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How To Start Off The School Year Right

Student Planner

It’s that time of the year again.  It’s a time where most parents are jumping for joy and are in a most delightful mood.  Then, on the other hand, there are some parents that are kinda sad to see their babies grow up for their very first day of school.  They don’t want to let go.  But it’s ok.  Your kiddos will be more than fine.  We all did it.  I did it.  Many years ago.  Lol.

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Student Planner

It’s the beginning of a new school year again.  Boy did this summer go by fast.  But don’t all summer months go by fast.  Our spring wasn’t the greatest and it took so long for the real summer to kick in.  And now it’s already time to go back to school. 

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Well . . . we have to make the best of it.  Don’t we?  I too still dread the going-back-to-school day as does my teenage daughter.  To me, it means summer is coming to a close.  No more going to the beach, no more picnics in the park, no more sandals and shorts.  Hence the start of heavier sweaters, then graduating to coats, then hats and boots.  Whaaaaaa !!  It also means driving my tardy teenage daughter to high school on the way to work and coming in late.  Ugh!!

But I digress . . .  the weather for the start of a new school year will still be fine and it’s going to be decent for at least a few weeks.  Therefore, the transition will be awesome.  We can still wear shorts and sandals.  Yay!!

My dad (God rest his soul) was a stubborn man and refused to wear anything but shorts until the Thanksgiving weekend at the cottage.  (That’s October for us) I think he managed to pull it off for the most part.  Lol.

Now that we have gotten accustomed to the news of a new school year, let’s talk school planners and staying organized.  If you have read my other posts, I am all about being organized.  I have watched my daughter with her school work and how she tries to stay organized with all her school activities, projects, exam and test schedules.  She uses different notebooks and different coloured pens to keep organized. 

student planner opt-in

So, it gave me the idea to create a bunch of helpful worksheets, schedules and calendars that will benefit not only high school students but elementary and college/university levels.  Start the school year off right by being organized and ready to buckle down and get things done.

Labor Day

Students of all ages have a lot on their plates when school starts. When the projects, assignments, tests and exams start coming their way, it will be very hard to stay committed to being organized. Unless you have a plan and a system to write important dates and material down on a schedule. There will be no more excuses to tell the teacher “miss, the dog ate my homework” Lol !!!

The schedules and calendars I have created could be kept separately in a special binder with dividers and clear sheet protectors to keep things tidy and organized.  You will not have to worry anymore about missing an assignment deadline or what to study for on an upcoming test. You will have written all that information down on these easy-to-use worksheets.

here are some of the things you could use FOR YOUR STUDENT PLANNER:

  1. Colourful binder
  2. Spine Labels
  3. Paper – at least 24-30lbs to print out your student planner
  4. Clear Sheet Protectors – keep your new schedules and lists clean and free of sticky fingers
  5. Dividers – for each calendar, schedule, checklist – makes it easy to find
  6. Divider Labels – for the dividers and the binder spine
  7. Colourful Pens
  8. Pencils
  9. Pencil Case
  10. Erasers

You will see how these worksheets will be invaluable to the student in your household. You will appreciate the fact that you or your child will only have to worry about getting good grades.

With These Worksheets:

  1. You will have a 2-page view of the entire year to put important notes
  2. You will have a place to list your subjects, important dates, your goals, your achievements, your contacts, etc
  3. You will be able to record the due dates and dates of all your assignments/projects, tests and exams
  4. You will be able to keep track of your class schedule
  5. And much much more

Good luck to you all. I wish you nothing but the best and all the success in the world. And I really hope that my worksheets keep you organized.

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What Essentials Will You Need For Your Next Family Roadtrip

Road Trip Essentials

Do you love going on a roadtrip with the family? Do you love planning all the essential items you need to take on a roadtrip, to make everyone happy? Are you afraid of forgetting to pack essential items for the roadtrip? It could be overwhelming. But don’t fret. I’m sure I can help you out in that department.

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Roadtrips are a wonderful time for the family to be together and have fun. It’s a time to really bond as a family. It’s a time to forget about all your worries and troubles and just enjoy each other’s company.

