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


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!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It Doesn't Count

Last week when I went shopping for groceries, I saw that Mallomars were back! I've been fairly behaved lately though and haven't purchased anything that's incredibly unhealthy because I'm determined to get fit so that I can be healthier. However, I don't count treats at school as being TOO unhealthy, so when one of the students brought in a box of Mallomars as part of her campaign for class representative, I didn't turn it down!

It may be the only Mallomar I have this season since I'm going to be good and avoid buying things like this in the future, so I just had to document it! And don't worry; I used Purell before touching it with my bare hands in the classroom!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Astro Blasters!

This was the second card I made to send to those who wanted to sponsor me for my school's bike/walk-a-thon this Saturday. This cut was from the recent SVG Cutting Files "Animated" blog hop. I was so excited about that one because all the freebies were Disney characters! I haven't yet cut them because they seem as if they might be a little complex for mass producing purposes, but this was one I could do.

This is the laser gun from Disneyland's Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. It's a little different than the ride at Disney World, but it's still unmistakably representative of one of my all-time favorite rides at WDW! I kept the card itself very simple by just popping it up on a 4 x 4 in square card with rounded corners. 

The sentiment is from Pink by Design's set called "Oh Boy." It just worked perfectly with this cut. I made 6 of these in total, and 3 of them have already been claimed! Just look at this really makes me want to hop on the ride right now!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mickey and Minnie Cuties

My school is having a bike/walk-a-thon fundraiser this upcoming Saturday. Our new headmaster challenged us teachers to raise $100. I figured the only way I'd be able to make that amount was if I offered blank cards for each person who sponsored me for $5! I have to say that I'd probably just bypass someone's request too, but cute Disney stuff would definitely catch my eye.

I used a Mickey and Minnie image from Disney's Cuties to create this card. It's strange not having measurements and such when using the Silhouette Cameo. I could technically get the exact measurement since I saved the file, but it's not done exactly the same way as the Cricut. I'm still getting used to the difference between the two machines and the programs. There is, of course, the huge benefit of being able to cut images like this on the Cameo! Though it looks easy to put together, the pieces that really required extra care were the small red piece of Mickey's pants and the small yellow piece of his shoe. I use my TweezerBee tweezers anyway for every piece even when it's not teeny-tiny like that. When Howard saw how I had to be careful with all the small pieces on the Disney cuts I've been making lately, he commented that he wouldn't have the ability or patience to do it, haha.

I dry embossed the white paper with a Sizzix folder and then stamped the sentiment from Pink by Design on a banner cut out using a die from Papertrey Ink. I only popped up the banner since I didn't want there to be any possible tearing of their tails if I popped Mickey and Minnie off the card. I made 6 of these in total, and so far, I have 4 of them "sold"! Hooray! A huge thanks to my sponsors so far!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rewinding to Sunday

I woke up in the morning and got ready to go to church, but then my stomach started giving me a little bit of trouble. I texted my mom and told her that we wouldn't be going to church with them, but we would instead go to a local church. Sometimes I stay at home and end up feeling okay while other times I go and end up feeling horrible. This time was one of those times I made the right choice. We went to service at the church where we got married, and then we got home in just 2 hours. It would've been too difficult to make it through the entire day for both of us. 

My dad mentioned that because I didn't go to church, he wasn't going to see me, so I said we'd visit at night and that turned into a brief visit with my grandma and a mishmash dinner of leftovers for my dad and Matt and Qdoba for my mom, Howard, and me. I'm glad we still live fairly close so that stuff like this is possible. Howard and I sometimes discuss what it'd be like if we moved elsewhere because it'd be easier for us to buy a house and to get away from the city life, but I wouldn't do very well without being near my family.

I only snapped two quick pictures yesterday. The first one is of the mushrooms growing outside my grandma's place. They were so huge! We comment about mushrooms all the time now that we know Howard can't have them.

And here's a yummy picture of my burrito bowl, haha. I got it with brown rice and chicken and had black beans, cheese, two kinds of salsa, and guacamole added on top. It's nice now that guacamole doesn't cost extra.

When we got back home, Howard and I finished watching Catching Fire. It makes me want to reread the books again, but I feel as if there's never time for too many leisure activities especially when crafting is on my mind!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rewinding to Saturday

Despite my nap late Friday night, I had no problem sleeping when it was time to sleep. I set an alarm as I always do for Saturday mornings and woke up to wash Howard's work shirts. Since our washer has completely died on us, I bought things to hand wash certain items at home. I figured his work shirts and my work tops could be done that way since it's not the best to constantly throw them in the wash anyway. For everything else, we've been going to my parents' house. Even though it can be quite a workout (soaked clothes can be heavy!), I do appreciate being able to do it at home and not having to leave.

