Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tips for Summer Classes

I've taken at least one class each summer for the 3 years I've been in college. The first year I took an online class, last summer I studied abroad, and this year I'm taking 2 classes on campus. I already finished one (got an A!) and am starting my next class in July.

If you're looking for tips on how to ace summer classes and still have fun, I've got a few pointers for you.

1. Be organized. This is CRUCIAL. My first year when I took the online class I wasn't very organized so I missed a deadline. Because I wasn't organized and didn't know when the paper was due, I missed the deadline and received 0 credit for it. Don't let this happen to you! Have all the important due dates and test dates written down on a sheet of paper you keep handy - I glued it and an assignment schedule into my notebook this summer - and write it down on your planner. 

2. Go to class. Summer classes are no walk through the park. They cram an entire semester into 1 month, so missing one day of class is like missing a week. This applies to both classes on campus and online. If you don't go to class/do the work for that day you are missing a week's worth of information that will be on the test. Make sure you do it!

3. Study a little each day. As I said, summer classes manage to fit an entire semester into a 1 month period. That means that it's super important to study each day. I try to study at least an hour everyday after class and for an hour or two on Sunday. I like to study by rewriting my notes into a condensed, visual form. 

4. Set up a routine. I had a routine I stuck to so I could be sure I would have time to enjoy summer, even with class. I went to class in the morning, took 2 hours off to take a break and have lunch, studied for an hour (or two) and then I was done. So I did 4 hours of school Monday-Thursday with class and studying. That is such a small amount of the day! I was still able to keep up with my class and still have time for friends, ice cream, and a couple adventures.

Do you have any tips for summer classes?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Room Organization Diaries: Day 3

The first day of the room organization diaries I tackled my messy dresser. I got rid of a bunch of the junk sitting on top of it, styled it, and went through my drawers to organize my clothes.

The second day I dealt with my shoe and paper-craft corner. This was a hot mess when I started, but it was a pretty quick clean-up as I pretty much just had to deal with my pile of shoes on the floor and the stuff I had piled on top of the shoe container.

For the third day, I decided to tackle the area around my bed. I'll be honest, I hadn't made by bed in a while, I had stacks of boxes at the foot of my bed, and although the night stand was under-utilized, what I did have in it was messy.

Here's what it looked like when I started:

First, I dealt with the bed. I threw out some of the pillows on my bed because I had 5 pillows to sleep on - don't ask me why. I think my bed becomes the collection zone for old pillows, so I threw one away and gave two others to my mom to deal with. 

I put on a set of fresh sheets and made the bed. Having the bed made makes everything else easier to deal with (at least in my mind).

Once the bed was made, I moved on to the night stand. I dusted it and went through the drawers. I threw out what wasn't needed and organized the stamps I had in one of the drawers. 

These stamps are from when I was in elementary school or middle school or something. Either way, they're at least 10 years old. Some of them were a little juvenile or random hand me downs. I threw away a few of the ones I knew I wouldn't be using (That sounds so bad now. What did I do to those poor stamps!) and organized the rest. 

I grouped them together in zip-loc baggies as planner stamps, summer stamps, and random stamps. I feel like this is a system that is going to work for me. I can just grab a bag and get to work without having to look through a box of stamps for the ones I want.

Once everything was placed neatly in the nightstand, it was time to move on to the foot of the bed. This was where the real mess was. Everything that gets put here is placed here because I have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH IT. 

I had dirty laundry, teaching supplies, stuff to take to the goodwill, extra decorations, a box of clothes I don't wear and a comforter for college, a box of old photo albums, a pink crate full of random stuff, and gift bags and tissue paper standing against the wall.

With the stuff in the pink box, I found everything a better spot that makes more sense - and is more organized.

I put the extra decorations in my closet where I keep all those goodies, and hid the gift stuff behind my mirror. I really have no idea where else the gifting stuff should go because if it goes in the family storage room, it will not make it back out.

The teaching stuff is stuff I need to keep for lesson ideas, activities and games I can use later in classrooms, and other goodies for my future career. Since I had an empty drawer in my dresser, I organized my teaching supplies and moved it into the dresser. This is going to be so handy because now I have MUCH easier access to all of these supplies and it's actually organized - not just thrown in and around a bag on the floor!

