Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I'm still around!

Just to let you know that I've not fallen off the face of the planet, here's a little look at what we've been up to lately...

We made apple butter...

Here's the stuff to prove it

We made plum jelly...

And we even...

...went on a date.

To see Paul and Babe...

Happy Tuesday! (almost Wednesday)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What Kids Say: Ms. McNary

 I love teaching. I always have. And one thing I love as much as teaching...is sharing my passion with others. One of my greatest friends is also an English teacher. If you've never been to her blog...you're in for a treat. Because! Today happens to be

Grab a guest post! Swap blogs with someone, and share about anything. :)

over at Brave Love.

So, without further adieu, I'll turn it over to Aubrey.

Hello to Kelly’s readers! I am very excited to be sharing with you today. Both Kelly and I are English teachers, both of us work with high schoolers, and both of us have heard quite the funnies from our students.

As grown up as high school students try to be, they are still such kids at heart and leave Kelly and I in stitches at the end of the day. They also leave us in tears, both literal and hypothetical, at points as well, but the memories of the laughter are what bring us back after the particularly rough days.

I am in my fourth year of teaching so I, by no means, have everything figured out, but I do have a solid list of funny things my students have said “over the years.” (Have I even earned the right to say that?) I have also included some funny moments with the elementary kids I coached because they were just too good to keep to myself. Clearly, nothing is off limits with kids. They tell it like they see it, which is both entertaining and frustrating.

Without further adieu, I share with you ten of the funniest moments in my teaching (and coaching) career.

10. Junior boy: Hey Miss McNary, when is the State B Boys' Basketball Tournament?
    Me: Like March third through the fifth?
    Boy: (To his study hall) Hey guys! It's March 34th and 35th!

9. A Very Shocked Freshman girl: (Reading her teacher-revised essay) Seriously? You're
   telling me that a fetus and a feces aren't the same thing?!

8. Fifth grade girl: Ms. McNary... My sister (who I taught in English 10) and I googled you
           last night.
   Me: Oh? What did you find?
   Student: You are on Pinterest.
   Me: Yes, that is true. Anything else?
   Student: No... You're really as boring as you say you are. But Google has pictures that
           really are you!

7. A Very Enthusiastic Third Grader: Miss McNary... I really like your outfit today! It's
   better than some other days. Did your mom pick it out? My mom always picks out my
   best outfits!

If you’d like to see the rest of my crazes, please come visit! Things only get better from here.

That's aubrey in the scarf...not in the vb uniform.

**Kelly again...** Go say hello to Aubrey and finish reading her "student-isms". They really are hilarious.

And as always...what makes you laugh?

Brave Love Blog

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Bucket List

 Your fall bucket list. What do you want to do before winter rolls around?

Every fall I think about this. What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to see?

This year, I want to...

...go to Duluth for a weekend.

...take a walk in a state park with my husband and admire God's handiwork.

...spend time with family.

...go to my parents' house for deer hunting.

...successfully complete the first two blocks at school.

...make some baby quilts for friends' babies.

...carve pumpkins.

...drink apple cider.

...make apple pie and apple crisp.

...celebrate Thanksgiving with family.

There are more things I'd like to do this fall, but these are the first few that came to mind. What are your plans for this fall?

Brave Love Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Our Little Corner of North Dakota

 A guide to your city! Share some of the hot-spots and hidden gems of where you live.

I currently reside in a sweet, bustling (at times), little city in one corner of North Dakota. Upon moving here, 5 years ago (!), I didn't have any friends here. I never wanted to stay here. I also never wanted to even step foot here. Ever.

And then God changed my heart and drew me here. And what do you know, I've never really left.

So welcome to my city! Here are a few of my favorites that if you're ever here, you'll need to check these gems out.

1. The Toasted Frog

This just so happens to be the very place we are going to be celebrating my birthday on Wednesday! They're known for their martinis and their cheesy pickles. If you like cheese, pickles, and anything deep fried...these are perfect for you! The Toasted Frog happens to be one of the best places in town and many out-of-towners make it a "must try" when they visit.

A hole-in-the-wall bar that serves the best wings in town, happens to be one of the local favorites. Start your week off right with $.99 cheeseburgers on Mondays. Then come back on Wednesday and Thursday for a whole order of wings and a pitcher of beer for only $12! They've also got a wing challenge...beware...it's super hot.

