Tag Archives: Spin Cycle

Sit Down!

As I was doing housework yesterday and listening to Pandora, the same commercial kept playing over and over. “Are you sitting down right now? You probably are!” The ad continued to talk about our sedentary lifestyle and how “active office furniture” such as treadmill desks would improve our health.

Well, every time I heard that commercial, I wasn’t sitting down. During my day as a preschool teacher and a mom, there’s not much time to sit down. By the time I was finished washing the supper dishes, my feet were begging me to sit down!

What’s been keeping me so busy?


The school year has started up again, which means I’m back in the classroom! I love meeting my new preschool students! These first few weeks are full of getting-to-know you activities. I love sitting down with each student to work on various projects, but as you can imagine, preschoolers don’t let me sit for long!

watercolor apples

Working Out

It’s been a full year since I joined the new gym down the street from us. I’ve been very good about going to work out at least three times a week. Unfortunately, the pounds have not left my stomach. Fortunately, I feel stronger and healthier and have more endurance, which are some things I was shooting for when I joined.


Ah, yes, with the beginning of school it’s also the beginning of volunteer work. I’m still teaching Sunday school to fifth graders, and Lily is in my Sunday school class! I’m looking forward to teaching her and her friends. I also helped set up the school library at the beginning of the year after a remodeling over the summer. The librarian dedicated this library book to me for helping out!

library moose book

Professional Development

Yes, even preschool teachers are required to keep up their with their education! Last Saturday I renewed my CPR certificate and also reviewed my bloodborne pathogen and EPI pen knowledge. The Saturday before that, I went to an all-day workshop about early childhood education.

Field Trips

Lily and Emmy have only had one full week of school, and it’s almost October! They had no school on Labor Day and two Jewish holidays. On these last two days off, I’ve gone to work in the morning and in the afternoon we’ve taken little family field trips. Last week we drove up to an apple orchard, and this week we visited the pumpkin farm! We took a hayride and got lost in the corn maze.

pumpkin farmReading

After all this activity, I still need to keep up with the laundry, and everyone wants dinner every night! Imagine that. By the time I tuck Lily and Emmy into bed at night, all I want to do is curl up on the couch with my book. I just finished reading The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies, by Susan Wittig Albert. This book is about a gardening club and takes place in the early 30’s at the beginning of the Great Depression. It’s a charming read! (If you’re interested, start with the first book, The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree.)

What’s been keeping you busy? Let me know in the comments, or link up a post telling us what you’ve been doing!

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming
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Apple Picking or Laundry?

I’ve written about apple picking numerous times, and so this Spin Cycle prompt about apples was going to be different. I was going to post an apple craft, or maybe make my favorite apple pie recipe.

On Monday, Lily and Emmy didn’t have school. For the past few years, when the girls have had a day off in the fall, I’ve taken them apple picking. This year, even though it wasn’t discussed, the girls assumed we were going to an apple orchard. I assumed I was going to get some laundry done. So what did I decide to do?

apple orchard

Apple picking, of course! Apple picking makes me think of fall weather, of cooler days and sweaters, but for the past few years we have had sunny, warm fall days when we went apple picking. On Monday it reached 80 degrees, so we definitely didn’t need a sweater!

I decided to try a different apple orchard this year, and so we found ourselves up by the Illinois/Wisconsin border at Royal Oak Farm. Instead of a corn maze, they have an apple tree maze, which was easier to navigate than the corn mazes we’ve been lost in. The trees grow on trellises and so the maze is permanent. There were three activity centers at different parts of the maze. The girls loved the musical center so much we visited it twice. There were big, colorful pipes to bang on, and a large wooden xylophone, too.

apple orchard

Emmy brought her own quarters to feed the animals at the petting zoo; we spent a while feeding the chickens cracked corn and giving the goats their pellet food. As for apple picking, we did that part last, so we wouldn’t have to lug our heavy apple bags around with us! We picked Gala and Jonamac, and I think I can easily say that the actual apple picking is always the favorite part of our trips to an orchard.

Emmy picking an apple

It’s been a very busy week since Monday, but hopefully I will bake an apple pie this weekend! Would you like a piece?

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming
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Three Months of Summer

As my bike bounced down the gravel road with beach cottages on each side, I felt like the ultimate tourist. With my huge sun hat on my head and a bag over my shoulder filled with a beach towel and a book, I had everything I needed. Well, almost everything. A basket in front of my bike filled with baguettes and cheese would have been nice. I parked my bike at the top of the stairway and made my way down the bluff to meet my family on the beach for another beautiful day full of sunshine and swimming.

Sunflower summer vacation

As school begins and fall approaches, I always feel as though summer flew by and it wasn’t nearly long enough. But when I look back at all the fun things we did, I realize that we packed a lot of activity into those three short months. In June, we celebrated Ed’s 50th birthday party with a big bash in our back yard. Swim team started for both Lily and Emmy. I helped lead Vacation Bible School at our church and taught one of the preschool groups. And we drove up to Madison, Wisconsin to see my sister’s painting and drawing exhibition in the student union at the University of Wisconsin.

