Tuesday, June 10, 2014

10 Goals for June

First, a review of my May goals:
1. Purchase and Set-up New Furniture. We are technically waiting for our couch and chair to be delivered -- but that's out of my control, so I'm calling this one done!
2. Organize the Office. You will notice this one is carried over to my June goals below. It flat-out didn't get done. Or started.
3. Take a trip to Goodwill. I still have hopes of a few more trips.
4. Clean & Organize my Classroom. 
5. Stay Current on Grades.
6. Visit the Teacher Librarians at my New Job. I actually did this one twice - I'm no where near ready for a new position in the fall - but a lot I'm closer.
7. Work Out. I am going to repeat this one again next month. Even though I got in a few workouts, it's still something I need to keep as my summer goal.
8. Finish and Submit my Thesis Proposal. 
9. Buy a Car. 
10. Find and Commit to Two Blog Link-ups. It took me until the very last week of May to accomplish this goal - but I hope to keep it up throughout the summer!

Okay -- on to what I want to accomplish in June (my first month off of school - so these goals are pretty lofty!):

Home Goals
1. Organize the Office. Our new office quickly became the dumping ground for boxes and things that were moved, but didn't have another home. Cleaning and organizing this room is the final step in the big move!
2. Weed the Garden Weekly. 
3. Take a Trip to Goodwill. I am still working on minimizing our life -- we have SO MANY boxes that have now been moved to two house without even being opened. That needs to stop!

Work Goals
4. Attend the Technology Integration Conference in Dubuque. June 17-18. So excited!
5. Finalize the Endorsement on my Teaching License & Complete New Job Paperwork. This is a much more complicated process than I ever would have imagined - it's a 'start the very first week of June' goal!
6. Read 2 of the Iowa High School Book Award Nominees. (And hopefully 2 more in July and 2 more in August!)

Personal Goals
7. Work Out.
8. Pre-write Post (so I am always one ahead!). I tend to end up with about 6 half-written posts, but none that are 'publish ready' (for example, this goals post that was 10 days late!). 
9. Re-start Cross Stitching and Begin a Sampler. I am so excited for this one - I need a creative outlet and Katie at the Amateur Librarian reminded me how much fun cross stitch can be!
10. Go on Summer Dates with my Husband.

Thanks Cassie at Back to Her Roots for the great goal inspiration. And for being an awesome blog to read everyday!

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What are your goals for the month of June?

Friday, June 6, 2014

High Five for Friday 6.6

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday! 
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Busy week -- lots of great pictures!

1. This past weekend I was honored to be the confirmation sponsor for my cousin Riley -- I am so proud of the young adult she has become and can't wait for her journey of faith to continue! (and I got to meet an archbishop!)

2. The most fun day of the school year -- adequately named fun day -- happened! It was so awesome to see all the kids enjoying themselves at the park, and the teachers had a great time too!

3. This week has been jam-packed with end of the year events. But, the sad truth is that I had to box up my classroom and end my 7 years as a classroom teacher. I am so excited for what the future holds -- but a little bit of sadness is also part of change. 

4. Out of the many, many things I am excited for this summer -- reading is one of them! I signed up for the summer reading program at the local public library and am already pushing through my first book (The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson). Great Read!

5. Once again, I have the sweetest co-workers. Flowers from my work BFF on my last day!

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Perfect Pairs Wedding Shower

I love to be the host. So, this past week I jumped at the chance to throw a bridal shower for a coworker who is getting married over summer break. 

Our school does very simple gatherings/showers for weddings, births, retirements, etc. We typically hold them after school and invite everyone. There aren't usually games -- but food is highly encouraged (mostly to attract guests). We also all contribute to a larger 'group' gift. This meant there wasn't a lot to plan -- but I wanted to have a cute theme and some simple decorations.

After a little Pinterest searching I discovered this link and decided that the idea of 'Perfect Pairs' was... well, perfect!

The centerpieces were definitely my favorite part - we just brainstormed different 'pairs' we already had around the house. The colors - pink and yellow - really don't have much significance. The just happened to be the colors of the table clothes we already had! (reduce - reuse - recycle, people!) I made the 'Perfect Pairs' banner and small signs using an online tutorial and construction paper.

We also carried the theme on to the food -- chocolate & vanilla (cupcakes); meat & cheese; apples & oranges (fruit); chips & dip; iced tea & lemonade.

