Tag Archives: teaching

the last hoorah

26 Jul

This is true love.

I arrived home super late tonight after spending the first half of my day cleaning out my classroom and the last half at the orthodontist (for 3 hours!).  I was so happy to walk in and smell dinner cooking right away.  The husband really outdid himself this time:)

He made his and hers Mexican Casseroles by first lining a small glass baking dish with corn tortillas (2 per bowl). He then layered black beans (rinsed and drained), soy cheese, vegetarian refried beans, chopped tomatoes and onions, black beans, green chilis and a garnish of cheese.  These were delicious!  He baked them at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes…perfection:)

Today was so crazy!  I met my mom at my school this morning, so we could pack everything away.  They’ve already hired someone new to take over my position, which made me a little sad.  What did I expect, though…right??

Per the usual, it ended up being a much more time consuming job than we expected + the air conditioning was not running in my room, so by the time we finished several hours later, we were both famished and exhausted!

I know I’m a dork, but I commissioned my mom to take some pics of me in my room.  I spent SO much time there this past year…I just wanted to having something to remember it by!

It looks quite different because a lot of stuff had already been taken down and my desk had been cleared off, but it’ll still remind me of my room!  Can you see my “censored” poster in the background.  I’d hold it up over the T.V. during sketchy parts of movies – the kids got a pretty big kick out of it:)

And last but not least – there was lots of time spent here.

Anyway, cleaning out my room was the last thing to check off before officially signing off from my school.  It was a touch bittersweet leaving for the last time today.  Another chapter closed and a new one opened, eh?

Also, a special shout out to my mom for giving up one of her last days of summer to help me out.  I needed moral support, and I’m so thankful she was there!

I promise I did eat other stuff besides our little Mexican fiesta tonight – green monster this morning, larabar for a snack, Panera for lunch – but unfortunately I was in such a craze this morning that my eats escaped the camera.  And for some reason my lunch pictures turned out dark.  Sad!

On our marathon training schedule for today was cross training, so we took it easy by going on a 30 minute, 1.9 mile walk.  Nothing too intense, but it felt great to stretch our legs after yesterday’s 6 miler.  I’m still so excited about training – I woke up smiling about it first thing this morning!!

I hope you’re all having a great start to the week!

Question for today:
What are you most looking forward to this week?
I’m most looking forward to going to the lake on Wednesday and Thursday with my mom and sister.  We’re taking a girl’s trip as our last “hoorah” before they go back to school.  I’ll be scheduling some posts for those days – maybe the last couple of vacation recaps from Europe (better late than never!) and a spiralizer review!

Guess what?!! x2

3 Jul

Today is my 100th post on CSM!!

And I want to kick it off by thanking all of you, my lovely readers, for your support, your time, you encouragement and your friendship.  I can honestly say that the process I’ve gone through over the course of the last week has been made so much easier and sweeter because of you.  So, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I want to celebrate my 100th post, as well as thank all of you by doing a fun giveaway!!  I’ll be releasing the details early next week so stay tuned!

The other piece of great news I have is that I got the job yesterday!  I’ll be teaching ESL classes as well as helping to plan and carry out events for international students and their families.  I won’t actually start teaching until the fall semester classes start in late August, but I will be doing some prep work and other things starting in a couple of weeks.  Whoop!

Obviously, securing this new job has helped boost my confidence about leaving my old one, and it just so happens that I was offered the new one on the same day that I sent in my resignation letter.  Coincidence?!

I’m really working hard to stop dwelling on the what ifs and concentrate on what I have going on now.  I also received some very wise and very sweet encouragement and advice from you guys yesteryday, and I wanted to share some of your thoughts, in case there’s anyone reading who is dealing with something of this nature

Heather said “Just keep reminding yourself of why you are making this choice.” – I’ve thought back to this advice many times over the past couple of days.  And when I think of it I’m reminded of all the exciting things that are yet to come!

My very wise friend Elyse commented saying “Your identity is not in what you do, it’s who you are. And a job is not who you are. Your worth is much more than the paycheck and responsibilities you had.”  – Wow.  What a wake up call.  It seems so obvious, but I hadn’t stepped back from the situation long enough to realize this.  I think it has been helping me a lot to try to step back and look at the situtation objectively.

Mary gave some very short and simple advice that I think will be my new mantra.  She said “Now go courageously on and choose joy.  – I think that oftentimes joy is something that we do have to consiously choose.  we can dwell on the negative or we can focus on the positive and choose to be joyful no matter our circumstances.

