Coffee Nut Smoothie

Smoothie-2 copy

It took 42 years, but I finally found a breakfast I can stomach that also keeps me satisfied until lunch.

I never drank coffee until I started working at the school. Even then, I didn’t drink coffee. I drank what my middle brother not-so-affectionately referred to as a Grande Frappuccino of Chemicals and Corporate Wealth, with Soy. (AKA: Salted Caramel Frappuccino.)

Then, over the summer in Lake Tahoe, I had a blended drink from Peet’s Coffee. I was, like, oh. This is why everyone says Starbuck’s is crap. I had no idea Starbuck’s uses coffee syrup in place of coffee in their drinks. Go ahead and laugh–the Mr. did. So did my brothers and Mikey, my son who isn’t even allowed to drink coffee. I know, ridiculous, but I wasn’t paying attention. I just figured it was coffee, soy milk, and chemicals blended up. Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.

I knew I had to come up with something different when I cut out sugar a while back, and this smoothie is the result. Fair warning, this smoothie is not sweet! The only sugar comes from the banana and nut butter, so the dark, bitter coffee flavor plays a starring role. It also has a thin consistency. I only use one frozen banana so the texture is like a thick chocolate milk. If you’ve been waiting your whole life for a watery, bitter smoothie to have for breakfast, consider this your lucky day.

Coffee Nut Smoothie

1.5      cups milk (I alternate between unsweetened soy and almond)
0.5     cups cold brew coffee
1         frozen banana
1 TB   nut butter (I alternate between Sun Butter and Justin’s Maple Almond Butter)
2 TB   unsweetned cocoa powder

This makes almost 4 cups (!) of smoothie at around 300-400 calories, depending on the milk you use. Using almond milk gives you a slightly better nutritional profile for less calories, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. And, yes, I do use canning jars for my smoothies and have done so for 9 years–long before hipsters made it twee. The lid and straw are a recent and much welcome addition since driving to school with an open canning jar was a huge pain. Whatever you use, it has to be big enough to hold 4 cups.



Girl Books, Boy Books


The library is now in session! The picture books look good, but the middle grade area needs massive organizing. I’m trying to remain calm despite the chaos. It kills me that I don’t know where every book in the library is, but if we get the automation software I’ll need to take all the books off the shelves to enter them. I refuse to organize the books twice.

Last week I spent the beginning of each class going over the procedures for the library. I went over the usual rules and showed how they apply to our school’s new point-based discipline program. The kids were surprised to learn that the biggest point loss in library fell under the category Disrespect. I’ll take away 3 points–a huge ding on a student’s weekly conduct grade–to any student who makes fun of what another student reads. I had the same lecture for each class, but here’s how it went for 3rd grade, Nico’s class.

“For example,” I said nodding to Nico. “Let’s say Nico’s favorite books to read are princess books.” As predicted, everyone in the class started laughing hysterically. One boy, looking slightly horrified stopped laughing, turned to Nico and said, “Wait…is that true?”

He made my point so perfectly you would have thought I planted him.

By the end of the week I had 16 classes parroting back: There are no girl books or boy books. Just books.

Hahn Collage

Book covers are important, especially to kids. I’ve noticed that girls like illustrated covers and boys rarely check out books with a female on the cover unless that female is a zombie or demon. It’s just how it is–at least at my school. Which means you could have knocked me over with a feather when the very boy son of a police officer checked out Stepping on the Cracks, a book with a girl in a mint green sweater on the cover.

Sure, it’s Mary Downing Hahn, the queen of middle grade horror, but it’s still a girl with braids wearing a pastel twinset. I’ve tried to sell Mary Downing Hahn before, always focusing on the blood-and-guts potential, but the boys never showed any interest. Maybe my stern lecture had impact and gave this boy confidence to check out a “girl” book? Or, probably, they’re all tired of me harping, “Read the blurb on the back of the book if you want to know what it’s about!”

(Seriously. Reading the blurb on the back is the last resort for kids.)
(And if he read the blurb on the back of the book he knew it’s a book about WWII.)

This week he stormed into the library and, while waving the book, passed my desk and said, “Mrs. Kendall, Hahn is demented! DEMENTED.”

Then he went on and explained the many ways the book was creepy, and spooky, and weird, and made for demented people.

“So…are you getting a different book?”

“Oh, I’m checking it out again,” he said, dropping Stepping on the Cracks on my desk. “I’m totally finishing this one.”

Two other boys checked out Mary Downing Hahn books thanks to him, and later I heard another boy say to him, “OK, so, like, give me break down of the book.”

Less than 10 feet away from them, my heart filled to bursting listening two 10 year old boys talk about books.

The Definition of Lumbering

The other day Nico was getting something from his room, but he did it with such a heavy step that Mikey looked up from his homework and said, “Dude, what’s with the lumbering?”

That’s me getting through the last couple of weeks. I’m lumbering like a boss.

We are not moving to Sacramento, which is good news! The bad news is that it’s because someone claimed a hardship and snagged the spot. Adulting is still hard. It looks like we will stay in southern California, I think, though I don’t know in which capacity. It could mean a different company, or it could mean the same company with a lot of travel. The situation is not ideal, but it’s also not the end of the world. This is what I tell myself as I cycle through what I imagine are pretty common emotions: fear, anger, sadness, apathy, and hope.

This is what lumbering looks like, if you’re curious.

Job Collage

I’ve been trying to attend daily mass since school started. Every single day I think I’m too busy to go, but I force myself to go and it’s been great. This week I didn’t go because it’s the first week of library and I pretty much freaked out and convinced myself I didn’t have 30 minutes to spare. (I did. Whatever.)

