PSA from Teacher Caroline | Laminator

I can.not. believe that I have lived 30 years AND taught 5 years of school without a personal laminator. Now that I'm NOT teaching, isn't it ironic that I finally bought one for myself? 😂

I had been eyeing the Scotch brand laminators because those are what I saw in the stores, but when I went to order, Amazon's price for the Scotch brand was slightly ridiculous. I noticed that they had THEIR OWN BRAND for less than $20! $20 was about what I was willing to spend. Also what sets this laminator above others I've used is NO CARRIER SHEET! The others I've personally used had a protective sheet over the laminating sheet pouch (which basically creates an extra step). This laminator doesn't require that protective sheet. I had great success just using the Amazon brand laminating pouches.

I actually paid $19 for it-- and RIGHT NOW it's on sale for $17.88 which is so awesome since school is about to start! Also can we have a moment for public schools starting July 31? #Icanteven I'm not even teaching and I can think of 100 reasons why I needed this. I plan to label some bins in our linen closet and I want the labels to be protected. Also with homeschooling I'm sure a bunch of things will come up that I will be glad to have this.

Also pictured are these ADORABLE snack sized baggies. WHERE WERE THESE when I was making centers for my classroom?? My first laminating project was these alphabet cards that were sent home with Emmie at the end of last year and these bags fit them perfectly! You can easily add them to your grocery pickup order (use my link for $10 off!)

Not sure how long that price will stay on Amazon for the laminator but here are quick links to grab what I mentioned! (It's only .89 cents away from the lowest price ever offered on Amazon and it's the lowest price it's been in 2 years!!).

Laminator----> HERE
Laminator sheets----> HERE
SQUARE snack bags----> HERE

* Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are a win win. They provide a direct link to the  products I love, and they help support the blog! Read my disclosures here

Oh hey again!

2016 was a hard year. We were (in some ways still are) in the trenches with little ones, and life, rental houses, jobs, and commitments. I had to majorly apply the breaks last July and have since been on a self renewing of sorts. I declared last fall/winter my season of rest and I began weaning myself away from commitments that were making life so crazy. And continuing to learn how to say no.

I was propelled into this rest when I lost my job last July and I realized that I didn't feel like I was doing anything well. I want to do few things well-- not many things mediocre. 

Since then I have stepped back from volunteering at school functions, stepped down from teaching preschool, and majorly cut back my church commitments. I have purposely left our calendar empty and have not over scheduled play dates and STUFF just to do them.

IT.HAS.BEEN.FANTASTIC. (clapping hands emoji)

Everything that has fallen off my commitment list has felt freeing. Almost that feeling of chopping off 4 inches of hair. I did that too. 

Oh yeah, WE MOVED IN APRIL. We had been living in a 3 bedroom townhouse all while dreaming of a 4 bedroom house with a yard. While we wanted to pay a few extra things off (my van, sell our first house, etc.) we received some financial advice that this spring was a time to jump (interest rates combined with climbing home prices-- helps to have a  hubby in the mortgage industry). I'll write a more detailed post about how everything worked-- it was simply amazing how all the pieces fell into place. 
But I am so glad that we were somewhat settled by the time summer came. This summer has been blissful. We are taking it easy, keeping our schedules clear, and watching lots of movies because RAIN!!! SO MUCH RAIN. We have been swimming nearly everyday that it hasn't rained which has been so much fun. 

I realized in my time of rest that I MISSED THE BLOG SO MUCH. I kept thinking of ideas to share and projects I wanted to document. Thankfully I started a list in my phone to keep track of everything I wanted to write about so that when I did get back here I would have a bunch of ideas to get going. 

When I stepped away I'll be honest-- I wasn't sure I was going to return. But in following my heart and my passions I realized that this is something I truly love and I am so excited to be back!

I am setting NO RULES for myself with blogging because I want it to be fluid and real life/real time. I can't wait to get back to writing posts and linking things because I LOVE IT and I have truly missed it! It won't all be house updates... I plan to throw in frugal living with deals and also some life stuff too. So happy to be back!

2017: resolve to rest

2017 is my year of rest, and I am so excited about this! I mentioned here that I have actually already been resting for the past few months, so this is just a continuation of that mindset. I did still set some goals and resolutions, because I am just a goals oriented person. I love the challenge of a good goal. Here is my list:

1. Be on time- early even. I am so tired of being late and rushing around and just feeling stressed about getting places on time. I am a procrastinator by nature so this is just something that I struggle with. I am trying to build in margin to my deadlines and days. Instead of finishing Etsy orders the day they are suppose to ship, I am aiming to finish early. Instead of rolling into the parking lot barely on time, I want to be 5 minutes early. Many times this is dependent on my children so building that margin into my mornings is critical.

2. Read two books a month. I challenged myself with one a month last year and I destroyed that goal. So I am upping the ante this year. Click here to see this year's reading list.

3. Self-care- again. This is so so important. I am going to continue my laser treatments (obviously-- it's mostly paid for). Also more baths, skin care (yay Younique products!), and mani/pedis. I'd LOVE to stop biting my nails, but that's a stretch.

4. Debt paid! I shared here that from April 2016-Feb 2017 we will have paid off nearly $10k in debt (my van included). We hope to have another $4k paid by June. This is a big deal since we live nearly on one income and currently own 2 houses and have 2 car payments. We like setting big goals. We also want to start saving for a cruise-- which if we're being honest is my incentive ;)

5. I'd like to make double machine payments on my embroidery machine 6 times this year. That will shorten the length of my loan by half a year. It's 0% interest, so not 100% necessary, but would make me feel fantastic!

There you have it! I like sticking to a short list of more manageable goals. And I proved to myself last year that even short lists don't all get accomplished (and THAT'S OK!).

2016 Goals

how'd they go?

Here is the short list of what I wanted to do:

1. Lose weight
2. Self-care
3. Simplify
4. Read 12 books
5. Be Brave

1. I have struggled so terribly with the numbers on the scale. But I am doing nothing about it exercise wise. I am giving myself the benefit of the doubt that 2016 was filled with stress and while I feel a healthy as I've ever felt on the inside (and I am sleeping better than I've slept in YEARS), the scale hasn't budged. And I'm ok with that. Ideally I would love to lose 10lbs.

2. Self-care. I didn't get as many pedicures as I would have liked- and I didn't take near enough baths as I should have, BUT I have put myself first many many times! I have consciously made appointments NOT on my off days- because I crave that off time so bad. I started Laser Hair Removal and I am excited about completing 6 rounds in 2017 (1 down, 5 to go). Let me tell you it is NOT easy to go and tell/show a complete stranger the thing you are most self conscious about, but it was SO ABSOLUTELY redeeming to do this and I feel like I conquered this fear.

3. Simplify. I definitely could have done more. I did great for the first half of the year (eBay, Facebook, etc.) and really slacked when things got stressful. I have a few painting projects I need to complete and a whole bin of things to sell on eBay still.

4. Read 12 books. You can see my completed list HERE. While I didn't actually read a book every month, I DID infact read over 12 books this year-- seventeen to be exact! That's pretty great for me!

5. Be Brave. I wrote a REALLY long post HERE about this one. What's hilarious is I said in my original post that this goal wasn't measurable but it ended up being the one that I connected to most. Amazing how that happens!