Thursday, August 30, 2012

Friday's Letters

Even though Ashley isn't hosting an official link party this week, I still wanted to keep this weekly routine going. It seems to be one of the few blogging-related things that I've been able to continually keep up with and not falling behind (like a certain 30-day challenge).

Dear Isaac, I'm grateful that you skipped over us and simply blessed us with some rain. You also got us to get our butts in gear and beef up our emergency kit. Dear Dad, thanks for calling yesterday to check in on us and make sure we made it through the storm okay. Dear students, I understand that you don't like Cornell notes. You, however, must understand that I am required to have you use them. And my job is more important to me than you disliking the formatting of our class notes. Sometimes we all must do things we don't like. Dear Periwinkle, Daddy (yes, we're those people) will be taking you to the vet this afternoon while I'm still teaching. I hope your little visit doesn't cost us big bucks, but I'm not holding my breath. Dear brother-in-law, congrats on the new house and officially becoming a homeowner! Looking forward to seeing it this weekend. Dear Labor Day weekend, you will be officially starting at 3:36 today when I'm finally off of work and heading home to start our Atlanta road trip. Dear student body, today is your first pep rally. I'm praying your shouting won't induce a migraine right before my road trip. Dear laundry, could you do me a favor and fold yourself? It would make searching for clothes in the morning and packing my bags for this weekend so much easier. Dear F, I'm so glad you finally announced Baby #2 on Facebook! Now I don't have to hide a secret anymore!

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekend!

P.S. So, I just realized I never hit 'publish' earlier. Oops! Oh well, better late than never, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Over Planning I can't just do something. I have to plan it all out. Spur of the moment trips or activities give my anxiety. Much to the dismay of my husband who is a little more free-spirited than I am. This is usually my outlook when it comes to planning:

Health I know I need to eat better. I know I need to work out more. I know I need to take better care of myself. And I'm not sure why, even though I know all of those things, I just can't seem to get motivated and stay motivated. I'll do it for a few days, or even a few weeks, but then I loose steam and give up.

Keeping in Touch In this day and age, what with all the social media and technology, you'd think keeping in touch would be simple. Sure, I know when people start dating or break up. I know when they get engaged, married, or start having babies. I see all the photos from their most recent travels and life events. But sometimes I feel like a cyber stalker. I haven't actually spoken to many of these "friends" in ages, yet I know a lot about their personal lives.

Negativity I've been told for years that I tend to be very negative. It sometimes hurts my relationships with other people, especially my relationship with my husband. But it's definitely something I've been working on. And I think I'm making some major progress.

Trying New Things This one is true for both food and activities. I'm a creature of habit. So I feel really uncomfortable in new situations. Although I try not to let it show, I can definitely feel the anxiety building inside. And when I do complain and voice my anxieties, the hubby is usually my sounding board (sorry hun!). But I'm also one of the pickiest eaters you'll ever meet. No joke. I could probably count on my fingers and toes the things I eat on a regular basis. This is another one I'm getting better about. My anxiety level when trying new foods isn't as high as it use to be. But its still something I'm working on. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Adventures: Renniger's Antiques

So this post is actually about a week late. We spent this past weekend with family and making sure we were prepared for whatever Isaac might have in store for us. But two weekends ago I talked Dan into going to the Mt. Dora Flea Market with me. It's one of those things that we do every so often.
Of all the flea markets in our area, I think Mt. Dora is my favorite. Runner up would have to be the Webster Flea Market. But they are only open on Mondays, so it's really hard to find time to make it out there. And when I do happen to have a Monday off, it's usually the same Monday everyone else has off too, so the place is really crowded. Anyways, let's get off this tangent and back to the whole point of this post.
Which is what? Well, we thought we'd be smart and get to the flea market super early so that we'd be done before the intense Florida heat got too bad. We were at the flea market by 8. What we didn't plan for? The fact that it would still be raining when we woke up and that the majority of the vendors would be taking their sweet time setting up. We literally made it through the entire flea market in maybe an hour. That's a record people. None of the outdoor vendors were even set up, and those are my favorite spots to find neat things.
Since we made it through the flea market portion so quickly, I decided to push my luck with the hubby and ask him if we could go over to the Antique Center. I had never been there, so I had no clue what we'd be in store for.
Dan agreed, mainly because he knew I was feeling bad about making him wake up early, drive an hour out there, and only spend an hour walking around. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen these pictures showing just how enthusiastic Dan was about looking at antiques.
He was a good sport about it though. Like I said, I had no clue what to expect from the Antique Center. But I started to get excited before we even walked through the doors. They had these benches flanking the entrance. I love the shape and simplicity of the benches. If these were for sale, and we actually had a backyard, I would have taken one of these benches home.
The majority of the antique center is indoors. Makes sense. Expensive antiques don't need to be outside. Plus, most of it was furniture, and who would want to unload that stuff every week? Here are some of our favorite indoor finds.

