Gone with the Week[end]

Sorry I did not get around to posting the usual Gone with the Week this weekend. I came down with a fever Thursday night and was pretty much wiped out the whole weekend with a virus. (Thank goodness we had ANOTHER snow day on Friday.) While I was sick and stuck in my room, I read two books, worked on homework, watched a Property Brothers marathon on HGTV, and napped a lot.

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Currently Reading: 

This weekend I read Taken by Norah McClintock and The Prince by Kiera Cass.

I read Taken because there is a waiting list for all the books I want to read from the e-library. It was about a girl who was kidnappaped and taken to a shack in the woods and left to die. The bulk of the story describes her survival in the woods. It was a good book but not great. It was very short and there wasn’t really a clear conclusion. But it was interesting for a quick read.

The Prince was a short novella from the Selection series which is one of my favorite series. I LOVED The Selection, The Elite, and The One. The Heir comes out in May and it’s already on my goodreads to read. If you have never read this series, think of The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. (I have never watched the Bachelor but the concept of picking your spouse from a group is the idea.)

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Also, I love this library’s campaign to get off social media and go read! If I was a high school or middle school teacher, I would hang this in my classroom.

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Every Valentines Day my dad gives my sisters and I a special card and a giant candy bar. It is one of my favorite traditions and I have saved every single card since I was like six. The KitKat has already disappeared. ;)

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I taught a shared reading lesson this week and realized I plan best while sitting on the floor because I can spread everything out. I felt like this lesson went better then my phonics lesson a few weeks ago. My teacher gave us some great words of wisdom, “Your lesson is never as good as people say but also never as bad as you think.”

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I have worn my favorite scarf the past two days because it’s from Italy and this time last year I was in Rome. I miss Italy so much. I think I would love to live in Europe for a few years, maybe after college.

IMG_8091More fun in my night class- the snack this week was build your own bear cave (to use when you are teaching hibernation.)

Currently blog-loving: 

I have recently (as in like a month ago) started following two new blogs and I would like to share them with you because I LOVE them. Some people do social media, I do blogs.

Modern Mrs. Darcy : I do not think I could describe how much I enjoy this blog and admire the quiet passion this woman has for reading and a simple but full life. She’s bringing classy back and I love it.

Un-Fancy | a minimalist fashion blog: Not only do I love her style but I am intrigued at the idea of a capsule wardrobe and hope to organize one in my closet this summer. She shows the importance of a few high quality pieces and simplifying your wardrobe. Like my mom always says, “The more you own, the more it owns you.”

Stay warm.

Snow Days

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We are currently on day two of classes cancelled due to snow and ice! This picture was taken today as the snow was melting, but yesterday everywhere was a sheet of ice.

When I woke up on Monday and saw classes were cancelled, I was too excited to sleep in so I got up and started baking.IMG_8043

You guessed it, more s’mores bars. This time however, I shared them with anyone who made the trek to my dorm. It was one of the best snow days.

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By 11:00AM I had made s’mores bars and shamrock pretzels (recipe to come). I had also only eaten chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate with caramel for breakfast and lunch. We have so many baked goods in our room right now and they taste even better on a snow day.

I also roasted some poatoes and veggies with cheese to get some substance. It lasted for a bit until a friend brought me chocolate covered pretzels and cookies and chocolate chip muffins.

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Yesterday I read The Lions of Little Rock in one sitting. I am required to read it for a class, however; I loved it. It is a historical fiction book about the integration of schools in Little Rock. Definitely a must read.

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This morning I walked to Starbucks to write a paper and on the way I stopped to check my mail. I had three Valentine cards and was very excited!

Unfortunately, it looks like we will be having school tomorrow because the ice has been melting all day. At least we only have three days till another weekend.

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I am currently on my second episode of 19 Kids and Counting and this one just so happens to be Jill and Derek’s wedding. Wow, their relationship is so beautiful.  I think I have cried three times already. (Good thing we have plenty of chocolate in our apartment to eat while I console myself.)

I think it is reminding me a lot of my sisters weddings and sometimes I just don’t like growing up. I miss coloring and nap time; this figuring out life and constant change is sometimes hard. You grow up as a child with this fantasy of what life will be like and it couldn’t be any different. I kind of envy the Duggar’s simplistic lifestyle. Although, I don’t know how simple it is now that their life is broadcasted on TV.

Well, I am off to finish watching the Duggars and then start studying. Back to reality tomorrow! (But I’m still praying for more snow.)

