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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Starburst Singing Time

Well, Hello. It has been awhile since I last posted about Singing Time. Most of the time I just forget to take pictures. A few Sunday's ago I had the kids pick out starbursts from a bag and whatever color they chose is the activity, ect. that we did.

I used two bags to get eight different flavors. Each of the categories consisted of a different group of songs, i.e. favorites or songs they don't know as well. Our new song was an easy one to learn. It was the one about how to pray. "I begin by saying dear Heavenly Father. I thank him for blessings he sends. Then humbly I ask him for things that I need. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." They got it only after 3 or 4 run-throughs. I also decided we needed a break from singing the program songs; I could tell they were getting a bit burned out. Well, to tell you the truth, it wasn't very hard to tell. Sighs, groans, and "not that song again" sort of tipped it off.

What I learned:

The kids knew more songs than I thought! I included several songs that I believe every primary should know, but I wasn't sure if our primary knew them. Many of the kids do not come every week, and as a result do not know the music as well. Also, the vast majority of the kids do not have parents who know the songs because they are converts and therefore do not sing the songs at home. This is totally OK, of course, it just makes singing time more challenging than it otherwise could be.

Sigh. If I thought far enough ahead I would have made the glasses containing the different categories cute and complete with labels. Oh well. Next time.

Candy is a good motivator to be quiet. I will not call on people who are not being reverent, however, I gave everyone who did not have a chance to pick during primary a piece or two of candy after primary. I instructed them to put the starburst in their pocket and wait until after church to eat it. I was very pleased with their decision to Choose the Right!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The importance of structure

I am one of those people who, without structure in their lives, falls apart and feels like bleh. Upon finding myself bidding farewell to the student life, the lack of structure has lent itself to feelings of unproductiveness. I learned to give myself a break and say "You know, Rachel, you probably were productive. And it is OK for you not to be 100%productiveeverysinglemomentoftheday."

However the time has come for structure to play a more vital role in my life. I wanted to feel like I have accomplished something that day, not just know. In school I had very specific expectations and a very rigid structure. It consisted of something like:
1) Go to class a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h (yes, I often had 7-8 classes. Music student.
2) Practice 3 hours a day on top of ensemble playing time
3) Eat food
4) Teach X number of students
5) Do homework...
6) Play in this concert
7) Attend that recital

My day would often look like this as an undergraduate:
Practice from 8-10
Class from 10-11
Class from 11-12
Eat lunch 12-12:30
Do homework from 12:30-1
Quintet practice from 1-2
Class from 2-3
Practice from 3-4
Flute lesson from 4-5
Flute class from 5-7.

Although it was stressful at times, looking back, the vast majority of my time at BYU was fun. I felt so accomplished after I walked out of the practice room for the last time that day. I mean, look at that schedule. No wonder I felt productive.

So I devised a reward system to help me accomplish more/feel more productive. It consists of Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly tasks. There are also small, medium, big, and large tasks.

Daily Tasks:             Reward: Watch a TV show
  1. Write in Journal
  2. Read scriptures
  3. Do dishes
  4. Clean 50 things
  5. Small thing #1
  6. Small thing #2
  7. Practice flute or piano
  8. One weekly task
  9. Singing time OR small thing #3 OR another weekly task OR medium thing OR a big thing OR monthly task OR Dinner
  10. Singing time OR Small thing #4 OR Medium thing OR another weekly task OR a big thing OR monthly task OR Dinner
  11. Singing time OR Small thing #5 OR Medium thing OR another weekly task OR a big thing OR monthly task OR Dinner
  12. Organize/declutter one part of the house or other pertinent item 
Weekly Tasks: If I complete all the weekly tasks I get 1 Goodwill point
  1. Vacuum
  2. Clean bathroom
  3. Write blog
  4. Dust
  5. Do laundry
  6. Fold laundry
  7. One monthly task
  8. One monthly task
  9. Go grocery shopping
  10. Clean mirrors
  11. Meals to make for the following week
  12. One Medium task

Monthly tasks: If I complete all my monthly tasks and weekly tasks: we go out to dinner OR SOMETHING ELSE I CHOOSE
  1. Vacuum cushions
  2. Budget for the month
  3. Pay Rent
  4. Monthly report for work
  5. Sweep porch
  6. Buy music for students: 
  7. Clean freezer
  8. Clean fridge
  9. Something quarterly
  10. Spot clean carpet
  11. Visit Diane
  12. Visit Jennifer
  13. Visit Maxine
  14. Visit Kelly
  15. Email Family
  16. Pay RFF
  17. Write tithing and fast offering check
  18. Write check for ATT bill
  19. Visiting teaching report
  20. Organize emails
Smalls tasks include: 
    1. Clean off rust stain on bathtub
    2.  Make flip chart for Stars were gleaming
    3. Renew Costco membership
    4. organize food in lower cupboard
    5. Ect (I currently have over 30)
Medium tasks include: (reward: 1 goodwill point)
    1. Take in heals to get fixed
    2. Clean oven WELL
    3. make rhythm game with dice
    4. ect. (currently over 15)
Medium tasks are ones that might take a bit more effort and planning or ones I dread doing. 

Big tasks include: 
    1. Digitize my pictures
    2. Digitize David's pictures
    3. Organize digital photos into years and copy them onto a CD
    4. Make 15 Christmas cards
    5. Finish quote book
    6. ect. 
These rewards include going out for ice cream, $1 from i tunes, or something similar

Large tasks include:
    1. Learn how to crochet a snowflake like Grandma--Buy something from cooking store
    2. Print new pictures and scrapbook them--buy two decorative pillows for bed
    3. Make book of wedding cards--buy a small ladle
    4. ect.
This works for me because I have a relatively large amount of free time. I only work 20 hours a week. Each goodwill point is worth one item I am allowed to buy from Goodwill. I like this system because it is flexible by allowing me to choose what I want to work on that day. If I can tell it is going to be a lousy day, I can pick easy tasks. 

Anyway, that is what works for me! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012


I'm sure most of you all have heard of the 5 love languages. I have realized that I have dabbled in just about every language and lately my love language is gifts. Gifts aren't necessarily things that are paid for; I equate gifts with surprises. I LOVE surprises--it means someone was thinking of me.

For example, recently I have received gifts from some of my youngest students. It just makes me smile! At least they think I'm a good teacher.

I'm loved!

I also love giving gifts. That is my excuse for shopping at goodwill so frequently. Most of the time I buy things for other people. Maybe that's why I have a stack of books, 2 boxes, and a suitcase full of gifts. I should stop. Yeah. Our apartment is rather small, afterall.

Food gifts is also something I love giving. When I was young, spry, and single, it was a very effective method of flirting. I got many a date out of this bread:

These are pre-frosted cupcakes I made for my dad a month ago when we met my family at the airport for a layover. Let's just say I knew how much he loved them by how many he ate. :)

One thing I miss about Provo was the proximity of our friends and fellow ward members. It was so easy to make something and give half of it away.

It takes more effort now, so I don't do it as often, unfortunately. Although, we had a member of our ward recently move into our apartment complex, so he has received some yummies recently: :)

These are melt-in-your-mouth-I ate-my-weight-in-pretzel-bites. Yeah. Pinterest was designed for me.