To wrap it all up, her gift was a few things she registered for - a rolling cooler and some glasses -- plus a bunch of grilling and cookout necessities with the tag: Summer & Cookouts.

It was a BLAST! Everything came together so well that I can't wait to host another shower - or any other party!

Linking up with Molly & Carly for Funday Monday!

Friday, May 30, 2014

High Five for Friday 5.29

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday! 
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My first four exciting things that happened this week are all from my fantastic Memorial Day weekend (official start of summer - even though we still have another week of school. boo!) And, while I am the first to admit that I am NOT an outdoors/camping person, I got a lot of sun and fresh air and loved it!

1. Friday night Kasey and I went on a date night to watch the Burlington Bees get a big win against Peoria. The weather was beautiful!

2. We have almost lived a whole month in our new house. And we spent quite a bit of the weekend doing house chores - mowing, weeding, cleaning, and yard work at the old lot. Unfortunately, now that we've started it seems like new weeks pop up every few minutes!

3. On Saturday night we joined friends on a Cedar River sandbar. Their family was camping on the sandbar (tent and everything) for the weekend. It was so relaxing - and their young girls were having a blast running in and out of the water. 

4. We had extra family time at the cabin on Sunday. Lots of good food. And lots and lots of bug spray!

5. My coworkers and I threw a bridal shower for a teammate who is getting married this summer. The theme was adorable -- and I can't wait to share details with you next week!

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Workout Tank Refashion

This is my first ever tutorial. Bear with me...

I have one Target tank that I absolutely love - and probably should have bought in every single color when it was available a few years ago. But I didn't. And the one that I do own will be worn over and over and over in the summer. I've seen several tutorials for workout tank refashions on Pinterest -- but really never had the urge to follow any of them.

But, I now have a garden to weed and a workout schedule to follow. So I am looking for a tank I can wear outside that will give me just enough sun without being too immodest. I decided to step out of my comfort zone a little and make refashion my own!

I started with a tshirt that I only kind-of liked -- I didn't want to experiment on any of my favorites just yet! 

You will need:
Tshirt to refashion
Your-absolutely-favorite-Target tank

1. I turned both the tshirt and Target tank inside out and put one inside the other so I could use the Target tank as a guide. I carefully (and as lightly as possible) drew a dotted guideline for myself on the tshirt. I only traced the neck line (front and back) and the places for the arms. The tshirt ended up being longer than my favorite tank, but I liked it that way and didn't plan to trim any off.

I tried to be a precise as possible -- but was doing it inside out, so I had a little wiggle-room for mistakes!

2. Next, I put the Target tank aside (it has already done it's job) and carefully cut along my markings. This turned out to be the most challenging part. I'm not used to cutting material -- so I had to remind myself more than once to go slowly so I didn't end up with a choppy, ragged edge!

3. Once I finished cutting (and then went back and smoothed out some of my edges) I turned the new workout tank right side out and examined my work! My shoulder straps (the distance between the neckline and arms) turned out a little uneven, so I trimmed one up a bit free-hand. 

4. After trying it on, I did decide to trim the bottom hemline off -- not because I wanted it any shorter -- but because I had already removed all the other hemlines and I thought it looked a little random to keep only one. I'm still rethinking this decision!

5. Lastly, I used half of the removed bottom hemline to tie up the back razorback. This was a step that I saw in the online tutorials, but that I wasn't sure about. In the end, having the tie really helped to keep the refashioned tank in place while I was moving around. 

I just wrapped the hemline around the back and tied it -- then slid it to the right spot once I had the workout tank on. I'm not sure how well this wrap-job will hold up in the wash, and might take another step out of my comfort zone and sew it in place on future refashions!

Overall, it works great!! I wore it while doing a workout video last week. I don't plan on wearing it out and about (at least not this one!) but I think it's going to be perfect for chores around the house. It covers enough to be comfortable, but also allows a lot of breathing room for the summer heat! (Especially when I stretched it a little!)

Linking up with Molly & Carly (a day late) for Funday Monday!


Friday, May 23, 2014

High Five For Friday! 5.23

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday! 
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1. I love the end of the year - mostly because it celebrates all the awesome things that students and staff have done all year long. So far, we have had some great celebrations including a field trip to the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium and celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week with cake!

2. Contrary to the cake and Mountain Dew in this post (whoops!) I have been succeeding in my goal to be healthier! I already have two workouts done of the week and have a third one one planned for tomorrow. Baby steps, people!

