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Struggling with Payments? Here’s Important Debt Relief Information!

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Each day we are learning more and more regarding how creditors and other companies you may owe money to are dealing with this pandemic. Even if you are not struggling now, there is a real sense of urgency to make sure you have enough money saved up in case you lose your job or become ill.

Or, for those of us that are self-employed, you may be wondering what you can be doing in these tough times. Well, the answer is to make a list of anyone you owe money to and make a phone call now. Or, many times you can apply online for faster and easier response times. Check out relief options below:

Mortgage Relief

The good news is that even if you have not lost your job, most mortgage companies are allowing you to defer or lessen your payments for a minimum of three months. If you opt to defer your mortgage payments, this typically means that your extra payments will be tacked on to the back of your loan. This means if you aren’t required to pay the next three months, those three months will be added on to the life of your loan.

No mortgage? Make sure you stay in contact with your landlord and ask for assistance before falling behind. Most will help make arrangements with you considering the current situation. All foreclosures and evictions are waived through the end of April as well, per the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Car Loan Relief

This is the same as your mortgage payment. However, most car loan companies are offering between one to three months in deferred payments. The same concept goes as above, the extra months will be added on to the back of your loan. Interest can accrue during this time and possibly extra fees. Usually not, however, but it is something to ask about.

Unemployment for Self-Employed Workers/Independent Contractors

No, you didn’t read this wrong. This is still a topic that is up for discussion with each state. The consensus is that your state will now allow you to file for unemployment- even if you are self-employed or an independent contractor. It does not hurt to try! At least get your application done so you are on the list if it does get approved.

SBA Loans

Again, for those of us that are self-employed, you can now apply for a Small Business Administration loan to help while you are down and out. $376 billion is available for workers and small business owners. Make sure you have a legitimate company that is filed with your state, county or city and if you don’t have a tax EIN, use your social security number. https://covid19relief.sbaa.gov/#/

More options are available at SBA.Gov website: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

Lastly, do not forget about other creditors- credit card companies, utility companies and anyone else on your list that you made. Keep your cash available, use credit cards and only pay the minimum payment (for now). This may sound like the opposite of what you’d normally be told. However, we are hoping that in a few month’s time things will start to become relatively normal again and you can go back to your normal payments and not using credit cards. Remember, although creditors and utility companies aren’t all required to give assistance, most will at the least give you a payment plan. This plan will ultimately save you money and stress. Good luck!

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How to Complete Your Ultimate Goal In Three Simple Steps!

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Are you not even sure what your ultimate goal is? That’s fine, most of us don’t know exactly either,  but we have an idea or two. It is a self-care project that you must manage and take the appropriate steps to complete. My tip is to start your journey by figuring out what your ultimate goal is. Why do this? It is important because that is what you think about most, right? Your end all be all goal. Sure, you can start small with your goals and then dream bigger. That’s what most people do, however, you’ll be constantly thinking about the end result and that may make you anxious. These three easy steps can help you lessen that anxiety and keep you on task:

Step One:

If you don’t know what your ultimate goal is, your first step is to figure out what makes you fulfilled. Not what makes you happy because happiness is fleeting. However, fulfillment is the embodiment of your overall spirit due to being happy with your life and self. This includes work, health, relationships and parenthood, etc. Fulfillment is what keeps you going, what keeps you positive and grounded. If you still don’t know what makes you fulfilled, see step two for a little more help!

Step Two:

Ask yourself one simple question – if you had all the money and time in the world, what would you be doing? And then, what would you do to make sure your fulfillment in life is at its highest level? Let’s be honest, as parents, we need to be filled up in order to be the best for our kids. Pretend you have three straight days with no interruptions- what would you do in order to make this happen? Now, I know you most likely do not have this time. However, in the next step, we have ideas on how to break it down in order to create smaller sections of time to accomplish this.

Step three:

I know that you are busy but you need to give yourself at least an hour a day to focus on your goal. Give yourself more than one hour if you have the time. A good tip is to section it in blocks of time. If you have a break at work, write your goals in a journal. Watching tv with the kids? Keep your journal next to you to jot down ideas. We all know that as moms we can’t focus on one thing anyway so why not write down your thoughts? Here is a great timeline to help you make sure you achieve your ultimate goal! Simply, place your goal into the first row and create your timeframe to complete that by total, weekly and daily hours to keep you in check.

Ultimate Goal (Example)Total TimelineWeekly TimelineDaily Timeline
Create Website3 months=2160 hours12 weeks= 180 hours90 days=2 hours

 

A journal is best to write in because it shows your children that you are being creative and not just “playing” on your phone. Be a good role model and show them your doodles, your notes and tell them they can also make a creative and fun journal for themselves! Next, take the time to write all of your detailed entries. When, Where, Why and How’s. This is the fun part! Keep the ideas flowing and fill in the blanks. Make sure you keep the outline of your three steps so you can look at it and refresh your ideas as you go along. Good luck!

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Classroom Organization Tips for Teachers

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Teachers are a special genre of caring individuals! They have plenty of children and educating to keep up with, so remaining organized will aid in their worthy work!

First, a note for teachers: Thank you for loving, maturing, and educating our children! The phrase, “It takes a village to raise children” is true, and we’re grateful to partner with you. 

Second, a note on organizing: Please label everything – for the sanity of the teachers and ease for the student. Purchase a label maker or invest in stickers and permanent markers. You’ll be glad you did!

Now, onto the best organization tips for teachers!

1 – Clear plastic boxes and bins

Image from Teaching Special Thinkers

If you haven’t discovered the beauty of clear plastic bins, you’re in for a treat! Yes, some things can be stored away in containers that are not clear. But for items that your students need access to, such as writing utensils or colored paper, you need clear containers.

Here’s the expert teacher tip on clear plastic bins and boxes: Label everything. Seriously, you should label:

  • The side of the bin that is most visible.
  • The lid (so students always know which lid goes with which container.
  • The inside bottom of the bin, so they can see exactly what is/isn’t supposed to be inside.
  • The shelf that the bin goes on.

If nothing else, think about how you will be asked less questions from confused students simply because they can visibly see what they’re looking for!

2 – Clear plastic drawers

Image from We Are Teachers

Just like the clear plastic boxes and bins, you will want to use the same method for clear drawer organizers. The entire drawer can be removed to function as a bin. Place a label or photo on the top of the bin to show where each drawer goes.

Expert teacher tip: Use these clear drawer organizers as a way to store board games. Because the boxes always get ripped or smashed and then the game pieces get lost. Instead, cut the board game title off of the box and attach it to the front of the drawer. Include all of the game pieces inside, using zippered bags when necessary. 

3 – A unit tower

Image from We Are Teachers

Find a tower of drawers, a slim bookcase with an abundance of shelves, or stackable plastic “briefcases.” Use this as a method to organize based on units or thematic lesson plans

Expert teacher tip: Want to be extra organized? Copy the heading from your textbooks, then cut it out to fit into the drawer fronts.

4 – Wine rack and cups

Image from My Case Studies

No, you’re not encouraged to drink wine while teaching. However, you can refurbish a wine rack as an organizational tool!

Place large, sturdy plastic cups into each wine bottle slot. Now, fill the cups with things like pens, pencils, or crayons. You can easily see what you’re looking for since the cups are facing outward, and it’s also convenient for students to grab a cup and take it to their desk.

5 – Utility cart

Image from Teach Outside The Box

Have a rolling cart with buckets and bins and jars full of every possible craft item your students could want. Use old mason jars for markets, baby food jars for paper clips or rubber bands, baskets for scraps of paper, cardboard boxes for recycled craft items, or gift bags for fun accessories. 

This is also an excellent way to recycle craft supplies like scrap paper or bits of string or random beads that you don’t want to throw away…your kids will think this utility cart is a treasure chest!

Expert teacher tip: Attach buckets to the side of the utility cart with S hooks. This expands the storage capacity with useful buckets that students can grab. Label the side buckets with individual students names so they can each have their own bucket of items. 

6 – Extra large bins

Image from We Are Teachers

As a teacher, you always have those extra boxes of tissues or bottles of hand sanitizer. These are valuable but not immediately necessary. Store them in large bins up high on a shelf. Of course, label these bins so it’s easy to find when you start looking for things.

Expert teacher tip: Don’t forget that things like seasonal activities, holiday decorations, and end of the year materials can be stored in these bins as well.

7 – Crates as filing cabinets

Image from We Are Teachers

Crates are colorful, stackable, and an excellent tool for organization! Hang file folders in a crate to organize…anything and everything! 

  • As a mailbox system for students to pick up their graded work
  • Where students can turn in their homework assignments
  • A system to organize your daily lesson plan by hours or activities
  • A method to organize your weekly lesson plans
  • A handy place to store original documents, extra copies, or frequently used materials.
  • Especially when you lesson plan and copy things ahead of time

 8 – Home Depot aprons for student organization

Image from Nerdy Teacher Confessions

Students spend a significant part of their day at their desk. Many times their backpacks or materials are stored in a different part of the classroom or in their locker. Rather than placing chunky organizers on their desks, attach them to the back of their seat!

Purchase Home Depot aprons for less than one dollar, and tie them around the back of each chair. Now every student has a handy and accessible way to organize their personal items.

Expert teacher tip: You can also tie aprons to door handles, rolling carts, and hanging hooks.

9 – Return address labels/stamps 

Image from Simply Stamps

This may be the last organizational tip for teacher’s classrooms, but it is possibly the most important. Yes, you should label everything. You should also put your name on everything! 

Purchase a roll of address label stickers and only include your name on them (and classroom number or school if you don’t think you’ll be moving soon). You could also buy a stamp that reads, “From the classroom of Name.” Stamp that onto boxes, inside of books, attached to buckets and bins. 

Expert teacher tip: Don’t want to literally place your name on everything? First, lay a piece of painter’s tape onto the item (a bin, inside of a book, etc.), then add your name sticker or stamp. That way you can remove the painter’s tape without damaging the item.

Take the time to get organized, and you’ll have a smoother school year!

Take the time to organize your classroom and materials. If you begin the year with everything in its place, you will save time (because you’re not hunting for supplies) and end the year well (without the craziness of trying to reorganize everything before the next school year).

Happy organizing!

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2 DIY All-Natural Dry Shampoos: Powder and Spray

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A busy Mama knows that it takes time to look fabulous, and time is sparse when you’re a loving Mama! If you’re in the habit of washing your hair on a daily basis, we’re here to rescue you. Allow us to introduce you to our friend Dry Shampoo.

What is dry shampoo?

Dry shampoo actually isn’t shampoo at all! It’s not a soap that washes your hair; instead, it’s a grease and oil absorber. Truthfully, most people only wash their hair because it gets greasy – thus the need for dry shampoo!

You use dry shampoo in between regular shampoo or hair washings. Most people recommend that you wash your hair every 2-3 days, and that you can use dry shampoo in between. This varies depending on your lifestyle and hair type.

Types of dry shampoo

Typical dry shampoo is a spray. It’s not a liquid spray like water, and it’s not a powder spray either; it’s more like a mousse or dry foam. But it’s full of toxic ingredients and unwanted chemicals that aren’t good for your body, scalp or hair. Opt for a simple DIY version instead. Trust us – it only takes a few minutes to make!

Homemade dry shampoo can take two different forms: a dry loose powder, or a liquid spray. They are both effective, so the preference is yours.

The dry powder is best applied with a large makeup brush, while the spray is (obviously) applied using a spray bottle.

DIY All-natural dry shampoo powder

Ingredients

  • Cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • Cocoa powder
  • Optional: cinnamon

Directions

  1. Mix together 2 parts cornstarch/arrowroot with 1 part cocoa powder.
  2. For blondes: use less cocoa powder. For brunettes: use more cocoa powder. And for redheads: add a ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to the original mixture.

How to use

  1. Using a large makeup brush, gently dust the powder along your hairline, hair part, and other areas that are greasy. Allow to sit for one minute.
  2. Using your fingers, rub the dry shampoo into your hair, concentrating on the greasy areas.
  3. Brush hair to evenly distribute any remaining clumps of dry shampoo.

DIY All-natural dry shampoo spray

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cup water
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 2 Tbsp vodka
  • Optional: 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Optional: 4-6 drops of essential oils

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle (preferably glass). For blondes, use the first three ingredients listed. For brunettes, use the first four ingredients listed. Essential oils can be used for all hair types.

How to use

  1. Shake the bottle to incorporate all ingredients (the cornstarch/arrowroot powder may settle to the bottom).
  2. Hold the spray bottle a few inches away from your head and spray over greasy areas of hair. The hair should be wet but not dripping. 2-5 sprays in each spot are ideal.

Commonly asked questions

Will my hair smell like chocolate because of the cocoa powder?
Surprisingly, no! Test it out by having your husband sniff your scalp – he shouldn’t smell anything. However, you may get a slight whiff of cocoa powder when you initially wet your hair to wash it after using the dry shampoo.

Will this match my hair color?
The best part about these recipes is that you can personalize the color to match your hair! For blondes, it’s best to make the recipe as written and adjust from there. For brunettes, follow the recipe with the listed amount of cocoa powder. Try out that ratio and adjust. You can literally add more cocoa powder to make the mixture darker, or add more cornstarch/arrowroot powder to lighten it up.

How often can I use this?
You can use this mixture as frequently as you like! Remember that this does not replace washing your hair; it only lengthens the time between washings. It is recommended that you wash your hair 2-3 times per week, and use this in-between.

My scalp has dried out since using this. What can I do?
The cornstarch and arrowroot powder absorbs moisture, which can cause flakiness or dry scalp. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your dry shampoo to help restore your scalp’s natural pH balance. You can also use a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar as a natural conditioner and scalp treatment. These remedies also help fight dandruff, and these remedies help with dry hair.

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What kind of dry shampoo do you use? What is the perfect ratio of ingredients for your hair color? Share in the comments below so we can learn from your dry shampoo recipes!

DIY All-Natural Makeup Remover

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Nearly half of all women won’t leave their house without wearing makeup. Are you one of them?

Whether you’re a Mama of little ones or a proud grandma, we help you look and feel fabulous! But before we explain how to make a DIY all-natural makeup remover, let’s cover the basics of skincare and makeup.

Washing

Like your mother always said, you should wash your face everyday, morning and night. Is soap and water the best method, or should you use a special product? We recommend you wash your face in 5 easy steps: with a microfiber cloth and water, then with mild soap, followed by face masks, serums, and toners.

Speaking of face masks, this DIY face mask reduces pores and moisturize your skin, leaving your face as soft as a newborn baby’s cheeks!

Next, and most importantly, use a face toner. This removes any left behind dirt, balances the pH of your skin, and preps your face for makeup or moisturizer. We can’t say enough about our fabulous DIY face toner!

Follow these steps with a hydrating moisturizer to lock in the healthy benefits.

Makeup

Now it’s time for makeup! Always start your palate with a primer. This prevents the makeup from being absorbed into your pores, and also provides a smooth foundation for your products.

Use a liquid or powder foundation, concealer, or tinted moisturizer – depending on your preferences. Pick out the perfect eyeshadow colors to match your eyes, and learn the secret to preventing eyeshadow creasing. While dolling up your eyes, follow these 3 tips to perfectly apply your mascara.

All natural or makeup-free

Is makeup not your thing? Go all natural! Discover 5 amazing tips to look good without makeup!

Things to note

When shopping for makeup or beauty products, jot down the 10 ingredients to avoid and 4 ingredients to look for. Stay away from toxic chemicals and steer clear of carcinogens. Instead, opt for all-natural ingredients and organic substances.

DIY All-natural Makeup Remover

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dig into how to remove all of your lovely makeup at the end of the day.

This makeup removing liquid is a combination of two simple, organic ingredients. They mix into a substance that not only removes your makeup, but also nourishes your skin. Most traditional makeup removers leave you feeling dry or itchy. Some even leave an odd film that is tough to wash off. That’s not the case with this one!

Ingredients

1/4 cup witch hazel
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine equal amounts of witch hazel and olive oil in a jar or small bottle (preferable glass).

To use

  1. Dip a cotton ball into the makeup remover.
  2. Gently swipe over the areas where makeup is applied.
  3. Rinse off with warm water if desired (not required).

Feel refreshed

Now that your skin is makeup free, allow your pores to breathe and your face to be radiant! Don’t forget to tell your girlfriends…better yet, make them a jar of this all-natural makeup remover as a surprise gift!

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