Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lisa Lately

Corny title I know, but I didn't want to label another blog post "Random" or "Catch Up".  Oh, life has been so busy lately so I just haven't had the time to blog nearly as much as I want to.  The good news is that spring break is coming up so hopefully I'll have some time to get caught up.

Goodbye Papaw

You may remember that we lost Casey's Mamaw just a month ago, and now Papaw has passed from this life too.  They were married for over 65 years and enjoyed a beautiful life together.  We will be leaving tomorrow afternoon to travel to Oklahoma. 

Two Front Teeth

Abby lost her other front tooth and is now missing her two front teeth.  This is her fourth lost tooth since she started first grade this past August.  I'm telling you, the tooth fairy is headed for recession at this rate. ;)

Wow, now that's a smile.  :)

Spring Decorating

The daffodils and tulips are starting to come up in my garden, a sure sign that spring is near!  I did a little spring decorating this past week.  I haven't put my Easter decor out yet since it's a little early, but I wanted a fresh, spring-y feel.

The mantel.  I couldn't part with the coffee beans because I just love the look, so I decided to tie some pretty turquoise ribbon around the jars.  The white flowers and little birds nest remind me of spring.

A close up of the cute little birds nests and eggs from Target.

I just love how the colors of the mantel match so nicely to this pretty cross I have hanging around my mantel.  I didn't even realize until I was taking pictures.

More eggs in a nest on the dining room table. 

I have some more pictures that I will post later, after I finish decorating.  Yay for spring!

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

My sweet neighbor surprised us with these delicious little chocolate cakes on Valentine's Day (yes, I realize that has been two weeks ago but I am really behind).  They were so decadent and rich and simply divine.

I could go for one of these babies right about now!

Handwriting Challenge

Emily at The Johnson Five posted this fun handwriting challenge on her blog a while back, and I decided to join in.  All you do is write your answers to the following questions.  Easy peasy! 

1. What's your name / blogger name?
2. What's your blog's URL?
3. Write "The quick fox jumps over the lazy dog."
4. Favorite quote?
5. Your favorite song?
6. Your favorite band / singers?
7. Anything else you want to say?
8. Tag 3 - 5 other people.

I hope this will enlarge so you can actually read it.  Have you seen the video blogging, also known as vlogging?  I think it would be really fun to do a vlog post if I ever have the time to get everything set up.  Maybe over spring break.

Lesson Plans and Evaluations

I had my first student teaching evaluation this past Friday and it went so well!  I was so nervous since I knew my University Supervisor would be taking notes and evaluating my every move, but I was able to block everything else out except for teaching my students.  My Supervisor gave me a great evaulation and told me that I'll be a great teacher.  She said that moms always make the best teachers.  It was such a boost of confidence for me.

I've been up to my ears in lesson planning and prep but I truly love it.  It is really hard with kids though.  I feel like I have two full time jobs right now and finding the balance is not easy.  Hopefully it will continue to get easier as the semester progresses.

That's a snippet of what we've been up to this past week.  I seriously miss blogging and hope to get back to posting more regularly very soon.  I just need about 8 more hours in a day. :)

Happy Sunday!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dreaming of Santa Fe (and Albuquerque)

One of my very favorite places to visit is New Mexico, specifically Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  We have so many wonderful memories of visits we taken.  With spring break coming up in less than 3 weeks, I've been hounding Casey to head west! 

There are so many things I love about Santa Fe, from the beautiful landscape to the delicious food.  Whenever we go shopping on the plaza, we always eat at The Burrito Company.  Good stuff!

A few random pics from the plaza. 

I also love all the street vendors selling their goods around the plaza.  I've gotten some really beautiful jewelry both from the street vendors and from jewelry galleries on the plaza. 

Aside from the jewelry, many local artists sell their art on the square.  One of my very favorite local artists is Patricia Wyatt.  Everytime we visit Santa Fe, I buy one of her prints.  I really want one of the framed giclees but they are quite expensive so for now I would just have to settle for the hand colored prints.

These are a couple of the prints that I already own. 

These are the prints I'm hoping to add to my collection soon!

Albuquerque is not far from Santa Fe and is where we usually stay when we visit.  Last year, we stayed at the Hyatt in Albuquerque Uptown.  Wow, talk about some good shopping!  With stores like Anthropologie, Ann Taylor Loft, MAC, and Gymboree (hey, I'm a mom), I was in heaven!  But the hubs wasn't so much after my shopping spree.  If you visit, I highly recommend staying nearby. 

Albuquerque also has a great little aquarium and botanical gardens that I love. 

Where's Lisa?

