Valentine Ideas

February 14 can either make you a hero or a zero. If you’re stumped for a gift for your valentine, you can always maker a last minute drug store run for candy. Or you can be a little more creative and win your true love’s heart. Here are 42 ideas that will get their attention:

1. “Of-the-Month” gift – Microbrew of the month, wine, jerky, hot sauce, you name it

2. Write him or her a poem

3. Personalize a luxury hotel-style bathrobe with your love’s monogram

4. Jewelry – diamonds, gold, silver, it’s all good

5. Ride along with a stock car driver

6. An indoor picnic

7. Photo of the two of you in a beautiful frame

8. A mix CD

9. Breakfast in bed

10. Roses, carnations, any flower

11. Champagne flutes and a bottle of your favorite bubbly

12. A day at the spa, alone or as a couple

13. A night in front of the fireplace at a romantic lodge

14. Sexy undies or lingerie

15. Cook a special dinner and dine by candlelight

16. Valentine IOU coupons: I will make dinner; I will do the laundry; I will clean the kitchen for a week; I will serve you breakfast in bed, etc

17. Chocolate. Or better yet, a tour of a chocolate factory

18. I love you notes or chocolate foil-wrapped hearts hidden around the house

19. Homemade chocolate-covered strawberries

20. Repeat what you did on your very first date

21. Personalize a calendar with pictures of the two of you

22. Rent an old love story movie, make popcorn and snuggle in front of the television. “Casablanca,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “Love Story” are good choices

23. A key to your apartment, or a fancy fake key with a note that it is the key to your heart

24. A mug filled with old fashioned conversation hearts

25. A list of all the things you love about your mate

26. A set of expensive sheets – at least 400 thread count

27. A batch of heart-shaped cookies

28. Scented candles

29. Handmade valentine card

30. Chocolate body paint

31. A love note message in a bottle

32. Heart-shaped photo puzzle

33. Hot air balloon ride

34. Perfume

35. A rose petal-strewn bedroom

36. A spontaneous weekend getaway

37. Long massage with scented oil

38. Engraved key chain

39. Tickets to the movies or a sporting event

40. A balloon bouquet

41. Teddy bear holding a heart

42. Heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Whatever you do, make sure your sweetheart know you put some time and thought into it. Wrap your gift with a pretty bow. Hide it someplace as a surprise. Read a poem while you present it. Valentine’s gifts don’t have to be expensive. This is one of those times when it really is the thought that counts.


A List of Lists

I never thought that it was that difficult to make a list. Apparently, that opinion is not shared by everyone. There is a bevy of list-making websites out there, each with its own spin on how to keep you organized. I have always opted for a pencil and paper, or a List in a Word document. But the nice thing about online to do lists is that you can share them with others. Some of the applications have great add-ons as well. Here is a list of the best places to make your lists:

Listography allows you to not only create a list, but create a personal collection of lists. There is even a list topic generator if you’re not sure what to list about. This is great for things like birthday gift lists, or conversation starters such as your top vacation spots.

Ta-da List says it is “the web’s easiest to-do list tool.” It is a simple application to use and allows for sharing.

Workflowy is geared for project managers,  allowing you to organize multiple steps and sequences.

Toodledo  is available for your laptop, notebook, ipad and for iphone. It is a little more involved than some of the tools out there and includes folders, tags, contexts and subtasks.

TaskFreak  is a great way to keep your to do list and track your time.

TimeTracker  is another time-tracking list tool.

Smartsheet is a pretty simple concept that allows you to share.

ToDoist is one of the simpler ones out there.

Voo2do allows you to keep multiple lists active at all times

GoodToDo works with your email to keep your tasks up to date.

DoPointOh promises to help you “stay useful.”

Nozbe combines time tracking and project management.

Hiveminder is a collaborative to do lists that allows you to brainstorm and share ideas and lists.

BlaBlaList is pretty straight forward, and shareable

Workhack is a whiteboard that allows you to freeform your lists.

Steps to a Clean Up Your Act

A messy room can distract you from your studies. Out of sight, out of mind is the best rule. If you’ve let the papers and pizza boxes pile up, or if you can write your name in the dust on top of your table, it’s time to clean up. Here is a list of things to do to get your space in tip top shape.

1.   Clear the clutter. If there’s a little, take time and put things away. If there’s a lot, sweep everything off surfaces and the floor and sort into three laundry baskets. One basket is for things that need to be put away. One is for things that need to go somewhere else. The third is for trash.

