The contentment challenge has been just that -- a challenge. But as I sit and delete every amazingly tempting LOFT sale email I receive, I am learning a lot about myself. I never thought I could go this long (almost one month) without going on a total splurge trip to Target or TJMaxx. Can't even tell you the last time I was in Michael's. Although, I will say, it helps that I live in a town with limited shopping ;)
I have learned that I can be even more creative than I think I am when I stay in my house and look around. I can entertain myself with things that I already have - some of which need entertaining, ahem my bookshelves.
I've rearranged my room and closet set up several times and just recently rearranged my desk. I have found some fun ways to spend my time (when I'm not doing homework/working) that don't include buying something.
enroll in grad school // okay, this one is kind of a joke. But really, being in grad school brings everything into perspective. I have TWO MORE CLASSES to complete, and student teaching, after these four I am taking this semester. Then it's time for the real world, which by the way means real world stuff like apartments and cars and computers and phones and all of that junk. My mom and I were discussing the purchases I will be looking forward to once I land a teaching job. Let's just say the purchases aren't cheap, but they are somewhat necessary, so starting a savings plan now is probably a stellar idea.
washi tape // I have found some neat things to use my washi tape collection for. For example, I covered a clear desktop organizer that I have so you can't see what's inside! Not that I'm trying to hide anything, but it looks pretty.
netflix // I have rekindled my love of Netflix. Did y'all know how many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress are on there? Plenty. Also my other secret obsession show: Undercover Boss. Four seasons. That's what I'm talking about. Almost nothing beats curling up under a blanket to watch Netflix on my iPad.
getting fancy // I'm somewhat of an overachiever when it comes to my assignments. The units/portfolios/lessons that I am asked to create are many and I just love finding and sometimes making cute covers for them! There is so much freeeee and CUTE stuff on my favorite teaching blogs! And since I'm a perfectionist, this task can take days.
calligraphy // I shared that I have started calligraphy and it has definitely helped me pass the time. Here is a recent one I posted on Instagram :) follow me @sarah_ryan3 !
Now, all of this doesn't mean I'm never purchasing anything ever again, but until I get a little more grounded in my finances, I am playing it smart.
One last free note, head over to Elle & Company to download a beautiful verse for your iPhone background :)
It's Friday and I'm curled up in my warm house and decided it was time for a blog post. With my semester ramping up, I don't have a ton of time these days to blog, but I don't want to put it off completely.
I'm here today to share 5 things with you that are on my mind this week! I hope you leave inspired :)
one :: i started calligraphy
I recently started learning calligraphy because, well, I think it's pretty! I took a class on Skillshare and learned the basics - how to hold your pen, how to ink up, how to write all of the letters uppercase and lowercase. It's been so much fun & has helped me stay sane indoors since it's too dang cold to go outside.
I still need some practice, but that is the fun part! I've just been looking up fun quotes on Pinterest to write in calligraphy. Actually, my sketchbook is pretty fun & inspirational right now. I like it.
two :: organization/planner lovers unite
If there is one thing you do today, I hope it's to visit Elle & Company! The amazingly talented Lauren Hooker just launched her "design for a simple life" company this week & you will fall in love.
Her featured product is the Daybook Planner. It's so perfect -- menu planner sheets, prayer sheets, lesson planner sheets, cleaning checklist & much more!
Everything is so pretty, clean & simple! You will also want to follow her blog for fun stuff, like Friday morning coffee dates :)
Go give her some love!
three :: it finally snowed
Here's the rundown...schools were already closed on Monday for MLK Jr. day, but we (my job) were open so I worked for 7 hours & then drove to class for 3. It was a long day. THEN, due to the "anticipation of bad winter weather", school was closed on Tuesday. We are only closed if it's a Code 4. Well, it was code 3, so in we went. However, we ended up closing around 10 am because the snow was still coming down hard -- although roads were fine...? The county makes no sense.
Then Wednesday rolls around and I'm sure we're finally going back to school. Nope. Another day off & another code 3.
Basically, we got about 2 inches of snow, apparently somewhere in the boonies of Montgomery County it was worse and I have had to work 20 hours already this week with children who were OFF THE WALL.
I know 20 hours doesn't sound like a lot, but normally I work 9-12 for the entire week. Plus, on snow days, we're basically stuck inside. This time we let them run relay races down the hallway -- you'd think we had given them $100! They were so pumped.
I recently took the time to "clean up" my Pinterest, although really it's still a work in progress. I figured out you can alphabetize your boards (makes my OCD heart happy) and I also started to break up my teaching boards into more specific categories, such as Teaching History and Classroom Decor. I used to just have one classroom board. This will really help me in the present, with assignments, and in the future, when I'm actually teaching. I have also started some boards for some of my classes, like the Assessment Portfolio one. I thought about making it private because it isn't very "pretty", but oh well :)
five :: teaching is getting real and scary
My student teaching request form is due on March 1st. That means I'll hopefully be student teaching this upcoming fall. I'm all sorts of nervous, scared and excited when I think about how close I am to becoming a "real" teacher. Soon I'll be thinking about job fairs and interviews - which scare me to death - and about moving! This will be a crazy year.