Since we also didn't have to do laundry on Saturday and because groceries were done the day before, I knew I had an entire day at home! I love those days! I feel as if we haven't had that in a while, and when we did, it was because Howard was in pain or I was sick with that cold. I had time in the morning to get some crafting done even while Howard caught up on sleep. We have a 5x5 Expedit bookcase from IKEA that separates the "bedroom" and the rest of the apartment, but the square right next to me doesn't have a fabric cube in it. That means I can look through and see if and when he wakes up! It's so different from our dating days when I had to wake up early to get lesson plans done as quickly as I could so that Howard drive in from Brooklyn to come see me! 

I won't post the cards I crafted here; I'll put them in separate updates. I really am enjoying being able to craft whatever I want with the Silhouette Cameo. I can essentially take whatever images I want from what I see online and cut them. Some are easy than others, of course. I tend to search for a character and "coloring" so that I can have simpler designs and just the black lines. Anything else that's a bit more complex requires Howard's help.

I didn't do a lick of school work on Saturday, but for once, I didn't feel guilty about it. I think I earn myself a day of not doing anything for school! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Rewinding to Friday

I fell behind on posting these past few days because it was all about sleeping and crafting! I know I didn't technically make it through this year posting something every day because I went back to fill in the gaps once in a while, but I like that it forces me to write something down even if it does require me to backtrack on occasion.

On Friday, my school had a Professional Development Day for the teachers, so the kids had a day off from school. One of our meetings was about the Common Core and all the negative parts about it. I already had my dislike of it because of some of the material we have to use. When I go through the questions, I sometimes have my kids bypass the explanations they give because it just seems so unnecessary and tell them to solve it the way we have been solving it via our regular math curriculum. There was so much more that! Though the video is lengthy, this gives so much information about why we should stop the Common Core!

One of my favorite parts of the day was having lunch! Sure, I always love taking a break for lunch, but it wasn't the food that made me happy though my Panera soup and sandwich was rather tasty considering I never usually buy lunch. I was thrilled that we all had the same hour lunch break, which meant that the elementary school and middle school teachers were able to eat together! It was so relaxing and something that we wish we could do more often.

We were allowed to leave at 2:30 instead of having to stay until 3:15 because there was no final meeting. I chose to be productive and stayed in school to grade. It was a smart move because I got 5 things graded because if I had just come home, I probably wouldn't have gotten it done!

After school, I stopped by the stores to pick up some groceries and go to Target. I always check out the baby clothing section to peruse through the clearance racks. There was nothing worth getting because prices weren't that low yet, but I did see these two cute dresses for baby girls that I liked. I really liked the color combination of the first one.

I also really liked this dress with cats on it because it reminded me of my friend Kristen and her daughter, Mo!

At Pathmark, I had to wait a good amount of time to pick up a package of chicken because this lady was examining every single package and then didn't even put everything back where it belonged. Stuff like that bugs me. I can wait for you to finish picking whichever one you want, but if you insist on touching everything that's there, at least put it back where you found it.

I saw this on the shelf and took a picture because I was weirded out by the fact that it's banana-flavored. I kept thinking, "Ew, liquid banana." 

The last stop was CVS to pick up some prescriptions. I was happy this wasn't a "feet-at-the-doctor's-office" picture and just at the pharmacy!

I didn't get back until close to 7 pm, so it was an extremely long 12-hours out and about! It was only expected that I fall asleep and take a super long nap! I do that on Fridays anyway, so an extremely long day meant that there was no way I would avoid it. It's kind of sad how quickly the weekend goes by because I wish I were back to that Friday night where I was productive all day long and got to relax knowing I had days ahead of me!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Scary World

It's one of those things that you kinda knew was going to happen, but at the same time, it was something that seemed so unlikely to happen at the same time. It's such a scary world now when there's ebola in New York along with the threat of terrorism. I remember having fire drills and shelter drills in elementary school and enjoying the fact that we were taking a break and missing some class time, but now being the teacher in charge of a classroom when we're having a lock down drill is frightening. It makes me think twice about the idea of having a baby because it just seems so crazy.

I know in my mind that God is sovereign, but I can't help the human side of me that just sees all of this and worries about the fact that the world is getting worse. Whether we end up having our own kids or not, I know I have a responsibility to the kids in my classroom. I will love and protect them as if they were my own.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kill Kill Kill!

