Tiny Tips Tuesday: Make the Most of Your Summer

Dear Friend,


That word alone brings to mind a kind of freedom from the have-to’s in life to more a may-do way of living. Everything slows down and we are finally able to fully exhale. Our family takes the summer away from school (one of the serious benefits of being a teacher) and we dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to doing what we like to do.

It hasn’t always been this way. We used to save all the yucky house projects for summer break and then spend the summer avoiding them and not really getting anything accomplished and also not having that much fun.

Enter the Summer of Intentionality. {thank you, Rosie!}

You can click the link above for the whole story, but it pretty much comes down to this – in order to get the most out of your summer – plan what you want to learn, what you want to do and what you want to read. – You don’t even have to be a teacher to play along!

summer of intentionality part one to read

TGBTS/Tami’s 2014 Summer Reading List:

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates The Soul by Stuart Brown

How to Be a Woman by Caitlyn Moran

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

And I am hoping many, many more… I’m also signing up for the Sacramento Public Library’s Summer Reading Program for even more incentive to read this summer.

Have you ever been accused of reading too much? Is there really such a thing? What are you reading this summer?

I do hope you decide to make you own Summer of Intentionality lists. Please leave a comment and tell me all about it. If you’d like to take a peek at some of my lists from the past click here.

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:

43 Books (but it really is only 39)

Books I Love: Mindset

Books I Love: Steal Like an Artist

No Seriously…. I LOVE BOOKS. Lots and Lots of BOOKS

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summer break

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Tiny Tips Tuesday: Trade Titles You Love

Dear Friend,

I am an avid reader and often I’m asked what’s on my nightstand, my library hold list and my kindle. Because let’s be honest, I’ve always got multiple books going at once.

Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m reading:

the body book

Basically a user’s manual for the human female body. I just started this, but am already impressed. Diaz encourages women to get to know their bodies and to tap into how they are FEELING rather than how they look.

Part One covers nutrition with a focus on whole unprocessed foods cooked at home and drinking lots of water. Sounds a lot like what everyone’s mom said growing up and they were right!

Part Two is all about fitness with a focus on movement. Using your body in the way that was intended – exercise and weight training and SLEEP (my favorite).

Part Three is all about the mind. Creating new patterns of thing about food, exercise and planning for nutrition and exercise.

self compassion

I first heard about Kristin Neff’s work through Brene Brown and thought if Brene thinks this work is life-changing, so will I.

I was right! When I read it I thought, “Oh, it’s all so simple and straightforward – easy breezy!”

Then I tried putting all three pieces into action and quickly learned this self-compassion business is a moment by moment every day practice.

The three pieces of self-compassion are:

1. Self-kindness.

Pretty self-explanatory and WHOA! Harder than I ever imagined. A serious work in progress.

2. Common humanity

Neff says everyone suffers. No one is perfect. There is no perfect. We are all flawed.

I find this way easier because compassion for others has been something I’ve been trying to practice for years.

3.  Mindfulness

Neff defines mindfulness as seeing clearly and accepting what is happening in the present without judgment.

This is where my yoga and meditation practice really get a workout. Again, so much harder than it sounds. For me, I am usually noticing patterns after the fact. Someday I hope to see in the moment. Always a practice.

plus one

Sacramento yoga teacher, Cori Martinez’s wrote this little gem. I found myself unexpectedly laughing and shaking my head in agreement while reading this on a plane.

Cori’s honest account of her younger days and life in Hawaii have made me want to read more from her.

That’s what I’m reading these days.

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me what’s on your nightstand. What can’t you wait to read or what is the book you recommend to everyone?

With lots of love and compassion,



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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)

On My Kindle

We’ve been on the road a lot recently visiting family, friends and playgrounds and parks in the Bay Area. It’s been refreshing to get out of the heat in the Sacramento Valley and spend some time reading somewhere other than home.

Here’s what’s on my Kindle:

God bless the Sacramento Public Library and their e-book loans. Saves me tons of money and gives me the freedom to read, read, read!

What’s on your Kindle?

It’s My Lucky Day!


The other day Katy from the Non-Consumer Advocate wrote about a new program through the Portland Public Library called Lucky Day and I was feeling jealous.

Just walk into your neighborhood branch and pick a brand new popular title off the shelf and check it out without the endless hold list?  Of course those kinds of programs happen in Portland.

<imagine whiny voice here> I wish we had a cool program like this in Sacramento.

