Making Time for Nosh: Meal Planning Tips and Tricks

If there is nothing else that I learned about myself from training from a marathon, it’s that I can eat a lot of food. Next week starts my next training cycle (more on that soon), and so I wanted to set aside some time today to get ready for how busy life is about to become again.

But first–some highlights from this week’s menu!

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We grill just about every Sunday. I like to get some kind of salad ready in the morning before Church so I can hang out in the yard with Jeff while he grills. Those are my favorite kind of nights. This week, I marinated steaks using the Mighty Marinade in Run Fast, Eat Slow. If you haven’t heard of this cookbook, you need to check it out. It has completely changed the way that we eat.  We also had corn on the cob and this Pineapple Cucumber Salad.

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Chocolate tart with cocoa whipped cream: I don’t usually make desserts if we aren’t having company, but I saw this recipe in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine and knew we had to try it. It was AMAZING. I cheated a little bit and bought a pre-made crust, and instead of using chocolate sprinkles, I opted for macadamia nuts. It’s definitely a keeper!

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Doesn’t it seem like the best salads come together when you just kind of throw together everything in the fridge? I’ve been helping develop curriculum for the school district this week, and the school I’m working at is only five minutes from home. I have been LOVING being able to run home and make lunch each day! This salad had romaine lettuce, carrots, slivered almonds, bleu cheese, red onion, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and salmon that I pan-seared in coconut oil. I topped it all with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Easy peasy and super satiating!

It’s become a weekly ritual for me to sit down and plan out each day’s lunches and dinners. I use a magnetic dry-erase board with a chart on it. I keep a magnetic grocery list right next to it on our refrigerator so that I can write down anything that we run out of over the course of the week. I’ve found that the fewer decisions I need to make each night, the less stressful preparing healthy meals and lunches becomes.

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This week, I’m not really packing lunches for Jeff and I, so I clearly didn’t put a whole lot of effort into our lunch plans. Usually we have leftovers, salad or soup with some combination of homemade trail mix, fruit, and baby carrots.

When I start planning each week, I look first to see if we have anything going on at work or any day that will be particularly busy. I usually plan a slow-cooker meal or breakfast on those nights. We also generally go out to eat on Friday nights, so I don’t plan anything for then. Then I go back and fill in the gaps! I do a good bit of prep on Sundays. We keep an ongoing batch of homemade trail mix in the pantry, and I usually prepare one or two quick breakfasts for the week. My go-tos are Superhero Muffins and Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos, both from Run Fast Eat Slow.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to plan a variety of meals. That’s where this tool comes in!

Meal Planning

You can use this as a starting point when planning to get a variety of foods into your week and avoid repeating the same 3 or 4 dishes week after week. Meal planning whole, clean foods can seem daunting, but once you make it part of your routine, it gets easier!

So, what’s on your menu next week?





Weekly Wrap No.5


Hello, friends! I’m linking up over at Mississippi Piddlin and HoHo Runs to recap week one of PEACHTREE training! It’s crazy to think that the 4th is only 8 weeks out, but here we are already!

I am LOOSELY following Nike+ Running’s Intermediate 10K coach program. I say loosely because I’m awkwardly in between the intermediate and advanced plans, mileage-wise. I didn’t want to jump into the advanced one and burn out, so I decided to try the intermediate one and really focus on speed work this summer.

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Monday | No plan?!

Monday was the day before my plan officially started, and conveniently Aiken’s monthly Sole Sisters meeting! I was so happy to finally be able to meet up after joining the Facebook group a couple months ago. We got in almost 4 easy miles alternating running and walking. It was the perfect way to jump back into running after Run United. After we finished, we headed to Maria’s, a local Mexican restaurant. Cheers!

3.66 miles; 45:52; 12:32 pace 

Tuesday | Rest

You guessed it! Tuesday was consumed with yard jobs and more wedding planning. I lead an exciting life, my friends.

Wednesday | Speed Work


On the agenda for today was my first speedy day (and, coincidentally, the first day of training). I headed to one of Aiken’s running tracks and did a one-mile warm-up followed by 2.5 miles of fartleks and a .5 of easy running. Despite the INSANE HEAT (although this is nothing compared to how it will be in a few weeks), I was really pleased with my pace. I alternated two minutes harder with two minutes easier. My harder paces hovered between about 7:50-8:30, with my final one averaging around 7:20. Score! It was tough but gratifying to see some good pick-ups, especially towards the end.

4.00 miles; 38:02; 9:30 pace

Thursday | 3 miles easy

After a minor wedding-planning-fueled meltdown, I headed to the track for some easy miles. I was truly running off the crazy. There is nothing that some sweat and take-out sushi can’t fix.