As I finally started feeling better from this cold, I returned to school only to find that even MORE kids were sick! Some were coughing up a storm to the point where they were gagging; others were leaving because of nausea. There are even students who are being sent home because of fevers. I'm hoping that because I had that cold, my immune system is a little stronger to fight whatever germs are still flying around in the room. Part of me is wondering if I shouldn't have complained about the wasps flying in my room because at least maintenance can be called for the problem to be removed!

Alas, there is nothing I can do other than wash my hands whenever I can, which is really just before I eat lunch since I don't have any other opportunity to take a break and use the bathroom. I do have Purell on my desk, but I know I don't use it as often as I probably could. The other thing I can do is wipe down the students' desks so that they don't spread germs to each other too. I left out the container to remind myself to do it more often. I also wipe down the door handles and light switches as well as the phone even though teachers are the only ones who use the phone. Even so, it's so easy for me to get sick because of my somewhat weak immune system, so hopefully these preventative measures will help me avoid getting sick one again!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crafting Videos as "White Noise"

As I stay up late to grade since I fell asleep after dinner, I have YouTube videos on in the background because I can never seem to work in silence. I currently have videos by Jennifer McGuire playing with Howard's headphones on so that the sound doesn't disturb him (haha, not that it would because once he's out, he's OUT). It really makes me want to craft especially since she doesn't really use die cut machines, but her cards come out so beautiful. Her speaking is clear, so I half-listen to what she's saying, but it's so consistent that I can concentrate on the work I have to do. I have a long list of things I would LIKE to craft, but I just never seem to have the time. Of course, I didn't do that much crafting during the last year when I was home and not working. So strange how it works out like that, isn't it?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Feet Paparazzi

I thought today would be the last day of these "feet-in-the-waiting-room" picture, but we do have to go back to the doctor in 10 days. I know that if I had taken Howard to the ER when I initially wanted to, the cost would've been astronomical, so even though the co-pay now is rather high, it's still less than a visit to the ER.

We did stop by the mall afterwards since it's so close by, but I'll have to post about that another day because it's too good to just mention in passing tonight!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Good Deal

Because I can recognize a sale better than most!

Haha, just kidding. I know dried scallops are super expensive, but I always balk at the prices when I see them in the stores in Chinatown. These were actually on the cheaper end too!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Laundry Adventures

The weekends used to be a time for relaxation, but now our washer has completely given up on functioning. That means that we need to go to my parents' house to get the laundry done. Thankfully, they're okay with our doing this because I can't imagine having to wait in a laundromat. At least at my parents' house, I can eat and relax. Best of all, I can have a cup of tea and talk with my mom! 

Today I told Howard to stay at home. He started a medication this morning, and I wasn't sure if he'd have side effects from it. Plus, he still hasn't had time to just give his foot a rest because he went to work this entire week when he still needed time to recover. I lugged two loads of laundry using deluxe utility totes from Thirty-One (seriously, it's their greatest product ever along with their large utility tote) to the elevator. Strangely, I was there waiting for quite some time! I actually went back to the apartment and rang the doorbell for Howard to open it because I didn't know what to do! He got ready to help me carry it down the stairs when I finally heard the "ding" of the elevator. Of course, running back with two heavy bags meant I missed it, haha. But it did come back after another 30 seconds or so when I pressed the button. It gave me just enough time to snap this picture on my phone!

The first load took longer to dry because I did have two towels in there and two pairs of sweatpants. I ended up just bringing Howard's work shirts and our work pants back home instead of drying them at my parents' house. I'm used to hanging the stuff up on our Ikea drying rack anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. It was the first time I had to hang up 15+ shirts at once though!

Hopefully, it'll get a little easier to do laundry because once I popped the first load in, I went to Target to pick up Woolite and a plastic bin to do some hand washing. I can at least get my work tops done that way especially since I don't want to stick them in a washing machine anyway. Of course, the Up & Up brand was only $4.85 after the 10% Cartwheel offer as compared to the $8.99 I would've paid for the same amount of Woolite even with a $1 coupon, so Target brand it is!

One day we will have a full washer and dryer, and I know it will be utter bliss! Until then, I'm glad that I can at least do laundry in style!

