Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Is The Best

I love Thanksgiving. Its my absolute favorite holiday. More so than Christmas. Why? The food...and when I was little everyone came home. Aunts and Uncles, cousins and friends. After my grandma passed about 8 years ago, people stopped coming home. BUT the it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. My grandma was central in the family, and every Thanksgiving I remember my grandma.  I miss her greatly.

On another note, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Holiday sale happening at my jewelry etsy shop! Check it out!


Sunday, October 31, 2010

October is All Done!

So the first two months of school are past! I just can't believe its November already.

I did a craft fair in Natick about two weeks ago. The road was under construction, yet open, so I think people that WOULD have come, didn't. It was pretty slow and the biggest disappointment was that the Elks Club Cafe announced they would be serving hot dogs and french fries. Katie and I was VERY much looking forward to that but, alas, they served tostitos corn chips instead. So Katie went off and got us, and the table next to us french fries. She is a good sister. Even given the slowness of the day we had about 5 or 6 sales, and the best, I got a custom order out of it!

This week, Mike is gone on a business trip. Me and the Bailster are home and gonna do laundry and watch chick flicks all day. If I get done with the monstrosity that is doing loads of laundry I may make a necklace or two. After all, I am a Suburban Artist.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Successful Show, and Some Confusion

This past weekend, I was at MAYNARD FEST, in Maynard, MA. It was a great time, TONS of people to watch. That paired with LINCOLN PARK DAY the weekend before, and my people watching has at an all time hight.

First, in my hometown of Lincoln Park, we had the good fortune to be placed next to a Tae Kwon Do studio. At first, watching a dozen children with weapons such as bo sticks, knun chucks (I KNOW I spelled that one wrong) and splitting boards, I thought my faithful car Red, had met her doom. Or myself or my sister or mother would receive a concussion from a flying martial arts weapon. The flip side? Watching the very nice and very attractive Sensei Scott all day long. I smile now as I remember trying to get my sister to go hit on him. My mother took care of that and got us all an invite for a free lesson at the dojo. Seriously.  But it was a good show and I made my money back on the show fee and had some scrumptious fair food and sat back and watched the interesting people go by. Both my mother and I are stout "Lincoln Parkers". We spent most of our lives there, I at the age of 33, spent half my life in good ole Lincoln Park and my mom is always telling us "kids, this is where your roots are." My sister and brother, are not stout Lincoln Parkers, and my sister was convinced that some of the more...interesting sights were a product of LP. My mom did not agree and neither did I...for the most part. But it was a great day. I sold a few Autism Awareness items and that made my day. Even if I do not sell a necklace and an Autism Item is sold then my mission is done. Awareness is spreading.

That leads me to Maynard Fest. It was beautiful weather. After a week of torrential downpours to have a crisp, sunny, New England day was just fantastic. There were tons of people and I made sales! MacGyver, Mike's friend from college and my friend too, showed up and bought us (my mom, sister and I) fried dough and really who doesn't like fried dough (although it was NOT a zeppoli, a reminder I am sadly no longer in NJ).

Here is the thing and here is my disclaimer before my statement: I fully support Gay Rights. People who are gay should totally be able to get married, have kids or adopt kids. I have family members who are gay, and seriously I am, and always have been, open and have had friends who are gay. Another disclaimer that will make sense in a few short seconds: Massachusetts, as a whole and as observed as a public school teacher in 3 different schools in 1 year, has no or little understanding of Autism. Traditionally students with Autism that may have not been able to function in the mainstream, have been sent to private schools. I have heard many times "Autism is new for us" in three different school districts. That statement alone sums up why I have had such a hard time in my new district, as the program I am in is in its 2nd year, and people aren't used to "those kids being in school." OK, SERIOUSLY?! Before I digress any further here is what happened.

I make jewelry, necklaces and earrings and bracelets. I also make AUTISM AWARENESS jewelry and bookmarks. To spread awareness in a pretty way,instead of those bulky rubbery livestrong type bracelets. I use a Sterling Silver PUZZLE PIECES (you have no idea how many people asked where where the puzzles that I was selling...that did not happen in NJ), and I use four colors from the Autism Awareness ribbon: red, yellow, teal and blue. I use these colors in Swarovski crystals and really they are very pretty.

