The long/short of it

Where has the time gone!?!

I know I haven’t updated my blog in a while but has it really been over two months? If you follow me on Facebook you have been able to be updated but it is time I update the blog.

Where do I begin? I guess I will outline the last two months and then come back latter with more details of what stood out to me.

Week of March 7th: Last week teaching comprehensive music :( New hair cut! (donated hair to locks of love) Attended a gospel choir concert at Harvest Bible Chapel

Student Teaching

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Week of March 14th: First week teaching high school choir. Eek!

Week of March 21st: Spring break road trip!!!

Blog Headers

Week of March 28th: Back to high school and my very last seminar in Macomb for student teaching.

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This was actually part of a double rainbow that my friend and I witnessed on our way home from our last student teaching seminar in Macomb. One of the most vivid rainbows I have seen!

Week of April 4th: Normal high school week I guess

Week of April 11th: Observed by one of my music professors ^_^ Had a wonderful chat after the observation! And the high school students had their a cappella concert, what talent!

Week of April 18th: Last formal observation, first minor fender bender (not my fault), saw my 5th and 6th graders perform at their spring concert, spent some time with a friend and experienced wonderful Good Friday (Check out this video for a taste of what I experienced Good Friday) and Easter services!

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Week of April 25th: High school choral variety show, Awana’s ceremony, answered prayers and my parents came to visit!

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Week of May 2nd: Other student teacher’s last week teaching high school choir, National Day of Prayer, high school spring drama “Rumors”, happy hour at Starbucks.

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Throughout this time I have learned that teaching high school is mentally exhausting and waking up earlier has made me appreciate a good cup of coffee in the morning.

I have learned that it is hard to balance my schedule and find motivation and discipline to do what I want and know I should be doing. Throughout this time I participated in the Pipes challenge which helped give me some motivation but it was still hard to find the time and energy to move.

Summer job searching continues as well as waiting to get phone calls from the schools I have applied to.

The most amazing part of the last few weeks is seeing God answer prayers in my life as well as in the lives of my family. Some of the details I will share in upcoming posts so stay tuned.

Thank you for joining me and supporting me!

This time next week I will be a proud graduate of Western Illinois University!!!!!

What has stood out to you in your life the last two months?

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Crammer

Last week I was blessed with Monday off from school. Let’s just say I took advantage of the day with a late start to the day :) I also had the opportunity to meet with a friend from church for coffee at Barnes and Nobles.

Tuesday was a teacher plan day so my mentor teacher and I spent the day entering student grades. We got a lot accomplished but there are still a few things to enter. I got home early from school and had some time to relax before small group at church.

Wednesday was a normal teaching day. I am finding that my biggest challenge is finding my balance between a fun environment and an environment where students can learn. I am so focused on wanting to get through my entire lesson that I will let some behaviors, like talking or unneeded goofiness, continue at levels that should be lower. I am working on finding my balance and a way to motivate some students (or classes) to work on their behavior. I am currently trying to think through what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable and what the consequences will be.

Thursday night I stayed in the Palatine area for a concert. The 4th grade classes I have been working with had their World Music Concert and did a fabulous job! I was so proud of them working hard on the different languages and singing beautifully :D So what to do when you have a few hours to fill? I found a Starbucks nearby and it was very comfy. To top it off, while I was there, a barista came around and handed out free samples of their old fashioned donuts. Coffee and a free sample? Yes please!

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I have loved every moment of my elementary student teaching experience and I am going to miss the students and staff. I will be at the school until the 11th but my time is quickly winding down!

Remember when the blizzard at the beginning of February? Well because of that blizzard, my seminar at WIU was pushed to the last day of February. Saturday I drove down with a friend and of course we had to make a pitstop to Great Harvest :)

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Once arriving in Macomb I had a wonderful visit and fellowship with my friend Sora. I have been praying that I will develop deeper friendships that are not just on the surface level but go into the personal and spiritual levels. I get excited every time I am talking with a friend and the conversation turns into what God has been doing in our lives or what we have been studying in scripture. All I can say is God is an awesome God!

