Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Have fun trick or treating and be safe!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hilarious Kids Costumes or How to Embarass Your Kids

I was looking around online and found some really funny kid's Halloween costumes. Enjoy!

Toilet Boy

Smurf Kids


Green Army Man

Wayne's World

Taco Baby

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Scares You???

Halloween is just days away and many people love to watch scary movies or wear scary costumes. Some people will go to extreme measures to scare themselves, but what really scares you?

Each year my aunt and her family have an annual hide-n-scare party. They invite over their friends after dark, black out all the windows, turn off all lights and play hide and seek. The really scary part is they have all kinds of spooky stuff hidden and out in the open for them to find. Stuff like clowns, dolls (Chucky), bowls of spaghetti noodles (worms) and lots more. Believe me when you can't see where you are going your imagination can run wild. Plus, there are people jumping out at you. To top off the evening they would go for a ride in the back of a hearse through a cemetery.  Crazy right!!!

While that may be fun for some older kids and adults, little kids can get really scared, especially at night. They can have thoughts of the boogie monster under their bed or in their closet, people coming to kidnap them, and even animals wanting to eat them.

Halloween can really scare kids. It's not all trick or treating and candy. Some kids are frightened of people in costume and masks.

Here are some ways I've helped my kids get over their fears of Halloween and other scary stuff in life.

1. Have my kids try on dress ups, costumes, hats and masks.
This worked for my kids, but obviously won't work for everyone. My kids learned that they can dress up in a costume and soon it clicked that it's not really a monster walking around. There is just another person inside that costume.

My oldest decided she wanted to be the Staypuff Marshmallow Man last year for Halloween and she noticed it made the little kids afraid. To help them she would casually slip her hood off when she noticed they were afraid and sometimes say "Hi".

2. Put a small lock on the outside of the closet door.
My son was really afraid of a monster in his closet. After nights and nights of checking the closet and showing him that there wasn't anything unusual in there, I decided I was going to put a small lock on the outside of the door. The lock was similar to the type on public restrooms. It allowed him to make sure nothing could get out of the closet and get him.

3. Remove the bed skirt.
For that short period of time when they are nervous about something under their bed I would remove the bed skirt. Then they could clearly see underneath. We also stored toys under the bed in boxes, so they actually associated under the bed with fun and toys. You could also run a small rope light under the bed just to brighten it up showing them that there aren't any monsters hiding there.

4. Limit the scary images.
This is obvious but I don't them to watch scary movies. If my hubby wants to watch something scary I take the kids to play in another room, he watches it in another room or after the kids are in bed for the night.

Feel free to share the ways you help you kids with their fears.

Monday, October 28, 2013

More Cool Products to Brighten Your Day

Here are a couple products that I thought you might find funny or cool.  Just thought I would keep it light today.

Glowing Memo Alarm Clock
This is perfect for the doodler in your family. Great for notes: upcoming tests, etc.

Glow in The Dark Toilet Paper
Just in case you need help finding the toilet paper in the middle of the night.

2014 Bubble Calendar- A Poster Sized Wall Calendar with a Bubble to Pop Everyday
This is 4' tall and almost 18" wide. Great for kids, teenagers and adults alike. Pop one bubble a day if you can.

This adult size sleeping bag is perfect for a Jaws or Shark Week fan.

Perfect for your little guy's hot chocolate or chicken noodle soup.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Freebies on Friday - October 25, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy the wonderful freebies I've found for you. See you Monday!

The Busy Mom's Guide To Speed Cleaning And Organizing: How To Organize, Clean, And Keep Your Home Spotless

25 Winter Craft Ideas: Easy Indoor Crafts for Kids (Seasonal Craft Ideas)

I am Enough by God!

One Minute Super Dad: 99 One Minute methods to raise positive, confident and healthy children (One Minute Magics)

Monster Keychain at Lego Stores on 10/31/13
Depend Sample for Women
Twinings Tea Samples
Krispy Kreme Donut - get a free donut on Halloween when you wear your costume in the store.

