Sunday, September 11, 2016

New School? Old School!

So after much thought, and careful planning, I left my school. It was a shock to many. I did a lot at the school and made some great strides with students. I'm proud of my work at the magnet school, but I needed my health to be better. I needed my nights to be less anxious, and I needed a school with a high morale and rigorous collaboration. I needed my Phamily.

Now, I say that with a "P" because the school I taught at prior to the magnet school, had a "Ph" in the beginning of its name. And every single person there felt like family to me. Everyone was professional, had a good sense of humor, and the teachers/staff were diverse. There were many countries and cultures represented among the teachers/staff as well more than one gender. And, as I've learned from magnet programs, a diverse population creates a healthier work environment.

I debated on whether or not to bring my son with me to my new/old school. And as I weighed the pros and cons, the pros FAR outweighed the cons.

My son and I are "the happiest I've seen in a long time," said my darling husband. From my end, I am less stressed, less anxious, haven't had school nightmares in the middle of the night, and have such a great team that I feel so at ease.

I now teacher K-6 grade as an Art & Engineering teacher. It's everything I loved at my last school, but on a much bigger scale. And I work with some of my closest friends whom I've known for 11 years, and some I've only known a few months.

School started in the middle of August, and usually after four weeks of school, "the honeymoon's over", but I am still going strong. I still hug my principal and/or vice principal nearly every day for bringing me back over. And my son loves that I am actually one of his teachers! In fact, he'll be joining me tomorrow for a continued lesson on warm and cool colors. I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Peel an Egg?!

Scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day, I came across a video a friend had posted. I wasn't in a place where I could watch it without getting stares, so I clicked the "save" button. For the record, this is my new favorite feature of Facebook. Clicking "save" is great for those times when my FB feed decides to reset itself, or I accidentally minimize my screen, then forget and close it out, or even when my son decides now is a good time to run in the room and jump on me during a Walking Dead trailer.

But I digress.

The real reason I'm writing, is to tell you that eggs can be my kitchen nemesis. If I purchase a six-pack of eggs (also known as a half dozen), my husband then decides that he should make a seven layer cake. If I buy a dozen, eight of those eggs go unnoticed and end up in the trash days after expiring. This week's flub was that I had bought a dozen organic, free-range eggs while doing weekly shopping, only to come home the next day to a second dozen of eggs. "Are you planning on an Easter egg hunt, honey?" I asked innocently. 
"I didn't know you bought eggs, and I bought some today," my dear husband replied.

I can't win.

So today I decided that eight of those little huevos needed to be boiled. When they were ready, I remembered that I had "saved" a video about how to peel boiled eggs. I watched it. I was in awe. I HAD to try it. And guess what? I made mess. It didn't peel any different than had I not placed water in the glass. Typical me. I can't win in the kitchen. 

So I tried again.

This time, I didn't turn the glass sideways, and I added less water. What do you know? Turning it sideways only spun the egg around in a vortex of shell and water. But turning the glass completely over with less water, worked! I highly recommend this method of peeling your hard boiled eggs.

Now if only I could figure out how to correctly determine how many eggs I'll need for the week.

Here's the video I watched:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Don't Be An Onion

How many times have you had your students/kids engaged in a great activity or lesson, and then one kid RUINS it for the entire group? Yeah, been there, done that many times over.

Every year I have to give my "Don't be an onion" speech. Don't get me wrong, I love onions. Onion rings, green onions, sauteed onions, onion soup, onion dip, Animal Style onions...and the list goes on. But there's a time and a place for an onion. And for my "Don't Be an Onion" speech, I bring all my students to the carpet so I have their (hopefully) undivided attention. I tell it nice and slow to build up the anticipation. And's my speech:

"Okay kids, for this, I don't want you to say ANYthing. The only thing you're going to do when I ask you a question, is for you to raise your hand if you like what I say. Okay, I want you to think about a bowl. A big bowl. A HUGE bowl, if you want. Now, in your brain, I want you think about your FAVORITE ice cream. Don't tell me what it is, just imagine your FAVORITE ice cream. Now, load up your big, huge bowl with as much of your favorite ice cream as you want. Now, raise your hand if this is something you'd like. (everyone raises hand) Great! Now I want you to imagine your huge bowl of ice cream and I'm going to squirt chocolate syrup or hot fudge all over your ice cream. Do you still want it? If so, raise your hand. (everyone raises hand) Super! Now, I'm going to squirt whip cream, if you want, all over your big bowl of ice cream and chocolate. Do you still want it? (everyone raises hand) Okay, think of your favorite sprinkles. Maybe your favorite sprinkles are chocolate sprinkles, or rainbow sprinkles, or even nuts. Whatever your favorite sprinkles are, I'm going to sprinkle them aaaaallllll over your ice cream, chocolate, and whip cream. Do you still want it? (everyone raises their hand) Now, I'm going to put as many cherries on top of your ice cream, and chocolate, and whip cream, and sprinkles as you want. Do you still want it? (everyone raises hand) Okay, for the last topping, I'm going sprinkle chopped onions all over the top of your whip cream. Do you still want it? (kids make an ewww sound, and are confused. No one raises hand) See how one thing can ruin a really good thing? Don't be an onion. Don't be the one person who ruins something fun for everyone."

