Sweet Critique: A Time Dog Review

Time Dog

I’d like you to bear with me.  Even if you think this post won’t be relevant to you, please, bear with me.

I have wanted to share this with you guys for a while; it’s something I think each and every one of you can use.

Have you ever had a moment {or five} where you think to yourself:

I need an assistant somethin’ fierce.

I bet you have. I have. Lots of us have.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a busy single lady, a mom with one or twelve kids, a stay-at-home dad, we’re all busy.

Many of us manage to get just about everything done, but there’s always that nagging feeling of the “more” that needs to be done.

What if I told you I knew of a service that could take a ton of that “more” off your shoulders, and do it in the most amazing awesomesauce manner man ever dreamed of?

You’d think I was crazy, yes?

I’m not.

Time Dog has created something truly amazing in a world filled with sub-par junk.

And their amazing is a double-whammy of stupendousness:  not only do they offer you a tremendously valuable service, but they give you unheard of customer service.

The Innovative Service

This was the part that drew me in:  “on-the-go service for personal daily tasks.”

None of us want to pawn off the fun stuff like eating ice cream or playing in the sprinklers.  Time Dog can’t have that.

What they can have, though, is the task of finding the best airfare for a trip you’ve got coming up.  Or the task of getting driving directions.  Or ordering dinner.  Or rescheduling an appointment.

The list goes on and on.

All of us have to-do lists.  Time Dog takes that to-do list and does it for you.

I’ve actually used the service, while I was writing my eBook {points to the right, where you can click and buy it…}.

I thought I was going to loose my mind, I had so much to do.  I didn’t have time to make phone calls or search for things on the internet.  I didn’t want to.

Enter Time Dog.

I bothered them so very much, I felt bad.  They never made me feel bad though.  What they did do was deliver better-than-expected results.

Instance #1:  If you’re a regular here, you know how much I love my dog, Winston.  Well Winston is terrified of the dark, and the car, and the thunder, and everything else.  I bought a Thunder Shirt for him, but it was the wrong size.  I needed to get it exchanged quickly, but didn’t have time to call our supplier.  Time Dog called and arranged the drop off.  All I had to do was show up.

Instance #2:  I needed a haircut.  Bad.  I didn’t have time to call and make the appointment.  Time Dog to the rescue.  Oh, but they didn’t just make the appointment.  No, no, no.  My lady was no longer at the salon I asked them to call {that’s how long it had been since I had my hair did}.

Did they give up? No.  They got the information for where my stylist was now, called the salon up {a couple of times might I add}, and scheduled my appointment for me.

They could have given up when she was no longer where I asked them to call.  They could have given up when my stylist didn’t return the call.  But they didn’t, and I got my haircut.

Instance #3:  Babydoll, like many girls her age, is in love with fashion.  She gets an {age-appropriate} fashion magazine and found a bathing suit in an issue that she just had to have.

It wasn’t on the designer’s website, and there were no stores near us.  Me, the person who can find anything online couldn’t find this suit.

I called Time Dog in to rescue me.  I had to launch my book and get to Reviewer’s Retreat.

I asked them to find the bathing suit for me in the Charlotte area.  They called the stores, there were no suits there.  They then called the designer to find out about getting the suit.

Time Dog found the one place online that sold the bathing suit, and also let me know that the only other way to get the suit was to order from the designer.

This all brings me to my next point…

Awesome Freaking Service

Lots of people could find stuff for you and shoot you an email to answer a question.  But that’s simply not good enough for them.

Their FAST {Family Service Team} members go above and beyond.  Every. Single. Time.

Sometimes you don’t have a special bathing suit or haircut need, you just have a normal everyday need.  They’ll still give something extra, whether that’s a nifty little fact you never knew {related to your request}, extra directions, extra choices, something.

