Slice of Life #17-Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This is a ridiculous week, full of late hours and a conference on Saturday.  But St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday so I can’t let it pass without celebrating a little.  I wore my green sweater this morning and then decided to throw a beef stew in the crockpot before heading to school.

The stew took a little longer to throw together than planned so I was almost late to school.  But when I came home and opened the front door I remembered why it was worth it.  The house smelled delicious and my stomach started growling almost immediately.

I decided that Guinness beef stew wasn’t enough, though.  I thought back to our last trip to Ireland and tried to remember some of the side dishes served with the beef stew over there.  It didn’t take long for me to remember the delicious mashed potatoes.  A little online research helped me figure out the name of the dish: colcannon.  It’s a mashed potato that’s full of butter, cabbage, and green onions.  It is, not surprisingly, delicious!

I am not usually one to take pictures of my food but tonight I had fun.  The most important part, though, is that dinner was delicious!  The flavors melded together and I felt like I was back in Ireland for a few minutes.  It was exactly what I needed tonight!

And now I am off to eat a slice of the Irish soda bread that I bought fresh at Delicious Orchards today.  I hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day, too!  Slainte!

Slice of Life #16- Congratulations!

As I glanced up at the clock towards the end of lunch I remembered that the email I had received earlier that morning had said that the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards would be announced at noon.  I had received a few emails about the announcement, as I had 6 students who received awards during the regional round.

As the clock flipped from 12:00 to 12:01 I decided to log in.  I did not expect any of my students to win (even though their pieces were all amazing) because the odds were just so slim.  I mean, over 250,000 students enter the contest each year!

I was only half paying attention when I logged in to the website and saw this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 10.55.19 PM

I had to read it twice before scrolling down to see the student’s name.  What?!

“Ahhh!”  I screeched, throwing back my chair.  I was sitting in the faculty room, so immediately my co-teacher asked me if I was all right.

“Eileen won!  She won a gold medal!”  I’m not sure my poor co-teacher even knew what I was talking about but she knew it was awesome.

“I have to find Eileen!” Thus began my trek around our (thankfully) small school.  First I popped into IED.  Nope, no Eileen.  Next I checked the Spanish room, because I thought the freshmen might be in language class.  Ok, no luck.  Maybe French?  That meant trekking to the basement.  When I got downstairs the French room door was closed and when I knocked there was  a lot of giggling behind the closed door.  It opened a crack and when the student saw it was me I was quickly invited in.  It turned out Eileen was not there, but the French class was enjoying an ice cream party!

“Where’s Eileen?  Do you guys know what class she has?” I asked as I looked over the table to sundae toppings.  A student told me that Eileen was across campus at gym class so I had to put my search on hold.  But I did enjoy a bowl of ice cream while waiting for class to end.

Our period ended at 1:09pm and by 1:04 I was at the front door waiting for Eileen to get back from gym class.  I didn’t know if she had heard the good news but I wanted to give her a congratulatory hug because I was so proud of her.

Slowly the kids started trickling back from gym.  One group, two groups, three groups….where was Eileen?  Had I missed her somehow? For a moment I doubted myself and took a lap down the freshman hallway.  When I didn’t see her I asked a classmate who said she was at the end of the gym class group.  I hurried back to the front door in time to see Eileen arrive back at school.

She was probably a little freaked out to see me standing at the door and pointing to her.  But then I pointed to my computer screen, pointed at her, and saw her slowly make the connection.

“Oh my gosh.  No. No way!  Is it Scholastic?” she asked me breathlessly.

“YES!” I practically shouted as I hugged her.  “You won a gold medal!  A national gold medal!”

Eileen was grinning from ear to ear at this point.  Her friends hugged her, I hugged her again, and then she had to hurry to class.

“Log on!” I told her. “Check it out for yourself!  I am so proud of you!”

Needless to say, it was a pretty epic day. I am incredibly proud of Eileen, who is a gifted writer.  I am so glad the contest judges agreed with me!

 

Slice of Life #15- Where I’m From

I spent part of my day planning my next unit of study, which I am very excited about.  (More about that later!)  This unit includes our poetry study of George Ella Lyons’ “Where I’m From”.  I’ve been doing our version of these poems since I began teaching and it’s always an amazing experience.  I think Paul Hankins first introduced me to George Ella Lyons and I am so grateful that he did.  So in the next few weeks we will be writing our poems in class, but I’ve included my poem below.

