Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Since there have been so many sequels coming out in theaters recently shanna and I decided that before we were allowed to go see them in the theaters we had to watch all the previous films in the series. It all started with the "Fast and the Furious" series. It was so much fun to see how all the characters intertwine. We also discovered that the "Tokyo Drift" one was completely off track- come on, kill Han and then you see him in the next 2 films, death doesn't work that way Hollywood. Sorry!
The next film series we did this with was the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. We took so long starting that series that we ended up seeing the 4th movie several weeks after it came out.
Tonight we started on the "Harry Potter" series, the last movie comes out on 7/15, so we are going to really squeeze them in to see them all before it comes out. We are also going to start the "Transformers" series as it comes out before the last "Harry Potter" film, but it has fewer movies so we start that next week.
We are lucky that two of the other films that we want or wanted to see are prequels so there are nothing to catch up on.
Those are "X-Men: First Class" and "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes." It's a good thing too since "Harry Potter" and "Transformers" are going to provide us with all the entertainment till the end if July.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Craft Shopping in St. George

Memorial day weekend has been fun so far. Yesterday I was feeling restless and I wanted to get out of town so I txted several of my crafty friends and invited them to join me on a drive to St. George for some craft shopping and some yummy Mongolian BBQ. My friend Diane Striegel joined me and we had so much fun talking, laughing, shopping, and enjoying delicious Mongolian BBQ. I had so much fun spending some one-on-one time with Diane as I never get that with her.

The cooks preparing our food on the traditional hot round skillet

Diane and her yummy food
Just before we ate

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Update - since I havent written in a while

Update on everything -

Recently, I found out that I will be teaching World History for both morning and evening sessions. I am excited about that because it means that I will be able to just create one set of lesson plan each day. Meaning that I will have more time for scrapbooking! Yeah!

On that note; I am almost finished with my Chaparral scrapbook for the year, and forever. At the end of my first year I decided that I didn't want to spend my money on a actual yearbook. Especially since I don't know most of the kids in the school. So each year I make a few scrapbook pages with the kids in my classes and maybe a few pages from events that I attended throughout the year. Next year I was going to have to start a new book so I guess me moving schools next year is a good thing.

I interviewed at a a few schools and I was actually offered the job on the spot for several of them, but some of them just didnt feel right. When I was offered the job at Valley HS to teach in the IB program it just felt like the place I would want to be. I found out the next week that I will have 3 sections of US History IB and 2 of World History. I am excited because I have the WH down and ready, but I will be working on the US IB for most of the summer.

Summer is almost upon us here in Las Vegas and it is getting quite hot already. We have had several days of 90 or above. I am not happy about that. Its a good thing that I will be spending most of my days in one classroom or another.

Mom came for a short visit during Sping break this year. It was really fun to spend some time with her. We did so many things. We attended a wedding of a friend of mine, drove the strip at night to see all the lights. We drove out to see the Hoover Dam and the new bridge that spans the canyon. We drove down to Lake Mead and fed popcorn to the huge carp. We ate a yummy lunch at a cute little cafe in Boulder City and then we headed to the LV temple. We spent some time on Fremont Street where we saw the largest golden nugget on display in the world, a shark tank in the middle of a pool, a million dollars, we played some slots, and we saw the Fremont zip line. It was really fun. The next day we went to a few quilt stores, we visited Red Rock State Park and we met Aunt Judy, Uncle Craig, Eric and Easton at the Elephant Bar next to Green Valley Ranch for "linner". We saw "Water for Elephants", I loved it! We celebrated Easter together the next day and on the last day of her visit she came to school with me. It was fun to show her my school and to introduce her to my classes and my coworkers. After school she had to catch her flight home so I took her to the airport. There was one thing that she mentioned several times while we were driving around the whole few days. She kept saying that she was so "impressed with me and the fact that I just knew where I was going the whole time". I think its funny she thought it is impressive that I know my way around since I have lived here for 4 years. :)

Mom came for a short visit during Sping break this year. It was really fun to spend some time with her. We did so many things. We attended a wedding of a friend of mine, drove the strip at night to see all the lights. We drove out to see the Hoover Dam and the new bridge that spans the canyon. We drove down to Lake Mead and fed popcorn to the huge carp. We ate a yummy lunch at a cute little cafe in Boulder City and then we headed to the LV temple. We spent some time on Fremont Street where we saw the largest golden nugget on display in the world, a shark tank in the middle of a pool, a million dollars, we played some slots, and we saw the Fremont zip line. It was really fun. The next day we went to a few quilt stores, we visited Red Rock State Park and we met Aunt Judy, Uncle Craig, Eric and Easton at the Elephant Bar next to Green Valley Ranch for "linner". We saw "Water for Elephants", I loved it! We celebrated Easter together the next day and on the last day of her visit she came to school with me. It was fun to show her my school and to introduce her to my classes and my coworkers. After school she had to catch her flight home so I took her to the airport. There was one thing that she mentioned several times while we were driving around the whole few days. She kept saying that she was so "impressed with me and the fact that I just knew where I was going the whole time". I think its funny she thought it is impressive that I know my way around since I have lived here for 4 years. :)

