Friday, August 23, 2013

First Week of School

Okay, as promised, here is a post with a few details from my crazy week. ;)

So, of course, the biggest thing that happened this week was getting my girlies started on a new school year...all three of them! :}  Here they are, ready for Mommy to stop taking pictures and let them actually get to school. ;)  Hmm,  I guess I should have taken the time to sweep my floor before this picture, too. :}

Oldest Gal started 4th grade this year, Middle Gal started 2nd grade, and Little Gal started Kindergarten.    

By far, this was one of the most surreal moments from Monday: watching my youngest boldly walk to her Kindergarten classroom.  She informed me that I didn't need to go with her.  I did anyway. ;)

All the girls had a great first day, and I enjoyed spending time with a family friend while they were in class. :)

The elementary school is doing things differently this year.  Because of the small class sizes, they're following more of a charter school format, where the students move around to different classrooms for each of their subjects.  There are three main elementary teachers.  One teaches all of the math and history, one teaches reading, Bible, and Spanish, and one teaches spelling and English.  Then the students have an elective period each day.  That's where I come in. ;)  I teach art on Tuesdays, and the other elective teacher does clay on Mondays, computers on Wednesdays, crafts on Thursdays, and health and nutrition on Fridays.  There is also a music teacher who comes in every afternoon to teach the kids about music.  

The moving back and forth between classrooms has been an adjustment for everyone, but so far it seems to be working really well. 

I had hoped to get some pics of my classroom on Tuesday (I even brought my camera with me).  However, I just didn't have the time at all.  I'm there from 8:30 to 12:45 and have four different classes.  The 1st graders come in first, followed by the 4th and 5th graders (they're combined because 5th grade consists of two boys).  Next is the 2nd grade class, which was the hardest one due to the crazy boys in that grade.  (I felt like a limp washrag after that class was through!)  My last class of the day is the 3rd grade.

  I got there early to prepare for my first class, had five minutes to recover and re-prepare between each period, and then had five minutes to clean up and get out after my last class before the next teacher came in to the elective room for music.  Yikes!!  I barely had the time for a bathroom break during recess and was able to eat my lunch, but honestly, I don't know how the other teachers do it!  I was exhausted after my half day! :}

Even though it was tiring, I did enjoy myself.  I've been super nervous about teaching since it's been a while (and was also dealing with feelings of inadequacy).  That first day was super helpful, though.  I had the students just draw a picture of whatever they wanted.  This not only gave me an idea of where they were at ability-wise, but also gave me some insight as to their interests and hobbies.  I also got a good idea of which children needed to be apart from each other for the productivity of the classroom. :}

So, since I didn't get any pictures of the room, I thought I'd show you my Art Binder that I put together for my class:

When I was cleaning through the art cupboards, there was this nifty pink binder that was up for grabs, so I decided to use it to hold all of my papers and things.  It had a clear plastic sleeve on the front, so I whipped up a quick cover.  It was so much fun.  I haven't done much with my drawing for a was great to have an excuse to get back to it. :)

This is a cartoony self-portrait.  I developed these characters in high school and have slowly modified them through the years.  They're my "go-to" characters when I want to draw a person without getting stressed out about proportions and such. ;)

Another look at the whole thing.

And, of course, every binder needs an awesome Lisa Frank folder. ;)  This totally takes me back to my childhood. :)

I also have a Rainbow Dash spiral-bound notebook for all of my notes.

While I know that the year will present me with many challenges, after day one I'm feeling a lot more confident and excited about teaching the kiddos.  I hope that I can touch their lives in some small way, just as my third grade art teacher inspired me. (Thanks, Mr. B!) :)

After my classes were over, I had some free time before I had to pick up the girls, so I headed to my favorite place:  Goodwill. ;)  My mom and aunt ended up meeting me there, and we had a fun time browsing the selection.

I found this great Barbie-sized pink dresser (which will most likely show up in a future Belle's Bulletins post). ;)

My mom found these cute Calico Critter cats for the girls. 

I was super excited when I found some vintage G1 My Little Ponies on the 49 cent table.  This one is Glory...

