Monday, September 6, 2010

Beginning of School

Now school is beginning and I'm having fun getting to know my students and helping them learn to write better. So far it is a fun experience. I have all the confidence in the world that my students will do a great job this semester. I'm also excited that it is Labor Day and I'm "off" from work and school. Of course, this just means it's a day to get caught up on planning for classes and doing my own homework (Romantic British Lit and Shakespeare), but at least I get to enjoy the beautiful weather and the breeze blowing through the open windows of my house.

I went for a 12 mile bike ride yesterday! I'm pretty excited that I was able to accomplish it, but it was rough. Luckily it was a beautiful morning (57 degrees, apparently), so it was a nice ride. There weren't too many hills to climb, either, so that was good. Unfortunately, I'm always at the back of the pack. I'm going to blame it on being pregnant. Pregnant women get tired more easily, so that's my excuse. :) This morning we enjoyed the weather by going to Rembrant's and eating on the patio. I really enjoyed that! Too bad the hot weather is coming back tomorrow. I could get used to this!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sheep Bedding Set

This is a beautiful bedding set:

Diaper Bags

I enjoy looking around for stylish, practical, affordable diaper bags. Kalencom makes some really cute ones for under $100. I used to think $50 was a lot for a diaper bag, but as I keep searching I realize many cost over $200! I don't think I need to pay that much for a bag, but I still want something nice. Here are some nice diaper bags. also has many really great bags, but I don't like looking at their site. It's not very "pretty" if you know what I mean. You can buy the Kalencom bags on that site as well and may find them cheaper. Anyway, here are some pictures of the styles I like. I really like the Partridge one and the green w/ flowers one at the bottom. But all of these styles are cute!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jackie’s boy’s blanket

I made this blanket for my sis-in-law's baby boy. Her nursery is in greens and browns, and anyway, I don't really like baby boy blue for boys, so the greens and brown were the perfect choice. I even invented a little alligator/lizard and sewed him on. I really hope little baby Payne (they haven't told us his name yet) really enjoys his blanket from his *favorite* aunt.  blanket closeupJackie's blanket

Baby Stroller Goodness

Now, I’m not a mom, and I’m not pregnant yet, but my friend is and I’m helping her research baby products. Also, I intend to eventually have children, so I may as well start researching now.
I want to be sure that I have a stroller that is lightweight and folds up enough to fit in my car trunk since I can’t be sure to have an SUV by the time I have a baby. My favorite thus far that I’ve found is the Baby Jogger City Mini. It weighs under 17lbs and folds up with one hand (just grab the handle in the middle and lift; simple as that!). It also comes in great colors. Here is the link:
A slightly more affordable option that still weighs in at around 17 lbs is the Graco Metrolight Stroller, shown here: This one comes in many different styles, and its lower price includes accessories that would cost extra on the City Mini, such as the cupholders and the baby tray with cup holder. Those are nice accessories that would definitely come in handy.
I got to see the City Mini in person today at the Bellies and Babies boutique in downtown Chattanooga (Northshore), and it was a real beauty! It seemed to “drive” nicely, with larger wheels than the Graco stroller and a sleeker style, as well. But for the cost savings I may have to go with the Graco. I have lots of time to decide.

My new computer

I am so excited to announce that I have a new computer. It is a 15 in. Dell Studio laptop, and its color is purple! How fantastic is that? Ryan would want me to tell you that it has a Core i3 processor (which means, I guess, that my computer is fast), 500GB hard drive space (I think), and lots of RAM. Hehe. You can tell I care most about the color. :) Actually, it will be nice to have a computer that works. My previous laptop is on the verge of dying, and we sold my desktop since I need a laptop more now. Teaching classes at two different schools will be much easier if  I’m mobile. Hence the new laptop!

I hope this will improve my blogging time. Also, the fact that I’m going to ask my students to blog should help, as well. I can’t ask them to do something I’m not willing to do, can I? Also, my computer also came with Windows Live Writer (which I’m sure anyone can access or download, but which was on my desktop and I had never seen before), which allows me to blog offline and save drafts on my computer. I can also see the actual look of my blog as I’m typing this (as opposed to the post interface in blogger which is just a blank white box to type in).

