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Five Recent Updates…

If you have followed my blog you may have noticed that my posting schedule has been light over the past several weeks. Don’t worry…there are no plans for a hiatus or time away from the blog.

To simplify the reason, my priorities have just shifted temporarily.

Summer is coming to an end and I am back in the classroom. Time seems to be elusive and I’ve had to make some compromises with myself to ensure that I am prioritizing my time in the healthiest ways during this season.

Life has been hectic, but enjoyable and I need to catch you up with where I have been and what I have done during the days between posts.

1. I started my 11th year as a classroom teacher

This is my typical first day selfie while working hard at my desk. The year is off to a great start. This year I also added Student Council Advisor to my list of titles. I am so excited for the road ahead.

2. This week I begin my final semester of graduate school

I took courses this summer on Dystopian Literature and Critical Race Theory (BLM in films). I have learned so much and the work has been manageable. I cannot wait to finish my degree in December. This semester I am taking a course on Indigenous People Groups and another on fiction writing. Additionally, I will be enrolled in a capstone program where I will be working toward a Masters Portfolio/Thesis. I have BIG writing goals for myself post-degree.

3. My youngest sister started working in the same school district as me

What kind of sister would I be if I didn’t buy us matching shirts for the staff first day? We are having a blast working on the same schedule and for the same community. I love hearing her stories and seeing the district afresh through her eyes. We don’t work in the same building, but how fun would that be?

4. It’s been important to reconnect with friends

The pandemic taught me that my friendships are important and gathering with friends regularly is important for my spirit and mind. I am lucky to have amazing teacher friends within my school as well as many friends outside of my teaching community.

5. My little gymnast is keeping me busy

I spend a lot of time during the week transporting and watching my little gymnast practice. Proud doesn’t even begin to describe how she makes me feel. We are praying that her gym will open up for competitions this year after a full year of no competition.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Kings Island 2021

As a child, I visited Kings Island in Mason, Ohio every summer. It was a trip I looked forward to all year and one I was eager to integrate into my family’s summer itinerary. Last week, we decided to celebrate the end of a perfect summer vacation with a trip to Kings Island.

There was just something about the atmosphere–the smells, the sounds, the thrills, that took me back to childhood the moment I passed through the turnstiles and entered this Neverland.

Most of our time was spent at the Soak City water park, but we also made time for a couple of hours at the Planet Snoopy area as well as some of the mild roller coasters in the larger park. If you are still planning summer adventures for this year and you live in the Midwest, Kings Island is one of the nation’s leading amusement parks and is worth the money and drive. The park includes areas and rides for thrill seekers of all ages:

I didn’t spend the day snapping photos (because that is really hard to do at an amusement park), but here are a few of our memories from the day:

What are some of your favorite places to travel with family in the summer time?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Order: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday morning!

This morning I am joining writers from all over the globe in the Five Minute Friday link-up. Every week bloggers and social media writers gather to share a post on a common theme. This week our prompt is: Order.

If you have been following my family and I you know that we spent a month in England. Last Friday we made it home and we have spent the week resettling into our American lives. Jet lag hit us pretty hard. Those first few days we woke up with the sun at 4:45am, but then crashed by 5pm or 6pm. Each day we tried to sleep a little later and stay up a little longer to help get us regulated.

The one thing we did on Monday that helped bring order to our lives was a deep clean of our home. We needed to reconnect with our house and so we lifted the month’s worth of dust, cat hair, mess from the surfaces of the home and worked on bringing the house back to life.

Things that we take for granted while here are things we missed while away. I missed sitting in my writing spot looking out into the morning and the sunshine. I missed the way my cat rubs up against me as I write just to let me know that he’s there. I missed my slow cup of coffee in the morning.

Life in England was amazing. We always do so much and pack a year worth of memories into one month and it is such a blessing. Check out my recent posts about the trip and see that while we were gone we didn’t long for home–we were too busy and surrounded by loved ones for that. But once we arrived home I noticed how much I missed my routines.

Life is starting to fall back in place. There is an order to the home and our schedule is beginning to feel like normal. We are sleeping a normal 8 hour stretch and eating at times acceptable to society. Jet lag shook up the order in our lives a bit, but it seems that it has finally worn off.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Home Sweet Home and International Travel

Atop Spinnaker Tower in the Portsmouth Harbor

It was hard to say goodbye to our English family. To my squishy nephew. To afternoon tea. To comfortable weather. To streetside cafes. To Americano black from Costa. To endless Covid tests and Track and Trace calls–okay, maybe that last part is a lie. Nonetheless, to journey home always means many heartbreaking goodbyes.

