Technology Takeover and burning books…

Now I will say that it has been a while since I read this book….I want to say that I read it in sixth or seventh grade? I’m 25 years old now, BUT I remember really enjoying this book! Now this is not going to be a typical book review. Yes I loved this book but in order for me to review it properly I would have to re-read it and my “to-read” list is a mile long right now. Maybe at a later date I will pick this book back up and give it a proper review. Until then I just want to discuss how I think this book relates to the world around us today. The more technology seems to develop, the more I feel like books are becoming more irrelevant. Does that mean they’re being banned? No they’re not, but I see it day in and day out…kids (and adults) just don’t like to read…and that makes me sad!

I feel like this book has more relevance (for lack of a better word) now than it did when it was written, but I’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Before I do, let’s talk about what the story is actually about.

Set in the 24th century, Farenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag. Montag is a fireman and loves his job, you could even say that he takes pride in it. But this job isn’t like any fireman you would see around your city today, these firemen burn illegally owned books and the homes of their owners. Could you even imagine?!? I would be devastated if my house was burned to the ground because I owned a book (or multiple books because let’s face it I love books so in this setting I would be a rebel lol)! As the story develops, Montag begins to question the value of his profession and ultimately….his life. Through this novel we follow his struggles with his existence and eventually we follow him as he flees the oppressive, censored society that he lives in and joins an underground network of intellectuals. With his newfound friends, he witnesses the atomic destruction of his former city and dedicates himself to rebuilding a literate and cultural society. (Now that sounds like somewhere I would want to live!)

Continue reading “Technology Takeover and burning books…”

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What’s in my teacher bag?!?

All of my fellow teacher friends out there, if you’re anything like me (and I know most of you are!!) You probably have way too many things in your teacher bag that you probably could leave at home….or school…but why take that chance, right?!?

So I thought it would be fun if I shared with all of you a list of things that I carry back and forth with me between school and home! (Some necessary and some not!)

 

Continue reading “What’s in my teacher bag?!?”

Easy Healthy Lasagna

Yes I said it, healthy lasagna!!

You’re probably thinking What?!!? But just hear me out! This recipe is 21 day fix approved, which if you’re like me and you love your Beachbody programs then this is perfect for you! If not, then just enjoy the benefits of a healthy recipe!


Ingredients: 

  • 8 sheets of whole grain lasagna
  • 15 oz tub of Ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/3 cup mozzarella and/or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tea salt
  • 4 cups of chopped spinach (I also added some green pepper because I love green pepper)
  • 1 regular jar (24-32 oz) of low or no sugar marinara sauce


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain and lay on wax paper. (Or you can cheat like I always do and buy the ones that you don’t have to pre-cook!)
  3. In a medium bowl, blend Ricotta, egg, salt, and mozzarella until well mixed.
  4. Mix in spinach and other ingredients
  5. Spread 1/4 cup of marinara on the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  6. Spread spinach mixture evenly over 8 lasagna sheets.
  7. Roll up lasagna sheets and put into 9×13 pan.
  8. Dump the rest of the marinara sauce over the rolls.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

 

This is super simple and super tasty!! If you give it a try let me know!!!

Happy cooking!

XoXo Shelby

Mystery…Thriller…Suspense…

Okay so it’s been a minute since I’ve read this book but I do remember loving it so much that I couldn’t put it down, and frankly I didn’t want to!

Before I go into my review let’s do a little summary first.

From Goodreads:

Every day the same.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

Until today.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good??

 

Now if that alone doesn’t make you want to read this book I’m not sure what will!!

This is definitely one unsettling thriller. No one can be trusted in this story. If you had to choose between an alcoholic, a liar and a cheat who would you trust??? These are the three women who are at the center of this story: Rachel, Anna and Megan. Each girl has her own story, and in that story is nothing but secrets.

Have you ever sat in a public place and watched people as they went about their daily lives? As you did that did you imagine what their life story was? Maybe even make up some stories about them and their life? Do you imagine that they are living their perfect lives?

