Sustainable Self-Care (and 90 minutes of FREE coaching)

Dear Friend,

It’s here.

The real secret behind my sustainable self-care – The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher Home Study Program has finally arrived.

And it’s not just for teachers… it really can be for anyone who is looking to refine their self-care program and to feel more at home in their life.

We see summer as a chance to unwind from the rapid fire nature of the school year.  A chance to finally release all that tension in your shoulders.  A chance to decompress before the “every day feels like Sunday night” anxiety of the August back to school countdown clock kicks in.

change your life

We know you love your work.  We know you are living on purpose.  But we also know that how you are living while living your mission is probably not all that good for you.

Skipped meals.  Lack of sleep.  Too long to do lists.  An overworked mind frantically holding onto all the details.

What if it didn’t have to be that way? 

What if you could have a whole new way of being in the world WHILE still doing this work that you love?

What if you could set it all into place this summer so that next school year is a completely different experience than ever before?

It is time for you get to healthy, happy, and sane with

The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher: Sustainable Self-care for a Successful School Year Home Study Program.


The idea behind The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher program is that with a bit of a time investment up front, your schedule – YOUR LIFE – will feel less overwhelming.

In the same way that long-term – semester or whole year – planning can help guide your academic year with your students, HHST can help you finally embrace self-care in a way that makes you happier and even more successful in the classroom.


Just that – long-term planning.

The reality is taking time RIGHT NOW to plan for your health, happiness and sanity can help create a healthier, happier, saner school year and LIFE.

Here’s your chance to change how your school year goes, to start and end the year with enthusiasm and energy. To feel healthy, happy and sane.

With the home study program, you will get:

5 Illuminating Audio Recordings: One-hour recordings where we provide powerful guidance for you on creating a healthy, happy, sane life and map out the steps for the action plan you will be creating and putting into place.

5 Powerful Workbooks:  Weekly workbooks with all the exercises you need to create you healthy, happy, sane life action plan and the guidance to help you put it all in motion.

And the opportunity to join a private HHST Facebook group for additional support.


THE FIRST FIVE PEOPLE to sign up for The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher Home Study Program by July 1st will receive 90 minutes of coaching (to be done in either three 30 minute or two 45 minute phone/Skype sessions) from either Tami or Rosie.

Here is what every good teacher knows: nothing changes unless you decide to change it. It would be our honor to offer you support on your journey!

Click here to register today.

With lots of love and compassion,



PS – If you find this helpful or know someone who would, please be sure to pass it on. Sharing is caring!

Other posts you might like:

The Secret to Being a Happy Classroom Teacher

Learning to Set Boundaries and Getting More Comfortable Being Less Agreeable

Road Map for Resilience: 8 Steps to Get You Back on Track

Tiny Tips Tuesday: Self-Care That Isn’t Just For Teachers

Dear Friend,

I am thrilled to announce The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher: Sustainable Self-Care for a Successful School Year Home Study Program.  I wanted to share it with you first because many of you approached me about wanting to take the program last summer when we taught it live and either you weren’t available during our session or (*gasp*) you aren’t a teacher.

You ask and you shall receive, friends! The Home Study Program is the exact self-care program on your timeline. And we aren’t checking for teaching credentials…(so if you non teacher types wanted to sign up…)

What isThe Healthy Happy Sane Teacher you ask?


The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher is a five week self-guided self-care workshop taught by me and Rosie Molinary, author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.

In The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher program, we teach educators — from elementary teachers to college professors, support personnel to administrators — the best practices for self-care, how to let go of the pressure for perfection, how to know what adjustments to make when things get tough, how to identify personal boundaries and communicate them, and the power of claiming what you want in your life.

Each week there is a lesson in healthy, a lesson in happy and a lesson in sane – along with a workbook to help you incorporate the week’s lessons into your daily life.  Rosie and I also spend a hour each week talking about the week’s lessons.

The Home Study program includes both the audio recording, the workbooks and a secret Facebook group where we can build a community of people dedicated to making our lives healthier, happier and saner.

If you are interested in The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher Home Study program please sign up for our mailing list and if you know anyone who would benefit from some guided self-care instruction, please send this message to them.

coming soon home study programIf you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).

How To: Make Yourself Happier The Easy Way

how to make yourself happier the easy way

Start a gratitude practice.

I know, I know. It sounds lame, but the science supports it. UC Berkeley studies gratitude. UC Davis studies gratitude. More brain study research here.

And the science shows, if you want to feel more joy, optimism, and happiness, have a stronger immune system, lower your blood pressure, experience more generosity and compassion and feel less lonely and isolated – you have to practice gratitude.

For years, I resisted keeping a gratitude journal because I thought it was eye- rollingly New-Agey and so simple I thought it wouldn’t do anything. I pretty much mocked the very idea of practicing gratitude. But after reading the Happiness Project, I decided to give it a try because I really wanted to prove it wouldn’t work.

When I started, I kept it really informal. I just kept a running list of little things I was thankful for on my mobile device as I noticed them throughout the day: a cup full of sharpened pencils, a stack of graded papers, a really good hair day, a compliment from a student’s parent, a tasty lunch. Mostly pedestrian stuff.

Random at first and then I got more formal in that I asked myself to track five things every day that filled me with a sense of joy or thanks. Little things. Big things. But especially the little things.

And you know what happened?

I started feeling happier.

gratitude changes everything


Another thing I thought was lame and wouldn’t work, totally proved me wrong. AGAIN.

Today my gratitude journal lives as a document on my Google drive. Each morning after I finish my meditation I write five things I am thankful for and then I close the file.

When my day sucks, as it does occasionally, I open the file and remind myself of all the things that make my life not suck.

And you guessed it, I feel happier.

Interested in starting your own gratitude journal?


If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).


My Attitude of Gratitude 2011 Edition including a link to our shout out on the Oprah Life Blog.

My November Yoga Pinterest board is full of all things gratitude including fancy art journaling ideas and inspirational quotes.

Do you have a gratitude practice? Will you try it for the month of November and see if it works for you?

Ten Things I Loved: October 2013

For the last few months I have been doing these reflection posts after being inspired by Rosie’s. Taking time each month to reflect on the good things that happen each day/week/month has done wonders for my ability to actually stop and notice the good stuff. 

Ten Things I Loved In October

ten things oct 2013

Things I/We Did

1.     Celebrated Family DayTwo years ago we met our girl for the very first time and we celebrate that day every year. It’s like Christmas and your birthday all rolled into one. This year we went to Apple Hill and celebrated with hot apple cider donuts, apple pie and pulled pork sandwiches followed by a giant car nap on the way home for Little Girl.

2.     Completed The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher You how they say you should write the book you want to read and create the program you want to take? THAT. Met some amazing teachers along this segment of the HHST journey and now we’re seeing where it continues to take us. Stay tuned. This ride isn’t over yet.

3.     Began getting serious about creating my business. I’m in full on learning/researching mode. I love learning new things, so this is fun. {ed note: “fun” turned into massive self-doubt.} Now just to make it all a reality. Look out 4th quarter 2013!

4.      Connected with friends in person and on the phone. I love social media, but nothing replaces seeing faces and hearing voices. This month saw walks with kids in strollers and in ergos, breakfasts out, office chats, tea around the dining room table and watching kids play in the backyard.

5.     Cousin time! Running, chasing, climbing, pretending, laughing. So happy to see my girl so happy.

Products and Services I Dug:


6.  Inequality For All. The movie. Go. See. It. NOW.

It is not your imagination. The middle class is shrinking. The uber rich are richer than ever. Like richer than any other time in the history of the world. And you aren’t one of them.

Robert Reich is a super smarty policy dude with lots of charm. He’s funny and engaging and able to make complex issues digestible.

Go see it.

Books I Can Highly Recommend:

7.   Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I think this one is my favorite yet. The writing seems a lot better than the others. Or have I just fallen under a magical spell?

{ed note: I wrote the comment above before I finished the book. HOLY HELL. I SOBBED at the end. As if I knew these people in real life. Dude.}

8.    Fat, Forty and Fired: One Man’s Frank, Funny, Inspiring Account of Losing His Job and Finding His Life by Nigel Marsh. I LOVE stories about people quitting their jobs to find more meaning in lives.

9.    The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Courage, Compassion, Connection. Re-reading it for a course and wow. I’m feeling it this time much deeper.

Videos I Fell For: .

10.     Fire Starter Sessions videos with Danielle LaPorte. I freaking love the smart people on the internet.

BONUS!  Sidesaddle KitchenI may or may not have watched every single one of these videos in one go. What can I say? Laura Miller is adorable and makes raw vegan food not gross. Who knew?


If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).


So what are you loving lately? I’m always on the lookout for what is delicious in food, drink, fashion, and life. Leave me your favorites in the comments or write a post of your own and link back here.

Image Source: I took this picture. Please do not use it without permission.

Teacher Technology Tools

teacher tech tools

Dear Technology,

I love you.



Seriously, I can’t imagine being a teacher (or doing any job, really) without my beloved technology. It just makes life easier and I’m all about making things easier.

As we start heading back to school, I wanted to share some technology tools I’m excited about and I’d love to hear what you can’t live without.

TGBTS  FREE Teacher Technology Tools

Evernote: Remember Everything. Seriously. This is where I keep my brain on the computer (I also keep a list on a legal pad). For me, it’s like a private Pinterest without all the pretty pictures. I use it to keep myself organized, work out post ideas and make sure the grocery shopping gets done.

Pinterest: The place you go to discover new things and collect inspiration. I use it to collect ideas for teacher self-care, elementary school teacher ideas, how to stay healthy, happy and sane and of course for restorative yoga ideas.

Google docs: Create and share your work online and access your documents from anywhere. I use this to draft blog posts and to share with collaborators.

Cozi: Family Calendar – Our family lives by this calendar. We input everything here and it has pretty much cleared up the communication snafus in our family. Now we know where everyone is expected to be and when. Plus there is a little journal feature where I can keep little girl’s milestone moments and memories.

