May 26, 2023

Friday Things 5/26

+I made the mistake of joining a minimalist Facebook group at like 10pm on Friday night. Guess what I spent the next two hours doing? Cleaning out dresser drawers. I actually made it through my drawers, a big closet in our living room where Everything Goes (crafts, wrapping paper, "important" papers, boxes that need to be saved, and a drone), and the inside of the bench by the entryway to the house. 

+I ordered two dresses from Old Navy last week. I've been getting no less than 4 emails each day from Old Navy ever since, so that seems like a giant mistake.

I kept this one. The color is called Flower Trail. It has pockets. 

I returned this one. The midi dress was 3 times as heavy. Like, they look the same but they were not the same material at all. I got it in navy, which is there on the site somewhere. But I don't know that it was nearly as flattering as the reviews make it out to be. It was like a heavy maxi dress. 

+I meant to do a post about food this week. I seriously meant to write 2-3 blog posts, plus a substack post and then...I just decided not to? We had a rough week. Then, we all (all) slept about 10 hours last night and things seem better this morning. 

+Books coming next week! I have read very little for April and May so I'm combining them. 

+ If you need a cocktail for the weekend, I suggest ranch water

+This is a first world thing, but I'm stopping coffee creamer. I've moved to a carton of heavy cream that we have, plus a spoonful of sugar. Then I have half-and-half and I'll try to wean myself off of the sugar. The processed creamers are something I've been meaning to cut out for awhile. 

+Library story time was a success this week. (It was after that that the week went downhill.)

Linking up for Friday Favorites!

May 19, 2023

Friday Things 5/19

This has felt like a long week? I don't know. They're all kind of long weeks since we're in toddler-land. I have discovered that while it's 10000% easier just to stay home all the time when you have a little baby, it's 10000% easier to be out of the house with a 1+ year old because it keeps them busy. Chasing her around the house and saying no all the time gets old for everyone. 

+I'm trying to get back into hiking? I don't know. On days where it's just the right temperature, it works out. 

+ The LAST week of preschool pick-up. PTL. 

Preschool graduation was last night. There should be a medal for those parents who get everyone out the door on their own. We all looked and felt better pre-ceremony for sure. Scott had to meet us there. Since it was over past *someone's* bedtime, we had to just get take-out instead of going out to eat. It's so weird to think that we've got Wells ready for kindergarten and now we're back in the throes of "beginning toddler" with Sutton. 

She ate an uncomfortable amount of cake. She was up, then, until 11pm. 

His cap/gown/tassel were nicer than the ones I had in high school. 
I'm much more broken up about Wells graduating preschool than I am about Sutton getting older? Is that weird? He's my literal baby. I mean, so is she but still. I don't know how parents do this. 

+I used to love the way some fashion bloggers were just simply source where they got their things with arrows. No fancy "COMMENT LINK!!1!" or "DM for LINKS!!". Just here's where I got it. So...using the editing features in Stories to my advantage. 


Mother's Day thoughts

Best, Easy, and Practical Teacher Gift

Plus, Feminism on my Substack

May 17, 2023

Simple and Practical Teacher Gift

I've been given a lot of thoughtful teacher gifts over the years. The mug I'm drinking my coffee out of right now was from a  student named Bristyl in 2011. I still use it almost every day. 

(Bristyl/Bristol is one of those classic Alaska names that I always had on a short list for a baby girl...I didn't remember until after Sutton was born that Sutton is also the name of a town in Alaska.)

In this day and age, if you don't own a high-tech, high-powered color printer and a Cricut, you may feel like teacher gifts are hard. No. Those things are cute and always appreciated. But practical is great too. 

I prefer the Simple Modern tumbler because it really is practically leakproof. It has to really get thrown around (usually by a small uncoordinated child) in order for anything to come out. Usually it comes out through the straw if it ends up upside down (which it has). 

