Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Get Really Domestic on the Weekends

This weekend has been QUITE the success.

Here's the run down.

CRAZY insane day at work. Especially the last half hour. We had all of the really tough kids left, my room wasn't cleaned yet - none of the rooms were clean yet. I go to clean my room I hear the other two teachers screaming to me from down the hallway... toilet is overflowing EVERYWHERE. Apparently I was the only one who knew how to shut the toilet off. Plus the plunger was in my room. So I took care of that, cleaned my room, and THEN had to clean up the massive flood in the other room. But before we could do that we had to remove a MASSIVE spider. Ugh. Half an hour after closing, we finally got out of there. Quick trip to the store for yarn supplies and finally home.
We made a trip to Trader Joe's the night before, so I was really craving the Chicken Shu Mai that we sampled and then bought. I decided that fried rice would be just the thing to go with it. Having never made fried rice before, it was going to be quite an adventure. But it was SO FREAKING GOOD. And I will share my recipe.

How to Make Fried Rice - Ashes Style

- White rice
- Green onions
- Bean sprouts
- Oil
- 2 eggs
- Soy sauce
- Marmite or Vegemite

* Cook or have six cups of rice. I made it up because I didn't have any on hand, but apparently leftover rice is also good.
* Chop up some green onions. Set aside.
* Lightly beat 2 eggs with some salt and pepper. Set aside.
* Heat up a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Once it's hot, add the eggs. Scramble 'em up. Don't overcook. Take them out and set them aside.
* Clean out your pan, and then put 2 tablespoons of oil in again. Add the rice. Stir fry it for a bit.
* Add a couple tablespoons of soy sauce. I didn't measure it. I just splashed it in until it was a color I liked.
* Add a little yeast extract, such as Vegemite or Marmite. (I used Marmite. We ran out of Vegemite and can only buy Marmite locally.) Again, I didn't measure. I was stirring with chop sticks, so I just dipped my sticks in and grabbed a little blob. Stir stir stir.
* Add the eggs back in. Add the green onions. Add some bean sprouts.


Oh yeah, baby. I found some Tim Tams! FINALLY. FINALLY!!!!
Danny and I had crazy plans to walk the rail trail from Easthampton to Northampton (about 7 miles) in 40 degree weather. I decided that I was going to do this, I needed a fleece vest. So we went to Old Navy, and since I'm a glutton for punishment, decided to make yet another stop to Target to hunt for the elusive Tim Tams. I wasn't getting my hopes up. Even though Target's website said they were in stock - they day I checked online, I also checked in stores and it said they were in stock and they definitely were not. So I checked the dollar racks for stickers for my preschoolers and Danny went to look for himself. Moments later he returned with two packs of TIM TAMS!!!! I literally squealed out loud. And then ran back for two more packs. Like just two would be enough. PAH. I would have bought ten if my budget had allowed for it.
Even though I had loads of Tim Tams, I still went for my walk. And it was lovely. But the Tim Tam Slams to be had when I got home were even lovelier.

Domestic goddess day. I had the whole freaking apartment scrubbed and shining before noon. NOON. Floors, dusting, organizing. The works. Still kind of smells like Lysol in here.
After that I rewarded myself with hours upon hours of Sims 3, while knitting an amazingly long scarf made of lovely lovely lovely baby alpaca yarn. And then I baked like a billion pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for my preschoolers, while chatting on the phone with my Nana about affordable, tasty recipes. Check these babies out.

I'm going to have some happy kiddos on Tuesday. Let's just hope they actually last that long! They are yummmmmmy. No canned pumpkin up in here. This is still from the pumpkin we carved. So far I've made a double batch of pumpkin pie pudding, a loaf of pumpkin bread, a dozen pumpkin muffins (or was it two?) and then these cookies. And I still have another bag of it frozen. I don't know why I haven't been doing this for years. Fresh pumpkin is more fun and FAR more cost effective than canned pumpkin. And while I was skeptical at first, I do think it tastes better. 
How did you spend your weekend?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

World Food Market

I think I like international food better than American food. My favorite cookie, by far, is a Tim Tam. (I'm still on the look out for them... It's October. Where are my Tim Tams?!) My regular grocery store carries Jammie Dodgers, which make their way into my cart fairly often. I'm even starting to learn how to cook some Asian meals. (Plus I make Indian food from a packet on a regular basis too)

Yesterday, I looked for Tim Tams at a different grocery store (I only KNOW that Target carries them... gotta keep looking at other places too though!) and they didn't have them. Big surprise. So I decided because we were kind of on the way towards Hadley (still way out of the way) we should go to this World Food Market I've driven past a few times.

Definitely a great idea!!! There's an Asian Food Market beside my work, but this place was like 10 times bigger. And so much awesome, fun stuff. Here is everything we bought.

Strawberry Wafers from Thailand (I think?)

These are actually your basic artificial strawberry flavored (but a nice, sweet flavor!) wafers. Nothing too special. Still tasty though.

Red Bean Cake

Danny's choice, but I had a taste of it. Very... interesting. It's definitely straight up beans inside of that thing. For me, the more savory taste of beans doesn't go so well with the sweet bun flavor. Also, the texture of the bun and thick, slippery, and well, kind of reminiscent of flesh. Then look at the shape of the bun... Well??? I'm not the only pervert out here, right???

Taro... things.

So these remind me of those Pirouette sticks, but I'm not sure what you would actually call them. Wafer tubes? Cookie straws? I don't have a clue. These are another Danny pick. He loves taro. I haven't actually tried these... I'm not a huge taro fan.

