Monday, October 29, 2012

A Bewitching Pinterest Challenge

So, when I originally read that the Fall Edition of the Pinterest Challenge was upon us, I was a little sad. With everything that has been going on lately and the fact that I haven't been posting much, I didn't think there'd be any chance of my finding something on Pinterest to complete, snap pictures of, and then write up a post about. But, thanks to a school-related project, I was able to kill two birds with one stone.

A few weeks ago, my FFEA girls asked if we would be doing a Halloween project like they've done in years past. First, I should probably explain that FFEA stands for Future Florida Educators of America. I help co-sponsor the club with a colleague of mine, and we inherited the club this year from the Childhood Education teacher. The CE teacher is amazing at crafting things. My co-sponsor and I, not so much. But, we agreed that if the girls wanted to make something, then we should give it a shot. The idea was to create a little gift for the teachers on campus to show our appreciation of their hard work  which is one of the staples of our club.

Last week we had a quick meeting of the minds to figure out what kind of craft they wanted to do. You could hear crickets in the room. No, seriously, real crickets - I've told you I work in the country, right? Anyways, the girls had no idea what to do. So, I pulled up my Pinterest account and showed them some stuff I had pinned relating to Halloween. A lot of it wasn't practical for us to do. But, they eventually decided that they wanted to make these witches hats (originally from here). My co-sponsor ran out and grabbed the supplies from Wally World and made an executive decision that we would also make these broom sticks (pinned from here, but original project found here) to go along with the hats. Sold!

Before we go any further, I should probably add the disclaimer that all of the photos in this post were taken with my cell phone. I don't have one of those fancy cameras. Plus, if I did, I don't think I'd risk taking it to school anyhow.

Anyhoo, so we met up yesterday after school and made a little assembly line of sorts to create the hats & broomsticks and place them into little goodie bags.

Our amazing janitor let us use some of her gloves so that the girls didn't get any of their germs on the food. And yes, I made sure to clean all of the desks with a Lysol wipe before any food touched the surface.

Here's the finished goodies:

Some of the things we learned: (1) Make sure you have a toothpick to do the broomsticks. I didn't read that part of the directions until way too late. We used the end of a skinny paint brush. It did the job, but now I'm afraid that all of the peanut butter cups are falling apart on the inside. (2) Don't use the orange/black swirled icing. It comes out as nothing but black after the first two cookies. Basically all the squeezing mixes the two colors together. Icing is icing, and it did the job, but if you're looking for prettier witches hats, go for all orange. (3) To make 80 goodie bags with 5 students and 1 teacher will take about 45-60 minutes. I was hoping it would only take 30 minutes or so, but then again I was also hoping more girls would show up.

We were in search of some cute sayings to put in the goodie bags. After a quick Google search, I came across this website offering a free printable with a tons of cute Halloween related gift tags. Again, sold! We asked the girls which one they liked, and they all agreed that we should just print them all and each bag would have a different tag. Our school printers don't have color ink, so the tags didn't turn out as cute as the originals, but we did print them out on orange paper for the Halloween theme. Also, if we had thought ahead, we could have found some cute Halloween ribbon to tie them with, but the twist tie was what we had to work with.

Hopefully the teachers and office staff like the treat. Who am I kidding? What teacher doesn't like free food? Especially when it involves candy & cookies?!

Have you made any fun Halloween treats this year? For my teachers out there, what has been your favorite treat from student clubs/organizations (would love ideas for our next project)?

Don't forget to head over to Sherry, Katie, Sarah & Carmel's blogs and see what Pinterest creations they decided to recreate. Also, there are TONS of other projects that have been linked on their blogs, so go check them out! Oh, and happy pinning everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Life Lately

So I knew come August that this blog would take a back seat to all things school. I just didn't realize how true that statement would be. I love being able to catch up on my blog reading over my lunch break or while waiting for the Hubby to get home from work. But I simply have not found the motivation to write anything. Maybe because school has started to encompass everything I do - but by the time I get home, I don't want to think. Well, think too hard anyways. So composing and editing a blog post seems like a daunting task to someone who simply wants to veg out.

But, I thought I'd give it a shot tonight and see what happens. Much last the last time I posted (nearly a month ago!) I figured I'd fill you in on what's been happening lately. I apologize if it seems a little all over the place - I'm just adding stuff as it comes to mind.

First off, this is the first time blogging from my new school-issued iPad. I wasn't sure how I'd like the thing. And I'm definitely still learning the ropes. To make things easier on myself, I decided to purchase a bluetooth keyboard out of my own pocket (this one to be exact). I tried using just the touchpad features, but after a couple weeks, I was still struggling with it. I type so much faster, so I'm really glad I decided to invest in a keyboard. I'm excited to see how I can incorporate this new technology into the classroom next semester. Let's just hope I have this thing figured out before January! 

