Tag Archives: class

Experience Gifts For The Holiday Season

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Experience Gifts For The Holiday Season

Hello! Are you bored with giving the standard holiday gifts? You know, lotions, candles, fleece blankets – all of the usual. Or, perhaps, you are shopping for the person who has everything? Regardless, maybe it’s time to switch gears and think about presents that you can’t wrap up and stick under the tree. We’re talking the gifts of experience! Shake things up this holiday season with these ideas and create lasting memories for your giftee in the new year:

Cooking Class:

Is your giftee gifted in the kitchen? Or can your giftee not cook at all lol? Either way, a cooking class would be such fun and something different. Whether it’s a class dedicated to delicious desserts or learning to cook Indian food, it will be a rewarding experience as well as a filling one because you can dig in afterwards! This is also a great gift to give to a couple for a unique date night.

Wine & Craft Class:

Wine or beer craft nights became wildly popular a few years ago and there’s a reason for that – they are a blast! Even if your giftee isn’t the crafty type, that’s okay! There will be a teacher to walk you through the entire process step by step and offer input to improve your project. Lots of different bars and restaurants host these events and I have seen everything from painting nights to woodworking and everything in between. You will also get the bonus of being able to display your creation in your home… Or tucked away in a closet depending on how it turns out. 😉

Girls Night In:

Do you and your bestie have some serious catching up to do? How about booking a hotel room for a night? You can gab, watch all of the HBO, and enjoy the indoor pool and hot tub. I don’t know about you guys, but I always want to go swimming in the winter! DoorDash some grub or order room service and indulge yourselves with the ultimate girls night in.

Event Tickets:

Does your giftee have a love for the theater? Or maybe they are an adrenaline junkie and frequents amusement parks in the summer? Sports fan? Easy. All you need to do is buy a couple of tickets! It can be as big as tickets to a concert or simply treating them to a movie night for the latest flick they have been dying to see. Whatever you choose for your giftee, it is sure to be a much appreciated present.

Take A Hike:

Do you have an outdoorsy giftee on your list? How about planning an excursion on a hiking trail or a camping trip? Take a drive, pack a picnic lunch, and enjoy each other’s company in the great outdoors. Of course, you might have to hold off until warmer weather but that’s totally fine! One of the points of experience gifts is to give the person something to look forward to. If your giftee has a green thumb, there are also lots of classes available to create your own succulent terrarium or potted plant display.

Animal Lovers:

Did you know that some zoos offer “Get Closer” experiences? This allows you to have one on one time with certain animals at the zoo. I actually did a Get Closer experience with my brother at the Akron Zoo to see the Galapagos Tortoises and it was amazing! We got to love on them, feed them treats, and learn about them from one of the employees. If you have an animal lover to shop for, this is a fantastic way to go!

The gift of experience is sure to please everyone on your list and it gives you the opportunity to get creative too. Use some of the ideas above or put your thinking cap on to come up with the perfect gift for everyone on your list!

Have you ever received an experience gift before? What kind of gifts do you like to give? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Watercolor Painting Class

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Watercolor Painting Class

Hello!! This past Saturday I took a really fun watercolor painting class at the Quirk Cultural Center with my mom and sister. The class was led by the wonderful Ana-Joel of Falcon Grove Studio and she taught us how to paint different herbs inspired by an English country garden. To begin, Ana showed us the different techniques to paint rosemary, sage, mint, and basil and then we got to create our own masterpieces:

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My mom, sister, and I would definitely not fall under the category of artistically skilled and have never painted with watercolor before. However, we all jumped at the opportunity to take this class because it was local and seemed like something we could enjoy together. I am so glad that we did and left the class with work that we were proud of and an eagerness to take more classes with Ana again.

Ana is an amazing local artist who founded Falcon Grove Studio during the pandemic to help promote a feeling of safety and wellness at home through art. She is so gifted, kind, and genuine and we all felt lucky to have her as our teacher. Her words inspired each of the students in the class and I loved how she told us that art is special because it’s the way your own body moves to create something. As someone who isn’t good at art, it was so encouraging to hear that you are still making something meaningful.

As I said, I had never painted watercolor before and I had a blast. It was such a unique experience and I was blown away by this whole world that I knew existed but never tried for myself. Ana taught us how to mix colors and use the water to enhance our art and it was so cool to see colors transform from something as simple as adding a touch of yellow or red and a “juicy brush” loaded with water.

For my project, I chose to paint basil and sage and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. Are they museum level works of art? No way lol. BUT, I thought that it was a pretty damn good first try. Not only did I feel proud of what I painted but I also felt excited to try painting more and I think that definitely qualifies as a GREAT SUCCESS (Borat voice).

Ana offers a variety of different courses in person and online and I simply cannot wait to work with her again. I also have ideas swirling in my head for some commissioned pieces by her! Please check out her social media and Etsy page at the following and support this fabulous local artist:

What is your favorite medium of art? Have you ever taken any art classes before? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Top Learning Apps For Kindergarten & Pre-School

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5 Top Learning Apps For Kindergarten & Pre-School

As a parent, you’ll want to help your kids with their education as much as you can. When you’re teaching them at home, it can be hard to know which resources are the best. There are many educational apps which can be used as learning aids at home. To get you started with a few of the best, try these five:

1. Teach Your Monster To Read

This fun-filled app is the perfect tool to teach your kids to read. It’s both simple to use and engaging. Teach Your Monster To Read was created based on the early phonics curriculum, so you can be sure that they are learning everything they need. It’s an award-winning game which takes your children on an exciting journey (with plenty of monster friends)! Kids get to match letters and sounds, blend, segment, master tricky words, and work towards making full sentences. The app is the perfect after school activity for a little extra learning!

2. Moose Math:

With the Moose Math app, your kids can learn all about geometry, sorting, subtraction, addition, and counting to 100. The activities make sure that learning about math is super fun! Your kids get to run their own juice shop, search the lost and found box, and meet plenty of cute and kooky characters. Your kids will just love the ‘pet bingo’ game and ‘paint pet’. Here they’ll learn plenty of skills, including:

  • Using algebraic thinking to solve word puzzles
  • Practice their pattern recognition skills
  • Recognize and identify shapes
  • Compare different lengths

3. Busy Shapes & Colors:

With the Busy Shapes & Colors app, learning colors and shapes has never been more fun. Here you’ll find plenty of cute penguin characters to entertain your children through the process! It’s a simple app to help little ones improve their fine motor skills. Each level brings a new challenge so your kids will never get bored! Further features of the app include four different play modes; the choice of fifteen languages; color and shape ‘makers’; multi-touch play and more!

4. Hungry Caterpillar Pre-School:

Based on the famous book by Eric Carle, this app is the perfect tool for preschoolers. The activities guide kids through math concepts, language, and literature too. Here your kids will learn about phonics and build their confidence over time. There are science topics, puzzles and reasoning, and plenty of fun songs!

5. ABCmouse:

ABCmouse is a fantastic learning program which covers music, art, reading and more. The app was designed for 2-8-year-olds, and is based on the pre-school and school curriculum. With so many fun activities your kids will have tons of options! Using the app, you’ll boost your child’s development across all their subjects, giving them a great head start.

All of these apps follow a pre-school and kindergarten curriculum. Choosing the right kindergarten is an important part of your child’s learning journey. If you’re looking for a top-quality kindergarten, be sure to check out jennys kindergarten and early learning. Ready, get set, and learn!

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Taking Advantage Of The Internet In Self-Isolation

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Taking Advantage Of The Internet In Self-Isolation

Hello! Thank god for the internet while we’re all hunkered down at home, amiright? Personally, I would be going crazy without my access to social media and all of the entertainment streaming services that Johnny and I have. The internet is a wonderful tool to help fight the boredom blues and, amidst the stay at home orders, it is now being used for a lot more than aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. Bored? Try some of the following:

Take A Class:

Right now, there are so many free courses being offered online from reputable colleges to teachers hosting Zoom lectures. I have even seen that Yale is offering free admission to their course entitled “Happiness” or something of the like. I, myself, have been participating in an online American Sign Language class being taught via Zoom and have been having a blast. It feels great to learn something new and you can’t beat free!

Streaming:

Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and iTunes provide endless new shows, short films, and movies that you can watch from the comfort of your home. Lying on the couch, in bed, or relaxing on your patio requires entertainment; therefore, a good internet connection is necessary. Making the internet as effective as possible in your home can go a long way toward relieving your boredom. Take advantage of the cox internet with a high speed, and you may not buffer even when you connect different devices.

Tour A Museum:

In the mood to travel? How about taking a virtual trip to one of the many museums offering tours online. Play some classical music, enjoy a glass of wine, and get a taste of the finer things as you admire art from around the world. Take a look and get inspired and then, who knows? Maybe you’ll be creating your own masterpieces afterwards.

Watch A Play:

Many theaters and opera houses are offering online streaming of their shows. I have seen advertising from everything from theaters in New York City to the Paris Opera House virtually opening their doors to the bored general public. I would love to watch a few operas in my free time and I am interested in checking out a viewing of the Phantom Of The Opera which I have seen advertised all over Facebook. So cool!

Connect With Friends:

Who says getting online has to be all about learning? Of course, connecting with friends is a given on social media. But, how about scheduling a chat over Zoom? You could play trivia, watch a show all together, have a paint night, or participate in a happy hour drink. Yes, it’s fun to catch up but actually doing an activity together will be a nice reminder of old times and could be a new weekly tradition to look forward to until real life meetings can happen.

Start A Club:

If you are trying to connect with like minded individuals, try hosting a virtual club. You could form a group based around anything from books and writing to movies and art. Schedule a weekly Zoom meeting to discuss the latest few chapters or the cliffhanger in the TV series you’re watching together. Intelligent conversations always perk me up when being plopped in front of the TV is the norm and everyone can benefit from that!

So many resources have made the internet even better than it already is during the coronavirus panic and these ideas are sure to entertain during those times when it feels like there is “nothing to do”. Enjoy!

Have you been doing anything similar to the tips above? How have you been using the internet to your advantage right now? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Activities For Children In Self-Isolation

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Activities For Children In Self-Isolation

Hello! Many of my friends are now home schooling their children and, for the most part, it’s going great. Some are even thinking of making the plunge to home schooling all of the time. But what do you do when your kiddos have a ton of extra energy and assignments due? How about some entertainment? Help eliminate the wiggles and get some extra focus back with the following activities:

Scheduled Recess:

To many students, playing with their friends at recess is the high point of their day. Schedule some play time outside or board games inside if the weather is inclement after lunch. It will bring some familiarity to their schedule and, after a half hour of free play outside, the next math assignment should come a bit easier afterwards!

Pillow Fort Party:

Are your kids hung up on English homework? Build a pillow fort special for them to do their reading in. Permit playing in the fort once the chapters are read and the homework is complete for a special reward. How about a movie night from the comfort of the pillows and blankets once the day is complete? Don’t forget the popcorn. 😀

Kitchen Helpers:

Kids can learn a lot about math and science through helping in the kitchen. Have your little ones help you out the next time you make lunch or bake cookies. Teach them about different measurements and kitchen safety. If it goes over well, decorating the treats once the “lesson” is done makes for a fine reward.

Talk To Them:

If you’re having a hard time keeping your kids focused on the task at hand, just ask them what you can do to help. Maybe that means playing music as they work. Or what about a dance break to a few songs every hour? They might have their own tried and true methods, themselves, so try sticking to them if they work.

Encourage Their Friendships:

I’m sure it’s so hard for all of the kiddos to be away from their friends right now, especially if they have no one around their age at home. Encourage their friendships even in self-isolation. Allow them to FaceTime or chat with a friend on the phone during a break. Even teachers give their students chit chat time so do the same while you’re homeschooling. Just a small break to talk to someone in their peer group could be a welcome change of pace for your child throughout the day.

I tip my cap to all of the parents at home right now with their children because I genuinely don’t know how they’re doing it! Hopefully, these tips will make their current job a little bit easier. 🙂

How is homeschooling your children going? How do you keep them focused during the school day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Get More Involved In Your Local Community

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Get More Involved In Your Local Community

Whether you have recently moved into a new area or you are just keen to try and improve your current sociability, you will find that it is a great idea to try and get more involved in your local community whenever possible. Getting more involved is often merely a matter of doing more and getting out there as a way to have some fun, do good, and meet new friends. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the activities in particular you might want to consider if you are going to try and get more involved in your local community. Consider some of the following and you’ll be surprised at the difference that it makes:

Play Sports:

Playing sports is an activity that is offered in almost every community. The sport that you choose to play is up to you, but it might prove especially expedient if you go for one that is strongly team-focused, so that you can meet many more people. You will find that sports such as softball and baseball and so on are especially good for this. If there are no such groups out there, grab some softball lineup cards, find a place to play, and start one!

Take An Evening Class:

If there is some skill or ability that you have always wanted to have, you might want to consider taking some kind of evening class, instead. You are bound to be able to find some in your local area, and hopefully a few that spike your personal interest. The benefit of this, is that if you go and learn about something that interests you, you are bound to meet a number of like-minded people and, in doing so, you will find that you will soon become a real part of the community. This is one of the surest and swiftest ways to build up a strong network of friends, so it’s definitely worth considering. Take an evening class at your local university or college, and you will be able to get much more involved in your community in no time.

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Always invite your new friends to coffee!

Volunteer:

One of the more wholesome ways to get more involved in your local community is to volunteer somewhere. If you look around, you are sure to find opportunities for this, as there always are. Soup kitchens, church programs, the Special Olympics, and animal shelters are all great places to start. Doing good feels good and you will meet plenty of new people (Or pets!) as a result.

Getting involved in your community is a fun way to fill up your free time and, with the new friends that you make, you will be the talk of the town in no time!

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You Don’t Have To Be A Suck Up To Get That Promotion

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You Don’t Have To Be A Suck Up To Get That Promotion

No one like that one person in the office that is always laughing way too hard at the boss’s joke or begging for extra work! Luckily, you don’t have to be that gal or guy to get where you need to be in your career. You can excel without being a suck up, just read the post below to find out how:

Actions speak louder than words:

One way to prove yourself worthy of a promotion and a position of responsibility is to let your actions speak for you. What this means is that you don’t waste your time handing out hollow compliments to people or playing the political game but, instead, keeping your head down and focusing on the work.

Then, you can demonstrate your focus, dedication, and commitment without having to do anything else. These are all qualities which any manager worth their salt will recognize as being top of the list when considering you for a promotion.

Educate:

Next, you certainly don’t have to suck up to get a promotion if you can prove that you have the necessary education and experience. One way to achieve this is to complete a specialized course like this electrical engineering degree online in your own time. Then, you can fit your studies around your current work commitments and get qualified for the promotion that you want. Studying in your field puts you in a great position for a promotion.

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Hit the books!

Of course, it’s also possible to enroll in courses that provide on the job training, that will set you up nicely for the role that you want. Yes, these may pay a little less in the short term, a consideration that is important if you have a family to support or bills to pay. However, such courses do have the advantage of providing practical experience as well as just book learning. Something that is often perceived as incredibly valuable by potential employers and those in a position to offer a promotion.

Lastly, do not forget the power of volunteering in your chosen field in your own time. This shows your dedication to the area and can provide you with the relevant experience that you need to climb the ladder.

Be your own person:

The temptation in a work environment is to become a yes person or join a group or clique for safety and security. However, sometimes being a part of a larger group can do more damage than good when it comes to landing that promotion that you are looking for.

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Those in power may associate you with the group first and not judge you on your own individual merit. In fact, they can also be concerned that because of your loyalty and friendships within the company that you will provide favorable treatment to those that you are close to; that could compromise the running of the business.

To that end, it’s always best to be your own person as much as possible while at work, and don’t be afraid to speak out if you think something is a bad idea. Although, do remember to do this constructively with valid reasons. Otherwise, you risk being labeled as a complainer, and that certainly won’t be too good for your promotion prospects, either.

Being up for a promotion is a big deal, and following the above steps can help you land the spot that you’ve always dreamed of!

Duolingo Progress

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Duolingo Progress

Howdy! Thanks to everyone’s recommendations to me about the Duolingo app, I have been obsessed for close to two months now. For funsies, I finally completed their French program for an enjoyable review and to sharpen my skills. Although it was tedious, it was well worth the time and effort and it felt good to finish the lessons that I started for a language that I love.

I have now moved onto Duolingo’s Spanish program and have been working on it for the past week or so. Once I complete these lessons, Spanish will be the FOURTH language that I’m familiar with, which is pretty good for an American! I haven’t taken a Spanish course since grade school, which has been over a decade ago, and I am already pleased with the progress that I have made.

My only complaint about the Duolingo app is the new update, where there are now three levels to complete per topic. I wish that they just did more extensive training on the subjects rather than having to go back to each one twice more once you complete level one. Three levels means a really repetitive curriculum, which was confirmed when I tried some of the advanced French levels only to find that it was a lot of the same thing over again.

When people ask me my level of fluency in French, I always reply with “If you transported me to Paris right now, I am sure that I would get along fine”. So, I can’t say that I will complete the additional levels for it. However, if I feel the need, I will certainly go back and give it a go. Spanish, on the other hand, will probably require all three levels of training, as I am completely unfamiliar with the language – despite eight years of it in grade school!!

