August 26, 2016


Yesterday, it was 47 degrees in the morning and only hit about 70 in the afternoon. Much appreciated. 
It still got warm at work, but not pants-stick-to-you warm, so it worked out okay.
No worries though, because I'm sure the temperature will hit that range again next week. 

I didn't notice until I looked down to take this picture...I'd spilled frappucino on myself on the way home. 
Oh well. 

Pants are Athleta, last year, but they pretty much always have them. Wedges are Famous Footwear. The green tank was $8 at Target a few months ago and the sweater was from Gap last spring (I hope frappucino comes out). 

Before 9am, two kids told me they liked my shirt. 
And then one kid told me I reminded her of her mom because her mom always complains.
It's a long story.
However, you should be careful what you say in front of your kids because they bring it all to school. 

August 25, 2016

S+T 8/18

Now that school has started up again, the easiest thing for me to do is revert to Stuff and Things on Thursdays. It's where I can get it all out at once if I don't have time to write separate posts. And I really don't have time to write separate posts for all the little things that I love to chat about.

+I made myself this ultra-fancy new graphic and everything.

+I finished season 2 of Unreal two weeks ago. REALLY enjoyed this show and season one was my favorite. I'm excited for season 3, which means they'll probably cancel it or something.  Have you watched? Thoughts?

+I also finished season 6 of Shameless. While I knew things would get nice and screwed up at the end, I didn't quite expect what happened to happen. As is the Gallagher way, I guess.

+This letter by a teacher who instituted a no-homework policy is crap. Absolute garbage. And I don't agree with her at all because she doesn't even give any information in that letter. What "research"? What exactly did she base her conclusion on? I can do "research" too. I try to back up everything I say, so she needs an admin signature or a citation or SOMETHING. As a parent (or even a taxpayer in the district), I would want to know the science behind this.

Teachers have been having this homework debate for decades. Of course homework isn't necessary! But practice makes perfect. And students who practice their math facts learn how to multiply and students who read at home actually learn how to read. That, indeed, is proven.

I don't assign homework that is strictly homework. I assign classwork that the students work on during centers and small groups. If they don't finish it, they take it home. Some kids finish everything every day. Many kids do go home with no homework because they learned the art of time management. If you are choosing to use your work time to goof around then, yeah, you have homework. Life is rough and actions have consequences.

Also, I would like to know what kind of school she works at. Looks like they're doing pretty well with their test scores. And here, check out the 2nd grade supply list. That's about $150 worth of supplies. Our supply list is about $50-60 depending on the brands (for 4th grade) and many kids don't bring those with them.

In addition, I've worked in Title I schools for my entire career. Those kids do not always show up to kindergarten knowing how to read and write. They need consistency and predictability and homework helps to scaffold that. I don't believe that they are going to magically get more family time because I don't assign math homework. It doesn't work that way in most of our nation's schools. Economics affects everything. Also, looking at their website, that teacher's elementary school has a full HOUR more of school each day than I do. An extra hour with kids can do more than some math facts and reading at night, but that's not my choice.

+Speaking of school...methinks I've potentially taken on too much. I've got my more-than 8am-4pm job, which requires meetings on top of meetings and working on the weekends more often than not. I've got Girls on the Run starting in a couple of weeks. I've got a pre-student teacher starting soon, so she'll be in my classroom a few days a week. And I've got a bunch of kids I'm trying to figure out. 
Plus the house, the property, the dogs, etc. And a few army wife obligations here and there (sigh).
I know I want to be busy and busy makes the deployment go more quickly but it's a lot right now. And it's not like this was exactly avoidable. I wanted to be busy over the summer and I wasn't busy because summer simply isn't my busy season. 

That's all. Happy almost-Friday!

August 24, 2016

Why I can't wear pants during August

Friday is always jeans day and while I have strong opinions about it in one sense, I also would like to make it known that I used to wear jeans to school a lot. I wore them every Friday, without fail, in Alaska. I wore them every Friday, without fail, in Missouri.  It all worked out just fine.

The issue right now is that my classroom is so hot that I physically cannot wear jeans. Or pants in general. In fact, many teachers are wearing leggings and boots. Part of the beauty of being a teacher is that I get to dress for the weather. I don't have a uniform. I've discovered that if I don't wear a dress or skirt, it's wildly uncomfortable. The temperature settles in at 80 degrees around noon. That's not an exaggerated number. I can't focus, the kids can't focus, and we all want to just fall asleep. Have you tried to keep the attention of that many nine year olds who are hot, and tired, and cranky, and still want it to be summer vacation? It's exhausting.

