Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{#sol15} 10 Tips for the Challenge

Slice of Life hosted at the
Join in and share a slice of your life.

Last Saturday morning, I didn't need to wake up early.  I wanted to go back to sleep.  But instead my brain was awake and thinking.  Creating this list.  Writing this post.  

Many of us are embarking on an adventure - the Slice of Life Story Challenge.  Writing, sharing, and commenting for thirty-one days in March. Want to learn more about the SOLSC?  Check out Stacey's post {HERE} about the challenge hosted by the "Fab Six" over at the Two Writing Teachers' blog.  

I hope you find these tips for the challenge helpful whether you are a first-time slicer (cue confetti!) or a year five slicer like me.

1. Before the challenge begins ... set up all 31 blank blog posts, one for each day of the challenge and save!  I include the number day (i.e. 1/31, 2/31, 3/31, 31/31, etc.) and include the #sol15 hashtag in the title (for my "If This Then That" recipe connected to Twitter).  I also copy and paste onto each blog post the official "Slice of Life" logo.  This will save you so much time during the challenge that you can focus on just writing and commenting.

2.  Introduce yourself on day one of the challenge.  Tell us who you are and what you love.  Make connections that first day!  It's also a great day to invite a friend to join in on the writing fun!  (Chris!  Lynn?  Terje, it's 'just for a month'!  Karen, you started a blog and all?!?  Or even ask your mom to join my mom!)

3.  Do not stress about what to write about.  Our ordinary lives are filled with stories!  Keep your eyes and ears open ... and the stories will whisper to be shared.  Trust me on this one.  It's amazing how your story radar beeps all day long with slices of possibility.

4.  Throughout the day, you will notice those slices ... Carry a notebook (or your phone) with you at all times!  Jot down a couple words to remind yourself later of the possibilities.  Otherwise the stories may be lost ...

5.  Remember to share a"slice" -- a sliver, a taste, even just a nibble.  You are encouraged to write for thirty-one days (and you WILL!), but don't feel that every slice needs to be a lengthy post, novel or a final draft masterpiece!  Break longer stories into parts -- enticing readers to come back for more the next day and the next day!

6.  Shorter slices allow me (and other slicers) the opportunity to read more slices and leave more comments.  Read. Comment. Repeat. Sometimes if I see a slice is too long ... I click the back button quickly.  I usually end up feeling guilty, and I return to read and comment.  I love reading my "old favorite" year five slicers and also new slicers joining in.  I also usually try to return the favor.  When someone leaves a comment on my blog, I try and reciprocate and leave a comment on their blog, if I can find it.  I can read more slices when the slices are just that -- a slice of life!

7.  Comments matter!  Comments encourage us to keep writing.  Comments are the foundation of this writing community.  Comments connect us.  If you take the time to read a slice (with or without guilt, see #6), leave a comment ... even if it's as simple as "Thanks for sharing" or "Keep writing!"  Comments don't have to be wordy.  But write something -- especially for a fellow slicer who may not have many comments.

8.  There will be days where you may feel stuck or in a writing rut or -- Smack! Hit the writer's block.  Push through ... just write.  Just open up that laptop and write.  It is inevitable that every year I write a blog post about not knowing what to write about -- and a slice emerges and everyone can connect with that post!

9.  Play with your words.  Use a mentor text.  It could be a book that you emulate or even better, use another slicer's idea or format.  I created a "Slice of Life Story Challenge" Pinterest board to pin favorite slices and ideas to refer back to when I'm looking for some inspiration.

10.  Write a poem.  Create a list.  Try something new! Look for more writing inspiration  and journal ideas on this Pinterest page.  And if you have no idea what to do?!?  Have a solid back up plan!  I found this format  and it's my go-to when I just don't have any other ideas!

And a bonus tip ...

11.  Enjoy the process!  Reflect on the process too.  The process of writing daily is energizing and exhausting.  Yet, writing every day forms a newfound writing habit.  You will want to write more and more and more.  Enjoy.  This.  Challenge.

A BIG thank you to the Two Writing Teachers Team 
for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge!

HaPpy WrItiNg!

I know.  I've been there. 
 I can't wait to meet you in your stories!

Image found on etsy: Kathy R. Jeffords

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

{#sol15} Trouble

Slice of Life hosted at the
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We had no big plans for this weekend.  However, I felt like I was living in my own version of If You Hove A Mouse A Cookie story... What started out as one task led to another ...

It all started with a game of Trouble. The four of us huddled around the little white table in the playroom Saturday morning.

POP! Goes the die in the bubble. 

My hubby expressed how light and bright the playroom was with the blinds open and the sun shining. 

And then POP! Trouble.

"What? What is that? Look at that.  There's a leak in the roof! Look at the ceiling!" he exclaimed as he got up to take a closer look. 

"Finish up my turn," he said as he went upstairs to investigate in the walk-in attic above the playroom.

And then POP! Trouble.

He dragged out plastic bins of ornaments, baby girl memories, and even the wedding bin (à la pre-Pinterest days). 

"Hey, hon? Can you come up here to help me for a minute?" he called down.

And then POP! Trouble.

We all headed upstairs to see that he had moved the girls' toddler beds against one wall. The girls loved the big open space in their bedroom.  They danced and twirled as I  helped my hubby move two huge, long boxes. The boxes held the pieces to convert the girls' toddler beds into full size beds. 

