Tuesday, December 18, 2012
A few thoughts on Sandy Hook
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Holiday Placemat Tutorial
Bonus: Step Eleven
Saturday, December 8, 2012
so About that...
I took a long term sub job teaching high school art. It's... interesting. And also a huge time suck since I have to write my own lesson plans and grade my own papers so I get stuck at school for a long time afterward. Such is life. It's money, right?
so I've had to come up with art projects to do with teenagers. Sadly, they don't respond too well to crafts... That and I don't have the ability to requisition supplies... Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to add more stuff soon...
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Recipe: The Best Blueberry Topping Ever
The Best Blueberry Topping Ever
Time: 20 minutes
Makes enough to top one cheesecake
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
|Reserved about this much|
|I love the way the lemon zest contrasts with the blueberries. Not that you actually see the zest when it is fully cooked and ready to go.|
|Jealous of my family for tomorrow? This is one of three delicious desserts.|
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
An ode to butter
So like 90% of American women, I am on a "diet." By diet, I mean I am making a concerted effort to control the amount of calories I eat and eat healthy foods, not follow a particular "plan." As you can imagine, regular consumption of butter is not part of keeping my waist line small(er). That being said...
BUTTER IS SO FREAKING DELICIOUS!!!!!
The other morning, I had a treat for breakfast: whole wheat toast with butter. In a previous life, that would just be a normal breakfast. Now it is a delicious treat for special mornings. We keep our butter in a glass dish on the counter so it stays soft and spreadable and oh so tempting. On Saturday morning, I got up and toasted my whole wheat bread and spread each piece with a generous pat of butter. Though the temptation to enjoy the deliciousness leaning up against the counter was great, I resisted and instead put the toast on my plate and sat down at the kitchen table with my toast and coffee. Those few moments allowed the the melting butter to seep into the bed.
Man was it delicious.
I could just feel the saturated fats enveloping my heart in warmth and deliciousness... or alternatively hardening my arteries, but you know, same difference. Butter is good... just not good for you.
My favorite way to enjoy butter is simply spread on toast or a biscuit but its also fabulous within a recipe... Like butter sugar cookies or in a garlic sauce. Or melted and ready for my to dip my artichokes or snow crab claws into. That's good too.
Leave a comment on how you enjoy butter :) Do you do straight up butter or are you more of a margarine person?
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Tutorial: Decorative Snowballs
|I added a few tablespoons of table salt to my epsom salts|
|sorry for the low Q. Took all photos on my cell phone.|
|Again, sorry for the low Q, but you get the idea, right?|
|A close up of my finished ball...|
|I even put them in a nice festive vase...|
Important Project Note
|See my drips on my wax paper? Some how I don't think my Mom would be happy with that on her antique hardwood table...|
|See? Doesn't the texture look like ice? As the epsom salts are exposed to air, they will lose some sparkle but the texture still looks lovely and snow-like.|
Monday, November 12, 2012
Things To Come
This is a recent picture of my dining room table with most of the chaos just pushed off to the side to stage an image for my guest post at Sugarbee Crafts. Beauty amidst chaos, I suppose. The tutorial on my snowball centerpiece will be up tomorrow and my guest post on my table runner and placemats will be unveiled on December 7th.
Happy Monday everybody!
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Substitute Teachers, Part Three: Suggestions for Regular Teachers to have good days with subs.
Tip #1: Give a lot of detail in your plansHere's a rule of thumb: Write your plans with enough detail that you think a toddler could understand it, and then double the amount of details you include. A lot of things that are obvious to you are not necessarily obvious to a substitute coming in. I once caused mass chaos because I was not informed that I should only allow two boys in the bathroom at a time on bathroom break. The younger your kids are, the more details need to be included in the plans.
Tip #2: Include your classroom rules and behavior expectations in your plansBehavioral expectations vary between age groups. I neither want to let things slide with a group of older kids nor be way too harsh with a group of kindergarteners. If you don't allow kids out of your classroom for anything less than an absolute emergency, say so. If you have a behavior chart system, five details on how that works. Are kids given warnings before being told to flip their card/move their pin/whatever?
