Clean: My 2020 Word UPDATE- February Edition ❤️

Happy February 15 everyone: the unmarked holiday where all heart shaped chocolates, red & pink clothing, and stuffed animals are 50% off!! I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend and had a day filled with lots of love yesterday!

A couple blog posts ago I shared my 2020 word: CLEAN. This year I wanted to focus on filling my body, mind, & home with CLEAN. As we are a little over a month and a half into the year, I thought I would give a little update on my CLEAN journey and share how I incorporated it into everyone’s favorite Hallmark holiday: Valentine’s Day 💓

***Disclaimer: in this post I am discussing how I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a CLEAN eating, CLEAN mindset way. I am by NO MEANS saying that this is how you should have been spending your day. As I mentioned before, CLEAN, whole foods are what I wanted to fuel my body with this year. I wanted to give those who want to try CLEAN eating and mindset ideas on a day that is for all those sugary, processed foods!! I appreciate your support and encouragement!***


I knew going into this day–with 28 days of no artificial sugar under my belt–that it might be challenging. Literally ever since January 1 was over, stores already started selling their chocolates, candies, and all things sweet. AND LET ME TELL YA, it was so tempting to eat all the Valentine’s I received from my students and friends, but I found some ways to still celebrate this holiday in a CLEAN way.

For dinner, Joel and I planned on having fondue or should I say FUN don’t mind if we DO! Have you ever had an oil based fondue? SO YUMMY. Normally we use a vegetable oil for our fondue, but to stick to the CLEAN, I used Avocado Oil. (I used Chosen Foods 100% Avocado Oil)

I boiled the avocado oil first on the stove for about 3 minutes to heat it up quickly, then transferred it to our fondue pot at 375 degrees.

Next, I prepared our dippings: chicken breast, beef, broccoli (OUR FAV 🥦 😍), cauliflower, mushrooms, and onions. Pro-tip #1: buy premartinated beef and chicken skewers from your local grocery store. They are already cut up for you and seasoned 👌🏻

I had this cute, large veggie tray that my dad purchased for a party that came in #clutch for organizing all our goodies. After that, we were READY!!!!

Joel and I drank Bubly from wine glasses lol and started fondueing away (is that a word?? Not sure but I’m making it one!!) We dipped our topping into a skewer and then placed it in the fondue pot to boil! Pro-tip #2: Let your broccoli sit in the pot the longest. You have not yet LIVED if you haven’t had fondue broccoli. Lol I’m being sarcastic and dramatic but I’m not kidding. Fondue broccoli changed lives!!!!

So in all, this dinner was CLEAN eating: avocado oil, veggies, and meat! One way to keep a CLEAN eating date night/Valentine’s Day is to eat in and fondue is a fun change up.

After fondueing for dinner, Joel and I opened presents to let our tummies get prepared for dessert. As you could see from the back of the picture above, I did something a little different 😋

I saw this idea on Pinterest! Filling my time and energy with CLEAN thoughts, I reflected on how it just makes perfect sense to be with Joel. I thought about how I could show the five senses in this gift.

  • Sound: I bought Joel an I Love You Soundwave Keychain from Etsy
  • Sight: Picture of us in a frame
  • Smell: his favorite soap
  • Touch: fun cozy socks
  • Taste: his favorite chocolates

I definitely had a CLEAN mind while wrapping this gift! I had so much fun doing the lettering 😍 Joel loved the thoughtfulness. I loved making this and seeing his reaction in opening each gift.

When we were finished opening gifts, we started preparing our chocolate fondue! Now you might be thinking, how did you make this CLEAN Claire?!? Well, if there’s a will, there’s a way and if you know me… I am always determined to find the way!! Exploring on Pinterest, I found this AMAZING recipe from Simple As That Blog, that I altered a little 😋

In a sauce pan, I combined:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter (Pro-Tip #3: the original recipe called for creamy peanut butter but I only had crunchy PB so we used almond butter…honestly, I think I liked the taste better!!!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of sea salt

I cooked the mixture on the stove on low heat for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickened. Then, I poured it in a bowl to serve.

While I was preparing the chocolate, Joel got our dippings ready: strawberries, bananas, and peanut butter pretzel bars I made last weekend!! CHECK IT OUT 😱 👏🏻

THIS CHOCOLATE FONDUE CHANGED MY LIFE AND MADE SKIPPING OUT ON ALL THE VALENTINES DAY SUGAR CHOCOLATE WORTH IT 😍😍❤️❤️❤️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻💓 Even Joel, who supports my CLEAN eating efforts but still wants to eat his sugary “normal” foods said that you couldn’t tell the difference between this and actual chocolate fondue. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.

