September 30, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Sorry I'm a few days late, but I'm excited to share the winners for my Active Bands giveaway!  First, thank you SO MUCH for entering!  And a BIG thank you to Active Bands for letting me spread the headband lovin. :)  Winners of a $25 gift card to Active Bands are...
^ShanMall must have some awesome lucky charms or have some super amazing skill of winning headband giveaways...she won my bondi band giveaway too!  

Ladies: email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com to claim your prize!

In other news, after taking all last week off of exercise due to the cold that wouldn't quit, I just could NOT get myself back on the exercise wagon this week.  How sad is it that breaking a routine for 1 week destroys all motivation?  I know a lot of you are probably dying to get back on the roads or to the gym after being sick, but it's hard for me to get that motivation up again.  I finally did make it out for a rainy run Tuesday (why helloooo there Fall...), but after 1.5 miles my left knee started killing me!  WHAT?!?!?!  Although I have had almost every runner injury out there, my joints have never been a problem!  My rotten IT band gives me pain in the right knee when I'm not wearing my strap, but this pain felt super different.  Like a good little runner, I RICEd and took the next 2 days off...terrified the entire time.

After a long week, the last thing I wanted to do this afternoon was run, especially since I was pretty nervous about what new ache or pain I would feel...I planned on changing at school and hitting the trail in hopes the fresh air would perk me up, but it started HAILING when I left the building!  
(On the plus side, I did see this gorgeous rainbow while driving...)

Plans changed and I headed to the gym...the thought of returning to the dreadmill and sweaty cardio floor after a lovely summer and fall of outdoor runs doing nothing to boost my energy levels.  I literally almost fell asleep while sitting in my car in the parking lot.  Somehow, I did manage to drag myself in and run 3.5 miles on the treadmill.  My knee felt okay except for a few twinges, and I'm 99% sure that the pain is from another tight IT band even though it felt a little different at first.  After foam rolling, sure enough, the IT bands are nice and tight.  PHEW!  I never thought I'd be grateful for sore IT bands, but that's definitely preferrable to some new knee problem... I guess that week off did nothing good for my tight muscles!  You can bet there will be lots of foam rolling this weekend. :)  

Anyways, I'm thinking of running a 5K at a nearby arboretum Sunday, but haven't decided yet...I'd be running alone and the course is pretty challenging--the first mile is almost completely uphill...but it should be beautiful...whaddya think, should I go for it?

What are your weekend plans?  Racing this weekend? 

September 26, 2011

Classroom Odds & Ends

After the past few weeks of minimal blogging, I've accumulated a bunch of random pictures on my computer desktop just waiting to be blogged.  Does that happen to anyone else??  I decided to just combine a handful of miscellaneous school pictures to do an Odds & Ends classroom update.  :)

New Computers!!!
First...we got new teacher computers today!  Hooray!  You guys, I cannot tell you how excited I am about this.  Our old school laptops were so old and junky.  They desperately needed an update!  Not only did we get brand new laptops, but they are tablet computers!  How cool is that?  Basically what that means is the screen can swivel around.  We can hold the computer in tablet form and write on it with the attached stylus.  I can see absolutely no reason for ever using this feature in my daily life, but in the classroom I know it's going to be awesome.  For example, I can project worksheets I've created and fill in the answers using my stylus.  For math notes, instead of writing on the board or overhead, I can just write them in a blank word document and project on the screen.  I'm pretty pumped.  And who doesn't love a brand new (pretty) computer??

I love you, Clip Chart.
Also, I must update on my clip chart.  This summer I decided I was ready to try a new behavior plan after using sticker charts and play money the past two years.  Mrs. Sunny at The Caffeinated Teacher sold me on the clip chart system that so many bloggers have mentioned.  (I absolutely cannot take credit for this system.  Learn more about it here.)  I have to admit, when I was planning it out this summer I was still a bit hesitant.  Would my 5th graders really buy into the whole thing?  Especially if there weren't any prizes involved?  Would it be a management nightmare to have students constantly getting up and moving their clips?  Well, I am pleased to report that it is going wonderfully and I am SOLD.

