Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Falling in love with Fall

I love Fall. If it wasn't back-to-school season (aka: back-to-work), it would be just perfect. When we lived in Michigan, I loved the brightly colored orange, yellow, and red trees. I loved the crisp air, the warm sweaters, and the tall boots.

Now that we live in Texas, Fall means something a bit different. First of all, it doesn't come around until sometime after Halloween. And even then, it just means a break from the intense heat.

I suppose I shouldn't complain -- lots of folks have cold and rainy weather right now, and the sun is still shining brightly down here.

But still.

One of my favorite parts of Fall is the scents. Gingerbread, vanilla, pumpkin, apple....... Freshly baked anything. And you don't need to cook to get these wonderful aromas going in your house! In fact, with the right candles and soaps, I can just shut the blinds, dim the lights, and pretend it's really Fall!

What are your favorite scents of the season?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mondays with Jack, 8th edition

Welcome to the fifth edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.

"If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is ‘God is crying’. And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is ‘Probably because of something you did’."- Jack Handey

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ode to Idioms

Idioms are a funny thing. They're usually the last thing you learn in a foreign language.... and although English is my native language, I didn't grow up in the States. I spent most of my school years in France, and I came back for college.

Once when I was nineteen, my mom turned to me (we were at a museum) and asked me if I wanted to "wet my whistle".

Come again, now? "What whistle?" I asked. And when my mom was finished laughing at me, she explained that it meant to get something to drink.

I have a friend (same deal: native English speaker but grew up abroad) who messed up on his LSATs when he didn't know what "put your money where your mouth is" meant. It was the correct answer choice after a reading comprehension passage. Sure he could tell you all about Turkish politics, but the LSATs didn't really care. Somehow he had missed learning that expression.

Below, an ode to some of my favorite idioms:

An arm and a leg:

Go for broke:

Hit the hay:

Lend me your ear:

Put a sock in it:

Do you have a favorite idiom? Or one you learned later in life?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Elephant Appreciation Day

Did you know that today, September 22nd, is Elephant Appreciation Day?

Elephants have always been my favorite animal at the zoo. I'd love to see them in the wild someday (my husband did when he was in South Africa - not that I'm jealous or anything!)

In honor of these beautiful creatures, here are some lovely Etsy finds:

What's your favorite zoo animal?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mondays with Jack, 7th edition

Welcome to the fourth edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.

"Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good, lucky feeling." - Jack Handey

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bare walls begone!

Last summer, we moved into our house with just four days to spare before school started (for me as a teacher, and for my husband as a grad student!). Although we really wanted to do things like paint and hang up pretty pictures, we were slightly more concerned with, say... getting a refrigerator. Fast food is fun, but a week of it? Not so much.

I thought I would have all the time in the world for my decorating projects since we both have the summers off. But... something happened. Somewhere in between the three trips we took out of state to visit family, and the lounging around in our pajamas, those projects just never seemed to get done!

I can live with the white walls in our living room. But the hallway? The hallway is desperate for something. I stumbled across these free art prints via One Pretty Thing the other day, and I just knew I was going to have to use this one as the focal point for our hallway pictures:

There are lots of other cute ones, too - go snag one for yourself!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pimp your blog!

You may or may not have noticed, but I've made a few changes around this blog of mine! More organized link lists, and some cute pictures here and there, mainly. But in my search for free blog bling, I came across some cool stuff that I didn't use. So feel free to grab these for yourself!

Hand-drawn Social Icons (scroll down a bit to find them)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mondays with Jack, 6th edition

Welcome to the fourth edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.

"Laurie got offended that I used the word "puke." But to me, that's what her dinner tasted like." - Jack Handey

Friday, September 10, 2010

Snack Attack

I don't know about you, but I can't go three hours without eating something! At school this can pose a problem because I don't always have a break when I'm hungry. But fortunately the kids get hungry too! And they bring all sorts of snacks -- everything from cookies, to strawberries, to packaged junk like Fruit Rollups (not that those aren't delicious!).

My favorite school snack as of late is yogurt covered pretzels. I got a big bag of them at Costco and I'm just loving them! What's your favorite quick food to munch on?

Below, some Etsy inspired snacks:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Altered mini-composition book tutorial

I'm excited to present my very first tutorial today! I recently made these to give as birthday gifts to my coworkers:

Aren't they cute? They're super easy and super cheap to make (my favorite kind of project!). And I'm going to show you how I did it -- although most of you out there are so crafty, I'm sure you can tell just by looking at the picture how to duplicate this :).

Step 1: I started with these supplies:
  • Mini-composition books (three for a dollar at your local dollar store!)
  • Spray adhesive glue (PVC glue or Yes Paste would also work)
  • Scissors and/or paper trimmer
  • Fun scrapbook paper
  • Something to protect your work area from the spray adhesive

Step 2: Measure the length and width of your composition book. Don't include the black binding. But do include some overhang. I ended up cutting mine to 3 inches by 4.5 inches.

Step 3: Cut two panels per book (one for the front, and one for the back)

Step 4: Spray the backside of the paper with the adhesive. Attach to the cover of the book, working quickly. [No picture of this step... was too busy working quickly!]

Step 5: Trim the overhang around the edges.

Step 6 (optional): You could add coordinating paper to the inside of the front cover and the back cover, but I was too hungry for lunch at this point to care!

Step 7: Admire!

You could also add embellishments to the front of the cover, but I would make sure they weren't too bulky or three-dimensional: you want to make sure they're easy to carry around in a purse! I also thought about personalizing them with stamped initials on the front. Have fun with it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mondays with Jack, 5th edition

Welcome to the fifth edition of Mondays with Jack! If you want to know what this weekly feature is all about, see here.

Vintage Undies Wallet from Luxfordst
“Sometimes life seems like a dream, especially when I look down and see that I forgot to put on my pants.” -Jack Handey

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A list of lists

I depend on lists for my sanity, both at work and at home.

When I'm feeling overwhelmed (especially when I'm teaching), making a list is the first step in regaining my sanity! There's just something powerful in writing it all down and crossing tasks off one by one. It's progress you can see! It's one step closer to rest and relief!

I cheat on my lists, though. If I know it's going to be a really long one, I include some tasks that I've already finished, just so I can have something to cross out right off the bat. It makes me feel better!

I also feel better when I can be organized in style. There are a ton of (free!) printable lists out there.... Below, a collection of a few of my favorites (click the link to access the download):

Are you a compulsive list maker?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dear Diary

I've kept a journal since I was in sixth grade. I'm glad I did because I love looking back on moments I deemed important enough to record. Although, I must admit, most of my journals up through 12th grade are CRINGE-WORTHY! It almost hurts to read through them!

I'm in the middle of a journal right now. I'm halfway through. It occurred to me over the weekend that I wish that journals had LESS pages in them. Why? So I could buy them more often! Just look at all the cute options available through Etsy: