Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Wreath Success!!

After cleaning up after our 6th Annual Turkeys Gone Wild party it suddenly felt odd to be sitting around with nothing to do.  I decided to take on a new task and make my first Christmas Wreath.
I ran to AC Moore and grabbed a foam wreath, 4 spools of ribbon, and a few sprigs of berries.
(PS - I did not want to use hot glue because it is so messy so everything in attached to the foam via staples and straight pins)

Step 1 - I covered the outer part of the wreath with red ribbon, stapling the ribbon in place in mulitple places.
Step 2 - I cut 6 1/2  in strips of the green and light gold ribbon

Step 3 - I folded and stapled the green and light gold ribbon to the wreath, alternating the colors.
Step 4 - I added the sprigs of berries
Step 5 - I cut 6 1/2 inch strips of the red ribbon and stapled it to the undersid of the wreath.
Step 6 - I used straight pins to put 4 inch strips of the deep gold ribbon in behind the green ribbon
Step 7 - I took red ribbon and wrapped it around the top of the wreath for hanging.

(The flash made the wreath look a lot shinier than it really is - I will retake a picture during the day and repost soon)

In all this wreath took me about 35 minutes to assemble... I can't wait to see what I can do with more time on my hands!

Until the next craft . . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

There'd be no butterflies if nothing ever changed...

Three years ago, I decided to go back to school and earn my Master's Degree in Instructional Technology.  I contemplated for many years as to what I wanted to do in terms of a Master's Degree.  The more I thought about my teaching career the more I realized how much I enjoyed using technology in the classroom and engaging my students in the lecture/lesson.  While getting my degree, I began interviewing for Technology Facilitator positions within my school system.  For two years I interviewed at every level (elementary to high to opportunity schools); 4 of my 6 interviews came down to myself and another candidate, the other candidate always being chosen.  In June of this year, I interviewed at yet another school.  The principal called me specifically to tell me that she was undecided between another interviewee and myself and wanted me for a second interview.  I went, knocked it out of the ballpark, and waited to for "the" call.  It came, the job went, and the tears flooded (I honestly don't think my husband has ever seen me cry like that - he looked startled).  I told my husband that I would try again, but that for once I was starting to feel defeated.

This August, during our teacher workdays, I was contacted once again for an interview (taking place the day before school started).   This time I was interviewing for a position at an elementary school and began  to get very nervous as people started questioning how I would handle the change from high school students to elementary-aged.  I went to the interview, it was the shortest one I've had thus far, and waited for the call.  The call came, the same night as the Britney Spears concert, and I got the job!  Finally, my tears of joy came!  In October of this year, I will be changing my career status from that of classroom teacher to technology facilitator.  Although, I am sad to leave the classroom and the 96 students that I am getting to know this semester, I am thrilled to open a new chapter in my life.  I expect a lot of challenges with this new title and set of duties, but I am looking forward to helping educators enhance their teaching techniques.  And once I get my footing, I look forward to going back to school and getting my doctorate.  This is a long road to be traveled, but I am full of energy and ready run!

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer is FINALLY Here!

After the long awaited break, teachers around the state can finally shout "Summer has arrived!"  This year, more than any other recent year, summer break is a true blessing for educators.  I hope that each colleague will be resting this summer as a rigorous new school year awaits. 
Because teachers need such a break from school work, students, and even administration, I have compiled some ways that I will be relaxing this summer.
First and foremost - is a reading list. Each year I create a summer reading list and my goal is to complete all readings before the end of summer.  For some, this may seem like a task, but for me this is serious relaxation.
My reading list this year consists of:
1.  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - finished earlier this week and recommend it for everyone!
2.  Toxin by Robin Cook - a medical thriller about corporate malevolence and bacterial poisoning
3.  Tan Lines by J. J. Salem - a novel full of scandal, sex and murder.  Some have even called it a "bitchy beach read". 
4.  The Testament by John Grisham - A 78 year old billionaire outfoxes his heirs with his last will and testament and a surprising death.
5.  The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - A story of a librarian who involuntarily travels through time and falls in love
6.  The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell - the 17th book in the Scarpetta series, a forensic science novel - PS if you haven't heard of Patricia Cornwell or her character Kay Scarpetta, I ask - "Have you been living under a rock?"  Pick up a book and start reading!!
7.Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwartz - An Oprah's Book Club read, this novel discovers two sisters and the factors that bond them and tear them apart.
And the last book on my reading list for summer? 
Drumroll Please.............
8.  Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich - Also, book 17 from another author whom I have followed closely - New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum once again finds herself trying to chase down the bad guys, uncover a murder mystery and figure a way out of her ongoing love triangle with two hot, hot men!
Once you have your books determined, it is necessary that you pillage the ABC store, pack up swimsuits and sunscreen and park your toosh in a lounge chair.  You can now begin soaking up the rays and drinking a toast to your favorite characters while the new school year awaits.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