Dan really liked the lantern. Thought it would be cool if it still worked. I loved this cabinet with the metal inserts. This would make the perfect buffet in a dining room. Or even an armoire in an office or bedroom. I'd probably change out the pulls though. Maybe with something like these?

There was tons of pottery and china at the Antique Center as well. I was definitely drawn to the blue & white pieces. And of course the milk glass.

We headed outdoors to check out some of the other vendors. We stopped and admired this huge weather vane. The owner of this booth made a lot of his own things. Plus he had a bunch of cool looking knobs and pulls to update any piece of furniture.

I think my favorite part was the Street of Shops. It was a bunch of small cottage-like structures with lining a small street. All of the cottages had been turned into small antique shops. And you could tell these shop owners took pride in their cottage by the amount of detail they put into their porches and gardens. The whole street was covered by beautiful, large oak trees, so it was nice and shady.

We didn't find anything that we couldn't live without, so we went home empty handed. But that's okay. Just means more money to put towards our debt snowball. Its still fun to walk around flea markets and antique shops and imagine where things might fit into your home. I think I had the most fun looking at a piece and figuring out how to update it so that it had a more modern appeal, but still keeping its antique look.
So that was our trip to Rennigers. Not sure if we'll go to the Antique Center again. Lots of great pieces, but everything was out of our price range. But we'll definitely be going back to the Flea Market.
What's your favorite "go to" flea market? Find any great treasures lately?


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness

Ok, so this is what I heard from students as the week was wrapping up: "You know that hurricane that's kinda sorta heading our way? Yeah, that one. That means they'll have to cancel school right???" Yep. Typical high school students. Always looking for an excuse not to do work. Well, so far it doesn't look like they'll get their wish. We just got a phone call from the school district stating that schools would remain open tomorrow. However, they did say they could change their mind, and we'd know by 11pm tonight.

Why am I telling you about my students' desire to have a hurricane day? Well, because it got me thinking about whether or not we were prepared at home for said hurricane. Even though it won't be a direct hit, we more than likely will still have major rain and winds. Sure, we have candles and lighters. But shouldn't we have more than just that? What else do we need to have in case we lose power?

Just as these thoughts were crossing my mind on Wednesday, I got a text from Dan...
Dan: Do we need to do anything at home to stock up for the storm? Maybe bottled water?

Me: Definitely need bottle or jugs of water for the house. Need to look at food again & figure out where our candles/lighters are & have them ready. Check on cat food too.

Dan: Ok, can we do that tonight?
(Sorry, I don't have one of those fancy iPhones that can just snap a picture of my text conversations. And if an android does the same thing, I haven't figured out how to do it yet.)

So, as you can tell, my mind was already moving a mile a minute trying to figure out what we need to stock up on. When I got home, I pulled out our "hurricane kit" from our guest bathroom closet and set it out on the coffee table to inventory it. Of course, Periwinkle thought it was her new sleeping spot...

We used a medium sized tupperware (which ironically came housing tupperware) to keep everything in. I think we started putting this thing together in early June? This is what we had in it so far:

  • Small propane camping stove (the kind where the burner screws directly onto the propane tank)
  • 1 1/2 propane tanks (just don't tell our apartment complex though, cause technically we're not suppose to have them)
  • 12-pack box of ramen noodles
  • 3 cans of chili
  • 1 bag of yellow rice
  • 1 lighter
  • 4 cans of wet cat food

Some things that we consider part of our "kit," but have a home outside of it:
  • 2 pet carriers (in bathroom closet next to emergency kit)
  • tupperware of dry cat food (in pantry)
  • extra cans of wet cat food (in pantry)
  • leash/harnesses for pets (hanging next to front door)
  • weather radio (on kitchen counter)
  • box of candles & matches (office/guest bedroom beneath printer)
  • flashlights (various places around the house)
  • batteries (junk drawer in kitchen)

