Ibotta

I like saving money. I really do. You are looking at a woman who actually looks forward to Black Friday. It’s the highlight of my year. Why? Because things are on sale. What I hate, and I’ll probably write more about it later on, is how Black Friday is moving outside of the store shopping and no longer on Friday. That’s just not right.

Regardless, I love saving money. I was on Pinterest one day and I found a page that discussed all of these different ways for people to earn a little bit of money over the weekend. Some read “$250 in a weekend”, some were “Extra $5000 in a year”. I read them all.

Yes, I know they were more likely to be click-bait then anything substantial, but I did and I still do read them. However, I have learned something about myself regarding these various side hustles. One: I’m not good at them. The majority of the sites and things they listed, were things I frankly was just too lazy to go about doing or had a bit to much risk. I wanted a sure thing, not a possibility of making money, but also a possibility of losing money. If I want to lose money, I’d do lotto tickets. I know what my odds are going in. Doesn’t stop me, but the excitement!

Sorry. Let’s get back on track. So one that the majority of these list had was Ibotta. Now if you’ve heard of Ibotta great. Those who haven’t. It’s alright. When I first discovered it, I was like. Is this another Ebates.com thing? I tried it, didn’t work for me. Too complicated. Ibotta on the other hand, I liked.

I was always into couponing. In college, I actually bought the newspaper so that I could coupon. Those Extreme Couponing shows were like my crack and I wanted to be just like them. Even though I never could. Just wasn’t as skilled or as dedicated to it. Then everything started to turn digital and most of the coupons I was saving were expiring and it became more of a headache than anything else. So I stopped.

Then I discovered Ibotta. This is basically an app that has coupons in them. You download the app. Log in. You can even use your Facebook account and it’ll link you with your friends who are also on Ibotta. You then pick whichever stores they have, and they have a lot, and start looking to save. They have a wide range of stores and coupons. My favorites are the blanket $0.25 off anything. Yes. that’s a free quarter just for taking a picture of your receipt after shopping. They have a whole bunch more. $1.00 off any soy milk, etc. They also have several brand specific coupons. I’m still kicking myself for missing the $4.00 Neutrogena coupon. That was good money I missed considering that’s my make-up brand!

What makes Ibotta great, is that this isn’t money you save at the register. This means, if you want to buy a 2 for $3.00 soy milk. That means, they are $1.50 each. Usually, companies don’t let you mix and match coupons. This is why Ibotta is amazing, because while it is couponing, it’s more of an immediate rebate system. So you can use the $1.00 off any Soy milk and get that money back. Meaning, in the end, you only really spent $0.50 for a bottle of Soy milk!

Think of the savings!

Then if you are someone who shops the brands, they do special bonuses where if you buy certain items, they’ll give you a free $1.00 or more. I know, you might not think this is a lot. But in one month, I made over $30.00 from these rebates alone. The most common one I use are the rebates for H.E.B. For those of you who are not from Texas, that’s our local Texas grocery store. That’s not to say Kroger, Randalls, Walmart, Amazon, and Itunes are not on the site. They are. Some are just flat 5% of your purchase. Again, it might not be much, but it does add up. I made more money then I care to admit, using a 10% off purchase from Joann Fabrics.

I’m not saying, if you use this app, you’ll pay off all your loans. It’s good, but not that good. However, an extra $10-20 a month just for buying what you usually buy and then uploading your receipt? It’s not hard.

Yes, it does take time to look through the coupons. But I’ll get a bit nasty with y’all and say. You can easily do that while you’re on the Can. It’s not hard and it can be done quickly. It’s easy. That’s what I am really trying to get across. I use it mainly for grocery shopping. However, if you are more of the mobile shopper, there are dozens of possibilities you can use. Imagine getting 5% back on a hundred dollar purchase you were already going to get?

Now, Ibotta does have some catches. The main one is that you have a week from the date of the receipt to upload it. I make a habit of doing my uploading on the same day, or within 2 days. Otherwise, I’ll forget about it or just throw away the receipt. The other is the minimum limit to transfer money. It’s $20.00. It’s up to you decide if that’s too much or not. I think is a nice goal for each month to try to make. Some months I’m good. Some I’m not. The money just rolls over.

