Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Party Pooper

I guess now is the time where I say the obligatory "Happy Halloween" to everyone out there. But honestly, the title of the post could very easily describe me. I didn't go to a Halloween Party this year - though the fiance and I were both invited to one. I think we've been invited to this party for the last few years, but something always comes up. The fiance has a "go to" costume that he uses every year, but I didn't have a costume, and I didn't think I could make one out of the stuff that's already hanging in my closet. Plus, we got an invite to a birthday dinner, which we both decided we wanted to go to more.

Our school has an early childhood program, and thus a daycare center. The Tiny Tots (what we called them) went trick-or-treating around the campus today. Teachers were suppose to sign up for the little ones to come to their room for candy. For the second year, I chose not to sign up. Both times it was for the same reason - I didn't exactly have the money in the budget to buy candy. But then I beat myself up over it because I could have easily gone to the dollar store and bought some cheap candy. But, I didn't feel like going to the store. Does that make me a bad person?

And then, tonight... Tonight there are going to be dozens of kids running around our apartment complex dressed up in their costumes, knocking on doors with pumpkins on them. See, our complex has this pumpkin rule. Since we don't have porch lights, we are suppose to hang a designated pumpkin on our door if we have candy for treat-or-treaters. But alas, no pumpkin will be hanging on our door. Why? Well, the same reason I didn't sign up for the Tiny Tots. I don't feel like I have the money to spend on candy, nor did I want to make a special trip to the store.

Our budget is tight with the wedding only 2 weeks away. And I just can't talk myself into purchasing a large bag of sweets for the purpose of handing it out to strangers. Besides, last year I bought 2 small bags of candy last year for the complex treat-or-treaters, and only 3 kids showed up. The fiance and I ended up eating the rest of the candy ourselves. Although some might say that's not necessarily a bad thing - when we're both trying to lose weight, it sorta is. The more temptations we have in front of us, the less poundage we see disappearing on the scales.

But does this make me a bad person? Not giving into the hype that is Halloween? I mean, really, what is the point?? Sure, it's fun to get dressed up and get free candy....if you're 5 years old! But as an adult, is there really a point? I'm sure once I have kids of my own, I'll feel differently about the holiday. Or maybe not - at that point it will cost even more to participate!

Reading these articles (here and here) on Dave Ramsey's website has helped me lose some of the party-pooper guilt. I've set my priorities, and Halloween candy and costumes simply aren't one of them. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

Disclaimer: Dave Ramsey doesn't know me or anything about this little blog, so he in no way endorsed my inclusion of articles from his website. I went through one of his Financial Peace University courses a few years ago, and I have officially jumped on the "Ramsey Bandwagon."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sign Me Up!

I'm so excited that Sherry and Katie are hosting their Pinterest Challenge again! This is their second go-around. Their first challenge was hosted in the summer, but at the time I didn't have the funds to play along. Plus, I was having a hard time narrowing down what project I wanted to take on. So I'm stoked that I finally have a project to share with everyone!

Here's a little sneak peek at what I've been working on:

Both images from here (via Pinterest)

I'll admit now that I didn't stray too much from the originial directions, however, we had a hard time finding the solar lights, so we've opted for an alternative lighting source for the time being. But I'll share more information about our process next Wednesday (or maybe Tuesday night that way the post is already completed and I can link up to the Challenge early?).

Anyone else out there participating in the Pinterest Challenge? Maybe you've hosted your own challenge? I think this is an awesome idea! I spend so much time on Pinterest pinning away amazing ideas, but spend very little time actually doing anything with them. This has definitely motivated me to get my hands dirty more often. Now if only my bank account & the fiance would agree with that motivation... ;)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Never Too Late

This is a post I should have written a long time ago. But as I've mentioned before, I've been a little busy, so I write whenever I have a little bit of down time and need to take my mind off of all the wedding & school chaos.

A while ago I came across this cute little blog, Oopsey Daisy, which is written by Alison, the self-proclaimed queen of oopsey daisies. At this point I'm not even sure I remember how I stumbled across it. Probably through a series of links that all started with Pinterest. Regardless, as I was looking around on her blog, I came across her weekly giveaway which featured these amazing necklaces from Tinker B Boutique (which by the way is owned by Melanie from Reasons to Skip the Housework).

She creates pendants using Scrabble pieces. That's right, Scrabble pieces! Like this adorable pumpkin pendant that would be the perfect addition to any outfit this fall.

Now I have entered quite a few blog contests, and I have never won anything. But, against the odds, somehow my name was chosen and I became the lucky recipient of two pendants. The hardest part: narrowing down which ones I wanted! Eventually I managed to narrow it down to two of them. The first is the Pink & Brown Zebra Alpha Letter pendant.

I thought this was so cute! And, it gave me an excuse to purchase something with the initial of my new last name. :)

The second piece I chose was a breast cancer awareness pendant. I couldn't find a link to it on Melanie's etsy shop. However, from this page, you can see it in the bottom right corner.

