book · food · life · present not perfect · through my camera lens

January 14- sensory rich foods

No photo description available.

Good morning (or afternoon or evening depending on when you are reading this). Yesterday I began writing my blog post in the morning and it seemed to make life a bit less crazy in the afternoon, so I’m jumping onto this again this morning. (I posted that photo on I/G this morning, do you follow me on there? @lorif_my_life)

Today’s topic in Present not perfect is sensory foods. I guess the fact that I’m typing this while drinking coffee makes sense. But, let me tell you a bit of a back story. I didn’t drink coffee for a long time. I drank it a bit when I was in grad school and right after, but then stopped. I gave up all caffeine for a long time and only used it to help with migraines. When we moved up to PA I needed something to drink that was warm. I tried hot chocolate and herbal/flavored tea, both of which I like it didn’t do it for me on a regular basis. I already had a Keurig for visitors, so I decided on a whim to pick up some flavored coffee and creamer and now I drink 1-2 cups a day. OH well… I know I was better off without the coffee, but now it is part of my morning and afternoon routines, well at least during the cold months.

What are your favorite sensory rich foods? Use them to help you push pause in a crazy day.

Circle (underline) your favorites from the list and then add some of your ownImage may contain: dessert and food

  • hard candy
  • breath mint
  • chocolate
  • hot tea

For me, many of my sensory rich foods aren’t instant things: fresh baked cookies, pizza hot out of the oven, and homemade soups/stews. These are things that make my mouth water. The smells, the textures, the tastes… it hits more than just taste.

For the I need it now sensory foods-

chocolate! (but it has to be good chocolate not a Hershey bar, but something on the line of ghiradelli dark chocolate or a Lindt truffle)

coke– the flavor, the fizz, the caffeine

Image may contain: foodcoffee- I’ve always loved the scent, now with a bit of flavoring I like the taste too

peppermint- true peppermint is the best. I love these soft peppermints, but eat way too many of them. The container is almost gone, this is a good thing!

What are your favorite sensory rich foods? Do you gravitate towards them when times are stressful?



family · life

One crazy week

The weekend is here. This past week was CRAZY around here. It was my first full week of teaching. My class this year has 13 children. Let me tell you compared to the crew I had last year, who I enjoyed, this years crew is a lot calmer and excited to work. I do believe part of this is a numbers game. The more students you have, the more they feel they need to do to get your attention. This means children who struggle with self control are doing a lot more attention seeking actions. Children who are struggling with picking up on the academic skills need more help because they are distracted during the learning because they feel they are a step behind. I’m excited to see what fun things I can do with my students this year.

On the home front, Richard was traveling this past week. He left for San Francisco on Sunday. His flight was delayed twice. He returned yesterday and we were all happy to have him back home.

Blake’s school had a bomb threat on Monday. Some kid wrote the threat on the bathroom wall. They had to be evacuated to the HS, which is on the same campus. They were back in the building and learning in about an hour. Then on Wednesday there was a cyber threat made on the whole campus and they closed both the middle school and the high school for the day. Blake was furious at this disruption and was especially upset that this threat was made on 9/11. He saw this as disrespectful to those who lost their lives on that day. I love how much he loves school and the country. I love that he sees that this type of behavior is stupid and understands that most of it is attention seeking.

Both the boys had dentist appointments on Wednesday and I had one on Thursday.

Thursday afternoon I got a text from my neighbor telling me that Dixie had caught a groundhog in our backyard. Dumb groundhog! The dog is out on a run in the backyard and is out all the time. I don’t know why it got so close to her as they usually scurry away. But, this meant that I had to deal with the groundhog. Ugh.

Oh well… Richard is back home now. Today we are having a quiet morning and then we will watch the UCF football game and have pulled pork nachos for dinner. I need to go get out my crockpot and start the pulled pork.

