Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Random Stuff I Found Online - April 30, 2013

Today I thought I would share a couple really fun things I discovered this week. Kinda random, but that's okay. Enjoy!

Write On Watches
My middle schooler loves these. They are watches, but you can draw and erase on the watch band. Pretty neat. You can write notes to yourself or doodle.  They are also waterproof and tear resistant. Plus they are only $5 plus s/h.

I just thought this was really cute!

* None of the links in this post are affiliate links. I am not compensated in any way for mentioning these sites. I just thought they were really neat. :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dealing with Pack Rat Kids

It's a chilly, rainy day here in Maryland and I'm into cleaning, decluttering and purging throughout the house. I can't really stand having clutter all over the place. Piles of stuff with no organization or order just make me feel claustrophobic. Guess I'm sort of a neat freak.

My hubby and two older kids are reasonably like minded. They like being able to find their stuff when they want it and really don't like tripping over toys in their rooms. Each night we remind all the kids to take their toys or electronics back to their room at bedtime leaving our living room neat and clean ready for the next day.

The only one not of the same mindset is my youngest who's 8 years old. While we love her immensely, she is a bit of a pack rat. She has a VERY short attention span and quickly moves from one thing to the next totally forgetting the previous task. Plus she tries to save everything. You may remember I posted about her room here back in December. Well, it's a bit of a mess again.

We're wondering if it's just her or is it partly her room to blame. In her defense she does has a very tiny room (about 8X9). She has a twin loft bed, a tall dresser, night stand, a bookshelf/toy box and a small table to do homework on. That's a lot of stuff and doesn't even include her toys which as many of you know smaller kids have bigger toys.

She seems to collect anything my older two don't want and that's natural, but she doesn't really want to part with an equal number of her younger kid stuff.

The hubby and I are considering getting rid of a good sized chunk of her toys. This would be devastating to her plus we wonder if she would have it messed back up in no time flat.

We are at our wits end.

Any advice for some neat freaks dealing with a pack rat child???

Friday, April 26, 2013

Freebies on Fridays - April 26, 2013

Today I am outside while it's beautiful here on the East Coast (USA) and weeding my flower beds, so  I've only included a couple free ebooks today.

The first book covers clean eating - something I'm trying to do more of. I'm not going stop eating  chocolate and diet soda all together, but I'm trying to eat more real foods.

The second book talks about saving money on your cable bill or how to cut the cable all together. Wow - with kids that's not gonna happen for us, but I love the idea of lowering my bill.

The third book is one I feel is important for any parent to read.  The skill of making others feel important can help in every area of your life not just parenting. I still love my first real boss. She had a way of making everyone feel special and important. It wasn't anything obvious, it was just little things she did to make you feel valued and appreciated. She was a great example.

Finally, here's a great book for the kids about Space. Some amazing pictures in this one.

Enjoy everyone and have a wonderful weekend. See you Monday!

27 Food "Hacks" - How to Eat Clean, Lose Weight, Get Active, and Have FUN!

The Frugal Guide to Cutting the Cable Cord (And Saving $$$)

The Awesome Power of Making Others Feel Important

Space! Outer Space Exploration Picture Book - Learn About the Asteroids, Meteors, the Moon and Planets in the Solar System (Big Kids Books)

Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

School Information Form Printable

Here's another printable I've created. It's a school information form. That way all your kids' school information is in one place. It also includes a spot for their extra curricular activities or their special classes each day.

Hope you like it!

Feel free to print this for your own personal use and share it, however no permission is given to sell any printables on this site. All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Copycat Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix

You may have seen this recipe on Pinterest or Facebook. It's been going around and let me just say - it's really delicious!

Photo and Recipe Source
I love how simple this recipe is to make and it really does taste like the Betty Crocker brand Fudge Brownies.

The only thing is that it only makes a 8X8" or 9X9" pan size not a larger 9X13" pan that the box mix does. It's easy enough to just double the recipe to make a larger amount.

Dry Ingredients (shown in the bag above)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Now you can store all the dry ingredients in a bag or jar till you are ready to make brownies or continue on and add the wet ingredients.