Class Dojo: Behavior Management Software. Improve behavior, share data and save time. A friend swears by this tool. She said it made classroom management effortless and students were super excited to improve their behavior. Full disclosure – I haven’t used this app yet, but when I go back to the classroom, I  will.

Remind 101: Send FREE texts to your students and/or parents to remind them about homework, field trips, report cards, changes in due dates. A sure-fire way to get away from the “I forgot”s. Full disclosure – I haven’t used this app yet, but when I go back to the classroom, I  will.

Headspace: Meditation for Modern Living. You didn’t think I would have a tech list without some sort of yoga or meditation tool, did you? Let’s face it, we’re all stressed out and could use some clarity in the head and space in life. Meditation is how you get this.

I’m not going to lie, building a meditation practice is hard. I know all the benefits of meditation and I still struggle to just sit. I’ve been working on getting mine to be regular for years, so I’ve signed up for the Headspace free Take 10 program. 10 minutes for 10 days. It’s free.

Just do it. Meditation is probably the best teacher tool we’ve got.

Not convinced yet? Check out this TED talk from Headspace founder, Andy Puddicombe.

More links!

100 Tech Tools for Teachers and Students 

101 FREE Tech Tools for Teachers -<- a video that demos so many great tools. A must watch!

So friends – teachers or not – what are your must have technology tools?

Books I Love: Mindset – The New Psychology of Success: How We Can Learn To Fulfill Our Potential by Carol Dweck

Each summer I try to make the most of summer break by learning something, doing special summer only activities and reading a few books.

One of my teacher questions that comes up every year is student motivation. Why do some students excel and work hard and others give up before even trying? You’d maybe think it was the less skilled students who would freeze up and not want anyone to know about their lack of skill, right? In my experience it has actually been the opposite.

Every year it is the seemingly really smart kid that refuses to work. The kid who tests well and comes from a super involved family. The one who clearly knows how to do the work or could with a little instruction and practice, but for some reason, just isn’t motivated.

This kid gets under my skin every year. I’ve spent enough time in therapy to get why (I WAS that kid – my second grade teacher told my mom I “wasn’t living up to my potential” – *gulp*), so I’m super motivated to figure out their lack of motivation and follow through because I know how limiting this behavior can be. I also know telling someone they aren’t living up to their potential isn’t all that helpful. As in, not helpful at all.

So when I ran across the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential by Carol Dweck, I was super interested in reading it. The author directly addresses the issue of student motivation that I’d been grappling with all these years.


Check out this video from the Huffington Post with the author, Carol Dweck. In it she explains why praise is so harmful to student success and how to help students and their families move away from a fixed mindset which says intelligence is inherent and smart people shouldn’t need to work to a growth mindset which shows how the brain works like a muscle and can grow and change with challenge.


This infographic explains the basics as well and can be found in this well-written post by Alex Vermeer.

Let me start with what I liked about the book:

  • The title. I am very much in the thick of parenting and have a vested interest in student success so the title drew me in from the start.
  • The author very quickly disclosed she began her life in a fixed mindset with limited success which helped me admit to myself I had as well.
  • The author explained how her change in mindset from fixed to growth helped her do much more in her life than she ever thought possible. I’ve experienced a similar thing.
  • My mentor teacher during my first year was ahead of her time. She absolutely knew that praise was not helpful to students and in order to get students motivated, a teacher/parent needs to praise the work/effort rather than the child or child’s intelligence. – Dweck’s research proves her point.
  • This book helped me feel like I may be able to better work with my students who struggle with a fixed mindset. The brain research and the science behind the work makes it an easier sell to students and parents.

Things that weren’t my favorite:

  • This is another winner for me. Seriously, I can’t get enough. In fact, another teacher/coach and I have started a Facebook group to discuss this book further and how we can best apply the principles in our classrooms and with our own children.

The all important question – would I want to be friends with the author?

.Absolutely! I am completely fascinated with her work. I feel like I could learn so much from her.

Should you read Mindset?

Absolutely. It isn’t just about student motivation. The is a lot of great information about relationships and business and parenting. In other words, there is something for everyone.

Have you read Mindset? What did you think?


Are you looking for other books to read?

As part of my 43 Before 43, I tried to read 43 books. I made it all the way to 39 and only included books I liked, so if you are looking for something to read, please go take a look. The list varies quite a bit – from Harry Potter to yoga memoir and everything in between.

Making the Most of Summer Break: Halfway Check In

summer of intentionality 2013

Oh my goodness, friends, I just realized we have hit the halfway mark for summer break 2013. *gulp*

It’s both good and bad news. I’ll leave the bad news up to you, but the good news is there is still time to make some summer break plans to learn, to do and to read.

Have you made your list of things to learn, to do and to read yet?

Here’s my update:

Summer of Intentionality 2013:

Things I Want to Learn:

Skype – – I have used it and am LOVING IT! It feels nothing short of a miracle every time it works. My dad asked me a “technical” question about how Skype works the other day on a video chat and my answer was “It’s magic!” and that pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole thing. I totally wish I would have started using it earlier.

Hootsuite – I’ll just say there is still time in the summer for me to give it a go.

Movie Maker – I’ve been playing around with camera placement, lighting and getting ideas together. Look for some new videos from me in the next few months.

Student Motivation – I am so excited to be learning about the research behind motivation. More on that below.

Things I Want to Do:

My Activities:

Yoga class twice a week at It’s All Yoga – a work in progress! I’m going to class more than I have been in the last couple months, but not making that twice a week goal. Something to work on.

Daily restorative yoga – dude. I need to get on this one.

Manicure – Must schedule appointment.

Pedicure – Must schedule appointment. Is this a good time to talk about my fear of getting oglies from getting a pedicure? Because I really think that is what is holding me back.

Foot massage -Someone may need to hold my hand on this one.

90 Minute full body massage July AND August appointments are on the books.

Road trip to see Rhett Miller with friends. Show tickets are purchased. Now we need to rent a car and find good places to sleep. I may also try to convince my friend to go to a restorative yoga class in SF.

Ride my bike for errands. – Dude, where’s my bike?

Nap in a hammock.- The hammock has been put together and has clocked lots of reading hours. The cat and the kid fight over who gets to try to knock me off. Needless to say, I may have to switch this from napping to reading. Just for safety if nothing else.

Make pie. Good god, I love pie. – So many pies have been made and consumed this summer.

Family activities:

Visit Minnesota grandparents – DONE

Visit Bay Area grandparents – DONE several times!

Visit Mendo County grandparents – in the scheduling process.

Visit Portland friends – they are coming here instead of me going there. Two on the books.

Visit the swimming pool several times a week as a family – Best.Idea.Ever. We’ve been meeting another family there for dinner and swimming more nights and it is simply the best. I’m going to be sad when summer ends.

Ride bikes as a family. – I am not even sure where my bike is at this point.

Go to the farmer’s market together. – So far it’s been teams of two, not three, but we go several times a week.

Cook outside at the pool and eat dinner there. – We haven’t cooked there, but we’ve brought lots of picnic food with us. I love summer food! Especially when it is shared with good friends.

Fruit picking – DONE

Late add: Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge – on the schedule

Late add: Tuesday Night BBQ – on the schedule

Things I Want to Read:

Complete the summer reading program at the library.

 Just Kids by Patti Smith – It was so different than what I thought it was going to be I have to say I was just surprised. I liked it, not loved it. I learned a lot, but completely different stuff than I had anticipated.

Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness – I have it, but haven’t started it yet.

Steal Like An Artist – by Austin Kleon. I reviewed it here.

Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields – I have it, but haven’t started it yet.

Mindset by Carol Dweck – I’m almost finished with it and if I have seen you in person recently I’ve told you to read it. Can’t wait to tell you more about it.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – I’m on page 556 and I’m still in, so it must be good.

That’s my mid summer update!

 How are you making the most of what’s left of summer break?

The Healthy Happy Sane Teacher – Independence Day Sale!

forth of july sale

By now, you’ve probably heard about The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher – a program for teachers I co-created with Rosie Molinary.

What you may not know is how I wish someone had created this program for me the first few years I was teaching. The years when I was working my hardest and not making much of a dent in my constant to-do list. And don’t even get me started on the stuff I neglected on the home front. Yikes!

Man, those were hard years. I knew I loved being a teacher, but I couldn’t keep going the way I was or I’d drop dead in my classroom or quit teaching out of exhaustion.

Instead, I set out to figure out a way (really a lot of little ways) to better take care of myself so I could keep teaching. Essentially this blog has documented that journey and now The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher program is a culmination of all my experience in finding some balance in work and life.

The bonus part is Rosie is a master at creating systems and step-by-step do able actions for creating a rocking life. In and out of the classroom. She’s my secret weapon. Together we make a pretty good team. We’ve lived it, made the mistakes and we want to help you.

Today is the last day to get a discounted price on The Healthy, Happy Sane Teacher program session 1. Class starts next week, so I hope you’ll take this opportunity to join us.

You have until midnight TODAY for the discounted $125 price. Enter the discount code FREEDOM when you register.


Making The Most of Summer Break: Summer of Intentionality

summer of intentionality 2013

Like most teachers, I look forward to summer break with the passion of a thousand burning suns. Free time, precious free time – to think, read, travel, plan for my next school year, do some professional development, basically restore my body and my brain.

Or fall down the internet rabbit hole and wonder where all my free time went. 

Does that ever happen to you? Has summer break slipped by without learning anything new, reading anything interesting or doing anything fun (or at least productive)?

So in order to combat summer break regret, I’ve started following Rosie’s lead by writing a Summer of Intentionality List that includes things I want to learn, books I want to read and things I want to do.

My husband is also a teacher, so I get the pleasure of spending my break with my sweetheart and two year old in tow. 

Without further ado, here’s my list.

Summer of Intentionality 2013:

Things I Want to Learn:

Skype – This has been on my list the last few years. And yes, this is the summer to make it happen. Want to chat? Hold my hand?

