So I have always loved Halloween. I can remember painting my face green, pulling on black tights and spending my evening running from door stoop to door stoop eagerly begging for candy. I had a system of organization for when I would get home and sort through my candy. I could make that candy last until Valentine’s if I was careful to ration it out. M&Ms always went first, Bit O Honey and Gobstoppers last.
On top of the trick or treating there was always the class party. My mom would take the afternoon off work and come to my classroom along with many other mothers and we'd stop class to celebrate; each kid in their own homemade costume. The room would be decorated with spider webs and orange and black crepe paper and Monster Mash would play in the background. So great!
Since I've gotten older and have not lived in a neighborhood since seventh grade, I have felt Halloween lacked something. I have dreams of sitting in my home only to be disrupted every few minutes by the door bell. I want to pass out candy and see the fabulous costumes of children as they move with urgency and excitement throughout the neighborhood.
Perhaps next year we will live somewhere that kids will frequent on Halloween night. Until then, I will wait. But if I had to think of the perfect Halloween plans, it would involve a pumpkin shaped bowl, an economy sized bag of candy and trick-or-treaters on my porch.
That was the writing prompt I gave students today since Chris and I have a Halloween party to attend Saturday and I can't think of a costume. They had some great ideas. Here are some of my favorites:
Hoops or Yoyo
And there were a lot of students who thought I should dress up as a teacher- big stretch, right? I tried to find a pic for the blog but there were a lot of naughty teacher costumes and not one denim jumper with wooden beads costume like I had originally imagined. Shame on the Halloween industry.
This Saturday I was feeling crafty. I went down to the Jo Ann's and found some great fabric at a discount. We had recently rearranged our guest bedroom and were now staring at an empty, scuffed up, white wall. Unacceptable in my opinion. So I made a piece of wall art for a whopping total of $10.00 for the fabric and while I was at it, I recovered the dining room chairs. Here are the results.
The wall is still a little bare but trust me, this was a vast improvement.
This picture does not do the print justice.
Our new arrangement. We have a lot of stuff for this little apartment.
Out with the old...
...in with the new. It's a little "Mizzou Tigers" with gold and black but I have visions for it in future homes. Could look lovely paired with a red or a slate color on the wall.
I received so many comments (in person, not via blog) about the book nook boxes. This is one while it was in the process of getting some flair added. I think I need to bring in some duct tape for reinforcement or these things aren't going to make it to Christmas.
So I've started a new procedure. I have a table in the back of my classroom where I've been holding student conferences. My students sometimes forget that like in conversation, it's rude to interrupt. In the midst of goal sharing and book talking I was having to shoo students away who wanted to tell me the Kleenex box was empty or ask to use the restroom. So I instituted the "office" which is really just an imaginary boundary around my conference table. When I call students back I make them open an imaginary door and close it before they sit down at my table. They think this is so funny and have even taken to holding the imaginary door open for one another when they leave and the next student enters. I sometimes scold them for slamming the imaginary door to get a little laugh out of my other students that are silently reading around the room. It's just one small way I get more amusement out of my job and make my classroom a fun place to be.
Another, simple, yet surprisingly popular tactic I've taken lately is to turn two large boxes into “reading nooks.” I cut a hole out of one side of the boxes and students can sit in the box and read. In fact, the boxes are the first seats snatched up when I draw for the couch, beanbags, and boxes. Oddly enough, students are dying to crawl inside a box and read. I'll post a picture of my little reading nooks soon. Students are in the process of adding some reading flair to them so I want you to get the whole effect.
I need reading boxes and my conference office to make my day just a little lighter. Right now I love my job and how silly I can be there!
Kids are dropping like flies at school. We had 25% of students out sick today. In my last hour of the day I was already missing six students and two more lethargically dragged themselves to the nurse and later signed out to go home. My last hour only has 20 students! Needless to say, we're all on sanitation alert. Suddenly, using the phone receiver gives me the heebie jeebies. I'm paranoid about collecting student work, and I made all students take a dollop of hand sanitizer twice during our class period. Funny thing is, those germs are always there and I never think twice about it. Now, with sickness swimming in the atmosphere I'm cautious. I'm thinking immune thoughts.
I'd like to be an event planner like my chic friend, Camille!
