August 2014 Favorites

I am a sucker for these types of posts and YouTube videos. I love seeing what other people love and what works for them. Read: I'm nosy. So, consider this an attempt at showing you the sh*t that I love on a monthly basis...that's the point, right? 

Food

1. Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Be still, my coffee lovin' heart. This coffee is top notch and I've been enjoying a cup every morning via the bag of grounds that my good friend Dez brought down from Portland. The blend called "Hair Bender" is sweet enough to tickle your tongue just so and smooth enough to make your body sigh in submission. That's what I literally feel every morning. It's glorious. Good news for all you So Cal readers...there's one in DTLA!

2. Pixie Donuts in Claremont, CA

Gone are the ho hum mornings with this fantastic duo. Stumptown coffee and Pixie donuts.... Breakfast. Is. Ama-zing. I love these donuts because they are better that the regular coffee shop donuts even though they are technically just that. The chocolate is deeper and probably real and their batter is even fluffier and tastier somehow. Oh, and they have cronuts. Cronuts are hybrid donut/croissants and are something to experience in your lifetime. Think glazed croissants. 






Beauty

3. Origins Mega-Bright Skincare line

This skincare line pops into my brain as my number one beauty product because it blows my mind that something finally works for my acne scars. My skincare type is combo to oily, scars easily, and hormonal breakouts...I sound like a hormonal teenager. Sucks. I've dealt with it all my life and struggled with painfully embarrassing acne and the scars that it left on my face and on my self-esteem. When my pimples heal, they leave dark spots that last for years. This skincare line has erased them almost completely. I will be repurchasing this for sure.



4. Neutrogena Makeup Primer

I'm DONEZO with So Cal's 90 degree weather. That, along with a classroom with crappy air conditioning and with a schedule that has me moving fast and furiously makes for a slick face. No matter what I do, I'm stuck with oily skin and makeup that runs off my face before the first school bell rings. This is a game changer and I'm glad I found it. My makeup lasts a bit longer and I'm not having to blot my t-zone as much. I also love that it doesn't break the bank.

Internet Things

5. Big Block Sing Song. Big Block Sing Song. Big Block Sing Song. 

I don't know if this should make the list because I borderline hate it. Joaquin, on the other hand, oh he is obsessed with this. In his defense, these short clip music videos are colorful, simple, and uber-catchy. I have to admit that I have my favorites but when you hear these on repeat all month you want to sue the creators for harassment. When I say harassment I mean these songs will be annoyingly stuck in your head for the next 10 years. 




Now that I'm back in elementary, I am constantly on the lookout for cute things to motivate my little first graders and to jazz up my room. Teachers Pay Teachers has EVERYTHING you can imagine. If you want a worksheet on verbs, they have millions of files ready for your downloading pleasure. You want a PPT on the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, someone has spent countless hours making that already. It's wonderful. Some files are free and some cost a measly $3.00. Score one for the teacher budget!


I hope you enjoyed my monthly favorites. Please tell me one of your favs of the month! I'd love to know!

Finding Balance

Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in.

It's me, the girl who keeps one toe in the blogging world. I'm here to update and boy, oh boy are there updates.

First off, my move to a new house and new city is complete. I LOVE our new home and I'm trying to keep a smile on my face in the midst of all the unexpected home repairs. Oh, hello Mr. Tree Roots growing into our pipes and pushing the poop back up the toilets. All the matters is that we have furniture to sit on, food to eat, and a clean sewage pipe. We will be here for a very long time so what's the rush right?

Back to School mode is in full effect and I am EXHAUSTED! I love my class and my first grade team, I like my new school, but I loath the workload. I use up every bit of my energy source to power through my day. I forget to pee, I barely eat, and the backs of my feet our rubbed to the bone from being on my feet all day. Yup, sound like a first grade teacher to me. As delusional as it sounds, I am truly enjoying myself and I feel like I made the right decision going back to elementary. Once I get my bladder trained and my paperwork organized, it'll be a breeze. On the bright side, I've lost weight from the moving around so much! YAY, me!



Look! I've already gotten gifts from my little bees. Toothache city! So sweet.

I'll tell you what's not sweet.... the terrible twos. My little man is throwin' tantrums left and right! I try  to ignore him but his screaming is quite the earache. Nonetheless, the good still outweigh the bad and I'm enjoying life with my tantrum king. He is a smarty-pants with a growing vocabulary. He can communicate his wants and needs. He can recite a few numbers and letters, and his face is getting cuter everyday. I am totally smitten.  


