Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Thanksgiving always comes so fast...and sometimes, I forget to reflect how thankful to God I am for all the wonderful blessings in my life. I don't want to let that time slip by again...

I'm thankful for...

a husband who I love to date
a decorated, sparkly christmas tree
re-used christmas i love yardsales
incomes to make this household run
stories that make any situation feel light again
a house to call our own
christmas music that starts after halloween (currently playing :0)
a family (on both sides) that loves and supports us
a really hard working hubby
a comfy couch to cuddle up on
my warm fleece blankets
a better home and gardens subscription thats making me a better wife (thanks grandmom!)
a job that is so unpredictable but full of fun every single day
a puppy that loves me enough to follow me everywhere
a sister who just returned safely from a different continent
vacuum cleaners that make carpets look new again
laughs and good times that remind us not to stress too much
family get-togethers
neices and nephew(s) running around, loving life in a simple way
slippers that make my feet feel cozy
timers on ovens (or else I would have burnt my apple pie...oops!)
cars that run well (thank you Lord)
creativity and craftiness
love, I am so thankful for that. Without it, life would be so boring. I don't just mean romantic kind of love, but the kind of love Christ calls us too.

Happy thanksigiving...enjoy the time with your families. I know I will...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One Third now, Two Thirds on Christmas Eve.

Normally Sundays have two purposes, and two purposes only in our household.

Church and Football.

Not today, folks...not today.
We got up at our normal time to get ready for church. We were both done getting dressed, and almost ready to go downstairs to leave. Declan says, "Hey babe, wanna go to breakfast, start making our lists for christmas, and maybe get a head start?" I, of course, being the good christian I am (haha..), I agreed.

So, off we went to our favorite little place down the road for breakfast. We sit on the 2nd floor of this place, right next to the heater, and its soooo cozy and warm. Eat a yummy breakfast. Love it. I get out my paper, and we brainstorm all the gifts and idea's we'd like to do this year for Christmas. As a general rule, we are just trying to spend less, but get gifts we feel will be useful and meaningful to the person receiving. Between the both of us, we have lots of family, and spending as much as we used to just isn't an option this year. We made our list, decided to go home quicky and DVR the football game, Sunday's second purpose...and off we went.

We went out to Lancaster, and it was just a fun date day with my hubby. We drove the scenic route to Lancaster, which we love (340)...and dreamt about the bigger house we will someday have. I love my house now...but I definitely can already picture that next step house,'s fun. Out of the 21 people we have to purchase for, we got 7 people completed today. I feel good about that.

There are 3 full days left until Thanksgiving, and I am 1/3 done my Christmas shopping...this is by far the earliest I have ever been. We didn't only buy some gifts (I am making some too this year)...but we also purchased gift wrap, bows, ribbons, and gift tags...and I'm headed up to my spare bedroom to wrap, TODAY. This is insane, and I am proud of my lack-of-procrastination this year. Darn Proud.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You should have come to dinner.

Living with only one person, I find getting fresh veggies at the supermarket to be a very difficult task without having them quickly rotting away in my refrigerator because of lack of use in an appropriate amount of time. It's a shame, because I love fresh veggies, tomatoes, avacado's, red onions, lettuce, carrots, etc. But, almost 100% of the time, they go bad. We only cook at our house 3 days out of the week, normally, due to family dinner wednesday nights, and friday is part of the weekend, so we either pop something in the microwave type of deal, or go out. Anyway, yesterday at school, someone...and I'm not sure who triggered me into really wanting fajita's. I LOVE mexican food. So, I decided I was going to the store after school, stocking up on tons of fresh foods and making myself and my hubby a fajita feast. I can't tell you how happy I was (I'm so weird!) standing there at my island, chopping away on fresh veggies, and making some of my yummyness. Here is what my sink looked like after the chopping party:

First of all, let me say, thank god for a garbage disposal. What you will find in that sink (as the picture is a little blurry, I'm aware) is lettuce, tomatoes, avocado's, green onion, red onion and lime. The makes for some awesome guacamole and some fantastic home-made salsa.

