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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

We Deserve Treats

I recently started trying to make special treats to have at home more frequently. We all needed a little something sweet around here. 
Don't get me wrong, we have snacks with a little chocolate here or there, but we are not really a dessert kind of family. For both Shawn and I growing up, desserts and treats were special and not a daily occurrence. 
I decided to try a no-bake treat that I could easily make any day of the week. What I also love about this treat is I don't really need to measure anything. 
I start it off with some basic granola, probably 2 cups, a big glob of peanut butter, and a hefty drizzle of honey. More can be added if necessary. I also get to let off a little steam smashing some roasted peanuts. I could use my food processor, but instead, I smash them up. After some mixing, little scoops get pressed into a mini-muffin pan. With a spoon, I just pressed each down to make a little well.  
From there, a little melted peanut goes into the well, and they all go into the freezer. Then comes the melted dark chocolate on top and a little more time in the freezer. 

These treats are so yummy. Everything comes together. Peanut butter, chocolate, crispy, creamy, sweet, bitter, it's got it all, and we all love them. It's like a little mini dessert for any day of the week. 
What's your favorite little tasty treat these days?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Pens and Chocolate: A Happy Combo

I think most people who write, doodle, sketch, or draw all have one thing in common--they love pens. Now, I don't go crazy over pens, but I do love them. I like buying something especially unique for myself, but I really love buying beautiful pens as gifts. I gave my mom a blue agate designed pen earlier in the year. So pretty. 

During the holiday season, we had a couple of Zoom Christmas celebrations. We exchanged names with my husband's family, and everyone got a little something in the mail to open on the day we zoomed. After sharing some ideas over a big group chat, we all made our purchases and sent them on their way. 

It was fun to see everyone in their little boxes and chat. We opened gifts, and mine was some dark chocolate, a notebook, and fine-tip markers. It was perfect. 

The chocolate was immediately opened. I still have several pieces to enjoy. One of the delights of dark chocolate is one square is very satisfying and delicious. I indulged in one this evening. 

Those fine-tip markers are bomb-tastic too. I didn't realize at first that they can erase clean! Like completely erase with friction. Not only do I like how fine they write, but the colors are also pretty great, and if I want to, I can precisely clean up whatever I am working on. Fun and so fascinating too! 

I will need to keep my enthusiasm for the markers hidden though, I have several pen loving doodlers and journalers in the house, which could easily begin to swipe these beauties from my desk. So, for now, I'm only confiding in all of you how much I love them. To everyone here at home, they are just regular old pens. Nothing special. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Shaping a Reader

When I was a little girl I had a nightstand next to my bed. Inside was a box I had saved. The box had once had a mug in it from my favorite movie, Annie. My obsession as a young child was rocks. And this box was full of them. Most of which had come from my driveway. You could often find me bent down, scouring the ground, looking for something spectacular. I think, at the time, it felt like a treasure hunt. 
My rocks were precious. I would often sort them, wash them, sometimes paint them with some clear nail polish. I loved my rocks. I loved learning about my rocks too. My favorite book was all about rocks and minerals. 
This book was in my hands more often than anything else around the age of six. I would look over it trying to find my rocks in the pages. I couldn't read and understand this whole book. However, I was reading it, the way a six-year-old reads a book they don't fully understand. 

Reading this book did not stunt my reading development. I was eager and motivated to learn, therefore I picked up this book over and over again. During this same time in my life, I was learning to read from a Basal reader, memorizing passages for stickers, and reading sentences from the blackboard. We had a lot of books in my home. My parents read to me every night. I ultimately learned to read with the help of teachers and my parents. Not everyone learns to read in this way. I know this because I have been able to share in the joy of many children as they learn to read. There are certainly things that help all children. Access to books is a primary circumstance of reading enthusiasm and achievement. Understanding sounds and manipulating them, hearing them, and recognizing the symbols they represent in written language is a large part of decoding text. Rich conversations, listening to a lot of reading, and drawing inferences from illustrations builds vocabulary development and understanding. Reading cannot be distilled down to a few steps, strategies, and skills. When you ask readers how they learned to read, their answers are mixed. Many probably don't know. Some respond immediately with the challenges they faced. All of these bits and pieces of a readers' story are what shape their relationship with reading. 

I came across my favorite book today when I was once again re-organizing my office/writing/remote classroom space. It paralleled the many conversations I've seen on Twitter and Facebook referring to reading, readers, and what they need. Or, what they don't need. It made me consider my own reading story. I wonder what all those who are writing about other people and their reading research would say about their own reading lives? My book about rocks and minerals helped shape my reading experiences. What shaped your relationship with reading?

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Backyard Observations

Have you ever watched a squirrel? Their agility is quite astounding. It's not by accident, of course. They are made to jump, balance, scurry, and climb. 

Still, when I watch a squirrel trapeze through a leafless tree, it's pretty wonderous. I can't help think, how do they do that?

Today I sat quietly on the step just outside of my sliding glass door. Cassie was frolicking around, looking at me out of the corner of her eye, just in case I decided to throw a ball. I didn't. I just sat as my skin began to chill through my robe. 

My eyes were drawn to the closest tree. A rapid sound thudded from the top. Each tap short and low. I thought, not hollow enough, probably no ants that high. Still, the downy woodpecker persisted, hopping higher and higher. She must have been onto something, but I couldn't tell. My perspective was pretty limited, being so low to the ground. 

I continued to sit, Cassie continued to prance, and the woodpecker continued her beats. It was like we were all in a dance together. There was a wooshing sound from the running of the squirrels, and their feet clattered limb to limb. The bird's beats were continuous yet low and ominous. Cassie happily the soloist trotting about the back yard and I was there watching it all. A spontaneous performance with a gray backdrop and quiet simplicity. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Appreciate the Smiles

This year I don’t see my students in person very often, but I do see them shine in their videos and photo assignments. 
Today was a half day of school so I was able to use some time to catch up on going through Seesaw assignments. I had been saving some pattern book submissions since I knew they would take me longer to go through. I was so glad I saved them.  I was really able to savor their joy. So much happiness and pride came through. I watched them read their multi-page books like pros. 
It still blows my mind I’m teaching kindergarten this year. It’s been a reminder to me how much I appreciate young learners. They give so much joy through the process. It’s lovely to witness. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Catching Breath

I'm working remotely from my students but report to school each day. I intended all day long on going onto the playground and swinging on a swing. In my virtual morning meeting with students, we all talked about what we planned to do outside today. It has been so unseasonably warm. I was sure I would take the time to go out. I knew I needed to just feel some wind in my hair. I needed that fresh air feeling. 
I never went. 
This is my biggest problem lately. Finding moments to just stop, play, and reset. Instead, I run around getting everything and nothing done. The difficulty in committing to things that are important to me is so challenging right now. My time is gradually whittled away and before I know it the day is over and I'm beyond empty. 
Here is to making an effort, tomorrow, to swinging on a swing. 
I hope I make the time. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Lots to Filter Through


Why is life in general coated in fatigue? Every turn. Ugh!
I’m just going to keep moving forward. No matter the distraction. No matter the sleep deprivation. No matter the defeat on some days. 
Productivity is high and I’ll focus on that too. Just wish it was enough to get ahead. What teacher is ever ahead? Not this year. That’s for sure. 
I’m wishing all of you good days forward. Celebrate the victories, no matter how small. Give yourself moments to breathe and some quiet time too.