Back to Blogger

So… I moved the blog to WordPress last year to try out a new platform. Plus, according to my blog I was out of space to add any more photos. I thought I would love WordPress–we use it for our business website and it’s pretty easy to use. That’s the paid version, though. The free version has been pretty difficult to work with. The templates are pretty boring, and it’s very hard to move anything around. And you can’t even change the fonts or colors!

A few days ago I discovered that Blogger had significantly upped the amount of storage space, so I shifted the blog back! And, yes, while I was at it, I figured a new name was in order. If you’ve been following the blog here, go check out the continuing saga at



It’s official!

At the beginning of the year, in my “What I hope for this year” post, I mentioned we were going to start trying for a baby this year. Well, I’m happy to report that it did not take long at all! As of the end of February, we are most definitely pregnant!

Positive pregnancy test


We’re pretty shocked that it happened so fast, but so excited, too. Baby T is due November 11, just in time for Thanksgiving.

And of course, we had to start doing “bump” pictures right away… even though there’s really not a bump yet. 🙂

Six weeks pregnant

Valentine’s Day 2015: What I Love

Here are some random loves of mine right now:

1) Chris! (Okay, not so random.) Love that guy! We went and had our Valentine’s dinner date on Thursday night because neither of us want to go out on actual Valentine’s Day with all the other people. We went to Bo-Beau in La Mesa and had a lovely meal and drinks: pork, mashed potatoes, and a mule for him, salmon, lentils, and a Tokyo Tea for me. Tonight we’re going grocery shopping. And maybe we’ll bring back some sushi and make our own drinks here. Or maybe we’ll just watch a movie and work on our laptops. We’re open.

2) Fitbit! Sooooo glad I got this for myself for Christmas; it’s seriously a game changer for me. I haven’t had it long enough to see any real weight loss yet, but it is making me so much more aware of how much (or little) I’m moving, walking or otherwise. Most weekdays, I’m able to get to 7,000-10,000 pretty easily from walking around my classroom all day, but man, weekend days at home are ridiculously low. And, since I’m using it to track my calorie intake, too, it’s way more motivating for me not to eat an unnecessary amount of food on those home day, since I can see how little I’m exerting. Crazy cool. Crazy motivating. Crazy easy.

3) Elise Joy’s podcasts! I’ve followed Elise for awhile now, and I even dragged Chris down to a craft thingamajig downtown several years ago because she’d posted she’d be there on her blog. So wish I had gotten over myself and told her how awesome she and her blog were, but I was too shy. 😦 Anyway! Elise has been putting up creative podcasts for awhile now, and they’re my new go-to at the gym during weight lifting. Currently listening to one on affiliate programs, as I type this. Loved the last one I listened to at the gym, where she interviewed a fiction writer. Man, it made me want to sit down and finish my book up finally! Maybe this summer? When I’m only prepping curriculum half the time?

4) Math = Love! Sarah Hagan is my new online best friend who doesn’t know I exist. Whenever I’m stuck for an idea of how to teach a concept or foldable ideas (or just want a laugh about the ridiculous things her students say) I think, “What would Sarah do?” Then I google the concept and her blog together and find something amazing. I’d guess a third of my Pinterest teaching items are from Math=Love.

5) Parks and Recreation! I am so sad the final season is almost over. This has become one of my all time favorite shows, and I can honestly say there’s never been a point where I thought they were running out of momentum or starting to shoot themselves in the foot (ahem, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, and Veronica Mars). The characters are all unique and ridiculous and just fun to watch, and why is it ending?! Why?! They’re releasing two episodes per week on Tuesdays, and I find myself trying not to watch them both at one to extend the time I have with this show.

6) My 8th graders this year. They are the sweetest, and I just adore them. They’re also really, really innocent for thirteen-year-olds, and that makes me love them so much more.

Happy Valentine’s, 2015!

Monday out


Today one of my lovely 8th graders brought us all flowers in the morning. Super sweet, and made me realize today would be great! Well, it changed my attitude toward Monday morning at least. Crazy how perspective can totally change your day. It was a bit rainy all day, so the kids were a bit on the stinker side at some points. Fingers crossed tomorrow’s nice and sunny!

One Little Word: TODAY

No day but today written in calligraphy

It’s December 31st again, what? This year has flown by, and I’m excited to get into the next one. Usually I’ve got a touch of seasonal depression around this time of year, but I’m feeling really good right now about, well, just about everything! Teaching, my students, lesson plans, our photography business, Chris, the cats, my awesome friends, creating projects, and everything else this new year will hold. It all just feels right at the moment, and I honestly can’t remember a time when that’s really been true about everything in life. (Wait, am I jinxing myself? Knock on desk.)

This year I actually chose a phrase for my One Little Word: NO DAY BUT TODAY. The song “Another Day” from Rent is one of my all time faves, and I’ve been getting goosebumps listening to it (on repeat) lately. It’s also a great song to rock out to in the car.