He is slowly starting to favor daddy and I'm not complaining one bit. I've been able to get more done and I am grateful for the short breaks!


Lastly, I got myself a new laptop! It's so purdy! I'm hoping I can blog from time to time but we will see. I did a gut check and I re-prioritized my life. To keep myself sane, I've decided that my main goals right now is to be a better wife, a loving and present mother, a hardworking teacher, and a good Christian woman. All of the "stuff" in my day needs to somehow cultivate those goals or it gets the boot. I'm trying hard to let go of Instagram and Pinterest, but those things ease my mind when I need a break. That's what I keep telling myself anyway. I'm not quite sure where blogging fits into that but I hope to work it back into my juggling act. Until then, thanks for reading my update. I'll be back soon. 

Drizzles of Sunshine: Out of My Mind

1. Oh where, oh where has my little blog gone? Oh where, oh where can it be? On the back burner, per usual. I've been considering deleting the whole thing but something keeps pulling me back. Maybe it's the fact that I have so many thoughts that if I don't write it down somewhere, my brain might explode into smithereens.

2. In an attempt to add more time to my schedule, I've deleted my Facebook. Oh Freedom! It feels really good to be out of that  loop. But what about keeping in touch with your family and friends? The friends that are a mainstay text me on the regular. But what about keeping up to date with current gossip news and yadda yadda yadda? I really miss talking to friends and family on the phone or better yet, in person. I miss lunch dates and snail mail. Face to face and pen to paper communication is a dying art form and I for one would like to revive it.

3. So, we are in escrow. We purchased a house. I can't and wont let myself get excited until the keys are in my purse. I know escrow can be sticky and tricky so I'm waiting to pop the cork. In the meantime, I'm sitting fetal position in my living room trying to wrap my brain around packing up 10 years of living in a townhome. Where do I even begin? I'm going to take a nap.

4. During the day, I'm also in said fetal position trying to wrap my brain around packing up my classroom. Moving to a new city, moving to a new school.... I just can't handle. This is the way my brain processes. Instead of relishing the idea of new beginnings, I only see the obstacles. I could never run hurdles. I would be the guy  knocking them over one by one instead of focusing on the finish line. Support from the crowd needed.

5. I am handling all this with snacks. I lost 5 pounds and then I baked brownies to celebrate. I'm ok with that. Snacks are good. Snacks are safe.

Drizzles of Sunshine: Changes

1. Big news on the career front. I'm officially moving back to first grade! I couldn't be happier and I'm so excited for this move. For those of you who are new here, I have been a teacher for 8 years and have been bounced from first to high school to middle school, all thanks to the poor funding of our public school system. Happy to report that that is on the up and up and now I have the opportunity of going back to my one true love... First Grade. Now I must dig through my garage and find my flash cards and glitter.

2. Last week, I morphed into a pre-pubescent tweenager. I read Divergent. I have totally jumped on the Divergent train and have set up camp. I'm hooked. It's no surprise that I like my reading material to be easy, mindless, and not at all thought provoking. Why? Because I find reading as an escape, not as a way for me to build brain points. (I think I might've lost some friends by admitting this.) With that said, Divergent got the job done for me. It entertained me for 3 days. My personal best. I couldn't put it down. I have no idea WHY my mind was so wrapped up in this but I fully enjoyed my brain vacation.

Now I really want to watch the movie because I'm interested in how they adapted it for the big screen and because the actors are GORGEOUS. Holy musculos! Four, Eric, and even Tris. Googly-eyes worthy for sure.

3. Joaquin is now fully walking on his own. I am both excited and terrified. I refuse to use one of those dog kid leashes on him because I think that is just plain WRONG but I feel like there is going to come a time where I am going to wish I could like the dog kid leashes like when we are in a crowded amusement park and he is jetting away from mommy and daddy. It's very hard to hold hands with a toddler that doesn't want to hold your hand. Sounds easy but it is damn near impossible sometimes.

4. I just got news that we are going camping in Yosemite this summer. I am trying my hardest to suppress my anxiety. I just imagine me struggling to get Joaquin to sleep in a tent, families of bears eating our food while I freak out with Joaquin in my arms, oh and sharing a bathroom with hundreds of campers. There goes my inner tweenager again. Man, I'm such a wuss. Tips on camping with a baby much needed. Tips on camping in general much needed.

5. I am officially a college student again. I'm taking 2 online courses where I have to listen to 14 podcasts about Children's Literature. I'm ok with it except for the fact that the professor's voice and semi-British mono-tone voice makes me want to kill myself. I'm on podcast 2. Pray for me.

