Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Check Out These Great Daily Deals

I love checking out Daily Deals and have scored great deals on entertainment, dining, and vacations.  Here are some deals worth buying.  They are in varied areas so check first that it is near you. As always check the fine print. Also if you share after purchase with many deal if friends buy too, you can get a discount or refund. 

Franklin Institute Tickets $9.25

Adventure Aquarium Tickets Discounted

Splashzone Water park Tickets Wildwood 

Back to School Haircut at Sports Page $8.99

Kayak for Two on Susquehanna Limited time deal of $40

Ticket to Philly Brick Festival $22

Cape May Whale and Research Center Boat Tour $15

Family Pirate Ship Ride $23 for two

Josh Groban at Montage tickets start at $10

Sam's Club Membership $45 including $20 gift card and food vouchers that basically pays for itself.
I was able to use a 20% off and get this for $36!

Great bowling package for Wilkes Barre.  Perfect night out includes dinner and fun! This is a very clean place and has great pizza.
$25 for 4 people to bowl 2 games including shoes, soda and pizza at Chacko's.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's All About the Sticker Shock

I have been designing sticker charts in many capacities for almost two decades!  As a teacher I used them often, as a friend I have recommended them frequently, and as a parent I have used them almost never.  Finally, I have found a system that is working for us.  To make a successful sticker chart system you need it to motivate the kids while not torturing the parents!
So here is what is working for us.... The sticker chart is reinforcing a few positive behaviors that we are seeking from the children while trying to also assure that over the summer there is still some learning.
You choose what your goals are for your children.  I believe creating a system where the child easily earns at least one sticker a day will make sure there is reinforcement and success.
Our goals are as follows: (you can guess which child each goes to if you know my kids well)
Sticker for...
  •  Making your bed, putting the laundry in the basket, picking up your floor, hanging up your bath towel.
  • Extra chore of choosing including wiping down bathroom, sweeping the porch, walking the dog will equal extra sticker.
  • 20 minutes of summer work. 
  • 15-20 minutes of reading.
  • Getting ready for the morning and night without a fuss including selecting an appropriate outfit in a timely manner, brushing teeth, fixing hair, using the bathroom.
  • Being kind most of the day 
  • Not crying over small things.
Stickers can be given for other reasons such as finishing meal well without complaint, showing compassion, sharing,etc...

Rewards in our house mimic fun things we would do in summer, but the kids need to earn them.
  • Bowling (kids bowl free)
  • Special snack at the grocery store of their choosing.
  • Roller Skating
  • Fishing
  • Paddle Boat Ride
  • Creating a Science Experiment
  • Movies
  • Select a book at Barnes and Noble
  • Museum
  • Miniature Golf
  • Ice Cream for Dinner
Sticker packs can be purchased at The Dollar Tree.  One pack would last for an eternity!  I print out a new chart about once a week.  The kids select the themes.  I have found this has not only kept the kids on track, but me as well.  We are certainly doing more school work this summer than we have ever done before!
Cecily working hard to not cover her unicorns.
Cole's only motivation to read!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Back At It...

So yes if you have been checking in on the blog, you probably heard some crickets chirping and nothing else.  The lack of writing was certainly not due to lack of things I felt compelled to ramble on about, but rather it was because I had too much other writing to do. After 10 years I have moved back to Pennsylvania and more specifically after 16 years have moved back to Northeastern Pennsylvania.  As the kids are now growing to an age where I am needed less on an every waking moment basis, it is time to consider the next step of heading back to a job that pays money. The last time I taught school was in in New Jersey.  Between those years teaching and my years home, my license in Pennsylvania lapsed.  This means I can not apply for a job or even substitute at a school without getting my teaching certificate in order.  First step towards that was taking 2 graduate level courses or 180 hours of free online courses.  I went with the free option that I could do at my leisure.

My kitchen became my work station, though my husband suggested a locked bedroom where the children could not find me.
For all of you that work from home or take classes and do coursework at home with children around, wow!  I am pretty sure an electric lighted sign started to advertise to my children, especially Cecily the moment I would begin working on a class.  I promised myself that I would focus on getting this done and would not be doing the blog or other for fun writing until it was done.  Something like 100 short papers later and I am finally done.  It is at least the first step towards re-upping my certification. 

So now I promised my friends that I would be back with some sort of deal ideas or antics in my life.  Perhaps a full essay of the pros and cons of the skirted bathing suit would be a good start. Whatever it is it will never be all that well written, but hopefully it will ave you money or make you laugh!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Do You Know About Goldstar?

