Tag Archives: teaching

Whew!  & Week 4 Progress

Whew!  & Week 4 Progress

I can not believe it has been three weeks since my last post!  Things have been more chaotic than usual around here with school starting and me teaching three different classes–Math 7 (seventh graders), Algebra II (tenth and eleventh graders), and Pre-AP Algebra II (tenth and eleventh graders).  Even though I taught Pre-Algebra last year, I did not experience the first week of school as a teacher because I was hired in mid-October to fill an unexpected vacancy.  I have not decorated a classroom, planned the start of a school year, or endured that grueling first week since before I had children.  It is a completely different experience as a mom!  I forgot to take first day of school photos of my children before we left the house.  I almost forgot to take photos entirely!  I snapped a couple of all of them together in my classroom just before we left to walk the little girls to their classroom. 

I have been wanting to share a little about my weight loss journey, but I haven’t had time to blog.  (This post has taken me three days to put together!)  I lost 1.6 pounds before August started, but my goal remains to lose five pounds this month.  With the stress and busyness of school starting, I haven’t lost much since the first week of August when I dropped another 1.6 pounds.  Since August 8th, I have only lost 0.8 pounds.  I’m just happy I haven’t gained anything because I have definitely been stress eating.  As of August 22nd, I have lost an even four pounds, but I’m only down 2.4 pounds for August.  I need to lose 2.6 pounds by the end of August to meet my goal.  I’m determined to do it. 

It has been difficult to find time for working out and taking enough steps.  I have not taken the time to enter my food in my calorie counter, so I have just been guesstimating until yesterday and today when I decided I have to take time to track everything I eat.  I have only started back with push-ups and crunches this week too.  I’m struggling to fit it all in my day, and I’m working on things for school until almost midnight half the time, which makes it hard to wake up and work out in the mornings.  Excuses, I know, but I want to be honest and let you know I don’t have it all together–not even close.  Please let me know if you are struggling too, so we can encourage one another.

I love Snickers.  I think they are the perfect combination of chewy, crunchy, gooey, chocolate-y deliciousness.  I can’t buy the minis because I will eat too many, but the fun size bar is enough to satisfy my craving and only contains 80 calories.  I bought a large bag of these yesterday and put them in the refrigerator because I like them cold and to keep them from being a constant temptation.  I lowered my daily calorie goal and told myself that I could have one fun-sized Snickers each evening if, and only if, I have enough calories left. I ate one yesterday evening and another one tonight.  I’m hoping to continue my reward streak and eat one every night.  I have found that I won’t give in to cravings throughout the day if I have a Snickers to look forward to at the end of the day.  What motivates you?


No-Spend Month: Day 24


Since I jumped into teaching without much preparation, I have been using the textbook and publisher’s resources for everything.  I prefer to teach with less worksheets and more hands-on activities, but I felt like I could barely keep up with planning lessons and grading papers my first week or two.  Now I feel more comfortable and have had a chance to open up my box of math resources from when I taught many years ago.  I am excited about using some games and activities I found for my students to review place value and estimation this week.  I feel like I’m finding my groove in teaching math again.   


  • My husband went to the store this morning to get us a few groceries and some allergy medicine for himself.  He used $47.17 cash.
  • I made chili and cornbread for lunch and finally made use of my pressure cooker (see below).  My in-laws joined us for lunch, and I should have gotten a photo from my mother-in-law of my father-in-law playing with play-doh with the little girls.  It was sweet.  I should have taken a photo of one of our bowls of chili or the cornbread, but I don’t think of these things at the right time. 
  • We picked up fast food on the way home from church and spent $21.50.

A couple of years ago, I saw on Pinterest or somewhere that a pressure cooker would make my life better (ha ha), so I requested one for Christmas, and my mom obliged.  I read through the owner’s guide and felt intimidated.  Plus, I was in a state of disbelief.  This thing says it can cook beans in 10 to 12 minutes.  Seriously?!?  I used it once a few weeks after I received it, washed it, and stored it in my cabinet for the next year and a half (sorry, Mom).  I had planned to make chili today, and I usually add a can of kidney beans to mine, but I had bought a bag of red beans, thinking we would have red beans and rice this month, not realizing that most recipes call for meat that I don’t have.  Anyway, I had written myself a note on my paper menu for the month to cook the red beans for the chili, but I didn’t write that note on my menu board for the week, so I forgot until about 8:00 this morning.  No problem.  I could use my pressure cooker, right?  Well, first, I had to soak the beans for four hours.  Then, it took a good 15 minutes to get enough pressure built up to start the timer for 12 minutes.  After the cooking time ended, it took another 10 minutes for enough pressure to release to be able to remove the lid.  So the actual time in the pressure cooker was around 37 minutes, which is still considerably less than the traditional ways of cooking beans, so I think I will start using my pressure cooker more.  I am still a bit intimidated by it, but I think that I will get more comfortable with practice.

My Chili Recipe

2 lbs ground beef

6 oz can tomato paste

15 oz can diced tomatoes (I chop mine up a little more with a manual food processor.)

