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!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma!

I posted this on Instagram and Facebook, but I think it's entirely appropriate to post it here as well as my grandma turned 90 today!

Happy 90th birthday to my grandma! I grew up just a few blocks from her and my grandfather, so we were actually in walking distance. Each Sunday, my grandparents, Jon, and I would squish in the backseat of the car to go to church. When my grandfather passed away, she would still go out to eat with us on Friday nights. I feel I spent a lot of time with her but never got to know her much because of the language barrier. But then when I started getting sick in college and had to go for all those tests and then the surgeries, my grandma was always faithfully praying for me and reassured that she was. I remember one specific Christmas family gathering where my uncle was praying at the house, and my grandma kept interrupting and saying, "Rachel ... Rachel ..." because she wanted to make sure that they prayed for my upcoming surgery. Though we could never quite talk about it, she has been an example of a woman of faith especially over these last 10-15 years. Love you, Gma Law!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lancaster 2014, Day 1: Kitchen Kettle Village Part II

We continued on our tour of Kitchen Kettle Village with a stop at Yummie's Toy Box. I remembered this store from our family trips. I specifically remembered the moving or talking cow in the corner as well as the creepy doll on a shelf. 

You'd think toy stores are the least threatening places, but for me, I say that some of them can be rather intimidating! I cautiously stepped through the door and carefully turned my head to the left to check for the cow, but it was no longer there. Phew! But when I looked to my right, there were a TON of dolls! Haha, that was rather scary. I did, however, share the love by taking this picture and posting it on Instagram/Facebook and tagging my cousin because we had initially joked about the original lone baby on the shelf.

Other than the dolls, there were definitely other cuter toys in the store. Of course, once we saw the horse and elephant, we all thought the same thing. My mom was a para for 3 years for a little boy who just adored horses, and his brother loved elephants! Once we all knew about the horse thing, we would always say, "D. would love this." Even my dad would say stuff like that too! 

Being a girl, I drawn to these cupcakes. I didn't even know what they were when I first saw them, but they reminded me of the little cupcakes that you'd play with if you had a dessert food set or something.

Howard took a much better picture of it. The colors are so pretty! In reality, I'm not that big of a fan of cupcakes with colored frosting. I think that frosting should be brown. Just plain ol' chocolate will do!

These cupcakes had little necklaces in them. They were actually rather cute! I did very much like the case though, and both Howard and I immediately thought of Emma at A Pinch of Pixie Dust because almost every single cupcake item reminds us of her! It happened again a bit later while we were still at Kitchen Kettle. I think cute containers like this would be super cute for a proposal because it looks like they would just hold play jewelry only.

This was the kind of store that had a ton of personalized items. Even though I don't think I actually own anything that's personalized anymore, I still have a tendency to look for my name. My mom found this and pointed it out to me. Despite always searching for it, I usually don't like my name, haha. I used to say that it reminded me of a larger person the same way the name "Bertha" does. I know it seems silly, but I got so accustomed to growing up being called "Rae" and not "Rachel." There are a few people at work who call me "Rae" and "Rach," which I like. Of course, I love the name itself and what it means, which is little lamb! Plus, I really like the idea that in the Bible, she was so loved that Jacob was willing to work years and years for her.

Though this sign also says my name, it doesn't necessarily make me think of the Bible, haha. I used to have a sign on my door at home for "Rachel Rd." It was an odd feeling when I finally took it down when I moved from the smaller bedroom to the larger one after my older brother moved out.

Like most toy stores and shops, there were a good amount of plushies to purchase. Surprisingly, they weren't that expensive, and I did like the selection of animals that they had. I don't really want to ever buy plushies for our kids or for other people's kids unless the kid was with us at the moment and chose it. Despite the fact that I'm almost 30, I still enjoy the fact that I have stuffed penguin and a teddy bear from Howard, but I technically chose each one!

The store also had an assortment of those old-fashioned prank toys. Howard got a kick out of this one. It's so silly! Haha, I guess it's just a little hand that you put on your finger to make it seem as if your hand shrunk. 

The final toy that caught my eye was this one! I just had to take a video of it in action. I imagine it'd be cool to have that because I'd be sending cars down those ramps one after another. Of course, as a mom, I'd probably be annoyed by the constant sound all day long, haha.

Still so many more stores to explore!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Peace Out

Dear Wasp, 

See what happens when you come into my classroom? You die. You and all your friends need to stay out of the building and out of my lights. If you really think it's necessary to be in the lights, you should stay there until you fry and die because I'm getting sick and tired of you guys pulling my students' attention away from my lesson and also forcing me to pretend that it's okay that you're hanging out by my windows. 

Stop making me waste my time in calling the front desk or calling maintenance to tell them there's a wasp flying in the room but then disappearing when they arrive to deal with you. Stop making me spend time trying to get the kids to turn back towards me and then eventually having to relocate my class to the library or some other available classroom. I know you might think that my math lessons on prime factorization or my ELA lessons on the irony of Maupassant's story "The Necklace" are interesting, but trust me, it doesn't do you any good. Get it through your heads; you are not welcome in 311!

A teacher who didn't want to get too close to the wasp in the picture for fear that it was just playing dead and would attack me if I lifted the blinds

Thursday, September 18, 2014

You'll Bring Honor To Us

This morning when I got in my car to drive to work, I saw something on the top that made me do a double take. I thought it was just a leaf since our building is surrounded by tons of trees. But on closer examination, I noticed it was actually a pretty large grasshopper! I don't know that I've ever seen a grasshopper that large in person other than the ones I've seen in tanks or something. It's probably not as interesting as the huge praying mantis that I saw in the parking spot next to ours that was devouring the fuzziest caterpillar ever, but this was just funny because he was just on the top of my car. I started thinking about Crickee in Mulan right away, haha, especially since we had Back to School Night for the parents tonight.

I only tried two times to get a clear picture, but then I had to actually get going because we have staff meetings on Thursday mornings. I didn't have a chance to check to see if he was there by the time I got to work. I wonder where he is now!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Awesome Is My Auntie

I stopped by Target after school today to pick up a fairly good deal on Lysol products with the buy 5 get $5 gift card back. Since I was in the area and wanted to wait a bit before driving home with the school traffic, I popped into Old Navy to check the clearance sections to see if there was anything worth getting. 

I did find this shirt in the boys' clearance section, which I thought would've been something to get for my nephew except for the fact that Yoda isn't really the cutest and I'm also not really the kind of person who wants to give a shirt that says something like that, haha. I took a picture just because I thought Howard would appreciate it.

Every night there's always so much to do. I don't start working right away once I get home because I definitely need a break, but then I also fall asleep for a "nap" after I take a shower. My body still hasn't gotten used to being back at work. Tomorrow is going to be a bit tougher what with a meeting right after school and then Back to School Night as well! I won't get home until maybe 9:30pm. I'm going to be so exhausted by Friday morning! Oh well. At least the work is rewarding!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Busy Teacher Life

Just realized it didn't even cross my mind that I needed to post last night!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Back Burner

I have all these ideas of what I want to write down on my blog when big things happen. For example, I wanted to write about how and why I returned to teaching once the school year started. Then there was a barbecue at my sister-in-law's house a few weeks ago along with my nephew's one-month celebration last week. On Saturday, there was a bridal shower for my cousin who's getting married in less than a month! Of course, I didn't finish our Lancaster trip either. And then today, I turned 30! Yes, I am now 30 years old!

Alas, the blog has to be placed on the back burner because school definitely takes priority. Despite the fact that it was my birthday today, I did actually get a good amount of work done. Howard and I didn't really have a big celebration, but we're not really into that sort of thing anyway although I was hoping to have dinner with friends just because it was a milestone birthday. The busyness of September kind of prevented it from happening though. Oh well, there will always be birthdays the following year, God-willing!

Hubs did get me the book light I've been thinking about for some time because when I get to bed, I sometimes have the urge to write in my journal or read, but I don't have a lamp on my side of the bed (no electrical outlet is close enough). I've tried using a flashlight, but it's just way too bright when it's so close to the pages. I had it in my Amazon shopping cart for a while and was waiting to build up gift cards again, but even so, I knew it was a "luxury" item that wasn't needed, so it was definitely fun that he got it for me!

