Knick Knacks

This category is for the million other random things that I may post that have nothing to do with my other categories…Get used to it ;)

My Trip To Disney!- Day 13 (30 Day Challenge)

Day 13 of Katy Widrick’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge asks me to share a place that I have visited before, and would like to visit again.  That answer is easy- Disney World!!!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, however, all opinions are solely my own.

My Trip To Disney

I was over 30 the first time that I went to Disney.  The trip was already amazing, but to make it even better, it was the week of my birthday!  And a school week ( I was absent an entire week)!  And my entire family was there!  #Winning!

We drove (about 6 cars) from South Carolina to Florida.  The crew included myself and my three children, four of my five siblings (and spouses), all of their children, and my Dad and his “special friend”.  We made up a group of about 27 people!  We cashed in some timeshare points at the Bluegreen resort, and had about 6 suites to house everyone.

To save money, we came up with a plan to have each room host a dinner one day.  Everyone was on their own for breakfast and lunch.  This worked out well, but we ended up with a LOT of leftovers!

What We Did Each Day

Day 1: We arrived, hung out around the resort (which was amazing, and I am not being paid to say that), and went to the store to stock up on food.  My sisters are super prepared, so one of them had cooked their dinner before we left and froze it.  We popped that in the oven, and had a no fuss meal.

Day 2: Off to Animal Kingdom.  With that many people, it is impossible to get everyone up and ready by a set time.  My niece woke up and made us all Mickey Mouse pancakes .  We arrived to the park and had an amazing time!  This was also the night of the fireworks show, so we stayed for that.  After leaving the park, we went back to the resort and played in the pool for hours!

Day 3:  Epcot was on the agenda for today.  This park was a lot of fun, and the International Food Festival was in full swing making it even better!  I sampled so many different foods from so many different places!

Day 4: Hollywood Studios on my birthday!  Three words- Tower of Terror!  There were so many amazing rides here, but the Tower of Terror was the most AMAZINGEST!  After all of this fun, we went back to the hotel where my family had a surprise party waiting for me and my nephew since we share a birthday.

Day 5: The magic kingdom!  This also happened to fall on the night of the Halloween party!  We dressed up in our costumes, and stayed at the park for most of the day.  The original plan was to go back to the resort to eat before the Halloween party, but we ended up being short on time.  Instead, we stayed at the park from that morning until the Halloween party was over (about 1am).  We were beat, but it was worth it!  Running around the park at night with the children was so much fun!

*BTW: The photos may be a little mixed up.  I could not remember where some of the photos were taken, so I just tossed them in.

Why I Want To Go Back

As you can see, we took part in so many different things!  Our days were packed from minute to minute!  While this was so much fun, we also were able to see which parks were not our favorites.

When we go back, we will do the park hoppers pass, and only go to the parks that we want to.  If we get to one and do not enjoy it, we will leave and go elsewhere.

I also want to go back because it was just plain fun!

A Day In The Life Of A Teacher Blogger- Day 12 (30 Day Challenge)

I sit here smiling as I write this post because today is the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!  This has been the hardest year yet, and the feeling of survival it is overwhelming!

Now on to blogging.  Being a full time teacher/blogger is fulfilling, but a lot of work!  I am looking forward to spending my summer focusing on my blog.  Since I encourage all teachers to blog for money, I think Day 12 is the perfect day to let you in on the reality of teacher blogging.

My Day

5:20 am- Alarm goes off.

5:30 am- Alarm goes off again (I hit snooze…)

5:40 am- Wait for it- alarm goes off yet again.  I really get up this time.

5:40-6:45 am- Take a shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, wake the kids, get them ready, eat breakfast, drink a cup or four of coffee, make lunch, and finally get everyone loaded in the car.

6:45-7:30am- Drop everyone off at their designated areas, and make my way to school.

7:30 am- Set up my classroom, shoo any students who are not where they should be away, and make my way to my duty station.

7:48 am- Students are sent out of the duty areas, and I go to my classroom to stand in the doorway and greet them.

7:55-9:48 am- Teach two classes of math.

9:48-10:46 am- Planning period.  Although this is my planning, I still have to call parents, answer emails, visit students in ISS, sit in on meetings, make copies, and also use the restroom and have a snack.  If I finish all of this in time, I may be able to grade some papers.

