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Quarantine in UK

After two years, we have finally been able to journey back to England. For the next five days we will be quarantining with my in-laws. The journey was long, but both girls did a great job en route. Meeting my nephew for the first time was a much anticipated event, but luckily he is getting on well with my girls and seems to have bonded quickly with my husband and I.

While we are in quarantine in the UK we have to…

-Self-test on day 2 and day 5 after arrival and send our tests in the post

-Receive a phone call daily from the UK Track and Trace Dept

-Stay at the residence we registered for on our Track and Trace forms.

If our day 5 test is negative we will be able to break the quarantine and move about the country freely. Until then, I will be sharing lots of photos of the family in the back garden and around the house enjoying the reunion and extra time together.

Baking a chocolate cake with Grandma
Snuggles with Uncle Sam
Cousin love

The Ameri Brit Mom

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PiYo Week 1 Recap

(This is a non affiliate post and based solely on my personal experience using the Beachbody PiYo program developed by Chalene Johnson. Results may vary.)

As a gift for my birthday, my husband ordered me the DVD set of PiYo, a full body workout combining Pilates and yoga. I first heard about PiYo from an acquaintance who leads group exercise sessions. But it wasn’t until I was sitting at the beach over Spring break (unhappy with the way I looked in a swimsuit) that I really started looking into the program.

I was a runner in high school so my joints have taken a beating over the years. My draw to PiYo was its low impact, but high intensity as well as its following of people boasting in the results of the program. But PiYo is so much more than a daily body weight workout, it is also a diet consciousness program as well.

My DVD set came with a book that outlined a diet for my body goals and target calories.

One week into my PiYo plan I have already noticed:

-I am more flexible and able to complete the workout than when I began

-My cravings for sweet/junk foods has severely diminished

-Tracking my meals has made me more aware of the foods I am having too much or too little of

-My abs are getting stronger and more toned

-Each morning I wake up a little sore from the day before, but it isn’t too intense

Each week I plan to log a few details regarding my plan and how my particular results are progressing. I want to have a place to share the hard work I am putting in and I hope to celebrate the milestones along the journey. For me, the biggest goals I have set for myself are not numbers, but a healthier lifestyle. I’m a busy, working mom and my eating-on-the-go was getting out of hand. Through PiYo, I hope to develop meal planning habits that focus on nutritious choices and I also want to give my body the exercise it needs without the joint pain that often comes with strength workouts.

The coming weeks will prove challenging as I leave for a month in the UK tomorrow. Being outside of my own kitchen and surrounded by local foods to the UK will definitely cause a shift in my habits, but hopefully not in my progress. I am taking my PiYo DVDs and have ordered a multi-region player to arrive at my in-laws’ where I will be staying so that I won’t miss a beat. I’ll be starting my second week of PiYo with an early session before the flight and although airport food is less than ideal I feel that the program has equipped me to make the best choices possible no matter my environment.

If you have ever done PiYo or a similar program please let me know!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Disagree: Five Minute Friday

I’m joining writers all over the globe in a weekly link-up where we focus on a common prompt and share our stories with one another. While crafting each post, writers must stick to five minutes ONLY and writers may not edit/revise their original writing. Five Minute Friday is such an encouraging community of writers and together we are launching positive, authentic content into the world. This week our prompt is: Disagree.

A glass of wine. A good friend. And two helpings of good intention.

That is the recipe to a healthy dialogue between two people with contrasting views. Although, you could always substitute the wine for your beverage of choice (iced tea, coffee, water, beer). Whatever your environment might be it is imperative that each of us have settings and people in our lives that we can run to for challenging ourselves–people we can disagree with, yet still respect enough to call them ‘friend.’

We are living in a divisive time. The powers that be are telling us there are ONLY two sides. You are either ‘x’ or you are ‘y’. Is there no room for space between these letters? Labels are not written in cursive and the space between ‘x’ and ‘y’ albeit minute, is the space where we grow and learn and lean into each other.

