Sunday, May 19, 2019

Teacher Appreciation 2019- Camp Lion

I can't believe that my first year as a middle school librarian is winding down (reflections blog coming up on my Bee In the Bookends Blog soon!)
One of my FAVORITE things to do.. is help plan Teacher Appreciation (okay.. I lie.. I LOVE celebrating people.. so I love that I get a chance to help celebrate teachers during the holiday season and different times throughout the year.. and ooohhh.. do I have some plans for celebrations next year!)
This year Teacher Appreciation theme was Camping.  On Friday this flier went in boxes and was also emailed out. The flier was created in Piktochart which is a program that I use almost weekly in various ways.  It is also a program that I pay for because I use it so much. I also used Canva to create the information about each day.
In order to make sure that the week went off without too much of a hitch, I worked with one of our assistant principals, our amazing Lamar PTA, our fantastic secretary Tina, and some outstanding parent volunteers.  Of course I got some great ideas and help from the Skurtcrew!

Enjoy the pictures of the week, I usually know what I am doing the next year and start planning.. but inspiration hasn't hit me yet! Elliott Elementary did an a really cool one that was Wizard of Oz theme (Elliott teachers are Oz-some)

Monday- Don't feed the bears, but PTA fed us some awesome griddle cakes.  I also created a photo booth

Tuesday- Trail mix bar- we put the items in cast iron (I would have gotten a picture of it full.. but I didn't make it in time.

Tuesday night I also hosted a volunteer appreciation event for our Girl Scout Service Unit. We moved it to a restaurant this year, and Angelo's in Irving did an AMAZING job! During the event we celebrated graduating seniors, girls that had earned their Gold Awards, volunteers that were recognized with various awards, and just celebrated volunteers overall.
Wednesday- We celebrated Nurses day with kits to help teachers be prepared.  These included a little note that I found at Tried and True blog.  The goody bag had highlighters, a sharpie, pens and some paperclips (our parent center volunteers put these baggies together and also made sure they got in boxes!).  During the staff meeting admin also gave ALL staff members personalized water bottles (thanks to Mari and Leslie for making sure those happened!)  Admin also wrote little notes on each table for the staff meeting and left lots of goodies for us to enjoy!

Thursday- We could use S'More teachers like you!  Although we talked about having an actual s'more station.. it was much easier to make little s'more kits.  It is also testing season, so putting items in boxes made sure that everyone had a chance to make their own.  We also had a teacher bring up some yummy breakfast foods to share with the staff.

Friday-Camp food! Our Admin team made sure the teachers had some great hot dogs with all the fixings! They also had some fun cupcakes (because we all know that teachers are pooped at this time of year) For drinks staff members were invited to use their new water bottles and create their own favorite sonic style drink (we had cherry, vanilla and some Sonic ice)  I was not able to be at school that day because I had the opportunity to watch the young woman who I used to be a nanny for graduate college!

I think overall it was a successful Teacher Appreciation week.  I look forward to celebrating teachers and staff even more this next year!

This summer I am doing a Digital Detox... my new blog will share my plans for this and also my word of the year.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Burger Mission

It is a Sunday evening.. which means I really should be doing at list of 200000 things.

Being married to a chef means that I do have some great meals at home, but it also means that sometimes we just enjoy a good burger.  This summer we stopped at Burger House and decided we would be on a quest for good burgers (now, I like a good burger and chili cheese fries!)

Our List (and in order to how much we liked them)
1- Burger House- this place is a hole in the wall. and is AWESOME! Loved the atmosphere and it had our favorite burger and great fries so far (also the price was very reasonable)
2- Shake Shack- the flavor the burgers was spot on and the fries were pretty good.  The flavor the burger almost beat  Burger House, but we liked the feel and atmosphere of Burger House better.  Shake Shack is a chain, and was a little pricey.. but still our number 2.
3- BurgerIm- This was a toss up between Shake Shack and BurgerIm.  BurgerIm has slider size burgers with a ton of different toppings and add ins.  I went with just the regular burger and the bacon cheese fries.  I was a little worried about the fries, as they almost looked like the sliced potato chips (which I am not really a fan of) BUT- these bacon cheese fries were my FAVORITE! It would have moved above Shake Shack, but the burgers needed just a bit more flavor.  I will be going back as the price was right.. and I want to add other toppings (and I need more of those fries!)

4- Jakes Burgers- Nothing too exciting.  I actually didn't even get a picture because we were so hungry by the time we got there.  Our service wasn't that great either.

