Thursday, March 29

Final Days at Holy Family School

Hey Everybody,

Last Thursday was my final day at Holy Family School.  It was a very emotional experience for me, Chrissy, and all 27 kiddos in class. 

For the last few days I have spent preparing the students to say good-bye to me.  It wasn't easy.  Several of the students said "Miss Bielinski, I am going to cry my heart out!"  Another student actually had a mental breakdown several nights during my last week. 

On my last day the kids had a little celebration.  Each student came up and said something nice to me.  They kept on telling me about this teacher they had that was extremely fair, funny, kind and gentle.  (I'm really not sure who they are referring to since those qualities are not mine.)  The majority of the kids were trying to hold their emotional composure together.  However, when one started to burst into tears, that was the end of keeping it together.  I was quite surprised this particular child would, she was a great kid and all, but I didn't think she would have been the first.   There were more sensitive children in the classroom that have cried on a frequent basis.  Once she cried, another student just screamed out in horror.  It was if somebody died.  Sure enough on my last day the vast majority of the 27 cried their eyes out.  It was quite difficult for me to keep it all together--I didn't want to cry in front of my kids.  I just don't like crying in front of people.  Nothing against the kids. 

I gave all 25 out of the 27 a hug.  One boy did not want me to hug him (he liked handshakes over the hugging.)  The other boy was quite negative and I was ticked off.  He was the last student to talk.  He got up and told me that I was boring and not interesting.  Everybody looked at him with a WHAT face.  He then quickly said he was "just kidding!" I laughed along, but the rest of the class looked horrified.  One girl said "that was seriously NOT cool."  Some hid their faces behind their cake.  Chrissy looked quite unsure of what was going face must have had the same reaction, because I sure didn't know what to say!

So you can imagine what happened to the crying when this happened... it got more intense!  Kids were death grabbing me and screaming in horror.   Chrissy and I were literally peeling kids off of my body.

Finally, we had to line up to go outside for the Peannce Service...that's right... Confession Service on my last day!  I was proud of the kids: they were able to hold back their tears during the hour long service. The service was lead by Father Paul, aka my first boss ever.  I kept giving him glances because I knew we needed some piano music.  Finally, after the blessing of a few teachers, I just walked up to him (while he was in the confessional booth) and gave him the Michele Becker look.   (For those of you have not seen this look, it is the look of "I'm going to do this because I am in charge look."  I sure didn't have her clought, but I knew FRP enough to get away with it.) Sure enough Father Paul said "yes Emily go play some reflective music."  Then for the next 40 minutes I played lots of liturgically appropriate music for the kids.  At the end of the service, Father Paul recognized me for my skills and the entire assembly clapped.   After mass he said I mastered "the look" that my superior has given throughout the years.  We chatted a little bit about the state of Resurrection, wished me luck and I returned to being a teacher.

Then came the parent-teacher conferences!

I was pretty impressed with the respect the parents had for me.  I was an equal, this made sense since I DID full time teach for a lot of the trimester.  There was only one parent who did not regard me of any importance, but this was the same person that said I destroyed her son's grades as well as created a negative energy in the classroom because of my presence.  At that moment I thanked all the nasty people at Resurrection/Old Saint Joe's who have taken pleasure in telling me, Michele, Sharon or anybody else of my funeral dirgness, disgusting organ, displeasing voice, horrific outfits, the one time I chewed gum for 10 minutes, poor tempo choice, or etc.  I've been getting nasty comments since 2002...I was able to handle one more.  That's because out of those nasty comments...I have gotten many many more positive true ones!  I am also confidant in what I do, regardless of how well it turns out. 

In reality, my last day was pretty awesome.  Here is a list of things I learned from teaching at a Catholic School:

-Technology is limited, but that's okay because that means you won't have to be forced to use it ALL OF THE TIME!!!
-You can belt out a church song and somebody will know it.
-Catholic School teachers do NOT carry rulers and strike you with them.
-It's not all about Catholic Theology 24/7
-Uniform Codes actually help kids keep their clothes on. 
-There are other musically inclined churches than Resurrection (were still the best at that;))
-The stereotype is off.
-Everybody really does know Bishop Bob as Bishop Moreanu
-Constant Catholic references are accepted without prejudice.

Most importantly...

-Catholic School Teachers enjoy wine as much as public school teachers.


Monday, March 19

Recent Scrapbooking Creations

Hey All!!!

I haven't been scrapbooking too much recently, but I wanted to show you some of my more recent creations!!!

This is one of my favorite scrapbook pages...from... PRIDEFEST!!!!!

I used the cuttlebug like mad on this one!  The rainbow has several textures.  I did the collage approach which was very hard to do.  I had to order some more photos in order to get them to fit perfectly.  This page took me 4 hours to make...but it was so worth it!

