10 Things from January
Oh hey! Happy last day of January. I decided that I wanted to try a monthly wrap-up here on the blog where I take some time to reflect on the month and share some things that I discovered, made, did, felt etc. As always, my hope is that you find something here too.
At first I started organizing this post into several categories: doing, feeling, eating. But then I realized that almost everything could fit into more than one category. Aren’t we always feeling as we’re doing things or eating things or making things? So, no nice and neat categories and no order of importance. Just a list of ten things that I want to share with you.
I got this journal for Christmas where you just write a few lines a day. It is big enough for 5 years and you write on the same dated page each year. I’m a regular journaler anyway (not a word, but it should be), and this easily slid into my bedtime routine. I enjoy the practice of daily writing without the overwhelm of recounting lots of details or time commitment.
I’m also doing these writing prompts from The Good Trade. I’m not necessarily doing all of them each month, but as I’m starting to write more the prompts help give me a place to start.
As I taught my 4th graders, everyone is a writer. Of course that isn’t to take away from people whose art and calling is writing. But it is to say, if you want to write, write. Suspend judgement and see what comes out.
Two: Getting back into yoga
I have always loved doyogawithme.com and often tell my friends and family about them. You can read a bit about their story here, but the main take aways are that they feel passionate about making yoga accessible and free for people around the world. They are committed to keeping their free content free forever. I started doing yoga on this platform back in college and as they’ve grown they are adding more and more content for subscribers only. I totally understand this and support them, especially as they hire more yoga teachers with an emphasis on diversity in both demographics and yoga style. You can filter for time, teacher, level of difficulty and yoga style. During the worst of the lockdown they offered two free months to their paid content to anyone. It’s what convinced me I wanted to join their subscriber community.
Three: Spanish music
Songs to dance to, write blog posts to, cook to, exercise to. Some leave quite a bit to be desired in terms of modern gender roles, but I like the beats.
Or for a very different vibe Juan Luis Guerra – Ojala que Llueva Café
Four: Brene Brown
Brene Brown has part of my heart. I love her and I deeply respect the things that come out of her mouth. Braving the Wilderness is one of my favorite books and I have many of her quotes close by. Her podcast, Unlocking Us, frequently has me hmmming and ahhhhing and sending along links to people.
This last one I listened to is deeply important right now. It put words into many things I feel, a gift of many of my favorite writers and life-livers (ok that one didn’t translate as well as I’d hoped) and is a strong caution to us all about ‘othering’ or dehumanizing people.
Listen to this and share it.
Five: Learning my students’ names
I have so many students. This year I’m in middle school instead of elementary and it is a big shift to see students once a week for 45 minutes instead of 7 hours a day with the same kids. Trust me, there are pros to both. Every time I enter a class now, it takes me a second to calibrate to their energy and remember where we were at. Classes felt even more disconnected since I didn’t know many of their names.
So I decided to make an effort to learn their names. At first I thought I’d start with one class at a time, but I just ended up jumping right in with all of them. We played a few games and I quizzed myself on their names. We did activities where I could attach some memory, phrase or idea to their names to remember. I have to report that even with just one week of effort into this, it’s going super well. Now I think I have a weird ability to learn a lot of student names at once…it might be a teacher super power because it doesn’t really apply outside of the classroom. And the benefits are already so tangible. They are more engaged, I’m more invested and we’re building relationship. This is no doubt true in life, not just the classroom.
Six: Having a go-to granola
I have made granola for so long, combining recipes and trying different things. Pretty much since we’ve moved to Spain I’ve had yogurt and granola for breakfast almost exclusively. I thought I’d get tired of it, but I’m just not.
Since I eat it all week, I make it every weekend. Obviously the process has become streamlined and in about 10 minutes of hands-on time and 30 minutes total, I’ve got granola for the week. While I’m constantly mixing it up and adding different add-ins, I’ve honed in on my own everyday granola that I love. Here is the recipe!
Seven: Being part of history
Watching Kamala Harris sworn in as VP is a moment I will never forget. All the way over here in Spain I felt part of something bigger and deeply connected to history and a future full of possibilities.
I’m trying to dive into the world of food photography and turns out, it’s a big world. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison with photos and there are blogs that inspire me on good days and overwhelm me on bad days.
Do I need fancy equipment? Should I take a photography class? Or a photo editing course? I don’t know the answers, but for now, I’m focusing on learning step by step what my style is, what I like and the basics of photography and design.
It’s fun to see the process and my progress.
Nine: Meal planning
People go all in for meal planning and if that works for you- awesome! But what I’m talking about is the bare bones of meal planning. We have a magnetized dry erase board on our fridge where we write 4-6 potential meals for the week and we grocery shop accordingly. Often meals will have overlapping ingredients. Doing it this way leaves space for spontaneous changes and making meals with whatever is left. This has meant less waste and fewer specialty ingredients.
Ten: Surprising myself
I’ve always wanted to make specialty pastries, but always shied away from recipes requiring my own pastry dough. Well no more. I got a wild hair to make danishes and went for it.
Part way through the danish making I found a recipe for Pain Au Chocolate (or chocolate croissants) and decided to add that to the mix because of all the dough I had. While the danishes were fun and delicious, it doesn’t even compare with how these croissants turned out. I felt giddy watching these bake. Almost as giddy as when I ate them.
I surprised myself. It totally worked and I demystified pastry dough in the process. While there was deep joy in eating chocolate croissants that I made from scratch, the deeper joy came from exploring the unexplored, trying something new, and taking a risk. I know that making pastry dough isn’t the biggest risk one can take, but it’s good practice for putting yourself out there and trying new things.
Anything to share from your January?