3.12 miles; 30:31; 9:52 pace

Friday | Cross

After work Friday, Jeff and I hustled over to the gym and I hopped on the indoor bike. That was victory number one. Historically I have skipped my cross days, then felt guilty, and then continued to skip. Resolution #1 this training cycle: speedwork. Resolution #2: cross train (including STRENGTH). I meant to snap a picture of my stats when I finished my bike ride, but we were trying to hurry to head down to an Augusta Green Jackets game, so I immediately grabbed some water and fit in about 10 minutes of core work.



Still a win! It was great to get in something besides running for the first time in a long time.

10.00 mile bike ride; core work

Saturday | 3 miles

I was wanting to do something a little different than road running, so I took my run to Hitchcock Woods around 10:00 on Saturday morning.


I’m sure I’ve mentioned the woods on here before, but I’ll say it again. They are AWESOME. With 70 miles of trails spread amongst 2,100 acres, it’s paradise for hikers, equestrians, and the occasionally nutty trail runner. I probably saw around a dozen people out riding in the FABULOUS weather. While the trails are nicely shaded, they are mostly soft sand, so running in there is tough. Luckily the views and friendly faces make the going easier. My favorite thing about the woods is that I have never felt unsafe in there and they are extremely clean. I love that they’re smack in the middle of downtown Aiken, but you feel like you’re miles from everything. I still have a ton of trails left to explore in there!


I ended up stretching my run to 5 easy miles to make my time on the trails worth it, which was smart, since later that night we went to The Big Mo, a delightfully retro and quaint drive-in about 30 minutes away. And, of course, you can’t go to the drive-in without….


FUNNEL CAKE! That bad boy only cost me $2.50 and I don’t want to know how many calories. Seriously, though, for $8.00, you get to see a double-feature of current movies (we saw Captain America: Civil War and Jungle Book) and you can bring blankets and not get weird looks from strangers! It’s a win-win.

5.00 miles; 1:00:11; 12:02 pace <— forgot to pause watch when yielding to horsies. Oops!

All around, it was a pretty great week running-wise. This week I’m sticking-ish to my plan but will be participating in Aiken’s Triple Crown Road Race (a 10-miler). I say participating and not racing because I do not plan on killing myself trying to be fast (fast for me, at least) on what I’m assuming will be a hot and humid morning. Instead, this will just be an extra-fun training run that happens to include bling at the end. Yay!

On another note… today marks ONE MORE MONDAY in the school year and only 12 days left with my munchkins. I will miss those sweet faces, but SAYONARA, FIVE AM WAKE-UPS! Or, more accurately, five-AM work wake-ups… But I’m not thinking about that right now. 🙂

Total mileage for the week – 20 miles


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Five for Friday

I can’t believe it’s already Friday. Talk about a fast week! After having Monday and Tuesday off, Wednesday was an early release day for the kiddos (full day for the grown-ups). The past two days flew by, and now it’s time for a little linky party fun! You can join in over at Doodle Bugs Teaching.



Getting Flowers

When I got home from work last Friday, I found dinner and flowers waiting for me… for no reason. And we all know that is one of the best feelings. 🙂 Good work, Jeff! We capped off the night with a deliciously indulgent candy binge (I literally ate an entire Cookies n’ Cream bar…King Sized… and a bag of gummy worms. But it’s okay, because I run. Or something).




Do I really need to say more? We’ve already been over the fact that coffee is a daily staple for me, without which I probably would be an absolute dragon lady. But this. THIS. IS. PERFECTION. Please don’t remind me of the giant list of unpronounceable ingredients. I’m taking one for the team, here.


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Fire Safety Week!

Our fire safety week fun was cut short this week, but we were still able to squeeze in a few read-alouds, craftivities, videos, and even a guest speaker! A parent of one of the first graders is a fire fighter, and he came in this morning to show us his cool uniform and answer our questions. Probably the best moment was when he asked the children what they can do when their smoke alarm goes off. Winning answer? “You can smack it.” Good idea. We did some shared writing (above) and their ideas were precious. When I sent up three kiddos to give him our letter, he asked them to read it. One of them said she couldn’t. #proudteachermoment #nexttimewewillrehearse


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Skinny Pumpkin Muffins!

Okay, so the skinny part may be a stretch. But these DO only require two ingredients, so the prep-work involved is skinny! Yeah. Mix a box of spice cake mix with some canned pumpkin. SO DELICIOUS. And surprisingly filling, although I will probably still consume 5 a day until they are gone.



Getting Hitched

I realized this week that 2016 is a leap-year. I realized this when October 8 fell on a Thursday and I have a minor meltdown thinking I scheduled our wedding for 2:00 on a Friday instead of 2:00 on a Saturday. So, as of today, we have 365 days until my name changes and I confuse all of the children. Yay!

And there you have it! Plans for this weekend include my Church’s annual Chocolate Festival (!!!) and a visit from my Mom. Happy Friday!