Stretch Band/Rubber Band Bracelet ideas - This is awesome. AC Moore has 2 dozen different patterns for creating the ever popular Rainbow Loom or rubber band type bracelets that kids wear these days. Plus there are videos to show you how.
Shape Magazine One Year Digital Subscription - no strings attached.
ASPCA Pet Safety Pack - keep your pets safe with this

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rubber Band Bracelets

These rubber band bracelets are all the rage among kids lately. Today I bought some of the bands at my local craft store and my kids have gone crazy and made a bunch already.

First things first. These are pretty tiny and should be kept away from little ones and animals.

These are really easy to make. Basically you are just interlocking the little rubber bands together.  They can be made in any color combination. We did our favorite football team (Raven's), their school colors, camouflage, rainbow, even holiday colors.

I have to say this is a really fun and easy craft for elementary school aged kids and older. Another nice thing to note is that it's not expensive. All the supplies to make a bunch of bracelets only cost $5. Plus they don't take a lot of room or require any tools.

You can find these rubber band bracelet supplies at your local craft store or on Amazon.

I just found this amazing link to A.C. that has 2 dozen different patterns to create a variety of different rubber band bracelets.  These are also called stretch band bracelets or Rainbow Loom bracelets. So have fun and share some of your creations.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Weight Watchers 360 Update

I just wanted to add an update about how I'm doing using Weight Watchers 360. I'm no longer on my trial, so this is on my own dime now.  To be honest, that works better for me because then I have something to lose if I don't actually lose weight. Namely there is money on the line. My money!

I'm going on month #4, but to tell you the truth I was having a really difficult time staying motivated.  Honestly I stopped using W.W. for a couple weeks and boy have I noticed it in my clothes. 

So....I back on Weight Watchers and with renewed enthusiasm.  It's really like when I started Weight Watchers back in 2010 when I lost 50+ pounds. I'm really ready to stick with this for the long haul.

This week I managed to lose 4 pounds this week.  I stayed within my points and even splurged (within my points of course).

I'm kinda strange maybe in that I love salads. I'm not a fan of the individual salad ingredients by themselves, but I really enjoy them all mixed together.  However, one thing I've noticed is when I eat more salads and greens the veins in my legs start to ache. See my family has a history of poor veins in our legs and blood clots.

Then it hit me.

My hubby is on a couple types of blood thinners (Warfarin/Coumadin and aspirin regime). One of the first things his doctor told him was that there are certain foods to avoid in large quantities.  Namely dark green leafy vegetables.

The problem with eating a bunch of these foods is they vitamin K and large quantities thicken your blood and potentially could cause blood clots. Which is probably what was happening with my legs.

There are other foods beside dark green leafy vegetables that thicken your blood, but when most people think of diets, salads are one of the first thing to pop in their head. It's especially tempting on  Weight Watchers because lettuce is 0 points.

Don't get me wrong I am not suggesting you avoid salads or greens, but the key is moderation.

If your goal is to lose weight it's really important to meet with your doctor and discuss your history and your plans for losing weight. 

Remember to shoot for a nice variety of foods to insure you get the right amount of vitamins and nutrients to keep you healthy.  Eat all the colors of the rainbow.

Supporting Links

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It's Time for Some End of the Season Cleaning

It's that time of year again. Time to get your home ready for the colder weather. It's an end to all the fun in the sun, swimming pools, gardens and running through the sprinkler.  At least until next summer.

The colder will be here soon and now is the time to get your home and your family ready for it.


Summer Water Toys
Time to cover the swimming pool and pack away all the summer toys. Any pool or water toys need to be deflated protected from the weather.

The first frost is right around the corner and most of the vegetable plants aren't producing anymore. Time to take down the tomato cages and anything else that isn't permanently in place. This helps to keep your yard looking nice and helps insure your stuff doesn't blow away or break during a storm.

A well fitting cover for your grill will help protect it from the elements. Grill can be quite expensive and this is an easy fit to avoid a rusted out bottom.

Lawn Care
Now is the time to cut the grass on last time and then stow away your lawn mower, weed whacker and edger until spring. Just make sure to leave out the rake - there are plenty of leaves left to round up.

Snow Equipment
While it's still a little warm take your snow blower in to get a tune up to make sure it's in perfect working order for the first snow fall of the year.  Also move your snow shovels to a place that is easy to access.

