S’mores Dip

SMORES-1.png

With fall quickly approaching, one of the things I love about the season is making s’mores over the fire. Sometimes though you may not be able to get somewhere that you can make a s’more so today I bring you from the blog cleverly simple, s’mores dip. Yes, a s’mores dip! How delicious would this be to sit down and dip graham crackers into a dip of chocolate and marshmallows? Pretty darn delicious in my honest opinion. #fall #recipes #smores #awesome

You will need:

Graham crackers

Four Hershey’s chocolate bars

Marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray the round pan with spray butter.
  3. Add a layer of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars.
  4. Place a layer of marshmallows.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 – 7 minutes, until the marshmallows are toasted.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Layer the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate on the bottom of a round or square pan that you can place in the oven.  A cast iron pan would do great as well.  I put about four Hershey’s Milk Chocolate in the pan.  However, if you have a lot of chocolate lovers, you may want to add some more.

Top the chocolate with a full bag of marshmallows.  Pack them in there.

Bake in a 450 degree Fahrenheit for 5 to 7 minutes.  Keep a close eye on it.

dipping into the smores dip

Let your dip cool for 10 minutes and then you’re ready to dig in!

 

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Fun With Sharpies

With the summer winding down and school starting soon, why not get in one more fun project? I will bet that I am not the only one that has way too many sharpie markers lying around. This fun project gives us a chance to make use of all of those sharpie markers we all have. This fun, crafty project can turn plain ceramic tiles into cool looking coasters. This project takes white ceramic tiles, and then with a few other items like sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol, we can create awesome looking coasters. #sharpiesrule #girlsrule #endofsummer #fun

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White ceramic tiles
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Small straw or eyedropper
  • Your favorite Sharpie fine markers

You may also want to purchase felt and glue for the bottom of the coasters

Find white ceramic tile at any hardware store (they should be under a dollar each). Make sure to clean the surface thoroughly with soap and water.

Color with Sharpies! Pick a combination of dark and vibrant colors to create contrast. There are no wrong choices!

Use a stirring spoon  or eyedropper to methodically drop small “pools” of alcohol onto the tile. If you drop too much, the colors will all blur together and you won’t get any circles or patterns. Let dry! It can take up to half an hour, so just be patient!

If you think you added too much alcohol, you can go back and add more to create new “pools” on top. It will bloom again!

Seal it using a spray fixative first. Hold the tile at least 6 inches away and spray lightly over it. If you spray too closely or too much, the ink will reactivate and blur again. Do it in layers. After that, you can use a varnish or polyurethane to seal it with a glossy coat! Shine, baby, shine!

As a finishing touch, glue felt to the bottom of the tile to prevent the edges from scratching your table.

If you’re really feelin’ crazy, you can add MORE Sharpie on top of the sealed layer!

 

You can find this project and others at: http://blog.sharpie.com/2013/04/coasting-into-spring/

 

How to make boring keys awesome!

Have you ever looked at a key and thought this thing is ugly and needs help? Here’s a fun and cheap tutorial to turn keys into something all of us girls would like. Also, who doesn’t like glitter? #glitter, #summer,  #DIY

You’ll Need:
A key (or many keys)
Mod Podge or regular glue
Glitter
Clear spray paint– Don’t skip this step!

Step 1:
Put your key on a glitter-safe surface. I use foil. Paint one side of your key with you glue.

Step 2:
Pour on the glitter! Let this side dry completely before doing the other.

Step 3:
Repeat steps one and two on the other side of your key.

GO OUTSIDE and spray both sides of you key with the clear coat. This is important! If you don’t do this, glitter will fall off everywhere. Trust me, it’s a mess.

Once that’s dry, you’re finished!

If you have lots of keys, do each one in a different color of glitter so you can ID them.

Colorful Fun in the Sun!

Looking for fun activities to try this summer? Here are some options…and they all involve lots of paint or food coloring!

1. Twister with a Twist!

Play Twister with a messy twist! | 39 Slumber Party Ideas To Help You Throw The Best Sleepover Ever

Use a normal Twister game, but get crazy by adding colored paint to each circle! As long as you use non-toxic paint and wear old clothes, you’ll have tons of fun. Or get all your friends to dress in white and take before and after pictures. See who gets covered with the most color!

