27 June 2014

Healthy Five Favorites for Friday!

I am going to attempt to make this work for all three link ups (it was too hard to pick just one!)

I haven't been real quiet here about my body being on the struggle bus during the last year. BUT, just in case you didn't know: Something about not being a full time athlete for the first time in 12 years... + driving 90 minutes each day to my first teaching job... + living in a new place with few true healthy choices... + my first year of wedded bliss... did not do pretty things to my waistline over the last year.

But now that I'm getting ready for a fresh start in August, the pressure is on to fit back into all of my cute professional wardrobe and honestly, just feel good.

I've been doing the Advocare 24-Day Challenge for the last 18 days. I've definitely stuck to all of the accompanying strict rules/advice, but I've tried to make this thing my own. I want it to be something I can easily carry into the next school year without having to bend over backwards. I've been trying new recipes and meal planning like a fiend, so without further ado...

My Five Healthy Favorites for Friday:


This salsa chicken is a super versatile, easy recipe that we definitely eat at least once a week. I use organic chicken broth (I know, I know... but it IS less than a dollar more than the other AND it has waaay less sodium!), my favorite Newman's Own Pineapple Salsa, and chicken breasts. If we're just doing it for dinner, I only throw in two good sized ones, but I could easily do 3-4 breasts and take it for lunch a few days during the school week. I cook it on low pretty much all day, and my husband knows that whoever gets home first is just supposed to switch the crockpot to "keep warm). I like this meal for US as well, because I can eat the chicken over a salad, in whole wheat tortillas, with some avocado... etc. and my main squeeze can load up a big ol' flour tortilla with sour cream and cheese and guac and rice (sigh) and make a burrito. Two happy (and skinnier) campers!


Pins like this + my extreme hanger + my tendency to lean towards any and all things sweet or fried when I get hungry have inspired me to keep my fridge well stocked with quick, easy snacks. I also like to think to myself when I am perusing the fridge, "Am I actually hungry, or am I thirsty?" I like to drink a glass of water, and then decide. A list of things I currently have: 
-bell peppers
-string cheese (avoiding until i'm done with the 24 day challenge)
-greek yogurt (avoiding until i'm done with the 24 day challenge)
-left over salsa chicken 


Smoothies- these puppies are only $1.50 (which thinking about, is kinda expensive for ONE homemade smoothie... but I'd say the convenience factor is worth it) at our favorite Tejas grocery chain. I can make them for a snack now, but they're also easy to make at night and put in the fridge for breakfast (with some kind of protein to keep a sista full) once school starts back.


Crockpot buffalo chicken is basically just another easy dinner like the salsa chicken I described above. Tasty, versatile, and SUPER EASY.


Justin's Almond Butter with bananas, apples, celery... a spoon... OMG so delicious. I have to really attempt to measure out proper serving sizes of this stuff when I eat it or I might just inhale the whole jar. The link above is to Amazon because that's how I have to buy it, but if you live anywhere civilized I'm sure you can buy it at your grocery store.

Anyone else having a #healthyteacher summer? How's it going? Any good tips? If so, maybe link up with one or two or three of these pretty ladies!

20 June 2014

5 for Friday: June 20

This week, I got crafty making a care package for a friend who is spending the next 9 months in the big ol' sandbox. It was super fun to make a box to send to a GIRL because I felt like I could anticipate wants and needs a little better. ;)

I started teaching swim lessons this week and I'm having a blast being nerdy and incorporating learning to swim and academic skills. For example, I'm having the little nuggets dive for "wishing stones" from the teacher Dollar Store. The stones have letters on them and the first one to spell a word wins. Or, they're swimming "perfect strokes" to grab sponges with numbers and then making number sentences. #Parentsloveme, I tell ya what. And thus far, the kiddos have been duped into believing thIs is all just a game! ;)

I made my sub tub last week. It's got about three days worth of work that a sub can pull and easily guide students through in the event that I couldn't plan on being out. Love this little guy! Year two is looking better already!