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes on medium speed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Make a couple extra bags of the dry ingredients and store them in your cupboard or pantry. They also make great gift ideas as well. Fill a pretty jar or glass container with the dry ingredients and attach a nice card with the list of other ingredients needed and baking instructions.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When Queens Ride By - A Fave Ebook

I'm writing today to share with you a wonderful ebook. It's one of my faves and I read it a couple times a year.

It's called "When Queens Ride By" by Agnes Sligh Turnbull. It was written in 1926 but it could just as easily been written yesterday.

The topic of the story is a woman's role in a marriage. Whether it's better for the marriage for the wife to work side by side her husband as an equal or she takes care of the home and family and acts as an encourager. I myself have felt like the main character many times and find this ebook very motivational.

Being a stay at home wife and mom with all 3 kids in full time school - I frequently feel like the main character. Torn between working outside the home to help my family financially and stay home for my family to help raise and care for my children (avoiding day care/summer camps).

The ebook is offered by one of my favorite websites: Living on a Dime.com.  The owners of the site are a lovely mother/daughter team, Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam. They offer lots and I mean lots of really common sense advice on how to live frugally. Love, love, love their site and have been reading their work for years.

So here's the book - enjoy!

"When Queens Ride By"
Click Here to Download

Monday, April 22, 2013

How Moms Can Deal With Sleep Deprevation

Every mom knows what it's like when your child has been up most of the night. A baby with colic, a toddler teething or even an older child with a fever or ear infection. It happens to all of us.

So what do you do the next day after a night of almost no sleep?

Give Yourself a Break
First and foremost give yourself a break. Take the day off. Even stay at home moms need to take the next day off. Take it easy. Leave the dishes soaking in the sink. Forget the laundry for one day.  Don't worry about cleaning. It will all be there tomorrow.

Nap With Your Child Naps
I always advise new moms to sleep when their babies do. Your health depends on sleep. Without sleep you can become irritable, less able to focus, forgetful, and, in extreme cases, you run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel or another time that could cause harm to your baby, yourself and possibly others.

Seek Help
First off you and your spouse or partner could take turns getting up with the child. It makes no sense to have both parents sleep deprived. If that is not possible, ask a family member or friend to come help watch your child while you get some sleep. If you are a new mom this is especially important because your situation isn't going to stop in a day or two like a child who is just ill. You need to get caught up on your sleep.

Eat Well/Stay Fit
Make sure you eat a well balanced diet. If you aren't hungry just eat a smaller amount. Moms need to keep healthy so they can care for their family. A sick mom has no energy to care for their family or themselves. So take the baby for a gentle stroll through the neighborhood and show him or her off to everyone. If your child is sick do a couple simple stretches or turn on some music and slow dance holding your child.

Sleep is very important to your health and the health of your family. We've all been through sleepless nights with our kids, but sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of problems. You can help avoid problems by napping with your child, getting help from family members and friends and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and most importantly taking it easy.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Freebies on Friday - April 19, 2013

Happy Friday!

I've been busy today trying to find some freebies for you. As usual I've included a couple free* ebooks, a couple links to some great Earth Day printables and some sample products. Hope you all enjoy them and have a wonderful weekend.  See you Monday!

Free Ebooks
* Please verify the price of the ebooks prior to adding to your cart as the prices change quickly.

The Busy Mom's Guide to Keeping Track of Everything (The Busy Mom's Guide Books)

How to Declutter Your Home and Coordinate Your Life Fast: The Ultimate Guide to Complete Organization

A Working Mom's Guide to Reclaiming Me Time

Free Printables
Since Monday, April 22, 2013 is Earth Day here in the USA I decided to include some really nice printables (free of course) that you can use with your kids.

About.com offers 10 printables including a word search, crossword puzzle, pencil toppers, door hangers to color and more.

A large selection of printables, worksheets and activities that can be used on Earth Day.

Free Samples
Sample of Olay Fresh Effects Facial Wash

Gooseberry Patch Kid-Friendly Recipe Booklet - printable or mailed

Yellowstone or Bust Sticker and Travel Guide

Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Storing Clothes for Younger Siblings

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I have 3 kids. Two girls and a boy.

