New Admin with a Bombshell….

It is the Friday before our workshop weeks begins and things are insane already….

Last spring we were told (the beginning of May) that our principal would be resigning for a new job, a few weeks later we found out our vice principal was going to retire a year early. On top of that, the district had just hired a new superintendent for the next year because ours would be retiring at the end of June. This rocked our boats. The school that I work at is a VERY tradition orientated school and a place where family is everything. Our principal and vice principal were clear to me when I was hired that family comes first and building relationships with kiddos is more important than test scores. (Their philosophy was that if you give the kids a positive fun environment where they feel loved, their test scores will reflect that and it did.) Hearing that they were leaving, the same year as the superintendent, was a shock that sparked anxiety for the changes to come.

Fast forward to yesterday and a week before workshop begins. My team and I are sitting in a planning meeting getting logistics planned for the new year. We are doing something totally new this year (that was approved by our principal last year.) There are 4 of us on my team (9 total 3rd grade teachers) so we are going to do a 4-way switch between our 4 classes. 3 teachers did this last year but one left to go to 4th grade so myself and another teacher are going to join in on the fun. The way we proposed our switch to our last principal was that we would do 4 45 minute switches during the day. We would split all of the kiddos into 4 math leveled groups so we would have the high of the high together and group down from there. This would allow us to have super differentiated instruction for every kid. I would be teaching reading while the other 3 would teach math, science/social, and writing/math review. During our meeting, which lasted 3 hours, our new principal walked in to talk with us. I hadn’t met him yet so it was very scary to see him in person. He knew what we were doing and told us it was good to see us planning together.

We left the meeting having everything planned out. We had our 4 groups made based on their 2nd grade spring test scores, we had our first 2 days all planned out on how we would get our kids ready to start the switches, and we had a good idea on what the first few months of school would look like in each switch. What I learned is that, in order for this to work, we all have to be on the same page. I left feeling super overwhelmed but also extremely excited! I love teaching reading because I want to instill the love for reading in my students. What I didn’t know is that my anxieties would only increase within 24 hours.

This year I’m in a brand new room so I went in early this morning to get all of my busy work done. I left feeling confident I was ready for Monday’s meetings and for the craziness to begin. Then the bombshell. At 1:50 this afternoon we got an email from our new principal…..the numbers of our upcoming 3rd grade class is low (which they knew last year) and a 4th grade teacher has just resigned. That being said, they will be dropping a section of 3rd grade in order to have that teacher replace the 4th grade teacher who resigned. The email said that if no teacher requests to be the one to move, a teacher will be reassigned by the administration. Surprise!

My team (and myself) LOST it. Within seconds of the email, my phone was blowing up with different messages from everyone. We were all freaking out. Honestly, the week before workshop begins you drop this on us. Are you serious? What a way for the new admin to introduce themselves. Oh and like I mentioned before, our principal saw us planning everything yesterday. Why was nothing said?

At this point no one on my team has said anything about taking the spot. The scariest most anxious part of this whole thing is that I’m the newbie. This is only my second year at the school so if no one says they’ll move, the odds are saying it’s me. I’m freaking out. I’ve spent my summer preparing for focusing on reading and finding new things to do. I was so excited to have a year where nothing is new for a change. Granted, it’s only my 3rd year teaching but my first 2 years were in 2 different schools which meant that everything was new both years. I wanted a year where the curriculum was the same so I knew what I was getting myself into. Now….who knows. Honestly, I’m freaking out.

We were told we will find out what will happen Monday afternoon. I’m praying it won’t be me. That sounds selfish but I just want a year that will make me feel like a competent teacher. My only hope is that since the 4 on my team put so much effort into our switches plan (and since the school put together a special schedule just for us) it might not be me. Who knows. All I know is that this weekend will be filled with anxiety instead of relaxation. Not exactly the way I wanted my final weekend of freedom to be.

The Life Saving Planner

Happy Friday friends! It’s been another great couple of weeks wrapping up summer while also prepping for the year to begin.

