Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday post.

I finally got all my Words Their Way books to start this program in my classroom. They all came last night, so I probably won't start till next week, but hooray! I think it will be a huge undertaking to start this alone, but I am excited to have some initiative.

Today was Grace Elizabeth's baptism. She was freaking adorable. I love babies. And I love friends that make things so much fun. Thank you, Laura, for still inviting us places even though we are way too loud.

Also, I can cross (almost) everything off my to-do list for this weekend. Thank the LORD! It feels so good to do that!

I have also come to the conclusion that I need to start building up a winter wardrobe that does not consist of college hoodies and long sleeve t-shirts. Just an idea.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


1) I am thankful for my husband. He is good at hugging and at eating my cooking even if he doesn't love it (I'm new at this thing). He also looks great in his Sunday best.

2) I have learned a lot about contentment. Not yet on how to be content, but on what I should be in regards to possessions. I'm not there yet. But Joel and I have reflected a lot recently on the work the Lord has done in us in regards to money. And we are so thankful for all that He has blessed us with.

"If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." 1 Timothy 6:8

But I invite discontentment into my life when I constantly compare myself to others or spend idle (dangerous) moments daydreaming about the house we could have.

Joel and I discuss this house often and how thankful we are for it. It meets our needs (price, location, space) and we decided that we will try stay here (God-willing) until we need to buy a house.

I am overflowing in thankfulness after taking Crown. We are on the same page now with money and we feel directed.

3) This was a question from Crown homework this week. I haven't answered it yet.

What would you say?

As you reflect on eternity, what three things do you want to accomplish during the rest of your life?

Things I am thinking about...

I have 13 minutes before I am going to go babysit for the funny little boy that danced with me at my wedding.

But I spent much of yesterday thinking about what distracts me, how different the Bible is from our culture, how sometimes I try to mesh it but I know it's different, and I know it is Life. I thought about contentment and trying to live a simpler life.

I thought about Mumbai and Sarala's dad who works there (and is fine, thank the Lord), and the worker trampled to death in Walmart.

I bought a new journal and found a nice pen and I am thankful for this.

the hubs and I went to the farmer's market yesterday and bought pecans in their shells, so I spent the evening cracking shells and dreaming about oatmeal raisin pecan cookies and pecan crusted chicken and other things that I will appreciate so much more now that I have cracked the shells myself :)

I have more to write about but, like I said, it's time to earn some money!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Winter Walk Playlist

One of my favorite things about cold weather is taking walks alone in the late afternoon as the sun is setting.

I am so thankful for the office park/walkway near our house. Joel went to the gym this afternoon, so I decided to go for a walk.

I'm also thankful for the iPod nano he got me as a wedding present (I LOVE it) and the songs he put on it. The shuffle function was at its best today. This might have been the best random playlist of all time.

1) Hellogoodbye-Oh, It Is Love: What a cheesy song but it always makes me smile.
2) AM& Tina Dico- While My Guitar Gently Weeps ( I am generally skeptical of all Beatles' remakes but I think this one is great.)
3) Beck-Lost Cause
4) Andrew Bird-Fake Palindromes (monstahs?)
5) Sufjan Stevens - For The Widows In Paradise; For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti (an all-time, top ten favorite)
6) Leona Lewis-Bleeding Love (my bachelorette party song :)
7) The Weepies-World Spins Madly On
8) Rufus Wainwright-Across the Universe ( I hate to say this, but I must. I love this version more than the original. Rufus' voice plus my favorite pondering lyrics...perfection)
9) Jimmy Eat World-The Middle (guilty pleasure but this used to be my "running song")
10) Avett Brothers- I would be sad ("I meant what I said when I said I would rearrange my plans and change for you"...sigh)
11) Unkle Bob-Put a Record On (we absolutely love this song)
12) David Mead-Nashville (Always reminds me of The Love Campaign)
13) Postal Service-Brand New Colony
14) Black Eyed Peas-Pump It
15) Chris O'Brien-Hey Love
16) Death Cab for Cutie-Title and Registration
17) Jars of Clay-Waiting for the World to Fall
18) The Strokes-Someday

Now taking suggestions for additions to the winter walk playlist...

Techno Tuesday

No, not that kind of techno.

I just realized my blog is extremely boring, so I thought I'd post some technology resources that I have discovered (or have been sent to me!) to the other teachers out there.


This has a bunch of tools like an arcade game creator for reviewing concepts, a random name picker (I used this recently to pick chaperones for a field trip), timers and concept maps. I will definitely be using the paragraph concept map (the hamburger below) this quarter. They are all flash games/diagrams so you'll have to be able to use that.