I knoooooow they recommend that you only weight on days 1, 11, and 24... but when you see nice things, it is not as traumatic a lot more fun. Check out my graph for the past 11 days!*

*yes, i cut it off a little... maybe i will get brave a share the actual numbers at some point, but just check out that pretty little trend line!
I am excited to be visiting LA in a few weeks- any fantastic ideas for what to do?!? We're definitely planning on doing some of the touristy stuff, but would love to do some fun local things as well!

* PS- I am NOT getting any kind of payment to talk about these products (because oddly, no one contacted me to advertise on my blog that gets about 10 page views a day)... I also don't sell them... I am just a wee bit pleased with the results.

14 June 2014

Sell It Saturday: KISS

Though I am moving into a new phase in my teaching life, I did (and do, and maybe will again!) love my time in special education.

Two of my favorite products on my very undeveloped TPT store are my favorite because they are {not fancy}. When working with students who have more significant needs, I like to remember this lil phrase:


Both of these products you could easily make on your own, I'm sure, but if you slip me just one smackeroo, I can save you at least five minutes!

check it out here!

check it out here! 

They can be used in a special education classroom OR a pre-k/kinder class, and the possibilities for use are pretty much endless. They support differentiated learning opportunities, too, so lots of kiddos at lots of levels could use the same materials at the same time. I listed some ideas on my TPT product listings, but just off the top of my head you could use either of the printables to make:
  • flashcards
  • file folder games
  • matching games for 1-1 correspondence
  • matching games to learn numeral/set correspondence
  • matching games to learn numeral/number word correspondence
  • matching games to learn number word/set correspondence
  • matching with clothespin games
  • laminate and glitter glue them for tactile counting practice
  • ________________________ <your idea here!
We also know that with young children and students with significant special needs, using the SAME things when teaching a skills can be really beneficial initially. So, you can use these bad boys over and over again!

Alright, I'll get off my soap box and back to working on my Sub Tub! Happy Saturday!

[Thanks for the cute linky, Kristin. It's motivating me to get to work!]

13 June 2014

5 for Friday


I went to the first in-processing session for my {NEW} job this week, and then immediately called so that I could go up to school and look at my future classroom. My mind is already spinning with ideas, but I'm trying to sloooow it down. If I learned anything last year, it was to prioritize my efforts. I quickly ran out of time and energy to do some important stuff because I'd put tons into things like... shredding files. Um, hello. Totally should have just it in the file cabinet and moved on for the year. However, I am pretty thrilled to have a fairly blank canvas (as opposed to an overgrown storage room full of c.r.a.p) Let's do a quick photo comparison:

[[the 2014 first look]]


I am loving this series from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad . It is so relevant and helpful! Though I am technically not a brand-spankin-new teacher, I am starting in a new district with a totally new teaching position with totally different expectations. I highly recommend that you read and re-read the series if you are a new teacher (or a veteran who wants to refresh their mind before the start of the next school year. [shameless plug] It also feels like the perfect follow-on from my Nailed It! Series.


I had a bunch of fun doing summer linky parties last year, and am now that I actually have time to write, I looking for some good ones to join! Any suggestions?


I mentioned on instagram that I started Advocare's 24-Day Challenge on Tuesday. I gained a fairly extensive amount of weight this year, and I am usually not one for 'fad' diets, blah blah blah, BUT this one looked like something that would help me get back to my healthy eating habits of last year (instead of making me just drink lemonade and cayenne pepper 4x a day or something ridiculous creative like that). Thus far, I am honestly feeling energized and full. I am very glad I didn't attempt the process during the school year though. I've been riding on the ability to plan meals on the fly. I know that will end once school starts back, and I'm hoping to have found some staples to put back into my daily diet.