Teaching and Eating

My two passions.

The fuel to my soul.

Teaching and eating.

 I wouldn't be who I am without these two things in my day. If you're new here, I am a middle school teacher. I also like to eat for pleasure as opposed to just for necessity. My ultimate dream job would be a food teacher but with elective classes on the chopping block (for shame!) I don't feel like that dream could be a reality right now. It'll have to wait.

So in the meantime, I find every opportunity to work food into my lessons. Language Arts Enrichment is the perfect place for that. We read awesome books and I find any mention of food and roll with it.

This month it is Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.

I'll spare you the synopsis and steer you to where it mentions food. In the story, a popular food that the characters love is Zeps. In short, it's basically a sub sandwich. I rolled with it and transformed my classroom into a sandwich shop. I asked them all to bring in a sandwich ingredient and we built ourselves some stupendous subs.

My favorite part was naming our creations. I encouraged them to combine character names and important places with food names and they came up with creative labels.

Combo #1- Hamanda: ham, cheddar, lettuce and pickles.
Named after Amanda, one of the main characters.

Combo #2- Gobbles knot: turkey, Monterey jack, lettuce, pickles
Named after Cobbles knot, the town's impossible to untie knot.

Combo #3- Zepperoni: Pepperoni, mozzarella, Jalepenos
Named after Zeps, the name of the sub sandwich in the story.



Combo #4- The Maniac :All and everything listed above
Named after the main character, Maniac Magee.


So much fun!! The students enjoyed the lesson and I'm hoping they will always remember this fun activity and of course their amazing teacher. *wink*

Drizzles of Sunshine

1. House hunting. Does it make you cringe like it does for me? I think I live in one of the most expensive states in the  country which doesn't help my distaste for hunting. I just want something turn key ready, brand new, and next door to an A list celebrity. Is that too much to ask for?

2. I am addicted to Starbucks and I'm embarrassed about it. I used to think it was cute that they knew my name but now I feel like they think I'm a lazy bum that can't make her own damn coffee. But one thing's for sure, they still don't know how to spell my name right so that must mean I don't go there too too much, right? I'm safe for now. 

3. I'm backed up with my magazine reading. They keep coming in the mail and I have no time to catch up. If I can't peruse through a magazine, what does this say about my time management skill? I miss you, magazines. 


4. I've reached a dreaded phase in parenting: hitting. When Joaquin is mad he starts to hit me... in my face. I know this is caused by his inability to communicate his frustrations but what is a loving mother to do? Spank? Yell? Cry? So far I've just begged and pleaded with the kid. I know I have to nip it in the bud but is said bud too young? Must. Not. Google. Anymore... Advice appreciated. 

5. I am proud to say I have dramatically cut down on carbs. It's been hard because rice has been such a staple in my existence but I've overcome the urge to eat it with everything. Sweet potatoes and cauliflower have set up shop in my fridge and I have never felt better. Now if I could only give up chocolate. 



Garlic Sriracha "Fried" Chicken

I really wish I could take the heat of spicy foods. I try and try the spicy salsas and hot sauces but my tongue fails me each and every time. It's embarrassing. Tongue...you embarrass me. I can't seem to wrap my brain around the idea of people eating crazy hot shit like ghost peppers. I also can't fathom running a marathon but I guess people like torturing their bodies. I wonder if I would be less of a wimp if  I train my tongue with spicy like a runner trains their legs for pain marathons. Hmmm.

So, consider this recipe one of my training. I made this for my wonderful Mexican hubby who can eat wonderfully Mexican food with wonderfully spicy peppers. I hope Joaquin inherited daddy's ability to eat wonderfully spicy foods.
 
 
Ingredients:
 
2 lbs. chicken drumsticks
1/3 cup Chili Garlic Sauce
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup olive oil
salt
pepper
Panko Bread Crumbs
 
1. Mix, chili, yogurt, mayo, oil, and seasonings in a bag.
2. Add chicken and marinate for 1-8 hours. The longer the better.
 
 
 
3. Coat with Panko Bread Crumbs.
4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.


 
Mission Complete!
 
 
 
The spice level on these bad boys are equivalent to a defective jalapeƱo. In other words, it's not that spicy. The mayo and yogurt really cut the heat. I guess I chickened out last minute and grabbed what I knew would hide the hotness. Next time I'll be daring and throw in the whole bottle. Next time. 
 

 

 


 
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