Thursday, September 26

Spanish Pronouns

Hey All!

Hope your week is going fantastic!

Ever have one of those days where you are teaching and things just aren't clicking?  Well...that's what happened to me this week!  I was teaching Spanish pronouns to my 5th and 6th graders.  They were just not getting it.  It wasn't making any sense.  I was getting frustrated.


An idea!

My good friend Brittany Hattabaugh, uses whole brain movement to teach hard and large concepts.  Her wisdom came to me in the middle of my train wreck of a week.  Therefore I came up with hand motions for Yo, tu, el, ella, usted, nosotros, ustedes, ellos and ellas.  It went really well with the kids!  They were chanting this as we left the classroom...YAY for doing a great job!

So this is what I did...

Yo! (Point to self)

Tu (point in front)

El (Point to a male.  Don't point to a female--like I did...on accident!)

Ella!  (Point to a female!)

Usted (Point above.  Showing higher authority!)

Nosotros (Include yourself, make a circle with your hands.)

Ustedes (Showing as my teacher always said...You's.)

Ellos (Fumble your hands to the side.  Shows a mixture of males/females or males!)

Ellas (show one motion with your hands--indicating only a group of females can be in this category.)

What do you think? Pretty awesome?  I'm pretty excited! 

I also made a video of this entire experience!  I blab a little bit in it towards the end.  It's just because I'm super excited about this but didn't want to come across cocky! 

I'm not always 100% proud of my creations, but this one, I am pretty psyched about!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, September 23

Celebrating a Special Milestone!

Hey All!

Happy First Day of Fall!  And to all my New Age brothers and sisters, happy Autumn Equinox!

I <3 Fall!  It's the best season of the year!   It has all of my favorite colors, temperatures and types of clothing!  It's pretty exciting!   I am especially excited about APPLE CIDER!  (Hello Moca Moment)

However, the MOST exciting part of the season---the beginning of Fall officially marks another year involved in church music ministry!

I started in 2001 playing here and there and then in 2002, I started playing with the big leagues!  September 2002--that's when my entire life changed.  Life began to revolve around organ lessons, YMT practices, Breaking Bread Hymnals, conventions, seminars, 8AM masses and so much more.  Pretty much what started as a way to "avoid political annoyances" turned into something much greater.

So, in honor of all of that--I came up with a list of things that I have learned from working as an organist over the past 11 years.

Eleven Lessons I Have Learned From Church Music Ministry

11.  Don't Take No for an Answer

Somebody tells you, laugh and then rise to the occasion.  I'm not talking about things you aren't supposed to do, but things that people think you cannot do (but you know you CAN do at work.)  For example, people used to tell me to NOT play organ on certain hymns.  Then I would go play them on organ.  I would then go HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Usually because it turns out to!  (Hello Marnartha!!!!) To this day, I chuckle every time I sing in the mic for "This is Jesus," because I remember being in the Children's Choir and hearing the voice saying "no microphone for you..." Hey it may have taken me like 15 years to do, but I stole that mic (okay Carrie told me I had to sing in it one day) and people didn't know what to was that good!  (Or they were in church and were just being nice.)

Regardless...this lesson was BIG.  It taught me to do whatever it takes to make your visions come true! I mean I got kicked out of a college man and I STILL became a teacher! It may have taken longer and more money, but I did it!  And look what happened to me!  I got a job right out of college and I <3 IT!  I moved far away, met the love of my life and became this wonderful thing called happy.  So yes, please, deny me that microphone again!  What doesn't kill you make you stronger!

10.  Learn From Your Mistakes

Listen to your mentors.  They know what they are talking about.   If they are good mentors, they will start to trust you and leave you to have room for floating and growing.    If they are not good mentors, either tell them or move on.  Sometimes people just don't know how they are hindering you.

9.  Work Hard=Discipline

My father always had a saying; hard work makes good discipline.  He's right.  Work hard and results show.   Trust is built.  Success continues.

