Monthly Archives: October 2015



Working as an author, educator, coach, consultant, and trainer, I have to take a moment to share some helpful tips for finding resources when you travel.  I have designed my own educational program for my “Road Scholars” that combines our outdoor classroom experiences and application of real life skills.  Life is about helping, growing, learning, progressing, solving problems, and finding creative solutions.  I am so thankful to be able to have my children travel with my husband and I as we research and design educational content and materials to help families. 

I have a passion for teaching, especially Language Arts, Art, Project Based, and Thematic Learning.  I also enjoy sharing useful information we’ve learned the hard way about thriving, not just surviving with Type 1 Diabetes.  My next book:  Can’t will be coming out in November, look for it on Amazon!

When we travel, we use these tips for amazing resources FREE or very inexpensive learning in the Great Outdoor Classroom:
Stop at visitors centers in each state or find the local Chamber of Commerce.
Collect free maps and the visitors guide.
Get three fliers or brochures per student to collage a page in an alphabetical state notebook.
Make field trips of National Parks, State Parks, and National Monuments.  They have so much material to read, free or inexpensive rates, and children’s materials.  (Ask for Jr. Ranger Programs or Homeschool materials.)
Have recess breaks at local parks.
Research state information at the local library.
Find the local farmer’s market, grocery stores, fish markets, etc. and cook healthy fresh meals.
Keep backpacks with markers, notebooks, pencils, and books in the car for road work, observations, and to research your destinations.
Enjoy learning in the Great Outdoor Classroom!  What else do you do?  Write down your ideas in the comments below.
Thank you and I look forward to connecting with you!
Trina Gunzel
Book an educational training or consulting workshop with Trina


Watch “Basic cooking tips and an easy recipe” on YouTube

This recipe turned out so yummy I had to share!  I thought my garden was done for the season, but went out and found a bunch of green tomatoes and fresh basil so I created this dish.  Add some cooked beans or grilled chicken to make it a balanced meal.

Abbie’s Fresh Garden Linguini

6 Sliced green tomatoes
1 bunch each of chopped fresh green and purple basil
Lemon juice
Oliver oil
Top with cheese, if desired

Boil water.
Add desired amount of linguini (I used one box to make leftovers).
Cook on medium high about 10 minutes or until cooked to desired softness.
Drain pasta.
Add olive oil to pan (about 2 tbsp).
Add sliced green tomatoes and basil.
Sautee until basil slightly wilts and tomatoes start to lightly brown.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add drained pasta to serving bowl.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and olive oil. Add sauteed tomatoes and basil. 
Mix to coat in the pasta, lemon juice and olive oil.
If desired, add cooked grilled chicken and/or beans for protein.
Top with cheese (grated parmesan or mozzarella, if desired).
Enjoy!   My daughter, Abbie, loved this!


Fall Themed Educational Activities

I love using themes to teach and this time of year, pumpkins are a great resource for teaching how to weigh, measure, estimate, count, identify distinguishing characteristics, and create art designing a Jack-o-lantern. I have taught students from birth through adults using “the real thing” as a source of language development. For many years, I worked as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. That experience, combined with teaching my own children, and public school students in Pre-K through 8th grade has shown me that best teaching practices include hands on, visual, repetition, and engaging instruction. When students are able to think about the results and come up with plans to make their ideas happen, they retain the information and better yet, they apply it in their own lives. I always had the goal of teaching and raising life long learners. What does that mean? Well, to me, it means that I help people learn to think about what they are doing and apply that thinking to their personal lives. It’s not enough to memorize facts, I want students to enjoy learning, use their brains, and want to learn for themselves! There is a Pumpin News resource available for purchase that is an engaging way to use pumpkins as a theme for instruction and engaging learning. I have also had my students eat the pumpkin seeds after we soak, salt and roast them and draw their Jack-o-lantern design on the back of their page before we carve it. What is your favorite Jack-o-lantern design? Write and share it in the comments below!

Fall Scavenger Hunt

Fall is such a wonderful time to be learning outside.

Enjoy this fun fall scavenger hunt idea:
Write a list of items you want to search for outside, on a small paper bag. Read the list over with your child. Go outside and check off the items as you find them. Sort and label the objects. Use the language to write a story about your experience. Count each of the items and talk about what makes them similar and different. Then, paint a scene inspired by what you did and use the materials to create a collage.

Enjoy learning and growing in The Great Outdoor Classroom!

A Type 1 Family Heart to Heart

Sometimes you have to get real, get deep, be honest, and have a heart to heart to spread understanding, awareness, and compassion. This art and story goes out from my Type 1 mother’s heart to yours.


Story Link

This is a heart touching look at a Type 1 Family life.  More to come in my upcoming book.  I know sharing our story will help so many to better understand and relate to Type 1 Families.  If our story can help make this 24-7 struggle easier for even one more person, I am happy to share it.  Please connect with me on my Author Page:  Facebook – Trina Licavoli Gunzel for more information.
Author Page

Indoor/Outdoor Fun

This time of year can be so exciting because the leaves are starting to change colors (unless you live in the desert like I used to). I like to start thinking early about ways to help stay healthy throughout the holidays. One way I like to do that is to create some Indoor/Outdoor Fun activities. My children and I like to collect leaves, have races, create art, get our indoor video workouts ready for cold days, and take advantage of gorgeous hikes and walks on nice days. I am also really working with my Kindergartener to help her be a super reader. She sees her older brother enjoying all of his chapter books and she reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wants to be reading chapter books, too. To build her confidence (and boost her developmental reading skills), I have created some monthly chants. You can find the September sample downloadable FREE. The October Chant is now available for purchase, with a bonus illustrated and highlighted version to refer to for instruction. Children like to do actions to represent the words and the monthly pattern helps them to recognize words and build their vocabulary. The chart can also be referenced for writing. Write down what other ideas you would like to see for thematic content and check back often for new materials I am adding. Happy fall! However you are celebrating, I hope you are able to enjoy some Indoor/Outdoor Memory Making Fun! Fall parties with healthy snacks and crafts are a great alternative to an overload of super sweets. The chant can be used at one of the stations. Children enjoy weighing and measuring pumpkins, creating art using buttons and seeds, doing leaf rubbings, making paper tear pumpkins, designing masks, and more. Enjoy thinking outside of the candy wrappers this season.

Homemade Italian Mac & Cheese

This homemade mac and cheese recipe is absolutely yummylicious! I am sharing some recipes I’ve created in honor of National Italian American Heritage Month. Write them down in your favorite cookbooks and let me know how they turn out for you. 🙂

I created this one because my family wanted a homemade macaroni and cheese option. I barely got a taste before it was gone!

Homemade Italian Mac & CheeseYummyMac&Cheese

Preheat oven to 350
Add 1 package (16 oz) DaVinci Twists (100% Duram Wheat Semolina) to boiling water

*Boil on medium high, (7) temperature, to keep your pot from boiling over, for 12 minutes

Add to cooked and drained noodles the following:
1 cup milk *whatever kind you like, I used 2%
2 tablespoons of butter
1 ounce of cream cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Stir over medium heat until blended together and the cheese melts
*For an extra treat, stir in your favorite cooked protein, bacon would be awesome!

Add to cookware baking dish
Top with 1 additional cup of sharp chedder cheese, then cover with Emeril’s Panko bread crumbs (Italian seasoned)

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

*If you don’t want the topping, you don’t have to add it, but there is something special about that crispy cheese topping that was a hit!

More about the author