More than a dog…

Junior

He was more than a dog. He was brilliant. He was a friend. He was intuitive beyond all reason. The things that made him great could never be taught. Right up to the end, he always did what he knew was best for us.

All I can say is thank you. It will never be enough, but it’s all I have.

Thank you for always doing what was right… even when we didn’t understand that it was right. Thank you for knowing that you needed to lay in my doorway to make sure you would be there to stop anyone from entering. Thank you for knowing when I was sad and laying at my feet, calming me with your gentle energy. Thank you for taking care of my six babies, always watching to make sure they were safe and alerting me when they were doing something that they would regret… or worse.

And when you were old, and your job of watching seemed to be over, thank you for adopting my grand babies and being as gentle and protective with them as you were with my own.

You were grand. You were great. You were wise.

There has never, nor will there ever be another you.

Thank you for giving selflessly all these 15 years. Thank you for always knowing your job and doing it well.

I loved you the moment your 35 pound puppy body unexpectedly came through my door, and I will love you for forever and beyond forever.

Here’s to beyond forever.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

 

What is your best thing since sliced bread?…

breadI was thinking about this the other day. What is the best thing since sliced bread? I think that phrase is really about what has made your life easier, less stressful? I really have to think about that hard. There are so many things that are convenient, but I am not sure they make my life less stressful because they take me away from the things that really matter sometimes.

Then I actually started thinking about sliced bread. Sliced bread was a really big deal. To have something that was already sliced and all the slices were consistent (no more wasting time baking and cutting your bread, or no more shoving it into the toaster because you cut it just a little too big, or kids fighting over the bigger piece) was a big deal. But on the other hand, because it was made from highly processed ingredients, you were trading nutrition for that perfectly sliced bread.

I guess what I am trying to say is that everything has a trade off.

I think my iPhone 6s could be the best thing since sliced bread. It allows me to keep in touch with the world from my fingertips, run my family because I am working full time, email my teachers any time of the day, and do research in seconds. But… if I’m not careful it can cause me stress because everyone can get ahold of me at any time of the day. It can take away from my family time because multitasking makes me not present in the moment. It can be information overload. Not healthy. Just like all items of convenience, moderation is going to be hugely important. I need to stuff that phone away and make sure I am paying attention to those around me when my working day is done. Be present.

What is your “best thing since sliced bread”? Whatever it is, make sure you aren’t trading convenience for “nutritional” value.

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Are you addicted?…

icloud

Are you addicted to technology? How long could you go without picking up your smartphone, your laptop, your chromebook, your iPad, or your tablet? How long before your fingers itch to see what’s happening on Facebook or who’s tweeted something scandalous on Twitter?

I wonder that myself. For three years I lived without technology. My family and I lived on a remote island and we did it. Well, we didn’t live completely without it. But I wonder if you would call uploading photos on the school’s ancient mac that we affectionately named “the hog” and sending a monthly email to all my family and friends “living with technology”.  The signal was shoddy, and sporadic to say the least. If we wanted to talk on the phone, we had to hike over 300 yards to the top of the hill to get our brick of a cell phone to roam to Canada so that we could get a phone call out. We lived disconnected from the world. If we wanted news, we had to listen to the radio (also considered technology, I guess):  mostly Canadian radio, so we didn’t always hear what was happening in the states. No TV. No movies. No social media. No daily connection to the world.

But could I do it now? Could I go a day without checking my email, or grabbing my phone and looking for the answer to a question that popped into my head? What if I couldn’t check my bank balance online and I had to rely on my check ledger like I did in the old days? I just don’t know. There are times when I think I could throw it all away. Go back to the life I used to live. I’ll be honest, it was much simpler then. You didn’t have to think about and process all the political garbage sprinkled on social media between all the status updates. But then I think of all the connections and friendships I have made thanks to technology. I think of all the old friends I have been able to reconnect with thanks to social media. The family I can stay connected with thanks to Facebook. The business I can run on the side of my day job thanks to Etsy. The photos I can access no matter which device I am using because they are “in the cloud”.

We take so many things for granted now when it comes to technology. But are we addicted? Could you go a day without getting online on your phone? Using your Facebook app? Checking your email? Writing a blog post? ;)

Could you?

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Nonfiction is…

I was walking through the library the other day and I heard,

Teacher: What kind of book is this?

Students: Nonfiction!

Teacher: That’s right! Nonfiction is a story about something that is real.

This is the way I was taught to define nonfiction, and for years it was what I taught my students as well. Fiction is made up (fake) and nonfiction is real (true). But is it? Is that what nonfiction is?

Is nonfiction always stories that are real?

I don’t know if I have the definitive answer yet, but one thing I do know is that if we teach our students that nonfiction is real, they hear “nonfiction is true”. We are essentially teaching them that they don’t need to think about whether they believe it or not, or whether they agree or not. We are sending the message, “If it’s nonfiction, it’s true. Read it and believe it. Done.” That’s a scary future, don’t you think? If our children grow up to believe that what they read in print is true unless it is fiction? Know an email, letter or persuasive article you read that you didn’t think was accurate? Think about what is already happening to our world because people don’t take the time to think about whether or not what they read (or watch on TV, or hear from their friend about what they read or watched on TV) is accurate?