I got this 16 oz one for Wells' teacher in a super pretty color and then I added a summery tea mix and a packet of iced coffee mixes. 

It may not seem like over the top or incredibly thoughtful, but a quality mug or tumbler goes a LONG way for a teacher. I used a Starbucks travel mug from a student for many years. I remember his mom asking me if I preferred hot chocolate or coffee and she gave me an assortment with the mug for Christmas. 

I had a student give me a large ceramic birdhouse shaped like an apple once. It says "To Miss Twigg, Love Sylvia, 2008". Very thoughtful. We've now been moving it around for many years. Another made me a rainbow striped wooden birdhouse and I hung it outside on the one tree here and it was battered to pieces in a summer storm a few years ago. 

Anyway. Teacher gifts. Something they can use immediately is always the best bet. Letters, drawings, paintings are great too. I have several that I've actually framed over the years and have them used them as classroom decorations. 

Evidence of learning is great to include too!

May 15, 2023

Moms' "night" "out"

Lots of quotations up there. 

With yesterday being Mother's Day, this all kind of popped into my head. 

Also, I watched a movie the other night called Moms' Night Out. It wasn't a bad movie. It's from 2014 so prepare yourself for some fashion if you check it out (think: bubble necklaces, chambray, and aztec print).

It was also one of those Pureflix productions so...prepare yourself for that too. 

The main character mom was completely and totally overwhelmed. She was hiding in a closet to "hide" from the house because it was a mess after the kids were in bed. She confessed to her often-away husband that she had everything she ever wanted and she couldn't understand why she was so unhappy. From what I gathered on her character, she was also a fixer, a people-pleaser, and never said no to someone who wanted or needed a favor. 

By the end of the movie, she was receiving advice from a jailbird tattoo artist (played by Trace Adkins) who told her that God made her the mother of her children because she was the best mother for them; it wasn't a mistake because God didn't make mistakes, no matter how little faith she had in herself. 

Then, she awoke the next morning (after a night of Adventures in Babysitting-like hijinks) to a quiet and clean house at sunrise with a cup of coffee and a computer ready for her to write her next blog post on motherhood. (Where were the kids?)

This was also a good reminder that Very Nice houses in 2014 weren't stark white with only mid-century modern furniture. The family definitely lived in a Very Nice house.

But that doesn't mean that this mom was doing okay. 

In fact, I really didn't like the message of the movie. This message is exactly why I never sought out Christian counseling when I felt the effects of PPD/PPA. I didn't want to be told to pray it away. I didn't want to be told to have faith. I wanted someone to validate my feelings and help me come up with a solution, and I didn't know if I'd find that by going the Christian counseling route. 

All I kept thinking while watching was This mom needs a counselor! This mom needs a solution! She doesn't need a night out! She probably needs an SSRI! It was actually really uncomfortable to watch at parts because I could feel exactly what she was probably feeling. 

But the solution to this problem of absolute SAHM overwhelm was to give her a fancy night out with her two friends, leaving all the children in the not-quite-so-capable hands of the husbands. 

I really wanted to throw some of these opinions out there but, alas, I was watching it at a friend's house for, ironically, a moms' night out. Meaning games, food, etc, plus this movie playing in the background. 

While I don't mind leaving our kids with Scott, I still made dinner for everyone before I left because it seemed like the considerate thing to do. It's not that he can't handle taking care of the kids; his time is just better spent on things only he can do, like re-siding the outside of the house or installing the new windows. 

My point: this classic narrative of moms just needing a night out isn't super helpful. We need to create a lifestyle where moms feel more supported and not like they have to cling to sanity while eating chocolate inside a closet in the dark. 

Anyway, Happy Mother's Day! :)

Mother's Day dinner. There's like 18 things going wrong behind the scenes of this picture, like how I had to chug my pineapple cider in order for us to get a melting-down one-year-old out the restaurant door before her brother spilled another glass of water all over Scott. 