What I Love About It:

  • Every day is a fresh start for the kids
  • Kids can choose to turn their day around ANY TIME.  No day is ever "ruined."
  • I don't have to worry about moving clips down the way I did with giving strikes and checks--I used to hold back if I felt like the student maybe didn't MEAN to do something...but now it's no big deal, because they can earn their way back up.
  • Emphasis on student choice
  • Goal Setting: Where do you want your clip to be at the end of the day?
  • Trinket-free motivation
Okay, I'll admit I still do a weekly prize raffle using our school PBIS tickets, but the clip chart is absolutely trinket free.  Every day, any kids who are on outstanding earn an MVP Award.  I must give total credit for this idea to Mrs. Sunny who gives Rockstar Awards.  I present these little awards at the end of the day, and all the kids clap for our MVPs.  I wasn't really sure how into them they really were until last week I caught one of my "tough" boys showing it off to his friends from another class during dismissal.  The other boy remarked how cool it was!  WIN.  I know they also love showing them to their parents.
After earning an "outstanding," I also stick a little sticker on their clip.  Continuing with our ever-present sports theme, of course the stickers are sports-related too!  Once a clip is "full" (5 stickers), the clip is replaced with a new COLORED clip.  First it's a red clip, the bottom color on the chart.  Then orange, etc.  When a kiddo gets a new colored clip, I make sure to recognize them in front of the class and make a big deal out of it.  Let me tell you, I never expected 5th graders to care so much about an orange clothes pin.  LOVE IT.

Guided Reading
I'm not sure how guided reading works in your classroom, but in the past year or so our literacy specialists have told us to change our structure a little bit.  Instead of popcorn reading or checking in with the group after every page or so, we now set a purpose for reading, then have studetns read in their heads for about 12 minutes (the bulk of the guided reading time) while we listen to students read, cnference, and take running records.  We only come back together as a group for the last 5 minutes or so.  This works pretty well, but every day without fail some students will finish the "assignment" WAY quicker than others.  One of our coaches suggested I try typing up some suggestions of ways to interact with the text after reading the assigned selection and tape them to my guided reading tables.  I just set this up Friday after school, but I love it already!  It's great having the visual, and it's super easy for me to redirect forgetful students just by tapping it, even if I'm busy doing a running record on a different student.  
Closer View:
Little Smile
I loved this short note I got from a parent written on their kiddo's weekly progress report:
Thank you for all of your love to my son. :)
To the parent: It's my pleasure. :)

September 25, 2011

Giveaway Reminder! And first cold of the school year...

There's still time to enter my Active Bands Giveaway!  It ends Wednesday, so hurry up!

I'm sorry for disappearing for the past week.  In short, there has been little I felt like blogging about.  It's been a stressful week at school.  I've had a bad cold for the past week (Thanks, kids).  (And just when I was feeling better, it came back with a vengeance this weekend...obv.)  I took the week off from working out because between the cold and the school stuff I just have had no energy.

Confession: When I'm sick, I become a pretty big baby.  I'll admit it.  I mope and complain and lay around the house and let all normal things like hygiene fall to the wayside (which is why my hair is in a dirty ponytail...).  It's not pretty.  Nutrition also suffers when I'm sick.  I am a lazy cook on a good day, so when I'm sick you can imagine the pathetic laziness.  This week I've eaten a lot of PBJ.  When I felt REALLY sick Monday and laid in my bed from 3:30pm until the following morning, all I ate was an entire box of Kashi Autumn Harvest cereal, dry outta the box. (This cereal rocks, BTW)  Could I possibly be any more of a 5 year old?  I've also been watching a whole lot of Mad Men--thank you, Netflix, for recommending this awesome show.

I hope to be back on the blogging wagon this week with some lesson ideas, school goings-on, and running updates...stay tuned. :)

What makes you feel better when you're sick?

September 19, 2011

Active Bands Review & Giveaway!

I love headbands.  I love practical headbands that keep my out-of-control hair in place when I'm running.  I love stylish headbands that let me pretend I have any sort of ability to accessorize even if my hair's in a wet ponytail.  What do I love even more than those things?  HEADBANDS THAT DO BOTH!  Enter Active Bands...
These headbands ROCK.  Not only are they SO CUTE, but they actually stay in your hair without slipping! From the Active Bands website:

 Our mission is to provide you with a quality product that will provide style, comfort, and best of all NO-SLIP!  Every woman should feel the freedom that comes from working out without having those irritating little hairs in your face!!
Our Headbands are hand-crafted by individuals who care about our customer's style and the quality of the product.  We would like you to know that each Active Headband you receive from us contains a little love, and hope that you can enjoy a more comfortable, NO-SLIP work out.  

