Half Truth

Rainbow Loom Project Deadline March 15, 2014

This is really a half truth.  We actually do have a deadline for the Rainbow Loom Project.  Your creations need to arrive to my PO Box by March 15th, 2014.  Since the AHOPE volunteers are heading to Ethiopia in early April, I need to get all the loomed creations to them in time to be packed up, plus hand over your checks to be deposited.

Somewhat unrelated, I used my new Studio app (for manipulating photos and adding cool graphics like the triangle and saying above); That saying was the only one that somewhat fit the occasion.

If you haven't shared the Rainbow Loom Project with others, right click the image below, save, and share away!

Enjoy our weekend!



Doodling Brave

You know....just doodling my word, Brave, wrapping a present, and admiring our dining room table - a wedding present from my mom that Mr. UpCyclist and I helped design. Evidently, I don't have a zillion others things to do.

Alas, I do.  But, sometimes you have to be Brave enough to put those zillion things off to the side and do what's calling your soul.  

Happy Weekend, fabulous blog reader.  Can't wait to see your Rainbow Loomed creations by March 15th, yes?  


Montessori, Winter, & Knitting

Lil O knitting taught at her Montessori school

I must be slacking off and lovingly consumed with the Rainbow Loom Project.  I haven't mentioned my admiration for Montessori education done well in months.  Do you like how I add "done well" after the Montessori education part?  Not all Montessori schools do Montessori education well.  The same could be said for home schoolers, public schoolers and independent schoolers, too.  I like my education - any education -  done well.  I bet you agree.

Now, I know many people across the country are complaining about winter and all the snow & cold. You know I am a snow & winter lover as evidenced by me calling Colorado the Mother Land in this post.  Plus, you know my entire family loves to ski and frolic in the snow (see post here).  Jedi actually prays for snow.

There is another reason I love the cold weather.

Lil O finger knitting taught at her Montessori school

Lil O and all her fellow Montessorians are taught to knit and crochet when the weather is cold.  All. of. them.  Girls, boys, all ages.  They all knit, crochet, listen to others reading books, chat while knitting, knit at home, knit with fingers, knit with looms, knit with needles.  Knit and crochet galore.  Sure, they do botany, mathematics, the grammar box and all the other Montessori work for their age group, but they also get to enjoy the arts, keep busy hands, and appreciate handmade work.

Yet, another reason I can't get enough of Lil O's Montessori school and lovely Montessori education done well.


PS - If you are confused about what Montessori education done well looks like, read here for more information:

What is Montessori - Part I and Part II
Montessori Mafia (I love this title!)
Montessori - the animated version - for you cartoon lovers out there

And of course, join the Rainbow Loom Project!  You have until March 15th, ok?

So Grateful

I feel like abundance has found me.  I am sooooo grateful for....

  • The outpouring of support for the Rainbow Loom Project.  The comments, emails, texts, and energy is incredible.  When the world can be so tricky at times, projects like these show how life should be - connected and lovely.
  • Surpassing my coffee date goal.  Thanks, Carey (coffee), Courtney (coffee), Shannon (dinner) and Erin (hiking)!  You four are good for my soul.
  • Small, quiet projects at home and work.  I told my friend, Laura, I am putting my energy in a "low wake" zone right now.  Have you ever been to a low wake zone on a boat?  That's me.  I need a bit of low energy to balance all the high energy of the past few days & weeks.
  • My parenting class is slated to run tonight.  I'm looking forward to meeting all the open-minded parents who signed up to take the class.
  • Mr. UpCyclist and Lil O are cracking me up with their game play of Star Wars on the Wii.  They make a great daddy-daughter Jedi team.

Speaking of Jedi, he keeps asking for more snow :)


Rainbow Loom Project

Rainbow Loom Project Launch

Like most kids in the US right now, Lil O is a Rainbow Loom lover.  We have soooo many bracelets and other random Rainbow Loom objects floating around our house.  In efforts to give this hobby an outlet and to help others, Lil O and I thought, why not Rainbow Loom for a cause?

