Chalkboard Nails

chalkboard nails

Sans our very orange (tanned?) hands in the photo above, I give chalkboard nails a big A+.  Cousin A brought a kit to Colorado and one night we dolled up our fingernails.  As the directions instruct, you paint on two coats of the black, matte, chalkboard polish.  Then, once the polish is dry (which takes about a minute), you break out the bright-colored chalkboard markers and doodle to your heart's content on your nail surface.  The final step is a coat of clear nail polish and voila, chalkboard nails!  

Cousin A bought her kit at Sephora ($25).  If you follow this link, you can see the kit - the markers and polish I described.  I also just spied this DIY tutorial for chalkboard nails in case you want to use supplies you might already own.

chalkboard nails kit

I pretty much love anything chalkboard and being a teacher, well, this is just my style!



Summer Goals 2013

summer goals 2013
Photo from here. Pic Monkey by Jen
I am reminded of what a friend told me....

We are human beings, not human doings.

I do, however, have several things I want to do this summer.  I thought if I wrote down my goals, I might actually remember them and accomplish them.  Here's my short list:
  • Study wildflowers with Lil O
  • Build my online special education class that is slated to run in the fall
  • Mountain bike and road bike more than I did last summer (and proudly wear my UE jersey)
  • Have four separate Yes Days - one for Lil O, Mr. UpCyclist, Puppy Jedi and myself
  • Trail run to the neighborhood lake three times (last summer, I just did this once)
  • Make time for yoga, reading and just being - and not doing
  • Create string art like this
What's on your summer goal list?

My best,

Bedtime Math {for Tech Tuesday}

bed time math logo

Summertime is a wonderful time to hone those mathlete skills.

See what you think of this free resource for kids - bedtime (or anytime) math problems - at Bedtime Math.  What I like about this free, web-based resource is it is published daily.  It's free (my favorite price).  It's differentiated for various age groups - wee ones, little kids, and big kids.  It's ideal for educators and parents to use with children.  AND before you even get to the daily math problem, there is context and interesting information about the subject being discussed.

For example, I blogged a few days ago about the incredibly creative reading program launch in Seattle.  Here's the original post from Bedtime Math incorporating that launch.  Or if you like water slides, this post and math problem might capture your child (or student's) interest.

Yay, for math made edugaging (education + engaging)!


PS - Have you seen my summer photos on Instagram?  I am in my happy place.

So Clever

Two college students set this idea into motion, literally.  What a clever way to launch a summer reading program.  Plus, Seattle's Public Library is sooooo gorgeous.

Cool, no?


PS - If you are reading this blog post from your email subscription, you may need to hop on over to Upcycled Education to see the video.  I don't think the videos come embedded in the automated emails.  Do they?

PSS - Come back for Tech Tuesday this week.  I'll show you where I stumbled across this video.

Life Updated: The Ready Edition

Summer, are you here?  

I'm ready for continued coffee/book dates with Lil O.  Seeing Baby Jules grow via Instagram (Yay, Dr. G)!  More puppy play dates for Jedi.  Art projects, I'm coming for you.  Finally, Mr. UpCyclist is home from Finland (yes, another trip there).  Doesn't he look handsome in his cycling jersey?

Hello, sweet summer.  I'm ready for you.


Vert Assessment {for Tech Tuesday}

Quote from Stephen Hawking
Recently, a former student told me in an email that I seemed like an extrovert.  Little does this student know, I am actually an ambivert.

What's an ambivert?  According to Daniel Pink, an ambivert is a little bit of both - a bit of introvert and a bit of extrovert all rolled into one.

As it turns out, ambiverts make great teachers as we can tap into both styles of vertere (Latin word "to turn") to move people.

What are you - an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?  Here's another assessment that takes under two minutes to complete for today's Tech Tuesday (yes, a little early on Monday :)


Gifts by Pisa - Cycling Team Sponsor

As I mentioned yesterday, my SIL's company, Gifts by Pisa, is a cycling team sponsor.  Look at these fun zipper pouches she's gifting to each rider.  They are made in Ecuador from upcycled old tires.  Aren't they so cool?

I love that some of the pouches are smooth and other's have texture.  When Mr. UpCyclist isn't looking, I might have to steal borrow his.  Plus, wouldn't my new business cards look lovely in this pouch?

Thanks, Gifts by Pisa for the cycling team support and thank you for being a sweet SIL and a lovely aunt to Lil O.


Pretty Likes

This may sound dorky, but I glanced at Upcycled Education's "Like" window the other day and I liked how colorful the likes were.  See, aren't they pretty screen-captured above?

Dorky to say, but it makes me happy to see the colorful, fun, happy icons in a row.

