Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rocky Top

So, today I found out that my brother has finally decided on what school to go to. Making it so that both my baby brothers will be Volunteers in the fall. Talking with him over dinner, I started thinking about college. I loved going to the University of Tennessee. I know a lot of people were judgmental, thought it was a poor choice academically for me, and so on but honestly when it came down to it, I knew as soon as I got on campus that it was meant for me. Oh and the scholarship didn't hurt either:)

My experience at UT was invaluable for many reasons. When I went off to college, coming out of high school I was not one to be involved in many things - I had tried to seek leadership positions and could never get one for some reason. Once I got to college, I finally found an environment where I could be the leader I wanted to be. I also found a great group of friends that had the same interests and humor as me. Being on Panhellenic Council, an Orientation Leader, in SAA, and more really shaped me into who I am now. I am much more comfortable with who I am than I ever was.

I also left the school with so many great relationships. In addition to my relationship with Jake continuing to blossom throughout our time there, I met many people that I can solidly say are some of the best people I know. I just got off the phone with Beth, who I was friends with starting my spring sophomore year and is probably one of the people I got the closest to at UT. I miss her terribly because we just really "get" each other. I also got close to Eric, someone that is so intelligent and has the best conversations with me. I love when we talk on the phone now. With both of them, when we are back together we don't skip a beat. In addition, I was lucky to have a friend from high school that I got to know much better through UT - Rachael. From crazy freshman year to our apartment our Master's year, she is someone I always want to have around.

Thinking about UT and my experiences, I hope for my brothers that they have just as great of a time as I did. I feel like UT is one of those places that fits the phrase "you make your experience what it is." You can goof off, choose easy classes, and party and get a sub-par education. You can also seek out the best educational opportunities, go to class and participate, and leave prepared for the real world more so than most other places. You can stay in your room and play X-box and complain about having no friends or you can get out and join organizations and meet people with similar interests.

Going through some of my favorite memories, I hope that Jacob and Ezra have just as much fun and learn just as much as I did at UT. I hate that just when I get back in Memphis, they leave for college. Some of my favorites...

- Walking around the campus at 4AM after writing a paper for Honors World History
- Going to my first football game ever and leaving halfway through due to heat, then lying on the tile floor in presidential waiting for the soft serve ice cream to open
- being selected to be an Orientation Leader, meeting at the Torchbearer that first morning at 5AM with it snowing
- going on my senior cruise with 11 other sorority sisters, something that I never would have imagined doing but loved
- traveling to University of Georgia, University of Alabama, the Georgia Dome, Vandy, and more for away games with friends
- standing at the bottom of Panhellenic looking up at every member of every sorority during Gamma Chi roll call on Bid Day
- going to my first education class and realizing I truly enjoyed debating issues of education
- laying out on the roof of Humes with Emily almost every day the spring of my freshman year
- brushing my teeth every morning next to my sorority sisters on Massey
- porch days at 1312 White Avenue
- doing the Rocky Top dance 17 times for orientation sessions
- eating at too many restaurants on the strip to name!
- discovering horseshoes at Toddy's... and discovering I should stick to watching
- random outlet mall trips... too many times!
- All Sing, Carnicus, Homecoming, and more
- hanging out in the Tyson House with SAA... most beautiful building on campus
- and... meeting Governor Bredesen while working in the Office of the President my junior and senior year: hanging out on the 8th floor of Andy Holt with the big wigs!

I'm sure there are many more.. 5 years flew by so fast! Jake and I have decided to name the kitty after something UT-ish. Once we get him, I'll post a picture and let you know what name we decide! I love life in Memphis but I do miss UT and Knoxville a lot. But I do get to go visit Jacob and Ezra now for 4 years!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Last week, I read an article about the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation's findings on the educational disrepair of the Memphis City School system. They reported that, based on their own independent statistics, Memphis City Schools has a 51% graduation rate. This was different than the in-house statistics released that said that MCS has a 66.9% graduation rate. (Graduation rate = complete high school in 4 years - depending on who does the statistics, it can include GED too).

There was all sorts of talk about what the discrepancy in statistical findings was... but to me, that all is beside the point. Out of all students in the MCS system, anywhere from 1 in 2 to 1 in 3 will not graduate on time if at all. At the high school where I teach in the MCS system, we have the highest graduation rate (89%) but some high schools were extremely low, one even in the 30's.