8.  Be Responsible!

When you are working at a job that requires you to be on time, dress professionally, act your best, etc, you learn how to do that outside of the job.  I remember when I was at a Sophomore Block and the professors were talking about "dressing professionally."  That mean kaki pants, nice sweaters and OMG NO JEANS!  While all the kids were freaking out, I was smiling because it was old news to me. I also am proud to say other than ONE mishap, I have never missed a day of work because "I forgot to show up."  (I have missed because I was sick, but that's a different story!)

7.  Professional Life Does NOT Equal Personal Life

Imagine having your dream job at 15...well that was ME!  Working with a bunch of older people taught me how to interact with the professional world.   There are people who I've worked with that are great...and people who I have worked with that personality-wise I don't get along with.  Over the past years, I have learned how to work with those people better and better.  It was a long learning curve for a while, but after a few years, it's gotten easier!

6.  It's Who You Know!

Let's face it.  It's true.  I probably wouldn't have gotten some of the opportunities I have gotten if it wasn't for a name.  It is what it is.  Point being--network and get to know people.  You sometimes need their help.

5.  Your Reputation is Who You Are

My reputation proceeds me.

4. Defuse Things Through Humor

People are going to say things to your face--at the mall, at the library, at the bar, at church--good or bad.    When it's good thank people for their kind words.  When people say bad things, like calling you a funeral dirge, or outs the fact you didn't have time for preludes on Facebook--laugh it off! Some of those people mean well, but don't know how to be graceful.

3.  People Stare

It's true...when you play at a church where the instruments are in the front.  People stare.  They notice when you don't wear Packer Colors the weekend of a home game and they notice when you look tired.  People are always watching, even when they shouldn't be!  So look excited and you'll convince yourself you are excited!

2.  It's Not All About You

Your job is important, but it isn't all about you!  The point of music ministry is to take the song that has scriptural words and convey it to the congregation in a meaningful way.    That's bigger than you.  Sometimes you have to step aside and let others do the task because they are more equipped to do the job.  It is what it is.  If you want that task, then make strides to earn the trust of the higher ups so you have that opportunity as well!  As long as the message gets across, that's all that matters!

1.  The number 1 lesson I learned:  BE YOURSELF!  I love playing music, but when I was younger, I didn't really think it was so cool.  That was because nobody else seemed to "get it."  I felt super depressed in college because nobody got it.  It seemed that people actually were making fun of the fact I had this passion and excitement.  It really got me down and got me into stuff that I regret doing to this day.  However, after some road turns and interventions with God, those circumstances changed.  In result, I changed as a person.    I became more comfortable being myself.  There are still people that don't "get" what I do or appreciate my passion for it, but I don't care!:)  I <3 being myself!

So that's it!  Thanks Res for 11 great years!  Here's to more!


Saturday, September 21

The Adventure of [Brittany] Salsa

Hey All!

I hope everybody had a great week!  Mine was pretty crazy!

Every week, I plan out my meals to help me budget my grocery money for the week.  I tend to also try to make foods with ingredients that are in season.  Well, this is the season for corn!  I can get 4 stalks of corn for 1.00!

Hence in celebration, I made the infamous salsa that I call "Brittany Salsa."  That's not it's real name...but I don't know this recipes real name.    I call it "Brittany Salsa" because one night I was over at Brittany's house and she made this for me to eat.  It was super yummy!  Hence the name.

So how I made Brittany Salsa.

1) Cut up a lot of corn! I never cut stalks of corn before.  However, after reading about it, it was simple and easy to do!  

2) Then I added avocado to the mix!

3) Then add some cherry tomatoes.    These tomatoes are from my potted tomato plant.   Boy where they super fresh!

4) Then add some black beans!  I only had a mega sized black bean, so I just added half of the case.  I also made sure I drained the entire can before adding the beans.

5) Then you are going to add Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil! Keep adding and mixing until you think it tastes great! I usually have more olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

6) Add some salt and pepper to taste!  (Or if you are like me, don't add salt because I don't like salt!  Plus it's bad for me heart!)

