Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday - April Fool's Day Tricks

Since tomorrow is April Fool's Day I figured I'd share a couple of my favorite pranks with you along with some really funny hoaxes. Have a fun day!

  1. Put plastic wrap over the doorway - so the person walks right into it
  2. Put plastic wrap over the toilet bowl, but under the seat.
  3. Grease the doorknob with vegetable shortening, so they can't open the door.
  4. Hoaxes - here are the top 100
  5. Google Translate for Animals - Find out more about it here: 
  6. Serve your family fake food. Ice cream mashed potatoes, rice krispie meatloaf, etc. There are tons of recipes online.
  7. Get to work before your colleagues and turn their desktop display upside down through the display settings.
  8. If your kid/hubby/coworker/friend likes to store files on their desktop, create a new folder called “Trash” and move all of their desktop icons to it. This won't really trash them just put the inside a new folder.
  9. If your workstation is located really close to another person, unplug their mouse and plug your mouse into their computer. When they start up their computer and try to move their mouse cursor, move your mouse around instead. Try to keep a straight face! 
  10. Take a screenshot of your colleague’s computer desktop, set this image as the background and then move all of their desktop icons to a folder elsewhere. The image of those icons will still appear on their screen but they will be unable to click them. 
  11. Put a folded up sticky note over the ball of your friend's/coworker's mouse. Just make sure the sticky part of the note doesn't touch the ball. Fold the note small enough not to be seen when the mouse is lying flat on the desktop. The mouse won't work and they won't know why.

Here are a bunch of great practical joke ideas to try.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Spring Cleaning - DeClutter

It's spring time. Now is the time to clear out some of the stuff you've been accumulating over the winter.

Don't worry spring cleaning doesn't have to be done all in one day. Take an entire weekend or a week or two. To really clear out your stuff it will take you a little while. Just remember slow and steady wins the race and as long as you're making progress you'll be better off then you were.

First you will want to choose one room or section of a room. I suggest picking a closet or a commonly used room as a starting point.

Pull out everything and sort it with like items. For example: put all the shoes together, all the books together, all like toys together, etc. This will help you organize your stuff as you put it all away. It will also show you if you have 2 or more of the same thing.

Find a new way to use the something that's just been laying around. If there is something you really can't part with, but don't use find a new use for it. Maybe your grandmother left to you a beautiful bowl, but it just sits in your cabinet. Why not put some pretty fruit in it and set it on the counter?

The stuff you don't use or don't want anymore donate to someone else. Give it to Goodwill, list it on Freecycle, or give to a friend or family member who will actually use it.

We love receiving hand-me-downs. Kid's clothes cost a lot and to receive clothes her size or bigger to grow into is a great blessing. Once she outgrows them we pass them on down to my younger daughter and then give them away to someone else.

If it's broke (and no one wants it for parts). Try your best to reuse, recycle, or donate your unwanted things. Our landfills are already full.

Create piles or use boxes labeled "Recycle", "Donate", and "Trash".

Follow these simple steps and you home could be less cluttered in no time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Find Peace and Quiet at Home

Can you really find peace and quiet at home when you have kids running around?

Let's face it there are times when every one of us needs to get away from the kids. You just need 5 minutes to yourself. With no one asking you a million questions, complaining that their brother/sister is bothering them or that they're bored.

Here are a couple ways you can steal away for 5-20 minutes or more (depending on your child's age).

Let me explain - I'm not saying it's okay to leave your child unattended in an unsafe manner. Never leave your child in a car, in a infant walker or any other place where the child may become injured.

One of the first ways is to set the child up with their favorite movie/tv show. Another option is one they have never seen before and seem really interested in. This will give you 15-30 minutes or more to lay down on the sofa and relax and catch a few zzz's. You're still in the same room and would be able to hear your child if they needed you.

The second way you can get some peace and quiet is put your child down for a nap. Even kids 5 or 6 can still need a nap during the day. Just avoid the common trap of trying to get stuff done while they are sleeping. You should be resting also.

It may sound counter-productive but arrange a play date for older kids. Kids from age 5 and up are pretty good about playing with other kids. Especially ones that don't get to come over often. They are too busy showing off all their toys to come bug Mom.  Set the rules ahead of time and you shouldn't have much trouble.

Of course, there's always waiting until the kids have fallen asleep. However, sometimes you just can't wait that long.

Lastly, if you have an infant and need a couple minutes utilize the car seat or a play pen. Just make sure if you use a car seat that the child is fastened in and the handle is locked into position. Using the car seat is a wonderful way to take a shower or bath, because the baby is right there next to the tub.  You can carry them into the kitchen, so you can watch the baby while fixing dinner. Plus they can see you.