10:46-12:41 pm- I teach an enrichment type class, and my beloved ProTeam course.  The enrichment course is tough, but the ProTeam one is one of the highlights of my day!

12:41-1:40pm- LUNCH!  I am starving by this time.  I walk the students to lunch, make sure they get their trays and sit in the right spot.  I then heat my lunch, supervise students as I eat, finish eating in time to take them and myself to the restroom, and then take them back to class around 1:25.  During this time, I supervise them as they go to their lockers.

1:40-3:36pm- Teach two more classes of math.

3:36-4:00 pm- The dismissal bell rings at 3:36, but we wait in the classroom with our bus students until their buses are called over the intercom.

4:00pm-5:30 pm- Tutor, grade papers, organize my room, prepare for my next lesson, respond to parents, and joke with my teacher friends before heading home.

5:30-6:00 pm- Drive home.

6:00 pm- Walk in the house and eat whatever my husband has made for me.  My husband works a graveyard schedule, so he is the one to pick the kids up, make sure homework is completed, and feed everyone.

6:30-9:30 pm- Sit at the computer to work on my blog.  I check my stats, show people that I am still alive on social media, and write/schedule posts.

9:30 pm- Take a shower, make sure the kids have everything together, and get in the bed.  If I have any energy left, I will read a book or watch a little television.  Then I go to sleep and do it all over again the next day.

The Rewards

As you can see, teacher/bloggers have very full days!  However, my family and I make concessions for this because we have a common plan.  We know what we are working towards, and know that if we keep at it we will meet our goals.  So, teachers who are considering blogging, it may not be easy but in the long run it will be worth it.

10 Favorite Songs On My Playlist- Day 11 (30 Day Challenge)

My music playlist is a dangerous place!  There is no rhyme or reason, simply any songs that I found interesting thrown together.  I consider myself a lyrical person- so when I first hear a song, the lyrics are what connects me with it.  Because of that, you will find a range of genres here.  Here is your glimpse into my secret territory.

*Disclosure: Affiliate links are included but all opinions are my own.

My Playlist

Beyoncé- Don’t Hurt Yourself (featuring Jack White)

Pink- Just Like Fire

Jessica ReedyBetter



Mariah CareyClose My Eyes

Swedish House MafiaDon’t You Worry Child


Nicki Minaj & DrakeMoment 4 Life

MiguelSure Thing


As you can see, many of my songs may be considered “outdated”, but they sound good to me.  Hope you enjoy!

The First Time I Fell In Love- Day 10 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)



Had someone asked me 20 years ago when the first time I fell in love was, my answer would have been on multiple occasions.  At 33, I am wise enough to know that the answer is most certainly only once.

My very first boyfriend was in high school, and I thought that I was in love and headed towards marriage!  I thought that everything in our relationship was great, and was preparing to finish high school as he went off to college.  All of a sudden, he stops by my house with a letter breaking up with me.  I was devastated!  Worst yet, the problems that he mentioned were ones that I had never heard about before!

I remember crying to my Dad because I was so heartbroken!  We got back together the next day, only to have him break up with me again about a week later!  By that time, I was done!

When he called me before leaving for college to go out on a date, I had a plan!  When he came to pick me up for this “date”, he was surprised to see my sister/BFF with me.  We had him take us to the movies and out to eat, and also pay for it all.  We completely ignored him and focused on each other the entire time.  By the time he dropped us off, I think he had figured out not to bother calling again.

At that time, I considered myself in love.  As you can see by how quickly I was over him, it was not love at all!

The Real Thing

When I met my husband, things were immediately different.  We talked about everything, good and bad.  We always knew where we stood with one another, so there were no uncommunicated problems.  I may have thought that I was in love before, but my husband is the first man to ever hold my heart!

The difference between these two experiences are the communication and commitment.  With my husband, we communicate about our problems.  We also forgive each other and stick together.  So many people feel like love is something that is always smooth when it is not.  It is actually one of the roughest roads you will ever travel, but the right partner could make it the most satisfying, too!

5 Things I Want To Experience In The Future- Day 9 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)!

Day 9 of Katy Widrick’s 30 day blogging challenge has me sharing the 5 things that I would love to do in the future!

