Saturday, December 28, 2013

Football Cookies

Being in band for almost half my life has given me the opportunity to attend MANY football games. At first, I loved it because we got to play and dance in the stands, and it's what all my friends did. It took many years for me to actually understand what was happening on the field. Now, you can find my mother and me on Saturdays yelling and screaming at the TV, while my father and brother sleep on the couch.  Thankfully this fall I actually got to go to 3 college football games [more than ever since graduation], and I got to tailgate for the first time!

Since I had the pleasure of hangalangin with some friends before the game, it gave me a fantastic reason to bake football cookies!!

I found the original recipe here, but of course made some changes. 

For the dough, you need 1 box of Devil's Food Cake, 2/3 cup of butter, and 2 eggs, then mix it all together. For the first batch, I used sugar free cake mix, and for the second batch, I used regular cake mix. The batches looked, baked and tasted very different so I took some pictures for you.

Sugar free cookie dough
To make them look like footballs, shape them into pointed little worms. (Sugar Free)
 For either batch, bake them at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.

After I took them out of the oven (Sugar Free)
After I took them out of the oven (Non Sugar Free)
Sugar free on the left, Non sugar free on the right
To add the laces, I could have used a homemade cream cheese icing in my fancy icing bags, but it was late and that was too much work. SO...I used a plastic bag, filled it with Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing, cut the corner off, and iced away.

Final product!
Let the record show, I came home with 0 cookies. 

Chocolate Cookie Recipe: 

1 box of Devil's Food Cake Mix (sugar free or non sugar free)
2/3 cup butter 
2 eggs 

Cream Cheese frosting

Mix it all together. Roll into balls [or footballs]!
 Bake at  350 for 10-12 Mins.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why would anyone want to be a class sponsor?

A very good question. Why would you willingly choose to do something that you knew you wouldn't get paid for (in fact, your money disappears faster), you wouldn't get many high praises, and you spend a lot of extra hours working?

When I said yes to being Class of 2015 sponsor, I was thinking, "Amy…she's organized. I can totally work with her!" :) What I didn't realize was that I was taking on a huge role. Not just in the things we have had to plan, but a huge role in the lives of my juniors.

The past few months have been the hardest and busiest months since I started working at NHS. Many things have gotten easier now that I am in year 4, but the unknowns of class sponsor business have taken their toll on me. Car washes, concession stands, tattoo sales, movie night, recycling…it's been a lot, and I don't think I realized that it would be this much.

The other thing I didn't realize is how much better I would get to know the little friends. They love to talk and share and goof off with me because they know I am a safe person with whom they can do that.  They come and hang out in my room…sometimes more often than I would like. I've done a lot of silly things with them like play "ninja" and take a million dumb pictures that might end up in the yearbook.

Even though we have a really good time, I've watched them grow in just a couple of months. The difference between the first car wash in June to movie night in November was crazy. First we've had a lot more kids get involved--YAY!. The kids that have come to everything knew exactly what needed to be done and did it. I didn't have to give them much instruction except for minor things. In June, I would tell them to do stuff, and they would be slow to get up to do it. In November, I said, "We have customers," and they jumped up to help. They're not perfect, but they're kids, and it's been fun to watch them grow and mature in a short time.

Things I've learned

  • Work with someone who compliments you well. 
  • Get to know the custodians. They will help when you least expect them to.
  • Have tough expectations from the beginning, and the kids will rise to the occasion.
  • Be willing to try new fundraisers/events that haven't been done before. I wasn't, but despite my negative attitude, Movie Night turned out far better than I could have imagined.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your friends for help. They will.
  • Make lots of lists…otherwise you will forget something. (Maybe that's just me, but I don't think so.)
  • Kids are kids. Let them be kids, but help them grow up too.

Getting back to my question: Why would anyone want to be a class sponsor?

My answer: The kids. This probably wouldn't have been my answer a few months ago, but it definitely is now.

Answer #2: I teach a rough class. Most of my babies are low, unmotivated and hate math and school. I'm in the process of changing that attitude, but it doesn't happen overnight.  It's tough to teach them when you are trying to overcome so many obstacles. It can be frustrating. Getting to be a class sponsor forces me out of my daily teaching world and into a world where kids want to succeed, go to college, and participate in school activities. It's something that I needed to be reminded of. So, this is also a great reason to be a class sponsor. It's exhausting but so encouraging and rewarding.