So, as you can see, although we had made a decent start, there was no way we could survive on those things if we happened to lose power for a week. We were missing things some pretty essential things.
We started brainstorming the things we might need to have on stock if we lost power for 7 days and we couldn't, for whatever reason, get out of our apartment complex. I also referenced a couple of emergency kit suggestion lists (like this one and this one) to see what else we might want/need to add to our kits.
Now, I should stop and mention that if a huge storm was heading our way, we'd probably head into Orlando and stay with our parents. Why? Well, we live in a second story apartment, and sometimes its more important to be on the first floor. Not to mention, Orlando is a little more inland than where we currently live. So, we didn't go really crazy with this emergency kit. I figured if it was going to be really bad, between our kit & whatever our parents had on hand, we'd be fine.
After brainstorming and writing everything down on our list, we first shopped around our apartment to see what we already had on hand. Then we headed out to Walmart to pick up what supplies we were still missing. We also made sure not to buy a lot of food that would need refrigeration this week in case of a power outage. Push come to shove, we could always make a second trip to the grocery store later this week. Now our kit includes (on top of everything listed above):
  • Fire-proof & water-proof safe (for important documents, wedding photo cd, etc.)
  • Bottled water
  • Breakfast food (poptarts & cereal)
  • Granola bars
  • Ice pack (given to us when we donated blood)
  • Sun screen
  • Travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotion, mouthwash, toothpaste (from hotel visits)
  • Contact solution & case
  • 2 gallons of water (if needed, we can fill our bathtub(s) for more water)
  • Pack of water bottles


I also taped a small list to the top of our container of things that can't be stored, but would need to be grabbed before we left if we ever needed to evacuate, or head to Orlando. That list includes:
  • sneakers
  • medication
  • toothbrush
  • hairbrush
  • clothes
  • batteries/flashlights
  • blankets
  • cell phone chargers

Once we had everything packed into our tupperware container, we put it back into our guest bathroom closet. You'll notice that our blankets look like a hot mess that we also keep extra blankets, our toolbox, and kitty litter in that closet. We're also considering storing our new safe in there as well to keep everything in one place. But we're still not 100% sure that's where we want to keep it. The 2 gallons of water got tucked underneath the last shelf.

So, that's our little hurricane kit. Our fingers are crossed that we won't have to use it much this year. But it's nice to know that in case something did happen (**knock on wood**) we feel like we're prepared.
Do you have a hurricane/emergency kit at home? Any suggestions to add to what we've already got listed? Are you in Isaac's path? I for one will be happy when this storm is over so the news will have something else to talk about. Hope you guys are having a good weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Hunger Games, you turned out to be a better movie than I thought. Still not into all the hype about this series, but a decent movie none the less. Dear knees, I don't know how, but I managed to bruise the backs of both of you... not a fun feeling. Dear students, thank you again for putting a smile on my face and keeping me on my toes. Also, thanks for working hard and keeping up with the fast pace I've been making you work at these past 2 weeks. Dear Issac, I think my students are sad you won't be gracing us with your presence. Well, at least not the presence we were preparing for at the start of the week. **knock on wood** I think they wanted two 3-day weekends in a row. Me, on the other hand...I'm grateful that we'll be keeping our Thanksgiving break intact. Dear Hubby, I can't wait for our date night tonight! And what makes it better is that it's free (thanks to birthday gift cards)! Dear weekend, it looks like you might be jam-packed with activities and driving. Although I will love seeing everyone, I'm hoping that I'll be able to fit in a little rest and relaxation too. Dear grading, I thought I'd be able to catch up on you today. However the pile went from nearly gone, to twice what it originally was. What's up with that? Please know that I probably won't have time to work on you until Monday.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! And thanks for stopping by!


P.S. Sorry that the source link above is only to a "pin." I wrote this post while on my lunch break, and the school's firewall won't let me access whatever site the pin takes you to. Gotta love technology!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dream Job

So, I know I have been dragging this thing on for going on, what? 3 months now.... Who does that? Takes a 30 day challenge and stretches it out for 90? Well, I guess I do, huh? Oh well. I'm going to keep on keeping on until this little challenge is done. I feel like I've started it, and I can't stop now. Sure, I've got a small pile of grading waiting for me on the coffee table. And I'm about 3 days behind on my devotional. But I just needed to take some time away from my daily "stuff" and write a little bit. I'm sure you feel that way sometimes too.

Onto today's question:  #7. What is your dream job, and why?

Well, growing up, I always thought I'd be a teacher. And I've managed to accomplish that. And I'm happy to say that I'm pretty happy with where I'm at in my career. But I've been asking myself lately if I'll enjoy teaching for the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving what I'm doing right now. But sometimes I wonder if I can last 30 years, at which point I'm allowed to retire. Sure, it might be nice to retire at the age of 52. I just don't know if I'll be happy doing what I'm doing for that many years. Plus, I don't know if we'll be financially capable of me retiring that early.

