A Simple Teacher Appreciation Gift

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Who has the money to get huge extravagant gifts for their kids’ teachers? Not me! Since I have 3 munchkins with 8 teacher total! (2 in day care with 2 teachers each and 1 in Kindergarden with a main teacher, parapro teacher, long term sub because the main teacher’s husband just had surgery, AND a student teacher that my kid had a crush on) there was no way I could even get them all gift cards or candles this year. So, the Sunday before teacher appreciation day (when I got the reminder email from my son’s school) I searched Pintrest and my house for ideas. Here’s what I came up with:

Pencils, Candies, and Confetti!

Pencils, Candies, and Confetti!

So I searched through my arts and crafts bins and bags…basically half of my bedroom and came up with some colorful pencils, a bags of Smarties, and some clear treat bags. JACKPOT!

So I started by chopping the bags in half so that the 2 pencils would poke out the top when they were closed. Then I added 2-3 things of Smarties, a handful of confetti, and tied them together with the ties that came with the bags (the ones that look like bread bag ties). I considered leaving them that way for simplicities sake, but then I had to go and push myself. Silly girl!

Without the bow...totally acceptable.

Without the bow…totally acceptable.

I busted out a pile of scrapbook paper, fun scissors, teacher stickers and ribbon and went to town.

First, I used the fun scissors on 2 sides of the paper and came up with an ADORABLE saying for the tags. Than, I added a couple of teacher stickers on the back to make them “educational.” Last, I tied them up with some hot pink ribbon!

Thanks for making me SHARP & SMART!

Thanks for making me SHARP & SMART!

So easy!

So easy!

My kids LOVED giving these to their teachers and I loved that they were basically FREE since I already had everything.

These would be awesome birthday party favors too…but I don’t know if you would make too many friends if you give out confetti!

Do you participate in Teachers’ Appreciation Day/Week? Do you just wait for the last few days of school? Are you a teacher and you HATE this kind of stuff? Let me know!!

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Take Care of YOU!

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Work.

Husband.

Kids.

House.

Commute.

Volunteer work.

Kid’s School Stuff.

Blog.

Friends.

Podcast.

I have a few things going on and sometimes it all makes me want to pull my hair out! BUT there is one thing that I am starting to put at the top of the list…ME! I’ve never been good at putting myself ahead of anything, but I am working on that.

There are many different ways that I am putting myself first and trying to take care of ME!

1) Actually take my lunch break. – Now mind you I am usually blogging (ahem) but I am not focusing on work WORK and I am getting better about checking my work email while on lunch. (Full disclosure: I have taken no less than 3 calls in the 20 minutes I have been writing this! FAIL!)

2) Eat healthy. – Being back on Paleo (mostly) has made me feel so much better! I know that it doesn’t always show (sorry for the meltdown this week, honey!) but I feel healthier. I am really proud of myself for NOT eating some of the breakfast pastries that were sitting in the kitchen this morning when I forgot my breakfast! 🙂 BONUS: I am down 8lbs in less than 3 weeks since fully committing to being back on Paleo!

Cauliflower and Bacon...need I say more?

Cauliflower and Bacon…need I say more?

3) Go to bed at an acceptable hour. – This one is hard because here is my day. My alarm goes off at 5am M-F so that I can get up, showered, and dressed before getting the kids up at 6 and out the door by 6:30. I then sit in traffic until between 7:30-8am where I work until 4pm and sit in traffic for another hour before picking the kiddos up from 2 different locations (ASP and day care). We finally walk in the door around by 5:30-6:00pm where we scrounge up some dinner. I REALLY try to get something in the crock pot a few times a week, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen…or we really need to go grocery shopping and my 2 yo eats Funyuns, applesauce, and grits for dinner! The kids finally get into bed by 8pm so in order to get a good night’s sleep I need to be in bed no later than 10, which doesn’t leave much time for fun things like crafting and watching tv!

I have to wrangle my blanket from her some days

I have to wrangle my blanket from her some days

4) Schedule friend time/exercise. – I recently started scheduling time with my best friend every week were we take her precious Great Pyrenees for a walk at the park for an hour. This is one of my favorite times of the week because I get fresh air, exercise, and some girl time! Also, I get puppy snuggles!! This week we even snuck into the dog park for a few minutes to let him run and there were these 2 ADORABLE bulldogs!! I wanted to snatch them up!

