Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun Friday--Free Wipes!

One thing I love about being home in the summer (in addition to being with the sweetest boy in the world), is that I have more time to work my coupons and deals.

Earlier this week I had read on MoneySavingMom that Walmart had Pampers Wipes on sale for $1.97 each. I had several $2.00 off coupons for these exact wipes, so I went to Walmart to get some. I had to deal with a cashier who wasn't too pleased with my wanting to use coupons. I was buying 2 packs of diapers and 3 packs of wipes, and I had a coupon for each one. The cashier and her supervisor tried to tell me that I couldn't buy them all together because the coupon said "one per purchase." I pleasantly pointed out that the coupon did say "one per purchase" NOT one per transaction. The cashiers seemed a little bummed out that I was right and they reluctantly allowed me to use all 5. I politely thanked them and wished them both a good day!
So I got 3 packs of wipes at $1.97 each. I used three $2.00 off coupons, which actually rang up as $2.00 off. I earned $0.09 of overage that went toward the cost of the diapers. These wipes were FREE!!
Doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A visit to Nana and Papa's

Buddy's parents (Nana and Papa) have recently "retired" and moved to the same town as Buddy's sister, Quinn's Aunt Kristel. I wrote about her here and here. His parents moved down back in the early spring and stayed with Kristel for a few weeks until they could find a place to live. We haven't been down to Kristel's since last fall, and due to Buddy's work schedule we haven't had a chance to go down this spring. A few weeks ago Buddy mentioned he wanted to go see his parents, so I thought that would be a good Father's Day present for him.

Here is Nana and Papa's new/old house. This house was definitely built a long time ago, judging by the way the door knobs and locks on the bedroom doors looked. But it is quite cozy and they really seem to enjoy it. Check out that nice front porch, and off to the right is a screened in porch as well. You can barely see the sidewalk in front of the house (left bottom of picture), and that sidewalk leads right into downtown. And coming out of the screened porch is Nana and Charlie.

Their backyard property line ends about 50 feet from a town park. The park has a baseball field, walking trail, and this cool playground! You can't really tell in this picture, but behind the playground, they are building a water park, where water squirts up out of the ground as you walk around. Quinn loved this playground, as you could probably guess. You can see two kids in the picture. Quinn is on the far left in orange, and his cousin David is in the middle in blue.

Quinn was able to climb up into the playground, and to the top of this twisty slide. He had so much fun sliding down. I think this was his first time on a twisty slide, so that really made him happy!
It looked like so much fun that even I had to give it a try. (So did Buddy, but the picture was too blurry to post!) The young man behind me is Kristel's oldest son, Trey. He is a super big brother, and is helping Nana and Papa this summer by cutting their grass for them.

We had a lot of fun at Nana and Papa's this weekend. We mostly just hung out with them and went into "town" to a few stores. But mostly this trip gave Buddy a chance to relax and recuperate after several months of busy times at work. Don't you think he looks relaxed and happy?

A "Yarn" of a story.....

I've added a couple of new hobbies to my interests lately....crocheting and knitting.

My mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law (as well as some aunts and even students in my class this year) all know how to knit, crochet, or both. I've sat on the sidelines watching as their fingers did dances with needles and yarn, wondering "how do they do that?" For some reason, though, I never asked for lessons or help.

My grandmother used to crochet stuffed animals for me when I was a little girl. She also made images of each holiday (hearts, clover, bunnies, flags, pumpkins, etc), glued safety pins on them, and made them for my teachers each year. She and my mom tag-teamed and made blankets, hats, sweaters, and booties for Quinn while I was pregnant. My mom crocheted huge blankets for many family members over the years...even the dogs! My aunt knit me a scarf one year for Christmas. Buddy's mom has made blankets, and is currently knitting dish cloths as "remember me gifts" for ladies at the church they are leaving, since they just moved.

The students in my class this year and last learned to knit from a few teachers and this year started a knitting club. I can't tell you how dumb it made me feel to watch 10 and 11 year olds pick up knitting needles and immediately "figure it out"....and within a few days, would show me a completed project. One girl caught on so quickly, she has adult friends of her mom paying her to knit or crochet things for them!

I decided 2010 was the year I learn something new. I had mentioned to Buddy that I wanted to learn to crochet, so to make me stay true to my word, Quinn "picked out" a learn-to-crochet kit and some yarn as one of my Christmas presents. Then over my time at Mom's during the Christmas holiday, I had her teach me to crochet. I will freely admit that this was difficult for me. I just couldn't catch on, and yes, I even threw my crochet needle across the room (several times)! Finally it clicked and I was able to complete a project in April. I made a scarf, which I can't use until it gets cold again. But I started and completed a project!

This past weekend we went to see Buddy's parents at their new house and his mom showed me her knitting projects she had been working on. She is making dishcloth sets, like I said before. All of them had hearts on them somehow, whether the hearts were made by making little holes, or making the heart by using different kinds of stitches. She casually asked did I want to learn to knit. So I learned to knit this weekend too. Working two needles is a little more complicated than working one needle, but I am catching on.

The problem: I need to learn different kinds of stitches. For crochet, I can "chain" and do the "single crochet". For knitting, I can "cast on", and do the "knit" stitch. Another big problem for me with knitting is that I keep slipping stitches off the end of the needle. I don't have that problem with crochet, thanks to the hook on the end. I am trying to knit a dishcloth (no hearts, just plain), but I've had to start over about five times, since I don't know how to fix my mistake when the stitches slip off.

Hopefully, I can continue to figure out how to do this. My only regret is that I wish I had learned how to do this before now. Later, I will post some pictures of the projects my family has made me over the'll see I have a lot to learn!

Friday, June 18, 2010

This is why I am a teacher!

