Wednesday, April 18, 2018

3 Super Cute End of the Year Teacher Gifts


I get such a kick out of giving my coworkers gifts at the end of the school year. As a special education teacher, I work closely with many different co-teachers and clinicians, so it's nice to show how much I appreciate them. Here are some of my favorite ideas!

1. Chocolate + Champagne Pineapples. These take a serious amount of hot gluing, but the effect is SO awesome! Get the full instructions here.


2. Moscow Mule Kit. These are considerably less work than the champagne pineapples, but are still super cute! If you have a bigger budget, you could even package these in copper cups instead of jars. You can find the full details here.


3. Teacher Care Crate. For those extra special teacher friends, a Teacher Care Crate is the perfect gift! Help them kick off the summer with some much-needed self care. You can make it a one-time thing, or really spoil them with a three month subscription! 



While you're planning for the end of the year, try incorporating these meaningful classroom activities to end your school year strong!

3 Meaningful End of the Year Classroom Activities



The last few weeks of school can feel interminably long-- or maybe they're speeding by! Either way, you can make the most of your time by filling your days with meaningful activities up until the very end. Here are a few of my favorite ideas!

1. Reflect on the year with a growth mindset. While we often focus on growth mindset at the beginning of the year, it can also be a great tool at the end of the year. Prompt students to reflect on what goals they reached this year, as well as goals they have yet to reach. How did they achieve them? How did they deal with obstacles? My End of the Year Growth Mindset Reflection Journal pairs reflection with zen coloring pages-- perfect for students to complete independently when you need to work on end of the year tasks.


2. Focus on the positive. While you and your students alike may be counting down the days, you can still focus on what made this year great! These cute pineapples encourage students to think about what made their year "sweet," and they also make an easy end of the year bulletin board!


3. Build students up. Have each student take a turn standing in front of the whiteboard while other students write compliments all around them. Take a picture so the student can keep their compliments forever. You can do this all in one day or do a student a day leading up to the end of the year.



Enjoy your last few weeks with your students and have a wonderful summer!


Monday, April 9, 2018

April Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Want to find out exactly what comes in the April Teacher Care Crate? Watch my unboxing video and find out even more details below, including the retail value of each item.



Plant Pins Each crate will include two enamel plant pins-- perfect for rocking on a jean jacket, cardigan, or tote bag. {Retail Value: $9}

Zen Teacher Essential Oil Roller This 5 oz. essential oil roller from The Aloha Teacher is a
 blend of spruce, ho wood, frankincense, blue tansy, blue chamomile, osmanthus, and lavender oils— all known for their calming qualities. {Retail Value: $10}

Art Print This month's peaceful print was designed by Kristin Edwards of Live Well And Grateful and Teacher Therapy. It reads "Deep breaths are like little love notes to your body" and measures 5 x 7. {Retail Value: $8}

Planner Stickers I designed these fun self care stickers to help you prioritize your wellbeing. With reminders like, "drink water," "deep breaths," and "self care isn't selfish," they make the perfect addition to your teacher planner or bullet journal! Don't have a paper planner? Use them in a notebook or put them on a sticky note as a reminder to keep on your desk. {Retail Value: $4}


Patterned Socks Based on your shoe size, you'll receive either adorable creature socks (size 8 or smaller), peaceful plant lady socks (size 8.5-10), or an alternate item if you have shoe size larger than 10. {Retail Value: $6}


Recipe Card Cole Yaverbaum of Cookbookish created this tasty and healthy recipe for No Bake Chocolate Nut Butter Energy Bites. {Retail Value: $1}


Matcha Tea Have you ever tried matcha? It's an all-natural source of caffeine without the jitters or the crash made from green tea. It's also packed with antioxidants and is dairy free. Each crate includes an instant matcha pack from Panatea-- just mix with cold or hot water! 
{Retail Value: $2}

With a total retail value of $40 and free shipping, this month's Teacher Care Crate is a great value. 