I’m also thinking about starting up a wish list on here of all the things I want (birthdays, Christmases, etc.). This way I have something to refer back to when I actually get around to buying some of it. If other people want gift ideas, too, that would be fantastic, but I’m not really asking for gifts here. We’ll see how this develops.

Book Review: Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men

 The Wee Free Men (Discworld, #30)The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Tiffany Aching and her compatriots, the Nac Mac Feegle. This story and the two that follow it are thoroughly entertaining and imaginative. Tiffany is a young girl who learns she has witchcraft in her blood. In her three-book series, she learns to use (or, rather, not use) magic to benefit the people of her village. The Nac Mac Feegle are 8-inch tall, vicious, comical men who aid Tiffany in her quests. Aside from the plot, The Wee Free Men is about a strong, courageous girl who must rely on herself to save the day. Magical.

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Book Review: Terry Pratchett's Going Postal

  Going Postal (Discworld, #33)Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My introduction to Pratchett's imaginative world, Going Postal was extremely entertaining and captivating. I definitely want to read more Pratchett. I really enjoyed that the main character is a "good" person (has character, concern for others) even though his actions are "bad" (he's a con artist and isn't afraid to lie, cheat, or steal to get his way). There are evil characters and good characters, and Moist falls into the good category while stretching the readers' normal ideas of good vs. evil.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mini Grammar Lesson of the Day: Their, They're, and There

Today's lesson is another word choice lesson. It seems that figuring out the correct word to use can be difficult for many people. In a previous blog I have already covered the usage of to, two, and too, and I've touched on other confusing word choices as well. Today I'm going to show you the difference between the words there, their, and they're.

There is indicative of a place: "We're going to go there after we are finished here," or "Look over there!" "There are some awesome apples in that apple tree over there."

Their is a possessive pronoun: "Their car is in the shop, so they are (they're) borrowing their parents' car."

They're (as shown in the sentence above) is a contraction of they + are. "They're going to their parents' house in the morning."

Simple, right? So don't let me catch you mixing them up!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mini Grammar Lesson of the Day: Quotation Marks

Most people easily grasp the main use of quotation marks: setting off direct quotes in writing. This does get a little tricky when working with other punctuation marks, however. For instance, periods and commas go inside the end quotation mark here in the U.S., but in England the period and comma go outside the end quotation mark. (Lori said, "I am going to the mall."--U.S. vs. Lori said, "I am going to the mall".--England). Most of us are used to writing quotes, so this understanding comes naturally to us. I'm not going to go into more detail right now about how to punctuate direct quotes. For a more detailed description, see Purdue OWL Quotation Marks. Instead, I'm going to talk about other, less-known uses for quotes.

Sometimes quotes are used to indicate a level of sarcasm or denoting that what is said is not quite true. For instance, if I were to describe dingy socks, I might call them "white": meaning, they used to be or should be white, but are white no longer. You might be familiar with people using "air quotes." Many times these are used for this same purpose: Don't you just "love" this rain we've been having every day for a month?? Quotations around individual words like this are approximately the equivalent of a speaker rolling her eyes while saying the word. The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) defines this usage this way: "Quotation marks may additionally be used to indicate words used ironically or with some reservation."

Recently I've noticed an increase in the use of quotation marks to set off a word or to give it emphasis. This can cause some hilarious situations. Have you ever seen signs that say, "Sale" today! or, Everything is on "sale." What this means to me is that everything is not really on sale. We're having a fake sale. Come see all the regular prices in our store! Or what about a sign for tomatoes: Fresh "vine-ripe" tomatoes for "sale"! (haha). Are they vine-ripe? or is this a lie to get us to buy these tomatoes on "sale" (for the regular price)? Listen up: quotations are not meant to be used to set apart words as important. To do that, use italics, or bold type, or underlining. These methods work much better at getting your point across. So, go buy those VINE-RIPE tomatoes on sale! and save yourself some money.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mini Grammar Lesson of the Day: Noun/Pronoun agreement

