I feel like I only have teaching stories nowadays…

March 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm (random, teaching)

So after writing about love, and then reading Bethany’s comment, I decided to go re-read some of my old Facebook notes… I feel like I used to have so many more things to talk about! But then I remember I was in college, and I could surf the internet multiple hours a day while in class…

Back to the title, I feel like most of my life is teaching right now. Not that I’m complaining, I LOVE it and love being able to do what I truly believe I am made to do, and I love hearing my fellow teaching friends’ stories. I think it’s just the state of my life right now, and I like it. 🙂

Today’s moment… one of the best moments in the last four weeks at my current school. There is a girl, we’ll call her L. She’s an older high schooler and high functioning but not capable of core curriculum. Hence, she’s in my functional academics class that I teach every morning. Today the teacher decided we’d go out in the community for some research for things the school wants to buy. She threw a hissy fit, complete with colorful language, stomping around, and screaming. Took about 20 minutes to get her in the car, and then all we heard on the way to the first store was about how she didn’t want to be seen with her classmates, she hated us all, etc. She sulked in the car with the teacher while I went in to the first store with two students. On the way to the second store, she quietly said she’d like to go in with me.

I was nervous… I don’t have a ton of authority yet with these kids, and they can get easily upset and bolt. But I agreed, so in we went with one of her classmates. We found what we wanted to price match, wrote down the info, and then I told her we could head back to the van. She looked at me in surprise and said “That’s it?! That’s all we came in here for??”

and then, surprise of all surprises, she said, “I got so worked up over nothing… I’m really embarrassed right now.”

Ah, Miss L, yes, you did get worked up over nothing. But it’s okay, you learned something and we moved on together. I’m so happy you realized it and that we got to have our moment… you made my day. 🙂


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March 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm (family, links)

Long story short: my husband is applying for the Air Force and in a fit of “needing to know what I’m getting myself into,” I started reading military wife blogs last year.

This is a post from one of my favorites: Diary of an Air Force Wife on love. Read the last sentences of her post.

I wrote a facebook note (ha, back in the day) a few years ago with a similar theme. In our loviest, mushiest moments, I love my husband a lot and can gush about his qualities. But, 90% of the time, we are in real life situations. We’re going to work, running errands, cleaning the house/car/whatever, eating dinner, etc. And in those situations, I love him the most, by far. I don’t stop to acknowledge that enough, that it is his constant presence and support and love and care that I need and adore, far more than our occasional romantic dinners and flowers. Those special occasion things are fun, and good, and necessary, but it is real life with my husband that I love.

She reminded me of that, all the way in North Dakota (can I say I am SO worried we’ll end up in ND and I’ll freeze to death??) and I wanted to give my husband a public shout-out. I love you, Tyler, more than I can ever say!

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New Recipe: Baked Chicken Parmesan

March 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm (recipes, resolution: 1 a week)

How long has it been since I tried something new?? Probably too long. :/

Got to use more of my beloved Angelo and Franco mozzarella tonight for a new recipe: Real Simple’s Baked Chicken Parmesan.

I won’t repost, since you can go right to their website and see the recipe, and I don’t want to be rude. I really liked this recipe, and it was incredibly simple! I halved the recipe, and that was the perfect amount. Tyler gave it two thumbs up, so we’ll probably be trying this again.

(Fun fact: we had chicken parmesan at our wedding, almost three years ago!)

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Spinach, Feta, and Sun-dried Tomato Quesadillas

March 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm (recipes, resolution: 1 a week)

Not so much a recipe, as an idea… but I haven’t tried this before, so I’m counting it for my weekly resolution! 🙂

Tyler is at a meeting tonight so he wasn’t home for dinner, which means I’m very likely going to revert to one of my favorite meals: cereal or quesadillas. I wanted to put a little more nutritional content into my quesadilla, so I mixed together some spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta as the filling. Word of warning: make sure your spinach is really, really dry. Feta is already a fairly wet cheese, and you don’t want a soggy tortilla. I like to cook my quesadillas in a skillet, with a little oil on both sides.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Browned Pork Chops with Gravy

March 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm (recipes, resolution: 1 a week)

My dear sister in law got me this cookbook sometime in the last three years, for a birthday I think? It’s a collection of “Fabulous 50s” recipes, although I don’t know if I’d consider them particularly retro? It is the source of our favorite pork chop recipe, which I’ll share later, but it’s also the source of the following pork chop recipe, which we tried for the first time last night. (Yay! new recipe!)

Browned Pork Chops with Gravy
4 boneless pork chops (I only cooked 2. It worked.)
1/2 tsp dried sage leaves
1/2 tsp dried marjoram leaves
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup beef broth
1/3 cup sour cream
1 TB flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cups hot cooked noodles (I did rice instead.)