Since Spring Break I have been wearing myself out with the hub bub of packing my classroom, grading, creating the final, participating in end of the year get-to-gethers and just life.

Once again, sorry for not updating more since March, but it has truely been a trying few months and it has been a lot just to live my life, without many of the extras.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Summer School!

Very EXCITED right now!

I normally screen phone calls from numbers I dont know, but today I took 2.

Both offered me summer school positions. One at Silverado for the day and the other at Coronado for the night. I took both! Yeah! Plus sides to this decision: 1. Money, to make up for what our district is cutting from our paychecks this up coming year. Tucking it all away!

2. Saving money on AC. I dont have to run the AC at my home while I am at work during the day.


3. Gives me something to do this summer, instead of getting another summer job, or being a vagabond through Utah like I did last summer

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday Five - Chores for Saturday

So I woke up this morning and I quickly realized that I had not posted a Friday Five yesterday. So I thought about it and seeing as my mind is quite tired from a week of lack of sleep, and agonizing about what is going to happen with my school and me, and of course spending time figuring out if I wanted to apply for summer school ( I decided yes and have started the process). I know that summer is to get away from the kids, but I thought money vs sitting by the pool/in my hot apartment. I decided that Money was better, plus we will be saving A/C money while I am not there!

Back to what this post is really all about - My Saturday Chores! Yeah!
I am going to see the Las Vegas Wranglers Hockey game tonight at the Orleans Arena with friends so I think I need to set some goals of what is going to get done today so that I don't waste the whole day on what I would really love to be doing, which is being crafty.
I know that I could make it look like I posted this thing yesterday, but if you are an early morning blogger like me (or at least I read them early in the morning) you would know better, so instead of insulting your intelligence I am going to let the computer post it when it was actually posted.

1. Laundry - I mean all of it! bedding, towels, hamper, and then putting it all away. I hope no one else in my house wants to do laundry today! 1pm - halfway done! Geeze I have so much to wash.
2. Go to Walmart and pick up 2 shelves, and an under the bed storage container, so that I may contain all of my nice (freshly washed) bedding that I don't use in the blistering summer heat of Las Vegas. Last year I just tucked it under the bed, but when I pulled it out last fall so that I could use it, there were dust bunnies all over it. Then I had to wash it all over again. Waste of my time! Gross! So this time I am not making that same mistake! 1pm,- have made some progress on this as I have spent some time online shopping for the exact thing, and it turns out I have a coupon and gift card for that store. I am going to get ready for the day and go pic these storage pieces up.
3. Vacuum my bedroom. 1pm - Had to fix the vac, but this is done now.
4. Organize my craft area better. I will even show you what it looks like right now and then later when its all organized.


5. Lastly, I need to spend some time in my closet organizing my clothes so that my winter stuff is at the back and all my summer tees and crops are at the front. This step will also include trying on most of it to see how it looks, because if I don't like it; then its going in the DI box for the Thrift shop.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Letter to the Editor of the Review Journal- Las Vegas

As all of the turmoil has been occuring at my school this past week and a half I have tried to keep my parents informed on what the current situation at Chaparral is. After reading my blog the other night, my father wrote me the following few paragraphs. I wanted to share them with all of you because it also reflects how I feel about the situation. At the end of the letter he also allowed me to send it in to the RJ as a letter to the editor. I did, now lets see if it gets printed. :)

