Monday, January 31, 2011

The Everyday Commute

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters
Monday Morning.  A mixed bag of emotions for us all.  For me, each day starts with a short commute with my driving partner:

The other day, I left my house as usual, and noticed this breathtaking sky:

Thankfully, I had my camera with me!  After saying good-bye to Mr. Cheeks, I was inspired to open my eyes during my drive.  Are there things I've never seen because my thoughts and worries about the day make me blind to anything but the road and traffic ahead?  

As I whizzed down the road, I noticed this peaceful red barn.  Shelter for animals and a picture of Americana.  Had that barn always been there?  Do I really live in such a rural place?  Here I thought I moved to "suburbia", but I might need to reconsider my label.

Arriving at one of only four stop lights on my way to work (maybe I need a few cows and horses, too?!?!), I noticed this beautiful American flag flapping in the wind.  It was beautiful and a reminder of so many things to be thankful for.

A few minutes later, stopped again, I glance up and see this tiny little Cross.  As though painted against the sky, I instantly felt that everything in this day was going to be just fine.  

As I near school, I glance down and pump up the music.  I always try to get my "game face" on before walking into work.  I've shared this with my students before, and of course they just laugh.  I think they understand though.  Music has a way of changing your mood and bring you to a happy place.

On my final turn, I look back and notice this peaceful little home.  In just a few short hours, after a hopefully successful day, I'll get to return home.  Although some Mondays I wish I never left, I am thankful for my job.  "Home" is a word Mr. Cheeks has recently learned, and as we're pulling into the neighborhood, he says it with more excitement than most anything else.  I guess it really is where the heart is.

As you drive to work or run errands today, pause and take a look around.  I bet you'll be surprised at the cool little things around that you never noticed before!  


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Taking a Look Inside

Blink.  It's that split second that we have to react to a moment.  We have thousands of interactions with people over the course of a week, depending on what we do, maybe more.  When people walk away from us, ponder the moment they just had, how do they feel?  

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. -Maya Angelou

Do you ever feel that even though you have the best intentions, the most positive attitude, that your balloon can be popped in a matter of seconds, leaving you to react or say something you didn't mean?

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy."  But I say to you, love your enemies. ---Matthew 5:43-44

How do we take those moments that we have with other people and make them feel respected and loved when they walk away?  Even moments when a  student that has just misbehaved, a friend  just hurt your feelings, when you find out that exciting plans just fell through, or your own child disappoints you.  

Action.  Reaction.  Space.

The words that we choose to let escape from our mouths are so precious, and in a fleeting moment they are gone into the air, leaving an impression on those who heard them.  It's so easy to experience an action and let our words be those of reaction.  Something I am working on (sometimes successfully and sometimes not) is allowing a brief moment of space to happen in my interactions with other people.  Space where I can choose my words, collect my thoughts, take a deep breath.  Space where I can ensure that when the moment is over, that the other person or people leave feeling respected.  

Today as I am writing, I hear Mr. Cheeks starting to babble in his crib.  I think of the middle school children that I will teach today.  I think of Hubby returning from a business trip excited to be reunited with his wife and son after a long week of work.  Today I will make it my purpose to extend love and respect to those I come in contact with.  Today, in that brief second of space, I will make sure that my words, my precious words, are the right words.  

Mama's Losin' It


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today is a BIG DAY!!

Today I am guest posting at Theta Mom, and am beyond excited!  Heather is an amazing writer, businesswoman, and mother who has one of the most supportive blogging communities I've found.

