How Go Noodle Saved my Life {and a GIVEAWAY}

Do you GoNoodle?  I do, and I am officially OB-SESSED!  Using Go Noodle has singlehandedly changed how I run Indoor Recess and Brain Breaks.  Also, my students BEG me for GoNoodle and it makes my life so much easier.  What could be better?!  They are also a company that loves teachers.  I emailed them to ask if they could provide one prize for our  New England Blogger Meet Up.  Instead they mailed me a gigantic box with bags, pens and sticky notes for every blogger who came.  How sweet!

 Before we talk about why GoNoodle is so amazing, let's back up a bit.  It might sound crazy, but Go Noodle saved my life this school year.  Okay maybe that's a bit dramatic.  I can say, though, that GoNoodle absolutely saved my sanity this Winter.

I grew up in Maine.  I am used long, cold, snowy winters.  However, winter 2015 was unlike anything I have ever seen before!

We had more snow days than I have ever experienced.  Seven to be exact, and one "Cold Day."  As in it was so flipping cold out that it was not safe for children to walk to school.  Say what?!

 Can you see the front door of my house?  Neither can I!  Snowbanks were piled higher than I have ever seen, and trucks were enlisted to dump snow into the ocean because there was literally nowhere left to put it.  The last snowbank in Boston did not melt until JULY!

In fact, it was
108 inches of snow.  It was un-be-lievable.

 We did not have outdoor recess for over four months.  A few times the kids were so stir crazy that I let them go outside and spray the snowbanks with colored water, just to get out of our classroom for a little while.  Even when it warmed up a little bit we could not go outside because our entire playground was covered in ridiculous amounts of snow.

 This is how GoNoodle saved my sanity!  As soon as I turned on one of their amazing videos, my kids were 100% engaged.  They sang and danced their little hearts out, and I was one happy teacher.
We did 643 minutes of brain breaks and indoor recess with GoNoodle in one school year.  That is 643 minutes of friends not hitting each other, doing somersaults across the rug or whining "I'm boooorrrred teacher!"  

One of the best things about GoNoodle is how easy it is to use.  If you don't have an account yet, here is how to set it up in about two minutes.

That's it!  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

When you click the little heart next to each video it is automatically saved in your "Favorites" play list.  Amazing!

If you are not sure where to start, here are my recommendations:

Indoor Recess playlists are an awesome combinations of favorite videos.  They play from anywhere between 7 to 19 minutes, depending on which mix you choose.  These are great if you need to handle a situation and cannot be next to your laptop or Smartboard to switch videos every two or three minutes.

And now it's giveaway time!
I am giving away a class set of Go Noodle sweat bands!  How stinkin' cute would your little ones be wearing these?  My kids would be so pumped to rock these and all match on Field Day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you want to check out more GoNoodle swag, check out the GoNoodle Shop.  They have created a discount code just for my readers!  Use BTSwithGoNoodle for 15% off everything (valid now through September 11th).

I did not receive compensation for writing this post.  Go Noodle is giving away 25 sweatbands to a reader of this blog.  All of the opinions stated above are my honest to goodness opinions!

Teacher Week:: Make Ahead Meals

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week again today to bring you my favorite make ahead meals.

I don't know about you, but I loveee to cook.  A fun fact is that I had no clue how to make more than mac and cheese and cookies until I went to college.  I lived in special housing and had to cook for 24 girls three times every semester.  It.was.traumatizing.  But it worked!  Now I love to try new recipes and whip up all kinds of things.  During the school week, though, I need to keep my meals short and sweet.

Sweet Potato Hash
{recipe and photo from Kitchn}
This is my new go to meal.  It's a breakfast food, but we often eat it for dinner.  I like to make it a day ahead of time, and then heat it up for a few days in a row after that.  I even take it to school for my lunch.  So incredibly yummy, and healthy too!  

Italian Pork Shoulder
{recipe and photo from The Clothes Make the Girl}

This is a to die for recipe that I discovered when I was doing Whole 30.  You grab a pork shoulder, stuff it with garlic and rub it with spices.  Just throw it in the crock pot and voila!  I swear the first time I made this my husband was oohing and aahing.  Now he begs me to make it.

If any of this intrigues you, come check out my Recipes Pinterest board.  Almost all of the recipes I pin are easy peasy make ahead meals that aren't too stressful in the life of a crazy busy teacher.

Last but not least, here are a few very random cooking tips to make your life a little bit easier.

  1. The crock pot is your best friend.  Throw your ingredients in the pot in the morning, and come home to a delicious meal.  I often chop up my ingredients the night before, and just dump everything in before I leave for school.  What could be easier?
  2. Double your recipes and freeze half.  I do this all the time now and am obsessed!  Lasagna, chili, homemade chicken fingers and chicken noodle soup are two things that I will often cook on the weekends and then freeze.  I pull them out the night before a busy day and they are all set to reheat when I get home.
  3. Meal plan!  I plan out our meals for the week and make a shopping list every Sunday, then either my husband or I goes grocery shopping.  It is a little tedious but a huge time saver in the long run.  This is the grocery list I use (and love!).