One thing I like to do right when I get my official class list is to organize the basics. The main thing I like to take care of right away is to put all of their birthdays in my planner. I like to have them written down ahead of time so I remember in the middle of February that Suzy’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day. As the year goes on I will then transfer those dates as I write my weekly lesson plans. It’s been a great system but because my lesson plans and my planner have been two separate things there were days that I almost missed a couple half birthdays. This year, I found the perfect solution.

I was searching different teacher hacks on Pinterest (because, of course) and I found the BEST lesson plan/planner a teacher could ever want. I found the all in one lesson plan planner made by Erin Condren. These planners are EVERYTHING!

I purchased what is called the “Life Planner.” The name says everything.

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The planner has EVERYTHING you need all in one place. Obviously, it’s a regular planner. There is a section on the calendar for each month and then a spot for each day of that month.

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What is special and different about this planner is that it has a whole layout for teachers for your day to day, class to class lesson plans. It also has another whole section for grades and keeping track of special month to month events like birthdays! Perfect for me!

Ok here comes the fun part, you get to personalize your planner with your favorite design and your name with you school!! Come on teachers, who doesn’t love that!? The other fun part is that the Life Planner comes with stickers for every and any special event you can imagine! It’s literally a teacher’s dream!

I LOVE this planner and I am so excited to use it!!!!! It makes me excited for the year to begin! When you click on the link I provided, you’ll get to see the awesome planner choices from Erin. They are a bit spendy but, personally, I think it will be worth every penny!

With class lists there is one more thing I love to do when I get the updated version. I want my kiddos to come into the first day feeling comfortable around me. I want them to feel like they know what is going to happen and that they know who I am. At my old school, the school sent out letters to the students written by their knew teacher as an introduction to who they would have for that upcoming year. At my new school, we have something called “move-up day” where at the end of the school year in May, students get to go to meet their next year’s teacher and spend some time with them. Sadly, I wasn’t there this past year to meet my new students. Because I didn’t get to see them, I decided to send out a letter (like the one my old school would have sent) to my new kiddos to help them know who I am! I am so excited to send them out so they can get to know me!

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Hello August

Happy August everyone! Holy Hannah, how is that even possible? Now is the time of year when school starts to creep back into the mind and DIY classroom projects begin. I’ve slowly begun with a few fun projects I’ll be sharing with you soon but today I’m going to tell you all about the final trip of the summer before all of the work starts.

This past Tuesday my mom, myself, and a couple family friends hopped in a car and drove 12 hours to the Middle of Nowhere (literally.) We drove from central Minnesota to Glasgow, Montana. The part I love about this cute little town is it’s referred to as the Middle of Nowhere, you even can buy shirts with that saying and the town on it.

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My mom and I went with her best friend and her best friend’s daughter who are close family friends. My mom’s best friend’s son lives out there and has recently gotten engaged, so we hopped int the car to go and celebrate with them.

When we reached Glasgow Tuesday night we walked around to take in the small town and then ate dinner at a 50’s knock off Dairy Queen diner called Flip. It was an adorable small town restaurant with only 3 people on staff at a time. We had the classic burger with fries and a shake. Amazing!

Wednesday we met up with the son and fiance and went golfing in the desert like grounds of Montana. It was beautiful but HOT. It was a nice 100 degrees that day. I had never been golfing ever so it was quite the experience but super fun. The scenery was incredible. We were surrounded by rolling hills and mountains with little to no civilization. We then all went to another small family owned restaurant and had fresh deli sandwiches for dinner.

That night we also went to get some groceries and I found the BEST homemade soap ever! I had to take a picture because they were so great!
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On Thursday we took a 20 minute drive out to Fort Peck, Montana. We walked over a bridge that has a dam right underneath. At the time, they had 2 “doors” open from the Fort Peck lake to the opening of the Missouri River. It was crazy watching the flow of the water rush through the gates and into the river. The bridge was pretty but SUPER high off the ground. There’s something about bridges and height that don’t mix well for me. The 4 of us were having fun trying to make a joke out of our actual fear.

