Monday, January 31, 2011

Questions Answered!

Q: What's your daily schedule / routine like? 

It really varies from day to day.  I help with our school's extended day program, which keeps me there until 5-5:30 on Tuesday's.  Besides that, it looks like this: 

6:30 Wake up, shower (if I was too lazy to do it the night before :))
7:20 Leave the house
7:40-7:45 Arrive at school
8:00 Pick up kiddos
8:50 Our PE time; my planning time
9:30 Get kiddos from PE; start reading block
11:20 Lunch; usually microwave something if I can find the time; if not, just ruffage I got from my home fridge that morning. :)
11:50 Bathroom, take a break, get a few minutes outside if possible; the kids AND I need this time!
12:15 Teach until about 2 (math and social studies/science); pack up, snack, leave after that
2:30 Kids are gone, my planning/knocking stuff off of the to do list time until 3:15
3:15-3:30 Head home, clean, cook (if needed)
5:30 Noah's home; dinner, catch up on DVR shows
6:30 Usually blog design work time; depends on the night though.  I usually do this average of about an hour a night (usually answering emails)  I blog during this time too.
7:30 TV/spending time with Noah, blog reading time
9:30-10 Bed

Q: How often do you vacuum?? As a fellow beagle owner, your house always looks hair free-- it appears you are having fantastic luck with their "constant hair shedding and sticking to everything" coat. I'd love some advice!!

I thought this question was so funny!  Yes, if you have a beagle, you know that they are THE best dogs on earth (well mannered, calm, sweet as can be, good with kids, aren't aggressive)...but they shed more than ANY other dog!  I'm talking a coat of hair on everything in your house...literally.  Oh, if you don't have a layer of dog hair on everything you own, be thankful.  Anyway, I digress...

We have a Dyson...which we bought very shortly after Hardy arrived, by coincidence. :)  We actually got an awesome deal on it...our old vacuum had just broken, and Noah's one of those that cruises Craig's List for deals every day.  Well, this day he just happened to see a Dyson for $100.  Luckily, we were the first to call about it, and we got it!  I'm telling you, if you pay full price, it's WORTH it.  I've never had a vacuum that gets stuff up like this one!  I need to take a picture of the sheer amount of dog hair I vacuum weekly (and consistently, every week)'s probably the size of a grapefruit maybe?  Easily...maybe even like a soccer ball.  It's an OBSCENE amount of hair.  Now, I know that's not all dog hair...but it's got to be most of it.  (I know this is gross...but the question was asked!  Ha!)

Anyway, just vacuum all the time, and brush your dog's's helped us a ton!  You would never guess the out-of-control shedding if you didn't know.

Q: What program do you use for blog design?

When I first started designing, I had a PC.  So, I started with Corel Paint Shop Pro, which I LOVED.  But, I moved to a Mac around April of last year (which is the best technological switch I ever made!) and they didn't have the Corel program for Mac.  I was upset about it at first, but decided to just switch to Photoshop Elements 8.  It was kind of hard to get used to at first, but I am REALLY loving the changes!  I think it makes cleaner edits, and is so much quicker (probably thanks to a quicker running computer!).  With any software you buy, there's going to be a transition period...just stick to it, learn a piece of software really well, and you'll figure it out!  The best thing you can do with a new program is just trial and with it until you learn it.  (And PS - you can download both of those programs for a free trial at!)

Q: How did you learn how to do blog design?

I have a minor in Computer Technology from college, in which I took 1 or 2 classes about html design.  That gave me a good foundation for what I do today.  

I started my own blog in April 2009.  I was looking for one of those free blog designs (because I've always been cheap!), and just couldn't find one that I really liked...I'm really particular about those kinds of things.  So I got to looking at professional designs.  I didn't want to pay the price for those, but wanted the I started experimenting.  I made a header first, then started playing with how to make the blog look like those professional designs...I finally perfected my code (after about 3 months of work!).  I've got screen shots of all of my old blogs somewhere...I'll have to put them up one day!

In that time, April (who I went to high school with) asked me to redo her blog.  I'll never forget having NO clue how much to charge her, because I had never done something like this before.  She was my first customer!  A little bit later, her sister Allison asked me to redo her's too...and the rest is history!  There for awhile I just had a page on this blog of my prices and kits.  I changed to its own blog about 6 months after I started doing design, then added a whole website look a few months later.

If you're trying to learn how to change things on your blog, my best advice is to just play with the code until what you want to happen, happens!  That's how I learned what I'm doing.

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Oh, has to be my babies.  I LOVE being a first grade teacher.  It's the perfect age - they are old enough to know how to tie their shoe, not cry when mom leaves, know when they need to use the bathroom (ha!), but they aren't old enough to have the attitudes, to know TOO much for their own good...and I love the curriculum I get to teach them.  I couldn't have hand-picked a more perfect grade!

I also LOVE my school.  I work at a magnet school.  It started the year I started teaching.  I couldn't have been more lucky/blessed...I got the first interview I went on (technically the second...if you went to Alabama, I had my RED day interview, then this one, and got the job).  Seriously, especially in this economy, I am fully aware that I was a gift from GOD that not only did I get the first interview, but I got the perfect school.  I work at a school that is completely trusting of its teachers, has an incredible technology support, and has the most awesome students ever.  Seriously, I have my dream job.  I love it!

Q: What is your couponing style?

I thought this was an interesting question...I had to think about it a little bit!  I'd say my couponing style is one that sustains me and my family.  I know there are a lot out there that buy like 40 jars of Ragu for a family of 4 to eat in 3 months (not naming any shows, or anything)...I think that it just plain ridiculous.  If I can't use that item before it goes in sale again, I don't buy it...simple as that.  I know there are a lot that donate to soup kitchens, and I really respect be honest, it's been something I've been meaning to look into, and just haven't.  But with my couponing, I buy what we can use, and no more (or at least I try not to).  There are times I throw things out, but who doesn't?

Q: I have been couponing for about 4 months but get so scattered in the store with sales and coupons and deals but how do you come up with meal ideas? rather than just deals?? 

I answered this a few weeks ago, but I'll be glad to do it's a good question! :)  I just basically keep a running list (in my head really) of foods we have.  I divide it into carbs/starches, veggies, and meats.  Just pair one of each in all three of those categories together, and you've got a meal!  For example, last week, I had a couple boxes of whole grain rice, a couple boxes of frozen shrimp scampi, and a couple boxes frozen carrots...mix all of that, and you've got a meal.  I also keep a good stock of pasta/sauce, and you can mix most meats into that.  Just try to cover all food groups, and you usually have a pretty decent meal!

The trick is to keep a stockpile of items to choose from.  Then, you can just really "shop" from your pantry.  Get lots of non-perishable (but healthy!) items, and you can't go wrong!