Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Things I Learned Training for My 1st Marathon

Somehow four months have gone by and I still haven't written about the Chicago Marathon! This ends now. I'll break it down into a few shorter posts; I'm more likely to get it done that way :).

Before I started working toward the full marathon, the longest race I had ever run was a 5K (3.1 miles), and the farthest distance I had ever run was about 4 miles.

1. Train with Team in Training
Or another charity that you have a strong connection to, but I'm obviously bias toward my own. The combination of running for a cause and the sheer amount of support you receive makes for a phenomenal experience! I can't imagine what it would have been like to do it on my own. In my next post I'll write about Team specifically.

2. Even if you follow all the rules, you still might get injured.
I suffered from some pretty serious hamstring issues throughout my summer training. Was it caused by overtraining, lack of stretching, inadequate recovery time? No, it was caused by weeding. Weeding, people. Seriously. Pay very close attention to your activities outside of running. Stupid weeds.

3. Having a running buddy is amazing!
Up until my first group run, I had always run alone. Then at the beginning of that first run I started chatting with another lady on the team, and we instantly clicked! Having someone to share all of your stories with over those long miles not only makes the run itself more enjoyable, it is extremely cathartic. Every issue or event you've had on your mind over the course of the week gets worked out on Saturday mornings, and you get to be on the listening end for someone else as well. Great mental health workout!

4. You can never have too much Body Glide.
Chafing. 'Nuff said.

5. You will be absolutely amazed by the number of cheerleaders you have in your life.
Regardless of the number of people you think you have in your social network (real life and otherwise), you will be absolutely floored by the sheer number of people rooting for you. People you see regularly but don't really interact with - people at work, people at church, etc - will come out of the woodwork with their good wishes. It's overwhelming. And then of course there's social media. People who donated to the fundraiser I offered through this blog were so kind with their comments, it was truly heartwarming.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A List: Current Dreams and Goals

Continuing with the listing theme...
  • tackle all of those WIPs (works in progress) in my sewing room!
  • catch up on our family vacation photo books
  • run my first half marathon in April
  • run my first RAGNAR in June
  • improve my marathon time in October******
  • write in my ten year journal every day this year
  • read a LOT of books
******I run the Chicago Marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training to raise money for blood cancer research. Last year as a fundraiser I offered a special deal of over 100 FACS resources in exchange for a $25 donation to LLS. That same fundraiser will be re-opening this weekend! So for those of you who missed out, be sure to check back on Sunday. 

For those of you who did take advantage of the offer last year, I will be preparing another bundle this year. It won't be ready for a while yet, but I will let you know when it's available.

Thanks to all of you who have joined in the fight!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A List: Things I Should Be Proud Of

  • Being a good friend
  • Learning to run
  • Fighting blood cancer as a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training
  • My education
  • Taking risks

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

First World Problems: Reading Log Edition

NOOOOO! I have been a loyal Shelfari-an for years, faithfully recording my books read as well as back-tracking through my bookshelves all that time. I should have known; I had noticed over the past few months some of the features had begun to degrade and no one seemed interested in fixing it.

About a year and a half ago I looked at transitioning to Goodreads, as so many people seem to use it. I was even delighted to find that Shelfari had an easy export-to-Goodreads feature since they're both hosted by Amazon (should have known then!). However, upon exporting I discovered that all of the dates read were stripped out - kind of a super important detail! A huge part of the reason for keeping a log is to track when you read certain books, how many books you read in a given time period, etc.

And I had much better things to do with my time than to go through and add dates to hundreds of books.

Yet now I'm being forced to move. My fingers are crossed that the date issue has been corrected. I'm currently in the process of exporting, looks like it may take a while:

Anyone else out there devastated by the loss of Shelfari?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A List: My Current Podcasts

Inspired by another blogger (Little Mrs. Married) who is regularly posting lists to write more consistently, I'll share the podcasts I subscribe to:
And a new favorite reserved for the gym: 
The ones at the top are what I listen to in the car, and sometimes while cleaning or cooking as well. Though I heard a lot of buzz about Serial last year I never picked it up until a couple weeks ago, and was immediately hooked. I like having something specific to look forward to during my treadmill sessions, as they are sooo booooring otherwise. I'm only halfway through the first season, so no spoilers please!

What do you listen to? Any suggestions I should add to my list?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What Do You Ban From Your Classroom? My 2 1/2 Deal Breakers

All of us have our pet peeves that find their way into our classroom rules and procedures, and it varies from person to person. For example, I once worked with a math teacher who had an explicit "No Singing" rule. Apparently year after year she's had trouble with students spontaneously breaking out into song in the middle of class, and she reached her limit. I'm not sure if I haven't experienced it at the level that she has, or that it doesn't bother me, or that I just don't notice it, but I've never felt the impulse to impose an absolute ban (there have of course been isolated incidents wherein I discouraged it, like the Fergie/Jesus episode or in the wake of the release of Frozen).

However, there are 2 1/2 physical items that I have imposed an absolute ban on.

It is the herpes of decoration. It never goes away. You think it's all cleared up and then BAM another outbreak.

I HATE them. They are delicious and festive, but they always always break when students have them and they always always shatter into a bazillion sticky pieces and the students always always step on or smash them even further and they never never clean them up. They're like glitter that attracts bugs and vermin. Fun story: sometime in mid-April one year a senior walked into my room to deliver something from the office while eating a candy cane. I hollered: "Freeze! Back up to the door! You cannot have that in here!" He looked at me and the rest of the class in complete bewilderment. Several students backed me up and told him "Yeah, she's not kidding, you can't be in here with that." I love it when students vehemently defend your arbitrary rules.

