Friday, December 19, 2008

A Reward for My Class

I've found that positive reinforcement, aka bribery, is often very effective when it comes to classroom management, especially when food is involved. Even more so when it's done in the form of a competition. So I put forth a challenge to my 5 different classes, which ever class could spell "CAKE!" first got one. My fourth period was the first class to do so. I love this class, by the way. So I made them a cake of the choice, with homemade butter cream icing too. Since the holiday started today, I made it a Christmas cake.

I got a surprising cake-related request today. One of my co-workers, that I could have sworn hated my guts, said she had been meaning to talk to me about making a cake for her daughter's birthday. I am very excited and happy, also a little nervous. I'm not sure what to charge, I'll have to think about it.

2008 Christmas Ornaments

I made this for my secret Santa at school. For those of you not familiar with the tradition, everyone at work that wants to participate fills out a form of things they like, collect, etc. Then everyone draws a name, you give the person you drew small gifts all week, then a slightly larger gift on Friday and reveal who you are. I think this is fun, and a great way to get to know your co-workers. I like shopping for someone that is practically a stranger, and on a very small budget, it's challenging.

Another holiday tradition we have at work is the Ornament Exchange, where people get an ornament and bring it in. Everyone draws a number, and you get to pick out an ornament. The people that come after you can take your ornament, it's fun and silly. I wanted to participate, so I made an ornament rather than buy one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

For Grandma

This Christmas will be our first Christmas without my grandpa. He is the first of my grandparents to pass away. My grandmother and he were together over 60 years. Tomorrow she closes on the house they shared for over 40 years, and her new house in the same town as her surviving daughter, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

I will spend tomorrow watching the movers remove everything from the house I have spent almost every holiday of my life in. If you looked at the photo album of my childhood, that house is the backdrop for almost every picture. It will be a hard day, sitting in that place all alone as it becomes a hollow shell.

Most of the familiar items will be moving to the new house, but it's still hard to let go of a place that has been such a part of your life. I can't imagine how hard this is for my grandmother, though it would be harder for her to stay there alone. Surrounded by everything that was theirs for so long.

I did not intend this to be about the loss of my grandfather, and the house that was my second home during my childhood, but I guess I needed to express those feelings.

My grandmother is a greet lover of old-fashioned correspondence: hand-written letters, Christmas and birthday cards. Even though many of her family and friends have passed on she gets quite a few Christmas cards. Previously in my blog, I had documented the progress on the cross-stitch portion of this gift. I had hoped to finish it last year, but now I'm glad that I didn't. I plan on hanging it up in her new house tomorrow as a house-warming/Christmas gift. I'm hoping that having one thing up for Christmas that is just her's will help the year be a little easier.