It’s Been Awhile…

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It’s Been Awhile…

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is safe and well during this surreal time. It has been quite awhile since I have written or posted anything. My heart has been there, though my mind and time haven’t. I’m opening up and being honest. The last thing I want is for this post to be doom and gloom, as there is enough of that in the world going on right now. I’ve debated back and forth whether or not I should even post this. I’m not sure what even set anything off, but I had another emotional night tonight.

Let’s start off with a few positives! My birthday this past year, turned out to be a really nice and special day! (Besides turning another year older) Weddings will be all around this year and next year as I’m in my cousin’s wedding in July and both my brother and other cousin got engaged over Valentine’s weekend this year! My other cousin is graduating from Penn State! So there are many celebrations coming up in the near future!

Creating this blog about 4 years ago, was one thing that I’ve always been proud of! I often get upset with myself for not keeping up with it more. (It’s far from some of the top notch bloggers out there, I know, but it’s mine, and I still love it!) I’ve tried to keep the blog updated through quotes and short posts on Instagram over the last year, as sometimes, that is the easiest and fastest way to stay in touch. Life is always, and has always been busy. I love my job, but working close to 12 hours a day from start to finish all week long, sleeping about a total of 4 hours a night, trying to meet requirements and deadlines (which I’m still working towards), life and its surprises, ups & downs, and myself-being my biggest critic, I pretty much have been wearing myself out. I’ve felt exhausted and burnt out, mentally and physically. I started to sit and write the other night and then just stopped because I wasn’t sure how to express any of what I was feeling.

The last four months especially, have personally, been an emotional roller coaster for me. Now, we are all up in the air with our lives due to the coronavirus. Overall, if you know me, for the most part, I’m a very private person. Let me apologize if I have seemed off, more on edge, or some days just more quiet. I want to personally thank my family, work family, and friends that have been here during some very difficult months and days. Without faith, prayers, friends and family, I don’t know how I would have gotten through many of the days that I did. I’m not going to go into full detail other than as many of you already know, my dad has had some health issues that we found out about in November. There have also been some unexpected things along the way through all of it. For months, I have not been myself. Nothing really mattered other than getting my dad well again. These have been some of the hardest, most difficult and emotional days that I’ve ever experienced. Some days, there weren’t even words. It’s almost like I had no voice and couldn’t even talk. I’ve had times where I experienced straight up anger, shock, hurt, and tears (both happy and sad), many, many tears. I would try my hardest to be happy and tell myself, there are good things in life going on. Nothing mattered other than having my dad well and getting him home. No one will ever be doing a good enough job for that person you love. Believe me, my dad has had amazing and wonderful doctors along the way. There’s always those few times where no one is doing enough for your loved one at that time. I’ve never felt so helpless. All my family and I could do was pray, have faith, and be there. I try to wake up and live life normally, but many days, more so than not, I feel like I’m struggling with emotions and falling apart. I try really hard to be positive, strong, and repeat to myself, “It’s going to be okay. You are keeping it all together and are doing the best that you can.”

I am very close to my dad. I always have been. It’s a father/daughter bond that is unbreakable. I strive to make him proud daily. I try to live up to his work ethic. He has the biggest heart and would do anything for his family. He is strong, and a fighter. He’s my hero, even though sometimes (in my heart), I think I bring out the light in his eyes. When I started finding out about everything, I just remember years ago, him always saying how important time and health are. I’m getting older, and I want my dad to walk me down the aisle one day, I want him to meet his grandchild if I ever would become pregnant. Life is moving too fast! As important as these things are to me, there’s nothing more important currently, than having my dad here, home, and well. I can’t even imagine everything he’s gone through, and still is going through. I can’t really explain a lot of what I’ve felt daily for the last four months. I know a few weeks ago, it felt like I was completely alone in the entire world. My brain empty, not quite sure how I drove and got myself to the hospital, I just needed to get to my dad, see him, and be with him. Some days, I often wonder if life will ever be close to being what it was. I know that I can talk to the people that I’m close to. Some I know have been in similar situations and understand and make feel like I’m not crazy.

Growing up, I grew up in a traditional family home and family has always been everything. Still to this day, morals and traditions are still strong within me. Many days, I feel far from the norm of the world. We live in quite a different world today then when I was growing up. So much has changed, things I never thought could or would happen. I’ve always been an emotional person, even as a child. These last few months, it has really hit me hard how fast life can change. How it can test you. I’ve felt things I’ve never felt before…

I will say with all the craziness, social distancing, staying safe…Right now all we can do it take it day by day. Try to live as normal as possible. Do what you can, the best you can at the moment. I’m not sleeping much more or better, but I’m home longer to catch up on laundry, work on webinars for hours/credits, started seedlings which is therapeutic and rewarding (aka quick fix of calmness), and I’ve been trying to read for enjoyment.

