Category Archives for "Living Life"

Living Life is about being a parent, giving tips for home management, finance, humor, love, and everything the day throws your way.

August 27, 2009

Ask a Teacher: How do I save all the memories

How do I preserve my child’s work?

I know that your child will come home with a lot of papers. I know this because I used to make up the assignments. I am now on the other end of the process and trying to figure out the best way to honor my son’s progress. I came up with a system that works for us. I thought I would share.

On Friday when Matthew brings home his work we are going to place it in a sheet protector in a binder. I will try to gather a variety of subjects to showcase his academic growth. When we select the artifact we will laminate it. I have a personal laminator available at Sam’s club $24.95 and the sheets are about $7.00 for 25. There are also self adhesive laminating sheets for a similar cost and you do not need a machine.

You can do this for less money by taking pictures of your child’s work. You can use those picture and make a book of all your child’s artwork using a service like Snap Fish. They have super coupons out there. To find them go to Deal Taker. This is where I find ALL my online coupons. I mean take a minute it could save you a couple of bucks or more because it is not what you SAVE but what you Spend so spend less to buy the things you are already buying.

I also have taken a poster board and folded it in half and stapled around the edged to make a large artifact holder. I am going to slip in a index card detailing Matthew’s reflection on his work. This is a great way for your child to feel good about themselves and their work and it makes getting rid of the rest of the work less traumatic.

As a teacher I encourage you to set aside some time once a week to review your child’s success. We all work for something whether it is money, alternate services, praise, or something that we find rewarding. A child no matter what age needs your support. If you start this process early it will affirm the importance of education. This artifact collection system will allow you to bridge the gap between school and home. It will allow you to make comparisons and sight specific progress. The best praise is one that is specific. “Wow, Matthew I see that now you can write your name using a capital letter.” This will make Matthew feel great knowing you noticed his progress. The memories we make are priceless and keeping a record of them will be a treasure your child will have forever in their hearts and in their hands.


August 16, 2009

Stockpile Organization

Stockpile Organization


Due to my recent shopping adventures to Harris Teeter, my pantry was in need of  stockpile organization. One of the secrets to saving money, is to stockpile. This means to buy extra items your family uses regularly when the items are at their rock bottom price. We all know that Harris Teeter triples or Kmart super doubles allows for a plethora of stockpiling opportunities! I would like to share some tips to make stockpiling easier and more efficient.

Stockpile organization

First of all, only stockpile items your family uses regularly. Just because an item is “cheap” or on sale, does not mean you need to buy several of them. This is a lesson I have had to learn the hard way. I can tell you first hand that I have had to throw out a lot of expired food over the years. Over buying, is not saving money.

There is also a cycle to sales. For example, I know that Proctor & Gamble puts out a coupon insert once a month. Usually the stores will have some sort of sale that coincides with the coupons. If I miss a sale item this week, I don’t stress because I know the sale will come around again in a few more weeks.

Now, my family eats a ton of granola bars. My husband loves them and eats them daily. They are also handy to take in the car or throw in the diaper bag. Granola bars are one item we stockpile when the price is right. My suggestion is to take the granola bars out of the boxes and put them in a plastic container. This will save space and make it easy to grab and run! This same idea can be done for any snack prepackaged items.

Another item we stockpile is condiments. Those who know my husband, know that he loves condiments and sauces! We go through a ton of ketchup and salad dressing, or “dippers” as my household calls it! My suggestion for keeping these items organized is to place them in a small basket. It is easy to pull the basket out to see what you have. You can also write expiration dates on the cap top with a sharpie.

A trick I learned from my brother-in-law, is to write with a sharpie the expiration date on the outside of boxes. Many times a box will get pushed to the back of the pantry. If you have the dates readily visible, you will make sure to use the product before it expires. I also make sure to check expiration dates before I buy the product at the store. You would be surprised how many times I have picked up an item that is expired or about to expire.

For bath and body products, I have limited myself to a six month supply. What Amee and I have started doing is, giving away a lot of these products. With the drug store deals, we get a ton of bath and body products for free. We now donate most of these items or give them away to you all! There is only so much free toothpaste and razors that you can use! We encourage you all to donate your items if your stockpile limitations are reached.

See more of our stockpile organization  and clever storage solutions.