So, my CLEAN journey is going well 😌 I just wanted to share that even on the sweetest day of the year, you can still fuel your body with naturally sweet, not processed or artificial sugary foods!! Thank you for all following along! I deCLAIRE that finding foods that are good for your body, but taste like the “real deal” are one of the things that make me happy. Another thing that makes me happy is this blog. And of course, ALL OF YOU! Thank YOU. I LOVE you all 💓❤️


Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

I would like take this time to shamelessly plug my instagram account: @missdeclaireinghappiness

If you enjoy these blogposts and want to see more updates and food posts in real time, check out my insta 🤗 I would love to see what you all are up to, so give me a follow and message me!! Xoxo xoxo

The Power of Cauliflower

Hiya! Happy Day!! This week’s #CleanEatingTip comes from one of my current favorite vegetables…CAULIFLOWER. Cauliflower is POWERFUL let me tell you. Why is it so powerful?! It is versatile, a great low-carb option, and a fulfilling source of protein and Vitamin C.

I wanted to share how I am using cauliflower for these week’s breakfast…(also featuring one of my new favorite products.. “Wanna Date?”: Chocolate Date Spread).

Cauliflower Noatmeal

NO-ATMEAL: pronounced note-meal; an oatmeal substitute that is gluten-free, low carb, keto, no sugar… YOU NAME IT. Lol not sure if this is an actual word and if I spelled it right or if I made it up.

By mixing cooked rice cauliflower, coconut milk, dark cocoa powder, fruit of your choice (I used raspberries), and special toppings, you can have a yummy oatmeal that is low-carb and fulfilling!!

Step 1: Microwave/prepare your riced cauliflower. I used frozen riced cauliflower to make it #easier. This Birds Eye brand is my all-time fav!! Pop it into the microwave for four minutes and you’ve got some delicious cauliflower rice THAT YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO CHOP UP! Transfer your desired amount to the stovetop. (I used three bags to evenly divide amongst my five day week).

Step 2: Mix your precooked cauliflower with three cups of coconut milk (or nut milk of your choosing) on the stove top. Rule of thumb–one cup of milk per packaged rice. I also added 2 tablespoons of chia seeds for some extra nutrients.

Step 3: Add three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and one tablespoon of natural sweetener, such as honey or maple syrup. Keep on cooking your rice until the milk thickens…about 6 minutes.

Step 4: Divide your cauliflower noatmeal evenly into your storage containers to have throughout the week. I used mason jars and believe it will last about a week. Then, top your noatmeal with your favorite fruit. I used raspberries but I think bananas, blueberries, or strawberries would work with this chocolatey mixture.

—–When you’re reading to eat your noatmeal–I prefer warm–microwave it for about one minute. AND Add extra toppings! I made two different options so far. I think my favorite is option two currently.

Option 1: Banana Almond Butter- After microwaving the noatmeal, I drizzled almond butter and cut up a banana.

Option 2: Raspberry and Date Spread! SOOOOOOO, I just discovered a natural sweetener spread called “Wanna Date?”. This spread uses the natural sweetness of dates mixed with cocoa powder to give you a guilt-free spread. I used two tablespoons (only 50 additional calories!!!) and mixed it in my cauliflower. Side note: I can’t wait to use this date spread more often!!!!!!

Let me know if you try this noatmeal AND/OR how you use the power of cauliflower!!! I LOVE learning new recipes and trying new foods…it makes me happy. Here’s a continued step towards #CLEANEATING2020!

XOXO, Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Clean: 2020 Word of the Year

Hi y’all! I’ve had this blog for over a year now. For those of you who have been following me, you probably are thinking, “Claire, you’re back at it again?!”. I think I have done quite a few “Grand Reopening”‘s of my blog, but I’m promising that this time… I’m here to STAY!

Thank you to those who have been sticking with me on my journey and those who have been encouraging me to get back into this blogging thing. I would have to say, being a blogger is a life dream of mine and I can’t become one if I don’t start up again… so thus HERE I AM!

Enough of this welcome back talk. Let me get down to business. Now that it’s January 26 (Happy Birthday shout-out to my cousin Nancy Cate!!!!), I’ve had time to reflect and really think about my word of the year.

If you couldn’t already tell by the title of my blogpost, my word of the year is CLEAN.

For those who know me really well, you might think I’m crazy for making this my word of the year, but let me explain myself and you’ll see! Maybe you will want CLEAN to be your word of the year too 🙂

Google provides two definitions of clean and they fit in perfectly to what I want this year to be:

1.) Clean: free from dirt, marks, or stains

2.) Clean: morally uncontaminated; pure; innocent

For this year and hopefully years to come, I’m striving to fill my body, soul, and home with CLEAN.


I want to have a CLEAN body, filling it with whole, rich foods. So far, I’ve become very passionate about taking artificial sugar and processed foods out of my life. They mark the inside of my body, making me feel sluggish and bleh. They stain the outside of my body, making me feel bloated and a face of painful acne! To have a CLEAN body, I’m striving to find, create, & make recipes that give my body the energy that I need to make me feel good. I have loved following clean eating bloggers and have enjoyed experimenting with new products and my own food creations.