Well, imagine my surprise when I went to the McClatchy branch of the library today (to get myself out of library fine jail) when I looked up and saw a shelf with Lucky Day books.

I now have three weeks to read these two titles:

Extreme motherhood and a yoga book I’ve had my eye on for months.

Yay me!


What new books have you read that I should keep my eye on? 

Have you had a lucky day recently?

Books I Love…Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight In Our Busy Lives

purchasing information

Happy Sunday!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy (end of) Teacher Appreciation Week!

I’ve been trying to write this post all week and yet between being crunched for time and technical difficulties (could be WordPress or user error – the jury is still out on that), it just hasn’t happened.

I am happy to finally be telling you about this book.


You all know I love me some rest. In fact, I am currently enjoying a Pajama Day and I even have a Rest Manifesto.

Part of what I see as my role in life is to try to convince people to slow down and chill the hell out a bit. What is the damn hurry, anyway?

I found this book on a blog {forgive me, I have since lost the link} and when I asked the always lovely Madeleine about it, she highly recommended it.

Let’s be honest, the title alone was enough to pull me in.

I’ll admit, I cringed a bit about all the religious stuff. That’s how I knew I really loved this book, I kept reading despite the cringing. The resting suggestions are cringe-worthy if you ask me.

Here’s a little gem I shared with my Sunday Snoozers last week:

Remember the Sabbath. Rest is an essential enzyme of life, as necessary as air.

Sort of sums it up, right?

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

My life is so.much.better. when I take the time to chill out and get enough sleep. It’s better when I don’t take on every project offered or try to do everything in one day…or even all the yoga poses offered.

Having a hard time convincing yourself rest is time well spent?

Well, Wayne Muller (the author) has pulled evidence from many world religions arguing GOD wants you to rest.

Yes, you read that right: even GOD wants you to rest.

With chapters titled Rest for the Weary, The Joy of Rest and A Life Well Lived plus micro actions and poems, this is a perfect yoga book for the most non-yoga person.

I highly recommend this book.


Poetry Break!


Let the light of late afternoon

shine through chinks in the barn, moving

up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take chafing

as a woman takes up her needles

and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the abandoned

in long grass. Let the stars appear

and the moon disclose her sliver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.

Let the wind die down. Let the shed

go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop

in the oats, to the air in the lung

let evening come.

Let it come as it will, and don’t

be afraid. God does not leave us

comfortless, so let evening come.

–Jane Kenyon

Celebrate National Library Week! Books I Love: Good Enough is the New Perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood

Here at TGBTS, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book. For years, I’ve been curious about working mothers and how they do it all. It turns out the answer depends on the woman.

While not yet a mother, I am a woman born between 1965 and 1980 looking for greater happiness and balance between work and home.

Are you?

If so, you need to read this book. It’s written for women just like us.

Hollee and Becky surveyed more than 900 women and conducted in-depth interviews with over 100 of them about their thoughts on working and parenting. This book is the result of their research as well as expert research on marriage, feminism and business. Hollee and Becky’s personal stories are intertwined throughout the chapters.

The unexpected twist? For me, it reads like part my own personal history book (my neck hurts from nodding my head in agreement) and part yoga book.


Yep, possibly an unintended consequence, but I kept thinking about my own yoga practice of self-compassion, kindness and letting go while I was reading this book.

Some examples of the yoga in Good Enough is the New Perfect:

You can do anything – this doesn’t mean you have to do everything. 

(Yoga translation: What does your body need in this moment?)

Delegate: say no.

(Yoga translation: Did someone say pull up a bolster and rest?)

Knowing when to move on means knowing yourself; the answer is different for each of us.

(Yoga translation: there is no right way to do a pose).

Consider your history when making your choices – but don’t let guilt or other women’s choices dictate your own.

(Yoga translation: Keep your eyes on your own mat. Who cares what is happening on the mat next to yours?)

There’s nothing wrong with “easy” – just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s more valuable.

(Yoga translation: fancy side arm balances don’t make you a better person, or yogi)


Want to read this book? Click on the picture above for pre-ordering Good Enough is the New Perfect on Amazon.

Want to learn more about Becky and Hollee? Check out their blog.

On Twitter? You can follow Hollee and Becky.

Want to meet Hollee in person? Sacramento friends, stay tuned for details!


A GIVEAWAY! Have you entered to win Tales from the Yoga Studio yet? Click here to see how to be entered.

