Slice of Life Challenge #18

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Back in January, we purchased tickets to see Michael Buble at the Borgata in Atlantic City.  Growing up, I used to listen to Sinatra, Dean Martin, and the rest of the Rat Pack.  Over the last few years I have become a huge fan of Michael Buble. He has a gorgeous voice and balances his own ballads with the beautiful music of the past.  He also has a wicked sense of humor and keeps me in stitches whenever I see an interview he gives.  Thus, when I saw he would be in AC, I purchased us tickets without a second thought.  Buble is music my boyfriend and I can actually agree on- as a music-minded person, he appreciates the full band and classic songs.  We both love his jokes and sense of humor.

After watching most of the NCAA games last night, we packed into the car and drove the 1.5 hours to Atlantic City.  Once we got there, we were happy to see that the parking deck had a lot of empty spaces and we would have no trouble parking.  We parked on the 4th level  and attempted to get into the Borgata.  We ended up taking the stairs to what we thought would be the entrance.  Instead we ended up in a dead end.  We backtracked and eventually found the elevators to the casino floor.

Once inside we made our way to the Event Center.  We arrived about 20 minutes before Michael came out.  We caught the end of the opening act, Naturally 7, an acoustic group that used their voices as instruments.  Very cool!  Then, right before 9pm the lights suddenly went out. It was pitch black…until these amazing lights came on, forming an MB. The crowd, full of men and women ages 5-95, went insane with excitement!   Suddenly, the opening to “I’m Your Man” began to play.  The music played a long intro, drawing the crowd to their feet in search of Michael.  And then, there he was!  Clad in a classic suit and tie, his voice filled the theater.

Michael sang and entertained for about an hour and half.  His interactions with the audience kept everyone laughing and his voice kept everyone swooning!  It was an amazing night!

On top of everything else, Michael’s girlfriend was in the audience, only about 15 feet from our seats.  For those who don’t know, his girlfriend is Emily Blunt- the actress who was in The Devil Wears Prada.  She walked out of the concert with us and was absolutely stunning.  She was also incredibly sweet and down-to-earth.  I was star-struck!  She wasn’t as tall as I expected.  Nor was she wearing any make-up.  Yet she looked incredible.  It was amazing!

The entire night was a dream….I can’t wait to go to my next concert!

Slice of Life Challenge #16

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alex’s lemonade stand  lemon

i fall over

a

gust

of

wind blows

cookie dough cream ice

mango

sugar-free pink lemonade

vanilla and chocolate

the crowd huddlestogethertokeepwarm

50 mile per hour winds continue to blow

birthday cake surprise

pistachio

the first day of spring feels like the touch o winter on my exposed skin

yet still i wait

it’s free rita’s water ice day!

cold or not, i wait in line for my frozen treat

chocolate chip cookie dough

Slice of Life Challenge #15

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*inspired by Kevin’s post

This week is a long one….we are in the midst of our spring parent-teacher conferences.  We see almost all of our parents during this round, because our students are finishing our their tenure at our intermediate school.  Come September, my students will move from the top of the food chain to the bottom, as new 7th graders at our township middle school.  Because our students will be mixed in with 2 other intermediate schools from our town, many of their parents come to us with concerns about their placement and social skills.

Each evening, before the first conference, our team comes together to discuss each child we will be meeting with that night.  As we switch classes, parents only meet with their child’s homeroom teacher.  Meeting as a team allows us to discuss each child’s progress and any concerns we might have.  The parents appreciate receiving a well-rounded look at their child, even if they can’t meet with each individual teacher.

This year, most of our students are doing very well.  The parents are happy, the students are happy, and the teachers are even happier.  Thus, our conferences have focused on the transition to middle school.  It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of these conversations, as parents admit their fears and concerns.  Usually, the fears and concerns are not related to their child, but instead focus on the parent. This is a big step- their child will be leaving the comfort of the elementary and intermediate schools.  With that transition come a lot of trappings and traps of being a teenager.  Suddenly, all the rumors and exaggerated stories passed down over the years come flooding back to the parents.  Will their child be bullied?  Will they have enough friends?  Will the parents be able to handle this big step in their child’s life?

We have tears.  Many, many times we have tears.  But they are tears that fall over proud smiles.  Their baby is growing up….middle school leads to high school.  High school leads to college.  It all seems to happen in a blink of an eye.  And our conferences our the leaping point for many of these parents.  We are lucky to be a part of such an special part of their lives.

Slice of Life Challenge #14

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“All faculty please report to the faculty room for an emergency meeting.  An association meeting.”