We also attempted to go to Clown Burger.  It looked like a great place that had been there forever. 1- we got there and realized they only take cash.. okay.. we could handle that. We went and found an ATM and made our way back.  2-After standing in line for 15 minutes (there were only 2 people in front of us.. it is a SMALL place) we heard through the grapevine it was going to be a 45 minute wait.  Although it smelled great and we wanted to try it.. over an hour for a burger when there were only 2 people in front of us.

Do you have a favorite burger place in the DFW area?

Monday, April 22, 2019

National Infertility Week- 2019- Perspective

I find it so interesting how my word of the year usually comes to me in April.  It is also the time where my current word shows how absolutely perfect it has been for the year.  Okay, I know that most people do their word of the year in January as a Hello New Year! I am a teacher.. so yes, I celebrate the New Year.. but I am also on school schedule so my years run different.

This week is National Infertility Week.  You can find information here. I have also blogged here, here, here, and here. The theme this year is #infertilityuncovered I went back and read my blogs, and found it so interesting how much my mindset has changed and how much I have grown. I also do not write these blogs for sympathy.. it is a way for me to share my own journey and share how I have uncovered infertility.   

My journey of infertility began in my late teens/early 20's I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) I have done the meds, the shots, the doctors visits and so much more. I still shed tears (I am thankfully human) but as I reflect this week on my own infertility journey Perspective is the perfect word and this quote fit it so well.

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." Carlos Castaneda.

When we first started going through the journey of wanting to start a family, there were many times where I made myself miserable. I did that by comparing myself to my friends, I did that by giving myself symptoms that I thought were of my body doing what it needed to do, I did that by thinking I was less of a woman because I was not able to get pregnant.  Realistically, I still have some of these thoughts, but I have so many more times where I remind myself of all that I do have.

I make myself strong by reminding myself:
-I am married to a wonderful husband.. and our path is exactly where it should be.
-I am surrounded by amazing friends that continually lift me up
-I am surrounded by amazing people that allow me to work with their kids (whether that is through Girl Scouts, Destination ImagiNation, school activities)

This whole year, my perspective has changed when it comes to where I am in life. I know that I will probably never be a biological mother.  This does hurt my heart at time (remember.. I am human.. and mother's day does get tough!) But, as I look at my word for this year of Perspective, it reminds me to step back and remind myself what I do have. 

When I get caught up in the journey that I thought I was supposed to have- whether that be life, jobs, infertility.. I have reminded myself to take a step back and take a moment to look at various perspectives. 

To those that are on your own journey to begin a family- I wish you luck and love. I hope that your road leads you to where you need to be! To those that have families already- I am SO happy for you! To those that have traveled the infertility journey with loss- I LOVE you. To those that have a family that are not biologically yours- Congratulations! To those that are on the path that might not ever lead to a child of your own- I am here for you.  No matter which journey you might be on, or what mile you are on that road- the infertility one is full of bumps, turns.. and let's be real a few potholes that you might not have realized was there.

Although we are talking infertility this week, it is something that happens every day to so many people. This was a great article on Debunking the Top 3 Myths of Infertility. My perspective reminds me how lucky I am to have so many wonderful people in my circle of family and friends.

From my blog in 2016:
To those that might be on their own infertility journey, I wish you luck.. I wish you peace.. and I wish you LOTS of love! It is a tough journey, but then so is life. Good luck in whatever journey you might be on.

Monday, March 4, 2019


Spring break is a few days away and I am already making plans of how I am going to get caught up and who I am going to get caught up with.

This weekend I was able to go camping with my troop, and it gave me a chance to reflect on how extremely grateful I am.

I am grateful to my parents. They raised me to understand the value of hard work, being kind, and always looking for a way to help.  They instilled in me the importance of trying my best and making a difference in the world.  

I am grateful to my husband.  We might not always see eye, but he is the first one to encourage me to be me (which is not always easy) He has stood beside me on all my crazy adventures and supported me as I have gone through my various career stages.

I am grateful for the amazing friends I have. From Destination ImagiNation team managers, to next door neighbors, to work friends, to library friends, to friends I found because I stalked them, to breakfast buddies, to families I have worked with, and so many more people I surround myself.  I am grateful for you.  Each person I come in contact with has helped me become the person I am today. I am grateful that you listen to me, give me advice, let me cry and rejoice in life itself.