The other day, a kid told me he needed a cup of coffee to stay awake.

Then someone else said it a few days later.

Then I was asked if I needed coffee too.

While I wish we could take a trip to Starbucks at 1:30pm every day, we can't.

This linen dress was a terrible choice for a hot day. Lesson learned.
It's fit and flare, from the Gap. The sweater is Loft, about a month ago. The sandals are $13 from Target. 
(Is there another place to buy sandals? Should they ever cost more than $15?)

August 23, 2016

Currently Listening

I'm not a huge music lover. I go through phases. At this point, I only really listen to music when I'm driving and sometimes at school, and it's usually just Pandora because I'm pretty picky about things. Taking chances with the radio is an annoying waste of time.

I think I'll always be a country music fan. I didn't plan on that. I liked it as a kid, abhorred it for a good 15-20 years, and now it's come full circle.
Most people don't like it. 

For example: we were at the first staff meeting/breakfast of the year last week and the new administrator asked my coworker and I what kind of music she should put on while everyone sat around eating and talking; we were sitting right next to her and her laptop/speakers. This was pure chance. 
I'm pretty sure no one who knew us ever would've asked because we said "country". 
Most people in Colorado Springs don't listen to country music. 
She asked Really??? and we nodded. She, being way too nice, put on country music and we were in awe that it had actually happened. Most people I know listen to [I suppose what you would call] Top 40 stuff. I can't stand that. Or emo-ish stuff. Of Monsters and Men/Lumineers-style music is big, right?
All this to say, we will never get to pick the music again. 
However, in my own classroom, I can listen to whatever I want...

George Strait is King George. 
It doesn't matter what kind of country you like; everyone likes George Strait. His music keeps getting better.

Finally, no picture here, but this is a country love song that references the Mississippi River, sunsets, and Tom Petty. Also, whiskey and wine. 

And speaking of muscadine...does anyone have a website they order wine from? We discovered muscadine wine in Missouri and you can't find it this far north. 


What kind of music are you {currently} listening to?

August 22, 2016

Making time to read is hard.

I went to get a pedicure yesterday. The day before, I'd gone to the library in hopes of finding something on my TBR list because I've not been reading at all this month. I do this thing when I'm stressed out...I don't read.

I don't read to relax; I have to already be relaxed in order to want to sit around reading. It's a weird quirk.

Then I thought, Hey, I'm going to get a pedicure, so I'll take one of the books I managed to find at the library (the "new" fiction section had some of the same books it held in the summer of 2015...if you need a point of reference concerning this library).

I mean, people sit there and stare at their phones and at magazines..why not a book? Do you do this? It seemed like a productive use of time and all.

Also, many thoughts on the book Tempting Fate by Jane Green.

August 18, 2016

Least favorite questions

What do you ask when you meet someone, or see someone you haven't in awhile?

I've done a lot of moving, a lot of meeting, and a lot of small talk. My top two least favorite questions are:

When is he coming home? Even if I knew, I wouldn't be able to tell you.


Have you thought about having kids? Since I do have a working brain, yes, I've thought about it.

I get both of these questions a lot.

The next question I never want to answer, or don't know how to answer, is How was your summer?

I usually say Good! How about you?

The response is usually Good, good! Did you go anywhere? What'd you do?

#1 No. I didn't go anywhere.
#2 Do you want an itemized list of what I did? It will involve snakes, pulling tumbleweeds, dogs, and watching TV.
#3 Just tell me where you went on vacation so we can move on.

I know I sound bitter. I try not to let that actually come out.

There's clearly nothing wrong with traveling and relaxing and having fun.

This picture is really neither relaxing or fun because it took some effort to scramble up on that thing.
I parkoured my way up, via the fence.

For the last several years, I haven't done those things in the summer because of circumstances. I mean, I've relaxed and done some fun things. I haven't done cross-country or intercontinental vacations in the summer though. A lot of teachers do these things, obviously, because that's their time off. It makes sense.

When your spouse isn't a teacher though, nothing changes in the summer for him or her. Even if Scott were here, we probably wouldn't go on vacation in the summer...I'm a fan of going places in the winter. EVERYONE vacations in the summer. It's like flying during Thanksgiving or Christmas. Pick an off week, not the most congested ones. Our trips are dictated by his schedule miraculously aligning with mine, and that doesn't happen often. It happens at Christmas and traveling at Christmas is hard on the soul. Plus, with any joint time off, we usually work on the house. Having a finished kitchen has always been my priority over a trip to the beach.

