Thursday, December 1, 2011

Childhood Memories: Christmas Eve Surprise

I have been teaching my students how to write personal narratives and part of that teaching is modeling writing.  I have enjoyed writing my own stories so much and would like to share some of them with you. Here is one of my favorite memories:

Christmas Eve Surprise
As a child I spent every Christmas with my grandparents, and the Christmas that I was four years old was no exception.  My mom packed our car full of gifts, our overnight bags, and of course our two cats Kiki and Tarrat. 
            Soon after arriving at Grandma and Grandpa’s old farmhouse Mom and I settled in by putting the gifts under the small tree in the living room and chatting with Grandma and Grandpa in the kitchen in front of the wood-burning stove. 
            Merrroowww! Crash!  The sound came from the living room.  More specifically it came from the Christmas tree in the living room.  The four of us rushed in to see Kiki attacking the tree as if it were the last fish on earth.  The tiny tree swung around, ornaments flew off, and Kiki had a look on his face of pure crazed kitty ecstasy.  If Kiki could have said “weeeee!” I swear he would have. Tarrat was quietly observing, in awe of her feline friend.  Grandma panicked, “Get that cat off my tree!” she yelled. Grandpa found the sight hysterical.  My mother and I were too shocked to do anything but watch the poor, defenseless tree pivot dangerously with our crazy cat barely holding on by a paw.
            The tree finally tipped over, bringing Kiki down with it.  Grandma chased the cat, which ran and hid under the couch.  Mom and I cleaned up the mess, noticing that all the presents were intact.  And Grandpa?  He was still chuckling. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Missing My Dad

He was my favorite person in the world.  And then one day, out of the blue, he was gone.  Try explaining death to a two-year-old.  "Daddy is gone and never coming back," is what my mother would tell me when I would ask for my father (which I'm told was quite often).  I wasn't allowed to attend his funeral for fear that I would wiggle out of the arms of whoever was holding me and into the casket with my favorite parent.
It's amazing how that love never goes away.  To this day I adore my father.  I barely remember him, but the love I have for him is immense.  It's idealized: he will always be perfect in my mind. I will never know his faults, never have bad memories to tarnish the good, well, there are a lot of nevers.
Insensitive and/or ignorant people have told me "At least you were so young."  Others have flat out argued with me, "There's no way you could love someone you lost when you were a two."  It's amazing how people can tell you how to feel when they have never lived through your experiences.  The truth is I do love him and I think of him every day.
Bottom line: it doesn't matter how old you are when you lose someone you love.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm Back!

I've been back at work for about four weeks, which I am hoping is just enough time to adjust to new routines.  Therefore I am back to blogging at least three times per week.  This one's gonna be simple: Music Monday. I stole this idea from Courtney of  I miss her Music Mondays so much!  Anyway, here's my first song: Evening Kitchen by Band of Horses.  I scoured YouTube for an actual music video only to find fan recorded live versions.  This is the best I could find.  Enjoy!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just an Update

I am officially back at work.  I have mixed emotions about this.  On the one hand I miss Claire like crazy!  On the other hand I do enjoy my job; it is challenging and rewarding.  However, I am not giving up my hopes of winning the lottery so that I can afford to become a SAHM, haha.

I will post more this weekend!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Nightstand

I must admit that I have a bit of a voyeuristic side.  I enjoy watching house tours, those "What's in My Purse" videos, and hauls (I especially love grocery hauls, though these are not too common).  Since I enjoy these things I assume others do as well.  Therefore I thought I'd give you a peek at what's on my nightstand.

1. Alarm clock
This alarm clock is amazing!  I can't stand really loud alarms, so I bought one that wakes me up to birds chirping.  It also has a little sun on top that lights up and then rises.  I love it!
2. Magazines
These change pretty often, but right now I have InStyle, Popular Science, Martha Stewart Living, and a teacher supply catalog. 
3. Books
I am always reading a book, and the two I'm working on right now are both nonfiction.  One is a biography of John Adams, the other a self-help book titled Creating Your Best Life Now.  
4. A movie
This is by far the most embarrassing item.  It is one of my favorite movies, but I hate to admit it, because the thing is so darn cheesy!  Oh well.  Everyone needs a little cheese in their life.  The movie is called The Good Witch.  There is a whole series of them shown on the Hallmark Channel, which I don't get because I have stupid Uverse.  Anyway, this is the only one available on DVD.  And I love it.  

There are a few other things: a lamp, a coaster (that I made myself!), and three tealight holders (all of which are empty with the exception of some Chapstick).  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mechanical Horses = Pure Bliss

Claire is obsessed.  If she sees a carousel or any mechanical horse ride she goes nuts.  And how can I resist letting her ride when she looks like this:
I love this particular ride because it's free.  That's right - FREE!!!  All I have to do is push a button.  It's at my grocery store, which is even better because this way Claire gets excited about going to the store with me.
Now on actual, bigger carousels  Claire will be all grins but also yell, "Whoa!" over and over. It's stinkin' adorable.  I love this kid!

