Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How To:

We've done a few "how to" things both on this blog and on Stephen's, but I haven't told you how to make it through the day as a first year teacher (and since I've made it through over 100, I guess I sorta have it down). So, without further, we introduce:

How to: make it through the day as a first year teacher. 

1. Keep food in your desk.
Crackers and granola bars for rumbly tummies; ramen for forgotten lunches; and chocolate for bad days.

2. Always have tons of stuff to drink. 
 My mouth gets super dry when I lecture, so I always have a large container of water (to refill my water container and boil water with for tea) in my room. 

3. Tissues
Yup. For when someone makes you angry. It doesn't hurt to have backup mascara in your desk, either...

4. Be more organized than is required
I am ultra organized (individual file folders for every single assignment categorized into crates for each class? check), and still things slip through my mind and get forgotten (still working on that). I have a specific home for every single thing in my room (student's stuff and my own) and if it's not in it's home, it doesn't exist.

5. Learn to grit your teeth and smile. Oh, and bite your tongue.
No matter how much you want to, or how much he deserves it, do not tell that annoying freshman to shut the **** up. (You have to say it nicely - meh)

6. Don't start Senior Superlatives in your Yearbook. 
Here's one I learned too late: not because it didn't turn out great (it did), or because any of the students were upset (they weren't) but because it's new. People don't like change. 

7. Have at least one student aides. 
They're really good at making copies. And if they're not really good at making copies, they will be by the time you finish with them!

8. Find one student who likes to play practical jokes.
You'll end up searching for things like the remote to the elmo, staplers, and post-it notes (and possibly even the entire class), but the reverse is you get to have your revenge by putting hundreds of used post-it notes in their camera bag to find before the big game. 

9. Don't be a junior class sponsor.
Just don't. You know that analogy about having one too many things on your plate? That 'thing' is junior class sponsor (concession stands and prom? no thank you).

10. Keep your liquor cabinet stocked up. 
At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic...this is always a good idea for after the really long, headachey days.  

11. Always remember it could be worse.
You could be in a cubicle, working summers, not getting holidays off or doing something that doesn't have the potential to be completely awesome. 

Mrs. Waters 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

So once upon a time I started reading this completely awesome blog...which eventually led me to discover Pinterest. Oh, what a time waster - but a motivational time waster. So every season these two funny girls (Katie from Bower Power and Sherry from Young House Love) motivate themselves to complete a project that they've pinned, and since I'm on spring break, I decided to join in!

I have a slight obsession with pictures (we have entire wall in our living room just full of random pictures)...

And when I saw this photo on Pinterest, I knew I had to do it:

Originally from here
The idea is that you frame your grandmother's handwritten recipes to put in your kitchen. 

My grandfather, Papap recently gave me two boxes full of recipes from his kitchen that probably haven't been touched since my grandmother used them over ten years ago. Dusty though they might be, I went digging through them to find the prettiest handwritten recipes (matching them to her cookie recipe that I have to make sure it was her handwriting). 

A lot of these recipes were my grandmother's and great-grandmother's. 

So many great recipes (and pretty handwriting). 

Conveniently enough, Stephen and I made a trip to Texas this past weekend (visiting James for his Master's Recital) and went on a side-trip to Ikea, so we had plenty of picture frames available. I took four matching ones, picked out the recipes I wanted to display and placed them on white paper in the frame. Being OCD, I had pretty specific criteria in terms of the type of card they were written on (plain) and the color of ink (only neutral colors like black or grey).

My favorite: Peter Pan Cookies (delicious peanut butter cookies
and the greatest cookie name of all time)

The most time consuming part of the project was locating the hammer and nails (turns out our garage is not very organized - so we've added that to the to-do list). I used paper and tape to perfect where I wanted the frames, and then nailed through the paper to get it just right (I don't have pictures of that for this project, sorry!) and Voila:

They add some nice decor to our very bare kitchen (owing to the fact that it has yet to be upgraded, so doing anything substantial feels just silly...but I couldn't resist hanging these at least for a short while before we manage to get to the kitchen remodel). I like how the four different recipes I chose have different levels of wear and tear and discoloration, plus they're all about the same size which appeases my neurotic tendencies. Please find it in your heart to forgive the unpainted trim...yuck: 

All in all, a very easy, fun project! And that's one thing to mark off my DIY pinboard on Pinterest. Only like 300 to go (haha)!