The remainder of my Saturday was spent visiting with my mom, dad and L since they were watching her and quickly touching base with my friend Lisa B. Have a mentioned that my parents finally moved in the caretakers house at the church campground in Rushville? It looks beautiful! Their belongings look like they were made for the house and my parents look so comfortable :) There are still some nonessentials that have to be sorted at their old house but it will be easier now that all the main things are moved.

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Sunday was a supper full day! Church in the morning, lunch with my parents and Carolyn, DQ for a couple of hours to visit with friends and then driving to Bushnell to visit more friends! You think my day was done? I was only getting started ;) I was late heading to Bushnell because my mom had found a box of my clothes when they moved. Half of the clothes I donated while the other half I kept. It was like Christmas! I would like to know how items can disappear for years and then show up again. Once I arrived in Bushnell, I was able to have a nice visit with two of my friends before heading to Macomb to visit and sleep over at another friends house. After all of this activity I was more than ready for bed Sunday night. I am not used to this much activity crammed into one weekend!

What happened Monday? You will just have to stay tuned to find out.

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The Week of Hearts

Valentine’s day came and went this last week and I did not mind it one bit. One question that I got when I gave my single life talk was how I handle holidays, especially valentine’s day. The simple answer is my family and friends. Another reason is that I have seen from my Dad that valentine’s day is not a one day event, instead it is a 365 day event! Several years ago I thought about boycotting the event but as a teacher that doesn’t really work. So instead, I dressed up in pink and had fun teaching. It helped that several students were kind enough to bring me valentine’s :D and that V left me a homemade valentine’s on my bed when I got home. On a side note, one student apologized for getting my name wrong on a bog of chocolates. In my mind, a box of Godiva chocolates covers up the fact that he put the wrong name ;)

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After school Monday, I attended a district music meeting where they discussed the budget. One important thing I learned: stay until the meeting is over. If there is money left in the budget that has to be spent and you are still around you can get additional materials for your classroom (like new glockenspiels)!

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The rest of the week was normal except for Thursday night. Thursday I hung out at Starbucks for a few hours after school because my elementary school had open house. I made a small powerpoint presentation with pictures and a few slides from the 6th graders composer presentations and overall enjoyed the experience. I did find out though that parents do not ask permission to touch any of the instruments and feel that they are allowed to go into closed room and turn on the lights and explore. My idea for when I have my own classroom: have stations set up where parents can try out instruments in a controlled setting.

On a side note, I am getting better with discipline but I still need to work on clearer expectations. I am getting into the bad habit of waiting for most of the students to quiet down before continuing on with my instructions or lesson instead of waiting for the actual behavior that I am expecting from the students. I want the students to have fun but I also want them to learn and they can’t learn if they are talking and goofing off. I also experimented with setup recorder groups and it is helping with my time management with the 3rd graders. A few classes have also learned that purposefully goofing off and squeaking their recorders equals loosing their recorders and a talk with me. Seems to be working so far.

Let’s see, what else has been going on this week. Friday night W, M, V and I went to see The Wizard of Oz at a High school in Crystal Lake. I really enjoyed getting out with the family and it was a very nice performance.

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Saturday I actually got out and socialized! My small group tries to set up different activities on the weekend so we have an opportunity to do things outside of church and I was finally able to attend! Saturday three of us got together for lunch at Chili’s. I ended up getting the Fire-Grilled Corn Guacamole. It had a nice spiciness to it that I liked. Our table of three also somehow ended up with three platers of chips and salsa, not sure how that happened but we did manage to consume two of the three platers ;) Saturday night one of the ladies in the small group opened up her home for games/movies/visiting. There ended up being four of us and after visiting for a little bit we watch Fireproof. It had been awhile since I had seen it and I enjoyed watching it again.

Before I sign off I want to leave you with a tasty new recipe I came across and tried last Sunday. It is simple to put together and tasty hot by itself, hot with rice or cold on top of a salad. It was a wonderful bonus in my lunch this last week!

