March 3, 2015

SOL 3: Toddler Eating Habits

"Chipmunk Cheeks" with a mouth full of mango.
This is my niece, Aniya. She's 16 months old, which, apparently, means constant whining, picky eating, stinky diapers, and testing boundaries. It's a good thing she's the cutest baby in the world!

Since she and her mama moved in with us last month, I've learned so much about this little ball of constant energy. She loves to play hide-and-seek, sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Patty Cake," read from her tiny library of books (we're working on growing this for her), climb up and down the stairs, interact with herself in the mirror, look at pictures of herself on my phone, "mop"the kitchen floor, and wear her food in her hair.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Butter
She isn't such a fan of naps or bedtime, doesn't like to try new foods, and hates her nebulizer. Like screaming for her life HATES it!

You may notice that food was mentioned in both of those lists, and it's not a coincidence. Food seems to be what makes the world go around for this girl. Whenever anyone walks into the kitchen, she immediately runs to the pantry or whines to get into her chair because she thinks it's time for another snack.

Usually, though, the enthusiasm doesn't last long, unless you're offering her carbs or fruit. Seriously, this girl is on a mission to survive on shells 'n cheese, biscuits, and fruit. I mean... I can't say that I don't also enjoy those foods, but at least I eat protein and some vegetables. I honestly didn't realize children this young could be so picky! I was always under the impression that this was a learned behavior. This seems pretty innate to me.

Over the weekend, thought I'd be nice and give mama a chance to sleep in, so I snuck in their room and took the baby downstairs for breakfast. I made her some pumpkin pancakes with apple butter for finger painting dipping. She loved playing in it, but she hardly ate a thing. I'm not sure what we're missing here.

If you have advice, I'm open to suggestions. Except I can already tell you that giving her new foods doesn't usually go over well. Unless, we're talking about a new fruit. You may or may not have noticed her stuffed cheeks in the first photo. This was on Sunday after I introduced her to mangoes. Apparently, she liked them so much that she wanted to save some for later.

So, we do try to offer her new foods, but 90% of the time, she's shaking her head no before you can get it on her tray. She's a smart one, this girl, and she'll quickly reject whatever you think you can sneak into her meal before you can even formally suggest it.

And if you dare try putting it there anyway, you better be ready for a meltdown! And trust me... we get enough of those on a daily basis. Because life is H.A.R.D. when you're 16 months old!

It's a good thing she's so darn cute!

March 2, 2015

SOL 2: Morning Routine

I'm filling in for our health teacher this week as she's out for knee surgery. She only needed coverage for the afternoon today, which meant I got to sleep in and take my time this morning.

On days like this, my routine is very different from the get-out-the-door-ASAP style to which I usually adhere on a workday.

I love, love, love waking up without an alarm. There's something so peaceful about not being jarred awake by some annoying, repetitive sound.

If I had things my way, school would start at 10:00 so I would never ever have to set an alarm.

I also waited to shower until this morning. If you know me, the girl who does EVERYTHING the night before to avoid waking up early (lunch packed, clothes laid out, showered, hair fixed, makeup on... all BEFORE bed), you know this is a pretty big deal alone.

There was more than enough time to blow dry AND straighten my hair this morning. It's not that my hair is never fixed for school, but it always looks better (more body and straighter) when it's fresh. Plus, I feel cuter, so I get a little extra pep in my step.

I even had time to fix myself breakfast (a homemade Egg McMuffin if you care to know) and actually sit at the table to eat it, something that only happens on weekends.

As I was going about my routine, I couldn't help but notice how much calmer I felt without the need for a minute-by-minute time check. Generally, my mornings are planned down to the second, it seems, and if any part of my routine takes longer than normal, I run the risk of being late to work. Today, though, I had a good 2.5 hours to get ready, so I felt at ease. It's like I'm automatically in a better mood simply because I wasn't rushing out the door.

Disclaimer: I wouldn't say that I'm in a bad mood in the morning, but I don't usually feel very chatty or smiley until I arrive at work and have to put on my game face.

I pondered, for a moment, the possibility that I could set my alarm earlier every morning and keep this routine. Maybe I could even enjoy a cup of tea at home and read the news before I have to head to work.

And then I remembered how I feel when my alarm rings at 6:30 AM and decided that's plenty early enough. I'm not THAT interested in having perfect hair every day!

Is your morning routine more relaxed, or are you a get-up-and-go type of person? Do you think it makes a difference in your day?

March 1, 2015

Currently & The Outsiders Giveaway

Don't let the fact that I'm STILL in my pajamas fool you! I was VERY productive this weekend and both started and finished a new TPT product!

My Outsiders Novel Study is now complete and available in my TPT store. This self-directed unit provides your students with the autonomy they crave at the middle school level while providing enough guidance to help them succeed!

The novel has been divided into five sections, each with a comprehension quiz, multiple learning activities, and several journal prompts. Students love that they get so much freedom and choice in their activities and value the way this unit teaches them about motivation and time management. 

Several small group and whole-class activities bring students together for authentic discussions that bring the novel to life and make it a unit your students will remember for years to come!

I'm currently hosting a giveaway on my Facebook page if you'd like a chance to win a copy! All you have to do is "LIKE" and "SHARE". You can even "PIN IT" and leave your link in the comments for an additional chance to win.

Stay gold, ya'll!
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