We also went hiking around the area to take in more scenery that leads into the Fort Peck Reservation. A few years ago I traveled down to volunteer in the Dominican Republic and there was something about that scenery and this one that looked almost identical.

We then drove back to Glasgow and went to all of the local shops. I love a good family owned home store. Looking for little trinkets are my favorite. I found the best magnet that really seemed to resonate with me!

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Coming home we luckily got to chunk it into a 2 day trip instead of all in one night. (I seriously hate car rides.) We got back into the state yesterday and then had to rush right to a wedding of an old friend of mine who also happens to be a daughter of another one of my mom’s close friends.

It was a fun filled mother daughter week. My mom and I never get alone time together so it was awesome to get to experience so many new and fun things with her. I know I’ve said this before but my mom is my best friend and role model in life. She’s the reason I became a teacher and a coach, I wanted to be just like her. It was one of the best weeks of my life and for sure the best week of the summer.

Happy August again friends. For some of us that means we’re a month out from the start of school, for others you might be starting this week, and for some you might be in the middle of your years right now. No matter what August means to you, enjoy it and live it up. I know I’m going to make the most of my last 30 days of freedom!

 

With the school year around the corner, I’ll be back updating my instagram account more frequently with back to school projects, hacks, and classroom decor. Go follow me @lifeoftherookieteacher to be apart of my back to school journey.

Teacher Hack – Pencil Popsicle Sticks

It’s that time of the summer, the school itch is starting to crawl into my mind. I’m starting to look at Pinterest more and more trying to find new tips and hacks for this upcoming school year. I love finding new ways to make class organization easier in the summer. (And anything that is a DIY project is an added bonus!)

This year I’m going to be teaching reading 4 times throughout the day to 4 different leveled groups. I’ll have my own homeroom but for most of the day I’ll be working with 100 different kiddos. I’m used to having one class for the whole day but trying to organize 4 different classes with 25 students in each is going to be tricky.

A fun hack (and project) I found on a Teacher Hacks Facebook page and on Pinterest is a ways to organize popsicle sticks to know who you’ve picked on so far and who you haven’t. I mainly use popsicle sticks to pick partners to read with or to pick players in certain games. I found this awesome hack of turning the popsicle sticks into pencils.

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This was super easy! I painted a pink eraser on one end, yellow in the middle, and then drew the pencil tip with a black sharpie on the other end.

The fun hack is you put the popsicle sticks in  whatever you are picking from (I use the metal baskets found in the party section at Target) eraser side up. When you pick a name you put it back in the basket pencil tip up so you know you’ve already picked that stick. It’s so simple and yet so useful!

To help me organize 100+ different sticks I purchased 4 different white metal buckets from Target. Each of our 4 classes are given a color to identify their group (another organization tip.) This year we will be having a red group, green group, blue group, and a purple group. I bought colored washi tape for each bucket, the colors being the 4 color names of our groups. I taped the top part of each basket with a certain color so I’ll know what bucket holds which classes sticks.

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I’m super excited for this new adventure in teaching but I’m also really nervous. I love reading but I’m not sure how I’ll feel about doing the same lesson 4 times a day. I’m also not sure how I’m going to keep this whole thing organized. For the next month I’m going to be doing a lot of research on how to teach multiple classes. If anyone has any tricks, tips, or hacks that they use let me know! I would love to hear how you manage multiple classes while keeping your sanity and organization!

My Top 8 Self-Love Books

Over the past year I’ve been working hard on helping myself through many different outlets. One thing that I’ve spent a lot of time doing is reading different “self-help” books to learn different tips and perspectives. (Yes, there is a lot of controversy over self-help books, and I know they are not a cure to anything, but I have found little treasures in each book that I have used as mantras for my better life.

I’m going to share my top 8 that have helped me and that have been quite entertaining. Yes, most of these you’ve probably seen or heard of before. I know you’ve probably read 1 if not more of these books but I just thought I’d share with links to Amazon or Target where you can easily find and purchase them .