May 12, 2023

Friday Things, 5/12

This week has gotten away from me with a coughing, croupy baby (no fever) and now a coughing preschooler*. It has rained most days so I'm glad I got in my one singular walk on Monday.  

Good thing we're going to the zoo today in the rain for a field trip. It will take all I have not to just drive to Target and/or Mardel's since I'm going that far anyway, but I feel like that may be a disaster with two small children. 

*No fever and he looks okay so an outdoor field trip looks like it has to happen. This has been on the schedule for 2 months at this point. 

She won't wear a hat. I'm rigging up an area to move this into the shade. 

We are dog-sitting. I initially thought this guy was a mix, but he's a purebred dachshund. He blends into the floor and into the yard when there's dirt, mulch, or leaves in the background. 

These are the books on my nightstand.

These are the books on my Kindle. 

Wells had a pretend birthday at school this week. One more week of preschool. 

Picking out paint for bedrooms.

She eats a peanut butter sandwich for dinner most nights. That's okay, right? 

Wells' job is to unload the dishwasher and he likes to build towers and I'm sure this is a terrible idea. 

This is sparkling water. It's very expensive and not worth the price but it's interesting. It comes out to like 1.30 a can. 

News! from Monday.

May 8, 2023


in the barn, unpacking all the stuff. 
scott had not assumed i'd be up in the loft hauling it all down again so soon. 

Next year, I will be going back into the classroom. I accepted a teaching job, locally, so I will be taking Wells with me to school each day. He'll go to kindergarten and I'll be teaching in the elementary school. Sutton gets to go too.

If you want the how, the why, and all the details of how I got from "I want to homeschool" to here, read on. If not, that's okay too. 


I do not know how it came to this point. Like, I was good with just being d-o-n-e for an amount of time. I'm legitimately just as confused as you are if you've been around these parts for awhile. You can see, in my quitting post from last year, that I had a foreshadow of what would be to come though. 

Basically, I have spent most of the last year hemming and hawing about what to do for Wells for kindergarten. I had a few options as far as I could see: 


send him to private school where he had already been going for preschool

send him to our local public school. 

The pros and cons were vast. I could've made lists all day long. 

Around the beginning of February, I got a thought in my head that I should find somewhere to teach. I didn't know what this was supposed to look like, and  I don't know where this came from. There was no lead-up to it. It just appeared in my head one day. I wasn't willing to go back to where I had been in 2021-2022 but I really felt an urge to consider going back to teaching. It was, how do you say, Put On My Heart in Christian-ese. I couldn't get rid of the feeling. 

I didn't know what this would look like, but I applied to Wells' private school since they go up to 9th grade. I had a good talk with his principal. I thought it'd be a good compromise: not working for a giant district so there would be small class sizes and less pressure, he could continue going to school there, and I just needed to figure out what to do with Sutton. I wasn't crazy about hauling her into daycare with a million other kids in the town around an army base. I didn't think that'd be good for any of us. 

Then, I figured, while I was applying there, I might as well apply to the local district. It's a 5 minute commute, a very small school we'd only heard good things about, and it's where Wells would be zoned for kindergarten anyway. Again, still needed to figure out I would do with Sutton. In this case, the local school offers a daycare in their building. When I saw that, I was immediately interested in the possibility this offered.

At that point, I had decided that Wells would go wherever I went. If I was able to get a job at the private school, he was going there. If I was able to get a job at the public school, he was going there. If I didn't get a job at all, he'd go to public school. If (if) public school did not work for us, the deal I made with Scott was that I could pull him out and homeschool. 

Then, we started going to a local church in February; one that is about two minutes from our house. The people there were so nice and welcoming and kind. Wells started making friends and I realized that the kids there would be his classmates if he went to the local school. This is the community we live in and, while it's only 20-30 minutes from the military base, it feels like an entirely different world. I was reminded that there's a reason we live here and not on the army base. Such a huge part of me quitting my job was to stay home with Sutton when she was a baby, but it's also because I didn't want Wells going to school on a military base anyway. If I wanted that, we'd be living on the base. If I still worked there, he'd be going to school with me for his kindergarten year.

