Friday, February 29, 2008

Good weekend coming:

going out with my husband tonight to get him some new jeans, then a latte and shameless magazine reading at barnes 'n' noble (hey - i'll take a date with him any way i can get it!)

a relaxed day of housecleaning/some errands tomorrow, then going to our friends josh and lindsay's house to play cards. lovely.

and i'm off! have a great weekend!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Today I Almost Poked My Eyeballs Out For Fun

.... or, "My Day as a Substitute High School Band Teacher."

Let me tell you, I think substitute teaching is actually under-rated. That's right.

I'm so tired of people with MORE college degrees than me, with a contract and yearly raises and great benefits, being CRAPPY teachers.

You cannot give high-schoolers 15 minutes of workbook assignments for an 82-minute block period. And I don't care if this isn't elementary school, it IS a good idea to have a seating chart so that the poor clueless sub can have the name of the bad kid to use when she needs to tell him to stop-talking-when-i-am-talking-and-get-off-your-desk-and-i-will-be-taking-your-i-pod-and-cell-phone-now-that-you-are-inappropriately-using-in-school.

And you'd better believe that when you leave "students may study" as your "sub plans" for your guitar class, that the students (God bless music students, the most responsible in the high school) are going to tell the sub, when asked, that those are in fact the everyday plans.

I'm tired of horrible teachers being paid to do a job that others would love to do - and do it well.

On the other hand, I DID get to observe the chorus teacher last period. And when I heard those 50 high-schoolers singing tight harmony for "Yesterday" and basically caressing the notes of a gorgeous medley of American folk songs, then I remember why I endure endlessly boring and stressful days of substituting.

For the chance to teach those kids some beautiful music again someday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I have been struck frequently lately by how easy it is for humans, in general, to adjust themselves to any new situation. In other words, how anything can feel normal if you live with it long enough. In many situations, this is helpful - scientific, even: homeostasis allows our cells to find balance - to get the correct amount of sodium or water or whatever they need. It prevents us from sickness and implosion.

But have you ever noticed how easy it is to fall into a bad kind of normal? Sin has that dulling effect on us, doesn't it? The same sin, the same laziness, the same not-so-good thing, either done to us or by us, done over and over and over again, can strangely mutate itself into becoming the accepted and even the praised.

I recently purchased The Hiding Place, one of my favorite books, from Goodwill. I read this book over and over again when I was younger. And I remembered again how striking it is when Corrie ten Boom, released from her concentration camp, is awestruck at seeing a hot bathtub, clean sheets, a simple tablescape ready for dinner. Simple comforts she had lived with all her life, yet post-Ravensbruck, they were extravagant.

Oprah recently talked with a homeless man who had been the subject of a social experiment - the "experimentors" randomly gave him $100,000, then followed him around to see if his life would change. Even in a nice hotel room, he preferred to sleep on the floor.

What has become normal to you? Are you living the abundant life Jesus died to give you? Have you let some subtlties creep into your life - is your sense of normal being altered into something sinful without you even noticing?

Recently, we got rid of our tv. For a lot of reasons. Tv always amazes me in that when you live without it (like at Cedarville, or with one fuzzy channel our first year of marriage) you can almost forget that it exists. Put it in your house, and you can easily spend hours after work, relaxing, flipping channels, blowing time on mindless entertainment. Without our tv for several weeks, its amazing what we've gotten done - we read and talk so much more. Watching three hours of tv every night became easily normal because we let it become so.

Think on this profound quote by C.S. Lewis:

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

Jesus Christ did not call us to live our lives as placid and mindless people. We are called to be radical.

If your normal needs to change, make it happen.

You have a magnificent Lord to glorify and not a lot of life in which to do it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day! Mine included a surprise box of flowers from ProFlowers (whoo hoo) and a Bible that is soon coming. My husband is the kind of man who will take ages just to think of one thing he wants for any kind of special occasion, so I just made the thinking easy this time and made my man a big pan of lasagna (one of his favorite foods, and one that I have never made in our marriage. why? couldn't tell ya), garlic bread, and a nice big salad. Then Sara Lee and I made a nice big strawberry cheesecake for dessert. It was a really, really great evening, just the two of us at home with my adorable Target candles lit :). It was V-Day 4 years ago that things started cooking with us, so it was fun to remember the good times....back when my husband had a huge crush on me and I told him that I loved him dearly but we would always simply be best friends. HA!

Friday night, Chris and I hung out with two other young couples and went to Friendly's (basically the only well-known restaurant out here in the PA boonies that is not 1/2 hour away). A lot of laughing, tons of fun.

Saturday I was husband-less, since Chris was working on his Dad's house. My day consisted of some great Goodwill shopping (it's my yard-sale fix in the winter months), and watching 4 episodes of Grey's Anatomy Season 3 (guilty pleasure ;). Then my darling hubby came home and we just relaxed. Saturdays are my bum days, and I am not ashamed! :)

Today: church and Sunday lunch with the family. We had a "cast party" for the teens that were involved with the Christmas play I wrote. We ate pizza and watched the video of the play that my brother-in-law put together. It's always funny to watch something like that - we had a great time.