7) Viola! I have eaten this hot or cold and it's great both ways!

I really like using the Bucky Badger Whole Wheat Tortilla Shells.  They are low in calorie and full of nutrients!  All and all one serving of this (not including the tortilla) is about 75-100 calories depending on how many servings you make.  (My findings were from entering in information to   Usually I can get about 8 servings out of a dish using the measurements from this blog entry.  This all lasts about a week in my fridge...because I tend to make it in such large quantities!   It's quick, easy and yummy too! 

<3 Em

Thursday, September 19

Em's First Adventure in Baking! (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Hello Everybody!

My girlfriend Leah donated all of these lovely apples from her mom and dad's orchard! (Thanks Leah!)

So what to do with all of these apples?  Well, let me tell you...apples and I have had a difficult past.  I don't care for their texture and according to the Reader's Digest Health Foods book, apples are only good for your teeth.  So I don't eat a lot of them...but being I am a teacher and we are in apple season I figured I'd give something a try.

So what to being a pinner decided to go pinning.  I decided to make some carmel apples that I saw on Pinterest.   I mean this is pretty darn awesome!

 Now let me tell you...baking is NOT my special gift.  I really have no true abilities in baking.  The last time I baked was for Kindergarten Roundup Day and all the kids did was complain about my horrible baking!  So I sure don't blame anybody for passing up on my baking.

But I have been getting the "baking" bug due to a few Facebook posts from Michele (she likes to post lots of cute baking seasonal things on my page) and from Peg, who is a professional baker.

But nevertheless, I am trying to bake...for the children...I keep saying that one day I'll become a good baker for them...

So I started by cutting up the apples into two.  I didn't have my super awesome ceramic knife to help me with this adventure.

Then I scooped out the healthy part of the apple with a melon ball.     At first it was difficult to get just the inside of the apple out.  However, after some practice, I was able to do a better job with holding the melon ball and coring out the insides of the apple.    I felt that I was literally scooping ice cream out of a bucket!

So then all of the apples looked like this!

Meanwhile, I double boiled some carmel dip over the stove. 

It took me a while to figure out that I needed to double boil the carmel.  I had carmel squares in the microwave.  I tried to melt sauce over the hot fire.  I even tired to let the stuff sit outside for a while.  After talking to Peg, I learned that it is important to double boil.  So I looked it up on YouTube and double boiled some carmel.  It took about 30 minutes to boil the carmel, and let me tell you, it was worth it! 

I then poured the carmel into the apples...

Then they sit on the fridge...then I cut them up!  They went over super well!  I cannot wait to give these to my children! I think they are going to love these!  (My co-workers might not so much, because they are a little messy!) 

All and all--I think this baking adventure was a success! 


Tuesday, September 17

Apple's Apple's Apple's!


It's that time of the year where it's time to celebrate all about apples!!!

Did I mention I love apples?

Last Friday we had our "Apple Day."  We went to a field trip and did some awesome activities with apples afterwards!

To prepare for our apple field trip the pre-kers and I read the book:

We then sang a song about apples.  It was a song I found while I was still in college.  I modified it a little bit because I forgot the middle part while I was teaching it.

"Apples Juicy, apples round,
on the tree and on the ground.
Apples yellow, green or red.
Good in pie or even bread!
Apples juicy round,
on the tree and on the ground!"

I think we are going to sing it again...because it is easy and fun to remember!  Besides, some of the pre-ker's informed the older children that apples indeed came in three that means they learned that from the song right(?)  Plus...they were singing it as we were leaving school on Thursday! WOOT!

On Friday, we all bundled up and went to Apple Hut.  It was cold!  We learned about the apple cycle.  We learned about where apples can be made into.  We also picked our own apples and ate apple doughnuts.  They were yummy!

Then we went back and made apple turnovers.  I'm not a baker, but after doing this, I can say that it is quite possible to make a baker out of me...(?)

