Commitment to Nature

“I would like you to make a commitment to nature.” 

“Wait. You want me to what!?! This is NOT what I signed up for.”

I’m doing my Graduate Diploma in Education (Curriculum Design and Learning) and this semester one of my classes is Holistic Approaches to Teaching and Learning. When our instructor asked us to make a commitment to nature I scoffed at it.  I thought it was a total waste of time. But upon realizing I really have no choice I decided to embrace it. I tried to figure out how I could make it painless…and meaningful. I already spend a lot of time outside with my class so I decided to make a personal commitment.

After brainstorming all kinds of humourous ideas with my friends I chose something that I think is manageable and enjoyable. So often when I’m outside during my free time I feel like I’m on a mission. I’m either going from point A to point B or busy chatting with friends. I don’t pay attention to anything around me. As I thought about this, my commitment was formed:

*I will pay more attention to my surroundings and take pictures of things that are beautiful to me.*

I’ve only got a few pictures so far.

Clearly I think flowers and bright colours are beautiful! We’ll see what I find beauty in as the summer fades into fall.

Now go on, get out there and find the beauty in your surroundings!

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Taco Soup (Weight Watchers)

It’s a rainy Saturday and I’ve got tons to do – cleaning, laundry, work prep, homework. Sounds like a perfect day to do something else! That something else ended up being trying a new recipe. I was looking for a healthy soup that I could freeze so I headed to Pinterest as I usually do. I searched “Healthy Crockpot Soups” and quickly came across a recipe for Weight Watchers Slow Cooker Taco Soup. Now I’m not actually on Weight Watchers but since I wanted something healthy and I already had most of the ingredients so this sounded perfect. I headed to the store and picked up the remaining ingredients.

It was super easy to make. Just brown the onions and ground beef.

Throw all the other ingredients into your Crock Pot and give it a little stir.

Add the browned onions and ground beef.

And turn it on for 4 hours on high (or 6 hours on low.)

The final product was yummy! I topped it with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions. This recipe is a keeper!

Get the recipe on the Recipe Diaries blog! Just click HERE!

Enjoy!

Miranda Lambert: Highway Vagabond Tour ❤

Girl crush, you ask? Yeah, I think I’ve got one. 

I remember being mad years ago when this blonde singer from Texas kept winning all the country music awards! My favourite artists were losing to someone I had never even heard of. Fast-forward a few years and I finally discovered why Miranda Lambert was winning all these awards. She quickly became one of my favourite singers and since then I’ve been waiting for a chance to see her in concert. That finally happened in Vancouver last night!

Ticket sales were poor, maybe because Coldplay was across the way at BC Place or maybe Miranda just isn’t as popular here as I thought. As a result I got a ticket upgrade! Instead of being in the upper bowl, my friend and I were now seated in row 6 in the section closest to the stage. What a view!

Miranda began the show with Fastest Girl in town to get the crowd pumped up. She followed with a great variety of new songs and old. She ended with an emotional acoustic performance of Tin Man followed by cover of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For where she was joined by Gwen Sebastian and a guy whose name I can’t remember at all! Oops.

I had the best time with my friend, Allison, and sang along to almost every song. I know I’ll be Miranda-obsessed for the next little while and I’m already trying to learn a couple new songs to sing at band next week. I already do Mama’s Broken Heart and Over You, but there is always room for more. As I told my friend, Darryl, who is also in the band (and I have the privilige of singing duets with)…When I Grow-Up I want to be Miranda Lambert!

Challenge Accepted: September’s Mini-Adventure at Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery

After a failed Skype date (poor Internet connection on Coen’s end) put me in a not so stellar mood I decided I need to get out and find something that would make me smile. The sun was shining so I decided to find somewhere new to go for my challenge. I was thinking about a Farmer’s Market but by now it was already 3pm so that was out of the question. Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery in Langley popped into my head. Berry season is over but a quick look at their website assured me it would still be worth a trip there.

When I first arrived I saw beautful, bright flowers, still gorgeous in fall.

The entrance to the Wine Tasting area looked very inviting, but I saved that for next time. Today I was here for the market.

Beside the entrance way was a display of pumpkins and other squash. Yum!

And The Porch, where you can order and enjoy food. There is a limited menu right now and they didn’t have any waffles left by the time I arrived so I’ll try those another time. Too bad though because it would have been a lovely day to sit outside.

I was pretty much in Heaven when I walked into the market area and saw the pies directly ahead of me. Pie is my favourite dessert and they appeared to have every pie imaginable. Except Peach Raspberry – and I admit I was a little disappointed. Peach is my all-time favourite but since Krause is a berry farm I chose Raspberry. Sorry Dad, I just couldn’t resist! 

There were also Ice Cream and Berry Perogies which I had never seen before.

There was a little fresh bakery section but there wasn’t much left and they also had some produce. The market area had tons of preserves, food and kitchen and giftware. I’ll be back to check it out again closer to Christmas!

