Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lent 2015

Ash Wednesday has come and gone (although due to a snowstorm, I was unable to attend services) and we're now into our Lenten season. I wanted to quickly share my sacrifices for this year. Not because I think you care, or to keep me accountable, but because I like to be able to look back at what I did and how well I did it.

This year, I gave up the same things I gave up last year: chocolate, pop, and eating out. And even though I've been giving up chocolate and pop every year since I became Catholic, it's still a struggle. More so for the chocolate than the pop. I usually only have pop once a week typically. I'm proud to say that's a habit that developed after giving up pop during a previous Lent.

Here's hoping I can develop some new habits this Lenten season.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Young Adult Book Series I Enjoy

You may have noticed my Goodreads Reading Challenge widget over there on the side of my blog. It's no secret that I love to read, and I love being able to keep track of what I read through Goodreads. I also love challenging myself to see how many books I can read in a year.

Last year, I initially challenged myself to read 50 books, but it quickly became apparent that that particular goal was a bit low. I ended up raising it to 75 books and by the end of the year, I had surpassed my goal. In 2014, I was able to read 82 books. And that's only the books that were new to me. I did not count any books I reread.

One way that I am able to read so many books is that I love to read book series. All too often, I reach the end of a book and am sad that there is no more to read. I want to spend more time with the main characters or read more about other characters from the book. Book series fulfill that need.

So, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite book series that I've read over the past year or two.  Perhaps you'll find a series or two to interest you.

Today, I'm focusing on Young Adult book series that I enjoyed. Yes, I confess that I still sometimes wander over to the Young Adult section of the library during my weekly trips. And why not when I frequently find books like these?

The Woodcutter Sisters

This young adult fantasy series by Alethea Kontis is full of references to fairy tales, but don't let that fool you into thinking these are fluffy romances. These books about sisters are full adventure, action, humor, and yes, romance.

I've only read the first two books, Enchanted and Hero. Dearest was released earlier this month and I'm waiting for my library to get it.

The Agency

This is a historical mystery series by Y.S. Lee. I could not resist when I found out it took place in Victorian London. The series is about Mary Quinn, an orphan who escapes the hangman's noose and is recruited for The Agency where she is trained in the art of espionage. The series is full of mystery, adventure, and a little romance.

I've read the first three books, A Spy in the House, The Body at the Tower, and The Traitor in the Tunnel. The fourth book, Rivals in the City is due to be released next month. I can't wait to read it!

Finishing School

This steampunk fantasy series is by Gail Carriger. I previously read Gail Carriger's adult steampunk fantasy series (which I'll cover in a later post), so there was no question I was going to read her young adult series as well. There are some character overlaps between the two series, but I think that you could read either one first.

The series revolves around a finishing school that teaches espionage.  And you should know that vampires & werewolves exist.

Currently, there are three books in the series, Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies & Conspiracies, and Waistcoats & Weaponry. The fourth book, Manners & Mutiny, is coming later this year.

The Lunar Chronicles

This is a science-fiction series by Marissa Meyer. While these stories are based on fairy tales, they are unlike any fairy tales you've read before.

It's the future and the world is nothing like it is now. There are androids and cyborgs. There's people living on the moon. And a plague is running rampant all around the world.

I know, it sounds weird, but these are great stories about strong young women who don't wait around to be rescued.

There are three books in the series so far - Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. Fairest, a book about the villain of the series was recently released. The fourth book in the series, Winter, will be released later this year.

The Ruby Red Trilogy

This is a science-fiction series by Kerstin Gier.

Without giving too much away, the series involves time travel, mystery, adventure, and yes, romance.

The three book in the series are, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green. They were originally written in German and have been translated into many languages.

I hope you've enjoyed this look at the young adult book series I've enjoyed. Stay tuned for posts about other genre series I've enjoyed over the past year.

Do you have a young adult book series recommendation for me? Let me know in the comments! I'm always looking for new books to read!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Be so good...

This is going to be long, but it's an exciting update!

I've been subbing again for a few years now. I originally wanted to use subbing as a way to ease back into the classroom and catch up on all the new trends in education. As a result, I've learned a lot about what's big and gained a lot of tips for how to do things. And, my desire to have my own classroom again has only gotten stronger.

So, as I started this school year, I decided that this was going to be the year that things started to change for me and my career. I'm not content with just being the sub anymore. I started the year with a motto in mind and every day, I tried to live up to that motto at work.

 Now, I admit it doesn't hurt that the school district has a shortage of subs this year, but I've been so busy this year, that I've worked nearly every day of school. I've mostly been at 2 of the elementary schools, which are my 2 favorite schools to work at and I'd gladly take a position at either one. Teachers have even joked that they should just hire me. And I've been requested by several teachers because they know I will get stuff done and I know what I'm doing. (Sadly, the same cannot be said for some of the other substitutes. Oh, the stories I've heard!)

A few weeks ago, I was subbing at E School when I had a chance to talk to one of the kindergarten teachers while our classes were using the restroom. This teacher just so happens to be pregnant and due in the spring. We got to talking about subbing and she asked if I did long-term jobs. I had to bite my tongue not to scream, "Yes!" She asked if I would be interested in doing her maternity leave as she knew I would be great at it. Again, I had to bite my tongue not to scream, "Yes!" She said she would talk to the principal about it and I left blissfully happy that I might be able to do a long-term job.