Ready to starting taking care of yourself first? Subscribe to Teacher Care Crate here



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

5 Tips for Anxious Protestors


I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I have Panic Attack Disorder. I also care deeply about social justice issues. So what to do about attending crowded protests in downtown Chicago? Crowds, driving downtown, parking downtown, public transit, noise, and uncertainty are all triggers for panic attacks for me. Thus, I typically avoid those things. But part of living with an anxiety disorder is deciding what you can avoid and what is too important to miss. For me, marching for Black Lives Matter, for women's rights, and against gun violence are all worth it. I completely understand and respect if your anxiety is too severe to protest, but I wanted to share a few things that have worked for me:

1. Go with friends. Having a buddy makes a huge difference. If you can, meet up with them before you even get to the protest. If you can't, see number 2.

2. Have a plan. Part of what can make protests so anxiety-inducing is the uncertainty. Plan out your day as much as possible. If you can't meet up with your friend beforehand, set a time and place close to the protest location, but not too close (to avoid mega crowds). A Starbucks two blocks south of the usual protest location in downtown Chicago is now my meeting place go-to. I can get there early and calm down if I need to. Because cell phone reception might go out due to the large crowds (this happened to me at the Women's March in 2016), set the time and place the night before. You could even set a time limit-- for example, if the other person doesn't show up within 20 minutes and you can't reach them, you'll march separately. Did I mention I have an anxiety disorder??

3. Take public transit. I hate driving, I hate parking, and I hate public transit. Usually I just try to avoid leaving the house (mostly kidding), but one has to choose between necessary evils for the sake of justice! Even though public transit can be crowded and noisy on protest days, I find it's easier to deal with than trying to drive and park. Any downtown area is already hard to park in, and then with additional crowds and street closings due to protests, it can be just about impossible. 

4. Bring a charger. With all the texting, GPSing, and picture taking, your phone could easily die, contributing to your anxiety. Bring a portable battery charger if you can, or at least a plug-in charger. You can always stop in a coffee shop for 15 minutes to plug in your phone if you need to.

5. Take your meds. I know this tip won't apply to everyone, but if you have anxiety meds, for goodness sakes, take them! I have a medication that I take as-needed for panic attacks, but for some reason I am always hesitant to take it. Taking it BEFORE the protest instead of waiting until I'm having a panic attack during the march or on the train has been a game-changer. 

How do you deal with anxiety when protesting? I'd love to hear your tips!


Monday, March 5, 2018

March Teacher Care Crate Unboxing

Wondering what comes in the March Teacher Care Crate? Watch my unboxing video and check out descriptions of each item below!



Teacher Care Coloring Book: This adorable pocket-sized coloring book was designed by Alexa Contreras of Bilingual Scrapbook. It features teacher favorites like donuts, cacti, and unicorns! {Retail Value: $6}

Copper Fairy Lights: These pretty lights are battery operated (batteries included) and add a cozy glow to your home or classroom. {Retail Value: $6}

Tassel Bracelet: Inspired by yogic mala necklaces, this handmade bracelet can be used for meditation (use the beads to count affirmations or deep breaths), or just as a pretty accessory. {Retail Value: $15}

Art Print: This month's professionally printed 5 x 7 art print was designed by Ashley Tiburzi of The Artsy Apple. {Retail Value: $8}

Pink Clay Mask: This mask from True Beauty Organics contains Rose Kaolin Clay, Fuller's Earth Clay, Bentonite Clay, and Goat Milk Powder. It's suitable for all skin types and will leave your skin glowing. {Retail Value: $2.75}

Chocolate: This month's crate comes with two organic chocolate treats-- Equal Exchange 55% Dark Chocolate and ChocXO Milk Chocolate. {Retail Value: $1.25}

The March Teacher Care Crate has a retail value of $39-- you pay $29.99 with a month to month plan, or you can save by prepaying for three crates at a rate of $27.99/month.