Which languages are you learning on the Duolingo app? How many languages do you know and how did you learn them? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fitting Self-Improvement Into A Hectic Lifestyle

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Fitting Self-Improvement Into A Hectic Lifestyle

The new year provides us with the opportunity for a new start. This is perhaps why so many of us make vows and resolutions to change and become better people. We get to start a completely clean page of our diaries and calendars, moving on from the past events of the previous year and heading into a brighter future. But if, like many of us, you have a relatively hectic and chaotic day to day routine, how are you supposed to fit grand ventures of self-improvement into the equation? Well, the good news is that with a little organization and forward thinking, the world is your oyster and endless opportunities abound! Here are just a few ways to become a more rounded being without throwing your already busy lifestyle into disarray:

Education:

Increasing numbers of people are returning to education at a later point in their lives. There are various reasons for this. Perhaps they want to boost their resume. Maybe they want to explore subject areas that they don’t have much previous experience in. They might even want to specialize their existing knowledge. Regardless of the reason, a return to education doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to commute to campuses, sit in extensive lectures, or attend group seminars. The increasing efficiency of the internet means that you can now engage in distance learning, AKA taking courses online. Take online msc in international accounting and finance, as an example. This course offers everything that a standard degree course would, but you can complete it from the comfort of your own home. This allows you to schedule your education around your existing responsibilities. Perfect!

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 Study up!

Exercise:

While it may seem like you’re run off your feet all day, chances are that you haven’t managed to schedule a proper workout for a little while. Though an exercise class at the gym or a quick circuit of the machines may only take half an hour or so, showering and changing afterwards and the commute back and forth to the gym itself can mean that you’re out of the house for hours at a time. Instead, why not try to exercise at home?

This means that you don’t have to spend time getting to the gym and you can work out before you’d usually shower in the morning or go to bed at night. While you may not have the same equipment or professional trainers at hand, there are several things you can do to ensure that you get your heart beating and energy flowing. Consider exercise apps with tutorials in yoga and Pilates, squats, planks, push ups, and sit ups. They will monitor your progress and give you a basic understanding of how to achieve certain positions or poses all straight from your phone.

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#werk

While education and exercise are just two methods of self-improvement, you can see that they can easily be incorporated into already busy lifestyles. Take the same reasoning and thinking to whatever it may be that you want to improve about yourself. You will see positive changes taking place in next to no time!

Getting Educated And Qualified Without Quitting Your Day Job

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Getting Educated And Qualified Without Quitting Your Day Job

No matter if you’ve already passed your initial schooling phase in your teens or late adulthood, it is never too late to get educated. Studies show that a considerable chunk of people would like a career change of some sort, and branch off into something that they are more interested in. Sadly, that is not always possible without the correct qualifications or the know-how.

Fortunately, we live in a time where education does not always have to be a completely full-time ordeal. Now, more flexible schedules which allow you to still work at least part-time are more than realistic. Not only that, but you could go ahead and get yourself qualified with some short courses, which take a few weeks or months rather than several years of school. No matter which scenario might suit you more, both are just as feasible for the average person and can be arranged if you just take the correct steps forward:

Getting educated:

Due to the nature of the modern working world, it is not always possible for everyone to take a few years out from work to fully dedicate themselves to studying, while the rent goes unpaid. Working at least part-time is a necessity for a large majority of adults in most countries and, unless you are able to balance working and studying simultaneously, then chances are you won’t be able to indulge in the sweet enriching world of education.

Before you give up completely, you should at least check out the different schedules available, and get familiarized with the different timetables available to see if you could make it work somehow. Always wanted to become a doctor? Go ahead and check the medical school tuition fees, and see if it is something that you could feasibly get invested in. Feel like programming is something which you would like to do as a career? Go and see if you can find local computer science courses. The sky’s the limit, so get out there and start planning your future in a field that you are truly passionate about.

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Knowledge is power!

Short courses for busy people:

If getting involved in any sort of long-term education is a big red flag for you, then there are always shorter courses which still provide you with industry standard qualifications in various fields but take considerably less time to complete. Whether you want to learn how to play the guitar or find out how to publish books, there will be a course out there which will catch your eye.

A somewhat popular series of courses are provided by companies certified by Adobe themselves, which run training courses in the Adobe Creative Suite which can result in you getting the title of a “Adobe Certified Associate”. Not only does it sound prestigious, but it is just as useful as it sounds. Depending on what you are interested in, you can pick up some certificates for any program in the suite that is relevant to your interests. Whether you want to create websites with Adobe Dreamweaver or logos and illustrations with Adobe Illustrator, courses as short as one week could get you on the right path to becoming a full-fledged professional somewhere down the line.

It is never too late to start some type of further education. Gather information on your program, study hard, and reach for the stars!

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