The secretary’s voice jolted me out of my morning routine.  Like myself, most of my team mates were copying or setting up for the day.  The sighs and groans echoed down the hallway as we heard the announcement.  This was not an auspicious way to start out a week full of parent-teacher conferences.  8am emergency meetings usually don’t leave us feeling happy and content.  In fact, they usually rile us up and put a significant damper on the day.

As we began trudging down the hallway, carrying binders, do-nows, and other miscellaneous papers to run off, we tried to come up with a reason for this emergency meeting.  Working without a contract, we frequently have these types right-before-the morning bell meetings or right-after-dismissal meetings.  They usually involve updates on action committee meetings or other union news.  Neither of these leave us feeling satisfied.

Approaching the faculty room door, I could hear laughter inside.  Beside me, two of my team mates were discussing March Madness.  As we walked into the room I was greeted by a sea of green, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  My colleagues were crowded in the room, seated at a few of our lunch tables.  Everyone was smiling and sharing stories from their weekend.  And the best part?  A surprise St. Patrick’s Day breakfast, complete with green bagels!  This was no typical emergency meeting!

Not the typical association meeting at all.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Slice of Life Challenge #13

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I have an addictive personality- my vices are many.  Not the average vices of a 324-yr old, though.  I am obsessed with office and school supplies.  Post-its, pens, notebooks, markers, pencils, the list goes on and on.  One of my favorite store is OfficeDepot because of their phenomenal clearance section.  In the past I have purchased Post-it notes for $0.25.  And Post-it notes are my worst vice.  Well, Post-its and Moleskines.

For the past week I have been planning a trip to OfficeDepot because I hadn’t been there in a while.  This morning I discovered that this week’s circular has a coupon for $10 off $25 which also made me excited.  Thankfully, I discovered the coupon before heading to the store and not after it, like I usually do.

Upon entering the store I made a beeline to the left-hand corner in the front, the bright red signs and exclamation points drawing me in like a moth to the flame.  This was a particularly good day for clearance!  There were Crayola art tools for $2, 5-packs of bubble mailers for $1, Expo marker holders for $2, calendars for $2, and much more!  I began pulling items off the shelves, balancing them in my arms.  Soon enough, I realized I would need a hand cart- I couldn’t keep carrying all of the items I was grabbing!

Bubble mailers, check.  Post-its, check.  Crayola Explosions for my little sister, check.  Expo case, check.  My hand cart was quickly filling up.  I was attempting to reach a total of $25 so that I could use my coupon, but it wasn’t happening.   I just kept adding to my order and I still wasn’t close enough!

Shopping for office supplies relaxes me.  And I love new supplies for school.  It reminds me of the first day of school, back when I was a student.  Walking out of the store with my two ginormous bags, I smiled.  This was a great start to my week!

Slice of Life Challenge #11

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One of my favorite parts of my day is my drive to work .  It’s only about 15 minutes from my house to school, but I try to make good use of the time I have.  Until recently, I listened to my iPod and just relaxed.  However, I recently began listening to my first audiobook.  As a highly visual learner, I shied away from listening to books because I assumed I would just tune out.  Plus, I love to sing along with my radio (at the top of my lungs), so losing that time made me a little sad.

A few days ago I had to drive to a wedding that was over an hour away.  I downloaded an audiobook onto my iPod and figured I would give it a shot.  As I drove up the parkway and into the mountains, that hour flew by!  I was enjoying the story and realized that listening to a reader would also help me with my read-alouds.  It’s interesting hearing another person’s interpretation of  character’s voices, mannerisms, and speech.

Every morning when I get into my car, I place my iPod into it’s stand and set up the FM transmitter.  Even though I only have 15 minutes (at the most), listening to someone tell me story has now become my favorite part of my morning routine.  Even when I pull into my parking spot at school I sometimes spend a few more minutes in the car, finishing a chapter.  For someone who has regretted the loss of her pleasure reading time, audiobooks are filling a great void in my life.

Slice of Life Challenge #10

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no toner in the copier

paper jam

no staples

copy-less for another day

missing homework

library books misplaced

“i know i did the homework….can’t i just get credit?”

head meet wall

read-aloud, relax, enjoy

quiet

“this is the best part of our day!”

pride. satisfaction. smiles.

*i rarely write poetry.  be kind. :)

Slice of Life Challenge #9

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Walking back to my room after prep, I realize something is wrong.

It’s quiet.  Too quiet.  My class is usually rambunctious and chatty in the room after health.  I can always hear them coming down the hall.  Randoms words, whispers, bangs, booms, and the scrapes of chairs against the floor lead me like a leashed dog back to my classroom.  But today is different.  No voices.  No metal chairs scraping against the hard floor.  No bangs.  No booms.  No laughter.