Gone with the Week

It is currently sleeting outside and the entire college is hoping for cancelled classes tomorrow! I am already planning a day of baking, reading, napping, and maybe homework.

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The roommate and I already made smore’s bars (again) in celebration. This is how you pack on the freshman 15 people. (Or junior 15 in this case.)

Currently Reading:

This week I read Alaskan Twilight and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (book one of the series). Believe it or not, I have never read or watched the Harry Potter series. I was advised as a future teacher of literacy to at least read book one in the series to have a concept of the writing. I give the book 4/5 stars. I actually really enjoyed it and did not find it as dark as I previously thought. I haven’t decided if I will continue to read the next books in the series, but I will say I liked the first one.

Alaskan Twilight was also a great read and reminded me to always carry bear spray if I ever go there. ;)

Currently Exercising:

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I did not exercise much this week because I had a sinus infection and a wicked sore throat that will not go away. I did however want to mention how much I love my new running shoes. They are Brooks and I have never felt more comfortable and supported in a sneaker.

I saw this article the other day entitled, 10 Nutritional Deficiencies that may cause Depression. I thought it was interesting to examine the importance nutrition has on depression, however; they pretty much named a bunch of nutrients that a lot of Americans are most likely deficient on. I think nutrition should be considered when struggling with depression (it’s very important!) but I don’t think depression medication should be discounted because your selenium is low and clearly causing your all depression…

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We celebrated a friends birthday in the “big city” this weekend but before we left, I grabbed a carmel iced coffee and worked on homework for a little while. My major does not require a lot of tests but consists of more projects and papers, so therefore I am able to do a lot of my work at coffee shops because I don’t have to be as strictly focused (as opposed to studying for a test where I need quite solitude).

The countdown to spring break is now at three weeks. I cannot wait to be somewhere warm and far, far away from dorms and cafeteria food.

Make this week a good one!

 

 

 

Party with the Preschoolers

The preschool Valentines Day party was a hit! Two and a half year olds are kind of young for a big celebration, but we were able to create some fun memories. The holiday I remember the most from elementary school days is Valentines Day because I LOVED decorating a box and making valentine cards for my class. Therefore, I wanted to share some of those elements with my kiddos.

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top left: How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? book + a coloring sheet of a Valentine dinosaur

top right: My homemade valentines cards made from paint strips (thanks Lowes!) with tootsie rolls attached

bottom left: Many, many strands of heart chains (which were created while I watched HGTV)

bottom right: Homemade owl bags that I saw a picture of on Pinterest and had to create

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I got up really early to make sure I could get to work early and set everything up. Thank goodness I had my heart sweater ready to go.

I lined the bags up outside our class and during play time I took each kid out to put their Valentines in their friends bags. (It was great practice with fine motor skills and reading.)

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After the bags, I hung up the heart chains on the door.

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The girls loved them and the boys tried to tear them down…can’t win them all. ;)

And obviously, a party is not complete without some treats.

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I made cookies and then some parents brought pink rice crispies, chocolate covered pretzels, apple juice, and fruit. (And we wondered why they were going crazy…)

Overall, I call it a success. I loved seeing the kids get really excited about the Valentines they brought. (One mom gave each kid a book as their Valentine which I loved.) We had a lot of fun and it reminded me how much fun holidays are when celebrated with children.

How did you celebrate Valentines Day as a child? 

Links Worth Listing

The Daily Routines of Geniuses “…a routine was more than a luxury — it was essential to their work.” I found this article positively fascinating and brilliant. “I’ve realized that somebody who’s tired and needs a rest, and goes on working all the same is a fool.”

Blank Space Style- this Taylor Swift mash-up is beautiful. If this version was on her CD, it would probably be my favorite.

This is how 22 different countries take their tea. I drink mine like Britain, but I love seeing how other people take their tea. It makes me want to go on a tea tour around the world. ;)

Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? “We’re struggling with the idea that, thanks to various cultural factors and trends, our desires for marriage and children might never be met.” I really enjoyed this article and have to agree that many churches segregate singles and naggingly wait for them to find a mate so they can be properly accepted into the church “family.” “It’s time to drop the expectations and start to see single Christians not as problems to be solved, but as people to be loved.”

Thinking of seeing the movie 50 Shades of Grey? Don’t. Or at least read this article first.

 

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I am a bit under the weather with a winter cold so Cepacol and Advil have been my sleeping aids lately.

