Sunday, July 31, 2011

The End of an Era...

I wrote this post Friday, but our internet was out, but it's finally up now!


As I’m sure most of you have heard, Borders is sadly closing its doors. Borders is one of my favorite stores – regardless of the fact I’m a Rewards Plus member, so I get an extra 10% off everything – because I just love books! I love book stores in general – it’s related to my love of libraries. I can remember, growing up, I would visit my aunt in Charlotte a few times a year, and she would always take me to Barnes & Noble. We could spend a whole afternoon in there, and she would buy me a book before we left, as a souvenir of my weekend with her. It’s not like we didn’t have bookstores back home… it was just a thing we did. And it shows you what a nerd I was growing up, that I’d pick a book as my souvenir every time I went on a trip!

Anyways, the one silver lining to this cloud is the going-out-of-business sale happening right now in Winston. When the Greensboro location closed, I was able to pick up Planet Earth on BluRay for cheap. I’m talking $30-cheap. In hopes of finding some similar deals, I hit up the sale at the Thruway store yesterday. Most of what I wanted is only 20% off right now (plus my 10%), so I tried to limit myself. But I bought some really cool stuff for my future classroom! Theoretically, if all goes well, that is only a year away (WHOA), and I need to stock up! All the Melissa & Doug materials were on sale, and they are one of my absolute favorite companies for kids’ work. Everything is wooden – super durable and safe – and I basically want to own everything they make. I can’t wait to go back when all of the stuff at Borders is a little more on sale and stock up from that shelf.

Yesterday I limited myself to a kitchen set of food groups from Melissa & Doug, which are so cool. I did buy several books, including an awesome BrainQuest Preschool book, which is full of worksheets on phonics, 123s, ABCs, toys, and the self. Does anyone remember BrainQuest? I had a ton of their products when I was younger! I also got some really neat Dr. Suess concept cards on the alphabet and opposites. Seriously, I am getting so excited about being able to use these materials in a classroom of my own. Or with my own kids, but that is much farther off.

Speaking of my own classroom, today was my last day at OCCS for the summer (I think). The end of another era! I go back to UNCG on August 15, and I’m not on the schedule at OCCS for the next two weeks. It is so sad! I absolutely love that school, and I have seen some real changes in myself over the course of this summer. I have really connected with some students, and I believe that a lot of progress was made in terms of how I worked with and handled certain situations. Some days were very challenging – as were some students – but I can honestly say I loved that whole class I worked with. How am I going to do this when I am a teacher – say goodbye to a whole group of children I love every year? I guess the rewards of working with them outweighs the sadness of sending them on at the end of the school year. “Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all,” right? Do you think that was written with teachers in mind?

Me neither.

Edit: Found out I am on the schedule to work this week - yay! Five more days with my kids!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Very Happy Birthday to You...

Today is a very special day - Michelle's birthday!

So let's all join together in wishing her a happy birthday!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear Michelle,
Happy birthday to you!

We have had a lot of great times over the years... remember the time you made me stand on a chair at 2am in high school, fanning the smoke alarm so it wouldn't wake up your parents? Or what about when you helped me cut off that part of my wedding dress laces that fell in the toilet before the ceremony last September? Or how about that time I went on a honking spree at Concord Mills while you discovered that Sequoia is in fact a tree and not an Indian tribe? Or what about the time we were so unsuccessful at moving your mattress that a UPS man had to pull over and help us? And remember when we watched some accidentally inappropriate shows at the Brenner Children's ER? Or how about all the exciting times we had as roomies in Cobb 412 - dressing up as one another, learning to make balloon animals, sneaking in the Smirnoff Ice, staying up way too late watching TV, skipping class to get LocoPops (only happened once, if you are a parent!), and so many other memories?  So happy, happy birthday, dear friend - looking forward to another year of fun!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Crafty-McCrafterson

In light of the fact that I did not have to work the last week, I decided to use put some of my energy toward crafting. Not only did it give me something to do (and get some birthday gifts made!), but it took my mind off of my poor crippled pup. Who is still limping on random legs occasionally, but he is spending the majority of his time running and jumping, which he is supposed to not do. We have been able to limit the amount of time he and Sensei spend roughhousing together, but it is so hard. Sometimes, Sensei sits outside on the deck by the glass door, and Preston sits inside next to the door, and they just stare at each other. It is by far the saddest and most pitiful thing I have ever seen my sweet pooches do.