Further, to have CLEAN body, I’ve been regularly working out and training for my first half-marathon. I’ll tell ya, there’s no better feeling than setting a goal and achieving it. Never in my life would I have imagined myself running over 9 miles!!! But with determination, a CLEAN soul–which I’ll talk about later–and the best support system (S/O to Joel for pushing me & my dad who was a famous HS runner), I’m doing it.


I want to have a CLEAN soul and only supply my heart&mind with good, pure thoughts. LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR… I DON’T HAVE A DIRTY MIND LOLOLOLOL. Instead, in the past, I’ve noticed I’m super hard on myself and fill my mind with negative self-talk. I used to constantly stain and contaminate my mind with discouraging words about how I looked, my skill set, and my worth. This year I’m only filling my mind with CLEAN thoughts: thoughts full of faith and encouragement.

I’ve been reading the Bible more & reflecting on God’s word. I also am in the process of not being so hard on myself–this is definitely a work in progress. I am fueling my life with activities that spark a CLEAN mindset like reading (my goal is to read 55 books this year) , listening to podcasts (OMG SCRUBBING IN WITH BECCA TILEY & TANYA RAD IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME), lighting more candles lol, crafting, running, and continuing this blog.


Lastly, I want to have a CLEAN life. This one is a little bit more literal. I am a pretty organized person but I feel like I can do better in the actual cleaning aspect of my life. At the start of the year, I created a schedule of when I have to clean things: how often I should wash my sheets, wipe bathroom counters, vacuum, flip my mattress, clean my closet, reorganize the basement, etc. There’s a lot you have to do!!!!! Checklists and schedules are my best friends, so I made this in order to make my home CLEAN. Since this is the year I’ll be off living in my own apartment (yay for marrying Joel!!!!!! But I’ll miss my forever roomie Pat Donahue), I thought I need to be more serious in how I keep up around the house!

This also means I need to declutter my life and get rid of things that don’t spark joy… AND TAKE UP UNNECESSARY SPACE LOL.


I definitely believe that when you put things out there–for others to see–it makes you more accountable, so thank you for reading about my goal! I’m looking forward to making a “Vision Board” (@tanyarad) soon to make my dreams come to life. Here’s to making 2020 a year free from the dirt and negativity of the world, free from the harsh marks & stains that others and yourself can force upon you, and free from the contaminated thoughts, feelings, people, and foods that want to bring you down. HERE’s to a year full of joy, purity, and goodness. Sooooo, who is with me on making CLEAN their 2020 goal???

Thank you for following along in my journey 💓 I’m SO looking forward to sending my updates and being more present.


Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Happiness Highlight: Cricut Clothing Creations

Happy July Everyone 🙂

I hope you all had a great Fourth of July! Maybe some of you took a long weekend or are in the office today–whatever the case, I hope your day has been fabulous!!🤩

I wanted to highlight something that is making me oh so happy right now…and has been for a while!! As you read from my title, one of my happiness obsessions is creating/designing clothing using my Cricut machine. Check out this gallery of Cricut clothing creations I have made over the course of the year! (Lol did you like my alliterations??? Can you tell I’m a teacher???)

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Everyday I discover something new about creating clothing with my Cricut machine and I get so excited!! I feel like the world is my oyster…. I can create anything and everything🤣 To make my apparel more exciting, I have bought some fun fonts and doodles by “A Perfect Blend” (on Teachers Pay Teachers). I also learned how I can create my own graphics and illustrations on Adobe Illustrator and transform them into graphics on the cricut machine (an example of this was how I made the string lights for one of the Stranger Things shirts, glasses for the Harry Potter shirt, and cow spots for the Chick-Fil-A shirt!) However, if I am too #lazy or in a rush to create a shirt, Cricut has an awesome online gallery where I can purchase pre-made illustrations and graphics for as little as $0.99. Again, THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER, when it comes to these creations!!

I feel like as I am getting more advanced in the clothing designs, Cricut is getting more advanced in their clothing materials. I can honestly say that their iron-on material color selection has multiplied by 1020930940923% and they have added pre-made iron-on designs. They recently came out with infusible ink (Infusible Ink)…another way to make apparel that pops! I am excited to try the infusible ink (#blogposttocome), but I feel as though I need to do a little more research before attempting.

As you can tell, this Cricut machine of mine is one of my passions and something that makes me real happy! Another thing that makes me really happy is creating for others. That being said, if there is a design you like, t-shirt you want, or pretty much ANYTHING you see on Pinterest or online, message me:) I would LOVE to create something for you and make your dreams a reality!!

Thanks for reading this blog post 🙂 You can DEFINITELY expect more designing from me! Thanks for following along in my happiness journey!


Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Saving Time & Meal Preppin’

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope y’all had a great weekend and a wonderful day celebrating the fatherly figures in your life🤗 This past weekend, I had fun visiting with my college besties and honoring Pat Donahue #BESTDADEVER. One of my friends suggested a blogpost idea and I am so excited to share it (Thanks Nat!!). Today’s blog post is titled: “Saving Time & Meal Preppin”. For this post, I wanted to highlight various ways to save time, while still eating healthy, during the school year and summer.

I would say one of my least favorite parts about teaching is packing a lunch!!! I do not know why, but I just don’t like having to make my lunch ahead of time–worrying about how the food will stay fresh, what I should buy at the grocery store, etc. One way that I have made this task not as terrible is through meal prepping. Every Sunday during the school year, I would prep my lunch and set it all aside for the week. It was like an assembly line! I would make and pack all my sandwiches. Then I would pack my fruit. And lastly I would pack my veggie of the week. In preparing these meals, I would package them in either Ziplock bags or Tupperware and store them in the refrigerator. On Sunday, I would pack my first lunch and add an ice pack, sparkling water, silverware, and napkin and store it in the fridge. Then, every afternoon after school, I would unpack my supplies from that day’s lunch and repack it with a new ice pack, drink, and utensils. IT WAS AWESOME and saved SO MUCH time! Sometimes the last thing you want to do in the morning or evening is make your lunch, so I would just get the hard part done on Sunday (maybe it would take 15 minutes) and be all set for the week.

Nooooowww, what would I make for lunches you might ask? Here was my typical lunch. As you can tell from the list, I am pretty *basic*, but it was such a yummy and filling lunch that I didn’t really have to change it up. Every week I would have a:

  1. Chicken Sandwich
  2. Fruit
    • Green grapes or MOON GRAPES (when they were in season…OMG if you have never tried moon grapes before YOU.HAVE.TOO. They are these funky shaped long dark purple grapes that are crunchy and oh so sweet. My favorite produce man, “Jim from Produce”, at my local Mariano’s introduced me to them and they are delicious. I only have had them during the months of maybe October and February…they are not always at Mariano’s).
    • Whatever berries are on sale–sometimes I have raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or a combination!
  3. Veggie
    • Baby carrots OR sugar snap peas (if I’m treating myself because these are more expensive).

Lol and that was my typical lunch throughout the week. Nothing fancy or exciting. Every now and then I would pack some leftover pasta, squash, or taco salad from the night before. However, the lunch I listed above was my favorite. I also enjoyed it because it was healthy and filling. If you are not like me and can not eat the same thing for the entire year lol, there are so many meal prep ideas on Pinterest. Here are some of my favorites that I have had before or have had during the summer:

  1. Turkey Taco Salad
  2. Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels
  3. Greek Chicken Bowl
  4. Hawaiian Pizza Chicken
  5. Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Bowl

Meal preppin’ is awesome because it saves you time during the week! Want to know how to save time during the week and make healthy dinners?! Well, let me introduce you to my two best friends: Crock Pot Meals and Trader Joe’s Freezer Section!

Do you have a Crock Pot?!?! If you do not, stop what you are doing right now and head over to Amazon to buy one. Crock Pots SAVE lives. Really, they do. If you do not know the wonders of Crock Pots, let me tell you. They allow you to have fresh, homemade meals right in time for dinner without the hassle of cooking one to two hours after work. The Crock Pot does all the cooking for you. Especially if you find the right recipes–how I like to refer to them “Dump Recipes”–there is minimal effort involved. You just dump all your ingredients and GO! I am actually making a Crock Pot meal for dinner tonight since I am working at Loft (*Selfish plug come visit me from 1:00-5:00pm💕)

Then, add a frozen veggie, a salad, and/or fruit on the side and you are GOOD TO GO for a great meal. Here are my FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE easy Crock Pot recipes:

  1. BBQ Pulled Chicken
  2. Orange Chicken
  3. Salsa Verde Chicken (for tacos or taco salad)

Now, my other best friend is the Trader Joe’s Freezer Section!! There are so many wonderfully healthy freezer meals that you can make in 30 minutes or less. Put them in the oven and/or stovetop and cook while you are doing other things—catching up on emails, reading, cleaning, laundry, watching the Bachelorette from the night before, etc. Please follow @traderjoes and @traderjoeslist on Instagram for even more ideas! ORRR when you go in the store, head right to the samples. I have found many of my favorite recipes from sampling them from the oh-so-kind workers.

Here are some of my personal favorites (all of these ingredients can be purchased at Trader Joes):

  1. Cheese Cauliflower Pizza topped with Hot & Spicy Pickles– don’t knock it until ya try it
  2. Sweet & Sour Chicken with Vegetable Fried Rice
  3. Turkey Corndogs with Fries
  4. Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Chimichurri Rice and Ground Turkey

Soooooo, I hope these meal prep ideas and recipes save you some time and take a shorter amount of time than it did to read this entire blog post😜 I just wanted to share with you all that there are amazing options out there that help ya save time and are healthy.

