Dollar Store Staples

As an educator, learning is a major priority to me, and I am a believer in putting your money where your heart is. I have been known to spend way more than I should have picking up school supplies for home and my classroom. It was to the point my husband was more afraid of the office supply aisle than of the shoe department! However, I have learned over the past few years how easily entertained little kids are and how unimpressed they are with name brand stuff. If you don’t point it out, they just don’t notice. So most of my craft-tivity supplies come from my favorite store: Dollar Tree. Of course, you have to watch yourself. Not everything is cheaper there, and sometimes the quality, or lack thereof, deducts from the value of a dollar item. I have compiled a list of my favorite supplies to keep on hand that are easily found at most dollar stores. Continue reading Dollar Store Staples

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Sticking to the plan

Sticking to a plan is harder than it seems! I know I can’t be the only one who struggles to maintain the will power to stick with eating healthy, spending less, or a schedule, right?! I’ve been working on a loose schedule for the kiddos and me so we don’t end up wondering, “What did we do all day?” But it is tough! I feel like I’m always making something to eat for someone and it’s exhausting. I’m hoping we can get into a decent routine soon so the kids and I can have an idea of what’s next and I won’t be constantly battling the million questions and supplying the seemingly endless desire for snacks!  So far our days look a little like this: Continue reading Sticking to the plan

Dad, Daddy, Pops, Papa…

A few days ago the kids and I started thinking about the upcoming day to celebrate daddies. Punky was insistent that we just had to make Daddy a card. And it needed GLITTER! Inwardly, I cringed. Outwardly, I said, “I bet Daddy will love it!” So we gathered up glue, glitter, markers, paper, and some cookie sheets to work on. Punky got right to work drawing a picture of Daddy and asked for help writing her name. She has practiced this quite a bit so I wrote it out on a separate sheet of paper so she could copy it. I was really afraid glitter would end up everywhere, so I was in charge of the glue this time. She would draw it out, I traced it with glue, and she did the glitter. That was a little scary, but she did pretty well! Bay drew a lot of squiggles, but we did some glitter smiles with a little more help from Mommy than Punky required. The final product was perfectly hand made and Pinterest worthy…. or at least fridge worthy! Daddy is sure to love them!

Continue reading Dad, Daddy, Pops, Papa…

Work a little, save a lot!

Since we made the decision that I would be staying home and we would be an single-income family I have found myself in full penny-pinching mode. I know that there is no way I could “save” enough to compensate for my income, but there are plenty of places we can cut back on our spending and take some of the strain off our bank account. I had the opportunity today to go grocery shopping without the kiddos – probably the last time that will ever happen 😦 – and so I was able to do some research and price comparing to get some good deals.

Continue reading Work a little, save a lot!

Bead me up scottie

What a glorious thing it is to have free time!  Yesterday was technically my last day at school, but because I made it so.  Teachers in our county have workdays through next Monday, but since I’m not going back next year those days of professional development seemed unnecessary, so I took my remaining personal time to end the year a bit early.  My kids’ sitter has been kind enough to keep them for these last few days anyway so I can have a little time to myself.  I dropped the kids off around 8 and came back to the house, had my coffee and a bowl of cereal before I got to work on the laundry.  I watched an episode of my girly binge show while I folded and put away a load.  I was meaning to put the next load in the dryer, but it didn’t seem right to run the dryer heating up the whole house for an hour or more when there was so much good sunshine outside.  I called up my daddy and had him help me put up a clothesline and hung up the clean towels and sheets.  This was all before lunch!  I made up some quick mac-n-cheese with peas, picked the garden, then got to work on the massive pile of stuff I brought home from school – sorting and putting away.  A storm rolled in on me so I pulled the laundry in and went to get my babies and got started on dinner.  An easy throw-together meal of ground venison sauteed with onions and garlic, cream of mushroom soup, cheddar cheese soup, milk and pasta, topped with a little shredded cheese at the end.  Not exactly the most healthy but it only cost about $3 to make enough for all four of us plus leftovers so I’ll forgive myself this time!

After all of this I still had about an hour and a half before it was time to start the bedtime routine so I decided to make something of that time.  Continue reading Bead me up scottie

I get by with a little help from my friends

Today was the day! It was officially my last day at school. As of now I am a full time stay and work at home mommy! This is the most amazing and completely terrifying thing I think I have ever done, but I am so excited to go on this new adventure and see what God can bring to me and my family through this experience.