And from Kelliyou will be amazed at the blessings you encounter along your path when you have time to slow down and enjoy them. you will love your new freedom. (i can already see you are!) don’t be afraid to take the leap!=) – Our society is so fast paced that I think I sometimes feel guilty for just slowing down.  Like I won’t be doing everything I need to be doing if I take time to slow down and enjoy life.

Lastly, a very insightful thought from my sweet friend SarahMaybe we don’t hear about peoples regrets because they don’t have any related to quitting a job that wasn’t right for them? – So true!  Why would anybody have regrets for making a decision to be happier and leave behind something that is dragging them down?  Why would I regret that?

How could I not be feeling more positive and uplifted after all that?

Well, I can’t celebrate my 100th post today without some food pics!  Amen?!

Yesterday’s lunch…simple.

Amy’s low sodium vegetable lentil soup

apple – (leftover from my trip to Panera with my mom a couple weeks ago:)

Soy cheese and spinach enchilada with chopped onions and green chilis…covered in green enchilada sauce

homemade guacamole – obvs;)

This morning’s breakfast – Nature’s Path Organic Flax plus Raisin Bran (whew..what a mouthful!) with almond milk

We’re headin’ out to spend the weekend with my family at the lake.  We’re running soooo late because we tried to fit too many thing into this morning – workout (quick 5k on the treadmill), packing, giving Olive a bath and haircut (bad idea;), blogging, invoicing, going to the bank, picking up a book from the bookstore and going to Walmart.  AAAHHHHH!

Have an amazing 4th of July weekend everyone!  We have no internet at our lake cabin, so I’ll see ya when we get back to civiliation on Monday!

trying to let go

2 Jul

Gosh, guys, I’m trying to write my resignation letter, and it feels like I’m going through this decision making process all over again.  My resignation is not official until the letter is sent to the Board, and they cannot post my job until then as well.  So, it almost feels like this is as big of a deal as when I had to walk in and tell my principal the news.

This is so hard.  I thought I’d be feeling free as a bird, but instead I still feel timid and doubtful. I never realized that leaving a job that I know is not best for my life would be so difficult and emotional.  I figured I’d be so overcome with excitement about the possibilities of the future that I wouldn’t even look back.

So, why do I found myself continually glancing back over my shoulder?

This past year, I honestly gave my life to this job, and even though I don’t want to do that again, I feel an emotional attachment that is hard to break.  It’s like my school and the people there became a part of who I was, and now I’m consciously choosing to let that part of me go.

I’m trying to be brave, but of course I have doubts.  What if I regret my decision?  What if the commute wouldn’t have seemed as taxing this year?  What if the dreams I’m following don’t work out?  What if I fail and become even more unhappy than I’ve been this past year?

I always look at people who have made a change in their life in order to be successful at something they’re passionate about, and I admire them immensely.  But I don’t ever think about the people who make a change and then their dreams don’t pan out.  Until now.  Now it’s me who is stepping out to try and make my life what I want it to be.  And it’s so scary.

And the tears just keep coming.

In an effort to carry on, let’s talk about food.

With all the stress I’ve been feeling this week, I just haven’t had much of an appetite.  Especially in the mornings.  But, alas, I was feeling weak and shaky this morning, so I knew I need something to get me through some time on the treadmill and yoga.

I went with an old childhood favorite, but healthified it!  When I was growing up my mom would make us cinnamon toast by spreading butter over the toasted bread, then sprinkling it with sugar and cinnamon and spreading it all around.  It’s funny how food can evoke such vivid memories:)

This morning I toasted a piece of ezekiel bread and spread a thin layer of Earth Balance over it, then sprinkled it with cinnamon.  I could have added a bit of sweetener, but decided against it because my stomach just needed something kind of bland.

Along with it, I had a green monster of course.  But I lightened up on the ingredients a bit – this one contained

  • two handfuls spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • a little over a cup of almond milk
  • ice

Simple and healthy.

By the time I got to the gym this morning I only had time to do about a mile on the treadmill before yoga.  Ideally I would have had more time but I just have so much going on today, that I decided to just call it a day after class was over.