I never know how to answer the How was your summer? question because my answers are boring.  I think it's awesome if you got to travel over the summer, and I don't feel bad for myself because I haven't been hopping around the country (I feel bad for myself for other reasons, thankyouverymuch).

But I don't want you to feel bad for me either. There's a lot of things I would change right now, but wishing I'd gotten a chance to lay on a beach or walk the streets of NYC in recent weeks aren't some of them.

For the record, my go-to question when I meet someone new is usually Where are you from? because most people I know in any place I've been aren't actually from that place. Much better than What do you do? or *shudder* What does your husband do?...that's a common one in the military world.

August 17, 2016

$13 of worth it.

There is no way I was moving that chair out of the way. 
This was taken at 5pm on the first day of school. 
There is no way...

The brick is there to prevent the chair from blowing down the second-story deck steps. It's happened before. 

I bought this dress for $13 on the Target clearance rack a few days ago. It's the Merona brand. You might say that I added the "fun" belt for a "pop" of color. I did not. I added the belt at 6:30am as I was walking out the door because I knew the dress poofed out a bit and created some unflattering lines. The belt reigned it in. And I actually had a very thin cardigan on over it in the morning and had the belt over the dress AND the cardigan, a la 2013.  It worked.

I bought the dress because my classroom hits about 85 1/2 degrees fahrenheit by 1pm and that is pretty miserable. I've been gravitating toward anything conservatively sleeveless ever since we moved to Colorado for this reason.

And can we talk about appropriate teacher clothes? Standards are low these days, guys. More on this at a later date, perhaps.

Also, take note: my $8 shoes from last year's Target clearance are holding up well. 

August 15, 2016

Play-by-Play of Days

Recaps can be the worst. If I recapped a summer day of mine for you, you would yawn and sigh and wonder why you were reading. I know you'd feel that way because I often feel that way when looking for a new blog to read.

Some people do weekend recaps well, and some do not. This recap is awful and I know it's awful. I wrote it that way on purpose.

I told my friend I was willing to recap my weekend in excruciating detail, as an experiment in tediousness.

Friday night:

(This already feels tedious.)

Got home about 4:30pm and walked the dogs. Then I drove them down to the mailbox (2 miles) because we do that almost every day. Then I opened up the FedEx package that had been left on my porch: my new tote bag. Week is complete.

Did some text messaging with friends, did some Rodan and Fields business while I ate zoodles and chicken meatballs (my own recipe...I can share soon), Walked the dogs one more time. Did a 37 minute Pilates Flexibility video.

Watched one and a half episodes of Shameless (season 6...I'm almost done :(, while I created labels and wrote notes to parents and worked on some lesson-planning.

Ate a bowl of frozen yogurt. Got a message from Scott. He's been gone for about 6 months now and, as I get busy with the start of school (and obviously he's busy overseas), he seems farther away than ever and I just try not to think about it.

Went to bed around 10:30pm.

It was actually a productive night.


Woke up naturally at 6:10am. Let the dogs out, made coffee, sat down to work on school things. Was interrupted by the dogs multiple times.

Drank a smoothie. Walked the dogs. Took a shower.

Drove to the commissary for the week's groceries and the PX for a few things I needed.

Came home and grazed through the kitchen for lunch because I wasn't really that hungry.

At 1:00, my friend came over with her dog so Jett and Scout could have a puppy playdate.  I enjoyed a Red's Apple Ale and some pretzels.

Around 4:30, I cleaned everything up, fed the dogs, and ate some leftovers from the night before.

I honestly don't even remember how I puttered away the time for the rest of the evening (does it even matter?), but I do remember walking the dogs around 8pm and then eating some greek yogurt and climbing into bed with another episode of Shameless. I also had a brownie.


Woke up around 6:30am and tried to get a head start on the week. Laundry, lunch prep, cleaned a bit, etc. Drank coffee and worked on some blog posts.

Walked the dogs. Made eggs, and enough bacon to get me through the week. Or two days. Whatever.

Went to meet my coworker at school around 10:00am so we could knock out a few things.

Then Scott called and I talked to him in the parking lot for awhile and then I got into the school around 11:00. I sorted some papers, printed a few things, looked for something I wanted to put on the wall, couldn't find it, and then settled with another sign that more or less said that same thing ("Writing") and then I left and went to Target.

It was packed. Must be the back-to-school shoppers, right? I got a few things for school, and then a dress for $13 so that was a win.

Came home, made a smoothie and a salad for lunch.

Called my mom.

Typed up learning targets for writing.

