Last year listing to Amazon Audibles started as a car thing. Driving from school to school listening to a story instead of the radio. Don’t get me wrong, I love music, but I found I really enjoyed listening to a story. I can get lost in an Audible book just as much a physical book and listening to a story is a beautiful distraction from the real world.
I decided to compile my top 10 listens for this year. I am not a book critic, so I am not going to analyze or critique these stories…I’ll leave that for the experts. These are just the books that I really enjoyed listening to in the car, in the kitchen, working out and even getting ready in the morning. Listening to a good book as gone outside of the car and has worked its way into many areas of my life. I find that listening to a book turns off my overthinking brain and allows me to get tasks done in peace….or suspense!
These books are in no particular order. I struggled to pick 10. How could I then rank them?! My reading taste can be all over the place and mood dependent, I don’t stick to one genre, so this is just a mini buffet from my library.
There are more books I listening to this year and may have highlighted in other posts. Reading and books have been a huge part of my life and it is refreshing to discover that one can find a new way to enjoy titles and authors you love, when you think you have no time to read…..just read with your ears.
Do you ever just crave something baked and hot? Well I do on a pretty regular basis. I bake once or twice a week, so I like to be able to create from what we have on hand. This baking creation was inspired from leftover apple slices that were a tiny bit brown.
I often like to start a recipe from something I used to make with gluten ingredients or a recipe from Pinterest, that I can tweak to fit my GF life. I found a recipe on Pinterest and figured I would adjust it for taste and content (gf oats).
I mixed everything in one bowl which made clean up really easy. Then everything was poured into an 8×8 baking dish.
I popped it in a 350° oven for 45 -50 minutes.
I used my handy dandy cake tester to see if it was thoroughly baked and let it cool for 20 min before I cut a piece.
This was actually good, but I had to add a drizzle of maple syrup to finish it off. I think playing with the spices could work too. Adjust to your liking.
Yummy Fall vibes!
Gf Apple Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bake
15 oz can of pumpkin
1 cup chopped apple of choice
3 cups GF oatmeal
1 cup milk (I use lactose free skim)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
I mixed the sugar, spices, eggs, milk, vanilla, syrup and pumpkin.
Next, I added in the baking powder.
Last, I mixed in the oats and apples.
Spray baking dish.. Pour into an 8×8 dish.
Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes.
Cool and eat. I added a drizzle of maple syrup to individual slices.
I had incredibly high hopes that school would be opening with an obvious contrast to last year. Sadly some of the same things that make being a Teacher of the Deaf are still going to be in place. I survived it last year and I know I can do it again.
My prep this year is a bit different because I put some things in place last year that will make this years start up smoother and less foreign. These strategies and tools were a bit overwhelming last year, but as with most things repetition and familiarity can make things easier. Being ready and really being ready is my current challenge.
Last year to limit cross contamination, between students, I put cute metal carts in multiple buildings. These carts were stocked with whatever we would need for sessions. They were incredibly helpful, organized and mobile. I love that having something on wheels. If I was relocated for the day, I would just wheel my materials away! This was efficient and also great for my back. I love to joke that I sometimes feel like I’m carrying the world. In actuality, I am at times…my little world, but none the less little worlds get heavy, so portability was key last year and will be again.
Masks don’t seem to be going away, so wearing the right one is essential for surviving a school day. I started 2020 with all the cute fabric and clear panel masks I could find or afford. I played around with all the varieties and discovered my students preferred the disposable masks for their auditory needs. Let be clear…no pun intended, that the clear panel masks were great in theory, but were awful in application.
So, with that being my findings from last year I have already stocked up on disposable masks. I hate throwing them away, but they are the best fit for my situation, so disposable it is. I really wore black a lot, so I decided to try out cute patterned disposable masks. My hope is pretty patterns will lift my mood.
Tools and Resources
For years I have carried my tool bag that has all the things we need for sessions, but with the worry and possibility of cross contamination I made sure every student had individual and dedicated tools and materials. I will be doing this again this year. It is more for me to set up, but it was mentally worth it. My students also felt safe and secure, so that was a total win.
In the spring I took my carts and materials home. Everything has been reviewed, evaluated and wiped for this new year. I do this every June, but never before have I spent such mental thought about who gets what resources. Will I be able to rotate (with sanitization) and should I consider buying duplicates? I decided that I wasn’t going to purchase duplicates, but find ways to make what I have work. I’m sure there will be further posts on how I am making everything work in 2021-2022.
Going forward and trying to not dwell on all of the difficulties and negativity from last year. I am hoping 21-22 will be positive, productive and peaceful. Here’s to another year.
