Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What I'm Watching Wednesday

Something else I'm pretty sure that I love about fall is the premiere of new seasons of TV shows!

Here's what I've been watching lately:

Michael Weatherly left NCIS at the end of last season to pursue other career opportunities.  Apparently, Bull was this opportunity.  I love him and his character, Tony DiNozzo, so I had to check out his new show.  After seeing the first show, I definitely want to watch more.  I enjoyed seeing him in a different kind of role, and I'm interested to see where it goes from here, and how Dr. Bull develops as a character.

I started watching Dancing with the Stars last season since Jodi Sweetin (from Full House and now, Fuller House) was one of the contestants.  I fell in love with the show!  Unlike singing shows that make me furious and are sometimes painful to my ears, this is a fun, low-stress show for me because I know diddly squat about dancing.  There's definitely a great cast this season including some of my favorites: Maureen McCormick ("Marcia Brady") and Gold medal Olympian, Laurie Hernandez.

Did anyone else watch this 2-Part mini series??  I was in middle school when JonBenet was murdered, and so I obviously remember hearing about this all of the time.  I thought it was a really intriguing, well-done documentary.

I've always liked Kevin James, and I loved him as Doug on King of Queens.  So I thought I should check out the debut of his new sitcom.  I liked the first episode, but I don't know if I'm going to love it.  The hard part about sitcoms is they have less than 30 minutes to make you fall in love.  It will probably take a few more tries for me to form a solid opinion.

This show is an exception to my list in that it just wrapped up its season instead of starting it.  Big Brother 18 was a great season!

SPOILER ALERT (In case you for some reason have still not caught up on the finale.)  Highlight the text to continue reading as I've done it in white to avoid ruining any one's day:   Big Brother 16 Veteran contestant, Nicole, and one of my personal favorite players, WON BIG BROTHER 18!!  I literally screamed when she won (and scared my poor cat off the bed)!  Not only has it been years since a female contestant won Big Brother, but Nicole also made Big Brother history by becoming the first female contestant to win when up against a male contestant in the final two.

While I would have ultimately been happy with any of the final six contestants winning, I was supremely happy with the outcome.

SO that's what I've been watching lately!

Still on the DVR:
-NCIS Season 14 Premiere
-Blue Bloods Season 7 Premiere
-"Once Upon a Time: Evil Reigns Once More" & Season 6 Premiere
-NCIS: Los Angeles Season 8 Premiere

What I hear that I should probably watch:
This is Us

What have you been watching this Premiere Season??

Also, have you signed up for The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap yet?  Click the link to join us!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap

Fall is here, and it's time again for a swap!!

Once again, Kristin and I are hosting the Great Pumpkin Swap!  It's insane that this is the 5th year for the swap!  I have been so fortunate to connect with some great people across the country through this swap, and I really look forward to it each year.

Remember, you don't have to have a BLOG to swap with us!  You can share your swap goodies via any social media platforms you use, and/or your partner can share for you on her blog!

Here's the timeline for this year's swap:

1. Fill out the form to sign up for the swap! Sign-ups end on Friday, October 7th at 11:59 PM (EST)
2. By Monday, October 10th, you will get an e-mail from me with your swap partner.
3. Once you know your partner, please make contact within 48 hours (by Wednesday, October 12th) to get to know a bit more about each other.
4. Spend $15-$20 (excluding shipping) to put together a fun fall themed package for your partner.
5. Mail your package on or before Tuesday, October 25th.
6. Link up with us on Tuesday, November 8th to share your swap goodies!

I can't wait to start shopping for my partner!  I hope you'll join us!  You can fill out the form with the link in the timeline OR right below:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stuff and Things 9/22

Stuff, Things, etc.

Have I mentioned that I love that this link up is back?  It gives me a purpose to at least blog once a week.

*Starting the school year has been rough.  I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things soon.  Right now, I'm just plain exhausted.

*I can't decide if I should be angry that Big Brother is doing a fall season, but it's exclusively on CBS All Access.  I'm a fan, but I'm NOT paying extra money just to get stressed out about finding time to watch another show.

*Tomorrow, two of my fellow September birthday friends and I are heading out for a birthday dinner and to a local high school football game.  My Alma Mater and the school in which I teach are playing each other!  There may or may not be a bet involved.  But luckily, it's pretty low stakes...loser has to display the score as their FB cover photo for the week and buy the winner a drink the next time we go out.

*It's cooled off here lately, and it was a welcome change.  While I don't like being cold, I find that it's WAY easier to add clothing to warm up than it is to take off clothing when you're too hot.  As an educator, there's a limit to how little clothing I'm allowed to be wearing.  HAHA

*If you haven't joined The Balanced Life Sisterhood with Robin yet, you totally should.  The September work out is tough but amazing!  I feel so great when I'm done with it.  And I love that most days, I only need to find 10 minutes (or less) to work out!