Just a couple ways you can get some peace and quiet while at home with your kids. Let's face it we all can use some down time.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Copycat Recipes

If you love eating out at restaurants, but don't like the cost - then you'll love all these wonderful sites full of copycat recipes. Learn how to make McDonald's secret sauce or even a Frosty from Wendy's. Yummy!

Top Secret Recipes

CD Kitchen

Top Secret Copycat Recipes

I'm sure there are tons more, but these are the ones I found most useful. Have fun and enjoy :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - All the Sales Ads At Your Fingertips

It's a well known fact that one way to save money is to plan out your meals ahead of time. It's not always necessary to plan out your week day by day such as: Monday - BBQ Chicken, Tuesday - Pizza, etc. Another way that I use is to simply plan 7 meals for the week and pick and choose which one to eat that day. This works great for us because I don't like being told what I need to eat each day. I like a little flexibility.

You can save even more money if you use foods that are on sale as part of your weekly menu. Look through the weekly sales ads for all your local grocery stores. If chicken is on sale - buy it and use it in a dish that week. If you have a coupon to go with the product even better.

To save you some time I've included a link that has almost all the grocery store ads listed. Just click on your local stores picture to see the current week's sales ad.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wild Card Wednesdays - Videos, Photos and Children Online

Are your children online? What about their pictures? Are they on Facebook? What about Flickr or YouTube? Those harmless photos and videos you have posted of your children may be online forever.

While they may look innocent to you - you never know who else may be looking at them.

Kids online are usually only thinking of kids their age accessing their profile or page. It's up to us as parents/adults to monitor what they are doing online. Yes, even teenagers. How many times do we have to hear about a teenager going to meet someone they met online only to find out they were a child predator?

While I personally don't recommend letting kids have their own Facebook, MySpace, etc. page online - they are your kids and you will do what you want.

My point is please monitor what your kids put online because any photo can be taken from any website. All you have to do is press the Print Screen button and paste it into a Paint program. There you have the photo to look at any time you wish or to illegally upload to another site. Would you really want some sleazy person looking at your son or daughter or posting it online?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - The Balancing Act

Anyone who has a checking account knows the importance of keeping it balanced.

Each month when you're bank statement arrives in the mail break out your check book register, a calculator and a pen or pencil.

Nowadays, most banks offer online access to your checking account, so you are able to view all the transactions every day, every week or whenever you wish.

To balance your account you will need a current list of all the transactions from the account, your check register, a calculator and a pen or pencil.

To start off go through your bank statement and check off everything in your check register that is listed on the statement making sure the amount of the transaction are the same.

After you've checked off everything you can. Go back and add in everything you forgot to add into the register that was on the statement. Everything the bank says came out of your account that you didn't already have in the check register.

Next, try to reconcile your account. Usually there is a form on the back of your statement to help you with this. If not, you list the ending balance or current balance of your account according to the bank. Now you add any deposits or credits the bank haven't included yet. Add the numbers together. Take the total and subtract any debits/payments that the bank hasn't taken or cleared yet. This would be any uncleared checks, debit payments that haven't been deducted or maybe even tips that weren't processed yet. Subtract and you should have the same total that is listed in your checkbook.

If your amounts don't match you will need to go back through your checkbook register to see if your addition/subtraction is correct. Also check to make sure everything was added and subtracted correctly when reconciling your bank statement.

It may not be a fun task, but I'm sure you would hate to have to pay over the limit fees. What's worse is getting up to the cash register only to find out you have no money left in your account. Ugh! It only takes a little while to keep your account up to date and it can save you a lot of headaches and embarrassment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Peer Pressure

We've all heard about peer pressure. It's talked about by counselors and teachers at most schools nowadays.

...but what about peer pressure felt by moms by other moms.

How many times have you been asked to volunteer at your kids school? Can you make the costumes for the school play? Can you help run the bake sale? What about all the fundraisers? Questioned about why you haven't volunteered in your child's class or at scouts?

We need to remember as women and moms that everyone is different. Not all moms enjoy the same things or can do the same things. Not everyone has the time to volunteer regularly.

We as women need to be more assertive. We need to pick and choose what is most important to us and our families.

As moms, we too, can feel pressured by our local schools and other parents to give up time and energy to help out in our children's schools. I urge you to help out your children's schools in ways that you feel comfortable with. That may mean making costumes, donating items to the bake sale, or if it's something you feel okay with volunteering in the classrooms. You may not have time to do any of those things and that's okay too. You need to do what's best for you and your family first and for most.

