Sunday, November 2, 2014

#YorksGoOrlando - Part 2

I am back to continue sharing some pictures and information about our trip to Universal Studios for our anniversary. Sorry that so much time has passed between the first post and this one, but life has been a bit crazy the past couple of weeks. Hopefully things will start to calm down a bit now, though. 


One of the biggest perks (at least we thought) about staying at the hotel that we did was that we were able to get into the HP park an hour before everything opened. Unfortunately, it was only the HP park on the Universal Studios Florida side, which was fine for day two, as we would just go back and see everything from the previous day again. It is at the far end of the park though, so it did take several minutes to get there. 

I kept missing the dragon going off because we would step into a store or something, so I made M stand outside with me for a few minutes until it finally went off again and I could take a picture. This really was so cool; it probably made me more excited than most kids would be, but I could not help it. We got in line for the Gringotts ride again since we were there before the park opened, but then the ride decided to mess up and we would have been in line forever while they fixed it, so we decided to get out of line and do something else. 

At that point, it was pretty cool because we were already in the park before everyone else could get in when it opened, so we were able to go on most of the rides without waiting in a line. We did the Mummy one right away, and it was pretty frightening to be the only two people on that ride (perhaps I was just scared of it in general, though). Then we went on to the Transformers ride, which was pretty fun, another one of the 3D simulation things. 

Then we went back to Springfield, and checked out The Simpson's stuff again since the park was closed after we finished the ride the previous night. We love the Simpsons, and we would go to this ride anytime we wanted to get out of the rain, which happened a few times for us. We probably did this ride 6 or 7 times, and I never got bored of it. 

Oh look! It's Curious George! How stinkin' cute is that? 

Then we did the Shrek ride, which was, eh. It was probably my least favorite one, if I'm being honest. It was a whole lot of standing around waiting to get to go into the theater, and then it was just a theater of chairs with a video and some water that shot out at you. Not the best, I must say.

Next was the Despicable Me ride - neither of us had actually seen the movies, but we had to decided to do all of the rides - so we waited in line for 45 minutes despite knowing very little about all of it other than it involved cute little minions. It did end up being a very cute simulation, though. 

Not pictured, but before this we grabbed Panda Express for lunch, we are both big fans. We decided to take a break from the rides (since we had done almost all of them in that park, anyway), and decided to do some miniature golf. This is something that we have enjoyed doing together since we first started dating, though I think that we have actually both gotten worse in the last seven years. It was still a lot of fun, though. 

When we finished mini golfing and went back to the park, M convinced me to get on this roller coaster with him. I am terrified of them, but I did want to give some a try since I know how much he enjoys them. I was terrified as I waited, but it actually was not nearly as bad as I had expected. Dare I say that it was even a little bit fun. We tried to do it again on our last day, but it was shut down the whole day due to some sort of issue. Boo! 

After finishing up all of the rides there, we decided it was time to take the Hogwarts' Express over to Island of Adventures. We had to wait in line for awhile to take the train, but it was definitely worth it. They did some awesome things with it, and I was very impressed. 

Hogwarts! Upon reaching Hogsmeade, we looked around the shops a little before letting my roller coaster confidence get the better of me. I tried one of the suspended dragon coasters with M, and nearly lost my lunch (hours later). I think that a lot of it had to do with being dehydrated because it was much warmer than we had expected and I didn't drink enough water during the day. We watched some Hogwarts' students sing, and then decided I was feeling way too ill to do any other rides, so we headed back to the hotel for the afternoon. 

We had dinner at the hotel diner, which was way expensive for a pizza that was really just a whole lot of cheese. I guess we expected the food to be pretty expensive, though. 

That pretty much sums up day 2. It was a lot of fun up until I started feeling awful. No worries, I began chugging the water and felt better by day three. Like last post, I will leave some more pictures here at the bottom for you to see. Day 3 will be coming to you soon! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#YorksGoOrlando - Part 1

At the end of September, my husband and I celebrated two years of being married. During the summer there was really no time for us to take a vacation; while I have the summers off from teaching, my husband was super busy at work during this time. Instead, during the summer we planned to take a trip for our anniversary. You see, we did the whole beach all-inclusive resort thing for our honeymoon, and it just wasn't US. While I could lay on the beach forever and read, my husband cannot. He wants to boat and do things in the water, which I'm terrified of once I get more than waist deep. Needless to say, it was not the place for us to enjoy together. So when choosing our anniversary vacation, we knew that there was one place we could definitely agree on - Hogwarts.

