Friday Favorites

Here are a few of my favorites lately:

1. Skotidakis Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dip– I found this stuff at Costco, and if you don’t have a membership…oh, I am so sorry for you.  This stuff is AMAZING.  It’s not too spicy either.  It just has a nice, little kick to it.  I’ve eaten it with celery (another favorite right now), carrots, cucumbers, pita chips, and tortilla chips and it’s great with all of them!  The fact that it’s made with Greek yogurt is a bonus.

2. Painting my Nails- I’ve never really been into painting my nails on a regular basis, but lately it’s become something fun I do.  I figured out that if I’m careful, I can browse Pinterest while my nails dry.  Win-win.  My  favorite colors for Spring are OPI Mermaid Tears and Zoya Tru.  I even went to a nail salon last night just for fun.  The parents of one of my students own the place and I got to chat with them while two other ladies worked on my hands and feet.  One guy there joked that all I needed was someone to feed me grapes.  Ha!  It did feel nice to be pampered for awhile, and now my finger and toe nails are pretty in purple.

3. Coconut Oil- If you’re on Pinterest, I’m sure you’ve come across the pin for “52 uses for Coconut Oil” at some point or another.  One day I was curious (probably while I was waiting for my nails to dry) and decided to go to the link.  It was a blog singing the praises of the oil from a coconut.  Around the same time my friend was on a new kind of all natural diet and had given me the recipe for these amazing chocolates made with coconut oil.  I figured I’d get a jar and see what all the fuss was about.  Oh my word.  We’ve gone through 4 jars since that day!  My tops 5 uses are- removing eye make-up, shaving my legs, before bed moisturizing (face, hands, feet), after shower oil, and the chocolates.  It’s cleared up some annoying acne I’ve had, done away with my itchy dry skin, and my sensitive eye skin doesn’t burn anymore when I remove my make-up.  So, here I am singing it’s praises too.  The stuff is really amazing!  Try it.  For the record the best price I’ve found is at the most hated of stores (Walmart) and it’s called Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil.  It’s around $5.97 for a 14 oz. jar.  They sell the same stuff at our local health food store for $8.  CrAzY.  Although I hate Walmart with a passion you can only imagine I did go there today just for the coconut oil and they were out!  I had to buy another brand.  I figure if I’m mostly just shaving my legs with it, who cares if it’s organic!

4. Ice-  I’ve also never really been a fan of ice.  I don’t like cold, and I don’t like cold things (yes, including ice cream.  I don’t like it.)  Lately however, with the summer snap we had here at the beginning of spring it was 87 for a few days in a row and I got on an ice kick.  I drink my water room temperature, my coffee hot, and my iced tea straight from the fridge.  Those few hot days I started using a double-walled drink cup with a straw one of my students got me for Christmas full of ice.  I must say, I now enjoy my tea actually iced!  I like the cup mostly because it hold a LARGE amount of tea.  I’m easy when it comes to beverages…coffee, tea, and water.  I’m also an ice snob.  No making it at home for me.  I buy a big bag at the store and it lasts us a good 2 weeks.

So those are my favorite things lately.  How about you?  Do you have a favorite you’d like to share?  Please do!


Thankful Thursday…or is it?

Just a little bit ago as I was putting the meatloaf in the oven, I thought, “Oh shoot…I missed Tuesday. Now it’s Wednesday, and I don’t have a decent picture for Wordless Wednesday.”  I went about cleaning up the kitchen and now that I’m actually sitting down to write, I realize, it’s Thursday.  Well then.  I can’t even blame my brain lapse on a crazy week.  Bekah only had one pick-up rehearsal last night, so this week has been blissfully “normal.”  I’m not sure why my days have been off, but it’s been this way all week.

So there.  That’s what I’m thankful for.  That I haven’t had to do near the running around I did last week.  That I was actually able to cook dinner and be home in the evenings this week.  I even got to catch up on Once Upon a Time and Castle.

I should also mention how thankful I am that yesterday my entire class stayed on green.  Pretty sure that hasn’t happened in a good month or so.  Today we almost made it with everyone on green again, but someone caved and called their center buddy an idiot during clean up time.  Sigh.  So close.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Sunday Sharing: I Just Don’t Know

This weekend I’ve spent more time than I usually do pondering some things about myself, and honestly I don’t like what I see.  It all started when I took yesterday off.  As in staying in pajamas all day (showering then putting new pjs on :)), reading, looking around Pinterest, and doing nothing too taxing.   I did read my small group homework!  I have small group Monday night, and I’m the worst for waiting until Monday afternoon to read the 2 chapters I had 2 weeks to read.  Then answering  the questions for those chapters.  The idea is to do a little each day during your daily devotion time.  Which, shoot me now if you must, I really don’t have.  The chapters were on Responsibility and Sensitivity.  The things I saw about myself when reading these chapters were not pretty.

