Thursday, December 26, 2013

13 in '13

As the year comes to a close, I'm taking a minute to reflect - nothing serious, I promise.  I'm linking up with 3 fabulous ladies: Kristin, Traci, and Miss Kindergarten for their 13 in 13 Linky.  I'm liking this kind of reflection the best right now in my fast paced life :) I have been terrible about taking pictures, so I'll add what I can.

13. Favorite Article of Clothing
This year I had to purchase quite a bit of clothing because I changed schools.  In my former school, teachers were only allowed to wear navy, khaki, white or light blue, so all of my clothes were those colors - boring! Over the last few years, I haven't purchased anything that wasn't the right color, so this year, I broke out of the mold and went for color and pattern.  But, I'm a comfort girl at heart.  My favorite article of clothing this year was a flannel shirt from Old Navy.  Truth be told, I also have a black and white gingham oxford that I wear all the time, but flannel seemed so much more interesting :)


12. Favorite movie you watched:
Not really a movie, but a 2 disc mini-series, that I watched this year was North and South - not the Civil War series, but the British novel.  It is in the same vein of Pride and Prejudice and was amazing.  Mr. Thornton is running a tight race with Mr. Darcy now in my opinion. The BBC puts out some amazing shows these days.


11. Favorite TV series:
Since moving to Tennessee, we have done without cable television - for 6 months now.  That's an accomplishment in and of itself, but we have completely taken advantage of Netflix.  My dear friend, Amanda, at Teaching Maddeness, introduced me to Dexter through her blog and now I can't get enough.

10. Favorite restaurant:
I don't really have one of these because I like most restaurants.  So, going to skip it for now.

9. Favorite new thing you tried:
Coconut oil!  I'm using it as a makeup remover, moisturizer, hair conditioner, lip balm, and so many more things.  It's kind of pricey, but for as many uses that it has, it's well worth it.  I haven't tried to cook with it yet, but that's coming.

8. Favorite gift you got:
My favorite Christmas gift is the handmade red and white quilt that my mother sent to me this year.  She has been working on it for years and finally finished it.  I don't have it set up yet in the guest room, so no pictures.

7. Favorite thing you pinned:
I can't narrow it down to just one thing, but something I've pinned recently that I have been playing around with is addressing envelopes.  I know - handwritten envelopes!  I love the fanciness of it all and I'm seriously contemplating taking a calligraphy course to learn how to do this well.

6. Favorite blog post:
Gah!  I can't play favorites here at all, but my favorite to write is the Currently series from Farley!

5. Best accomplishment: I guess the biggest accomplishment this year is making it through the first half of the school year as a Master Teacher in a new school and a new state.  It hasn't been easy at all.  It's been down right ugly some days and there have been many tears shed and second guesses of this change.  But, I've made it and plan to continue making it.

4. Favorite picture:
It's not from 2013, but it represents a life long dream! I got to hang out with Ron Clark for an entire day when he visited my district last year.  Not just sitting in a row listening to him, but as his personal host.  He even mentioned me in his talk.  It was fabulous!  Now to get to RCA to visit on his campus.

3. Favorite memory:
My 20th high school reunion was this year and it was fabulous.  I spent the entire weekend catching up with friends I hadn't seen in 20 years.  It was amazing!

2. Goal for 2014:
To have a presence on TPT.  I've got an account, now just to add product.  Biggest obstacle - TIME.

1. One Little Word: Enjoy
Enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, enjoy the result.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Questionnaire..

Today I'm linking up with Michelle and spilling the dirt on what I think about Christmas. 

Hot Chocolate or Eggnog...
Neither!  I'm not a big hot chocolate fan and definitely not an eggnog girl.  The texture of eggnog and the whole idea of drinking eggs just freaks me out a bit.  Give me coffee any time of the year and I'm a HAPPY girl.  During Christmas, I'll drink an entire pot by myself because I have the leisure time to sit on my couch and enjoy it.

Does Santa wrap gifts or leave them unwrapped under the tree...
Growing up, our traditions began by having designated places for a pile of gifts that were unwrapped.  As we got older - ornery teenagers- my mom started wrapping the gifts that were from Santa in a special gift wrap.  Now, I don't have kids, so I don't have that option, but I wrap everything to put under the tree - even empty boxes.

Colored lights or white...
I'm a colored light girl.  I love the festiveness of it all.  If I could find vintage bulbs, you know the old painted ones, I'd cover a tree in them.  My tree is covered in little colored lights from tip to bottom.  I still haven't mastered the stringing of the lights.  I get frustrated and end up giving up with the string every branch approach.