Sing it, Active Bands.  Active Bands was KIND enough to send me two headbands to try out and review.  Let me tell you, it took me about an hour to decide which two bands I wanted to try because they were all so darn cute!  I tried this black glitter band on one of my runs last week:
Gosh I look so serious in that picture...most likely I was just exhausted though, as I was still in my classroom, getting ready to go run on the way home. :)  First, I have never had ANY headband that is as glamorous as this one, much less a running band!  It is so pretty and sparkley, but most importantly it did not slide around ONE BIT on my head.  AMAZING.  The trick is that they have velvety material on the back of the ribbon band which really grips your hair.  They are also nice and tight, but not at all uncomfortable.  (No headaches with these babies!)  I have tried my active bands on a few more runs with the same result, and I have to tell you that I have also been wearing these headbands when I'm not working out...I've even been wearing them to school!
When I'm feeling lazy and just want to put my hair up, putting on one of these cute headbands makes me feel like I actually tried to do something nice with my hair, even if it's still mostly wet!  I've gotten compliments from friends and coworkers, and I'm happy to report that they hold my hair through a full day of school with no adjustments necessary.  That's almost as impressive as them staying in place while running!  Have I convinced you yet that you NEED an active band?  Well, lucky for you Active Bands has generously let me host a giveaway to share these fabulous headbands with my wonderful readers!

TWO readers will each receive a $25 gift card to the Active Bands site!  I promise you, not only will you adore wearing the headbands, but you will have a blast picking out which prints and colors to choose!

Here's how to enter (leave a comment for each)...

+1: Become a follower of Juice Boxes & Crayolas, or let me know that you already are one! (Mandatory)
+1 Become a follower of Active Bands blog!
+1: Like Active Bands on facebook and tell them that Juice Boxes and Crayolas sent you!
+1 Visit the Active Bands website and tell me which headband(s) you would order with your gift card!
+1 each: Post this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or facebook and let me know that you did!

This giveaway will end at midnight on Wednesday, September 28th.  Good luck!

Disclaimer: Active Bands was kind enough to send me two headbands to review for my blog.  I received no additional compensation for this review, and all thoughts expressed reflect my own opinions.

September 18, 2011

"I'm a Runner Again!!!" Lung Run 5K Recap & Giveaway Winners!

First things first.  Thank you to everyone who entered my Chocolate #9 energy gel giveaway!  This product is really great, and I'm excited to share it with some of you!  The winners of the Chocolate #9 3-packs are...

Kim @ Finally Fit 2011!  
Rachelle @ Running for Trevor
Melinda @ Melge Hates Running!
  Congratulations ladies!  I know you will LOVE chocolate #9.  Email me your address asap at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com to claim your prize!  Stay tuned for another fun giveaway tomorrow!

In other news...Yesterday I lined up at a starting line with other runners for the first time since June!  Miss R and I ran the Lung Run 5K and had the BEST time!  I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty darn nervous about how my legs would hold up since they've been a bit touch and go these days as I've been returning to running.  But I'm happy to report they felt GREAT!  The race was at a beautiful location--right in the heart of the city, just off the lake.  Miss R and I hung out in the cool sunshine killing time before the race...

^I may or may not have had those CEP sleeves on nonstop for about 36 hours before the race...
Hey, I'll take all the help I can get!!
The race was pretty small in terms of participants, but it definitely didn't have a "small race" feel! (In a good way.)  Since it was for lung cancer research, there were a ton of great sponsors (read: a ton of great swag).  Mario Tricocci beauty school was even giving free polish changes!  Truth be told, the polish was put on quickly and was kind of sloppy, but who can say no to painted nails while waiting for a race to start?  Not me!
After hanging out by the lake for a bit, it was finally time to line up with the other runners, and before we knew it we were off!  Miss R and I ran 3/1 intervals and ROCKED some negative splits on this race!  We managed to shave over a minute off of our average pace between miles 1 and 3!  Mostly, we just had a wonderful time.  When we passed the 3 mile mark, we both kicked it up a notch and ran our own races to the finish.  My plan for this race was to do my best and use it as a gauge to see where I'm at in terms of speed and fitness after my spotty past 2 months of running and injury.  I had no time goal in mind, but was ELATED to see that my final time was only 1 minute slower than the PR I set in May!  After the summer of injury I had, I couldn't believe it!  I finished at 32:35 and Miss R finished just 1 minute behind me.  She rocked this race!  
After the race we ran around scooping up all of the food we could carry, including cupcakes from a local cupcake shop!  YUM!  Everything was delicious except the muscle milk, which was probably one of the grosser things I've ever tasted...Seriously, do people really drink this stuff?? 
I then proceeded to collapse in the grass and refuse to get up for about 15 minutes...
 Between the great location, wonderful running buddy, awesome eats, and perfect race weather, I loved everything about this 5K.  What I loved MOST though was the overwhelming feeling I had all day yesterday after finishing--I am a runner again.  I can do this.  I know there is more to running than racing, but this race reminded me that my body really is healing and I really am making a comeback.  Don't worry, I'm not going to do anything silly in terms of upping mileages, but I DO feel more confident than I have in a long time.  I also feel like I have it in me to set a new PR this fall.  I'm running a local 5K next Sunday and hope that it's in the cards for me then!