Why can’t I hear anything?

I begin running scenarios through my head.  But I know what’s wrong.  Silence means trouble.  Silence in a room of school children practically screams, “WE GOT YELLED AT!”

Walking in the door, I survey the room.  Twenty some-odd preteens sitting at their desks like perfect angels.  That’s always the number one sign that they are anything but.

I glance at their health teacher only to see her sigh and motion me outside the door.  I can see it in her eyes- all teachers look the same when they have had it with “that”class.  And it was last period.  A double whammy for the poor health teacher.

“What did they do?!”

As she explained their overly-rambunctious behavior, resulting in my neighbor teacher coming in to scold them,  I nodded and began plotting how to deal with this sudden onset of spring fever, come 3 weeks early.

Slice of Life Challenge #8

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Pitas, leftover lemon-pepper chicken, mayo, lettuce….everything I need?  As I surveyed the counter, I mentally calculated what I would need for lunch and a snack that day at school.  Lunch would have to last me through til dinner, as I had OM until 6pm.  And I would definitely want a snack at OM.

Opening my wonderful, brand-new Fit & Fresh, I began packing my lunch.  Lemon-pepper chicken pita sandwich went in first, followed by the ice-pack.  Now, what to have for a snack?

Back over at the refrigerator, I reviewed my options.

I should probably have something healthy.  But there are cookies.  And I do need two snacks….but two sets of cookies would be delicious.  But I should have something substantial at OM….

As I argued back and forth with myself, I decided to compromise.  I reached into the crisper and pulled out the new bag of crispy, orange baby carrots.  I glanced at the side door and saw a small package of ranch dressing.  Perfect!  So the healthy aspect of the snack was taken care of.

I smiled as I pulled out my cookies, the delicious Surprise cookies I made over the weekend.  I decided three would be the perfect number.  As I placed them into the container, I was dismayed to figure out that only two cookies fit into the container!

As I came to terms with this, I looked over my lunch.  Would it be enough to sustain me through the day?

I am going to be starving when I get home….I better throw something into the crockpot.

Slice of Life Challenge #8

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Tonight I decided I wanted to make cookies.  I looked around online, hoping something would catch my interest.  And hoping I would have all the ingredients for whatever did catch my eye.

After a few minutes following links, I found these .  Chocolate and marshmallows?  Sign me up!   The recipe looked simple enough and I had all the ingredients in my pantry.  Perfect!

I began by creaming the butter and sugar in my gorgeous, silver Kitchenaid mixer (which I absolutely adore).  After beating the mixture for a minute, I realized I had no idea what creaming was.  A quick search online helped me out, but my mixture never quite got to the “airy and fluffy stage”.  Figuring it was no big deal I just continued with the recipe, whisking the cocoa powder, flour, and salt.  After creaming the butter and sugar I added in the cocoa powder mixture, which immediately sent up a cloud of chocolate dust into the air, causing me to sneeze and cough.  It was like a sudden chocolate allergy had overtaken me-  the horror!

Beating the mixture with the eggs and milk, I threw in a dash of vanilla and turned off the Kitchenaid.  As I began to form the cookies and place them on the cookie sheet, I realized that the batter was extremely sticky.  Half of the cookies-to-be ended up stuck to my fingers!

Ten to twelve minutes after being placed in the oven, I quickly pulled out the cookies and pressed half of a marshmallow in the middle of each cookie.  Uh-oh.  The marshmallows were as big as the entire cookie!  Hoping for the best, I placed the baking sheet back into the oven for two minutes.  In those two minutes I frantically whipped up the frosting that would be drizzled over the cookies.  I just made it as the timer on the oven beeped.  I rushed to the oven, pulled out the cookies, pressed the marshmallows down, and began drizzling the chocolate frosting over the marshmallow surprise.  Once I was finished, I moved the cookies from the baking sheet to the wire rack to cool.  I quickly put the next batch in the oven, repeating the steps over again.

As I collapsed into the nearest kitchen chair, letting the next batch bake, I surveyed the kitchen.  Cocoa powder residue coated my mixer.  There was flour on the floor.  Sugar granules crunched under my feet.  It looked like a baking explosion.  I glanced at the recipe on the computer screen and realized I had frosted the cookies too soon- I should have waited until the cooled.  Then the oven beeped again.  This was exhausting!

Thirty minutes later, all the cookies were done.  And I was exhausted.  How does Martha Stewart do it?!

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