Tuesday, August 18, 2020

(Virtual) Back to School Tips!

Ok, it is literally the 11th hour over here before my oldest child starts school.  I am so excited.  I loved school.  I would not say excited describes how he is feeling lol!  This is such a strange and stressful time for many families, and school looks so different right now.  I have so much more to share, but thought I would start with this quick post of  5 things that are helping me plan and adjust to this virtual schooling for my 2 kids while my husband and I work full time from home.  This may not work for every situation, but hopefully some of these tips can help ease the transition.

1)  Print Schedules - In addition to printing the schedule our school gave us, I create a Google calendar for each child and print that out every Sunday for the following week.  Each child gets one and we post in a shared family area as well.  We include activities, important due dates etc.  We also utilize reminders on our Amazon Echo to alert when class times are.  

2)  Lunch Planning/Prepping:  Pack, prep or plan lunches just as if it's regular school.  I am having my kids fix and plan their own lunches.  They now have some basic cooking skills too which is helping a ton!  I plan my own lunches for the week too.  

3)  Prep the Computer:  Make sure the computer your child is working on has a clear desktop.  If more than 1 family member works on the computer, set up a profile for your child so they can have a customized desktop.  Save bookmarks for their school learning platform, teachers Zoom links, and any other links they will need to use.  Teach your kids how to access or even create those bookmarks.  You may also want to create a shortcut to their calendar on the desktop.  Set a reminder to clean, or better yet have your child clean their keyboard and screen on a regular basis.  

4)  Supplies:  Only keep supplies that are absolutely necessary for the day/week on their desk.  Store away all other supplies that are not needed.  

5)  Have fun!:  Plan some ways to surprise and encourage your kids (and you!!) while at home.  Ice cream sundaes one afternoon, a fun waffle breakfast bar (even if just frozen waffles with sprinkles and whipped cream), impromptu dance party during a virtual recess, adding their decorations on the Christmas Tree in September (yes, I am putting the tree up very early this year!). . . ask yourself, what does my family enjoy?  I find it helpful to plan these things on the weekend for the following week as well.  

Most of all, embrace the fact that everything is so different and hard right now.  If we let ourselves be sucked into negativity, our kids will see it.  Even the littlest steps of planning ahead and being positive and encouraging to each other can be so powerful!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Girl Scouts: Brownie Quest Journey - Adapting for At-Home Completion

If you have a Girl Scout in 2020, chances are a lot has had to be modified for online and at-home completion of projects.  My Brownie Troop had started the Brownie Quest Journey just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.  We decided to do the "Bee Prepared Not Scared" series through Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast together as a troop via Zoom meetings.  However, I wanted the girls to have a chance to complete the Brownie Quest Journey over the summer.  For those who had also completed the Wonder of Water Journey and the World of Girls Journey, this would give them the chance to earn the Brownie Summit pin, which can be carried on their vest year after year as they advance. Our troop is a 2nd year Brownie Troop.

Below you will find the Google Doc I adjusted to share with my Brownies and families to complete as an at home project this summer.  Download it and adapt to your troop as necessary.  *NOTE:  There is a poll in there about an activity for the girls to choose an incentive for their cookie sales achievements - you may or may not need that.   I put it in a fun padded envelope with a craft activity (putting bling on small mirrors), some patches they had earned (virtual meeting and an optional baking activity).  I also included the Brownie Quest patches, and the beads and materials for the Girl Scout Law SWAP.

PS - To reference the Family Star, Girl Scout Law Printables, and Community Service/Community Learning parts, see the Appendix from this resource:

Enjoy and Happy Girl Scouting! :)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Quarantine Virtual Happy Hour Games via Microsoft Teams

Wow has our world changed lately!  Since we are all staying home, even the happy hour has changed.  I was tasked at work to come up with ways to play happy hour games via Microsoft Teams.  We wanted to bring our team together at the end of the week to celebrate a week of accomplishments in this new world with some lighthearted fun.  Here is a collection of games we've played and how we've made them work on the Teams platform.  I'd love to hear other ideas too in the comments!  All of these games were arranged via a Teams Meeting.  I'll be adding more . . . Enjoy!

1) Trivia:

  • Split into teams.
  • Choose a set of Trivia Questions - there are many options online, like this one:
  • Keep score and determine the score goal to win.
  • Want to add some extra fun to your trivia and scorekeeping?  Check out the Horse Race Game template HERE and customize!  It's fun to see the horses cross the finish line.  

2)  Pictionary:

  • Split your group into 2-4 teams.  I chose the team colors to be the same as the pen colors offered in Microsoft Blackboard app, blue, green, red and black.  You may want to have people sign up via a shared spreadsheet first, or just randomly split into teams via the chat when the meeting starts.  
  • Each team takes turn.  The first team picks someone to draw.  I individually messaged that person the randomly generated password via
  • A note on the Pictionary Generator:  There are 4 levels; easy, medium, hard and really hard.  I'd start with medium or hard.  
  • They have 1 minute to draw.
  • Use the Whiteboard app in Teams - you can find this as an option when you go to share your screen.  We found it easiest to just leave the whiteboard up - everyone on the call can use it, but only one team at a time draws.  Erase after each round.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Took a Break . . . My Generation was Calling

It's been almost a year since my last blog post.  "Life is just busy" seems to have been my (undesired) mantra so much in the last 10-15 years.  Taking a break from my blog has been great, yet heart wrenching at the same time.  You see, there are so many things in life, especially the lives of us busy GenX women that we so desperately want to do, yet we are pulled in so many directions, we are often pulled away from things we enjoy most.  It can be ab absolute fight to make those things happen.  It was good for me to take a break, and simplify in many ways, but I'm also yearning to get back to writing.  I recently finished the book "Why We Can't Sleep" by Ada Calhoun - Gen X women, this is an absolute must read!! I started another blog HERE where you will find a short review of this book.  Do I have time for 2 blogs?  Not really lol!  Sometimes you just have to step out and make things happen . . . even if you don't revisit it for a while.

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