SOL 5/31: Today


Thanks goes out to Michelle at Literacy Learning Zone for my slice today. She borrowed this idea from Rachel at Finding Joy. Love this simple snapshot of what I am thankful for, reflecting about, and anticipating in this day, and even in this very moment. Rachel calls it Sunday Stills.

today: class picture day. So proud of my group of 20 kindergartners. These photographs are a treasure. 
want to be:
further ahead in preparing trimester 2 report cards that are due in 10 days.
my health and the health of my family. Couldn’t be more thankful.
when will the cold winter days give way to spring?
short getaway next week with my husband – early celebration of our 20th anniversary!
lesson plans for my evaluation tomorrow – my first in 3 years.
the warm rice bag nestled on my lap; heat is comfort to me.
dishwasher, washer, & dryer. Can’t imagine living in a time when they didn’t exist.

As you can see, some are more heartfelt and carry deeper meaning, and others are more obvious, but carry just as much appreciation!

If you are looking for a new idea for your next slice, try a Sunday Still.

SOL 4/31: For Your Listening Pleasure


Thank you to Christie Wyman for creating this great Padlet full of inspirational Slicing ideas! As I am wrapping up my teaching day, I needed a quick go-to that I could share that others may be inspired by. I opened it up, and the first idea that my eyes came to was an instant YES: Sharing favorite podcasts.

My favorite time to listen to podcasts is when I am hiking with my dogs, Reece & Dug. I also find that the 30 minutes in the morning when I am getting ready for work is another great time to jump into a podcast. I may not reach the end, but most of the shows I listen to are easy to start, stop, and return at a later time.

My introduction to podcasts began in the genre of children’s books. Matthew Winner has a wonderful show called The Children’s Book Podcast. Matthew is an elementary school librarian, and let me tell you, this guy knows books. And he knows what quality books look like and sound like. Through listening to him interview authors and illustrators, I have come to view the read alouds I choose through a much more critical lense.

Heinemann Publishing has a great podcast that is another favorite. Authors of current professional publications are most often interviewed, giving listeners a front row seat to hearing the latest in instructional practices across all content areas, K-12.

Lately my favorite podcast has been The Bible Binge with Knox and Jamie. I mentioned these two in my Day 2 Slice. In this podcast, they take a story from the Bible and retell it through the lense of present day pop culture. They assign the roles in the story to current celebrities, putting a twist to these ancient stories. Their intent is not to be disrespectful of these stories or the Bible in general, but to give listeners a unique recap of stories they have likely not seen through the eyes of the 21st century.

Another podcast I look forward to listening to and always getting a good laugh from is For the Love with Jen Hatmaker. I like Jen because for me, she’s relatable. I’m a little older than her, but you know, once you pass the 40-45 year mile marker, the age gap tightens. We all begin to share the same challenges and disappointments, and begin lamenting the aging process in all its glory. Jen embraces yet pushes back on all of these issues and more – and she does it with contagious humor.

I also really like Your Move with Andy Stanley. There are plenty of pastor leaders out there to choose from, but I would be hard-pressed to find another who is as straight-forward, easy to listen to, and makes biblical teaching and learning so accessible. He is innovative, passionate, and has dedicated his life’s ministry to reaching audiences far and wide with a simple desire to help people make better decisions and live with fewer regrets.

Finally, just last December I stumbled upon a new podcast that started in January called The Bible Recap. If you’ve ever wanted to read through the Bible – the entire Bible – this podcast walks with you each and every day as you follow a chronological Bible reading plan on You Version.  The host, Tara-Leigh Cobble gives a 5-7 minute recap of the day’s reading, helping listeners make sense of, and find life application to scripture.

Do you have a favorite podcast? Share them in the comments below. If you’re new to podcasts, find an app on your phone and peruse the top shows in a genre that interests you. My bet is you will be amazed, as I was, how deep and wide the choices are. It’s incredible to see how many people out there have something to say – and how many people there are waiting to listen.

SOL 3/31: Confectionery Delights!

Today was fudge day! I have the perfect part-time job as fudge maker at a locally owned soda fountain/burger joint/candy shop here where I live. I started working part-time two summers ago to work alongside my two youngest daughters waiting tables. It was the perfect summer job…I could spend time with my girls, and stay just busy enough to still enjoy my summer, while making a little extra money to help cover summer expenses.

At the beginning of my second summer, I was asked to take over the job of fudge making. I was delighted! I love the opportunity it gives me to be as creative as I like with whatever flavors I want to create. Salted caramel, dark chocolate sea salt caramel, and my most favorite, tiger butter to name just a few.

You can’t mess up fudge either. Butter, water, the bags of prepared fudge mix, and that’s about it! The most challenging part is choosing what flavors to make each time! It’s fun bringing out fresh pans to the oohing and ahhing of customers sitting at the counter. You just can’t disappoint when you’ve got fresh fudge.

Three of today’s flavors are below: chocolate peanut butter explosion, raspberry/chocolate swirl, and loaded Snickers! Anyone want a sample?

SOL 2/31: I Am Poem

Late last year I stumbled upon the podcast, “The Popcast with Knox and Jamie.” The hosts, Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden are a unique duo who I believe may know more about pop culture than any anchor who has ever sat in the lead seat on Entertainment Tonight. Their spunky approach to anything pop culture from dissecting the last season of The Bachelor, to ranking Girl Scout Cookies, to dissing the latest Kardashian scandal is flat-out hilarious.

