Sunday, April 3, 2016

It doesn't hurt to ask...

I've been doing a lot of wedding purchases on Etsy for several reasons:

1) Many of the items are cheaper or comparable to what I'd find in stores, but I don't have to leave the house.  Since I've been super sick, this is a huge plus. 

2) Many of the items are way cooler than what I'm finding in stores.  Sure, I could go with a generic sparkly S on the top of our cake.  Or those plastic cake toppers of the groom running away from the bride. 

Or I could go with our custom Batman one.  

For the same price.  

Naturally, I chose the Batman one.  Thank you Etsy for making this magic happen.

3) I'm supporting small businesses, which makes my heart happy.  Since I've got three side small businesses ({TpT}, {Jamberry} nail wraps, and {Younique} make up), I know how hard it is to have these side projects.  Plus I'm (ideally) supporting families.  

4)  I get to talk to the sellers first. I think I've messaged most of them with questions about the products and usually hear back within 24 hours.  That doesn't happen if I'm buying at a store.  I'm able to work with the sellers to customize items with exactly what I want, which is great.

Plus...I drop the "this is for bridesmaids" or "since I'm ordering several, is there a discount?" line and most of the time, the answer is yes!  Sellers will bundle items (to save me the cost of shipping) or give a small discount because I'm buying 6 or more of something. 

It doesn't hurt to ask!




April brings:

1) Pep Rally (that happened Friday and I'm still exhausted...but more on that later)

2) Final graduate classes to hit masters +32 (well, it will end up being +34...and one starts tomorrow.)

3) Several different paid teacher workshops.  They're two hours a piece, I might learn something, and they're paid, which helps with wedding expenses.

4) Standardized testing...on the computers.  This starts Tuesday morning.    I'm testing in the computer pod outside my classroom, but many of these amazing {things to do while actively monitoring testing} will still work.  Personally I'm a fan of the making car noises in my head suggestion.

5) B's 30th birthday.

6) Engagement pictures.

7) Erin's bridal shower in California.

8) Reed, Owen, and Ty are all celebrating their first birthdays.  Lily J turns 4 and Lily B turns 7.  There are lots of cute kids in my life (thanks friends for procreating!).

9) Doctors' appointments. I'm seeing an ENT specialist on Saturday. I'm hoping for some answers because this sinus infection is going on a month. A month. It's awful and I hate being outside.
10) Teaching, or at least attempting to provide an educational environment free of temper tantrums, theft, and melt downs.  They're all hormonal and it's a rather rough class at times.

11) Field trip to the Animal Grossology exhibit.  We need to figure out chaperones...and do more paperwork.

12) I'm having a bit of a fangirl moment because Fisher, of this book I read last month:

Will apparently be at our school this month.  There's a principal meeting and he's attending...and doing walk throughs.  How exciting! 

But, let's jump into what's happening this month.
Reading... Binny for Short. STILL. It's another YA book for Battle of the Books and the last one I'm trying to complete. Let's be real, I don't think I'll finish it.

  Especially when Rick has Demigods and Magicians coming out April 5th and a new novel next month...

Playing... how long will this sinus infection go on? Three rounds of antibiotics and it's still here.

Watching... well, rewatching Arrow reruns on Netflix.  I finished Once Upon a Time, so at least I'm consistent in that goal!

Trying... to be positive.  This continues to be a struggle at the present time.

Being a grown up really stinks sometimes.

Cooking... nothing.  It's a soup kind of day.

Eating... toast. 

Drinking..water.  Lots and lots of water.

Calling... no one. I just tried the doctor and it's not their regular business hours. grade level. Mrs. H has her birthday tomorrow so we're coordinating who is bringing which surprises.

Pinning... end of the year activities.  I've got some difficult students, but I've also got some great ones. I want to make their end of the day

Going... ignore grading for the day. I fully graded 2/4 assignments and got started on the other 2. I'll call it progress.

Loving...Etsy..and coupons!

Hating... allergies. Sinus infection. My face.

Discovering... that I know nothing about the new STEM kits we got and I have some research to do!

Thinking... about bed.  My face hurts. There's a lot happening this week and maybe I need to rest up for it.

Feeling... like I can never catch up. 

Hoping (for)...standardized testing to go off smoothly without a hitch.

Listening (to)...B play video games/listen to videos for his class.

Celebrating... progress.  Not success, just progress in the general onward direction.

Smelling... nothing. Thank you allergies.

Thanking... B for being wonderful.

Considering... trying to find a job that lets me craft things, read books, plan weddings, and drink mimosas while wearing pajamas and/or yoga pants.  Where is that job?

Starting... to realize that I can't trust everyone I work with and that's a hard truth to swallow.