I hate being responsible. Hate is a strong word, but it’s true.   I’m not sure why this is, or when the things I am blessed to be responsible for started feeling more like a curse.  Is it the every-day-ness of stuff?  The fact that there’s always more laundry, the dust doesn’t ever stop?  The people always expect there to be meals! That kind of stuff.  I realized that all these things feel like chores to me.  If I’m being really honest, for most of my adult life they’ve felt that way.  I can recall very few times of just being joyful in the day-to-day grind of life.  And that’s not how I want to live.

Part of being responsible is being disciplined.  With my time, my schedule, my money, my thoughts…pretty much everything!  Lately I’ve been frustrated with myself because I know I should be eating healthier, watching my calories, and running more consistently.  Just the thought of keeping track of my daily calorie counts makes me feel like someone is putting a straight jacket on me!  Why do I buck against self-discipline so hard?!?  Why am I like this?

Sometimes I think it’s because the outside pressures and demands on my life don’t allow a lot of wiggle room (work, kids’ schedules, etc.) that trying to also schedule my “down” time sounds like I’m still working.  I don’t know that I’m making a lot of sense, and I’m sure not being very encouraging, but this is where I’m at today.  Right now.  I want to enjoy life, not feel like I’m dragging through it (with chains labeled “dinner” and “laundry” around my neck.)   Maybe it’s just this season of life.  Or maybe I need to get my head on straight.  I just don’t know.

Saturday Special

Bekah as Mrs. Medlock, the housekeeper, in The Secret Garden

Today is definitely feeling special.  My whole family has left me alone at home while they go see The Hunger Games!  I loved the books and eventually want to see the movie, but I desperately needed some down time.  Home alone in my pajamas, drinking too much coffee, and ignoring household chores sounds like a sweet vacation at this point.  The busyness of life was really sucking me down this week, and I can’t even adequately express how the thought of not having to leave my house today is making me giddy with delight.  We typically go to church Saturday night, but I’m even planning on foregoing that in order to get myself back to a good place mentally.

In other special news, last night was the opening night for The Secret Garden, the musical Bekah is in.  About a week ago she was given a speaking part rather than just being part of the chorus.  I’m so proud of her!  In a week she memorized her lines (complete with a British accent) and she did great last night!  As is typical for opening night of anything I would imagine, there were some sound issues, but other than that, all the kids did a great job.  I’m not familiar with the story of The Secret Garden, and operatic-type musicals are really not my thing (I’m a Singin’ In the Rain, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers kind of gal myself) it was fun to see Bekah do something that shows her talents and giftings and lets her shine.  Here’s a newspaper article about the show.  The boy who plays Dickon is pictured in the article.  What a talented young man!  I got to chat with his mom a few times during Les Mis and then again last night.  Good people!

This week I also won a $100 gift certificate to a jewelers in a radio station contest.  I vaguely remember entering via text a few months ago.  When I got a text saying I won, I thought it was a gimmick or a mistake.  When the radio show host called me 5 minutes after the text came, I thought he was calling to say it really was a mistake.  It wasn’t. I really won.  Wow, I am one skeptical, glass-half-empty kind of person aren’t I?  The only problem is the jeweler is in Kankakee, IL which is not exactly close by.  I do have friends out that way, so maybe a lunch date and some shopping are in order.  Although, I’m guessing $100 isn’t going to  far at a Diamond store.   I have been wanting another stacking band for my wedding ring. 🙂

What kind of special things happened for you this week?


Thankful Thursdays

Today I am thankful for some seemingly mundane things: MucinexD, Advil, and iced Dunkin Donuts coffee.  Without these things I would have spent the second half of my day curled up in the fetal position under my desk with a fan blowing on me.  I should probably explain.

