Category Archives: Gratitude

It’s the little things

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Teachers can be weird about their stuff. Lots of teachers only use certain kinds of pens. Some have to have two pieces of paper on the desk before they can write (guilty). You name it, we have preferences- dry erase markers, pencils, fonts we use, etc. Well my weirdness is customization. I love stuff that is MINE. Things that aren’t like everyone else’s stuff.

Because of this, I search for many things on Google, and I end up finding some really interesting items. Recently, I began looking for a lesson plan/gradebook for next year (I know, I’m weird). I went on Etsy and found some planners with a Harry Potter theme. WHAT?!?! I must own one of these. I found one shop that would customize my planner for a VERY reasonable price. This is important because I don’t need all the stuff elementary teachers have in their planners. Birthdays? I have 125 kids. Your list for 25 kids isn’t going to cut it. Seating charts? I have 6 classes of teenagers. That crap can change daily. Parent contacts? I have a 3 inch binder to hold all of that documentation. The 5 pages you provide won’t even last for the first nine weeks grading period.

So you can see how this customization option would appeal to me. I can buy a planner that I won’t immediately begin to tear apart to make it work. I will have a planner for next school year that is truly mine. Awesome.

I’m sharing this because I realized I have spent this school year making my space at work truly mine. My classroom is cozy, warm, and decorated to my taste. Hey, I spend all day in here! So that comfy chair I bought on Facebook Marketplace? Yeah, I need that. Table stolen out of Mom’s garage? Yep, gimme that too. But you know what, when I walk in here every day, I smile. I do! I smile! I’m in a good place, both mentally and physically. And I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

If you need me, I’ll be in my comfy chair writing lessons in my new planner. 🙂

Planner listing

Go here to find a cool planner!

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Side Hustle

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Teaching is my passion. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotion, but I always seem to find my way back to a place where I am truly happy with what I do. One of the reasons that I got fired up about creating my own lessons and assignments is my discovery of Teachers Pay Teachers, a place where educators can buy and sell units, worksheets, quizzes, tests, etc. At first, I just used it as a way to save time by not reinventing the wheel when I needed to spice up a stagnant lesson. It’s so much easier to pay $1-$5 (my personal spending limit) on a ready-made assignment than to spend the time to think up and type out my own.

Then my job changed, and I was going to be teaching two grades that I hadn’t for the past few years, and I had the freedom and autonomy to decide what I wanted to do with my classes. Enter TPT. I realized as I was writing these new units that I could put them on TPT and maybe make a few bucks on the side. Well, I made over $100 the first month that I started selling products. It’s not much, but it was pretty exciting each time I would hear the cash register chime on my phone. Aside from the money, the best thing that happened was that I got excited to be creative and think outside the box about what I was teaching. That used to be the norm for me, but I had gotten away from that, simply using what was already available.

It’s been almost a year since I began selling, and sometimes I only make $20 in a month, but it’s passive income from something that I was going to be creating anyway. I’m excited to try some new ideas in the coming year, and see if I can really ramp up the creativity and interaction in my own classroom!

You can visit my store here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Johnstons-Ela-Gems

Friend or foe?

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I’m not a good friend. I’ve realized this recently, and honestly, it came as a bit of a shock. I thought I was a great friend. Here is my thinking: If there is an issue in your life that involves several different people from different areas in your life, then the common denominator is you. Enter self-scrutiny.

Now, I know I’m a dark, twisty, sarcastic weirdo, but hey, I’m a hoot. And I know that I’m kind of a homebody, but I’ve been branching out a lot in the last year (read actually leaving my house). I recently had a holiday get-together, and people came, but not as many as I would have thought. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the flu going around, maybe people just get too busy around the holidays and I should have planned it for another time. There are a multitude of perfectly acceptable reasons why people didn’t or couldn’t come. Maybe it’s just low self-esteem? Nah!

Now I will say I was pleasantly surprised by some of the people who did come, and we had a wonderful time. I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in a while, but when you have to throw out large containers of bloody marys and sangria, clearly you over-estimated the attendance at your event.

Friendship gets harder in adulthood. Work, kids, spouse, illness, napping- all these things can prevent the best laid plans from happening. I know that I am guilty of a three year, self-imposed hibernation brought on by depression. It’s a miracle I have any friends at all after that one. I guess I just want to know what I can do to reignite the friendships that have stagnated over the years.

I’m not whining, even though it probably sounds like it, I am genuinely interested in the solution to my problem. Do I reach out more? Less? Have more opportunities for friends to get together? Simply call or text more? Seems easy enough, right? I should take my own advice, but I’ve never been good at that, even when I know what I should do. I can sure come up with a sarcastic comment about it!

Happy Anniversary to me!

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It’s been ONE YEAR! That is nothing short of amazing, my friends. 365 days that I have stuck with something. Ask my husband. It’s a freakin’ miracle.

The past couple of weeks my body has been rebelling and insisting that I eat sugar. Ice cream, chips, cookies…BAD, BAD, and more BAD. So I’m trying to reset, but I don’t want to lose anymore weight (mostly because I can’t afford new clothes). So I’m trying to make sure I don’t eat that stuff, but I am failing. Miserably. Last night, I ate three Girl Scout cookies that a well-meaning student gave me during Teacher Appreciation Week. I should have given them back. I ate three. Then I had a Drumstick ice cream treat about 15 minutes later. Did I mention the sugar cravings were bad?

