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no more plastic

Good evening!  Guess what?!

Tomorrow is my last day of school!  I honestly cannot believe that my first year of teaching is finally over.  It has truly been the most stressful, tiring, time consuming, emotional, roller coaster of an experience that I have ever been on.  Through all the mountains and valleys, I have honesty learned so much – about myself, but mainly about teaching.  When I started this year, I walked into such the unknown.  Even though I student taught for three months in 2007, the two years separating then and now might as well have been ten years.  Our year spent in Thailand was a hazy dream that divided all prior experiences from my current reality.  Last August, I walked blindly into two preps, 150 16-17 year olds, two hours of commuting each day and quite literally scrambled each and every minute to figure out what I needed to do and how to do it.  There were many tears shed and many sleepless nights.  But I did it.  I accomplished it.  And I have to say…I’m so proud of myself.

I also have to pay tribute to my sweet husband who so graciously and patiently put up with my rants, my stress, my total neglect of wifely duties and, at times, my withdraw from normal life.  I cannot even begin to explain how loving Jon has been throughout this year.  He did laundry, cooked dinners, washed dishes, cleaned the house, helped me with school projects, went on Starbucks runs for me and encouraged me during the times I needed it most.  And get this – he got up at 5:30 am every morning this entire school year and made my green monster, made my lunch and helped me get my stuff out to the car.  Unbelievable.  I most definitely could not have made it without his love and support.  And to think he wrote me a sweet card and bought me a massage, manicure and pedicure as a reward for getting through my first year.   He is truly the one who deserves the reward.  My absolute world, that boy:)

And my mom.  So many long drives home of her listening until my little heart was content.  She’d give me advice, we’d hang up, and I’d call her right back for more.  She never shows that she is weary of listening to me or helping me gain perspective.  She has supported me so much through everything this year, and she’s always on my side.  When I think of my mom, I find myself searching for a word deeper and more thorough than – thankful.  There is no one quite like her and no one who could take her place.

All that to say…tomorrow will be a sweet day.  Not only because the year is over, but also because there will be no more of this:

lunch for tomorrow – Amy’s Split Pea soup


some spinach and artichoke humms with Rye Crisp crackers…
and Greek yogurt with sliced almonds, cinnamon Puffins and a sprinkle of unsweetened dried cranberries for a snack

Plastic!

From now on, my daily eats will no longer be housed in plastic containers or plastic baggies.  I will also no longer be eating half my meals in my car.  It’s time for some real honest-to-goodness ceramic and silver!

My plan for the coming weeks is that I will be posting regularly to CSM and also that I’ll have time for more blog worthy meals…among other things of course. I’m in such anticipation of what is to come!

And let’s be honest, for starters that is Europe.  Only 5 days and counting!

And with that, I’m off to bed.  Apologies for this post being a bit heavy and non-food focused.  Just had to go with what was on my heart:)  G’night.

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gettin’ back in the groove

After a week long hiatus that seemed like an eternity…I’m back.   I just needed a bit of a break.  I’m in the final weeks of my 1st year of teaching, and I’m honestly just feeling a bit run down and overwhelmed.  Give me 14 more days and all will be sunshine and roses.  Forgive me for being a bit naive in thinking my life will be blissful in 14 days, but summer break has never looked better:)

Some of the things I’m dreaming of doing once I have some free time are: cleaning out our office. early morning runs, spending more time in the kitchen (which = a better CSM:), reading for pleasure, getting 8 hours of sleep, blogging more, gardening, going to classes at the gym, helping Jon with his business…I think that’s enough to get me started.  Something you may not know about me is that I love being at home, and I love being domestic.  So, 10 hours of commuting a week + working around 50 hours a week gets really old after awhile.

This weekend Jon and I have stayed busy trying to get ready for vacation.  We’re counting down the days – only 17 days left until we’re on our way!  Yesterday we spent the day shopping in the city, working on building a bit of a wardrobe up!  That’s my kind of vacation prep:)  We both got some really good deals.  Today after going to church and getting some work done, we picked out the clothes we want to pack for our trip.  The amount of luggage we can take is limited, so we went ahead and put together an outfit for each day.  We laid them all out on the bed and took a picture of each one, so when we get ready to pack, we’ll already know exactly what to take!

When we lived in Thailand, we traveled so often that I became a self proclaimed pro at packing; however, as of late my skills have waned a bit, and I’ve become notorious for just throwing in almost everything I own because “how am I to know what I’m gonna want to wear??”  I’m hoping this pre-planning will cut down on luggage weight as well as the “last minute running around like a crazy person throwing in random t-shirts I haven’t worn in the last decade just because I might need it” phenomenon!  This will also make my husband very happy:)  We also used our iPhone app to check what the weather is going to be like both in Barcelona and Paris.  Praise the Lord, it’s going to be in the upper sixties and lower seventies the entire week!

Changing the subject – I got caught up for awhile earlier, looking at pictures of our time in Thailand.  I get so nostalgic sometimes, thinking bout our time there.  I found this video and thought I’d show it to your for fun – and for an example of how the Thais get their exercise in!  They honestly don’t exercise like we Americans do.  In fact, you would almost never see a Thai person out running.  When Jon and I would go running near our neighborhood, the Thais would just stare at us like we were from another planet.  haha.

This video is when we were visiting a village over Christmas, and as we were wandering through the streets, we came upon a group of Thais “working it out.”  If you look closely, you can see Jon in the back in the green shirt – he decided to join in:)

I’m sorry that I’m not posting food pictures tonight.  I have been slacking a bit with the busyness this past week, and I honestly haven’t taken many food pics.  I’m sorry I haven’t been more committed to making that happen.  I’ll be getting back in the groove this week, and it’s only going to get better once school is out and I’m at home more!  Thank you so much for sticking with me.  I’m so thankful to you who come to my little blog.  You’re amazing:)

Until tomorrow…

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operation beautiful

Reminder #65464 about the chia seed giveaway!  Don’t wait another second to enter.  Do it! Do it! Do it!