I am so grateful for so many people.. but I think I am most grateful for Troop 1810.  I know I talk about Girl Scouts a ton (I mean.. I have been one for almost 35 years!)  But these girls that are now 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders are so much a part of my life.. and I am so grateful for that. 

When William and I finally decided that after 10 years of trying to not have kids of our own, I was worried.  I was worried that I would not have the same opportunities that moms have.  I was worried that I would not be able to do things that I had done with my own family growing up such as camping, ceremonies, and various traditions.  I was worried that I would never have the opportunity to share some of my own stories or my own memories.  But, almost 4 years ago I had the opportunity to start the third generation of Troop 1810. Now, every Girl Scout troop is a little different, but I have to say that Troop 1810 is EXACTLY what I needed.  I am grateful that these girls allow me to be their leader. I am grateful that the families allow me to be involved in their lives. I am most grateful that these moms allow me into their fold. I know that I probably never have kids biologically but I am grateful for the conversations and the opportunities that you give me.  This weekend I loved spending time around the adult table at camp while the girls ate and just talking with the moms. I am grateful for the opportunities that this troop gives me to create memories that I might not otherwise get to have not having kids of my own. Thank you! I know that Troop 1810 will grow and shrink over the years, but these times I have already had I would not change them for the world, and I hope that the girls always understand that.

I look forward to making plans during spring break to hang out with some of the people that I am so grateful for.  Thank you for being you and allowing me to be a part of your life.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Holiday Traditions

This month has been a tough month of not doing very well at the adulting thing. It has put into perspective (my word of the year) what I find most important/meaningful during the holiday season. Cue the Where are You Christmas

Things that make my heart happy during the holiday season:
1. Crafting. This marked my 16th year of creating ornaments for all the staff on campus. Although this takes time.. it is one of my FAVORITE things to do! I don't know if people keep them.. and I am okay with that. It makes me uber happy to put items in boxes.  I also love crafting and creating in general.  
Ornaments for teachers this year

I created reindeer headbands for our crew.
2. Being around friends and family.
My awesome work crew!

Our little family
3. Being a part of different experiences around the holiday season.
Most of Troop 1810 Caroling 

My first late night in the library in middle school

Walking in the parade with the Girl Scouts
I was even interviewed for the City of Irving short news story.

I am sure you are saying.. Andrea.. you started this blog with you didn't adult very well.. and you are trying to find Christmas.  Because, although I seem to have it together for the most part, it doesn't always happen.  I got everything that I wanted to accomplished this month.. but it felt more like it was just my regular habits, and not really the reason for the season of giving and love. I might have been a little more Grinchy to people.

My plans this week were changed because of my adulting choices.. But because of these changes my perspective shifted.  My perspective shifted back to why I do things.  My perspective shifted to who I surround myself with.  This last week was TOUGH, but I have never felt more love than I do right now. I have also had some things taken off my shoulders, and has allowed me to relax (and required me) to slow down.

I have decided next year for the holiday seasons.. 
I am going Back to Basics! I know I do the ornaments every year.. but growing up my family made things for family and friends. I LOVE creating.. and I am going to create and make items for next year.  I am also going to enjoy the season.  One thing I love doing and haven't done lately is take pictures.  So, next year I am inviting myself to various holiday traditions (parades/cookie making/church services/celebrations) and anything that people will allow me to join and document.  

To those that I surround myself with.. thank you for being there for me.  To my husband that puts up with me.. I love you more than you know. To my parents that are beside 100% This Manys! To my troop that lets me have an extended family.. thank you for allowing me in! 

I look forward to 2019 and all the adventures and perspectives it might bring!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

International Day of the Girl

This is a blog that has been percolating in my brain for a bit, and I realized that International Day of the Girl was the perfect time to write it.

If you are just finding my blog... Hi, I am Andrea and I am also known as a busy bee (that is how you can find me on social media is @akbusybee)  I have been in education for 17 years.  I have a bachelors in interdisciplinary studies from West Texas A&M University.  The first 12 years of my educational career I was a special education teacher in various LIFE (learning in a functional environment classrooms). I received my first masters for Lamar University in Instructional Technology.  I was an ITS for 3 years.  I then received my masters from TWU and became a librarian.  Over the summer not only did I move houses.. but I moved jobs too! I had spent 16 years in elementary and this year I moved to middle school!  I am also a Lifetime member of Girl Scouts and was a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

