Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 14th, 2018

onnie & CaroleYes, yes, I know – it’s Saturday again.  I keep doing this.  This week, my excuse is that my whole schedule has gotten flipped upside down.  I spent a week out of work, and then had to adjust to a weird schedule of working only Tuesday and Thursday; we spent our Wednesday as a family out and about (which made it feel more like a Saturday), and to top it all off, my husband was covering a co-worker’s vacation and was working 2pm to 11pm instead of his usual 8am to 5pm.  So my whole week – and concept of time – has been thrown out of whack.

Here is what’s kept me grounded:

First, Wednesday was spent at Kimball Farm, which was a blast.  I hadn’t been there in several years (we did a community outing there during one of the other ESY programs I worked), and it really has something for everyone.  Bear got his first taste of mini-golf, he got to see some animals (and pet an alligator!), and spent some time earning tickets in the arcade.  He ended the day with a huge scoop of Orange-Pineapple ice cream.  I have a couple of small pics on Insta here.

Second, my sister spent hours online last night messaging me eBay links to long forgotten tech toys we had as kidsThe Teach-Me Reader and The Videosmarts Learning System to name a couple – and ended the evening by announcing that her 1984 Whiz Kid Toy Computer would be arriving on Thursday.  Seriously?  I still can’t believe she actually bought it, but I’d be lying if I pretended I wasn’t going to play with it.  I had one prior to first grade, and I loved it.  We can learn to spell together!

Third, Andy ordered me laminating sheets and I’m going crazy thinking of things I need to laminate.  All my checklists from my previous post have already gotten the treatment, and I’m busy designing both additional checklists and organizers for me, but also piecing together a preschool curriculum for Bear that we can get started, hopefully on Monday.  He’s looking forward to it, and so am I.  I plan on spending a big chunk of time after he turns in tonight getting some of those tasks completed.

Finally, the GISH registration has been extended and my team is starting to take shape (yeah, kind of late this year).  If you don’t know what GISH is, click the link or Google search its previous incarnation, GISHWHES.  It’s a massive multimedia international scavenger hunt interested in subversive art and acts of kindness.  This year it runs July 28th through August 4th.  I’m thrilled to see it brought back – we thought last year was the end!  – and am participating for the seventh year in a row.

That’s it for this week!  What’s kept you going through the week?

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 6th, 2018

onnie & CaroleHey-o, Friday!

So, Fridays mean a little less when you’re not actively working.  Actually, this Friday is a little bittersweet, because it means we’re coming to the end of the week I had off between the regular academic year and the ESY, but either way.  This has been a busy week for us, and I still want to celebrate the little things that made me happy.

First, this week has a new five-episode Steven Universe arc, “The Heart of the Crystal Gems” – the last of which is airing tonight – which included some really adorable moments, some great lines (“Pssst, it’s me.  I’m a horse”), and some fantastic character development.  I’m thrilled for the final episode, which is double length, and, based on what I saw in the teaser trailer and what already has (or rather, hasn’t) transpired, I’m looking forward to some great moments tonight!

Watch Steven Universe here at Cartoon Network, or on Hulu.

On a related note, here’s a great little article on this arc, talking about queer representation in the show.

Second, I took my son to see fireworks for the first time, and he loved them.  Ever since he found out that we’d be going to Disney World in August, he’s asked if literally everywhere we’ve gone in the last week or so was Disney World.  The local fireworks this year took place at a large, outdoor shopping center.  When we got out of the car and he took in the vendors, musicians, and outdoor seating, his first reaction was, once again, “Is this Disney World??”  He had a blast dancing with his friends, hanging out, listening to music, and watching the fireworks – “I never want to leave this Disney World.”  Sigh.

At least we know the real Disney World won’t be a let down, given what his standards apparently are.

Third, Bear and I spent a long, long time yesterday collaboarating in his Toca Boca activity book.  I love all things Toca Boca – they have a great gender-neutral children’s line (honestly, I wish some of the stuff came in adult sizes), great exploratory games, and a quirky sense of both design and humor, and their activity book is no different.  The activity book is a Target exclusive, but it’s a lot of fun and a really good quality, so if you can find it (or order it) I would definitely recommend it.

Fourth, today is the day I buy my FanExpo Boston tickets!  This is far from my first convention, but this will be, by and far, the most commercialized con I’ve ever been to, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect.  A lot of my con-going friends regularly hit up FanExpo and seem to have a good time, so I’m hopeful; a friend of mine, whose judgement I trust implicitly, said they spent their last foray exclusively in the dealer’s room and had an amazing time just chatting with vendors and other fans, so I can only assume that branching out into the other panels and events will be just as enjoyable (and if not, hey, just head back to the dealer’s room).

