I have been working for VIPKID for almost three months now. I heard about it from my cousin's wife who posted about how much she loved it on her Instagram account. It has been an absolutely perfect fit for my new life as a busy stay-at-home mom. I love focusing on my family, but I also have lots to offer the world as a result of my education and career experiences. VIPKID allows me to do both in a way that I feel comfortable. And extra money on the side is nice too. :)

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From my home computer in Idaho, I teach English to children ages 5-12 in Beijing, China. Parents book classes with English speaking teachers that can provide their child with valuable conversation practice and immediate feedback on pronunciation and sentence structure. Each private lesson lasts 25 minutes.

I love that I can make my own schedule and teach when my Charlie Boy is asleep in the early mornings or in the evenings. I check the VIPKID app notifications on my phone for any new bookings, login to the VIPKID website, put on my headphones, and teach one-on-one 25 minute lessons to children aged 5-12. Very little prep is required. I just teach from the provided PowerPoint slides with a few fun props and visuals to keep the students' attention. It's so easy!

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To apply, you'll need a college degree and some teaching experience (even Sunday school counts). Then you go through the following process over video chat:
1.) Interview
2.) Two Mock Classes (teaching an adult pretending to be a young Chinese student)
Definitely do your homework first. Carefully prepare for mock classes with the PowerPoint slides they provide. Use your own creative props to make it interesting to a young child (online teaching requires even more enthusiasm to keep their attention), and watch YouTube videos from other VIPKID teachers giving demos and tips. I found the interviews to be fun and my mentors supportive and helpful. 

Base pay for a 25 minute class is $8. So actually, it is $16/hour. But at the end of the pay cycle, you get an extra $1 per class you finish in the allotted time...so that's up to $18/hour. Then you get ANOTHER $1 per class if you complete 45+ classes in a pay period(one month)...so that's $20/hour!

But there's more! If you sign up for short notice classes (meaning you allow students to book you up to an hour before the class begins) you get another $2 per class! So potentially, if both classes in the hours are short notice, you are now at $24/hour!!

And there's EVEN MORE! If you teach a "trial" class (to a student just trying the program out) and they sign up, you get an extra $5 bonus. So there is the potential to make another $10/hour on top of the $24! 

There are also monthly and weekly incentives that provide additional opportunities for teachers to make extra money

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1.) I love being able to use my creativity and training without having to spend hours prepping beforehand or hours grading afterward. 
2.) I make pretty good money for working less than part time hours most weeks.
3.) If I want to work a heavier schedule one week and a lighter one the next...no problem! It's so flexible! It would even be easy to teach these classes on top of an existing full-time job.
4.) The students are adorable and entertaining every single day! They generally work hard and learn quickly. It is fulfilling to build relationships with my regulars. 
5.) My daily uniform: a professional VIPKID orange blazer on top with sweat pants on the bottom...ha! My students never know how cozy I am!
6.) There is a large, positive community of VIPKID teachers online who help each other out. Videos, free printables, Facebook groups, regional meetups, and discussion boards. They have been a great support group.
7.) I have felt from the beginning that VIPKID is organized and clear about their expectations. They offer newsletters, teacher training classes, sample videos, and reminders. From what I understand, this company is growing very fast. It is obvious they are working hard to continually improve and update the way everything works everyday.
8.) I feel supported by the company. Tech support can be contacted any time during a class, and very helpful to work with both the student and  teacher to get everything working smoothly. And I can contact educational support with a question or appeal that is always answered within a day or two. 
9.) I love that I can replay a class afterward and learn from what I see. It's so valuable to watch and evaluate what did and didn't go well. I wish I had that option in my third grade classroom!
10.) The app keeps my schedule, parent feedback, and lesson PowerPoints nicely organized and easy to access. It also allows me to chat directly with tech support and receive notifications and reminders about upcoming classes. 

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Like any job, there are a few things I don't love:
1.) Early hours. There is a time difference between China and America, after all. Sometimes, I open my camera to start class and I look like a zombie! Black eye liner has definitely been my friend and helped me look more awake. 
2.) Sometimes students don't show up for class. This can be frustrating when I woke up at 5:30am to meet them. Luckily, as long as it's not a trial student, I still get full pay! Trial no shows result in half pay.
3.) Even if I chose to word full time, there are no benefitsAnd if I suddenly get sick, canceling a class comes with penalties of varying degrees (depending on the amount of notice). This pressure has resulted in teaching classes when I felt awful...which then impacted my parent ratings. I miss the ability to call in for a sub without having my pay docked. 
4.) Smiling for hours straight can be exhausting...and painful! Ha!

