Saturday, December 31, 2011

A girl, a sewing machine, and a dream

The curtain rod is bending in the middle making the curtains look uneven,
but really they are straight...I used a measuring tape :)
Santa brought me a new toy this year! My very first sewing machine to go in my craft room on my enormously-wonderful craft table :) While at first glance the machine looks complicated, it is actually so much easier to use than the old machines that you have to turn knobs ~ this one has a picture display of all 96 stitches, so all you do is punch in the number of the stitch you want to use and the machine automatically sets the tension, width, and length. I can always adjust them if I want, but for a beginner like me, it is so helpful not to have to worry about all that. I can simply step on the presser foot and away I go creating masterpieces! My first endeavor was a simple curtain for my craft room. It took me about 2-3 hours but there are a lot of things I learned I could simplify for next time I make curtains, but I think they turned out great and I even lined them so it would look nice from the street view. Mom will be so proud!
Next up on my list of projects....quilting!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where to begin...

I opened this post so many times to write and then was stumped with what to put. The last time I posted was the day we closed on our house, so I guess I'll start there and give you an update as to life since that day.

Well, after we got the keys, Sam moved in a week later and is now living in our beautiful house while I waste away in my tiny apartment! Ha! May 5th will come soon, I know :) We decorated a little for Christmas but decided to wait for all the after-Christmas sales to buy lights and decor and stuff like that so we can really decorate next year for our first Christmas being married. I have always decorated a small tree for my bedroom - about 5 ft. tall - which looks huge in an apartment but now that it's in our family room, we took one look at it and laughed and decided next year we definitely need a bigger tree! Sam and I both had real trees growing up (my family went to artificial the past 15 years or so after my brothers became allergic to real ones) so I always thought when I had a house I would have a real tree, but actually Sam and I decided we like artificial better ~ we can put it up right after Thanksgiving, not worry about watering it and needles dropping, and the branches are stronger for holding ornaments.

I'm excited over Christmas break to do some painting in our house. The colors are already very neutral and lovely, but I want to do something to make it our own, so I think we are going to paint the upstairs hall bathroom and Sam's office. The office has beautiful French doors and a bay window, so a little color in there will make those features really pop. We patched nail holes in most of the rooms so we also need to do some touch up painting. Thankfully the previous owners left all the paint cans in the basement so we can match colors!

In other news, Sam got his wisdom teeth out a couple weeks ago and did great! I on the other hand passed out in the recovery room. Some support person I was! The nurse had to call my mom to come pick both of us up. Ha! I'm praying for no more surgeries for Sam in the future, otherwise I guess he will need someone other than his wife to accompany him :) I did great with the after care portion - fixing him soft foods to eat and giving him pain medication and ice on schedule, but perhaps the sight of bloody gauze hanging from his mouth after surgery was a bit much for me.

The kids at school have been sooooooo excited for Christmas. They were all convinced that as soon as we turned our classroom calendar to December it was Christmas. They didn't understand that even though Christmas is in December, you still have to wait 25 days for it. Halloween, Thanksgiving ~ no problem grasping that concept of a holiday being in the middle of the month, but Christmas was another story. When Santa didn't come December 1st, I think they knew I was telling the truth about waiting 25 days! Since I don't teach at a public school or parochial school (we are private) we are not suppose to talk at all about Christmas - no mention of religious aspects or secular ones ~ but my kids are so little that of course they want to talk about Santa. We had a "winter party" at school and I had the darndest time finding a song for them to sing that they already knew but didn't mention anything about Christmas! We finally settled on Jingle Bells and they did a great job singing. Since today is the last day of school before break, I decided to buck the system and read them the Little Drummer Boy story, which talks about a baby king being born in a manger but doesn't actually say the word Jesus :)