After meeting with huge success as a blogger, Heather created a community for a new kind of mom:
Theta MomsThe True, Authentic Moms. [The-T-A] We are authentic because we live authentic lives.
Life isn’t perfect and neither are our kids.
What a relief!  Permission to be IMperfect, and a ton of other moms who like the idea too!  
Having recently redesigned her site, Heather is now also creating a marketplace "dedicated to further develop and establish an online presence for women in business by supporting and promoting entrepreneurs from small start-ups to large corporations."  
Truly devoted to cultivating a community for moms and selflessly sharing the spotlight, Heather is an inspiration.  I hope you will spend some time learning what it means to be a Theta Mom, and join me in getting to know all of the other Theta Moms that love this community as much as I do!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Innocent Wonder

awe.  amazement.  think.  curiosity.  admire. marvel.
To see a school bus each morning and wave to the unknowing passengers.
To feel that lego click into place for the first time.
To say the words Mama and Dada and get a smile in response each time.
To take a bubble bath.
To see new food on the dinner table - how will it taste?
To awake each morning and eagerly draw the blinds to see what the world looks like today.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Sunday Scoop & A Recipe!

This morning we had a special breakfast - Monkey Bread!  It was fun to make something new, and I love starting out the day with something sweet.  Here is the recipe:

2 (12 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough            3/4 cup white sugar
3 T ground cinnamon            1 stick of butter or margarine       extra sugar for sprinkiling

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan.  Mix together 3/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon.

2.  Quarter the biscuits with kitchen shears.  (Dip shears into water to prevent them from getting sticky!). Dip biscuits into sugar mixture, and place in a greased bundt pan.  Do this until all biscuits are used.
3.  Melt butter.  Pour over biscuits.  Sprinkle with a little sugar.

4.  Bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Here are my finds from around the blogosphere for this week!  Enjoy!

Photography:  Photography Tips (Lots of Great Topics!) | I Heart Faces

Scrapbooking: Make your own rosettes | Scrapbook Update

Organization For the Busy Mom: Wonderful Goal Tracking Tool | 42 Goals

Faith:  Winter Wonder | Jennifer Schmidt for Incourage

Did you write a great post this week?
I would love to feature your post on my Sunday Scoop!  Please send me an email ( with this information:

Your Name
Name of Your Blog
Post Title and Link to the Post
Category of Your Post

Labels: ,

Friday, January 21, 2011

5 Question Friday

My Little Life

In need of some inspiration for a post this Friday after a LOOOOONG week back at the Schoolhouse, I came across this fun linky party on some of my favorite blogs.  I really liked the questions this week!  Hope you will grab the button and play along!

1. Where did you meet your spouse and did you instantly know it was love?
Hubby and I met at a Summer Festival in Atlanta.  We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend and hit it off right away!  We both found ourselves telling the friend how cute we thought the other was and that we would love to see each other again.

The hook?  He had a boat and invited me to the lake the next day - who could refuse?  A big group of us had a fabulous time, and the rest is history.  My favorite moment from early in our relationship that I remember is Hubby saying to me, "Do you think everyone gets to feel this kind of love in their life?"

2. What is your favorite room in your house?
I love my craft room!  We moved into our house less than a year ago, and I am so lucky to have the extra room.  I escape to this room and have time to create, reflect, blog, or whatever!

3. Can you wiggle your ears?
Sitting at my desk trying right now.  Ok.  No.  

4. What is your evening ritual?
After arriving home from school, playing with Mr. Cheeks, and dinner, I love to either spend time with Hubby or have quiet time to myself.  Almost always involves a nice cold glass of Chardonnay, a good book or my computer (and all of your great blogs), or mindless television (which always ends in falling asleep on the couch!).    I'm definitely not very productive at night, and go to bed ridiculously early.  

5. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
As. Many. As. Possible.

Looking forward to a great weekend!  If you wrote a great post this week, I'd love to feature you on this week's Sunday Scoop - email me!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Project Life | January 2011

I am excited to share some of my recent Project Life pictures from January!  It has been so fun to photograph and journal each day and remember what made us smile.

We kicked off 2011 with our great friends!  Mrs. W has a fabulous blog about life as a newlywed.  It is a perfect mix of humor, reflection, and honesty.  