Here they both are on my bathroom counter.

I love them both! Right now I've been wearing the Hope necklace, being that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all. I don't feel like I can wear the initial necklace quite yet - not until after the wedding (which is only 3 weeks away!!). But who knows, maybe I'll wear it to the wedding showers or something. :)

Anyhoo, I wanted to take the time and thank both Alison, for hosting the giveaway, and Melanie, for creating these amazing gems. I figured its better late than never when it comes to saying "Thank You!"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The River City (Part Two)

So I'm back with part two of my trip to Jacksonville, Florida. If you missed part one, you can check it out here. I know I've been home for a week now, but I just haven't had a moment to sit down and write anything. And I've realized that I have a lot of little projects to update you on, but one thing at a time. So here are the rest of the pictures that I took on my trip. Please remember that these are all from a cell phone camera (I'm really looking forward to an upgrade!).

 Rooftop pool

 View #1 from rooftop pool - Gorgeous!!

 View #2 from rooftop pool

 View #3 from rooftop pool

The next few photos were taken when I took a little walk along the water after one of our afternoon meetings. I was hoping to walk across the bridge to see the fountain & park, but I couldn't find anyone else who wanted to do it that day.

 This was the fountain I wanted to go see.

Our last night in Jacksonville, we all decided to out for dinner as a group. I'm telling you we all really bonded over the course of 4 days. I feel like I could call up any of those teachers/professors for help, and they wouldn't hesitate. We had dinner at a restaurant in the Jacksonville Landing named The American Cafe. There was plenty of food being passed around the table. My favorite appetizer was this stringy fried onion thing (sorry, I wish I had a name for it, but I don't see it listed on their online menu...). I'm not an onion fan, but this was delicious! For my dinner I had the Cajun Chicken Pasta (minus the peppers & onions). Really good! Not quite as good as what you get at Chili's, but then again, their my favorite restaurant, so maybe I'm a little biased.

 View of the bridge from the staircase

 View #1 from our balcony table

 View #2 from our balcony table

 Same shot from the staircase, but with the bridge lit up

 I thought this was cool. Reminds me of how Orlando came together for the Magic

The next morning (our last day) I woke up crazy early to meet up with two of my colleagues and we walked across the bridge. It was so relaxing! I didn't realize that the bridge was a "draw bridge." Well, not technically, but still. Basically, from my understanding, it lifts up using a pulley or hydraulic system high enough for ships to go underneath it. The last picture in this set shows what it looks like when it goes up.
 Picture of our hotel from the bridge

All in all I had a really good time. I'm glad that I decided to go. The only downside was that I really missed the fiance and my cats. I know it sounds silly, but I haven't been away from both of them that long. Usually I'm only away from one or the other, but to be away from both was pretty hard.

Anyone else have separation anxiety when they leave their family behind to go on a trip? Any advice on how to make it easier? All I can think of is that scene in Kids by the Dozen where the mom asks room service for a bunch of pillows.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quick Fix: Knobs

First let me start off this post by saying that I did this late at night, and we don't have any lights in our bedroom except the two lamps on our night stands. So, the lighting in the pictures is going to be totally crazy! Also, please ignore the totally mismatched bedding - we're waiting until after the wedding to get a new bed followed by matching bedding. For now we're working with what we've got.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, last week I was finally able to check something off of my mental project to-do list. You see, when I moved out of my parents house, my mom let me take what she called a "lingerie chest" with me. I've never heard of a lingerie chest, but I'll take my mom's word for it. Why? Because it really is the perfect size to house all of your unmentionables. So what does a lingerie chest look like? I'm so glad you asked!

I warned you about the harsh lighting, didn't I? Anyways, as much as I love this piece of furniture, there are some things about it I'd like to update. The first thing I wanted to do was find new knobs or handles for the drawers. Here's a close up of what the handles look like:

Not exactly my style. I think my mom picked these out, though I'm not sure how long ago. These knobs have been on this chest for as long as I can remember. She may have even stained or restained the chest at one point - I'll have to ask her next time we're on the phone. If you noticed in the first picture, the knob for the bottom drawer was missing. No clue where it went. So every time the fiance and I go out shopping for nothing in particular, I would keep my eyes peeled for good deals on knobs. Let me tell you, there aren't a whole lot of sales or deals on those things. And if there were, they were on the packages of 6 or more. All I needed was 4. Until one day...

Bam! There they were. Just begging me to take them home. It didn't take long for me to convince the fiance to let me buy them (not because he didn't like them, but more on the fact that we're really counting pennies right now since the wedding is only about a month away). So, after unloading all the groceries that night, I pulled out the toolbox and grabbed a screwdriver. It didn't take long to undo all of the knobs and their screws - the knobs had been loose for years, constantly rotating every time you went to open one of the drawers. And here is the final product:

Of course Cruz loved them! This picture is a little washed out, but it'll help you see the other things I want to eventually do to this piece. It has a few imperfections in terms of nicks and dings. I'm hoping to find a way to make those less noticeable. Maybe restain the piece? Or eventually paint the piece? Or maybe even do some sort of treatment to the fronts of the drawers? And in case you're wondering what is beside the chest, it's a mirror that my grandmother gave me. Again, not a big fan. However, considering it has been the only full length mirror I've had for a really long time, I've grown to like it. A little bit anyways. I'm hoping to eventually spray paint it, though I keep going back and forth about what color. Maybe once we get the new bedding it'll help me make a decision.

