Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Simple Paint Storage

I wanted to share a quick and easy storage solution for any leftover paint you might have lying around your place. 

After the paint crew finished painting my classroom, I was left with two messy looking gallon containers. I didn't feel like leaving them in my classroom storage closet, so I brought them home with me. The only problem is that we have pretty much run out of storage space in our apartment, so finding room for two gallons of paint plus all the supplies we had purchased was proving difficult. Not to mention, it seemed silly to keep such large containers when the majority of the paint was gone. 

So, I turned to Google and Pinterest for ideas on how to store paint.  My favorites were these two:

I loved the first because it was simple and streamlined. Plus, it seemed like something Dan would approve of. The second option was my favorite in terms of style - mason jars & pretty color labels. And, the jars would be easier to use for quick touch ups.

The Hubby and I went out shopping to price both options. We found quart sized empty paint cans at our local Lowe's for $2.97 a piece. Although the price was right, I was still holding out for cute mason jars. So, off to Wal-Mart we went. After searching all over, we finally found the canning supply section. For under $10, we could get 12 quart sized mason jars. Can't beat that price!

But, as Dan reminded me, we didn't need twelve - we only needed two. What were we going to do with the other ten? And where were we going to store the rest of them? Sure, it's cheaper per jar, but it doesn't make much sense to spend more on them if we're not going to use them. Besides, when it comes time to move, do we really need to worry about glass jars full of paint? Grrr... I hate it when he uses logic to talk me back to reality.

So.... back to Lowe's we went and picked up two quart sized empty paint cans. Once we got home, I transferred all of the paint to its new home. I also labeled each can so that if we ever needed more of the paint, we'd know what to buy.

The labels were $2 from Wal-Mart. I could have made labels nicer/cuter using the computer, but I didn't feel like fiddling with the printer and getting the settings just right. I wrote down the information from the paint swatch as well as the base paint that was used; we've never had to buy more of the same color before, so we were sure what information would prove useful. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I just used my finger to make the little paint dots on each of the labels. Others recommended using a q-tip, but I didn't mind getting a little paint on me.

So, that was our quick and easy solution to storing our paint. Now, the cans fit nicely inside of a copy paper box with all of the other quart size cans we've collected (chalkboard paint, primer, etc.).

How do you store your leftover paint? Do you transfer them all into smaller containers or leave them in the originals?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Another Summer Gone

Today's my last day of summer. Tonight is the school's annual back-to-school dinner. And tomorrow it's back to faculty meetings and lesson planning. Luckily, I have my classroom ready to go and the first two weeks of lesson planning done for one of my two preps. Even though I've managed to accomplish quite a bit before the first day back, my to-do list is still pretty daunting. 

Every year (or at least for the past 3 years I've been teaching) in one of our early faculty meetings, our principal tells us that if we aren't excited about the first day of school and meeting our new batch of students, we might need to start rethinking our career choice. And he's right. After having the summer off (for the most part) and planning out all the changes for the upcoming year, I don't know what teacher wouldn't be excited about the new year. Sure, after a little while that excitement wears off and teachers are looking forward to the holiday breaks. But ultimately it comes down to doing something that you love to do.

So, although I'm not looking forward to waking up early tomorrow or a week of faculty meetings, I can't wait to see what the year holds!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Classroom Tour (Round Two)

Last year I gave a little tour of my classroom at the start of the school year. But a lot has changed over the summer, so here we are again for Round Two. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already gotten a sneak peek.

First, let's take a quick 360 degree look at the classroom:

The first major change that you'll notice is the fact that the walls are painted! I've been dreaming of painting the walls since last summer. I even had some of my students brainstorm colors and ideas with me at the end of last year. Originally, the plan was to go with a red, white, & navy blue scheme to tie into the fact that all I teach is US History. The walls were going to be navy and there was going to be a red timeline around the top with white lettering. My students were so excited, some of them even offered to come in and help me paint over the summer.

The problem? I didn't realize how expensive paint was! And considering I had over 700 square feet to paint, and it was going to need at least two coats, I was looking at over $120 in paint alone. No way was I going to pay that much for paint. As I started walking out of the paint department with my painting hopes shattered, I saw the collection of whoopsie paint.

To my surprise, there were two gallons of the exact same color marked down from $35 to $5 a gallon! Plus, there were two quarts of tan marked down from $11 to $2.50 each. We talked to the guy at the paint counter and asked him if he thought this paint would cover all the walls. Gave him the square footage. Described the walls and what condition they were in. He said it'd be close. Since it was paint+primer, he said the coverage would be good. Probably only need one coat. But, he recommended using a primer and going over the scuff marks and any other imperfections along the walls. 

Luckily, the blue paint (which looks most like the image on the right) was a stock color called Bay Mist by Valspar, so if we ran out, it wouldn't be that hard to color match it later. And the tan color was only going to go on one wall, so we figured half a gallon was plenty.

