LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

  1. this afternoon tea ritual…because decompression after school is a necessity, especially this week.
  2. this sourdough starter…because it’s been 9 days and i’m still at it, resolutions and all that.
  3. this book…because while i’ve already started another, i’m still living in that world.
  4. this chair & the five other just like it…a project completed and enjoyed every single day {details forthcoming}.
  5. this toy cell phone…for jingling suddenly at school and making me laugh and laugh.

This week was long and I felt like I couldn’t see the end of it while we were in it. But now we’re here and I’m having a glass of wine and it’s glorious and I’m happy as I ever was. Have a wonderful weekend friends!

OUR WEEK AT A GLANCE. {vol. 6}

img_4689Mike’s cleaning the laundry room. He cleaned the garage earlier today while I took the boys to the park, and I knew he has his eyes set on some cabinets and drawers next. He’s going through a real moment of tidying things up before his parents visit in a couple weeks. I hope it sticks because I could get used to this. I’m lounging on the couch next to the Christmas tree, The Holiday (one of my favorite Christmas movies!) on in the background while I look at the overview of our week and finish up my Christmas card order. My Sunday bedtime is quickly approaching, so let’s take a look at our week. week at a glanceHamburger pie is on the menu for tomorrow night – ground turkey, salt, pepper, ketchup (a good squeeze – maybe 1/4 cup?), 1 can each of diced tomato, green beans and corn. Mix it up, and top with creamy mashed potatoes and then cheddar cheese on top of that. One of our favorites in the winter. Taco Tuesday this week is chicken enchiladas. I’ll do the chicken just with salt and pepper in the crock pot to make it easy. Monterrey jack cheese to fill with, and I use canned enchilada sauce these busy days. Extra crock pot chicken from Tuesday’s enchiladas will be for the stir fry on Wednesday. Broccoli, onion, carrot, and pea pods with rice. I usually wing the stir fry sauce – soy sauce, garlic, a little brown sugar. Thursdays are for leftovers, and Pizza is our Friday tradition. I made granola for a better breakfast, and I have sugar cookies on the plan for Friday.

Not too many other extras this week. Mike doesn’t have any events, so we’ll have him to ourselves on nights, thank goodness, and for me it’s all just getting ourselves to Christmas break in two more weeks!! I’ve planned a couple running days and yoga. I have a few more Christmas to do’s, but our tree looks beautiful and it’s starting to feel more like the holidays around here. On Saturday we went to our town’s Christmas tree lighting – they had fireworks! It was so very exciting!

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LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

1. this tree-scape advent calendar…img_4327because it’s loved just as much this year as last.

2. this sheep refrigerator art…img_4391and the tiny hands who made it at school this week.

3. this collection of things found in my pocket…img_4335when self care, lunch duty, and babies collide.

4. this mason jar…img_4406and the vast expanse of water it has helped me drink this week.

5. this play nativity…img_4341for day 5 of the advent calendar, and for the full hour of entertainment it provided yesterday.

in other news:

this was one of those glorious weeks that passed by so quickly, it’s almost as if it didn’t happen at all. i keep asking myself, was there school on monday? am i sure? there was, it flew, and the week is behind us already.

this weekend, the rest of the christmas decorations are going to be pulled out of the giant chest they live in. it’s our first year in our new house, and i’m itching to decide where things should go. the christmas tree has been a discussion – the playroom, or the living room – and we haven’t quite settled on it, but one of us is going to reason their way into success.

it was a good, easy week at school. the excitement about our christmas tree in the corner, the book tree in the hallway, twinkle lights on every surface and the wrapped boxes underneath have been highlights in my chats with my students. thanksgiving memories of turkey and stuffing are far behind us. i’m reading the grinch with my kindergarten and first graders, and mike reads it nightly with charlie (‘gwinch! gwinch! ‘lou who!’) and i swear i have it memorized.

it’s the best time of year, friends, i hope you’re soaking up every little moment.

“staring down from his cave with a sour, grinchy frown at the warm lighted windows below in their town. for he knew every who down in who-ville beneath was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.” –how the grinch stole christmas! by dr. seuss.

OUR WEEK AT A GLANCE. {vol. 3}

img_3130The final week. The week before Thanksgiving! I can’t believe it’s here. This weekend was such a sweet one. The boys are feeling better, everyone was well enough for outings, playtime, normal sleep and mealtimes. We tried out a local diner for breakfast on Saturday and it did not disappoint. Disney+ was also on high usage during Ben’s nap times for Charlie (need to keep him quiet so Ben can sleep!). Charlie was kind of scared during Aladdin and loved The Jungle Book. He was giggling SO hard. Hilarious. Anyway our weekend has come to a close and, we fly out next Saturday evening, so our whole week revolves around getting ready to go home to Indiana!week at a glance-2I was out of school almost all last week with Ben (who has RSV), so I’m looking forward to having a “regular” week with all my classes and really getting some good library activities in there, and making sure that all my students have a book to read over Thanksgiving break! img_3213We’re keeping it simple this week for meals. Mike made a giant batch of “Mommy Soup” (beef stew with barley) today. It’s finally in the 60’s here! Soup weather! We had it for dinner tonight with sourdough toast. We’ll have it for one other dinner this week, and we put a full half gallon mason jar in the freezer for another meal in a couple weeks. We’re having meatloaf tomorrow from the freezer that I had made a few weeks ago. Love doing big batches of meals and freezing for meals later in the month when I don’t have time (or energy!) to cook at the end of a long day. img_3138When we go on trips (especially weeklong trips) we like to empty out the fridge as much as we possibly can. No one likes to come home to slimy veggies, or moldy leftovers. Yuck. So we’re just going to demolish everything in there. I have two nights of leftovers planned this week. Luckily, our kids are young enough that they can’t complain about leftovers! img_2896I’m also planning to make these date bars that I make every time we travel. I just feel so irrationally smug about having a homemade something in my bag instead of buying a ten dollar cookie from a store at the airport. img_3038I started re-doing the boys bathroom last week, and made lots of progress this weekend too. It’s my goal to get it done before we leave. I just have a little bit of sanding, a last coat of paint, and then put up the floating shelves and a new mirror. Easy peasy, right? Hehe.

