Having (My) Say

I know that is almost the title of a book by the 100-yr old Delany sisters.  Their book was entitled, Having Our Say.  It was a good book and a good movie.  This post is not about that, but I do have something to tell you...and I really did like their title.  :-)

Ok, here goes.  Think back to last spring.  It was then that my principal called my name out during a school assembly and announced that the faculty had selected me as their Teacher of the Year for the 2014-2015 school year.  I was surprised and overjoyed to say the least.  They showered me with a beautiful calla lily, a wooden journal (did they know I liked to write?), and a plaque.  After the program, I shut down my room for Easter vacation.  That was April.

I submitted this packet to the district, answering all the questions as in-depth yet brief (as space allowed) as I could and carried on with my life.  That was May. 

Then the school year ended and I got an email calling me in for a district interview.  I had a quick round of practice interviews with my administrative team (seriously, maybe a 15-20 min. session) because I had no idea how to prepare for the interviews.  I dressed for success, tried to quell my nerves, and went in to face a panel of interviewers.  I answered the questions the best I knew how, and although I didn't know the outcome, I felt good about my interview.  That was June.

I spent my summer gutting my house out and painting, preparing for new beginnings.  Then as I was cleaning, I got a call from the district office notifying me that I had made the next round and that I was one of the top 3 candidates.  I was speechless.  That was July.

Life continued on filled with family reunions and more cleaning, making Youtube videos, preparing for a new school year and a different subject (I'm teaching math this year), and beginning a new chapter in my life (I decided to enroll in school -- again), and then school actually began.  The first few days were filled with staff developments and meetings.  My school presented me with another Calla Lilly.  (Actually the first one died and then started growing again at the end of the summer.  Now I will plant both of these in the ground for next spring/summer.)  Finally on the last day of the preliminary week, we had our district convocation.  That's when all the faculty meets together and gets inspired to make this year better than the last.

I knew that all the Teachers of the Year would be recognized and given a plaque.  I knew that I was tired and the program started extra early.  My mom kept calling me to make sure I was out of the house because neither of us wanted me to be late.  I was also getting nervous because here is when they would announce the district winner.  I tried to put that out of my mind, but if you know me well, when I get nervous, I get really quiet.  So I was a quiet girl that morning.

They announced all of our names as we went on stage to receive our framed certificate.  (It was a large blue certificate with a plaid fabric stripe on one corner.)  And then they announced the district winner.  Me!  Oh my goodness.  I couldn't contain my tears.  And as I walked to the other side of the stage, my mom and ladies from my church came from behind the curtain carrying a bouquet of balloons.  (They had no idea I won, they just knew to be there.  I'm fairly certain my principal orchestrated that surprise.  Mom said someone gave her the balloons and told her to walk through that curtain and she wound up on stage.  It never occurred to her that the balloons said congratulations, so I must have won.  lol)  Then I was a real cry baby.  A local bank gave me a bonus check and a local dealership gave me a free one-year lease for a new vehicle.  I could choose between 3 that they had selected.

So that Friday evening, my mom went with me to test drive two cars (the jeep was not an option for me) and by Saturday afternoon I was driving a 2014 1/2 Toyota Camry.  The dealership will complete all the maintenance for one year and at the end of the year, I can decide to buy it or turn it back in.

Needless to say that my heart was and still is overjoyed.  I thought of how proud my dad would be to see this moment.  I thought of how grateful I am to be able to share this moment with my mom.  I am constantly reminded of the faithfulness of God in all things.  I am reminded that all good things come from God and how He never forgets His own.

There is so much back story to THIS story that I could never begin to tell, but just know that in this one long-winded episode that I have just described, my heart has been made glad.

Also at the program, my principal was named Principal of the Year for the district.  They said we made history.  The first Principal/Teacher winners from the same school.  To God be the glory!  :-)

Today I am encouraged and I wanted to share my news with you.  That was August.

Farm Fresh Ventures Box #9

Sorry for posting this late, but I've been adjusting to being back at work, pulling my house back together, and everything else.  Nonetheless, here is last week's produce box.

A bunch of kale, sweet corn, honeydew melon, basil, peaches, and tomatoes. 

Friday's Feature: Maryum Karim

Meet Maryum Karim.

AE:  Who are you and what is it that you do/make?    
MK:  My name is Maryum Karim and I am the owner/CEO of Yarncoture.  I make hand knit and crocheted accessories for women, men, children and great accessories for your home.

AE:  How did you get started/What is the motivation behind your work?  
MKIt all started when I wanted to repair a blanket that was given to my son.  I remembered that I had learned to crochet in my pre-teen years so I attempted to make repairs.  After receiving a gift of knitting needles and yarn from my mother I went online for instructions on how to knit.  I really enjoyed it and began to make blankets for my children.  People hinted to me that I should open my own store and Yarncoture was born!