Hands down...my favorite place to eat in town! I love that place. Before we were married, husband would walk to my house on snow days and we'd venture the two blocks from my house to Darcy's. I love their pancakes. So delicious. Oh! And if you're a coffee fan, they've got the best cafe coffee I've ever tasted. No joke. I can't even quote Elf for this claim...because it really is the best cafe coffee ever. If you're wanting to try out Darcy's on a weekend, be warned. It's super busy because people are realizing just how good it is. 

Follow the link and you'll read everything you need to know about this local treat.

People love the "Pepper" so much that they'll order online...and have it FedEx'd to them! For real! It's a staple in town. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night after a UND hockey game...make sure you're willing to wait in line. They'll get the biggest crowd and for good reason. You must go to the original Red Pepper building for the true experience. They're famous for their grinders and their white sauce. Seriously...their white sauce...SO addicting. And it's a secret recipe--you'll never get it right. Oh...and they only have spoons--no forks. Honest.

And while I know most of the places I've talked about today have been restaurants, there really is more to do when you come to visit. Maybe I'll show off more of my town in a few weeks.

Come visit and I'll show you around!

Brave Love Blog

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Favs.

Sept 22nd: Introduce us to 5 blogs you read on the regular, and tell us why!

For some reason I had so much difficulty trying to decide how to start this post. It shouldn't have been so difficult, seeing as how it's all about what I've been reading, and all. Yipes!

So, I suppose...without further ado...

1. be.do.say.go. (in Bangkok)
Aubrey and I have been friends since college. She's been one of my closest friends and since she graduated and moved back home, I've been reading her blog consistently. Aubrey is currently in...wait for it...Bangkok. Right?! It's a surprise, seeing as her blog title says (in Bangkok). Go check out her blog and get to know her. She's great.

2. The Life of Bon
Bonnie is an English Teacher, a blogger, and a new momma. I've been reading her blog for about a year. I was drawn to her blog because of how real she is. Bonnie talks about the tough side of teaching and she reflects on the rewards of it as well. Go see her. She's even got a monthly book club!

3. Camp Patton
Grace is a momma of 4 under 4. She's also very real. I've enjoyed getting to know her through her blog and watching her family grow. She frequently puts up photos of her outings with her children. And also puts gems like this up: Simon Says & Julia Styles. Go say hello!

4. Domesticated Combat Boots
The Romer family resides over at Domesticated Combat Boots. What a sweet family! A Marine family with two sweet little kiddos. They love Jesus and they're off on a new adventure. Meet them.

And last, but not least...

5. Monica Swanson (formerly the grommom)
Monica is SO sweet. She's working on her own e-book and her blog series at the moment discusses health and healthy lifestyles. Her blog frequently follows her surfer boys (groms) who love that they live in Hawaii and have the beach accessible. If you're looking for some motivation, head over to see what's up.

I hope you find some new friends too!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall Favorites

 Fall Favorites. What do you love most about this season?

What is there NOT to love about this season? I mean, seriously. First and foremost, fall is my favorite aspect of this time of year. Just fall. Period.

I love the crisp air, the apple cider, the beautiful leaves, and my birthday.

Fall is the perfect time to go camping with friends and have a bonfire.

If you've not had the opportunity to go camping during the fall, make sure to try it out!

Brave Love Blog

Friday, September 19, 2014

Advice: What Should I Say?

 If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?

Here's today's prompt for the #blogtemberchallenge. I had to think about this one for a while. I did post this a few months ago after I spoke at the Junior/Senior Prom Banquet. And while I do still stand by those words I spoke, there may be a few more I'd like to relay.

One of the best decisions I've ever made was to choose a profession I'd love and one that was rewarding. So...I chose to become a teacher.

Teaching isn't the highest paying profession. Shocker, I know! Teaching also isn't the most popular profession. Right now many schools in my area are in dire need of teachers.

But here's the thing. I have always wanted to be a part of a profession where I could make an impact on people. I've always wanted to be a part of a profession where I could support others the way I was supported all my life.

About a year ago, I had a very good discussion with my dad in regards to teaching. He asked how my job was going and if it was getting at all easier. Usually I don't have too think to long or hard about my response to such a question. But, I really had to think that night.

"Was work getting easier? I don't know. Have I been called fewer names than last year? I guess so."

"Was I happy? I don't know. Do I love waking up in the morning to go to school? Mornings, come again."

So I really had to think about it. Ultimately I responded with..."It's getting easier, yes. However, some days are just really tough. What do I do when I have a sophomore boy sleeping during classroom activities?? It's not like he has to sit and listen to a lecture all hour...good grief. What do I do when I have 300 assignments to correct before the end of the eligibility period in two days?!" Yes...there were times when I did have 300 assignments to grade. What?? When I see 120+ students every day and if they turn in 1-3 assignments in a 2-5 day time span...yeah, I got backed up!

