Friday, February 28, 2014

Working Towards My Happiest Life

I recently read
by Hugh Hewitt
The book was enjoyable and an easy read.  The idea of seven gifts and givers had really easy application to everyday life.  I got a little lost in all of the name dropping of famous people and focused my attention mostly on the big ideas of the book.  There were lots of personal stories that I skimmed and sections that were more specific to the concept of the book.  Everyone wants to be happy so I think people will appreciate reading about seven types of gifts and givers.  It was interesting to read ways that you can impact others and make others happy. As I read the book, I was thinking about how I could share more happiness with the people I interact with and to be genuine on a daily basis.  Everyone could implement the main points of the book to improve their own level of happiness.

Seven Gifts:
Encouragement, Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy, 
Good Humor, Graciousness & Gratitude

Seven Givers:
Spouse, Parent, Family Members, Friends, Coworker, Teachers & Church

Some of my favorite quotes from the book were:
You have an unlimited supply of encouragement to give.  Page 3

The most enjoyable people are inevitably gracious folks. Page 50

Spouses need to be their other half's biggest encouragers, support their enthusiasms, jump up with great energy when they rush off to their fray of the day, truly be concerned - empathetic - when they are down or even crushed, laugh at their jokes, thank them for their love often and graciously put up with their innumerable foibles.  Page 75

Nothing else compares with quantity when it comes to time spent with children.  Every minute you are in the house; every minute at their games, plays, concerts; every minute you are at a teacher's conference or sitting next to them laboring over any project is a minute invested.  Page 83

*I was gifted this book for my honest review.

PS I have a little bloggy announcement to share with you...
I've decided that I loved my Sunday blogging break so much that I'm implementing a weekend blogging break.  I enjoy blogging along with a million other things.  So, I'm taking the weekends OFF!!  I'm hoping to spend more time reading books, playing with Olive, DIYing, cooking, relaxing and being a good wife.

Highlights of My Week

The best parts of my week were...

1. We've been eating salads everyday
and we've eaten this one all week long!!

2.We had our date night at one of our favorite mexican restaurants.  Dinner dates with a baby are always unpredictable.  Sometimes we have a dream baby, and other times a fussy baby dominates the dinner.  This particular date night we had a DREAM baby with us.  Olive has really done great for the past several months when we are out and about.  She played with her toys, smiled at everyone, babbled and entertained herself with STRAWS.  She's obsessed.  They make her happy, she chews on them and we are thrilled. 

 3. The weather was SO nice in Arkansas this week!!  We got out and about as much as we could.  We took several walks, went on a double date downtown and Olive seemed to enjoy all of it.  Everyone who passed us laughed because it looked like her dad was a crazy stroller driver and she was hanging on for dear life!

 4. I somehow managed to avoid getting the stomach flu when it hit our house this week.  Kevin was the first victim and then Olive.  It was so sad but thankfully they both recovered quickly!  The cats were extra snuggly and enjoyed us hanging out on the couch all week.  I also got to spend plenty of time reading.

 5. I love hanging out in Olive's nursery.  She has lots of toys, she loves to be rocked and we read in there.  She woke up from her nap this week and surprised me with this little trick!  Who taught her how to stand up in her crib?!?!  My baby turns 9 months old this weekend.

Hope you have a great weekend!!!
Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Favorite Anti-Aging Routine

Now that I'm in my 30s, I've started thinking about my skin routine a little more.  I've never done a whole lot for my skin.  I mean I moisturize, wash my face in the shower, splash water on it in the morning and occasionally use the Proactiv system.  However, I don't do anything to prevent wrinkles, promote skin health or try to keep my face looking youthful.

Do you have a skincare line that you love?
What do you do to help slow the aging process down?
I've always heard great things about Martha's skin care routine 
 but haven't tried any of those products and they seem kind of pricey.

Please share your favorites 
because I need to get on board with some routine before the wrinkle train takes over!! :)

Olive Garden Salad at Home

I'm trying to incorporate more salads into my weekly menu and to eat more veggies.  Olive Garden is a favorite dinner spot at our house and my husband suggested we try to replicate their yummy house salad (and by WE he meant ME :)  We LOVED the way this salad turned out and have eaten it three times this week!!  It's SO easy to put together.
 Ingredients for 4 servings:
4-6 romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 head of lettuce
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 red onion
1 roma tomato
handful of black olives
handful of mild pepperoncini peppers
handful of matchstick carrots
Italian dressing

Wash and chop lettuce
start chopping all of the ingredients
You can refrigerate your salad at this point for a few hours.
Don't put dressing & cheese on until right before you are ready to eat it.
Pour Italian dressing over the top and toss again.
Be careful not to drench the salad with dressing.

