Tag Archives: Pinterest

My new(ish) job and random junk from my brain.

23 Jul

In my last post, I told you that I’ve changed jobs. Well, I feel like I’ve been thrown into a new world. I’ve been either owning or managing a coffee shop for so long, that I didn’t realize what else I was capable of. Last year, I just had this feeling like I needed more. I didn’t quite understand what it was that I was looking for, only that I was so completely restless and had no idea why. I did know that I needed more of a steady income than the coffee shop was providing, especially with my oldest starting college and my son getting braces. So this started my job search.

Let me just tell you something about looking for a job…..for most of us it sucks! It is probably one of the most humbling, nerve-wracking things I’ve done. It basically makes you confront your insecurities while realizing that the ability to drink a whole pot of coffee in an hour is not really a transferable job skill. Whatever.

Anyway, fast forward to January of this year when I started my new job as a librarian at my local city school system. Actually my job title when I started is LRC tech and now it is something else, but at the heart of it I’m a librarian who will be integrating technology into our lessons. I know a lot of people think that because children are introduced to smart phones and tablets that they have computer skills and know how to properly use technology. Nope. I was actually surprised at how many times I had to show kids where the back button was. My kiddos are 3rd – 5th grade and most of them know enough to navigate the computer to play games but when it came to typing, research, knowing which information is accurate, which sites are safe or even the right way to shut down a computer I realized we have a lot of work to do. Fortunately for me, I love technology as much as I love reading so this is a good fit for me.

I came into this job in the middle of the school year after taking over for a substitute. The first few weeks for me were completely frantic and I was like a deer caught in the headlights but I kind of fell into some sort of rhythm with help from all my new coworkers ❤ ❤ ❤

I will say that much of my challenge is classroom management, but I just need to keep working at it. I’m so against the library being completely quiet and regimented….I want kids to learn, but I don’t see why we can’t have some fun too. I realize in order to do that, the kids need to have routine and structure so they know what to expect every time they come in. I’m looking into setting up centers so they are broken up into groups and not all expected to focus on the same thing. This could either be one of my best ideas, or total disaster. Half the fun is finding out….right?

Somewhere over the last month or so of the school year, I came down with mono. Which to me is crazy but I guess working around so many kids and picking up every germ possible weakened my immune system. This was kind of a bummer way to start out my summer break, but it has kind of forced me to take it easy and rest….two things I don’t do very well. During all my down time, Pinterest became a valuable resource for me….I’ve had so many ideas swirling around in my brain and I was able to organize them and come back to them later.

Also, my awesome sis in law, who is a teacher, introduced me to a site called Teachers Pay Teachers .I’ve only just begun to explore it, but there are lots of free resources and great ideas! I just downloaded this free printable and can’t wait to print, laminate and hang them up.

I’m hoping to at least write on here once a week….I find that I’m more productive and focused when I sit down and write some of whats in my head. That way some of the junk can spill out and make room for other junk. 🙂 Feel free to join me and make suggestions or post any helpful tips. I can use all the help I can get!

 

Stitch Fix (Fail!)

20 Jul

Ok so I know I haven’t written anything in over 2 years, but we will just gloss right over that.

There have been a few changes in my life – the biggest is my change in jobs. I still have my coffee shop, but my dad is running it. Just this past January, I became an elementary school librarian. I will be writing about this in detail later, but today my main focus will be my experience with Stitch Fix.

For those of you who are not familiar, Stitch Fix is a personal styling service online. You go to their website, put in your information about your sizes, styles, budget, etc and they send you out a box with 5 pieces that are based on the info you provided. You can even link your Pinterest to them so they can go through and get a sense of what your style is.  Sounds good right? Yes, in theory. At least for me.

With my new job, I’ve had to add to my wardrobe. Most of the clothes I had were jeans and t-shirts that I wore to the coffee shop and dresses that I accumulated to wear to special events. Neither were appropriate for the business casual dress code I need to adhere to. So before I started work, I frantically flew through some of our local stores and tried to put some outfits together. I mostly picked casual dresses and skirts that I could wear with tights and boots because a. It was winter and b. That was the easiest thing for me to throw together with limited time. I did pretty ok on my own and ended up getting a few pieces that I liked and wore often.

