Thursday, June 26, 2014

ROAD TRIP! - Tips & Tricks. 17 Hours, 2 Adults, and 1 Five Year Old!

Destination: Davenport, Florida.

Miles: 1,105.4

Time: 17 hours, 10 minutes.

Every year around this time, Chris goes to Florida to visit his family. A few of them work for Disney so vacation is usually filled with tons of awesome Disney destination trips, pools, beaches, lots of food and family fun! I have joined Chris on his Florida vacation road trips the past two years and am so excited for our third trip together! Even more so because we are toting along little man! YAY!

In this post I will be talking about how I prepared for the trip- from what I packed to tips and tricks I used in the car to keep a 5 year old comfortable and entertained! I will also be talking about all of the places we visited and just documenting our trip! :) Hope my information can help or at the very least entertain you!

So lets get started..

What to pack?

I am going to break this section down into a couple categories.

1.Emergency Kit
2. Car Entertainment
             a. Chris & Myself  
     b. Little Man
3. Car Comfort
4. Snacks, Drinks, etc.
5. Pool & Beach Bag
6. Toiletries
7. 5 Year Old Suitcase
8. Adult Suitcases

1. Emergency Kit

Any time you are going on a trip, especially one that is like ours- very long, in drive and stay, you have to be prepared! It is especially important in this case as we will have a little person with us! Of course you can always stop to grab something you may need but that is wasteful in gas, time, and money. SO BE PREPARED! 

I just used a little OPI bag I had sitting around. Any small bag will work just fine!

This is what the inside of my Emergency Kit looks like. And if you remove the towel roll that is sitting on the top it looks like this....

Below, I have all of the items of my Emergency Kit laid out. 
The items include:

  • Kitchen Towel
  • 2 Garbage Bags
  • Hair tie
  • Tooth Pickers
  • Little Man's Sunglasses
  • Bandaids
  • Wet Ones
  • Tissues
  • Paper Towels
  • Tums
  • Children's Motrin
  • Iburpofren
  • Allergy Relief
  • Vitamins
  • Cough Drops
  • Mucinex

That should about cover any emergency items that may be needed while in the car. I have other items as well such as Aloe Vera, Kids Avengers Vitamins, etc.- but those can be located in the Beach and Toiletry Bags. Hopefully nobody will be getting sun burnt in the car! 

I have the baggies of pills labeled. (In case I ask Chris to grab something for me ;) I of course know what they are based on looks.)

You may be wondering why I have a towel with garbage bags tied up in it? Well...Sometimes, spills can be a bit too hefty for paper towels- so in the case of a larger spill, we will be prepared. I have garbage bags in case I need them for trash, dirty clothes, etc. I have them rolled up because I needed an extra hair tie anyway and it was helpful for saving space in the kit! :)

See..just some bags wrapped up in a towel! 

This little Emergency Kit fits nicely in my Books/DVD tote that I will have with me in the car!

2. Car Entertainment

Being that we will be in the car for about 17 hours, we are making sure that we have plenty to keep us entertained. I know a lot of people have trouble reading in the car. However, I don't have that problem and reading makes my time in the car FLY! So I am packing tons of reading material! 

Road trips seem to require lots of bags. So I picked this one up at Old Navy for $1.50! This is the bag I am using to hold reading material and DVD's. 
The Emergency Kit will sit right on top as well :)

This bag holds more than it looks like it would!

This is the reading material that I am bringing and I am sure Chris will add a few more books to the selection! I have a good range in case I get bored. Everything from Cos magazine, a memoir, self help books- to educational teaching books. (Can you believe I fit all these in that bag?!)

These are only a few of the DVDs we are taking. We also have The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and more! The DVD player will mostly be for Little Man, but we may take advantage of it as well while he's sleeping.

Make sure your Portable DVD Player is FULLY Charged before leaving! 


