Sunday, 19 January 2014

Eek, Slimdown Saturday 3

I'm linking up again with Gina over at Third Grade Tidbits for

So this week was BAD
real BAD...
but I've got some good excuses.
Do you like that, not even one excuse, but some excuses.

 First ... It was my birthday Monday. Although my intentions were that it was going to be like any other Monday and I was going to go climbing, my husband had other plans.
We went out to eat at TGI Fridays (which btw just opened here) and it was delicious (seriously, I'm shocked. The TGI's in the states is meh). So needless to say one workout not done and extra yummy food eaten.
Birthday present - he'll definitely help me make healthy meals

Wednesday was a real game changer.

Lunchtime rolls around and all of a sudden all the staff are in the staffroom. My headteacher walks in to tell us that Ofsted, the school inspectors, had just rung to say they were coming Thursday and Friday. Cue massive panic. Instead of my korfball practise, I was hunkering down at school with the rest of the teachers making sure all our assessment tracking was up to date, plans were written and included everything they would be looking for, and materials were already prepared.
School inspections are a big deal. A bad inspection potentially means your school could get shut down.
Thursday came and the inspectors arrived. It was tense for everyone wondering if and when they would come by to watch their lesson. We actually get graded on our lessons and this can influence their reports. I was blessed to have not only the lead inspector, but my headteacher arrive mid-way through my maths lesson. That was a really tense half hour and I actually started sweating at one point.
If that wasn't scary enough, another inspector arrived for my afternoon lesson! (Some people didn't get viewed once on Thursday).
I'm happy to say I got an outstanding (the highest mark) for that maths lesson and a good for my afternoon lesson. Phew!

I finally managed to pick up my present from my mom...

I'm happy to say that yesterday was the first day I got a chance to wear it.

I'm pretty sure this little thing is going to keep me in check (fingers crossed). I might have been obsessively syncing my data throughout the day on my phone. Thankfully yesterday (Saturday) I was able to squeeze in my only other workout for the week.
My word for this next week is SUSTAIN and this pic from yesterday is what I'm aiming for. 
Good luck to everyone this next week.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Slim Down Saturday 2

Knowing I was going to be writing this all week has really made me THINK about what I was eating and how much exercise I was getting.
So thanks again to Third Grade Tidbits for hosting this linky...'s my week:

I've not put anything in the weight loss because at the moment, that is not my focus. I weighed myself for the first time this week (since the wedding in August), just so I know where I'm working from.
I was pleased with the amount of fruit and veg I managed to incorporate into my meals this week. Lots of salads with cous cous for lunch, snacking on carrots and pepper with hummus, and trying to incorporate with more into dinner.

Okay, so I know that picture looks HORRIBLE, but it's only because I forgot to take a pic of the end product.
I am trying to eat less carbs in the evening and I saw a zucchini crust pizza recipe on Pinterest that I thought I'd try. Now I'm not putting the link up because the actual link takes you to some unsavoury websites...
Basically I got 2 large zucchini and grated them. I added 2 eggs and some cheese into the mixture. I spread in on a baking tray and let it bake for 20 minutes. I then topped my pizza base with the usual gubbins and baked again for 10 minutes. It was pretty good.
Something I definitely need to work on is having less coffee, I just love it! I have my coffee with 2 sugars which isn't very good if you're having 4 cups a day.
One thing I thought I did well this week was to incorporate different types of exercise: indoor climbing Monday, gym Tuesday, biking Thursday, and a Body Balance (yoga, tai'chi class) on Saturday. I do need to add more cardio though if I want to lose weight, so that is my goal for next week.
My word this week is TIME. I need to make sure that I make time for a workout, even if it's only 25 minutes before school. I also need to make time to plan my meals and prep them so if I'm busy in the evenings, dinner will be nearly ready.

I'm going to try and follow this Total Body Transformation workout that I found on Pinterest. It seems reasonable and hopefully will focus me when I go into the gym.

It's my birthday tomorrow, so I might be slightly forgiven for having a nice meal with the hubs, but straight back on it for Tuesday.
If you want to follow my Fitness board on Pinterest you can here.
 Good luck to the rest of you!