Friday, August 5, 2011


Ever since I can remember I've hated sleeping.  As a child I thought it was an enormous waste of time, and that attitude has somewhat stuck with me into adulthood.  However, the older I get the more I realize how much I need sleep.
This point has really hit home the last week.  I have been off work for a few weeks, and will be reporting back next week, so I have been working on getting Claire and myself back into our regular routine.  Since we've been getting up early I've made sure Claire's in bed by 8, but I've been staying up way too late.  And by way too late I mean 11:30 or midnight.  My alarm goes off at 4:4o, with me snoozing it until 5.  So yeah, I'm getting about five hours of sleep.  The side effects of this sleep schedule have not been very obvious to others, but I can tell: I'm more quiet around my friends, I've been having a difficult time concentrating during conversations, I'm not very articulate when trying to get a point across, and for me the worst side effect has got to be feeling down.  Yesterday I felt so depressed, even though I have no reason to feel this way, and I really think it's due to lack of sleep.  So last night I went to bed early and I feel 100% better today.
With school coming I am concerned I will fall back into my minimal sleep habit.  In the past I've tried to suck every second out of my evening, usually resulting in falling asleep around midnight.  Then I feel miserable the next day.  Well, I think it's time I grow up and realize that to be a happy and productive person I need to sleep more.  It's not a waste of time after all.
The bed that I must spend more time in! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Guided Math

Guided MathGuided Math by Sammons Laney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book would probably be great for a beginning teacher.  If you have been teaching awhile and have done guided reading, I would say this book is a waste of your time.  Especially if you are familiar with Debbie Miller, Fountas and Pinnell, and Marzano.  This book did a great job of explaining why guided math should be done, but not a lot of how it is done (which is what I was looking for).  I was quite disappointed as I want to try guided math next year (hence, I don't need to be convinced), and wanted some structures from someone experienced in guided math (not a lot of this, unfortunately).

View all my reviews

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book, so I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about the addition of the undead.  However, I didn't much mind it.  It sort of added a touch of Kill Bill to the famous plot.  I did find it a little humorous to imagine the Bennet sisters slaying zombies in their early nineteenth century gowns.

Now, for my criticisms, plus some spoilers, so consider yourself sufficiently warned:
First of all, there is a scene where Elizabeth kills ninjas and takes a bite out of one of their hearts.  Gross. Too far.
Secondly, I didn't much like the subtle - and some not so subtle - sexual innuendo.  As absurd as zombies are, they fit so much better than Mr. Darcy speaking of his balls, or Elizabeth referring to the outline of Mr. Darcy's sexual parts (I can't remember the exact phrasing), through his pants.

Overall, I would say that if you love Pride and Prejudice, and aren't offended by an author taking some farfetched creative liberties with the plot, then you will probably like this book.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Favorites

Beauty gurus on YouTube do videos of their monthly favorites, and I enjoy watching them so I thought I would blog mine.  The difference will be that I don't want to just showcase beauty products, though there will be some.

Anyway, I have five favorites for this month.  I'll start with the three I have a photo of:

1. Sephora by OPI nail polish in Already Famous
This polish has a shimmery taupe base and lots of refined gold and silver glitter.  I'm not generally a fan of glittery polishes, but the glitter in this one is not chunky at all; just nice and sparkly.  It's a gorgeous color for summer.

2. Bumble and Bumble Quenching Complex Leave in Conditioner
I only have a sample of this (which has lasted two weeks), but as soon as I'm out I will be purchasing the full size.  While at Sephora recently I told the sales associate that I was looking for a new leave in conditioner that wouldn't weigh my hair down.  She loaded me up with samples, some of which have been complete duds, and this gem was in my haul. I put it in after showering and it makes the ends of my hair look shiny, thick, and healthy.  My hair is prone to looking quite stringy, but this has prevented that from happening.  As soon as I'm out of my sample I will be purchasing the full size.

3. Noosa Yoghurt
This stuff is amazing!  I am constantly searching for a new and improved yogurt, and I think the search is over.  It comes in six flavors: mango, honey, strawberry rhubarb, peach, raspberry, and blueberry.  I have tried all but the blueberry, and they have all been fabulous.  My least favorite is the honey, not because of the taste, but because I like to mix the honey into my yogurt, so I'll stick with Fage for that flavor.  However, the rest are scrumptious!