That’s it for this week.  What’s made your week brighter?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: June 29, 2018

onnie & Carole

Hey-o, it’s Friday, and I am finally off for the summer!!  (That proclamation comes with a footnote, but we’ll get to that).  So what has carried me over that highest of humps, the last week of the academic year?  Lots of little things – just as this last week has been weighed down by the culmination of lots of little stressors, I’ve been buoyed along by lots of small pleasures and things that made me smile.

First, Dollar Tree has been getting a ton of super cute mugs and glassware lately, my favorite of which I hauled last weekend.  Their mug collection has been amazing for a while now, but I’m really starting to dig their glasses. Along with those cute wine glasses, we recently replaced our entire set of drinking glasses with this really chic-looking collection, all for $1 each.  

Second, Hollar is going crazy, whaaat.  I found a freakin’ french press coffee maker for $5, and they recently got in a whole slew of Beat Bugs and Lion Guard  merch for a pretty hefty discount (that might actually be gone now, honestly.  It was a super good deal). I’m getting ready to stock up on stocking stuffers (I know, early! But it’s so much less of a financial crunch when you spread it out over several months), and they have a ton of great stuff for kid’s (or adult’s!) stockings, or for small birthday gifts.  

Third, guys, I have a problem:  I do not know how to like things casually.  If I fall for something or someone, I fall suddenly, unexpectedly, and hard.  This week, I’ve been listening to Harry Potter audio books with Bear and it’s lead me back down the rabbit hole of Harry Potter fandom (I am a massive, massive Potterhead), which in turn lead to a return to Fantastic Beasts fandom, which in turn lead me back to Ezra Miller, who I had a massive crush on back when I first saw the movie.  I recently revisited him, and discovered his band, Sons of an Illustrious Father. Honestly, I could listen to this song on repeat all day:

It also goes without saying that I’m now on the hunt for any movies I can get my hands on with him in it – first up being Perks of Being a Wallflower because, wow, that book was a part of my adolescence, and I somehow never managed to catch the film. 

Fourth, it took forever to do so, but I finally got confirmation that I am working two days a week this summer!  I’m happy to have a little bit of structure, and still have the freedom and time to pursue personal projects and develop a prep routine/curriculum to get Bear ready for hopefully starting kindergarten in September of 2019 (again, I know it’s a long way off, but after this summer I’m going to have way less time to work with – basically an hour a day – so I need to do some planning and be ready to spread it out).

Fifth – and finally – guys, I have a plan.  Or at least the stirrings of a plan. In a previous post I made it a priority to create some order in my life and establish a routine, and I’m making some headway in that department and hope to be back with updates and progress notes soon.  I’m so, so glad to be getting somewhat of a break from the daily grind of sleep-work-home-sleep in order to work on developing these changes.

So that’s it from me, guys.  What has carried you along this week?

Feel-Good Friday/Friday Faves: June 23rd, 2018

onnie & CaroleWait, I’m sorry, what…?  It’s not Friday, it’s Saturday?  Uh, oh, yeah, I know.

So after yet another endless week, I decided to wrap yesterday up by spending the afternoon looking after my niece and nephew, followed by an evening tending to Bear while Andy was gaming, and then turning in for the night at, swear to God, 8 pm.  So, posting didn’t happen.

I still have a week of work left, guys, and I’m still not sure if I’m working two or four day weeks this summer.  Keeping me float this week:

After going on sale on June 22nd, Andy scored us Welcome to Night Vale Live tickets for the showing in Northampton.  We’ve been fans of Night Vale since starting to listen to it in late 2013, and saw our first live show in March of 2014.  This will be our fifth time seeing them live, and our second time in Northampton (which is a special treat, because Northampton is about two hours from us, and we have no cause to ever really go there, save special events, and I adore the town).  If you’re a Night Vale fan or are curious about it, tickets for the tour are on sale here.

Next, Nailed It – why haven’t I seen this show before?  It’s cheesy, silly, fun.  Watching casual home bakers try to mimic these intricate creations in the kitchen just makes me laugh and shake my head and feel slightly superior for a little while (even though I know I would absolutely do no better than any of the contestants).

Third, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.  Yeah, I know, these Friday posts are making me sound like all I do is drink, but wht can I say?  I like to unwind with a drink at the end of the day.

And, in what will likely be a feel-good for no one who doesn’t already follow her, my favorite YouTube Dollar Tree hauler/DIYer, Bargain Bethany, just put out a video announcing her engagement.  YouTube – and the internet in general – is a funny thing, isn’t it?  I’ve never met Bethany in real life, she doesn’t know me at all, but I’ve followed her videos for a long time, and got genuinely excited when I saw the announcement.

That’s all for this week – what’s kept you going these last seven (or eight) days?

