Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weekly Roundup

This was the first week of school, so I have been rather busy, but I did take the time to read a few blogs.  Below are some of my favorite reads.  I'm linking up with My So-Called Chaos and High-Heeled Love for their weekly roundup.

Chalkboard Clipboard Signs at Organize and Decorate Everything

This DIY is right up my alley since I'm a teacher.  And it seems so easy.  I haven't tried it yet, but I have no doubt that I can make this, and I can envision so many different ways I could use this at home and at school.  All you need is a clipboard, painter's tape, chalk paint, and chalk.  I loved her idea of having her children hold a clipboard with their grade in school for their first-day-of-school photos.  I would like to make one that says, "________ days until Christmas/Valentine's Day/Easter/Summer/or whatever countdown I want.  I can also see it as a welcome sign in my classroom.  What a great idea!

3 Odd Things That Make Me Ridiculously Happy at I'm an Organizing Junkie

I like this post for two reasons.  First, I've been reading OrgJunkie for a while now, and it was fun to read something personal about what she enjoys.  I like when I get to read a post that helps me feel like I know the writer better.  Also, I love what she did with her refrigerator.  Go take a look!

15 Amazing Personal Ads From the ’90s, Presented With Commentary at The Cut

This post was light-hearted and funny!  The author put together 15 real personal ads from a New York newspaper that was in circulation during the 1990's.  Considering that's almost how I met my husband, I found it quite fun to read these!  My husband and I met online via personal ads back when it wasn't cool to meet online - before dating sites existed.  You may remember a website called circa 2001?  They published personal ads much like the newspapers once did.  I'm pretty sure our ads sounded nothing like these.  One of them begins like this:  "I'll Shoot My Dog!"  What is up with that?  The commentary on the ads is pretty clever!

I hope you enjoy these!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's Just My Opinion

The White Princess (The Cousins' War,  #5)The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly loved this book! This book is part of the Cousins' War series. I read The White Queen first, and I believe I skipped a book that comes between The White Queen and The White Princess; however, these two seemed better suited to read in succession because "Princess" takes over where "Queen" left off. I think the book in the middle concentrates on the daughter of the man who played a huge part in who would be King of England. But now that I think about it, it probably would have led me to understand better why Teddy and Maggie, who were theoretically heirs to the throne, were discarded so easily by the Yorkists.

The story begins as Henry Tudor (Henry VII) wins the battle in which King Richard is mortally wounded thus making him not only victor, but King. He has been betrothed to Elizabeth, daughter of King Richard the III and Elizabeth Woodville (believed to be a witch by some).  She is niece and possible lover of Richard IV whom Henry killed. Henry and Elizabeth make a tentative couple, but they do learn to love each other in their own way, and they create three male heirs for Henry including the infamous Henry VIII.  They also have several daughters, but female heirs were considered unimportant.  Henry can never be comfortable as King, because he is unsure of whether there is still an actual York heir somewhere in Europe. Henry's marriage once again becomes tumultuous when an heir claiming to be the younger York Prince makes himself known and Elizabeth's curse is revealed. I don't want to spoil the story because it is well worth the read. I couldn't put it down!

I enjoyed the story so much that I found myself looking up the actual history of the time period (late 1400's to early 1500's). It is fascinating! Gregory takes what facts are actually known to be true of the era and embellishes with such vivid descriptions and dialogue that she makes the reader feel as though he/she is part of the story. Gregory definitely has researched the history well in order to reconstruct events in such an engaging manner. I also enjoy her explanations at the end of the book of why she chose certain theories to expand upon to create her stories. There are numerous theories about the Princes, for example, and she takes a position and builds details in the story around that theory.

I would love to believe that the events, the descriptions, the expressions, the customs, and the conversations happened exactly the way they did in Gregory's books, but exact replicas of those events are impossible. But when reading The White Princess, I felt as if every moment was real.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 24, 2015

Car Accident

A week ago, I had a terrible car accident.  As many of you know, I'm still recovering from shoulder surgery as well.

I am lucky not to have any life-threatening injuries, though my car is likely totaled.  I didn't escape unscathed, though.  I am bruised and sore.  I have bruises on my chest, both hips, legs, stomach, back, and feet.  My back is obviously not aligned. It's difficult to walk until things get loosened up.  And my right collar bone has a knot on it. It's swollen, I guess, and I am in constant pain.  I did have x-rays directly after the accident, but I don't know if they got my right collar bone.  I also so my orthopedic doctor to make sure I didn't re injure my left shoulder, and he requested an MRI for which I don't know the results yet.  I've been having stomach issues that I don't know whether they are related to the accident or something I ate.  Who knows?  I'm just so tired.