After reading about this, I set out to have a little life lesson with my students Thursday. I found mean salaries based on education level, as well as specific annual salaries for a few positions I knew they would be interested in. We talked about how they always complain that we are hard on them compared to other schools but that at the other schools, graduation rates were so much lower. We talked about how for most, school isn't a priority. I have learned in this past year that many of my kids will never be intrinsically motivated to learn like most people I grew up with. I instead have to find some external motivator for their learning - in this case, it was money. The difference in average salary even with just a high school degree was amazing - one source cited the annual salary of a high school dropout to be 17,000$, whereas someone with just a high school degree was making 35,000$ a year.

I really enjoyed speaking with my kids on something that I feel is so relevant to them. The reality is that while many of their family members did not graduate HS, they won't be able to have the lifestyle they would like if they do not graduate. Especially in a society where more and more people have access to college, they are lagging behind automatically if they do not get some sort of post-secondary training.

Next fall, my school is starting a class called "Advisory Period." With the block schedule, we'll be able to have more extracurriculars in their schedule and so 9th graders will be assigned to a whole hour and a half block of advisory. I think we are being supplied a curriculum and I am very excited about potential plans for this. I hope that it is carried through well and that people really invest time into it - I've seen many good ideas fail around school because people halfway did it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A new addition to the family

Today, Jake and I took the big step - we went to the Family Veterinary Practice of Bartlett and picked out my kitten. I have been wanting a cat ever since we got rid of our last ones when I was in 9th grade. Jake doesn't really like cats but he says it is because they aren't "social." He finally agreed to let me get a cat. I had been looking for an orange and white one for a long time and finally a local place that adopts animals out had a litter with 4 orange kittens. We went today and picked our guy out (he is orange and white - one of the ones in the picture above but I can't tell which since they all look a lot alike!). We paid the adoption fee (which is a bargain- it covers 1st shots, deworming, and spay/neutering for only $45) and can go get him next Monday! We thought we would be able to get him today but he wasn't ready - he is only 6 weeks old and wasn't completely eating solid food yet.

I can't wait to get him home and see how the dogs react to him! Beamer loves kittens. When he lived at Jake's family's house, their kitten would ride on Beamer's back! He would let the cat play with his tail and was perfectly fine with it. Sebastian has never been around cats so I am a bit worried about him but he just takes a bit to adjust.

As for a name, we have a few in mind but need to figure out if it is a boy or girl - it is too soon to tell yet because kittens apparently need to develop first to be able to tell. We'll see!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A trip to the movies

Saturday was a rainy day and so, after doing some errands and cleaning up around the house, Jake and I decided a date night was in order. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner - I was craving some buffalo tenders and Jake wanted wings. The collection of people at this particular location was a bit comical. It ranged from the extremely overweight set of African American women to the trailer trash that just emerged from the park for a big night out. I had the medium sauce on half of my boneless wings and the spicy garlic on the other half - very good if I do say so myself.

After dinner, we went over to the Paridiso for a movie. Now, this place is new and nice... but I don't really like going because it is usually over-run by middle school children. Last night wasn't that way, but instead it seemed to be going the way of most Memphis places that are any nice. That is where I'm going to leave that. But the real crime was the price of the movies! We went up to the ticket kiosk to pay and noticed they had a "weekend" price. Jake said "this can't be good" and I knew to brace myself.

10$ per ticket! 10$. That meant we spent 20$ total for a movie - albeit a good movie but still! We could have bought it on DVD and had a little money left over for that price. Honestly I don't know why movie theaters charge that much. I would say that they are going to stop it when everyone stops going to movies but reading the latest on movie releases, it seems people are still going just as much. I feel like an old person but I can remember back when movies were 5$! Charging 6.50$ for a ticket seemed like an outrage. And here we are now...

The movie itself really was hilarious. I love Paul Rudd and that type of comedy he has done lately (Knocked Up in particular). Jake and I were laughing through the whole thing. Was it $20 worth of laughing? I'm not sure...

Thursday, April 16, 2009


More of my quest to have good food at a good price, with little time involved...

1) This hummus dip (we had the traditional not the sun dried tomato) with Stacy's Pita Chips makes an excellent snack and we got it for 2$ at Big Lots. I am picky about hummus (can't be too pasty or runny) and this was a winner. Tastes like the hummus at many Greek restaurants.

2) This frozen pasta by Bertolli is my favorite of the frozen dinners - Chicken alla Vodka & Farfalle. It takes 10 minutes to make and has asparagus in it as well as some small chopped tomatoes. It costs 7$ in the grocery in feeds 2 heartily and 4 as a side.

