Summer Sun

30 May 2011

What a relaxing weekend it has been! I'm in love....with laying around, exploring outdoors, drinking coffee, and laying on docks. 

I love visiting the lake house because it's free (hey, I'm a poor college graduate student) and it's beautiful.  I love, love, love water whether it's a river, beach, or lake and I couldn't feel happier than when I'm out on it or laying beside it. 

Today really needs to be filled with homework though because I have a FULL day of classes tomorrow. From 8:30am to 9:00pm it will be hectic (throw in a test while you're at it)! That's ok, the weekend was definitely worth it. Hopefully today we can still get out and go geocaching.... Noah works tomorrow at 4am so I'm not sure how late he should really stay up. 

I hope you've enjoyed Memorial Day weekend and I do want to say a big thank you to all who have served in our military for stepping up and protecting our country and freedoms. 

iTouch and Lake

28 May 2011

Yesterday I caved and bought myself a new iPod Touch. So far I love it. 

You probably know that iphones and ipod touches use 'apps' and I've been doing research on apps with an educational purpose for my Technology in Education grad class. Now my first page on the iTouch is devoted to science apps. There are dinosaurs, interactive galaxies, periodic tables (already used this once with a purpose!), and SciSpy where kids are the scientists and take picture then try to identify the object scientifically. Those are just four of about twelve. 

Yes, I love science.

All the pictures on the blog today are from an app called "Instagram" which I've seen other bloggers use from their apple devices. All of these were taken at the future in-laws home in Virginia. They have some beautiful property. 

Speaking of beautiful property, later today we're going to their family Lake House to do a big clean up day. The entire family has joint ownership on this house and we all use it during the summer months so we're all doing our share to pitch in and make it shine. I'm looking forward to canoeing in the afternoon after all the work!

So, before I go for the day, I'd like to ask if you have an iPod Touch or an iPhone. ....AND.... if you do, are there any apps you think would be useful in a classroom (it doesn't have to be science classroom specific, any type of classroom works!).

Thank you.

ps - sorry my posting is so terrible lately. Monday-Thursday it's practically impossible then Friday we're usually traveling any more. Bear with me! In another three weeks it'll all be over!

Sermons We See

24 May 2011


I'd rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.

The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;

And the best of all the preachers
are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lecture you deliver
may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
by observing what you do;

For I might misunderstand you
and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
how you act and how you live. 

-Edgar Guest

My professor read this to our class today and I'm not sure how few poems in my life I have heard that resonated with me the way this one did. I feel this way about every action in life. I think living what you say is so much more important than the fact that you said it. I try every day to live a life that I'm proud of and one day, when I'm a teacher, I'd like to teach my students the same thing. 


22 May 2011

It's been a very good weekend! Noah and I went to our hometown on Friday evening and enjoyed a home-cooked meal with lots of family. We sat by a fire pit for a good while after and just talked. 

On Saturday morning I was able to see my aunt and uncle (I love them) and we were able to relax in their country home up in the mountains. 

Then we met Noah's parents in town and they bought me the above planters and soil. I've been wanting to garden for a while but living in an apartment made that seemingly impossible. However, Noah asked the landlord if we could put planters on the ground and he approved! Noah bought me plants today as his birthday gift to me. I love it!

We also had a little party last night. We were able to see several friends, enjoy dinner, and read from some hilarious internet sites. I will say that I am sad sometimes having a summer birthday because many of my friends are gone from this college town during this time. One day I'll settle down somewhere and get year-round friends which will be fantastic. 

One of our friends made us a two layer funfetti cake! How sweet is that? 

Today my sister and I (along with our amazing men) went to see Bridesmaids and eat dinner out. We ate at the Boston Beanery and then Noah and I picked out the plants.

I've been spoiled with lots of great food this weekend. Noah even made pancakes. I love food and I love my friends. I'm so grateful I could see them this weekend. 

Now it's time to get back to homework.....on my birthday. 

That's ok because it's been a fantastic weekend. 

Hope yours has been amazing as well!  (and you can expect a post about this DIY pom pom soon too - so easy and cute!). 

Hello Again

18 May 2011

Just one more day and I'll be catching up on your posts! 

I can't believe how busy these summer grad courses are keeping me. Wow! I may literally have an hour of free time a day. Well, I guess it's two hours because I choose to get up an hour earlier than necessary in the morning just to have some time before all the crazy.


Haha! It's alright, it's just busy.

I love my Technology in Education course and my professor for Behavior Management. We actually applauded for him at the end of a FOUR hour course from 5-9pm. Does that tell you something? 

Still, lots of Starbucks as was predicted. Not bad and my man has a job for the summer! 

One more thing, it's my birthday this weekend. Hello 22nd! (Turning 22 on the 22nd)

Hope you're all doing well and I can't wait to catch up with you all. 

Grad School: The Reality

16 May 2011

Classes have started and, it's official, I'm a grad student. It doesn't feel very different: I'm at the same school, I see a lot of the same classmates, and I even have one professor that I had in undergraduate. So, what changed? 