Celebrate National Library Week! Books I Love: Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived

1. Oh my, where to start? I l-o-v-e-d this book. It reads like a novel and yet it’s not.

2. My heartstrings were definitely pulled and I cried when I read this book. A lot.

3. Elephants occupy a huge part of my heart. While my beloved French language Babar is where the love was born, Modoc solidified my feelings.

4. Water for Elephants reminded me of Modoc. If I had to choose one or the other, I’d pick Modoc.

If you were in charge of the universe, what book would you insist everyone read?


A GIVEAWAY! Have you entered to win Tales from the Yoga Studio yet? Click here to see how to be entered.

Celebrate National Library Week! Books I Love: Straight Man

1. A book that literally made me cry from laughing so hard.

2. I pulled an all-nighter to read this book.

3. A professor confirmed the accuracy of the department politics and meetings.

4. She pulled an all-nighter to read this book.

5. Strange fact: every time I see an Aflack Insurance commercial with the duck, I think of how ridiculously funny this book is.

What books crack you up?


A GIVEAWAY! Have you entered to win Tales from the Yoga Studio yet? Click here to see how to be entered.

Celebrate National Library Week! Books I Love: The Monster at the end of this Book starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover

A first day of school tradition!

1. My favorite book growing up.

2. Now my favorite read aloud.

3. Why is it so great you ask? There is yelling, suspense, begging, and some awesome kid humor.

4. So many opportunities for changing voices and making a connection with my students right away.

5. Strange fact: I keep a concert ticket (Pearl Jam/Rolling Stones 1997) in this book. It’s been there since my first day of teaching. I always tell the kids it’s a sign of my trust to keep it there.

What are your favorite books from childhood?


A GIVEAWAY! Have you entered to win Tales from the Yoga Studio yet? Click here to see how to be entered.

Celebrate National Library Week! Books I Love: Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

A book I wish I’d found sooner. It was recommended to me by a writer friend with whom I’ve had great conversations about teaching writing.

1. A Zen practitioner and writer – she brings the discipline for sitting to writing.

2. Writing is like running, the more you do, the better you get.

3. A great resource for teaching others to write or helping yourself get your pen on paper.

I highly recommend this book!

To learn more about the author, Natalie Goldberg, click here.


A GIVEAWAY! Have you entered to win Tales from the Yoga Studio yet? Click here to see how to be entered.

Celebrate National Library Week! Books I Love: Tales from the Yoga Studio {A Giveaway!}

It’s National Library Week and as part of that I’ve committed to sharing my favorite book, album and movie titles with my readers this week.

What a better way to start off the week than with a giveaway?

{Now you will have a chance to WIN THIS BOOK!}

{click the book to read about the book and more importantly to learn more about the author}

Title:  Tales from the Yoga Studio

Author: Rain Mitchell

Genre: Novel

Synopsis: A low-key local yoga teacher with a special gift for reaching people is targeted as the “Next Big Thing” by a high-powered company.

My thoughts: I made a connection right away. It reminded me of some of my gifted yoga teacher friends and what might happen if suddenly someone wanted to pay them a lot of money and make them famous. Would they sell out and become part of the yoga machine or would they stay true to themselves?

Being a part of a small studio that flies under the radar for most people, but totally changes lives, I identified with this story. How would I react if suddenly our studio became overrun with the rich and famous?  Or worse, if the teachers suddenly became like unattainable rock stars?

So are you ready to read this book yet?

A super quick read with some very likeable characters that clearly struck a nerve for me. I recommend reading it especially if you have a beloved teacher who (you hope) isn’t ever going to be on the cover of a yoga magazine.

Want to win my (advanced readers) copy of this book ?

Mandatory Entry is:

1. Leave a comment and tell me what you think makes a great yoga teacher.
Options for Extra Entries:
  • Subscribe to My Blog Via Email & Confirm Subscription (upper right hand corner)
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  • In order to ensure I see all your entries – please leave a separate comment for each entry.
Am I eligible to win?
Anyone with a valid e-mail and a U.S. mailing address is eligible.

When do I find out if I am the winner?

Contest is open from Sunday, April 1o, 2011 – noon (PST), Sunday, April 17th.

The winner will be chosen the old-fashioned way: names in a hat.

The winner will be announced on Monday, April 18th. You will have 1 week to e-mail us back with your home address so we can mail the prize.


This giveaway is now CLOSED.

And the winner is… Elizabeth!

Summer Reading Program – Who is with me?

I love libraries.

I’ve got a special place in my heart for Sacramento Public Library.

All the free books you can possibly read.

The music CDs, DVDs and ebooks.

and now this –

Summer Reading BINGO!

