Monday, January 25, 2010

Resolutions: January Update

Well, while not perfect, I made some progress! Initially, I was angry with myself for not being more diligent, but then I realized that change takes time! I am happy with the progress I am making and as the month progressed, I improved!

So, here we go, January's update on my Resolutions

1. Cease drinking soda. I did (unfortunately) drink Two 2-liter bottles of Pepsi this month. It is here in the house and I drank it because it was here. I DID NOT purchase any Pepsi to drink in school, I DID NOT purchase any single serving bottles of Pepsi, and I DID NOT purchase any other sizes or types of soda. So, while I did drink soda this month, I did manage to avoid purchasing any new soda to consume! So, a little progress.

2. Do not purchase new clothes for one year. Messed up here too. The school had a small supply of polo shirts and sweatpants with the school mascot on them (Eagles). I did not need another polo shirt nor did I need a pair of sweatpants, but I bought them because they had the Eagles on them.

3. Save the savings. The grocery shopping yielded over $35 in savings. That is now tucked away in a special place!

4. Reduce my personal belongings. I did well here!! I took a copy paper sized box of items to the Gleaner's House Thrift Store. That took care of getting rid of one item per week. (There were 7 items in there). Included in that box were 5 shirts and a pair of sweatpants (so that takes care of getting rid of an item for each new item brought in---see # 2!) along with a sweater, and several knick-knack type items. I also Freecycled the ceiling light fixture we took out of my studio when Vince installed the new lighting fixture he got me for Christmas!

5. Read at least 3 books to improve my teaching skills.
I am still reading "Differentiating Math Instruction".

6. Keep my tax records more organized for 2010. I have the envelope labeled and several items in there already. I do need to put individual envelopes in there for the various categories and label them.

7. Walk 10,000 steps each day. I had to purchase a new battery for the pedometer. I wear it every day, but sometimes forget to put it back on after changing out of my work clothes. I have been averaging 7,000 steps per day.

8. Reduce my fabric stash. I did go shopping on January 1st for fabric. It was a one day 50% off sale. I am pleased to announce that I purchased coordinating fabrics for a baby quilt that I am working on and had purchased the focus fabric for in December. I also purchase red fabrics for my Mustang quilt. That is all. So, I only purchased fabrics for specific projects! Otherwise, my stash is about the same. I started the Car Club projects for their show in April, which will reduce my stash by several yards, but since they are incomplete and still here, it does not count yet!

9. Make time for ME! I think I watched 10 movies this month! With Vince's work schedule and the lighter paper work load from school, I have had more time. Plus it is cold downstairs where the studio is and I tend to stay upstairs, so I watch movies on my computer!

10. Blog about these resolutions every month. DONE!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

10 items or less!

It is not such a tough concept. We all learned to count to ten in Kindergarten or younger. However, I often encounter those adults who seem to have failed this lesson.

Today in Target, I was buying a bag of dog food, a loaf of bread and a bottle of Pepsi (for Vince!). Since I had 3 items, and that qualifies for the Express lane (10 items or less), I stepped up to the queue.

I was behind two other customers, and there were two behind me. Not a bad line for a Saturday.

The first customer finished up and the customer in front of me stepped up the the cashier. The customer told the cashier "I have a few more than 10 items".

Hmm. I thought about that, and realized that I have had times when I was in the express lane and realized I had 11 or 12 items. I usually made the same comment as this customer in front of me did. And the cashier responded as I have had heard myself: "It is okay".

I did not pay close attention to what was occurring in front of me after that as I was chatting with the customers behind me. Soon, however, I realized that the customer in front of me was STILL TAKING ITEMS OUT OF HER CART. There were two bags of items already checked out by the cashier.

This customer had more than 40 small items in her cart! Small containers of cat food, gift wrap, bows, cards, small toys and toiletries....the list goes on.

As I continued to watch, more stuff came out of the cart.

I had had enough.

I pulled out of the line, and moved my cart to the endcap. I went to find a manager.

I found one right away. I told the manager what was occurring and why it annoyed me. It annoyed me because the cashier should have checked the customer's cart and sent her to a different line. There were other customers in the line who were following the guidelines.

I told the manager I was not shopping in the store today.

I left.

There was not a single item that I really needed to buy at that time in Target. I only went in because I was at Office Max recycling Printer cartridges. This is the second time I have had an issue at the checkout lines in Target.

I purchased my food items here in town at the Piggly Wiggly. I had no line to wait in, and I even had time to chat with my friend in the bakery department. Overall, it was a much more pleasant experience.

I will have to reconsider any future shopping trips to Target.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Less Plastic!

I love to shop on-line because it is easier, more comfortable and less aggravating for me.

