prayteachlove

A little faith and a lot of love go a long way…

A whole lotta thoughts on everything

Be prepared. I’m about to word vomit about EVERYTHING since it’s been nearly a week since I’ve blogged.

I’m like this dragon word vomitting all over the forest.

After Friday the weekend flew by as usual. Thankfully I remembered at the last minute that my GRAD CLASS started Monday. Good thing I remembered at all I suppose. So I ordered my books a tad late…Amazon alleges that they’ll be here sometime in September…so maybe by October I’ll finish the first unit.  I impressed myself by at least posting to the first discussion in which we all introduce ourselves on Monday. I told my class that I’m addicted to Pinterest. I’m not kidding.

Hi, I’m Kari and I love Pinterest. I won’t offer anything valuable to your discussions or this class, but I will craft you a duct tape wallet from my Crafts pinboard if you’d like.

Tuesday morning was pretty awesome because the day began with a prayer group meeting at work.  It made me feel extra warm and fuzzy because I had a part in starting it. A co-worker read my blog, (oh yes, this very one that you are reading), and was inspired to ask me about starting a prayer group. It was awesome to have so many people come together and Praise Jesus first thing in the morning.  Made for a really positive start to the day. Amen!

We didn’t all wear white to our “Joys & Concerns” prayer meeting…maybe next week. 😉

Tuesday evening I had an appointment with my psuedo-chiropractor. (My chiropractor is not in the office in the evenings so I see another one who is at that practice when I have evening appointments who I call my pseudo-chiropractor.) You see, after I had the Gorilla I noticed that I was having some back pain but I figured it was from having a kid and carrying him around.  Then I had my Binxy and the pain got worse. As the school year came to a close last year I thought I might die from the pain. (This is a big deal…I had two kids and thought child birth was a piece of cake. So you know it was bad.) At the beginning of the summer then I went to a chiropractor who took some x-rays and found that my spine was out of alignment, but even more strange was that my lowest vertabrae was totally twisted and turned to the side. It was pretty weird when I saw it. So I had to go three times a week all summer. It helped SO MUCH. I still have pain but it’s not nearly as bad. Currently I go every 2 weeks.

So back to Tuesday…as the psuedo-chiropractor is working her magic she tells me that I have quite a few knots and my muscles are all tight and I need to relax. Um, no. I don’t do relaxed lady. However I did try to convince her to give me a note for Big Daddy Byron and my employer that I need to get weekly massages and go on monthly vacations. She refused.

I’m supposed to be here right now. Doctor’s orders.

As I was checking out the receptionist and I were talking about how my chiro doesn’t work evenings. She is a little lady but she is powerful and I like her style of aligning my back more than the psuedo-chiro’s softer approach.  Now, I didn’t tell that to the receptionist but I did tell her I was disappointed that my chiro couldn’t do evening appointments and she replied with, “Yeah, sometimes ya just need Dr. R to rough ya up.” What kind of 50 Shades of Grey comment is that?! Silly receptionist.

So after the appointment with the chiropractor I picked up my babies home and headed home. I took the Turnpike and when I got off my exit I asked the tollbooth man to keep the change and use it to pay the next person’s toll. You see, I’m a major advocate of doing random acts of kindness for those you love and maybe more importantly, strangers. God told me to love others and so that’s what I try to do in my own little way. However my plan backfired on the Turnpike on that fately Tuesday evening. Because Mr. Tollbooth Man REFUSED TO KEEP THE CHANGE. My jaw dropped, I half-yelled, “WHAT?!” and he said no.  He told me too many people get “taken aback” at that kind of thing and “they don’t like it.”  I told him there weren’t enough nice people in the world…he agreed as he handed me my change. And I drove away with tears in my eyes. Truly.

Please, sir. Take my money. Spread the love.

