Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to School and Looking Back

It's hard to believe I am going into my sixth year of teaching. How did time go so fast? My first year students are starting junior high, and I am just hoping and praying they do well. I think I'll always worry and wonder about my kiddos. I hope they still remember me when they get older. I'd like to think they would come back and visit me.
That's one of the rewarding parts of being a teacher; knowing that you had a part in their lives and hoping that you've impacted their lives for the better in some way. I know they've certainly enriched mine. I remember my first year of teaching and how nervous I was. I was so clueless about curriculum and time management. I remember just nodding in meetings and pretending like I knew what DRA and ED stood for.
I was just trying to survive my first year.

Fast forward a few years, and sometimes I still feel like I don't have it together. But in a way, I think that's good. Because it keeps me on my toes. I don't get complacent. Some things have gotten easier with time and experience; I know how to utilize class time better, classroom management is my strength (thanks to the teacher I was with when I student taught), and small group instruction is becoming more comfortable. Still, I have an opportunity to grow even more this year. I am apprehensive, but also motivated to do my best this year and be great, not just good.

I know it's hard sometimes. I get tired of staying at school until 7 and grading mountains of papers. I get impatient when kids don't listen and drown you out. I get upset when parents expect so much and don't understand my point of view. I am frustrated when people think teaching is easy and they look down on me. But I honestly believe teaching is one of the most rewarding careers there is. And it's because of the kids.
Who gets a hug for giving a piece of paper? Or gets told several times a day that you're pretty? Who gets called 'mom' on accident and gets a song and dance show at recess? Or gets to experience them have that look, like a light turning on in their head when they learn something new? Who gets called talented when drawing a stick figure on the board? Or at the beginning of the year, gets told she hates math, and at the end of the year, says she loves it? I do. A teacher does.

I think back to my own teachers. I wish I had taken the time to appreciate them. Because now I know what they did. I understand now. So this is for all my teachers especially the ones that went above and beyond being just a teacher. You were the teacher that showed compassion and gave me confidence in myself. You made me love rolly pollies and wrote me back on stationary. You had a reading tent and listened to me. You gave me joy in music and a nickname. You were the one who sparked my love for reading and writing. You taught me in case of an emergency, to put low batteries under your arms for heat to electrical energy transfer. You cultured my passion for art and painting. You taught me to believe in myself and not let stereotypes or the way I look hold me back.
Thank you Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Molly, Mrs. Babb, Ms. Hall, Mrs. Turner, and the countless others that shaped my life. One day I hope to be a part of that list.

To all the teachers out there starting tomorrow.. Happy first day!





Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What I would say


Sometimes I'm afraid
for words to spill out
but like a tree that falls away
from listening ears,
do words unspoken
have no power?

It piles
and climbs
and jumbles up
in wicked order
rendering all speech useless
lips albeit parted

What would I say
if spoken words could not harm
Held no fear of regret?
Or is that the deadly beauty of the word
which can both cut and heal
upon its delivery

If I don't speak
who will remember my thoughts
but me
But my weighted words
will live on
in some other's memory

What would I say
if I had a chance
to convey these words
How could I say them
to make you understand
and believe

Or is what I do
better than any word
I speak?
Perhaps that's the only way.
Maybe words aren't quite enough
for what I want to say.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Foodie Friday

Happy Friday for those that work! For me, these summer days all seem like a Friday, although that's going to change in a few weeks. I am so thankful for this break because I feel like I am getting the rest I need before I start work. I am actually excited to start and oddly motivated (let's see how long that lasts haha).

This week has been quite a roller coaster ride. I mean, why should it be any different, right? It started with me being discouraged and frustrated because of my arm (it's still hurting despite going to the doctor and taking medicine daily) to being uplifted on Tuesday at church. I started going to service on Tuesdays and I really like going and feel like I can join a fellowship there. The sermon was an eye opener, and it was actually about dating. It was kind of funny because he was answering commonly asked questions like, is online dating okay? And he was saying, well, in the Bible they don't say because, they didn't have internet back then. Oh goodness. Anyhow, it just really put things in perspective for me and made be realize that I need to prepare myself first. I need to be that wonderful person for him. Prepare for what you hope to have.

