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Spinach, banana, strawberry, fresh ginger, chia seeds, rice protein powder, and coconut milk…

Banana, apple, almond milk, almonds, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, almond extract, raw oats, and yogurt…

Kale, blueberries, rasberries, chia seeds, rice protein powder, and almond milk…

These are some of my favorite smoothie combinations the past couple weeks. Spinach Thai Cocunut. Apple Banana Pie. Power Green. Oh, and top each of these with homemade granola.

Dessert in a cup and packed with nutrients. Yum!

In my evolving culinary and health pursuits, eating as many whole, raw foods as possible is one of my main goals. Still, there are some things I struggle to find palatable. Kale, for example. The green leafy stuff doesn’t surrender to my chopping and salad-dressing dousing like spinach. Nope, it needs blending (with blueberries and bananas to cut the green), and I’ve found that a HUGE bag of frozen, organic chopped kale from Cosco fills the gap that my distaste for the raw leaves has created. You don’t even need ice with so many frozen ingredients filling up the blender!

Anyway…

After weeks of summer heat and smoothie drinking, school has once again resumed and with it the temptations of the teacher snack drawer…You haven’t heard of this drawer? Oh, its a magical place. Granola bars, sun chips, muffins, dried fruit, nuts, and (my favorites) popcorn and peanut M&Ms lurk in amazing quantities just waiting for hungry, tired teachers to enjoy. We all pitch in money and make requests on occasion. Usually, we just chow down, headless of our healthy intentions or nutritional goals. After you’ve taught an all-boys class who doesn’t seem to remember a thing about classroom routine, the last thing on your mind is your waist line. Well, perhaps not the last, but certainly not the first! (I should know.)

Still, I love my seventh graders this year. I always do. I’ve never had a class that I didn’t enjoy and befriend. Still, this one has managed to capture my heart from day 1. Perhaps I won’t even need as many peanut M&Ms to make it through the day. Perhaps it won’t make a difference. Still, they are a delight!

Today, staring at eager faces, they smiled back at me. I love the crinkles around Student K’s eyes that just light up her face and, consequently, mine as a reflection. I love that Student N is completely unabashed that he got lost on his way to my classroom and walked in about 5 minutes late. At least he arrived and participated. I love the queries for help to open lockers…find new rooms…locate the closest bathroom…find a new worksheet…throw away an old one.

It is a new school year.

I’m still pondering what to do with this blog’s space. My personal space. But, until then, let me welcome you into this journey. This journey through teaching. This journey through eating, cooking, smoothie-blending. This journey to breathe deeply and be thankful, as Anne Voskamp writes. This journey to love life, loving life, living love.

Welcome.

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