...and this one is "Celebration", a Sea Pony.

Some time after I found the first two, I noticed that another lady had some vintage ponies in her cart...and I tried not to hyperventilate. ;)  I didn't follow her (lest you have visions of me in creepy stalker mode at the local Goodwill), :} but I kind of stayed aware of where she was in the store, just in case she decided to put the ponies back before leaving.  (Basically, I hung out by the toy table in the front once I saw her heading towards the registers.)  Normally, this plan isn't very successful, but in this case, it was!  At the last minute, her grown daughter deposited all three ponies onto the toy table.  I waited till she turned around and then swooped them up. :)

The first of the three was this Twinkle-eyed pony, Party Time (who coincidentally came in a set with the Sea Pony I'd already grabbed).

Next was Posey, a pony that many have compared to Fluttershy because of her color scheme.

And finally there was Sundance, Megan's pony!! :D  This is a pony I always wanted as a little girl but never had.  I'm super excited to have her now. ;)

All three ponies had condition issues.  They were all filthy and their heads had started to come unglued.  After some work with some Lysol wipes and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, they looked a lot better.  (Sorry, no pics yet!) ;)

With this influx of vintage ponies, I decided it was time to rethink my vintage toy display.  I decided to remove all of my G1 ponies and put them on a shelf together.  Then I could rearrange my other 80s and 90s toys on their shelf. 

I thought it would be a good idea to take a couple of pictures first, though, so I would remember how I'd displayed them.: 

I haven't gotten pictures of the new arrangement yet (I wanted to make sure I really liked it first).  Once I'm settled on where things are going to stay, I'll share a few more pics. :)

But now we have to get back to the rest of Tuesday afternoon!  My mom, my aunt and I still had some time after we were done with Goodwill, so we headed over to the mall.  I decided that now would be a good time to pop into Hot Topic since the girls weren't with me.  I'm not a fan of the music or some of the other things in Hot Topic, as I've mentioned before, but they are the best local place for My Little Pony and Doctor Who stuff.  And apparently, they're pretty awesome with Disney stuff, too:

There was a ton of Beauty and the Beast stuff there this time around!!  Most of it was out of my price range (or a bit too much for the worth of the product), but this reusable shopping bag was $4.95.  It features Belle on one side...

...and the Beast on the other.

The sides of the bag have the title of the movie.  It's a smaller reusable shopping bag than the big Disney Store ones, but it will still be useful.   

One of the other things I completely freaked out about was this ADORABLE Beauty and the Beast metal lunchbox.  Seriously?  How cool is this?!!? ;)  It was $14.50, which was a little more than I felt I could pay, but when Mimi offered to get it for me as an early birthday gift, I couldn't resist. :)  It helped that they were having a special promotion, so we could get 30% off our entire purchase.

The side of the lunchbox.

As you can see, the picture on the lunchbox is a raised, 3-D design.

I probably won't use this as an actual lunchbox (although that would be totally cool!).  I don't want it to get damaged or scuffed up.  It looks pretty nifty on display in my room, though! :D 

And since we had the discount, I also snagged a couple of Doctor Who things.  The "I Heart Heart the Doctor" button is for Alice, but the "Allons-y" button is now on my purse. ;)  I was thinking of putting the Doctor Whooves sticker on my truck, but I'm afraid it won't last long once the rainy season hits.  Plus, since I'll be parking my truck at the school and teaching a class, I don't want to have anything on my vehicle that might offend a parent.  Doctor Whooves might be okay, but he might not.   So maybe he just needs to be somewhere safe in my room for now. :)

Wednesday was a lazy, stay-at-home day for me, which was really nice.  I did get a chance to visit with my mother-in-law right after dropping off the kiddos, so that was fun. :)

Then came Thursday.  My mom had heard that another Goodwill was opening in a town a couple of hours away.  We figured if we headed out right after the girls were dropped off at school, we could get back to pick them up in the afternoon.  So, I dropped off the girls and Mom and I headed off on a mini road trip.  We had a great time visiting all the way down and came back with a considerable amount of goodies: 

Heh heh.  You should have seen the looks we were getting from people in the store.  We had a shopping cart FULL of dolls and ponies.  It was pretty awesome. :}  I won't be able to show you everything.  Some of the things I'm still sorting through, some will be for resale to fund future doll purchases (but don't worry, I'll start at a low starting bid). :)  We also bought a lot of Barbies for their clothing.  At 99 cents per doll, it was a great way to get some nice dresses for Belle and friends at a decent price. :)

I did find a few fun pony purchases.