Dude, I could literally go on and on about the times they exceeded my expectations.  This post is already pretty long though…

There are just no words to describe what an amazing thing they’ve got going.  Look at their first core value:

Give them a try, you can do so for free for 15 days, so what do you have to lose?  Nothing, that’s what.  Let them wow your socks off.

Just not sure if you could make use of it, but know someone who needs a break?  You can give them a gift, too.

Is your mind blown? Is your head spinning with the knowledge of this amazingness you never knew you could have?

Check out their FAQ section for even more information!

Oh, and you just HAVE to check this out too

What would you ask Time Dog to do for you?

True Confessions:  I learned about Time Dog at Blissdom this year.  I felt like I was going to tear my hair out when writing the eBook.  I decided to give Time Dog a try.  Then I was talking with the Time Dog guys and was asked if I’d like to mention their service.  I had planned on it anyway, so I said yes.  I feel that everyone needs know about this awesomeness.  So, I’m not being paid off to tell you guys this stuff, I *heart* the service!

 

Homeschool Workboxes

This was my very first blog post. Good times!

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Throughout our first year of homeschooling I was told that I’d look back and realize how completely awful I was at it.  OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I definitely look back and wonder how someone like myself, so full of neatness and organizational abilities, let it get so bad.  Sure, we had fun and Babydoll learned tons of stuff, but it wasn’t a smooth process by any stretch of the imagination.  To help with this, I decided to implement the workbox system going forward.
This is what our new system looks like.  We have 12 workboxes, four bins for supplies, and a bookcase with curriculum materials.

 

 

When Babydoll begins her day, she’ll get her blank schedule strip…
…and look for box number one {or whichever box happens to be first for the day}.  I wanted to have a fairly open system, so she’ll always work in numerical order, but box number one may have a subject in it that we don’t use everyday, so there will not be two numbers on the front.  She knows to look for the boxes with two numbers: one to place on her schedule strip and one that labels the box.  So, if box number three is the first box {in numerical order} to have two numbers on the front, that’s the one she starts with for the day.

She can take one box out at a time and work on it.  It if has a “Mom” circle, she needs to do the lesson with me; if it doesn’t, she can work on that box by herself.  This is a better example of what I was describing above.  Box number one only has one number sticker, so she knows she won’t use that box for the day.  She’d start with box number two, which has two number stickers on it.
Once she is done with the box, she’ll take off the number on the left and place it on her schedule strip.
Now, she can look at her schedule strip and see which box she has done, and she can  look at her boxes and see which ones still need to be done.

 

After each box is completed, she’ll place her work in the “inbox”, where it will sit for me to check.

If she needs help with something and I’m unavailable, she can place a “Help” sticker on her work.

Even though Babydoll still needs me for quite a few lessons, this system also serves as a great way to keep me organized.  I’ll plan out about two weeks in advance and make a note of all books, worksheets, etc., we need and place the work in her boxes each night.  Bottom line is this: she’s looking forward to starting school and I’m thrilled about our new setup!

The workbox system was developed by Sue Patrick and the schedule strips and stickers I used were developed by Cassie Jones.  You can see her workbox setup at Spell Outloud.

Homeschool Portfolios

This post is just a few months old, but it’s one of the most popular here.

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Some states require extensive homeschool portfolios be maintained to ensure parents are complying with regulations.

Other states are fairly lenient, but many parents still like to keep a portfolio to document a child’s work and progress.

In my quest to become a better portfolio parent, I decided to share the bounty of links I found.

Enjoy!

