Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today my class celebrated during the last hour of the day with a pizza party (courtesy of some awesome parents), passing out valentines and decorating our nice note books.

My dear friend, Amy, subs for me from time to time. She organized a secret folder of nice notes for me to find today. The kids were very sweet, and had such nice things to say. I truly felt loved 🙂 My favorite note was by far this one:

You are bom plese do not corret my mistacks on this paper. 🙂


? (with the name erased)


Being a teacher is the best job ever!


Did you do anything to celebrate today?

Tuesday two-fer

Today has been full of excitement. I celebrated the first day of school!

New first day outfit: Max Studio jersey dress – LOVE their dresses!

A student brought me an apple. Cute, eh?

And, the hubs and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary.

And by celebrated, I mean we picked up the 7th season of The Office,

and swung by Downriver Grill to grab dinner.

Portobello sandwich

Garden salad with creamy lemon vinagarette (I need to recreate this soon!).

In a bit I’ll be diving into a little tiramisu action.

It’s all mine, the hubs hates tiramisu – psssh, he doesn’t know what he’s missing.

I’m exhausted, but in a good way! Hopefully I’ll get back on a regular posting schedule soon.

What is your favorite take-out?

I usually grab a Papa Murphy’s Delite if I’m in a hurry and don’t feel like cooking. But it was 90+ degrees today (with no a/c in my school, or at home, ick!), and the whole anniversary thing meant we needed to be at least a little bit fancy 😉

Just around the corner

Tomorrow is the first day of school. I’m not sure who is more excited, my students or me. I’m also not sure who is more nervous 😉

I found this cute poem online, and had to share:

‘Twas the Night before School
‘Twas the night before school started when all through the town
The parents were cheering
It was a riotous sound
By eight the kids were washed
and tucked into bed
When memories of homework
Filled them with dread
New pencils, new folders, new
notebooks, too
New teachers, new friends-their
anxiety grew
The parents just giggled when they
learned of this fright
And shouted upstairs-


I spent the morning prepping meals for the week, including baking egg muffins, rolling out and freezing my favorite pizza dough, and whipping up a batch of homemade salad dressing.

I also prepped everything (I think!) for tomorrow, including my first day of school outfit. Yes, even the teachers need a new outfit for the first day of school. I can’t find a picture online of the dress I purchased, but I did find one of an outfit I definitely did not choose.


I am all for a deal, and $4.99 isn’t too shabby for a t-shirt. At least music is a subject. I also didn’t pick up this little number.


I think you can understand why not. Read the Jezebel article for a much more eloquent way of stating how I feel about this shirt and the message it sends.

And in an effort to leave on a positive note, I started meal planning again. It is Monday afterall, which means it is time for another round of Meal Plan Monday. In case you lost count, I think this is only the 3rd or 4th in this pathetic attempt of a series. But now that I’m going to be working ’round the clock,  I need to get back into the work-week routine.


Meal Plan Monday – Back to School Edition

Monday, September 5

Crock pot Santa Fe chicken atop brown rice spiked with key lime juice and sprinkled with cheddar

Tuesday, September 6

Anniversary dinner! The hubs has been instructed to pick up something, as I am going to be too tired to go out to eat.

Wednesday, September 7

Ravioli, salad and zucchini carpaccio 

Thursday, September 8

Cheesey quinoa and chickpeas

Friday, September 8


Saturday, September 9

Chicken & white bean stuffed peppers

Sunday, September 10

Looking for something to throw in the crock pot. I have ground turkey, ground beef and chicken thighs…suggestions?


What is your favorite first day of school memory?

Surgically stylish

Back in June the hubs blew out his knee. While playing slow-pitch softball. For the second time.
I have no idea where I got this, but isn’t it awesome?

Today he had surgery to replace this patella femoral ligament and patella tibial ligament with cadaver ligaments (eww).