Finishing... this and crawling back into bed.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Working on the Wedding

So besides teaching (which is a full time job and then some), I've been doing lots of wedding planning.  It's my favorite way to procrastinate grading!

(Disclaimer:  If you don't want to hear wedding plans, this is not the post for you. I've gotten some negative attitudes lately from others about my excessive wedding posts...and sorry, but I'm not sorry.  After a long, frustrating day at work, I'd rather share my latest craft project then go on some rage filled post about work frustrations.  I'd rather spread love and positivity, which means talking about wedding planning.)

Weddings are expensive (duh) and ours is no exception.  We're within our budget, but stretching out purchases is helpful.  I'm trying to save money with DIY projects (which I love doing) and couponing whenever possible.  I don't think getting something on sale is something to be ashamed of; rather, it's a badge of pride.  Having a year and a half to plan this day means I can slowly stock up on items without racking up credit card debt.  A win all around!

I'm super excited about my wedding because all my favorite people will be in the same place while I marry the love of my life.  It's such a happy time and I'm loving a long engagement.  Having time to craft all these perfect details is keeping my inner bridezilla at bay.  I've been dreaming of my wedding since I was a little girl and now it's coming together perfectly.  More besides this perfect day, I'm thrilled to get to spend the next 60 years with B.  I've got a lifetime of non-cooperation for pictures ahead of me! I'm excited to share lots of details, but I'm not giving away everything.  I want there to be surprises on my wedding day.)

It's been a few weeks since my last {wedding post} so I figured I'd provide some updates.  Apparently it's been a super productive month in terms of wedding planning!  Truly, the only frustrating thing so far was the table arrangement and that was more of a mild irritation.  This is obviously fluid because we haven't even sent out save the dates.  I just wanted to get a rough idea of where we stand.  

Here's what was accomplished in March, thanks to my mom, my maids, and my man.

1)  I met with the florist.  I picked my bouquet, my maids' bouquets, table flowers, and the boys' boutiners.  All is under the budget we set and significantly under what pinterest advised us to spend.  We're still working on the aisle decor, but my venue updated their outdoor garden by adding a fence to frame the space:

They also upgraded the bistro lighting:

And have more upgrades planned for August (new stone wall and a chandelier), a few months before our wedding. I already loved our venue, but these small touches make me love it even more.

2) I met with the photographer. She's amazing. I love her work. I sent her my pinterest board full of wedding ideas. I'm super excited for some of the shots she'll be able to catch of the wedding day.

3) I met with the photobooth people.  We added a sparkly backdrop because a black background with navy bridesmaids dresses simply won't work.  I also worked out a deal for a discount on something I'll use for our favors (it's a secret) but since I've got the time to do part of it myself, they gave me a discount.  They may have been overwhelmed by my craft idea and wanted to avoid that extra work, which is fine by me.  I'll take on my craft project, with my maids' help! 

We decided on an open photo booth, so get ready people! We're also getting digital copies of all the pictures, so that will be a great souvineer!

4) I made flower girl baskets.  I wasn't loving the premade, white generic ones at craft stores (no offense to those of you who did those).  So I bought two Easter baskets (for 70% off), fake flowers, ribbon and within an hour, made two of these:

Total cost? Under $20 for both. I'd call that a crafting win.

On a side note, when I say I made it, what I mean to say is it was a group effort:

Crooksie approves!

Plus I snagged two more large flowers to make into headbands (if that's the route I want to go).

5) Speaking of our flower girls, I asked them both.  Ravyn said yes at Kurt & Olivia's wedding on March 11th while Elsa said yes over spring break when I popped the question with a ring pop.

6) I also found and purchased their flower girl dresses.   I looked at David's Bridal and was once again disappointed.  The dresses were adorable, but there's no way they should take 4 months to make and have shipped.  The sales pressure from the employees was ridiculous and such a turn off.  I ventured to the mall and checked out Easter sales, but didn't find anything I loved.  Despite being months apart, one flower girl is a 5T and one is a 6.  This means, as I learned, one is in toddler sizes while the other is in girls.  It's hard to find matching dresses for both.  I had a few options I liked, but wasn't in love with the prices.  Sorry, but $80 for a dress is a little ridiculous.  

Luckily, I had amazing luck at Target (because obviously!).

While I'm keeping them a secret until the big day, I will share that they coordinate but aren't identical.  I figured since all of my bridesmaids were coordinating and not identical, it was fine to do this for the little girls as well.  Everyone loved them and our girls will be adorable as they skip down the aisle, passing out rose petals. 

Plus the dresses were on sale. Score!  Both were less than the cost of one at a fancy kids formal store. 

7) I've been crafting up a storm on things for the bridal shower and wedding.  I've had coupons and every store had major sales.  I love when the universe aligns to my plans!