Then there's Zombie Prom...
Nothing too exciting here... just a normal page.  Lots of tearing, lots of stickers...a title and as many photos as possible on this one!

This one is from Leah and Em's Door County Wine Tour!
Again, nothing too exciting the layering.  I tried tucking things in pockets here.  It looked really cool in the end, but I was worried about this one for a while.  My challenge was to tie in the theme of wine while keeping the colors light and fun.  (It was summer when this happened!) I tried journaling again... it worked slightly better. 

This one was an attempt to sew...
The girls and I went to a park in A-town.  To help make this page look more "girly" I created a sewing page.  I also combined stamps.  The friends stamp is its own stamp!  I also Cuttlebugged some more flowers...can you tell which ones are not part of the original paper??

You might recognize this one...
This was from my last choir concert.  The layout was hard to make.  I think black and white for music, but the pictures were screaming brown shades.  I mixed the two together to make this master piece.  It is simple, but effective.

Then there was that awesome yarn convention I went to....
I tried using a pre-set template for this one.  I really like the layout.  I think it looks different than my normal scrapbooking.  I liked having to size and fit all of the photos.  I also tried journaling...but I really hate my hand writing.  I think I am going to type and print next time! I did get to use my Circut yarn die-cut from Countryside...I love it!

For the picture below, I tried the collage method again.  I'm really liking it.  It takes longer, but at least I don't have to mat anything!

This is another pride and joy... the TOW page!

I made the tag all by myself!  I cut it...I put the sticker on it...I put the ribbon on it... it looks amazing!!!!  I am really proud of this page.  I had a hard time finding colors because in TOW there were so many colors! I stuck to the primary colors because those were the main colors in all of the photos.  I had a cute center stage page that I used as a background.  I want to thank my Ohana sister Marnie for the photos...they were originally hers!!!!

This photo sums up my Christmas Day in a nut shell...

That's right... I went to Goth Night ON CHRISTMAS DAY! (Hey...I needed to celebrate I played three masses!!!! PLUS my best friend EVER was in town!) I used a technique I found online... snowflake cans.  I took a soda can, cut it up and cuttlebugged a snow flake.  The results were perfect!!!!  The only problem was the soda can was kinda sharp.  I had to be really careful or else I would have cut my finger!  I also used a typewriter stamp...

This page I used chalk... you can't really tell...
I chalked the circles.  I used a lime green and a dark green combo to make the pages look a little faded.  I think it went all right...this is not one of my favorite pages, but I really had a blast that night!  I added a little ribbon for fun.  I think the colors are too bright and sunny for such an occasion... after all... it was the day after Christmas!!

Finally... Meredith and I created wine invitations...
We each made our own and then combined elements.  I really love the final result.  We used gold ink, chalks, letter stamps, the computer to word process everything and... the scallop puncher!!!!

Meredith found the cards at St. Vincent de Paul for a quarter.  They were a hit!!!  I cannot wait to scrapbook mine into my book!

That's all for back to reading Thunder Cake....



Saturday, March 17

The 27 Strike Again!!!!!

Hey Everybody!

I have been busy doing lots of fun activities with the kids at Holy Family.  I finished up my last full week, which is very exciting and depressing at the same time!  Exciting because that means that Carrie and Rachel will be back from Ghana but depressing because I really LOVE being at Holy Family.  Since I'm used to the church thing (being in a church thing ten years prior to this experience) I feel natural.  I can go to school and say "did you know they removed Roll Away the Stone from the Breaking Bread," and NOT get looked at as if I am a nut case.  Love it.  

And let's face it, I've been spoiled with my placement thus far: great kids, great school, great CT, the ability to try some pretty awesome creative things AND being allowed to have my piano sitting in the room without being judged.  And on that piano I get to bonk out church songs.  Seriously, every day we have sung the song "Here At This Table."  Got it made right there.  Oh and Mass of Creation.  Did I mention we are singing the new Gloria from Mass of Creation? Got it made. are a few things we've been doing at HFS!

In Religion, we made puppets!!!!  

 These puppets helped us talk about self-esteem and welcoming others into the church.  We talked about what the word "Catholic" meant and how we can be Catholic every day.  The kids then acted out with their puppets how to solve some common issues found at school.  I was told this was a great way for kids to act things out that were happening at school without pinpointing any particular students.

Another way to build social-emotional abilities was the "How Full is Your Bucket" activity. I read the book: "How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids"

Then, I went to Michael's and bought every single tin can I could find.  I then wrote the students' names on an index card and taped it onto the bucket.  Now, for a daily part of their routine, they are filling each others' buckets.

In order for me to keep the buckets out the kids agreed on three things: A/Nobody can have an empty bucket (except at the end of the day).  B/All bucket messages must be from the heart.  They cannot be fake.  And C/they cannot be mean or bucket dippers.  If any of those were the case, I would remove the buckets from the classroom.  So far, we haven't had any problems.  The kids really enjoy this activity.   Downside to this activity is that it takes up a lot of space.