Name picker:

Click here for full screen version


Click here for full screen version


I put this on here before, but you could use this for class surveys. Example, What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
The more times you put in a word, the bigger that word is. So:

(pie is my favorite)

You have to pay for it but my school has already paid so I use this ALL THE TIME.
You have to pay for this too but if your school will buy it, it is great.

5) This website isn't flashy but we do a math minute everyday to practice fluency and I get all my worksheets for that here:

Hope that was educational :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe, among other notes.

New super easy recipe of the week :

-whole wheat penne
-chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins (to be sauteed)
-diced roma tomatoes
-half cup of pesto
-can of 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
-1/2 cup of milk

1) Boil the pasta

2)In a large frying pan, saute the chicken in canola oil, drain. You can cut up the chicken or leave it whole. In the same pan, add soup, milk, and pesto, and later the tomatoes. Boil for 5 minutes so that the sauce thickens.

3) Toss with pasta and eat...yum yum :)

This was super easy but it looked pretty with some caesar salad.

I'm so looking forward to this break. Joel and I can't wait to spend the next 5 days together and have a good rest. I might be getting I'm glad just glad to have this break.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I just wanted to say...

Jack Bauer is back.


Idleness and other thoughts

Warning Against Idleness
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
-2 Thessalonians 3:6-13


She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
-Proverbs 31:27

Lately I have been extremely convicted of how much time I WASTE. It's like taking an hour and just flushing it down the toilet. This week I have really tried to be more organized at school, cook nicer meals, and really scrub the house down. I am also realizing just how I cannot do it all alone. So I am thankful for 1) The LORD who gives me strength and motivates me to take care of the things He has provided and 2) my husband who is such a good partner. I have tried to prioritize things better too, which has been helpful. I have tried to make lists of things that HAVE to be done and things I wish could be done.

I also am really wanting to make my classroom more engaging. Especially because some really bright students have been showing signs of boredom...and I can't let that happen. I am also thankful for a school that really supports new things I want to try and the ability to use technology in as many lessons as possible.

This has become the new facebook to me:

I am on this site daily and constantly finding new things to cook. I LOVE it.

So for this week, I'm looking forward to a short and ENGAGING week, and five days with my baby!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today was a good day

School went smoothly today.

Truly, THANK THE LORD. I know tomorrow may bomb, but today, it felt good. The kids were well-behaved for the most part. We got good work done. We ended the day on a positive note.

I just need to record these good days to remember when other days aren't so good.

I did end the day feeling super yucky. Praise the Lord, my math group was cooperative and on-task so I was able to take it really easy. I literally couldn't stand up without feeling nauseous so I sat down and taught the lesson by saying, "Sarah, hold up what you've done so I can see it." I feel a little better now but I have been taking it super easy tonight. I have watched TV all night. Joel cooked dinner (yummy chili) and watched Jon and Kate Plus 8 with me.

(P.S. Did anyone else see her beautiful dress? My goodness. It was gorgeous.)

New recipe I love:
Thai Chicken Strips

* 2 tablespoons sesame oil
* boneless, skinless chicken sliced into strips
* Tablespoon hoisin sauce
* Tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter
* 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
* soy sauce to taste


1. Heat oil in large skillet and cook chicken in canola oil until it is no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add Hoisin sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil, and soy sauce Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is bubbly and warm, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with scallions. Serve immediately.

I think you can add cayenne pepper too, but I forgot. Next time I'll try it. We ate this last night with the couscous salad and it turned out really well.

Off to daydream about traveling and get ready for tomorrow :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Sundays are usually crazy for us. We wake up early to go to the gym before church. Tomorrow we are serving in the nursery, then going to Meemaw's for lunch. We'll have some cleaning up and getting ready for the week to do in the afternoon before our Crown class. Dinner is usually a really quick, cheap meal after Crown. Like...89 cent frozen burritos and salad. It's nice to eat like a college kid sometimes :)

But I had this huge urge today to make a couscous salad for dinner tomorrow. So here goes:

* 1.5 cups chicken broth
* 1 cup uncooked couscous
* 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
* 1-2 roma (plum) tomatoes, thinly sliced
* Green onions, diced and diced white onions
* Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar
* garlic powder to taste
* salt and pepper to taste

Heat up 1.5 cups of chicken broth. Remove from heat and stir in a cup of couscous. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. In a large bowl, stir in the garbanzo beans (chick peas) and everything else. I put in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and kept adding more in as needed. I'm putting it in the fridge until tomorrow night. Hopefully all the flavors will blend together. I tried it, though, and it was yummy! And it really took about 15 minutes to make.

The end :)

more wordle

words from my blog.

Laura's blog

Psalm 119

John 17

Psalm 23

How fun :) fun

I have cleaned the kitchen so many times since last night

My menu last night for my parents was rosemary breaded chicken, rosemary and olive oil potatoes (thanks Kelsi), green beans (mmm), and bread. I made a chocolate chip cookie bar (ish) for dessert.