Hootsuite – I love me some social media and I love me some being away from my computer. Enter Hootsuite, the perfect way to make sure I’m giving you the posts you are looking for and while still playing at the pool. I’ll definitely still be on social media, I just need a strategy and a plan.

Movie Maker – shooting and editing video have been completely out of my comfort zone and yet it is time. (I’ve already started – check out my very first video ever.)

Student Motivation – I am curious to do some research how kids learn and what motivates some to work really hard. See below for one of the books I want to read to help me figure this out.

Things I Want to Do:

My Activities:

Yoga class twice a week at It’s All Yoga – yes, I finally have a home practice. I go to class for ideas, the support and the connection. I absolutely adore these people.

Daily restorative yoga – one pose every day to keep the stress monster away. Want to do this too? Try this or this. It will change your life.

Manicure – I haven’t painted my nails in years because I simply don’t think about it and I spend a lot of time on the playground. Sometimes I see other women with pretty nails and think I would like some of that too. Gift card for my birthday? And now I’ll have fancy nails too.

Pedicure – Get one. You know how I know I’m taking good care of myself? By how well I’m taking care of my feet. At home foot massage, daily moisturizing, rolling on a tennis ball, wearing shoes that aren’t flip flops plus a professional pedicure will help me have happy feet.

Foot massage – I am still unclear how I feel about this. Self-care or self-punishment? Jury is still out.

90 Minute full body massage each month. I’ve already done June and can’t wait for July.

Road trip to see Rhett Miller with friends.

Ride my bike for errands. Sacramento is super bike friendly in my neighborhood.

Nap in a hammock. I bought a hammock! I bought a hammock! Now I just need someone to put it together.

Make pie. Good god, I love pie.

Family activities:

Visit Minnesota grandparents.

Visit Bay Area grandparents.

Visit Mendo County grandparents.

Visit Portland friends.

Visit the swimming pool several times a week as a family.

Ride bikes as a family.

Go to the farmer’s market together.

Cook outside at the pool and eat dinner there.

Fruit picking – DONE!

Things I Want to Read:

Complete the summer reading program at the library.



What would you like to learn, do and read this summer?

Image source: parasol by Blancalala on Flickr (cc)

A Love Letter to Teachers and a GIVEAWAY.

love letter to teacher

Dear Teachers:

I want to live in a world where teachers feel well-care for, appreciated and happy.

I want to live a world where teachers feel accomplished at the end of the day and balanced in their work and life.

I want to live in a world where teachers feel good about themselves and the work they do.

I want to live in a world where teachers feel healthy, happy and sane. Even at the end of the school year.

What about you?

The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher is a movement to empower teachers to claim their self-care and live more balanced and healthy lives.

Rosie and I are both former teachers who learned to take self-care seriously the hard way.

Early registration ends tomorrow, June 15th and we’re also offering our readers a chance to win a registration to either session.

Click the photo below for details.

HHST Giveaway

We look forward to working with you this summer!

Introducing The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher


Hey Rock Star Teacher!

Did your school year recently end and you are still trying to figure out what just happened to you?

Are you wondering how you got it all done because you can’t remember one second of doing it?

Is recovering from the school year going to take most of your summer?

Do you wish you could end the school year feeling as energized as you started it?

Have you already declared this the summer to finally figure out how to do things in a way that doesn’t drain you all year long?

Are you ready to press reset but have no idea where that button is?

Look no further.  We’ve got the button.

The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher: Sustainable Self-Care for a Successful School Year is what you need to make teaching joyful, next school year delightful, and living a balanced life not just possible but in your control.

Join me, Tami Hackbarth, and Rosie Molinary, two former teachers trying to save you from the error of our ways, and a group of other committed Rock Star teachers in a virtual workshop experience to crush the things that hold you back, learn what will move you forward, and create an action plan that will make you healthy, happy, and sane while upping the magic you already deliver in the classroom.

We are starting a movement to empower teachers to claim their self-care and live more balanced and healthy lives.

The bonus?  Nothing suffers—not your personal life and not your professional life.  In fact, it will actually make you an even bigger rock star at your school while making you happier at home.

We know what you are going through and we have been there, done that with all the “solutions” that actually made things worse. Now, we have actually figured out what makes things better and we don’t want to keep those secrets to ourselves.  That’s why we are sharing them with you this summer in

The Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher: Sustainable Self-Care For a Successful School Year.

Imagine having teaching veterans walk you through best practices for self-care, letting go of the pressure for perfection, understanding how to name and claim your intentions, checking in with yourself when things get tough so you know how to tweak things, understanding what boundaries to set and how to set them, and the power of claiming your life.

Imagine having a thoughtful group of like-minded people with whom to share your experiences and dreams as you move past exhaustion and overwhelm and into expansion and possibility.

Imagine inspiring guidance that actually has you lay out a plan now so that you can actually do less with more when next school year starts.

We are offering you five weeks of powerful learning, action taking, and life changing reflection because, while it wasn’t covered in your certification program, it is what you most need to sustain yourself as a teacher.

HHST is a five-week virtual workshop experience for passionate teachers who do so much brilliantly but are looking for a way to continue to be brilliant while not working SO hard.

It will be fun.  It will be clear.  It will be a wonderful community.  And it will be just what you need to create a lesson plan for you to teach and work in a way that allows you to live and enjoy all of your life.

What would it feel like to know that you can start next school year with all of that hope and none of the dread?

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

It is time.

You are ready to be a healthy, happy, sane teacher if…

You are ready to be honest with yourself.

You are ready to do things differently.

You are ready to keep your promise to yourself.

You are ready to allow less effort to actually create more success.

You are ready to prioritize your own care.

You are ready to create and live the life you have imagined.

The Schedule

There are 2 Healthy, Happy, Sane Teacher Sessions.

Pick the one that is best for you!

Session 1 runs Thursdays, July 11th through August 8th from 12 pm until 1pm EST/ 9 am until 10 am PST.

Session 2 runs Thursdays, July 25th through August 22nd from 8 pm until 9 pm EST/ 5 pm until 6 pm PST.

What’s Included?

5 Illuminating Phone Workshops- Weekly one- hour phone calls on a conference call line where we’ll provide powerful guidance for you on creating a healthy, happy, sane life and map out the steps for the action plan you will be creating and putting into place.

5 Empowering Emails- Weekly inbox wisdom to guide you in your healthy, happy, sane process.

5 Powerful workbooks-  Weekly workbooks landing in your inbox with all the exercises you need to create you healthy, happy, sane life action plan and the guidance to help you put it all in motion.

A Private Facebook Group- This group will provide you with accountability and encouragement as you embark on this journey to create the professional and personal life that you desire.

Are you ready to change your teaching life so you can change your whole life?  Are you ready to be a healthy, happy, sane teacher?

Register now for Session 1 or Session 2.

$149 but get it for the early bird rate of $97 until June 15th and act fast because group size is limited in both sessions!

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The Secret to Being A Happy Classroom Teacher


I found my life’s calling when I became a teacher. Finally, I thought, a job I could see doing for the rest of my life. 

And pretty much as soon as I found my calling, I lost my f*king marbles.

I’ve always been a super productive, perfectionist, ambitious, go-getter and stepping into a new career wasn’t going to change that fact.

My plan was to be the best teacher ever in the history of the universe.

Even if I had to do ridiculous things to get there.

My first year I worked the first 72 days of school straight. No weekends, no evenings, no friends, no exercise, no fun. I was in it to win it, friends.

Work, work, work. You name it, I did it:  lesson and unit planning, curriculum and classroom management trainings after school and on the weekends, seating charts, weekly progress reports, calls home and community building activities. 

I limped to the finish line that year with the promise I’d do better the next year. Teaching would get easier with time I told myself.

Turns out my second year, was harder than the first. I had an exceptionally challenging class, and I again told myself teaching would get easier when I had more experience under my belt.

By the end of my third year, I was exhausted from teaching and some personal grief, and if I’m being totally honest, completely unhinged. Mentally and physically exhausted, I knew something had to really change if I was going to stay in this profession.

A couple more years passed pretty much the same way. I was doing the same thing and expecting a different result: working too much, too hard and promising to do better “next year” and each year I just got more and more exhausted.

The worst part? It was affecting my ability to be a good teacher. Resentment was building and I was becoming less flexible and fun, both inside and out of the classroom.

But let’s be honest, not much changed because I didn’t know where to start. Knowing something needs to change and actually making real changes are two very different things.

Time and experience were not going to be the only thing to help me stay healthy, happy and sane in the classroom. That much I figured out.

Midyear, my principal called me into his office to basically stage an intervention. He asked me if i was happy being a teacher.

Keep in mind, this guy thought I kicked ass in the classroom. He knew I excelled at all the teacher work, but he wanted to know if I’d be happier doing something else because he didn’t see a single ounce of joy in my face.


<cue tears>

I cried. Totally ugly cried. Because, the answer was no. I wasn’t happy being a teacher. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else for a living because I still felt I was called to be a teacher. But I wasn’t happy doing things the way they were being done.

Something had to change.

It wasn’t pretty. 

I was embarrassed because apparently I wasn’t the best teacher in the universe after all.

Then I got mad.

And then I got real.

Real immature.

If “they” weren’t going to appreciate all the time and effort I was putting into my classroom, then I just wasn’t going to any more. I’d show them…

So instead of spending every free moment of my life working, I started going to yoga class in the afternoon. I started cooking dinner and making sure I had good leftovers for lunch. I started making plans with friends for fun.

That’s when it all clicked.

When I was happier in my life outside the classroom, life in the classroom was happier. My patience grew, my appreciation for my students grew, my resentment disappeared and we ALL did better.

Let me repeat that last part: My students did better at school when I took better care of myself.

Maya Angelou is famous for saying “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Teaching is a marathon and requires some serious training. And not that kind they cover in your credential program.

Enter: The Healthy, Happy Sane Teacher.


