A lull in the fighting.

This week has been really exciting and busy for the teaching side of my life. At about 2 p.m. Sunday I started working on homework and haven’t stopped moving since. This week I am very fortunate to be attending Interface, a math and science conference in its 30th year (they celebrated tonight with delicious cake!).

coffee

Breakfast of Champions Sleepies

Its been a long day, waking up at 4:00 a.m. to get to our first session on time, but to get to put together all the things I’ve been learning in class has been really nice. It’s inspiring to see my peers present to other teachers from across the state and mind blowing to think that next year it could be me. Yikes!

Being gone meant a long list of things to get done and while I would love to say I kept my cool, I didn’t. Tuesday morning I was super grouchy but thankfully Zach was able to be the grown up when I wasn’t.

Me: *whiny voice* My outfit is boring.

Zach: If you walk around all day like it’s boring, it’ll be boring.

Me: Touche.

It reminded me that I had a choice on how I handled the stress. I can be all Debby Downer, woe is me or I can see it as the adventure it is. The clouds parted and I saw that all the things I had going on were good things. Homework for the program I’ve wanted to do for years, trip to a conference that will make me a better teacher, sub plans for a job I love and dishes because I have food to eat. Why am I being so grumpy! So that’s my focus. Enjoy the little things, take deep breaths and remember that life is an adventure worth taking. I leave you with this…

Noah

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Five on Friday: Valentine’s Edition

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Since I was in middle school, Valentine’s Day has been one of my favorite holidays. Maybe it’s my love for red or the fact that I felt it was a holiday where I could shape my own traditions, but something about it has captured my excitement. I feel like it’s a day to celebrate all the love you have in your life… friends, family, animals, the sunshine etc. I have never limited myself to just one Valentine. I like to tell everyone how much they mean to me on Valentine’s Day! (although sometimes I’m cryptic about it…) Here are some of the ways we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day…

{ONE}

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I’ve seen a million renditions of the love frame on Pinterest and wanted to do my own take on it. I found the frame at Michael’s, as well as the gold and red scrapbook paper. This project was so easy, I literally made it while I cooked dinner. The letters were the hardest part, I cut out a template from white paper and then used an exacto knife to cut them out from the gold paper. In hindsight, I wish I would’ve done capital letters. The other frame is from Target during my big score where I got this basket, and has the same red paper plus the poem Wild Nights by Emily Dickinson. They are both festive, and easily reused for other purposes!

{TWO}

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What is a national holiday without a chalkboard? I went simple with this one because I think this chalkboard might be on it’s last leg… And the drink? Only the classiest for this girl! Ok. It’s Crystal Light.

{THREE}

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I made these Valentines with my class where the outside said ‘I *picture of a mustache* ask you a question…’ The inside had their picture like mine with the words ‘Will you be my Valentine?’ The got the mustache prop is from Michael’s for $1 and I threw some black paint on it during our snow days. You would’ve thought I had a puppy for them to hold they were so excited! And yes, this will be the card Zach gets for Valentine’s Day.

{FOUR}

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I mentioned in a previous post that I was sending cards to my Valentines who are far away, here is what I did for my Valentines at work! I’m a sucker for Target’s Dollar Spot paper straws! The tags are from the gift wrapping section of Target and were $1 for 4. The ribbon I already had, so the only real cost was the $3 Izze! And of course, they were sold out of the Pomegranate which would’ve fit the theme better but all their flavors are delicious!

{FIVE}

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Today I was looking through pictures and found these. I feel they are proof that Zach and I were totally destined to be each others Valentines. The top picture is from when we were in college and the bottom picture is from a family trip to the zoo when I was little.     Trouble. Makers.

Our Valentine’s Day plan for the evening is dinner at our favorite restaurant to celebrate over spirits and beer battered fries, then big plans to come home and cuddle with Noah while watching a classic movie. It seems like only yesterday we were poor college kids celebrating Valentine’s Day with Subway and Top Gear!

How do you celebrate the day?

EDIT: How rude! I didn’t provide you with the link to all the other great blogs! Click the picture to see more!

Five on Friday

A Girl and Her Glue Gun

One of the project I’ve been working on lately is taming the corners of the office. That room is intended to be the formal dining room but we don’t have much need for that so we have a table set up as a desk. We also have a corner of it taken up with Noah’s kennell, another with a computer Zach built but isn’t sure what to with, some folding dinner chairs and the printer on a short wire bookcase. It’s a room that gets a ton of use because it serves about a thousand different purposes, in fact, we actually call it the dogffice. The result is lots of little piles with no real direction, which isn’t exactly what you want for the first room people see when they come into your house. 

The corner I’ve decided to take on first is the bookcase with the printer. Since I’d eventually like to put an area rug in there and it turns out those are kind of expensive, this project had to be on the cheap. This ruled out buying a closed cabinet with more storage or a new shelf that was easier on the eyes. I was perplexed until I emptied a Sam’s Club sized box of K-Cups and realized exactly what I needed to do… make my own storage boxes to hide the all the randomness! 

