Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: Remembering My Grandpop

View from Grandpop's back patio (May 2015)
Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
Today, I reminisce about my Grandpop. My Grandpop, Meyrick, lived to be 93 years old and he joined my Grandmom in heaven last month.  Whenever I called him, he would always say "Hi Jenny Penny."  He is one of the reasons why I chose to name my blog JennyPennyAho.  He was truly an amazing person.  Seth and I are grateful we visited Grandpop six months ago at his home in Delaware.  I am also very thankful I spent time holding his hand and comforting him during his final days on this earth.  I wouldn't trade that time for anything in the world. :)

This week, my parents decided to take a road trip and go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving.  They traveled to a nice mountain town in Pennsylvania and on their way home had a lovely supper at a delectable buffet near their home.  This holiday was hard for my parents and I think getting out of town helped ease the pain of being the first Thanksgiving without my Grandpop.

All of my Thanksgivings before moving out west eight years ago, were spent with my Grandpop and Grandmom at my parents home in Delaware.  He would make the stuffing on Thanksgiving Day at my parents home.  I remember watching Grandpop meticulously chop all of the ingredients.  My sister and I would help mix it with the wooden spoon and by hand before transferring it into the casserole dish (my recipe even states: "mix with wooden spoon and by hand").  :)  As far as dessert, my Grandpop was an excellent baker.  He baked the pumpkin pie at his Philadelphia home and transported it in a brown paper bag every year when I was a young girl. After Thanksgiving supper, we would put on the kettle for tea and each have a piece of Grandpop's delicious pumpkin pie. It was perfection every year. :)

This year, Seth and I are so happy to be home in New Mexico. This morning, I made my Grandpop's stuffing and I look forward to sharing it with my husband and our friend for a small Thanksgiving supper later today.

Despite the horrible events occurring around the world, I hope each of you have a wonderful day with family and friends and truly thank God for everything He has given/provided for you.  We are truly blessed and we hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Jenny Penny and Grandpop (May 2015)
Photo credit:  my mom

Prepping Grandpop's stuffing
Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

12 Reasons Why You Should Get the iPhone 6S

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
I've had my 4S since May 2013.  I am been well overdue for a new phone and wanted more GB too.  As for my husband -- he finally joined the 21st century and got a complete upgrade.  He went from having a slider phone with no data plan to the brand spanking new iPhone 6S.

1)  3D Touch is awesome.  I had to look at some videos to see how to use it, but 3D Touch allows me to access my apps so much quicker.  It doesn't work for all of them, but I'm so happy it works with messages, email and calendar.  I love that I can easily add an event or compose an email using 3D Touch.

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
3D Touch for email
Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
3D Touch for adding/viewing calendar events

2)  It's light and sleek. (I huge difference from the weight of my 4S.)

3)  I can zoom in while taking a video.  I love this!  I don't have kids, but I do have Hugo and he's my fur baby.  Seth calls me a crazy dog mom and I am constantly taking photos and recording him.  I like being able to zoom in on Hugo when he's doing something silly without being right next to him like I used to do with my 4S.  I'm so glad I went up from 16GB to 64GB, because I've heard the photos and videos can take up more room than on the older version.

Video Credit: JennyPennyAho
I figured out how to use the video zoom 
feature at 1:15 in this video.  

4)  Picture quality is top notch. I love taking photos with this phone.  It actually records "live," so there is a couple of seconds before and after a photo, so when I view it I can choose the perfect 'frame' to use as my final photo.  My 4S had trouble taking photos at night, but my 6S took the perfect photo of an event we went to last week:  movie under the stars!

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
Movie under the stars at our friend's home (Liz & Chad).
5)  LTE is super fast and I don't miss 3G one bit.  A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of I-10 riding in the backseat on the way home from Albuquerque watching Hulu.  I think Hulu has more glitches on my PS4, than it did on my iPhone.  I swear everyone in Alamo uses up all the band width between 8pm and 10pm and I can never watch Hulu (freezes, starts and stops....ugh!) 