And as I thought about it...as stressed as I was and as exhausted as I was...I was happy. I got to be in front of a group of students who would roll their eyes at me when I made funny faces, talked in funny voices, or just did something ridiculous. I was fortunate enough to influence the lives of students who may or may not have had a good reason to go home. This all may be wishful thinking, but I told my dad this, "If I have made a difference in one student's life in the time I've been at this school, all of the work, stress, tears, long hours, and headaches will have been worth it."

And that's when I realized it. I wasn't supposed to be in any profession other than teaching. Sure, being a teacher is about delivering content and all that jazz. But it's also so much more than that. Teaching is about being consistent when your students might not have consistency anywhere else. Teaching is about setting expectations for your students because he/she might not have anyone else to help them succeed. Teaching is about helping students be successful citizens after they leave the education system (and yes...even before that).

And I know it's been said before and I won't be the last to say it, but teaching really is all for the students.

So when I think about the advice I'd give to a large group of people, it would have to be this...

It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 81. If you are unhappy with where you're at in life, take a look at what you are passionate about. If you can identify what you desire and what your passion in life is, chase it down. It's never too late to find a passion.

Sure, I certainly do not like mornings. But once I get to school and start having conversations with my students, I realize it's worth it. When I see a student's eyes light up when they finally understand what we're working through, I realize it's worth it.

The reality is this. I might not be making a lot of money and I might not be so glamorous, but I get to go to my job and do something I'm really passionate about.

How many of you can say that?
Find your passion.

Brave Love Blog

Thursday, September 18, 2014

At Tale of Traveling: Blogtember Challenge

 So our topic for today is to tell a tale of traveling--of somewhere we've been or a favorite vacation.

And I think I'm going to post about my desire for my next trip...in October.

There's this beautiful town on the other side of Minnesota from us. I've spent many hours there on family vacations over the years. As an adult, I've not spent as much time there as I'd like. This beautiful town is none other than Duluth, MN.

Oh my are there places to go! Like...

Canal Park (via)


Glensheen Mansion (via)

And one of my FAVS...

Betty's Pies  (via)

Or what about something "nature-y"...

Gooseberry Falls (via)

There are just so many beautiful, fun things in Duluth and along the North Shore! I could keep posting, and posting, and posting, and .... you get the idea. I'm hoping we get to head on over during our fall break, come October. Pray for us, that everything works out! 

And you can bet your bottom-dollar that I'll be updating you on that trip, if it happens! :)

Brave Love Blog

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Welcome to the Blog-world!

 Okay, okay, okay. You may think this title is a little bit deceiving. Head on over to Bailey Jean's Blog to check out her Blogtember Challenge. I haven't been participating very long, but on the days I've participated, I've really enjoyed it.

So...her prompt for today is "When did you start blogging and why?" And...to be honest, this is my third (?) blog I've written on. My answer to the question for the day, I'm not entirely sure when I started.

This particular blog began last fall. My husband and I got married July 2013, so I figured it would be a fun way for people to keep up with what has been going on in our lives. I sure hope it's been fulfilling that purpose. So keep up with the Blogtember Challenge and see what else will appear!

Brave Love Blog

Friday, September 12, 2014

There are these things called traditions...

Traditions are important to our family. There are traditions new and old. I'll start off with new traditions and finish off with old. Got it? :)

So, I have some family who eat ice cream sundaes for supper on the first day back to school! Great, right?! Last year, our first September being married, we (Kyle & I) decided that we wanted to have a fun tradition like that too! As a result, we settled on waffles with ice cream and/or whipped cream. Yum. The last two years we've had waffles with ice cream, whipped cream, and berries.

Kyle and I have also had to switch up our holiday traditions since we've been together. It tends to get a little complicated. How do we keep track where we were at last Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving? I'm so glad you asked! The easiest way for me to keep track...even years=Easter & Thanksgiving with Kyle's family & Christmas with my family. And vice versa the next year.

It's confusing, but I can keep track of it. It's a little harder for Kyle to remember. So all I have to ask him is: "What meal did we have last year for Christmas Eve?" If he answers tacos, we are supposed to be with his family this year. If he answers Swedish meatballs, we are supposed to be with my family.

Which leads me to old family traditions. For as long as I can remember (and as long as my mom can remember) we've had tacos for Christmas Eve dinner with her family. There were a few years where I wasn't interested in eating tacos...but because that was our only option, we ate tacos.