My babies witnessed that. I know Binxy is still too young to get it and I’m hoping the Gorilla didn’t pick up on what happened. Maybe Mr. Tollbooth was telling the truth…maybe he was just too lazy to figure out all the math…maybe he hates kindness and rainbows and butterflies…whatever the reason, it breaks my heart. But it made me more determined to keep spreading the love and kindness.  The world obviously needs it.

Don’t hate me Mr. Tollbooth Man. Love me and love others.

***My challenge to you is to do your own act of kindness for someone today. Leave me a comment and let me know what it is so I know the world hasn’t completely turned upside down on me…thanks loyal readers, fans, and stalkers.***

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And then it was Friday

Well, well, well…we meet again. Here it is, Friday, and I have survived my first week back to work, though only three days were with students.  You should know that as I type this, I am enjoying a well-deserved beverage since I have barely slept at all in the past 3 days.

Snake Wine...not what I'm drinking

SNAKE WINE

Ok, so I am not actually enjoying snake wine. However I found that image on a site with free images for education called Pics4Learning and thought it was cool.

Let me back up to the beginning of the week…on Monday my student teacher joined me for the first two days of opening activities in our district. Oh yes, I have a student teacher for the first time.  It. Is. AWESOME. (BTW, if she’s reading this, Hi Sarah! Hahaha!) Having a student teacher is like having a personal assistant. I know because I was a student teacher myself and now I have one. Besides the fact that since she just started I’m keeping her busy making copies, laminating, and doing bulletin board stuff, she’s actually a really nice person too. So I get to work with someone who’s not a jerk and that’s always a good thing. AND she’s doing an awesome job as a student teacher for the first week already so I’m not too worried about having to school her in the ways of being an awesome teacher and then making her cry. I don’t like to make people cry but I will if I have to. 😉 The best part though is that I’m learning from her too! I’m learning how to be a good cooperating teacher (I think I’m doing ok so far) and she taught me some things about Google Docs already too! (It turns out that I HATE Google Docs.) I’m just sad that she’s only with me for 8 weeks.

I look like this sad/grumpy puppy when I think about not having a student teacher anymore…

On Wednesday I got to meet my students for the very first day of the year. It. Was. AWESOME.  The first 3 days in my room at least are boring for the kids but necessary in order to set the stage.  I continue to set the stage for the next few weeks, but I go hard for 3 days straight teaching procedures and routines. In my experience, spending the time on it now will pay off in December and April.

I’m like a drill sargeant (which I think I spelled wrong) teaching a new soldier how to raise the flag!

I also spend the first two days of school calling every parent.  I introduce myself, let them know how the 1st day or 2 went, and let them know they can contact me when they need too. I leave a message with that info if no one answers. These calls make for very long evenings however they are very purposeful. My first call home is positive. Parents recognize that and they recognize that I took the time to do it and know that I am willing to go above and beyond right from the beginning.  It also gives them a chance to give me important information right away. Finally, I get a good feel for what it will be like working with each parent/set of parents for the year. The major downfall is the time it takes and the fact that I actually hate talking on the phone. (Yep, I’m the person who texts you back right after you called.) But it’s worth it to do because it saves me lots of headaches down the road. I learned that lesson very early in my career.

I need more time!

Phones are my arch nemesis…praise Jesus for TEXTING

Back to my students…they are great. Really. I know, I know, it’s only been 3 days.  But I can already tell they are a good group.  I say that every year, and every year it’s been true. How is that? Because I believe it is.  Let me break it down for you.

Everyday I have a choice. I can be a negative jerk who complains about things or a positive person who sees a challenge as an opportunity.  I choose to be that positive person (most days…I’m not perfect). Why? Because I serve an amazing God. Every student in my class is there because God knows they need me in some way.  Every student in my class is there because God knows I need them in some way. By day 3 I don’t always know what the reasons are, and I may never know, but my faith is stronger than my need to know so it doesn’t matter. What I do know for sure is that God knows what He’s doing, He’s always been there for me, and this will be no different.  This class is special though for sure. God’s got big plans for us this year. I have already learned so much about myself, education, being a mom, love, patience, the power of prayer, and blessings. I know I will have many opportunities to learn and grow and serve God this year and I. Can’t. Wait. 🙂

Love God. Love Others.

