Monday, September 5, 2011

may I seek to understand

Can you feel it?  Fall creeping in?  It feels so good!  I leave the house pretty early in the morning -- when it's still pitch black outside -- and it has been significantly cooler this time of the morning than earlier in August.  College/high school football, pumpkin brews, and not sweating when I wear jeans outside... I love this season. 

So I've started my new teaching position and we've been in school for just over one week now.  My students are great.  I've taken some time to get to know each and every student in my classroom, and I cannot even express how must I have enjoyed doing this at the start of the year.  It's truly amazing how honest some students are with you -- telling you their life story in just one measly little letter to "Ms. G".   

My students are pretty amazing.  Some face some of the most hardest life situations outside of school.  These are the ones that make my heart hurt and challenge me to see past the mathematics curriculum to the heart of the student sitting right in front of me.  And then I have students who will likely never have to face those same situations at such a young age, and I'm jealous of all the neato places in the world where they've already traveled.  :)

To keep it simple -- my students are inspiring me.  They are inspiring me to be a better leader in the classroom, to really talk and listen with them when they need someone, to not always be so "math" driven every single day of the year.  Some are inspiring me to laugh and joke around with them more (likely because they need to relieve the pressure of school) and to just understand what it's like being a high school student.

Wait, that's it.  My goal this year is to understand my students.  And in turn get them to understand many things -- why they need to continue to pursue education, why we have the classroom/school rules that we have, why it's important to learn how to work with a partner on an assignment.  I think that as long as I can understand a student's motivation to act/be however they choose to, only then will I have enough to gain their trust in being their leader, their encourager, and their educator.  It's that kind of knowledge and action that fosters the relationships with my students, which in turn has an impact on both the student and myself.  An impact that changes things for the better.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, your joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not seek so much
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love with all my being.

For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen.

-Prayer of St. Francis

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Re-Do: Clothesline Picture Frames

J and I just got back from our week long summer vacation.  We were blessed to have spent time with friends and family on the coast of NC.  Is it bad that I want to go back?  My school year officially starts TOMORROW... for me anyways. 

I made the decision to leave my current position at at charter school and accept a new teaching position at a nearby public high school.  Luckily, I'll still be teaching AP Calculus, my favorite subject to teach.  Depending on how cool you are, you either smiled, laughed, or gagged at that comment...

The kiddos arrive on the 25th.  So I still have some time to get back in the groove of things before the school year truly starts.  As much as I've loved this summer break, I'm eager to start back.  A new school brings new students, new friends, and new challenges.  Every school is different.  I think I'm just ready to get started.  The sooner the school year comes, the sooner I can transition and feel settled in my new classroom.

+ + + + +

So here's to my summer of crafting, knitting, and reading.  Here's a project that I completed a while ago and have just completely forgot to post.  After surfing the web for some decorating/design/DIY blogs, I came across a neat idea of how to reuse some old picture frames.

I found these two frames at Goodwill for $1 each.

I removed the pictures and twisted in some fish eye hooks (I think that's what they are called).

 [Now, sorry for the lack of pictures.  I didn't take pictures along the way...]

I spray painted (my new best friend?) the frames and some clothes pins. Then, I stapled some fabric to the back, strung some twine, and hung some pictures from our wedding.  The frames are pretty big, as the large photos are 8x10's and the small ones are 5x7's.

I love them!  And one reason why I like them is that I can always change the photos or even hang other little goodies we collect along the way.  Pretty simple and inexpensive.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Make-It: Framed Silhouettes

So I'm not taking credit for this idea.  I got it from Design Sponge -- a neat little blog.  Visit it sometime.

So some of my walls desperately need something on them.  And fast.  School is rapidly approaching (have I mentioned I'm a high school math teacher?), and I know that once it starts, I won't have time for these crafty little adventures.

So here's my attempt at filling some space in our dining room.  For the project, I contacted about six or so paint/hardware stores in and around town for some free wallpaper samples.  The most common reply was, "Well Ma'am, we haven't sold any wall paper since the '90's".  Shoot.  