Look good? was. But, I have to say that while I was making it, you of course, have to test it, any good chef does that, right? So, I got kind of full...and only had room for one fajita. But, nevertheless, I have lots of left overs and so thats my lunch today.

I so wish my sister or mother was there to enjoy the guacamole and homemade salsa with me, becuase, husband doesn't like either. I basically made them for myself. Somehow, I have to make him a more adventurous eater. Ideas?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

my new art blog...continued

I just got totally bloggerated for the last.....3 hours. I updated my art blog with all the art lessons I've had on this blog from the last year and a half. I decided not to delete them off of this blog. I also re-wrote so many of them. It's funny though, because I have 27 new posts today. Wow, I'm ridiculous. But, I don't want to get behind.

Please check back for new art projects at my other is in the "blogs I stalk"....add it to your link list.

love ya'll....

****NEW ART BLOG****

News alert! (okay, not exactly)

I have officially started (and this is long overdue) my art blog. It will strictly be a place where I will post pictures of my students art work, explain some of the projects, and be able to share it publicly with other people and not be worried about all the personal things I'd like to post on this blog. Don't worry, this will be the blog where the funny student stories will be.

I do hope that some of you will still be interested to check out my student's art, pressure!

So, here it is:

I need a little time to start posting blogs there, and pulling the ones from this one, patience.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a blog about blogging

This is the strangest blog I will ever write, but...I have to say, that I think about things all day long that would make a great blog. I'll be driving, and randomly in my head I am writing a blog. I am not kidding...the words sound so great in my head, and somehow when I sit down and think about it later, I either think, "That was the dumbest thing ever"...or...I just can't remember. The other day, I even started writing a blog in my head about the random things I see people doing in their car. It sounded so great in that moment, when I was writing in my head, at that stoplight. But now, it sounds really lame, and I can't even remember why I thought it would be cool. I'm not even sure that my brain even tells me to make it into a blog, I just do it. Without thinking. It happens. So, I must have a problem, or disease, because...instead of thinking, my brain is always just doesn't always end up on my blog. Make sense? I'm strange. I'm really making that clear, aren't I?

Puppy play date

I love the afternoons I get to take my Mac over to play with his cousin, Chase for a puppy play date. That day was today. It really functions as more then a playdate...Kesh and I get to catch up on life, and I get to see my two beautiful nieces. I really like bringing Mac over there because Kesh is just so relaxed about the whole puppy thing (having had Chase), and I don't have to stress about him too much. The dogs will be literally running so fast around the house chasing eachother, playing, humping (oops, did I say that?), jumping on furniture, occasionally stepping on a baby's head (poor kylie), or chasing Kyra up and down the steps or getting locked in a bedroom with her. But, I appreciate and love that Kesh is just so relaxed about the dogs (and especially about mine), never losing her cool, or really worrying about her house or the mess the dogs are making, or what they're getting into. She doesn't freak out and worry when curious puppies get in the face of babies, or randomly climb all over places or things they shouldn't (like Chase's head). She understands. So, from one puppy owner (now he's a big 3 year old) to's nice, and I am thankful for that time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm sad today

We've lost another wonderful person on this earth...and heaven has gained him. I am sad. My friend, Storm, from workcamp, who was only 17 years old has died today. During the year I was on Reach Staff, he was with us often, becoming super close to all of the staff. I see him every year at camp. He is a light. He was like a little brother to all of us. He loved the Lord with all his heart. He worshipped him with a relentless pursuit. He had a family that loved him and tons of friends, and a beautiful girlfriend. He had a wonderful group of youth group friends in Portsmouth, Ohio, and belonged to a great church. He died in such a shocking way. A friend and him were playing around with his friends new bow and somehow (they aren't saying how) went off, and shot Storm in the chest. The friend pulled the arrow out, which I think was the first mistake. He died while in surgery at the hopsital. I think what's harder for his friends and people who know him is the way he died, and how unexpected it was. We must live every day like our last, and always make sure we're in right standing with the Lord. I am speaking to myself here, but it's a wake up call. We'll all miss Storm here on earth, but heaven is welcoming him now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Two years ago today my family welcomed Kyra into the world. She has brought so much light and joy into our family. No family gathering is ever boring with Kyra present. She is a sweet little love muffin, and her family adores her.

