Monday, June 25, 2012

week 2 of Energy Express

Here is just a quick update on all that has been happening (no pictures).  I am hoping to get to bed very soon, because 5am comes quick.

My first week of Energy Express went very well.  I have 7 students in my class, but should be getting 1 more just as soon as she gets back from camping with her family. I love these students dearly and we all have so much fun.  They make getting up early and driving for a long time down a long very windey road so worth while!

This past weekend I went to VA to spend the weekend with the Millers.  I had such a wonderful time.  It was fun visiting, laughing, and baking, but it was also wonderful to SLEEP!  Sleep has been a big struggle with living alone, and I haven't been getting much of it, so being in a house with other people really helped me sleep much better.

I am now into Week 2 and as pathetic as it is, bummed this isn't a school year where I get them for 9 months.  Instead I only have 4 more weeks (after this one) with them.  Tomorrow and Wednesday I will be reading The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco.  It is a very good book opening up many conversations and topics dealing with our week's theme of "family".

So all that to say, I am doing well.  I trust you are as well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

cheese, black beans, guacamole, chocolate, and strawberries

Okay, here is the update on my latest kitchen adventures!!

Gotta love a traditional baked potato.  I am not gonna lie, this was delicious!  I did learn though that a baked potato is much like a taco, it gets really big really quick. 

My brother thinks this sounds really nasty, but I personally really enjoyed it.  It is a guacamole grilled cheese

Tonight's dinner was to use up the black beans I had in my refrigerator.  I made a black bean guesadilla and some guacamole left over.  It was very fulfilling!

I felt the need to celebrate tonight, so I made strawberry chocolate nachos!  I definitely highly suggest them, yummy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

starting Monday

Today has been a lazy, yet productive day.  I am so thankful for this time too.  I was able to visit with a friend last night.  We share the common interest in saving money and elementary education.  We talked about upcoming projects this coming semester, and the latest ways we have found to save money.  It was wonderful!  This morning I was able to sleep in and have worked on picking the house up a bit.  I was hoping to hold breakfast off until lunch to only do two meals today, but I got too hungry, so I turned the stove on and began this mornings cooking adventure.  I made a breakfast taco/quesadilla.  Since then I have done some laundry, and picture organizing on my computer.

Here are some pictures of some of the recent food adventures I have been on!

Banana Bread made for Krisi's shower

 I had a few friends over and made pepperoni rolls for them! (I didn't get a picture of them after they were baked)

This is quite possibly my favorite meal I have made thus far.  I have already posted about this meal before.

Living alone, I can eat simple meals, such as a tuna cucumber boat.  Tuna is cheap, and cucumbers were on sale, so it was a win-win situation.  Except for the ends, which were very bitter, I really enjoyed this.  I also had corn on the cob with it.

I was given a free chocolate brownie from Chick-fil-a.  I had my first dessert since coming and topped the brownie off with vanilla yogurt and fresh peaches--it was delicious!

Breakfast this morning was a breakfast taco/quesadilla.  It had eggs, bacon, black beans, and cheese in it!  Again, very yummy!

For Energy Express, we had training Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  It was beneficial, but long and pretty boring.  I was thankful to get home Wednesday afternoon.  We had VBS Wednesday night.  After VBS I went grocery shopping and got some great deals!  I love the challenge of cooking good food on a small budget.  Finding deals, coupons, and sales is the way to go!

Thursday we worked in our classrooms to start getting them set up.  We each get our own classroom.  I love my classroom!  It is big, spacious, well lit, and has an awesome teacher's desk.  We went in yesterday and worked on our classrooms more and had an open house.  I got to meet four of my eight students and I love them already.  Heads up: I will be very limited on what I can say on my blog about my children due to confidentiality.  I will not be able to post any pictures of them on here.

Here are some pictures of how my classroom is set up.  We do not decorate too much at the beginning because the children are supposed to decorate it throughout the summer by posting the projects (they paint BIG pictures every day) they make.

The theme for my classroom is going to be a star theme. 

