Sweet Steps: How To Create a Google+ Album


With a fairly new beast like Google+ comes a learning curve when doing things like creating a photo album.  Quite frankly, I don’t think that feature is all that user friendly.  The only way I figured it out was to do what I always do:  click buttons and hope it works.

I’ve sent these instructions to a few folks and they’ve loved them, so I thought I’d post ‘em here for all of you!

  • Log in to Google, go to Google+.
  • Up top, next to the Google+ logo on the left, click this: Google+
  • On the left, under your pic, click this: Google+
  • Click: Google+
  • Name your album or add it to an existing one: Google+
  • I select them from my computer: Google+
  • After pics are uploaded, click this: Google+
  • Tag if you want.
  • I don’t share at this point, since I’m not done with it, so I just cancel: Google+
  • You’ll then see a big square with the album/photos you just uploaded. Click on it.
  • Now you’ve got all the pictures you uploaded to that album in front of you. If you click on one, it brings it up bigger, on a black background, where you can add captions. I do that next.
  • Finally, I’ll go here: picasaweb.google.com. Your albums should be visible there. Click on the one you want to re-order.
  • Up at the topish, toward the middleish lol, you’ll see “Organize.” Click that and then you’ll be able to click, hold, and drag them into place. Click “done” when finished.
  • That should be about it.  Be sure to go back to your album in Google+ and click “Only You”: Google+
  • This will bring up sharing options, click this: Google+
  • Then choose “Public.”
That’s it!  It’s so super simple once you know how to do it!

Sweet Studies: Lapbooks


LapbookingBabydoll and I learned the latter part of last year that we really enjoy lapbooking.  It combines our love of learning with Babydoll’s love of cutting, pasting, coloring, and creating.

Until recently, though, our lapbooking was strictly for fun {like when we did the chocolate lapbook}.  As this year has continued, lapbooking has become more of our core work in certain subjects, thanks to finding a few awesome publishers and resources!  With so many resources that really turn these into full-on unit studies, why not give them a try?

The First Lady of Lapbooking


Amanda Bennett Unit StudiesMaybe there is a better term for her, but Amanda Bennett was the first place we ever got a lapbook, so for me she is the First Lady.  I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon her site, but I’m glad I did.

What I like best about Amanda’s products is that they are like uber-lapbooks:  you get a unit study and lapbook in one.  See, that’s how we like to roll.  If you’ve been reading Sweet Phenomena for any length of time you know that I’m not a fan of putting together any sort of curriculum on my own.  It’s just not me; I’m not good at it.

This is where products like Amanda’s come in:  I can get a unit’s worth of education in while at the same time making it interesting for Babydoll.  She’s got stuff that can be completed in a week, stuff that takes a month, and geography stuff!

The Smorgasbord


CurrclickAnother of my favorite resources for lapbooking is Currclick.  Man, I could spend days there.  They’ve got lapbooks from a variety of publishers, on a variety of subjects, in a variety of lengths.  Hence, my little nickname…

It is important to note, though, that Currclick doesn’t just sell lapbooking stuff; they sell all sorts of educational resources such as notebooking pages, review worksheets, and eBooks.  They even offer live online classes.  Babydoll did one and really enjoyed it.

There are free resources and really inexpensive resources.  I don’t think I’ve ever encountered something that I thought was crazy expensive.  As a matter of fact, no matter what my current budget is like, if I’m in need of something to drive home a concept, I know I can go to Currclick and get something without worrying.  Plus, I absolutely love that I get instant gratification with a PDF download for most of what I buy!

The Lone Wolves


While looking for a few options for a study we have coming up, I stumbled upon a few sites that I totally heart!

  • Dynamic 2 Moms – Extensive, detailed, totally cool, totally unique {Iroquois Confederacy?  Glass Blowing? Score!} lapbooks for FREE.  That’s right, free!  What more could you ask for?
  • Homeschool Launch – OK, so it’s not necessarily all about lapbooks, but they’ve got mini-books, notebooking pages, and a ton of other cool stuff.  For free.
  • Homeschool Share – OMG, squee!!!!  It’s what I’ve always dreamed of {you know, since we started homeschooling…}:  a site with blank templates for all sorts of mini-books, pockets, graphic organizers, and a ton more!  Oh, and it’s free.
  • The Home School Mom – A list of sites with all sorts of lapbooking information and resources!
  • A Journey Through Learning – Great lapbooks and unit studies, as well as one of our favorites:  binder builders.  They’re like lapbooks on steroids.