Happy birthday big girl! I love you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

3rd Grade, Spheres in Space

Yet another one I did with help from my favorite website for teachers. This one the kids loved, and really teaches them about light source and how to draw a "realistic" looking sphere.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2nd Grade, Leaf drawings with contour line

Last post for tonight, I promise! I am getting so behind with posting my lessons, I just realized today-hence, all the posts.

The students actually observed real leaves that they brought in, they did a wonderful drawing, outlined with sharpie (my favorite!), learned about contour lines and drew some around their leaves. Then, they had to blend oil pastels inside their leaf to make it look fall'ish. They cut out the leaf and contour lines and glued it onto a background of their choice.

Lovely results.

1st Grade, Chalk Cats

I have to say, I really hate cats as pets (sorry to anyone who really does like them). But, when I came across a cute cat project, again on, I couldn't pass it up. I did change it a bit, but the basic drawing of the cat came from her. I cannot resist early in the year doing step-by-step drawings with the kids because it really teaches them to follow along and to use their eyes to help them draw. They learn about size and proportion, and as I do more like this with them I can start to loosen the reigns later in the year. We used chalk to finish them up, the kids got super messy and LOVED it, and I think they are super cute. Just purrrrrfect. (Did I really just say that? Ohhh I am so elementary)

3rd Grade, "Crowded Elevators"

Every month my friend from college, who is also an elementary art teacher like to get together at our favorite place, Panera. We discuss lots of things, but mainly new art lessons. Being young in this, we need ideas all the time, so this project is a product of our monthly get-togethers. She did this project with her students, and so I decided to try it. I was thrilled with the results. The goal was to get the kids to understand how to draw people in front of one another and overlapping bodies. We made their "crowds of 5" in elevators. They could do their families, a bunch of girls shopping, skateboarders (as you will see), doctors in a hospital elevator...the options are endless. I am really happy about the way they turned out. I made a bulletin board recently of them, and the teachers cannot believe how well the kids did.

Sad Liam

I normally have the brightest, most lovely days at school. I have lots of happy, well behaved students, who love coming to my class, and that makes me happy.

Today, though...I did have a downer moment. Every time my students are in line to be picked up, they know my big rule is "You may not touch the board". They ALL know this and their little hands are still tempted over and over to touch the board, or play with the markers...or worse...erase what I have there. That definitely does upset me a little, because more then anything, it's annoying. The students are in line waiting for their teacher, and I hear: "Mrs. Balla, Liam touched the board and erased the feet of your turkey!!" (yes we're doing turkeys, 'tis the season) I always give the student the opportunity to tell me themselves. We also have a very very very strict policy in our school called GYRO (green/yellow/red/orange) cards, and students get their cards flipped when directions aren't followed, etc. It is a school wide behavior thing, so everyone does it. Anyway, so I look at Liam, and I ask him about it. He has a grin on his face which made it look like he was proud of what he'd done. I simply told him that he knows the rules, and it's a pain for me to have to re-draw it, and that I'd have to talk to his teacher about flipping his card. He quickly got his act together, standing straight and tall, and waited quietly in line.

His teacher came. I told her the situation quick and basically asked if she thought his card should be flipped for that. I like to talk to the homeroom teachers about that stuff because they know the student better then me. She goes, "Oh absolutely, he gets his card flipped for that". As Liam walked out of the room, I gave him the little 'nod' to let him know he was going to be on yellow. Instantly, his face sunk and his eyes welled up with tears and he wrapped his arms around me and sort of smooshed his face into my stomach area. I felt h.o.r.r.i.b.l.e. It was my worst moment yet, I think. I just kept telling him, "It will be okay and you won't do it will be okay". I couldn't help but feel horrible that I flipped his card for that. I feel like I let kids get away with worse then that sometimes. It was just so blatent and in front of so many of the kids. It's moments like those that just break your heart. I still feel bad about. I saw him only 45 minutes later, and he was bubbly and smiling again. I looked at him and said, "Are you okay, now?" He gave me a big, huge smile and said, "Yea!"

