Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Picks: Wal Mart

So I know we all hate Wal-Mart for every reason imaginable, but in the small town of Olney, it is just impossible to avoid. They have some pretty adorable decor items for the holiday season at awesome prices, so I thought I'd share. These should hold you over until the next trip to TJ Maxx or World Market...

Everyone seems to be searching for a vintage olive basket right now, but they are running $50-$100 on etsy. At $9.74 and free ship to store option, this is a great alternative and it is big enough to be a waste basket in a bathroom!
Find it here

This cutting board is adorable and only $24.95! Personalized gifts are awesome for Christmas. 
Find it here

Here is a set of TWO lamps for only $53.97. These are an awesome pop of color and will be adorable for spring. Check out the awesome detail on these here

Mohawk has an awesome line of rugs available online on Wal-Mart right now. I ordered the this one above in a 5x7 for our dining room in navy. I can't wait to see it with the oak pedestal table. 

These are also great:

Also loving these glass ornaments:



You can find them here and here. 

This ottoman comes in a ton of colors and is HUGE! Find it here.

I have one of these and they are amazing for parties or meals of any kind. I love this one because there are 2. 

I have a soft spot for wood trays and nature related decor. this is adorable and would look great holding something sparkly. 

See? Wal-Mart isn't all that bad...I never thought I would hear myself say that.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

11 Weeks In

(warning: if you are a seasoned teacher person, you'll probably find this boring and annoying, new teachers please head my warnings and read)

Here I am at 11 weeks into the school year. The fact that I am doing what I went to college for is still a little surreal. I have learned many things from my very very short teaching experience thus far. I came into this year thinking that one of two things would happen:
1. I would rock the school, district, state, country and maybe world with my crazy teaching methods and wild information (think Miss Squirrel from Bad Teacher). Kids and teachers alike would love me. I would basically eat from the golden apple and crowds would follow me like the new messiah. 
2. I would crash and burn like a bad blimp into an oil rig. I have heard so many horror stories of students threatening, abusing, breaking and harassing first year teachers. They go home every night crying. They are so overwhelmed they can't eat or sleep. They hit rock bottom before they either climb back out of the depths of booger wiping and fire extinguishing hell or they drop their job like a curly mullet in 2013 and run for their lives. 

I am happy say I am somewhere right in the middle. (probably closer to the crashing and burning because the first option is ridiculous)
I enjoy my co workers most of the time, for the most part, my students are excellent and bright. I haven't been extremely overwhelmed yet, and I've not cried for anything at this point other than pride in them for doing something amazing. Here's the breakdown on what I've learned in these short and fast weeks:

1: Bullying 
Bullying is not the literal shoving and swirly giving that we see on so many shows. Bullying in my classroom has been displayed in my 8th graders ganging up on one person (a different person often times as the day or minute or milisecond before). It is hard to explain without watching it in action, but it is heartbreaking. They break their peers down in the most personal ways. They have the ability to do so because the school and community is so small they know everything about each other. The bullied are not always the ones who tell their parents about it. They are not usually the kids who go to the principal's office every day for being harassed or made fun of. They are the ones who don't say anything and think that this is just their life and it will always be this way. I want them to know this is not how life will always be. I didn't have the greatest high school experience (it wasn't horrible or anything) but I never really felt like I always belonged to a group. So pay attention to the kids who try to help you out and identify when you are having a hard day. They will sit a little closer, come up to your desk or ask you a million questions. These are the ones who need to lean on you, don't be afraid to lean on them a little, too. Kids love to feel needed, just like teachers.

2: Teachers Bullying 
This does happen, probably not shockingly. I have a co worker that my students have filled me in on how she bullies them. Nothing makes me more upset than when someone who is meant to protect these kids is the one administering the hurt. Shame on them. All I can say about this is Karma. I'm a firm believer. 
Some teachers will try to knock you down and downplay your ideas and feelings because you are a first year. Don't ever let this get you down. You were chose over other applicants and the education panel saw something in you that they didn't see in the others. Everyone started out where you are. Screw them for not remembering that. 

3: Not all lessons learned in the classroom are academic 
I know what this sounds like. I am a CTE teacher so of course my subject is not "academic" in the way that math and English are. This is the good ole' cheerleaders are not athletes argument. I have had people tell me that I teach home ec, therefore I am not a REAL teacher. People have had the audacity to tell my husband that about me. I went to school for the same amount of time. I worked hard. 
Not to mention, we CTE teachers are teaching life skills. I still remember the things I learned in HS FCS and AG. Most things, actually. I'm not saying you don't need math. Each subject is part of a well-rounded individual of society, which is what we are trying to produce.
The other aspect of this is: I try to teach my kids about character. Honesty, friendship, acceptance, forgiveness, trustworthiness, hard work, and love. I don't mean in the pillars of character way we do state wide. I mean real life situations. You said something rude to your neighbor? Write them a letter apologizing. You did something you're not proud of? Learn to forgive yourself. You can never give too much. Always keep your word. These are the things I want my kids to leave with. If they don't remember that high density lipoprotein  is the "good" cholesterol in a year, that's ok. I want them to remember how they were taught to be open minded people.