I hope you had a great week and Friday the 13th with a full moon didn’t disturb your life too much.

blog hop · life

Back to School Blog Hop- Day 6

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!Image may contain: text

Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

Make New Friends

I think this is one of those topics that I’m not even close to an expert.  I grew up in a small town and went to school with a lot of the same kids for years and years. I didn’t make a lot of friends in that group of kids. My junior year at school I changed schools. I was able to make friends. This was a small all girls school.

When I went to college, I also went to a small college. I found that I did a lot better when I’m a big fish in a little pond.

What I find with me is I have a hard time making friends, but I’m a good friend to those who do befriend me. I am still in contact with some of the people at the second hs as well as from college.

I tend to be a good co-worker, but that doesn’t mean I’m really friends with them. I have neighbors and acquaintances, but I’m not sure I have friends here.

This dynamic is very different from my parents and my brother. They have friends and make friends easily. Colby has a lot of friends too.

I guess there is something about some people that make people drawn to them, and that isn’t a part of who I am… and in a lot of ways I’m ok with that now. When I was younger I didn’t understand it. Every child wants to have friends. They want to be liked and have others want to be around them. But, then I think there comes a phase when you realize that you don’t need a ton of friends. You need  few good ones. I’m just glad that I’m married to my best one.

blog hop · Education · family · life

Back to School Blog Hop- day 2

I hope you are enjoying my first blog hop, and even more I hope you join in the fun!

Image may contain: text


Here is how it will go. I have posted seven different school/fall topics for you to use as blog posts. You can write them for seven days in a row, scattered throughout the month or however you so choose! Here are the topics: first day of school, favorite school supply, teacher who made a difference, apples, a new box of crayons, new friends and what’s in your lunchbox

All I ask is:

  • Please copy and post this image with your post
  • link back to my blog so we know who is playing along
  • have fun! remember you can take these topics in any direction you want… just use the idea as a jumping off point.

A Favorite School Supply

I decided to get a bit of help with this topic, so we discussed it at dinner the other night. Here are our answers:

Image result for mr sketch markersMe– Mr Sketch Markers. While I do like these for their smell, (Who doesn’t love a smelly marker?) I actually like these because they are strong colors, they last a LONG time and they write really well. They have a chiseled tip so you can get a fine line, bold line or some combination of both. When I taught first grade, they students LOVED when I corrected papers with these, especially if they got to pick the color/scent. I found this box of 22 markers this year and I will really enjoy the color selection while making charts and other items at school this year.

Image result for trapper keeper 80s

Richard– old school trapper keeper. All the cool kids had them! It was a way to keep everything in one space. The teachers like them because it kept everything organized in one spot. There were 2 pocket folders, dividers and spots for all your important papers. Plus you can’t forget the flap that held everything in.

Image result for pencil case 3 ringBlake– a pencil pouch. He likes that this is a place to keep all your tools in one spot.  He prefers the ones that can go into a three ring binder. In his you will find: pens, pencils, erasers, glue sticks, color pencils and probably a lot of scraps of paper. He has used the same one for the last few years, I guess he really likes that one.Image result for loose leaf notebook paper

Colby– loose leaf paper. Colby loves to write, doodle and just create and craft. Loose leaf paper can be used for a variety of academic and non-academic activities in school, and trust me he uses it for both purposes!

Ok… your turn! What type of school supply did you like when you were in school? Or what type do you like now. Post about it on your blog and join up in our blog hop!



is it fall?

Hello all!

I have been busy in my classroom this week. We have got a lot done, but not everything. Then I need to get my head wrapped around what I’m teaching these little ones.

I changed up the whole layout of my classroom. I am also making some changes/additions to the play stations in my room. I want to add more play that will be less directed. I’ll share more on this soon.

I need to take some photos to share with everyone of my classroom layout and all that is going on.

Here on the home front, the boys are adjusting to school. Richard has been super busy with work and other life things. And, the weather is beautiful.

I guess fall is here, even if it doesn’t really start until mid Sept!

family · life

Where are you???

I did not fall of the face of the earth… sorry I’ve been MIA

Friday I was sick. I was dizzy, nauseous and had a severe headache. I have no clue what was wrong, but I slept almost all day!