So, this question got me thinking. If I wasn't a teacher anymore, what would I want to be? I tried to follow this diagram when narrowing down my decisions...

  • Photographer - I love taking pictures of events and people that I love. I'm sure with some practice and a lot nicer camera I could be pretty good. But good enough to make a living off of it? And do I really want to spend that much time in front of a computer screen editing? Not to mention, I'm the type of person who likes to stick with her plans, so rain ruining a photo shoot would annoy me to no end.
  • Principal - It's the next step after being a teacher, right? I'm just not sure if the even later hours and dealing with legal mumbo jumbo is up my alley.
  • School District - I enjoyed going to different workshops this summer and learning about all the new, inventive teaching techniques that are coming down the pipe. I think I could do that full time. But do I really want to be one of those people? (Fellow teachers, I'm sure you're catching my drift on that one...)
  • Financial Adviser - Ever since I found out who Dave Ramsey was and his money philosophy, I've been hooked! I want to share that knowledge and system with everyone I know. Sometimes to the point where they're tired of hearing it. But, I don't have a finance or business degree, and I don't really want to go back to school for that, so that one is probably out of the picture.
  • Medical Office Manager - This was actually my "plan B" if I couldn't find a teaching job. I don't want to be the CEO or anything, just someone who helps run the place. Maybe even do Human Resources. In my previous job, I was always the one training the new people and I actually enjoyed it. I think if teaching ever fell through, I'd probably still entertain this idea.
All of those are great. Some more realistic than others. But I still don't think I'd be passionate about any of those jobs. Then it hit me....

Being a mom. A stay at home mom. I could do that. I would love to be able to stay home and raise my kids rather than having a daycare worker or nanny with them the large majority of the day. Please don't take that the wrong way. I was raised by a single mom and went through day care all throughout childhood. And I think I turned out pretty okay. This is something that everyone has an opinion on, and I'm simply sharing mine.

I struggle sometimes with juggling work, being a home maker, and a wife. I think if I lost the work aspect of that puzzle, and replace it with a kid (or the plural form of the word) that I could manage. I'm good at multi-tasking throughout the day. It's when I'm locked into completing certain tasks within certain time frames that I get stuck and struggle. I've babysat my niece and nephew day-in-and-day-out over a summer, and I always managed to get my to-do list finished. This summer, when I was home all day, the house had never been cleaner. But when I was working, all of the housework sat unattended. Don't think I'm naive in thinking that a kid will be easy to juggle. I just think it's more doable for me.

I love to teach. So why not teach my own children? I don't think I'd do homeschooling. Mainly because I think I'd want my children to experience the social aspect of school. But I could teach them throughout their toddler years - to read, write, etc. I always loved working with my niece and nephew on puzzles and reading books. It's something I'd be good at and something I'd love doing. But I wouldn't be getting paid to do it. But you know what, I'm okay with that. As long as we can get by financially, then that's okay with me. But there in lies the problem...

I just don't know if we'll ever be at the point financially where this will even be a serious consideration. Right now if I were to get pregnant, we couldn't afford for me to stay home. Maybe in a couple of years once we've paid off all of our debt? But right now, it's not plausible. But I guess that's why I'm calling it a "dream" job. 

Now it's your turn. What do you want to be when you grow up? Or, if you could switch careers, what do you think you would do?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Florida, what's up with the weather? Hot I can handle. But muggy too? Dear Hubby, thank you for agreeing to change our dinner plans and make dinner the other night so I could nurse a migraine. Have I told you lately how grateful I am for you? Dear blog world, I'm loving the chance to get to network with people from across the country! Other bloggy people. Other teachers out there. It's fun meeting new and interesting people! Dear #shereadstruth, thank you for keeping me accountable and getting me back into the habit of reading my Bible. I haven't been able to do it daily (migraines sometimes get in the way), but knowing that I'm not alone is amazing. The instagram feed is what seriously inspires me! Dear students, it has been fun getting to know you this past week. Thank you for introducing me to the term "bubble guts." Oh, the things you guys come up with....


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Tour

I'm finally back with a tour of my classroom. I think I'm finally starting to get a rhythm going in terms of balancing lesson planning, grading papers, reading my devotional, and being a wife to my husband. Now I'm trying to see if I can fit blogging into the mix. Fingers crossed it goes well so I can keep connecting with all of you!

So, let's start with what you see when you first walk in through the door...

The first thing you notice is that I have a long and narrow classroom. I can fit a row of 8 desks, back to back, and still have plenty of room to walk in the front and back of the classroom. It might be a little hard to read the projector screen all the way in the front of the room 8 seats back, so I try to keep it to 5 seats per row.