Since it was my last day, and the last day my friends would be at their base school for the year, we had a little end of year get together. We went to one of those places where you are free to bring your beverage of choice 😉 and you follow the lead of an artist to create your own painting that *hopefully* looks something like the sample you signed up to paint. It was a lot of fun getting to hang out with them in a social setting and say a little, “see you around” before we’re all off to our various summer plans. Of course some of the other moms and I will get together with our kiddos over the summer, but tonight was a bit of a last hoo-rah to celebrate the end of a major chapter in my life. I have worked at that school since I graduated from college and have really enjoyed my time there, building relationships with coworkers, students, families, and other community members. Of course, that’s not to say there haven’t been moments where I wondered what in the world I was thinking to go back the next day, but overall it has been a wonderful place to work and definitely the best group of people to work with that anyone could ever ask for.

So, why, you may ask, would I want to leave? Why would I leave the only job I’ve ever know, ever trained for, ever wanted, to stay home and do laundry, and wash dishes, and all the other never-ending tasks that go along with being a stay at home mom? Well, it’s like this: I didn’t choose the mom life, the mom life chose me! (Thanks to all the freshman that try to keep my lingo up to date – I know that I’ve failed you miserably with this little quip, but it fits so I don’t regret it!) I have always said that little kids are not “my thing.” I was built by my creator for a specific purpose and given gifts and challenges to prepare me to fulfill that purpose. For quite some time now, that place of calling has been my high school. I truly believe that I have made a difference in the lives of many students. If nothing else, they will look back on their days at that school and know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that someone in that school cared about them as an individual and wasn’t afraid of doing what it took to help them succeed. I have loved a lot of students over my 8 years of teaching. I still get teary-eyed when I think of several who have held a special place in my heart for one reason or another. I believe that many of my students will seek me out when they find out I’m not going back for another school year. All of these are great and beautiful triumphs in my career, my walk of faith, and for our education system. But none of them is as important of a legacy as my own children.

I don’t want to sound like I think my children are better or more important that anyone else’s or that my time teaching, loving, caring for other children has been a waste. I do not feel that way at all. But I do feel like the biggest impact we can make on this world is to raise a generation that is loving, God-fearing, and hard-working, and what better way to contribute to that than starting with my own children? Could I raise loving, God-fearing, hard-working children while working a full time job outside my home? Sure! Are their parents who do just that? Definitely! However, I don’t think that this is the correct path for me and my family right now. I described it to a co-worker this way: There’s only so much room in my stress bucket, and school takes up a lot of that room. Being counselor, nurse, friend, parent, custodian, teacher, advocate, conscience, comedian for my students all day long wears me out. I get home and only have a little of me left to give to my own children, and then even less left over to give to my husband, and unfortunately God seems to catch the scraps most of the time. This is exactly backwards! It will be crazy and difficult, nerve-wracking and mind-numbing, monotonous and tedious. But at least I will have all of me to give to the little humans God has trusted me to care for. I can give the best of me to my God and my family first. Then if I feel like I have something left over, I can tutor or visit at my school. But no longer will my children, my husband, and my God get the mouse’s portion of my time and energy!

All of that to say, I will miss working at my school, collaborating with my friends who are my colleagues, and spend time with my colleagues who are my friends. I will miss working with those students who would have had a special place in my heart. I will miss seeing the ones that already have a place continue to grow. But, I am grateful for the opportunity to work at home, collaborate with my husband, and spend time with the Lord. I am grateful for my two children and the ones that I will have in the future. I am grateful for the opportunity to watch so closely as they continue to grow.

Before I go, I’d like to say hats off to all the teachers out there for finishing up a great school year. Cheers to you for doing what you do so well! Rest, relax, and take some time to rejuvenate so you can be your best you come August. Then you can get back to changing the world one student at a time!

Until next time…

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The results of our painting party.

Days and Weeks to Come

One of my daughter’s favorite questions is “How much longer until…?” This is a tough one to answer for a kid who has little concept of time vocabulary. I often refer to things that are days away by the number of “sleeps” she has left which has seemed to work.  Punky has gotten better about relational time words such as today, tomorrow, and yesterday, but still struggles with the concept of a day versus a week or a month.  Sometimes I will show her the family calendar and point out the current day and have her help me count the days until the anticipated event. Continue reading Days and Weeks to Come