Thoughts on a Thursday | Welcoming September

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I feel like my blog has taken a back seat since jumping full gear into the cyber world and it has been this quiet little whisper in the back of my mind just hanging there… reminding me how much I have been slacking in the writing department. I hate that this is happening and my new resolution is to prevent it from happening again. As I begin this post, I do not have a clear direction, but my “Thoughts on a Thursday” never really begin with a set goal, it just kind of develops as I reflect and take a sort of writer’s mental health moment.

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As a teacher, we all know the saying that “August is just one long Sunday for every teacher” which is true. Don’t let any teacher tell you otherwise. Change is intimidating, even for the most experienced and strong-willed people out there. When you are in the education field you know that every year brings a fresh start, new challenges, new students, and a new opportunity to view your year and your students as a chance to always bring your best self to work each day. September can bring on that New Years resolution feel for teachers, it is an opportunity to begin again, an opportunity to reflect on the reasons why you chose this profession. For some unexplained reasons this feeling

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of renewal seems to get lost over time, and teachers begin to lose that fire, the one that burned so strongly in the first few years of teaching. You know what I mean, back during the time when you’re really in the trenches… developing every single worksheet, test, unit, attempting to align standards to each word that comes out of your mouth… living in your classroom… investing in things like “Cricuts”, downloading “Fonts”, and losing hours of your life on Pinterest.

 

No, something happens after a few years… you become nostalgic of how things “used to be…” over everything, literally everything from how the faculty rooms “used to have better ink…” to “only getting 56 days off this summer…” I mean, really?? Say that one outloud to a non teacher and good luck NOT getting slapped. It happens to almost every teacher which makes me wonder… do things really change like we perceive them to? Or is there something hidden in those first few years of a job that really make them so memorable? Or is it that rose-colored glasses effect. It’s like we forget about the sleepless nights, the hours of time and planning. If anything you would think teachers would like their jobs more over time as they are able to make simple tweaks and fine tune lessons that have already been labored over. But it doesn’t work that way. 925cd84c43665f1f195515d740955014--teacher-quotes-funny-inspirational-teacher-quotes

For many, myself included, the entrance of a child changes everything, possibly causing this mental shift in our attitude along with our priorities. Prior to having children, you take your students in as if they were your own, learning every possible avenue into those brains and pulling at every ounce of potential possible from them. You stay after, come in early, whatever it takes to get these children where they need to be in life. No exceptions.

Then you have a baby. And your world. Stops.

Suddenly you become consumed with Mom guilt (or Dad guilt) and you panic as the hours, minutes, and seconds tick away of your maternity leave to the inevitable moment you have to return to work and figure out life with work, a family, and that precious little baby that utterly consumes your life. Regardless of what a go-getter, career minded person you were before that little tiny person took over your soul, your life has forever changed.

Perhaps you are one of the lucky few who figured this out early on and capitalized on these precious years sooner rather than later, finding ways to get home with that sweet baby for those few years before they too are consumed by the schedule of school and extra organized events. Or maybe you were like so many of us who fought the good fight a little longer until that second little miracle showed up in our lives and just pushed the scales a little too far. I was one of those, trying to balance it all, ultimately crashing after our second little lady arrived.

Which leads me to this NEW sense of renewal. This school year is going to be a TRUE fresh start, a chance to be the best Mom, Wife, and Teacher yet. I am going to put my kids first, reach those hard to reach kids, and make meals that please picky toddlers and taste-bud-expert husbands (huuuge eye roll over that part…ugh). This is MY year, the year where I have finally found a way to balance Motherhood and teaching eliminating some of that “Mom Guilt” that has been weighing on me for the past 3 1/2 years of my life.

If you haven’t heard of  One Funny Mother, check out her recent video while shopping for pencils… Here.

I will NOT complain about “staring at a computer most of my day…” using it as an excuse for slacking on this blog, I WILL keep up, because there is no reason NOT to keep it up. So if there is something pulling you in a slump… or a goal you’ve been thinking about tackling… but keep playing the “I don’t have the time..” card, FIND A WAY. Mom life is the best life. Period. There is a coach out there who I keep promising that I am going to jump on board and let her help me get to my fitness goal that I know I can get to, if I just commit.