On the list for today

  • do some invoicing for Outbox
  • write and send my resignation letter:(
  • place an amazon order for a book I’m needing
  • meet with Mohammad
  • think through some things for my interview
  • rock my interview!
  • figure out what foods I want to take for the lake this weekend
  • mail some bills

What are your plans for the 4th of July? Jon and I are meeting my family at my Grandparent’s lake cabin.  We’ll be leaving Saturday and returning on Monday, and unfortunately there is no internet access down there, so unless I figure out how to schedule a couple of posts (does anybody know how to do this?), CSM will be awfully lonely for a couple of days.

I hope you all have a great Friday and if you’re headed out of town be safe and have a great holiday weekend!

See ya later!

the whole story

30 Jun

It isn’t necessary to know exactly how your ideal life will look; you only have to know what feels better and what feels worse…Begin making choices based on what makes you feel freer and happier, rather than on how you think an ideal life should look. It’s the process of feeling our way toward happiness, not the realization of the Platonic ideal, that creates our best lives.” ~Martha Beck, life coach

I stumbled upon this quote on Angela’s quotes page awhile back, and I filed it away in my memory (and on my computer of course).  It sums up exactly how I feel about my life right now.

Today, I made the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.  I walked into my principal’s office, and I told her that I won’t be teaching again this coming year.

Let’s start from the beginning.

leaving for my first day of student teaching

Three years ago, I timidly walked into a high school English classroom.  I had been assigned to student teach junior PreAp English, and I had absolutely no clue what would lie ahead.  I fought hard that semester and finished with flying colors; I learned so much and grew immensely.  At the end of the semester, the principal interviewed me for a job, and I landed it.  A few days later I turned it down to go on a crazy adventure in Thailand with my husband.

A little over a year ago, I walked into that same high school, the same principal interviewed me yet again, and again I landed the job.  This time I accepted.  I became a high school English teacher.

leaving for my first day of teaching – Olive was not so excited to be losing her stay-at-home-mama:)

The past year has been intimidating, challenging, exciting, emotional, full of doubt, frustrating, rewarding and exhausting.  In all honesty, it has been the hardest year of my life. Teaching myself and then teaching my students all new material of two different subjects, learning the ropes of having my own classroom, putting in hours of overtime and driving two hours everyday to do it left me feeling drained and lifeless most of the time.  Through all of the difficulties there were moments in which I enjoyed being with the students.  I loved interacting with them on a personal level, and I felt rewarded when I knew I had made a connection with them.

While I enjoyed some aspects of teaching, in the end the stress and time involved paired with the commute chipped away at my spirit.  I have not been myself, and I have not been thriving.  I’ve been surviving.  And I don’t want to just survive anymore. I want to pursue my passions, I want to be around more to take care of my home and my family, I want to have energy and life and I want to be able to put more time into my relationships.

leaving for my last day of teaching

I have spent hours into days debating and praying over this decision.  I’ve sought advice from the people who know me and love me the most.  And while I still feel like I left a little piece of myself at that school, I have made the decision to move on.  I’ve decided to put my health and happiness first.  And that makes me feel strong.

So what will I be up to now?

I already have many projects in the works!

If you’ve noticed the ad on my sidebar, you know my husband has his own graphic design business.  He has worked so hard to build and grow, and he has!  His success is such a blessing, but in the last 6 months it has also become a bit overwhelming.  So, that’s where I come in.  I’ll be taking care of the administrative side of our business. I’m extremely excited about this role because our future goals include working alongside each other, perhaps focusing solely on our business at some point in the future.

But that’s not all!  About a week ago I started tutoring an international student, helping him with English conversation and vocabulary.  Mohammad and I have been/will be meeting everyday for an hour, and I will be helping him to improve his English so he can enter into the graduate program at our university. I have enjoyed teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in the past, and I’m looking forward to a possible part-time ESL teaching job (I turned in my application a few days ago), as well as more tutoring opportunities.

Of course I am also stoked about being able to put more time and energy into CSM.  I love my blog – I love to write, especially about healthy living, and I love being a part of the blogging community. I’m excited to be able to focus more on my passion.

I’ve also got a few other exciting possibilities up my sleeve, but I’m not quite ready to spill the beans on those:)  Who knows what may pop up in the coming months?  Honestly, I’m ready for anything.  While I’m scared of the unknown, I’m also so excited at the possibilities that lie ahead.  I hope you will all continue with me as I start this new phase of my life.  There will surely be many bumps and detours, but hopefully many victories as well as I step out in faith, trusting that God has great plans.