Some pics from the botanical gardens.

Moray eel.  Aren't they creepy?

So this is what I've been dreaming of.  With student teaching in full force, lesson to plan, kids to tend to, and a 4 foot tall pile of laundry, I really need a break soon.  Hopefully it will be in New Mexico!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

CSN Giveaway Winner!!!

(NOTE: I'm not sure why the result did not show up on my page, but when I did the random number generator the result was 1.)

Congratulations to Kristy at Darn Near Domestic!!  You're the winner of the $15.00 CSN giveaway! 

Stay tuned for more fun giveaways in the future!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

At Home Spa Day

Whenever I need to rejuvenate myself and recharge my batteries for a busy week, I treat myself to an at home spa day.  I don't get to do them as often as I would like because they take a while, but I feel so good when I do.  Another benefit to DIY spa days: they are MUCH cheaper than booking treatments at a day spa.  The last time I booked a package at the day spa, it was well over $200.  Granted, day spas are wonderful and relaxing but the price keeps me from indulging regularly.  Here is how I relax and refresh without breaking the bank.

First of all, I make the hubs either take the kids out for a while or I wait until the kids are in bed.  I do not want any distractions during my pampering.  (Hubby is smart enough to know not to bother me unless he is bringing me a beverage!)  Once that is taken care of the fun can begin.

Next I assemble everything I will need.  These are my staples that I need to get my spa started.  I'll describe individual treatment products in a moment.
  • Lots of fluffy towels and washcloths
  • Candles
  • CD player and a few relaxing CDs
  • A tumbler full of ice water with a couple slices of lemon

I always start by giving myself a facial.  I begin by washing my face with a cleanser that works well for my skin.  One of my favorites is the Basis All Clear Bar.  I have oily skin and am prone to breakouts (still!) and it seems to help without irritating my skin. Then I fill a big bowl with boiling water and add a few drops of clary sage essential oil.  You can use any essential oil you'd like (lavender would be relaxing), but clary sage just happens to be my favorite.  I then hold my face a little ways from the bowl and drape a towel over to steam my face.  I try and sit for about 10 minutes or so.  

Next, I exfoliate my skin with St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  I've been using this stuff since junior high.  I've tried other scrubs but I always come back to this one.  After the scrub I slather on a face mask.  I like both the AHAVA Purifying Mud Mask and Clinique Acne Solutions Oil Control Cleansing Mask.  I'm starting to wonder when and if I will ever get rid of my oily skin and breakouts.  I thought this would be over after puberty but it's still going strong. ;)

Now that I'm done with the facial, I can slip into a hot bath and soak for a while.  I love Dr. Teal's Eucalyptus & Spearmint bath salts.  The fragrance is intoxicating.  I also use Dr. Weil's Bedtime Bath Oil but I have to make sure that I don't need to shave my legs first before using because it is really oily and clogs up my razor.

I have mentioned that I am a big fan of Gold Canyon  candles more than once but when it comes to my spa day, I love using Yankee's MidSummer's Night tealights.  I absolutely love this scent.  Very masculine but relaxing.  I place the tealights all over the bathroom and turn the light off for a soft glow.  Pure bliss!!

After my soak, I shower and give my skin a good exfoliation.  I like Booth's Ginger Sugar Body Scrub.  It's inexpensive and easy to find.  I've been using the Pedi-Scrub Foot Buffer on my feet and see a big improvement.

Now for the hair.  Since I got my hair colored recently, my stylist told me that I should quit using "cheap" shampoo and conditioner because they are really harsh.  I usually use Herbal Essences or Pantene.  I often wonder if it is a way for them to get you to buy their expensive salon products or not. ;)  I can see how using a good shampoo and conditioner would be beneficial but I just hate shelling out mega bucks for it.  I do own one pretty expensive shampoo/conditioner set that I really like. 

Alterna Caviar AntiAging Blonde Shampoo.  This stuff is really good.  I've had this same bottle for a long time and there is still a lot left in the bottle.  There are also formulas for brunettes and redheads. 

This is what I'm trying next.  L'Oreal EverPure Volume Color Care Set.  It's sulfate-free which is supposed to be less damaging to your hair.  I just picked this up at Walmart this past weekend so I'll let you know how it works.

This is when you could put any hair masques or treatments on your hair.  I have oily hair so I don't typically need anything like that.  I occasionally use Aussie 3 Minute Miracle on the very ends of my hair since I flat iron it almost daily.