Heating Unit
One thing you really should do is get your heater/furnace/boiler tuned up. Especially units inside the home because of the danger of carbon monoxide leaks. The earlier in the fall season you schedule a tune up the lower the price usually.


It's important to make sure your chimney is clear and in good working order before you start using it each year. Make sure you have a good supply of wood or pellets on hand early in the season to avoid the higher prices mid-winter when the demand is higher.

Time to put all the shorts and tank tops away for the season and pull out the sweaters and jackets. One big tip is to try the clothes on you or your family haven't worn in a while to make sure they still fit before you store them away.

Insulating the windows and doors help keep your heating costs lower. There are lots of ways to block out drafts of wind. Some are ways are easy and fairly inexpensive such as thermal curtains, hanging heavy quilts over your windows at night, draft stoppers for doors. While other methods are more expensive such as adding more insulation to your attic or installing better doors and windows.

Now is a great time to break out the quilts and blankets to put on your beds or just to cuddle with. This is especially nice when you can just use a quilt instead of turning on your heat when it's a little chilly first thing in the morning.

These are just a few of the ways to prepare your family and home for the colder months. Feel free to share any tips you or your family use during the winter to keep warm.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Check Register Printable

I'm pleased to share another printable I made. This one was on my old website and I finally got around to posting it here. It's a blank checkbook register.


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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Freebies on Friday - October 18, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy the wonderful freebies I've found for you. See you Monday!

Going Home: A roadmap to fulfillment and abundance by finding your truth (Core of Steel Series : The Guide to Personal Transformation)

Cupcakes! 12 Months of Happiness

Bullying Cure - How To Protect Your Children From Being Bullied Or Cyberbullied (Stop bullying , stop cyberbullying)

MOM! 85 Ways To Let Life Energize You ((The Series: Things That Make Life Better))

Nectresse - a 100% natural, no calorie sweetener.
Real Time Pain Relief
Quit Smoking Tea
Home Educating Family Magazine - get a free sample issue

Countdown to Candy Printable
Printable Disney Character Pumpkin Carving Templates - Just in case you need help carving an awesome pumpkin. I know I do :) They have everything from Sofia the First to Perry the Platypus and lots more.
Redbox - One night video rental - enter code "9MXW2LPC" valid until 11/7/13

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Help Give A Wonderful Boy a Forever Home

I don't usually do this type of thing, but I really felt I wanted to share this.

I've been following this story for a while now and they've reached a point where I feel they need all the help they can get - FAST.

Christine Steendahl from The Menu and her family hosted a boy named Igor. Igor is a 15 year old orphan from the Ukraine. They have been in the adoption process for months and need helping making Igor a permanent part of their family.

Let's face it most kids his age have a very hard time becoming adopted. Most families are looking to adopt young kids or babies.

This wonderful family has already had the pleasure of sharing their home with him multiple times. They've gotten to know him and have grown to really care for him.

In order to help bring this family together they need your help. If you can donate $20, $10, $5 or even $1 that is fantastic. Every little bit helps!

If you can't donate money that's okay too. Please share their story on Facebook or with your friends to help spread the word, so their story could reach someone who is able to help. 

Another way to help is to purchase something from her online store, her Amazon affiliate link or to promote the links to get others to buy.

They need to raise a little over $12000 before mid-December this year to cover the costs of the traveling, paperwork, and other fees to adopt Igor.

Please help, please share. Please do the best you can to help bring this family together. Thanks!

Here is the direct link to their adoption fundraising site:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How I Organize a Small Bedroom

I've had problems with my youngest daughter's room for years. It is the smallest and she has the most stuff.  I've tried to control the clutter with a few tricks.

First, she has had this bookshelf/toybox which was a bit babyish. It holds a lot of stuff, but she is 9 now and didn't want it anymore. Plus all the toys in the bottom would get lost or buried under the rest of the stuff. Basically, you couldn't find what you were looking for unless you emptied it all out.

So in my searches for a solution I came across this really great shelving unit at Target for $39.99. It matches the rest of the furniture in her room. Plus it can grow with her or can be used in other parts of the home if she no longer wants it.

