Friday, March 28, 2008

Report Cards, Check

Yesterday was a huge relief. All 46 of the report cards that I have slaved over for the last three weeks finally went home and are out of my sight. I think report cards are the thing that I hate most about teaching. My estimation is that I spend about 20 hours of my own time four times a year to get quaterly assessments graded and then turned into scores for report cards and comments written to parents. At least it's over. For another 4 weeks, that is. Then it starts all over again. :)

On a fun note, my students thougt it was great that they were taking their report cards home yesterday because we have been reading "Ramona the Brave" by Beverly Cleary and read about Ramona taking her progress report home just before I gave them theirs. That is one of my favorite things about teaching, read alouds. It makes my day. Yesterday's chapter was chapter 8 entitled "Ramona Says a Bad Word." This obviously gets students' attention! She is so upset about what her teacher has to say in her progess report and how unfair she feels the comments are that she decides to say a bad word.

"Ramona had had enough. She had been miserable the whole first grade, and she no longer arde what happened. She wanted to do something bad. She wanted to do something terrible that would shock her whole family, someting that would make them sit up and take notice. "I'm going to say a bad word!" she shouted with a stamp of her foot.

That silenced her family. Picky-picky (the cat) stopped washing and left the room. Mr. Quimby looked surprised and-how could he be so disloyal?-a little amused. This made Ramona even angrier. Beezus looked interested and curious. After a moment Mrs. Quimby said quietly, "Go ahead, Ramona, and say the bad word if it will make you feel any better."

Ramona clenched her fists and took a deep breath.
"Guts!" she yelled. "Guts! Guts! Guts!" There.
That should show them.

Unfortunately, Ramona's family was not shocked and horrified as
Ramona had expected. They laughed. All three of them laughed.
They tried to hide it, but they laughed."

My students absolutely loved that and were repeating it to each other as they walked out the door to go home. I just hope that none of them feel that way when I send their report cards home.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

$12.93 never looked so good!

A few months ago I got an amazing deal at the REI yard sale.  I got a $200 North Face down coat for $12.93.  It had some tears on the right shoulder, which I quickly sewed up to prevent any more down from escaping.  

I have been meaning to make a patch to put over the ugly stitching, but just haven't gotten it done.  I finally found some fabric that I liked a few weeks ago, so I washed it and ironed some interfacing to it.  I then made what I thought would be a good patch, sort of like a long rectangle with rounded ends.  Unfortunately, it ended up looking exactly like a feminine hygiene product!  Not exactly what I want to be wearing on the shoulder of my coat.

So yesterday, I decided to do one more productive thing before I have to go back to work.  I set out to make a nice patch for my coat.  It took quite a bit of time since I hand stitched the whole thing, but I think it turned out quite cute.  Definitely way better than the first one!  

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Break

After a week of spring break, I now have:
  • a much cleaner and more organized house
  • reorganized files and receipts (after much sorting, recycling, and shedding)
  • all of my recipes organized in two binders, with fewer recipes that I will probably never make
  • thoroughly vacuumed carpets, including all the nooks and crannies
  • fewer clothes in my closet that I no longer wear
  • a new appreciation for tea and wheat toast with honey
  • my students' quarterly assessments graded and a good start on my report cards
  • mostly gotten over my usual "I have time off work, so I need to get sick" cold
  • watched/listened to several episodes of Monk, Rachael Ray, and Martha Stewart- they made the sorting and organizing much more fun
  • enjoyed playing with my dogs
  • washed lots of "special care" laundry
  • sparkling shower/tub and floors- which didn't last long

The biggest thing I did not achieve this last week:
  • the desire to go back to work.  :)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Good Weekend

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful Saturday. The weather was still cool, but it was sunny and very spring-like. I was even able to crack a couple of windows and let the house air out a little. As you can see, the dogs were enjoying it too.  Today, on the other hand, we woke up to a wintery chill and a dusting of snow.  The snow melted quickly, but the wind has been bitterly cold all day.

I took advantage of my day off yesterday to make one of my favorite desserts, an apple tart.  It's pretty easy to make and is delicious.  Other dried fruits could be substituted for the cranberries. 

Apple-Cranberry Tart

1 2/3 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
pinch salt
1/2 c. butter (cold)
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
(possibly some milk or cream to help the mix come together)
3/4 to 1 c. sugar (more or less to taste)
1/3 cornstarch
3/4 c. sweetened dried cranberries, soaked in water or juice to plump them
3 c. apple, peeled and cubed (1/2")

You can make the crust mixture in the food processor using the blade, or by hand. Mix the flour, sugar and salt together; cut the butter into this mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg and vanilla, mix until it forms a ball. If it’s not forming a ball, add a little milk or cream to help it come together. Pat into greased tart pan and up sides. Mine measures 11” in diameter.
Mix sugar and cornstarch together. Then add apple cubes and drained cranberries and mix to coat. Spread evenly into tart pan. Bake at 400* for about 45 minutes, or until crust is golden and fruit juices have thickened. It’s great with some jam brushed over it as a glaze.

Bon appetit!