Archer and Olive Review

Disclosure: I received samples to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own.

I have always been the creative type. Even as a child I always loved writing and making up stories, journaling, and drawing (although my drawing talent leaves a lot to be desired).  So it should come as no surprise that I love journals, notebooks, and planners. The other day I received some samples from Archer and Olive

They sell awesome, high quality journaling supplies. The covers are nice looking and very thick and durable, making them great for personal use or gift giving.

I received a lined notebooks and a dot grid notebook.  These feature 160 GSM Ultra Thick Paper.  They are perfect for using with markers, fountain pens, and even paint with no ghosting or bleeding through!

With the back to school season in full swing this a great time to try Archer and Olive. Their products are great for planners for homeschool moms and for your favorite student, and they are also perfect for all you writers and artists out there!


An Easy Way to Create Unique Graduation Announcements

Over the last year my husband and I have found ourselves in a unique position.  A few months ago we were sending out announcements about the birth of our son, and right now we are sending out high school graduation announcements for my stepson.

With so much of our lives being shared online, including thousands of photos on the cloud, it is refreshing for me to be able to actually print photos and cards every now and then.  I’ve personally always been a traditional person.  I enjoy traditions like the family Christmas card and hand written invitations and thank you cards, but I believe even some of my favorite traditions can be brought up to date.  Last fall I asked my husband about ordering graduation announcements for my stepson. He wasn’t really interested simply because we don’t have a large circle of family and friends to them out to, and therefore, it wouldn’t be worth the money.  I figured he had a point, so I didn’t give it much more thought, but as graduation has gotten closer and closer, I’ve been thinking we should send out some type of graduation announcement.  Enter Basic Invite.

Basic Invite sells a number of unique cards and stationary, including photo graduation party invitations, graduation announcements, and thank you cards.  They make it easy for you to create your  announcements and invitations using your own photos and information.  You can even adjust colors and fonts to create the unique look you are going for.

What I love about the site is the simplicity of it.  With just a few clicks and information, you can create a custom announcement that looks clean, sleek, and professional.  The customization options also allow you to put in all the information you want.  Just add your child’s name, and graduation date and location, if you want to create an invitation.  Some of the samples also show that you can add your child’s college of choice and major to the announcement.

It’s a great way to make an invitation that’s both original and unique with a personal touch of flair, and it is also a more affordable option, which I love!

Visit Basic Invite today to learn more about how to create your own custom holiday cards, invitations, and grad thank yousRight now you can get 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51


3 Benefits of Cosigning Your Kid’s Loan

At some point in your child’s life, they’re going to need a loan.

It will probably be right around the time they begin considering college.

As you’re most likely well aware, the application process comes to an end once the borrower signs their name. This is also when you can benefit from becoming a cosigner on your kid’s loan.

3 Reasons You Should Be the Cosigner on Your Kid’s Loan

Obviously, cosigning your kid’s loan will mean taking on a certain amount of responsibility.

At the same time, there are three really good reasons you should still consider going through with it.

1. Ensuring They Get a Better Rate

The main benefit of providing your signature is that cosigners lead to better rates. After all, you’re giving the lender an extra layer of assurance that they will eventually receive the amount they’re owed.

That improved rate is especially important to students who have a number of other financial priorities to juggle but don’t necessarily have the income required to manage everything. If they can save for other goals instead of working during college to pay off their loans upon graduation, they’ll enter “the real world” with a lot more opportunities.

2. Showing Them What to Watch Out For

Unfortunately, a bad rate may be the least of their worries.

Many lenders prey on young people knowing full well that they’ve never taken out a loan before and won’t know what to expect. Some of these lenders are actually perfectly above-board when dealing with more experienced adults, so researching their reputation may not expose their less-respectable practices.

As a cosigner, you’ll have every reason to look over the loan before providing your signature, so you’ll be able to catch any irregularities before they become a fixture in your kid’s finances.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t catch any issues, though. Just knowing an experienced cosigner is involved will scare away any lender with bad intentions.