3) A chicken recipe I made up - simple, easy, but delicious
Take chicken breasts and thaw if necessary

Combine Panko bread crumbs with salt, pepper, fresh grated parmesean cheese, and italian seasonings

mix egg and milk & dip chicken in mixture

cover egged chicken in panko mixture

saute' chopped onions (worm sized slices so they are still long but thin) in olive oil

with onions sauteing, cook chicken in the pan

I served with a three cheese pasta I made (parm cheese, goat cheese, and marscapone all mixed together and melted over a cavatappi pasta with some red wine vinegar and salt/pepper) and I really liked the way the breading tasted and also the taste of the onions.

Teaching Dogs

So, I guess I know that I am truly becoming a teacher, embodying the teacher spirit. I woke up in the middle of the night last night when Sebastian climbed out of the covers to hop off the bed. Still halfway asleep, I looked at him and said "Sebastian, if you climb out of the bed, you have to go to your kennel." Just like I would say to a kid - "If you keep getting out of your seat, you have to go to the office." Like he understands anything about logical consequences and making smart decisions. Wait - they don't either most times.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Last night, I went to spinning for the first time since last November. I'm writing this down so that maybe I will be motivated to follow through and keep going instead of stopping like last time. It was a great workout and today I am extremely sore. I really really despise working out because to me it is very monotonous. However, I really like spinning because we play music while we spin and I get to hear things I haven't heard before. Also, the music pushes me to go faster when it gets faster. It is also very nice to see Elise and go with her.

Tonight, I'm going to Zumba for the first time with Rachael. Of course, this is after I work from 6:45-3 and then go to a meeting from 3:45-5:45... What a day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Extended School Day = worst idea ever

Way back in January, the 28th to be precise, Memphis had about 6 snowflakes hit. Well more like 4 inches worth. It melted by 10AM. We were all on the edge of our seats (couches, beds) seeing if we'd have school. I actually got dressed, slid out of the driveway, and drove down to school before my mom called and told me they cancelled school at 6:55AM (note - school starts at 7:15). There were literally kids that had already been dropped off just waiting for school to start - no cell phone to call home either since they are restricted at school.

We got a day off, it was great. I don't think I did a single thing. It was wonderful. Until now. See, Memphis doesn't have built in snow days since it never snows here. So anything that we miss, we have to make up. Awesome. We figured it would get tacked on to the end of school - no kids would show up since it was the day after Memorial Day so we'd just have a day of grading and it would all be fine. Apparently Supt. Cash had the same idea because on Thursday of last week we got a great Easter present - they announced that April 14-April 24 we'd be going an extra 45 minutes each day to make up the lost time.

Obviously people were annoyed, pissed, whatever. I'm over that. I'm not happy about it but don't sit and complain to me! However, what did bother me was that some incredibly smart person decided to pull the fire alarm at 7:35 this morning. We all filed outside into the 45 degree weather (this is April isn't it?) and stood in the misty rain as we pretended to care where our kids were. See, every time someone pulls a fire alarm at our school (which is often), the administrators instantly find it on the camera, that person gets caught, and they have to pay the fine that the school was given by the fire station. You'd have to be an idiot to pull it. Yet people do.

The best was the fact that all the teachers were like "dude - you should have pulled it at 2:15. What were you thinking?"


Along with Twitter, I also recently jumped on the Pandora bandwagon. I have three stations so far - one based on Coldplay that includes anything soft and some sort of oldies rock as well - I get anything from Keane to Simon and Garfunkel on it. This is my morning and afternoon one. It calms me down. I also have a Taylor Swift based one of sort of sugary pop country stuff for the kids and also a Rhianna based one for that same purpose (and ok - for me too. I love Rhianna).

I play it as the kids enter the room and tell them while they work I have to be able to hear the music so it keeps them quiet. AND the best incentive is I let them change it to the Rhianna one from the Coldplay one if they are good. They think the Coldplay one is pure torture except the few cool white hippie kids.

One song came up this morning on Pandora that really stuck out to me: This Year's Love by David Gray. I've heard it before and really like it.


Ok I am so new to this blog thing. I created the blog last night and loved the color scheme - navy and grass green with a lilly pulitzer background in the header. Then I go on my school computer this morning and the greens are all ugly! Why would the colors look different on my mac than my PC at school? Which is the right color? I hope it doesn't look ugly on everyone's computer!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do you Twitter?