2. Play dodge-ball… with color-powder filled nylons!

nylon color powder balls

This is the perfect summer game because A) the “dodge balls” are soft and don’t hurt too much, B) the color powder is cheap, easy to make, and non-toxic, and C) it’s lots of fun to get covered in colorful powder! Here’s how to make the powder (it only takes 2 ingredients!):

First, mix 2 cups of corn starch and 1 cup of water in a large foil pan (you can get sets of these at the dollar store). Feel free to use your hands!

supplies for DIY color powder

 

Then add 1/2-1 ounce of coloring paste. You can still mix with your hands, but use rubber gloves to avoid stains! Make sure the color is thoroughly mixed in.

cornstarch mixture for DIY color powder

Next, leave the pans in a dry location and let them sit for a few days. Use a fork each day to break up the pieces.

dried color powder

Finally, when the few days are up you should use a food processor to get rid of the final chunks. Then just put the powder in the nylons and you’re ready to play! Wear white and take before and after pictures. Or think of other fun activities to do with this colorful powder!

homemade color powder for color fight

3. Glow in the Dark Chalk!

This stuff looks so cool! It’s also really easy to make, and it shows up in the daylight as well as at night. Here’s how to make this awesome chalk:

Start by combining water and a squirt of glow in the dark or florescent paint in a bowl.

Next, add some Plaster of Paris to each bowl. Plaster of Paris is a formula used for mold-making and sculptures, and it works great for this as well. You can buy a whole pound for just a little over a dollar, so it’s pretty cheap. Add enough Plaster of Paris to make your mixture thick but still wet–just keep adding and testing until you get the desired consistency.

Once your ingredients are mixed, spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray. Spray the tray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Let the cubes sit for twelve hours. Then put the tray in the freezer for ten minutes–this will make it easier to pop the chalk cubes out. Now you’re ready to start drawing!

4. Glow in the Dark Bubbles

Make your own glow in the dark bubbles using just TWO ingredients!

If you like the glow in the dark chalk idea, you’ll love these bubbles as well! All you need to do is mix dish soap, water, and a little glow in the dark paint, and then you’re set!

glowing bubbles

You can put a straw in the bubble mixture and blow bubbles in the bowl, or you can use a wand from some store-bought bubbles to blow even cooler bubbles! You can also try blowing the bubbles onto a piece of paper to make some neat artwork.

glow in the dark bubbles

5. Hair Chalk

This provides a cool look that will last for 1-4 washes! It’s pretty simple, too. All you need is any old chalk, some water, a hair tie, and a flat iron.

First, isolate the hair you want colored and tie the rest back. Get your hair wet, and get the chalk wet as well. Then use your fingers to spread the chalk on your strand of hair.

Finally, straighten the piece of hair with a flat iron to get the color to set. And there you go!

6. Rainbow Waffles

Carli would love this. I think I'll make some this summer when she had time to help.

Make your waffle batter like normal–maybe you have a family recipe, or maybe you make waffles from the box. Either way, don’t make any changes until the end. Then, instead of putting the batter straight into the waffle iron, first divide it into bowls and add food coloring to each bowl. Next move the batter to plastic bags, cut holes in the ends of the bags, and squeeze the batter onto the waffle iron. Try all sorts of different fun designs!

7. Paint Filled Eggs on Canvas

Paint filled eggs on canvas

This is a creative way to utilize your egg shells after you’ve eaten eggs. Whenever you use eggs in your cooking, try not to just crack them. Instead use a butter knife to gently crack the tops of the shells, making holes big enough for the inside of the egg to pass through. Then wash the egg shells with warm water and antibacterial soap and put them back in the carton.

Paint filled eggs on Canvas

Next, fill the eggs with paint!

Fill eggs with paint and toss them at canvas!  This project is surprisingly easy to set up and SO FUN!

Then seal the eggs gently with tissue paper and glue. Just use a glue stick to cover one side of the tissue paper pieces and then cover the holes.

Paint filled eggs- toss them at canvas for a super fun art project kids LOVE!

You’re ready to throw your eggs! Throw them at a piece of canvas, a poster, or just a piece of paper. Or try filling the eggs with chalk and throwing them on cement. Just be sure to clean up the shell pieces afterward!

Paint filled eggs on canvas

8. Summery Nail Polish

If you enjoy painting your nails, check out these pictures for inspiration! There are all sorts of colorful, summery designs for you to try.