I am Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness and these meal prep hacks and recipes are ways that make me feel happy throughout the year as they help me save time and allow me to focus my energy on other things💕 I hope you all have a wonderful week! Be on the lookout for a new vlog or blog post about my “Nailed It” adventures…follow me on my instagram @missdeclaireinghappiness for moreeee💕


Little Things in the Summer That Make Me HAPPY :)

Sooooo we are not even a week in to Summer 2019 and I’m having blast! I am loving not having a set schedule (except at Loft….COME VISIT ME TOMORROW AT 12:30😛), not having to set an alarm (except my internal alarm clock wakes me up early), and just being able to read, relax, and catch up on things from the school year. This past week has definitely been refreshing and I want to share some of the “little things” of summer that make me happy.

  • WATCHING THE TODAY SHOW!- Ever since I was in middle school, I enjoyed the 1 minute news recap at 7:00am and have memorized their opening from the start “This is Today with [insert current anchors name], LIVE from Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza”. After watching this little summary, I would usually pack up my backpack and head to school. It was such a great start to the morning and I felt “in the loop” with current events. However, this year, since I am an early bird & was a first year teacher, I would be in my classroom at 6:40am completely missing this recap. I missed seeing the shining faces of the Today Show and feeling connected to the world. Being at home during the week now in summer, I am able to start my morning with the fab people of NBC news and watch it as long as I would like. (The second and third hour of the Today show are my favorites ❤️ ) Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, I love YOU!!! Can’t wait for Hoda to return back on the show! And Dylan Dreyer, Craig Melvin, Al Roker, Carson Daly, Sheinelle Jones, and Jenna Bush, y’all are awesome too. ***A dream of mine is to go to NYC and meet all of y’all in the morning! In the meantime, I am content with seeing you all on TV!IMG_1310
  • WORKING OUT IN THE MORNING!– Not only do I enjoy starting my day with the Today Show clan, I also enjoy working out at the local Y right in the morning. There is no better feeling than finishing a workout. I love having this feeling in the morning because it kickstarts my day and makes me ready for anything and everything! It’s so fun seeing the same people at the Y in the mornings too. Although I don’t know their names, I feel like we all bond. I mean, we have to bond since we are the crazy people that are working out from 5:30-6:30 in the morning😂
  • GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE DURING THE WEEK!– During the school year, my dad and I hit up Mariano’s practically every Saturday between 7:00-8:00am….along with everybody else in LZ. We had to get into our grove–he would go to the deli counter first and I would race through the veggies and fruits–as it was always really crowded and we didn’t want to wait. You know what’s awesome about summer?? I don’t have to wait until the weekend mornings to get food for the week…I can do it during the week! I went to Mariano’s and Trader Joe’s on Monday and I felt so invigorated. There were no lines, fresh produce, and smiling faces. Every worker I saw smiled and asked me how I was doing. I quickly responded with “I’m great! I’m a teacher and this is my first Monday of summer!”. They all congratulated me and smiled. To be honest, I have been to the grocery store every day this week HAHA but it’s awesome because I CAN 🥑🍓🌽🥫🥚🧀🍗🌮



  • READING ALL THE TIME!– I have a GIANT stack of books on my shelf–28 to be exact–and the pile just keeps on growing. I love that I can read at all times of the day!! I’ve already finished 3 books this past week ranging from adult fiction to children’s realistic fiction to a professional development book on reading. The last book I read was called The Book Whisperer (thanks for the recommendation @Dana) and I learned that I need to keep with my reading passion so I can help model and encourage the wonders of reading to my students!! Majority of the books that I am reading this summer are children’s literature (HIGH KEY RECOMMEND BECAUSE THEY ARE FUN AND MOSTLY ALWAYS HAVE GOOD ENDINGS). I am taking note of what I am reading so I can recommend books to my students next year! Having free time to read is not only helping me relax and unwind, it is preparing me to help my students📚💕

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  • FREE TIME TO WORK ON PROJECTS!– If you know me, then you know that I have a passion for crafting and a passion for projects! I have a space in my basement dedicated to this. It was my mom’s craft room, now mine, and it is my favorite place in the house❤️ I feel so connected to her and my passion for creating when I am in there. So far, I have been able to work on a couple of projects–clean/organize the craft room (sounds boring, but I promise you I have been looking forward to this), designing our new patio space (PEEP my cute little spot in the photo), and working on a Father’s Day Gift (no spoilers because Pat Donahue may be reading this!!!). I love that I have this extra time to create!! I am hoping to update you all on my summer projects as well as show some videos of the DIY projects so you can do them too!!

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After this week and being able to do all these little things that make me happy, I am refilling my energy cup! Here’s to two more months of THIS 🎉 ☀️ One of the teachers I follow on instagram shared a story about her day today; It included a coffee date, hair appointment, and time spent creating for her TPT store. She then said “Writing that made me feel spoiled……but teachers deserve this!” (@misswestbest). I could not agree more! Teachers deserve summer! I am blessed that I am able to have my dream job August-May–sharing my passions with students and learning from them and a great school community–and then I am blessed that I am able to unwind June & July to reenergize for next year’s kiddos!

