Merfy-Lou's Musings

Week One: Success!

Meeting Mrs. S. for the first time was a wonderful experience. She is a happy, excited teacher and I am looking forward to working with her for my student teaching.  Already, I feel that the eight hours I have been in her classroom have been almost more valuable than my previous fieldwork placements.  I’ll get into the specifics as I progress through this entry.

I arrived just a few minutes before the next students arrived. Mrs. S. and I were able to chat about our histories and likes. She briefly explained her system for students.  Mrs. S. has differentiated work baskets for each student she sees.  They are kept on the counter near the windows. As work is completed, students take it home, and Mrs. S. replaces it with new work.  Most students come for more than one subject.  If they have difficulties differentiating materials for reading or math, the student has two baskets.

Mrs. S. keeps a schedule that is unlike any other teacher I have worked with in the past.  Her flexibility and communication with general education teachers equates to seeing different students for different subjects at the same time of day.  This leads to slight confusion on my part, as I’m used to all students working on the same subject, but it works.  I’ll adjust and get to know the students and what times their different subjects are at.  Another piece of flexibility Mrs. S uses is to modify her schedule to match the classroom teachers needs. For example, the 3rd graders come from 1:35-2:10, exceeding their IEP specified 25 minutes for math, however, if they went back at 2:00, they would be disrupting to their classmates.  Instead, they are expected to have free reading during this time.

The classroom is ginormous.  I think it is the biggest classroom I have been in for a resource teacher (except maybe Mrs. H at another school). She generally uses one peanut table facing south and what I would consider her “front of classroom” with the whiteboard, SmartBoard and the majority of posters.  Along the east wall are shelves and the counter where student baskets are kept, along with several different paper types and other materials.  The west wall has books, books and more books! They are organized by grade level or in the “partner” bin if there are multiple copies. Near the front door, there is a peninsula with a sink and microwave.  There is another peanut table that I haven’t seen used yet in the southeast corner of the classroom.  My sketch isn’t quite to scale, but shows the general gist of the room.

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 1.29.38 PM

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New School, New Classroom, New Teacher

Spring 2016. Wait, what? It’s January… Okay, okay, but for whatever reason, UAF starts their “spring semester” at -40F.  Yes, I know it’s 10 degrees and technically the semester doesn’t start for a week and two days, but my student teaching starts today!  It’s my first time working with primary resource students and I’m thrilled.

For this spring semester, I hope…

  • my cooperating teacher does more than workbooks every day.
  • the students are amazing, smiley, and giggly.
  • the commute back and forth across town doesn’t kill me.
  • waking up by 5am to accommodate this new schedule gets easier.
  • Dr. P’s readings are enjoyable.
  • I still have time to enjoy quilting, baking and taking my dog for walks.

One of my goals for 2016 is to blog about my internship experience, so here’s the first one.

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Week 3 Meal Plan

Okay, so I managed to not buy any more groceries for Week 2, except for some sausages and shrimp, so that’s why you didn’t get a new meal plan.  I also didn’t make everything from Week 1, so perhaps, I’ll work it into week 3.  One thing I’ve learned is that I can stay full on 4 eggs, scrambled until at least noon (I eat breakfast ~730).  This is majorly impressive for me because I’m usually hungry by 10:30!


Taco Soup using leftover pulled pork from a potluck last week
Paleo Bang Bang Shrimp w/ Roasted Asparagus (or veggies, if asparagus is too expensive – I have plenty of brussels sprouts leftover) (Note to purchase extra virgin olive oil for Paleo Lime Mayo)

Eating out for the first time for a going-away event
Damn Fine Chicken with fruit and veggies

Damn Fine Chicken
Taco Soup

Thursday (Britton comes home! Yay!!):
Damn Fine Chicken
Chinese Five Spice Stir Fry

Taco Soup
Steak and Roasted Veggies (plus, hubby will have a baked potato, I’m sure)

Chicken and Artichoke Sausage with Veggies and fruit
Artichoke Meatloaf (check cost of artichoke hearts before adding) – will likely serve 4 meals though

Baked steak with Italian Roasted Cauliflower
Burgers and salad


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Week 1 Costs

I know Alaska is stupidly expensive, but I thought I’d share what I bought.  Things on my menu that I still need to pick up include bacon (maybe), Aidelle’s Sausages, a whole chicken and coconut aminos.  I found aminos, as a soy sauce substitute, but it was made from soybeans?  I’m confused.

