Testing, Testing…1,2,3….

I want to take a moment to introduce you to one of my dearest and best friends Tory.  She is amazing!  She has a little boy who is only a month younger than my daughter so we have “play-dates” all the time for our kiddos, but really it is so we can hang out together.  :)  Before she became a mama she was a teacher and taught US History, Journalism, and tutored in SAT Prep for the last 6 years.  Now in addition to raising her adorable boy she is a tutor with Home Base Tutoring and specializes in SAT Prep.  She knows her stuff.

_DSC0121A couple of weeks ago she held an SAT Prep Booster class for some of the local high school students and gave them some extra tips on how to prepare for the class.  I helped her put together some goody bags to hand out and I thought it might be fun to share some of what we did with all of you.  I know lots of you are moms (or teachers) and if you have a child who is getting ready to take the SAT or ACT maybe you want to put together a good luck package for them!  And you know, this could even work for someone in college (child or spouse) getting ready to take a test like the LSAT or GRE.   You never know, a little encouragement might be all they need to help calm those nerves before the test.

SAT or ACT Goody Bag- For students getting ready to take the big test, here's a little encouragement

Here’s what we put inside the goody bags, and why:

Smartfood Popcorn- for one because the name is cute but also because it is a healthy, light snack.  You want to avoid snacks that are heavy because that would draw the blood away from your brain and send it to the stomach to digest the food.  Nuts would also be a good option.

Mint Gum- Sniffing cinnamon has been shown to improve scores on memory tests and chewing gum has been shown to improve recall, specifically on the math section.

Small Soda- (notice the word small.  That means no RedBull.)  A jolt of caffeine can boost your memory, in fact of study done at John Hopkins said that caffeine can enhance memories for at least a day after they were formed.  Helpful if you were cramming the night before.   If you’re not a caffeine drinker, than good news.  An apple or some chocolate can have the same effect.  As if I needed another excuse to eat chocolate.

Water- Like the soda you want to only have a small bottle of water.  There’s nothing worse than being distracted with the need to visit the bathroom during your test.

Ear Plugs- to cancel out any distracting noises.  More than likely they’ll be taking the test with several other people, some of them will be coughing or tapping their pencil or foot, and ear plugs help tune them out.

Pencil & Eraser- these are self-explanatory. *Quick Note, in the picture I have a mechanical pencil because that was all I had on hand, but you actually aren’t allowed to use them on the test.  They have to be the old school kind.

Other Ideas- stopwatch or watch to time themselves on each portion.  Extra batteries for their calculator.

Then on the big day, or the night before, you can show your support by giving the test-taker this little bag of goodies and wishing them luck!

If you’d like more tips for test taking such as what to wear, the best breakfast foods, and why you should do certain stretches before the test then I encourage you to contact my friend Tory.  She has put together a helpful packet that she would be more than willing to share.  And just one more plug, because I think she’s awesome, Home Base Tutoring does in person and online tutoring in many different areas including test prep.  Check them out!

Contact: tory@homebasetutoring.com

Website: homebasetutoring.com

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A “Creative” Gift Idea for Her

It is snowing here.  Again.  Lots and lots of snow.  And it has been so cold that the snow from all of our previous storms hasn’t had a chance to melt.  The snow banks are now taller than me and driving down the road is like driving down a giant white hallway.  It’s getting a little crazy.

So while we try to dig ourselves out of yet another storm I thought I’d take a break and share a quick post with an easy gift idea.  If you know someone who enjoys scrapbooking, crafting, making cards, or just working with their hands then this is a great gift idea!  It is a gift box full of all sorts of creative goodies!

Gift for Her- perfect for the creative gal in your lifeI’ll break down what I put in my gift, but the possibilities are pretty endless.  To start with the box is just a plain cardboard box lined with some pretty scrapbook paper and filled with some brown shredded paper.  Inside there are some embellishment flowers and bows, a small jar filled with buttons, ink pads, stamps, markers, and ribbon and twine.  The ribbon is wrapped around a paint stick that I cut and stamped the word “create” on.  Easy!

