Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thankful and Grateful

I'm a tad behind on #ThankfulNovember, so let's play catch up.  I slept in and had a nap today, so forgive me in advance for the long post (and wedding day teasers)!

To recap, I've already expressed appreciation for good substitute teachers, personal days, Amazon shopping deals, early voting opportunities, daylight savings time, sleep, field trips, chaperones, crafty friends, good friends, and DIY projects.

I've got a good dozen other days to catalog, so here goes nothing:

(As a side note, I give shout outs to some products and people below.  I was not paid for my opinions, I just give them freely whether or not I'm asked.  These are not paid endorsements.)

1)  My hair dresser and friend Chelsea.  Not only did she create my gorgeous wedding updo, but she gave into my desires and hacked off six inches a week later.  She's amazingly reasonable and if you're in the Las Vegas area, go visit her at {The Salon at Lakeside}.  They even have groupons available!  

2) My wedding coordinator, Lyndsey.  I'm not quite done processing the wedding and the frustrating parts, but she was amazing from start to finish.  Again, if you're in Las Vegas and looking for an event space, {Wedgewood at Stallion Mountain} was simply amazing.

3) The school district.  It's rare for me to praise CCSD considering the shenanigans that have been pulled, but the adjusted contract means I have the entire week of Thanksgiving off.  Hallelujah!

4) Etsy sellers.  There are many things I'm quite crafty at.  Printing thank you cards, etching glass beer mugs, coffee mugs, and making custom stamps are not in that category.  

We ordered our bridal shower thank yous, bridal party thank yous, wedding thank you cards, and other stationary from {MarryGrams}.

Our groomsmen gifts were etched beer mugs from {BlackRockEngraving}.  He was amazingly helpful and from my hometown, which was a fun bonus.  I thanked him (Ben) on his Facebook business page and he responded immediately, inquiring about the wedding and reminding me to tell my momma if she wants to open an Etsy shop (to sell her quilts), he'll help her.  What a stand up guy!

Look how great those mugs look (I assume they were full at one point):

We thanked our make up gurus with these cute mugs from {All That Glitter}.  These mugs were packed full of chocolate and a Sephora gift card, because that's the way to their hearts.

Lastly, our awesome self-inking stamp from {Pretty Sweet Party} has been such a blessing as I'm doing all our wedding thank you cards.  Ours looks like this:

But ya know, with our info on it.

I am a firm believer in supporting small businesses which is why I'm so thankful to these Etsy shops for providing what I needed for my wedding.  It feels nice to support Ben (BlackRock) or Leslie (All That Glitter) rather than some mega corporation.  

5) Small businesses.  I have 3 ({Jamberry}, {Younique}, and {Teachers Pay Teachers}).  Together, they help subsidize the insultingly low paycheck I get for teaching three dozen ten year olds each day.  

As a thank you to my loyal readers and followers, everything will be at least 20% off in my TpT sale from Black Friday until Cyber Monday.

Happy shopping!

6) I'm thankful that so many of our friends and family members were able to celebrate with us at our wedding a few weeks ago.  It was awesome to be surrounded by the people who made us who we are and share our vows in front of friends and family.

7) I'm thankful that we got to spend time with my family after the wedding.  My mom and aunts hosted a brunch the Saturday after the wedding and then we all went out to dinner.  They did tourist-y things in between while I napped.  It was nice to get to squeeze in some extra bonding time because we don't see them often enough!

8) I'm thankful for close friends, both literally and figuratively.  Our power went out on Friday morning, impacting nearly 15,000 residents in our neighborhood.  Luckily Mrs. H wasn't impacted and let me come over and get ready for work because the flashlight feature on my cellphone simply wasn't cutting it.

9) I'm thankful for my students.  Not only were they (mostly) well behaved for their substitute teacher, but I walked back in last Wednesday to this:

Cue all the awws.  One of my students also got me a glittery Batman mug and chocolate.  She definitely knows the way to my heart!

10) I'm also thankful for the new store {Boxed Lunch} and it's amazing assortment of all sorts of fandom things I didn't know I needed (like my new Ravenclaw sweater).  However, they donate food to kids with each purchase, so I don't really feel bad about my impulse shopping.  Plus it was buy one item, get something else 30% off...which is how we ended up with vanilla mango beard oil for B.  He is quite excited about it.

11) Obama and Biden memes.

I'm not ready to accept what's happening politically in our country.  Tears were shed. I'm #stillwithher.  However, these are giving me some hope in the time of darkness...especially when they're Harry Potter themed.

12)  I'm grateful that our teacher gradebook is online.  I graded seven different assignments today (thirty five of each).  I also watched six episodes of Gilmore Girls, took a nap, and walked the pup because balance is important.  I'm grateful that I could enter all these grades at home and it's one less thing to deal with next Monday morning.