Knox recently published a book titled The Wondering Years where he shares how pop culture helped him make sense of his upbringing in the world of evangelical Christianity. In the introduction, he talks about how we as a society really don’t do introductions well. Simply stating our name and our job does not suffice. Instead, he shares how we could learn a lot from who does introductions right: characters in Game of Thrones.

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.

Now I know absolutely nothing about Game of Thrones, but that introduction mesmerized me. It made me instantly start crafting my own introduction, which I will share with you today, on this second day of the Slice of Life Challenge. Maybe it will prompt you to try one yourself!

I am Dani, October born, of the House Graham, First of Her Name, Last Born After Two Brothers, Self Professed Plate Spinner Extraordinaire, Co-Learner & Cat Herder of Twenty Kindergartners, Year Round Montana Mountain Climber, Confectionery Creator of Fudge Delights, Coffee Snob & Fanatic for Fine Espresso Beverages and Lover of High Quality Sheets.

SOL 19/31: Celebrating the 20 Year Mark!

Twenty years ago today my husband and I were married. It was a second marriage for both of us, preceded by a brief 3-month courtship. He had a 7 year-old daughter, and I had a 4 year-old daughter. A little over 2 years later, we would add two more daughters to the mix, and our family of six was complete!

Marriage is tough. Blended families, tougher still. We definitely had our share of rough waters, but I am so happy we weathered the intermittent storms that came our way. I remember my older brother counseling me when I was getting married the first time. I was just 20. He told me that marriage was absolutely the hardest thing he had ever done. Those words really stuck with me, and I have found myself remembering them whenever challenging seasons came. He was right, and anyone who says otherwise just needs to get a little more life under their belt, and they will see how true it is.

Every anniversary we have celebrated since year 7, I always exclaim, “I’ve never been married this long!” and he says the same thing to me. We have worked hard to build the marriage we have. It isn’t perfect – not by a long shot. But it is ours, and today we celebrate the ups, the downs, the moments we are proud of, and even the moments we aren’t. And we look ahead with excitement and anticipation at the years awaiting, just the two of us. Happily, after a recent getaway, we discovered that we truly enjoy spending time alone together. The years ahead look promising!

My poem is inspired by Laura Purdie Salas and her equation poem book, Snowman – Cold = Puddle. 

SOL 9/31: For the Love of Dug

If you are a dog lover, or any animal lover really, you will likely connect to my slice today.

We are a dog family. I grew up always having a dog in the family. Lap dogs were our preferred size, and were most often a dog pound special, as my dad always called them. Several years ago a friend had a litter of cockapoo puppies, and our four daughters and I wore my husband down and we brought Reece home. Two years later, we bred Reece, and had our own litter of puppies. That was so much fun we decided to do it again a year later. From that second litter we sold all but one puppy. We wanted Reece to have a companion, so little Dug remained.

Two dogs – double the vet bills, double the grooming bills, and double the poop picking up in the backyard. But we love our dogs and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lately I had noticed Dug wasn’t very interested in his food, but would usually eat some of it. This morning though, he threw up all of his breakfast. After that, he just seemed off. He was almost woozy on his feet. My husband and I are leaving town tomorrow for three days, and I felt concerned about possibly leaving a sick dog with our daughters, so I took him to the emergency vet clinic since our vet was closed.

Side note: Why do dogs always seem to get sick on weekends? Seriously, every time our dogs have gotten sick, it has been on the weekend. Go figure.

So off to the vet we went. Fortunately my dogs LOVE going in the car, so it was an easy sell getting him out of the house. Reece came along too, but we left her in the car while Dug and I went in. The last thing I need are two freaked out dogs at the vet. There must be some smell in every vet clinic, because once we hit the door, my dogs want nothing more than to go right back outside!

After being checked over, it was clear Dug was sick. He had a fever, and, according to the vet, his intensities “sounded like hell.” After an x-ray just to rule out an obstruction or severe infection, it was determined an antibiotic and an anti-nausea medication would get him back to normal in a few days.

Dug on the examination table…clearly not a happy camper!

We’re home now, and he’s resting easy. The wooziness is gone, and he seems a little more himself after the first doses of medication. Paying the bill was rather painful, but every time I’ve had to bite the bullet like that, I have felt tremendous gratitude for the excellent care my dogs have received, and overwhelming relief they are going to be on the mend.

Cuddling next to mama…no better place to be!!

SOL 1/31 (& bonus Poetry Friday) Winter Haiku

Hello March! Today marks Day 1 of 31 days of blogging with my friends at Two Writing Teachers. Every March they host the annual Slice of Life Challenge, where bloggers commit to posting to their blog every day for a month. Last year was my inaugural year, and I am proud to say I stayed the course and posted each and every day. I won’t say it was easy. I met several new friends along the way though, which made the journey all the more sweet.

My first post will be a dual posting, since Day 1 happens to fall on a Friday, which is Poetry Friday. We are gathering together with Linda Baie over at her blog, Teacher Dance. She has a beautiful poem about spring to share – I encourage you to stop over!

I wish I could say that where I live we too are on the precipice of spring. Alas, here in northwest Montana, winter still has a tight grip on us. As I type this post, the banging of my husband up on the roof attacking the death grip of icicles on our dormers reminds me that spring is still a long way away from us. Reading Linda’s poem is a beautiful promise of what awaits us in another six weeks (at least).