Being Thankful Giveaway!

Hey!  I made it back for the second time today!  After my previous post, I was reminded to be thankful!  I have no milestones to share, I wanted to do a giveaway, 'just because'!

I am so thankful to everyone out there - all those who support my efforts, buy my products and interact with me!  The last couple of years have been so much fun and such a steep learning curve!
 All the while, my 'online' friends are a constant comfort and provide so much entertainment!!  I feel like you are part of my family and am so thankful that you have stuck by me in my prolonged hiatus!

Many of you know I recently started a design store - time will tell whether this was a good move or not, but I do feel I am gaining some traction.  Regarding my teaching resources store, although I have created nothing new for a long time, I do have resources in the pipeline!  I hope, that when the dust settles and I have gained some control over my crazy life, that I will be bringing you new, exciting and useful material soon! 
A couple of sweet friends have donated to help with the third prize - you can 'meet' them below!

A $50 TpT Gift Certificate!  Grab some resources from your favorite authors now or wait until the next big TpT sale and get even more for your money!

A $25 Gift Certificate to my store.  Spend it on teaching resources, or graphics or both - mix it up to suit your needs!

Holiday Teaching Resources.  Click on the pics to check out the resources in more detail.

'The First Christmas' from me!

'Christmas for 2nd and 3rd Grades' from Kathy and Susan 
at The Fun Factory.

'Let's Learn about Hanukkah' from Lesley 
at Practice Makes Perfect.

Thanks so much to these sweet ladies for helping me out!
Have fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Real life happenings!

Phew!  What can I say, but to offer up my apologies for being missing so long!  This is the longest break I have taken from my blog since I started writing it!
Please allow me one 'negative nelly' moment, by way of explanation, then it's out there and I can move on.
You all know that I use this blog often as a creative outlet for my feelings, it has never been a straight up education blog, mainly because a lot of what I might say about my daily teaching cannot resonate with other teachers out there across the pond,  as our curriculum, and all that entails, is just too different for me to write about anything that may be of use to you.  This is why my blog has morphed into a bit of everything and this is why I want to mention a bit about where my head had been at these last few months.
I am writing this down not because I want to be negative, but in the hope it will be cathartic and it might also be read by other teachers out there, who may be feeling the same right now.
So......I knew this year would be hard.  I was tackling a new grade, a new classroom with very little to go on from the previous teacher.  I wasn't worried about this and was ready for the challenge.  I was lucky to be looping up and knew my kids inside out already.  Somewhere, something changed.  Today, I feel burnt out, exhausted and tearful most days.  I am overwhelmed with work and the more hours I put in, the less I seem to really achieve.  My work day stretches from 7.30am to 6pm.  When I arrive home, I walk my gorgeous dog, who is always so excited and happy to see me, make dinner for hubs arriving home at 6.45/7pm, clear up and head to my office to grade or plan.  I have always enjoyed being busy, but somewhere in this, we have lost our work/life balance.  I have come to resent spending that much time of every day on work related things.  My hubs, my frail mother, social media and TpT have been sidelined.  Forget housework!  If I can keep on top of the laundry, then I have to be satisfied, but I certainly won't be inviting anyone into my home in a hurry!
If I could close my door and be with my kids, then teaching would be the best job in the world, but everyone out there knows that it is so much more.  Without going into detail, I am experiencing a lot of interference and extra demands that I really can't cope with any more.  I am very good at putting on a front and being the happy, funny person at work, but inside I am feeling totally different.  I have reached a point where I can no longer hide how I feel, so some hard decisions need to be made if I am to regain some enjoyment of my daily life.  This all sounds so dramatic, as I am writing it down - lol - but I have had a period of reflection and know I need to make changes for myself, the people I love, for my health and for a sensible work/life balance.  I live in fear that a flare up of my illness will be triggered by daily stress and I don't want to continue to function at less than 75% and be the absent employee.  I am lucky to have a husband who keeps me sane, shows me perspective and continually teaches me to prioritise.  Teaching is such an exciting job - it works when you are young and fit.  I am approaching my 52nd birthday and unless I make some major changes, I fear I will continue to lose my way.  I know many teachers who feel the same way......I just haven't found a solution yet, that works for me.  I would be interested to know if any readers have ever been in the same situation and what they did to make change happen, other than resigning.
At the end of October, we had a mid-term break and hubs and I flew off to Malta - this is the first 'proper' holiday we had taken in a number of years because of our oldest dog.  For those who don't know where Malta is:  it is a little sub-tropical island, south of Italy and north of Africa.

Just as we were about to depart, we got a call that my Mum had fallen and broken her hip.  She was shipped off to a second hospital to have a hip replacement, then to a third for rehabilitation.  Her earliest release date will be Christmas.  My Mum has had heart failure since having a heart attack in 2005.  During the operation, something went wrong and her heart and breathing have suffered as a result.  Whilst we were away, we had time to take stock.  My hubs will be 60 in a few months - his working day is 5.45am to 6.45 pm - this includes a long commute.  Basically we are done!!  We need something to change to regain a balance in our lives.  I will be talking to my Principal on Monday to see if we can find a solution.  Without breaking any confidences, a lot of 'stuff' has been going on that should not really be part of the teaching day.  Please pray for us all through these tough times.  I am fully aware that I have a lot to be thankful for, I am just struggling to remember it right now.  I know this will change and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their continual and unconditional support.
As an aside, I have always kept my blog relatively anonymous, as I have been connecting with virtual teachers and never really wanted it to be read by teachers I actually know!  Certainly I have never shared my blog with friends - it was always intended as a creative outlet outside of my real life.  However, in recent months, I have been 'outed', so to speak, so I thought it was about time I gave you a face to the name!!
This is me and my darling hubs!  Please excuse the silly smile - I have no idea why I was doing that!  You can tell we still have some way to go with perfecting selfies - haha - spot the eye direction fail!!
Watch out for a second post today!  I will be having a giveaway just to say thanks!  I know I have a lot to be thankful for.
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