September is my month Maegan. It’s happening. Ps… if you’re looking for someone to motivate you in to accomplishing a goal, add this Queen of the Entrepreneural Hat on Facebook, she is literally eating, breathing, and sweating motivation. It’s unreal, and exactly what I need in my newsfeed on a daily basis. She is the epitome of setting goals and achieving them.

And to all of my teacher friends out there, just remember: We have the best job! We spend every day shaping and changing kids lives, doing something we love, sharing information we are passionate about and helping kids who need us. Who WOULDN’T love doing that?!

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BRING IT SEPTEMBER, I’m ready!

Cheers!

Whitney

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The Hungry, Hungry Healthy Eater

So it has been a while since I dove into writing. For some reason the whole, career shift, mental shift, life shift, really made me just take a step back from everything. I’ve spent the last two months really evaluating my choices over the past several years, my relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances, and just really taking a mental health month. From all of this time-out phase, I have learned so many valuable lessons.

1. Life is short, so DO the things you WANT TO DO.

Before I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter I feel safe in calling myself  a runner. I loved running. I loved the mental check out that happened whenever you set off with no end goal in sight, just an awesome play list and the mindless relaxing task of enjoying the sights around you, totally in control of where you go and how long you are gone. I felt so at pease when I ran.

But then kids happened. And life happened, And baby weight happened. And for about 4 years… nothing could really spark up the EXTRA planning, motivation, and organization involved in scheduling runs around commuting to work, having kids, working around a husband who used to work away sometimes more than he was home, choosing to run over sipping on my favorite glass of wine, and all those other excuses we are really, really good at coming up with, as normal human beings.

But then I worked from home. And plan periods, and lunch breaks became “let’s DO THIS” breaks and, “lets try adding a mile on” breaks. And before you knew it, I was able to run to the end of my road and back in 20 minutes (2 miles… not very far but a HUGE step for me.)

Now, a full 5 weeks into summer and I am up to a solid 6 mile run, and it feels AMAZING to get back into that routine. I signed up for my first 1/2 Marathon to run with a very close friend, and I am SO EXCITED!

So if there is a goal you’ve been “thinking about…” just go for it! Life is short, so ENJOY IT.

2. Holding a Grudge is… NEVER. WORTH. IT.

There is no secret in the fact that this previous school year has been an incredibly difficult one for me. I interviewed for several administrative positions that I wasn’t really ready to take, but it took interviewing and second rounds of interview to really put my priorities in check; and of course those work “feuds” that seem to sneak up on you and just seem to linger on… and on… and on.

Nothing is more stressful than the passive aggressive “disputes” that happen in the work force. We all have them. Whether you work in the school districts, industry, public transportation, or business offices, we all have that “person” or even “people” who apply those passive aggressive stressors on our lives. I avoided faculty rooms like the plague this past year, because when you have a husband who doesn’t have a schedule, works 60 – 80 hour work weeks as a normal routine, those petty complaints about summer break not being long enough, or catty comments about your boss are really hard to sit and swallow.

For some reason, we are hard wired to only hit the “reset” button whenever a crisis hits us. Suddenly those feuds, and petty arguments are nothing more than lost time between friends who lost track of why they became friends in the first place. Guiltily, I too, have struggled with this but managed to repair the ones that mattered before it was too late.

3. Work Stress doesn’t have to come “home” with you.

This clearly has been mentioned in previous posts as I never realized how much stress was added to my life with all the extra unnecessary drama of the work place, faculty rooms, and even the commute. Once my kids could wake up on their own and were no longer pulled from their beds at 5:45 in the morning, life became much more peaceful.