Fast forward to now. I have 3 weeks until I have to go back to work, it is summer and I don’t have a lot of clothes that will work for the warmer months. I kept seeing and hearing people talk about Stitch Fix and I was curious. I went on to their website, filled out their style & size questionnaires and then put in my price point. Which by the way is CHEAP! I don’t like to pay a lot for clothes, especially on my salary. So I clicked the “as cheap as possible” option. This service costs $20 per “fix” and if you keep any of the items, they will apply that $20 to it. I figured I would keep at least one item so the risk was minimal. You keep and pay for what you want and you send whatever you don’t want within 3 days.

After I was done, they told me my box would be there about a week later. To me, that was a pretty good time frame and I was excited to see what they would send. Also, there is a place to put a note to your stylist so you can tell them what you are looking for specifically and give them a better sense of what you need. I filled my note out and told the stylist what my job was and that I was looking for dresses with pockets (my obsession) that would be work appropriate and that I needed a pair of mint green jeans in my life. I linked my Pinterest board named “My Style” with outfits and pieces that I was either looking for or just really liked. I was confident that my stylist would get a sense of what I wanted and my box would be filled with things I would love.

Wrong. I was so wrong. When the box came, I opened it right away and the first thing I saw was mint green jeans. I was excited! Thats where it ended. I then pulled out 2 tank tops, 1 dress and a necklace. I guess I should’ve been more specific about the fact that I didn’t really want accessories.  Anyway, the 2 tank tops they sent were $44 a piece!!! They were ok in style, but definitely something I could pick up at my local TJMaxx or Marshalls. Or even JCPenney for a fraction of that cost. So then came the dress. It was ok and it fit pretty good, but it wasn’t appropriate for work! It was a long maxi dress that had short sleeves and a surplice neckline that was lower. If I put a tank top under I guess it would have been ok, but not for $78!! So my only hope left was the jeans. I tried them on. They fit and by fit I mean that they went over my hips and buttoned. But they were super skinny jeans with a lot of stretch & thinner material so again, not appropriate for work!! Oh and did I mention that they were $88? I’m not even going to add the exclamation point….I believe its implied.

Now, they do tell you that if you love everything in your box and want to keep it all, they will give you a 25% discount. My box totaled $282 so that means if I kept it, the cost would be about $211. For 5 items. That I can’t wear to work. Which was the purpose of trying them out in the first place. So basically I just wasted $20 and about an hour of my time. I considered keeping at least one item so I could put my $20 toward it and I would at least come out of it with something, but I didn’t like any of it enough to spend any more money.

So I sent everything back and did what I’ve always done…..shopped for myself. I went to ModCloth, ThredUp, The Limited & NewYork and Company and was able to find:

5 Shirts, 3 Skirts, 5 Dresses, 9 Pairs of Pants, 2 purses, 2 pairs of boots, 1 belt and 1 pair of shorts for less than what the 5 pieces of clothing from Stitch Fix originally cost. Now, I will preface this by saying that I got some fantastic deals, used promo codes and shopped the clearance racks online. None of the stuff has arrived yet so I can’t comment on the fit or quality but I will do a follow up post. I’m sure some of the stuff will have to be returned or exchanged, but to me it is worth it if I come out of it with almost a full wardrobe I can wear to work and on the weekends. I wish I would have taken pictures of my Stitch Fix so I could give a visual reference, but I wasn’t thinking before I sent it back. But I will take pictures of my “haul” just in case anyone wants to give advice on different pieces that would go together or suggestions of other pieces that might work.

I’m also linking my Pinterest “My Style” page in case anyone wants to take a look. I will be getting ready to go back to work so my next posts will be about library centers, organization, etc. Or pretty much anything I want to yap about at the time. My Style Pinterest Board

 

Peppa Pig Cake

8 Sep

I can’t believe how long its been since I’ve written on here….I have no excuse other than being crazy busy and exhausted. But really, aren’t we all?

I don’t have anything real exciting to share, except the coffee shop is doing ok. I wish it was taking off a little faster but I’m learning to be more patient. 

