We shot this video on location at a VERY exotic spot, and we’re chatting about a topic that is near and dear to our hearts:

[ Get transcript ]

Stuff to Check Out

• Although we *think* we described the concept of “opting-out” fairly well, you might want to check out this blog post I wrote on the subject for a bit more clarity.

• If you are interested in learning more about our home birth experiences, here you go: Ben | Ginny

• The TV show we were talking about is Tiny House Nation on FYI. It’s about people who are moving into houses that are under 300 square feet. You can watch full episodes online!

SWELL Prizes

• Becky wins a Chat Pack, Jason wins a copy of Once Upon a Time, and Tara wins a set of Pick Your Nose party cups. You can check out Becky’s spreadsheet here, Jason’s Kool-Aid video here, and visit Tara’s virtual bar here.


So we shared a few lifestyle rules that don’t exist in today’s video (“Thou shalt deliver your babies in a hospital,” “Thou shalt buy the biggest home you can afford”) and mentioned another one in a previous post (“Thou shalt subscribe to cable”). Just to reiterate, we are not suggesting that you must break ANY of these rules (we like our current house just fine, thank you very much). We bring up the topic merely to get you thinking about these so-called rules just in case there are any you might consider opting-out of.

What are some lifestyle rules that don’t exist that you see others living by that you’ve already opted out of? And are there any you currently follow that you might be considering of opting-out of? As always, the comments are for sharing whatever you want. Go!

Secret Mission: Your Secret Hideout


Can you believe that Escape Lab is halfway over?! Kim and I are so overjoyed at your enthusiasm, openness, and support of one another. Thank you!

Also, another quick reminder to not let Adultitis trick you into feeling overwhelmed because you’re not “caught up.” Remember, the weekend is a chance to go back at the messages or projects you wanted to spend more time with. Pick and choose the spots that resonate with you. If it’s giving you Adultitis, you’re doing it wrong. :)

This is the last message of the week, and we wanted to bring up the idea of secret hideouts.

Superman has his Fortress of Solitude. Batman has the Batcave. For my wife, it’s the bathtub. My dad’s is his workshop. Mine is my studio. Or Barnes & Noble. Yours might look like a nature preserve, a scrapbooking nook, or a fishing boat.

Simply put, a secret hideout is a place you go to recharge, reflect, or just disappear for a little bit. It’s where you can refill your Kool-Aid. Wonder. Dream. Decompress.

Everyone needs a secret hideout. Especially if you want to do super things. Like be a great parent, spouse, friend, or you know, change the world.

So, what is YOUR secret hideout? What is the place for you where time flies AND stands still at the same time? Where you feel a little bit more YOU after spending any amount of time there?

Maintaining any semblance of life balance is a challenging, never-ending pursuit. But one very straightforward way to keep Adultitis at bay is to spend a little time in your secret hideout each week (if not each day.)

Consider yourself warned, however: Adultitis would love for you to believe that spending time in your secret hideout is an indulgence, making you feel selfish or guilty.

It’s not. It’s a necessity.

Superman is literally freaking Superman, and even he can’t fight crime every second of the day. Even Superman needs time to recharge. Forgive my bluntness, but you’re no Superman. (Neither am I.)


Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to spend at least 30 minutes this weekend in your secret hideout.


Where is YOUR secret hideout? Share it below, and report back how your time spent there this weekend went!

Practical Productivity with Neen James

Today we are thrilled to share another interview we did specifically for Escape Lab. Enjoy this lively chat about life and productivity with the brilliant Neen James, a princess of productivity! Fun facts: this Aussie native collects fabulous shoes and loves riding Harley Davidson motorcycles.

As you watch the video, make sure your Adventure Journal is nearby to jot down some of the wisdom that Neen drops!

[ Get the transcript. ]

Extra Stuff

• Visit: NeenJames.com, to learn more about Neen and her work.
• Check Out: Folding Time, Neen’s latest book about consciously choosing to invest half the time but expecting twice the results.
• Watch: AussieNeen, a channel of more great videos from Neen.

Today, we continued the theme of time, and the importance of investing it in what really matters. Neen offered some great insights, but we also know that there is a lot of great wisdom right here in this group.

What’s YOUR best productivity tip? Also, feel free to share your favorite takeaway from the interview with Neen.

Sabbaths and Sidewalks

About tonight’s LIVE hangout…

We’re hanging out, it’s just not on Google. It’s happening TONIGHT (Wednesday, January 21, 2015 from 8:00 – 9:00 pm CST) on Facebook. For more information about what to expect and how to participate, click here.