Right now she stores some dolls, Legos, books and more in her shelving unit, but in the future she can keep her books, craft supplies, clothes or whatever. It's very versatile.

Utilizing a loft bed was one way I managed to create more space in a small room and control the clutter in her bedroom.   I purchased a junior loft bed that wasn't so high off the ground and then stored lots of stuff underneath. Then I concealed the stuff with cute little curtains, so no one can see all her stuff.

Another organizational quick fix I made was hang little hooks to store all her necklaces on. She has a lot of necklaces that she likes to wear. I decided to hang them up near her dresser and mirror so she could try them on as she's getting dressed.

Lastly I used a over the door shoe container to keep all her shoes off the floor and out of the way. It's an easy dollar store fix and saves lots of space. The over the door containers can also be used for dolls, hair accessories, socks, jewelry, little toy cars and lots, lots more.

These are just a few of the ways I organize a small bedroom. What are your favorite ways?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Friendship Fairy Bread

My kids and I love, love, love these. My youngest brought home "Fairies Cookbook", written by Barbara Beery, from her school library one day last year and we've been making these delicious treats ever since.

Our favorite recipe from the book are the treats called Friendship Fairy Bread. However, my son isn't too keen on the name. What boy really wants to go around talking about fairies? LOL

1 pkg of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (8-10 biscuits)
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 cup powdered sugar
tiny pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk (recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but I've found it needs almost 1 tablespoon to get the consistency right)
assorted food coloring - optional
candy sprinkles - optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. I like to roll them into little balls.

Mix together the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a ziploc bag. Drop a couple biscuit balls into the bag, close and shake.

Fill a muffin/cupcake tin with 6-8 paper or silicone liners. I find smaller biscuits only make about 6 good sized Friendship Fairy Bread treats.

Divide the coated biscuit balls into the liners. Sprinkle some of the remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture on top. Then pour the melted butter on top.

Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from oven and let them cool.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until blended. You also have the option of adding food coloring to make the icing extra special.

Once the icing is mixed, take a small spoon and drizzle over each piece.

Finally, you can decorate it with sprinkles or jimmies.

We don't use sprinkles or any decorations because it tastes great without all that. We eat them as a breakfast treat on special days because they are really similar to cinnamon rolls with icing on top.

You can find Barbara Berry's book on, your child's school library, or check your local public library.  We highly recommend it :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

6 Ways You Can Help Keep Your Marriage Strong

After being married a few years, it becomes easy to fall into a routine. Life can become mundane and relationships can lose that spark.

Let's face it all relationships take work, but to keep your marriage strong and healthy it's all about the little things. Here are 6 easy ways to help keep your marriage strong.


Don't assume flirting is only for the young. Who honestly doesn't want to feel special, loved, and wanted by their significant other. A small bouquet of flowers, some time cuddling on the couch or just hold hands while walking in public are all small, but easy ways to show you care.

Date Nights
Plan time out alone with your partner. Find something both of you can enjoy. Going for a walk in the park, seeing a movie, watching a sporting event, or just sharing a nice meal are all ways to create memories together.

Bring Something to the Relationship
It's easy for parents get so wrapped up in caring for the kids that they forget about themselves. Both people need to bring something to the table. Be an individual, have your own interests, hobbies, etc.

This is important because it gives you something for you to talk about. It's something for you to get excited over. If you have a dull life you won't have anything to talk about.

This is so important. Learn to talk and listen to your spouse. Both people in the relationship need to be able to say whatever they feel without condemnation. They may not always agree with each other, but they will at least know they have been heard. Share your true feelings, opinions, wishes, dreams, cares and worries with each other.

Share Goals With Each Other
One way to strengthen your marriage is to work together to achieve a common goal.  Share your individual goals with each other and as a couple set some family goals too. Working together makes them that much easier to achieve. However, to keep the marriage strong both partners need to feel they are working toward their life goals. It cannot be one sided.

Forgive/Be Accepting
Remember we are all human. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Learn to forgive and acknowledge that everyone is a work in progress. Shift your focus to all the things your spouse does right.