AE:  Where can we find your work? 
MKYou can find my work on Etsy at http://www.yarncoture.etsy.com and my website: http://www.yarncoture.com. 
Also on all of these social media outlets: 
Instagram:  yarncoture on Instagram
Twitter:  Yarncoture/Maryum (yarncoture) on Twitter ,
Pinterest:  Yarncoture Maryum (yarncoture) 
My BLOG:  http://www.yarncoture.blogspot.com  and
My fanpage on Facebook: Yarncoture On Facebook
YouTube: Yarncoture Maryum On YouTube(product videos)

I have been admiring Maryum's work for some time now.  Her craftmanship is impeccable and I love the designs she creates.  I am thrilled to be able to share her work with you all.  

Peace & Love,

Something Sweet and a Giveaway!

Many of you know that I have a Youtube channel.  Blogging is my first love, but I also enjoy making videos too.  Most of the time I don't use the same content in both places though.  Anyways, something very sweet happened while I was away. While I was gone, all of a sudden my subscriber number jumped through the roof (for me).  I never kept up with how many people subscribed, but then I kept getting email after email of new subbies.  Overnight my channel grew with around 50+ new subscribers!

So I created a video in response...

Then I was watching some videos from the channels I subscribe to and this is what I discovered...

I was overjoyed to say the least!

Well, if you want to enter the giveaway, feel free.  Subscribing to my channel is not required, but if you already have a Youtube channel and leave a comment underneath the video, then consider yourself entered.  I thought it only fair to share with you, my blog friends, because this is where it all started!

Happy Tuesday,

Farm Fresh Ventures Box #8

The boxes keep coming, and coming, and coming.  We can barely keep up.  LOL  This past weekend we went to another family reunion and also had the chance to spend a few days with grandma.  Thankfully, my mom loves cooking (although if you ask her she'll probably say she doesn't).  My mom cooked a meal or two while we were there and left some meals prepared for grandma after we left.  With having the produce box, it gauges what is prepared each week.  I think my mom did a fantastic job of trying to combine as many of the ingredients as possible.

First, here are the contents of the Week 8 Box:

Cabbage, tomatoes, jalapenos, zucchini, yellow squash, peaches, red "new" potatoes, and sweet corn.

Mom says you can tell that the season is nearing the end because the produce is getting bigger.  The peaches were huge and look at that squash!  Normally we pick our squash while small. 

So for grandma's special meal, mom prepared beef short ribs cooked with the red potatoes and gravy, sauteed yellow and green squash with onions and sweet red peppers, steamed broccoli, fried chicken, all served with fresh tomato slices.  And for dessert, mom gave grandma a low-calorie pre-birthday cake of strawberry shortcake using the angel food cake cups.  Before we left, mom cut of fresh strawberries and put sugar on them so that they would make their own juice.  She topped the cake with fat free whipped cream.  Grandma's 82nd birthday will be in a couple of days but we won't be able to spend it with her this year, so we celebrated early.  :-)

As for the jalapenos...the last batch I made some vinegars, now what to do with this one?

p.s.  Summer is over.  Even though school officially starts for me on the 18th, duty calls so I start back today.  It's been a short one, but I've enjoyed it.

Farm Fresh Ventures Box #7


Whenever we eat something at a restaurant that's really delicious, especially if it's a type of soup, my mom will try to pick the recipe apart and search multiple recipes so that she can recreate it at home.  Such was the case with the roasted corn chowder we had on her birthday.  So, mom roasted these 4 ears of corn in the oven, still in their husks, then she cut them off the cob and made her first version of the roasted corn chowder.  Since we got red potatoes this week, she used those in the chowder instead of white potatoes.

Mom doesn't like okra so much, so I'll gladly take that small bag and cook it up.  I also took the peaches again to freeze.  As for the cantaloupe, we're just eating it.  Um, um good.  And the eggplant.  I thought about making an eggplant casserole, but instead I plan on trying Daniela's roasted eggplant recipe this time.  The last time I roasted it in a ratatouille and on skewers.

Do you have any favorite ways to cook eggplant?

Friday's Feature: Tabitha Boone

Meet Tabitha Boone.

AE:  Who are you and what is it that you do/make?    
TB:  Tabitha Boone aka Taboo: Business name Sotaboo meaning "so unique and different".

AE:  How did you get started/What is the motivation behind your work?  
TBI love expressing myself through fashion!! I enjoy making unique handbags and accessories.  I started out making trendy clutches to add a personal chic look to complement my attire since 2011. Then my family and friends encouraged me to make bags for them and I decided to share my gift with others. The expression of love for my work motivates me to continue designing and sewing. 

AE:  Where can we find your work? 
TBOn-line, Facebook, and Instagram 

AE:  What is your website/contact information? 
TB:  www.so-taboo.com and boone_tabitha@yahoo.com

I was recently able to see Tabitha's creations first-hand.  I am delighted to share her talent with the AEE community.  Please stop by her shop and check out her wonderful creations.   

Peace & Love,