Friday, October 17, 2014


Oh how I wish I could be here right now! I think I'd even skip my regular Friday afternoon/nap/midnight nap if it meant I could be in Disney!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Beautiful Place to Grade

I spent this past weekend catching up on grading because progress report grades were due by Sunday night. I thought that I was going to be able to keep up to date with grading for at least a few weeks, but this cold really knocked the energy out of me. I'm usually exhausted anyway by the time I get home and tend to nap either right away or after I take a shower when it's late at night. Then I'll wake up and get work done from 11pm-1am or so. I seem to be more productive that way because I just work as quickly as I can. However, today I had one of those naps where I had to sleep because of a headache and not just because I was tired. Of course, that meant another day went by without catching up on grading. Whoops, sorry, kids! You'll just have to wait until after the weekend. They know I'm sick anyway because I clearly have a nasal voice and am coughing too, so hopefully they'll excuse the tardiness! I should also be able to get maybe a quiz or two graded tomorrow morning since there's no meeting like there was today.

I think it'd be so much easier to grade if I had the room for it though. I hate feeling squished at my computer table. I think about getting a card table or a folding table that I can store for grading. I already have a table like that, but my Cricut and Silhouette machines are on it behind me, and I don't want to keep moving those if I don't have to. Each time I move one to use the other, I'm afraid I'll accidentally drop it!

Then as I was looking for a random picture to add to today's update, I decided to use this gem from a recent update in my trip report. How AMAZING would it be if I could grade outside at one of those tables in the Magic Kingdom with the background music, being so close to the castle and the castle shows, and the hustle and bustle of people walking around without technically being IN the craziness? When I grade, I typically have something playing on Netflix, but it has to be something that I know well so that it doesn't affect my concentration. Magic Kingdom "noise" would be the greatest background sounds!

Oh, I can dream!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Today was kind of difficult because I had to teach with this cold that I'm still battling. I'm just utterly exhausted although extremely relieved that Howard's pain is finally being treated because the doctor yesterday diagnosed him. At the end of the day, I had this headache that just intensified when I stepped outside and breathed in all the allergens. By the time it was time for me to drive home, I wasn't sure if I would be able to because I was queasy. I put some Chinese medicine on my forehead and temples, and that helped take the edge off a bit as I drove even though I wasn't sure if I'd have to stop the car and throw up! So unpleasant, I know. 

I'm praying that tomorrow won't be as bad, but I'm also kind of scared that it will be. I wish the weather would be either cold or warm. I hate the mix of both during the day because that makes the sinus headaches come at full force. I know I'm not the only one suffering from these weather changes. I hate when this happens every single year. It's times like these that I really wish we lived elsewhere because I don't get intense headaches like this when in Florida! Sure, it's blazing hot at times, but the allergens there don't affect me like the tree pollen here.

Oh how I wish Howard and I were fully recovered so that we could do some fun stuff like take pictures or craft!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Amazon Haul

Recently I placed an order with Amazon and used my credit card rewards points to pay for it. I was in desperate need of some Tetley green tea, but I couldn't find it any longer at my supermarkets. I finally decided to order it on Amazon since the weather was getting cooler, and I really wanted another option other than black tea. 

I also picked up some Zig 2 Way Glue pens with the chisel tip. I only have the big chunky ones with the jumbo tip, which is really difficult to use for small pieces. I normally get these at Michaels using a 50% off coupon, but they don't have often have that coupon. Plus, the last time I went to get it, they were all out. I figured I'd make it easier on myself and just order it. Plus, since I paid using points, there was no cash out of my pocket for these. It's pretty cool having a pack of 12 so I'm set for a while. Too bad there's no way to refill these yourself. They could sell the glue in a separate squeeze bottle and sell replacement nibs the way Copic markers have refills and nibs.

The last thing I picked up with Biore. I'm sure I could grab a cheaper deal at Target with a sale and a gift card deal, but I don't know if they ever have it deals on it. This was an add-on item, so I just ordered it because I had over $35 already.

The craziest thing is that when I was taking these pictures, one of the Tetley boxes was upside down. When I flipped it around so that the word Tetley was all facing the same way, I realized that that one box didn't have any plastic wrapped around it. Since the tea bags aren't individually packaged, it really threw me off that there was no plastic on the box. I emailed Amazon customer service and asked for a replacement box or the price of one box returned to me, and they replied so quickly and told me they were refunding the entire amount to me because the product wasn't online to send me a new one! I was so surprised that they did that, so I got all my rewards points for the tea credited to my account. They told me I could drink what was there or donate it or discard it. I will toss that open box, but the other 5 are completely fine so yay! It's such perfect timing because with this colder weather (and the fact that I actually have a cold), I'm having a cup of tea every day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Needing a Weekend from my Weekend

Thank goodness tomorrow is Columbus Day. I don't have work on Mondays anyway, but for some reason, it's kind of more comforting knowing that everyone is off tomorrow and the life at school isn't going on tomorrow. The congestion ended up turning into a cold. Unfortunately, it wasn't just allergies. I'm not sure if I got the cold from a kid at school or from someone at Urgent Care when I brought Howard there in the middle of the week. Either way, it just seems as if it's the time to get a cold. I just always get nervous with colds because of what happened two years ago when the cold never fully went away, and I actually ended up with a virus that caused me to pass out for a while and bought me a ticket to the ER.