Just like we teach our children - don't give in to peer pressure.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Fat Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies

I found these yummy cookies on the web at . Not only do taste good, but they are Fat Free and are chocolate!!! Yum.

Fat Free Chewy Chocolate Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn syrup or golden syrup
3 egg whites

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in corn syrup and egg whites until blended. The dough will be thick and sticky. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of mixture onto cookie sheets. Bake in oven for 7-9 minutes or just until set. Cool on wire rack.

0 grams of fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 60 calories, 1 gram of protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 65 mg sodium

I love quick and easy recipes like this one. Hope you enjoy them like I do :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Shop for Christmas All Year Round

Whenever I go into a store I try to look at their clearance section for any deals. By shopping all year round I can spend a lot less overall on Christmas and birthday presents. Plus I don't have to come up with a big chunk of money all at one time.

This week I found all these Bakugan in the clearance at my local Target store. They were making room for all the newer ones that just came out. My little man is really into these so I plan to save them for his birthday and even for Christmas. At $1.11 for the single items and about $3 for the double or special ones. That was great compared to the $4/$8 regular price.

Please feel free to share your awesome deals, thrift store finds and bargain finds.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Help Organizing Your Kids Room

Are you sick and tired of cleaning up your kids' rooms? Tired of tripping over toys left on the floor? Are you always stepping on matchbox cars, doll shoes, or blocks?

Here is one really easy way to help your children clean up after themselves.

Storage totes - they are incredible organizing tools for many reasons. Here are just a few reasons to consider putting your child's toys inside clear, plastic, storage containers.

See through
When containers are see through children can  see what's inside. They are able to choose the container that has the blocks, cars, dolls, crayons, etc. instead of pulling them all out opening each one in search of the items they want.

Easy to get out and put away
Children are able to handle smaller containers about the size of a shoe box. Most boxes are easy for kids to open and close. Plus if the containers are put down lower kids can reach certain items unassisted. Just please consider keeping containers holding smaller pieces up higher because of the possible choking hazards for younger children.

Easy clean - up
Clean up is quicker when all the child has to do it put everything inside the storage box. Children can dump everything out of the box and quickly put everything back in.

Most are made of hard plastic. They last much longer than cardboard boxes or plastic shopping bags. They are also much easier to stack.

Children can practice sorting their toys. When cleaning up their rooms they can sort the items according to the different containers. Make it a game.

Just a few ways to help children learn to keep their rooms clean. Using clear storage containers can help your child learn to put their own toys away, help keep their room a bit more organized, and maybe help save you a couple headaches. :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Show Off Your Child's Work

Boy do kids make a lot of drawings when they are young. Aside from sticking them up on the refrigerator, making a book with them, or maybe turning your garage into an art gallery what are you supposed to do with all those wonderful pieces of art?

Using these really easy printable iron on sheets you can make almost anything. Here are just a few of the really neat things you can make:

  • Tote bags
  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • T-shirts for stuff animals or dolls
  • Aprons

Any of these would be perfect for:
  • Teacher's gift
  • Christmas presents
  • Baby shower favors
  • Bridal shower favors
  • Mother's Day/Father's Day, etc.
  • Get well gift
  • Birthday present
  • lots more.
It's really easy to do. I made this simple tote bag with a drawing my son did at school. I scanned the drawing into my computer, but places like Staples and Office Depot can do that for you.

Then simply print out the drawing onto the special printable iron on paper which is available at almost every craft store and even some major department stores. If there is writing on the drawing you will need to print out a mirror image of the drawing.

Take the newly printed image and place the image face down on the shirt, tote, etc. you want to personalize. Iron according to the direction on the package.

Let cool and peal off the paper. Your item is now done and ready to be used.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to Place Images on Mugs |

I thought this was a really neat project and wanted to share it with you. Transferring images to mugs. It would be really neat as party favors, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or a gift for a teacher at the end of the year. Check it out.

How to Place Images on Mugs |

Friday, March 12, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Hot Milk Cake Recipe

Hot Milk Cake

This is an absolutely delicious cake. It is moist and between a bread and cake in texture. This has been a long time favorite in my family.

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 stick margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 dash salt
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp Margarine on top or spray butter for topping
cinnamon & sugar for topping

Spray bundt cake pan with cooking spray.  Heat milk and margarine stick together, do not boil. Mix other ingredients in a bowl until well blended with an electric mixer. Slowly add the heated milk mixture to the other ingredients in the bowl. Mix well. Pour into bundt cake pan. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Top should be golden brown. Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. To remove the cake from the pan you will need to place a plate on top of the pan, hold firmly in place and then flip both over. Once the cake is removed from the pan spray with spray butter all over the top of the cake or rub with stick of margarine. Then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thrifty Thursdays - Buy Now for the Future

Well I one of my all time favorite things to do is to bargain hunt. I love find and hearing about finding great deals, so hear are some of my latest finds.