My birthday this year was on a Sunday. The next day we were not in school because of Memorial day. On Tuesday morning, I was in my classroom when one of my students came in. Now I know as teachers, we aren't supposed to have "favorites", but I don't know how I will ever get this child out of my heart. We will call her "B". She is the student I wrote about who is a refugee from Burma. I have watched this child grow from a scared little girl who was plucked from such terrible living conditions, to a confident, highly-motivated child who wants so badly to learn as much as she can.

She came in on this Tuesday morning and brought me a birthday present. She must have spent all weekend thinking of what to do. She took several sheets of paper that felt like scrapbook paper ( I assume she may have gotten this at church). She used the paper to make a gift bag and attached a fake orange flower to the front. Inside the bag were little things she probably had at her house, like a fresh pencil and some candy. But the best part was the note she WROTE me in ENGLISH!!

This is her note....just as she wrote it:

"Happy Brithday. I hope you have a great summer. you'r My best teacher. next year I was to teacher you agin. I will miss you. I praying for you family. have a great day and you have good student next year. JESUS LOVE YOU! Thank you and I love you. "B". "

Now, I know there are a lot of mistakes in this letter, but it brought me to tears. When I first met this child, she could not speak any English at all. She couldn't work a water fountain, and didn't know to lock the bathroom stall door. I spent her first week at school walking around with labels all over me so she could learn words like "shirt", "pants", "teacher", etc. By the time August came around and school started back, I could tell that someone at her church had helped her over the summer. In October, she read a book to me. (Granted, it was a Kindergarten level book, but she read it!). In November, we had a conversation where she said more than Yes or No, or nodded her head. She ended the year making B's and C's and was in the top 3 for reading points. ( We do a program where the kids read a book, take a test on the computer, and earn points.) For her to be able to write this letter in English, with only a few mistakes, shows how much she has learned in her first year in America.

I was actually sad when this school year ended...mostly because I know she will not be with me next year. I knew I became a teacher because I wanted to help children learn as much as they can. I truly believe that every child can learn. Last year we had 3 teachers in 5th grade, and "B" could have been put in anyone's class. It is no mistake that she was placed into my class. God showed me a lot about myself this year, through the eyes of this special child. And, because she told me she was a Christian, I know I will see her in Heaven one day! I hope she will come back to visit me through the years. I can't wait to see how much she will learn as she grows up!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Crazy Eights

Do you remember Ashley? She married my cousin, Adam, and I wrote a post about how Adam ran the NYC Marathon one November. She tagged me in her most recent post, so being the good cousin that I am, I am going to be joining her in a game called "Crazy Eights". Basically, you put 8 answers down to the questions that follow.

8 TV Shows that I watch.
1. Survivor
2. Amazing Race
3. Days of our Lives
4. Biggest Loser
5. Law and Order: SVU
6. Whatever Buddy has on the Discovery Channel or History Channel
7. 19 Kids and Counting
8. Quinn's favorite--Blues Clues or "Go Go" (that's what he calls Go Diego Go)

8 Favorite Restaurants
1. Olive Garden
2. Red Lobster
3. Cities ( a local restaurant)
4. Grand China (a yummy restaurant back home in SC)
5. Anything Mexican
6. Chick-fil-A
7. O'Charleys
8. Malay (local Chinese restaurant)

8 Things I look forward to
1. Heaven
2. The day Quinn accepts Christ as his Saviour
3. Summer vacation
4. Spending time with my two boys.
5. Having another child if the Lord allows it
6. Watching Quinn as he learns new things
7. Reading the newest book by my favorite author
8. Church on Sunday

8 Things I did yesterday
1. Administered the Science End of Grade test to my 5th graders
2. Folded 2 loads of clothes
3. Prepared 19 pork chops, 12 chicken breasts, and 9 pounds of ground beef for the freezer after we did our yearly "stock up" from Sam's.
4. Snuggled with Quinn until he fell asleep.
5. Watched a little TV
6. Fell asleep on the couch after Buddy and Quinn went to sleep.
7. Got a sweet birthday gift from one of my students (post to come soon)
8. Watched Quinn draw me pictures on his MagnaDoodle.

8 Things I like about Winter
1. Christmas
2. Quinn's Birthday
3. Snow Days
4. watching snow fall
5. homemade soup
6. snuggling under a blanket
7. thick socks
8. scarves

8 things I am Passionate about
1. Jesus
2. Buddy
3. Quinn
4. our families
5. being a mom
6. teaching children
7. church
8. reading

8 words/phrases I use often
1. Oh my word
2. Seriously?!
3. Really?
4. I love you!
5. Stop it Tillman (when the dog barks for no reason)
6. Be quiet! ( to my class...the loudest one I've ever had!)
7. Quinny Quinn
8. Are you kidding me?

8 things I've learned from my past
1. God will take care of me and my family.
2. My mom was right.
3. I never knew being a mom would be so hard, yet so easy.
4. Using sharp knives is not in my best interest.
5. Blind dates can end up being the best date ever!
6. Going through 12+ hours of labor plus having an emergency surgery was worth it!
7. God puts people into our lives for a reason!
8. You can never out-give God!

8 Places I want to visit/see
1. Hawaii
2. England
3. Ireland
4. Australia
5. The Grand Canyon
6. The Statue of Liberty
7. Germany (again)
8. African Safari

8 things I need/want
1. new pair of sneakers
2. some new makeup
3. a maid
4. to eat a meal at Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah, GA
5. a new wardrobe
6. to be better and more consistent with my devotions
7. a magic wand so I don't have to pack up my classroom in a couple of weeks
8. more free time to spend with my family.

Now Ashley tagged 8 other people. I'm not going to do that, but if you feel like joining in, I'd love to hear your responses.