Watermelon!

30 Eye-Catching Summer Nail Art Designs

Summer Sunset

Instagram / thenailtrail

Rainbow Sparkly French Tip

Instagram / selinasnailart

Beach Palm Trees!

Summer Splash

Instagram / thenailpolishchallenge

(Here’s how you do this! )

9. Homemade Scented Sand Paint

How to make textured and scented homemade paint for a multisensory art experience.

If you’re into art, you should try this! Not only does this paint make beautiful pictures, but it makes pictures with texture and good smells! All you need to do is mix a cup of flour with a packet of Kool Aid and then add water. You want the mixture to be pretty thick, so don’t add too much water! Then add some craft sand (you can get this for cheap online or at any craft store) and mix well.

How to make scented sand paint - a multisensory art recipe

You can use this paint directly on paper, or you can try it on foil for a fun twist!

Homemade Sand Paint Recipe - Create textured and scented paint for a multisensory art experience kids will love!  Paint on foil for vibrant print making and added textures.

10. Colored Flowers 

coloring wild carrot 5

Did you know real flowers can change color if they’re given colored water to drink? Try this with daisies, carnations, or wild carrots! Just put some water and a little food coloring in your jars and add the flowers. These will make beautiful decorations for a party, a dinner, or just for your living room!

I hope this post has given you some great, colorful ideas! Enjoy!

~Natalie

Fun (and Healthy) Summer Recipes!

Summer break is here!! School is out, the weather is nice, fruits and veggies are ripe and fresh, and you have plenty of time on your hands! If you’re looking for fun summer activities, try making some of these simple and healthy (and colorful!) summer recipes. They taste great and look cool too! And they’re all perfect for hot summer days.

Frozen Banana Pops

A healthier and more fun alternative to eating ice cream in the summer is making and eating frozen banana pops! Bananas have good nutritional value (they contain potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and more), and they taste great too! Plus you can add a variety of healthy toppings.

Easy Summer Treats

Ingredients:
-Bananas (each banana will make 2-3 pops, depending on size)
-Spread (yogurt, cream cheese, dark chocolate, Nutella, peanut butter, etc.)
-Toppings (chocolate chips, oats, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, crushed graham crackers, cookie crumbs, chopped dried fruit, etc.)
-Popsicle sticks, cookie sheet, parchment paper

Directions:
1. Cover a cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper
2. Peel bananas and cut them into halves or thirds (depending on size of banana and how big you want popsicle)
3. Carefully put one popsicle stick in each piece of banana
4. Dip bananas in desired spread (or use a knife to spread if spread is thick)
*Cream cheese must be extra soft to spread, so make sure it’s warm or room temperature. Add honey or cinnamon if you want more flavor.
*For good dipping chocolate, add one tablespoon coconut oil for every 3 ounces of chocolate and heat until melted.
5. Roll each banana in desired toppings (or use hands to put on more toppings)
6. Place on parchment paper and freeze for 2-4 hours
7. Serve or put in freezer bag for up to a week

Berry Lemonade Popsicles

I am a huge fan of anything frozen and fruity. These popsicles taste great and look cool too! Bonus: they’re super simple and easy to make!

Berry Lemonade Popsicles are perfect for summer with fresh strawberries and blueberries!

Ingredients:
-Lemonade (can be from a mix, from a can, in a bottle, etc., and can be any flavor you want)
-Fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
-Popsicle mold

Directions:
1. Put sliced fruit in popsicle mold
2. Pour lemonade into mold until almost full
3. Place top on popsicle mold and insert popsicle sticks
4. Freeze overnight, then enjoy!

For other variations, try coconut water, iced tea or different juices. Or try cutting up other varieties of fruit!

Fresh Herb Flower Cucumber Bites

This is the perfect snack that can use veggies and herbs straight from the garden! The flower cucumber bites are perfect for tea parties, potlucks, or just mid-day snacks.

Ingredients:
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp lemon zest
-2 tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
-2 tbsp mint, thinly sliced
-2 tsp chopped chives
-4 ounces softened cream cheese
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 seedless cucumber, medium sliced into 32 rounds
-3-4 medium radishes, sliced thinly into 32 rounds

Directions:
1. Mix the first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl
2. Use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut the cucumber slices into shapes (or try other designs!)
3. Assemble: place a radish slice on each cucumber slice and top with about ½ tsp of cheese mixture
4. Enjoy!

