Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sunshine On, TV Off

Summer is here! I am jumping for joy! YEA!
This whole week, P and I have been watching very little TV and it is awesome. Today we didn't even turn it on. We got up and went for a walk, ran some errands, and then played in the park with our nephews and brother in-law. I did not miss watching TV for a second. We didn't even have the TV on much yesterday either, which is great. I don't feel like P and I watch a ton of TV, but I defiantly think that we are making a point to turn it off and do some other activities instead. For example, today we waded in the river and then went on a paddle boat at the park.
It was a beautiful day down here. I hope everyone had a fabulous Saturday, ours was simply wonderful.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I want to shop

I am usually a frugal gal. I like to save money, I use coups, and cut down expenses whenever I can. But, for some reason these days I want to shop. I have had the strongest desire to shop till I drop. I want cute tops, fun shorts, and big chunky jewelry. I want to hit up the mall, target, and the shops and find a new outfit, or I want to buy things for the house.
For some reason, my sales monster has come out and it is shouting for me to hit the stores. I got to shop last weekend and bought 4 new tops, but for some reason it is not enough these days. AHHH!!(I'm laughing here, not angry!). Last weekend, we pasted the outlet mall and my favorite store Restoration Hardware the outlet was having a huge tent sale. I started salivating because I was so excited. Thankfully P was driving and we did not stop. He wanted to go also, but ultimately he made the smart choice to drive on by because we are saving, saving, saving! There are times we splurge and treat ourselves, but for some reason these days I want bright, shiny, and fun new things.
But, alas, I am trying to resist. So I will blog rather than shop and hope the sales monster gets tired and goes away.
Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vacay America: Fantasy Edition

I think because summer is fast approaching I have vacay on the brain. Since P and I are not going anywhere this year, I decided to make a list of the places that I would like to go to again or for the 1st time and why I want to go there. To celebrate America I have decided to only list the places in our country. So sit back, relax, and imagine you self in one of these destinations, or reach back into the memory bank and find those fond memories of your vacations past. So in no particular order, here are a few of the places I would like to go this summer.....

Beach, Sun, Sand, enough said.

Sonoma, CA

Ok I have to be honest about this one, the HGTV junkie in me wants to go here. They had their dream home this year in Sonoma and I thought it was just beautiful, and so yes that is why I want to go there.

Juneau, Alaska

I think that Alaska is that great unharnessed wilderness that the adventure junkie in me wants to explore. I want to see the open wilderness and experience the remoteness of this place.

New Orleans, LA

I went to college in LA and I really like that state. It is full of rich culture, history, and tradition. Once you cross the border it is like being in another world, and I really enjoy that.

The food, sights, and smells are enough to engage all my senses and leave me craving more. The french quarter, the garden district, and Jackson square are all some of my favorite places in the world.
New York, New York

We live in the country, but I am a city girl at heart. The noise, rush of people and traffic, small little neighborhoods, food, plays, street music, and parks, I like it all and I can't get enough. P and I will often go to Austin and stay in one of the hotels down town, and I can sit and stare out the window of the hotel and watch the people and cars go by for hours.
I have never been to New York but am aching to go. From everything I have seen, heard, and read, it sounds like my kind of place. I am such a people watcher and I would be perfectly content to sit and watch people for hours. Plus I want to catch a game, go to the Bronx, Queens, and all the boroughs of New York.

Chicago, IL
Are you seeing a trend? I like the big cities. I like getting lost in a crowd of faces and wandering for hours through the streets. This is another one of the places that I have never been, but am determined to go one day.

Ann Arbor, MI
In high school I remember doing research on Ann Arbor for some reason. I think it was a technology class (back when computers were new in schools) and we were practicing using the Internet and word, and I remember reading about this being one of the best cities to live in in America. Ever since, I have always wanted to visit and see the charm of this town.

Washington D.C.
I have been 3 times prior, but it was always for soccer tournaments and so we got to do some sight seeing, but for me, I could never get enough. The 1st time I walked into the senate, I got chills and my eyes watered up. I felt an energy there and I was amazed to be in a room where laws have been created that have changed the world.

