Monthly Archives: July 2016

Best ways to Save on College Text Books

textbooksI know that this doesn’t follow the theme of my blog, but I work at a University and often hear parents and students wondering how to save money on text books.  So I thought I would give some quick tips and links:

  1. Buy textbooks through online sellers – where you can normally get great prices.
  2. Rent your text books – Usually cheaper and they are always returnable.
  3. Buy e-texts – usually cheaper – but they may have only a 6 month life span

My Best Advice – Buy your texts online and sell them back online – this is usually how you end up getting the best deal for your money.  Lowest price to buy, and highest return when you sell them.

Here are a couple of college textbook online companies that are worth looking into:
Rent or Buy Textbooks at


This company is a one stop shop.  They sell textbooks (new and used), rent text books, rent etexts, and will buy back books as well.



Sell Your Books at!This company buys your books back from you.  This company will pay the costs to ship your books to them.  You will know how much they are going to pay you before you ship them.

Here are some more generic websites that sell textbooks that you can use to look for your books as well:

Amazon_Prime_logoA great place to find cheaper books.  College students get 6 months of free Amazon Prime which includes free shipping, and all kinds of electronic media.  If you click the logo to go to Amazon you will get a $5 credit as well.


Shop Amazon – Used Textbooks – Save up to 90%

As I discover more sites I will add them to this list.






2014: Taku Japanese Steakhouse

2014: Taku Japanese Steakhouse
We discovered a cool Japanese Steak House in Kokomo, IN called Taku Steak House.  We went early on a Saturday for lunch, which meant that the restaurant was not very busy, and we ended up getting a grill table all to ourselves which was fun.  We had to wait a little bit to see if anyone else would show up, but it wasn’t a long wait before they decided to go ahead and start the entertainment.  At this restaurant you order your food, which is then cooked in front of you in a very creative and fun way.  Some of our pictures show the flaming volcano of onions!

The color scheme for this layout is based on the colors in the restaurant.  If you look at the top left hand picture you can see the stone wall and purple painted wall.  I duplicated this design with two different scrapbook papers, and it is my favorite part of this page.  I then used orange borders to match the menu and chopstick paper wrapper that are the ephemera on the page.


2014: Fall Farm Visit

2014: Fall Farm Visit
The Fall is a perfect time to head out to an apple orchard and get some fresh cider!  We were up in Michigan for my Grandmother’s birthday and during nap time we decided that we would go to a local apple orchard!  There was a wonderful festival feel complete with a pumpkin patch!

I used the wooden slat background paper to mimic the pallets used for squeezing the apples, and an orange accent for the borders for the photographs to represent the pumpkins in the picture.  I had a piece of background paper with a large pumpkin on it, but it wasn’t the right color for this project, so I cut out the pumpkin and then used Modge Podge to affix it to a piece of sturdy cardboard.  This gave the pumpkin a really cool texture which feels like a real pumpkin skin.  I then used thick sticky tabs to affix it to the page so that the pumpkin was raised off of the page.


2014: Mississenewa 1812

2014: Mississenewa 1812
Mississenewa 1812 is one of our local events that we like to attend each year.

Wikipedia explains the Battle of Mississenwa as “an expedition ordered by William Henry Harrison against Miami Indian villages in response to the attacks on Fort Wayne and Fort Harrison in the Indiana Territory.”

When we arrived we discovered that much of the reenacting was not a reenactment of the Battle of 1812, as much as a display of the different kind of troops from various areas and Nations that were involved in the Battle of 1812 all around the country.  This didn’t matter too much to us as the whole experience was informing, exciting, and delicious!

I chose reds and greens for the color scheme of this page to highlight the colors in the photographs that I took, and used simple borders for the pictures.  Something fun on this page is a candy wrapper from some candy that is wrapped to look like it is ammunition.

Hint for this event:  We always arrive early – besides getting to see the reenactors wake up, and watch the morning color raising ceremony, we get there before the crowds do and are able to navigate the event before it gets crazy and it is hard to move.


2014: The Loft

2014: The Loft.
One of our adventures in 2014 was a trip to the Loft Restaurant which is part of the Traderspoint Creamery, near Indianapolis, IN in Zionsville, IN.  We had lunch upstairs and then took a tour of the farm.  The meal was amazing, and the atmosphere was rustic, but comfortable.  They have an amazing cheese “cellar” that you can see into from the restaurant which is pretty cool.

I chose a rustic wood theme for this spread to match the wood of the barns and the restaurant. On the left hand page are pictures of our meals, along with some brochures and a menu from the restaurant.  I used some card stock to create a holder for the brochures so that they can be removed, and fastened it down with two brads.

The right hand page has pictures from inside the barn that they rent out for weddings, the cheese “cellar”, the cool brick wall of the barn foundation, and the entrance sign to the property.  I finished of the page by using some wood veneer tags for decoration.

2014: Football Stadium Sunset

2014: Football Sunset
At one of my son’s football games I messed up on the time and arrived extremely early.  But I was so glad that I did when I saw what the sunset was doing.  There was nobody at the field when I arrived, and so I was able to use the panoramic feature on my cell phone to capture these incredible pictures.  The main picture in the center of the spread is actually one large panoramic shot which I had printed (cost me $10!) and then I cut in half to be able to put onto this spread.  I choose fairly bold purple background for this page to complement the sunset colors, but I also felt like it helped the green of the field to stand out as well.
Live Well Sports: Live More Active

2014: Football Sophomore Year

Now that I have finished the series from our Summer 2015 Europe trip I need to go back a little bit in time and show you the spreads from the 2014-2015 year. It was a fairly uneventful year for us since I was saving up for our trip to Europe, and therefore there are not a lot of pages for me to show you from this time frame. But lets start with football!