I know I have been absent lately and there will be a blog post to address that soon! 
You may know of my love for daily deals and deals in general.  On a recent trip back to New Jersey, I considered a quick trip to Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute.  This is when I stumbled upon Goldstar and their great deal on tickets. 

Examples of the deals they are offering for Philadelphia area:
The Franklin Institute:  Regularly $18.50 Goldstar price $9.25
Adventure Aquarium:  $20.28 Goldstar $15.45
Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours: $27.00 Goldstar $13.50
Some tickets have an additional fee so take that into consideration, but any discount at these places are worth a try!

Monday, May 19, 2014

L.L.Bean Lunch Boxes $4.99 Shipped

If you are lucky enough to receive the LL Bean catalogs at your house then there is a super deal.  Right now you can use your $10 off code to score a great lunch box for next school year for only $4.99 shipped.  
I picked out this cute one for Cecily who will start eating lunch at school once a week next year.  

LL Bean has great guarantees as well so your money is well spent.  So start heading to your recycle bin to dig out that catalog!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Purex no sort for Colors Giveaway

Sorting laundry is probably a great thing that all entrants into homemaker of the year do regularly.  Me not so much and I have a once worn pair of previously white now pink tights to show for it.  When Purex sent me the Purex no sort for colors to try out and review on my blog, I was thrilled.  It is absolutely the best product for me so that I don't have more color bleeding accidents and can still not sort my laundry!
 I used it right away and the detergent worked well.  There was no bleeding and the clothes came to vibrant and fresh smelling. To prove that I absolutely trust the detergent, I sent little Anna and Elsa in for a tumble with a full load of unsorted towels and sheets which included a bright pink sleeping bag that had never been washed.

 The girls came out bright and fresher than ever, which is great since I certainly could never track these girls down for purchase again.
You can win one of two coupons I will be giving away to try out Purex no sort for Colors yourself.  I promise if you start using it you can still earn props for being a fabulous homemaker, but with a lot less hassle!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Where State Testing Fails...

I was supposed to volunteer in Cole's library class this week, but got  an email stating that due to PSSA testing they won't be having any volunteers in the building.  Cole is only in 1st grade so he is not doing any state testing.  Last year though in New Jersey he was exposed to a standardized test which he took via the computer.  He did really well on it and I appreciated seeing his results, because it did give me some comparison of where he stood.

As a child I always liked the testing.  We took the TELLS test and the California Achievement Test.  I can still recall the sample questions that went something like this... a baloo is a bear and a yonker is a young man.  If you know me then you won't be surprised that this useless info is forever ingrained in my mind.  In the 1980's the tests just sort of showed up one day, we took them and a few months later the results came through.  It was not an event.  There was no lead up, no incentives for kids to do well, no threats, no practice tests, special snacks, or anything of the like.

To me the issue with the current line of testing is not exactly the testing.  First it is the hype, that built up for kids and parents about the importance of the testing.  Children lose sleep over taking the tests and have anxiety attacks from the pressure.  Remember these same children did not even exist in this world as little as eight years ago.  Secondly it is the political pressure that surrounds the testing system.  I am not one for politics, but I am one who knows education intimately and better than most politicians.  They should hardly be the ones governing this system and using it as leverage for their own political gain. Next it is the finances.  What can we do to improve our nation's educational system for say 1.7 billion dollars?  I am sure that we could do a great deal including hiring more teachers to make class sizes smaller,  providing appropriate teaching materials for students, improving education in our nation's poorest communities.  Finally, the problem lies in what is done with the results of these tests.  Schools that do well get funding and schools who do not do well get into trouble and can lose funding.

I want to look more closely at that final thought.  I have taught in three states in three very different settings.  I have worked with students whose first language was not English, students with learning disabilities, students who were educationally gifted, students from low, middle and high socio economic backgrounds.  I have worked in places where class size was 17 and another where the average class size was 26.  In no way were the settings where I worked equal, but the tests given were the same.  One district I worked in the students basically walked through the doors reading while the other school we were lucky if the students knew the letters in their names.  How can funding be based equally when the educational system that provides the test prep is so clearly unfair? 

All this said I feel there is some value in standardized testing.  It is for the above reasons that I am against what it has become.  Will I opt Cole out of testing?  I probably will not as he is the type of student who will probably be just fine for that week.  I would like to see his results as it is a way for me to really see how he measures up educationally against the norm of his peers. That Kindergarten test he took last year, blew me away as he did really well and I was not expecting that. I do not believe the current system is worth the money or stress it causing to all involved.  A less invasive system of standardized tests would better serve our schools. If it surprises you that I would at any level support this form of test remember, you can't expect someone who can still recite their results from the Tells test taken at Schuyler Ave Elementary in third grade to completely turn their back to standardized testing, can you?