There are moments like those where I wonder if I made a bad decision. I know that this sort of thing is bound to happen in my type of career, but it made me kind of sad.

Update on the cords

They're doing well. I actually had a voice today, and quite happily actually...went to school. I really do appreciate my voice now, being without it for three days was long enough. As a teacher, it's irreplaceable.

So, thank you vocal cords for calming down, not being so swollen anymore...and moving on. Just don't move onto other teachers, it's not fair to us.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I think the combination of being sick already (fever/cold, remember?) and then having allergies from the beach house, and on top of that talking loudly over music the night we were out...has given me laryngitis.

As a teacher, I am utterly useless right now. I have no voice, none at all. Basically whatever comes out is terribly forced out and just hurts my throat and vocal cords.

I went yesterday to school and figured, what the heck, I'd try it. Well, it worked out because yesterday's voice was better then today's voice, but still sounded pathetic. So, the kids were shockingly good because they really needed to listen intently to hear me. This morning I woke up and felt sick again, the whole can't breathe, coughing up nastiness thing. I decided I'd still trek into school and try my best. Well, this morning was an early day at school, so I hadn't talked to Declan in the morning, or anyone-hence...didn't use my voice at all, or test it out to see how the vocal cords were doing today. I had a little time this morning, and decided to swing by Dunkin Donuts to fulfill my longing for an everything bagel with cream cheese. So, I get to the order window, and voice. Totally. Not. There. I literally had almost nothing coming out. The poor girl couldn't hear me, but I managed to like yell and sort of get out the general sound. It was such a horrible feeling, and it was then I realized how much worse it has gotten. But, I did have a delicious bagel...

Onto school I went. Everyone I talked to that morning said the same general thing: "Why are you here and how are you going to teach!" They were all saying, "Go home and rest your voice!" I was being stubborn and trying to get through today, knowing that I would probably take tomorrow off to rest my voice (the only cure) based on how I was feeling at that moment. I taught 2 classes (hardly...because, I am USELESS...a teacher with no voice, completely pointless), and it hurts-so-bad. I basically tried to not talk too much and just let the kids work. I get an unexpected email from our secretary that goes something like this:

I hear you aren't feeling too good. I found a sub for you tomorrow. Are you sure you can continue the rest of today? I'm going to look for someone for you and I'll call down to your room and let you know. You need to rest up!"

She is too sweet. She really did take care of it for me, and I got to leave at 11:45 and head home to stop talking and rest up my voice. I have off tomorrow too, because at this point there is still no voice there and late at night and early morning is my worst time for it. I am hoping by Thursday I can go back to school with some sort of renewed least, somewhat. I even had to cancel an observation by my Principal for tomorrow, in fact, once he heard me (or lack-there-of-hearing me), he didn't think it would be fair to observe me on a day I can't mutter a word above a tiny whisper. That just isn't quite accurate of my normal teaching style. :-)

The moral of the story is that having laryngitis as a teacher is by far the worlds worst thing to have. I talk all day. Now, I'm utterly useless.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bachelorette party weekend recap

The lovely bride-to-be starting off the night.

This weekend the ladies stole Tara (my sister in law to be!) and took her to the beach for a fun weekend to getaway and to just celebrate her. The weekend included lots of fun little things, such as fun gift giving, question-asking, slumber party talk, shopping at the outlets, lunch out, scrapbook-making, cooking lasagna together, makeovers..........

Cute group shot at Summer House

Me, Lyryn and Michaela

Kisses for the bachelorette

......and OF COURSE.....a night out on the town!

I am so glad I didn't stay home. I was contemplating because of how sick I've been. I got to know some of these girls so much better this weekend, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. Too fun, too fun. I'm excited about the wedding in December!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sweaty sweats and chattering cheeks...I mean, teeth.