In the true spirit of New Years Resolutions that I always never keep, I got to work on deep cleaning my house.  It is amazing to me that things that look perfectly clean in your home are actually disgusting!  I have actually stuck with this resolution longer than expected....because we've been housebound for a week.

One of the cool things about living where we do is that we are incredibly close to my parents.  They are amazingly supportive of us, and it is neat to watch Mr. Cheeks grow up so close to them.

Last week was an interesting bonding time for Mr. Cheeks and I.  Sure, we spend lots of time together, but not usually without trips to the grocery store or Target.  Staying home with him during the snow really tested my Mommy Ability & Sanity.

Going In For the Kill on the homemade Playdough :-)

Back to Work.
Today, it's back to the schoolhouse.  Time to get back in the saddle, and hope I don't get thrown off!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Scrapbooking By The Numbers

3, 130: Photos currently on my computer
189:  Events in IPhoto to potentially scrapbook
30:  Minutes in the day that I might scrapbook if all of the stars are in line
6: Scrapbooks I've started, but not finished

These numbers can seem overwhelming, but last week, I told myself, "just start".  Dig.  In.  There are so many great ways to keep your memories alive and so many resources out there to help you.  It's YOUR story - time to tell it!

Digital cameras are a blessing, but also a curse.  Because we can take as many pictures as we want at any given moment, our cameras and computers become FULL of thousands of photographs.  I think it's important to get those photos out of the deep dark depths of our computers and into albums where our family can enjoy looking at them and recounting the stories that go along with each photograph.  

Every Day is a new story.

Here's another liberating thought:  Scrapbooking doesn't just have to be about life's big events.  Sure having a baby, celebrating a birthday, and going on a trip are all amazing, but so are everyday moments in life.  Last week, I made a layout of the 10 things I know about Mr. Cheeks right now:

Materials Used: Ali Edwards 10 Things Layered Template, Paper from Project Life 2010, White Cardstock

It included favorite words, activities, and little snapshots of right now.  My biggest inspiration for recording the tales from Addington is Ali Edwards.  Her site has TONS of great resources for any level of memory keeping you are interested in.  

Reflecting on your photographs and pairing with them the words that make the moment come to life bring me gratitude for everything I have.  I also seem to have a much more positive attitude after finding a moment to write down our story.  


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sunday Scoop

This is one of my favorite times of the week!  I love to feature other bloggers that write great content and make the lives of their readers more fun, fashionable, and easy.  Here are a few posts that I particularly enjoyed this week:

Photography:  Every Day Photo Inspiration | Ali Edwards for Shutterfly 

Taking YOUR Time (Self Care and Hobbies): The Secret Ingredient Is You | Kelly Rae Roberts

Organization For the Busy Mom: 6 Containerizing Rules To Consider | Organizing...Your Way

Blogging: Free Scrapbook Fonts & Fonts for Peas |

Fashion and Beauty Tips: Accessories for Moms to Spice Up Any Outfit | Life...Your Way

Faith:  Bible Verse Friday | Busy Biz Blogs

Did you write a great post this week?
I would love to feature your post on my Sunday Scoop!  Please send me an email ( with this information:

Your Name
Name of Your Blog
Post Title and Link to the Post
Category of Your Post

Friday, January 14, 2011

Flashback Friday

Time away from the daily routine is so refreshing.  Throughout the week of snow days, I have enjoyed reading, writing, taking photographs, and combining all of these into new scrapbook pages.  It has been so long since life allowed me the time and the energy to create pages that tell our family's story.  

I've realized something this week.  Each of us has a unique voice and a unique story to tell.  It is so easy to want to search within other's successes and imitate what we think has brought them success.  But I think what really brings peace and joy within each of us is embracing who we are (even through transitions and changes), and letting go of what other people think.  Feeling complete in life.  

I have undergone virtually every major life change in the last three years (with the exception of a medical issue, thank goodness!). I got married, moved twice, got pregnant, went through unemployment with my husband for nearly a year, meanwhile had a baby, returned to work full time, and began the next phase of my husbands career.  Breathe.

