The Orlando Eye

Hi and happy 4th of July weekend to many of you that do not need to go into work tomorrow!

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Yesterday, we took a trip to the beach with the youth group before the chaos of 4th of July beach weekend began! It was an enjoyable day of soccer, volleyball, playing in the waves, and good quality time with the students.

About 20 minutes after we all got out of the water. The lifeguard spotted a shark and everyone that was in the water was asked to evacuate. Does anyone else feel like this shark thing seems more outrageous this year than ever?

Just after we got home from the beach, I ate dinner and got ready to head to the Orlando Eye with our friends. The Orlando Eye is one of the newest attractions in Orlando and offers a new and unique way to experience the beauty of Orlando, It is basically a huge ferris wheel that reaches 400 feet high and takes about 20 minutes to complete the trip, moving at a very slow pace to enjoy the view. The tickets we had also included access to Sea Life and and Madame Tussaud’s wax museum, resulting in a very delightful and entertaining night with friends. 🙂

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Orlando teachers, we actually get in for free!

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I couldn’t leave the wax museum without a selfie.….

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Before we left for the Orlando Eye experience, I put together a quick dinner. One of my favorite quick meals is a summer salad. We usually always have shredded chicken in our fridge because I often make it in the crockpot in the beginning of the week for lunches and quick dinner options. The remaining ingredients are usually pretty handy in our pantry.

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When I have time, for a fruity summer salad such as this one, I love to make my own strawberry vinaigrette dressing. When time is not available, I will use Specially Selected Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing. You can find this product at Aldi. 🙂

Fruity Summer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 6 cups of spinach
  • 1 large apple, chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
  • ½ cup of sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup of sliced almonds
  • ⅓ a cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and enjoy 🙂

What is your favorite attraction in your local city? Have you ever visited Orlando?

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

I have a delicious recipe to share with you all today! We had new neighbors move into our apartment building yesterday. For the Kandt’s, new neighbors=new batch of cookies! I quickly put together a recipe that came out better than I imagined them to be! But before we talk about cookies. Lets talk about my workout for today! 😉

I do not know about you, but I am that person that often has a hard time opening doors. I also try to avoid taking multiple trips to my car after grocery shopping….

Weak Arms

One of my goals this summer is to build my arm muscles.

After my 4 mile run, I then did an upper body workout that looked like this:

I did this 3 times. Although it was a difficult workout for me, I was motivated by a new playlist packed with upbeat, energizing music. Some of the songs on my playlist included….

I hope this playlist can add more energy to your next workout!

Here is the recipe to my sugar-free (unless your peanut butter has sugar in it), dairy free cookies! I doubled this recipe to make some for our neighbors, some for dessert at our friends house tonight, and some for my sweet tooth husband of course!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine first three ingredients in a saucepan and warm gently on stove top.
  2. Next, add in the vanilla, oatmeal, and cocoa, and stir well.
  3. Drop by the spoonful onto a cookie tray covered with parchment paper.
  4. Refrigerate

These should be ready to eat in 30 minutes!

What are some of your favorite songs to listen to while you are working out? What are your plans for the 4th of July?

Teaching With Intention

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Even when I am not working Monday-Friday, weekends continue to have something special about them. After critical mass and the sunset at Lake Eola with good friends last night, this Saturday morning, Ben and I played soccer with our community group. It has been a while since I have put on my cleats and played a game like this morning, and it made me so grateful for muscle memory, and my upbringing in soccer, because it was such a fun morning! Tonight, Ben and I have another summer wedding and I always enjoy romantic evenings with my husband while celebrating such an incredible gift!

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This week, I spent a lot of time with children under the age of 7, not only did I enjoy being “ young again” :), but it made me miss my classroom and seeing the beautiful students I teach everyday.

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Since I was missing my job as a teacher this week, I decided to pick up a book recommended to me by my teacher-friends. This book is called Teaching with Intention. The first chapter focused on having a picture in your head what your ideal classroom sounds and feels like. I can easily picture my ideal classroom in my head ( I actually think about it all the time), but getting it to a place where it actually exists often sounds like way too much work, my mind gets overwhelmed, and it is easy to checkout and think about something different. This book allows me to stop and minimize what may be the MOST important and I thought I would share my responses with all of you and ask you to share your opinions as well!

How does your ideal classroom look, feel, and sound?

My ideal classroom is calm, organized, and structured with a clean and clear layout. I want to have different sections of the room and I want each section of the room to be clearly defined. I want enough visuals to help students understand the different sections of the room, but not too many to where it looks overwhelming. I want the walls to be filled with lots of colors ,student work, and evidence of learning. I want students to have opportunities out of their seats, more than they do in their seats.I want to see lots of students smiling and celebrating their successes.My ideal classroom does not sound perfectly quiet all day. Although that would be nice, I think it is impossible and I believe a learning environment needs a little buzz to it. I hope the noise come from students collaborating and trying to communicate to one another and the teachers.

What are the teachers and para-professionals doing?

In my ideal classroom, my job is to help my students continue to gain the skills they’ll need to be independent in my classroom and outside of my room. My role is to introduce new concepts and materials and structure opportunities to interact and practice these new skills. I hope to have organized stations everyday where the para-professionals can help me practice and record these concepts being taught to them.

What aspects of your ideal classroom do you need to work on?

I often notice that a lot of my ideas require shopping and buying things to help me organize. I am not a fan of shopping or spending money. If I had all the materials I needed to easily create all of the things that would help me, it would be a lot easier. I hope to make a list of ways all the things I would need to create this type of environment, and eventually make the investment before the summer is complete. Someone hold me accountable!

What books are you reading this summer? How would your ideal classroom look?

The Gift of Community

I spent my Wednesday morning in one of my favorite locations in Orlando. Park Avenue is the jewel of Central Florida. It is the perfect place for a morning stroll and picnic, especially when it involves the wonderful students in our youth group….

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We had a great morning window shopping and eating some snacks before the heat of the day came out.

Ben and I love hosting events, but the downfall of our small apartment (that is perfect for just the two of us) is that there is limited space to host gatherings. Last night we decided to give it a try and it was surprisingly not a problem at all! We managed to fit fourteen friends in our tiny one bedroom apartment….

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We have the privilege of living life among this amazing group of people, that I like to call family.

Over the past six years, I have learned the importance of community. I think Scripture attests over and over again to the fact that life is not meant to be lived or cultivated in solitude.

The kid playing basketball alone in his driveway never becomes great without instructional coaching, the strengths of his teammates, and the sharpening of skills that only comes from other people. When we start thinking we’re strong enough and good enough on our own, we believe things opposed to a gospel of need.

Who will ask tough questions when you choose sin or share your joy and PARTY with you when God is faithful? Who will speak the gospel of grace when you think you’ve blown it? Who will pray with you when you feel alone or shaken in your faith?

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These friends see God as their Father because of their faith in the work of Jesus Christ. Because they have experienced Christ’s unconditional love, they love well. They treat one another as children of God, deeply loved by the Father. Through community, I have been blown away by the way others share their money, time, resources, needs, hurts, successes, and more. They know the good, the bad, the ugly and yet still pursue me with open arms. I tangibly experience Jesus through them.

Community is not always easy to find.Ben and I are pretty confident that the Lord does not have us in Orlando forever. We eventually will move and have to seek out a new community. Life changes and people move across the state, country, or world. Community does not just happen. It takes investment of time and energy. It’s not always perfect and it can (more often than not) be messy. But it is such a gift. It is so worth it, and I am eternally grateful for the season and community God has us in.

Where are one of your favorite places to go in the city you live in?What do you love the most about the people God has surrounded you with?