Letter from Dad to Merika
"I've been around a long time, and have kind of figured out how the federal government functions. Unfortunately the state governments too often do the same things, all of which reflect their shallow thinking.
- Introducing turmoil does only harm to the students, especially the fragile students from broken families that are predominate at Chaparral. Too many students now days don't feel a relationship or sense of belonging to their school, as evidenced by the high dropout rate. What little relationship they feel is because of the teachers, athletic teams, clubs and music programs. Changing out half of the teachers will only discourage another 10 percent of the students - those who were hanging on by the skin of their teeth as it was.
- The federal and state governments are willing to bring turmoil to the school because they are not personally invested. To bureaucrats it's just a "program," but to the teachers the students are real people.
- Too many of the federal and state bureaucrats have become Leftists, believing that socialism and the welfare state are the solution to all of our problems. And to socialists/welfare statists, turmoil is always good, because in turmoil, other changes can be made, all of which further the erosion of American values and the integration of socialist values.
- Schools succeed or fail to the exact extent that our homes succeed or fail. Students come from homes, not from the school. Successful homes produce successful students (for the most part) and broken homes (homes in turmoil) produce broken students (for the most part). Introducing yet more turmoil into the schools will yield ONLY negative results. If the state and district had any sense they would come up with programs to help students at home in their families.
-Instead of being upset by the rallys, marches and demonstrations by the students in support of their school, teachers and Principal; we should be proud that they are exercising their First Amendment Right. All of their demonstrations were done in a respectful manner and all were planned and carried out during after school hours.
- Someone there needs to re-watch the movie "Mr. Holland's Opus," which drives home the point that students need and want the personal and emotional tie to the school, and that emotional link is found not in the core subjects such as Math, English, and History, but in the subjects and activities on the periphery such as band, orchestra, chorus, athletics, and clubs."

Friday, March 11, 2011

More Explanation of Turnaround

I cannot take credit for writing a portion of this blog, a friend at my school wrote it and I felt that I would be unable to write it anybetter than she did, so I am as the education community calls it; "borrowing" her words for my blog.
Many of you know that we have some major problems with the education system in this nation. We could all agree that the economy really stinks too. I have watched the news many times and see how changes are being made in other states seemingly far from Nevada that seem "crazy" to me. We have watched chaos unfold in some situations where people respond to these changes in so many different ways. It's always seemed so far away.

That changed this week. On Tuesday, we were summoned to a mandatory staff meeting after a full day of proficiency testing. We (Chaparral staff) filtered into our meeting room and were told that Chap is becoming a "Turnaround School." You can search the web and find many descriptions of it and its reasons, but to summarize, Chaparral can apply for $800,000 for our school if we do the following:

1) remove and replace our principal
2) remove the entire staff (teachers, administrators, support staff etc) and require that we reapply for our positions at Chap or transfer to another school.
(The new principal chooses those of us he wants to remain at Chap - up to 50%.)
3) turn in the application for the federally supplied funds and HOPE we get them.

That's right, this amazing upheaval may be for nothing. We can't be sure until after we comply with the requirements and go through the process.

Some of my coworkers are taking this much better than others. Everyone had a dozen or more questions and feared for our jobs in this trying economy. According to our union, we all should be able to get a position somewhere in the district. While in our logic, it appears that we will just swap places with another school who takes this process, the District sees it as the way to possibly secure the money needed to function. Our students have not taken to it very well either. They marched yesterday to the District building to meet with the School Board.

I love that our students love and appreciate what we the teachers have done. In the three years that I've been a teacher at Chap, I have seen milestones of growth. However, our scores are still low, higher in many ways, but still low. There are speculations and rumors about why our school was chosen. But the bottom line is that even in this frustrating time, our principal still reminds the staff to follow the contract agreements and for the students to choose proper outlets for expressing themselves as well.

I just want to say that even though this particular situation is not ideal, I do feel that it gave several of my students an oportunity to experience their 1st amendment in action and to see that the community is behind them in many ways. I also believe that stanting up for a worthy cause and having their voices heard, by not only eachother, their teachers or the people at the school, but also by the community, the news stations, and their school board.

Even though the school board was unwilling or unable to reverse their decision to make Chaparral a "Turnaround school" we the people of Chaparral Empowerment High School hope that we have affected change in the hearts of our students, the way the community views us, and maybe have affected the hearts of the Clark County School Board Trustee's and hopefully they will see that there are schools out in their communities that are more than just numbers and stats on a peice of paper; but that they have heart, ties, and loyalities to their school.

I saw a sign that I think tells it best but I didnt get a picture, but heres what it said:

Chap = Family
Turnaround = Divorce
Divorce = Discord

Turnaround Model - Chaparral kids made me so proud

Heres what has been happening in my life right now.

These are a few of my facebook status updates and comments for the past few days.

"Sorry I would have answered earlier, but I was comiserating at the bar with my co-workers; no worries though I was just imbibing in diet coke. They are cleaning house at my school, everyone has to re-apply, but the new principal can only hire back up to only 50%, so the rest of us are being distributed throughout the district, but we have to apply for those as well. My seniority number is so high that I may not be able to find a job."

"I dont think the school board expected this kind of response from chaparral."

