Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Making Memories

I'm so excited to share with you what I got today in the mail!! Shutterfly is one of my favorite places to stop for decorations because you can make them your own. Today I finally received the final touch to my perfectly princess covered desk. It's prettier in person than I could have imagined. Thank you Shutterfly!! 

Memories are a great thing to have. They're an even better thing to show off! My family and I love crafts and pictures. That's why Shutterfly.com is one of my favorite sites to go to. It's not only a great place to get prints of pictures for amazing prices. You can also make your own personalized decor. Like this placemat I was able to personalize for my Royal Corner.

We've also made picture mugs, wall hangings, and memory books. Shutterfly always has great deals like free shipping or 40% off. Plus! Every new free account also gets up to 50 free 4x6 prints! If you're looking for a place to make great personalized products for low prices, or just need a few perfect prints for your scrapbook, this is the site for you! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Memories: High School Teachers.

It's important for everyone to find something they're passionate about. I have a few things that hold my fire, one of which was asked about on Twitter this morning. School. As a homeschooler myself, you can understand why the subject of school would be important to me. Today, a blogger friend of mine, +thewalkthruking, asked an open question on twitter. "Question of the day: How much is learned from school?" It seemed an innocent enough question, but it brought me back to my high school days and the inadequacy of  some of my teachers.

Example 1. I always did well in math, from the time I was little. Algebra and economics were a breeze, but when it came to 10th grade geometry, I was lost. Sadly, so was our teacher. He was a retired UPS truck driver and a wiz at most other kinds of math. Even in geometry, he could easily do the problem for you. Explaining how to do it ourselves, on the other hand, was a different matter. No one in our class understood his methods. After every student failed the first exam, that became painfully clear. In an effort to help us all pass our exams, he picks all of the algebraic problems from the books and made his own tests. Our geometry class that year consisted of re-learning Algebra II and memorizing the names of certain shapes.

Example 2. Senior year, my high school science teacher was having issues. Health issues. She rarely felt well. Though she spoke of her vast experience in athletics as a young girl, walking six miles both ways to school every day and competing around the world in swimming, she was now largely obese and forced to walk with a cane for her knees. We all understood she was in terrible pain. In previous years she'd been a wonderful teacher, but the year I had her, the pain and problems had affected her too much. She rarely came to class prepared for the lessons. What she knew of chemistry in the past was lost to her now. Unfortunately, her students were the ones who suffered. We learned nothing. Every test and quiz was taken open book, so there was no incentive to study in the least. There was no recompense for undone homework or low test scores. She was make exceptions for every situation. As long as her students passed her class, that was all she worried about.

I had a hunger to learn, as did several others in my class. We took our concerns to the guidance councilor, who offered us her office to study on our own. We taught ourselves science and literature, and later in senior year, math, during our free periods. We weren't required to participate in any sort of physical activity course and many of the seniors could come and go from school as they pleased. In my opinion, this was not a beneficial place of learning. The one saving grace was the woman who taught History and Spanish. She was an amazing woman with a passion for her students. She kept on top of her lessons, making that clear and simple though not easy. She required her classes to participate in projects and causes, took her government classes on field trips to local government functions, and helped us with individualized study tools. I can still remember the songs she taught us, and her flashcards are still tucked away in my box of memories. This woman is the reason I became a teacher. She is the reason I have my passion for teaching.

 Today's school systems are so lacking. Teachers with no passion. Students with no drive. Classes with no life. I thank God for the few good ones out there still inspiring and making a difference. If you are one of those reading right now, thank you.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Personal Post: Left Behind

It can be really easy to feel sorry for yourself sometimes. When all you can see of the road you're on is where you're standing now. I'm reminded,  in times like this, of the scene in Disney's Alice in Wonderland, where Alice finds a bright red path leading "home." She happily hurries to follow every twist and turn. Until she sees what looks like a dog, with a brush for a nose and a brush for a tail. She's stopped in her tracks because the dog like creature is brushing away the path! All the came before and all that comes after has been swept away, and all she can do is cry.

I feel like that right now. Like crying. Like sitting down on a rock in the middle of an audience of strangers and begging anyone to show me the way. What Alice lacked in that moment was hope, and it is hope I am finding difficult to hold on to right now. I know God has a plan, and I know that it is a perfect plan that I am a part of. But it sure doesn't feel like that when you can't see the path ahead of you. When all you can see is your life continuing the way it is now. And that sucks.

I love my family. I love my job. My freedom. But I feel like the kid who never grew up. The one no one takes seriously. The one who has no idea what it's like to be on her own. I've been left behind...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reading with Kindle

Recently, a dear friend of mine bought herself a brand new kindle fire HD tablet as a birthday present. To herself. Haha. Her first edition kindle fire couldn't hold a candle to the sleek, high speed device. Apps outdated, run time too slow, storage almost non-existent! At least, those were her complaints. So! Being the wonderful friend that she is, she handed the older kindle down to me. I didn't have one, and had no other tablet to compare it to. I was so excited! I've been wanting an e-reader for years, ever since the first Nook was released. Well, this wasn't a Nook, but who was I to complain? It was free! I found the adorable case at Toys-R-Us in the clearance section for $7, and bought a new charger port for $5. Over all, I paid $13 for my lovely little tablet. Score!

Then Amazon introduced this thing called "kindle firsts" that basically put Kindle far above any other e-reader in my opinion. Basically, at the beginning of each month, Amazon emails you a list of four books that are not yet available to anyone else. You pick two, paying a ridiculously low price. For Prime members, the books are free! The catch? All you have to do is read at your own pace, and when you're done, write a short review. Basically what you thought and why. Very straightforward. And very worth two free e-books every month! 

But you don't need a kindle to get these great books from Amazon. All you need is the kindle app! I have one on my phone. It's great because it syncs with any other Amazon tablet or app you may have. So you always keep your place across devices. The other thing I love about this app is that it learns your reading speed based on how often you turn the page, and estimates how long it will take you to finish the book. I especially love this feature because it gives me a realistic idea of how quickly I can finish my ever growing stack of reading material and crank out new reviews. 

This is a great app for any reader with a tablet, computer, or smart phone. I highly recommend it with a high high 5 out of 5 stars! And if you have an extra $80 to spoil yourself with. Get a kindle paper white!! My personal favorite. You won't regret it.