After cleaning the kitchen, I decided to make pumpkin muffins for people that were coming over later last night.

We went to Foster's, then Village Draft House...and generally had a good time out.

The girls just left this afternoon after watching Drop Dead Gorgeous and having lunch.

I am so thankful for all the great kitchen and dinnerware we received from the wedding. It makes having people over 1) possible and 2) fun.

My hubs is with a friend all day, so I think I'll spend my evening grocery shopping, grading papers, doing my Crown homework and watching my favorite show of all time, Freaks and Geeks.

I really want to take a walk but it's getting scary today. Stormy and whatnot.

One thing I just realized...I really like looking around our house and outside. There are so many trees outside our back window. Looking out on our deck that is covered with firewood to the trees at the back makes me feel a little bit like I live in the woods or the mountains. I love it. I also love looking around and remembering trips we've taken, our families, friends, favorite just makes me happy. I love it.

Ok...time to start the grocery list :) Oh to be an ama de casa.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I truly want these 2 children who come from crap homes with parents that are questionably doing the best they can- to get it together, stop screwing around, stop disrupting my class all the time, and freaking learn. And be on grade level. And not turn into the people in their neighborhood that do drugs and are in gangs at 14. Please Jesus. Please please please. Truly I want them to be so different.

(I hate that I suspended a child today. I want to cry. My heart hurts for him.)

Just being as honest as I can.

Currently I'm baking chocolate chip cookie bars (for my sweets craving and my parents who are coming for dinner tomorrow), trying to figure out a dinner for tomorrow night with limited ingredients, working on my IGP for my BT1 meeting (oh, acronyms), and watching great TV.

This is what I have in our kitchen:
tomato sauce
Curried kidney beans
cous cous
Northern beans
Green beans
homemade veggie soup
ground beef
chicken tenderloins
spinach leaves more $ left for groceries this week in our budget.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More news about fun times.

I know I talk about the hubs all the time but oh well. my blog.

after watching eternal sunshine of the spotless mind approximately 3 years ago, i call him joelie. an awkward but endearing (to me) nickname. only i call him that. and he doesn't seem to mind too much.

so we decided to support our local chick fil a this evening for date night. because we can.

and then we had a 7:30 showing of madagascar 2 lined up (it was either that or zack and miri...just kidding...). we had some time to kill after wolfing down our chicken strips and new chik fil a sauce (crack in honey mustard form), so we strolled around tar-jay, dreaming about Christmas time, decorating (ok that was me), presents for our parents, and generally getting in the Christmas spirit. This is huge for me because I am normally a Scrooge until the week before. I've never enjoyed celebrating Christmas, you know, at Halloween. But this year, with the prospect of a bigger family, our own cozy bed, a fireplace and a joint bank account, the Christmas season can last as long as it wants! I love it. And joelie loves it. Which I love.

After buying our Reese's pieces, Whoppers, and Jelly Belly we decided we'd rather save our cash and finish The Dead Poet's Society. I've never seen it. Gasp. But he has. 20 times. So we watched it, I got sad. And then I posted.


So I have this friend...

One thing I LOVE love love about being married is that Joel is my best friend. And sometimes we honestly can't go to sleep because we are cracking each other up. Like telling jokes. Or singing Elton John songs off-key. Really, he just cracks me up. I doubt I crack him up as much. I love watching movies late at night, getting ice cream before bed, laughing for half an hour and thinking, is this my husband?? Because I just think I'm having a sleepover with my BFF.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Thank the Lord for some small blessings tonight.

I made a yummy chicken pot pie (thanks to Laura's easy recipe).
I had the privilege of babysitting Miss Grace Elizabeth and SHE SMILED ... a lot! It was so exciting! I was told to sing to her to quiet her down, and all the songs I could think of were Ben Folds songs (thanks Joel) and "Shake my sillies out." Hilarious. Glad there was no nanny-cam. Thanks L-Cat Rob for the opportunity to play with your sweet girl. It was a blast and definitely brightened my evening.

Then I got home and my sweet hubs ran outside to meet me at the car. I thought he had just missed me so much and wanted to hug me, but really he just wanted Goodberry's, which was a-ok with me because I LOVE spontaneous ice cream trips late at night. It makes me feel almost as adventurous as the time I danced a jig in a small (and by small, I mean 1 church, 2 pubs, and an inn) town pub in Spain.

I am a first year teacher

Well, this blog was supposed to be about beginning marriage and teaching.

So today I need to talk about my experience so far as a teacher.

Today was not fun. I wish I had that desire to teach all the time. But I have some serious troublemakers in my class. I have spoken with the principal and their 2nd grade teachers. I can't really go into details, confidentiality and all. But these kids aren't really new behavior issues. I spoke with the counselor about one student. It was affirming because I had thought that maybe it was just me, but she agreed that he has some serious things going on.

