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!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Letter Board

The past couple of years I have seen SUPER cute letter boards all over my Facebook feed during the holidays.  For my birthday this last year I was gifted a Joann's gift card and was SO excited to finally purchase one of my own.  Okay, I lied.. I actually purchased 2. I purchased the tall one for in the kitchen and the smaller one for my office.  (I have since then purchased one more for school.. and the several different letters)

This is in reference to the Meat Loaf song I Would Do Anything for Love

This is the smaller one that will stay in my office. 

I am sure that there are tons of brands out there, but I am suing DCWV.  You can find it at Joann's and Michaels.  Each board came with 188 characters (I believe that these both came with white letters) I purchased a white board for school which came with black letters.  I discovered 2 things very quickly...
1. If I want to write longer quotes, I needed more than what came with the package.
2. I needed to keep them organized! That is a LOT of letters.

I found containers at Michaels in the jewelry section.  All of these are plastic pieces that pop into the main letter board.  Not only can you purchase letters, but you can also purchase words and icons.
The organizer for school.

All of the words that I have so far, this is something that I need to get organized better

All the various icons. I have them sorted by the different packets they came in.

I love this organizer! Although the boards came with white letters, I also purchased a pinkish set and also a mint set. I have these sorted by letters only.

The stash before it was completely organized.

Unboxing all the goodies that I ordered from Joann's that I couldn't find in the store. You can find the live Facebook video here.

I have spent at TON of time pinning different quotes that I would like to add to the letter board.  Now.. not all of them are school appropriate, see the one above about wine and dinner being a winner. I have 3 boards I have created.  One for ideas, one that I have completed, and ones that are school appropriate.  You can find my Pinterest board here.

I have purchased DCWV from Joann's both in the store and online.   They are also available at Michaels, Target and Amazon.

I am just found this cuteness from Heidi Swapp and will be checking to see if it will work on my letterboards that I have.

I plan to change the one in the kitchen weekly.  It is time consuming, but I have also enjoyed changing it out weekly.  The one my office, I probably will not change as often and will more than likely be more motivational (or about wine)

Do you have a letter board?  I am excited to use this in the library for advertisement for events, book quotes, or motivational quotes.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Memory Planning

Instagram has become one of my new favorite platform for social media.  Don't get me wrong, I am still an avid Facebook user.. I use Twitter  and follow people on Snapchat.. but I LOVE Instagram.

I follow some GREAT creative people such as Lisa Johnson who has some of the most creative bullet journaling and note taking photos.  Carrie is always posting some of the coolest sketchnoting techniques and challenges.  These are just a couple.  I am continually inspired by SO many people!

I had been watching Heather at Kellofaplan  and oh my goodness! The things she does with a Happy Planner is AWESOME! One of the ones that intrigued me, however, was that of Memory Planning.  I use Erin Condren Life Planner as my regular planner, but I loved the idea of a Memory Planner.  I of course love taking pictures.. so I thought a Memory Planner would be fun.  I added it to my summer bucket list.  My plan was to begin at the beginning of June, but because of the move, I had to start a couple of weeks later.

I now have a weekly Memory Planning day, and I LOVE it.  I have been using the Memory Planner as a type of scrapbook.  Even better, since I am doing this weekly it makes me really look at all of the things that happened during the week.  It has also reminded me that even little things make a difference in the story that we have.  I am attaching links to where I purchased products within the caption for the picture.

I purchased this Memory Planner at Michaels

There are so many sticker books available. I realize as I start using these, that I want to add more to my collection! 

@notechef4u recommended Sharpie Art Pen Markers, and they are perfect for my memory planning.

The Happy Planner Paper Punch
I didn't think I would use this, but I have LOVED using it!  It was a great purchase.  I have been able to add invitations, announcements, and other odds and ends into my weekly memory planning. Thanks @Kellofaplan for the recommendation. 

I have found that my memory planning is much more listing and sort of a simple blogging.  I do love looking at all of the people that have beautiful font handwriting, but I don't know if my handwriting skills are ever going to get there. That doesn't make me want to stop though! I love the memories that I have already put down on paper.
The beginning of the month spread. I like that I can add important dates to the calendar.

A weekly spread. This was my very first one that I did for the first of June.

I love that I can use it for reminders that I do know how to cook and also the books that I have read.

I love the last page of the month as it asks for favorite memories of the month.

You can buy a specific printer for the pictures, but I follow Kellofaplan's printing hack. I use the app on my phone and send them to CVS (through another app on my phone)

Having my own organized space in my office has been SO wonderful!

I LOVE my toolbox that my dad made me! It is perfect to hold all my stickers and items.

I have loved memory planning this summer, and I also love that I am already making it a weekly habit.  Some of my favorite hashtags are #happyplanner #memoryplanner #memoryplannig  there are so many great ideas out there!  Do you memory plan? Are you on Instagram?  I have also started an Instagram for my libraryland stories.. and I plan to start a Instagram for my NEW job next year.. a middle school librarian!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Teacher Appreciation 2018

We just finished up Teacher Appreciation week.  I know that I am always looking for ideas (and.. I do already have an idea for next year!)  I have written about our 80's Teacher Appreciation here and our Hollywood Week here.  This I helped with Teacher Appreciation Week and our Girl Scout Volunteer Awards event.  (LOTS of pictures, but I have to admit... when I am looking at ideas for what I want to do, I look at pictures to get ideas)
This year our theme was Elliott Teachers are the Best in the World!  Each day we traveled to a different location.
At the beginning of the week I invited staff to explore new world with a new book.

Have I mentioned how much I love using Piktochart?  I absolutely love using the website and use it so many different ways!
Decorations were super easy.  We had paper airplanes, suitcases, and globes

The first day we traveled to France- also known as Sonic.  Our principal took groups of teachers during their planning to get a fountain drink.  YES PLEASE!! Speed of sound was discovered in France.

