Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cost of Living

One of the things Howard likes to do once in a while is do a search for houses. We're living in a studio apartment right now, and there is absolutely no space. When people ask us whether or not we're having a baby yet, we tell them we have no space. They tend to say that babies are small, and we'd only need room for a crib for the first year. We have to tell them that we don't even have room for a crib! We really don't! If we did add that, it would be smack dab in the apartment, and we would have to fly over it to get anywhere. We also tell people that we can hear arguments that our neighbors have or music/TV shows too, so that means they'd definitely hear a baby cry throughout the night.

My preference would be to move closer to my parents. I would love for them to be close by when we do have kids because I'd like them to have a close relationship. I grew up near my dad's parents, but there was a language barrier. My mom's parents were a drive away, so even though we visited often on the weekends and had family gatherings there, there was never the close bond that I know my mom will have with my kids. I think proximity provides the opportunity for a natural relationship to form based on communication and trust as opposed to the typical "grandparents-spoiling-grandkids" thing. I think my mom will definitely spoil my kids in terms of reading them whatever books they want to read and taking them to the zoo.

But when it comes to all the other things that I would like, getting a place near my parents just seems impossible. It would be nice to have three bedrooms so that if we were to have kids, they wouldn't be squished in one room. Even if that's not possible, the one thing that would be a requirement is to have two bathrooms. My parents have two full and one half, so for someone who was always sick, it was reassuring knowing that there was always an available bathroom! The price of those places isn't that great for the amount of space or the location.

However, when we change our search location to be Lancaster, Pennsylvania, instead of New York, it just baffles our minds that the same amount of money that would be spent on a small space here would get us a beautifully spacious house with three or four bedrooms and two or three bathrooms along with sitting rooms or sunrooms or offices. What?! It's insane to think that it's possible to see that same cost get so much more in a different state.

I mean, I could actually have a craft room! I wouldn't have to move stuff aside just to craft and then move my crafting stuff aside when I have to plan or grade. I'd be able to have a table designated specifically for making cards so that I wouldn't have to move projects out of the way when I need to move on to something else. The houses also have tons of windows, so the natural light entices me too since I can only craft with my Ott-Lite in our apartment right now.

The houses we were examining yesterday were even better because they are near schools that actually exceed standards as opposed to just meeting standards. I could definitely imagine having a family there. The only downside I imagine would be not being around grocery stores, but with all that space, I would insist on purchasing another freezer to stock up on things when they're on sale! I could actually be a couponer with a room just for my stockpile! Right now I just have things in the pantry (food, baby toys and clothes as gifts because I can't pass a good deal considering now we have to do Christmas and birthday gifts), in our clothes closet (shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, lotion, mouthwash, cotton swabs, cotton balls), under the bathroom sink cabinet (tissues, feminine products), under the kitchen sink cabinet (sponges, dish detergent), and under the bed (cereal and tomato sauce in storage). Once those spots were filled, I couldn't really coupon any longer! It would be crazy if we could store boxes and boxes of things like pasta and paper products without worrying about not having room to actually live!

Oh why oh why does the cost of living in New York have to be so high? We wouldn't have to think about that if we were in Pennsylvania. Plus, we'd be closer to the wolves at the sanctuary, haha.

Monday, November 10, 2014

$433

I did a ton of crafting lately due to raising money for my school's walk-a-thon and my church's bake sale. I raised $200 for my walk-a-thon, so thank you to all who helped me out by sponsoring me! Those of you who don't live near me will hopefully receive your cards soon; I need to make envelopes to put the cards in before I mail them. For my church's bake sale for the Lottie Moon Mission fund, I was able to raise $233! So in just a short amount of time, I raised $433 just from crafting! That's so much fun for me even though none of the money went to my own pocket.

