Monday, October 26, 2009

I don't have time to post tomorrow...

But I thought, it's time for me to join the "Tasty Tuesday" bandwagon.

Here's my favorite biscuit recipe.

Super delicious, super easy.

2 cups of flour
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tbsp baking powder
(Whisk all this together)

Then cut in 1/3 cup of shortening or butter (I find margarine straight up stinks.)

Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk until mixture pulls away from bowl.

Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch. Cut out biscuits with a flour-rimmed juice glass.

It makes about 7 large biscuits or 12 medium biscuits.

They are Joel's absolutely in point: he's been asking for them for a week, so I finally got around to making them yesterday. There are none left. I made 7 more today. We'll see how long they last this time!

I've gotten it down to a 15 minute process to make them!

Can't wait to read other recipes!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A tribute

It's 1:30pm on a Thursday, and I'm watching TV on my couch. It's not the piggy sneezes, thankfully. I just feel run down and had an awful sore throat yesterday. I decided to take the day off and not let all the germs that are festering in my classroom attack me...I'm not on guard.

So instead on blogging about my head cold, I'd rather give a quick tribute to one of the greatest television shows ever created, Freaks and Geeks.

I am not lying when I saw I have seen every episode of this one-season, 18-episodes series about 10 times. It never ever gets old.

So on a rainy day like today, I'm entering into hour 4 of my couch sitting, having had a brief intermission for chicken nuggets.

You know, I was really stressing about this week. I had something going on every night. I was teaching for the first time at youth group, which made me nervous. I'm going out of town this weekend, and I have only had time to cook one meal a week so far this semester. Tuesday, after a long day that started with a conference and ended at 8pm (after a math night of teaching permutations and combinations to parents for an hour and a half), I was exhausted. I came to home to find our dining room table spread with orange gerber daisies, merlot (because that's what Kyra Sedgwick always drinks on The Closer), a super cute card, fancy soap, ginger chocolate, and parmesan ciabatta bread. So I guess this tribute is also to my husband. He knew how tired I was and surprised me with all my favorite things.

I just love coming home and knowing that although I have to fight for the attention of 24 kids, my best friend is always going to listen to me. And while this year is going so well in the classroom, it's somehow a lot busier. So we've had to be more intentional about planning our time together, even if it's just sitting down to frozen pizza at the table.

Somehow this ended up more rambly than I had intended.

Here's to you, Paul Feig, for the best TV show ever, and to Joel Orr, the best husband ever.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Sweets

With so much yuckiness going on recently to divide us and make life difficult (including State's awful loss last night), I was really convicted about the bigger things in life.

Bigger things like what a dear friend, Meredith, is doing in Uganda. I think she's the greatest and love what she's doing. You can read about it at the light straight ahead.

Things like my friends Christie and James getting engaged. I couldn't be happier for a couple! I just love the two of them and am so excited for what God has done and is doing in their lives together.

She took this picture, by the way, and you can find more of her stuff at her blog here.

Bigger things like the great morning Joel and I had in the church nursery with the 3 and 4 year old cutie patooties , and watching him read five of them a story about Noah's Ark, with some embellishments about pachyderms and such, and he has all of their attention, except for one little one who is crying and has orange on her mouth, and I realize she's chewed a crayon (a crayon!) and says "yucky" and I want to tell her, well, that's why we don't chew crayons, but she's 3 so I don't. But it was a great morning with no child getting hurt, which is an accomplishment in and of itself, praise the Lord.

Things like a great evening celebrating a 50th birthday last night, and us sitting around telling horror stories of our first kisses and and hilarious knock knock jokes (we were all YMCA counselors, after all) and then snuggling in to watch one of the cheesiest movies in cinematic history.

And these are the bigger things because they connect us, and I need to spend my energy in things like this, not in those things that divide us.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Well, I've received some interesting comments on my last post. It was posted on the Wake Ed blog. I made it private during the day to make sure that my principal was okay with it being online.
You've given me lots of great things to think about. I'm not a board member. I have lots of research to do (which is how I'll spend my Friday night!), but I stand behind my original concerns. I want us to think about the implications of neighborhood schools, and what could happen to the fabulous classroom environment I have right now.
By the way, our Family Meetings do not include parents, they are just meetings our my students. We encourage each other, give compliments, and talk about good things from the week. They even said last week, "You have 24 kids!!" Sometimes, I feel like I do. And I can't imagine my room without a single one of them.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

As a classroom teacher...