My husband had already been to Disney a couple of times when he was younger, but he had not been to Universal Studios. I had not been to anything like it, unless you count Six Flags (which I don't), so I was really excited about the idea. Even better, the changes to the Harry Potter parts of the park had been finished, and it seemed like the right time to go. So, we booked our hotel and flights, and I took some time off of work (and missed Meet the Teacher night. Oops!).

We left on a Wednesday, so I will start by sharing how that day went. I took a million pictures, so I think that it will be best to break down these posts day by day so I don't completely overwhelm and bore you all. Without further ado, here we go!


Fun fact: I HATE flying. I am terrified of heights and suffer from anxiety, not exactly the best combination. I just don't GET how the whole airplane thing works, and I often spend too much time thinking about it. To avoid doing just that, I downloaded my digital copy of The Fault in Our Stars to my iPad and watched that on the flight out; it actually went quickly, which was a relief.

Upon arriving at the airport in Orlando, they had these boards everywhere, which just got me excited. We got in around 1:15 or so Orlando time, so we were looking forward to having that evening at one of the parks. We had already scheduled a shuttle to the hotel ahead of time, so we did not have to wait too long to get picked up from the airport (in the pouring rain. Really, Florida?). And then it was only about half an hour to the hotel.

We stayed at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which is the newest of the hotels that is actually part of Universal Studios. We looked at prices for different scenarios, and ultimately it had made sense for us to use one of their resorts; plus it got us into the HP part of the park an hour before the park opened. The only slight downside was that we were put in building the far end of the hotel, so that walk was fun. They did have an awesome pool area, though we didn't swim.

The hotel shuttle took us back and forth from the parks, and a new bus came every five minutes, so we did not have to wait around too much. We didn't waste much time getting to our hotel room, getting changed, and then heading out. We decided to go to the Universal Studios Florida side first, so we headed there, where I was super excited to see the Universal globe. It might be silly, but I had only ever seen it on television, so it was exciting!

Once we were in the park, we just kind of walked around and went to things as we saw them. While we did pick up a map, we did not stop to look at it just yet and decided to wander around. We started with the Twister "ride" which was supposed to simulate a real tornado. It was okay, except there was very little wind involved, which drove my husband crazy. He hated it, and spent the rest of the trip joking about how it was is favorite ride.

It did not take us long to make our way to the HP area of the park, after all that's what I was most excited about. I loved how they had the buildings so that it actually looked like you were walking through the wall into Diagon Alley, and then things got wonderful from there. We did a lot of wandering, and I did a lot of smiling like an idiot because it was so awesome (I'll stick looots of pictures at the end of the post, once I'm done chatting!).

Since we were on the plane during lunch hours and then went straight to the hotel and then to the park, we decided to have a late lunch around 3. We were near the Leaky Cauldron, so we decided to give it a try. Neither of us had Butterbeer. Instead, I tried the Fuzzy Otter's Orange Juice (delicious), and M tried some lemon thing (that I hated). The lunch was actually really good, and I so enjoyed the decor of the building. So realistic, I felt like I had stepped into the books/movies.

After having lunch, we walked around Diagon Alley and checked out all of the buildings and shops.They had SO many shops to look at, that it was pretty awesome. Then we went ahead and did the new Gringotts ride, which was absolutely amazing. Just the line leading up to it was amazing and so well done, and the right itself was so much fun. We ended up going on it three or four times during our trip because we enjoyed it so much.

Of course, we had to pick up wands. I picked an interactive version of Hermione Granger's (it was awesome, they had certain places at the parks where if you had an interactive wand you could wave it a certain way and things would happen). M decided on Dumbledore's Elder Wand.

To end our night at the park we decided to check out The Simpson's Ride. We have been watching the show a ton lately, ever since they did that crazy long marathon on FXX, so we thought it would be fun. AND IT WAS. This was, by far, one of my favorite rides during the whole trip. I think we ended up going on it a total of six or so times, and it never got boring!

The park closed at seven so that they could get ready for their Halloween night (which we did not do, at all. I hate scary things and M isn't a Halloween fan). We ended up heading to the City Walk part of the park where they have a lot of restaurants and everything. We weren't super hungry since we had a late lunch, so we decided on Burger King's Whopper bar. $19 for two burgers and a medium drink to share, not even any fries. Crazy! The food was even more expensive than I was expecting!