I have always liked history (it was my major) and I could walk the mall for hours and not get tired of it. I want to taste the past, and savour it, and allow my mind to wrap around how awesome our country is! All politics aside, I love our country. I love that this is a place of freedom and opportunity!
Boulder, CO

P and I went last summer and I really really liked this fun, quirky little town. I don't know if I could live there, but it sure was fun to visit. There is so much to do and it is so beautiful, that I would really like to go back.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;'
Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

I don't know if I agree with this saying. I don't like change, and I don't like endings. I like the beginning of books and movies, or of trips and adventures. I get nervous when I am confronted with new things, but I do like it. I like to watch people and see how they behave in their situation. I like meeting new people and getting to know others for the first time. But, in order to do these new things, inevitably, something must come to an end, and that is what I don't like. I hate the fact that when I walk away from a situation, things are going to change. I know that life is about change and it is constantly changing, but I don't like it. I am still reeling from us giving up the dog, and sometimes I just stop and think to myself this is ridiculous, it is a dog, it is not a big deal. But, for some reason, it is to me. I don't like feeling like this, I don't like feeling sad or blue. And, I think that is why I hold many people at an arms length. I keep people at a distance because it protects me. It keeps me from feeling like this. So like I said, I don't know if I agree with that quote. At times, I think that I would rather just hide behind the walls that I have built up so that way I never have to feel pain or sadness.

I know that this post and my last post have been about me being sad, and I am sorry for that. Please know that I am generally not a "negative Nelly" or a "Sad Sam," usually, I am just the opposite. So I just want to apologize for my blue tone, I will change that. Whining and crying and sadness is not my bag.
Thanks for understanding.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Blue

I feel blue. We returned the dog that we were considering adopting today, and I am just heart sick. P and I made the decision because this dog has so many health problems. In the 3 weeks that we have had him, he has had 3 vet visits and the problems kept coming and coming. When we stepped back and looked at the situation rationally, we knew that it was in our best interest to give the dog back (we were still in our trial period). We have some financial goals that we want to reach before we dip into our pockets and take care of a dog....but
I have cried almost all afternoon now that he is gone. The rational part of my brain knows that it is for the best, but the sensitive side wants to do anything that I can to help him. It was so sad coming home today and not having him here. I did not realize how attached I got to him so quickly. It really surprised me because I did not want a dog in the 1st place. But, now I really miss his wrinkly chubby face. I think it surprised me that I became so attached so quickly because I generally don't give my heart away easily. When I fall for something or someone I usually try to wait and hold back for as long as possible, because I always have that fear of what it will be like when they are gone. I don't want to feel that pain, I don't want to feel that lonliness, and I think that is why I keep my heart and emotions reserved for very few things. Even as a little girl I remember realizing how hard I could fall for something, and then my second thought was, what happens if they leave? I would think, what about me, how will I deal with the sadness.Growing up, there were times that I would worry about my parents dying, and that fear gripped me so strongly that I was almost paralyzed, and I could work myself up into a frenzy just thinking about it. My parents even took me to a doctor because I would freak out so badly. I think that sometimes I feel so much and feel it so deep, that it scares me, and I don't want others to know, so I hide behind a tough exterior. I don't cry in public, I don't show emotions very often, I can put up a brave front easily, all the while I am hurting inside.
It took me a long time to trust P and to let him in because in the back of my mind, I always wondered what would happen if he left, but he didn't leave. I know that there have been times when I have been such a hypocrite because I have comforted girl friends after a break up or loss and I have told them they have to be open to love and that if they never take a risk and put their heart out there, how will they ever feel the joy of being loved in return. I have said that before, but I rarely practiced it. And now here I am. I know it is a dog but I feel for him. It breaks my heart to think that this dog has been bounced from place to place. It breaks my heart because I can't tell him why. All he knows is that the home he has had for the past few weeks he isn't going back to. As I sit here writing this my eyes begin to water again for my dog.
P and I decided a little while ago that we are going to give it the weekend and revisit the issue after a few days and see where we stand. But for now, I am still blue.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Recently I have found myself aching for a vacation. That is a bit odd for me because I really enjoy "staycations." I like being at my house, in my town, doing my own thing. Lately however, I have the strongest desire to lay on a beautiful beach in some exotic island with my husband on one side and a radio playing island music on the other. I want to stare into the ocean and wonder at its endless mysteries, while I watch the sky bursting with colors as the sun sets in the horizon. I want to eat fish that was caught hours before it was placed on my plate. I want to explore exotic shops and mingle with locals, but I know that this year that will not happen. P and I are working on our Baby Steps and we are trying to get our e-fund fully funded. We are doing everything we can and we are on the right track. But I still long for that vacay in the sun.
We decided that we are no longer taking trips on credit. If we want a trip, we have to have it paid for in full before we go. We did this in December on our trip to the Carolina's and it was an amazing feeling not to have the bills roll in at the end of the month. All we had to do was write a check from our vacation fund account and everything was done! Sunday night P was checking his email and he said "you know its junk mail when the subject line says are you stressed out by all your debts, we can help." He just smiled and said "we don't have any debts." I looked at him and smiled and was just as pleased.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Year In Review