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Five for FRIDAY!

Can I get a TGIF? I’ve officially survived the first week of school in my new district and grade level and I couldn’t be happier. Yeah, I’m exhausted and my weekend highlights include a Netflix binge and takeout, but I am one happy camper. You know you’re in a great work environment when you’re fine with leaving at 6:15 AM every morning and staying until 4:00 every evening. That’s not to say, however, that I’m not crossing my fingers to maybe trim that back a teeny tiny bit, but I’m just fine and dandy with it all right now. Hopefully this steam will keep it going until May!

But now, it’s time for our weekly tradition sponsored by Doodle Bugs Teaching!

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“That’s all I have to say about that,” as Forrest Gump would say. If you went back to school this week, or ever, you understand.


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Actually Cooking Real Food

Despite an overwhelming desire to eat pizza, gummy worms, bagel bites, and my feelings this first week of school, I actually made dinner, as seen above. And yes, it was low-carb. I’m feeling like SuperWoman this week.



This Yearly Tradition

Last year on the first day of third grade, I used a different frame that I made to take a picture of each of my students and myself. I switched out part of the frame to do the same thing on the last day. It was so fun to see the changes in everyone over the course of one school year! I did the same thing this week with my firsties, then we made picture frames for them to take home.



This Devotional

I bought this book back in college after my roommate recommended it to me, and oh my goodness. It’s wonderful. The readings aren’t terribly long and lend so much perspective. I set aside 5-10 minutes every morning right before I leave for work or get my day started, and it makes such a huge difference in how the day goes. The passages truly put my mind in the correct focus and ground me.


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And finally, snuggling with this sweet girl at the end of every day.


  • What’s your favorite thing from this week?
  • What is your go-to weeknight meal during the first week back?
  • Do you have any first week traditions in your classroom?

I’m looking forward to reading your responses in the comments section!

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Five for Friday

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New to Five for Friday? Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching for an explanation.


Before/After Photos

I know I already uploaded pictures of my classroom last night, but let’s be real. Before and after photos always put things in perspective!


This Recipe

I probably make this dinner twice a month, at least. Probably more like three times a month (thrice?). Is there any kitchen appliance better than a crockpot? Well. Besides a Keurig… I think not. I threw this together yesterday morning, thought to myself on my drive home about how much I didn’t want to deal with cooking, then smelled its deliciously Tex-Mex aroma when I opened the door. Bliss. It’s also cheap and decently healthy if you want it to be!


The Daily Five

I’m one of seven first-grade teachers at my school, so we’ve split up lesson planning to simplify our lives. Each person has a subject to plan, but we independently plan interventions and literacy centers depending on where the students are. Our district has a literacy model to follow, and it turns out that The Daily Five jives with it beautifully! I did not use this method last year, but I have heard so much about it in the teacher blogosphere I decided to check it out. Turns out our professional library at school had the first edition, and I will say, I’m a convert. I can’t wait to implement it with my firsties! There are A TON of resources for it online, especially at the Sisters’ website linked in the title above.


THE Wedding Binder

I think I wrote on my last Five for Friday (in July…oops.) about how I was debating about getting a wedding binder or just using The Knot. I don’t know why I was ever unsure, because I am the essence of an obsessively organized pencil-and-paper person. I caved and bought The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer, and oh my goodness, it is wonderful. I like that it coincides well with The Knot website. Everything is already organized into tabs and it has informational sheets and worksheets to do before, during, and after making big decisions on vendors. Jeff totally loved filling out the wedding color inspiration worksheet with me… 🙂



Have you heard of Songza? It’s like Pandora’s underrated sibling. You get one commercial before your music starts playing, but I think that’s only when using the app. I’ve never heard commercials while using it on the computer, which is saying something because I’ve used it for lesson planning music since my sophomore year of college. It’s not really a new discovery, but I’m listening to it while typing this up and tackling the rest of my to-do list and decided to share the love. You can browse by genre, decade, activity, and mood. My personal favorite playlist on there is Harvest Moon. I can listen to it and pretend it’s fall, which is always a win.

And there’s the week in a nutshell! I haven’t seen much of the outside world, so my five this week is sort of unexciting. I’m sure next week will be much more eventful! Here’s to the last weekend of summer before the next adventure begins! 🙂


Do you use the Daily Five? What’s your experience been with it? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Five for Friday

Happy Friday, y’all! It’s my last official Friday of summer break. Next week, I have a long-term planning day with my new grade level team on Monday, then volunteering at an early registration day on Tuesday, and then new hire orientation on Wednesday and Thursday. I’m hoping to squeeze in some time in my classroom to work on my displays. I have all of my furniture arranged and everything I moved in with me organized, but I still need to do all of the fun decorating and not-so-fun binder organization.