I'm doing my best to drink water, and I've taken Tylenol Cold & Sinus and Robitussin. Don't worry. I didn't take them together. In the beginning, I took the Tylenol because I had a headache and wanted the acetaminophen. But then the next medicine I took was Robitussin to avoid acetaminophen if I didn't actually need it for anything. I only took that once though because it didn't seem to make any difference.

I just hate the feeling of having a runny nose yet stuffiness at the same time. I feel as if it should be one or the other. If I'm going to be incessantly blowing my nose, I shouldn't feel so congested too! I'm almost done with an entire box of tissues. I finished the little left in the box in the bathroom in the first few hours. I'm hoping that the worst of this cold is over because I really can't handle teaching with a cold or a cough. It's one of the most irritating things!

Progress report grades were due today, so I had a lot of grading to do. Thankfully, the due date was postponed from Friday morning because after taking care of Howard and just feeling fatigued, there was no way I was going to get it done. I had actually asked for an extension, which is highly unusual because I find it very important to hand everything in on time, but I knew I would need it. I spent yesterday and today grading when I was actually awake and not blowing my nose. I had to wash my hands so many times throughout the day before and after I blew my nose!

Tomorrow I think I can rest in bed since grades are in. I'm not planned for the entire week just yet, but I do have Tuesday done. I think I'll just have to deal with the rest later on as each day passes since I think recovering is the most important at this point. Clearly, you can see that Howard's pain and my cold have really knocked me out because I didn't even remember to post a "Sorry, there's no post today" update on the blog yesterday!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

No Post on ... Saturday

It's Sunday today, but I apparently totally forgot to post ANYTHING yesterday! Too bad it wasn't today because the Harry Potter reference would've made way more sense.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Please please please I don't want to be getting sick ...

Congestion, nasal voice, pain when swallowing, watery eyes, sweaty yet cold, and achy body. Please just have it be allergies and exhaustion from this past week and today's field trip ...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Missed Deadline

I missed the 12am deadline once again. After I got back home from work, I made some food for Howard since he didn't really have a chance to make anything himself. In the morning before I left for work, I got water in a tumbler, water in bottles, Vitamin Water, pretzels, Cheerios and a bowl, peanut butter crackers, and his pain relievers so that he wouldn't have to move around much. But unfortunately, there's was no way for me to leave food-food for him.

Once we both ate and we talked about our day, we were both tired, so we took a nap that lasted a few hours! He was in the bed under the covers, and I was on top of the covers with a fleece blanket since I hadn't showered yet.

That's how I spent my afternoon into the night. Sleeping. Yet I'm still so tired! I'm sure the exhaustion is from the worry, so I'm praying for a speedy recovery for my hubs so he can get back on his feet!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In Need of the Weekend

After work today, I took Howard to Urgent Care because of severe pain in his foot that was preventing him from walking. I might get into it in a later post, but that's all I have for tonight because we got back at 11pm, and I had to get right to work! Too tired!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How To Set Up a Bulletin Board

At the beginning of this school year, I snapped a few pictures as I set up the bulletin board in my classroom. I was still in the mood to document everything whereas nowadays, I'm just doing my best to get through the day! There's always a ton of paperwork to go through because the grading never stops, but during the first few days when it was just the teachers setting up classrooms, there was time for pictures!

The bulletin board was completely bare. That meant I had to get the backing paper and put that up first. A few years ago, I didn't have white as an option and had to use a blue. It was definitely a little difficult not to notice the bright blue when I was teaching.

I knew that once I put up the white, it would stay up for the entire year. I'm very careful with keeping it as nice as possible so that it never has to be replaced. I don't even use staples to put the students' work up because pushpins work so much better! But the initial task of cutting the huge piece of paper and trying to hold it up and staple it on straight is quite challenging! I hate the inevitable wrinkles when doing it by yourself because there's just no way to hold the other end up as you first start stapling the edges. They're rather visible even in this photo.