This is a really hard lesson for me to keep short, as it is a bit complicated. Here is a link to a succinct explanation as to how to make your nouns agree with their pronouns: I would like to emphasize that in noun/pronoun agreement, you want to minimize the confusion of your audience. Please do not use "they" or "their" to refer to a singular noun (as in, "Each student should revise their paper"). The usual way to fix this is to either know the gender of the student: "Each student at the girls' school should revise her paper," or if you don't know the gender, use "his or her" or "his/her": "Each student should revise his or her paper." This can get very annoying and cumbersome. Another easy way to fix this is to re-write your sentence in the plural: "All students should revise their papers." Sometimes you just can't do this, and in those cases, choose your words very carefully and limit the number of times you use "his or her." Try to avoid using "one" like the plague; your sentences will end up sounding comical: "One should always strive to do one's best in everything one finds to do." Yuck. You can either change into 2nd person: "You should always strive to do your best..." or pick a group to speak to: "Students should always strive to do their best," or "People should always strive to do their best." On a side note, in formal writing it is usually best to avoid using 2nd person, but in informal writing (like this blog), please feel free to do so.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mini Grammar Lesson of the Day: Two, To, and Too

I chose an easy lesson today: learning the correct use of the words two, to, and too.

Two is a number. It's that simple. Two = 2.

To is a preposition: "I am going to the store." It also makes the infinitive form of verbs: to swim, to eat, etc. You probably know you are never supposed to split infinitives, right? But what does that look like? "She likes to quickly swim" vs. "She likes to swim quickly." Do not put a word between the "to" and the verb when you write or speak.

Too is an adverb: "This coat is too warm to wear in March." Or "I'm too hot; I'm going to go inside." It also means the same thing as "also": "I'm going to go inside, too." "Me too!" See?

Now I expect you all to be able to choose the correct word in your sentences so that I don't have to read: "I really like to read to." That makes me ask the question, "To whom do you like to read?" Also, please don't say "I am going too the store two get a drink, to." LOL.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mini Grammar Lesson of the Day: Colons vs. Semicolons

These two little punctuation marks can cause quite a bit of confusion; it's hard to know which one to choose sometimes. That first sentence demonstrates the proper use of a semicolon: to join two complete thoughts that are closely related to one another without using a conjunction. The semicolon is my favorite punctuation mark; I use it often to encourage my writing to flow more smoothly. If you take out the semicolon and replace it with a period, the two sentences would still make sense, but they would sound a little choppy. This is a good test to check the appropriateness of using a semicolon: would the two phrases make complete sense on their own but have a closely related idea? Use a semicolon. For an entertaining cartoon explaining how to use a semicolon, click here.

You have probably noticed a couple of colons in the paragraph above, as well. Colons are used to set off a list or example of the sentence preceding the colon, or the part preceding the colon is an introductory phrase for what follows. Notice that the phrase before the colon must be a complete thought, but the part coming after the colon does not have to be. You could say, "Grandma only uses three ingredients in her sweet tea: water, tea, and sugar." But, you would not want to say, "The only three ingredients in Grandma's sweet tea are: water, tea, and sugar." Here the colon is unnecessary; the sentence makes complete grammatical sense without it. Remember: the phrase before the colon needs to be a complete sentence. Colons are often used to introduce quotes, as well. (Grandma told me her recipe for sweet tea: "Boil the water, steep the tea, add sugar, then place the pitcher in the fridge to cool.") Here is a longer, more precise explanation of colon usage.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mini Grammar Lesson of the Day

How to use apostrophes

Do you ever wonder how to correctly use apostrophes? Wonder no more. Here is a brief lesson to help you.

Apostrophes are mainly used to show possession or to create contractions. You use apostrophes to show possession in sentences such as "Tom's car needs maintenance," and "We are going to my parents' house." (Because "parents" is plural and ends in an "s," the apostrophe comes at the end of the word.) To create contractions, use an apostrophe to take the place of missing letters as in "can't" (for can not), "we're" (for we are), and "haven't" (for have not).