 Another fun activity we are doing is writing.  Many of the girls in reading choose "Writing" for their center.  Since it is such a popular activity, I told the girls that I would publish their books.   I got the idea from my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Kadow!  I used tag board, quarter fabric, and rubber cement.  It took a total of 10 minutes to make the books... and now the kids have a little lifetime treasure!

Speaking of writing... the kids are getting ready to write a research paper about their animal for the Zoo we are creating!  To help the kids, I went to the Brown County Library and checked out some books... the picture below is a little less than half the books I checked out.

Finally, my FAVORITE activity... I had the students practice writing sentences that have the future verb tense... so we made... FORTUNE COOKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I created this idea all by myself! No Internet, no Pinterest, no friends... just me! The kids loved the activity, but the cookies are a pain in the butt to hang up!  I was really angry about that... I spent maybe an hour trying to get the darn cookies to hang up correctly! The point of them is to have the cookies "break in half" to reveal the fortune inside.  A person could come up and pull the bottom half of the cookie away to see the little fortune, just like a real cookie.  Lesson in the future, maybe have a flap instead.  Gravity tends to pull down on the bottom part of the cookie. 

That's all for now...hope you were inspired!!!!



Sunday, March 11

How Em Will Now Store Her Cricut Cartridges

Hey Everybody!!!

I wanted to show you my latest scrapbook adventure.  Because of student teaching, I haven't really had a lot of time to work on my paper crafts.  Between writing lesson plans and teaching piano, I have started looking up more creative and organized ways to store my paper materials.

One of the ways I discovered to store my paper crafting Cricut materials is in a nice craft box.

The box is a lovely bright green with pink flowers.  Now I'm not normally a bright colored person, but my paper crafts have become more and more bright recently.  Probably because it is spring and we are all celebrating it's arrival in WI! 

I want to note that THIS IS NOT my idea. I repeat NOT MY IDEA!!!!  I found it on YouTube from a lady named Scrappin' Sabrina.  After seeing this video, I was destined to get a similar box.  I looked everywhere for one, but couldn't find something that was even close to the awesomeness of this box.  So I emailed Sabrina and she offered to sell me her extra box!  I jumped for joy! After a few messages, we were able to agree on a price and timeline for paying.

Now that the box is here, I wanted to show it off.  This is such a creative and crafty idea.   Inside there are Velcro dots to hold up the cartridges.   I have so many cartridges that I don't have enough space on the inside cover to hold them all... so I started putting them on the back.  You can see in the picture below, I have the box nicely organized. 

Below is a zoomed out view of the new craft box!

Srappin' Sabrina did a really cute organizing system with her books.  She had tags on each of them so she could refer to them and not dig out their keypads.  They were colorful, neat and had this little brass ring around them to have that nice clean finish.  Because I have a Cricut 2 Expression, I don't need the keypads.  So I didn't rush to label all of my books yet.  I will be getting dividers to tell me when the FONTS end and the SHAPES or the EDUCATION ones begin.  At some point I'll make tags to, but like I said, I don't use my books very often so for now, I'm good.  All my books sit nicely in one row while my little inserts sit nicely next to them. 

I wouldn't have been able to come up with it, but I'm glad that somebody did!  Here is the link to the original video in case you want to make your own!

Scrappin' With Sabrina's Video About Storing Cartridges 

I've also been enjoying the nice spring day.  I received a new dress from Meredith's closet.  It's a black and white polka-dot sun dress.  I know that it isn't summer yet, but 62 degrees in Wisconsin is a national holiday.  Everybody comes out in their shorts, their dresses and sunglasses.  I am no different.  I love my snow, but I'm ready for spring! I hope mother nature is too!

That's all for now!!!


Tuesday, March 6


Hey Everybody!!

For those who did not know, I have taken up a new church job at Saint Joe's in Oneida, Wisconsin.  I'm extremely happy to start this position.  My role is to provide accompaniment as well as help run the choir as well.  I'll be working with Larissa, who I have worked with on several other projects before.  I also get to be "my own person" in the sense I have a LOT more creative control over music, tempos and what instrument I get to play...(unlike other churches I have worked at...SNAP!)

My first weekend went very smoothly.  I worked with a lady named Cheryl, who I think was a little unsure of my experience. Things started a little shaky--- the organ is not Riely so that took some getting used to.  I also had a hard time with the silence during the first part of communion--I've been spoiled with the song "This is Jesus" being played right after the "Lamb of God."  It will take some getting used to, but I know in time I will get it figured out.

I've been welcomed with lots of warm hugs, smiling faces and kind comments.  Everybody appears to be really excited that two young girls are going to be full-fronting their music program!  I know I am excited about it!