I just had my daughter’s 3rd birthday party last week and for about a month she was asking for a Peppa Pig cake. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to be exposed to Peppa Pig, it is a kids show on about well, pigs. Its actually pretty cute and I was excited to make the cake for her. I looked on Pinterest of course and found some really cute ideas. This was one of the inspirations for our cake. 

I’m not a professional cake decorator so believe me when I tell you that if I can do this, so can you. I’ve decorated many cakes but most of what I’ve learned has been from looking it up online, help from a talented friend and dumb luck. 

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I don’t usually work with fondant but I wanted to try it out this time and I figured the pigs were a pretty simple form to work with. The cake would have looked much “neater” and cleaner if I had used fondant to cover the whole thing, but I’m not a huge fan of the taste and I figured a 3 year old wouldn’t judge me. 

I baked 2 10″ cakes in springform pans and then made some cupcakes. Actually the cupcakes were made from a gluten free mix and were delicious! I substituted milk for water, butter for oil and added some chocolate chips and they were moist and rich. 

Once the cake was cool, I tinted the icing and frosted the top half blue and the bottom half green for the grass.

For the figures, I used white fondant and colored it with gel food coloring. It would have been a lot easier buying colored fondant but I couldn’t find the exact colors I needed and it would have been a lot more expensive. To get the shape of the pigs, I found a coloring page online, printed it out, cut out the different parts, put them on the fondant, cut around and then drew in the details.  If I had to do the cake again, I would give myself much more time to cut out the figures and get them just right and also, I would find a tool specifically for cutting fondant because using a knife just didn’t cut it.  Hehe

I took a couple of in process pictures of the pigs, but not too many(I forgot). You can get the basic idea though. After the pigs were on and arranged, I shaped some tails and then made a rain hat for Peppa. The mud and clouds were made using a fondant shape cutter thing I found at the craft store. 

So if your child asks for a Peppa Pig cake, don’t panic! Get some fondant, bake a cake and wow them!

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Project Mania

11 Jan

I know this will come as a surprise…..I’m painting again. I think I actually have an addiction to paint …or color….or change. I’m the most happy when I have lots going on and a project to work on. I’m very dangerous when I’m bored.

Today I’m painting the downstairs hallway and possibly the upstairs bathroom. We all know how I hate neutrals and white walls so for this project I chose a dark navy blue. Dark. The color is Midnight Dream by Behr.

After this its on to my playroom project. I have about 500 ideas on paint, what to get rid of, how to arrange, furniture, etc. Hopefully I can focus and narrow down to get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Its not really my fault though…..who’s fault is it? Well, Pinterest of course! There are so many great ideas on there that I really need to stop looking!

I did buy some unsanded tile grout ….I’m thinking of making my own chalkboard paint. If it works, I will probably come back here with pictures of how I chalkboarded my entire house. Don’t laugh…its a very real possibility. My friend Tonia and I were passing ideas back and forth and she said I should paint my 2 yr old daughter’s room with pink chalkboard paint. So that’s happening.

Oh and someone should probably talk me out of doing a lego wall in the playroom. The cost alone will probably stop me, but just in case I may need a sane person to talk me down from the ledge. It is literally a wall where you cover it entirely with lego base plates and the kids can build on it. The other walls would be chalkboard. The seating would be bean bag chairs and maybe a futon. Ok, I need to calm down. But seriously though, how cool does that sound?

Just in case anyone wants to jump aboard the crazy, here are some pictures that I’m using as inspiration:

The first one I found on: http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/17/and-the-first-facebook-ipo-hackathon-photos-roll-in/hackathon-lego-wall/                 & the other two are from Pinterest

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Time to make the cookies…..$%^&!

19 Dec

I don’t think I’ve gone into a full rant about cookies on here before….I guess you are in for a treat. I can’t stand those little mothers…..I’m not talking about the chocolate chip or peanut butter or oatmeal raisin. No, I’m talking about those stupid little cut out sugar cookies decorated in royal icing…..you know, the perfect looking ones that are so pretty and would be perfect for gifts. It just so happens that there is a certain holiday coming up and of course teachers gifts and what did I decide to make?…..oh I think you know.