Well my oldest daughter is currently 13 and my youngest is 8. Being a frugal minded mom - I save my oldest daughter's clothes to give to my youngest when she is able to fit into them. Since there is such a different in their ages I had to find an organized way to store the clothes and a place to keep them.

Keeping them was no problem as we have an average size attic. Under the bed storage would also work.

Organizing the clothes was easy as well. I purchased a couple storage totes (blue plastic 18 gallon size). Nothing fancy, but very strong and durable.

I've been doing this since my youngest was born and have always needed about 4-6 storage totes. It takes up a bit of space, but it saves me tons of money when it comes time to buy clothes.

It's the easiest to sort the clothes by size and season. For example right now I have 5 totes (size 7/8 Winter, size 10/12 Summer, size 10/12 Winter, size 14/16 and up Summer, size 14/16 and up Winter).

I save everything that is still in good condition - no stains, rips, etc. Then when my youngest can finally wear that size she and I go through the saved clothes and she picks out what she likes and what fits.

If the clothes don't fit my daughter when she reaches the size I simply donate or sell them on eBay. Which can happen with height and weight differences varying between siblings.

In the five years between my oldest and youngest trends change, so we try to buy less trendy clothes. We get the basics and then wait to purchase a couple trendy accessories later.

In cases where you only have one child - you can still use this system. Just keep a tote or two and purchase items in larger sizes on sale, clearance or at yard sales. Or better yet ask for hand me downs from friends and relatives with the promise to pass the clothes along when you're done with them.

Kids grow fast and buying clothes can be very expensive. Use this simple system to save your family some money.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Printable To Do List

We'll over the weekend my hubby's vehicle, a 2005 F150, needed to be parked until we get all the parts for a bunch of needed repairs.

I'm normally fine with staying home, but lately I really started to miss my independence.  After 13 years of being able to go wherever I need to whenever I need to - it's a little hard.

So I created a list of all the projects I could do to help get my mind off being stuck at home. Some projects on my list include: massive spring cleaning, lots and lots of craft projects, planting my garden (later in the spring), home repairs such as painting, and working on my sites.

That got me thinking about a really cute printable I created and have been using - so I decided to share it. Hope you like it!

Feel free to print this for your own personal use and share it, however no permission is given to sell any printables on this site. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Keep Your Family Safe in Crowded Places

Summer is almost here and that means more time at playgrounds, amusement parks, beaches, sporting events and more.

If you have kids, especially little ones, that means you will need to keep a close eye on them. Which is difficult when there are lots more people around.

Here are a couple tips I've learned over the years to help keep all my family safe and sound yet still have a fun, adventure filled summer.

Photo Going In
The first thing we do when going to an amusement park, crowded playground, etc. is take a group photo.

We do that for 2 reasons. First is as a record that we were there. I use the pictures for scrapbooking. Second is that should one of my kids go missing I have their exact description right there to hand to a police officer. Clothes they were wearing, hair color, height, etc.  Hopefully I won't ever need to use it for that, but it's there just in case. Plus I can always delete the photo later.

Buddy Up
Never let your kids go anywhere alone. Even when they get a little older. Buddy up with another child or preferably an adult. Walking through crowded areas as a group can be hard, but it's even harder for little ones who can't walk as fast and get distracted easily. I always remember Home Alone 2 when Kevin gets lost in the airport. It can and does happen.

Cell Phone
Every group needs a cell phone - turned on and answered. Obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people don't bother to answer their phones or even have them turned off. Keep them on and answer them -- that's why you have them.  I've tried high powered walkie-talkies in the past, but many times they don't work because of interference, distance, etc.

Phone Numbers
Make sure everyone knows the number. There are temporary tattoos that can be put on little ones so should they get lost the police can call you. You can also make beaded bracelets with your cell number in the beads for older kids who know not to take them off.

Meeting Spot
Once in the park designate a meeting spot. "At 12:30 p.m. lets meet at XYZ for lunch. Here it is on the map." Get every group a map and circle the meeting spot and write the meeting time on it. 