Someone asked me how I was doing yesterday, and I said, "I hurt all over," and she responded by asking "Still?" as though she can't believe that 6 days later I'm still hurting.  Is that uncommon?  And of course, I'm still healing from my shoulder which they told me would take 3-6 months.  I'm at 2 months past surgery and still going to physical therapy.

So, here's what happened... I was at a stop sign waiting to cross a street that has two lanes going in each direction and a median in the middle.  I waited for several cars to go, then I waited until the car in the center turn lane went, then I began to cross.  The sun was in my eyes, a pole obstructing my view, and I absolutely did not see the white truck until it was too late.

The police were there in a very speedy fashion.  A lady who didn't see the accident happen stopped anyway, and she came over to pray with me.  Another lady stayed for a while, and I think she gave a statement.  She also kept coming to check on me.  My husband was there pretty quickly, too, and a friend from work came even though she didn't have to.

As it turns out, the driver who hit me was driving a business truck, a 2009 Chevy Silverado with a lot of equipment in the back.  The business was Aquaduct Plumbing Company.  The business had an insurance policy on the truck; however, the driver was from Honduras and had no state driver's license or personal insurance.  I really want everyone to know about this fact.  Why does a company allow an unlicensed illegal immigrant drive a company truck?  That really bothers me, but it seems there may be nothing I can do about it.  I'm the one who had they stop sign, but I honestly didn't see him until it was too late.
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We will probably hear more from the insurance company today, but I feel certain it was totaled.  The front passenger wheel was bent halfway inward, the key wouldn't come out of the ignition, and the trunk wouldn't open.  I'm in pain, scared to drive, though I have, and angry about the situation.  Thoughts?

I'm loving everyone's back-to-school photos!  I didn't have school age children to photography this year or last, but I do have a picture of my daughter after we set up her dorm room ten days ago.  This is after we made her bed.  The walls weren't decorated yet, and the picture fails to show the really nice size of her room. I don't remember living in dorms with as much space as she's had the last two years.  And this year, she and her roommate have a private bathroom.  Cool!

I had a good first day of school in spite of my bruises, aches, and pains.  I'm ready for a great year no matter what?

I'm linking up with Stacy Uncorked since this is a fairly random post.  Visit Stacy!  You'll love her blog!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekly Roundup

These are a few of my favorite reads this week.  Visit High-Heeled Love and My So-Called Chaos to join in!

Newlifeoutlook - How to Help Someone with Depression

Since my surgery, and a few other family crises, I have been depressed lately.  I also had a car accident Monday last, and that has complicated my emotions further.  Although it was intended for a family member or friend of a person suffering from depression, I believe the person experiencing depression could also benefit from reading it.  I especially thought the information on page 2 was helpful.  Actually, I read a number of articles on the site, and found most of them beneficial.

Organize and Decorate Everything - Back to School Gift Bags for Kids

Considering it's back-to-school time, I thought this was a terrific post!  I wish my kids were still young enough that I could make these gift bags for them, but it does give me ideas for care packages to send to my college students.

Mod Podge Rocks - Scrapbook Embellishments with Mod Melts

I love to scrapbook, and I'm always looking for inexpensive embellishments for my pages.  What I learned from this post is that if I have a silicone mold, a glue gun, and mod melts glue sticks (which come in a variety of colors including metallics), I can make my own embellishments.  Sounds so simple!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What I Like about the School Where I Work.

I hear so many complaints about schools across our country, but I want people to know that all schools are not bad, even public schools.  There are many things I like about my district and the  school where I teach 6th grade English/Language Arts.

1.  My colleagues and I truly are in the business to help children learn.  I seriously can't think of anyone who is just "drawing a paycheck" and "biding his/her time."
2.  My district does not subscribe to "common core" teaching methods or materials.
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3.  This year, my district has decided not to be concerned with the federal money we would get from following Michelle Obama's "nutritional guidelines" but to use a common sense approach instead and fund the free/reduced price lunch program ourselves. We want our students to eat healthy, but if they won't eat the lunch at all, they are getting no nutrition, so we will decide what foods to serve that can actually taste good and be healthy at the same time.  The kids in the past few years would either not get lunch (even if it was free), or they would throw it away.