4. Family Comes First

I feel like this could apply in so many different ways during the past two months. Family is Forever; You can’t pick them, but you gotta love them; etc. There are so many cliche’s that go along with family, it’s impossible to even keep track of them all. Over the years, I have gone through several phases of relationships with my siblings; from childhood adoration of those older siblings, to teenage best friends, to heartbreaking distance; the first harsh reality of adulthood when you realize how different you really are; to acceptance of the people you are and the relationships you have together; and then finally to growth, where you discover new ways to appreciate each other and the incredibly different phases of life you may always be in from each other. Each of my siblings including the siblings I have gained through marrying my husband are all a varied levels of complicated, and irreplaceable relationships to me. When one of our siblings is hurting, we hurt with them. When one is celebrating, we celebrate with them.

This summer has also reinforced to my that my family will ALWAYS come first to me. My daughters and my husband’s needs will always fall ahead of everything else in life. These are the people who build me up, and keep my world spinning. Last year we went through a slight health scare which ultimately ended up being nothing, thank goodness, and I’m not sure if it was that scary reality check that really enforced the bond of a husband and wife, or if it’s the complicated and extensive history going back almost 15 years, or if its just that we are lucky enough to have found that true soul mate; regardless, celebrating our 5th year anniversary will most certainly be the highlight of my July.

5. True Friends are Friends Forever.

I have been blessed with a handful of friends who I know will be in my life forever. Some are from childhood, others from my previous job, and still others are friends developed through my husband, and continue to grow and help to shape the mother, and friend I am. I also have a unique blend of long-term friends that I only get the opportunity to see once or twice a year. But those times when we are reunited, we are so busy catching up on each others lives that it’s like the time between visits doesn’t even exist. (One of the major perks to social media…)

I have also spent so much time investing in relationships that were never really there in the first place. These people are the ones who bring you down, use artificial bonds and temporarily fill spaces in your life. My best advice, become incredibly good at determining the difference between the real friends, and the ones who are only temporary.

6. I love Food. This will NEVER. CHANGE.

And finally, the hard hitting lesson from the past few months: I. LOVE. FOOD. I am not a dieter, a health fanatic, or disciplined in any way shape or form. I love to eat, all things delicious and flavorful. I really enjoy carb-loaded foods, sweets, and wine. God I love wine. So when I splurge and attempt a recipe involving roasted vegetables and Salmon… about 2 hours later… I AM STARVING. But I digress…

Today I will share with you the light, and incredibly healthy meal my family and I shared Sunday, including a simple salmon suggestion from a good friend (definitely on the growing friends forever list) along with some hearty roasted vegetables.

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To begin, I must address the darling purple potatoes that have been frequenting the produce isles at Aldi’s all summer long! My girls LOVE PURPLE POTATOES! The roasted vegetables are a simple combination of the tiny potatoes from Aldi’s and broccoli florets tossed in olive oil and seasoned with garlic salt and pepper. They were delicious…!

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I strongly recommend placing your vegetables in the oven about 10 minutes prior to placing the salmon in the oven as well.

To prepare the Salmon:

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The salmon filets also came from Aldi’s and were my first experience with fish filets that still had skin on them. Not an enjoyable task, but I did slice off the outer layer before baking. (Feel free to laugh… I honestly wasn’t sure whether or not to leave it on…? I’m still not really sure!) Brush your salmon with a quality olive oil, sprinkle a little salt and pepper, and lay a few slices of lemon on those bad boys.

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One mistake I made: I am not a lemony person, and I took the additional lemons and squeezed a little over top the Salmon. I do not recommend doing that if you aren’t big into Lemon flavor on your fish. Just the slices laying on top should be more than enough.

Fold up your little cute Salmon foil packet, and place it on to the baking sheet beside the vegetables. Continue roasting and baking for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

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And when you pull the sheet out of the oven, with a whole 25 minutes of your life invested in this dinner, you’ll be super proud when your family is eating healthy and enjoying the flavors…!

Unless they are like me.

And they are starved… 2 hours later.

I want to be healthy and enjoy eating salmon and vegetables… however, I am a RED MEAT AND POTATOES GIRL. I’m also a wine girl. Mainly, a wine girl.