Well, as my good friend put it, the homework is on steroids.

No lies, I would like to think grad school is like this: 


But it's turning out to be this:


To be fair, it's grad school and it's supposed to be harder, but I wasn't sure. I mean grad school = hard. Yet, in my experience, my education courses = easy. I was kind of hoping it'd continue.

The concepts aren't hard but the reading most certainly is. 

I have 13 articles to read already between now and 8:00am on Wednesday morning and write ups to do on them as well. That wouldn't be bad except I have class tomorrow from 8:00-11:00 and then again from 5:00-9:00pm. At least my 1-3:30 class is online on Tuesdays and Thursdays. WOW. It's almost 8pm already and I am about halfway done one article (when I got home I got food and then took a nap until 6:30....). I think it's safe to say that there won't be any more naps and Starbucks will be my best friend.

Yes, I'm procrastinating by doing this post. As a heads up, I may be absent during the next four weeks intermittently but I'll catch up on all your posts on Thursday-Sunday nights promise. Hopefully I'll be able to periodically check in during the week too.

Who knows, maybe I'll one day find the reading enjoyable and be able to be this peaceful while I read. 


A gal can hope right?

Geocaching: The Story

14 May 2011

After my post yesterday, someone asked me what geocaching is. Let me tell you! 

Geocaching is a sport, or game, that involves using a GPS device to find coordinates. 

People from all around the world find listed coordinates at and head out to find those locations called 'geocaches'. A geocache is often a hidden tubberware container, film canister, ammo box, or really anything that could fit a log inside of it. A log can be a book or a couple pieces of paper stapled together which finders sign. For example, every geocacher has a sign name (mine's Zoticus) and when you find the geocache location you sign the log to prove you were there.

However, some caches are easier than others. Today we were in a park, just like yesterday. But geocaches are everywhere. I mean it, they're everywhere. Check your local Walmart parking lot and let me know if there isn't one there in one of the light poles. Sometimes it can be tricky to not let passerbys see you grab the cache and sign the log. The point is to be a little sly while you're doing it. Generally geocachers don't go blatantly looking under everything in sight but rather try to be a little stealthy about it. Parks and wooded locations are of course easier than urban locations when you're trying not to be noticed.

In the above photo, can you find the cache?

It's a film canister inside of a hollowed out log! Now, this photo is zoomed in on the cache, but remember this is in the middle of a forested area in a city park. People don't just stumble across these locations so using a gps to find them is a lot of fun.

Here's another geocache location.  Pretty sure I trekked through poison ivy today to get this cache. I won't quit when I know I'm close though!

I bet you can guess where it is.

Yep, that's a key holder that is attached to a magnet which was screwed into the tree just under that mushroom. How cool is that?

Here Noah is holding the geocache out form the holder and you can see the log that geocachers are supposed to sign.

I like the geocaches in parks because there are always several (there are at least seven in this particular park). Type in your zip code on this site to see ones near you! I bet you'll be surprised how many there are!

Sometimes geocaches are easy (once you do it a couple of times you'll be dead tired of Light Pole Caches, aka LPCs in caching language). Yes, there are geocaches in your local parking lot.  Yet sometimes geocaches are really challenging: magnets on electric boxes that are disguised to look like register numbers, teeny fish bait holders, and even ones that are UNDERGROUND (see the bottom of this post for details on that amazing cache).

Above is an example of a geocache log. You can see it was folded many times in order to fit inside of a relatively small geocache. 

It's a great way to get outside and also provides opportunities to explore new places. Occasionally you'll meet fellow geocachers at the same location who just happened to look for the cache at the same time as you. 

I loved scavenger hunts as a kid and this is like the ultimate, worldwide, friendly scavenger hunt

If you get a chance, please type in your zip code on just to check out how many caches there are in your area. Even if you never go geocaching it's really cool at least to see how big this game truly is!

PS - If you have a smartphone you can geocache using your phone!


13 May 2011

My friendship bracelet for Leigh's swap is ready. :) You can still join! 

Today I went geocaching with some friends in a park nearby and we had a great time.

In the morning I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I'm ready for The Girl Who Played with Fire.  My books are bought for summer semester and I'm almost ready to begin school again. 

Still, I very much appreciate time with friends getting out and about as well as time chilling around the apartment. 

We finished out our day by eating at Pizza Hut and it was so good! It's been a while since we had their pizza and I kind of forgot how good that thick crust is. 

Hope you've had a lovely Friday (especially now that Blogger is back up)!

Enjoy the weekend.

Travel, Blogs, and Summer - Oh My!

11 May 2011

Yesterday Noah and I took a trip to Charlottesville, VA for the day. We checked out the University of Virginia's campus, ate bagels from Bodo's Bagels (by suggestion of my Little), and walked the downtown Mall. 

Want to hear something sad though? My camera didn't work! It said my memory card had an error (which was REALLY frustrating because I took two random pictures before leaving the house just to make sure it worked because I've had this memory card error before. I was sad. I did bring Noah's flipcam with me though. So I got some video clips that you can see in the video below.