There are food trucks after service so we got some ice cream! Pistachio and blueberry cheesecake, respectively.


Anyway the week is ending great with some new food escapades and discoveries.

Okay, so I'm single. And I have a Costco membership. Is that weird? I just love it there! Here are a few of my favorite things:

1. Pretzel rolls - They sell a huge bag you can keep for a few days and then freeze the rest. This is so versatile from being a sandwich bun, to just putting some Biscoff spread on! It is delicious.
2. Quinoa salad. This is ready made at Costco and maybe in the future I will try to make my own, but why try when I can just get this? :)

3. barkTHINS - This stuff is addicting. Maybe not the healthiest snack, but definitely better than a piece of chocolate cake. I just eat one of two pieces as a snack or dessert. If you love dark chocolate and pumpkin seeds, you will thank me. Or more accurately Costco for supplying these.

4. Palermo's Margherita Pizza - I forgot to take a picture, but this is my all time favorite Costco item. This is one of the only pizzas I will eat from a box. It's very thin so you need to cook it until crisp, which usually only takes about 10 minutes or less. I could eat the whole pie, but I eat half and save the other half for lunch the next day. 

Now, I know Costco is a bit pricey, but for the quality of food you get, it is worth it to me. Also, I love going for the samples they give out. Here's a good tip; never buy a product without tasting it first. You don't want to drop 10 or 15 dollars on a product not knowing if you'll like it. That's why they give samples of products for you to try. Most of it is good. Some are great. Go for great.


I also tried to make Fried Green Tomatoes this week after I saw a coworker make it on FB. I need to practice more, because my batter didn't crisp to a nice coating, but it tasted good at least. Plus the gremolata and remoulade sauce I made were so good! I could eat anything with that sauce!


Gremolata

- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1. Zest a whole lemon and use a knife to mince the peel. Put them in a small bowl.
2. Finely chop the parsley and add to the bowl.
3. Add the finely chopped garlic (I always peel whole garlic and mince them using a food processor and store it in a glass Tupperware. It lasts forever. Trust me on this. You will save so much time if you have this done ahead of time. The uses for minced garlic is endless. And I don't recommend buying minced garlic in a jar...just do it yourself!).
4. Mix the 3 ingredients together and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

This Italian garnish can be used on fish, beef, etc. It would be great on shrimp and other seafood too!


Remoulade Sauce

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons Creole whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until all combined.
2. Use immediately or store for a few days in the refrigerator.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse



I also made a YUMMY banana peanut butter smoothie this morning. It only has 3 ingredients and is SO easy to make.


Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

- 1 frozen* banana (sliced)
- 2 Tablespoons of powdered organic peanut butter (I get mine at Whole Foods, also shown here)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (my favorite is Trader Joe's) depending on what consistency you like

1. I put bananas in the freezer and let it thaw a little on the counter before peeling. Slice the "banana ice cubes" and put that, the powdered peanut butter and almond milk in the blender/food processor.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Pour in a cup and enjoy!

That's as easy as it gets! Delicious, healthy, and refreshing!

*For future reference, you can also pre-peel the bananas, slice in halves or slices, put them in a zip lock bag (getting as much air out as possible), and freeze them that way. I am not sure how brown they get that way. The reason I just put the banana bunch in my freezer without peeling is, I was having a fruit fly problem and I got so frustrated, I shoved the whole thing in the freezer without thinking. So after I use up all my bananas, I will try freezing peeled bananas and update it on my blog. Peeling the skin wasn't too bad though (I had to use a knife in a few places) but as it was thawing, it came off fairly easy.

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Summer is the time for healthy living right? Well, attempts at least. I am really trying hard to do that.
The week's success included trying to get Caitlin a gym membership and finally it happened! I am SO pumped about working out this year and eating healthy! Tank tops, here I come! :)

Twenty-four hour Twinkies

Healthy eating @ Zoes Kitchen

Have a wonderful weekend!