Heather's exhibit

In July, Lily had her own artwork on display though a community outreach program in our school district. Several local businesses displayed various student artwork this summer, and Lily’s painting was on the wall at Dunkin’ Donuts. July is when we had our week at the beach, and we also celebrated Emmy’s 8th birthday!

Lily's artAugust was not quite as busy, and the girls and I took advantage of our lazy summer days by going to the pool, visiting Brookfield Zoo and Wagner Farm in Glenview. It was also the month of preparing for school. Both Lily and Emmy cleaned their rooms (which were disasters!) and I ordered each of them a small writing desk. They now have their own private space to do their homework!

How did you spend your summer vacation? Link up your summer posts here and be sure to visit all our Spinners!

NEXT WEEK: This prompt may be a stretch, but next week on Thursday is National Eat an Apple Day and Apple Dumpling Day. Saturday is Johnny Appleseed Day. So your prompt is APPLES. Share a recipe or a time you went apple picking. Perhaps your kids made an apple craft in school. Share it with us! Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Share some ways you try to stay healthy. Or make up your own way to write about this prompt!

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming
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Celebrating firsts, whether I’m with her or not

I’ve been there for most of my first daughter’s firsts. First tooth, first steps, first day of preschool, first time riding a bike without training wheels.

First day of preschool
First day of preschool

I listened to her read her first book, Olivia’s Opposites, I held her hand when the dentist pulled out her first loose teeth (they wouldn’t come out on their own!), and I held her hand as we walked to her first day of Kindergarten.

First day of Kindergarten
First day of Kindergarten

However, there are some firsts that I missed. When Lily slept in a big girl bed for the first time, I was in the hospital after giving birth to Emmy. My parents had brought my old twin bed and set it up for Lily, so that Emmy would have a crib to sleep in when we came home from the hospital. Lily’s first sleepover was away from home. Oh, how I missed having her in her twin bed in the room next to mine! And there have been other firsts that I have missed because she was in school and I was at work; first visits to plays and museums that she has done without me.

As Lily grows older, there will be many more firsts for her that I will miss. It will be bittersweet for me; I was sad to miss her first night in a big girl bed, but was also happy that my parents had helped with that transition when I came home with a newborn. Some of her firsts make me nervous; such as the first time she crossed the street alone. She came home safe and sound after that first. Lily will not want me with her for some future firsts; she will definitely not want me there the first time she kisses a boy.

Safety patrol
First day as Safety Patrol

When Lily went to the Museum of Science and Industry without me, she came home and talked nonstop about her first visit. I know that I won’t always be there for the many “firsts” to come, but Lily knows that I’ll always be there to listen to all her “firsts.”

This week on the Spin Cycle, your writing prompt is Firsts. First day of school? First date? First driving lesson? First job? Write about a “First” in your life. Link it up here!

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming
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Not So Thrifty

I have to admit, I am not one for thrift shop shopping. I do go into Good Will occasionally when I need to look for a Halloween costume. I’m more of a thrift shop giver than a thrift shop buyer. There’s a box in the family room right now, filling up with donations as we clean my kids’ rooms to get them ready for a new school year.

My mom, on the other hand, was an excellent bargain hunter. She dragged me and my sister all over the place looking for good deals. Thrift stores weren’t quite as abundant in the rural community where we lived, but we went to yard sales and farm auctions, looking for good deals. At one auction, I remember snow flurries flying around in the crisp autumn air while the auctioneer barked bids out into the crowd. Mom splurged that day and bought us some hot chocolate.

It wasn’t just that Mom wanted a good deal; it was also that we didn’t have much money. She was very thrifty and it seemed like nothing we owned was new. My sister always got the raw end of the deal, because when I did get new clothes and shoes, she always got my hand-me-downs. That’s just the way it was.

And then there was my grandma. She practically brought the thrift store to us. When we were in high school, we had moved up to the suburbs and there were now four children in our family. Grandma would scour the church rummage sale for clothes for us, and since she volunteered at the church, would also bring us all the clothes that didn’t get sold. She would bring garbage bags full of clothes for us to try on. Mom, Grandma, my sister and I would go to the basement to sort though the piles of clothes. They smelled musty and made me sneeze. When I tried on something she thought was nice but I didn’t like it, she would shake her head and lay on the guilt trip. How could I turn up my nose at these perfectly good clothes? It was a question I could answer easily; the kids at school were wearing Guess jeans, and wearing someone else’s castaways was not going to make me popular. Not that I would have been popular any way!

When I turned 16, Mom drove me around to various stores in our suburb to apply for jobs. It was time for me to make money from more than babysitting. A new Pizza Hut was opening up in a strip mall close by, and I became a waitress there. It was ideal job because I could walk to work, and the cooks would make me personal pan pizzas for my break. And now I had money–mostly to save for college–but some money to buy clothes! From the mall! I still couldn’t afford Guess jeans, but my jeans were now not preworn!

What about you? Do you shop at thrift shops or garage sales? Have you found any bargains lately? Share with us in the comments or link up your blog post below!

NEXT WEEK is back to school! I’ve been seeing a lot of first day of school pictures on Facebook. Look for the linky on Monday!

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming
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