Now, on to the message of the day…


Today we’re going old school. No videos. No fancy plastic that shrinks in the oven.

Just words.

Today offers an opportunity go a little deeper by reading a few things and mulling them over. Food for thought, if you will.

First, read these…

The links below lead to posts I’ve written over the years, and they all have to do with the concept of time. They were inspired by some big questions, such as: How do you make more time for the things that are most important? Can you really have it all? Can you increase your odds of having good days more often?

1) A new (really old) way to create calm in your world. This is a post about the concept of Sabbath, and how important it is whether you’re religious or not. It details the single greatest thing we have EVER done to keep Adultitis at bay. Seriously.

2) You can’t have it all. So choose what you want wisely. I wrote this after reading the Steve Jobs biography, and had a little bit of a crisis of purpose. These are hard choices, guys. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

3) How to increase your odds of saying today was a good day. We should have really posted this the other day, along with the question about your perfect day. But it contains a neat life hack for making sure you have as many perfect days as possible.

One more thing.

If you recall from Monday’s video about the Time Budget, there were three elements we asked you to do:

1) Estimate your CURRENT daily time dispersement.
2) What would be your IDEAL daily time dispersement?
3) For the next few days, keep track of your ACTUAL daily time dispersement.

I would like to address something I said about step number two. Remember, about pretending you were in Mr. Roger’s Land of Make-Believe? That part is pretty important. Because too often, we don’t allow ourselves to dream big. Adultitis has us trapped in “realistic” mode.

The truth is, the idealized version of your perfect day really may not be possible. But here’s the point: Imagine a city block. Picture yourself standing on one end of the sidewalk, at the street corner. This is you and your life NOW, as it currently looks. Now imagine the other end of the sidewalk, at the opposite street corner a whole block away. This is your ideal, perfect, never-gonna-happen-in-a-million-years, rainbows and unicorn version of your life, the one you imagined in step two.

That ideal picture actually serves a purpose, because if it stands in stark contrast to what our life looks like now, if gives us a direction to start aiming for. The question to ask yourself is this:

What little thing could I start doing today (there’s that tinkering thing again!) that would get me CLOSER to the other end of that sidewalk?

For instance, if your ideal day includes a maid or butler that does every single one of your dreaded household tasks for you (ha!), what one little thing could you outsource right now, or in the near future? If money is the issue (it often is), is there something you could sell, or a line item you could cut from the budget to free up some money? Is there a very small business you could start? Could you trade services with someone else, where you each do something the other person hates but you don’t mind doing?

Quick example: In our household, Kim and I don’t subscribe to cable. We use the money we save to pay someone to cut our grass for us, which is a job we both despise. I can’t even explain to you how awesome it is to play in the yard with my kids on a beautiful summer day, while all of my neighbors are out cutting the grass!

We live in the real world, and we may never be able to get all the way to the other end of the sidewalk. That’s ok. I’m just saying it would be nicer to stand closer to the middle of the sidewalk (and closer to our ideal life), than staying stuck where we are right now, don’t you think?


Here are a few discussion questions. Feel free to answer any or all of them in the comments below.

Do you take a Sabbath? If so what does it look like for you?

Do you think that the more time you spend with your family lessens the impact you can have through your career?

What is one thing you could change today to get closer to your ideal life?

Escape Lab Live


So we’ve been hyping up the live Google Hangout tonight at 8:00 pm CST. It’s still happening, but just not on Google. To put it mildly, Google Hangouts gives us a bad case of Adultitis. So we are opting-out of that hot mess and moving things to Facebook, which will actually be a lot easier, more interactive, and thusly, way more fun.

We have created a special event page within the Escape Adulthood League Facebook Group. Kim and I will be online from 8:00 – 9:00 pm (again, this is central time we’re talking), and you are invited to join us for a lively discussion and other Adultitis unapproved shenanigans. You can ask us questions, we’ll ask you questions, and we even have a few giveaways up our sleeves. If you’d like to join us for any or all of it, read on.

How to Participate in Escape Lab LIVE:

1) If you aren’t already, make sure you are a part of the Escape Adulthood League Facebook group. (Click here to request an invite.)

2) Next, RSVP on the special event page by hitting the “join” button (this will ensure that you’ll be eligible to win prizes!)