The confusion was people where either: A) asking what the puzzle piece was for and not understanding my explanation, B) thinking my Autism Awareness items were  Gay Pride items or C)buying the Autism Awareness jewelry WITH A PUZZLE PIECE and said "Thank you for my Pride bracelet." Or they thanked me for supporting Gay Rights...Which I do support, just that was not the point of the jewelry.

I did sell two pieces of Autism jewelry to people who knew immediately what it was. I was hesitant to correct the other people. I tried at first, but no one "got it". "Its a rainbow" was the reply I hears often, and y e s....it is but its missing three other colors to make a rainbow. And there is a PUZZLE PIECE on it. My mom said, oh let them buy it and how silly will they feel when someone asks them later on "Oh you support Autism Awareness?" My mom has a point, does it matter how the Awareness is spread, as long as people see it and notice it? I have decided to make a few Gay and Lesbian Pride themed items, such as bookmarks and a bracelet or two, and have two distinct displays. Only because I truly wish to spread Awareness in a state that is so obviously lacking in knowledge of Autism. Another disclaimer: My signs that read "Puzzle Piece Jewelry" had photos of the JEWELRY that I make and a little statement about spreading Autism Awareness, so I was very baffled when people asked me where they puzzles were. They could read the sign but not process the images? And many people who could read and process images asked me why Puzzle Pieces are used for Autism Awareness.

So in the end two shows. A great time hanging out with my mom and my sister and MacGyver. And I am more determined than ever to spread Autism Awareness. Because if I FEEL frustrated as a teacher, person and artist, how do families affected by Autism feel to be living in an area where people are supposedly "just getting used to Autism"? I hope that those families know that they are not alone. Because there is at least 1 person who is trying her best to spread awareness both as an artist and as a teacher.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Suburban Artist has FINALLY Arrived!

One of the reasons I named this blog, "The Suburban Artist", was to change the negative connotation to this term. Traditionally suburban artists are not well respected, frowned upon even. I guess one of the reasons are that we are not in the cities. We aren't selling our wares on the corner of Central Park West or have big fancy studios. Many of us suburban artists do not create art on a full time basis. I think mainly the last reason is the biggest reason suburban artists do no command the same respect as our full time, city counterparts. For that reason, I have always looked down on my own art. I didn't go to art school. I did not use art as my profession (I started out as an art teacher and heard that age old saying many times "those who can't teach). I took classes and even broke into the wedding photography business.

Many people along the years have told me that I have an eye. Or a good sense of color. Or that I am a good photographer. But they were always family, friends, professors or instructors. Gaining respect from professional artists was very rare. I remember once in college one of the BFA students (Bachelor of FINE ARTS) said "Wow, you really paint well...for an art ed. major."
I was never quite sure if that was a compliment or not.

10 years later, after leaving college, I have finally shown to myself and to others in the art community that; Yes I am an artist. This summer I dedicated myself to my art. Both with my jewelry and photography. I sold several pieces of jewelry and am gearing up for a fair this coming weekend. But the biggest news is that in the past 4 weeks, I have received 3 accolades.

The first was getting my work into the CIAO Gallery's "Call of the Wild" show, in Jackson Wyoming. Then was receiving and Honorable Mention nod from the Women in Photography International for their FACES competition. Finally, my work is one of 50 to be chosen for a juried show called "After Dark" at the Vermont Photo Space. To know that my work, is being seen by others in a real gallery, not just my own walls, is immensely gratifying. It is one of the best things ever to happen to me, aside from meeting my husband, getting engaged and married :) 

So thank you to my friends and family who have always believed in me, even when I did not.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I have taken the plunge have begun to enter photography competitions, as if the Jewelry isn't enough. BUT I have entered a National Geographic photography competition. Part of it is "People's Choice". So PLEASE, pretty PLEASE with a cherry on top, vote for me!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Exciting Week=Busy Week

