Sunday, January 14, 2018

Reviewing and Planning

Here I am again, blogging on Saturday morning. I've realized that I've made a lot of promises to myself this year. More than is probably good for me but I'm plodding along. I find in teaching and in life it is good to review the past and use that information to help plan for the future. I try not to have too many regrets or to allow myself to have negative feelings about things I think I've done poorly or wrongly. Instead I choose to look closely at what happened and try to figure out why and how to change for the future. Certainly there are many things I wish I could go back and redo and change but since I don't have a time machine I can't do that and obsessing on the past will do nothing to help my future.

So in looking at the week in review I'll use that information to plan for the upcoming week. 

1. Food and exercise. I've done a good job keeping to my food goals this week. I didn't get to the gym too much but I did go twice which is more than I can say for the last few months. I gave up coffee for 5 days. I have had a lot of trouble with my sleep for some reason (waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep) so I'm feeling totally exhausted in the morning. Today I decided that it wasn't the right time to forgo coffee. I'm on my second cup and it's soooooooo delicious! The key here is to not allow this one broken resolution to be a slippery slope into breaking the others.

2. Drawing. I haven't sat down to draw since last weekend. I need to find a little time this weekend and at least once or twice a week to draw. I'm still adjusting to my new schedule and I've tweaked my cooking schedule starting this week so I haven't gotten in a groove yet. Hopefully I can spend a little time in between jobs working on this goal. 

3. Meal Planning. I made a rough plan of dinners for the month. This was very helpful. I need to review the plan, look at the recipes and shop for what I need. Mike and I are going to take a trip to a local grocery store that I discovered sells grass fed beef from a local farm. I'm always on the lookout for places to purchase grass fed food and to see how the prices compare. 

4. Quilting. Yes.....Mike's cousin (who is MUCH younger than he is) is having her first baby and so I will make a baby quilt for her. After a lot of time not wanting to sew, I've been feeling the desire again lately. I'm not sure why. So I've picked a pattern and need to go to the fabric store to pick up the supplies. The shower is in February so I have a little time to work on it.

5. School. I don't really have too much to worry about this weekend for school. I've organized the room so that I don't have to change out the shelves too often. I do need to continue working on some lessons but they aren't pressing. I'm working on academics with the children individually or in small groups to try to get them acclimated to being more independent with their work. Unfortunately, the play areas pull them in large groups and make the classroom very loud. There isn't anything I can really do about this so I'm just trying to separate children who are misbehaving and are having trouble concentrating. That has been helping. I have to remember that it may take awhile to accomplish.

6. Reading. I've been working slowly through 'Positive Discipline for Preschoolers' which is a very good book. I'm just reading a chapter a day or so. I've also picked up 'My life in France' by Julia Child. The book chronicles her life with her husband while they lived in France which is also where she learned to cook. It is very interesting. I've got so many books that I'd like to read but I often fall asleep while reading so it's difficult to read too much at once!

7. Connecting. I've been feeling very disconnected from other people lately. I used to feel so connected at church but have really lost most of the friends I had as a younger mother. It really makes me quite sad. The only place where I have people saying they miss me is in the choir. I'm thinking that perhaps I should rejoin to see if that makes me feel more involved. I'm also thinking about taking a yoga class. I've been having a lot of trouble with my back and I think that Yoga might help with it as well as be an exercise I enjoy more than weight training or using the tread mill. It might also be a place to meet new people. The two issues are money and time with that one so I'm just exploring options. I'm also meeting a friend this morning for coffee. She's been the one consistent friend in my life and I'm glad we can connect every few months.

Well....that's a lot! Luckily I have off school on Monday. It gives me a little more time to organize myself and check off a few things from the list. I guess I'd better get's almost 8 a.m.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Another New Year

It's 2018. I can remember being a school child and thinking how old I would be when it was the year 2000 and 2020, etc. The thought that I would be alive in the year 2020 seemed amazing to me. For some reason, the turn of the century seemed like such a futuristic idea. Certainly there would be flying cars by then! Well, here we are in 2018. Life is certainly different than when I was a school girl and yet in many ways it is still the same. We move ahead one day at a time and eventually our life unfolds. It is in the minutes and hours and days that we build ourselves and the world around us. Yet it is so easy to miss each of these little moments. 
Canadian Goose I photographed in the late fall. I love looking at the details of feather and flight.