It’s easy to link your bank account, or if you are like me and are hesitant to link your bank account. You can use Venmo or convert it into a gift card to a number of different stores.

If you are interested in trying it out, use my referral code: IUOATOP

Yes. I do get some money if you use my code. I’m not ashamed of that. I will admit, that over the last two years of using Ibotta, I have made over $200.00. (Total, not each year and just from savings, not from Referral. I said it wasn’t a lot but that’s still $200 more dollars than I had before.) However, what’s great about this is that not only do I get money, but so do you. By using my code, you get $10.00 bonus for signing up. Yes. That’s $10 free dollars just for using this code to sign up with Ibotta. Even if you don’t use it religiously or ever, it would be nice just to get a free $10.00 right?

This is something that I’ve found that works and is legit. There is no sneaking rules or regulation. It’s easy to transfer the money into Venmo and then send it into my bank account. No additional fees required.

If you are interested in Ibotta and would like to ask me specific questions or if you’ve used Ibotta and have your own opinion. Please let me know in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you all.

Pineapple Almond Cake

I’ve said I liked to bake in My 10 Things About Me post. Now here’s the proof. I had to bake a dessert for this school function. Yes, I had to bring something. If anyone said academics was the limits of the skills that a teacher needs to have, well frankly, they were mistaken. When it came time to think of a dessert, I had one in mind that I knew that people would like.

I wish I could say that I was like the Pioneer Woman and made everything from scratch. I’m not. I’m sure you can modify this cake and make it from scratch.

I did not.

You can even easily modify it to make it more healthier.

I did not.

I used the quick and easy way. I am in no way a chef. If anyone has ever since the Pinterest fails. I’m sure my creations would end up right up there. I do like to think I’m a cook. My food might not look award winning or the best, but it sure as hell will taste delicious.

I made 2 cakes. So all of that is double the ingredients.

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 box yellow cake (Plus the ingredients listed to make said cake. Mine included the use of 3 eggs, 1/2 C oil & 1 C water.)

2 mini cans of pineapple juice

Topping:

I pint heavy cream

1 C sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract (or to taste, I usually use a bit more since I do like the vanilla flavoring.)

Sliced Almonds

This is about 1 cup-ish

When it comes to backing, I’m hard press to actually follow the amounts. I’ve thought about becoming a chef but I quickly realized that if I did that I would lose the fun of it as I have indulged in my fair taste of Hell’s Kitchen and know that the life of a chef is stressful. I don’t want that. I’ll stick to teaching.

Whenever I start a new recipe, I always follow the ish amounts. If it said it required 2 cups of flour. I put 2 cups-ish. That’s assuming I use a measuring cup at all. I know. I know. That’s not very professional, but I’m not one. I do this for fun and I have a skill. With the exception of baked fruit pies, I have yet to mess up any type of dessert. I say that honestly and not to toot my own horn. I once made creme brulee and I got three marriage proposals. I knew they were joking, but apparently it was that good.

Regardless, when it comes time to make this recipe, I wish I could take credit for creating it. I can’t. This is actually my aunt’s recipe and she makes it double tiered with a layers of strawberries in between. I would have done that, but I forgot to buy strawberries. So we will just have to do without.

Part One:

The first part is easy. Make a yellow cake. Just follow the instructions on the box on how to mix it and how to bake it. Nothing to creative. I wish I could say there was.

Once you finish baking it and you’ve pulled the cake out of the oven. Start making small incision with a knife over different parts of the cake. I did this while it was still in the pan. Let it cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Part Two:

Once it’s cooled a bit, open the can of pineapple juice. Pour the juice evenly over the cake slowly. Allow the cake time to absorb the juice before you pour another layer. I repeated this about three times or until all the juice was gone.

Afterwards, allow the cake to sit until it is completely cooled down. You can even refrigerate it and finish it off in the morning.

What it should look like when out of the pan. I let it sit in the Pineapple juice for about an hour before flipping it. It came out near perfect.

Part Three:

Take the cooled down cake out and place it on a plate. Now comes time to make the whip cream topping.

Heavy Whipping Cream in a bowl. Use a handheld or a standing mixer. If you are trying to do this by hand, it’ll take a while.