Mochi Ice Cream

I don't really have anything other than that to say about mochi ice cream. Just go buy some, right now. I hear you can get this at Trader Joe's. DO IT NOW.

Hawaiian Coffee

Another Danny choice. I should have gotten some more things for just myself. Danny thought this tasted just like iced coffee we make at home, but I thought it was delightful. :)

Do you have a World Food Market nearby? What's your favorite thing to buy there?

Monday, October 10, 2011

What I've Been Up To

I miss blogging. I really do. I miss writing, and I miss talking about my life.

So what have I been up to lately? Let me shoooow you!!

I moved into my new apartment.

And I've been enjoying it to the fullest. I basically spend all of my free time at home doing this...

and this...
And really just enjoying life. I'm so much happier in my new job and my new apartment. I'm making sales in my Etsy store left and right, which makes me feel so fulfilled and proud of myself. It's always been a hobby I've been really into, and being able to share that with other people (for a profit!! That I put right back into crafting :-D) just makes me happy.

I have some photos and stories about road trips and shopping trips to share... probably tomorrow. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaching and Stuff

So, I a a terrible blogger lately. Really terrible. I want so badly to get back into this and call myself a blogger again, but I find myself coming home from work and just crashing. And on the weekends... more crashing. And packing! I can't believe I'm finally moving in just 2 days. Oh my.

Teaching. I should talk about that. So, I'm teaching preschool at a daycare/child care center (whatever you want to call it it... I prefer child care center. Daycare sounds like I just play with kids all day. I don't. I teach.)I started during the summer (it's year round) and now the "school year" is starting next week. So all but a few of my current kids will either move up to Pre-K or the kindergarten in public school and I will have a whole new class next week. Luckily though, I have met just about all of my new kids and I am excited! My very very tough class is about the get just a bit easier. And now I will be used to my school and my classroom a but so we should have a very good school year together.

I am finally starting to love my job. It's been a rough couple of weeks, getting settled in, worrying that I was selling myself short by teaching early childhood instead of trying to get into a public school (it's for the experience though), still living with my roommates instead of having my own place, general money anxiety, plus then the work stuff of having a really tough, undisciplined group of kids and being evaluated by the state my third week (did not go well. Not at all). However, I'm feeling confident now though. It helps immensely that I have a great teacher's aide who always manages to keep things humorous during the day. I'm so glad that we hit it off right away. I had so much trouble at my old job because one co-worker immediately decided that she hated me. Having a teammate in this class really makes the job easier.

So, that's where I'm at. Hopefully I can manage to blog some more in my new apartment next week. :)

Oh, how about some Ten on Tuesday?

1. What is your favorite brand of shoes?
I don't really have a favorite. The only kind of shoes that I am "loyal" to are Old Navy flip flops.

2. How old were you when you learned to tie your shoes?
I think six. I remember having to have my 1st grade teacher tie my shoes (yes, I remember stuff like this) and I do not remember my second grade teacher tying my shoes, so I'm guessing I learned in first grade.

3. How do you feel about freckles?
I have a few random ones sprinkled around. I kind of wish I had some on my face. I feel like I'd be the kind of girl who looks cute with freckles. (Sorry, freckled girls, but some of you don't wear it well.)

4. I can count to ten in ___ languages.
Three, I think. I could probably remember how to do it in French if pressed to.

5. What is your favorite store-bought ice cream flavor?
All of them. It's ice cream, guys. You can't go wrong. (Okay, you can. But I just don't have a favorite. I like ice cream)

6. Were you in ballet or gymnastics as a little girl?
Neither. I was in baton.

7. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
This question was recently asked (as evidenced by one of my blog posts that I just read) so I refuse to answer it again.

8. What’s your bedtime?
I don't have one. Whatever 8 hours before I need to be up is. Or 7 hours, if I'm feeling rebellious. Oh this life I lead.

9. Do you have any jewelry that you wear every single day?
Yes. My tourmaline ring and my infinity loop necklace.

10. Who is the bug killer in your household?
The cats

Sunday, August 14, 2011

18 Days

That's how long until we FINALLY move into our own place. I hope to never, ever have to do the roommate thing ever again.

We bought a few things for our new place yesterday at IKEA. First trip there! Some may think it's insane to drive 2 hours to go shopping, but I guess because we're from Maine and you HAVE to drive at least 2 hours to get to ANYTHING it's not a big deal. And it was actually a lot of fun. I love spending the day with Danny and just getting away from here. Lord knows I need to.  We were after a desk for Danny in our new office (yay! office!) but we didn't find one we liked for a price we liked. However, we did get a new coffee table and side table for the living room, and a sewing desk for me! Also, a new set of dishes. They're green. And beautiful. And a few little incidentals like a $1 pack of candles (how could I resist!!!), a toilet brush (something I don't think should be brought along on any move - gross), and a new frying pan. (broke the handle on my old favorite one)

I'm getting really excited. 18 more days!!! We get the keys on the 1st of the month, which is a Thursday. Logically, we should wait until Friday night or Saturday to move, but one of my roommates (who has a truck) is willing to move it all up Thursday night when I get home from work. I'm not even going to pretend that it's not because he wants us to move out as soon as possible. And I'm not going to pretend that I'm not perfectly okay with this.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 Day "You" Challenge ~ Nine Loves