And the tradition I saved for last is one of my favorites. In case you don't know, deer hunting season is a holiday up north. And it just so happens that it's right around the corner. Season opener is usually the first weekend of November and in our area it ends the second weekend. Grandma makes Potato Klub every year. The link to the recipe is not exactly how Grandma makes it, but it's pretty close. We always sit around Grandpa and Grandma's table in their cozy farm house talking about hunting stories, how cold it is/n't, how happy we are to be together, and eating potato klub. It's really a good time. In the past, my family has alternatively been some of my favorite people to be with and also been some of the hardest people to be with. When it comes to deer hunting and potato klub, we set differences aside and sit down to a home cooked meal to share in the joy and familiarity of family and traditions.

What kinds of traditions do you have?? I'd love to know! And follow the link-up to see more traditions stories!

Brave Love Blog

Monday, September 8, 2014

Making Friends: Grown-Up Edition

When I think about making friends, I always picture my baby sister at the campground at Bemidji State Park.

"Hi, my name is Emma. Will you be my friend? We can play."

Those sentences will be forever ingrained in my memory. 

As a small child, it's easy to make friends. You consider everyone who appears to be younger than Dad and Mom, friend potential. Simply saying, "Hello." to someone could keep them in your life for years to come. 

As an elementary aged child, making friends (initially) comes with very little risk. If you're (un)fortunate enough to go to a small school, your friends or non friends could be in your very class (the horror)! If you're (un)fortunate to go to a large school, you might only see your friends or non friends on the playground or the bus. Again, these friends could stay with you for life. 

*Disclaimer: I do still talk to classmates from elementary school...but we aren't close anymore.*

Middle School and High School are harder. In my case, everyone in my class in High School had been in my class since Pre-k. If I wanted to make new friends, I had to look to older or younger classes (say what?!). 

College is where it starts to get easier again...at least for your Freshman year. You're all in orientation groups together. You have dinner together every night with your "brother/sister" hall. Maybe you're fortunate to have familiar faces in a GenEd class that you know from Freshman Orientation. Hopefully 3 or 4 of tense friends from that first college year will stick with you to the end. 

*I DID love my Orientation group! Honest!*

Then, say you transfer to a different college. You end up in a random apartment placement. You have NO idea who anyone is. Your roommate seems nice enough, but your suite mates? No thanks. 

This happened to me. It was hard making friends that semester. Most of the Sophomores had made their college friends last year. So...the next best place to meet people...class. Yep. I'm a nerd and some of my best friends I have are because we took classes together.

Maybe you made friends at a Christmas party and someone duct taped your leg to someone else's leg. *Hey...it happens! I'll find the photo to prove it!* And she could be your best friend for years to come!

Now, all of these things are entirely possible. They're also some of the easier ways to make friends. Early childhood, Elementary, High School, and college are all perfectly acceptable places to make friends.


That's what I'll be exploring throughout the next few weeks.

Stay tuned and Happy Monday!

**Oh...and if you have some sure-fire way to make friends as a grown-up, pleeeassseee comment and let me know. Or Facebook/Tweet/IG me if that suits you better. I'll be putting feedback on here one day coming up too!** 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

a look at my first week in a new school

But...first a little background.
When I graduated high school, my heart was set on going to school at Northwestern in St. Paul (now University of Northwestern--St. Paul). So, my first year was at a private college. The following summer I transferred to a sweet, cheaper state school closer to home. Did I say cheaper? Like, much cheaper. I thrived in that environment. I loved all of the people. I adored my church and campus church group. But once I got into my program, I realized that I loved being in the classroom.

The kiddos were hilarious. The teachers were phenomenal to work with and learn from. I did my last practicum at a smaller High School nearby. The teacher was great--the students were willing to learn. The next semester I worked in a Middle School with seventh graders. Again...some of the funniest creatures on the planet. Not only that, but they still like their teachers!

After student teaching in 9th and 11th grade, I got my first teaching job! Who did I teach? I taught High School English. Grades 7-12.

Yes. I did teach all of them. Every day I saw all of the high schoolers and I never was able to teach the same lesson more than once per year. Yipes! There were so many things to deal with on top of having 6 preps per day!

*Don't get me wrong...I adored my students. I miss many of them.

But...this summer I received a job in a district I've been wanting to be a part of. I'm now teaching English to 9th-12th grades at an Alternative Education school.

Thus, yesterday marked the end of week 1.

