Outnumbered 4 to 1: State Testing, Pets, and Nerdy Treasures.

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If you follow me on any social media you might have seen some new  AirBrush_20180421155307.jpgadditions to our family.  Yup. There are four of them there and they all all little beebees. Here is an actual hubbster snapchat of the moment we just realized we brought 4 rats home instead of 1.

There is Frankie and Dean (1 & 4… his little head is poking out from under his brother… I promise) who are both dark gray and white. The hubbster wanted to name them after the rat pack (lulz) but the names that have stuck for me are Frankie and Dean the Bean. The two white ones were my naming choice, so they are Jon Snow and Samwell Turly.

I’ll bet you’re asking… Delaney, don’t you already have two rats? (yes.) Isn’t that kind of crazy to bring four more home? (maybe.) Are you turning into a crazy rat lady? (definitely.) So here’s the story…

I’ve been telling Jake for weeks that we need to bring at least one more rat home to live with our boys. Rats are social animals and bond with their humans and cage mates. Rats have been known to get depressed and pass away soon after their bonded friend does, so I wanted to have more rats in the cage in case something happened to one of our adults. The hubbster kept putting it off, so I decided to be a turdhead and go get one without him. I brought home little Jon Jon home. Well, the hubbster reacted well and said he wanted to go get another one so there were two in the second cage while we went through the introductions process. We got to Petco and there were three left in the cage. I don’t know if Petco is actually supposed to sell their companion animals as food for reptiles, but the guy helping us asked if we wanted a cute rat or a tasty one. So we ended up taking all three home. No one was becoming a snack that day!

All of this is to say that the past week has been a little hectic. The state reading test for 6th grade was Thursday so I spent most of the week frantically trying to prep kiddos for that. Then when I came home I had to do grad school work and make time to handle the new babies every night so they would trust us. Also, I had to figure out the whole cage situation. And also taking care of the dogs and gecko. There are officially 9 animals and two humans in our household. We are outnumbered. Oh and we have to keep the house clean on top of all of that.  Oi vay!

I believe in subscription boxes. It’s like Christmas once a month. You get amazing surprises and what you get is typically worth way more than what you pay for. I got my mom started on Ipsy 6 months back and now we call each other once a month to talk about what we got in our bags. However, I have a new favorite subscription: the Bookish Box.

I got my April Bookish Box on Wednesday evening, which was like the bookish box, the US Postal Service and the Universe teamed up to give me a “Good-luck-on-state-testing-tomorrow” gift. And everything in it was F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C. Check it out…

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Sorry about the huge picture of me front and center, but this shirt had me squealing. If you can’t read it, it says “The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” This is a Game of Thrones quote and we all know how I feel about GOT. This is a Ned Stark quote and I am here for it. “But wait there’s more!” she said in her besBilMayes voice.

The bookish box has the option to add a shirt, but the real stars of the show are the little random goodies you get every month.

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April’s box theme was
Storybook Beasts so it was all fantasy literature and I was all about it.

The first little goodie is this freaking gorgeous watercolor book mark designed by Carmen Sedlaczek. I feel like it belongs in my book Monster Legends in America. I’m in such a habit of using whatever scrap I can find as a bookmark that I forgot that good books deserve pretty bookmarks.
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Look at Totoro! Even if you’re not a fan of Miyazaki films, you can appreciate how stinking cute this Totoro pencil case is. I can’t decide if I want to keep make up or my bullet journal pens in his cute little tummy.

 

 

Six of Crows ring, Nevernight Mister Kindly pen, and a Unicorn Bubble Bath truffle that I have a hot date with tonight because it smells like HEAVEN!

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I saved my favorite for last. This little sticker has a quote that has been sort of a mantra for me both as a teacher teaching children a love of literature and a person fighting her own dragons.

It actually sparked a little research on my end, because I knew this as similar quote by another author Gaiman did say this in Coralne, but it has been paraphrased and misattributed for a hot minute now.  The original quote was “Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” It’s interesting because I thought it was a C.S. Lewis quote reading, “Fairy tales do not tell children dragons are real. Children know dragons are real. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be defeated.” People have strong opinion about this issue on GoodReads.com Whoever said it and in what context, I think it is a terrific sentiment and I’m going to find the perfect place to stick it.