Between ‘x’ and ‘y’ is where most truth lies.

If we come to a disagreement holding tight to our stance or beliefs and unwilling to hear from others and consider their perspective we really are not participating in a dialogue. We turn a deaf ear to their thoughts and we discredit their words before we even get a chance to process.

I want to challenge you today.

I’ve been going through a deconstruction of sorts with my faith. It isn’t a faith crisis and I’m not losing my faith in God. On the contrary, this deconstruction is leading me to challenge my own beliefs and to plant my roots deeper in faith. I’m challenging things I’ve been told and weighing them against what the Bible and more specifically Jesus says about these things. And as I’ve continued in this journey, I’ve come against disagreement. Some of those disagreements have been healthy like what I described above while others have been futile as a result of both parties.

All this to say–it is okay if we challenge each other. It’s benefical when we ask those hard questions to the people we are closest to. And it is important than when we disagree that we hear one another out and continue to dialogue in a way that is both respectful and uplifting and leaves both parties feeling heard.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Life Update

The past month and a half has been pretty insane. I will try to catch you up to speed…

1. I finished the hardest school year of my career

I had the honor of being chosen to hand out several diplomas at my school’s graduation ceremony.

2. One semester ended and another began of grad school.

Cheers to that!

3. We spent a week at Cherry Grove beach (AGAIN) this time with family.

My sisters and our families at the beach

4. June 4th was my tenth wedding anniversary and we celebrated with a date night at the beach

We visited Duplin Winery and did a tasting and sipped local wines in North Myrtle beach followed by dinner at Lulu’s.

5. Today I turned 31

Here I am sitting at the beach trying to forget about adding another year to my age.

I would love to catch up with you! What have you been up to these last few months?

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Station Eleven: A Book Review

Title: Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday

Copyright Date: 2014

photo credit: Amazon

An actor dead on the stage. A life of broken promises and fleeting love. A world on the brink of collapse. This is how prolific author, Emily St. John Mandel opens this post-apocalyptic tale. The Georgia Flu has spread to every continent and killed many in its wake. As the pandemic strikes, it silently destroys lives and society.

Twenty years after Arthur Leander dies on stage during a production of King Lear, a child actress, Kirsten, is now grown and touring what is left of the eastern US with a traveling orchestra and Shakespeare company. In a world made destitute by a violent illness it is the arts that bring the people joy and reminders of what life used to be. Kirsten believes the violence of the earlier years are behind them as society tries to rebuild a semblance of civilization. But returning to a town where her best friend was left to deliver a child, Kirsten learns that the violence of the past has taken on a new look– he calls himself The Prophet.

Events of this eerie tale move along a non-linear structure. The author leaves clues and connections throughout the text to point readers toward the way in which all the characters and subplots coincide. Written long before our current pandemic, this tale brings to light the ways in which we are all connected and how we must learn to trust one another and rebuild the world we live in.

I read this novel as part of my masters program, but I recommend it for anyone who enjoys the post-apocalyptic genre. There are parts in the opening chapters that may be triggering to people affected by Covid-19. At first, I wasn’t sure I would be able to read the whole book, but the story moved quickly from the onset of the pandemic to its future impact on society.

Check out my Goodreads account if you want to see what’s up next in my reading. 

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Get Them Outside!–Teacher Tuesday

Honors World History students outside reading The Diary of Anne Frank

One of my favorite teaching tricks in the springtime is getting my kids outside for a few minutes to read, write, or work in groups. During this year of pandemic teaching it is even more important to get the kids outside when the weather is nice. Not only does it help us to breathe cleaner, unfiltered air, but it also lifts the spirits and helps students to build an appreciation for the great outdoors.

Reading on a back porch, poolside, or while getting my feet sandy at a beach is one of my favorite ways to destress. So giving students an opportunity to get some reading done while soaking up the sun helps many of them to destress and build healthy habits as well.

I do have to post a disclaimer here: I teach high school honors students.