You'll notice I have very little board space. Considering my projector screen is down probably 95% of the time, I only have the sides to work with. And one side I've taken up with my agenda/homework for the week. I used basic painters tape to outline that since I know it won't damage the white board.

The white poster on the right wall is a learning map. I'm required to have it up in my room. Honestly though, you can't really read it because of the glare. But, I just do what I'm told.

The door to the right leads to my neighboring classroom. I'm located in the math building. Seriously. I'm the only non-math teacher in the building. Well, unless you count the P.E. coach who does have a physical classroom. But she's never in there, so I don't count that.

Let's take a closer look at that corner...

The first thing that stands out (besides the crazy blue painters tape) is the itty bitty TV set. I seriously, no joke, have the same TV in the guest bedroom at home. I've had that TV since I was probably 10 years old. The only function this TV serves is for the morning announcements. And even then, the kids in the back can't really see it anyways. So we mainly just "listen" to the announcements.

Beneath the TV is all the supplies I allow my students to use. Markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, dry erase boards... all there. I use the dry erase boards for when we play Jeopardy review games.

The table has my "return basket" along with a hole puncher, stapler, and pencil sharpener for the kids. I also have a "no name" bin for all the kids who still, at the age of 17, can't remember forget to write their name on their paper.

The wall above the table is really bare. I was hoping that they were going to install a second white board over the summer along that wall. But, as you can see, it didn't happen. I might resort to hanging up all the presidents' pictures again just to fill that blank space. We'll see.

Oh, and that door that's partially covered by the TV? Yeah, that's the communication closet for the entire building, plus the two new portables out back. Yep. So whenever there's any issues with computers, the intercom system, or the fire alarm, I have 3-4 men in and out of my room trying to fix the problem. That's always fun.

The next view is also from the doorway, just looking towards the left side of the room...

You can see I've split my desks up into three separate groups. So far I'm liking it. But, I've been known to change up the seating arrangement more than once in a semester. You can see a sneak peak of my finished map along the left wall (which I'll give you a close up of in a second...patience!). And my desk is all the way in the front corner. Oh, and I can't forget the door on the left wall. Yep, that's a door to yet another math neighbor. It's basically like a history sandwich with math as the bread...

My desk. I've got a pretty standard teacher's desk. Nothing special. I really hate the look of the desk. I tried to dress it up a little bit with a poster from my Alma Mater. But I don't think it's really working. The black of the poster is blending in with the brown of the desk. I've thought about wrapping it in butcher paper (seen here), but not sure which color I want to go with... I feel like it's my space, so I'd like to do it in black & gold (Go Knights!), but afraid that gold paper might look weird with all the other colors going on in the room.

Speaking of colors, I decided to go with a red & blue theme this year for my bulletin boards. I only have two boards (one you can see above, the other is by the door), so I alternated the colors & borders. I figured red & blue were patriotic, and since I only teach American History, I figured it was pretty fitting. I mean, why not?

I used cheap, plastic table cloths from Wal-Mart as my "paper." My red bulletin board (pictured below) has had the same table cloth for 3 years now, and hasn't faded one bit! I think I paid less than a dollar for each table cloth.

One side of the bulletin board belongs to me and the other side is for the students. I have a calendar up there for them. I try to keep up with birthdays and sporting events on the calendar. 

The stool was a yard sale find from a few years ago. When my feet are tired at the end of the day I'm usually sitting on the stool and lecturing. And those weird things on the floor? They're electrical outlets. My room use to be a computer lab, so they needed outlets everywhere. Now they're practically useless because they've been waxed over.

On my desk is where students turn in their assignments/homework. I'm finding it easier to have these baskets on my desk - their work is right at my finger tips rather than all the way in the back of the room (where the baskets were last year). I'm hoping that having these baskets right in front of my eyes will help motivate me to clear the basket quicker. I hate a messy desk!

The door behind my desk leads to my storage closet. It's kinda nice - a storage closet all to myself. I keep my fridge and microwave in there along with extra books and supplies.

Before I share another view of my desk, I wanted to share my favorite poster in my room...

I love it! Our school has a "no cellphone" policy while students are in class. They are allowed to use their phones during lunch and in the hallways, but once they enter a classroom building, they are to be silenced and out of sight. If a teacher sees a student with their cell phone out during class, the cell phone gets taken away until the end of the school day and the student will get one day of in-school suspension. Sounds harsh, but let me tell you, it works! I rarely have cell phone issues in my classroom.

Anyways, back to my desk...