And that is what's been happening the past few weeks! Merry Christmas to everyone and remember to leave "Christ" in "Christmas!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We are homeowners!! Unbelievable! Sam and I closed on our gorgeous house yesterday at 4pm, and promptly celebrated with a pizza party in our new kitchen :) It's so surreal to go from growing up in my parents' beautiful homes, then living in a college dorm/apartment, then my first solo apartment, then back to my parents' home, then to a basement with bugs in DC, then to an apartment with bars on the window, then to a nice but small apartment back here, and now to a big, beautiful home where I can unpack for a very long time. God has blessed me beyond anything I could have imagined.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! It was a delicious meal on Thursday with my family, a scrumptious brunch on Friday with Sam's mom, a fun time at BINGO on Friday night, and now off to another yummy meal at Sam's dad's house. Wow! Just call me a turkey cause I'm feeling stuffed! I thought about making this post into a list of things I am thankful for, but then I realized it would extend waaaaay too long because I have so many blessings in my life. So, to keep it short, I'm thankful for my incredible family and this year, I am especially thankful for my fiance ~ the thought of spending the rest of my life with Sam by my side gives a whole new level of thankfulness to Thanksgiving.

Hope everyone had a wonderful day on Thursday and that we remember to give thanks to God every day of the year for our blessings, not just on turkey day :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just another day

It's amazing what a 6 year old can do to a classroom all because I asked him to write the number "3" in math class. He said he was finished working for the day; I said not quite; he threw his pencil on the floor; I said pick it up; he overturned 6 desks, 6 chairs, threw a bin of Legos, snapped a pencil in half then threw it at me, erased my dry erase board with work on it, broke the metal window blinds, dumped out the bins of crayons and markers, shoved a desk into the hallway, peeled drywall off the wall, and threw a large toy airplane at my head. This was with 30 minutes until the end of the school day. I stood in the doorway of the room ignoring his fit until it subsided, then told him he could not go home until everything was returned to its place and his math work was complete. 1 hour later, he picked everything up, sat down and wrote the number 3, and I let him go home to his dad patiently waiting in the school parking lot. The beautiful thing about autistic kids is that he gave me a hug before leaving, told me I was the best teacher, and I told him I was looking forward to seeing him tomorrow...and I meant it :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kids say the darndest things!

It's days like today that 1) I LOVE my job, and 2) I wish I had a continual tape recorder in my classroom. The first subject of the day is reading and today one of our new words was "name." I demonstrated how to use the word name in a sentence ("My name is _") and then had each of the kids say their name in a complete sentence. After we did this little exercise, one of the kids asked what my last name is. So, I told them and then reminded the class that my last name would be changing when I get married. These are the questions that resulted from me saying that:

Student A - "Are you marrying your daddy?"
Student B - "She can't marry her daddy. Who would pack her lunch?"
Student A - "But daddies are nice."
Me - "No I'm not marrying my daddy. I'm marrying Mr. Sam."
Student C - "You should marry your daddy."

All the students - "Can we come?"
Me - "Well, you would have to be really good and sit quiet and not talk."
Student D - "Don't worry, I will just talk a little."
Me - "There's no talking at weddings. You have to listen."
Student D - "Well that's okay. You can just let me talk."

Student B - "Can I bake your cake?"
Me - "Sorry I already told someone else he could bake my cake."
Student A - "Did you tell me I can bake your cake?"
Me - "Nope, it was someone else."
Student E - "I will bake you cookies. My mommy and me are really good."
Student A - "No, I will bake you chocolate cookies."
Student E - "I will bake you a billion cookies."
Student C - "I can eat cookies."
Student D - "Okay, you can just let me come and I will only talk a little and I will eat cookies. You don't need to worry. I am a good helper."
Me - "Thank you. I will think about it."

Student A - "Are you getting married in a garden?"
Me - "No."
Student A - "What's the address for the garden?"
Me - "I'm not getting married in a garden."
Student A - "But that's okay, just give me the address."
Me - "But I won't be at a garden."
Student A - " Well, I will pick you up and take you to the garden. My mommy has 2 car seats. You can use one. Just leave my brother at home."
Me - "Okay class, it's time for reading again."

