Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm on BREAK!

Well, it's been a whirlwind month (ok - 23 days - but who's counting?), but I've got SO MUCH accomplished! Our Big Day will be on:

Dress? Check! (Day 6)
Reception Venue? Check! (Day 13)
Caterer? Check! (Day 13)
Photographer? Check! (Day 16)
Bridesmaid Dresses? Pretty much decided on... about Day 2

Now that I'm on break from school and my other school I've got much more time on my hands! I plan on sharing allll of my fun finds and ideas and inspirations with you! But first, I have to warn Josh that he's not allowed to read my blog anymore for fear that he may stumble upon pictures of my dress (which I will be posting in the near future).

Side Note: I'm thinking about switching over to Wordpress... any advice/comments/preferences? I've heard that it's a lot more user friendly, and I've got a little html coding knowledge tucked away, so I'm thinking it might be more my style. Plus, I'm anticipating uploading a lot of pictures soon, and I've heard their photo uploading software is SO much better than Blogger... Let me know what you think!

 7 Months and 30 days to go! (EEEK!)

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

A new look for my blog... and my hand :)

 Please excuse my looks... I had been crying happy tears :)

I'm planning on changing over to a more wedding-centric blog, and I'm planning on posting MUCH MUCH more (I know I've said it before, but I have so much to post about now!). 

What a perfect Thanksgiving weekend, reminding me of everything I have to be thankful for!

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Rock Stars

My mentor teacher's classroom revolves around the idea of "Rocking Out." Her rules are all about rock shows and how it applies to the classroom, and she has a Rock Star Wall of Fame which is littered with awesome things our students have done. I'd like to incorporate this into my blog in some way... and I'm drawing some inspiration from a teacher-friend who did something similar last year. She would blog daily about good things that happened to her throughout the school day. I love this idea as a way to reflect and also to share some of the amazing things my students are doing! (Now, I doubt this will happen daily, but hopefully I can post more frequently about the good things that are happening in my classroom!)

Star 1: Friday, I taught my first original lesson from start to finish and it went well. Seriously, I was on an adrenaline high when I got done. With the exception of one kid who nodded off a few times, those kids were engaged with my lesson and participated more than I expected. I even got participation out of students I didn't expect! What an awesome feeling...

Star 2: Friday, one of my students came up with a sweet idea for a writing project, and she was genuinely excited about it. I loved seeing her so inspired to write!
Star 3: One of my Emotionally Impaired students opened up to me Friday. Not only was she participating like crazy during my lesson, she also came up to me after class and told me about her exciting weekend plans. She's never spoken to me before, other than to grumble a greeting to me at the door, so this was a big step!

What was your Rock Star Moment of the Day?

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

And it begins...

I'm finishing up my 3rd week at my Teacher Assisting placement. Woah! How did that happen? Time flies.... and my blog suffers, unfortunately.

Can I just talk for 3 seconds about how much I freaking love school right now? Seriously. It's completely wearing me out (I'm recovering from a nasty cold; damn kids and their germs), I've got no free time, I wake up at 5 am, but I'm not being one drop sarcastic when I say that I love it. I absolutely adore what I'm doing and I've got no doubts that I made the right decision about leaving that horrid, horrid world of banking. (Sorry... I just threw up in my mouth a little at the thought of going back. ughhhhh scary!) Did you hear the part about getting up at 5am? Yeah. I never would have done that for my other job. I would have slept in as late as I could and rolled into work looking like hell with a scowl on my face. Now, I'm up, eating decent breakfasts, straightening my hair, and picking out cute clothes. It's happiness. It's changing my life. Looooove it.
So, what's so fab about it? Well, let me explain:

  • Even though some of them are downright asshole-ish, most of my students are great kids. They're funny, motivated, honest (which can be humbling at times), and so far, they've been really nice to me. Let's hope I'm singing the same tune after I present my very first original lesson plan tomorrow. (It's about sentence combining using conjunctions and punctuation. Don't act like you're not jealous that you can't experience it... It's going to be mind-blowing. Ok, yeah that might be a little sarcasm creeping in there..)
  • The staff at my school is freaking hilarious. Never have I ever heard so many F-Bombs dropped at lunchtime, during some of the most inappropriate conversations a teacher's lounge has ever seen. And I had some pretty intense lunchtimes at the bank... The other teachers have been so welcoming and friendly. They're such fun people!
  • I absolutely love when kids ask me if they can go to the bathroom, go to their locker, etc, because they realize that I have the same authority in the class as the teacher. It's kind of a power trip... haha kidding. kind of. 
  • Tomorrow is homecoming, and I'm chaperoning the dance. I'm helping out with advising Student Council this year and it's been so much fun so far. For Spirit Week, they did a limbo contest at lunch Wednesday. I was in charge of recruiting people to come out to the lobby and participate. And guess what? There were a TON of kids there, either participating or watching. More kids than they had the previous day, and more than they had today. I'd like to think it was because I personally went to each table and called students out by name and told them they needed to participate. I could be totally off, but this is my blog so we're going to go with that...
So, even though I'm bogged down with homework and no longer have time for my precious little bloggy, I'm a very happy teacher... Hopefully I'll have more time to share about what the coming year brings, but don't hold your breath!!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Goin' to the Chapel... But first, we party!