What’s your secret to being a happy classroom teacher?

Image Source: Drawing Digital Print Mixed Media Illustration Print … by CocktailZoo on Etsy

Last Minute Teacher Appreciation Gift Guide

teacher gift guide

If you are reading this, you may be panicking about how to show your kid’s teacher how much you love them.

May I say a gift is truly not necessary? Seriously. I have never thought less of someone or their family based on any gifts that were or weren’t given.

If you are absolutely certain you’d like to show some appreciation with a gift, I offer a guide.These are some things and experiences I have either gotten from families over the years or would love to get some day.

Last Minute Teacher Appreciation Gift Guide

A thank you card/letter either from the student or the parent. No store-bought card necessary! If you want to go this route, please be as specific as possible and include the ways the teacher has affected your student’s life. Seriously. If your kid’s teacher has made a positive impact on your student or your family in any way, they would most likely want to hear about it.

I have every letter like this I have ever gotten and I plan to keep them forever.

A magazine subscription for the classroom. Kids love reading magazines and I love having current issues in my library, but they are expensive. Depending on the grade level of the class will decide what is appropriate.

In third grade, I loved Time for Kids, National Geographic for Kids, New Moon Girls.

Office supplies. Dry erase markers, sharpies in all the colors, washable markers, a pencil sharpener that actually works, pencils (!!!!!), boxes and boxes and boxes of tissue, wipes to clean the desks. {My dorky teacher heart is all pitter patter about the thought of this!}

A book for the classroom library. Have your child pick out their favorite book from the year and donate a copy to the classroom library. Extra points for a dedication or a tiny book review to entice others to read it.

A magazine subscription for the teacher to read over the summer. Knowing I love music, one of my students gave me a year of Rolling Stone. Loved it! Maybe not your jam, but a year of Real Simple or Yoga Journal might be up your alley.

A gift card for office supplies. So appreciate any help we can get with buying supplies for our classrooms without digging into our own pockets.

A gift card for Powell’s or Amazon. We can buy something good to read over the summer. Maybe even a book to help improve our teaching practice!

A BPA free water bottle. Teachers are notorious for not taking care of ourselves, so why not gently encourage a healthy water habit with an awesome new water bottle?

A gift card to their favorite self-care team: yoga studio, massage therapist, hair stylist.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Please let me know if there is anything I missed.

Image source: The Man Of Yesterday by JD Hancock on Flickr (cc)

How To Make It Through The Afternoon Without More Coffee or Trip to the Vending Machine

Alternate post title: Turn Your Work Day Upside Down (In the Best Possible Way)

make it through the day

Do you often wonder how you are going to get through the rest of your workday? Or do you just get over yourself and order another coffee or pick up a sugar snack from the vending machine?

I have another way!  It’s free and easy and will leave you feeling pretty dang refreshed.

I used to do it at recess or lunch break when I was teaching and it totally helped me not grab for the extra caffeine and sugar which would ultimately leave me with an energy slump soon after.

If you ever get a chance to take a live class with me, at some point I will give you a daily yoga challenge/prescription that will change your life should you choose to accept it.

15 minutes of Viparita Karani or Legs Up the Wall.

After taking a full 90 minute restorative class with me recently, Jeanne took that challenge back to her office.

I asked Jeanne about her office yoga experiment and here’s what she have to say about it.

How many people participate?

JH:  3-8 people, depending on the day/time. We meet at 10 am and 3 pm each day.

How long do you practice?

JH:  We started with 5 minutes, now we are doing 10 minutes.

What’s the instruction?

JH:  I show people how to get set up and they follow. I tell them to let it all go – notice if they are trying to hold themselves off of the floor. Remind them to breathe. There is often a lot of chatter, so I suggest that we do not talk. Sometimes this works, most times it does not.

What’s the tone of the time in legs up the wall?

JH:  The tone in our office is pretty relaxed – we are perpetually busy, but we try to have fun doing it. So at 10 am, everyone is jacked on coffee and getting their morning underway, so the 10 am time is very nice to break up the morning crack-heads. The afternoon is more of a refresher, to get through the remaining time in the day.

How are people feeling before, during and after the legs up the wall party?

JH:  As I mentioned, before our session, people are either cracked out (10 am) or in a Food coma/end of day lull (3 pm). But regardless, during the mood is SO relaxed and goofy.

Everyone begins by cracking jokes, laughing, sighing, and ultimately silence does come at the last few minutes.

After the session, everyone rolls onto their side in a fetal position for at least 10 seconds before they come up. I have told them to TAKE THEIR TIME coming up. Afterward everyone moves a bit slower and has a smile.

How has this changed the atmosphere in the office?

JH:  The atmosphere has always been fun, but I think it’s created a different bond between certain people. We recently consolidated operations and had 6 people move from an office in Salinas to our office in Loomis. Combining forces has been great so far, and we have invited some of the new additions, and one did join (a male)! I think people feel more easy going and less apprehensive with each other, when they have a work-related issue- we can “out” ourselves on a mistake or an area of lacking knowledge, without feeling inferior. It’s more playful and “chill”.

What do you think, friends? Would you try yoga at work?

So You Think You Want to Teach School: Open House Edition

Here’s 5th part of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

open house

How to Rock Elementary School Open House

This post could also have been titled “How I Used to Dread This Annual Event, But Since I Figured Out The Secret, I’m Good”.

Also: Why Didn’t Anyone Clue Me In?

So my first few (seven to be exact) Open Houses didn’t go that great. I was a nervous wreck! Something always felt like it was about to go wrong and sometimes it actually did.

There was the year a parent decided to name call (rhymes with itch – I wish I was kidding), the teacher shopping (aka the job interview), and my personal favorite – the impromptu teacher conference. And finally, the year I came home to find my cat had died.

No wonder why I dreaded Open House!

So I did what any reasonable professional would do and asked my smarty pants co-workers about their experience with Open House and  in asking, I got the secret to a successful elementary school Open House.

The Open House SECRET: Give EVERYONE in the family a job to do.

IDEA #1 – The In Class Scavenger Hunt

Materials You’ll Need:

Student work posted and on their desks

A student check list

Pencils/markers/stamps – something to mark their found treasures.

One your scavenger hunt ask students to find specific items in the classroom and explain them to their families.

IDEA #2 Math Minutes station (aka students success center)

Materials You’ll Need:

100 fact worksheets – I used addition, subtraction, multiplication and division 100 problem fact timed tests I found by Googling math fact worksheets.

A cup full of sharpened pencils.

A bunch of 5 minute timers.

Clipboards or empty desks where people can work.

Students challenge their families to finish the all facts tests in five minutes.

Side note: This was by far my students’ favorite station because they loved watching their siblings and parents struggle to finish something they excelled doing.

IDEA #3 A Reading Fluency Station

A stack of fluency reading sheets (ours were provided by our district, but we could use Read Naturally or counted text from readers or science texts)



Students read a passage as quickly (and fluently) as possible in one minute marking where they stop. Repeat two more times on same passage and note how much farther they read with each repeated read.

Students love to show what they know and their improvement, even in 3 minutes.

IDEA #4 Build 3D Shapes Station

Materials You’ll Need:

Geometric Shapes Nets (I used the set provided in the teacher materials of our district math program. I just made extra copies).

Colored pencils, markers, crayons.

Multiple pairs of scissors.

Clear tape.

Everyone chooses a shape net, colors, cuts out and precisely folds their net on the lines. They use the tape to hold their shape together.

I found that families talked a lot about how parents hadn’t seen this kind of geometry until high school. My students were incredulous they were doing “high school” work and parents were impressed with their students’ work.

IDEA #5 Display all the digital photos from the year as a slide show

This one relies on all the photos from the year being in one place – hopefully your computer or camera, so if not this year start planning for next.

I take a lot of photos during the year and love being able to show them off during this event.

Some years I was able to project them onto my big screen and other years the slideshow was a single computer monitor in the back of the room. It didn’t matter how big the presentation, my students (and their families) beamed with pride seeing themselves hard at work all year long.

I hope these ideas help you get creative during your next elementary school Open House.

What are your Open House success secrets?

Please leave comments to share with others what you do to make yours a successful school community event.

Image source

You Become What You Pay Attention To

In class each week I try to share some nugget of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way. Recently most of what I’m sharing comes from my friend, Rosie’s book, Beautiful You.

Day 23: Realize That You Are What You Pay Attention To

She writes –

Consider this very simple truth. What we pay attention to, what we put our energy into, is a statement about what is important to us. It is a reflection of who we are.

She goes on to challenge the reader to examine and reflect where their attention and energy is spent and to make adjustments if they don’t like what they find.


I’ve been limiting my intake of things that I don’t find helpful or kind (no more Law and Order SVU marathons for me) and I’ve found I’ve felt more at ease as a result.

Here are a few things I have found quite helpful lately.

  • Megan Francis’ The Kitchen Hour podcast. Specifically the episode with Math For Grownups author Laura Laing. In this podcast they talk about how to help your kids with math homework, online resources and how to deal with that pesky “new math”. I was completely riveted and wish I had known about this website and book earlier.
  • Joy the Baker podcast. Good lord, where do I start?  My child sings the theme song. Let’s just say these ladies have made their presence known (and loved) in our household. Can not say enough how much I crack up in every episode. I’ll bet you’ll want to be their best friends too.
  • Body Positive Yoga’s videos have brightened this curvy girl’s day. Amber is super funny and she knows her modifications for the three B’s: booty, belly and boobs. Such a great resource!
  •  How to Be Fascinating – Marie Forleo’s interview with Sally Hogshead. I was lucky enough to get a free deal because I subscribe to Marie’s weekly emails (and I will say I actually look forward to getting them each week because they are so good.) Turns out I’m a trendsetter – I see the future and would like you all to come with me. Sounds exactly right! In a world full of power yoga, I’m asking people to lay down and be quiet.
  • Brene Brown (one of my all time favorites) is sharing her favorite books. This is ridiculously exciting for a book nerd like me.
  • My friend Rosie is a genius (this post is inspired by something in one of her books!) and she has figured out the secret to life: unscheduled days. I know. Brilliant!