So this week is filled with visits! It started with a nice visit home to NJ. To belatedly celebrate my dad's birthday. We went out to my parents' favorite "new" Italian place, I called Positano's, in Wayne, NJ. http://www.positanorestaurant.com/. It was fantastic. I highly recommend the tomato and onion salad, the tomato caprese salad and the chicken marsala. It was fabulous. Then we just relaxed and Mike headed out to DC for work. Monday I saw Carrie for lunch at Bobby's Burger Palace, http://www.bobbysburgerpalace.com/. We ate. A lot. It was great to see Carrie and enjoy GOOD food. Then I had dinner with Cheryl and her beautiful family. I did "Auntie" duties and fed her son, Colin. I enjoyed every minute. Tuesday, I went early to the Educational Warehouse, at 7am, to get the 25% discount. It was worth it! I am nervous about my new job and will be writing all new plans once I get the Language Arts curriculum from the school, Thursday is the Math training. Then lunch with my Mom. It was a good day.

This week I have a pool date with Kerri and her her friends from Massachusetts. Thursday, the aforementioned Math workshop, and Friday, straightening the house and heading home to NJ. Friday, Mike comes up and Saturday, Dave and Anneie will be driving up for the 9-11 ride and staying at my parents' house. Saturday is Oldies at the Lake, http://www.frankiecanta.com/html/newgigs.html. My Dad is in the group, they sing doo-wop. We are all going, the third year in the row for Dave and Anneie coming up for it! Then Sunday a barbeque at the parent's and then ride home. Dave and Anneie will be staying with us for the week and I think Mike and Dave had tons of rides planned.

Its gonna be a great two weeks!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What a Weekend!

Whew! It was a great, fast weekend!

It started with me and our friend from VA "surprising" Mike with a visit. Byl, another friend from VA, was also coming up from his business trip in Connecticut. After a few good interviews, I was feeling fine! Mike decided to get tickets to go see the Barenaked Ladies. I had to tell him to get a 4th ticket for our friend who was surprising him!

Friday night we had dinner at Scupper Jacks. It was yummy as always!

Saturday Byl came up and we headed out to lunch at Not Your Average Joes, http://www.notyouraveragejoes.com. It was also pretty good but I was disappointed that the Portabella Sandwich was no longer on the menu. But, instead I had the tomato and mozzarella sandwich instead, which was pretty tasty.

Afterwards, I mentioned to the boys about a leather store, so I could learn about making leather bracelets. I was hesitant to go because all of the leather that was being sold was still in the shape of the animal (cow, deer etc..). But I wanted to go and they were more than happy to do it. IT was very...overwhelming for me. The smell is what hits you first. Then all of the dead animals. For the record, yes I eat meat. Steak.  I realize where it comes from and I do not mind leather (FUR is another story, I mean people do not eat fox, or minks) because it is a byproduct of the meat industry. It was the deer, rabbit, snake, crocodile/alligator, and "COYOTE FACES" that totally freaked me out. And the smell. Now I love my leather boots and a nice suede jacked but the smell of leather was very over-powering. It didn't help that the boys announced that they were from PETA when we walked in. The boys had fun running around the store, although Byl did stay and try to help me NOT to have a nervous breakdown, as the very rude and humorless saleswoman, named  Susan, tried to sell ME A DEER. If you know me well, you know that deer are my "spirit animal"*. I was mortified. As Susan lead me to the scrap section I almost threw up when she handed me a snake skin. At which point she told me that I needed to "snap out of it, you chose to come in here". Susan had a valid point, to a degree. I wanted leather scraps. Not a freaking snake, deer, alligator, or an armidillo! So I then followed her like a puppy, and asked about how to apply snaps. I then looked over at my beloved husband and our friends as they stalked the store pretending to either hunt or be the hunted animal. Then one of our friends found the fur and cave man type outfit. At this point the other store employees were in hysterics and my store person was NOT happy. Then I slowly turned around on the wall were Coyote FACES. That is what it the sign said. And it is what I saw. Skinned, eyeless coyote faces. They all looked like Bailey. SO I did the most natural thing, which was to scream Loudly. That was all about what Susan could handle so she asked someone else to show me how to use snaps. Then at the checkout counter Mike, after the boys engaged a lively employee in debating wether or not wolves make good pets, showed Susan the photo of Bailey. Then she ALMOST smiled and said "Oh now I get why you screamed".

