Thursday, July 16, 2015

A lot can happen in a year...

Yes, I am in fact still alive.

And well.

I realized right before starting this post that it's been exactly one year since my last blog post.  Yes, blogger EPIC FAIL.  I wish I had a good excuse, but life just happened and blogging didn't.  Such is life.

Anyway, without going into every single detail of my life from the past 365 days, I will share the big things that have happened.  That's right, BIG THINGS!

Overall, this past school year was a good one.  I'd had the toughest year of my career the year before and I learned a lot of lessons personally and professionally from that year.  I was cautiously optimistic going into last year and I was very thankful to have an overall good year.  I had a pretty good class, a (mostly) manageable stress level, and I had fun mentoring a student teacher during the spring semester.  Yes, the year had ups and downs and plenty of stress mixed in, but it wasn't anything compared to the year before.

Without going into too much detail (since most of it doesn't deal with me directly), several events in the spring lead me to look for a new teaching job.  This wasn't by any means 100% of why I decided to do this, but it kind of was what pushed me over the edge.  It'd actually been something I'd contemplated and prayed about for nearly a year...  I knew after my crappy year that leaving for another teaching job would be a decision based on emotion and that I wasn't in the right mindset to make a big move like that.  I needed to seek God's guidance, be patient, and give it another year to see how things went.  And, like I said, I really did have a much better year all around.  But, despite that, by mid-April I knew that it was time to move on and begin the next chapter in my teaching career.  It was incredibly scary (and time consuming) going on the job hunt after 8 years in the same place, but I knew it was the move I needed for my own personal happiness and growth in my career.  There were a lot of things I loved about my school and my AMAZING team, but I just knew that God was telling me that this was the time to trust Him and seek out the next adventure.  I needed a change in environment.  I wanted to seek opportunities to grow in my career and I knew that with the direction I would like to eventually that my current district didn't hold those opportunities.  And finally, I just wanted to be a little bit closer to home.  I hope to purchase a house in the next year or so and wanted to try to find a job somewhat in the vicinity of where I would like to live.  That cross-town commute each morning wasn't bad, but it does wear you down over time.

My job hunt all happened very fast.  I submitted applications late on a Monday night, had an interview the following Monday, and a job offer less than 24 hours later.  It was honestly a bit overwhelming, but I truly felt like the Lord was guiding me every step of the way.  Neither of first 2 jobs that sparked my interest where the one that I interviewed for and accepted, but at the same time I had a HUGE sense of peace when I made my decision to accept that position.

So, what will I be doing next year?

I'll be teaching 2ND GRADE!!!

(And no, I won't be changing my "name."  I've decided at this point not to rebrand myself quite yet.)

It's not a crazy move, but the whole concept of moving down a grade is scary and exciting all at the same time.  I'll be much closer to where I currently live and will be teaching in a community that I would potentially like to move to in the future.  I've heard many positive things about the school and district I'll be teaching in and really think I'll enjoy working with my 2 new teammates.

Is it incredibly scary leaving everything I've ever known in my teaching career?  HECK YEAH!

But, I am putting my trust in the Lord and letting Him guide me as I start this new adventure.  I don't know what I could be getting myself into, but I am hoping for the best and I am optimistic that I am heading in the right direction personally and professionally.