Marriage takes work from both partners. Start by flirting, listening, sharing your feelings, wishes and dreams, and accepting your spouse where they are in life. Start small and over time you will see your marriage grow stronger. Enjoy life and make memories together.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Freebies on Friday - October 11, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy the wonderful freebies I've found for you. See you Monday!

From My Kitchen To Yours (Slow Cooker Recipes From Dinner To Dessert)

Alternative Treatments - Folk Medicine, Home Remedies and Natural Herbal Cures

House Cleaning Tips: 47 Home Cleaning Secrets and Tips

Burger King Satisfries on October 12 and 13, 2013
Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition 
What To Expect Guide to a Healthy Home -


Dog Crate Bumper Pads Pattern - This is a really cute cover and padding pattern that goes in and around dog crates.
Halloween Printable boxes - Printable origami boxes to put little treats in.
Halloween Boo Mix bag topper - This is adorable and has the recipe to include in the bags too.

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

DIY Halloween Costume Tutorials

Today I thought I would share a couple wonderful Halloween costume tutorials. Just in case your young ones haven't already decided what to dress up as for trick or treating.

1. Lego

2. Donut

3. Alice in Wonderland

4. Octopus

5. Hot Air Balloon Ride

These were a couple of our favorites. What is your favorite, most creative costume?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Being Thankful for the Little Things

Sometimes it can be so easy to see all the problems in the world. That's when you need to sit down and make a list of all the things you have to be thankful for. Even the little things.

So today is a list of just a few of the things I'm thankful for.
  1. My husband's job 
  2. Being able to be a stay at home mom
  3. An audio version of the Bible on my phone - to listen to any time I want
  4. Music to dance to
  5. Music to sing along with
  6. The smell of fresh cut grass
  7. Pizza and a movie with my family
  8. A beautiful flower
  9. A library close to my house full of FRE*E books to read.
  10. Clothes to wear
  11. A roof over my head
  12. Soft blankets to keep me warm
  13. Good teeth
  14. Chocolate!
  15. A new notebook
  16. A great pen
  17. McDonald's with my family
  18. Stickers from my kids' test papers - I collect them
  19. Running water
  20. Family that lives near by
  21. Watching my kitten sleep
  22.  A hospital within 15 minutes of my home
  23. Snow cones with my kids on a hot summer day
  24. Great teachers and principals at my kids schools
  25. Food to eat
  26. Access to the internet
  27. Access to a television
  28. Kissing my kids goodnight
  29. My youngest still holding my hand
  30. Random hugs
  31. Kiss from my hubby when he leaves for work
  32. Cold sheets in the summer
  33. Drawings my kids create for me
  34. My dogs barking when a stranger comes near the house
  35. Chinese food on special occasions
  36. Little birds that let me know I haven't put food out yet and they are hungry
  37. Leaves turning beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.
  38. Hot chocolate after a day of playing in the snow
  39. Baby clothes - they are sooo tiny
  40. Watching a plant grow from seed to exciting harvest

What are you most thankful for?

Monday, October 07, 2013

Funny and Creative Pumpkin Carvings

Here are six funny and creative pumpkins. Some are carved and some are just decorated or painted. These are some creative artists. I found them inspiring and hopefully you do too.

1. Sick!  Don't spill your guts.
2. Brace Face
3. Don't Put Your Foot in Your Mouth
4. Yummy
5. Don't Be So Nosey

6. Pretty Pumpkin
Feel free to share your pumpkin creations.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Freebies on Friday - October 4, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy the wonderful freebies I've found for you. See you Monday!


Never Buy Potato Chips Again! Deliciously Cheap Recipes and Tips for Homemade Gourmet Chips and Dips (Save At Home Guide)

The ABCs of Parenting How To Organize Your Family for a Stress Free School Year (Organizing Guidebooks)

Improve your Life Today. Ten steps to a Happier and Better Life.

Lilly's Lotions - get a sample of their all natural lotion. Available in lavender, coconut or citrus scent.
Saral Wax Free Transfer Paper - get 5 different colors papers and a brochure explaining ways and how to use the paper.

Redbox free video code  MCPC413S through 10/23
Halloween Bingo Card - 10 adorable cards to print from
Tic-Tac Halloween labels - 4 really fun Halloween labels to put on your Tic-Tac packages.