*Tune in on MONDAY to sign up for The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap with Kristin and me!  I can't wait to see who joins us!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stuff and Things: Currently

Stuff, Things, etc.


...waiting for my regular shows to start their new seasons.  Seriously, what is everyone waiting for??  I'm going to be picking up a new show this year, too.  Michael Weatherly left NCIS at the end of last season, and he's going to be starring in a new CBS show this fall, Bull.  I'm basically in love with him, so I need to watch this show.

...listening to The Lake House by Kate Morton.  It's one of three audio books I downloaded from Audible at the end of August.

...wishing for cooler weather.  I want to wear boots.  And sweaters.  I'm pretty sure I talked about this last week.  Don't get me wrong.  I DON'T want winter, and I DON'T want it to be cold.  I'm just over this heat.

...glad that my parents got me an Old Navy gift card for my birthday.  I got another great haul of stuff for an amazing deal.  Between my Super Cash and the gift card, I was super excited to shop.

...loving my CrockPot.  I've decided to make at least one meal in the CrockPot each week.  It really makes my life so much easier.  My parents got us a nice one for Christmas last year that has a timer so we don't have to over cook our food on our long, long days.  I also got smart last week.  I have a tendency to want to throw everything in the pot itself the night before, but it doesn't fit well in our fridge.  So last week, I chopped up the potatoes and veggies I needed for my roast and threw them in a gallon Ziplock baggie.  Then I just dumped them in and added the roast in the morning, and it only took a couple minutes.  Why didn't I think of this before??

...excited about The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap!  I can't wait to see who's going to join up with Kristin and I to swap fall packages this year!  Stay tuned for details!

What stuff and things are currently happening with you this week?

Monday, September 12, 2016

Teacher Thoughts: Return to Work

While I run the risk of getting berated for complaining sharing what it's like returning to work after a summer off, I'm going to do it anyway.

Going back to work after a summer off is not for the faint of heart.

Imagine that you are going to run a marathon.  Most people put in months and months of training to build up to that big race.

Going back to teaching after a summer off is like running that marathon without training.

I'm not joking.

I'm perpetually exhausted.

You're going from 0 to 60 in seconds, and it's a hard readjustment.

Things that I must do now that I don't do all (or most of) summer:
*Set an alarm
*Get out of bed without lazing for an hour or so
*Pack a lunch
*Wear real clothes
*Put on makeup, do hair, and generally attempt to look presentable
*Be on my feet for most of my day
*Talk almost all day long
*Know the date, time, and day of the week


And on top of that, there's all of the daily home chores that still need to be done.


I also always forget that it takes FOREVER to accomplish tasks at the beginning of the school year.  Lessons take twice as long to present and for students to DO because I forget that my expectations and processes need to be explained before each new task.  And if I'm trying something new (which I almost always am), we're ALL figuring it out together.

I've made a mental note to stop having my first two weeks of plans done.  I had to rewrite last week's plans anyway.

But alas, there's nothing that I can do to stop time and keep my summer suspended indefinitely.  So we'll just keep chipping away at the days on the calendar instead.

173 to go....

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Stuff and Things is Back!!

I was so happy when Kristin and Joey announced that they were bringing back the Stuff and Things link up!  I'm pretty much an awful blogger lately, but this link up gives me an excuse to write and my post doesn't have to be super elaborate.  It can be a list of totally random things!  Yay! :)

Stuff, Things, etc.

So this week, I have some confessions.

Going back to work is hard.
I know, I know.  I had an entire summer off.  But that just makes it that much harder to go back to work and get back into the swing of things.  Now instead of having all day to do what I want and need to do, I have this thing called WORK that gets in the way.  That limits me to just hours to get accomplished what MUST be done, and way less time for what I want.

I'm ready for fall.
I love summer.  I really do, but now that school is back in session, I'm ready for crisp days and nights, boots, sweaters, and warm beverages.

I have a serious sweater problem.
I went to the mall with a friend last weekend, and I didn't buy a single thing.  Not one!  I realized that part of my problem was that I am just in the mood to start buying sweaters and either no one really had any or I didn't like the ones I saw.  #firstworldproblems

I am not drinking enough water.  
Since going back to school I am lucky if I drink 6 cups (48 oz.) of water a day.  I really need to be drinking at least 8.  But let me be real, the first weeks of school, I am doing a lot more of standing in front of the class talking and running around like a chicken with my head off.  I literally do not have time to drink my water.  It's a problem.  I have a slight headache every day, and I know it's because I'm not staying hydrated.  I'm not sure what to do about this....

I'm a sucker for helping people with their direct sales companies.
I used to work for a direct sales company.  Some people are wildly successful with these, and I had moments of success, but nothing that was worth my continuing.  In the end, I'm pretty sure I usually ended up losing money.

THEREFORE, I feel compelled to help out my friends and family when they do direct sales.  My cousin is a sales consultant with Tastefully Simple.  They have lots of yummy food products from seasonings to dip mixes, to soups, meal kits, etc.  I'm hosting a party with her this month.  Orders are due on Monday!  If you need to stock up on your favorite or are interested in giving Tastefully Simple a try, just CLICK HERE to "go to" my party!