I've learned a lot in the past year...
  • Time heals all wounds.  People will hurt you, but it doesn't have to stay that way.  Everything happens for a reason and we have to learn from those experiences and move forward.
  • Stand up for what you know is right.  Sometimes you just have to be bold, step out of your comfort zone, and stand up for what you believe is right.  Sure, there may be risks and it may be uncomfortable, but follow your heart and what you know you need to do for those you care about.
  • Accept that you can't make everyone happy.  I'm a major people pleaser and I always want to make everyone happy and like me.  Ya know what?  That's not going to happen most of the time.  I've just gotta do my best and accept that I may not make everyone happy in the process.
  • Trust in the Lord.  This isn't a new concept by any means, but I always feel like when I've been the most stressed or have to make big decisions that God has been the one to provide and lead me in the right direction.  Lots of prayers and tears...
  • Be kind...  However you find it necessary.  There will always be people in your life that just plain piss you off.  It's not very Christ-like to punch people in the face, even if that's the feeling you have at the moment (or for a lot of moments).  You don't have to go around being fake nice to people, but you do need to be kind.  And sometimes kind is just plain not saying a word.
  • Find your support system.  I'm very blessed to have a couple circles of friends that supported me through this journey.  I didn't open up to a ton of people at school about my job hunt (for obvious reasons), but the ones that I did share this with gave me amazing support even though most of them didn't want to see me go.  Hugs, prayers, recommendations, encouragement...  You name it, that circle was there for me and still are!
  • Take risks.  I was very comfortable in my job.  I liked so many things about where I was working, but I knew that in order to grow personally and professionally I couldn't stay put forever.  I'm not the best at putting myself out there, but I knew it's what had to be done.
So, there you go...  A little piece of my heart and what's been going on with me for the past year!  I don't know how much I'll be blogging, but I'll try to be better about it.  Hopefully there won't be another 365 days before my next post!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

*christmasinjuly* Sale on TpT

I hope you're having a great Wednesday!  

I'm joining some other Tpt'ers for a Christmas in July sale!  

Click here to check out the sale!

You can check out the sale by clicking on the picture above or search "christmasinjuly" in the search bar on Teachers Pay Teachers.  There are a lot of great participants of all subject areas, so it's definitely worth checking out because all products are marked down to only $1!

Just checking in...

Happy Wednesday!

I've been MIA for the past couple weeks, so I thought I'd just check in with a quick post!

I've been in my Common Core math grant course for the past week and a half.  I'm almost finished with it!  Our focus this year has been on geometry and measurement, so I'm gathering up all sorts of new ideas and resources.  I'm working on ideas for a BIG geometry unit for my TpT store!  I'm hoping to get that created in the next couple weeks.  I'd love to have that done before school starts!

Speaking of school...  I am slightly depressed to announce that by this time next month I will be back in school with my students.  I'm actually quite excited to meet my new kids, but I wouldn't mind summer lasting a teensy bit longer!  This whole getting up early and being a functional human being all day long is cramping my style.

Finally, I'll hopefully be able to share some posts about some of my school purchases!  I bit the bullet and ordered my first Erin Condren lesson planner and will hopefully be getting that in the mail in the next week or so!  I am really trying to keep my costs to a minimum (especially since I found out we may not get our usual $100 from PTA), but I have picked up a few things to keep me organized and to spruce up my classroom!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday!  I'll be back with regular posts soon!

I'll leave you with this eCard that my friend, coworker, and TpT mentor Lindsay (from The Pursuit of Joyfulness) created for me based on a recent Facebook status...

Friday, July 4, 2014

4th of July Sale!!!

Click here to go to my store!

I mentioned on Tuesday that I'm running my first sale on Teacher's Pay Teachers!  I'm offering 10% off all products over $1 (over 10 products total)


I posted a patriotic FREEBIE in my store as well!

So, go on and do some shopping and grab yourself some new goodies for the upcoming school year!  The sale runs through Sunday, so if you're occupied with cookouts and fireworks today you'll still have time to shop the sale though the rest of the weekend.

Have a wonderful and safe 4TH OF JULY!!!  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How to Save Money When You're Shopping

I pride myself on being a pretty awesome bargain shopper and I love a good deal.  While some things are worth a splurge, it's always nice to save money when you can!  I wanted to share some of my favorite ways to save a few extra bucks and get the best deals.

Sign up for rewards and loyalty programs.

There are so many stores that have rewards programs these days and most of those are free to sign up for.  Some programs are definitely more rewarding than others, but my theory is that if it's free, why not join?!?  Many stores that have programs that you do have to pay for do make it worth your money if you shop there often. 