I found this really adorable dress at Macy's in their children's clearance department. While I don't normally shop here, my mother called this to my attention. As you can see on the price tag it was originally $85.00 and I got it for $9.99. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Actually it's quite beautiful. It is size 6/6X which is the size my daughter should be right around Christmas. This dress even has a couple layers of crinoline underneath.

I know it's March, but I found these Valentine's cards in my grocery store clearance rack for $.20. Yeah that's right $.20. They are pretty basic characters. I'm sure my boy will be fine with these next year - he will be in 3rd grade. My daughter I know will be fine with the Barbie because she will only be in 1st grade next year.

Please feel free to share your wonderful finds with me I love hearing about them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday - Weight Watchers Online

I decided to share with you how I am losing weight while still eating my fave foods. Just so you know, I am not getting paid to promote Weight Watchers or in any way compensated. The program is working for me  and that's why I'm sharing it. I hope it may encourage someone else to consider trying it now or in the future. I have always tried to share companies, links, and resources that I thought were helpful and good, so others could benefit like I have.

So anyways, I signed up for Weight Watchers Online on January 21, 2010. I do not attend meetings - it's a personal choice. I keep track of all the foods I eat online, and don't have time to attend meetings right now. I have my own family and friends as a support group and that is working for me. So far I have lost 17.9lb and I continue to eat all the same foods I did before.  The only difference is I'm learning about portion sizes, and surprising to me I don't feel the least bit hungry.

Another change I have decided to make is I cut out all sodas. This was not something required on the diet plan - it was a personal decision. I used to drink a  2ltr bottle of caffeine free diet soda every day or two. The big thing I noticed I was never full - NEVER. I could eat and eat and eat and never feel full. Since I've cut out the soda - I feel great and get full or satisfied pretty quickly. It's great. You, of course, could be totally difference. This is what I feel and has happened to me.

If you are considering losing weight please check out all the various programs and see what works best for you. Decide if it fits into your schedule, if it allows you to eat what you really love to eat (at least occasionally) and is something you can stick to and affords. Remember there is no one program that is right for every person.

It cost approximately $56 for the first 3 months when I signed up in January. At that time they were having a promotion. Once my 3 month promotion period is over I will need to pay $17 a month which to me is well worth it. I still have a ways to go in working toward my goal weight. Hope you will join me :)

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, want to share your success stories or just need some encouragement in your own weight loss journey - I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Dogs, Cats and Kids Oh My

My house is home to 2 adults, 3 kids, 2 medium to large sized dogs and 2 very furry cats. My home gets messy pretty quick.

The kids and dogs track in the dirt and sand from our backyard. The dogs and cats both shed no matter how many times we brush them. The kids and dogs both have toys all over the house.  I'm still working on training the dogs to pick up their own toys and put them away. When I do - I'll let you know ;-)

To help keep my home somewhat presentable here are some simple tasks I do routinely every month. If I didn't do these small jobs on a regular basis my home would get really dirty - really fast. Here they are:

* Sweep the floors and stairs
* Vacuum the floors and sofas
* Take out the garbage
* Wash the dishes
* Make the beds

* Change the kitty litter
* Wash the bed linens
* Do laundry

* Scrub the bathrooms
* Scrub the floors
* Wipe down commonly handled areas with bleach water - doorknobs, light switches, railings, and dirty spots I've missed throughout the month.

There are probably more, but I don't even notice anymore they are just second-nature. My point is taking the time to do these little chores on a regular basis - I have a nice looking home and it didn't take me long to clean it. :)  Do the same for your home by creating a routine that fits your lifestyle and stick to it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Are You Going to Have More Kids?

How many times have you been asked if you planned on having any more kids?

It seems like as soon as a couple gets married everyone starts asking them when they are going to have children. When you do decide to have children the questions seem to stop, but only while you are pregnant. It seems as soon as the baby arrives people start to question "When are you going to give this beautiful baby a brother or sister?" Sometimes the children themselves start asking if they can have a brother or sister.

Deciding to have a child or children is a highly personal decision that should be made by a husband and wife. Unfortunately, some people feel it is perfectly okay to ask the intimate details of others' personal relationships. They seem perfectly clueless that this issue is really none of their business.

While there is little you can do to completely stop all the very personal questions; you can stop them in their tracks politely from asking further questions.

Here are a couple things you can tell your nosy friends, family and acquaintances.