What are you putting your energy and attention these days?

10 Self-Care Ideas That Take 10 Minutes or Less

small improvements

Do you feel like you don’t have the time to do self-care because you don’t have an hour plus a day to devote to it?

I definitely have a long history of not doing things because I couldn’t do them perfectly or the way I thought they “should” be done. I figured the small things didn’t really matter, but boy I was wrong.

The first time I really noticed how small things added up was when I was taking a self-guided classroom management course. As a life long procrastinating perfectionist with an already over booked schedule, I was anxious about finding the time to actually get all the work done.

My plan was to work for 20 minutes every day on it. Just 20 minutes. My promise to myself was that I would stop working as soon as the timer went off even if I had’t finished anything. I just needed to start something.

Well, two weeks later of daily 20 minute bursts of actual work (it’s really hard to procrastinate when you only have 20 minutes) and I was finished with the class and feeling quite accomplished.

With that success under my belt, I started looking for other areas in my life where I could put 20 minutes of attention.

Kitchen duty that used to completely overwhelm me? – Done.

Mounds of laundry? – Done.

Yoga home practice? – Done.

If you are looking for ways to help take care of yourself, why not start with small ways that don’t take much time?

10 self care ideas that take 10 minutes or less

1.  Sip a cup of tea in silence.

2.  Go to bed 10 minutes earlier and get a bit more shut eye.

3.  Read a book for pleasure.

4.  A single restorative yoga pose.

5.  Schedule a massage, a much needed doctor appointment or a visit with your insurance agent to review your life insurance policy (ok, maybe that one is for me).

6.  Slather lotion on your hands and feet and let it soak in before you move.

7.  Snuggle with your sweetheart.

8.  Cook a warm breakfast or make a green smoothie to go.

9.  Take yourself on a walk.

10. Make an appointment to talk to a therapist if you are really struggling.

How do you manage your self-care?

Image source via pinterest.

Smart Teacher Tip: Give Away Everything You Know, and More Will Come Back to You.

ideas good news

Despite a decade of experience in the classroom, I still consider myself a new teacher in a lot of ways. First and foremost, I am a lifelong learner who tries to keep life interesting and relevant in the classroom. I don’t want to keep doing the same old things in the same old way just because that’s the way I’ve always done it.

I try to start each year with what worked from the previous year and change-up what didn’t work as well. Everything is up for grabs. I review policies, processes, procedures and lesson plans. I’m always on the search for ways to make my life at school and home more efficient and productive.

Of course I ask the teachers I know in real life about their classrooms and my on site teacher friends are a great resource for ideas especially when helping my tougher behavior kids. They are a living history of the previous year and they have experience with each family. Asking previous teachers for ideas has been beyond helpful.

But what about learning about new things that no one else in your area is doing? Like student blogging or integrating technology into the classroom? What about ideas for lessons you’ve never done before? Where do you go to find ideas?

A few years ago I joined Twitter and started dropping in on Wednesday evenings New Teacher chat and started following teachers from around the country. What I’ve discovered is that generous, smart, efficient, teacher leaders live all over the country and willingly share their ideas (for free!) online through their blogs, podcasts and tweets. I feel like I’ve discovered a hidden treasure!

Not only do I get new ideas from these resources, I’ve been able to share my ideas and lo and behold, the more ideas I share, the more ideas come to me. Creativity and generosity begets creativity and generosity!

So, where do you get your brilliant teachery ideas? How do you keep your teaching fresh and creative? Who is in your professional learning community? What new resources can you share here?

Image source

Classroom Teachers Who Inspire

i heart teachersOne of the best parts of being a classroom teacher is being inspired and awed by your co-workers – the big ones and the little ones.

Classroom teachers are freaking amazing, multi-talented people. And these teachers are truly inspirational. They not only spend their days in the classroom, they also spend time on a yoga mat.

Find out who and what inspires them:


Jenna Francisco of This is My Happiness:

People who are kind, simple, and interested in the betterment of all humans.  People, especially quirky or creative ones, who are 100% comfortable being themselves.  Societies that value slowness, simplicity, and equality.

I’m inspired to be in the moment every day, whether it’s just relaxing, spending time with my sons, or even going to work.  I’m inspired by history and art, and I won’t lie—I love to travel and want to live overseas, (both very outside-of-the-moment!), so I’m inspired to see as much of this world as I can in my short life.


Amy Estes (formerly of Just a Titch) and now Coffee and Sunshine

I think working in a profession where I’m forced to be creative is good for inspiration—teenagers see the world so differently than I do, and also, kids are brutally honest about how they’re feeling, which definitely inspires thoughts. Otherwise, I find inspiration in a good book, a song that makes me want to dance or cry, conversations with my closest friends, a long drive on a sunny day, in cooking or baking, during a long bath or shower and the things that I write off-line, in my paper journal.


Jed Brewer of Lather Records

I’m drawn to people that are smart, creative, and weird.  Occasionally, I need some boring down time to recover from everything, but I like watching, hearing, and talking to people that let it all hang out.  People that risk embarrassment or being misunderstood to do something that’s a little different.  Not the Jackass people, but creative or even political people.

I also get off on stuff from the natural world.  I’m fascinated by topography – land shapes, gorges, mountains, rivers, etc.  And animals, of course.  The Amazing Yans inspires me just about every day.


Ryan Fong of Deep Homework

I have many people who inspire me. 

  • My partner, Eric, inspires me to see myself in the way that he sees me—with unconditional love and compassion. 
  • My uncle is an inspiration for a life lived well and very mindfully.  He’s a friend, mentor, and model in addition to being my blood relative. 
  • I’m inspired, as I think many of us at IAY are, by the way the community there supports us in experiencing the challenges and joys of really embracing it *all* as yoga. 
  • But mostly, I’m inspired by the universe’s generosity in giving us this present moment to do and be right.  Not right as in correct, but as in right here, right now and just right.


Who or what inspires you?


Want to learn more about the Teacher Goes Back to School Featured Teachers? Here’s the full archive.

Do you know a kick ass yoga practicing classroom teacher? Is that you? Please let me know!

Image source: Abstract light photography pink heart bokeh photography … by mylittlepixels on Etsy

How-to Feel Refreshed After Spring Break

how to feel refreshed

Tip #1 Don’t over schedule yourself.

Allow for down time to just hang out and do nothing. I know it is tempting to try to catch up on some grading or planning or housework, but don’t forget to take time for yourself.

Need some do nothing inspiration?  Check out one of my favorite sites: Love Wasting Time: A Pause In A World of Bigger, Better, Faster, More.

Tip #2 Sleep a little more at night.

My own sleep is much more restful in the hours before midnight so I try to get as many of those as possible. That may be because I get up ridiculously early with my daughter, but whatever. I try to be in bed by nine and asleep by 10. I know, I’m an early bird! However you stock up on your own sleep, please do. The more the merrier when it comes to sleep!

For some interesting facts about sleep click here.

Tip #3 Nap during the day or practice some restorative yoga.

It has been said restorative yoga can feel more refreshing than taking a nap. I have to agree (except of course when I’m too tired and I just fall asleep).

Practice with me.

A little home retreat for 90 minutes.

At home mini vacation for 15 minutes.

Tip #4 Take time away from working/computer/screens and step into nature.

The NY Times explains the science behind what we already instinctively know: a break from technology is a good thing.

You don’t have to go far – the back yard, a local park or lake –  just take your shoes off, lay a blanket on the grass and look up at the sky.

Tip #5 Exercise.

Sometime this is the first thing to go when things at work get busy, so while on break take advantage of this extra time to take care of yourself. Exercise is nature’s anti-depressant.

Maybe you check out a class usually out of reach because you are at work. Now’s the time to try that morning Zumba, weight lifting or ballet class. Why not try some Pilates or kickboxing? Or just grab your shoes and a friend and head out for a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood. Instead of driving to your coffee date, dust off your bike and cruise on over.

Tip #6 Connect with friends or family.

It’s during school breaks that I get to go out to lunch. Oh how I miss this during the year. So if you are like me and love a leisurely midday meal with a friend or close family member, get it on the schedule now.

Do you have any tried and true ways to make sure you return to school after break feeling refreshed and ready to face the end of the school year? 

Please share in the comments and if you found these tips helpful, please share with your friends and family.

If you enjoyed this post, get email updates (it’s FREE).


Image source: dandelion photography Fine art photography – botanical 8×8 … by mylittlepixels on Etsy

43 Books: Minimalist Parenting by Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest

As part of my 43 Before 43, I’m reading 43 books.

I bought this for myself for my birthday and it is book number 39. Not too shabby.

Let me start with what I liked about the book:

  • The title. Seriously, if the word minimalist is in the title I’ve probably already checked it out.
  • The subtitle: Enjoy Modern Family Life MORE by doing LESS. – I love doing less and enjoying more. Like a lot.
  • An entire chapter dedicated to self-care!
  • The ideas in this book are completely doable.
  • This book helped me feel less alone in the sense that I want to do less and enjoy parenting more. I still see so much what I call parenting Olympics around that it was refreshing to read a book with beliefs similar to mine.
  • As part of the book launch, the authors held a 2 week Min Camp where each day we were asked to do an easy action from the book. It was such a great way to put the book into action. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s still going on.
  • I love the idea of limiting extra curricular activities (both from a parent AND teacher perspective – down time is good for everyone).
  • I love the idea of saying no to activities and physical stuff to make room for the remarkable.
  • Kudos to the authors for emphasizing working with the teacher when dealing with their kids’ school and the idea of GOOD ENOUGH when it comes to school. I was basically fist pumping and shouting during that part.