Two years, I started toying with the idea of selling cards to donate money to World Vision. Because of the few sales I made, I was able to purchase 2 chickens! Initially I thought I'd continue doing this to get every animal at least once, but then I stopped crafting for a long time. Being a teacher and a wife leaves little time to actually craft. However, now that I seem to have a tiny bit more time on my hands because I don't work on Mondays, I want to pick this back up again but save money for something else. I'll mention what it is in a future post if I end up doing that.

If I do end up doing that, I will most likely keep $1 out of the $5 for myself to help me cover the cost of supplies. Don't worry though; I am very good at purchasing things at an inexpensive cost. I saw this online earlier and just had to include it because I love Lord of the Rings and I love Michaels!


I see that the Black Friday ad for Michaels has already been released, and the paper I buy is the regular sale price of 5 for $10. They are originally $4, so I never pay more than $2 per pack. Of course, because it is Black Friday, there are coupons that can be used on sale prices too, and there is actually a 30% coupon! That makes each pack only $1.40! I think if I have the energy, I will have to grab some more even if it's just stocking up on basics like white, kraft, and black. I like that even Howard agrees with this being a crazy good stock-up price! It doesn't get any cheaper than this. Paper and adhesive (refill tape for my ATG gun and Zig two-way glue pens) are two of the things that I go through pretty quickly, so when there's a deal, I feel as if I can't pass up on it. Let's see what happens in two weeks!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Harvest Festival

Last Friday, all the kids in the school had a special day of celebration. Since we are a Christian school, we don't partake in the Halloween festivities though we don't speak out about it either because it's a personal choices for each family. Instead we have a Harvest Festival. Each grade from Pre-K to 8th grade gets to do something fun! The Pre-K kids stay at the school and have an in-school field trip. The kindergarten to 3rd graders went to a farm to do some pumpkin picking. The 4th to 8th graders went rollerblading/skating!

I don't actually rollerblade with the kids because of an incident years ago when I fell directly on my coccyx because a small kid cut me off on the rink. That student was later pulled off the rink for dangerous skating because he kept doing it to others as well. Too bad it wasn't earlier because I didn't fall at all until that moment! 

Instead, I loved that I had a chance to just sit on one of the many couches outside of the rink and just watch the kids have fun and slowly improve throughout the time we were there. We did, unfortunately, have a few injuries. Thankfully, many of them were not major ones; it was just normal injuries you'd expect at a roller rink that the kids just turn into a dramatic scene! One girl even got so emotional about one of the songs being played that she accidentally crashed into the wall. Haha, it's kind of funny thinking about how teenagers are these days, but I also got excited about anything 'Nsync stuff on the radio or on TV! This was way before YouTube too, so our only access to our favorite bands were the rare moments we heard them on the radio, waiting for them to be on TRL, and finally buying the CD when it was released. Haha, oh how times have changed. 

Having these easy days is so much fun because when we have our teaching days, I only really get to see the other teachers during lunch. We're in our separate classrooms doing our thing, so it's really quite relaxing to be able to talk and laugh. We had a ton of laughs because my colleague Jessica was having such issues trying to get a picture of the four teachers who were there! She tried and tried and tried, but doing "selfie" pictures just wasn't working for her! 


I took this picture of the four of us with Jess's camera before Jess kept attempting it herself.


I just noticed it now, but this picture makes it look as if we're at a bar and not at a school field trip! We really are at the rink though! Haha, of course everything else is dark, so you can't even make out anything else that's in the background.

The kids had a blast too because not only could they blade/skate, there were also arcade games for them to play. Many of them were scoring a ton of tickets from these games that they could trade in for prizes. I remember loving this stuff when I was a kid too. Despite the fact that it'd be cheaper to just buy the prize elsewhere for less money, it feels so rewarding spending money on tokens to win tickets to trade in for prizes. Haha, go figure.


Instead of taking the bus back, we continued with tradition and walked to McDonald's first before going back to school. It's so close by, but it's still an adventure to take the entire middle school there. We take turns by grade to go inside to let them buy a treat like an ice cream cone or a shake, and the kids just have a blast being silly. I really enjoy these moments because kids just need to be kids sometimes. I also like the idea of their going in to order something and pay for it. I know it can be a somewhat new thing in middle school as they learn how to be more independent.