I'm very excited for The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap! 

Kristin and I are teaming up again this year to host The 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Swap.  This swap is my most favorite of the ones I've done.  I've met some great people by becoming their swap partner, and I'm still in contact with many of them today!  You should really join us (and you don't have to have a blog to participate)!  Stay tuned for details coming later this month!!

Anything you'd like to confess this week?  I'd love to read about it! :)

Friday, September 2, 2016

August Books

Like the new icon?
So here we are, another month come and gone, and my summer vacation is officially over.  *sigh*

This gives me mixed feelings.

Either way, it's back to the old grind, and it's also time to share the books I read in August!

Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so sad to have finished this series. But I can definitely say that I am relieved that things I was expecting (dreading) DIDN'T happen.

I'm giving this 4 stars instead of 5 because I didn't love the ending. It IS open-ended and just left me wanting more. I also feel like it would've been nice to have wrapped up more of the characters' stories.

Overall, though, I absolutely loved this series and am so glad that I read them!

Update: I recently found out that there is a 9th book that Diana Gabaldon is working on! Yay! :)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I struggled with my rating for this. I went back and forth between 3, 4, or 5 stars. As you can see, I settled on three, and I suppose since this is a review, it would be good to explain why.

I did not know (because while I love Harry Potter, my life does not revolve around it), that the book would be the script of the play that premiered in London on July 30, 2016. While I liked that it made this a VERY quick read, it didn't have the same depth as the other Harry Potter novels. It did also really make me wish that I could see the play live because I think that would really bring a lot more to the story.

J.K. Rowling did NOT write this book, contrary to the fact that the book cover lists her name first and bigger than everyone else's. So it was certainly lacking her style. Many reviews that I saw basically stated that this read like fan fiction, and I can't say that I disagree.

The characters that we know and love did not really seem to be themselves. Sure, they're adults now, but I feel like their personalities were lacking the depth of the Harry, Hermione, and Ron that I expected. In fact, Draco is the grown up character that I liked the most as he seemed the most like himself.....and improved for the better.

I did like the plot of the story. I enjoyed getting to know Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. Although, Albus does quite seem to act a lot like his dad, Harry, circa The Order of the Phoenix, which is my least favorite book of the Harry Potter series. Scorpius was actually a delightful and likable character, despite the fact that he is the son of Draco Malfoy.

As I am a huge fan of time travel, I'm happy to see it as part of this plot, and I like that through Harry's dreams and the time travel we are able to relive some moments that all Harry Potter fans will know and recognize.

Overall, if you're a Harry Potter fan, this is definitely a must read. Even more so, if this production ever comes to the USA, you can be sure I'll find a way to see it!

GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book in a Scholastic book order before summer vacation in 2015. I finally got around to reading it before adding it to my classroom library.

It was a quick read for an adult. It is listed for ages 8-12, grades 3-7.

Knowing students as I do, and knowing the area in which I live and teach, if students don't read the synopsis first, they will be very confused as to why the pronouns describing George are female. It is a decent way into the book before the word transgender is even used to describe how George feels.

The book is also listed as dealing with Bullying, but I would disagree. Bullying occurs, but there are no real consequences to the bully, nor do we really see George finding a good way to deal with being bullied.

The book could be good to have on hand simply for the fact that a student may need to read it. But I don't think it really has a moral or lesson for students going through the same issues as George. It really wasn't inspiring and it really didn't lead very far for George. The very last chapter is a start, but I'm not sure that this book would really make an impact.

The Wishing Spell (Land of Stories, #1)The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish we could give half star ratings because I would give this a 3 1/2 instead of a 3.

I really quite enjoy stories that add different takes on classic fairy tales, and I may or may not have been obsessed with Disney princesses at a certain point and time in my life. Chris Colfer creates a wonderful fairy tale world and likable characters in Alex and Conner. I am looking forward to continuing their story in the next book of the series.

I'm hoping, though, that Colfer's writing matures as he continues through the series. While I didn't really notice until I was nearing the end of the book, some of the writing just seemed simplistic.

My goal as a teacher this year is to read books aloud and have discussion with my sixth grade students. Sometimes, students struggle with reading and writing, and you're just never too old to enjoy being read TO. This is going to be the first book that I share with my students. I think both boys and girls will like it, and I like the idea of reading introductory books to those in a series in the hopes of inspiring them to continue reading more!

View all my reviews

I'm feeling very good about my progress this month!  I am now 3 books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge to read 40 books this year.  As the beginning of the school year has arrived, I'm going to need that!  HOWEVER, Audible had a sale going on this month to get 2 books for one credit, and I bought the extra credit to take advantage.  Then with my regular August credit, I added one more book.  So I've got 3 audio books lined up, which I'm very excited about!

So what have you read this month?

What's on your reading list?

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