Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What'cha Workin' on Wednesday ~How a Teacher Spends the Holiday Break ~~Was Santa Good to You? ~~~Addendum to the 2015 Report

While high school and college students are on semester break,

their teachers are correcting end-of-course exams,
final projects and portfolios.
I'm not complaining...after all, I get to do this at home 
in my pajamas with a second cup of coffee.

This shopping bag is full of student
work that has been corrected and entered. Yay!!

Thank you, everyone, for your 
sweet comments about my Christmas gifts.
I have couple more things to show you.
A vintage kitchen utensil,
and another year's subscription to a favorite magazine.

I know, most people look at publications on-line now,
but nothing beats opening a new magazine while riding shotgun on a road trip!

My favorite purse size calendar.

Again, I know my smart phone has a calendar,
but the images by Karen Good in this pocket planner 
just make me smile.

My new favorite mug from Santa.
It's enamel...reminds me of grandma's kitchen!

My daddy and I shared a love of black licorice.
Yeah, I know we are in a minority.

This ornament will hang on a peg in our hallway,
as we are looking forward to our trip to the UK.

And with that in mind, this was on our agenda today.

It hasn't been all work and no play.
I enjoyed lunch out twice this week.

The Brass Kettle has a great thing going...
Each day they feature one lunch item.
It's fast and so reasonably priced.

Today we enjoyed a Turkey Melt
(on their own homemade bread)
with delicious Broccoli Cheese soup.

I'm so proud of former students that own and operate this restaurant.

Last but not least, I enjoyed an afternoon with a good friend.
She is a retired teacher and was hankering to correct some papers.
So we both went to work, and got it done...

...then enjoyed some refreshments.
Thank you, Karren.

I hope you are all finding a balance between 
work and relaxation this holiday week.

Take care,
~Natalie

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Was Santa Good to You? Annual Report for 2015 ~Teacher Gifts: A Couple of Hints ~~I am Blessed

I suppose an elementary school teacher 
gets more gifts than he/she wishes for.
They probably have more candles and coffee mugs than they can shake a stick at.

If I could turn back the clock about 20 years, I would give our daughters' teachers 
something they can use...like a gift card to Target or the local supermarket!

High school teachers probably get only one or two gifts,
 every other year or so...
That's what makes an occasional gift so very special.

While last year I told my family I had nothing to show them from school...
this year, I was blessed with some very special gifts.
On the left (in the first photo), you can see a jar of handmade Peppermint Scrub,
next, a gift certificate for my favorite nails place,
then, a cute Christmas Tin.

And inside the cute tin...
homemade gingerbread.
They smell and taste heavenly!

Perfection.
I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Thank you!

***I do have to tell you about my Advocate group from five years ago.
They knocked it out of the ballpark!
Their Junior year, they all contributed to buy a gift card to a local restaurant.
My family and I went out to eat...twice!

Their Senior year, they again pooled their resources to create 
a Spa Basket with Bath & Body products and a gift card for a Massage.

I bring this up now, as some of them may read this blog.
Thank you again, and I miss you...
You were a special group***

And what was inside this sweet surprise?
Homemade Molasses Crinkles with the anticipation of Starbucks coffee.

And Lorie's famous decorated sugar cookies.

And inside my package from Rebecca?
Purple scarf, purple socks, and purple earrings.

The evening's highlight was a gift from Amy and Nick.
They have made arrangements for hubby and I to visit them in the UK.

Those papers were accompanied by this little Nisse 
that they purchased in Austria.
He is sure to provide protection and good fortune.
He sits in a prominent spot in our kitchen.

Fun stuff from Santa... including
a citrus spritzer and 
a portable charger for my phone!

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have taken care of all of my
personal care needs.
My MIL has been an Avon Representative since before I knew her.
as my SIL know how many miles 
I put on my feet during a school day.

Last, but not least, 
a fashionable passport cover and luggage tag.

This daughter and her hubby must have been in on
the travel plans for us.

So many sweet memories to cherish this Christmas.

Take care,
~Natalie

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Greetings, Dear Family and Friends ~Christmas Eve Traditions ~~Wild Rice Soup Recipe Link ~~Olive Dip Recipe Link

 
Merry Christmas, everyone.
While last year, we enjoyed family time together,
this year we share them with their 'other' families.

Last evening, we attended worship at 5:30.

A favorite part in the service is
singing Silent Night in the candlelight.

We enjoy appetizers while I prepare the Wild Rice Soup.

This year we took a leaf out of the table to create 
a cozier setting for the four of us.

And in couple hours we will head over to 
Grandma's for Christmas Dinner.
Here we were last year, with our Holiday Tree Sweaters.

Best wishes for a Wonderful Day, everyone.

Take Care,
~Natalie

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Twas the Night Before the Last Day of School before the Holidays ~All My Bags were Packed ~Congrats Early Grads ~~Thank you, my Friend

We have this little tree by our front door.
When I got home from school yesterday,
there were packages under that tree!
It was the perfect ending to an energy packed last day of the semester.

My day started like this, from left to right,
crockpot and soup ingredients,
gifts for my co-FACS teachers,
candy canes for my students,
school bag for CHS,
project bag for the ATEC Academey,
staff computer,
lab supplies,
and what was left of my sanity!

In my Foods class we made
Fa la la la Lava Cakes.


Students exercised their creativity with syrup, cocoa, 
and powdered sugar on their dessert plates.
If you like to make them yourself,

Fifty-five of our high school seniors graduated early yesterday.
We celebrated with one of our own...
and had to take another Advocate Group photo.
Congratulations, Caitlyn!

Super Study Soup of the Week,
Super easy and Super delicious.
Courtney's Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Seriously, all you have to do is open cans and stir it all together.
This time I added a "chunk" of Velveeta Cheese,
and the seniors said it was better than ever!

After a day of final projects, 
end of course exams,
checking in books,
collecting student fees,
finalizing my SLO,
cleaning up my classrooms,
and preparing for the new semester...
I was more than ready to pull into my driveway!

Thank you,
my dear friend, Lorie.
(I look forward to our coffee date next week.)

I hope you all enjoy some time for 
rest and relaxation this holiday season.

Take care,
~Natalie

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Where the Weekend Went ~Sending Greetings to Family and Friends

My Weekend Mission was to get our Christmas cards ready for the mail.
We send greetings to family, high school friends, college friends, 
and many folks that have impacted our lives in some special way.

Here's the outgoing mail.

I look forward to the cards and letters 
that will be delivered to our mailbox.

Our weekend started with some live jazz.

We did have a little time to relax 
and enjoy the lights of the Christmas tree.

Remember the gifts under our tree last year.

This year is a bit different.
When our children are married, 
we need to share them during the holidays.

While we miss them,
we are happy to know that they have another family 
that loves them and supports them.

Also, we are very thankful for facetime and skype.

Take care,
~Natalie

Where the Weekend Went ~Good Food, Great Music, and Special Friends ~A Sweet Reunion, Indeed

It was a Saturday to cure our Winter Doldrums. There’s nothing better than spending an evening with good friends. …and there’s not much bett...