Category Archives: Teaching

BLE Day 55

Today was full of all kinds of amazing!!  It started with a plan that I followed almost perfectly!!

Breakfast was the old standby…Shredded Wheat & Bran, yogurt, and berries from the garden.  The blueberries were fresh picked and the others were in the freezer.  I hope the day will come when we have enough blueberries to need to freeze them, but for now, there are plenty to eat fresh for the next week or so!

I really enjoy the nuts each morning and I wanted to share a couple tips today.  When I buy nuts from Costco, I buy both the salted mixed nuts and the unsalted.  When I get home, I dump both jars into a huge bowl and mix them all together.  Then I put them back into the containers.  This results in the nuts being half salted and half unsalted.  They end up tasting salty, but I know they aren’t as salty as the straight salty ones!  I don’t think anyone in this family has an issue with salt, but it feels a little more “healthy” to mix them, so I do it!!

The next tip has to do with yogurt.  I’ve been wanting to try this for several weeks and today I finally just did it.  These tiny little canning jars are normally used for making jellies and jams.  I wanted to see how much yogurt would fit into one jar and was very please to see that exactly 4 ounces fit perfectly!  Since I eat 4 ounces for breakfast many mornings, I’m happy to buy the large container and just fill these tiny jars to use throughout the week.  I will also keep some small containers on hand for when I have to eat on the run, but when I’m home (and in a hurry), I love having this option!

I decided to take a picture of myself today.  I’ve lost 15 lbs, which puts me half way to my goal weight and the image in the mirror made me smile today.

I also headed to my classroom to get started on preparing for the new school year.  It felt great to be in my “chair” again even though my desk was still a disaster, exactly how I had left it when school ended last June!

I brought my wonderful little BLE lunch and look forward to packing my lunches in my Planet Box divided lunch container.  I need to double check the amount of lentils allowed at lunch because this was just 4 ounces, and I’m thinking that maybe it should have been 6 ounces.  It felt like not much, but the other food filled me up anyway.

It’s funny how everywhere I turn there are traces of my old life and old eating patterns.  This little jar was on my teacher desk and the chocolate bar and hot chocolate were in my cubby.  I just looked at them and smiled and thought, “You have no power over me any longer!”  I”ll find someone to share them with when we do the school work bee!  I’ll also try to find something else to put into this cute jar that was a gift from one of my students who is moving and won’t be coming back.

Tip #3 today is something I believe I’ve talked about before.  Mason jar storage keeps food fresh longer in the fridge, so I dutifully cut my grapes into small bunches and put them into these 2-quart jars.  It’s so easy to pull out a few bunches, wash them, and have them ready for a quick lunch!  Everyone eats them faster this way as well because all that needs to be done is for them to get washed!  This is the new “fast food” and kids will gravitate to food that is prepped and ready to eat! (Tip for parents!)

The one change on my planned menu today was supper.  I wanted a light protein so decided to have tofu with the yellow beans I had picked from the garden the other day.  These are my “go-to” seasonings for tofu and a lot of other savory things that I make.  The yellow one on the left is McKays Chicken Style Seasoning and the one on the right is something I found at Costco (I think I showed this one already, and maybe both of them).  I used them both on the tofu tonight.

Instead of using oil in my pan, I used vegetable broth.  I read about doing that in someone’s food blog recently and I thought it was an excellent idea.  The tofu soaked up the broth while it cooked which added more flavor to it!

Well seasoned tofu is a must because the seasonings are what give it flavor!

My pan must have been on the burner a little crooked because one side looks nice and toasty brown while the other side looks like it needed more heat!

My supper tonight was completely from the garden, except for the tofu.  Everything was delicious and again, so rewarding knowing that we grew it ourselves!! I didn’t eat the kale leaf and completely forgot that I could have added a fat to this meal.  Oh well!!

Tomorrow is my official weigh in day.  I’ve been weighing all week long and things haven’t budged since last week.  I’m hoping i’ll drop  my usual pound by tomorrow morning.  I’m also going to get those measurements done so I can compare to June and July!

