.

The concert was phenom! I've seen Brandi play before...she's so uber talented you can't go just once.  I was all freaked out that we wouldn't get good seats (aka: our legs...standing room only). I'm totally freakish about general admission...like, I wanna be in the front...doesn't matter what the event is; church, Brandi Carlile, or Barney and Friends...mama wants to see what brand of jeans they're wearing. I wanna be close.  So I was worried there'd be a million crazy people thinking the same thing...and there eventually was, but being just a little early landed us right in front. 

Ya, pretty awesome.

I mean really...we were close.

Bele Chere was a must-see.  Where else would I have seen a Brandi show, eaten fried Twinkies (which I didn't, but I so could have), listened to Blue Grass, and saw a girl/statue person playing the drums in the street?

Can't think of anything?
Me neither.

Life always changes, who knows how long we'll get to live here.  But you can bet we're gonna soak up as much as we can while we ARE here...one weekend at a time.  I feel lucky to explore this place.

At noon today the kids and I are loading a plane to our first home: South Dakota.  We'll be gone for 11 whole days.  We've got a full roster. We're so excited to get so spend some quality time with our lovies.  

I do have a few posts planned for this week though... 

Also, you can follow me on instagram @aliciaahutchinson too...I might need some encouragement while I'm going through withdraws from Lost.  And a plane is not where you want to be when you're addicted to Lost.

Wish me luck without Lost ;)


July 27, 2012

friday favorites

I kinda love these posts...so here we go again: my favorites of the week...and it was a good one. We had nothing...I repeat nothing on our calendar. We hung out at the pool, listened to thunder, did art projects, and that's about it. I loved this week.

Here were my favorite parts:

Have I ever told you how much I love thunderstorms?? I do. I love them.  We had a few this week...favorite.

I bought these his & hers pillow cases at a garage sale with Amy a couple weeks ago and I just now got around to washing them and putting them on the bed. How sweet are these??!! I love them...favorite again.

If you read my last post, you know I went out on a limb a little bit and started selling a planner I designed and made.  Then my heart was totally blessed because a.) I sold some!!  and b.) I live in NC and that's just what you say...bless your heart.

They are just good, cheap entertainment...kids. They want a dog...the parents do not. We asked what they would name a dog. The results? Dingo, Hot Dog, or Greg.  Well, ok....

We've been needing one for about four months...Daddy finally sprang for a new fly swatter. It says *splat*...it don't take much to get us excited.

(I hate that I just used incorrect grammar in that last sentence, but I had to for effect-sake...you'll understand.)

The other front one is about to go too. How will he eat? Will I have to puree all his food? I'm so not doing that. He looks so old now.

We got rid of our grill when we moved and thought we could get by this summer without one. Wrong. We couldn't stand it. We bought one on Sunday and have grilled every night but one. It was the missing piece to our summer...so that's it. Our summer is complete.

I love that she loves art. She asks for some sort of art supply almost every time we're in Target. I can't say no.  It's like saying no to air. Must. buy. new. markers.  Anyway yesterday she made an adorable resist type painting and it turned out beautifully...will share soon.

I love that Huck Finn look, don't you? Old jeans=new shorts=favorite.

Ya, like waaaaay addicted. Way. We watch it every night. It's soooo good.
I have come to three conclusions with this show:
1. Sayid is my favorite. He's smart, resourceful, and I like his accent.
2. Kate is Captain Obvious. "Jack, we were in a plane crash." "Jack, so-and-so just died in your arms." Ya, no duh Kate, we're all watching...you don't need to reiterate the drasticness of the situation.  She has great arms, though...I gotta say.
and 3. John Locke is out of his damn mind.

That's it. That's my week.  This weekend I will be watching Lost...for two days straight, taking a break for a bit to go to my very first BELE CHERE festival in Asheville and see a free BRANDI CARLILE show!!!! Seriously so excited...I may have just peed a little. SO excited.

Happy weekending,

July 25, 2012

How I Plan Our School Year

Everyone plans out their school year a little differently, but I'm gonna tell you how I do it today. Planning for school is my favorite...I love this job. Love. this. job.  I'm going to give you a few tips and ideas that I've learned along the way when planning for our next year...

First, I start off with coffee.  Regular or iced. It doesn't matter a whole lot. It can effect your mood depending on your current body temperature...gauge accordingly before you choose your coffee type.

Coffee in hand, I gather up your new curriculum, a notebook, and my lesson planner.  The lesson planner part is important and I can't seem to ever find the right one, so this year I actually decided to develop my own planner...but more on that later.

With my supplies gathered, the first thing I like to do is turn to my calendar section of my planner and start outlining our year. When will we start? When will we aim to finish? Decide how many weeks you'll be doing school for the year, then I divide that into 4 quarters. We usually do 32 weeks of school with 9, 5, 9, and 9 week quarters.  We take three weeks or so off in December so that's why the 2nd quarter is shorter.

