happy halloween!!

My students asked me what I was going to be for Halloween.  I said I wasn't sure.  So they decided to add in their two cents...

One thought I should be Spiderman...

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I think those web throwing skills would come in pretty handy helping me fly around my classroom to meet the needs of all my little lovelies since I feel like I'm running in circle sometimes.

Another one thought I should be a teacher...

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Until another student burst that student's bubble when they reminded their friend that duh.... "she's always a teacher!"

So they got me reminiscing about my favorite costume as a kiddo.

Which was one of my favorite Disney Princesses.  Jasmine...

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It was a collective, craftiness effort by my mom, grandma, and me.  I still remember all the efforts that went into making the costume "just right".
I did wear a nude body suit (remember those crazy things that snapped "down there"? So weird that those were the "in" thing.)  I'm thankful my parents weren't into their little girl showing tummy...should I get on a soapbox on what some kiddos are aloud to wear as costumes these days?! Nah.  
Anyways, I loved helping pick out the shimmery, teal material to create my costume.  Disney stole my heart with this dark haired princess.  She's still one of my faves.

This year...

We will be spending Halloween with family...enjoying chili and watching my cute nephew and twin nieces trick-or-treat and enjoy the festivities as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell(s).  Can't wait! Here's to a fun-filled Halloween for you and all your favorite goblins.

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Thankfully Thrify Baby Shower--giveaways!

Okay lovely blog ladies....have I got a treat for you! Pregnant or not...this is exciting! (I think there are still a few of you out there not pregnant.) ;) Just joking...it just seems to be quite the season right now! Anywho...Ashleigh at Thankfully Thrifty is glowing herself right now and expecting her first little one in a few months.  To celebrate, she's throwing a blog world baby shower and has asked me to help "host"! So exciting! The fun starts on November 1st.  Check her blog daily for information about how to win an amazing giveaway (believe me...they're great).  And yours truly will be hosting a few baby shower games in order to help all of you (and all those chicas you spread the word to) win some fun prizes from Ashleigh's great sponsors right here on my blog! (Other great hostesses will be giving away items as well.)  Mommy or not...you'll want to jump in on the fun and try to win these prizes! Be sure to check back here and Ashleigh's blog for giveaway details starting November 1st.  Can't wait to start the fun!

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starry night

Vincent Van Gogh has always been my favorite artist. Yes, he may have been a tad bit "odd" and disturbed, but I love his use of vibrant colors and unique brush strokes.  One of my favorite paintings I have done myself is of palm trees in a Van Gogh inspired technique.  My mom and dad have it hanging in their home or I would share a pic.  Of course, my favorite painting of his is Starry Night.  A copy of it hangs in my classroom, along with another framed picture of a few of Van Gogh's paintings.  I even have a large tote bag with the print on it.  I just love how it captures the gorgeous night sky in such a whimsical way.

Tonight on my way home I heard a song, Starry Night by Chris August, for the first time.  Of course, the title immediately caught my attention.  But wow, the lyrics are powerful! Listen and enjoy...

Where do you see Christ's light?

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the blessing box--the beatitudes

My pastor is doing a sermon series on "Living Under God's Blessing".  This Sunday's message was of The Beatitudes from one of Jesus' messages.  This was really eye opening to me and such a nice refreshment on the fact that I am blessed simply by who Jesus is and what Christ has done in my life.  I don't need anything else.  Jesus' view of blessings are a far cry from the world's view of blessings. Although the worldly things are from God and are a blessing, we should feel most blessed because of what God does in our lives and who He helps us to become through His grace.

Matthew 5:  1-12

 1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


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where I've been!

Here's a glimpse at where I've been this past week...