Also...I have a new Big Race on the horizon!  My perpetual running inspiration, Michelle, and I are registering today for the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon!
Michelle makes running a marathon sound as easy as drinking a cup of coffee in the morning.  She's the one that got me to do my very first race, the Muddy Buddy 2008!
Even after we raced the Muddy Buddy, for years I looked at her race medals and pictures and never in my wildest dreams thought we'd run a distance race together.  When I finished the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February, Michelle texted me immediately after asking when we were going to race together.  We talked about a couple of ideas, but nothing serious.  A few weeks ago, though, we decided that a race together needs to happen!  We thought the KY Derby half sounded pretty perfect.  I can't wait for the race and to run with such a special friend!  Michelle has since moved out of state, and I haven't seen her for over a year.

Don't worry, I am fully planning on using the next SEVEN months to gradually build up a mileage base and increase my mileage ridiculously slowly.  I have definitely learned from my Stupid Runner training woes!  I also made a pact with myself NOT to put cross training, strength training, and yoga on the back burner.  I know now that they are important part of my staying injury-free.

Who first inspired you to start running?

September 16, 2011

Finally Racing!! (+ giveaway last chance!)

Last chance to enter my Chocolate #9 giveaway!!  There will be THREE winners, so you have great odds!  It ends tomorrow at midnight, so what are you waiting for??  This stuff is delish.

I'm running my first race in months tomorrow morning--eek!  I am filled with equal parts fear and excitement.  Fear: my legs will cramp up, my legs will cramp up, my legs will cramp up... You get the idea.

Wonderful college and teacher friend Miss R and I are running a 5K in the city this weekend.  I'm so excited to race with her!  Miss R's first race ever was the Girls on the Run 5K this summer.  Her wonderful running buddy, a fifth grade girl, was more of a WALK-runner, emphasis on the walking, so that was a pretty leisurely race.  (Note: There is NOTHING wrong with walking, especially at Girls on the Run!!! Just sayin' is all.)  I know Miss R is going to love the race atmosphere and the endorphines that come along with it though!  Although I am bummed that there are no tiaras involved in this race...
Miss R lives in the city so I'm crashing at her place tonight...I just shoved a whole bunch of random running clothes into a duffle bag, crossing my fingers that I have SOMETHING appropriate for the unpredictable fall weather!  I am pretty sure I have at least 3 complete running outfits for different temperatures, but I'm pretty sure I forgot essentials like toothpaste and a hair brush...don't worry, I DO have my grid foam roller (obv), 4 pairs of compression sleeves, and 4 headbands.  You know, the important things. ;)
Here's hoping my legs loosen up a little and the sun decides to show its face!  It's just a 5K and I'm excited to run with a great friend, so no matter how my legs feel and how slow my time is,  it will be a good race. :)  

What are your weekend plans?  Are you racing this weekend?  

September 13, 2011

Easy Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons!

Have you entered my giveaway for Chocolate #9 energy gel?  Go! Go! Go!

It's been awhile since I professed my love for Writing Workshop, so I think it's about time for a post!  I'll admit that Writing Workshop isn't going as smoothly in my class this year as last year, but I know every group of kiddos is different so I am trying to find a balance between patiently reteaching and in some cases adjusting my expectations.  This year I have a squirrely group, but I also have the IEP inclusion cluster--in other words, several of my kiddos either cannot focus long enough for 20 minutes of independent writing or just plain don't have the skills to write for 20 minutes without 1 on 1 assistance!  All of that aside, we have been making progress and working hard the past few weeks to lay that foundation that is critical for Writing Workshop.  I've been doing "ideas" lessons like crazy to get my kiddos writing about things they're interested in. Here are two that I especially love...

