5 Minute DIY: Organize Your Desktop #freebie

My computer always seemed to be a mess. I couldn't find my files, transferring files to a thumbdrive was chaotic, and I would stare at my screen forever to find the program I needed. Not anymore. I have the ultimate solution. (There is a freebie involved too)

Here's what I did:
  • Made this awesome background (that I'm giving you for free!)
  • Made archive folders- when I'm done with a file, I move it to one of these folders, depending on which thumb drive it goes to. (Or in my Kindle folder- for use with Send To Kindle). Then, once a week, I move these files, sort my downloads folder, and empty my recycle bin- and follow that up with a run of my optimizer. 
  • Decided which files/ folders I needed quick access to and placed those on my desktop. 
  • Set up Post-Its. The yellow is for things to remember and the blue is for things to do/ research ASAP
  • Decide which programs I used the most. Those are the only ones I have shortcuts on my desktop to. 
  • Created a folder for each type of program I use often. I chose PDF, Admin, Design, Audio, Paranormal, and School. I then devided the programs I use into those. That is a lot quicker than looking through my start menu. 
  • Set up ToDo Desklist for quick reference of blurbs and urls
  • Arranged to my liking. 
Now, I spend much less of my time looking for what I need. To celebrate, I'm giving this graphic away so that you can have an organized desktop in 5 minutes. It even has my favorite inspirational quote- "A girl knows her limits, A wise girl knows she has none"- Marily Monroe

I have it with labels and without labels (so you can customize your labels in any graphics program). Just click on the graphic to go to the download page. 

These are 100% free, but if you choose to download, do not share the graphic, send them to my blog please. Also, I would love a comment letting me know you loved it!

10 Ways To Get Organized For Back To School

Homeschool families and traditional school families have one very important thing in common this time of year. We are all getting ready for that back to school rush. Although a lot of how we prepare may be different, many things we need to do are strikingly similar. Here are 10 things to do to help get organized for the new school year.

1. Deal with last year's chaos. Although I recommend taking care of all clutter and paperwork that involves school when the school year ends- some things just left out. Make sure all of the paperwork from last year is handled before you start preparing for this year.

2. Take Assessment of Closets, Backpacks, and School Supplies. Before you head out shopping for all the latest and greatest, find out what your child has. Empty closets, bins, and drawers; have your child try EVERYTHING on, and assess it for damage. Same goes for backpacks and other school supplies. Make a list of the supplies you have and the clothing your child needs- you will have a much better experience shopping now.

3. Schedule any last appointments. Did you get all of your child's yearly/ twice-yearly appointments in over the summer? If not, go ahead and schedule those physicals, check-ups, dental exams, and eye appointments in the weeks before school starts- then they won't have to miss any school.

4. Synchronize Calendars. Get a copy of your school's yearly calendar and copy all important dates into your planner- including days off, meeting days, end of nine weeks, etc. I even copy this to half sheet and put it in my planner (I do this although I homeschool so I know when cousins are off school so we can plan accordingly). While you're at it, schedule appointments on those days off. Are you going to be out of town any during the school year (or youth retreats, etc), go ahead and get those dates if possible- then you can prepare to get any assignments ahead of time.

5. Start A Morning Routine. At least a week before school begins start yourself and your children on a morning routine- getting up on time, eating breakfast, and getting dressed in a timely manner. This will let you know if you need to adjust your timing any and let your little one's bodies adjust better.

6. Stock Up On Snacks, Quick Breakfasts, and Quick Dinners. Us busy moms have so much going on this time of year that many things get forgotten. Make a note for every time you go to the grocery store to pick up some quick healthy snacks and breakfasts and some no-prep or freezer dinners. Your schedule will thank you later.

7. Create A Launch Station. Set up somewhere in a common area of your home (I find by the door or in the kitchen works best) for everything to get "dumped." Backpacks can go here too. In this place, you should have somewhere for lists, mail, keys, things to leave the house, etc. This makes getting out the door so much easier. Check out this pin board or some inspiration.

8. Set Up a Family Calendar. This could be a paper wall calendar, dry erase one, or photo frame with a calendar printable in it. It doesn't really matter the form, as long as it is visible to the whole family. Write important days like days off, recitals, and doctor's appointments here. This way, the whole family is on schedule and it is also a great way to teach your kids the importance of using a planner.