Then it's time to put up border. The two things to know when choosing border are as follows:
  1. Choose a flat edged border instead of the scalloped ones as it gets difficult trying to match up the pieces. I also like to staple the border inside the metallic frame of the board itself so that it will stay straight and neat.
  2. Choose a border that is multi-colored so that it can be used all year long! I know the elementary teachers use seasonal border, but I just have no time for that! The elementary teachers also do seasonally-themed boards, so that's why they can switch it up, but my assignments don't have anything to do with the holidays. This holographic border is by far my favorite! The board I did outside my classroom is colorful smiley faces.

After your border is chosen, you start stapling it around the edge. Then the next step is to thank God when you have one small piece left that can be cut in half to cover the remaining two sections. I typically don't like cutting border and will overlap it instead, but this one was necessary. Thankfully, it was just enough! Phew!

Once those last two pieces are stapled, admire the wonderful bulletin board paper and border that will remain for the entire school year before realizing that you have to do it all over again for the even larger and higher board outside your classroom.

But it is also the perfect time to have your teacher friend whose classroom is right next door help you do that one, making it a lot less stressful. Haha.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

4th Cousin

Today the 4th cousin on my mom's side got married today. What the what? Since when did we start getting old?!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thirty-One Makes Laundry Easier

Two weeks ago, our washer just stopped completely. We've had error messages before. The last time it was an issue with the dryer, so we started hanging up our clothes to dry. However, this one was indicating an issue with the motor. Alas, I think it was time to put it to rest. Unfortunately, the space for our washer is so narrow that there aren't many options when buying a new one. In fact, from the research we did, the only one who could get would be one similar to the one we have that also has bad reviews. It just doesn't make sense to shell out so much money for a washer/dryer that will break down after a bit of time when the cost is so close to a full-size machine!

Thankfully, we were able to get some laundry done today at my parents' house. It was so crazy that we were able to bring two weeks of white laundry and some of Howard's work shirts and wash it in just ONE WASH. In ours, it would be three loads. Plus, it was definitely a treat for our laundry to get dried so that we wouldn't have crunchy clothes because of air drying it. 

I know it sounds like such an advertisement, but the fact that I had Thirty-One bags made it a lot easier. I had the clothes in clear plastic garbage bags since I also use those totes for groceries, but it made transporting it a breeze without having to worry about rips or flashing underwear to the world. Howard has the deluxe utility tote, and I had the large utility tote. Even something mundane can look stylish. Haha, as if we care about being stylish, but the bright colors and prints make it fun!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Night Naps

Why is it so easy to fall asleep super early on Friday nights (and sometimes late afternoons!) yet I stay up late on school nights? No more adrenaline to keep me working!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Terrifying Sight

Isn't this almost too much for your eyes to handle?!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Craft with Me!

My Silhouette Cameo is going, "Rae, don't you want to craft with me? Don't you miss me? Remember what I can do with images you find online? Come back, please!"

Sorry, Cameo. School stuff comes first during the school year, but I will see you this Saturday when I make a wedding card for my cousin Nikadabee who is getting MARRIED on Sunday!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Reason for Cake

Birthdays can be the greatest. As a child, I used to look forward to the potential toys I would get on my birthday even though each year, I didn't necessarily get all toys. Even so, the anticipation of a new Barbie or Polly Pocket was rather exhilarating. Once I turned 16, however, the fun of birthdays kind of ended. They just became a little bit on the boring side. When I got married and celebrated my first birthday as a wife, Howard surprised me and made the day so special! But now that I'm 30, I've realized that the BEST thing about birthdays isn't the gifts or being the center of attention or getting all the Facebook messages.

The best thing is cake.

Yes, cake. I never enjoyed cake as a kid, so I feel as if nowadays, I am making up for lost time.

Last Friday, our headmaster's wife brought in a cake to celebrate his birthday one day early with the staff. When I'm at school, I especially enjoy cake and sweet treats because I feel as if it's a great "reward" for hard work and the calories/fat don't count, haha. This cake was no exception. Despite the fact that there was a lot of cream in it that I avoided, the cake itself and the strawberry filling was really good!

Doesn't the prospect of cake or sweets throughout the school year make it that much easier to go to work? I think so.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Smell of Autumn

I had a free mini candle coupon for Bath & Body Works that expired yesterday, so Howard and I made a quick stop at the mall before we did our grocery shopping. They didn't have many available that I actually liked since I don't enjoy the pumpkin or bakery scents, so I chose "Autumn."