But, it’s Friday, so there’s only one thing that means… Five for Friday Header



I went out for pizza twice this week. At the same restaurant: Mellow Mushroom. Am I ashamed? Nope. I used to try to steer clear of pizzas made using bases other than tomato sauce, but I really took a leap of faith and branched out this week, ordering not one, but TWO pizzas with an olive oil base. Daring, I know. What did I choose? Mellowterranean and Thai Dye, both of which were equally amazing in their own ways. I’ll try to chill next week, but the place has also trivia, so I don’t know if I’ll prevail…


Summer Reading

Am I going to have time to read anything other than 6-year-olds’ paragraphs after this week? The thought makes me misty eyed. My last book of the summer is going to be The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand. I haven’t gotten as far into it as I would have liked, but time has really flown this week. While not mind-numbing, it’s definitely what I’d call a fluffy beach read; I don’t think I’d be too into it during any other time of year than summer. If you’re a fan of Gossip Girl, I’d say it’s similar, only with grown adults. Whatever.


The Knot

Have I mentioned before that I’m an obsessive planner? As in, each item on my to-do list has its own to-do list. It’s like to-do list inception. I told myself I wouldn’t even think of wedding plans until after the first few weeks of school, but I’m literally incapable. I need to be juggling approximately 17 different causes of stress in order to function as a productive human being. So, after extensive Googling of the best wedding planning websites, apps, and binders (because I don’t actually have time to be Googling such fluffy stuff, but it’s summer, so…), I settled on The Knot. I’m sure I’ll regret saying this later, and someone please remind me when I’m sitting in a corner, crying over flower inspirations and nursing a bag of gummy worms, but I don’t think that this whole wedding planning thing is going to make me want to tear my eyeballs out like every other person I’ve spoken to who has gotten married recently. I mean, I plugged in our tentative date and budget, and I magically got an itemized checklist in chronological order, a countdown according to days, weeks, and months, and even an itemized budget. This is a list nerd’s dream.

Again, someone please remind me of this little soliloquy five months from now.


This Article

WeAreTeachers shared an article this week from Chalkboard Connections about something called deep data, and it truly gives perspective during this time of year when it’s so easy to focus more on door decorations than the munchkins who are about to walk through that door. I did not keep written data about each of my students’ preferences last year, but I’m going to try it out this year. I think this will be especially insightful and grounding during the time of year when I feel my energy and patience start to slip.


TpT Sitewide Back to School SALE!

Back to School Sale

On August 3-4, TeachersPayTeachers is throwing a sitewide sale to help you get ready for the upcoming school year. Everything in my store will be 20% off! To make things even easier next week, go ahead and wishlist your favorite items for easy access during the sale!

Have a lovely weekend!

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Five for Friday & A Classroom Peek!

Happy Friday! With another week of summer vacation behind us, I’m starting to get the new classroom itchies. I headed out to my new school yesterday to check out my classroom and start planning out the physical environment. Next week is my last real week of break, but I’ve got a lot of work to do for the theme I want in my room, so I’ll be headed in on Monday to get busy. I’ll be sure to give a tour once it’s complete!

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Now on to the important thing about today: Five for Friday, hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching!! For more details, click here.


Kroger Olive Bar

Have you heard that you should never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry? Me too. Guess when I always inadvertently go grocery shopping… Yup. When I’m hungry. I can’t resist the voices compelling me to visit the olive bar in this situation. Then this happens:

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Pure bliss. Also, that roasted garlic keeps vampires away, so it’s a win-win.


Summer Reading

This week, I wrapped up The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, which many people have been comparing to Gone Girl. While I didn’t find it quite as engrossing as Gone Girl, I ended up getting pretty engrossed in it about halfway through. It was a bit jumpy, with chapters being told by different people during different time periods, alluding to a mysterious “before” and “after” of a rather implicit event. Next up: The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand.


Would You Rather…? Teacher Edition!

If you don’t already follow WeAreTeachers on Facebook, do it. Do it now. Because then, you’re exposed to gems such as this one: another Buzzfeed quiz! I will say I was surprised by the results on the cockroach vs. rat question, which you can find here.


The Arrival of My Planner

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IT. HAS. ARRIVED. I was like a child on Christmas morning when I found the package key inside my apartment mailbox. Even the packaging this thing comes in is precious. I’m enjoying putting my sticky date dots on a little too much. My Type A is showing. Oops.

I’ll be posting a full review next week, but if you’re thinking of purchasing an Erin Condren planner (which I highly recommend), click here!


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And on top for this week… My new classroom!

I’m trying out a different theme this year, but I’m not telling what it is until I post my full classroom tour in a couple of weeks. This room has some great display areas on the walls and tons of storage. And if you didn’t catch it from the photo, it is shaped like a triangle. I’m ready to rise to the challenge!

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