Friday, April 20, 2018

Living Learning Update

via Instagram

I can totally see why Pullen Park is rated as one of top things to do in Raleigh NC

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Living Learning Update

via Instagram

Found some good ole Southern cooking from breakfast in Raleigh. Craig enjoyed the grits and I was excited to see molasses as a condiment on our table - Pam’s FArmhouse gets a thumbs up!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Living Learning Update

via Instagram

Back at the bus watching barges floating by in the Mississippi with Craig after 2 weeks in Vermont

Friday, February 9, 2018

Makers on the Move - Adopting our GlowForge

Cross posted on  Create Make Learn blog

Makers on the Move - Adopting our GlowForge Laser Cutter

During our recent stay in San Diego county, we took possession of our long awaited GlowForge laser cutter.

This was not an easy task!

When we got the “Your GlowForge is ready to be shipped” email, we were so excited and quickly provided them the address of our campground in Desert Hot Springs only to learn that GlowForge wanted us to give them a delivery address that would be good for a 6 week window.

We are rarely in any location for 6 weeks during this time of year. In just 3 weeks, we would be moving the bus to Quartzsite, Arizona where we’d be off grid for a couple weeks, then off to spend 3 weeks at Guajome Regional Park in San Diego county to be near family.

It seemed like the safest thing to do was to ask my sister-in-law if we could have a package delivered to her house, since we knew we’d be seeing her near the end of that six week window. I must have forgotten to give her details about how big the package was. When it arrived a few days before Christmas, she curiously opened a package from “GlowForge” thinking that her children had bought her an electric fireplace for Christmas.

Meanwhile, it was killing me to know my GlowForge had arrived and was sitting in their garage for weeks before I could get my hands on it. I guess a few more months isn’t that bad when you’ve been waiting for over 2 years.

On January 31, 2018 we finally got to unbox the GlowForge laser cutter.

The unboxing was a delightful almost magical experience.

We were literally up and running and had our first print within the hour. Some very smart people put a lot of thought in that experience.

Unboxing our GlowForge

The GlowForge was obviously well protected during its travel to us.

Out of the box, our first impression was -

THIS is a beautiful piece of equipment!

Steve Jobs would have been impressed!

The Glowforge came in two boxes which contained the unit itself, a black crumb tray, a power cord, a print head, and blue cylinder. Some orange clips, and a few pieces of red hardware protected the GlowForge during travel. 

The crumb tray slid right in. 

The Printhead and ribbon cable snapped right into plac

We attached the venting tube to the Glowforge and place it out the window.

Within minutes we were plugging the power cord into the wall and ready to press the prominently placed ON button - which was begging to be touched!

Watching the coolant start to bubble and flow through the laser tube made us feel like we were about to experience something magical.

The GlowForge setup process lead us to connecting the GlowForge to wifi, and through 3 well done tutorials that introduced us to the cloud based workflow for laser cutting with the GlowForge. Within an hour we had completed the 3 tutorials showing us how to engrave, cut and score with a GlowForge. We were totally impressed with the seamless and friendly user interface, the GlowForge cameras that allowed you to cut your own drawings, and how easy it was to bring in color coded files created with 3rd party software.

I promise to follow up blog post with a more detailed look at how easy it is to interact with the GlowForge.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t take the Glowforge back to the bus until we prepared a space for it, but thankfully we had a second playdate planned.

A few days later,  on Super Bowl Sunday, my nephew-in-law and I spent a few hours playing with the GlowForge while everyone else watched the Eagles beat the Patriots and Justin Timberlake entertain  the crowds. 

What a honor it was to have my second playdate with the Glowforge be with a talented young architect! Everyone agreed that the precision was amazing and the results met his standards as a professional.

Glowforge on Super Bowl Sunday

After this successful Super Bowl playdate, we finally were ready to bring our GlowForge home.