After a walk back, we played the "line-up game" with the kids for a bit. Basically, we tell all the kids in middle school to line up according to a certain category like height or birthday month. It's kind of funny because some of the kids take it so seriously while others think it's ridiculous. What makes it entertaining for us is that we say that if they can't do it within a certain amount of time that they will get more homework, which of course would be unfair, but some of them believe it anyway! We were cracking up because my mentor teacher was timing them, but she didn't actually have a watch! It took many rounds until one of the students caught on when she looked over and commented, "Wait, you don't even have a watch!"


Once we were done with that, we let the kids play dodgeball or just sit around and chat. Even though it was freezing cold outside, it was a relaxing day in that we didn't have to teach or do work. Of course, field trips days are actually MORE exhausting than teaching days! I was so glad all of this was on a Friday because I was in desperate need of my Friday nap when I got home!

Winnie the Pooh Cuties

The fourth (and fifth too) card that I made featured an adorable Winnie the Pooh Cuties. I love the Cuties line because not only are the characters adorable, they are also designed in a way that's easier to cut. I seriously am loving the fact that I can just go online and do a Google Image search for whatever images I might want to cut. It gives me much more freedom than what the Cricut can provide. Of course, the Cricut is also nice because all the layers are split up for me. There are still some things I prefer with Cricut Craftroom as opposed to Silhouette Studio: Designer Edition. But I could never cut these things for my cards on my Cricut Expression!


You can also see the images that have the layers separated by me because they have the black outlines. When Howard designs something for me, it doesn't have the black outline. For the simple Disney images though, I actually prefer them because that's how the original design looks.


As you can see, I made two versions of the card just by popping on a different sentiment. I looked through my sets from Pink by Design to find anything that had a bear pun on it. 


And it's no surprise that I popped him off the card. At the beginning of this year, I bought a ton of things when Joann was going out of business. I posted my craft haul here, which included foam sheets for $0.37 each. I've been cutting it in strips and then using small squares of it to pop my stuff off the card instead of actually using the adhesive foam squares, which can be quite expensive. I just use my ATG gun to adhere everything, and it seems to be working well. I actually don't mind having to use the ATG for it because it's either that or peeling off the thin sticker backs! All in the interest of saving some money!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Olaf, in High Demand!

I know I'm backtracking with updates, but I never had an opportunity to post these since I was so busy actually making the cards and doing stuff for work as well. The third card I made to entice people to sponsor me for my school's walk-a-thon featured the lovable Olaf from Frozen! I had set it up so that I would have 4 of them to cut, but I accidentally tore part of the last one. Instead of cutting one of the small pieces again, I just decided to scrap it because he is quite a tricky one to put together!


The big white pieces were easy, of course. Even his eyes and carrot nose weren't difficult. His arms and hair were what caused a bit of frustration! They're just so thin! You can't quite see it in these pictures, but his hair is actually three separate pieces instead of just one.


Since Olaf is so intricate, it was easy to just plop him on a card with a snowflake paper background. Of course, I had to use a quotation from the movie as my sentiment, so I chose "Some people are worth melting for" instead of "I like warm hugs" because I felt it was a little bit more usable as a card for any occasion. He was popped up on the card to give it some dimension.


When I posted this card on Instagram/Facebook, the three I had made were claimed so quickly! I had a bunch of others say that they wanted it as well and then some of my co-workers wanted a bunch of them! I promised to make 10 of them without actually having them made, so that was an extra $50 as part of my sponsorship. I'm hoping Howard can simplify the design for me somehow the way I saw one on Pinterest where the brown part is actually all one layer with a black layer on top. That way I don't have to cut the individual brown pieces and glue them. I'm so glad I have my Tweezerbee tweezers because there's no way I could do those with my chubby fingers!