Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekly Notes (Books, Lessons, Freebies and More) 11/20/15

Books, lessons, and freebies.  Here is a treat for you this Thanksgiving.  I hope you are either already on vacation or just two school days away from a much needed break.

Book of the Week
I've been revisiting an old book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.  After a 5-year hiatus from writing, I am finally trying to get over the fear I've felt of the page.  I've enjoyed putting words on paper again and this book is inspiring me to get over myself and get on the page.

Lesson of the Week
This week I like to focus on poetry.  It is a week filled with activity and poetry is quick and easy. These 4 poems by Jack Prelutsky will get everyone in the holiday mood and reflecting on their Thanksgiving Traditions.  You can get this November A Poem Each Week for FREE.

Fabulous Friday Freebie
My wonderful friend, Erin Shurbutt from Snazzy in Second made these wonderful Properties of Addition posters.  I love how I can use these at centers and have them on the walls.  A little velcro on the back makes them easy to move.

My Favorite Pin of the Week
This bread!  This will be an appetizer for my Thanksgiving Day.  I can't wait.  

Recipe of the Week
About a year ago my husband and I completed Whole 30.  We have spent the past year trying to stick to the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time we follow Whole 30 and the other 205 we eat what we want. One of the staple meals we fix is Paleo Italian Meatballs from Tastes of Lizzy T's. This makes a lot of food and we are set for lunches, dinners, and snacks.  In the recipe you can find the link for the a sauce and how to cook spaghetti squash.

Finding Time for Me
After a 20 year hiatus from the high school swim team, I dove back into the pool.  I hate working out. I hate running, and watching the clock, I hate gym class teachers who are super excited about working out and want me to yell and count.  But, I love water.  Today I got over myself, put my 1 year old in the gym daycare and did laps in the pool.  I feel great!  My entire body feels alive.  I was alone for 25 minutes with nothing but myself and a pool.  The only sounds were my breath and splashing and my brain actually relaxed.  To top if off, I hopped in the hot tub for 5 minutes and was able to shower and put my make up on without someone wanting to be held or play with my brushes. This will be my thing.  My 25 minutes of silence.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Teaching Poetry

Don't leave, we have moved but you can still get this free download!  Just hop on over to my new site. You will find plenty of free lessons and ideas on poetry, classroom management, and more!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The #1 Way to Reduce Stress

I've struggled with stress, and anxiety for years.  I have this compulsive need to be perfect and if I can't do it perfectly then I just sit around and worry about it.

After lots of research, and talking with others I have discovered the truth to reducing stress.

You must find what makes YOU happy and do it.  

The other night I received a text for a friend asking me if I was going to make our monthly book club.  I told her I wasn't.  A. I hadn't read the book and B. I thought it was the week before when I had food poisoning and one of the kids had yet another virus.

She responded with, "Find time to go to the beach."

Well, of course, I couldn't do that.  But it got me thinking about making something "like" that happen. So the next morning I packed the gym bag.  I dropped the 3-year-old off at preschool and for the first time I took the 1-year old to the gym with me.

I put on the only swimsuit I had and dove into the pool.  I swam laps for the first time since high school swim team.  It wasn't perfect, but it was me alone in the water.  The only sounds were my breathing and the splashing.  For 25 minutes I had no stresses, no worries, and a peace literally and figuratively washed over me.

I topped off my swim with a few minutes in the sauna.  With my eyes closed, and my swimsuit on I could imagine that I just finished a swim in the ocean and it was a hot summer day.  I had actually found time to "go to the beach."

I left with the gym with a happy kid who had fun playing with other kids his age, a bag full of wet clothes, and a whole new attitude about how to face my day without stress.

Today, I went back and while I swam laps I reflected on happiness.  For years I had tried to do what worked in making others happy.  Not once did I think about what made me happy.  I hate running, I hate gym classes with peppy instructors, and I hate watching a clock.  But the sound and sight of a pool, a lake, an ocean, or even a creek calms me.  I love hot summer days where you walk outside and it's like a big fluffy blanket surrounds you.

I learned that finding time to do what makes me happy (or my own version of it) can give me the brain power to tackle my day without the needless worry and stress.  You might not be able to lunch at a European cafe, or relax at a spa.  But a bistro table on the back patio or a nice bath with candles may be what you need to get that feel.  It may be just the not-so-perfect way to get exactly what you need.

So what about you? Is stress taking over you day?  Have you found what makes you happy?  What ways have you tweaked what you need in order to fit it into your daily world?

Photo: Puhha/dollar Photo Club

Friday, November 13, 2015

Weekly Notes to Simply Your Life - 11/13/15

Happy Friday the 13th.  I always like to start new things on Friday the 13th.  Hey I came into this world on a Friday the 13th and I thought that was a pretty lucky day.  I decided today would be a great day to start my weekly notes series.  Each Friday I will share with you some of the things that worked (and some of those that didn't work) in hopes of simplifying your week.  So let's get started.

Book of the Week
This week I am rereading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo for the 100th time.  It is going to be the first book in the new Teacher Book Club series that I am hosting on Facebook.  More details will be coming this week. The main goal is to house a place where you can share and get ideas on using books for read alouds and guided reading.

Lesson of the Week
Want to learn more about creating character?  Check out the video below.  You can also access the handouts here.

Fabulous Friday Freebie
I found this fantastic book in Jennifer Gibbon's Teaching with Grace Teachers Pay Teachers store.  It was such a joy to sit with my daughter and color and read together.  I was amazed at how much she has learned at her preschool this year.  Each week it is loads more.  This Emergent Reader Alphabet Book was the perfect resource for her to show what she knows and for the two of us to explore new letters.

My Favorite Pin of the Week
I am hosting Thanksgiving for my family this year and I am dying to try to put this centerpiece together. This may become a Pinterest fail, but I am going to try it out.  I will share my findings with you.
You can also check out the blog post here.

Recipe of the Week
My family's all time favorite meal is Italian Chicken.  I love it most of all because it is quick and easy.  The kids can help me and it is minimal mess and time out of my busy day.  I found it on pinterest and only in the comments.  I added the link because there were other good meals but here it is:
 4 chicken breasts
1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning
 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
Cook on low for 4 hours. 
If sauce is too thick, add a little milk. Serve over pasta. 

Finding Time for Me
So one of the biggest things I have been working on lately is to find a little me time.  After repeated recommendations, I finally started watching Parenthood on Netflix.  Ahh, a show that is real to what it is like.  No I don't have a big family, no I don't live in the same town as my family, but yes they show the hardships and the reality what my life is like.  I find myself In many of the characters.  And it's nice to find a show that can move me to laughter and tears and not to my iPad or computer.