No Picture Post

I am back with words, but no pretty pictures. The pictures I have taken are still living on my camera, and I haven’t released them yet. They will be coming this weekend.

I just wanted to give you a little update into my life:

Financial:
*We have some big expenses coming up in the next few months, so I have to go back over our budget and see what I can get sorted out. I think we will be lowering the amounts in some categories, and I hope that we can go ahead and cut the cord and get rid of our Directv.
*We have been doing a very bad job at eating out… meaning we have been eating out way too much. Last Saturday I decided that we needed to go at least a full week without eating out/spending money. We will do it! We have not eaten out at all this week. Tomorrow night we are going to my parents’ house to have pizza with them. We will have made it all week! Woo-hoo!
*Couponing- I have been couponing, and the most I have saved was about 35% on one trip. I am trying to get better at lining up sales and coupons.
*Extra Income- I have been making some pretty good extra income with my photography business. I had three shoots earlier this month. One was won from a silent auction, so I did not receive any money for that one. The other two I received my regular payment. I actually have another shoot this weekend. I also have one session set for November and some engagement pictures coming. Overall I should be making about $350 extra. I also put some things up on eBay and those auctions are coming to a close in a couple days. So far it is up to almost $25. Not much, but I am not complaining.

Work:
*I still haven’t gotten to the point that I feel on top of my work. I have had a few weekends where I haven’t been up to school, but those weeks I feel behind.
*I have been trying to get more creative in my teaching. I am tired of teaching straight out of the books and giving worksheet after worksheet. I am trying to add a bit more pizzazz to things and I think my students enjoy it and appreciate it.

Health:
*Can we just skip this one?
*I have been terrible about working out. I have been so tired when I get home from work that the last thing I want to do it go for a walk or jog. I figure I walk so much at school I should be fine. I do know I need to get on the ball and do a better job at this.
*I have been doing ok about eating a fruit each lunch time. I have a great lunch time friend who keeps me on top of things. She makes sure I have my fruit every day. I am not so good on the weekend, so I need to be more accountable to myself on the weekends.

I think that’s about all I need to catch-up on for now. I know I made some October goals and I will be revisiting those over the weekend. I have a feeling I did not do well… mainly because I can barely remember the goals. Not a good sign.

I will also be back with pictures!

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Catch-Up #2

And I’m back…

More pictures from this past week. After going through everything, I found out that I only missed 1 day. I really thought that I had missed at least 2 or 3 days. Not too shabby! The day I missed was the one with conferences from noon until 8 pm. Yeah, I was exhausted that day.

Here they are:Beautiful family for a Christmas card family photo shoot.

Bandit sleeping on the couch, looking so cute.

This is what I come home to a lot of time. Bandit sits up as tall as he can and he is able to peek over the back of the couch.

This is a picture of my students. One of my students is in the author chair and sharing her writing. The other students are listening and ready to ask questions. (PS… It was pajama day).

Beautiful sunrise!

This is the doorway to our guest room. I have been cleaning and purging, so that is what the cardboard box is. I put up a barrier to keep the dogs out because the blinds were open and they like to go in there and bark out the front window. Obviously, the barrier was not tall enough to keep a jumping dog out of there. I couldn’t find him and finally found him peeking out of the room. He jumped right out once he realized I was looking for him. Silly Bandit.

And now, I am caught up. I still need to take a picture for today, but I really do want to keep up to date so I don’t have to catch up like this and make you all miss me so much.

Catch-Up #1

Hello friends. I have not dropped off the face of the Earth quite yet. I can tell you that the past week has not been the best for taking pictures. We had a short week as far as work. I only had students 3 days this week. Then we had conferences on Wednesday from 4 pm to 8 pm. Then we had conferences again on Thursday from noon until 8 pm. Conferences always wear me out.

So does October. My students have been so wound up since October 1st. They love Halloween! I really could do without the holiday, but they seem to want to keep it around. I am not going to hide the fact that I have taken Halloween off in the past because I don’t want to be at school. I doubt I will do it this year, but I don’t dress up and I don’t do much about it.

Because things were so busy last week, I haven’t done that great with taking pictures. I know it’s not an excuse and I am not going to let it stop me from getting back in the groove. In the past if I fall off the wagon with any goals, then I usually just give up. I’m not going to do that this time! I am going to jump back on the horse and keep going.

Here is the first set of pictures that I need to get you caught up on. In my last post, I said that I forgot to take one on Friday, October 14th because we were traveling. So, here are the rest of them that I did take up until Sunday, October 16th.