I should also mention that due to the fact that this is the first time blogging from the iPad, I'm not sure I'm up to tackling inserting and linking images tonight. So please forgive me for the boring and bland post.

I mentioned last month that the Hubby had a couple interviews lined up for EMT positions. One of them fell threw. Luckily that wasn't the one we were crossing our fingers and saying prayers for. That interview went well, but the Hubby made some simple mistakes during the practical exam. The examiner asked him how long he had been out of school - over 2 years - and said that his skills just need some practice. But they liked Dan enough to offer him a Volunteer position to work on his skills with the potential of moving to part- or full-time in the future. Althought it isn't exactly what we were hoping for, at least this means he's got his foot in the door and can refresh his knowledge from hands-on experience rather than simply from his textbook. This place that he's working with seems great - the people really seem to take an interest in their employees. We're both really hoping that in the not-too-distant future Dan can quit his current job and work solely on EMT stuff. Not only would he finally have a job that he loves, but it would bring him closer to where we live too, which is a big plus!

I tried a new food! Its not too far of a stretch, but it was still enough to impress my friends and family! My best friend has become a Pampered Chef consultant and has hosted a couple of parties. At the party, she showed us how to make chicken fajitas (with onions & peppers) using only a stoneware dish and a microwave. Let me tell you, it was delish! The fact that I requested it as the dish at the party that I hosted floored her. Hannah, asking for onions and peppers?! Insanity!

In other news, we've officially lived in our apartment for over a year. It's kinda weird since the last couple of years I've become accustomed to moving, but its also sort of nice not to have to worry about boxing up all of our stuff. I think the cats are grateful too.

Speaking of cats... we're battling fleas again. We have tried everything to get rid of these things. Is it legal to shave your cat?? I wouldn't. I'm not that cruel. But believe me, it has crossed my mind.

Anyone else loving the new fall season on tv? There's nothing worse than the months between seasons when all you have to watch are reruns. Grey's Anatomy. Revenge. Once Upon A Time. Castle. DWTS. NCIS. Hawaii 5-0. Bones. Glee.... Love them all! Know what new show I'm loving too? Revolution. It's interesting. I'm curious to see where they are going with it.

Ok... iPad update. Something wonky happened and it wouldn't let me view what I was typing anymore... weird. So I've officially switched over to the desktop. Like I said, still learning. But, that means I can add links to stuff without accidentally clicking on the wrong hyperlink. Hooray!

The first 9 weeks of school is officially over. Students are getting their report cards tomorrow. I'm anticipating phone calls and emails from parents. Yay me! Luckily, I've gotten better about taking daily notes about most of my students so that I'm more prepared for parent conversations in regards to student performance. It's time consuming, but it's definitely a CYA maneuver, if you catch my drift.

Also in regards to school, I finally signed off on my evaluation from last year. That's right. A whole nine weeks into school and I'm finally being told how my performance from last year measured out. It's a good thing that my job doesn't rely on this evaluation or anything. I'm only an annual contract teacher. So it isn't like they can just turn to me one day and tell me they would prefer not to renew my contract. I'm not going to get all political, but I'm just going to say that this new evaluation system (which is based on student scores for students I've never even laid eyes on) is whack. Hopefully they iron all the kinks out of it soon. There's nothing worse than being evaluated on a system that your administrators and district personnel don't even fully understand and being told that your job and paycheck depend on it. Someone remind me again why I got into this profession... cause it certainly wasn't for the money. And it certainly wasn't for the political malarkey that we have to navigate.

And while we're on the topic of politics - anyone else sick of the ads yet? Living in a "battleground state" its been nonstop since before the primaries. Even my Facebook seems to have taken a political side. I don't know how many times I have clicked to remove the political ads, but they still seem to pop up in my newsfeed. And always for the same candidate. Seriously? Why not show both sides? Heck, why not talk about the fact that more than 2 people are running for president and there are many different viewpoints out there?

In happier news, the Hubby's student loan has officially been paid off! Wahoo! That's the first check off our debt snowball list. Next up, my car. We're anticipating it only taking about 5 months. Then we'll move onto his car, which should take another 9 or so. After that, we think we'll save up some in anticipation of starting a family before starting to pay off the student loan that was taken out in his dad's name. Even though we still have a long road ahead of us, we're definitely starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Ultimately the fact that we have a plan is what is the most reassuring. Even if the plan changes from month to month in terms of specifics, just having a goal in mind is what keeps us going.

It looks like the instagram feed in the sidebar has officially bit the dust. So I'm just going to take it down for now until I have time to look for an alternative replacement. In the meantime, you can follow what's been going on with us - my username is @hannahco11.

I really wish I could join in on the Pinterest challenge this time around. I love being able to link up with everyone and meeting new bloggers (you can see my old challenge entries here, here and here). But honestly I don't think I'll be able to get a craft done this season. But I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.

Well, I just heard the door open, which means the Hubby is finally home from work. Time to start making up some dinner - my stomach is growling! So until next time...


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