18 February 2011

My Blog has Moved!

I will no longer be posting on this blog page.  If you are interested in following my adventures as a working mother please visit my new blog at:  cultivatingthewonder.blogspot.com 

Thank you!

12 December 2010


With Love Chartreuse Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

28 April 2009

We've Moved!

This post is rather late because I've been crazy busy with the move, work, and school. Our escrow closed on March 19th and we have moved into our new house! We LOVE it. Right now it only feels like our home at night when we go to bed, the rest of the time it feels like we are staying at a resort.

I don't think I will be posting much, if at all, between now and the end of the school year. I've really got to focus on finishing my master's classes and doing research for my paper. Also, on June 16th I'm scheduled to have jaw surgery (yikes!), so I think that I will get back to posting while I am in recovery and can't talk!
This week is State Testing (STAR and CAT6) at our school. Many people think kids don't care about these tests and/or they don't understand the implications of such "high stakes" standardized tests. Below is a note that my Assistant Principal found on the ground during lunch yesterday. It turns out that Amanda is one of my students... we have our 2nd period classes for 5 hours on each day of testing so they get a little sick of the same teacher... She has no idea I've seen her note... but this is a perfect example of how we often underestimate our students!

I will be back in June!

08 March 2009

From Bad, to Worse, to Great!

Okay, so I wouldn’t normally write such a long post about my bad morning, but I thought some of you might find it funny and there are some lessons to be learned. It begins with Thursday night... on my way to my edu leadership class my passenger side window fell down, I didn’t think of it as such a big deal because I knew it was broken and all that had to be done was to open the door panel, push the window back up, and reset the 2x4 holding it up (this is another long story). So, I figured I’d just go to a service station and get help doing this. Ah, but no one would help me without paying them $100 first. So, I just went to class with it broken and had my husband fix it when I got home. When he fixed it the door lock wouldn’t go back in place, so now my passenger side door will not open from the outside. Ugh.

Friday morning…I decided to get to work early so I could use the time to get some of my grades done. While on the 57 freeway I hear a “thunk” sound and about 30 seconds later it came back “thunk, thunk, thunk” – one of my rear tires had blown out. So, I slowly move from the fast lane into the slow lane so I can get off of the fwy, but as I start doing so my car starts shaking violently. So, I ended up pulling over on the side of the fwy at the Lambert exit.

The next series of events: I call my husband and learn that he never got around to adding me to his AAA after telling me to cancel my own. I learn that I do not have my wallet with me. I start to cry.

A CHP officer pulls up behind me and walks over to my passenger side window and asks me to roll it down which, of course, I can’t. So he yells at me to unlock the door, which I try to do but, of course, he can’t open it. So I lean over to open it from the inside, and it still won’t open. At this point I am very frustrated and still crying.

Eventually I get out of the car on the driver side (the officer controlled traffic so I could do so). He is obviously very mad at me and tells me that I should have driven to a service station; I try to explain to him about the violent shaking and he just says to me, “haven’t you watched all the car chases on TV – You can drive on blown tire.” At this point he is laughing at me.

He has me follow him off of the fwy on to Lambert road – I think he is taking me to a service station, but no – he takes me to the parking lot of Kaiser Permanente. Once there, I turn off my car and get out and he says to me, “I suggest you call your husband or someone to get this fixed.” And then he LEAVES!!!! No offer of help, nothing!

I can’t call a towing company because I have no wallet to pay them; I have an idea of how to put the spare tire on, but I didn’t think I was capable of doing it myself.

Long story short – My friend Claudia ended up calling her fiancĂ© for me (he works in the OC), and he was able to come by where I was parked on his way to work and put my spare tire on for me. I actually made it to work before my first class. However, I am still shocked at the lack of help that was offered by strangers – including the CHP officer. I am so thankful for friends like Claudia and Gill. Gill even showed me how to change the tire myself incase it happens again.

The day ended up better than I could have imagined. We had our "Staffulty" awards dinner Friday night and I ended up getting an award from my students that made me cry -- it was wonderful! -- I would have missed this if I had given up on the day and gone home like I wanted to; I'm so glad I went to work and stuck it out!

14 February 2009

House Hunting: Step Two

We started house hunting almost three weeks ago, even though we really don't need to buy until the summer. We figured that we'd get a head start to see what is out there, check out the market, and get a feel for what kind of house we wanted to buy. Well, all of our questions were answered quickly, and we fell in love with a house last week (see earlier post).