You can just buy the store bought whip cream if you are short on time, however, I like making mine. I comes out tasting heavier and in my opinion is even better than the store bought. However, if you lack baking skills and just wanted to make something that will impress, using the store bought is perfectly fine. It’ll just be a little lighter.

To make the whip cream: Pour the heavy whipping cream into a large bowl. Then pour in the vanilla flavouring. Get a handheld mixer and as you have it going on the highest speed start to slowly pour the sugar into the mix. Most recipes will say it’ll only take a minute or two. They are lying. This takes about 10-15 minutes of standing there, mixing it together. You will notice that it will start to form stiff peaks. I like my whip cream a bit heavy, so I make sure to over beak it, but stop when you feel like consistency is right for you. Keep going, it will eventually get stiffer. If you noticed that it’s not, add a little bit more sugar. It should work then.

Part Four:

Now comes the decoration. I like to pipe, but using a knife and spoon works just as well. Make sure that the cake is fully covered with the whip cream. If you like a lot of frosting on your cake, do not be afraid to pile it high. Perfect cakes are non-existent, there are only perfect cakes for you.

Once covered, sprinkle the almonds on top. IF Allergic: Skip this step. Feel free to add any fruit on top. Strawberries go great with this and I’ve been thinking of crushing pineapples mixed with sweetened coconut slices on top, to give it a pina-colada flavour. I might try that out next time and let ya’ll know. This cake is a perfect cake for a summer party or a brunch. It’s light and airy and the fruity tropical flavours will spice up any party.

When all is said and done, your cake should look something like this:

This is how it looks without the almonds.

So this was my end product. I hope that it taste as good as it looks. Honestly, I’m excite to have people try it. Baking truly is something that I love to do. It’s just hard when I’m single and there really isn’t such a thing as baking for one. Since I’m trying to lose weight, it means even less of an opportunity to actually bake.

If you all have tried to make this cake, or if you made it and added your own spin to it, please let me know about it in the comment section below. I’d love to hear how it turned out.

GoodReads

I’m an avid reader. I’ve had, for the past three years made a resolution to attempt to read a book every week for a year. For three years I have failed. The main issue I originally was that frankly I could never keep track of which books I read when.

Reading is something that I am passionate about. I have a saying to anyone who hates reading. “You just haven’t found the right book yet.”

Everyone has that one book, that one book that allowed them to dive head first into a million and one adventures. Some were forgettable, most are not. My family are not avid book reader. I was always that kid that would rather stay inside and read rather than play.

Why?

Because like any avid reader, I rather have the adventure in my head. I’ll admit it. When I find a good book, I’ll binge it. The first one, was the Harry Potter and the Half-blood prince. I read it in 16 hours straight. With potty breaks of course. My parents thought I was insane to read that much. Even went as far as to say it wasn’t healthy. They’ve never understood my love for the Potter books.

It’s been years since it’s release, but I still binge the occasional book. I’ll admit, I’m not entirely sure how I ended up on Goodreads. I might have seen some friends use it or it might have been a Pinterest post. Regardless, it is by far one of my favourite Apps/Websites. For those of you who have never heard of this site, it is a giant forum all about books.

People have the ability to rate books out of 5 stars and even give them reviews. One cool feature, when linked to your Facebook account, will list all the books your friends are reading as well. When you finish a book, you can record it and then give a review. Say what was good, what was bad and what was just in the middle.

I’ve read great books and I’ve read some stinkers, however I do recognize that most authors work hard on their novels. I might not like the ultimate ending, and that fine. I’ve had series where I loved how it was going and then they did one thing and it left a bad taste in my mouth and frankly destroyed the series for me. For others, it might keep them and that’s fine. I’m not the be all end all critic. I’m not talking Harry Potter, of course. Still one of the greatest series. However, Goodreads does give me the opportunity to set others know how I felt about the book. If you like the series and are devastated that it’s over, or are waiting for the next book to be published, they’ll even give some suggestions on books you might be interested in reading. Some you might pick, some you won’t. However, it might give some ideas of where to head off to your next new adventure.

