Top Ten Tips for Going Back to School

School just started for most kids, including my sister and I. Going back to school is a big change from the relaxing days of summer. It can be a bit stressful, nerve racking, and even exciting. There are many good things that can be learned or used as tips to comfortably move back into school. Here are my top ten tips for going back to school.

10. About a week before school starts, start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. This way, when the first day of school rolls around, you won’t wake up extremely tired. Going to bed at about 9 to 9:30 PM and then waking up at 6:30 AM allows for plenty of rest and then time to get ready for your first day. This is what works best for my sister and I, but go with what works best for you.

9. Get all of your school supplies before school starts or get them as soon as your teachers tell you what you need. Doing this helps you come prepared and makes you feel more comfortable, knowing that you have all of the stuff you need.

8. Don’t be afraid. This applies mostly when going to a new school. I moved to a big, new high school and going in, it was a little overwhelming. I just had to pull myself together and after that everything was okay.

7. Wear something nice on the first day. When I say this, I don’t mean that you should wear a fancy dress or a suit and tie. This just means that you should dress in something that looks cute and is comfortable to wear.

6. Make a new friend or two. Making a few friends can help ease your troubles about school. They might be able to help you around and keep you company. If you’re new to a school this can be super important because making friends can help you feel less lonely.

5. Get to know your teachers. Getting to know your teachers is important so that you aren’t strangers. This will also help you be more comfortable in their classes.

4. Get involved in your school. This could be drama club, sports, NJHS or NHS, student council, and so on. By getting involved, you can stay busy and show your school spirit.

3. Know where your classes all are. This is especially important for the first day. Knowing where your classes are eliminates time where you frantically searching for each class.

2. Create a schedule and calendar for the year. By doing this, you are preparing you and your family for days that you don’t have school, breaks, and school activities. You can plan your days, weeks, months, etc.

1. Be organized! Staying organized can mean a lot of things. It could mean creating a system for your locker, using folders, using your planner, turning your homework/projects in on time, and keeping your backpack clean. You’ll always know where you belongings are and you’ll do better in school by staying organized.

I really hope this tips help you have a good first day of school and also a great school year! You can also find your own ways to be successful in school. Do your best, stay organized, and have fun!

Top Ten Tips for Going Back to School

Why Drawing is Important

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres said, “Drawing is the honesty of art. To draw does not mean simply to reproduce contours: drawing does not consist merely of line. Drawing is also expression, the inner form, the plane and modeling…” Drawing is something that I really enjoy to do. It can be very helpful for school projects but also for other things. Here are a few things that I believe drawing helps people with and why it is important:

  • Expressing feelings/thoughts/ideas: Drawing is a way to get thoughts and ideas out of your head. When you feel a certain way, like angry, sad, hungry, or excited, you can draw the way you feel.

    Why Drawing is Important
    One of my drawings of a sunset or sunrise.
  • Challenging: This is one of those things that can really challenge you to try your hardest. When you learn to work with different perspectives and shadowing and that kind of stuff, drawing can be difficult. You need to push yourself to get to that next level and get better.

    Why Drawing is Important
    An online drawing I did of a unicorn.
  • Development: Drawing is a great way to develop a person’s creative self. It helps them think and it is a wonderful way to create new ideas.

    Why Drawing is Important
    A drawing of a ball I did for Derwent Art Academy.
  • Helpful: Drawing can be helpful for school projects or assignments. It can make the assignment or project more eye-catching and fun to look at.

    Why Drawing is Important
    A roadrunner drawing I did.
  • Fun: I find drawing to be pretty fun. Others might disagree, but once you get good at drawing it can be a lot of fun. You can create pretty cool pieces and it’s always exciting and fun to see what the final product will be, even if it doesn’t turn out all that amazing.

    Why Drawing is Important
    One of my unfinished pieces of Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
  • Relaxing: Just like painting or doing yoga or writing a poem, drawing can be relaxing. If you get yourself in a quiet area with your sketchbook and pencil, drawing can calm you down and get you in a light, relaxed mood.

Drawing is an important thing in our world and it does a bunch of great things for people. It can help express feelings and thoughts, it is challenging, and it can help develop people’s creativity. Drawing is also helpful, fun, and relaxing. You may not be very good at first but practice makes perfect. If you want to get good, you’ll have to work for it. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a sketchbook and pencil and get drawing!

Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!