This slow down makes everyone realize not to take anything for granted. Although normally, the hours and weeks are long, I miss my job. I miss my work family, I miss my students-their giggles, their stories, watching them grow day by day, their families…As silly as it may sound, I miss taking my time, strolling and taking my long walks through Target, haha…Tonight, I needed a break so I wrote…I feel guilty many days for feeling so down. I know life could always be worse. I keep telling myself that better days are ahead and I will be smiling and laughing a lot more. I’m trying to be positive and patient and let time work it’s magic.

As for now, stay safe and healthy and take care! I’d love to hear how you are all coping with staying in, so feel free to share how you are handling life these days!

XoXo,

Melissa

Back to School Teacher Favorites

(All opinions are my own and have not been influenced by any additional outside sources.)

Hey friends! Sorry that I haven’t posted in a few months. I’ve had that blogging itch and all summer long I have wanted to post articles, but while starting a new job in May on top of still working two part time jobs from time to time, there are many nights that I’ve been completely exhausted and too tired to write. As the summer school program that I taught is coming to an end, I decided that a great way to get back on track would be to write a new blog post, so why not share some of my favorite items for going back to school if you are a teacher!

It’s that time again…Summer was here and flew by and now it’s time to get ready for “Back to School!” One of my favorite places to shop for items for the classroom would have to be at Target in their “Bullseye Playground” section. Fun classroom items that are sold at such a great price! You will see some of the ones that I chose below.

One of my favorite subjects to teach is reading, along with children’s literacy. I love introducting new books and authors to my students. Kohls has an awesome program called “Kohls Cares.” When you purchase one of the select items from “Kohls Cares,” 100% of the net profit is donated to charitable organizations. Each item is only $5.00. Some of the items this year are Pete the Cat, Biscuit, Batman, Pinkalicious, as well as others. I also love how there are stuffed animals that go along with the books.

Here are a few of my favorite purchases to start off the school year!

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Balancing in Heels: Book Review

Balancing in Heels

By: Kristin Cavallari

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Years ago, I loved tuning in and watching the hit shows on MTV, “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills.” I enjoyed them so much I even have them on DVD! Most reality TV stars in today’s society come out with their own business line or book eventually. Many times, these people are often judged as the person you see on TV.

Kristin Cavallari, was known on both shows to be the independent, flirty, mouthy, boyfriend stealing girl. Not your average nice girl. Sorry, Kristin. I would say most girls would find her as the one to stay away from and as the enemy, whereas, the guys on the other hand would find her as a challenge to date. I will admit, I was hesitant on purchasing her book, “Balancing in Heels” at first, due to how she was portrayed from the shows.

After reading this book, you will see Kristin in a different light. She explains what it was like growing up in reality TV, what things matter most to her in life, and how she became the successful woman and mother that she is today! Bottom line, how she keeps it all together by being herself, as well as how and why it works.

I enjoyed how she wrote about her relationship and how she knew that this was the man she wanted to marry. Their break up was not something that she wanted, but she knew that if there was compromise on both sides, they could find ways to make their relationship work! She is truly happy and it is apparent by the glow that she gives off through her writing and in the photos in the book. Just a sheer look of natural happiness!

She also provides some wonderful, healthy recipes! I need to try some of the smoothie recipes for sure! It was inspiring to read how two famous people are true to themselves, yet have family time, and still make time for each other, despite their busy schedules. Anything can work if two people want it to happen!

Her shoe and jewelry lines which are expanding are amazing! I love her shoe designs! Another case in point, which a lot of times many people lose track of is how important it is to keep yourself healthy and well in the process of life. Many times, we put others first and throw what we need for ourselves under the bus.

I highly recommend reading this book! You aren’t just reading about someone else’s life or story. You will be able take away some of what she talks about and apply it to your life as well. In addition, you will have new, healthy food and drink recipes to try!

Have any of you read, “Balancing in Heels?” What are your thoughts on the book? Have you tried any of her recipes? I’d love to hear what you think!

#GIRLBOSS

#GIRLBOSS

By: Sophia Amoruso

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I loved this book! I recommend it to all women! It was a very easy read, and as I read it, I felt inspired. At the start of each chapter there were quotes that were meaningful. It was really nice to read a book that could turn my doubts about myself into positive thinking. Sophia’s words of wisdom made me feel (I usually doubt almost every decision I make) like I could go out there and create and follow my dreams-no problem. In reality though, it takes a lot more than powerful words that prevents me from going after some of my dreams…

Many of her chapters gave me inspiration. I learned that it’s okay to not be perfect, and it is okay to be unique and different. You can succeed whether you are an introvert or extrovert. If you are feeling down, or want to feel empowered, I suggest you read this book.  This book is one that you could read multiple times if you need a reminder that you are good enough.  You can get ahead in life just by being the unique, wonderful person that you are. Believing in yourself is important.