If you are considering this or any other sponsor/coach position, consider your time, family, sanity, and work load. All of those things have taken a mega hit this year since I started #sponsorlife.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Answered Prayers

Confession: I am not a consistent journaler.

I wish I was. I love going back and looking at what I thought was important at that particular time in my life. It's usually kind of entertaining.

Last night, I was really convicted about the lack of time I have been spending with Christ and instead spending it with Facebook and Twitter or TV. Anything that is mindless and won't challenge me in any way. So I came home from Bible study and went directly to my journal to listen and write to the Lord and spend some time worshipping.

I ended up finding an old journal where I kept prayer requests from my junior year of college. I came across my prayers from October of 2009. They were interesting, convicting, and encouraging to say the least.

First, I prayed for where my future was headed for the next year and a half (which would have gotten me through graduation + some). It was really fun to see how the Lord led me through that time period which contained so much more than I could have ever imagined on the day those requests were written. Through that next year and a half I went through ups and downs with my parents as I decided to apply for a mission trip they didn't support, ended up on a different mission trip to El Salvador (a trip they did support), got diagnosed with diabetes, graduated, found and started my first teaching job, and was later laid off from that job. Crazy time period in my life, but the Lord's faithfulness was unimaginable.

Next, I prayed for a boyfriend/husband. That's still being prayed for.

After that, I prayed for the mission trip to Turkey that I felt the Lord calling me to. What I didn't know at the time was the Lord just wanted me to follow Him no matter where it lead, even if my parents did not support me. I followed. Ultimately though, God was leading me to El Salvador, where the strengths He had cultivated were used so much more fully.

Further down, I prayed for Him to calm my fears about teaching. I thought this was funny now that I am almost at the completed 3 years mark. There's still fears, failures, and growths...every day.

Lastly, I prayed for the continuous desire to fill my life with distractions. Clearly this is still an issue and probably will be for the rest of my life. I have this disease that prohibits me from saying no, which means my life gets busy, crazy, and sometimes unmanageable. Then, when I get home, I have no energy left for the really important things, so I mindlessly stare at the TV or computer screen. I guess this one is still being prayed for too.

I just thought it was fun to come across the Lord's great faithfulness in answered prayers.

  • Sometimes the answer is no like the trip to Turkey. I was glad that was a no. El Salvador was where I was supposed to be. Not a single doubt in my mind about that. 
  • Sometimes the answer is wait for God's timing. I am definitely still allowing Him to help me find contentment in the waiting. 
  • And sometimes the answer is YES. He will take care of me and watch over my future because he knows the wonderful and rough things that are coming, and He is going to lead me through no matter how light or dark it may seem at the time.

Something about last night showed me how much I needed to be reminded of God's glory, perfection, omniscience, and power and to praise Him for those things DAILY.

Here's a verse that meant a lot to me during the time period in which these requests were written:

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chocolate is the Answer to Life

Last week, I was trying to teach my kids about segment and angle addition along with what it means to have a midpoint or bisector. After a couple days of practicing, writing, and solving the equations that are formed, I moved on thinking they got it. They took a quiz, and I realized they had NO clue what I was talking about. So like any good teacher, we practiced it some more, made a poster, drew pictures, and wrote lots of equations. 

On Friday, we came back to those topics in the warm-up, and they looked at me like, "An equation? You want us to come up with an equation without you giving it to us?? WHAT?" I was so frustrated because we had spent almost 5 days on these topics, and they still had no idea that you can add two segments together and get one big segment or two halves of something equal each other. (Banging my head against a wall here.) Bonus: We were going to take a test during the second period that I see them that day, and they were clearly not ready. At this point, I was at a loss with no clue how to help clarify things for them. 

BUT then I thought about all the delicious chocolate I have stashed in my filing cabinet.

Let's be real...chocolate saves lives. (This might be an exaggeration, but it gets me through good, bad, long, happy, sad...all the days.) 

It just so happened that I had a few mini Hershey's bars left. These are broken into 4 chunks, perfect for a demonstration of segment addition. I break one bar in half and the other bar I break into 1 and 3.

Segment Addition: We took each bar apart, counted how much they had separately, put them together and counted how much they had together.  (1+3=4 and 2+2=4) 

Midpoint/Bisector: We looked at the one broken in half and saw that 2 does in fact equal 2.