9. Teaching. So much.

8. Crafting (Particularly quilting right now)

7. Sleeping.

6. Really good food.

5. Daytrips. Overnight trips. International trips. I love to travel!!!

4. Being famous in Australia. It's kind of amazing. I even do love cricket now.

3. My kitties, when they decide that they love me too.

2. My nephew, Hunter. And the rest of my dysfunctional, "bat shit crazy" family.

1. Danny - of course. :-D

Last week's 10 Day You Challenge ~ Ten Secrets (Okay, so it's been more than a week.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Life

So things are finally starting to look a little brighter here these days. It took awhile, but I'm finally getting somewhere in  my life. Someone a few weeks ago stated that I'm finally "getting my life together". Well, I certainly do not believe that my life wasn't together these past 10 months, but it just wasn't where I wanted it to be at the time. But it's not like my life was in shambles or something. I've been doing just fine, and working really really hard to make advancements in my career.

That being said, I finally landed a teaching position! A real one! With my own very real classroom. No more floating around doing other people's jobs in someone else's classroom. Starting this Tuesday I'm the lead teacher in room 5 at a local preschool. Local as in no more 45 minute commute for a sucky job. In fact, the apartment that we're moving into at the end of the month is less than 2 miles from my new job. The fact that this job is in a preschool (which is really part of a child care center, or a daycare if you want to call it that) and not in a public elementary school does make me a little sad. It's not my dream job, by any means. It's not what I saw myself doing in my second year out of college, but I didn't see myself being famous in another country for a sport I'd never watched before either. So, I'm taking life as it comes right now. Whatever seems like the right thing to do, I'm doing it.

So... apartment!!! We're finally moving into our own apartment. and it will be OUR apartment. For the past 10 months we've been living in my aunt's basement which SUCKS but whatcha gonna do? It got us to a different area that we love and were able to find jobs in. Decent jobs, at that.

I'm excited. :-D

Sunday, July 17, 2011

10 Day "You" Challenge ~ Ten Secrets

Secrets.... Not so good at these! I'm pretty much an open book, but I'll try.

10. I don't really exercise and I don't diet. I'm making a conscious effort to eat healthier, but I've never been "on a diet." Yes, I will admit, I am slightly overweight. But I am healthy and I have a healthy body image, so I don't see the point in depriving myself of food (especially because I LOVE food) or forcing myself to go to the gym.

9. I didn't have a good relationship with my brother (AT ALL) until our mother left our father and we were forced to redefine what "family" meant to us (and we're still working on that). But at least now we can get through a weekend without fighting and annoying the crap out of each other.

8. I pride myself on having good spelling and grammar, but a lot of times it's because my Mac has built in spell-check. And I use it.... a lot.

7.  Sometimes, I don't like my cats and think about giving them away. But then I remember them as sweet little kittens and how Danny and I adopted them together the first year we were dating, and I know I could never get rid of them.

6. I have to look up "how to boil an egg" every. single. time. Cannot for the life of me remember how to do it. I'm certainly no expert when it comes to cooking, but this is one of the only things that I can never just "do" and hope it comes out okay. Because it doesn't.

5. I'm kind of okay with living in my aunt's basement. Some people in my "family" (see #9, where I've redefined what family actually means) have tried to make me feel ashamed of myself for making what has been a very economical choice for us and kept us from accruing any debt in the past year. But I am smart enough and mature enough (contrary to the belief of my so called family) to realize that no one gets their dream job right out of college (without some really good connections, anyways) and sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to get where you really want to be in life.

4. I want to have kids someday probably more than I really let on to people. I scoff at the idea of having kids quite often, but I really do want them - someday.

3. Sometimes I'm quite self-conscious about my teeth, but seeing pictures of celebrities (like Kirsten Dunst and Anna Paquin) make me realize that they are just a part of who I am, and you can be beautiful even with messed up teeth.

2. I used to be addicted to Frontierville (Zynga game, like Farmville)

1. I don't wear a lot of make-up, but I HATE leaving the house without at least mascara.

I'm going to ATTEMPT to post this weekly. Presumably on Sundays. No promises, cause I sometimes suuuuck at this sort of thing. But I think I just need to write. It's good for me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

On Being 23

I turned 23 last Friday, and to be quite truthful, 23 somehow feels older than 22. Perhaps it was a maddening bout of immaturity I experienced in my last days of being 22. Perhaps it's my sassy new "grown-up" (as in, no more ponytails!) hair cut. Or perhaps it is that I may possibly be nearing the end of my quest for a big girl job. Whatever the reason, 23 feels older.

Danny and I had a discussion about where in your 20s being 23 falls. I believe that I am in the last year of my early 20s and he will be 28 this year, and therefore well into his late 20s. He disagrees, at least as to which part of his 20s he's in. He doesn't think he's in his late 20s yet at 27. He thinks this:
20, 21, 22, and 23 are the early 20s.
24, 25, 26, and 27 are the mid 20s.
28 and 29 are late 20s.           Yea, cause that makes sense.

I think it's this way.
20 doesn't count. You're basically still a teenager and not even old enough to drink.
21, 22, and 23 are early 20s.
24, 25, and 26 are mid 20s.
27, 28, and 29 are late 20s.        Your take?

Anyways, I am looking forward to being 23. I'm looking forward to getting a big girl job (hopefully this week, ya'll!) and moving into Danny's and my first apartment together. (We lived in what was my college apartment for a year before we moved in with Jen and James).

