"Creativity is contagious, pass it on." ~Albert Einstein

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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

It was a simple little game that Mr. Monter (my first principal) played with random staff members as we came into the teacher workroom to check our mail, hit the restroom or make some quick copies. It was back when I actually drank soda and I was always down for it when he asked me, “wanna flip for a soda?”

It was a simple coin flip to determine who spent $1.00 in the soda machine.  Mr. Monter would let you choose heads or tails.  He’d flip the coin and if you won, he bought you a soda of your choice. Lose and you bought him one.  

A simple game I thought.  What I now know as a “defining moment” in my career.  It was a simple game, but I now realize the sole purpose of this game was to spend a little time with each of his teachers. Two to three minutes max.  Shooting the breeze, asking about family, what you were teaching in your classroom.  Such a simple “game” on his part to take a couple minutes to build and reinforce a relationship with a staff member.

Truly, a defining moment for me and a precious memory as an educator.  

Sadly, we lost Mr. Monter unexpectedly in 2013 at age 53 and not a day goes by that I don’t walk by the soda machine in the elementary teachers workroom and reflect upon this defining moment in my teaching career. 

What I wouldn’t do to have one more coin flip with Mr. Monter.  

“I’ll call heads!”


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Back in 2013 I blogged about "My Adventure into Digital Detoxification."  It was on a whim and it turned out that it wasn't too bad being away from my phone for an extended period of time.  I managed to continue my mini Digital Detox routine the next couple of summers right at the end of each school year,  but then eventually quit doing them.  

Looking at a phone/screen has become second nature to us  What's going on on Twitter? Let's see what so and so posted on Instagram.  While I'm at it I may as well check my school email to see if I have any messages. Oh, and I had better go and see if there is anything funny on TikTok.  All while gobbling up that precious time. 

Stop! Enough already.  I was wasting my time on the screen in my hands. 

Let's be honest.  We've all had too much screen time over the last 14 months.  It started with leading classes remotely during the pandemic and snowballed.  Too much screen time. It makes you feel like crap. 

This year in my Digital Innovations class I wanted to focus on the topic of screen time and I had my eighth grade students watch the Netflix documentary-drama "The Social Dilemma."  If you haven't watched it, I would highly encourage it.  Each day after viewing, we had some really powerful conversations about what we watched and we all agreed that we are spending more and more time on our screens.

One particular quote from the documentary that really made me think...

"If you are not paying for the product, you are the product."

Think about that for a second.  Let it sink in.

Don't get me wrong.  I love being connected.  Especially as an educator.  I've learned so much from educators all over  the world the last 12 years on Twitter.  I loved sharing photos of my family and my cooking and gardening adventures on Instagram.  It's fun, but it's also time consuming.

I'm going to take my advice from my 2013 blog post. 

It's time to take another adventure into Digital Detoxification and to focus on the things that bring me JOY. 

I took all social media off of my phone last week and it has been amazing!  It wasn't easy right away, but after a couple of days you realize how great it is.  

I plan on blogging (again) to fill the time.  I haven't blogged in a year and a half and composing this feels great.  It's seems to give my brain a purpose. I love the creative energy that it gives me.

I've replaced my habit of picking up my phone and replaced it with picking up a book.  Easily knocking out Kristin Hannah's latest gem "The Four Winds" the last couple of days.   

I've focused on being PRESENT.  Enjoying the moment.  

Time to focus on what life was like BSM (before social media) and realizing it's okay to be bored.  I don't think we allow ourselves to be bored anymore.  Our phones have become digital pacifiers.  Bored?  Take out phone, scroll through social media, check your messages, look at your inbox, put it away.  Do it again a couple minutes later. 

I'm sure I'll miss out on a great tweet or two.  I won't be sharing any Cooking with Craig on my Instagram.  But I will be creating more creative content on my cooking newsletter and this blog.  

Writing and reading makes me feel good, so that's where I'm going to focus my time until school starts.  

Oh yea, I'll be out in my flower garden a lot more too, you just won't see any stories about it. :-)

Enjoy the rest of your summer and take a little time to unplug and recharge with a digital detox of your own.  



Sunday, March 8, 2020

If you tuned in to Cooking with Craig last week on Instagram, you noticed a twist.  

Golf season started!  Coaching a sport can throw a wrench into any family's normal routine. 

I love to cook so I like to cook all of our meals in the evening.  During golf season, that means that we are going to be eating later, which we don't like to do.  Good thing I have two awesome cooks at home.