We are annual Disney trip people. We love our time together. This was our 9th park trip, my 3rd trip gluten free and I think maybe the best.
Many people love to eat and drink at Disney. I totally get that, especially when we were living in the age of the dining plan. Eating yummy meals and the fun Disney specialty treats is part of the magic. Who doesn’t love a Mickey pretzel?! I personally loved them before I had to go gluten free. My people still enjoy, I grabbed a bag of cotton candy. Not complaining!
My first trip when I was a newbie to the gf life was a tiny but stressful and I was still missing all the good gluten favorites. The last trip was easier and I felt more comfortable with the modifications and speaking with a chef if I had concerns. This trip I was smart and made sure I added the allergy notification to our reservations. This was great because they knew before I sat down that I would need a different menu.
The staff was fantastic. I found that more were better versed with the allergy friendly choices. I also love how they label and serve for people with allergies. Quick service restuarants put my meal on a completely seperate tray. At our resort they even use a different color tray. Makes it very easy to see the order and if I were to get a meal like someone in the family we can obviously see which is mine.
I find travel with Celiac is getting better. I have to obviously be aware and not just assume staff is knowledgeable, but overall I find that if I am mentally prepped that I might only be able to eat a salad, then I can enjoy myself.
Eating in Italy was a tiny bit sad. My people ordered this amazing pizza at Via Di Napoli. I ordered the gf pasta and chef salad. Both were good. The sadness comes in because I miss being easy and part of the group. Ordering pizza used to be a fun group experience.
Many of the restaurants had great gf options or meals that were naturally safe to order. I always say if I stick to eating cave woman style…I should be safe. Fruits, veg and meat are typically safe.
I didn’t photograph every meal. I think in the future I might and do a day by day post, but for now these are some of my highlight meals!
Another magical trip spent with my favorite people. I didn’t take photos, but I had another family favorite…Dole Whip, which is automatically gf! This was a great summer vacation and being able to eat safely and calmly is something I am very grateful for. Looking forward to our 10th trip.
Well, I have been trying to be in the moment and enjoy the summer. I am just about half way until school resumes and I do feel like I have recharged a bit. It has not taken as much effort as I thought to recharge.
We decided to buy a hot tub or spa, whatever you prefer to call it, back in the spring. We knew it would be a while until it was installed, due to all of the delays and shortages of cars, boats and other mechanical things. After waiting a month longer than estimated it arrived and has been a place to unwind and chill out.
The entire family has been enjoying it. I personally call it our hot pool! I hope we continue to enjoy it into the cooler months ahead, but for right now it is a great way to spend time device free.
I have been back on the yoga classes train and I am loving it. It is so fulfilling to go to a live, in person class. Yoga in the park has been great too. Honestly, I just love hearing my instructors voice again! I need to also be around people…who love it it. The vibe adds to the experience.
Baking is obviously something I do frequently and share frequently. If you follow me on Instagram you will see I love to post my latest gluten free creations. I have been exploring new recipes, people post to Pinterest, and tweaking them to be gluten free and in some cases less fat too.
When you bake as much as I do and actually eat the treats too….cutting out some of the fat is not a bad thing! I find that I am substituting butters and oils for applesauce and Greek yogurt. None of this is completely new for baking, but when making things gf it can be tricky for consistency, texture and how moist something is. Some recipes taste great and others I head back to the mixing bowl!
Summer isn’t over. Hoping to enjoy and continue to recharge before the start of school. I will share more in the upcoming weeks. You can always follow me here and on Instagram to see what I’m up to.
I think most people who work year round think that when teachers close the door to their classrooms for Summer break we are done working, are ready to relax and have multiple weeks to do anything and everything we want. This may be true for some teachers, but I think for many of us the first weeks off can be a blur and filled with so many thoughts and emotions. I know this last statement to be true for me.
I have been off for a couple of weeks and I have definitely not felt like I was on vacation. I still wake up at my alarm clock time. I am still getting up early. I still have all of my momsibilities. By no means am I complaining, but I woke up this morning with my to do list on my mind and did one of the worst things I do when I get up….I check all the apps.
Checking all the apps is such a habit. I really need to make it a priority to not open my eyes and think I need to check multiple email accounts, Instagram and Facebook. When I figure out how to do this I’ll let you know. I know I’m not the only person who does this.
During my morning scroll I was looking at all of the awesome things people are doing this summer. I love Instagram because it is visual and quick, but this morning it seemed like I was seeing endless summer fun and I found this to be overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled people are enjoying life, but I have no idea how they are there yet. It takes me a few weeks to unwind from school and after the year we have all had, I am finding it more difficult to feel like I can relax and enjoy summer. Like I said I woke with a to do list on my mind.