Get Set For Summer at Lulus!

I always loved going on road trips as a child, with my family.  Whether it was a short trip to the beach or an hour away to see friends or all the way to Chicago to visit family, it was always an exciting adventure for me and my brothers. Back in the day, that’s how we did most of our traveling. . . by car.

My favorite road trip, of course, was our 13-hour trip to Chicago.  My brothers and I in the back of our Ford Station Wagon and our parents waaaay in the front, taking turns driving.  We would leave early in the morning. Our parents plopped us in the back and we would continue sleeping. My favorite line would be: “Are we there yet?” 🙂 . . . As we were barely out of the city. I know . . .cheesy right? I was excited. What can I say?

We made many stops along the way. There are so many beautiful little gems of picnic areas that we would stop at to stretch our legs and have something to eat.  My mom was a pro at knowing what to take on our road trips.  She packed a cooler full of fruits and juices, cold cuts, a loaf of bread, condiments, Mostly healthy stuff. Nowadays our main go-to snacks chocolate-covered pretzels or yogurt-covered almonds, potato chips, etc. 🙂

As we got older, we continued these road trips. This time we all took turns driving. That was even more exciting. I loved driving (still do). I loved driving on long trips. We made the same stops (I mean the exact same spots) and reminisced about the time we spent there in the past. It was still as beautiful as ever. The large trees and an endless amount of grass area and picnic tables.

We even took a road trip when we were in Florida. We flew to Daytona Beach and half-way through our trip we rented a van and drove to Disney World. Now that I look back, my parents loved roadtrips. 🙂

Just before I met my husband, I went on the most memorable trip to California with a group of great girlfriends. I wrote a post about that trip that you can find here. While on that trip, we rented a car in San Fransisco and drove along the Pacific Coast Highway. OMG . . . was that the roadtrip of a lifetime. I hope to replicate that trip someday soon.

Venice, Italy

When we went to Croatia for the first time (for my brothers and I) in 1975, we took a roadtrip to Venice. WOW! That was an amazing road trip and far. Part of it wasn’t the greatest. I wasn’t feeling too good. Probably car sick. That’s another item you need to put on your list – motion sickness meds.

If you suffer from motion sickness there may be a few things you could try to help you prevent it from being severe. Something to keep you a lot more calm and relaxed. Here are a few things you could try before taking any medication:

Preventing Motion Sickness Tips:

  1. Always sit in a position where your eyes are always seeing the same motion that your body and inner ear feel
  2. Do not read in a car
  3. In a car, sit in the front seat and look out the front and set your sights in the distance
  4. On a ship, move towards the front and look out into the distance
  5. On a plane, look out the window and/or sit by the wing where there is less motion to feel
  6. Do not look at or talk to someone who is experiencing motion sickness
  7. Avoid spicy or greasy foods before and after your trip
  8. Close your eyes, relax and enjoy the ride

That’s why I don’t remember too much about the trip. Thank God for the photos that were taken. It helps me remember a little. Remember to take lots and lots of photos on your road trips. Living in the digital era is sooooo much easier . . . regarding photos. I will teach you all about that in a future post: how to organize all your photos.

Now flash forward some 30 – 40 years (yikes!!! – has it really been that long ago?) When our daughter was 2 years old and son 6 years old, we also took them on a road trip to Chicago to visit family.  We thought it was going to be dicey to take a two-year-old on a 13-hour road trip.  But it was fine.  No problems what-so-ever. 

Oh . . . I left one thing out.  Our van has a movie screen built-in.  Thank goodness for technology these days.  A lot of things sure did change from when we were younger. Now that I think about it. What kept us entertained when we were kids going on road trips? Oh, I know. It was my one-liners: “Are we there yet?” LOL!!

Explore Europe and Americas

My husband and I have been on the same path in raising our kids from the get-go. We vowed to always spend time with the kids, do things together, play in the park with them, go see their soccer games and always, always travel together. It is getting harder though, now that they are older (20 and 16). But, we just got back from a European trip we took together, where there was a road trip in between. (I will share that in an upcoming post. So stay tuned!)