My daughter and wife are amazing cooks and more importantly fabulous bakers!  For the rest of the school year Cooking with Craig will now be a mix of me cooking as well as my wife and daughter sharing some of their talents with you.  

Here's what we are cooking this week.

Sunday-Insalata Caprese Chicken via Eating Healthy

Monday-Turkey Burgers and Veggies via Delish

Tuesday-Baked Cauliflower Gnocchi with Italian Turkey Sausage via Cooking Classy

Wednesday-Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes via Hyvee

Thursday-Aunt Mary's Famous Meatloaf and Corn 

Friday-Homemade Supreme Flatbread Pizza

Here are some highlights from last week:


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Cooking with Craig.  If you've watched it, you know it's just me having a little fun sharing my passion for cooking. 

How did it all begin?  I really don't know.  I was posting various videos of meals I was cooking on my Instagram stories and eventually came up with the Cooking with Craig title.  

It's evolved into something that I wish I would have started doing years ago.  Especially when my children were younger.  

Cooking with Craig has led me to a level of cooking and meal prepping that I never imagined, and honestly, it's made my evenings cooking supper a lot less stressful. 

We've all been there.  You come home after a busy day at work and the last thing you want to do is figure out what to cook for supper.  You end up making something that you've always made.  You get stuck in a rut. 

I was tired of this routine, so here is what I did.  I started sitting down each Friday or Saturday and writing down exactly what I would make for supper each night for the upcoming week. 
Plan it out!  I write down all of my meals on a magnetic pad that hangs on the fridge.  On another sheet of paper, I write down all of the ingredients that I will need.  I then take my ingredient list and go through it crossing off everything that I have in my pantry. Then, take this list to the grocery store and you'll be in and out in a jiff.  If you want to get extra organized, break down your ingredient list into the following categories. Meats, Produce, Grains/Legumes, Dairy, Spices, etc. See below for my example.  

Try it for one week.  See what you think.  I know it's made coming home and cooking supper so much more enjoyable knowing exactly what I am going to make and knowing that I have all of my ingredients!

I'm going to start sharing my weekly list and meals (with links) here, so be sure to check back each Sunday as I post my menu plan for the week. 

 Oh yeah, and be sure to follow me on Instagram (@mrbadura) so you can tune into Cooking with Craig!

March 1-6

Sunday-Cauliflower Nachos via Eating Well magazine.  I highly suggest subscribing to their magazine!

Tuesday-Roasted Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls with Italian Turkey Sausage meatballs via Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Wednesday-Tortellini with Pesto and Roasted Veggies via Cooking Classy

Friday-Scrounge (we usually have some leftovers, so this is a good opportunity to gobble 'em up)

Written weekly plan and ingredient list.  Creating your ingredient list like this leads to a quick trip through the grocery store.  Special thanks to my daughter for creating some awesome weekly meals and for the genius idea of organizing my grocery list into categories. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

This is a blog post two years in the making.  I've always had a hard time trying to find the words to describe this experience.  It was one of the best days in my teaching/coaching career. I feel as though my vocabulary isn't strong enough to describe the events of that summer day in July of 2017.

Let's go back to December 1, 2016.  One of our social studies teachers does a tremendous job of utilizing community members in her American History class.  On this particular day, I tagged along with her class to the local retirement and assisted living center here in our town.   The teacher had arranged for six World War II veterans to speak to some of the students in her class.  I was giddy with excitement as this was my favorite topic to teach when I was teaching World History in my previous position. 

When we walked into the room reserved for us at the retirement center, I had a hard time holding back my emotions.  Right before me sat six of the best human beings I had ever met in my 45 years.  A couple of them were in wheelchairs, the rest sat patiently at the table, ready to chat with our students.  Over the next hour, these veterans engaged in a conversation that left me speechless.  Our students had the opportunity to ask questions, but a majority of our time was spent listening to these veterans share their stories of service.

As our time with these veterans neared an end, one veteran pulled me off to the side for a conversation.  "Bud" proceeded to tell me that he knew I was the high school golf coach and inquired as to if I knew that he had won a state championship with the 1943 golf team. Surprised, I admitted that I had no idea and Bud told me to check out their trophy that resided in the state championship trophy case in the high school cafeteria. 

As soon as our group departed the retirement center and got back to school, I headed over to the trophy case that Bud had mentioned.  Sure enough, there was a trophy from 1943.  "Aurora High School-Class B State Sand Greens Champions-Boys Golf." I smiled and gazed at the five, spry young men proudly wearing their lettermans sweaters. 