In addition to the flower girl baskets, I made custom hangers for the girls dresses:

All aren't pictured, but I made them for my maids, my officiant, my flower girls, my mom, and my future MIL.  I don't know if she'll be getting ready with us, but I wanted her to feel included.

(These hangers will go with my bride one)

Table Decor:

And sparkly letters for my bridal shower:

Out  of respect for B, I've tried to keep the amount of glitter to a minimum at our wedding.  My shower however? Fair game!  All the glitter, lace, polka dots, and burlap I want!  He's very against mason jars as wedding decor (because we've been to lots of weddings with that), so I'm having a few at my bridal shower as a compromise.  I get that pretty rustic look, he gets to not deal with it.  Win win!

8) We also made a rough sketch of the seating chart:

Yes, I color coordinated. No, I'm not ashamed of it. Yes, Chloe helped.  Why would I get to do anything by myself?

9) I worked on our memory table.  We have tea lights (battery operated) and this sign:

I'm in the process of collecting pictures of loved ones who have moved on and framing them for a special place in the reception. I've told everyone who will have a family member honored so it doesn't shock them.  We just wanted to honor loved ones on our day.

(Print from {etsy}, frame from Marshall's) 

10) I made our card box: 

I already had a vintage crate from Ross (a few years ago), so the total cost was $5 (and an hour of my time).  I used white letters from a banner making kit (that was in the clearance aisle of Target) and painted them a soft beige color to tone down the contrast.  I used gold twine and burlap flowers, both of which I had left over from a previous craft project (but available in the bridal crafting aisle of Joann's.)  It took a few tries to get it right in terms of spacing out the letters, but nothing too strenuous.  Plus the letters and flowers are twisted on, so I can reuse the suitcase again.

11) I updated our wedding website with our hashtag (#sommasquad), flower girls (meet the kids), and hotel information because I finalized booking the block rooms.  You can view our website {here}.

12) I ordered the rest of the bridesmaid gifts.  They're all getting earrings from me to wear with their dresses, but I wanted something else too.  They're getting thematic gifts, but each is customized for them.  I'm excited!  

Here they are:

(Did you really think I'd show off the gifts?  At least the wrapping is cute!)

12) I made a sample favor, hated it, and changed my mind.  I like plan B much better!  I ordered favor tags from a super cute shop on {etsy} because while I'm all about DIY, I'm not going to handwrite 140 of these on teeny tiny cards.  The seller sent me a digital proof, I got to pick the colors, and had them at my door within days.  I love etsy (if that wasn't already obvious!).

More importantly, I wouldn't do that to my bridesmaids.  We'll have enough of an assembly line as it is, no need to add that frustration into the mix!

13) I bought my shoes! They were originally $129 (eek!) but on sale at DSW for $49.00 (way more in my budget).  They are super comfortable with a low heel...

but I still bought back up wedding flip flops, just in case.  

The best part? Thanks to my mom's coupon, these were under $5!  

14) I worked on the wedding ceremony with our officiant.  There's a Harry Potter reference. There's some sass. I love what we've decided so far in terms of verbage.

 I quickly realized that things were taking over the living room, so my type A personality got to work:

Yes, there are separate bins for each portion of the day.  Yes, they are labeled with what goes where.  Yes, there is an itemized list for our wedding coordinator of what goes where in the venue.  No, I'm not ashamed of any part of this.  Being organized is calming.  I'd rather do a bulk of the prep work now and enjoy my wedding week as it approaches.

On a side note, our district is giving us November 8th off (election day), so I'll take off Wednesday, Thursday, and the following Monday (and Tuesday) after our wedding.  We also have the entire week off for Thanksgiving for the first time, which is super exciting.  I looked at the calendar and realized I will be working 8 days during my wedding month.  That makes me feel a lot better!

Up next in terms of wedding planning?

We've got to take passport pictures at CVS and make an appointment at the post office to have our forms accepted.  I'm renewing my passport and he's applying for a brand new one.

Engagement pictures are next month.

Once we have those proofs, we'll send out save the dates.

Once we've sent out save the dates, I'll send out bridal shower invites (because it'd be weird if those came out of order.)

Order groomsmen gifts and flower girl gifts. (I've picked the stuff for the girls, I'm just waiting for my next paycheck from TpT to order more wedding stuff.)

In addition to all this planning, I made cute gifts for two fellow brides to be, an ornament for Olivia (with petals from her wedding a few weeks ago), and caught up on grading.  All while battling the never ending sinus infection!  (Seriously, it's week 3 and round 3 of drugs.  I've got the trifecta: ear, sinus, and upper respitory infections.  I've got a referral for an ENT and really ready for all these spring winds to simmer down.)

