Sunday, April 15, 2012

Coming Back to Earth

Well hello there, stranger!

It's been far too long since I sat down and wrote out a post. Honestly, in the past 10-or-so days, I have hardly had time to shower, let alone reflect on the day. I hit the ground running in my student teaching on Monday, and I have been whirlwind busy all week! This weekend, when I gave myself a day off from everything, was the first time it felt like my feet have touched the ground all week!

I have to say, I am loving it!

Here are some highlights:

1) A weekend home for Seder and some good family time. I'm happy to report that it was almost anxiety free, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was sad to come back, but excited too because I started taking over classes on Monday.
Our Seder Plate
Deeeelicious Vegan Matzo Ball soup that Mom made specially for me. Even the carnivores were impressed!
Dates for the evening, Bro and Maddy on the left and me and their friend Chris on the right.
Date night with Mom
The baby and entertainment of every family get together, Bro's puppy, Jolene
2. Started taking over classes in Student Teaching! This is, by far the most exciting part of this last week. It has been so satisfying and fulfilling and energizing and encouraging... can you tell I'm happy about it?!
Yes, I am crazy busy, and with my 4 preps, I have very little free time, but I feel like I am thriving. I am even more convinced now that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. 

So far, I have been able to keep a healthy balance and found enough time to maintain eating in the way that makes me feel my best and work out on days that allowed for it. My hyper-organization and time management have been a god send, and I know that if I keep on top of things, I will be able to keep this momentum going.

Next week, I am picking up another prep, and although I was feeling overwhelmed earlier in the experience, I am ready to take it head on!
My GIANT "teacher bag" and million texts for my classes. Organization is the key to my sanity.
I've even had some time this weekend for some time out with good friends, and a lazy movie night!

Here's to conquering next week!
~ Rach

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Home for Passover

Well, my second Spring Break is almost over! So sad! Monday morning it will be back to 5:30 am wake-up calls, hour-long commutes, and my first week doing some real teaching.

But first, I get to head back to Cincinnati for my all-time favorite holiday of the year, Passover!

Even when I was a little kid, I liked this one better than any other (even Chanukah, where we actually got presents). I think it is because it is so full of ritual and tradition and, of course, the seder meal. Probably th best mea my mom cooks and the best party she throws all year.

Last year, the seder fell during the middle of the week, so I had to miss the family affair. I tried to put one together for my friends here at school, but in my puny apartment, it couldn't hold a candle to Mom's.

Yep, the whole thing in the living room, on coffee tables. I sat on the floor. The matzo balls were like rocks. Needless to say, I am beyond excited to head home for the good stuff!

Along with the excitement, though, is a little quite a bit of anxiety. I will be home for almost 4 days, and I know that no workout of any kind will be happening. Also, the traditional food doesn't really fit with the kind of eating that makes me feel my best (or that I feel comfortable putting in my body).  I wish I didn't have these kinds of thoughts lingering in the back of my mind, but it seems to be something that I just can't shake. Worry and guilt always find their way into my thoughts.

But, I am going to make it my goal for this weekend to not listen to them. I am going to be in the moment, happy with my family, and enjoying all of the tradition and love that went into the seder meal. It's about time I started to learn how to quiet those damn voices in there.

So, here's to family, love, and living in the moment.
~ Rach

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Break Double Take

The school where I am doing my student teaching has their spring break this week, so I am lucky enough to have a second week off in a month's time! Lucky, if you're focusing on a week of sleeping in, being productive, and not dealing with the hour commute each way. Not so lucky if you think about the valuabe experience time I am missing out on. It takes a week out of the total internship experience which could be a make-it-or-break-thing when it comes to looking for jobs in the next few months.

Either way, I have definitely enjoyed my first day off! I was extremely productive today, and some interesting things have come up.

First thing this morning, I was at the Student Health Center. Apparently, my body decided that 22 is the perfect age to become allergic to everything! I have always had fair skin, and I figured that all the sun I got over spring break was not going to make it happy, but my skin has turned into a raging, angry beast. Not only am I peeling from the sunburn, my entire torso has broken out in an allergic reaction to the new lotion I started using after SB (I'll spare you a picture). Talk about itchy mess! I guess that's even more evidence that the things we put on our bodies should be as pure and natural as possible.

Also, I have developed the stuffy, congested, pollen allergies that have always plagued my whole family forever. I was always the lucky exception. Well, not anymore! Great.

Despite not feeling fantastic, I managed to crank out some good preps today. I wrote a week's worth of lesson plans! I am getting pumped to start taking over the Spanish II classes next Monday!

