Organizing Kids’ School Papers

I have struggled for years(!) with how to organize, file, keep, and toss the kids’ school papers.  They end up all over the house, on my desk, and then in boxes that I have actually moved I am embarrassed to say how many times.

When school started I did this little panic because I still had last year’s stuff on my desk!!!  I had to get it cleared up fast since the next round was coming in.

The idea is that the kids will empty their school notebooks and gather all the beautiful artwork they create in these stackers on my desk:

Stackers on desk

Stackers on desk

I go through the papers regularly, usually once a week, but pull out the things that need to go back to school daily.  There is a self-inking date stamper sitting next to it so I don’t end up with more artwork that I have no idea which kid created it or when.  I have my own criteria for what I keep, it’s something loosely like this – it has to reflect their personality or something notable about them at the time.  I rarely keep worksheets or spelling tests.  I’m not sure I’ve ever kept a spelling test, actually.

These notebooks hold the keepers:

Artwork notebooks

Artwork notebooks


I put them together quickly, if you can’t tell I’m more of a functionality, get it done and move on to the next project kind of person.  But I did put scrapbook papers in the front, back, and the spine with their names on them.  Inside are page protectors to hold the artwork:

Inside the notebooks

Inside the notebooks


Their work can be slipped in quickly.  There are a lot of extra empty page protectors in the back so they can be inserted as soon as they are determined to be long-term keepers.

The notebooks are kept on a bookshelf where the kids can look through it anytime they want.  They really like having it accessible.

How do you manage the never-ending papers?

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Sight Word HILARITY!

Oh my gosh my six-year old son and I just had the best time.  Like better than Chuck E. Cheese time.  And I think he learned some things.  Like maybe a few sight words.

1. We put sight words and the numbers 1-10 on pieces of paper and taped them to the wall.

2.  We loaded up our Nerf guns, set out the darts, and gathered all bows and bouncy arrows.

3.  We created a defense fort.

4.  Then, we shot at those sneaky sight words!

“Oh no! ‘Be’ is looking at us!  Shoot him!”

“Get that ‘little!’ Why you ‘little!’”
This one went on for a while because we couldn’t actually hit it!

“Hey! What’s 2+4? Get it!”

“Oh my gosh, where did ‘see’ go? Do you think you can get it? I’m out of ammo!”

And the hilarity that ensued when we were shooting at “me” and “you:”

Me:  Aggghhhh! “Me” is sneaking up on us!  Shoot “me!”

Him:  Shoot you?

Me:  No, not me, “ME!” You shoot “me” and I’ll shoot “you!” (waiving and pointing)

Him:  Don’t shoot me!  I’ll shoot you!

And so on.  For at least 10 minutes of absolute gut-hurting giggling.

Sight Words with Nerf Guns

My 10 year-old daughter was supposed to join us, when I came down stairs and asked her why she didn’t come up, she said, “I was reading my anthology book.”  I said, “The Secret Series?”  And get this, she said, “No, my text book I brought home from school today.”

And let’s just call this day a wrap ’cause today was AWESOME!

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Market Monday! The First! April 28, 2014

How about we start a thing we can call Market Watch Monday or Market Monday or something?  We can look at what the residential real estate market is doing.  Not always exciting (unless you love numbers and graphs, which I do! Spreadsheets are wonderful tools, btw.) but often very, very helpful.  I’m going to toss out some info, maybe give a bit of my opinion, but if you have questions or, as always, want to discuss over coffee, feel free call or email me!

Lockbox activity¹ – down 10.48% from last week

Number of active listings² – 26,892
Number of UCB/pending listings³ – 11,559
Number of homes sold last week – 1,603
Number of homes sold last month – 12,516

Average Days on Market as of the 14th of last month – 83.6 days

List to sale price ratio as of the 14th of last month – 97.3%

The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales info regarding the increase in March is here (keep in mind this is national and real estate is very local!).

¹ - Lockbox activity is when an agent opens a lockbox, showing a house is 80-95% of opens, putting/taking a lockbox on/off a new/soldlisting is the rest.