4: Homework and other things
I am still not convinced I am doing this right. Do I assign enough? Too much? Do I know the content as well as I should? Am I asking them to do things I wouldn't do myself? Am I always as fair as I could be? Do I talk like the other teachers? Am I always as "teachery" as I should be? Am I too personal? Am I not personal enough? Am I organized enough? Does my classroom look weird? Am I balancing tests, assignments, labs etc. evenly? 
I don't know.
Probably not. 
I am human. Teachers are human. Acceptance is something I teach my students, so I think it is time I practice what I preach. I won't be perfect this year, or any year. But we aren't born knowing how to walk and talk, all things come in time. 

5: Special Education
If you would have told me a year ago that I would be standing outside of a bathroom holding a timer and reminding a kid to flush I would have not believed you. I took an aide position a few afternoons a week to supplement the fact that I am part time. I'll be honest. The first day was awful. I was terrified and dreaded the next day. But every day has fulfilled my life more than I could have ever imagined. My student that I aide has taught me so many life lessons it never stops amazing me. I am lucky enough to see his progress and education every single day.   I will never forget this chapter of my life and the importance of it. I know God did this on purpose, and I am forever thankful.  Nothing fixes a bad day like him needing to hold my hand because he is feeling nervous or needs to be comforted. 

Overall, I love this job so far. I think that's pretty evident. 
Note: I am aware that catastrophes could still take place. I pray they are not knife, sewing machine or fire related. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thrifty Thrifterson

Thrift finds from the past few weeks...
I cannot wait to have a (large, old, fabulous) house to put these treasures in! Wait, wasn't I in the same exact position last year? 

little typewriter table for $10!

Originally, I thought I would use it as a night stand, but here I am doing teacher things on it. 

My first cloth napkins!!! Swoooon!

Aaaaaaaaand More milk glass.... :D

Some cutie little felt veggies. Little did I know, these puppies are going for $50 ^ on Etsy...

Check out these suhweeet pharmacy jars! Those tags are glass.

This 1904 Victrola 300 Talking Machine (without the talking machine, or early record player)
I am going to use it as a TV stand, as our free one is now dilapidated and may not be holding a TV much longer. The middle back panel comes out, for cords and all that good stuff.

This one isn't mine, obviously, but this is what it would have looked like back in the day, before it was customized. Yeah, we will call it that. 

Found this in the cabinet!!

Also, check out these awesome fetus projects that my kids did!!! They may not look like much,  but to me, these are art projects worthy of display.

Strawberry Shampoo amniotic fluid

Until next time,
 Ollie enjoying fall

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rambling Chaos

So this past year has GOT to be the most chaotic year of my life. Hopefully for the rest of it. Since a year ago today, I:
  • Finished student teaching at Red Hill (shout out to Amy, Lindy and Elizabeth!)
  • Graduated from college
  • Moved out of my childhood home
  • Moved myself, 3 vehicles and a giant uhaul of belongings to Georgia on New Years Eve
  • Moved into our first home (Moldy Number 9)
  • Was a housewife for a bit
  • Adopted Ollie
  • Got a job at the library (hissssssss, shoutout to Christina, Grace, Amy and Karen)
  • Started a Job Information Lab at the library
  • Celebrated our 1 year anniversary (phewwww, the things they say about the first year are TRUE! Good and bad)
  • Stumbled upon a teaching job in Illinois
  • Flew home last minute on a Wednesday, Interviewed Thursday, Accepted a job on Friday, Started on Monday
  • Currently I am living half time between my parents in law's home and my parents'
  • Adopted a highway kitty
  • Finished my first month of teaching (still smiling)
  • And as of today, WE GOT PRE APPROVED TO BUY A HOUSE!
  • Tomorrow I am looking at my first home with a realtor
These may seem like tiny, simple steps to people who have been adults for a while, but I'm a newby, and this is big stuff to us. Pray for my sanity and anxiety levels. We want a small-medium old old old house (pre 1940's). I'm a sucker for some dark hardwood floors, giant molding, wear and tear patina, plaster walls, floor to ceiling windows, you just can't replicate those things. Here is the house we are looking at tomorrow. It may not lead anywhere, chances are it won't, but it being the first house I am looking at, it's a milestone. To a normal person, it would be like buying your first car. It's THAT much of an obsession. Swooooon. 