I've been thinking a lot about this upcoming year and things I want to change, things I want to keep the same. I've missed my blog but find I don't have the same urge to write that I did in years past. So I'm going to try to post once a week this year. Mostly to have a little snapshot of my life to look back on in future years. 

As with any new year, I've made a few resolutions. I'm terrifically terrible at following through on my resolutions but that never stops me from making them. So here are a few things I'm working on in 2018:

  • My health - eating healthy and naturally, limiting alcohol intake and getting regular exercise
  • Art - I'm trying to learn to draw by using the book 'Drawing with Children' by Mona Brooks. I used it when I homeschooled my boys and think it is a great start for anyone with no ability to draw (me!).
  • Finishing books I've started - I have quite a few books that I've read a little of but never finished (mostly because there was a new book to start). Currently I'm reading 'Positive Discipline for Preschoolers' which I picked up a year ago because of a difficult student in my classroom. It is really a wonderful book for anyone with preschoolers in their lives.
  • The garden - I've been working on our backyard garden for years and want to really spend some time this year making it more beautiful and less weedy!!!
The backyard garden in June 2017

I hope to share my progress here this year. Hope being the operative word. I think I can manage once a week and if not that, at least once a month. 

I have to admit part of my need for blogging has to do with feeling very unhappy and unsettled this year. I had such a wonderful year last year opening my own school and working every day with my husband. Due to a lot of factors, we closed the school and I moved to working in a typical PreK classroom in a larger school. I'm grateful for the experience because it has taught me quite a few things about myself and my educational philosophy. Mostly it made me realize how much I miss teaching in a Montessori school. I've decided definitely to go back to Montessori next year, even if that means just subbing to get my foot in the door. 

I recently changed my hours at school also. I now work just the hours for which I was initially contracted (7:30-11:30) instead of staying over lunch till 1:00. That last hour and a half was just pure torture for me. I was so unhappy for the last few months that I wracked my brain to determine how I could make life more enjoyable. I also work a second job as a cook at a community drop in program for people with mental health issues. I really enjoy it and knew I didn't want to stop working there. I finally realized that going back to my initial school hours was necessary for my own mental health. So starting last week I changed my hours and I already feel so much better about school. Now I have a little time between jobs (both are close to home so the travel is negligible) and I need to make that time productive, too. 

This post is longer than I was intending but I guess it gets the blog up to date. I'm working toward making 2018 positive and productive. I'm also working on being patient with myself and remembering that even if I fall back to my old ways one day, I can pick up and start anew the next day. One day, one hour, one minute at a time. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017


I started this blog January, 2007. That's more then 10 years ago. Wow. Back then blogging was a somewhat new and novel idea. I remember reading all my favorite blogs every day. There were so many of them. Now blogging is somewhat out of style. Now there is Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and so much more that I can't keep up with. I miss the blog, to be honest. 

I am a very visual person and NOT a verbal or auditory person but there is something about the WORDS that go along with a blog post that is missing form these other forums. 

In 2007 my boys were 10 and 11. Now they are grown men - 20 and 21. In 2007 we lived in a larger house with less yard, now we live in a small house with a larger yard (well, garden). In 2007 I was a stay at home mom and homeschooled my boys. Now I am working two jobs - one as a preK teacher, one as a cook. 

The journey to this place has been interesting to say the least. Much of it is here, on this blog, in bits and pieces. I know the journey is not nearly finished. I feel like my life is a little like the dandelion flower and seeds you see above. As I grow, my life (seeds) spread far and wide and bring me in contact with a wide variety of people. 

Some of these people are put into my life to help me grow and to challenge me. Some are for me to help - especially the little children I work with daily. Although I prefer these seeds to flow where I want, they do not. They fly in the wind and land far and wide. 

And so must and wide.....and flower where I am planted.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Italian Meatballs with Oven Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Coconut Sauce

It's day 6 of my 21 day Primal challenge. One thing I know about myself is that I need to make my food interesting and varied or there's no way I'll stay the course. I also really enjoy cooking and don't mind spending a lot of time in the kitchen. A few days ago I made the delicious meal you see above. I wanted to get the recipe down so I wouldn't forget about it. 

I should say that this isn't a real recipe but just me throwing some things together.