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Normal

Overnight oats, bright sunshine, music, meetings, hanging out with my niece and a test about sums up my week.

Pretty boring isn’t it ;)

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Is it sad that I kind of like meetings? Monday I had a school staff meeting and Tuesday was a local seminar related to student teaching. There was also a lunch meeting for a group my mentor teacher is apart of on Monday.

Monday I had my first and only formal observation at Palatine. I will have my second formal observation part way through my time at Barrington. I have not felt nervous very many times while student teaching but I felt nervous about an hour before I was observed! I knew what I was going to do and was prepared but the waiting got to me. Once I started the lesson I was fine. Wednesday the same class happened to be observed by another person from WIU. I was not as nervous for this one. Not sure why.

This last week also brought several sub zero days. It was chilly! Cold weather and snow I can handle but sub zero I do not like. It would probably help if I sewed my coat buttons back on :)

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Friday night W and M went out for “A Date to Remember” that the church hosted. The men in the church had transformed the church for food, games, dancing and community. At one point in the evening the couples had a chance to say their vows again to each other. I am sure everyone had a wonderful time. Meanwhile at home, V and I ate in front of the TV and then proceeded to play Mario on Wii for at least an hour! Let’s just say I am not very good at Mario. V had fun and I enjoyed spending time with her doing something that I know she enjoys.

Saturday was no time for fun and games however. Saturday was the day for my Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) test (doo, doo, doom). Out of the three tests I have had to take for my teacher certification, this one was my least favorite. Some of the questions were common sense but some of the questions had me stumped! I am hoping I did well enough that I don’t have to take it again. I don’t get the results for a month so we shall see.

Saturday night I didn’t sleep very well due to my sinuses still acting up. I started losing my voice Thursday or Friday which is not a good thing for a teacher, especially a music teacher. Saturday I started coughing when I went to bed. Sunday morning I felt out of it. Not enough sleep and stuffed up sinuses are not a good mix. Extra sleep and liquids are helping me feel better but whatever I have is not going away easily!

This week should be a little more eventful.

I am in the process of putting together a special post (related to Valentines day) so stay tuned! I hope to have it up latter this week :)

What do you do to feel better when you have been sick?

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Snow Days

This week has been interesting to say the least.

Monday was a normal teaching day but with the added excitement that a snow day was coming due to the blizzard of 2011! Was it bad that I was hoping for a snow day? I wasn’t the only teacher hoping for one if that makes it any better ;)

Tuesday started out normal. No problem getting to school. Then the snow started. During the last class of the day (plan period on Tuesday for me) it was announced that there would be no school the next day! I think all the teachers were already expecting this but it was nice to find out before heading home for the day. When school let out it was a mess outside!

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What usually take me about forty minutes to get home took about two hours! Thankfully the traffic was being careful so there were not any accidents along the road when I was traveling. The drive went by a little faster with a few phone calls (my parents and a couple of friends) and podcasts. I was so glad to be home and crashed!

Wednesday we woke up to snow that was close to twenty inches!

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My brother and several other neighbors were out using their snow blowers first thing in the morning trying to clear driveways and sidewalks. My brother was out until two in the afternoon helping out. Actions like that remind me of my dad and his willingness to help others regardless of the time. I stayed inside where it was warm an played Mario with V, watched G-Force with the family and overall sat around and was lazy. V helped me make some flourless peanut butter cookies and a wonderful pumpkin cranberry scone mix that my friend Nicole sent me. What a wonderful day!

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Thursday came with another snow day! Because of the amount of snow, the plows were having trouble getting all the roads cleared and the temperature was bellow zero plus a windchill. I was glad to have another snow day because I was finally coming down with something. At the beginning of the week I thought it was a cold but Thursday I woke up and was achy and that is not a symptom of a cold. Thursday involved a nice long nap, a green monster, a carrot cake smoothie, citron tea and lots of liquids.

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Note: I believe the success of these smoothies is using a high powered blender.