Never use apostrophes to create a plural. The plural of "tree" is "trees," not "tree's." Also, if you would like to talk to the Wharys (Ryan and I), you do not spell it "Whary's," but you might want to go see us at "the Wharys' house."

Special possessives: Pronouns do not require apostrophes to show possession; there are already special pronouns that serve that purpose such as her, his, your, its, my, and their and hers, his, yours, mine, and theirs. Pronouns need apostrophes to make contractions: you're (you are), they're (they are), and it's (it is) are three of the most commonly misused words I see on facebook.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Review: Rabbit is Rich

Rabbit Is Rich Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was a really heavy read. It was fast-moving and quick, but the themes dealt with were really weighty. I probably would have given it a higher rating if I were better able to relate to the characters. The writing was well-done, and as much as I didn't like them, the characters were at least real and seemed true to life. If you can handle reading about a lot of sex and drug use, this novel will make you think about family relationships and how couples work through problems in their marriages. From a twenty-first century perspective it is quite interesting to see that people in the 70s were going through the same things we have gone through or are facing now: rising gas prices, inflation, and people trying to be environmentally friendly and eating organic/vegetarian are just a few of the hot topics in this book that are still hot topics today. Besides these, the characters face trying to make a living, coping with relatives, and working out religion for themselves. It's definitely a stirring book that will make you think.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh the things life throws at us!

I'm having a really hard time caring about exercise with everything that's been going on in my life the last two weeks. First, we found a new apartment that we get to move into in April! That was really exciting. We bought a washer and dryer to go in the new apartment and we are going to be able to paint it before moving in as well. I can't wait. We'll have more square feet, an extra bedroom, and no cigarette smoke smell to deal with! The kitchen is bigger, too, which is a great bonus!

Unfortunately, just about the time when we were getting things settled with the new apartment, Alfred got sick. Then we had to deal with cleaning up after him, taking him to the vet, and wondering if he was curable. After a frustrating time of testing and having discussions with the vet, we weren't sure what to do. So, we took him to another vet for a second opinion, and it turns out he should be treatable with prescription food. Sure it's a little pricey, but if it will keep him healthy and happy, I'm all for it!

On top of all this, I of course have tons of homework to do. So, I'm not sure when I'll get to go exercise again. Hopefully next Monday I can go for a jog/walk, but who knows? I just have way too much studying to get done this weekend (and all before Sunday night at 6:00). Plus, Sunday is my birthday, so after I turn in my homework Sunday evening, Ryan and I are heading to the Melting Pot for a lovely romantic dinner. I am so glad about that. Hopefully after that everything will be semi-normal for a while. Of course I'll be juggling homework for the rest of the semester, but that's okay.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Keepin' on keepin' on

So, I didn't get out and exercise on Sunday like I wanted because of all my homework and other things that needed to get done, but I did go jogging (walk/run) again yesterday. My average pace was a 13 min mile! I was excited; even though that's not very fast for most people, it was fast for me. I went 2.6 miles in 35 minutes, including warm up/cool down time. Not too bad for running only in intervals (I can't keep up a 5 mph pace for very long; right now my intervals are 2 min walk/3 min run). Today is Aerobics and Yoga again. I can't say I'm excited about aerobics, but I love yoga! Hopefully sometime this week I can weigh myself to check my progress. I hope I've lost a pound or two!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

exercise road block

Friday was day 5 for my 5K training, but it snowed. Since it was a snow day, I decided I didn't need to exercise (even though I could have gotten on a treadmill in our apartment complex). I was supposed to go hiking yesterday, but that didn't work out either, and now most of today has gone by without me getting my exercise. Now I have homework to do (which I'm putting off by posting this blog), and a birthday party to go to tonight. I'm still motivated to get back out there tomorrow, but what about today? How do I fit it in? I'm going to try to finish up my homework really fast, then hopefully at least get on the treadmill before the party tonight. We'll see. Otherwise, I won't let this minor setback keep me from exercising this coming week. Here's to keepin' on keepin' on.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Week 1, day 4

