Franklin Park Conservatory

Doug and I took our Friday off to visit my family in Ohio through the weekend. We got to see these two amazing humans, which we certainly do not do enough of… I know that I am really hoping for a Morgantown relocation!🙋🏼🤞🏼

We love guacamole! Duh! 

Right before the Friday night live music, and the drama that went along with it. I don’t think Andrew liked the musician’s hat or something. But as  soon as he started playing, Andrew started boohooing.

Saturday, the girls went to the Franklin Park Conservatory to see the butterflies 🦋 in the exhibit that they release every year. It was beautiful, and always really great to see my Aunt Betsy. A fairy garden in the Palm House as part of the Fairy Garden exhibit. This one in an open book was my favorite. The desert room has to be my favorite room.

An orchid wall in the HimlayasThese two are always all laughs. 

Jules perfecting the ‘head tilt’.These beautiful, blushing Hydrangeas were everywhere! Chihuly glass was throughout the rooms in the Conservatory. This installation was arranged in a pattern much like a sunroof. This installment in particular has been there every since I can remember. I seem to take a photo of it every time I come to Franklin Park. Blooms cascading in the Himalayan RoomChrysali 

More butterflies. These guys were hard to take photos of! My favorite species that were flying around the butterfly exhibit were the Peleides Morpho Butterfly. They are native to Mexico and Central America and are this beautiful iridescent blue. 

The girls and Andrew, looking like a little lump. 🙂

Doug spent the day helping my grandparents and running around with Tim Shull.  He is such a keeper…

Just Good

Today, I had the privilege to be a music teacher for the day at my substituting position. It ended a 4 days of subbing that have left me very fulfilled. Not that I look for affirmation in children; but when a girl not 10 years old brought me a flower this morning in the hallway, it put a smile on my face that I haven’t felt since I left Hargrave. Pictured above was my name on the wipe off board on Tuesday. 2 fifth graders and a sixth grader left me small notes beside my name. Makes me smile still. These tiny humans are restoring my love for learning too. 

Substitute Planning Goodness

Today, I thought I would share a few of the ways that I use my Erin Condren Teacher Planner to help me when I substitute on a day-to-day basis in different districts and schools each day.

I love the clutches made especially for the Erin Condren products. They are super helpful to just throw them in a bag & go. That way nothing will dog-ear pages or spill on your important plans!  And now that I am hopefully adding Greensburg-Salem School District to my substituting calendar in the very near future, it is going to be so important to stay organized when as a sub, one is expected to execute another instructor’s plans.

How I am currently using the Erin Condren Teacher Planner:

  1. Month View: day-to-day assignments, whether they are full day or half day, which    days of work I will be choosing to put on each paycheck. Highlight if I have input this day into Aesop.
  2. Day Plans: My daily takeaways and reflections go in this spot. I also detail any great student helpers in each classroom, any tips for next time I am in that teacher’s classroom, and details about anyone I had to leave a negative note about.
  3. Page Protectors: I use these so frequently! But only the most important documents get placed inside these. When you customize your teacher planner, you can choose fewer or more of these. I love having 6. I have had an EC Teacher Planner for the past 3 years & have found I really use them!
  4. Social Events: I place these throughout so that I can put in non-work days for these days I cannot fulfill any substituting jobs.
  5. Bullet Journal: I used to use a separate notebook for bullet journaling, but it has gotten too tedious to switch back and forth. I use the pages following the monthly plan view for longer to do lists.

Some of my favorite go-to products that I use daily with my planner are:

  • Heidi Swapp at JoAnn Fabrics
  • American Craft at JoAnn’s
  • Mrs. Grossman brand stickers
  • Highlighters
  • Post-its 
  • Sharpie Brush Tip Markers
  • Staedtler Fine Tip Pens

Workshop PGH

My lovely Emily girl came to visit a few weekends ago. She and I met in college, pledging the same sorority and living together in our freshman year dorm. It seems crazy that we have have been friends since 2005. It was a welcome break from a hectic first few weeks subbing.  

She jokes that she has a black thumb, but I don’t believe it. Her yard in Clintonville is just as quaint and beautiful as she is. I just love this picture I took of her… so natural and pretty! 

So when a “local”, meaning downtown Pittsburgh, (which is still an hour away) craft workshop offered a living wall class with one of the owners of a local greenhouse, I texted her an she was on board to see the new place and have some much needed girl time. Below are the results of this BOMB class. 

The class took almost 3 hours, we built the frame and planted everything in it. Here are the steps that I remember of the process:

  • Build the frame…
  • Line the frame with burlap
  • Staple down the burlap to the inside of the frame using a staple gun
  • Place the mixture of 1:1 perlite and succulent soil so that there is only .5″ of frame showing at the top on all sides. Be sure to place an adequate amount of soil into the corners of the frame.
  • Place reindeer moss and living sheet moss over the soil. This is a great water holder and will also provide support to your succulents while they take root.
  • Cut a piece of chicken wire the size of the frame opening. Fold the sharp corners inward and tuck it into the soil and moss. Attempt to get your chicken wire as flush as you can with the soil/moss.
  • Staple gun the chicken wire to the frame to hold it in place. This was the most difficult part of he process. There are lots of staples not holding anything stuck in my frame that you can’t see buried in there!
  • Take a pencil and create a pencil depth hole in the moss, soil and chicken wire. Just lunch through it all! 
  • Carefully Take your succulents cuttings/potted succulents out of their containers and break apart the roots from the excess soil.
  • Place the succulents into the small holes you just made root first. 
  • You can manipulate the reindeer moss to support the succulents so they stand up. You can also try and hug the roots of the succulents with the sheet moss and soil. Make sure that the succulents have been planted deeper than the moss level, so that they can take root in the soil and not die. 
  • Leave your wall flat, spraying each succulent with about 10 sprays in the spray bottle a few times a week for about a month. Make sure that wall has as close to full sun as possible. 

Below are photos of both of our living walls the day after the class. 

 If you ever get the opportunity to take a course by Natasha of Shadyside Nursery, DO IT! She is just wonderful and has these great life experiences, from teaching art, to working on a construction crew like “one of the guys”, to opening this awesome nursery with her man. I know that Em would agree when I say that I have kind of a girl crush. 

These shots were done with my 50mm lens I received for my birthday. Any excuse to take some practice shots! Here is my wall a few weeks later. 

Honestly, I cannot say enough great things about Workshop PGH. The teacher of the class was awesome. The space was great and inspiring in itself. And we met a few other ladies who were an absolute hoot!


I had the opportunity to visit my mom today as a surprise in Columbus. We spent the day together and spent the whole day hanging, just us, which happens very infrequently. I am so lucky to have a mom who is genuinely my best friend. 

Praxis down…

I have officially passed all 4 of my Pennsylvania-specific Praxis tests that I took last month. I received the official report this morning. Yippee! One more battery of tests until I can submit my application for Pennsylvania Teaching Licensure. I have them scheduled for March 23rd. They are called the PAPA or PECT tests. They measure basic academic competency in Mathematics, Reading, and Writing. They take 4 hours to complete and all three tests are done in one session. So ready for this whole process to be done and sealed in an envelope! 

I have been brainstorming some ideas for posts about substitute teaching so stay tuned!