Yes, a summer reading program for ADULTS!

Just like when you were a kid, only better!

Anyone want to join me???

All you have to do is complete a row of activities on a bingo card to claim a prize {book bag!!!} and be entered into the drawing for one of the grand prizes.

Not to worry if you don’t, I’ll totally win all those awesome prizes myself!

  • Sony Reader with a $25 Reader Store gift card
  • iPod Touch with a $25 iTunes gift card {could have used this yesterday}
  • Nintendo DSi with a $25 Target gift card
  • Target gift card
  • Click here to sign up!

    Happy Library Advocacy Day!

    I love my library. Actually I love ALL libraries, but mine is special. 

    E.K.McClatchy Library


    The E.K. McClatchy Library  is a couple blocks from my house and I go there at least once a week. At certain times during the year {hello summer break!}, you can find me there several times a week: 

    I go to read magazines 

    To pickup my reserved books, music and DVDs {I’ve always got 30 items checked out} 

    I read the latest picture books so I know what to check out for my class 

    Occasionally I’ll just hang out enjoying their air conditioning while chatting with neighbors and friends. 

    I’m always running into people I know at my library. 

    Our branch is a true community meeting place.  

    Whenever I enter my library I’m always greeted with a warm smile and know that my treasures await me two shelves up from the bottom on the reserve wall. 

    The Sacramento Public Library has almost every book I want to read and if for some reason they don’t, they can almost always get it for me. 

    Yes, sometimes I have to wait to get the latest and greatest book, movie or music CD. 

    What, am I in a hurry here? 

    What surprises me is how few people I know that actually use the library. Most people I know buy their books, magazines and get their music and movies from other places. 

    I don’t get it. 

    Why would you purchase something that your tax dollars have already purchased? 

    Today is Library Advocacy Day. I’m advocating that you get yourself to the library.  

    Get a card. 

    Check out a book. 

    Read a magazine. 

    Use their free wi-fi. 

    Check out a DVD. 

    Meet a neighbor and make a community connection. 

    Want to learn how you can help preserve your library? Click here. 

    Tell me your favorite library story…

    Book(s) #best09

    December 4th’s prompt:

     Book. What book – fiction or non – touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane touched my heart this year. Although it wasn’t published in 2009, I read it this year. I picked this book up from the McClatchy Library because I had loved Kate DiCamillo’s other books: especially Because of Winn Dixie and The Tiger Rising.

    I needed a book to use to teach my class about story structure, a book that would clearly spell out the story’s problem and resolution. My plan was to find a read aloud book to my class that we could analyze and enjoy the book together. My search for the perfect book was over when I found Edward Tulane.

    As usual, I always pre-read books that I read to my class. I want to make sure I know what is coming, what I’ll need to explain and so that I can practice my read aloud voice. I don’t remember the details of my solo read, but I do remember thinking this is one of the best children’s books I’d ever read.

    As I sat on my chair in the front of my classroom, kids sitting on the floor at my knee, I began the read aloud by showing them the cover of the book. Like the good readers they are becoming they began asking questions and making predictions about the story just by looking at the cover.

    The kids asked what miraculous meant and wondered who was that little rabbit in the red pajamas in the picture? They decided that this book must be fantasy because rabbits don’t really wear pajamas.

    Sharing a chapter a day, the kids sat on the carpet criss-cross-apple-sauce, leaning forward listening intently. They were immediately entranced with the story of this China doll rabbit.

    When asked about the story’s problem, one of my students explained that the story’s problem was really Edward’s problem: “It’s all about love, Ms. Hackbarth. Although many loved him, Edward himself was not able to love.”

    Nothing warms a teacher’s heart more than an eight year old so clearly articulating the problem! The main character’s inability to love is the problem in this story. The other students correctly predicted that by the end of the story he would come around to loving those who had loved him longest.

    Some may say that makes Edward Tulane a predictable story, but I would argue there is so much suffering in this story that the resolution leaves you feeling like love really is possible. This book is absolutely heartbreaking and in the end so redeeming that I can’t wait to share it with my class this year.


    I am a very lucky woman. I get to read to kids and they pay me. So in order to earn my keep, I read kid’s books more  than most.

    The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake made my class laugh so much that they made me read it to them more than once. They even made me read it out loud in front of one of our parent helpers because they said I read it so well.

    This book was a particularly good pick for this class because many in my class were reluctant readers, especially my boys. By the time I had returned The Dirty Cowboy to the library, the book had been well-loved and reread by many in my class.