Tuesday was Sweden with a Spa Day.  Our amazing parent liaison and parent volunteers transformed this room into a spa room.  All the staff was pampered with Mary Kay items!  You can check out Sandra Hall for your Mary Kay needs.  One of my habits on my bucket list for this summer is to take better care of my skin.. so I splurged and got some great products!  

On Wednesday we traveled to Mexico.  Our PTO did a great job of putting on a "Nacho" ordinary nacho bar.  The food was AMAZING!!!!
 Wednesday we traveled to a Galaxy Far Far Away during our Staff meeting.  We had Princess Lays, Yoda Soda, Vador-ade, and Darth Vador told us to come to the dark side because there were cookies.

Thursday was to England with tea, coffee and breakfast

Check out these awesome personalized cups that we each got!

Friday was back to America.  The Masons who always support our staff grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for us!
I LOVED traveling all over the world!
For our Volunteer Appreciation event it was Irving Girl Scouts are "Nacho" Ordinary volunteers
Made this one using Canva (another one of my favorite websites to use!)
For the volunteer appreciation we had a nacho bar and had the attendees bring desserts to share.  We awarded volunteers with various awards (I even got a 10 year pin for being a 10 year volunteer!)
Nacho Ordinary Girl Scout- celebrating the girls who were graduating, earning Silver and Gold Awards

You are on Fire! Each volunteer walked away with a door prize and a box of hot tamales and red hots
It was a GREAT and busy week.. although I think that I write about every busy week.. I am the busy bee!
Hubby surprised me with these on teacher appreciation day! 
There was a dinosaur in school on Friday! Prentice is an AWESOME teacher.. and I LOVED that she dressed up like a dinosaur.  Her sign said- Ask me why I am a dinosaur.  It then read: Almost all of my students met their MAP goal and are DINO-MITE and it is teacher appreciation week and I will do what I want!

Tucker gave me a super cute gnome- There is "Gnome" I would rather work with.
Finishing out May strong with end of the year Girl Scout Troop activity, one more ukulele performance, buy one get one free book fair, state testing, ATPE banquet... oh.. and closing down a library for the end of the year!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

National Infertility Week- SEEK

April has been one of the best months this year, but by far the busiest as well!
-Attended the Texas Librarian Association Conference in Dallas where I also presented at poster session and was on a panel session.
-Took a Destination ImagiNation team to State! So proud of the Nerdy Birdys!
-Took my Girl Scout Troop on their first real camping trip! We were missing a few girls, but it was still an awesome weekend and I can't wait to camp more!
-Hosted the first Uke Can Do It Performance with the ukulele club.
-Attended and volunteered at the North Texas Teen Book Festival.

My word this year is Seek.  I wrote about it here and I talked about seeking time for myself and doing the things that I enjoy doing. Now, April was a busy month.. and I was probably cranky.. but it was so awesome!

During a week in April is also National Infertility Week.  I blog about our trials every year and you can find past blogs here, here, and here.

When my husband and I married in 2005, I knew that we might have problems starting a family.  I have PCOS, and my husband is older.  When you are on a infertility journey it is not just about one person... and it is not just about bodily functions.  An infertility journey can easily encompass your whole life and being.  We went to doctors, I took medicine, gave myself shots, and went to more doctors.  During all of the years of trying, I would watch my friends get pregnant and start their own families and be heartbroken.  Not because I was upset that they had started their own family, but because I didn't ever know if I was going to have the chance for my own family. 

We have not been actively trying for over 2 years.  I won't lie, mother's day is rough.  I go through other down times (I am a human)  In keeping my word of the year in mind, I have really worked hard at SEEKing things that make me happy.  That is why my April was so full.
Not only was April full, but it was full of finding my own fulfillment and happiness. 

Although I will never be biological mother.. I have to take a moment to share about my Girl Scout Troop.  3 years ago, I became a leader to a 3rd generation Girl Scout Troop.  My girls started out as Daisies and they are currently Brownies.

I am so very grateful that these moms have trusted me in leading these girls.  I can't even begin to explain how happy they make my heart (even if sometimes our meetings get a little loud)  I share this on my infertility blog, for many reasons.  My journey has not taken me on the path that I thought it would.  Camping this week was something that I thought I would have done with my own child.  If life had gone as I had planned (which you know it is not supposed to!) I would have had a child about the age of these girls.  I LOVED camping with them so much and having those experiences with them.  From hiking to campfires to singing songs... this troop is such a big part of my life.  I won't lie.. there were a few times that I had to take a few deep breaths when I thought about that it was not my own child having these experiences.  This Girl Scout Troop is allowing me to directly work with a group of girls that I already see growing into strong young women.  They started in kindergarten and are already in 2nd and 3rd grade!

For all of those out there on an infertility journey.. I know it isn't easy, I know there are going to be times where you just want to break down and cry, and I know that there are times when you smile ear to ear and your heart is happy because you are creating your own path.  I am thankful that I have surrounded myself with a wonderful loving husband that understands that I need to find a way to be involved with experiences that will give me fulfillment.  I am surrounded with amazing families that have allowed me into their lives not only in Girl Scouts but with all the school families. I have also surrounded myself with amazing friends who are always willing to listen. I also have learned to give myself some slack to grieve when I need to. 

Whatever journey you are on, remember.. you are not lost.. you are just seeking your own fulfillment. To those that have not had to worry about infertility, you have probably come in contact with someone who has.  Give them an extra smile or a hug if you can, it can be rough.

Thank you to all that have made my own infertility journey better by allowing me to be a part of your lives.