3. I am so excited about everything spring-related right now! Especially fashion - I have started going through all the clothes that were in storage over the winter (and bought a few new springy pieces - like this maxi skirt from Target. Love!).

4. The end of the school year has also meant lots and lots of work! I have been finishing grades, doing my last lesson planning, and cleaning my classroom (this is my fourth move -- I'm a pro!). And I have been fueling it all with Mountain Dew and graduation-party cake. 

5. I am so looking forward to another weekend -- and this one has three days! I am looking forward to spending some quality time relaxing with my family and husband -- only 8 days left of school (although my homeroom has had a paper chain counting down since 40!)

I have also been rocking my 10 Goals for May -- check it out! I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

10 Goals for May

I really, really, really like lists. I make lists for myself everyday and most of the time my emails and notes to students are also in list form. It keeps things (mostly me) organized.

So, I'm going to really try and transfer my list-making into a lot of productivity. Thanks to Back to Her Roots for the great ideas for goals - and for being a great inspiration! Hopefully setting goals helps focus my month. 

Here's a list of my goals -- and what I've been able to accomplish in the first 15 days.

Home Goals
1. Purchase and Set-up New Furniture. We are all moved and all our 'old' furniture has a home, but moving also included shopping! We have already made one trip to IKEA and have that furniture assembled, but we are still waiting on our new couch and arm chair to be delivered.

2. Organize the Office. Our new office quickly became the dumping ground for boxes and things that were moved, but didn't have another home. Cleaning and organizing this room is the final step in the big move!

3. Take a trip to Goodwill. I think I've finally realized that we have too many things - something my husband has been saying all along. This month I would like to make one - of hopefully many - trips to Goodwill and/or Stuff etc. to minimize our life. 

Work Goals
4. Clean & Organize my Classroom. Along with cleaning, organizing, and moving our home, I will also be moving my classroom for the fall. With the help of my students, I will hopefully declutter my work things and get them all packed up in a few boxes before June 5th!

5. Stay Current on Grades. I've talked many times about how busy the spring semester is at school. To help enjoy all the planning and celebrating, I need to not let the papers stack up!

6. Visit the Teacher Librarians at my New Job. It is still overwhelming to think about all the changes that will happen after this school year, but to help make the transition smoother, I would like to take a day (or two) to visit Muscatine High School and see the current library and staff in action. I've already visited once - and it was as informative as it was overwhelming - but I hope to visit again before this school year is out.

Personal Goals
7. Work Out. This one doesn't need much explanation - I have let everything else come before exercise lately. Especially with the weather changing for the better, woking out and going for walks needs to be a priority. 

8. Finish and Submit my Thesis Proposal. Done and done! This was a great one to cross off the list on May 5th. Although I have more to do this summer and even more to do this fall, I am taking a break from graduate school work for the rest of May!

9. Buy a Car. This one is also done! After a lot of discussion - this was the first 'big' purchase of our married life -  Kasey and I decided on a 2013 Ford Escape. Her name is Ruby.

10. Find and Commit to Two Blog Link-ups. This one is going to be the hardest for me. Like working out - I haven't made blogging a priority lately. I enjoy doing it very much, but it often gets bumped to the bottom of my list. I am going to try and commit to two link-ups a week for the last 2 weeks in May.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Liebster Award

While I was on my hiatus (that sounds a lot better than I-was-so-overwhelmed-with-life-that-I-lost-all-motivation-to-do-anything-for-about-a-month), Becky at bybmg nominated me for a Liebster Award... I am new to the blogger world -- so I don't know much about this, but was excited to learn that it was an easy challenge and a great opportunity to learn share a little it more about myself!

Here are my answers to her fun questions...

1. If you were a color, what would you be and why?
Purple. It seems like such a versatile color -- I love that it can be royal and luxurious and also light and springy. 

2. What's something that you've made that you're proud of?
While I am not the craftiest or most creative person ever, I am really proud of how the decorations turned out for our wedding. They took a lot of help - my grandma sewed all 60+ table runners and my sister hot glued 30+ flower centerpieces - but I made all of the decisions and did most of the planning. It was a simple style (which I loved) and included gray and blue (which my husband loved). 

3. If you could have a shopping spree of $500 in one store, which store would you pick? What would you buy?
Target. And all the things. Seriously though, this is the one store where I need to be watched. I loose all track of time and money and logic.