3) Then at 8:00 pm, head to the Special Event page. We’ll be logged on and ready to go. Feel free to ask us a question (or the group at large). Just be sure to enter them as separate posts, so that we won’t lose track of them. That’s it! You’ll be able to comment and like and post pictures and participate in all of the awesomeness.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this wild party is not taking place on the regular group page, but on the Special Event page. Also, it is open to everyone in the Escape Adulthood League, which includes people who are in this Escape Lab or who have attended at least one Escape Adulthood Summit.

Kool-Aid Project!


Huzzah! It’s time to open your second mystery envelope (the one marked January 20, 2015). Inside you will find a humble packet of Kool-Aid.


You are free to do with this as you will. Of course, you could mix up a batch to drink and enjoy. This is ideal if you don’t remember the last time you had Kool-Aid; it’s a wonderful stroll down memory lane!


You could really keep Adultitis on the defensive if you take things to another level. And mixing in your favorite *spirit* is just the beginning. You could also try one of the projects below:

10 Kool-Aid Project Ideas

1) Make Kool-Aid play dough!

2) Dye your hair!

3) Bake cupcakes decorated with Kool-Aid frosting! (You could even make the cupcakes themselves with Kool-Aid.)

4) Or whip up a batch Kool-Aid gummy bears.

5) For those of you in snowy climates, you could mix up some Kool-Aid snow paint!

6) No snow? Make Kool-Aid popsicles!

7) Celebrate Easter early with eggs dyed with Kool-Aid.

8) If you’re a crafty type, you could dye your own yarn.

9) If you have even more Kool-Aid packets on hand, you could construct a Kool-Aid purse.

10) You could match your purse to this Kool-Aid lip gloss.

Mega bonus points if you come up with something NOT on this list. But seriously, don’t let being unique paralyze you. That’s exactly what Adultitis would want. The important thing is do do SOMETHING and HAVE FUN!

Maybe you won’t be able to undertake your Kool-Aid project today. That’s ok, just be sure to make time for it! And then…

Share your Kool-Aid experience below!

The Time Budget Challenge

We’re back for another week of Escape Lab, and we hope you’re as excited as we are. We’re kicking things off by awarding a few prizes, and then we get into a discussion about time. And Kool-Aid. Tune in below!

[ Get transcript ]

Again, we only get out what we put into things. We implore you to participate in the Time Budget challenge. It’s a pretty minimal investment, but we guarantee that the results will be insanely useful!

1) Estimate your CURRENT daily time dispersement.
2) What would be your IDEAL daily time dispersement? (Dream big!)
3) For the next few days, keep track of your ACTUAL daily time dispersement. Will you be surprised?

Notable Quotable

“Fill yourselves first, and then only will you be able to give to others.”
— St. Augustine

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Facebook Group
If you are on Facebook, you should join our special Facebook group called the Escape Adulthood League. It is an amazingly vibrant group of like-minded people infused with a sense of community, sharing, and silliness. It’s a swell chance to stay connected with other people who “get” you! Check it out and request an invite here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/425679444132269/

Google Hangout
This Wednesday night, we’re hosting a live Google Hangout from 8:00pm – 9:00pm Central time. You’ll be able to log on and ask us questions or share comments via chat, and we’ll be able to address them in real time! More details to follow. Hope you’ll be able to make it!


What would constitute a PERFECT day for you? Share it below!

Secret Mission: Taste Bud Conspiracy


As we wind down the first week of Escape Lab, we want to let you know how much we’ve been enjoying reading all the comments and seeing your photos. Keep ’em coming!

One of our #mustbenice’s this week is having such a neat tribe of people who are so willing to “tinker” by giving this experiment known as Escape Lab a try. We are so grateful for your presence, and would love to hear your favorite parts so far (as well as any things you think could be better)!

Also a reminder: there won’t be any emails sent over the weekend, which is done on purpose. Sometimes weeks go sideways on us, and we figured the weekend would be a good chance for people to catch up on any of the stuff they missed during the week (like making shrinky drinks or watching our interview with Kyle), or even take some time to read what your fellow Escape Artists have shared.

We’ll be back next Monday with a second course of fun and function, and even more surprises up our sleeves!

That being said, we plan on using Fridays to send you off on a Secret Mission…


“Try it, you might like it.” We both remember sitting at the kitchen table when we were kids hearing more than once this suggestion from our mothers. Mothers really do know best. Normally, this statement was part of a plea to get us to sample the asparagus, but it also hints at a deeper wisdom and encourages a childlike spirit of adventure. Many of us, when we go out to eat, order the same things over and over again. By trying something different once in a while, we expand our horizons and go a long way toward thinking and acting in a more childlike way.

The Mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to eat something you’ve never had before. You could use the jelly beans we included in your Treasure Box, or get creative and go in a different direction. It doesn’t have to be something gross, it just has to be something new.

P.S. Here’s an OLD video of Kim trying veal baby food as part of the original Escape Plan.


Give your taste buds a wake-up call. Then report back here and share your experience!

Tinkering with Kyle Scheele

Today we are happy to share an interview we did specifically for Escape Lab with Kyle Scheele, a fascinating dude who is an expert at tinkering. We discuss tips for making time to tinker, getting over the fear of failure, and how to avoid paralysis by analysis. Plus fake marathons and making things with cardboard!

As you watch the video, make sure your Adventure Journal is nearby to jot down some of the gems that Kyle shares!

[ Get the transcript. ]

Extra Stuff

• Explore: Snapshots from Our First Marathon, photos and thoughts from the greatest race that never was.
• Check Out: KyleMakesThings.com, a repository of some of Kyle’s projects. Not to be missed: his bike-riding centaur costume and Abraham Lincoln mask.
• Visit: KyleScheele.com, Kyle’s main speaking website, where you can learn more about what he does and get his book.
• Don’t Miss: Ridiculous, the full list of Kyle’s hilarious Kickstarter projects, including Beard My Baby.
• Finally: Wayne White, the artist Kyle talked about.

In the video, we talked about the concept of making time for the things that are most important to us. A simple truth, but it’s certainly easier said than done. Today, we want to tap into the collective wisdom of this group.

What’s your best tip for making more “me” time? Also, feel free to share your favorite takeaway from the interview with Kyle.

Shrinky Dinks!


After a few days of deep thoughts, today is a day to have some good old fashioned fun!

It’s also the day you get to open your first envelope (the one marked January 14, 2015). Inside you will find what appears to be a mild-mannered sheet of plastic. But this in no ordinary piece of plastic, friend! It’s the exact kind of plastic you need to make Shrinky Dinks! Woot!

Shrinky Dink Instructions

Step 1: Create your work of art.
You can make anything you want, whether it’s a freehand drawing or a tracing of a coloring book page or something downloaded from the interwebs. Draw on the rough side using any of the following materials: permanent markers, colored pencils, acrylic paints, or rubber stamps using alcohol-based permanent inks.

Step 2: Cut out your designs.
After you’ve finished your art, cut out your designs with scissors or a die-cutting tool. (You can even use a standard sized paper punch if you want to make jewelry.)

Step 3: Bake
A toaster oven is ideal for baking shrinky drinks, but your conventional oven will work too.

  • Preheat the oven to 325º F (163º C).
  • Cut a rectangle shape out of a brown grocery bag. (You could use construction paper, too.) Place your shrinky dink pieces, colored side up, on brown paper and place paper in tray or on a cookie sheet.
  • Put your shrinky drinks into the pre-heated oven.
  • Watch with delight as your shrinky dinks start to shrink. Bake approximately 1 to 3 minutes. After pieces lay flat, allow an additional 30 seconds of baking time to complete the process.
  • Remove the paper from the tray or cookie sheet and lightly press flat with folded paper or a pad of paper until the pieces have cooled (approximately 15 seconds).

Helpful Tips

– Upon baking, your creation will shrink to 1/3 of its original size and become 9 times thicker.

– Occasionally, a piece may stick to itself. If this happens, CAREFULLY reach into your oven and pull pieces apart. Allow piece to complete the baking process.

– When plastic is removed from the oven, it can be shaped or twisted (i.e. a napkin ring) You have about 10 seconds before the plastic hardens.

– If, after baking, you are not happy with the shape created, you can return the shrink dink pieces to the oven. Bake until the piece re-softens and lays nearly flat. (Approx 2-5 minutes.)

– You can etch designs into the plastic AFTER baking. Use the tip of an Exacto knife or etching tool. Sweep artist pencils across the surface of scratched areas. Wipe pencil dust off. Seal with clear acrylic spray.

– Shrinky dinks will NOT work in a microwave oven.

– Do not use crayons or water-based markers.

– You are limited only by your own imagination!

Share photos of your creations with us! You can upload photos that are under 1 megabyte. If you need to make your pictures smaller, this website will help you.

Share your Shrinky Dink masterpieces below!