Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Tonight I discovered the seriousness of my hoarding disease when it comes to school supplies--especially supplies that I give to students.  Every year Walgreens and Staples seem to have the best deals on CHEAP student supplies.  Apparently I've gone a little overboard the past couple years, because when I put all my purchases in one location, this is what I came up with:

Sign me up for an intervention!  Seriously!!  I am out of control!!  Disclaimer: I did not buy ALL of these supplies.  Mama and Grandma bought some of the pencil sharpeners, and one of my paras purchased the boxes of yellow pencils.

Somehow I've spent countless hours in my classroom, yet have managed to pack NO boxes.  Yep, a big fat zero.  Not a good sign...Here are my empty boxes in the hallway.

I hit the jackpot today when I found the coveted tie-dye instructions page.  Our Big Kid Land tradition is to dye "Spirit Shirts" with all the 4th and 5th graders every year before state testing.  My sister Emily was our resident Rubber Band Expert and came every year to explain to the kiddos how to make different designs with their rubber bands.  When she was unable to help us any more, she made us an instructions sheet (see below).  Did Val and I ever figure out what the heck we were doing?  Nope!!  But, thankfully we found another rubber band expert to help the kiddos.  It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!

What do you do after spending all day in your classroom?  Blog about it, of course!  Here's hoping tomorrow I can add pictures of boxes that have actually been PACKED!

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

"Diamonds are only chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs."  ~Minnie Smith, poet

I stole this quote from my friend Joya.  I think it has a pretty deep meaning AND addresses a topic I love--things that sparkle!  In my first blog post, I promised if you have the attention span of a fly then you would like this blog.  I have a lot of random thoughts on my mind, so be ready to follow this train of thought...

First, a little Fun in the Sun!!  My roomie and I headed to Milford Lake today to the beach.  We tried to go to the beach at the South Outlet, but it was closed.  There was a sign posted about stopping the spread of zebra mussles.  Rats!  Next we went to Thunderbird Marina, but a majority of that beach was under water.  Determined to find a sandy spot, we headed to the campground at West Rolling Hills.  When we stopped at the ranger station to ask about a beach, McHottie Ranger told us to try East Rolling Hills.  45 minutes after leaving home, we finally found a suitable place to land.  Note to self:  Self, sitting on a sandy beach when the wind is blowing 35 miles per hour is not a smart idea.  It actually hurt when the wind blew the sand into us.  Shout out to Maxwell House for letting us borrow her Pepsi chairs from school--we took good care of them!!

This has definitely been a week of reflection for me.  Working in my classroom in an attempt to sort, purge, and pack has given me lots of time to think.  When I worked at Kinko's, there was a sign in the bathroom that said "Leave a legacy of quality wherever you go."  I am proud of the legacy I'm leaving behind at WE--a caring teacher who loved learning with and from my students, singing off-key at the top of my lungs, and creating a nurturing classroom environment where laughter was the norm.  I hope people think about the legacy they're creating for themselves every day of their lives--especially those people who touch the lives of young people in some way, shape, or form!

The city of Joplin has been on the hearts and minds of most Americans this week.  Amidst the stories of tragedy and terror, the stories that have touched me the most are the ones that describe how people have joined together to help those devasted by the tornado.  People who haven't even thought twice about donating money to the Red Cross or other organizations.  People who have driven hours to deliver essentials or help with the clean-up and rebuilding process.  During his visit to Joplin Sunday, President Obama said, "How we respond when the storm strikes is up to us.  How we live in the aftermath of tragedy and heartache, that's within our control.  And it's in these moments through our actions that we often see what makes life worth living in the first place.  That's what in the last week Joplin has not only taught Missouri, or has taught America, it's what Joplin has taught the world."  No matter what your political views, you can't argue with President Obama's words.

Ok, no one could be more excited about Jim Tressel resigning than me.  I've personally disliked the man for as long as I can remember--not because of his shady ways, but because a) he wears sweater vests ALL the time and b) his team wins WAY too much.  The headline on says "The Sweater Unraveled."  Pat Forde (now my favorite person to follow on wrote, "But this has been a lie-and-deny operation from the beginning, and now it ends with Jim Tressel's meticulously polished reputation in tatters."  This just goes to show that honesty really is the best policy.