Note: I thought I published this last week, but apparently it just saved. Bummer... Anyways, the wedding was Saturday and it was beautiful! I'll share pictures of that later. For now, enjoy bachelorette party pics!

My bestest friend Erin is getting married tomorrow! We've known each other since we were three years old. Last month, we had a bachelorette party at Station Square in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, complete with vodka, a limo, and a mechanical bull. What more could a bunch of girls ask for!?

The beautiful bride before the partay started!
Jenna and I, two of the bridesmaids!
Me with the Matron Maid of Honor (this amazing chef) and another bridesmaid. (we were a few drinks in. no judgment)
The bride riding the mechanical bull! She was pretty good, too : )
Stage dancing at Barroom! Tons of fun, and only one fall-off (no, it wasn't me!)
Late night/Early morning lounging on the patio at the last stop. They had a grill on the patio where you can get a meal at the end of the night. Amazing idea!
This was SUCH a fun time and I'm super excited for the wedding this weekend!!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sidewalk Sales!

While Josh and I were in Holland, there were sidewalk sales going on! Downtown Holland has some amazing little stores, so I was thrilled at the opportunity to buy stuff on sale : )

The first place we went was the Peanut Store, which was a delicious place to start! It has bins of candy throughout the entire store, along with salt-water taffy, roasted nuts, and homemade fudge! We picked up a pound of taffy for Josh's parents because they watched Diesel for us : )

Our next stop was for dinner, and we chose to eat at Butch's. They had an amazing wine selection (one of my favorites from Traverse City!!) and delicious food! Of course, I forgot to take pictures...

We tasted more than just wines while we were in Holland. We also tasted balsamic vinegar and olive oil! Fustini's is a store that doubles as a tasting room for their oils and vinegar. I never knew that there were so many flavors so it was a lot of fun trying and tasting everything... that is, it was a bunch of fun until Josh spilled some vinegar all over the floor! It was pretty funny... but we left quickly after that.

This is just a SMALL sample of all of the amazing stores around Holland. I'm thinking this would be the perfect place to buy Christmas presents ; )
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mini In-state Vacay

The day after I finished my summer classes, Josh and I headed off for a little over night trip to Holland, MI. Neither one of us had been there before, and there are lots of touristy things to do, as you can see. It was HOTTT outside but beautiful and I had a lot of fun... I think Josh did, too.

Our first touristy stop was Windmill Island Gardens, which has, well, a lot of gardens and a windmill. Surprising, huh?
The windmill is completely legit and came over from the Netherlands to be rebuilt in Michigan. They actually still use it to grind flour, and we were given a tour (a very, very hot tour in an old windmill with no air flow) to see how the grinding is done.
This is a view from the deck of the windmill. The white tent you see is where they have wedding receptions. The gardens are absolutely gorgeous in spring when the tulips are blooming! I'll actually be attending a wedding here next Memorial Day : )
There's a replica of a dutch village on the island, too. Inside are little shops, exhibits of Dutch clothing and historical items, and the bridal room for weddings.
The windmill is over 7 stories tall! This was taken from the deck of the windmill - the same place where I took the picture of the entire island.
After leaving the gardens, Josh and I stopped for lunch at New Holland Brewery I had the baked potato pizza and Josh had a Caesar salad.
Mmmm delicious! It had goat cheese which I adore.
Yummy microbrews - So refreshing after being out in the hot sun!
I found a tasting room for a local winery in downtown Holland, and Josh humored me by tasting a few wines. Surprisingly, he actually liked some, and we ended up buying 3 bottles! We purchased Warner Vineyard's Traminette  (similar to a gewurztraminer), Sangria (always a favorite), and Blueberry Wine (mmmm tasty).  After our little buzz wore off, we headed for Dutch Village, which is a small theme park set up as if it were a village in the Netherlands. It was kind of cheesy, but we went all-in and acted like tourists!

