Sunday, May 25, 2014

Things that I am loving right now

1. Summer is so close, I can almost taste it!

That means, more time with this girl:

And also hopefully some more time with my family and friends! Not to mention, more time with A.!

2. Maybelline Baby Lips

I have the purple, pink, and the Dr. Rescue varieties, and love them all. They add a nice little "pop" once in a while. : )

3. Sensible Portions Veggie Straws

These were on the Target Cartwheel app for the past few weeks, and are Weight Watchers friendly. I love them so much. It's like a combination of chips and french fries, and the sea-salt variety is so yummy! I will definitely be eating these all summer. YUM!

4. I have so many new books to read!

I'm finishing reading the Fablehaven series... again... it's so good. But on the docket, I have:
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- Redfield Farm by Judith Redline Coopey
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King
- The One & Only by Emily Giffin

I will probably also read my Helen Bryan books again this summer... love them.

5. My new pampered chef products

I had a Pampered Chef show last week and I got lots of cool stuff, like a Deep Covered Baker, a microwave egg cooker (A will love that) and a Brownie Pan... which, if you look it up on Pinterest, has a ton of things you can do other than make brownies. (Though the more I think about it, I feel like I could use my muffin pan for more things than just muffins and cupcakes, too.)

Hope you are all enjoying your Memorial Day weekend! Take some time to thank a veteran and remember why we have this holiday in the first place.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I've been bitten! the Disney bug.

I am ready for the school year to end. Seriously guys, I've been proctoring standardized tests the last few days, and today I e-mailed one of the teachers about returning the calculators the students in my room used for the test.

My e-mail: "Your previous email said I was supposed to have 27 calculators, however I only have 23: 12 black ones, 12 yellow ones and 1 blue one."
Other teacher: "Um... that adds up to 24. It's okay, I put your name next to the wrong number."
And then I realized that the number I sent actually added up to 25, so I didn't feel too bad. : )

So basically, what I learned from this is that we all really need a break!

Anyway, this summer we are going to my friend J's wedding in California! So we are getting excited for that trip. I've been to CA once before, to visit J for spring break when I was in college. While we are in CA, we plan on visiting the Pacific Ocean and, of course, DISNEYLAND.

I really, really want to be there now.

And I'm not going to lie, we are totally going to visit an In & Out and a Carl's Jr. while we are there.

Things I am excited to do in Disneyland:

1) EAT.

I have been doing well with Weight Watchers - if I don't lose anything, I at least haven't gained - but I am going to indulge while we are on vacation. After finding this website describing some token Disneyland snacks, I'm pretty pumped. CHURROS! Beignets! Popcorn! Yay!

2) The rides that are different than Disney World

Sure, there's a couple of duplicates that I want to see - the original Haunted Mansion, Pirates, and Small World, and we didn't get a chance to do Big Thunder Mountain on our honeymoon so I'm hoping we can get there on this visit - but there are lots of themed rides in the Land that don't exist in the World. I'm excited to check them out!

3) Disney's Aladdin- a Musical Spectacular

We all know that I am a sucker for musicals, and Aladdin is probably my favorite Disney movie - I can recite it word for word. My brother and I would watch and rewind, watch and rewind.

4) World of Color.

I've heard this is awesome. I want to see it in the worst way. We have a dining/preferred viewing package, which should make for a pretty nice evening. : )

In the words of Sheldon Cooper, "We stayed for the California Adventure water show. It was pure Disney magic."

5) Spend time with my husband : ) We are calling this our "second honeymoon." We haven't gotten to spend much time together during our first year of marriage, it seems, because my job has really kept me busy, and we are so occupied with Penny and fixing up our house. So I'm looking forward to this dedicated time away to hang out with A.!

To my fellow teachers out there - hang in there, we'll make it! : )

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Week

Guys, I'm sitting in my living room with the window and back door open. The breeze is blowing in, the sun is shining, it's a gorgeous day. Life is good!

This past week was crazy, but it was also Teacher Appreciation Week. The high school student council and elementary school PTAs went all out to make sure we had a good week... most things involved food, but my favorite thing all week was dress-down day on Wednesday. YEAH!

Anyway, I wanted to write a few things about my teachers and how they have inspired me.

1. My preschool teachers should be lauded for their patience, as I changed my own name in preschool every week. This resulted in a bunch of paintings labeled with different names. (SMH...) We also got to do lots of cool things in preschool with singing and painting. I was in the paper taking a test that involved shaking film canisters (Yes - FILM CANISTERS) and guessing what was making the noise inside of them.

