Grab-n-go Snack Bin - #momhack

Usually my posts are about "principal-ing." However, this post takes a dramatic turn to being a mom. Well, not so dramatic but working on my writing "hooks." LOL 

There is a selfish reason for this post and I just can't help it. I listened to a podcast last week about sharing fearlessly. What if you have an idea that could change someone else's life? Even if only a small change, it's worth it to share so they said.  First, there is sharing for shameless self-promotion. Second, is sharing that can help others. This falls in the 2nd category...sharing that can help.

Selfishly my hope is other moms, both working or stay at home, will share their #momhacks. And, yes, I read lots of mom blogs!

But first, a tribute. This #momhack comes from my forever #BFF who went to be with Jesus just a couple years ago. She lost a hard fought battle against pancreatic cancer. The weekend she told me she had cancer I dropped everything and drove 3 hours to spend the day with her, her sister and her husband while the kids were at school.

Advice taken - My older brother actually lost 2 very good friends to cancer. It was his advice to go see her immediately. Cancer is bad and she was going to deteriorate rapidly and family would become the ONLY THING allowed. All of that turned out to be true.

During my visit I discovered the "grab-n-go" snack bin. She may have actually called it a drawer. I can't really remember. The kids were allowed to take ANYTHING out of this drawer/basket at any time. Take for school lunch or just to snack.

My friend Tina was the ultimate mother. I will only be half the mother she was. Her #momhacks were always the best. She was my first call for mom advice, postpartum issues and anything dealing with motherhood.

Grab-n-go Snack Bin guidelines - I use "guidelines" loosely:) 

  • Buy snack size/serving sizes and dump in the bin.
  • Buy in bulk. Dump in the bin.
  • Count it out by serving size listed on the box. Dump in the bin. (I did this with Wheat Thins and Cinnamon Life in the picture.)
  • Buy fruit snacks in bulk, dump in the bin.
  • Anything non-perishable...dump in the bin.
  • Take bin out and check expiration dates every few months. Maybe more often than once a year:):)
  • There are no rules for the kids to take out of the snack bin. Open door. Take what you want. This applies to all children who enter the house. (This means if you have regular visitors or neighbor kids that come over often, they can take from the bin.)
  • Order groceries online for pick-up and you can plan ahead to keep the bin stocked!
Up next....fridge "grab-n-go!"

What are your lunch packing, snack eating #momhacks??? Everything helps!

Productivity Facebook Group Update

Click here to join!
Learning from the smartest principals in the world, yes I said WORLD, has been amazing! If you have not joined our Principal Productivity Facebook Group you don't know what you don't know.

Why a Facebook group? I am so glad you asked!

This is a specific group of people. It's principals only. Well mostly principals. When you request to "join" you are given a set of questions to answer. I guess you could lie. The recommendation from our initial group was to keep it a specific group.

So let's talk about Facebook groups. You might be in a few groups. I would guess that they are ALL OVER THE PLACE! It's hard to remember why you even signed up for the group. It's too much effort to "leave group" so it's a group just lingering out there you never check.

I started to notice that groups had "rules." Can you believe that even as adults, educated, professional adults, we still need rules? Now I know why. Do you manage a group? How big is your group? This has actually been an extremely valuable lesson for me personally and professionally. How can I use a closed Facebook group for my school community? Dare I try that? Well I have been thinking about it. And I have an idea!

While I am processing my idea for a closed group for my school, if you are a principal join us! We need you! I need my people! I need principals to help me, to inspire me, to coach me, to share with me. I know you are out there.

If you are a teacher reading this and you have been dying for your principal to join social media or just understand it....send them a link to this post! Message me your principal's contact information and I will connect with them. They will LOVE this! I promise.

Motivation BINGO - #Leaderinme

Games make everything more fun! Right? Different versions of staff BINGO make their way around the interwebs all year. I probably love 99.9% of them and want to use them all. However, I really do want activities to be relevant to my staff.

Last year my social media BFF Amber Teamann and I created a PD BINGO board that was super popular! You can read Amber's blog post about that here.
In our Principal Productivity Facebook group Amber also created "Git-R-Done" BINGO to inspire all of us busy principals to "Git-R-Done!" You can find that one HERE.
This year my school is participating in the Leader In Me training. Just like any program or initiative there is a learning curve. For me, I am trying learn and live the 7 habits in both my personal and professional life.
  • What does "Be Proactive" mean for me?
  • How can I develop positive "habits?"
  • What exactly is a "habit?" :)
So when the BINGO phenomenon hit my principal PLN I asked myself how to make it relevant to my staff. So here you go! The copy linked below is a "generic" copy. The copy I used for my school had some personalized information that would not apply to your hashtags/mascot.  