Over the next several months, I stayed in touch with Bud and learned more about his story.  Bud was a pilot and transported troops in his C-47. He flew missions during Operation Market Garden.  When we met again, he even broke out his aviator glasses, gloves and one of the neatest pieces of World War II memorabilia I'd have ever seen, Bud's flight log.  Every single mission, logged into that tiny book.  

Now, it's May 2017.  Time for the Nebraska Class B State Golf Tournament.  I had a feeling as a coach going in that we would finish in the top 3, but you never know with golf.  There was one team that had played really well all season and I knew that it would take a monumental effort by our team to upset them.  

It happened.  

We played our best golf of the season firing rounds of 300-305 to bring home Aurora's second Boys Golf state championship...74 years after Bud and his team had won theirs.   

On the drive home for our golf tournament, my mind wandered to Bud and his story.  I wanted to get a picture capturing him (the only survivor from the 1943 team) and our 2017 state champions.  I made some calls and we were finally able to get together in July.  I was able to acquire the state championship trophy from 1943 and the one we had won three months earlier.  None of our team members had met Bud yet, so it was a surreal moment as Bud walked across the street from his home to the golf course to meet our team members.  He proceeded to us about each of his teammates and what had become of them after they graduated.  Some served during the war, some stayed back in Aurora.  None of them were alive, except Bud.  

It was an extremely powerful moment as a coach and dad. I was so glad that our team was able to spend that magical 30 minutes with Bud as we chatted, laughed and finally took a team picture with Bud's state championship trophy from 1943 and the one we just won in 2017. 

Bud continues to be a "member" of our team.  I like to have him out each spring to chat with our golf team.  He is an avid supporter and attends all of our home competitions.  

I am so grateful for the game of golf and the special friendship it has created with this amazing human being. 



Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Monday, October 8th, 2018.

Round 1 of the Nebraska High School Class B Girls State High School Golf Tournament.

Hole 12 at Quail Run Golf Course, Columbus, Nebraska.

A short Par 5 at 402 yards.  It's the ultimate risk-reward hole.  Hit great drive and you leave yourself a decision to make in going for the green in two over a massive lake OR taking the easiest route to par by laying up to 145 yards, and hitting your approach from a much more comfortable distance.

I stood next to my daughter Danica on the tee box as the assistant golf coach inquiring about what she wanted to do with her tee shot.   She chose to hit a strong hybrid and hit it better than she expected, leaving herself with a decision to make.   Take on the lake and go for the green in two or lay up, ensuring a relatively easy third shot.

After the other girls in her group hit their second shots to the lay-up area we walked up to Danica's ball to get yardages to the green.  "What do you get?" I asked as she pulled out her rangefinder to get the distance to the green.  "225 back, 215 middle, 198 front." she replied.   I haven't mentioned the weather yet.  It's a steady rain and the temperature is around 43 degrees.  Less than ideal conditions to hit a decent golf shot in this situation considering the lie is thin, tight and wet.

"What are you thinking here? I asked. "I'm going for it," my daughter exclaimed.  As a golf coach, I always encourage players to hit the shots they know they can execute successfully.  As a Dad, did I doubt my daughter in this pressure-packed moment?  No way. Was I nervous? Yes. But I knew that this was one of the biggest shots she was going to hit in her life.

I couldn't wait to watch.

 It's exactly why I introduced both of my children to the game of golf.

Let's flash-back to the year before at the state golf tournament.   Same hole, the same location in the fairway. Similar weather, minus the rain. Shot struck. Water. Wet.  Ball was hit well, just a pull draw and a splash leading to a big number.

 Life lesson.

Another reminder that golf owes us nothing regardless of the time that we spend trying to perfect the game.

Back to the shot at hand.  As my daughter was going through her pre-shot routine I walked ahead in the rough as I usually do.  I took a deep breath and embraced the moment.  I pulled out my binoculars and watched as my daughter struck the ball.  I didn't pick it up in the air right away but was able to track it as it reached its apex.   Land.  Dry. Safe. Front of the green.  Easy birdie.

Transitioning from golf coach to golf dad...

These are the moments that define you not only as a golfer but as a person.

The game of golf teaches one so much about life.  A round of golf is like life condensed into four hours.

Introduce your kids to the game of golf and enjoy every moment.



authorHusband, Dad, Son, Brother, Teacher, Coach, Learner, Catalyst, Collaborator, Creator, Contributor, EdTecher, DIYer, Tinkerer, Golfer, Exerciser, Gardener.