End of School Countdown

It's that time of year again, when most teachers have the "days of school" countdown on their boards.  Each teacher has his or her own way of counting down.  Some include the current day, some only include instructional days (exam days don't count), and some don't count the "exam make up days" which most students opt out of coming to anyway.  Teachers choices also vary as to when they begin the countdown - some begin on the first day of the semester, some begin after Spring Break, and others begin when they are at their wits end and it offers piece of mind.  I never realized how a few numbers on the board could make the last few weeks of school seem bearable when I have little, if any patience left.

This year as the school year is once again coming to an end, I have found myself with so much more work than usual, that the countdown doesn't quite serve enough "help".  Coming back from Spring Break, our school implemented a new Intervention System - this caused teachers to rearrange their schedules because 6 minutes were shaved off of each class period, and we "gained" 30 minutes of homeroom/intervention.  For this to work effectively, teachers must do the following:
1.  Determine new goals to for each Course - Now, granted the state has its own Standard Course of Study, but why use that, when you can reinvent the wheel?
2.  Create assessments to show that students have mastered the above mentioned goals.
3.  Analyze these assessments to determine which students have not mastered the goals, and which part of the goal needs to be retaught (during intervention) to those failing students.
4.  Reteach each goal, in 30 minutes - I mean, if the kid didn't get it after 90 minutes of instruction, of COURSE he or she will understand in 30 minutes.

This is in addition to all other paperwork and duties that have been "requested" of us lately.

Do not get me wrong, I do believe that students can benefit from extra instruction; however, I do not believe that a new schedule and set of expectations should be introduced to teachers after a long awaited and much needed Spring Break (after all we taught for 10 weeks straight due to makeup snow days).

As you can imagine, there are many teachers needing summer "break" or "recovery".  As I look at the countdown each day, I gain a little hope that summer is right around the corner and I can spend many days and nights on the beach or by the pool soaking up the sun and drinking many ice cold adult beverages!

Until next time . . .

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tom Boy meets Girly Girl

Growing up I was always the Tom Boy - I was constantly outside playing, running, riding my bike, climbing trees, and skinning my knees.  Don't get me wrong, I had baby dolls, stuffed animals, and the Barbie Dream house, but normally I preferred to hang with the boys (that's all there was around) and get dirty.  As I've gotten older, I've come to enjoy being a girly girl: staying in cooking and sewing and of course shopping.  I still get out and play tennis regularly, but that's about the extent of my outdoorsy self.
My husband has recently begun mountain biking regularly and we've looked into purchasing a bike for myself.  We haven't found one that is the right size, that I can test out, so one has not been purchased.  Today, I realized that it is a good idea that we did not spend money on the purchase of a bike.  We went to US National Whitewater Center to go mountain biking; we took the beginner trail as I have never actually ridden a mountain bike.  Imagine if you will, a young woman riding on a trail for over an hour, this is what Barrett heard for a full hour - "Oh God!"  "Ooooo God!!"  "Oh no!"  "EEeeeee!!!!"  "Huuuuuh" Oh shit, oh shit"  "Oh my God" Oh God"  "UH" "UH" and I believe there were a few "Hehhhhhh's" in there too.  In the parking lot alone, there were several "Oh God's" and occasionally when there was a bump, or mini-hill, the phrase "How am I supposed to get through here" came up, whilst I stopped making getting up the hill even more difficult.  I fell, I cried, I screamed, and I cursed, A LOT!  As you can imagine, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a biker.  I love to hike and I enjoy being outside because it allows me peace and a chance to relax; but riding on a bike over bumps, hills, tree stumps, rocks and taking sharp turns, is not for me. 
I am glad that I had this experience, but I am more thankful that my husband offered to buy me a pair of shoes just for trying it!
Yep, I have transformed from Tom Boy to Girly Girl!  And I love it! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baby Train Booked - Please wait for the next one to pass