Quick Writes
This mini-lesson is perfect for when you're pressed for time and only have a few minutes to spend on the lesson portion of the writing block.  I start by setting the expectations for Quick Writes: Everybody writing as a group, 1-2 minutes, write the whole time without stopping.  I tell the kids that no matter what, we keep our pencils moving on our papers--the ideas will come if we keep going!  Then I give a few different prompts 1 at a time.  In the past, I've shown one and then immediately had the kids write about it, then shown another and followed with another quick write, etc.  At the end, I'd tell the kids to choose one of their quick writes to continue working on.  Last week I showed the prompts one at a time (slowly, pausing in between) and then told the kids to pick one to write about during our quick write.  <--I think this was a better fit for my current group of kids, as they would have been overwhelmed by several quick writes in a row whereas last year's group did great with it.
During the quick write, I ALWAYS write too.  I'll talk with the kids after about my own quick write experience, and ask them to reflect.  I'll ask, "How did it feel to write without stopping?  Did anyone get stuck?  Did anyone have ideas come to them when they just kept writing?" etc.  After the mini-lesson portion is over, I'll send the kids to their spots for the "writing time," and tell them to continue their quick write or work on another piece.  I use quick writes periodically throughout the year.  Sometimes I'll pause during a mentor text read aloud and do a quick write asking the kids to finish the story with what they think will happen.  Other times I'll give more free-thinking questions similar to those shown above.  I love how versatile this mini-lesson is!

Mentor Text: Thank You, Mr. Falker

If you haven't read Patricia Polacco's Thank You, Mr. Falker yet, drop everything and get yourself to your nearest bookstore.  You may need kleenex.  This is seriously one of my all-time favorite books, and it makes a perfect writing workshop mentor text for early in the year. 
In this beautiful book, main character Tricia (based on the author's own experiences!) struggles her entire childhood with reading and math.  Every year in school she watches the other kids advance in their readers and yet she still cannot make sense of the letters and numbers on the page.  Tricia is terribly bullied and just plain miserable.  I get choked up every time I read it aloud.

Don't worry, the story has a happy ending, but as part of a mini-lesson, I pause on a particularly intense page that shows Tricia crying with the cruel words of bullies hanging in the air around her.  I get really serious and talk with the kids about how they think Tricia feels and how this page makes them feel.  Then I tell them about how when I was young math was really hard for me.  I tell them that sometimes I even thought I was dumb or that I could never learn math.  Then I talk about how we all have had times where we felt like Tricia.  Maybe we struggled in school and were embarrassed.  Maybe we weren't good at something in sports and were teased.  Maybe we didn't fit in because of our clothes.  I ask them to write about a time they felt like Tricia.  Some of the stories they tell are beautiful.

Do you have any favorite Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons?

Missed some of my other Writing Workshop Mini-Lesson posts?

September 12, 2011

Chocolate #9 Review and Giveaway

 I'm so excited to have the opportunity to try and review Chocolate #9 energy gel!  If you're a regular reader of my blog, you probably know about my affinity for Chocolate Outrage Gu.  I have a sensitive stomach and use energy gels as fuel before morning workouts to avoid food tossing around in my tummy, as well as to refuel during long runs and bike rides.  However, being something of a health nut, I've never been a big fan of the lengthy ingredient list on most gels... Chocolate #9 has only TWO ingredients: Agave Nectar and Dark Cocoa. How cool is that?
From the Chocolate #9 website:
Chocolate #9 is a new kind of energy gel.

Chocolate #9 is different because it:

  • is sweetened only with organic agave.
  • contains no refined sugar or other HIGH glycemic index sweeteners.
  • has been – tested and certified – as a “LOW” glycemic index (GI) item.
  • Chocolate #9 LOW GI gel reduces the negative effect of repetitive insulin “spiking” during sustained exercise.
  • won’t cause a sugar high or a sugar low – bonk.
  • is an excellent energy choice for endurance athletes.
  • is suitable for most diabetics – and used by Team Type 1.
  • is an excellent choice for those not wanting to eat refined sugar.
  • is vegan, low fat and gluten free.
  • contains no synthetics – no unpleasant aftertastes – tastes great.
  • contains no “mystery” ingredients, colorings, or preservatives.
  • is easy on the stomach.
  • best of all — Chocolate #9 tastes great.
I knew this was something I needed to check out for myself!  I tried the gel for the first time last weekend halfway through a bike ride when I stopped back home to refill my water bottle.  