As for the boxes with the extra comforter and photo albums, I don't have any other ideas for how to store them right now. I don't want to put them in the family storage room, my bed is so low that it's difficult to store stuff underneath it, and I really don't have any other options for storage so at the foot of the bed they stay. 

At least now the foot of the bed looks much neater.

That's how progress is going in my organization project. How are your organization projects coming along?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015: Estes Park

Last week my family and I embarked on our summer vacation to Estes Park, Colorado. Estes is right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park so it's a great spot for enjoying nature and yet not having to rough it.

Our first stop for the trip was at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's a short walk from the parking lot to the lake and a short hike to go completely around the lake (.5 mile) and it's a beautiful view.

My sister and I enjoyed the view from the benches they had all around the lake. We got to the lake around 8 am. It was the perfect time to go because the park didn't have too many visitors yet, it was cool out, and the mountains were perfectly reflected in the water.

From Bear Lake we hiked up to Bierstadt Lake. A park ranger suggested the trail to us as an "easy" hike. I was out of breath a little on the hike up the mountain, but my sister who has asthma did not do very well on this trail so we had to make a few (a lot of) stops along the 2 mile hike. There was a lot of nice views along the trail and the lake was pretty, too.

We also spent some time going on mountain drives around the park and hiked to Nymph Lake on a separate day. That trail was pretty steep for me, but I loved the challenge and thought the lake was so beautiful once we got there. 

And all of this has just been about our adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park. We also managed to have a little fun outside of hiking and mountain drives in the park. We went golf-karting and mini-golfing in Estes Park and enjoyed a few walks around the downtown area.

I enjoyed shopping in the downtown area. My favorite shop was Miller's Indian Village where I bought a little purse from Guatemala (or at least that's what it said) and a heart-shaped dream catcher (which I love). There's also tons of candy and ice cream shops downtown. Everything looked so good, I could never choose what to get. My mom got one of the candy apples and it was to die for.

My favorite restaurant was also in the downtown area. It's called Grubsteak and they had the best burgers. You can get almost any burger as a vegetarian burger. I got a guacamole and jack veggie burger and it was the most delicious meal I had the whole trip. The restaurant also has yak, elk, and buffalo burgers. My family tried the elk and buffalo burgers and their favorite was the buffalo. I would definitely recommend eating at Grubsteak if you're in Estes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Kaw Valley Adventure

After Father's Day shopping, my mom and I went to Kaw Valley to pick up some flowers for her gardens. There were so many beautiful flowers there, I just had to share some photos of it with you.

I hope these flowers were able to brighten up your day. Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Room Organization Diaries: Day 2

The second section of my room I chose to organize was the back corner. I had all of my shoes piled up next to the container I keep my shoes in (yeah, it was a mess), an empty black makeup organizer, a broken guitar stand (don't even know how that happened), and all sorts of other stuff.

The first and most difficult part of this was dealing with the shoe container. It had stationary junk all over it, the shoes in the container were thrown in chaotically, and the rest of the shoes were sitting in a pile next to it.  I took everything out of the box and sorted my shoes into boots, closed shoes, and sandals. Then I took everything off the top and did some deep cleaning with the container. I used Lysol Wipes to wipe down the white part of the container and rinsed out the boxes.

While all that dried I took out all of the canvases I've painted over the years. I went online to see if there was a better way to store them, but I only found what I was already doing (a DIY art portfolio) or storing them in a box. I'm just sticking with my current set up for now and keeping all of my canvases in DIY art portfolios behind the shoe box.

With everything out of that spot, I vacuumed then put back the shoe container and organized my stationary a bit better by throwing out what I didn't need and putting everything where it belonged.

I glanced over my art/craft bookshelf because that's pretty much organized. I had some photos to take put in an album and that was really it. I put the empty makeup organizer and an extra photo frame in the donation pile I have going in my room. I put the broken guitar stand next to my trash so I can take it out. 

The other white containers I have I wiped down as well. I realized I could put all the stuff I currently have in 6 drawers in 2, so now I have just the larger container with a photo of me and my sister on it.

Other changes:
I took 2 photos I had sitting on my shoe container and put them in the frames I had stashed in my dresser.

I also have a grand total of 3 empty drawers that I need to figure out what to do with.