Thus, I contact my coaching friend, Julie, who is executive director of AHOPE - an organization that provides free assistance, housing, clothing, schooling, medical care, etc. to HIV+ orphans in Ethiopia. I asked her if the orphans had seen Rainbow Looms before.  She said probably no one in Africa has.

Hands and Rainbow Loom creations

AHOPE serves 213 orphans - kids and teens.  Many of them have lost their parents to AIDS.  All of the kids/teens were born HIV+.  At first, AHOPE was a hospice to provide a nurturing, comfortable setting for the orphans to transition with dignity.  Now, with all the medical advances, the orphans are living and thriving and becoming young adults!  AHOPE basically raises them at their nurturing AHOPE facilities - all expenses are paid from donations mostly from the US.

A heart made out of Rainbow Loom Creations

Today, Susan from Crafterhours, Ashley Ann from Under the Sycamore, Jenny from The Southern Institute, and Stacy from Kids Stuff World are joining me to launch the Rainbow Loom Project to collect bracelets for all the kids and teens at AHOPE - it's time to spread the Rainbow Loom Love. Any extras could be shared in their Ethiopian community.  

Along with donating Rainbow Loom creations, families, please send in a monetary donation to AHOPE.  Julie said every single dollar counts, so any donation  $5, $10, $50, etc. will do.  

Ready to join us?  All the bracelets, creations, and checks (made out to AHOPE) should be sent directly to me, Jen Lara at Upcycled Education, PO Box 950, Savage, Maryland 20763 by March 15th. If you prefer to make a donation using your credit card, you can do so directly on AHOPE’s website. The graphic below is completely sharable.  Please right click, save it and post it to your Facebook feed, Instagram account or blog.  The more who join us, the merrier.  Also, tag your photos with #ahope, so we can keep spreading the Rainbow Loom + AHOPE love.

Sharable Rainbow Loom Project Graphic

Join us in the three-fold service project:  1) Give our US kids a place to direct their creative energies and be charitable.  2) Provide orphans at AHOPE a lovely, colorful connection to other kids/teens from the US.  3) Raise money for a cause that I know, trust, and provides much needed love/support/attention to kids in need.  And an added bonus, Julie and some AHOPE volunteers will be going to AHOPE in Ethiopia in April.  They bracelets will be hand delivered.

Yay for Rainbow Loom Love and AHOPE!


Project Launch on Monday

I need a little time to prepare!

See you back here on Monday -



50 Rejections

50 rejections

I have a problem.  I want everyone to like me.  That is nearly impossible as I can't be liked by every. single. human. on. the. planet.

But, I want to be liked by all of them.  I don't take rejection well.

Like most fears experienced, the best way for me to overcome them is to face them head on.  Usually, what makes the fear so scary isn't really that scary after all.  Most of the scariness lives in my own mind.

It is time to get over my fear of rejection.  To do that, so I can move forward with some really big dreams, I am aiming for 50 rejections.  Yes, I will now celebrate rejection and I can't wait to rack up my 50!  In fact, I am hoping for two major rejections this week - one from the Huffington Post, another from a big consulting company, and an assortment of minor rejections related to coaching.

It's going to be a big, juicy, rejection-laden week!  Actually, I think I'll be celebrating rejection for a few weeks to complete my 50.  By then, I expect to be a rejection pro.

Here's to rejection - Wish me luck!


Brave Lessons {No. 2}

To keep myself accountable for my word for 2014, Brave, I started a new series, Brave Lessons. You can find the first installation here.  This is what I have learned since then about Brave and here's what I am celebrating:

  • It's difficult to be Brave if you are concerned about people liking you.  
  • It's really, really difficult to be Brave if you can't take rejection from anything or anyone.
  • I need to work on both.  Check back tomorrow about how I plan to rid myself of this fear.
  • I am totally celebrating the announcement of a few early 2014 goals - the parenting class I am leading, taking on {life} coaching clients (I still have space for 1-2 more!), and a semi-top secret project that will launch next week in collaboration with some fabulous bloggers.  The project will be great for kids, families and allies.
  • Lastly, I am celebrating my mom.  She calls, emails, and texts me weekly to say, "I see a difference in you this year."
Yes, Mom.  I am Brave.  And, you are Brave, too.  Let's share that word this year.