In the last six years I can only remember one time where I’ve made these decorated cookies and they’ve turned out good…one! I believe it was when I made snowflake cookies for my daughter’s teacher in the 3rd grade….she’s now a freshman in high school. My son is in 3rd grade with the same teacher and I’m going to give it a go. Why, I have no idea. I fail at this more times than I can count….I curse, cry, stomp around and pretty much turn into a whiny baby, but I’m going to do it anyway. Damn you Pinterest for making it seem like I can do this!!

I have eight teacher gifts to make….which is crazy by the way, but I figured all I need is two pretty cookies each, then I will put them in the clear cookie bag, tie with a ribbon and maybe put in a gift bag with some hot chocolate and chocolate dipped spoons or marshmallows. Easy peasy right?

Just tune in tomorrow for either my success story with pictures or my disaster rant….still with pictures.

Update:

Ok, so I didn’t end up making the mittens since I forgot I lent the cutter to my sis, but I did make some round cookies with snowflakes that I will hopefully post about later. I’m still debating getting the mitten cutter and making some today but the gifts are for tomorrow so that might be cutting it a bit close…..although I do like a challenge.

 

Getting rid of the funk….

7 Nov

Yep I said funk. This morning I noticed my house smelled weird…..probably a combination of cooking smells and dog. Yum! I saw a trick on Pinterest where you put a couple capfuls of vanilla into a mug and put in the oven at 300 for an hour. Its supposed to make your house smell really good. It did but it wasn’t really strong enough to get all the rooms on the downstairs and plus I burnt my hand taking it out of the oven. I’m just talented like that.

I then went on a search to find something I could put in a saucepan on the stove….I figured something simmering all day would work better. I came up with a whole bunch of recipes but I didn’t have the ingredients for most of them. So I just made up my own. I filled the saucepan with water first and brought it to a boil. I then just started throwing crap in….ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla extract. It smelled delicious immediately! I let it boil for another 2-3 minutes and then turned it down to medium low and let simmer. The whole house smells so good!

This is way more effective than candles or air freshener and cheaper too. Just make sure you keep checking on it every hour or so and adding water so the pan doesn’t get dry. And of course don’t leave the house with this on.

My husband came home for lunch and was telling me how great it smelled in here….but it made him hungry 🙂

Braided Spaghetti Bread

25 Sep

When I was a kid  whenever I would eat spaghetti I would pile it on my bread and eat it like a sandwich. So delicious! As I was looking through Pinterest, I found a recipe that bakes spaghetti into the bread and I knew I had to try this.

Now, there is an easy way and then there is my way to do this. The original recipe I followed uses ready made bread dough and sauce in a jar.  I had already made sauce and froze it as part of my budget dinner plan so I used that. I didn’t have any ready made dough and figured it couldn’t be that hard to make my own….sometimes I wish I could go back and smack myself.

Its not that making bread is horribly difficult, but I had a hard time getting it to rise the right way. If you are used to making your own bread, this won’t be a problem for you.

Anyway, this is my attempt at braided spaghetti bread. It was really good…..In fact, I almost didn’t get a picture of it sliced because my husband kept going back for more. I will hopefully get the “recipe” posted for my spaghetti sauce by tomorrow ….its definitely worth the effort to make it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRAIDED SPAGHETTI BREAD

Loaf of Bread Dough

About 1/2 box of spaghetti

Jar of Sauce

Mozzarella Cheese

Egg

Parsley

Parmesan Cheese

I recommend that you go here (with step by step pics)if you want to see how to do this the easier way. Just a few tips….I’m sure she probably mentions these too:

1. I found it easier to mix the sauce and spaghetti together before putting it on the dough. Make sure you add plenty of sauce….you don’t want it drying out in the oven. My spaghetti was a bit too warm though and it made the dough a bit soggy…..so I would let it cool a bit before putting it on the dough.

2. I almost had a disaster because I rolled the dough onto my cutting board and then assembled the spaghetti bread and tried to move it…..big mistake. Big, big mistake. It took me, my husband, a cookie sheet and spatula to get it onto the pan. A few pieces were harmed in the process. I highly suggest you roll the dough onto parchment paper, assemble and then lift the bread with the paper to get on to the pan.

3. This was really fun to make and came out good despite my mistakes, so don’t try to be perfect with it.