What are you all enjoying as summer is starting?! Do you have any book recommendations I should add to my pile? Do you have any project recommendations…or something you would like me to create?? Please do not hesitate to reach out!!

I am Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness declaring the little things that have made me happy this summer! I hope you all have a great Wednesday…I’m off to Trader Joe’s😋




*cue Adele music*

Hello, it’s me!

I was wondering after this long year if you’d still like to hear

from me.

To go over everything.

They say your first year teaching is tough

But I have so much more to share

HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE PEOPLE!! And when I mean the other side, I mean not being a first year teacher anymore… and that it is summer! (Ahhhhhhhhh!!! Crazy how fast this year went!!!!). Man oh man, this year has been a such a great learning year! For this blog post, I wanted to write down what I learned along the way to share with you all…especially you upcoming first year teachers.

Seriously, I do not know how to even start this list. In thinking of this blog post, I asked myself: Do I order everything chronologically how I learned it??? Do I order it by importance??? Do I order it alphabetically??? And the winner is…. NONE OF THEM. I have decided just to list them in a RANDOM order lol. Here we go!!

  1. Balance is key--You can overwhelm yourself with school. I promise you. There is always something that you can do for your classroom, for your students, and for you to better your teaching, but you have to be able to stop. For the first two months, I would stay at school until 5pm everyday, come home and work for 2 more hours, and then spend 10+ hours on the weekend at school. I seriously felt like all I did was school and I needed an extra weekend from my weekend. I couldn’t wait to have a long weekend, just to have that extra day to relax. After having some crying breakdowns at home, Joel suggested a new plan “Dedicate one day to work and one day to rest”. On the weekends, I would spend one day (usually Saturday) going into school and then another day (usually Sunday) for myself! This new plan was awesome! I also started stopping looking at school related material at 5pm and took time to self-care or how I liked to call it “Self-Claire”. This advice can really apply to anyone–not just teachers. Know when enough is enough, or have a friend or family member be able to tell you this. School is a big part of my life, but it is not my entire life! Make sure you are balancing your time.
  2. You’ll find your grove–Everyone told me that the first couple of months will be tough and I would be lying to you if I said they were not. Many teachers, friends, and family members told me that once Thanksgiving hit, I would feel like I had a handle on things. They were right!! I remember saying to Joel on a Saturday in January “Hey, remember when I would spend my entire weekend at school?”. We both laughed and wondered what happened. I didn’t stop extensively planning. The school days weren’t getting shorter. I didn’t stop doing fun activities in the classroom. Actually, I added more to my plate by working at Loft and helping coach Girls on the Run. I guess I just found my grove 🤗 AND YOU WILL TOO! Just hang in there! I’ll be the one to tell you next year that you’ve got this.
  3. You must fill your own cup before filling others’ cups–This kind of deals with my first point, but I want to reemphasize it because it’s so important. As teachers, we put so much energy into our classrooms. It takes energy to plan lessons, carry out the lessons, and to care for your students. You won’t be able to do this if you are not caring for yourself! Add some self-care to your routine… or Self-Claire (lol I can give you a pep talk!) Read for fun before going to bed, put on a face mask, workout, bake, do arts & crafts…ANYTHING that’s going to make YOU feel good so you can give your best energy & vibes to your students!
  4. Live at home (if you can)–If you are given the option to live at home your first year, DO IT!! I am lucky enough that my home is actually 1 mile away from my school. Living at home this past year has been wonderful. Not having to worry about living independently and just being able to worry on my classroom has been great! I have the best roomie too… PAT DONAHUE ROCKS!! Living at home will give you a great support system. I could not tell you the amount of good talks I’ve had with my dad since I’ve been home. He is so helpful and has helped me have a great year 💕
  5. Don’t be afraid to change–If something does not go well in your classroom–a procedure, lesson, organization, attitude etc.–don’t be afraid to change! It’s your learning year! Try new things out to see what works best for you. However, also realize that what works best this year, might not work best the next year. Each school year brings a bunch of new students! Know from the very beginning that not everything is going to be perfect. Not everything in your day will run smoothly. However, find one good thing that went well and roll with it!
  6. Assume nothing, teach everything–One of my teammates mentioned that saying to me in the first month of school and honestly, I’m going to make a plaque for this for next year! It does not matter the age and personalities of your students, do not assume that they know everything. Remind them how to walk in the hallway, review math concepts before diving into a new lesson, teach them how to treat others with kindness and respect. As you are going into the first couple of weeks of school and implementing your classroom management, this is your time to make sure you are teaching (or reviewing…but still teaching) everything that your students need to succeed.
  7. Lean on your teammates, school staff, & administrators–Enough said. I could NOT have survived this year without my amazing fifth grade team, wonderful colleagues, and fantastic administrators. Everyone at my school was always eager to lend a helping hand and offer a listening ear (and sometimes a shoulder to cry on). Do not do this on your own!! You have amazing teachers all around you ready to support and encourage you in any way. Teacher tribe, thank you x 101348934908234039 for our morning launches, shared resources, little gifts, immediate visits when asked for help, and endless smiles and laughs.
  8. Remember why you started–When the going gets tough, when your challenging student is acting out, when you’re having a day where you just feel like crying, when you are overwhelmed with report cards, emails, planing…Remember why you wanted to be a teacher. Remember those students that you have in your classroom who look up to you and appreciate seeing your smiling face in the morning. Remind yourself of these things! I used a little journal throughout the year to reflect on my day and to write at least one positive thing that occurred that reminded me why I went into the teaching profession. I also have a physical and electronic file of notes, emails, pictures, and messages that I have received over the past year that put a smile on my face. Having these little reminders at reach will definitely help you on those difficult days 💕

