Inspired by: Great writing books, podcasts, and websites

Watching: Survivor and Below Deck

Reading: DIYMFA, Little Fires Everywhere, Writing and Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays

Thinking About: Masterminds

Listening to: White noise, NPR, and podcasts

Dreamlife: Long Lake, Minnesota

Drinking: Diet Coke and black coffee

Eating: Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Asparagus


American Ninja Warrior – At Home

slice-of-life_individualOur family is obsessed with American Ninja Warrior. We have watched it as a family for several years and this past weekend we transformed into participants with our at home version.

We set up a course in our house this past weekend on a budget. My husband used all the random items in the garage to make obstacles and it was super fun. The kids and I have talked about making obstacles in the backyard including a warp wall and a peg wall,  but that is a project for next spring.

We set up “floating chairs” in the hallway, balance beams with an egg balance, a tape maze, a ring toss, a ball toss, a rope and elevated ladder they had to walk across, and a climbing wall. A bell was used as a buzzer at the end of the course.


tape maze

Above you can see the tape maze that the kids had to navigate with an egg on the spoon. We lost about 3 eggs over the course of 2 days.

Garage Ninja

Above you can see the climbing wall and the ladder the kids walked across with the assistance of the rope tied to the beams. The ring toss in the foreground proved to be difficult and ate up a lot of time for several participants.

The kids went through the course and we timed them each heat. It occupied about 4 hours total over the weekend. There were several rounds of competition and then they decided to run it backwards. It was super fun the whole time.

For one run we taped a cell phone to their chest and recoreded from their perspective which was fun to watch. A much cheaper version of a Go PRO!

There were educational pieces as well discussing the timing, minutes, seconds, and tenths of seconds. We problem solved how to get a faster time and what factors contributed to slower or faster times.

This will definitely be a continuing practice at our house throughout the winter. The kids are already planning their own obstacles they would like to see in the next course. We also plan to incorporate some elements that resemble Survivor games as well. It makes for a good combination of skills and ideas that are not all physical.






As part of Workshop Wednesday, I had everyone take the 16 personalities free quiz to find out their personality type. It turned out to be a very interesting experience that had a ripple effect I did not expect. The discussion around the talent finder list stopped after the session. The personality type test was vastly different. The conversation is still happening in the hallways. Spouses are taking the test and then making their friends take it. Conversations are happening over dinner. It has been fun for me to hear the stories. It has opened up professional conversations that would have not happened before either which is the part that makes me the happiest.

I am an INTJ. I am soooo an INTJ. I am a personality full of contradictions however especially for my job. I am truly an introvert, but have learned extrovert behaviors to be able to do my job well. My professional set of behaviors are quite different than my social behaviors.

I am constantly learning partly because I have to deliver new ideas to the people that I work with but I also find learning personally fulfilling. I want meaningful conversation to get the most out of my time, but hate small talk. I have to have a feeling of accomplishment.

According to my personality type,  I need to be able to tackle interesting work pretty much on my own. I like to share and talk about ideas with other people,  but I have to have formed an opinion and judgement first. I love to read, but there is a point that I want to share the ideas and connections with other people after I have processed in my head. I have learned to narrow some of my insights into small snippets and sound bites that are quickly shared because of the nature of my job. Time is of the essence and I cannot always have a long drawn out conversation. These longer conversations are usually scheduled if they occur. I find that I sometimes don’t think too much about it ahead of time though because I don’t want it to seem scripted.

I can be difficult in work relationships especially with people that possess the  Observant and Feeling traits (which are a lot of the people in my building). I have a set of standards and code of conduct that are my expectations and if I see people doing just what is good enough or social then I can get irritated.  I am extremely independent and I like freedom in my schedule. I do work for intrinsic motivational reasons not external ones. Things must be backed up with sound reason and deliver with competence. I get irritated when it is not. If my role is too tightly defined I don’t like it.

Titles mean little to nothing to me especially in the realm of trust and respect. Trust and respected is earned …not just given. If I am silent then it is usually a lack of respect.

I am also very private. I will deflect personal talk most times and have almost made it a game. I think this is why I love questions and always have one at the ready to ask if the questioning is getting too personal for me. I also test people and conduct social experiments to force people to read between the lines and make them deal alone with work that would have been easier if they would have taken my suggestions. One of the reasons I needed to get off Facebook was because my status updates tended to be cryptic. Most people didn’t understand what I was referring to…it made it frustrating for people.

I like to involve a few trusted colleagues in brainstorming sessions excluding those who get hung up on details or haven’t earned my respect. I usually will do it alone and will think while running or write it out. I love the benefits of solitude and victory – usually alone. I value innovation and effectiveness, but will put aside almost everything if I can be swayed by a rational argument. I promote freedom and flexibility in the workplace  Office gossip and schmoozing get you no where with me. Bold competence is the way to my heart at work!

I have worked diligently to foster the relationships in my building since I started here and have learned from my past mistakes. I genuinely like the people I work with and they are such talented educators. I am blessed to be in a building that wants to work together and learn! It is even more exciting that the people want to learn more about their content and strategies and also about each other.




Revealing Myself

Slice of Life2

I am reflective and always have been, but most of the time I just refer to this trait as “over thinking”. I believe that being reflective professionally makes a better educator. Over the past three years in particular I have acutely evaluated what is truly important to me. I love quizzes, personality tests, and asking questions.