So, Tuesday night at 8:30pm we ended up making an offer. We waited all day Wednesday and Thursday and heard nothing. I was a stress case. Our offer expired at 8:30pm on Friday. So, Friday at work, just after lunch I checked my email, and there it was -- the counter offer!

We were expecting a counter offer, in fact we had previously decided that we would be willing to pay up to $10k over their asking price if it got into a counter offer situation. So we were *pleasantly* shocked when this happened:

  • Asking price was $399,000
  • We offered $389,000
  • They countered with -- accepting our offer with them taking the fountain on the front porch with them when they move.

Sure, take the fountain; you can have it! So, we accepted their offer on Friday night, and now we have the long weekend to soak it all in. Tuesday we should get the phone call to sign the papers to get escrow started.

Crazy! It has all happened so fast. We are still keeping our fingers crossed - who knows what can happen between now and Tuesday. I'll post more pics once everything is solid.


09 February 2009

We Made an Offer!

So, we spent some time looking at more houses this weekend, and once again we faced great disappointment. Finding a house we both love, an area we both love, with a price we both love is going to be a challenge!

We thought we found it today... and maybe we have, but there is a big questionmark hanging over it. First, let me introduce you to Earl...

Earl is a lovely 2,800 sq ft home that has an amazing kitchen, a full bedroom and bathroom downstairs, 3 bedrooms upstairs, and a bonus room. She has a beautifully landscaped backyard with a spa and palm trees. She is priced reasonably and is ready for us to make an offer; but...
We think she is a smoker! Yes, when we walked into the garage (attached to the house through a laundry room) we smelled smoke. We didn't smell it upstairs or in the kitchen, but the house has been recently painted... so we need to do more research. We need to see it again and put our noses to the floor and sniff. We will bring our parents to see her next time, we will fully inspect her, and then we will either make an offer or say good-bye and move on to the next one.
UPDATE 2/11 -- We visited her again on Monday, but this time my mom & dad, and my husbands mom & grandpa came with us. We didn't tell them about the smoke, and they didn't notice! After we told them and we talked to the owner about it we learned that the owner does smoke on the back patio and in the garage. She showed us her ashtrays. Then we went out to dinner with our parents to discuss everything.
We came to the conclusion that the smoking isn't as big of a deal as we thought it was since it was all done outside of the house. So...
We made an offer! That was at 8:30 pm last night (Tuesday), and we have not heard anything yet. Ugh. Very stressfull; I've had a migraine all day! Updates will follow...
~ Calioc

31 January 2009

The Home Shopping Experience

So, today was our first time out looking at houses. I have learned that house shopping is a very emotional thing. I have also learned that I am very picky and a bit of a snob.

What we learned from our experience today:
  • We don't like the houses we can afford in Orange County
  • We really like one specific area of Corona called "Sierra del Oro"
  • Bank owned homes are in major need of being fixed-up; when people lose their homes they become wild animals and do horrible things to the property. Smashed windows, torn up carpet, holes in walls, etc...
  • If you love the house, the backyard is too small, or it is in a bad area
  • If you love the location and the yard, the house looks like it came straight out of 1983
  • It looks like we may have to buy a "fixer-upper"; we just need to decide how much fixing up we are willing to do.

We found one home we loved, but the entire backyard was taken up by a pool -- a long narrow pool that if you weren't careful you would walk right into. Not a good place for a family.

We found another one we loved (actually it is just about my perfect house), but it is in a community where the houses are almost touching, there is no parking on the street, and trying to get out of the gated community in the morning would be a nightmare (we might go look at it again).

So... now our agent knows what we like and we will spend every moment we get looking for the perfect house. We are not in a hurry, the market is on our side, and we are pre-approved so we will be patient until we find "the one".


27 January 2009

Weddingbee Addiction... is there a cure?

Hello, my name is Calioc, and I am addicted to Weddingbee. My wedding was over 5 months ago, but my last Weddingbee post was just 15 minutes ago. I've searched high and low for a cure or a 12-step program -- all to no avail.
So finally, I gave in to my craving and turned in an application to be a Weddingbee Hive Hostess. So, now I no longer need to feel gulity posting on Weddingbee because I have a real reason to be there! Yes, I know I really don't have time for an unpaid job, but if it is something I would be doing anyways... I mean I am so busy that I need a break, something I enjoy and yet still makes me feel useful.
So I am now officially a Weddingbee Hive Hostess under the name Caliocteach!
So, what does a Hive Hostess do?

These are the main things you'd do as a Hive Hostess:
- Welcome new members to the hive
- Comment on threads that have no or few comments
- Bump up threads that have no/few comments
- Start threads on days when it's quiet

Thank you to everyone who made this dream come true...and to those who understand that my addiction is perfectly normal and healthy!