The Hubby and I headed over to the school the next day and started prepping the walls. We taped off everything and primed over what needed to be primed. We also did a test spot on the walls to see how the colors would look.

My janitor (the same one we went geocaching with) came and saw what we were doing and suggested we talk to the paint crew that was on campus - although they were busy painting the outside of all the buildings, they were looking for inside work to do when the rain came. So, I talked with the supervisor, showed him what I was planning, and he said they'd have it done in about a week.

I stopped by a few days later to drop off some stuff and was told that the tan color we had picked up turned out to be two different tans. They had already cut in with the darker tan, so there was no way to mix the two to create the same color. The other dilemma? There wasn't enough of the blue paint to do the back wall. So back to Lowe's I went and picked up a gallon of tan paint. I picked out a color swatch that was slightly darker than the tans that were already on the wall to make sure it covered well. I picked out Faint Maple, again by Valspar. Twenty-eight dollars later, we had all the paint needed to finish the room. I also was able to talk the crew into painting my classroom door black using paint they already had on hand.

I am so happy with the new color! It makes the classroom so much more inviting. No more sterile white. Anyways... back to the tour! This is the view you see when you first walk in:

You'll notice that I finally got that extra white board installed last year. I used it mainly for assignments, homework, and announcements. Beside that is an extra table. Not sure what I'll do with it yet. I might let the students use it as a charging station for their phones and iPads. Above that table are 4 writing tips posters that I've had in storage for the last couple of years.

Also, the door to the mechanical closet was left open, so there is a little glimpse into a room I'm normally not allowed to go into. And my tiny TV on a cart is still hanging around. As soon as the door to the closet is shut, I plan on sticking the TV right in that corner so that it's out of the way.

I had to change out the bookshelves for my classroom library; my tall 5-shelf bookcase toppled over and fell apart when they moved it to re-wax my floors. So, the large 3-shelf one from behind my desk is now for the students to use. Flashcards, markers, crayons, pencil sharpener, stapler, globe - all there for the students to use. I also put my "Mrs. C is currently reading ________ by _________" frame (inspired by this) up there along with some subway art I printed off the internet.

The wall above and beside the library is a little blank. But, I'm hoping to fill it in with student work as the year progresses.

If you look to the left when you first walk in, you'll see this:

I took down the red/blue bulletin boards and replaced them with something a lot more simple to go with the new paint colors. I bought a roll of bulletin board paper and three packs of brown border from a teaching supply store near Altamonte Springs.

Also, I've arranged the student desks into groups of two this year. I'm hoping to incorporate a lot more collaboration into my lesson plans, so this seating arrangement will help with that.

My desk is in the same location as it was last year (Hubby not included). Just did a little rearranging of where the computer sits. By having it closer to the wall, it allows me to see more of the classroom from where I'm sitting. Plus, it gives me the larger desk to spread out everything I'm working on.

Remember that 5-shelf bookcase that toppled over? Well, my janitor was able to save part of it. So, I moved that behind my desk to hold all of my binders and teaching resources. It also gives me a place to display some family photos. You'll notice that I hung up my college diplomas. Its my first time using 3M strips to hang anything, so we'll see if the frames are still up on the wall when I go back next week. Fingers crossed!

I also brought our small filing cabinet from home and set it up behind my desk. Its the perfect spot for my document camera. Eventually, I'm hoping to move some of my more frequently used files into those drawers.

To the right of my bookshelf is the door to my storage closet. I snapped a couple of photos to share, so here's a quick look inside of there:

It holds resource books for the textbooks I'm currently working with along with the resources from our previous textbook adoption. I keep extra school supplies and old student projects back there too. My microwave and fridge (both gifts from my folks) are back there along with my large filing cabinet and all of my movies.

Looking towards the back of the room:

The bulletin board is for hanging student work. The baskets on the table are for returning student work. On the wall are baskets that I keep magazines in along with my emergency evacuation folder (which holds our evacuation route along with a roster for each of my classes). The white board is used to announce upcoming events and tape up flyers.

To the right are the windows, a/c unit and painted wall map. In the window is a poster with my name, where I went to college, and the degrees I received. It's part of a school wide effort to create a college-going culture. To help with that culture, I thought it'd be fitting to include a UCF poster below my name poster.

Keeping with the college-going culture, I decided to cover up my a/c unit by hanging up college pennants (inspiration here and here). I had three already in my storage closet. I picked up two more on our recent trip to Savannah and added a UF pennant (which nearly killed me to buy, by the way) after the college tour I helped chaperone this summer. All it took was a little tacky glue (left over from this project) and some magnets my mom picked up at a yard sale. I'm thinking of adding a sign to the top like this.

But my favorite part of my classroom is my map!