But, this is about International Day of the Girl.
Photo I posted to various social media sites.
I have been a Girl Scout since I was 5 years old (guys, that is almost 33 years!)  I grew up with Troop 209 and had the most amazing leaders and support through Girl Scouts! Growing up in Troop 209, I had an AMAZING leader (Nancy-aka-Nuglet) and also my parents were leaders. I remember my dad helping with badges when it came to checking the oil in a car and my mom bringing in guest speakers to talk to our troop. When I was going into 6th grade, I found my love for volunteering through helping at our local Girl Scout day camp. I also would not be the person I am today without the support and leadership that Girl Scouts showed me.
One of our last campouts and me as a Brownie
Girl Scouts Taught Me:
-The value of learning something new.  There were many times that our troop leader had us try something different or new.  Did I always like what we tried, of course not, but I appreciated the opportunities to experience different things.
-The value of not giving up.  Nuglet was the troop leader that showed you how to complete a task, gave pointers, but understood that it was important for the girl to accomplish the task themselves.  It is okay to fail and it is even better to try again!
-The value of being a sister to every Girl Scout.  We live in a society today that we don't always agree with everyone.  My troop and Girl Scouts taught me to listen to others, give my opinion, but also know when it is okay to disagree.
-The value of recognizing and celebrating people
-Being at the middle school now gives me a chance to attend football and volleyball games (I know that I will be adding to my list when more seasons start) and cheer students on.
-I love attending choir and band concerts and celebrating the work that students have done
-I love finding the good in people, when so often we are able to easily find the bad.
-I love celebrating people when accomplishments have been made.
-Realizing that every person has a story and every person deserves the chance to make a difference.

I recently was able to see the CEO Sylvia Acevedo speak about her new book Path To the Stars. I took so many things away from that evening, but the main thing was this:

Sylvia talked of the teacher who asked her why does she keep practicing basketball when she knows she won't be able to play.  She replied that it gives me joy.

Most importantly Girl Scouts Taught Me:
-The value of being involved
We all have busy days and I do not fault people who are not involved (now, if you sign up to be involved with something and you don't follow through.. I might give you the side eye)
Being involved makes my heart beyond happy.
-I LOVE being a Destination ImagiNation Team Manager.  Those kids drive me crazy, but I love seeing them work challenges out and work together. I also love that I am able to be able to coach students in hopefully being better team players which will in turn make them better contributing members to society.
-I LOVE being a sponsor for various clubs (ukulele and K-Pop right now) because it gives an extra space for students to feel as if they belong.
Most of all, I LOVE being a troop leader.
My husband and I have tried for over 10 years to start a family.  When I finally realized that my path was going to be different than what I planned, I started the 3rd generation of Troop 1810.
Although I do not have any children of my own, being involved allows me to help shape (hopefully for the good) the next generation of thinkers, creators, and leaders.

I am so very thankful for how Girl Scouts has provided me opportunities to continually grow as a better human being and hopefully change the world just a little bit.  I can't wait to see how my girls in Troop 1810 are going to change the world!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

What Happened to Summer?

I am a planner!
Back in May, I decided that I was going to create a summer bucket list.  It was going to be my first official summer off in over 3 years!  I got together with Elaine, picked up items from Joann's and created a list of the things that I wanted to do this summer.
I put this frame in my office and looked forward to officially starting it June 8th.
It included habits I wanted to start such as walk the dog, healthy skin, gym, vitamins.. things I knew I was going to have time to do.
I also had a To Do list that consisted of- see a drive in movie, go tubing, learn new songs on the ukulele, see friends, take lots of pictures, drink fruity drinks and wine, watch all the Liam Neeson movies, at least one day a week don't leave the house, see a drive in movie, read lots of books and many more.  Many things that were on my #40by40 list

That ALL changed this summer! So.. yes, I had a nice glass of wine almost every evening with dinner, I did read a ton of books.. but beyond that.. I was not able to check off much of my list.

But, this summer did bring a new list.  It brought one of changes and new beginnings (and I will admit it.. a TON of stress)

At the end of May we had the opportunity to move to a new house. In the middle of  June, I had the opportunity to move positions.  You can find out more about both of those moves here.

So, my summer of me.. of checking things off my bucket list didn't really happen.  I wanted to make some amazing memories, and I did.. just in a way that I wasn't ready for.  This summer was about me, but me making major life changes! 

So, summer is over (I went back to school on the 1st of August).  I didn't see as many friends as I wanted, I didn't have weekly jam sessions, I didn't take lots of pictures.. BUT, I did find places to make new memories!  I have even more to work on next summer!

Bring on the new school year, new adventures and new memories!