OLW project and Book Walk

So last week back ...
It was hard.
I must say, it was nice to be back on a schedule, but waking up and trying to sustain energy levels all day was tiring.
My resolution or OLW (as seems to be the trend I'm seeing at the moment) for this year is ORGANISE. I found that to be especially hard. I like to pass by clothes that need to be put away, I like to pretend lunch doesn't need to be made, I like to sift through my closet to find something that is not needing to be ironed...So trying to get on top of that, as well as school, has worn me out!
I tried soooooo hard to plan my weeks lessons before school started, but my mind hasn't quite wanted to adopt that was of thinking. Is there anyone else out there who struggled to get the school brain on?
I'm just so thankful for all those amazing bloggers out there who managed to suggest ideas and create products during their break, because they helped me in a major way.
I opted out of doing Guided Reading this week because 1)I was changing my groups, 2)We started on Tuesday and that was going to throw my rotation out 3)I forgot to bring any books home!
I got this great foldable off The Tattooed Teacher during a FB blog hop, that had 2014 printed on it. Under each number the children wrote:
2 ways they could be better students, 0 was something they wanted to stop doing, 1 person they'd like to get to know better in the class, 4 books they'd like to read this year.
It was the 4 that inspired me to do something a bit different this week...a Book Walk.
On Tuesday I discussed with the students about what made them choose a book. I recorded their ideas on the board. This lead me to talk about IPICK, being able to choose an appropriate book to read, which some of them struggle with. They were then told to bring in their favourite book(s) to school the next day for our walk.
On Wednesday, we discussed why we might recommend a book to someone. They came up with great ideas: reading other books from the same author, funny, not being able to put the book down because it's exciting, illustrations.
I modelled how I wanted them to write their recommendations and set them free. We put their books around the room and everyone was given a half sheet of paper. I gave them 10-15 minutes to walk around the room, read the recommendations and jot down some books they were interested in.
On Thursday we used the foldable and students were able to write down from their list, 4 books they'd like to read.
It was good for me as well to see what the kids are loving. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, although still popular, seems to be overshadowed this year by David Walliam's books. I may have secretly ordered 5 for my classroom after this activity...

It seemed that everyone this year was obsessed with One Little Word (OLW) because it was EVERYWHERE on the blogosphere. Jennifer Laffin, over at Mrs Laffin's Laughings, made a handy video and explained about doing this project in her room. I snatched this idea up and ended up spending a whole afternoon on this, the kids were loving it!
We started by discussing what a resolution is, which led to picking one word for the year. I thought I would have to spend loads of time getting the students to think of a word, but after my intro many of them already had a word. I showed the video from Mrs Laffin's site to show them some more ideas and how they might decorate their word. Afterwards the kiddos discussed their ideas on their tables and why they were going to choose the word. They then wrote a few sentences about their word and drew it on a piece of card. I was so impressed with how on task they were and loved seeing the children discussing their ideas with each other.

Hurray for an instant display! Some children spent another day finishing of their words, so the board is actually complete now.
All-in-all, a good first week back...although the Organise thing is still needing to be worked on.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Slim Down Saturday

I'm really glad to have found this linky from Gina over at Third Grade Tidbits because I am trying to keep myself accountable to goals I have set this year.
I have been uncomfortable with my weight since about the age of 9. It is something that is constantly on my mind, unfortunately, so is food. My laziness knows no bounds and my slim husband is even lazier than me!
In 2010, when I was still working part-time as a teacher I joined Slimming World (a WW type group) with my friend. I lost lots of weight, but not really because I had bothered to change my eating habits, but mainly because I had more time. I worked out and went running, didn't have a driver's license, so walked everywhere. Who knew that starting to work full-time would be so exhausting, I give major brownie points to those teachers that squeeze workouts in during school time.

So here it is:

I've decided that my main resolution for this year isn't 'to lose weight' but the need to feel comfortable in my own skin. 
This pic was from the summer of 2010, lots of working out and probably the closest I came to being okay with myself. I now wish that I had appreciated the hard work I put in because I DEFINITELY don't look like this anymore.

My positives have been that I am trying to be more aware of my portion sizes while I eat and to stop eating when I'm satisfied, it doesn't matter if there is food left on the plate!
I also may have a bit of  an addiction to sugar and really craved/needed something sweet after dinner. It got the the point of finishing off whole packets of wafers or a sharing bag of M&Ms. I've really made a point of ignoring that craving after dinner and trying not to eat too late.

I want to start incorporating more fruit and veg, which I think will be much easier with school about to start. We are usually good about having some throughout the day, but with the break we've not had much at all.

My goals for next week are to continue to lessen my portion sizes and going to the gym. My husband and I have been gyming it up during the break and I've also managed to go indoor climbing and to a step class...all easily done when you don't have to work. We are both really keen to continue going to the gym during school time.

My one word for this week is organization. If I'm organised with what dinners I'm making for the week, there will be less inclination towards a takeout or something unhealthy. If we say we are going to the gym, I need to make sure I organise myself to be able to go straight after school, instead of coming home. 