I feel like I have 2 New Years. The 1st comes in January, and the 2nd comes in May. As a teacher, I still think about life in terms of semesters like I did in college. Whenever I make plans, I will often think to myself, "I can do that next semester." Well, just like the normal new year I find myself again reflecting on this past year. I think about the highs and lows, the hardships, the difficulties, and the triumphs. I think about the struggles my students have had, and I think about the victories that we have gotten to celebrate together. I have heard that there are 2 days that teachers look forward to most, the 1st day of school, and the last day of school. That is so true. Each year I get the opportunity to start over. Any mess ups that I made in the previous year I can fix and hopefully not fall into those traps again. I am already thinking about next year, and I plan on spending some time this summer prepping for August.
I am so excited for school to be out. I am tired of a schedule of early nights and earlier mornings. I am ready to stay up late, I am ready to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and wake up at a leisurely pace, rather than jumping right out of bed. I am ready for a season of fun in the sun. I am ready. And then I realized I have enough vacation days that I could take off now and be done! O Joy! But, I am not going to. I cannot remember I the last time I have taken a day off work. We get so many days off, and we get the summer off that I feel it is important to be here for my students. I only get them for a short time and I want to make the most of the time I do have with them. Plus, there is a small bonus. At our school we get 10 days off a year, and they don't roll over into next year, instead, we get paid for every day we don't take off. So, it is kind of like an end of year bonus, which is so nice, and will go straight into the e-fund.
But, I am also sad to leave my students. Some will not be retuning, some will go on to the middle school, and I will have others for one more year as they go on to 6Th grade. In the summer I worry about my kids. Teaching on the "wrong side of town" I worry about what they are doing, what they are being exposed to, and if they are ok. I worry because I parent the parents as much as I do my students. I worry because some of the parents are more concerned with their own lives than the well being of their children, and as a result my sweet students are left to fend for themselves. Some of them get locked out of the house and roam the streets during the day and night, and some are locked in the house and not allowed to go outside because the parents fear what they will be exposed to. While they are locked in the house they are watching movies full of bad language, violence, and other images no 10 year old should be seeing. They eat junk food, and get no exercise at all.
But, I just have to pray and give them and my worry to the Lord, because ultimately they are in his hands and I have to trust that he will protect them. I guess that with every teacher these thoughts start to fill the mind at the end of the year. For me, it is hard because during this time I feel so out of control, and as a teacher part of our job is control. Letting go of that can be difficult but I simply have to trust.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The great outdoors

Today P and I went down to the river to kayak. We did not get to go for very long because it started raining but it was so much fun. It has been almost a year since I have been out on the river kayaking. It was so peaceful and beautiful out there. I think part of the reason that I like the outdoors so much is because when I stop and soak it all in and enjoy it, I am reminded of the one who created it. I realize how big God is and how small I really am. I realize that he has a master plan and I am blessed to be apart of his work. He creates things that are so much more amazing than anything I could ever create.
As I sit here it is raining outside and the temp. has dropped about 10 degrees. I know we need the rain but I don't really like it. For some reason the rain always seems sad to me. I like sunshine. I like bright and airy. I like to be able to go outside and run or go to the park and go on a hike. You can't do those things when it rains. But, I realize that the rain is needed, and it does bring some peace and quiet. I am sitting here with the t.v. off, looking out the window at the rain, and listening to my dog snore like an 80 year old lumber jack. It is making me laugh so hard. I will post some pictures of the big guy this week.
Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Were number 1!

I am sitting here right now basking the in glow of victory! As a life long athlete, I know that for some reason, the excitement of victory never lasts as long as the sting of defeat, so I am relishing the afterglow of our win!
It was not actually my win, but my students. We had our district track meet yesterday and our boys won 1st place, and our girls won 2nd place. They were so excited last night when they got to go down and get their trophy. It was a great way to finish the season. It meant so much to my kids and I am so proud of them. They worked so hard and gave it their all and there is nothing more I could ask for. For a small private school in the middle of the inner city with no track, we did awesome! We ran sprints on the football field and long distance in the parking lot. But for them, none of that mattered. All they wanted was to be given a chance to run. They had so much fun, as did I. I think my excitement also comes from the fact that there are no more after school practices either. Our season was long, and made even longer by the postponement of extracurriculars due to the swine flu.
School is coming to a close, a week and a half left and this was a great way to start winding down the year!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It is pink and green, and its pretty!