Don’t worry though, I’m not too sick to get my free Chick-fil-a coffee. #dayfour

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Also, the only thing I am dreaming of for Valentines day is Chocolate Truffle Hershey Kisses. A friend gave me one the other day and I cannot stop thinking about them. Apparently they are only sold in the Valentines section so I’m seriously debating stocking up…

Talk to you all later!

Gone with the Week

We are exactly four weeks away from spring break and I am very excited! We have been back at school for a month now, but it seems longer. I live by my  planner and it has to-do’s written on every line. It’s not too bad though, I enjoy my classes and working with my preschoolers so I typically do not dread Mondays.

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Day #3 for free Chick-fil-a coffee. Free is my favorite word. (Group-project is my least favorite word.)

Currently Reading:

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Since I last blogged my latest reads, I have read The Impossible Knife of Memory, Ashton Park, and Heaven is for Real.

I recommend the latter two books, but not The Impossible Knife of Memory. I was excited to read this book because it is a realistic fiction novel about an American soldier with PTSD (from our current war in the Middle East) and his daughter. The booked lacked emotion and was vague about events with the soldier. It was an okay book, just not my favorite.

However, I loved Ashton Park because it was a Christian fiction novel about a family during the war between England and Ireland. I haven’t seen Downton Abbey, but the book claims to be similar. I really want to read the next two books in the series (The Danforths of Lancashire) but they are not on the e-library for my kindle.

I am a bit late to jump on the Heaven is for Real train, but I am very glad to have read the book. I really want to believe it is true. I loved the descriptions of Jesus he used and it painted a clearer picture of heaven for me.

*side note: people often wonder how I have time to read while taking 17 hours, working part-time, and living the “college life.” Well, ever since my parents gave me a Kindle for Christmas, it goes everywhere with me. I am not a big social media person (the comparison factor isn’t good for my mental health ;) so in between classes, or waiting for a friend or appointment or eating lunch in my room, you can find me reading on my kindle. 

Currently Listening: 

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I have been listening to the series “A Beautiful Design” by Matt Chandler from the Village church. I have one more sermon left in the series and I have loved each sermon. I recommend it 100%. You can even get the village app and listen on your phone. I usually go to the gym and listen to a sermon.

 Currently Planning:

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A Valentines Day party for my preschoolers!! Tomorrow I am going to the teacher’s resource center to make decorations, valentine bags, and crafts for the kiddos. I even had my mom mail me my Valentine’s Day teacher sweater so clearly it’s going to be the best party ever. (…This is what happens when you’re single on Valentines Day haha)

Currently Eating: 

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Some friends and I made smores bars last night and ohmygoodness SO good.

The recipe is super easy and takes only about 10 minutes. All we needed was a camp fire and it would have been wonderful. Unfortunately, fire is not allowed in the dorms.

Currently doing: 

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I am currently at Starbucks working on homework with two friends and savoring some creamy earl-gray tea. It’s a gloomy, chilly day and I am perfectly content with my window seat, tea, and homework.

Hope everyone has a lovely week!

Tuesday Tidbits

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I may be telling you the best news on the planet: Chick-fil-a is giving away free hot and iced coffee the entire month of February! Every. Single. Day.

Allie and I have accepted to challenge to go as many days as possible. We went there today for our Tuesday devotional and have already planned to meet there next week. Their vanilla iced coffee is the best iced coffee I’ve ever had.

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The coffee probably tasted extra good because I finally taught my phonics lesson today and feel relieved. I had to teach a 20-30 minute lesson on r-family blends to my peers and it was a bit of a struggle because they already know how to sound out/spell words etc…

Last night I spread out all my teaching tools and plans and taught to an imaginary classroom. I don’t feel like it was my best lesson, but hopefully I will get some helpful feedback.

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I was also doing laundry last night (multitasking like a pro) and get so annoyed that the dryers do NOT dry my clothes. I refuse to pay the extra quarter to dry them yet again, so my new strategy is to lay the wet clothes on the living room floor and turn the fan on high. When I wake up in the morning, everything is dry!

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We had a bake sale yesterday and today for the student council for exceptional children and I made good ol’ Pillsbury peanut butter cup cookies. But hey, I put sprinkles on them so that took them to the next level. We raised $200 that will be used to give school supplies to children with special needs (in the community) and to put on the special olympics and prom for the kids!

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My night class tonight was full of baby and toddler talk. We learned about stages of development and certain attachments and such. It is truly amazing how much of a child’s life is molded in the first five years of their life. I will be reading to my child the moment he comes into this world. ;)

My professor even brought in a 2 1/2 year old toddler and 6 month old baby girl for us to observe.