Somewhere in there, for a little while, I probably definitely lost my footing.  But now, in the calm of the beautiful snowstorm, I've realized my life has been a really cool ride.  What a story to tell!

So after my three year whirlwind, I think I'm officially a big girl adult.  In addition to being a daughter,

I am now a wife.

I've enjoyed becoming part of a new family, but love the feeling of having a sister, who has been there the whole time.

And now, add to the list "MaMa".  

What I've realized this week, is that I am really blessed.  No need for stress, worry, concern with what other people are creating, doing, saying, or thinking.  The peeps on Addington are doing just fine.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Last Time My Heart Melted Was Because....

Monday night, enveloped in a fresh blanket of snow, Hubby and I watched the BCS National Championship Football Game.  The first half of a very exciting football game ended, and I was only half listening to the analysis by the experts.  Then, something made me stop and listen.  

There was a very moving photo montage about Tostitos (the sponsor of the game) bringing football players to Iraq, and brightening the day of the troops stationed there.  The brave troops sent pre-recorded messages to their families at home.  The families were then honored on the field for the sacrifices they make daily on behalf of our country.  Then, out of nowhere, a banner was pulled back, and out rushed all of the Army and Navy Servicemen that were just featured.  THEY CAME HOME!

The looks of shock, awe, amazement, and sheer joy on the faces of those family members brought me to tears.  

The military Men and Women of our country and all of their families are truly amazing to me.  Babies born to a Daddy thousands of miles away, Husbands and Wives separated for indefinite amounts of time, 
children being raised by a single parent.....and I don't even know the half of it.

Just today I was talking to my mother (a former Coast Guard wife) about how she ever managed to be snow-bound with my sister and I for months at a time in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, while my Dad was at sea.  After three snow days here in Atlanta, I am out of patience and out of wine!  This is just the way life is for military families.

I am so thankful that the media takes moments like those to remind us of all of the amazing military families across the world.  My heart just melted as those several were reunited, and I continue to pray for the safety of those who haven't returned home yet.

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And We Have a Winner!

Thank you to all of you that participated in my first giveaway!  I enjoyed the opportunity to meet many new bloggers, and I got great feedback on Clean Mama.  She's awesome, and her January Cleaning Month has made me clean places in my home I didn't know existed.  

And the Winner of the $25.00 gift card is:


Crystal S.,  January 8, 2011 1:44 PM  

I am now a follower of Clean Mama. Thanks to her I am now cleaning my neglected baseboards

Congratulations, Crystal!  

Email me ( to redeem your prize!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Need More Smiles?  Check out I Heart Faces!

Cooking With Kids


Involving children in the kitchen can be a fantastic bonding experience for both the parent and the child.    I'll admit that it can be difficult for several reasons:

Cooking with children takes much longer.
Children are NOT clean in the kitchen.
Reaching in for a handful of raw eggs and sugar seems like a good idea to a toddler.
Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday and I'm not at the Schoolhouse!


Atlanta had our own Snowpocalypse!  For those of you that are reading this from a land where snow has covered the ground for months, you will find it humorous that school was cancelled before a single flake had fallen!
Read more »


Sunday, January 9, 2011

The First Sunday Scoop of 2011

This year, instead of just featuring one or two blogs each week, I will highlight great posts that I find during the week.  I chose categories that I find useful in my life as a new mom.  Enjoy!

Parenting Resources: Positive Parenting Webinar : Inspired to Action

Food: 5 Major Pitfalls of Dieting : Well Grounded Life

Fitness: Have Fun While You Exercise : She Knows

Taking YOUR Time (Self Care and Hobbies): 2011 Project Life Is Here : Becky Higgins

Organization For the Busy Mom: 5 Simple Ways to Organize Your Home : Organizing Junkie

Blogging: Simple Blogging E-Book : Small Notebook

Fashion and Beauty Tips: Bronzer, The Miracle Worker : Babblings of a Mommy

Did you write a great post this week?
I would love to feature your post on my Sunday Scoop!  Please send me an email ( with this information:

Your Name
Name of Your Blog
Post Title and Link to the Post
Category of Your Post


Thursday, January 6, 2011

One Tiny Word

Wordle: Complete

Laying in bed with Hubby last night, holding my book, and enjoying the end of a very busy day, I asked him a question.  

