Posted in Food for Thought, Life in General

The Time Conscious Teacher

My husband has often pointed out to me how (as he calls it) obsessed with “time” I am.  At first I was very defensive about it, but as I sat down to really think about it I realized he was right.  I’m the first to point out when we should leave for an event.  We have to be on time you know.  Can’t be late.  I’m always wondering:  Do I have enough time?  I’m also a planning fanatic.  So yes!  I’m obsessed with time and being a teacher is the culprit of my obsession.  My day is run by the clock and bells!  Go figure

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The best way to explain why I am the way I am is to list examples…teaching examples.  Here goes.

  1.  The first bell rings at 8:21.  Not 8:20, but 8:21.
  2.  School gets out at 2:47.  Not 2:45, not 2:50, but 2:47.
  3. Although school lets out at 2:47, my site time is 3:12, not 3:10, not 3:15. but 3:12.
  4.  Sometimes an announcement will be made that Mr. or Mrs. ______class was let out late so students might be 2 minutes late to their next class.  Ugh
  5. I’m always reminding students of the time to keep them on track with their daily assignments.
  6. I make a lesson plan for each day and I feel compelled to finish everything during that period.  It doesn’t always happen so it gets tacked on to the next day.  Great..now I’m behind!
  7. I don’t have the luxury of leaving the classroom when I want.  I even have to schedule when I pee.  I make a mad dash between classes hoping not to be late myself!

These a some examples I’ve come up with to explain my “time obsession”.  I’m trying to be mindful of my obsession with time, but it can be difficult.  When I’m off the clock as a teacher, I will often catch myself wondering about time related ideas, things, etc.  As my husband tells me frequently…”relax”.  That would be so nice.  I am working on it though,  being mindful of my obsession with time is half the battle.

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Posted in Food for Thought, Life in General

The Gift of Life

Today I woke up to a crisp autumn morning (53 degrees in California). Bailey and I went for our walk on the green belt in our neighborhood. I live in the foothills of Mt Diablo and I get to stare at this mountain everyday when I walk. Most of the time I lose myself in thought about what a beautiful place I live in. It never gets old looking at the mountain. I’m so thankful for the life I have. I try never to take it for granted.

This afternoon my husband and I attended a memorial for a friend who tragically lost his life in a hit and run accident. I’ve never liked these type of events: funeral, memorial service, celebration of life, what ever you want to call it I just don’t like them. Perhaps I’m reminded of my own mortality. I must say, however, that these events force people together who might not get together in the social circles they typically frequent. We also wanted to be there to support his wife. My husband and I both commented on the unusual mix of people. Young, old, tattooed, pierced, straight, gay, short hair, long hair, light skin, dark skin such an array of diversity. I savored all the differences. Our friend touched many lives and it was evident this afternoon.

People, if they wished, could say a few words if they wanted to. Many people stood up to talk. I heard such passion and conviction in their words. So much positivity. As I stated, our friend had such an impact on so many people over the years. I also heard, “I wish he knew….”, “I wish I told him…..”. Ahhh..regret and guilt. Woulda shoulda coulda.

It really got me thinking about this gift we have….life. We are all mortal. There is no certainty or guarantee that we will wake up to see a new day. Depressing? Yes! But true. I remember hearing a gentleman say to live fearlessly. His point was that many things go unsaid. Live fearlessly and tell the people in your life what they mean to you. What is the worst thing that can happen. I’m sharing this with you, but I’m also telling myself the same thing. It’s my goal to embrace this life of mine and live fearlessly.

xoxo Wendy

Posted in Food for Thought, Healthy Eating, Life in General

What’s To Become Of Whole Foods? Here Is What I Found Out.

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I’m a little late in posting this, but I wanted to wait to see what would happen after the acquisition.

Monday, August 28, 2017 was the day Amazon officially acquired Whole Foods Market. Amazon was very clear that prices would be slashed.

“Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples across its stores, with more to come,” the company said in a statement.

I was very worried about this take over.  My worries revolved around quality and customer service which are so very important to me.  I buy strictly organic when it comes to fruit and vegetables.  Would there be less organic produce?  Would the quality of produce suffer?   I often chat up the employees working in produce.  From what I’m told, even a lot of their fruit and veggies labeled as conventional are organically grown. That USDA Organic label is very expensive which is why many farmers choose to go without.  I guess I will find out on my next shopping trip.organic4colorsealgif

Any canned goods I buy are organic and I look to make sure that the lining is non-BPA.  Whole Food’s 365 brands are top notch in my book and I buy them often. They are the equivalent  of the generic “store brand”  What was going to happen here?  Would their strict guidelines on non-BPA go away?

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Fish and poultry were also a major concern of mine.  The fish I buy is wild caught, not farmed.  I must say however, that they have very strict guidelines on their farmed fish.

Many people have concerns about farm-raised seafood…for good reason! A lot of harm has been done by poorly managed seafood farms. That’s why we decided to do something about it. We do farmed better. Fresh or frozen, we know where all of our farm-raised seafood comes from, and require third-party verification of water quality and dozens of other quality standards, including what it was fed, and what it wasn’t. Bottom line, all our farmed seafood is Responsibly Farmed seafood.

Be that as it may, I still buy all wild caught seafood. Would Whole Foods continue to have a wide selection of wild caught fish or would there be more farm raised fish?

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I make sure the poultry I buy is organic and free range.  It’s important to me how these chickens are raised and what they are fed.  Whole Foods has a strict 5-Step animal welfare rating  which I pay close attention to.  Again, that same question about standards.

Here’s what I found out.  When I went shopping this morning I anticipated sale signs to be all over the store.  To my surprise that was not the case.  In fact, none of the items that I typically buy were on sale.

Produce:  The only organic produce I saw on sale were tomatoes and avocados.  Some conventional produce seemed slightly lower.

Seafood:  A sight price reduction on farmed-raised, but wild caught prices remained the same.

Poultry: Organic, free range was status quo.  No price change.

At the check out line I was told that of the thousands of brands that they carry, only 75 items were on sale.  WOW!  No savings for me.  This was not what I expected at all. Maybe my fears were premature, but only time will tell.  After all it’s only been a week since the take over.

Posted in Food for Thought, Life in General

Take a Deep Breath – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Wow!  That is easier said than done.  Right now my summer is coming to an end and I’m getting ready to welcome approximately 100 7th graders into my classroom on Tuesday. I’m not new to teaching.  I’ll be starting my 17th year.  (Yay me!)  But……those first day jitters always get to me.  Even the other veteran teachers I work with feel this way.

There are a few things I do to relax and here is one.  I wanted to share with you an app that I use called 7s Meditation  Everyday at 3:00 pm my phone beeps and I receive a mindful message.

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These reminders enable me to refocus and ground myself.  Some days I need it more than others.  Sometimes the messages are very appropriate for the day.  I set the time to 3:00 to get my messages because that is when my students are gone.

Here is an example of a message you might receive.  When your phone beeps and you open your app, Take a deep Breath (and I do) pops up.  Next, your 7s meditation is displayed, then SMILE and the smiley face.

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It’s a nice way to end the teaching day and to be mindful.  Many times this app gets me to reflect on the day.  I’ve been using this app consistently for about 4 years.  I look forward to getting my message each day.  Messages rarely repeat, and when they do, I look at it as a nice reminder.

I encourage you to download the app and try it.  Let me know how you like it!

 

 

 

Posted in Health, Life in General

Coconut Water – The Sparkling Kind

Okay…so I’m on a coconut water kick. Sparkling coconut water that is! I was recently on the east coast visiting my family in New Jersey. My sister, Amy, knows that I love sparkling water and asked me if I’ve ever tried Sanavi. She handed me a glass, I took a sip, and I was in heaven.

It’s bubbly with a refreshing coconut flavor. Sanavi is organic and unsweetened….nothing artificial is added. Best of all, it is zero calories. It’s not available in stores where I live in California, so I found that I can order it through Amazon. Yahoo!!! Each bottle is 17 fluid ounces and comes in a case of twelve for $17.99. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you’re in luck since it ships Prime.