Has anyone out there in internet land got a bookish box before? Did you love it? Do you think you’ll get a bookish box now? Do you get some other amazing subscription box that we all HAVE to know about? Let me know in the comments.

XO,

Delaney

 

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Spring Time Round Up

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Hello friend. It is a currently a balmy forty-two degrees Fahrenheit where I am sitting in good ol’ Oklahoma. I am not exactly sure what happened because yesterday afternoon I took a nap with the rattos in the hammock on our back porch. It was sunny and warm yesterday, but this morning I had to grab a thick winter coat, again, out of the back of the closet to go have coffee with friends.  We are apparently going to have a fourth winter this time.

Because it has been nice on and off for a while now, I have been able to do some spring time things. Here’s my round up of things I cannot get enough of right now as spring is trying to decide if it actually wants to stay for good.

Note: I am not sponsored by anyone or anything. I just think this is really good stuff.

  1. Calli Creative Duotip MarkersI am so stoked that I found these. Last week, coming back through Tulsa on the way home from OKC, my best friend and I stopped at Michaels because we just wanted to be surrounded by craft supplies for just a few minutes. The day had beeManuscript pen setn extremely draining as we were advocating for education at the capitol. There was some kind of spring craft week sale going on and each day was a different special. Papercrafts were 50% off and they were including pens in that sale!These pens come in a pack of ten and are double ended. One side has a square felt tip for calligraphy and the other side has a teeny, tiny tip like Le Pen, which I adore. I am working on a new hand lettering project with them right now and I adore them. Bonus: Michaels has a 20% coupon right now on anything online right now.
  2. Thug Kitchen 101If you have never used a thug kitchen cookbook, you need to fix that today. This miiiiiight not be the cookbook you want to use when teaching your kiddos how to use the kitchen, but there certainly is a unique style to the writing. I had no idea until I actually read through one, but all the recipes are vegan (read: no meat or dairy and conducive to a healthy lifestyle). Their goal is to make real food that is good for you and to teach people to stop rThug kitchen 101elying on take out and the drive through.  The recipes do not sacrifice flavor for health. I’ve made the sweet potato al pastor recipe and the pollenta puttanesca recipes this week and they are to die for! I’ve got my eye on that beer chili mac recipe. Bonus, you can eat and feel good about the food as fuel and not something that makes you feel worse after eating it.

Psst… here’s a link to find it on amazon. I’ll make a small profit if you decide to get it and buy it from here -> Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck

3. Aldi’s

Okay this is a weird one. This is not a thing per say, but I feel like you should know about this is if you don’t already. Aldi’s is a German grocery store brand that has locations here in the US. Their prices are low because of their buying processes. They keep lots of inexpensive store brand items in stock all of the time, but they get some specials every week for really good prices that they pass on to their customers. They have great prices for produce and get low prices on miscellaneous home items. I found a desk there last week for $40. SCORE! The only drawback is they are usually in bigger communities. I have one in my hometown, there is one in Fort Smith, Arkansas where I grew up, and I know there are some in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If making a trip to an Aldi’s is a feasible thing for you to do a time or two a month, I would definitely recommend it. The prices and the quality are worth it. If you can’t go regularly then at least try to go around Christmas. Authentic German chocolate and marzipan are tradition in my family. German chocolate IS the perfect coworker gift.

4. Sprouting seeds in plastic baggies

I am firmly committed to not using disposable plastic whenever possible. I take a reusable water bottle to everywhere and use silicone bags in my kitchen. However, when I saw this idea, I decided it was worth buying a small package of zipper bags.

Consider the dilemma of planting seeds in your garden, you actually have no idea how many of those seeds are going to come to fruition. You might have one spot with 5 seedlings that need to be thinned and one spot with none.

I really wish I could remember where I found this idea on the internet so I could credit that beautiful genius, but the idea is just that you put a wet paper towel in a baggie and then put your seeds on top. You have to make sure you seal a little air in them and it creates a tiny greenhouse just for your seeds! I actually used cheesecloth in mine because I don’t keep paper towels in the house and I had leftover cheesecloth from a craft project. I didn’t actually take pictures of this one because while each bag of seeds has one or two that have begun to sprout in the last 96 hours, it is not too impressive looking just yet… but the fact that I will be able to transplant the successful little ones is pretty dang sweet.

5. Magid Tote Bag

Magid Tote

This was a little just because gift from my mom and dad. Secretly I think that as a teacher they don’t believe I can buy myself non necessities… don’t tell them I said that. In all honesty though, this is one of my favorite bags of all time. It is big enough to carry everything I need without being ridiculously huge. It is neutral without being boring. The best part, in my hippie little opinion, is it is straw and faux leather. No animals were harmed here. Style can have a heart. (Pssst… It’s from TJ Maxx so it’s affordable. HECK YEAH!) 

6. Love Beauty and Planet Shampoo

This shampoo was a happy little find at Walmart a while back. I am definitely a raccoon person and the pretty bottle caught my eye. Then I looked at the name… could it be? An Love beauty planetaffordable cruelty free shampoo at Walmart? Recycled plastic? Goal of an decreased carbon footprint? It sounded too good to be true. I tried the murumuru butter and rose shampoo for color treated hair (because I dye my hair weird colors like grape and maroon) and it is very hydrating and smells amazing. Rose is such a terrific springtime scent.

I actually used it last weekend before I dyed my hair. You have to wash your hair and then get it dry before you put the dye on. I washed it that morning and let it air dry while I ran some weekend errands and it was still soft without having used conditioner. Normally not using conditioner or styling products leaves me with scarecrow straw head. I am still working on the industrial sized bottle of conditioner I got in the fall, but I will definitely be trying out their conditioner when I run out.

Bonus tip: I have bad issues with scalp flakes due to dry, sensitive skin. It doesn’t matter what product I use. I have combated that by adding lavender oil to my shampoo bottle and using a silicone bristled shampoo brush. Hello flake free scalp!

and last but not least…

7. Pacifica Crystal Foam Sparkling Clean Face Wash 

I loooooooooove Pacifica. They are a vegan and cruelty free cosmetics and beauty company, so I’m all for it. I actually learned today that they will send you a prepaid shipping label to send empty bottles to them for recycling! This is a business model I can get behind. I could do an entire post about my favorite Pacifica products.

Sparkling crystal face washThey have recently released a new *crystals* line that harnesses the power of crystals and aromatherapy.  While, I’m still pretty on the fence of the benefits of crystals (using them as meditative objects to help focus and practice mindfulness, I’ll buy… not sure on the rest of it…) I am a big believer of aromatherapy. Scents are powerful to us as humans. I cannot smell Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine without being instantly transported back to middle school and its innocence and happiness. The combination of lemongrass and watermelon smells so happy. It is a great pick-me-up when you’re trying to wake up in the morning or trying to make yourself wash your makeup off when you just want to go to bed. It is definitely giving me some summer vibes… I just hope the weather around here gets those vibes soon too.

So what do you think? Have you tried any of these products? What did you think? Is there some other spring thing that all of us in internet land need to know about? Put it in the comments. I want to hear your ideas on how to make this spring the best one eva!

xo,

Delaney

Reasons Why Macarons Are Actually the Worst (Updated)

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This post was originally published sometime around 11:00 PM central time on Tuesday night. I really wanted to write something. Due to some combination of being up past my bedtime and technology, only half of the post actually ended up on the internet. This is the revised version.


 

Hello humans of the internet! I would like to give you a real, legitimate reason as to why I have not written a blog post in a hot damn minute, but in actuality, it’s just because I am an imperfect person and though I always say I want to write more, I let stuff get in the way.

So life update. If you didn’t know, I am a middle school teacher in the State of Oklahoma.

“Wait, 49th in education and teacher pay Oklahoma?”

Yes, friend, that Oklahoma. And if you haven’t turned on the television or computer in a while, things are a bit… insane right now in the state. It has been insane because my district was the one to spearhead it. The last week in March, legislation did pass that made an a raise of about $6,000 a year average passed, there was insufficient funding providing still to fund public education in the state as well as a huge gap in where that money was going to actually come from because upon passing the package of bills, the lodging tax was repealed.

It has been a lot. And I bet you have opinions. I have opinions. I have held signs in my home town, I have held signs outside of the capital, and I have emailed, emailed, emailed. So, I respect your opinion, but let’s please not open the dialogue about it here.