Are you in love yet? I am.

In other news, I went to the good ol' Altamont flea market last weekend and picked up some treasures!

$5 Fabulous Frame!

$5 Fishing basket for my love. It kind of has a decorative quality, doesn't it? Hmmm the things I could do....

Some things I am pining over but could not afford at the moment....

This beeeeeauty is $225 and I am DYING for a glass door hutch to display my collection of milk glass. Cue single tear.

I love this guy. I am not a fan of new appliances, and yes, I know how weird that is. I just don't need the gadgets and popcorn/potato buttons on everything. Plus it has a built in deep fryer! (this is a plus to Jordan, a minus for me. I think that's disgusting.)

Here is my previously mentioned highway kitty:

Before/After (1 week)

Now (1 week 2 days)

I found little Blue on the way to work. Bright an early at 6:30 am on a Monday morning. She's pretty lucky I had my eyes open enough to even see her. I was on old highway 40 and came up on the Blue Mound bar, about 2 miles from my house. I saw a little black thing stumbling in the road, getting blown around by semis and motorhomes. I thought it was a rat, and was initially grossed out to the max. Then I saw it was a kitty and had a mini heartattack. I whipped into a driveway and turned around and scooped her up. When I say she was 2 seconds from getting smashed, I mean it. When I grabbed her, I was shocked and disgusted, it looked like she had no eyeballs. There was a white lid covering them and green goo seeping out. So I raced her home, Cindy, Jay and I doctored her up and made her a nursery on the screened in porch. She blindly was climbing everything in (not) sight. We knew she was a little spunk from the start. 2 days later I took her to the vet and she has been on medicine ever since and is healing beautifully! All 5 weeks and 8oz of her. I originally was going to give her away. You can see how far I got with that. 

Last weekend I took some fall pictures of Ollie, she's such a good model!

Thank you for reading my rambling, chaotic life.
Until next time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Week of First Year: Check.

Week 1: Done.
After a very nice weekend, I started my first ever week of teaching in my own classroom. 
Monday: Did paperwork and got fingerprinted. 
Stress level: low
Tuesday: Sat in on the sub (who was so helpful) and dug into my classroom and started to go through things. Getting first day materials ready.
Stress level: moderate
Wednesday: First day of "class". Made it to school by 6:30 am. Did presentation on myself, classroom boundaries, words of wisdom etc. Played a few get to know you games. Then I really started digging into planning curriculum. Panic sets in. She was teaching things I don't really understand nor thing the kids need to be learning in Foods I. I'm talking esophagus juices and all. So thank God for Amy Moan, who sent me some presentations I was familiar with so I could have something to teach until I get a grip. 
Stress level: raging hormonal hunger and exhaustion and overwhelmingly lost
Thursday: Checked book numbers, went through a few more cabinets, met some teacher friends and hung posters. (posters were printed off Pinterest and laminated, teacher cheapo chic) graded papers and entered grades. 
Stress level: so overwhelmed I had to go to pass out and put it off.
Friday: Started presentations and actual lessons. The kids took a few notes, we had awesome discussions. The weird part was the second I started teaching, actually teaching, the stress washed away and I felt the rush of being in front of a class and seeing all of those brains working and processing new information. It is truly a moment that only a teacher can love and be comforted by. People tell me all the time that I won't understand having children until I am a mother and things like that, which I totally agree with and look forward to. Teaching is a little like that. You stress, prep, copy, laminate, cut, tape, type, hole punch, write, panic, start over, throw away the 50 rough drafts, grade, grade again, grade again, write down grades, enter grades, I could go on and on. But when you see the eyes on you and know that as an FCS teacher, especially, that they have not learned this before, it truly is a proud and fulfilling moment. It's a puzzle piece that falls into place. Those are my kids and I already love them. I get choked up thinking about them, which is just me being psycho and emotionally insane, but I take it seriously. In my care I have 15-22 kids at one time (89 total throughout the day). These kids are someone's entire world. I get the gravity of that, and I try my hardest to treat them how I want my nephew and future children to be treated.
Stress level: changed to positive motivation

Ignore my sappy emotional outpouring. Blame it on being away from my husband and puppy child and all of my things. I'm a little unstable but getting better. Most of all I am so incredibly happy and relieved and thankful for this crazy life. 

Here are some pics of my very first classroom.

I lied. These are TEACHER KEYS

It's a work in progress. That clutter has to go. Like soon. But I figured the kids are the first priority so anal retention and organization will wait. Gah.

I miss this girl more than words can say. Jordan sent me these today.