I really like reading p.f. blogs. It intrigues me to find out how other people live and how they spend their money. I like to read about how people spend their money and the things they do to cut costs and corners in order to save. For P and I a system that works is budgeting, using the envelope system, and giving ourselves some "fun money" or cash from each pay check for us to spend any way we choose to.
One topic that I have noticed when I read p.f. blogs is a continue discussion of taking your lunch to work. For me, it has never been a discussion, I have always taken my lunch to work or school. When I was in college I just ate at home, and when I was in grad school I was broke, so I had to bring my lunch everyday.
And now, I still bring my lunch. The phrase that everyone uses is "brown bagging" it. I don't like that phrase. Brown bagging just sounds so gross and plain. No I pink and green it. Below is a picture of my super cute lunch box that I bring to work with me every day.

I usually bring the same thing to work everyday. I bring two pieces of string cheese for my snack. For lunch I usually bring left overs from the night before which is usually some kind of lean protein such as chicken, and normally some kind of steamed veggies from the night before also. Then I bring jello or yogurt and nuts for a mid day pick me up to give me some energy for my afternoon workout.
One thing I have done recently is bought a few of those tiny Tupperware containers to hold my jello. I just make a big batch and then pour it into the small containers and throw them in my lunch. I used to buy the individual ones, but a. they were a lot more expensive than making them myself, and b. I hated throwing away those little plastic cups every day.
Plus, eating out is simply not an option for me at work. First, my lunch time is only 30 minutes, and we are on duty during lunch, so I spend the 1st 10-15 minutes mediating arguments, making sure kids are in their correct seat, and dusting kids off from recess. After that, I eat really quickly and then its time to go back to class.
So yes, I bring much lunch everyday. I do it because it saves us money and because it is just practical.
I don't like to say "brown bagging" it because it so gross and dull. I consider my lunch to be healthy and yummy and it is something I enjoy!
Do you bring your lunch to work or eat out?

From my eyes

Here are a few images of the things I see at my house everyday. They are in no particular order, just a random hodge-podge of pictures. Enjoy!

This is the sign that I see when I wake up in the morning. It is above the door in our bedroom.

The sign I bought during college when I finally realized that I wanted the simple life. This sign has hung some where in every home I have lived in for the past 5 years, plus it is the inspiration for my blog title.

The pantry in our kitchen. I really like the exposed brick, I think it is beautiful.

The swing P bought for me as a wedding present. It is a great spot for sitting outside and reading after a long day. I will blog about this swing sometime. It means alot to me.

The garden. It is blooming!

The view from the back of the house.

The view I see as I wash the dishes.
Thanks for visiting my house.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Clutter: Work Edition

I said it yesterday and I will say it again: I like to de clutter. I have done my home and I feel great. I am a teacher and teachers tend to be pack rats. I am not one of those teachers. If I don't use it, then it is tossed or given away.
Well, there is a kinder teacher who's room looks like a tornado blew through. She is a pack rat and wont throw anything away. There are stacks and piles of papers, binders, art supplies, craft supplies, paint, and everything else just laying around her room. I have no idea how she or her students can A. concentrate, B. find anything. So I told her about a month ago that if she would like I would come and help her organize her room. She said yes. So for the past 2 mornings before school I have gone into her room to help her get organized. Let me tell you I have not organized a thing, we are still in the throw away stage. There are things that have not been used in 5 years that are laying around. I got dust in my eyes and had to use eye drops when we were going through the piles.
I was in there for 15 minutes this morning and we already had a trash can full of stuff. Plus, she loves it. She is seeing shelf space she has not seen in years! I feel like I should be on one of those HGTV clean out shows.
I feel that if you are in a tidy and organized space, then you are more efficient and productive. You are not wasting your time looking though a maze of things. It is calming and peaceful.
So wish me luck on helping my friend.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I read Dmoms blog and this inspired me to write this post--so thanks!

