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No Ordinary Supply Closet

I present to you a photo of the supply closet in my classroom.

As is typical of most teachers, I have different colored file folders, hanging folders, paper, educational games, and cleaning supplies.

Take a closer look though…

Nestled among the “office” supplies is a small stash of food.

It’s fairly common to hear students say they’re hungry.  Especially right before lunch when their tummies have been conditioned to growl…loudly.

What is more common but not often mentioned aloud is the fact that many students are not eating meals on a regular basis.

I recently became aware of a particular situation that needed to be remedied, in some small way.

I contacted a local charity and was provided with a large box and bag of food, which I began discreetly doling out.

My church recently had a small group that paid for a very large delivery of food that the public was invited to take home…no questions asked.  I was able to secure more food for my closet.

Please do not think that I’m special.

I’m not.

Nearly every teacher I know does his/her best to fill in the gap when students’ needs come to light.

I’ve seen quite a few of my co-workers dig into their own pocketbooks to buy lunch for kids.

I know of many who purchase clothes for the teens they teach.

While our closets and cabinets are filled with textbooks and other educational material, stuffed into the crevices are items most necessary for day-to-day survival.

I count it an honor to work in a profession where such generosity exists, and I praise God for the blessing of being a part of a network of individuals dedicated to impacting children’s lives in such tangible ways.

The Price of Beauty

I’m not sure if it’s really true that blondes have more fun, but I feel prettier the blonder I am.

A few weeks ago, I’d mentioned to the hubby that I wanted highlights, so last week, the Mr. told me to go ahead and make appointment…that he would treat me to this indulgent pampering.

Here is my “before” photo…one of the daily work selfies I take…

I was excited when I arrived at my hairdresser’s salon.  Dana is a wickedly talented lady.  I love her to pieces!

I also love foil highlights…they provide a more natural, sun-kissed look…

Two and a half hours later, I left with this look…

What a great way to kick off my Mother’s Day weekend!  I’m still floating on cloud nine…feeling pretty and, in the words of one of my students, looking younger too!  🙂

Sneaker Booties Times 2

A little over a month ago, while I was getting my nails done, somehow the topic of knitting came up.  My nail tech casually asked me if I could make a set of baby booties for her to gift to a family member who is expecting twins.

Now, you’ve gotta know how much I adore my nail tech.  I’ve been visiting her nail salon for about four years, and she keeps my nails looking oh-so-fabulous…

After I left, I texted her a photo of something I’d made in the past, and she told me what colors she wanted.

Today, I took the finished booties to the salon when I went to my biweekly appointment.  She was very pleased with the results.  We considered each others’ work a trade (knitting for nails) and called things even.

Take a look at the finished projects…

If you’re on Ravelry, go to my project page.  I’m Auburnchick over there.  Feel free to friend me too!

Oh, and did I mention that the pattern is free?!

This is such a quick, easy knit that requires a minimum amount of yarn.  It’s also knit in the round, so there is no seaming!

When Technology Went Awry…

It’s the time of the year when I begin some serious self-reflection.

I do this all throughout the school year; however, it is as the year is winding down, when I’m a little more relaxed, that things begin tugging at my heart.

How can I be a better teacher next year?

How can I ultimately grow as a person.

Today provided much food for thought.

The day started off when I woke up with the beginnings of a migraine brewing.

Oy vey.

In addition, I’d been fighting a strained muscle in my back…injured sometime on Monday during my workout.

I didn’t call in sick.  Writing sub lesson plans sucks, plain and simple.

All seemed to be okay…my first class progressed well until I attempted to begin the fun review I’d set up on Kahoot.It, a website I learned about during a recent technology conference.

The website started hanging up…or rather, my computer did.  So did the Chrome Books that my students were using.

I quickly grew frustrated.

Anyone who knows me personally knows how much I love my technology.  When it doesn’t work properly, I don’t exactly adjust well.

I was so disappointed because I’d planned a very interactive experience.  It had turned into an epic fail that I was powerless to fix.


We wound up having a good review discussion despite the issues; my students made the change smoother than I’d expected.

Fourth period went exactly the same way.

I was not a happy camper.

By the time my 6th period class arrived, I was fit to be tied.  I’d been unable to consistently access my email and school attendance/grading websites.  I’d put in a Help Desk ticket, but things were still messed up.

I warned my students that I was grumpy but it wasn’t their fault.  Still, a couple pushed some buttons, and I lost my temper.

It was not one of my finest moments, but I did what I usually do…admit to my deficiencies and apologize to my students.

I nearly broke down as I told them that I like my world to be orderly; that everything is usually planned out and that I struggle with going with the flow when things mess up my plans.

