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National Collecting Rocks Day

Did you today, September 16th, is National Collecting Rocks Day? Are you wondering how to celebrate? Well, simply go outdoors and collect rocks. Rock collecting is an easy pastime to start with your family. Children love to collect. Who knows, go on outings to collect rocks may lead to a lifetime love of geology.

Why Collect Rocks?

Collecting rocks is a hands-on learning experience. Unplug from your devices and spend an afternoon outdoors. Turn rock collecting into an adventure for your family. Rock collecting has many benefits, including:

  • Building vocabulary
  • Increasing fine motor skills by searching and picking up rocks
  • Expands imagination
  • Builds large motor skills by walking to find the rocks.
  • Promotes family togetherness
  • Provides a foundation for further learning

Plus, collecting rocks is fun.

Ideas for Your Rock Collection

How many rocks did you find? Are you wondering what to do with your collected rocks? Check out the following ideas.

  • Identify: Rocks fall into three main categories, sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous. Identifying rocks is a great learning experience.
  • Display: Using old egg cartons or other throw-away plastic containers, display your rocks. Egg cartons are wonderful to separate and label your latest rock finds. Or invest in a larger container to continuously fill to show your rocks.
  • Paint: Paint and hide larger rocks around your community.
  • Crafts: Smaller rocks or stones are great for crafting. Arrange your rocks into animal shapes or other patterns. Glue the rocks to a board to display on the wall.
  • Make Jewelry: With the right type of crafting material, you can turn rocks into necklaces and bracelets.
  • Polish: Invest in a rock tumbler to polish and shine your finds.

Fall is an excellent time to go rock collecting with your family. But be warned, once started collecting rocks is addicting. You may want to check pockets before doing the wash. Finding a hand full of rocks in each pocket is an expected outcome for starting rock collecting.

20 Fun Frugal Fall Activities

The official start of autumn is still days away. Cooler nights, harvest time, and the subtle changes to the landscape are signs of the fall season. Due to the pandemic, fall is different this year. Numerous community events are canceled. Social distancing and other guidelines are still in place. But even on a budget, you and your family can enjoy the changing season.

Family Fall Activities

  1. Play a game of toss football.
  2. Go apple picking
  3. Try an apple cider slushy
  4. Eat a Carmel apple
  5. Go for a hike (Your dog can go too.)
  6. Go for a nature walk (Don’t forget your camera)
  7. Go on a Sunday drive just to look at the changing leaves.
  8. Collect brightly colored leaves
  9. Rake leaves into a pile and simply jump in. (Great fun at any age)
  10. Bake an apple pie. Or bake two, one to keep and one to give away.
  11. Decorate your home with a fall theme.
  12. Wax leaves
  13. Make your favorite homemade soup or try a new recipe.
  14. Collect pine cones for crafts
  15. Go stargazing
  16. Have a fall picnic.
  17. Have a bonfire on a chilly night.
  18. East S’mores
  19. Have a fall-themed craft day.
  20. Go to the farmer’s market.

Despite canceled events, fall is still a fun season. Spend time with your family. Or grab your bestie and head out for the day.

Journal Writing Prompts for September

Welcome to September! The month brings a 3-day weekend for Labor Day, the start of school, and the first day of fall. Cooler weather is a wonderful time to snuggle under a blanket, sip hot cocoa, and write in a journal. Do you need some journal inspiration? Check out the following list.

30 Journal Writing Prompts for September

  1. How did last month go for you and your family? Were you still under restrictions due to the pandemic in August? Go into details.
  2. What do you hope to achieve or finish in September? Make a list of at least 10 things.
  3. What do you want to finish by the end of the year? Have you been working on your year-end list? Why or why not?
  4. Labor Day weekend-do you have any plans? How will this 3-day weekend be different for you and your family?
  5. Describe 3-day holiday weekends from your childhood. Did you travel? Host a BBQ? Watch a telethon? Donate?
  6. Free write for 15 minutes. (Yes, set a timer).
  7. Happy Labor Day! How did your day go?
  8. Do you have a favorite flower? What is it? Why does this flower mean more to you than others?
  9. What is your favorite time of day? Why?
  10. Thinking back, what is the most romantic thing someone has done for you? Why does this memory stand out over the others?
  11. How would you describe yourself to others? List 10 positive attributes.
  12. What changes, small or large, would you like to make to your home, room, apartment, or other living space? Why do you want to make this change?
  13. Make a list of your current hobbies. Is there something new you want to try? Or do you want to restart an old one? What is stopping you?
  14. If there is one job you could do for a day, what would you pick? Why?
  15. What is your personal vision for the rest of 2020? The next 6 months? Year? 5 years? 10 years? Put a lot of thought and detail into each answer. Consider everything you would like to do for you and your family. Make a realistic action plan.
  16. Write a personal review of a book, movie, restaurant, or television show.
  17. What do you want to try? Do you have a bucket list? Make a dream bucket list.
  18. Write down 5 good thoughts about your day.
  19. Write about your siblings.
  20. What were you doing at 9 am, 2 pm, 7 pm?
  21. Happy First Day of Autumn! Did you get outdoors? Are the leaves beginning to change? Describe your little area of the world.
  22. What was your favorite fall activity as a child? Describe in great detail.
  23. Write about your inspiration.
  24. Describe your day from your dog or cat’s point of view. If you don’t have a real pet, you can always describe your day from the point of view of a stuffed animal.
  25. Write about your feelings about today.
  26. What one thing made you smile today?
  27. What is the most memorable activity you did over the summer?
  28. What was your best part of the day? Why?
  29. What excites you the most about fall?
  30. What are you hoping to achieve in October?