Alisha has the flu.  The real one.  Monday through Wednesday was spent trying to keep her temp down (it got as high as 104 at one point.) I ended up taking her to the doctor yesterday and she tested positive for the flu.  I was the only member of the family to get a flu shot in the fall, but with me, that is no guarantee.  I’ve been feeling pretty crummy myself this week, and have been worried I was getting the flu.   Not sleeping well, feeling drained, just icky.  Today it was the worst.  I couldn’t breathe and I felt terrible.  I managed to get through the morning teaching (the poor kids), but had to face an afternoon of parent/teacher conferences.  After the first 2 conferences (one of whom didn’t show) I had a break of a couple hours.  A trip to the drugstore (for the MucinexD), drive-thru at DD, and a stop home for a change of clothes and some Advil got me through the rest of the day.   I forgot to mention my classroom has no air conditioning yet, and it’s summer- 87 degrees today!- here.  I was literally so sweaty from being in my classroom all morning I had to completely change.  Tomorrow I may be teaching and doing conferences in a tube top!  Joking!  Totally joking.  I have some fans in there, but they just move the hot air around.

For real though, MucinexD is the bomb!  It’s the only thing I’ve found that will open up my sinuses when I’m fighting this allergy-cold junk.  Tomorrow I’ll have it ahead of time, so I’m sure my morning will go much better.   Alisha is doing better also.  Her fever is gone, and other than a few aches and a scratchy voice she is back to normal.

What are you thankful for today?

Tiny Talk Tuesday

I have one little girl in my class who is  pretty funny.  The other day she asked me for a “mooch and a hug.” The thing is she talks at warp speed so it kind of sounds like, “amoochanahug.”  I had to ask her 3 times what she meant!  She was getting frustrated with me, so she finally just gave me a kiss on the cheek (a “mooch”) and a hug.  She’s a real cutie too.  I wish you could hear the way she says, “heart.”  It sounds more like, “hout.”  She’s always good for saying funny things, so this week I’m featuring tiny talk by Susie (her name is not really Susie, but you know…I have to call her something and protect her privacy.) So Susie it is!

In my classroom we have a  behavior board.  It’s a rainbow and each day all the children start on green.  If they make good choices all day they might be moved up to blue, or if they are an absolute angel, they move to purple.  However, if they don’t listen and make some not-so-good choices, they might have to move to yellow, orange, or red.  Chances are if you get to red, I’m also sending you to the office and you’re in major trouble.  One day little Susie comes up to me and says, “I didn’t punch anyone in the head. Can I move to blue?”

Susie is quite particular about her writing utensils and can often be found at my desk asking, “Can you sharp this?”  while holding up her favorite colored pencil (purple.)

During one of our snowfalls here in Chicagoland we were discussing the slippery walk across the parking lot and shoveling snow.  Susie offered this statement to the class, “Papa has a snow blower that eats snow off the road.”

Little Susie, like most preschool children, loves attention and wants whichever adult is nearest to comment on her accomplishments.  One day she was walking across the balance beam and called out to me, “Look how I do balance!”

Susie’s cousin Bobby (totally not his name either) is in my class as well.  One day when his older sister (a former student of mine) came in to the school to drop Bobby off, one of the other students said to Susie, “Your sister is in the hall.”  Susie yelled back at them, “That’s not my sister! That’s my twin!”  Ok, this one needs some description (I really am LOL.)  The “twin” (really her cousin) is about 3 years older, dark complected with long, black hair.  Susie is about  2.5 feet tall, very pale, with long blonde hair.

Needless to say, Susie keeps me on my toes.

Monday’s Music

So it’s Monday again.  The Tired was trying to take me down today, but I had a smallish victory over it and managed a 2.6 mile run after school today.  Last week I said that Mondays were going to be about music around here, and I intend to keep to that, but it is my blog and I’ll do what I want to, so I’d like to ramble for a paragraph or so.  Mostly about “The Tired.”   As soon as I sit down it tries to take me out.  Busy has been the definition of my life these past few weeks and I can feel the burn out coming.  I need to be better about purposefully scheduling down time for myself.  Today I had a whole hour where I did nothing but read my blogs and look at fb.  It was exactly what I needed mid-day to give my brain and body a rest.  Constantly thinking about my lists and responsibilities is stressful to me and some zone-out time is about the only thing that helps my brain relax.