Ending the year and practically jumping into the 4th seemed fast and not like a holiday. I was also driving my mini me to camp the first week off. Thankfully we chose a close, afternoon camp to attend, but I was still in turbo mom mode. I also started looking around, my mostly tidy house, and started to think of all of the neglected nooks and crannies that need a reboot. So, a few days off and the brain can not shut off, the to do lists can not stop and that internal pressure of I’m not doing enough can not shut off.
What I’ve Done So Far
Cleaned 20-21 teaching things out of my vehicle.
Repotted some house plants.
Cleaned my closet.
Started packing and planning for family vacation.
I know this is not a crazy amount of things completed, but I feel guilty that I am not doing more, not squeezing every minute of productivity out of my day. I also realize this is a wackado way of thinking. My mental to do list needs to take a vacation.
What I Think “Needs To Be Done”
Make more TpT resources.
Organize my basement teacher area.
Purge cupboards, closets and drawers.
Redo child’s playroom.
Paint front doors.
Notice zero relaxation or fun on my list. The list is reasonable and totally doable, but there needs to be a mental balance. Achieving this balance of projects and guilt free summer chill time is definitely going to be a challenge for me, but I know that rest is incredibly important, especially after this year of teaching.
What I Need for Balance
Chats with friends
Books….not teacher PD
Less screen time
Netflix and chill
See or do something new
A little nature
I think that if I can balance external responsibilities with internal responsibilities this could be a restful and productive summer vacation. Having these weeks off are a gift. I never take the time off for granted, that is definitely where some of the guilt and pressure comes from, but if I don’t reset my mind and body I won’t be the best teacher I can be for my students this September.
I am going to try my best to walk the talk!
Complete tasks without feeling like I “have to”
Have 1 lazy day per week
Spend time with friends
Remember to breathe
Spend quality time with my people
Ignore the calendar
This is obviously the start of summer and I have weeks to go. I am going to add more posts about my summer balancing act, so check back for updates!
This was definitely the most difficult year teaching in my 20+ years of experience. There were so many changes, that I am proud of myself, co-workers and students for keeping up and kicking butt. I am very sure that no one ever expected this type of year or would welcome it back!
Being itinerant I am always somewhat flexible, but this year I was stretched to my limits. My schedule changed nine times. This number of adjustments is not typical and every time it changed I tried my best to accommodate my students and fellow teachers, with as much positivity as I could muster. Some days were more difficult than others, but we managed and got through it.
I am very thankful to have had very understanding and supportive parents. Working with a hybrid model had a few challenges to meet IEP mandates, but everyone pulled together to get my kiddos what they needed. I tried my best with Google Meets, in-person sessions and take home work. I do not think I would ever choose to have another online session again, but even with an immense dislike for distance sessions, I learned a lot about my students and myself. I found that technology isn’t all it is cracked up to be and how valuable the face to face time really is. Nothing can replace the real-time, in the moment energy that happens when you meet a student for 30 minutes.
I am currently enjoying my first day of summer break and also looking forward to what 21-22 will bring. I know in many posts I write about how I love to keep changing, refreshing, revisiting what works and what doesn’t, never getting stuck in a groove….but I think after this year of constant change I might take next year off. I will always reflect and do what is needed for my students, but if I can make it through a pandemic with masks, crazy schedules and endless amounts of hand sanitizer….I think I am due a year of not critiquing my teaching.
Here’s to a summer to remember, filled with relaxation, rest, and rejuvenation.
My students love Splat the Cat stories. I find them easy to read aloud and think the illustrations are cute. Each story typically has enough content and pages to keep my young listeners engaged.
How I Use When Reading Aloud
Stop and ask questions
Text to self connections
Text to text connections
Depending on the student I probably use 2-3 of these ideas when reading the story. I find that reading a fun and simple story can pepper in and layer in many goals or needs a student might have. Story books are one of my favorite tools when working on goals.
I decided with this story I wanted to develop a resource that could be used with various levels of learners. I created different options to sequence the growing process Splat goes through. Creating worksheets that go with the story, but can also be used with other stories is also a goal of mine. I have a student that does not enjoy Splat as much as others, so I know I can use this resource with a few other Spring/planting books I have in my collection.
This resource can be printed and copied in color or black line. I typically love color, but if you have a student who loves to color or needs fine motor practice, then printing the black line version would be awesome. Anytime I can support another therapist or teachers goals is a total win!