There are some things that you never forget in life, like long road trips, time with family in the mountains, and eating brunch at a restaurant where the pancakes are very big. This past weekend, my family traveled about four hundred miles to Farmington, New Mexico. We spent time with our aunt and uncle and grandpa. From our trip, I learned many things about family and traveling.

  • When you have something as big as a pair of crutches, DON’T FORGET THEM! On Sunday, about ten minutes out of Farmington, my mom got ten texts and several calls from my aunt saying that we forgot my crutches. Haha. That was an exciting beginning of our road trip home. So we found a place to turn around and met my uncle at a Dairy Queen in Aztec (which is a town very close to the state border). I got my crutches back and life was good again. Moral of the story is, before you get ready to go back home, double-check and even triple check to make sure you have everything you brought.Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
  • When visiting family, it’s always good to go and do something fun together. All seven of us (me, my sister, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and grandpa) went to Hesperus, Colorado to eat breakfast at the Kennebec Café. Yummy! Later on, we drove up the bumpy La Plata Mountains trail. We all did some exploring and there was a lot of picture-taking. Doing this kind of stuff is really good bonding time and you can get some really great pictures.Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
  • I’m sick of pancakes. When we went to the Kennebec Café for breakfast, the pancakes were HUGE! They tasted amazing but I think I’m going to take a break from pancakes for a while.

    Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
    So done with pancakes…
  • When traveling by car over a long distance, keep yourself entertained. It’s truly not that fun to just stare out the window for eight straight hours and you can only take naps so many times. My sister and I learned that staying entertained helps the ride seem shorter most of the time. You can do this by watching movies, playing on an iPad, listening to music, talking, and so on.Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!
  • Any family time is good family time. Getting the chance to make memories and have fun with your family is worth it. Even if you aren’t doing the most exciting thing ever, you are still bonding with your family.

Family, Mountains, Pancakes, Oh My!

To wrap things up, we all had so much fun this past weekend and the ride home was safe. As a family we made a bunch of great memories. Happy Birthday Dad and Jan! (Today is their birthday.) I can’t wait to go and visit again! And did I mention the pancakes were huge?!

How to Become a More Competitive Volleyball Player

This past week I attended a competitive camp for volleyball. There were so many great things I learned about being a good competitor. Here are a few of the things I learned:

  • The Four Intangibles of a Good Competitor: Confidence, Competitiveness, Commitment, and Character. Confidence means you believe in your skills and know you are a good athlete. Competitiveness is the ability to fight (with character) and want to win and succeed. Commitment is being dedicated to the sport and taking the time to play. Character is your integrity, kindness, respect, self-control, etc. on the court. These are really important and I know I need to work on my competitiveness and when I become stronger with that I will become a better competitor.
  • Play smart and aggressive. Schwarzinstein! (Albert Einstein and Arnold Schwarzenegger). You have to be able to play smart and have a purpose with each decision and shot, like Albert Einstein. You also have to be able to play aggressive and want the ball and hit it hard, like the terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you play just smart or just aggressive you won’t be as successful, you have to be smart and aggressive.
  • Competitiveness Like a Missile Strike: Purposeful, Powerful, Planned, Precise, and Persistent. When you compete you have to have a plan for each player and team you play. You need to have everyone on the team in with the plan and you have to execute it and finish it. Last club season, if I had used this strategy, my team could have beat teams that we didn’t. If we had focused on a mission or a battle plan, and had scouted the other teams, we could have done better. I really hope I can use this, this season and become more competitive.
  • The Eleven Obstacles that Inhibit Competitiveness were also really interesting to learn about. These include: lack of confidence, lack of commitment/interest, lack of focus/purpose, lack of pride, lack of competitive role models, accepting losing, haven’t fully recovered from an injury, seniority rules, being threatened by the alpha on the team, passive personality, and not being socially accepted to compete. When I ranked them for myself I realized what I could work on to make me a stronger competitor. I plan to correct my weaknesses quickly so they become less of a problem.

Overall, it was a very interesting camp and a great learning experience. Even though I couldn’t play, I took in a lot mentally. A lot of this information was taken from How to Develop Relentless Competitors by Jeff Janssen. It’s a great book and it has a lot of great tips and ideas that you can take with you and use in your game. How to Become a More Competitive Volleyball Player

Top Ten Foods for a Rainy Day

Just imagine it’s a cold, rainy day and you’re hungry. You’re not sure what you’ll eat. You could go out somewhere to get a snack or a meal, you could order a pizza, or you could have one of these delicious ten foods. These are ten great dishes that I’ve really enjoyed having on a day where the sky is kind of gloomy, it’s raining, and the weather is a bit chilly. Here are my top ten foods for a rainy day.

10. Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk

Chocolate chip cookies are pretty good for any occasion. They taste best on a cold, rainy night and they keep you happy and cozy.

9. Lasagna

Lasagna is good for a cold, rainy day for two reasons. It tastes good and it’s warm.

8. Fettuccine Alfredo

With a delightful, creamy white sauce and long, buttery fettuccine, this tasty dish makes the list at #8. I’ve been enjoying fettuccine alfredo for a very long time. Its flavor, warmth, and deliciousness make it just right for a rainy night.

7. Warm Bread with Milk or Hot Tea

After a long, cold, and wet day, homemade bread whether it’s zucchini, banana, or apple, tastes amazing. Add some cold milk or comforting hot tea and you’re set!

6. Green Bean Casserole

With a combination of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French onions, this is a great dish for a rainy day.

5. Clam Chowder

At #5, this seafood soup is sure to brighten up the gloomy weather. Clam chowder is excellent for a rainy day because of its texture, taste, and savoring smell.

4. Homemade Chili

At some point in your life, if not already, you’ve enjoyed chili on a freezing, winter day, or a wet, rainy day. Homemade chili is perfect for a rainy day. My dad makes amazing homemade chili on cold, rainy days and it includes some things like: pinto beans, fresh tomatoes, green Chile peppers, shredded cheese, and meat.

3. Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Garlic Bread

Spaghetti with tomato sauce seems like a pretty classic meal choice. On a day where the weather is gloomy, it is perfect and especially if you add garlic bread. My mom makes a really good tomato sauce for the spaghetti which includes meat, basil, garlic, tomato sauce, and tomatoes from our garden. Yum!

2. Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

On a cold, rainy day, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches tastes great! Creamy, hot tomato soup and warm gooey, cheesy grilled cheese sandwiches hit the spot.

1. Zuppa Toscana

Coming in a #1, this soup is so delicious. Zuppa Toscana is a soup from Olive Garden and the recipe can be found online. It has a wonderful mix of spices, herbs, meat, and potato. It brings a warm, good aroma to your home and it’s perfect for a rainy day!

There are so many other delicious meals and snacks that you could enjoy on a cold, rainy day. See what else is out there!

Top Ten Foods for a Rainy Day

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities

Setters are the coaches on the floor. They lead the team and they touch every second ball on their side. Someone with a position that important has to be a person and player with many abilities and qualities. Here are a few of the abilities and qualities setters should have.

  • Servant Leadership: Setters have to lead the team by serving them. They are not selfish, but selfless. Everything they do is for the team and not just themselves.
  • Work Ethic: Setters have to be the hardest workers on their team. Getting every second ball requires a lot of work so they have to be willing to work hard.
  • Deception: As a setter, the job is to set up your hitters with a chance to score and win. By being deceptive, a setter can hold the block and create holes in the defense. This creates a better chance for the hitters to score.
  • Creativity: Setters have to be creative with their sets and all that they do so that the defense is always on their toes, guessing where the next set will go. Setters have to have different moves to get to different balls. Like a setter might do a spin move to get to a close, low ball and might use an outside foot stop move to get to a really low ball that might put them off-balance.
  • A Positive Attitude: As the team leader, a setter has to be encouraging and positive with fellow teammates. They have to have an optimistic attitude. This creates a lighter, happier mood on the court and it can keep the team strong and prevent players from getting down.
  • Communication/Vocal Leadership: Setters have to communicate with their teammates. They have to be able to tell their teammates what play they plan to run and what your opponents are doing with the block and such. This could be in a form of hand signals or actual words.
  • Confidence: Confidence is something a setter MUST have. At the higher levels of volleyball, have you ever seen a setter afraid to make a set or a setter who just isn’t proud of their skills? Of course not! Setters have to believe in their skills and know they are great players.

There are many things that make setters the great players. Setters have to be servant leaders, hard-working players, deceptive, creative, positive and encouraging, communicative, and confident. These abilities and qualities are some of the things that make setters stand out. Without these few things, what would a setter be?