After that initial laying out of the year, I start to look through history and science spine books, dividing their chapters up and sticking unit studies into those quarters. I like a unit to be completed in one quarter or less. I feel like if we stretch it out longer than that I lose my audience.

For example...we're using Apologia's Anatomy science book this year as sort of a guide...or spine. We won't cover every chapter, but I'll pick and choose chapters for each quarter.  So say we'll do a unit the skeletal system for 3 weeks in September, take a little break from science, then do a unit on blood for 3 weeks in October.  In history, we use Story of the World. We don't read every single chapter. I split the chapters up into units...so over the course of the year we'll do 4 main units based on the big issues covered in the book.  Then they'll listen to the in-between chapters on CD between units so they get that in-between information too between the big wars that we're reading about.  Civil war will be our biggest unit starting in September and going for 8 weeks. They will then listen to the Story of the World CD's about what happened from the end of the war till the beginning of WWI, then we'll do a 3 week study on that war...

After I have my biggies (history and science) laid out for the year, I look over all the other new material that I may not be familiar with. We try new stuff every year...we like to change it up.  I like to make sure I'm all read up on that new stuff.

I'll be sharing our complete curriculum next week so you can see what we're using this year.  I'm changing things up a lot. I'm excited.

So after I familiarize myself with the new things, I try to come up with a daily and weekly schedule.  It doesn't work for us to do every subject every day...there's just too much...and after about 12pm, everybody's ready to move on with their lives...including me.

I try to take into account different activities that are going on when I do my weekly schedule.  We try to get all our school done M-Th and take Friday off pretty much or use it to catch up on things we might not have gotten done during the week. This year the boys are doing co-op classes Tuesday morning.  We'll still do school that day, it will just be abbreviated...like there will be no history, science, or art...subjects that take a little longer. Also things that can be done independently, they'll do later in the afternoon so we can still take Fridays off.

So after I do a general layout of my year, month, and week...I get ready for the first quarter.  I make copies, write down book lists, gather things I need for projects...basically get everything ready for that one quarter.

Then on Sunday nights during that quarter I just make sure everything is in order, tweak my lesson planner and make definite plans for the week...always in pencil.  I don't do very much planning on Sundays for the week...it's mostly all done already.  The weekend before we start a new quarter I do all the copying and gathering and writing plans in my planner again.

And speaking of planners...here's mine now.  Yes, I made my own.  I was tired of taking premade planners and stapling in pages, drawing lines through things and working so much to make it suit me.  

Here's what my new planner looks like:

-laminated front and back cover
-spiral bound so I can fold it back nice-like
-monthly calendar pages so I can easily see an overview of our month
-each month has a spot for notes and goals so I can list anything I need to remember and also what units we're working on that month
-weekly lesson plan pages with big enough spaces to fill in plans for multiple kids...I like to shade in the box when it's completed and I want to see our whole week at one time
-an "idea" section where I can list library books to pick up, notes, project ideas, book wish list, field trip ideas, etc.
-records section to keep track of attendance (a requirement here in NC), scores, and books we've read
-stickers in the back preprinted to add to my calendar; dr. appts, 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, etc.

I've decided to make these exclusive Mrs. Hutchinson planners available for purchase if there's interest...if not, either way I've got myself my perfect planner.  I would add a little pizazz to the cover and inside pages before shipping them out.  Each planner would be priced at $25 + $3 for shipping.  Let me know if you're interested @ {aliciaahutchinson@yahoo.com}.  Wouldn't it be the coolest if we had the same planner!?!?

Ok, I'm all planned out for now...I have more school schtuff to share later, but for now...it's still summer.  I best get to the pool.


July 24, 2012

8 Ways to Sloooooow Summer Down

Of course it's almost August. And of course we're all in bit of a tizzy about it because ya, that totally sucks.  Yep, I say sucks. And it does...it's like the three months of the year that are supposed to be the most laid back are the fastest to go....because JuneJulyAugust are little brats like that.  Here's the deal though...I don't like that panic feeling that time is passing too fast.  My palms get kinda sweaty, my pits get a little moist (isn't moist the grossest word?!)...it's bad... that anxious feeling about time.  I started to feel it last week, but then I decided to mystify time and do my own thang. (opposed to 'moist,' isn't 'mystify' the best word...very mystical and mysterious.)

So...everybody breeeeathe in through your nose and ooouuut through your mouth real slow-like.



Ok. Ready for this?? I sat down yesterday and made a list of all the things I myself can do to slow the time train down. Get your pens and take notes...this is deep stuff right here.

1. Wake up early.  I tell ya, this is my answer to everything. But really...if you wake up early...or at least earlier than your hoodlums, you can have some serious down time before the day even starts! It's perfect! Genius, I tell you! Take your coffee outside with your Bible and read a little before there's too much distraction. Go for a walk.  The best way to slow time down is to make your day longer...get up.