That is what Rachel does each day as she rides on the train to and from town. She uses the lives of others to distract her from the mess of her own life. She has grown particularly fond of the life of “Jess and Jason” (as she likes to call them) who live at the house just outside of her train window when the train stops at the same red signal each morning. However, one morning Rachel notices that things are not as they normally are. As Rachel is watching out her train window one morning she sees something that completely changes the life she has imagined for “Jess and Jason”. This event will pull her into their lives more than she already was, though she is unsure exactly what she has seen and what she has seen or what she might know, she feels the need to find out.

Rachel’s boozy behavior and alcohol habit leaves her as an unreliable sources when it comes to whatever happened between “Jess and Jason”. This behavior is also what got her fired from her job in London and her husband. Since their divorce, she has become obsessed with Tom (her ex husband), who left her for a blonde woman named Anna. Like any man who leaves his wife for another woman, Tom thought the grass was going to be greener on the other side…and unfortunately he was wrong. Anna’s personality has drastically changed now that they are married and have a young daughter. Rightfully so, Anna isn’t so fond of Rachel lurking around their house. But no matter what Tom says or does, Rachel lurks and pesters them and remembers none of it the next day.

Now let’s circle back to this Jess and Jason situation for a moment. One day as  Rachel is taking her daily commute to the city she sees Jess…kissing another man, or so she thinks that’s what she saw. Jess’ real name is actually Megan, and this life that is she lives is nothing like the one Rachel had imagined in her head. She is incredible restless with her husband Scott (better known to Rachel as Jason) and is having an affair with her therapist. Megan feels as if she doesn’t belong on this little suburban street in this life that she lives. She once worked at an art gallery, however when she lost that job…things changed. She is bored and restless and completely unhappy with her life. Then one day…she disappears…never to be seen again.

As you can imagine, the disappearance of Megan became a huge story and as it does Rachel feels that it is her duty to go to the police with what she saw from the train. Of course, no one is willing to take Rachel seriously; a random drunken witness just waltzes in off the street declaring she knows what happened to this missing woman??? I wouldn’t trust her either. As if this story line isn’t crazy enough already, remember how I mentioned earlier that Anna can’t stand the fact that Rachel tends to lurk around their house?? Well it’s about to get even worse because Megan used to be Anna and Tom’s babysitter for a hot minute (and was terrible at it), which of course connects Megan, Scott and Anna….which connects Rachel and Anna…making them potential victims to whomever took/hurt/killed Megan.

Will they find out who took/hurt/killed Megan? Was is her husband. the therapist, Anna or some random stranger? Did she run away from home? You’re going to have to pick this book up and read it for yourself to find out!!

The story continues to unravel with more lies, more back-stabbing and more secrets. I don’t want to give too much away, so I will leave you with what I have written.

Have you read Girl on the Train?? What did you think of it?? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

XoXo Shelby

Healthy Teacher Lunch Ideas

Eating healthy at lunch or even getting a lunch as a teacher can be difficult! Sometimes we end up working through our lunch, plus we have recess duty and who knows what other crazy interruptions. Instead of relying on coffee, diet soda (or soda in general) and unhealthy snacks let me give you a list of some quick healthy things that I enjoy packing in my lunch!

