Monday, April 16, 2012

Mom 4 Real Pattern Vinyl Giveaway!

Hey friends!  Sorry I have been MIA but I have a full time job that is taking up all my time.  I am not complaining in the least though.  I am happy to say that I am one of the few that loves their job!  I get to play with stickers and pattern craft vinyl all day!  My friend Chris started a online vinyl business out of his home last December.  In August I began working for him for about 12 hours a week.  Fortunately business allowed me to increase my time and by November I was working 4 to 5 days a week.  Not to long ago we opened a store front and I am working as much as I can!  The coolest part is that I give Chris ideas and he turns them into these amazing creations.


I am proud to say that Springfed Printing has the largest selection of Pattern Craft Vinyl anywhere around.  With over 65 patterns and growing we are having a ball supplying all the crafters of the world with patterned vinyl.  We literally have shipped all over the world!  Australia, Grenada, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and more!

Do you need some vinyl for your craft projects?
Well Jessica at Mom 4 Real is hosting a giveaway for 20 Sheets of Pattern Craft Vinyl this week!
  Go by and visit her, see the projects she has done and find out how you can win some vinyl!

Hopefully I will be back blogging soon! I have done quite a bit with no time to post! 
Jane, don't give up on me!  I do enjoy your comments!
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Teach, What's Your Superpower?

I don't teach, however I have nothing but extreme 
respect for each teacher out there. 
I think it takes a rare breed to do this job.  



My daughters teacher from last year wrote her take on the state of education in Florida.  I felt compelled to share this with you.  I really want to be able to look back on what an amazing teacher Molly had the privileged of having in Third grade.  For those of you who don't live in Florida our kids are subjected to numerous tests through out the year.  The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is how the State determines how well our children are learning.  Our schools are graded from the overall results.  I personally think the system is seriously flawed and the curriculum is an epic fail.  But enough about my feelings.. read the true feelings from an exceptional professional.

Some friends of mine were having a discussion on Facebook about education. They asked me some specific questions and when I started writing down the answers, I couldn't stop. This is what came of it:

Glad to answer: 
How do you think the system would change? 
I think children get over-tested. Right now in Florida, the FCAT tests Reading, Math, Science, and Writing. Apparently History/Social Studies doesn't matter. But I digress. To get ready for these tests, we give students a series of other tests to make sure they are performing at their "grade level". Typically I give one test a week for reading that goes along with our reading curriculum. I also have to give the students a Reading Benchmark test 4 times a year. The students also take a computer based reading test called the FAIR test, and this happens 3 times a year. We have 30 stories in our reading curriculum, so that gives us 30 tests, plus the 4 benchmark tests, and the 3 FAIR tests. That gives us a total of 37 reading tests a year. I am not even going to count the practice FCAT tests we take. For math the kids take 12 tests a year that match the math textbook, 4 On Track Math standardized tests, and 3 Big Idea tests, that tests them on what they have learned per math unit. That gives us a total of 19 math tests. For science we have 10 tests that align with our curriculum, plus 3 Big idea tests. That’s 13 tests for science. For writing, students write weekly prompts that get scored using a 6-point scale similar to the one used for the Florida Writes exam taken in 4th grade. (Elementary school, is taken again in middle and high school) So students will write about 40 prompts a year. Right now, social studies has just gotten some fresh new standards to follow, however, budget cuts has not allowed for new textbooks to match the standards, so I have written my own curriculum. Since social studies is not tested by FCAT, it takes a back seat. However, I do give it the importance it deserves in my classroom and I make time for it. I give them about 8 tests a year for social studies. So when we do the math, I give my 18 students 117 tests a year. There are only 180 school days. This is not right. We are testing these kids to death just to prove that we can close the achievement gap. How are we supposed to educate the kids when we are testing them 80% of the time? We are so concerned about getting the “right” score, that the kids who cannot perform are labeled “below level” immediately. It doesn’t take into account external factors that are part of every child’s life: what kind of parents do they have, are they eating 3 times a day, do they have a bed to sleep on, do they need glasses, have they been to doctors regularly, has someone read to them, when do they go to bed, etc. We need to stop and realize that teaching is beautiful. It should involve patience, discovery, time, improvisation, art, music, and many more things. But it doesn’t fit into “No Child Left Behind”. Funny thing is, we are leaving great majorities behind that do not fit the standard mold. It’s sink or swim, and the teachers cannot slow down for a minute to throw them a life vest. 
What changes are the educators and educational societies you know looking for?