Trim fat from chops, and rub both sides with sage/marjoram/pepper/salt. Butter/oil large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place chops in skillet, cook 5 minutes, turning once or until chops are just barely pink. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

Add onion and garlic to skillet, cook and stir 2 minutes. Add mushrooms (I didn’t, I hate them) and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Whisk together sour cream/flour/mustard in a bowl, then stir mixture into skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Serve over pork chops and noodles.

The gravy turned out really good! Sort of like a combination of beef stroganoff and swedish meatball gravy. I served it with brown rice and artichokes, the rice was a hit, the artichokes were not. My husband deemed them too much work for too little food! At one point he said it felt like it was just an excuse to scoop up melted butter… I’m not sure I see the problem with that. 🙂

Overall, we don’t love it more than the honey garlic pork chops (I’ll post that sometime this week) recipe from the same cookbook, but it was pretty good. I’ll give it a 7 out of 10.

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A week of food

March 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm (pictures, random)

A few blogs I read have done posts lately showing what they buy in a week as far as groceries, usually because they’re trying to lose weight or cut spending. I’m not doing either at the moment, although thanks to student teaching we are keeping track of every penny. But either way, for some strange reason, I find these posts incredibly interesting!

I did our weekly shopping yesterday/today, so I thought I’d share what we buy in a typical week and how much we spend. I also find geographical cost differences very interesting. I’m spoiled by how cheap produce is here in California, and I also think I’m a pretty savvy shopper, so I think we get a good amount for our money. (But who knows, maybe I’m wrong?? Enlighten me, please!)

So yesterday I went to a local chain that specializes in organic/locally grown food, where I get most of our produce. Their normal prices are average, but every week certain fruits and vegetables are on sale for a CRAZY price. I try to buy the sale foods, and then we get a nice variety of fruits/veges throughout the year, and we save money. 🙂

Here’s what I bought:
Fruits and veges
I got 1 lb of dried cranberries (their bulk dry goods section is AMAZING),
2 artichokes,
just over 1 lb of broccoli,
1/2 lb of green beans,
2 1/4 pounds of Fuji apples,
and 2 lbs of bananas.
Plus, a bottle of wine that was on clearance for $3. I’m a sucker for clearance.
All this cost $15.14.

Then today I went to Fresh and Easy, which is by far my favorite grocery store, and bought this:
Fresh and Easy
That includes a pepperoni pizza,
feta cheese,
triscuits and wheat thins,
sour cream,
3 frozen meals for my husband’s lunches,
1 lb of ground turkey,
hot dogs,
3 boxes of granola bars,
2 lbs of baby carrots,
2 cans of beans and a can of tomato paste,
2 blocks of cheese,
a box of margarine,
and a 6 pack of beer.
All this cost $59.57, but I had a $5 coupon so I paid $54.57. That’s one thing I love about Fresh and Easy – they send us coupons in the mail for $3-10 off, depending on the week. I like being able to buy whatever I want, and not worry about what I have coupons for.

So… is this normal? Tell me what you buy! Write a post about it and link it below, ok? 🙂

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special education

March 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm (teaching)

So I’m just over half way through my 16 week student teaching experience. I had an amazing placement for my first eight weeks, with a teacher who was the perfect combination of supportive when I needed it and hands off when I needed to do it myself. I had 13 wonderful students and 4 amazing aides, and I miss that class SO MUCH!

My latest placement (I’m finishing up my second week there) hasn’t been as wonderful. The students are fine, I’m starting to form a rapport with a few of them, but most of my issues stem from having a fundamentally different educational philosophy than the administration. I firmly believe that teachers have niches: a great teacher can teach any class halfway decently, but everyone has a particular population they will really shine in, especially in special education. This new school is not my niche, and I’ve been a little (maybe a lot) melancholy about it.

But today, my old class was having a little party before they go off track, and I was invited to come back for the last part of the school day. I walked up to the door and knocked, and one of the girls was standing right by the window. She started jumping up and down, shouting “Miss Stacey, you came back!! You came back!!” I laughed, and told her if she was so excited to see me, why wasn’t she opening the door for me?! Another girl came up and tapped me on the leg at the end of the day, as we were all getting ready to leave, and asked me if I’d be coming back tomorrow. I explained that no, she was going off track, and I had to be working at my other school, but maybe I’d come back in May when I wasn’t student teaching anymore. She listened to my ridiculously long answer, and when I was done she nodded her head and said, “Ok. You come back tomorrow.” 🙂 Gotta love her – she knows what she wants and she’s sure it’s going to happen that way!

I’d been feeling a little discouraged the last two weeks. When I don’t click with a class, I start doubting my abilities as a teacher. I’d been doing a lot of doubting lately, and I needed today’s visit to reaffirm how much I want to teach, and how ready I am to take on the challenge of my own class. I’m ready to tackle the next six weeks now, thanks to a bunch of students who will never know the impact they’ve had on me.

And a little video to start off the weekend (Thursday night is close enough to the weekend, right??). This is PS22, a public school from New York. They sang at the Oscars, and their teacher is one of my inspirations. Talk about making a difference!

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