Friday I woke up ready to go and teach. It took me a little longer to get to school due to snow blocking some of the road but overall, not a bad drive. Thank you to all the people who have worked hard clearing off the roads! :D Once I got to school I realized I was a little weaker and dizzier than when I first woke up so I planned on teaching sitting down as much as possible. I was getting excited about my last recorder class of the day when it was announced that there was an assembly for read and connect. I was a little bummed that I would not be able to teach my recorder lesson but now I know what I am doing next week with them!

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This weekend has involved laying around, liquids, green monsters and carrot cake smoothies and naps. I am hoping that I will be back to “normal” Monday morning and ready to make it through week five of my student teaching!

On a side note, did you hear/read/watch Opera and 378 staffers go vegan for a week? If not, check out Angela’s thoughts at Oh She Glows. And if you are interested, check out Morgan’s Challenge to go vegan for a week (Life After Bagels).

That’s it for now. I am going try and incorporate some more vegan recipes into my life this week and will report back to you all at the end of the week. The most important thing for me and food is moderation, balance and listening to what my body is telling me.

Off to finished typing some lesson plans and then an early bedtime sounds fantastic!

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Traffic

Where has the time gone! Last week was a full week of teaching and there were a few nights I was ready to go to bed by 6pm. I would have gone to bed if I thought I could have slept through the night. I might try it next time.

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I love the scenery on my drive but I dislike slow traffic.

For student teaching I have now taken over planning and teaching for kindergarten, second grade, fourth grade and fifth grade. Sixth graders are finishing up their composer projects so that is still a joint teaching effort.

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The no whining sign is my favorite :)

Second grade we have been working on pitch matching and reading music with a technology twist. Instead of having them read music the first time they learn a song, I created a power point slide with images that spin when clicked to help the students track the music better. They loved it! When I came home, I asked V to help me create some new words to the melodies. We now have a page full of new words to go with the two melodies. So much fun! I even taught the kindergarten class a couple of the songs with the images and they loved it! It is amazing how a little technology can help the student engage and focus.

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Part of the classroom

In fourth grade we are working on their concert songs and I am realizing I need to dust off my Spanish pronunciation a little bit :) I love the songs and it is starting to come together since we added a few motions. Fifth grade I pretested on their improvisation ability and now need to map out my teaching unit. Somehow I am going to combine jazz, improvisation and spirituals into one cohesive unit. I am excited to see what I come up with ^_^

One of the biggest things I am learning right now is how to pre-teach expected behaviors and to stop and have students redo something when it is not done as expected. For several classes, clearly saying what I expect of them has helped greatly. For others, they hate having to redo something or hear me repeat instructions so once I remind them a few times their behavior is better.

Did you know that just standing closer to a student does not always alter their behavior? Apparently even with a teacher standing, looking right at them, they will still talk to their neighbor when they are supposed to be singing, listening, etc.! Oh well, sometimes it works, sometimes they just don’t realize what they are doing.

I have also taken over working with the third graders. They are currently learning recorders. I need to work on my time management skills for third grade since they are working in small groups instead of one large class. I find it is hard to move onto another student when I know the one I am with is still not getting it. My goal this week is to create some small groups of students in each recorder class that I can work with and try to help them out so they can catch up with the rest of the class. I think some group playing will be in order latter in the week as well. I hope they are ready :)

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DSC01983Friday night was a wonderful lazy night. There were things I could have done but it felt good to let myself vegetate for a while. Saturday was a mixture of being productive and lazy. I almost got caught up writing formal lesson plans (instead of sticky note lesson plans) and spent some time with my family and reading blogs.

Sunday morning I made a delicious bowl of Apple Pie Oatmeal. I didn’t have apple sauce and guessed on the spices (because I didn’t want to measure them) but it turned out wonderfully. It was a nice switch form overnight oats or my usually whipped banana oatmeal I make on the weekends.