2 – 3 cups water

15 oz can of kidney beans (or 2 cups cooked red beans)

1 onion, chopped (or 1 TBSP onion powder)

1 clove garlic, pressed (or 1 tsp garlic powder)

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp paprika

2 TBSP chili powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 tsp cayenne (optional)

In a large skillet (or a 4-quart pot), brown ground beef.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes.  Transfer to a 4-quart pot (if you started in a skillet).  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, beans, and seasonings; stir well to combine.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Serve with cornbread and optional toppings:  shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, ketchup, diced onions, etc.  Makes six servings.

No-Spend Month: Day 18


I made waffles for breakfast again this morning and thought I should share my recipe because we all love it.  I use the same recipe for pancakes and waffles.  Sometimes, I use two eggs instead of one (decreasing the milk slightly) to add a little protein.  You can use all white flour or all whole wheat or mix white and wheat. I like to use ground flax seed and oats in place of some of the flour, but my kids like them with just white flour.  These are sweet enough to eat without syrup, which is how most of us eat them. You could reduce the sugar by half if you want. 

Homemade Pancakes and Waffles

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 large egg

1 TBSP vegetable oil

1 TBSP vanilla

1 cup milk

Combine all ingredients in a one-quart bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are blended but not completely smooth.  Heat waffle iron or griddle for pancakes.  Pour batter on hot iron/griddle and cook until golden brown.  Enjoy!

  • We joined our small group from church for a Pumpkin Parable event today.  Each family paid $20 for pizza, drinks, delicious desserts, and fun for everyone.  We debated about whether or not to spend the money for this, but we have plenty of cash left and haven’t done anything pumpkin-related this fall, so we decided to join in the fun.      

    Someone didn’t want to be in the group picture.

  • It took me much longer to grade papers today than I was expecting, so I didn’t make dinner this evening.  Thankfully, Big Brother stepped up and entertained the twins and then cooked macaroni and cheese for himself and the twins while my husband took Big Sister to Awana.  My husband ate some corn dogs, and Big Sister ate some of the macaroni and cheese when they got home.  I finally ate some leftovers just before 9:00 pm.  I’m exhausted.

No-Spend Month: Day 14


Well, I survived my first day of teaching in almost 10 years. I had trouble going to sleep last night.  I was trying to finish reading a book when Big Sister got up (sleepwalking) at 10:20 pm.  I finished the book shortly after putting her back to bed, but my mind wouldn’t settle.  I tried praying for peace and ended up dozing off but only for a few moments because Sissy woke up at 11:20 pm.  I think I managed to sleep for just over five hours.  Despite my lack of sleep, I was able to learn all 34 students’ names quickly enough to impress them and myself!  My students were great, and I love teaching math again.  I’m looking forward to getting to know the kids and their parents better.

  • I got up at 5:00 am and started a pot of water for oatmeal before the kids woke up.  Big Brother thought he would have to eat cold cereal on school mornings from now on, so I tried preparing a hot breakfast to show him I could do it.  He was the only one who did not eat oatmeal this morning. 
  • The kids and I all packed lunches to eat at school.  Hubby took money for lunch again.  He only spent $7.50 today.  I passed some lunch tables at school that had Chick-fil-a bags waiting for students, and I felt deprived for a moment, especially with my husband eating out a few times this week, but that just reminded me what I have to look forward to in November.
  • The little girls needed fresh fruit, yogurt, and cereal, so we went to the store this afternoon. We spent $18.08 on groceries. 
  • They are having a book fair at our school this week, so I took the kids after I picked them up and let them “shop” for books. I took photos of the kids holding up books they want for Christmas.


 For a few years now, we have limited the kids’ Christmas gifts to four categories:

  1. Something to wear
  2. Something to read
  3. Something they want
  4. Something they need

All of our children love books and new clothes, so they end up getting several things they want.  I like buying books from the book fair because it helps our school, and I don’t have to go to a store.  Plus, the older kids fill out wish lists when they preview the book fair with their classes, so I know exactly what they want.  

Now, I know this is a no-spend month, but we already have this expense covered.  My husband sets aside money each quarter for Christmas, so I can take money from our Christmas fund for these books and not spend any money from our monthly income.  I will hide these gifts for two months and then wrap them up for Christmas.  I love getting some shopping done ahead of time. 

No-Spend Month: Day 13


Today I’m thankful for the warm weather we are having because I realized this weekend that I have no long pants other than a couple pairs of jeans.  I cleaned out my closet so well that I got rid of all my pants.  Now that I will be teaching again, I will need some dress pants.  Since we are in a no-spend month, I will have to make do with capris, skirts, and sandals for the next two and a half weeks.  As long as the warm weather holds, that shouldn’t be a problem, and I can use my paycheck next month to do a little shopping.  

  • Lunch was leftovers for me and macaroni ‘n cheese for the girls.  My husband took some cash to eat lunch with some guys he was meeting with this morning.  He spent $11 on lunch.
  • Dinner (for me and my husband) was leftover beans from Sunday.  I found an amazing recipe for cornbread on Pinterest and made that this afternoon.  If you like your cornbread a little sweet and moist, this recipe won’t disappoint. The kids ate cereal or whatever was available because I don’t cook on nights when my husband has meetings.
  • I sold a couple of things through my MoM (mothers of multiples) group, but no one could pick up today, so no actual income yet.

Other than the photos I took of items to sell, I didn’t take any photos today.  I did take a couple videos of my babies praying for their lunch.  I can’t understand what they are saying except “thank you”, “God”, and “amen”, but they sure are cute.