I know that for many teachers it would be a great challange to take your classes outdoors and maintain some level of productivity. The change of scenery is helpful for all learners whether that be outside, in the school library, or allowing students to choose their own spot in the classroom. For me, outdoor reading works because I have students who can handle that environment, but always use your best judgement when making a call like that for your own students. You know your students best and what types of activities will serve their learning well.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Spring Break Recap

I cannot think of a time in my ten year career where I NEEDED a break like I did two weeks ago. It’s been a long year of trying to teach in the midst of a pandemic, and those days leading up to Spring Break were rough. Two days before school let out for break my husband and I made the decision to escape to the beach. We secretly packed leading up to the trip, but we did not tell the girls until just before we left.

We stayed in a condo in North Myrtle Beach (Cherry Grove) in South Carolina.

The weather was great for the first few days and we spent as much time as possible soaking up the sun and enjoying the waves. The second half of the trip was a little colder. Those days were too cold to swim, but we still enjoyed moments in the sand.

Overall, this trip was the recharge we needed as a family to power through these last seven weeks of the longest school year EVER! We had plenty of time to rest, bond, and reconnect with our goals and purposes as a family without the distraction of work, gym, and all the other added components to our busy lifestyle.

Summer is approaching and we are beyond ready!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Savor: Five Minute Friday

It’s a windy Friday morning here in Ohio and I’m jumping in with my Five Minute Friday post so long as the wifi sticks with me. Five Minute Friday is a weekly link up where writers from all over write for five minutes about a common prompt. Each writer then places a link to their writing on the homepage and we navigate the community dropping positivity on one another’s pages. This week our prompt is Savor.

I can’t think of the last time I stopped to savor a meal. For years it seems that life has been so busy that I hardly have time to eat and I have gotten to a point where what I am eating is not very important to me. I eat for survival and fuel without much regard for savoring the tastes and the moment.

I’m not quite sure when this happened–I used to be all about trying new things and surprising my taste buds with new flavors. Preparing new dishes was so much fun and the act of making recipes my own was a blast. But somewhere along the way it became such a pain to plan out three meals a day. I sacrificed flavor for convenience and I replaced a relatively balanced diet with one of sporadic eating. Sure, I’m busy. But shouldn’t I be able to still find moments to eat healthy and to savor the times I have with the food and family I have been blessed with?

This week is Spring Break. My husband planned a secret trip to the beach (and by secret I mean we are totally surprising the girls. They don’t know yet!) and one thing I hope to find on this trip is a few moments to stop and savor. I have been going nonstop since school resumed this fall and to be able to stand on a balcony breathing in the air of the coastline will be such a healing experience. I hope to also repair my relationship with food and although we will be in a condo and I will be cooking just about every meal, I plan to adventure in the kitchen and find reasons to sit and savor the food that I am putting into my body.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Amazon Wish List: Teacher Tuesday

This week I wanted to share with you about an idea I found on The Caffeinated Classroom: Amazon Wish List for the classroom. As a secondary teacher, I am provided very little financially to build an ideal classroom. Elementary teachers are often gifted money from PTA/PTOs, but us lowly high school teachers are expected to spend our own money to purchase anything beyond the basics.

After watching Marie’s video on creating a classroom wish list I decided to give it a try and have already received some wonderful gifts from families in the community.

First of all, there are so many parents out there who want to help out, but don’t know how. By curating a list you can be sure that you are receiving EXACTLY what you want to build the environment of your dreams.

Secondly, there are so many students who long for the engaging learning classrooms of their earlier days. I’m not advocating for posters plastering the wall and an explosion of color, but I am in favor of building a classroom of supplies, manipulatives, and decor that help to make your classroom more inviting. Blank, white walls don’t provide that aesthetic.

Thirdly, teachers cannot do this alone. It just is not possible. We need to channel our creative energy into educating students and creating plans that foster learning. Oftentimes, the environment of our classrooms become secondary (as they should) and we find ourselves working every day in a boring, sterile environment.

