Thursday, August 30, 2007

Interesting Article

A few days ago I posted about my Post-It Note logic puzzle. It has now been replaced by a spreadsheet schedule, but I couldn't help think back on my work of "art" when I came across this article.

I am always amazed at how artists can take something with a specific purpose, such as note writing, and make it into an artistic piece. I've seen the same done with lego building blocks.

While I know this probably isn't an exciting post--but I thought this talent was worth featuring.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Student funny

One of the activities I do with speech students involves filling in the blank or answering a question with a word that uses the target sound they are working on.

For example, working on "L" today;

"You can listen to a radio, but you can watch a ________"

"TV," my student replied.

"Yes," I said, but wanting to get the target sound, I clarified, "What is the longer name for it?"

"Television" he said.

"Great! What is something we dial and talk into?" I asked

"A phone."

"That's right again, but can you think of the longer name?"

Frustrated and aggravated he replied, "Ccccccceeeeeeeelllllllll phone."

Conversation with Emma

I spoke with Emma on the phone earlier today and the conversation has kept me smiling...

"Hi Aunt E"

"Hi Emma!"

"Thank you for the card," she said, "It said happy birthday from Aunt E"

Me, wanting to make sure Uncle George got some credit too, said, "Who else is it from?"

She became very quiet, then, knowing she figured it out, replied, "The mailman!!"

The conversation continued when again she made me laugh...

"There was a check too!" she exclaimed.

"Really? What are you going to use it for?"

"Something I want...but first..." she said, "I have to take it to the man at the bank and he'll give me a thousand dollars!"

I don't know about the readers of Abundant Grace, but I'm looking into this claim...I'd love to take a $5.00 check to the bank and get a thousand back. If I find such a bank, I'll be sure to do another post!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

CVS deal this week

For those of you who have expressed an interest in some of my CVS deals--I just want to do one more quick post. This week they have Johnson's Softlotion as a great deal. The price is 5.99 per 14 oz bottle. After the $4.00 online printable coupon, and the $2.00 in extra have made $.01!! I realize the earning aren't great...but it is free lotion!!


For several days we had cake on our minds. I think it started with a cake decorating contest we saw on tv, but we simultaneously said, "mmmm...that looks good". I think it has been years since I went to the store just to satisfy a craving. The last time I remember was back in college when Kerry and I went to Wal-Mart at 1am for cookie dough. Well, thankfully it wasn't 1 am, but last night George and I made a quick stop at Super Target and left with bananas, a cake mix, and some icing. It definitely hit the spot. Perhaps we can say we made it for Emma's birthday, and are enjoying it on her behalf.

The Impossible Logic Puzzle

The beginning of the school year tends to be the least favorite time of any school speech-language pathologist. Although there is a lot of excitement about being back and seeing all the students again, it also means you have to arrange your schedule. Seems simple enough, I know...but really it is not. All students have an IEP determining the number of minutes that I have to schedule them for. This number could range from 30 to 120 minutes per week. This year, thus far, I have 47 students to see. Again, still, not too difficult, right? The following is a list of "cans" and "cannots" when doing the schedule...
  • A student cannot miss lunch, recess, or special class
  • Third and forth grade students cannot miss communication arts or math instruction time.
  • Fifth grade students cannot miss communication arts, math, or science instruction time.
  • No student may be seen individually
  • All student groups must contain students within one grade-level from each other. (example: A 3rd grader and a 5th grader cannot be in the same group)
  • If the student has other resource minutes with another special education teacher, times must not conflict.
  • Students with only 60 minutes should not be seen two consecutive days.
  • Tuesdays, no students can be scheduled--it is considered a testing and paperwork day only
  • Language students should be seen with other language students, speech should be seen with other speech students.
So, to me, it seems to be quite the puzzle, but the crazy thing is I am just nutty enough to love the monumental task. Being a very visual person I created a monster schedule. With 4 columns for the days of the week and rows for each time slot. Each section on the graph was filled with Post-It Notes. Each Post-it Note represents a 30 minute block of a students IEP time. If their IEP states 60 minutes, they have 2 Post-it Notes with their name on it and the type of service they receive (speech or language). Each color of Post-it Note represented a grade level. with the color coded key off to the right of the monster schedule.