I tell you, it's funny to hear them tell each other not to be an onion while waiting in line, or on the carpet during a story. They get it. They know when something good is being wasted.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Well it's been a few minutes since I've blogged. I realized last night, between picking up my son from Grandma's, buying groceries for dinner, making dinner, bathing my son, tucking him in, tucking him in again, and cleaning up after dinner, that I miss blogging.

I guess it's like a bike? You never really forget how to write. And just like riding a bike, I need to make sure I make time for it. So...with that in mind...I'm back. Looking forward to writing more.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Family Made

Ahhhh....nothing like sitting down on a hot summer night with a cold glass of buttermilk in my Old Lady Room. Yes, that's right, buttermilk. I'm probably one of the eight people in northern California who buys buttermilk (The other seven are my relatives.). (I'll tell you another time about my Old Lady Room)

Buttermilk is a southern staple. Growing up, I could ALWAYS count on it hiding inside the fridge at both my grandparents' homes. My mom's family is from Alabama, and my dad's family is from Texas and Oklahoma. And boy do they love their buttermilk!

My favorite buttermilk snack would be at my dad's mom's house (Nana). Unlike my mom's mom, Nana made her cornbread a bit sweet. It was crumbly and delicious hot or cold. My favorite was to take a glass of buttermilk and crumble the cornbread up and drop it in the glass. I'd grab a spoon and push down the golden bread until it was all soaked up with the sour, thick buttermilk. 

I'm hankerin' for some now! Lucky for me, I bought some the other day (wish I had gotten a bigger carton. This here is the last of it).

With all this nostalgia for my childhood, it got me thinking about my home. There are times when I walk in, and it smells like Nana's house. If I make a roast in the crockpot, I'm whisked back to her home by my nostrils. When I tell a story that cracks me up to the point of tears, I think of her telling me about the time she set up a tent in the dark while camping, only to wake up the next day to honking. She had tears in her eyes laughing so hard recalling how they had set up camp in the middle of the road. "I wondered why it was so hard driving those stakes in!" she said through roaring laughter.

We have pictures everywhere of our family in our home. The biggest issue I have with that isn't the amount of pictures we have, but of how we have them displayed. Our shelves are covered with different sized black frames from our 16 years together. We have one wall that cannot seem to get anything attached to it other than my two guitars. Meaning, we've hung a large poster photograph, and it fell. We attempted to rub one of those stencil things, and it wouldn't stick. I searched for a framed art piece that I could hang, yet nothing was "the one".

Then I came up with an idea. If I could create a centerpiece that represented us, we could hang the photos all around it! Here's what I did:

I bought a canvas, Mars Black acrylic paint, some scrapbooking paper, dragged out my unopened bottle of glossy Mod Podge, my husband's adhesive spray, and my old paintbrushes from art class. The rock is merely to keep the papers from blowing away.

I had my three year old son help me paint the canvas black using the sponge brush. We then let it dry overnight on his hopscotch court.

The next day, we went to my friend Jessica's house so we could use her Sillhouette Machine. Have you seen these things? They are AMAZING! I'm still gushing over it! We picked out the font, and sent each scrapbook paper through to cut out a different letter on each paper.

I then sprayed my fingers the letters with the (removable) adhesive and placed them accordingly. I let it dry overnight (although, it could've been done sooner). Note to future self: Spray, let it dry a bit, spray again, and make sure all letters stay FLAT before applying Mod Podge. Or use vinyl (sticky paper) instead.

Cue the Mod Podge.

I again used the sponge brush and did left to right motions. I also made sure to get the sides of the canvas. It goes on white, but dries clear and shiny (unless you're using the matte version). After a few hours of drying, I added a second coat. It turned out FANTASTIC!

Now, where can I find a Sillhouette machine? 

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics' Monday Made It. Check it out here:

Fourth Grade Frolics
And Teacher's Take-Out here: