Saturday, February 20, 2010

Decorating Kind of Day

Husband had to go to work today. On a Saturday. Boo. That left me home alone. And bored. That's a dangerous combination. Especially since it was above freezing. Luckily I had already planted the seed in Husband's head that I might make a trip to Lowe's since I found a gift card from Christmas in my purse. We will have guests stay with us in March and I thought they might like some blinds on their window. Call me crazy!
I went to Lowe's. And I purchased blinds. For essentially 50% off (the gift card was roughly half the cost). And I was happy. But still a little bored. Everyone on The Nest raves about a store called HomeGoods, which we have here in town but I've never taken the time to go to. It's on the other end of town and the only reason we go there is for IHOP. And you don't get between us and our IHOP. We're usually too stuffed after to shop, so I had never been in. Well, like I said, I had the majority of the day to kill and was sporting some major cabin fever, so I took the trek halfway around the circle and went in. Y'all, I have found heaven! It's like a TJMaxx, only all home stuff. And most of it is CUTE stuff. TJMaxx can often be hit or miss, but they had all kinds of things. I walked in and BAM! was hit in face with an idea for a plant shelf we have as you come in the house. They had rugs that did not cost a zillion dollars, nice looking chairs and side tables, art for pretty cheap (got a few ideas for the dining room), and of course standard kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom stuff. I'm in love. Puffy pink heart love. I then started making my way back around towards home, stopping and Bed, Bath, & Beyond to look for a sheer to put over the side "window" by the front door. It's not really a full window, so I was looking for a fairly specific size. I found something online, but they didn't have it in store. Boo. I did walk out with two baskets for the office (4 down, 3 to go!) and a second set of flannel sheets...sheets that were 50% off, I might add. They're chocolate brown and go perfectly with our new bedding. Winter sheets, done. Now to search for new summer sheets. Since I didn't get what I needed at BB&B, I decided to hit up Target, who also didn't have what I wanted. I magically walked out without anything else! Admire my self control ;). I then hit Wal-Mart, since I knew they at least had the rod I needed. I got that as well as a couple of pillows for the guest bed. Total damage done: about $60. Not bad for 2 steps closer to a "finished" guest room and office (the shelf is starting to come together. I can see the vision!) and 1 step closer to a "finished" bedroom.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thinking Caribbean Thoughts

Do you remember that feeling when you were a kid and the weatherman predicted snow. You'd put a spoon under your pillow or sleep with your jammies inside out or any number of other wives tales to get a snow day. Growing up in Alabama, a prediction was all it took to close the state. Most of the time we'd get a dusting at best (which wasn't even stuck to the roads). But every once in a while, we'd get a really good snow. We'd get our makeshift sleds (garbage can lids, stiff cardboard, baby tubs--no lie, it was my sled for several years) and, after a few practice runs in my backyard, I's go to our neighbor's house with a great hill and spend the day sledding down. And that was pure bliss.
Snow days as a grown-up aren't as much fun. Granted, as a teacher, I do still GET snow days (which is good since I don't know how to drive in snow and prefer to stay home anyway). But what kid gets sick of snow days? We've had a ridiculous amount of snow this year. No, we don't live in D.C. or anywhere on the east coast, which has been hammered with snow, which currently sits taller than me. But we've had 3 or 4 storms dump 4-6 inches on us at a time. Snow days make me lazy. That's a lie. I'm pretty lazy period. But it's even HARDER to motivate myself to get off the couch for lunch, much less to vacuum or get the load of laundry from the weekend that is STILL sitting in the dryer. This last round has been a doozy. It started late Sunday night and we had maybe 3 or 4 inches by mid-morning. Local public schools were out for the holiday (and Husband was home-Yay!-to spend the day with me), but many schools were using the day to make-up snow days...only to have a snow day.
They're still out today, including schools that NEVER close. One of my tutorees was lamenting the fact that her school never closes for snow. It was the only school in all of our county to be open with the last storm. Guess who's out today (along with all of the others)? Private schools here often make their own call and often are in session, but even those are out now. I just measured the snow on our back patio and we range from 4 inches closest to the door to 6
inches on our table. The drifts are crazy too! I'd take pictures of the drifts, but you can't tell how much it is. I can show y'all these though:

My attempt at a drift photo. Really doesn't give a frame of reference.

Snow sliding down the roof.

6 inches on the table. Crazy drifts behind it, too!

The snow on the seats meet the bottom of the arm rest.

Snow, go away. I used to love you, but now I'm kind of apathetic. Go away for a long time and we may be able to renew our relationship. Anyone need a buddy to go to the Caribbean?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bonus Post!

Have you ever been to a baseball or perhaps football or basketball game that goes into overtime and the announcer gets all excited because "you paid for (insert appropriate time here), but now you get FREE (insert sport)!!!"? The announcer for the Lexington Legends does this. Well, y'all are getting FREE BLOG POST!! Wait...I don't think that counts.
This post is just a few snippets.
* We got a new DVD shelf. It looks really good, doesn't feel like it's going to fall over at any moment, and was pretty inexpensive from (free shipping and we bought during the home event so it was something like 15% off)!