Overall however, I LOVE this job! I have been so happy. It has truly been a blessing in my life...and totally worth these few annoyances. I hope to work with this company for a looong time. 

Interested? Are you looking for a fun, flexible job you can do from home?

Yes, I get a small kickback if you use my link (Thank you so much!)...but I have not been paid to give any certain opinion. All thoughts are my own! 

Best Wishes,



I was so excited to be sent a copy of Danielle Walker's upcoming cookbook, "Celebrations." Her cookbooks are my absolute favorite, and I loove her blog "Against All Grain."

When my book arrived, my to-do list for the day went out the window! I instead spent the afternoon perusing the recipes and make lists of meal plans. There are sooo many great versions of the food usually found at parties and social events, that everyone can enjoy. I whipped up this easy skillet corn bread (page 131) with last night's soup, and it got thumbs up all around!

This book focuses on paleo-friendly meal plans for holidays throughout the year. Family and social gatherings are the most difficult for me when it comes to healthy eating. You don't want to be left out..but you don't want to feel yucky later. And guests are not often interested in your health food with ingredients they've never seen before. With these recipes, everyone is happy!

It comes out on September 27th, but preordering gets you *SEVEN EXCLUSIVE RECIPES* not found in the book!! Preorder now using the link on my sidebar! 
. Check out a video preview of what's inside:



THIS just posted on Teachers Pay Teachers! Over 20 pages of art activities and graphic organizers to aid in your art instruction of elementary-aged students! It covers a vast number of topics usually covered in an Art 101 course, but geared toward those little learners and can be assembled into cute, little learning booklets

This bundle includes the following subjects:
  • Art Media
  • The Color Wheel 
  • Primary & Secondary Colors
  • Complementary Colors
  • Optical Color Mixing (pointillism)
  • Cool & Warm Colors
  • Value (tint & shade)
  • Elements of Design
  • Principles of Design
  • Texture
  • Symmetrical Balance
  • Asymmetrical Balance
  • Perspective
  • Positive & Negative Space
  • Facial Proportions
  • Drawing Portraits
  • Artist Study
  • Art Critique

A Sneak Peek:
Fun, age-appropriate art critique organizer that allows students to collect information about an art piece as well as report their personal opinions! Can be applied over and over to any art being studied!

Clean, straightforward activity pages about color theory!

Experiment with color! Make that tree appear green without using a green crayon!

This packet was so fun to make, art being a particular favorite of mine. And these are so fun to put into action! Pull out the crayons and paint and use these engaging lesson resources throughout the year! 

Best Wishes,
Mrs. Ashmore


My Teachers Pay Teachers--Love Back to School Sale!

I have hundreds of fabulous elementary resources that I created in my seven years of teaching. Desiring to share them, I've opened up my own Teachers Pay Teachers store! There is not a lot on there right now, as I learn how to best use the site and set everything up. But I am excited and hopeful about my little store's success in the future.

To celebrate Back to School, I am marking 20% off my favorite items to use on the first week of school. Go check them out! 

Best Wishes,
Mrs. Ashmore


Hoping to Adopt!

Dear Friends & Family,

Help spread the word! Thanks! 


HOMEMADE PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA (gluten and sugar free)

I needed to use up some pumpkin, so I went into my kitchen and threw a bunch of stuff into a bowl. I was pleased when it turned out to be my favorite I've made so far. I've found that my granola is a little different each time I make it, based on what I have on hand at the time. So don't be afraid to omit or add your own stuff. I still may tweak the ingredients a bit in the future, such as adding a bit less sweetener. Honey is expensive, yo! And I've made granola before with less honey and it was still delicious. 

Also note, I like to make a LOT of granola at once and then eat it for several weeks. So you may want to half this recipe the first time and see how you like it. We'll eat it with apples and peanut butter (as pictured), or thrown in with fruit and yogurt (try adding canned pumpkin too!), or eat it like cereal with almond milk and blueberries (Andrew's favorite). Last night, I even used it when I ran out of coconut flakes to roll my chicken in...it wasn't bad. :)


In a large bowl combine dry ingredients:
  • 5 C gluten free oats 
  • 2 C almonds chopped in processor
  • 1 1/4 C unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 C whole sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 C flax (I used ground, but whole seeds should work)
  • 1/4 C chia seeds
  • 3/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 1.5 T pumpkin pie spice 
In a separate, smaller bowl whisk together:
  • 3/4 C honey
  • 1/4 C melted coconut oil
  • about 1/3 C pumpkin
  • 3 T coconut sugar (I don't think I'll do this next time)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 drop of cinnamon essential oil
Stir in the wet ingredients until the dry ones are well coated. Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper (this recipe filled 3 pans). Bake at 250 for about an hour...but be sure to stir every 10-15 minutes! Store in airtight container after it cools. 