13) I'm thankful for opportunities.  With the Read by 3 state grant, I sold my preps to work on professional development and mentor new teachers (and various other tasks).  It's been an adjustment period for sure, but I'm really loving mentoring and working with new teachers.  We unfortunately had one resign due to personal reasons and I wish her the best on her next adventure, but I'm choosing to look at the positives.  I get to sit in on interviews tomorrow to hire a new teacher.  I've never done that before and I think it's kind of nifty!  I'm optimistic we'll find someone to fit into our school community (meaning they must love potlucks, because we do those often!)

I'm thankful that tomorrow I get to sleep in, have a grading party at Panera planned (with gift cards, so I'm not spending money), and visit the post office to drop off our wedding thank you cards and my dress to be cleaned/preserved.  

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Grateful November 7: Reliable Guest Teachers and Personal Days

Good Lord, Monday was a long day.

Thirteen hours of a long day.

But, I'm ready for my work break (to you know, get married).

We have off yesterday (Election Day) and Friday (Veteran's Day), so I took off today (Wednesday), Thursday, next Monday, and next Tuesday.

That meant four days of sub plans and copies to prep.

I'm  not that teacher that just tosses together review sheets and calls it a day. I'm fortunate enough to not know my sub for the four days, but that she's also been in my classroom multiple times this year and knows my expectations.  The kids love her, which is a huge added bonus.  She'll follow my lesson plans and I know my students will actually be learning, which is really what matters.

I also cleaned my desk, which is normally a mild state of chaos.  I thrive well in that creative environment (go right brain!), but know that it's not appropriate to subject guest teachers to that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Grateful November 8: Early Voting

It's here.  

It's Election Day.

Teachers in my district have the day off of school for voting, which is pretty nifty.  Not to worry, we have an additional sixty four minutes tacked on to each full week of school throughout the year to make up for this "free" day off.

However, I am not headed to the polls today.

That's not to say I'm not doing my civic duty and voting, but rather I took full advantage of early voting...and it was glorious.

B and I early voted last weekend and then got pretzels at the mall, because that's what adults do.

Instead, today is spent tackling a variety of tasks, including:

1) Finalizing picture details with the photographer
2) Supervising the instillation of a water softener 
3) Cleaning 
4) Make Up Trial (last one!)
5) Discussing the couch re-upholstery project with the handy man
6) Grading
7) Making thank you bags for the Veterans that are coming in this week
8) Laundry
9) Crafting
10) Finalizing and assembling the seating chart for the wedding

Good thing the pup got me up at 3 am today so I could get started on my task list!

Wedding Week Sale!

Today is election day.  Friday is Veteran's Day.  I'm getting married this week.

So...let's have a celebration sale!

My entire {TpT store} is 20% off now through Friday (11.11.16).

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Grateful November 6: Daylight Savings Time

Today, plain and simple, I'm grateful for Daylight Savings Time.

As an Arizonian by birth, I'm still not 100% on board with this whole clock changing situation.

But hey, I got a full ten hours of sleep and am feeling ready to conquer the day.

B's in charge of changing all our clocks while I run off to some wedding errands (picking up my dress).

Grateful November 3: Field Trips

We successfully survived our first field trip of the year!

Five classes, twenty chaperones, and 180(ish) excited fifth graders headed to the Henderson Pavillion last week to experience KidsVention.

Prior to the field trip, my students learned about debates, what "pro" and "con" mean, and practiced four debate topics during breakfast.

Careful to steer clear of the current political climate (because it's gotten a bit nasty), the topics were focused on kid-friendly ideas:

1) The United States should end its use of the penny.

2) Students should be required to learn a second language for high school graduation.

3) There should be screen limits for students on school nights.

4) All students participating in sports should earn a trophy.

In class, we talked about how each topic has both pros and cons (because otherwise it'd be a super boring debate).

The kids got clappers at the event, which were promptly confiscated when we got on the bus.  Not to worry, they got them back at the end of the school day.

The event was amazingly well organized, high school students debated with government officials about the four topics, and the whole theme of the event was on the importance of civic responsibility and voting.  

Many of my parent chaperones thanked me for inviting them along.  One described it as a wonderfully safe environment to talk about government because it's been hard to watch the Presidential debates with her children.

After the field trip, our day was devoted to making thank you cards for the chaperones, an empathy lesson from the counselor, and silent reading.

Hooray for field trip days!  

Grateful November 4: Crafty Friends

I've mentioned my love of crafting before and I'm fortunate enough to have friends who don't love to craft, meaning I get to be creative while spending other people's money.  It's truly a win-win situation.

I'm grateful for my friend Mrs. S, a fellow crafter, who let me borrow her circular hole punches for my current project.  This not only saved me forty bucks, but also a trip to the craft store.  

Another work friend, Mrs. H, has started her own Lularoe store and was in need of decorations.  Nothing major, just some small personal touches for when they do their online videos and post pictures.  

Armed with a color scheme and flexible ideas, I headed to the craft store.

Here's what's made so far:

The welcome sign:

I bought the unfinished wood on clearance, cleaned it up, stained it, and added embellished paper flowers.

This will sit on a dark wood stand.

The H:

We were originally going to add pastel pink letters, but I kind of love it as is.  More importantly, so does Mrs. H!

The frames:

(Ignore the Halloween decor in the background.)