In case you forgot what those bad boys looked like. 

2. Mrs. Conway, my kindergarten teacher, let me read books to the class, and that was cool. I also remember that when we were learning about the different letters of the alphabet, she would go into a closet in the room and come back out all dressed up in some way to reflect the letter. We also did "kite journals" in kindergarten, where we each got a kite for a weekend. So some creative and fun things there!

3. Mrs. Baronner, my first grade teacher- when I think of her, I think of these:

I remember doing "Chicken Soup with Rice" with Mrs. Baronner. She would read out of the big book and we would listen to the record (yes, the record) and sing and dance along.

4. Mrs. Mills, my second grade teacher, was one of the only teachers who made science interesting to me. I distinctly remember doing a project involving wires, batteries, and lightbulbs, and being transfixed by it all.

5. Miss Hower, my third grade teacher, loved art, and when she found out I did art lessons, let me bring in my artwork and display it in the classroom. In her class we did a unit on different kinds of produce, where we each had to go to the store and get some kind of fruits or vegetables and bring in to share with the class. I had parsnips, and they were delicious!

6. Mrs. Bossi, my fourth grade teacher, was one of my favorite teachers, EVER. She had a fantastic sense of humor and was very encouraging in the areas of art and music. I have so many fond memories of her class that it's difficult to make just one. I will tell you that we had several gaseous boys in our class that year, and one of them gave her air freshener as a Christmas present. It was funny later in the year during standardized testing because something went wrong with the HVAC unit above our room and it sounded, well, like farting. Mrs. Bossi grabbed the can of air freshener and ran out into the hallway, spraying furiously. It was a good break from those stupid, stupid tests. : ) Mrs. Bossi also taught me the important life lesson of gift wrapping!

7. Mr. Neugebauer was my fifth grade teacher and his last name was one of our first spelling words. I also know him from church, where we have both gone since I was born. Mr. N. was loud and sarcastic, and also kind of strict, but I enjoyed having him as a teacher. We did a huge project called "Historic Probe" where we were each assigned a historical (usually Revolutionary War-era) figure and had to do extensive research, culminating in a presentation where we had to dress up like the person and be asked questions by an interview panel of other students. I was Abigail Adams.

In case you didn't know, she was pretty cool.

8. Mr. Jones was my 6th grade teacher, affectionately known as "Dr. J." Once, a friend and I got sick of playing four-square with the other girls at recess and decided we wanted to play baseball with the boys. The boys wouldn't let us play, so we complained to the teacher (my husband interjects "Narc!" at this point). Mr. Jones told the boys they could let us play or not play at all, so the boys threw down their stuff and left the field. After that, the boys had to stay inside during recess for the rest of the week. 

9. With 7th grade came junior high school and many teachers at a time - but my favorite in 7th grade was probably Mrs. Burlingame, my reading teacher. We did so many fun projects in her class and she made learning fun. (Also, I love reading.) She also put me and my friend J. in charge of the school's website, so that was a neat responsibility to have. 

10. In 8th grade, I had Mrs. Burlingame again, which was awesome. I also liked my American studies teacher, Mrs. Salimbene- she was young and fun. I remember doing a lot of vocab in her class. 

11. 9th grade was a fantastic year for teachers. I started coming into my own in the music program then, so I really enjoyed my music teachers- Mrs. Connell, Mrs. Perchy, and Mr. Yon. I had Mrs. Salimbene again as a student council adviser. I retained very little in Biology, but my bio teacher, Mr. Swalga, was big on life lessons. (I have so many stories from his class. So many.) My geometry teacher, Mr. Lightner, was very high-energy and best buds with Mr. Swalga. They were our class advisers, and of course I was on that committee too, so I worked with them a lot. My English teacher, Mrs. Casillo, was also fun- we had a small class that was all band students, since the other Honors English class met during band period. 

We watched WSS in English in 9th grade, and most of the trivia tidbits I know about this movie are due to Mrs. Casillo's commentary during the movie. 

12. In 10th grade I had an English teacher, Mrs. Lowe, who made us WORK. I learned so much about writing and critically reading in her class. Some of my fondest memories of her class are of playing Taboo - it was a fun way to expand vocabulary. : ) I also had AP American History that year with Mr. Ergler. That guy knew how to motivate a class. Our assignments were crazy intense, but he volunteered his own time to come in before school to study with whoever wanted to do so for weeks before the AP Exam. I took advantage of those sessions and wound up with a 4 on my AP Test, so I didn't have to take any history in college, and I am still grateful for his time and help.