This post has a different purpose. Things have been reeeeeaaaaaalllly heavy for me lately for that reason and personal ones, so I need to write something fluffy and funny. Is that okay? Good.

The topic: macarons.

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Look at those little things. They are so dang pretty. Seriously, that is a pretty cookie.

But they actually kind of suck.

Yeah, you heard me right.

While I was taking a rest at the capitol the other day, I was trying to distract myself from the the intense anxiety of having thousands of people around me. I thought about these little cookies. I started making a list in my head, as I often do.

Macarons, not to be confused with macaroons, which are different, (I had to look this up because I am uncultured swine), are French cookies that consist of whipped egg whites, almond flour, and snobbery. I’d bet the Kardashians serve these at all their parties and special occasions. I don’t keep up with the Kardashians, so I can only assume. They are very instagrammable. No offense to the Kardashians, I can appreciate a good lady boss when I see one. The point I’m trying to make here is that macarons are not the every man’s cookie.

I now present to you, 5 reasons why macarons are actually the worst.

  1. Macarons are usually hella expensive
    There might be a place to get reasonably priced macarons. I don’t know where that would be; I’m only going off personal experience here. In my own personal experience, macarons are not cheap. The last time I saw them was in a candy store and they were charging $4.00 a piece. That is $4.00. For. Each. Cookie. That is more than 30 minutes of work if you are at minimum wage for one stinking cookie. I can get 40 Oreos for that at any grocery store. After all, isn’t that what macarons are? Glorified sandwich cookies?
  2. Macarons are extremely difficult to make.
    You, an intellectual, might think you will just cheat the system and still get that trendy, bougie look of having macaroons without having to trade your first born over to get them. Put down the spatula and step away from the almond flour; it will only end in disaster. Macarons are notoriously difficult to make. You have to make a meringue, ever so gently fold in the almond flour (I’ll get to that in a minute), let them sit until they develop a nasty little skin on top, gross, and then hope, pray, and perform a sacrifice while they are actually in the oven. You have to either make a buttercream or use jelly (more on that later) for a filling. This is not a quick recipe. This is not a recipe for a novice. I feel like I am a semi-decent cook and I could not make them. That one really talented kid on Food Network’s Kids’ Baking Championship could not make them right the first time. Macarons are kitchen disasters waiting to happen.
  3. Almond “Flour”
    In these modern times where it is fashionable to be gluten free or refuse to eat carbs, you can find almond flour in most grocery stores. Not too long ago when people didn’t know what a gluten allergy was unless they actually had one it was not so easy to find. Also, almond flour is weird. Almonds are delicious. Someone took some perfectly good almonds and ground them up. And they don’t really resemble flour. Ground almonds aren’t flour. Let’s call it what it really is: almond meal. Almond meal is very expensive. There is a reason that your almond butter is more expensive than your peanut butter. Almonds are not a cheap nut.
  4. You filled that cookie with what?
    I appreciate a good sandwich cookie. I love Oreos and ice cream sandwiches made with chocolate chip cookies. Macarons are basically sandwich cookies. When you make a macaron, it has to have a filling. One option is buttercream. Another, apparently, acceptable option is jelly. There are some pretty good cookies that are filled with jelly. But these are little cookie sandwiches. Have you ever ate a hamburger that all the fillings perfectly stayed in when you bit into it? Is jelly sticky? Do you see where I am going with this? You are almost completely guaranteed to have jelly, that does not set like buttercream, getting on your hands and maybe even your clothes. Also, remember that you are likely to be eating these refined cookies in a refined setting. Enjoy sticky fingers at that high class party.
  5. Weird flavors galore.
    Chocolate and strawberry are flavors. Vanilla and pistachio are flavors. Coffee and peanut butter are flavors. Rose and lavender are scents. Some forward thinking chef down the line got confused and tried the latter as flavors. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a rose or lavender flavored anything. I tried a lavender flavored iced latte one time out of curiosity. I don’t really know how to explain it. It is sort of like trying to describe a color or the taste of water. Drinking that lavender latte was like drinking coffee while sticking my nose into a bunch of lavender. It was like smelling lavender while tasting coffee. I know the two senses are intertwined, but it was weird. Basically, do not confuse colors and scents. Also, do not get me started on savory flavors like basil and rosemary in desserts. Take that crap somewhere else. I don’t care what refined pallet-ed judges on Food Network say. When I bite into a dessert, it is supposed to be sweet.