So - I joined twitter last week. I'm always down for the newest technology trends and in this case, I'd been planning to do it for a while. I've found people either love twitter or just really don't care for it at all. My name on twitter is kathrynbeatrix so definitely add me if you're on!

I like it not necessarily for my friends' status updates - I can get those on the good ole' FB. BUT I love twitter because I'm a news and gossip junkie and I can follow all sorts of news sites on twitter. Right now, I'm following Ellen Degeneres, Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Seacrest, Martha Stewart, People magazine, Commercial Appeal, Good Morning America, CNN.com, TIME, E!online, google, UT Alum News, Perez Hilton, and more.

I also LOVE twitter because I can follow Muddy's Bake Shop and see what they have cooking. I crave a cupcake every time I see their twitter status. It is a very smart business move. My new favorite is the chocolate strawberry one - I used to go for the grasshopper (mint chocolate).

I do wonder two things about twitter, though:

1) Do you think those celebs really post or do they hire someone to?

2) Who are these random people that follow me? Am I interesting to them?

Beth's wedding

I'm having my first experience as a bridesmaid this summer - in my friend Beth's wedding! It is August 15, 2009 and I can't wait. I bought my dress on Friday with my mom. Hers is in cornflower blue. The dress is so flattering - I got to pick my style because she's doing the awesome mix and match deal with her bridesmaids where we can pick the style as long as it is the certain color and fabric. So nice. I can't wait for the wedding, Brad and Beth!

My newest project

My newest project involves this potting bench pictured above - I ordered it offline last week. Since January, I've been searching for a potting bench for our deck. I don't exactly "pot," but I did want it for serving food once the grilling and chilling season begins eminently. I finally found one after it was featured in Real Simple and ordered it promptly. It should come in April 17th. I can't wait to get it in the mail.

I'm planning on hanging some small pots with herbs along the lattice. I think I'll get cilantro for sure, but if you guys have suggestions for other herbs to get, holla atcha girl. I also plan on placing some potted plants on it as well. I like seeing things grow and knowing that I can do it.

Mostly though, the bench will be used for our deck parties. Jake loves to grill so it is a good place to set the grill plate. Also, I bought this bucket (but in orange and white) for ice and beverages. I can't wait to get it in!
We've also been working on the deck itself. We have two cute chairs that we got as a wedding present from Elise's family. We added two plants out there. We're planning on getting lattice to put along the fence by our deck to add privacy and we've been looking for a patio dining set to put down by the deck stairs. We love being outside and can't wait to use the deck!


Tonight, Jake and I cooked one of the soup mixes I bought at the Agricenter's Spring Market. It was a Cheesy Chicken Enchilada mix from All of Us in Louisiana. It was great - Rachael and I went and got 3 mixes each (if you bought 5, the 6th was free so we combined our order) for 40$. Each mix makes 1 gallon of soup. For this one, we had to put in shredded chicken (1 & 1/2 lbs), can of diced tomatoes, and evaporated milk. It took 30 minutes tops to cook (from start to finish) and tasted amazing. We're both a little sick due to allergies so it was great for our throats. I also bought their River Road Chili and River Road Gumbo mix. I can't wait to make the gumbo one! I was thinking about making it with shrimp and chicken for when we have people over next time. I've been wanting to have a deck party to celebrate the railing on our deck going in (when it finally does).

My future

First - I love my job. Most days. I am so lucky to be at my school and to have a job. The administration is so helpful when I have any problems and they are very encouraging about professional growth and development. I have some amazing co-workers and we have a blast. Most of my kids are really cool kids who want to be there and want to succeed. I have the occasional headaches of kids and I let those get to me too much. I guess I should appreciate the successes and not dwell on the faults.

With that being said, I miss being a student so much. I'm not saying that because I miss football, lazy days on the porch on White Avenue, having all my best friends around all the time, random runs to Brewster's, and working up in the president's office. I do miss those things, but I also appreciate them for what they were - an amazing experience. What I miss about being a student now is the learning. I miss being in the classroom as a student, not a teacher, so much. I absolutely loved engaging in a meaningful discussion about education. My favorite class was called "Issues and Challenges in Education." The woman that taught it was from Memphis and was in charge of the Urban School track for our education department. Her name was Susan Newsom. I would have stayed there talking to her about all the different challenges of education for hours after class if she would have let me. I just enjoyed it so much.

