Friday, September 16, 2011

Too Cool for School

I recently became mildly obsessed with making these cute and super easy lunch and snack bags. I am forever stashing away scraps of fabrics that really should be tossed out because they are too small for most projects, but now they have a purpose! Snack bags! Oh yes indeed, I am excited about these snack bags!

Also, pants! I really really really wanted to love these pants because I adore every single thing on the Made website and the idea of flat front trouser type pants for my boys made me really happy. But sadly, I must report, that after two attempts I believe I am incapable of making those flat fronts truly flat. Oh well. (I do like the knee pads, though.)

New pants, snack bags, that's right: it's preschool time! And this year we decided to send Sawyer along with Jack and YES they are in the same class and YES we did already apologize to the teacher for that one. And NO we are not cutting Sawyer's hair. EVER. Apparently.

Jack is the big man on campus, having attended the preschool last year, but this has been totally new territory for Sawyer. He's super excited about the whole thing and will tell anyone who is willing to listen all about "mine preschool" (he is kind of a Deutchlander at times) and circle time and naps and soccer and I keep hearing him singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" under his breath, which I assume is a preschool song since it's not in our household music repertoire which consists mostly of off-key versions of "Love Potion Number 9" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".

And just what will Brent be doing with all of his kid-free time? Will he be polishing the china, watching soap operas, and ironing the bedsheets? Nope. It's back to school time for Brent, as well.

It's really too bad that the summer harvest bounty has to coincide with my return to work. It's hard to find the motivation to tackle flat after flat of tomatoes when you've spent the entire day educating the future of our country. But we will have enough pizza sauce, dammit. Even if I have to stay up past my bedtime to make it happen.

The kids and I tried our hands at homemade granola this week. Why have I never tried this before? So easy and so delicious. Probably kinda healthy, too. Here's what we did:

3 cups oatmeal
1 cup chopped nuts (I had walnuts)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup light (in flavor) olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup*

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil and heat the oven to 300. Mix ingredients and press onto cookie sheet to 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate, then bake for 20 more. That's it. Store in an airtight container and use within a week.
*I used 1/4 cup but Brent thought it could have been sweeter. So maybe add more syrup? Your call.

Speaking of work, this is my seventh year (somebody please tell me how this happened? Also, I have a four and a half year old? Wtf?) and things are getting a tad on the stale side. So I decided that I would try to reinvent myself this year so that I could become more of a cool teacher. Go ahead and laugh when I tell you that this is harder than you might think. For starters, I am not cool by nature, so we're working against some powerful natural forces here. Secondly, it's exhausting to try to stay current with the youth of today because they are just so damn fickle and usually by the time I figure out something cool it's already on its way out. Nevertheless I decided to rebrand myself and that involved learning about Lady Gaga and contemplating the appropriateness of skinny jeans on a 34 year old mother of two and creating a brand spankin' new intro powerpoint for the first day of school.

Have you ever tried to condense your life into a few powerpoint slides? It's kind of a humbling experience. Just who am I? I needed to sent a powerful message to my students with this one: I am your teacher and I am also cool. This would be tricky.

(Lesson one: the oxymoron!)

Except that when I started putting together the pieces of my life in that powerpoint it became painfully obvious that the things I like, the things I'm into, the things that I do that make me who I am, are all decidedly NOT cool. Especially not to teenagers.

I like to sew.
I like to cook.
I like to clean my house.
I get really excited about freezer corn.
I eat a lot of cookies.
I ride my bike. (That one might be cool?)
I make snack bags and then take pictures of them.
Sometimes I run.
I have a husband, two kids, a dog, some chickens, and a mortgage.
I recently discovered the joy of homemade granola.

Hmm. Maybe I should take out the part about the snack bags. Would that make me sound cooler?

Remember when being really nerdy became cool for awhile? I might just have to wait for that one to come around again.

In the meantime, I have snack bags to make and tomatoes to slice and cookies to bake and Lady Gaga songs to listen to. There's a lot of work to be done around here.

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