My Top 8:

  1. Freedom from Toxic Relationships by Avril Carruthers

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One day last summer I had an interesting therapy session where we talked about toxic relationships. I realized that I’ve surrounded my self in toxic relationships everywhere in my life and had been doing that for years. This book explains any and all relationships that exist in your life. It helps acknowledge if you are in a toxic relationship and then gives the steps on how to move forward. It helped me quit a coaching job that had me working with toxic people, something that I wanted to do for awhile but never had the guts to do.

2. Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

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Because I’m prone to being in toxic relationships, I tend to have a problem with setting boundaries. I don’t like saying no. This book is for the “I can’t say no” person. It has some good tips and reminders on how to say no and how that will make you a happier person in the end. It isn’t an entirely religious book but different bible verses are immersed throughout if you like those little reminders.

3. Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani

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This book is written by the founder and CEO of the program “Girls Who Code.” Being a teacher, I’ve totally heard of her program but never knew how it was founded. This book is split into 3 parts talking about why girls are so hard on themselves, why being brave is important, and how to not worry about perfection and start being brave. I’ve been a perfectionist FOREVER so this book really spoke to me!

4. YOU are a BADASS by Jen Sincero

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To be honest, I’m only half way done with this one but, so far, I’m a fan. This one is split into 5 parts on different ways to love yourself no matter what. The main focus of this book is to remember how awesome you are. It’s the best reminder for everyone!

5. Grace not Perfection by Emily Ley

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This is another book split into different parts. The fun part about this one is that it’s interactive. Emily Ley designs clean cut planners and life journals and this book is set in that format. After each chapter there is a different journal or writing prompt that relates back to the chapter topic she talked about. (By the way, for all of you who love clean cut art and designs you’ll LOVE just looking at this book just as much as I do.)

6. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

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Yes this is probably the one you know/have heard of/have read. I love this book. Rachel is so real it’s ridiculous. I love how open and honest she is about EVERYTHING. I think that’s what makes her books so popular. She’s being real about life talking about lies we believe about our lives and ourselves and how to get over them. (BTW she also has a legitimate chapter about sex…it doesn’t get more real than that!)

7. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

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Rachel’s second book is all about achieving your goals and believing you can do them. She uses her own life as an example about building her own company and the obstacles she fought through to get where she is today. The first part of the book lists all of the excuses we use to not do something and how to let them go. Part two is all about behaviors to adopt in order to live a healthier life to achieve your goals. The final part is all about the skills you will acquire while you are working towards your goal. Her final message is about “believing in your dang self!” I love Rachel Hollis. She is my new role model in life.

**Fun fact: Rachel has a podcast called Rise and one of her episodes features Reshma Saujani talking about her book Brave, Not Perfect. It’s amazing!**

8. Staying Strong 365 Days a Year by Demi Lovato 

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This is a daily devotional book that includes a different quote (these could be bible verses, famous quotes from classic literature, song lyrics, or a quote from Demi herself), a paragraph explaining the quote, and a daily objective to embrace for the day. I’ve gone through this book for the past 3 years now and I love the messages she gives. Demi has had a hard life and she is very honest about her experiences and makes herself easy to relate to. I usually read my daily devotion before bed and try to implement the daily objective for the next day. That way I end each day with a positive message and a goal for the next day. I highly recommend this one!

Self-Care Box

Happy Mon-yayy! I was watching the Today Show this morning and they talked about trying to catch on Mon-yayy since we all get down on those Monday blues. I thought it was a great idea (plus I’m a huge promoter of Fri-yayys so this was just as fun!)

I’ve shared about my mental health a few times now and I posted yesterday about how I’ve been struggling more than ever this summer. Not going to lie, yesterday I was desperate for something new to help me feel better so I turned to my favorite source in the world, Pinterest!! Honestly, I just love Pinterest.

I searched “how to fight depression” looking for any tricks and tips I didn’t already know. (I feel like I’ve tried EVERYTHING!!) One AMAZING post shared the idea of making a self-care box and I fell in love.

