Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Week Off from School (but Not from Learning)

Our students were off the entire week of Thanksgiving last week. As a 12-month employee, we were scheduled to work the first two days of the week. I ALWAYS end up with more vacation days than required at the end of the year, so I decided to take 2 of my vacation days last week. In this blog post, I’m reflecting on the week and my "vacation" from school.

Over the holiday, I tried to stay off of social media as much as possible. I did get on a little to check for notifications and to read a few blog posts, but mostly I stayed off of social media. I did jump on Pinterest and other blogs a few times, but I spent my time reading and watching the Hallmark Christmas movies when I wasn't with family and friends.

What all did I do? Here’s what…

Little did I expect to start my week with a failure! I had signed up with a friend to run the magic City Half-marathon on Sunday morning, but when she hurt her neck and was unable to run and the weather was cold and rainy, I skipped the race. Instead, I painted furniture for my basement! I have a creative side that has been ignored for a while, so getting to paint was an outlet that I needed.

I had never painted with chalk paint, even though I had seen lots of furniture painted with it. I read Diane’s blog for her homemade chalk paint recipe (I used the Plaster of Paris recipe), then headed to Lowe’s to pick up supplies. I spent a few days painting and sanding, and I love the way it turned out.

Painting furniture led to rearranging the basement, which led to listening to old cassette tapes in the tape deck. I found one where my daughters were about 7 or 8 and were reading into a tape recorder. It was so precious to hear their sweet voices from that age. They couldn’t believe it, and we had a lot of fun listening to the tapes together. 

I hosted #ALedchat Monday evening. The topic was gratitude. For a chat during a holiday week, it was a small but mighty chat!

Even though I skipped the race on Sunday morning, I did several runs over the week. I ran 4 of the days, and also got back to working out. I did a lot of reading blogs looking for workout ideas. I have a space in the basement with a treadmill, kettlebells, dumbbells, and exercise ball. I’ll be back to working out 3 mornings a week (before work) starting tomorrow. 

Beautiful view from today's run

Traditionally, we put up our tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, we decided to go with a real tree, so we put it up on Friday and let it acclimate to the room. Saturday we put the lights on it and enjoyed the Alabama-Auburn game with friends.  Putting ornaments on the tree is one of my favorite traditions with my girls. We’ll be doing that tonight! 

Our first real tree in many years

I also learned how to make J. Alexander’s Chicken Pasta Soup (click HERE for the copycat recipe). Today is my food prep day for the week, which included turkey burgers, sesame green beans, butternut squash, and healthy tuna salad (made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo.) I’ve been reading tons of posts on Pinterest about once-a-month cooking, foods that freeze well, and healthy recipe ideas. (More learning!)

My older sister came to town for Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful to spend time with her and my parents and younger sister. My mom always cooks all of the Thanksgiving feast, so all we had to do was show up and enjoy. We shared lots of laughs during the two days we all spent together.

While I had a week off from school and social media, it’s been a FULL week. I’m looking forward to getting back to the groove of work for the next few weeks as we end the first semester of the school year. Tomorrow night we’re hosting #ALedchat with a special guest moderator, Dr. Frank Buck, who is an expert organizer. This is a great time to get new ideas about getting and staying organized as we close out the year and start a new one. Hope you’ll join us!

What have you learned recently that doesn't have to do with school?

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