In the far corner in front of the window there will be a camping tent.  This will be the reading nook where the students may read with the volunteer.  Also, you will see labels throughout the classroom.  These labels are to provide the students with a print rich environment. 

Each day, the students will eat breakfast, have read aloud (I read aloud to them), non-competitive recreation, art, drama, writing, and then finish their day off with lunch. 

They each get their own cubby where I will put newsletters and papers for them to take home. 

The sink in my room all labeled and ready for Monday morning. 

We each have to have a library in our classroom with at least sixty books.  These books are a compilation of books I own, books I found in the school library, and books from the county library.  The people at the county library are already getting to know me well and have been a huge help!  I have about twenty more books here in my apartment from the county library that I will bring in on Monday. 

Every classroom must also have a word wall.  We will add words to this wall throughout the summer.  The words might be new words they learned, or words they find fascinating and worthy of going on the word wall.  I am excited to see how the wall fills up.  Also, notice the amazing teacher's desk!

Well, I think I have bored you enough by now with the details and pictures of my life.  I am now going to go sweep and mop the kitchen floor.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend and are refreshed tomorrow in your spiritual life.  Please be praying for me as the students begin coming on Monday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Quesadillas

I don't have time to post much but wanted to show off a picture of the amazing dinner I had.  I had found this recipe on Pinterest a while ago and was so eager to make it.  Avocados were on sale at Kroger as well as bacon at Wal-Mart, and cheese at Foodland.  I had the chicken and tortillas already and so I had to take the opportunity to make this.  You can find the recipe for the Cheesy Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Quesadillas here.  Also enjoyed with the quesadillas: corn on the cob (also on sale at Kroger), and homemade peach iced tea.  Don't judge the quantities, it was a long day and I was famished.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I made it!

I am now currently living in West Virginia.  Daniel flew up to Vermont to spend the weekend with Tim, Beth, and Annette and then helped me drive down.  I am so thankful for his being able to do that.  I had not been looking forward to the long drive alone, especially when I am usually the one that tries my best to avoid driving on long trips.  Driving twelve hours by myself was something that was really stressing me.  But Daniel was able to help me, which put me at a lot of ease.  Dad worked hard on getting the vehicle all ready to travel.  Have I ever mentioned before how thankful I am to have men in my life that are handy with cars?  It is a huge expense saver and I feel I would be ripped off at a mechanics because I am a single female and they could tell me anything to believe and charge me whatever.  Instead, I have awesome men in my life who can usually fix it themselves, and if they can't, they know who best to have do it, and if the price is right.  So, back to the drive down...Daniel and I had a very 'easy' trip down.  I hit some stop-and-go traffic due to construction while I was driving, and he hit some rain, but other then that the trip was great.  The car went well as well (thanks, Dad!).  We drove to his grandparents where I was able to get a good night's rest before the three and half hour drive on Wednesday.

I woke up with knots in my stomach, the time had come when I did have to drive alone.  I had taken Tuesday for granted in having Daniel with me to help navigate and as someone to talk to, a second set of eyes, someone to help drive, a guy if anything were to go wrong with the car, and so on.  Daniel sat down with me and talking through the directions and answered my million questions.  He was very patient with me in making sure I felt confident about the trip.  He checked my oil and got that back to where it was supposed to.  I hit the road.  He helped me out so much with the directions he gave and I had no problem making it to school.  I did hit some hard rain which tensed me up a bit, but I was able to see an answer to prayer through that.  May sounds funny, but it was raining hard and became very blinding, but traffic was busy and I had semis all around me going 70+ mph, I couldn't drive slow because of the conditions.  I simply shot a prayer up asking the Lord to please stop the rain, and within the minute, I drove out of the rain.  So thankful!!

So all that to say, I made it safely to school and started moving into the apartment.  For those of you who do not know, I am staying in an apartment this summer located on the college campus.  The family who lives here is away for the summer on a missions internship.  I am still in awe at how God provided above and beyond what I had asked for housing this summer.  I was able to catch up with my dear friend Kari and then get ready for our opening night of VBS at my church down here. It was so good to be back and to see my kiddos.  It was also wonderful to see my adopted family again.  Thursday started work for me.