To the point here: I interviewed for the local public school in March and accepted a job that was pretty competitively sought after. I registered Wells for kindergarten there as well (which felt like a really big step, bigger than a job interview). And this on-site daycare? It's perfect. I will be able to see both of my kids any time I want during the day. These were all deciding factors in making it fit for us. It's a small district and I love that Wells won't be a number. There won't be a ton of kids moving in and out, either, since we're farther from the base. 

I kind of got the feeling that the private school prefers to hire private school teachers who attend the church that's attached to the school...and I will never fit that mold because I've always been a public school teacher. Like, I just will. The saying these days is that "not all teachers are bad", which is an awful way to refer to, basically, public servants. I do believe I'm one of the good ones because I apparently keep coming back for more. I have mentioned, more than once, that kids should be pulled out of public school if it isn't working for a family. I feel slightly hypocritical here but I've always caveated with "every school is different". Because every school IS different. 

In the end, if I am there and understand exactly what's going on day to day, I couldn't ask for more than that. I mean, what a compromise, right?

I suppose I could write an entire separate post on the guilt I feel about choosing to go back to work. 

But, to be honest, I am a better human when I have responsibilities. I was meant to keep at this. If I wasn't, I would've stopped long ago, I suppose. While the extra money is nice, I get a lot out of the experience. I like when our world is bigger and not smaller, if that makes sense. We've spent a lot of the last 13 years in transition and my teaching jobs have always grounded me. 

When it comes to the idea of homeschooling, if I'd felt the pull to do it, I'd have done it. While I *want* to be that homeschooling mom, I don't think I am. I mentioned that I started going to a book group with a lot of other homeschool moms; if anything, while I admire them and what they're doing, it's cemented that it's not for me right now. It's not one of those things I aspire to, I guess. Also...I know my child and he is probably not a great candidate for it at this point. I also know myself and it's unlikely we'd make it through week one. I feel almost ashamed to admit that; like I'm failing my own child, but you don't get to a dozen years of classroom experience without learning something about yourself in this regard. 

In the end, this also took a lot of prayer and patience. Not hoping or wishing but a lot of just waiting to be led to where I was supposed to be heading. < That's kind of a mouthful, I know. 

Anyway, as a fun twist, here's your reminder that when I was first hired to teach in Alaska (13 years ago), I was hired to teach 3rd grade, very specifically. (seriously, quite specifically). I couldn't wait: I ordered a bunch of school supplies online. By the time the school year began, I had switched to 4th grade and I've always loved it. Now, this many years later, I may get to use this banner after all:

I've literally been moving it around with us for 13 years because it was brand new and my reminder of my first real job. I feel like I HAVE to use it at this point. 

May 5, 2023

Friday Things, 5/5

 1. I ran out of all my serums this week. At the same time. Super inconvenient. These were actually part of gift sets from Christmas so they weren't full sized bottles. I alternate all kinds of different BC products and these did last since December so it wasn't a terrible deal, I guess. 

I reordered the Vitamin C toner (I ran out of that awhile ago), and then the Countermatch Moisture Serum. For that one, I've figured out that it is half the price of the Vitamin C serum and the VC serum doesn't do anything that this one also doesn't do, you know? I have a bottle of the Vitamin C facial oil that I will actually add to this serum or regular moisturizer (right now, I have was a gift) at night anyway. I've had probably two bottles of the BC Vitamin C serum and two or three bottles of the Tripeptide Radiance serum. I like them a lot but they aren't worth full price. I get more out of the Vitamin C Toner. 

ANYWAY. I do recommend them all.

