Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Festive Faculty Meeting

In my last post, I mentioned that I was part of the group of teachers responsible for providing refreshments for our faculty meeting.  I just wanted to post the pictures of the food and decorations.  The teachers really enjoyed the atmosphere and the effort that we put into everything.  In the picture above, you can see that we used colored craft paper to cover the bookshelves in the library.  The paper looks blue, but is actually purple.  I set out the owl cupcakes that I made, and they were a big hit.  My only complaint about the cupcakes is that the Oreos were soft, because they had been stuck in the frosting for almost 24 hours.  I should've put them onto the cupcakes just before serving, but there wasn't time.

My co-worker, Melissa, made the "mouths" out of apple slices, peanut butter, and mini marshmallows.  The "fingers" are made from string cheese cut in half, with a dollop of mayo on the end to hold the green pepper "fingernails."  They were made by one of the 5th grade teachers.  One of the other 5th grade teachers brought the "Don'tcha Choke" (artichoke) dip.  We had a good mix of sweet, savory, and healthy choices. 

I also brought these witch hat cookies:

I printed these fun "apothecary" labels from have these embroidery designs, but I downloaded the digital photo version for the labels.  There are lots of free designs out there, but I liked these the best.

We had a lot of fun putting the decorations together, and the teachers got a kick out of the decor.  I didn't get any pictures of the tables, but they were covered in orange craft paper and were sprinkled with rubber mice and candy corn.  Also, on the beverage table, I filled a large plastic cauldron with ice for the drinks. 

Creating a festive atmosphere certainly lightened the mood of the staff meeting.  I think that with a little bit of creativity, cooperation, and ingenuity, it is possible to make the ordinary seem special.

Many blessings,


P.S. I'm participating in Susan's Tablescape Thursday on

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Refreshments

I’ve just finished baking and decorating 39 cupcakes.  You know what that means:  I’m trying to impress my co-workers!  Tomorrow is our monthly faculty meeting, and my team and the 5th grade team are in charge of refreshments.  So, my inner Martha Stewart jumped out, and I volunteered to bake cupcakes and bring cookies and help with decorations.  No big.  My co-worker, Melissa, and I pulled out Halloween decorations and made plans for the set-up of the food and drinks.  Last night, I made witch hat cookies that I’d seen on Pinterest.  Here is my inspiration:

Witch hat cookies
What I’d forgotten when I bought the supplies to make them was that those soft cookies break easily.  I bought three packages and half of the cookies were broken.  I hope that there are enough.
Tonight, I got these done:

Owl cupcakes 002      Owl cupcakes 001

I think that they are cute.  They were labor intensive, though. Now, I have a big bag of Oreo cookies with no filling.  I think I’ll use those to make a grasshopper pie or something.

I also printed off spooky labels for the 2-liter soda bottles.  The sodas are labeled “Elixir”, “Poison”, and “Love Potion No. 9”.  I should take pictures of everything when it’s all set up.  One of the 5th grade teachers bought spider rings, candy corn, and rubber mice to put on the tables.  Hopefully, our festive decorations will make our meeting a little more fun.

Many blessings,

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's In Your Sugar Bowl?

I have a set of canisters on my kitchen counter that contain flour, sugar, tea, and artificial sweetener.  I used to have a set of translucent glass jars, and I could see exactly what was inside them.  I found these opaque canisters a few years ago, and loved them.  It is more work for me to look inside to see if my canisters are empty, but I don't mind.  I like the fact that my opaque canisters conceal the mess that the contents create within their containers.

This morning, I was reflecting on a conversation I'd had yesterday.  My friend had been the victim of gossip, and I was reading scripture and thinking back to what had happened.  The Lord gave me this image:

From looking at my measuring cup filled with sugar, can you tell how much sugar I have in my container?  No, of course not.  At one time it had 1/2 of a cup, that much is true.  But you can't tell anything about the contents of my container based upon what was drawn out of it without some investigation.  Specifically, you'll need to open the container to see how much sugar is in it.

People are kind of like sugar canisters:  You don't know how much of the good stuff is in them until you investigate.  Just looking at the outside of a person tells us very little of what's going on inside of them.  Lately, I've become aware of our tendency to make judgments about others based on very little information--a mere 1/2 cup of sugar.  What we see represents very little; what we hear, even less.  Yesterday, my friend and I had an opportunity to "open our canisters" for a bit, and share the contents of our hearts.  Spending time with others requires effort.  Confronting someone requires courage.  Being honest and transparent requires both.  The payoff is that clearing the air and restoring a relationship is a good thing, and a godly thing.  Peace is a good place to be.

This metaphor is for me, just as much as it is for others.  God shared this with me after my quiet time, after all.  I have to remember that what I see and hear of others represents a tiny fraction of what their intentions are.  I cannot possibly know what is going on inside the hearts and minds of others unless I take the time to get to know them and they decide to reveal themselves to me.  Also, we don't have to have translucent containers--I prefer to have an opaque one!  But I am open to sharing my heart when asked to, by a person who has earned my trust.

Many blessings,


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Rotten Dilemma of The Working Mom

Lily is sick today.  She didn't feel well when I picked her up from my friends' house after work.  She seemed warm and complained of a headache.  All evening she didn't eat much, and had some tummy trouble.  I checked on her late last night, to see how she was sleeping, and she was awake and burning up. Brian gave her ibuprofen and she was able to sleep comfortably.

Thankfully, my job permits sick days, so I submitted my absence online so as to get a sub.  (A few months ago, I was that sub!)  There are three of us in the classroom where I work, and two of us are out today.  I knew it would put the lead teacher in a bind, but it could not be helped. 

It is a rotten dilemma to want to be a conscientious and dependable employee and yet be the mom...

                              who serves hot soup and cold lemon-lime soda on a tray in bed

                              who snuggles up next to a tired little girl and lets her sleep away her

                               who puts her favorite silly shows on the tv

                               all the while keenly aware of how many days I have left to take off

                               and of the teachers and children at school who will be inconvenienced

                                and feeling slightly guilty because of that awareness.

                                Lily is feeling better and that is what 'sick days' are for.

The classroom will survive without me, if for only one day.

Besides, I like being the mom who nurses her children back to health.

Many blessings,