While in the waiting room I watched the same clips on Northwest Channel News 5 times and read The Daily 5 (literacy management program). This afternoon will be spent taking care of the hubs as he starts down the long road to recovery (6ish months of rehab!). In the meantime, I have two link parties to attend – aren’t you excited?

After dropping the hubs off for pre-opp, I ran to The Rocket to grab a sesame bagel and drip coffee to accompany my pineapple chobani (best flavor!).

After the hubs was out of surgery, and somewhat alert,

I whipped up some amazing roast beef sandwiches.

Kaiser roll topped with stone ground mustard, low-fat mayo, spicy horseradish, roast beef, melted horseradish white cheddar, Walla Walla Sweet Onion and tomato slices.

Along for the ride were a pickle spear, carrots and cilantro chimichurri hummus (Tribe brand).

A little later on I’ll be eating watermelon non-stop.

as I browse pinterest, foodgawker and tastespotting for some dinner ideas. I have 2 and a half grilled chicken breasts that I need to do something with. Any suggestions?

And for my second linky-party, Teacher Week continues today with Where it all goes down Wednesday (classroom tour).

I spent about 4 hours in my room yesterday, but it still isn’t fully set up. I’ve been going in every day for the last week and a half, spending an hour or two each day. It is slowly, but surely, coming together. I didn’t have my camera yesterday, but I did have my crap-tastic iPhone. Sadly, the pictures all turned out blurry, but I’ll show the best of what I’ve got 🙂

Southwest corner

My Giving Tree

(more on this idea in a later post)

South Wall

The south side of my room is for all things literacy.

CAFE wall – fonts from Kevin and Amanda

Southeast Corner

Reading corner. I’m in love with my rug (Peace Trees from Shopko – 55% off!)

I “PICK” sign from Our Cool School. Baskets from JoAnn (60% off plus an additional 20% off on Teacher Appreciation Weekend!)

Awesome garage sale find, plus pillows from Ross.

North Wall

The north side of my room is dedicated to math and science. I have the scientific way of answering MSP (measure of student process – state test) questions above my white board. Math manipulatives will go in the turquoise container below and in the hanging thing. I’m hoping to snag a table to put under the whiteboard too.

Behind my curtains is an awesome storage closet that runs the width of my closet. The curtains are from Linens and Things, way back in the day! I’m happy the length worked, as the hibiscus pink color matches my rug and the pink in my turquoise on dots and paisley boarders. Yes, I am a color-coordinated nerd 🙂

East Wall

I have built in cupboards along the entire east wall. On the left will be storage for me. On the right I have enough for each student to have their own shelf (3 shelves per cupboard) to store bulky items. It is VERY nice! My students will also have lockers outside the classroom, which really helps de-clutter their desks. In the center I have a student supplies area, including post its, highlighters, classroom library check out system, scissors, etc.

So there you have it, my work in progress. Our school is set to be remodeled in two years, so I am trying not to get too cozy or stressed about things I cannot change. More photos will be posted once I finish setting up, and I promise to use my DSL camera 🙂

What do you remember most about your elementary classroom(s)?

My school was set up in “pods” – where each pod had 3 classrooms, they could be separated or combined based on sliding doors. When I was in fourth grade, the other two rooms were 5th grade, and I remember being really jealous when the D.A.R.E. program was going on. I wanted to skip science and join them.

Meet the Teacher Monday

Aside from the shameful amount of time I’ve spent on pinterest and passive aggressive notes lately, another (much more important)activity has taken over my life: my classroom. How can a room be an activity? Well, Dictionary.com’s third definition reads:

work, especially in elementary grades at school, that involves direct experience by the student rather than textbook study.
Seeing as how I am setting up both my classroom and my lessons for elementary students, I am going to classify the term my classroom as an activity. While I am thrilled to have the opportunity to go into my own classroom this year, my poor little blog has been very neglected lately.
However, this week is Teacher Week 2011, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to fill y’all in on what I’ve been up to lately. Plus I’ve been toying around with the idea of either adding a teaching tab to this blog, or starting a blog dedicated solely to teaching. Maybe this series of link-ups will be just what I need to take the next step.