I don’t know about you, but I want my students growing up to be the kind of adults who fact check, who ask clarifying questions, who dig deeper, and who read multiple accounts to make sure that they have the whole story. Want to read a great book that can get your students reading, thinking and discussing nonfiction? Reading Nonfiction by Kylene Beers and Robert E Probst will change the way you think about teaching nonfiction, and will help you give your students strategies to be responsible nonfiction readers in the 21st century. 

reading nonfiction

Enjoy the Dance and push kids to be great thinkers and readers of nonfiction! ;D

Rebecca

What do you get… ?

What do you get when Grampy’s silky military poncho liner (that Grampy swears is not a security blanket even though it looks like a security blanket, feels like a security blanket, and acts like a security blanket) wears out?

Make two new security blankets for your grandsons.

1. Unpick the binding around the blanket. (You are going to reuse this later.)

2. Cut the blanket in half and round the edges to match the four original corners.

3. Put cute patches over the burn holes where Grampy got too close to the fire on a camping trip. (Yes, he even took the thing camping. Woobie? I think so! And guess what? I wanted to make sure that I used the most common spelling for woobie, so I did a google search and guess what the first images are? HA!)

ACU-digital-poncho-liner

4. Use the binding that came with the poncho liner to finish one of the blankets and take the other grandson to pick out the material he would like for his binding. (Orange with spiders? Okay.)

5. Make some 1 inch wide double fold bias tape out of the material using this tutorial by danamadeit.com. (She is my go to girl when I don’t know how to do something.)

6. Sew the new bias tape to the other blanket.

7. Wala! You have two happy boys who each have a special mini size woobie… just like Grampy.

  

Learning to cable…

This is something I have been struggling with for a long time. I can crochet just about everything, but cable stitches left me frustrated and I would give up and move on to something else. No longer! Check out this great cable stitch hat pattern if you want to give crocheting cable stitches a shot. Nothing like ringing in the new year by acquiring a new skill!

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

Ever heard of Koala Crate?…

Or Kiwi Crate, or Doodle Crate or Tinker Crate?

If you haven’t, and you have kids (or grandkids) you might seriously consider checking it out. It’s perfect for a busy adult who wants to spend quality time with their kids. And hours of fun can be had with just one box!

Cupcake and I made a polar bear costume…

and then we played polar bears… We threw around some snowballs that we created with yarn and a loofah.

We made some snowflake wrapping paper by using a snowflake stamp.

The great thing about this kit is that everything is organized and ready to go. Even the plastic needle was threaded for us. The instructions are simple, and the activities are totally age appropriate. I love these kits. Totally worth the money (and no one is paying me to say this.)

Monkey and I learned all about light on the day he stayed with us. And we didn’t even scratch the surface of his kit. We have so much more to learn about light.

Whether you have a kid or grandkid who is 3 or 16, there is a kit for them. Want to get them to unplug? Check out kiwibox (or one of the other boxes that are age appropriate for them).

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca

New Year’s Resolution

o-new-years-resolutions-facebookIt’s that time of year again. That time when you start thinking about how your year has gone and what you want to change about your life in the year to come. Each year for years in a row I have made several goals and always fallen short. That’s when a couple of years ago I changed my New Year’s Resolution philosophy.

One word. Keep it simple. One word to change my life for the year to come. In 2014 it was kindness. I decided to do one act of kindness each day and keep a journal. The journal slowed down by the end of the year, but the kind acts did not. I found so much joy in it! I kept my ears open and tried to do everything within my means to make other’s lives better. I never missed a day. It was my most successful goal so far yet!

In 2015 I decided my word would be Thankful. Josh Groban (thanks Josh!) inspired that word one day while I was listening to his beautiful song Thankful. I even set the song as my alarm clock to remind me to be thankful for what I had. The year has been challenging, but through it all I remained grateful for all I had, and it’s amazing the doors that can open when you keep your mind focused on all you have, rather than on all you don’t.

What about 2016? I’m not so sure. I have made a lot of changes in my life over the past year or so. I have been evolving. Becoming a stronger version of myself. But you know… sometimes I just want to run away from the difficult things. I wish people could see me for who I am. To realize that even when I am defending what I know to be right, that I am doing it because I care. Not because I am being difficult. So this year, I think that I want to be Brave. (Yes, thanks again Josh!) I want to say what I want to say in a kind but firm way. To quit worrying so much about what people think of me, and to worry more about what I think of myself. To be true to me. To not cower when subjects get difficult or tense. To use my insight to diffuse a difficult situation while still saying what I know is right. To truly be me. Pretty hard for a natural introvert who would much rather be sitting in her house, crocheting away and letting the world happen around me. Brave. It’s gonna be a hard year. But you know, maybe I’ll come out on the other end of 2016 better for it. Wish me luck!

Enjoy the Dance! ;D

Rebecca