The language used in the various options supports different learners. Some of my students are using transition words, while others need just a simple number to support sequencing the pictures.
The prep for this is very easy. Decide what page option suits your students best and print.
How To Use
One to one
These can be printed on card stock or laminated for durability. Students can sequence and retell after the story. Another option is to have them listen and sequence at the same time. I would do this with a second read through. When my students used the cards the love to self check, so after the sequenced I find the first page, where Splat starts the growing process, and the listen and correct the card order.
Last, I love to connect their expressive writing skills. My students love to share their favorite aspects of most everything, so I take advantage of this joy of sharing and have them write. The illustrations are typically the easiest part of this sheet. Again finding ways to connect to the whole child. Working on fine motor and creativity. Writing and remembering the text is a fantastic auditory memory skill. If they need prompts or gentle reminders I definitely help them out. The “tell me why” piece is typically the hardest component. Wh questions are always a goal and those why questions typically challenge my students. This is a fun, simple and basic way to attack that skill with a personal connection.
Spring has definitely sprung in my planbook. I am looking forward to reading all of my favorite Spring storybooks. I am sure I will share texts and activities in the upcoming weeks, but for now I hope you found this inspirational and useful. You can find the resource in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Happy Spring planning!
When I thought about blogging this week I couldn’t bring myself to write about school. I’m on Spring Break and in total chill mode. Baking is something I love to do when I am stressed or when I am not hustling, doing all of my typical routines.
I woke up feeling like I needed something healthy(ish) and baked. Sometimes I wonder if it is a bit weird that I crave and find comfort in muffins, bread and pastries, but I clearly get over negative thoughts of eating carbs. If you follow my blog, you know that this love of eating what I want is a challenge at times because I need to eat gluten free.
Scrolling Pinterest for GF recipes is fine, but often they overwhelm me, so I often still look at regular recipes and modify. This is something I also do when teaching. Always looking to see how I can modify resources for unique lessons…so I guess it is the perfect carryover to cooking and baking.
Here comes a delicious modification. I very much enjoy Fruity Pebbles. They are fruity, colorful and natural gluten free. Check, check, check! I put my fingers to the screen and started to search Pinterest for a recipe that called for Fruity Pebbles.
I found one that was simple and fast, for a quick morning treat. My coffee was calling, so I worked quickly and was very pleased with the results.
I modified this recipe to suit my needs. I decided to take the butter out because I just wanted to take out the fat. Also, I didn’t want to wait for room temperature butter, so I used applesauce. My mini me is lactose intolerant, so I used her lactose free milk. You could probably use what ever milk you prefer. Also, if you want the butter…do it! Add it in.
The last modification was the flour. I choose a GF friendly flour I like. I am sure you can use regular flour or a GF flour that works for you. I think one of the things I love about baking is the freedom to tweak things for personal taste, so if you make this recipe for yourself….tweak away!
Fruity Pebbles Breakfast Muffins
2 cups flour of your choice
1 cup milk of your choice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup Fruity Pebbles
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
Preheat oven to 400°
Mix together the flour, sugar and baking soda.
Add the applesauce and milk.
Mix the wet and dry completely. Make sure the batter is lump free.
Fold in the Fruity Pebbles.
Spoon into muffin pans. You can use paper liners or just spray your pans with a your favorite nonstick spray.
This recipe makes 12 muffins.
Bake for 10-13 minutes. Times may vary based on the size of you muffins.
***I use these 1/2 muffin pans (Rachel Ray), so I yielded about 18 muffins.
Cool muffins on a wire rack. Place a pan under if you intend to glaze.
Now, the recipe I found stopped here. And if you stop here as well, I am sure you will find these muffins a colorful and happy edition to your morning coffee, tea or juice, but if you wanna live large add some GLAZE!
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
I am not known to be Mrs. Perfect, so this is a glaze that you just sort of play with.
Add the lemon juice to the powdered sugar…slowly. Mix to a consistency that makes you happy. Then drizzle over cooled muffins.
Let the glaze set up.
Eat and Enjoy! I like to plate up on one of my favorite trays. Pretty food tastes better….at least I think so.
These can be stored for a couple of days. If your house is anything like mine they won’t last a couple of days.
I’d love to know if you tried these for yourself. You can always comment and follow my gluten free journey.
If you read my blog on a regular basis you already know that yoga has been a very good addition to my life. It is my jam. I am still growing and learning, which is one thing that keeps me coming back.
I love taking a class that kicks my ass. That amazing yoga high…where you feel tired but accomplished all at the same time…that is what I love the most. I think with my personality and my level of experience I am not in the zone where it is this awesome spiritual experience. It is a workout.