I lovelovelove to read. But I often have to put it off during the school year because reading consumes my life in the way that video games eat away at most 10-100 year old boys. My 'professional' summer reading list so far consists of: The Leader in Me, Daily 5, Space & Places. My 'for fun' summer reading list: The One & Only, Sharp Objects

12 June 2014

ch ch ch ch changes

you may notice a small change on my "about mrs. b" page.

just a little, teeny, itsy bitsy one...

it was rather spur of the moment, but i decided not to go back to my teeny, tiny district next year. the decision was tough. telling my principal/mentor once i'd officially decided was pretty brutal. leaving my babies, the ones i'd spent hours and hours building up, the ones who'd not recently had a chance to be told that YES, they could learn AND THEN the chance to actually learn, in unknown hands was heart-wrenching. 

i cried. a lot. 

i truly thought i had failed. i felt like a quitter. the stats about first year teachers sticking around, the stats about special education teachers staying in the field... i was am now one of those statistics. i am the person that my snooty, fresh out of college ass would have sneered at for not having the cajones to stick it out (circumstance be damned!, i would have said. real teachers are life changers; they don't abandon their students!) it was is a pretty harsh realization. 

after my pity party, i came to a a few conclusions. though i am not ready to run a program, though i could not stay at a school where our counselor called me "selfish" in front of all of my colleagues when i announced my decision to move on, i still learned from this job. i was taught so much by my students. i made sweet friends that i know i can still count on. i grew and i matured and i got knocked down a peg or 3 (which i needed).

most importantly, this last year of teaching brought me closer to Jesus. throughout the whole ordeal, i knew that God had a plan for me and for my family. while i was trying to make this really crazy decision three weeks before the end of the year with my summer school and summer workshops scheduled and planned, i was studying nehemiah. i'll spare you the lengthy details, but let's just say that i knew the sweet Lord was speaking directly to me. i cannot even describe the amount of peace and comfort i felt as He so quickly answered my prayers over and over. a pretty much prefect teaching position, which was unlisted online, literally fell into my lap just days after i agonized about what i would be doing next year.

so, here's to second grade, 10 minute drives, and trusting Him at every turn!

04 June 2014

currently: june

Apparently I only post on this bad boy when there is a link party... and guess who is one of my absolute favorites?! (I'll give you a clue: she lives very close to me and her name starts with an 'F' and ends with an 'arley')

I am home early today for some crazy reason, and my little house is so peaceful and quiet. Somedays being at home by myself is eerie (or gives me a nasty case of baby fever... yikes!) but today it just feels lovely.

After a year of stress and putting my health on the back burner, I have started really trying to be conscious about putting my best foot forward. At this point that only means incline walking on the treadmill a few times a week, making sure I get my daily 10,000 steps, making an effort to get at least seven hours of sleep, and at least thinking before I jam a cupcake into my mouth. I have lost a couple pounds, and more importantly, my clothes are actually starting to fit better. I'm happy to see some progress and even more excited to see what a summer of focused effort can do for me.

I am the most rookie of all teachers. Ridiculous, I tell ya. I scheduled a parent end-of-year, open house type dealio tomorrow. Tomorrow, as in our last day of school, tomorrow. What the h-e-doublehockeysticks was I thinking?! I am excited to be able to give my kiddos' parents ideas about what we've been doing and how they can do the same at home over the summer, but... That means I have been scrambling today to put together brunch food, make my semi-deconstructed classroom (remind me to tell you about how someone already snagged the teacher desk out of my room) look presentable. #firstyearteacher

YES. My new room. I don't want to spend a lot of time discussing that now, but let's just say that I am jazzed about next year. It is going to be so wonderful for my marriage, my career, my sanity...

I needNEEDNEED SUMMER. It is so close that I can taste it. I like new things, and summer has always been the start of something new for me. It's the perfect way to recharge, refresh, and rethink. Teaching is the bomb. I hope I never stop working a job where I can take the summers off.