Tip #3: Give details on how you expect discipline problems to be handledShould I leave a list of names for when you return? Should I call the teacher next door if I have a problem? What is the number for the main office and the name of the principal? Should I assign a detention that you will serve when you return?
Tip #4: Prepare your kids ahead of time for the sub and/or write a letter to be read to the classOne of the BEST sub days I had happened when the regular teacher gave me a letter to read to the class at the beginning of the day to remind them what the expectations were. Honestly, part of the reason this is effective is because it means the students know that I the sub know what the expectations are and they cannot take any advantage of my assumed ignorance. Tell the kids what will happen if they misbehave.
Tip #5: Leave more work than you think they will actually accomplishI've had teachers leave work and be fully convinced it would take the entire class...only to have all the kids finish with twenty minutes to spare. Leave an extra worksheet or a chapter to review or something to read or homework they can get started on. Also, leave a list of acceptable activities if they finish that. If the only thing you allow them to do is read, say so. If you really don't care what they do as long as they are silent, say so.
Tip #6: Leave the information you would want if you were working in an unfamiliar placeTell subs where the bathroom is, where the teacher's lounge is, and how much lunch costs. If you are lucky, you will have subs who have worked in the school a million times but sometimes you won't. If the sub is responsible for taking the kids to the gym, tell them how to get to the gym. When you only have twenty minutes for lunch, you don't want to spend five of them trying to figure out where the bathroom is.
These six will help your kids have a great day when you aren't able to be there. There are premade sub folders that have places to fill in all this information. I suggest filling in even the things you find painfully obvious.
I hope you enjoyed my series on substitute teaching. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will be happy to answer as best as I am able. :)
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Substitute Teachers, Part Two: The Pros and Cons
Pro #1: Getting to work with childrenFor me, getting to hang out with a group of kids is really fun. For others, this may be an exercise in torture. I will say that if you absolutely HATE kids, don't be a sub.
Con #1: Getting to work with TeenagersI honestly do not know how the teachers who teach high school kids every single day do it. They are snarky, rude, and usually think they know anything. These days, getting them detached from their cell phones for the school day is very hard. Administering discipline is also harder in the high school because a time out is no longer a threat to them.
Pro #2: Never having to work a weekendI can make plans for Saturdays and Sundays with confidence because I know that I will not be called in to work. I am also off by 3:00 on Fridays that I work so I have plenty of time to travel if I need to.
Con #2: Not having a regular, guaranteed scheduleMy older brother works in retail and gets his schedule three weeks in advance. I have found out I was working 20 minutes before I needed to be there.
Pro #3: The Good DaysThere are two kinds of good days, for me: the days when I have a lot to do but have fun doing it. The kids are well behaved and friendly. Most elementary days are like this. You rarely meet meet a malicious six year old who calls you fat and threatens to sue you (true story...).
The second type of good days are the passive good days. Those are the days when you basically don't have to do anything. These mostly are days in high school when the kids are old enough to be given independent work for the entire class period and all you have to do is sit there, read a book and occasionally check to make sure no one is cheating/texting/going to kill each other.
Con #3: The Bad DaysI wish I could say they were few and far between but they aren't. These are the days when the kids won't listen, you hear nothing but back talk, one of the kids has a mental breakdown in your class, you have to call an administrator into the room, there is a fight you have to break up, you get ten minutes for lunch because there is a random duty they need you to cover, and the staff members around you are not helpful. Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is all I can say.
Pro #4: Getting of EarlyThe absolute latest I get off is 3:00. Then I go home, drink my coffee, and do whatever I want.
Con #4: Getting up EarlyI am not a morning person and many days I am up and watching kids before I am ready to be out of bed, much less trying to keep a group of high schools from killing each other.
There are many more things I could say about what I do, about the things I enjoy and the things I hate. I could give you stories of my triumphs and failures, the days I love it and the says I'm ready to give it up to work at McDonald's. You should also know that every sub experience is unique and you may have lots and lots of good days with few bad days. Good for you.