 

What do you think? Do you agree that macarons are really overrated? Did I miss something important on the list? Am I being too judgmental of a simple cookie? They can’t help it because they’re from French cooking which is notoriously difficult anyway? What should I rant about or listicle next? Let me know in the comments.

xo,

Delaney

 

A Rant About the Oklahoma Teacher Dilemma

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Basically, it is this. If you are a teacher fresh out of college you could elect to work in Bartlesville, OK or Fort Smith, AR, two comparable school districts in size. If you took a job at Fort Smith, your first year you would be seeing $7,000 more a year. If you wanted a bigger city, you could look at Tulsa, Ok and Fort Worth, TX. To work in Texas, you would be making $20,000 more a year. I was offered the Bartlesville position at the same time as a position in Green Forest, Arkansas, comparable to Pocola´s size. It was a $10,000 a year difference. We ultimately stayed in Oklahoma to be closer to our families (I find it super unreasonable that I had to weigh the cost of watching my nieces and nephews grow up against $10,000).
None of this is me trying to argue with anyone. That being said, many of my incredible teachers growing up taught for 30, 40 + years, and I feel like they deserved more than what a brand new teacher was making in Texas. I´m going to finish my master´s degree this winter and I will only be looking at a $1000 a year raise. I find that beyond bonkers and unfair. It pisses me off that the high school graduate managing the Quick Trip down the road from my house is making more than I am, a college graduate who puts in 45+ hours a week.

All of this information can be found by googling the name of the school district you are curious about and the phrase ¨salary schedule.¨

Why You are Probably Scared of Planned Parenthood

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You are freaked out because the media has taught us to associate Planned Parenthood with the words “abortion clinic.” The reality is of all of the Planned Parenthood services in a year, only 3% are abortions. An estimated 579,000 unplanned (read:unwanted and very likely to be terminated) pregnancies are prevented a year from Planned Parenthood alone. They annually perform 270,000 Pap tests, 360,000 breast exams, and 4.2 million tests and treatments for STIs, including more than 650,000 HIV tests. They also conduct outreach to young adults and teenagers, reaching an estimated 1.5 billion annually, who might not have a responsible, knowledgeable person helping them make sound choices concerning reproductive health. They also provide counseling in those situations when a young women or man is having a reproductive health crisis, something you are not likely to receive from a health department clinic.

Health department clinics are often the only health services that some citizens can afford. 75% of patients who visit health department clinics have no access to other primary care. This means that these clinics have to have services ranging across the entire spectrum for what a low income patient may need. This is everything from dental to mental health.

Planned Parenthood specializes in reproductive health, which we in Protestant America don’t like to think about. Sex is “dirty” and not something to be talked about by us decent folk. The statistics are alarming. 1 in 4 teens will contract an STD (read more shocking news here: http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/statistics/). We need to stop lying to ourselves. Teens and young adults have sex. They aren’t waiting. No matter how much we stand in front of classrooms and tell them “True love waits,” they aren’t always going to. We need these services. If you tell your children to not have sex they’re not going to come to you to ask questions and they’re not going to come to you for condoms.

If all Planned Parenthood centers were to close their doors (and they just might, thanks, Donny) Community Health centers would not be able to take on the vacuum of need left by them. CHCs operate on modest budgets and in fact they are only located in places where there are few other health providers, by federal law.

Concerning that 3% you’re so afraid of: An approximate 50% of abortions in the world are performed in unsafe environments. When abortion is illegal (like it’s about to be here in America) the statics of unsafe abortion rise quickly. Unsafe abortions cause the death of not just a baby, but a mom as well. Banning abortion doesn’t make abortion go away. People don’t stop trying to terminate pregnancies because they cannot legally do so. Just like drugs, murder, and other nefarious acts, making it illegal doesn’t prevent it. Banning abortion makes it more dangerous.

Tl; DR Planned Parenthood centers are not abortion mills, no matter what your pastor told you. They save more lives than they will ever take. Contraception and reproductive health services prevent abortion.

Fact check me here:
http://healthaffairs.org/…/planned-parenthood…/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/…/planned-parenthood…

http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/…/impact-of-illegal…/