September 29, 2009

Finances Teacherized

My dad would be so proud. Just a few months before he passed away, he left his staunchy office job and partnered with another accountant to start a new CPA firm. His firm almost immediately became an Endorsed Local Provider for Dave Ramsey. My dad prescribed to Dave's (we may as well be on a first name basis) guidelines and strict financial advice. My dad even paid for me to go to one of Dave's big seminars several years ago when it rolled through town. I paid full attention, took notes, and wanted to start saving for my emergency fund. (Jacob was no where near being in the picture at that point.)

Well, we are about to complete our first month working with Dave Ramsey's envelope system from the old Financial Peace University. Jacob figured out our budget and I took it from there. I went and got the cash necessary to be set for the month. Instead of buying the envelope system wallet that is available, I got a streak of teacher creativity.

Above are the envelopes I carry on a daily basis.

I just got some regular ole envelopes that were tucked away in a drawer. Added some leftover scrapbook sticker letters I had tucked in another drawer (hence the funky labels on each envelopes), and then had them laminated using a gift card to Knowledge Tree a former student gave me.

About a week into the process, I went back and added this little piece of velcro. Necessary for all file folder game pieces holders and cash envelopes, in my opinion. These are things I learned in college - okay and may a few other things.

I also learned that you can write on anything that is laminated with a Sharpie. Yes, I know they are permanent.....I smelled, I mean, I uuussseeddd them a lot in college. Anyway, they also taught me that if you combine the high fumes of a Sharpie with the overwhelming fumes of Nail Polisher Remover, then you will be in total bliss and have not a clue what is going on in your classroom. Okay, not really but the nail polish remover will "erase" the permanent maker. (Not so tough and permanent now are you, Mr. Sharpie?) See?

Now, they are all ready for next month. Works for us - and hopefully we will be debt free in about 2 years. I am proud of our good start. We couldn't have done it without you Daddy.

September 28, 2009

What I do best.

teaching 5th grade class
Hope Christian Academy, Ghana West Africa
March 2006

Okay, maybe it's not exactly what I do best, but I am pretty stinkin good at it and I had to try to convince some people of that today. Teaching, that is.

I began this blog this past Spring whilst I was student teaching. I spent most of the summer as a regular teacher would except I was taking Praxis exams and getting as far with the application processes as I could. The blog and the projects that appeared here (and many others) were my way of staying busy in the mean time. Well, the mean time is over.

Small group reading instruction (with half the group paying attention)
Student teaching - 2nd grade, Spring 2009

Now, my license should be in the mail any day, I have been subbing this past week, and I just completed one of two interviews scheduled for this week. A classroom is where I really shine if you want to know the honest truth. I feel at home there, I enjoy the children, I enjoy education. It is my calling and my mission. It wears me out and I love that about it. It is fun.

I forget that sometimes when I spend too much time blogging or squirting out what little creative juices I have around the walls and furniture of our house. Today, I would rather be in a classroom with 24 stinky little bodies that just enjoyed the beautiful weather we had. Today, I would rather be called my name and still not recognize who is being addressed (even though I have been married for 18 months now, I still do not know my own name)! Today, I would rather pretend that I know all there is to know about regrouping, proper nouns, or what exactly are the differences between a spider and an insect when I just found out all of that stuff last night! Today, I want to be a teacher again.

So, move over Elvis, I'm about to hit the stage and rock this hood! Er, as soon as they let me and with a little less hip shaking cause that might not be so good for the kids or me. Ha!

September 24, 2009

See. Spot. Save. Craft.

See. Target has always been one of my favorite stores - if not my favorite. I know the layout of each Target in the area. I know where every clearance endcap is and that is usually what I end up shopping. But one of my favorite things that Target has incorporated in recent years is the Dollar Spot right behind the carts as you enter the store. Sometimes I find some good stuff and sometimes I don't. But I always look. Don't you just love that section?

Spot. Well, I just wracked up on some great fall items and knew exactly what I wanted to make with them. They had these sticky-back chipboard letters (orange and sparkly), fall scrapbook paper, and small Halloween scrapbook paper.

Save. So for only $4, I had all I needed to make some cute bunting banners. I knew I had some black cardstock, some brown craft paper, and some jute twine somewhere in the house. (With and 1100 sq.ft. house you can't really have one of those fancy, shmancy craft rooms)

Craft. So easy and so quick. I made one for Halloween and got a jump on things and made one for Thanksgiving too.

sorry for the blurry pics

I treat the area below as if it were a mantle. The Halloween stuff will begin its yearly showcase next weekend, so the spooky banner will be coming down for a few days. I just think it is a fun little addition and SO easy and cheap. Plus, I have lots of leftovers to make other decorations and maybe even some invitations for a par-tay!

do you see Sydney right there in the corner?

Well, Happy Fall and Happy Decorating. I am linking up to the DIY party over at A Soft Place to Land.

September 15, 2009

What are the Chances?

Have you ever seen Homeward Bound? C'mon, yes you have. Well, there is a puppy in that movie whose voice is provided by Michael J Fox (love him). That pup's name is Chance. He is an American Bulldog and rips through everything and is a bit rowdy. That's putting it nicely.

Well, Chance (as he is better known) is our American Bulldog's great-great-great-great-great something. Okay, so we have no idea how the bloodline goes, but we do know that Chance is in the same bloodline as our 2 year old Darby.

We were given Darby by Jacob's brother and sister-in-law who once were registered breeders. She was the runt of the litter. Yes, we have a 95 pound runt.

