Wednesday, August 28, 2013

About Me

So I have realized that if you just joined us on reading this blog there is not much about myself in here.
I thought today would be a good day to tell you guys a little about my self, share my likes, dis likes, loves and hates.
My name is Sandra Jones, I am 28 and living in Benton Arkansas. We are only 20 miles from the big city of Little Rock and have been here for almost 2 years now.
I have been married for 6 years and have 3 AMAZING girls. 
D is 11, Lo is 9 and Boo is 6. These are just nicknames I promise I did not name my child Boo ;)
I am first and foremost a mom, then all the other hats follows....
wife, photographer, housekeeper, secretary, cook, blogger, cleaner, craftsman or shall I say crafts woman... and the list can go on but I don't want to bore you or toot my own horn,so.

Here is a fun list of likes and dislikes:

This is a daily must in my home


Not so much :( Though everyone else in the family likes it. 

I don't eat anything orange flavored. Long story 

Love my Italian Foods

Mexican is my Fav! and could eat it 24/7

Music is my lifesaver!
I love to travel and see new things! 

This house is a movie watching group :)

Now about me:
My 1st high school and the high school I consider my Alumni

My high school before getting the boot :/

The school where I received my GED and started college for journalism

My current school where I am receiving my degree in photography
My camera brand :)

Riverside, Ca my home town

Dothan Al, where I met the hubby, had 2 kids and lived for 8 years 

Mobile, Al, where we moved to after leaving Ca

Our new hometown 

My biz logo.
I will share more with you all from time to time. I have an amazing life and have been though a lot. It is not always rainbows and sunshine in this girls life, but I am always wearing rain boots and a smile to fight back :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tech Savvy Parent/Teacher Communications

Well we have ALMOST finished the first week of school and I am one worn out mamma! 
I think that it is funny that parents have MORE homework then the kids do on the first week of school. 
You should see the paperwork! UGH! 
This year is really bringing tech savvy to a whole new level.
Tghe communication through schools are becoming easier and easier with all the advancements in technology, who else remembers notes being sent through the student or the dreaded phone calls to the teachers?
Though these are still used today (rarely) there are TONS of other ways we can now reach the girls teachers this year. 
Here's how:


We are all pretty familiar with this I am sure.... Email addresses are given to you for all staff members and even parents of students in the student directory...


This is something that I used daily last year for all three of the girls and I LOVE it. Here is a little about their program. 

About Edline

Welcome to Edline, the leading provider of K-12 Web-based communication solutions.

As the industry leader for over a decade, we help over 20,000 schools and tens of millions of families succeed using innovative technologies that support learning and enable meaningful online communication and collaboration among all members of the education community.
We recently acquired SchoolWorld, SchoolFusion and SchoolCenter—three premier providers of online solutions for learning communities, as well as TeleParent—a leading provider of notification solutions. This dynamic alliance features the best of all worlds—exceptional customer support, innovative product technologies and development, and scalable system architecture—resulting in the only K-12 website platform you’ll ever need.
By bringing 21st century technology and thought leadership to learning environments everywhere, we are enabling schools and districts of all sizes to achieve real results in education. For example, over 96% of parents in Florida’s Brevard County School District believe that they are in a better position to help students thrive as a result of the district’s implementation of our LCMS technologies.
With offices across the U.S., our team of passionate professionals work together to bring K-12 schools the best possible website and communication solutions. Schedule a demo today to learn more about the new Edline!
Now that D is in Middle school she now has her own Edline account to keep in touch with her teachers and up with her assignments. SCORE! 
Remind 101:

This is a new program and I have to say that I am LOVING it! What parent Mom is not obsessed up to speed with text messaging. This is a great way for teachers to send out texts messages to students and parents. I have received 5 so far this week which isn't bad because D has 7 teachers Lo has 2 and Boo has 1...  
Some of the text messages I have received told me that my 1st grader had an AMAZING first day! Last night I received that her homework was due today, and that the band supply list would be coming home today and told us what they covered this week in band. 
These text messages came in while I was cooking dinner, folding clothes and playing Skip-Bo with the girls. So much better than being interrupted my phone calls all night! 
Here is more about them! 

Our story

We believe great education is the first step to solving many of the world's most pressing problems. Our purpose is to build products to make it easier for teachers to provide that education.
Remind101 was built, in conjunction with educators, to solve communication obstacles between teachers, students and parents. Across all grade levels and institution types, Remind101 is a safe and simple communication solution to help teachers extend their classrooms.
Teachers are busy. Our mission is to make tools that are simple to use, but highly effective. Signing up takes less than two minutes on the website, iPhone app or Android app, and it only takes seconds for students or parents to join a class. Safety is a primary feature: teachers never see students/parents phone numbers, nor will students/parents see theirs.
The connected classroom is rapidly evolving. Remind101 helps innovative teachers take advantage of technology in a way that frees up their time to focus on what they do best: teach.