Behind my desk I have a bookshelf that holds all of my binders and teacher resources. It also has a couple of pictures of the niece and nephews. There are two plants that I'm hoping will last most of the year - they were birthday gifts from my aunt. But I don't really have a green thumb. They've last almost 2 weeks now though, so I'm feeling confident. I hope I haven't jinxed myself! I also have a volunteer award from a couple of years ago up there too. You might even be able to spot my large, red clothespin that my mom gave me two weeks ago. 

The two baskets is my "to be filed" system. Stuff for my standard classes go on top, and stuff for my AP classes (which won't start until January) go in the bottom basket. Then I take them to my filing cabinet to be sorted. The filing cabinet is located in my storage room.

The yellow paper you see there on the edge of my desk is something new I'm trying out this year. I'm calling it "Homework Pardons." You can see where I got the inspiration for them here

Here's my view of the class from my seat...

I hate that you can see all the cords! I need to come up with a better way of hiding them. Maybe I'll wrap paper or fabric around the printer table? Who knows...

Anyways, speaking of printer table, I have my own printer, which is a luxury - part of the perks of being the only one from the Social Studies department in a Math building. My doc cam also finds its home on the printer table along with some speakers and my electric stapler. Trust me, if your school quits stapling your copies, you're going to want one of these. Definitely worth the investment!

On my desk I keep a couple of pictures of me and they hubby - one from our wedding day and one from high school. I also keep various folders and my main binder on my desk at all times. One of these days I might detail my filing/organization. Maybe. I don't feel like its all that spectacular.

Alright, let's start moving our way back to the classroom door. We'll head towards the left...

In the back corner is my a/c unit. It ain't pretty, but I'm grateful to have my own a/c unit. On the table are the kiddos' workbooks that I haven't found a home for yet. And then, of course, is my favorite part of my room - the map!

Isn't she pretty? Yes, the map is a "she." It took us the good part of 2 days to get it all done. Even so, I still feel like the red states could use another coat. I guess I should have bought something other than glossy paint... oh well. Live and learn, right? What I love most about it is the fact that it's so large! Every student can see the map from every part of the classroom. 

I'll come back one of these days and write up a post on how I did the map, though I'm sure you could easily guess. Maybe I'll save that for my next pinterest challenge post (since that is where the idea came from)

And, the last stop on the tour....

...back at the door. By the door is my classroom library. Two bookshelves is all it takes. I found some fun quotes from Pinterest, printed them out, and placed them in frames. I also made a "Mrs. C is currently reading __________ by ________." frame - all I need is a dry erase marker to fill it in.

The bulletin board holds current student work. It's another thing I'm required to do. Below that is a bookshelf-turned-bench. My mom bought it at a yard sale and passed it onto me. Some guy turned it into a window seat. It came with cushions, but they need to be recovered before I bring them into my room.

My door needs to be painted. Maybe a project for next year? Another teacher told me that she used chalkboard paint on her door. Great idea - will have to check back with her at the end of the year to see how it held up. The hubby suggested using white board paint since I already use dry erase markers - might be expensive, but definitely worth consideration. I'm also thinking about painting the walls this summer. Kinda getting sick of all the white. 

The table is there for students who need to make up a test, or for students who get sent to my room by other teachers. I only have two windows in my room, one of which is an emergency exit, which for the most part have to remain unblocked.

But, there you have it, my classroom. I feel like it's definitely still a work in progress. Right now it serves its purpose, but I want it to evolve into a learning environment. I guess that just takes some time.

So, what do you think? What was your favorite part of your classrooms growing up? 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend Adventures: Birthday Recap

More than a week later, I'm finally getting around to blogging about my birthday back on the 4th. It was a laid-back weekend spent with the hubby, friends, and family. In other words, it was perfect!

Friday night, I was a little tired from my second day back at work. The hubby had already said that he would take the short way home, which meant it would only take him an hour instead of two to get home after work. We were suppose to be heating up something from the freezer that night for dinner, so I told him to call me when he was almost home so I could start heating up the oven.

Well, an hour later, and no hubby. I wasn't really worried. I thought maybe he had decided to surprise me with pizza for dinner (since I had mentioned on the phone that it sounded good). Another 30 minutes later, and still no hubby. At that point the thought crossed my mind that maybe I should call him to make sure everything was ok. Luckily, 5 minutes later, he came home. With these....

He did good! He stopped by the Fresh Market and found these beauties. He originally wanted to get my hydrangeas, but he said they weren't pretty. But these bright and colorful flowers are perfect. A card accompanied the flowers. The hubby always does well picking out a card that says just the right things to make me smile.