This one was my favorite by far.  Fluttershy is one of my two favorite ponies, and I've always loved this bigger styling pony.  She was 99 cents as well, and she's absolutely adorable! :D

She does have a few small pink marks on her that didn't come off...

...especially these little ones on her nose.  I may eventually try an acne cream treatment on her and see if it helps.  For now, though, I love her just the way she is. :)

My other most exciting find was this "Barbie in India" doll.  As most of you know, there are several Bollywood movies I really enjoy, so it was super fun to find this doll who would fit right into one of those films.  The best part?  I got her for just $2.99.  

I haven't been able to find out a whole lot about her, except that she was actually made in India through Mattel.  There were several other dolls made in India, including the "Expressions of India" dolls that are now apparently super hard to find because they were only produced for a short time.  I'm thrilled to have this doll in my collection now. :)

I also found this loose "Dolls of the World" Barbie from India. She's from the 90s.  Unfortunately, she was obviously stored in direct sunlight for too long, as her dress has some major fading.  

She's still pretty, though. :)

Another fun find was this Madame Alexander doll (the standard size, not an 18" one).  I've never actually held one of these in person, so it was really fun to see all of her joints and how she was put together.  She's obviously missing some clothing and a shoe, but I'm sure we can find something to dress her in.  She's a Disney Sleeping Beauty/Aurora doll. :)  You can see a picture of what she looked like originally HERE.

The last thing I'll share is this.  I suppose it might surprise some of you that I picked up a Frankie Stein doll since I've made it quite clear that I'm not a fan of Monster High.  I still feel the same way, but ever since I watched THIS YouTube tutorial, I've been wanting to try to customize a Monster High doll.  (If you don't want to watch the whole thing, just fast-forward to the end and prepare to be amazed.) ;)  I've always been interested in face-ups, but don't feel confident enough with a paintbrush.  Seeing a faceup done with colored pencils got me really excited.  Since Frankie was just 99 cents, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot.

Of course, this will be a long, drawn-out process since I don't have any of the supplies I need yet (aside from the acetone-free fingernail polish remover).  Still, finding a doll at the right price made me decide to go for it.

So now we come to last night's activity: removing face paint, neck bolts, and hair. :)  I popped in "Wreck-it Ralph" and got started.  

I used this random tool (I have no idea what it's officially called) to pinch and clip Frankie's neck bolts off.

It wasn't a completely clean cut, but it's better than it was.

I worked on Frankie's face for two hours with the nail polish remover, q-tips, and cotton balls, and this was as close as I could get to total face paint removal.  Ugh.  I wonder how awful it is to just use regular acetone fingernail polish remover?  

Note to self:  next time you do this, wear protective gloves.  I got so much of the fingernail polish remover on my thumb and two of my fingers on my right hand that they completely dried out and cracked!!  They're really sore today. :(

I decided to remove as much of Frankie's hair as I could since I wasn't interested in using her original hair.  Eventually I'll remove her head and pull the extra hair plugs through.  At this point, though, I'd had enough for one night. :}

I still have to remove the rest of her face paint and the stitches on her skin, as well as finish removing her hair.  Then she'll be ready and waiting for when I pick up my watercolor pencils...and my soft pastels...and my sealant...and...well, you get the picture. ;)  I think she'll be waiting for a while. 

