Get Control of Those School Papers Now!

quizWith the start of school comes the start of the avalanche of papers entering our homes.  There are the notices of events going on, the permission slips, homework, worksheets, and all the art work the younger children do.  With so many papers coming in so fast it’s hard to keep the piles from growing out of control.

That is, of course, if you don’t have a plan on how to handle all those papers!

Now is the time to set up a system to get control of the incoming avalanche of  papers. It will help the whole school year go smoother.

School Papers Organizing Ideas

1.  Notices, permission slips, etc.: Pocket folders work great for these. Make sure each child has a different colored one to make it easier for filing. Every day when your children bring home the papers be sure to mark the date on your calendar for any events or when permissions slips are due. Then file the paper in the appropriate folder.  Instead of separate pocket folders you can use a 3 ring binder with pocket folders in it.  This might work better if you have several children instead of just one or two.

2.  Current homework:  Each child should have their own notebook or folders they keep in their backpack.  Usually the teachers will recommend what they want for their class.  Check it daily.  Your child will need to clean out this folder periodically or else the current homework could end up lost in the old homework.

3.  Old homework:  This is were it’s harder to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  Depending on the grade level there can be a lot of papers that your child never needs to look at again.  If there is a chance they will need it to study for a test then help them set up a folder for each subject.  Most of the time in the younger grades the practice papers can be recycled.  At the end of the school year very little if any needs to be kept.

4.  Art work/stories:  Many of these will be keepers, at least for a short time.  You can hang up the art work, give it to the grandparents, or store it.  Plastic boxes that go under the bed work great for these since many pieces of  art work are larger than the standard piece of paper.  You can also put those short stories they write in this box.

If you still have last year’s papers laying around now is the time to go through them. The article “Decluttering Children’s School Papers” will show you how.

For more ideas be sure to check out these websites.

http://www.creativehomemaking.com/organizing/kids-artwork.shtml

http://www.familyhistorykids.com/organize_and_preserve_childrens_art_and_school_work.htm

http://www.marilynbohn.com/articles/back-to-school-and-the-agony-of-paperwork.html

more tips on back to school routines.

“7 Tips for Back to School Evening Routine”

“Back to School Tips”

“Back to School Organizing”

Hope everyone has a great school year!

Janice

 

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Where Has All The Middle Ground Gone?

tug_of_war_clipart9We live in a polarized world. Whether it’s politics, religions, gun control, or consumerism it appears that both sides see anyone in the middle as wrong and needs converting to their extreme way of thinking.

What happened to the middle ground where you can have different opinions on various subjects and not be made to feel guilty about it?

It feels like we’re in a constant tug of war! Continue reading

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Back To School Sales, Oh My!

image_thumb.pngIt’s hard to ignore all the ads on TV, internet, and radio about all those wonderful school supplies every child needs to succeed.  Of course we aren’t fooled by all the hype the advertizing agencies throw at us.  Yet, we do want to make sure our children have every advantage possible to get the best education they can.

It’s easy to just go to the store and purchase all the items we think our children need or they think they need.  But if you have students well into elementary, middle, or secondary grades you probably have unused school supplies still sitting on the shelves.  The reason for this may be:

  1. You bought way too many items because of the great price.
  2. You or your children bought into the hype and purchased items they never used.
  3. You wanted to make sure your students didn’t run out of supplies causing a last minute run to the store.

Another source of leftover supplies is when you and your children are lured into wanting all their notebooks, backpacks, pencils, and lunch boxes with the current “fads” on them.  There is nothing wrong with buying some of these.  After all it is important that our children are enthusiastic about going to school.  The problem comes in when leftover supplies with last year’s fad is this year’s “dud”.  It could sit on your shelf forever!

If you’ve had this problem in the past there is an easy solution.  Buy only a few things with this year’s “fad” knowing the child may not use it next year.  If your budget is tight try to stay neutral with the more expensive items such as backpacks, lunch boxes/bags, zippered notebooks, etc.  Start out the new school year with one or two fad notebooks and/or other supplies. Stock up on the basic ones to be used later in the year.

As children grow older the required school supplies will change.  If you have a lot of unused and outgrown leftover supplies on the shelf consider donating these to a local charity that collects new supplies for underprivileged children.  It always feels good to help all children start off the school year right. After all, they are the future!

For more information on preparing for back to school check out these sites.

http://holidays.kaboose.com/back-to-school/

http://www.nasponline.org/resources/home_school/b2shandout.aspx

http://childcare.about.com/od/behaviors/bb/backtoschool.htm

http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/schoolage/going_back_to_school.html

http://organizedhome.com/seasonal-spin/back-to-school-tips-get-organized

If you have any unique ways in which you shop for school supplies please share them in the comment section.

Thanks,

Janice

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Staycations: Have You Planned Yours Yet?

children watching TVIt’s summer time and the living is easy. Maybe for the children, but it’s also boring.

Even if you are taking a 1-2 week trip out of town what about the rest of the summer time off from school?

That’s when it’s time to get your “Staycation” planner out and set up some fun things to do in your own hometown, neighborhood, or own house.