OUR WEEK AT A GLANCE. {vol. 2}

I’ve been looking forward to this week for weeks. Teacher work day on Monday!! The best of all days. I am going to get so. Much. Done. Big plans. Lesson plans in the short term, overarching themes for the long term and cleaning cleaning cleaning my office. This weekend was full of rest and recharging. We have a clean house, meals planned and a game plan to go for the week.

Not too many extras this week thank goodness! I think it’s going to fly by and then it’s only one week until our weeklong holiday break!! I have many things to do, but I think I’ll have a little extra time here and there this week to cross some things off my to do list.

I already made our lasagna for dinner tomorrow, and I’m excited to try one new recipe in the crock pot this week. I’ll probably add some crusty bread and a salad on the side to make it a full meal. Sheet pan chicken is a great weeknight go to for us. I love that I can chop everything the night before and just slide it all into the oven at once. I tried a new pizza dough recipe last week and wasn’t impressed. Testing out a new one this week!

I’m going to try to be really present with my boys this week and turn off all my outer distractions when we have our time together after school. They’re growing so fast it’s crazy. I feel like we hit a lull where I know every little thing about them and then all of a sudden the next day they’re doing all these new things that they weren’t the day before.

Ben had a little fever last night and did not sleep well at all, but seemed to be on the up and up today. I’m afraid he’s getting my cold which I think I can officially say that I’m almost recovered from. New week, new goals, new opportunities!!

LITTLE THINGS THIS WEEK.

1. these clothespins (and the multitude of others out of frame)…for keeping my boys entertained not one, not two, but three nights in a row.

2. these personalized colored pencils…a birthday gift used for writing and (violently) decorating sweet thank you notes from a two year old.

3. these blueberry puffs…for getting us to dinner time.

4. this soft hankie…for the tender care of a cold that i haven’t yet kicked.

5. this creaky old weathered pot…for being the bearer of the corn chowder (with mirepoix!) that we had for dinner two nights this week, and I could’ve had every night. A cold front is coming our way and i am here. for. it.

in other news:

it’s been a long week. my car was broken into at daycare drop-off (if i can even say broken into, it was unlocked) and my wallet and my school laptop were stolen. i feel very foolish for being so trusting of people that i would leave it unlocked. learned my lesson the hard way.

one of my students told me a long story during class the other day about his little brother going missing and then i heard about it on the news and read the story in the paper and let me just say my heart seized up with the fear of it all.

another student has come into school screaming like i’ve never heard a child scream every single day this week, practically manhandled into his classroom and it makes me worry about what that kind of stress does to a child in their little five year old life. another student had emergency surgery for her appendix, more are in crisis of other sorts, and my gratitude chain, while beautiful and inspiring and so worth the time spent doing it also has brought up some hard conversations about what some of my students really do have to be thankful for. turns out, school might be the number one thing on their list. talk about pressure.

it’s a hard, tough world out there that, at 31, my eyes are just beginning to be opened to, readers. sorry for bringing the moods down a notch, and it should be noted that my week was not without plenty of joyful moments. it just seemed like there were a few too many downs this round.

in more personal news though, i’m starting to feel a little like meg ryan in you’ve got mail when tom hanks brings her daisies for her terrible cold, but you know, less glamorous. i could use some daisies. or just a day to hole up in my house under the comforter and blow my nose all day with a good book. i might do just that this weekend, but with a toddler and a baby crawling all over me in place of the book. we’re supposed to have cooler weather coming in this weekend with a high of 80 (practically frigid!) so a bit of sunshine and a walk down the street to the park will do us some good too. we have a trip to the store, to church, to the gas station for putting some air in my tires on the list, and all the other joys that the weekend brings.

what are you up to this weekend, reader? whatever it is, i hope you kick your feet up and enjoy it. aren’t we lucky to have that as an option?

love, em

A SCHOOL CRAFT: GRATITUDE CHAIN.

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November has blown into our midst and with it, at least in the elementary school library, comes discussions about gratitude, songs about turkeys and books about special holiday family gatherings. I started our school gratitude chain this morning with my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders and each time they visit the library I’ll have them write little or big things that they are grateful for up to Thanksgiving break.

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This is such a quick and easy way to talk about how feeling grateful for things in our life links us together. I love doing these school wide bonding projects where my students can pick out the small part they play in the big picture. They’re part of something. I had students who wrote that they were thankful for their breakfast, their parents, their pets and others who said they were thankful for God, the world, and their education (whoa). It’s all gravy! It took five minutes of my precious class time after book check out which, in my opinion, is well worth it.  It was also nice to tell them that for my link in our gratitude chain, I wrote “I’m thankful for my students.” I hope it made them feel good.

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For this project you need:

  • scissors or a paper cutter
  • construction paper
  • tape
  • markers

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First, I used a paper cutter to cut the construction paper about 2-3″ by 9″ (short ways if using standard 9″ x 12″ construction paper.  I put stacks out for students to choose from along with a little container of markers. I had another empty container for them to place their strip when they were done.

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I later taped the ends together by weaving the links in a circle around the last one to form a chain. Keep adding to your chain as long as you’d like and hang up with either tape or pushpins.

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This is just from one day. I think we’ll make our way all the way around the library at this rate! Happy month of gratitude, friends!