So that brings us to today, which was basically full of grocery shopping.  Thrilling, I know. ;)

All in all, it was a great week.  I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and then getting back to school next week.  Next week is also my "get back to regular exercising" and "start officially writing my novel" week, so I'm looking forward to that. :)

And of course, tomorrow we'll find out who wins Lottie! :)  

Thanks for your patience as I babbled on in my randomness.  Kudos to you if you made it through this entire post. ;)  

There will be more fun to come on this blog in the next few weeks.  Oh, and I've been assured that you'll be hearing from Tess, Maggie and Belle soon too. :)

Talk to you again tomorrow! :)


Nina said...

Sound's like a busy week! I start school Sept. 4, but my brother doesn't start until the 8th! (We're part of different districts that are just close together.)

Those were some cool pony finds! My grandma gave me two really old MLP's that I've been having trouble identifying. Is there a website you could recommend please? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey beastbelle,
after a lot of ebay searching I found a expressions of india doll.
First is- Wedding fantasy

Also any luck identifying this doll? It's a princess belle doll.

Michele said...

I enjoyed hearing about your busy and exciting week. I'm sure you will be a blessing to those children as you teach art. I smiled big when I saw your Lisa Frank notebook, I homeschool and always use a Lisa Frank notebook every year for keeping up with things! I laughed out loud when you were watching to see if the lady would put back the ponies! We have done this many times, we did feel like we were stalkers! So happy for you that she put them back :) My daughter has shown me many pictures of monster highs that have been redone and they are beautiful, I'm sure yours will be too. Have a great weekend :) p.s.Sweet picture of your children with their backpacks.

OurAGAdventures said...

Wow! What a week! Best of luck with your art class, although I'm sure you'll do great! :) Love the RD notebook, I convinced myself to buy one the other day! That is a huge hall! Love the Doctor Who sticker, I was about to buy that at the mall the other day...and those ponies! I saw a huge lot of them at my local GoodWill for 20 dollars (in the bid section) and that Fluttershy was in it! I considered re-selling those old ponies, but is there really a market for that? :)

beastsbelle said...

Hi Nina! My favorite site for pony identification is Strawberry Reef. I like it because you can search ponies by Generation, by year, by color, or by body type, so it's really easy to find them even if you don't know the name. :) I usually select the generation and then search by color. Here's the website address:

Hope you're able to identify your ponies! :)

Hi Anonymous. Thanks for the link. I actually found this doll and a couple of others when I was trying to identify my doll. She's lovely, but I think I prefer $2.99 to $78. :} I also found this page when I was trying to identify my doll. It doesn't have my doll, but it has all of the Wedding Fantasy ones:

As far as the Belle doll, I don't remember her exact name, but I used to have her. She came out in the early 2000s, sometime around 2003 or 2004. If I remember correctly, I think she was one of the first "Sparkling Princess" or "Sparkle Princess" dolls that have been modified and have continued to this day. Sorry I don't have more specifics for you. :}

Hi Michele. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

Yay! Another Lisa Frank fan! I think keeping organized is much more fun when you have a pretty folder or notebook. ;)

I'm so glad I'm not the only person who's followed someone around at the thrift store, too. :}

I hope Frankie will turn out nicely...if I can just get the rest of her paint off! :}

I really love that picture of my kiddos, too. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

beastsbelle said...

Hi, OurAGAdventures. :)

I love my makes me smile every time I open my binder. ;)

We had a pretty amazing week for good finds, that's for sure.

As far as the market for ponies, it's difficult to say. $20 is a pretty high starting price if you're wanting to make a profit. When I was researching my ponies, I looked up completed listings on eBay and noticed that ponies don't seem to be going for much right now. A lot depends on the condition of your ponies and how rare they are. While my favorite site for pony identification is, my favorite site to learn more about each pony is this site:

This site includes information about which ponies were released when and which ones are more rare.

Bottom line? I've always tried to purchase things that I like enough to keep, or things that are inexpensive enough that I can start them with a very low starting bid. Especially with the economy the way it is, reselling can really be a can go either way.

Personally, I probably wouldn't purchase ponies for $20 unless it was a huge lot or unless there were ponies in it that were hard to find and I wanted to add them to my collection.

