Last Day in High School

28 February 2012

... for a while anyway. 

Today is my final day driving 40 minutes away to my placement and I know I'll miss my students. I bet you never forget your student teacher group. They let you learn so much and it's hard to believe how fast this placement went by. 

The bright side is I'll get to see my sister this weekend then jump in at the middle school level. I've enjoyed high school, but I'm excited to try my hand with sixth graders again since it's been about two years since my last placement with that age group. 

I'm really enjoying teaching so far. Thank you for all your words of encouragement when it came to the job fair. I actually had some schools stop me to ask if they could have an interview. Luckily, sometimes being an "earth science" major speaks for itself. The best news of the day was when an interviewer told me that if he knew there would be spots available he would hire me for middle school on the spot. So, I'll email him when I send in an application. 

Truly, thanks for the support! Hope you're having a great week so far!

Aspirations 101

26 February 2012

I'm still working on my 101 in 1001 which is a list of goals I created at the beginning of 2011. The idea is to complete all the goals within 1001 days.

16. Eat at least one new food or at a new place each week. This week Noah and I went on a double date with some friends to a local Italian joint. I'm so glad we tried it, we're all in love with their bread and it had a great atmosphere.

34. Build up a fashion style. An goal that is in the works. I have no money, but yesterday I had to buy a blazer for upcoming job interviews. As I was looking around stores I kept an eye out for clothing items that are cute but also school appropriate!

100. Find a job. Tomorrow Noah and I are attending a recruitment fair so keep your fingers crossed for us! It's not supposed to be when we get "real" interviews, but it's a way to get a foot in the door. I am holding onto some hope during this trying period. There aren't many instructional jobs available!

What goals are you working towards? Any suggestions or tips for interviews?

Reasons to Smile

24 February 2012

{Image Via}

Here are my reasons to smile this morning:
  • My last block ended on a good note yesterday which made my whole day brighter
  • I finally broke down and bought Cadbury Mini Eggs 
  • Today is "testing" day which is pretty easy for the teacher, and I'll get to talk to my students at the end of class with any spare time (I like making connections with them)
  • I'm almost shaking with excitement about seeing Sweeney Todd live tomorrow!
  • Friday, Friday, Friday!
  • I'm learning about my students and they're learning about me
  • I got a disposable camera in the mail from Ariel that I will be using to take pictures around town
  • Yesterday I got to read a few blogs in the afternoon and I can catch up with you all over the weekend!
Have a lovely Friday, get pumped for the weekend! 

Make Someone Else Smile: Write a Note

23 February 2012

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Today, think about a friend that you have who is going through a difficult time or someone who could use a chance to de-stress. 

Write a note to someone you love today to let them know that you are thankful they are in your life. Sometimes what a person needs to hear is an acknowledgement that they are going through a hard time, but that there are people who are rooting for them throughout it. 

Phrases like "I love you", "I know this is stressful/difficult but I have your back", or "If you need someone to talk to, think of me" are good. Depending on the person you could also offer to take their mind off things by taking them out for coffee or lunch. Usually talking about the issue is best so that the stress can be taken away, but then let loose and relax. Even if it's a five minute chat about pinterest that's fine, as long as there's something to take the thoughts away from the stressful ordeal. 

I'd love to hear about who you will write a note to!

Lentil Soup

22 February 2012

We used Alton Brown's recipe for lentil soup last weekend and it was delicious. The really bright side is that it makes enough for me to bring in to school for lunch each day! This is a simple vegetarian dish that anyone can make and enjoy and the majority of your time is spent waiting while it simmers so it's not too much work. 

From the Food Network Site:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise


Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

Wedding Dress

21 February 2012

It's official! I now have my wedding dress and, it's true what they say, everything suddenly feels real. It is quite exciting to have this milestone under my belt! One of my bridesmaids went with me to Fairfax yesterday along with her mom and sister to buy the dress and pick out a bridesmaid dress as well. Her mom is like my mom. She has been with me for as long as I can remember and without my mom around to help me she is the person I want to have by my side. When I stepped out of the dressing room in my first dress (the dress) she started crying. That meant the world to me. I'm so fortunate to have people in my life that love me like she does.