Yesterday was my third day of training for the race.  I was glad to be able to do all of the reps I was supposed to do of my intervals; walking at 3.5 mph for 2 min, then running at 5 mph for 3 min, 5 times. It seems about the right level for me right now, but tomorrow I'm adding another rep (6 times instead of 5 times). I'm sure I can do it. Today I have aerobics and yoga again. I'm looking forward to it, but I know that yoga is going to be hard today. Thursdays are an advanced yoga class, and I already have problems with the beginner class. I think I'm feeling healthier. I'm not sure how my progress is going, but I hope to weigh myself this afternoon. We'll see how class goes today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Review: The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hawthorne's best-selling novel, The Scarlet Letter is a comment on the human heart in conflict with itself and the religion and morality of the day. When two members of a Puritan community sin, one (the pregnant woman of course) gets punished publicly while the other (the father) escapes public punishment but privately languishes under a burden of unconfessed guilt. A third character seeks revenge on the couple and makes life even more miserable for all involved. What makes this story so interesting is that it is a romance. In other words, supernatural phenomena drive the narrative and give it its mystery and appeal. The product of this sinful union, Pearl, is an elfish child who is also a bit creepy. She senses truths she is not supposed to know and adds guilt to both her mother and her father. This book was much better this time around than when I read it in high school.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My running journey begins

I never would have thought I would become a runner. I'm not so sure even now, but I'm definitely coming closer. On Friday and again on Monday a walked/ran 2 mi. in under 30 min. Now, for me, this is an accomplishment. I was able to run at about 5 miles an hour, and my walking intervals were shorter than my running intervals (2 min versus 3 min running). The funny thing is, I actually enjoy it so far. Running with my iPod is definitely better than running without it. Now I have an arm band for it that will make it that much easier to carry music with me. The race is keeping me motivated. If I can complete a 5K, then maybe I can continue running and someday run a half marathon. That would be fantastic! Eventually maybe a marathon. But I'm probably getting ahead of myself. Who am I to think that I'll become a real runner? Right now I'm into it, but what happens later when I don't want to do it anymore? What then? Hopefully I can look back at my blog and see what I enjoy about running; maybe that will keep the motivation up. I will say that I have had more energy in the evening after exercising in the afternoon. I've felt exhiliration from completing my goals. I should start losing weight soon, hopefully. Anyway, I'm excited about the journey I'm on and I hope it helps me get healthier.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Training for a 5K charity race

Yesterday I signed up for my first ever race. I'm going to start training this afternoon, and on Mon/Wed/Fri to follow. I only have about 5 weeks (the race is on the 26th of February). I'm really excited because I needed something to motivate me to run. Hopefully I can lose weight and get in shape along the way! If I can remember, I'll post my progress here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Another crochet project completed

This baby blanket has actually been completed for a while, so I decided it needed to be displayed on my blog, too. This is for some very special friends of mine who lost their first pregnancy but will hopefully be pregnant again soon. Once the gender of said baby is known, this blanket will get a ribbon woven through the border to complete the look. Also, check out the matching hat! I love the ruffles around the edge.

I love the yarn that this is made with! I used Baby Bee "Hushabye solid" in naked. It's a super-soft, almost spongy yarn that will be so cuddly for the baby. Stay tuned for more upcoming projects as they are completed

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year

So, a new year has started. What am I going to do with it? I have decided to make a healthier, happier me. No New Year's resolutions, no extreme dieting (as if!), and no beating myself up over eating some potato chips. However, I do want to eat less (my "serving" sizes are huge!), exercise more, and spend more time with God. I believe moderation is key, so I want to moderate my life. So far I haven't been very good about my eating habits, but I have avoided soda for the most part, and I'm getting better. I have exercised a little, too! I'm also part of a facebook readathon of the conflict of the ages series and I've read the first three chapters of Patriarchs and Prophets so far (we're reading a page a day).

School starts Wednesday, however, and then my life will be crazy again. I just have to prioritize things that I haven't made a priority before (exercise and Bible study, especially). I do have a goal weight, too, by the way: 125 lbs. It would be fantastic to lose the 15 lbs I have to go. It might be a bit hard for me to do in a year, but I'm going to try. As long as I don't have to try too hard. :)