In case you aren't familiar with all the happy icons, here's the skinny:

  • Crafterhours - I've spoken about this blog so many times.  Surely, you've visited Crafterhours before.  I love their craft ideas, humor and support of Upcycled Education.  Their annual skirt week is coming up and guess who is a judge.  Yep, me!
  • Coach's Eye - Have you used Coach's Eye before?  It is a way cool app.  Basically, you take videos of someone doing something, then you provide feedback to them with their doodle and narration features.  Along with being a cycling team sponsor this year, Coach's Eye is headquartered right near my alma mater, Michigan State University.  Woot for the Spartans!
  • Mod Podge Rocks - I subscribe to this blog daily.  There are enough ideas on it to keep me busy until next year and probably the year after that.  Mod Podge is also a cycling team sponsor this year.  I love the strange combination - cycling and adhesives.
  • Roll Up N Dye - One of my former students started this way cool tie dye business.  Think of it like a paint-your-own-pottery place, but for tie dye.  Isn't that innovative?  If you are in the Maryland area, check it out.  It is a super place for parties, baby showers, and school events.
  • Gifts by Pisa - My creative SIL (sister-in-law) imports all sorts of fun items from Ecuador and makes many items herself.  I convinced her to become a cycling team sponsor and wait until you see the cool upcycled gifts she has for each rider.  Too clever!
Yes, dorky, colorful icon happiness.

Oh, the little things in life!


Road Trippin'

Photo taken at the Donut Whole, KS
Summer time is road trippin' time for our family.  I swear I love living on wheels.  This summer, I think I will embrace these ideas at CRAFT as they look fun and different - especially the snack organizer idea.

CRAFT also does an entire summer series where they feature a new city a week and tell you about ten free things to do in that city.  Yours truly will be writing a piece for CRAFT in August highlighting our favorite city in Colorado.

What are your summer plans?  Do you have a favorite place to visit over the summer?

Can't wait to hear.....

Stamp Shop Closed for Summer

Guess what?  The shop is now open for the fall!  Yay!

A girl needs to play, yes?

Have a great one!  Shopping begins again in the fall.



I Hate to be Judgmental, But.....

Recognize anyone below?

Someone who was actually asked to be judgmental?

Crafterhours Skirt Week Judges Collage
Photo collage from Crafterhours

Head on over to Crafterhours for their amazing Skirt Week!  I love their professional, yet playful skirt entries like this one.  For those of you on summer break, what do you think about rocking this skirt?



PS - Big thanks to the gals of Crafterhours for inviting me to judge the skirt week entries!  The entries made me smile - such creativity and talent in the world.

Oh, This Road....

long, dusty road
Photo from here.
As you know from my last post, my sweet step-dad passed away last week.  The funeral was moving, the eulogies were spot on, and I couldn't believe how many people attended the funeral.  Hal, my step-dad, was loved.  Oh, was he is loved.  Still is loved, I believe.

Strategically, I scheduled a coaching session with Sue after flying back to Maryland from the funeral.  During the funeral and the days that followed, I wanted to be so strong for my mom, my family and for all the visitors who came to offer their condolences and Hal-isms.   Being strong meant that my true feelings didn't have a chance to emerge.  I was grieving.  Actually, I was hidden grieving.  

My conversation with Sue (you know we do all our coaching by phone, right?) soon came to the question, how was I feeling?  Feeling?  Me?  Sad.  Sue, however, has hundreds of tricks up her sleeve. She must have realized that sad wasn't quite enough to capture how I really felt.

Sue asked me what "it" looked like - what the landscape looked like.  The landscape?  My feelings landscape?  To me, my landscape then (and now) looks like a long dusty road.  The road is flanked on both sides by farm land that is dusty and unattended.  It isn't the kind of place you want to stop and take photos (like the gorgeous photo above), but instead it looks hot, dirty, dusty, and lacking life's luster.  

That's how I really feel.  I feel like I am walking down a hot, dusty road surrounded by brown, dry fields.  Sue was right to be onto me.  Sad didn't do justice to how I really felt (or feel).

Sue then asked me to sit down on my road and just be.  I  followed and cried and cried and cried and cried.  I cried so much that I asked Sue to call me back in a few minutes (which she did).  I think that was the first time I really mourned the loss of Hal, our family's new life changes, let out my true feelings and could just be.  Though I don't like the hot dusty road very much, it felt good then (and now) to just sit on the road and be. Hold on a minute....I need to excuse myself and sit down on the road again and cry.

OK...I'm back :)  By the way, I am in a coffee shop right now writing this.  I cried in the bathroom as to not scare the other patrons.

Sue asked if there was anything at the end of the road.  In my mind there is.  The end of the road is green and plush.  It is thick with vegetation and with life.  The end of the road is lovely.


That's where I am.  I am walking ever-so-slowly down my long, hot, dusty, dry road.  I can't sprint as I don't have the energy to do so.  There are times I need to sit down and just be.  There are times I sit and cry.  There are times I imagine I am sitting alone under a beautiful tree engulfed in shade.  There are times I envision others walking down the road with me, holding my hands, one on each side.

Thanks for listening.

Thanks for caring.

Thanks for reaching out your hand to me if you did.  Thanks for not rushing me.

With love.