We will be taking a bag of toys, not only for in the car but also for the entire week we will be there. While we will be busy and on the go most of the time, I wanted to be sure I had toys for any down time in the morning or before bed. :) He is only 5 and any unstructured time to him is play time! Keeping him busy and having fun is always a priority.

  • I bought a couple clearance toys to bust out on the ride any time he might get sick of the car. Its just something he has never seen before that will hopefully grab his attention for even a short period of time. 
  • Leap Frog
  • BOOKS!
  • Angry Birds

My mom is AWESOME and also pulled through with tons of awesome stuff for him to play with in the car. She's been there, done that and her items are all pretty ingenious. THANKS MOM! :) Love you!

3. Car Comfort

There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable when you are in the car for hours on end. While it obviously won't be luxurious, the goal is to make the car as comfy as possible while being safe. 

We are not willing to compromise our safety and especially not little man's. So the best we can do is bring lots of blankets and pillows!

The driver is the driver and they don't get to ride on the comfy train.
However, the passenger seat is a different story!

When I travel in the front seat I like to make sure I have plenty of leg room, a nicely reclined seat, a pillow for my back, a pillow for my head and my awesome fur blanket! Aahhh.

For Little Man, we covered his seating area with his Angry Birds sheet. For some reason laying a sheet down just seems to ALWAYS make things comfier. If nothing else it surrounds him with his favorite, angriest little birds! We have a pillow for his back, a pillow for his head, and of course all of his buds- his stuffed Angry Birds. :)

We have a good stock of cold drinks and snacks to keep our tummies comfy on our trip as well.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Accepting Defeat

Have you ever wanted something so badly and have it just not work out for you?

Sometimes you may even get your hopes up and the feeling of the fall isn't the best. But you can look at it one of two ways. As always. With a positive or negative mindset.

This is a post about something I have been dealing with lately and I am surprised with how quickly it came to me and how strongly I truly feel about this.

Looking defeat in the face can be discouraging.

That is our immediate feeling. But it only lasts as long as we let it.

Always trust Gods plan

I have been applying, studying, reviewing, and gathering ideas for the past year in my search for a full time job doing what I love. I have had several bites but none have worked out for me. I have had momentary thoughts that I must be doing something wrong, even that I may not be good enough. But those thoughts didn't last. Partially because I have the greatest people around me reminding me of my worth and assuring me that it just wasn't the right job. And the other reason is because I know in my heart that's simply not true. I know that when the time comes I will be great at my job because I am passionate about it and I will be successful at all costs. 

But in my defeat I have also felt liberated. I have felt thankful. I know that there is a plan and I know that every turnout is part of the plan. In each interview I have learned something new. What I don't know enough about, what schools are focusing on, and what they are looking for in their future employees. I have got to meet a lot of people and practice my interviewing skills. Perhaps the most valuable lesson I have learned is to be myself. I am not trying to fit the vision of what somebody wants. I am showing up, answering questions honestly and to the best of my ability and waiting for the employer who wants what I have to offer. 

I want this in my room

At the end of the day I know that there is a specific place for me to teach at and there is a specific time for that to begin. While I do not know when or where, I do know that it will happen in it's own time. And until then, I will prepare myself as best as I know how.

Working Things Emmy Cicierega

Everything is happening according to plan and I am learning and growing with every obstacle along the way. 

xoxo, Bethany

Monday, June 9, 2014

My Purpose For Being Here..

Facilitate Thinking: My mentor teacher would ask guiding questions in order to help her students think. Engage Minds:She really got the students involved in lessons.  Encourage Risk: She would let them make mistakes. Support Struggle: She doesn't always run to their rescue when they need help with something. Cultivate Dreams: I watched her engage in her students' lives and encourage them in their hobbies.

"You laugh, you cry, and you work harder than you ever thought you could. Some days you're trying to change the world, and other days you're just trying to make it through the day. Your wallet is empty, your heart is full and your mind is packed with memories of kids who have changed your life. Just another day in the classroom."

