SOL #21: Coffee & Grading

FullSizeRender[1]

The end of the quarter is near and coffee is a necessity.

It was a grading at a coffee shop until 9 o’clock kind of night.

Laptop? ✔️️  Favorite Paper Mate Flair Pen? ✔️️  Endless stack of assessments to grade? ✔️️

Most important? My coffee and co-teacher to keep me motivated.

This particular coffee shop has the most delicious, and unusual, drinks. My co-teacher and I LOVE to come here to grade. It is one place that has kept us sane this school year.

Our liquid companion for the night:  Honey Bee Latte… so yummy!

FullSizeRender

Nothing better than sipping a latte in a cozy coffee shop, minus the grading part…☕

slice-of-life_individual

SOL #20: Spring Has Arrived!

goodbye-winter-and-hello-spring-21

So long, winter!

Winter, my least favorite season, is finally behind us. (Well, hopefully.) I have always been sure that winter is my least favorite season, especially living in Illinois with frigid cold and endless snow.

Spring, a season I love, especially when it loves us back. By that, I mean warmer temps and no sign of snow. I will take rainy days and thunderstorms, but please don’t let snow revisit us this year.

I teeter back and forth between my two favorite seasons being spring and fall…the transitional seasons. I love/hate the temperate climate of Illinois. The love part is solely because I get to experience the changing of seasons in spring and fall.

There is something about springtime…

The changes in the smell of the air- FRESH.

The sun begins to peak out a little more.

Everything seems a little brighter. 

Warmth consumes our weather forecast.

Color comes back into the world.

Tree buds & flowers begin to bloom; green grass begins to grow.

The world around us comes back to LIFE.

This, is why spring is a season I long for each year.

Spring has arrived! 

slice-of-life_individual

SOL #19: Trip to TJs

slice-of-life_individualSundays are typically my grocery shopping and meal prep day. Not sure why, (because the stores are madness) but it has become part of my Sunday routine.

One place I absolutely love to shop at is Trader Joe’s.

I’m sure I would fit in perfectly as a TJs spokesperson because I frequently recommend and rave about their products to others.

On my trip to TJs today, I was inspired to post about a place I love so much!

Inspired by the blog What’s Good At Trader Joe’s?,  I am going to share a list of 19 must try items from TJs. These are all items I have personally tried before, and continuously buy because they are just so good!  I will start with frozen items and go from there:

  1. Frozen French Green Beans*** (STAPLE ITEM) 
  2. Harvest Hodgepodge: 8 vegetable blend
  3. Reduced-Guilt Mac & Cheese
  4. Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions 
  5. Scallion Pancakes 
  6. Mango Waffles 
  7. Sweet Potato Frites 
  8. Organic Jasmine Rice*** (STAPLE ITEM) 
  9. Mango Chunks
  10. Thin-Sliced Chicken Breasts
  11. Mandarines
  12. Dried Baby Bananas
  13. Vanilla Almond Spiced Chai Protein Smoothie
  14. Sparkling Spring Water: Raspberry Lime
  15. Coconut Oil Spray*** (STAPLE ITEM)
  16. Popcorn with Herbs & Spices
  17. Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
  18. Les Salades du Midi Salad Mix
  19.  Chocolate Chip Waffles

My list could go on and on, but I will stop at 19 for my 19th slice.

Any TJ lovers out there with other suggestions/ favorites? I would love to hear! 🙂

 

SOL #18: A Day for Me

slice-of-life_individualA day for me. Key word: ME.

This past week has been CRAZY. No other way to describe it.

Crazy busy. Crazy stressful. Crazy tiring.

This was the week that made up the majority of my March to-do list. If anything could happen this past week. it did. I think I slept about 5 hours every day this week. 😬

After leaving work yesterday, I decided I would designate Saturday as a day for myself.

 So far I have stuck to it.

It has been a restful day. No alarm set. No priorities to tend to. A much needed day of rest and relaxation.

Now, as day turns to night, I am going out to dinner and seeing Beauty and the Beast. 🙂

I need to set aside more days like this, not only when I have a CRAZY week. It is easier said than done, but I will make it a goal going forward!

For now, I will enjoy my Saturday night after a (rare) relaxing and refreshing day.

SOL #17: Leprechauns & Gold

FullSizeRender (2)

I was ready to go all out for my first St. Patrick’s Day as a teacher! First thing in the morning, students began earning gold tickets for positive behavior. These tickets were put into a “Pot O’Gold” for a whole class raffle to earn a prize.

Our prize = mini speaker. I happened to have a brand new mini speaker that I didn’t want to waste…it worked out perfectly as a raffle prize!

To kick off our St. Patrick’s Day celebration, students completed a writing activity on the prompt: “Who is worth more to you than gold?”. I absolutely loved some of the sweet responses, which are all about FAMILY.

One of my students wrote: “My family, even though sometimes we fight. Family can NEVER be replaced.”

What a true statement, coming from my 9-year-old student.

Another favorite of mine: “My Mom and Dad are worth more because they take care of me and feed me and love me and gold can’t do that.”

I love to see that some of my students already know the value of family, something “gold”, or money can’t buy.

