Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: A Step from Heaven by An Na (no spoilers)

Book: A Step from Heaven
Author: An Na
Publication: Oct. 13th, 2003
Source: College Library
Read: Sept 8-17, 2015
Summary (from Goodreads):

When Young Ju is four years old, she learns that her family is leaving their small fishing village in Korea to live in Mi Gook. Young Ju has heard enough about Mi Gook to be sure the place they are moving to is paradise, that she and her family are going to heaven.

 After flying through the sky for a long time, Young Ju finds out that Mi Gook is actually a regular earthly place called America. And it doesn't feel at all like heaven. A STEP FROM HEAVEN follows Young's life from the age of 4 all the way up until she is ready for college, as we watch her change from a hopeful girl into a hardened young adult.

My Thoughts:

I need to read a book for my English Language Learners course that involved a child coming to America and having to learn English. I originally was going to read a different book, but couldn't find it at the library, so I chose A Step from Heaven because it was short and sounded good. I didn't plan to like this book or enjoy it, but I knew I needed to read it.

Young Ju and her family move to Mi Gook (America) with the hope of a new start in the land of dreams. The grass is not greener on the other side for Young Ju and her family. Her brother Joon is born and the family struggles to make ends meet, learn English, and fit into the culture of America.

This book follows Young Ju from when she is four until she is going to leave for college. This book is short, but covers a lot of ground. We get to watch Young Ju enter school to going to middle school and high school. I really got to watch Young Ju change in this book. She is no longer a korean girl, but not truly an american either. She became uniquely her own person.

The writing style in this book is really easy to follow along with and each chapter had a different topic that it talked about. It all flowed. This is a young adult book, but has some serious themes such as abuse. Her apa (father) gets abusive mostly when he drinks. He grows increasingly unhappy in America as the book progresses. Young Ju's Uhmma (mother) is very soft spoken and a sweet heart.

One thing my professor told me that I should get out of this novel is that as a teacher there may be things going on at home that you do not know about. Young Ju had many things going on at home that she wasn't sharing at school. It is hard to see a child suffering, but have no way to help them. Sometimes you can not even tell that they are having a difficult time, such is the case in Young Ju's situation.

I was surprised that I enjoyed this book so much that I'm trying to convince my sister to read it. It was a nice way to unwind at the end of a long day and I really connected with the characters and their transition into American society. I would be the same way if I moved to a different country. It is difficult to become apart of another culture. It really opened my eyes to what it feels like to be new to a country and learn English for the first time. I'm glad I read this book and I would totally recommend it for something outside of your comfort zone.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

When Transactions Go Wrong?

Although this is a book blog I occasionally like to do life posts and that is what I have been doing a lot lately. I have been busy with school, so I'm finishing books slowly. Today I want to do a couponing post.

I went to Walgreens yesterday with a plan to get three items. One bottle of Renu contact solution and Two Dentek floss. Both of these items were on sale and I had coupons for them. The renu was giving 5,000 balance rewards points and the Dentek was giving a 2.00 register reward. Per their policy I can purchase both of these items in one transaction and as long as I don't pay with points I should get both the points and the register reward. I checked out at the beauty counter and the register reward didn't print. When I pointed this out the lady explained that the 5,000 balance rewards was the register reward. I corrected her because I knew that the points were from the Renu. Long story short the manager had to return my items and rescan them to get the register reward to print. Everything worked out.

Here's why this story is important! I'm teaching my friends how to start using coupons and I get that couponing is complicated. I'm still learning new ways to coupon and I still make mistakes. It really got me thinking about all the new couponers in the world. If I hadn't been couponing for years I probably would have walked away and lost the money they promised me. I want to give you the tools to be confident in your transactions.

1. Follow all couponing rules and policies- The #1 reason that cashiers don't like couponers is because too many couponers are not following the coupon policies and trying to cheat the system. If the coupon says that you need to buy 3 items to get a dollar off then you MUST buy 3 items. You should read the policies yourself, but there are amazing videos on youtube of people that walk you through the coupon policies. Krazy Coupon Lady and Free Stuff Finder are my favorite.

2. When the coupon beeps don't freak out- Coupons don't go through sometimes for a variety of reasons. It is hard to know why and as a new couponer you are always freaking out that you made a mistake and the coupon is not valid. If you printed it from a legit site (, target coupons, redplum, smartsource, etc.) or got it from a newspaper then you have a legit coupon. If you followed all the rules then nicely show the cashier that you bought the item and they can manually put the coupon through. If the cashier refuses you are allowed to ask for a manager or have them take the item out of your transaction.

3. When the catalina doesn't print- This is my struggle yesterday and the reason for this post. Tell your cashier that it didn't print and they will find a solution for you. At my store apparently they are having problems with the register rewards printing at the beauty counter. If you know that a coupon should print out and it doesn't do not be shy to point that out.