I recently found inspiration from other bloggers to create a "making things happen in 2014" board on Pinterest. This board can include quotes, pictures, videos - anything on Pinterest - that will motivate and inspire you to make things happen && do what matters in 2014.
I encourage you to visit Lara Casey's blog, if you haven't already, to get super inspired & get started on goal setting! And of course, Emily Ley is an awesome source of inspiration as well.
I encourage you, whether you have 2014 goals/resolutions or not, to create a board. I've already found myself coming back to it just to read the quotes. Mine is still a work in progress and I'm sure I'll be adding to it for the weeks and months to come!
Let me know if you follow me on Pinterest so I can follow your boards, too!
I was thinking about the contentment challenge all day yesterday. Yes, it seems crazy and difficult and frustrating and wacky, but I think that's exactly why I need to do it. I need to step outside of my comfort zone & really challenge myself.
I'm really excited for this journey with so many other awesome gals! Seriously y'all -- if you're thinking about doing this, join the Facebook group! Already read some awesome posts and found some sweet new blogs :)
Contentment Challenge Do's & Dont's
Okay, so here is what I'm allowed to buy: necessary food, necessary toiletries, medicine, gum, gas, mandatory grad school items (books, supplies for portfolios, etc.), anything I have been given a gift card for -- but once that's gone, it's gone. I will try and save those too.
What I'm not allowed to buy: clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, NAIL POLISH, books, magazines, junk from Target, snack food, sodas at work, etc. Basically anything that isn't on my other list.
Exceptions: I have read through different rules and guidelines and agree that I don't want to come off rude to family or friends. For example, one of my friends that I don't see very often has contacted me to get together with our boys this month and I absolutely will say yes. I make exceptions here because getting together with friends is good for you! Plus, we can probably find something free//cheap to do :) Gifts is the other exception. If it's someone's birthday, anniversary, etc. that is an exception to the rule as well! I will get them something small and personal, or think of something I can DIY :)
1. Get ahead on my assignments. I want to start this semester STRONG! I'm taking 4 classes, compared to 3 last semester, and that is a tad scary. I have always been terrible about procrastinating. However, if I start strong, hopefully that means I'll finish strong. My planner is already looking colorful & busy beautiful :)
2. Finish The Rescue.The other suggestion for this challenge is to read 3-5 books, however with grad school it is reaaalllyy tough to read for pleasure. I have so much to read, write and create for school in addition to work & interning that I barely have enough time to sleep! However, over break I started The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks and I would really like to finish it.
3. See a new movie. Seriously, we own movies that I've never seen before! I'm going to have my own movie night at home & watch a movie that I own that I've never seen.
4. Make 2 new clean recipes. I am getting really interested in clean eating as a way to get healthy. I've found some AWESOME recipes on The Gracious Pantry that I can't wait to try out!
5. Take water to work every day. I neeeeed to break my soda habit. It's too easy to go grab a Coca Cola when I'm feeling tired or crazed by the kiddos. Today I put a slice of lemon in my water & found myself looking forward to taking a sip! Woo!
Holler if you think I left anything off my lists! And let me know if you want to join in on the fun! ;)
Ever since doing some Instagram hopping - ya know how you're on one picture, and that takes you to another profile, and perhaps even another - and finding Dear Sweetheart Events, my heart and mind have been called to this challenge.
The Contentment Challenge is basically not buying anything unnecessary for 3 months.
I am going to try my absolute best to keep up with this challenge the next three months. I saw how fast the past three months flew by, so the next three won't be that hard, right??
I'm hoping this will create a lifestyle change for me. I need to teach myself to refrain from obnoxious Target purchases and trips to TJ Maxx "just to see what they have"...
Each month Kat is going to post a theme, a verse and a challenge to keep us motivated and occupied throughout the challenge
This month's theme is simplicity. It's time to realize that I am never going to be measured by my possessions. Yes, it is fun to go out and raid the Target one spot & find cute new flats at Gap but does any of that stuff really matter?
Today, after work, I am going to work on my "do's and dont's"
list -- basically what I find acceptable to purchase and what I am going
to refrain from purchasing. I am also going to write down 5 goals for January.
I'll share those with you tomorrow.
I encourage you to join myself and several other awesome women on this journey! Go check out Kat's blog where you can also find a link to a Facebook support group :) Also this post is really helpful. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in this -- I feel like I will be more likely to stick with it.
SO, here's to living life content with what I have, simplifying my life, doing what matters and knowing that there are other people out there who are living contently with much less than I have been blessed with.