Saturday, I still didn’t feel quite myself. I took the day easy for the most part. We ran some errands and then we went down to our neighborhood park. Our neighborhood organized a get together with bounce houses, food trucks and other activities. Richard and I came home and sat by the fire, but the boys stayed until after 9pm.

Sunday we did a few more errands and then had a quieter day.

Today… I went back to work! Now I’m trying to get back in the groove of working life. So, I might not check your posts for a bit. I may not post as many posts myself, but I will find my groove and get back into the swing of life again…. I promise!

Education · family · life

School visits

The last two days found me driving around from school to school. Yesterday we went to the middle school. We spent time walking Blake’s schedule, practicing locker combinations and just getting accumulated to the new school.

Today we went to check out Colby’s class. He already knew where it was and it is actually the same teachers Blake had last year. I really wanted to go so we could get his supply list.

While we were there, Colby discovered a few people who would be in his class this year. He has other friends in his biome (collection of 4 classes who travel together for lunch and recess). We stopped in and chatted with the librarian. The library is always a place my sons love to hang out.

Blake saw a few other 7th graders and found out that he knows a few people who will be in his class as well. This was a big relief to him. Up until that time he hadn’t found anyone who was working on the same rotation schedule never mind the same classes.

Over the years, I only had a few moments where I was concerned about the boys starting school. I was NOT the mom crying while dropping off for pre-K or kindergarten. All the grades moving forward while in FL were fine. I had moments of concern more in wondering who would be in their class and would there be someone there for each of them.

When we moved to PA, I was concerned about Blake going into 5th grade. Colby was entering 4th, which is the major transition age in our school district. There are three elementary schools that service children K-3. Then they all transition to the upper elementary school for 4th-6th. This meant that while some children would know each other, there would already be a mixing of students from different schools. Blake was entering when the mix up was already complete.

This year, Blake is entering middle school. I hope that he has a better middle school experience than I had, or Richard for that matter. These years are so tough. It is such a personal transition for all the kids. I just want him to feel comfortable in his place. To find an activity to get involved in. To have people to sit with at lunch. To feel safe in the hallways. To be confident enough to show what he knows and not too cocky that he tries to outshine. I hope he continues to have a love of learning and begins to figure out what he wants to do with this knowledge going forward.

So we went back to the middle school today and practice opening his locker again. We went under the premise of bringing in his school supplies, well his binders anyway. We will spend the first part of the week adjusting to the new sleep schedules (he will have to wake up at 5:45 to be ready for the bus).

A week from today. I will send him off on the bus to start middle school… I just hope I’m ready.

blog hop · life

blank screen

I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write. I could write about the boys getting their schedules/teachers, but why? I could write about the bread I’m making to go with dinner tonight. I could write about the fact that today is a do nothing but rest and read kind of day here. But, none of these sound like worthwhile topics.

It’s funny, there are times when I have a lot to write. Richard has often said to me “that sounds like your next blog post” when I make a comment or we are doing something. Then other times I sit here and stare at the screen and wonder, what would my readers like to read about?

I often feel like my day to day life is not exciting enough to garner daily posts about what I do or do not do on a regular basis. Typically we have other things going on that are blog worthy, but then there are times like now where it’s just status quo here.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished today:

  • worked out
  • got the mail/mailed off my class’ postcards
  • showered (of course!)
  • vacuumed the main floor and upstairs
  • fought with the website to the boys’ school district to get their class info
  • read blog posts
  • read my book
  • had lunch
  • started the bread dough for the rolls I’m making
  • chatted with Colby about the bird book he got from the library and the birds in our backyard
  • sat and stared at my computer to figure out what to type….