  1. Yogurt – it’s quick and easy and it tastes good! You can even back some granola and put it on top for a little added crunch!
  2. Veggies and Hummus – one of my favorite things to pack! Carrots, Celery, Cucumber, whatever your favorite vegetable is and add some hummus on the side and you have the perfect protein filled crunchy meal!
  3.  Veggies and Dip – for those of you that don’t like hummus you can always switch it out for your favorite veggie dip!
  4. Lettuce Wraps – There’s nothing like a good sandwich for lunch, but sometimes I don’t want all of those heavy carbs loading me down after lunch. Instead of using bread I like to make lettuce wraps. **Here’s a tip, pack all of the toppings and your lettuce separately otherwise it could potentially get soggy and messy and assemble it at lunch**
  5. Salads – I know this is super basic and anyone could think of this but seriously salads are one of my go-to lunches. They’re healthy, there’s only one dish and it’s super easy to eat too!
  6. Soup – now that it’s getting cold outside I like to either buy a healthy soup or make s big pot of soup in the crock pot and take it with me to work. It’s warm, it keeps me warm and it’s filling which is always nice.
  7. Chicken and rice – this is one of my go-to lunches on the days that I have to teach at the gym in the evening. It’s a little bit heavier of a lunch but not too heavy that it would weigh me down or make me feel groggy after lunch. The chicken and rice mixture is a good source of protein and carbs to help energize me a little bit more for the rest of my day.
  8. Chicken salad and pita chips – I love chicken salad, chicken salad sandwiches or even just chicken salad on some pita chips. The chicken gives you some protein which will give you a little boost and I enjoy the pita chips as opposed to bread because it’s less carbs and it adds a little bit of a crunch.

 

Those are pretty much my go-to lunches. Occasionally I will pack leftovers from the night before or change it up a bit. But these are my favorite things to pack. On a rare occasion I will buy a lunch from the school cafeteria but I try to stay away from that. When I do buy a lunch I tend do be hungry before it’s time to go home and then I find myself snacking on things that I shouldn’t.

What are some of your favorite lunches to pack?? Did you see any ideas above that you want to try? Let me know in the comments!

XoXo Shelby

Summer bodies are made in the Winter!

Winter is fast approaching which means colder weather, and comfort food! This time of year is never good for those of us who spend summer and the warmer months trying to get/stay fit! I know I have a difficult time staying active in the winter. I am a huge baby when it comes to the cold! I love Ohio and I love living here, but I could definitely do without the winters!! (Although I’m sure some places have it way worse, like I said I’m a baby when it comes to the cold!!) No one likes putting in all that hard work in the spring and summer only to have it ruined in the winter. Starting from square one is no fun!!

So in order to help you (and myself!) here are some tips on how to stay fit this winter!! Some of these I have tried before, some of them I haven’t and this winter I plan to give them a go! Hopefully you will see something that appeals to you as well and you will give it a try! I hope you find something that works for you!

 

1. Find an accountability partner: This is one of my favorite fitness tips in general! There is nothing better than having an accountability partner. I’ve talked about this before in a previous blog. Accountability partners are great because they keep you in check with your daily workouts and nutrition. Your accountability partner is someone who is always going to be in your corner, cheering you on to reach your goals. Another reason I love having an accountability partner (and a good one) is because he/she will call you out on your crap. Did you go off of your meal plan?? They’ll call you out on it. Did you skip a workout? They’ll call you out on it, and you can do the same for them! It might seem a little crazy but I promise it’s motivational! You just need to find the right accountability partner!

2. Try something new: Sometimes switching up your workouts will do great things for you! You might not realize it but you might be in a rut, it’s okay it happens sometimes. Switching up your normal workout can easily take your out of a funk that you don’t even realize you’re in. Not sure how to switch up your workout? Try a new fitness class that you’ve never tried before. Run a different trail if you’re a runner. You can even try switching up the time of day that you workout, if you normally workout in the evening try a morning workout or visa versa. You can even add a monthly challenge into the mix, you can find a lot of different ones on Pinterest!!

3. Focus on Nutrition: With the holidays coming up I know that this is the first thing that goes out the door for me! Nutrition is so difficult to focus on when there are so many delicious cookies and other comfort foods being made for the holidays. But let me give you a little hint. Focus on your nutrition on the other days of the month. Keep a food journal (I personally love using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, it’s easy and I always have it with me!). Then use the holiday as your treat day. (Confused by the word treat day?? Take a look at my blog post where I talk all about the difference between a treat and a cheat day and why I prefer to call it a treat day!!).

4. No Gym?? Join one!: One of the many reasons people don’t workout in the winter is because they don’t own a gym membership. I know for me it is very difficult to workout at home, depending on my mood. Sometimes I can motivate myself at home to do a workout, sometimes I can’t. But if I go to the gym I know there will be classes or that I can motivate myself there. I know it’s a mind over matter situation but I haven’t quite conquered that yet! (I’m working on it!!)

