Friday, November 30, 2012

Pin it Friday--Holiday edition

It's almost December and the holidays! More importantly... I have a house I can decorate!! Woo Hoo!!! Since moving to C-ville I have been dreaming of the day we get a house and I can decorate for the holidays. I am by no means Clark Griswold (via Christmas Vacation) or do I plan to make my place look like Santa and snowmen threw up on it... I love meaningful, family traditions--advent wreaths, turning off all the lights and sitting by the tree, a big wreath on the door, candles, and Christmas mugs full of hot chocolate. The smells of the holidays...fudge... I could go on and on. My mom is my inspiration for decorating-- she always made our the house the coziest most wonderful place during the holidays and I have wonderful memories of growing up there. Granted she probably ran herself ragged trying to do it all, but she never let it show. And since I am my mother's daughter after all, I hope that I can make Christmas as special for my son and family as she did for me.

So... how do I find inspiration for decorating my new huge house? Pinterest of course!!! Here are some of my favorites that I either do or are thinking of trying out. Enjoy.

                                                                              Source: via Kate on Pinterest

My first pin comes from It is one of my most repinned pins. At my house during the holidays it always smelled wonderful -- something was baking, the smell of the Christmas tree, a fire in the fireplace -- I loved it. So I tried this pin out last year to see if I could make our tiny place (we were in a tiny apartment) smell more homey, more like Christmas and it worked. This stuff is amazing. Try it. I know you will like it.

                                                                                                  Source: via Kate on Pinterest

My next Pin is about changing up the way do our advent calendar/countdown to Christmas. For so many years we had the advent calendars where you opened up the little window for the day and got a piece of chocolate. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am all for chocolate, but do I really want my son to associate counting down to Christ's birth with chocolate? I want him to experience the season. So that is why I am trying this idea for Using activities to celebrate each day till Christmas. I hope this goes well and it can become a holiday tradition at my house.

                                                                                   Source: via Kate on Pinterest

This last idea is from Cookie Cutter Pizzas! What a fun way to serve pizzas for Dunc. I'm thinking this would also make a fantastic holiday appetizer. Just cut the dough with any holiday cookie cutter and top with pizza sauce and your favorite toppings. this is going to be so much fun. I can have Dunc help make them too.

Hope you all find some inspiration! Happy Holidays. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Currently @ the Innes Family # 4

Happy First Week of Advent, December (as of Saturday) and the Christmas Season. It's time for another session of Currently @ the Innes's.  So here we go...

Watching-- I'm previewing some new instruction videos on Rome our media center got for my Honors World History to see if any of them could be useful in class. So far--one down and one more to go.

Wishing-- for a simple holiday season, but somehow I don't think I'm going to get this one. I really want to toss all the lists and enjoy time with my husband and son. I need this, badly--to rest and recharge. I do hope that I can do this. My "debbie-downer" side is just pushing her way to the front of my head reminding me how much I still need to do (unfortunately most of it is teaching related) before I can relax.

Waiting--for my son to finally go to bed. The hubs was in charge in bedtime tonight and I can still hear little feet running around upstairs. He is going to be a bear tomorrow if he doesn't go to bed soon. I just may have to stage a mommy intervention. 

Wondering-- if we will actually get snow for Christmas or not. Last year we had a green Christmas-- followed by a little bit of snow in January and February.

Worrying--about my son and his really picky eating habits. If it is not fruit, pretzels, cucumbers, chicken nuggets, or peanut butter and jelly, he doesn't want to touch it. I can't tell you the last time he willingly drank milk. I still cook dinner and we give him bites to try, but he doesn't eat them. Now I should say that he has not always been like this-- he used to love lots of types of food, textures, and tastes, but in the last couple of months it's gotten a bit "crazy" and it is really beginning to worry me.  I'll take any suggestions if you have them. I need to get this kid to eat more variety again.

So what's going on at your house? Share your story and link up!

This Amazing Day

Friday, November 16, 2012

For the love of teaching....

I'm getting personal here. Right now you could say I'm in a funk. I'm not happy with my job--in fact you could say right now I resent it--big time. I resent that it is taken over my life. My brain is always on teaching. My desk at work is full of mountains of papers to correct or pass out. All I talk to my husband about is what crazy, stupid thing some of my 9th grade boys did. I don't look forward to school because I know I must tackle more and more.

Don't get me wrong.  I love teaching--it is all I've ever wanted to do, my passion. I love teachers, my kiddos, seeing students light up when they get a concept, decorating my classroom, even working on curriculum. I will talk theory with the best of best, mentor, join book clubs on educational topics... you name it. I will tout my kiddos accomplishments till the cows come home. I guess you could call me a "teacher nerd" and I love it.

I know that when I choose this profession (dare I say it chose me?) that it would become a defining part of my identity. That my life would be about other peoples children, giving up my time to chaperone field trips, advise clubs, attend football games and school musicals, write curriculum, and finding out what is best for my students learning, not my teaching style. It is who it I am, who I want be, and I totally accepting of it. But for the love of  all things high school, I would love to do something without feeling guilty about the ungraded papers, the lesson that needs tweeked, journal articles, or goals that await me.    

What do I mean? I want to be able to work at decorating my house, put my son to bed,  finish the book on toddler behavior I've been reading for months, or talk to my sister on the phone without feeling guilty about the stack of papers I left on my desk. I want to drink a cup of tea and watch my favorite tv show on Sunday night without doing something lesson plan related.  To peruse Pinterest without pinning dozens of class ideas. The list goes on and on.

