From Summer Cool to Back to School, Jump in with the Net

Whether you couldn’t wait for school to start or you wanted summer to linger longer, the new school year is has begun. Here are a few websites to help your family jump in with both feet.

Funny name, Serious advice

With the kids back in school and out from under foot, now is the time to start or restart regular cleaning regimen.

Whenever anyone asks me how to rid their homes of C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t have anyone over syndrome), I tell them to visit

Flylady is who kept me sane when I had three preschoolers at home and limited time and energy for household upkeep. Over the years I continue to follow her advice.

One of the handiest is the “Five Minute Fire Drill.” We will set a timer five minutes, the kids and I will do a quick clean-up of a room. When the five minutes are up, we stop, whether we are done or not. The short time span keeps the kids from feeling tortured, but it’s amazing how much can be accomplished in five minutes. Short cleaning bursts like this over time can make difference in the overall cleanliness of a home.

Flylady’s advice is simple baby steps toward reclaiming your home from clutter. For anyone who doesn’t know where to begin, begin with

Be a “Friend” to the District

Mesa County School District 51 has made it so easy to keep in constant contact with your student’s school and teachers.

District 51 maintains a regularly updated and informative website, You can check the school calendar, menus, emergency alerts, and even employment opportunities.

Take full advantage of the Parent Bridge which allows you to check grades, attendance, send and receive e-mails from teachers and announcements from the school.

Become a “friend” of District 51 on Facebook. You can check out stories, events, and videos from schools all over the valley.

Don’t forget to regularly view your child’s school webpage. Many of the school’s websites contain fun and educational links for students to explore.

There is also a payment service website that allows you to pay for school lunches and other school fees online. MyPaymentPlus link on the district’s website.

Brown is the new delicious.

Are your kids tired of the same old PB and J with chips and a drink for packed lunch? Brown bagging-it doesn’t have to be boring. is a website that sells divided lunch box sets, but what makes this really cool is their photo gallery of lunches that can inspire you beyond the norm of cheese sticks and Ho-hos.

From sandwich alternatives to finger foods, some of the menu ideas are so simple; your child could make it themselves. makes it easy to add variety to get that midday meal out of a rut.

“There’s an app for that.”

Great internet resources are not restricted to a desk and monitor. Your handheld devices can help keep your family motivated and excited about learning. has lists and reviews of hundreds of educational apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. A couple noteworthy apps include: Math Pro and MonsterABC.

Math Pro is a very useful combination of math formulas and calculators that will help anyone tackling fifth-grade level math and above. It tackles algebra, geometry, probability, statistics, trigonometry and calculus.

For the pre K kids, MonsterABC is an app that can grow with your child. The app has two flashcard-style learning modules. A child’s voice sounds out letters and words to combine auditory and visual learning and reinforce new information.

MonsterABC uses an easy tap control system so it’s easy for kids to play alone and doesn’t require any shaking (or dropping), that might cause parents to second guess a decision to let a three-year-old handle such an expensive device.

No, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that (like it or not), the school year is in full swing. But if you need a little help getting your kid not to wear his swimsuit to the third grade, there might be an app for that.

About the Author...
Annie Payne
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