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender

slice-of-life_individual

SOL #16: St. Patty’s Day Feast

slice-of-life_individual

One of my favorite family traditions is for St.Patrick’s Day. My family has an annual St. Patty’s feast to celebrate! Usually, we will celebrate with my immediate family, and/or my Dad’s family, who is Irish. This year, we decided to have our feast tonight, the night before St. Patty’s Day.

Delicious corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, Irish soda bread, and my Mom’s pistachio salad!

My Dad literally bought about 3 loaves of Irish soda bread, which is fine by me. I absolutely love Irish soda bread. YUM. It is definitely a highlight of the feast.

Each and every year, we always talk about having this meal more than once a year because we love it so much! Yet, each year, we only have it once. It’s just one of those meals that becomes an annual tradition, it feels weird to eat it any other time.

I think it’s best to keep it that way. 🙂

So, now this is my 3rd blog about food. I see a trend…maybe I should start a food blog. 😋

SOL #15: Sia is The Greatest

 

I was listening to the radio on my drive to work this morning. About a minute away from school, the song The Greatest by Sia pours through the speakers. While I was jamming out, an idea popped into my head: turn this song into a transition song for my students!

Immediately, I walked into the classroom, sat down (jacket still on), and looked for the song.  I timed the song to see if it matched our reading transition time, which takes a little under 2 minutes for students to gather all materials and get books from their bins.

Perfect timing. Actually, shorter time. PERFECT.

I picked a stopping point in the song, right before Kendrick Lamar raps, leaving exactly 1 minute and 40 seconds!

Currently, we are using a timer for transitions, but it is not nearly as motivating to my students as music has proven to be. Transitions are tough for my class, but music is magical and has worked wonders on our transitions over the past month and a half.

My students were in their seats before the song even finished. 1 minute and 30 seconds.

I heard students saying things like: “Miss Chance, did you hear her say stamina?!” and “She sings don’t give up, don’t give up, just like our classroom song!“.

I hoped they would catch on to those key words in the lyrics…

Ah, so not only do my students like the song, but it will also shorten our transition time AND reinforce having a growth mindset. Quadruple bonus: it connects to our continuous teaching of having stamina as a reader.

I couldn’t have asked for a better song to hear on the radio while driving to work. 🎵

slice-of-life_individual

SOL #14: What’s Cookin’?

slice-of-life_individualI have been on a roll, cookin’ up new meals to try for lunch. I typically meal prep for the work week with chicken, rice, and a veggie, but I have been trying to switch it up a little. I was getting oh so sick of the same meals day in and day out…

For my past two meals, I have ventured out into Asian-American cuisine, with a healthier twist!

First up, cauliflower fried rice with chicken and stir fry veggies. I don’t know about you, but I am a sucker for fried rice. It is one of my favorite foods to eat!

For the cauliflower fried rice, I used pre-riced cauliflower and stir fry veggies from Trader Joe’s. Mix that up with chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil,  egg, scallions, and garlic. There ya have it, yummy cauliflower fried rice. 🙂

IMG_0676

Next up,  I made chicken lettuce wraps (Copycat P.F. Changs recipe). Another favorite of mine. So simple, yet so satisfyingly tasty! I had ground chicken that needed to be used, and chicken lettuce wraps were the first thing that came to mind. This recipe called for some ingredients I have never personally cooked with, like ground chicken, hoisin sauce, and water chestnuts, so I was a little nervous for the finished product. I tried these wraps during lunch and they turned out to be delicious! Definitely a repeat recipe for me.

FullSizeRender.jpg

New recipes were a success! 🙂

SOL #13: S(no)w

slice-of-life_individual

Trying to keep up with this weather is like having whiplash. I’ll admit, we REALLY lucked out this winter. A record of no snow since December and 70 degree days in February must hold some consequence.

Well, here it is. Snow in mid-March. Not unheard of, but definitely not the weather I welcome with open arms.

On my drive home from work, snow began to fall, once again. Lake effect snow warning? Bring it on. I stepped outside of my car and took a few pictures of the snow. Snow is beautiful, but green grass, budding trees, and blooming flowers are more my scene.

As I was walking up to my porch, I happened to see plants that were once peeking out of the soil. Now, the plants are peeking out from under a fresh blanket of snow.

Nature is surely confused.

Currently dreaming of a spring day, hopefully in the VERY near future.

SOL #12: Daylight Savings

slice-of-life_individual

Don’t get me wrong, nothing makes me happier than extra daylight. I look forward to the days when I drive home from work and it is still light outside.

Except for today. I woke up on a mission: knock as much I can off of my to-do list. I dragged myself to Starbucks, ordered an iced coffee, and began to prepare for my summative meeting this week. Typing away, searching for evidence, and before I knew it, it was 4:00pm.

“4 hours have passed already?!”, I think to myself in a panic. I am satisfied with my progress, but the hours flew by unnoticed.  Here I am now, sitting at my computer, and it is already after 10:00pm.

My solution? Pretend daylight savings time did not steal an hour from my Sunday. I will continue to work as if it is 9:00pm. 🙂

Tomorrow. I will embrace daylight savings tomorrow when I drive home from work in the daylight.