Friday, May 27, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

As sad as I am to be leaving my school and the AWESOME people I work with, I couldn't be more ready for summer vacation! One of my favorite parts of summer is ice cream. Love it!

Over at Kelly's Korner Blog there is a literal buffet of awesome desserts to make. It reminded me of one of my favorite treats, although it's so easy I'm not sure it qualifies as cooking. I've made this for work lunches and for treats for my students as school...ok, I've made it at home for just Jay and me too. It's sooooo yummy.

Here's what you need:
12 ice cream bars (I like to use vanilla ice cream sandwiched between chocolate)
Cool Whip
Chocolate syrup
Caramel syrup

Here's what you do:
1. Press the ice cream bars into a glass dish until they cover the entire bottom. You may have to break them and tear them apart to make them fit. Don't worry about what they look like.
2. Cover with Cool Whip.
3. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and caramel syrup. (I usually try to make a design that doesn't turn out and looks more like something a child did). You could also vary it by adding different toppings or changing them...I'm thinking it would be just delicious with crumbled Reese's on top.
4. Refreeze for at least half an hour or so. Then, cut and serve like cake.

It's so easy and so yummy. Somehow it doesn't taste like just ice cream sandwiches! Might have to look for some ice cream sandwiches to make this treat when I get to The Netherlands.

Happy Summer!

Tot ziens!

Last Day

Tomorrow is my last day of school. It seems so hard to believe! The end of the year always comes too quickly and too slowly all at the same time. This year, though, the end of year emotions are mixed in with the fact that I am leaving my school.

I have only ever taught at Rendezvous Elementary School in Room 2. In the fall of 2005 I accepted a teaching position and walked into an unusual situation. The teacher who had been scheduled to teach in my room that year died unexpectedly the week before school started (when the teachers were back for inservices). Needless to say, it was a very traumatic event for everyone at school.

It was a tough year for me too. Not only was it my first year teaching, but I started the fourth week of school. My class had had a series of substitutes up until that point. As you can imagine, the first few weeks of school are critically important for building rapport and a sense of stability in any classroom. It was also hard, though, because my colleagues were all missing their friend and co-worker. They were grieving, and I had to not take it personally when people weren't super friendly or excited I was there.

We survived though. Bless those kids' hearts! I hope I didn't do permanent damage...The next year went much more smoothly, and I truly felt like I belonged. I have met some of my most favorite people at work. I am lucky to have been sandwiched between two phenomenal, dynamic teachers (and women!). It has been a fabulous place to work. I have learned so much about teaching, about working as a team, and about friendship.

Tomorrow I go to Rendezvous as a teacher for possibly the last time. (I'm taking a leave of absence and have the opportunity to return after a year off, but at this point, we just don't know where we are going to be...). I have such mixed emotions. I am excited to be headed to The Netherlands and with Jay. We have been apart FAR too long! But I am also working to keep it together. I have loved my time teaching at Rendezvous. I am going to miss the people there something terrible and am already anticipating my sadness and jealousy of not being a part of it all next year!

Change is hard and exciting. Happy and sad. I am so thankful for the people I have met (colleagues and students), the experiences I have had, and the memories I have made. Tomorrow will be challenging, but I will get through it. I know what lies ahead is exciting, and I really am ready. Maybe not ready to say goodbye, but that's where this quote from Peter Pan comes in.

So, tomorrow I have to say goodbye for now. And I am going away, but I assure you, I will not forget.

Tot ziens!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mind Your Own Business

My Mammaw has a magnet on her refrigerator that says, "Dear Lord, Please keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth!"

Cute, hu? I wish He would really do that! Gossip, putting your foot in my mouth, being snarky or sarcastic... These are things I really have struggled with over the years. It is so easy for me to get caught up in a whirlwind of gossip. (Confession: I subscribed to a gossip magazine for like six or seven YEARS for goodness sake!) I have worked on this and prayed about this for the last several years.