We measured carefully and concluded that we would be able to transport the GlowForge in our Jeep if we left most of the packaging behind. 

One of the challenges we faced was what do do with all this packaging. GlowForge warned us to KEEP the $250 dollars worth of packaging in case we needed to ship it back! Well when you live in a bus, every square inch needs of space is premium. I vividly remember trying to convince my husband that we could find space for an extra cutting board! After much deliberation, we  strategically selected a few pieces of packing material to keep the laser from being damaged during transport to its new home and the rest of the materials went into the recycle bin. I seriously considered mailing it back to GlowForge! But for now, positive thinking - and hoping my GlowForge experience will be trouble free!
After quite a bit of conversation and brainstorming, we decided that we could give up our kitchen table and eat at our workspace desk to make room for the GlowForge.

Our GlowForge moves into the bus!

Alas our time in San Diego County has come to an end, and we’re ready to hit the road again.

We’re gearing up to spend the next few weeks off grid in the desert!

It will be our first time traveling with GlowForge in tow! It will also be the first time we will be using our GlowForge off grid!

Stay tune! 

Blog Post on Deck  

  • Moving off  grid with our GlowForge o
  • The GlowForge Cloud-based Workflow
  • First impressions from the Classroom Educators

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Go West... Bella!

Time to head west! We gassed up and made it from  New Jersey to Colorado in a little under a week.   We spent 1823 miles mostly on I-70.  We even decided to suck up the $113 tolls through Pennsylvania.

Craig drove 300+ mile days, and I worked from my mobile office - the passenger side of the bus.  Every once in a while I’d go sit on the couch for a change of scenery.  Craig has a great wifi setup inside so I get pretty much uninterrupted service as we bounce  from cell tower to cell tower.   Cell service is one of our biggest expenses from the road running us almost $400 a month for our phones and Internet.  But since we work from the road,  it’s definitely a must have. We have both AT&T  and Verizon for redundancy!  I’d say we mostly use Verizon, but for those times that Verizon is not available,  the AT & T backup keeps me from getting grouchy.

In one of my online meetings last week,  my colleague commented “I don’t really know what your lifestyle looks like. It’s hard for me to imagine.”  

I responded.  “Well this week is not really that glamorous.  It’s probably pretty much like yours - long work days, except that the view from my office changes as we move from state to state.  And sometimes the roar of the engine can make it hard to hear on a video or phone meeting.

I don’t have a water cooler to go hangout at when I need a break,  and don’t have much square footage to walk about and stretch.   I’m trying to remember to drink more water and stretch a bit when we stop to fill up our 200 gallon gas tank.    Our credit card company gets a bit nervous when they see $300 charges at a gas station.   

I sometimes feel that Craig must get lonely driving when I get into my work flow.   What type of work?   As a freelance educator, it changes.   This  week I spent most of my days either
-- working with my University of Vermont students this semester on Universal Design for Learning
-- working with my Marlboro College students this semester on Maker Centered Learning
-- working with  Tarrant Institute on the EMMA project (moving conversations about #makered forward in rural  Vermont schools)
-- working on my  various Create Make Learn projects
-- and a few other freelance projects.

One of the highlights of my week was getting text messages from  the new maker space  at Burke School as they were building  wind tubes as part of  a student leadership day  that I helped design.   

It was not quite the same as being there,  but today's technology does allow me to stay engaged with the #vted community as I travel around the country looking for new ideas and inspirations to support students and teachers.  Between Google Apps,  email,  chat,  text, and video conferencing,  I hardly feel the difference in time zones.

I was a little nervous about teaching my  Innovations in Education: Maker- Centered Learning class as a Marlboro College course online, but it has actually been a blast watching the tight sense of community form between this cadre of grad students as they create, make, and learn  miles apart from each other.

Craig reminded me to look up and enjoy the view every once in a while, and pointed out when we crossed state lines or changed time zones.