 

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Meacher or Tommy? Maybe a Teammy

Before I go on, I gotta give a SHOUT OUT to my followers! I’m new at this wordpress thing, still really don’t know how to use it but stumbled upon the notifications and saw that I have 3 people following me. HOLLA! I don’t know these people but I want to know them…they obviously are amazing people with excellent taste since they are following my blog. 😉 So I will follow them too! 🙂

Alright, so what is a Meacher, Tommy, and Teammy? Why, it’s me…a combination of teacher and mommy. Today was the first official day for staff to get back to the grind in my district. (Wait, that kinda sounds like I’m in the Hunger Games…my district…actually, some days it feels like I’m in the Hunger Games while at work, just trying to survive…I better end up as a victor!) It was a bittersweet day. I love teaching so I was excited to officially be back in my classroom and surrounded by my awesome colleagues…however, I was heartbroken to have to leave my babies today. Just look at how cute they are…

The Gorilla

Binxy

Teaching is awesome, but nothing compares to being a mommy for me. So although I’m feeing quite productive and fulfilled in a different sort of way with being back at work, my heart aches for my little loves. Especially because I’m loaded with mommy guilt from about mid-August until mid-June because every day I feel like I’m failing as a mother when I come home exhausted and feel like I’ve got nothing left to give after giving my all to other people’s kids all day. I’m praying for lots of strength and guidance in helping to balance my roles.  Any and all extra prayers or positive vibes would be much appreciated as well.

 

 

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Money and More

Of course this entry will be somewhat Pinterest related…however I thought I’d explain a bit about my family’s quest to become debt free. In January of 2012 Byron and I had the opportunity to participate in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church. What a blessing! We weren’t going on extravagant vacations or making big purchases before this life-changing experience, but we were nickel-and-diming ourselves…and couldn’t figure out why we never had enough money. So long story short, throughout our experience with FPU, we were able to become credit card debt free and we have stayed that way. (We didn’t have a ton of credit card debt, but enough that we were uncomfortable.) Our biggest debt, besides our mortgage, is student loans. We have about 4 billion dollars in student loans. Ok, maybe not that much but it sure feels like it. Between Byron’s associate’s degree that took 3 years (he just had to get kicked out of his first school so he finished at another…long story), my bachelor’s, and my master’s, we owe Uncle Sam some serious cash. Our big plan was to start paying that as soon as we got the credit card debt taken care of. Not so. You see, we are a family of 4. I work full-time as a teacher. Byron works part-time and is a full-time stay at home Daddy. And then our house fell apart. Seriously….new roof needed, van needed major repairs and most recently, our bathroom caved in. It’s been…fun…so we haven’t paid on any more debt in the past couple months…HOWEVER we also haven’t accrued any new debt (besides the interest accruing on the student loans), which is a major accomplishment in our eyes. We will get there one day…we will be debt free. It’s just gonna take some time.

So how does Pinterest tie in with us being so broke we can’t pay attention? Well, I wanted us to be super organized to help us with our finances and just around the house…so I got the idea of a “family life binder” from Pinterest and I made one! It’s got calendars, to-do lists, cleaning lists, meal plan lists, shopping lists, etc…it’s been pretty helpful, especially since during the school year Byron and I don’t see each other much with me working days and him nights/weekends…we can look at the binder and see if things have been done or still need to be done, add things to a grocery list, etc. without actually having to talk…because we don’t get to do much of that from August to June.