They'll display the names of the products and sizes inside of these frames.

The banner:

She wants all the smaller circles to be white, so I've got to fix one of them.  The banner will be 15 pendants long, each one slightly different.  They'll all have gray, green, pink, or wood looks to them.  Each piece is attached to heavy cardboard, so it's nice and sturdy.

I'm finalizing the banner later this week, but other than that, it's done!  

Instead of being reimbursed for the cost of the materials, we're swapping the craft goodies for a new shirt.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Grateful November 5: Amazon

A few days into the Grateful November challenge and things are going well.

Today I'd like to express my appreciation to Amazon.

Yes, Amazon.

First, if you aren't using {}, change that immediately.  Amazon will give 0.5% of your spending to the charity of your choice.  You get the warm and fuzzies just for online shopping.  It's truly a win-win situation.

Second, I appreciate a good deal.  Now that I'm a home owner, I get the joy of doing things like buying my own air filters.  After having nose surgery to correct my sinuses, I'm more fully aware of how bothered I am by tiny dust particles crawling up my nose and wreaking havoc on my nasal passages.  This means that we religiously change our air filters every few months.  (I appreciate the pinterest hack of actually writing the date on the filter itself to eliminate the guess work.  We also timed the filters with the HOA payments to make our lives easier.)

These are our favorites:

But man oh man, are they expensive!  Target has them for around twenty five bucks each with Home Depot being slightly cheaper.

Enter Amazon, our digital knight in shining armor.

A six pack of these filters is {on Amazon} for just under sixty bucks.  They also qualify for free shipping, which is an additional bonus.  It's literally half the cost of nearby stores and I don't have to go to Home Depot.  Everybody wins!

What's your favorite Amazon deal?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Grateful November 2: Good friends

Tonight one of my dear friends and her boyfriend are coming over to help us with a project.

A few weeks ago, we inherited two couches from his parents because they upgraded.  We moved my original couch into the den (because I'm not ready to part with it) and brought in two new (to us) pieces.

I was hesitant at first because the love seat has a broken spring.  However, the living room does look more complete and it's nice to have more seating for when guests come over (you know, like in a week when I get married).  

However, the cushions need new padding and the love seat lacks some structural support.  We looked on Amazon at different "sofa saver" ideas, but want to pick our friends' brains because they've recently reupholstered their (Craig's List) couch.

We found an online store for foam if necessary since Joann's doesn't sell thick enough cushions or polyester batting.  

I'm grateful for friends who will come brainstorm our DIY project strategies and help us with the project.  I'm grateful to his parents for giving us their couches, prolonging our need to buy new furniture for a few years.  I'm grateful for relatively inexpensive fixes that help sustain the life of things.

What are you grateful for?

Has it really been a month?

October, for lack of a better word, was difficult.

Between changes at work and nailing down the last wedding details, I was overwhelmed.  Blogging became the last thing on my mind, which is unfortunate because it's therapeutic.  Thanks loyal readers for sticking with me while I was...

But I'm here and I'm back!

Instead of grouchily reflecting on the past, let's jump forward to November.

For the next twenty minutes or so, it's the first.  For many, that means the first day of the gratitude challenge.

Essentially, bloggers, instagrammers, snapchat-ers, and other social media do-ers, are challenged to find one thing each day to be grateful for.  

Today, the first of November, was rather easy.

1) My students were quite well behaved.  Halloween was on a Monday this year, which meant many of us were dreading the after effects on Tuesday.  

I had four students absent (two of which were pre-excused for doctor's appointments and funerals), meaning I had a cozy group of thirty one ten year olds.  While other classrooms dealt with the range of student emotions (sleep deprived zombies to sugar-fueled hellions), I had a relatively normal day.  We did math. We did some reading.  We talked about Greek and Latin roots. We set norms for debates and students argued about whether or not the US should continue using the penny.  We reviewed Newton's Laws of Motion and took our monthly STAR test data to determine growth on reading levels.  Sure, I came home exhausted, but that's because there are thirty one lively ten year olds for seven hours a day. Compared to the other horror stories I heard at lunch, I'm feeling super fortunate to have a normal day.

2)  We paid for the rest of our wedding.   Ten days guys, ten days.  I know that my credit card will be charged on the wedding day for the other half of the flowers as well as for the hotel rooms, but everything else was paid in full.

3) Our handy man came to do an estimate on a small bathroom remodel project.  We ripped out the outdated medicine cabinets (cough three years ago cough) and he's putting in floating shelves so it looks custom.  

Our "pinspiration":

He's getting started on it this week and it "won't be much".  He's employed with a handy man company (so he's licensed and insured), but does side jobs for teachers at a discount.  He's done a few other small house projects for us and even shows us the receipts as proof for what he charges for materials.  

What I'm not grateful for? Insomnia.  I sometimes (often) struggle to turn off my brain.  I graded papers. I read another chapter of a professional read (which can be dry at times).  I'm still wide awake, which is unfortunate because I have to help lead a presentation in 7 hours. 

What are you grateful for today?