4.19 Fish Sauce (Will be able to use for many meals)
5.39 Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother – not on  my list, but I’ve been reading about all it’s benefits
1.69 Tomatoes crushed
1.69 Tomatoes diced
2.26 Cashews 0.17lb
8.33 Macadamia Nuts 0.49lb
4.99 Ground Pork (1 lb)
5.76 Chicken Thighs (99 cents/lb)
2.28 Spinach
4.50 Frozen blueberries
4.76 Broccoli (2.08lbs)
6.69 Cauliflower (2.92 lbs)
1.59 Mushrooms (.41 lbs)
1.88 Celery (1.58 lbs)
1.29 Frozen Spinach
3.99 Brussels Sprouts
4.99 Peppers (24 oz)
4.99 Turkey slices
0.22 Jalepenos
3.54 Sweet Potatoes (2)
1.25 Zucchini (1.49/lb)
4.50 Avocados (1.50 each)
0.69 Lime
1.89 Baby Carrots
2.58 Bell Peppers
1.08 Tomatoes on the vine
3.00 Pineapple
3.91 Cantaloupe

Total for the week: $98.40

Hopefully I have a ton of left overs.  Items this list doesn’t include is the $10 for the 5 dozen eggs or other basics already in the kitchen.



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Whole 30 Plan: Week 1 Plan

As some of you may know, I’m taking the Whole 30 challenge.  I’m doing it while B is gone for 2 weeks to get a start on it.

Since I’m eating by myself, and I don’t like being married to the kitchen, I can eat the same thing more than once, only cooking once.  Here’s my plan for week one:

Blueberry and Egg Tortilla
Minestrone Soup
Easy Peasy Chicken Thighs and Roasted Veggies

Blueberry and Egg Tortilla
Minestrone Soup
Easy Peasy Chicken Thighs and Roasted Veggies

Egg Muffins (Possibly Jule’s Fuel or Everyday Paleo or just my own concoction)
Turkey BLTA roll-ups
Crockpot Roasted Chicken (or my own concoction of spices) and Sweet Potato Fries

Egg Muffins
Leftover roasted chicken and fries
Paleo Taco Soup (using leftover chicken instead of ground meat)

Egg Muffins
Leftover taco soup
Chicken Stirfry and Fried Cauli-rice


Did you know…

I always have ideas of things to write, but never manage to write them down?  I’ve been following more and more blogs lately though, so maybe I’ll have some motivation to write.  

10 recents things:

1. We bought a house!

2. We’re looking for a puppy.

3. I bought a new fitbit flex.  The one I bought in December quit working and I no longer had the receipt, so fitbit wouldn’t do anything for me. I look forward to knowing how many steps I take each day again, especially with the prospect of walking a dog.  

4. I have a love/hate relationship with my summer class.  It’s interesting, but the people in it frustrate me.

5. I still need to bring my bike home from the apartment.  We forgot to load it in the u-haul when we moved.

6. I haven’t actually cooked a from scratch meal in my new house yet.  I’ll hopefully remedy this soon.  (Okay, I take that back, we had burritos last week).  

7.  I’m counting down the days until October 15, 2015, but I won’t tell you why 🙂 

8.  I have at least 11 pregnant friends and I’m super excited for all of them.  Some are on their first, but I think almost half are on their second!  It’s so exciting.

9. I’ve been thinking about another tattoo.  I’m slightly concerned though, because I know many school districts won’t hire with visible ink, and that’s kind of what I want. 

10.  I want to play my sax more, but it’s hard without something to work for or a group to play with.  I don’t feel like I fit into the community band well.  

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Throwback Thursday

8th GradeI think I’ll try to include a story with each throwback Thursday I publish, so here it goes.  8th grade was an interesting year.  One memory that I still feel slightly guilty over is some of the pictures I took at the Valentine’s Dance never made to their respectful owners.  In WAK, “Welcoming all kids,” (the leadership class for selected 8th graders), sponsored the 7th/8th grade Valentine’s dance.  The library had just bought new digital cameras which took pictures on floppy disks.  I thought it would be cool to do a photobooth, so we set up a backdrop and got a fancy stage light to provide colored lighting and away I went.  As the night went on, printing got backed up, and I started to forget who ordered which pictures.  For the next several weeks, I still had people asking when they would be getting their pictures.




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Today I ran across one of the blogs I follow and she did an A-Z questions.  I love survey things, so here it goes!

Age: 24

Bedsize: King! And it still feels too small and too big some days.

Chores that you hate: putting laundry away.

Dogs: none yet.

Essential start to your day: coffee! Some days I’ll turn on the Keurig before putting on my glasses

Favorite Color:  purple

Gold or Silver:  silver

Height: 5 feet 6 inches

Instruments you play: flute, saxophone, and I’ve played percussion

Job title: Academic Program Assistant

Kids: none yet.

Live: Alaska

Mother’s Name: Kristy

Nicknames: Mer, Merfy, Merfylou, Merk, Pusquades, Sister, Sisterlou.

Overnight hospital stays: None that I can recall.

Pet peeves: Crappy drivers, smokers who don’t wait until their 20+ feet from building entrances to smoke, inconsiderate cell phone talkers

Quote from a movie or tv show:

Leonard: Can I go back and prevent you from explaining that to me? 
Sheldon: Same paradox. If you were to travel back in time and, say, knock me unconscious, you would not then have the conversation that irritated you, motivating you to go back and knock me unconscious. 
Leonard: What if I knock you unconscious now? 
Sheldon: It won’t change the past. 
Leonard: But it’d make the present so much nicer.”

Right or Lefty: Righty

Siblings: 3 older (half) brothers, 3 younger (2 whole, 1 half) brothers

Time you wake up: somewhere between 6a-7a, depending on how much I want to accomplish that morning.

Underwear: please wear it.

Vegetable you hate: cooked peas

What makes you run late: Britton

X-Rays You’ve Had: hip, wrist, lungs

Yummy food you make: Alex and Megan’s mac and cheese!

Zoo Animal: Giraffe

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Daring Myself

I’m daring myself to spend less money on the things I probably do not need.  I have nearly $70,000 in student loan debt that I want paid off by the time I am thirty.  $69403.03 is the exact amount.  Three are 2,125 days until my 30th birthday.  That is approximately $32.49 a day for the next 2125 days, not including interest.  $909.74 per 30 days.   $10,916.92 per year. 

But, that also means less coffees purchased from the coffee stand.  At about $5 a drink, and a at least a drink a week, I’m putting another $260 towards paying off my education.  It’s also eating out less.  Britton and I really enjoy the convenience of being able to pick something we each want to eat for dinner at a restaurant.  We’re not really good on compromising yet.  He pays for most of the meals these days, but I work really hard to put together a menu that is satiable to each of our preferences.  

But none the less, I am daring myself to make do with what I have.  To use the supplies that already exist in my life.  To use the “trash” of one man to be my treasure.  

I’m lucky to have a man in my life that supports me like he does and we know together that I will succeed in this goal in getting my debt paid off sooner, rather than later.  There is an extra $1000/month that could be going towards buying a house or raising a mini me.  

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21DSD: days 3&4

Day three went great food-wise. It was the start of a cold and all of the bloating that brought me down in comfort.
I are the same foods as Day Two for the most part.
Bacon and eggs for breakfast. Salad for lunch. Sausage in Pepper for dinner. I opted for my banana instead of the applesauce and I had tea instead of coffee and “hot cocoa”.

Day Four: I woke up feeling pretty crummy, but not quite bad enough to skip my midterm (and pay for a doctor visit to be able to make it up…) I’m incredibly bloated still. It hurts to swallow and there is pressure in my ears.
Breakfast was egg muffins – egg, spinach and bacon, baked in a muffin tray. Lunch was my salad.  Dinner was a bag of frozen veggies that was steamed.

It’s a quarter to 8 now and I still feel pretty crummy. I left work a half hour early to come home and sleep before my distance class.  The things that sound really good right now, donuts or a bowl of cereal, are off limits.  I went to something that was healthier.  I did toss a good chunk of butter into my veggies.

I’m off to sleep as soon as this class is dismissed.  Blah. I hope I feel better tomorrow and can be at work all day… I need the paycheck.

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