All this planning is making me want to leave education and just plan events full time!  I think my dream job involves crafting, blogging, reading, planning, and wearing yoga pants full time.  I don't have my dream job...


Monday, March 21, 2016

All's Quiet on the Blogging Front

March has been a rough month.

It started with {Reading Week}, which was hectic to say the least.  {Everything else} seemed to pile on and I even survived the {meetings}.  We're in the middle of a March Madness reading challenge with the other schools in our performance zone.  Fifth grade has been dominating the competition and advances to the final round after spring break.  To be fair, all the other grades in our school advanced to the final 3 as well...but I know I legitimately taught all other subjects as well.  I know others would skip math or writing to just give extra reading time.  I'm not okay with that, but it's maybe because we're taking our standardized tests soon.

Speaking of those, it's online this year. I'm not ready for the hours of roaming and watching them click buttons. I'm not ready for all the computer issues that will occur. I'm not ready to watch my students struggle with navigating the online tools, despite several practice rounds.

I'm really not ready for the intense pep rally that will occur the Friday after spring break.  There are matching shirts and a skit that needs to be prepared...all while you know, teaching.

We've also spent a great deal of time watching the {bald eagle cameras} from Washington DC.  Our school's mascot is an eagle, so that's how I justified the live streaming. Both baby eagles have hatched. My students got to see both parent eagles feeding the babies (and sharing a romantic meal of half of a fish carcass).  

Student behaviors continue to be a challenge.  Another theft happened in the classroom and it breaks my heart that I can't trust my students.  I put so much into my classroom (mentally, emotionally, and financially) that when this happens, it's heartbreaking.  I'm disappointed and let down by my students.  This happens far too often.
I'm on round two of antibiotics because I cannot seem to kick this sinus infection.  I'm spending the first part of spring break laying on the couch, hating nature.

What free time I do have, when I'm not resting, is being spent on wedding crafts and reading.  Perhaps some blogging will happen as well...

Sorry dear readers that all has been quiet on the blogging front. I'll try to catch up!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Springing Forward to Spring Break!

Ten days.

I have ten teaching days until spring break.  The weekend in between these last two weeks is booked with a wedding, Waffles turning one, dinner with friends, and the escape room.

If we're getting technical, I have nine and one half because field day is the Friday afternoon before spring break.  That morning I'll set aside for retesting, math games, computer practice, free writing, and independent truly, there's only nine days. 

In that nine days, in addition to teaching, I'll conquer:

-5th grade panoramic pictures (on St. Patrick's day, so there will be lots of green)

-2 different certification meetings (as of right now)

-staff meeting, committee meeting, grade level meetings, reading planning meeting

-a counseling lesson

-hosting a professional development on Discovery Education

-finishing this graduate school class

-SBAC practice testing

-progress reports (maybe?)

Oh vey.

So  when bracing myself for all of this, I think I'll spring ahead to the joys (and goals) of spring break:

1) A mini road trip to Arizona to watch one of my oldest friends get married.  Waffles will go with us, the cats will enjoy some quiet time, I'll see my best friend, and get to have family time.  Win win.

2) Bridal appointments.  I'm meeting with the potential florist, the photographer, and the photo booth company.  Hopefully I'll get to go with our officiant as she picks her dress.  Maybe wedding shoes will be found as well (wishful thinking).  I have a clear picture in my if these shoes could appear, that'd be great.

3) Doctor's appointment...but I'll treat myself to lunch afterwards!  The doctor is close to Home Goods, a mega Target, and Panera, so this will work out perfectly.

4) I'll finish Binny for Short, which is a YA novel I'm reading for Battle of the Books.  I'll make the teachers guide and matching chronological order sort, then toss it up on TpT to share.  It's been a few months since I've posted any new products (sorry guys!).

5) Supervise the instillation of the water softener (maybe?)  We are waiting to hear back on scheduling an inspection to determine which water softener we should get and hopefully this can be installed when I already have the day off of work.

6) Catching up on craft projects.  Instead of scrapbooking, I've been doing smash books for our relationship.  They're less structured and faster.  I've made a list of pictures to order, but then want to spend a few hours in my creative bubble.

7) Spend time with my future MIL.  She's caught the creative decorating bug (YAY!) and wants help shopping and redoing her living room.  This I can be on board with! I'll be introducing her to the joys of Etsy.

8) Relax.  I'll be doing my fair share of napping and Netflix watching.

But first, I must savor one day at a time.  The rest of today will be spent finishing homework, making a grocery list, cleaning, errands, and laundry.  These activities are necessary but don't fuel my soul, so I'll also be doing some coloring and give myself a pedicure.  Because you know, balance.