I also love her podcast Girlboss Radio on Spotify. I enjoy listening to the stories of so many successful women and how they got to be where they are today.  One of Sophia’s questions is always, “What was your “GIRLBOSS” moment?  It is always interesting to hear what they have to say.  It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, or that they have reached some almost unattainable goal.  It’s often nice to hear some of the most down to earth answers.  Netflix is supposed to air the #GIRLBOSS series, which I have not watched yet, but one day when I find time, I’m sure I will take a day and binge watch the series.

Have any of you read #GIRLBOSS or watched the series? Tell me what your thoughts are on either the book or the series.

 

Read Across America

Read Across America

The National Education Association (NEA) started “Read Across America.” This day is celebrated in many elementary schools. It promotes and motivates children to celebrate reading. It is normally celebrated on March 2, in honor of the famous author: Dr. Seuss!

Read Across America is a day to celebrate reading, which is such an important skill for young children to master.  Throughout the years I have taught in many school districts and many grades.  Schools have been pressured into teaching so many specific skills for standardized testing, that it has not left much time to incorporate the arts or story time.  When a student is asked to bring a book in to read after a test while others are still working, a common response is a sigh or they complain about reading.  Whether it is factual or for enjoyment, it so important to get a book into a child’s hands.  Let them have a choice so they will be able to have fun and learn at the same time.  If you have children, take the time at home and read them a story, practice reading with them, and encourage them to read!  Let their minds soar!  Introduce them to different genres, and let them have a choice about what they want to read.  Allow them to find a love for reading!  They will have fun and be learning in the process without even realizing it.

During “Read Across America” many schools will have business owners, parents, grandparents, police officers, etc…come in and read stories to children.  If this is an opportunity in a school near you, and you are a parent, or an aunt/uncle, take the interest and time, and volunteer to read a story to their class.  This is suppose to be a fun day filled with reading activities and to focus and celebrate a love for reading and learning!  This was one of my favorite days to celebrate during the school year!

(Wearing my “Reading Rocks” t-shirt and my red and silver “Read Across America” nails.)

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One of my favorite courses in college that I took was a Children’s Literacy class.  Teaching phonics and reading was what I was most passionate about while teaching in the classroom. Some of my favorite children’s books and authors growing up or currently would be: Curious George-H. A. Rey, The Very Hungry Caterpillar-Eric Carle, If You Give a Moose a Muffin-Laura Joffe Numeroff, Fancy Nancy-Jane O’ Connor, Junie B. Jones-Barbara Park, Pete the Cat-I Love My White Shoes-James Dean, and there are way too many more for me to name.

What were some of your favorite books growing up?

Although, I won’t be celebrating “Read Across America” in a classroom this year, I am going to focus on taking some time each night this month to read for enjoyment for myself!

Happy Read Across America Day!

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Goodbye 2016…The Happiness Project

The year is coming to an end and everyone around us will be talking about resolutions or goals for the upcoming year! I have a book that I bought a few years ago and I review it almost every December when the month is about to end. It is sometimes difficult to achieve what you had envisioned at the beginning of the year. This why I love the book, “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin.

The Happiness Project

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The Happiness Project,” written by Gretchen Rubin is honestly one of my favorite books that I have ever bought. This is a book that you can go back to multiple times for ideas and inspirations.

The one thing that I love most about this book is that anyone can relate to it. The start of a new year is right around the corner. In this book, I like the idea of focusing on one big goal for the month and listing a few mini goals that will help you to achieve the main goal for that month. Coming up with 12 big goals with mini goals that go along with them, helps to keep the big goal in perspective. Once the goal is achieved, try to carry it throughout the year.

I have made an outline yearly. The hard part for me is keeping it going throughout the year. I will say that I have achieved some of my goals from last year, just not all of them. I always start off strong and then life gets in the way. One way to help stay focused on the goals will be to remind myself weekly of what I’m focusing on. I may even try to add four mini goals, which would be one goal a week to achieve the main goal for that month. Fingers crossed…this solution works!

Another idea I would like to focus on for the new year is a Gratitude/Positivity journal. Each day I must write down something positive or that I was grateful for, for that day!

What are your goals and resolutions for 2017? Share your tips and tricks with me on how you work on your resolutions and goals to keep them throughout the year!

A Sweet Read…

Book:  The Wedding Bees                     Author:  Sarah-Kate Lynch

This was one of my favorite books that I read over the summer.  If you are looking for a sweet (no pun intended) read with some added romance, you will enjoy this book!  I didn’t want to put this book down at night.  I wanted to keep reading it because I just the loved the meaning that went with the story.  Sometimes when you least expect something, you will find the hidden underlying reason of why you followed the path that you were on.

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