A bit of trivia…..The name SANAVI is derived from the Latin words for health and life. Thank you Amy for turning me on to this delicious, sparkling coconut drink!

Posted in Essential OIls, Health, Life in General

Essential Oils And Your Classroom

Today is August 6th and it won’t be long until my kiddos come back to school.  For those who know me, you know that I teach 7th grade English and History.  It’s so important to me to remain healthy as well as my students throughout the school year and to create a calm, comforting classroom.

This year my go-to essential oils in the classroom will be doTerra’s On Guard and Balance blends.

The  On Guard blend consists of the oils: wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary.  It supports the immune system by giving it a boost killing germs and airborne pathogens.  This is a definite must in my classroom throughout the year for both me and my students.

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The Balance blend consists of the oils: Spruce, Ho Wood, Frankincense, Blue tansy, and Blue Chamomile.  It has a warm, woody aroma which creates a sense of calm and well being.  It helps with attention deficit and hyperactivity among others.  It’s a wonderful grounding blend and I use it often.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of these or any of the doTerra oils, feel free to send me a message or check out my site at  www.mydoterra.com/wendykernmurphy

Posted in Food for Thought, Life in General

A Human’s Prayer to a Dog

I have had dogs all my life starting at the age of 5.  There is just something about having a dog in your life.  Dogs are unconditional.  They are the most loving and forgiving creatures on this Earth.  Dogs are the ultimate companion.  They want to be wherever you are; including the bathroom!  LOL  I don’t think my life would be complete without a dog in it.

Meet Bailey Grace

img_2225Bailey is my 9, almost 10 year old English Lab.  Bailey came into my life when my dear friend became ill and could not care for her.  I was supposed to look after her for about 2 months.  That was 5 years ago!  My friend has recovered from her illness, but needed to move out of state and we thought it was best that Bailey stay with me.

This picture was taken about 2 weeks after Bailey came to stay with us.  We were watching Sunday football and out of the blue she jumped up on the couch and snuggled with me.  I knew at that point that she felt secure.

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Bailey became part of the family during my Golden’s last years of life (Rusty pictured on the left).  I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her when he passed away.  It was very sudden, so I didn’t have time to prepare myself.  Whether she knows it or not, she was an integral part of my grieving process.

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And yes, even when she gets into the Christmas stockings, I still love her.  Doesn’t she look guilty here?  LOL

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So getting back to “A Human’s Prayer to a Dog”:  Thank you Bailey for coming into my life and letting me care for you.  Thank you for all the joy you bring to me.   If you want to see more of Bailey, she has an instagram page called: thebaileyblog.

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Posted in Life in General, Travel

Road Tripping – Seattle, Washington

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The Space Needle. Perfect cover pic for Seattle

 

I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 17 years and have never made it up to Washington!  Time to go!

When planning our adventure in Seattle, I settled on an RV park called Lake Pleasant RV Park.  If we stay at a place that we really like, I will always post about it.  We were here for four nights and it was definitely worth it.  Lake Pleasant has full hookup sites, cable and limited wifi.  Campsites surround a beautiful lake that is filled with fish with many geese and ducks.  Bailey was very happy here and couldn’t understand why the wildlife didn’t want to “play” her.  When we return to Seattle we will definitely stay here again.

If you are going to do the “tourist” thing in Seattle like we did, I definitely recommend purchasing a City Pass.  For $79 (adult) this is what you receive:

Your CityPASS Includes

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It is absolutely worth it and we took advantage of every penny.  Our first stop was to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum named after Dave Chihuly.  He is a glass blowing extraordinaire.

“His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Below are some shots taken inside the museum.  It’s tough to get a picture that do these works of art any justice.

The outside gardens were just breathtaking!  Each garden area had glass accents that enhanced the garden colors.