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities

In the Boot…

About a week ago, I finally went to a sports/foot specializing doctor for my foot. It had been hurting since last fall after I hurt it in dance class. Anyway, the doctor checked out my foot and took some x-rays. After all of the examining, he looked at the x-rays and found a thin fracture on one of my sesamoid bones. (The sesamoid bone is imbedded in the tendons under your big toe.) So the first step in healing the bone was to put my foot in the boot. Dun…dun…dun… Being the athletic, active person I am, it’s been painful and hard to have to sit on the sidelines. But, it has also been a wonderful learning experience. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far from being in a boot.

  • You see a whole new side of the activities/sports you participate in. I’m a dancer and I also play volleyball and tennis so I’ve watched a lot of sports over this past week so far. You learn to see the strategy from off the court and you can see how other players play and how they hit certain shots.
  • Appreciate being healthy. Be as active as possible when you aren’t sick or injured and take advantage of all of your energy and abilities. When you’re healthy there is so much you can do to improve your health and your game!
  • Follow the doctor’s orders. This one is something I already knew when I first had to start wearing my boot but this really emphasized this point. Following what the doctor says will make it more possible for the fracture to heal correctly and fully.
  • Be patient. I’m in this boot for a whole month (which feels like a decade) and I could possibly be out of sports for two-four months but I’ve learned that it’s going to take time and I’ll just have to wait. It’s better to be out for four months than forever.

This experience in the boot has been very different and challenging. It has also really taught me to appreciate being healthy and understand patience. Now I’ll have to wait for my full recovery and I’ll be back out on the courts soon! 🙂

In the Boot...

In the Boot...
My boot 🙂

 

Top Ten Songs

Today, music has become a very big part of society. We here in it the car, it plays in movies and ads, and we sing music in the shower. There are so many wonderful songs on the radio and in everyone’s minds. This list is based off of my own opinion. Here are the top ten songs:

10. “Roar” –Katy Perry

Katy Perry makes the list! This song was an instant hit. The words are very inspiring and motivating.

Top Ten Songs

9. “Wake Me Up” –Avicii

Avicii created a wonderful, innovative song in the alternative music category. “Wake Me Up” is a good song to dance to and will get people up on their feet.

Top Ten Songs

8. “Sky Full of Stars” –Coldplay

“Sky Full of Stars” is a very calm, smooth song. The music is great and Chris Martin’s voice adds to the depth and coolness of the song.

Top Ten Songs

7.” Empire” –Shakira

This new song is very fiery and upbeat. It really shows off Shakira’s amazing abilities as a singer.

Top Ten Songs

6. “Radioactive” –Imagine Dragons

With haunting instrumentals and good vocals, “Radioactive” makes the list at #6. The lyrics are different and this song is very unique.

Top Ten Songs

5. “Popular Song” –MIKA featuring Ariana Grande

MIKA and Ariana Grande make the middle of the list. This song is can relate to today’s pre-teens and teens pretty well. It is very bubbly and has a catchy tune to it.

Top Ten Songs

4. “Viva la Vida” –Coldplay

This older song by Coldplay also makes my top ten songs. With more of a religious and melancholy tone, I find this song to definitely be a favorite.

Top Ten Songs

3. “Unconditionally” –Katy Perry

Katy Perry makes the list again! Without a doubt, this is a beautiful love song. It has great rhythm and a fantastic beat. Katy Perry’s vocals make the song even more memorable every time it is heard.

Top Ten Songs

2. “Gambler” –FUN

“Gambler” is an older song by FUN. With a slower beat and smooth, quieter lyrics, I really enjoy this song and find it very relaxing to listen to.

Top Ten Songs

1. “Let it Go”–Idina Menzel

From the worldwide hit movie “Frozen”, this song makes the top of my top ten list. “Let it Go” is a very inspirational song and the instrumentals are astounding. This is one of those songs that sometimes can give a person chills.

Top Ten Songs

There are so many great songs out there today. Some other great songs that didn’t make the list are, “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, “Dancing Shoes” by Dev, “What Does the Fox Say?” by Ylvis, “Maps” by Maroon 5, “Believer” by American Authors, and “Pompeii” by Bastille.