WHOA! Before you download let me explain "prizes." This was strictly a way to make teaching/learning/working on the 7 habits more engaging. A visual reminder. Something to hang in their classroom, hang in their home, hang on the bathroom mirror. You know what I mean. I am not giving them the prizes I have listed!! No, No, No!! Look at them....GURL!!!(BOY) Do you think I could afford that? They could come up with their own prizes to reward themselves.

Click here for your copy!

10 Year Blog-A-versary & Makeover

Anyone out there been blogging for 10 years?!!! (I feel like I am asking if you're out there in outer space. Um...NO. You know what I mean.) I cant' even believe it myself! My blog was seeming dated and I had noticed that other bloggers had updated their designs. I thought what the heck! Then when I started looking back....HOLY COW! I have been doing this for over 10 years!

Five Reflections

Re-purposing posts - Things have obviously changed in 10 years! Did I even have an iPhone back then? Going to have to take time to rewrite some things.

Tons of topics - Over the years I didn't realize all the topics covered in my writing. Check out all the labels. I tried to keep my writing organized so I could refer people to posts that were helpful. Now I probably can't even find what I am looking for. I moved "Search" to the top of the sidebar.

Productivity still wins - Most of my information seemed to be about productivity. I just like it. It's something I am passionate about and I can always learn about being more productive. Think of all the technology apps and devices that have been invented in 10 years?!
Connections win the internet! The absolute biggest gift this blog has given me over the years are the connections with amazing people. Never would I ever imaging meeting and connecting with so many amazing educators! 

Where am I now? Blogging may have been the only sharing social media 10 years ago? Twitter was just getting started too I think. (I don't have time to google all this stuff.) When Facebook became a "thing" I dabbled in that until my brother and I made a bet to see who could get the most followers. There wasn't even a reason to have a lot of followers at the time. I just wanted more than my brother.

Now it is even easier to connect and share. I would not be the mom/principal/person I am today without BOTH real life connections and the connections I have made online. You can find me here now:
  • Instagram - Love that it is visual and not too much reading.
  • Instagram stories - These are fun quick videos you can post. These posts can happen at the spur of the moment when you think of something or are doing something that could help someone else.
  • Personal Facebook - My personal feed/story is pretty boring. I don't really post much there. It's connected to my instagram so I can post to both at the same time.
  • Facebook Page - This page is for principal stuff and sharing ideas for school. If I like it I post it if I remember. I usually just sync this blog to that page.
  • Facebook groups - I. LOVE. THESE.  Groups are the greatest was to connect that I have found. If you're a principal you can join my 2 closed groups for principals. I am glad that I initiated the groups but I cannot take any credit for the amazing information posted in these groups.
So there it is.......Happy Blog-a-versary to me! You should try it! It's about the journey and it's been amazing!

Notifications Poison Productivity

Turn off your notifications! I dare you! Turn off the badges, banners, sounds, lock screen, previews etc. Turn it all off!

I bet you are having an anxiety attack right now just thinking about this right? It will be okay. It's not like you are going to forget to check your email. Maybe you just wont check it every 15 seconds. Is that such a bad thing?

This summer at #NPC2017 (National Principals Conference) there was a challenge started to put a picture of your most important people on your home screen. When you turn on your phone (actually I think our phones just turn on when we look at them right now:):) your home screen is that picture, then you have to swipe left to get to your apps. Now THAT makes me have an anxiety attack!

My phone is not a picture frame! I do not need my phone to remind me who my most important people are. My phone is for work and getting things done and connecting. Now that I have offended almost all my PLN principals, let me explain. It would take me FOREVER to move all my apps around off the home screen, to another screen and move the 2nd screen apps somewhere else. No. I could not accept that challenge. 

If any of you are still reading here is my thinking:
  • Decide if there is an app or two you have to leave on. (Messages because I have kids. Facebook pages because parents contact me there sometimes. Facebook because I manage a new principal group so I had to turn those badges back on.)
  • Turn off ALL other badges. Those red circles with the number of notifications waiting.
  • You can actually leave previews on or banners as long as they go away easily and quickly.
  • You are not going to forget to check your email, or Voxer, or Instagram, or Twitter. You're just not going forget. Try it. It has become habit so you know you are going to check at some point.
  • Messages clarification - I do not get a lot of text messages. At least I don't think I do but I don't really have anything to compare it to.
If none of the above apply to you maybe you can just turn off your work email at night. Yes, my work email is OFF my phone at night. I check it first thing in the morning when I wake up except on the weekends. Yep, I am guilty of emailing my staff on the weekend at times. They don't have to read it until Monday morning. I just have to get it done when I have time. If it's super important I can send a text through Remind.

Who is going to take the challenge! Let me know if you take the notifications off or turn off your work email. Regardless if your successful or not I'd love to hear how it worked out for you.