When do you decorate....
This year, it was the day after Thanksgiving.  We went to a tree farm and cut down a beautiful Leyland Cypress and decorated that night.  Some years, depending on whether we travel or not, the date varies.  Last year we celebrated Christmas at the beach and decorated in our house. 

Real or fake...
Real if possible - but sometimes because we were traveling or lacked the extra money for a tree, we used one our grandparents' artificial trees. My house smells amazing with a real tree and I love the whole adventure of putting it in the stand, holding your breath to see if it will fall, etc.

What type of topper tops your tree...
This year we don't have anything.  I had great intentions, but I'm looking for a specific topper that is rustic, but vintage, no angel.  It's harder than I thought.  We have had a golf club driver cover one year.  I'm planning on adding a big burlap bow soon.

Favorite Christmas memory or tradition...
Growing up it was opening a gift on Christmas Eve.  We were allowed to only open one and it was late at night after visiting grandparents or going to church.  Since Cheney and I have been married, it's stockings.  We designate a certain amount and buy for each other, so each piece is a huge surprise.

Favorite gift as a child...
Not sure if it was my favorite, but my mom made me a fake cabbage patch doll when she couldn't find one in the stores.  She sacrificed her sleep and hung out in the laundry room long after I went to bed to make something special to me.  For the record, it didn't look anything like a cabbage patch, but it was stitched with love.

Do you prefer giving or receiving...
Not going to lie, I love getting a good gift.  But, I enjoy buying things for others that are not expected.  I love the hunt for the special gift.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
 Oh Holy Night and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Candy Canes...yuck or yum?
Yuck, just not a big peppermint fan.

Online or stores?
Combination of both

Photo Cards, Letter, or Store bought?
Store bought this year - first time in a long time we've sent out cards.  Used to make our own. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Today I spent some time over at Venspired reading.  Krissy is one of my most favorites to read because she is honest.  She inspires me to always step out of the box I have often created for myself and experiment, push the limits, always dream, and encourage my students to do the same.  So, I'm trying her "Eleven" challenge.

Eleven Random Facts About Little Ole Me

1.  When my husband told his family about me for the very first time, he told them that I was in fact named after a hunting dog.  True Story- Completely False.

2.  My first dog was a mutt German Shepherd named, Bowzer, after the guy off of Sha-Na-Na.  It was a treat for mom and dad to let us stay up after 9:00 on a church night to watch.  For some odd reason, I found love in Bowzer at the ripe old age of 8, and felt compelled to name my first furry companion after him.

3.  I LOVE to read and read on average a book a day when I'm not working.  Unless it is Harry Potter and then I stretch them out over days for extreme enjoyment.

4.  I'm a listmaker.  I make lists about lists about lists.  Then, I lose them and have to make more lists.  Right now, there are 5 sticky note lists on my end table - all about the same thing, just in different steps.

5.  I abhor cooking.  Really.  I. Hate. It!  Hence the eat out every day almost week.  I have to get better so we can save some money.

6.  I find it an adventure to move around the country.  So far, I've lived in Alaska, Washington State, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  Both my husband and I get restless after about 5 years and look for the next adventure.

7. If I could travel anywhere, it would be to Europe.  I'd love to spend the entire summer or spring just exploring history.  I'm not at all interested in doing the touristy ventures, but want to immerse myself in the culture and really get to know the continent.

8.  I have a collection of real lady bugs on the lamp beside my sofa.  In October, ladybugs migrated through our town - in HUGE clouds.  My husband was outside when this happened and he carried a few hundred into our house.  They have slowly hung on over the last few months.  There are about 20 left and they are all congregated on the lamp beside the sofa.  I don't have the heart to set them outside because they will surely die because of the temperatures. I've noticed they are getting weaker every day and it is breaking my heart.

9.  I am one of the most driven people that I know when it comes to work, but ask me to commit to exercise and for some reason, I can't get the get up and go attitude.  I know it's good for me and will have lots of benefits, but I lack the motivation after working 12 hours each day.

10.  I have VERY low tolerance for people who yell at children and mistreat animals.  I am completely unnerved when I hear a teacher yelling at a child over something stupid like homework.  I am unable to watch any commercial from the humane society because they bring me to tears every time.

11.  When I was in college, I sang in a trio with two very good friends.  We traveled around to churches and even recorded in a studio.  If you asked me to sing today, I wouldn't be able to, it terrifies me.