This year in my life has potential, guys. Will it be as exciting being 22? Probably not. But I'm kind of okay with that. A lot of negative came with the positives of being 22. And some kick ass things happened right before I turned 22 (graduated from college, birth of my nephew) and aside from Australia (which was holy crap amazing) not much else lived up to being 21. But 23.... 23 has potential. Honestly, I'm hoping for a calm, unexciting year, really. I want to start a career, get an apartment that will be our home for a few years, and just be settled.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What’s the recipe for your favorite drink? (Smoothie, alchoholic, coffee, whatever.)
I'm kind of a big fan of coconut rum and orange juice. It's delightful.

2. What kind of razor do you use?
I used to ALWAYS use Venus razors, but they're expensive. And now that I live with a man who believes that razors are communal and uses them on his massive beard, which ruins them. So I just buy cheap ones now. Not like suuuuuper cheap, slice your leg off type razors (cause that's what I'd do, not even kidding) but definitely disposable.

3. Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?
I always loved Big Bird because my aunt bought me a stuffed one when I was little. Now, I don't know, there's probably more interesting characters.

4. What makes the perfect salad? (Lettuce type, toppings, dressing, etc.)
I like my salad with a lot of crunch. A good crispy lettuce base (like iceberg) is an absolute must. With other crunchy veggies like celery and onions. And crunchy toppings like bacon bits and croutons. (I'm almost drooling right now)

5. What was your favorite subject in school?
Language Arts. I love to read. Love it.

6. What’s your favorite summer tradition?
Cooking smores on a campfire. Hands down.

7. Do you suffer from season allergies? How do you combat them?
The further south I move, the less bad it is. But more so in duration than intensity. Last year in central Maine I had a HORRIBLE bout of allergies that actually resulted in an outbreak of hives, a trip to walk-in care, and a prescription for a triple combo of anti-histamines.

8. How often do you have to charge your cell phone?
Every night.

9. Do you have a bucket list?
Uhm, not really. But whenever I do awesome things, I usually think "Well, that's something I'm glad I got to do before I die." Almost a better way to think about it, I think.

10. Do you have any desire to go back to school?
Yes, but not for a long time.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Monday

I had a second job interview this morning. My initial reaction of the school was positive when I first interviewed last week. Today I had a teaching interview and spent some time in a classroom... and I would say that view of this place as drastically changed. It was a toddler classroom... I expected bright cheeriness, happy teachers, smiling children. Yeah, none of those. The classroom was dingy and dirty. All the furniture was at one time white with yellow trim and no other colors. All the bulletin board type stuff was old, faded, peeling laminated construction paper letter. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. The teacher had poor routines and poor teaching techniques. I don't think they were people that I'd get along well with as co-workers. I just... ugh. I don't want to teach there. I'm not even sure how well the interview went... probably not that good. But if offered, I won't be taking the job.
However, I'm still holding out to hear from the pretty much dream job in Easthampton. I waaaaant that job. I want to live in that town. I want my own cute little corner classroom with my 8 or 9 cute little preschool children. However, just in case I don't get it I put in an application for another job in the dream town and a company with several job openings in the general area. Plus maybe there will be something full-time coming up in my current company, which I would jump all over.

Today is June 27th. My parents' anniversary. Their last anniversary. Their divorce hearing is tomorrow. And tonight my mother is sleeping on my father's couch so she doesn't have to be up at 4 AM to get to court. All kinds of fucked up, guys. All kinds.

Also, I've been hearing some oh so freaking lovely things about myself from my family. Apparently a certain family member thinks that I am overly emotional, I blow everything out of portion, and now apparently I am untrustworthy and I am trying to turn everyone against my mom. The only information I passed on to other family members is common freaking knowledge. The absolute truth. Shit my mom has completely admitted to. Yup, and I'm the evil, malicious one now. Oooookay. I'm not the one who tore the family apart. I had no part in that. And I don't believe in doing that kind of thing. It fucking hurts. I would know.
One of these days, I'm going to confront this family member. One of these days...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tornadoes in New England??

Wednesday was very likely to be on the scariest days of my life. I check the weather on my way to work. They were forecasting thunderstorms to begin around 1 o'clock... nap time at preschool. Fun... I have several little ones who are quite afraid of thunderstorms. Many who could care less, but a few who are afraid. So I was not looking forward to crying, terrified children waking up from their much needed naps.

One o'clock rolled around and no storms came. However, the Pre-K teacher assistant informed us that we were under a tornado watch. Being in New England, tornado watches come on occasion, but we never get tornadoes. Ever. But, just to be safe we reviewed the emergency plans for the school. The plan was to be aware of the weather (the director and mentor teacher were listening to the weather radio) and when the watch got upgraded to a warning, we would move from the classrooms to our "evacuation" place in the stairwell to the basement. At this point, we were light-hearted about it. The mentor teacher was running around saying "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" and said it was okay to take the kids outside to play - just come in if we saw cows flying by. (For the record, I didn't take my kids outside. Storms can come on fast! Keep reading). I did, however, text Danny on my break to make sure he was home from walking from the bus. Westfield (where we live) was under a warning before Springfield (where I work) was.

Around about 3:30 when I go back to my own classroom after floating for breaks, it started storming. Bear in mind, this is my first week that I'm "allowed" to be in the classroom by myself (Complicated situation. Needed to be licensed in the state of Massachusetts, needed 3 months experience, etc etc etc) so I was a little nervous. I managed to keep my little kiddos under control though. Once the thunderstorms started, many parents picked up their kids so by 4 o'clock I only three children left. Two boys who were playing an imagination game about African safaris and my little girl was snuggled up in the quiet space with her blankie to hide from the storm. After one of the boys went home, I took them to the classroom next door where there were more kids to play with, and so I could clean up everyone's snack dishes.