2. Wells had a fishing field trip yesterday. I mentioned on Instagram that I never considered the fact that I would have to take a fish off a hook for the first time in my life if he caught one. Of course, it was a stocked pond. So...I love that it's like totally taken for granted that all the moms are familiar with fishing. Scott tried to show me a few things (he should've been the one on this trip) and I was like I've done these things before, I just actively choose not to do them anymore (lest we forget). Anyway, not in my element. 

And a one year old makes every situation, where I already feel awkward, more fun.

3. This is one of those late blog posts because Sutton had me up all night until Scott finally got up with her at 5:15am and by then I was too frustrated and exhausted to go back to sleep. Then I had to take Wells to school and go to the eye doctor and, oh my gosh, two more weeks of this preschool thing...

*Apparently* Sutton was an angel for the babysitter (I could. not. take her the optometrist with me. Can you imagine?)


I don't buy bottles of anything anymore. They just take up fridge space and I lose interest. These are really good. 


Jett doesn't even need a leash. He just...listens. 

May 3, 2023

Currently in May...

wishing... for a 70 degree day to go with blue skies. It's been windy, cold, and sunny. 

loving... The Diplomat on Netflix. We started Saturday-ish and have watched all 8 episodes. I think you have to have a bit of appreciation for foreign policy to enjoy it. It's unexpectedly funny in parts too. I mentioned TV I just don't like right now, and this is the opposite of that. I'm glad we found it. 

craving... warm weather clothes. 

I mean, I don't love heat and humidity but barely getting away with bare legs is rough. And I think I've worn sandals like twice this year so far? 

This is the Cali dress from Carly Jean Los Angeles (last summer) but this one is similar I think. I don't do maxis but I like midi dresses. 

Same cardigan (Stitchfix a few years ago) and pull-on shorts (Stitchfix last year). These silly white shoes have gotten more wear in the last year than I'd ever dreamed of. They're "leather" from Target. I ordered them *last* February. Didn't like them at all. Tried to return them. They gave me my $ back and told me to keep the shoes. I wear them all the time. Before you think I scored some great deal: no. I bought a pair of canvas ones, wore them a few times, and ended up hating *those* ones. Terrible blisters. 

I ordered these 1822 jeans from Stitchfix. Extremely soft. Keep their shape. TTS.  These are similar. I just ordered them from the Freestyle feature! Sweatshirt is very comfortable. Mine's a medium, but there aren't many sizes left.


Wells at almost 5.

An impatient Sutton before church

collecting... recipe ideas that I can easily make for dinner. I am coming up with a solid meal plan technique that I'm hoping to share soon (you know, as soon as it's done). 

I made this the other night. We loved it. Sutton didn't attempt it, but enjoyed the bread part. Wells ate one. Then he ate another later. Then he said, once he went to bed, that he was still hungry...and he came back out to the kitchen and ate a third. So it's a winner if a year old will eat it. It actually plays off of a pizza I used to make. I basically love anything cheesesteak-related. 

Easy Cheesesteak Sandwiches

1 pound of thin sliced shaved beef (This is in the fresh meat section at my store, but you could use Steak-ums)

2 t. Montreal Steak Seasoning

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

Half a sliced sweet onion, sliced portobello mushrooms, sliced green pepper

Beef stock (optional)

Thin-sliced cheese (I used provolone)

Dinner, sandwich, or sub rolls

Banana peppers

In an oiled pan over medium-high heat, cook the beef with the seasoning and sauce. It takes a couple of minutes. If it sticks to the bottom, I de-glaze the pan with some beef stock. Remove from pan and set aside. 

Add the vegetables to the pan and cook slow to caramelize or more quickly if you liked the charred/browned style. De-glaze again if you want to. 

On a cookie sheet, add the bottoms of the rolls, top with steak, then veggies, then a slice of cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. Add the tops and brown/crisp them a bit. 

I put banana peppers on my own and Scott's, but not on Wells' so I'd just keep those separate for serving.