A Weekend Full of Grace

I had a lovely weekend with my best friend, Grace. She brought back the VIP, or VIC, Pistol Pete to Greensburg. Missed him so much, as he is practically a member of the ShulLoudon family. 

Although there was the Commmunity Days event happening in Greensburg all weekend, we opted for the Andy Warhol museum, meeting for lunch at the Southern Tier Brewery, and a little Lawrenceville experience. It was just lovely. 

Word Wednesday 

Today, I got to be a Special Education teacher for the fourth grade. This particular mix of students was great. They are such hard workers! We prepped for the math state test, practiced spelling words and using a protractor. I also got to have a bit of fun with them and ask about their favorite word they have learned this year for “Word Wednesday”. In case the photo is not legible, some of the answers they gave are:

  • Lunar
  • Overdrive
  • Overheat
  • Exclamatory
  • Magnificent
  • Multiply
  • Pink
  • No school ( 😝)

Monday Sorta Tuesday

So, today was the first day back after a “Spring Break” at the school I am substituting at in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Apparently it is not a thing to take a full week for Spring Break here in PA. I think that is so strange, but I will have to get used to it.

This whole not planning lessons, assessments, or making educational decisions thing is very difficult to get adjusted to. I really miss making instructional decisions that are best for ‘my kids’. I miss Hargrave, which is totally weird because I have literally never missed that institution since I left. Have missed some of the people like crazy, but not many of the decisions that were made… Also, it is weird that I haven’t had a group of ‘my kids’ since 2015. {I mean my own student learners in my class. I do not have children. Lawd help me.}

What happened to being a classroom teacher?! I so miss that.  Don’t quite remember why I gave that up in the first place when I started focusing on the adults instead of the students. I think that’s where I got lost.

Printing resumes and cover letters now. My resume is attached below in case you want to take a gander. I must say, I think they are pretty A-OK! 😍🥇

Michele Shull

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!

Saying Goodbye to the South

I am writing this post in the Courtyard Marriott in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

It’s funny how we went from one ‘Burg’ to another ‘Burg’.

A huge part of me cannot believe how long I actually stayed South after going immediately after I graduated undergrad from Otterbein University in June. I remember being so incredulous as to how different life was. You did not expect anything to be finished fast, especially time at the hair salon. I spent at least 3 hours there each time I got a color/highlight living in the South. LAWD. You never mentioned that you DON’T go to church.

Locals use the phrase “It’ll make you slap your momma” to reveal a positive reaction to something, especially food.

There are many things that living in the South has given me. I have grown up there. “Put your big girl pants on.” Having gone to college 20 minutes away from where I was raised in Ohio, having an adventure was very important to me. I will never forget…

  • Zumba Classes in the Hargrave mess hall after school
  • driving the 15 minutes just to get a decent cup of iced coffee from Starbucks. How corporate of me, I know.
  • Going for runs and always having to wave at cars driving by.
  • The Lynchburg Farmers’ Market. Will always carry my ‘Lynchburg is for Locivores’ tote!
  • I will always remember Dean LTC Walter Sullivan at our in-services to take faculty back to campus when I worked at Hargrave. He would say, “The tobaccoo is as tall as your eye, that’s when we know it’s time to start the school year.”
  • Discovering a love for hiking, especially those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Friends that turned into family in Chatham. Regretfully, I have lost touch with some of these individuals that took me in while I practically needed a passport to navigate the social situations. I will always be grateful to Suzie Brawn, Cindy Watson, the Oditts, Ty Gafford, Mrs. Finkner, Walter Sullivan, Miss Kerry, Blair Sutton…among others.

Before we left Lynchburg, we had to try out the hotel that we blocked rooms out for our wedding! The pictures below are of the Craddock Terry Hotel.  The space is gorgeous. We stayed in a regular, king-sized room. The bus will pick us up and drop us off at this hotel. For those of you who have not received your ‘Save the Date’ yet, they are coming out very soon.

The Craddock Terry Hotel

The picture of southern hospitality. 

A view of the lobby, inside the red door!

Your breakfast comes in this shoeshine box between 6 and 7 am. 

Each door has a unique shoe design on the door. No two rooms are the same! 

This shower was delicious!