My teaching friend is preparing to bring home a baby girl from Russia. I'm thinking about how to make this welcome home baby shower special for my friend and her little one. I'm feeling princess pink and lots of girly details. In fact, this inspiration board designed by Krystal at Sudio Foto will do!
I have never been more sure of anything in my life. You must read this series. I posted a few weeks ago about the Hunger Games and recently finished Suzanne Collin's second book in the fast paced, suspense driven series thanks to my extra idle time as a juror. The book picks up right where the first one left off and the characters and plot get even more complicated. At the end of this book you'll have to pick your jaw up off the floor because there's a plot twist you won't see coming. Collins' books may be for young adult readers, but I'm certain people of all ages can appreciate the craft of her writing and the sophistication of her story telling. The only down fall... the third and final book is not due out until next fall. I hate waiting!
Ever since my public endorsement I can’t keep copies of these books on my shelves. Kids poke their heads in my room before school to see if I happened to have had a copy returned since the last time they checked. I love the buzz these books are creating in my classroom!
On an entirely different note, Word's grammar check wanted me to put "surer" in my beginning line instead of "more sure". Is that right? "More sure" sounds better.
So passing gas in public is a real faux pas. I know in some circles it's considered funny and I still get a kick out of it at times too, but this is my classroom. I have to work here. Breathe the air here. When you pass your gas and stink up the room you are turning our trailer into a stink box. These little wood paneled walls tend to trap smells in creating an effect similar to that of a Dutch oven. I know you know who you are. I haven't quite figured you out just yet. If it's indigestion, ask for a pass to go to the bathroom. If it's just for kicks, knock it off. Today was real bad. I am waving my white flag and pleading with you to get a grip on this horrendous daily ritual you have begun.
This weekend, my dear friend, Polly, was married! We couldn't be more excited about her choice in a husband. Austin is funny, sharp, and loves the Lord. They will bless many people with their marriage, I'm certain.
"The Council": Bonnie (traveled from Korea to be there), Me, Polly, Mary Kate (traveled from Chicago), and Carly (traveled from St. Louis). These girls are the best. This pic will definitely make the annual calendar!
Um, so it was pretty darn cold out when we took pictures. This is a photo from the inside of the huddle. Bonnie's face says it all. I put this pic up because we look hot. It's very "professional modeling shoot" with the wind blowing our hair and the lighting just so, don't you think? In direct contrast, I put this picture up 1. because it's funny and 2. because I am notorious for intentionally producing some awkward smile pictures. I can be a real rascal when I want to. This is a stunning picture of Polly. She made a radiant bride!
1. I was on the high school debate team. Go ahead, make your comments.
2. I have an issue with vying for the approval of others.
3. I tend to think things are more fascinating than they truly are.
With that being said, this week I was summoned for jury duty. Being the jury duty virgin I was, there was some mild excitement at the prospect of sitting in a court room and deliberating on a case. Sure, it was irritating to have to arrange for a sub and you never know until the day before if you have to go in, but I was secretly elated to be a part of the American justice system!
There were about fifty of us in all who were called in on Wednesday. The whole juror set-up is very official. I had to be buzzed in when I arrived at the courthouse and they treated me like VIP; all the coffee, soda and cheese crackers my heart could desire were at my disposal. On your way in to the assembly room one marshal would radio to another, “I’ve got one for you.” The door would buzz and I’d be let in.
But as you know, showing up and trying a case are two different things. If I was to sit in a courtroom and truly participate, I had to get selected as one of the twelve. So during voir dire I put on my biggest smile and tried my best to look interested and impartial. At this point, getting picked was personal. Patriotism was pumping through my blood, Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American played on repeat in my mind, and I was dying to participate in our justice system. I was getting caught up in the drama and awe of the courtroom. I was going to sit on that jury if it killed me!
So after an hour of repetitive questions, we were ushered back into the assembly room to wait to hear who had been selected for the case. The moment was very American Idol- minus the crying and loved ones present to congratulate those who’d made it to the next level. Name after name was called and each time a tiny pang of rejection rang in my heart. How could they not pick me? I'm young, I look like I might be a sympathetic sucker and I'd thanked the Plaintiff's attorney for holding open the door for me. I was a shoe in, right?