The changes that we are looking for is to have a panel of teachers chosen to write the standards and write educational policy that makes sense. We do not want our salaries to be dependent on tests scores. After all, the test cannot describe what that child does on a day to day basis in our classrooms. What if that child is not a good test taker, but they can explain to you everything they have learned today by drawing a picture, or simply talking about it? We want respect. Forget pay. I don’t care about how much money I make. I think teachers who complain about their salary all the time need to recognize that they went into that profession knowing that they were not going to make six figures. What I want is respect. For people to stop telling me my job is awesome because I get to leave at 3 and get holidays and summers off. I work from 6:30 am to 4:30 pm almost every day. That’s 10 hours at work a day, and I only get paid for 7 and a half. I go home and I keep working. I think of a way to make 18 people understand one concept. I decorate and maintain a classroom from my own pocket. Last year I spent almost $1,000 dollars in my classroom. I don’t want people to say that I finger paint all day with my students. I want doctors, and lawyers, engineers, and politicians to realize that my job is the groundwork that creates the future. That I have to be a mom, doctor, therapist, lunch lady, and more to those kids. That I give them all my number, my cellphone number, so they can call me if they don’t understand the homework. That I have had kids crying on my shoulders because they didn’t want to go home. That I have had kids call me during the weekend because they have no one to talk to. Our teaching society wants to just be recognized and to be left alone to do our jobs without so much scrutiny. Those of us who have passion for the art of teaching will do our jobs greatly. And those scores and standards will be met. Just ease up on us. 
Also, just to understand where you're coming from, could you share what age group and subjects you teach?
I am Gina Liz Rivera. I have Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, elementary education. I have a Master’s degree in Science and Math instruction K-6, and did it with a 4.0. I understand, speak, and write two languages. I was featured in the Gainesville Sun as STAR Teacher of Alachua County. I have taught 4th grade and I’m currently teaching 3rd. I teach every single subject: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. I also run TDPF (Teacher Directed Physical Fitness) for the third grade. I have an after school tutoring program for kids. I dress us up as different characters for the holidays. I play music in the classroom and explore art with my students. I am a board member for a wonderful organization in Gainesville that works with families affected by sickness, such as cancer. I am over 50,000 dollars in debt for my education. I make $34,000 a year. I have no tenure and I will never attain it thanks to new laws passed. I love my job and wouldn’t have it any other way. I teach: what’s your superpower?



Gina, You are my SuperHero!  Thank you if you took the time to read this.  I would love to hear your take on education in your state.  Please remember to thank your teachers!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Silver Chalkboard Platter - Be Mine!


More Silver!  Are you sick of it yet?  I found this silver like platter at Goodwill.  I liked the curvy shape and the weight of the platter (I believe it is stainless).  I had been wanting to do a chalkboard piece for some time.  This was the perfect piece.  Martha Stewart has an economical size bottle of chalkboard paint at Michaels.  I didn't want to invest much money in something I knew I would only use on small projects.

For a total of $7 I had the cutest silver chalboard platter!
I hope you all had a great Valentines!  

I sure did!
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Monday, February 13, 2012

A Hard Life Lesson

After reading Lakesha from Home to Three Duncan Boys speak about how hard being a mom to 3 little boys and the stress, judgement and expectations that are felt by a mom I felt that I needed to share a story with you.  I don't want to get on my soap box and rant on but I do want to encourage each one of you to try to see what others are going through.