I will be back to do another catch-up post with other pictures from this past week. (At least of the days that I did take pictures.)

I hope you all didn’t miss me too much! I will try not to make a habit of being gone for so long!

Life is Crazy

Life has been a bit busy this past week. Hubs and I were out of town this past weekend, so I had to get all of my homework done during the week. I got it done, but it left no time for anything else. We got back in town around 2:45ish today and I had to leave at 4:00 for a photo shoot.

I haven’t gotten my photos of the day edited because of my photos for my business that I have been working on. I also realized that I did not take a photo on Friday because we were traveling for most of the day.

Here are some photos from my two photo shoots:

This one is my niece. She is quite cute, if I do say so myself. I did this photo shoot yesterday.


This next one is from a Christmas card photo shoot that we did today. The mom in the photo is my dear, dear first grade co-worker. I wouldn’t have made it this far in the school year without her. What a beautiful family!


I hope to be back later this week to update you on everything else.

Sunday Funday

Well, I hate grocery shopping. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you already know this. But!! I found the best time to go grocery shopping. Around 8:30 on a Sunday morning. I got a close parking spot, there was no one there, and I didn’t have to wait to check out. Perfection!

Even better! I was under budget! Before my Dillon’s card and coupons I was at about $125.00 and afterwards I was down to about $95. Not too shabby!

And now on to the fun part of my day. I did a photo shoot with a super cute family today! The oldest girl was in my class last year and this family won this shoot at a silent auction. I was so excited that they won and that I got to photograph them. Here are a few photos from the day. Enjoy 🙂

Saturday Shopping Spree

Yes, you read that correctly. I went on a shopping spree today. You are probably thinking to yourself that I am trying to pay down our debt and save money in our emergency fund. How could I afford to go on a shopping spree.

Well, since you all are my friends, I am here to confess to my spending madness today.

My mom and I first stopped at Starbucks to get a coffee and get ready for our shopping excursion. I treated my mom to a chai latte since she never gets to get Starbucks… Amount spent at Starbucks $7.08 for two tall drinks.

We then made our way to the local farmer’s market where we went crazy. We each bought ourselves a basil plant. Since I normally buy basil each week and end up spending $2.50 on a little amount of basil that I end up only using 2 leaves from, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and buy a basil plant. Damage $2.00 for the plant… that’s even cheaper than what I pay for a little amount at the grocery store.

Then since I treated mom to a coffee, we decided to split a homemade cinnamon roll. She wanted to treat me, so I got half of a huge cinnamon roll for free. Score!

Then we continued on our spending spree and went garage sale-ing. Mom had the paper with her and chose the first sale. It was the most amazing garage sale I had ever seen! Antiques, tons of furniture, tons of beautiful dishes. The most lovely things. Apparently this lady puts on a “creative” garage sale twice a year. Mom and I will now start going each time. Here is where mom put a dent in her spending money. She has been wanting a small chair for her bedroom and found a beautiful antique rocking chair in fairly good shape. She shelled out $35 for the beauty.

This is also the place that I found my treasure. The goal of shopping today was for me to find a chair to use for photo sessions. Well, I found it! It is an antique sewing chair. It is small enough for children to fit in and has a low back so they can turn and still see over it. I searched high and low for a price tag but couldn’t find one. Uh-oh… I didn’t know what I was going to get into. I found the owner of the chair and asked for the price. She said, oh it’s an old sewing chair, why don’t you just take it and do something nice with it! What?!?! Was she serious? I asked if she was sure, and she said yes. She had imagined painting it pink, but never got around to it, so she said it was up to me to do something with it. Music to my ears!

Damage to my wallet at this place: $0.00. (Although I could have spent hundreds there). I was super happy with my little sewing chair, and Mom and I were happy that her rocking chair fit into my small car.

Off to the next few garage sales. The next garage sale I was able to find something for my classroom. I found big floor puzzles and got 3 of them. One was listed at $3, one at $2, and one at $1. I asked the lady if I could get all 3 of them for $5 and she said sure.
Damage to my wallet: $5.

We trolled a few more garage sales, but didn’t find anything we wanted. We decided to leave the city and head our separate ways home.

On the way home, I remembered that Mom had said she wanted pumpkins but didn’t want to make me haul them from the farmer’s market to the car (remember, she has a broken arm so I get to do all the heavy lifting). On the drive home, I remembered a small, local vegetable and fruit stand. I managed to motion to Mom in the car behind me to turn and go to the stand with me. We both bought 3 pumpkins. Damage to Mom’s wallet: $7.75 and damage to my wallet: $6.80. Not too shabby!