In the interim, I freaked out about resumes and applications. Turns out, this was unnecessary, but at least I got my resume cleaned up for when it's time to apply for jobs.

A couple weeks later, I was again subbing at E School when W School (the other school I'm frequently at) called and asked me to give them a call when I had a chance. I was on pins and needles about that call. Why in the world were they calling me during the school day? And why aren't they going through the sub scheduler?

Finally, I got a chance to call and talk to the secretary. Would I be interested in doing some long-term subbing for them? It's a good thing I was on the phone because I'm sure I had the goofiest grin on my face. Why yes, yes I would be interested!

I picked up a medical leave immediately after winter break and they asked if I would be interested in doing a maternity leave for them. Well ... I said that I would have to get back to them on that one because E School had already expressed an interest in me doing a maternity leave for them and the two leaves overlapped.

I went to the kindergarten teacher at E School and told her that W School had asked me to do their maternity leave. She went to her principal after school and got him to approve me for her leave and then called me to let me know. I danced around our living room while my husband stared at me.

The school board should have approved everything last week and now I'm nearly set for the last 5 months of school. I'm doing at least 1 week, maybe 2 of 2nd grade at W School starting next week. Then, I'll have 2 months of random subbing and then it'll be 9 weeks of kindergarten. I'm so excited to have the opportunities and cannot wait to be teaching full-time in one of my favorite grades.

And of course, I'll still be following my motto! Hopefully this will lead to even better and bigger things! I promise I'll try to do a better job of keeping you updated as things progress.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Social - The Last One!

I'm linking up for the last Sunday Social.

How did you come up with your blog name? 

It was inspired by my love of all things argyle and of course, our argyle wedding.
What is your favorite thing about blogging? 

Finding new blogs to follow, getting sweet comments, and just generally sharing things with others.

What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now cant live without? 

Does Sunday Social count? I love doing this link-up. I'm so sad that it's the last one! But, I'm also excited to see what's next.  Also, Instagram, and Pinterest

Facebook or Twitter? and why?

For the blog? Twitter just because I actually do a lot more on there than on my blog's Facebook page. I need to get better at that!

If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be?

The Duchess of Cambridge because I'm certain we could easily be best friends.

What is something you want people to know about your blog?

Even though I've been trying this blogging thing for awhile now, I'm still growing and changing how I do things. I'm working on being more consistent and trying to be more interesting, I promise.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Social

What is your favorite month and why?

I've never really thought about which month is my favorite. I could say January since that's when my birthday is, but I don't love the cold weather.

I would probably say May. The weather is warmer, but usually not too warm yet. School is almost out and summer is around the corner. Plus, the flowers are in bloom.

Favorite Holiday and why?

Christmas! I love the family traditions we have, I love finding the perfect present for someone, I love going to Midnight Mass, and I love Christmas music. I love everything about the Christmas season.

 Are you getting the new iPhone or are you more of an Android person?

I am an Android girl. I've had the same smartphone for 3 years now, so obviously, I'm not one who feels the need to get a new phone every time  something new comes out. Even if I was an iPhone person, I would not get that new one. It looks way too big!

Most thoughtful gift you have ever received from someone?

I can't really think of one specific gift. I've received many thoughtful gifts over the years.

Something you can’t wait to splurge on?

A new mattress. Ours is awful. I get a backache just looking at it. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Social

What is your favorite magazine to read?

I hesitate to name one because every time I find a magazine I really like, it seems to stop publishing. I'm a not big magazine person, really. I get some magazines, but they were all free through various reward programs.

If I had to pick a magazine, I'd probably say People.

What is the best thing you've seen online lately?

Benedict Cumberbatch can't say, "penguin." Hilarious!

What is your favorite celebrity to follow on Instagram or Twitter?

I like following Jennifer Morrison on Instagram and Twitter because she posts stuff about Once Upon a Time and I love it when she posts behind the scenes photos.

Is there one article of clothing no matter what the season you can’t help but love?

Hoodies! I'm always looking for an excuse to wear one, even when it's hot outside. Also, yoga pants.

Do you prefer email or snail mail?

Snail mail. I love getting things in the mail! (Especially if they're not bills.) I really need to be better about sending other people mail.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Favorite Snack at EPCOT

Remember when I actually blogged? And I started a series on my favorites at Walt Disney World? Let's keep doing that!

Today, I want to tell you about my favorite snack at EPCOT.

While we were on our honeymoon at Walt Disney World, we had 2 separate days at EPCOT. The snack I want to tell you about was so good, we had it both days. I had first discovered it while researching things to check out for our trip. It had rave reviews from many other Disney fans on the message boards.

So what is this amazing treat?

 photo IMG_1969.jpg
Please excuse my husband's face. He's incapable of taking a normal picture.
Kaki Gori!

Located in the Japanese pavilion, it's shaved iced and fruit flavored syrup. But this is way better than just any old snow cone. It is shaved much finer and is very smooth. It's the perfect treat for hot day.

You get your choice of syrup flavor or if you can't choose, you can get a rainbow. I prefer the cherry flavor while my husband enjoyed the tangerine.

We enjoyed it so much, it's a new tradition for us. We'll be heading to the Kaki Gori stand again on our next trip to EPCOT.

What's your favorite EPCOT snack?