We all know that I am difficult, so there are categories within the things that I would like to do in the future!  Here is my list, broken down by the categories!


  • Renew our vows on our 15th year anniversary.  We never did have a wedding, so this would serve as our ceremony.
  • Go on an actual honeymoon with my husband!  We were married at the courthouse, and we both had to work the next day!  I would like for us to do a week-long (or more) honeymoon next time!


  • Pay off our car loans!  This will not make us debt free, but it will take away our biggest monthly headaches!  Once these are out of the way, we will really be able to focus on student loans and our mortgage!
  • Make this blog UBER profitable!  Right now, I am really focused on getting this blog up and running.  Once I streamline that, I will focus energy into really monetizing it!


  • Build traditions within my family.  Right now, I come home late from work, the kids sort of freestyle during the week, and my husband works 3rd shift.  I want to spend the next few years building those traditions with my family, such as eating dinner at the table together.

I could go on forever with this post, but Katy limited me to 5 things.  That is all for today!

One Experience That Left Me Feeling Totally Satisfied!- Day 8 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Today marks the beginning of the last week of school- Hooray! It also marks day 8 of Katy Widrick’s 30 day blogging challenge, which requires me to share a time that left me feeling totally satisfied.

May 7, 2011

May 7, 2011 marks a time when I completed something that I never imagined I could.  It is the day of my college graduation (undergraduate).  I was 27 (almost 28) years old, and had spent the last 5 years working on this degree.  In addition to working on this degree, I had a husband, 2 children, and a full-time job!  I was only the 3rd person in my family to graduate college!

I say all of this so that you will understand what this day meant to me.  I graduated high school with a low GPA, and even dropped out of community college.  After dropping out of community college, I began working at a production plant.  Where I live at, many people work at plants, and stay there until retirement.  I went into the plant believing that I could retire from there…

That production plant was some of the hardest work that I had ever done in my life!  It was a fiberglass plant, so I worked with spools of fiberglass.  There was a production quota that had to be met, so you were not able to take breaks when you felt like it.  It was a swing shift, so you worked a week on 1st shift, a week on 2nd shift, and a week on 3rd shift.  You then had 5 days off!  This may seem like a lot, but after working 3rd shift, you only want to sleep during that time!  Not to mention that fiberglass gets into your clothes and itches!!!

Needless to say, after working at this plant for about a year, I decided that college was a necessity!  I enrolled in an adult program, found a better job (in an insurance office), and got serious about it!  I wanted to give up so many times- it felt like time was standing still and the date would never come!  However I kept going and ended up finishing!

If you look in the lower right corner, you will see that small Magna Cum Laude sticker!  I managed to graduate with honors after all of this!

Pure Satisfaction

The day that I walked across that stage and accepted that degree can only be described as pure satisfaction!  All of my family was able to be there!  It was a perfect day!

The picture above is of my husband, children, in-laws, and myself.  This is not even half of the family that came to support me!  We actually had to sneak people into the graduation!

Although my Bachelor’s degree did not lead to a job, it did open up so many doors for me!  By this time, I had made the decision to become a teacher.  I graduated on May 7th, 2011, and was able to start my Master of Arts in Teaching program on May 11th.  By December of 2012, I was graduating that program as well, and I had my first teaching job by January 2013.

I have graduated 2 other times since that date, but the first graduation still feels like the turning point for me.  That graduation was the barrier that I could not cross.  The key to unlock all of the other doors of opportunities.  I often tell my students that they will either work hard or work smart.  Working smart is so much easier, but you have to have an education for that!

My Zodiac Sign (Scorpio)- Day 7 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Where my Scorpio’s at?!?!

Day 7 of Katy Widrick’s 30 day blogging challenge- what is your zodiac sign and does it fit you?  My zodiac sign is Scorpio, and here are the traits of Scorpios according to

Best Traits
Worst Traits
Sexy, Intense, Sensible, Serious, Practical, Realistic, Nurturing, Caring, Compassionate, Very loyal and protective of loved ones, Romantic, Spiritual, Feelings run deep, Sympathetic, Intuitive, Observant (don’t miss any details!), Excellent memory (don’t forget any details!), Determined, Deep thinking, Persistent, Willful, Independent, Uninhibited, Sensitive Obsessive, Suspicious, Unforgiving, Can be self destructive, Can be self pitying, Unpredictable, Introverted, Emotional, Oversensitive, Stubborn, Opinionated, Inflexible, Pessimistic (tend to dwell on the past)

So Katy wants to know if this sign fits me, and I would have to say that it mostly does.

