Things I’ve learned in July

Until I started doing this post month after month, I didn’t realize I was learning so much all the time. Here’s what’s been going on this month.

1. I learned the Russian Peasant Multiplication trick – How was I a middle school Math teacher and never learned this trick! It works for all the 6, 7, 8 ,9 and 10 times tables. Seriously this is amazing. You write 10-6 on your fingers on both hands and then… well it’s easy to do once you learn but it’s hard to explain, well hard for me… but check out the links below… it is seriously mind-blowing. Okay, I know you’re thinking really – how cool can it be… but if you are even slightly geeky you’ll love it… and if you are a full-blown geek like me you’ll be so annoyed you didn’t already know it and then spend the next 20 minutes figuring out why it works.

2. I learned that young people are passionate. When I taught middle school math, there was a boy in my math class. He was tall and quiet. I was focused on teaching them all to love math, to know that they had the ability to do it they just had to believe. I never thought about what would he grow up to be. What would he be passionate about, how would he live his life. When they are in middle school you are just hoping to get them past the hormones enough to learn some things. I was running last week and there he was tall, full beard but still those same young, kind eyes. It was my student, now 23. We got to talking and what he said blew me away. He was leaving the next day to walk across the country. Walk, really? Why? You see Jay had heard an amazing testimony about a woman who had escaped from the sex trafficking. He became passionate about getting the word out, he began learning about the 27 million around the world in 161 countries that are in bondage. So Jay and his friend Shannon decided to go big. They want to raise awareness about the very real issue that is in our country. So I’m here to support check out – . , and . Never underestimate young people!student
3. I learned that the key to keeping your house clean is getting rid of stuff. Tsh from the Simple Mom has been saying it forever but the thrifty mom in me is always too afraid to part with stuff because I don’t want to rebuy it if we need it later. However,  I’ve come to terms with we won’t need it later. I keep wanting to save toys for our son for when he comes home, but I was reading that too many toys and flashy things cane be overstimulating… so why do I hold on to it. I went on a rampage and got rid of boxes and boxes of stuff.  Guess what? It really is easier to keep it clean when everything has a place and isn’t crammed in somewhere! In our defense the first two pictures were after we had lots of kids over to play, but then while the kids were gone I filled up about 3 boxes and two bags to give to charity.getridofstuff

4. I learned that when restaurants are opening they have a “soft” opening before their grand opening. Really it is a chance for the kitchen and staff to get out all the bugs before the real deal grand opening… what does that mean for me and you? Free food. Yup a Red Robin opened up in our neighborhood and my friend sent me to their website and lo and behold a place to make a reservation to eat there – FOR FREE! We just paid the tip – it was fabulous. The next day was free Chick-fil-A day where you get free food for dressing up like a cow.freefood5. I learned that you don’t have to pay a lot for a lot of fun- just do some research.learnedfreethingsIn order from left to right and then down…
I found a neighboring borough does a 7 week tennis camp from 9-12 Monday through Thursday for $125. That is a 105 hours at about $1.20 an hour. If you have more than one kid it’s $165 per family. It’s crazy cheap, amazingly fun and my daughter gets a great workout. It definitely pays to be open to any kind of camp and sometimes you find a diamond in the rough.
VBS – Vacation Bible School is really free camp for kids. I always help at our church’s VBS and I’m usually exhausted by then end so I send my kids to a friend’s VBS and it is awesome. The kids meet new friends and I get a bit of free time to catch up on some homeschooling preparation.
Local parks – This is an amazing water spray park near us. It’s a township park that is completely free. It was about a 30 minute drive – totally worth it!
Memberships – Even though it is crowded in the summer we take complete advantage of all of our membership to a local children’s museum and try to visit all the closest ones that are reciprocal.
State Parks – This is a state park about 1 hour from us, it has a huge lake that actually has fun little waves, a beach and there are even fish that swim by you. There is no cost to get in to the park. If you pack a lunch you are good for the day.
Community Garden – We joined our local community garden (for free) and we’ve been going 2 or 3 times a week tending to it and eating the fruit of our labor. It’s really a wonderful experience.
We haven’t gone yet this summer but we love our kid’s bowl free passes.

6. I learned that sometimes the simplest are the best. My younger daughter and I found these cute peanut butter oatmeal natural do treats for our sweet dog who turned 10 on July 4th. We mixed and rolled out and cut out little treats and put them in a cute container and gave her some. At the same time I finished the peanut butter container and for the first time in the 9 years we’ve had her decided to give her the container. She licked it for over an hour and since it was a big jar she could pretty much get her whole face in there. It was pretty much a free kong toy. She licked it clean which made it really easy to recycle (I really dislike cleaning out jars to recycle!). It was a win win win… and it turns out she liked it way better then the treats we made her.dogtreats7. Lastly, I finally learned how to take those cool sparkler pictures –
Must be in manual mode, Choose shutter speed make it very slow, and hold the camera super duper still!!!  Note to self and others. The person with the sparkler must write their name backwards!

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5 Responses to “Things I’ve learned in July”

  1. Lyli @ 3-D Lessons for Life July 31, 2013 at 10:10 pm # Reply

    Great post! We just had a Red Robin open up in our area… it’s on our wish list of places to go.
    Stopping by from Emily’s tonight. :)

  2. Ashley Wells July 31, 2013 at 10:25 pm # Reply

    Oh my word! That Russian Multiplication thing is super cool!!!

  3. Natalie July 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm # Reply

    I really like this feature on your blog. The sparkler picture is amazing!

  4. caroline August 1, 2013 at 7:45 am # Reply

    the story about your middle school student gave me goosebumps! i have two middle school boys right now and it’s so hard to see beyond the moment, but they will grow up & you just hope & pray that what you’re doing now will stick in the long run. thank you for sharing!
    does your community garden have a website? a few friends and i started one in our community this year and we are on a huge learning curve. would love to read how the one in your community works.
    have a great day!
    {popping over from emily’s!}

    • Kelly August 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm # Reply

      Hi Caroline – This is our community garden’s second year and the first year was a hot mess. They tried to just have one garden, but no one had felt ownership and figured someone else would water or weed, etc. Now it is one big plot split up and we help each other out when we can… sadly there isn’t a website or even a facebook page. We did everything through emails. I agree – huge learning curve.

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