When I was a little girl, I was intrigued by the art of teaching. I don't know what it was at the time that interested me but I would play "teacher" for hours in my grandma's basement. She had a little chalkboard with the Alphabet across the top of it and workbooks from the 70's that previously belonged to my aunt and my mom. That chalkboard was my throne in my pretend classroom in that cellar. 
I also turned the basement at my parents house into my classroom. In fact, I wrote all 30 names of my imaginary students, the 10 classroom rules, and our classroom schedule on the basement pen. Sorry mom and dad! :)

Whatever it was, that's what I wanted to do. Teach. 
I argue that it could be that I loved school. I always have. I love learning, I love classroom activities, I love recess, school lunches, the uncomfortable desks that I organized my stuff in just so, pencil boxes, routines, new folders, a fresh notebook, and ballpoint pens. I love it all.
But I also think it's credited a great deal to the adults in my life that instilled a love for the classroom. My parents being the first people. They made school a positive experience for me. When I succeeded in school they were proud of me. And second, the teachers I was lucky enough to have. The ones in particular that provided me with a-ha moments and a caring enriched environment. I will always remember those teachers.

Starting Early

Having realized early in life what my end goal was going to be, I started surrounding myself with any experiences that I thought would help me grow in that field.

At 14, I got a job at The Rec working with children. I did anything from teach gymnastics, youth yoga, youth softball to working parents night out, youth summer craft events, and more. I loved my job and that is where I stayed for many years.

After High School I moved onto BGSU Firelands where I got my Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education. To broaded my grade span I continued my education and received my Education Generalist Endorsement for grades 4 & 5. This program provided me with some of the most important lessons, experiences, and blessings in my life thus far.

This is where I : Student taught, spent countless hours in the education room, built relationships with colleagues, built rapport with students, bonded with classmates with the same heartfelt goals as myself, failed, succeeded, worked with professionals who bent over backwards to prepare us for the classroom, and soaked every last bit of knowledge as I could from my peers, students, university mentor, classroom mentor, and professors so that one day when it was my responsibility to teach children I would do so successfully.

My Graduating class of BGSU Firelands will always hold a special spot in my heart!

Also, after High School I was hired as the Assistant Cheerleading Coach at NHS. This job prepared me in many unexpected ways as well. To be able to teach, support, and keep control of 20+ high school girls toughened me up for a classroom of younger children. 

I student taught in a 3rd grade classroom in an Intermediate School about 30 seconds down the road from where I live.

My collaborating teachers were all so different in their teaching styles, yet all so effective. It really showed me that despite the methods you go about teaching you can be successful in many different ways. It helped me realize what my style is and what I want to be like as a teacher. My mentor was understanding, supportive, and just overall a kind-hearted woman in her last year of teaching. She is such a strong person who is tough as nails with a heart of gold. She gave me an example to strive for.


My first year out of college I was hired as the Head Preschool Teacher at Playland Daycare Ltd. The experience I had as a Preschool teacher was awesome. It taught me that chaos is okay, flexibility is key, and that sometimes you just need to stop and shake your sillies out. I had two classes. A 3 year old class and a 4 year old class. However, having a PreK in a daycare is different than a school in that you can have any kids in your classroom on any day. This helped me improve my skills as far as keeping children challenged regardless of who your focus is on at the time. My experience was rich and fun and I wouldn't change it for the world! I will never forget my kiddos from this past year!

Where do I go from here?...

 I have decided that it is my goal to teach in a public school setting. Hiring season is in full swing and things are still up in the air. But I have decided that next year I would like to be a Substitute Teacher in full force so I can get acquainted with the schools and staff in the area. 

I have been beyond blessed with every opportunity and experience that has been handed to me so far in my stride to being a classroom teacher and I am so thankful.

Positive Thinking: Believe that you can make a positive difference in the life of every child. Know that some days will be a challenge. Remember that you are not alone. Work as a team with other teachers to empower yourself. You will succeed if you believe in yourself! #teaching #quotes

xoxo, Bethany