That's right! Hubby and I headed to Disney World for my Fall Break.  And it's true...it's just as magical when you're almost 25 as when you're 5.  Loved every minute.  Of course I will share more photos and my own Disney tips and must-dos soon with you! 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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my childhood loves

I still remember the day we picked out this cutie from the litter of yellow lab pups.  I was in 4th grade and was elated that it was finally time to get a puppy! For some reason, we just knew he was the one.  Now, 14 years later, he's still just as cute and has the same puppy face.  Boone drives this "old man" a little crazy and seems to make him a bit dizzy, but he still attempts to play.  His hearing is going and his arthritis seems to hurt him, but he's still the farm dog I loved my entire childhood.  And he's still just as excited to dig his nose through the snow! He'll always be my dog and the puppy that first stole my heart.  Meet Nick:

This is my childhood cat, Kitty.  (Creative name, huh?!) Poor thing is on diet food and overweight, but she's still my cat and I love her.  She's crazy and loves to drive Boone nuts! This is definitely one of the funniest pictures of her.  Just the thought of those weights seem to exhaust her! Meet Kitty:

What about you...old or new...what pets have stolen your heart?

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break time!

It's my Fall Break...and oh how excited I am! Because of that, I really am taking a break from almost everything.  My mind and body need it.  I left school with no school work.  I'm not sure how, but I fought the temptation to bring papers home to grade and I left with just my purse and lunch box.  So for an entire week, I'm doing nothing related to school.  During this time, I'm also taking a week long break from blogging.  I'm so excited to have some time to get rejuvenated and get some of my priorities back in line. I'll let you know what we've been up to next weekend! Enjoy your weekend!

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crazy joy...crazy talent...one special friend

My sweet real-life friend, Page, is hosting her first giveway! Yay for her! I'm so excited that she has been blessed with more time to blog and allow her creative side to shine.  She is one joy-filled, talented woman of God.  I was extremely blessed to teach with her last year and was touched by her creative ideas and passion for life.  When I saw she was hosting her first giveaway, I knew I had to post about it! If you haven't checked out her blog, make sure to take time to do so! Whether she's sharing about what God is teaching her and putting on her heart, sharing a story from her daily life, or sharing an amazing craft idea, she'll get you hooked! Head on over and check out her great giveaway--a Max Lucado book and one of her unique headband creations! Here's to more of your creative dreams being fulfilled, Page! What a blessing you are to me!

Here is a glimpse into her creations...now go enter the giveaway on her blog, Crazy Joy!

image courtesy of crazy joy
Happy weekends, friends! May you find time to let your creative, joy-filled sides loose this weekend!

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friends, pumpkins, fun

This Sunday we spent some time with our friends, Chad and Cheri, at a local farm.  We took a hay ride to pick pumpkins, acted like kids by taking some silly pictures, and ate homemade ice cream! A much needed relaxing day that was good for the soul! 

(All pictures are courtesy of my talented friend, Cheri, with the amazing camera.  
Hope Santa's listening and gets that hint!)

a hut of pumpkins
Chad and Justin being silly...they're good at this role
Chad and Cheri
us with our pumpkins

on the hay ride


my man with our first pick

nothing says fall like the perfect pumpkins

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top 10 blessings of the moment

My Top 10 Blessings of the Moment
(in no specific order):

1.  The fact that I have had extra time on my hands to take care of our little bungalow.  (Hence, getting oh about 5 or 6 loads of laundry accomplished!)

2.  It's the week before Fall Break.  Let me repeat...it's the week BEFORE Fall Break! That means a week long break is next week.  WEEK long!

3.  My hubby has been so supportive lately in some things I have been struggling with.  Whether it's my own sinful nature or pain that has been brought on by the action of people around me that hurt my heart...he has been my shoulder to lean on and the one to point straight to our God...the One that he knows can heal my hurts.  I'm so thankful for a Godly man as my partner in life.

4.  Sweet times with friends.  We spent a wonderful Sunday with our friends, the Withrow's.  Love them dearly.  Pics to come tomorrow!

5.  My creative juices are flowing a bit more.  It's slow...but coming! I actually spent some time on Saturday evening sketching in my sketch journal.  So freeing!

6.  Our pup.  Yesterday we were playing fetch with his beloved Nylabone.  In the midst of teasing him and pretending to throw it, he grabbed at it and nipped my finger.  Of course he is one that literally plays with a spider if he sees it.  Harmless.  But he got excited playing and thought he was grabbing his bone.  Well he heard me say "ow", dropped his bone, and walked over and started kissing my finger.  Sweetest thing ever.

7.  Prayer.  Although it hurts and causes my mind to wonder...even unanswered prayer right now is a blessing.  I know God is building character and developing perseverance.  Although I'm stubborn, He's breaking down walls and I know He is good.  He loves me enough that He'll build me right back up more in the image of Him.