For this project I used roughly two yards of fabric, a hot glue gun and 2 boxes. The basic premise is that you wrap the box like you would a present but here are some photos to show the steps I took. 

First…

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Here is the second box I used. Yes, it’s a beer box. The packaging is so neat I hated covering it up! For both boxes I cut off the top.

Second…

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I set the box on the fabric and cut out a square big enough to have about 2 inches extra on each side. This is where it was the most like wrapping a present. Once I had it cut out I put a drop of hot glue under each of the bottom corners so the box wouldn’t move around. Then I started with the shortest sides, laying the box on the side I was working with to see where to cut. I left about a centimeter extra to go over the edge of the box. You’ll see why later. To attach the fabric to the box I put a line of glue along the top of the side and pulled the fabric tight over the box. Once it dried I went back and glued down the sides.

Next…

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After doing the two shortest sides, I laid the box on one of the longest side and cut the extra fabric off. Again, I left about a centimeter extra so that there wasn’t a raw edge on the corner. I used the hot glue gun to place the ‘hem’, doing my best to make it straight (I only had to redo one edge!). I glued the long sides down the same way, putting a line along the top (facing out), pulling the fabric tight and then doing the sides. 

Last…

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I glued the fabric down on the inside. This part was pretty easy, but I needed a lot of glue so I suggest you don’t use a small crappy glue gun like I did (sorry thumb!).

Final product…

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Add some jute and there ya go! I can’t commit to how these will be arranged on the shelf or which junk they’ll hold so the jute can be moved. Once I know exactly what their contents will be I have burlap tags I plan to add. Here they are on the shelf…

 

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Nope, it’s a Noah photobomb! Let’s try that again…

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Ta da! That my friends is how you hide random odds and ends with a couple recycled boxes and a few dollars of fabric! How do you organize awkward areas of your home?

Five on Friday

I’ve been kind of stuck lately on what to share in my Five on Friday because I always assume that everyone else already knows about all of the things I know about. But then I realized that that was ok because then we could share in our mutual love of these five random things! That’s what I’m telling myself at least…

{ONE}

lotion

(source)

The continental United States seems to be stuck in an icebox and with that comes one of the worst Itch-uarys on record. Snow shovel makers and lotion producers rejoice. It doesn’t help that in every effort to avoid getting sick from the munchkins I am constantly washing my hands. To help prevent my hands from splitting, and thus allowing me to still cook with lemons, I’ve been using Bath and Body Work’s True Blue Spa Super-Softening Hand Lotion (why so many words?!). I put it on while I’m doing my make up in the morning and then before bed, what a difference it makes!

{TWO}

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I have high hopes that it’ll get warm soon and flowers will start blooming but until then, I’ve decided to just wear the flowers. I found this at Target this week and was very happy to see it marked down to $13. Technically I’m still on my spending hiatus but being stuck in a grey and gloomy weather pattern, I felt it necessary to add some color to my life. I picture it with my olive pants and a chambray shirt. It would also pair well with item three…

{THREE}

boots

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I cannot afford these boots. But I love them and dream of them.

{FOUR}

chips

It is with shame and orange fingertips that I include Lay’s potato chips in my Friday Faves. I can’t stop eating these! The crunch, the sweet and salty flavor. Guh. Who needs fruit and vegetables?! It is impossible to think of swimsuit season under 5 blankets.

{FIVE}

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This last one is for Noah dog (hopefully the picture gave that away). Noah is a very strong chewer. He doesn’t usually get into too much that he isn’t supposed to, although I can think of a few examples… a tube of MAC concealer, tissues, pens… but when he does, it’s demolished. We try to keep lots of mental stimulation toys (or as I like to call them, dog sudoku)  around the house to avoid these disaster. But we have learned that just because a toy says its indestructible, does not make it so. Generally, if it isn’t in a million pieces in the first 20 minutes, it has passed the test. This Everlasting Treat Wheel by Starmark has become his new favorite thing. Even when it’s empty, he likes to toss it around and chase it as it rolls away. It’s become my favorite thing because when we have company over that isn’t as interested in his TSA sniff-downs, we can pop a disk in and he spends the next 3 hours entertained nearby. Win-Win!

Now let’s have it, are any of these YOUR favorite things? Check out The Good Life to see more Five on Friday posts!

Five on Friday

Snow Day Dreaming

When the snow starts falling, I have 2 instincts: eat everything in sight & day dream. In my head, Snow Day Jenny has a very busy day. First she wakes up at 6 and does the treadmill, then she has homemade waffles and freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast. Plus, a ramekin of fresh berries and coffee.

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After breakfast she does the laundry which comes out the right color and not wrinkled. With all the folding out of the way she re-does her manicure and accessorizes. It looks like this but she has Starbucks and an Aztec patterned sweater. And thigh gap. Probably from the a.m. treadmill sesh.