Shortly after hearing about the layoff, I was wondering what I could do to cheer up the Mister. I was sitting in church, waiting for mass to start, when I decided to thumb through the prayers on the Laudate app. That app is great, by the way. I used it all last year when I took the 4th graders to Friday mass because it has the daily readings. I use it for daily mass (for the readings) and the Mister uses it for Sunday mass. Anyway, I took a screenshot of a prayer for employment and texted it to the Mister. I never heard a word back, but when I got home I found it printed and taped to the walls of our bathroom and his office. There’s a copy of it on the car dash now, too. :)



It’s been hit-and-miss on the motherhood front. Some days I’m very tired, very short-tempered. I often feel like I’m yelling all the time because I’m stressed and taking it out on everyone. Then other days Nico comes into my room and tells me he made a burning bush like in the Bible and Mikey says he wouldn’t change a thing about himself.





But in the end, most of my time is in the library. I’ve decided that the book-bin craze I see in library and teacher’s blogs/instagram are for looks. I can see putting picture books in bins because it makes it easier for the little ones to pick out a book, but lately I’m seeing chapter books and entire series in bins. I tried it to see if I am missing something. I don’t think I’m missing anything. It’s a horrible use of space! In the above picture I can’t fit all The Magic Treehouse books on the shelf if they’re binned. Without the bin I can fit 3 different series, including The Magic Treehouse.

It looks like we may get automation software (finally!) and that, along with an influx of donations and a principal who understands the importance of a circulating collection, has spurred me to purge the library. I’ve donated 20+ boxes of books. I could donate more, but I’m trying to show some restraint. I get a lot of gasps when people walk by and see the boxes of books but, yeah, I have no problem getting rid of books that aren’t used or appreciated. The thing is, a 10,000-volume library isn’t a 10,000-volume library if the kids read the same 1,000 books. It’s a 1,000-volume library with a lot of clutter.

There you go, my last lumbering 9 days. It’s not much, but I’ll get to where I want to be eventually. That’s the thing about lumbering–you may be moving slow, but you’re still moving forward.

Adulting is Hard



My friend Zak is back to blogging after a 9 month break. She’s had a challenging year that she couldn’t write about until it was over, or as over as something that you always think about can possibly be. My favorite comment on that post: “Adulting is hard.”

Truer words never spoken.

Last week was the first week of school. The Mister was out-of-town, a fact I felt was unfortunate but totally doable. Not doable was Wednesday, which was when he called to tell me his company is eliminating his position on the 31st of December.

“I bet it would have been nice for you to hear the news from the comfort of your home, versus a hotel room,” I mused.

He agreed.

Did you know some people respond to extreme stress by falling asleep? I do. The Mister was telling me the news and I swear I tried to show support, but my eyelids started to drop shortly after he said something about the company wanting him to take a promotion to Sacramento or Reno. If you’ve ever had anesthesia, or breast-fed a newborn, you know the feeling. It’s a sleep that blankets you all at once and without warning.

“What are you thinking?” he asked.

“I think,” I said as I rubbed my eyes, “that we should sleep on it and talk in the morning.

He’s home now; we’ve talked. The move isn’t a for-sure thing, but it’s a possibility. The Sacramento area is the most logical choice if the goal is to cut the amount of time he’s away from home (we can live anywhere from Redding to Reno). I know nothing about Sacramento other than it’s our state capital and that it gets hotter there than it does here, which is really saying something. I hear it’s an awesome place to live. I hear it’s full of crime, homeless people, and misery. I’ve received conflicting reviews, is what I’m saying.

We’re heading up there this weekend as a mini-vacation/fact-finding mission. At the very least, we’ll get to show the boys the capital and visit the railroad museum. Any suggestions on where to go, or, um, where to live in the Sacramento area?


First Day of School, 2015-2016



Horrible, blurry cell phone pictures taken by a farsighted + nearsighted woman at 6:30am. I’m happy they even exist. One of these days I’m going to buy a simple point and shoot.

These signs. I don’t know where I came up with the idea because I did this on Mikey’s first day of pre-school. We’re talking pre-blogging, pre-pinterest, and pre-social media if you can remember that far back! I had this great idea to document on the first day of each school year what Mikey and his future siblings wanted to be when they grew up. It was going to be great, decades later, to see what they wanted to be in 1st grade versus 3rd grade versus 6th grade.

Fireman! Police officer! Doctor! Teacher! Paleontologist.





Every darn year since pre-kindergarten. I can’t get Mikey to change his mind! I try to switch up my questions, like a detective trying to trap a suspect.

“Hey, Mikey, don’t you want to do something with music?”


“Ok, what do you want to be when you grow up this year? You know, it’s okay to change your mind.”

“I know.”

I joked on my personal face book page that after all this, he’ll end up a high school PE teacher.

“With a buzz cut,” my friend Kendra replied.

School-1Because Nico has a buzz cut and it’s awful. He went to the barber shop without me, clearly. He came home like a freshly shorn sheep and it was all I could do to keep from recoiling in horror. All he needs is a banjo, shifty eyes, and a wayward gene or two to complete the backwoods picture. Horrible. I hate it. No one likes it except Nico, and he doesn’t like it. He loves it.

Every morning he wakes up and says, “Do I still have my awesome buzz cut?”

Yes, dammit.

“Mom, this buzz cut! I don’t have to brush my hair, or dry my hair, or do anything except feel my awesome buzz cut!”

Oh, don’t I know it!

Nico’s hair is a tragedy, but at least he takes career waffling seriously like a true American should. He’s wanted to be an astronaut, a paleontologist, and now a zoologist. My favorite, though, had to be last year. He had me write “undecided.”

College will be interesting.