The results of the election this week have me...concerned. Wake County voters have elected new Board of Education members that favor neighborhood schools, a policy which is in opposition to the bussing and diversity policies currently in place in Wake County.

What I have heard about proponents of neighborhood schools is an almost "back to a simpler time" argument, back to a time where you could count on your school always being the same and not having to face constant reassignment. While it may seem like a majority of students are being shuffled around, it's actually only about 3% of the student population. Most students attend schools very close to their neighborhood.

To me, this seems like the true motives are slightly more sinister. It seems more like parents are trying to control the populations of the schools their children will attend, and don't agree with Wake County's policy of assigning students based on economic diversity.

It's not a perfect system.

But Wake County is a model for counties around the country, and I don't think it's an accident. Charlotte-Mecklenburg abandoned their diversity policy, and Wake County has them beat in test scores and teacher turnover rates. I doubt this is a coincidence.

I'm really concerned about the implications:
-Schools who draw from a poorer base population will have less PTA funding (which, let's be honest, helps more than you know).
-There may be higher teacher turnover in those poorer schools.
-EVERYBODY benefits from a diverse classroom. I have seen my poor kids learn a lot from the experiences that students who have had more resources can share. But ALL of my students are learning how to relate to people from very different walks of life. This isn't fluff. I've seen it happen firsthand. And it's a wonderful thing that could very well be lost. There aren't boundaries in my room. Why are there boundaries being formed in the county? This seems more like a euphemism for segregation, maybe not in the intentions of all who voted for this policy, but in the consequences of such a change.

I am terrified about the change that may occur in my classroom. I think about the diversity I have in my room, and how students from completely different socioeconomic backgrounds are extremely close friends. I think about the community that is forming during our Friday Family Meetings and what it would be like without those students that are being bussed in from other parts of the county. I know they won't be reassigned this year, but I can't imagine what my class would have been like without them.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

There's an election today!

It's a big day for the Board of be informed and go vote!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fear of Man

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. -Proverbs 29:25

I had three parent-teacher conferences this week that went great. But of course, before they occurred, I was extremely nervous because of how I thought they could go. I was worried about the information I had to tell the parents and how it would be received, what the parents would think of me as a 23-year-old teacher, and even if my clothes that day would say "professional" or "slacker." I wish I could say that this is a rare state of mind for me, but it's not.

And the ironic thing is, in posting today, I'm worried about how crazy people will think about all my weird insecurities. But I have this sneaking suspicion that I'm not the only one. I doubt I'm the only one that hopes no one will comment about how every pair of pants I own is from Target, or how although I've lost 20 pounds, I'm still 20 pounds heavier than anyone I teach with, or that the new idea I want to try out with my kids is really going to bomb. It's this obsession with wanting to seem "normal" in the eyes of people around me. And the only way I can describe it is as a trap.

Enter Proverbs 29:25 that showed up as the daily verse on Thursday, right before a conference. It seems like I'm not so odd if it's a proverb in the Bible...that author hit the nail on the head. Being fearful of what man thinks or can do is a straight up snare. And not only that, the "antidote" isn't to "be yourself" or "make yourself happy."

Did anyone watch the pilot episode of Community? The "jock" in the study group, Troy, wears a high school letter jacket all the way to college, which earns him a fair amount of slack. He asks Jeff Winger if he should stop wearing the jacket so that people will stop making fun of him, or keep wearing it to not look weak. And Jeff tells him, "Either way, it's for them." The world tells us to do things for ourselves, not for other people.

But that's not what Proverbs 29:25 says. It says to trust in the Lord, to take the focus off of me and concern myself with Him.

This message has been said to me about three ways in the past couple of weeks, from various people, and I think that means that I need to listen. A very insightful friend said to me the other day, "The way you're looking at all of this is very egocentric." Ouch, but so true. When I'm so concerned about what everyone thinks of me, it's not really about making them happy, it's about making sure I look ok. It's not about insecurities. It's about being selfish, when I really get down to it. And being confident in myself will create a whole new slew of problems.

This friend challenged me to stop worrying about myself and focus that energy on the Lord and on other people. That's how I stop this crazy cycle. Remember, "If nothing changes, nothing changes," and this is one thing that has to change.