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Happy Healthy Eating! (And then unhealthy snacking a few hours later…!)

Cheers!

  • Whitney

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Saying Goodbye | Looking Forward

Yesterday could only be described as similar to watching my own funeral. It was so similar to family and friends coming in and out of a deceased  loved one’s home to pay their last respects. Between emotional hugs, heartfelt words, funny memories, letters from students, videos of my classes of students saying goodbye, and even disagreements put aside, I spent my final day in a district I have been teaching with for 5 years. I was surrounded with students I’ve been responsible for their entire high school career, only a few weeks left themselves before they too will leave the district and head out into the real world. It is an incredibly surreal experience when you realize how much a small community of people can feel more like a life long family. But what is even crazier is how you don’t realize it until you are saying goodbye. That school has been a massive part of my world for my entire professional teaching career. I have so much emotionally invested inside those brick walls, picturing day to day life without entering that building feels like an impossible task. Prior to this district, I worked part time at my local district, but that doesn’t compare to the day in and day out responsibilities, personal connections, and extras, you put forth without even realizing it.

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I think the part that was undeniably mind blowing was the fact that all of these people went above and beyond to describe the impact I had made on them personally or with students they worked with. It was utterly overwhelming. I have a stack of 32 cards sitting beside me with intimate details of friendship, inspiration, and well wishes that I can’t even begin to read yet. The wound is too fresh, my heart still broken. I have learned so much from this family, this community, about sacrifice, looking at the bigger picture, realizing what is truly important, developing life long friendships, realizing when you’ve misjudged and learning from those mistakes, brushing aside the nonsense and staying focused on why we are here, and understanding the difference a relationship built with a student can make.

I have had the privilege to teach around 230 students in my short 5 years teaching with the district. Within those students I have seen the potential, the growth, the failures, the accomplishments, the future, and most importantly, the hope. Each child held the promise for a better future. If we could give each child the skills to prepare them for the struggles in life, the heart aches, the knock-you-down moments, then they would be ok. It wasn’t until my second year though, that I realized most of these students have experienced more “real life” more “struggle” and more “knock-you-down” in the short fifteen years of their lives than I may ever see in my entire life. It was at this turning point that I realized, these kids will teach me as much, if not more, than I could ever teach them.

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I began to empathize with them, to remember that while they might be frustrated or lashing out, it isn’t necessarily at me, but may very well be the only moment they have in their day to release the stress and anxiety of a life dealt to them, that is unfair and at times even down right cruel. I began to stack all of my emotional eggs in these fragile baskets, risking heart break when a student slipped back into old habits, or was taken from me from poor decision making, but every heart ache was worth it, because these kids needed to know they mattered.

So with the tearful goodbyes and life long friendship that I will carry with me, I can look forward to this new adventure, this new role in my life. What does this new career look like? I will find out in a matter of 36 hours. To say I am nervous would be an understatement. I feel this crazy mixture of emotions from lingering heartbreak and loss, to the unsettled nerves of a first year teacher, to the excitement of the potential to be more actively involved in my own children’s lives.

I have a Mom goal in my mind: to be that Mom. The Mom who packs lunches every morning with little notes tucked inside. The Mom who is there and present every morning before school, and anxiously waiting after to hear about her children’s day. The Mom who can assist with PTA events because she wants the best for her children. The Mom other Moms call to pick up their children from school and run them to practices in the evenings, because I am the Mom who is available and ready for anything.

While those events may be down the road a bit, I know that road will come all too quickly. On my last drive to work yesterday, my oldest asked me, “Mommy, after today, can we be home with you more?” I have never had any conversations with her about my job changing, about working from home, or anything even remotely close to this. But here she was, perceptive as ever, picking up on the change, feeding from my emotions. I answered her with a simple, “Absolutely girls, Mommy is going to be home much more after today.” And with that simple little question, I had the energy to pull through what I knew was going to be an incredibly difficult day.