If you don’t have a Staycation planner set up check out this blog post where I give some suggestions on how to do it.

http://organizebythemonth.com/vacation-in-your-own-hometown/

Here are  some links to articles that will give you a whole lot of ideas not only for the children but ideas for adults to have their own staycations.

http://spoonful.com/family-fun/super-fun-indoor-staycation-ideas-kids

http://travel.kaboose.com/vacation-at-home.html

http://fun.familyeducation.com/staycation-ideas/family-travel/61891.html?page=1&detoured=1

http://www.bhg.com/health-family/activities/seasonal/staycation/

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/staycation-10000001082760/index.html

Take some of the ideas from the sites above and get planning. Create a memorible staycation the kids will love to tell all their friends about when they get back in school.

If you have done some wonderful staycations please share them in the comment section. I would love to hear about them and so would all my readers.

Thanks,

Janice

 

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Happy 4th of July!

fireworks1_copy_thumb.gifI’m not quite sure where the month of June went but July is upon us.  This month starts out with a bang, literally!  The 4th of July is this Thursday.

Last year the drought in the Midwest kept most local fireworks displays from happening.  This year we have had an excess of rain. The fireworks should go as planned if they don’t get washed out.  If you’re planning a 4th of July celebration it’s always good to have a plan B in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Check out these websites for ideas on celebrating the the 4th of July.

http://fun.familyeducation.com/fourth-of-july/holidays/32874.html

http://holidays.kaboose.com/july-4/

http://spoonful.com/4th-of-july/4th-of-july-recipes

http://www.foodnetwork.com/4th-of-july/package/index.html 

 

July is also National Hot Dog Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Watermelon Month, and National Baked Bean Month. You would think all we do during this month is eat.

But since these foods are usually part of 4th of July picnics, family picnics, and many BBQ’s, I’ve included some websites to give you some different recipes using these foods. There’s nothing wrong with the plain and simple but if you can add some pizazz to your event, why not try something new.

Foodhotdog10National Hot Dog Month.  All those summer BBQ’s seem to include the little (or not so little) red dog, grilled to perfection.

http://www.hot-dog.org/ht/d/sp/i/38571/pid/38571

http://www.recipe4living.com/articles/national_hot_dog_month.htm

 

ice-cream-cone-3-scoop-clip-art

National Ice Cream Month.   The 3rd Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day but pick any day to celebrate with your family.  Make homemade ice cream with or without an ice cream maker.  The links below have recipes and instructions on how to do it.  Oh, the simple pleasures of life don’t have to cost much.  Just a little planning ahead can make a memorable sweet experience.

http://www.ice-cream-recipes.com/ice_cream_month.htm

http://www.southernliving.com/food/entertaining/ice-cream-desserts-00417000074424/

 

Watermelons National Watermelon Month.  Now is the time to buy those big red fruits and experiment with different ways of eating them.  Find a couple of recipes from the links below that look good. On a day when it’s too hot for the children to play outside just pull out a recipe for all of you to make together.

http://www.watermelon.org/Default.aspx

http://www.whataboutwatermelon.com/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/watermelon/index.html

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                      baked_beansNational Baked Bean Month.  Beans go great with those hot dogs and hamburgers.  Check out some of the links below for recipes to make them special.

 

http://www.classbrain.com/artholiday/publish/article_355.shtml

http://southernfood.about.com/od/crockpotbeans/r/bl15c11.htm

 

Staycation is the latest buzz word about vacations.  If you can’t get away for a regular vacation, or even if you can, summer can be a long boring time without activities to do.  Here is a blog post from a couple of years ago with some ideas on how to: “Vacation In Your Own Home Town”

My next blog post will include a whole lot more ideas for Staycations. If you’re not already signed up to receive blog posts updates by email you can do so here.

Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

Janice

 

 

 

 

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Another Way To Let Go Of Your Clutter

There are three main ways to get rid of your clutter.  Sell it, donate/give it away, or trash/recycle it.  That’s the easy part.  The hard part is letting go of the item in the first place. Continue reading

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Do Mistakes Drive You Crazy?

My last blog post had a glaring mistake that I didn’t catch until after it was first published.  For anyone who receives a new update by email you may have seen the mistake in the title.  Fortunately, the benefits of writing an online blog is that I was able to go back and change the spelling.

Even though I corrected the mistake and even though it wasn’t that bad of one, the guilt of not catching it before I first published it has plagued my mind since then.

Now I know what your are probably thinking. Continue reading

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7 Surprising Reasons Why You’re Disorganized

imgp0907-thumb.jpgIt’s easy to come up with excuses why we aren’t organized. But that won’t change anything. The only way to go from disorganized to organized is to admit  we have a problem in certain areas of our lives. Continue reading

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Do You Pack Light For Vacation?

Are you planning on traveling this summer for vacation? I’ll be heading up to the east coast to see my granddaughter again. It’s hard to believe she will be 4 months old by then.

Ocean City, MDWe’re going to spend a few days at Ocean City, MD. My son was there on business a couple of weeks ago and took this picture on his way back home.

I plan on packing light. This is a summer vacation and I’m more concerned about having fun (and playing with my granddaughter) than having a perfect outfit for every occasion.

How many times have you thrown extra clothing into the suitcase just in case you may need it?  Continue reading

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Incomplete Projects/Tasks Are Mind Clutter

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” ~William James

IMG_1152

Summer is almost here. Many schools have already finished for the year and many more will do so in the next couple of weeks. Because of our change of routine during the summer months it’s natural to not want to have too many projects left incomplete.

During the winter and spring I usually have many projects that I want to get done. I’m sure you do too. After all isn’t that what Spring Cleaning is all about?

When we have too many unfinished projects/tasks they clutter our minds with guilt. Continue reading

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