And the class lists are posted….

I was born wanting to be a teacher.  By second grade, it was clear that I would teach elementary children. I taught my Cabbage Patch Kids every day after school.  That Christmas I asked Santa for a chalkboard, a lesson plan book, real workbooks, and a stool to sit on. (My favorite teacher, Mrs. Thornton, had a stool.)

It was not that long ago, I waited in anticipation for my class list.  All of these names with no faces yet.  I wrote their sweet names over thirty times all over our classroom.  Would they like me?  Would I be enough for them?  Was I prepared to teach them everything they needed to know? 

I had worked all summer preparing our classroom.  Spent so much of my own money to get all the final touches my room needed.  I wanted my students to love it.  This was their home away from home.  This is where we were going to learn, make memories, laugh, and cry.  

Family members helped me get it all together.  My Mom-Mom made curtains with the most precious ABC fabric you have ever laid eyes on.  My husband assembled furniture.  My mom laminated and cut out all my handmade decor and posters.  This was a team project. 

After college, extra training, spending my whole summer preparing, I remember worrying about my first impression on my students and their parents.  They didn’t know that I had already been praying for them each by name.  They didn’t know that I shopped all day for the perfect outfit for our first time to meet.  They didn’t know the hours I spent at the school making sure everything was perfect for their children to learn and grow.

Wow, I can think back and remember it all so clear.  And you know, I felt the same way year.  Sure it got a little bit easier.  But beginnings can always be a little scary.  

There are teachers all over this country picking up last minute items for their students. They are eating dinner at 9 pm in their classrooms because their sweet husband said they had to eat.  Their bags are full of stuff they take home to work on but fall asleep on the couch as soon as they sit down because they are exhausted.  There is no tired like a “beginning of the year” tired and “end of the year” tired.  Just ask any teacher.  

So, as I sit on the other end of this whole process.  My son has been waiting (dying) to know who his fifth grade teacher is going to be.  We will walk up to see his class list tonight.  There will a teacher’s name without a face tonight.  (Sure we will run home to look it up in the yearbook.)  And tomorrow we will meet her.  Will she see my sweet boy the way I see him?  Will he meet her expectations?  Will she noticed he spent twenty minutes on his hair?  Will she understand his humor?  Does she know we have been praying for her all summer and will continue to as the year goes on?  

She will because I will notice how her room is ready for him.  I will see her new haircut, manicure, and outfit.  I know she attended countless professional learning sessions this summer.  She is just as nervous as I am and underneath it all, we get it!  

She will lose sleep the right before the first day of school.  I know she will wake up at least four times worried she will miss her alarm.  Of course she will leave her house an extra thirty minutes early just in case there is an accident or unexpected traffic.  She will turn on the lights to her classroom and realize it will be filled with eager students in just a few minutes.  With her lipgloss perfect, she will smile as they all enter the room and assure parents it will all be okay.  The bell will ring and she will close the door.  As turns to look at all the precious faces looking back at her, she will feel her heart grow just a little more.  Because this was all she had dreamed about since she was eight years old. 

Happy New School Year to all the millions of teachers who love our children and have more demands put on them every year!  I get you!  I have your back!

Looking Forward,

Amanda

We Just Keep Singing and Dancing…

Things have changed in our kitchen.  A sadness has been in our lives for over a month and we are not seeing the light just yet.  When we moved to Atlanta, we found the perfect home, in the perfect neighborhood, by the perfect schools, etc.  We did not find the perfect kitchen.  The kitchen is fine!  It is not set up for the cooking I enjoy.  Counter space, moving space, dancing space… it was not happening.  We started working with a designer, that took our little ideas and big dreams, and made it come to life on paper.  Chris and I “lived” in that paper floor plan for weeks, well months, trying to figure out if this is really what we wanted to do or just keep it the way it was (ugh!).

Enter in our contractor, electricians, plumbers, painters, carpenters, floor guys, stone layers, welders, and guys that can just rip stuff up.  One day I was singing and dancing, creating my last meal in my 1990’s kitchen and the next morning I was taking a sledgehammer to the floors.  (seriously, I was the first person who got to the tell this kitchen “bye-bye!”)

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It has been an exciting experience to see new walls go up, flooring change, and seeing the new kitchen, MY KITCHEN, start to show its face.  There have been challenges.  We have built several houses and been a part of the kitchen selections but never to this degree.  Seriously.  EVERY. DECISION. IS. OURS. TO. MAKE.  That can be fun and exciting and at the same time very stressful, exhausting, and time-consuming.  Some decisions are easy.  Yes, we want a pantry.  Why would you build a house without a panty? Oh wait, this is a new thing for this house.  I can keep my love/hate relationship alive with Costco.  Some decisions I leave all up to Chris.  He has a good eye for design and can visualize the whole picture.  (this is not me!) I need visuals, manuals, examples, and many times I need to “play” with it! So the day we went to look at all the appliances, I was overwhelmed but in complete bliss.
Every oven/stove top was right before my eyes. Wolf, Viking, GE, blah, blah, blah. Chris put up with me pretending to cook, opening the refrigerator, and dashing over to the sink to plop the turkey in it… Well, you get the idea.
And now here we are! Over one month, we have not had a real kitchen. Our makeshift kitchen (in the basement) has a sink, mini fridge, microwave, and a slow cooker.
At first it was fun, now I’m over it!! We are all over it. Will just wants me to make cookies. I just want to try out a list of new recipes. It will all be worth it. There is a glimmer of light!
So we are still singing and dancing! I mean we have an almost ten-year old, we are Whipping and Naeing Naeing like everyone else. We talk about the first meal that will be cooked in the kitchen. We talk about how we can’t wait to have guests over again. We talk about all the life and love that will happen right there in our kitchen. Soon and very soon. Until then, keep singing and dancing and creating new things. I’ll be sharing my new slow cooker recipes soon.
Looking Forward,
Amanda

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

Christmas time is here!  I’m always looking for a fun dessert to share at gatherings.  Every time I bring my Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball, friends are asking for the recipe.  It’s easy and makes a great presetation on your plate.  Perfect for making early and serving when it’s time for dessert.  Enjoy!- Amanda

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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 t vanilla

3/4 cup powdered sugar

6 oz. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup finely chopped and lightly toasted pecans

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove and shape into a ball. Roll cheese ball in nuts.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Serve with chocolate graham crackers.  (Regular graham crackers work too!)

Tuscan Salmon

It’s been awhile!  Although new creations and fab cooking has been taking place in the Fuller kitchen, I have neglected to update my blog.  Please forgive me!  I promise that I will make it up to you with tasty treats and easy dinners.  Today I had to share our new favorite salmon creation.  Super easy and full of all the salmon goodness.  Just wrap it all up in foil, bake, and serve.  We served up our salmon with fresh, steamed broccoli and couscous.  I love the idea of making individual salmons for our next dinner party.

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Tuscan Salmon

Salmon 1 1/2lb piece
4 Rosemary sprigs
3 T butter
1 large lemon, cut into thin slices
salt and pepper (if desired)

Place salmon filet on a large piece of aluminum foil.  Add thin “pats” of butter on top of salmon.  Place lemon slices on top of salmon. Then add your rosemary on top of lemons.
Wrap your salmon creation up tightly in aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees.  Remove lemons and rosemary before eating.