August 6, 2009

Ask a Teacher


The Morning Routine

It just dawned on me as I was buying my son’s new backpack for kindergarten, because “Mom, Diego is so preschool”, that school is almost here. I am excited for my son to begin his educational journey. I am not excited for the crazy twist that this will put in our morning routine. We have also decided that our son needs to take responsibility for his things. So, I suggest a visual schedule. I also suggest you make this with your child so they have ownership of their chart. This will also save you a lot of time asking those questions like  have you done… do you have… what should you be doing? I do not guarantee it will reduce all the redundant questions but it will help your child become empowered. You can allow them to change the order of their tasks to provide for further choice making opportunities. Does it really matter if they make their bed before brushing their teeth or after?

Here is an explanation

What is it?

Definition from Healing Thresholds

Here is their Link to learn more

visual schedule is a set of pictures that communicates a series of activities or the steps of a specific activity. Visual schedules are meant to help children understand and manage the daily events in their lives . Visual schedules may be created using photographs, pictures, written words, or physical objects. Ideally, they communicate clear expectations for the child and decrease the need for constant adult involvement in the activity . Most visual schedules are introduced with adult guidance that gradually decreases with time .

I used to use these schedules when I taught children with Autism. However, they are valuable for any child who can’t read, requires cues, or needs reminders.

My plan is to take pictures of the tasks he needs to accomplish before he leaves for school:

1) Picture of his bed made

2) Picture of a toothbrush

3) Picture of school clothes

4) Picture of the hamper (this will be a large photo)

5) Picture of breakfast

6) Picture of lunch bag

7) Picture of homework

8) Picture of backpack with all the needed items in it

9) Picture of shoes

10) Seasonal items: rain coat, winter coat, hat, mitten or special item

11) stars,  stickers, stamps, pictures (will be used to show task completion)

12) Based on where your child is, select a way to show order: you can use the numbers 1- however many tasks you have defined (10 for me) soon I will replace my numbers with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, then I will do first, second, third, and finally I will transition to actual times like 6:00, 6:05, 6:10.

visual schedule_0.content

What do you need to make your own schedule

Several pictures these can be homemade or actual photographs or clipart

Card stock or poster board

Velcro dots (this is so you can change the order of your schedule)

Laminate the chart , reward pictures, and task pictures, measurement or order of events (can be done at staples or they make self laminating sheets they are $6.00 for 20 at Sam’s club ( with the leftover sheet use them to laminate special artwork, love notes, or your child’s favorite picture)

I would divide my board in thirds

1st order of the events

2nd  picture of the task to be completed

3rd column is where your child or you places the completed marker ( This is the stickers, stamps, or pictures that you have laminated to some completion)


August 4, 2009

Helpful Uses for Cornstarch

I am always looking for other ways to use products that I have around my house. This means that my dollar goes farther because I am not having to purchase a variety of items to do one specific job and my storage areas are not cluttered with half-used products. So, today, I am posting some uses for corn starch. Some of them my grandmother used, and some I have tried myself. Hope you are able to find something helpful!

Helpful uses for Cornstarch

Helpful uses for Cornstarch

Little Known Uses For Corn Starch

Cure athlete’s foot.
Sprinkle Corn Starch on your feet and in your shoes to absorb moisture and reduce friction.

Clean a carpet.
Sprinkle Corn Starch on the carpet, wait thirty minutes, then vacuum clean.

Make spray starch for clothing.
Mix one tablespoon Corn Starch and one pint cold water. Stir to dissolve the corn starch completely. Fill a spray bottle and use as you would any starch. Be sure to shake vigorously before each use.

Substitute for baby powder and talcum powder.
Apply Corn Starch sparingly when diapering a baby. Corn starch is actually more absorbent than talcum powder, but apply lightly since it does cake more readily.

Help rubber gloves slip on easily.
Sprinkle Corn Starch inside the gloves.

Shampoo your hair.
Corn Starch can be used as a dry shampoo. Work into your hair, then brush out. ** I have also used plain baby powder.

Detangle knots.
Sprinkle a stubborn knot with a little Corn Starch.

Make fingerpaints.
Mix one-quarter cup Corn Starch with two cups cold water, boil until thick, pour into small containers, and color with Food Coloring.

Absorb excess polish from furniture.
After polishing furniture, sprinkle on a little Corn Starch and rub wood with a soft cloth.

Clean silver.
Make a paste with Corn Starch and water. Apply with a damp cloth, let dry, then rub off with cheesecloth.

Remove grease or oil stains from smooth fabric.
Apply Corn Starch to the spot, wait twelve hours, brush off, then launder as usual.

Give your dog a dry shampoo.
Rub Corn Starch into your dog’s fur, then comb and brush out.