Time to also grab some water and get drinking before I go to bed.  I’ve really failed to drink my water this week and I’m not sure why.

That’s a wrap!!  See you tomorrow!

Genius Moment

I substitute taught 3rd and 4th grade earlier this week. I’ll just say it up front….I had a “Genius Moment”. The term was coined during “The Piano Years” (more about The Piano Years in future posts). The kids’ piano teacher was and is a Master at what she does. Every week I would be amazed at how she was able to connect with the children, and inspire them to learn music. She would do simple things, stuff I can’t even describe here because it was only in the moment that the brilliance could be appreciated, and I would sit there with my jaw on the ground, witnessing her ability with the students. I was inspired. They were inspired. I looked for Genius Moments each week and let her know every time I saw one!

There is nobody to tell me about my own Genius Moments, so I will have to recognize them, and point them out myself. Call me arrogant. Call me stuck on myself. I disagree. I believe its high time that people learn to look at themselves, and appreciate what they see. Too much of the time, especially for women, we’re wishing we had what we perceive others have, and our own self talk is negative. I won’t go down that path. I refuse to speak poorly about myself. I love teaching and I’m good at it. I think it’s ok to recognize our own strengths.

Now back to my Genius Moment. It was during Reading class. In the lesson plan, I was to teach the kids about Exclamatory and Command sentences. The task seemed simple enough, and once I found the sample sentences, I plunged into the instruction. The class was made up of 4 boys, one 3rd grader, and three 4th graders. They were full of wiggles and I knew sentence types would probably not hold their attention for very long.

I first talked about the different types of punctuation that can be found at the end of a sentence. Then I gave some examples of exclamatory sentences, and went over what a command sentence looks like, and discussed that “you” is usually not actually said, but it’s understood. It was clear this info was not new to them, so I had them give me some oral examples of exclamatory and command sentences. We went around the circle of boys a few times, and each of them gave me a sample sentence of each type.

THEN the fun began. As I looked at those fidgeting boys, I had a brilliant idea! There were 8 sentences in the book that I was to read to them. There were four examples each of exclamatory and command sentences. I told the boys I would read them a sentence, and then they had to put the proper punctuation at the end by forming it with their BODIES! If the sentence needed an exclamation point, they were to jump out of their seats and make their bodies straight and tall, arms over their head, like an exclamation point. If it was a command sentence, they were to jump out of their chairs, crouch down on the floor, and squeeze themselves into a small ball, forming a period.

I had their full attention and they all were eager for me to read the first sentence. “Go make your bed”, was the first sentence, and they were all immediately little round peas on the floor. “Today is my birthday!”, was the next one, and the boys were sprung out of their seats and straight and tall like a nutcracker man at Christmastime. Two more sentences were read and the boys responded immediately with the proper body position, punctuating the sentences, all the while having huge smiles on their faces! I called on an individual boy and let him do the next sentence, then another boy for the next, and so on. The activity prepared them beautifully for the next step in the lesson.

They were to each write on their papers, 2 exclamatory sentences, and 2 command sentences, with the proper punctuation at the end of each one. After the lively lesson, all 4 boys settled in and began writing their sentences. The room was perfectly still and pencils were busy. I sat there smiling, knowing I had accomplished above and beyond what any teacher would have expected a substitute teacher to do. The ideas all came to me spontaneously, and I went away from the experience satisfied and happy. During the activity, the main teacher in the school had come into the classroom to get something, and we were all so engaged, I barely noticed he had been there. I can only hope he was impressed with the engaging and creative lesson I was doing with the boys.

Teaching seems to make me thrive with energy and I was disappointed when they let me know they wouldn’t need me the next day. I can only wonder if I would feel this joy every day, if I was a full-time teacher. I hope one day I will be able to find out:)


These are not the 3rd & 4th grade boys from my story.  But they are my Computer Boy (left) and his 2 best friends from school.  There are so many reasons this has been a super school year!  The fact that I get to teach, and that my kids all love school, are just 2 of the many reasons!

By KMc
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