If you're ready to start taking care of yourself first, head over to www.teachercarecrate.com!



Thursday, February 15, 2018

3 Actions to Take Against Gun Violence


Yesterday, yet another mass shooting occurred in an American school. This time, 17 people died. As teachers, we can't help but think, what if it had been my school? My students? Me?  I think we are all frustrated by the meaningless "thoughts and prayers" that are delivered after every mass shooting. Here are three concrete things you can do to help end gun violence.

1. Don't vote for politicians who receive NRA funding. You can look up your representatives by state or name here to find out how much NRA money they've received. As long as politicians are relying on the NRA for funding, they're not to vote for anything that limits access to guns. Take your vote elsewhere.

2. Support organizations working to end gun violence. Consider Everytown, an organization that "seeks to improve our understanding of the causes of gun violence and the means to reduce it – by conducting groundbreaking original research, developing evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge in the courts and the court of public opinion."

3. Contact your representatives. Let your representative know that you want them to support measures to end gun violence. One of the easiest ways to do this is to text RESIST to 50409. You'll get a series of texts that will walk you through sending a letter to your representatives. Here's an example:



ANYONE can do these three things, and the last two you can do right now. If you're looking to do more, join the Facebook group Educators Against Gun Violence.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

7 Puzzles for Teacher Self Care

If you follow me on Instagram, you know one of my favorite self care activities is puzzling. People are always asking me about it, so I thought I'd share how I got into it, as well as a few of my favorite puzzles.

What can I say? One day you're a normal 20-something, and the next you're spending all your free time completing puzzles while listening to audiobooks. 

What actually happened was that my therapist assigned me the task of doing "nothing" twice a week, which seemed impossible to my pre-self care self. Around that time, I visited my in-laws in their retirement community in Arizona and helped complete a jigsaw puzzle. I got surprisingly sucked into it-- finally, I was doing my "nothing" homework!

After that, I always had a 1,000 piece puzzle going on my dining room table. It's the perfect de-stressing activity when you get home from school. Pop on an audiobook and just work on putting those puzzle pieces together. 
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I've done a lot more puzzles than this (seriously, 1 every three weeks or so for the last year and a half), but these are my favorites. I hate anything vaguely Thomas Kinkade-y, and honestly, the longer it takes the better. All of these are 1,000 pieces and can be purchased on Amazon. All links are affiliate links.

1. Avian Friends The grid makes this one pretty simple to complete, but there's a few challenging bits with similar patterns on the different birds.

2. Lady with a Fan (by Gustav Klimt) I complete The Kiss puzzle first, and I enjoyed it so much that I did another Klimt! This one is quite a bit easier, but still challenging. I also think the lady looks a bit like me!

3. Birducopia (by Charley Harper) The big blocks of color make this puzzle an easy one, but I enjoyed the unusual elongated shape of the puzzle and of course Charley Harper's signature style.

4. Succulents I love house plants, so this was a fun one! I normally don't like photo puzzles as much, but all the different plant textures and shades of green make it a fun challenge. 

5. The Kiss (by Gustav Klimt) This is probably the hardest puzzle I've completed! But I really enjoyed getting to know the intricacies of the painting and the patterns within it. Just be prepared for a bit of a long haul with the big brown patches on the sides! Also, pairs well with The Golden Compass trilogy audiobooks, in case you were wondering!

6. Twelve Sunflowers (by Vincent Van Gogh) This is one of my favorite paintings and one of my favorite puzzles as well! When you first start, it seems impossible because it's all gold and pale blue. But as you work through the pieces you notice all the different shades and it's actually quite fun to put together.

7. Your World When I look at a puzzle I instantly remember what audiobook I listened to as I completed it. In this case, it was Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Kind of a weird pairing I suppose, haha. Anyway, this is a pretty easy puzzle but a lot of fun to put together because of all the quirky animals. 

If you're looking for a monthly reminder to practice self care, check out my self care subscription box for teachers, Teacher Care Crate.
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