Common Sense
Use common sense if something doesn't feel right leave the area. If someone creeps you out get away from them. Keep a close eye on your family because not everyone has the best of intentions.

Unfortunately our world isn't as safe as it used to be. Kids used to be able to run free without fear of being abducted or worse. Times are changing and it's not just kids we need to keep an eye on  - grown men and women need to be safe as well. Buddy up, keep an eye out for each other and you will still be able to have fun with your family.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tax Refund - What Will You Do With Yours?

Today is Tax Day and if you are one of the lucky ones who expects to receive a refund here are a few ways to spend that refund wisely.

Pay Down Debt
Credit cards, Vehicle Loans and Personal Loans
If you have high balances pay off or put money towards the highest interest rate first. If you have a lower balance pay that one off first, so you won't have that payment anymore. Then snowball that payment toward the higher bills.

Medical bills
Accidents and medical emergencies happen and most insurances only pay 80% if you are lucky. If you aren't able to pay it off in full with your refund; call the doctor or hospital and ask for a payment plan. Most places are glad to actually have a client work with them and not have to go to a collections agency.

Buy Needed Items
Let's face it kids grow quickly. Check your family's clothing to see if they are in need of a larger size or just newer clothes to replace old or worn out clothes.

Getting your tax refund is the perfect time to stock up your pantry. Buying food with a longer shelf live will help your family if you fall on hard times in the future.

Make Home Repairs/Upgrades
Now is the time to make necessary repairs to your home's major systems such as your heating, cooling, water treatment, and septic systems. It's always a good idea to have those same systems maintained by a qualified professional each year.

Upgrades to your home
Another option is to make upgrades to your home. Updating an older bathroom or kitchen are great ways to raise your homes' value. Even purchasing a new, more energy efficient appliance will add value.

Save for Future Expenses
Build an Emergency Fund
I'm a strong believer in having an emergency fund. You never know when you could become sick and miss a week of work, lose your job all together, have a vehicle break down or a furnace go up. Having a stash of money put away to will help cover the costs of an emergency and give you a little piece of mind.

Put some of your tax refund away to pay for Christmas presents. Don't wait and use credit cards. Having the cash on hand will let you take advantage of great deals throughout the year.

If you have children or grand children consider putting some money aside for their college education. There are plenty of plans to help you save.

Put your refund where it can do the most good - now and in the long run. Spend it wisely.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Freebies on Friday - April 12, 2013

Today's post is full of fun, family friendly freebies. To start off I included a code to get a free DVD rental. I've also included a couple free ebooks. One that talks about raising your child's self esteem, another that will help you reduce stress in your life and finally a cookbook that's full of healthy and yummy meals. To finish up today's post I've included links to some free sample size products that lots of people use.


RedBox Code

Here's a code to get one night free on any DVD rental. I just used it this morning to get one for my family's movie night tonight.

In case you haven't used Redbox before here are the directions. While you are at your local machine. Choose a movie and click add. View your checkout and click to add promo code. Enter "DVDONME". Check the balance and verify that it now says Pay $0.00. You will still need to swipe your credit card, just in case you keep the DVD for more than one day.

Look Mom, I Can Do It!

The Stress Free You: How to Live Stress Free and Feel Great Everyday, Starting Today

How To Cook Healthy in a Hurry: Volume 2, Over 35 New Recipes For When You Don't Have Time To Cook

Get free samples of some P&G Products. Even though it brings up Tide Boost Vivid White you should also be able to request an Oral B Dental Floss sample and Always Panty Liner sample as well.
Click Here for P&G Samples

Get free Finish Quantum Dishwashing Sample
Click Here

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Contacts Printable

Here is a new colorful printable. It's a "Contacts" page. Enjoy!

Feel free to print this for your own personal use and share it, however no permission is given to sell any printables on this site. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

I wanted to just do a fun post today, so I created a list of my favorite things. Yes I was singing the song from "Sound of Music" in my head. LOL

1. My Journal -  "Markings" by C.R. Gibson.
I carry this with me everywhere in my purse. I am constantly writing in it. It's my way to vent, figure things out, document my family's lives, and get my ideas out.

