Friday, December 30, 2016

Winter Break

As I wallow at the fact that winter break is quickly coming to a close, I must pause to reflect on all that I've accomplished in these two weeks off.

1. I started and finished a novel (The Only Thing Worse than Witches). 

It's one of the novels for this year's Battle of the Books competition and was a cute, if somewhat predictable story.  I made a novel guide, chronological order sort, and bundle (both products) for purchase on TpT, which you can snag {here}.

I even started a second novel, The Hammer of Thor.  My goal for this novel is the end of January.

2. I dealt with adult matters.  I changed my name with the DMV, bank, and insurance.  I got new credit cards and a new driver's license.  I started an address book and sent out Christmas cards (and letters) in a timely manner.  I paid HOA dues and the mortgage payment ahead of schedule.  I went to the vet with the furballs several times.

3. I started planning a baby shower.  One of my dear friends and bridesmaids is due in early April.  It's her first and a boy, so there's a lot of excitement.  We had lunch to discuss games, themes, invites, etc.  We had a second meal with another friend to continue discussing logistics and planning the event (for early March).  Some days I have more fun party planning and crafting than I do teaching...but oh well.

4. I shopped and saved like a pro!  With six baby showers between now and June, plus five weddings in the upcoming year, we've got a lot of expenses.  Luckily I was able to find some great deals so I can not only be fiscally responsible, but spoil friends in the mean time!  I'm quite fortunate that my grade level splits the cost of work shower gifts, so it's only $5(ish) a person.  I've got a gift wrapped and ready for January's baby shower and another bridal shower in April.  

5. I enjoyed family time.  B and I celebrated Christmas early with his parents and grandma on the 19th.  His mom loved her ornaments.  One I made from filling a plastic (unbreakable) ornament with flower petals from my wedding bouquet.  The other I purchased from {Etsy} with all the family members' names on the outside.  

(Image from seller's shop, not my actual purchase)

His dad got a balls themed golf gift (naturally) and we got his grandma a Starbucks gift card.  We also got his brother and sister in law a restaurant gift card.  Our niece and nephews each got a stuffed toy, a nonfiction book (the teacher in me couldn't resist!) and a craft project to do together.  

We then snuck down to Arizona for a few days to celebrate with my mom, brother, and brother's girlfriend.  I got to have some best friend time because her trip overlapped with mine, spent time in pajamas, bought new tires (yay unexpected adulting!), enjoyed a new restaurant, and went on a day trip to Goldfield Ghost Town.

6. I got caught up on grading and ahead on lesson plans.  This wasn't done in one sitting and was most definitely aided by Panera.  But still, I'll go back to work on Tuesday feeling mostly prepared for the week ahead.

7. I attended a funeral.  A former coworker unexpectedly lost her son and an entire group of us went to be supportive.  2016 certainly claimed a lot of good people.  This wasn't a pleasant or enjoyable task, but it was necessary (and heartbreaking).

8. I cleaned.  I took down Christmas decorations, moved furniture around to make space for our new bedroom set, cleaned out teaching materials, went through craft stuff, went through clothes, made donations of unwanted items, and did lots of laundry.  My loving husband hung our new Batman shelf so I could display our wedding cake topper, toasting flutes, and some of the flowers.

(As an added bonus, that shelf came painted black and was on sale!)

9. I set new years resolutions and began to type about each one.  I'm trying to get back into the habit of blogging, but no promises on it being an every day situation.

10. I enjoyed some down time.  I had shopping time and breakfast dates with friends. I fought this one for couch space on a daily basis.

I watched Netflix, snuggled the pets, did a puzzle with the hubby, watched movies, took bubble baths, enjoyed scented candles, admired our Christmas tree, and napped.  I often neglect to prioritize self-care, which is something I vow to work on in 2017.

While I'm not quite ready to return to work (because really, who is?), I am proud of my winter break accomplishments.  There was a healthy balance of work and play.

Up next? Four days of three dozen ten year olds, then an eagerly awaited weekend.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Back into the swing of things

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite.

I love reading.  I want my students to love reading.

But sometimes, no often times, I don't make time for reading myself.  Yes, I read emails.  Yes, I read social media.  Yes, I'll flip through magazines on a regular basis.

But reading an actual book from start to finish in a timely manner? That's a rare event...and something I need to work on.

With 2017 looming right around the corner, I thought it'd be a good time to start thinking of some goals.  

By sharing them, I'm more likely to hold myself accountable and actually complete these goals.

Now, that's not a SMART goal, so let's get a little more specific. 

I'd like to tackle 17 novels in 2017, but if I get through one a month, that will suffice.

I'd like to read a mix of professional books, young adult adventures, and books that spark my interest.  Some of them will be the Battle of the Books books since that's starting up in January.

I finished The Only Thing Worse than Witches a few days ago and just posted the novel guide {here} on my TpT site.  The chronological order sort is in progress, as is the bundle guide.

Last night, I started The Hammer of Thor, the sequel to The Sword of Summer which is Rick Riordan's new Norse mythology series.

This book is January's task!

I've taken a few book suggestions from others, but need to prioritize and have the Battle of the Books ones done by the end of March.