Archive for May 2009
Dear ’08-’09 school year,
Our time together is swiftly coming to a close and I feel like a few words are necessary. You have easily been my hardest year of teaching yet. I was losing sleep over you before you even began. I gave you weekends, evenings out with my husband and friends, and many, many tears that I didn’t let you see. At first I thought this relationship would be an unbalanced one, but around Christmas I think we came to a mutual understanding and things have been better since then. For that, I am grateful.
You were a year of firsts for me: first year away from my beloved “first school,” first time to teach history, first time to balance home with work. You have taught me many things; primarily, that nothing is more important than home and that I am not a history teacher.
When our time together ends tomorrow at noon, please know that I have learned from you and appreciated you, especially now that you are over. There are other things that need my attention for the next few months, such as an anniversary vacation to the beach, my garden, two stacks of books for fun, possibly a trip to meet baby Henry, the yet-to-be-learned skill of canning, my sister’s wedding plans, and the crafting of my ’09-’10 school bag.
Thank you for the great co-workers and new friends. Thank you for my student that told me he loves history and the class that cheered when they discovered I’d be their Latin teacher again next year. Thank you for understanding that our relationship was a temporary one.
One thing I am learning from my husband is how to entertain well. I love spending time with friends, provided I have enough of the proverbial “me time”, but I’m usually hesitant to cast around invites. I was the child afraid of talking to anyone. At all. I’ve come along way, people, so I believe I can be cut some slack when I fall into introvert slumps.
However, I mustered all my southern belle genes and invited my co-workers over for appetizers and other goodies last night. We’d all gone to a restaurant with appetizer specials after work a few times and, at my social husband’s promptings, I thought it would be fun to gather at a home instead of a restaurant. And gather we did.
We ate baked brie and fruit and pecan bars and veggies and bruschetta–the majority of which were prepared by my wonderful husband. We talked about our students and next year’s contracts and how ready we were for summer. We laughed hysterically. For almost four hours. It was lovely. I should hostess to the mostest more often.
Tonight something wonderful happened. Neighbors actually walked down the street, knocked on our door, came in and stayed for dinner. Amazing. Amazing because we have lived in our house for a year and have only spoken with anyone that lives around us one or two times. Some of that is due to the interesting-ness, shall we say, of some of our neighbors and the rest of it can be attributed to the fact that none of our friends live within walking distance; when we’re being social we’re either elsewhere with them or in our house behind a shut door. Anyway, we were thrilled to learn that a couple of guys from our church moved in one block down last week. I guess they don’t count as new friends, but they are new neighbors and they did take us up on our offer to wander down anytime. And I’m glad.
Around Christmas I stumbled upon a few blogs that described using coupons and all the glory it entails. I am always ready to spend less, especially on things we had to buy anyway, so I did a little more reading and started buying a Sunday paper solely for the coupon inserts, as well as frequenting Walgreens and CVS to try and work their sales and coupons to my advantage. I have read wonderful stories about saavy women that regularly save 90% on their grocery bill and I have to say I have yet to join their ranks. However, by paying more attention to pricing and sales I have been spending less on groceries and toiletries, sometimes with the help of coupons and sometimes with the help of CVS extra bucks and Walgreens register rewards (essentially “money” to be used in each store).
Today I had a small victory at Walgreens. I went in with some RRs and a coupon making tissues .99. I bought toothpaste, tissues, and cherry Coke for a mere .42 and got 2 RRs. I felt a little silly that I had to use my debit card because my coin purse was depleted due to frequent trips to the drink machine for diet Cokes in the last month. I realize that you have to initially spend money to get “drugstore dollars”, but I am learning how to use special offers to my advantage.
There are a lot of blogs out there explaining how to play the coupon game (Being Frugal is Fabulous and Bargain Briana are just two). I think I will stick with playing it. And being proud of my .42 purchase.
I discovered $5 Dinners back in December and have been an avid reader ever since. This week Erin helped save our Tuesday night. Each Tuesday my husband and I host the church small group we’re apart of and lead. As time as gone on our group has come to be made up of predominantly college students. We both love to cook, and my husband especially loves to host, and we feel particularly inclined to feed our college students well. I challenge myself to stay within the grocery budget already set for the two of us, even though once a week it’s closer to ten around the table. Usually we are racing against the clock to get at least one of us home from work in time to get a good meal together (I felt guilty the time we served frozen lasagna).
This week we served this $5 Dinner recipe. I used a combination of whole wheat linguini and egg noodles, because that’s what I had. I doubled it to serve our Tuesday night group and assembled it this morning. After getting home from work I topped it with the cheese and baked. I am a fan because it was a one-dish dinner that included vegetables, could be made ahead, and didn’t have to bake too long. Thank you, $5 Dinners!
For a while when I was in college, we whirly girls exchanged weekly emails that consisted of a simple list of 5 things we were grateful for in that moment. Thinking back to those lists, I remember how they helped me pull my head out of the stressball I usually lived in and be genuinely grateful, if only for a fleeting moment, for my life: coffee, a guy friend to walk me home from the library at midnight, blankets, the $1 movie theater, sweatpants, to only name a few. Today I am still grateful for blankets and coffee and the $1 movie theater–I am especially grateful I ended up marrying one of those library guy friends last year. Here are some new gratefuls for this week:
weekend rain for the plants
Saturday brunch with friends
Sunday dinner with friends (yes, we are fairly fixated on food and friends in our house)
a swiftly approaching vacation
purple and orange roses on my table.