8.  Coming in $20 under grocery budget for the week.  Enough said.

9.  The Holidays are close.  I don't like to wish time away, but I love the Holidays and all the time with family!

10.  This week at work is the least stressful week in the plan book that I've had on my desk all year.  Whew...sigh of relief!

Blessings on your Tuesday!

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tag...I'M it...three times

I've been tagged three times within the past week! Time to play catch-up and answer these fun questions! (So sorry if you tagged me and I missed it!) These three ladies asked some great questions!

Rachel asked....

1) What is your favorite part of your day?

Definitely early evening.  I love that I am hopefully finished with "teacher duties" by that time and am enjoying relaxing with my hubby and puppy or even some of our family.

2) What is your favorite meal?

If you're meaning time specific, then definitely dinner (well supper).  On the farm, especially my grandpa, says lunch as "dinner" so to clarify for any of your country folk....supper.  If you're meaning type of food, anything Italian!

3) What is your morning routine?
Alarm goes off a few minutes before 6.  I hit snooze a time or two.  Wake up...kiss my hubby and then my pup before getting out of bed.  Get ready with just the light of the bathroom so I don't wake up the snoozing boys.  I take my shower at night, so I just get dressed, semi-do my hair and make-up.  Who am I trying to impress in a room of 22 kiddos? Then I get my lunch ready and grab breakfast to take on the go.  I wake Justin up to say goodbye and so he can watch me go to my car.  (I hate going outside in the dark by myself.) Say goodbye to him and Boone and head to school....it's definitely still dark by this time.  Boo.  My morning drive is spent in quiet prayer. 

4) If you could go anywhere on a vacation, where would you go?
Anywhere tropical! I would also love to go to Italy and Greece...they're on my bucket list.

5) If you could do any home improvement to your house without money being a problem, what would you do?

Wow! Where do I start? Love my little home...but boy is it the perfect home to remodel and grow! Well being that we have lived in our move-in ready home for over two years now, we are seeing many things we would like to do to make this house more "live-able" for our tastes.  First on my list, remodel the master bathroom to add a shower.  Also, add another bath upstairs for guests.  Not sure that there's room, but it would be nice.  Next on the list would be to add a garage and mudroom.  Third, finish the basement.  And lastly, remodel the kitchen. 

6) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Let's see.  That would make me almost 35.  Weird! With God's blessing...definitely two, and hopefully three kiddos.  Hopefully, again with God's blessing, I'll be at home with my kiddos and hopefully own my own business even if it's simply an online store selling my art.  Our big dream would be that Justin and I would be entrepreneurs together. 

7) Do you have a hobby?
Wouldn't I love time for a hobby! :) Blogging, jewelry making, and can organizing be a hobby?

8) Why did you start blogging? 
I love to write.  Love it.  I also love to journal.  Finally, with the combination of some ideas that pop in my head sometimes, I thought, hey! Why not share them with the world?! What a fun ride it's been!

Now to Natalie's questions...

1. What do you do for a living and is it your passion? If it's not, what would be your dream job?

I am a 4th grade teacher in a public school in the county we live in.  It's my current passion.  I am very passionate about reaching my kiddos and making sure to provide a community in which they feel safe and important both from how I treat them and how their classmates treat them.  My dream job is to stay at home and also pursue my creative passions.  Maybe in ministry? Maybe in a business? I just don't know yet.

2. What kind of tradition does your family have at Christmas time?
Wow! We are very tradition-oriented people! I will narrow it down to sharing one of my favorites that was passed down from my mom's great grandparents and one that is on my dad's side.  Actually, Christmas Eve is more special to me due to traditions than actual Christmas day.  On my mom's side, we do Dollar Gifts on Christmas Eve.  We go to my grandparents and all trade a "dollar gift" with each other.  We each get a small gift from everyone else there.  Although we call them dollar gifts, they are usually around $5.  I love this tradition and enjoying the simple, small things! On my dad's side we always do Christmas Eve breakfast.  I love this special time with my grandpa and see the joy in him by having all of his family together in one place.