Mine is full of little stickers (from my kids school work), endless lists, and even a pocket in the back for special papers. I've used this particular journal for over 3 years now and love the size and feel of it.
I purchased it a WalMart, but they also sell it online at Amazon for about $9.  It is made of leather or leather-like material and is approximately 8"X5".

2. My iPhone 4
I always have this with me. Unfortunately it's usually glued to my hand. I'm either playing Doomsday Preppers, checking my email or playing on Facebook. Plus that's how I talk to hubby throughout the day - via texts.

3. Diet Soda
Yes I'm fully aware of how bad it is for me, but I'm addicted. I don't even care which brand (Coke,  Pepsi or Aldi's brand). This is one of the bad habits I would love to give up but find so hard to do.

4. Inspirational Romance Novels
I've been reading a lot of inspirational romance novels lately. I especially like the stories set in the American Mid West in the early 1900s. I love reading about what life was life back then.
My favorite author right now is Lauraine Snelling. I'm just finished reading all of her Daughters of Blessing Series. I'm a huge public library fan, so that's where I find the majority of my reading material.

5. Harry Potter
My kids and I are Harry Potter fanatics. Yes we've been on Pottermore.com, watched and own every movie, read and own every book and my oldest even has a wand.

I'm not big on witchcraft or casting spellings - I just like the stories of good and evil, friendship and watching the characters grow up.

6. Just Dance 4
My oldest and I love this game for Wii.  We get a bit competitive.  My favorite dance is Rock and Roll by Skrillex.  It reminds me of my younger years when I was on my high school dance team and a local cheer/dance squad. Plus it's my favorite way to exercise.

7. Taking Photos
My kids call me the paparazzi. I'm always trying to snap a picture of them. I don't want my kids to grow up and not be able to remember all the great times they had growing up. I try to get shots of them being themselves - goofy, silly, serious, laughing, expressive, etc.

Well since 7 is my lucky number I will stop there. Please feel free to share some of your favorite things in the comments section. I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Clean With Baking Soda

I found this interesting tip on Pinterest the other day and had to give it a try.

The tip showed how to get your stainless steel kitchen sink looking brand new with a little bit of baking soda and water. I was skeptical.

I already had some baking soda, so I figured what the hay.

So I took plain old baking soda and mixed it with a little water and scrubbed. Here's how it turned out. It's a lot shinier and looks great. Not too bad considering how old it is.

Then I tried cleaning other things like the bathroom grout and it worked really well. I didn't take pictures of all the different places I cleaned. I was on a roll. :-)

Baking soda is much cheaper than all the fancy/specialty cleaners. I think I'll be using baking soda more often to clean with.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Feast or Famine - How We Deal With It

I don't know about your family but we are either in feast or famine mode. We either have extra money or not enough; it all depends on my hubby's fluctuating work load.  We never know from year to year if his company will have lots of jobs or only a few.

Recently we were in famine mode for a few months because my hubby was put on 32 work weeks. That ended just before Christmas and we've been playing catch-up ever since. Now he was just put on 10 hour days 6 days a week. Being a one-income family can be crazy when work schedules fluctuate.

It also seems as soon as we get a little bit of money saved up something seems to break. This time it was one of our vehicles and some home repairs. Both of which are going to be costly.

I am very grateful that the highs and lows are getting less dramatic. The lows aren't so low because we're managing the highs much better. That just comes with age I guess. We are saving more during the feast times to use during the famine times.

Since I'm sure other families go through the same thing I thought I'd share how we are working our way out of this cycle of feast or famine.

We stick to a budget and try our best not to deviate from it. If we should get a little extra money in our budget we decide together where it would be best to put it. Sometimes we save it, other times it is needed immediately. On rare occasions, like income tax refunds we take the whole amount and apply it to one debt to pay it off or down significantly.

In times of feast we always try to build up our pantry for those times when finances are tight. Getting extra cans of veggies, some meat to put in the freezer, or as small as a couple packages of Ramen noodles. Every little bit helps when money is tight.