After spending hours on the task, it appears it is complete, with even a few spaces to spare for incoming students. Tomorrow is the big day that I get to implement the schedule for the first time. I am guessing that there may be a few bumps in the road, but hopefully...they will be small speed bumps, rather than big pot holes.

note: I had a picture to accompany this post, but unfortunately it had first and last names of students on it...of course a major NO NO!! Hopefully I can try to take a different picture or something tomorrow to protect my students' privacy. otherwise...just use your imagination.

Happy Birthday Emma Brooke!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Learning to read

As the new school year begins, my list of funnies is already growing.

Part of my responsibility for the beginning of the school year is to assist the kindergarten students with learning bus routine before and after school, and the lunch routine. One boy raised his hand as he was sitting quietly eating his lunch, I noticed the concerned look on his face as I approached.

I leaned down, "What's wrong?" I asked.
"I can't read and I don't know what to do with my lunch?" he said slightly panicked.
Now I was confused, "What do you mean?"
He replied, "My teacher said at recess we should put our lunch box in the bucket with her name on it and she hasn't taught me how to read yet!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back to School!!!

I greatly enjoyed being a keeper at home this summer. Laundry, house cleaning, cooking, etc is a lot more enjoyable when you aren't working full time as well. But, it is back to school time for students...and of course the students can't come back without the teachers. Although I went into work several days last week, today was the first official day back with all the staff.

Last year, since I started mid-year, I never got too fancy with my bulletin boards. This year I'm trying to be a little more creative, but they are still a work in progress. As a speech-language pathologist, I have a smaller classroom than most, but have an abundance of bulletin board space. Although they are not complete, there is a sneak peak below. I'll try to post more pictures of my classroom in the future when it is a little more decorated.

There has been a lot of change over in our staff this year as well as some increased responsibility for me, so I am a bit nervous about what's ahead. I know the Lord will provide and not give me more than I can bear...but He is certainly testing my limits already.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Michelle!!!

Sorry, I could not find a good picture--unless one with your eyes closed counts...but we are thinking of you and wishing you well on this day!!

Make sure and check out her blog

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Day of sadness...but also a day of savings!!

I recently was told about Dillons Grocery Store. It is also called Kroger and Gerbes, depending on the area you live in. They typically have decent sales, and double coupons up to $1.00 in value. Well, just three weeks after I discovered the closest Dillons, which is actually a newer store, they are closing. Julie, my sister-in-law, and I were quite disappointed by the news. When you live in the city you become quite spoiled with grocery stores and such on every corner. This particular Dillons was 7 miles away (which is considered a drive) while the other two nearby ones are 10 miles or more away. The savings are worth the drive though.

The good news is when a store closes, they try to get everything sold! The entire store (with a few exceptions like baby formula, alcohol, and tabacco--which we don't need/want anyway) was 33% off. Frozen foods, dairy, and meat were 50% off. you may have guessed, I was there as soon as possible with my coupon binder in hand.

I aimed for the items that were 50% off then tried to match the coupons I had. We have been trying to do less "convenience" foods or already prepared foods, but that thought went out the window for the time being. Just as a bit of a disclaimer, before I share some specific deals, I want to make it clear that this is not typically the items I buy when grocery shopping--but also for anyone who knows my husband, will know he may be quite excited about some of the purchases. And, I will admit, as I go back to work over the next few weeks, I am sure I will be thankful to have some easy (although not healthy) dinners on hand.

Totinos pizza rolls- 40 count $1.00 per bag
Light butter sticks- 4 sticks $.31 per box
Lean Pockets 2 count-$1.00 per box
Snickers Ice Cream Bars (6 count) $1.00 per box
Red Baron single serving pizza (2 count) $.75 per box
Huggies size 4 diapers (120 count) $19.00 No, not for the request of Julie.

Of course since freezer items were so cheap, I stocked up. I barely was able to get it all in the freezer. When we open the freezer for the next few weeks we are going to have to be prepared to catch anything that may jump out. :)

I am resisting the desire to go back and get more from the dairy section. It was difficult to shop, compare items, look at coupons, and think clearly all at the same time. But I am so thankful for what I was able to purchase at such a discount.

Monday, August 13, 2007

CVS...My new freind!

note: you may want to scroll down and read the post below this, prior to reading this one.