"I think the kids showed that they do care and that this deicision has some very negative consequences. We didnt get the decision reversed, but that would have been more then we expected. We just hope that the board will think twice before doing this to another school like Chap. Esp when I have recieved txt and email from people at other schools who wish this was happening to their hostile school."

"I am so proud to be a Chaparral teacher this week. I have never seen such a massive amount of love and support from a student population directed to their principal and teachers. We have had signs, letters, notes of thanks to the teachers, rallys after school, student organized marches to the school district office to show how much they support their staff.
I have had countless students stop me in the hall way to just give me a hug and tell me that they hope I am still at Chap next year. I really hope that the students are able to keep at least a few key teachers who have made a personal connection with the student body so that they can have a little stabilitiy next year.
This exact thing is happening at other schools in the valley and their kids are NOT reacting the same way, Chap=Family. Its not just another school. We have been one of the main stories in the new(print and TV) for 3 days now. I call that awesome!"

Article online, found at one of the news websites.
Several local schools are bracing for major changes involving teachers and staff. Five Clark County schools will soon go through restructuring which could require teachers to reapply for their jobs.
So far, News 3 has identified Chaparral High, Mojave High, Hancock Elementary and Western High as schools being affected. The identity of the fifth school remains unknown.
At Chaparral Wednesday afternoon, more than 100 students rallied in protest when school let out.
Only about half the teachers and administrators who reapply for their jobs will be allowed to return.
“I work at a school that I’m very proud of,” said Chaparral teacher David Winkler. “Love Chaparral, love my colleagues; they’re hardworking people and that’s why I’m here.”
Chaparral, however, is among five low-achieving schools in the district which require serious change. At stake is the district’s share of $9 million in federal funds.
“We don’t want the teachers to get punished for the students’ actions, so we want to prove to Las Vegas that the students can bring our grades up and try harder,” one Chaparral student told News 3.
The restructuring is something the state is calling a turnaround model. It will also involve training and changes in how teachers teach.
The State Department of Education identified the underperforming schools by way of test scores and graduation rates. The district is trying to put a positive spin on the situation, saying it is aware improvements need to be made and that those federal funds are badly needed.
“We want to make sure that our children have the best opportunity to learn and to achieve. If we’ve been doing something for five years and we still have low scores at that school, we should be doing something different,” said Carolyn Edwards, CCSD board president.
Still, it’s a tough sell for those students who are doing well and may be losing a favorite teacher.
The district says no one will be fired in the process, but by next year many will end up at a different school.
The changes are expected to go into effect next school year. This has nothing to do with the impending budget cuts. If the governor’s budget is approved, the budget will have to cut about $400 million, which would result in layoffs.

“It took years to turn this school into a community and will only take a few weeks to destroy their spirit. Many of these children lead fragile lives and the district is about to take away the only positive adult influences some of these kids have. All this to receive additional grant money that will probably never be spent on the students that are paying for it.” ..laura cress (parent of a chaparral student).

Students Take 'Turnaround' Protest To School Board - Las Vegas News Story - KVVU Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- Students from Chaparral High School planned a second day of protests Thursday over the Clark County School Districts plan to put five under-performing schools in turnaround. Thursday, March 10, 2011.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friday Five - Places I want to see and why

My Friday five this week is all about where and what I want to see in my lifetime.
1. I want to see the hills, lochs, and castles of Ireland and Scotland.

2.I want to see the pyramids and the Sahara desert. While I am there I want to ride on the back of a camel through the sand. I also want to shop at one of the famous bazaars of the middle east and sail on the Nile.

3. I want to see the spires of the great cathedrals from the middle ages of France and of course the catacombs under the streets of Paris.
Catacombs under the streets of Paris France.

K├Âlner Dom (Cologne, Germany)

Notre Dame, France

4. I want to sunbathe on the coasts of the Mediterranean sea. I want to walk where Jesus walked and see what Jesus saw.

5. I want to swim at the barrier reef and see Ayers rock and I want to spend time in the outback with some aboriginals and have a close call with an alligator or maybe a Tasmanian devil! I want to see some if the interesting animals that Australia has to offer.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cupcake Stamp Camp

Recently I went to a evening of stamping, punching, coloring, embossing and gluing of these adorable cards. My friend Angela who hosted and taught all of us some new tricks called this good time... Cupcake Camp. I loved it, and you can clearly see why she named it so. The next time she does one, and you live in the Las Vegas area, give me a ring and I will invite you to be my guest. There is always laughter, music, talking, yummy homemade food and of course the beautiful cards. If you want to visit Angela's blog you can...http://livelovelaugh-angela.blogspot.com/
This card was fun for me because of the coloring, I don't do much coloring when I make cards so anytime that I get to do so I have a good time.