Then, the hubby mentioned that he still wasn't sure if he wanted to give me my gift early or wait until the next day when it was actually my birthday. But he decided a day early didn't matter. There was only one catch. I'd have to find it on my own. The only hint I was given was "X marks the spot." Yep, treasure map style. In the end, he had it hidden in an unwrapped box in our guest bedroom closet. Perfect hiding spot considering there are a ton of unwrapped boxes in there with other house stuff we've never unpacked. So, what did the hubby get me??

How cute is that? He knew I really wanted the new YHL book, but also knew that it didn't come out until November. So, he preordered it online for me. And, since he wanted me to actually have a present to open, he printed out the book cover and attached it to another book we already had on our bookshelf.

Saturday, my actual birthday, was like any other Saturday. Dan made me breakfast and let me sleep in a little bit. Then, he wanted to go on a bike ride, so I dropped him off at his starting point and then went shopping for two hours until he was finished with his ride. Along with buying more fish for our tank, these are some of my other finds from the day:

We ended the day by going out to dinner with our friends and their son (who you might remember from this post). Overall, the day was pretty great. Nothing too special or out of the ordinary, which is just how I like it.

On Sunday we went into Orlando to see both of our parents and to spend the afternoon at my mom & stepdad's place. My stepdad had been looking for an excuse to grill out (everyone swears his BBQ is the best), so they invited over some of the family. I fogot to take pictures of the gifts I got on Sunday, but I did snap a quick pick of this:

My mom found this at a yard sale. She couldn't remember how much she paid for it, but considering it's originally from Pottery Barn, I'm certain that she got a steal! Right now this oversized clothespin has found its home on my bookshelf at school. Not sure if it will stay there, but we'll see.

Anyways, so that's a quick recap of my birthday weekend. It's odd to think that I'm already 24. That next year I'll be a quarter of a century old! Will time slow down? I remember wanting to hurry up and grow up as a teenager. Now I just want the clock to slow so I can enjoy and remember everything about my life. Anyone else feel that way when their birthday comes along?

I hope you guys enjoyed your weekend. Today I'm back at school and (hopefully) settling into a routine in my classroom. I'm going to try to snap some pictures this week so I'll have something to share with you. I won't make promises as to when I'll share said pics, because I'm sure I won't be able to keep it. But, I do promise that eventually, whenever that may be, I'll share them.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


When I first saw this as the title of Sarah's post, I was intrigued. What the heck does that mean? That can't be English, right? Well, it's not English. It's actually German. I typed the word into a translator and this is what came out:  sweetheart, beloved person, darling, beloved, affectionate, loving, favorite, preferred. What an awesome word!

What is even more awesome is the fact that the word Liebster is tied to an award. A blogging award given to up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. And Sarah over at The Sweetness of Laughter nominated me to recieve the award! Consider me sincerely flattered!

Rules of Liebster
1. Each person must list 11 things about themselves

2. Answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for you plus you MUST create 11 questions of your own for the 11 people you will nominate with this award, which brings me to rule 3

3. Choose up to 11 bloggers linking them to your post

4. Go to their page and inform them of their nomination

5. Absolutely NO tag backs

6. Remember to ONLY tag bloggers with less than 200 followers

11 Fun Facts About Me (answers to Sarah's questions)

1. The first blog I read was Young House Love. My best friend's wedding photographer posted a link to YHL a few years ago on her Facebook page, and I've been hooked ever since!

2. My favorite season is probably Fall. I love the break from the Florida heat.

3. The sound of my husband's heartbeat/breathing when I lay my head on his chest has got to be my favorite sound in the world.

4. Favorite high school memories would have to be the numerous afternoons spent hanging on in the parking lot after school.

5. The book I've read the most? Does my history textbook count? I don't even know how many times I've read that thing. Especially considering I'm teaching from the same book I used in high school 7 years ago!

6. My best friend is my husband. But, my best female friend would have to be F, who was my matron of honor. (obviously that's  not her real name...)

7. Never! I would never in a million years agree to go sky diving. I have an immense fear of falling. However, the hubby has always wanted to go sky diving, so one year I surprised him for his birthday with a trip to an indoor sky diving facility. I did do that, and I loved it.

8. I don't think I've ever sang in the shower, but I sing in the car all the time!

9. Ice cream or Froyo? Can I say neither? I'm more of a sherbet girl. Yum!

10. I've never had braces, even though my dentist threatened me with them.

11. Haha! This is an argument I've had many times with people. Toliet paper folded over!

Now, the fun part! I am tagging....