Best Traits

I am a very nurturing, caring,  and compassionate person, and also a hopeless romantic.  When it comes to things that I want, I am determined and persistent.  Throughout my life, if there was something that I wanted, I went for it and made sure it happened.  I believe that everyone has the power to do this, as referenced by my career choices.  I became a teacher because I wanted to help young people awaken these traits within themselves.  I started blogging to help everyone awaken these traits.

So, 18 out of 25 were correct- 72 percent.

Worst Traits

I am definitely suspicious, unforgiving, and introverted (although I don’t feel that introverted is a negative trait).  Stubborn and inflexible are pretty apparent in my character, too.  On the other hand, I am not self destructive, emotional, or pessimistic.

Unforgiving is one of my most serious flaws.  I have very few friends because once someone hurts me, I am completely done with that relationship.  I do not dwell on the relationship, I simply move on and forgive from a distance.  I never understood why people allow people to do the same things to them repeatedly!  Love that person from a distance and keep it moving!

On the worst traits, 9 out of 13 were correct- 69%.  That brings my total to 27 out of 38, or 71% accurate.  That is passing on the new 10 point scale:) also lists dishonest and superficial (fake) people as major dislikes of Scorpios.  Once again, this is a winner!  Two of my major peeves is people who lie/steal/cheat, and people who are extremely materialistic!  There are so many important pieces to life, and none of them include your car or your shoes!

So, in the end, I really am a SCORPIO- at least 71% of me is!



10 Interesting Facts About me- Day 6 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

It is day 6 of Katy Widrick’s 30 Day blogging challenge, and the topic is “10 interesting facts people don’t know about me.”

I am a very private person, so most of the things about me will fall under this category.  I live in a small town, so typically everyone knows everything about everyone else.  This always bothered me- especially when people use that knowledge to judge you.  Which is why I am such a private person today.  Without further ado, here is my list!

I am a little OCD-ish

My husband and children see this side of me often!  I am very particular about things, and would rather do it myself than have someone else do it wrong.  This ranges from cooking to cleaning to grading papers for school.  My husband loves to cook for me and make my coffee for me.  But it does not taste right when someone else does it for me!  Over the years, he has perfected cooking for me- everything except my eggs and coffee.


I often have days where I do not even want to leave my house.  And I could easily waste a day in my bed reading a good book.  I do what needs to be done, but I love my lazy days!

I am against violence

Of course wars are necessary, but fighting and other displays of violence are pointless to me!  I grew up in rougher neighborhoods, but I never understood why people always want to resort to fighting to settle their differences.  Why not talk it out, or agree to disagree?

I am very selfish

I am a creature of comfort, and I put my comfort above most things.  My family comes first, but many times if I have to choose between making someone else happy and making myself happy, I will choose me!  It makes me sound like an asshole, but I am being honest here!

I am a nature lover

When we purchased our home, some of my requirements were a screened porch and a nice view.  Ever since I was a child, I could spend hours observing nature.  Just to be clear, though, I like it from a distance!  Bugs and other creatures freak me out up close!  Last year, we had a bit of a lizard problem on the screened porch that caused me to stop using it for awhile!

I am socially awkward

I have problems with people…they make me uncomfortable.  Being a teacher is different, I can be myself with my students.  It is adults that make me uncomfortable.  I always feel as if they are sizing me up, or judging me.  I am what I am- take it or leave it!

I suffered from speech problems throughout most of my childhood.

That is right, I was considered a special education student because I had to see a speech therapist through most of my elementary career.  In my mind, I felt like I was pronouncing things correctly.  Only my dad could understand me, though.  It is funny now, because all of my children have had speech problems and my dad has to sometimes translate for us!

