Posts Tagged: inspire(d) magazine

Paper Project: Paper Fortune Cookies!

One of my favorite things to celebrate in the winter is the Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year. It generally falls at the perfect time of year for a party – late winter, when the holiday season has passed but you really, really need some socialization.

I lived in China for a year in 2004-2005 teaching English, and honestly I never saw one fortune cookies there. But that doesn’t stop me from loving fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants here, and loving these paper ones filled with positive messages.

These would be fun to put together for Chinese New Year – it is Saturday January 25, 202 this year, the Year of the Rat – or just to give to your kids, your friends, your neighbors…pretty much anyone who would love to unwrap a bit of positivity (which should be everyone!).

Roxie and I had so much fun making these together, and writing our own positive messages too! So let’s get to it!

Supplies:

• Colored or patterned paper
Note: We got our awesome paper at Cardboard Robot in Decorah – it’s actually thick wrapping paper. Cardstock would be too think, but traditional wrapping paper would be too thin, so plan accordingly! Regular printer paper would likely work fine.
• Small bowl for tracing – we tried a cup, but we felt like it made too small of cookies
• Pencil for tracing
• Scissors
• Hot glue gun (adult supervision required)
Positive fortunes/sayings download

Cut out all the sayings (download the page here), or write your own

 

Trace a circle on the back of your paper

Cut out your circle

Place the positive “fortune” in the middle of the plain side of the circle

Fold the top over to the bottom, but don’t make a crease

Turn the semi-circle over and make a small “wave” at the opening

Hold the wave with one hand and grab the corners of the other “spine” of the semi-circle and place your pointer finger in the center

While still maintaining the wave, carefully push the center of the spine in while pulling the edges of the spine toward each other

Place a dot of hot glue in the crease (we found if you place it about halfway up the crease, it holds best)

Hold the crease in place for about 30 seconds while the glue dries and you’re done!

Hand these little presents of positivity all over! Happy winter! XOXO – Inspire(d)

Read the Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) Online!

Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d)

The Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) is all about winter fun and big ideas in the coming year! Inside, you’ll find:

Q&A with 5 Driftless Bakers: Sassy Baker • Fayette Sweets • Meringue Bakery • Newburg Vintage • Jo’s Coffee House – Jonah’s Hands, Paper Fortune Cookies, Big Ideas in 2020! Arthur Geisert, Organizing with Michelle Whitehill, Stay Active This Winter: Curling • Broomball • Sledding – & More!

A note from Aryn:

2020! What!

It’s the future, you guys!

It seems almost impossible that we’re approaching this new decade – and that we’ve been publishing this “experiment in positive news” for 12 years! But it’s not impossible…and, in fact, it never was. That’s always been one of our biggest goals: to remind you that big dreams start with that first step, a lot of hard work, and the willingness to jump in! Are you ready?! Let’s Make 2020 the Year of Big Ideas!

Of course, I just had to put a “Big Ideas” infographic together to give you some inspiration! Check it out on page 34.

We also want to share our infinite gratitude to all of our readers, and especially our advertisers, as we see our 60th issue of Inspire(d) roll out into the world. Woohoo! Time just keeps on slipping…so we’ve got to embrace every day.

This winter season, we hope that means embracing the fun, the cozy, and the notion that there is no bad weather as long as you’re wearing the right clothes.

One of our favorite things to do on a cold winter day is bake. In fact, we’ve got some of my chocolate chip cookies in the oven right now (see the recipe on page 26)! We loved reading Maggie Sonnek’s interviews with five Driftless Region bakers – Karin Sassaman from Sassy Baker, Kristy Donovan from Fayette Sweets, Jen Barney from Meringue Bakery, Irene Fishburn from Newburg Vintage, and Mikki Boyd from Jo’s Coffee House (pg 16) – and learning how things work in their kitchens.

Stay with the warm fuzzies while you read about Jonah Larson, an 11-year-old crochet prodigy from La Crosse, Wisconsin (pg 28). He has hooked the hearts of folks across the world with his beautiful crochet projects and kind heart.

Then get motivated for some winter adventures – you could head to the Dubuque Museum of Art to check out Elkader, Iowa-based children’s book author and illustrator Arthur Geisert’s work, on display through January 5, 2020. It’s a fun drive, and be sure to read all about Geisert beforehand in Kristine Jepsen’s story on page 38.

Or perhaps you’d like to add “try the sport of curling or broomball” to your adventure list! After reading about these sports on page 56, I really want to try both! At the very least, I’ll go sledding. It’s my favorite! Check out our tips for hosting a Sledding Party on page 64.

As we launch into this year of Big Ideas, a great first step is getting organized – read this issue’s Sum of Your Business, featuring Michelle Whitehill of Personally Organized, to get the de-cluttering ball rolling at your house.

Thank you so much, dear readers, for your support of Inspire(d). We couldn’t make this magazine without you! We wish you the happiest of holidays and the best New Year possible. You inspire us.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Click here to read the Winter 2019-2020 Inspire(d) online!