Speaking of my sweet pooches...


A couple pictures I (literally) just snapped to share with you all. This is what they do when I am not paying attention to them. They sit at my feet and stare and make me feel guilty that I do anything besides throw balls for them to fetch and rub their bellies.

But anyways. The topic of this post is crafting. And cooking. I'll throw that in, since I've had time for that, too. Let me say, first off, that Pinterest is the greatest thing to have graced the internet since bonjovi.com. I am able to rip off my own DIY projects off tons of other people, all in one place!

For instance, take this Etsy wreath.

Too cute, right? Unfortunately, that $40 + shipping price tag was not so cute. So I made my own - one for me, and one for my mom's birthday tomorrow. And as far as pricing goes, I will say that between what I already owned, and what I bought, I spent less than $12 and had some leftover materials. $12. FOR TWO WREATHS. Although they did take several hours, so maybe that's really what the steep $40 is for. Here's my mama's - and don't worry, there's no way she'll be reading this before she opens her gifts tomorrow!


The one I made for our front door is exactly the same, but it's blue and green rather than pink and purple.

 After my success with the wreaths, I turned to ceramic coasters. It truly is amazing what you can do with some Mod Podge and Acrylic spray paint. Please act surprised if any of you receive these as a housewarming gift in the future... This was a good project for me to start with, and I am looking forward to getting more creative with these in the future. I saw some really cool stuff online, with people using cutouts, stencils, etc...


I also made this really great birthday gift for someone later this fall, but it's going to have to wait to share. All I have to say is, it is cool! I want to make one for myself. And I also want to say that the point of this post is not for me to brag about the stuff I've done (or to lament over the fact that semi-unemployment is giving me WAY too much free time). Rather, I want to sing the praises of all those DIYers out there on the internet who come up with great craft ideas that even I can do!

Finally, I want to share some low-carb ice cream I made for Bill and I. Yes, we are still doing that diet. And yes, I have lost 7-8 pounds (I'll admit, I have not been as strict as I should be...), but my skin is SO clear from cutting out so much sugar! It really is amazing how much I was eating every day! But anyways. Check this recipe out. It is low-carb, vegan, gluten-free, whatever you need. Only three ingredients: bananas. peanut butter. cocoa powder. Heaven in a Kitchen-Aid ice cream maker. Warning: I would advise you to make the ice cream in a food processor, and then use an ice cream maker to freeze it and churn it all together into the delicious treat that it is! So that's actually all for right now, except for a little shout-out to my favorite cat-lovin', fellow Twilight-obsessed gal pal Caroline, who got engaged to her boyfriend Andrew last night! Yippee - love is in the air, people!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crisis Averted...

Or so we thought.

Preston had his x-rays yesterday morning, which showed mild hip dysplasia in his back left leg. Nothing warranting major hip surgery - yet. Basically, they told us to keep him on the glucosamine he's taking (which stimulates cartilage growth and joint health), and to bring him back in 2-4 months for another evaluation. They said young dogs like him can grow out of the hip dysplasia problems, but we can count on the fact that it will be back when he is older (which means that hip replacement surgery may happen later on down the road). If things are still bad in a few months, we may be looking at a minor surgery to help with the friction between the bones.

Not too bad, right? We were really expecting the worst, so to know that he may be able to grow out of it for the time being was awesome.

Unfortunately, around 10:30 last night, we noticed Preston limping on his FRONT leg. He was barely letting his front left leg touch the ground, and it was sticking out at a weird angle. This was definitely a WTF moment for us both, and we obviously jumped to the conclusion that action needed to be taken as soon as possible. We took him to the emergency animal clinic in Winston, where they took him back for more x-rays. Around midnight, the doctor called us back to tell us all the different things that could be wrong with Preston, since the x-rays showed nothing out of the ordinary.

He could have some kind of lameness that travels between legs. He could have panosteitis, which is an inflammation of the bones. He could have one of several kinds of arthritis. He could have some tick-borne illness (we found a tick on him several weeks ago - hello, Frontline purchase!).