I am a little worried, though. These lessons make up one "prep" for one class, and it took me nearly all day. As I explained when things are under way, I will have 4. I also won't have all day to do them because I will be in the classroom during the day. I am going to have to stay on top of my organization to stay ahead of the game and get everything done. I know I can do it, but it's going to take some real discipline.

After a sweaty, sweaty workout, I even had time to experiment in the kitchen tonight!
And, the photo is kind of blurry. Thank you, iPhone.
That may look like just another stir-fry bowl. But, think again! It's a curry stir-fry bowl! I have seriously been missing good Middle Eastern food here at school because we don't really have a good (and inexpensive) place to go get it. Also, my one roommate is hyper-sensitive to smells, and out of respect to her, I have refrained from the uber-stinky stuff.

But tonight, I just had to have it. I made my stir-fry as I normally would, but while it was cooking, I mixed together about 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp Bragg's liquid aminos, and a heaping tbs of curry powder (I like it spicy). When the veggies/tofu were about done, I poured the mix on top and let some of the moisture cook off.

I had fully intended on making rice, but forgot until it was too late. Oats saved the day by providing a fast starch base for everything.

The outcome? Not too shabby! On my grading scale, I would give it solid B. It doesn't come close to a really, good curry, but it was tasty and easy. I'll take it!

The rest of this Spring Break Double Take week will be full of finishing Lesson Plans, getting organized, and going home on Thursday for Seder. I can't wait for Passover. Definitely my favorite holiday every year.

Here's to enjoying time off while I have it!
~ Rach

Sunday, April 1, 2012

One Great Weekend

After my amazing first week of student teaching, I couldn't have asked for a better, more relaxing weekend full of all of my favorite things.

Saturday morning, I treated myself to my first cup of coffee all week. I know, right!? I'm the 3-or-4-cups-a-day kind of girl usually. But, I can't do that during the week because I can only go to the bathroom during specific periods. Coffee runs right through me, and I can't be leaving the classroom every 40 min to hit the lou. Sorry for the TMI.
The Nectar of the Gods
 After my coffee and a leisurely oatmeal breakfast, my roommate and a couple other friends and I went grocery shopping. This is an all morning event. First, we hit up the amazing Athens Farmer's Market. It's the biggest one in Southeastern Ohio, and we always spend a good chunk of time there.
Here's a shot from the summer. Always a highlight of the weekend.
I picked up some kale, spinach, Gold Rush apples, and parsnips- a new to me veggie that I can't wait to try!. Then we headed to a couple other grocery stores to get the rest of the goodies we needed for the week. Grocery shopping always turns into an all-morning trip, but I'm not complaining. It's one of my favorite activities!
This is what the fridge looked like after we arranged our loot. Four girls share this fridge, but somehow we always manage to make everything fit. I have the bottom right drawer/ shelf. I know my stuff takes up the most room, but we seem to have figured out a system where everyone has enough space.
 I used up what salad stuff I had left from the week, and opened up some much-needed space in the fridge. The result was a delicious lunch.
Romaine (thy were out of spinach last week), carrots, celery, tomatoes, cukes, avocado, black beans. Topped with balsamic and italian seasoning. Always accompanied by some kosher dills and my Tervis Tumbler (new! and totally obsessed) full of agua.
And because even lunch needs desert, an apple with PB.
 I did some much-needed cleaning and headed to the gym for a great sweat sesh. It was one of those days where I zone out and all of a sudden 45 min are gone and I'm a sweaty mess! It was fantastic.
45 on the eliptical (the clock is counting down, so I actually took this near the beginning of my workout), 20 of core, and a good amount of stretching. Perfect gym day.
 One of my best friends, Val, was celebrating her 21st Saturday night, and I knew it was going to be a crazy one. So, I made sure to get a good dinner in before.
Plate of roasties- onions, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and tofu- this much x2. I followed it up with some PB oats for dessert.
 It was a great night that included these chocolate-covered strawberry jello shots. I didn't partake in the jello, but I may have picked the chocolate off of a few to nibble on.
It was a great, fun night. Sometimes nothing is better than a night on the town with great girlfriends! Today, I am looking forward to doing a little shopping uptown- need some new OU gear now that we made it to the sweet 16!- and going to my friend's Zumba class tonight. A perfect Sunday.

Next week, since I get a second Spring Break, will be spent writing lesson plans and experimenting in the kitchen. This quarter is shaping up to be a great one!

Here's to keeping the positive momentum going!
~ Rach