I improvised with a trip to the craft store for some scrapbook paper instead.  It turned out just as nice, but perhaps with a little less texture than planned.  

If you don't know, I love birds.  It started with an owl obsession.  And has transformed into cute little finches and sparrows.  I chose some paper that reflected other colors throughout the room.  The frames were bought from Bekah (with The Yellow Pepper) at our yard sale for 25 cents a piece.  I spray painted them (as I did to others in this post).  

I think they turned out quite nice.  They aren't up on the wall yet, mainly because I have another idea in mind that might find its way to the blog later...

Re-Do: New End Table Update

For some reason, these last few weeks I have been flat out l-a-z-y.  Or at least it feels that way.  So when I had a busy four days of math teacher workshops, my husband made it his mission to finish our end table.  He slaved one afternoon/evening painting layer upon layer of yellow and brown paint and "scuffing" it up with some steel wool in between.  Tell you what -- painting those spindles wasn't easy (likely because sanding them wasn't an easy job to begin with).  



We are both super happy with it!  Now, I'm going to keep my eye out for a sweet lamp to add some height to it.  Anyone have any lamp ideas?  Pinterest folks?

I'm sincerely thankful for his "make it happen" attitude... especially when mine seems to have checked out for the rest of the summer... <3

Sunday, July 31, 2011

one wall down...

So I also picked up a sweet mirror from Jess at the yard sale.  Oh I sold some stuff, too, even though it appears I just collected more things... Jason and I collected some picture frames when we first got married in hopes to make a "picture wall" in our then apartment.  That never happened.  So here's the start of one.  

Two of the frames were gold in color -- we picked them up from Sleepy Poet and Value Village.  A little spray paint makes them new again.

Two photos are of my hubby and I on our wedding day.  The gold photo on the top row is of J's mother and father on their wedding day, and the one on the bottom row is of my parents.

And the yellow pillow on the couch is my first finished sewing project.  Ever.  This fabric is what inspired the paint selection for the end table in the previous post.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Re-Do: New End Table (+ Yard Sale)

So I've been up to quite a bit of "crafting" this summer despite the lack of blogging this month (sorry).  I'm still working on a few projects, but here's one I started this past week.

J and I bought this neat little (big) end table from a dear friend, Jess, when we had our multi-family yard sale several weekends ago.  That was my first ever yard sale, and I must say, we did pretty well.  I invited all of our friends who wanted to pitch in, and we ended up having six total families (including Kristina, Lauren, Bekah, and Lorean).  And if that wasn't enough -- my husband and TJ, with Charlotte Photography, set up their instruments and played some jazz tunes on our screened in porch throughout the morning.  #Coolest.Yard.Sale.Ever.

(all yard sale photos courtesy of Jess)

So here's the end table.  I remembered to take a picture just as I started to paint it.  

Note:  Thankful for my hubby who sanded it for me.

I've been itching to get our little place "homey" ever since summer began.  My free time is dwindling as the start of school will come sooner than I think.  Obviously, the table needed a makeover.  I decided to paint it and "rough it up" a little bit to give it a worn/weathered look.

I chose a mustardy yellow as the base.  Next up, I'm going to scuff it up around the edges using some steel wool, and then wipe some brown paint into the scuff marks.

The yellow and brown will actually match the same yellow and brown that appear in some of our sofa's throw pillows -- pillow covers that I actually made with my new sewing machine my mother in-law gave me.  More of that to come... Be looking for the finished product soon.  :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

from the cookie jar: pignoli cookies

My husband recently spent a day in NYC to attend a friend's wedding.  Little did I know that he ended up walking miles out of his way to visit an authentic Italian bakery for me.  He brought home some of the most delicious canolis and pignoli (pine nut) cookies for me.  Boy they were yummy...

Sadly, Moses happened to steal the last two cookies while we were watching a movie.  Needless to say, my husband was super upset.  To brighten his mood, I found a recipe and made my own.

You can find the recipe here.