I realized that I never shared the whole process on how I made the map, so I'm planning on writing up a post about that soon. Anyways, even though the paint crew painted all of the walls, we asked them not to paint around the map. Dan and I touched up all of the white paint and added a border around the map to match the rest of the bulletin boards around the room.

So that's it. That's my classroom. I'm so excited that my room is already organized before the school year even starts. There's less than a week left in my summer vacation before preplanning begins. But going back with this already checked off the to-do list is amazing!

Before I go, I wanted to say a big thank you to Dan for spending his days off with me getting my classroom organized! He helped me do the things that I'm too short to do and got my computer all hooked up and ready to go. That, and he kept me sane through the whole process, which isn't always an easy task. Love you hun!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Night Shift

Today my husband graduated from what his company calls their Milestones of Excellence. It's the last step before being put on a full-time shift rotation. There was a super simple ceremony where all of the new EMTs and Paramedics received their certificates of completion. So simple, in fact, that I was the only spouse who showed up. Awkward.... Afterwards they took the obligatory group photo.

Hubby on the far right

Once everyone's photo had been taken, they all waited to be told one-by-one what their assigned shift would be. Dan was the last one to be taken back into the office. Which means he pretty much got the short end of the stick...

For the next two weeks Dan is picking up odd shifts just to make sure he gets his 80 hours in. After that, he'll officially be on night shift. He'll have every other weekend off. But on the days he is working, the only time we'll be able to see each other is dinner time. He'll be leaving shortly after dinner and won't get home until I've already started my day at school. Our sleeping schedules will be totally opposite one another, so I can only imagine the issues that are going to come with that...

I shouldn't complain. I know I should be thankful that Dan even has a job. That wasn't a guarantee earlier this summer. But from previous conversations with the company, we had anticipated and started making plans for a totally different shift. We basically feel like we've been pitched a curve ball. But it still sucks. The only light at the end of this tunnel is that the night shift gig doesn't have to be permanent. As other shifts open up, Dan can bid for them; but, being the new guy means he'll be at a disadvantage in that bidding game. So fingers crossed that this shift change happens sooner rather than later.

So that's what is new with the Hubby. After graduation we headed over to my classroom to do a little more work on it. The new paint job looks great! Now it's just rearranging the furniture, hanging up posters, and cleaning everything. I can't wait to show you pictures! First day of school: 22 days and counting...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy News

I was brainstorming some posts ideas last week and was planning on sitting down and writing a post about how much pressure it is to be the only person bringing in any sort of income to the household. Before the Hubby quit his job, we knew that we'd be fine through the summer. It was when the school year kicked back in that I was growing more and more nervous about.

But then Monday, as I was coming home from a workshop, I got a phone call from Dan saying that he had been offered a full-time, paid position with the EMS service he had been volunteering for!!!

Words cannot express how happy I am! I'm so proud of him and all the hard work he has put into this dream job. Three years of hard work has finally paid off.

Now we've just got to get use to this new sleeping schedule that comes with working long shifts on odd days.... I'll get back to you on that :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

10 Ways We Are Different

Dan has been home quite a bit this summer in between volunteer shifts and it has led to a lot of random conversations. One such conversation was about how different we are from each other. So I made a list:

1. Let's start with something easy. Dan has blue eyes that occasionally look grey. I was born with brown eyes that, over time, have started turning greener.

2. He will eat practically anything that has chocolate in it. The darker the better! Me? Plain ole vanilla please! If I'm going to eat chocolate, I prefer white chocolate.

3. When making PB&J, the boy will slather on the peanut butter. The more the merrier! I put just enough PB to cover the bread, but slather on the jelly to the point where I think it won't squeeze out the sides when I eat it.

4. Dan likes things because they are practical, functional, and comfortable. I like things because they are pretty. Although comfortable is a definite plus... I think this is how a lot of men/women are when it comes to decor.

5. My husband is very much an outdoorsy, get down and dirty type of guy. I, on the other hand, am your classic couch potato. I'm perfectly content with being a homebody.

6. He hates English, History and Government. He would rather tinker around and figure out how things work. And...Well.... I'm a history teacher....

7. When we travel to amusement parks, Dan is the thrill seeker. He has never met a roller coaster he didn't want to ride. This girl? Total bag holder. Spinning tea cups and ferris wheels are where I'm comfortable.

8. The more meat on his pizza, the happier the boy is. But you can hold the meat for me. Actually, no meat at all and extra cheese.

9. Dan easily tans when he's in the sun. Seriously! You should see the picture on his license from when he was a lifeguard one summer. I, on the other hand, burn if I'm in direct sunlight for more than 10 minutes. I wish I was joking...

10. He tends to fall asleep laying on his back and doesn't move again until morning. I'm a total side sleeper and it takes me forever to get comfortable.

Although we have a lot of differences, they give us the ability to playfully tease each other and keep us laughing. How are you and your significant other different? Is the old adage "opposites attract" true? 


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