So much will happen this year, so much of it which will take a lot of time, but I’m determined not to let TODAY slip by. Over the last few years, I’ve dedicated a lot of my free time to my job. Like, a lot. Way more than I probably should have, but I’m a perfectionist when it comes to creating and designing for my classroom. Would it be super fast and easy to hand write all my quizzes and tests? Heck, yes, but I just Can’t. Do. It. I have to have them in the same template and format as all my other assessments, and I have to make it professional looking. I just have to. Luckily, after several years of going about lesson planning this way, I’ve got a lot of ready-to-go resources, or at least templates to streamline things. So this is the year I give myself a deadline on planning each night. I’m excited to think of the fun projects (or even just emptying the dishwasher!) that I’ll be able to get to with this extra time.

This is especially exciting because I got a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas, and I’ve already had so much fun with it. Creating with that guy, and really working on Project Life this year to get down our stories as they happen (instead of 3 months later, or over summer break), are my two big creative plans this year.

TODAY also means making time now to be healthy and get my exercise in. I like to play the, “Oh, I’ll go to the gym tomorrow,” game… everyday. Chris got his membership a few months ago, too, and I thought the accountability would be good for both of us, but we’re both just the worst. So we, along with all the other new year’s goal setters in the world, are planning to make more time for the gym this year, along with choosing healthy foods over junk. We’ve slowly over the years begun introducing more unique ideas and foods into our diets (almond milk instead of cow’s, Ezekiel bread, green smoothies, flax and chia seeds, ultimate salads, etc.), so we’ve at least started in the right direction.

TODAY will also mean embracing changes and challenges. I tend to shy away from change. Change scares me. It’s different, and I don’t like it at the time. Yet I always end up loving the “New”, whatever it ends up being. New job, new house, new friends, new cameras, even new office chairs. We’ve got quite the big change coming this year– we’ve decided this is the year we try to bring a tiny human into the world. Yes, the ultimate change and challenge. I am equal parts terrified and so excited, and we’re not even pregnant yet. This is something we’ve been looking forward to for so long, and now that the time is finally right it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. I am hoping by taking time for myself this year, and releasing the “teaching is my whole life” aspect, that I’ll figure out how to balance the work life with the new family life we’ll be finding ourselves in. It will be big changes for both of us, work-wise, but like I said at the beginning, I’m feeling surprisingly good about this year and what’s in store.

So that’s that! My word for this year, my reasoning, my hopes and fears, and all that good stuff. This is the last post of 2014, which was a great year. We worked hard and played hard, took time for friends and families, loved on our cats a ridiculous amount, and came out of it stronger than ever as a couple. Here’s to 2015 being an equally fabulous year, if not more so!


So this was quite an amazing Christmas for me; my husband’s parents got me a Silhouette Cameo! I was not expecting this, so suffice to say I could barely finish unwrapping the box when I realized what it was. I think I just laid my head on the box and cuddled it for a minute while feeling completely overwhelmed.

“Oh, yeah,” my husband says. “They told me they were getting that for you.”

“Why didn’t you stop them!? Why didn’t you tell them it was too expensive?!” This is going on full in front of everyone at Christmas, by the way.

He shrugs. “They do what they want.”

Good grief. I owe them about 5 grandchildren now.

This was the first Christmas I can recall in recent years that I’ve actually had something I’ve been itching to play with all day. As soon as presents were done, I plugged that baby in and got to work. And by getting to work, I do mean setting it up step by step, exactly as the directions indicated and reading every word of the manual. Sadly, even reading the directions insanely carefully didn’t keep me from cutting out giant notches at the top of my cutting mat right off the bat. Sigh.

I’m not going to lie; it was a bit of a struggle at first. Turns out my laptop’s CD player has decided to go on strike, so I had to download the software from the Slow Moving Internets of Oak Glen. That took awhile. But finally we were up and running, and I was figuring out how to access the library and hemming and hawing over what my first shape would be. Of course, I picked one a wee too intricate and made it a wee too small and had my settings a wee bit off, so it was crap. Then I switched to fabric, since my mother-in-law had a nice stack of scraps going, and I had to show her how I was going to make cute onesies for those five grandkids soon. (My husband is pretending he doesn’t hear this.)

I was determined to get something workable out of the day’s practice. After much trial and error, I finally got this adorable guy mostly cut. I had to trim up a couple of spots where the fabric didn’t quite part ways. Baby T #1’s (future baby, not pregnant, calm down, people) first handmade onesie will be Christmasy and it will be adorable!

silhouette cameo cutout of reindeer with christmas fabric

My mother-in-law says, “How will you sew it on the onesie without it fraying?”

Dang it. I really have no idea what I’m doing with fabric. Of course I can’t just iron this on without it actually being an iron-on. But I’m keeping it anyway, and I’ll probably hand sew it on in some weird fashion just to use it because like I said, it was my first real cut-out with my Cameo.

Now we’re back home, and I still have one blessed week off from school, so I busted Cam out again. (Yes, I’ve given him a nickname. And yes, Cam is a him.) This time I decided to keep with my actual strengths, so out came the paper. I was really in the mood to do more than just randomly pick a couple of designs, so I decided to try my hand at my own creations. I recently downloaded the Adobe Shapes app and have been itching to get a sharpie and play with some doodling. Since I’m also trying to plan out some ideas for the start of my next Project Life album, and I wasn’t really finding a fun 2015 shape on Pinterest, I went for making my own.

I can’t believe how incredibly easy it was.

Now to be fair, I have the most updated version of Photoshop, plus a Creative Cloud account (thank you, photography business), and the Shapes app goes hand in hand with both, so I don’t know how easy this is without the Creative Cloud connection syncing shapes automatically, but I can’t imagine it’s much harder.

To make your own Photoshop shape with the Adobe Shape app:

Step 1: Draw your doodle/word/quote on a white piece of paper, using dark lead or ink. I used a thick black Sharpie. You want to use white paper, because contrast is your friend here.

Step 2: Use the Shape app to capture the image. Clean the image up using the app’s instructions and tools.

Step 3: Save the shape. If you have Creative Cloud, saving will automatically sync to your library, and you should be able to find your shape quickly when you open Photoshop. If you don’t have Creative Cloud, I think you can just save the image on your phone, get the picture to your computer with whatever way is easiest, and then open the image in Photoshop.

Step 4: In Photoshop, you may need to fill in the shape. Mine had lots of hollow spots, because the app mostly goes for the outline of the shape. I had to rasterize the shape so I could fill it in with black.

Step 5: Making a custom shape! Click on the Magic Wand tool, then click anywhere on your design. If there are multiple pieces that aren’t touching, just click on the other pieces to add them to the selection. Right click the image and select Make Work Path, and a little box will pop off with the tolerance setting. I set mine to 1, because… why not? Truth moment: I don’t really know what this does. Usually I’d ask my graphic-design-degree husband, but he’s busy playing League of Legends, so I’m on my own for this endeavor. Anyway, Photoshop will create a path around the design. Why do you need this? Honestly, because “Define Custom Shape” in the edit menu will stay grayed out until you do this part. That’s the only reason I’ve got. So now that you’ve done it, “Define Custom Shape” suddenly becomes an option, and bam! It tells you to name your shape and then you’re done! The shape gets tucked away in the custom shapes section for when you want to use it.

Note: you can also make a brush out of your design here, as well. Just choose “Define Brush Preset” from the Edit menu. It’s right above the custom shape option. I did both.

Okay! Man, all that work at the start made me hungry, so in between designing and cutting I did a sushi run for us…which also involved a stop at Costco for our holiday pictures… and a stop at Michaels to check out their vinyl products….

So this is the part where I had to do some research to figure out how to get my shape into the Silhouette Studio software. The instructions I found were to save the image as big as possible, make a jpeg, then open said jpeg in SS. I did this, and my jpeg opened up about 5 sizes bigger than the 12×12 mat. Could’ve probably gone smaller. I zoomed way out to see the whole thing, selected the Trace option, then pulled the traced shape out of the jpeg and moved it onto the image of the cutting mat. Send to Silhouette.

And look how cool it came out! Even my husband was impressed, and that takes a lot. 🙂

project life 2015 silhouette cameo die cut

PS- using an xacto knife instead of buying the expensive spatula = win.

After all my not-so-good attempts from before, I wised up and cut it out first on scrap blank paper before putting in the real deal. This is my last black and white dotted card from the Midnight kit, and it is a card I love, so I couldn’t sacrifice it lightly. The trial went great, but in true Me fashion, I didn’t pay close enough attention to the cut marks on the mat when I stuck down my card. The “t” is falling off the left side. This is why it’s a terrible idea to sing along with Rent (the filmed, Broadway version) while trying to do detailed work.

2015 cut out with silhouette cameo on project life midnight paper

I take it back. The filmed Broadway version of Rent is the best thing to watch/sing along with while crafting. It narrowly beats out the Les Mis 20th anniversary live show, but it does beat it.

Anyway, I made it work. Just tucked the word right up to the edge of the paper so it looks like it wraps around the edge. Like I intended to do it all along, right?

2015 title card for 2015 project life album

And now I have my title card for the first page of my 2015 album! (Card and gold dots are from one of the Heidi Swapp Project Life value kits I bought at Michaels.) Yes, it took extensively longer than any card normally does, but I’m so happy with all the things I learned along the way. Now I’m super confident about making my own designs in the future. Or at least, this future week. Once school starts up again I seriously doubt I’ll have too much time to do longer craft activities like this one.

Ooh, speaking of school… I was supposed to spend today lesson planning… whoops.

Anyone want the design? Like I said, I couldn’t really find any 2015 title designs when I went looking this morning, so maybe this will help someone else who’s on the same mission. 🙂 I’m putting up the links for the Photoshop brush version (an abr file) and the Silhouette design (a studio3 file) into Box for easy downloading.

twenty15 Photoshop brush

twenty15 Silhouette design

Merry Christmas! Back to inequalities and exponential functions I go!