Anyone else want to share Brave with us?  It's not too late.  


Three Cool Ships

After reading Ashley Ann's post about Mercy Ships, I thought, what other ships do I admire?

Mercy Ships

Ship #1:  Mercy Ships.  Read Ashley Ann's post to learn more. Her friend volunteered on one of the Mercy Ships, so she had great interview questions for him.  I had no idea we had floating hospitals on the planet.  How cool is that?  You can also watch this 60 minute segment to learn more.  The photo above is from this link.

Ship #2:  Semester at Sea - This ship is a floating university affiliated with the University of Virginia. It is not inexpensive to float with them and earn 15 credits, but boy, would it be so neat.  Plus, check out their ports of call.  This ship is experiential learning come to life.  The photo above is from their website.

Ship #3:  Class Afloat - This high school & junior college travels the world on their giant sailboat.
I learned about them when I taught in Ecuador and always thought it would be a great ship to teach on and see the world.  Now, 14 years later, I still think that it would be a fabulous teaching adventure.  Maybe Lil O will want to learn on board and I could take a year and teach.  It, too, isn't inexpensive, so perhaps I could trade some teaching for Lil O's education.  Photo credit here.

All this ship talk reminds me of this quote I've always loved.  Beloved & Co. has done a beautiful job on this print.  You can order one here.

What ships do you like?  Educate me.


Life Updated: Snow Day Edition

Have you been having a snow day or two?  We have here in Maryland.

snow day first collage

I keep giggling to myself about how much we freak out about snow in Maryland (outside of DC). You'd think we'd never seen it before nor driven in it.  Since I went to undergrad at Michigan State University (Go, Spartans!) and grad school at University of Colorado (Go, Buffalos!) I giggle more as those two states really have snow, right?  Nothing is more fun than waking up for an 8am class in feet of snow.  Oh, those days!

snow day collage

Thankfully, my family and I adore the snow as evidenced by this snowy hike we took with Jedi.  That goo behind Jedi is a chunky river.  Isn't it crazy looking?

Keeping cozy.  I hope you are, too.



Want Me As Your {Life} Coach?

As you know from my post on Tuesday, one of my early 2014 goals is to take on a handful of {life} coaching clients.  I keep using the fancy brackets around {life} as some people are a little uncertain about what coaching is all about.  Here's my take....

My goal as a coach is to help my client (the coachee) move forward in life.  That could mean a bunch of different things to different people, but basically it means that my goal for you is fulfillment - in your relationships, work life, home front, your community, and the list goes on.  Sometimes coaching is about following a dream.  Sometimes coaching is about supporting the coachee through a rough transition or time.  Sometimes coaching is only about getting more out of life that you want.  Sometimes coaching is about getting unstuck.

Since I talk about my experience with Sue, my life coach, a zillion times on this blog, you know how much value our coaching sessions have brought to my life.  I am a totally better person, more patient, more thoughtful, and less hurried because of her.  I also think my success and level of joy has skyrocketed because of our coaching sessions together.  Even Mr. UpCyclist and Lil O comment on how I am "different" because of it.

I am ready to take on new clients as I know the benefits of coaching.  Want to join me?  Please :)

Contact me via email at jenglara at gmail.com and we can set up your first free appointment.  Why free for the first appointment? I want you to try coaching first and make sure it fits for you.  If coaching with me does fit for you, I will share with you the fees (around $50/session) and scheduling options.  And by the way, most coaching sessions take place over the phone!  You don't even have to be local to me.  In fact, to date, I have never seen Sue in person for a coaching session.  She and I make the magic happen over the phone.

If you are currently enrolled or work at my college, all of the above does not apply to you!  You get coaching from me for free as part of my work at the college - just contact me through my college email and we can set up an appointment during my scheduled office hours.