Oh, and since I took a picture of the top of the chest, I figured I'd go ahead and share it with you.

 Nothing fancy. One of our new lamps which you can get more info on where & how much they cost in this post. Of course there my contact case & solution - I'm blind as a bat without them. A small candle. Two picture frames: one with a picture of Dan from senior year of high school and the other of me with my Granny & Papa from high school graduation. Behind that is a little gray ceramic container (sorry I don't have a close-up picture) that we keep lotion in. This might be TMI, but when the weather starts changing we both suffer from really dry feet that can start to crack, so we tend to put lotion & socks on our feet every couple of nights too keep them from getting too bad.

So anyhow, that was our little quick fix from last week.

Total cost: $4.50
Total time: about 5 minutes

Monday, October 10, 2011

The River City (Part One)

 Just popping in with a few pictures from my home away from home this week (don't worry, the fiance is staying home with the cats!).

View from a random hallway.

 View from our meeting room.

View from my hotel room.

I was invited to attend a workshop in Jacksonville (a.k.a River City) on short notice last week. Was a little hesitant about leaving my students for a week, but now that we're done with Day 1, I'm glad I came. I'm the youngest teacher here, and it definitely shows - but not necessarily in a bad way. Unfortunately, I'm not too thrilled with the hotel, though I'm not going to say exactly where I'm staying at this point because I'm too afraid of Internet creeps (though I'm sure that no one really even knows my blog exists, so I doubt there would be any creeps to come after me anyways). Maybe I'll post my review of the place later on.

Anyways, despite the hotel situation, I'm learning a lot about what is expected of me as a history teacher as well as what my students will be expected by the state to know before they graduate high school. And I'm getting an opportunity to connect with other social studies people from across the state which is always nice. You get to hear about how other counties and districts run things, and it also lets you know that it's not just your students who are struggling with a particular concept.

Enough vague rambling about what I'm learning & doing (since I signed a confidentiality agreement, I can't really give much more information). I need to finish freshening up to go out to dinner with some of the other teachers here at the workshop. Looking forward to see a little more of Jacksonville. :)

Anyone doing anything interesting this week? Or maybe you're embarking on something that is totally foreign to you and puts you out of your comfort zone? Because that's how I totally feel about this week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Georgia Wedding #1

Hello all! I'm a little short on time (read why here), but I'm stopping by with a really quick post with some pictures & few comments from our weekend trip to Georgia. We were so happy to be able to make it up there to see my younger cousin Jacob get married to his long-time girlfriend Kaitlyn. They were married at Shoudlerbone Plantation in White Plains, Georgia. And let me tell you, this place was gorgeous!! It seriously is the type of place I've always dreamed of getting married at (before the reality of my wallet's budget hit me). So, without further are some pictures from around the property.

Here's a couple pictures of us before the wedding. We had to get there super early because we had no clue where we were going and we had to follow my cousin Jaime (who is Jacob's older brother) who was the Best Man to the site, who needed to be there early on for pictures. Please ignore the fact that the fiance's eyes are closed. :)

The ceremony was held on the back porch of the plantation house.

That's Jaime's son Luke talking with my Papa, or his G-Papa. I laugh every time I say that... Its suppose to be short for Great-Papa. But every time I hear it, I think it makes my Papa sound gangster. Afterwards, the newly married couple sat together for a while under a gazebo-like structure. Then it was down to the hill to the reception.

We loved that groom's cake! It fit my cousin's personality perfectly! If you haven't figured it out, my family in Georgia are definitely country. The groomsmen & bridesmaids all wore cowboy boots with their outfits. Kaitlyn even changed into her boots for the reception. The boys all had matching camo hats. And I'm sure if Jacob could have had his way, they would have been wearing camo from head to toe.

Probably my favorite picture of the whole night was when all of the grandchildren (that were attending the wedding) on my Dad's side of the family got together with my Papa. I wish we had gotten one of these pictures much sooner. There weren't a lot of opportunities to do it growing up since my brother & I lived in Florida most of our life, but there were opportunities. See, my Granny passed away last November, and looking back I wish we had gotten one of these pictures with both of them. But nonetheless, I'm glad we finally got one.

So there you have it. We'll be going back to Georgia in about a month for Jaime's wedding, hence why this is called Georgia Wedding #1. So, hopefully we'll be back with wedding #2 early November. I say "hopefully" because Jaime's wedding is a week before our wedding. Again, busy girl over here.

Have any of you attended any weddings lately? What were some of your favorite wedding traditions that you watched? Anything you wish the couple would have left out?


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