4.  My principal is a man of faith.  Recently, when I had my car accident, the faculty was in a meeting.  He immediately stopped and led a prayer on my behalf.  He reads his Bible during down time, and it is usually on his desk.
5.  We have counselors who work so hard to provide for kids' needs.
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6.  Our district is moving toward more personalized learning meaning students will sometimes have choices about how to acquire information or how to present information while still achieving state learning goals.
7.Our district is actually opposed to the particular state assessment we are required to use at this time, and we have joined a consortium of other school districts who are also opposed.  I don't know what progress they have made so far, but I know they are educated, respected, and tenacious.
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8.  Jimmy Johns delivers to my campus.  This is seriously important if you forget your lunch!  Haha!
9. Teachers get a 30 minute duty-free lunch.  This is required by law, but sometimes teachers end up spending part of their lunch periods escorting and assisting students in spite of the law.
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10.  All of our students will have tablets or laptops issued to them this year from 4th grade up.  The district provides great technology training.
11.  We have instructional coaches who are a great resource to help us find original methods of lesson delivery, how to incorporate technology that meets our educational goals, provide feedback when requested, and help our curriculum with vertical alignment.

12.  We have the BEST campus nurse.  She has a special room for teachers where she can take our blood pressure, help us decide if we need to see a doctor, or just let us rest.  She keeps over-the-counter medicine stocked for us. She also helps us by providing on campus vaccinations and flu shots for teachers, blood drives, free mammograms, and many other programs.
13.  And best of all, it takes less than 15 minutes to get to my school!

Play along with Thursday Thirteen!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Random Tuesday

I'm joining Stacy Uncorked for some randomness.

Well, I didn't make it back to school Monday as planned.  I had a car accident on my way.  Doesn't look like I will be there today, either.  Too sore.  It was my fault.  I just didn't see the truck coming!  I was at a stop sign.  I had to wait for several cars to go by in both directions, then I let the car that was in the turn lane go, then it was my turn.  With a median, a pole, and the bright sunshine in my eyes, I never saw him coming!  A big, white, Chevy Silverado belonging to a plumbing company.  I don't think he even attempted to stop.  But I didn't get a ticket, he did.  He was an undocumented worker from Honduras driving without a license.  To me, it makes no sense why a business would allow someone to drive their vehicle that is not insured.  
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I'm okay except for some bumps, bruises, cuts, and soreness.  I don't have any broken bones.  I do have to have another MRI.  My shoulder surgery was only 8 weeks ago.  The Dr. doesn't necessarily think there is anything wrong.  He's just being cautious to make sure I didn't re-injure myself.  So, when people ask me how I feel, I'm going to tell them the truth... I feel like I was hit by a truck! I praise and thank God it wasn't worse.  Update on the car later when we find out.

I finally missed my first day in my Bible reading, and it didn't have anything to do with the accident. I'm reading the One Year Bible, and it is broken up into sections, one for each day of the year.  I began January 1.  I forgot to read August 14.  Of course I made up that day and I'm back on track, but I feel so guilty for missing a day.  I was out of town, but I can't use that as an excuse.  I had a list of the sections I needed to read, and I could have looked them up on Bible Gateway.  I just forgot.  I was shooting for a straight 365 in a row.  Darnit.

On an exciting note, my daughter is moved into her dorm for year two.  She went up early to help with Welcome Week.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to School!

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Tomorrow is my first day back to school.  The students start next Monday, but we have a week of training and professional development. Much of it will be boring, some of it will be necessary, and a small bit of it will be useful.  We are learning a new system by which we will take attendance, input grades, and so on, so I am looking forward to see how this will help me manage my data.  We also had some curriculum changes, and I may or may not agree with them, but I will abide by them.  I am lucky to work for a district that does not do "common core," and truly values our students.  Wish me luck!
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thursday Thirteen

Things to Take to College that You Might not Have Thought Of

1.  Safety pins - These can be used for a variety of things... pinning back curtains, repairing an article of clothing when you don't have time to sew, or to make a costume.

And speaking of costumes...

2.  Old T shirts, fabric, tulle, old costumes - If  you're going to attend "rush," or dress up for Halloween, or attend theme mixers, you mightSleep need some of these to create an appropriate outfit or costume.

3.  Earplugs - You never know if your roommate is going to snore or if there will be noisy construction going on outside your dorm in the early morning hours.

4.  Sleep Mask - You may have a roommate who turns the lights on at night or a window without room-darkening shades or curtains.
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5.  Duct Tape - What CAN'T you do with duct tape?  You can cover wires, tape your rug down so it won't slip, and secure loose items.  You might even need some for one of those previously mentioned costumes.