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My work better half, and best friend shared this quote last night, and while it completely broke every barrier I had built up to get through the day, it was so perfect, because it was how I truly felt about her in return.

So here we are, two months after announcing the change and publishing Career Shift in the aftermath of it all, ready to start this new adventure. Today I woke up willing to say goodbye to the past and prepared to only look forward. So thank you, each any every one of you, who have inspired me to be empathetic, to promote achievement, to put my family first, to have the confidence to make a shift when it is necessary, to value my skill set, to leave you even when you didn’t want me to, to strive for greatness even when it’s a completely different path than I started out towards, and to always be myself. Thank you for shaping me into who I am today.

Tomorrow is a new day, a new challenge, and a new adventure.

Cheers!

  • Whitney

Shimmering Twig | Hello Logo, Welcome Home

As a former artist, I fully understand the weight behind an image. At my current state, I’ve been monopolizing on my friend Vanessa’s beautiful photographs of our children to place a face to the name Shimmering Twig along with the initial inspiration photograph of those icy trees on my mountain commute to work.

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A particular website was recommended by my brother-in-law who is, as far as I am concerned, the last word in design. He is  the most creative artist I have ever met. His mind works in such unique ways and the products he produces are unreal. When I was planning our wedding, I went straight to him with a few inspirations for invitations, programs, etc. He took our wedding theme and turned those ideas into personalized, beautiful pieces of art. So when I first began to toss around the idea of giving Shimmering Twig a logo, I immediately ran the idea by him looking for guidance on how to approach the task.

He recommended the website Logo Tournament and briefly explained how it worked. It’s a website where you hold a competition to have designers come up with ideas for your logo, rank them, provide feedback, and ultimately choose your favorite design at the end. This was such a fun concept!

Once I began the contest, I was allotted 4 days of a blind phase where designers would submit ideas, I believe I ended up with 40 designs during the initial phase. I then chose my top 5 designers at that point, and they were given an additional 2 days to fine tune their submissions, requesting input, and tweaking designs to meet Shimmering Twig’s needs. By the end of the first day in the finalist round I already knew which design I wanted. This particular designer was in contact with me immediately, continuing to improve her design even during the blind phase. Janis Aydelette was somehow able to capture my style and ideas for Shimmering Twig right of the bat. But she didn’t stop at just the initial design, she continued to revise and improve until finally, going above and beyond my expectations in the first few hours of the finalist days.

And so, it is with extreme excitement that I present you with Shimmering Twig’s new logo:

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Today I will be replacing it on all of my social media pages: FacebookPinterest, Instagram. Check them out! Cheers and have a great weekend!

  • Whitney

Career Shift : Now What?

As I drove to work this morning, I went through my typical morning wake-up ritual. I turned the music up excessively loud as I drove away from my sitter’s house where my sweet little ladies were nestled back to sleep. 6:05 am and my current guilty pleasure jam comes blaring through my speakers, “Bad Things” by Machine Gun Kelly (don’t judge… who can really be held accountable for their decisions at 6 am?). Good music means a good day in my mental wake-up call.

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As I am turning down the hill that will lead me out of the small town I call home, I begin to notice things. Small things. I notice how it’s already beginning to lighten outside and the faint hint of pink past the railroad tracks seems to just line the trees ever so slightly. I notice how quickly my drive seems to pass before me. Suddenly I am in the outskirts of my town where my husband and I started out together, with only a few cents to rub together. He was working away all of the time, and I was double dipping between substitute teaching and full time graduate school (round one). In a flash I am taken back to my first day driving to work, nervous, feeling like 6:15 am was so crazy early to be leaving my house. I can feel the butterflies all over as if I’ve never taught there before. I can remember the first student who walked through my door on the first student day realizing I only had one student in my first period study hall. The nerves that had gripped me melting away.

And just like that I am pulled from that memory as the radio personalities are discussing Random Acts of Kindness and I am back here, in the present thinking about the service project I have had brewing in the back of my mind for my students. Realizing “down the road” no longer means in my classroom, with my students, in my comfort zone, the harsh reality hits me across the face. I am leaving. I will be leaving my classroom. I will no longer make this drive, follow this route, use this routine, none of it will exist in my life in a matter of weeks.