If you could choose one word that would be my focus for the entire year, what would it be?

I quickly followed with a disclaimer: I might not choose your word, and it cannot be sex.  We both laughed, and without much hesitation he replied, complete.  

The question of one tiny word that would guide my thoughts and my actions (give me direction) in 2011 has been on my mind for several days.  I kept coming back to the word action.  Something wasn't right about action, though.  I felt like it was too demanding, too one-sided, and would continue to perpetuate the perfectionist tendencies that I already struggle with.  I can hear my inner thoughts now: "And Action.  Get to work.  Do, do, do.  Stop being lazy.  Work ahead.  Work smarter not harder."  Ughhh. Action. Wasn't. It.


Now this word was beginning to feel warm and fuzzy inside.  It felt as though it could take on numerous meanings throughout the year.  How does it feel to be complete?  Did I complete the goals I set out for myself?  

It is open ended.

I didn't want to box myself in to a word that I could fully predict.  I want my word and my actions to have unrealized potential.  The blessings and hardships of 2011 have yet to unfold, and I need a word with some space to grow and change.  

So, there it is.  My one word resolution.  


Have you thought about choosing one little word to focus your thoughts and actions for this year?

Mama's Losin' It

Please don't forget that if your word or resolutions have anything to do with organization, budgeting, list-making, or more thorough housekeeping then my first giveaway is for you.  Click here to read about Clean Mama and her fantastic Etsy Shop!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Clean Mama Printables - A Giveaway!


This giveaway has now closed.  Check back often for future giveaways!
Today I am kicking off a new series of posts, "The Tidy Teacher", with a Giveaway to the Etsy Shop of one of my favorite bloggers, Becky, at Clean Mama.  A "Midwest Mama on a Quest for Clean", Becky is an inspiration for those of us organizationally challenged Mamas!  Using Becky's Printables has helped me both as a teacher and a mom. 
Today, I made my own lesson plan book for the second half of the school year using supplies that I already had around my house.  I began with a large binder:

My other supplies included: 3 pieces of scrapbook paper, 19 plastic sheet protectors (one per week), scrapbook adhesive, clear packing tape, and my custom printables from Clean Mama.

First, I filled each sheet protector with a "This Week In Band" weekly calendar printable.  At a glance, I can now plan and see major events for each week in my classroom.  

I typed out a label for each week, trimmed them, then adhered them to a 3/4" strip of scrapbook paper.  I trimmed the label to 2" long.  Then, using the packing tape, I added a tab to each page.

Behind each page, I added the pre-dated calendar that I distribute to our Fine Arts Department each week for planning purposes.  I also added three blank lesson plan templates (one for each band).  Both the department notes and lesson plan template are also custom printables created by Clean Mama.  

To make my planner pretty, I trimmed the scrapbook paper, and inserted it in either side: 

I am SO pleased with my planner!  Now, I need to create some stellar lessons for my young musicians before they return to school.  

Clean Mama Printables Giveaway

I'm sure you have SO many ways that you could use Becky's printables, or even have her create custom printables just for you!  Today, I am giving away a $25.00 gift certificate to Clean Mama Printables!

Here's How To Enter:

Everyone will have three chances to win!  

1.  Visit the Clean Mama Printables Etsy Shop and tell me which printables are your favorite.  

2.  Become a follower of Clean Mama.  Be sure to come back and leave a separate comment here letting me know you became a fan.  

3.  Become a follower of Articles From Addington.  Leave a separate comment here letting me know you became a follower.  

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, January 11 and the winner will be selected using