Now that I'm freshly scrubbed, it's time to moisturize.  I am a big Bath and Body Works fan, especially the body creams.  The feel a lot better on the skin to me than their regular lotions.  When it's really dry and cold outside, I like to really slather on the moisture with Vaseline Cocoa Butter Vitalizing Gel Body Oil.  Good stuff!

After drying my hair and slipping into some comfy pajamas (I LOVE the modal pajamas- they feel so good!), it's time for a mani/pedi!  Now I typically don't wear colored polishes on my nails very often because I'm always chipping them up.  I do like the traditional French manicure, and I've tried countless times to recreate the look at home to no avail.  So if I'm in the mood for a French, I head to the nail salon.  Otherwise I just put a coat of clear nail polish on them.  I've been using Nutra Nail Green Tea Treatment to help strengthen my nails.  I wash my hands all the time and the water is so hard on my nails. 

I do like color on my toenails.  My favorite polish brand is China Glaze.  It is a quality brand and there are so many fun colors to choose from.  One of my absolute favorite colors is Vermillion.  It's a great shade of red.  I should mention that before painting my toes, I have to prep my feet with a good foot cream.  I like Earth Therapeutics Intensive Heel Repair, but when my feet are really dry nothing works better than good ole Vaseline and a pair of cotton socks.

Well, there you have it.  Probably way more info than you'd ever hope to have about at home spa days!  Bless your sweet heart if you made it all the way through this. :)

Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough have a spa day!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

It's heart day, one of my favorite holidays!  Now, I don't need a special day to show my family how much I love them because I do that everyday already, but it is fun to make things extra special for them.  Here is what we did for the kids.

The night before Valentine's Day (honestly, we celebrated on Sunday since Monday is a school day), Casey and I set up all their goodies.  We put their cute little messanger bags that I made out and filled them up.  I set the table for a special breakfast.

Abby's goodies.  A Nerds rope; SweeTarts Hearts; Fun Dip; Fancy Nancy book; stickers.  Just a little something to make the day special!  (Note: I put all candy away and ration it out over a period of time!)

Wyatt's goodies.  Nerds rope; Fun Dip; M&Ms; Elmo book and Elmo stickers.

Daddy had to work today, so he brought home a couple of extra goodies after work: a Skip-It jump rope for Abby and a mitt and ball for Wyatt.

A close up of the table setting.  Notice how I used disposable plates for easy clean up!

I made a special breakfast (almost more like a dessert) of pancakes drizzled with chocolate syrup, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and sprinkles.  A side of bacon rounds out this healthy (NOT) breakfast.  It was a big hit with the kids!

Wyatt is taking mini Fruit Roll-Ups for his party at daycare.  I just found out last night that you can actually order personalized Fruit Roll-Ups with any images or sayings you want.  I wish I would have known this before so that I could have had Wyatt's picture on them!

I hate that I have to miss Abby's class party but Casey is taking off work to be there with her.  I'm sure she will have lots of fun!  She is wearing her cute little Valentine shirt that we got from Gymboree last year and matching hair clips. 

Casey and I usually make a dinner reservation at one of our favorite restaurants for a kids-free evening, but he has a cold and isn't feeling well, so we are postponing it for a few weeks.  Something to look forward to in the coming weeks!

Happy Heart Day!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Catch-Up Post

Whew, it's been an exhausting week but I've loved every minute of it!  I survived my first week of student teaching, and I adored it!  Lots to get caught-up on, so here goes.... (Warning: Pic Heavy!!)


Wednesday, which was supposed to be my second day of student teaching, turned out to be a snow day!  It was really unexpected because Amarillo ISD rarely closes school.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, we have a lot of schools in our district and some are very low income schools.  The students at these schools would not have a warm place to go nor would they be able to eat breakfast or lunch if school shuts down.  My husband's place of work typically shuts down if AISD schools are closed so he had the day off too.  It was a lot of fun to be home with my family! (But not a lot of fun to drive on the icy, snow packed roads to get to school the next day)

The snow on the window sills.  We got about 6-8 inches of blowing snow.  The drifts around our house were about 4 feet deep. 

A view out the back door.  It's hard to tell in this picture, but the snow is so deep that it completely covers up our deck.  We couldn't even open up the door!

Here is a pic I snapped of the drifts next to our neighbor's house. 

Abby all bundled up to go outside!  Casey spent several hours shoveling our driveway and helping out neighbors shovel theirs as well so Abby went out to play. 

Abby's cute pink boots.  Notice how well they match her snowsuit.  A girl has to be fashionable even while playing out in the snow!

Wyatt was still not feeling great, so he and I stayed warm and cozy in the house.  Love all the snow Casey and Abby were tracking in.  ;)

Dear Snow,
You were fun while you lasted but please melt away now.  You are not welcome here anymore.