As I have said in previous posts, I learned a lot from my mother.  The one thing I learned was how to organize things, make lists and plan ahead.  You should make a list of the essentials you will need on your particular road trip. You don’t want to wait until it’s time to pack up the vehicle and wonder: “What do I need to take?”

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    I have made a list of the things that I think we need on the road trips I take with my family.  And I want to share it with you. And I will leave a lot of space for you to fill in things that are essential for your family road trips.


    First Aid Kit
    Ice Pack

    Bread Knife

    Plastic Picnic Plates
    Plastic Cutlery
    Wet Ones Wipes

    Road Map
    Cell Phone Charger
    Neck Pillow
    Travel Pillow
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    Other Roadtrip Essentials:

    1. Passport – if you are crossing the border to the U.S. you will def need one
    2. Motion Sickness Medication – check with your doctor what the best one for you is.
    3. Camera – never forget your camera
    4. Camera cards – I know everyone has their phones but do you really want to fill up your phone with countless photos and if something happens to your phone all your photos are gone!! My worst fear.

    Extra Cooler Items:

    1. Formula or milk – for your little ones
    2. Juices – or pop (for older kids)
    3. Water Bottles – probably the best beverage
    4. Sandwiches – or bring a loaf of bread and some cold cuts and make the sandwich at your picnic stop
    5. Fruit – we had grapes and took them off the vines and into a Tupperware for easier access for the kids when they were young.
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    The main point I want to drive along to you in this post is to do more with your family. Create some bonding time. Make more time for family-time. Once the kids are older like mine, it gets harder and harder to do things together. The young adults want to go off with their friends more. They also have a part-time job now.

    Yes, it makes me sad. But that’s life. I’m pretty sure we all did it. My family time with my parents and brothers were so special to me. And that is why I created the same family unit of my own.

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    How To Prepare For Cottage Life

    Cottage Life

    Are you ready for the summer? Are you ready for the cottage life? Or maybe roughing it camping-style and sleeping outdoors under the stars? The weather is finally coming around.  It could be a little better for this time of the year, but we’ll take it.  Am I right?? 

    It’s the beginning of cottage/camping season.  It’s a time when everyone heads to their cottages.  It’s a time when we open up the doors to that peaceful and secluded little house in the forest and let it breathe again.  We need to let in the sunshine once again and bring light into the hibernated cottage.  Ahh cottage life!!!

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    cottage at the lake

    Some people have cottages weather-proofed year-round.  Unlike us.  I had a family cottage growing up.  It was the most peaceful place to be in the summer.  All you heard in the bay was the occasional motorboat during the day pulling excited children on inner tubes or water skis.  That was a joy to hear.  It is the sounds of summer.

    In the fall, when it was time to close up the cottage for the winter, we would have to pack everything that could not withstand the cold winter months.  That was pretty much everything.  So, in the spring my mom would have to make a list of all the things we needed to buy or bring to the cottage.

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    I have created, for you, a list of all the things you will need to buy or take to the cottage or even if you are going out camping. I also made a list for all the adventurous people who love to go camping in a tent.   It’s not too different. The only difference is that camping is outdoors and there may be a few extra items to take along with you.

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    Download this FREE checklist and feel confident that you have everything you need for your stay in the wilderness.

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      If you are new to the cottage life, here are a few tips on how to cope with cottage life:


      • Water – should be shut off when you’re not at your cottage for a long period of time.  When you come to the cottage from the winter hibernation let the water run outside and inside. 
      • Life Jackets – make sure you have plenty of life jackets for your kids and any visitors who are not strong swimmers.  Very important.  And make sure an adult or a good swimmer is always on the dock, especially when children are there.  When my son was about a year or two, he always had a lifejacket on when he was outside, and someone was always watching him because he was fearless and thought he could walk on water.
      • Insects – be prepared with a bug spray or any kind of ointment for bug bites.  Depending on where you are in the country or world, there are different types of pesky insects. The ones that affected us would have a bad stinger . . . horseflies, dragonflies, mosquitos, black flies.  To name a few.  They were evil. LOL !!!  They would bite you even when you were in the water.  And oh so itchy.
      • Sun Tan Lotion – make sure you have plenty of suntan lotion.  Even if it’s windy and hazy, you will still stand a chance at getting burned.
      • After-sun lotion – and if you do get sunburned, have a soothing lotion close by.
      • Tylenol/Advil – just in case you get too much sun.  Make sure you have your medication with you.  You never know when you will need it.
      • Closed Doors – make sure when you are entering and exiting the cottage to close the door quickly behind you.  This is especially for the mosquitos at night.  You do not want them buzzing around your ears when you are trying to sleep.  It will drive you nuts. 😊 And another reason, you don’t want little critters entering your cottage. So be careful when you are bringing in all your belongings to keep the doors CLOSED.  Trust me on this.
      Cottage at the lake

      I hope you have an awesome summer. Make sure you download my checklists here and be prepared for your trip to the lake.

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      The 10 Best Father’s Day Gifts

      Father and Daughter

      With Father’s Day upon us, we need to show all those hard-working men of ours how much they are appreciated. As we have shown recently our love towards the mothers in our lives, so too we must celebrate our fathers.

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      Growing up and being the eldest child, I took it upon myself to be the one who always remembered to buy everyone’s birthday cards, anniversary cards and mother’s day and father’s day cards. I didn’t mind. It was absolutely not a burden. If I didn’t do it, who would? My two brothers? I was the favorite child . . . lol 🙂 In all seriousness, I was very sentimental and I made sure that everyone got their card for whatever occasion.

      When we’re young and in school, we create beautiful pieces of art for our parents. The tradition has never changed. My husband always got homemade gifts from our kids. The gifts ranged from popsicle stick picture frames to paper neckties to a ceramic coaster. Those gifts are still in my husbands home office and the coaster sits on his nightstand in our bedroom.

      So how do we show our appreciation for the men in our lives?  It doesn’t always have to be of monetary value.  Right?  They love homemade gifts which means so much more. 


      • Favourite cologne
      • Neck Tie
      • Personalized golf balls
      • Sports Tickets to his favourite team
      • Favourite Sports Team jersey
      • Fishing Rod
      • BBQ utensils
      • Bottle of favourite whisky
      • Massage – Wellness clinic
      • Gift Card to his favourite sports & recreation store
      Daddy’s Little Girl

      Not every gift has to be of monetary value. The most special gift is a gift you made with your own hands. It comes from the heart. And that’s what dads gush over. Trust me . . . I have an old softy at home. My husband loves those the most. He still has the picture frame made out of popsicle sticks with my daughter’s picture in it, hanging in his office. See above.


      • BBQ dinner – if he’s the one who does bbq all the time, make the bbq for him
      • homemade father’s day card
      • drawing by your children – (my daughter was always drawing for us)
      • popsicle sticks picture frame – you can make a lot of things with popsicles and paint them
      • bake dad’s favorite cookies – have your children help out so they can say they made it
      • paper necktie – with colorful paper
      • make dad breakfast in bed – our kids did that for both of us. It was so cute.
      • hand-painted t-shirt – you can get all your supplies at Michaels. There are markers for writing on t-shirts

      We both appreciate the home-made gifts more than anything else. I have a flower made of clay from both kids sitting on my desk at work for over 15 years.

      Me and My Dad

      We need to celebrate and appreciate our fathers, as well as our grandfathers. We should not take them for granted. We never know how long we have together. It has been some 15 years since we lost our father. We miss him terribly. (That’s my dad holding me as a baby-It’s my most favorite photo of all)

      Life is too short. You must celebrate the ones you love . . . now!


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      May Is For Mother’s Day: Remembering Our Moms

      mother's day

      When we think of the month of May, we think of the beginning of nicer, warmer weather.  We think of getting out to do some gardening, going for walks, taking the kids to the park.  To me it is all those things but it is much more.  It is remembering our mothers for Mother’s Day.  Those that are near or far and those that have left us too soon. 