What’s Leadership Iowa?!

Inspire(d)’s Benji Nichols participates in 2019-20 Leadership Iowa Class.

It’s not very often that we get to do interviews with each other, so I (Aryn) jumped at the chance to put Benji Nichols in the hot seat! Honestly, even though we work in the same office, it’s kind of tough to catch up with him – that guy is busy! When he’s not out bringing the world the latest Inspire(d) Magazine, or doing his many varied tasks for our business, he’s been on the road to far-flung Iowa locales, learning about different aspects of our great state.

Why, you may ask?

You might have seen some of Benji’s posts on social media talking about a program he’s doing through 2020, Leadership Iowa! We are super proud he was selected to participate, and wanted to share a little more about its purpose.

Leadership Iowa is “Iowa’s premier statewide issues-awareness program for current and emerging Iowa leaders.” Basically, it’s a like a grad program for civic leadership on a state wide level. The program brings together 40 diverse adult professionals for eight monthly sessions across the state, and provides an in-depth look at different topics –economic development, education, government, agriculture, and more. Leadership Iowa exists to educate, inspire, and grow a network of informed leaders and to encourage their ongoing local and statewide involvement to create a better future for Iowans. The program is a part of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation, now in it’s 38th year, with over 1,000 alumni across the state and beyond.

Check it out, and make sure to follow along here and on social media for more of Benji’s adventures – you know he’s going to have them!  Inspire(d) Facebook  –  Inspire(d) Instagram

To kick off the series, here’s a quick Q&A between Aryn and Benji!

Aryn: Why Leadership Iowa?

Benji: In March of 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Rural Economic Development Summit in Grinnell. While there, I connected with a couple of other Leadership Iowa (LI) Alum, including Jenae Jennison, director of external engagement at Central College in Pella. Through conversations it seemed like the LI experience could be a great fit, and I was nominated to apply for the 2019-20 Class. The program accepts only 40 participants from across the state each year, with a full application process and tuition. It truly focuses on giving participants valuable, professional insights into the issues and opportunities that Iowa faces as a state, and that follows through the entire eight-month course.

In terms of why I really wanted to be a part of the program – I feel like now, more than ever, we all need to keep reaching to find the common ground that makes rural America work. The Midwest is a highly misunderstood, and often overlooked place from a national viewpoint. Decorah, and Northeast Iowa hold those same exact traits on a state level (misunderstood and overlooked). We (Aryn and I) have spent the last 12 years building a company that focuses on the positive in the world, and we believe we can make real influences within that, and would like to be a part of the larger picture in our state and the Midwest. It’s an exciting time to be in the midwest – and opportunity abounds!

Aryn: (YES! Love it!!!) … Is Leadership Iowa a political program?

Benji: No, not as such. The program does bring together statewide leaders from a professional, often grassroots level though, and several notable Iowa politicians are alumni. Being sponsored by the Iowa ABI Foundation, obviously the hope is to help continue strengthening the Association of Business and Industry’s ties across the state, but those cross almost every imaginable sector and part of our State’s economy. The program does tend to find access to several state leaders, which provide amazing small group opportunities to engage.

Aryn: How often do you meet? Are you finding it hard to make the time?

Benji: LI meets for 2-3 days each month for eight months, with essentially an optional month thrown in the mix (January… in Iowa!). We meet all over the state, so yes, it is a pretty big commitment, but also a fantastic way to see locations in the state that one might otherwise not. Our first meeting was in Perry. Talk about a town that is working hard to reinvent themselves not only for visitors, for for future generations, and current business owners. Last month’s meetings were in Iowa Falls, focusing on agriculture in Iowa. Central Iowa is definitely home to big ag, but also to some really innovative ag education programs, as well as the heart of Iowa’s booming wind energy sector – which leads directly into agriculture as most windfarms are located on ag land.
Living in the northeast corner of the state, the sessions can be quite a drive – but our class has members from Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids. We work to do some carpooling, and luckily I enjoy driving! Being self-employed adds a real challenge to the equation as well. Many full-time employers often encourage participation by employees, and help fund tuition costs, travel, and time off from work. Luckily Inspire(d) is helping me take on the expense, travel, and time to be a part of the program (thanks Aryn!). In just our first two meetings I feel that the program has been completely worth it. The level of connection with other participants, and our access to explore issues across the state is unparalleled.

Aryn: What’s next?

Benji: We’ve had our first two meetings – orientation in September (Perry, IA), and our session on agriculture in Iowa in October (Iowa Falls, IA). I’m headed to Ft. Dodge next week for our session on education, and look forward to breaking down some of the topics in posts here on the Inspire(d) blog! The program runs through June of 2020 for our class, with opportunities to stay engaged through the alumni network – it’s an amazing group of Iowans, and I’m truly grateful for the chance to be a part of the organization.

Look for another post soon with updates on Benji’s experiences with Leadership Iowa!