As I cleaned out the clutter of my Pinterest account yesterday I came across a pin of 20 questions that reveal your true self and thought today’s post would be a perfect place to answer 4 of these questions.

  1. What is your life motto?


I believe that reading is the gateway to learning and to pleasure. Stories make the world go ’round! Stories makes us more empathetic and help us cope. Books are my favorite things by far! They are a comfort to me. This motto sometimes comes out as, “I have a book for that!”

“LOVE OVER FEAR” came from Gabrielle Bernstein and I must say it changed some negative thinking to a more positive frame. I try to take action based on love rather than the fear of what will happen, or could happen. Motivation comes from passion or fear. I am intentionally choosing love over the fear. It has made a difference.

2. What is my favorite thing about myself? 

My favorite thing about myself is that I am passionate. I am passionate about my job, my reading, my exercise and running, and my husband and kids. If it is something that I am interested in I will kill myself to learn it or get it done.

3. What did I want to be when I was a kid?

When I was young I always wanted to be a teacher. There was a short time I wanted to be a writer too, but it was always thought of as a secondary career. I am not sure why exactly. I have always written poems and stories since I can remember.

I loved to be in school and loved to cut out lamination. The idea of being in school as my job was an exciting prospect when I was little.

4. What is my biggest accomplishment? (professional)

There was a time period of roughly 2 years that I was involved in writing heavy grant and award paperwork. I was honored to be part of a school that won a National Blue Ribbon School Award, a Title I Distinguished School nomination, and the Indiana Exemplary Reading Program. It was great to be recognized for the work the staff was doing with students. I feel my entire career has been full of small and large accomplishments with individual students.

As part of Workshop Wednesday,  I am utilizing personality tests so my staff can better learn how to collaborate and work together. The conversations after one session have been interesting. There are all new teams in my middle school so I hope this helps people to ease the transition into new working relationships.

Back to Running

Last week I started running again in the morning. I have been setting the alarm for 4:55 am in order to get out the door. Running in the morning means that I have to run a shorter distance, but I run every morning. The consistency is better for my fitness and motivation.

I have found the running is easier in the morning. I am trying to figure out if it is the change in the schedule. It could be that my brain is still asleep. It could be that it is dark and my eyes and brain are confused as to just how far I am running.

The temperatures have been cool and comfortable. I am glad to have the run done before my day actually starts.

I  am hoping the writing ideas flow. It will allow me to sort through the organization of the day especially when I am presenting.

What is something that you do consistently that makes a difference in the process?




Forest Walking

Forest walking is  a concept that was introduced to me in a research form from Jonathan Fields in his Good Life Project work.

As a new part of my job this year I am running a lunch “detention” that encompasses meditation, walking mediation, yoga, and calming exercises depending on the student. I have had students for 3 out of 4 days since we started school.

It has been amazing the change in attitude of these students from the beginning of the hour to the end with a simple walk in the wooded grounds. The canopy of trees along wood chipped trails is the environment we spend the bulk of our hour in. The conversation flows easier, the breathing is easier, and the self reflection flows. The conversation ranges from why they got in trouble,  to what they want to be when they grow up,  to what they could have done differently. The smiles have been abundant and some laughter has even broken through.

I feel like I have already cultivated better and stronger relationships with students compared to last year. I am hoping to interject some writing into the time. Book talks have already taken place which makes my heart happy. I am excited to see how this time evolves over the school year.


Yes and No

I have been contemplating what I am saying “YES” to in my life and “NO!” This idea has been inspired by Tsh Oxenreider from The Simple Show and her amazing podcast series. She rereads the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown every year which is a title I have also read.

Things I have been saying NO to lately:

+ Feeling bad about truly putting my family first

+ Apologizing for statements about what I believe in

+Toxic people


Things I have been saying YES to:


+Honoring my knowledge, experience, and expertise in the field of education

+New learning and not knowing everything!

+Spending time with people I want to and that are enriching to my life

+Word Connect on my phone

+What really matters



+Being bored and thinking


What are you saying yes and no to in your life?


What I Learned in March SOL #31

  1. I use too many adverbs in my writing.
  2. Life isn’t fair.
  3. Books and reading are the answers to most problems. (This one I might have known already but it is important.)
  4. I have enjoyed the process of blogging everyday.
  5. I enjoyed commenting and receiving comments.
  6. The consistent writing has kept me motivated for other writing projects.
  7. I will continue to read other bloggers that I have come to rely on for daily inspiration for thinking and writing.
  8. Having a regular time that I post on my blog was good for me. I will continue this practice.
  9. My job is inspiring to me in many different ways.
  10. I have support for my writing.
  11. I can ask for help.
  12. Podcasts give me writing ideas.
  13. I need to be more concise with my words.
  14. There are other people who enjoy the quirky topics that float through my head!

In My Purse SOL#30

I remember the magazine spread in Seventeen magazine where someone’s purse contents were arranged by a designer to get a peek into their life. I always had wished that it would look so artistic when I dumped my purse, but of course that never happened! My husband says he is afraid to go in my purse  – that something will bite him. 🙂 There are no live creatures but right now it contains:

-my wallet (of course) with all the necessities including pics of all my kids and my husband but no cash

– my phone

-my Kindle

-3 other books

-3 notebooks


-new earbuds

-gum, Rolaids

-a Lanyard from a TED talk event

-old jewelry I have been meaning to sell for the gold


-my lunch for today


Now that could be a story!