Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making New Year Resolutions

Christmas has passed, as much of the year is gone too. Tomorrow a celebration throughout the world will mark the passing of time. Some of us will get dressed up and go out with friends, while others will sit at home with a bottle of champagne between their legs watching the ball drop from their television.

How you choose to celebrate the passing of one year to the next is not as important as what you plan to do in the next year. Many of us make new year resolutions. We tell our friends, write them down, and half the time we forget them half way through the year.

You've heard them before:

1. Lose weight
2. Spend more time with family
3. Quit Smoking
4. Go to the Gym
5. Quit Drinking
6. Pay off your credit cards

These being the most popular for obvious reasons.

Yet, making a new year resolution is more than a statement, it's a goal. One, that shouldn't be taken lightly or made out of jest. If you have no intention of following through with it, then don't make the resolution. It's easy to say you're going to lose weight this year, but be more specific.

When you are specific about your new year resolutions then you are more likely to follow through on your goal. "This year I am going to quit smoking" vs "This year I am going to smoke only one pack of smokes a week."  or "I'm going to lose weight" vs "I'm going to shed ten pounds by June."

See how it works? Write it down, put it in a place where you see it every time you wake up and before you go to bed.

Don't just tell your friends about your resolution, set up a a support system to reaching your goal. Perhaps they have made a resolution too, be supportive of each other. Motivation is the number one thing people lack over time to full fill their new year resolutions. If you plan to quit drinking, be serious, find a local AAA group and join. The same goes with smoking and losing weight. When at all possible look beyond the support of friends and step into your community. Having encouragement and support is the key to full filling those new year resolutions.

So as you prepare to wave goodbye to the old year and enter a new year, look back....what was your resolution last year? How far did you go to meet that goal? What resolution will you make this year? What are you going to do in order to establish it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Destressing Your Holidays

This comes from one of my recent ezinearticles that I thought I would share with you. After all, tis the season...

As the countdown to the holidays grows shorter and shorter, the burdens of your to-do list grow larger and larger. There are cookies to bake, gifts to buy, cards to mail, home d├ęcor and house cleaning to complete.


Sound familiar?

Sound like too much?

Like every good coach will tell you, you’ve got to have a game plan. The holiday season is no different. Just look upon Christmas day as “game day”-- no television required.

The key to de-stressing your holidays is not allowing your holidays to become more of a burden then a joy.

If you’re planning a large family gathering, ask everyone to help out. Each member of the family can bring a covered dish for dinner, leaving you only to prepare the main dish.

Ask family members living nearby to come over a few days early to help clean and decorate the house, and exchange the same for them.

When you know family members are going out shopping, ask them to pick up items for you.

Send your husband and kids out for supper and a movie, while you and your friends have a gift wrapping party. Also, many small shops now offer gift wrapping services, as do local church organizations and children’s clubs like Girl Scouts.

Feel overwhelmed when it comes to baking? Join a cookie exchange where you only have to make one kind of cookie. This way, on Christmas day you’ll have a variety without all the work of changing recipes. Don’t bake? It’s okay to skip the oven sweat and pick up a variety cookie tray at your local bakery.

Do gift exchanges freak you out? You just never know what to buy the family member whose name you got stuck with? Why not suggest a Yankee Swap this year? Old gifts that you got and never used, or new ones you picked up on the fly… your family will have plenty of fun discovering what’s inside while they swap and laugh till the end.

Skip the handwritten addresses this year for your Christmas card list and create one through your word processing software. Print them out on standard mailing labels and save half the time of processing your Christmas cards. Each year, you can pull up the file and update the addresses in just a few minutes.

Is it your wallet pressing the most weight on you this holiday season? Sometimes the most cherished gifts are those that cost very little to nothing to give. Written sentiments, a handmade item, a promise of service (like shoveling the snow from the driveway, or walking the dog), or traveling to see someone can rank as the best gifts of all.

Before you let the holidays stress you, create a plan to lighten the burdens and bask in the joy of the season.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2011 Mood Organizer - Free Shipping

Purchase the 2011 Mood Organizer anytime between now and Christmas and recieve FREE SHIPPING!!

Enter code: U4N969WY when you check out through this link: https://www.createspace.com/3477236

This code will subtract $3.99 from your total, which equals the value for shipping.