Yesterday we had our class Valentine party and it was a blast!  The kids had so much fun, and I got to meet some of the parents.  I couldn't take any pictures at school but I did get some at home. 

The kids made Valentine bags using a white paper bag, one sheet of red paper, and one sheet of pink paper.  They cut out hearts to make whatever shapes they wanted.  Mrs. S (my cooperating teacher) asked me to make one too so I made this cute caterpillar.  A lot of the kids went back and added caterprillars to their bags too. ;)

Here are some of the cards and treats I got from the sweet kids in my class.  I was really touched that they went out of their way to bring me something, especially since I had only been in the classroom for a couple of days before the party. 

Here is what I got for both Mrs. S and Abby's teacher Mrs. Kepley.  A small box of chocolates, a Bridgewater "Bouquet of Roses" votive, and a pack of Swankie tissues.  I still need to get stuff together for Wyatt's "teachers".  Abby and Wyatt aren't having their class parties until Monday.  Casey is taking off early from work so he can go to Abby's party. 

Since I'm student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom, the children at this age are still so sweet and lovable.  I get hugs all day long.  These are some of the sweet little notes I got this week.  Clockwise from top: This was a little story and illustration a little girl made for me after reading her library book; this one says "Mrs. Tolliver Rocks" - gotta love that one!; the last one says "I love Mrs. Tolliver".  Like I said, they're so sweet!  I couldn't imagine being a secondary teacher.  The middle school and high school teachers I know love it, but it seems like a battlefield to me.  Combat duty, if you will.  I'll stick with the sweet elementary kids, thank you very much!

Leopard Print Tutu

My parents live in a small town two hours north of Amarillo, so we don't get to see them as much as we would like.  They come down for doctor appts. and shopping but for the most part we have to settle for talking on the phone (daily!).  My mom sends packages a lot for the kids.  They received their Valentine's Day package in the mail yesterday, and boy did they love it!  

They both got a bag full of treats and candy (thanks Mom! ;) ).  See the cute little love bug pin my mom made for Abby?  She is going to wear it to school on Monday to celebrate Valentine's Day.  Wyatt's is just a little love bug man (minus the pinl, thank goodness!).  Cute!!

How precious is this leopard print tutu my mom had made for Abby?  I just love it!  She just happens to already have a bow that matches perfectly with it.  She will be wearing this to church tomorrow. :)

Thanks Nana and Papa for the the goodies!  We love them!
Abby & Wyatt

Is it Spring yet????
I am SO ready for winter to be over and for spring to get here.  I am daydreaming of what new flowers I will plant in my three gardens this year.  I have been attracted to anything "springy" here lately, so when I found these cute bird egg candles and vase fillers, I couldn't pass them up.

I found these at Michael's.  I just love the colors and the speckles on the eggs.  I can't wait to display them soon!

I love this bird egg and nest vase filler I found at Target.  The color of the speckled eggs match well to the egg candles.  I think that since Easter isn't until April, I may just do a neutral "spring" decorating theme after I put away my Valentine's decor.  I can add my Easter stuff in later.

We are going to celebrate Valentine's Day tomorrow instead of Monday since it is a hectic school day.  Check back tomorrow to see what fun surprises I have in store for my kiddos!

P.S.:  Don't forget to enter my CSN giveaway!!!

Have a fabulous weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

$15.00 CSN Giveaway

I've been daydreaming of a posh home office recently especially since I'm student teaching and gearing up for my own classroom in the future.  I need a place to grade papers, plan lessons, and communicate with parents.  I'm thinking an L shaped desk from CSN Stores would be pefrect!

I was recently approached by CSN about hosting a giveaway on my blog to give one of my sweet readers the chance to win $15.00 to spend at one of their stores.  With over 200 stores to choose from, you can find just about anything you want.  I really love this Le Creuset dish.  Fabulous color and a quality brand.

I also really like this Accent Pillow.  The ruffled flower is really on trend right now but also has a timeless look to it.

To enter the CSN Store giveaway, you must be a follower of my blog.  Just leave me a comment letting me know you follow!  Then visit CSN Stores and leave a seperate comment telling what you would buy if you win.  Please include your email so I can notify you if you win.

For additional entries:

             * (1 entry) Blog about this giveaway.  Just leave your link in the comment section.
             * (1 entry) Tweet about this giveaway.  Again, leave a link in the comment section.

You have until midnight February 16 to enter.  The randomly selected winner will be announced on February 17 so be sure and check back to see if you won!

Good Luck!!