Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stuff I Love

A blog I follow has done "stuff I love" posts a few times and I always find out about really cool things by reading them... either gift inspiration, stuff for me, or an idea about some DIY project for the apartment. I always enjoy those posts and I just happen to have some great products that I would like to gush about. Sounds like a great time for a post.

Here we go:

Daiya Mozzarella shreds
This cheese substitute is awesome because it not only tastes good, but it behaves like real cheese. I'm sure that sounds funny to people who don't eat dairy free, but trust me when I say that most cheese imitators get scary looking when subjected to heat. I can actually make pizza with this stuff and have the end result look and taste like the pizzas I used to love. This is a huge win in my book.

Whole Soy and Co. yogurt
My perfect breakfast is sweet, something you want to eat slowly and savor. When I found soy yogurt at my local Kroger I about cried in joy. When I tasted this particular brad, I was hooked. Mixed with a bit of oats and honey granola this yogurt makes for one awesome breakfast or snack. So far blueberry and strawberry are my favorites.

La Croix sparkling water
During my kindergarten observations my cooperating teacher brought one of these in her lunch every day. She said it was nice to have something that reminded her of soda without the heavy taste, tons of sugar, and caffeine. I finally tasted it a few weeks ago and I am hooked! The flavor is refreshing without being overpowering. I'm in the process of learning how to make something similar with my soda stream, but the cans make for easier day to day transport for things like school lunches.

Gap curvy bootcut jeans
Two weeks ago my favorite jeans gave out on me. There is a rather inappropriate hole in them, so I needed to find a replacement. I tried out a few different pairs from different places in an effort to try new things. It's been over 18 months since i have purchased jeans so it was entirely possible that something better had come along. In the end, I ended up back at the Gap grabbing a pair of their curvy bootcut jeans. They fit just like my trusty favorite pair and they don't break the bank. Perfection.

Vera Bradley tote

Steve purchased this tote bag for me as a Christmas gift last year and I cannot explain how useful this sucker has been. It kept all of my school materials organized and I continue to receive compliments on the print. It's a very happy print. You can't help but smile with all the different colors going on.... or maybe that's just me. The shoulder strap is the perfect length for my short self and the interior pockets keep my cell phone and ipad safe from campus bandits.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why the dietary hate?

In the last few days I have been looking up recipes for dairy free cakes and frosting. Why? Because my birthday is coming up and even those of us with dietary restrictions enjoy dessert ;) Lucky for me, I have found some incredible looking recipes and inspirations for birthday treats. I am currently planning to combine a delicious looking lemon cake with some fresh strawberry icing for strawberry lemonade cupcakes. I will certainly be sure to let you know how those turn out if I do make them. What concerns me the most when I find these recipes though, is the hateful comments left by others. People I call "normal eaters". People who don't feel like they are going to die for three days if they happen to ingest something that doesn't agree with them. I can't for the life of me understand the point of saying "eww" or "I would never eat that" in regard to a post simply because it avoids a particular ingredient. That's like me liking cucumbers and leaving a comment on someone's pasta salad recipe saying that I would never give the recipe a shot because it is different than what I am used to. A similar issue is name calling. Just because I do not eat dairy products, red meat, or nuts does not make it okay to say that I (or anyone else making different food choices) am stupid, weird, or a "dumb communist hippie". Some people eat differently than you. They still share recipes and enjoy a good meal.... Including dessert. Get over yourself, food haters.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

300th post - sorry it's not more upbeat

Maybe I'm just a poor future teacher who doesn't truly understand what goes on in a classroom from day to day. Maybe I'm really clueless and idealistic. It just seems to me that once a person reaches the point in their teaching career where they don't honestly care about the success and well being of their students then that person should find a new career.

Kids these days have literally hundreds of negative influences and people telling them that they aren't good enough. Shouldn't the classroom be as safe and removed from that as possible?

Again, maybe I'm a crazy liberal with backwards ideas about real life, but shouldn't a teacher be someone a student can trust to be honest and accepting no matter what the situation? Isn't that the point of all of these classes I am taking? I'm learning how to provide instruction that includes and accepts students from every possible situation. If teaching is really just glorified babysitting and putting up with various problems as they arise then I should just be able to renew my CPR and first aid certifications and have at it, right? I mean, I have 12 years experience with babysitting. Why bother with all of these papers and readings about being culturally responsive and accepting if that has nothing to do with being a "real" teacher?