Gift for Her- perfect for the creative gal in your lifeAt this risk of sounding super cheap, this may also be a great way to re-purpose some of your own crafting supplies that you have had laying around for awhile and haven’t used.  It isn’t throwing it away, but hopefully passing them along to someone who will actually use and enjoy them.  And hey, it cleans out some space for you!

Gift for Her- perfect for the creative gal in your lifeThe box I’m showing is a little more for scrapbooking or card making, but you could certainly change it up depending on the recipient’s hobby.  If they enjoy sewing include some needles, safety pins, buttons, thread, etc.  Or put one together for crocheting.  There’s lots of ways to adapt it.  And here is the printable tag I made to go along with it!

Download the PDF

Gift Idea for Her- perfect for the girl who loves to create!

DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Baskets- For Him!

If you ask me, I think we gals have the market cornered on Valentine’s Day gifts.  Flowers, sparkly jewelry, chocolates, lovey-dovey notes, cutesy stuffed animals, and dressing fancy (meaning uncomfortable) to eat at fancy (meaning expensive) restaurants.  Not a whole lot of fun for the man in your life!  So I’ve put together a list of 10 gift basket ideas that your fella might actually enjoy receiving this holiday.  Some of these ideas were originally shared as Father Day/Anniversary/etc. gifts but with just a little tweaking they’ll be perfect for Valentine’s Day!

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

Rootbeer & BBQ Gift Basket- Meat, sauces, & soda?  Nothing wrong with that!

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

Sock it to Him Gift Basket- Is your man always on his feet?  Give them some rest.

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

Sweet Candy Gift Basket- Sweets for your sweetie.  Awww.

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

Couch Potato Gift Basket- what man doesn’t want to be given permission to be a couch potato for the day?!

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Manly Money Gift Basket- tasty snacks and cash….yes please!

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

A Scent-sible Gift Basket- Okay, this one may be a little for you too.  A man who smells good is the best!

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

Suite Retreat Gift Basket- woot woot.  This one gets romantic!

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

Football Gift Basket- Football season will be over by the time we hit Valentine’s Day, so consider changing this one to basketball or baseball, or just their favorite sports team.

DIY Valentine's Day Gift Baskets- for him

Hopefully these have helped spark some ideas for the guy in your life!  If all else fails you can always just be waiting holding a steak in one hand and ice cream in the other.  Pretty sure that would do the trick too.

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Giving the Gift of Service #2

I shared this post last year around Christmas time, but I wanted to post it again and add some NEW service gift tags too!  Gifts and goodies are fun, but let’s not forget that the meaningful ways we serve one another are what really count.  And these tags give you a few small ideas of some really simple ways you can brighten someone’s day.

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Today I want to share with you some printable gift tags that are not for your typical gift in a box with a bow.  These ideas are all about reaching out to others and spreading some Christmas cheer.

Service Act #1:

If you have the means then this is such a fun thing to do!  The next time you and your family are out enjoying dinner pick another table in the restaurant and anonymously pay their bill for them.  Ask the server to present them with this card instead of their check and watch their faces light up.  It is great!

Service Act #2:

This one is similar to the dinner idea but it is more budget friendly.  Believe me I know how tight money can be so if you don’t have the resources to pay for an entire meal then think about just sending over a yummy dessert instead.   This is one my husband and I do fairly often.  And the last time we did it the waitress started crying.  She was touched perhaps even more than the family we sent the dessert too.  You never know who needs you to cross their paths.

Service Act #3:

This is one that I have experienced myself so I know how happy it can make the recipient.  Here’s what you do:  Go into the gas station and ask them to put $10 of gas on pump __. (whatever pump you are by.)  Then tape this tag onto the pump and drive away leaving it loaded with $10 for the next person to pull in.  It will make their day!

Service Act #4:

Put a few quarters into a Ziploc bag and tape the bag and this tag to a vending machine.  Easy and quick.  I think little kids would have fun running around and helping out with this one.