Made dinner and then packed up leftovers for Monday. Whether it will be lunch or dinner, I know not, but I have food almost ready for when I'm too tired and staring longingly at a bowl of cereal or something.

Walked the dogs, showered, watched an episode of Shameless while plowing through some more learning targets.

Did a relaxing foam roller "workout" to stretch before bed.

The end to another tedious and boring weekend. Can you remind me in 6 months that I actually like weekends? Because I've really disliked them for the last few months.


In other news, I'm doing this photo-a-day challenge because I'm craving some creative direction.

Starting mid-month is okay, right?

August 12, 2016

My Current Protein Smoothie

I went to the doctor back in June and he encouraged me to change my diet. My diet isn't bad (really). When I told a friend about all of his recommendations, she was appalled because I "eat healthier than anyone" she knows. I don't know about that, but I try not to eat processed food. I won't claim a perfectly balanced diet. I don't love vegetables usually and I don't eat a lot of meat. I'm a carb person, through and through. Even if I'm not eating loaves of french bread for dinner, I eat a lot of carbs.

Carbs are in everything, by the way. I will say that I've cut some things COMPLETELY out of my diet since then (I'm an abstainer, not a moderator): tortilla chips, bread (aside from the occasional sandwich thin), pancakes, and oatmeal.

But cutting out all carbs seems...difficult.

In the spirit of adjustment, I'm incorporating more protein. This really means that my diet has gotten to be extremely boring. I'm not eating pancakes for dinner anymore. I eat the same general things each day now, but I feel amazing, so it's obviously worth it.

I'm not tracking this anywhere (I learned long ago that I'm too OCD to track's not a good habit for me to fall into), but I'm keeping count of protein grams each day. I was "encouraged" to keep a carb count too. This is hard for me, so I'm just focusing on getting enough protein and then, if I'm full, I won't be tempted to eat chips and salsa for dinner. That's what this comes down to: not eating chips and salsa for dinner.

This smoothie has 30 grams of protein. My goal each day is at least 60 grams because you're supposed to be between 50-75 grams of protein every day. While I knew this on some level, I never considered it before. Yes, bananas have carbs, but half a banana is probably good for you, right?

Protein Smoothie

1 scoop of protein powder (whey OR casein powder is 24 grams per scoop)
1 small frozen banana (or half of a large one)
1 T natural peanut butter or almond butter (6-8 grams protein)
1 cup milk (I've been using unsweetened cashew milk)

Blend it all up and enjoy!

I have issues in that I can't put peanut butter and spinach's really weird to me. Sometimes I leave the nut butter out and put in spinach and frozen mango but the peanut butter version is tastier and it keeps me full longer.

August 11, 2016

Links and things

The secret to the perfect no-bake cookies.  Here's my recipe too. It's worth a read if you're trying to figure out if/why it hasn't worked.

Getting rid of things that have served their purpose. A real passion of mine.

Principles healthy women practice. Consistency and habits is my takeaway here.

5-Ingredient Butter Tomato Sauce. I'm thinking over a mixture of zoodles and noodles?

In case you can't tell, I love audiobooks. This is the single best way I've ever discovered to do two things at once. Other people like them too!

On Treat Yo Self. This is often the excuse people give for why they need this or that. I, for instance, just bought a rather expensive tote bag and the insane turkey-trail train of thought that got me to click "Complete Purchase" was really a stretch. However, this is my new school year present to myself. For me, it's about the experience, promise, and usefulness of the new bag. It's not just feeling like I want to spend money on something just because.

Speaking of...this blogger wrote about school supply lists in the best way. I swear that I, as a teacher, am not trying to break your wallet if you're a parent. I don't even make the list! I have nothing to do with it actually. And I spend about $500 a year on supplies and books. Maybe more. It's really too depressing to keep track of, so I don't.

JP Sears on the Olympics. I'm not really watching. They're on in the background (because what do I pay for if I can't leave the TV on all day?), but I prefer the winter games.

Speaking of links...have you tried the Rodan and Fields Solution Tool?
I've been contacting A LOT of people lately and just asking What would you change about your skin? If you had a choice (and you do!) what would you want to improve upon?
The Solution Tool will help with that! It takes about 7 seconds. 37 seconds if you read over the results kinda carefully.

I know we can be hesistant to order from a direct sales organization, but think of this:

RF was actually only sold at high-end department stores 10 years ago. The doctors who created it decided they weren't reaching enough people that way, so they pulled a completely successful product line from the shelves and put it into the hands of consultants.

We're not all Blair Waldorf and don't all shop at Bendel's, right? Right. 


What's your favorite link this week?