Clean stuffed animals.
Rub Corn Starch into the toy, let stand for five minutes, then brush off.

Prevent pastry dough from sticking to the cutting board and rolling pin.
Sprinkle the cutting board and rolling pin with tasteless Corn Starch before rolling out the dough.

Clean a deck of playing cards.
Place the deck of cards into a paper bag, add four tablespoons Corn Starch,and shake briskly. Remove the cards from the bag and wipe clean.

Soothe skin irritations.
Apply a paste made of equal parts Corn Starch, zinc oxide, and castor oil.

Thicken gravy.
Corn starch has twice the thickening power of flour. When a gravy, sauce, soup, or stew recipe calls for flour, use half as much corn starch to thicken. One tablespoon of corn starch equals two tablespoons flour.

Also check out our other tips:

15 Uses for Coffee Grounds
11 Talc Baby Powder Uses That You Should Know
10 Uses for Baking Powder
Epsom Salt Uses

August 1, 2009

Tip for saving money

Print This Post
At the end of each one of our posts is an icon of a printer and beside it it say Print This Post
Click on it
Then take it with you to the store
If an item is not in the store you can ask for a raincheck
organization is the key to savings
Check out our system and attend one of our workshops

Positive discipline

Teaching children

positive discipline


We read all of your comments and one reader asked for advice on discipline. I thought I would respond to this query because being a parent is the hardest job there is.

I feel that being a parent takes every ounce of professional training I have and then it is just plain old instinct, trial and error, and prayer.

There are some things I know to be true in my house, so I will share those ideas and perhaps they will help you.

DSC009541) Discipline is important. When I say discipline, I mean to instruct a person,  follow a particular code of conduct, or to adhere to a certain order.

2) Rules must apply everywhere and be consistently used by everyone. Mommy and Daddy have the same rules. Example: You need to ask before using something that isn’t yours.

3) Consequences are relevant to the offense and applied immediately. If you use Mommy’s makeup without permission then you have to clean up the mess and go to time out. It is important to use the time out  “process” with your child afterward.  If you don’t they will never know what to replace their bad behavior with. They will not know how or what you expect. It is natural for children to try different things. It is just as natural for you to explain what you expect from them. ALWAYS address the behavior and remind your child how much you love them but you do not like the behavior they showed.

Here are the three questions you need to ask after time- out: EVERY TIME

What happened? (I did my face like mommy’s) (get them to see the problem by asking questions.I would ask him questions until he got to the problem. The problem was he was using my stuff without asking)

What is going to happen the next time you________ (go into Mommy’s makeup without permission)

What can you do instead next time? (I can ask Mommy to use her make-up) (we also talk about mommy has the right to say no and that is okay…)

The consequence depends on the severity of the behavior. Once he broke my favorite lipstick when he was not suppose to be in the make-up so I asked for one of his favorite toys and I put the toy in time out for the night. We talked about how it felt to have something you really like and have it “lost” to you. The consequence should be age appropriate.

4) Consequences are consistent (every time Matthew goes into my makeup without permission he goes to time out) Just so you know he has his own makeup brush and chap stick to pretend with so he does not need to play with my stuff.

5) A child will test each of the above items over and over again. You must not give in!

6) The parent is in charge. I repeat this one over and over again. Children need rules. I mean do not make a rule about everything and do not make rules that you will not enforce but have rules.  Your child NEEDS rules. How can you expect them to act in a certain way if you have not given them guidelines?

7 ) Give your children choices that are controlled. Give your child 3 choices and allow them to choose. I have the child that wears rain boots every day but gym days at school. Why? I feel like that is a choice that he can make it doesn’t affect his safety. The deal is he can’t wear them on gym days because it is against school rules.

How do I know my approach with my child works? Here are some of the quotes he said last week.

“I do not need everything it is okay to want things” in response to buying a birthday gift for a friend

“I know you love me even though I do not have a hot wheels racetrack but maybe Santa can be told that I should have it”

“I am really mad at you so I am going over there for a break”

“I should not have thrown my toy because it isn’t a ball and this is inside the house”

“I like your stuff but I have my own but I think maybe you can share after lunch?” He wanted my sunglasses so I agreed to let him try on and wear my “beach sunglasses” after lunch

I repeat it is important to teach your child using modeling, rules, love and respect. I ask to use his toys. I put them back when I am done. I  have been to time out for using poor judgment. He actually asked me the three questions. Then I got a big hug and I know you will try harder next time.

Keep up the good work and keep those questions coming. Every day is a new day.