Josh got weighed to make sure he wasn't a witch/wizard. Luckily he wasn't! He even got a certificate to prove it : )

Not a witch!
They did a demonstration of how to make wooden shoes by hand...
But this is the machinery they use to make the wooden shoes sold at Dutch Village.
I never realized the shoes could be so beautiful! I actually tried a pair on and they are surprisingly comfortable! A little clunky and hard to walk in, but kind of cool.
Josh tried on a pair, too!
They had huuuuuuge street organs (this is one of the small ones) that were still working! Josh is doing a great job as Vanna : )
You can see the large street organ in the background here. Every hour they have demonstrations of traditional Dutch dances, wearing clothing similar to the period. I think 3 wooden shoes flew off the feet of the dancers as they were dancing! These girls can really kick their feet...
There also was a petting zoo... and Josh scooped up this sweet little baby bunny. It was for sale, but he said we couldn't have it : (

 I'll have to do a separate post on all of the amazing stores in downtown Holland... there are just too many to talk about in one post! 
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Sunday, September 12, 2010


So... yeah. It's been awhile. I've heard from many readers (or like 3) that I need to post more. And I honestly wish I could because I have about 498 posts going on in my head, and nowhere to put them! Here's just a random sampling of what's going on in my noggin...

  • I started my teacher assisting (24+ hours each week of being in a real live high school classroom) plus 3 graduate classes plus a seminar, so needless to say, I'm a busy girl! I'm hoping to post a bunch more on Tuesday because I have a morning off from classes and teaching. I have a feeling I'll come to treasure those Tuesday mornings!
  • Josh and I took a trip to Holland, MI and I have some hilarious pics to share... 
  • There's a rumor that a Verizon tower is being built really super close to my house... YAY!! That might mean that I can actually have decent speed of internet at my house for a decent price! I am beyond excited about it.
  • My bestest friend is getting married next weekend... crazy!
  • College football season is upon us, and that means Pick 4 every weekend! I came THISCLOSE to winning the first weekend, but I lost and I'll explain that later.
  • My other bestest friend has a super amazing new boyfriend and I couldn't be more excited for her! Plus, he and Josh get along rather well (they bonded over a game of beer pong) so that's always a plus.
  • I've become obsessed with watching reruns of Grey's Anatomy on Lifetime and Ally McBeal on Reelz... and WOAH I never knew Robert Downey Jr. was such a hottie!
  • The first novel I'm/we're teaching is The Lord of the Rings. Which I've never read. And I have no interest in reading. Teacher fail.

Student Quote of the Week: (in response to my purple suede pumps) "Ms. Leak, are you going to wear fabulous shoes every day?" It kind of pretty much made my day.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Redneck Days of Summer: Part 6

This post will wrap up my recaps of the Fair. (Was that cheering I heard??  No... couldn't be!)

Like I mentioned before, I spend as much time at the Fair as possible. I didn't take pictures everyday, and so I'm really only scratching the surface of all the things that the Fair has to offer. A new development at the Fair is Antique Village, which my grandpa and grandma help out with many times during the week. There are exhibits with antiques (duh) and old pictures from my hometown and surrounding areas. I find it fascinating, and for the last 5 or so years, I've actually learned a lot about this area. I've even felt a little old as my grandpa brings in antiques that I distinctly remember playing with or seeing him use on the farm when I was younger. I really had no idea how old some of his things are!

Now, since I'm there so frequently, I often don't play the "tourist" part; I prefer just walking around and seeing people I haven't seen since the previous year's fair. This year, Jenna joined Josh, my sister, and I and we had a lot of fun being kind of touristy (read: dorky) as we took in the Fair on the last night.
Bingo! Jenna's grandma got us hooked on bingo the second we turned 18. At the fair, it's a whopping $.50 a card to play!

Lindsey (my sister) was SUPER excited to play! (Sorry Linds, I had to!)
Jenna Bingo'd twice, and I didn't win anything, hence the sadface.
Posing in front of the Corn Dog stand... with a creeper in the background. Honestly, my sister isn't always making that face...
The best Fair game in the world. Seriously. Put a quarter down on a square that is painted to look like a specific type of candy. Lindsey picked Hershey Kisses and I think Jenna picked Cotton Candy (?).
Then, a ball gets thrown onto this table, and if it lands on the candy that corresponds to where you put your quarter, you win any candy of your choice! Lots of fun, and a cheap way to entertain yourself.
The obligatory picture in front of the Ferris Wheel to bring our time at the Fair to a close. This year we were all enamored with the Ferris Wheel because the lights were replaced with LED lights and were super bright and pretty... it doesn't take much to entertain us!
I hope you enjoyed my recaps of Fair Week! I had a lot of fun, like every year, and I'm looking forward to next summer!
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Redneck Days of Summer: Part 5

This is what many people consider the best part of the Fair: The FOOD!