5. Stay Hydrated: Staying hydrated in the winter is so difficult!! I know for me I would rather be drinking a cup of warm coffee or tea than drinking cold water. But staying hydrated even in the winter is very important. Make it a game with yourself. That’s what I do and let me tell you it works! I have a 48oz Bubba cup and I tell myself that I have to drink 1 full cup before lunch (for me that’s between 11:15 and 12:00 depending on the day), and then I fill it up and I have to drink the second one before I leave work (usually around 3:15). If I do that, I have then I know that I have drank 96oz of water by the time I have left work, leaving me with only 4oz left to drink to hit my 100oz goal mark for the day. Sometimes I will fill it up a 3rd time once I get home depending on how intense my workouts are for the day. (When you exercise you should be drinking extra water because you are losing a lot of water during your exercise!).

6. Be aware of your mental health and make sure that you take care of yourself: The winter months tend to be very difficult for a lot of people, the sun is out less, it’s cold and it can cause a lot of people to become more sad during these months. Season depression is a real thing that a lot of people experience. Make sure that during these winter months you are taking some time for you. Read a book, meditate, find something that makes you happy and do it for at least 15 or 20 minutes each day. Sometimes (even during the warmer months) we become so busy trying to please everyone else that we tend to forget that we need to do things for us too. Your workout can even be your “me time”, I know that my workout is my me time and more like therapy than anything else. Without it I would probably lose my mind sometimes!!

 

I hope that one of these tips (or even all of them) will help you to stay motivated this winter and holiday season!!!

What do you do to stay motivated in the cold months??? Did you see a tip above that you want to try this winter??? Let me know in the comments below!!!

XoXo Shelby

Looking for an exciting thriller to read?? Check out this one!

Could you imagine waking up every single morning not knowing who you are or who the person is that is laying next to you or anything about your life?? I mean if you think about it, our memories define us and make us who we are. I couldn’t imagine not being able to remember who I was or anything about my life. Welcome to Christine’s life.

In my opinion this debut book by S.J. Watson was written wonderfully. It’s a fast-paced psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I would definitely describe this book as one that you won’t be able to put down!

Before I Go to Sleep is about a woman named Christine who wakes up each morning with no memory of who she is. With the help of her husband and some labeled pictures, every day she put the pieces of her life back together just to forget it all again when she falls asleep. Each day she is reminded of the accident that put her where she is. However, after a visit from a mysterious doctor she is lead to a private journal that she has been writing to herself. This journal leads her to believe that her life might not be all that it seems and that the one person that she should be able to trust….might not be so trustworthy after all.

As she begins working each day with this Doctor (Dr. Nash) she begins to uncover more leads that are helping her to really piece her life back together. But with every memory that she unfolds, she is greeted with greater confusion and more questions. There are things that she remembers that her husband tends to leave out or not want to discuss. She remembers having a child and she suspects that at one point she was an author.

Are these new memories true or false?? Who is being truthful with her? Who is hiding things from her and why are they hiding those things?

As you read through this book you get sucked into the story line. Getting a small taste of what it would be like to live without your memories. As the story line develops you begin to notice things (along with Christine), that make you really think. Let me tell you, as the story developed I had two people on my list of “the one”….and I was right about one of them and I cried when the book ended.

I could really talk about this book forever. But I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who wants to go pick it up and read it for themselves…which I highly recommend that you do, so I’ll end my review here.

Have you already ready Before I Go to Sleep? What did you think of it? Have you seen the movie? If you have would you recommend it? (I personally haven’t seen it yet!) Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

XoXo Shelby

Why Women Should Lift Weights

Ladies! Have you ever felt intimidated by the thought of trying to lift weights at the gym?? Do you think that lifting weights is going to make you bulky? Do you think that it’s going to make you look like a man?? Well can I just tell you something….those are all myths! I can promise you that lifting weights (even the heavy ones!) will not make you bulky or make you look like a man. Some of you are probably reading that and thinking I’m crazy and that I’m lying to you, but I’m not. When I first started in the fitness world I’m not going to lie I used to believe it too. It took my years to pick up a set of weights. But now that I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve seen what a little bit of lifting can do for the body, I want to share my thoughts with all of you.