4. What's the last book you read?
The graphic novel of The Red Pyramid by Rick Roirdan

5. What is one invention you think the world is missing?
A teleportation device... I am a commuter!

6. What's in your purse?
I am a full purse kind of person - but some of the staples in my purse are: my Gap wallet, a Vera Bradley gift-card and coupon holder, my Weight Watchers keychain, a pouch made from a TOMS flag that holds all my 'extras', a Target reusable shopping bag, my sunglasses, my iPhone and charger, Damsel in Defense pepper-spray, and my keys. 
Sometimes there are random snacks floating around the bottom of the bag -- but I've been trying to keep things pretty organized lately.

7. What is one beauty product you can't live without?
Mascara. I will not and can not leave the house without mascara on -- I don't think I'm too obsessive (I don't re-apply during the day and I'm very mindful of clumps) but it is a necessity in my life. It's a little thing that makes me feel a whole lot better about myself!

8.  When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballerina.

9. What was your first car?
My first car was a red, two-door Ford Aspire (google it for a good laugh). My favorite part was that it was a manual transmission -- I have always been proud of my ability to drive a stick and my current car is also one (which saves us a little money on gas!). 

10. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
This was a hard question... and I'm worried that my answer is too limited - it doesn't seem like a very global change, but it's something that I see impact my life and my students.
I would change the fact that we (as a society) are constantly labeling each other. It feels like there is so much pressure to fit different labels: athlete, nature-lover, fashionista, crafter -- even my students feel pressured to fit into a specific label given to them by friends or family. I want kids (and adults) to feel free to experience and enjoy aspects of many different labels. You don't have to be a certain kind of woman or a certain kind of blogger -- we can all choose to do the things that make us feel comfortable and happy.

11. If you had a day to yourself, what would you do?
I would spend the day catching up on my dvd and Netflix lists. I am ridiculously into reality shows lately -- but it isn't something that my husband and I watch together. Having a day alone to enjoy watching TV and get some extra work done around the house doesn't sound glamorous -- but it's something I don't get to do very often. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


Thinking…of the many tasks that will accompany the many changes that we are anticipating in the coming weeks and months. I am thinking of ways to organize and maintain my sanity. I am thinking of ways to prepare for the future without forgetting to live in the moment. 

Feeling…renewed and refreshed. Spring cleaning and moving have been a great time for me to declutter our home and Lent was an excellent opportunity for me to declutter my life and focus on what matters most. 
WatchingExtreme Couponing -- and any other TLC show that I can stream on Netflix.
Excited…about moving and all the redecorating I am going to get to do - I can not wait for my house to no longer be a disastrous moving zone (although that might take a few months!). 
Reading…a lot of graduate school notes and articles... and The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan and This Star Won't Go Out by Ester Grace Earl (recommended by John Green, so it's a must read!)
Wondering…what God has planned for our family next. There are so many unknowns and questions that I am anxious to have answers for. 
Working…on lesson planning for the rest of the year. I only have a unit and a half left as a classroom teacher, and I want to make sure that I give it my all. There are a lot of fun things coming up - including book spine poetry to celebrate Poetry Month and a field trip to the National Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque. 

Stressed…about finishing up my semester of graduate school. I only have two weeks left and a LONG to do list. A test, a disposition, a reflection paper, and a final revision of my thesis proposal are still setting half-finished on my desktop. 
Proud…of my husband. He is so confident when making decisions that will better our lives for the future.
Wanting…for myself and those around me to be content with a calm life. We are so blessed with wonderful family and friends I need to remind myself that we have enough and to be content.
Wishing…I would have gotten this Crystal Faye sweatshirt sooner. I'm worried that it's just getting warm enough that I won't need to wear it anymore. And this Erin Condren planner sooner. It took me until April to get a 2014 planner. And that I made more time to be active.
Eating…Easter candy, Easter candy, and more Easter candy. Honeycrisp apples. Triscuits and string cheese. Anything that can be grilled.
Drinking…Diet Coke, Smart Water, and this year's first batch of sun tea. 

Loving…online shopping, Pinterest, and how inspirational all my favorite blogs have been. My family for helping us move. My husband for putting up with the many changes in our life (and my hesitation with each and every one of them). The sunshine and the rain. New babies. Spending time with friends.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Now that it's holy week, I wanted to take a look back on the Lenten season.