Our family life binder

Next, I saw all these pins about people freezing meals in bulk.  So I figured I’d give it a try. I have made breakfast burritos, tuna casserole, and Byron made lasagna, all frozen and ready to go.  (Stop giving a side-eye to the tuna casserole…I don’t care how bad tuna smells, I will eat it. Don’t judge me.) Typically I buy cheap frozen meals to heat up for lunches while I work but this will be a little tastier and hopefully help save moola.  It didn’t cost much to make at all in fact. Most of the ingredients for things we already had. We still haven’t figured out how to do healthy on a budget. We are on a pretty strict food budget and it’s not much at all for a family of 4.  Plus Byron and I agreed when we started this that our kids will not have to make sacrifices. Our financial decisions are our responsibility, not theirs. So we try to keep things as healthy as possible for them, but that means we eat lots of pb & j and cheap frozen meals. Don’t mistake this though – I am not complaining one bit. It’s our decision to budget our money the way we have and do this. It works for us right now and we are fine with it.

Tuna Casserole…don’t be a hater!

You may be asking yourself, (as I would certainly be), why is this chick blogging about being frugal when she’s got some hot pink fake nails?! You are correct…I get my nails done.  Correction:  I used to get my nails done.  Then I didn’t for a couple years for financial reasons…then last week I started again.  We decided (yes, my husband has a say in my nails…it’s his money too) that it was time to budget for me to be able to do it again.  No, I am not a diva.  Here’s the truth – I have anxiety and when my nails aren’t professionally done and fake then my hands look like a wild animal mauled them. It’s very embarrassing for me and causes even more anxiety so this summer we had to make some other financial decisions and it led to us being able to budget for this and thinking it was enough of a priority to put our money towards. The end.

The next few things aren’t really related to money…just Pinterest.  Oh well, it’s my blog and I’ll pin if I want to! 😉 Layered jello is my new favorite thing thanks to Pinterest. Just because it’s pretty. (I’m not a huge jello fan, but the Gorilla likes it and I’ll eat it if it’s around.) I’ve made a couple different batches over the past couple months, all different colors. It take time for each layer to set but is otherwise easy. I do other stuff while the layers set.

Layered Jello

We also had some friends over this summer and instead of ice/cooler we had a laundry basket and filled it with frozen water balloons for a more festive feel. It was pretty festive…until some of the bottles ripped through the balloons that were melting and water filled the bottom of the basket. Ah well!

No ice for us…just frozen balloons…that you really can’t even see…oops

At the same little fiesta I did Pinterest-inspired treats…raspberries stuffed with white chocolate chips, inside out chocolate strawberries, and fruit cones. Big hits and EASY.  SCORE!

Yummy…

Speaking of finances though, I officially go back to work tomorrow and the school year officially starts Wednesday…so it’s off to bed…wish me luck!

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Unstoppable

My newest Pinterest-inspired creations:

1.)  Table skirts.  Here’s the play by play of how I came about these gorgeous table skirts…
a.)  Repin an “easy” table skirt project.
b.)  Read actual instructions.  Realize it is NOT easy because I do NOT know how to sew.
c.)  Place desperate plea on Facebook for help.
d.)  Barter a delicious meal (made by Byron who is an actual chef….no one wants to eat the slop I make) for table skirts with a friend from college who is a Family and Consumer Science teacher in a nearby district. (SCORE!)
e.)  Pick out and purchase cute fabric/materials….send along with the expert and then voila! I end up with amazing table skirts!

Table skirt #1 that I did NOT make…(however the idea was courtesy of http://msfultz.blogspot.com/search?q=table+skirt)

Table skirt #2 that I did NOT make

2.)  Transportation Station.  Laminated labels with bus numbers. Hot glued to ribbon. Hung on door with velcro. Clothespins with student names.  Each name goes on the bus they ride so I and any substitute knows how everyone is getting home.  If they have to ride on a different bus with a friend or a parent will pick them up instead of riding the bus, they just switch their clothespin.