My 14 year old son recently had to learn that sometimes doing the right thing comes with hard consequences.  Max was asked by a teacher to go check on a boy that was on crutches in the bathroom.  Apparently he had been gone a while.  My son walked in on a group of boys smoking.  He stuck his head in the bathroom and told the boy that the teacher wanted him back in class.  When he was leaving he was told "you didn't see anything here."  He returned to class and thought about what he just saw.  It bothered him and he immediately found me after school to tell me what had just happened and that he wanted to speak to the dean.  The dean quickly went to that bathroom and found the evidence.  Max and I both assumed that the boys were smoking cigarettes.  Never in a million years did my naive mind think that Marijuana was involved.    Needless to say the boys were suspended from school and the wrath of angry fellow classmates came crashing down on Max.  The girls were the worst. Most of the kids were smart about verbalizing their threats and insults instead of sending notes or text.  Fortunately Max does not have a Facebook for them to retaliate with.  We had high school kids tell him not to bother coming to school with them next year and even a few drove by the house to yell remarks at him.

The worst part of all was that one of the boys was Max's volleyball teammate.  In 3 days they were to play for the county championship.  This boy was very athletic and a key player for the team.  The majority of the girls volleyball team told him that they would now loose the big game.  Very little negative comments were made about this particular boy or any of the other boys that made a very poor decision.  Now I must say that there were some really great kids and parents that were supportive of Max and told him how proud they were of him.  Then there were the parents that avoided me like the plague or ignored me all together.  The head coach (who is a "strong Christian")of the volleyball team never acknowledge any of the events.  Winning was more important than doing the right thing.  The team did lose the championship game.  More comments were made, but it quickly died down.

It is important to say that my son in by no means perfect.  He is a typical 14 year old boy.  However this was a sign of maturity and courage by him.  One that I am very proud of.

It died down at school and things got back to normal for Max.  But I was mad!  How could these parents let their children behave like that?  How could they behave like that?  Some of these parents I was friendly with.  I have had a hard time letting this go.  I felt like I was being picked on too!  To make matters worse they have let their daughters date these boys??!!  I still do not understand.

My purpose for sharing this story with you is to remind everyone that support makes a big difference.  Women should lift each other up, not shoot them down.  There is so much competition between moms these days as to who has the smartest, prettiest, best dressed, most athletic, etc... that we forget that these are children.  They are not prize show dogs.  Each child is different.  Encourage each other, help each other for we are all in this together.


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Silver Inspirations

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope your weekend was great!  Mine was filled with baseball games, visiting with family and a much needed lazy Sunday.  My husband has been gone for two weeks preparing, building and setting up his companies booth for the International Builders show in Orlando. 
 So glad our family dynamic is back to normal!  

It seems that silver is all I can think about these days and I wanted to show you what I have pinning lately..

I would kill for this cabinet.  Perfection!



This is an amazing collection of silver gravy boats and teapots.

This is on my want list!  Beware eBay and yard sales!  I am on the hunt.



This is the source of inspiration for my latest project.
Come back tomorrow to check it out.

Come follow me on Pinterest to see what else I am pinning. 
 If you need an invite email me and I will get one to you!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Silver, Silver & More Silver!!


 I have the china cabinet all decked out in silver!  I don't know why I adore silver in the winter time,
 but I do. I really love the contrast of my silver pieces against the ironstone.  


Gorham Silver Plate Teapot salt & pepper shakers flank my brothers silver baby cup

Lots of layers


A simple sugar bowl rest atop of my ironstone butter pats.  
More layers of bowls and saucers lie underneath.


My Grandmothers Silver Souvenir Spoons are displayed in a crystal cups. 




Each piece means a little something to me.  I really love playing with them.
I have more pieces found in the living room and my bedroom and bath.  
Hopefully I will get those up soon!

What do you think about the new look to my blog??

I am linking up with:
Southern Savvy Style for Wow Us Wednesdays!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Silver in the Kitchen

Ok so I have been slacking on my blogging lately.  All I can say is life has been busy.  I have alot of exciting things going on and lots of changes happening.  I have been decorating with all my silver pieces and wanted to share with you all the silver used in my kitchen.













I like the dressed up feeling the silver offers in my very comfortable french country galley kitchen.
Most of the pieces were handed down to me from my grandmother.  A few pieces have been found at Goodwill.  All the ironstone have been found at thrift stores and Goodwill (except for the pitcher). 
 The cow painting above the stove was found at a local antique store.