Top with fresh Parmesan & serve.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'd LOVE to Jar

I love when parents teach their kids to have great manners.  I always appreciated students with great manners and enjoyed helping my students learn how to be polite.  I thought this "I'd LOVE to" Jar would be a great way to teach manners at home.  Put a pom pom in the jar each time you catch your kids saying, "I'd LOVE to...".  I think I'd probably give out pom poms for unprompted manners or acts of kindness too.

Some Days I Miss Teaching

Most days I love my current job as a Stay at Home Mom.  
I love being home with Olive and I love being there to witness her milestones.  I love teaching her new things and I love that she is thriving.  I love being her mom and I love being with her 24/7.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to be home with her and definitely know it was the right thing for our family right now.
if I'm being 100% honest,
some days I miss teaching...
I miss my students.
I've been a part of about 300 kids lives in my 10 years of teaching and I loved spending my days with "my kids".  I miss their funny jokes, their silly stories, their hugs and having a captive little audience to spend my days with.  I miss the sweet things they'd say - you look pretty today, that was the best day ever or thank you for always being nice to me.  I miss being a positive influence in their lives.

I miss planning lessons.
I loved pinning ideas, looking for new units on-line and collaborating with colleagues.  I did a lot of work at home mostly because I enjoyed it so much and it never really seemed like WORK.

I miss my teacher friends.
I was lucky enough to LOVE LOVE LOVE the people I worked with and some days I miss adult conversations.  I miss friends like family and I miss planning all of our parties throughout the year.  I miss sending flowers to friends, baking treats and making a mad dash to get some Mexican for lunch on Fridays.

I miss the organizing, planning and mapping of the school year.
I always designed my own teacher planner - color coded, typed out and personalized just for me.  I loved celebrating each child and working hard to get to know every one of my students.  I loved writing POSITIVE notes to parents and spent a great deal of time handing out compliments to my students.  Parents loved this, students beamed and I was happy to spread the love.

I miss writing newsletters, being creative and running a classroom.
I was known for being very organized and parents loved it.  I miss teaching my little people how to be organized and how to be responsible.  I loved doing fun things for every holiday, planning art projects and decorating my classroom with student art.

I miss helping kids.
I love teaching all subjects, helping students to learn new concepts and giving parents ideas of things to do with their children at home.  I miss helping kids make friends, zipping jackets, drying tears and teaching cursive.  I miss reading my favorite books out loud and having kids beg me to read just one more chapter.

I miss playing an important role on committees, teams and helping run a school.
It's no secret that I like to be in charge.  I like to run things, to plan things and to organize them.  I like being trusted to take care of things and I like doing hard things.

I think it's a great thing that I miss my job.  
I love teaching so much and have always known that my career was perfect for me.  I am excited to return to the classroom one day, but for now I'm going to fondly remember my time in the classroom and 
ENJOY the heck out of my current, important job.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Recipe for ONE Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate chip cookies always sound good to me.  I try not to make a habit of baking a whole batch for myself so this recipe for ONE chocolate chip cookie sounded like the perfect plan.
 I found the recipe on number-2-pencil

1 T butter
1 T sugar
1 T brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg yolk
1/4 c flour
2 T chocolate chips

Melt butter in microwave.  Add sugars, vanilla & salt. Stir in egg yolk and flour.  Add chocolate chips in last.  Microwave for 45-60 seconds.  Be sure to not overcook it because it will continue to cook as it's cooling.  Eat warm and serve with ice cream :)  The cookie is soft and cake like.

 Enjoy your cookie for ONE!!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Keeping Up with Whitney

Welcome new readers to Polka-Dotty Place!!  It's good to have you :)
I have several social media accounts & I'd love for you to follow along:

Polka-Dotty Place

Google Friend Connect
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Whitney Jordan @ PolkaDottyPlace

Whitney Jordan

Leave me a comment with your info and I look forward to getting to know you too! 

I'm the Kind of Girl Who...