I can't wait to help you move the needle on your own life.  Trust me - this coaching stuff is magical.

Totally psyched to be your coach,

jenglara at gmail.com

Coffee Dates

There are some things I am good at and some things, I'm not.  Being a great friend and making the time for my friends is one of my goals for early 2014 and something I really, really, really want to improve.

My super power, I've discovered, is connection.  So, without these amazing friends in my life, how will I honor it?

Thus, I'm on a coffee date tour.  Actually, it doesn't have to just be coffee - lunch, hiking, crafting - those are all good activities to rally around and spend time with my friends. So far, I've....

  • Had coffee with Jennifer S.
  • Had coffee via Skype with Susan from Crafterhours
  • Had coffee with the Starbucks queen, Cathy
  • Had lunch with my coaching friends in person
  • Had a crafting day with the Higgins Family
  • Had a Facetime lunch with Jenn in California
  • Had tea with Jesse, the statue, one impromptu afternoon
  • Had coffee with Mr. UpCyclist and Randy one impromptu morning
  • Had coffee via Facetime with lifetime BFF, Cindy
My goal is ten coffee dates.  I'm up to nine with the two impromptu ones.  I have four more on the books - Carey, Shannon, Erin, and Courtney.  I've only been stood up once.  Ha!  She is soooo embarrassed - I won't mention any names.  And, I have a few more thoughts about who I've been neglecting.  Actually, the list is pretty long.  

Then, there's this question:  Why didn't I start this sooner?  These people - these friends - totally fuel my soul and I hope I do the same for them.



Parenting Class @ Greenberries

As you know from yesterday's post, one of my early 2014 goals is to teach a parenting class that infuses coaching and teaching strategies.  Though my college has a fabulous Parenting Center, I wanted to collaborate with a group or organization in my own community (which is in a different county than where I work).  I've noticed I work in one area and live in another area and often times, I don't feel like I belong to either community.

This collaboration with Greenberries, a really progressive parenting/maternity store in my area, solves that. Greenberries aligns with my parenting philosophy.  They offer classes and products related to hypnobirthing, breast feeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, and home-schooling done well. They are well-known and respected in my community.  They kindly welcomed me to teach a class there when I explained my purpose and desire.

If you are in the area, Tuesday, February 25th at 7pm, come join me at Greenberries for a parenting class on Mindset: Shift Yours to Shift Others (description and RSVP at this event page).  I'd love to widen your parenting repertoire, experience Greenberries in person and make more connections past this lovely blog.  

Come!  You're invited.


PS - Greenberries is so cool, they even asked if I would want to guest blog for them.  Yes, please! You can see that post on giving feedback to kids here.  I'm giddy about this new community collaboration.

One My Favorites with Sue

I mentioned in this blog post I had one of my favorite coaching sessions with Sue recently.  If you are confused about the coaching part, do a search for "coaching" in this blog's search window and you'll find the entire back story, plus a bunch of posts on the topic and Sue.

This particular coaching session I had with Sue was the first of 2014 and Sue asked a ton of curious questions about 2013 - high, lows, lessons learned, etc. - and then delved right into 2014.  Two of my favorite parts of that session were these:

One:  Sue asked me if I wanted to set some early 2014 goals.  Why, yes!  I love a good goal - it keeps me focused and aligned with my values.  I set three early 2014 goals for myself:

  1. Teaching a parenting class that infuses coaching and teaching strategies (that are well-suited for parenting) and collaborate with a new entity to do so.  I have the class all set and I will blog about the class tomorrow in case you are semi-local and can attend.
  2. Having coffee dates with friends whom I have neglected.  My goal is ten. I am currently up to eight coffee dates!  Woot!  I will share some pics of those later in the week.  To reach my goal (and surpass it), I have coffee dates (hikes, lunches, etc.) all set up for the next few weeks with Carey, Shannon, Erin, and Courtney. Plus, fingers crossed, a coffee date with Amy - a fabulous former student of mine turned amazing educator.
  3. Taking on a handful of coaching clients.  My time is slightly limited to take on too many clients.  Between offering coaching at my college (to my students & brave colleagues), my "real" job, my family, this blog and my love of downtime, I have to keep this goal in check.  Though, I think every human on the planet could benefit from a coach, I will only be able to coach so many on my own.  I will share more about this goal & opportunity towards the end of the week in case you are interested in becoming a coachee (please :).
Two:  My second favorite part of that coaching session with Sue was a question.  Sue asked me something to this effect:  What will keep you from your goals?  But, it was the follow-up question that got me:  What advice would 80-year old Jen give you?