For tomorrow: Substitute Teachers, Part Three: Suggestions for Regular Teachers to have good days with subs.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Substitute Teachers, Part one: Preparing to be a Sub
Each state has different requirements for hiring substitute teachers. Many states require that you be a certified educator in order to work as a sub. That is not a requirement where I live, though there is a tiered pay system depending on the level of education you have achieved. If you are interested in being a sub, check with your local school district to determine hiring requirements.
If you pass the education requirements of your local district, there are still more hoops to jump through. The information you need will likely be at the school district office but call to make sure. The application is often quite lengthy and includes many steps other than just filling out paperwork. In order to work with children, I can virtually guarantee the following will be included:
1. A physical and TB screening
2. Fingerprinting and a background check through state and federal systems
3. A Child Abuse registry check
Yes, this means your fingerprints are now in the system so if you are planning on pursuing a life of crime in substitute teaching doesn't work out, then this is not the career path for you. My experience was that it took about a week to have all of the paperwork, background checks, and physical taken care of, as these things take a bit to process. In my state, the background check cost $75 and the physical and TB screening were covered under my health insurance. The child abuse registry check was as simple as providing my information to the school district who sent my information off to the state.
In the probably lengthy application packet you will get, there will usually be instructions about when and how to bring your materials in when everything is completed. In most cases, you must schedule an appointment to meet with the sub coordinator. Even if they don't require an appointment, it is advisable to call ahead, lest you arrive just as that person is stepping out to lunch.
As I'm sure most of you are smart enough to know, dress nicely when you go meet with the sub coordinator. He or she is now your boss, and depending on the district, he or she may be fully in charge of how often you work and whether or not you get the good classes. Always be nice to this person. Also the secretary of each school you are subbing for.
So let's imagine you've filled in all your paperwork and have been hired. Yay! I work for two different school districts. In one of them, the sub coordinator calls me to see if I am available on a given day. In the other, it is an automated system that allows me to go online to look for jobs or call the phone system to look. said phone system also has a robot call me if I am being called in last minute.
As much as humanly possible, districts will try to schedule you in advanced. These kind of jobs happen when teachers have meetings or training or a dentist appointment they scheduled six months ago. Keep a calendar of all of these. I have three of them: my phone calendar, my purse calendar, and my calendar on the automatic sub system. Why three, you ask? The automatic sub system allows me to black out days I know I am working else where. The phone calendar will remind me in case I forgot I agreed to go in, and the pocket calendar allows me to check availability if I am out of the house when my boss calls me to ask if I can work.
Unfortunately, the majority of jobs will not come to you having been scheduled two weeks (or longer in advance). The majority of calls come either the night before or the morning of the job they need you for. I am always thankful when they call the night before because it gives me a chance to make my plans and ensure that I have all that I need. Early mornings happen though and you can only pray the call comes at six and not 6:45, giving you ten minutes to get dressed and out the door. So let me suggest a few things to help with the early mornings.
1. If you, like me, are a creature of habit, try to go to bed and get up at around the same time, whether you're working or not. Those 5:30am phone calls will feel like death if you're staying up until two in the morning.
2. If you, like me, cannot think particularly well in the morning, pick out your clothes the night before. I always have a work appropriate outfit hanging on the hook on the back of my bedroom door so that I don't have to think about it when I get up.
3. Either start showering in the evening or invest in dry shampoo. You may be thinking "it only takes me five minutes to shower in the morning. I don't need to do that." Trust me. There will be a day that you get called fifteen minutes before you have to leave. Can you shower, get dressed, put on make up, eat breakfast, and pack a lunch if you get called with that little time? I can't. If you can, you are super woman and I applaud you.
4. Consider your lunch options. I always pack because the lines in the cafeteria are often long. On days I get called the morning I need to go in, I usually pack leftovers. It is also worth it to have some prepacked snacks around the house so you can throw lunch together in record time.