He also brought heroes home for dinner since I wasn't in the mood for anything else. I don't really like going out to eat in general because I'm much more comfortable being at home just in case I don't feel well. I would go out though, but the fact that I have work tomorrow means that I'd be thinking about it the entire time. Instead, maybe we'll go out on a Friday or Saturday in the next few weeks when we don't have a million things on our plates. He also surprised me by bringing home some goat cheese and gorgonzola cheese! Haha, what a dear that he brought home some stinky cheese just for me since he doesn't like it at all! When we were in Lancaster, I loved the Smoke Shop at Kitchen Kettle Village and being able to try cheeses. Oh, and by "try cheese," I mean try like 3 and then decide I might as well just have 3 huge chunks of blue cheese instead of testing others.

You know what really meant the most to me though? The fact that as I graded papers in an attempt to catch up (what teacher is ever really caught up up paperwork?), hubs filled my water bottle for tomorrow and made and packed my lunch for me since I like doing it the night before. You know what's even more amazing? He'd totally do it for me even when it's not my birthday.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Bad!

I didn't have a chance to write a blog post for today. Whoops.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oreo Cravings

Whoops, missed posting earlier because I was napping! I anticipate that happening a lot on Fridays during the school year. I got up to take a shower, but I think I'm going to go back to sleep again in just a few minutes after I finish my milk and brush my teeth. I love that I have a legitimate reason to have Oreos and milk at 12:55am. What exactly is that reason? I wanted them.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


This morning I was thinking about what happened 13 years ago when I realized that the majority of the kids in the school were not even alive at the time. I don't think it's possible for them to fully grasp what happened that day in the same way that I can't fully understand historical events that occurred before I was born. It just saddens me to think that this is our world. But God is faithful and just even when all we can see is despair and injustice.

I don't have much else to say. I wrote a post on the 10-year anniversary about where I was at the time as I was a senior in high school. Click here if you would like to read it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Baby ... Chicken

Howard's immediate and extended family have a group text so they can all keep in touch since they live all over the world. Recently, many of the pictures have been of our nephew Toby because he's the newest addition to the family and because he is just so gosh darn cute! It's amazing how family members can keep in touch via the technology available these days so that even from thousands of miles away, they can somewhat see little Toby grow by seeing pictures and videos almost instantaneously. 

A few of Howard's relatives have mentioned that we should have a baby soon so that Toby has a cousin. Then there would be two babies in the family. However, we aren't quite ready for that stage of life yet even though I am thoroughly enjoying the snuggles and chats with my nephew. Last Friday, we were out for dinner to celebrate Toby's one-month. My sister-in-law was sending pictures in the chat for the family who couldn't be there, and then this is what my hubs sends in response:

Yes, my readers (all 5 of you out there). That is a picture of a whole chicken that Howard roasted for dinner last week. Haha, he claimed that it was his baby because he was quite proud of roasting a chicken for the first time! He's such a silly, haha.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First Day = Sore Throat, Sore Knees

Every single year on the first day of school with students, I go to lunch with the beginnings of a sore throat. By the end of the day, I leave the building with a throat so painful that I'm unsure of whether or not I'll be able to make it through the rest of the week! It's just a part of what I need to get used to come September. Of course, the first day of school always has the most talking since I go over rules/expectations and what each class entails. I answer questions if there are any, but there really is not much of an opportunity for a break.

When I get home, that's also when I usually realize my knees and ankles are sore as well from standing all day in flats (I can't even imagine how it'd feel in heels!). There are few opportunities to sit during the day as a teacher, but at least starting next week, there will be tests that the kids start taking, which means a chance to sit down for a bit!

After having been a teacher for 6 full years starting in 2007 and then being away from it last year, I have to say that despite the sore throat and the sore knees, I LOVE THAT I AM BACK WHERE I BELONG. I'll take the first day sore throat and sore knees!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday in Pictures

Posting these pictures yesterday would have made more sense than posting them tonight, but I took a rather long nap after church. The previous post was scheduled and was published at 8pm while I was in bed and incessantly pushing snooze. Oh well!