No gimics, no added price to the product to make up for the price of shipping. You're honest to goodness getting free shipping when you use this code.


There is still time to order and wrap before Christmas! What better gift than to give one that helps others to sustain happier and healthier lifestyles?


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How To Make The Holidays More Affordable and Enjoyable for All

 Black Friday... Cyber Monday...

The spending adds up quickly.

Did you make your list and check it twice? Or did you splurge on all those deals and now are sitting on a pile of stuff you didn't really need to buy.

It's hard to resist all those great bargains the weekend after Thanksgiving. However, they can put a big dent in your wallet and sky rocket your anxiety when the bills start coming due.

Christmas is a season all about giving. It is told that three wise men came and bestowed gifts upon Jesus. Three wise men. Three gifts.

Are you getting what I'm saying?

You don't have to spend your last dime and borrow a few dollars to make this holiday season seem more special or even enjoyable than the last.

Here are a few tips we've learned over the years.

1. Vintage is vogue. It doesn't have to come new in the package for someone to appreciate the reception of a gift. If it's like new, hard to find, or out dated, there are collectors, apprectators, and those whom it doesn't make a difference what store it came from. It's the thought that counts. Places you may find great items like these are thrift stores, eBay, and craigslist.

2. Custom by Hand. Handmade gifts are an affordable and personal way of creating a gift that will long be out cherished then a store bought gift. You too, may find an elevated appreciation of receiving gifts after taking the time to create one for someone else. You can find great patterns and ideas online at places like freepatterns.com, craftbits.com, and crafting blogs.

Don't like to make the gifts your self, no problem. You can find affordable gifts at etsy.com made by crafters and artist that will even personalize the gift for you.

3. Baked not Fried. Around the holiday season, we pull out our cookie presses, dump in the chocolate chips, add the sugar sprinkles on top and exchange cookies with varies groups of people. It's easy to get fried, tired out, from all that baking. However, if you love to bake, add a few dozen to your baking list and give them away to family members as gifts instead of the traditional store bought packages. Don't like to bake, join a cookie exchange of a few people to have a small variety available to your family over the holidays. This way you won't get fried.

4. Book It. One of our favorite gifts to get and receive are books! They honestly never go outdated. When they are no longer contemporary, they'll historical. Fantasy, Sci-fi and non-fiction all have their place. No one ever minds getting a used book. You can swap books at paperbackswap.com, buy used books at places like half.com, and ebay.com.

5. Swap It. There are many sites where you can swap and trade for cd's, dvd's, and books. Try these sites paperbackswap.com, swapadvd.com, swapacd.com.

It's fun to exchange gifts and spend time with family. Don't let the stress of your wallet to cause your holiday season to be un-merry this year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ten Thanksgiving Blessings For You

On this day of Thanksgiving, we sit at the table with friends and family, blessed by their presence.

One of the long traditions in our family is to go around the table and say something your thankful for this year.
Perhaps it's a prayer that's been answered. An expectant blessing, what ever it is... we're thankful.

Today, I'd like to share with you ten things that I'm most thankful for in no order of relevance:

1. All of you.
2. Grocery Stores that sell pre-cooked Turkeys
3. Safe Travels by air, road, and sea
4. A supportive family and loving husband
5. Grace
6. Good Friends
7. Children who always seem to make me laugh when I'm about to cry.
8. Ministries that support and educate others on living healthier and happier lives.
9. Publication of the third consecutive year of the Mood Organizer
10. The power of prayer

And so dear friends, I leave you with this ending quote from Henry Ward Beecher :

Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!


Don't forget if you're heading out to shop tomorrow to refer back to Tuesday's post.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are You Making A List and Checking It Twice This Holiday Season?

Already, they're out. No big surprise with Black Friday only a few days away.

What's on your list?

Or more importantly, have you written your list, created a shopping strategy, and checked it twice?

Let's face it, Black Friday can escalate stress just by saying it's name - Black Friday.

The goal is acknowledging what your limits are, how far you will go, and what you plan to do  about.

If you're planning on getting up with the hussle and bussle of the holiday shopping spree extravaganza along with countless of other people, then you need to have a strategy.