However, the fact remain, and this is something I really love about Goodreads, is that every year, (and in March, it’s not too late), you can submit a reading goal. I know one of the most used New Year resolutions, behind losing weight, is to find time to read more. This give you a mini goal and keeps honest about the books. It also gives you a percentage towards your goal. It’s a little nice to see the percentage grow every time you add another book.

It also allows you to change. If you’re like me, your first year you might get a bit ambitious. I know I was. My goal was a 100 books. I failed. Epically. I know surprising. So I tried to lower the following year to 70. I had friends who did it.

I have no freaking idea how. I failed again. Epically. I barely broke 20 books. For some of you, who are reading this, you might be impressed. I wasn’t. So last year I made it 52. The idea. One a week. I also failed. Now this time it wasn’t so bad. I discovered Audible.com.

I loved it. Yes, paperback books are still my favourite but this was not a bad alternative. In fact, I’ll be writing a post on Audible soon. However, I found that an audiobook, when read right, was perfect for my lifestyle. I could listen to it in the car, when I cleaning or even going for a run. (Yes, I made the weight-loss resolution as well. I’m down 10 lbs since December and I still have about 40+ to go.)

You can count them into you reading lists. I don’t agree that there is a difference if you read verse listen. I know people who like one more then other and I know people, who like me, are fine either. The major issue I had, was that I had no time to read. While I might want to read, there were a dozen other things I needed to do. This helped. It also worked great whenever I had a long drive to do. You SHOULDN’T read while driving, so this was a happy medium.

So, while my goal had been 52 books, I only read 30. While my account say 29. I finished a book and forgot to log it in before New Years, so I made this year 53, since I added it afterwards. I’m hoping this year goes well. I will say, my book a week worked well for about a month, now it’s slowed down. Life got busy. I’m hoping that with Spring break just around the corner, I’ll be able to make up for lost books. Then summer will be my next big binge. Gotta make use of the holidays.

If you have used Goodreads, let me know how you like in the comment section below. If you’ve never used this before and are interested to try, let me know what you think. If you’ve listed a reading challenge, let me know what’s your goal. I’d like to hear.

Merlin- Poop Station

So anyone who has every been owned by a cat knows that the worst part of being owned is having to clean the litter box. It’s never fun and always smell. All of those litters that say no smell. They lie. They do mask it, at least until it comes time to clean.

However, when I see this sweet face. I do it. I’ll be the first to admit it. He has me wrapped around his little paw.

I’ve had Merlin since he was 8 weeks old and I’ve tried pretty much all the different types of litter boxes out there because Merlin is a digger. That means, he likes to dig in the litter box as if it was a sandbox. Because he does this, it causes him to kick the litter up and about. I’ve tried boxes, I’ve tried self-cleaning, I’ve tried litter in furniture. I’ve tried pretty much all of it. So I’ve thought about mentioning some of what I have tried and letting you know my opinion on them.

The Traditional

The standard litter box and litter. Not bad. I liked it and used it for a good couple of years. I’ve placed inside cat litter furniture as seen below. Yes, I did spend that much money on it. It didn’t work because Merlin started to kick the freshly peed clumps outside of the box and it just went down hill from there. He, as a digger, would also kick the litter out of the box and trail it all over the apartment. Every single time. I would sweep, and he would do it again seconds later. It was infuriating and an obviously loosing battle that took me a few years to realize.

The Self-Cleaning

I liked this one. The I had spend hours looking into the different types of self-cleaning litter before I decided on this one. The PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box, Covered, Automatic with Disposable Tray. Litter duty was amazing. It was once every 3-weeks, and it was super easy. The down fall was that if you waited longer than 3-weeks, the smell started to get really bad. The device itself was easily to use and even easier to set up. The price was a bit high, but for convience sake, I was willing to risk it.

Now the problems I found with it, was that Merlin the mole would dig and kick out a lot of the crystals. Some were pee stained crystal so EWW. Then there was the dust. There was a lot of dust. The final piece was the price. The monthly changing of the litter tray was about $15-18 a month. I’d save a bit by buying a 3 month supply. However, rarely did it ever last 3 months. I would end up spending $45 dollars every 2 months for litter alone. It finally got to the point where that was just to much and I needed to search for an alternate way of dealing with Merlin’s bathroom habits.