Also, Noah and I have been trying new recipes and such. He's also been making breakfast every morning lately.  Today he made french toast and strawberries with syrup. He's absolutely amazing making breakfast for the whole apartment. I realized that my tweet about him being a master at breakfast should have been clarified by saying vegetarian breakfast. We don't do the meats so if that's your deal we're probably not the right cooks for you! But hey, chocolate chip pancakes and strawberry french toast? What gal could say no to that treatment?  I've been posting some of the food/recipe posts here instead. It's a less personal blog but a quick place for me to find thoughts on books, food, etc.  Plus I may accidentally post from that account on some of your blogs so this way you'll know it's me.

This week has been amazing so far and every day has felt like Saturday. Of course, I've now received two emails from future professors saying I'll have reading and assignments due on the first day of class. Bummer! I knew it wouldn't last but it's been great while it did. I guess this means I should go buy those books.

I'll also have to finish up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on my Kindle so I don't get distracted from my class reading!

Summer has been great and here's why:
  • My fiance has been making delicious breakfast
  • We were able to take a short trip and explore a new city
  • I found a cute, new bathing suit (hello gym baby)
  • My roommates and I have started watching Firefly episodes
  • We've been cooking lots of healthy food 
  • I have a new book to read (see above paragraph)
  • I'm officially a grad student
  • There has been enough to keep me busy but still time to relax
Hope you're enjoying your days!

Walk in the Park

09 May 2011

Noah and I took a walk in the park yesterday evening and I'm hoping it will become a regular thing. Last summer when I was here alone I would go for walks in the park periodically. It's so relaxing!

Though these pictures don't show it, last night the park was quite crowded! There were at least seven 'games' of soccer happening, the baseball diamond was in use, and I suspect there were two birthday parties there as well. 

I still have seven days left until my summer courses begin and I hope to relax and enjoy them! The whole apartment is hoping to be disciplined about going to the gym, I'd like to go to some downtown areas in neighboring cities, and we're cooking food (like chocolate chip pancakes) on a regular basis. 

At the very least, summer is off to a great start. 

Noah is staying here for the summer to (which we weren't sure about for a while) and I'm so glad he is! Of course, I would have been happy for him to go to a music camp in Michigan, but this is our first summer together where we didn't live at least 25 minutes apart. I'm really happy.

All that's left to do is buy books for my classes, take regular walks, get in exercise, and find ways to keep in contact with friends. 



07 May 2011

It's official, I'm a graduate student! Four years has flown by so quickly and this blog has been around for two of them. I wouldn't say I feel life-alteringly different since in one week I begin grad school, but with the official ceremonies and everything today I do feel like I'm no longer in undergraduate.

It was great to see so many family and friends today. Unfortunately half my family had to miss my graduation because they had to pick between going to mine and my twin sisters (yes, our graduations were at the same time).

Fortunately, mine finished in half as much time as hers so I was able to get over and see her graduate! These are all the pics I have of today because everyone else was taking the pictures. 

This is Tony. He's the only professor I have who I call by first name. He sparks curiosity in students and encourages students to ask questions (the more questions you ask, the less he'll ask you).  I think one thing I'd change if I could go back is that I would take more classes with him. 

Above is my head of department and a man who I consider to be my mentor. He's been leading me in research for nearly two years now. Since he's head of our department he was up on stage to shake hands with the graduates and I don't think I could stop smiling when I found out. I love all our faculty, truly, they're all amazing, but the majority of my undergraduate career has been spent with this professor.

{My sister at her graduation. I finished up mine and ran - or walked quickly in heels - over to hers.}

This was a great day and I'm so glad so many family and friends could be here to see it.

Thank you to all of my fellow bloggers who have been sending well wishes my way either on the blog or through twitter. I loved seeing your messages pop up throughout the day - you are all so sweet and have been a part of my life for the past two years. Thanks for your encouragement!

College: Complete

05 May 2011

Now all that's left is graduation! 

Posting may be sporadic for a little bit while I enjoy my one full week of summer before grad school, but I'm around! 

It's hard to believe four years are already gone. I remember my freshman year roommate and how much I loved her, marching and clapping with my friends on the Quad (while Noah was overly embarrassed for us), getting chocolate chip cookies late at night from Dogpound....

Now in 36 hours or so I'll be getting a diploma. 


I'm ready.

Reasons to Smile

03 May 2011

Reasons to Smile:
  • 2 finals to go until I'm done with my undergraduate carrer! {A breeze}
  • Girls' Margarita Night on Thursday!
  • Plan to visit a local vineyard with my fiance this week!
  • Had an amazing weekend!
  • I should be getting a wonderful item in the mail this week!
  • There are baked goodies {mint brownies} I need to try!
  • I graduate on Saturday!
What? They all have exclamation points? That's because I'm excited. This week has to be amazing. I'm determined. After all the CRAZY that was last week. :) 

And.... here are some pictures from the festival this weekend. It was so much fun!

 {Thai iced tea}

{How often do you see elephants walking down main street?} 

What are your reasons to smile today?
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