When I got home, I decided to put my pumpkins on the front porch to spruce things up a bit. I couldn’t get them to look right, so I brought out my free chair and set them up on and around that. Perfect! Now, the chair won’t stay there forever. It will eventually get sanded and get a paint job.

Here is the chair and pumpkins right now… PS I love them!!

Final receipt for the shopping spree:
Coffee for Mom and I: $7.08
Basil Plant: $2.00
1/2 a cinnamon roll: $0.00
Antique sewing chair: $0.00
3 floor puzzles: $5.00
3 locally grown pumpkins: $6.80

Total: $20.88

The most expensive item was the coffee. I find that a little humorous. I am super happy and am having no buyer’s remorse at all. 🙂 I hope you have a happy and frugal Saturday!

Emotional

Today has been an emotional day.

6 years ago my friends and I lost a dear friend in an apartment fire. The fire burned down her entire building, and 3 people lost their lives. I have tried to make sure that those people in my life know that I love them dearly. You never know what the future holds.

My picture from yesterday does not hold much emotional weight. It is Bandit back in his cone. I think he looks very forlorn and lonely. (and cute.)


The next series of photos hold a special place in my heart. I returned to my former school and walked around the outside taking photos of what fall looks like there. Here is what I came up with:

I chose this picture as my official photo of the day because I love the tangle of the branches against the structure of the wire. It reminds us that life has many bends and knots, but that through it all, we continue to grow.

I hope everyone has a good weekend, and make sure to let your loved ones know what they mean to you.

Mid Week Catch Up

Hello bloggy friends!

I hope everyone has had a productive week. I took yesterday off in order to get this house clean. I was able to scrub and clean the downstairs, and boy did it need it. I have never been so happy to clean as I was yesterday. It was getting so bad that the stairs were starting to turn black because of the Rose hair that was caked on them. But no more! They are nice and clean!

Here is a little sampling of what I did. We have a storage closet under our stairs and we keep luggage, coats, and other miscellaneous items in there. We have a 3 drawer storage thing (I don’t know what to call it) with random things in it. (I am sure that I just broke some writer’s rule by using the word “thing” two times in the same sentence.) The top drawer is extra baggies, saran wrap, etc. The middle drawer was pretty much a wreck. It has batteries, tools, wires, and whatnot in it. The bottom drawer is the dog drawer. It has their shampoo, spray, medicines, and Bandit’s sweater in it.

Here is a before and after of the middle drawer. I am very happy with it.

Before

After

I am hoping that I will get the upstairs spic and span in the next week or so. I am bound and determined to keep on top of things and get everything done. I have found that if I make small to-do lists, I can get more done.

For example today during my plan time I had the following list to get done:
1. Check off and grade 2 days of math homework
2. Clean at least 1 desk drawer
3. Prepare 3 calendar charts

I managed to get the first two done and I got one calendar chart prepped. The calendar charts took longer than I expected. I was happy though to get everything else done, and I was proud of myself. Normally I would make a huge to-do list and then get discouraged when I don’t get much done. I am hoping to break that habit.

And on to the fun picture from today. Here is my little Bandit who is sure that every pillow and blanket in the house is meant for him.


I hope he was able to make you smile. He makes me smile all the time.

Lots of Lists

I have been super lazy about doing my weekly money check-in. So, back by not-really-any-demand, here it is:

(As always, brought to you by My Pretty Pennies)

1. The most I have spent this last week was on our cell phone bill. Our rent check hasn’t gone through or else it would have been that. Our cell phone bill was about $50 more than I usually budget, but we got new phones and downloaded a few things to them. Those small things ended up adding up.

2. Today I am thankful for many different things. I am thankful for markers because I love writing with them, they are pretty colors, and I just bought two new boxes. I am also thankful for cookies because I just made myself 4 of them. I am thankful for leashes because Miss Rose decided to chase a black cat this morning, and if I wouldn’t have had her on a leash, she would possibly be in Oklahoma by now. I am thankful for Hydrocortizone cream because it helps Bandit and his crazy itching.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was spend time at my Mom and Dad’s house. They offered to buy Hubs and I dinner on Friday night, so it was a free dinner and some good time with the parents.

4. I will consider this week a success if I get the bathrooms cleaned. It has been on my to-do list for a while now, but the time just hasn’t been there. It really needs to get done because they are getting gross.

5. I like my husband because he helps do dishes after dinner. One of us will stand at the sink and rinse them off while the other loads them in the dishwasher. I usually rinse while he loads, but last night he rinsed them off and I loaded the dishwasher. I love that he will help me after I have made a meal.