Meet the Teacher Monday

Tell us a little something about you…
My name is Leila (Lee-Eye-Lah), and I am a self-confessed foodie. I started this blog in December 2010 as an effort to combine my love of food with my desire to be healthy. Every so often tales of teaching innertwine themselves with my food, and you wind up reading about how I eat my applesauce. For a more in-depth description of my oh-so-fabulous life, check out my about tab.
How long have you been teaching?
This will technically be my 2nd year. I graduated with my Masters in Teaching in June 2010, and landed a middle school library media teaching position for the 2010-2011 school year. I was laid off in May, and this summer I taught Film as Lit to incoming 5th-8th graders. I was fortunate to be recalled, but not to my original position. I am now a fourth grade teacher with my own classroom 🙂 Hopefully I will get to stay in this position, as the school is awesome (and mere blocks from my house!) and I love the intermediate grades.
You might not know…
Teaching is my second (third?) career. I originally wanted to make soundtracks for movies, but then I realized two things 1) I didn’t go to a school for undergrad that would help me realize this dream, and 2) I would have to L.A. for the foreseable future. No thanks.
I graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and landed a position in the Promotions Department of our local FOX affiliate. I moved to San Diego and began working in the Publicity and Marketing departments of a book publishing company.  We moved back to Spokane, and I became the Marketing Director for a non-profit restaurant and dinner theatre. While all of these jobs were fun and required a lot of creativity and attention to detail, none of them filled me with joy. (I just wrote job. They did fill me with job. Just not the job I wanted).
When the non-profit closed, and I took a job not in my field, I decided I needed to re-visit the idea of going to grad school for teaching. I had tossed the idea around since 2006, but I didn’t get serious about it until the fall of 2008 when I turned in my application to Whitworth University.
What are you looking most forward to this school year?
What am I not looking forward to?! I’m looking forward to meeting my students (Open House is September 1st!), diving into the Daily 5 and CAFE (thanks to all you teacher bloggers for promting me to investigate this curriculum), reading with my students, and teaching math again. I LOVE teaching math, which is very amusing to me, as I hated math as a kid.
What do you need to improve?
I really don’t like teaching science. I don’t think this is due to a lack of scientific knowledge, but instead, my attitude toward teaching science. I don’t have a sink, and we use FOSS curriculum (which is rather messy). I like things clean and orderly, and teaching science in an investigative manner is neither!
I also need to improve my time management skills. Not neccessarily during the school day, but after the teaching day ends so I don’t wind up working all weekend, every weekend.
What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
  • Post-its!
  • Coffee, yes it is a supply.
  • Sharpies
  • white boards (for me, and the kiddos)
What teaching supply do you want to exist, but it doesn’t yet?
A never ending supply of sharpened pencils!
Check out the other teacher bloggers here!

Fun find at Costco

I promised you more photos from our road trip, but then I started labeling/organizing my classroom library,

(I am in desperate need of more baskets and packaging tape), and time got away from me. I decided to color code my books by genre, and include the DRA level (if available). This website has been a valuable resource tonight. But I didn’t quite grasp the amount of time I would be spending looking up the levels, adding them to the books, and updating my google doc spreadsheet. As much as I would love to spend hours catching up on Friends re-runs as I organize myself, I’ve decided I need to weed out books that might not be appropriate or enjoyed by my fourth graders. These include easy reading books gifted to me from a retired teacher,

and the 3 boxes of Babysitters Club books I purchased a a steal of a deal last summer (approximately 175 books for $6!).