Don't Splurge
Don't get me wrong - my family wants things. Lots of things! Just because we get a couple extra bucks we don't go hog wild and blow it all on fun stuff. Oh, we used to, but not anymore.

Each family member has something they really want. Each time we get some extra cash we set money aside in an envelope to save up for it. We encourage our kids to do odd jobs to help raise money for whatever they want. This teaches them to work hard for what they want and they take better care of the item because they worked for it.

Don't Deny Yourself
I've found if the hubby and I go too long without doing something for ourselves we both get really grouchy. So during our feast times we will do something fun as a family. It could be going out to our favorite restaurant, taking the kids bowling, or buying something small that we've been wanting for a while.  The key is we budget it in. There's a big difference between splurging and treating yourself every once in a while.

Start a Pantry
If you don't already have one create a pantry in your home. It can be as small as a box in a closet or an entire room. Each week try to buy at least one thing to add to your stash. We try to spend $1-$5 worth of stuff to tuck away each week. Plus we can lots of veggies from our garden each summer.

Pantries or root cellars have been around a long time and were used to store foods and supplies for the winter when time were tighter. That's exactly what we do. We store foods and supplies up when times are good for times when money is a little tighter.

Rainy Day Fund
Also called an emergency fund. We try to maintain at least a small emergency fund for those times when things break and need fixing or replacing. A washing machine, car repairs, etc. Something that needs to be fixed right then that can't be put off for any real length of time.

By keeping an emergency fund or rainy day fund we are more able to keep up with our normal monthly bills because we aren't robbing Peter to pay Paul. Plus we don't have to borrow money from the bank or family members.

My family isn't perfect by any means, but we are learning to balance out this feast/famine cycle we've been in.  By budgeting religiously and spending wisely we have food and money when we need it regardless of his work schedule.

Hopefully this information will help your family like it has ours.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Freebies on Friday - April 5, 2013

This week I found lots of neat stuff. First I included a couple ebooks. These cover some topics of interest to me. I love organizing and gardening, but you may not know I'm a massage junkie. Every year I get a professional massage for Christmas or my birthday and beg my hubby for a back massage on a regular basis. If money were no object I would definitely go to massage school because of how relaxing it feels.

Anyways, I also included an ebook on "bugging in". Don't freak out. I think it really applies to a wide range of situations - not just Zombie Apocalypse. LOL

For example, I live on the East Coast of the US and we face hurricanes, powerful windstorms and snow storms and we never know when we will be forced to stay home for days on end because of a storm. This book could help deal with no power, no water, what about food, blocked roads because of downed trees, etc. Emergency situations don't have to be man made they can be natural as well, so for this book keep an open mind. :)

Bugging In: How to Hunker Down and Survive in an Emergency Situation (Stay Alive)

Stress Free Organization For Your Child: How To Get Your Child Involved In Cleaning And Organizing Their Spaces While Still Having Fun

Therapeutic Shiatsu Massage for the Beginner

Smart Gardening: How To Grow Your Best Vegetable Garden (Gardening Essentials Series)

In addition to the ebooks above it like to include other fr*ee stuff I've found online throughout my searches. This week I'm including these really cute American Girl doll  patterns.

My youngest loves her 18" dolls and so I'm always hunting for patterns to make her more clothes. Here are a couple good and fre*e ones I found online.

American Girl Doll - Royal Bridesmaid Dress Pattern
This is adorable and fits 18" dolls.  Easy to understand instructions with photos.

18" doll T-Shirt Pattern
Love this one it has little ruffle going down the front which is optional.

Historical Dresses like those in the American Girl Doll Catalogs

Adorable Drawstring Dress
This is soo cute! I've made this one a couple times. There is also a link on the page in case you don't want to go through the shopping cart. It takes you directly to the PDF.

Hope you enjoyed the fun things I've found today. See you Monday!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Love, Love Freecycle.org

Okay I know I've mentioned this site before but I really do love freecycle!

Look what I picked up this morning.

See my oldest was really needing a place to do her homework and we just don't have the funds right now, so I asked on my local freecycle. To my surprise I received 4 offers. WOW!!!