Rainbow Lemon Sparkling Water

Perhaps you’ve seen the awesome idea of putting food coloring in ice cubes. This is a variation that uses lemonade and sparkling water, making it taste even better and look even cooler!

Frozen kool-aid cubes and ginger ale. Cool rainbow drink

Ingredients:
-Lemonade (can be from a mix, from a can, in a bottle, etc., and can be any flavor you want)
-Food coloring
-Sparkling water
-Ice cube trays

Directions:
1. Put lemonade in ice cube trays
2. Add food coloring to each soon-to-be-ice cube
4. Freeze lemonade ice cubes
5. Put lemonade ice cubes in clear glass and add sparkling water
6. Enjoy!

Rainbow Fruit Kabobs

If you like rainbow, fruit, and SIMPLE, you will love these! They’re as easy to make as they look, and fruit is always a healthy choice!

Looking for something a little more healthy? Try rainbow fruit skewers! Delicious and breathtaking.

Ingredients:
-Strawberries, raspberries, or another red fruits
-Mandarin oranges, tangerines, or other orange fruits
-Pineapple or other yellow fruits
-Kiwis, green apples, green grapes, or other green fruits
-Blueberries or other blue fruits
-Purple grapes, blackberries, or other purple fruits
-Kabob skewers

Directions:     
1. Cut up fruits
2. Put fruits in rainbow order on kabobs
3. Enjoy!

For fun, try other color patterns. Or try sticking a bunch of kabobs in a whole watermelon—it will look great!

Avocado Corn Salsa

I am a huge fan of salsa, so I’m always looking for new recipes! This is a great one, especially for summer when veggies are fresh. Plus it’s super healthy—we all know veggies are good for you, beans are a great source of protein, and avocados provide almost 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

Avocado Corn Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:
-1 cup corn (fresh or cooked)
-2 avocados
-1 small onion
-2 limes
-2 medium tomatoes
-1 1/2 cup black beans
-Garlic Salt

Directions:
1. Cut/chop onion, tomatoes, and avocados (and remove fresh corn from cob if necessary)
2. Put into bowl and add other ingredients
3. Toss together
4. Refrigerate for a while (also gives time for flavors to mix together more)
5. Enjoy with any kind of chips!

Enjoy! Let me know which recipes are your favorite.

~Natalie

The “F” Word

Yes, the “F” word. That is what we are talking about today. That awful, dreadful word that leaves a bad taste in your mouth…FRENEMIES. Frenemies are people who seem to be your friends, but at the same time act in ways that are mean, controlling, and manipulative. These behaviors are forms of bullying, and they make frenemies difficult people to deal with. But before we talk about how to deal with the frenemies in your life, we must first talk about how to identify them.

There are many ways to spot frenemies. Here are a few big ones:

1) They never seem to be happy about your good fortune or achievements. If something good happens to you, frenemies tend to downplay it by not making it a big deal, sneering, or not wanting to hear about it at all. When you make efforts to improve yourself, such as studying harder or practicing a lot for a game or performance, these people may attempt to do things that will harm your progress.

2) They are masters of backhanded compliments. You know, the ones that seem like compliments, but are also rude or belittling. For example, frenemies may say things like, “I like your hair when you wash it. It’s so pretty!” In other words, they’re saying your hair is ugly when it isn’t washed. These “compliments” may seem authentic, but usually they’re not.

Regina does not think it’s really interesting. Just FYI.

3) They gossip about you. They spread rumors about you with other people, and when the rumors get back to you they try to deny them or blame others–frenemies love to stir up new drama in your life.

4) They always need to be on top. They cannot stand the fact that you may be better than them at something, and they want to make sure they are always seen as better than you, no matter what the circumstance.

So, now that we know some of the ways to spot frenemies, the next step is to take some actions.

1) Listen to your own instincts.

Pay attention to how you feel after interacting with your peers. If these people make you feel happy, encouraged, and good about yourself, they are probably true friends. But if they leave you feeling unsupported, sad, or manipulated, they are not being good friends. You deserve to be treated with care and respect, so trust these feelings and take them seriously.

2) Talk to an adult or trusted friend about how you’re feeling.