Have you done any cool DIY projects lately? Do you want to do the next Pinterest Challenge with me? Of course you do.


(Just to note, Pinterest doesn't sponsor this project or anything; it's just for fun!) 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Update on Green

Back in October, we did a post on organic living. It's been several months, and we still love all our clean and green products and haven't once missed the old, chemical-filled ones. We clean our house every weekend, and we've only had to make new batches of our homemade window cleaner and surface cleaner once (further proof that we're saving bank).

Our Seventh Generation Free & Clear Natural Laundry detergent has been great on our laundry, and hydrogen peroxide and vinegar have taken care of any stains and brightened our whites. We've also added natural fabric softener sheets ($4.49 on (dryer sheets) to the lineup, to much success. (Little to no static per load).

We were totally surprised the first time we used them;
they're brown and crinkly! 

We're still loving our handsoap (Mrs. Meyer's Liquid Hand Soap in Lemon Verbena). We buy it in bulk from or at Target (it's the same price either way) and use it in the bathroom and the kitchen. Also in the bathroom, we've been rockin the natural toothpaste - clean and sparkly teeth, and in the natural makeup has been great on my skin. 

On that note, let me introduce my newest and most favoritest product (oh yeah, it's so good I don't even care about grammar): Queen Helene Oatmeal 'n Honey Natural Facial Scrub ($4.60 on

Oh. My. Goodness. I use it in the shower in place of two face washes (one with abrasive little beads to clear dead skin, and one from Mary Kay that I've used since I was fourteen). So far, I haven't had any breakouts or extra oily skin or anything. It has the most heavenly feel to it - you only use a dollop and the oatmeal has the most soft, yet tingly scrubbiness, and it smells divine. It's light, and it does the job well and leaves my skin feeling amazingly soft and clean. I'm obsessed. I think I shower just as an excuse to use this. 

Also in the shower, I've switched from Neutrogena's body wash to Dr. Bronner's (if you read my blog regularly, you know how I feel about Dr. Bronner's): Dr. Bronner's Organic Fair Trade Shikakai Soap in Unscented ($15.29 on

I was going to get the citrus kind, but they didn't have it on, and as it turns out, I don't even mind! The smell is very light and natural, and (to my surprise) the soap comes out a really scummy brown color, but no worries, it lathers up nicely. I can't even believe how clean I feel after I use this soap - it's completely awesome. My skin feels soft and light and just so clean. I definitely recommend going green with your soap - it's wonderful on your skin. Stephen had some issues with it drying out his skin a bit when he used it over the weekend, but after a few days it adjusted and hasn't been a problem. Besides, that's what lotion was invented for. 

I kid you not: it's amazing. 

 The other new product I've switched to is lip balm: Yes to Carrots Lip Butter in Citrus

This stuff is fantastic. I had seriously chapped lips and it took care of them in just a day. It's made with all natural products and nothing harmful - just the type of thing I'd like to put on my mouth. I've also tried out Dr. Collin's lip balm in vanilla with spf protection, and I like it, too, but there's just something about the Yes to Carrots brand that my lips love. I definitely recommend it, and it was only like two bucks at Hy-Vee.

So all-in-all, the whole organic process is going well. There are a few tricky non-organic things left that I've having a hard time switching to:

shampoo: we use Aussie and it's cheap and works well

hair products (like smoothing serum, chi spray to keep my bangs from frying, and the occasional hair spray) - old habits die hard. 

Face lotion - I just switched last week to the new face wash, but I've used Mary Kay's since I was fourteen for both the lotion and face wash, and I've used olay night cream since high school to keep my face soft...I haven't found any natural products that I've wanted to try, and like I said, old habits die we'll see. I'm sure I'll make the switch eventually. 

What about you? Do you guys use any natural, green, or organic products or am I the only crazy one? Stephen thinks a lot of it's a bit silly, but it makes me feel better because it's good for me and for the environment. You can't really beat that, I suppose.