The Igloo

The Igloo is what I’ve moved to next. The self-cleaning required little work, however my little mole was still leaving litter crystals all over the apartment. The cleaner rake also started to make a loud grinding sound everything it moved. I got used to it, but occasionally it would surprise me. So I decided to try an alternative method. I stumbled upon the Igloo( AKA Pidan) by accident. I was looking into other types of boxes when I saw it.

What caught me attention was the promise of no more loose litter. Now forgive me for not believing it. However, after a couple of weeks of using it. I’m a believer. It has a nice grate step that gets most of the litter crystals that stick’s to Merlin’s paw. What isn’t caught there is then caught on the mat. With it’s dome shape, Merlin can dig to his heart’s content and I don’t have to worry about litter flying everywhere. Now it’s not perfect. I very much doubt anything can or will be, but there has been a significant amount less of loose litter crystals.

It’s sleek design is actually a little smaller than the self-cleaning and it looks nice and neat. I like it. Merlin seems to take to it. I’m sure he’s trilled at the fact that I no longer shout at him for digging in his litter box.

These are the three ways I’ve tried to handle the litter box. If you’ve tried one and would like to leave your thoughts, please do. Or, if you’ve used something else please let me know in the comment section below!

Bye!

Students- A teacher’s rant

I wish I could tell you all that this post will be some intellectual gem. That after spending your time reading my words you will walk away feeling like you have won the lottery, read the most ground breaking revelation that will just change how you see the world. Unfortunately, this is not that work.

This. This is a rant. I need one. I’ve had a terrible day and I need to find a way to release these feeling without hurting anyone. Because at the the end of the day, I know one thing about myself. When I’m hurt or when I don’t feel good. I’m mean and my temper is non existent.

So today started out sucky. I could feel a cold coming on, my throat had been scratchy and my nose was stuffed up. I could barely breath. I had hoped that by taking some medicine the night before I could combat it. It didn’t work. Now I’m sure some of you might wonder, why did I call in sick. Well I should have. But frankly, I can’t get anymore behind then where I’m currently at. Between now and spring break, I can’t miss a day and I’m already scheduled to miss two. I’m playing catch up for days I haven’t even missed yet. How on earth is that fair?

Regardless, I knew today was not going to be a great day, but for my students I’d suffer through. It wasn’t as if we were doing much. It was a documentary for US History. A review for Sociology. The kicker came with AP Psychology. I had new material we needed to go over. Their test is coming up and I can’t stop if I want to make the deadline.

So off to school I go. I stop by CVS pharmacy and buy more pills since I had KonMarie my old ones. To be fair, they were from 2014 (I did this last month). So I bought some and have been taking them semi-regularly all day with a mixed dose of cough drops. Still all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep. I had plenty of students who stopped and asked. “Hey Ms. You all right?” So I knew I looked bad.

I told them it was just a cold and waved it off. No use getting them worried. I even had one kid ask me if I was pregnant. That was a definite no. Honestly, sometimes I think our students want us to be pregnant so that they can have a party. Anyway, I was making my way through it.

So I should probably add that we’ve been having some problems with another one of the organizations I’m involved with. I’m not saying which since I do not want to deal with breaking any type of confidentiality or what not. However, we have some students who are acting entitled and are using loopholes to make themselves look better and not doing any of the work that is required of them. So that came to a head yesterday which did not help matters in the least.

With lunch, came a student who wanted to turn in her glued in graphic organizers undone and had the gall to look at me like I was crazy when I said she had to complete the work. The assignment was not just to glue paper down. This is High School after all. I went to lunch, where I work a backroom black market snack selling operation to raise money for prom since, well we aren’t getting it anywhere else. Then I made it to Tutorials.

Tutorials. The idea was sound. But it was the most stupidest plan put together. I have students who need to past an End of Year exam because they failed it the last three times they’ve tried mixed with kids, who could take the exam today and pass it. I have until May to get them ready. I had one of the aforementioned kid who just pushed me in all the wrong ways. I mean, just everywhere. Refusal to do work, blatant disrespect before finally I broke and told him to “get the hell out of my class.” I was done. Plus to make matters worse, I used foul language at a student. Don’t laugh. I keep my language clean around the students. Away from them, I’m a fucking sailor.