Sign up for e-mails.
I know that many people are hesitant to give out their e-mail address to stores, but being in the know about current sales and promos is worth it.  I have one e-mail account that is almost exclusively for this kind of stuff.  It's an account that is totally separate from my blogging stuff and my work account.  Yes, I get a TON of messages each day, but I have made it a habit to only read the messages of stores that I am interested in purchasing something from.  For example, I get messages from Bath & Body Works almost daily, but I only open them on days when I know I will be going there or when I know I need something.  Otherwise, they go straight to the trash so that I avoid potential temptation.

ALWAYS use Ebates when shopping online.
I learned about Ebates a few years ago and was a bit skeptical, but this site is 100% legit.  You can earn a percentage of cash back from your online purchases.  To date I have received about $90 cash back!  There are so many stores that work with Ebates and I really have found very few that aren't on there.  They've also recently added a toolbar icon that notifies you when you can get cash back on a site that you are shopping on so that you don't miss out of deals.  

If you'd like to join Ebates, you can click my referral link here!  It's free to sign up and they typically send you a gift card with your first purchase through them!

Take time to compare prices.
If you have the time, take the opportunity to compare prices of items from store to store.  I do a lot of "pre shopping" online to compare items that I am interested in.  Not only does this sometimes eliminate the temptation to make an impulse buy, but it also can save you a lot of money!

Learn about special discounts.
As a teacher, there are so many discounts out there!  Most of these are limited to shopping in store, but occasionally you can use these special discounts online.  One of my favorites is J.Crew / J.Crew Factory's teacher discount because they let you stack it on top of other promos in store!  There are also a lot of discounts out there for students and military, so do your research and see if you qualify for any special savings!

Learn the sale patterns.
Get to know the sale patterns at your favorite stores.  I've learned a lot of this just from subscribing to e-mails.  Most stores have a pretty consistent schedule for when they get in new items and when they do markdowns.  Many sales also do semi-annual sales and this is a great time to stock up on items.  I love B&BW's shower gels and hand soaps, so I usually stock up during their semi-annuals to cut down on trips throughout the year.  Many times you can also get great deals on off-season items.  I am known to snag Christmas gifts during the summer semi-annuals.  

Make friends with the sales associates.
Maybe it's just my personality, but I love chatting it up with the sales associates at my favorite stores.  I think I got this from my mom...  She ended up inviting some of the girls from her favorite store to her wedding because she'd known them so long!  It's fun to talk to people and get their input on items that you're considering purchasing.  This ultimately led me to my part-time job at Aerie!  Making friends at your favorite stores is a great way to be in the know and get some of the best deals.  I've learned as both a shopper and a SA that being friendly gets you a long way!  SA's will go the extra mile to help friendly and regular customers (even when they're not on commission).  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

TpT Tuesday

I've been out of town since Friday, after a busy week so I don't have any new products to share today.


I do want to share that I will be having my first SALE this weekend for 4th of July!  I'm hoping to have some new products posted by then as well, so check in on Friday!

Currently ~ July!

I don't think I've done a Currently post in about a year, but I decided to join in on the fun this month!  These are such fun posts and a neat way to find awesome new bloggers!

I feel like this month is going to go by way too fast...  Next week I start my two week math course which really only leaves another couple weeks before we start inservices.  My teacher friend and I had a conversation about how July is kind of a depressing month.  June is all happy and care free and then July sneaks up on you and you have to start thinking about reality again.  

I'm also needing to get myself in school mode. I've been doing a lot for my Teachers Pay Teachers store, which feels like I'm doing school stuff, but it's really not what I need to be doing to prep for next year.  I really don't feel like I have a ton to do going into next year, but there are some small things I could start knocking off the to do list.

If you haven't joined in on a Currently post, you need to!  Join us over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade!

And now, I leave you with what is quite possibly the best summer jam to come out of the 90's...

LFO ~ Summer Girls!!!