***DISCLAIMER*** : Now please remember that not every workout will work for everyone. Our bodies are all built differently and certain things that work for me might not work as well for all of you.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about 3 of the most common myths about weight lifting that women need to stop believing!

 

1. Lifting weights will make you bulk like the incredible Hulk

hulk      This one the myth that I believed the most before I really got into fitness. I used to believe that lifting weights (especially heavy weights) would cause me to bulk up and I would look like most men do when they lift heavy. But the more I got into fitness and the more I learned and read on it I realized that wasn’t the case. Ladies, unless you plan on taking anabolic steroids, have a crazy genetic makeup and dedicated hours (and I mean hours) to training a day then I can promise you that you will not bulk up. Studies show that women have 1/15 to 1/20 the amount of testosterone compared to men, and in case you didn’t know testosterone is the primary hormone responsible for muscle growth. Therefore unless you have a crazy genetic makeup like I said, it is genetically impossible for you to bulk like hulk! Now if that is your goal (for example if you’re a female bodybuilder) then you will definitely need anabolic steroids to assist you, and even then I can assure you that it will be a difficult road. Female body builders often spend years trying to achieve a very specific look. So please, rest easy and know that if you lift heavy you will not bulk up.

2. Using lighter weights is safer and will give you long, lean muscles

Dumbell Weights

I love to see more women in the weight room I really do, but what I don’t like is when I see women lifting 1 or 2 pound weights and that’s it. I understand starting small and working your way up to a heavier weight, not everyone can start out lifting 10lb weights and I get that. But what some women don’t realize is that those small weights are not going to do anything for your muscles. If you’ve never lifted before then sure they might make you a little stronger at first, but after time as your muscles begin to change and get stronger those weights are no longer going to do anything for your body. It will of course continue to increase muscular endurance, but your muscle mass will not change and you won’t be able to build a more athletic physique (which I’m sure is what most of us women want). If you want to increase lean muscle mass then you’re going to want to stick to lower reps (6-12 rep range) and use a heavier weight, I promise you’ll see better results that way. As for the whole “long and lean” muscle concept, it’s just not realistic. You can’t change the length of your muscles, just like you can’t make yourself taller by stretching your body. Your muscles have a fixed origin and insertion point and those won’t change no matter what you do. No amount of stretching or training can change your body in that way. What makes your body look long and lean is the change in your muscle definition which you get from lifting.

 

3. Cardio is the best form of exercise for fat loss

cardio.png

Though cardio is important, it’s not going to help you burn the amount of fat that you want to burn if you don’t have muscle mass! Like I said before, strength training will add definition to your body, but it will also add other benefits as well!

Adding weight training to your exercise routine will increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which will in turn help you to burn more calories throughout the day, even if you’re not working out (hello bonus!!!). The result?? Lean muscle mass and less body fat….unfortunately this is not something that you can get from cardio alone.

Weight lifting will also help to increase your bone density. Ladies this is very important for us!! After the age of 40 our bone density begins to decrease, why not be proactive about it and start weight lifting now so that we don’t have to worry so much about that once we hit 40?!?

Adding strength training will give you better balance, coordination, agility, power and mobility. Strengthening these things will give you a better ability to do everyday activities without getting hurt. Who doesn’t love that? I mean I know me, I’m extremely clumsy on my own, I don’t need anything adding to it!!

I could go on and on! As you can see strength training does more than help you look and feel confident! The benefits as you continue to get older just continue to multiply! As we age our bodies are at more of a risk for diseases and other things, why not be proactive and do something as simple as lifting weights to help combat that??

In case I haven’t convinced you enough….continue reading for more reasons why women should lift weights!