Service Acts #5:

These last two tags are a little more generic so you can use them in many different ways.

-Print one off and have it be the “family service tag.”  One member of the family starts with it and does an act of service for another family member leaving this tag behind.  That person then does an act of service for someone else and passes the tag on again.

-Print off several for each person and encourage them to find one thing to do each day leading up to Christmas and leave the little note behind.

-Or just be creative and find your own ways to use them!  There are plenty of acts of service just waiting to be done.

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And here are the new tags!

Christmas Service Gift Tags- free printable tags for doing random acts of kindness this Christmas

In this set you’ll find:

Service Act #1:

Christmas Service Tags 6

The next time you find yourself at the drive-thru why not pay for the meal of the person behind you?  Imagine their pleasant surprise when they pull up to the window!

Service Act #2 & #3:

Christmas Service Tags 8

These are tags you can leave behind if you shovel off the snow from someone’s car or walkway.  I LOVE the snow, but I’m pretty sure my husband would love if someone did this for us more than anything else.  And bonus…it doesn’t cost a thing!

Service Act #4:

Christmas Service Tags 7And finally here is an act of kindness that many of us already do during the holidays.  Baking a tasty treat and delivering it to our friends, neighbors, or family.  So here is a tag that you can use to go right along with your yummy gift.

Download the PDF- Set 1

Download the PDF- Set 2

I hope you enjoy these tags and enjoy the experience of using them even more!

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Vintage Holiday Gift Tags

The other day I made some of this delicious pumpkin bread and decided to take a loaf or two over to our neighbors.   I’m trying to be better at being neighborly, because I’m honestly ashamed at how little I know our neighbors.  Oh sure, we exchange pleasantries whenever our paths cross, but I know I can do more.  And nothing is more friendly then taking over some fresh baked goodness!

Brown Sugar and Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

I didn’t have any gift tags on hand so I decided to make one and then that one turned into six.  I don’t know how that happens.  I get in front of the computer sometimes and I zone out!  And after emerging from my designing bubble I ended up with six vintage gift tags- three of which are holiday themed and three that are neutral and can be used for every day.

Printable Vintage Gift Tags

Download the PDF

I wrapped some brown paper and twine around the bread and tied the little tag on before taking it over to my neighbors.  And we ended up having a nice little chat, the longest we’ve ever talked.  I think the pumpkin bread was a success!

Printable Vintage Gift Tags- set of 6 Printable Vintage Gift Tags- set of 6

So print off the tags, cut them out, and then you’ll have some on hand for whenever you need to add a little something to one of your gifts!

What’s on the (Baby’s) Menu?

Little, brand new babies eat pretty much all day long.  Every two hours round the clock, right?  I felt like we were feeding Savannah all.the.time. at the beginning.  And I’ve been told that the feeding doesn’t really stop.  They should really put that on the warning label: “your child will want food every day for the next 18 years.”  That should go right next to the second warning, “your child will poop on every article of clothing, piece of furniture, and any other surface you have in your home.”

Since kids think they need food for some reason, putting together a gift basket with baby feeding items is a fun and practical gift for any new mom!

What's on the menu gift basket idea with printable tagYou can include all sorts of items- things that will be helpful with a newborn and all the way through the toddler years.  If you know the mother’s feeding plans (bottle or breastfeeding) then you can get even more specific otherwise a few generic items work great as well.  Here’s a few ideas:

- Bottles

- Bottle liners

- Bottle cleaning brushes

- Formula

- Nursing pads/creams

- Nursing cover

- Bibs

- Burp cloths

- Plates & bowls

- Sippy cups

- Snack containers

- Baby spoons/forks

What's on the menu gift basket idea with printable tag And since a baby’s menu is usually full of such variety, here is a fun gift tag that showcases their discerning palates.

Download the PDF

What's on the menu gift basket idea with printable tagAnd there you go!  An easy, fun, and helpful gift to take to your next baby shower!

What's on the menu gift basket idea with printable tag.