Obviously because we all know teachers are suckers for a good home made project.

I found the idea on a blog post you can find here. On this site they talk about filling your box with items to meet many self-care needs such as physical, sensory, social, spiritual, and emotional.

**Fun side note: If you love wandering around Target for a few hours looking for run secret trinkets, this project is for you!! (and who doesn’t love Target!?) I also included links to most of the things I included in case you’re interested.**

I started by finding a fun gift box and wrapping paper to add my own touch to the outside. I got a fun adult coloring book for one of the categories so of course I had to color a picture to put on the cover of the box! “Today I choose joy.” The perfect mantra to see before opening my box of happiness. On the inside cover of the box I taped a picture of me when I visited Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kingscross Station in London. I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan so it was just another little touch to boost my mood when I open the box.

Okay so now that you see the outside here is my version of each self-care category. Some categories I included many things while others I only included a few…

Physical: 

For my physical self-care I bought different types of facial masks along with a pedicure mask. The blog post shared including yoga videos and bath bombs as well. (I just watch Youtube yoga videos and I’m not the biggest fan of bath bombs.) Basically, anything that can help and heal the body is good physical self-care!

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Sensory: 

This was another category that I didn’t include many items. I’m a very mental person so sensory items don’t do much for me. That being said, I do love a few certain things (mostly that deal with scent.) I got a small flower scented candle to smell when I need to relax. For me, I don’t even need to light a candle for it to work magic in relaxing me. I got some floral scented lotion to help me feel clean and smell good. Finally, I included a little fidget toy. I know these have become big for kids but I do love holding one when I’m feeling anxious. I have a tendency to move my fingers when I’m on edge so I feel more calm when I’m holding one of these.

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Social: 

I tend to get sad as well when I feel alone. To help with this I followed the post by including a list of numbers of people I can call when I need someone to talk to. I also included a pack of thank you cards to thank those in my life who have been there for me. I included those cards to help remind me that I’m not alone and that I do have people who have been there for me before. Finally, I put in a couple of pictures of my closest friends. This is to help me see that I have people I care about and there are people out there who care about me.

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Spiritual: 

I’m not the biggest religious person. I have my beliefs but I’m not overly spiritual. I do believe that you have to believe in something bigger than yourself in order to be content with life. The blog post shared different ideas to help be more spiritual and mindful. I first bought a positive affirmation coloring book with some new fresh colored pencils. Coloring brings me peace and is a form of meditation. I also purchased a gratitude/self-reflection journal. Inside the journal there are some positive quotes along with reflection prompts. I LOVE quotes. A good quote can make my mood shift in a second.

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Emotional: 

This was my biggest category of included items. For this category I wanted to find anything and everything that make me happy. The post recommended including some tissues and affirmation cards. I found a pack of mini tissues with positive sayings on them, so I thought they were perfect. I think it’s important to include the tissues because it says it’s okay to cry. By including these it is a reminder to tell myself letting out my emotions is a good thing. I then found a pack of affirmation cards in the “fun gift” section at Target. I LOVE this small section. If you know what I’m referring to you know it includes so many funny and unique gifts. I then found a pack of different cards and notes I have received in the past from many different people. These are for me to look at and read when I need a little pick me up. I then included a fun little cat poetry book I got as a gag gift for my birthday from my mom. I have a cat and I always love a good pun. Lastly, I included a picture I took of the Eiffel Tower. I LOVE Paris and the Eiffel Tower has always been something that I have been obsessed with. When I was in Paris, I was the happiest I had ever been. This picture is to spark that happiness!

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I think that this is the best project for anyone and everyone to make! Whether you struggle with mental heath or not, it’s always good to practice self-care. Having a box full of things that are directed completely towards that, is perfect for any person. I plan to put this box in my closet until a day that I know I need a pick me up. When another hard day comes, I now have something to help me feel better. The post I got this idea from talked about even having a daily box that you can use/look at for even 5 minutes at a time everyday. I LOVE this idea and I can’t wait to see the difference it’s going to make on my rougher days.