Class Dojo:

So I am not 100% sure what this one is all about yet. D came home and we downloaded the apps to our cell phones. Her app will not work because she is a student. And mine really shows nothing at this point, but we are only 4 days into school... So we shall see more about this one later. 
She did have to deign her own Avatar for this page as homework, She 
receives points and I can check on her points earned. Only one of her classes uses this so I am excited to see the benefits of this. But in the mean time here is more about Class Dojo.

ClassDojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators
Better learning behaviors, smoother lessons and hassle-free data - and its free!

With all of these communication outlets it is no wonder that a simple note or call is fading fast!
I do like that the students are able to have their own communication lines with their teachers with the remind 101 and edline plus they could even email them on their own terms.
D's school is part of the BOYD (Bring Your Own Device) program to where this allows your student to bring the following t school under strict guidelines;
Laptops, netbooks, iPods, iPads, cellphones, etc. 
I remember when bringing a pager to school was a BIG deal.... How times have changed!
How does your school communicate to you and your students? I would love to hear. :) 

Monday, August 19, 2013

1st Day of School!

Yay we have made it all alive and well to the first day of school. To my shock this morning went smoother than expected but I should not be as surprised as I am. The first day always runs the smoothest :)
This weekend we finished up the last few items on our school supply lists and relaxed as much as possible with our busy week ahead.
The paper work will be flowing in this week and I will feel like I have it coming out of my ears, but it could be worst I am sure.
We had open house for Lo and Boo on Thursday night and they both seem to have AMAZING teachers which really excites me! 
We have been blessed to have only had one bad teacher in all the years we have had school age children and that in itself is a small miracle to myself. :)
This morning it was up and at em with lunches to be made, stuff to gather up and ready to be out the door shortly after 7. Since I get the luxury to take my kids to school we had a few extra minutes for picture time! 

Since my youngest is still not hip about leaving her mamma for the day I took the strategy that was given to me last year from her kindergarten teacher and put it to good use this morning with the kissing hand. 
They all joined in and wanted one which I thought was sweet and refreshing to see that they are still a little bit of mamma's girls. My kissing hand is courtesy of Boo. 
As for me the house is SUPER quite so I am going to work on my home work, business stuff, and orders. I have a few errands to run before picking the girls up this afternoon but I am SOOOO excited to hear all about their first days! 
Happy Monday Guys!  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Open house and re orginizing = 4 more days!

We are down to just 4 days! 
This mamma is solo utterly excited it is almost pathedic! ;)
Today we have cleaned a d re organized some as we wait around for a delivery.
Open house is tonight for the younger 2 which means all sorts of excitement in the air.
Stay tuned to see how it went. 
And how we finished the night off! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Message centers... 5 more days!

So today has been a run like a chicken with your head cut off so I figured while my head was not in a spin to fill you guys in on our countdown. 
This morning or was up and at them and a trip to Walmart first thing.
Since the oldest has 2 appointments this afternoon in the big city of Little Rock I was not going to be able to cook a good meal. This is something I have lacked on all week to be honest. So I figured I could not to let the hubby suffer another night it was time to pull out my life saving crock pot!
While at Walmart I saw they had cork boards on sale! I am a cork board kinda gal and let me tell you I LOVE them! 
Last year I noticed my school board was over flowing with papers and three kids on one board wasn't cutting it! 
Since I am in a redecorate and reorginizing mood thought these were a great start with only 5 days left til we start the 2013-2014 school year.
I started to decorate each one to fit the various personalities of my girls and hopefully later this evening they will be hung up by my amazing hubby ;) 
They will hang in our hallway by thier bedroom door and hold things like schedules, menus, etc etc. Once they are all hung up and fully decorated I will show them off but here is a sneak peak of what we have started. 
Can you guess whos is whos?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

School fundraising: 6 more days!

Since today was low key aka nothing but a dentist appointment for all 3 thoughT iwould take a moment and reflect how our schools raise money for needs and wants.
As most people know when your kids are in the public school system budgets are short and teachers spend a lot of their own hard earned cash in their class rooms.
Our school district does not run a lot of school fund raisers I can think of maybe one each year so where and how do they afford iPads for each class room, new computers and playground equipment? 
Box tops! 
The school collects these through out the year to raise money for all the fancy extras and then some. Some schools in our area uses them to buy ALL the students school supplies for the next year. The point is that this is a simple yet very effective fundraiser.
 If you are not familiar with the program let me fill you in. 
Box tops are on products that you buy at your local grocery store. There are 100s like the ones pictures below. 
 There are aton more of course but these are what I had left in my cabneits.
All you do is buy the everyday needs that offer box tops and then cut them out like so....
 Since I have 3 girls I seperate them so each has some to take to school to help participate in the fundraiser. The elementary school runs special contests for each class or gender to help excite the kids in participating. 
Its so simple and eveyone can help!
Now the middle school runs another "fundraiser" in the community to help out. They collect pop tabs to help out the local Ronald McDonald house located near the childrens hospital. This is another great community help as they donate the pop tabs to help the cost of the Ronald McDonald house. This place is for families with children in the hosiptal fpr long periods of time. Usually a hotel could cost the families $50-$100 a night but with the Ronald McDonald house they stay for only $10 a night! My husband and I have had a hands on experience with the one located in Alabama when his baby sister had a heart attack at the age of 17. 
Of your schools do not particopate on these you could suggest them to start! How does your school raise money? 