MAKE A LIST

We're not talking the maybes and they what ifs. Sit down and list everyone on your Christmas List this year. Who are they? How much do you plan to spend on them? what do they like? What is one thing you know you can afford to buy them out of the like list - circle it.

Okay, so  you've made your list, now check it again. This time, pulling out all those black Friday fliers. They'll come in Thursday's paper, by email, or by checking online at www.blackfriday.info.

Check your list against the sales.

CREATE A STRATEGY

Obviously, you can go two places at once. With over crowded malls, pushy people, and long lines, you can't afford to browse every store for what you're looking for. Not only that, by lunch you'll have run out of patience and your anxiety levels will be higher than Santa's flying reindeer.

Mark off your list by order of the sales ads. Go only to the stores that have items of interest to you. If some items are door busters offered at different times of the day, then create a plan to go to those stores in order of the time of the offered item.

Remember, you're on a mission. Keep checking your list. At anytime you feel too overwhelmed to keep going....stop. That's it. You're done. You can come back to the stores another day or shop online, no big deal.

PLAN B

When all else fails choose plan B. Plan B come in handy when the store is all out of an item you went specifically there to get, or an item on your list is harder to find than you thought, and perhaps out of your price range.

Don't fret. They say there is more than one way to skin a cat. Thus, the saying goes for holiday shopping. Have a secondary item listed on your list in case you can't find the first. If an item isn't at one store and you're going to another store that sells similar items, check there instead. Ask a friend to go gift hunting with you. Shopping is always more fun with a friend. And, you can wind down while having lunch together. It's hard to make yourself laugh when you're alone.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, as you make your list and check it twice, be thankful for those whose names you've written and feel blessed to be able to share the holidays with those who love and support you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sustaing Happier and Healthier Lives

Daily planning and interchangeable schedules have become an essential part of life, a tool for growth and self-development that keeps track of time, places, and routines. Millions of people suffer each year from mood disorders. The vital information kept inside a planner can help develop new strengths and abilities to prepare for another phase of emotional, physical, and spiritual transitions. By recording daily feelings, appointments, and both positive and negative activities in our daily routine, we can use each daily experience to develop and sustain a happier and healthier lifestyle.




The 2011 Daily Mood Organizer poses the following tools:

 Complete planning with monthly and weekly grids

 Weekly Medication Charts and Activity List

 Daily I.A.M ScoreTM (Irritability, Anxiety, Mood)

 Monthly Tips and Notes of Encouragement

 Address Book

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Do The Holidays Mean To You?

One of the fondness memories I have about the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving, is the smell of fresh baked pies and family gathered in one place.

On the morning of Thanksgiving, my siblings and I would gather around, one pie. Yep, one yummy pumpkin pie that my mother would slice and service with a cup of tea. While we indulged upon this holiday treat, my mother was given the peace she needed to finish preparations for the feast we'd have later that day.

This may not be the norm for many other families. Some family have to travel from a afar to a meeting place, thankful to share just a few hours or a few days in each other company. While other families must remain a part during this family themed day, but not forgotten and thought of often.

For some, a few in the vast majority of the world, the holidays are just another day, a lonely day, a day not worth celebrating. They can't find what the big deal is about everyone crowded into one house, one room, or around one table.

Those are the ones we must embrace and yank into the circle of Thanksgiving.

There are many meanings of the word Thanksgiving, many different traditions followed during the holiday season, and many memories created.

What is that one special memory to you? What do the holidays mean and how does your family celebrate them?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Create a Space In Which To Entertain This Holiday Season






It never fails, right around this time the anxiety and stress begins to build over one big thing in our homes - clutter. Yep, look around. You see the books piled, the toys scattered, and last year's pile of things to be donated still stuffed in the hallway closet.

Home Made Simple has this great weekly set process to you help you prepare your home for the holidays with their Guest Prep Timeline.

One hour, one room, one day a week.

You can do it. Get the entire family involved. Think of all the good you'll be doing. Not only will your home be de-cluttered, you'll feel better, and all those clutter items can be donated and put to use by someone who needs them.