And then fun began!
We got no advance warning before we got word that a tornado was on the ground in Springfield. The teacher from the downstairs preschool room ran up and yelled to us that a tornado was on the ground in Springfield, so we immediately evacuated the classroom and moved to the stairwell. (Which is the best place in our school - central, below ground, no windows)

All the children were safe and entertained, although many of the parents were exceptionally late, mostly due to traffic. We were able to take the kids back upstairs at 5:30 (end of my workday). From our vantage point, it looked like not much happen. However, traffic was horrible (the cause of most of the delay in parents picking up their kids) so we knew something must be up. While there was no damage to the school, there was a lot of damage to nearby areas, and some of the students' homes. Everyone is safe; everyone I know anyways.

On my way home from work, I hit crazy rain (thankfully not much traffic.) Called my dad and my sister, who were also having crazy storms up in Maine. Found out when I pulled into my yard that there had been a possible tornado on the highway right after I had driven across. Most terrifying thing I've ever heard in my life.

The damage in Springfield, Westfield, Monson and surrounding areas is devastating. I'm just thankful that no one I love and care about was effected.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Update on my crazy, crazy life

I haven't drawn my giveaway yet. It's closed to new entries but I haven't drawn a winner yet. Why? Because my life has been disastrously insane lately. For the past THREE weekends in a row, things have been well, not so good.

Two weekends ago...
My parents split up a few months ago. This is the first time I have mentioned this on the internet. Its been extremely hard for me. But that weekend all of the fighting and bad feelings and betrayal and whatever else you want to call it came to a climax. Things got ugly. I'm not going to go into detail about what exactly went down, but it wasn't good.

One weekend ago...
My mom came down for my great-grandmother's memorial service. I'm sure you could figure out how that was all kinds of difficult. But add to it that after the memorial service we went back to my aunt and uncle's house to find my aunt so sick that she had to been taken to the hospital by ambulance. Then at the hospital there was more drama because the hospital we took her to was just the closest one and by far not the best one at all. So we ended up transferring her to a better hospital where she stayed overnight and had a bunch of tests and nothing was really diagnosed... she was just sick. Like a bad flu, or an infection or something.

This weekend...
This weekend was supposed to be fun. My cousin (not the daughter of the sick aunt, the daughter of the other aunt) spent the night Friday night even though she wasn't feeling the best. Having some headaches and off and on fevers and such. We watched movies with our boyfriends, and then the next day went hiking in the park, then out for lunch, and then wandered around Northampton and did some window shopping. My cousin felt ill off and on, but nothing too serious, except one odd symptom - orange urine. Dr. Google told me that one time of off color urine could be caused by just something you ate and not to worry about it. Except when she slept over Saturday night as well, she threw up and had high fevers all night. The next day we planned to go to a BBQ with her parents anyways, so I didn't bother to take her home or anything. And besides, her uncle is a doctor and he'd be there, so she'd get cared for anyways. And it's a good thing he was there... she ended up spiking a 103.2 fever. Her uncle made her take a cold bath, lay down, etc. I had to leave to run some errands before things closed down for the Memorial Day holiday, but I knew she'd be in good hands. When I texted her later last night, her boyfriend texted back and said she was in the hospital.
They don't know for sure yet what it is. Last night the verdict was "probably gallstones." Now they are thinking it's maybe Hepatitis A. They don't know and won't know until tomorrow when she was a something-that-begins-with-H-but-I-cant-remember scan. I plan on going up and spending an hour with her in the morning before work. However, it is looking like she will probably have her gallbladder out.
Poor kid... She's only 17 and has had 2 surgeries in a little over 2 years. (She seriously broke her arm cheerleading awhile back, and then ended up with compartment syndrome.)

So yeah, thats my life recently. I wish I had more positive things to say.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Thanks to Chelsea for hosting and for this week’s questions.

1. What is the weather like in your city today?
Today was gorgeous. Upper 70s, a bit cloudy and humid but with a nice breeze.

2. Do you like the zoo?
I love zoos, especially for taking photos of the animals!!

3. Do you eat coconut?
I can't remember the last time I had straight up coconut, but I love things with coconut flavor in them.

4. Have you ever hammered a nail? Are you good at it?
I have, but I would not say I am particular good at it. I'm not absolutely terrible though. I get the job done.

5. Does your family have a vacation destination that you visit often?
Yes indeed. My mom's whole side of the family (grandparents and their adopted daughters, aunt and her family, uncle and his family, my siblings and nephew... all told about 20 people) goes to Old Orchard Beach every summer for the past 5 or so years. However, those of us in our 20s have decided to start opting out. (I think I've only stayed the whole week once. Tooo much drama)

6. How many pillows do you sleep with?
2, and they need to be replaced.
7. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Go to the bathroom

8. Will you send your kids to summer camp?
Doubtful, unless they really wanted to go. And even, just like a one week thing or maybe day camp.

9. What do you put in your baked potatoes?
I liked baked potatoes all different ways. Especially with chili and cheese though.

10. Did you take swimming lessons as a kid?
No, I learned to swim in a pond in our yard. For real. I'm a hick.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. When someone asks you for a book recommendation, what is your go-to book?
I usually recommend Jodi Picoult. Because's she's AMAZING. But if they like YA, I recommend Sarah Dessen.

