Sidewalk Chalk

This week has been a busy one.  A rat race.  One of those weeks where everything takes longer than I think it's going to.  One of those weeks where I just get caught up with something, and another takes its place.  My to-do list is out of control, and somewhere between taking pictures of Farm Bureau agents with NU basketball players, counting ballots for graduation speakers, grading thirty-six multi-genre papers, writing lesson plans for a project on To Kill a Mockingbird, paying an overdue daycare bill (oops), sending four swimsuits back to Victoria's Secret (gross), and shipping a defective flash drive across the country...

I remember this.

And I know that it's all o.k. 

Because after a day is done and I rush like mad to daycare to pick up my little sprout, my to-do list just doesn't matter all that much.  My little six-month-old has taught me so much about what's important in this life of ours.  He reassures me over and over again with his accepting smile and innocent love.  

Babies are amazing that way.  They don't care about how the house looks, or how much money's in the bank account, or the number of hours punched on a time card.  They just want to be loved, and accepted, and played with.  Every time I look at his face, he reminds me of this.

Lately, I've been thinking about sidewalk chalk.  A long driveway, a barefoot baby, and a bucket full of red, blue, green, and purple.  Afternoons spent outlining our shadows, drawing smiley faces, and perfecting our names in bubble letters.  This week, I find myself longing for chalk-dust covered hands, a glass of iced tea, and simplicity.

It happened again...


Well, it turns out, flash drives don't have elbows.  Praying my guys at Flash Drive Pros can 'straighten' this out...

I guess you live and learn...but sometimes it takes a couple tries :(


Mystery Promotional Pen + Highlighter

It's really too bad there are not better promotional pens out there. If you look to the past, it is relatively easy to find great promotional notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, etc. The modern promotional item is a ballpoint pen of less than stellar quality, and you are lucky to get a promo highlighter that is halfway decent. 

It was hard to capture this, but as you can (hopefully) see, this pen is made in Japan. My heart goes out to the people of Japan for what they are experiencing right now. 

The tip is pretty familiar - the Sharpie Extra Fine marker has the same tip, as does the Staples DuraPoint.

The highlighter works great, but it did smear a bit on the Rhodia Reverse Book paper that I used for the review. 

Here is a little comparison of the Mystery Pen vs. other popular selections of felt/plastic tips. As you can see, the Mystery Pen most closely matches the Pilot V Razor Point, and the 'MADE IN JAPAN' imprint is the same on both pens. I think this pen might be made by Pilot, but I cannot be sure. 

So, the big question is "Does anyone know who makes this?"

One to grow on ...plant paper?

Living green can be easy if you incorporate things slowly. 

No need to be dramatic about ...keep it simple and your environmental conscious will become second nature.

It's easy to ignite your earth friendly habits by making a couple changes like using a ceramic mug daily instead of Styrofoam or paper cup, using household items in multiple ways, or writing notes, invitations, promoting your business or your "to do" list on plant paper instead of regular paper.

Think before you buy the next notepad and purchase seed paper instead.

Grow A Note

If you are wondering, how do they do that? According to Green Field Paper, each note is a custom blended wildflower mixture to produce Grow A Note® plantable handmade paper. Some notes are made of catnip and miniature sunflowers and some are made of a variety of custom infusions like forget-me-nots, spruce tree, lettuce, grasses and vegetables....sounds like a mixed salad at a raw bar but it's better than that because it's natural.

Once you are done with the note, you can grow it. How does one do that? 

Each card is generously embedded with a special mixture of wildflower seeds that will grow just about anywhere.  The back of each card is printed with easy planting instructions, and the paper will recycle naturally into the soil as the seedlings grow!   Simply, plant them in the soil and watch your paper grow.

Greenfield Paper Picture (2 weeks in soil)

Shoptobegreen is proud to carry Green Field Paper products and we love the fact they truly care about our planet. 


Happiness is...

... a weekend at home.  A weekend with no plans other than catching up, making a mess, and cleaning it up again.  A weekend with Cruz and his dad.