Now, on to the music.  If you know me at all, you know my taste in music is pretty eclectic.  In one playlist I’ll have Bing Crosby singing right after Lecrae who is singing after Jack Johnson, and then maybe some Skillet thrown in for good measure.  If I had to choose an all-time favorite band though, it would have to be Mercy Me.  Mostly because the guys in the band are the real deal, and also because their lyrics speak to me.  They have a new cd coming out in May, called The Hurt and the Healer.  If the title track is any indication, it’s going to be of the same quality all their other music.  Since I own all their other cds, I’ve already pre-ordered this one and I’m anxiously awaiting the release.  The lyrics are pretty powerful and encouraging to anyone who’s ever been hurt (hello…ALL of us!)   I really, really love the cover art on the new cd also, and if I can figure out how to get it on a canvas, I want it for my foyer.  So if you get a chance, go to iTunes and listen to “The Hurt and The Healer”, then buy it.  Then listen to it again, and again, and again.  You’ll be better for it, I promise 🙂

For fun, at the end of every Rock & Worship Roadshow, the Mercy Me guys and the other bands that are on the tour do a cover tune.  I think last year’s was better than this year’s, but they’re both funny!  Happy Monday, folks!

Cover Tune Grab Bag Mercy Me “Baby”

Cover Tune Grab Bag Mercy Me “Ob-la-di”

Saturday Special

I’m not sure what’s special about today other than the weather.  It’s a perfect 80 degrees and sunny, with a lovely breeze!  It’s so weird that a week and a half ago I was wearing shoes and socks, a scarf, and my coat.  Now for a week I’ve been in summer clothes.  Flip flops even!  I’ll take it thank you very much.  Skipping the rain and coolness of Spring is fine with me.  Skip straight to summer I say!  Today’s weather is so special in fact that I cleaned off the deck so I could sit outside and do some writing and some work.

In trying to think of something special to write about I came up with nothing, and we’ve already covered the weather.  Wait! I just thought of something!  Bekah is in her high school’s spring musical.  They’re doing “The Secret Garden” (which I know nothing about really)  and just yesterday they upgraded her from simply a chorus singer to an actual speaking part.  She’s really excited.  Last night her friend, who is also in the musical, stayed overnight.  I had to laugh everytime I heard them practicing their lines with their fake British accents.  If all the rehearsals are any indication, it will be a great show!

Alisha’s orchestra tooks gold in a competition this morning as well.  That’s pretty special.  She had to be at the school at 7am, so I was the one to get her up and get her there.  She’s now crashed on the couch sound asleep where as I’ve been going non-stop since I got up.  It’s amazing how much one can accomplish when you get up before noon on a Saturday!  I even fit in a 2 mile run.

That’s something else that’s been special.  I’m back to running again, and even after months of not doing anything, I can go run 2 miles without too much to pay for the next day.  In fact, I feel great when I’m done with a run.  I have a loop I like to run through our neighborhood and I was hoping when I finally ran it with my Nike+ it would be close to 3 miles.  Nope.  Only 2.2 miles.  It just feels like 3.  Oh well, 2 is better than none!  I’m hoping I can stick with it and be consistent.  Being consistent with anything is my biggest failing.  I do good for awhile, but I’ve got no longevity when it comes to anything requiring discipline.  I’m working on it.

Which reminds me, I need to get to work! I’m staring to plan the end-of-the-year awards ceremony and program.  If you were around the Sunny Side at Christmas, you know the programs can get me a wee bit stressed out.  I’m going to work on staying peaceful through this one 😉

Thankful Thursdays

Yes, I have not yet abandoned the alliterations.  I’ve nearly abandoned all hope that I’ll write on a regular basis, however.  I’m in between cooking and cleaning up dinner and dropping one kid at youth group, going to another’s orchestra concert, and somewhere in the mix picking the third up from rehearsal for the spring musical.  I’m also about 3 weeks behind on all my shows.  Sigh.  I’m tired just thinking about my life.

Yet, I have much to be thankful for, and today I’d like to share my top 3 with you.  As a Christian, it’s pretty much a rule that the top 2 things you’re thankful for is salvation, and then your family.  After that, the list is different for everyone.  So I guess my #3 is what I’m going to write about today, and it’s not what most of you would think.  It’s my job.  I love what I do, and after talking to people, I realize that it’s a pretty rare thing to find someone who loves their job.  Don’t get me wrong, I have my days…lots of them…when I want to pull my hair out and scream if one more person says, “Mrs. Mongold, I need…” or “Mrs. Mongold, can you…?”  Today was such a day.  The chorus of “Mrs. Mongold” (and one “Mom” thrown in for good measure) was seriously crazy today.  I blame it on our glorious weather.  It’s great to be able to go outside for recess, but the coming back in is hard on everyone.  I’ve changed my daily schedule up just a bit, and it seems to help some, but the fact is it’s still one of me to 14 of them!  But again, I do love what I do.