I was pregnant in high school

Yes, me.  I was pregnant my senior year of high school.  This is a huge secret that not many people know.  I ended up having a miscarriage early in the pregnancy.  I was so embarrassed at the time that I did not share it with anyone, but a few people who know me well figured it out.  I will never forget the mother of a close friend of mine pulling me to the side to ask me about it.  I was so embarrassed that I lied to her about it.  She told me then, “If you are, it does not make you a bad person.  You are not the first this has happened to, and you won’t be the last.”  I never did come clean to her about it, but her support touches me even today.

I have had 2 miscarriages in my life

Pregnancy hit me one of two ways- extremely difficult or extremely easy.  As you read above, my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage.  My second pregnancy was so easy that I almost thought I had imagined the struggles of the first one.  My third pregnancy was a miscarriage- at around 6 months of pregnancy.  My last two pregnancies were both successful, but different.  With my daughter, I ended up being placed on bed rest and having to have a cerclage (where your cervix is sewn together to prevent early labor).  After all of this, my last pregnancy was again a breeze!

I was in the Navy for a short time

This is a big one- one that I have been extremely embarrassed of!  After high school, I went into the Navy for about 6 months.  Boot camp was really rough for me, though.  I had some problems with an officer sexually harassing me, and also problems with the loss of my commanding officers.  In the end, I decided that it was not right for me and was discharged.  I do not fail at much in my life, so this has haunted me for years because I do feel that I failed at it.  This is something that no one outside of my family (and now all of you) know.  I am still trying to overcome the sense of failure from this.

There we have it.  The 10 things that very few people know about me.  Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts!

A Time When I Felt Defeated- Day 5 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Day 5 of Katy Widrick’s blogging challenge is “share a time when you felt defeated, and what happened next”.  This is an easy post, because it falls in line with one of my themes: financial distress.  Particularly, the time that I filed for bankruptcy!

The Beginning

I had always had a serious problem with money- as in I spent too much of it!  Growing up, my family was pretty poor and did not have money for frivolousness.  I could not wait to secure a real job!  I was 15 (almost 16) when I was hired at McDonald’s.  I was not able to work until I turned 16, but I was so excited!  As soon as I began working, I also began spending.

This habit continued into my adult life.  I would make money, and immediately spend it.  The process of buying the things that I wanted fascinated me!  By the time I turned 18, I got my first credit card!  I really went crazy then!  And I kept going crazy until I had my first child and no longer worked.  Those credit card bills ended up going to collections accounts.

A Whole ‘Nother Level

While I had gotten myself into small trouble with money when I was younger, nothing could prepare me for the future.  My husband and I had been married for about 7 years when things really started picking up for us.  He had a pretty good job.  I began teaching, and making more money.  We purchased new vehicles, and ended up with 3 car payments.  This is on top of some of the finance company bills that we had.  But we were making around $80,000 per year- we could handle it!

We thought we were on top of the world- until all of a sudden we were not!  One day, my husband came home from work and said “I think my company is in trouble.”  By the end of that week, he had been laid off and his company was shut down.  I don’t think I mentioned that I was pregnant with our 3rd child at this time, and had not been at my job long enough for maternity leave.

We had done some planning to sustain us while I was out of work with the baby, but we were completely unprepared for the loss of an income!  My husband received unemployment payments, but it was a drop in the bucket compared to our expenses.

So what did we do?  What any other money fools would have done- we went into more debt!  Whenever we were short for cash (which was all of the time), we borrowed more money!  We were so far in debt, that banks (and any other smart financial institution) would not lend us money.  We made yet another foolish choice- payday loans and title loans.

This may have been one of the worst decisions yet!  We ended up borrowing money from places like Plain Green and Great Plains Loans.  These institutions are payday loans, and they deduct money from your account every payday.  They also have an interest rate of about 100%!  These places and title loans were what finally put us out of our misery.


By put us out of our misery, I mean completely broke us down!  We got to a place where we were not even able to pay our rent!  Our bank account was so far in the negative that we really felt like we could never climb out from under it.  That is when we made the decision to file for bankruptcy.

Now, we were not cured from being financial fools overnight, so even our bankruptcy was flawed.  Our lawyer advised us multiple times to get rid of one of our cars and file chapter 7 (where most of your unsecured debt is wiped out).  We were so attached to that 3rd car, that we kept it and  filed chapter 13 (which requires you pay back each month for a specified time).  Our payment for the bankruptcy was $1450 each month, and this was before rent and utilities were considered.