2. Go slow on the slow days. If your calendar looks like mine, it's blocked off into camp week/swim lesson week/camping weekend/etc. But if you squint and tilt  your head to the left you'll see there are a few days in there with nothing on them...those days are sacred. DON'T you dare plan a play date on that day.  DO NOT decide to fill it up with some nonsense thing that's going to stress you out later. Just leave your slow days to be slow...don't do anything. Except maybe make Popsicles, do a craft, or have a backyard picnic. Don't even get in your car...because if you're like me, two errands turn into 2 hours that turn into a broken up slow day and a crabby me. Boo. K.I.S.S. Keep It Super Slow. I just thought of that right now. Wow...mystical.

4. Forget about your summer list.  Ya, I reminded you to make one way back in May, but now let's just be honest. Now, they're stressing us out because we've only got a few weeks til school and we still have to have a lemonade stand, dig for gold, and build a go-kart.  Holy Hannah! Wait till the kids are in bed and erase all the things with no check marks and when your kids wake up they will think they've accomplished every wonderful thing summer has to offer. It'll be great for everyone...trust me.

5. Go to bed earlier.  I like staying up like just like the next night owl, but really is it worth the hangover feeling the next day.  Nothing says "why the h did I do that to myself" like a 8am headache caused from my late-night blog stalking. Not cool.  Go to bed and feel refreshed.

6. Read a book as a family.  Too kum-ba-ya-ish for you?  Maybe, but its a great (and soothingly slow) end to a summer day. Right now we're reading "The Mouse and the Motorcycle." Next up is "War Horse."  Ya, really changing things up there huh?  Sweet little mouse to bullet-dodging horse.  Hey, it works.  Reading is a great way to make a minute seem like five and it's even better to do it as a family.

7. Make iced coffee.  Please just do this one thing.  It's essential summer blissdom in a glass...with ice.  Make one for yourself on your busiest days.  Take 20 minutes with a magazine and sip on one of these blessings...makes your day feel complete.  I blogged about this last summer here.

8. Add fun to the mix of busy.  I know there's a lot going on, but still, it's summer and summer is fleeting.  So when you go to the 11th swim lesson of the season, grab a milkshake on your way home...or stop off at the library.  Even though it's busy, do your best to add in fun...everyday.  It's the little things your kids remember.

Take it in. 
Take it slow. 
Don't look at your calendar and the few days that are left. 




July 23, 2012

hydrangeas on my table and what's up with me

The thing about weekends that I love is the pace change up.  Everything seems a little bit more laid back, a little bit more chill. Donuts are not a normal Tuesday breakfast, but Saturday? Perfectly acceptable.  Pajamas are completely appropriate at 12:14pm and reading is a must.

We like to explore on the weekends too...find new things, eat new food, see new sites. I love the extra time we get because all other responsibilities are for the weekday.

Weekends to me mean extra time to think...

...about things.

Sometimes life feels like a hamster wheel and I hate that feeling. This summer has brought so many fun adventures and new things and I love that, but in other ways I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Home, Etsy, kids, school, meals...things can add up fast and I feel like I need a break from something...like I'm unfocused because there's too many things on the table right now.

I've decided to close my shop for a while...focus on other things.  I have so many ideas and my brain never seems to stop in the creating part of it, but I feel like it's something I have to do. Tentatively, I'm thinking about a big reopen sign in October. But that too could change. 

I've been praying for God to show me which direction to go...where my talents lie.  I feel so uncertain sometimes. I have ideas and aspirations but I also have three kids that need me.  When I am sitting at my sewing machine sometimes I feel so guilty...I wonder if it's worth it right now.  I have some other ideas in the works that I feel better suit my family and my needs for the time being. I feel like God might be leading me in a different way. In the meantime while my shop is closed, I'm really going to streamline my items that I decided to create.  Something's gotta give.

That feeling when someone seeks you out to do custom work or when a magazine decides to feature you...twice(!).. it's so awesome...I love it. So it's hard to take a break, but sometimes the hard stuff is synonymous with the right stuff and you have to just do it anyway.

So...on August 5th, I'll be closing up shop for a couple months which means I need to clear space on my shelves for new stuff.
I want to offer 30% off everything in my shop so I can clean off the shelves a bit.

Right now I have a long trip to plan for, school plans to organize, and a house to clean. I also have some fun posts in the works as well as something I've been working on that I can't wait to share.  The Happy Day Challenge is taking a little break as well. I feel like I can't have weekly deadlines right now or I just might burst into little pieces...and self-induced deadlines are the worst, so I'm cutting some slack for my little ol' self. 

Whew. Can you tell I've been thinking a lot? Do I sound super deep and serious?

Ok, so don't forget 30% off everything in my shop til the 5th use the code SUMMER12...and how about those hydrangeas? You should know I stole them from a bush beside the clubhouse where I work out. I clipped them off with little scissors and half ran, half fast walked them back home trying to hide them with the side of my body...it wasn't working. It was funny though...it was raining. I'm sure no one saw me right???

Happy Monday, peeps.


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