Meeting Governor Hickenlooper

Wednesday, June 25th, I had the opportunity to go to a press conference set up by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade at Ravenbrick, which is a growing smart window company in Denver. The governor was present and announced six new grantees for the advanced industries program, for the state of Colorado. This included aWhere Inc., DH2i, MBio Diagnostics Inc., Prima-Temp, Inc., Ravenbrick LLC, and Reference Technologies, Inc.

After the six companies were presented their grants, Ravenbrick gave a demonstration of how their smart windows work and gave a tour of the factory. The windows are smart because they are created with two panes of glass with a piece of film in between the two. When the temperature gets higher, the windows darken, reducing heat and glare and when the temperature drops, the windows remain clear, letting in heat and light.

After the excitement with the conference and the tour, my sister and I had the chance go and meet Governor Hickenlooper. We talked to him and he was very intelligent, funny, and kind. He asked my sister and I if we were going to be entrepreneurs and we both responded with a yes. He also told a few cute stories about his son Teddy.

It was an exciting day to go to my first press conference, tour a high-tech manufacturer, and meet Governor Hickenlooper. Definitely a day to remember.

Meeting Governor Hickenlooper

 

Top Ten Kids’ TV Shows

There are many great children’s shows out there in the world. Not just from my childhood but seeing other shows as I’ve grown up, there are ten kids’ shows that I think really stand out above the rest. They are really fun and can be educational. The reviews are all based off of my own opinion. Here are the top ten kids’ TV shows:

10. “Caillou”

Caillou, a young boy, filled with questions about the world, and eager to learn more, reflects the toddlers and youth of today. This show is cute, but I think that it comes off as a little cheesy. This show teaches some great lessons for young children and has great colors and cute ideas.

9. “Hi-5”

Packed with entertaining and catchy songs and quick but fun stories, this is a great show for toddlers. Hi-5 does a great job of keeping the attention of all viewers and the stories are cute and easy to remember.

8. “Dragon Tales”

Dragon Tales is a very cute and fun show starring Emmy and Max, two young siblings. They have their dragon friends Cassie, Ord, Zak, Wheezie, and Quetzal. They go on many fun adventures and learn a lot about friendship. This show has an interesting plot and I watched it for a very long time as a child. I would recommend it.

7. “Word Girl”

Learning the meaning of words has never been easier with Word Girl. This show is a wonderful way for kids to learn the definitions of words. Word Girl introduces the word, defines them, and then uses the word. Filled with fun episodes, the young superhero, Word Girl, really does come to the rescue for educational TV shows dealing with  vocabulary.

6. “The Magic School Bus”

This show is a great scientific educational kids’ show. Ms. Frizzle leads her students on crazy adventures to learn more about things like friction, the digestive system, the solar system, the water cycle, and so much more!

5. “Arthur”

Arthur and his friends make the middle of my top ten. All of the episodes have great lessons dealing with friendship problems or just problems in life. The problems that Arthur and his friends deal with can be pretty realistic sometimes and that is a very good quality. However, the newer episodes haven’t been as good as the old one with a retouching of the animation, and I don’t like it as much. The newer episodes just don’t seem as good to me as the older episodes.

 

4. “Cyberchase”

Cyberchase is another great educational show for kids from kindergarten to 6th grade. It teaches math and sometimes weather concepts through fun, and sometimes dangerous adventures with great characters. This show helped me understand multiplication better and this is a great show to provide children with quick and easy tips for math.

3. “SpongeBob”

SpongeBob has been around for many years and is a classical kids’ show. It includes a great set of characters including youthful SpongeBob, his friend Patrick, Sandy the squirrel, and grumpy Squidward, and many silly and fun adventures. With all of SpongeBob and his silly adventures, your kids are sure to get a laugh.

2. “Phineas and Ferb”

“Phineas and Ferb” makes the list as #2. It has a lot of adventure, Candace who has to bust her brothers, a silly villain, crazy inventions and buildings, Perry the Platypus, good songs, and a large variety of entertaining episodes.

1. “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”

Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack top the list. This show is amazing. It is really fun, filled with music, color, and great characters including monsters and villains. Unlike many shows that just have a growing plot in each individual episode, the plot is great and it builds wonderfully throughout the seasons. It’s a show for kids of all ages.

Top Ten Kids' TV Shows My Little Pony

Some shows that didn’t make the list but are still really good kids’ shows are, “Sid the Science Kid”, “The Backyardigans”, “Fairly Odd Parents”, “Clifford the Big Red Dog”, and “Jimmy Neutron”.