And now on to my other list. The beginning of October is already slipping away. We are 3 days in and I haven’t posted my goals. Now, if you have been a reader for a while now, you know that these goals rarely stick. But because I am a resolutionist, I continue to make them with the high hopes that someday they will stick. (You may notice a few thrown in that should stick no matter what).

Financial
1. Get emergency fund up to $1000. We are very close and I know we can do it this month. Once we do this, we will be on our way to pay off debt at a faster rate.
2. Do a better job at staying on budget. The areas that are most affected by this are the grocery category on a weekly occurrence and the eating out budget each month. I already went over on the grocery budget this past weekend because we had to restock a lot of household supplies. (Hubs face moisturizer, laundry detergent, paper towels, toothpaste, etc.) That stuff adds up (I even used coupons and bought on sale items for all of those).
3. Update budget weekly. I got bad about this last month and then I would have to go back and figure out what I was missing and whatnot. It took too much time. I don’t want that to happen this month.

Health and Fitness
1. Eat a fruit at each lunch. This is hard for me. I like sweet, but when I crave sweet, I want candy. Not fruit. I need to pack one each day for lunch and make sure to eat some each day.
2. Walk a dog at least 3x a week. I am really good at walking Rose on Saturdays and/or Sundays. I need to buckle down and walk her or Bandit during the week also.

Work
1. Try to get each week planned during the week. I am very bad at spending all day Sunday at school or at home doing school work. I need to get better at using my time at school to do school stuff.
2. Keep better notes. I am not good at noting a lot of things that I probably should at school. I need to get better at doing this. I bought a notebook ($0.94, even though I really wanted the cute one that was $2.74) today at Wal-mart and will try to get in the habit of writing things down.
3. Keep a positive attitude. The days that I go in to school and am positive, the better the day goes. I need to start the day right everyday so we can have a good day everyday.

Masters
1. Dedicate 3 hours during the week to do homework. I have a bad habit of not doing any work for one class until Saturday. That leaves me working for 5-6 hours straight, and it would be much easier if I spread it out more.

Personal
1. Leave the house more with Hubs. We seem to spend a lot of time in front of the tv on our couch. We need to make time to go on walks or hang out outside of the living room.
2. Keep up with washing my face nightly. I have never been good at this, but have been doing better this past week. I hope to keep it up, and I am sure my face will thank me.
3. Start on Christmas cards this month. I know it is early, but if I do a couple a week, they will be done in no time!
4. Take a picture a day! I have already missed a couple days, and I don’t want to miss anymore.
5. Shoot and edit 2 photo sessions this month. These are already booked for a few weeks out, but I want to try and get everything edited and ready to go by the end of the month.

I feel like I should add more, but this should be plenty for now. It will keep me busy for sure. I will update you at the end of the month with how these go. Wish me luck!!

And now for the photo of the day. I call it “Lonely.” Rose took her toy out onto the deck and left him there. He looked so dejected and sad, sitting on the deck all by himself. Here is the picture.





Lazy vs. Relaxing

This weekend I had a to-do list of about 10 things. I got through about 5 of them because some of my first grade stuff took longer than I expected. Whenever something like this happens, I think back to what I did over the weekend and struggle with the idea that I was being lazy.

For instance, on Saturday I woke up, took Rose for a walk, then watched a few DVRed shows. I then cleaned the kitchen, went to the grocery store, and did homework for about 4 hours. I keep having an internal struggle with the fact that I spent about two hours catching up on shows from during the week. I hate feeling as though I was lazy, but I realize that I can’t work 16 hours straight and sleep the other 8. I know I need down time, which is very rare these days between first grade work and Masters class work.

No matter how busy I am during the week, or how tired I am from working, I feel as though I should do more with my days and get more done. Now, I realize this is not practical or realistic, but I can’t fight the feeling that I am too lazy. Does anyone else have this internal struggle or is it just me?

I think it may go along with being a resolutionist. I always feel as though there are things to improve on or do or get done, therefore I should never slow down or relax. Anyone know how to cope or deal with this? Or better yet, does anyone have any money that they would like to give me so I can hire a maid and cook? That may cut down on my list of things to-do.

I did manage to get outside today to take some pictures. I am learning to love fall. Growing up, summer was always my favorite season. I love hot weather. As I matured, I fell in love with spring and the newness that comes with it. Now I am really enjoying fall. I love the colors and the briskness of the morning air. I don’t know if I will ever love winter, but maybe some day I will.

Anyway, here are my fall-inspired pictures. Enjoy!