You know what 80-year old Jen said?  Grandma Jen said, "Why are you so afraid?  You have a mad skill set.  You have people rooting for you.  If you fail, you can just tweak and try again.  You can do this."

And with that, I smiled and knew Grandma Jen was right.  Quit thinking so much about not reaching your goals and start making progress towards them.

I'm curious.  Do you set goals and hold yourself accountable for them?

Yours bravely,


PS - I've said this a hundred times to Sue.  She will forever be one of the top five people in my life that has changed the course of it for the better.  Every human needs a Sue.

Compartmentalizing Brave

Recently something in my personal life required bravery.  I noticed when the situation occurred, my word Brave was no where to be found.

As I was reflecting on what I could learn from that situation in order to improve the next time, it dawned on me I had compartmentalized Brave.   Brave, when I chose the word, in my mind was related only to the following items: work, coaching, keynote-giving, and any new passion-related collaborations. Brave was not for everyday life. 

And then the neon light in my mind went off.  Like many of the people I coach, we humans tend to earmark certain skill sets to certain "compartments" of our life.  "I'm out-spoken and insightful at work, but not in my personal life," is an example.  "I'm bold, daring and curious in my home life, but not with my colleagues."

What's another way to look at this?  Could we take down those compartments and honor our skill sets and talents in all domains of our life?  Could I be Brave not only in the workplace and in coaching, but also at home with Lil O and Mr. UpCyclist?  Could I be Brave with my neighbors?  Brave on a hiking trail?  Brave at the grocery store?  

Of course, I can.  I control Brave.  And today, those compartmentalized walls are coming down.

Join me,

You're Speaking My Language, Mr. Port

Passion fuels big things quote

Remember when this book chose me?  Well, it's totally speaking my language for 2014.  I bet it speaks the language of many businesses, schools, and families.  

I wonder where your passion will take you.

Have a fantastic weekend - keep being your passionate self.


PS - I am semi-glad Heart Week is over.  Things on this blog were getting a little too cutesy for me. Back to the regularly scheduled program from here forward....

Doily Garland {for Heart Week}

heart doily garland

Surprise.  Another garland.  Oh, and with hearts.  Double surprise.  Actually, let's make that a heart garland with a science fair project underneath it.  I'm learning so much about how/why hair grows thanks to Lil O.  Did you know that caveman were hairier because they needed the extra warmth and the hairiness made them look larger to other animals & prey?

Now, the supply list for the heart garland....heart doilies and string.  Woot!  Again, uber-easy, which is not why I pick my crafts lately, but it seems I only have a few minutes here and there to make 'em.  I picked up the doilies at our local, Giant - it's a grocery store in case you don't know the chain.

To make the garland, weave the string in and out of the doilies.  I found using some tape at the end of the string helps give it some pointedness - like a needle.

I would have taken a photo of the entire garland, but our kitchen is a mess right now and that photo would have busted the illusion I am tidy.

I am tidy.  Just not all of the time.  Remember Perfect passed away over a year ago.



Paper Heart Chains {for Heart Week}

You know I love a good garland.  This one is soooo easy you don't even need text-based directions.

In fact, it is so easy that at my house, we have a zillion of these heart chains floating around and hanging.

See the photo tutorial here.  If you search on Pinterest for "paper heart chains," you'll also see wreath versions of this.  Supply-wise, buy some craft paper (we bought red and pink cardstock at Joann Crafts), scissors or a paper-cutter (which is one of my favorite inventions) and a stapler.