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

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Where to Find Low Cost Halloween Costumes

It's the beginning of October and that means it's time for Halloween. When you have kids that means costumes, candy and lots of money out of your pocketbook.

Here are five places to find low cost Halloween costumes for your kids and even yourself.

Thrift Stores
The most obvious place to look for costumes is your local thrift or second hand store. These are one place to look, but many times the outfits are picked over with good ones taken fast.
The second most obvious and commonly searched place for costumes is  You can find pretty much any costume your little one may want, however, people are out there to make a big profit and you need to fight others (bidding of course) to win a really great costume.
You may not know that Amazon sells more than just e-books. They sell lots of other stuff including new and used Halloween costumes and accessories. Best part is there is no bidding and the prices are low in most cases.

Make Your Own
If you still can't afford to pay for an already made costume, consider making one yourself. You can easily make an easy costume with a plain colored sweat suit or a black bodysuit and tights. Another option is to use a cardboard box to create a really cool costume. Use your imagination! Be an animal, a bottle of ketchup, a robot, a washing machine, or an iPad.  Need ideas just give a quick search online.

Clearance Sales
The absolute best way to find a cheap Halloween costume is to buy them during the after Halloween clearance sales. Buy them after the holiday for the next year. Buy a size or two bigger and try to stick to classic costumes - nothing too trendy because they could be out of style by next year.

No matter what your little one wants to be for Halloween you can find a way to dress-up  for less than retail. You just need to know where to look.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Fun iPhone Apps for Moms with Kids

As a mom of three, my kids ask to play on my phone quite a bit. Whether we are in a restaurant waiting for our food or in the doctors office waiting to be called back, kids get bored.

Here are a couple really fun, kid-friendly games that moms can enjoy, too.

My little wanna be vet loves playing this game. She enjoys caring for all the different animals.

Hay Day
My big girl had always wanted to play on Farmville on my Facebook account (way back when), but she found Hay Day and has enjoyed it ever since. It can even be downloaded onto the iPod Touch.

Addictive Voices
This one is kinda fun. You record a message and then press any of the faces to hear your message in a funny voice. My kids really the little duck and chick.

Doodoo Pad - Drawing Pad for Kids
A really neat drawing app that all my kids enjoy. My oldest draws cupcakes with mustaches, my boy draws little stick figure ninjas and my youngest draws pretty much anything.

Most, if not all, of these are fr*ee apps available on Apple's iTunes store.  Please share any family/kid friendly apps that your family enjoys.

* These are NOT affiliate links and I am  not compensated in any way for recommending these apps.  My kids and I just enjoy using these apps.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Fall Cleaning - The Mom's Guide to Keeping Your Home Tidy All Season Long

Today's post is a guest post written by Kim Gellman.  Enjoy!

Start your fall home cleaning this year off on the right broomstick, and you can keep your home organized well into spring. Read on for tips from a veteran mom/"family maid" about how to clean your home this season...and keep it that way!

This time of year, as the weather cools, it is time to unpack winter clothes and start storing summer items to make room. Just in case though, select a few favorite summer items to keep in the closet in the event of a warm day. A pair of shorts and a couple of coordinating shirts will be sufficient. Next, look through all the other items in your closet and sort them into three piles: keep, donate, trash.

Pile one: items to keep for next season.

Space bags are a great way to store clothes if the closet's overflowing. For easy access later, grab a sheet of paper and label what is in the bag and place it inside (face out) and then suck up the air in the space bag. These bags can then be placed anywhere out of the way, either under a bed, in the basement, or even in the garage.

Pile two: items to donate and/or consign.

For the pile of items to donate or consign, do so immediately or it will simply be in the way. Give the household members a chance to sort through the pile first though, maybe a younger sibling might want something from her older sister's donate pile? This will help to save on clothing costs, but make sure you don't end up reassigning all the clothes without getting rid of anything. Perhaps tell family members to donate something of their own for every item they take. This process should be kept short, maybe give everyone a day to decide and then bag the donate pile and immediately place it in the car. Once in the car, it will be much easier to remember to drop the items off at Goodwill, a clothing drop-box, or your local consignment shop.