No more shoveling stuff into coat closets upon company arrival or herding guest into the only clean room in the house. Enjoy the day, be thankful for the company, and be blessed by you're holiday prep.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Plan For The Holidays Without Thos Last Minute Stressors

There is just something about turning the corner from Halloween to the 1st of November that has everyone singing Jingle Bells and writing Christmas lists. Even eBay now has a countdown until day of Christmas arrives!

One thing you can be thankful for this holiday season, is there's a plan that can help you get through the holiday's without all the stress!

Last year, I over spent. I kept saying, "just one last thing" until all those things turned into twelve. Together, with a bunch of ladies at my local MOPS group we had a discussion about what helps us eliminate stresses during the holidays, what plan works best, and what kinds of list people actually find useful.

I took all that information and it's available in MRsCHADT's HOLIDAY PLANNER. (check it out on our BOOKS tab)

I also have a free version available over on my website.

Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, I think of travel, turkey, and pumpkin pie. All about in that order.

Then when it comes to Christmas I think of the long list of presents I need to buy. Sometimes I make gifts and hardly do I ever bake. Sorry, not one of my talents. That's okay, because my family members who love to bake, love giving cookies as gifts!

What about the holidays stress you the most? And do you have plan that helps elevate it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Now You Can Keep Track of Your Mood and Appointments, Too.


Here it is! Fresh off the printer's press. The 2011 Daily Mood Organizer is now available through Amazon.com.

Now you can keep track of your mood and your daily appointments all in one.

You will notice that this year's edition has been updated with a few new symbols. Due to software revisions and windows updates, some of the old symbols were no longer available through our fonts. I pray that you find none of them offensive.

As always the 2011 Daily Mood Organizer runs from December 2010 through January 2012.

This isn't your typical daily planner and appointment tracker. This organizer was designed to be an efficient way for mood suffers to summarize information about themselves, their lifestyle, and their habits through the use of charts, lists, and calendars. This information can easily be shared with family members, significant others, and most importantly, doctors to assist in learning to manage one's life through their mood shifts, depression, and other mental health issues.

It doesn't get more simpler or compact than this.

Just one of the many testimonies we've received over the years.


"I recently received the 2010 Mood Organizer as a gift, and I have already found it to be extremely helpful. Small enough to fit in my purse, this organizer makes it easy to keep track of each day's relative levels of irritability, anxiety, and depression. Looking back at daily entries has enabled me to see patterns in behaviors/moods and how they might relate to sleep, nutrition, activities, medication, and other external factors. I definitely recommend the 2010 Mood Organizer to all who are looking for an easy way to monitor and manage any level of anxiety or depression."


If you or a loved one suffers from any kind of depression or mood disorders, then this daily planner can help. With the holidays just around the corner, what better gift than to give one that helps sustain happier and healthier lives?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

See How Easily You Can Keep Track of Your Mood

I say, "mood chart." You say, "No Way!"

Several years ago, that was the case when it came to filling out mood charts. It became a bad word in discussion forms and inside doctor's office. Why? The biggest complaint by those asked to fill one out - time.

Plain and simple. They took too much time.

We live in a world of fast food, convenient stores, and drive-thru pharmacies. Why then, can't we have a simpler way of keeping track of our moods?

Now we can. Thanks to three little numbers that mean so much more than what they are. Inside the Daily Mood Organizer, each day is a space for these numbers. That's it. Just THREE NUMBERS. I.A.M.

We use Daily Planners to keep track of our appointments, what we're having for dinner, who we need to call, and yet filling out a mood chart is something we bulk at. No blame there, having one more thing to do, fill out, or think about can be overwhelming.

However, for those suffering with any kind of depression, bipolar disorder, or mental disability, the information on those charts can help sustain a healthier and happier life.

I.A.M. -- three numbers. Irritability, Anxiety, and Mood. The I.A.M. Score (tm) developed from the idea of a mathematics and statistical point of view. That, and it's convenient. Three numbers. Just for you.

You no longer have to mark boxes on a chart and feel like your a case rather than a person. It's less self conscious of being depressed or manic rather than being who you are. And most important, it takes less than half the time of filling out a mood chart and still provides the same information in a simpler format.

Check it out. Find out for yourself how easy the I.A.M. Score (tm) makes it for you to keep track of your mood.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Waiting for the Proof

Things are getting sporadic around here, and I apologize. There is never a dull moment in this house. Right now, I've been waiting for the arrival of the 2011 Mood Organizer Proof. Yep, the second one. Once proved, second time guilty... no..no... nothing like that.