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Sunday mornings sermon was on prayer and pastor MacDonald and the church elders called the church to a week of prayer. Sunday evening M and I attended a prayer service that helped focus us and get us ready for the week. I have only been apart of the church for a few weeks but I already feel apart of the community. I am so glad that my brother found this church a few years ago and started attending. By the way, did you know you can listen to James MacDonalds sermons online?

A heavy snow storm is in the forecast for this week and I am hopeful for a snow day. I would love a day to stay bundled up instead reading a book and not have to drive in the snow.

What is your favorite thing to do on a snow day?

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31

A short week but somehow it didn’t feel short.

Monday was Martin Luther King day so I had a day off from school. I pretty much spent the day sleeping in, hanging out with my family and relaxing. I did work on writing up formal lesson plans from the sticky note lesson plans I have been using. Before I knew it the day was done and I had not accomplished as much as I had wanted :(

Tuesday was a teacher institute day and I was looking forward to it. The morning was spent with all the music teacher in the district together learning about incorporating technology into the classroom, the process of grants, how to write them and where to look for them and of course the music budget. My mentor teacher was treated me out to lunch which was unexpected but I am not one to say no to food :)

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After lunch, the music teacher split into orchestra, band and comprehensive (general) and had guest presenters. For he comprehensive session we got to learn several music games and see how technology can be incorporated into the music lesson to help with the visual element. Even though it was a lot of information, it did not feel completely overwhelming because so much that I heard I can apply in the next few weeks. It also encouraged me to look back through some of my class notes to refresh some ideas that I would like to try in the classroom.

The nice thing about the day was I got out earlier than a regular school day so I had some extra time to get things done…and I did get a few things accomplished

Small group Tuesday was a little more lively than the last couple of weeks! There were about six new visitors and several people who had not attended for a while. I am working on getting to know everyone as well as trying to remember everyone’s name :) i am terrible with names but am pretty good remembering faces. We are currently doing a pulpit curriculum and I am enjoying the challenge of digging deeper into Sunday’s sermon each week. One of my favorite things about the young adult small group is that the weekly studies are Bible based. I have always had a hard time finding a group that I like that challenges me to dig deeper and so far I am finding what I need.

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Because of the holiday on Monday and the teacher’s institute on Tuesday there was only a three day teaching week! Wednesday was a normal teaching day but Thursday I had the opportunity to be in charge the entire day! My mentor teacher had to stay home so instead of handing the class over to the substitute, I was able to lead each class and the substitute was there in case I needed assistance. It was a great day and such a wonderful experience! I was really tired at the end of the day though and spent the rest of the evening reading blogs and watching TV. Thursday I was not ashamed of my laziness :) Friday was a regular teaching day with a special treat from a local marching band. The band marched through the school’s hallways twice to help quick off reading connect. Even though it took away some of my class time for 2nd grade I was not sad because the students were still experiencing music! When we got back to the music room I talked to the students about the different instruments they saw and about how easy it was to clap with the marching band a keep a steady beat. Now that is what I call a fun transition!

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(Look! I am still smiling and standing after being in charge for an entire day!)

Friday after school I headed south. I had decided earlier in the week that I wanted to make a quick visit down to Rushville to visit my parents and try to see a few other people. My parents have been in the process of fixing up the caretakers house at the local church campground for almost a year and in two weeks they will be moving in and then the next week my dad will be having surgery. I know that I will not be able to help them move or be there when my dad has surgery so this was the only weekend that worked.

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The 31 stands for the hours between leaving Paltine for Rushville and making it back to Crystal lake if you didn’t catch that. I was in the car for about ten hours between Friday and Saturday, spent about eight hours sleeping and the rest was spent with my parents, Lisa and Corban and Carolyn. It was worth it but it sure made my weekend go faster! An added bonus was being able to visit a Great Harvest in Naperville and try out the bread. Oh my goodness! It is a good thing there is not one closer or I could have a serious problem. I know where I will be going when I am feeling homesick for my mom’s homemade bread!

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Tomorrow morning is coming fast and lesson plans and pre tests and post tests are starting to make me antsy! A little Bible reading and then hopefully off to a restful slumber.