I love teaching and I love autistic kids :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The new wave of drink dispensers

Sam and I were at Firehouse Subs for lunch the other day, primarily to check out the new soft drink dispenser by Coca-Cola. It's a computer screen with "ink cartridges" of soft drink syrup! You literally have a choice of every flavor of soft drink that Coke makes! Sam was more interested in taking a picture of the cartridges than the entire machine, so I didn't get a picture of the computer screen, but basically there is a computer monitor with a touch screen where you choose the drink (i.e. you hit the Sprite button and then have a choice of 8 different flavors of Sprite!! etc.), put your cup under the one lever on the machine, and voila! You have a customized soft drink. Now restaurants only have to stock the small cartridges of syrup instead of the huge bags of actual drink liquid. I was amazed and am excited to go back and try new flavors.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Patch time!

We took advantage of this gorgeous Saturday to visit "The MAiZE at Little Darby Creek" - a 9 acre corn maze with a pumpkin patch and activities for kids. When we got there, we realized it was another one of those times where having a "rent a kid" station out front would have been nice :) The activities were all aimed for little kids but I did manage to elbow my way to the top of the pipe slide and then promptly slid directly off the landing at the bottom....I'm positive it had everything to do with the slipperiness of the piping and NOT the unintended weight put on the pipe :) Ha! The 9-acre corn maze is what drew us to the farm in the first place, so that was a lot of fun. We spent about 45 minutes inside and still didn't make it through the entire thing. There were 2 phases and we completed most of phase 1 and some of phase 2, but only because we created our own "path" through the corn and happened to jump from a phase 1 path to a phase 2 path. Oops! There were little trivia "cornundrums" inside the maze posted on signs and if you solved them and turned in your paper with the right answers at the end, you were entered in a drawing for $100....well, the paper is still in my jacket pocket. Oops number two for the day! Hahaha!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's fall!

Part of the trail was a soft, mossy blanket. Very cushiony and nice :)
Beaver dam

Today we went to Clearcreek Metro Park with Sam's mom. We took a looooong hike (actually it was only 2.5 miles but it seemed twice as long because it's uphill for 1.25 miles!). I was thinking this was going to be peak weekend for the trees, but after the hike today, I think it's going to be next weekend. The maple trees in Columbus are beautiful red but as you can see from the pictures, there was still a lot of green in Lancaster. Quite a few yellow trees but not really any orange or red and those are the most beautiful in my opinion.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Home Sweet Home


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Funny story

My work days are either very awesome or unbelievably horrible. Rarely do I have a middle ground, which I guess is to be expected when you work with special needs kids. All of my kindergarten students have autism, along with some other secondary diagnoses for most of them. So, it makes sense that when these kids are focused on work and able to stay on task with little help from me, the day runs smooth and I feel an intrinsic sense of worth knowing I'm helping these special little kiddos function at a relatively typical level compared with their peers. On the other hand, when they are in full autistic mode, I leave the classroom ready to pull my hair out. Today was one of those latter days. I had one student throw a toy dragon out the window to see if it could really fly - it didn't; another one spent all day pinching any child he came in contact with just to see what other people's skin feels like; another one cried most of the day when he wasn't first to answer a question or the first in line; and yet another precious little one insisted on everyone calling him "Professor Quiggle" because he thought he was the character in one of his books. I think the funniest part of the day came from an older student in the building who was throwing a massive tantrum for getting "out" in a game of Hot Potato ~ as he was being "escorted" by a couple teachers away from the other students, he yelled "Don't you know I have autism?! This is what I do, so you better get used to it!"

Oh the joys of my job :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oh the absurdity!

The public has spoken and I am blog is being resurrected! Yes, after the outcry resulting from my previous post, I am going to summon extra energy and time in my hectic life to continue posting about my exciting life. They may not always be long detailed posts; there may not always be pictures with them; but I will continue to chronicle the days of my life right here on this very web page you are reading.