6) The battery lasts soooo much longer than my 4S ever did!  When I had the 4S, my phone would be at 50-60% by lunch time and now it's hovering around 85%.  I haven't changed my usage of the phone, if anything, it's increased since I'm still learning about the 6S and playing around with apps and it's features.

7) I never had a lock (pass code) on my 4S, because I was too lazy and too impatient to deal with entering a code in every time I needed to use my phone.  The Touch ID makes it simple and efficient.  I set mine with my thumbprint because it's the finger I use to push the home button every time I use my phone. (Apple requires you to set up a 6 digit code as the backup. I've noticed the iPhone requires it after the phone has restarted for the initial login, so don't forget your passcode!).  Seth just informed me he likes the Touch ID too. :)  I'm so glad he entered the 21st century (finally!).

8)  Approving/confirming iTunes purchases has never been easier with Touch ID.  I love that I can just use the Touch ID and it's approved.

9)  "Paste and go" is awesome for accessing websites. It's skipped a step.  On my 4S, I would have to  copy,  paste and then click go/return.  Now it's only 2 steps.

10) The screen size is PERFECT.  My 4S was a bit small and it frustrated me when it came to using the keyboard. As I said above, it is the perfect size for watching Hulu and videos. 

11) Voice over LTE (VoLTE) --  I can talk on the phone and utilize apps at the same time.  Example:  I can talk on the phone and surf FaceBook or look up locations on google maps at the same time. I doubt it works for everything, but it's worked for me because I can check things while I'm waiting on hold.

12) We used Amazon to buy our accessories.  I ordered the Spigen iPhone 6S case in champagne gold. It's not too bulky and is rubbery, so I have a good grip on it when I'm holding it.  I don't drop my phone much, but I've dropped it at least once or twice and it's protected my phone.  My husband got the Spigen in gunmetal.  I also got a pink leather Snugg "wallet" for the times when I want to have my money, IDs and credit cards with me.  It's light weight, non bulky and protects my phone if/when I drop it. It also has a magnet to keep it closed and when I've got it open the magnet keeps the flap open. Seth and I also put a JETtech screen protector on our phone.  It was suggested by a friend to put the glass screen protector, so if it was dropped the glass screen protector would most likely shatter and our phone screen would not, but we felt the JETech was sufficient for us.

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
Seth's Spigen (gunmetal) case

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
Snugg pink wallet/case

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
Snugg pink wallet/case opened 
Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
Snugg pink wallet/case opened with tilt feature

I hope you all are having a wonderful week.  It's been NUTS at work, but I'm looking forward to my first weekend off since August this coming weekend!  I've already got plans with Seth to go to a friend's house to play some board games.  Hugo was also invited to play with their cute dog Dottie. :) Happy Hump Day!
*The opinions within this post are my own and I have not been endorsed to promote any of the products mentioned.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My First 2 Months as Assistant Professor

Photo credit: JennyPennyAho
I have been very busy new educator and the past 75 days as flown by!  I have my ups and downs and somedays I just come home and vent to Seth. When those days occur,  I just feel overwhelmed and wonder why I'm doing this.  Then, I go into the lab the next day and my students prove that all those days of preparing for lessons paid off! Yesterday was the last day I'll see them until their final exam in December and I just couldn't have been more proud of them!  They performed venipunctures  and answered practice exam questions like pros! I just wish everyday was like yesterday. :)

Here's what I've learned:

1)  During my graduate studies, I considered myself a "professional student."  I knew how much to study, when to study and how much time to put aside to get my schoolwork completed.  I scheduled time and worked hard to complete papers or other assignments, so I could attend fun events whiling living in Vegas. If I couldn't swing it, I just didn't go.
What I've discovered is: Community College students do not know how to manager their time with studying and always wait to the last minute to take quizzes and then wonder why they got locked out of the quiz!!  It's definitely a learning experience and I do my best to give them studying tips and recommendations to make them successful students, but truly, there's only so much I can do.  They've got to grow up eventually. When I get frustrated, I just need to remember that I was once a 20 something student trying to get through college too.