Monday, August 12, 2013

One more week!

Never thought I would be so excited for the girls to start back school but this mamma is ready for the new adventures ahead of them! 
Friday we ended the day with an eye exam for Koda and new glasses that will take a couple weeks to get in. She is excited to revamp her style for the new school year. 
Over the weekend we had an end of summer surprise and took the girls to the movies. 
They were so shocked and LOVED it! 

Today starts the final week of summer vacation and though they are a little sad they seem to be ready to go for the year. 
This morning we went and decorated Koda's locker....

And tonight we have open house for her! She is excited to meet her teachers and start the new year! 
7 more days! Are you ready?

Friday, August 9, 2013

10 more days!

We have reached Day 10 in our count down and things have been running smoother than I could have expected.
This morning we went and picked up the middle schoolers schedule and found out she will be in Pre AP classes AND she still will be in the GT program.
For you that are not familiar with these Pre AP is high end courses that allow children to prepare better for AP courses in Junior High and High School and then college. 
GT is Gifted and Talented. These classes are for children who have special learning skills and need classes that are a little more outside of the box. 
Dakota has had GT since she was in 3rd grade and this class is a HUGE life saver for her brain and her ADHD! 
We will go Monday morning to decorate her locker and she is super excited about this part. 
Up next is an eye appointment for her to get new geek gear to start the year off stylish!
Check back Monday for the styling locker and the new geek gear!
Today I did manage to revamp the lunch making stations to make it easier for the 3 kids and more locker like since the younger two were sad they don't have them in elementary school...
Here is the final results!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cut and Style time!

11 more days and we took the opportunity of a free day to take advantage of a local salon who was having FREE haircuts for school aged children! 
This is a blessing for a mamma of 3 girls! Cutting hair every six weeks is not always a possibility.
Thanks to Artisik Salon! They are great with the kids even my 6 year old bobble head! 
Here you can find them on Facebook and send them some love! 
 NOW what you have been waiting for!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Countdown day 13 and 12

Well we have been busy bees in this household. 
13 days left (yesterday) we managed to run around and get errands done in order to finish up getting school supplies and everything that the girls need to start.
Our morning started off to Target to drop of prescriptions for the oldest. Since she is ADHD this is a must have for her sanity and her grades. 

Then we ran to the orthodontist so she can have her check up (more on this with operation brace face) and wait for them to fill her meds.
After the appointment we ran back to Target to pick up her meds and found some great $1 finds for their lunch boxes which can be seen here on instagram.
Then it was OFF to the big city of Little Rock to Kmart to finish picking up their needs :) 
After that we came home and set up their own little lunch making stations and got hings ready for today.
 Which has consisted of cleaning and going through winter clothes...
Oh the joys! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

2 weeks and counting.......

Well the count down has begun and we are 2 weeks to the day of school starting! I am one happy mamma! BUT..... I am also one unprepared mamma! 
Arkansas celebrated this last weekend with their tax free holidays and though I only had a few odds and ends of supplies to actually get I took full advantage of this sale! 
I finished up all three of the supplies list minus things like germ-x and ziploc bags. 
We are still working on some other needs for them though :(
Anyways today started earlier for us then we have had to do all summer. 
Koda had a follow up appointment for her sleep study done a while back and so that meant for a trip to the BIG city of Little Rock. 
I LOVE this city but rather venture there only when I NEED to and never because I WANT to! 
Anyways so the first stop we had to go was for a little morning pick me up....

Though I am a HUGE Starbucks fan it is always more pocket friendly to visit Dunkin Donuts.
I LOVE their vanilla iced coffee's thanks to my sister in law Jay who hooked me on them when we were living in Alabama. 
Since the girls can not have coffee they opted for tea and Rootbeer. 
After our much need pick me ups we took the 20 mile drive to the Children's Hospital in the downtown district of LR.
The girls LOVE going here because you can see the capitol building which is located right across the freeway from the hospital. 

After the appointment we headed home so I could do homework and some house work. Tomorrow is another fun filled day as we continue operation brace face :)
See ya then! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

And the race is on!

Well it is that time of year again when I loose my mind, sanity and lady like manners :) 
That is right it is 16 days until we are in the 2013-2014 school year and you know what that means......
That't right doctor appointments, open houses, school shopping and SOOOOO much more!
I will bring you guys along with me as we count down to this school year.... so who is with me? Hold on to your hats ladies and gents... We are entering into the 2013-2014 school year where I will be having a 1st grader, 4th grader and a 6th grader in Middle school....

This weekend the girls go and spend the night for a slumber party birthday from some of their friends. Three sisters also and the girls are more than excited. It was a last minute invite so we ran to the store and put together these birthday cups for them.
Nail polishes, bubbles, jump rope, chap stick, pens and some cool mini notebooks and a few other odds and in's is what they stuffed them all with.  
Have a great weekend!
Come by Monday to see how we are holing up and what we have on the agenda next! 
See ya!