I have my Master's of Science in Teacher Education. Most people who have a Master's as a teacher have a Master's of Education so I think of myself as pretty special for having a better degree. With a 4.0 at that! (Not to boast... :) ). I am not satisfied with that, though. I have been looking around at degree programs and I think I've found one I really would love to pursue. I've been looking at University of Memphis since my life is here and I don't really want to uproot. Plus, **hopefully** someone will be in med school and so we'll need to be here!

Here is the program. It is an EdD in Education Policy Studies. I really feel that I would be genuinely interested in the studies of this program after reading the curriculum and goals. I'm not sure what I'd do with it but I could probably do a lot. Part of my wants to keep teaching aftr my 5 year term is up (I am doing the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program since I am teaching at a Title One school) and part of me yearns to do something else - I just have so many different ideas. Here is my list so far:

- CLUE teacher (this one is feasible even now - I'm admitted to the teacher pool).
- Assistant Principal
- college level education instructor
- curriculum coordinator for the system
- public policy specialist for education
- state representative

Ok I'm sure there are more but you get the idea. Anyway, I won't do the EdD thing for a bit - maybe two years. I want to get some legitamite experience first.

The text of the Chronicle article

(this is what my previous post talks about - my article in our church newsletter)

As my favorite website (and slight obsession) CNN.com told me recently, Americans are becoming increasingly less Christian. In addition, there are concerns about dwindling congregations in Episcopal churches around the nation. A while ago, a family friend and wise mother of two of our youth at Calvary asked me how my friends and I managed to stay so involved in the Episcopal Church. At a time when many young twenty somethings are either sleeping in on Sundays or exploring other religions, my three closest best friends and I are happily at home in the big house with red doors, our favorite book, the BCP (Book of Common Prayer), in hand.

While my faith formation at Calvary was integral to my belief in the teachings of the Episcopal church, I truly believe that I would not be as active in the church and as steadfast in my beliefs as I am today if it were not for my experiences in the camp community of Camp Gailor Maxon, and in later years, Winterfest. Growing up the daughter of two researchers, I always look for facts to back up a hypothesis. I felt validated then when the American Camp Association (ACA) released research findings stating that there was a statistically significant increase in spirituality of campers from pre-camp surveys to post-camp surveys given at church-related camps. In addition, the ACA cited church-related camps as integral in the growth of self-esteem, leadership, values, and social comfort.

During my days at camp, I did not realize the implications of being in such a nurturing community – I thought camp was a fun place where I could sing songs about God, eat smores, and make best friends. As I got older, our spiritual discussions grew deeper and eventually I started to realize that this group of people I had grown close to one week out of the year for many years had become my rock during times of change and confusion. At least six of us are youth directors, many are volunteers within their parish church, and even more are faithful congregants. We wear our Episcopal shield flip flops and “Top Ten Reasons to be an Episcopalian” t-shirts proudly.

I strongly encourage you and your child to explore the camp opportunities available this summer and to take part in this amazing experience.

Camp Gailor Maxon 2009

Monteagle, TN

Pre-Camp Friday, June 5th - Sunday, June 7th

Rising 1st, 2nd & 3rd graders with a parent

Camp I: Sunday, June 7th - Saturday, June 13th

Rising 10th, 11th, 12th & college freshmen

Camp II: Sunday, June 14th - Saturday, June 20th

Rising 7th, 8th & 9th graders

Camp III: Sunday, June 21st - Saturday, June 27th

Rising 4th, 5th & 6th graders

Website: http://www.duboseconf.org/camp.html

Contact Charles H. Beaumont with questions: cgmdir@blomand.net

Find the research here: http://www.acacamps.org/research/enhance/directions.php

I'm published!

This summer, two days after I finish my full time job as a teacher for the summer, I am heading "home" to Monteagle Mountain in the Cumberland Plateau to serve my church camp as Assistant Director. I never would have imagined I'd be returning after serving two summers as a counselor. It was wonderful but I sort of thought I wouldn't have the opportunity to return since I had grown up and become a big kid with a big kid job. However, between being at our camp reunion in August and serving on staff at Winterfest this New Year's, I felt called to return and continue the hard work several of my friends had started.