2)  Lesson planning is hard work!  The lead instructor and my other colleague meet once a week to prepare for the upcoming class.  It was tough in the first few weeks, but now we can get a planning session done in 20 minutes or less.  Typing up the lesson plans and keeping them in files will help us for next semester, now that we've worked out most of the kinks.

3)  Work trips!! I took my first work trip to visit a consortium participant (for the grant I got hired for)  just outside of Albuquerque and it was wonderful meeting educators who have integrated basic skills into their courses successfully!  I don't know when my next work trip will be, but I enjoyed getting out of my little town and exploring another part of NM, even if it was just a hotel stay and a visit to another campus for six hours.

4)  Having two experienced educators working by my side is super helpful.  They provide constructive criticism, so I can constantly improve my teaching style.  In the beginning of the semester, I was just reading my notes to the students and asking a few questions here and there.  Now I throw a lot of "what if" scenarios into my lectures to make them critically think and also provide real-life stories to help them realize the seriousness of health care.  I've been commended for my weekly "announcements" in the online learning system to keep my students abreast of upcoming deadlines and important information for their learning and clinical.

5)  I have been an RN for 12 + years and the basics is nursing is common sense to me.  I have found it fun and yet difficult to break down the basics of nursing (turning a patient in bed, dressing and redressing someone with a weak arm or leg, etc.).  I have performed these skills for so long that it comes easy and now I've got to break down every skill into steps (sometimes there are more than 30 steps).

6)  My new desk is awesome!  I still need to decorate the wall (I'm thinking I'll do a gallery wall of some sort).  It's a great, comfortable space for me to get work done while at home. I also need to get a comfy upholstered chair, but for now I'm using one of my dining chairs.  This is the kind of chair I'm looking for, but I just haven't had the time to shop for it.  Maybe online is the way to go! After all I bought my awesome desk from!

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho

Photo credit:

6) Integrating technology:  Tomorrow I'm going to try a new instructional method by making a few videos of myself completing some skills the students had difficulty with and then post it on the online learning system.  I informed my boss of my intentions and she informed me she bought a webcam and computer just to make videos in the lab.  I told her I'd use my iPhone 6S tomorrow, but I'd be happy to try the webcam when I'm not in a rush to get the videos made.  I'm glad she's on the same page as me and I like being creative to help my students be successful.

7)  Completing new employee training has been super helpful!  I'm about to finish up a two-week online course for "online teaching" and they've provided wonderful tips to help me be a successful educator.  This past week, they challenged us to record a video of ourselves and post within the online learning system.  I had a lot of practice with YouTube this past year (when I recorded Seth's progress while in San Antonio) and it was super easy for me to record an video, post to YouTube, change it to "unlisted" and then post it within the online learning system.  My video was clear and easy to hear.  I noticed the people who used webcams had grainy videos and static.  I think I'll stick with my iPhone for now and then check out the webcam my boss recently purchased for our dept.

8) I've been lugging around my laptop, heavy textbook, binder and other materials four nights a week and it's gotten old really quick. So..... I purchased a rolling bag from Amazon and I just got notification from UPS that its arriving TOMORROW! I can't wait to use it!  The great aspect of this bag is it can actually unclip from the "rolling" portion of the bag, so I can carry it if I chose too.
McKlein USA Berkeley Leather Rolling Laptop Tote EXCLUSIVE (Black)
McKlein USA Berkeley Leather Rolling Laptop Tote
Photo credit:

Thanks for stopping by JennyPennyAho!  I will provide another update after the semester ends in December.  Wish me luck with getting the new course I'm developing published to the online learning system and finishing out this semester with a bang! :)