I am so glad I made this card because the next week I was going to Utah for my Grandpas 85th birthday and I had a card for him. (most of my other birthday cards were more feminine).

I love the dry embossing. Cant talk myself into a machine just yet, but I do like the effect it has on paper.

This was cool smudgy ink technique that we learned, the sun was done in the negative. I am going to have to try this one out at my house.

The letterpress was AWESOME!!! I love the look it gave to the card.

there was one more project that we made, but I gave it away the next day to my roommates for valentines day. I forgot to get a picture first so I am stealing my friend Tiffany's pic she posted. Thanks Tiffany! You can find her awesome cards on her blog http://argylecats.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Five - Rules of Attraction- Things that make me swoon

TALLNESS: I love a guy who can make my 6 ft frame feel small. I am just like every other girl out there, I want to feel protected and watched over.
SMARTS: I love a guy who reads. Not magazines but actual books. I like a guy who can sit down on the deck with me and read a book. I just about always have 2-3 books being read and so if I can't share that part of my life with the guy I am sharing my life with then I would be very sad. I once had a guy while on a first date with me that he thought that "reading is a waste if time." we had not even made it to dinner yet and I wanted to turn around and end the date right then. I never went out with that guy again because if my husband ever said that to my children I would smack him.
HANDY: I love a guy who is handy. I can do many handy things around the house and it is a total turn off when I find out that I am more handy then the guy I like. I don't expect the the guy will always be able to fix the broken things but I think it's sexy when a guy is a mans man with a Teddy bear inside. I was at church last week and we had Just made sandwiches for
the homeless and we were putting them into a box. The guy that I will call "hot j" was looking very confused on how to fold the sides of a box to make the bottom of the box, so just as I was about to say something he said "this always confuses me, can you help me?" can you believe that? The guy didn't know how to make a box! Wow! I changed his name right then, from here to fourth he shall be referred to as just "can't make a box! hot j."
COMMITTED: I think it's super hot when a guy is secure enough in his own self to show his beliefs. I want a guy who is committed to the Lord and to me. I want a guy who knows how important it is to attend all of their church meetings and duties. I think a guy who is good with kids is hot. I want a guy who will be in my corner in a fight or feud but who will do everything in his power to help me see the other side of the fight/feud so that we can end it together.
INDEPENDENT: I think it's hot when a guy has his own friends and expects me to have my own as well. I think it's hot when a guy doesn't expect their girlfriend to call to check in. I want a guy who I can trust and who trusts me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Powder Puff

I had so much fun at the Powder Puff game and assembly today. For those of you who dont know what that is, its the one game a year where the guys are the cheerleaders and the girls are the football players. Its fun, crazy and a good time by all. I am exhausted though. We have been working for days on all the shirts and tutu's for our Junior class boys. It all came together in the end and that is all I could have asked for. The Junior kids who participated were awesome.

Carrying all the tutu's

All the Dancers & Players

Miss Yoder (Senior Class Advisor) & Miss Stout (Junior Class Advisor)

Junior Boys Dancing at Halftime

Two of the senior boys

Tired but finished with the assembly

J & Z modeling the Junior Class Shirt

The Junior portion of the stands

Friday Five - Fav Authors

1. James Patterson-
I love that his suspensful series like the Alex cross series and the womens murder club are so well written and he does such a good job creating a setting and making it so easy to connect to the characters.

2. Diana Garbalden -

great historial fiction writer! I love how she can take a portion of history and weave a wonderful love/ slightly sci fi story. Her books are one that if I pick it up I won't put it down till I am done. Normally that is a good thing but not with garbalden books because her books are like 500-600 pages. Eek!!

3. Anita Stansfield-

I love the part of the series that she writes that starts with "first love; second chances", I love the portion of it that takes place in australia. It seems like such a beautiful and almost magical place. It's also the land of "the man from snowy river". What could be more romantic than that?!

4. Lynn Gardner-

I loved her gem mystery books; starting with emeralds and espionage and it had such titles in the series like turquoise & terrorist, diamonds & danger, pearls & perial. I loved those books when I was a teenager. All of the copies I own are signed too because Lynn is from Quartz Hill CA, right next to me in Lancaster. When I worked at the Beehive book I was able to meet her and get them all signed.

5. Jack Weyland-

I think I like this author because his writing has changed a lot while I have been reading him. I like how the books he wrote in the 80's and 90's totally were for more of a teen audience, and now it seems like the books he is writing are more for my age now.