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And to top it off, someone brought my all time favorite childhood dessert- DIRT (chocolate pudding, oreos, and gummy worms). My sister and I were obsessed with dirt as kids and I would still eat it any day, any age.

(Again, being an elementary education major has some perks.)

Looking back, I’ve had a lot of sugar today so hopefully I can sleep tonight. I’ve been slacking this week in the exercise department. But hey, its free coffee month so I have important priorities. ;)

 

 

 

Define: Love

Sometimes as humans, we get caught up in the idea that love is in a box of chocolates, a new iPhone, or a dream vacation.

This weekend, I learned that love is in fact much more complex.

Love is when you text your mom on Thursday that you need to get away. And in one day she has a plan ready.

Love is when your dad says go ahead, while he stays home to provide.

Love is when your mom drives four hours so that you only have to drive two.

Love is when your mom spends hours with you hiking trails and sitting by the lake.

Love is when your mom listens as you take a week’s worth of pain and tears and lay them in front of her.

Love is when your mom assures you that your life has a purpose. That sometimes girls can be so mean and hurtful. That being yourself should not be judged by others. That your past should not dictate your value. That you can’t be perfect. That no one is perfect, no matter the act they display. That God gave you grace so that you do not have to feel guilty every day. That being too sensitive can make life difficult. But that’s who you are.

Love is accepting others for who they are. Love is not trying to change those who are not like you.

Love is not passive aggressive. Love does not take more then it gives.

Love is a passion that must be maintained.

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Mom and Dad, I love loving you.

Thanks for showing me love.

 

A Day in the Life…

6:45- Alarm goes off. Press snooze. Thank goodness I showered last night. 

7:00- Alarm goes off again. Fall out of bed and get ready for the day.

7:30- Stress about what I should wear to teach a science lesson at the elementary school today.

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Sweater: Target

Shirt: Old Navy (men’s small)

Pants: Thrift store

Boots: Payless

7:45- Walk to my car. Realize my windshield is covered in ice. Realize I don’t have an ice scrapper. Crap.

7:46- Grab a lid from my dashboard and scrap the ice off of a small part. Good enough.

7:55- Get to the school 5 minutes early. Why do I always stress about time but am rarely ever late? Thank you Dad for the “early gene”. 

8:15-10:30- Teach a science center about magnets to four, third grade classes for 30 minutes each.

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10:45- Smile the whole drive home because I CANNOT wait to be a teacher.

11:00- Eat lunch. (Homemade bean and corn enchiladas <– I love this recipe. It is easy and cheap and lasts me at least four meals.)

11:00-1:00- Homework, homework, nap, homework

1:00-2:15- Class

2:15-4:00- Devotional with friend (aka another heavenly scone)

4:00-6:30- Class

7:00- Dinner (cafeteria pasta and salad)

8:00- Meeting for the Student Council for Exceptional Children

8:20- Sign up for communications committee and bake sale baker/worker, and rsvp to the first special education event night this Friday. I can’t wait to hang out with some awesome special needs kids from the community!

 

9:00- Get hot chocolate after the meeting because it’s been a busy but good day and hot chocolate is always needed.

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9:30- Work on homework till my hot chocolate is gone and I’m ready for sleep.

And that’s a day in the life of Nicole. Ciao!

 

 

Homemade Breakfast Bars

I have mentioned before on the blog that I am a morning person. It doesn’t necessarily mean I always like waking up, but once I’m up I’m awake.

I usually have enough time in the morning to make something like oatmeal, eggs, or a smoothie and enjoy it for five minutes. However, sometimes I’m running late and reach for another granola bar to eat on my way to class or work. For some reason, I hate eating granola bars for breakfast. It’s like a phsycological game that I feel like my breakfast deserves a little more thought since it’s the first food my body has eaten in 8+ hours.

So, recently I created some oat bars to be my go to breakfast when I am in a rush. I mostly scanned what I had in the kitchen and hoped something substantial would turn out. Good news is, I think they turned out great. They are also sugar free, gluten free, and loaded with protein and fiber.

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars:

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  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 4 ounces of apple sauce
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp PB2 (regular PB would probably work also)
  • 1/4 cup of milk

1. Completely mash the bananas in a large bowl

2. Once they are mashed, add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

3. Bake at 350 degrees (in a 9 by 13 inch pan) for 15-20 or until edges start to brown.

4. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Cut up, store in a airtight container and refrigerate.

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*You can cut them into whatever size you like. If I am eating only this for breakfast, I usually eat two.

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