If you and your partner haven't decided whether to have children in the future you can say:
"Actually we are quite happy the way things are now."
"When and If we decide to have (more) children you will be the one of the first to know." This helps whomever is asking to feel in the loop.

If you feel the person was being overly personal or nosy you can tell them:
"Boy, that's a very personal question." and then change the subject.
Return with a question about them such as "How many kids do you have and why did you stop at that number?" Don't do this unless you really don't want to know the answer or you want to change the center of attention to them and off yourself.

The easiest way to show you are uncomfortable answering is to completely ignore the question. Just end the conversation or change the subject. It really is none of their business whether you and your partner decide to have a child.

Hopefully this will help stop the questions from the people you see most often.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Food Lovin Friday - Green Giant Just for One Review


I just tried these for the first time this week. I had the broccoli with cheese and I must say I absolutely love, love, love these!  I love broccoli with cheese and these are just the right size for me.  

I know many people aren't fond of the individual serving size and they are a bit pricey compared to making it from scratch. However, when you are cooking for one they are great. The added bonus is they fit right into the Weight Watchers diet plan using only 0 or 1 point per serving. Awesome! :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thrifty Thursday - Great Thrift Store Find

I get all excited when I get to go treasure hunting (shopping at a thrift store), so I had to share my latest finds.  I went to a local thrift store with my kids and we found this completely wonderful horse. See it's a Webkinz in like new condition, and it even has the code. Kids can use the codes included with the Webkinz to go online and play games with the digital version of the toy. Anyways, Webkinz usually go for $12 and up for full sized toys. I got it for $1.91. Awesome!

Plus I love sparkly things and this cute candle holder was only $.99. Though I'm not fond of the brass color I love the sparkly crystal candle holder part.

Please feel free to share your thrift store finds by leaving a comment.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday - My Final Weigh in at Work

Well today was my final weigh in - at work at least. My work was holding a Biggest Loser Contest and I participated along with about 20 coworkers. The contest lasted 8 weeks.

I entered this week with a little confidence because I was in first place. Narrowly passing the person in 2nd place by 1/10%. I had managed to lose 3 lb this week by sticking to my Weight Watchers diet for a total of almost 15lb in 8 weeks.

Well I must admit I am totally disappointed because I didn't win. A much slimmer lady in 2nd place managed to lose 5lb this week. So today I sit quite disappointed, but I've decided I'm absolutely going to stick to my diet.

Sorry, about the depressing mood of this post. I just needed to vent. Tomorrow I will be my normal cheerful self again I promise. :)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tidy Tuesday - Laundry Never Ends

Laundry is one of those that is never really done.

With a family of 5 to clothe I am always doing laundry. There's always towels, clothes, or linens that need washing. 

Here are a couple of my favorite tips regarding laundry.

1.  Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to the washer during the rinse cycle  to remove smells. This works really great to get smoke smell out of your clothes.

2.  Spray stains ASAP with a pre-treater. It doesn't matter what kind you use as long as you spray one on the stain at the earliest convenience. Also, I use a spray bottle filled with hydrogen peroxide to spray on blood stains. I don't know the science as to why it works, but it does work as long as you wash it immediately. Washing without the hydrogen peroxide doesn't always work.

3.  Keep everything within reach. Keep your detergent, fabric softener and your laundry basket or container handy. You won't forget the fabric softener if it's sitting on the dry next to the timer or the on switch.

4.  Once the load is done in the dryer immediately take it out, fold the items up and them put them away. This way you won't have clothes piled up all over the house and clothes and linens don't get wrinkled.

5.  Either designate one day to do all the washing or do one or two loads each day.  Let's face it families with babies or small children will probably need to wash every day or every couple days because of spit ups or accidents. The point is not to get overwhelmed by the task. I usually do laundry on the weekends, but there always seems to be the need for a load done during the week.

These are just a few of the things I do every week to ensure my kids and hubby always have clean clothes and bed linens.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mommytime Monday - Get Everything You Want In Life

I attended a conference quite a few years ago where one of the speakers told me about a little trick to get everything you've every wanted in life. It's a very simple task. Almost too easy.

The presenter told me to break out a sheet of paper or a small notebook. On that piece of paper write down everything, and I mean everything, you want in life. Another option is to cut out photos of what you want and glue it all to a page. This works great for visual learners like myself.

Here are some things you may want to add to your list. A new mini-van, new floors for the dining room and living room, new windows for the whole house, new clothes, etc. Whatever you personally want.

Somehow I've managed to get almost everything that has ever been on my lists. I don't know how, it just works. It doesn't always happen immediately, but it does work. Try it and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Feel free to share your comments, your lists and more.