2.  Do you buy your books, or are you a library patron?
I buy used books from or book sales.

3.  E-readers, yay or nay?
NAY!!!! They contribute to the death of the bookstore. Plus, I just love books. I love the way they feel, the way the smell, the way the look on my shelf... everything about them

4.  What was your favorite book as a child?
I love the Ramona Quimby series. I tend to like authors and series better than just one particular book.

5.  If you could be any character in a book, who would you be?
I'm not really sure!

6.  What book would you love to see turned into a movie?
I'm not a big fan of movies based on books.

7.  What is your all-time favorite book?
Eeks... another hard one. I love so many books, it's just too hard to say.

8.  How many books do you read at once?
Usually one. I averaged like 5 in grade school.

9.  What is your favorite book genre?
Chick lit. And some YA.

10.  Which Harry Potter book is the best?  Or haven’t you read them at all?
I've always like the 4th one.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Loathe Bounce Houses

Last week was "Week of the Young Child". It's a great concept. A week celebrating the innocence and playful spirit of the little ones. The childcare center that I work at goes all out for WOYC. Each day was something different. Monday we all wore pajamas to school, saw a magician and tie dyed t-shirts. Tuesday was school spirit day and we ate pizza and homemade salads. Wednesday was sports day. We played sports inside (it rained) and wore sports apparel. Thursday was rainbow day and community helpers day. We wore tie dye and were visited by firemen and police dogs. Friday was green day, to celebrate Earth Day. We all wore green and planted flowers. We also had a big party to celebrate the end of the week. We invited parents to join us for an ice cream social and set up a bounce house in the playground. Various other things were scattered through the week, like a visit from a parent who works for LEGO and brought in huge creations, and a parent who put on a concert with his acoustic guitar. But the bounce house was a favorite.

The general consensus around the building was that WOYC is amazing for the children, but it's hell for the teachers.

Especially the bounce house.

When kids find out that there's going to be a bounce house, it's like feeding them crack. It's all they can think about and all they can talk about. And there's no way to hide it from them, because parents needed to contribute a few dollars towards renting the thing. They won't nap because all they can think about is the bounce house. They won't eat because all they can talk about is the bounce house.

We let each class have 2 turns in the bounce house. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The kids came to school wound up about the bounce house and left school wound up about the bounce house. And in between, all you heard was "BOUNCE HOUSE! BOUNCE HOUSE! BOUNCE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And the kids get in this thing, and it's madness. They're jumping and they're screaming. They're smacking into each other and they're laughing hysterically. They fall down and their face gets jumped on, but their tears are of pure joy. A kid could break both their arms and shattered their pelvis in a 10 kid pile of bouncing insanity and they would still think the bounce house was the. greatest. thing. ever.

They come out of this thing with their hair all disheveled, plastic burns on their faces, hands, and knees, sore, bruised, out of breath, covered in dirt, sweat, and possibly some blood, smelling of dirty plastic, and probably missing at least one article of clothing, but they'll have the biggest smile on their face and beg to go back in as soon as possible.

I really do not get it.

And I do not like it either.

Don't forget my giveaway.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. If you work, do you drive to work or take public transportation?
I drive Dan's car to work. We share, because my car was a piece of junk and not worth the time and money to keep it on the road.

2. How often do you get your haircut? Do you go to the same person every time?
Honestly... like once a year. And no, I don't go to the same person every time. I think a regular hairdresser would not be happy with how infrequently I cut him hair. But I get it cut and keep it that way until it no longer looks good/is manageable. I don't really get split ends, and I don't do trendy haircuts so I'm good with once a year.

3. Do you read the newspaper? If so, a hardcopy or the online version?
I'll read the paper occasionally if there's one around and I'm bored.

4. What is the best book you have read this year?
Time Traveler's Wife.

5. What is the best movie you have seen this year?
Hmm.... not entirely sure. I can't think of what movies I saw this year vs. last year.

6. Do you tend to crave sweet or salty foods?
I'd sweet 65% of the time, salty 35%.

7. Do you eat breakfast every day? If so, what do you have?
Not every single day, but I definitely should cause I feel better when I do. I usually have coffee and some sort of carb like toast or a donut.

8. If you celebrate Easter, what Easter treat/candy are you most looking forward to?
I love fruity candy. Doesn't really matter what kind. But I also love Reece's Eggs and Cadbury eggs.

9. How late is “sleeping in” to you?
10 am or later.

10. Where are you going on your next vacation?
Don't know!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a free handmade teddybear! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Giveaway! Win a free handmade amigurumi teddy bear!

Want to win this cute, cuddly handmade teddy bear?!

Well, you can! It's easy! Just enter my giveaway and he could be yours.

And as an extra bonus, also included in the giveaway is a 50% off coupon to my Etsy shop - Pockets Full of Posies. Use it to get a pal for your teddy bear, or give it to a friend so they can get one too! (I also have lots of accessories in my shop - for humans - like hats, scarfs, and purses. A little something for everyone)

How do you enter?

It's simple. Just comment on this blog and tell me which item from my Etsy shop is your favorite. Make sure to include your email address somewhere so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner!
** If someone other than me referred you, please let me know who they were, so they can get an extra entry!**

There are also MANY other ways to get entries. There is actually no limit to how many more entries you can get.

Please leave a comment for each individual entry telling me how I can verify your entry - links, user names, etc.