I know that life is about balance, but what is it about teaching and feeling guilty about having a life outside of school? We are not superheros, we are human and we need to take time for ourselves. I know I do, but right now, I'm not. I have to start taking time for me, but it so hard to do when you are pulled in so many directions. I'm up for suggestions if you have any, because right now I am suffering.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Something on the walls... finally!

We have been here in the new house for exactly 3 1/2 weeks and I have yet to do any official decorating. Heck, I'm still trying to unpack boxes (I don't even want to think about the boxes that await me in the basement). However, I have been itching to do something decorative especially with the pile of Duncan's artwork. Our fridge front is no longer a magnetized surface so I have been collection papers everywhere. Enter my favorite friend Pinterest.

I pinned this pin from Pinterest months ago... Thanks to the wilson world blog for the idea.  It had morphed from a plan I saw at IKEA to hang kids artwork in their room. All I needed was a wire hanger and a vinyl quote.  Why couldn't I do this in the house? I had two wall "candidates" --- the upstairs hallway and the kitchen. The winner was the kitchen--really because I wanted everyone to see Duncan's work, and I really didn't want to have to walk upstairs to see it and put new work up.

Enter Saturday afternoon. The hubs was out mowing the lawn and Duncan playing away with his trains. It was the perfect time to finally get it done.  I gathered all my tools-- a wire holder and clips purchased from IKEA, wire clippers, my drill and a few screws, ruler/level, my vinyl artwork quote I had purchased from Vinyl Wall Expressions, and all Duncan's artwork.

First up prep the walls. I cleaned the wall, measured everything out, and then went to work hanging the wire hanger. I really hate the picture only directions that IKEA gives sometimes, but it was relativity easy to follow. Cutting the wire turned into a harrowing experience as the first cut had too much slack, and after trimming to little. Thank goodness the second try was perfect.

Wire and clips!
Next up came the quote. The hardest part of this? Rubbing it down to make sure every thing was on the transfer paper. It was real easy to hang. The directions sent with it were so easy to follow.

Ready to get to work.

And... tada!  Here is the finished product. I am pretty proud of my work-- more importantly Duncan's work. Now everyone who comes into my house gets to see it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

So we bought a house....

So I have an interesting story... yes, we bought a house. How we got there is a bit crazy but one that has got to be shared. And...I figure it will help explain why I have been "missing" from blogging for a while. So here we go-

After being on the market for over a year, and 2 offers falling through for various reasons (cough! hate my former HOA covenants cough!) our townhome back in Colorado finally sold in early July--granted for much less than we had ever hoped, but it sold and we were finally free to think about housing here in Virginia. What do I mean "thinking about housing" you may ask-- well originally it was getting out of the apartment we were renting and renting a house so we could still save money. I mean since we no longer had a mortgage and rent to pay our savings could really add up right?!? And more money meant a larger down payment and hopefully a nicer house.  Exciting--- YES!!!

So our next step was to start looking at rentals, which meant lots of time looking at different websites. Both the hubs and I asked colleagues for recommendations on realtors, areas, rental companies, all sorts of questions. Really--people began to get sick of us asking questions. One such recommendation led us to a wonderful realtor named Betsy Swett. I could go on forever and ever how great she has been, but let's just say she has earned my business and recommendation to anyone who is looking to buy or sell in C-ville. She truly is amazing. Anyhoo... back to the story.

August came and we really started looking. I was stalking all real estate sites and craigslist daily. I came across a house for sale that I was really interested in. We could look right? Hubs and I agreed that we were in the best position to look, we could jump if we really wanted to, but if we didn't find the perfect place we didn't have to settle because we were saving money and renting was ok with us. And if we found a house in August cool, if in January cool too. We wanted the forever home and would wait to have it. So in walks Betsy... after showing us the house I was first interested in (turns out not so much) she sat down with us and went through what our must haves and deal breakers, even for a rental, were. Here's what we came up with: 3 or more bedrooms, 2 or more baths, a large living room or play area, a back yard big enough for Duncan to run around in, a garage, and hopefully something that could meet us in the middle of our drives to work (I work on the west side of the county, hubs on the North side). Betsy asked for a few days and she went to work.

About a week later, we got a surprise email saying she was getting ready to preview a house with a realtor, it hadn't gone on the market yet, but she thought it would be perfect for us. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, on 2.1 acres.  If she liked it, would we want to see it right away? We said yes, and  two days later we were off to see the house. And it was perfect. Well... it didn't have a garage, but with 2.1 acres we could build one!  We had walked into our forever home. Now...just to say how much I love my realtor, she then promptly took us to 2 other rental houses and one for sale so we could compare, get some perspective, and see what was "out there". There was one that we really did like, but it wasn't a forever home. We asked Betsy for 24 hours to think it over and drove straight home and called our mortgage company to see if we could realistically afford this house. I was deathly afraid (and still am) of being house poor, so I didn't want us to get over our heads. Turns out--we could afford the house and still have money left over after all other bills and savings requirements at the end of the month--and we were pre-approved and started the actually application right away.  We immediately put in an offer and it was accepted. All before the house ever officially was listed on the MLS.  We were buying a house.

Wait! We were buying a house! Holy crap is that a scary thing to say-- we are buying a house. Does any one every really know (or remember) everything that goes into buying a house? The paperwork, nerves, worry, the approval process, the packing.... Can you say overwhelming--OH HECK YES!! Oh and did I mention our closing date was the same week as Homecoming at my school (that is a complete story in it's own bag of craziness for later). I think I might have gone insane if it hadn't been for my sister who came to help us out. But it is ours now, our house! There is so much more to share, a TON to still unpack, but I think I will save that for later as well as the official picture tour. But for now this is what I get to see when I come home.