Before: I going to like this gel??
 During: Interesting...
The Verdict: YUM!
Since then I have tried Chocolate #9 as pre-run fuel a handful of other times.  I think I like the texture more than Gu--it's a little thinner, more like honey, but less syrupy than Cliff Shots which I'm no longer a big fan of.  The dark chocolatey taste is great!  Love me some dark chocolate... I can't tell yet if it is easier on the tummy like Chocolate #9 advertises.  My stomach has been a little uneasy the past week (what else is new...), so I haven't noticed anything different about the gel, but that's not really Chocolate #9's fault.  Since I'm not running long distances anymore, I haven't had the chance to try this gel out as a mid-run fuel, but I did feel great during the last chunk of my bike ride (although that might be due to taking a break!).  In any case, I am a fan of the taste and texture, love the clean ingredient list, and am looking forward to experimenting more with Chocolate #9 in the future!

Now, here's the fun part--Chocolate #9 has generously given me the opportunity to share this gel with YOU!  Three readers will each receive a 3-pack of Chocolate #9 energy gels, just in time for fall race season!
How to enter (leave a comment for each one completed):

+1: Become a follower of Juice Boxes & Crayolas, or let me know that you already are one! (Mandatory)
+1: Like Chocolate #9 on facebook and tell them that Juice Boxes and Crayolas sent you!
+1: Tell me about your current running fuel or why you'd like to try Chocolate #9!
+1 each: Post this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or facebook and let me know that you did! 

This giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, September 18th.  Good luck!

DISCLAIMER: Chocolate #9 was kind enough to send me their product to try myself and to share with my readers.  I received no additional compensation for this review, and all thoughts expressed reflect my own opinions.

September 11, 2011

Amazing Opportunity to Help a Good Cause!

Do you love headbands as much as I do?  Stop by my awesome friend Lauren's site!  She is currently training for the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas half marathon with Team Challenge and raising money for the Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America.  If you donate $10 to her fundraising efforts, she will send you an Active Bands headband and a "Running Takes Guts" CCFA wrist band!  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?  Visit her fundraising page here.
Come on.  You know you wanna help out this fantastic girl, help fight Crohns & Colitis, and get a snazzy new headband.  I mean, that's a win-win-win situation. ;)

Weekend Update Plus a Bondi Band WINNER!

Thank you to those of you who entered my Bondi Band giveaway!  I enjoyed reading about all of your struggles with controlling your hair while running!  I guess I am not alone in this battle!! :)  The winner of the bondi band is...
#6 ShanMall!  Email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com to claim your prize!!

Yesterday afternoon (after a 3.25 mile run!) I jumped in my car and got on the road to visit Best Friend at grad school.  We had so much fun!  Saturday afternoon we enjoyed the GORGEOUS weather walking around the city, drinking iced coffee, shopping in boutiques and vintage resale shops, and just relaxing on a bench on a hill overlooking the city and catching up on life.  

 That evening we stuffed ourselves on (veggie) burgers and fries at a pub while sipping microbrews...
And ended the night on a patio with these pretty drinks...
Lovely.  I was sad to leave today, but Best Friend was kind enough to put me in the car with a red velvet cupcake and fork!  She's pretty great, huh?  You better believe this thing was devoured on the way home, despite the fact that I was still stuffed from breakfast.  
Now that I'm home, I'm procrastinating starting in on what's left of my schoolwork for the couch and book are calling my name... ;)

What was beautiful about your weekend?

September 9, 2011

Did you enter my Bondi Band giveaway yet???  It ends tomorrow at midnight--What are you waiting for?!?

Phew!  Guys, it's been another long week!  But a much better one.  Last week I was kind of a wreck...  This week I was slightly less of a wreck!  Don't get me wrong, things are still crazy, and it's not just me that's been a disaster.  I think at least one of my coworkers has been crying everyday this week!  Thankfully, I have been in a much better place, and yes, I've had a much better attitude.

