Saturday, November 4, 2017

Christmas Breakfast/ recipes

Shrimp and Grits has become standard fare for our Christmas morning breakfast. A friend from church, Jill Robbins, fixed this for us one night, and we were hooked! It is surprisingly easy!

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp salt
1 cup quick grits
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 pound cooked, peeled small shrimp... do not overcook (I use the 12oz bag of frozen shrimp)
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/2 pound cooked bacon (optional... I do not use, b/c we love the shrimp taste)

Bring broth, cream, butter, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in grits. Cook, continually whisking, 7-8 minutes or until smooth. Stir in garlic, cheese, and shrimp. Garnish with bacon and green onions.

This recipe can be doubled to make more. It can be made ahead of time (add the shrimp at the end so as not to overcook them.) If making ahead, you may need to add a little hot water to keep the consistency smooth.

To go along with the shrimp and grits, we had eggs, biscuits, and fruit cocktail. This year, a friend of mine, Senorita Minnick, and I made several jars of raspberry/mango jam to give as gifts. It is DELICIOUS, and very, very easy... trust me! It is a beautiful color, and has great flavor... I don't even like mangoes!

3 cups finely chopped, pitted, peeled mangoes (about 3lbs- we just put peeled chunks into
1 1/2 cups crushed red raspberries (about 1.5 pints)- we used the frozen bags of raspberries
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 pkg. fruit pectin
5 1/2 cups white sugar (don't worry- it goes a long way!)

Prepare home canning jars.
Combine mangoes, raspberries, lemon juice, and pectin in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Wipe jar clean. Screw band down evenly and firmly. Process 10 minutes in boiling water.
Yields about seven 8oz. jars.

The 6 Duleys wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

RIver Trip 2012 May 2013

Zero Prostate Cancer Half Marathon 2013

8th Grade Graduation, May 2013

Coke 10K 2013

Mother's day 2013

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Being Moved

I believe I used the term "ranting" in my previous post, which implied a level of difficulty in my first year teaching.  If I had pursued teaching just after college graduation 20 years ago, my first year would not have been easy.  Becoming a first year teacher at the age of 40, with no time in the summer to prepare, while taking 2 master's classes from MSU, with 5 kids at home, a husband who coaches football, during cross country season, during play season... can you feel my level of stress rising?? It was not an easy year, BUT I loved the students and teaching.

In spite of being stress-paralyzed for the first semester, I finally began to figure things out.  Unfortunately, it was after spring break when I felt as though I was getting a firm grasp on teaching standards and figuring out a way to combine the goals of test performance with helping students discover a love for reading. (Or at least begin to acknowledge that books aren't so bad after all!)

I began to plan my next year with much zeal and enthusiasm, knowing that I was going to make it work the second time around.  I WOULD become a good teacher, and I had lost sleep in order to figure out how to make it happen.

The first week of summer, I received a text calling me into the office.  I was told that I am going to be teaching sixth grade science and social studies instead of ELA this year.

Being moved out of a tested subject area when you have expressed a desire to remain is regarded among teachers as a demotion of sorts. Similar to being moved from varsity to JV or losing a starting position in a sport, I was placed on the "B" team. After my meeting, I left and cried and beat myself up for three days. I all I could hear was, "Well, your test scores WERE low," and "We have decided this [taking you out of a tested area] is what's best for the kids" replaying in my mind. In other words, "YOU FAILED."

I. Am. So. Prideful. There are a hundred reasons why I should have been thankful and excited, but I am full of pride and care entirely too much about the opinions of others. I could only focus on myself and beat myself up. Although I felt utterly humiliated, I had not quite humbled myself, and there is a difference.

To overcome my feelings of being a failure, I began to tell myself, "I know what all I overcame this year. I know how hard I worked. I know how much I LOVED my students. I know the plans I had to improve test scores for next year.  And so it went.

And then I thought, "And I will NOT allow my self worth to be determined by others' opinions of me."

Wait. That isn't humility. That was just an ugly form of pridefulness. What WAS I going to allow my self worth to be defined by?? My opinion of myself??

Stop it, Heather! No! The fact is, I am a daughter of a King, who has been shown more mercy and grace than I can begin to describe.  As a matter of fact, I have NO worth apart from Christ, because all that I do otherwise is tangled up in selfish motives and sin.

Christ is enough. I have to remind myself that God's kindness shows me my heart and leads me to repentance. He saved me when I was His enemy, and though I continue to fail and default to self-sufficiency, He loves me. Psalm 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." As I rest in Christ, things are put into an eternal perspective.

After my little pity party, I resolved to continue to do my work diligently, but more importantly, as unto the Lord... regardless of the subject area I am asked to teach.

It doesn't matter what I teach. What matters is that I honor the Lord in my work and that I do my best to show love, grace, compassion, and mercy to my students.

I mentioned 100 reasons why being moved out of ELA is a good thing... As I have changed my focus to where it needs to be, I am getting excited about the prospect of teaching science and social studies. I have met with the new ELA teacher, and we are already planning some cross curricular studies. I am hopeful that I will be able to help her in her first year of teaching. Less pressure about testing ad fewer writing assignments to grade will allow me to focus on becoming a better teacher and give me the flexibility to implement some project based learning ideas. I am most thankful that my second year teaching will include a little more time with my family.