How's that for random?!?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to Run a Library-Part 2

More wisdom from my 5th grade cherubs as I move from the classroom to the library:
  • Keep them happy, so love them like you love us.
  • Still listen to Justin Bieber.  LOL.
  • Be yourself.  Be confident and have fun.
  • Miss Stuck, you're gonna have to be a lot more quiet than you are.  I don't know why you have to be quiet in the library because no one is going to read books in the library! LOL :-)
  • Always be a pro, even if there are hard times in your life.
  • Show a little humor or else the kids at Fort Riley will think you're boring.
  • You will have to work hard.  Buy Captain Underpants Books.
  • Always organize your desk or you'll lose books and papers in your desk.
  • Make sure that you still have fun but be serious.
  • Help the kids find books.
  • Try not to sing a lot in the library because you might get fired.  So, try to focus on the books.
  • Have fun while you are at your new school and at the same time we will be learning and have new experiences.  PS, I love you and I will absolutely miss you!
  • Keep the books organized and read lots of books to all the grades.  You should have dictionary lessons.
  • Teach the same way.
  • To run a library, you have to deal with a lot of books.
  • Play music and have parties.
  • Try to make sure they have a good selection of books.
  • Have a book give away.
  • You should teach the kids a bit of everything you have taught us.
  • Teach animal books and have animals to show.
  • Put the books in order nice and neat.
  • Decorate your library!
  • Buy more drawing books!
  • Make sure the kids aren't playing around when they're checking out books.  PS, Have fun.
  • You can have a party for whoever brings books back on time or give them a prize.
Gotta love all these nuggets of wisdom!

Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Run a Library-Part 1

On the last day of school, I told my 5th graders that I'm moving to a new school and a new job next year.  I was crying so hard that I had trouble spitting out the words.  I admitted that I was scared to death to leave my school family and everything that is comfortable to me.  I also told them that I have a lot to learn about being a library media specialist, and decided to enlist their help.  Here are some of the responses they came up with when asked how to run a library:
  • Be yourself.  Don't change just because you leave.
  • Make sure the library doesn't look boring.  Ask if you can have sparkles on walls.
  • Keep playing Justin Bieber music.
  • Be a great librarian and let kids read in the library.  Keep a smile on your face.
  • Have lots of parties!
  • You should teach them the life lessons you taught us.  PS, You did a great job teaching us them.
  • When you have to count the books it'll probably be easy since you are a Math goddess.
  • Keep your library organized!!
  • Not all librarians are "quiet."
  • Have fun.  Just do what you do.
  • Don't get too close to the kids at your new school so they won't replace us.
  • When you eat chocolate, be careful not to cover your hands with chocolate or you'll have to clean the books.
  • Do your best and scan some books and sing.
  • When they turn in a book, ask them how it was so that way they know you care about them.
  • You should have fun lessons with the kids.  And don't use big words with small kids.
  • If you want to turn up the volume on a computer while playing a movie, remember to first check the CD volume.  Check the video volume and the stereo volume.
  • Make friends with the students and encourage them but don't be very strict.
  • Talk to kids a lot.
  • If you need help, just ask for help.
  • Always have fun!
Their deep thoughts made me laugh, cry, and think long and hard about running a library.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of their advice!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fish Tales

I was sitting in the boat, basking in the sun, feet propped up, munching Cool Ranch Doritos, and holding my fishing pole.  All of a sudden, I felt something tug on the end of my pole, and scrambled to start reeling it in.  I'm pretty sure everyone at Milford Lake heard my excited screams as I struggled to reel in the fish that must have weighed a couple pounds.  Sweat beads started to gather on my forehead as I kept working.  All of a sudden, reeling became easy.  Too easy.  I knew that familiar defeated feeling, and my heart sunk...the fish got away.

I wish I was a good fisherwoman, because if I was, I'd sit here telling you that I caught too many fish to even count.  Fact is, I didn't catch one.  Nada.  2 1/2 hours on the lake and I had NOTHING to show for it...unless you count the weird sunburn.  Before you skin cancer nuts start lecturing me, you need to know that I DID put on sunscreen--I even put more on after an hour on the water.  For some strange reason, I have these white streaks on my left arm in the midst of the sunburn.  Attractive?  Nope.  But, it could be a great conversation starter.