3. Improving Their Career Prospects

Your kid is going to college to get the degree they need to pursue a rewarding career. Unfortunately, if they can’t get the student loan they need, they may have to choose another option. This is also true if your child has plans to pursue a post-graduate degree. For example, the cost of medical school is beyond what most students could ever afford, even with the help of a loan. If they don’t qualify for enough federal funding, their only option will be a private lender.

Finding the best route back into education as a parent

Many parents return to college to earn a degree that allows work in their chosen profession, to earn a degree that leads to higher wages, and to earn a degree that facilitates career advancement. Long past the time of toga parties and football games, parents who are students find pursuing a college degree intimidating because it requires juggling parental responsibilities and a full-time job, in addition to budgeting for a college education. However, today’s parents have many options as institutions have become increasingly flexible in their efforts to meet student demand. For today’s parents, the best route to completing a college education and earning a degree can be made much simpler with planning.

Before even entering a program of study, parents returning to school should plan for their career goals. Issues to consider include:

  •  Time management—Parents find they have few very hours left available when the working day is over. Raising a family while working full or part time consumes quite a bit of an individual’s time. Completing any educational program requires allocating time during the day just to study. Furthermore, college counselors advise students spend at least two hours per every credit hour studying or working on coursework to be successful in their coursework, making time management a priority an important issue parents must consider when returning to school.
  • Educational Plan—Someone returning to school might consider creating an educational plan. Many parents return to school for a variety of reasons, as stated in the beginning of this article, but students with clear, defined goals are more successful in their academic endeavors if they go into their education with an academic plan that clearly lists the required courses needed to enter a profession.
  • Skills—Knowing the skills needed for a particular career is essential to college success. In fact, some prospective students might find they already have some of the skills necessary to function in the program. If a parent has earned credits toward a degree, for example, getting a transcript evaluation can assess the requisite courses needed for any program. Before this can happen, though, the student should seek counsel from an academic advisor at their chosen institution.
  • Budget—Equally important in pre-planning for college is developing a budgeting for an education. Cost of books and tuition can be quite expensive today. Knowing what type of financial assistance in the form of grants, loans and work-study programs can help parents budget for a college.
  • Preparing for the Classroom—Today’s classroom is a much different place than in year’s past. Dusty chalkboards and dry erase markers have been replaced by learning management systems (LMS) and other technology in the classroom. Many instructors do not give handouts, as many of the lectures are housed online. Prepare by becoming familiar with current computer technology and the current LMS the institution may be using.

Once developing a plan, the step between enrolling for the first class and earning the degree is not so unachievable.

Conversely, many institutions have done their part in making college more accessible for parents. Many traditional programs offer alternative schedules, including online classes. As well as evening classes, some schools offer weekend classes that are Friday evening or Saturday morning. Several programs offer condensed classes that last anywhere between six-eight weeks, so students could, in theory, accelerate their program within a single semester. Also, students who struggle with childcare issues may find many online programs more manageable. Some of the programs are accelerated, so a person can finish a class in as little as just one month. For example, Maryville’s doctorate in education online comprehensive program of study takes as little as 32 months to complete. A plethora of options exist for parents who might find managing an education and a family life intimidating.

When parents return to school, children usually benefit, so the sacrifice in terms of time and money is always worth the effort. Before even attending the first day of class, prepare children for by assigning them responsibilities. If children are old enough, show them how to cook simple meals or how to wash their own clothes, in addition to helping out with other chores in the house. Children will rise to the challenge if they are made to follow a routine that includes free time as well. All of this requires

organizational skills, but when set in place, parents make the challenge of becoming full or part time students less daunting and much more enjoyable for both parent and child.

Thoughts and Tips for Summer Reading: Part 2

Thoughts and Tips for Summer Reading

Yesterday I posted some thoughts and tips to help your kids with summer reading, and today I am continuing with this topic.  In particular, I’m giving some basic advice on handling writing assignments and study questions. [Read more…]

Thoughts and Tips for Summer Reading: Part 1

Thoughts and Tips for Summer Reading

In just under a month our son will be going back to school. (And once again I am reminded of how time flies!)  Aside from paying necessary school fees, and purchasing school supplies and clothes, our son is preparing for the new school year by doing his summer assignments, in particular, his summer reading for English class.  Even for the best of students, summer reading can often be a grueling and daunting task.