Really, it's been a busy, busy, time around here. The first proof copy wasn't up to par, so the adjustments were made and resubmitted, and I'm crossing my fingers the copy comes tomorrow or Saturday. So you see, I've been waiting for the proof.

But I haven't just been sitting all day waiting and doing nothing. Oh no, things are taking shape around here. Or they would if it would stop raining long enough to be able to do some work. The remodeling of my little studio workshop/laundry area is well underway, but the date of finish keeps moving back every day that it rains.

So... I've been designing and writing and creating new guest books and albums. Check them out at the shop. I've just finished a custom order for a wedding guest book. It's so cute! Pink with silver snowflakes! I love custom orders, and I love happy customers!

Talking about happy customers, You should be able to PREORDER the 2011 Mood Organizer starting Tuesday at my site http://www.mrschadt.com/. I've got some pretty sweet deals right now on ebay for getting a two book deal between the 20011 mood organizer and journal or 2011 mood organizer and MRsCHADT's holiday planner.

Those deals too will be posted on the website. I'm just so excited to be able to offer the Mood Organizer again this year!

So, just like all of you... I'm waiting!

I'll keep you posted when it arrives.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Proof or Spoof?

I haven't disappeared. I promise. :)

The proof copy of the 2011 Mood Organizer arrived yesterday. Yippee!!

Unfortunately, some of the page layouts didn't come out how I hoped,  but not to worry. I've been working on them all afternoon and plan on finishing up the last minute revision in the next few days to clean up "spoofs" on the pages.

Good news, we're still on schedule and the Mood Organizer should be available before Halloween - as is my goal.

It's still buzz'n around here. Now Izzy has me working on Zhu Zhu pet outfits and accessories. Due to rain, cold weather, and cranky kids, I haven't gotten to work on my studio. But that's okay. Cold days just mean a hot cup of tea and time to write. What better thing to do with cranky kids then give them a nap, right?

If only all kids could be told to take a nap!

Thanks to my wonderful and talented brother-in-law, the build a book site is up and running. We'll probably update it in a few months once it starts to become more in use. For now, it has the basics to get you started on creating a custom guest book or photo album. You can try it out at: http://mrschadt.com/orderrequest.aspx

If you don't have an esty nickname, no problem use your real name, I just need a name to create your custom listing. You will need to go through etsy for your custom book at this time, but Etsy is free to join, sort of like Ebay without the aution style. Everything at Etsy is like "buy it now" on Ebay.

To celebrate this new feature I'm giving 25% off this month to customers who choose to use the feature and help Beta test the page. There's no coupon, just anyone who request a custom book through my order request form at http://www.mrschadt.com/ will automatically receive 25% off their listing at Etsy, from now until October 31st.

Well, it's that time again. The time when I get back to designing and revising.

Until next week, what do you like to do on cold rainy days?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Buzz'n Like a Bee

We're getting close now to the release of the 2011 Mood Organizer. I'm currently working on some last minute revisions before the proof copy can be sent.

Of course, while working on that, I've been cutting and designing some new photo albums and guest books for inside our etsy shop.

Not to mention, I've started remodeling a space here in the house to designate for booking making, designing, and general, just my own studio space. Even if it is on the other side of the laundry room, it's still a good space to work in that is all my own.

Talking about new spaces, the website is making room as we speak for a new space or design feature. We live in this world where we can walk into Sheetz or and grab a MTO (Made To Order.)

I've been doing a lot of custom orders lately for the autograph guest book albums and shipping them to all parts of the world. I love it!

Just like I think you all will love the new feature of my website once it is complete. Soon, very soon, my friends you'll be able to custom design (MTO) your very own photo albums, guest books, and journals!

I'm excited. Are you excited! There's lots of exciting things going on around here.

Well, next week, we'll be back to the ol routine. For now, I've got revisions to make, books to design, and a space to organize.

What's your week been like?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Establishing Routines

So I'd like to say that every day I follow a routine, but let's face it - I'd be fooling you and me both.

Establishing routines are hard to develop, but like any habit take time to process and maintain. It takes about 21 days to develop a habit, so don't feel so bad if a routine takes that long or longer.

Last week, we discussed what routines were. Routines are getting up in the morning, daily tasks, and evening whine downs that end us up in bed getting the 8 hours or less of sleep we need each night.

I'd like to say my mornings are the most routine and organized of the day, but truthfully my afternoons are more dependable.

In the mornings, I get up write, send the kids off to school, then write some more. (or I'd like to try). but basically my mornings are filled with errands, household chores, book making, and so on.

Sound familiar?

So how do you establish a routine that works for you? Remember, the key word here is WORKS FOR YOU.

Start using a daily planner. Using a daily planner helps you go back and review what you've been doing, so you know what you need to do in the future. They're great for keeping us on task and for settling into new routines.

Keep lists of routines in a notebook or posted on walls around your house - little reminders if you're as forgetful as I am with all the things going on in your house.

Keep a family calender posted in a central location in the house. Doesn't sound like routine does it? But if you're house is high traffic with comings and goings this will help you establish a routine around what's going on in this particular season of your life.

If you had a perfect routine in mind, what would it look like?
Be realistic. I'm not super woman and neither are you.  But hey, if you've got an idea of your routine should be, then ask yourself how you're going to go about accomplishing that routine?

Look to the suggestions above, what do you think? Got a routine established or still working on it?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Basic Routines

Since the kids have now gone back to school, I thought this month we'd discuss developing, maintaining, and creating basic routines in our daily lives.

Then in October, we'll move onto habits. But for now, lets discuss routines. We all have them, in some way or another. Now that the new school year has began, we will be learning new routines in our daily schedules. Actually, each person in our family will be developing a new routine this year.

As the head of household, we must develop a routine around the other members of our home that fits each individuals  needs and still enables us to main our homes, social needs, and family needs.

I'm learning this too. This year, each child in our household is a year older. Each one of my children are endeavoring into new educational territory. For example I now have a 3rd grader, kindergartner, and a pre-schooler.

Lots of change, lots of adjusting, and how do I maintain this? Simple - I set a routine.

Setting a routine is not an all day affair. There are several routines in our lives that we used at different times in the year.

We have morning routines, afternoon routines, evening routines, and bedtime routines.

Then we have work routines.

Routines help us to pace ourselves and eliminate the stress of not knowing what to do next or how to handle a situation.

Soon, in school, children will learn classroom  routines, fire escape routines, and lunch time routines. The same goes inside our homes.

What routines do you have and how do they work best for you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Preschool Prep 101

This month my youngest child turned three, so she's heading off to preschool this year. She should be quite a pro after tagging along to pick up her older brother and attending many a party and field trip during the past few years of her brother's preschool term.

Pro or not, it's still a transition for both of us. Not only will my little girl be entering a structured play and learn environment, but I, as mom, will now have that time to myself. Gosh, what to do right?

Well, first I have to get her there. It's all about the prep.

Since preschoolers are toddlers, they handle daily transitions differently than we do. They're still learning about routines, rituals, and expectations.

Parents.com has a great article called, "Easing a Toddler's Daily Transitions" to help prepare and coop with the changes that are about to happen in the next month.

You may also want to click over to Scholastic and check out this article on Terrific Transitions for helping your child handle transitions from preschool to dinner time.

The biggest part of preparing your preschooler for school, is transition. You may find that if your child already attends daycare that this transition is usually less dramatic for you and your preschooler.

So, is your preschooler ready for the first day?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Surviving Middle School Melodies


Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, The: Middle School (Worst Case Scenario Junior Editions)Hear it? It's the sound of middle schoolers heading off to school. Ahhh, the bliss of absent tweens.

But happens to our children when they go from elementary school to no man's land - middle school. It's like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. They're too old for elementary school and too young for high school, essentially we've tossed them into no man's land. For no man (or young woman) knows exactly what to do with themselves at this stage of life.

Tween are old enough that they begin to set new social standard for themselves. They've been developing a personality for the past ten to twelve years. They like they're mind sets have matured.

It's an exciting time, their not babies anymore. Bye bye Elementary school!

Your middle schooler has already developed their own set of expectations for these next few years of middle school. Sit down and talk to them. It's not the same as when you were in school, I'm sure. Yet, you want to make sure your middle schooler is walking into class the first day with the right kind of attitude. That, and you don't want your child raising the bar that might come crashing down on them.