Where I’m From
I am from books,
from Pepsi and the NY Post
I am from hills and grass
(green, soft and smelling like summer).
I am from the milkweed,
the hibiscus brought inside during winter
(an orange and pink sunset growing toward the sun no matter the season).

I’m from “taking a ride” and always being late,
From Jane and Tim.
I’m from the fast talkers and fast walkers,
From eating your crusts and haunted old roads.
I’m from Psalm 23, bagpipes playing hymns, and rosary beads.

I’m from Ireland and Scotland,
Grandmother macaroni and breakfast for dinner.
From the Little Grandfather, a professional football player who jumped
ship in the United Stateswhen sailing as a Merchant Marine,
from Nanny, following Papa around the country during his naval years, raising a son with a husband fighting in a great war.

I am from the photo albums and boxes of pictures in the upstairs closet, telling the stories of a loud, large, and loving family.
I am from dog-eared baby books and school pictures hung over the fireplace

I am from love.

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Slice of Life #14- Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! As an alum of a STEM school Pi Day is a pretty big deal.  And this was an epic pi day!

My day began with bagels that Chris picked up on the way home from the gym.  That’s when he informed me that he would only be eating round food today, in honor of pi day.  Always up for good food, I agreed.

We enjoyed our bagels and then ran a whole lot of errands.  We missed 3/14/15 9:26:59 so decided we would celebrate when it came back around twelve hours later.  For lunch we settled on sandwiches from a local farm, on kaiser rolls in order to ensure their roundness.

Then the big decision came up- what kind of pie did we want to eat for dessert?  See, I like apple pie and French silk pie, while Chris loves berry pies and banana cream.  I abhor bananas so there was no chance of us sharing a pie.  Not only that, but we ended up going to three local orchards in search of pies.  Apparently it was a popular dessert choice today!

In the end, we decided on a pie for each of us.  I chose apple pie and Chris chose banana cream.  Of course, they were both delicious!  Oh, and we kept up the round food idea for dinner by having a chicken pot pie.

Turns out, round food includes a lot of carbs!

Slice of Life #13- A Walk in the Park

 

How can you have a bad day after hanging out with these smiles?

I have lots of little things I do to destress, but my go-to is walking the dogs.  We walk in rain, snow, heat, and wind.  As I tell anyone who asked me about Australian Shepherds, “They are our own personal trainers!”

Thanks to daylight savings time and the warmer weather today we were able to go out to the park with our dog friends.  A huge group of nine dogs (4 Aussies, 4 Huskies, and a Mastiff) and a lot of long line leashes enjoyed exploring the muddy trails and freshly melted snow.

The dogs love these romps but truthfully, I might enjoy them more.  Sunlight, fresh air, and lots of puppies- what more could a girl ask for?

The picture above is from the end of the walk.  We were only out for about forty-five minutes but I felt like a new person by the end.  And judging by the smiles in the photo above the dogs were pretty content, too. I’m so happy that spring is almost here and that it does not get dark out before 7pm anymore.  The dogs are definitely happy about that, too!

(And they have been sleeping ever since we got home.  They woke up for dinner and a quick trip outside, but it’s been sleepytime since then.  That’s the other great part of our group walks.  At the end, we have a lot of very tired dogs!)

 

Slice of Life #12- Live and Laugh

This has been a week.  And it looks like next week will be very similar. You know how it goes- work all day, getting home late, lots of grading, issues outside of school to deal with.  You wake up at 5:45am and go to bed at midnight.  The to-do list keeps getting longer and longer.

Sometimes you just need to laugh.   I’m conscious of this and I try very hard to set aside time for silly TV each night because I can watch a comedy and work on my t0-do list at the same time.

My go-to for laughs is usually Friends (now available on Netflix!).  But for the last few days I have been watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt instead.  Written by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, it’s a quirky, over-the-top comedy that never fails to leave me laughing out loud. Seriously, it’s quirky.  It’s weird.  It’s crazy. But it’s also sweet, innocent, and adorable.

Kimmy was the victim of a post-apocalyptic cult until being rescued.  She spent fifteen years in an underground bunker.  Now she’s thrown herself into life in New York City and comedy ensues.  All of the supporting characters are fantastic, Kimmy is perfection, and the writing is amazing.

And the best part?  The Babysitter’s Club plays a pivotal role in one of the first episodes.  And not just any book; nope, the super special mystery!  I devoured all of BSC books and owned most of the specials and super specials, so as a rabid BSC fan in middle school this made me very happy.

If you also need something to get your mind off of the rest of the world I highly recommend The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix.  Sometimes you just need to laugh!

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