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      Today marks the second anniversary of my mother’s passing.  It is still hard to believe that she is gone.  We still talk about her, remember her, and smile at the memories we made with her.  We try not to be sad.  I want to remember all the happy times we shared.  We will cherish them forever. 

      A mother’s love is like no other.  You feel comfort.  You feel safe in her arms.  No matter how old we are, we still need our mothers.  When I became a mother myself, I still needed her guidance.  I tried to follow in her footsteps.  I can only hope to be half the woman she was.  Everything that I am, I owe to her.  She inspired me and taught me so much. 

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      Is there something that you hold dear to your heart because it reminds you of your mother? Something she does or something she wears. Everytime you see it, it reminds you of her. Perhaps it’s a picture of the two of you or a perfume you remember her wearing. There is always something that you remember from your childhood that is a reminder of your mother.

      Well, my mother had this beautiful fuschia diamond-shaped ring that she wore. My dad gifted her with it when they met. I remember that ring on my mother’s finger, when I was a child. I remember thinking how big and beautiful it looked on my mother’s hand.

      So, when my mother passed away and we had to go through her things, I remembered how special and important that ring was to me. It reminded me so much of her and how happy we all were. I had to find it. But I couldn’t find it anywhere. Where was this ring?

      I scoured her home for this ring. My husband and children helped me look for it. After days of looking in every room, I gave it another shot. In a dresser drawer that for some reason I never looked, way in the back, underneath things, I found this little round, red velvet box. It was old.

      May is for Mother's Day

      I opened the box and inside was that glorious ring that I was looking for. I thought I would never find it. It had become my most prized possession. There were tears of joy. I wear it almost everyday. I look at my hand countless times a day. And every time I look down at the ring on my finger, I see my mother’s hand wearing this ring.

      So the question is: What gift can we give to our mothers for Mother’s Day? There are all kinds of gifts we can give. There are the store-bought kind or the homemade kind (from children: love those) and there are the “give mommy a break kind”. 🙂 Lol!

      Here are a few ideas to help you get that perfect gift for your mom on Mother’s Day

      Some ideas for THAT PERFECT GIFT for mother’s day:

      1. Flowers – this is at the top of my list. It fills a house with a beautiful fragrance and dresses up our dining table
      2. Chocolate – my fav. What woman wouldn’t want a box of chocolates?
      3. Manicure – a simple gift card to her favourite manicurist
      4. Spa day – wow . . . this is a must. What a grand gesture this would be.
      5. Mommy and me photo – speaking as a photographer (lol) this is most precious. A photo with mom and her little ones. A photograph to cherish through generations
      6. Shopping spree – yay. Count me in. Whenever.
      7. Girls weekend – now you’re talkin’. Away from all the havoc
      8. Book – book lover
      9. Alone time – I could go for that at least once a week 🙂
      10. Perfume – ahhh yes. My husband always knows what I would like. Perfect gift
      11. Homemade gift from children – I received two of these kinds of gifts and they were the best gift i ever received. From both my children when they just started kindergarten. They made a tiny flower out of clay. It sits on my desk in my office so it’s the first thing I see everyday.
      12. Movie night – I love all kinds of movies. How about you? Perfect date night. Or go it alone.
      13. Dinner out – who wouldn’t love this. After a long day at work and you don’t have to cook. I’m the first one out the door. Lol!!
      14. Breakfast in bed – my kids did this for me one year. I absolutely loved it. The little munchkins. Got a bowl of milk with my cereal. Yummy!!!
      15. Prepare own lunches – wouldn’t that be grand . . . you don’t have to make the kids lunches because your significant other made them or your children gave you a break and prepared it themselves
      16. Prepare dinner – what’s better than going out for dinner. The family making dinner for you.
      17. Bake cookies – kids can help dad bake cookies – yummy!!
      18. Do the dishes – nothing I like better than the kids doing the dishes instead of me

      What brings you comfort and joy, remembering your mom? I’m sure it’s something so simple but special. You need to go give your mom a great big hug. Cherish the time you have together. Don’t take advantage of each other. Enjoy everyday to the fullest.

      To all the beautiful mothers, may you have a very Happy Mother’s Day!!