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By this point I am turning into Amish country and the sun is casting a rosy glow across the fields accented by sharp black tree silhouettes. These mornings are so peaceful and offer a solid 45 minute wake up call to my mind as I begin to scan through my mental to-to list for the day. What will I do to organize my thoughts when I no longer drive to work each day? How will my routine shift?

This is top on my list of to-dos. I must determine what this new position in my life will look like. Perhaps it will involve that ever annoying task of incorporating fitness back in to my life. Somehow I know that is not going to be part of my new routine but entertain the idea for the hell of it.

I know that making breakfast for my family each day is top on my bucket list of new morning rituals. Perhaps waking up an hour before everyone else, setting up my “classroom” and preparing breakfast can replace my morning therapeutic drive? Who knows, maybe I will sleep soundly until the first little lady awake pulls me from my bed.

What I do know is that I am in charge. I control where life takes me next and I’m more than ready to make this shift, personally, professionally, and proactively.

Cheers!

  • Whitney

What’s in a Name: The Story behind Shimmering Twig

Each day children are born. For months before the birth of a child parents agonize over the name they will give this little human they have yet to even meet. Who will he or she be? What personality traits will each parent contribute? Will they be a carefree wild child who should be named something strong and bold like the personality driving them? Or will they be an observer, sitting peacefully taking in this immense world surrounding them. Should a child be named after a kind soul with ancestral significance? Will this child be carrying on a traditional name? We spent months trying to name our second daughter, not even knowing whether we were having a boy or girl. We developed two hypothetical names, and neither felt right until we saw her. Our first daughter was much easier. Why you might ask? Perhaps it was because we knew the gender, so that bond began to develop before we held her. We were able to use pronouns which made it more personal. Regardless, the moment our second daughter was born we just knew, her name just fit her personally.

It was about a year ago. I was driving to work, about a forty five to fifty minute commute one direction, on a two hour delay. I had just recently returned to work from my second maternity leave, so I was feeling a bit overwhelmed leaving my babies, returning to work, and to add fuel to fire, I had just started my Special Education Supervision Internship. Never a dull moment in this Mama’s life. With all of that going on, the fact that my husband was a devout Oil field employee, who spent an extensive amount of time working away, or working ridiculously long shifts, leaving at all hours of the day, left me feeling a little like an incredibly over-whelmed and over-worked mother of two. But the days continued to pass by, eventually turning to months.

Returning back to that chilly morning in February, I had been using the commute rolling through every possible career move that could get me back with my babies with more time at home, panicking over the workload I had taken on, and wondering, like all mothers do, if every decision I had made in my career was wrong. As I might have mentioned, I am currently a teacher, so you can see how the hormones were adding to my melodramatic thought process. Teachers have a sweet maternal gig. 7:30 to 2:50, only working week days, guaranteed to have EVERY holiday off, not to mention the crazy huge elephant in the room, summers off with my little darlings. But on that chilly February morning, it was hard to keep all of that in perspective as I was headed towards a work that was keeping my from my babies, adding extra stress and fuel to that maternal fire was the work load of an internship, and the projects looming over my head to boot. It was only my fourth year teaching and I had already taken one maternity leave two years prior, so I did not have much time to build up days off for the second maternity leave. I took the majority of my time without pay, so I was basically finishing out the year to break even.

With a new baby, a newly two year old, a husband working away, and a remaining 5 months of working to pay the costs to go to work, along with completing an internship, there was no question where my stress was coming from. Do not get me wrong, I love my job, love what I do and love the kids I work with. I have made some lifelong friends at my job and couldn’t imagine my days without those select people supporting me and motivating me to be the best teacher possible. But at that point in my life, all I could focus on was keeping my head above water.