I’m excited to move forward with this chapter of learning, but more importantly, Babydoll is excited!  I’m loving that we’re making homeschooling our own.

Do you use lapbooks or similar manipulative resources?  Which ones are your favorites?

Sweet Critique: iMemories #PreservingMemories #CBias


iMemoriesMany of us have memories we want to preserve, both in the form of old home movies and photos.  I know we “became adults” right as digital stuff was getting really popular, and then we were too poor to afford it.  But, since I love my tech stuff, I really hated not having our home movies in digital format.  For one, we never watched them because of the hassle involved in doing so, and two, you can’t share something digitally that’s on a Hi8 tape…


How to Convert the Movies?


I knew I didn’t want to do this myself.  I have access to most of the stuff I would need to do so, and the instructions on how to do so, but I’ve had that all for a while and I’ve never done it.  So a DIY was out of the question.

I knew there were services out there that could do this for me, but I never really looked into them and they didn’t seem to be readily available, you know?  If it wasn’t marketed to me actively, I probably didn’t see it…  I’m a busy mom.

Then I had the opportunity to use iMemories.  I understood the concept, but I didn’t quite understand how I’d come to love it.

Because iMemories teamed up with The UPS Store, the process is so unbelievably easy!  You literally gather up your old movie, bring them in to The UPS Store, and they pack and ship them for you.  I brought mine stuff in a plastic grocery bag!

The UPS Store

Shipping to iMemories at The UPS Store

Myra at The UPS Store

Once iMemories gets it, they label and log it, digitize it, and then post it on their secure site for you to either label and organize them, or just have them put directly onto DVD.  When they’re done, they mail back the originals and the DVDs.

That’s it.  That’s the whole process.  It’s a simple trip to The UPS Store, and a few mouse clicks.  Uber-bonus:  while you’re waiting for your DVDs to arrive, you can watch your home movies online.  We’ve been enjoying that so much.  It’s brought the three of us together at the table several times now, watching what life was like years ago.  Warm fuzzies baby, warm fuzzies.

digitized home movies

What Did I Think?


Overall I’m happy with the service.  This really makes me want to digitize the rest of our stuff.  It was so easy.  My outbound shipping got a bit wonky {the package left AL, and then came back and sat for a couple of day…}, so my package was delivered a couple of days late, but other than working with a deadline, that’s really a non-issue for me.  And for the record, I love UPS as a shipping provider, and am rarely ever presented with delayed shipments.  Like I could probably count them on one hand…

The customer service I received at both The UPS Store and from iMemories was exceptional.  I love that I got a personal email from someone at iMemories letting me know I could view my videos online and that my DVDs would be shipped out soon.

I do wish I could get them on Blu-Ray, though.  Maybe someday!

I can’t show you my DVDs just yet {they’re supposed to be here tomorrow}, but I’ll update you as soon as they come in!

If you’re looking to do this for yourself or as a gift, for whatever reason, I definitely recommend using this service.  To find out a bit more about the whole process, check out my Google+ photo story!

#PreservingMemories with iMemories & The UPS Store

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All statements are my own.

iPod Nano Giveaway


Who doesn’t love a FAST giveaway…well here it is!

Welcome to the “Stocking Stuffer!” Only 10days to get your entries IN and try TO WIN an 8G Ipod NANO!

This giveaway is sponsored by 25 awesome blogs.

To enter, simply “LIKE” each of us on Facebook to grab 25 ENTRY TICKETS!

To Grab 25 MORE then “FOLLOW” each of us via Twitter.

And if you want a DAILY entry check out the tweet you can send out to grab your 1 ticket EACH of the TEN days!

FILL out the RAFFLECOPTER after you’ve done these steps and YOU’RE IN!

Giveaway starts 11/29 at 12:01 am EST and ends 12/06 at 12:01 pm EST and is for US Residents only!

You only need to enter the giveaway on one of our blogs!

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8 Days of Daily Flash Giveaways Galore!

Just when you thought the 12 Days of Gifts Galore Event couldn’t get any better than this, we go and bring you something a little extra.  From now through the end of the event on December 6th, a group of us are going to bring you daily flash giveaways!  Think of these as stocking stuffers.

Sweet Phenomena is giving away a $5 Amazon gift code!

Here are the participating blogs and a direct link to their own 12 Days of Gifts Galore giveaway:
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