Before the organizing frenzy began, I did manage to score some awesome deals today, including 10 cent composition notebooks (Staples until Wednesday, limit 3 – unless you’re a teacher, then it is 25!), fabulous rug for my reading corner at 55% off (Shopko), and the very last copy of the Peas and Thank You Cookbook at Costco!

p.s. this picture looks eerily similar to Mama Peas…


Creepy, no? I like to think great minds think alike, and I am thismuchcloser to being as cool as Mama Pea.

Tonight’s meal was not meatless (although I am very excited to tear through my new cookbook and whip up some tasty treats), but it was prepared by the hubs, making my organizing extravaganza much more enjoyable.

And the best part? He cleaned the kitchen afterward.

Husband of the year!

3 Questions for you today:

Are you an organized person?

I am, and I’m not. For work purposes I am very organized. I like things color coded and labeled. I’ve been compared to Monica on Friends multiple times (and yes, I take it as a complement, thankyouverymuch). In my personal life, however, not so much. Case in point: I’ve lost my passport twice. The first time for four years, the second for 9 months. Luckily it resurfaced each time, but I wasn’t able to venture up to Canada while it was MIA, which is a real travesty.

Do you own Mama Pea’s cookbook Peas and Thank You yet?

Are my posts showing randomly highlighted words for advertising purposes?

I’m not sure if I have a virus, (I changed my password just in case), but I noticed a few random advertisements throughout my blog. At first I only saw it on my blog, but now I am seeing it on EVERY website I visit. I’m not sure if it is a my computer/browser thing, or if it is more than that. Annoying!

What is black, white and red [quinoa] all over? WIAW!

Nope, not a newspaper. It is today’s WIAW! As a result of pure laziness multiple reasons, I missed last week’s link up party. But, have no fear bloggettes, I’m back with beautifully creative dishes to tempt your taste buds.

Breakfast: red quinoa (cooked with water and chilled in the fridge) mixed with chia seeds, dried cherries, pepitas, cinnamon, and topped with vanilla almond milk.

Snack: self-picked cherries!

Lunch: I’m not horsing around red quinoa salad (recipe tomorrow!)

Snack: Fage 0% with cherry & pomegranate  – my new favorite flavor combination.

Snack: carrots and sugar snap peas from our garden w/trader joe’s hummus.

Dinner: Flank steak wrapped with provolone cheese and fresh basil from our garden. I always see versions of this at the grocery store, and want to purchase them. But I never have. Sunday, the hubs agreed to do an at-home version for me, and I liked it so much I requested he make it again during the work week.

Do you notice the white rocking chair in the background? I saw it on Saturday evening as I was driving by a garage sale. I debated for 5 seconds if I should stop, quickly determined it would be a brilliant addition to my classroom, and pulled over. A few minutes of bum-testing and haggling later, I walked away with the perfect reading nook chair.

Oh, yes, I never update y’all. I few months back I mentioned I had been laid off, along with a slew of other people in my district. The last day of school we were notified that all certificated employees would be recalled (yay!). However, every teacher in the district was subject to possible involuntary transfer. I spent the next month in limbo, knowing I would have a job, but was unsure what I would be doing. Last week I received my official placement. I wanted to wait until I had the opportunity to meet with my new principal, get curriculum materials, etc. before I announced my placement…

What do you think I’ll be doing?


This school year I will be a fourth grade* teacher! I am thrilled about my placement – a mere .21 miles from my house! (Yep, total nerd alert, I tracked it with my Garmin). I feel like I won the layoff/recall lottery! I knew I had little chance of returning to my school, (as all elementary schools had their library hours cut, and more senior librarians were offered the remaining full-time middle and high school positions). So even though I am very sad to leave a position and a school I loved so much, I am so excited to get back into the classroom!

(source) *I have a K-8 Certification

What is your favorite memory of fourth grade?

My favorite memory is my teacher, Mr. Showers. He was a great story teller. I remember a story he told the class about his friend who went on an African safari and had an elephant sit on his car. I have no idea if the story is true, but I still remember finding it hilarious.