2.   If you have a lot of mail or papers, take some time to sort those into categories.

3.   Neaten things up. Make your bed, straighten sofa pillows, close drawers and doors. It’s amazing how these little things can make a room look tidier.

4.   Pick up clothes and other items that need to go back into a closet or into the laundry.

5.   Dust surfaces. Remember television and computer screens.

6.   Wipe down areas that need to be cleaned. You can use clear water and a microfiber towel on easy areas. Or try disinfecting spray on nasty spots.

7.   Check details for dirt, fingerprints and smudges – light switches, door moulding, refrigerator surfaces.

8.   Use your vacuum hose and go around where the wall meets the ceiling to get rid of cobwebs and dust.

9.   Use the hose where the walls meet the floor, especially in corners.

10.  Vacuum steps and entryways.

11.   Vacuum the rest of the floors.

12.   Mop surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom, or wherever you don’t have carpet.

13.   Take out the trash.

14.   Starting with the basket of things that need to be put away, start putting things where they belong.

The Essential Online School Supply List

Do online students needs school supplies? Of course they do! But, taking classes at online schools does require some adjustments to the paper-pen-notebook list of a traditional school. Here is a list of items that are essential for anyone studying online.

Laptop – A computer is of course essential for online studies. Investing in a laptop or notebook computer gives you the freedom to study, do homework, and even attend class from anywhere.

Laptop Bag – A portable computer needs a good carrying case with padding and storage.

External Hard Drive – No matter what size your laptop’s hard drive is, you need an external drive to back up your data.

Desk – Having a desk, even if it is a small table in a corner where you can keep all your class-related work is essential for staying organized.

Chair – You will be spending many hours at your desk while online, make sure you have a good supportive desk chair.

Bulletin Board – A small cork board or whiteboard is handy to keep schedule reminders and notes within reach.

Calendar/Planner – Keep track of your assignments, projects, class meetings and appointments in one organized place.

File Drawer or Box – Not all of your materials will be saved online. And it is a good idea to have paper copies of some materials. Find a one-drawer file or a portable box to keep things files by class.

Notebooks – Three-ring binders give you the flexibility of taking notes and then organizing and storing them later. Find one with sections, or buy several colors for quick organization.

Calculator – If you will be taking math or science classes, invest in a good calculator.

Note cards – You can use note cards to organize information and as flash cards to help you study.

Headphones – If you are studying when others are home, a good pair of headphones will let you plug into your classes privately and will block out household noise. If your classes include Skype chats, look for headphones with a built-in microphone.

Internet Resolutions You Might Actually Keep

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? How many of them have you already broken? All your good intentions aren’t worth a thing if you resolve to do too much that is too difficult to achieve. Why do we make resolutions? The idea of starting fresh is so appealing. New Year, New You and all that. You can get a buzz from actually accomplishing resolutions. How? Make them attainable. Here is a list of suggested resolutions that are simple and will make a big impact.

1.  Park a few spaces further away from your class, the store, etc. Or walk instead of taking the bus. Every burned calorie adds up.

2.  Buy a timer and use it when you check Facebook or Twitter, play Angry Birds or any of the other timewasters the internet entices you with. Set a pre-determined amount of time and stop when the timer goes off.

3.  Throw out three pieces of clothing that don’t fit you, are out of style or you just don’t like. Now.

4.  Tell someone important to you that you love them.

5.  Lighten up by watching one funny YouTube video per day – but keep that timer nearby

6.  Start a journal, but only write one sentence a day.

7.  Call your parents.

8.  Throw out your old notes, notebooks and other outdated stuff in your school bag.

9.  Open snail mail as soon as you get it – next to the wastebasket.

10.  Clean out your email. Start with spam and work your way down. Vow to delete 10 emails at a time until it’s clean.

11.  Get a haircut.

12.  Clean out the space under your sink.

13.  Spend 10 minutes playing with your cat, dog or other pet, and don’t let yourself get distracted. Just play.

14.  Try all your pens and throw out the ones that don’t work.

15.  Clean out your car and put a pack of wastebasket bags or old grocery store bags under the seat to keep it neat.

16.  Buy a new toothbrush.

17.  Buy new mascara. The old stuff can harbor bacteria.

18.  Make a list of things you don’t want to do, be or have.

If you want more ideas, use this Resolution Generator  for more ideas. Just remember to set the timer first.