So, here’s to another new chapter.

get your juice on:)

23 Jun

Last night we attended a family picnic for Jonathan’s work.  While it was quite fun mingling with all of his friends and co-workers, I think the caterers had a goal to see how anti vegan/vegetarian they could possibly be.  Thumbs down to that:(

Let’s see, I’m picturing the buffet table as I walked down it, searching for a suitable option: some kind of red meat (I tried not to look), grilled chicken, white hamburger buns, potato chips, cheesy potato salad, and my saving grace – a plate of onions, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce.  I went with a bun stacked with lettuce, tomato, onion and two pickle spears.  The pickle spears made it kind of weird.  I decided to spare you by not taking a picture.

When I got home I had some Newman’s Own popcorn sprinkled with seasoned salt and paprika as a little snack.

This morning Jon, Olive and I went for a fast paced 20 minute walk.  I am really sore from piyo yesterday, so we decided to take it easy.  Tonight is power yoga at the gym – I’m looking so forward to it!  Two cheers for having yoga in my life now!

Breakfast was the usual, except my green monster and I had a little date in the flower bed.

It is incredible how fast weeds grow in a flower bed!  We just spent hours on end weeding about 2 weeks ago, and they’re already sprouting back up.  I dominated them this morning.  Don’t mess with me.

Moving on.

It’s review time!  But first, let’s talk about juice.

I first started juicing after hearing about it from Kris Carr.  I saw an interview in which she talked about how juicing is one of the biggest weapons in her battle against cancer. After researching a little more into it, I found out that “freshly juiced vegetables give your body an instant boost of nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals in a form that [your] body can easily assimilate, absorb and digest.”  Who doesn’t want that?  Also, according to that same website, Energise for Life, “…juicing allows us to add so many more vegetables to our daily diet, and to up the amount of raw food we consume giving the body energy and boosting the immune system and the body’s cleansing process.”  If there is one thing I need it’s energy, and I love the feeling of knowing I’m filling my body with one of the purest forms of nutrition that I can.

I first started experimenting with fresh juices by buying them any time I went to Whole Foods, which was rare….and expensive.  I decided that I needed a way to make my own juice, but I drug my feet for a long time because I couldn’t afford the expensive juicers that I’d seen advertised.  Then my sister-in-law came through for me big time.  She found this Waring Pro juicer at Target and bought it for me for Christmas.  Score.

I was skeptical at first, but couldn’t wait to get home and try it out.  It has worked beautifully!

The Waring Pro Juice Extractor is made from plastic and stainless steel, which is great because it looks nice sitting on your countertop, but it is also dishwashe safe.  To use it, you simply cup up the fruits and vegetables you want to juice into pieces that will fit inside the chute on the top.  I usually have to cut an apple into about four pieces, whereas a large, whole carrot will fit without any cutting at all.  No peeling necessary.  Once your produce is prepared, you simply push it down the chute and out comes fresh, pure juice into the stainless steel cup shown above.  Yes, it’s that simple!

While the greatest downside to juicers is usually the cleanup, this one is a breeze in my opinion.  First of all, like I said it is dishwasher safe; however, I usually wash mine by hand because I don’t run my dishwasher everyday, and I don’t want to be without my juicer!  There are five parts to be washed including the cup.  All but one of these parts really only requires a quick rinsing of the pulp….very easy and quick!  One of the five pieces is a metal part inside that separates the pulp from the juice, and it requires a quick scrub, but still nothing too labor intensive.  It usually takes me about 3-5 minutes to take it apart and clean it all up from start to finish.  Totally worth it if you ask me!

I really cannot think of a downside to this product.  It has worked perfectly for me since I got it about six months ago, and I absolutely love having fresh juice right at my fingertips.

I believe the other day I mentioned that this juicer was $40, but since then I realized that my sister-in-law bought it on sale.  The regular retail price at Target is $59.99 I believe.  Compared to the hundreds of dollars that some juicers can cost, it’s a steal!  And by the way, it also comes with a pamphlet of juicing recipes and combinations!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me an email.

I have my first meeting with a guy that I’ll be tutoring in English (as a second language) here in about an hour, so I have to run.  I’m excited about it, but also a little nervous so wish me luck!  Be back later:)

I have not been asked by the company to review this product.  I simply love it and wanted to inform my readers of an inexpensive way to have fresh juice anytime.

no more plastic

27 May

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.

gettin' back in the groove

16 May

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…