Pile three: items that are stained, soiled or just do not fit anyone in the family correctly.

Now all that's left is the throw-away pile. However, before pitching everything in this stack remember the motto: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Sometimes it can seem that every other item of clothing in a kid's closet, especially after she hits high school, is a t-shirt. And old t-shirts make great cleaning rags! They can also be turned into an eco-friendly shopping bag you can simply throw into the washing machine. Just cut out the front of the shirt sans sleeves, sew together like a bag and cut a strip of material from the shirt to attach at the top for a handle. Also, all those worn, holey jeans can be sewn together as a denim quilt! Be creative!

Remember that every family member in the house can do this with their closets. Perhaps you can offer a quarter for every item the kids recycle, throw away or donate as encouragement to reduce clutter and make space in your home?

But, if it's difficult to keep the closets clean, it's a downright war battle to keep your little tike's room even somewhat organized (or at least looking that way). To cut down on the clutter, here are a few final suggestions.

Grab-and-go outfits

After laundry day, place coordinating outfits together within easy reach in your child's room, such as in a low dresser. Put items like socks and underwear with the clothes so he can just grab-and-go. Clothing like her Christmas dress, or his suit for church should not reside in the dresser. Instead, store formalwear, or anything to be kept nice, high up in their closet or in yours, if you have the room.

Separate the toys for easy access and organization

For toys, a large, sturdy box is a great place to throw everyday playthings for a quick five minute clean. Make this simple process a part of your child's routine by reminding or helping her pick everything up and put it in the toy box before bed every night. This is helpful because then you both know exactly where the toy is next time little Markie wants to play with it. Items like crayons, paints, Legos, etc. shouldn't live in the toy box however, but instead in small see-through containers. Spend five dollars on a few of these at the dollar store and then label them. To make it easy for the little ones, label with a picture so it's clear what should go in each box. These boxes can then be put on the floor of the closet within easy reach of short people, but out of the way for everyone else.

The clean-up game

During the day, toys can (and will) end up all over the house, not just in the bedroom or family room. Most parents with small children find toys in the bathroom and kitchen too! Make cleaning up this clutter a game for the kids; set the timer and race to finish before the alarm sounds. Play the game anytime the house looks a mess, maybe right before Daddy comes home from work, or when Grandma and Grandpa are on their way to visit. Turn up some music, whatever the kids like, and set the oven timer or alarm clock for five minutes and run around like the wind. You will be amazed how much can be picked up, thrown away, and put away if everyone just focuses at once. The music, the game challenge, and the running will make cleaning fun for kids of all ages. And if the kids are gone, you might try this for ten or fifteen minutes on your own. In fifteen minutes a mom can clean out the dishwasher, put new dishes in, and vacuum the house with time to spare (although it might take a dad slightly longer)!

Anticipate loose ends

All families with small kids, big kids, lots of kids or one kid have a problem with children bringing home notes, artwork, bake sale information and the like, and organizing such items goes a long way to reducing clutter. Have one place in your home, like a lid to a copy paper box, where the kids can place all these items as soon as they bring them home. Make sure to rifle through the box several times a week, to make sure you don't miss the talent show or parent/teacher conference day. Beautiful artwork from little Sami that cannot EVER be thrown away should be placed in a special keepsake box, not here. All other items will eventually be forgotten and will make their way to the bottom. Purge these outdated items from the box roughly once a month. However, when you pitch old artwork or drawings, place them in a bag first or somehow hide it in the trashcan. Your little Picasso always has a way of recognizing her artwork even if it has old mashed potatoes on top, and if you don't do this before tossing, she will drag it out of the can and insist it be put on the fridge or another place of importance. And that's just plain unsanitary!

Good luck! Maybe with a few preparations, fall cleaning this year will last until spring!

In the late 90's Kim Gellman started her business Artistic Her motto is the one-stop-shop to create your child's dream room. She is a mother of two, and considering that one is a teenager, she's done her fair share of home cleaning. You can find some her ideas for kid's room themes here -

Article Source: Fall Cleaning - The Mom's Guide to Keeping Your Home Tidy All Season Long