Friday, July 23, 2010


One of the 3rd graders I have in my math class this summer cracks me up!
He is always moving around, always getting in to something, and always saying something hilarious.  Here are my two favorite moments from yesterday and today:

As the opening activity for a lesson on solving math problems by drawing picture representations, I wrote this problem on the board:

If Cala has 3 pretzels, find out how many pretzels each of her friends has:
Courtney has 6 more pretzels than Rashaun
Rashaun has 2 fewer cookies than Taisha
Taisha has twice as many cookies as Cala has.

I drew four stick figures up on the board and wrote a name under each to make it easier for the kids to solve.  As we figured out how many pretzels each friend had, we wrote the number under the stick figure.  Once we had solved the entire problem, I told the kids that they could throw away the scratch paper they had used, and get out their math books.

"Mrs. Brubaker, I can't throw this scratch paper away!  There's a war on it," Riley cried.
Completely puzzled, I told him that there was no war.
"Yes, there is," He yelled, and running up to me, he took the dry-erase marker out of my hand and drew a bow and arrow in the hand of each of my stick figures.  Each arrow was pointed at the stick figure to the right, and the last stick figure's arrow went underneath the stick-figure-gang and came up to shoot the first stick figure. 

What an imagination!  No wonder he can't concentrate on his assignments :-)

And then today, Riley interrupted me during our lesson to ask me if I had any children.
"Nope," I replied with a smile, "just you guys!"
"Ohhh..." Riley's face turned up into a slow smile, "So, we're like, your reinforcement family?"

Laura: World Traveller

My 17 year old sister, Laura, is on a plane headed to Prague right this very minute.

Please pray for her as she joins the missionary team in the Czech Republic and serves God's little ones there!

Laura will be there for month working alongside missionaries and teaching children about God's love for them.

I'm so proud of her!  What an amazing opportunity.  I can't wait to hear all about her experiences!

For a smile and to reminisce, you can check out the video our friend Katrina made last year, starring Laura.
Laura finally gets to be a world traveller!  In GRAND style :-)

We love you, Lou!  Stay safe and have lots of adventures!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Elevator Pitch

The first day challenge is to really figure out what the purpose of my blog is.  How does this sound?

Blog Title:  Happy Homemaker Me

tagline: finding joy in the little laundry pile at a time.

short elevator pitch: Inspiring woment to take joy in their home

long elevator pitch: Happy Homemaker Me is where I want women to go when they are looking for a new recipe, wanting inspiration for a new craft project, seeking encouragement, or just wanting to feel like they've just had a chat with an old friend. I want to welcome their ideas, make them feel like they belong--as if a little piece of Happy Homemaker Me is theirs as well.

I began keeping this blog as sort of an online journal for myself, but as I continue to write it, I realize that I want to share my thoughts with others instead of just keep it for myself. That's why I'm excited about learning how to modify my blog to be something that can be enjoyed by others
That's a start...what do you think?

Revamping Happy Homemaker Me

I've caught the blog bug!
I've been wanting to learn new blogging tricks and tips for a long time, and today I stumbled down a rabbit hole.

BlogFrog, SITS, and ProBlogger have all collaborated to create a 31 day challenge to better blogging, and I'm excited to be a part of it!

I'm hoping to learn lots of ways to make my blog more approachable, more user friendly, and lots more fun :-)

Hold on to your hats, and join me, if you'd like!  It's going to be an interesting month!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wait For It...

My sister Kate cracks me up.
Her class was cancelled today, so she got to our house way early (I've mentioned that she's been living with us this summer, right?)
Anyway, by the time I came home around 9pm, she was bored to the point of turning into a zombie.
"Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, let's do something!" She wailed listlessly. 

Jesse is coming home tomorrow, so I've got lots of things to do to get the house ready for him.  Well...let me clarify: He's a guy.  He could care less what the house looks like.  But I'm a woman...particularly a homemaker.  And if Jesse comes home to a messy house, I'm a terrible wife.  In my own eyes, anyway.