Things are going to change.  They'll have more responsibilities. Not all their friends are going to be their friends again. Interest will change.

About.com has good article, "Preparing for Middle School" on tips and techniques to balance school and home.

In order to prepare your middle schooler to survive these years of transition, you can add these to this year's shopping list.

1. A Student Planner. Unlike Elementary School, middle schoolers are introduced to a new scheduled class and homework routines. Help them keep their days and assignments organized. Less confusion on their part is less frustration on yours.

2. A sturdy Backpack or Messenger Bag. School textbooks are no longer kept in a desk. Now, your middle schooler must store books in lockers and carry them in their backpacks. Look at size, style, and durability. A middle schooler's backpack is like their best friend --they'll hang out with it all year long.

3. Wrist Watch. You're middle schooler has been learning to tell time since the first grade. Now, when you tell them to be home by 6pm for dinner, they've got no excuses. Just like when they've got to run to the bus stop and be there on time. Tweens are old enough now for time management both in the home and at school.

4. Alarm Clock. Time to get up! If their old enough to have an opinion, they're old enough to set the alarm and abide the beeping in the morning. Staying up late now holds a new tune with this helpful gadget.

5. Allowance. You may not have been doing this back in elementary school.Now that your child has entered into middle school, consider setting them up on an allowance. This isn't anything that should be based on grades or chores, those are both expected without receiving payment. But now that your child is growing more independent, they too need a source of income. Give them a set amount every week or two weeks. This may or may not include their lunch money. Help your child learn to manage money, and understand the concept of earning or saving for the thing they want and expect you to provide for them beyond the norm.

As always, don't forget the pens, pencils, calculator, and notebooks while you're out shopping for those cool new school clothes and rad shoes this school year!



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hyped For High School

97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School  When I was a teenager people  used to tell me to enjoy those cherished years of high school. Yeah, right! If your a teenager and your reading this, you'll agree with me, you can't wait to get out of high school and move onto college. Whoa there, just slow down. While high school may not seem like the greatest time in a students life while their living it, it's essential for parents to encourage them through it.

When they look back on those years, what happy  memories will they be blessed with? Or what sneaking things will they confused to have pulled off under our noses, right?

Neither you or your high schooler may be hyped for high school, but with the clock ticking towards the first day, it's time to get motivated.

What better way to starting your teenager hyped for high school than by these essential things.

If your child is entering into high school (9th) grade for the first time, then you may want to have them read this: How to Be Prepared for High School as a Freshman. Written by a freshman student for a student.

You may also want to check out Top 10 Skills for High School Students over at FamilyEducation.com for developing good habits while in high school in order to achieve success.

Now back to the essentials :)

1. Backpacks and Messenger Bags. You may find yourself purchasing a new backpack or messenger bag every year or so. This essential item is the bread to the butter of attending high school. It goes through a lot of wear and tear from daily use. Not to mention getting washed, dragged, and thrown around. The type of back pack or bag your high school student chooses to wear tells outsiders about their personalty. Don't be afraid or resistant to spend a few dollars on this item for your teenager. You want it to be sturdy, dependable, and last.

2. A good Wrist Watch. If you expect your teenager to be on time, then you must provide them with the proper tools in which to achieve it. That, and no excuse why they lost track of time and became late. (It's like the time the dog at their homework.)

3. Scientific Calculator. Let's face it, at this age they're bound to be dragged down with some sort of math class like calculus or geometry. Even the best of scientist use calculators at this stage, and so does your brain evolving teenager.

4. Beanie Cap. I know. I know, but they seem to be all the rage in this age group. I'll let this up to you and your teenager to decide. Along with jeans, t-shirts, and those expensive name brand shoes they'll just die without.

5. Locker Organizer. Lockers weren't designed to meet your students organizational needs. They usual have one shelf on top, if your lucky. A locker organizer helps keeps books in a specific area, where grabbed most, and shoes and bags at the bottom of the locker. Coasts are stuffed in where they fit. Imagine your teenager rummaging through it all between every class to find what they need for the next class? It's not a pretty sight.