This week (for the first time ever in my teaching career) I’ve done some teaching and activities about St. Patrick’s Day.  What’s hilarious is how they are so into the whole leprechaun thing.  I’ve told them that leprechauns are boy fairies who aren’t mean or bad, but they do like to play tricks and mess up our classroom.  While we were at recess yesterday, a naughty leprechaun dumped out our St. Patricks’s Day sorting game.  The kids decided to make a trap so we could catch him if he came in our classroom again while we were gone.  Their trap looked like this:  When I asked them about the junk stuff they were putting in the trap, they had some good answers, so I just let them go.  Me: “How is a coloring book going to help catch a leprechaun?”  Boy: “It’s slippery, and when he steps on it he’ll slip into the trap.”  Ok then.

Sadly their trap didn’t stop the naughty fairy and he took all of the gold coins out of the trap and distributed them into their pencil boxes.  Boy, were they surprised when they opened them!  Since tomorrow is our last chance to celebrate this day of Irish fun, I helped them make a trap for the leprechaun.  Here’s what we came up with together.  We will see if it works tomorrow 😉  We’re also going to watch the very short Veggie Tale’s story about St. Patrick.  It’s a good one!  And for a special dance party Friday, we’re going to do an Irish jig.

Now really, is this not the BEST job in the world?  It is for me, and I am so thankful for it!

*pics were taken with my fancy schmancy new Canon Rebel :):):)

Tiny Talk Tuesday

Today we took both Pre-K classes to Bellaboo’s for a field trip.  Here’s the stats: 23 kids, 15 parent chaperones, and 3 teachers.  It was a GREAT field trip and if you live anywhere near Northwest Indiana, you need to take your kids to Bellaboo’s.  Such a fun place!

There were a bunch of funny things the kids said today.  Unfortunately I was too busy counting heads and keeping track of people to remember all of them.  By far the funniest was in the art room.  The Bellaboo’s teacher was doing a shape patterning activity with the kids.  She would draw a pattern on the board and they would make the pattern with foam shapes at their tables. After they did an A-B pattern, she said she was going to do something harder (an A-B-C pattern) and see if she could trick them.  One little guy from my class shouted out, “You can’t trick us! We’re awesome!”

And awesome they were!  So awesome in fact,  the Bellaboo’s teacher who did the nursery rhyme story time investigation with them commented on their good behavior and how well they did the activity because they knew sight words and how to read some of the other words.  It feels good to know they’re getting it, and I’ll admit it was fun to have them show off.  The program we did was called “NCIS: Nursery Children Investigate and Solve”.  The kids had to figure out who stole the cookies from the cookie jar (one of the three little pigs) and who dumped Jack and Jill’s pail of water (Mary’s little lamb.)  They do such a great job at Bellaboo’s!  It was fun and educational.

Outside at Bellaboo’s they have giant play rocks to climb on and jump off of.  The boys were in heaven! They also had a sand pit with dinosaur bones to dig up.  One of my little guys told me as he was brushing off a dino tooth, “I’m an alientologin.”  I asked him what that was, and he told me, “That’s someone who finds dinosaur bones.”

After the field trip was over and we were all back at school I stopped in the Kindergarten room to say hi, and one of the little girls had wiped out at recess pretty badly and her bandages needed changed.  I took her to the office and while we were walking I asked her what happened.  She has this hilarious deep voice for such a little girl and she told me, “I slid on the concrete.”  It wasn’t funny, but the way she said it was.  Then when I was trying to re-bandage her knee (it was pretty bad!) I kept getting a bandage stuck on the gloves I was wearing, and the little girl said, “Well, this is a sticky situation.”  I bust out laughing, and so did she!  She was in my class last year, and gave me daily fodder for Tiny Talk Tuesday.  Man, I miss having funny kids! My students this year are fun, just not funny.

The other big thing that happened today was that one of my Vietnamese speaking students was busting out all kinds of English!  As we were driving there she said, “Horse” when we drove past a farm that had horses.  Then, in the play area (slides and ball pits) she called out, “Mrs. Mongold! Look at me.”  I was so excited! This is the first week she’s really been expressing herself in English.  Ususally we just pretend to understand each other.  The best was when I pulled the van up to a stop sign, and I guess I wasn’t going fast enough for her liking and she said, “Ok, now go!” 

Today was a very, very good day.  I even got a 2 mile run in after school since this is the first day (FIRST DAY) in months that my husband’s work schedule allowed him to pick up the girls from school. Oh, this Tuesday is blessed indeed.