We arrived back in Ohio on Thursday night after eighteen hours of travel.

The airports and flights were not crowded so the time we spent in terminals and on air crafts looked much different than our past experiences. If you are healthy and vaccinated now is the time to travel! On both of our international flights this summer we had entire rows on the plane to ourselves. Traveling economy class is a lot more enjoyable with the ability to spread out and relax.

Adjusting back to Eastern Standard Time back home has been difficult on all of us. We have been up with the sun at 4:30am and off to bed by 9pm at the latest. Coming home is always so much harder than our initial adjustments in England. All four of us are still experiencing jet lag, but will hopefully be fully charged in the next couple of days.

I have missed my friends, routines, coffee spots, and protein shakes. If you are looking for me this week I will likely be enjoying those things…or napping.

A cafe on the high street of Eastleigh with my husband’s aunties
Cafe breakfasts with Squishy
Getting her energy out at Logan International Airport (Boston)

The Ameri Brit Mom

Blessings, DIY, Family, Teaching, Uncategorized

Valentine Recap

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It was a very festive time in our house. But in the midst of the busy schedule and endless to-do list we made time to appreciate the people in our lives that mean the most to us.

Here’s a look at 3 events that we participated in last week.

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1. Random Acts of Kindness Week Ornament Drop

At the elementary school my daughter attends they focused on doing acts of random kindness. This was promoted with spirit-dress week and the end-of-week project.

For this project the students created an ornament with a positive message to be delivered to someone of their choice. They were to take a picture with their ornament and let their teacher know who they chose and why that person was selected. My daughter’s teacher challenged the kids to choose someone they don’t know very well.

Instantly, our daughter thought of our next door neighbor. She’s a single, middle-aged woman who tends to keep to herself. Whenever we have the rare opportunity to see her we wave and smile. Aside from doing yard work or shoveling snow at the same time we haven’t had many opportunities to interact with her.

Following our daughter’s lead, our whole family went next door and delivered the ornament. The neighbor was so grateful and let our daughter know that it made her lonely Valentine’s Day so much better to receive that gift.

 

2. Classroom Party

Weeks ago my daughter and I scoured Pinterest for the perfect Valentine’s Day box. Then, using my Cricut and a few supplies from Michaels we put together a pretty cute unicorn-themed box. With her craft skills she used blank heart-shaped notecards, stamps, and stickers to create homemade valentines cards for every member of her class.

I had the opportunity to attend her class party on Friday afternoon. My job was to bring healthy snacks for the class. Oh Joy! helped me out with a blog post about a healthy snack craft. My daughter and I used Thursday night to prepare our cupid-stricken oranges. These were a big hit in the classroom.

 

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3. Speed Dating in the Library

This last event I can take absolutely no credit for having put together. The librarian at my school put lots of planning and energy into the idea, but I have to share because it was so awesome.

On Valentine’s Day my classes reserved the library to pick out new independent reading books. Instead of turning them loose to select books on their own our librarian organized a speed dating session. Students were exposed to an array of books and got to know the one’s that caught their eye.

After the process was done they were to check out the book that they connected with the most. Many of them also took pictures with their books in a photo-booth themed heart. I snagged some of my teacher friends to jump in with me for my photo.

I’d love to see some of your Valentine’s Day crafts and boxes. Comment a picture or description below.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

Build: Five Minute Friday

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I’m getting my butt kicked by my February schedule.

Can you relate?

For some reason I keep double-booking myself even with my efforts to keep a bullet journal. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. That’s why it is even more important than ever to build into that schedule some time for me.

A few months ago my husband and I agreed on an arrangement that allowed both of us ample time to focus on our hobbies. On an ideal day, we would each get ONE HOUR to ourselves. For him, it would look like a run to the gym or a drill session with five basketballs. For me, that time would be sitting in front of the computer like I am right now and allowing myself some time to write.

Now, it doesn’t happen this way every day.

There are days when my kiddos interrupt that time and days when my husband never makes it out the door. But, our goal is to make this time a priority every day.

As parents it can be so easy to lose ourselves. I could spend over half a day cleaning messes or changing diapers. But one thing I’ve learned after six years of this gig is that I am a much better mom when I’ve taken some time to focus on¬† me.

I am thankful for a husband who is supportive and encourages me to take that time.

I am grateful for a daughter that understands when Mom is writing she really needs to be left alone.

This ONE HOUR trade-off with my husband has helped to curb my anxiety and given me a renewed sense of purpose in writing. I’ve taken time to dream again. I’ve taken steps toward reaching that dream. And I’ve begun feeling more accomplished than ever.

How do you build time for yourself during the day?