  • Be a follower of my blog (1 entry)
  • "Like" Pockets Full of Posies on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Tweet about my shop (Add @theashes so I will see it. 1 entry per tweet per day.)
  • Make a purchase in the shop, or have made one in the past (10 entries)
  • Favorite an item in my Etsy shop (Up to 5 entries)
  • Add me to your Etsy circle (2 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway. (Must include a link to my Etsy shop. You may use photos of my merchandise. Email me if you have any questions.) (5 entries)
  • Refer a friend. (Make sure they tell me who sent them) (1 entry per person. Unlimited entries!)

Also, there are no restrictions for this giveaway. I'll ship it anywhere in the world. (As long as this sort of thing is legal in your country) Customs forms don't scare me. :)

Giveaway ends April 30th at midnight (eastern standard time)
Giveaway has been extended until May 14th at midnight (eastern standard time)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My First Ten on Tuesday

A fellow blogger, Erin, always does Ten on Tuesday and I always read it... after Tuesday. I've always wanted to participate, but like I said, I always read it after Tuesday and by then it's too late! So here we go, my first Ten on Tuesday. Unfortunately it's about cooking... something I don't do a whole lot of.

1. What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then tried and liked?

I never thought I'd try kangaroo. Or alligator. But I've tried both in the past year (kangaroo in Australia and alligator at the folk festival back in Maine) and actually liked them.

2. Do you subscribe to any foodie publications? If so, which ones?

I, for some reason, receive Rachael Ray's magazine in the mail. I don't know why, exactly. I've never been billed for it though. (Thank goodness! I'm not a huge fan, so it's definitely not something I'd pay for)

3. What ingredient do you find yourself reaching for the most when you cook?

Green peppers and onions. Most of my favorite meals have both of those.

4. Are there any foods that you hated as a child, but then learned to like as an adult?

Oh, you name it, and I probably hated it as a child! Most of them I like a lot now though. I specifically remember wanting to try sushi on my 16th birthday. We were at the beach, and for some stupid reason we decided grocery store sushi would be the way to go (We were at a beach! We probably could have gotten delicious fresh sushi someplace really good, but we didn't) and I HATED it. Then a few years later, Danny took me for sushi, probably at Green Tea, and I loved it. Still not a huge fan of raw fish sushi though.

5. What do you like to eat that others may consider weird?

Hm. Not so sure about this one.

6. What is the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever cooked with?

I'm not super adventurous when it comes to cooking... probably because I'm so bad at it!

7. Do you have any major food allergies?

Nope! Thank goodness. I have a sensitivity to MSG though.

8. Is there an ingredient that you would like to cook with, but are intimidated to try?

I'm intimidated by spices. My roommate makes fun of me for buying seasoning packets for things like chili and fajitas when we have tons of spices here, but I just don't know what tastes good/right together.

9. Do you bake?

Yes. Mostly boxed mixes. :-D

10. If you could go on any “foodie” show to compete, which one would it be, and why?

Not sure! One where they teach you how? Haha

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Preview of New Items for My Etsy Shop!

I've decided to post my two newest handmade items that I intend to list in my Etsy shop here first, so that I can get people's opinions. They're both projects that were my first attempts ever at a new skill - sewing from a pattern and crocheting an amigurumi. I had a lot of fun with both of these projects, and I'm very pleased at how they came out.

First is the Bumblebee Mini Tote Bag

The dimensions of this bag are 12.5in(32cm) x 4in(10cm) x 8in(20cm). It has pockets all the way around the outside of the bag, with a total of 6 pockets. It can easily hold 2-3 hard covered books and would make a great purse.

You can purchase this purse here

And here is my first amigurumi - And trust me, I will be making many more of these! I've found a pattern for a turtle that I really like, and I'm looking for a lion as well. (Although, if anyone knows of any patterns for any other cute animals, please do share them!!)

My little koala!

I'm so very proud of this! I'd never considered crocheting animals before, but I found this pattern and it didn't look beyond my skills, so I went for it!! And I'm so happy with it. I don't think the photo does this guy justice. He's absolutely adorable. 

He's 7 inches(18cm) tall and his eyes are made of glass pearls.

I think when I sell him, he'll come with a little bow made of either pink, purple, or aqua ribbon. :)

You can buy this little guy here

Okay... so any ideas of what I should sell these things for?

EDIT: The items have been posted and priced, but feedback (on this blog post please) is appreciated. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sad Attempt at Blogging, but Some Good News

So, it's been nearly two weeks since I blogged. So much for jumping back in full force. I guess it will be a slow transition back, but I'm still here. I'm still doing it.

So here's what happened lately.

Dan started his new job. It's been a little rough with scheduling, but hopefully that will get worked out.

I've substituted for a total of two weeks. I absolutely love it. The people that I work with are awesome, the kids are bright and cheerful, and I actually enjoy being at work. This is something you probably would not have heard from me at my previous job. Even my first days at my old job were rough. There really wasn't a honeymoon period there... it was fairly unpleasant from the beginning, I had just hoped that with time things would get better.

Anyways, it turns out that after next week, I will not be subbing anymore. That's right. After just 2 weeks, I have been offered a permanent position. I don't know my actual job title, but I will be floating between 3 different classroom to provide additional coverage. I'll be working 11-5:30, which is considered part-time. It's not a TON of hours, but it's guaranteed hours, and I will get more in the summer. Also, as soon as I'm teacher qualified (end of March) I will be able to be considered for a full-time teaching job, if one opens up. Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that that happens. I could definitely see myself teaching preschool at this center for a couple of years. I have not given up on teaching elementary school (I did put 4 years of college in for this) but I feel like this would be a good transition.