4. When the cashier doesn't know the policy- Walgreens, and Target have probably some of the most complicated coupon policy out there. Walgreens has In Ad coupons, monthly coupons, manufacture's coupons, register rewards, and points. That is a lot of savings to keep track of. Target has gift cards, cartwheel, store coupons, mobile coupons, and manufacture's coupons. Its no wonder with all these ways to save that some cashiers don't understand the coupon policy. Although most stores train cashiers on coupons, some do not. If your cashier is being difficult you can ask for a manager, or void the transaction. Personally I have problems at Walgreens, but not so many problems at Target. Target understands that people want to save money.

5. Be Confident- I can't come up with all the possible scenarios that you could possibly go through. If you planned out your transaction and follow the coupon policies you should be fine. If a situation arises do not be afraid to point out the mistake and get the problem corrected. You can not afford to pay ten dollars extra then what your budget allows. Remember this when you just want to forget about the coupon. People who coupon know that every penny in life counts. Retail is not an option for me. I look for savings on everything and I want my transactions to go right so I have money left over at the end of the month.

Other Examples:
What to do when your transaction goes wrong?
Use your coupons correctly

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Consumed by Homework

I have been thinking about it a lot in the past couple weeks. Did I take on too much this semester? Am I involved in too many things? Am I ever going to find free time?

In the last week or two my classes have really picked up the pace and as usual the professors got together and decided to schedule tests and quizzes at the same time. Not to mention group projects and papers that are due around the same time also. The way I describe it I have been running around with my head chopped up. I'm involved in two school of education organizations that I'm extremely passionate about. I have been involved in both the last three years. I involved in Reading Council and CEC, which is Council for Exceptional Children. Reading Council promotes literacy in my college community (I think it is pretty clear I'm obsessed with literacy. Hence the blog). Council for Exceptional Children is a special education club that advocates for special education students, but also holds a lot of great volunteer opportunities for members. I'm the treasurer for Reading Council and Vice President for CEC. This is the first year I have taken leadership positions in my entire life. In high school I never would have taken either of these positions. First of all in high school there was too much competition. I wasn't going to compete with the popular kids. I also don't have the confidence like I do here at college. College is the first time in my life I was able to join organizations that I'm actually interested in. Both of these organizations directly relate to my major. I have remained involved in these two clubs and eventually I believed that I had the power to make an even greater impact within these organizations hence the leadership positions.

The reason I have been running around with my head chopped off. I'll give you an example of my schedule

9-10 Class
1-2 Class
2-3 CEC Meeting
4-8 Two Class, but one is an hour and the other is three

8-12:15 Three Classes (back to back)
12:30-2 Classroom Observation
3-4 Class
4-5 School of Education Recruitment

Of course this isn't my schedule every week just this week I have a lot of stuff, but as you can see on Mondays I have quite a few breaks throughout the day. I go swimming from 11:00-12:00. Then I eat lunch and go to class. I use the rest of the breaks to work on homework. When I come back on Monday's I get out of class at 8. I'm exhausted! I usually watch an episode of netflix and I'm in bed by 9 to 9:30. This week's Tuesday was especially crazy. My first class of the day we were teaching a lesson, so I was especially nervous for that, but I think I did well. I had three classes in the morning and then we set up an observation at an elementary school for one of my classes, and then I had time to shower and eat lunch around 2. Then it was back to class and then we had a recruitment opportunity for the student organizations I'm involved in.

After I was done with my day of course I just wanted to relax, but I have homework piling up like no other despite getting a lot done the previous weekend. I ate a quick supper and then headed to the public library. I choose the public library over my campus library because there is less people, and
my sleepy self.
therefore less distractions. I love to people watch, so if there is people around me talking I will focus more on them then what I'm supposed to be doing. I stayed there until close to their closing time at 9, and then headed home. Since, I did do all my homework for tomorrow I watched an episode of Once Upon a Time, and now I'm doing some blogging before I go to bed.

The true essensence of being consumed by homework is that even the book I'm reading right now is for one of my classes. It is called A Step from Heaven by An Na, but at least I'm enjoying it and I will review this book when I'm finished. Literally when you put it in perspective my life is consumed with school from when I start classes to the book I read before I go to bed. Will it ever end?

But I do find some time for fun in my college career and I will talk about that in a post real soon. Good Night


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back to College

It is no surprise that it has been slow around Rachael Turns Pages. As much as I love writing and I love the blogging community I have not been interested in blogging within the last couple of months. As my fall semester of school starts I can't say that I'm going to dive back into blogging, but I am hoping to put out more content for you guys. 

I'm interested in reading and that is one of the main reasons I created this blog. I want to get back to my roots, which is sharing about why I love the library, why I love my favorite authors, top ten tuesday lists. The end of the year wrap up posts are some of my favorite, so you will for sure see those in December. 

Although I have fallen behind on my reading challenges I still believe I will complete most of them. I need to read some more books that I own. I think I have been balancing this well this year, but of course a reader's shelf is never empty. 

As for my college semester. It has been going great so far. I'm glad to see my friends again and all my education major friends. All the work for classes has been overwhelming. I'm taking 18 credits, so I have a lot of classes and textbooks. So far I'm keeping up and eventually I'm going to work on getting ahead. 

Look out for more posts coming from me soon. I'm not ready to give up on blogging, I'm just slowing down.