As you probably already know, I will be working for Energy Express this summer.  It is an extension (or branch) of the AmeriCorps.  It is a program only offered in West Virginia.  I have had several friends do it before, and all have loved it.  Many have gone back to do it year after year (to me that is a great sign that it is a great program).

Energy Express is a reading program to help the under educated and under privileged children of West Virginia (though from my experience in talking with people, it reaches beyond that.  My official title is AmeriCorps Mentor.  Now to explain what I do with that title...I will be the teacher of around eight students.  I will have those same students all summer (for which I am so thankful).  Each week will have a theme (family, community, patriotism, etc.) and every morning I will read my students a book on that theme. For the remainder of the morning I will have activities for my students to do related to the book read that morning and the theme of the week.  These activities might be games, crafts, writing, etc.  Also in the morning, it is the goal of Energy Express to have a volunteer come in and read one-on-one with each students.  This allows the students to have the one-on-one time with an adult to work on their reading.  I believe this will be a great experience for me as I prepare for teaching full time after college.

Another aspect of this program is making sure that the children still eat during the summer.  We feed the children breakfast and lunch each day.  This means I also have breakfast and lunch provided for me during the week.  Another sighting of how God is providing for me.

Yesterday was the first day of training.  Many have asked "how did it go?" and that is a hard question to answer.  Really, the only thing we did was talk about what the AmeriCorps is for about ten minutes, and then filled out paperwork the rest of the time.  I was done by 9:30am.  We go to the actual site we will be teaching at (which I have heard is REALLY nice) this afternoon and work on some more stuff.  Next week we go to a college a ways away and do more specific training for the summer. So anyways, I hope that fills you in a little more about what my summer entails.

All prayers are needed and appreciated.  A few specific prayer requests would be....

  • my testimony with those I am working with
  • that I would not only be a witness of the gospel through my actions, but also my words
  • strength and courage as living alone has brought more challenges then anticipated
  • that I would trust the Lord to provide for my every need
  • that I would be content with his timing
  • my health
  • the summer staff at TER this summer, they are in their first week of training
One thing I have really been enjoying is cooking for myself.  I have not necessarily been cooking as I would choose to this week, but that is just because I am trying to only buy the bare minimum this week...well because I am being stingy, haha.  Next week I will still be careful, but will be okay with buying more of what I need.  My first meal alone was pretty rough, it was a nasty packaged soup with as I refer to it as "pasta shavings", it wasn't even like real pasta.  Needless to say, I was very hungry after church that night. I have been doing better though.     Here are some pictures of two of my first meals...

Last night I had some chicken and rice.  The color is about as boring as can be, but that is the nice thing about only cooking for myself, I don't have to worry about that.  The food had good flavor though.

This morning's breakfast was vanilla yogurt with strawberries and granola, and with my cup of coffee (I am learning to make coffee too and I made it quite strong this summer, haha).  The computer is there because eating is when I am most lonely, so I either skype with someone as I eat (thanks to those of you who have been willing to do that with me), watch some youtube, or as today...I blog!

I have a friend staying with me tonight for while I am so excited.  It will be fun to not be alone tonight.  We have a mutual friend who is getting married this evening, and then we have a baby shower to go to tomorrow.  Her company is welcomed!

Daniel starts his job today!  He graduated just about five weeks ago and within the week after graduation he was hired essentially as a full time airplane mechanic.  I am so excited for him with this opportunity, and ask that you pray for him with adjusting to this new job.  Also pray for safety, both as he works on the planes, but also in his long commute to work and back.

So there you have life not in a nut shell!  Let me know what your plans are for the summer, and how I can most specifically be praying for you.  Prayer is what gets me through the night.  So please, give me lots to pray for!  I am going to go wash up my breakfast dishes (I love the challenge of keeping up with the dishes), and then pick up a bit before I head to work this afternoon.

Happy Weekend!