Every girl deserves to feel special once in a while and she provides that for me. 

I'm so glad I could share this experience with people that I love, both in November and yesterday. I'm starting to get very excited!

When you bought a dress, did you feel like things were real? What type of material was your dress made from? 

Reasons to Smile

20 February 2012

It's another edition of Reasons to Smile today and currently I feel like I have a plethora of them to share with you!

  • I have the day off for President's Day! YES.
  • My high school placement is almost over and while that is sad, I'm very excited to start at my middle school placement. Look on the bright side right?
  • I was able to see not one, but two of my bridesmaids on Friday night. Since all three live in different cities, I felt very fortunate to see them. Now I just need to take a jaunt to Williamsburg to see my sister and Maid of Honor.
  • Today I should be making the purchase of my wedding dress! 
  • My thesis unit was completed last week
  • The tulips from Valentine's day are still looking lovely
  • There is a teacher recruitment fair at my university in exactly one week
  • My dad sent a card in the mail that said "Happy Valentine's Day to a Wonderful Daughter and Son-in-Law". Before my mom passed away she called Noah her son but this is the first time I can remember my dad saying the same thing. Since, on technicality, Noah is not a son-in-law yet this means a lot to me.

AND for good measure, here's a list of ways to make yourself smile if you're feeling a little down:
  • Dance to your favorite song while no one is watching SHAKE IT
  • Buy yourself a five dollar bouquet of flowers to set on your desk
  • Try something new - for me that's wearing brightly colored stockings to work
  • Do a photo shoot. Take a few photos with your friends with a disposable camera and wait to get them developed. 
  • Take a walk in a local park
  • Buy a new, daring shade of lipstick to try out
  • Write some cards to your friends to surprise them. Everyone loves mail and you may get some cards back!

Aspirations 101

19 February 2012

It's that time again, to review how I'm doing with my goals. 101 in 1001 is a way for me to spread out my goals over the course of about two and a half years. This week there's not much going on and I haven't crossed anything off the list in a while.

34. Build up a fashion style. This is a goal that I'm currently interested in but lack funds to work towards. I'm in need of shoes, bras, stockings, and more professional shirts but can't afford any of the above right now. For the first time in my life I'm concerned about appearance since I have about 80 people a day looking at me in the front of the classroom and I want to look put together.

100. Find a job. Luckily, this is in progress. There are recruitment fairs coming up, I have all my letters of recommendation done, and my resume is built up. While I'm thinking about it, is anyone out there really proud of their resume? I wish there was one solid format for everyone to use, but if you have any suggestions for how to make it a standout I'm all ears!

It's also my hope to get a manicure soon. One of my besties is having a low key birthday and is considering going out to get manicures as a celebration. I'm loving that idea.

Morning Drive

18 February 2012

My morning commute is 40 minutes and I listen to the radio while driving past the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each morning I see the sun rise over the ridge, although ever so slowly I have noticed that the sun comes up earlier and earlier. Yesterday I noticed that the sky was light outside when I left in the morning. The seasons are changing and time is marching on. For the time being, I'm glad I can take time to appreciate each sunrise.

Teaching & Thesis

17 February 2012

{teacher alli}

I gave students my assessment yesterday to see how they've progressed through this meteorology unit. I still need to do the math but their scores are certainly higher than on the pre-test which is good news. The bad news is that I caught an incident of cheating while grading the tests that I have to address today. I'm so bummed about it.

For the most part this has been a great experience. I've learned a lot about my kids and I feel a lot more comfortable in my new teacher shoes (only figuratively, I'm still looking for a knockout pair of shoes that are comfortable for standing in for five or six hours).

I'm very good at planning lessons, relating information to the lives of my students, and getting to know my kids. A weakness is still behavior management. Nothing serious, but I need to figure out a way to get my honors kids to stop talking. I think a lot of teaching comes with three things: 1) confidence 2) time and experience and 3) getting joy from working with kids.