9. Schedule Something Fun. Look at your calendar and take a couple of the days the kids are off from school and plan to do something fun. Go camping, to an amusement park, spend the day at the lake, or even grill. This is a great way to break up the monotony of school with some "summer fun" in the middle.

10. Have Some Extra Fun. In these days before school starts back, have some impromptu fun with the kiddos and maybe even schedule something super exciting as a treat for the kids. We're going away for a couple days the week before.

Back To School: CampusBook Rentals

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but my love for the brand is true!

Last week, I was talking with a rising senior about preparing now for college. He was asking about saving money, what he needs to take with him, and how to organize life so that he can go ahead and start preparing now. Thinking that far ahead, I wasn't sure there was much advice I could give him. However, there was one thing that popped in my head that I was dying to tell him about, I wish it had existed when I was in college.

When I was in college, there was no Amazon, all textbooks had to come from the campus bookstore. That was painful. It was nothing to drop $500 on books for just one semester. Imagine paying just a fraction of that to be able to get through your classes. That's where Campus Book Rentals comes in.

There were only a couple of books I was interested in keeping from my college days, which were reference books that are still coming in handy today. Since you are very unlikely to keep those books, why buy them, when you can rent them?

Not convinced yet? When you rent books from Campus Book Rentals, you save 40-90% off the cover price of the book. You get free shipping both ways, feel free to highlight in the books, and there are flexible renting periods. They even offer 21-day risk-free returns.

Want to make some extra money, maybe to cover the cost of renting books? You can rent out your books. Make money off of them and retain ownership of your book.

How It Works:

What makes Campus Book Rentals even better? For every textbook they rent, they donate to Operation Smile. Operation Smile is an organization that helps cover the cost of the cleft lip and cleft palate surgery for children all over the world. Imagine saving money and giving back to a good cause.

20 Tips For Car Sickness

I was always the person in my family that got car sick. Never sea sick, never just motion sickness- just car sick. My mom always had to be prepared. Well, we have recently discovered that Tbomb gets car sick. I'm not sure how far this goes, so far it has happened while driving in the mountains. I have talked with my mom and other people that have dealt with kids having car sickness and gone back in time to when mine was a lot worse. (These days, as long as I'm careful, I just get nauseous) These are the tips that I have gathered.

1. Be prepared- this is the biggie. We bought a bowl with a lid, lined it with about 4 grocery bags, and had it ready for him if he started feeling queasy. After the episode was done, we tied the bags inside each other and put the lid on it until we could stop and dispose of the mess.

2. Create a Car Sick Kit- Grab a bag, bucket, or anything and throw in Lysol spray (we have a travel size), paper towels, wet wipes, a change of clothes, and anything else you might need to clean up a little one. Put in a ziploc bag so that you can put the dirty clothes in it.

3. Medicate or not to medicate- There are ways to alleviate the symptoms of car sickness, but these don't work for everyone. You also have to take into consideration the age of the child. I'm generally not a big fan of giving the kids medication, and usually try for a homeopathic alternative, but we bought Dramamine (for kids- chewable tablets) after he got sick the last time. It worked for him and he was no longer miserable, so we will stick with it. There are homeopathic alternatives, though.

4. Experiment with seating- Where I sat in a car never made a difference with my car sickness. However, I have heard other people having success by switching where they sit- it might work for your little one.

5. Keep your child looking forward- looking toward the horizon while riding can help alleviate car sickness. So, don't let your child look down into his lap- reading is a big no-no for someone with car sickness. This was a pain for me because I have always loved to read- try books on tape. Also, try loading an mp3 player with headphones. My mom always made sure I had plenty of music for my walkman (and eventually discman)

6. Find Car Sick Friendly Activities- Try playing I spy, travel bingo, or the license plate game. That will keep them looking around and occasionally toward the horizon. Some kids can watch a movie that is in front of them- other's can't.

7. Keep appropriate snacks on hand- I channeled trips we took when I was growing up for this one. I have started keeping with us what my mom kept in the car for me at all times (we never knew when we would go on an impromptu trip to the mountains for the day). She always kept a shoebox with canned ginger ale, bottled water, saltines, gingersnaps, and pretzels in it. When I would go on a church trip, or trip with friends, she transferred it to that car. I've now done the same thing.

8. Try Acupressure Tactics- Some people swear by sea bands, which use acupressure. You can also study pressure points and find out how to put pressure on a particular spot to alleviate motion sickness.