I have had the opportunity lately to meet some teachers who have made my blood boil. They tell children to their face and in notes home to parents that the child is a burden and the teacher does not have time to deal with them each day. They tell the parents to medicate the children because the child is a distraction and a menace in the classroom... never mind what might be best for the actual child in question. If there are legitimate issues, then work with the family to help them figure out the issues in a way that sets the child up for success.

My parents dealt with this to some extent with my younger brother and I know it made them angry. Now that I am seeing it from a teacher's perspective I am even more angry about it. These are KIDS for goodness sake. If a kindergartner makes jokes using toilet humor and it offends you, the problem is not the 5 year-old... the problem is YOU! Hate to break it to you, but kids are gross and they find all things related to bathrooms and underwear to be hilarious. If this offends your delicate sensibilities then please find another profession.

A child should not have to go through life thinking he or she is a dirty, shameful child just because his or her teacher didn't pay attention in child development class back in college.

Please note that these comments are about a few different teachers I have met recently outside of my courses at GSU and are in no way connected to my field placements within that program.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

first block grades are in

child development - A
cultural foundations - A+
language and literacy - A
classroom management - A+

Straight As.

And no, your eyes are not playing tricks on you... that is definitely an A+ in geometry up there. I have one thing to say about that: in your FACE Mr. Kinney!

Mr. Kinney was my 9th grade geometry teacher in high school. He treated my friend and me like crap and I felt like he was never willing to help us out because we had skipped a grade in math. I made a D in his class that year and the idea that I was bad at math was born. It may have taken me 10 years, but I finally proved to myself that I AM smart and I AM intelligent enough to succeed at subjects that do not come natural to me.

I would also just like to say that I am incredibly proud of myself. I made the President's list last semester and chalked it up to only having three classes. I was proud, but didn't think it would be repeated. However, I still made it my goal to get back on that list this semester carrying a full course load. The fact that I achieved this goal means the world to me. It is such an affirmation that I am exactly where I need to be. 

Now I can truly relax and enjoy my break before summer classes start. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

you may have noticed a change...

Back when I created this blog I chose the name "A lot of love, A lot of hope" because I felt that was all I had. Steve and I had love and hope on our side and absolutely no clue how to get where we wanted to be. We persevered through some really trying times in Savannah, confusing times during and after our move to Atlanta, and have finally come to a place where the path toward our dreams has become clear.

In light of this new found focus, I felt that this blog should change to reflect our lives as they are now.

The tag line has stayed the same since the overall goal is still the same: to live the life we have imagined. However, the title "The Thoreau Experiment" is, in my opinion, more indicative of our attempts to "go confidently in the direction of our dreams" as Mr. Thoreau encourages us to do.

There has also been some cleaning up around the edges. I found that many of the things I had placed around the edges of the blog were simply to take up space and were no longer necessary or relevant. It was time to simplify.

I feel that the blog as it is now can easily grow with me as things change in my life... beyond the completion of my degree and on into the other adventures awaiting me. Life truly is a great big experiment and I hope to become better at documenting the process.

block 1 = complete

It is official, as of approximately 8:55am this morning I am finished with block 1. All I have to do now is wait for tomorrow when my final grades will be published, then I have three weeks of relaxing to do before summer classes begin.

Oh, and what a glorious few weeks they will be! I will be volunteering with my favorite kindergarten class for field day one day next week, then Steve and I go on our Disney trip, and then it's Steve's big 30th birthday celebration. I am pretty sure May is going to be epic.

With any luck, I will decompress and get rid of all the spring semester stress so that I am fresh and ready for summer classes. I think I mentioned this on here before, but I am taking Statistics and Algebra this summer. It has sarcastically lovingly been dubbed "the summer of incredible fun" since, well, I can think of many things I would prefer than spending six weeks doing nothing but math. However, it is a necessary evil.

Also, I don't want to jinx anything by speaking too soon, but I am pretty sure I got at least a B+ in Geometry this semester. I might just be able to rock these classes and then move on to more happy fun times classes like science methods in early childhood. Now THAT sounds like a good time.

If you couldn't tell, I am incredibly relieved to be finished with the semester. I will be back tomorrow to post the official grades from the semester. :)