Continue reading “Why Women Should Lift Weights”

Go Set a Watchman

When I heard that the amazing Harper Lee had written another book, to say that I was excited would be an understatement. When it finally showed up to my house, I was beyond ecstatic.  To Kill a Mockingbird was (and still is) by far one of my favorite books, so I knew that I would love Go Set a Watchman just as much. And I was right, the love I have for this book, I can’t even explain it.

I can honestly say that I think that what made my experience of reading Go Set a Watchman as great as it was, was that I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird before I picked up this book (which by the way killed me a little bit inside because I just wanted to dig right into this book!) I believe that the experience of reading these two books together gave it a sense of one full story, honestly I feel like it could’ve been one really long book (and yes I would’ve read it all!) instead of seeing them as two separate stories, a book and its sequel. I feel that it does both books more justice to read them together, not separate. So if you take anything away from this review….let it be that!

As I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird (for probably the third time), I found myself seeing things that I hadn’t seen before. I was getting a completely different view of the book. When I read it or the first time I felt such a connection with Scout that I blocked out the most important detail of To Kill a Mockingbird, it wasn’t even Scout’s story….it was Atticus’. I know, I know you’re probably thinking “umm but wait Scout was the one telling the story how can you say it wasn’t hers?!?”, and I get that, but I feel like it was still more focused on Atticus than Scout. Scout was the narrator and she was trying to get across her view of her father and all of the amazing things that he did and the lessons that he was trying to teach her and her brother. (In case you missed it I did a review on To Kill a Mockingbird…go check it out!)

Transitioning from To Kill a Mockingbird to Go Set a Watchman, I felt the story dynamic change a little and I soon came to realize that this was Scout’s story, which was probably why I loved this book so much. Scout is my favorite character from To Kill a Mockingbird, I felt such a great connection with her.

In both books Scout is forced to face some harsh realities, some that will turn her world completely upside down. One of the most difficult things about growing up is seeing what the world is really like, realizing that you had this idea in your head about how the world would be when you were older and slowly realizing how wrong you were. We’ve all been there. Think about it, when you were a little kid I’m sure you had plans, ideas about how your life would go. I know I did. Now I’m not saying that I thought the world was all sunshine and rainbows, because that’s definitely not the case. But I will say that I did think that I would be in a completely different place than I am now; and watching the world around me unfold into what it has…verses what it used to be…..it’s scary, devastating and disappointing.

After reading other reviews on the book, I’ve noticed there was a ruckus about Atticus Finch, people saying that he’s changed. But if you really think about it for a minute, I don’t think that is the case. (Don’t shoot the messenger this is just my opinion!!) If you think about it, To Kill a Mockingbird was told by a young Scout, a little girl who looked up to her father and saw the good in him. Go Set a Watchman is based on an older Scout; one who has lived her life and moved on from her small little town, of course there’s a chance she’s going to see a difference in her father. As a 26 year old woman, Scout can now see the things that she was blind to as a child.

If you think about it, in Mockingbird when Atticus is defending Tom he is defending him because he knows him to be innocent of the charge of rape, not once did Atticus mention the color of Tom’s skin in direct relation to the case. Atticus is defending him only for the sake of justice, nothing else. When reading the book for the first time, one might miss that point. I know I did, I mean I was only in seventh grade when I read it for the first time. The way that Scout tells the story of her father defending Tom it makes it seem as though he could possibly be doing it because he believes that Tom should have a fair trial because if anyone else had taken his case it would have ended in a completely different way, simply because of the color of his skin. However, after re-reading it and reading Watchman with it, you can see the difference, simply by the actions of Atticus in the sequel.

Would I say that Atticus is racist? No I wouldn’t, I highly disagree with that. Atticus understood the big picture, we as human beings, are only capable to do so much. The time period that these books take place in were so different, the mindset was so different. That is not me defending him, giving him and excuse or a justification. We just have to realize that sometimes the time and place of an event or situation matter greatly in how a person will react. Atticus had a lot to consider when Scout and her brother were at home, he was their leading example, their only example. Now that Scout is grown and can make decisions on her own, Atticus has a different mind set and only has himself to think about.