This one is a nice size and I can refinish it to make it fit her very bright and colorful style. It's also made quite well - all good quality wood.

BUT freecycle isn't just about getting free stuff. I donate clothes my kiddos have outgrown, toys they no longer play with and even household items we no longer use.  It's a great way to keep clutter from your home. Pass on things you no longer use to people who really want them.

This cute desk will get many years of use left in my home, but the previous owner didn't have a use for it anymore. Win-win. They get it out of their home where it was taking up space and we get a neat desk for the kids to do their homework. (Look for the desk's updated look in a post soon.)

Feel free to visit their website and find a chapter near you.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Week in Pictures - April 3, 2013

This week was a bit crazy because of Easter and my kids having off for Spring Break.

For Easter we needed to visit both my parents and the hubby's family since they both live close by.

So...we visited my parents had an egg hunt before it really poured down rain and then some really yummy turkey and all the fixing.  After a couple hours there we visited hubby's family and had dessert while the kids played and guys watched basketball. We saw Louisville vs. Duke game where the player broke his leg.  Really Gross!!!

After a crazy day running around on Easter I took the kids to a playground as one last activity before school the next day. Plus it felt like it was 65-70 degrees. Beautiful!

Plus here's a little update on our latest addition, Gizmo. He's fitting in better. He's about 10 or 11 weeks old and is attacking everything. This is totally funny.

He even tries to attack our dogs who then run to me, as if to say please get this little terror away from me!!!


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Taming Kids Clutter

Do your kids have a drawer like this? Full of a ton of little toys?

My youngest loves little, tiny toys. Polly Pockets, Littlest Pet Shop, kids meal toys, Barbie accessories, etc.

This is what her drawer looked like this morning before she went to school. There is no after picture because it doesn't look much better with half of it gone.

I'm a neat freak and want everything grouped together in nice, neat containers, unfortunately, my youngest is not. She is my messy child. My borderline hoarder.  She collects paper, jewelry, toys of all sizes, shapes and conditions (broken and not), rocks, well almost anything really.

So here is how I help keep the toys to a minimum.

One In One Out
For every toy that comes home they need to choose one from their current toys to give away.

Avoid the Toys
When given an option, we choose not to get the toy that comes with some kids meals. They are usually low quality and my kids never play with them for more than 5 minutes. We prefer the meals that comes with books or games.

Every few months go through the toys and get rid of anything broken, missing pieces, or that the kids don't care for anymore.  I usually do this when my youngest is at school, but I only get rid of toys I haven't seem anyone play with in a long time, if at all.  My older two kids do this on their own.

Give to Charity
When all my kids were little we would get duplicate toys from the kids' meals. I would save the extras (unopened) and send them into school to be used in a prize box. Doctors and dentist offices sometimes give away small gifts to kids who needed a shot or who had really good dental report. 

Monday, April 01, 2013

Crayola Wild Notes Index Cards

Crayola Wild Notes Index Cards

Okay first let me say, I'm in love with notebooks, index cards, pens, and almost anything stationary related. I love making lists and writing in general, so there were right up my alley.

I was shopping in Michael's for fun stuff to do and I came across these really cool index cards. They were a bit pricy for index cards at $5.99 plus tax for 50 cards and the pen, but I had to have it.
Anytime I find something fun, interesting, cool or whatever I just want to tell the world.  That's just who I am.

They're index cards, and they come with a pen that lets you write in a rainbow of colors. Similar to the black scratch art paper that creates a rainbow of colors when you scratch it.

When you take the cap off the pen the tip is white - not rainbow like a pencil or pen would be. It must be similar to the Color Wonder technology because this pen won't work on other paper.

I use these for my daily to-do lists and cool notes to the hubby and kids. They are also fun to use in scrapbooking and Smash books.

Obviously they would be a great motivational tool to get kids to actually study if they were to use them as flash cards. They would be neat as chore cards as well.

I just thought I'd share another neat product I've found. Feel free to share your comments below :)

* The link above is an affiliate link, but I was not compensated by Crayola or any other company in any way to write this. I just love sharing products that I find really neat and that you may enjoy.