It's been crazy around here lately but luckily there's a three day weekend to catch up on my thesis. Student teaching wouldn't be as stressful if I didn't have to do all of this research and write ups on top of it! Oh the life in grad school.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. Look forward to catching up on all of your blogs tomorrow. It's one of my favorite parts of the weeks (after date nights of course)!

A Little Surprise

What I'm Loving

13 February 2012


I wanted to share with you a few of my more recent finds this week. 

I stumbled across the blog Tiny Twig and loved Hayley's series "31 Days to a No Brainer Wardrobe". As a grad student on a low budget (think thrift stores here people!) I value the idea of shrinking my wardrobe down and getting only the basics that I can mix and match.

Then I link hopped from Tiny Twig to Office Pretty. This blog is all about looking good and, more importantly, appropriate in an office setting. As a fledgling teacher I am most concerned about dressing appropriately at school and then, in the next moment, being cute and having fun while there. I try involve a few colors and I always have a cardigan or sweater with me. I am definitely in need of more patterned tights (one of their staples!) as I've noticed how this can make or break some basic outfits.

I love browsing the wedding gallery on my photographers website. His photos are stunning and I'm so happy with our decision to use Aaron. I'm really looking forward to working with him. 

Well, it's Sunday night and I need to get back to grading! Have a wonderful Monday!

A Wintry Walk

11 February 2012

Noah and I took a little walk from our apartment to a local Italian joint. It's a dream because they sell eight garlic knots for $2. Perfect! The walk was chilly as wintry weather finally hit. I even had to wear a headband to block the winds from blowing into my ears! I've been enjoying the 50 degree weather here lately but if winter needs its due then I'll be accepting. 

After all, summer will be here before I know it along with graduation, a marriage, and hopefully a new job! 

A Different View

07 February 2012


Student teaching has been a constant reminder that I am in that awkward professional stage. To others in the field I am young and merely a student, yet to those that I teach I am a teacher and an authority. It's quite strange...and a good deal funny. I wanted to share with you some of the things I have been asked in the past three weeks:
  • (by a teacher) Are you a new student?
  • (by a student) Are you Mr. Host's substitute?
  • Are you a JMU professor?
  • Do you have a kid? (to which I responded "Do you mean a human child? No!")
  • Are you Mr. Host's wife? 
  • Will you be our teacher next year?
  • So will you be teaching us until Mr. Host returns in March? (when a student assumed that because I was present, my host teacher must be leaving).
  • How old are you? 30? 
It's very funny to get a look at how students view me. Honestly, if they want to assume I'm 30 or old enough to have a kid I will most certainly let them!

Thai Cafe

06 February 2012

Noah loves him some thai food and that means that every weekend when we talk about places to go it comes up in the conversation. However, in our town there's only one place that's talked about a lot. We think it's a bit overpriced and I'm not a big fan of their thai food. Then, we found this little hole in the wall place and it's filled the hole in our tummies that is reserved for thai food! 

Noah's happy.

I'm happy.

We're all happy.

Reasons to Smile

04 February 2012


I am soaking in this Saturday in all of it's glory! I still have a good amount of grading to complete before Monday along with lots of lesson plans and graduate work... but at least I got to sleep in right?
  • Noah and I can go out for dinner tonight
  • Successfully completed my first time teaching in a classroom by myself
  • Got a Heath Blizzard and got a free one for Noah
  • Finally printed of a Valentine's printable for the living room
  • Had coffee and have been browsing blogs all morning
  • I'm enjoying my new book, A Short History of Nearly Everything (if there are any other science teachers in the house I highly recommend it!)
  • We've had some gorgeous, sunny weather here lately
  • Valentine's Day is coming up and I look for an excuse for a date
  • We found a great new Thai restaurant in town
  • Job applications have officially begun!
There's a lot going on right now and I don't think any of it will slow down for a long while now. The biggest reason to smile for me though is that life is happening all around me. Every day is a step into the future - where I'll live, getting married, having a career.... It's kind of scary and magical all at the same time! 