I bought a few things and am curious to see how it all tastes!

All in all it was definitely worth a visit!

Summer Eats

Who doesn’t love food? If you say you, I think you might be lying. Anyway, that’s besides the point because this is about me and some of the scrumptious foods I came across throughout the summer. 

Sweet Chili Cauliflower, MeeT in Gastown, Vancouver
Iced Mocha & Shortbread, Blacksmith Bakery, Fort Langley
Noodle Box with Chicken, Roaming Dragon Food Truck, Shipyards Market – North Vancouver
Vegan Mango Pineapple Ice Cream, Welcome Parlour, North Vancouver
Bacon and S’mores Waffle, Waffles with Benefits, PNE – Vancouver
The Main Event with Bacon, Reel Mac and Cheese Food Truck, PNE – Vancouver
Roasted Mushroom + Country Bacon Pizzette, The Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver
Chief Dominic Charlie Burger, The Tomahawk, North Vancouver
Salted Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Mint Chocolate Gelato, Matteo’s Gelato, Port Coquitlam
Grilled Cheese Cheeseburger, Montana’s BBQ & Bar, Langley
Baja Shrimp Tacos, The Dime, Vancouver
Chili Cauli & Cucumber, The Dime, Vancouver
Warehouse Poutine, El Furniture Warehouse, Whistler
Sea Ya Later Tater, Taters: The Baked Potato Co., Shipyards Market – North Vancouver

Slavic Roll with Lemon and Raspberry Filling, Slavic Rolls Food Truck, Shipyards Market – North Vancouver
And now, something that totally surprised me. Coen suggested we have this for breakfast one day and I admit I was totally skeptical. It only took one bite to discover how delicious it was!

Bread, Butter, Sliced Strawberries and a Sprinkle of Sugar
There you have it. Some of my summer 2017 top eats! Below are links to some of the websites in case you get a hankering for something you see here. Happy Eating!

MeeT

Blacksmith Bakery

Roaming Dragon

Welcome Parlour

Reel Mac and Cheese

The Belgard Kitchen

Matteo’s Gelato

Montana’s BBQ & Bar

The Dime

El Furniture Warehouse

Taters: The Baked Potato Co.

Slavic Rolls

Back to School

Boy, is it ever difficult to get back into the groove after summer vacation! No, I’m not complaining – I’m thankful for the time I get off! It was a rude awakening when my alarm went off on Tuesday morning but it was great to see my colleagues/friends; some of whom I hadn’t seen since the end of June.  And my little nuggets from last year? (You should have heard the outburst of laughter the time I called them my little chicken nuggets) Well, they didn’t seem so little anymore. I was greeted with hugs and “I missed you” from several of them. Students were only there for 40 minutes and we spent the time reconnecting and sharing about our summers. 

Meetings and preparations for the week followed. This year we decided to do something a little different for our opening week. We took all the grade 3, 4 and 5 students and organized them into five groups. Each morning we would do five rotations so each group would spend 30 minutes with each of the five teachers. We each chose lessons that were meaningful to us. My colleagues chose aspects of social responsbility, art and self-regulation. I chose Growth Mindset.

A couple years ago, a presenter and a Professional Development Day session I was attending mentioned Growth Mindset. I had never heard of it before but it intrigued me. I looked into it a little bit and have explored it with my students, although not to a great extent. 

The best resource I’ve found to introduce students to Growth Mindset is found on the Class Dojo website. There are five short videos (“chapters”), in which Mojo (a monster) finds out all about Growth Mindset. There are discussion questions that accompany each video as well as a set of questions to send home if you choose. 

Over the course of the three days I had the chance to go through the videos and discussion questions for the first three chapters. I also showed them the last two videos. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for discussion. Students who end up in my grade 2/3 class this year will explore it more!

Like most teachers, I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and I’ve got a board dedicated to Growth Mindset. I came across several pins of picture books to use so I recently purchased What Do You Do With an Idea? and What Do You Do With a Problem?  I am looking forward to using these two books!

By Friday I was exhausted, even though it was a short week. I’m sure fellow teachers can relate! On Monday morning I’ll meet my new class and, although I still have some of those beginning of the year anxieties bubbling around inside me, I’m looking forward to the new year!

Summer Beauty: My Top 12 Photos

I love taking pictures of all things that fall into my definition of beautiful.  I only use my phone and sadly mine died at the beginning of August so I’ve been using my old one with a less than stellar camera, but I’ve still managed to capture some beauty throughout the summer.

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Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver
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Train tracks on the way to Brandywine Falls, Whister
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The trail to Brandywine Falls, Whistler
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Brandywine Falls, Whistler
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Whistler, British Columbia
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Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver
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Totem Poles at Stanley Park, Vancouver
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Vancouver from Stanley Park
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 Stanley Park, Vancouver
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Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington
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Vancouver from North Vancouver
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Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver