Friday, March 2, 2018

Useful School Supplies Not Commonly Found on List

I love to get school supplies! Maybe it's because I'm a teacher myself, or quite possibly it's because everything is new. It's fun seeing that smile on my kid's face when we go to pick things out for them.

Useful School Supplies Not Commonly Found on List

While there are plenty of items teachers and school systems require students have for back to school, there are some supplies students need that aren’t usually found on lists. As you’re exploring frugal school tips to lower the overall amount spent on school supplies, be sure to devote time to supplying your child with a few extra inclusions so she or he can perform at her or his absolute best this upcoming school year and every year after.

A Good Night’s Rest

As you’re picking up notebooks, pencils and the like, ask your child if she or he could use a new pillow, a humidifier or anything else that promotes healthy sleep. Having everything on a back-to-school list won’t do your son or daughter much good if your child can’t stay awake in class or concentrate enough to use all the supplies you bought. Throughout the school year, ask your children about their quality of sleep, and be sure to take steps if they feel they aren’t getting enough rest, something that might require help from your family physician.

Hand Sanitizer

When cold and flu season roll around, or when there’s an outbreak of sickness spreading through the school or your geographic area, a quality bottle of hand sanitizer could be your child’s best line of defense. Once you buy hand sanitizer, make sure your kids actually use it. Otherwise, it’s simply a waste of money.

A Good Meal

Sleep combined with a good meal is the perfect combination for fueling students to fire on all cylinders. While there is some debate about the overall importance and health impact of eating breakfast, it doesn’t hurt to start the day with foods that give students energy to focus so they can better retain and grasp the information learned in the classroom. Plus, few things are more distracting than hunger pangs.

Locker Shelf/Organizer

For those times when students are in a hurry, they might not have as much time as they’d like to organize the contents of their locker. Rather than risk important papers and handouts going missing in a locker corner, a locker organizer or shelf is the perfect place for loose sheets of paper that can be properly sorted later.

A Quiet Place to Focus

When it’s time for homework or studying, your child should have a place of peace in which to work. While a desk in your daughter or son’s room is the most ideal option, there might not be room. If this is the case, creating a quiet place elsewhere in your home is the next best option. The kitchen table might work, but only as long as everyone in the house knows when the kitchen is a place of quiet and studying and not a place to kick up noise or engage in other distracting activities.

Access to the Internet and a Printer

Just like schools, student homes need to have reliable access to the internet so young learners can complete assignments and look up information as necessary. Additionally, students should have a printer on hand. If you don’t have a printer in your home, look for nearby public libraries, or see if your neighbors have a printer they’d be willing to let your child use.

Think outside the box a bit when it comes to getting school supplies. Lists are a helpful guide, but they don’t always have everything your child needs.    

Disclaimer: This is a guest post. 

Random Tid Bits

Let's count all the ways the Apel family is busy!
  1. Travis landed himself a gig at an elementary school. They wanted an artist to teach sculpture to the kids there. He had to test run some projects. He tested them out on Mica. Isaak got super jealous. We had to explain that Isaak's not the age group Travis needed to test these projects out on. They are wire on wooden blocks. You put knee highs over the wire. Then you can paint the knee highs with Gesso. It looks like a legit sculpture. Something you'd find in a gallery.

  2. Travis also is wrapped up in an organization called Omaha Permaculture. They like his art. He likes them. The director of the group wants to hire him to do things from time to time. 

  3. Travis has been modeling for a college class. You'd think with all these gigs we'd be rich! Nope we need health insurance that doesn't suck!

  4. I had a doctor's appointment for that "thing" in my head. YAY! I'm cancer free. I didn't think it was cancer, but when the doctor pulled it out he said, "I'm glad we're sending this in to be tested. It was behind the muscle. It's a tumor too!" I actually had what's called a lipoma, which is in fact a tumor. I probably have had more of them on my scalp. They are super common. It's just fatty tissue build up. Some people get them after a major surgery, but I've had this one before my nose surgery. In my case it's more hereditary. In the next 4 weeks it will dramatically get lighter. I have to keep wearing sunscreen, otherwise it will turn pink. 

  5. I've had a few interviews. I think it's safe to say that no one from my work reads this blog. Even if they do, they wouldn't blame me for looking around. Enrollment is way down. I'm highly respected, so they aren't going to fire me. I forgot how long it takes to fill out job applications, update my resume, fill out cover letters, work on design pieces for my website and so on. It sucks because I like my job that I have now overall. I really love my first year students. 

  6. When I was trying to find an old employer, it brought on sadness. He was my first nice boss when I got hired on as a designer in Atlanta. Why was I sad? He's not from here. He's from Iran. Apparently he moved back to the Middle East to United Arab Emirates. I'm sad because it's hard to use him as a reference. Beside the personal part of it, I just hope the US didn't make him feel unsafe and unwelcomed. He was a super nice person and business man! I found him on facebook, and messaged him a thank you, for being you kind of message. If he would have begged me to stay before we were mostly packed up, I would have stayed. Our lives would be much different. I had 1 boss before him that was from Pakistan; he was not so nice. I was happy to have this nice boss. He was an inspiring leader. 

  7. Next week is midterms. The week before midterms is always super busy too!

  8. Isaak of course has been busy with basketball, Isaak will begin his Science Fair project, Mica's been busy with his project moving up in the Science Fair. We've had conferences, after school events, and birthday parties. 

  9. Mica's school had a walk out. I'm ok with protesting if you know what you're protesting about. Somehow I think with middle schoolers they really don't have a clue. Travis talked with the boys for an hour about school safety, school shootings, what people are protesting for, and so on. The next day Mica's school had a verbal treat. The student that made the threat was searched by a police officer. I'm not surprised. Scary indeed. 

  10. I can't forget the ice. A few ice storms last week made it difficult to get around. The car was in the shop for most of a week. What a mess that was! 
What have you been up to? Is your life super busy right now?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Seedfolks is Showing @RoseTheaterCo - Review

Our family went to watch Seedfolks at The Rose Theater. We went in not knowing what the play was about, and quickly learned that it was one of our favorites!

It's good to get to the show 20 or 30 minutes early because there is open seating.

We walked into a stage filled with 3 big screens, which graphics were on. Throughout the show the graphics changed. In some cases there was animation that was included.

About Seedfolks:

Photo Curtesy Children's Theatre Company Minneapolis, MN

The play was written off a novel. Now I so want to get the book! 

It's a "One-Woman Show" that was made for Children's Theaters. I wasn't sure if a one character play would keep children's attention. It most certainly did capture everyone's attention. 

The actor Sonja Parks plays about 22 characters in the play! She changes her voice, her accent, and her age with each character. 

Photo Curtesy Children's Theatre Company Minneapolis, MN

It starts with a young girl that wants to keep the memory of her grandfather alive by planting been seeds in a junky lot. She clears the glass and trash to plant her beans. Other neighbor's follow in her foot steps. Finally many people have different things planted in the garden. They all plant things for different reasons. Some witness segregation, while others see people coming together. Through it all there is growth in the garden, and in the community. 

We loved the message! 

Cast and Crew:

Actor: Sonja Parks 
Understudy: Joy Dolo

Director: Peter C. Brosius
Set and Projection Designer: Jorge Cousineau
Costume Designer: Sonya Berlovitz
Lighting Designer: Paul Whitaker
Composer/Recorded Music: Victor Zupanc
Sound Designer: Sean Healey
Dialect Coach: D'Arcy Smith
Dramaturg: Elissa Adams
Choreographer: Joe Chvala
Associate Lighting Designer: Craig Gottschalk
Stage Manager: Jamie J. Kranz
Tour Technicians: Kristy Haupt, TBD
Light Board Operator: Matt Benes

Run Dates:

February 23 - March 11

It's best for ages 8 and up. Guess what? The adults in our house loved it too!

Call to reserve tickets: 402.345.4849

  • They have a fun program for the kids! 
  • They have merchandise sold by Oriental Trading Company. 
  • They also sold the book. 
  • They often have cookies you can buy to snack on. 
  • If kids do get restless there's a spot for them to go. 
  • They have a question and answer time after the show that we always stay for. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free from The Rose Theater. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, February 26, 2018

@softsurrounding Merchandise #LiveSoft Breakwater Pullover Review

My favorite color is red orange. There are not a lot of red orange shirts out there. Guess what? Soft Surrounding has one. The color is actually called Emberglow. I do feel like I'm glowing with it on. You can get their Breakwater Pullover here

Besides the Emberglow I Got They Have Other Colors:

  • Ibiza Blue (a bright blue)
  • Magnolia (a light grey)
  • Chartreuse (a lime green)
  • Tropical Green (a blue green)
Hands down I like the color I picked. Maybe that's just because I don't see my favorite color in a shirt very often. All the other colors are pretty too. 

  • Misses: XS (2-4), S (6-8), M (10-12), L (14-16), and XL (18) Cost: $89.95
  • Petites: PXS (2-4), PS (6-8), PM (10-12), PL (14-16), and PXL (18) Cost: $89.95
  • Women: 1X (18-20), 2X (22), and 3X (24) Cost: $98.95
It was sized just right.

Dress Up or Dress Down:

I've worn this shirt to work with black pants and tan pants. It can be worn dressy.

At home I've worn it with jeans.

Either way it looks great.


I love the different buttons and the loopy colors!

I feel like I have to bring this up. My first shirt had some snags. They sent me a new shirt. I thought all was right with the world when they sent me a new shirt. It too had a yarn snag. Then I read the online reviews. Someone else got a shirt with snags too. 

Maybe I'll be able to fix it on my own. I should say that with a big question mark because I have no idea how to work with yarn. 


This is another thing that I don't know what to think. It's hand wash, and line dry. Anymore so many things are machine wash. If I'm going to spend a lot on a sweater I'd like to care for it just like my other clothing items.

What I Think:

I love the pullover color, fit, feel and unique buttons. I dislike the fact that it's unraveled, and the care that goes into it.

Follow Soft Surroundings on facebookpinteresttwitterYouTubeinstagram, and google+.

Disclaimer: I received this pullover from Soft Surroundings in return for writing this post. I only review things that I think my family or readers will enjoy, or find useful. Soft Surroundings didn't tell me what to write. 

#Sagano Charcoal Powder Review

We love charcoal powder! 

For those that are afraid to use it, keep in mind that they've made charcoal pills for years and years. They help cleanse the stomach. Charcoal is in many tummy meds as well.

It's great for cleaning our teeth! I’ve been using it for many years, and haven’t had any cavities. It scrubs off food and plaque off your teeth. Unlike other teeth cleaners,  Sagano has a natural whitener that doesn’t strip the enamel off. It's also all natural. No aluminum, or other nasty chemicals.


It is a yummy mint flavor.

Just like you can pick other colors with products online, I wish they had other flavor options. Don't get me wrong, I do love mint.

Other Flavors I Think Would be Good as Well: 

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint 

What would be your favorite flavor? What flavor would you add?


  • Coconut Shell
  • Mint
  • Fine Food Grade Charcoal Powder
Where to Buy Sagano Charcoal Powder:

You can get it on Amazon Prime for $15.95 It lasts a long time! You just sprinkle a little bit on your toothpaste. It's a 4 to 8 month supply!

Cleaning the Sink:

It does get dark speckles on your sink. That's kind of annoying. If you think about it there's white speckles from normal toothpaste. Remember charcoal is a cleaning agent. If it gets on the sink, it helps you to clean your sink too.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

IZAR Pipe & Tube Cutter Review

IZAR Pipe & Tube Cutter is small and effective. 

It's 1/2 the size of a hand.

What You Can Cut With it:
  • PVC Pipe
  • Copper Pipe
  • Brass Pipe
  • Aluminum Pipe
It cuts 1/8" to 1" pipes or tubes.

Travis had some Copper Pipe to cut.

It worked so much faster than I thought!

He put it on, twisted it around, and once it went around the pipe it cut it.

Who Can Use IZAR Pipe and Tube Cutters:
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians 
  • Sculptors 
  • HVAC
It's probably most used by plumbers. I can see Travis using it for some sculptures.

Do you do any plumbing work? I'm typically scared to do plumbing work myself, but Travis does some at times. We have hard water here, which can be hard on the pipes. A plumber told me that the best thing to do for the pipes here is to run cleaning vinegar through them. We had a squeal in our dishwasher, and vinegar did wonders to fix it.

Where to Get IZAR Pipe and Tube Cutter:

You can get it on Amazon for $15.84 - on Amazon Prime:

It comes with a spare blade. I happened to throw the blade away on accident. I thought it was just a part of the packaging. :(

Disclaimer: I got this product for review. I only review things that I think my family can use. This company in no way told me what to write for this review.


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