This being said, I know that so many of us are not practicing in person. Classes maybe be offered, but they are not like they once were. Life has changed and I have tried to adjust. I miss my classes so much.
I decided to make a space in my house where I can practice and not pick up. Zoom classes in the family room and kitchen were not my jam. I tried. I really did. Even though I really love the physical work component of a class…I did not get mental bonuses from this set up. Being out in the open, in my house, was not relaxing. So, I made space.
I love the space I’ve created and I find it very easy to try on my own and do my own flow or take a class. I am happily surprised by how much this small personal change has helped with the changes that were forced upon us last year. I have added and edited my space over the past couple of months, loving the items I can look at before, during and after I flow.
My yoga instructor started a Sunday night yin class via Zoom. It is a slow and low impact class. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but it happens to be a perfect way to chase away the smonday vibes. She suggested we keep the lights low or practice by candlelight. I added some battery operated candles to my space and it is Sunday night perfection.
The longer holds stretch my body but they also stretch my mind. This year, this school year has had my mind racing. Taking time once a week to slow down takes effort. It seems like it should be an easy thing to do but it isn’t for me.
A faster flow doesn’t allow my mind to wander. I just listen and do. Yin classes encourage me to focus and try to practice being present. I love to think I am present in my daily life, but if I’m honest, I’m not. Atleast not everyday, all day. Deliberate and dedicated time is helping me see that I need to make and take time for my mental health.
I think I am not unlike many people, many women who think about physical health and appearance. These two things help support eachother, but what goes on inside my head is obviously masked and can be something I don’t acknowledge. Acknowledging the positive thoughts and moments is just as important as taking time to deal and cope with stressors or negative thoughts.
I’m very glad I made time and space to invite in another new layer to my yoga practice. I am overjoyed with how doing something out of my comfort zone has stretched me inside and out.
I am looking forward to the day when I can get back to in person classes, but until then I am going to continue to try my best and keep an open mind about different options for practice.
I have created a handful of these Sayrades and some of my students love them. They ask for them. This of course makes my heart happy, because I love doing new activities and especially these days we need to spice it up.
These are perfect for vocabulary, syllables and descriptions. The goal is to say the least about of descriptions to your partner to guess. Better description is the key. We clip the number on the side. Dry earse markers also work.
These are easy print and do task cards. I laminate, but you don’t have too. I also printed them on a black and white printer…in a pinch and still effective. I use the clue boards for a guide, but these work just as well with a student. We selected 1 of 12 pictures and then played the same way. When the picture was used, my student covered with a tiny post it note.
I have a sentence worksheet attached to this resource. These words can be used to generate sentences or be story starters. This is the part two of why I made this resource. My kiddos always need practice writing longer and more detailed sentences and stories.
The Clue Boards are perfect to use for a listening activity. Once the student has reviewed all of the images they can be used for listening. I like that I can scale the listening. Students can listen for 1, 2 or 3 pictures. These can be tied into sequencing. I like to have the students listen to a sentence with a picture clue…then have the student pull the word out and cover the picture with a mini eraser or tiny piece of paper.
I’m excited to use this for the next two weeks. Keeping things fun, easy and multi purpose this year has been a top priority and these future right in. I will also use these for a vocabulary tie in to the St. Patrick’s Day books we will be reading. I will share books in a future post.
If you like this resource definitely check out my store. I have other themes just like this.
This is my new haul of books. I have a solid collection of Valentine’s Day books, but of course I needed new titles.
The title alone brings the kids in. We had fun reading.
I have other stories with Desmond and Clayton. The kids seem to like these two little mice, so of course I needed the Valentine’s Day version.
This one is beyond adorable. We loved the pictures and the familiarity of the story. We read The Littlest Reindeer and The Littlest Elf over the Christmas holiday. Emma Valentine’s story delivered just as much….if not more smiles. The puppy storyline was a huge hit!
The Littlest and Biggest….fun to explore the language.
This is one of my favorite stories. I think it is the illustrations, no matter, I read it every year to atleast one student. This year I decided to make some worksheets and activities to go with it. I found the clip art on Teachers Pay Teachers.
I am having a great time with my students this week. I also read last week Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine. I forgot to snap a pic before I shared it with one of my teams. Love my teacher tribe….not sure how they are using it, but we used the detective story for opportunities to practice predicting.
I am taking advantage of anything cute and fun this year. We are all teaching in a new situation and making the most of it has been my daily mantra. I have a post from last year if you want to see some more Valentine’s Day lesson ideas.