Fighting the Sad

I love summer just as much as any teacher but there are days that I struggle getting through. I’ve shared before that I have dealt with depression and anxiety for a handful of years. I tend to have my bad days when the days are long and empty. Don’t get me wrong, I love not having anything to do but that’s the trigger my mind and body usually needs to spiral.

I’m not going to lie. Today is a hard day for me. Today the depression is winning. All I’ve wanted to do today is sleep and not talk to anyone because I didn’t see the point. It’s crazy how it just comes out of nowhere sometimes. Yesterday was a fun and busy day! I spent time with my family and got to spend the night at a music festival with my best friend. I was so happy yesterday but then today, it was all gone.

Usually when I have bad days it stems from being alone and thinking that I have no hope in having someone who I will get to spend the rest of my life with. I’ve had some pretty bad luck with friends and relationships in the past. I’ve never had a single person in my life who chooses me over others. When I spiral, my thoughts usually go to believing I’ll be alone forever.

I know it sounds crazy and I know it is completely irrational but when that sad parasite takes over, irrational thinking seems totally rational. I’ve been really trying to think of ways to make me feel better and to battle those sad thoughts and days. Some things that I have found that have helped me feel better are meditating and yoga. I also find that just sitting in the sun helps a lot. Things aren’t always that easy though. It’s a day by day learning experience that I’m trying to work through. I just hope these days are fewer and fewer as the summer goes on.

June in Review

I know that it’s already July 6th but I figured since summer is already 1/3 of the way over I would go back and look at the first 1/3 because why not?

It’s crazy to think that 1 month ago was officially our last day of school. As fast as summer may be going it’s strange to think that it’s only been a month since the last day with my kiddos. Our last day was June 6th and I’m still sad thinking about those great kids! I miss them so much. This year was difficult at times but they were sweet and kind students and the chances of having such a great class like that is pretty slim.

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Even if this isn’t in chronological order, on June 5th something super exciting happened for my mom! She is an elementary school teacher in my hometown (the next town over from where I teach now.) June 5th was her last day of school. At the end of the day the whole district goes to an end of the year staff celebration. At this celebration my mom was awarded an “outstanding service” award for being such a great teacher at her school. Unfortunately my dad was in the hospital at this time so my mom wasn’t able to attend the ceremony. My sister and I got the privilege to accept the award for her. We took a nice little picture with her teammates to surprise her.

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A little fun fact about me (which most people don’t agree with) is that I am a HUGE Taylor Swift fan. On June 13th we found out the release date and name of her 7th album. The album will be called Lover and it will be released on August 23rd! I’m so excited. I know her music has different reviews but I love how her style always changes. I hate to admit this but I’m low key excited for the end of August because of this album (even if that means I’m back at school the following week.)

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June 15th I was able to meet one of my very best friends from high school for brunch. Her and I go way back. We met when I was 12 and she was 10 through gymnastics. For years we practiced and competed together. As we got older we coached together and did other high school sports together. When I left for college we stayed in touch and when she went off to college we tried to meet up every now and then to stay up to date on our lives. We went to a local Minnesota restaurant called the 3 Squares located in Maple Grove, MN (for anyone out there who might be in the area at some point.) It was a delicious spot and the perfect place for brunch and (the best part) bottomless mimosas!!

June 17th I did something totally out there. I went to the hair salon and died the under coat of my hair pink (a pink peekaboo.) I’m a very low key, keep to myself person so getting my hair colored hot pink was something nobody would have thought I would do. I love it! 2 days later I decided to get a little bit more crazy and went to get my nose pierced. Actually I went to get it re-pierced. A few years ago I had a small stud in my nose but I took it out for student teaching. I have always been told that piercings and tattoos are frowned upon in the education world. It wasn’t until my piercing had closed that I realized they were accepted in my school. I missed it so much but never went to get it redone. I figured, this was the perfect time.