6.  Boot Tray - If your college student lives where there is snow, this will come in handy.  He/she will need a place to put the boots to dry.
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7.  Stamps and Stationery - Most college students, freshmen in particular, get a kick out of sending snail mail. I know my daughter did, and still does!  Having the stamps at the ready means she can send a letter without having to worry about where to buy a stamp.  And she loves having stationery to write on rather than notebook paper and a plain envelope.

8.  An Address Book with Phone Numbers - If technology fails, having a written list of addresses (which he/she will need for snail mail anyway)  and phone numbers will come in handy.
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9.  Brita Filter Water Pitcher - Unless you're familiar with the area and know what the water tastes like, you might not want to take your chances that the water will taste good.  Having a filtered pitcher can make water that comes out of old pipes actually taste fresh.  This might even be a way to avoid having to buy bottled water.

10.  Sports Equipment - Taking a soccer ball out to the field is a great way to work out.  It could also lead to an impromptu game in which students can make new friends or practice for intramural teams.
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11.  A Mattress Topper - My daughter said she could not have slept on her mattress last year without the topper I got her.  Some people call them "egg crates."  They are usually made of foam. I recommend getting at least a two inch topper.  They come in twin, twin XL, full, and larger.  In the old days, we had to buy foam and cut it, but now it's sold in sizes that fit perfectly on the mattress.  Just make sure to get deep pocket sheets that will cover the topper and mattress both.

12.  Mini Safe - Better safe than sorry.  A mini safe can be a place to keep money or jewelry when you're out and you want to be absolutely sure that it is safely stored.

13. Semi-Formal or Formal Attire - A nice dress or suit may be necessary.  Even if your student isn't part of a fraternity or sorority, there are often events that require more than just khakis and a polo. The college may host events requiring something other than casual dress as do many professional societies.  It will also come in handy for mock (or real!) interviews.

I can't say I am happy that my girl is going back to college today, but I am proud.  She is going a week early to volunteer her time and talent with Welcome Week for the incoming freshmen.  The tears are going to flow.

Sources:  Me, of course!  Real Simple. Her Campus.

Link up with Thursday Thirteen and/or Below!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Random Tuesday

Link up with Stacy Uncorked for some Random Tuesday!

About two weeks ago, I decided to delete two "liked" pages from my Facebook account, and I can't begin to tell you how much less stress I am feeling! I had no idea that something so seemingly innocuous could cause me so much mental stress.  Both pages were frequently posting about controversial issues, and while I tended to agree with them, I guess it was making me anxious.  All better now.
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I know I have mentioned before how much I hate public restrooms, but I have to reiterate that.  It's not that I'm necessarily afraid of germs.  It's just that it's so gross to think about how many hundreds of rear ends have touched that potty seat.  Even in places like office buildings, fancy restaurants, or the school where I work, it's just the thought of other people using the same facilities.  And that's the faculty restrooms at my school.  Kids' restrooms?  I'm not even going there!  And definitely don't get me started on porta-potties.  It's one of my life's goals to never - ever - have to use another porta-potty!
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I just read that Stacy's kids don't go back to school for FOUR MORE WEEKS!  As a teacher, I go back in less than a week.  Our students go back in less than two.  What?

Here in Texas, we have a three day weekend, usually the first weekend in August, where you can shop for school clothes and school supplies without paying any sales tax.  So you save 8.25% on typical purchases like jeans, shirts, notebooks, pens, etc.  Apparently, the crowds were horrendous this year.  Why?  I  wait until these items go on sale.  I'd rather pay 50 cents for a package of notebook paper than pay $1 and save 8 cents.  Same with clothing.  Needless to say, I didn't brave the mall.  Where you live, is there any shopping incentive for back-to-school?
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Hahaha!  Have a great week!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Weekly Roundup

I'm linking up with High Heeled Love and My So-Called Chaos for the Weekly Roundup. 

Here are a few of the posts I read this week that I really enjoyed.

Time Out for Mom - Currently:  State of Being

It's hard to describe this post, but it is so relevant for me.  It's all about being content with your current state of being.  Take about ten minutes and see what you think.  I definitely got something out of it.

The DIY Playbook - How to Hide a Printer

What a clever idea!  I have a printer on a glass table top that is somewhat of an eyesore.  This easy solution, using a wicker basket, may be perfect for me!  And the steps seem very easy to follow.

Scary Mommy - How to "Win" Every Fight with your Spouse

Everyone argues at some point or other.  Scary Mommy is known, among other things, for sarcasm.  This was a super-fun read, and while tips 1-9 probably constitute what many of us do,  #10 and it's two successive options are actually quite reasonable.


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