Galentine’s Day

When I told my husband I wanted to have a little Galentine’s Day celebration, he had no idea what this was. “What is Galentine’s Day? You get together with your girlfriends, dress in black and vent about men?” I couldn’t help but laugh. I think he was thinking more of an Anti-Valentine’s Day celebration which isn’t what Galentine’s Day is at all. It’s about celebrating the girlfriends in your life, getting together and showing your love for each other.

Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec explains it best, “What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my ladyfriends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas!”

And the best part about Galentine’s Day is you can make it whatever you want. Brunch + Mimosas, Wine Tasting, Movie Slumber Party, Pot Luck, Game Night. It’s a chance to recognize the impact that our friends have on our lives and celebrate!

We wore our PJ’s, drank some bubbly and wine, ate charcuterie and sweets, gave some toasts, played some games and just talked and hung out with each other. I also made pasta from a recipe I saw on TikTok (yes I caved and downloaded TikTok) and it was pretty tasty! You can find the Baked Feta Tomato Pasta recipe here.

Of course we can and should celebrate our gals anytime throughout the year. It’s just something about wearing your PJ’s while sipping on pink champagne with your besties that makes this holiday feel extra special. ❤️

10 Reasons Why I Love Being A Teacher

On Friday I finished my last Zoom meeting with my second graders for the 2019-2020 school year. So many smiles, lots of laughs, a couple of tears and so much love. I can’t believe the school year has already ended. Hopefully this is the first and last year it will end online with a Zoom meeting (crossing my fingers we can teach in person in the fall). As I reflect back on the year, I think about just how much I love this job. Below are 10 reasons why.

1. EACH DAY IS NEW AND EXCITING.

Some people enjoy a 9-5 routine job in an office (and that’s great!). For me though this is not the case. I love that as a teacher, each day is new and fresh from the previous one as no two days are ever alike. Some days are challenging, some are spectacular and some might fall somewhere in between. It’s very difficult to have a boring day at work when you are a teacher (the time often flies by). You always leave with at least one exciting, funny, or interesting story to share. This is true even with virtual learning through Zoom meetings!

2. THERE IS A ROOM FULL OF SMALL HUMANS SO EAGER TO SEE YOU EACH MORNING.

Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? I know I have. Typically when I have these mornings I feel cranky up until I am greeting by my smiling kiddos. “Mrs. Kanuch! Mrs. Kanuch! Did you know I got a new pet?” “Guess what Mrs. Kanuch, I won my soccer game last night!” “Hi Mrs. Kanuch! How are you? How is Edgar?” “Mrs. Kanuch, can we play Kahoot today?!” It’s hard to have a bad morning when each day you are greeted with so much excitement and enthusiasm (especially on a Monday when the kids haven’t seen you for two days). I love this about my job. It’s seriously the best!

3. YOUR CO-WORKERS + TEAMMATES BECOME YOUR BEST FRIENDS.

Being a teacher is hard work. It’s important to have people who you can talk to throughout the day and vent to when things become challenging at school. People who know what it’s like when you are dealing with a difficult parent or behavior problem. Who you can lean on and who can give you advice when you need it most. You also need people to share successes, dress up and have fun with! To exchange ideas and grow with. My most memorable friends are those who I’ve learned from, laughed with, and who have made each school day a bit brighter (plus we always have the best times together outside of the classroom). Love all the teachers in my life!

4. KIDS ARE VERY BLUNT AND HONEST.

I remember one year reading a story called Bugs in my Hair by David Shannon. It’s all about lice. One of my students stood up out of no where and said, “Yeah uh I had lice. Yes me, I had lice. This is why, you see…my head is shaved (as he’s rubbing his head). My hair is gone because of those lice.” The way he said this was so matter of fact and so serious (honestly it was hard for me to keep a straight face). Another student came up to me randomly, “Um, do you know why I was in the bathroom so long? (gets real close and whispers in my ear) I poooed” and then she did a smirk face 😏. Lipstick on your teeth? Hair out of place? 7-year-olds got your back. One year I was thinking about writing a book on ‘Things Second Graders Say‘ because there is honestly no filter. Kids are hilarious without even trying! And when they tell you you are beautiful + nice + kind, you know they really mean it.