I went from having 120-ish students to having 15. Yes, I am at a new school. My coworkers are awesome! They've been so helpful and extremely understanding with me.

Here's to a new year! *Now if you're still awake after reading this post...I recommend grabbing a cup of coffee to ensure you stay awake. I'll have a more exciting post soon. Promise.

Friday, September 5, 2014

House Hunting. Say What?

When you are/were looking for a house, what do you search for? 
Do you want a little bungalow? Do you want a split level? 
Should it only have 2 bedrooms? Do you need 6?
Will 1 bathroom be sufficient? Or should there be at least 3?
How old is the roof?
How big is the lot and can we get a building permit for a garage?
Are there any egress windows in the basement?
Do the laundry appliances come with the house?

There are just so many things to consider when buying a house. Many of these things are negotiable. Many are not.

Raise your hand if you love to "pin" things and dream? *Raises hand* I do! I do! Here are a few glimpses into my "Pinterest Home".

I've been dreaming of the best house ever!

And then we started looking at houses. And we saw things like this:

*For $110,000?? No thank you! 

*$149,900?? Say what?

Are we being too picky? We weren't sure. 
So...we found another realtor and looked at houses like this:

*A little spendy...but not too bad 

*SO cute! A little small...but no formal dining room*

So here's our conundrum...we want to have a house soon. BUT, we don't want to move into a house we know we'll have to leave in a few years because it'll be too small. That being said...we want to have a family in the next few years. SO! What's a couple to do? Input, please?

Here are our non-negotiables:
*At least 3 bedrooms (4 would be preferable...or the ability to add a false wall or something)
*A decent sized yard...for potential kiddos to play in...and a garden
*A garage in decent shape
*Decent amount of storage in our kitchen (we want to keep it efficient)
*Oh...and our budget is minimal

*4 Bedrooms
*2+ Bathrooms
*2 Stall Garage
*Finished(ish) Basement w/egress
*Formal Dining room
*A roof we won't have to redo in <5 years
*2,000+ sq. ft.

I should note that we are not averse to doing work on our house. We'd rather buy something that needs work and put our money into something we'll love, instead of sinking a lot of money into something finished that we aren't in love with now.
What do you think? Are our non-negotiables out of the question? Are we being too difficult?

I'm not sure. We're thinking on it, praying on it, and definitely sleeping on it.

I'd love to hear your feedback. What were your biggest struggles in buying a house? Did you have fun looking and dreaming together? What was the best part? How long were you house hunting?

I guess it goes without saying that my real house might not live up to my Pinterest house...thanks a lot Pinterest.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#mugswap14 {Link Up}

Greetings! It's been ages since I've written and I'm so sorry to leave you hanging! I'm back now, so don't worry your pretty little heads one more minute.

I'm back to tell you about something pretty awesome! Kim, over at the lovely blog ACuppaKim, hosts an annual mugswap. It's pretty boss. You should totally check it out. Write it down in your planners and count down the days til next August. (Do you sense how exciting this all is?? Because you should.) 

Anyway, this was her 4th annual #mugswap. It was only my 2nd year participating. BUT! It was so much fun. This year the theme was to "Bless Others". We (#mugswap14 participants) were encouraged to spoil our partners and to donate to the Hopper family for their upcoming adoption. Check out Kim's blog for more details!

I was partnered up with sweet Meg over at rivers & roads. I've gotten to know her through her blog, IG, and Pinterest. I know that if we were to meet in person, we'd be friends. Go check her out. 

Through our mugswap partnership and social media, I found out that Meg loves Disney, Harry Potter, coffee, caramel, and blue. And as hard as I tried to find something special for her that hit all of these loves, it just wasn't happening. Alas, I settled with creating a special gift for her. Check it out!

I had SO much fun shopping, crafting, and wrapping! She wrote to me to let me know she loved it and she squealed when she opened the package. It made my heart happy! My pleasure, Meg!

And I do know that the purpose of the mugswap is to bless others and make their mail happy. While I LOVED every minute of this adventure, I don't have the second half of the mugswap adventure to share with you. And as I sat at my desk today, I thought about how blessed I am. I don't need to receive a mug in return (I would like it very much...BUT), but that's not the purpose. 

I have so much more than some others. I'm blessed with a job, a wonderful husband, a loving Savior, a roof over my head, a car. I could go on, but you get the picture. So, even if my mug doesn't ever make it to me, I've been blessed by #mugswap14 anyway. 

Kim, here's to another year until #mugswap15. And Meg, here's to a new friend gained. 


Ps. I will be posting new job (eek!) updates soon! xo
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