I am very passionate about this camp (as most people who go are - we've been called a cult before!) and so part of my position as AD is that I want to share that passion with others and introduce them to the place that helped bring up my friends in the Episcopal church. I wrote an article for our church newsletter, which was published this last week. Click here to go to the Calvary Episcopal website's newsletter page. From there, click "this week's Chronicle" (which will only work for two weeks) and go to page 10. Also, I'll post the full text in a bit to read as well.

I hope to talk more about CGM and our successes as we progress towards this summer.

Beamer and Sebastian

Jake and I have two dogs - Beamer and Sebastian. They are "our boys."

We got Beamer first. I missed my dogs while we were at school and knew Jake wanted a dog. I researched breeds that we could keep in the fraternity house (that is where Jake was living) and read about how bassets were the best breed for small spaces because they were lazy. I hinted about getting a dog to Jake and he seemed receptive so I found basset puppies about 45 minutes from UT and set out to pick one out. Beamer ended up picking me. He just looked up at me with his silly face and I fell in love! When I was signing the paperwork and paying for him, he rested his head on the table like he does to this day. We were instant buddies. I gave him to Jake for Christmas that year and we raised Beamer in the fraternity house that spring. I think that is why Beamer is so easy going and social - guys were in and out of Jake's room playing with him. Jake and Beamer are now best friends and are a really funny pair. Beams is so goofy and a little stubborn but so much fun. He loves balls and playing fetch - which is sort of odd for a basset.

After Jake graduated and moved back to Memphis, I missed my boys so much. I knew I wanted to get a brother for Beamer and researched about basset rescue groups. I found Belly Rubs Basset Rescue Organization. Sebastian's picture made him look so sweet and sad looking (a basset must) and so I set out to adopt him. I made sure to get a basset that was already house trained since I didn't want to deal with all the poo. I got him when he was 1 1/2 years old. He was really scared and nervous at first but learned to love us. He is so sweet and loves to jump and sit in laps. He is very obedient and loves being good. You tell him to get to his house and he goes straight there. He also loves cuddling with Beamer.

We're so lucky to have to wonderful doggies. One of my friend's dogs was shot and Jake's aunt's dog is dying. When I think about them and also when I remember watching "Marley and Me," I get so sad. I don't even want to think about life without them. They are the best dogs I've ever known.

First Post

I absolutely love reading other peoples' blogs - I guess it is something about my insatiable curiosity or what Jake likes to call "nosiness" that makes it fun. I have a few I go through and read daily. Not everyone knows I'm reading their blog either, which I guess could be creepy! The topics range from food blogs (a lot of those), wedding photographer blogs, blogs of friends from college, blogs of random people I know, and blogs of close friends. I think people are just hilarious on their blogs. I don't know that I can be that funny. BUT I do really like reading their hilarity so here I go.

I've had a lot of things I've been meaning to start a blog about. Mainly, I wanted to start one because Jake and I cook a lot and have a lot of recipes we create or modify that I'd like to be able to go back and use and also share with others. We love to cook but also love shortcuts so I think other people might want to know things we do! I really like reading cooking posts. I also LOVE getting a good deal and love telling others about the good deals I get. It is just really satisfying to save money. Sometimes, I want to tell about the things that happen at school. The names, of course, would be changed to protect the innocent (or guilty, as it may be). Some things that happen are really great... some things, not so much.

Today, Jake and I went to Big Lots to look for a patio dining set. While we didn't find one of those, we did find awesome deals on stuff we get at the grocery store every day. We bought really nice brand noodles, which we always try to keep in stock, for about 1/2 as much as the grocery store. We also bought G2 drinks for 70 cents a piece. I could go on.. but I think we'll always try to go to Big Lots first for things like that and also toiletries, shampoo, etc. They had toilet paper, office supplies, and more.

On Friday, Jake and I went to the Memphis Zoo. We're members and go about two times a month. My family has lived across from the zoo since I was 10 and we were always members. Once I "grew up," Jake got us a membership for my birthday one year. I think it was one of the best presents ever! We've kept it up and use it quite a bit. To cover the cost of the membership, we'd have to go three times (so 6 entry fees) in a year, which we DEFINITELY do. My favorite animals are the giraffes and penguins. We saw this giraffe when we were there:
We love hearing the keeper chats. The keeper was telling us about how the boy giraffe has been very territorial with his newest girlfriend and it was pretty funny. I love the baby giraffes as well. In addition, walking around the zoo is always good exercise and you also get to be reminded why it isn't time to have babies yet... they are cute and all but there are always a lot of them and they are loud, screaming, and you have to carry their stuff around. I'm not ready for that!


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