Math = Love: Five Tiny Wins

Friday, September 11, 2020

Five Tiny Wins

It's Friday. I'm not really sure what day it actually feels like, but it definitely doesn't feel like a Friday. At the same time, I'm sooooooooooo thankful it is Friday because I'm experiencing a level of teacher exhaustion that I didn't really know existed. Seriously, I don't think I was this tired last year when I had a crying newborn who woke me up a million times a night.

Teaching math in the midst of a pandemic is definitely not for the faint of heart. Today I want to take a chance to focus on some tiny wins from the last couple of weeks. 

Win # 1: (More) Organized Baking Supplies

After thinking that I should label all my containers for years, I finally did it. I also splurged and bought a few new small containers to match the rest of my modular rubbermaid containers. So far, I'm using one for baking soda and one for salt. I'm not sure what to use the other two for yet, but it makes my heart happy that all the containers come up to the same height now. I originally bought my first set of these containers at Walmart, but it appears they have been largely discontinued. I had to order my newest containers from Ace Hardware of all places.

The labels aren't pinterest-worthy or anything, but because I used freezer labels (affiliate link) I can easily change out the labels if the contents change without any sticky residue left behind. And, now when I have people over and they want to help out in the kitchen they don't have to guess which container is flour and which is powdered sugar...

Win #2: A Welcome Back Card

Inconveniently, I had to miss the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth days of school because my toddler decided to bring home some daycare germs (thankfully not COVID) and infect the entire family. Luckily, my district allowed me to work virtually from home for three of those days which meant I only had to use one sick day. But missing so many days of school right at the beginning of the year was very stressful and not at all ideal. One of my students (who I also taught last year) was so excited when I came back that she made me a little card. 

Win #3: Business Card Pockets

We were each given an Amazon gift card at the beginning of the school year to buy something for our classroom. I used part of mine to purchase business card pockets (affiliate link). I'll update you guys with pictures when I actually use them, but I've got big plans to organize my wall of cabinets in my classroom. My plan is to put an adhesive business card pocket on each cabinet door. Then, I will cut cardstock to business card size. This will let me slide in a label to each business card pocket that says what is stored in that cabinet.

Win #4: Artful Math

My copies of Clarissa Grandi's amazing Artful Math books arrived! She graciously sent me a copy of The Artful Math Activity Book (affiliate link) and The Artful Math Teacher Book (also an affiliate link). I already got a digital sneak peek earlier this year, but I'm excited to dive in and make some beautiful math art. Hopefully things start to return to normal soon so I can start incorporating things like this into my classroom once again. 

If you haven't checked out Clarissa's beautiful website,, stop everything and do it now. You will be blown away by her creativity! Also, you can get a free chapter of her book for joining her mailing list. Keep an eye out here for a full review of these books once I spend some more time making some math art! 

Win #5: Learning to FINALLY use my Crockpot

I'm FINALLY learning to use my crockpot. I've had it for years, but I have only ever used it a handful of times. I've decided that with all the craziness of this year that I owe it to myself to learn how to use it so I can make life easier on myself. I've been scouring recipe books and the internet for easy crockpot recipes. I'm hoping to gain enough confidence that I can start inventing my own recipes, but that's quite a way off in the future. 

I decided to make my first crockpot meal of the school year on the first day of school. I was so paranoid that I would forget to put things in before I left for school, so I ended up setting my recipe binder and the crockpot out on the counter before I went to bed the night before. It worked! It was such a nice feeling to walk in our house after a long first day of school and smell dinner cooking away. I still had to boil a pot of pasta (and honestly - it took all my energy to get off the couch and make that pot of pasta), so I was super thankful that the rest of the meal was taken care of. 

Being sick threw off my crockpot plans for the past couple of weeks, but I think I'll try a new recipe this coming week. 

So, those are some of my tiny wins for the last few weeks.


  1. Super easy crockpot recipe: put frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, cover with salsa, cook for at least 4 hours. I don't measure the salsa, just make sure there is a layer over the chicken breasts. About an hour before you want to eat, shred the chicken then let it continue to cook. This makes a great chicken taco filling. I like to add some instant rice when I shred the chicken--this keeps it from being too watery.

  2. I love your organized baking supplies - they look beautiful! We returned to in person (hybrid) this week. Even though it's the 5th week of school, I definitely felt 1st week of school tired by Friday!

  3. Love this! Two comments:
    #1 love the labels, I use the same containers for my baking supplies and have used them for over 20 years. I have a medium one with chocolate chips. Also a small one with baking powder.
    #2 Two "go to" crockpot ideas:
    A) chicken or boneless pork with a bottle of BBQ sauce. I put in crockpot in the morning before school on low and its ready for dinner
    B) variation on OkieDrapers recipe: 5 frozen chicken breasts,1 15.5 oz can of black beans (drained), 1 15 oz can corn (drained), 1 15 oz jar of salsa. Cook on high 4 hours or low 7-8 hours. Add 1 8 oz package of cream cheese (throw it on top) and let it sit for 30 minutes. Stir together and shred the chicken. Great with chips or as a taco filling or on rice.

  4. i have to throw in my crock pot recipe...
    Chicken breasts, chicken broth, seasoning (I use chicken seasoning, minced garlic, and season salt). 7 hours on low. Shred chicken while in the broth and drain. Broth can be used for gravy or my kids like chicken “French dip” sandwiches.
    Chicken keeps in the fridge. When my kids were little, we used the chicken for “a plate of things I like” (meat, cheese, veggie/fruit, cracker). Now they like to have it to make themselves wraps (a plate of things they like in a tortilla)