One of these students was supposed to start in a new school today. I spent Friday really preparing for his departure. There were some things I wished I had done differently with him. His new school is actually tracked guess who showed up this morning?

Admittedly, I was shocked. I hadn't psychologically prepared for him to return. And while it's nice to have a bit of a second chance, the same problems that I thought would end today returned in full force.

These kids are SO defiant, so angry, so below grade level and sometimes so spoiled at home that school is just a completely negative place.

I want an overnight change. I know that can't happen. But this afternoon I broke down a bit. I had to leave the room and shed a few tears. I got it together, and I never want that to happen again. I just hope I'm really cut out for this.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

This weekend has been super busy. From Cornhuskin' on Friday to bachelorette festivities for Kathleen last night, I've been running around for a while! Joel and I spent some good time together after church today, including a massive meal from Bojangles.

We've been learning about work this week, and how to view it. And I need refreshment, a new attitude, love for my class and no partiality. I need the Lord to fill me up so I can give. I have just been working for a paycheck, for the weekend, for good test scores for my kids, but not always for the Lord. And I just desire joy and purpose so much at work.

I stumbled upon a blog that Laura, Joel and I had started three summers ago when we travelled (Joel to Turkey, Laura to California, and me to England), all to share the love of Christ with unbelievers. I remember the sweetness of being in the Lord's will and also the apprehension of what we would be doing. I remember the fire that occurred in the Istanbul airport the day Joel got there, and I remember seeing it on the news and not being able to talk to him (we weren't speaking then) and how I was terrified for him. But we knew we were in God's hands.

We knew our purpose was to minister to others. We worked, we rested in Him, we loved people. I wasn't perfect. I still felt young in my faith and my understanding of working for the Lord. But that excitement of meeting new people, seeing hearts turn to the Lord...I want that excitement now at school. And it's frustrating to look at this like a job, rather than a ministry. I need renewal in my soul.

We never actually wrote on that blog, which I regret. But this verse was at the top of the page. This verse was such a burden on my heart that summer.

"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." -Isaiah 49:6

I want to go somewhere. Every few weeks I get that itch to travel. I dream of new cultures, new foods, new relationships in new places. But I'm here now. Right where God has placed me. Oh, to have that same attitude at work. I know in my head that this is a ministry, a place to serve and love and grow, but that truth isn't written on my heart.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day light savings...

...normally means 1 extra hour of sleep. Except I'm spending an extra hour grading.

After I graded the science tests, I started to organize all my reading and writing work samples except I realized I haven't really done this they way I should have this quarter will be different.

Just as I started to grade, one student at a time, Joel and I decided to go for a walk. We were getting pretty antsy. We got back, and I cooked dinner. I finally used my rice cooker, and I loved it!! I made enough rice for a few days, so I can feel like I am eating "real meals" again. Growing up, we had rice almost everyday so I just wanted to have my normal meals again. We also bought white rice, like I'm used to, and not that yucky brown rice. I also made two loaves of Amish friendship bread before settling back to grading. I've finish all but three of my math grades and not I just have to plug them into the report cards and write comments for math.

I am watching the Duggar family show on TLC and Josh just proposed to Anna, and they are so freaking adorable but it is a little awkward watching other people right after they get engaged!

Ok, I have a little sore throat. If you could please pray that I don't get sick. Joel has been sick all week and I have been using Purell and Coldeeze like it's my job, but there's only so much you can do when you sleep in the same bed!

Why can't I just get it together?

Today hasn't been bad.

In fact, it's been really good. Joel and I woke up after 10, were lazy until 11 when he made pancakes and eggs and I drank coffee and looked up stuff for the local election. I tidied up a bit. Joel's mom stopped by and we chatted. We left around 1 to go the grocery store. We were 45 cents under budget. Eeek. We didn't get to the gym until close to 3, and stayed there for an hour and a half. By the time we got home and put away the groceries, it was after 5!

My plan of cleaning the house, grading the mountain of papers, starting report cards, and finishing (starting) our Crown homework before dinner went out the window.

I can't think of a day when I didn't feel completely scattered. It's like I can't focus on anything! I run around starting one project and then another and then cleaning the kitchen halfway before starting laundry and checking my email and....

I just wish my brain was organized.

Our house is cluttered. Not our room, really, but the living room and the guest room.

I just finished grading my science tests. I did them all in one go and now I'm going to work on grading writing. Then finishing math. Then social studies. Then putting it in one concise list so I can easily enter grades. I hope it works this way. I just ate a bunch of chips and queso so I should be good and not need dinner for a while. Joel's watching football, so I have no temptation to look up to see Jon and Kate Plus 8 :) My only distraction...the internet!