THROWBACK THURSDAY - Twenty Beginning of Year Thoughts From the Mind of a Five Year Old

Hello Friends!
As we begin our Back to School journeys, I thought I would share this post that I wrote last Fall. No matter how many years I teach, those first few days continue to be shock. Taking some time to walk in their shoes helps us remember what THEY are thinking when school begins.   Click the image below to take you to that post!

Until next time!


Summer Relaxing, Monarchs, and a Garden Freebie

Hello Friends,

Well..... you can tell that it is getting time for Back to School because I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on a SATURDAY and have not been able to get back to sleep.... sigh..... too much on my mind and so much to do in this next month! I WAS going to post a picture of my BEFORE classroom, but it is 4:00 a.m. and I am still in my pj's! That will have to wait! Instead, I am joining Five for Friday (on a Saturday morning!) and sharing 5 very random thoughts.... :)

1.  We spent 5 days in Michigan last week. Sigh.... I love Michigan..... Being able to step out to this view everyday would be Heaven for me, I think!

2.  I purchased this beach cabana to take with us. I was so worried that I would stick out sitting under a tent on the beach. I should not have worried... beach cabanas were everywhere! Wow, what an awesome way to read and enjoy the beach! I could have stayed out there FOREVER!

3.  While in Michigan, we picked blueberries.... Yum!

4.  And now we are back in Illinois... home of corn and soybeans... I am blessed to live in a place where I can travel to some awesome places in four hours or less... Michigan, Chicago, St. Louis, the Mississippi River, Wisconsin, Indianapolis......and we do have beauty here.... Look at that sky!

5. If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have gotten pretty "kooky" over starting a Monarch butterfly way station at school. I was pretty excited a few weeks ago to see that a female Monarch butterfly had found our garden. Unfortunately, the caterpillars did not survive... BUT, because I have a farmer husband and son, we were able to rescue a few eggs and caterpillars before our field was mowed into hay bales. I am now trying to raise them at home... I am hoping to transition them back to the garden when they get a little bigger. The plight of the Monarch is real and we need to do whatever we can to make sure that we do not lost this marvelous species! If there is any way that you can plant milkweed, do it!  This is the ONLY plant that the caterpillars eat... and milkweed has its beauty, too. It has glorious height and thick, dark green leaves.

There are 3 caterpillars and 3 eggs in this photo. They are so tiny and hard to find. I am thankful that I can do my small part in helping the Monarchs, but it is so important that the Monarchs become self-sustaining again. This can only be done if we stop destroying their food source....

 If you would like to share the garden and outside with your kiddos, here is a scavenger hunt you can do with your kiddos... It's a freebie! Enjoy!

And if you would like to go into more depth with the garden and outside, I revised my Garden resource.

Make sure to visit Doodle Bug Teaching for more Five for Friday stories!

Until next time, I think I am headed back to bed for a snooze before the sun comes up! :)


No, I Am Not a Cooking Blog.... BUT..... This Vegetable Soup Recipe is Too Good Not to Share!

Hello Friends!

 Hello Friends,

 Yep, that's true... I am NOT a cooking blog BUT....... I know that when talking to my teacher friends, we are always eager to share healthy and tasty recipes with each other, so I thought "Why not share an occasional recipe with blogging friends?" So... here I go......

I KNOW it is summer and we do not think of soup when the weather is HOT, but with all the yummy vegetables around now, summer is actually a great time to make soup. I actually had this soup for the first time when I was visiting my brother in San Francisco a few years ago. We were there in July and being the mid-western girl that I am, I was blown away with the freshness of the fruits and vegetables there. We went to a local Farmer's Market and it was incredible seeing all the yummy choices. We, here in the Midwest, have great local produce, too, but we still have to import things that do not grow here naturally AND our local produce is limited to the summer months.  My brother and his family are so blessed to be able to get their hands on fresh produce all year! How lucky they are!

We started this soup early in the morning because we planned to be out in the city all day. The soup takes a bit of prep at the beginning, but when that is finished, you can put it in the crock pot, go out and enjoy the day, and have dinner ready when you return. You also can simmer it on top of your stove if you will be home all day. Simmering on top of the stove works great, but in the summer, I think this heats up the kitchen too much, so I prefer the crock pot.

So, here are the simple steps: The recipe above give you exact ingredients for the soup, but you can use any types and amounts of vegetables that you prefer. I did not have all the ingredients when I made mine. I used what was in my fridge. This is where the prep comes in! Once you have your veggies picked out and washed, you have to cut them all into pieces. I use a peeler on the potatoes because the skin will come off during the cooking time and I don't like that skin floating in my soup. It's individual preference, of course!

Step 2: Do NOT skip this step! This is what makes the soup different from other vegetable soup recipes! After the veggies are sliced and diced, put them on a cookie sheet and roast them until they are reduced by about half - Do not burn them, though! I roast mine at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. I also toss them with a little olive oil; not a lot because olive oil burns, but I like the taste of olive oil, so I add it. The reason you roast the veggies is because it dehydrates them; pulling the water out, so that when they go into the pot, the veggies re-hydrate with the yummy broth from the soup. So good!!! If you use frozen veggies, like corn or peas, add those to the mix about half through. Frozen veggies have a ton of water in them, so to keep your soup from being watery, you need to dehydrate them a little, too before putting into the soup.

Step 3: Add the veggies to a crock pot or stew pot on the top of your stove. Now, go enjoy the day!

 Step 4: Come home and smell the delicious aroma of your soup..... Enjoy!

I have been eating a clean eating diet since March, so I am very picky about the foods I eat now. I go by the "No more than 5 ingredients" in any boxed food that I buy and in actuality, I really do not prefer much of anything in a box since I started eating WHOLE food. One website that I LOVE is Skinny Ms because all the recipes there are tested and they work hard to make sure that their recipes are clean and filled with whole food. So, when I made the soup last week, I made these yummy, yummy CLEAN EATING CHOCOLATE COCONUT MUFFINS. They...... were....... AMAZING! Click the image to take you the recipe! YUM, YUM, YUM!

To download the vegetable soup recipe, CLICK the recipe above OR HERE.

Until next time!


Monarch butterflies and a new Fall resource with a Freebie!

Hello Friends,

I was so excited to find this Monarch egg on one of the milkweed leaves in my school garden and today, I found a TINY Monarch caterpillar. I sooo wish that I could share this with my students. Hopefully, we will get another batch in the fall when the kids will be there!

3.   I keep wanting to sing "Rain, rain, go away....." It has been a VERY rainy summer......

4.  BUT, today we saw the sun! Yay! It's amazing what the sun can do to a person's outlook on life! :)

5.  During these rainy days (besides cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!), I have been researching for my newest resource. It is about animal adaptation, migration, hibernation, and why deciduous tree leaves change colors in the fall. I love researching, so this was fun for me!

Click the image below to take you to my store. If you download the preview file, I have given you the OWL part of this to try out for free!  Enjoy!
Until next time!

Make sure you click the button below to take you to the Five for Friday linky!