I'm linking up with Hey, Hollywood for

I'm the kind of girl who...

stays up too late e.v.e.r.y. night.

loves watching football.

is guilty of always over packing and high fives my hubby if my luggage is under 50lbs.

straightens her curly hair the majority of the time.

wishes her fingernails would grow.

likes cats more than dogs.

refuses to drink anything carbonated.

eats far too many Wheat Thins.

thinks people should write more thank you notes.

would like to eat only dessert.

has lived in Indiana, Utah & Arkansas.

takes a ridiculous amount of pictures.

would love to go on another cruise with my family.

appreciates anything handwritten.

cleans when she's nervous/anxious/excited.

always has a to do list a mile long.

decorates for every holiday.

always knew she wanted to be a teacher.

has been married for almost 10 years.

got a sewing machine for Christmas that is still in the box.

is currently scheduling several fun travel plans for this Spring.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Good Books

I've read a few good books lately that I thought I'd share:
This is a darling story about the importance of treating other people well.  Unexpected guests move into the neighborhood and people aren't sure what to do with them.  They end up making friends, enjoying their company and the neighborhood is better off because of them.  It's a wonderful story for teaching your children about being kind to others who may not be like them.
*I was gifted this book in exchange for my honest review of it.

My husband bought this book for me because he thought I'd love to read a story with the main character named Olive.  I enjoyed the main characters Olive + Henry and reading about their lives.  There were many story lines from the characters in town and there are few secrets kept in a small town.  Pick up this book if you like to read about love stories, tiny town secrets and learn how Olive changes throughout her life.  She seems rather unlikeable at times but she has her moments.

These are from my Aunt Carol for Olive:
Looking for a great story to teach girls that they can be independent and not have to rely on others to be successful??  This is your book plus a little history lesson along the way.

A sweet story about the happiness that children can bring you.

Happy Reading!!

Breaking the Bank on DIAPERS

Babies are expensive.  Well, I guess baby SUPPLIES are expensive.  Clothes, bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, food and all that baby gear.  Some things are worth splurging and other things can be purchased on sale or with coupons.  I wanted to share my favorite kind of diaper with you in hopes that I can help you save some serious money!!  I've tried all four of these and want you to know a little about each.
All prices are from Target.

136 diapers for $38 - $0.28 per diaper
I love the fit and feel of these & 
they have a yellow strip that turns blue when wet so you can easily check the diaper.
They are great diapers for daytime, tend to leak at night and are pricey.

112 diapers for $25 - $0.22 per diaper
 okay absorbancy but were a little leaky and pricey

 180 diapers for $29 - $0.16 per diaper
Stretchy and soft but did not have a very tight seal around the waist 
& kept falling off and sagging on my baby
Affordable but not great for my wiggly baby

$33 for 186 - $0.17 per diaper
Super absorbent, by far the best overnight diapers that don't leak, 
tight seal around legs and waist
most affordable
coupons frequently offered on-line and through Ibotta
and they also go on sale regularly

I'd highly recommend you buying a small package of any diaper you are interested in trying out.  That way you aren't stuck with hundreds of diapers you don't like and you can try out several kinds without investing tons of money.  Plus it's good to try out a brand of diapers for several days to thoroughly evaluate it.  Each baby is different and you've got to figure out what works best for your needs.  LUVS just happens to do it for my family and I've converted my siblings into using them too!  I should probably get a commission for Luvs :)  I wish...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Kicking off the Campaign!!

Today is a big day for my Dad.  He's retiring from his current position of Chief Deputy and kicking off his next campaign.  I know he feels sentimental about retiring.  I'm confident that he'll have the next few months to focus hard on his campaign and that he'll be elected as the new sheriff in November.

He's got quite the resume for the last 38 years... 
Indiana State Police
Warrick County Sheriff
Warrick County Chief Deputy
Running for Spencer County Sheriff

We threw him a surprise party last weekend to celebrate his career 
and to kick off his campaign :)

 We distracted him all day long (Panera, Marshalls, Sams, lunch & babysitting) and tried to be sneakier than ever.  He was clueless and didn't pick up on any of our slip ups :)  I even tricked him into dressing up saying I wanted to take some cute grandparent pictures.  Worked like a charm.
We all went to church and then scattered our separate ways.  He made plans with some couple friends, we invited family and friends to a local restaurant and then SURPRISE!!

 My mom gathered pictures and snuck things out of his office for the party.
My sister made a tower of delicious cupcakes - I'm dreaming of her yellow + chocolate ones.
 Kevin's parents were there too!

If you live in Spencer County, be sure you are registered to vote for this guy!!!
Heilman for Spencer County, IN Sheriff!!!
74 days until the primary election
259 days until the general election