Moving on, the Barenaked Ladies concert was absolutely amazing! Who knew the lead singer was hot? They sounded fantastic and except for a horrific foul order that permeated from the Ginger Twins in front of us that had myself, Mike and the girl next to me gagging for most of the show. But the show was just so fantastic. They sounded phenomenal  when they sang acapella.

Sunday, we had breakfast at Mario's in Westford then we went antiquing! So all in all a wonderful and great weekend. Monday was the icing on the cake, where the workshop instructor said that my photo of the rooftop with red and LED light painting was the best in the class!

From here two interviews, lunch with the girls and then home to Jersey for the weekend. A good week ahead.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August Already?

August is upon us. Well, in fact it is here! It seems that either I am super busy or not so busy. But art IS being made despite it all.

I have been on two great shoots: Deer Island, Winthrop, MA (where Lisa lives. Have been there before with her and the kids) and the rooftop of a building at MIT in Cambridge.

The Deer Island shoot, for me, was cut short due to a migraine. I barely made it home without wanting to curl up on the side of the road and let it pass. But below are some images that I got that night.

On Monday we went to Cambridge and the MIT campus. Lots of people. A lot of students surprisingly since it is summer. But maybe not since it IS MIT. To get to the top of the 20 story building I had to take an elevator to the 18th floor, then enter a 3-4 person maximum capacity elevator to the 20th floor. Thank goodness it wasn't a long trip but my claustrophobia was already kicking in. There the views were breathtaking and amazing, as long as I didn't look down, which I did just once to see if being up there for a few hours conquered my fear of heights. It didn't. Finally along the railing and in every crevice were spiders. Like ones with freaking fur and white spots. Which to me meant Brown Racluse. Which I was bitten by in camp in 1998. And for about 4 years, every time I got a good amount of mosquito bites the bite would flare up and become just as gross as the initial bite. I am seriously not even exaggerating. Ask my mother she will tell you. My mom and my cousin Michael would not have liked the rooftop. At first I didn't either. Then, well I set up my tripod and I was fine. Great. Unless a spider was near and then I muttered "damn freaking spiders" to the humor of my classmates. None of them seemed bothered by them. Not even the one to size of a silver dollar on the staircase. I stayed away from said staircase. Ok. Below are some pics from that night. I had a blast with light painting. The one with red and LED light painting I teamed up with Sheryl (who got us on the roof to begin with) and it came out pretty cool.

Finally in between shoots, I went to the farm with Allison and Jasper and bought a ton of organic fruits and veggies that were fantastic. But for the record, homemade organic ravioli from New Hampshire is NOT the same as home made ravioli from NJ or NY. I threw out most of what I cooked except for the two pieces I ate. I also saw Lisa and the kids, in Boston with Grandpa E and Stacy and her daughter Hannah, and later on Lisa came out here to the country with the kids. We went swimming. It was fun. And I was totally wiped out afterwards. But it was great visit. Next we are gearing up for Byl and Jan to come out for a visit. Its going to be a great weekend! OH and I have been interviewing, two scheduled for the next two weeks. But there are NOT a lot of jobs out there. I have applied to every posting I have seen that fits my skill set, and I am sure that there are other well qualified teachers out there looking at the same job. I will not be happy, NOT teaching. But if it comes down to it, can't I be a Suburban Artist full time? 


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boston, Good Friends and Food

This week has been pretty great so far. I had an EXCELLENT shoot down by the Children's Museum on Congress Street in Boston. I forgot my remote timer (I know) but it worked out ok because of being so close to the water and city there was plenty of light to do my exposures (30sec-45secs) manually. Here are two of my favorites so far.

Then on Wednesday night I got together with my girls from work. It was so nice to see them. Tricia is having fun with her husband, going on mini-vacays, Keri and Val have a full summer with their kids and Molly is saving the world, or at least going to Haiti and pitching tents for the homeless. And teaching summer school for the middle school autism program. For that she needs a medal. Middle School!