Can't wait to see how everyone else is going to get on. Thanks again Gina for creating this linky.

Oh yea, one more thing,
I am really enjoying using some of the ideas on my Pinterest board. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

13 in 13 and Currently 2014

So I'm being a bit 'cheeky' as they might say here in Jolly Ol' England and linking up twice. I have been wanting to link up with the 13 in 13 for the past week, but life kinda got in the way... and I will also be linking up with Farley for her January currently.

I'm unfortunately the type of person that always has the TV on in the background. Lucky for me though, Sherlock has just been on and I missed it soooo much.
Netflix has been a saviour for this break. I've nearly finished watching 4 seasons (I know I am useless) of 'The League' (hilarious) and Season 7 of The Office.
I'm thinking that it is nearly Thursday and I have done a total of 0 hours of planning these past two weeks. Whoops!
Like every other person I want more time and money would not go amiss. It's not necessarily that I am greedy, it's just that it costs A LOT of money to fly from London to LA and I'm really missing the friends and family. Time would be great so that I could maybe do that planning I had mentioned.
I am needing motivation...please refer to previous...
The only thing I could think of for tradition is 3 King's Day. My father is Puerto Rican and my sister and I were lucky enough to celebrate 3 King's Day on January 6th. We would put grass and water under our beds, to feed to camels on their journey, and in return we would get a present. After the excitement of Christmas, this holiday was greatly anticipated and it was also extra special as we were the only children we knew that celebrated.

So here is my attempt:

2013 started off with me turning 30. I don't mind being 30, I just have a hard time believing I'm a 'responsible' adult.

I finished my first year of teaching year 3 and finally (after 3 years) qualified 'officially' as a teacher here in England. Although I had been teaching, I was considered an unqualified instructor and had to do my time with the English school system. I loved my class and was really sad to say goodbye to them. 
On our last field trip, children dressed up as WWII evacuees and got to experience what life was like.

I attempted to become more cultured this year and got a National Trust pass for the year, aka, an 'old person membership'. This meant we could go to different stately homes an parks in the UK for the year. During spring break we went to Warwickshire and ventured into Stratford-upon-Avon. We even went to the Globe theatre and saw Hamlet. 

It has been a great way to learn more about English history as well. We took a trip to Sutton Hoo, where huge Anglo-Saxon burial mounds were discovered.
A few weeks ago we went to Felbrigg Hall and were able to take part in a 'Christmas during Wartime'. It was great to see the volunteers dressed up and how the war effected Christmas.

So for the 15 or so people that may have come across my blog, you may know the biggest event of 2013 was my wedding! I literally had the best day EVER! I was married in a medieval barn, had a BBQ dinner, and a ukulele band play for us.

A week after we were married the hubby was having to furiously finish off his masters dissertation. (He passed!) We had a small delay and went on honeymoon to Sri Lanka at the end of August. It was an amazing place, full of colour, delicious food, kind people and relaxation. 

Since the jam-packed summer of festivities, coming back to school was HARD! I was luck enough to be moved up to Year 4, which meant I was able to see my lovelies from the previous year again. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the same children and feel like I know them and their abilities. My class is a mixture of children I taught last year and some from the other class and it's been nice getting to know these other children better this year.

This year I was made the head of Religious Education (RE) for our school. It has been really interesting teaching RE, especially as I was raised on the California public school system. The thinking here in England is that children should be exposed to different religions, which will lead to acceptance and understanding. I have an itsy bitsy understanding of Christianity, but Sikhism, Hinduism and other world views are completely new to me. I have really enjoyed learning as I teach and the children really love learning about these unique religions. *According to the 2011 census, the area I teach/live in was the 'ungodliest' area of England, meaning we had the least amount of people that identified as having a religion.

In October, the hubby and I, as well as our close friends, decided to take a mini-break to Berlin. I have been before, but the husband and friends hadn't. It is such an amazing city and the history is incredible. 
Was so excited to see an original version of Settlers of Catan

As I mentioned before, my husband was busy finishing his masters this year, between working full time, being head of maths and the wedding. He found out he passed at the end of November! Hurray, he now is really qualified as a teacher.

So I'll be honest, I am really struggling to think of 13 things, hence why I was so delayed in joining the linky. My last for the 13 of 13 (which in my case, is actually 9) will be to mention the ridiculousness of Christmas shopping this year. I actually decided to get a bit of a head start and ordered items fact all my Christmas shopping was done online. I was done by the 2nd week of December! That Amazon app for my phone is both a blessing and the devil, two clicks and I have ordered something.

If you've managed to stick around this long, well done!