Now to answer Krissy's questions:

  • 1.  What inspires you most  of all?
I live for the moments when I see a sparkle in a child's eye or a smile in the classroom.  It's the lightbulb moments that I strive to create every single day.  When a student achieves a small victory or a large one, I love being the cheerleader that stood beside them and coached them along the way.
  • 2.  What is the best food you’ve ever tried while traveling?
I have to say New York Cheesecake is my favorite food that I've tried while traveling.  But, Thomas Jefferson's sweet potato biscuits at City Tavern in Philadelphia were pretty dang good, as was Martha Washington's pot pie.  Shrimp and Grits from the Seewee Restaurant in Awendaw, SC and the blue crab tacos from T.W. MacGuires's in Mcllellanville were amazing.
  • 3. What is your favorite holiday? Why?
Christmas is my favorite holiday.  I love sitting in the dark living room with only the tree light reflecting on the entire year.  The traditions of stockings, food, gathering with those you love are icing on the cake.
  • 4. What is one school supply that you could not teach without?
Sharpie Markers!  I know, boring, but I doodle with them and the colors inspire me to color my lessons with variety.
  • 5. What’s your typical morning beverage?
Coffee with cream and sugar - at least 2 cups.
  • 6. When you fly, window seat or aisle?
I like the aisle so I can stretch one leg out further.  My knees hurt all the time and sitting in a crampled position doesn't help.
  • 7. Describe the best teacher you had when you were in school.
Laurie Clement, Advanced Biology and Chemistry!  She pushed me until I was angry enough to prove her wrong.  She taught me that questioning a teacher is not a bad thing, but adds to my experience.  She saw the potential in me before I saw it in myself.
  • 8. Do you enjoy cooking? Anything specific?
  • 9. What book are you currently reading?
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Every year, I read the entire series the month of December.  I'm on track to finish before New Years!

  • 10. What’s your all time favorite movie?
To Kill A Mockingbird with Gregory Peck or the Original Sound of Music. Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz are close.  Can't choose just one. Add in Casablanca, Pride and Prejudice,  and the Harry Potter series.
  • 11. If at the end of your life, there is just room for one word on your grave marker, what do you think it will be? 
Driven - and that just convicted me that I've sacrificed a lot along the way.  I probably need to take a moment and really nurture the things around me instead of always being so focused on what is next.  I'd hate to get to the end of my life and have that word be on my grave marker.  I'd rather have loving or loyal.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness in Honor of Sandy Hook

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Currently

I think I am probably the last person to link up on Farley's December Currently, but I don't want to miss out on this tradition.  Each month it's the one post that I am guaranteed to blog.  So, without further adieu...

Listening:  A colleague at work was playing instrumental Christmas music last week and her room was so peaceful.  I mentioned that I liked it and she handed me a CD and said I could have it.  I like the uncluttered feeling of instrumental.  I'm still able to work and focus, but the atmosphere of work is different.

Loving:  A lighted Christmas tree puts me at ease with its peacefulness.  I could sit in the living room for hours with a cup of coffee and stare at it.

Thinking:  The Chattanooga Christmas market opened this weekend.  I want to go today, but the hubs wants to hunt.  Think we are headed there tomorrow - if I get my work done (I should probably start, right?)

Wanting:  Since moving to a new city and taking on a role that is more admin in nature, it has been very difficult to befriend people.  I've crossed to the other side and that has been difficult.  So far, it's been me and hubs taking on the world, which is fine, but that core group of friends would be great to have in town instead of 3 hours away.

Needing:  To work on the stack of evals that are sitting in my bag.  I only have 2, but they take hours (5-6 ) to write up.  They are the last two before Christmas and cycle 3 starts. Once I finish those, I'll be okay, but it's getting started with those and then lesson plans!

Favorite Tradition:  Stockings have ALWAYS been my favorite Christmas tradition, even when I was little.  I was more excited about what mom put in the stocking than what was under the tree.  For the last few Christmases, hubs and I have taken stockings and twisted it a bit.  We set a price limit for stockings and then go out shopping for each other.  The first year we did it, we set $50 as the limit and he spoke my love language with the gifts - beignet mix, salt water taffy, and a case of glass bottled Mexican cokes.  I LOVED it.  This year we have set the limit for $100.  We bought each other a nice big gift, so I'm looking forward to seeing what is stashed in the stocking this year.

Head over to Oh, Boy 4th Grade and see what is currently happening with everyone else.