As yourself this question; do you do what’s right most of the time?? No, probably not because no one is perfect. BUT, are you still a good person?? I would say yes. It is possibly to still be a good person even if we don’t do what’s right all of the time. Atticus is no different, it seems to be hard for people to accept that Atticus is just another common human being. For years we have held him up on the same pedestal that little Scout did when she was growing up, it’s difficult for us to see any different, and we don’t want to try out of fear of not liking his character anymore. Just remember, not everyone is perfect, it’s okay to make mistakes, we all do it.

For me, I will forever hold Atticus on that high pedestal. After reading Watchman I might even dare to say that I have more respect for him now that I did before. Being able to show his flaws and see him as a more realistic and relatable character makes him an even better person in my mind.

Scout is of course coming to terms with the different obstacles in her life the same way that she always has, by throwing herself completely into it. She is nothing short of passionate when it comes to her beliefs, which I believe is another reason I was so drawn to her character. When she knows what she wants she doesn’t let anyone or anything stop her from achieving it. I admire that quality in her, I love that she is never afraid to speak the truth no matter how harsh it is, or who will listen to hear her. Her passion in her beliefs and her willingness to be heard, seems to get the attention of Maycomb County.

You will notice while reading Watchman that it has more of an adult feel and perspective than Mockingbird did. You will see Scout (better known in the novel by her given name….Jean Louise) lose her innocence and take on a new view of her home as well as her beloved father. Though she is passionate and strong-willed in her beliefs and ideas Scout’s internal struggles in this book are interesting to read and experience. It can be incredibly scary and difficult to reconcile the upbringing of your childhood with your newfound beliefs of being an adult. Even though I resonated greatly with Scout in Mockingbird, I felt that I resonated with her even more so in Watchman, her journey is one that anyone could relate to.

I highly recommend that if you are going to read Go Set a Watchman that you re-read (or re-read) To Kill a Mockingbird first. It will do the book more justice. I also highly suggest that you do your best to keep your mind open, don’t think of Watchman as a sequel (even though that’s what it is), give it a chance to mold itself into the story of Mockingbird. You will have a much more enjoyable experience.

 

Have you read Go Set a Watchman? If you have what did you think? Did you love it? Hate it? Were you indifferent to it? I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

XoXo Shelby

My Top 10 Teacher Essentials

Every teacher has their list of things that they can’t go without for the school year and I don’t blame them one bit! There are things that over the past couple of years I just know I need and then there are a few things that I have just recently discovered. So before I begin rambling, here are my top 10 teacher essentials!

1. A Planner: Now you can of course pick a planner that works for you, well all have different needs and we all like different styles. BUT, for the past 3 years I have been purchasing the KitLife Planner. If you have no idea what that is, a KitLife Planner is a planner that “encourages productivity, thankfulness, healthy habits, and a spirit of giving” (I quoted that right off the front of my planner — and this planner does ALL of that!). This year they added the new “teacher” edition which comes with all of the normal things that a regular KitLife Planner would come with but it has extra stuff in the back. Some of those things include; a place for a daily schedule, a weekly schedule, special needs/allergy list, classroom notes, special occasions and birthdays, contact cards, progress tracker, parent communication log, student logins, volunteer log and some extra pages for whatever you want to use them for! I love this planner so much! It makes my life so much easier and I don’t go anywhere without it!

planner
In case anyone is interested this is the “Festival Style” planner and these planners run between $48-$73 depending on what style you get!

 

 

2. Pens: Now you’re probably thinking “duh everyone needs pens” but I’m not just talking about any pens. If you’re like me (which you might not be and that’s okay!) I need to have everything color coded otherwise I will lose my mind! Now there are a lot of different options that you can choose from but my favorite pens are the Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point Pens, Medium Point, 1.0 mm. I bought the package of 24 and the colors are amazing! Literally every color that you can think of is in this pack! They have their own special place on my desk in their own special cup. Yes that might be a little obsessive but what can I say I like to be organized!

pens

3. A Good Water Bottle: Now I’ve gone through my fair share of water bottles over the years. But I will say that my favorite water bottle so far has been my 48oz Bubba cup! This thing is just amazing! It keeps my water cold and I don’t feel like I’m running to the water fountain every 5 minutes to fill it up. I drink 1 whole one by lunch time then I can fill it up at lunch and I’m good to go for the rest of the day! Get yourself a good water bottle friends!! You will thank me later!