5. If you already have a lot of stuff planned for the day, don't be afraid to say no. Seriously. If you are incredibly busy that day, just say no.
Thanks for Reading :) Tune in tomorrow for Part Two: The Pros and Cons of being a Substitute teacher.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Hobby Lobby is an addiction...
Unlike a lot of my wild and crazy peers, I am boring. No, seriously. Following Hurricane Sandy, my sub job yesterday was cancelled and I held my breath and prayed I wouldn't get called today (I didn't) so I could go to Hobby Lobby and Michael's in honor of surviving 23 years--which would've been a feat in the 17th century or so. Granted, back then I also would be married and have several children by now...
So the birthday plans:
1. Baked oatmeal muffins for breakfast (check)
2. Drink copious amount of coffee (check)
3. Read a lot on my kindle (check)
4. Go to the craft stores and use those 40% off coupons
5. Dinner at Olive Garden with my parents
6. ...Go to bed at 10pm because I work tomorrow
The biggest debate now is what I should have for lunch... hmmm... what I really want is some chic-fil-a but that involves a) driving half an hour and b) paying money for it. So I suppose I'll eat something from the massive quantity of food that is already in the house...
So, here is my question: what do y'all do for your birthdays (especially the grown ups)? Are you tame like me or crazy like Ke$ha?
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Frankinstorm and My Craft Addiction
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Ana White, You are my hero
(Image source: http://ana-white.com/)
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The Innocent Devil
I have been haunted for six years by the ghost of a man who had no idea what he did to me. He was a trusted teacher who never realized that his careless flinging of words cut slashes in my heart. He was fighting his own demons, ones slashing at his throat, trying to defeat him. And he became my demon.
He has been the voice in my head saying "you can't do this" in the softest whisper that is somehow so deafening that shouts of reassurance are deadened by the soft hiss of a whisper. "Do something else."
The sharpest insults are hidden inside compliments, disguised as advice, and said only once but are permanently engraved in my mind. So deeply engraved that the weathering of so many storms has only softened but not erased the words. I hope I forget.
The hardest part is to not take up the knife myself, to cut the weather, faded words into the rock afresh, to remind myself that they are lies. Some days it takes the hand of someone else to pry the carving knife from my fingers and some days someone will hand me the knife, not knowing what I will be tempted to do with it, the temptation to be my own demon and destroy myself bit by bit, carving words again with a knife.
I need the hands of others, and more importantly, the hands of God, to pull me away and let the words wear away with time. I cannot do it alone. I have let his face fade into memory, lost in six years of life's trials and triumphs.
Until that face is in front of me again and it's just like I am 16 and want to please my voice teacher again. He is nothing but complimentary but I hardly believe him because suddenly, I know.
I know the words I've cut back into the stone were said by a man who never knew what he was saying, who never knew what he was doing and was so caught up in his own battle, he thought it was okay. He was weak, as I am, easily made a demon through distraction, innocent and not innocent all at once, like a child tricked into uttering swear words.
So I will allow him to be proud of me because he has no idea the pain I've endured. I realize now the words he said have no power in themselves, only in the power I give them. And I will not be my own demon
Sunday, May 27, 2012
The more things change, the more they stay the--well, actually they just change. A lot.
Oh that's right... I also graduated from college. If there actually is someone reading this (which I mostly doubt), I have spent the last four years at Eastern University, a small Christian liberal arts college in suburban Philadelphia, studying music performance. I also did a brief sojourn in Oxford, UK, and the original purpose of this blog was to document my time there and all that led up to that time.
I also hacked off my hair recently into what is basically a long bob that is a deep auburn. I did it two days prior to graduation so the overpriced graduation photos show it, plus the ones my parents took.
So with all of these changes (some minor, some significant), the strangest for me is that I am now living at home with my parents and older brother. Since I've worked summers with Sodexo, I haven't lived at home for more than four weeks at a time in more than two years. Trying to find a job for the summer, and planning on substitute teaching come fall while applying for my long list of graduate schools. I just need to find something part time for the summer so I can, you know, put gas in my car and do stuff like that (*cough*creditcard*cough*). I don't want full time for this summer because there is an unexpectedly large amount of things I need to do before I can apply to graduate school. More than I was initially thinking.