I can find what I like without searching stores, dealing with crowds, driving to the next town, and it saves me time.

What I don't like is the plastic packaging that most companies use when they ship their items to me. Beth at Fake Plastic Fish has been my inspiration and motivation in reducing my plastic consumption. {I have eliminated plastic shopping bags from my life and have a lovely collection of tote bags (thanks to Gleaners House Thrift Store and my own sewing abilities) that live in my truck or home for handy use, along with other improvements}

I usually forget to ask companies that I order from to package my purchases in paper as opposed to plastic packaging materials but I am happy to announce that I have been remembering to ask! Not only that, the companies are complying!

I blogged about my wonderful Buckwheat pillow from the Buckwheat Pillow company, who packed my pillow in paper.

I recently ordered jigsaw puzzles for a gift and requested that the company not pack the puzzles with plastic or styrofoam packing material (after all they are in boxes!) and the puzzles came to me padded with shredded paper! YAY!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Buckwheat Pillow

My sister commented about buckwheat pillows a while ago, which prompted me to do a bit of research into that item. At first, I thought that it would be crazy so try and sleep on a pillow stuffed with buckwheat hulls.
After all, these are the stuff that is left over. The buckwheat plant has a rather pretty flower:

The inside kernel is used to make buckwheat flour. It is not a cereal and when the hull is removed, the inside kernel is similar to a sunflower kernel.

So, now I have a pillow made from the leftover hulls from this plant!

I ordered it from the Buckwheat Pillow Company. They use American, organically grown buckwheat. I liked their website.

When I ordered my pillow, I commented that I preferred no plastic packaging when they shipped my pillow. Gail emailed me back that same day and informed me that while they usually shipped their pillows in a plastic bag, she would be happy to wrap it in paper if I preferred. Since I did, I emailed her with that request.

When my pillow arrived, it was nicely wrapped in paper, inside a sturdy box. I did notice that it was incredibly HEAVY!!!

The pillow also came with a small lavender sachet to insert into the pillow. I like that I am able to open up the pillow to remove or add buckwheat hulls if necessary (I actually removed about 1/4 of the original hulls already). The lavender is a nice touch, too. It is not overwhelming and I like the scent when I am getting ready for sleep.

The best part? NO MORE NECK PAIN! I have not awoken with neck pain since I started using this pillow. I feel like I sleep better, too.

Yay for buckwheat!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tennessee SNOW!!!

Well here they are, our snow pictures!

You can see that our pond is almost covered in snow, the rest is frozen over.

However, the snow was not deep enough to cover the grass!!
It is very cold for Tennessee, and that is the major concern, of course it is difficult to drive in snow when you are not use to it! It is dangerous for those of us who know how to drive in snow to be on the road with drivers who do not know how to manage snow!
So, the smart ones stay home!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Getting Ready for School!

I spent my Saturday at school, attempting to get organized for at least the first week back!
Over my break, I planned my lessons and graded papers. Those were the usual weekend homework activities!
I also did these activities:
Put grades into the computerized gradebook so that report cards can be printed.
Tallied up the discipline and homework slips for each student in my homeroom (that information is put on the reportcards every marking period)
Checked the class computers to make sure they would play the internet Math games I have planned for the class to use in Stations.
Created vocabulary quizzes using the Math state vocabulary list for this year.
Made Answer Keys for these vocabulary quizzes (that also allows me to check for accuracy and helps me to remember what the words mean!)
Copied the vocabulary quizzes and activities.
Copied Math Activity sheets using Graphs for our lessons this week.
Typed up instruction sheets for the stations we will start using in Math class.
Created, copied and laminated the charts, graphs, forms and accessories for the stations.
Created and laminated the poster the class will use to know which station their group is assigned to.
Sorted all of the station instructions and accessories into binders according to the specific station.
Went shopping and purchased a variety of school supplies and a few Math manipulatives, using the gift cards my students gave me for Christmas and the Lighthouse Keeper allotment.
Dragged all of those purchases to my classroom and put them to good use or found places to keep them!
Rearranged the desks and tables in my classroom.
Cleaned the boards!
Threw away the nasty dry erasers that make more of a mess than anything!
Unwrapped my NEW, LARGER dry eraser that will make my life easier!

I also thought about my resolutions today...I purchased a new battery for my pedometer so that I can begin wearing it and tracking my steps.

I played around in my studio, sorting through projects and deciding what I will work on first.

I also have a box of items ready to send to the Thrift Store!

And I am glad to say I have not had any CARBONATED BEVERAGES since December 26th! It is easier than I thought, but I am suffering through a caffeine headache today.....I need to find another source of caffeine!