My Mom Uniform

Good morning!

Today I’m once again joining Erika & Shay‘s monthly Let’s Look link-up (which will actually be tomorrow, I’m just posting a day early) and this month’s topic is your favorite “outfit of the day” or OOTD. 

If you’ve been around for a long time, like 5 years ago before my blog’s hiatus, you know that this space started out as a place to share lots of teacher outfits. My Instagram used to be exclusively dedicated to sharing my teacher ootd and I would share simple, everyday looks that were professional, comfortable, and affordable. The outfits are all still saved under my closet archives but here’s a little sampling of what my professional wardrobe used to be:

 

I loved mix-and-matching basic pieces in different ways – I loved little details like a fun ruffle, statement jewelry, or unique shoes and I enjoyed finding fun ways to layer. I still enjoy dressing up like this if I have the occasion to!

Now that I am no longer teaching and stay at home with LJ all day, it would be super easy to live in sweatpants, but I still try to get dressed every day. I don’t mean get dressed up, I mean just get dressed in anything other than the same old sweats.  It is literally JUST as easy to throw on a basic striped shirt as it is to throw on a sweatshirt, and it may seem silly but it affects my overall confidence and happiness. I’m way happier bumping into a friend in the grocery store if I’m wearing a “real” shirt. I’m way more confident kissing my husband when he comes home if I’m not in the same sweatpants I was wearing when he left for work in the morning. When I feel like I look even just a little bit put together, I feel better about myself and a happier, more confident Sarah is honestly a happier, more confident wife and mom.

All that being said, I don’t have the same about of time to piece together a daily outfit like I did when I was teaching and even if I did, there’s no real reason to go to that level of thought and effort. My days usually include pushing a stroller on a walk or running around my backyard or reading books on the floor so the heels have taken a leave of absence. Plus, many days I end up with yogurt on my pants or have a strawberry thrown at my shirt (thanks LJ) so I stick with basic, easy to clean clothes. I have a “mom uniform” of sorts that goes something like this: easy top in a classic pattern (stripes, plaid, etc), one piece of simple or statement jewelry, skinny jeans, and flats. It maybe takes an extra two minutes to pull these items from my closet instead of reaching for sweats, but the minimal amount of extra effort makes a huge difference.

All of those outfits were super easy to thrown on, and I felt so much happier and more confident heading out the door. And they are all still comfortable and easy to “mom” in!

Now do I also take the time to do full-on hair and make-up everyday? Heck no. I’m often in a messy bun with maybe a few swipes of bronzer and mascara. And of course there are days where LJ and I are in jammies and sweats all day long. But I really do try to put at least a little effort into getting dressed more often than not.

I also want to address that now that I’m pregnant, my wardrobe is reduced and comfort is the name of the game, but I still try to look put together. I’m rocking a comfy, simple top, skinny jeans, and my Converse most days.

Also, since it’s approaching summer, we’re outside playing a lot now so I’m often wearing some form of athleisure.

My favorite OOTD is one that is comfy, cute, and requires minimal thought and effort while still staying a step or two above my ratty college sweatshirt. By keeping a simple “mom uniform” in mind, it’s easy for me to feel put together every day.

What’s your standby, go-to outfit that makes you feel put together and confident?

Teacher Tuesday: Picture Schedules!

Happy Teacher Tuesday!

Today I want to share something that I came up with last year and used on a daily basis. At the time, I was teaching students with multiple disabilities, and all of my students had sensory processing needs. On top of that, nearly all of them had visual needs and limited fine motor skills.

When it came time to create our classroom schedule, a list on a wall just wasn’t going to cut it for me. I wanted to come up with a way to involve my students and ensure that they could actively participate when we talked as a class about our schedule and daily activities. I also wanted to have a schedule that was versatile and allowed the students to understand the transitions we were making throughout the day. Here’s what I came up with:

Tactile Picture Schedule Baskets!

Here’s how it worked:

I bought several baskets from the Dollar Store. They came in packs of 3 for $1 each. I had six students so I bought enough baskets for them each to have a white one and a green one. (Twelve baskets at $1 for 3 = $4 total. Definitely worth it!)

I printed out a small sign to attach to the front of each basket. The white basket’s sign said “It’s time for . . .” and the green basket’s sign said “I am finished with . . .”

Next, I created visual representations of all of our major activities, starting with our morning routine. I first cut out strips of black construction paper. I then printed out Boardmaker symbols for each of the major tasks we complete each morning. I laminated the symbols and attached them to the top of the strip of black paper. I then found a real-life, concrete example of each activity and Velcroed it to the bottom of the paper, which allowed the students to pull it off if they wanted to explore the object closely. The end result looked like this:

For “meal time,” I attached a real plastic fork identical to the ones the students ate with. For my students who used a feeding tube for meals, I used an extra feeding tube in place of the fork to make it applicable to them.

For “wipe face,” I attached a piece of a real wipe identical to the ones we use after meals.

P104

For “brush teeth,” I attached a dollar store tiny toothbrush, and for “comb hair,” I attached a dollar store comb.

 

As we went through our morning routine, we would show the students the picture and object for each task. The students had a chance to touch and feel each object. When we started a task, the picture went into the white basket. When we finished a task, the picture went into the green basket. Some students were able to move the picture from one basket to the other independently. I think this provided a great transition visual!

As tasks finished, we allowed the students to stack the tasks in the green basket so they could see how much we had already done.

I also created strips for our daily “specials” classes.

This one was a little more difficult to come up with concrete objects for, but I’m very pleased with the results!

For “arts and crafts,” I used pieces of Model Magic, which my students frequently use in art class.

For “P.E.” class, I used a small plastic ball identical to the ones they sometimes use in the gym.

For “music” class, the music teacher did me a HUGE favor and lent me some small instruments (small maracas and bells) that he didn’t use anymore. I Velcroed these on so we could still pull them off and use them for musical activities in class.

For “library”, I found tiny board books (at a thrift store for cheap! Whoohoo!) and attached them to the strip.

“Guidance” class was the hardest for me to come up with a concrete object. I finally settled on a giant fuzzy ball. The guidance teacher often used these as visuals for feeling “warm and fuzzy” and also for rewards in class. It was something my students were used to seeing in guidance and no where else so it worked out perfectly! (I’d also like to note that there wasn’t a good picture for “guidance” in terms of attending a class, so I used another picture and wrote in “guidance” at the top. This was in the best interests of my students’ learning and understanding.)

I should mention that I did a picture strip of everything for EACH student. I had six library strips, six music strips, etc. It was exactly what I wanted: a simple way to keep my students actively engaged and allow them to access the schedule and understand what was going on in their surroundings. It was also a great visual way to teach transitions.

You could do this for an infinite number of school activities (recess, calendar time, subjects like math, science, etc. The list goes on and on!) It takes some work but it is worth it in the end!

***

Today’s teaching outfit:

Cardigan: Old Navy

Dress: American Eagle

Cami underneath: Express

Tights: Express

Boots: Payless

Necklace & bracelet: Lia Sophia