Why do I like fishing so much?  I'm not sure.  I've always enjoyed the thrill of catching fish, even though I hate eating them (and all seafood for that matter--except coconut shrimp from Red Lobster).  That whole "you have to be quiet when you fish" rule is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.  Personally I think some guy invented that rule in order to shut up his nagging wife.  I've had fish bite when I was talking, so I don't ever abide by the quiet rule.  I even like to sing when I'm out on the open water--the louder, the better!  While I absolutely avoid most things in nature at all costs, for some reason I love to fish.

When I wasn't catching any fish, I decided to focus my attention on something else--the other boats on the water.  I kept hoping one of them was the game warden, and that he'd come over to check my fishing license.  Yes, I am the proud owner of my very first fishing license.  Didn't realize I needed a license to fish.  But, now that I had one, I wanted to show the world--or at least the guy on the boat patrolling the lake.  No such luck.  I didn't even see a boat that resembled the lake cops.  Darn it.  Having a fishing license and wanted to get carded is like when I turned 21 and wanted everyone to ask for my ID.  Once I hit 25, it got a little annoying.  But, now that I'm weeks away from turning 31, I like STILL getting carded.  So, hopefully the next time I'm out on the open water, I'll catch at least one fish AND be asked to show off my fishing license.  Wishful thinking I'm sure...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good Mood Food

What is it about commercial jingles that make them stick in your head for an hour after hearing them?  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve sang “It’s good mood food” (complements of Arby’s) this evening.  I’ve said many times that I want a CD that is chalk full of commercial jingles.  THAT would be the perfect blend of two things I love—music and food!  Would you believe they actually have CD’s like this?  Amazon has Tee Vee Tunes: The Commercials.  I’ve played the sample for “I’m a Chiquita Banana” three times already.  Sign me up for this hit CD!  Ooh, guess who has a birthday one month from today (hint, hint)…

Speaking of food...I’ve checked out several blogs recently to figure out the “ins” and “outs” of blogging, and it seems the savvy bloggers post new and exciting recipes.  Not to be outdone by the blog gurus, I decided to post a favorite comfort food recipe.

Jenn’s Comfort Crackers
*1 tub of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip frosting
*graham crackers (the more, the merrier)
*spoon (optional)

Break apart each graham cracker.  Open the tub of frosting.  Dip a graham cracker in the frosting.  Eat, repeat, and enjoy!  Thanks to Betty Crocker for inventing the yummiest frosting on the planet!

Don’t get me wrong—I truly DO like cooking.  My problem is that I eat like a 6 year-old.  Give me a grilled cheese sandwich and mashed potatoes any day, and I’m a happy girl.  Even if I liked half of the food listed in recipes, I still don’t understand the jargon in the directions.   Words like basting, blanching, braising, folding in, cutting in, and dredging mean NOTHING to me!  Why don’t recipe books come with glossaries?  Also, the demands of cooking are enough to send my blood pressure into triple digits.  Having some liquid simmering on the stove, chopping ingredients, measuring ingredients, stopping every 5 minutes to look up a word in my dictionary app, and dealing with the timer going off simultaneously is too much for me to handle.  I admit it—I can’t handle grown up cooking.  Maybe I need to take a step back and try my luck with kids cookbooks.  I think I’ll add Cooking Rocks!  Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids to my birthday wish-list!

By the way, for those of you who can handle a more “grown up” recipe, check out this recipe my friend Val shared with me from  Easy Pina Colada French Toast.  This looks like something I could actually make!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A blog is born!

Yes folks, Jenn Stuck has joined the 21st century and FINALLY started a blog!  I’ve always been a girl who has a lot to say about every topic under the sun, and decided it’s time to share my random thoughts with the world.  If you have a sense of humor, short attention span, and are easily amused, then you’ve stumbled upon the right blog.

My big obstacle is figuring out what I have to say that others would be interested in reading.  Stay tuned for my first random rambling about Hallmark cards…