Well, what happens when you have an unfixed 95lb runt American Bulldog running around the house the week you are actually inviting people who do not really know you over to your house for the first time? A dog that is in heat and apparently ate corn cobs out of the trash last week. Yep, she is bleeding and puking everywhere!

You wanted to know that, right?

Oh yeah, and it is raining a lot and really muddy outside. So, you know what that means.

What are the CHANCES this would happen this week?

Oh, and yes we just got the okay last weekend to have her fixed. We thought we should ask Jacob's brother in case he wanted to breed her. She will be going to the vet next be ready for my next party.

Darby's new name is Chance. I just changed it.

September 14, 2009

A Classic (or the longest post ever written)

As with most of the old things we have picked up along the way, this find has a story. (You know what a sucker I am for things that have a story.) No, we did not pull it out of the trash and lug it home. No, we did not splurge on our estate sale trips and no, we did not inherit it. Jacob did, however, buy it on eBay.

That’s where our story begins. Purdy as she is this truck caused a big stink in our house before we ever laid eyes on her. I got a little upset about the big purchase and I cried. Imagine that….me, crying. Yeah, not hard. At all. Anyway, we got everything worked out and worked out well. I like the way we fight – we resolve stuff.

Then, we had to work out how to actually get the truck back to where we are. It was in Redstone Arsenal, AL and well, we are not. Jacob got all of that worked out with his brother and father helping in big ways. One let us borrow a big trailer, one let us borrow the big truck. I know what you are thinking, “So, where’s the story? This doesn’t sound that exciting.”

Well, our trip down to Redstone Arsenal went well. We had a good ride in the big truck and enjoyed each other. Then we get to Redstone Arsenal and things changed fast. If you do not know, Redstone Arsenal is a military base-thingy near Huntsville, AL. We do not belong to any branch of the military. So, we experienced something new trying to get on base. And by experience I mean we had to get out of the vehicle while they asked us lots of questions and searched the vehicle. Plus, to add to the mini drama of two naïve civilians trying to get on base, we could not find the insurance card in the big borrowed truck. Excuse me, we could not find the current insurance card. We did find five others though.

On base, we found a nice truck in much better condition than Jacob was expecting, a nice military man who owned lots of classic cars, and a hold your breath moment while Jacob tried to pull the truck on the big borrowed trailer. Back on the road, we kept thinking someone was following us until we realized it was Jacob’s truck on our tail. And that made Jacob smile. Big.

Then it happened, just as we called Jacob’s parents to tell them everything was going well. Yep. That’s when it happened. The tread came flying off one of the tires on the big trailer that was carrying the new big truck that is really, really heavy. And when I say the tread came flying off, I mean all the tread on that tire came flying off and took a trailer light with it. Yep.

We were still in Alabama when the tread decided to escape. We rode on the treadless tire for a while at the big trailer owner’s advice. We were okay for a bit, but then we hit Mississippi. Have you ever driven on Mississippi roads? They are not good for regular, good tires much less a tire with no tread on a trailer carrying a 4000lb truck. Nope. Not good at all. See?

But had this not happened, we would not have the story I have been trying to tell you this whole time. You see, Jacob got to the point where he thought something needed to be done about the tire. He pulled over in Union Station, MS and called his dad. They decided Jacob should take the tire off and just ride slow the hour or so left to Memphis.

Then comes Ricky Fiveash with the biggest toothy grin you’ve ever seen. He was excited about Jacob’s new truck on the trailer. His eyes were big as quarters as he was asking about the truck and inspecting it. His hat sat up high on his head. Lucky for us, Ricky knew cars and tires. He lived “just up at the top of the hill” and he had several cars in his yard from which to get spare rims and tires. The Ford tire he brought back first didn’t work. Then he brought back a rim and tire from a 57 Pontiac. It worked.

This part of the story doesn’t even begin to capture the glory of this moment.

Ricky Fiveash was like a 40 year old kid in a candy store as he talked about the turquoise Mercury Comet he had brought the tires in. I wish I had gotten a picture of it. He had an empty old Dr. Pepper glass bottle in the front seat. Ricky Fiveash had an incredibly thick drawl, and I will never forget our redneck Angel and the way he said “Naw” when I asked him a question. I am glad that God blessed us with the tools to get the trailer fixed that night, but I am more grateful that God sent us Ricky Fiveash. He was a joy. He gave this truck a story and turned it into a true classic.

And we even got to see this right after we left Ricky Fiveash at the Union Station, MS BP. It's a beautiful life, isn't it?

Update: I'm back! I was reading over at Chatting at the Sky and decided this would work for Emily's Tuesdays Unwrapped. So head on over there to find more gifts in the everyday!

September 2, 2009


photo from Southern Living

Although the actual calendar day to mark the beginning of Fall is 20 days away, it is already starting to feel a little more like my favorite season around here. The temperatures are dipping and the breeze is picking up. Have you ever noticed you can smell fall? Yes, smell fall. That's one of my favorite parts. My other favorite part is the colors. Oh the colors! The ginkgo tree above is one of the most brilliant trees during fall. We had them all around our college campus and I do not think I had ever seen one before then. At least, I had not seen them the way that I see them now. They are gorgeous!

For now I will force myself to spend the next few days enjoying what Summer has to offer, but I am anxious for all the joys of Fall too. I am thankful we live in a place where the seasons can be enjoyed individually and do not feel all the same.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

This post is linked up at The Inspired Room's Get Inspired for Fall Nesting Party!