Well, that concludes day one. I will add some extra pictures below this if you want to check them out, and I will be back soon with Part 2!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Around Here [1]


This week was all about me going back to work, and saying goodbye to summer break. Since I'm working in a new district this year, I had to attend new teacher orientation, and it was quite long. A lot of it was stuff I already knew (as I am not a brand new teacher like some were), so it made it a bit more difficult to patiently sit through some very long sessions.

One plus was that I got to start working on some outfits for work. I've been able to pick up a few new clothing pieces here and there, so it will be fun to start styling them as I get back into the swing of things. I found this top at Plato's Closet for about $5. If you have one of these near you, I recommend checking it out. You can find very nice pieces for not much money. Win win. 

Wednesday I got to spend half of the day at my own campus where I met my mentor plus some other great teachers for my school. They even made us this cute little gift basket that included some nice desk essentials - post-it notes, pens, highlighters, paper clips, and what not. It was very sweet, and I really don't even want to take it apart!

Thursday was all about getting my hair cut (see two pics above for a before picture). I had grown it long over two years ago and kept it that way. While I love long hair, my hair gets super thin when it's long, and it just didn't look too good anymore. I decided to go with something new, and it looks so much healthier this way. It's already so much easier to take care of, so I'm enjoying that as well!

Other than that, my week was not too exciting. This next week is all staff development again, but I hope that it will not be too long. I will also try to come up with some more interesting content to share at this blog! I know it's been a little slow, but I'm working on it. To leave you for now, here is a picture of my adorable niece!

Happy Sunday! :] 

Friday, August 8, 2014

2014-2015 Classroom Decor: Superheroes

As some of you already know, I have taken a job in a different district this year. I was at my previous school for my first two years of teaching, but it just was not a positive place for me to be working. Based on my own feelings, I knew that I needed to get somewhere different. While I would eventually like to work in the district where we live, I understand it might be difficult until I make some connections. Until then, I will now be working in the district that I attended school and graduated from, and I am thrilled to be back. As I begin new teach training on Monday (marking the official end to my summer), I decided to spend this week getting my classroom decorated and mostly put together. I had a lot of help from my parents and sister-in-law, too. I thought I would share some pictures and ideas to help out with my fellow teachers who might want some different decor ideas.

This year I decided on a superhero theme. I am teaching seventh grade, and with all of the new superhero movies out lately, it seemed like a great idea to incorporate something that they would enjoy. My parents helped a lot with these buildings. My dad drew and cut them, and my mom and sister-in-law helped me put them up on the wall. The original idea came from THIS picture on Pinterest.

I am not thrilled with the placement of my desk this year. When we got there, it was actually facing the back wall, so I knew that was not going to work. Since it has to stay in the back based on where my computer plugs in, I decided to turn it sideways so my back would never be to the students. Of course, one of the legs of the desk is broken, so the desk pretty much fell on my legs before my mom managed to grab it and help me put it back together.

It took quite a while to decide what I wanted to do with this bulliten board. It's attached to one of the white boards, but the projector screen will cover it whenever it is down (which in middle school, will be a lot). Since we have an AVID program that focuses on encouraging students early to plan to go to college, I decided to use this space to put up some college pendants left behind by the teacher previously in my classroom.

This is the side board, so I knew I wanted to dress it up a bit more since I probably would not write on it as much. The top is bulliten board, so I put up some superhero banner. On this one, I used posters that talk about root words, prefixes, and suffixes. I also added the banner on the bottom. On the front board, there is also superhero banner, but it has reading strategy  posters instead.

The bookshelf I bought for my first classroom ended up getting broken by my students last year, so I was worried I would have to spend the money on a new one. When I got to my new room though, there were already two metal ones like this. The other is empty, and will be used for textbooks, but here is my classroom library. This year I decided to label all of the books so that I could use a check out/in system if students wanted to borrow my books to read at home.

This is, by far, one of my favorite things in my classroom. I saw THIS picture on Pinterest, and decided I wanted to try to make it. However, my mom had a better idea. We have a friend that is amazingly talented. He made a Winnie the Pooh and Piglet for my parents grandchildren nursery, so we decided to have him make a Hulk for us, instead of making him out of tissue paper. He looks better than I had imagined, and I think that my students will love it. I also purchased and added the black table by the door for students to pick up assignments and turn in homework.

Well, that's the majority of the decor in my room. There are a few smaller things that cannot be seen in these pictures, but I don't want to bombard you all with a million classroom pictures. I still have quite a bit of organizing to do, but for now I am feeling pretty good about everything.