As mentioned, our house is full of these heart chains as Lil O is quite a pro.

Love that kid and this easy heart-week craft,


PS - Did you know I don't even like Valentine's Day?  But, I do love a good heart - literally, figuratively and shapely.  Ha!

DIY Frosted Glass {for Heart Week}

I love a project that is easy and fun, plus the supply list is short:  glass vase, frosted spray paint and stickers.  That's it.  We bought all our supplies from Joann Crafts using a coupon for everything and/or the items were on sale.  I think I paid $2 a vase - they were half off that day.  The frosted spray paint was normally $6, but I had a 50% off coupon.  We used letter stickers from the scrapbook aisle - they were 40% off that day.  Inexpensive.  

Using this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess, Mr. UpCyclist's family - mom, sisters and dad, plus Lil O - and I all made vases.  I filled mine with cookies and heart Peeps.  Then, I wrapped it up to gift to my coaching peeps - I adore them and they all just finished their last coaching class.  Yay!

Here's what it looked like in our basement when I spray painted the vase.  Note to self:  Don't spray paint in the basement.  It smelled like fumes all week!  Mr. UpCyclist shook his head at me.

The only con to this project is the edge of the letters (once you peel off the stickers) isn't totally clean. In the photo above, you can kind see what I mean.  But, I still think it's a fun idea.

I do have some frosted spray paint left.  What else should I make?  Maybe more vases?  A cookie jar? Fun plate?

Oh, I know.  I could make cool teachery gifts.


You Rule Valentines {for Heart Week}

Thanks to fabulous student, CR, who sent me a ton of Valentine's Day ideas, Lil O had lots of choices of what kind of Valentines to make this year for school. Since Lil O is practical like me, she choose these "You Rule" valentines from Isadora at Relocated Living.

Aren't they adorable?  We ordered wooden rulers from this Amazon affiliate link (36 rulers for $13.00; we split the pack with Lil O's best friend).  They literally arrived in one day (and I'm not even an Amazon Prime user!).  We used the free printable from Relocated Living and printed the text on cardstock from Joann Crafts.  And with a gel pen we had at home, Lil O signed them.

You can find all the instructions and the printable at Relocated Living.  Thanks, Isadora and fab-student CR for the suggestion.

Happy Heart Week,

Brave Lessons

To keep myself accountable for my word for 2014, Brave, I thought I'd start a new series - Brave Lessons.  Here's what I learned this week about Brave and here's what I am celebrating:

  • I learned some things are Brave and some things are just slightly out of my comfort zone.  Brave to me is bigger and bolder.
  • I learned that when I am Brave, I can tell the difference immediately in my gut.
  • I learned being Brave may be paired with really tricky emotions like feeling weak, depleted, and exhausted.  I guess what I mean is this:  Just because I am Brave doesn't mean I feel 100% fantastic about a situation or outcome.  Brave can be ying and yang.
  • Related to this, I thought Brave would always, always, always feel like a positivity party once I was Brave.  But, that is not the case all the time.  Being Brave just means the behavior, action or language I used was Brave.
  • I am celebrating a huge feat of Bravery for me.  I publicly told a group of educators (who "might" ask me to come speak at their schools or institutions) I don't work for free anymore.  They could hire me to lead a workshop or training.  That is HUGE for me as I rarely ask for money for leading workshops, doing small speaking engagements, etc.  My first coachee taught me that line in September when I needed to practice my {life} coaching skills on a volunteer. She said she has a policy, she does not work for free.  It has taken me four months to feel Brave enough to say that and own it.  Four months!  As an aside, what was so great about saying that, besides how Brave I felt, was about half of the group -  7-8 people - were smiling, giving me a thumbs up and shaking their heads, Yes!  
I felt like we were celebrating Brave.


PS - I declare the rest of this week, Heart Week.  If Discovery Channel can have a week dedicated to sharks, than we can have a week dedicated to hearts.  Plus, I heart hearts.  Do you?