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A practical splurge

This past mother’s day my husband let me choose whatever I wanted as my gift.  He gave me no monetary limit; all he said was that he wanted me to have something that would make me truly happy.  One might think that this was a sweet, generous gesture from a caring first time dad.  In reality, his reason for doing this was because he didn’t have time to get me a gift.  (I’m not being mean, he told me this was true.) I thought about all the different things I’d been putting on my mental wishlist…

Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM Damier Azure

Massage at Burke Williams

Clarisonic Mia

Céline Mini Luggage Tote (A girl can dream, right?)

Okay, I am somewhat kidding about that last one.  What ended up winning was a practical purchase that would be useful in a couple different areas of my life.  The Silhouette Cameo.


This bad boy is your modern-day die cut machine.  It hooks up to your computer and can cut shapes out of paper, vinyl, chipboard, and even fabric! I justified this $300 purchase by telling myself (and my husband) that I would get a lot of use from this product at home and at school.  I love to scrapbook, and it’s the perfect way for me to add simple embellishments using just paper.  More recently I have been using it to cut out decorations for my classroom.  I chose what letters I wanted cut, typed them out onto the Silhouette software, and clicked “cut”.

Picture 14

Before this I would have to figure out how many of each letter I needed, cut paper down to size to fit into the Ellison machine, and make sure the lever pushed down far enough to cut through my paper.  Not gonna lie, my arm would end up hurting afterwards.  Plus, you only had your choice of 1-2 fonts and sizes (because really, what school has the money or space to purchase 26 different die cuts in 10 different fonts?).  I can even manipulate the images/letters to make sure I use every inch of the paper and not be wasteful. It’s awesome.

die cuts then & now

[top picture source]

Yes, I know I am a total nerd.  But these kind of things make me happy.  They also make my classroom prettier, which makes me doubly happy. There are a few tutorials online on how to use the cameo, but I haven’t found too many to be useful.  I’m thinking about making my own and posting them online. We shall see.

What kind of practical splurges have you made lately?

The Shortlist

2013-07-24 13.11.47

Every teacher that I know dreads looking at the calendar and realizing that it is almost the end of summer.  For me, the beginning of August marks the beginning of crunch time.  Classrooms need to be set up, lesson plans put in place, and beginning-of-the-year meetings scheduled.  I start having nightmares about the first day of school (yes, teachers get nervous, too!), and try very hard to put myself on a regular sleeping schedule.

This school year will mark the beginning of something new.  I’ll be at a different school this year, still teaching middle school but only to seventh graders.  I left my old school of six years in order to be closer to my daughter.  This new school is only five minutes from my house – three if all the lights are green.  I won’t have to cross the bridge (good-bye $5 toll) or sit in afternoon traffic.  That’s an hour extra every day that I get to spend with my babygirl, precious minutes with someone who is already growing up too fast.

2013-07-25 00.03.39[I asked her to smile for the camera. Then I told her we were leaving and that she had to get out of the chair. What a diva.]

I’ve naturally been doing lots of research in order to prepare for next school year, especially because I will be teaching two subjects I haven’t taught for a while now: Social Studies & Literature.  I feel like a brand new teacher.  Not in a good way…but in a I-want-to-do-it-all-but-don’t-know-where-to-start kind of way.  There’s so much information on the internet nowadays that it’s almost information overload!  I’ve been writing stuff down, printing tons of resources, and pinning like a madwoman.  Today I spent over an hour searching for “round robin reading alternatives” when I suddenly realized 2 things:

  1. The baby is going to wake up soon.
  2. How much of this am I actually going to use?

Hands up if you feel me on #2!  I’ve always been the type to be so gung-ho about something, gather everything I need to get started, and never start.  Or worse, start and never finish.  It’s actually something that I’ve been working on to change about myself.  I could sit and google for hours about the latest teaching techniques, behavior management tips, or the Common Core (dun dun dun), but it won’t make any difference if I don’t put any of it into play.  So, what I have decided to do is get a nice short list of ideas going of things I would like to do differently in my classroom this year and make it a goal to try them out.  Once I’ve exhausted the list, or if I’m in the need a little more inspiration, I’ll get back on the computer and google away.  In case you were curious, here’s my list for the 2013-2014 school year.

Photo Jul 29, 12 10 54 AM[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

We will see how just how many of these get implemented and sustained next year.  Realistically, we’re looking at 3 out of 5.  I’m working on the follow-through, remember?