5. YOU ARE TREATED LIKE ROYALTY.

Teacher walks down the hall. Student whispers to a friend, “Look! That’s Mrs……, she’s so and so’s teacher! I know her!!” All the kids know who you are. Anytime you are passing by and a student sees you, they will say hi. Half the time you aren’t even sure who the child is but of course you say hi back. A teacher drops something on the ground? 10+ kids will immediately run over to pick it up. End of the year yearbook signing? There is always a huge line of kids waiting for you to sign your name. Yep, just your name. A student sees you walking toward a door? They will wait an extra 30 seconds before you get there, just to make sure they can hold it open for you.

6. YOU GET TO CELEBRATE ALL THE THINGS.

  • Harvest Party? ✔️
  • Christmas? Ramadan? Diwali? ✔️✔️✔️
  • Valentine’s Day AKA best day ever in 2nd grade? ✔️

Celebrating holidays as an adult is great. But celebrating them with a room full of kids? SO MUCH FUN! The best part is learning about the different cultures and traditions individual students celebrate each year. Not only do we celebrate holidays in second grade but we celebrate accomplishments throughout the day. Published a narrative story? That calls for a writing celebration! Finished our geometry unit? Let’s celebrate by building 3D shapes out of toothpicks and marshmallows! Met our reading goals? Free choice partner reading time! As a teacher, it’s easy to find something each day to celebrate – big or small – since kids are constantly growing. It’s amazing to be able to watch your students grow and achieve their goals, and to be proud that you were part of the process that helped them get there.

7. THAT FEELING WHEN A STUDENT HAS THAT ‘AHA’ MOMENT.

This is what it is all about. Maybe you have been working for months with a student to help him with his blends and digraphs. Or a child has been struggling with subtracting 3-digit numbers. They may begin to feel discouraged and say things like, I don’t get it. This is too hard. I’ll never be able to do this. You try teaching them the skills in different ways to meet their direct needs. You encourage them. You support them. You never give up on them. Then suddenly….they get it! Aha, I did it! I’m so proud of myself! I can do this! Here, let me show you how I can do this! That feeling of helping your students find success is absolutely amazing.

8. YOUR INNER CREATIVE SIDE GETS TO COME TO LIFE.

From setting up your classroom before school starts, making anchor charts, creating class systems, displaying student work in the hallway, making unique bulletin boards, designing engaging lessons, throwing parties/celebrations, teaching outside the box, etc. – being creative occurs in all aspects of teaching. I love the freedom we are given as teachers to design and create our own work environment.

9. YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY SO MUCH LOVE.

It’s so rewarding to be able to work in an environment where you are surround with love from 20+ little humans. They tell you all the time by saying things like, I love you! You’re the best! Best teacher ever! I wish you could come to my birthday party! I want to stay in your class forever! My very first year teaching I created a ‘Love Book’ and since then I have filled it with art + pictures + letters that my students have given me throughout the years. Sometimes during a busy or stressful day, I can open up that book and it instantly puts a smile on my face.

10. YOU MAKE AN IMPACT ON LIVES EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Do you remember your second grade teacher? What about your third? Fourth? Or any teacher who had a positive impact on your life? I know I do. I can’t tell you all the concepts I learned in second grade or what specific skills were taught, but I do remember lots of little things. Like how I misspelled the word ‘Halloween’ on the spelling test and how I was always so nervous to be called on during reading groups. Most importantly though, I remember the way I felt being in that classroom: safe, happy and loved.

Teachers impact the lives of students in more ways than they may ever know. A student might hear the words, I am proud of you. I believe in you. I care about you. for the first time ever from their teacher. Teachers teach beyond the textbooks and curriculum. They teach students how to collaborate, how to problem solve, how to express their thoughts and their ideas. They teach students how to learn from their mistakes, to be kind to each other, to have empathy, to stand up for what is right. These skills are so important, especially with the state of the word we are in right now. Having a positive impact on students’ lives every single day is one of the greatest gifts of being a teacher. 💞

30th Birthday – Quarantine Style

It’s challenging to plan a birthday party in the middle of a pandemic, especially a 30th birthday. My husband Tommy turned 30 on April 10th and for his birthday we were planning on taking a two week road trip from Seattle to the Grand Canyon and back.