A couple of things that weren’t my favorite:

  • I wish the self-care chapter would have been first instead of last because I am such a huge advocate of self-care. I get that a lot of people haven’t been taking care of themselves and have to sort of be talked into doing something for themselves. But SO IMPORTANT!
  • The writing in the education section got a bit circular. I’m thinking because it is so ridiculously personal for each family and everyone’s experience is so different. Still, the emphasis on taking the competition out, (ironically) wins.

The all important question – would I want to be friends with the author?

Good lord, YES! Asha and Christine use their own experiences and family stories to illustrate the topics in the book and I feel like we are kindred spirits.

Should you read Minimalist Parenting?

Absolutely. If you have kids and feel like your life is running you instead of you enjoying it, read this book now.

Have you read Minimalist Parenting? What did you think?

10 Ways To Practice Self Care

Earlier this fall, Ashley of Our Little Apartment – wrote a post called How I Practice Self-Care and I have been inspired to share my self-care regimen.

Before we get to the good stuff, can we all have a collective groan/shutter/giggle at the phrase self-care? I am not a fan, but it is what it is. Being able to take better care of ourselves so we can really be there to take care of others is what is up. Like it or not.

Without further ado, 10 Ways To Practice Self Care.

10 easy ways to practice self care today

1. Go to yoga class. I go even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. I find the more resistance I have to going – too tired, too cranky, too busy, too…, the more I need it. My people thank me for going. Yours probably will too.

Classes can be expensive, but there are ways to work around that. Practicing at home on your own, with a video or podcast. Attending community classes or classes with new teachers. One studio in Sacramento is by donation only. When I wanted to go to more classes than I could afford, I started volunteering at the front desk at my yoga studio in exchange for classes. It never hurts to ask.

2. Lay down often. Sometimes on my yoga mat with props (and I feel very virtuous for practicing restorative yoga on my own) and most days with my daughter in her bed for a couple of hours. There are days (usually in a row) when I am so tired by nap time I sleep with her and wake up with her patting my face and other days when I watch Netflix or catch up on my blog reading.

Most nights I am in bed ready for sleep in the nine o’clock hour. Going to bed on time is a struggle and I know it’s early, but I’ve got to be rested in order to keep up with the baby.

How much sleep do we really need? Probably more than you think.

3. Cook at home. I derive a huge amount of accomplishment from having cooked, so there you go. Plus I am allergic to dairy and oh so many other foods that eating out or packaged foods is a pain. Feeding myself well and gold stars? Sign me up!

I live a dairy-free life and am always in search of yummy recipes. If you are interested in my treasures, check out my Food Finds Board for recipe ideas.

4. Read a book every day. Some days it is just a few pages, but I make sure I do it. Reading is what makes me happy.

Looking for something good to read?

5. Go for a walk. Usually with Ruby in the stroller or Ergo, although recently I’ve been having her walk to wear her out for her nap. In any case, my feet are hitting the pavement every day and I feel so much better for it.

Need help getting started? 

6. Connect with friends. Park dates, walks with kids, brunches, yoga classes, texts, phone dates, Facebook messaging – I make time for connecting with people I love.

The upshot of 50 years of happiness research is that the quantity and quality of a person’s social connections—friendships, relationships with family members, closeness to neighbors, etc.—is so closely related to well-being and personal happiness the two can practically be equated. People with many friendships are less likely to experience sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, and problems with eating and sleeping.   Source: Happiness Is Being Socially Connected

7. Kid-free time – daily. Luckily my husband is a teacher and can come home in the afternoon to take care of little girl before dinner. Mama needs some time to herself. Most of the self-care tips mentioned here aren’t for toddlers.

8. Couple time – this is new. Very, very new. And may become my new favorite thing. Thanks, Grandma!

9. No television news or women’s magazines. I’ve learned I’m a pretty delicate flower prone to depression, so I keep the visuals of depressing things to a minimum. I get my news from NPR and Twitter. I’m fancy that way. My ears do not betray me the same way my eyes do.

Body acceptance is always a work in progress and so keeping women’s magazines full of air-brushed images and “tips” for “improving” me out of my life also helps.

According to one study conducted by researchers at the Uni­versity of Missouri, after just one to three minutes of exposure to the types of images routinely found in women’s magazines, young women hate themselves more than they already do. Source: Excerpt from Airbrushed Nation found on Rosie Molinary’s blog.

10. Ask for help where I need it and live with good enough rather than seek out perfect. Recently someone posted on my Facebook wall a card saying “Cleaning house with kids around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.” Um, yes. So twice a month California Green Clean comes and cleans while I take the tiny mess maker out of the house. It usually lasts until the next meal, but it is totally worth it for my sanity alone.

Does the mothering olympics make you crazy? Check out Good Enough Is The New Perfect.

So tell me, how do you take care of yourself?

Meditation Mantra Or How To Stay In The Moment Without Losing Your Marbles

Does your mind become really active and agitated in quiet yoga poses and when you sit in meditation? Like there is a pack of wild cracked-up monkeys living it up in there?

Me too.

My secret to not losing my marbles during quiet times is to give my brain a job to do while I am in a restorative pose or sitting for meditation. My now employed monkey mind brain can do a job while I keep my focus on the present moment – where the happiness lives.

What I say:

May I be filled with lovingkindness

May I be well

My I be peaceful and at ease

May I be happy.

I repeat this until my mind settles down or until my sit/pose is finished. Some days I am still saying it when the timer goes off and other days I am able to settle in and focus.

Why focus on my own well-being instead of wishing these things for others?

It’s exactly like what they say when traveling with someone who needs help on an airplane, take care of yourself first so you can take care of others.

When I say it:

I use this mantra during my sits and long stays on my mat. I also say it while I am driving somewhere stressful or on my way to work in the car or when I am wanting to punch the person at the grocery store in front of me in the head. These words also come in handy when I am lying down with my daughter wishing more than anything that she’d go to sleep already.

Basically when I feel my body get stressed out because of modern life, I try to quiet my monkey mind by repeating this mantra.

How to spread the love into the world:

After I feel all full of love for myself, I substitute the name of a person I love dearly where I had been saying I. Now that I’ve been practicing with this mantra for a few years, I am able to send some lovingkindness to others. Needless to say, it took me a really, really long time to get there.

That’s how I stay in the moment without losing my marbles.

What’s your secret? How do you stay in the present? Do you use a mantra? 


Based on teachings from Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron and Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg

Image source: We Heart It.

7 Steps to Jump Start Your Meditation Practice

1. Read every meditation book you can get your hands on.

2. Think about meditation. A lot.

3. Sign up for a group meditation.

4. Collect meditation accessories – bolster, block, blankets, scarf, cushion, timer, candle, mantra, essential oils, CDs.

5. Check Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader to see if you are missing anything.

6. Check your phone. In case you missed a call.

7. Sit down, set the timer, press start.

SIT. {Really the ONLY step necessary}.

5 minutes daily to start.

We can do anything for 5 minutes a day. Even listen to the crazy people screaming in your head.

Image Source 1: We Heart It

Image Source 2: We Heart It.

Clearly this is my reminder to myself to sit.

Do you have a meditation practice?

Do tell me all about it.

You may also like: Tips and Tricks for Starting and Maintaining a Daily Meditation Practice.

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Don’t Take It Personally and Other New {School} Year Resolutions

New years just beg for resolutions in my opinion. Since my brain works on the school year calendar, new years start in the fall. By January I’m all resolutioned out.

Last {working} school year, my mantra/resolution/intention was to Not Take It Personally. This pretty much changed everything about my life.

In my quest to not take things personally, I managed to listen more than I talked, I quieted down, really listened and let other people be the expert (pretty major for a know-it-all like me) and I let go of things that weren’t working for me.

Work relationships got easier, parent interactions (something I struggled with in the past) were more clear, professional and well, easier.  Even my personal life felt lighter and more fun.

Since school just started in this house, I’ve been recently thinking about what my intention for this school year will be. I know I’m not in the classroom, so why have one? To be honest, since I’ve started having an intention for the school year my professional life has greatly improved in the areas where I put my focus. Plus  I’m already thinking about next school year and I’m getting a bit anxious.

Where will I be teaching?

What will I be teaching?

Who will I be teaching?

Will I secure a job share?

Where will Ruby spend her time while I’m at work?

See what I mean? So many unanswered questions with so many possible answers. So many, in fact, I’m not quite sure how to wrap my brain around all the possibilities and all these loose ends are already making me tighten and grasp and grab at answers. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure my best decisions are not made while totally stressing about the outcome.

So, what’s a teacher/planner/mama/not-so-secret-control-freak to do?

I’ve decided my intention for this school year is to say yes.

For me,

  • Saying yes means I am open to all the possibilities, even the ones I am not sure exist yet.
  • Saying yes, means not having to know right now what will happen next school year (or even next week).
  • Saying yes means not getting mired in the details and letting the unknown suck the fun out of life right now.
  • Saying yes means finding ease instead of grabbing, grasping and holding.


So, friends, how do you handle the big unknowns in your life?

Do you make resolutions or set intentions during times of transitions?

Do you have any words of wisdom for a current stay-at-home-mama needing to send her bebe to childcare in the relatively near future?


Image source 1: We Heart It

Image source 2: We Heart It

So You Think You Want to Teach Part 4: Classroom Management

Here’s 4th part of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

Classroom Management

How does one teacher get a room full of students to all cooperate at the same time? How does one teacher get a room full of students from the classroom to the library and back? How does one teacher coordinate a classroom full of students of all abilities, temperaments and backgrounds to work together as a community?

In a nutshell, that’s classroom management.

One of my teacher credential text books asserted 90% of student misbehavior is teacher caused. If that us true, we have a lot of responsibility for how our school days go, regardless of who is in our class.

Some of the books I have used over the years, I’ve included below. Please click on the book image for more information on each title.

I consider these books to be an essential starting point for effective classroom management. Obviously you’ll find your own way, but these books can help get you started.

I’m not going to lie, I have a little crush on Fred Jones. His sense of humor kills me. If you have the opportunity to take a training with him (or his videos), please do. My students have always responded well to daily (sometimes twice daily!) Preferred Activity Time (PAT). It keeps students focused on completing their tasks as teams in a timely manner and me focused on positive behavior.