I was starting to sweat a little. Now, when I reasoned this out, I did realize that not being selected meant I could go back to business as usual- that I'd be done at 10:00 AM and have the rest of the day off-but no, this was personal. If not picked, I’d always wonder, what was wrong with me. I feared the deep rejection that not being selected would bring. Sick, I know.
Then in a moment of sheer suspense, I was called as the final juror on the case! Other jurors began gathering their things in relief and my crew was ushered into the courthouse for opening statements. I was all smiles, no idea what was in store, like a sheep headed for slaughter.
This is when jury duty reality began to set in. Despite all my expectations and dreams, it’s not like Law and Order and most court cases are probably mind-numbingly boring. My case was a civil lawsuit- all about cracks in foundation and directional boring, a term, despite my extreme disinterest, I now am very familiar with. That first day, I sat in my jury box until 8:30 PM listening to engineers and drilling specialists testify. I had to play a game with myself to keep from falling asleep. This was an utter disappointment.
Finally at 2:00 PM the following day, after countless hours of testimony and the term “directional boring” bring thrown out there nothing short of 500 times, it was time to deliberate. I had been waiting for this moment; eager to finally talk about the one thing we thirteen had in common rather than stare at one another awkwardly as we had been accustomed to doing. I mean I've seen Twelve Angry Men, I knew how this part worked. After detailed instructions, the judge dismissed us to render a final verdict.
EXCEPT, I was asked to stay in the court room. What had I done? Did they know I told Chris snippets about the case the night before? Did they see me filing a broken nail in the back row during trial? Once the jury had filed out the judge notified me that I was the unecessary alternate juror. They only needed twelve but there is always a secret alternate in case a juror is unable to perform their duties. All this time I was just Jury JV! I was not going to get to render a verdict for an extensive and tiresome case in which I'd invested two precious days of my life!
On the bright side, I was done by early afternoon. And this way I didn’t have to sit in the jurors’ box when the verdict was rendered. I hate that only one person can win and wasn't looking forward to seeing the disappointment on someone’s face -- must be the "people pleaser" in me.
Next time I get summoned, I will have more accurate expectations for my experience. Until then, I can rest easy knowing I have performed my civic duty. Hope you appreciate this, America.
...with fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin muffins. I made them for my bible study and my after school ENTICE group. He just peeked his head in the bedroom and jokingly said, "Man, I can't believe I ate four of those muffins." Maybe I can spare just one muffin for this hungry little soul.
3 C. sugar
3 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 can pumpkin (15oz)
1 C. oil
Combine dry ingredients in a big bowl. Then add pumpkin, oil, eggs. Stir. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Makes 25-30 muffins.
On our midnight ride back to COMO we might have stopped at McDonalds for a little nourishment. Perhaps it was the joy that a double cheese can bring to these two guys or the late night drive, but this is the result of our 15 minute pit stop...
Went to Modesto's on the Hill this weeked for dinner with Chris' parents and our friends, Matt and Carly. Modesto's is a tapas restaurant and we ended up ordering lots of tapas to share. The place had a great atmosphere and we had a fun time catching up.
Matt and Carly
Dennis, Geri, Me, Chris, Matt, Carly
After dinner we went to Cyrano's for dessert. Matt is really enjoing his java. Chris is skeptical.
This is the monster-size piece of carrot cake I shared with others. I LOVE CARROT CAKE!
We went to Chris' cousin, Ashley's, wedding this weekend in St. Louis, MO. She was absolutely gorgeous in her gown with ornate beading and ruffle detail. Here she is with Joe making one heck of an entrance.
The cake was so cool. Very modern and complimentary to the black, white and green color scheme.
On each table was a bottle of wine with personalized labels with really adorable photos of the couple. In addition to the bottles with their engagement pics, the photographer made this incredible music video with footage from the day that they played at the reception. I've never seen anything like it. It was awesome.
The Husbie and Me
Josh and Ashley, cutting into the chic cake.
David. We thought we found the woman of David's dreams; she looked like she walked straight out of a J. Crew catalogue but then we realized it could never work out. Her loss.
On a side note: I need to work on my vivid and precise language. Did a twelve-year-old write this? Awesome. Cool. Incredible. Adorable.