I was super happy yesterday to see my dear friend at church again with her baby! We were able to catch up after service and Sunday School were finished. Then baby Gabby woke up, and I had the chance to carry her once more though it wasn't for long because she was getting fussy probably because of the heat. Even so, I savor every moment with this little one and am excited to watch her grow up! It's so strange when it's your friends and family from your generation having kids! It's so different!

Once we said goodbye, Howard and I headed to one of our go-to restaurants to order lunch. Instead of waiting at the restaurant for our food, we've been going to the Chinese supermarket nearby to pick up fruit and vegetables. It's just easier to do that as opposed to walking farther to check the stands set up on the sidewalk. It's such a busy street that in the heat, it can be pretty annoying especially when there are a lot of tourists around, so going to the supermarket just makes more sense. I specifically watched the prices at the register yesterday and was just amazed at how each item was less than $2. You can't get those prices at Stop & Shop or Target!

Once that was done, we went back to the restaurant to pick up our order. We very rarely eat at church since we enjoy a snack before Sunday School so we're not as hungry. Plus, eating Chinese food at home is better for me because I can have a large mug of tea to hopefully prevent me from feeling off. I also love how there's usually enjoy to eat again that night so we never cook dinner on Sundays either.

It's becoming a ritual to do those things on Sundays, which I like because it means I pretty much know what to expect each week. Considering how neurotic I can be, any type of schedule keeps me calm!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stuffed Peppers

On Sundays, Howard and I do some veggie and fruit shopping in Chinatown after church service and Sunday School. Each week, I kept seeing huge peppers and was thinking about stuffed peppers each time! I've enjoyed the Stouffer's stuffed peppers a few times in my life, and those are frozen, so I had very high hopes for making them myself and devouring them!

We chose 4 large red ones since they seem to bother me a lot less than green ones in terms of acidic content and because the yellow ones weren't perfectly sized the way these were. I followed the recipe on Betty Crocker found here

Even though the recipe required 1 cup of cooked rice, I accidentally measured it as 1 cup of uncooked rice. I ended up having a lot of the mixture leftover. It actually could have fit in 2 more peppers if I had them. Instead of using salt for seasoning, I used Creole seasoning instead for a bit of a kick. Howard and I have been loving it since we started using it; his sister and her husband bought it for us when they went on a trip to New Orleans before their baby was born. I also had to use 2 cups of pasta sauce for the mixture because it was dry with the extra rice, so that was an entire jar.

When they came out of the oven, they looked so good! Since we didn't have mozzarella, I threw on some Kraft Mexican shredded cheese, which has a combo of different cheeses in it. Of course, once it was sliced in half, I wanted to throw some more cheese on it because, well, CHEESE! We both really enjoyed it, and I will definitely make it again during the school year because it wasn't difficult at all. Plus, making 4 peppers means that we will both have leftovers for lunch the next day. I will, however, boil the peppers a bit longer next time so that they're more tender.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Penciling a Quick Thanks

Clean and simple cards are really my favorite because they look less cluttered and possibly like cards you can find at specialty stationery shops! Haha, well, maybe that's just what I tell myself. You'd think that they're easier to design, but they're actually not. When I first started crafting, I had to learn to be okay with leaving a lot of white on the card. I remember Howard used to tell me that it was okay, but it was so difficult for me to accept it as a finished card. But nowadays, I love the white on the card as evidenced by this card that has absolutely no pattern paper or fancy layers at all.

The pencil was cut from the "Locker Talk" cartridge at 1.75 inches. Since I was using the longer pencil as opposed to the stubby pencil, I chose to put everything on a 4x9 card, which means it fits perfectly in a business-sized envelope. It also made it easier to cut out the "thanks" too since I knew ahead of time that I wanted to use this specific script from  the "Wild Card" cartridge. For some odd reason, my notes say "Thanks from Wild Card at in," so apparently I forgot to jot down the size! Whoops!