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On June 19th my mom and I decided to take trip down to Minneapolis to see the Twins play the Red Sox. Sadly, they lost that game but my mom and I had the best night and shared some delicious margaritas.

Sunday, June 23rd was another amazing day. My little sister (Lea) will be entering her senior year of college with a degree in pastoral studies. This summer she is interning at the Methodist Church in our hometown. On June 23rd my baby sister got to deliver her first ever sermon in front of the congregation. It was incredible, I was so proud. In a week she will be leading the entire service. It’s crazy to think that she is only 20 years old and she is already making such a difference and doing what she loves.

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June 29th was another big day. Lea’s best friend from childhood had her baby shower for her first born due in September. This little girl was my second little sister. She would stay over at our house almost every night in the summer. We haven’t spoken in years so seeing her beautiful pregnant self again was wonderful.

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Finally, on June 30th I got to introduce my mom to one of my most favorite series in the world, the Avengers. For all you super nerds out there, you would know that Marvel studios rereleased Avengers: Endgame to share some post credit scenes that were not in the first release. My mom has never watched any Marvel movie so when I jokingly asked if she would go with me and she said yes, I was shocked. I had to fill her in on as much as I could before and throughout the movie but it made me so happy when she looked at me when it was over and said how great it was and how she wants to go back and watch all 21 previous movies.

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June was fast but great. I can’t wait for the next 2 months of summer to see what fun and random things are in store for me!

 

 

Hello Fresh

Happy almost July 4th! Over here in the great bold north we’re already starting our second month of summer (which is insane!) I’ll be honest and say that I’m kind of bored….I know, I know “it’s summer this is what we look forward to all year as teachers.” I’m not saying it isn’t great but I feel like I have nothing to do. It’s fine to have nothing to do a few days in a row, but all summer…..I’m going crazy.

I’ve been thinking about what to post since I have no school stories or activities going on so I thought I would share with you something that I love! I know the whole meal delivery service is becoming a huge hit but I’ll be the first one to say that I love it and it is something to look into! I HATE cooking. I’m bad at it and I don’t have the patience for it so needless to say, I eat out a lot. That all changed when I discovered my favorite kit/program, Hello Fresh.

I promise this is not an endorsement deal in any way (I’m not even close to qualified for something like that) I just truly love this. Like I said, I hate cooking. Growing up, my mom wasn’t the best cook in the world and all my dad knew was how to grill meat and fish (and he usually cooked them so much they dried out) so I was never around someone who really knew what they were doing. I moved out last year and I have wasted too much money on eating out and groceries from Target that end up in the trash because I don’t know what to do with them. One day I was on Facebook and an ad for Hello Fresh came up offering a discount on your first set of meals ordered. I was intrigued.

I looked at the site and thought, “hey why not?” The week I looked at it they were offering a discount on meals (which I found out they offer all the time) and found that I could order 3 meals (2 servings each) for only $40. Now for those of you who don’t live alone, 3 meals actually covers 6 meals since I’m eating alone. I usually spend much more than that anyways each week eating out and buying groceries so I figured the price was worth it.

I LOVED IT! When the kit arrives the meals are split into paper bags labeled with each meal, meat insulated with non-toxic dried ice, and cards that give the recipe for each meal. Before the Friday of the next week, you select the meals you want ordered off of the weekly menu the site offers. The kit arrives on Wednesdays with your meals. Usually the meals are pretty easy to make. Seriously, if I can do it anyone can! The best part is it’s all natural ingredients. I’m not a huge person on “eating organic” but I do love when I know exactly what something is made out of, and it usually tastes better!

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This week I ordered a pasta meal, a fish meal, and taco meal. Today I made my new taco meal! The official name of the meal is Pork Carnitas Tacos and it is amazing!

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I’m a huge taco/burrito person so this was right up my alley! This was also a super easy meal! The longest part for me, was slicing up the onions, peppers, and tomatoes needed. I honestly just love how they provide you with EVERYTHING you need and the recipes are super easy to follow. Unlike most “word filled” recipes, these recipes have written directions along with picture directions, which when you are as incompetent in cooking as I am, it’s the perfect thing!