There are so many great things I have learned this year and I’ll continue to highlight them as the summer goes on. I did not want this first post back to be a billion pages long. As for me this summer, you will definitely see me around. I hope to continue this blog post through the summer and school year highlighting all the many things that make me happy.

And to end this blog post, I will share a conversation I had with my dad last week (#PatDonahueROCKS!!!). “How lucky you are that you get to start fresh every year and strengthen your teaching as each year progresses. Not many professions are able to do that”. He is right! Not many professions are able to start anew with a bunch of eager, smiling new little faces. This is one of the many things I love about being a teacher. After my first year, I have already learned so many new practices, strategies, and activities I want to try to better myself. I’m looking forward to this summer as a time of relaxation, but also some reflection. YEAR ONE IS DONE! Let Year Two begin ☺️

Thank you for following along in my journey!! (And for being patient and caring through this first year). Happy Summer Teacher Friends and Friends of Teachers❤️

Self-Claire Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone 🙂 I hope y’all have been having a great weekend… I sure have! Recently I discovered the hashtag “Self-Care Sunday” and I am obsessed. This hashtag is all about taking care of yourself and making sure to fill your cup with energy, so you can pass your energy, love, and excitement on to others. For the past couple of Sundays, I have had the “Sunday Scaries”: I have been a little anxious about starting the new week and sad that the weekend was coming to an end. With this, I decided to implement “Self-Care Sunday” or in my case “Self-Claire Sunday” to focus on things that make me happy and relaxed.

Today’s day consisted of going to church with Joel, having some yummy breakfast, making returns, cleaning my room and bathroom, finishing a movie, taking a nap, and crafting!! Let me explain myself on some of the things I did:

  • Going to church was awesome 🙂 Whenever I go, I just receive a sense of relaxation and comfort. Being there with Joel and seeing my Mimi was definitely a plus too!
  • Making returns are sometimes annoying–waiting in the lines, trying to find receipts, etc.–however, I liked receiving the money back on something I did not use!! I know money doesn’t buy happiness, but now I have $16 extra for food and crafts…and those things make me happy 🙂
  • Some of you may not think that cleaning is not fun or relaxing, but I feel overwhelmed and disorganized when my space is messy. Both my bathroom and room have not been living up to my standards recently and I was SO happy to get them all nice and clean! They are organized, my thoughts are organized, and I am ready to take on the week.
  • The movie I watched was “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”. I had watched the very middle of this movie when I got my nails done a month ago and have been meaning to watch the beginning and end. I FINALLY WAS ABLE TO FINISH IT AND I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! EVERYONE GO WATCH IT!!! SUPER CUTE!!! SUPER FUN!!!
  • An afternoon nap… do I have to say anything more??
  • Crafting!! I came to the realization that I am feeling my best self when I am able to create, design, or craft. I need to do more of this 🙂 Being in my mom’s craft room is my happy place!! I cleaned it yesterday so now it’s all set to go for my crafting adventures!

I want to show you my latest craft project… My halloween costume! Now, let me narrow down your imagination before you begin thinking of all the crazy things I could possibly be. All the staff at my school are dressing up as characters from Charlotte’s Web. We are reading this book as a school, so the staff decided we should dress up as characters from the book or farm animals! I’m going to be Charlotte (a spider) and I’m so excited 🙂 Check out this video to see 1.) The t-shirt that I created for my costume 2.) The process of creating a t-shirt using a Cricut machine! I made this quick video to give you all a glimpse of what makes me happy and how I like to create t-shirts/clothes using my Cricut Machine 🙂

What did YOU do today to take care of yourself and replenish your energy before the work week? I hope you did something that made you happy! I’m Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness and I deCLAIRE that all Sunday’s should be “Self-Care Sundays”! Thank you for following me along in my journey 🙂

What They Don’t Teach You

Hi!! Yes, I am here!! I am back!! I went on this “too long to even think about how long it’s been since I’ve last blogged” hiatus. BUT HELLO AGAIN, I am MissDeclaireing Happiness and I am back to deDECLAIRE what I have been up to for these past couple of months: school. However, this time, school in a totally different sense. After being the student for 17 years, I am the teacher. As many of you know, this has been a dream of mine for forever and it’s still so surreal that it is now a reality.