Hey everyone!

All day I have been thinking that today is Wednesday.  I’m not sure why…maybe it’s just wishful thinking:)

Have you heard of Operation Beautiful?  I just recently started reading Caitlin’s blog, and I think what she is doing is amazing!  So, today I decided to take part!

As you guys know, I’m a high school teacher.  So, I snuck in the bathroom this morning before school and left these.  I tried to stick them on the inside of the stall door, but they wouldn’t stick! ha!  So, the bottom one ended up on the toilet paper dispenser.  oops.  I’m hoping that won’t taint the message:)

This totally made my day, and I think I just might start making a habit of it!

And speaking of beautiful;)

Sorry for the short post tonight – I had to work on school projects for several hours, and the night has flown by.  I so missed surfin’ the blog world and visiting everyone, but there’s always tomorrow I guess!

See you guys!

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Mexican Fiesta Pasta

Hi!

Whew!  Today has been kind of crazy.  Do you ever have those days where it seems that everything seems to go wrong?  Well, that was today all the way up until 5pm when I arrived home from work.  Enough about it, though, no need to carry it on!

I just have to say, first of all, thanks so much to all of you who have been stopping by and checking out CSM.  Next to seeing my sweet husband, blogging is one of the highlights of my day.  So, when I see that people are swinging by it thrills me to no end!  I would love to hear from each of you in the comments, so that I can know who all is out there!  Please drop me a line if you get a chance!  Don’t be shy:)

And thanks so much to those of you who have been dropping me a line – you totally make my day!

Sorry guys, but lunch today was kind of a repeat.  I love taking leftover for lunch, so when I have a large batch of something, such as Veggie-tel, I kill it!  I did swap out the apple for a pear – just to add a little excitement.  Oh, and threw in some chopped avocado as well.  Somehow I forgot it yesterday.  Doh!

I snacked on some baby carrots and sliced cucumber right after school today.  I had to hold one little hoodlum after in detention.  I threatened him with his life had a good little chat with him, so I’m hoping tomorrow is the last day we’ll spend time together after school.  Somebody’s gotta keep these kids in line! These veggies held me over until my real snack on the commute home – a banana and a brown rice cake slathered with cashew butter.  My cashew butter is almost out, which is not good considering the new budget implementations.  Good ole’ PB will have to come to my rescue.  It’s never a bad thing to get back to the basics I suppose.

Speaking of budget implementations, yesterday I promised a budget friendly delicious meal, and I definitely can’t go back on a promise.  So, without further ado…

Mexican Fiesta Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 cans rotel (generic works great!)
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can chili beans, rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, no salt added
  • 1 12 oz. pkg whole wheat pasta
  • 2 tbsp ground red pepper (or to taste)  – I douse it!
  • 1 tbsp cumin

Directions

  • Cook pasta
  • While pasta is cooking, dump everything else in a large pot (yes, everything else!)
  • Let mixture cook through while pasta is boiling
  • Drain pasta and add to mixture

That’s it!  That’s one of the many joys of this meal.  It takes all of about 15 minutes to make.  It’s clean.  It’s delicious.  It’s cheap.  Doesn’t get much better.

One thing I’d like to mention, considering this recipe has a lot of canned goods that go into it, is to be very careful when picking out your canned items.  When I first started eating clean, I realized how many random things like sugar, salt, high fructose corn syrup etc. can come in things as simple as a can of corn or beans.  There are definitely versions that are clean, you just have to look for them. I often buy Great Value because most of their canned beans, such as black, are pure and simple…they way we like it!

Well, that’s all for tonight!  I’m off to respond to a couple of emails and then hit the sack!  Hope you all had a fantastic day:)

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a list

Last day before back to work!  I think I’ve come to terms with it over the last couple of days.  I was reading a little of my new Self Magazine today, and there were some suggestions for making days less stressful that hit home with me, so I thought I’d share.

1.  Recognize the opportunity for fun/pleasure – don’t automatically expect work tasks/assignments to be stressful and not fun.  View projects as a chance for exploration and a chance to create something.

This one is big for me.  I have to use creativity a lot with teaching.  I often dread having to create lesson plans because I expect it to be difficult and not enjoyable.  It’s all about changing your perspective.

2. “There is no such thing as ‘guilty pleasure,’ it’s all just pleasure (Wish*)” – Take a break to do something you enjoy several times a day…and don’t feel guilty about it!  The time spent recharging will give you energy to tackle tasks with excitement.

For me this would be blogging or reading for pleasure.  I sometimes feel guilty for taking time to do those things because I feel that I should be working on school stuff of cleaning up the house/doing laundry etc.  Take time to RELAX!

3.  “Make a concerted effort to note how much went right, regardless of how humble those triumphs may appear (Wish*)” – When you start paying attention to and focusing on the things (no matter how small) that went right in a day, you automatically will feel less negative.

I was reading through an old journal today and came across a period where I had written down daily things that had happened that brought me joy.  I did it on a day-to-day basis, listing specific events or moments of that day.  It was inspiring for me to read even today!  I am a person who sometimes has to make an effort to focus on the positive, and I think this is a great way to do that.

Here is my list for today:

  • slept in (didn’t have to wake up to an alarm)
  • went to Panera with Jon to have a quiet time with the Lord
  • saw the little guy I used to nanny for
  • took an hour nap
  • got to spend the whole day with Jon
  • wore a new dress

I’d love to hear your list of joyful/positive things!!

little O at the pond the other day (before the big snow!)

*LeslieBeth Wish, Ed. D

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