Hopefully this means that our financial situation will be becoming more stable. As of right now, we have no idea when we'll be moving into our own place. I think it's best to not put a date on it right now. Too many variables, and I don't want to set myself up for more disappointment. This might mean that we won't be able to get the puppy after all, but hopefully we can work something out so that we can. I'm already attached!

Monday, February 28, 2011

First Day as a Sub

Today was my first day as a preschool substitute. Needless to say, it was FAR better than my job as a nanny! Forget that the fact that I made the same wage in 6 hours as I would in 11. That's just icing on the cake.

I'm working 11-5 preschool all week, floating between the 3 of the 4 classrooms while others are on breaks. The girl who normally works that shift is working the preschool room while that teacher is on vacation, because I'm not certified yet to teach by myself. But I did confirm today that subbing in preschool WILL count towards getting preschool certified, as long as I do some in-services too. I just have to be in preschool consistently, which they plan to do. Now lets just hope that a position opens up after I get certified!!

The kids there love me, of course. :) I made little friends in each of the classrooms (except downstairs, because they were all napping when I was down there). I'm one of the younger teachers (actually, probably the youngest in preschool, and maybe youngest in the whole school.) and the little girls seem to really like that. Not sure why.. maybe because I'm not old and grumpy yet? Hehe. Wait til I bust out my cute socks and fun little accessories, (which I have far too few of) then they'll really love me.

Is it sad that I relate well to pre-school girls?

So, it finally happened.
Someone around here recognized me for my Aussie fame. Bound to happen when I'm not holed up at my nanny job 793024720 hours a week. (Okay, sorry, no more former nanny bitterness) I was discussing long plane trips with a little girl whose family is from China. She was wondering if you would have to sleep on the airplane if you flew to the other side of the world, and I confirmed that yes, you would, because I did that when I flew to Australia a few months ago. My co-worker then said "Wait... you're... that Ashley?" Why, yes, yes I am. It was kind of a little bit embarrassing to be recognized like that. It was expected in Australia, but there wasn't that much exposure here. Or so I thought. Apparently the local paper ran something about it while I was gone, with a bunch of photos and things. Wish I had known! I wonder if/where I could get a copy. Hm. Anyways, we discussed Australia and how amazing the opportunity was. She told the other teacher in the room, who hadn't heard about the story, but thought it was cool anyways. I wonder if the whole building will know by the time I get there tomorrow.

Maybe I should get some kids cricket sets for the school now. :-D

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Directions

A lot has changed in the past 9 months, since I quit blogging. It was a tough time in my life. Times I didn't really feel like blogging about, but I probably should have been. The input would have been nice. And it definitely wasn't all bad. Just tough.

I graduated from college in May. I knew the job market was tough, and I knew I had a very small window of time to find a job. (Generally by September, all teaching jobs are filled.) But I was confident and hopeful that I'd get a teaching job. Too confident. Too hopeful. At first we were planning to teach in South Korea, but we (or rather, I) decided that I'd rather have a chance to teach here in U.S. If we went to Korea, I'd miss out on teaching the year we can back as well. (We'd come back in mid-September - when most jobs are already filled.)I'd also miss the first year of my new nephew's life. I spent hours upon hours applying for jobs. I got one interview, on my birthday.

We moved out of the apartment at the end of July, still hopeful that I'd find a job. Readying ourselves for a quick, last minute move to wherever I found a job, we moved into Danny's parents house. The night before we moved, we knew it wasn't going to be a good idea, so we started formulating a back up plan. We moved into Danny's parents house, September came and went, and we jumped into Plan B... moving to Massachusetts and renting my aunt's basement. The only thing we needed was for one of us to find a job before we moved. So I became a nanny.

We moved to Massachusetts in October. Dan got a seasonal retail job. We were content and happy to be in a new place.

In November, things got a little insane. I had the first extended family Thanksgiving since lord knows when. I went Christmas shopping with my aunt turned landlord and roomie. I realized that I'd become an overnight twitter sensation... in Australia, for not being a freaking cricket match.

December was spent preparing for Christmas... and a trip to Australia. I shopped and wrapped during the day, took care of the children in the evening, and did Skype and phone interviews at night.

 I spent Christmas Eve with Danny's parents, Christmas Day with mine. We drove back to Massachusetts from Maine on "Boxing Day", while braving an epic, record breaking snowstorm. We missed our flight, but luckily got on one the very next.

We spent 10 days in Australia, enjoying my 15 minutes of fame. I watched cricket for the first time, met celebrities, enjoyed being in the summer time in January. Spent New Year's Eve in the harbor in Sydney.

We came back, and life basically went back to normal. Except now Danny was unemployed, and my boss was preparing to have surgery - which meant that my job responsibilities tripled, as did the time I was being asked to put in, with no increase in pay whatsoever. I got tired, stressed out, and basically completely fed up.

I applied for a job as a preschool teacher. I got it. And then I lost it. The state of Massachusetts wouldn't certify me, based on not having enough experience with the age group. Regardless of the fact that I am more than qualified for the job. But they offered me a substitute teaching job. I took it. I quit with my nanny job with a blaze of fury. The same week, Danny got a job as well.

We decided to start looking towards moving into our own apartment. We decided to get a puppy from my aunt and uncle's litter and name her Sydney, after our once in a lifetime trip.

And I decided to start blogging again.