"You know, these beds will be too big in the girls' room," he told me.

And then POP! Trouble.

He disappeared as I watched the girls enjoy the extra room and freedom in their shared bedroom. I decided to dig into their closet and dressers. He returned a few minutes later. 

And then POP! Trouble.

"I talked to Eric. They still have the twin beds. I'm going to go pick them up.  Is this okay?"

He went and picked up the beds.  Our dear friend Eric decided to come over to help take apart the toddler beds and assemble the big girl beds. 

Less than a couple hours later (with big thanks to Eric), after the distraction of water leak, almost emptying the walk-in attic, our girls are officially sleeping in big girl beds.  (And then this led to a hunt on Sunday for the perfect bedding too ... with lots of purple!) They are as happy as can be! 

And then POP! No trouble. 

The leak was looked at by a professional on Monday.  Probably a minor leak from all the extra snow on the roof that blew into the vent.  A little paint will fix the stain on the ceiling.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

{sols} the next adventure

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Today is a milestone day.  It's not even the "real" day.  Or the first day.  But it's THE day that begins to make it all real before the first real day.  (Sigh.)

My twin four and a half year old daughters will be five in May -- and that magic age signals registration for ...


It's even hard for me to say it.  I make a sad pouty face.  I can only whisper the word.  Then I wonder where the years went.  Big tears fill my eyes.  I wonder how my beautiful baby girls are almost five years old and ready for ...


Don't get me wrong.  I'm super excited for the girls.  I want them to love going to school.  I want them to be excited to learn to read and write.  I want them to meet new friends.  I want them to love their teacher.  I'm just not sure that I am ready for ...


We have been casually talking about it, trying to create the excitement about going to the big school in the neighborhood.  Reminding them of the neighbor friends that will be there.  Talking about the expectations and all the exciting opportunities.

But I'm secretly agreeing with P.'s recent comments:  "Ok.  I'll turn five and eat my cake, but I'm NOT going to kindergarten," she matter-of-factly stated as she stomped her foot.

M. explained her fear about going to kindergarten: "I don't want to have to go to the principal's room," she responded, and then she grinned at me as I wondered where she even heard this.


Perhaps I am uncomfortable with being on the "other side" of the school system and participating as a parent.  This is all new to me.  I know I will learn from the new school experiences and be able to use what I learn to connect with more parents as a teacher at my school.

I'm also reminded how much trust our parents and families give us every day -- entrusting their babies, their whole worlds, their everything.  And soon it will be my turn to do the same.


I continue to worry because I have been told on many occasions, "Once they start school, the years go by faster ..."  I don't want it to go any faster.  I want to hold onto my four and a half year old girls.  I want them to stop growing older ... but when I tell them that they quickly respond, "But Mom, I can't control it."

It will be exciting and scary for us all as we head to our neighborhood school this evening for ...

Kindergarten registration.

There.  I said it.  Without a whisper or a tear.

Kindergarten.  Kindergarten.  Kindergarten.

We can do this ... 


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

{sols} a snow story

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My girls are really into storytelling these days, especially hearing stories where they are the main characters!  Here is a story about their experience after the blizzard on Sunday.

Once upon a time ...

there were two adorable and very energetic four year olds, who always listened to their Momma.


The two girls were twin sisters and they loved playing together.  They played with their baby dolls and took care of their stuffed animals with the vet clinic tools.  The girls enjoyed coloring, painting, and creating masterpieces of art that were on display for all to see.  They loved laughing and singing and dancing around the house.

"Momma!  Watch me!" demanded P. as she twirled around.

As their joyous laughter filled the air, one darling girl spotted a snowflake floating back and forth slowly toward the ground.  The sparkle and beauty caught her eye.  Then there was another snowflake and another, until the sky was littered with hundreds and thousands and millions of these tiny, unique ice sculptures floating gently down, down, down.

"Look Mom!  It's snowing!" exclaimed M. pointing out the window.

The snow fell all day long blanketing everything white that we could see outside the window.  They could not contain their excitement.  All they wanted to do was ---

"Momma!  Can we PL--EASE go outside and play in the snow?!?" 

And so it went.  The two precious girls put on layer after layer to ensure they remained warm while playing in the cold, white snow.  The snow pants, the boots, the hat, the scarf, and finally the mittens.

"Let's go!  I'm starting to sweat!" announced P. as she opened the door.

We trudged outside, boots clomping on the brick pathway that was recently cleared by their Daddy.

CrUncH.  cRuNCh.  CRunCh.

The girls stepped onto the almost eighteen inches of fresh snow.  Walking high above what they know as the ground level.

Phlump.  One boot deep in the snow.

"Mom, I'm stuck!" shouted M.

Phlump.  Another boot deep in the snow.

Their weight exceeded the snow limit and they were slowly stepping into the deep, deep snow.

The two snow princesses played and played. They fell into the deep snow.  They scooped and shoveled.  Moved the snow from here to there.  No  masterpieces could be sculpted as it was at this time all soft, non-packing fluff.

But as they continued to play, their Daddy created the beginnings of a snow fort.  A hideout.  A secret getaway.  Perhaps an enchanted snow castle.  Today, it shall be perfected for the two sweet girls...

"Who always listen to their Momma!" The girls added.