2014: Football 1

This was my son’s sophomore year playing football and he was the kicker for the varsity team.  At the end of the season he earned his letter jacket which was cool and you will see a spread about that later.  The reason I mention that is that you noticed the big “HILL” at the lefthand side of this spread.  We ordered his name for the back of his jacket and it cam back with a white background instead of a dark blue one.  I didn’t want to waste these letters, so I used them on this first spread of the football season.  It makes the page a little bit bulky, but it looks really cool!  Also on the spread are the professional pictures taken on media day.

2014: Football 2

In this spread highlights pictures taken at the various games during the season.  I lost track of which pictures where from which games and so I picked the best ones from the collection to put in this spread.

2014: Football 3

This spread showcases newspaper articles, tickets, and other ephemera from the the football season.  The helmet at the top of the right hand page is a picture that I took of his number on the fence and cut to shape.  The “Oak Hill” was actually cut from his practice jersey which was a mess at the end of the season and I used modge podge to affix it to cardboard with I then cut and put on this page.  At the bottom of the page are two rubber Oak Hill Pride bracelets that we wore all season in support of the team.

2014: Football 4

This spread shares the Fall sports awards program, a picture from the awards ceremony, and a color copy of my son’s letter.  I used strips of cardboard to create a holder for the awards program so that it can be taken out and read.  The strips are held in place by two brads at either end.

2014: Football 5

This final spread, is one that I am fairly proud of, not because it looks terribly cool, but because of the ephemera that I was able to save on this page.  The left hand page has all of the stickers off of my sons helmet.  I used an X-Acto knife to carefully remove all of the stickers and then I put them on this copper/gold metallic paper.  It is important to use a metallic paper so that the sticker will stick without picking up the paper threads from a normal piece of cardstock.

The right hand side is actually part of my son’s practice jersey that I cut to make this pocket to hold the programs from all of the games.  I had to slice about 1/4 inch off of each side of the 12×12 background paper so that I could wrap the shirt around the edges.  I used normal scotch tape to affix it to the back of the cardboard and some brads to help make it a little stronger.  It slide into the plastic protector sheet very well, and allows the viewer to take out the programs to look at them.

Live Well Sports: Live More Active

Europe Vacation 2015: Ephemera

Europe Vacation 2015: Ephemera
This is the final back page of this trip.  I usually use the back single page of an album to keep ephemera from the trip that didn’t fit, or didn’t make sense in other parts of the albums.

On this page you will see a color photocopy of my passport complete with all of the stamps that I got during this trip (not many since the EU allows travel between countries now), a small bag with some stickers from locations we visited that I didn’t use on the other pages, and a pocket which includes our itinerary, maps, and some other papers from the trip.  The pocket was made by carefully slicing the background paper, leaving about an inch on each side.  Ont he back I use scotch tape to reinforce the paper right next to the ends of the slice cut so that it doesn’t tear further, and then I tape another piece of cardboard to the back to help hold the bottom part of whatever I am putting in the pocket.

This is a great way to finish an album, and hold onto items that you don’t want to lose.

Europe Vacation 2015: Returning Home

Europe Vacation 2015: Returning Home
This is the final spread of our 4 album scrapbook of our trip to Europe in summer 2015. It actually captures two days and two different flights.  On the morning of July 34rd Mrs Ollmann took us to the Hamburg airport and we flew on SAS to Arlanda in Sweden.  We then stayed the night at the amazing Arlanda Clarion Hotel, and left the next morning on SAS to Chicago, IL.  On our long flight to Chicago we actually ended up in amazing seats with a ton of leg room (see pictures) and our own personal interactive screens.  I watched 4 movies on the way home and was surprised when they announced that we were getting ready to land – it was the perfect ending to our trip!

The left hand side of this spread highlights the Arlanda Clarion Hotel with pictures out of our hotel window looking at the airport as well as our room and pool keys.  I also attached a welcome card that was on our bed as well as the used the hotel stationary to journal on for this spread.

The right hand side highlights the two trips that we took, with the boarding passes resting behind some photographs from the flight.  We were so impressed with our leg room that I took a picture of it and another of the personal screen that we had.  I also used two photographs from that screen of our flight path as I thought it was cool to watch where we were on the trip.  Thanks SAS for a great flight!


Europe Vacation 2015: Heide Park

Europe Vacation 2015: Heide Park - 1
On our second day with the Ollmanns we went to Heide Park, which is an amusement park similar to Six Flags in the United States. It was an extremely hot day so we really enjoyed the water rides.  We had so many pictures from rides from this day that I needed two full spreads to share them.  This first spread has a brown, green, and yellow theme to match the colors of the park logo.  The background paper for both spreads is from a paper pack that I purchased at King’s Island about 6 years ago!

When I do multiple spreads of one location or event I usually put the ephemera on the last page, but in this case I decided that it fit better to put it on the first page. So, this page has the only photo that I have of both families together on the Mountain Rafting ride and the tickets and brochure from the park.  The brochure is affixed to the outside of the plastic protector sheet so that the viewer can open it to read it.

Europe Vacation 2015: Heide Park - 2

This second spread contains some personal photographs as well as the ride photographs that you can purchase from the park.  I think that Levi was continuing his tradition of trying to get photographed in weird poses!  In addition to the photographs there are some rubber wrist bands from some of the rides that I cut to fit on this page as well.

Sightseeing, Tours, Attractions and Things to do in Berlin

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