Self-Care Ideas for September

Welcome to September! The nights are bringing cooler temperatures. The chill in the air ushers in beautiful autumn colors. School, virtual or in-person, is starting. Schedules quickly fill up your day. But, taking time for yourself is essential for your well-being. Do you need some inspiration for self-care?

30 Days of Self-Care for September

  1. Buy a new journal and make entries every day.
  2. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
  3. Go hiking
  4. Read a book outside of your normal genre.
  5. Make a fall bucket list or a dream bucket list.
  6. Spend a day or afternoon doing nothing, just relax.
  7. Happy Labor Day! (USA) Find time just for yourself.
  8. Binge-watch a new series.
  9. Go for a nature walk.
  10. Do crafts
  11. Get extra sleep.
  12. Treat yourself to in home spay day.
  13. Go on a virtual tour.
  14. Spend time meditating or praying.
  15. Take a long hot bubble bath or shower
  16. Call an old friend.
  17. Make your favorite recipe or try a new one.
  18. Splurge and order take out.
  19. Watch YouTube videos. Check out gender reveals, marriage proposals, surprise military homecoming, or pets.
  20. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water or make a tall glass of ice tea.
  21. Turn up the music. Sing along to your favorite tunes or dance.
  22. Autumn begins. Get outdoors and view the colorful fall foliage.
  23. Declutter a room or closet. Or simply clean off the top of your desk.
  24. Find a new food to try, a different type of fruit or candy bar.
  25. Buy yourself flowers.
  26. Make yourself a warm beverage on a cool night.
  27. Go on a Sunday drive.
  28. Print out your photos on your phone and make a scrapbook.
  29. Get dressed up for no reason or stay in pajamas all day.
  30. Practice yoga or other light stretching exercises. (YouTube has number beginner videos).

Have fun and enjoy September!

Photo Prompts for September

September brings cooler temperatures to the Northern Hemisphere. As summer fades into autumn, you have the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and take photos. Do you need some inspiration? Check out the following photo prompts for September.

September’s Photo Prompts

  1. Selfie (yes, start each month with a selfie)
  2. Water
  3. Current View
  4. Relaxation
  5. Low Light
  6. Bright
  7. Memories
  8. Colors
  9. Distance
  10. Food
  11. Time
  12. Sunrise or Sunset
  13. Nature
  14. Comfy
  15. Smile
  16. Love
  17. Noon
  18. Pet
  19. A Look-Back
  20. Close Proximity
  21. Harvest
  22. First Day of Autumn
  23. Leaves
  24. Roads
  25. Something to Your Right
  26. Home
  27. Lines
  28. Shapes
  29. Portrait
  30. Beauty

Have a great September! And take lots of pictures.

Going Back to Hogwarts

Harry Potter fans worldwide celebrate September 1st as the day to return to Hogwarts. Since social distancing and restrictions are still in effect for many areas, finding small ways to celebrate is essential. Are you wondering how to celebrate going back to Hogwarts? Check out the following ideas for inspiration.

Celebrating Going Back to Hogwarts

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen,

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

J.K. Rowling

Return to Hogwarts in your own way by participating in different family-friendly activities.

  • Watch the Movies: Make some popcorn, order pizza, and pick your favorite Harry Potter movie to watch. Choosing a favorite may be difficult; you can always binge-watch the entire series over the next couple of days.
  • Re-Read the Series: Curl up under your favorite blanket and spend time re-reading the series. Or read the series together as a family.
  • Listen to the Audio Versions: Do you have other work to do? Turn on the audio version of the series.
  • Make Wizarding World Themed Food: In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Remus Lupin stated, “Eat, you’ll feel better.” Of course, this was after an encounter with a Dementor. But the sentiment still holds up for returning to Hogwarts. Make chocolate frogs, coins, or a complete meal based on the food from the Hogwarts’ feast. Don’t forget the cake.
  • Have a Craft Day: Pull out your crafting supply stash and make Wizarding World themed crafts.
    Melt pony beads on old pizza pans to create large Harry Potter inspired sun catchers.