If you’re not sure if you’re dealing with a frenemy, talk to people you trust. Parents, teachers, mentors, school counselors, and close friends should be willing to listen to you, offer new perspectives, and provide encouragement. They can help you evaluate your relationship with the frenemy and make changes. It’s important that these people are trustworthy; you don’t want peers spreading rumors and creating drama.

television animated GIF

3) Talk with the frenemy kindly and directly.

Instead of continuing to endure rude remarks and behaviors, confront your frenemy. Make sure to do so in a way that is kind, respectful, and sticks to the facts. Focus on explaining how you feel, using “I” messages instead of “you” messages. For example, instead of saying, “You were so mean when you made fun of my outfit,” try saying, “I was hurt by your comments about my outfit. I know you were probably trying to be funny, but I felt like the comments were at my expense.”

4) Pay attention to the frenemy’s response.

Even if you are as respectful and considerate as possible, your frenemy may still be defensive, in denial, or unwilling to discuss the issue. If this is the case, it may be time to let go of this so-called friendship and focus on other friendships.

mad animated GIF

5) Examine your own thoughts and behaviors.

It is possible that hanging out with your frenemy has caused you to pick up on some of your frenemy’s habits. For example, do you use wit or humor to put down others and make yourself look better? If so, it’s important to be honest with yourself and do everything you can to change your attitudes and behaviors immediately.

6) If necessary, make the break.

If your frenemy is still unwilling to make changes, it is probably time to let go of the friendship. This is not rude or mean; you deserve to be treated with respect and care. Ending the friendship puts and end to many toxic interactions, and it’s good for both you and your frenemy.

bye animated GIF

7) Still be polite and kind.

Although creating distance is good and healthy, it is not good to stir up drama or put your frenemy down. Remember that your frenemy may also have been treated poorly by others at some time. Although this isn’t an excuse for your frenemy’s behavior, it may help you develop empathy and understand where your frenemy is coming from. Even when you end the friendship, it’s important to be respectful and considerate.

8) If you’re still being bullied, talk with a trustworthy adult.

The bottom line is you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. If your frenemy continues bullying you after your attempts to better the situation, tell and adult you trust.

~Natalie

Powerful Female Role Models

Women in media are often portrayed as weak, unintelligent, and requiring a man to rescue them. Good news is, that is not all women – that is not even most women. Just like men, women can accomplish anything they set their minds to.

With hard work and dedication, women have been achieving great things for decades, despite the media’s lack of attention. The following is a list of women who have achieved greatness in arts and sciences, business and politics. But, these are not the only women doing great things, millions of women defeat the odds every day. And who knows, maybe one day your name will be on this list!


Art

Audra McDonald

Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow is an acclaimed movie director. Bigelow was the first woman to win an Oscar for her directing of The Hurt Locker in 2008.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is an acclaimed novelist who has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for her novel Beloved.

Audra McDonald (Pictured)

Audra McDonald is a Broadway actress. Last summer she became the first person to win a Tony Award in every acting category.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson is a successful actress most popularly known from playing Hermione in the Harry Potter movies. On top of being an actress, Watson was appointed to be the United Nation’s Women Goodwill Ambassador.

US Politics

101102_pelosi_rise_fall_bres_ap_605

Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen is the first Chair of the board of the United States Federal Reserve.

Nancy Pelosi (Pictured)

Nancy Pelosi was the first female Speaker of the United States House of Representative for 4 Year. Pelosi is now the House Minority Leader.

 

International

Malala-Yousafzai1

Malala Yousafzai (Pictured)

Malala Yousafzai was shot in 2012 by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school. Since recovering from her brain injury she has been advocating for girls right to education in Pakistan while attending school in Pakistan. In 2015 she was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for her work. She is the youngest recipient to date.

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel is the first female Chancellor of Germany one of Europe’s most powerful countries. Merkel is listed as Time’s 57th most powerful person in the world. A total of 29 countries in the World are headed by a women.

Business

women-test3_236317s

Indra Nooyi– Pepsi (Pictured)

Indra Nooyi is the CEO of Pepsi, the second largest food company in the world.

Meg Whitman– HP

Meg Whitman is the current CEO of HP. However, over the past 20 years she has been an executive or CEO at Disney, DreamWorks and Ebay.

Mary T. Bara– General Motors

Mary is the first female CEO of General Motors as well as the first female CEO of any major international automaker.


Science

fabiola-gianotti

Fabiola Gianotti (Pictured)

Fabiola Gianotti is an Italian scientist. Gianotti was the lead research in the Higgs-Boson particle discovery.