...Happiness is a Friday afternoon post parent-teacher conferences.  An early pickup, a happy baby boy, and an overdue request for Size 3 diapers :)

...Happiness is a Thai Chicken Pizza at Doey Joey's.  The sweet and spicy peanut sauce reminds me of one of the first 'cool' meals Beau and I cooked together in our hilariously bad kitchen at 'the duplex.'  Thai chicken, marinated in a sesame peanut sauce, sprinkled with cilantro, and wrapped in crispy lettuce leaves.  They were amazing, even though they took us two hours to make.  We tried them a couple summers later.  They took half the time, and tasted half as good.  Skills and expectations...skills and expectations...

...Happiness is 'Cruz at PLAY.'  He is an explorer and a discoverer.  We spent a large portion of Saturday morning unpacking toys I had purchased for him and 'put away' for just the right day.  He was mesmerized by the blocks, but still sees everything as a teething device.  

...Happiness is a 'sitter.'  Still not too fond of the falling over thing, so we surround him with soft objects like pillows, blankets, and Ron Sockos.  He can sit for pretty long periods of time before falling like a Jenga puzzle.  You never know which way he's gonna go, but it's similar to the last second shot in a basketball game in the fact that it seems to occur in slow motion.  

...Happiness is a home-cooked meal.  Chicken roll-ups, my favorite green beans with basil and cherry tomatoes, and some good ol' Stove Top.  Happiness is eating our dinner to the tunes of 'Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,' thanks to Cruz's jumper.  We don't even notice the sounds as we inhale the food in front of us :)

...Happiness is reusable grocery bags.   I'm a fan.

...Happiness is the best baby toy on the planet.  There's a reason this, and Sophie the Giraffe are on Amazon Baby's Bestseller List.  This toy gets us through tired baby diaper changes and the Nose Frida snot sucker experiences. 

...Happiness is devouring a bag of Whopper Robin Eggs.  I have a love/hate relationship with all that is Easter candy.

...Happiness is sweet baby feet that blend together with plush baby blue like cookies and cream.

...and a kitty who timidly wants in on the Sunday afternoon action (or is just vying for a spot in the sun).

...Happiness is a baby in bibs.  A baby who is working on those teeth as if it was his job.  Before I had kids, I always said I would never be a mom who let her children run around with snotty noses...

...then I had kids :). 

...Happiness is watching Michael Scott's proposal to Holly on The Office.  Either motherhood has made me more emotional, or that was a tear-jerker!  Definitely one of my top five best TV moments...ever.

...Happiness is this...

...and this...

...Happiness is a Sunday morning in pajamas, a Sunday afternoon in pajamas, and a Sunday night in pajamas.  

Have a good week :)

A False Alarm

Last Monday, I couldn't wait to pick Cruz up from daycare.  After a wonderful Spring Break week at home with him, Monday was kind of rude-awakening, back-to-reality for me.  My attempts to balance were put to the test yet again, especially after having an entire week at home to see how much I've been missing.  So, after saying goodbye to the last sophomore to leave my classroom, I hurried to daycare to say hello to my favorite little pupil.

When I arrived at daycare, I immediately noticed twenty or so adorable little munchkins lined up perfectly outside the main doors of the center.  Some seemed excited to have a breath of unexpected fresh air; however, others looked scared and worried, evidenced by a few fresh tears and white knuckles clasped tightly around the daycare employees' hands.  I wasn't used to this sight and my first thought was that it was a little chilly for recess.  

"The babies are in the back entrance of the church," one of the college girls said to me, recognizing me as 'Cruz's mom.'

"What's going on?" I asked, growing just slightly worried.

"Fire alarm," she replied.

After receiving the o.k. to enter the building, I went in search of my little.  I ran into Kari, the director, whose eyes immediately calmed my nerves.  

"Our system had a circuit issue.  No fire.  Cruz is holding down the fort in the baby room."

As I entered the baby room, I immediately went back to my daycare-working-days, particularly one that involved a tornado warning, a storage closet, and the task of occupying twelve, confused one-year-olds.  Empathy is a powerful tool.

Cruz's college 'girlfriends' looked flustered and beat.  They went in and out of the baby room, carrying babies on each hip.  Some cried, some literally screamed, and all looked utterly confused at the change of pace.  I immediately scanned the room for Cruz, but didn't seem him.

"Here we come!" shouted Chas, down the hall!  I watched as she pushed a crib into the room, one with wheels on the legs and clear plastic on the four sides, which allowed a perfect view of another add-to-the-baby-book sight I hope I never forget.  

There was Cruz, my brave little firefighter, on his tummy with his head up high, as if directing and overseeing the entire event.  On both sides of Cruz were two of his 'daycare friends,' two sweet little girls sound asleep in the crib.  He was protecting them, of course.  

It was one of those moments that begs no explanation, just lots and lots of laughter.  The girls and I stared at Cruz's big eyes and laughed until we were blue in the face.  He had no idea what was going on, but after seeing the smiles on our faces, cracked a sly smile himself.  A funny moment for Mom, a not-so-funny moment for the three girls who had to haul seven babies outside for a fire drill.  

It was a moment I wished I had my camera permanently attached to my hip.  My Cruz, the protector.    

Snack Bar Recipe (Video)

Hi green ones, this week I'd like to share a recipe for one of my favorite snack bars. I am a huge fan of Larabars, and although I'd like to have one, maybe two a day, they are a bit expensive. So instead of breaking the bank with buying these bars, I figured I'd go green and try making them at home. The recipe is super simple and only takes a few minutes to make.

Homemade Larabars!

Check out the video below to see how to make them.... 

Chocolate Coconut Snack Bars Recipe

1. In a food processor blend together cashews and walnuts until they resemble crumbs, now dump into a mixing bowl.

2. Now place 8 pitted dates in food processor with the 1 Tbs. raw chocolate powder and blend until it forms a large ball, put this in the mixing bowl.

3. With the blended nuts and dates now in the mixing bowl, add 1 Tbs. shredded coconut and then begin combining it with your hands. Mix until all the "crumbs" have been absorbed by the date mixture.

4. Spread out onto a piece of waxed paper and flatten out to your desired shape. Then cut and store in a plastic bag (wah wah wah...I know!) to keep fresh for about a week. I keep mine in my kitchen cabinet (at room temp), but you can keep them in the fridge if you would like.

5. Enjoy! *In case you're wondering about the nutritional info on a Larabar, they often have about 210-240 calories per bar.

Here's a link to the other two videos I've made since being pregnant:
-18 weeks and making a "Chocolate Ice Cream Smoothie"(...looking back I feel like I hardly look pregnant in this one-ha ha!)
-28 weeks and making a "Peachy Kale Smoothie"

38 Weeks!

While we're on the topic of pregnancy, I'm now entering into my 38th week! It seems as though she has really dropped this week because my shirts are sticking out farther than ever and my pants are sitting much lower on my hips than before. I'm also starting to feel some movements against my lower pelvic bones, almost like Baby Avery is practicing pushing with her head to get out and boy is she getting strong! Aside from her movement down, I bet she's grown quite a bit this week because I have been eating so much! I mentioned in the last post about how I eat every two hours, well now it's about every hour! What???!!!! Kind of crazy I know, but I do try to vary what I eat so I don't get too sick of food (that started to happen by Wednesday of this week). So I'll rotate something cooked or packaged (crackers, bean burrito) with something raw or fresh (banana, apple, or smoothie). I've found that if I have too much cooked or pre-packaged food (no matter how healthy and organic it is) I start to feel more tired and sluggish, so I mix it up by alternating it with something fresh or raw. Right now my main cravings are pasta and tofu...delicious!

Now although my "due window" is about two weeks away, I've started to feel some pre-labor warm ups from time to time. These are mainly in the form of tightening/pressure feelings in my lower abdomen that only last for about 10 seconds and happen once or twice a day. So, I'll say that things are warming up, but I don't particularly feel like labor is right around the corner (knock on wood-lol!). Have a great week and I hope you like the snack bar recipe posted above!

This post was also recently linked up to "Healthy Vegan Fridays" which you can find on any of these three blogs: Everyday Vegan GirlVeggie Nook, and Carrie On Vegan. So get your "vegan on" and check out some of these great recipes and vegan cooking tips!

Happiness is...

...the weekend. 

Happiness is...

After a long weekend of parent-teacher conferences, deadlines, five a.m. alarms, and piles of unfinished grading, Friday has arrived.

A Friday that involves a Doey Joey's pizza, a trip to Target, and a Wood Wick candle.  A set of wooden blocks, a big boy who can now sit on his own for a full minute before losing his balance, and some much-needed cuddle time.  I love when we just can't make it through that last bottle, only to crash on my shoulder.  Sound alseep.

Life is good.

Happy Weekend!

Giveaway Redux

Alright, since we didn't hear from Bridgette, the giveaway is being re-released. To sweeten the deal, I am adding two Pilot G-Tec-C4 pens from my review. So, the winner of this giveaway will receive:

- (1) nearly full bottle of Private Reserve Fast Drying Ultra-Black
- (1) Uniball Vision Elite rollerball in blue-black
(2) Staples DuraPoint pens (black)
(1) Field Notes Brand woodcase pencil
(2) Pilot G-Tec-C4 .4mm needle point gel pens

Sounds good to you? Great! Here are the rules:

  • Leave one comment on this posting to enter the drawing for the giveaway. 
  • Each visitor is limited to one entry for this giveaway. 
  • The giveaway will be open from now until Saturday, April 9th, at 11:59pm, CST. 
  • If you have any questions about the giveaway, please e-mail me. 
  • Shipment is limited to the visitors in the United States at this time. 
Good luck! 

Exploring Twitter

For quite some time, I've been a slightly intrigued by Twitter.  I owe it to The Regis and Kelly Show.  A couple summers ago, I was an avid fan of the show (ok, more like an avid fan of Kelly's shoes), and watched and laughed along at their process learning how to 'Tweet.'  I was slightly intrigued, enough so to log on and make my own account.  My Twitter circle consisted of four other people: Regis and Kelly, Ashton Kutcher, and Oprah, and the virtual friendship was unfortunately a one-way street.  It was kind of cool that I knew what Ashton and Demi were doing on the weekends, and whether or not I needed to DVR Oprah's show, but other than that, I just didn't see a whole lot of value.  At this time, I saw Twitter as nothing but a place to let the world in on ridiculously random information no one really cared about.  

Hence the typical Facebook statuses...

"(Insert Junkie #1) is going to bed."

"(Junkie #2) hates two-faced people."

"(Junkie #3) is depressed."

Although I guess you could consider this all 'networking,' I found this practice boring, and somewhat awkward.  I'm all for the connections and accessibility F'book has to offer, but it seemed like it was becoming a place to stalk people you would never pick up the phone to call, or an easier place to break up with your boyfriend.  

Then, Megan, a teacher at NU, asked me to 'publish' a blog post for our school's faculty blog.  Thinking this would be a post read by my fellow colleagues, my husband, and maybe my mom, I typed, proofread, and hit the send button without dwelling or stressing.  "It's All About the Questions," examines my use of essential questions when planning and guiding my 10th grade language arts curriculum.

Megan, as well as Bridgette, aka, Twitter extraordinaire, immediately 'tweeted' my post, and within literally minutes, it was out there for the world to see.  Megan's tweet ended up posted on a Twitter page entitled, "Tech News Daily." A principal she knows then shared it with her language arts teachers.  Within a half hour, I had reconnected with a fellow English major from my days at UNI, an English teacher I've gotten to know via ICN in my former Master's classes, and some great reading material from other teachers in my field.  Now this is what I call 'networking.'

So, I am now an official member of Twitter.  My twitter name is ajorgensen13.  I am currently overwhelmed, as I have no idea how to 'RT,' or re-tweet, but hope to play around this weekend.  I'm already seeing some really neat things that could happen if I would open this up to my students in the classroom.  I'll be sure to blog about my trials and tribulations in the Twitter world, and have posted a sidebar on the bottom of this blog to track my tweets.  And if you already call Twitter a home, followers and navigation guides are welcomed and encouraged :) 

P.S. Did you know Brad Womack and Emily Maynard from The Bachelor each have a Twitter???  Have I convinced you in its worth yet???  Just sayin'...