*I've discovered a few great blogs. I'm a little OCD when it comes to organizing so anything along those lines are great! I've recently added Totally Together Journal to my Google Reader and LOVE the cleaning tips. Totally manageable after a long day hanging out with kids. I discovered Literally Organized just today, so I'm still working through the old posts, but I'm loving what I'm reading so far.
*My best lady friends and I love a coffee shop close to our former campus. It's the meeting spot whenever we all happen to be in town (or country as the case sometimes is) and are free. It's funky, it's local (gotta support the small business), they make the BEST lattes, and they only use fair trade coffee. "What the heck does that mean?" you may be asking. Even if you're not asking, I'm going to tell you anyway. As with many imports, coffee is often imported from poor countries and workers are paid very little for their hard work. And harvesting coffee is HARD work. Fair trade works to raise the standard. Workers are paid a fair wage and work under improved conditions. Importers face tougher standards, which can mean higher prices for the consumer, but with a lighter conscience knowing the hands are not being abused to get me the coffee. That's at the store though. Our place has comparable prices to Starbucks (again, made even better by the civic duty we perform supporting Fair Trade AND local business) Plus, our coffee shop does a Happy Hour and all drinks are 1/2 price! Another option to fair trade is a program called Crop to Cup. It's similar, but instead of a co-op (essentially what fair trade is), farmers are paid a certain percentage over market value. Find more info about it here. Just passing along potentially useful info!

Football Party Planning

I miss football already. :( Only slightly over 200 days until college kick-off!
Yesterday, we hosted our Young Adult group to watch the Super Bowl. We rushed home after church (after donating literally my last pennies to Souper Bowl of Caring, of course!) a
nd did the last minute straightening and arranging. I got out the serving dishes we'd need and started arranging the table. Then I started getting creative. We needed a centerpiece, football--duh. But since our bowls are all wide more than tall, we needed some height. I broke into my stash of scrapbook paper and made some...well, I don't really know what they are, but they're festive and fun, and most importantly CHEAP! I also used some leftovers from another scrapbook project to make some labels for the food. That's where I got REALLY creative! Our menu included Penalty Pretzels, Touchdown Wings, Cheesy "Pig" (Potato) Skins, Saints Salsa and Spinach dip, and Colts Coke and Sprite. Hahaha! Told y'all I was really excited!

Colts' Coke and Sprite

The table earlier in the afternoon. I realized people would have to reach over the football to get to the chips, salsa, and spinach dip. So the football got moved to the back (sitting on a small box covered with a napkin).

I never did get a picture of the potato skins. Guests arrived shortly after this picture (and they weren't completely done). Then they all mysteriously disappeared...which is a good sign I assume!

All in all, our first official party was a success. People had a great time watching the game (even if a few went home disappointed) and afterwards we got to show off the house!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Hey look! It's an update! I'm just glad my last post gave everyone reason to not come around often.
Anyway, have you ever had one of those "A-Ha" moments? The moments where everything seems to click and fall into place? I had one of those recently and it's made me incredibly excited but incredibly impatient. I have found my purpose professionally. It's something I have really been struggling with as the deadline to start my Masters degree rapidly approaches.
Background: In Kentucky, you have to have a Masters degree to renew your teaching certificate. You get 5 years to start after completing K-TIP (Kentucky Teachers Internship Program). For me, my expiration date is 2012. So not horribly pressing, but quickly approaching. While working on a Masters, you can take specialized courses and earn an "endorsement" or specialization. That's what I've been toying with for quite awhile, although honestly, I had been toying with the idea of not getting a Masters period and do something else besides teaching. Until I had my a-ha moment.
I have spent this past school year tutoring students with dyslexia. A teacher at my old school brought this issue up last year as she was going through a certification process to diagnose and tutor dyslexia. I tried to start tutoring myself that summer, but the site she was using wasn't hiring. This school year, business started booming and they needed more tutors so after a super quick process, I began tutoring 2-3 sessions once a week. This semester, after the lay-off, they gave me an additional 4 sessions 2 days a week. I have loved every minute of it. Sometimes it's frustrating, trying to get some of my students to focus. I remind myself that they have been in school all day, sometimes struggling to survive that, then have to come to me for an hour only to go home and finish homework. So we do some goal setting and when time allows, we play games that may or may not have anything to do with anything. This has given me focus in what I want to do: obtain my Masters with an endorsement in Reading and Writing. This would give me qualifications not only as a regular classroom teacher, but as a Reading or Writing Specialist. I would also like to become certified to diagnose dyslexia as most Reading Specialists don't have this training.
How did I stumble across this plan? A job posting, of course! I had been thinking about the Reading/Writing Masters for awhile, but this posting at a school I ADORE was specifically for people with training in dyslexia, using a particular method (guess what method we use in tutoring...the SAME). I know this job is perfect for my experiences. Pray for me that THEY realize it's perfect for my experiences. But even if I don't get this position, I'm still hitting the job market (what sliver there is) hard this time around, emphasizing what I've been working on so I can start putting my plan into motion (it's way easier to have a job then the Masters rather than the other way around--when school tout wanting the most qualified teachers, you'd think a Masters would be helpful, but you'd be wrong).
This post is a lot of rambling and I apologize. I just thought I'd share my excitement, prayer request, and experiences. When have you experienced a-ha moments? Did you feel like you were hit over the head with bricks? Did it build gradually until you just realized it?