Time for another work week. Tomorrow's Presidents' Day, so I'm working at CB 11-7. Looking forward to money, but not for work, that's for sure......

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Okay CVS is a post just for you!

Last Friday, I went to CVS and got the following:

1 Garnier hair masque treatment
2 bags dark chocolate m&ms (SO addicting)
2 bottles (?) hand soap
1 shea butter body wash
2 deodorants
1 box kleenex
1 Venus Embrace razor
1 package peanut butter crackers
1 bottle Purell w/aloe sanitizer
1 Precision Xtra blood glucose monitor

I used a $9.99 coupon for the monitor, a $1 coupon for the sanitizer, a $1 for the body wash, and a $1 for the deodorants. I also had a $10/$50 purchase that had printed on the bottom of my CVS receipt. I stupidly forgot to use the $6 ECB I had remaining. Oh well.

My total OOP (out-of-pocket) was $32.81. Granted, that sounds like a lot, and it is. But before Christmas, money was a little tighter, and I purposely used up all my CVS bucks. Now I've spent a lot up front, but that transaction gave me 41 ECBs to use! For the next several months, my OOP should be less than $1 every time. (Those of you who know me, I'm not becoming diabetic - the monitor was on sale for $19.99 last week and gave $19.99 ECB back. Coupled with the coupons I had, I got it for free, got $19.99 back, and I'm going to donate it to someone at church. See how fun this is? :)

Fast forward to this past Monday, when I went to CVS again. Now here comes the fun part, where you can join in if you've kept your coupons from the Sunday paper! (P.S. ALWAYS do that ;). The paper had a $4 off coupon for the Gillette razor and a $1 coupon off of the Colgate toothpaste. Go to CVS and buy:

1 razor ($9.99)
1 toothpaste ($1.88)

This equals $11.87 + tax.
Then hand them your $4 coupon and your $1 coupon.
Your new total will be $6.87 + tax.
You pay that, and you'll receive a $6 ECB from the razor and a $1 ECB from the toothpaste. Basically, you broke even....and now you have $7 to start playing the game.....

My husband loves these razors (they're battery-powered), and because CVS has promotions on them all the time, we currently have 4 in our home - and I've basically gotten all of them for free.

So, I got my razor and toothpaste for 83 cents. (The downside to the ECB is that you have to use the exact amount listed on the ECB. So if you have an ECB for $2, and buy $1.15 worth of gum, CVS won't accept the $2 ECB. You'd THINK they would, since they just gained 85 cents, but I guess they figure you'll overspend. To keep my sanity (and because I'm horrible at quick math in a register line), I usually just let myself spend some change if its under $1.) All together, I now have $48 in ECB to use.

So, what are you waiting for? GO PLAY THE GAME!!!

*For more info, check out Crystal at CVS info is listed on her sidebar.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Ahhhh....the weekend. Last night was fun. I made what is fast becoming our Friday Night Staple: my very own Bacon, Onion, and Tomato pizza*. Then I made brownies and we went to my brother and sister-in-law's house to play Cranium Turbo (one of the best presents I received from my bridal showers, I might add). Today I slept in and now its snowing and beautiful and I just made a huge breakfast and I. love. Saturdays.

As a totally random note, I'm reading Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope, because I want to actually know what the man says and not just repeat the rumors everyone spreads about him. He talks about the shockingly low scores that many high schoolers in this country test at (considereing the fact that we're the richest and most powerful country in the world) and says there is no reason why great, qualified teachers in this country shouldn't be making $100,000 a year. After the day I spent yesterday substituting (aka babysitting a high school French class), I think this man is on to something.

*You need:
a bag of Wal-Mart pizza crust mix
a can of diced tomatoes
one onion, chopped (I throw mine in the food processor)
7 or 8 pieces of turkey bacon (this is a staple in our house!)
pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese or whatever you like
olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. Make the dough and set aside for 5 min. Cook the bacon in a skillet. Roll out the dough and brush crust w/olive oil. Top dough w/sauce, then cheese, then onions and bacon and tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little more cheese. Cook until golden. YUM. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

*Sigh* Why can't all holidays be pink?

Speaking of Valentine's Day, Sandy is doing another Giveaway. I've seen pictures, ladies, and she gives away wonderful things! This one is Valentine's Day themed. I'm linking here so that I can enter the drawing twice. Go check out her website - it is fabulous!

Monday, February 4, 2008

This blog has been so boring lately - sorry! I have been so busy this past week, and then for the past few days I've had a head cold. My head could explode into little bits at any moment. Did you catch the hyperbole? As in, "an exaggeration for effect?" Haha...I finally got to sub today (first time in a public school since May - hooray!) and that was what I taught 5 rotations of fourth graders. I was in a special education classroom, and for part of the morning, my job was to teach 4 fourth graders who struggle in reading. FOUR. As in 1, 2, 3, FOUR. Last year I had 744 students. This woman has it made, I tell you. I had a good time!