    There are numerous easy crafts to make, including owls, plaster frogs, coins, ornaments, and more. Of course, you will need your own wand.

  • Participate in Online Events: With all the restrictions in place due to the pandemic, many sites, including the Wizarding World, are hosting online events.
  • Listen to a Podcast: Find a new or re-listen to Harry Potter-themed podcasts.
  • Play Games: From video games to board games, play Wizarding World and Harry Potter themed games.

Do you want to know the best way to celebrate going back to Hogwarts? Have fun. Enjoy time with your family. Or curl up with your dog and dive back into the Wizarding World by reading the very first Harry Potter book.

Rebecca Reviewed It: The Wizarding Trunk Lessons Two Box

The Magical Lessons themed box is my first purchase from The Wizarding Trunk. The theme of this box is Transfiguration, Flying, and Apparition based around the Harry Potter series. The box is the second in the series focusing on lessons from Hogwarts.

Yes, I save the packaging to reuse in my gift-giving boxes or for crafts.

I was a little disappointed my box did not come with the letter/cheat sheet. I love to read the information guide to figure out precisely what is in the box. Sometimes, my guessing is a little off.

But I loved the email sent to me with the tracking information. My owl’s name was Fred. So I raise my glass of Butterbeer to Fred for safely delivering my package.

Transfiguration, Flying, and Apparition

I must give high marks to the creative people behind this box.

  1. Dittany Potion: Essence of Dittany Potion bottle is a perfect addition to my shelf. I loved the intricate design of the wax seal, the old-style label, and the overall display of the leaves.

    The potion bottle is one of my favorites in this box.
  2. Transfiguration Book Cover: The book covers fit the U.S. versions of the Harry Potter Series. The cover was created by Danny at Wizardry Workshop. The design and foiling of the book cover are absolutely beautiful.
  3. Ron’s Rat Goblet Pin: In the series, Ron’s wand is broken. When he attempts to turn the rat into a water goblet, the outcome is hilarious. The pin represents this moment in the series.
  4. Wizarding Travel Woodmark: The bookmark features your own License for Independent Wizard Travel.  The bookmark came in a purple envelope with a wax seal on the back.
  5. Reusable Coffee Sleeve: I am not a big coffee drinker. I do drink tea. I am sure this will be a perfect fit for my travel mug.
  6. Transfiguration Lessons VII Print: The print, created by J.P. Misslecrow, is one of my favorites. I love the overall design. The print looks like it came out of an old transfiguration book. 
  7. The Pitch: A candle created by Inflammare Candles smells like the Pitch, which is Fresh Air, Flying, Sweet Grass, and Dandelion.
  8. Do-It-Yourself Broomstick Servicing Kit: The kit is actually a pencil case, which I think could easily double for a cosplay item or a photo prop. 
  9. Broomstick Servicing Kit Note Pad: I can never have too many notepads.
  10. Broomstick Servicing Kit Compass: I really liked the overall design of this clip-on compass. 
  11. Broomstick Polish: This is such a great idea. The “polish” is actually a detox face wash. The tin makes a beautiful display piece.
  12. Brooch Phone Holder: This replica of Professor McGonagall’s brooch is a stand to hold your cell phone. I love the little note that came with the brooch, signed by H.

Will I purchase another box from The Wizarding Trunk? Yes, in fact, I already pre-ordered the Halloween special edition box.

Did you receive this box? What are your opinions?

Family Fun Month: Go for a Bike Ride

Are you still looking for summer activities to celebrate Family Fun Month? How about going for a bike ride? Going for a long bike ride with your family is a great way to get outdoors while maintaining social distancing.

Before you go, do a safety check. Carefully inspect all aspects of your family’s bikes, helmets, baskets, bike seats for young children, and all other features. A well-maintained bicycle is vital for your family’s safety.

Benefits of Bike Riding With Your Family

Riding bikes is an excellent form of physical exercise for you and your family. When you ride a bike, you burn calories, gain strength and balance. Along with improving your overall fitness, bike riding has other benefits for you and your family.

  • Quality Time: Bicycling is an excellent family activity for quality time. When you do activities as a family, you create a long-lasting bond.
  • Learning Experience: Bike riding as a family is a learning experience. As parents or guardians, you have the opportunity to teach your children the proper rules of cycling. Children learn proper hand signals, biking etiquette, proper helmet use, and other safety rules.
  • Unplug: Going for a bike ride gets everyone away from technological devices. Unplugging for an afternoon or day reduces stress and anxiety. Social media is a great tool. But often, all the information can be overwhelming. Being outdoors is essential to your health.
  • Socialization: Bike riding is a social activity. Encouraging conversation builds vocabulary and social skills. Children have the opportunity to bond with other young bike riders.
  • Eco-Friendly: Bike riding is good for the environment. As responsible caregivers, you have the opportunity to teach your children eco-friendly activities.
  • Creates Memories:  Engaging in family activities create lasting memories. Depending on the age of your children, stopping often may be needed. Resting in between cycling is a great way to view the world around you.