I am enjoying my present more than ever too. I like grad school pretty well (minus the money spent traveling to work each morning without an income!). Sometimes I feel like I keep looking forward to the future instead of living in the moment, but now is good too. I just look forward to being a Mrs., getting a pup, and moving somewhere new!

Student Teaching

03 February 2012


Sorry, I like science humor.

Today was my first day being in charge of a classroom on my own. It was a little unnerving but everything went smoothly and my kids did a great job with their density lab. I think that I have been getting less and less sleep though. I'm making sure to go to bed early but I repeatedly wake up at 3, 4, or 5 in the morning and can't sleep for an hour. On top of that, I've been feeling under the weather recently. I've still made it into school each day but not without some serious questioning in the morning. 

This day actually marks the half way point for my high school placement. I've only got four more weeks with students there. It's hard to believe how quickly time is moving by me!

Midnight in Paris

02 February 2012

Over winter break Noah's brother was in town for the holidays, taking a break from his California sun to see his family. While looking for a movie one night he told us we had to watch Midnight in Paris. I'm so glad he suggested it. Now the movie is in the running for an Oscar

While we stepped on the Paris boat pretty late, both Noah and I loved the film. Our main character Gil, played by Owen Wilson, has always felt that he was meant to live in Paris during the 1920s. We follow along as he experiences his dreams and as he deals with his reality. 

As I'm not a movie person, I was pleasantly surprised by Midnight in Paris and may actually purchase the film to add to our collection. From us, that means a lot

50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (Set V)

01 February 2012

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  1. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? Noah, my sister, my dad and grandparents. 
  2. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? No, not a chance! I'm well known for not caring about superficialities (to an extreme) and I hate limelight! I wouldn't even consider it.
  3. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? The difference between my life and the one I want to be living. For me that line lies somewhere with purpose, passion, spontaneity, and awareness. I feel that I am often going through the motions and am indifferent to the happenings around me. However, I am missing experiences. I don't seize the day at all and I have been working to change this about myself. I think we are all capable of truly living but we sometimes get sucked down into the day-to-day routines that build up our daily lives.
  4. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? I always consider consequences. I always do what's right as a result. I guess, as a personal answer I would say the way I spend my free time. It's kind of a wimpy answer, but I always feel too guilty about not doing necessary work to enjoy my free time but I also never really get all of my work done. I'm stuck in some boring limbo! I need to decide to do my work or else allow myself to truly enjoy my free time. 
  5. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Because a mistake equates to failure for the most part and no one likes to fail. That's not to say we shouldn't try but if you fail a couple of times in a row you lose confidence in yourself and you're less likely to try again. Plus, oftentimes other people can hear of our mistakes and if they know it's even worse... I think that's why we are afraid to make mistakes.
  6. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? I would have married Noah by now. I feel like I say this a lot... I'd have a small wedding or just elope over in Britain. I would have gotten engaged sooner too. I know logically that we are still young but I think I would have been happier to move forward with our relationship instead of constantly worrying about what other people think about our timeline. Maybe I would get married at 5 or 6 years instead of 7. 
  7. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? I don' t remember. I haven't stopped like that for a long time. Now that I'm thinking about it I may add it to my morning routine. 
  8. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? I love my fiance. I sure hope my actions show that. I think this is the one area in my life that I consistently excel in. We have tough times and arguments but they're short and we always work them out. I tell him every day I love him and I try to show it when I can. We make sure to kiss each other each morning and get plenty of cuddles in each night. I love to write Noah notes and pick up little things for him at the store. He is constantly on my mind.
  9. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? No, probably not, or at least no specifics. That just tells me even more that I need to seize the day.
  10. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? I'm making them most often but they are always based on others and the general perception of "what is right and proper". However, if I learned one thing about myself from doing these 50 questions it would be that I apparently have a problem with living my life for other people (or to avoid there condescension). Having this realization I hope to move forward with my life, living it the way I want. 
I hope you take the time to at least answer a few of the questions posted. They really can help you live and think about your life, your goals, and your loves. 
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