It's described as follows: "A crisp fall fragrance that blends dark pomegranate with red delicious apple and juicy fig and notes of fir balsam." It's not really the kind of scent that I would want in a 3-wick candle, but since it was free, I was more than happy to pick it out! I do like the scarf background on the label though. It reminds me of the "Flannel" candles I have! I actually haven't been lighting any candles lately because I'm so tired by the time I get home that all I want to do is nap. I should totally use my mini candles from BBW or my votive candles from Yankee Candle because that's why I have them! I don't have to wait for the wax to pool, and then I'll have something exciting to look forward to when I grade papers!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Breakfast in Bed

Howard and I rarely bring food in the bedroom. Wait, being that we're in a studio apartment, technically we always do since our bedroom is also our living room, which is also our kitchen, haha. Okay, let me rephrase that. Howard and I rarely eat food in bed because of crumbs and such. When I'm sick, I'll have dry cereal or hubs will make soup for me. Other than that, we're usually in the "living room" portion of our apartment.

A little over a week ago, there was definitely a reason to eat something on the bed! On the last day or our honeymoon in Disney World, we had apple turnovers from Main Street Bakery. This was our first and only visit to the Main Street Bakery before the remodel and the addition of Starbucks. I had wanted an apple turnover for the longest time, so we bought two the night before when we were at Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours. EMH lasted until 3am, so we were too exhausted to get up for a park despite having annual passes, so we relaxed that morning with this delicious treat!

I was also extremely worn out, so a morning in with some episodes of 24 on Netflix just seemed so perfect.

When my mom and I went to Mother Mousse to pick up my grandfather's birthday cake after school one day, I saw that they had apple turnovers and picked one up so that Howard and I could share it for breakfast the next day. It just seemed appropriate that we enjoy an extremely simple breakfast in bed!

This was nowhere near as good as the one from Disney World. Even looking at the pictures, you could see that there's a huge difference. But the pastry was good as was the frosting drizzle. The apple part wasn't the best, and there were raisins in it as well, which always throws me off. When there are raisins in things where I don't expect them (like sometimes there are golden raisins in fried rice at Chinese restaurants), I just have to think, "Why can't people leave well enough alone?!"

Despite it being in a completely different class all on its own, it was still just a tiny taste of Disney World that we could have at home.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Soapy Soup

Just had to share this vocabulary sentence that made me inwardly chuckle as I was checking homework yesterday while my kids were taking a test. I had already gone through half the stack, so I just wasn't expecting a simple mistake to be so entertaining for me!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Inevitable Friday Nap

No blog post cuz I kinda fell asleep at around 6pm and didn't wake up until 2am. Am I the only teacher who does this? There's just NO adrenaline in me any longer, nothing to keep me going. All I want is to be in bed to sleep. Teaching is so rewarding, but it's also so exhausting!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Teacher Life

Just a quick post since I'm still in the midst of doing work. I saw this comic years ago, but it's still applicable.

I haven't had any issues like this so far, but it is kind of crazy how we as teachers sometimes have to defend what we do when parents question us based on what their kids say. Thankfully, the majority of the parents at my school see that they can work with us as a team to help their children succeed.

Okay, back to work!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ladies First

Every day I bring the 7th grade class down to the lunch room. Their homeroom teacher is the lunchroom supervisor, so instead of having him go upstairs to get the class and then go back downstairs with them, he can go straight to the cafeteria to set anything up if needed. It's something I started doing two years ago, which was my first time not having a homeroom of my own. I like to be able to help out wherever needed since I don't have my own class, and this is one of the ways I can do that.

I'm very particular about a TON of things, which is probably why I heard yesterday from one of my colleagues that the new 6th grade class thinks I have too many rules. However, as our new headmaster said, rules are good if there is a purpose for them as opposed to just having rules for the sake of having rules. I remind the 7th graders every day that we walk in the halls quietly and in a straight line because if they don't, I will have them return to the classroom, sit back down, and start all over again. Yes, I have actually done that with classes in the past, even classes when I was just the substitute. Quiet lines in the halls are a requirement for all grades because other classes are still in session and because there should be order as the students are in transit to avoid any accidents or misbehavior. They need to be able to hear the teacher at any time if necessary.