We were going to travel to Helena, MT to visit our friends, hike and then camp around there in this log cabin. From there the plan was to drive to Yellowstone, head to Salt Lake City, go to Antelope Canyon, travel to the Grand Canyon and end our trip in Portland. We wanted to rent a van from Escape Campervans (with a queen bed, kitchenette and everything you need for a great road trip) and we were planning on bringing our pup Edgar to make this a family adventure. Unfortunately we canceled since we’re in the middle of a corona crisis and had to come up with plan B for Tommy’s birthday.

I saw this Birthday Parade idea from a teacher I follow on Instagram who posted about celebrating her sons birthday. They had a parade of cars driving by, honking, yelling out the window, cheering, etc. So I thought, why not have a Surprise Drive by Birthday for my 30 year old hubs. This way he could still see all his favorite people while still maintaining social distancing. And WOW…it was amazing.

We started his birthday like any other person in quarantine would; by sleeping in late, lounging around the house, not getting dressed and staying in our pjs. We purchased the game Crash Bandicoot for xBox and played this for a good part of the day (I was obsessed with this game when I was younger, if you’ve never played I suggest getting it). Between racing on Crash Bandicoot for hours and getting up for parts of the day to be productive, I baked Tommy a birthday cake and we had Bloody Merrys (he still had no idea about the surprise planned for later).

Eventually I asked Tommy to shower and put on real clothes (remember we were lounging living the quarantine life) because I told him I wanted to take a picture of him opening his gift. For part of his gift I needed to have my laptop projected onto the TV and asked him to help me with this. At this point he was starting to wonder what was going on and said he was getting worried. He thought I was going to surprise him with a Zoom Birthday Meeting with all of his friends (something he specifically said he did not want).

I assured him we would not be having a Zoom meeting and instead played the video I made for him; 30 Reasons Why I Love You. By the end of the video we are both teary eyed and cracking up and I told him it’s time for his second surprise. Oh no, what. Oh no what are you planning, what are we doing; was what Tommy kept asking as I had him walk outside to the street.

I showed him the sign and balloons on my car and told him this was the surprise, to wait there so I could take his picture. At this point he’s starting to get suspicious, looks down the hill and sees the long row of cars about to drive up. He couldn’t believe it.

So many of Tommy’s closet friends and family members came out to celebrate him on his 30th! Cars were decorated with balloons + banners + streamers, bday signs were out, dogs + kids + babies in the backseats, sunroofs open, gifts passed through car windows (lots of delicious baked goods because ya know great quarantine hobby), lots of honking, lots of cheering. 14 cars total. It was awesome.

Among all the balloons and gifts was a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, so naturally Tommy got down on one knee and chugged it. After the parade a group of friends and family members parked on the street and the drive by parade turned into little block party (all while maintaining social distancing), with some champagne and cake to follow.

After everyone left, Tommy and I enjoyed the cake to ourselves since he blew out the candles and we didn’t want to spread germs to anyone. But dang! Three layer cake…it was good. Recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Highly recommend and I’m not usually a baker.

His final surprise was a Virtual Birthday Card from a website called Group Greeting (Thanks Brann for recommending this site!). You can choose from a variety of cards, send the link to friends + family to have them sign and then it gets emailed out whenever you schedule. You can also turn it into a PDF to print out and deliver in person. (Some offices have been using these to stay connected. Also there are more than just birthday cards on this site, could be used in lots of different ways).

Perhaps a Birthday Parade will become the new normal for a while. It might sound like a silly idea, but the impact of seeing the people who mean the most to you on your birthday is just incredible (even if it is just for a quick drive by moment). I definitely recommend planning or participating in this if you know of an upcoming birthday and are looking for a creative way to celebrate. Great for all ages, something to look forward to, gets the whole family out of the house, very unique, lots of laughter, lots of fun and so very memorable.