I decided to take little breaks and grab some footage to the view from my office window,  through the eyes of my 3 little dashboard companions.

As it gets closer to dinner time each day, I use an App called ALL STAYS to find a place that we can park the bus for the night and get some dinner.   The first night we snuggled BELLA between two trucks at a Rest Area, then truck stops, followed by an overnight at Walmart.

Overnight Tuesday  - Rest Area in Pennsylvania

Overnight Wednesday  Truck Stop in Indiana

Overnight Thursday - Truck Stop in Missouri

Overnight Friday - Walmart in Kansas

Friday night's entertainment -  a walk around Walmart!

One the last night, we found the very tiny Shady Grove Campground in a very tiny Colorado town called Seilbert (population 216).  We took a SHORT walk through town and spotted a small grocery store,  a post office, a wellness clinic, and some grain elevators.  Oh and a phone booth;  I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those!

Our overnight at Shady Grove Campground allowed us to dump and fill our tanks  before we changed over to street camping in Colorado for the next week or so.  With our Passport America discount, this cost us a whole $15! Craig remembered staying here when he was traveling with his dad, years ago.

On the sixth day we made it to Denver

Within a few minutes we were at our destination in Broomfield Colorado for a week of street camping right in front of  Warren and Allison’s house. The last time Craig had seen his son was last year at the same time;  so  he was smiling big time when we arrived.  

The first order of business was to move the Heady Topper and Citizen Cider that we had kept cold since it had left Vermont - over two weeks ago.  
It’s not the first time our children have asked us to babysit the beer and make sure it does not go down below temperature.  Who knew Vermont beer would become such a precious commodity!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Visiting our kids in the city

We’re on our way west!  We’re about 300 miles into our 3rd westward journey in the bus after spending a fantastic week in the greater NYC area visiting our children and celebrating our birthdays.

We arrived at Turkey Swamp Campground and were reminded how beautiful a campground it is -- definitely doesn’t match the name!   We enjoyed the colorful autumn leaves as we spent our first day decompressing from the busy weeks leading up to your journey west.  It felt so great to not have any meetings, commitments, or MUST DO today list.

The next day Craig decided to brave the drive into Brooklyn - which turned out to not be that bad (except for almost $50 in tolls round trip).  

We arrived just in time to see the twins head off to set up for their evening performance.

This gave us some quality time for a dinner out with the most wonderful daughter in laws a mom could hope for.

We arrived at the Shape Shifters Lounge in time to get some great first row seats for the live performance that Mimi and the Podd Brothers  where videographers and sound engineers were setting up to capture media for their upcoming album.  Despite the professional engineers doing their job,  I did capture a few pictures  and videos with my phone!  

I couldn't help but record the whole duet by Adam and Matt on the piano and add it to my collection of  my boys piano duets!

I’ll definitely update the blog  when their album goes live  -- or at least when they start to release some of tonights performance pieces.  You can follow along at #mimijazz  or at or

The next day included quality time with all 4 of the Brooklyn tribe before we grabbed the subway into Manhattan to treat ourselves to Beautiful - the Carole King musical on Broadway as a birthday present to each other!   The show was fantastic!  

After treating my boys to a home cooked breakfast in Adam’s apartment,  Craig and I returned home to Turkey Swamp, where we were scheduled to spend some time with Maggie and Peter.

Unfortunately I came down with a wicked cold, and spent the next day in bed while Craig got to spend some time with his daugher  and son in law before catching yet another theater piece - The Importance of Being Earnest at the Twin Rivers Theater.   It was the perfect show for him to see his daughter’s talent at work - as costumer for the show.

Thankfully Maggie had the next day off, and came down to the campground for a visit - so I got to see her, too!  

Then before we knew it the week had flown by, and it was time to hit the road for our journey west!

We decided to suck up the $$$ worth of tolls and ventured out on I - 70.

After spending a night snuggled in between the trucks at a rest area,  we’re back on the highway!