Disclaimer: If looking at lots of greasy, deep fried food makes you queasy, you may want to skip this post : )

One of my favorites is the bloomin' onion. Now, you can get these at some chain restaurants, but nothing beats the one at the Fair, split with your 3 favorite people. There's just something about the smell and feel of grease running down your fingers that just makes you feel at place at the Fair. (That sounds really gross as I reread it. But it's true. Don't judge) 
Now, I'm not a fan of corndogs, but Jenna is. This was her, and many other people's, must-have dinner at the fair.
Josh's food of choice is Old Tex barbecue. They cook it in a huge iron roaster and the smell is amazing! He loves the chopped pork sandwich, topped with their spicy barbecue sauce and lots of jalapeno peppers and pickles! I admit, I've become a huge fan of this place too, thanks to Josh.
The classic funnel cake. Even after years and years of going to the fair, my first funnel cake was actually just 3 years ago (it was my first first date with Josh, which I'll explain later, if you want to know what that's all about). These are SO much better than elephant ears. They're like fresh fried donut batter all tangled together. DELICIOUS! I think we split this one between 4 people.
One of the new vendors at the fair had fresh fried potato chips on a stick. They were really good and had a lot of different seasonings to pick from. Jenna is modeling hers, fresh from the beaches of Lake Michigan!
I didn't take pictures of everything we ate, and believe me, there was much more. An absolute must is Frazee French Fries. They are amazing, and I really can't even begin to explain why. There's just something about them that are so delicious, especially with a little malt vinegar on top. They are my Fair tradition, and have been since I was young.

There is also a gyro wagon with possibly the best gyros I've ever had. This guy is authentic Greek, and speaks very broken English. He also takes his time making the gyros, regardless of the size of the line of people outside his wagon. At any time, there is at least a 30 minute wait for his food, and believe me, the wait is definitely worth it!

What's your favorite fair food?

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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Redneck Days of Summer: Part 4

How are you liking my recaps of the Redneck side of my town? Hopefully you're enjoying it because there are 3 posts left! Today I bring you the cutest parts, seriously. This is a huge contrast from our friend with the lovely cartoon cows on his shirt. 

 4-H is a major part of the fair. When I was in 4-H, there was hardly room enough for all of the animals, food, and crafts that us kids made. Sadly, participation is dwindling, so this year saw a decline in the number of 4-H entries. To this day, my favorite part of the fair is watching the kids show their animals. Showing animals is so much more than just walking them around in a circle or putting them on a table for judges to look at; there are specific rules and procedures that need to be followed to the utmost perfection in order to be a good showman (showperson?). I used to show dairy cattle, and it was a big deal. Not only did my cow need to be cleaned and gleaming, I needed to know her lineage, anatomy, and other important facts about her production (most of this can be BSed and the judges don't know, but that's just not the way I roll!). 

Now, if you've never been in Michigan in July, let me tell you it is HOT! Shorts are not allowed in the show ring, and neither are sandals. It's long pants and boots! Not only is it extremely hot for the showman, but it's also hot for the cow. And sometimes they get a little stubborn... or wild. My very first year included being dragged in the dirt by a cow that just had no interest in being shown. Since I was all of 9 years old, I just cried and let her drag me. BUT - the next year I came back and scored 1st place in my division!

Although 4-H showing starts at age 9, they do a PeeWee show for kids under 9. This year it took place outside on the walkway in front of the barns, and Josh's 2 younger cousins showed their calves. Now, this is what I'm talking about when I say it's the CUTEST part of the fair! 

First they walk them in a circle around the judges. Five of Josh's cousins are actually in this picture, all of the people except the girl on the left side. The boy in yellow and the girl in red behind the calf are the showmen and are being helped by the group leader (in black) and their mom (in pink).  

After walking around the judges, the judges pull the calves in and line them up according to placing. In this case, everyone is a winner, so the calves are just lined up.
Don't you just love his boots! I don't know who is cuter - the calf or the kid! His calf is all of 10 days old in this picture, and he's handling it all by himself. 
Everyone gets a big pretty ribbon! Her calf is about 2 weeks old I think... The calf was being pretty stubborn and didn't want to walk, but once ribbons were handed out, Josh's cousin was all smiles!  

 As you can see, some parts of the fair are down right adorable! The fair is about so much more than rides, food, and carnies!

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