Our next stop was the Space Needle.  I really wanted to “get this over with” for lack of a better phrase since I have an acute fear of heights.  I mean sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, shaking…pure full on panic mode.  I had to get in the right mindset and it was now or never.  The Space Needle is 605 feet tall.  The only way up is via elevator and takes approximately 41 seconds to get to the top.  The line was not that long and I was surprisingly calm.  When it was our turn to enter the elevator I noticed there were glass panels so you could view the ride.  Hmmm…. Once we made it to the top I was fine.  The whole area was enclosed. What fabulous views!  As you can see from my smiling face I’m having a good time.  Even if you are afraid of heights, it’s really not that bad getting up to the top.  I highly recommend it.  Check that off the Bucket List.

After the Space Needle we went to the Museum of Pop Culture.  You have a choice of between the museum or the Woodland Park Zoo.

The Museum of Pop Culture is a leading-edge nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture. With its roots in rock ‘n’ roll, MoPOP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through our collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower our visitors.

I thought the museum was pretty underwhelming; at least for me anyway.  One thing I thought was cool was this guitar structure.  They had an interesting Star Trek and Wizard of Oz exhibit as well as a tribute to Jimmy Hendrix.  However, next time I think I will opt for the zoo.  Just personal preference.

NEXT DAY

Today’s adventure includes the Public Market, a harbor tour, and the Seattle Aquarium.  It’s no secret, at least to those who know me well, that I hate large crowds.  On a scale 1-10 of “crowdiness”, this place is off the charts.  I really wanted to see Pike Place Fish Company.  You hear about these guys throwing fish around to entertain the crowds.  I managed to elbow my through the crowds to get a picture.  Okay…check.  Next, I felt like I was part of a cattle herd headed back to the barn to get milked.  OMG get me out of here. I wish I could have seen what the market had to offer, but it was impossible.  We visited during the week, not a weekend.  I can only imagine what it’s like on a Saturday or Sunday.  If you plan to visit the Public Market, just go with the mindset that it will be crowded and accept it.

Our next stop was Argosy Cruises.  We thought an afternoon harbor cruise would fit the bill.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, which we were told is not the norm for Seattle.  This was a one hour hour harbor cruise with great views of the  city. Our tour M.C. was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot of Seattle history.

After our harbor cruise we visited the Seattle Aquarium which was just down the block.  It is a small aquarium, but definitely worth your while.  They had touch pools, a giant 120,000 gallon exhibit with a plethora of marine life, and a sea otter exhibit just to name a few.  They had many volunteers that could answer questions or just input their knowledge.

The next day we decided it was a chill day.  We needed to get ready to head out to West Glacier which meant laundry, grocery shopping, etc.  We really loved Seattle, however the down side was the traffic.  I thought traffic in the Bay Area was bad.  Anyway, the traffic will not deter me from visiting again and definitely will take advantage of the City Pass.

Posted in Food for Thought, Life in General

Life Is All About Balance

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My husband and I were drinking our coffee Sunday morning and he tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention.  He pointed to his Facebook page and I saw this quote by Lori Deschene.  I looked at him and he was smiling at me.  I know that smile well.  It’s the smile that says, “See?  I’m not the only one who thinks this is true.”

I’ve always been the type to be on the go.  I’ve never really thought of myself as an A type personality, but it’s the story of my life.  Gotta do this, gotta do that…have to go here, there and everywhere.  It’s taken a while, actually quite a long time for me to be okay with just sitting and doing “nothing”.  I always felt guilty, like I was doing something wrong, if I just sat and did nothing for a moment.

Now I’m more okay with doing “nothing”.  Life is a gift and we need to embrace it.  We have to slow down and reflect on where we have been.  What is that saying?  “Don’t let life pass you by.”  How about, “Take time to smell the roses.”  Both are cliche, I know, but you get the gist.  How many of you have difficulty doing “nothing”?  How many of you are okay with it?  Just curious.

We’re only here on this Earth for a short while, so take a moment to do “nothing” and reflect on your journey so far.

 

Posted in Life in General, Travel

Road Tripping – Portland, Oregon

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I took this picture during our travels and thought it was just perfect for a cover.

