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Surviving Summer

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Summer is in full swing. How many times have you already heard the “B” word?

B-word as in “B-O-R-E-D!”

I’m also aware some of you thrive on routine–without it you are lost. On the other hand you don’t want to be too rigid since it is summer.

So how do you keep the kids occupied and yourself scheduled to the point you don’t lose your mind?


2013 Summer Survival Calendar

This calendar is another creation from the wonderful mind of Susan Heid. She has taken the headache out of searching for creative outlets for you and your kids. Here’s a quote from Susan: 

I have scoured different resources for all kinds of new ideas for enjoyable activities, crafts, games, and
easy recipes to make your summer full of fun—but also easier on you—a busy mom! You have at your
fingertips over 120 creative and fun ways to fight summer boredom!! This four-month calendar will
become an indispensable tool for your whole family as you journey through the summer months.

The 2013 Summer Survival Calendar are for the months of May, June, July and August. There is something different listed on each day of the four months, with a link to the instructions and details. For example, the activity listed for today is to “paint with milk paint.” You’re given a link with detailed instructions on how to make the paint. It looks like a lot of fun and very little mess even for your littlest Picasso.

After looking over the calendar what’s likely to be a hit around here are:

  1. Dancing Raisins on June 19
  2. Water balloon targets on June 29
  3. Rainbow snakes on July 8
  4. Homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker on July 13
  5. Mosaic birdbath on August 8
  6. Banana split day on August 29

Although everyday is scheduled in the 2013 Summer Survival Calendar, I don’t want all you type-A personalities to feel obligated to do everything listed. It’s only a suggestion and a guide. To truly plan your summer, you’ll want to add 10 Strategies for Your Best Summer Ever Action Guide.

To help you get the best use of this guide, an audio workshop is included. This action guide really helped me put things into perspective and kept me over-scheduling, or expecting too much. The blank calendar allowed me to fill in the dates already obligated, and see what dates are left for us to play with.

To fill the open days, Buttercup and I could select an activity from the Summer Survival Calendar, or choose something from the action guide interest worksheet. The interest worksheet suggest places to go, activities to learn, physical activities, and outdoor/nature activities. Items we put on our list were botanical garden, museum (we have free summer pass), zoo (have some discount tickets), nature center, archery, bowling, and soccer.

For large families or ones with younger kids, parents will appreciate the list for Quiet Time Activities. This is a blank list so it can be customized for your family. When it’s wind down time, or you’re trying to escape the mid-afternoon heat, your kids can choose from a list of pre-selected approved activities.

Another great feature of this Action Plan is the initial planning part. You can get yourself organized from the start. From meal planning, to needed summer supplies and toys, to out-the-door bags for when you hit the road. Everything for an organized summer is in this short planner.

These planners are color downloads you print yourself. If you want them bound, you can take them to a local business supply store. I left the planner on the computer, but printed the Action Plan. We have a fantastic new color printer, so I splurged and made mine pretty.

These are some of the most inexpensive planners I’ve seen. All of The Confident Mom‘s products are economically priced. For the 2013 Summer Survival Calendar, there are four different purchasing options. They range from $3 to $10, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth with this product.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the 2013 Summer Survival Calendar and 10 Strategies for Your Best Summer Ever! for a fair and honest review. This post does contain affiliate links.

College Common Sense–My Review

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It’s hard to believe, but Prince Charming will be graduating high school in May. My little boy has grown up. As melancholy as I’d like to be, there’s just no time.

For the last eight months, I’ve spent a large amount of time with college selections, applications, scholarships, visits, and all the other things that go along with this life transition. There are so many things that you just don’t think about.

This is where Going to College and Paying For Itcomes in very handy. I was given this product by the Review Crew earlier this year. It’s a product of College Common Sense. Going to College and Paying For It comes in two different formats. You can order the DVD and Workbook for $50 plus $5 shipping, or you can access an online version for $25 and receive 12 month log-in access. Supplemental products include videos, as well as a monthly newsletter and lesson plans.

What makes this product truly unique is that it’s not just for high school students, but is also geared for elementary and middle school students. Believe it or not, children in these age groups can earn money for college. Going to College and Paying For It shows you how to find these sources.

Since my focus is middle school and more pressing, Prince Charming, I didn’t really look at the elementary program. The middle school lesson plans I was supplied for February included a different focus each week. For the sake of space, I’ll only hit the high points. Please, visit the College Common Sense website for more details. The last thing I want to do is sell this program short, because this is really worth the value.

The “All About Me” notebook is a fantastic journal system for kids. If a middle school child starts this in 6th grade and takes it throughout high school, they will have a better grasp of who they are as a person; of what they want to do with their lives–what God wants them to do with their lives. What types of college courses will interest them, and which ones won’t. This will be an invaluable journal of a child’s growth and development as an individual. Moms, you will have a treasured path of memories.

Other parts of the middle school program include taking timed test to practice for future ACT/SAT, brushing up on math and vocabulary skills, writing and presenting reports.

The high school program has lesson plans specifically for seniors, and a set for freshman/sophomore/juniors. Again, I didn’t focus on the other parts not applicable to my situation, but did notice they didn’t vary much from the seniors. The senior lesson plans had a greater sense of urgency than the others.

As I stated early in this review, I’ve been knee deep in college planning since last August. When I saw the senior lesson plans I sort of took a step back, they were contrary to all the rhetoric I had been hearing. The lesson plans started February 1. The first thing on the list was for the seniors to start working on the government FAFSA form with a deadline of February 28. In short, this is a form to see how much government funding your family is going to qualify for, and colleges won’t give out scholarships until they have this report. It’s based on your income tax return. We had it drilled in our heads that the deadline for FAFSA was January 31. I contacted Denise Ames, the owner of College Common Sense about this issue. She clarified that February 28 is the deadline for colleges. The January 31 deadline we faced was a Tennessee state instituted deadline for the Hope Scholarship. Prince Charming was awarded the Hope Scholarship. My advice is to check with your individual state so you can take advantage of those obscure and specialized scholarship deadlines.

Another goal for the seniors in February is to take the ACT/SAT. Again, I had issues with this. Prince Charming took the ACT for what was the last time in February, and that was late. Denise and I had a nice chat about this. My understanding now is that students can take this test up until the college tells them they will no longer accept the scores. Most often better scores only mean more scholarship funds, and the more often the test is taken, the better the score.

The rest of the senior plans were in line with what we were doing. Finding the best scholarships, and making college visits.

I’m very impressed with Going to College and Paying For It. The program is sound and gives you a solid foundation for seeking out the right college and scholarships for your child. If started in the junior or even sophomore level, you’ll have a great start and feel for what you need to do your child’s senior year, and you may even have some scholarships lined out to boot.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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