Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm back!!

And for some reason, THIS song is ringing in my ears: 

I love this song! It's great to jog to! And it's even better if you love Dirty Dancing (which - by the way -- who doesn't?!)

So after about 5 months of being absent from the blogging world, I thought I'd start by linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for FRIDAY!!!
And... Just FYI: This has been the craziest year ever! Things have been going very well for me lately, which reminds me to count my blessings (which I need to do much more often!!) So, here's a little mix of Chicken Soup for MY Soul, which may come in a little handy later on down the road ;)... So there is really nothing related to teaching (as usual), but I still hope you enjoy!

1. Did I mention that work has been going very well ever since Thanksgiving Break? Well, I've found that I have a LOT more time on my hands. Like time for packing up 60 Christmas cards in one night (complete with labels and stamps! --YEAH!), for example!

2. On Tuesday, I got to drive to work in the LEAF! 
Yup! This is the color we got! Funny-lookin, but SUCH a cool little car!
Yes, my husband and I leased a Nissan Leaf back in September (Long story short), and he uses it as his commuting car (he drives an hour through traffic every morning) and drinking up a tank-and-a-half of premium gasoline was getting to be too much. So we are saving  A LOT of money by having this extra little car, AND we get a nice tax credit in the spring to make it all worth it. Well, since we couldn't resist taking it out over the weekend, and we forgot to charge it over night (and because this car was blocking mine in the driveway, anyways!), I got to drive it to work! 
The hubby couldn't have possibly made it to work on 12 miles, but I did just fine (my commute is literally 2.2 miles each day). So this was a great start to my day. I guess I was just a little excited, because I don't get to drive it too often. But, I mean, come ON: Heated seats, heated steering wheel, navigation (none of which my 2012 Camry has), AND building Eco-trees at the same time?!?! How could it possibly NOT be a great start to your day? It was a great treat. :D

3. I regret to say that I've been WAY too busy with school work this year, and the holidays have flown by without much warning. And after receiving a couple of amazing Christmas gifts today, I realized I REALLY need to start cracking down on my Christmas shopping! Ahhh! But look what my amazing Co-Teacher made! Aren't they cute?! They were so delicious, I almost ate the entire thing during my planning this morning :)

4. So on Monday, my co-worker recommended a recipe with pork, root beer, and barbecue sauce. I tried it tonight, and I'm telling ya! You NEED to check it out HERE

5. I saved the best for last: All I could think when I woke up was: T.G.I.F (I didn't mind that it was Friday the 13th. Life has been going too well to worry about anything lately!). And as if I born again, I danced down stairs this morning and went about my morning routine with this song stuck in my head. So please take 2 minutes to enjoy :) ...And whatever you do- DON'T imagine me dancing around the kitchen preparing my meals for the day while listening...  

~Enjoy! I hope to be back soon with some VERY important updates! 


Monday, July 1, 2013

Currently July Linky Party!!

I've been SO excited to join in on my FIRST Currently Linky Party with Farley! 

*WARNING* Mostly, this is just about my excitement for my wedding, so if you don't want to hear (Read) it, I understand if you completely skip over it. Sorry, but it's all I can think about lately!! 

~Currently listening to Pandora on my phone. This year, my love got me a Bluetooth Bose Speaker for my birthday, and IT.IS.AWESOME!! It is SO much clearer than my phone, and it actually has a pretty good battery life! Anyways, my favorite thing to listen to {lately} is oldies. I added a 60's-80's music station on my Pandora, and I LOVE IT! Of course, it's all GREAT stuff that takes me back to my childhood (yes, it's all my dad let me listen to growing up!) and it puts me in the mood even more for the wedding. 

~This past weekend was a weekend FULL OF LOVE! We went to New York to visit my love's mother and family (he was born and raised in Albany). She threw us a wedding celebration (not shower) to celebrate for all the relatives who aren't coming out to Mexico for the wedding. We got to visit with a bunch of people that we rarely see (which is always great!), and I got quality bonding time with two of my three soon-to-be sister-in-laws, one soon-to-be brother-in-law, and two soon-to-be nephews! I get along really well with my soon-to-be mother-in-law, and I feel like I couldn't have picked a better family to marry into! It also makes me happy to be gaining 3 sisters, since I grew up with 2 boys my whole life :/ ...Either way, it was a great weekend, awesome party, great weather (until we got rained on), and I can honestly and truly say that I LOVE MY NEW FAMILY!! I know I'll get to see the immediate family in 2 and a half weeks, but I still just wish I had more time with them this weekend! :(

