Summer & Fall 2016 Reading List

summer reading

Just because August is halfway over and teachers like myself will be heading back to work doesn’t mean that I’ll stop reading. The next few months are going to be very busy for me in terms of preparing for baby’s arrival, a new school year, and the holiday season. But, I find that it’s so important for me to take the time to read and reflect. I’ve been focusing a lot on new Young Adult Literature, but I’ve also been reading a few pregnancy books to help empower myself come December. What’s on your current list? 

  • Sherman Alexie – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: This is a re-read for me because I ended up teaching it in a summer program. This book is absolutely hysterical, heartbreaking, and happy all in one crazy tornado of Rez Life mixed with spunky cartoons. We had some great discussions about this book, what it means to be a Native American, and what stepping outside the box to achieve your dreams means for some people. This is also one of the few books I read that has a male protagonist! Go me!
  • J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: This is a no brainer. If you know me, you know that I actually live in the HP Universe and teach part-time at Hogwarts on the weekends. I really dig the play format and would love to do something with this in the classroom. Because what kid doesn’t want to act? I won’t spoil anything though, I know many are still reading!
  • Rainbow Rowell – Eleanor & Park: I heard this is just charming. I’m looking forward to reading it!
  • Jojo Moyes – Me Before You: Because the whole Internet is crying and I want to know why. 
  • Garth Stein – A Sudden Light: I fell in love with The Art of Racing in the Rain. Whenever that happens I try out another book by the same author. 
  • Every pregnancy book ever: I’m currently rocking Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy which is…well…cute. And, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth because if I had more gall I’d totally go to the farm to have the baby, haha. I love how empowering the stories are and am channeling that energy so I can put it to good use come December (or November…)

Will I read more? You bet! But these are my priority books for now. Happy reading!

Cool Cruelty Free Kid Must-Haves

cruelty free kid

I’ve already started working on my baby registry despite the fact that I’m not having a shower before baby arrives. If people want to give a gift, I’m open to it (and extremely grateful), but I’m looking toward having a Christening/Meet the Baby party afterwards! Obviously, we’re having a cruelty free kid. I want to make sure I’m using safe, nontoxic, and animal friendly products on my baby and usually those three requirements come together in one package. Moms like Sunny and Janine have shown me that living a safe, and chemical free lifestyle can be very doable even with another person to “manage.” Through Vegan Cuts and other cruelty free boxes, I’ve gotten some great previews of cruelty free kid items. Here are my favorites that I’ll be sharing with our Little One come December. 

Of course, I’m thinking about onesies, diapers, and all of the equipment I’ll need, but I’ve been thinking of some fun items too! Cruelty free kid items are not hard to find, and with a little research you can raise your very own nontoxic crunchy granola muncher. Knowing, personally, that I’ll be using safe products on my little one gives me peace of mine. Here are some of the non-essentials I wouldn’t mind if someone got me (in triplicate, haha).

cruelty free kid

First up? The Ickle Baby Bot Bath Bomb (say that three times fast, I’ll wait). I’ve been a longtime lover of all things Lush, and their baby products are no exception. Our nephew loved this bath bomb and I loved the gentle lavender EO which is perfect for winding down at the end of the day…for Momma, Daddy, and Baby (and probably the dog, too). 

Original Sprout is a brand I came to know through the Vegan Cuts Beauty box (and loved that there were cruelty free kid options in it, too!) Moms I’ve spoken to said that multi-tasking products are amazing. OS offers this Hair and Body Babywash that takes care of it all. After doing some research, it seems like bath-time is so important…not just for cleanliness but for bonding! Rosemary, Basil, and Aloe smooth skin while soothing. I used this myself during a very hot, trying summer for my skin and it cured any woes I had. And, the gentle scent is not overpowering!

Earth Mama Angel Baby is a brand I’ve been researching on my own more so for post-partum products. However, when I stumbled upon their bottom balm I knew I had to make sure to put it on my list. When I was a kid we used A+D or Desitin. But, I wasn’t wild about the oils and ingredients (not then…now, haha). I also like that I can use this EO blend on bug bites, diaper rash, or even scratches and minor cuts. 

The next two must-haves aren’t really for my future cruelty free kid, but for me. The Uncommon Goods Cotton Teether Crate is just cute as all hell. And, the Edible Veggie Finger Paints by Wee Can Too are right up my husband’s alley for fun Daddy and Baby art time. 

Crunchy mommas, what else should I be putting on my cruelty free kid list? 

Why I’m Transitioning Back to a Paper Planner

paper planner

As many of you know, we’re expecting our little bundle of joy this December! Well, let me tell you…pregnancy brain is a thing. I used to be such a judgey wench about pregnant people…especially when I was in my teens and 20s and spent my time going to the gym, spending money on coffee & cigarettes, and lived on fast food. Did I mention I was much thinner while doing all of that?  Anywho, I thought a lot of symptoms like pregnancy brain and emotional uprisings were just women being annoying and whiny. Now that I’m older and, well, pregnant, I can assure you pregnancy brain is real. And my tech-driven method of planning with a new family on the way was not going to work. I’ve always loved a paper planner for planning my lessons, but my personal life was always on my phone…until I forgot to set alerts that is. First, a bill went unpaid, then I missed a meeting with a friend by 2 hours, and finally I said enough.

paper planner

I went down the Erin Condren road and loved the planner itself, but needed something that was easy to tote around. Then, I thought about a Passions Planner that one of my students had (and it was pretty B.A.), but still the size was hindering me. While walking to my summer teaching gig, I found the most adorable fox staring back at me. How could I leave him there alone? So, why the change you ask? Let me explain!

  • Studies have shown when you write something down, you remember it!
  • No need to set an alert, that’s already done for you by jotting down your plans. 
  • Dependability. There have been times that my iCal and my Macbook did not sync up, resulting in double booking myself which is completely humiliating!
  • I need a ritual. Checking my planner allows me to have that ritual and reflect on the week ahead. This article talks about the importance of building in writing time. 
  • Fresh starts. My new planner has a week at a glance rather than an entire month which can sometimes overwhelm me. 
  • When you have multiple people to plan for, iCal doesn’t cover it. I have myself, Keith, Myles, and a future little gremlin. Enough said. 

I’ll still use my iCal for on the go things if I don’t have my planner with me. But, I’m going back to basics starting in August. How do you keep it all together?

Myles wants you to know…

That the family is expanding come December! I am so excited to finally share this news with the blogosphere. As I keep reading the same blogs that I started reading when I was in high school, so many of us are starting families, epic business endeavors, and doing so many other amazing things! Guess we’re all growing up now, huh? We are registered as Babies R Us and I’m basically Pinteresting my future child’s life (though let’s be real…the Pinterest extraordinaire is Keith in this family). I’ll keep you posted on all of the exciting happenings & of course, all of the dirty hippy products we’ll be using on our little butterfly. <3


How Teachers Feel As of Memorial Day Explained by .gifs

I’ve been a real big slacker lately because of work. I’ll admit it. Between setting goals for next year, grading short stories, and generally trying to keep my sanity I have had a PILE of products to talk about, but the energy has not been there. Real talk. Teachers don’t stop working when the last bell rings. I know I don’t have to say that more than once. But, summer is here…almost. Memorial Day has always been the unofficial start of summer for most teachers. Here’s how I’m feeling as of right now…and probably up until their graduation when I ugly cry because I’ll miss them. 

After lunch all hell breaks loose. At this point in the year I’m like, can we just not get hurt?

I also let them police themselves. Sorry, I’m not stressin’ at this point in the year. Luckily, I have at least one rational person in each class who can discipline as well as I can. 

Another assembly? But…I have things for them to READ! And stuff for them to WRITE!

Sometimes I just yell incomprehensible nonsense at them. They’ve accepted it’s that time of the year.

But despite all of that, I’ll be doing THIS come June 10 when they move on to the world of high school. 

Just stay tuned! I’ve got some amazing vegan nail polish and cruelty free summer essentials headed your way!