Let me know how yours turns out! :)



Okay. Here is the second half of my shpeal about introverts. You can find the first half HERE

Let me begin this post by reemphasizing that being an introvert is not a bad thing, or a synonym for "shy" or "anti-social." It is an inherently different way of interacting with others. Did you know that an introvert's brain is actually wired differently than an extrovert's? Their thought processes travel different paths!

Google it. I think it's amazing.

Now, knowing what we know about introverts, here are some tips for interacting positively with the introverts in your life. 

I would prefer to give a prepared speech in front of a thousand people, rather than engage in "small talk" with a casual acquaintance. My worst NIGHTMARE is a social engagement where guests are given nothing more than food and time to mingle and chat. Especially if the atmosphere is noisy (people won't be able to hear me anyway). I'm weak just thinking about it.

I've needed to take way too many vacation days to recover from my "vacation" days this year.

The difference between a public speech and "small talk" is the task's structure (or lack thereof). Introverts are highly task oriented, so public speaking can actually be a high for me. I don't mind teaching classes, speaking in church, or leading a group with purpose. But I need time to prepare my thoughts! Making stuff up on the fly is stressful for my careful, perfectionist self. 

Let me give you some advice for those seeking to entertain introverts on a date, party, or weekend stay: Plan an activity with purpose. Give your guests something to DO. Pull out a board game, set up a volleyball net, institute a project...anything to help them relax, focus, and generate conversation beyond burdensome social pleasantries. But don't be surprised if you bring up a topic they're especially passionate about...and they talk your ear off!

Sincerity is soooo important. I don't want to have to spend my precious energy discussing mundane, surface-level topics when as an introvert, I crave authentic relationships. I want to reeeally get to know someone and talk about things that mean something. Life stories. Real problems. Exciting ideas. Not 'how my day was' with people who don't care. 

I think Laurie A. Helgoe explains it well when she says:
“Let's clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
I prefer one-on-one interaction over a large group any day. Large groups make it difficult to connect with individuals on a personal level. 

I think sometimes this is a good policy & sometimes you may not see the true  depth of a person.

Because I'm all about sincerity, my B.S. radar is especially receptive. If I sense someone acting phony or uninterested, I will immediately back off to guard my inner self and conserve energy for someone who is as invested as I am. I need validation that I'm not wasting my strength! 

A good friend

This is why introverts will often have a few, lastingly loyal friendships as opposed to an extrovert's large crowd of pals.We pour masses of energy into them and as such, are fiercely devoted. It takes a lot before I let someone in on my silly, free-spirited side. 

Absolutely true--I don't make friends easily, but the few I have I tend to keep.

Introverts rework every simple conversation in their mind to exhaustion. Because of this, be especially careful of critical remarks. One impatient tone, one biting comment on social media, one angry letter, will not be so easily erased by compliments and smiles the next day. Introverts will internalize them deeply...and they don't forget. Even if they truly forgive, they may remain wary--requiring time to build trust and really open themselves up to that person again.

Similarly, if you are rolling your eyes and gossiping about someone else, I will immediately put up a wall to protect myself. Why wouldn't I assume you do the same about me when I'm gone? Sure, nobody likes to be gossiped about.  But I believe introverts are even more sensitive to this, because their constant internal dialogue makes them especially hard on themselves. 

If corrections do need to be made, do so privately. Don't reprimand in front of a group, as this will be humiliating to an introvert's perfectionism. They hold very high expectations for themselves.

I love to be social...but I absolutely have to be mentally prepared for it. I'm aware that this sounds absurd to those who are naturally outgoing. But it's true. Remember, conversation--especially small talk--is going to leech me of important energy. If I'm low on energy and I haven't prepped for it (like an athlete does for a big game), I'll probably run for cover from that neighbor at the grocery store (like, literally dodge out of an aisle before I'm seen), carefully screen my phone calls even from closest friends (I do so adore the inventor of texting), and fend off unexpected invitations for social engagements ("Uhhh...sorry. I have to do stuff...at my house...alone.") I need to beef up my store of social juices beforehand. I know of extroverts who go to similar lengths just to avoid being alone with their thoughts!