I've now sold several lots of ponies on eBay and have either lost money or broken even every time, so I'm a little hesitant to do a lot of pony selling. It does seem that selling them individually or in smaller lots of 3 or 4 is best. Older ponies from G1 or rare ponies from G4 seem to do the best.

Hope this helps! :)

Casey Robin said...

Fun post! I love thrifting toys. You scored some really great finds. I especially love the Calico Critters and Barbie in India. Like you, I really enjoy Bollywood movies.

I also loved your photos of your vintage doll collection. You've got a Lady Lovely Locks! I loved those. Does she still have her Pixie Tails? My 80's doll of choice was Cherry Merry Muffin. I still have the Chocolottie my grandma saved for me (when I got to be "too old" for dolls, she took some of them for me, knowing that I'd probably want them later.)

I noticed you had some issues removing Frankie's face paint. I've dabbled in customs myself, and I find that it's best to use pure acetone. It gets face paint off in about 2-3 minutes. Just don't use it on any of the hard plastic of the body, as it sort of melts it. For vinyl heads, though, it's the best. You can buy it in the beauty section of most big box stores. I found a big bottle at WalMart for about $3. And for sealant, I'd recommend Mr. Super Clear matte. You can find it on Amazon. Good luck with the custom. I can't wait to see photos!

Anonymous said...

What is that doll in the bag with the blonde hair?

Anonymous said...

I have that version of Frankie! Lucky you finding all that good stuff while our Goodwills are just filled with junk! The only good things I found were a couple of American Girl accessories.

beastsbelle said...

Hi Casey. :) I'm a total thrift store nut, so I always enjoy finding goodies there. ;)

How fun that you love Bollywood movies too! My favorite is Veer-Zaara. What about yours?

I have one Lady Lovely Locks that still has all three pixie tails. Maiden Curly Crown has one of hers. The others are pixie tail-less. ;) I'd love to find their pixie tails, but they sell for an outrageous amount on eBay, and I'm just not willing to pay that much! ;) I was able to find a really awesome eBay lot, so I have Lady Lovely Locks, Maiden Fair Hair, Maiden Curly Crown, Maiden Goldenwaves, and Prince Strongheart. I'm still hoping to find Silky Pup and Silky Mane, which I had as a girl. :)

I remember Cherry Merry Muffin! I never had one, but I loved the commercials. :) I was more of a My Little Pony gal myself. I'm so glad your grandma kept some of your old dolls and toys for you. What a smart lady! ;)

Thank you so much for the tips on Frankie. The only reason I used acetone-free nail polish remover was that I'd heard you weren't supposed to use the acetone type. At this point, though, I'm definitely ready to use it instead. Trying to get Frankie's paint off was just awful, and my fingers are still all dried out from the nail polish remover! :}

Hi Anonymous! :) Part of the reason I found so many things this particular time is because the Goodwill was brand new and had just opened, so they always have a TON of stuff on the first day. The next day, I went to my own Goodwill and found NOTHING. ;) It really just depends on the day and the donations. :)

beastsbelle said...

Whoops! Sorry I missed your comment, Anonymous. :} The doll with blonde hair is one of the short-lived "Play Wonder" dolls made by the Madame Alexander company. They were sold in Target for a short period of time. I have a review on one of the dolls and one of the outfits on my "Doll Product Review" page at the top of my blog. :)

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Well, as Fluttershy would say, yay. I LOVE those floral backpacks your daughters have. And the Cinderella one reminds me of when my daughter was going to start preschool. Her dream was to have a Cinderella backpack.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Barb. :) The girls' floral backpacks are actually the same ones they used last year. We got them on a great sale and they've held up wonderfully. :)

Little Gal's favorite Disney princess is Cinderella, so when I found that backpack at Goodwill, brand new with the tags still attached, for $2.99, I knew I had to get it for her. ;)

Anonymous said...

I was reading thsi post, and i randomly thought ''Now you could compare the EAH and MH body styles for no reason!''
i'm like that.

beastsbelle said...

Hi Rose Grace. :) I actually did take some comparison pics that I thought I might share on the blog eventually. I'm so behind!! :}