Last night was the worst. I came home from my night of conferences and started getting a scratching throat feeling. Not good, considering I am going away all weekend for a bachelorette party. So, I decide I'd go to bed early and try to beat this thing, so I can be ready and feeling better the next day (today). I toss and turn in bed for hours....feeling sore, and achey all over. I have convinced myself by this point that it has to be towards 6am, and so I look at my cell phone, and its only 2am. Well, that was good news considering I had felt like I'd gotten no sleep. I feel for Declan next to me, he's there. Half hour later I woke up feeling so cold my teeth were literally chattering. I remember just muttering over and over to Declan how cold I was. I had a sheet, the down comforter and a fleece blanket on top of me...and I'm literally shaking. Declan assures me its not that cold out, and I should be okay. Next thing I know, I wake up sweating to death. Feeling icky and hot and nasty. I realize that my body is so sore, it can barely move. My neck feels like it can't hold my head up anymore. I go to the bathroom, and my meltdown begins. I suddenly realize just how sore everything is, how weird my body feels, and I cry....cryyyyyy cry cryyyy. Declan hears me, and by this point I was just sitting on the edge of the bed. He gets up and starts to hold me, and feeling so bad, he asks "What can I do for you?". I just didn't know what would help because we don't exactly have cabinets full of meds. He got me ibuprophen and water. I cried for a good 20+ minutes, and my hubby just made me feel protected, and that he was there for me. He felt my head and said I felt on fire. At this point, I realized I was definitely suffering with a fever. I haven't had a fever for years! I lay down, and prop myself up a bit to help myself to breathe better (and not contribute to my already sore throat), and Declan rubs my back until I fall asleep. Oh yea, forgot to mention that I was SO hot I was umm...not wearing much. Fevers will do crazy things to your body.

During my cryfest, I kept saying things like..."I can't miss out on this weekend...everyone will be so mad at me!"...and "I don't want to take another sick dayyyyyy". Declan was cute and just kept telling me, "Babe, you have to beat this first, then worry about all the other stuff".

He was right, because sure enough when I woke up at 7:30am this fever had broke and my throat wasn't sore anymore. I still felt a little achey, but that's it.

So, where did this fever come from anyway? I'm just praying it won't come back.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One day fun

How on earth were these created in one day you may ask? A miracle. A plain old miracle. I have to thank one my favorite blogs for this idea: ArtProjectsForKids. She has great ideas, this one may be from another source, too. However, a lot of my ideas stem from hers. So, here is the most recent project.
These teach the kids (2nd graders) about foreground, middleground and background, and the use of oil pastels and blending. I love them, and they are currently hanging in the hallway!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

See? I've already moved on.

This is another good one. I'm sorry for all you people out there gagging yourselves, but I just happen to think this is too cute not to post. Besides, you all post pictures of your kids and fun things like that, and I don't have kids-I have a husband and a dog, and that's what you get. :-)

Oh boy Oh-bama

I just got done writing a long post alllll about the elections, going into detail over why I'm so disappointed, and about my new love for politics (that has developed over the last few months). I decided to delete it and just say this....

I am not happy about the way the election turned out, and as an educated-on-politics individual (as a 23 year old), I just have to say that I'm more mad about being beat out by uneducated, follow-the-crowd 18 year olds then ANYTHING else. I just hate that Obama's campaign was more of a popularity thing, and less about the real issues. All I can hope is that I can get over this and start to find some appreciation for the man, because right just ain't there.

Oh and I've also decided, all you need is Oprah backing you, and you're in.

*I also want to assure you that although I have many, many, many things to say about this entire thing, I will not stoop that low and make my blog about it, therefore this WILL be the only time I discuss politics. got it? k.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I adore these boys.

I seriously am overwhelmed with love right now. I love my husband so very much. He is loving, and giving, he helps me with things all the time, he supports me, he's so genuine and really cares about people. I love watching him play with our pup...they are both too cute. Its undeniable, I have to say. I love these guys, so so so very much.

12 out on the town.

This weekend was fun and eventful. Saturday we had a group of 6 couples go out to a huge corn maze, dinner at friendlys, and then back to our house for games and dessert. It's always so nice getting people together who are all relatively in the same phase of life (sort of, kind of...some have kids already, some not...)-but nevertheless, lots of fun.
Can't you tell it was fun?