I actually do like to be out around other people, but not to socialize with people I don't know. I prefer to hang in my little group and people watch.

And for the record. If one more person shoves a phone in my face without warning and demands that I say "hello" to someone on the other end, I might throw something. Introverts don't perform their best 'on the spot.' 

Conversations can be frustrating. Extroverts seem to be overly anxious to fill the slightest bit of empty space with noise. The silence makes them feel awkward and nervous, so they take the three seconds I needed to carefully find the right word, as a request to save the day! Then by the time there is another pause in the conversation, that interesting thought I had to contribute isn't even relevant anymore.
“While the introvert is reflecting on the question (thinking first), the extrovert takes this as an invitation to fill the void (talking first). As long as the introvert doesn't interrupt, the extrovert continues to fill the interpersonal space with talk. But as long as the extrovert talks, the introvert can’t think and stays mute. Mute means the invitation is still open, and continued talk assures that the introvert remains mute. By the time the extrovert pauses to ask, the introvert’s head is pounding and he or she just wants to get out so she can think. The extrovert just assumes the introvert had nothing to say, and moves on.”
Obviously, this is not the case with every conversation. But it has happened to me enough times that I can definitely relate. Trying to keep up the conversational pace of an extrovert is exhausting. 

Let me illustrate this with an example of a Sunday school class. The teacher poses a question. After 0.2 seconds, the silence makes the teacher antsy and immediately jumps in with their own answer. This cycle repeats itself through the entire lesson, unless a quick-thinking, fast-talking, extrovert can raise their hand first. Afterwhich, the teacher promptly moves on to the next topic.

Silence does not always mean a lack of things to say. The students were just beginning to process the question, make meaningful connections, and organize their words. Count a good 5-10 seconds next time before diving in, and give those poor introverts some solid THINK TIME! Then, after all the extroverts have been called on to share, a teacher's prodding as simple as, "Great! Anyone else have a thought?" a few times, will merit a surprising number of insights from the introverts quietly waiting their turn. I bet you'll be amazed by all they had to say after all.  

Introvert - Introvert penguin: Wait for the right time to say something...get interrupted

An introvert's mind is constantly swirling with thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Because of this, people often misconstrue my "thinking face" as being depressed or judgmental. Just know that I am probably only listening, daydreaming, reflecting, recharging, observing, remembering, waiting until you're done speaking, solving a problem, or making plans instead. Or I may be simply taking immense pleasure in the scene around me...without having to frolic around being the life of the party.

Quotes That Will Inspire You To Be A Fearless Writer #typography #fonts

Introverts are gifted at self soothing. They won't burden you with their problems unless you have proven yourself to be sincerely loyal. If you're certain I'm upset about something, just ask. Approaching me sincerely and without accusation will probably merit a truthful response. But don't come to inform me of how I must be feeling by putting words in my mouth. You'll probably be wrong, only placing me in an awkward spot.
“...Extroverts often incorrectly assume that introverts are suffering. Introverts internalize problems; we like to take things inside and work on them there. Extroverts prefer to externalize and deal with problems interactively. Because of this difference, introverts may seem psychologically burdened, while extroverts spread the burden around and seem healthier—from an extroverted standpoint. But note that I said introverts like to take problems inside. Sure, an introvert can overdo it, but so can the extrovert who feels compelled to express every unresolved thought or emotion."

Introverts have so many strengths. Intuitive, creative, detail conscious, loyal, sincere, focused, strong empathizers, and self-sufficient to name a few. Be grateful for them and refrain from making comments about "growing out of it" or needing to "come out your shell." These only further the misconception that introversion is undesirable and weird, and hurts self esteem.  Yes, we tend to be quiet. But why do you have to keep bringing it up? Introverts need a moment to observe and process before jumping into a situation...and that's okay! Just give some personal space, advance notice, time to think it out, and don't underestimate what those quiet, introverted folks are capable of. 

Story of my life.

Let me end with one of the most meaningful compliments of my life. I once overheard a favorite college professor say of me to my Bishop: 
"She's quiet...but there's a world of depth in her."

This meant a great deal to me because it was one of the few times I felt validated for who I am as an introvert, rather than made to feel guilty...like I'm supposed to change or fix myself. Assume this is true about the introverts in your life, that there is a world of depth in them not visible to the outside eye...and appreciate their need to keep it sacred. 

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