Just to add a bit more to the card, I used a Martha Stewart punch for the stars on the bottom of the white layer before adhering the pencil to the card with foam adhesives for some dimension. I really hope that my customer liked this custom order and that the recipients of these cards (I believe I made 4) liked them as well!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Last Day

Today was the last day for us teachers to prepare for the new school year. I pretty much finished my classroom the day before other than having to make and put my room sign for my door. I also forgot to bring in my laminated and magnetized "Aim," "Do Now," "Lesson Steps," and "Homework" strips, but I can just pop those on when I go back. We had about 3 hours of training in the morning for RenWeb since now our school is finally moving towards doing everything online. The afternoon, however, was just time allotted for working in the classroom. Since I didn't have anymore room setup to handle and I was just not in the mood to do planning or edit the letters I send out in the beginning of the year, my next door neighbor teacher Caroline and I went downstairs to hang out in our friend Melanie's room who is teaching 1st grade this year. After just chatting for a while, Melanie got back to getting ready, so we were able to help her by punching out the letters for the bulletin board.

Those things can be rather annoying to take apart when you desperately need the letters in a rush. They're also frustrating when you're doing for yourself! But it was a productive use of our time to help out a friend! I also just love that these past 3 days, I felt as if I were returning home after being away for an entire year (not including the days I went in to sub). I love my colleagues, and whether we are celebrating over good news or venting due to frustrations, it really makes all the difference to be in an atmosphere where you know your brothers and sisters in Christ will be there for you.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Disney Drawer

I always think that I'm going to add a ton of splashes of Disney in my classroom when I set it up, but it doesn't usually happen. The prevailing theme has always been penguins (my former students went overboard with buying me everything penguin!), encouraging Bible verses (sometimes posted more for my benefit than the students' benefit!), and order (all desks and books need to be neat, no clutter). Sure, some may say that's not really a theme, but that's the benefit of teaching in middle school! We don't have to fully decorate our rooms the way elementary teachers do. In my eyes, I can't handle the busyness anyway. I remember that during my childhood years in school, I'd sometimes stare at posters when I was bored in social studies when we just read from the textbook.

As I "decorated" today (aka hung up those few posters), I found the little Mulan pictures that my friend/mentor teacher gave to me each time it came up in her calendar. Years ago, all the 8th grade girls and the 8th grade female teachers (there were only 3 of us at the time versus the whopping 4 of us now!) identified with a particular Disney princess. Being the only Asian, of course I was Mulan, haha. I had no arguments about that though because she rocks. I found them in the room despite skipping a year of teaching last year, and instead of putting them up anywhere visible since that "theme" was from a few years ago, I taped them to the drawer of my desk.

I know it'll make me smile when I see them more so because it reminds me of how they'd show up on my desk out of nowhere and because I know my colleague will see them too since she is teaching in my room this year!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to School!

The school year has officially started for me! The kids don't begin until Monday, but teachers had to report today for meetings and classroom set-up. Considering I had a fairly long day arriving at 8am and leaving at 4:15pm, it only made sense that I go grocery shopping afterwards too, right? Right. Because it's either that or go tomorrow after work before the sale changes on Friday and hate myself for not going today.

Alas, my tiredness means that this will be a picture post with brief captions!

I had to dig out a lot of my school items from the closets since I didn't anticipate using them ever again! That included my paper sorter, three-hole punch, pencil sharpener, desk organizer, and a few plushies. Of course, using a deluxe utility tote from Thirty-One was the best way for me to transport all those items along with my lunch and some snacks! I'm glad that I am okay putting it on the floor or the ground because sometimes it gets rather heavy. I know that seems like kind of a strange thing to say, but I'm typically such a germaphobe, but this bag is the one that's allowed to be on the floor.

The school got breakfast catered for this first day, so I actually felt kind of sick on the car ride to school because I ate very little at home. I think the banana I had was actually giving me heartburn, so when I was stopped at a red light, I popped a Tums. I was praying the entire way there, and thankfully, the Tums (and prayer!) was successful so that I was able to enjoy some food!

When I finished the 2012-2013 school year, I brought home all the items I purchased for school including this desk organizer. I put it on top of our "baby Expedit" (a 2x2 one from IKEA) in front of printer to hold our keys and other random things like our deodorant for some reason. I had to empty it out yesterday so that I could return it to its spot on the desk!  