I watched SO many light bulbs go on!! Such a great feeling but then was mad that I didn't think of it sooner. I explained this idea and drew pictures of these things happening, but they needed to physically see it happen.

The plan for next year:
  1. Start with this instead of finish with it! 
  2. Have 2 chocolate bars for each kid, let them break them apart, and put them back together to discover that we can add two pieces together to get the total piece. Or that two halves really do equal one another. 
  3. I think I might do this with pie or cookies too so we can see the angle addiction postulate and bisectors of angles more clearly. (Any reason to bake, really.)
Chocolate solves so many problems.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stealing is not wrong.

First baking post!!

Baking is probably my most favorite thing to do. People at work and in my Bible study last year are most grateful that I love to bake. My roommate got excited the other day when the baking pans came out of the cupboard. She knew something great was coming.

Of course I was making everyone's favorite...sopapilla cheesecake. Delish!

My roommate in college made sopapilla cheesecake fairly regularly, which was before I got diabetes, so you can imagine how much I ate. 

Then, a couple years ago, we had a mexican themed lunch at work, so I decided to try the cheesecake deliciousness myself. I didn't want to bother my roommate for her recipe, which meant I had to find one on my own. Enter: the internet.

All I did was Google sopapilla cheesecake and it brought up all sorts of recipes. I was completely overwhelmed and didn't know which one to pick. BUT I stumbled upon a blog, read through it and decided if a real person liked the recipe it was probably safe. 

And so my only rule for baking was born.

When looking up recipes on the internet, only use blogs not the recipe websites.

My Reasoning: If someone loves baking enough to write about it, then they probably made something yummy and might even help me learn something so I can improve.

My Findings: Every single recipe I have used from someone's blog has been devoured. The recipes I have used from recipe websites are ok, but there's always at least one ingredient that is a) uncommon or b) not measured right.

So, I stick with blogs.

Now you know my secret. Stealing is not wrong. Go ahead...Steal my secret. :)

Bonus: Here's the recipe I found for sopapilla cheesecake. Her blog has pictures, but I am not that organized. I put her recipe down below and added the changes I've made to it to make it have less fat. It's the easiest thing ever. You cannot mess this up. 

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 - cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 - 8oz packages cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1 1/2 - cups sugar
1 1/2- teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - teaspoon cinnamon
6 - tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter (do not substitute)

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll and press 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of your baking dish press the seams together.

In a separate bowl blend the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, then spread over top of dough.

Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture pressing seams together again.

Melt butter and pour over top layer of crescents. Mix the reaming 1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon together. 

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the top. You can make more if you want, but I've never had to.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and bottom crust is slightly brown. Cool, slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Worthless Idols

I've been dwelling on a situation for awhile now. I've been praying and seeking the Lord's will, but He just wasn't answering me in the ways that I wanted Him to. He wasn't doing anything in my time table, and I was becoming really frustrated. This morning as I was reading and praying, the Lord revealed a special truth to my heart. It was of course convicting but empowering at the same time. He knows how to break us apart just so He can build us up to be more like Him. It's beautiful and painful, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I've been reading through the Bible chronologically. Right now, I am about 60% of the way through His Love Letter to us, which puts me in Jeremiah. The Israelites have been turning away from the Lord (for what seems like forever), and the Lord has been telling them about the judgement and captivity that is to come. This morning I read Jeremiah 16:19:

Lord, my strength and my fortress,
my refuge in time of distress,
to you the nations will come 
from the ends of the earth and say,
“Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods,
worthless idols that did them no good."

The Lord penetrated my heart and the things I've been dwelling on. They have taken precedence over my relationship with my Heavenly Father. They've become idols or false gods that are doing me no good like the verse says. 

Q: How can I be living a life that reflects the radiance of my Jesus if there are things that are more important (AKA worthless idols)?

A: I can't. 

It sounds so Debbie-Downer-ish, but I don't think it is. Realizing I will never be perfect on my own but being able to sit under his glorious grace and mercy fills me with such joy. He should be my strength and my refuge instead of me worrying about this situation on my own. He wants us to share the things weighing on our hearts and minds, so he can carry them for us with his infinite strength. 

My encouragement to you: If there are things weighing you down (I'm sure there are...let's be real here), they may have become an idol in your heart. Let the Lord have them and then trust that His plan for you is perfect (easier said than done, I know, but it's a process). It may not be your timing or the way you think you want it to work out. BUT his plan is worth waiting for, and the way we find that is by seeking after the Lord FIRST instead of seeking after worthless idols. 