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Now I know that my picture does not look even close to the same as the website’s picture (when does it ever) but it tasted even better than I expected! I seriously recommend this meal delivery service. It has made me an even better cook (to a point) and has gotten me to eat much healthier than I ever have before!

If you are interested in giving this service a try, I can help you do that for free! (Remember, this is not an endorsement in any way!) As a member I can send out free week invites to interested individuals AND extra discounts to friends. Currently, I still have a free week of meals that I can give out. I also have a $40 off coupon for anyone who also may be interested. If you have always wanted to try a meal delivery service, this is your chance to do it for free. If this interests you, leave a comment saying you are interested! I can have the first person who offers try the service for free and the second person who is interested get the $40 off coupon.

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I promise this is an amazing service and definitely worth the try!

Crazy Cat Lady – It’s Official

If I haven’t stated before I love animals! If I could have endless dogs and cats my life would be content. Growing up, I had 2 different black labs (both at different times) and a couple cats every now and then but my dad was not a cat person so we didn’t have them for very long.

When I was 21 our second lab was put down and my dad didn’t want to train another dog. At the time, I was currently living in an apartment and was utterly depressed that my puppy wasn’t around anymore. We weren’t allowed to have dogs in our apartment so I had the sudden urge to adopt a cat. I adopted my baby Lucy when she was 6 years old at our local humane society. Since then, she has been my best friend. She is the calmest and sweetest cat alive. She also has major anxiety over meeting strangers so her and I got along too well. I moved home for 2 years and brought Lucy home with me. My dad fell in love with her and finally became a cat person.

One year ago I moved out of my house again and moved into another apartment. Lucy and I lived alone together again. As the summer turned into the school year I started to feel bad because I’d be gone for 8-12 hours at a time and she’d be left alone. When we lived at home, my dad was always there (being retired) so she was never lonely. I started to see her become more and more needy when I would come home from work. She also had my morning routine down to a science and would cry when I would walk out the door. I started to think about getting her a companion to keep her company.

The two of us got through the year with the thought of a second kitty in the back of my mind. I did some research and found that, with a cat as timid and calm as Lucy, a kitten would be better to adopt and bring home than an adult cat. On a complete impulse (I’m a very impulsive person when it comes to something I want) I went back to the humane society just “to look.” They had so many litters of kittens and were looking to get rid of them, so of course, it was too perfect for me. I fell in love with a little kitten who was the runt of her litter and the calmest of them all. I figured she would be the perfect match for my Lucy.

Today I got to pick up my new baby, Zoe, and bring her home. I have been nervous to see how Lucy would react because she hides when ANY adult besides me is in the apartment so I didn’t know how she would take a new animal. I introduced them by having Zoe in her carrying case and Lucy walk up to see her behind the bars of the door. Lucy was so scared when she saw the case that she was walking soooooo slowly to see what was inside. As soon as she saw Zoe she hissed (which I’ve never heard her do before) and ran away to hide. I did some research about introducing cats with new kittens and from that, I set up a room for Zoe in the bathroom. Everything that I’ve read said to let the kitten explore without the other cat around. It also said to have her spend a lot of time in “her room” to give the old cat some time to think things are normal while getting used to the new cat’s scent. As soon as I put Zoe in the bathroom, Lucy got the nerve to come out. I gave it some time before I pulled Zoe out again. I tried to reintroduce them but Lucy hissed again and ran to hide.

I’m trying to figure out how to keep these two both content while also introducing them to become best friends. I don’t want Lucy to become depressed and angry, she’s been through a lot. Before I adopted her, she had been in some tough house holds and it gave her some serious PTSD and anxiety. I know she needs a friend so I’m hoping this works. If ANYONE has any tips or tricks on how to get them to bond and for Lucy to become less anxious, PLEASE let me know. I am now an official crazy cat mom and want to have 2 happy little kitties.