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Exploring the Teritory

The first full week of January is almost over and again I find myself asking, where has the time gone! I will admit I have been enjoying sleeping in, relaxing and not having a real schedule keep but that will soon change.

This last week I have finished settling in at my brother’s house, explored Crystal Lake a little (a nice walk on main street when the weather turns warmer is in order), realized that World Market and Boarders are next to each other and a Barnes and Noble is just down the street, There are two Thai restaurants within a mile of each other, Trader Joe is less than a 15 minute drive away (with a good powered chai to boot!), there is a Whole Food Palatine where I am student teaching for my first eight weeks and apparently there is several Great Harvest Bread Co. within an hour drive (never been to one but have heard great things)!

Needless to say, that alone has made me love the suburbs. The down side to the suburbs that I have experienced this week is the traffic and the high gas prices!

Here is a recap of my week.

Monday I ventured out on my own on a mission to explore. I found my way downtown to the train station but decided it was too cold to stop and walk. A stop to World Market, Kohls and Target left me with a delicious drink and a few new picture frames for the new pictures I have of A, C and E.

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Tuesday I attended my first student teaching seminar and received some new information and packets for my mentor teachers. After making it back for supper, I went to Harvest Church (my brother’s church in Crystal Lake) and attended their young adult small group. I really enjoyed being with people around my own age and digging into scripture. It was a great reminder for me to stop slacking on my personal Bible reading and spiritual growth. I look forward to making this apart of my weekly schedule.

Wednesday I practiced waking up a little earlier so that my body would not go into complete shock when I start student teaching and also to give me more time to read “The Other Queen” by Philipa Gregory. This is the second book I read by Gregory and have enjoyed her writing and perspective on historical events. I think some lighter fiction reading is in order next :)

Mid-morning I met M at the church and we headed to Whole Foods. I loved the smell, the look and the variety of healthy options! A little expensive on some items but for what they stand for I am willing to spend a little extra on something I know is better for me. On the way, we stopped at Chipotle and got a quick bite to eat. So much flavor! I should have saved some for latter but I find it hard to stop eating good Mexican food :) The chicken was spicy, the rice had the perfect blend of lime and the heaping mound of guacamole satisfied me completely *sigh* I appreciate that they try to use local ingredients and healthier food options and sources.

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I was thankful I was full going into Whole Foods otherwise I might have bough more than I needed. While there, I picked up shampoo and what I thought was conditioner (turns out I bought two shampoos!) and then two jars of Peanut Butter & Co. goodness. I bought one that had before: White Chocolate Wonderful and then a new one that I have never seen before: Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. I am looking forward to trying the latter on my morning oatmeal soon.

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We picked up some parsnips with the goal to make fries for supper. Results? Let’s put it this way, my niece decided to eat green beans (which she dislikes) instead of parsnip fries for her vegetable. They were not terrible but there was something about the taste that wasn’t right. They were soft on the inside like a fresh fry but they were also a little chewy. Maybe I needed to cook them longer or cut them differently… After this first try, I am thinking that sweet potato fries are the fry of choice for me. It doesn’t hurt to try :)

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Wednesday night I went to bed early because an early morning awaiting me Thursday. Since I did not have the chance to observe my elementary mentor teacher when I met her, I schedule a day long observation for today. This meant that I had to be on the road between 6:30 and 6:45 in the morning since I did not know what to expect with morning traffic. Traffic was not bad and I made it to school with thirty minutes to spare which was nice but I could have used some coffee. My morning chai and oatmeal in a jar were not helping my weary eyes.

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Thursday is the fullest class day which is why I picked it but observing left me tired by the end of the day. I think morning coffee on Thursday’s or some sort of pick me up is going to be needed in the future. On the way home I stopped at a Starbucks and picked up a tall vanilla late that hit the spot. It gave me the needed energy to get home and finish out the day without a crash and burn.

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(I am looking forward to seeing this area with color this spring!)

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(Thank you Mom and Dad and W & M for the gift cards! They will come in very handy the next couple of weeks)

Today I plan to take it easy and finish a few crochet projects, read, do a little yoga (maybe try a new routine), clean up around the house, and work on my blog a little bit.