The first time in five years a student broke me. I’m ashamed to admit it. I’ve had other events, administrators, teachers, etc. But never a student. This kid did me in. I give kudos to my neighbouring teachers who stepped in to watch my class so I could compose myself. My other students who knew what to do, and made sure the paper and the assignments were turned in accordingly. However, I’m ashamed of my behavior. I broke. I don’t know what it ultimately was. If it was this one event. This one student. Who in all honesty is an asshole. I wish I could say otherwise, but it’s true.

If it was the fact that I felt awful because of the cold. Stressed out because of the organization issue mixed with getting ready for District UIL. Getting only one day off a week because I’m taking students to meets or organizing auctions to raise money for said students. The stress of a tested subjected subject mixed with tutorials which I already hate. I don’t know. Maybe it was one of them, maybe it was a mixture. I just. Sometimes wonder if teaching, in the end is worth it.

I know it is. I do. I love my job. This one kid does not make it any less satisfying to see them walk the stage in May as their names are read aloud. Or the simple conversation former students might have with me simply because they heard some news in something that they knew I like. These are the kids I do all this for. It just sometimes those bad apples can get to you. Make you question if it’s all worth it.

I know I’ll still get up early tomorrow and repeat the cycle. Maybe I need to scale it back a bit. Maybe this was just my body and my mind telling me that I’m doing too much. That I need to take a break and I will. In about two weeks during spring break. I definitely will take my break. However, as most teachers might know. When the going gets tough, you got to pull your boots straps on and get to work.

I make light, but the truth is that we work on a deadline. I have a dozen different assignments that I need to get done by the end of this school year and I will get them done. If I don’t. Who will? Even as I’m writing this, I can see my cell phone blow up from text messages from other teachers asking me about this or that. Making plans for not if I go into school tomorrow. But when.

That’s just the life, I guess.

Any teachers out there who would like to share their story. Please feel free to leave me a comment below. It something like this has happened to you, please note, you are not alone and I’d love to hear how you handled it.

Tidying up the Desk Shelves

Hello World!

So I had a free Sunday and my urge to organize came upon me and I decided to tackle the shelves above my desk. I’m pretty lucky with my apartment. It came with a lot of shelves AND a built in desk next to the kitchen.

I usually try to be organize. The key word there is “try”, but more often than not, I’m in a hurry and I just stuff the shelves with papers and whatever knick-knacks that are out and about; especially when I have company coming and even more so when that company is my mother.

With my selves overflowing with papers that I haven’t read in 5-10 years, I decided to do a purge. I cringe and am a bit embarrassed about making the purge since I’ve been living in this apartment for a little over a year and basically said screw it to the papers and put them on the shelves. That also means I actually just moved boxes of papers that I could have thrown away. I’ve included the photo below.

IMG_3040
Before the Purge

My biggest problem was the what-ifs. I always thought “What if I need that information on Jupiter that I gathered when I was 12 because as I’m nearing 30, I will have to do another project on the plant?” I know. Ridiculous. Especially since I can easily get new information that is not 15 years old on the internet. Hear that Google? But the feeling still remained. “What if I need these meeting notes from three years ago?” It was hard to let them go. However, I Marie Kondo it.

I do recommend her method if you might be feeling you are one box, one book, one piece of paper away from being a hoarder. It’s not giving up everything like the Swedish Death Clean or any other Minimalist approach might suggest. Heavens knows, I still have more things than I truly need, but there is a sense of relief that comes with getting rid of, for a lack of a better term, garbage.

That’s what this purge really was. I wish I could say I donated 3-4 bags to Goodwill. I didn’t. Most of what I got rid of was paper and I just threw them into the recycle bin. All of about 2 garbage bags full. So much that I carried around from apartment to apartment all because I was scare of giving it up. It makes so little sense in the long run and like I said, I was embarrassed about waiting so long to tackle this part of the apartment and I don’t even really know why.