Jessica and Thumper

Jessica and Thumper

Jessica, Thumper and Me on our weekly walk!

Jessica, Thumper and Me on our weekly walk!

 

5) Say NO! – When I start to feel overwhelmed I just start saying no to things! Unfortunately it is starting to be the laundry that I am saying no to and that just leads to stinky socks for everyone. I am going to work on this.

So that is what I am working on to take care of myself. If I do not take time for ME then I will be useless to everyone in my work life and my personal life. I will try to update in a few weeks on how this is working out for me 🙂

I love my family!! Pardon the old picture...we need to get someone to take new ones for us.

I love my family!! Pardon the old picture…we need to get someone to take new ones for us.

My New Job and My Attempt at a Work/Life Balance

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As I have mentioned, the main reason that this poor blog has been a bit (or completely) neglected is because I got a new job. I am now working as a Staff Associate for the Kellen Company. We offer management support for professional and non-profit associations. This is basically my dream job! For the past through years I have really been drawn to wanting to work with groups like this and even almost went back to school for a Masters in Non Profit Management. This is not completely off of the table, but I need to get all 3 of these kids in school first!

Anywho! Within the company I divide my time over two very different clients, the Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals and the Research Chef’s Association. I am a part of the certification team with SMRP, as well as tending to the day to day operations of the chapters and SIGs and managing sponsorships for our annual conference this October in Orlando! For the Research Chef’s Association I also work on the certification team, but have also taken on some additional duties within the Education Committee and Foundation. I actually just got back from their annual conference in Portland, Oregon about a week ago. It was a lot of hard work, but so much fun! I really need to go back.

The view from the rooftop bar at Departure Restaurant and Lounge

The view from the rooftop bar at Departure Restaurant and Lounge

PortlandI had been looking for a full time position for about 3 years when I stumbled across the posting for this position. I was flabbergasted when I got a request for a phone interview…and even more so when I found out that they wanted to bring me in for a face to face interview. Once they offered me the position I was all in, and quickly moved to panic mode. We needed day care STAT! We only have one not awesome car and this was a solid hour-ish commute each way. The dress code is Corporate Casual and I certainly haven’t dressed corporate in ages…I even had to Google what Corporate Casual meant! It is basically a step down from having to wear a suit every day, but I have learned that there is a lot of freedom with that.

Well as expected everything fell into place. I found a day care to get us started. I tested different leaving times to avoid traffic and even worked it out that I could come in and leave early. I also picked up a few odds and ends with my Christmas money to help get me by in the clothing department.

Now that I have been with Kellen for 3 months I feel like I am starting to hit a good daily routine. Everyone (even the little kids) know their role in the morning and afternoon. We have only had to miss a few extra activities with my oldest’s school, but we have been able to hit some great ones. I still feel like I am struggling to get my personal extra items (friend time, blogging, crafting, etc) but I am slowly coming around.

That is one reason I have made revamping my blog a priority. Also, since taking this job I have started to become highly interested in professional fashion, and fashion in general. I spend way too much of my time Pinning pretty outfits (you can find them HERE). I am way into polka dots and flowing skirts right now. I enjoy figuring out what I am going to wear each day and trying to make myself look nice even if it is just jeans and a simple top with a scarf. And some days are a struggle, like this past Friday. I felt like my shirt looked nice at home, but when I got to work it was strangling me and short. I threw on the fleece I keep in my cube and called it a day! You can’t always sweat the small stuff.

I still worry that my kids aren’t getting enough of my attention. I struggle when I see things that I 100% would have done for/with them when I was a SAHM (swim team, summer reading class, play dates with friends!). In the end I do know that this is best, because I was NOT happy as a SAHM. I needed to be able to do more with my day than watch PBS, make peanut butter and jelly rollups, and make it through Target without spending $100! I wan’t happy. Now I feel very fulfilled in being able to do it all. Well maybe not everything. My house is still a disaster and my youngest is not taking well to potty training this weekend! Cest La Vie!

Well that’s enough for now! Time to grab a fresh cup o’ coffee, fold the 4+ loads of laundry that are waiting for me, and to figure out what to make for dinner…maybe I should even scrub a bathroom or two. NAH! 😉