Since I told them my expectations from the start, there is rarely need for correction when I take them downstairs to lunch. We are usually the first class there especially since most days I have them in class right before the lunch period. They know to line up by the door for prayer, and they know that my first set of directions will be "Stop at the fire extinguisher." Then the same thing happens every day as I say, "Stop at the top of the stairs," "Stop at the second floor," "Stop at the first floor," and then "Stop at the cafeteria doors." It's definitely a huge difference from my first year of teaching when I had my homeroom class pause in the hallway to tell them that they were too loud and exclaim, "Every day!"

The last thing I say before they can sit and eat is as follows: "Girls, you may go in ... boys, you may follow." Today I had the 7th and 8th grade kids with me so I said, "Girls from both classes, you may go in." I heard one of the 7th grade boys say to another student, "Why do the girls get to go first every day?" I told him that it's polite to let ladies go first, and even if he didn't think that was necessary, they get to go in literally 2 seconds later anyway.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I think that's one of the things that the kids should learn. When a male student (regardless of the age) opens a door and continues to hold it open for me, I appreciate it. Of course, there are plenty of female students who do the same, but I've noticed that there are fewer boys who will do it. I think it's a gentlemanly thing to let the women on or off the elevator first as the sons of the larger family down the hall in our apartment building know to do.

I did a quick Google search about the whole "ladies first" thing, and nowadays, there are people who say it's outdated and actually sexist. I, however, am clearly not one of those people who believe that it is. I mean, sure, the girl can do all those things herself and doesn't need that preferential treatment just because of her gender, but is it so wrong to think that it's still a way of being polite in our society? Do girls know how to open car doors? Absolutely. Is it a sweet thing when a guy opens the door for a girl (or when a husband opens a door for his wife)? I personally think it is. I remember my uncle used to say that opening the door was a test for the guy when on a first date, but the girl leaning over to unlock/open the guy's door was her test. Of course, that was before all the car doors opened automatically. Is any of it necessary? No, I don't think it is. However, is it considerate? Yes, without a doubt! Am I offended when Howard insists that he carry the groceries and our lunch in Chinatown on Sundays? No way! Could I carry every single one of those bags myself? Sure, I can, but I still appreciate that he still offers.

Maybe I'm just being a stickler about things like "Ladies first" and "Don't sharpen your pencil when someone is in the middle of speaking" and "Don't wave your hand around waiting to be called when someone else is speaking because it seem as if you don't care about what the other person is saying." As a teacher, I want to make sure my students know the subject matter, but I think it's also important to model and teach ways to be respectful even if it does make me seem like an old fart! Maybe it's just me, but I'm going to continue doing it that way anyway!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cheating the Clock

Okay, so technically it is no longer Tuesday since it's :12:24am, but I'm going to cheat and post the time to be before 12, haha (or fix it tomorrow morning since I can't seem to get it to work as I type on my phone).

There's only so much grading a teacher can do in one day! I actually had to explain to the 6th graders today that they were not my only class and that grading ELA assignments actually takes longer than math. Literature tests or homework assignments take quite some time because I write comments and make corrections since I hope the students will learn from their mistakes. I think it's hard for them to understand that outside of school, I have other responsibilities as well. I don't mind if they ask if I have graded a test, but if I say no, it does bug me when they continue to ask when they will get it back. My response is to say they will get it back when it is graded! It's not as if I purposely hang on to these things for the fun of it!

With that being said, it's definitely time to go to sleep. I had to dig out my fleece blanket last night because I couldn't fall asleep and realized I just couldn't get warm. Hopefully, I will fall asleep faster tonight. If anything, the idea of more grading might just konk me out before I finish typing thi ...

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Sneaker for a Pastor

Back in August, my cousin Karen requested a different kind of "card" for a specific purpose. She wanted a sneaker, a name, and a verse on cardstock so that she could put it in a frame for her fellowship to sign for their pastor. 

Since it was clearly a custom order that I wouldn't be repeating, I actually don't think I wrote the sizes  and measurements anywhere, but I can tell you that the sneaker is from the "Nifty Fifties" cartridge, the name is from "Mickey Font" and welded together, and the embossed background is the Cuttlebug folder "Traffic Jam."

When I sent my cousin the above picture, she asked that the font be blue instead of white, so I cut the name out again and glued it on top since the white one was already adhered. Thankfully, it worked out fine. 

This is what the sneaker looks inside the matte and the frame. I think it turned out decently considering I actually had a bit of trouble and frustration with the sizing and figuring out if everything would fit. I know it seems so simple when you look at it, but I had tried to put the verse under the sneaker, but it just didn't work until I moved the verse to the top right corner. It's projects like these that make me happy I have a ton of options when cutting with my Cricut and now with my Silhouette!