Cassandra at 25 in my 25th
Lindsay at Lindsay's Library
Ashleigh at Made in Morningside
Alyssa at The Bee's Knees
Kim at Typical Kim

Questions for my nominees

1.  Why did you start blogging?
2.  Favorite president, living or dead?
3.  Where's your favorite place to go on a date?
4.  What is your guilty pleasure?
5.  What blogs are on your daily reading list?
6.  Pepsi or Coke?
7.  Cats or dogs?
8.  If you could do something else with your life besides what you currently do, what would it be?
9.  What would you do if you were gifted a million dollars?
10. If your life was a song, what would the title be?
11. Would you rather have super strength or super intelligence?

I'm excited to see everyone's answers! Thanks again to Sarah for the nomination! :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Hubby, thanks for surprising me with flowers the night before my birthday. Also, I love that you listened and got me a gift that I love. Dear Readers, I understand that I have yet to do a birthday recap from last weekend. And I still have to show you pictures from my classroom. I'm blaming it on the first week back at school and how to balance both work and this blog. I promise it's on my to-do list! Dear November, can you hurry up and get here so I can actually hold my birthday present in my hands? (click here for a hint) Dear friends, thank you for going out to dinner with us last minute to celebrate my birthday. I'm also really excited that I'll get to be an "aunt" again in the not-to-distant future!! Dear Android, I'm still not sure if I'm liking this new system update. You've changed a lot of things. It might take me some time to get use to it. Dear Olympics, although a part of me is sad that you're ending this weekend, I'm also glad that I can get back to a somewhat normal sleeping schedule next week. Dear body, I really wish you would stop rebelling against me. Starting to get a little fed up. Hubby said I should just simply say "Screw you!" but I know by doing that I'd only be taunting you... please behave next week! Dear bible study, I'm determined to stay on track and not get too far behind. I promise I have and will continue to make you a priority in my day. Dear Hubby, thanks for being patient with me the other night while we were cooking dinner. My attitude was going downhill quick and you stayed calm. I know you joke and say that if you hadn't then we would have had "yummy chicken" that night, but I seriously can't thank you enough for being kind and working with me, bad attitude and all. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Six Degrees

Ok, let's see if you can follow along....

A little while ago, I came across Alyssa's blog. I really wish I could remember how I stumbled across it? It was probably a Pinterest Challenge or maybe I read a comment she made on someone else's blog. Either way, I started following her blog, The Bee's Knees.

A few weeks ago, Alyssa started writing Friday Letters, which are hosted by Ashley over at Adventures of Newlyweds

Part of the idea of Friday Letters is not only to link up your letter in hopes of getting more blog traffic, but you're also suppose to visit at least 5 other blogs that have linked up as well. Basically to spread the joy. So visiting I did.

About 2 or 3 weeks ago, via the Friday Letters link up, I came across Sarah's corner of the blogosphere named The Sweetness of Laughter. Loved her personality, and decided to add her blog to my daily blog feed. 

Not only did I add her to my blog feed, but decided to follow her on Instagram as well. I started to notice that she would post pictures of a journal with "#shereadstruth" as part of the description. After seeing this a couple of times, I became intrigued. So I googled. Because that's what any sane person would do, right?

And, from googling (is that even a word? cause it definitely sounds dirty...), I came across yet another blog called... wait for it... #SheReadsTruth. Shocking, huh? Don't know what else I was expecting.

So, if you managed to keep up with that long winded story about how I ended up at #SheReadsTruth, I'm hoping you'll hold on for just a little bit longer to hear about this awesome blog and what their doing. I should probably preface this by saying that they have no idea who I am. But I'm loving what they are doing so much so that I wanted to share with the few those who read this little ole blog.

Basically, the ladies over at #SheReadsTruth have set up a daily devotion through YouVersion that you can follow along with. But the coolest part, is that you can go back to their blog and share what you've learned from the day's reading as well as read comments from others who are participating in the devotional and see how God has spoken to them. And, by using the hashtag, you can follow along with both Twitter and Instagram too. It's becoming on large accountability group through the use of social media. How cool is that?

So, after reading Sarah's blog, I started to feel convicted about to get back into reading my bible. It might only be a bible app on my phone, but scripture is scripture. And I felt like this online community was a great way to try and get back into that routine.

They just started a new plan yesterday, so if you're interested, it's not too late to join! This plan is walking through the book of Proverbs - one chapter a day. Pretty doable. Just head on over to #SheReadsTruth for all the information on how to join (they explain it so much better than I ever could!).

Again, #SheReadsTruth doesn't know that I or this little blog exists. I'm not getting any perks from this post. I just simply am excited about getting back into the Word and wanted to share it others who might also be interested in playing along.


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