Homeschool Essentials:  The Portfolio – Great breakdown on getting a portfolio started

Donna Young’s Homeschool Portfolio Planner – A great assortment of printables to help you get started

Homeschool Portfolio Evaluations Shouldn’t Be Scary! – Q&A about portfolios

Homeschool Portfolios – How one mom puts together her portfolio

Homeschool Portfolios – An extensive list of what this mom includes in portfolios

Homeschool Portfolio – Complete with editable PDF printables

Recordkeeping:  Portfolio & Grades – Includes ideas of what to include for each subject

Creating a Homeschooling Portfolio – A PA mom’s guide to creating a portfolio

Preparing a Homeschool Portfolio – Another guide to creating a portfolio

How to Create a Homeschool Portfolio – A list of essentials to include

8 Benefits of Creating Homeschool Portfolios – A list of the benefits of having a portfolio

Creating, Maintaining, and Presenting a Homeschool Portfolio – This takes from the beginning to the end of the process

Preparing the Homeschool Portfolio – Another list of items to include

Homeschool Portfolio 1, 2, 3 – Great step-by-step process with lots of pictures

How to Make a Homeschool Portfolio – More great pictures

How to Make a Homeschool Portfolio – Tab ideas and scrapbooking suggestions

Create the Perfect Homeschool Portfolio – Another mom’s way of doing things

Keeping a Homeschool Portfolio for High School – A list of high school specific ideas

Homeschool Portfolios:  Evaluation Checklist and More – Includes a link to a free checklist

A Homeschool Portfolio – An extensive post about this family’s homeschool portfolio

Sweet Critique: AboutOne

AboutOne New

AboutOne is back and better than every baby!

I fell in love with it back in August, and I’m excited that they contacted me to give the new version a whirl.

WHAT IS ABOUTONE?

Total awesomeness, that’s what!

To be more thorough:  AboutOne is a digital household management system.

It’s designed to help busy families keep track of the important information they need without having to spend a ton of time doing it.

By storing information on your family, medical histories, possessions, photos, and more, you have an always-accessible file cabinet, ready when you are.

They’re adding more features as we speak, which means this will turn into a robust family management system that will work wonderfully with any existing system you have in place.

WHY SHOULD I USE IT?

I know what you might be thinking:  “I already use my paper planner/Gmail/Google Calendar for this information.”

Yes, yes you do.  That’s why AboutOne didn’t focus on mere appointment tracking.

This program is designed for heavy-duty long-term usage.

It’s designed to store important documents that you might not need on a daily basis, but would come in handy one day while out running an errand.

It’s designed to help you remember those oh-so-simple yet sweet moments in life.

It’s designed to help you keep track of family members’ medical histories.

It’s designed to help you keep track of home and car maintenance.

I could go on and on.  This is what I love about this program.

Sure, I have the immediate things on my calendar.  But, when I’m out-of-town and need to call the nurse line to ask a question about something Babydoll might need to be taken to the emergency room for, I am a little too panicked and preoccupied to remember exactly how the doctor phrased her penicillin allergy or what type of asthma inhaler she specifically has.

That information is entered into AboutOne and I can access it from anywhere.

Another great example they give on the site is babysitting instructions.  We don’t go out often, which means we don’t have pre-written babysitter instructions.

Pulling together information from AboutOne {medical history, emergency contacts, alarm passcodes, etc.} allows me to easily print and go.

See the awesome?

I can manage my entire family, including pets, from this program.  {Yes, yes I do need to add a picture of Vince.}

I mentioned that the new version is in beta right now, so I haven’t been able to access all of the awesome, but they did send me screen shots that I absolutely must share with you.

These show you the potential of this program:

BUT IS IT SAFE?

Yes!!  They have awesomesauce security in place, the same kind your bank uses.

You can read all about it here.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really can’t recommend this to you guys enough.  It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s awesome.

I’d also like to point out one last thing, because this concerned me at first too:  use AboutOne as you go.

I thought I needed to take large quantities of time to scan important documents in and set it all up.  You don’t.

Sure, taking a few minutes to get the basics in is important, but I was up and going in about five minutes.

Do a little of the “historical” work here and there, as you can.  Otherwise, just enter information as it begins to unfold.

Have you used AboutOne before?  Tell me what you thought in the comments!

True Confessions:  I was compensated for this post, but it does contain my honest opinions and views.  I LOVE AboutOne and really think you guys should give it a try, it’s great!