25 January 2009

Short 'n Sassy

When I was a kid I let my hair grow long but I always pulled it up into a ponytail; afterall, I was a tomboy. Pictured Left: Me in kindergarten. Right: 4th grade soccer picture.

By the time I got to 6th grade I was sick of people only complementing me when my hair was up. I never really did anything with my hair when it was down, so I decided (with youthful wisdom) to cut my hair short - very short. I don't have a scanned photo, but I pretty much looked like a 12 year boy from 6th grade until I graduated from high school!
I kept my hair like this all through middle school, high school, and most of college. Every once-in-awhile I would grow my hair out, but I always ended up going short again.

The picture above is of me (February 2006) just a few months before meeting my husband.
When I met my husband in 2006 my hair was short, but as soon as a wedding was in our future I decided to grow my hair out again. I always pictured myself getting married with long curly hair. So, I grew my hair out longer than it has ever been. The funny thing is I ended up wearing it up for the wedding anyway!

Pictured Left: Me with my curls at the rehearsal
Pictured Right: My wedding day up-do

So, now we have have been married for just over 5 months (and I haven't had my hair cut since before the wedding); the other night my husband tells me that he likes my hair better short. Wow! I've been told all my life that men prefer long hair. My mom, my friends, and even my mother-in-law have all told me that men like long hair. So, I asked around and it seems to me that a man wants his wife to keep her hair the way it was when he first met her; they want it the way it was when they fell in love! So, short, long, straight, wavy, red, brown, whatever - your man does have a preference that is specific to you!
Before the chop (1/24/09):

After the chop (1/24/09):

So, I did it - "the post wedding chop". My husband loves it and I love it! It is short, fun, sassy, and a little funky. I can wear it simple and sleek for work, or wild and sassy for a night out. Now I just have to decide if I want to color it or add highlights!


20 January 2009

Chocolate Cake Challenge

Jenna aka That Wife, posted a January food challege for chocolate cake and I just had to do it. Some of you may be thinking that making chocolate cake isn't that big of a deal, but the challenge wasn't to make your best Duncan Hines, it was for good old fashioned home made chocolate cake. My life now is much different than how I was raised, and when I saw Jenna's post it brought me back to my childhood. Actually, I think that just about every time I read her blog I am brought back in time. I was raised in a very close knit LDS family; a family that sat down to a home cooked meal for dinner every night, where mom didn't work and packed our lunches each morning before school, and one where the sweets were always home baked and never store bought. And though I am no longer LDS, I do still hold on strongly to those family values. Now that I am married and we are talking about starting a family, the need to bring back those family values is even stronger. My first step towards this -- making my favorite chocolate cake from when I was a kid. Just so you know, I have never made a cake from scratch before and I have never made frosting either, so this was truly a challenge. I never knew the name of it, I just knew it was always wonderfully moist. So, I called my mom and asked her if she still had the recipe, which she didn't but she said she would find it for me. Then, a few hours later there it was, a link in my mailbox for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake! Yes, you read it right --Mayonnaise Cake! I called my mom to make sure it was the right recipe, or if maybe I was reading it wrong, but it was right. She simply asked me, "how do you make mayonnaise?", my answer, "ummm, I think it has eggs and oil in it", and then my mom said, "aren't there eggs and oil in cake?" So that was it, yes the best chocolate cake I've ever had is made with Mayonnaise. Since I've linked the recipe I won't go into details, so here are a few pictures to enjoy.
The two layers of the cake put together with frosting before the icing (I used an 8" pan instead of a 9", which gave it a little more height).
I grated a Hershey's bar over the top to finish it off and, since I don't have a cake plate, I covered cardboard with tinfoil.

No matter how much my husband and I love chocolate cake, I wasn't about to have an entire cake sitting in my house tempting us all weekend. So, I brought it to grandpa's 84th birthday party at BJ's. I love grandpa, he is actually my husband's grandpa, but since I never had one (my mom's dad died when she was 18, and my dad's dad died when my dad was 14) I have adopted him as my own!
Everyone loved the cake, but to be honest, I didn't tell them it was made with mayonnaise until after they ate it. My husband's family are all very picky eaters and had I told them before they ate it that it had mayonnaise in it the only one that would have taken a bite was Grandpa. So, after they all raved about it, I dropped the mayonnaise bomb - which led to a 20 minute discusion on what is in mayonnaise and why does it taste sour when the cake doesn't taste sour... anyway, they loved it and that's all that matters.
~ Calioc