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is most popularly known for her research of chimpanzees over the past 55 years. Goodall is a well respected primatologist and anthropologist.

-Tina

Wake Up Refreshed

I don’t know about you, but I am not much of a morning person. Getting out of bed each morning can be a real struggle. Below I am providing you with a few tips that I have found AND have tried myself that have helped make waking up a bit easier.

1) Good morning sunshine!!

When you wake up to natural sunlight pouring through your window, it signals your body to stop releasing melatonin (which is what makes you sleepy) and that it is time to wake up. I know, I know. We live in Oregon, but even if it is cloudy outside, the sun is still present and producing some sort of light. So, if possible, sleep with your blinds open so that the light hits you first thing in the morning.

2) You snooze, you lose!

I know that it can be very tempting to press that snooze button or say, “5 more minutes!” when your mom or dad wakes you up, just so you can get a little more shut eye, but in reality those extra 5, 10, 15 minutes are not actually helping you. When you keep putting off getting up, your brain is aware and will not put you back into restful sleep. Instead of feeling rested for those extra 5 minutes, you actually end up waking up more tired.

3) Hey, Mr. DJ can you turn the music up?!

Have your favorite, upbeat song ready to play when you wake up. It will help get you in a good mood and help keep you awake. DO NOT set it up as your alarm so that you do not associate it with something negative, but play it after your alarm has gone off. It’s a nice little treat for you in the morning to wake up to. It may also get you dancing and any form of active movement helps give you energy. So, in the wise words of my bff Taylor Swift, “Just shake it off!”

4) Drink Water

Drinking water when you wake up is a great way to provide energy and replace any fluids your body lost during sleep. It jump starts your body. Add a little lemon to your water and you are doing even more wonders for your body besides giving it energy.

5) Power down

This tip is more for the night before. This will be a hard one and took me a while to really master, but helped me sleep better in the end. Power down your electronics 30 minutes to an hour before you have planned to go to sleep. Computer screens, cellphone screens, etc. are all simulators for your brain and end up making it hard for your brain to wind down and fall asleep after you use them. Instead, try reading a book you’ve been interested it, do a puzzle, or journal about your day. These things will help you wind down and will give you some time to spend with yourself.

That’s everything I have for you. Let us know what you think and if these tips work for you in the comments!

~Kat

Helpful Study Tips

Study, study, study, and more study. That seems to be something that we do a lot when we are in school. It can get stressful and overwhelming at times. We may even be at a loss as to where we begin. When done the right way, however, studying does not need to be so stressful. With the right tips and tricks, studying can turn into something fun and even stress free.

1) Sleep and Healthy Diet

We seem to have this preconceived notion that staying up for an exam all night is the smartest way to go, when it’s not. Sleep is an important piece for the learning process and actually helps you recall what you were studying. Research has shown that sleep not only helps you concentrate better, but also helps consolidate the information that you’ve learned. It is also important to keep a healthy diet. The food you eat does have an impact on how your brain responds to material. Improving your nutrition increases your brain’s function and motivation in school. So instead of reaching for junk food, grab some yummy strawberries, granola bars, or yogurt.

2) Color Code It

Color has a way of enhancing what is on the page. I am not saying to highlight every single word that you write down, but have different colors for different things. This will make it easy to keep track of specific things. For example: blue=dates, pink=places, yellow=key fact, etc.

3) Organization

WRITE IT DOWN! This is so important and it took me a while to figure it out. It is no joke that our lives get busy and we suddenly forget about an assignment or an exam that we have the next day. The moment you walk into your class and realize you forgot about that exam or assignment your stomach just drops. Avoid this altogether by getting a planner and writing out all your assignments and exams for the week. I can easily forget things and being able to open up my planner and see what I’ve jotted down is a huge reminder.

4) Breaks

I am the type of person that once I start something, I am in it till the very end. Studies have shown, however, that students should take a break after 30-50 minutes of doing homework. This does NOT mean watch shows or go on social media. It is recommended that you do something active and, if possible, outdoors. Go for a walk, workout, read outside, etc. This will help give your brain a break and you will come back feeling refreshed and able to focus.