As my friends and I near (and some pass) our 30s it seems like we're all on the same track and always have been.  Starting a few years ago, we saw the Marriage Train in the distance and urged our current boyfriends to buy us a ticket, loaded up an entire car, and all headed to the chapel.  We all discussed our futures with one another and began settling into the married life.  We stopped partying EVERY weekend and started having alone time and building a solid relationship with our partners.  Two years later, at the station together once again, we saw the Baby Train.  Ready to hop on for an unforgettable ride, we loaded on two by two into separate cars.  That is to say, everyone else loaded on.  Apparently, the train was booked, because when it left the station Hubby and I were still on the platform waving as all of our friends slowly disappeared.  That was a year ago.

This year, another Baby Train has passed, no ticket purchased, and we're in the distance waving goodbye. 

If any of you reading this have ever tried getting pregnant with no success, you know the heartache that is insued.  At first it seems easy; just like we learned in middle and high school, sex=baby!  Yeah right, it's not that easy.  And thus, the challenge begins.  With anxiety and excitement you begin with the First step: visit  They give you an ovulation calculator to predict WHEN you will ovulate.  Perfect!  I've always wanted scheduled times to have intimate sessions with my husband! And yes, they do turn into sessions.  A few months later you take the Second step: Google "Why can't I get pregnant?".  This of course leads you to several "accredited" websites, I mean they do say Dr. at the top!  You read these and you are given a multitude of reasons as to why you may not have conceived.  Most leading to paranoia as some are life-threatening illnesses. Move on to the Third step, ask pregnant friends how they did it; I mean after all they are pregnant!  They tell you, "I did a handstand" or "You have to do it this way" or you get a sentence that starts "This might sound weird, but you should" and at that point you stop listening!  The funny thing is that you will TRY all of these weird, bizarre tactics and when they don't work, go back to your friends and ask them if you did it right!  Fourth step, cry every time you get your period (okay it's not really a step, more of a symptom, but whatever!).  Fifth  and Final step, you begin wondering what you will do if you can't get pregnant naturally.  Will you just keep trying, will you try IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), will you adopt?  Some of you might find the fifth step to be a big jump, but like all the Doctor websites say, "When you decide you want to get pregnant, you want to get pregnant like yesterday."

So yesterday: it came and went and there was not room on the train.  Another yesterday, another train and we're still sitting at the station waiting for a ticket.  However, I do have faith that there is a train in the distance, maybe I just can't see it through the pregnant women and babies clouding my view; I know it will come with an available spot, and when it does I will welcome the unforgettable ride that awaits!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm dating Harry Potter!

Okay, so the title is a little misleading; but after spending the last few months curled up on the couch with Harry Potter books and movies, I think I can officially say that we have a new found relationship. You might ask why I began reading a series that was released over a decade ago and my answer is simple. 
In my Honors English II class earlier this year, my students were responding to a quote up on the board.  I called on a student to discuss his response.  As he began talking about Harry, Dumbledore, Voldemort, Ron and Hermoine, I can honestly (and sadly) say that I was not following him. Once he finished, awaiting what he thought would be a congratulatory set of comments, I stated, "I'm sorry but I have no idea what you just said or what you're talking about."  Needless to say, the class erupted with statements like, "You've never read Harry Potter?  But you're an ENGLISH TEACHER!" and "What do you mean you've never heard of Dumbledore?"  I suddenly felt ashamed that I didn't know about these characters and events that my students were raving over.  After several more minutes of uproars regarding my lack of knowledge about Hogwarts, the Dark Lord, and "The Boy Who Lived", I promised my students that I would read the Harry Potter series.  My homework assignment began in late November.  Because I promised to finish the series before the end of the semester, I have spent countless nights curled up on my couch reading about the amazing wizard and his friends and as they work together in overcoming Lord Voldemort.
If you know me, you know that I do not watch a movie based on a novel until I have read said novel.  The same applied to all of the releases of Harry Potter movies; I never saw them because I hadn't read the books.  However, this has worked out perfectly for me!  As I have finished each book, I have then watched the movie on a night when the hubby isn't home.  This has allotted me several "date nights" with Harry and his friends. 
As an adult, I must say that I have truly loved reading this series and watching the movies.  And I must say, I will definitely be in line with all of the other crazed fans when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows II comes out.  The only downfall is that on this "date" it won't be just me and Harry!