Monday, April 30, 2012

Baking: Strawberry Trifle

So I am trying to get life reorganized... Getting refocused at work and ending on a strong note, getting the house organized, cleaned, and doing some remodeling (pictures and more to come on that!!!), and last but not least... my blog! I am a very organized, live by a schedule type of person (how could I not be when I run from classroom to classroom grabbing kids and going). So I decided that I need to have a blog planner/idea of what I want to share with you all each week.   I have also been trying to do some more baking and try out some of the recipes on my pinterest board and in all of these cookbooks that I have.  So I am going to try very hard to try a new dessert each week or at least every other week... these will be going to either mine or The hubby's work because we DO NOT need these calories. 

So here it is, my first official baking post...

This past weekend, I tried a strawberry trifle.  I had never made a trifle before but got a dish as a wedding gift and have always wanted to try.  This was a great first recipe and I recommend it to everyone.  It was very easy to make and I made it even easier by using Kroger Bakery Angel Food Cake; I have not yet mastered the homemade angel food cake! I also left out the orange zest because I forgot about that when I was at the grocery.  I think it still turned out tasty.

I had pinned the recipe to my desserts board awhile ago but you can find the original recipe here.  I will say that the sour cream taste was a bit strong for my liking and also made the cream much more dense than I felt necessary.  I think next time I make this, I will leave it out and add some pure vanilla extract.


Kind of beautiful isn't it?!?!?!  Seeing as I was also cooking barbecue pulled pork and I have a very small kitchen, it was kind of a disaster in there and I did not take any preparation pictures.  I will try and remember that for next time. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's almost summer freebie!!

So when doing some lesson planning this week, I realized that it is almost May and that we only have 4 more weeks of school... YIKES!! I have been working on some summer work packets for my kiddos.  I know that people have very strong opinions about this either way.  Being a special educator, I think that they are great, in moderation that is.  The tough part is that since I see grades K-8 and they are all working on a bajillion different skills it is hard to put packets together for all 32 of my kids.  Last year I did this and man did it take forever and was not possible to reuse this year (rookie mistake, I know)! So this year, I have been working on some Summer work calendars.  I focused on the most common of the goals that my kiddos work on and made a calendar and supplemental materials for each (phonemic awareness, sight words, comprehension and writing, and money/time/math facts). 

This is a FREEBIE for you!  It is the calendar and the parent explanation letter for sight words.  If you would like the Rotten Apple Game Cards or the Parent Assesssment Check Sheet, leave me a comment with your email and I will send them to you! 

Let me know what you think!



Friday, April 27, 2012

Wow...What a week!

First of all, thank you all so much for the kind thoughts, prayers, and well wishes!  It just reinforces how great BlogLand is! 

Anyways... What a crazy week it has been.  We are doing OAA Testing this week which just reminds me how great it is working at a private school!  In the fall we assess our students with the IOWA test.  In the spring, we do OAA's but we only have to assess students who are on EdChoice (a voucher program).  This year we only had 10 kids testing and only 3 of them were my Sped kiddos, so it hasn't been too bad.  With that said however, any of you special ed teachers know that providing accommodations can be stressful.  2 of my students receive a Read Aloud accommodation and extended time and another student receives those as well but also a large print text.  2 things I have learned from this years testing experience...
     1. When reading a test aloud...do your best to not watch what the student answers because it is extremely difficult to watch them answer a question wrong that you know they should get right.  "We just went over this together last month, you know how to do this!!" is what I am screaming inside.  "Or didn't you listen to the question, it said write 2 ways, not just 1!"
     2. When transcribing from the large print test to the actual test to be graded, it must be done VERBATIM!! Any words spelled wrong, I spell wrong, no capital letters, I can't put capital letters, no punctuation, I can't put punctuation.  Holy moley is that hard!!  I am pretty sure that I will never be able to spell wheth with ever again!

Aside from testing, we have also had a parent request gifted testing and seeing as we do not have a gifted specialist my principal decided to put me on that detail... kind of the opposite end of the spectrum, but I like a challenge so why not!  That required lots of research but I think I am figuring it out!  We also received paperwork on a new incoming student next year who is going to need lots of support so we've been meeting with the parents and working on preparing for her!  I am thrilled to add a new kiddo to my growing program! 

We have also been a part of an Art Council program called Artist in Residence and that has been going on for the last 2 weeks.  The students have been learning about theatre and even more specifically, deaf theatre.  Last night was the performance and it was so adorable, long, but adorable.  (I didn't get home from school until 9:30 and so today I have a very large coffee as my best friend!)  Today is grandparents day which includes a special Mass (and since I'm not Catholic, and desperate for a break from paperwork, I am able to blog now!), a special breakfast for the grandparents, and another school performance of the show!  1 more OAA test this afternoon and the crazy week will be over!!

I have also been working on preparing some summer work packets for kids.  I will be posting 1 as a FREEBIE soon!

Have a great weekend everyone!
Taylor

Monday, April 23, 2012

A heavy heart but a happy return...

I am not sure if anyone is still out there due to my lengthy hiatus but I am still here, I promise!!  This is not a teaching, baking, or a crafting post but more of a personal one, so if that's not your thing, stop reading now and check back soon for the good stuff!!!  I am posting today to share a difficult experience and also to explain for my absense. 

So a little peak into the past 3 months...  In February my husband and I found out we were pregnant and we were absolutely thrilled!  We had been trying and were so excited about starting our family.  With the exciting news, came a lot of morning sickness, afternoon sickness, and evening sickness (all you moms or pregnant women out there I know can relate!).  So all of February and March, I got up at 6 am, worked until the bell rang at 3 pm, came home, layed on the couch and didnt move until a) I had to go pee, yet again, b) get sick, yet again, or c) it was at least 7:30 pm and I dragged my butt up to bed.  So on top of all that, I was struggling with that stretch from Christmas break to Spring break that seemed never-ending (you all know that feeling). 

I was I was in my eleventh week of the pregnany and was finally starting to feel better and less tired when I went in for an ultrasound to check for a cyst.  They didn't find a cyst, but they did notice that there was no heartbeat.  Here I am sitting in a dark room, with some stranger, by myself (the hubby didn't come due to them focusing more on the cyst and not looking at the baby) thinking everything is fine, my legs in those stupid stirrup things, finding out that I had lost my baby.  I was heartbroken.  I had a d & c procedure, found out 3 days later that not everything removed, took Cytotec to try and get rid of the remaing tissue which didn't do anything but make me feel like I was dying, and then went through a 2nd d & c all during spring break.  Needless to say I did not get the relaxing spring break I so desperately been hoping for. 

It has been 3 weeks and I am starting to move forward.  With the support of my amazing hubby, family, friends, and coworkers I am doing well and thankful for the blessings that I do have in my life.  I know that God has a plan for me and I pray each day that children are a part of that! 

SO.......
With my newfound energy, I am ready to focus on schoolwork, help my kiddos make some more progress before the end of the year, and continue to grow in my profession by using this amazing resource!  So thank you to anyone who is still out there following me!  It was so amazing to come back to some fantastic new followers, great comments, and even some awards!

Taylor*