Wedding update: We have a church, reception venue, photographer, cake baker, wedding dress, and bridal party chosen. Honeymoon location is in the works. We registered for gifts yesterday at Bed Bath & Beyond! Wohoo!! Sam was in charge of the scanner gun (he thoroughly enjoyed his role in this endeavor!) and the first item scanned was.....drumroll please.....a crystal candy dish! Our love for sweets continues to roll over into every aspect of our lives :) Sam's number 1 item he liked: a glass pitcher with a hole in the middle that acts as a handle. It's quite cool. My number 1 item I liked: a Kitchen Aid stand mixer in electric red. Ta daaaa!!! Imagine a beam of light and chorus of angels signing right about now.

Life update: We made an offer on a house today! Will know an answer tomorrow by 6 pm....which means, I'm not sleeping tonight! Ha! The anticipation and excitement of possibly owning our first home is enough of an adrenaline rush to keep me awake all night. However, for the sake of my students and fellow teachers who will have to look at my dark circles and baggy eyes tomorrow, I am going to try and get some sleep.

So, there you have it. My weekend in a nutshell! All of my readers can now re-add my blog to your computer bookmarks page and favorites list because I'M BACK :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

So long for now!

Well, this is my last blog post for "Living the Ohio Way" - not because there is nothing going on here - on the contrary, there is too much! I'm engaged to be married in 221 days and right now am trying to find a photographer, florist, and invitation designer, research our honeymoon destination (looking like Paris right now!!!), gather my bridesmaids to try on dresses, design centerpiece arrangements for the reception, and come up with a fantastic favor idea for our guests. I'm a full time teacher for kids with autism and that alone consumes about 90% of my energy Monday through Friday. I am also surrounded by my wonderful family in Ohio, and I love spending time with them eating dinner and hanging out on weekends. So, I've come to the conclusion that I need to simplify my life or risk my sanity and the one thing that has become more of a bother than a joy is writing this blog. Thank you to everyone who has stayed with me from my DC blog, but for now, at least until after the wedding, I am officially going on hiatus. I love writing but when I don't enjoy it anymore, I know it is time to take a breather.

See you after May 5, 2012!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I'm saving the planet one trash-run at a time :) For everyone who made fun of my bicycle basket, think how difficult this would have been to ride AND carry the box without a basket! Ha! I love my bike and I can't wait for the fall when the temps are slightly lower!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New chapter has begun :)

August 15, 2011 is when I officially said "yes" to marrying my best friend and love. Sam proposed last night with a scheme that far outdid anything I could ever imagined. Here's our story: Sam texted me during the day at work to say he found a website for Geocaching in Columbus - a GPS based scavenger hunt. He said there are a couple parks in the area that have a set hunt and at the end you write your name in the log book and go online with the final code to log your progress. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking hmmm.....a scavenger hunt. I wish there would be a ring at the end. Well, I get to his apartment after work so we can go and he has a Geocache website pulled up for Highbanks Park near us with maps and the clues, etc. All hopes of a ring are now dashed because I'm looking at the website with really tough clues and I'm clicking on buttons and browsing the site...thinking clearly he didn't make this up and we really are about to go hiking through the woods to find a log book. Sam wrote down all the clues on a piece of paper and away we went to Highbanks. We get to the park and I realize I left the paper of clues at his place. I tell Sam just to look up the website again but he said no, he thinks he remembered everything and we should just start walking. So, we proceed to hike a ways and figure out the clues and we finally get to the last GPS coordinate where the clue says we have to go off the path. Sam goes on ahead and I lag behind telling him to just let me know if he finds anything, but he motions me to follow along, so I reluctantly trudge through the trees, vines, poison ivy, etc. We go down a little hill and I see a camouflaged bag by the trees. I'm excited and Sam takes it and starts to open it revealing a picnic blanket and empty vase. I still didn't have a clue and I'm wondering how we are going to record our names and I'm looking at the vase to see if there is a code on it to write down. Then, Sam spreads out the blanket, pours water from my water bottle in the vase, pulls out a bouquet of flowers from his camera bag, and gets down on one knee with a beautiful ring. It dawned on me then what was happening :) He packed a picnic dinner in his camera bag also! It was romantic and beautiful and more than I could ever have dreamed.

And that is my exciting blog entry from August 15th :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Garden update #3...surprise!