In April, I instagram-committed to doing 40 random acts of kindness for Lent with Becky from bybmg.com and a few others... I got off to a great start and spread all sorts of goodness in the first two weeks. While I haven't stayed perfect the whole time, I really have felt a difference in the way I treat those around me...

It's amazing how many times per day God gives you an opportunity to be kind. Even though I tried to do a majority of my acts of kindness randomly and anonymously (so most didn't make it to Instagram), I found drawn to the many coworkers, students, and friends that I interact with everyday that could use some extra kindness.

The two best parts:

I also have felt the love myself... a few very amazing people in my life also took on the challenge to do nice things for others (including me). This was absolutely the best part -- seeing others be inspired to spread the kindness... it really is the reason for the Lenten season!

I still have so many ideas for upcoming opportunities to do random acts of kindness for those around me... I don't plan on stoping once lent is over. I hope to continue to spread as much kindness and caring as I possibly can to those around me. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What You Missed...

5 things you missed... (while I was away!)

1) I interviewed for and accepted a new job for the fall! I am so excited to announce that I will be the high school teacher-librarian at Muscatine High School this fall. I am so ecstatic to have this amazing opportunity as such a new teacher librarian. I am preparing myself to take all the knowledge and experience I have gained as a MS Language teacher and as a School Library Studies graduate student and put it to great use helping the staff and students at MHS.

This job means a lot of big changes in the relationships I have with my coworkers and students -- and a lot of changes in my daily schedule. But I am so excited (and already have so many ideas bouncing around in my head!).

2) With our jobs for next year all lined up, we have been on the lookout for a different place to live. Kasey and I have loved our little place on his grandparents land for the past two years, but we are so ready to have a bigger place (that we can fill with a family sometime soon!). We found an awesome 4 bedroom house in Columbus Junction that fits great with our budget -- we will be renting from a couple of retired teachers... pretty much a perfect arrangement! I'll post pictures after I go crazy redecorating!

3) A new place also means selling our current place. I want to give HUGE pats on the back to anyone who has ever sold a house... because it is a lot of work! After doing some research (and a lot of staging -- goodbye junk!) we have had several people out to look at our place. We haven't made any decisions yet, but some of the offers have two-week expiration dates so things will get busier before they slow down!

4) I am 2/3rds of the way done with with the first 1/2 of my thesis (way to tired to do the math!). My topic is: The Collaborative Relationship Between School Teacher Librarians and Public Librarians. Without boring you too much, I find it really interesting and really stressful all at the same time. This semester has been some of the latest nights in my graduate school career!

Also last month, I completed my practicum hours in the Mid-Prairie School District. It was so much fun to spend four days with the two teacher librarians in the district - I got to work with so many great kids and picked up so many great ideas for my future library!

5) Its Spring in the teaching world. I'm not sure how it happens -- but it sneaks up on me every year. From now until June 5th (ugh!) it will be a mad - but exciting - dash to get as much learning and fun completed before my students move on to high school! This also means doing lots of spring cleaning in my classroom and my computer!

Friday, February 21, 2014

High Five for Friday! x2

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday! 

(This is actually two weeks -- this blogging on a regular schedule thing is hard than it looks! Props to all my blogger friends that can pull it off!)

1. Valentines Day & the almost-sneak peak of spring have put me in a sunshiny mood, so I'm trying to spread the love by surprising people with happy grams. (Also, I love on people with food -- so they all included candy!)


2. Basketball season is over -- and as much as I love the season and getting to know the girls on the team, I am excited to have my husband back. We went on two dates -- TWO DATES -- this week! It was wonderful and glorious and he even sent flowers!

3. I have been book-taking to my students like crazy this week! But, one of my favorite things in the world is recommending young adult books to adults -- there are so many great books that I think people of every age should read! One of my newest favorites is Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Besides the glowing recommendation from one of my favorite authors, John Green, the book truly did remind me what it feels like to be young and in love -- all the excitement and uncertainty of being a teenager is fun to relive. Rowell also did a brilliant job of creating such unique, but well-developed characters! 

4. I am trying my hardest to get back into the #edufashionchallenge on social media -- while I don't feel my outfits are picture-worthy everyday (especially when I wear TMS hoodies on Fridays), I managed to get post a couple this past week. It really does help me feel more put-together and confident for the day!

5. I am so looking forward to this weekend -- I need time to catch-up, recharge, and spend some quality time with family! (And hopefully write a blog post or two!)

I hope everyone else is having a wonderful week!