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: June 15th, 2018

onnie & CaroleWe are officially in our last full week of classes!  Note, I said “classes,” not school.  the winter was brutal, and I am working straight through the 29th, sadly.  I’ve said it before, I’m incredibly lucky to love my job, but this truly has been just The Year That Never Ends.  Hopefully next year’s pre-Labor Day start will prevent this from happening again.

Anyway, things that buoyed me along this week…

First off, Dollar Tree (I have a bit of a Dollar Tree Problem™, which will become apparent in time) is carrying some really awesome Sassy n’ Chic acrylic nails, as well as Kiss brand gel polish and nail glue.  I absolutely love nail art, but have neither the time, patience, or money to spend on getting them done (and honestly, I don’t love spas/salons so much to start with).  These are an awesome alternative.  They look great, and I’ve had my current pair on since Sunday.  If you’re a fan of shorter nails, but still like the patterns, they trim and file down really smoothly, too.

Next, upon the recommendation of a friend, my husband ordered a book for Bear called Dragons Love Tacos.  It’s adorable, and this edition came with a little plushie dragon (with taco!) that’s Bear’s been bringing to bed every night.  He had fun recounting the book to my parents, and politely refusing to give the plushie to his little friend, Emmy, who had also fallen in love with it during their brief rendezvous.

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Next, guys, I just heard about Making It, which is going to air on NBC this summer.   A crafting competition.  Hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.  Are you freakin‘ kidding me??  And it’s going to kick off on my birthday???  No joke, I am so pumped about this show.

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Lastly, I’ll be honest: I’m just thrilled that it’s summer, and that summer break is fast approaching.  Contrary to popular belief, as an educator, I do not have summers free – I work as part of the Extended School Year program in a variety of capacities – but my hours vary between 8 hours and 16 hours a week during the summer (as opposed to 35), so I do get a lot more free time, and I am so, so looking forward to having time to myself.  I’m excited to work on my home, to write, to craft, and to spend some time with Bear and Andy at home, and on vacation in Florida this August.  Hopefully you have something fun and summery to look forward to yourselves.

That’s all for this week!  What got you through this week, and what do you have to look forward to this weekend??

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: June 8th, 2018

Time for Feel Good Friday/Friday Favorites!onnie & Carole

This was like The Week That Never Ends.  Between the chaos and disorder of Freshman MCAS, the ever-changing demands of my work schedule, and the fact that we all, in our bones, know that school should be done already – but we still have three weeks left!? – I am just so completely and utterly done.  Weekends with a toddler aren’t exactly silent oases of rest and relaxation, but at least I don’t have the added stress of work for the next two days.

Here are some things that carried me through this week:

J’s at Nashoba Valley Winery:  If you ever find yourself travelling to/through Central Massachusetts for some reason, do yourselves a favor and book a table at J’s for dinner.  The first time Andy took me was on our fifth anniversary, and we loved it so much we literally insisted my parents join us there two weeks later for my birthday dinner.  Lately we’ve really been loving their prix fixe, five course tasting menu and  wine flight.  We went again last night – I’ve got a pic or two of the food on Instagram – and it was amazing, as always.

Top 100 Songs of 1995 Playlist:  HOLY CRAP, NOSTALGIA BOMB.  I turned thirteen in 1995, and it’s the first year I remember really listening to and buying music.  I was getting bored with my usual YouTube music playlist and just sort of idly searched “hits 1995,” and oh my God, there are so many songs on this list I forgot about.  I think I spent three days just listening to “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” on repeat.  Also, my son caught me watching TLC’s “Waterfalls” and asked, “What are they? Are they mermaids?” so, like, come on.  That’s adorable.  How does that not brighten up your week?

Jose Cuervo’s Teagarita:  Every once in a while I send my husband out to buy me a bottle of wine and he comes back with a “treat” instead.  Recently, he discovered this amazing bottled concoction by Jose Cuervo called the “teagarita,” a ready-to-drink cocktail that is half-iced tea, half-margarita, and definitely one of the most perfect summer drinks I’ve ever had.  Toss a few ice cubes in a glass, pour it over, and enjoy the fact that it’s Friday.

The Good Place Official Podcast & Forking Bullshirt:  Last year, Andy and I fell head-over-heels for NBC’s The Good Place.  While I’m still waiting for an official release date for season three, they recently began a behind-the-scenes podcast hosted by Marc Evan Jackson.  I listened to the first episode last night, and so far I’m digging. it  That being said, if you are interested in episode analysis and discussion from a fan’s perspective (as well as some good old-fashioned squeeing), the fan-run podcast Forking Bullshirt is pretty awesome.

That’s it for this week; I told you, it’s been a long one, and my “self-care” this week was food, alcohol, and nostalgia.  Hey, we find comfort where we can, right?

What got you through this week?  What were some things that brought you comfort/joy/brightened your days?