Now I will say, that as I cleaned out several Binders, I found papers I didn’t even know I had. The papers were thrown, but the binders I did keep. If you haven’t read one of my other posts, then you might not realize that I teach High School. Day 1, I tell all my students they will need a binder for my class. They will be able to keep it in the room. However, I do work for a Title-1 school. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that most of the kids I teach are on Free or Reduce Lunch. They don’t have enough money to buy a binder for my class, much less one for the other 7 seven classes that they take. Sometimes they struggle with the basic necessities. So, I tell them that they may borrow one of mine for the year. I have about twenty binders in my classroom and am about to bring in another 14 for the students for next year.

I honestly don’t keep track of them. If the students really want to take them, or if they come to me asking for another one for a teacher who doesn’t have a supply, I freely grab another one for them to take. They appreciate it and it gives them a little bit more of a chance to be organized and to succeed.

One of these days, I’ll have to do a post about my classroom closet. That might make some people cringe and run away in horror and I’m not exaggerating, it’s pretty bad. Regardless, the supplies I keep are for the kids so I always try to make sure that I am well stock.

Back to Cleaning. So I manage to get rid of a lot of papers and binders that were really just taking up space. It was kind of funny once I finished. I barely had enough to keep by books standing since I had gotten rid of so much! I even had space to move my sewing machine in! That was a huge plus for me. I had been thinking about moving it over, however, there had been no space. Now there was plenty and I could probably fit in more stuff. I’m trying not to, but I probably will eventually. I do know myself after all.

Another thing I noted, was the sheer number of notebooks I had that only had a handful of clean pages left. I ripped out those pages and then threw the rest away. I was holding on to so many useless papers that I wondered why I didn’t start this before.

I also like the fact that I did not need to turn my apartment upside down to get this all done. It took maybe two hours. If that, to empty out the shelves and then go through the material. It was not hard, but it was tedious. I would look at something and realize that it was from when I was in middle school! Why did I one: still have it  and two: why wasn’t it at my parent’s house!

This meant that I deliberately took it from my parents house, brought it into my apartment and then put it on the shelf for years! It’s hard to believe. However, I did. The final results are below.

IMG_3042
After the Purge. * Note the giant white box is my sewing machine.

I’m grateful I did the clean. When I finish I entered a little high of “what else can I clean?” and immediately did another load of laundry and some of the dishes. The high wore off by the fifth dish. I do hate doing dishes.

Regardless, it’s the first step in cleaning my shelves and it’s a few less things that I now own and need to worry about with my next move. I might one day go through the books, and eventually convince myself that yes, I really don’t need or even really want that Complete Babylonian Dictionary. However, that day is not today.

I hope that you all have enjoyed my post. If you have decided to start decluttering parts of your life and would like to share, I’d love to hear about. Leave me a comment about what you’ve all managed to get done!

Bye

Teacher Pay Teacher

I’ve mentioned once or twice before that I’m a teacher. I’m proud of that fact. I love what I do and I love being someone who can impact the minds of the future. Everyday, my students surprise me more and more with just how brilliant they are.

What I don’t love. The pay. Yes, we get summers off. However, that term is very relative as many of us conduct summer school and then have to attend multi-day professional developments, however, I do like the fact that I know when my vacation days are going to occur. What hurts is the sheer number of extra hours we put in for little or no monetary results.

To be fair, if any of us truly did it for the money, we’d never have gone into teaching. However, when dealing with student loans, car payments and the raising cost of living, not to mention having to buy supplies for students, a little extra can go a long way.

Let it never be said that Teachers are not the creative sorts. We are. I wish that I can say I have it bad. I really don’t. Texas is not terrible when it comes to teacher pay. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. I know other states have it worse. You hear about all these teachers who put in 12-14 hour days at their schools only to turn around and go to their second or third jobs.

I’ve been lucky that I do not need to have a second job to make ends meat, but that’s not to say that I don’t know many others who do. Knowing this, I’ve made it my mission to get rid of as much debt as soon as possible. Teaching, thankfully, is a pretty stable job. Lots of flexibility in how you can use your certifications, and if you don’t think that your school districts won’t find away to use it, you’ve got another things coming.

For instance, I’m a History teacher but I also teach English during the summer. I got a tested subject this year, however last year I worked in the English tutorials. Why? Simple. I have an ESL (English as a Second Language) Certification.  It’s supplemental (additional) but is quickly becoming require across all disciplines, and a key reason why I got to teach outside of my content area. I’m not the only one and I’m not even the worst of the stories that I’ve heard.  Yet, we as teachers still get it done. Why? Because we love the kids and we love what we do.