When was the last time you and your family went for a bike ride? The time is right to dust off the bikes and hit the road.

 

 

Rebecca Reviewed It: Geek Gear’s Professor McGonagall Box

I recently purchased the Geek Gear Limited Edition Professor McGonagall Box. Let me just say, I was not disappointed with my purchase. Yes, I did receive my box later than others. But keep in mind, I live in the US. Whereas Geek Gear is located in the UK, my delivery owl has a long way to go to find me.

I save the packing material to use on art projects.

What is a Subscription Box?

If you are unfamiliar with subscription boxes, let me do a quick explanation. Geek Gear and other companies put together mystery boxes. Depending on the subscription, a crate arrives, monthly, or bi-monthly. Other crates may be a limited or special edition with only once chance to purchase. For example, the Professor McGonagall box is limited edition.

Limited Edition Professor McGonagall Box by Geek Gear

I was absolutely excited to get this box. Professor McGonagall is one of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter series.

  1. Crumbly Biscuit Pennant: Who could not forget the scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Professor McGonagall said, “Have a Biscuit, Potter”? The wall pennant is based on that moment in the book.
  2. Quidditch Badge: The gold badge is a perfect addition to my pin collection.
  3. Artist Artwork: I love fan art from the Wizarding World. In the box, I received artwork featuring Professor McGonagall and Hedwig, a perfect combination. The artist is Tony Black. He is available on Facebook @antblakeart.
  4. Spectacular Replica: These glasses are perfect for cosplay.
  5. Transfiguration Notepad: As a writer, I can never have too many notepads.
  6. Miniature Hat Replica: Professor McGonagall’s hat replica is an excellent addition to my bookshelf.
  7. Animagus Replica: I love the small cat replica of McGonagall’s animagus. I love cats anyways, I have six.
  8. Magnifying Glass Mini Replica: Another great addition to put on my bookshelf. I can definitely see myself using this in the future in a photo.
  9. Piertotum Locomotor T-Shirt: The Piertotum Locomotor scene is my absolute favorite. The t-shirt reflects the scene. I admit the exclusive Geek Gear t-shirt is my favorite item from the Professor McGonagall crate.

Did you get the Limited Edition Professor McGonagall crate? What was your favorite item?

I have more Rebecca Reviewed It items coming up. I purchased different subscription boxes to share with you. Do you have a favorite subscription box? I would love to hear the details.

Family Fun Month: Hiking

Exploring the outdoors is a wholesome activity for the entire family (including the dog) to enjoy. Hiking provides physical exercise, reduces stress, and boosts creativity.

Find the Right Trail

Before heading out, do your research. Find the right hiking trail for you and your family to safely enjoy. Trails generally run from easy to extremely difficult with numerous obstacles. Finding the best one for your family requires research. If you are uncertain about where to start, set out on an easy trail than work your way through the rest.

What to Pack

If you are just beginning, day trips are the best. Heading out on the trail for a day gives your family a chance to familiarize themselves with the trails and the equipment.

Do you need ideas for the basics for backpacking essentials for day trips?

  • Backpack: Use a high-quality backpack to protect your basic hiking necessities. Even younger children can carry a lightweight backpack.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is critical when hiking.
  • Food: Pack plenty of food to get you through your hiking trip. Small children may require frequent stops with extra snacks. Pack to meet each family members’ needs.
  • First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit is essential for handling minor scrapes and cuts on the trail.
  • Compass: Do not always rely on your cell phone. If your battery goes dead, you may need an alternative navigation device.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Use to clean your hands before eating.
  • Mask: Once you are on the open trail away from people, you will not need a mask. However, certain areas of the park may require a face covering. Be respectful of others. Pack a mask to follow any restrictions.
  • Extra Socks and Hiking Shoes: If you accidentally get your feet wet, having additional foot attire is a priority, especially with children. You want to make hiking a positive experience.

Before You Hit the Trail

Before heading to your destination, check the weather forecast. Dress in weather-appropriate clothing. Remember, clothing layers are the best option for being outdoors. If you are uncertain what to wear, add an extra layer. If the weather is too warm, a sweatshirt is easy to remove.

Have Fun

Hiking is not a race to get through the trails as fast as possible. Take your time with your family. Pause to view numerous scenic areas or enjoy nature.

Ask your children open-ended questions or make up stories. Being outdoors increases creativity. Encourage conversation among your family about the experience. Bring your camera or use your cell phone to take lots of photos to create a memory book. Wildlife and nature discoveries can lead to a lifetime love of the outdoors.