I decided to give it a shot. If you check out Marie’s video she explains how to setup an Amazon Wish List to share with families on your newsletter, LMS, or email signature. I reached out on my school LMS and asked for donors and many parents already browsed my list. We are working together to create an English/History classroom that feels like home for my students.

If you are interested in donating to this project please consider making a purchase on my classroom Wish List. All donors will receive a shout out on social media and a heartfelt thank you from the students. We are also working on creating a wall of donors where we post names of donors and their contributions in the classroom. This is providing opportunities to also teach my students about gratefulness.

Check out our classroom Wish List!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Rebecca–Film Analysis

photo from thefilmexperience.net

I am currently enrolled in a Masters of English program through Bowling Green State University and this week we did a film analysis in one of my classes that I wanted to share with you. To begin, we viewed the Alfred Hitchcock version (1940) and later compared to the new Netflix remake of Rebecca (2020).

Synopsis

A young, female is employed to accompany an older woman on a tour of Europe during the postwar era. While vacationing in Monte Carlo, the younger companion is introduced to the lavish lifestyle and a wealthy widower, Maxim deWinter, heir to the Manderly mansion along the English coast. Capturing his affections on walks along the shore and rides through the country in his car, the younger companion finds herself entangled in the world of the wealthy and soon engaged to Mr. deWinter.

After their honeymoon, the newlyweds move to Manderly, and the new Mrs. deWinter must quickly learn how to run a home and staff of giant proportion. This new world she has entered comes with a house manager, the mysterious Mrs. Danvers. Before long, Mrs. deWinter learns that the presence of Rebecca, the first Mrs. deWinter, lurks in every room and every memory of the estate. She tries to adjust to this life, but it seems that Rebecca’s shoes are nearly impossible to fill.

Mrs. deWinter works to uncover the truth of Rebecca’s death and the secrets sewn into the fabric of life at Manderly. In this quest, Mrs. deWinter unleashes a storm of lies, inquisition, and death. A tale of naive love, fear, mystery, and the macabre, Rebecca will always be a haunting tale that challenges the patriarchy of mid century society and the limits of love in the face of scandal.

Movie Analysis

When I set out to view the 1940, black and white Hitchcock film I was not overly excited. Films from the forties are not the types I sit down and watch. So I came to this viewing with a prejudice and a strong suspicion that I would be bored out of my mind for two hours. However, I quickly became entranced by the intricate details in scenery and wardrobe. I fell in love with the characters and the second Mrs. deWinter was beyond beautiful. Hitchcock’s use of light and Manderly as a character in itself was also brilliantly executed. For its time, this film was a strong production.

The 2020 film was a replica of the earlier edition, but with the challenge of using color there was a pressure to measure up to the extravagance of the 1940 film. Lily James played the second Mrs. deWinter and did so brilliantly. (side note: I also loved her in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society film. She’s definitely typecasted herself for roles of that era.) In so many ways the second film matched the first, but there were additional scenes and a little more sexual innuendo to match the times.

The Problem

The story of Rebecca is a brilliant tale, but cannot be viewed without noticing that the second Mrs. deWinter never receives an identity. A name is never provided for her and she moves from a nameless companion to a Mrs. fairly quickly. This decision was likely made to show that middle class women had no value in mid century society without a man. And once the second Mrs. deWinter begins to uncover her husband’s secrets the option of divorce is not ever explored. Because it was not acceptable.

In my analysis for school I unpacked these issues and a few others, but I don’t want to bore you with literary analysis. I do encourage you to see for yourself how Rebecca challenges feminist views. There are some articles out there challenging the film and its second production as outdated and harmful to the progressive movement of women, but I am of the belief that the author of Rebecca (Daphne de Maurier ) did not create this tale to glorify the ways of society, but to challenge it, and in doing so she communicated a timeless message about female empowerment.

Check it out for yourself!!

The Ameri Brit Mom