5) Note Taking

For note taking I have split it up into three groups:

– Before Class

Before even going to class, skim the chapter/pages that you will be going over the next day. It does not have to be a thorough reading, but just quickly look over it and jot down anything that does not make sense. If the teacher does not go over it, you have a reminder for yourself to ask questions

– During Class

Abbreviation is important. There are teachers that speak really fast and you need to be able to keep up with what they are saying. Some teachers will have PowerPoint slides and most teachers will make it available to you, so, make sure to write down more of what they say instead of what is written on the PowerPoint. It will give you more of a full picture.

– After Class

This is the time to go back and look through the PowerPoint slides and combine it with what your teacher said in class and the notes in the PowerPoint. Sometimes our notes can get sloppy when trying to keep up with what the teacher is saying and they become a jumbled mess. Even though you may not be a fan of this, rewriting your notes after class is a huge help. You are able to sort out the mess of notes while it is still fresh in your mind. It has also been proven that writing something out is memory equivalent to reading it 7 times. Not only will rewriting your notes help you organize, it will help you remember the material more as well. Rewriting your notes also allows you to write them out in a way that you understand them. Plus, you can make it fun and make diagrams and draw pictures.

6) Teach it Back

This is the final tip I have for you guys. Teaching back the material not only lets it stick well in your brain; it also helps you acknowledge any areas of information that you may not know so well. If you find yourself pausing or at a loss for words when teaching the material back to a friend or classmate, you know that you need to study that material more. If you can teach it back confidently, then you have learned the material. So, grab a buddy and teach away. That is all I have for you guys. I hope that these tips are helpful and that you are able to put some, if not all, into practice. Let us know if you try out any of these tips in the comments! If you have other study tips that have worked for you, let us know as well! Happy studying!

~Kat

Valentine’s Day Around the World

With Valentine’s Day approaching we are making plans with our boyfriend or girlfriend and buying sweet, romantic gifts, but have you ever wondered how this day is celebrated around the world? Well, I did some digging and brought you back the dirt on how this holiday is celebrated in other parts of the world. It’s quite interesting.

Malaysia:

This is one of my favorite and think it is quite funny. For this holiday, women will take oranges, as in the fruit, and write their name and number on them before throwing them into the nearest river hoping that their prince charming will pick up their orange. Fruit vendors will actually pick up the fruit and sell them, they consider them to be good luck! So, who knows who can end up with the orange. Pretty fun!

Brazilian:

For those living in Brazil, it is called Dia dos Namorados (Day of Lovers). Valentine’s Day eve is when women will write their various crush’s name on folded up pieces of paper. Whichever name they pick from the pile the next day will be the one they marry, or at least date. In other South and Central American countries, Valentine’s Day is actually called Dia del Amor y la Amistad (Day of love and friendship). I lived in El Salvador for four years and those of us who were single were not sad when Valentine’s Day came around. It was a fun time to plan a dinner and movie with your friends to celebrate your friendship and did not just focus on couples. One thing they do is what you can call “secret cupid”. It is the same as “secret santa” and you place your friends names in a hat or bowl and however you pick you would get a gift for. It was a lot of fun.

South Korea:

Now South Korea has a pretty interesting tradition. They do not only celebrate February 14, but rather the 14 of pretty much every month. For example, May 14 is Rose Day, October 14 is wine day, and December 14 is hug day. On February 14, the women will actually give men chocolates, those lucky men, but on March 14 the men give candy, not chocolate, to women. Well at least we get candy. Finally, this is my favorite part, those who did not receive anything on either day come together on April 14 and eat black bean noodles and lament their singleness. Kind of morbid, but at least they have each other and at least there is food, right?

Denmark:

It is custom in Denmark for people to send pressed white flowers called snowdrops to their friends, how sweet! So, if you have friends that you want to celebrate on Valentine’s day, snowdrop flowers are the way to go! Danish men can also send a Valentine called the gaekkebrev. The sender of this gaekkebrev will write a rhyme, but will not sign his name! Instead he will sign his name in dots, yes dots. As in ….. and each dot stands for a letter of his name. If the girl who receives the card guesses his name, then she is rewarded with an Easter Egg later on in the year. Wait what? Who knew Valentine’s day and Easter went together. Pretty cool!

Well, those are a few ways Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world. Who knew right? I hope that all of you out there have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and if you are not currently in a relationship, why not use some of the example above and celebrate friendship? Plan a get together with your friends and have a blast! Happy Valentine’s Day!

~ Kat

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