Basil, Parsley, Roma Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, and Habanero Peppers
My last garden post was May 17th, where I took a picture of my baby "green bell pepper".... well, let me tell you, I in fact do NOT have a green pepper plant but instead, I discovered very painfully, the plant tag must have been switched at the garden center and I am growing Habanero Peppers. Yes, me who hates spicy food is growing one of the spiciest peppers in the world, with a heat index of 100,000 - 350,000 Scoville units. I had no idea my peppers were habanero - I thought they were mini red bell peppers - until I accidentally got the oils in my eyes!!!! Here's what happened....I wanted to feed the cite baby ducks by my apartment but Sam said I shouldn't give them bread because it wasn't good for them (I looked it up and he is right even though my whole life I've always given ducks bread) but the website said ducks like vegetable scraps. So, I picked some "mini bell peppers" and we walked to the pond to feed them. I then proceeded to tear apart the peppers with my fingers and rub the seeds to clean the peppers for the ducks. What should have been my first clue is that the ducks ate the peppers but spit them back out very quickly. However, I just thought they didn't like peppers. So, Sam and I walk back to my apartment (he hadn't touched the peppers thankfully!!) and I quickly rinse my hands and get back to my scrapbook project. About 10 minutes later, I must have brushed my hand against my eye because all of a sudden it felt like a swarm of fire ants were in my eye and I start screaming. I splash water in my eye, but all that does is spread the pepper oil to my lips and other eye. One of the most painful experiences ever!! I really thought I was going blind. I run cold water over my face and Sam gets me a bag of ice. It took about 15 minutes for the burning to stop, but my eyes and upper lip were red and puffy the entire next day - which happened to be my second day of work training. Bad timing!

Moral of the story - if your vegetable plant produces vegetables different from the tag picture, do some research before touching them!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

If you give a baby a cat toy...

For those who followed my blog in DC, you may remember this adorable little boy, Henry, from my post "If you give a baby a lemon." Well, Henry is still as cute as ever and is now running all over the place. He and his mom (my very dear friend, Alissa) were over the other day to visit and my parents, having got 2 new kittens just a month ago, had many "toys" laying around. Henry loved the bouncing bird and ball rolling orange toy....and then went nuts chasing the laser pointer :) It was a riot! So, for all you parents out there buying the newest and greatest toys in the baby aisle, look no further than the pet store and a $3 laser light!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


'Twas the end of July and all through the stores, there were snowmen and santas and Christmas cards galore! I went shopping at two stores today and in both places, these were the displays that greeted me. Neither one were tucked into a back corner like the store had just gotten the shipment in and didn't have a place to store it until the appropriate season. Nope! Front and center all decked out for Christmas when you walked in. Boom! Forget the pumpkins and's all Ho-Ho-Ho now!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot adventures

Our "stay cool" hats :)
It was another sizzling 100 degree day in DC! After being miserably hot and sweaty at Eastern Market yesterday, we decided to try some indoor activities today. However, a must in DC is eating crepes at Eastern Market, so after church, we made a quick stop just to pick up a crepe and then headed back to Mary's apartment to eat them in the air conditioning. Lo and behold, the Cooking Channel was set up right across from the crepe stand and they were giving away free brownies, ice cream, and donuts from their truck!! Bingo! Crepes and ice cream :)

We then went to the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA, which is not actually a factory but rather a 3-story art gallery. There was a torpedo on display when you walked in, but otherwise, it was all galleries where you could purchase original artwork and in most shops, watch the artist at work. Very cool!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

DC welcomed me back this weekend with HEAT! I knew it was going to be a hot day when I started out this morning and the temperature was already 102 degrees before 11am! As you can see, by the afternoon it was up to 113 with a heat index of 123 degrees, and this reading was after I had been in the car driving for 30 minutes. Whew!

Sam and I drove back to DC for the weekend to visit our dear friend, Mary, while I'm on vacation. I knew it was bound to be hot but this is ridiculous!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Break time!