And I think it’s almost as hard on the parents. If you are a parent who’s unfamiliar with the work your child is reading, you feel bad because there’s nothing you can do to help, and if they tell you they don’t like the book or don’t understand the book, you can’t say, “I know how you feel.”  On the other hand, if you ARE familiar with the work, you feel torn in regards to whether you should help with the assignment, and if so, how much should you help.  As someone who majored in English, this is especially difficult for me.  I love advising and helping others edit their papers and develop their ideas, but with our son, I have to hold back, because I know it’s important for him to do his own work, and my husband and I don’t want for him to be dependent on someone else to assist him on things that he is capable of doing by himself.

So in the last couple of years, I’ve mostly taken a hands off approach, and we’ve let him pass or fail on his own.  Today I’m going to share a few tips and ideas for you to pass along to your kids and ideas to help you get your child through their summer reading and assignments.  As it’s a topic that I know all too well, and because I’m currently dealing with it, I have a lot of ideas to share, so this will be a two-part post! [Read more…]

Back to School Must-Haves Review & Giveaway

Back to School Giveaway

We went back to school a few weeks ago, but we’re still getting settled in to the new school year routine. How about you?  If your kids are still out for the summer, or if they’re back in school, but you’re still trying to “get with it” then perhaps a few goodies could help you.  Today I’m highlighting a few products for moms to kids of all ages, and I’ve also got a prize pack for you! [Read more…]

5 Tips to Keep Your Teen Organized + Stomp Out Bullying with FriXion

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EraseStress #CollectiveBias

Tips to Keep Your Teen Organized

For the past few weeks I’ve been sharing ideas for to get mom organized and prepared for the new school year, from meal planning to scheduling activities, time management, and more!  But what about the kids?  Do you have a teen, tween, or preteen who needs a little help in the organizing department?  Do they need a little nudge when it comes to remembering tests, assignments, or other important items for school?

Today I have a few organizational tips that I’ve found helpful as a student and that I’m trying to pass on to our teen son. [Read more…]

Creating an Organized Work Station for Mom

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SchoolYearReady #CollectiveBias

Planning & Organizing with Post-It

With school back in session, it’s time get your kids organized and ready to start out the year on a good foot, and this means Mom has to stay organized too!  In our household I’m the keeper of the calendar and the books!  If there’s paperwork to keep up with, events and due dates to remember, and bills to be paid, that falls under my jurisdiction!  I actually love taking on these roles though!  And I’ve always been really good at organizing, so it’s the perfect job for me! (Plus, I love school, so keeping up with Noah’s stuff allows me to live vicariously through him! haha!) [Read more…]

Back to School Gifts with Sadie Robertson Live Original + A Positive Note from Me

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and DaySpring, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DayspringSadieRob

Sadie Robertson Live Original

Every day I’m troubled by a lot of the things I see and hear on movies, television, music, and other media.  The decline in faith and family values, and the lack of positive messages and role models often leads me wondering and worried about where we’re headed.

We try to do our part to lead positive lives and encourage the young people in our family to do the same.  One thing I  especially wish for the young ladies in our family is that they maintain self respect and a positive image.  I want for them to be proud of who they are and not define themselves based on what others think, or feel they have to change to fit someone else’s ideal.

I, for one, wish I could have figured that out a long time ago! I am in my 30s and I still occasionally struggle with self esteem issues.  I’ve always had severe anxiety, and because of that, I really missed out on a lot of opportunities.  As a student, my grades were nearly perfect, and yet I never really felt completely confident in a classroom.  My anxieties also left me very distrusting of a lot of people, and as a result I found it very hard to open up and get to know most people.

Whether you’re a student in high school or college, you’re out in the work force, or if you’re a stay-at-home mom, maintaining a positive attitude is essential.  You can be smart, talented, and attractive, but if you don’t have self-confidence and aren’t able to be comfortable just being yourself, then you are lost! None of that other stuff matters. [Read more…]