My students…this class that has been, in some ways, my toughest, extended grace in the sweetest way possible.  They told me that it was okay…that I was only human.

How I loved them in that moment.

I made amends on a one-to-one basis…asked forgiveness via peppermint candies during a quiz that followed.

By the end of class, we were all laughing.  All was well.

As I think about my day, I can’t help but make a list of things that need tweaking.

I want to be more laid-back.

I want to learn to go-with-the-flow, even when things get thrown at me unexpectedly and throw off my lesson plans.

I want to learn to be less emotional.

I want to be more discerning about the things that deserve to be attended to and the things that can be ignored or addressed with a simple raise of the eyebrow.

One might say I’m being hard on myself; however, I think that I’ll only grow if I look honestly at the areas where I struggle the most.

I am grateful for the raw honesty of my students.  Sometimes it can be harsh; however, it’s always ringed with truth…a truth I need to be mature enough to use to benefit all of us and my future students.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been years since I’ve eaten a good chocolate chip cookie.  Becoming a vegan put quite the damper on my dessert eating (my waist line hasn’t been complaining though).

Still, I grew up eating chocolate chip cookies and used to make them for my family.

I’d found a recipe a couple of weeks ago but only got around to baking them on Sunday.

You can find the recipe here.

I was shocked at how few ingredients it called for, and prep was a snap.

I was eager as I put them in the oven…

They came out of the oven looking…gasp…normal…

The true test would be in the taste…

Warm cookie + dessert-deprived vegan = BLISS

The cookie…

Was like a small piece of heaven…

Descended upon this earth.

I called the Mr. in.

He was skeptical.  He loves my non-vegan version; however, he is severely lactose-intolerant and has been extra careful ever since I joined forces when I became a vegan.

He took one bite and tried to hide his reaction.

Cookie joy came shining through his eyes, though.

There was no hiding the sparkle that radiated there…

Nor the fact that he returned more than once for more cookies.


This recipe is a keeper!

Never Give Up

It’s hard to believe that we just began our first full week of May.

There are five weeks of school left.


This is probably my favorite time of the school year.  With the state reading exam behind me, I am able to relax.  It’s always my goal to help my students stay calm because testing really isn’t over for them with End of Course (EOCs) exams still infringing on their fun.

Students get to see a different side of me though.

Yes, there’s still learning going on, but the pressure is off.

This is the time of the year when I, along with my students, start getting sentimental.

It’s the time when the relationships I’ve carefully cultivated start producing an abundance of fruit.

One such relationship is the one I have with J.

Oh word, guys, but this girl’s story would break your heart a hundred times over.

She’s tough, and she has reason to be.

She has a rough exterior…a wall built up that has been quite difficult to break through.

Consistency has been key.

We fought, and still sometimes argue, from the first of week of school.

She didn’t like my rules; I didn’t like that she constantly pushed the limits.

I kept her in check; she helped me hone the art of backing off.

Over the course of the past nine months, we have developed a mutual respect for one another.  She curses, I call out, “Language,” and she apologizes.

She starts texting, I call out, “Phone,” and she says, “Yes, ma’am.”

She tells me she’s having a sh***y day, I say, “Language,” and then I step away, giving her space.

I’ve often tried to help with particular needs during the year, but she’s been fiercely independent.

Until recently.

She’s finally begun accepting assistance.

She comes to me, now, at the beginning of the day.

I’m simply thrilled to see her at school.

On Friday, we had a quick conversation.  As she headed out the door to go to her first class, she turned and said, “I love you, Mrs. Auburnchick,” and then she hugged me.

I told her I loved her too, hugged her, and sent her on her way.

What she didn’t see was the flood of tears that descended when I walked back to my desk.

She didn’t see them this morning when, after stopping by on her way to first period, she told me, again, that she loved me.

This girl doesn’t love many people.

She can’t afford to let anyone that close; she’s been very disappointed by people in her life.

Twice, now, she has reached out to me.

I don’t know how many of my reading lessons she’ll remember in a year or two.

I doubt she’ll remember the grades she earned in my class.

What I think she’ll remember is that 1) I always made books available to her (she’s an avid reader), 2) I pushed her to do better than what she felt like doing (“You always do the most, Mrs. Auburnchick,” she’s fond of saying.), and 3) I never stopped trying to reach her.

I never gave up…when so many in her life have.

I doubt she’ll know how much her words mean to me…the fact that she didn’t hold my own bad teacher moments against me…battles ill-chosen sometimes.

I didn’t give up.

She loves me.

My year is made.

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