We thought that we could handle the payment because my husband was working again.  We had a plan.  But it quickly became evident that our plan would not work.  We had to move out of our home, and back in with parents.  This gave us some breathing room with the payment, but it still was not easy.

What Happened Next?

I would love to say that we lived happily ever after, but that is not true.  My husband and I were uncomfortable living with each others parents, so I lived with my Dad and he lived with his parents.  My children stayed with me, but constantly begged to stay with my In-Laws.  This ended up being a very rocky patch in our family life- it almost tore my family apart.  By this time, I was feeling completely defeated.

Once we had our financial bearings back, we were able to move back into a place of our own.  We also decided to default the bankruptcy status, and take on our debtors ourselves.  While we are still working on them, we are definitely further ahead than we once were.

I greatly regret how stupid we were with our money and have made it my goal to never be that way again by committing to becoming debt free.  I also plan to have a spot on this blog that helps people avoid these major financial pits that I once walked into.

My Religious Views- Day 4 (30 Day Blogging Challenge)

Hello, it’s me again (in my Adele voice).  I am on Day 4 of Katy Widrick’s 3o Day Blogging Challenge and today is all about my religious views.

Religion is something fluid, which means it must be analyzed in parts.  For me, my religious views have shifted so much, that I simply consider myself a Christian now.

As A Child

Growing up, my maternal grandfather was a Baptist reverend.  This meant that we attended his church religiously, and we identified as Baptist.  The Baptist religion largely believes in baptism of members, and baptism represents being submerged under water.  My grandfather baptized us in a lake.  Baptist practices differ from church to church, but baptism is one belief held by them all.


As a young adult, I went to church with one of my sisters.  This was my first time attending a Christian church- not a Baptist church.  I had been attending church, but did not know anything about religion!  When the pastor began speaking about Christianity, I whispered to my sister “but I am Baptist”.  She laughed at me and told me they were sort of the same thing.  At the time, I was really that clueless!

Young Adult

As a young adult, I attended a Christian college- Southern Wesleyan University.  I had always believed in God, but did not have any understanding of my religious views.  I considered myself a Christian, but did not identify with any of the strands (Baptist, Protestant, Methodist, etc.).  Attending this college required me to actually study my Bible, and take religious courses.  It was here that I began to create my own religious views.  In the end, I believe that there are two types of people- the ones who believe in God, and the ones who do not.  The details of religion do not necessarily matter to me.


When looking for a church, I began to attend a non-denominational church.  Non-denominational churches do not identify with any religions, instead accepting all religions.  I attended this church for about a month before realizing that it was not for me.  During service, people were falling out from “catching the Holy Spirit” and talking in tongues.  The pastor would continue preaching during all of this activity, while the church ushers would cover them up with blankets and leave them there!  I am not judging here, but it all seemed rehearsed to me.

After this, my family and I began attending a Church of Christ.  The Church of Christ is very similar to the Baptist church, but with a few extra details.  The Church of Christ does not believe that women should participate in church service (only behind the scenes).  They do not believe in musical instruments during church service.  They also believe that anyone who does not follow these rules will go to Hell.

I attended this church for about 2 years before cutting ties.  I never shared their beliefs, but I wanted to a part of a church family.  As I mentioned before, people either believe or they do not to me.  The rest does not matter.

My Beliefs Now

I definitely still believe in God.  I look at the world around me and know with certainty that God designed it.  I look at the blessings that have been bestowed upon my family and I, and I know that he is control.

I no longer believe in the church, though.  To me, churches are filled with hierarchical politicians who try to bend the word to fit their will.  The pastor may have the best intentions, but there are always issues with the members.  These members are judgmental towards people, and can be extremely unpleasant.  Because of this, I have no desire to attend a church at this time in my life.

Lastly, I used to feel baffled when I met atheist/agnostic people.  I did not understand how someone could not know that God exists.  As a middle school teacher, I have met more teenagers that do not believe in God than I ever thought possible!  Interacting with these students have taught me not to judge others based on their beliefs.  As long as they have a set of morals, their religious views do not matter.  Of course, I will still hold onto my beliefs and share them, but I can agree to disagree and not judge them, and I hope that they will do the same for me.