Only allowed after school, never before or during (students aren't the problem with this one, it's teachers. They really don't like being turned away. There is a teacher's lounge, people!). The aroma of popcorn smells heavenly the first ten minutes. As it continues to hang in there air, however, it quickly degrades into a weird funk that inspires every. single. student. that walks through the door for the rest of the day to loudly announce "It smells nasty in here!"

Those are my absolute bans. What are yours?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Leftover Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

It's pretty rare that I've run a lab that requires chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that actually used the entire can; at home it never happens (for me that is, maybe you can't get enough!). Here's how I deal with the leftovers.

Plop each pepper onto a baking sheet lined parchment paper, careful to include a healthy amount of sauce with each but keep them separated. Then throw that puppy into the freezer for an hour or two, won't take long to freeze:

Once frozen, they pull off the paper nice and easy, sauce and all:

You can then toss them into a freezer bag, and they'll be easy to pull out one at a time whenever you need them.

Now that you know the trick, you can apply it to so many more foods than just peppers. This is also how I freeze berries and chopped veggies - freeze them separate and flat, then when they go into the bag they don't freeze into a ginormous clump that's impossible to break up without a hammer or defrosting.

Happy freezing!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pediatricians Say Absolutely NO DRINKING WHILE PREGNANT - it's about time!!!

Finally, finally, FINALLY, pediatricians are saying point blank NO DRINKING WHILE PREGNANT!

Why did this take so bloody long? Why, for years, have they allowed doctors, researchers, hairdressers to advise women that a little bit won't hurt? Unfathomable, completely unfathomable, given the irreparable harm that we know prenatal exposure to alcohol can have!

In my Child Development classes I told my students point blank, I don't care what you read in the news or see on TV or even hear from your doctor, NO AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IS SAFE DURING PREGNANCY.

And then I showed them video after video of the results of fetal alcohol syndrome. Some years we read articles written by families affected by and children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder themselves. One year I was even able to convince a small group of girls to read "The Broken Cord" and use it for a book talk there were supposed to give in their English classes. All of this uphill against a media constantly blaring "Oh, a couple of drinks here and there won't hurt."

And let's not even get into how people don't understand what really constitutes "a couple of drinks." In towns that I've taught in there were massive amounts of people who thought a couple of drinks = passed out before midnight.

Thank you, pediatricians, for finally getting your act together!

NPR Article "Pediatricians Say Absolutely No Drinking While Pregnant"

Full text of clinical study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Infographic from Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network Society

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Meal Prep Monday - A New Link-Up from Miss, Hey Miss!

I stumbled upon this new link-up from Miss, Hey Miss!, and thought it would be a great one for all teachers but especially FACS teachers!

The idea is to share ideas for lunches that you can prep ahead of time for the week, helping all of us to expand our repertoire! 

One of my all-time favorite kitchen appliances is my rice cooker - how did I live without one all of these years? Perfect rice every time without having to watch it.

So here's this week's lunch. I started off preparing a big batch of brown basmati rice in the rice cooker. After it's finished, I toss in a bit of chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt - mmm, better than Chipotle rice! Being unprocessed, this rice contains all eight essential amino acids, but is a bit low in lysine. What has lysine and goes perfectly with rice? Beans, of course! I divvied up the rice into containers, added a bit of seasoned black beans to each, then packed up smaller containers of cheese, guacamole, salsa and lettuce, that I'll be able to just grab each day as I pack my lunch bag. I can heat up the rice and beans, then add in the cold ingredients. Yum! Hearty, filling, and a pretty quick prep.

So excited about chowing down on this that I forgot to take a photo of it altogether, but I think you get the idea. This was the first time I've tried one of those Wholly Guacamole minis - it was great!

Also included in the linky are four different graphics you can choose from to create a Meal Prep Tip! Here's mine:

The three-cup Glad rectangle (pictured above) is my go-to, fits perfectly in my lunch bag. 

BY THE WAY, I will be posting about finishing my first marathon this week, check back!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lab Notes

After every cooking lab I have always thought to myself "Next time I need to remember/change/etc." Usually I even jotted reminders down. When next time came around, it was kind of a crapshoot whether I would remember those thoughts or come across those notes, which resulted in many a palm-forehead experience. Then I started keeping the notes with the recipes, but that meant that I only reviewed them as I was beginning to prepare for that lab, and some reminders I needed further in advance. Finally I got around to doing the obvious and keeping all of my lab notes in one place, which turned out to be immensely helpful. For each lab I jotted down what I wanted to remember for next time, such as

  • things that worked well that I want to remember to do again
  • changes I want to make next time
  • steps/procedures to review or emphasize the day of the lab, based on mistakes or misunderstandings that happened in the kitchens
  • other helpful reminders/hints to myself

Sidenote: It's funny now to see the recurring themes, such as "do not accidentally turn off oven." When the oven timers would go off students would hit the "Cancel" button thinking they were turning off the timer, when in fact they were turning off the oven. This was a big problem when that timer was just for the first check!

It's a simple thing, but very helpful. Having the notes for several recipes on the same page also helps because I wind up reviewing them more often, rather than just before using a specific one. And of course, it makes it easier to identify patterns over time.

What do you do to make sure you remember your wishes for "next time"?