6/04/2012

The Queen's Jubilee Weekend Wrap-Up

Aaah. It feels SO good to enjoy a lovely relaxing weekend completely absent of anything teaching related. Okay, so I've just lied, it hasn't been completely absent but it's been completely lesson plan and paperwork free. Thank God.

Saturday morning I was up at 7am preparing to take my QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) Math Skills test. I've already done the Literacy one and passed it first time - which I certainly should have as I've got a BA in English. Ha! - but this Math one is becoming a royal pain in the ass. I know that there are a lot of people who wouldn't post this in their blog - basically exposing to the world how much of an epic failure they are at something - but I'm keeping it real. I'm not one of those people who is obsessed with only sharing the rosy parts of life and I figure I may as well be honest and share the craptastic bits as well. So, here I am saying to the hundreds of people who will read this post: I'm CRAP at math, everyone! Seriously crap. As in, if it's anything mathematical, I'll struggle. Fact. But to be honest, I've always struggled, even in high school, and now - regardless of relentless studying - I'm finding this math test to be quite an uphill battle. Now, for those of you who aren't aware what this test entails, it's 45 minute of HELL with 12 Mental Arithmetic questions (which are huge paragraphs containing a mix mosh of words and numbers read to you by some obnoxious posh English lady. Oh, and you have only a piece of paper to jot down your calculations and 18 seconds to answer each). After those 12 devil problems you have the remaining time to answer questions which focus on data handling, charts and percentages etc. The last portion of the test I'm fine with. The first part, notsomuch. 

I've cried on numerous occasions as I've attempted the online practice test and at the end was left with the deflating message: "You've got 0 out of 12 Mental Arithmetic Questions Correct." Ugh. It's so demoralizing. Every time. I've swore, shouted, slammed pencils down, bit my lip, cursed the day I was born, convinced myself I just can't do it and called my Mom blubbering for reassurance. This whole experience really hasn't been enjoyable - at all. In fact, it's left me feeling like a complete moron and wondering how the hell I'm meant to teach children when I'm struggling to pass a math exam? Close friends and family will know that I'm one of those OCD perfectionist people who tries my damnedest, stays focused and is willing to work hard to get what I want/need. And usually that hard work pays off and I'm rewarded. But I've come to the realization that this is going to be one of those things that I have to work even harder to achieve and it's not going to come quite so easily. If I'm to graduate in July I MUST pass this test- which is largely why I'm 'airing my dirty laundry' so to speak, and coming to all of you -my family, friends and readers- for help. I need your suggestions, words of wisdom, tricks of the trade - any advice you can offer - in terms of what I can do to kick ass on my Math test (which I take on the 12th). Do any of you struggle with those obnoxiously long, CONFUSING, math questions like:  


Mr. Chung is paying Grace and Monty to mow his lawn. It takes 4 hours for
Grace to mow the lawn by herself, and it takes 5 hours for Monty to mow the
lawn by himself. If Monty begins mowing Mr. Chung’s lawn at 9am, and Grace
joins him at 10am, at what time will they finish mowing the lawn?

I do. What tricks do you have in understanding/processing these evil problems? I know practise makes perfect and I'll continue to practise - but right now I'm looking for a bit more than that. What can I do to help my poor bonehead brain decipher these - and in only 18 seconds!? Do any of you struggle in understanding these kinds of questions? Have any of you had similar tests you've needed to take? What have you done to help yourselves? Do you know of any websites that would assist a mathematically challenged person such as myself? Help a girl out! Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated and I'd love you forever. Muchos gracias.  

Aside from all of that boring and mildly depressing Math mumbo jumbo, I've been relaxed and enjoying the company of the hubs and my lovely in-laws in Formby. The extra free time has also allowed me to bake some of the yummy goodies I've found on Pinterest. Whoop whoop! As they have all been a super success I'm sharing them with you now because I promise they'll make your life that little bit better. No exaggeration. Bust out the mixer. 
On Saturday night I finally made these Lemon Crinkle Cookies I've been wanting to try for about a month now. They were really yummy and very light (oh, and as a bonus only 2 Weight Watchers ProPoints. Score!) but my only recommendation would be to make sure you don't over cook them because they'll dry out and go super crumbly. The more gooey they are, the better!
I've had this recipe for Blackberry Pie Bars pinned and I've been desperately wanting to make them for ages. One of my favorite bakery's back home (which you can read about here) makes them and I've been searching for a good recipe so I could replicate them myself. I'd introduced my friend/placement buddy Laura to Pinterest while on our teaching placement (in addition to recipes I find/use a lot of teaching resources from Pinterest. It's seriously one of the best inventions ever! How was I not aimlessly stumbling around crying before this? I don't know) and we'd decided that on our last day we'd bring in some home baked yummies as a thank-you to all of the lovely staff. Laura wanted to attempt the Blackberry Pie Bars while I agreed I'd make my beloved Lemonies. Let me just say that that Friday I may have eaten 3 of Laura's Blackberry Pie Bars - they were seriously HEAVENLY. Just as good as the ones in my Vermont bakery and I'll definitely be making them in the near future. That recipe is a keeper! Laura said they were super simple and it was damn near impossible to mess them up. So if you're looking for a really simple and delicious summer recipe - this is for you, folks!
In addition to those goodies, I've also had my eye on another recipe I pinned the other day which I fully intend to make within the next couple of weeks. These Strawberry Lemonade Bars look AMAZING and very easy. I'll report back with the verdict as soon as I've given them a go, but I'm almost positive they'll be scrumptious. I mean seriously, look at that picture? How could they not?