I am continuing my job hunt. I sent out a ton of stuff today via email. We will see if it pans out. If if does I am looking at Newton (suburb but more city like outside of Boston), Cambridge or Boston itself. Which will be a hike but I am quickly falling in love with Boston. Just don't let it be a North End school or I will be the size of Oprah and will need to go on the "Biggest Loser".

I also re-did my etsy site and it paid off. I turned www.photogirlie.etsy.com from a jewelry site to a photography site and I got about 200 vies the first day! Then I opened up www.puzzlepiecejewelry.etsy.com for my jewelry. Not as many hits but ok! I am getting ready to get my artwork together to submit to about 20 competitions. And a submission to the New England School of Photography's Student show. If I get in, it will be my FIRST show. Ever. Outside of camera clubs. Pretty cool.

But for right now, I am still lazying around the apartment. Headache, sore throat and an upset tummy= being kinda ill. Which stinks cause its summer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another Day

The weekend went by fast and it was fantastic! Byl came and we walked, and walked ALL over Boston. From North End to the South End church, and it the pouring rain! We ate not once, but twice in the North End. Dinner was a fantastic plate of Osso Bucco with Saffron Risotto! Yum-o!

Tonight is my night class at Fort Point Channel. It should be interesting.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Great Week

Its been a good week. Went home and spent the entire time with family. Got to see my Uncle John and Aunt Betty Lou. Uncle John is in a rehab home but doesn't seem to be doing well. I was very glad that I got to see him.

The rest of the time was hanging out with family: went to dinner and movies with my sister, spent quality time with my mom, my Aunt Linda and cousin Michael. I made dinner last night chicken in a light white wine sauce and pesto pasta.

I made a few sales on Etsy (Thanks Jan and Cari) and 1 sale to a person I didn't know! That made me very happy! So I took a leap and started running ads on Facebook. We will see what happens. If nothing comes of it, I will do it again around the holidays.

On the way home I am stopping at A&As in Lincoln Park http://www.aafinefoods.com/ to pick up a sandwich. Oh yeah. Jersey is the best.AND I just got an email and so next week I may see the girls from Watertown! That would be nice.  Byl is coming to visit this weekend. It will be HOT outside so I am not sure what we will be doing but it will be fun. Two words: NORTH END. Two more words: MIKE's PASTRIES. http://www.mikespastry.com/

On Saturday, Grandma E will be remembered at her memorial. She was a great woman, and will be missed.

Monday, July 5, 2010


I had a nice weekend chilling with the family. I drove back early on Sunday, so that today (Monday) I could go to my night class. I am taking a class called "Night Photography" at the New England School of Photography. It is very interesting and completely different from anything I have done before. Long exposures, like 8-10 minutes long! But I was pleased with the results.

It may not have been what the teacher wanted, but like I said, I was pleased with the results.

Saturday, I found out that a lovely woman, "Grandma E" had passed away. Grandma and Grandpa E lived across the street from us in Lincoln Park. They were great people, and even attended my beach wedding in the Bahamas. I grew up with their grandchildren, who also lived across the way, and are still friends with them to this day. Grandma E will be missed but I know that she is somewhere she is not suffering or in pain.

Mike is in Dubai this week, and my Aunt and my cousin are in town. So once tonight's class is finished I will be heading back to Jersey. Tomorrow cause the class won't get out until midnight. Then at the end of the week Lisa maybe coming with the kids, and Byl is coming for the weekend. Very exciting week for me. And of course, Bailey is by my side, my constant companion. What would I do without her?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lots of Things Happened Some Small, Others Not So Much

So just some updates, I see I have been neglectful on my postings. So some small things that have been going on:

Small Thing #1: I changed my blog background and blog address.

Small Thing #2: I fell off the wagon and gained the weight back, after thanking Michael Thurmond. See what getting cocky gets ya? But I am climbing back on that horse. My western metaphors are finished. 