The doctor then did a blood test to check his platelets, which apparently is a sign of some tick-borne diseases. I really was not completely following what was happening at this point - it was very late at night, and she was talking really loudly and using a lot of big words. They did the blood test, nothing came back abnormal, so she sent us home with a mild pain medication to have on hand. He had been on Deramaxx, which is a pretty rough drug, so she gave us one that they use on really old and fragile dogs. Fine by me, just fix my baby.

So now we wait. We are supposed to observe and keep a journal on him - is he lethargic, is he limping on different legs, is he eating, etc, etc. And - here's the worst part - we are supposed to keep him from running, jumping, or playing with Sensei. Only leash activity. For FIVE DAYS. If you have met Preston, you understand what a task this is going to be. I get his leash out, and he is literally jumping into the air (all four feet off the ground, yes), with excitement. And poor Sensei. Preston was at the vet all day yesterday, and Sensei just moped around the house. It was pitiful. And made me kind of sad. But hopefully this is all for the best - maybe a few days of taking it easy will help Preston back to normal. I know he is just a dog, but this is all really overwhelming me! What if something is seriously wrong? He seems to be doing alright this morning, so maybe that's a sign he's on the road to recovery...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where to begin?

It's only been five days since I last posted, and a lot has happened.

Really fun things have happened. Bill and I and the pooches spent the weekend at Lake Norman, getting in some serious quality time with the world's cutest niece (that would be our's), who loved Uncle Bill more than anyone else this weekend. I even let her pee on me, but she still liked Bill best! It was so relaxing - there was pool time, board game time, delicious food time, homemade ice cream time, and my sister-in-law and I may or may not have stayed up until almost midnight ooohing and ahhing over all the cool things we found on Pinterest.

I also have gotten to see some great friends, even one that I haven't seen since OCTOBER.

Meet Sara.

Okay, she probably won't like that last one. Meet Sara, take 2.
We are only an hour and a half apart, but it seems whenever we make it to the other one's town, they are busy or not home. Luckily, the stars aligned Sunday night, and Bill and I were able to grab a nice, long dinner with Sara and her boyfriend Jeramie. Please not I would not have survived college, nor would it have been as much fun, without Sara.

I was also able to meet up with my friends from work - Q, Tiff, and Sara. This blog is not meant to be a recap of my social life, but these are big ticket news items in my world right now. It has been really hard this summer for me, because most of my friends are not here. And there is only so much for a 23-year-old to do in this tiny town. Not that I'm complaining, I love living here, but it is such a treat for me when I get to see my friends from out-of-town!

I have also begun a few crafts, inspired by Pinterest. I am a little hesitant to blog about them, though, because one is for a birthday later this year (I am just trying to get it done before school starts back), and that someone may or may not be related to someone else who reads the blog. I hope this doesn't give anything away. But a couple crafts are home-related, so I will post those ASAP. And if anyone is wondering, Michaels is having a really great sale right now on some of the basic craft supplies that I like to just have stocked.

Finally, I'd like to share with all the bloggees out there a little situation we're having at the Fischer household. But first, a little back story. The past few weeks, Preston has been having some troubles. If he's been laying down and stands up, he often has to sit back down because his back legs give out. And when he does walk, he limps. Bill and I attributed it to his legs falling asleep, but we thought it was a little weird because 1) it only started happening recently, and 2) it's never happened to Sensei. I brought it up with the vet last Thursday, and it turns out he might have hip dysplasia. (Please note: if your dogs butt wiggles when he walks, or he bunny hops when he runs, these are two signs of hip dysplasia! Preston does both, but Bill and I had no idea it was a sign of anything being wrong). We are taking him in for X-rays tomorrow morning, and we should find out exactly what's going on. If it turns out to be serious enough, we will be looking at hip replacement surgery. This is not supposed to happen to my baby - he isn't even 18 months old yet!I will keep everyone updated, so please send your thoughts/prayers/positive vibes our way - whatever you've got, we'll take.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

update

Is it sad I am making a blog update about my nails? Yes? Well, I'm okay with that. That's what happens when you're living the life of the semi-unemployed and your day started way too early, with picking up your dogs' poo in order to have a sample for the vet this afternoon.

Oh wait. Is that unappropriate to write about on here?

Anyways, I decided to redo some of my nails that turned out less-than-perfect yesterday. And today's result was much better. Ignore the fact that there is still nail polish on my skin in the following photos.




