April 24, 2010

fun with oral hygiene!

Check out this toothbrush my sister told me about. I bought one yesterday at Target and really like the design. I also like it because the handle is made from the plastic of recycled yogurt cups! AND when it is time to get a new toothbrush you can mail it back to the company (postage is already paid for on the package) so that it can be reused again. I think that is pretty neat!

April 11, 2010

i do this for the wormies...

So! After many years of talking about it, Tom and I finally made a worm box!! I learned of using worms for composting when I took an organic gardening class at IU and have wanted to make one ever since. I hope our worms are happy in their new home! Here are some pictures of our little project. I wanted to take pictures, step-by-step, but our two young and very energetic neighbors saw what we were doing and were VERY curious and wanted to "help." It was really cute to see these two girls so excited about worms! They were even picking them up! I loved it because this being the city, at school, I had trouble just getting kids to pick up soil to plant sunflower seeds. It was great to see their fascination and wonder.

Here are some great websites where you can learn more about worm boxes:

April 10, 2010

ooooo weeeee! what's up with that, what's up with that?!

Well, I have realized that this year, for me, has been all about learning the hard way. I spent the first half of my break with family, but I was halfway miserable most of the time. It was a really hard thing for me for some reason. I jumped right out of my hectic life into my hometown and I found that I was easily irritated and not to mention exhausted. I wanted to make sure to spend quality time with my family, but I was just so spent. I fought it until I just became a big grump and had to give in and stay at my mom's and sleep. I thought I had rested, but my body thought otherwise.

I got back, had a productive day--writing thank you cards, doing a bit of organizing, blogging, ate dinner with my hubby, did my usual bedtime routine which includes flossing my teeth and woke up in the middle of the night with SERIOUS tooth/gum pain and an ENORMOUS migraine. Boy, I was ticked. I had plans of organizing the office, baking and cooking at least seven new recipes, cleaning the whole house (including mopping with my brand new mop head), making this container to grow tomatoes in, but all to no avail.

My body was ticked off and I spent the rest of Tuesday, all of Wednesday, all of Thursday, and most of Friday in serious, miserable pain. Nothing helped to relieve the pain. Toothaches and migraine combos are the absolute worst. I would have much rather birthed triplets than deal with it (i think??). BUT, I refused to go to the dentist until Friday when they couldn't get me in until 2:00. The main reason I didn't want to go is due to finances, but I finally got in through my thick brain that I had to go...there was no other option...nothing was working for me. And I am so thankful I went. The dentist was wonderful. She examined my tooth and is going to give me a partial root canal in two weeks and then finish it in September, when hopefully I will have some kind of insurance. It turned out to not be so bad...even the bill. I just have to get through the next two weeks...the antibiotic and pain medicines she gave are miracle drugs and make me feel like nothing is even wrong, so thankfully, it won't be so bad!

All this to say that last spring break, when I finally took a moment to relax, I ended up with a crazy fever/rash that made me look like a sun-burned lobster for three days. I slept SO much and thought I was going to die.

Tom pointed this out to me---that I just go, go, go through the school year and then when I finally have a break that is longer than the weekend, my body just screams and yells and punishes me in very creative ways. I am promising myself that when school starts back, no matter what, I WILL rest and take a little time, even for just five minutes a day to relax. I used to think knitting was my way to relax, but too often I use it as another chance to be productive...to make something for someone. I always have a project that I am working on for someone else. I rarely knit to just knit.

To prove that I am FOR REAL about this commitment to relaxing I am going to read this book called, Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton. I found it in a box of my sister's books while I was visiting my mom and I am going to give it a whirl. In all seriousness, I have learned that having a day off from work does not equal rest if I am constantly thinking about work, planning, grading, obsessing. I am going to try to learn to rest my mind.

April 6, 2010

I just have to share how much I am loving these two products by Burt's Bees. I have slowly been making a change with my beauty products and makeup to natural and/or organic. I say slowly because I decided that I would not throw out anything that I already have in order to make the switch. It is kind of nice this way because as I have run out of different things at different times, so I can slowly look into products and read reviews.

First to go was my makeup. So far, I am really happy with Physician's Formula organic powder. I went with it strictly due to it being cheaper than other mineral makeups, but I have to say I like it. I am interested to see how it holds up as the weather gets hotter...we'll see! So, I have recently ran out of facial cleanser and have to say again how happy I am with these two products by Burt's Bees! On accident, I got some of the first cleanser in my mouth and it actually tasted really good! The exfoliant I think will last me much longer. It has crushed up almonds, oats, orange peel, and other really great ingredients. I will use both sparingly, but the price is really not that bad! In another month or so I will be out of facial moisturizer. I am trying to decide if I should just stick with Burt's Bees or shop around.

I am really enjoying the switch. I also will say that all of this is possible due to Tom and I setting up our budget. We meet once at the end of the month to discuss our finances and talk through the coming month. This is only our second month doing this, but I feel so much freedom and joy. We tried to have a budget when we first got married, but I don't think either of us were ready, for whatever reason. Now, we are setting up our budget using a lot of really wonderful principles by Dave Ramsey. If you are not familiar with him, I definitely recommend hearing out his ideas. Tom has read his books, but I prefer to listen to the podcasts whenever we are traveling. When it comes to our finances, I am the "free spirit" and Tom is the "nerd," so I do not like to spend a ton of my free time reading up on stuff like this. I am so glad I have a husband who enjoys this sort of thing. After two months, though, I have already seen so many benefits from this plan and am totally on board.

Okay, time to go and watch Julie and Julia for a second time. Tomorrow I have big cooking, baking, and organizing plans!!!

this easter

I am so grateful for spring this year. I am thankful for time off from school to reorganize, knit, nap, cook, and reflect. These past 6 months have shaped me and changed me for the better. It has been the most painful experience of my life, so far, and I can say without hesitation that it has been the best experience. This past Thursday was my last day teaching 5th/6th grade. I am on break, but find my mind drifting each day to my students and especially to Thursday, where all 12o students threw me a surprise going-away party. The teachers I worked with made the whole thing happen and I am truly blown away by their generosity. This weekend I spent time reading all 120 handmade cards, made by my students as well as numerous acrostic poems made of my name. I want to share one of them:

Magnificent at her work
Respectful with others
She is neat and organized

Caring and kind to her students
Outstanding teacher
Never breaks promises and is unique
Loved by millions
Everything you do is awesome
You will always be in our memories

Honestly, I do not deserve these kind words!! Thursday felt like a day out of a movie. As I sat with kids, took pictures, gave hugs, an overwhelming sense of gratitude washed over me. I felt like I was living someone else's life. For me, the entire point of teaching is for these kind of moments. I know they are rare. Often we never know if our service to others will matter. This whole, messy experience has taught me that we have to keep serving and trying, even if we feel like what we are doing is small. It is not small. This past Thursday was more than enough love and appreciation from the students to last me my entire career. If I teach another 40 years and never hear a word of thanks or appreciation from my students, I think I could live off of the amount of love and joy and thanks that were given to me this past Thursday. I am truly blessed.