So when Kate was looking for something to do while I was running around dusting and putting folded laundry away, I looked at the aging bananas on our counter and handed them to her, along with flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, the works.  I helped her preheat the oven and then left her on her own while I went to put away my sewing things.

I was please with how independant she was in the kitchen!  The only time she asked me a question was when she needed to know where my measuring spoons were.  She couldn't find them in the drawer because I had set them on the counter for her. Lol.

I was passing through the kitchen when I saw the bread pans full and sitting on the counter.

Maybe she doesn't know how to adjust the oven racks, I thought.  So I walked over to our cute little 60 year old oven and moved them to the right height for her.  When she still didn't make a move to put the banana bread in the oven, I asked her if she was going to.

"Not yet," She said.  "I'm waiting for the oven to beep."

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, precious child of the nineties!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Jesse is at the LCMS National Youth Gathering in New Orleans this week.
He calls me every night, and even though he doesn't have time to respond, I've been sending him lots of text messages.

I smiled as I sent one off to him a few minutes ago.  I filled it with all the hugs and kisses that would fit, and laughed as I remembered the first conversation we had about x's and o's.  I've signed many a text message with "xoxoxo" in the 4 years that I've known and loved him, and only this year did I realize my message has not been conveyed.

"What are the xoxoxo's for?" He asked me a few months ago when he got home from work.
"Hugs and kisses!"  I couldn't believe he was even asking me.  Doesn't everyone know what those mean?
"Oh," he smiled and hugged me tight.
"Why?" I asked him, "What did you think they were?"
Jesse shrugged, "Football tactics."

What a guy!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm an Auntie!

I finally got meet my little Chloe Daniella Barraza on Thursday last week.

Here she is with Mommy and Daddy!

One month old!

I held her the entire three hours I was with them.  It made me so happy.  It's been too long since I've held anyone that little, and this precious baby is close to my heart!

Such an alert little cutie!

Dear friends


June Gloom waited until the middle of July, but it has finally broken.
I sigh every time a thermometer reads 95*.  I was spoiled growing up on the coast.  Everyone should grow up on the coast.

Today, I used the cute pink sun shade in my car for the first time this summer.
As I pulled it out of the pocket on the back of the driver seat, a piece of paper stuck to it and fluttered to my lap.  I felt as if I had been hit in the chest when I saw Papa Chuck's boxy, all-caps handwriting on the scrap of paper.  It was a note he had written for me, letting me know in detail the work he had done on my car the last time he fixed it up for me.


What an amazing man he was!  I grew up knowing there wasn't a thing in the world my Papa Chuck couldn't fix.  He bought and fixed up used cars for me and each of my siblings (even looked ahead and provided a car for Laura last year when she was only 15!)  Every car my family has ever owned has been one that Papa found, fixed, and maintained for us. 

Last year when he started getting sick, it was a real eye-opener for me to realize what a blessing it had been to have his talents at our beck-and-call.  Man, mechanics are expensive!  These days, it selfishly feels like lemon juice poured in an open wound every time I have to pay for someone to do what Papa Chuck always did with a whistle and a smile.

It was an odd mix of feelings that hit me today in the car, with his note sitting in my lap.  I had thought that my sorrow over his death was gone;  I haven't cried for him in a while.  It came back with a bang, though.  The paper is still crisp and his handwriting so clear that it could have been written last week. 

But it wasn't all sadness this time.  Along with the pain of missing him, there was also this twinkly-eye kind of smile that came at the realization of how blessed I was to have him as my papa.

Not everyone has what I have had.  Jesse didn't even have one grandpa by the time he was 8 years old, and until last December, I had two.  Two grandpas, who, my whole life, have the best fixer-uppers, best inventers, best hearty-laughing, bright blue-eyed smiling, there-for-me-every-time-I-need-them grandpas. 

A girl can't complain about that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Those Little Teaching Moments

Today, in the middle of 1st/2nd grade math, a little girl raised her hand.
"Yes, Katie?" I asked, expecting her to need help with a math problem.
Instead, she stood, walked up the aisle to me, put her yellow #2 pencil in front of my face and said,
"Mrs. Bluebaker, I don't like the color of this pencil."