I am so thankful my life belongs to Him. I wouldn't have it any other way...sometimes I just need reminders. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Twitter Math Camp 2013

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending Twitter Math Camp 2013. This conference is quite possibly the nerdiest thing I have ever been a part of, which is (of course) awesome. I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I agreed to go with two of my coworkers, Jonathan (@rawrdimus) and Andrew (@froynboy), but I knew I was in for an adventure.

Thursday morning we walk into Drexel University and begin seeing all these amazing math teachers. I immediately feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the greatness in the room. I am definitely a noob to the MTBoS and teaching in general and (I am fairly certain) the youngest attendee at TMC13. So there were a lot of reasons for feeling that way, BUT thankfully that didn't last long!

I started off in the Geometry morning sessions where Tina (@crstn85) and Megan (@mgolding) shared some great ideas to help make my Geometry classes/lessons more powerful and meaningful. The second morning we had some great (and deep) conversations about what is important for the students to learn from Geometry, mathematics, and classroom structures. Almost immediately, I knew I had some major changes to make for this upcoming school year. I also realized that few of us were feeling super awesome about the new school year and we all have things to improve upon. Bonus: this is where I made some cool new friends...Jessica (@algebrainiac1), Lisa (@lisabej_manitou), and Stephanie (@reilly1041).

Fawn's (@fawnpnguyen) Conway's Rational Tangles and the Game of SET session and Jessica (@algebrainiac1) and Anna's (@Borschtwithanna) Effective Cooperative Groups and Group Tasks session were other personal favorites that kind of go hand in hand. Fawn's session encouraged me to do more fun things with my kids that tricks them into thinking deeply about math. I teach the traditionally lower performing students, who don't think they could ever be good at or like math. The two and a half years I've been teaching have pretty much been my attempt at breaking away from the traditional classroom model, but it always ends up looking more traditional than I want it to. Goal for the year is to implement more problem solving and meaningful group tasks into my classroom that doesn't always end in one right answer.

Now for my BEST take away from TMC13. This happened at Interactive Notebooks. I have attempted to use interactive notebooks the last two years and failed somewhere around February. I didn't really know what I was doing wrong, and I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working the way I wanted it to. Enter Megan. She presented an organized approach to interactive notebooks that made it finally click why it had not worked for me before. I wasn't requiring enough structure for my kids. I also think deep down I didn't really care whether they kept track of it or stayed organized. (At least my actions in class didn't reflect my caring about the notebooks.) It also helped SO MUCH for me to create my own notebook during the session. Sometimes I just need to experience the doing of something before it makes sense. You should definitely consider joining the #INBjamboree.

Basically, Twitter Math Camp is the best professional development I have ever been to, and I will not miss the awesomeness next year. 

The top 10 fun/crazy things from the weekend:
1. I rode a train and a subway for the first time.
2. Jonathan, Andrew, and I survived a ride in an unmarked cab. I do not recommend trying this.
3. Mary (@marybourassa) was a pretty awesome roomie!
4. Food Trucks changed my life. 
5. Insomnia Cookie is the best late night snack. Ever.
6. I learned a new word...nerdgasms. It's a real thing especially when exploring Desmos.
7. I ran five miles with some new sweet friends! Thanks for pushing me Lisa (@lisabej_manitou) and Anna (@Borschtwithanna)!
8. Straight guys are afraid they might actually like jumping pics, so they refuse to join me.
9. We got to see some #merica sights.
10. I survived 5 days with the crazies alone. Love them a lot. Glad I got to hang out with them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Wind

My heart is heavy today because of some family situations. I decided to sit by the lake this morning to spend some time with my Jesus reading and praying. I wrote down some of the things weighing on my mind and still felt very overwhelmed. As I put my head back against the chair, this beautiful breeze began to blow. I can't really explain it, but it was like The Lord just said it will all be ok and the wind just took away my concerns.

As my eyes filled with tears, I praised my Heavenly Father for being perfect in everything we are faced with on this earth. I still don't have any idea how this situation is going to work out, but He is sovereign through it all. Having his precious peace wash over me was just a small reminder of that. 