And here are my two favorites which I have no pictures :(

4.  This one's a book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Truth be told I was forced to read this for work, but I'm so glad I was.  Basically this book is about how your thinking can help make you more successful or hold you back.  There are two mindsets: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.  Growth mindset means you can always get better and grow.  You rebound from failure.  The fixed mindset means you put limitations on your capabilities.  Failure makes you give up.  After much reflecting I discovered that I have the growth mindset for others, but a fixed mindset for myself.
Though I read this for work, I think this is a wonderful read for anyone.  It has changed my parenting, and I've even talked to Chris about it and he has changed as well.  I would have had him read the book, but well, he hasn't read a book since college.

5. And for my last favorite, a TV show: Suits
This show is a brand new series, and honestly what drew my attention to it can be summed up in two words: eye candy.  In my opinion, the two lead actors are super hot (one more than the other, but I'm not telling which I prefer ;) ), and the show comes on after Claire goes to bed, so I figured what the heck, and tuned in to the series premiere. It didn't take me long to get hooked, as I genuinely enjoy the plot lines, no matter how farfetched they are.  It's on Thursday nights at nine on USA, if you're interested.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Date Night

Almost every Friday my mom and stepdad watch Claire for a couple of hours so that Chris and I can have some alone time.  Actually, that's not true.  They watch Claire because they want some time with their granddaughter, and if Chris and I are around she pretty much ignores them and clings to us.  So we vamoose.  

Here is our date night starting with my outfit:
I look miffed, but really I'm not.  I'm not the most photogenic person and this was the best shot.  

Here's what I wore:
Gray shorts from Banana Republic
Pink tank from Forever 21
A pink sparkly bracelet from Premiere Jewelry
A small infinity bracelet from Dogeared Jewelry
A small bee necklace from Dogeared Jewelry

And here are my shoes:

They are from DSW online.

Claire helped me add some lipgloss:

Don't I look so much better?

Claire and Chris anxiously await my parents' arrival:

My parents arrived soon after and Chris and I were off.  We went to a little Mexican restaurant that we had never even heard of before.  Now I'd like to say that we went there because of spontaneity and our adventurous spirits, but the truth is we had a coupon.  At any rate, the food was very good.  We ordered margaritas, I had some guacamole.  Chris ordered the special which was a burrito, an enchilada, and a taco.  I got some flautas. We had fun and I think we'll go back the next time we, cough, have a coupon...

Lime margaritas on the rocks with salt - yum! 

I am a lucky girl to have such a handsome date!

After we left we drove around for a bit, found a coupon for ice cream, and hit the local Baskin Robbins.  Then we headed home.  It was a great evening!

BTW I know that I am sooooo lucky that my parents do this for us!  I am so thankful that Chris and I get alone time and I love seeing their relationship with Claire blossom.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

My favorite summertime scent

I love Victoria's Secret Pink Sunny and Happy because:
1. It smells sooooo good!  There is no scent description on the bottles, so you're stuck with me trying to describe it, something I have never done before.  It smells like orange cotton candy with enough of some kind of perfumey (floral perhaps?) scent to keep you from wanting to eat it.  
2. It's a body spray, which is perfect for the scorching heat.  Perfume can be heavy, while this is nice and light. 
3. The scent lingers. 
4. Sometimes when I put on Bath and Body Works body sprays I cough and sneeze my respiratory system is overwhelmed.  I have never had that problem with this product. 
5. The name says it all: Sunny and Happy.  

As for the cost, when I purchased these at the end of May they were on sale for two for $20.  Which I don't think is too bad.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Starting Over

A few words that would describe me are introverted, goal-oriented, and procrastinator. Being these three things can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

The Good:
*I am constantly reflecting on myself, and thus, coming up with ways to improve myself.
* I am not the type of person to let life control me. I believe you are in charge of your own destiny (well, mostly as one cannot control everything).
*I actually do pretty well on things that I put off until the last minute.

The Bad:
*Sometimes I think too much. A little less thought and a lot more action is needed.
*I come up with too lofty of goals and fail miserably. My expectations are simply too high.
*The honest truth is I procrastinate because I am afraid of failing. Which frustrates the ambitious side of me, but I can seriously be paralyzed by fear of failure. However, like I said above, I do pretty well on last minute projects so I would love to see how I do with things I actually put more time into.

By now you're probably wondering: What the heck does this have to do with your blog??? Well, I haven't posted in so long, and I want to do a better job of doing so. I also want to blog more about all the things that interest me: clothes and beauty products (yup, I'm slightly materialistic -- but I'll explain more in a later post), books, TV shows, movies, exercise, diet (or what I like to call eating healthily but not cutting anything out), education, and of course Claire (my daughter).

I would also like to work on having a more positive view and demeanor. I don't want to complain all the time, would love to be more compassionate, and be able to make lemonade out of lemons. I firmly believe in the power of positive thinking, as well as karma. You get what you give, and I want to get and give happiness.

This concludes my first official new and improved blog post. I hope you liked it :)