9. Give ginger before the trip- either in pill form, ginger ale, or gingersnaps. Some studies show it can not only relieve symptoms but also prevent.

10. Watch or symptoms- figure out what your child does before getting sick. Tbomb gets very quiet and turns white as a sheet. I always got a headache before I got sick. If you figure out these clues, you can teach your child to watch for them, but also prepare- give ginger ale and get the puke bucket ready.

11. Watch What They Eat Before Traveling- Eating light foods before traveling can also help. Stay away from foods that make one feel more full, that are spicy, or just do not agree with one's tummy.

12. Watch Odors- Strong odors can contribute to nauseousness, so if you use air fresheners in a car, watch the scents you choose- also pay aattention to perfumes and colognes.

13. Face forwards- I know from experience that facing backwards can make motion sickness exponentially worse. Growing up, my parents had an Oldsmobile stationwagon that had a seat that faced backwards. I usually got stuck there because my two brothers would get wild. That ended soon after it started. Almost every time we got in the car (even for 30 minutes) I would get sick.

14. Watch the vents- Facing a vent towards your car sick little one can really make a difference. the air blowing can ease nauseousness. You can also open a window.

15. Let them sleep- I have never been one to sleep in a car. In fact, now that I'm older, I can't. If you can get your little one to go to sleep, it really can make a difference. Their bodies will not get disoriented, so motion sickness will not occur. You may even want to consider traveling during their normal sleep time.

16. Take breaks- Stop for about 15 minutes and get out of the car for a potty break and to walk around. This will reset their bodies and they will be less likely to get sick. What type of location you are driving in will determine how often you should stop. Driving in the mountains, you should stop more often.

17. Peppermint or gum- smelling pepperming has a lot of benefits, one being alleviating neausea. You can have them suck on a peppermint candy or chew gum (chewing gum really helps tbomb). If they aren't old enough. Make peppermint tea before you leave and let it cool- let them drink it to ease car sickness.

18. Have them focus in the distance, toward the horizon. I know from experience that watching the trees whizzing by can make you sick very fast.

19. Understand why it happens- Basically, your mind and body are disoriented and the balance from your inner ear gets all out of wack. More on WikiHow.

20. Be patient- your little one can't help it and they are miserable. I know how it feels. I still don't feel well when we travel. If he is cranky, be understanding and soothing. He may grow out of it in time. If not, you will be teaching him the skills to deal with not only car sickness but other things that stand in his way as well.

Tips For Creating A Rewards Bag

I don't know about you guys, but I like to keep a rewards bag handy. I grab items out of it for a day trip, throw the whole thing in my car bag for a longer trip, take a couple items when we're running errands, and have it on hand for when one of the kids do something so very sweet.

I really didn't even realize that I was doing it until my mother pointed it out. She said "your rewards bag is really cool," and I had never thought about it. Today, I'm going to give you some tips for creating your own rewards bag to keep on hand. You may be lucky enough to not even need to buy anything.

  • Grab any old bag you have lying around that closes- this is actually the bag a set of sheets came in. 
  • Think about what the rewards will be for- many times, ours are for in the car, so I have a lot of quiet nonmessy items in it. 
  • Have a variety of items- some for outside play, inside play, quiet play, loud play
  • Use items from grab bags at events/ parties- are your kids really going to play with these. 
  • Keep your eye out for sales on party supplies and school supplies- you can get some fun items really cheap
  • Use left-over party supplies and crafting items
  • Look in your gifting closet for things that will work
  • Keep it simple and fun! 

Book Review: Nuts About Nuts

Disclaimer: I received a review copy for free, but all opinions are my own.

First, I want to say that I adore Kindle books. I can get them free or at low cost and have a whole library of educational books at my fingertips for Tbomb and Kodabug. When you have books at your fingertips, you hae the whole world.

I was asked to review a book on Kindle all about nuts. I though, well, why not- it would go great with our nature unit, since we have a lot of nut trees on our property. I soon found out that it is so much more.

Although I got Nuts about Nuts by Shir Guez for free, it normally is just $1.99 and that is a great deal!

This book is written in a very relaxed style and teaches children about the nutritional value of nuts. It is a very fun book to read and will get your shildren excited about learning about nuts and get them excited to eat healthy.

Included is also healthy recipes including nuts for your children. Lucky for me, Tbomb loves nuts, and this book got him even more excited to eat them.

It is going to make an excellent addition to our healthy eating part of "all about me." I enjoyed learning from it as well.


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