~HOLY MOLY! My name is changing in 20 days! It's definitely going to be an adjustment after living with a particular name for 25 years, and teaching as "Ms. Austin" for the past 3. I even talk about myself in third person with the kids!! This is going to be so difficult. But I can't wait :D.... Actually, I have been excited about changing my name since I was little (I hated the name Austin!) and I LOVE my new last name. The *CRAZIEST* part is that pre-planning for new teachers in the county starts while we will be in the middle of our honeymoon (I'm missing three days ...whooops), so we literally get back from our trip on a Sunday, and BOOM!! Monday I walk into work at 8am as a NEW PERSON! It's going to be CRAZY! I'm going to meet SO MANY new people and say: "Hi, I'm Sarah Austin I MEAN!! KRAMER!" Hopefully I get used to it quickly!

~I have several gift cards that I need to use up at the mall (Call me crazy, but I literally have not had TIME to go shopping since before my birthday)...and I can't wait to buy new stuff for the trip! I need some new dresses and bikinis! {But who doesn't?} Besides, all of this house-hunting and down-payment-saving makes it hard to go splurge money right now. So now that I have some b-day gifts to spend, I can go shopping without spending any of my own! :D

~Well, I have a long list of to-do's for the wedding. And I was supposed to do them today, but I didn't have time to get to about 70% of my list! EEK! On my list of things I need to do is: Order bridal party gifts, order wedding guest favors (I'm doing sunglasses to do that cute thing off of Pinterest where it says: "DON'T BE BLINDED BY OUR LOVE! TAKE SOME SHADES! 8-)"), and I also need to finish the centerpieces (I made one last week, and will post about it soon!) make some table number signs and place cards. I was going to order them off VistaPrint, and decided it would be cheaper to make my own, so I went to Walmart last week, and stocked up on cardstock. So now I just have to create a template that I like, and get-r-done!

*MY NEW RULE* (Not sure if it works as a tip, or a trick, OR even a hint, but maybe you can take this as a reminder when work gets over-out-of-control)
~ People always tell me not to waste my time re-creating the wheel. That's why I've become SO fascinated with the amazing Super-Teacher-Bloggers out there (that's what I consider you all to be, anyways) and all of the products that come up on TeachersPayTeachers. It actually came in really  handy last year when the second grade team was clueless to some of the new common core standards, and I told them all about TPT. It saved EVERYBODY time, because there are such excellent resources out there, and they didn't have to completely start from scratch to create their own lessons. However, (although I am usually able to find most of what I need on TPT) I still take alot of resources from school and modify them to fit my students needs (don't we all) and I always get yelled at by the Mister at home for "working too hard." So therefore, I'm allowing myself *One Teeny Exception* ... I'll recreate my school resources if their's aren't cute enough. ;) ...Besides. I never usually have time for all that cutesy stuff.  The only thing I usually do is create checklists for particular material. And hey, that's pretty time consuming alone!

Go check out Farley's blog post HERE to see what everyone else is Currently thinking this July! And have a wonderful July 4th, everyone!

Alrighty, teacher friends! Next time I join in on the Currently Linky Party, I WILL BE A KRAMER. And a super-busy-one with hopefully a new house, new job, new school, and new name. Whew that's a bit much to think about at once! Maybe I should just focus on tomorrow?! I'll be back again soon!

PS: Happy Canada Day, for whoever's Canadian! The only reason why I know it's Canada is because my dad called me from there today! ...And he told me... HA!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BLOG LOVIN Fever and Calendar Linky!

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

First of all, have you all caught that BLOGLOVIN Fever yet?! 

I signed up last week, and I'm SO glad I did. I'm now more addicted than ever, and I thought I would link up to get more followers. In the next couple of weeks, I definitely plan to finally edit and post some freebies. I made TONS of stuff throughout the year last school year and never found the time to post! However, that should change next year! So go ahead and follow me on Bloglovin (click the blue button over in the right corner), and leave me a comment so I can make sure I follow you too! ;) And I will TRY my best to be a better blogger.... well, after the big day that is. (We get MARRIED in 25 days!!!!! EEEE!) If you're not on bloglovin' yet, click the picture blow to see Tori's post about how to sign up. She makes it SUPER simple, and trust me, it's worth your 5 minutes!