Small Thing #3:Having the "town forest" a hop, jump and skip away means you can here the concert music, enjoy the concert music and stay at home. 

Small Thing #4: Rediscovered Bailey is terrified of fireworks. I had forgotten.

Small Thing #5: I can view said fireworks from my apartment deck. But that did not happen as I had a spastic lab/coyote mix having a meltdown. Howling and crying ensued. Thankfully the loud fireworks masked her barking for the neighbors. 

On to the big things:

Big Thing #1: Mike got me a china cabinet for my birthday/anniversary that I love. Below you can see it and see Sandy making a delicious pesto pasta salad.

Big Thing #2: Mike got me a MacBook Pro! I am in love with it.

Big Thing #3: I got said laptop because I am now jobless. Yes jobless, see next big thing.

Big Thing #4: Do not trust administration when the say, and I quote, "Sara you have nothing to worry about. The pink slip is just a formality you will get a contract in June. Besides no one would want your job" If you do trust admin, and this is said to you, I now know that you need to look for a job ASAP. I was told 2 days before school ended and it was assumed by the entire pre-school team (I was on the schedule and class list for next year) that I was coming back. Yeah that was a MAJOR thing.

Big Thing#5: I have the best husband in the world. He has been great and supportive and just the best.

Big Thing#6: I am going to try my hand at being an artist for a while. Not giving up on my career as a teacher per say, just trying to get the photography thing up and running again. When we left Alexandria in 2009 I actually turned down 3 weddings! I had a lot of great feedback recently from my current students' parents with their end of year photographs. That has motivated me to get back into it. I am also taking a class through the New England School of Photography, night photography.  Also, I have had some success with my jewelry (Thank you Jan) on etsy.com and even had a custom order!

So all in all, after a long blog post, lots of small and big things have happened. Along the way some nice surprises: I sold 3 pieces of jewelry at my first craft fair that got rained out after three hours (1 piece per hour is not bad at all for first time). My brother got a new job and is moving to Prague. Which is super cool... Got a surprise visit from Neil and Cari and am looking forward to a visit from Byl in July. Ezra and Sandy came over from Germany and we "hosted" "Ezra's" party.  No joke; some dude showed up, did not know who I was when I let him and and he said to me "I am here for Ezra's party". Still we had fun.  We also went back to Virginia for Rolling Thunder. And we went home to Jersey for Father's Day weekend. Mike and Dad rebuilt part of the deck. See photos below to catch up on the last few months.

                                          Byl lost his keys to his bike. So Mike drove him back 
                                          to his house get his spare set of keys.

                                          I did face painting for work's End of Year Celebration.
                                         Two days later, I was told the budget did not past. 
                                         Last to hire, first to fire. That said, I take comfort in 
                                         the fact it was not personal, nor a reflection on my teaching.

Mike and I @ "Ezra's" party.

My table @Board-a-palooza Craft Fair

Mike and Dad working on the deck.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thank You Michael Thurmond!

I have now lost 10 pounds. In three weeks. If I hadn't cheated on my new diet, or my new "lifestyle plan" I would have lost more weight. Mike and I joined a gym. Yes we joined a gym and I actually go to the gym! Sometimes, twice in one day! But the big thanks is to Michael Thrumond and his 6 Week Body Makeover. I saw one of his infomercials and bought it, thinking if it didn't work I could get my money back, as is said in the infomercial. I love this plan. Its hard, no salt, no butter and very sadly no olive oil! I miss olive oil more than I miss everything else! But I am not starving, eating 5-6 times a day. And my diabetes has been really good. Very few lows and almost no highs (except for when I cheat on the plan). You follow the plan, it teaches you how and what to eat. I hear that it is similar in some ways to Weight Watchers. For when you hit your target weight you can begin to incorporate SOME foods back into your plan. But I know people who have done Weight Watchers and not had the results that I am having, or they are having now (through the 6WBMO forums). So we will see.

So THANK YOU, MIchael Thurmond!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Tiny @$$ Classroom

I have a small classroom. Really its the size of a bedroom. Its probably the same size of a master bedroom in a typical three bedroom house. Not a Mc Mansion but a nice sized house around 1700-2000 sq. feet. As you can tell I have given this thought.