Now grab some pens, pencils, and notepads and they're well on they're way to high school. Good times, great memories, right?

What other things do you do to prepare you high schooler each year for school?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Carting Off To College


Get It Together for College: A Planner to Help You Get Organized and Get InI thought we would work backwards this month as we discuss back to school basics. College students are usually the second ones to begin classes as the new school year begins. Teachers, beginning the first, as they must first prepare for the students to enter their classes.

Preparing for college can be difficult, if not more so, than sending our kids off to elementary school or even high school. Many times, a high school graduate will choose a college away from home as opposed to living with their parents.

Unfortunately, many colleges won't give you a list of what to bring with you, so here's the basics of what you'll need to cart off to college with you student.

1.  Bedding. If you're college student is moving into the doors at the educational institution of their choice then more than likely they'll find themselves sleeping in a dorm room with one or two other people. Therefore, they will need to bring their own bedding suitable for a twin bunk. You basic bedding consists of a sheet set, comforter, and a pillow.

2. Shower Caddy. Since you share a room in a dorm, your most likely to share your bathroom between suites, which means there isn't alot of room for everyone to store their shower and toiletry essentials. Keep your college students shower necessities organized by storing them in a container or caddy.

3. Desk Organizer. Due to limited space, a college student's desk needs to be just as organized as their toiletries. A college student will spend more hours at his/her desk than any other part of their dorm, including their bed. A messy desk breeds a late, unproductive, and disorganized student.

4. Student Planner. Most colleges will hand these out to freshman on the first days of preparing for class. There are many different options when it comes to keeping a student planner, ones we'll discuss at a later . date on another post. But for now, a student has the option of a traditional paperback planner, pda's, and of course using the online features in most blackberries and cellphones. What ever will work to keep your college student on time for both class and keeping assignments up-to-date.

5.The Bag That Says It All. Just like back in highschool, your college student is going to need something to carry books, pens, highlighters, and essentials around campus. We're not just talking a book bag either. It's thee bag, the one that says, "Hey, this is me" kind of deal. The most important thing to consider when selecting a new bag is what function it needs to serve. Will they carry a laptop inside? Books?(yes, books!) notepads, lunch, wallet, etc... Choose well, it will be your best friend for a very long time.

I'm not going to tell you that your college student will need to pack their clothes for living in the door. Getting dressed every day is an essential that we usually don't need to remind someone to do, or take essentials with them. When packing your college students clothes, I suggest folding clothes layering them inside a hamper. This serves two purposes: 1. They take they're clean clothes with them. 2. The hamper can be reused inside their dorm room for when the clothes are dirty and need washed. (Oh, and don't forget a roll he of quarters for the washer and dryer units, and detergents. Not unless, you want your college student carting their laundry back home for you to launder on the weekends.)

The rest is like high school, just your basic pen, notepad, and sneakers, really comfy sneakers for walking. Okay, maybe not like high school, but you get the picture.

Mark your calendars for the big day yet? Grab a pen and pencil and write a list of all those essentials you'll be needing to back up and cart off to college.

I'd love to hear what the number one things is that you'll be taking that you can't live without. (alcohol and parafilia excluded from comments please.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Colorful Accessories

These past few days have been filled with colorful explosions of creativity in our household. You'd think being crammed in the house together on rainy days that we wouldn't be so willing to work together. Or may it is the rain to blame for having to amuse children when they can't go outside and play.

Izzy, our oldest daughter decided to have some creativity of her own these past few days.

Since we've been going through and making list of things we need to buy, prepare, and accomplish before going back to school, she decided a few handmade bracelets and necklaces were at the top of her order before heading into third grade.


Some of the necklaces she reserved for friends and was nice enough to make her baby sister a few bracelets too.



When the day was over, the beads put away, both  my girls were looking pretty with their new plastic and wooden bead jewelry.

At Izzy's request I've posted some of her bracelet creations in my etsy shop. She's planning on make a few more today. Who knows if she'll decide to keep them or sell them too. She's become quite a little entrepreneur at this age. That or she just really wants the newest Pokemon game for DS and is anxious to get it before her birthday.

Either way, I'm happy to my daughter using her creative talents rather than having her face stuck in a Nintendo DS all day before school starts.

It's definitely been a colorful few days around here!

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