Okay, many of you know I am a former Walgreens' employee, and I still love Walgreens, but I have recently discovered the benefits of CVS Pharmacy. They have a special savings program that you can take part in by signing up for one of their Extra Care Cards. The past two weeks I have been blessed to find some great deals.

First, for those of you that don't know the program, let me explain a few basics. Each week CVS highlights a few items in their ad that you can receive "extra bucks" on when you purchase them with your card (the card is free). The card is simply one of those little tags you can put on your key chain that provides additional savings, it is NOT a credit card. The extra bucks print out at the bottom of your receipt at the end of your purchase and you can use them as cash for your next purchase. For instance, you may buy Colgate toothpaste for $2.99 and receive $2.00 in extra bucks for the next purchase...meaning you spent .99 cents for toothpaste. A greater benefit comes when you add coupons to the deal. Take the same deal, and add a .75 cent coupon, your toothpaste is now .24 cents! Studying your add and coupons closely sometimes you can even make a profit. Granted they won't open the cash register and return money to you, but as long as you end up paying something it is completely legal!

Hopefully thus far I am making some sense....Let me attempt to explain the last two weeks to you.

Two weeks ago CVS had a sale, when you buy $20.00 of Kraft or Post products you get $20 of extra bucks back for your next purchase! Amazing, isn't it? Well, even better, I had five $1.00 off 2 boxes of Post cereal coupons.

Cereal was 2 boxes/$4.00
I needed $20 worth (before coupons) for the deal = 10 boxes
Plus my five coupons, subtract $5.00

So...I spent $15.00 plus tax and received a coupon for $20.00 in the store on my next purchase. I made approximately $5.00 on the purchase. For those of you wondering what would 2 people do with 10 boxes of cereal? We will eat it :) Plus we gave mom a couple of boxes.

Okay, now to this week. I purchased the items pictured a newspaper which isn't pictured. I spent $5.00 and some change out of pocket. Prior to my coupons and using my $20.00 extra bucks from last week, the total was about $38.00. Even better I walked out with $18.50 of extra bucks to use in future weeks.

To try to break it down...the Colgate was deal I explained above, I did it twice.

Advil PM, on sale for $2.99, then $2.99 extra bucks, plus I had $2.00 coupon (money maker)

Tylenol, on sale $4.99, then $2.50 extra bucks, plus $1.00 coupon

Venus Breeze razor, on sale $8.99, then $5.00 extra bucks, plus $2.00 coupon

Caress Body wash, on sale $3.99, then $2.00 extra bucks, plus $.70 coupon

Newspaper for additional coupons $1.35

Trash bags, not on sale, no extra bucks...we just needed trash bags, and needed to spend at least $20.00 to use our extra bucks. George was shocked I wasn't using a coupon. :)

I hope and pray some of this has made sense. I have been doing this for the last few weeks and we have an abundance of shampoo and conditioner (about 9 bottles of each), razors, soap, and toothpaste. While we are thankful to have stocked up on items, we are also hoping to donate some of what we have collected to needy families at my school, and as we come across people who could benefit from our surplus in the community.

I encourage you to scope out CVS and see if you can benefit as we have from this program. Walgreens and other stores have similar programs that have also been a great source for saving money. Perhaps in the future I will be able to share a little on their programs as well.

My new "hobby"

Anyone who has talked to me recently at any length has heard me talk about my new!! I've read on several blogs and forums how shoppers are able to get things at a significant discount (sometimes free or for a profit!) by watching sales, ads, and using coupons. I admit, it is quite overwhelming and complex, but I am learning a lot.

First, I assembled my coupon binder. It is made from a zip up binder, subject dividers, and baseball card collector sheets. Each sheet has nine pockets to place coupons into. My binder is organized into sections including, freezer, refrigerator, baking items, cleaners, make-up, teeth/mouth care, medicine, etc. (note: I tried to link the site that gave instructions on this method, but it appears it is no longer and active site)

Part of the trick is learning where to get coupons and how to use them effectively. Crystal, at Biblical Womanhood, has been a great help in getting started. The best place is to subscribe to the local newspaper, especially Sunday's paper--it is loaded with coupons. If there seem to be a lot of great coupons in a particular week I will purchase an extra paper for additional coupons. My sweet mother-in-law often sends her coupons my way as well. Many coupons are available online and by contacting companies and requesting coupons. At first I thought it was crazy to contact companies, but I thought I would give it a try to see what happened. Thus far I have written two companies and received of which was from Ciba Vision for a free bottle of AOSept Contact Solution, a $9.00 value! It took no longer than three minutes to e-mail them. Just think, essentially I spent three minutes to "make" $9.00. At that rate I could make $180 per hour! Okay, maybe not all the coupons are that good, but I was pleased and will never hesitate to contact a company again. After all, the worst thing that could happen is they could say no.