Anyways, back to the money. I’ve told you that we’ve gotten creative. One website that many of us Teachers use is TeacherPayTeacher (TPT). We are all constantly coming up with new material for us to use in the classroom. With as many teachers around the world who all teach the same if not similar subject it’s great to have a community in which people can ban together and share their knowledge.

Now, it’s not free. Not even close. Think of this site as a Flee market for teachers and what is being sold is content for our class. Think of the class, and there is probably something already created for it. If not, then you might have found a niche that needed to be filled. There are some free material on the site, but it’s usually just a taste of some of the items teachers have to sell.

I love it. It helps when you have multiple preps for subjects you’ve never taught and suddenly found yourself needing material. I created my store last May after using it for several months.

Yes, part of this post is to promote my store. If you are a teacher and you teach either AP Psychology or Sociology and need some material, stop on by and see if there is anything that you might need for your classroom.  If not, or if there is another subject you teach, feel free to look around at some of the other stores, there might be something for you.

Regardless, I don’t make a lot of money at it (I totaled about $32 in annual sales in 2018 and I started in May!). Last month I was over the moon as I made just over $25 in profit! I know, laugh it up. I was still doing the little dance when the month ended. I’d like to challenge any of you to sell your first product and not do a little dance of excitement over it. I joke, but it is an amazing form of passive money making. Most, if not all, of the products I have listed on TPT I use in the classroom. Not only did my materials make life just a little bit easier for other teachers, but I made a little bit of money for it. Most, with the exceptions of my PowerPoint, because by golly I worked hard on those, are no more than $3.00.

Why?

Because if you are looking on TPT, it means you either lost track of time and need something to fill in a lesson or you are so lost that you are looking for just that little bit of guidance to help you survive just one more week, or even one more class period. Plus, I know, rarely does $3.00 break the bank. I want my materials to be used. I worked hard on them and they are good and therefore others can benefit from what I created.

My experience with TPT has been a good one. I enjoy it. I don’t have to do much beyond setting up the store and uploading a number of different products to sell. TPT does take a commission price. which is a bit high, around 60%, however considering I wasn’t making anything on these items as they were just sitting on my flash drive, any money I make off of them is money well earned. There is not much work that needs to be put on it. The one issue is that all work must be your original intellectual property. You are selling for a profit. You also need a PayPal account however that’s so that they can transfer your monthly sales. There might be a way to make even more money off of TPT, but I’m not nearly invested enough to focus on that. I’m fine making my $15-20 (if I’m lucky) a month. Would I like to make more? Yes. Do I absolutely need it? Thankfully no.

It was not the first, nor I doubt the last, time I’ve shared material. Good teaching communities, and to a point good schools, have teachers who are more than willing to share everything that they have with one another. Especially the young teachers.

Why?

Because each year this field is becoming just that bit more difficult and the quitting rate of teachers have hit an all time high. I wish I could say that it was going down, but it’s not. I’ve been in the field for 5 years and I’am considered a veteran. Most teachers don’t make it to 5 years because they tend to burn out and enter the private sector.  I’m exhausted. I work 12-14 hour days and then go home to grade or find new resources for my students to use. I’m even learning accounting on the side. Not because I want to become a CPA, but because I have students who want to compete against other High School students in the field and we don’t have the class or a teacher who would be willing to help. The same goes for Copy editing, and a number of other fields.

Yet, at the end of the day. I love my job. TPT makes it a little easier. I managed to bring my debt down by $25 dollars last month. I know it’s funny to get excited about that. I do. However, I am proud that I manage to accomplish that. I’m hoping that February will be a bit better. Honestly, I doubt it with how it’s been going so far. (I’ve made $6.00 so far).  In the end, that’s not the point. It’s a little bit extra that helps me manage my debt and brings me one step closer.  What more can a person ask for?

If you all have tried TPT and know of any good stores or if you have never heard of it and want to give it a try as either a buyer or a seller. I’d love to hear about your experience with the site. Please leave me a comment below.

Bye!