And after you follow me, if you haven't already, you should HOP on over to Tori over at Tori's Teacher Tips. Now this is important, so LISTEN UP! When you get there, follow these instructions for a possible CHANCE of her Back to School FREEBIE packet, AND $10 to spend in her store! Isn't she amazing? I love her already! So first:
1. Click on the picture below to go to her blog
2. Click on her button on the top right to Follow her on bloglovin'
3. Leave her a comment with your name and email address, notifying her that you are a follower.
4. Cross your fingers and wait to be contacted. She will choose *ONE LUCKY WINNER* per day. I hope I win! I just want the back to school activity packet!
5. She also gave strict instructions to browse around the other bloggers that have linked up. It's good to make new friends and meet new bloggers!

Secondly, I'm linking up with Sharing Kindergarten for the Calendar Time Linky Party!

I did a post at the beginning of last year about my calendar routine. I really enjoyed my calendar time, and I changed it up a few times throughout the year, but it was pretty basic. I kept it straight and simple to help the kids learn the routine. I SWEAR (no joke) by the end of the year, the kids were leading the entire routine by themselves while I snuck over to my desk for a bite of granola bar, or to eat my banana, or check emails, etc. (hehe) I'm bad, I know, but I was building independence, OKAY?! So here's the link for that post: Click Here! When you get there, you will need to scroll about half-way down to get to the calendar part, because I did a dual-post that day with some of my behavior management freebies. But please go check it out and give me feedback!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 21, 2013


So today, I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to tell you about my random week! And although I've received a job offer, but still don't know what position it's for yet, this is a 100% non-educational post. Oh well... It's been busy and hard to only choose 5, so here we go! 

 1. My 25th birthday!

So, actually my birthday was LAST Friday, but who cares? I did little to celebrate (I actually had a pretty normal day... run, walk dogs, lunch with Dad, brother, and Aunt, and a friend that they work with) but we did go to Seasons 52 for dinner with the family! It was so sweet that they gave me a card!! (I guess they do it for everyone who goes their for their birthday, but I felt so special) I resisted the tower of desserts in the bottom right hand corner, but I blew out my candle (top right) and went for the layers of fruit instead! Call me crazy, but this one has been dessert free since January, and ONLY CHEATED ONCE! (For a good reason... HA!)

2. Bachelorette Weekend!

So here's the scoop... With having a wedding in late July, many people are out of town throughout the summer and it made it difficult to choose a weekend for the bachelorette party. But honestly the best weekend for our girls night out was also my bday weekend (which is a month before the wedding). So it was a 2 in 1 and I couldn't have asked for a better celebration! I made cups for everyone during our painting class. It's called Sips-N-Strokes (SO MUCH FUN!!). We had done this for another girl's party, and I thought it was genius. The painting of the night just happened to be "Dancing martini's" which was a total coincidence, but SO appropriate for the occasion! One of my artistic friends added a diamond ring to the bottom left hand corner, and I hand-wrote our wedding date in it! :D It's PERFECT!

3. Mother Nature Strikes again:

Basically, it's been raining ALOT this year. Anyone notice? Well, it was so bad this week, that the creek in our backyard has risen about a million feet higher than normal. I took a picture only because that log is usually at least 3 feet off the ground. The picture of the house was actually taken from our storm that we had LAST Thursday, but it shows how bad the storm hit our area. The power went out for days around this area (luckily our power was only out for 5 hours, but our friends 4 miles away were out for 3 days) and trees were fallen everywhere. I could have posted many more pics, but I decided not to.

4. Just when life seems too good to be true....

(The lighting makes it look like it's two different colors, but it's just an illusion!) 

So in the week that I had gotten a call for an interview and received the job the next day (10 minutes after the interview, to be exact), I thought that I was dreaming. Then, we went to our old house for the weekend. On the way there, we had to rush our dog to the emergency room because of an allergic reaction (long story short she was okay) after sitting in the worst Atlanta traffic for an hour. (I wish I had pics, but I didn't have any of the good ones)... Then to make matters worse, my wonderful fiance hit a deer on the way home later that weekend. In MY BRAND NEW CAR! (Just got it in March) Even longer story short: I had a small week-long vacation from my new car, but the GOOD NEWS is that I got it back on Monday! Yay!! Just as good as new!

5. Wedding Fever! Big date=1 month away!!!!!! :D

So we are officially one month from saying "I do" and I'm SO EXCITED! I cannot wait to post all about the plans! However, what I will tell is that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep because of all the ideas running through  my head! I have been clueless what to do for centerpieces on such a tight budget but I think I have an idea that I might try. I'm hoping to give it a shot this weekend, so I can post it for MADE IT MONDAY! Anyways, the tricky part is that with a destination wedding, everything needs to go on a plane. So I thought about taking some plastic water bottles and spray painting them silver, like this one on the left or middle.
Then, I want to go to Hobby Lobby and get some yellow artificial flowers, even as simple as the one above, and voila! Cheap, easy, simple centerpieces that match my grey and canary yellow color scheme! I cannot wait! I just hope I can find the perfect flowers! Any suggestions?! Please let me know what you think!