This weekend I looked around our house and I just felt cramped and almost out of control. That is how I feel when I have too much stuff, or when a room or area is cluttered. I am a minimalist at heart. I like soft and warm, but I don't like a ton of stuff around. So this weekend in between playing with Meatball, P and I rearranged and got rid of some stuff and de cluttered, and as soon as we did, the calm returned.
Our house is small, I mean less than 1000 feet small. Our house has been described as "charming" and "cute." It was built in the 1950's and sits on 30 acres of land. The exterior is rock and we still have the original hardwood floors. But, we have minimal closet space. I mean like hardly any space at all. We have 2 beds in our house that P and his dad built, and they are both higher than normal beds so we can keep a good amount of stuff under there.
In addition to the house, we have a small "cottage" that sits about 10 yards from the house. It was originally a barn, but the owners of the house turned it into the laundry room and a guest room complete with its own bathroom.
Because our house is so small that when something is not put up, it makes the whole room look messy.
The small house really helps us keep things simple, neat, and organized. Like the sign above my door says, Live simply, Live well.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

He Snores

He snores. He is overweight. He kind of smells. He makes funny noises. He is lazy. But he is so cute. P and I are in the process of adopting an english bulldog. His name is Meatball (not our choice) and he is 2 years old. He is funny, quirky, and loveable. We have a 7 day trial period that we are in to see if it is a good fit for us and for him.
He is not my 1st choice for a dog, I would like something more active that we could take with us to go running or hiking, but P has been asking for this dog for a really long time. We made an agreement that we would get a dog when we got out of debt, and we are out of debt so this is our reward.
We have had him for about 24 hours and he is already attached to my husband at the hip. We are going to take him to the vet this week to get him checked out for any medical conditions that we need to know about before we decide.
He is a really big boy (Most English bulldogs are 40-50 lbs, he weighs 69.) and I can think of a hundred reasons to say no to this dog. But I am a woman of my word and he is growing on me and getting a little piece of my heart. What woman can say no to an overweight snorer?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I think that my favorite time of day is dusk. That short, fleeting time of day when everything has ended, everything is calm, and the day is about to fade into the night. Sitting outside at dusk is pure bliss.
Sometimes I think it is odd that I like dusk so much. First, it is such a short time of day, which means change is coming. I don't like change. Second, the day is ending, and I really don't like the night time. I have never liked the night. When I was younger I used to have horrible nightmares, and I have never cared for darkness. I like the light. I like bright, airy, sunny things that give you a feeling of warmth and comfort.
But there is something so beautiful about dusk. That intermix between light and dark that sets the skies ablaze with colors so vibrant I wish I could touch them. The oranges, pinks, and blues all mix together to make a spectacular show that even the greatest t.v. images cannot touch. I often feel like God made dusk just for me. It is his little time to show me how beautiful his creation is, and I just get to stare in wonder and awe of the one who made it.
Enjoy the dusk this evening, I know I will.

Friday, May 1, 2009


We are debt free! All of our debts have been paid and it feels great! But now this is the 1st month that we do not owe any debts and we are going to start saving for our emergency fund.
But I find myself hesitating because I don't quite know what to do now. How much do we save, do we start to live a little, do we adjust our budget, or do we live exactly as we have been? Is it ok for us to start putting money into our travel fund again rather than throw it on our debt? Can we increase our fun money that we give ourselves for the month? I just feel torn. P and I have been so well disciplined that we even come in under budget with our envelope systems. I don't even feel like we are deprived at all.
But now that the burden of debt is gone, it is a little weird. We have been married for over 2 years and this is the 1st time in our marriage that we have not been in debt. I just need to sit down with My Total Money Makeover book and begin to read what Dave says about the Emergency fund.
Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for funding the E-fund and the new budget? Thanks for the help.

Boo Swine Flu

Boo to you swine flu. As you know I live in central Texas, and we have been hit by the swine flu. All of the schools in my town are shut down until May 12Th. We however are still in school and no one has come down with it, praise the Lord. We did have a scare because one little girl that I teach came down with the flu. Tests came back negative for the swine flu, which is great news, as everyone was on edge and being cautious the past few days.
I have been practically bathing my students in antibacterial. I use Lysol on every door handle and Clorox wipes on the desks. The custodial staff is working over time to make sure our school is as germ free as possible.
Here at home we are keeping things clean as well. There have been a few events in town that have already been cancelled.
We have been praying for the sick and trying to lay low and stay away from small groups.
Please keep us in your prayers and I will keep everyone updated on the virus from here in Texas.