My second vacation break of the summer officially started this week and it's off to a great start! Summer camp at school is finished (thanks be to God I made it through alive!!) and now I have 2 weeks of vacation followed by 2 weeks of teacher training workshops and then school resumes August 17th. Waaaaay too early for my liking, but what can I do?!?! Today, I got to spend the entire day with my sister. We saw the new Harry Potter movie - I had forgotten everything I read in the book many years ago, so it was truly a surprise movie - then we went swimming since it was 94 degrees with too much humidity, baked cookies, made a "breakfast" dinner of Belgium waffles, strawberry sauce, eggs, and mush, and rounded out the evening with a few card games. Excellent way to begin vacation! I'm trying to keep these next couple weeks relatively low-key since the past 5 weeks have been stressful, but I do have a few fun things planned, including a trip to DC with Sam! Back to visit our friends and reminisce :)

I also brought my paints back out and have started painting again. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get them out since moving, but I saw some paintings recently that I really liked and decided to try and replicate them. They looked really cool but way too expensive to purchase, so I decided I could paint them myself. I think they turned out awesome, and it's nice to get back in the painting groove!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Antigua, Guatemala

Beautiful church
The Hogar missionary group :) Rebekah (far right) was another missionary at the Hogar and she joined us for the outing
Delicious pizza and Coca-Cola lunch
Much of the city of Antigua is ruins
Shirts hanging in a market
Taking a break from shopping
Classic McDonalds
Streets of Antigua are all cobblestones
A candle making shop
Sam at Santo Domingo
Parrots at the Santo Domingo hotel!

A highlight of being in Guatemala was going to Antigua for the day! I went there in 2006 but only for a few hours and really didn't have the opportunity to explore much, so it was like seeing everything for the first time. Mother Maria was our exceptional tour guide and she showed us all the best parts of this historic city. We started at the Santo Domingo hotel, built in the 1400's as a monastery, destroyed by natural disasters in the 1700's, and reconstructed into a hotel in 1989. They maintained as much as possible the original structures so that it has an old look and feel, but it was a beautiful tropical oasis! I loved the parrots everywhere!

After that, we walked around the city shopping and taking in the sights. It was very cloudy so we unfortunately could not see the top of the volcano that sits outside the city (Volcan Agua) but it was perfect cloud-cover so that we didn't get too burned in the sun! Ha! We enjoyed a delicious pizza lunch at "Quesos y Vinos" ~ much needed food after mucho black beans and rice! I don't know if it was because I hadn't had pizza for a long time or if it really was that good, but it was the best pizza I've ever had!! I would love to have a piece right now as I write this :)

We finished off our sightseeing day with a quick stop at the Monastery Lavra Mambre on Lake Amatitlan to visit Mother Ines and show Sam where the nuns live when not at the Hogar. It's always a relaxing, peaceful part of any trip. We stayed just long enough to check on the progress of Hogar San Miguel (a new orphanage the nuns are building at the monastery) and climb on top of the church for a great lake view. It was a wonderful day and everyone enjoyed seeing a little more of Guatemala. Isabel had a great time being with us outside the orphanage...although she enjoyed too much pizza, chocolate, and coke and got sick in the car on the way back to the Hogar :( Poor thing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Isabel and Belia!

Birthday girls posing with some decorations
Belia's gigantic piece of cake!

My blog has been quiet for a couple weeks now but that's because I was in Guatemala!! Another awesome trip and this time it was extra special ~ Isabel and Belia's birthdays AND Sam joined my family for his first Hogar adventure. I have lots of pictures to share, so be patient and they will get posted soon, but for now, here's a few of the birthday party. We got the girls their own cakes at a place very similar to Costco. Probably owned by them because the store was identical (so I was told...I wasn't able to go with everyone to get it because I was at the Hogar sick from eating something or getting the shower water in my mouth.) Anyways, they were delicious cakes and we decorated the comedor with balloons and crepe paper. The humidity was so high that by the time the party started, the crepe paper was hanging twice as low as what we hung it! Ha! Feliz Cumpleanos to Isabel, age 10, and Belia, age 8 :)