Allow Him to be the provider of your peace today (and every day). Lean into Him. He wants to carry the burdens for you. It's why He died for us and was resurrected. He loved us that much. He wants to spend eternity with us. 

I am so blessed and thankful my life belongs to Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, May 31, 2013

Through the valleys of life

I was chillin to Pandora this morning and this song started playing. I had heard it before, but I never really listened to the words. As the Lord used the words to speak to my heart about the things that have happened over the past few years, I felt like some of the burdens I have been carrying for so long were lifted.

The song is "If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens. It's kind of old (1999) but it's truths are still so real. It talks about how we choose to follow the Lord despite the difficulties of life. We choose to persevere through these things because we know God is going to use them to shape and mold us to be more like Him. His promise is perfect though: it's not going to be easy, but he will walk through it with us.

Each phrase of the song made me think back to where I started with my Diabetes diagnosis. It hasn't been easy. It has sucked sometimes. BUT I know that the Lord has walked me through EVERY step, change, and challenge. It has completely shaped the way I have followed the Lord over the past three years. I have chosen to continue being faithful to God's calling for my life not because of anything I did, but because he chose to die for me. His suffering was way worse than anything I will ever face.

It was such a blessing today, that I think Chris and I might sing/record it together. It'll be cool to share these special truths with my brother!


The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear

And I don't know the reasons why you brought me here.

But just because you love me the way that You do

I'm gonna walk through the valley if you want me to.

Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step

And I'm clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet.

So if all of these trials that bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if you want me to.

And it may not be the way I would've chosen

When you lead me through a world that's not my home

But you never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone.

So when the whole world turns against me

And I'm all by myself

And I can't hear you answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering that your love put you through
And I will go through the valley if you want me to

Friday, March 8, 2013

Faithful Friday!

Praise the Lord!! Spring Break is here!!

After two long weeks of testing, covering nontesting students, and crazy schedules, some rest and family time is going to be great!

Looking back over the last few weeks/months, I have had an overwhelming awareness of the faithfulness of God. Prayers have been answered, peace has been given, friends have been comforted in the loss of family members, and so much more.

This week especially, the Lord has been my Provider and Sustainer. School has worn me out, but He has used sweet people in my life to build me back up.

Monday: Claire had her Pre-UIL Concert where I got to witness her piccolo playing in a full band setting for the first time. It warms my heart to see how my choices in life have affected and challenged hers.

Tuesday: We finished our study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians with Beth Moore. It has been a great time of learning and growth in the Lord. All I can say is "for not all have faith, BUT the Lord IS faithful." Such a blessing.

Wednesday: Growth Group is always fantastic, but we have been talking about evangelism and different ways to talk to others about our faith. Through those conversations/scriptures, the Lord has reminded me of my need for Him. My pride so often gets in the way of my relationship with Him, but recognizing my brokenness has been crucial in seeing his faithfulness this week.

He has been so gracious in ways that we have not earned. I am thankful for his faithfulness and being able to recognize it despite the busy week. The more I spend time in his word the more I see his hand in my daily life.

Spend time with him today and watch for his perfect plan. You will be challenged, but it will be worth it.

I am so thankful my life belongs to Him!

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Year, New Stuff

OMGoodness! It has been too long since my last blog! ...Teacher life is busy!

Well, I know its almost the end of January (not exactly brand new year), but I wanted to share with you some of the cool things that have happened since 2013 began.

School stuff:
1. I started REALLY using the iPads that I have for my classroom. We had a couple trainings that got me super excited and motivated to just jump in!
2. My kids were excited about learning math...WHAT?!
3. Amanda and I are attempting a "flipped" classroom. Videos teach so I can move around the room and ask questions.
*More to come on this stuff*

Personal Stuff:
1. Claire's volleyball team at the YMCA is in beast mode! Friday nights are the best!
2. I am currently addicted to Downton Abbey. I describe it as "An early 1900's classy British version of Gossip Girl." ha. Same drama. Less sex.
3. My bestie graduated from college and I have seen her more in the last month than in the last 2 years. Time to plan her wedding! Bridal Extravaganza was CRAY!
4. My Bible study group at Grace is amazing, and I have a new motivation to allow God to stretch me in my prayer life.
5. My puppy came to stay with me at my apartment! 
6. I signed up for the Color Run in Houston. Goal: run the whole thing!

All in all a pretty great first monthish of 2013!

So thankful my life belongs to Him.