*This post is part of the Five Minute Friday prompt for the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other positive writer’s explore the same word prompt.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

We Escaped!


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1 Murder+3 Suspects+6 Friends+2 Strangers+60 minutes= a lot of fun and laughs (and a wrongly convicted murderer)

If you have never gone to an escape room you are missing out. Some of our friends had a Groupon for Lockology Columbus Escape Room and invited us to join them. It was a blast.  Aside from the slight panic I felt as I signed the entry waiver there was nothing scary about the event.

Once our party was gathered the creepy employee tasked with making us all nervous led us into a small office–the location of the murder.

A video explained our mission and the rules. Then, the door was locked and our one hour began. In order to unlock the door we had to name a suspect and find the combination to the door’s lock.

I can’t reveal anything about the actual case and clues, but I can tell you that it was tricky. In the end we guessed the wrong murderer, but did break out with the correct code. So we were 1 for 2.

Now, while I learned that I’m not quite cut out for the life of a CSI agent, I did enjoy the mystery of it all. I’ve seen a lot of Twitter posts where teachers have used the tactics of the Escape Room in their classrooms. I can see the appeal, and I’d love ideas for making this fit into my high school English or History curriculum.

I am very thankful for my friends and the chance to get away with them and share hours of laughter.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Faith, Family, Uncategorized

Where: Five Minute Friday

I’m snowed in for another day in Ohio. I would be going stir crazy if it wasn’t for the week I’ve had. Today I am thankful for more time at home.

On Tuesday I awoke to my 11 month old having a seizure.

SCARIEST FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE!

The moments that followed her seizure were even scarier than the event itself. She laid unresponsive on the floor and police officers, paramedics, and firemen paraded into my home. Nothing can prepare you for moments like this.

God was with us that day. She spent most of the day resting in the hospital and slowly coming back around. She was diagnosed with febrile seizures which were caused by the onset of a fever. We didn’t even know she was sick! The thing with these seizures is that oftentimes the episode is the first indication that something is wrong.

So, yes, I am counting my blessings on snow day #6. I’m happy to be home with my babies and to have my baby girl back to herself.

For my Five Minute Friday post I am writing a poem of thankfulness for God’s peace through all that I experienced this week. To join the FMF community or to check out their posts be sure to check out the site. This week the prompt is Where.

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In the middle of the battle you were there

Wrapping me in your arms of care.

Time stood still and I was scared,

But You were everywhere.

You brought peace and healing

In Moments when my heart was reeling.

 Hopelessness was all I was feeling.

Thank you, Lord, for intervening.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

 

Faith, Family

Cookies for Kairos

Serving alongside my family is one of my favorite things to do. Over the past week I’ve had several opportunities to work in the kitchen with both my true family and church family.

Since last Sunday I’ve been blessed to be a part of the process of baking close to 200 dozen cookies for the Kairos Prison Ministry. Our church is sending several representatives to a local prison where the gospel will be shared with inmates. That program involves sharing homemade cookies with those they visit. In the process of baking I learned so much about the Kairos ministry.

You get to know people even better when you are rubbing elbows with them in the kitchen. But even all those cookies later I am convinced that God is blessing our congregation with amazing people at Village Chapel.

The first 70 dozen I helped with was alongside the youth group. Watching a group of high schoolers sacrificing their time moved me. They worked together better than most adults and they kept themselves motivated with mini competitions and games.

I was able to witness God’s love being spread through the simple act of cookie baking. What may seem like a small luxury to us can make a lifelong impact in the life of someone else. I will be in prayer over the next few weeks for those participating in this ministry opportunity.

Be sure to check out more about Kairos Prison Ministry

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

She Got Game

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The anthem of my winter will be squeaking shoes and whistle blows. It will be the chant of the ball as it bounces atop the hardwood. It’s the call of “I’m open” and the family surrounding me on the bleachers where I will always be her number one fan.

We are starting our third year of basketball. I am looking forward to not being nine months pregnant this season like I was last year. I am also looking forward to watching my little girl grow as a player. She’s already improved her passing, shooting, and dribbling. With a father who performs as a side hustle it should come as no surprise that she’s got game herself.

Two years ago I wrote about her first ever basketball practice. (Check out One Happy Player.)

So much has changed since her first days on the court. I’m looking forward to many, many years as a basketball mom and I am cherishing every practice and game as an opportunity to be thankful. I am blessed to have a daughter who enjoys such a variety of activities. I am blessed to have a husband who is in his element coaching little players. I am blessed to live near so many family members who support our girls and come to their events.

I am blessed to be a BASKETBALL MOM

The Ameri Brit Mom