Last week I found myself in a very awkward situation at work. To make a long story short, a colleague tried to pull me into a "conflict" between her and another teacher. It made me uncomfortable from the get-go.  Really uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, while this was going on the other colleague happened to walk by. (I realize just how "junior high" this sounds, and it is!). I am proud to say that I did not enter into the mix and avoided any gossip.

I still had to clear up misconceptions, though.

I felt awful...I felt uncomfortable. I knew I didn't really do anything wrong, but I knew I needed to get it out in the open. In the end, I think all of us felt uncomfortable and remorseful. All of this stress was avoidable too. Our words are so powerful. With them we can lift others up, make someone's day, encourage. Or we can tear down and put down. 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.   Psalm 19:14 

I need to find myself one of those magnets...

Tot ziens!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Going Away Party

Last Friday my dear, dear teaching partner (and quite possibly one of the best ladies you could ever know) threw me a going away party. If you aren't close to any teachers then you should know, it doesn't take much for us to have a get-together...especially on a Friday afternoon/evening. We had a wonderful time, and I was touched by the people who came, the cards, and gifts. I am going to miss these people like crazy!

Here are just a few pics from the night* (thank you, Tammy). Of course I didn't have my camera, but thankfully Tammy and Amber were prepared. Here are just a couple. I'll add more when I get copies of Amber's pictures.

*You may notice that even though it was May 20, we are definitely not dressed for summer (as most people around the country are). That is because we were having anything but summer weather. It snowed the ENTIRE day before, and was quite chilly still. Gotta love Wyoming weather!

Jenn, Judy Z., and me

Tammy and Bill

With my awesome friend Amber

Group Shot

Julie, Judy C., and Karen

Michelle is on the left...she's great, and she's moving up from 4th and taking my position next year

Tammy and Jenn
(These two are my burrito buddies...going to miss El Durango and these ladies!)

The glare from the window is bad, but here I'm opening cards and gifts...that's Jeri the awesome partner teacher on the right. I think I was laughing at a card.

Some friends got together and bought me a beautiful "Golden Buffalo" necklace. It's from a store here in town, and it is awesome and a perfect keepsake. Thanks, ladies (and Bill!). I'll have to get a better picture of it.

There were some tears shed that night, but mostly there was a lot of laughter. I am so grateful that I've had the opportunity to work with such awesome people over the last six years.

Tot ziens!

Seven Years

Seven years ago yesterday, Jay and I pulled into Wyoming. We were both recent college graduates and had our first jobs. It was new, it was scary, it was totally unknown and different from anything or anywhere either of us had lived before. We were away from our families and only had each other in this new place...

Here is a picture of Lander as you drive into downtown. It doesn't really do the beauty of the place justice. Hidden in the foggy background are the foothills of the Wind River Mountains. Oh so different from the plains of west Texas, the beaches of Corpus Christi, and the cornfields of Iowa.

These past seven years have flown by. I changed jobs and fell into a position I was meant to be in. Jay traveled tons for work, and we got to travel together extensively in this part of the country. We really enjoyed living here and have met some of THE most wonderful people.

Today on the elliptical machine at the gym I got to thinking about how fast (and slowly) seven years goes by. How much can happen. How much can change. Then it hit me.

We are there again. At the beginning of a new chapter; a fork in the road. In one week I will leave Wyoming, and in about three I will be heading to The Netherlands. It is new, it is scary,  it is totally unknown and different from anything or anywhere either of us have lived before. We will be away from our families and only have each other in this new place...

A sense of peace overcame me. We can do this. Sure, we have no idea what's next, but did we really when we pulled into the Tomahawk Motor Lodge late on that Sunday night? Nope, not at all. We had no idea the ups and downs, the challenges, the successes, or the failures we would face and overcome in this place.

Not only do we have each other as we embark on this new adventure, but our God is the same. Just as He was seven years ago, He is still in charge. Just as He knew seven years ago, He knows what is in store. Just as He did seven years ago, He will walk this journey with us and lead us to where we need to be.

Whew. So thankful for that. So excited to see where we are seven years from now.

 Tot ziens!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Words to Live By

Let the journey begin...

Tot ziens!