Well we made it to Portland!  Woo Hoo!  Nothing but sunny skies.  Unusual I know.  Portland is known for its unpredictable weather.  Usually when we get to a destination after a day of Rving, we just take it easy and hang out.  We plan what we’re going to do for the duration of our stay.

The next day was really hot.  Triple digits to be exact, but that didn’t stop us.  Meanwhile we’re thinking to ourselves, “We left triple digits in the Bay Area when we started out.  Guess it’s following us!”  Go figure.  The Portland Saturday Market is always a fun place to visit.  It’s huge market with many vendors where there is something for everyone.  There is also an extensive food court.

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We moseyed our way into the Pearl District and found ourselves in an area of warehouses that were converted into restaurants.  I thought this was an excellent way to repurpose  buildings that would have otherwise been torn down.  We decided to eat at Tilt.  This is super casual dining.  You order your meal and they give you a light up buzzer to let you know when your food is ready and you pick it up.  The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a variety of sides.  We opted for a turkey club and jalapeno tater tots to share.  OMG!  The sandwich was ginormous easily feeding four comfortably.  Glad we decided to share!  The tater tots were to die for.  Crunchy on the outside and mashed potato like on the inside.  The jalapeno flavor came through just enough to get a kick. Yummy-ness.

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We need to walk off this lunch…Geez.  About 2 miles later we find ourselves in the Alphabet District.  The streets are laid out with letters of the alphabet.  It’s an urban area with tons of shopping and restaurants. Definitely a place you can loose yourself for a day.

Where do we find ourselves?  Ordering ice cream from Salt and Straw and not just any ice cream.  This ice cream joint has very unique flavors.  They will let you sample all flavors with a smile if you want.  If you don’t want 2 scoops of ice cream, they will combine a 1/2 scoop of each flavor into one scoop!  Score.  I played it safe and had a 1/2 scoop of Honey Lavender and a 1/2 scoop of Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons.  My husband on the other hand did not play it safe.  He chose a 1/2 scoop of Celery Root and Strawberry and a 1/2 scoop of Toasted Baguette PB & J.  We shared our flavors and all were absolutely delicious.  I was so excited to find out they have locations in San Francisco.

Well what do you know!  On the other side of the street, kiddy corner to Salt and Straw was Blue Star Donuts .  We told ourselves this would be dessert after dinner.  Of course we would walk off the ice cream when we trek back to the car.  Blue Star Donuts prides itself with quality over quantity.  There were two people working in the shop and no line out the door like cliche Voodoo Donuts.  “Why not?” we asked ourselves.  We each decided on two flavors.  Starting in the upper left of the picture below and going clockwise: Valrlona Crunch (filled), Mexican Chocolate, Blueberry, and Meyer Lemon (filled).  Words can’t describe these donuts they were that good.  I think it’s fair to say we ate ourselves around Portland today.

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The next day after a good nights sleep, we headed out to the Rose Garden .  This beautiful garden has over 500 varieties of roses and over 7000 plants.  It was absolutely breathtaking and these pictures do not do it justice.  Just rows upon rows of beautifulness.  You really need to go and experience it for yourself.  This is a test garden, so any variety that does not make the cut gets destroyed.  That made me somewhat sad.  Tip:  Parking can be tricky.  We parked in the residential neighborhood right before the grounds for free.  There is also a Japanese Garden that we passed on.  Too long of a line and only a certain amount of people could go in at one time.

We decided to tour the Pittock Mansion.  This mansion was built in 1914 by Henry Pittock and his wife.  Both arrived to Portland in a covered wagon!  Pittock was the owner of The Oregonian Newspaper.  I love touring old mansions.  So much history.  When I do things like this I try to picture myself back in the day.  What happened in this room?  What conversations were had?  I’m really a nerd when it comes to old mansions like this.

After our self-guided tour through the mansion we were able to tour the grounds.  In the back of the property there is an outlook with a beautiful view of Portland.  What a perfect way to end the day!

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