More about prepping for next year later... Seriously, check back in the next week or two, and I will probably have a novel posted about the changes happening in my little life. Relaxing is key (see above!), and I hope to do so with lots of my sweet friends who kind of got the short end of the stick during my culminating year of chaos.  Last, I plan to really go through my clothes. I need to be honest about the things that do not and will not fit me, and then figure out the things that I really need to be able to squeeze my hiney into next year. Hoping for the best!

01 June 2014

resolutions & reflections

In January, I listed some resolutions for myself in the New Year. What a concept. I'm revolutionary, I tell ya what. 

Seriously, though, in the past, I've "made resolutions" ...and then just left them hanging. But this time I got them in writing. So, at my half way point, I've decided to look back and see where I'm at and how I can continue to improve!

I had five primary resolutions, and then some personal/professional goals. I'm gonna go ahead a rank my progress on each resolution on a 1-5 scale, because I like a little quantitative data here and there. ;) 

1. Eat right & exercise regularly
Progress: 2/5
I would say I have increased my general awareness in these areas. I was the, how you say, Biggest Winner? in the Biggest Loser competition at my school, actually gaining weight throughout the 12 week competition. #oops However, I am paying lots of attention to my daily activity, using my FitBit. I am also on/off tracking what I eat. Somedays, that is a total flop. However, I am looking forward to doing the Advocare 24 Day Challenge here in a few weeks when school finishes and I have time to pay attention to the food I'm consuming.

2. Increase my financial awareness: what I make and what I spend
Progress: 1/5
I have not really paid much attention to this, frankly. Without a lot of forethought, we have been fortunate enough to spend when we need to, save when we can, and only make big purchases when necessary. I am really lucky to have an extremely financially savvy husband who makes sure that we make sound decisions.

3. Improve my friendships: write/text/call a different person weekly
Progress: 3/5
Though I have not been incredibly intentional about this, I feel like I am slowly easing out of my hermit phase that began when I started the crazy stressful life-sucking job. I have been doing some texting, some trip planning, some Facebook stalking. I even was asked to be a bridesmaid in sweet friend's wedding next summer!

4. Strengthen my faith: daily bible study
Progress: 3/5
She Reads Truth is quite possibly one of the best things that has happened to me this year.  This goal isn't 5/5, because I still have six months left in the calendar year, and because I feel like I can always do better, but I am so refreshed and so motivated by the simple Bibly studies they put together FOR FREE. I began the Nehemiah study this week with their study packs (which are not free, but are worth the cost thus far!), and I know the Lord has been speaking to me. I am in the process of making some tough choices and in a time where I could be extremely stressed and worried, I just feel so at peace. SO amen for that!

5. Clear the clutter: in my home & my classroom
Progress: 3/5
President's Day Weekend, B & I did it BIG and cleaned out our house and made our office into a functional room and not a clutter-catcher. It was maybe not the way we would have planned to spend our three days off, but it was SO worth it. We made some space and some money. I have been slowly but surely working through some of the clutter in my classroom. It seems to be a never-ending project though, because once I clean out one space, I find MORE. Ugh. And now, I need to finally get back in the other classroom (remember, I used to have 2?!) and find the things that are MINE. What a challenge.

Successes with my other goals: 
  • I have been able to plan more effectively by getting ahead and using my Life Planner from Erin Condren (but I'm debating breaking the train and trying Mrs. Ley's lil beauty next year... thoughts?)
  • I have started coaching a local swim team a couple nights a week, and it has been such a nice way to get out of the classroom and out of the house! Plus, a great way to get involved in swimming again without having to shove my honey back into a training suit. ;)
  • I have been reading and reading and reading. I downloaded the Kindle app for my iPad and iPhone so I can kinda read whenever/wherever and I am also occasionally listening to books on CD when I have to make the long drive home alone or when I get bored/sleepy on my drive to work.
So, 2014 and I clearly have some more work to do... but I think we've got some things to be proud of as well!