This post contains links to our Spirited Learning store on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Friends, I do not even know where to begin. The last Side Notes & Shenanigans I wrote was almost a year ago. I fully intended to write a fall-into-winter-into-New-Years post, and then the pandemic happened and everything went haywire.
Admittedly, there are days or perhaps daily moments when things still feel haywire. Navigating a pandemic is hard. Navigating a pandemic during an election year is even harder. But I firmly believe in making sure my energy bank is full. If my energy wanes, everything starts to wane. And what good does that do?
So I keep a list of the things that make me feel better, like time with family, watching movies, reading books, baking, natural light photography, evening walks, day trips, and so much more. I’m your quintessential ambivert. I love to be with people, but not for too long. I love to be on my own, but not for too long.
While we might all be in the same ocean during this pandemic, I know we aren’t in the same boat. Wherever you are, please know I am thinking of you. I’m wishing for you a refill of your energy bank when it’s needed, socially-safe get-togethers with friends when it makes sense for you, and optimism for your future.
If you’re in the mood, grab a beverage and plop down on a virtual chair with me, and let’s gab.
WHAT WE’RE EATING:
I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your Friday nights lately, but we haven’t dined at restaurants. We’re in a phase with our kids where that’s just not something we’re doing. It won’t always be that way. Until it makes sense for us to do that, we’re enjoying the spoils of our food blog.
We can’t get enough of this Avocado Quinoa Salad. K-Hubs and I make it on the weekends, nibble our way through until Monday, and eat the leftovers for lunch during the first part of the week.
Earlier this summer K-Hubs and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. We dined on Gluten-Free Spaghetti Aglio E Olio and actually felt like we were eating restaurant food, in spite of the fact that we made it in our own kitchen and dined on it in our living room. Just keeping it sophisticated and classy here.
We also took our dinner game up a notch with not one but THREE sauces and dressings for all things savory and flavorful. Do you have a Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce in your life? Well, you do now. Same goes for Gluten-Free Catalina Dressing. And who can ignore Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette when it’s on the menu? Our taco salad game is ridiculous now because everyone has their favorite mixes and matches across these three recipes. Our palates will not be contained. Thank you for understanding.
We’ve also been playing around with desserts, much to the girls’ delight. We’ve decided you can’t go wrong with Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars. They’re a no-bake treat that doubles as breakfast. Because oatmeal, thankyouverymuch.
What are you eating? What new foods have you tried in quarantine? Leftovers? Takeout? We’re here for the details. 😊
WHAT WE’VE BEEN DOING:
Spring distance learning was absolute mayhem. God love all the teachers and parents who were making it work then and are making it work now. We are still distance learning, at least for this semester. You could honestly turn a first grade Google Meet into a Bingo game. The kids’ penchant for putting their nostrils up to the camera and their incessant need to unmute to ask to use the bathroom are the stuff of which legends are made.
And again, God love the teachers who are navigating their way through these scenarios. I have big feelings in favor of teachers. And this whole process has cemented that favor even more.
In the spring we made our own Dyed Wood Blocks. At that time I shared my favorite at-home learning resources. We enjoyed completing the activities when so many of our other usual activities were on hold indefinitely.
We also perfected our picnic and day-tripping games! We visited:
- Pella, Iowa
- Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge Ledges State Park (a favorite childhood haunt of mine)
- Springbrook State Park Winterset City Park (near the Bridges of Madison County and the famed Clark Tower)
- Badger Creek State Recreation Area (with beautiful sunflowers)
- Brenton Arboretum
- Downtown Des Moines
Iowa is often treated like flyover country. Sandwiched between Omaha, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Minneapolis, I get it. But if you stop and look around, there’s a lot to soak up.
NEW PROJECTS WE’VE WORKED ON
It only took me a year, but I finally hung artwork on what is now my home office’s focal wall. It features artists from around the world as well as right here in Iowa. And if you hadn’t guessed already, a few artists right in my own home (K-Hubs included).
Another project has been our Spited Learning store on Teachers Pay Teachers. Over the summer, our store grew, not only in the number of products available but also in the number of educators who came to us in search of resources.
I’ll be sharing more about that on the regular now, including teacher resources for virtual learning, in-person learning, and homeschooling. For example, this Back to School bulletin board I admittedly created with the girls in mind but that is cheerfully installed in my office.
I cannot be helped, friends. I DO want to explore the world. I often have to remind myself that I am on the “write” track. And, if you can’t find me, I’m probably lost in a good book.
Want to view the posters in the bulletin board set? Click the image below to visited our Spirited Learning Teachers Pay Teachers store!
So what is taking place in your world? What are you excited about? What is even happening anymore? Tell me! I’m all ears. From a reasonably safe distance, of course.
No matter what, I’m glad you’re here. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️