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Snow Day Jenny has beautiful handwriting and uses it to write chipper correspondence to friends far away and to-do lists for a constructive afternoon. After Instagramming a well lit lunch of some exotic grain and leafy greens, she crafts. And she crafts hard. I mean hot glue is flying, paint brushes are getting crazy and projects are getting done. Make a headboard from an old pallet? Done and blogged. Then Snow Day Jenny does some homework with color coded highlighters and post its. When the mail comes, Snow Day Jenny takes the mail man a fresh, hot coffee to say ‘Thank for all you do!’ to which the mail man will not think it’s weird and will instead say ‘You’re the best Snow Day Jenny!’

Reality: I wake up with just enough time to make Zach and I breakfast before he heads to work, get back in bed to watch HGTV until noon, then eat half a block of Colby Jack cheese while waiting for my TV dinner to cook in the microwave for lunch. After more TV, I  usually stumble into the shower only to put back on yoga pants then maybe start laundry. Chances are I’ll get side tracked and next thing I know Zach is home from work and the day is over. Fin.

The good news is that a snow day is bonus day. It’s a day to do whatever you want and be who ever you want. And this snow day isn’t over just yet…

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Weekend Recap

We had a packed social calendar this weekend and it didn’t disappoint. We kicked it off with joining the Fry’s at Bambino’s where we left with enough leftovers for two more meals each. Then we nixed downtown due to the cold and opted instead for the fleece blanket on our couch. Naturally a photoshoot followed…

Saturday Zach ran up to the lake to buy a bike and I knocked out some homework. It totally sucked but was worth it when I got to enjoy Sunday’s freakishly beautiful weather. Saturday night we met up with our friends Ian and Lara who live only miles away and yet we hardly see. Bad friend of the year: this guy. Hopefully we made up for it a bit by introducing them to the wonderful Galloway Grill. Mmm beer-battered fries 🙂 After which we meet up some fantastic birthday girls and went for a LIMO ride around the town. Having never been in a limo, I was very impressed.

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Sunday’s high was 62 and words cannot describe how good it was for the soul. We’ve pinched pennies on every home purchase and been watching grill prices for what feels like forever, so Sunday I announced that the wait was over. No coupons, no Craigslist, NO wasting this beautiful day. We were going to spontaneously buy a grill and make wings.

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And I am so glad we did.

Then the weather decided the fun was done and today was a depressing, windy, winter day where I believe I have gotten the beginnings of a cold. I’m distracting myself with Valentine’s Day crafts, details to follow. 🙂

Friday Faves: Poor Girl Study Essentials

Time for this another round of Five on Friday Faves! This week’s is a list of things I have found to add joy to the otherwise (at times) tedious task of studying (reading about fractions=worse than doing fractions). Another defining feature is their affordability and availability.

In undergrad, studying was a whole different ball game. You studied with friends or mid morning watching TV, then you’d take a break to go eat lunch in the cafeteria. You’d see a friend and end up on some adventure to a thrift store or coffee shop. Now studying is after working a full day, by myself, in the cold, still-lacking-an-area-rug office. There is opportunity for joy to be added.

{ONE}

Pandora. Ok, so you’d have to live under a rock to not have heard of Pandora but I’ve been jamming out to the Lorde station lately and it’s been awesome.

{TWO}

tea

Exotic? Locally sourced? No. Cheap and tasty? Yes. Last semester my study drink of choice was Fanta while I ate hundreds of Teddy Grahams. Obviously those are not ‘good choices’ so green tea is my replacement. The caffeine keeps me awake for homework but not past bedtime, while adding lemon keeps it interesting.

{THREE}

candle

Bath and Body Works Mason Jar Candles. I have Vanilla Snowflake which didn’t have an image but I highly recommend it if you are looking for a candle that has a familiar vanilla scent but not too overwhelming. Also, it’s under 12.50 so if you get their coupons you can use the Get an Item Free couponfor it. Done and Done. Added bonus: When the candle is used up, you have a very solid mason jar to repurpose. The possibilities are endless…

{FOUR}

smartwool

Now that you’ve saved all that money it’s time to buy invest in the best pair of socks known to man. At $26.95 these Smartwool socks could seem pricey but when you consider their price per wear, it is well worth it (side note: sometime you can find them at Marshalls for $15). I have 3 pairs, and my pair from high school looks as nice as the newest pair. I like to wear them with my thin boots to school and any other moment between October and March. How do they relate to studying necessities? Sitting at a desk for hours makes my feet turn into icicles so these are a must to stay cozy.

{FIVE}

noah

This little study buddy. While I can say his adorableness is uplifting, I cannot claim his sleeping places to be ideal. As in this picture when he passed out on the iPad or when he claims my arm and half the keyboard for all of sleepy dog kind. Although now that I think of it, he has been a lot less interested in keeping me company since the Teddy Grahams saw their way out. Hmm…