Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Teaching runs in my family. My great-aunt ran and owned a Kindergarten/preschool for 30+ years on Park Circle in North Charleston back when my dad and all of his cousins were growing up. My great-grandmother was a high school English, Latin, and Algebra teacher, and later wa an assistant principal. My aunt taught school as her first job, my mom is a Pre-K teacher and has been my whole life (she even created part of the Pre-K curriculum at her private school!), and my brother is a high school teacher. 
I guess you could say it's in my blood!

I remember the DAY I decided I wanted to be a teacher. It was after the first day of school my second grade year. Why second grade? I loved my teacher, Mrs. Cole, from day one. She epitomized what an elementary school teacher should be: she was strict, but also let you know how much she loved you. She was funny. She was a great story-teller. She gave the best hugs. She let you know when you were wrong, but also encouraged you when you were right. 
She made learning fun. 

So, ever since Mrs. Cole, I've not only wanted to be a teacher, but I have always wanted to teach second grade. I've done the Kindergarten thing, and quickly realized I didn't have the patience for the little ones, although I do miss their precious little faces sometimes. More power to you Kindergarten teachers! I've taught third grade for the past 4 years now, and I've loved it, but it still didn't feel like my best fit. Well, this year one of our fabulous second grade teachers was hired to teach a reading recovery program at the high school level, leaving an opening. As soon as I heard this, I was on the phone with my principal expressing my interest in the position. And....2 weeks later...I got the job! I could not be more excited for this new adventure and experience in my teaching career! 

Of course, with the grade level change, more changes are coming my way. Common core standards, new reading program, and a new (well kinda new) classroom! That's right...I'm moving from my shiny, white, lovely, and quite large room inside the building into a "learning cottage" (a nice way of saying trailer). Actually, I am not upset with this. It is the exact trailer I taught in my first year at my school, so it almost feels like coming home. 

However, I am going from this...

to this.

Quite the change. I am having to be really creative in the set-up in order to incorporate all of my favorite displays in the smaller space. There are some things that I am just NOT willing to give up! I know it will come along just fine, even if I'm still putting on the finishing touches 10 minutes before "Meet the Teacher" night! 

Wish me luck, and stay tuned for the finished product!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tasty Tues--Sauteed Okra {& Bachelorette Recovery}

I am very lucky to have some wonderful cooks in my family, and my Aunt Nita is definitely one of them. 
Aunt Nita and me at my rehearsal dinner
She made this okra for dinner last week when we were visiting Tybee Island, and I loved it so much I called her up for the recipe/method to make it for dinner last night. 
Andy had 3 servings. 
What I love so much about this recipe is you still get the crispiness like you do in fried okra, but you actually taste the okra instead of fried batter. Plus, it's so much healthier. Have any of you tried oven-fried okra? Well, I have and did NOT like it. I love fried okra, and I might even go so far as saying that I like this version even better. You must try it! These measurements are more like "guess-daments"so just play it by ear when you make it.

1 lb. okra, rinsed and cut in pieces 
(not that I am accusing any of you of not washing your veggies, but you canNOT skip this step because the wetness from the rinsing is what will make your "batter" stick)
*Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1.  After rinsing your okra, cut it into about 1/4 inch pieces, discarding stems, and place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Combine the flour and cornmeal in a small bowl. Add to okra and stir to coat. I only used about half of the mixture. You only need enough to lightly coat the don't want it to be too battered.
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it smokes. Add the okra and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

*I used about 1 teaspoon or 1 1/2 teaspoons of Paula Deen's "House Seasoning", which is good on everything! 
Here is the recipe for it: 1 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder.
 I keep it in an airtight container in the spice drawer and use it on just about everything...especially good on roasted potatoes!

On a side note, I am still recovering from a fun weekend in Wrightsville Beach, NC celebrating this girl's bachelorette. We had waaaay too much fun!
A few of us decked out in our neon to celebrate with Megan!
Poolside! The bride-to-be is the one in the ginormous sombrero! And notice her blow-up groom-to-be chillin' in her lap!