Mr. Ergler always said "George Warshington" instead of Washington.

13. In eleventh grade I had Mrs. Suder for English and Mr. Zolnak for history. Mrs. Suder had foreign words of the day, and I soaked all that stuff up - coup d'etat, charge d'affairs, carpe diem, etc. She encouraged me in my writing and I won an award for an essay contest at PSU that year. Mr. Zolnak demanded excellence, and nothing less. He was a little bit eccentric, but I learned a lot in his class.

14. As a senior, my most influential teacher was Mrs. Brown, my English teacher. She was another intense teacher with high expectations, but I loved her class and her personality. In my yearbook she wrote "To K., a true Renaissance woman." I got really high grades on my papers as a college freshman thanks to her preparation. 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Mr. Detwiler, my band teacher from 10th through 12th grade. Now, as a band director, I wish I'd paid more attention to how he taught things and managed us when I was his student. I have a whole new appreciation for everything he had to balance. A lot of what I do is influenced by my own experience in band, and I am grateful to have had such a great leader. Ms. Helsman, my elementary music teacher, was also a big influence on my decision to become what I am today.

One of the reasons I'm writing this post today, on Mother's Day, is because my mother is also a teacher and she has been one of the greatest teachers of them all. Growing up with a mom who is a teacher... she spent so much time grading tests, checking homework, going through projects, lesson planning, designing bulletin boards, going on field trips, and all of the other necessary components of being a teacher. Yet she always had time for me and my brother; to help us study, and with our projects, and to just have fun with us. I saw all of the hard work she did outside of the classroom and it didn't scare me away from being a teacher. I started college as an elementary education major and then switched to music, but I knew I wanted to teach, and that is mostly thanks to the amazing example my mother has set and continues to set for me. This weekend she was completely immersed in papier mache, sent me a picture of the kitchen full of balloons coated in newspaper, to make masks for the musical their sixth grade is doing. She's still going above and beyond. 

So, thanks mom, for being the best teacher I could have ever asked for!

To all of my teachers, whether I liked you or not - and vice versa - thank you for all you have done to shape me into the person I am, and props to you for all you have done and continue to do.

Even though this week is not technically Teacher Appreciation Week, hopefully you can take a minute and think about your teachers and how they have helped you to get where you are.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pros and cons and pros and cons and prooooooooos

The title of this post is a shout out to my fellow Jimmy Fallon fans. You know what I'm talkin' about.

Today was quite a day! We're going to break it down by pros and cons. I am still amazed looking back at it. Because it could have been a lot worse, without all those pros stuck in there to balance the cons.

Con: Car breaks down on my way to school this morning.
Pro: Car breaks down as I'm pulling into the school driveway- so I did make it to the school, just not to the actual building or parking lot.

Con: This happens on a day when my car is full of stuff to bring in: instruments, fundraiser items, food, etc.
Pro: Another teacher pulled over to make sure I was okay, and helped me get my car off the driveway and into the grass. He gave me a lift to the school with all of my stuff too!

Con: I spend all morning running around on the phone, calling AAA, the mechanic, my husband, my dad... and you know, trying to do my job at the same time.
Pro: My students were awesome, well-behaved, and one girl just flat out said, "Hey. What can I do to help you?"

Con: I have to call the tow truck to take my poor car away.
Pro: I don't have to pay for the tow since I am a AAA+ member.

Con: I don't have a car to drive from school to school like I do in the afternoons daily.
Pro: It's a day where I only have to go to the middle school, and it's gorgeous outside, so I can just walk.

All of this stuff under my car's hood is a total mystery to me.

Con: I get a call from the mechanic: they have good news and bad news. The bad news is my transmission has blown.
Pro: The good news is, it's covered by warranty!

Con: We were supposed to go to a dinner meeting tonight, but since we had to deal with all of the car trouble, that simply wasn't happening.
Pro: I sat on the porch in the sun for a while, enjoyed a wine cooler, and now A. and I are catching up on Jimmy Fallon DVR backlog. And you know what? Later, I'm gonna enjoy a nice long bubble bath.

I really enjoy quotes by Ovid : )

Also, major pro: I have an awesome husband who doesn't mind when I call him at work first thing in the morning crying because something else has happened to my car. (I had a flat tire on Friday when I woke up for school in the morning.) In fact, he will share his truck with me while I wait until Friday for my car to get fixed, since they had to order parts.

He's pretty awesome.

Take it easy, folks, and may your cars be healthy! : )