When I wasn't obsessing over calorific food, I was embarking on another new Instagram adventure (my obsession with this app is becoming ridiculous) and I've again joined Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim for her monthly photo challenge. If you're like me and enjoy taking pictures of practically everything on Instagram, then you definitely need to join in the Photo A Day June fun. I heart it and just love looking at everyone else's photos. This was my photo from yesterday: my plate full of yummy English Sunday Roast Dinner made by my Mama-in-law :)
Here in England we're all off until Wednesday as it's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and an official Bank Holiday. I'm loving it. Seriously. I know that I'm not English and technically I should be more infatuated with President Obama, but I just find The Royal Family so much more fascinating and lovely. It's like real life Disney characters! This interest was originally sparked last year when my MIL and I had a 'Will and Kate' cupcake date for the Royal Wedding, but in addition to that I've spent the entire previous week teaching the kids all about the Royal Family. To be honest I think I find the Queen so cute simply because Carl's Nana is the SPIT of her. No joke, it's adorable. Yesterday the celebrations kicked off and there was a fantastic Boat Parade in London which we watched on the telle. I snapped these pics to remember the event :)
Nana The Queen and Prince Philip enjoying the view over the Thames 
At Tower Bridge the bascules were raised as a sigh of respect in order to salute The Queen. 
And perhaps all of the excitement caused Mama Lynne and I to become famished, so we may have eaten some Jubilee cupcakes...
Tonight the Diamond Jubilee celebrations continue with a big concert outside Buckingham Palace with performances by Sir Cliff Richard, Stevie Wonder, Sir Elton John, Sir Tom Jones, Sir Paul McCartney Kylie Minogue, Grace Jones etc. But for today we're off to enjoy the unexpected sunshine in Southport and home later for a yummy BBQ. What a lovely way to spend the day. I'm feeling very blessed today :)

11 comments:

  1. You just made me want so many different kinds of squares! I haven't made any in forever. I really should!

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    1. Haha if it makes you feel better I made myself drool, too. Ha! You definitely need to make some of those hun. So yummy!

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  2. I wish I had some tips on the math problems problem! ;) But I unfortunately SUCK at math too. Some teacher once told me to cross out all of the words in a math problem and focus on the actual numbers. Good luck girl! At least you have some treats to keep you company!

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    1. Ooh good idea about crossing out all of the words and focussing on the numbers! Thank doll! :) xoxo

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  3. Ohhh, all that food looks amazing!! I want to try the strawberry lemonade bars! YUM!!

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  4. When you make those strawberry lemonade things I want one mmmmmmm ! and I want to do photo a day June ! watch the space haha you will like tomorrow's pic it will be coldplay :) x

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    1. Haha I promise to share those strawberry lemonade bars with you next time I bake them, Em! And anything Coldplay I like! ;) xxxx

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  5. I just left a comment on your bedroom post. Reading through your blog, I see many similarities! Had to comment here, even though I think you may have done the test by now?? I always hated maths, but I found the QTS skills test book really helped. Just keep going, don't let this one thing put you off. I know exactly how you feel and I'm the same - work hard and it usually pays off. It's tough when something doesn't always go that way. You're nearly at the end!! All that food looks soooo yummy by the way. And love the cake sign in your kitchen!! Sorry for the essay of a comment:)

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    1. Hello again!
      I have taken the test and I've passed it (thank the Lord!) It was a real pain in the ass, let me tell ya, but I've finished it now. I'm actually in the process of finishing up my last PGCE essay (which is due Tuesday) and then I graduate on the 13th of July! Hooray! :) Thanks for the kind words, it really meant a lot :)

      P.S. I write comments the size of essays all the time, so it's nice to meet a chatterbox like myself! Haha!

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  6. Oh that's great, well done! Such a relief isn't it?? Not far to go... Look forward to the summer! xx

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