3. What is your favorite form of fitness and why do you like it?

Ah, Natalie! What a great accountability question! I currently lack a form of fitness other than running around my classroom helping and working with students.  I do enjoy taking walks.  And really, I enjoy going to the gym because of the atmosphere that encourages me to be motivated.  That just doesn't fit in the budget right now!

4. If you're married, did you have a long or short engagement? If you're not, would you want a long or short engagement?
Well we dated for 3 months and that's stretching it.  Our engagement was exactly one year.  It was exactly how long I always wanted an engagement to be....but really, by 6 months, I was ready to have the wedding.  I wouldn't want to wait that long if Justin and I did it over again.

5. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

Being able to express my thoughts and ideas.  I also love connecting with others that are going through some of the things as myself.

6. What is your favorite way to worship? (Singing, praying, serving, reading?)

Reading, praying and serving.  I really love service!

7. Does your name have special meaning?

My mom picked it out when she was a little girl.  She heard it in a movie and knew she wanted to name a little girl, Caitlin, if she ever had one.  I kept my middle name and then added my maiden name as well as a middle name. My middle name from birth was Frazier, which is my mom's maiden name.  My grandparent's didn't have a son, so it was my mom and dad's way of helping their name continue in the family.

8. Truthfully would you ever consider adopting a child? If so, would you pursue foster adoption, domestic or international?
Goodness, this is something that Justin and I have thought about and discussed.  We are definitely going to take that route if we have trouble getting pregnant.  We have also considered doing it even we easily get pregnant with a couple of our own.  I would love, love a little Hispanic baby if we adopt.  We'll follow God's calling, though, wherever it leads.

And finally, to Leigh Ann's questions...

1. What is your most favorite thing about fall?

The cooler weather, beautiful colors, pumpkins, and finding new fall clothes.

2. How would you spend your perfect Saturday?
Being lazy with my hubby.  We hardly ever get to be lazy anymore.  It would end with a fun dinner date.

3. What is something you've learned recently?
I don't give myself enough credit and am my own worst enemy.  However, I'm trying to remain grounded and focused too.

4. Do you like the seasonal drinks at Starbucks or stick to your year-round favorite?

Well my favorite is the caramel apple cider, which is more seasonal for fall, but it's there year-round.  Anyway, it's my fave and we now make it at home.  I'll share that trick sometime soon!

5. What is your favorite meal to make?

Hmmm.  Wow there are so not many I make at home.  My favorite is a chicken lasagna roll-up.  It's a Sandra Lee recipe.  Justin's favorite is my semi-fried chicken that you bake with corn flakes as a crust.  It's actually a weight watchers recipe.  I enjoy both of those!

6. How do you spend your evenings?
Getting caught up on things at home, such as dishes and laundry.  The best nights are those where we are both home and can eat dinner together and relax on the couch.

7. Are you passionate about anything? Why?

I'm a very passionate person to the core.  If' I am about something or behind something I'm in it 110%.  I'm passionate about putting children first.  Whether that's as a teacher, as a parent, or as someone in my church.  I'm passionate about my faith.  It's the foundation of my life, my marriage, and even how I approach my career.  I'm passionate about the University of Kentucky athletics (basketball especially) if you're looking for a less deep answer. :)

8. If you were given $20 to spend on anything, what would you spend it on?

I'm bad about spending. Honestly, it would probably go in my wallet and I would slowly use it to buy dollar large diet cokes at McDonald's on my way to class once a week from school.  That's my sanity on Mondays.  If not that, I would go shop the clearance racks at TJ Maxx for decorative home goodies!

Your turn! I'm tagging...

Jamie @ this kind of love
Jessie @ graciejess 
Ashleigh @ ashleigh's blog  
Cheri @ everyday blessings
 Amy @ a southern love
Melanie @ country roads
Courtney @ with gratitude
Katie @ burtsbizz

My questions for you...

1.  What are you looking forward to most about having children? If you already have children, what is the best thing about being a parent? If you aren't planning on having children, what is your favorite thing about a special kiddo in your life?
2.  What is your favorite bible verse?
3.  What is the most romantic thing your husband has done for you?
4.  I like this question....so I'm revising it a bit.  Where do you see yourself in just 5 years?
5.  What is something you would do if you had more time on your hands?
6.  What is the best thing about the town in which you live?
7.  What is the last random act of kindness you showed toward someone or someone else showed to you?
8.  What is you and your hubby's "typical" date night? Your staple time together that you love? The kind of date night that you both love but maybe you think others might not "get".