I do love my job. And having only 5 students makes the small room bearable. I do not have a lot of room or storage. Sterilite tubs are my friends. Rubbermaid too. But I have made the classroom, that once resembled a walk in closet, mine own. I have a large classroom that we transition to in the afternoon, but its not mine.

I am in no means complaining. Maybe bemoaning that I once had the "corner suite" at New Beginnings. My last classroom in VA was pretty big, but had people constantly entering and leaving to the adjacent classroom through MY room...which given the student population I work with, was highly distracting. I feel, and I have been going to my job for only 12 school days, that this job is the perfect fit.

In the morning, I have 5 students with Autism. Which the school feels are "moderate" and some are on the "low side", I think they are geniuses. They say "hello" and "Sara, are you happy that I am here today?". Yeah that was what I was greeted with on Friday. I have always loved my students no matter what but this is just so different! The afternoon class? I have never taught "typicals" before. I also have three English Language Learners. You know what? I am not teaching the afternoon any different from the morning (minus Discrete Trial Teaching which is only 40 mins). Pam, a friend and speech therapist from VA, would be so proud of me and my language based approach that is fused with ABA. I think of her all of the time and so wish that she could be teaching with me, pushing into the class to do speech. I think of her every time I do letter of the week.  The ELL students are really benefiting from the language based approach and all of the kids crave the learning and are just soaking up the knowledge!

On Friday, we made Dandy Dip (from the Mailbox book "Beginning Sounds") to finish our week with the letter D. I did not think the kids would like it. I mean its DIP. Every child (except two who are on the spectrum) TRIED the dip. Not only did they try it, they ate it with CARROTS and chips. Then the most amazing thing? They FORGOT about the cupcakes I made for a special treat at lunch, and rushed out of the classroom and told their parents to check the student "mailboxes" for their very own copy of the Dandy Dip Directions and one even said "Mommy can we pllleeeeeaaassse make Dandy Dip for Daddy? Wait, Daddy starts with D too!" I almost passed out from happiness.

So below is the Directions for Dandy Dip from "Beginning Sounds" by The Mailbox and photos of my tiny @$$ classroom that is, in its own way on the verge of being an oasis...Minus the fact that there is NO bathroom and we have to use another class' (and I have two kids in diapers) and no sink. Keep your fingers crossed I get the furniture I put on my "wish list" to the principal.

From the doorway of the classroom.

Taken from the windows, the door is on the left.

Dandy Dip
1 cup of sour cream or yogurt
1 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon (I did three healthy shakes) minced onions

Monday, January 18, 2010

Off to a Good New Year

Things have been quite busy this year and we are only 18 days into the year! First I have to back track- get ready for a long post.

For Christmas we headed to New Jersey to hang out with the family. My Aunt Linda and cousin Michael flew in. It was a nice quiet Christmas. Then on the 26th we drove from NJ to North Carolina to the Outer Banks. We had a very long drive but we got there and the house was beautiful.

The house was beautiful and HUGE. The views were breathtaking. We went fishing, put on our coats and sat on the beach, hit the outlet mall and ate out. It was a very nice and relaxing trip. Nice and quiet.

Mike and I left early, on the 30th. Before we left we went to go see a lighthouse and the wild horses of Carrolla. The whole family went off roading in Jeeps and we got to see a lot of the wild horses, it was very cool. We even got to see some...mating habits of the wild horses!

We then headed back to Alexandria, VA. We had a busy stay. We stayed with our friends Neil and Cari on the 30th and went bowling with them and our friend Byl. On New Year's Eve we went to Dave and Anneie's house, rang in the New Year and stayed over night. We had breakfast at the Honey Bee, if you are ever in Glen Burnie, MD I highly recommend it. Then we headed back to Neil and Cari's. We also stopped by Dave and Valerie's house and met their daughter, Leanna. Below are some pics. That is all for now. I will be posting pictures of my new classroom. Its safe to say that I ADORE my new job. I could not be happier! It is a dream come true!