Transportation Station

3.)  Bulletin Board. I always do a bulletin board at the beginning of the year telling all about me.  It gives information about how I’m a mom, wife, teacher, daughter, sister, friend, and aunt.  During the first few days of school the students do a scavenger hunt using that information to help them get to know me.  I leave it up for Open House then so the parents can get to know me as more than just their kid’s teacher as well. Though it’s not Pinterest-inspired, this year it’s the cutest it’s ever been.

Beginning of the year bulletin board

I’m a little sad that summer is ending and I officially go back to work on Monday….no, I’m not sad that I have to go back to work…just sad that there will be less time for PINTEREST!

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Craft FAIL…and now I might die

Soooooo….decided to get crafty for my classroom. I chose some Pinterest inspired projects of course. I attempted to make a “Brain Break” jar and “Kindness Container.” Note the “attempted.” Oh and sorry the pics are dark. It’s late and I’m too lazy to turn on more lights.

First, I sent Byron out for Mod Podge, which I have never used before.

Mod Podge….my enemy

He came back with Mod Podge…and these.

Clearly NOT Mod Podge…

He justified Dear John by pointing out that Channing Tatum is in it so it was a gift of love for me.

Next, I started on the Brain Break jar while he removed the label from the Kindness container.  He just pulled the label off, then rubbed the rest of the adhesive off using a few drops of olive oil on a paper towel.  Super quick and effective. Found that method on Pinterest as well.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Get that label off Big Daddy…

I should note that it clearly states on the Mod Podge bottle that it contains chemicals that will probably kill me. I am risking my life in the name of education. I feel like I’ve taken teaching to a whole new level.

Death by Mod Podge

So then I finish the projects. And what am I left with? A major craft FAIL. The ink on my labels ran. You can see where I got a little too adhesive happy with the Mod Podge in certain spots.

NAILED IT.

Should I have used thicker paper? Laminated the labels before attaching? Not attempted to use Mod Podge at all and instead enlist the help of an expert?

I’m going to add ribbon later and use them anyway. I did not just give myself cancer using Mod Podge to not use these containers. Take that Pinterest.

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I need a sponsor

I have to come clean with everyone. I’m an addict. I lose sleep over my addiction. It affects my relationship with my loved ones. I have obsessive thoughts about it. You may be wondering what it is that has taken control of my life and left me unable to cope without it…well, my friends…it’s PINTEREST! (Calm down, I know you thought I was snorting coke into the wee hours of the morning…SHAME ON YOU.) Do not be confused though…I generally just pin things and don’t actually create them. That would require work and I am on vacation from mid-June – mid-August.

Now that the summer is winding down and I have to be somewhat productive again, I thought I’d share a few pinterest inspired things I’ve done in my life, in particular in my classroom.

1.) This blog. There were SO MANY adorable and helpful teacher blogs I found through Pinterest that I wanted to join in the fun. It’s a big step for me though…here’s a confession: I LOVE sharing. (That’s not the confession. Here comes the confession. Get ready.) In particular when people share with me. I’m uncomfortable sharing my own things though. Why? No, it’s not that I’m a selfish jerk. (Though I can definitely be a selfish jerk sometimes…just ask Big Daddy Byron.) In a nutshell, I have a lot of anxiety about being criticized and lack confidence. I see and read about all these great ideas that everyone else has and want to put them into practice but I feel like my own ideas….well, that they suck. That people won’t like them and will think I’m a moron and talk about how stupid they think I am. So I am typically reluctant to just put things out there because I don’t want to be known as the idiot mom, teacher, friend, person. I want to change that though and build my confidence (and learn how to better manage criticism when I get it) so here I am. Ew. This is getting way too deep for me.

2.) The “No Name” space. I picked a font to type out “no name,” printed, and cut it out. Glued onto paint sample cards which were then glued to construction paper. Laminated. Next I painted clothespins which didn’t take nearly as long as I originally feared. Hot glued a tack to the back of each. And voila, we have a “no name” space where I can hang papers without names for students to find themselves. Though I can usually tell which paper belongs to which student by the handwriting alone, I’m hoping this is a little extra motivation for students to put their names on their papers when they have to go get the papers themselves.

