Thursday, May 22, 2014

#5 Bike to work for at least one month

If you follow me on Instagram (@niquelle) you know I've been happily biking for a few weeks now!
I got this beaut for Christmas a few years back and as part of my 23 before 24 goals I was able to get her up and running again after a long time off the road.

I have enjoyed biking to work (well, at least one of my 'works') much more than I expected! It's rather invigorating and a ton of fun to ride a bike. After many years of not riding, I guess I just forgot how much fun it really was!

I most often bike on the sidewalks - to decrease my chances of being hit by the lovely (but not-so-observant) drivers around here - and so far, I've done well. I have to admit I was a little nervous the first few times thinking I'd hit a crack in the sidewalk or giant pothole and fly over the handle bars, but praise God I haven't taken a tumble so far. ツ 

I'm not sure if I've logged a full month of biking just yet, but I plan to keep biking until it's too cold so I'm sure I'll get in at least a month by then!

I highly recommend trying to commute somewhere via bike, even for a short period of time.
It's a neat experience that makes you more aware of your surroundings, helps you focus more on each moment that's passing, and isn't half bad for some exercise. 

Here's to accomplishing 19 more things!
-N

Sunday, April 20, 2014

#10 - Substitute Teach

After much ado, I made it on a couple substitute teaching lists.

My first assignment was a God-send. Literally. I prayed to work with young students in a classroom that I could make sense of and God answered far beyond anything I could expect.

My second day - in a different school- was a drastically different experience. 

My third and fourth days were challenging, but nothing too extreme, and then I had a day far worse than I could have imagined. But with the grace of God, I made it.

And I didn't quit (like I have in the past when things have gotten tough).
And God opened up new doors.

Lately, He has blessed me with incredible opportunities at my dream school.
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fhomegardenexpos.com%2FMedia%2FImages%2Fchildo1.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fhomegardenexpos.com%2FErie%2FFor-The-Kids.aspx&h=295&w=380&tbnid=OSiy1fSgFC1qcM%3A&zoom=1&docid=G4aunY2BrviXYM&ei=yelNU_WPLqqB0QHdhYDoBw&tbm=isch&client=firefox-a&ved=0CJkBEDMoPDA8&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=656&page=4&start=55&ndsp=21
A school that believes in educating the whole child.
A school where students learn to love and care for the environment.
A school where each student matters and multiple levels of positive reinforcements are set in place.
A school where teachers talk about the needs & abilities of their students in uplifting, positive ways.
A school where the administration visits classrooms, knows students' names, and rides buses home.
A school where they take nature walks and hikes through parks.
A school where I feel at home.

I am so grateful to have finally listened to God's call (and my husbands ) to take the necessary steps to start subbing. I am so happy to be spending the majority of my weeks in a place so inspiring.
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rtmsd.org%2Fcms%2Flib%2FPA01000204%2FCentricity%2FDomain%2F590%2Fstudents3.png&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rtmsd.org%2FDomain%2F590&h=407&w=2229&tbnid=3buQUoDciN5E6M%3A&zoom=1&docid=rQzs8be3ox9UVM&ei=R-pNU_2gA4eT0gGWq4CgBQ&tbm=isch&client=firefox-a&ved=0CHkQMygSMBI&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=419&page=2&start=11&ndsp=22
Here's the 20 more things to accomplish!
-N

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#13 - Write my sponsored children monthly

For some reason I had this idea that each letter needed to be some deep, awe-inspiring piece of writing. So, instead of communicating with our girls frequently, I would put off writing letters for weeks and months at a time in order to come up with some brilliant writing. 

This is not how it needs to be. 

Compassion shared a blog post a while back that inspired me to get started. (And God's timing was perfect - as always - because it was just a few days before I planned to write January's letters!)
It gave a set of sample letters that were rather basic and direct - this was really helpful to me.

After reading their post, I sat down, wrote a short letter, & made some paper snowflakes to send along with the letter (since I wrote about how much in snowed this winter.) It felt great to get in touch with them on a more basic level, and share a small craft that I always loved making!
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http://www.compassion.com/
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Update: I also found it helpful to set aside a specific slot of time to write our girls. For example, you and your family can gather together every second Sunday after church, every first Wednesday after your favorite t.v. show, etc.

Having a plan and a schedule, even for short letter writing, has been so helpful for us actually sitting down and getting it done. It's amazing how even things that I value can just fall by the wayside because I haven't set them into my schedule appropriately.

Never underestimate a good schedule, people!

(Although this is an ongoing project, here's to 21 more things to accomplish!)
-N

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Please vote!

Hi Friends!
http://woobox.com/bp6b3k/vote/for/1958744
I entered my photo (above) in a contest with a chance to win a free membership to my favorite place in Pittsburgh and was wondering if you could take a minute to help me win.

All you have to do is click here: http://woobox.com/bp6b3k/vote/for/1958744 - "like" their page, and "vote" for my photo! (Likes do not count.) 

The winner is selected by the staff from the Top 10 photos with the highest votes.
I would be forever grateful if you helped me get there.

Thanks a bunch!
-N

Friday, January 24, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

#15 - Build a Rube Goldberg Machine

I am so excited to share that this past Saturday with the help of my sweet friend Melissa, I can officially check off #15 of my 23 by 24!

Melissa is a first year teacher -working with a pretty sweet technology grant- teaching students K-8 some of the coolest things I've ever heard of. She is helping them learn to code their own games, design apps for smart phones, and plant hydroponic gardens! (And that's just a small sampling of amazing things she's doing.) 

She is also having a "build-your-own-Rube-Goldberg-Machine" event with 60 students - and I got to be her guinea pig of sorts. 

She came over very well prepared... with a bunch of miscellaneous objects...
And we got right to sketching up our plans & ideas with Crayola markers...
(The only way to plan for something this spectacular, really.)

A surprising amount of it developed pretty organically:

Dave was able to help a little bit, too!

And we had what I would consider a great success:
(Make the video full screen so you can see all the action!)
video 
Of course there were some goof-ups:
  video 
But in the end we made an awesome machine:
  video
(sound effects courtesy of iMovie which were randomly placed & ended up sounding kind of cool.)

Here's to 22 more things to accomplish!

Cheers,
-N