“Pay now or pay later” is Mr. Wong’s philosophy about spending time in the beginning of the year to teach (and practice – over and over and over again) procedures in your classroom. Effective procedures make for an organized, structured and sane classroom.

This book was my bible while I was sub teaching. I read it twice during that year and again while I was student teaching and have returned to it again and again during my career.

Fair, firm and consistent is the message I got from Setting Limits in the Classroom. This is another training I felt worth my time. Lisa Stanzione’s presentation brought the book to life – although I think it stands on its own.

The text for a graduate level classroom management course and it gave such good advice I sent it to my dad. It is as much a parenting book as it is a teaching book.

Another book that is written primarily with parents in mind, however these methods can easily be used in the classroom.


What are your favorite kid management books? What is your go-to read for classroom management or parenting? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Do you have any teaching questions? Curious about anything related to classroom or yoga teaching? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer it here.

Stay tuned for more in the So You Think You Want to Teach series: Taming the Homework Beast, Parents: Friend or Foe


Be sure to click on the Life as a School Teacher link below for all the posts in the series.

43 Books – Learning To Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life

As part of my 43 Before 43 I’m reading 43 Books.

photo credit:

After a lifetime of panic attacks, author Pris Warner decided she would like the brain of a monk and all that comes along with it – peace, tranquility, compassion, loving kindness, wisdom and patience.

In Learning To Breathe, she takes a year to discover the path to peace.

Friends, I loved almost everything about this book.

I immersed myself in the author’s story and admired the author for facing her fears. I found her immediately likable and I really cared whether she would be relieved from her panic attacks in the end. Reading quickly over three days I was reminded of my own lifelong desire for inner peace.

Hmmm, maybe I need to get myself back on the cushion.

My only issue is I found it to be a bit tidy. What do I mean by tidy? The author decided she wanted the brain of a monk and next thing you know she’s on the path to a daily 20 minute meditation practice.

I have been struggling with adding meditation to my life for years, so I wonder how this happened so effortlessly. She didn’t feel any resistance or forget just plain forget? I need some of that!

That was my only beef with the book.

I sped through each chapter which covers a month and a spiritual practice aimed at resolving her panic attacks.

While I don’t suffer specifically from panic attacks, I do suffer from complex PTSD  and as a result have also used many of the therapies the author experiences in my quest to find a more peaceful existence.

The one hold out for me has been EMDR. As a result of reading about the author’s success, I decided to give it a try.

I may or may not be writing about that experience later, but I am hopeful that I will be able to move forward because if this treatment.

Do I recommend this book? Without a doubt.

Would I want to be friends with author? Yes, if for nothing else, to get some meditation tips.

Have you read Learning to Breathe? What did you think?

So You Think You Want to Teach Part 3: Before You Take the Credentialing Leap

Here’s part 3 of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

Volunteer or at least observe 20-40 hours in a classroom, preferably in the same one. If you have to take vacation time from your job, please do. It is remarkably illuminating watching someone work. Plus you will get a head start on what is expected when you are in the front of the room. It will also help you get a head start on your credentialing school application.

Read teacher books and blogs. 

Books I found inspiring:

Read some blogs to get you thinking about what issues teachers are facing today. Here are some of my favorites.

It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages

Blogging Through The Fourth Dimension

Teaching With Soul

Informational interview all kinds if teachers: ones who love their jobs and those that hate them. Find out why. It is better to know what you are getting into before you find yourself in a career you hate.

Make teacher connections on Twitter. New teacher chat #ntchat on Wednesdays at 5pm PST is a treasure trove of excellent ideas. Other helpful hashtags include: #mathchat #edchat

Read 20 Tidbits for New Teachers from Lisa Dabbs.

Substitute teach.  Sub teaching was as beneficial {or more} than my credential program in a lot of ways. Kids will never be more ill-behaved than with a sub, so you get a sneak peek into future behavior issues now. It helped my classroom management a lot. Plus, being paid to practice teaching? I’d say a pretty good gig.


Did I miss anything? Have a question about teaching? If so, leave me a note in the comments.

Stay tuned for upcoming topics in the series: Classroom Management, Taming the Homework Beast, Parents: Friend or Foe?


Interested in more about Life As A School Teacher? Be sure to click the Life As A School Teacher category link below.

So You Think You’d Like To Teach Part 2: Time Management

Here’s part 2 of the So You Think You’d Like to Teach School series. The idea for this series came out of some questions I’ve gotten from folks interested in making teaching their profession.

Time Management

My first couple years of teaching were intense and exhausting – mentally and physically.  Changing my career in my early 30’s meant I had something to prove {at least to myself} and so I set out to be the best teacher ever.

The first few months of my new career I went to every single afternoon, evening and weekend teacher training offered because I wanted to, no, needed to KNOW IT ALL – NOW!  As a result, I worked a ridiculous number of days in a row without a break.

Something like 62. Completely nuts, I know now.

I assigned loads of homework and stressed out about the mountain of ungraded work quickly filling my otherwise empty filing cabinet. {I ended up just tossing it all in the recycling bin ungraded at the end of the year}.

Days started before sunrise and most nights I came home ravenous after dark.

I agonized over lesson planning, parent interactions, and special education plans.

Even though I had a mentor and was married to a teacher who kept telling me to slow down, to take care of myself and to understand I was still learning, I just kept going and going and going.

Looking back, I’m not quite sure how I survived.

I set out to be the best teacher ever and instead I got strep throat by Labor Day and pretty much stayed sick all year.

Strawberry Twizzlers were consumed by the pound.

I gained weight, slept horribly and developed an enviable case of stress acne.

My stomach was constantly in knots, as was my back.

My students were nervous around me, by winter break I was convinced I didn’t have the energy to finish the school year and someone’s mom called me a bitch at Open House {true story}.

Why am I telling you all this?

I hope you can learn from the mistakes I made my first years and learn how to take care of yourself while you are becoming the best teacher you can be.

How much time did I put in to teaching my first year?

All of my time. I wouldn’t let myself have any fun. I just worked. I barely had time to groom myself because I was completely obsessed with school work.

My friends told me they felt like school year widows because they never saw me anymore.

Would I do it like that again?

I would hope not! Old perfectionism habits are hard to break, but my aim would be to not run myself ragged.

Here’s the thing, teaching is like a marathon – slow and steady really does win the race. It is physically, mentally and emotionally impossible to sprint a marathon.

Time Management Tips for New Teachers

Do not expect to know it all right away (or ever). That is ok. You are human and a beginner. Be nice to yourself.

Look beyond your school for help and community. You may find kindred teaching spirits online, so develop your tech muscles. Twitter has changed the way I think about teaching. I no longer feel completely dependent on those people I know in person to give me some direction in my classroom.

Ask for help in your classroom – what can you delegate to parents? Some really do want to help.

Suggestions for things in the room and ideas for things for them to take home:

  • grading quizzes
  • filing your papers (if you choose to handle your papers like this)
  • updating your class website or blog
  • updating classroom bulletin boards
  • writing your class newsletter (edited by you, of course)
  • making copies
  • making academic posters for your room
  • organizing class parties/field trips/class speakers/libraries
  • teaching art lessons
  • coordinating the garden project you’d love to do, but simply don’t have the time to do all by yourself
  • reading one-on-one with students
  • running a math center station
  • tutoring students with specific gaps – addition/subtraction facts, fluency.

Ask yourself what can you do LESS of? Grading homework? Having perfectly crafted bulletin boards may look lovely, but it is worth your sanity?

Decide what you how you will handle your papers before you get your classroom keys- I was astounded my the sheer volume of papers coming into my classroom. Please for the love of god, whatever you do, don’t just pile it on the corner of your desk or dump it in a filing cabinet. Take it from me, you’ll want to make it a priority to only handle papers once. Also: get a huge recycling bin.

Seek out a mentor who you admire their work/life balance – again, you may find this person online rather than at your school site.

Set a time limit for the number of hours you will work each day and then stop. Finally in my third year I decided I had to leave school by 4:00. I could work a little at home and on the weekends, but 4 was my school limit. I found after that I was just spinning my wheels, chatting with other teachers and generally not getting much accomplished anyway. I promise, the work will wait for you.

Exercise daily. Can you combine obsessive teacher talk (we’ve all got it at some level) with a brisk walk? One of my friends walks every morning before school with her grade level partner thus killing two birds with one stone.  Absolutely brilliant if you ask me!

Go to bed early. About 5 years ago while trying to battle yet another illness, I started going to bed in the 9 o’clock hour instead of 10. Changed my life! So much less need for caffeine and sugar when I am properly rested.


Did I miss anything? If so, leave me a note in the comments.

Stay tuned for upcoming topics in the series: Classroom Management, Taming the Homework Beast, Parents: Friend or Foe?

So You Think You’d Like To Teach School?

Recently I’ve gotten some interest in the hows and whys behind my teaching story. So I started a series called So You Think You Want to Teach School.
I figured you also may be interested or can add your own story or thoughts in the comments.
What made you want to become a school teacher?
My husband is a teacher. While I worked in politics on the exact opposite schedule, I got to see and hear what great fun he was having at work. A bitter pill since I so wasn’t having any fun.I grew up thinking I’d be a teacher of some kind. I definitely wanted to have some life experience under my belt before I got in front of a classroom full of students, so I spent a little more than a decade working in politics. While I was jumping from job to job, office to office, campaign to campaign I completely lost sight of my desire to teach. As in, totally forgot about it.Once it became clear a political life wasn’t for me, I decided to try teaching and while applying to credential programs I discovered my original college entrance essay all about how I wanted to work in politics long enough to have contributed to the world in that way and to have something to contribute to my students.

Clearly I thought (at the time), I’d be teaching high school social studies or government at the community college level. Turns out,  I was made to teach elementary school. {See: Best Part}

Here’s a little interview I did talking about discovering my inner teacher, dining with rock stars and working too much.