Happy Friday, and have a wonderful weekend! :)

PS: Backround frames came from Emily Wean. Find them at her store by clicking here

Monday, June 17, 2013

Updates and Portfolio preparation

Well, so.... I'm a slacker. 

I know it. As much as I wanted to keep up with my blog all year, it didn't happen. But I hope to be much better at it next year! I just got busy! What can I say! I also think that it doesn't help that sometime shortly after I finished my master's degree in December, my laptop gave out on me. The computer itself was fine, but the screen didn't work, and it was too much of a pain to hook it up to the TV with the HDMI cable. A new computer was not in the budget and any minimal computing that I did need to do could be done on Dan's computer. So I never got the flexibility to sit around and blog much. However, I got a new laptop for my birthday on Friday, so I hope to be much better this summer!

SO today marks my 3rd Monday since the move, so I consider it to be my 3rd Monday of summer vacation. Where has time gone? So quick recap: After Dan got a job transfer to the Atlanta corporate office within his company, we decided this would be the perfect time to make our transition back home. After all, I grew up in Alpharetta, spent 5 years in Statesboro, and 2 in Augusta. It was about time we headed home to be closer to family. It was a HUGE decision because of the wedding coming up in July, so we knew it was going to be a crazy summer. But we also knew that everything would eventually work out, and so far it has!

On Monday #1, I found an email from a principal in an amazing elementary school at a top-notch school system in the metro-Atlanta area, wanting to interview! Luckily, I was able to set up an interview for the next day, so I hustled to get my portfolio updated. I will say that I'm very proud of the final product and hope to post pictures later. I probably spent too much time on it, but I had a goal in mind, and that goal was to make my first interview of the summer also my last (I was just really dreading having to interview all summer and not know what I would be teaching in the fall).

Well, all the hardwork on my portfolio definitely paid off. I had the best interview of my life, probably due to the principal's awesome personality. After she called my first reference (the principal at my school from this previous year), she called me (probably 10 minutes after I left) to OFFER ME A JOB!! I was so so so excited. I thought I was dreaming. It was absolutely definitely positively 100% HANDS DOWN the most excited I had been in a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng time. The thrill of knowing that I got a job on the 2nd day of my summer vacation, and knowing that the search was over was just HUGE! So from there, I decided to relax.

It took an entire week to get my new routine figured out. Walking the dogs 10 billion times a day has been a huge adjustment for me, considering we had the luxury of a fenced in back yard at our Augusta house. I never walked them, because I could just let them out before and after meals, and whenever in between. It was great because they could stay outside and lounge in the sun ALL DAY on the weekends, and they just LOVED it. Now that we're temporarily staying with my mom, and due to the fact that she has no fenced-in backyard, we have no choice but to leash them. This is super annoying, because my dogs STRONGLY DISLIKE leashes, but if we take them off, they like to run away :( . So as I have been settling into my new routine, I've also been doing a lot of lounging and relaxing. Who wouldn't?! I worked hard for the past few years, and this is my first summer of not working (purposely so that I could find a job-which I already did- and find a new house and focus on the last of the wedding preparations). So that brings us up-to-date. :)

Okay, so after I did all this preparation for my interview, I realized that it might be helpful to share it with some of my new teacher friends who just graduated this past year. So, my treat to you is a template for what I used. It is in a word document, complete with comments to help you make it your own. You need to delete the comments as you go, so that it will not print funny. If your school system uses the TKES evaluation system, this would be a perfect portfolio template for you! Each section addresses each of the 10 standards. As an added bonus, I included a self-assessment at the bottom for you to complete to help yourself identify your strengths and weaknesses to create professional goals from. As a trial school, we were required to do this self-assessment at the beginning of last year, and I printed out all of my evaluation results from throughout the year to add to my portfolio. It was never looked at it, but as a new teacher, you can never be TOO prepared, and it may help you get your thoughts together for your big day. I hope it helps!

Click here to get the portfolio template!

When you click on the link, it will bring you to the Google Drive document. You need to DOWNLOAD it and save it to your computer so you can edit it and make the changes yourself. Please email me if you have any questions!