And so it was on one of those chilly commutes that I was admiring the freshly fallen snow as I crested the mountain top on my way to work. Snow is remarkably beautiful as the sun is rising. There is something so majestic about entangled tree branches encased in heavy snow as it transforms to a glistening crystal sheet of ice. In my former years when I identified myself as an artist, I had this fascination with trees, with their complexity, depth, structure, and uniqueness. No tree was identical, like no snowflake has ever been repeated. I had been tossing around the idea of blogging, or more so, creating a site about event planning. My dream job was always to plan events, parties, weddings, making every detail perfect down to the tiniest features. But the former artist in me was thinking beyond events, and continued to fixate on those shimmering trees lining my commute. It was on this sunny, freezing morning that the shimmering twigs and branches of the trees embedded themselves into my mind. The name seemed to sparkle at me like those branches. What I would do with it, I wasn’t quite sure, but I knew I must file that name. At some point I would know exactly what Shimmering Twig was supposed to be. But for now, it was just a perfect, beautiful name.

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Fast forward one year later and Shimmering Twig was still lingering, but the research and faint knowledge of the potential of blogging was fresh. The two seemed to fit so well together, but I was afraid. I kept thinking, “What if no one cares what I have to say?” or “What if I’m mistaken as a know-it-all?” and even still, “What if I am viewed as just ‘another wanna-be blogger’?” But the truth is, I know none of those things are true. I love the advice, and stories I read from other bloggers. When my sister and I were stumbling through the first few years of Gluten Free life, The Gluten Free Girl saved us. She was real, and raw, and funny, and human. I want to be human and share my story. Maybe someone else is out there and just needs that “wow I can relate to this” kind of story.

So here we are, 4 posts later and I have a blog. It’s new, it’s small, but it’s mine. And I’m so grateful for the viewers I have, and will continue to share my story, while continuing to read and support the many blogs that gave me the courage to step out and try something new.

Cheers!

  • Whitney

Welcome to Shimmering Twig

Hello! My name is Whitney and I am the average mother in her early thirties trying to feel her way through balancing a career, a family, a creative side, and a never ending need to decorate, redecorate, and decorate again! The latter I am sure my husband would vouch for. In a former life I was labeled an artist, but higher powers had a different plan for me. My Bachelors degree in Art Education turned into a Master’s degree in Special Education and I found myself consumed in education plans, modifications, students who needed someone in their life that was constant and secure, and a newfound love for education I was unable to acquire in the art realm.

I married my high school sweetheart after we both had the opportunity to find exactly where we fit in this crazy world, adding more truth to the statement, “if it’s meant to be, it will be.” I am forever grateful for this man who supports, and challenges me every day. Together we have two beautiful daughters a three year old who never ceases to amaze us with her intelligence and wit, and a one year old, who also feels she is three with all the sas and spunk you could squeeze in that tiny little body.

I dabble in cooking, creating and all things crafty, particularly focusing in the gluten-free recipes. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease at 16, and my sister followed suit 4 years later with the same diagnosis just after turning 30. She then went on to pursue a career in the culinary field studying and specializing in all types of dietary restrictions including but not limited to Gluten-Free. I tell you this as a disclaimer as I in no way shape or form identify myself as a culinary expertise. I have just become fond of cooking, particularly baking delicious gluten free recipes. Recipes I plan to share with you in future posts. There is nothing more frustrating than attending a party and not being able to divulge in the tempting desserts, or intricately decorated cookies. Gluten-Free CAN BE beautiful and I stress this with the most importance. I am now feeding two sweet little ladies in the same dietary restrictions and will share my tried and true tricks with little ones, along with the quality information always given to me by my well-versed sister.

I have found that I LOVE planning events, coordinating details to make a special day perfect down to the final details. I will share my themes, and the resources I have found though the ingenious invention of Etsy independent shops, particularly my favorite shops. Planning, creating and sharing ideas are some of the reasons I feel we as mothers, educators, adults, creators, and any other hat we may wear find a community of knowledge on the world wide web so welcoming. So I hope you will join me as I share this crazy little life I have nestled in the rural areas of Western Pennsylvania.

Cheers!

  • Whitney