Ugh. All those diet and lifestyle gurus who tell you, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change”. Psh. I always thought that was “new age bunk” (to quote my grandmother). Sadly, it seems to be true. So I will celebrate this momentous anniversary with my breakfast of egg muffins- not to be confused with delicious English muffins- and my lunch of baby food meat sticks, cheese, pickles, and Atkins chocolate. Be jealous.

I hope my kids know better than to get me chocolate for Mother’s Day.

Full Disclosure

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Many of you have shown an interest in beginning a journey to a healthier life. I applaud you! I must, however, be completely honest about what you may encounter. In the first three weeks of this journey, when you cannot have more than 20 carbs a day, no one and nothing with be safe from your wrath. 

I’m serious. 

About midway through the second week of induction, I was walking up the stairs in my house. I was not angry. No one had done anything to irritate me. I was calm. By the time I reached the top of the stairs, I was enraged. ENRAGED. I went into my bedroom and almost put our laundry basket through the wall. For no reason.

As you go through carb withdrawal, which is really sugar detox, your brain goes a little crazy. Maybe a lot crazy. Please do not kick your cat or scream at your spouse. The fact that they can still eat bread is not their fault. Just breathe, and redirect your energy/outrage. Clean the top floor of your house. Detail your car. Mow your neighbor’s lawn. Whatever. Just try to make it through without harming members of your inner circle.

That being said, I promise it gets better. By the end of the third week, you will have lost pounds, gained energy, and that crap will have left your system. Then the real work, of actually changing your diet, can begin. If it helps, you can be mad at me. I can take it, and I understand. Plus, I’m far enough away from most of you to be physically safe. 

Please don’t think I’m preaching to you. You will never know how many times in my life I tried to do this before it worked. Countless. I promise. No , really. Just get some Atkins chocolate, and hang in there.

My Cup Runneth Over

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Before and after 🙂

It has been almost one full year since I began eating differently to try to manage my energy level. It was the first time I didn’t try to eat differently to lose weight, but to actually feel better. The weight loss has been a nice side effect, but it wasn’t the goal when I began. I can tell you, in my life I have probably tried every diet from cabbage soup to NutriSystem, and this is the only time in all these years that it has ever stuck. I think it is because I began looking at food in two separate categories: what makes me feel better and what makes me feel awful. When I started realizing that food could make me feel bad, i.e. tired, cranky, lethargic, etc., I started making better choices. Forty pounds later, I think I’m actually smaller now than I was in high school! I’m thankful that my husband was willing to support this crazy journey and eat the stuff that I put in front of him. He has been my biggest cheerleader!

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My beautiful babies

These two cuties are so amazing. My oldest will be a SENIOR next year (how the heck did that happen?) and my youngest just made the high school dance team (she will be a freshman next year). Oh. My. Gosh. Life is moving WAY to fast for me right now. I think my husband is even more freaked out than I am. He doesn’t like the thought of the baby girls getting bigger.

Life is sweet, and I’m so grateful for it. We have been through some trying times, but things are definitely on the up (knock on wood). I want to thank the lovely ladies on my Facebook board “I Can Eat That”. They have helped with my recipes and tips and encouragement while I’ve been on this food journey. I also want to say that the encouragement and positivity that I have found on my board “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” has been so instrumental in keeping a positive outlook. It’s so nice to have a group of ladies behind me building each other up and posting positive, uplifting things for each other to see during what might be a tough day.

I know this post isn’t written in my usual snarky tone, but I needed to take a minute to be sincerely grateful for the good things going on in my life and my family’s life.

I would love to hear comments from you guys. Post away!

Oh So Grateful

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Oh So Grateful

You know what sucks? Admitting your faults to yourself. Yep. I’m not perfect. *gasp* As a matter of fact, there are so many things that I need to work on, it would take several blogs to list them all. In the interest of my self esteem, we’re just going to focus on one- complaining.

I am the all-time champ at complaining. Traffic on the way home? Complain. Lady in front of me in line takes too long? Complain. Waitress doesn’t hoof it to our table fast enough? Complain. I can suck the joy out of almost any event, just give me a minute and I’ll find something to complain about.

The worst thing about this is that it becomes a habit. A horrible, miles-deep rut that you get stuck in. Unless you start to consciously combat the negativity, you’re going to be stuck forever. Well friends, I was STUCK. Stuck like Chuck. For yeeeaarrss. Ask anyone who knows me, and they can attest. So what to do?

What’s that old saying? The first step is admitting you have a problem. OK, I have a problem. Great, now what?  Well, writing has always been a catalyst for me, so let’s start there.  Enter this little gem-

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Gratitude-Journal-gold-dots/dp/1519127138/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1491827962&sr=8-15&keywords=gratitude+journal

I started writing in this every time that nasty urge to complain would rear its ugly head. It was hard at first to know what to write. Sometimes, I could only think to say “Thank you for my family” or “I’m grateful that I have a job to go to”. Gradually, I began to feel that angry, negative complaining urge was going away. I wouldn’t blow up as quickly when something didn’t go my way. I wouldn’t freak out in traffic and wish I had a brush guard on my Mazda.

Now, let’s not get it twisted, I still have my moments. And they can be doozies (just ask my hubby or my girls), but they are fewer and farther between. I still want to take people’s heads off sometimes, but I can say that the monkey on my back doesn’t have the hold he once had.

Eventually, I’ll shake that monkey off completely.