Gifts for future teachers

If you have a student who is planning on a teaching career, here is a helpful list of supplies they can use now while still in school, and onto their first job. Any of these make a great stocking stuffer, or they could be gathered into a pretty basket as a “teacher survival kit.” You can find most of these items at School Supply Giant online or any office supply store.  In alphabetical order…

1. Air freshener
2. Antacid tablets
3. Anti-diarrheal medication
4. Aprons
5. Assignment book
6. Bandages
7. Batteries
8. Bean bag chair/large pillows
9. Bell
10. Big notepad
11. Bookmarks for kids
12. Bookshelf for personal items
13. Boom box/CD player
14. Box of sponge activities
15. Bulletin board borders
16. Calculator
17. Calendar
18. Camera
19. Candy
20. Chalk
21. Chennelle sticks
22. Classical music CD’s
23. Classroom library – book and magazines
24. Clip boards
25. Clips – bulldog and paper in a variety of sizes
26. Color coded dots
27. Containers for desk supplies
28. Cough drops
29. Craft sticks
30. Crayons
31. Desk clock
32. Desk drawer organizers
33. Dictionary/thesaurus
34. Dry erase board
35. Envelopes
36. Erasers
37. File folders
38. First aid kit
39. Flag
40. Flash cards
41. Flashlight
42. Games for rainy days
43. Glue
44. Glue gun and sticks
45. Grade book
46. Hand sanitizer
47. Index cards — all sizes
48. Labeler
49. Labels
50. Lamp
51. Lesson plan book
52. Magnetic letters
53. Magnets
54. Magnifying glass
55. Manilla envelopes (laminated) for collections
56. Maps
57. Markers
58. Measuring stick — metric & standard
59. Mints
60. Mirror
61. Overhead projector sheets
62. Pain Reliever
63. Paper – graph, notebook, tissue
64. Paper cutter
65. Paperweight
66. Pencil shaprener — electric
67. Pencils
68. Pens
69. Plastic table cloth for messy projects
70. Play money
71. Pointer
72. Portable blackboard or whiteboard
73. Posters
74. Post-it notes
75. Rocking chair
76. Rubber bands
77. Rubber stamps
78. Scissors
79. Seasonal decorations
80. Sentence strips
81. Stapler, staples and staple remover
82. Sticky tack
83. Stop watch
84. Storage bins
85. Stress ball
86. String
87. Tape
88. Tape recorder
89. Thumb tacks/nails/push pins
90. Tools — screwdriver, hammer, pliers
91. Trinkets for prizes/gifts
92. Umbrella
93. Whistle
94. White-Out
95. Words for word wall
96. Yarn

Nice Things to Do Over the Holidays

If you’re low on cash or stumped for what to buy Aunt Sally this year, considering giving the gift of yourself. Many people, especially elderly or families with small children and single parents are thrilled when someone asks to help out. A lot of people won’t come out and ask for help. Here is a list of “gifts” you can give this holiday season.

1. Help with daily household chores – change sheets, empty the trash
2. Help with pets – Walk the dog, change the kitty litter
3. Buy a few extra things as the grocery store, maybe a favorite dessert or a prepared item
4. Take care of houseplants – this is especially nice if someone is going to be away on vacation
5. Get the mail – especially when the weather is nasty
6. Drop off/pick up dry cleaning
7. Plant flowers — You can buy a packet of seeds now with a promise to do some gardening later
8. Shovel snow
9. Make small household repairs – change light bulbs and furnace filters
10. Put your interior design skills to use and help decorate for the holidays
11. Take them out for a drive to see neighbor’s Christmas lights
12. Put together a scrapbook or photo album of family pictures
13. Make a CD or save music to a thumb drive
14. Offer to make drug store runs to pick up prescriptions
15. Pass on books and magazines when you have finished reading them
16. Take their newspaper to the front door, put it inside the screen if the weather is bad
17. Tell someone how great they look today
18. Ask someone what their all-time favorite movie is, then rent it for them as a surprise.
19. Bring their trash cans in from the curb
20. Order and pay for a pizza or other food delivery
21. Sneak in the middle of the night and fill their car’s gas
22. Offer to help them sort through old clothes and take them to a local shelter
23. On a snowy day, clear off their car before work

You can also make a donation in someone’s name to a host of worthy causes. Check out Do One Nice Thing for a list of ideas.