In other news, in another money making scheme, I am thinking of opening an etsy shop and peddling my crafty wares, giving myself an excuse to create (*cough*buyasewingmachine*cough*). If I'm going to sell it, it means I can try absolutely everything I find on pinterest, right?
Monday, April 2, 2012
1 is the least safe number
Friday, March 9, 2012
No one reads this anyway, so why not?
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Can you hear me now?
Monday, January 30, 2012
Time to breathe in and let everything out
There are some days when getting out of bed feels like it is going to be the biggest challenged I have ever faced. My bed seems to get more comfortable every day, like the springs are gradually conforming to my body shape and I am perfectly nested in my cocoon of blankets. It doesn't help, of course, that I know there are plenty of this facing me once I exit the warm confines of my sheets. Some challenges are small (what do I eat for lunch today?) and some are bigger (what am I going to do with my life?). Knowing they are coming certainly does NOT help me get out of bed.
But up I must get and get a move on because usually by the time I have gotten up, I am running late. And I HATE to be late. This, I think, it what got me in trouble today. I was grumpy because we were running late to church and I think those with me were grumpy with me for being grumpy. Granted, I was upset about a few other things that had happened earlier in the weekend and was acting rather waspish, as tends to happen when I am upset. That is when I am snapping just to avoid the whole crying thing that I have any annoying tendency toward. Its unfortunate because people tend to be upset with me. I suppose that's life though.
I am not sure if there is actually a moral to the story in this blog post, other than the fact that I am at my most bitchy when I feel like crying. And I am well aware of this unfortunate fact but there is little to be done about it, as I'll take that over bursting into tears. Lately I've just been tired and burned out even though we are only two weeks into the semester. I just want a week off and—be warned that I am about to sound like a five year old—I want my mommy. I guess not in the normal sense of a child wanting mommy. I want time with her.
Time has become the enemy. I am afraid of how much or how little I have left with my mom. Months? Years? Decades? Will she get to help me plan my wedding someday or hold my children. The painful truth is that the answer is probably no. Time is so precious and it is so hard to be away.
All of this to say, as usual, I ought to be sleeping right now.
Friday, January 27, 2012
You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust
So I've been a little distracted by life lately and therefore haven't been thinking too much about my blog until this evening when a friend mentioned his blog. I've been thinking about/reexamining my life as I prepare to enter a new phase: the dreaded post graduation phase. There are a lot of things to consider now that I hadn't thought about before and for better or worse, my life is much different from how it was a year ago. I don't know whether I ought to be terrified or excited.
I am not particularly sure if anybody actually reads my blog these days. I was far more interesting when I was living across the Atlantic and I certainly didn't update often enough for the casual observer to be apprised of my goings on. And most of my posts were boring descriptions of my daily life rather than witty commentaries on Britain, anyway. Oh well. That was more than a year ago now. I am back to being just boring old music major Caitlin with the overwhelming life and the propensity to raise her hand to answer almost every question a teacher poses. So in case there is someone out there who cares to read the musings of a 22 year old college kid, let us begin.
There are fewer than 100 days until I graduate from college and... something. Move home, for one. The plan is to take a class this summer and become a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and teach some private voice lessons. Learn French. Take the GRE's. Win the lottery. Become wildly successful. You know, normal kinds of things. Oh yes, and never take free laundry for granted again. Man do I miss being able to just wash something if I needed it, not wait until the basket is completely overflowing and threatening to encroach upon the hallway floor.
Speaking of hallways, I live in an apartment, not a dorm. Oh, do I adore living in an apartment. With a bathtub and a kitchen (not in the same place of course). And three other college girl roommates (and one additional male that doesn't technically live here but spends the bulk of his time here). But no washer and dryer of our own.
...Also, its now 1AM and I should be sleeping so this small ramble will have to do!