Thursday, December 10, 2015

5 Signs the Holiday Season Has Hit Your Classroom

If you're from my part of the Midwest, you'll know that the weather certainly hasn't been typical of mid-December. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was so caught up in the unseasonably warm weather that the holidays crept up on me. This week in my classroom though, Christmas has hit full force. Is your classroom ready for Christmas? Here's how you know:

1.Every day you are bombarded with stories about where the sneaky "Elf on the Shelf" has ended up. And the stories don't stop. For the rest of the day. These are some of my favorite elf names that I've heard so far this year:
Melody Sparkle

2.Every inch of the carpet looks like a glitter explosion from projects and decorations. And it's okay. Just for December.

3. You've had to tell more than one student that the mountain of candy Saint Nick left for them is not acceptable for a morning snack. 

4. You decorate the classroom tree, but all of the ornaments are in one clump in the middle of the tree, and only go as high as a 5-year old can reach.

5.You tell your students that you are going to begin learning some Christmas songs for the church service coming up, and everyone has suggestions ("Rudolph!" "Frosty the Snowman!"...and my personal favorite "O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o gloria!!" [that's Angels We Have Heard on High, if you were unsure]).

How are you getting ready for the holidays? 

Xo Steph

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Stuff & Things: Sunshine VoxBox

Hi. Welcome back. I got the Sunshine VoxBox from Influenster and wanted to share what was inside with you!

The items in this box were complimentary from Influenster and sent to me for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Sinful Colors nail polish: I have been using Sinful Colors nail polish for a long time and is still one of my favorites. It's great quality polish and is inexpensive.

However, the color I received in my box (Sheer Genius), just didn't do it for me. It's a very light pearly pink color, and obviously very sheer. It goes on smoothly and dries quickly, but I just don't care for sheer colors that I have to wear multiple coats of or layer over other colors.
This is two coats. Barely visible. 

Blue Diamond Sriracha almonds: I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to spice and don't usually gravitate toward spicy foods so I was a little nervous to try these. I was pleasantly surprised! The spice (while definitely there) was not overpowering and the almonds were packed with flavor!

If Sriracha isn't your thing, Blue Diamond has a lot of other great flavors. When I worked at the daycare, my co-teacher and I always had a can of the Toasted Coconut ones (my personal favorite) in the cabinet to snack on!

These came in a little package that were perfect to throw in my bag for a snack after the gym.

Infusium23Smooth Leave-In Creme: I like to let my hair air dry as much as possible in the summer and avoid heat styling when I know I'm going to be in the humidity. Unfortunately, when my hair is in its natural state, it ends up looking frizzy and lion-like. This cream helped to tame the beast a bit, keeping my frizzies and fly-aways to a minimum. It wasn't heavy or greasy like a lot of products and didn't weigh my hair down. 

I took this along this weekend when we went camping and put it in after swimming in the pool and it really helped my hair after the chlorine. 

Vaseline Spray moisturizing lotion: I really like the smell of this lotion and it is super moisturizing on my skin. I'm not a fan of the spray-on bottle though. I realize this is the point of the product, but I'm not crazy about getting lotion on everything around me when I spray it. 

Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel daily cleansing wipes: I am all about cleansing wipes. Anything that makes removing makeup/cleansing easier is alright by me. I typically use Target's Up & Up brand and was excited to try something knew.

My first impression upon opening the package was that these wipes smell. The package says "fragrance free" but in my opinion they have a fairly unpleasant smell. However, the smell was not a deal breaker and I tried one.

The wipes are really moist, and it only took one to remove my full face of makeup. They aren't drying at all and leave my face feeling smooth and clean.

Thanks, Influenster, for a great box!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Talking About It

I've written, erased, edited, and deleted this post so many times. I've gone back and forth wondering when I should hit "publish", and wondered if I should post it at all. But this is life, and here it is.

Almost two months ago I had a miscarriage. Father's day weekend I found out I was pregnant. We decided not to tell anyone until after my doctor's appointment three weeks later. But after only one short week of celebrating in secret, the miscarriage started. I bled for four days before the doctor told me for sure I was having a miscarriage, and then for several days afterward.

It crushed me. The first few days I cried harder than I ever thought I could cry. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to go anywhere or talk to anyone. No one knew I had been pregnant, and miscarriage just isn't something people talk about, so I tried to just keep it all inside and deal with it on my own.

But being on my own was hard. And being with people was hard. It was so much work to pretend that everything was fine, even though I just wanted to scream "MY BABY IS GONE, AND I AM NOT OKAY!". I would go out with friends or family but at the end of the day I would come home and melt down. I was grieving and I was alone, and it was terrible.

I started beating myself up emotionally for everything I could think of. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was scared and I felt guilty for wasting those precious moments with my baby on being scared (Don't let this sound like I wasn't excited. I was thrilled. But of course there was the initial "What do I do now?" reaction). I felt guilty because I lost my baby so early on and many women have it so much worse; I didn't see an ultrasound or hear a heartbeat or even have a doctor. And of course, even though I was told otherwise, I couldn't help but wonder what I did wrong or what I should have done differently.

I was shutting down. I had to talk. I told my mom and a couple of my good friends and it was like a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I wasn't--and am not--looking for sympathy, or for someone to feel bad for me. But I can't express how much it meant to me to have this out in the open. When someone asks "How's it going?" now, I can be honest with them. I can tell them when I'm struggling or having a rough day. When I'm walking through Target and feel like curling up in a ball on the floor of the baby clothes section, I have people I can call who will just listen. Or come sit on that floor with me.

One of the Bible passages that has really been helpful to me is Psalm 34:18

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit". 

Through this heartbreak, God has blessed me with an incredible support system. I am so thankful for them--and you--for listening. It saved me. 

xo Steph

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Weekend In Rhyme

Friday dinner with the family;
My dad-in-law turned 50!
We went for margaritas,
and some of us got tipsy.

Grade-school B-Team basketball
Saturday a.m.
My students had a tournament,
so I went to cheer for them.

I told them I would dye my hair
if they would win the game.
They lost their matches; both by eight
and my hair remains the same.

Retail therapy at Target
always makes me holler.
I found a pair of jammies
for only seven dollars!

Drove in to the city
Had some pizza, down on State.
Walked up to the capitol,
then went to see a play**.

Sunday morning. Lazy day.
Did not even get dressed.
Sat on the couch watching Sister Wives
Thankful for a day of rest.

Did a yoga video
So I wouldn't feel like a bum,
played piano for a while,
and got some schoolwork done.

Laundry washed, and garbage out.
This weekend was just fine.
I showered, changed sheets, turned out lights,
and was in bed by nine.

**For Christmas Justin got me tickets to see I Love Lucy: Live on Stage. If you know me, you know that I grew up watching I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball is one of my favorite people of all time. GUYS. This show was so amazing. Loved. It. So. Much.

That was my weekend. I hope yours was great!

Xo Steph