While this is a lot of bullets, I have been up since 5:30am and spent most of that time reading. Now I’m not complaining as spending time reading is a summer perk, but still it doesn’t make for a great blog post. Anyway…

Something that I’ve been toying with in my brain is doing some type of back to school blog hop. I was originally thinking doing something with the letters of the alphabet, but that is a LONG blog hop as there are 26 of them. Now I’m thinking something based on school items. A weekly/twice weekly topic that people could write about, photograph, or post however they wished. Anyone think they’d be interested in something like this? I would start it in Sept. Just curious to see if anyone would play along or not.

family · life

What day it is?

This has been one of those weeks where I feel like I’m constantly trying to figure out what day it is, some days feel earlier in the week than they are and others later. It has just been a strange week.

We had a busy morning here. The boys both had their physicals this morning. Then we decided that since we were out and about, we might as well continue on and check more off the to do list. So we went to Famous Footware and got Blake school shoes (Colby already bought his) and they were having a BOGO sale, so I just had to pick up a pair for myself too… right? Then we headed to Target to check out back to school supplies. With Blake going into middle school, this was a bit crazy… he needed 6 binders with dividers and 5 two pocket folders and a calculator and then all the rest of the typical pens, pencils, glue, colored pencils etc… So we got everything on the list!

After, we headed to JoAnn Fabrics. I am finishing up a book series that is set around quilters and now I want to try. So, I picked up a simple quilt kit to try because you know I don’t start work in a few weeks… nope I have all the time in the world to try out a new hobby!

After that, we went to Blaze pizza for lunch. I figured that was a treat for not driving me too crazy doing all those chores.

We drove in the garage and the boys’ friend came to collect them to go to the park. I love that they are off and hanging out with the other kids in the neighborhood so much this summer. They have been very responsible about asking what time to come home and arriving within a reasonable window of that time. Today they will need to be home around 4pm to eat dinner and get ready for biking.

Well now I at least know it is Thursday and hopefully tomorrow will actually feel like Friday. Hope you are having a great Friday Eve… See you on Friday



family · life

What to say, how do you cope

It saddens me, that yet again I’ve had to talk to my sons about the crazy injustice of mass shootings. I’ve spoken about this multiple times here on my blog (here, here  here and here).

Yesterday, the boys were listening to The Daily, a podcast they listen to all the time. On the podcast, they were talking about the latest two mass shootings. It saddens me how many times we have had to talk about this in their short lives. No person should grow up knowing/feeling that there is a good possibility that they could be part of a mass shooting. While we know logically that this possibility is slim, it exists.


That is the question that doesn’t have a good answer. Why do they do this? Why can’t we stop this? Why does this continue to happen? What can we do about it?

I often have people ask me about schools and what schools are doing. More importantly what can they do to help their child while at school.

Here are a few things my sons and I talk about whenever these conversations come up.

  • Don’t live in fear
  • Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your environment
  • Stay calm
  • Listen

One situation that I often tell parents to talk to their child about is what do you do if you are not in a classroom during a lock down. Often times parents get upset when they hear that teachers will not open the door of the classroom if they hear a child knock on it. But, I ask you this… how do you know it is a child? We are trained to protect our students. Hide the students. If we open the door, we aren’t hiding or protecting the students inside the room. Yes, it could be a child outside the door, or it could be the threat. So, what should a child do?

First, as soon as you hear there is a lock down, head to a classroom… the teachers are told to check the hallways while locking down and bring any child into the room with them.

Next, look around, where can you hide? Trash can? Closet? Stairwell? Go to rooms with multiple doors, they take longer to lock down. Can you get outside? If you can, do not leave campus, but get away and hide. Hide under a car, in a storage shed, in the bushes far away from the building.

What can we do for our children…. listen to them. Be honest. Let them know your concerns. Do not shelter them… truth from you is better than misinformation from a peer. Answer their questions.

We have many conversations about this sadness. We have talk about the fact that it is isolated even thought it feels like such a big issue. We do not place blame.

As a parent, it is hard. But, if we give into this fear, they win. If we change our daily lives, they win. If we place blame, we do not deal with the reality of life. So we hug our children a bit harder. We listen a bit more. We continue to be open and honest. We hope, we pray, and we go on with life…. then we win.