Italian Meatballs with Tomato Coconut Sauce

1 lb pasture raised ground pork
1 lb pasture raised ground beef
1/2 onion minced as fine as you can get it
2 cloves garlic minced fine
1 TBSPish Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
fat of choice
1 can coconut milk
1 large fresh tomato peeled and chopped
fresh sage, julienned
2 cloves garlic sliced 

To make the meatballs, put first 6 ingredients into a bowl and smoosh together with your hands until everything is mixed well. Roll into your desired size meatballs. I like mine on the smaller size so they cook faster and you can eat more of them! You can cook these either by baking them or frying them in oil or bacon fat. Bacon fat makes them a little bit yummier.

While you are cooking the meatballs, heat your fat of choice in a skillet and saute' the garlic slices for a few minutes. Add in the chopped tomato and saute' until the tomato turns into pulp and the juices are mostly evaporated. Add in the coconut milk and bring to a low boil. Continue cooking until the sauce reduces to your preferred state. Add the sage and cook for one or two minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the sauce over the meatballs and roasted broccoli (recipe to follow).

Roasted Broccoli

1 head broccoli cut into florets
olive oil 
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400F. Spread broccoli florets evenly on rimmed baking sheet. drizzle with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until starting to brown on the top. I actually didn't time how long this took but I'm thinking around 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your florets. 

I hope you enjoy! I know we did. Next time I will make more broccoli but I just used what I had in the fridge for this recipe. If you've never had oven roasted broccoli you are in for a treat!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Having Fun

It's day four of my 21 day Primal Challenge. One of the Primal rules that I think is so wonderful is play.  I love this idea! So last night I went with a group of friends country line dancing! We were all novices and went on 'beginner night.' It was so much fun. It was also challenging (more to my brain than my body). We also met some of the nicest people ever. Everyone was really encouraging and helpful and friendly. I can't remember the last time I was in that kind of environment. 

It made me think about how I act around people I don't know very well and how I can be more encouraging and inclusive. 

So, by taking the rule of play seriously, I not only got some exercise, had some great socialization with some friends but also was able to take a little look inside myself for some (hopefully) positive changes.

Next up for fun I'm thinking of rock climbing!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Monday. The start of a new week and day 1 of my 21 day Primal Blueprint challenge. My day started with a disappointment that may lead to another change in my life. I don't really want to delve into it but it's made me take a good look at where I'm going and what I'm doing. It's a step back and peer closer kind of thing.

One of the Primal rules of living is to move around a lot at a slow pace. What that means for me is taking long walks, bike rides and hiking. These are exercises that I've always loved. So today, while I was needing to spend a lot of time in deep thought, taking a long walk was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

How will this situation all work out? Who knows. There's a lot to think about. In the end it will all be fine and will certainly give me an opportunity to grow in one way or another.

So for now, I'll just keep on thinking and finding more ways to move around a lot....slowly. Gardening anyone?

Sunday, April 30, 2017


I used to be such an avid blogger. I think social media has ruined the blog. So many wonderful blogs that used to inspire me have fallen by the wayside. They are replaced by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like. Yet, I find something is missing from these platforms. 


There's no going back. So why am I posting now? For many months I've thought to myself, "You should blog again." Yet I just couldn't seem to sit and do it.

Perhaps it's because I've been blogging on Sundays for my Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program and posting on my school Facebook page

Well, I've decided to dedicate the next three weeks to blogging agin. I've also dedicated the next 21 days to renewing my health, fitness and energy level. It's hard to believe that I'm 47 years old. I'm very happy with my life. Mike and I have lived very intentionally for the last 25 years. By not worrying about the 'ways of the world' we have been able to do the work we feel passionately about: music and education. Our children are grown and pursuing their own passions. 

Unfortunately, what we have not been so intentional about is caring for our health and fitness. Slowly over time we have come to understand that we need to eat in a way that is very counter to the "conventional wisdom" of our age. This is easier said than done. As I've aged, I've found it harder to maintain a healthy weight. order to get ourselves into the habit of eating and exercising we are devoting the next 21 days to the Primal Blueprint. I'm not going to say much about this now but will be blogging about our journey for the next three weeks.

I have decided to blog again to help myself. I've always blogged as a personal journal of sorts. I'm hoping by returning to this form of self reflection I can help myself stay the course and also have a record of the journey.
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