² – Active listings are listings that are not under contract

³ – UCB (under contract accepting backups) and pending homes have contracts but have not closed yet

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Super Hero Birthday Party!

My stepson turned 8 this week and we had a super fun super hero party at our house to celebrate!  I often curse Pinterest and it’s half-baked ideas that work half the time.  But this time it was full of really fun ideas for a super hero party.

Our theme for the activities, which were the main focus for our party:
Super Hero Birthday Party Games

We had a laser maze for the kids to climb through. Other Pinners used a hallway, but we weren’t planning to have people upstairs.  I planned to use the back of the living room couch and a flat wall, but then decided to use the pet pen we have.  Red yarn was the laser.
Super Hero Birthday Party Games Laser Maze

Helium filled balloons with little weights (the free clip ones they give you at the grocery store) tied at different heights for the kids to punch.

A lava pit to cross (kiddie pool filled with water, dry ice plopped in, and a 2×4 strapped to cinder blocks.  The bath tabs did not work to color it red as one Pinner suggested, our pool was too big for 8 tabs to even tint the water.  The kids did not care!)
Super Hero Birthday Party Lava Pit

The super heroes jumped over tall buildings!  Our 4 kids decorated the tall buildings (boxes wrapped in brown package paper) themselves, this was a fantastic activity for them so they could help and they were occupied while I did other things.  They used our little trampoline to jump over the buildings.

They sword fought a bop bag.  Swords were pool noodles chopped in half.  Other pinners let them sword fight each other, which I know from experience is a bad idea and turns into tears.  So I gave them the Angry Birds (not with the theme but who cares!) bop bag.  They loved it.  No tears.

They shot villains with water guns.  Villains were empty water bottles with an angry face drawn on them with Sharpie. I tried to give them a large bowl filled with water for quick refills but for some reason these water guns would not refill when submerged.  Too busy to trouble shoot that one.  Thankfully they moved on and did not turn the water guns on each other!

The kids webbed a villain with silly string!  Craig volunteered to be the villain.  I forgot to set some ground rules, which would be: not on the face.  I think he ingested silly string.  Look at the faces on those kids!!! (I think another Pinner let them silly string each other, but again, I was going for no tears.)
Super Hero Birthday Party Games Web Silly String a Villain

And everyone’s favorite – ZIP LINE!!!  What super hero doesn’t want to fly through the air!  Birthday boy actually looks like he’s flying in this picture!  Disclaimer:  BE SAFE!!! I set the stipulation on this one that it could be no higher a drop than the monkey bars at school. (Oh my goodness while editing this photo I zoomed in to birthday boy’s face for the first time.  The look is priceless.)
Super Hero Birthday Party Zip Line

I loved that the kids helped with the projects for the games.  My 9 yr old daughter made the signs for the activities.  All 4 decorated the buildings for the Jump Tall Buildings activity.  My 6 yr old son helped string the yarn for the Laser Maze.  And of course, they had to test everything pre-party!
Super Hero Birthday Party Drink

If you want details on anything we did, feel free to email me or write in the comments below!

We have another party coming up in a few months and I’m always looking for ideas!  What kid parties have you thrown that worked or didn’t work?

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Loan Program Too Good To Be True?

There’s this non-profit called Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America and they have this loan program with zero down and no PMI.  You don’t have to have a stellar or even good credit score to qualify.  In fact, they don’t care about your credit score.  If you have had a foreclosure or short sale, you only have to wait two years before you can qualify for a loan.  Sounds great, right?!

The catch:  They require a lot of documentation.  A lot.  There’s a lot of homework involved in getting a loan, with one of theirs there is even more.  But if you are organized and willing to do the work, you could get a really great loan.

Not a catch:  This isn’t one of those programs that limits which areas you can purchase your home.

If you are interested in more information about their program, feel free to give me a call or send me an email!  During your home search, they ask that you use a Realtor familiar with their program (which by the way, I am!), and I’d be happy to help you get started.

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