In future posts I hope to share some deals I've found. Thus far we have been astonished how much we have saved just by taking a little time, putting forth a little more effort, and planning into our shopping trips.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Guitar Lessons

While Uncle George was at work today, Emma found his guitar. With some convincing, she decided we could wait until he got home to get it out. After we returned from dinner, she asked if we could get it out and play/sing. We sang several hymns and even Christmas songs. She seemed to really enjoy it. Since we don't get it out very often I think George enjoyed being able to get it out and play a little too.

Emma's turn to visit...

Since big sister Caitlin came for a visit a few weeks ago, it is Emma's turn to come and spend some special time with Uncle George and Aunt E. As with Caitlin, Emma was able to choose one place to eat while she was here. Chuck E. Cheese was her choice. Granted, in all honesty, I wasn't terribly excited about the choice, but I located a coupon online, and we headed out for dinner. Uncle George had never had the privilege of pizza, games, and the mayhem, but really it wasn't too busy, so we enjoyed the fun.

The thrill of a roller coaster ride without losing your stomach.

One of Emma's favorites was to get in front of the screen and dance. She decided Uncle George needed to show his moves too.
Emma projected onto the big screen, dancing on the beach.

Getting chummy with Mr. Cheese.
I think her daddy will be proud of this one.

I was too big for the "Fun Bus", but I tried to hop on anyway.

This picture, is a picture of a picture...and requires a little explanation. One particular activity Emma did was for a mechanical Chuck E. Cheese to do a drawing of her. First, you center your head/face in the circle. Second, it captures a picture by counting down from five to zero. Third, it uses the picture to do a pencil drawing of you. Fourth, it prints so you can take it home. Well, Emma smiled big waiting for the picture and at the perfect moment, she decided to wink. It turned out so well! George and I decided it made the whole night!! Tomorrow Emma and I will head out to get a frame for her picture.

Weekend in Nebraska

Last Friday we headed up to Cozad, Nebraska with Ben, Julie, and Hannah for Brother Jesse Halbgewachs' ordination to the office of an elder. Despite being caught in traffic just north of Kansas City we were blessed with a good trip. We were able to see many family and friends while we were there. The ordination services went very well and we are thankful for the gift the Lord has given Brother Jesse. Here, as always, are a few pictures of the weekend...we, unfortunately, didn't get one of Jesse.

I was attempting to get a picture of my dad with his sisters, but Brother Thomas jumped in the picture. I guess he wants to be a part of the Andersons too. :)
My dad with his sisters, Aunt Charlotte is from Texas and Aunt Elaine is from Georgia, so they aren't able to be together as much as they would like.

Anna Taylor with 3-week old Devon. He was very sweet and precious!!
Snapshot of the fellowship area just after the ordination.
Of course the time went by too fast...didn't get a chance to talk to everyone as much as we would have liked...but it was great to see everyone even briefly.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Corn coming out my EARS!!

During lunch at church on Sunday some ladies were talking about wonderful corn on the cob they had found from someone who lives on a major highway near where I grew up. I just happened to be in the area yesterday and I stalked up on corn. I had only made fresh corn on the cob once this summer, so I decided to get more than we really needed. I worried that if I didn't do something quick with it, it would gather cob webs. I decided to get it cooked, off the cob, and into freezer bags. It took a little bit of time because I only have one pot the right size, but eventually I got it all done. (Special thank you to George for continually sharpening the knives for me, and eventually taking over the cutting.)

All the cooked corn...there were about 5 more ears, but we ate them last night and tonight for dinner.
One plateful ready to be bagged.
Seven bags, two servings each, to be used at our cornvenience.

Is this post corny or what?