Nice, right? Maybe it'll be my new thing. Or feather hair extensions. Does anyone else - besides Emily - love those as much as I do? Or should they be relegated to the likes of Miley Cyrus and other tweens?

In other news, a basement makeover is slowly in progress. Here's some before shots.



Anyone see the doggie?
It's dark - a lot of very dark wood paneling and not a lot of light. and has carpet reminiscent of a pool table. Hopefully, it's nothing a lamp or two, a crowbar and a few coats of paint can't fix. At least temporarily. In the long run, we'd like to do a lot. Some of this may not make since if you haven't been to our house (and I am a slack blogger and didn't take pictures of the whole room). Here's our dream basement redo list:
  • Create a frame wall, a la Casa Petersik. (This project is actually already in motion - woohoo!)
  • Replace the carpet
  • Tear out the fireplace (not the whole brick wall, just the hideous gold fireplace front that kind of falls away from the wall whenever you pull the doors open)  
  • Replace said fireplace front
  • Turn the door to the bar into a half wall, with a large window looking from the basement into the bar
  • Tear a door from the hallway into the bar
  • Find a more suitable place for our workout equipment
There's also an  office and a two-car garage in our basement. Again, in our dream world, we'd like to finish part of the garage and add a bathroom downstairs. And maybe even some space for the elliptical and that tall weight machine that I have no idea what it is called.

So far, all that has taken place is me prying some of those planks off the walls, and then cursing as I accidentally created a hole in the wall, and then a little more cursing when I realized that big X is not coming off without making a giant mess. But more on that later, when it actually gets done!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jumping on the bandwagon

So, I have been hearing for a few months about how great Pinterest is. I went once, it overwhelmed me, and that was it. But I have the week off this week, and after a day of recovery from the beach + 4th of July, I was a little restless. I headed over to Pinterest, and realized that it would be very easy for me to waste hours there.

Except, oh wait. You can't just sign up. You have to request an invitation. I think that is so stupid, but I shut my mouth and requested one. And I'm still waiting. I'll let you all know how long it takes.

In the meanwhile, I've still been able to browse the site. I'm hesitant to do so, though, because I can't "pin" anything, and I don't want to bookmark fifty things I think are cool. I did find a quick little beauty DIY that I tried today.

Not my nails.
The first nail turned out perfect. It went downhill from there, but I am still pretty satisfied with the result. I have a feeling that you should really change the water in the bowl after at least every two nails, but I was feeling lazy and just wanted to get it over with. I did read a great tip elsewhere online that you should put scotch tape around your nails, in order to keep your fingers clean(ish) and that worked well.

And that's how I spent one hour of my afternoon. So far this day has entailed breakfast at Panera (REALLY hard to do when you are eating low-carb), a car inspection, some play time with the doggies, stalking Mal's pictures on FB, and a semi-successful nail painting session. Next up: class at PetSmart tonight! Hope everyone is having a great week so far :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

What's white and brown and red all over?

Me! I went to the beach this weekend for a few days of fun, sun, and some quality reunion time with some UNC girls. All in honor of our favorite bachelorette Meredith.

Unfortunately, my body put the emphasis on the sun. My stomach is really sunburnt, but there was also a lot of emphasis on the fun this weekend, so it was well worth it. Sadly, I had a little brain lapse and forgot to pack my camera for the trip! But Mallorie never lets me down, so I'll be sure to steal some photos from her facebook soon.

To hold you over, here are some pictures from google images of Wrightsville Beach!


Saturday night, we ventured over to Wilmington for a great celebratory dinner (with Mer in bachelorette sash, no less) at Elijah's. I had never been before, and while it's mostly a seafood restaurant (which I mostly can't eat), I had a fantastic meal. Everyone loved their's, too; Elijah's is also set on the riverwalk in Wilmington, so we spent some time walking around on that afterwards.


The rest of the weekend was a lot of beach time, a little pool time, a lot of sitting around talking about our weird adult lives, weddings and men (here's looking at you, grooms and future grooms of the girls there!), and a little more. But, as my souvenir cup says - "what happens at the bachelorette party, stays at the bachelorette party."

Disclaimer: nothing that wild actually took place. But we gotta keep some mystery, right?!

To end this post, I'll leave you with a little gem that a few of us may or may not have watched and rocked out to late one night this weekend... Nick Carter, I still love you.