I’ve wanted to be a teacher ever since second grade. I had the BEST second grade teacher who showed me how much she cared, made lessons exciting and interactive, and was a great role model (If you’re reading this Ms. Peña, you’re the best!!). Ever since second grade, I have involved myself with all activities and things that would get me “teacher-prepared”: babysitting, drama teachers, Child Development classes at the high school, tutoring, and becoming an elementary education major. My university courses were SO exciting! Classes that discussed school curriculum, how to manage your classroom, and allowed you to reflect on the best teaching practices… count me in!!! Upon graduating, I felt SO ready.

Now, I am still feeling ready, but reflecting back on the 20 days with students, I feel as though there were things that I was not taught in my university classes. These skills and concepts are things that I feel like can never be taught, but have to be experienced. I decided to compile a list of “what they don’t teach you”! IF YOU ARE ABOUT TO GRADUATE THIS SEMESTER OR NEXT AND START YOUR OWN CLASSROOM, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME ASAP BECAUSE I HAVE MORE I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU:)

1.) They do not teach you how to balance your time! As a first year teacher, I feel as though I am behind if I am not continually thinking of school. I wake up early to go to school, I go to school, I use plan time and lunch to plan things for my students, I stay at school late, I come home and still think school, eat dinner, work some more on school, and then do it all over again the next day. I have learned that if I do this all day everyday… I’ll wear myself out!! Slowly but surely, I’m learning it’s totally okay (and honestly best) to not always think about school. I have loved eating lunch with my team, setting aside time to make dinner and chat with my dad, and taking some relaxation time to watch trashy TV shows with Joel lol. I am still giving my students 15028392% even though I am not thinking about school all the time. You need to take care of you so you can be at your best to give your students the best!

2.) They do not teach you that…you will have an amazing team and support system at school that will help you every step of the way…SO DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!!!! They will not know how you’re feeling if you are not expressing or sharing it! My teammates and colleagues are AMAZING. They are always eager to help, let me vent to them, and making me laugh!! I do NOT know where I would be without the amazing staff.

3.) They do not teach you…the motto “assume nothing, teach everything”. I was not introduced to this motto until my third day of teaching and I wish I knew about it sooner. In my university courses, I did learn that the first couple of weeks are so crucial in establishing a routine, but I did not realize all the routines you need to establish. I would think, “oh my students know how to line up” or “oh my students know how to walk in the hallway”, but that little motto proved me wrong. Since that day, I have made sure to always set expectations and provide clear directions so students know how they should be acting. Not only does this apply to routines, but to any content area! It’s important to not assume students know how to do things and to see what their background/prior knowledge is. I think I might frame that on a sign for next year lolololololol

4.) They do not teach you…about how much you will learn in the first month! I have learned SO much about my students–their likes, dislikes, personalities–, my school–the names of my colleagues, the Chromebook cart code, how to use Outlook Mail–,and myself as a teacher. My students have already taught me so much these 20 days, I can’t imagine how I’ll feel at the end of the year. I can tell you for a fact I’ll never forget this first year and this first class. They will definitely always have a place in my heart.

So moving forward I want my family, friends, strangers, and all you soon-to-be teachers that I am doing just fine!! We have our days–good and bad–but I still wouldn’t change my profession for the world. Thank you for patiently waiting on my teaching journey! I appreciate all of you ❤️❤️

-Miss DeCLAIREing Happiness

Twas the Night Before The First Day

Twas the Night Before my First Day of School

And all through my home in LZ

I was finished getting ready for the big day

Headed to bed early, all nice & cozy


All my lessons were planned

And my classroom all set

Meet the Teacher was so fun today

I loved all the students and parents that I met


Then what to my wondering eyes should appear

A new lunch box from my dad

to start my teaching career.  

In it I packed a sandwich, popcorn, and some fruit…

Suddenly I realized I needed to pick out my outfit

Something professional, but still cute.


I rushed to my room to look through my teacher clothes

I have been building this wardrobe,

for a couple of years I suppose.

I found the perfect outfit and lay it on my chair

The next morning I would have everything all planned out

I would not have a scare.  


Laying in bed I thought about the wonderful opportunity ahead.

Becoming a teacher has been a dream of mine,

I was full of all happy thoughts, not dread.

I was excited to get to know all of my students this year

Thinking of all the ways we can learn from each other,

And how to make my experience filled with cheer!


I’m excited to start my first year of teaching,

And that I am able to share it all with you.

How amazing that this is my dream that I am finally reaching!

“Happy First Day to all and to all a Good Night!”