I have been trying to figure out how to to make my rss feed into a box and add a box to my Facebook page for my blog. Any ideas of how to do this? I am not a techie by any means and my few attempts have left me befuddled.

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Wow!

Exciting things are happening!

Sunday I left Rushville after eating lunch and headed up to Crystal Lake. I did not get lost but there were a couple times I thought for sure Google map had led me astray.

I had a wonderful evening visiting with my brother and his family and meeting the two new guinea pigs in the family :)

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The weather up here today is dreary but I am so excited! I met with my high school mentor teacher in Barrington and also met another student teacher that will be with her this Spring. the HS school is so big and the students are so good! I was amazed as I walked down the hallway and saw their artwork on display. The one thing that I like about the HS teacher is that she is willing to put her student teachers right to work. Even though I was just coming to meet her she had me quickly look over a song and take the altos for sectionals during one of the class periods that I was there. I am very impressed with the voice tone that the HS girls have. Have I said that I am excited about this new adventure yet? There was also a special treat for the HS students. The a cappella group Xtenstion chords from the University of Illinois. I have never heard an a cappella group perform live before so this was a treat! After they performed, they worked with the HS men a cappella group that was in the class and gave them pointers while the HS director and I worked with the girls.

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(picture fromĀ http://xtensionchords.com/about-us)

This morning has been packed full and I am taking a quick breather at Starbucks for lunch before heading to the elementary school in Palatine.

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Egg salad and chai with carmel made a very filling lunch.

Here I go! See you all when I get back to home sweet Macomb ^_^

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Half way…

Where to start…it was a fairly typical week.

Great discussion time at the Monday night Bible study. Last week we hosted PornNation and this week instead of a Bible study, we had time for discussion in gender separate groups. There were two or three new people and it was great to see God in the middle of our discussions. Wednesday night was the last night of my ten week night class and I am excited to have time to eat supper on Wednesday before 8pm!

Friday night was the annual orchestra halloween concert which is always a lot of fun. This year the orchestra performed the Carnival of Animals complete with a narrator. After the concert, one of my friends came over and we ate and talked until the wee hours of the morning. We didn’t realize how late it was until we happened to look at a clock. Opps!

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Saturday was a lovely lazy day and I was able to read for fun and work on a baby present for one of my friends. Pictures will be up when it is finished and after I give it to her ;) It was nice to not have a lot to do and be able to do what I wanted to do. I miss that. Saturday night I went home and was able to visit with mom and dad which is something else I have not been able to do for a while.

Sunday we only had one church service (5th Sunday) and then Pastor Rose gave the congregation a meal in appreciation of us. I have been meaning to send her a letter of appreciation the last few weeks and her actions reminded me that I should be encouraging her more often. Her sermon tied in nicely to the virtue we have been teaching down in Sunday school this month. Every month, the kids learn a new virtue and Bible stories that help reinforce the virtue. October’s virtue was Initiative: seeing what needs to be done and doing it (Can See It, Can Do It). As part of her sermon, she challenged everyone to take care of the young people (the college students) by sending them as a congregation care packages. She used the image of juggling and how we can only focus on a few things at a time but if everyone has one ball, we can accomplish so much more than one person trying to juggle hundreds of balls. A great reminder and a visual way to remind everyone to act on what we are taught through scripture and at church.

Sunday was Halloween and Evan’s birthday! I had a great talk with him and it sounded like he had a wonderful day/weekend :) He is growing up so fast!

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Well I guess I should be signing off…oh wait! I finally found out some information regarding my student teaching placement. Drumroll please!

I was happy to find out that I will be living up in Crystal Lake with my brother (Veronica was equally as happy). I have not found out my elementary general music placement but I do know that starting mid March I will be at Barrington High School. It is the large school experience that I wanted but as it gets closer my anticipation is growing! So many things to do and time is running down fast. Off to bed to gain energy to tackle my list!

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