Was it scary to change careers?

Absolutely! But the thought of staying where I was scared me even more.

I bridged the money and experience gap through substitute teaching for a year while I was earning my teaching credential. Nothing prepares you for teaching like doing it every day with new kids – not even your credential program.

During that year I learned about classroom management (and how it was the most important part of being able to teach), organization, ages of students I was most interested in teaching, and that yes, I really like kids and wanted to spend my work days with them.

What program/school did you go through to get your credential? Would you recommend the program/school you went through?

I went through the UCDavis/Sac State Collaborative program – an intense 1 year program which has since been dissolved.  Both colleges offered challenging courses and helped me develop my teaching philosophy.

UC Davis professors helped me learn how to teach kids to read (and pass the RICA), how to use a read aloud to develop a community of learners, challenge my students with writing in math, use games to further learning as well as teach me some math fundamentals I never learned.

Who knew multiplication was actually just repeated addition?

You did?

Am I the only one who thought it was just a series of step to follow?Sacramento State helped me get over my fear of science (hands on learning and curiosity about how stuff works), look at my biases on race, class and gender and figure out how I’m going to get a room full of kids to do what I need them to do when I need them to do it.What do you love most about teaching?Friends, may I be honest here? I’ve had a LOT of co-workers before and none are even in the ballpark of awesome like my third graders.Seriously. Eight year olds are amazing. They are like super human of the little kids. Smart, funny, kind, generous, willing to try to understand their sarcastic teacher even when they have no idea what she’s talking about.  They usually don’t cry, will try most things and they love recess as much as I do. Also they think I’m the best reader, writer and jump-roper they know.

Can you say that about your co-workers?

What do you like least about teaching?

Hmmmm… the endless meetings for meeting sake? What about paper work for paper work sake? Everyone and their grandma thinking they know how to do your job better than you because they went to school? The national “debate” how my profession is RUINING THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT?

Christ, I may have to start a whole other blog for this one. Since I don’t have time for that, please go read Mrs. Mimi at It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages. She says it better than I do anyway.

Stay tuned for Part 2!


Do you have any questions about becoming a teacher? Do you have anything to add?

What Scares Me Most…

Before I got my teaching credential, at my husband’s insistence, I spent some time working as a substitute teacher. One day, while working in a kindergarten classroom I heard a voice outside my head say what, up until that point, had only said inside my head.


I paused, looked up from the group of adorable kindergarteners sitting at my knees and made eye contact with the speaker.



Huh, that’s what I thought she said.

She made some hand motions and gave directions on how I could correct what I was doing.

I turned the book upside down from where it was and like magic, right.


The important part of this story is the absolute absurdity of that sentence being said to me out loud by another adult.


And yet, in the moments right before I fall asleep these days, this exact thought is whispered in my own head.



Apparently, I’m afraid I’m going to do it wrong with Ruby.

In my rational brain, I can clearly see this isn’t true. I know there isn’t a wrong way or a right way. There are just ways that work today and those that don’t. Things that work better for some kids and things that totally don’t work for that kid (and so you stop).

But it’s not my rational brain telling me YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. 

I’m pretty sure this is my inside voice, the one I’m not even clear who it belongs to.


The other night in yoga class, Michelle, talked about the concept of satya or truth. What is true for your body today? What stories does your inner voice tell you? In other words, what kind of shit talking goes on about your limits or fears?

She said something about how the ego/bully voices are loud, aggressive and mean. The voice of truth is soft and kind, like a friend’s voice.

If you would like to listen (or play with idea for yourself, you can listen here).


So here’s the deal on the comments today. I’m going to ask for what I need and what I don’t.

What I need: Please share how you talked yourself off this particular ledge – the abject fear of DOING IT WRONG. If you haven’t gotten off there, share that too. Knowing other people are afraid of the same things makes me less afraid.

Or you can simply tell me what scares you most.

What I don’t need: Reassurances that I’ll be a good mama, that’s not the issue, it’s the FEAR I’d like to address.

Second Chances and Do Overs: Let’s Talk Fitness, Friends.

Back in the days before I became a Stay-At-Home-Mom/teacher on parental leave/person without a fulltime job or baby – yet – (otherwise known as July), I was talking about making a commitment to regular exercise when I returned to work.

Uh, well, yeah.

I didn’t return to work and then we tore up the walls in the house and hired painters and I decided to rip the ugly carpet out of Ruby’s room without a plan and well, my commitment to fitness disappeared in a frenzy of the furniture-is-in-the-wrong-room-ness.

Can you relate?

In part of my fitness hiatus I’ve been spending a lot of some time on Pinterest. Hello, new eye candy.

Anyway, there are lots of words of wisdom on the internet.

Who knew?

I would like to think of this time as a second chance for fitness. In a lifelong series of second chances. It is my belief humans requiring exercise to be healthy and sane is a design flaw.

Amy over at Just A Titch has been writing about her fitness journey and she’s got some great ideas about food planning, getting hydrated and rethinking your body image.

Here’s what I’ve learned about myself and exercise.

I love it being done. I’m pretty lukewarm/chilly about actually doing it. {is your head nodding?}

I am a social exerciser. If I am by myself, I’m most likely not going or doing.

The weight room fascinates me.  Where are the women folk? I like lifting heavy stuff and feeling strong.

As it turns out, I like walking outside. Especially in the not-hot part of the day when it is light. I think they call it morning.

My gym is awesome because it is remarkably clean and has the best sauna/steam/soak spot. {Justifying the large price tag? Yes, yes I am.}

Now you – What are your fitness secrets?

What do you do?

Where do you do it?

Who do you do it with?

What time of day do you do it?

What motivates you?


I’m feeling a bit lost in it all these days. Lots of time, lots to do, mostly just running things through my mind.

Please tell me your fitness secrets (or questions/complaints or whatever) in the comments. Let’s start a conversation.

Anyone want to exercise with me?

Images: click for source

Ramona Is My Hero and The One Where I Ask You For Help

One of the best parts of being a teacher is my daily read aloud. For at least 10 minutes every day I get to connect with my students through what teachers call a “shared book experience” – one which creates a sense of community, fosters a love of the written word and helps my students become better readers through teacher modeling.

We laugh, we cry, we always ask for another chapter…

But enough about them, let’s talk about me. 

I read to my students because I love it. It feels good to share something with them that I love so much. Seeing their little faces light up and watching them lean towards me as they fall into the story sometimes brings tears to my eyes. Everyday during this one special time, I think to myself, I can’t believe they pay me for this.

Often I’ve wondered if anyone else experiences this feeling and yesterday one of my dear friends posted an advertisement for the library looking for volunteers and she claimed she’d “mow people down to have a chance at being a pre-school storytime reader. ”


So how exactly did I develop my love of reading? 

Was it watching my mom and dad read at home?

Honestly I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have my nose buried in a book.

Growing up, I was obsessed with Ramona Quimby. During my second and third grade years my teacher, Mrs. Meloncon {love her!}, encouraged us to read for pleasure and she read out loud to us every day. We’d crowd on floor around her feet {seeing, of course, who could be closest} and quiet down and listen carefully.

Was it her who introduced us to this naughty little girl and all the deliciousness of a good book?

My best friends, Vicki and Karla, and I would race to the library each week trying to get our hands on Ramona’s latest adventures around her Northeast Klickitat Street neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. We traded books back and forth and wiped the public library shelves clean. It would seem, we couldn’t get enough.

Ramona the Pest, Beezus and Ramona, Ramona The Brave, Ramona and Her Father… always with the likable little pesky sister. Oh wait! Maybe that’s why we loved Ramona! We saw ourselves in her. Little girls trying to follow our inner voices while sometimes getting our feelings hurt and sometimes hurting other people’s feelings. Making mistakes and sometimes getting into trouble.

I love Ramona to this day. A couple of Halloween’s ago, I even dressed as Ramona and all the women at the party I attended that night told me about their deep love of the sometimes trouble-maker, Ramona.

So dear readers, this year I am without a class to read aloud to. This year I will be reading to my baby girl, Ruby. It’s my sincerest hope I am able to pass on my love of reading to our new daughter.

Do you read to your kids/students? Do you have any tips to share for reading with babies? Any favorite books?

Teacher Travels: deYoung Museum – Masterpieces From The Musee National Picasso, Paris

What do you get when three teachers travel together?

A whole lot of awesome, that’s what.

Our plan was multifaceted:  Help me with my Summer of Intentionality list, escape the Sacramento heat, enjoy a leisurely lady date and a visit to the deYoung in San Francisco to see the Picasso: Masterpieces From The Musee National Picasso, Paris.

Alicia {4th grade teacher/textile artist/owner of Spirit House Designs}, Amy {high school English teacher/blogger extraordinaire Just a Titch} and I {yoga teacher/school teacher on parental leave – holy crap!} were super excited to see this exhibit and to not have to travel to Paris to do so.

Travel tips from Sacramento to the deYoung Museum {AKA a whole lot less expensive than a trip to Paris!}

1. To make sure you can get into the exhibit, please order your tickets online before you go. $25 for the general public and $15 for members. Or special pricing for others – see link for details.

2. The tickets are time and date stamped so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get there.

3. Know that even on a midday Tuesday, you’ll be swimming in people. {I was surprised and wondered why everyone wasn’t at work. Forgot about all the tourists!}

4. Need to know how to get to the deYoung? Check out my post on getting to the Academy of Sciences. They are in the same part of Golden Gate Park.

5. Once you finish with the exhibit, be sure to check out the deYoung Cafe for a glass of wine and lunch. We did.

The wine totally helped us get over the weird goat thing Picasso had going on.

Pretty sure the polenta was loaded with dairy. My taste buds were dancing!

Other things to while in San Francisco:

Giggle at the Segway silliness.

Dig your feet into the sand at Ocean Beach {get back on the N-Judah and head all the way down to the beach}.

How do you spend your time in San Francisco?