4. Cute Coffee Cup/Mug: Honestly coffee in general should be a teacher essential!! I know without it sometimes I just wouldn’t be able to make it through a day! But I will say that I do enjoy my coffee a little more when it’s in a cute cup! Whether it’s themed for the season/holiday or if it’s just a special cup that one of my students has given me. I love my coffee! If you don’t drink coffee and you prefer tea there’s nothing wrong with putting your tea in a cute cup/mug! 🙂

5. Teacher Bag: Now I’m sure that every teacher knows you need a good teacher bag! When I first started out I was carrying the same bag that I carried in college. It was a good bag and it had plenty of room in it and was easy on the shoulders! But another teacher that I was working with that year bought me a personalized bag that I have been carrying ever since and I absolutely love it!!

6. A Cute Lanyard: We all have had those moments where we’ve lost/misplaced our keys and our ID. One way to be sure that you don’t do that is to have them on a lanyard!! Now mine isn’t necessarily “cute” (it’s The Walking Dead themed) but I love it just the same!! It helps me make sure I always have my keys and my school ID. It’s also a handy place to hang the walkie-talkie when you’re on recess duty and you don’t have pockets!

7. A Nice Watch: Now I’m super into fitness so I own a Fitbit (specifically the Fitbit Blaze) so it doubles as my watch. I love it not only because of the watch function but because I can track how often I’m moving throughout the day. I like to stay active and keep myself moving. My goal as a teacher is to not teach from my desk, I like to move around the room. Sometimes that’s hard to remember to do if the kiddos are just silently working on something. My Fitbit will remind me to move around every once in a while!

8. Cute and Comfy Clothes: I’m the type of person that enjoys being comfortable but still looking cute. But I’m also the type of person that doesn’t like wearing the same outfit over and over again….yes I have a lot of clothes! Personally I wear a lot of dresses and skirts in the warmer months and a lot of leggings/pants and oversized sweaters in the cooler months. If you have a hard time finding oversized sweaters that you like I have a little tip for you…have a husband or boyfriend (or for those of us that might still live at home –> your dad), borrow their sweater, it’s probably perfectly oversized!

9. Cute Classroom Décor: Now this year I will say that I did a lot more decorating than last year and I love the way my classroom looks! It’s not exactly where I want it to be but it’s getting there! Cute classroom décor keeps me happy and helps the kids feel like they have a fun, safe and happy learning environment. (To see some of my classroom décor take a look at my blog post about my update classroom!)

10. Classroom Doorbell: Literally the best invention that I have ever heard of! One of the teachers that I work with had one and then another teacher bought one and she bought one for me as a gift for my room and let me tell you I love it! Now you’re probably thinking, what do you need a doorbell for? Well if you’re a teacher you know that there have probably been times when your room full of 30+ kids is just too loud. At this point you have 2 options, try to yell overtop of them or if you have one blow your whistle. Me personally I don’t want to yell and blowing the whistle sometimes scares the students that are doing what they’re supposed to and I always felt bad doing that. This doorbell gets plugged into an outlet and then you push the button and whichever sound option you choose will ring. The students hear it and they know to “stop, look and listen”. I love it so much and I think every teacher should get one, especially if you work with little ones!!

doorbell
Boomile Wireless Doorbell Waterproof Door Bell Kit, 1000 Feet Operating, 36 Chimes, 4 Level Volume, LED Indicator (purchased on amazon!)

 

My fellow teacher followers what are your teacher essentials?? Leave them in the comment section below!! I would love to hear from you!

XoXo Shelby