Slice of Life Tuesdays

First I want to give a shout out: I’m so grateful for Dr. Scanlon, and her amazing research in the field of teaching that she was able to connect me to the Two Writing Teachers writing community – Thanks Dr. Scanlon!

Now that summer is here I have time to write, and want to share my writing and explorations on a writing community such as Slice of Life.  Summer is a great time for teachers to relax and reflect on the past school year, and while I’m relaxed with less stress on my plate I’m still pretty busy.  Now is the time for me to keep researching great teaching tools, lesson plans, books to share, ideas, as well as participate in professional development that is fun!  This summer I’m heading to the Clarice Smith National Teacher Institute hosted by the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington D.C!  I’m super excited about it, and know I will learn a great deal about using art in the English Language Arts classroom.  I think the major reason visual art is such a powerful teaching tool is because the majority of students are visual learners.  Using art allows all students to get involved especially ELLs who have a limited vocabulary, but can connect with material through viewing art and making art.

I want to blog about teaching more so than my personal life, but the daily Slice of Life in March was more of an experiment in initially writing everyday, and was a break from my constant thoughts about teaching during a swamped month of work and graduate work.  I’m thinking of adding pages to this blog about teaching specifically, or perhaps create a completely separate blog just about my teaching experiences, ideas, book shares, and lesson plans?  The reason for adding pages to this blog is because on Slice of Life I get some sort of exposure – whereas a new blog about just teaching I don’t know of a community to share it on that generates readers and comments like Slice of Life.

While researching I have found two websites that have a community of conversation and sharing teaching ideas: English Companion on Ning created by Jim Burke, and Learnist which is like a Pinterest, which can focus on teaching and education specifically.

Hope you all are having a great summer!

July 8-12 Clarice Smith National Teacher Institute!

I’m so happy for summer to be here and to take a few moments to breathe and regroup. I’m finishing my Yoga Teacher Training, and getting ready to participate in the Clarice Smith National Teacher Institute at the Smithsonian Museum of Art in Washington D.C! This summer I was selected to participate in this amazing professional development program for English Language Arts teachers and I’m going to be blogging about the experience here! I’m hoping to connect with other teaching forums and share teaching practices and ideas here also 🙂

Where did my 27, 28, 29, 30, & 31 posts go?

Well to be honest I became so swamped with deadlines for my Masters, work, and life that I physically was unable to write and post on those last few days of the writing challenge. Update on my Masters: I graduated!! I finished my last semester with all A’s, and I’m now the happy owner of a shiny new MA degree in Teaching English Language Arts. I loved the Slice of Life Challenge and hope to start participating in the Tuesday (weekly) SOL.

Slice of Life 26 of 31


For my last Gardening Tuesday post I’m going to write about the herbs I currently keep in my garden and what I do with them.  There are all kinds of herbs out there – all of them have healing properties!  Isn’t that amazing?!  I believe plants have the cure to many diseases, and for thousands of years humankind used herbs to heal themselves.  Due to the amount of time humankind has spent looking at herbs and other plants to heal us there are old folklores attached to some plants, and I find the histories of each plant that I come across fascinating.


The folklore and medicinal uses I list are cross referenced from a variety of texts on the subject – before considering ingesting any herb for health read all you can about it, ask a herablist in your area and always follow the directions for dosage.

In my garden I have the following herbs:

Oregano (hot and spicy)

Mostly used in my chili after I’ve dried it, as the fresh herb is very hot and spicy.  I dry the leaves whole and only crush when I add to the chili or an Italian sauce I’m making.

Folklore: Oregano is a plant of joy – you plant this near the grave of someone you love as it banishes sadness and brings peace and joy.

Basil – Greek, Purple, and Sweet

I cook with basil – always fresh and bake it into the dish, or the sauce.  Mostly used when I prepare Italian dishes, but add it to salads too.

Folklore: Basil has so much history throughout the world there is a whole bunch of folklore ranging from a herb of love to a protection herb.

Peppermint – mint family

Grown mostly for its smell in my garden, but also I make a peppermint oil for baths and feet.  This peppermint is too strong to cook with, but have added sprigs to drinks.

Folklore: Companion plant – plant near other plants as a bug repellent.  Not just for fresh breath, peppermint when chewed fresh is meant to relieve toothache!


Grown for my cat who likes to eat it fresh off the plant, but I dry the surplus and make cat toys filled with the dried herb. I also give surplus catnip to a friend.

Folklore: Seeing plant – used by cats, but can heal as a prepared tea for humans as a sleep aid, and contains vitamins C and E.


I mostly use parsley fresh on potatoes, salads, and for other garnishing.  I use it when I make my stock from the bones of a chicken or turkey, and my mum also uses my parsley to make a parsley cream sauce for fish dishes and pies.

Folklore: Plant of rebirth, known to help with many ailments from rheumatism to kidney problems.  Like peppermint, parsley is a great companion plant and can ward away bugs from beloved tomato plants!


Slice of Life 25 of 31

It’s my spring break this week, so I’m down on the west coast of Florida living it up for a week of sunshine, museums, food, reading, and relaxation! Life is very good right now! For this cooking Monday post I’m going to write about two of my favorite seafood dishes at the moment. I love all kinds of seafood dishes, but for the sake of this post I’m just going to keep it to two.

Shrimp Tacos
Total Prep Time: about 7 minutes

I use Oretega taco shells because they are gluten free 🙂 Warm them before filling
Using Penzey’s fajita seasoning I coat the uncooked shrimp ,then sautee in some oil and butter (a little butter is used to make the oil safe to eat after being at high temperatures)
Sautee the uncooked shrimp until pink

Add shrimp to bottom of taco shell
Layer with finely shredded lettuce
Add more shrimp
Add teaspoon of Rotel spicy diced tomatoes
Add a handful of shredded Mexican cheeses
Top with sour cream or guacamole, or both!

Garlic & Parmesan Shrimp Pasta
Total Prep Time: about 12 minutes

Sautee uncooked shrimp with minced garlic and butter until pink

Boil water in a separate pan
Add gluten free pasta to boiling water – I use Bionaturae from Italy
Add salt to pasta

When pasta is al dente drain
Add shrimp
Add 2/3 of a cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
Dust with Penzey’s dill weed
Stir well and serve.


Slice of Life 24 of 31

A love poem – this is the most revised poem I’ve written.

The Ruins

– For Hugh Cook of Farringdon,
the last Abbot of Reading.

The watery part of air swallowed
us in gigantic cold bursts that
we sat body to body in the smooth
oval of the ancient window. Parts
of the abbey were buried under
mounds of soft grasses and rich
sopping sod, but our window sat
proud of its barrow so we could
huddle in the dead of winter
night, and watch the silent rain.

Slice of Life 23 of 31

This poem is about the cat I cared for before Mumphrey. I was also taking a T.S. Eliot grad class at SFSU and was reading Allen Ginsberg a lot when I wrote it.

In conversation with my cat I asked about
Eliot and if she’d met him, but she bit me
and told me she was just a cat who had
drank from the waters of Lethe.
To which 
I replied, “Yes, I gulped them too,
but I
 don’t think I drank that much.”


Slice of Life 22 of 31

Teaching Reflection

I love being a teacher. I’m not too keen on the alarm at 5:35am Mon-Fri, but once I get over that I remember I have a great job, and I get to share laughter with teenagers all day long. I enjoy what I do because it’s a service for our society, because of the joy I feel when I get to laugh throughout my day and talk about stuff I love and know. I love to share how much I can love a book with my students, and how I will cry at the end of certain books every.single.time. I know the kids appreciate me for everything I am and for everything I’m not.

I teach mainly because I wanted to make my parents proud, I wanted to work with words instead of numbers, as well as work in a field of good service to society, and finally because working with children is a lot of fun. The kids are always drawn to the bright side of things, if left to their own devices they will find play and proceed to enjoy playing. Kids are great to be around, and we get to laugh in my classroom every single day.

To be honest, not paying some kind of service to my society wouldn’t sit right with me – living my life without helping those less fortunate than me seems erroneous. Not that I’m incredibly wealthy or anything, but I had a great childhood and I was loved and cared for and still am – some kids I teach have nothing, and I feel I have to give them my love, laughter, and positivity. I’m grateful to do this job – I get a sense of peace from the profession, especially when I teach through my heart and not through my ego. During graduation I cry a whole bunch – seeing the ones who almost didn’t make it walk across that stage is incredibly moving.


Slice of Life 21 of 31

Traveling Thursdays

I’ve taken 6 major road trips in the United States – major in the sense they involved visiting more than 5 states.  My total for road trips in the U.S is 12 – the other 6 are road trips under 1,000 miles.  Last week I wrote about my first major American road trip on an 18 wheeler semi!  This week I’m going to write about a summer road trip that lasted 3 months.  It was the summer of 2006, I turned 29 that year, and I was a college junior taking summer online classes to become a senior for the fall semester.  My online classes allowed me to travel for 3 months in the summer and still graduate in the following spring.

I was dating a guy who was a chef.  He made his own business – a traveling food vendor for all kinds of events.  He was of Italian descent so he specialized in American Italian food from pasta dishes, to meatball subs.  This guy also happened to love live music, and lo and behold so do I, so in the summer of 2006 we traveled around the U.S serving food at live music festivals!  ShineFest was our first stop in North Carolina, then came a series of events like street fairs, and bead shows in Wisconsin, where we stayed for 6 weeks.  During this time I went to Chicago and got to know the city a little bit as we were staying in Burlington.  It was a great summer – so much fun – it was fantastic!  Please don’t stereotype me just because I went to some music festivals in 2006! That was 11 years ago, and 4.5 years before I became a  teacher.   Also please note that I don’t go to music shows or festivals of any kind anymore – it Has been 7 years  since I saw any live music.