No Name Space

3.) Materials bins. Ok, I made that name up. But here’s the deal. I saw this awesome set of bins where you can keep file folders of lesson plans, hand outs, and materials/manipulatives. So I checked it out. EXPENSIVE. And my family is living the Dave Ramsey way so I was NOT about to buy some plastic bins for what feels like a billion dollars. Instead I bought 6 bins for 96 cents each at Walmart. Labled them for each day of the week and one for “Next Week.” This is where I’ll keep materials, manipulatives, and papers that are too large to fit in my mailbox slots. The slots, for anyone who is interested, are for lessons/letter-sized hand-outs/papers. Each column is labeled with a subject (math, social studies, etc.) and each row is labeled with a day of the week. I cannot take credit though, this idea was given to me by a fabulous 4th grade teacher that I work with.

Materials Bins

4.) Attendance boards. These do not look like the vision in my head. However, financially this was the way to go for me. These cost me a little over $3 to make (which includes tax). I did not charge myself for labor so that helped a lot. 😉 I bought 2 cookie sheets from the dollar store. Printed “I am here today” and “I am not here today” labels and circular numbers. Bought a 97 cent pack of magnet strips from Walmart and cut them into pieces (I think I used 3 of the 18 strips) to place on the labels. Stuck the now magnetic labels on the tray. Students will move their numbers from “I am not here today” to “I am here today” when they arrive in the morning so I can easily see who is absent. On the way out the door they will move their numbers from “I am here today” back to “I am not here today.” That’s my plan at least.

Attendance Boards

I will have more to share at a later date…until then…it’s time for me to go pin some more awesome ideas!

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Welcome to the Chaos

Can you hear that? It’s the sky opening and a chorus of angels singing…you, my friends, are witnessing a miracle. Not only am I starting a blog, I am going to make it public so I have people who hold me accountable for actually writing. Disclaimer:  There’s no official reason that anyone should hold me accountable….no reason that I HAVE to blog other than it’s therapeutic and I enjoy it. Oh yeah, and I’m hoping it will make me famous. Just kidding. Sort of.

So if you happen to have stumbled across my blog by accident, let me introduce myself.  I am a Christian, Mommy, Wife, Teacher, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, and I could go on. However, I should elaborate on a few things…

1.)  Yes, I am a Christian. No, I don’t want to shove it down your throat. No, I am not better than you. I happen to mess up quite a bit. Daily in fact. Usually first thing in the morning and then continually throughout the day.  I swear like a sailor…I can be a real jerk sometimes too. Thankfully Jesus loves me anyway and each day I try to be better than the last.

2.)  I. Love. Being. A. Mommy. (and Wife). I have a 2 1/2 year old son, affectionately known around our house as The Gorilla.  I also have a little diva daughter known as Binxy. She is 10 months old and my little mini-me. We use nicknames in our house and for everyone we know. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I even remember my kids’ real names…or my husband’s. I will check on that. 😉 EDIT:  Big Daddy Byron was heartbroken after I shared this entry with him and I didn’t mention him. So, in case anyone wasn’t already aware, I have the best, most HILARIOUS husband in the world. Sorry ladies, it’s the truth. 😉

3.)  Teaching is tough. Way more complex than people who aren’t teachers (or who love a teacher) understand. It’s NOT glorified babysitting and it irritates me when people don’t get what I do or make broad generalizations about all teachers based on a few bad ones. I take a LOT of pride in what I do and the kids I am honored to work with. I’m not perfect by any means. I am human and I make mistakes but NO ONE can accuse me of not giving it my all and trying my best each and every day.

I’ll stop there. No sense in drawing this out. If you keep reading, I’m sure you’ll get to know me even better along the way and all about how I pray, teach, and love.

Me and the fam!

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