I saw this poster up for grabs in the teachers' lounge, and it just didn't make sense to me or a few other teachers! Haha, I admit I kind of like it just because it's so odd, so I took a picture of it to save it forever since I wouldn't be able to explain it to kids or parents if I brought it to my room to hang on my wall!

Now it's time for bed! Good night all!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Husband and Wife Couponing

Despite the fact that people know that I coupon at CVS (and mention it in Sunday School, haha), I actually don't go very often any longer unless there's a specific need like a medicine refill or for clearance! I saw on Instagram via #cvsclearance that summer things were on clearance! I was actually looking for a few specific items including little bottles of toothpicks that people were getting for $0.25, and it was 2 in a pack!

I was happy to see that the clearance at my store was also 75% off since it usually takes a little longer for our prices to drop. But considering it was already that low, it wasn't surprising to see that most of the items were gone. That meant no toothpicks for me! That's one of those things that you don't really think about buying, but then there are random times when a toothpick is exactly what you need but you don't have them! Haha, one day I'll get them.

Anyway, I did go in knowing I had to spend my $3 ExtraBucks that was expiring soon, so I was hoping to roll it a little bit and then spend it all so I wouldn't feel obligated to go back. The Playtex tampons were a great deal as they were originally $5.29 for the box, but I had a $3 coupon for it making it $2.29. When I showed up at the store, I got a 25% off tampons/pads coupon from the redbox, so that meant saving another $1.33! So the box would have just been $0.96 out of pocket to get $3 ECB back! That was a pretty good way for me to roll the $3 I already had.

I purchased the summer clearance items in this transaction too just to make it easier. Howard and I decided to pick up two of the Freez Paks for ourselves and then I called my mom to see if she needed any since they were only $0.49 each (originally $1.99). There really should be four in the picture, but I left my mom's two in the car instead of bringing them all the way upstairs. Then we also picked up two of the Tundra Freez Paks for $0.32 (originally $1.29), which would be more useful in my Thirty-One Thermal Pouch or the Picnic Thermal for quick errands or for lunches. Lastly, I saw the 24 oz tumbler and liked that it was much larger than the ones I already have, so I got that for  $1.99 (originally $7.99). Basically, we just had to pay for the ice as the ECB I had paid for the other two things.

The next transaction was the vitamins. Isn't it ridiculous that the regular price cost of the bottle at CVS is $15.79? What?! How is that possible? They were on sale last week for $8.29. I had a $2 manufacturer's coupon as well and used the $3 ECB from the first transaction, so it was $3.29 out of pocket, which I think is decent for vitamins especially since I also got $5 ECB from it too!

The third and final transaction was a spur of the moment purchase. Howard was looking for hydrocortisone for his hand, so we saw that the Neosporin one had an ECB deal. The original price was $10.49, so I used the $5 ECB from the previous transaction meaning it was $5.49 out of pocket, but I got $4 ECB back.

The total was $11.56 out of pocket with another $4 to spend for next time, which is more than what is typically spent at CVS, but it included vitamins and ointment. Considering the regular price of the Neosporin was just about a dollar less than what we spent out of pocket, I think it was pretty good unplanned couponing with my standing in the aisles with pen and paper doing the math to figure out the best deal. It also helped that Howard was there to help with mutliple transactions because as I rang up the next purchase, he was ripping off the ECB from the previous receipt! Husband and wife couponing!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rainbow Smiles

I made a very simplistic card recently for a custom order. I used the rainbow from "Simply Charmed" and cut it at 3.25 inches. I think when using this cartridge, they are much cuter when cut at larger sizes so that the eyes and smile cut out nicely. Either that or the face should just be omitted. 

I've also been going through a phase of cutting out the sentiment instead of always using a stamp. The "smile" sentiment is from the "Wild Card" cartridge and cut at 10 inches. I've mentioned it before, but the cuts on this cartridge are in relation to the base card so that's why it had to be cut at 10 inches.

It's clearly much easier just having 3 colors in this rainbow than the 7 that should be there instead. Plus, it's probably easier not having to look for a difference between indigo and violet!