Thanks for the tag, girls! Can't wait to read answers from you other gals! Happy weekend! 

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a checklist

I make lists.  I make lists of lists.  I list like crazy.  And now what am I doing?...listing about listing.  In honor of my love of listing, I am making a checklist of things I plan to do soon to keep my sanity.  Things that I just don't get around to enough anymore that really are a must in life to settle my soul and ease my mind.

-take Boone for a walk (more than just maybe once a week...poor pup)
-read blogs more often...they encourage and inspire me
-comment and encourage you lovely blog friends as you do me.  I'm so thankful for you!
-spend time with my hubby with nothing in the way.  no computers.  no homework.  no papers to grade or drafts to edit. just us.
-maybe go to a pumpkin patch.  pick a pumpkin.  carve a pumpkin.
-"blog ahead" (you know what I'm talking about if you schedule posts)
-read more of my current read...Radical by David Platt
-catch up with a friend (s)
-plan some nice meals instead of just the same ol' ones
-paint.  as in a landscape.  or a portrait.  something...anything to get the artist side of me rolling again.
-spend more time in silence with God
-bake cookies
-make some lemonade and tea for the fridge
-send a card to my brother who's away at college to let him know I think of him and pray for him daily
-soak in every ounce of fun that my 4th grade team has planned for our kiddos the week before fall break.  allow their joy and "carefree-edness" to rub off on me.
-laugh more
-make more jewelry for my etsy shop (to window or "real" shop...see tab at the top of my blog)
-get my hair cut (yay for my appointment tomorrow!)
-plan a fun date or two with my handsome hubby

And the big one...stop putting off things like the ones on this list.

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the blessing box--much needed

Taking some time out to focus on the many blessings in my life is something that is much needed right now.  I'm really in a funk lately.  Just so many things on my mind and on my plate.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel coming....fall break.  However, there are quite a few hurdles to jump over before I get there.  I feel like I'm jumping and jumping and jumping right now.  Barely able to catch my breath.  Barely able to enjoy the blessings around me.  It's times like these that I feel myself gripping tighter and tighter to worry and stress and less and less to my Savior.  So out of my fog of stress and worry and discontentment...I can find joy in how God blesses me.  How wonderful that He continues to love us and bless us through forgiveness even when we are so naive and weak to give into the world around us.

Doors being open.  It's neat to see how God opens doors that cause you to stop and think about where they might be leading.

My twin neices, Hadley and Gentry and my nephew, Cooper.  We spent time at my sister-in-law's and brother-in-law's tonight.  It's amazing how much weight is lifted off your mind and how much joy creeps in just by hearing the gurgling laughter of babies and the innocent mealtime prayer of a four year old.  So sweet.

Seeing a precious student interact with another student that others have trouble being around and communicating with.  This same sweet girl is always complementing and encouraging others, including myself.  Her sweet smile and innocent, genuine personality are such a gift in my classroom.

The new young adult Sunday School class I am teaching.  How powerful it is to see God working in your own heart and mind as He works through you to prepare to teach others about Him.

Cutting our cable and internet bill in HALF.  Yes, half.  Don't worry...a post is coming about this.  I need to share my tips with you in hopes that you can also defeat those utility "bullies".

Head over and join Natalie.  Take some time to reflect on your own blessings! Here's to hoping you have a peaceful, restful night.  A sleep that blesses you and wakes you to the promises of tomorrow.

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That's right.  Just as Rachel posted a few days ago on her blog...I'm jumpin' on the bandwagon too.  The Q & A bandwagon! At 103 followers...and many of you that I like to try and keep constant "blog communication" with because I just like yah...I think it's time for me to give you the chance to be a little nosy! So ask away.  The only thing I will say, is if I feel like it's a bit too personal, I might not answer.  Or I might beat around the bush a bit with my answer.  You get the point.  After I get the questions from you (through comments or email), I'll plan out a post or series of posts to answer them! Okay, I'm shutting up.  Your turn!

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