Here's the thing--pretty much everything is way different at my school this year than last year, which is a GOOD thing.  I've talked before about how I teach at a low-income school and about all of the challenges that come with that.  Our district is otherwise relatively high-performing, so our test scores are always at the BOTTOM of the rankings.  We have new administration this year and they are determined to turn things around.  I'll be the first to tell you that these changes are much needed and I am 100% on board, but it's a LOT to keep up with!

This week featured highlights including a couple 12+ hour days at school, a late curriculum night yesterday, and a fender bender Thursday morning on my way to school for back to back meetings...don't worry, I'm totally fine and miraculously my car is too.  I rear-ended another car--totally my fault.  Hello ticket, insurance deductible, and likely raised insurance rates!  Oh well, it happens!  Thankfully everyone is safe.  (How my Prius stood up to another car and came out unscathed, I will never understand...)  After all of that, I am so relieved that it's Friday!  (Cut to me singing Rebecca Black with my students this morning, "It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday!" <--Come on, one of the best parts of teaching is getting to act like a kiddo myself sometimes!!)  I'm so excited that tomorrow I am visiting Best Friend!  She recently moved from Big City to slightly further away Less Big City for grad school.

Did you guys know I was BLONDE until college??  I am NEVER going back!

Because I'd prefer not to be stressing over school while catching up with Best Friend, I decided to get my lesson plans done tonight....but I won't lie to you, I did enjoy my favorite beer while working!
 Don't worry, I'm a responsible teacher and stuck to just one... I didn't want to end up like Glee's beloved Mr. Schu!

Anyways, I'm off to watch some high quality TLC Friday night programming. :) Gosh, when did I get so cool???  Tomorrow it's up early to run, do errands, and jump in the car to start my adventure!  Can't wait!  Before I go, though, I will leave you with this adorable gem one of my struggling readers wrote for me the first week of school...
Sorry for the pathetic blackberry photo...The first day at school I met my teacher there's a lot of things about Miss Teacher she sweet, caring, kind, cool, best teacher ever in in school, she let us eat snack, love student, and let us have recess.  How do you get to school.
^My personal favorite part is her asking me how to get to kids.

Happy Friday!  What are your plans this weekend?

September 4, 2011

Back to School Virtual 5K Recap

Have you entered my Bondi Band giveaway yet?  NO???  Well, what are you waiting for?!?

I'm excited to report that this morning I ran Kayla's Back to School Virtual 5K!  Guys, I have been CRAVING a race lately.  While this "race" didn't quite fulfill my race longing, it was a lot of fun!  When I woke up today, I was SO HAPPY to find that our weird heat wave had been replaced with a glorious 60 degree morning.  Is fall finally on its way????   Check out the cute race bib Kayla made for us!  It's been too long since I had one of these babies pinned on my tummy!
Before I headed out the door, I had this yummy Chocolate #9 gel.  Look for a full product review and giveaway sometime next weekend!
 The weather today was gorgeous.  I felt great for the first mile and a half!  My legs felt loose, the breeze was awesome, and I was elated to find that some fall leaves have started showing up on the trails.  To me, there is nothing more satisfying than the sound and smell of crunching leaves under your feet when you're running.  Unfortunately, I started slowing down half-way through my "race."  My legs have certainly loosed up in the past few weeks, but my cardio isn't where it was before I took my little running injury vacation.  Oh well, I'm getting there!  I'll admit that I "cheated" a tiny bit on my time when I paused my garmin while I stopped to sit under a tree for a minute to catch my breath take in the beautiful wild flower scenery...oops!  But it was worth it.

My final time was 34:14--pretty darn slow, although it didn't feel slow when I was running!  Even though I've stayed active in the past month and a half since quitting my distance running/race training, I'm having to remind myself that it's OKAY and NORMAL that I've slowed down a bit.  I will get back where I was, slowly but surely. :) All in all, it was a fun run!  Afterwards my legs were tired!  I spent some time laying with them up a wall like this...
and took a little nap here:
(Confession: I slept on the couch last bed was just TOO FAR AWAY.)  
Then, I started looking for upcoming 5K races to fill my fall calendar with!  I registered for a 5K for the weekend after next and am hoping to beat today's time.  I think I can do it. :)  Wanna know a secret?  My dream fall goal is a sub-30 minute 5K...idk if that's possible for me yet since I'm still recovering, but I'm sure going to try!

What have you been up to this weekend?
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