We took some biscuits...

We took all of them out and placed them on their own tinfoil  We wrote each of the kids names on them so we know who made which apple turnover.  We pushed the dough down so it became a flat pancake. 

After that we added the apples.  The apples were taken from my friend Leah's apple tree.  They were super yummy!  Peg poured some cinnamon sugar on top to make them more yummy!

Then we had to close them up.  I had a hard time with this (as did the kids.)  Thankfully there were four adults around that could help everybody out.  

See? Yummy!  We put them in the oven while the kids were at recess.

We also sampled some apples!

Then the children had to tell me their favorite apple: red, yellow or green.  We then whispered it into our hands and closed our hands so the word couldn't get out.  We walked upstairs and talked about graphing our favorite.  Each child wrote their own name on their favorite color apple.

We hung them up.  It was pretty intense.  The red and green both ended up tying!

Afterwards we ate our turnovers!  Boy were they good!  What a great way to kick off our apples week!  Next week we will have more things!  We are going to make carmel apples, talk about what happens with apples and more!

In the end, we had a great day.  I was super tired by 3:00!  I think the kids had a great day!


Sunday, September 15

Some Great News!

Hey All!

I am super happy to announce that Kyle and I are getting married!

I never thought this would happen, that I would be getting married to somebody!  But I am so glad that I am getting married to somebody who I absolutely love:)

We got engaged at Fuji Sushi House on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013.  Kyle and I were enjoying a nice time together when he popped the question.  After a few profanity shouts later, I said "of coarse I'll marry you!"  An applause followed and dinner continued!

Everybody wants to see the wedding here is a picture of the beautiful ring!  Isn't it lovely?  I think he did a great job with it!  I am still not used to this thing sitting on my finger!

Throughout the week, it was exciting to announce our engagement to everybody.  We are super happy that everybody supports our choice to get married!

As for wedding details, we don't know any dates yet.  However, we are aiming to get married in Fall 2015.  It all is going to depend on a few factors.  What we do know is that we are going to be getting married in Green Bay--at Resurrection Parish.  (That one is a given!)  We know who we would like in our bridal party as well who we would like to do our music and photography, but we have not asked those people if they would be able to participate.  (Everybody else probably knows who I want to do music for our wedding is--it's kinda obvious!)  I know who my maid of honor is going to be and Kyle knows his best man.  We also know how many people we would approx. want to invite as well.  I also know what colors I would like, but I'm not set on them.  When things are booked and set in stone, most likely once this school year is done, we will let you know!  This school year is all about the school year and saving money. Next summer will be all about planning and paying for our dream wedding!

Once again we are VERY VERY appreciative of everybody's love and support.  There have been a few people who have not shared the same happiness, but the people who mean are close and mean the most have been nothing but smiles and hugs!

To celebrate our engagement, we went to Madison.  What a perfect day to go.  Neither of us had to work our 3 jobs.  (That's right, we both work 3 jobs!)  The weather was nice cool.  We went to Buraka's on State Street followed by the botanical gardens.  We took lots of lovely pictures of ourselves and the pretty flowers.   Here are some of our favorites...

Me, at the Thai Garden on the stone elephant.  Kyle was worried that we were going to get into trouble.  As for me...I wasn't worried;) He posed on the elephant too, but we decided my picture was much cuter...haha jk. 

Sharing a magical kiss in the Thai Garden.  I love the lighting in this picture!  This was Kyle's favorite of the day!  It is now his profile picture.

Happy smile in the Rose Garden.  At this point, the sun was coming back out and it was getting really hot!  I had to take my cardigan and [knitted, wool] hat off!

These were our favorite flowers...loved the colors and the design.  We saw these at the very end of our walk in the gardens.

Tomorrow we will be enjoying dinner with my parents and grandma.  They are coming to help me organize my classroom books.  (They got a little scrambled up!)

Thanks for visiting my blog!  Hope to hear from you soon!