Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Organizing Kids Rooms

Kids rooms can be a challenge. We want them to be cute and fun, but they also need to be practical. Spending a lot of money on the kids bedrooms is not always an option for many of us (including me).
I did my Mom TV show last night in my step daughter's bedroom. I explained that as cute as it is (at least I think so), it was very inexpensive to do. I think I maybe spent about $50 when we married almost 3 years ago and my husband and his kids moved into my house. I painted all her existing bedroom furniture. It had been a set that his sister had when she was a kid. I am sure many of you had seen it, white with little rose bud designs. But this was worn and didn't look so great. I used pink, purple and lime green as my color scheme and went to work.

I found this shelf at a garage sale for $2. It was white and falling apart. My husband put in a couple of nails and I painted it and it is great! If you are able to use wall space..then do! You can add storage space and make it look cute at the same time.

I took a white bookshelf that we had elsewhere in the house and could reutilize and painted it pink to go in the room. I added hooks on the side of it. You can put up several and use them for necklaces, belts etc. She uses her for her robe and ballet bag.

A bulletin board can be a great place for the kids to put up their artwork. If you have a closet door that opens out, on the inside of that is a great place to place one. The back of a door can also work.

This is a fun little storage option. I found it at Ikea. We have not hung a hook for it, and my step daughter made her own solution because she wanted to use it. She hung it on one of the hooks that holds her Twitter laundry bag. These come in the longer version (shown) or one that just has 4 cubbies slots.

You can use these for little stuffed animals, small toys and knickknacks. You can even use them in a closet for underwear and socks or baby's room for small baby clothes or diapers.
You children's rooms need to follow the same direction that the rest of our house does. Too much clutter can make them feel "cluttered" and anxious.
We need to teach them that they need to have a limited amount of "stuff" in their room and start them early on not being pack rats themselves and thinking they can't part with any of their toys.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mom TV is Growing ...Check it Out!

Mom TV is great fun!! I have done three shows so far and have another one tonight. My show time is every Monday night at 8:30pm est. Tonight's topic will be organizing your kids rooms.
But I have also been watching an participating in other shows. (Click here for the show line up.) You can get on in person via your web cam and join that way...or like most of us watching the shows you can just type in and ask questions and make comments.
There are a couple of shows that have more than one person running the show. There have been some interesting conversations come up in some of the ones that I have watched.
Other really nice feature of Mom TV is that if you can't make the show time that a show is on you want to watch...they are recorded, so you can go back and watch past episodes. You can't talk to them of course and you can't watch what others are saying...so there are some downfalls...but you can still enjoy the show.
You can join the community and add your own videos too. Although I have a show, I hadn't joined the community until last night. I think I was so focused on figuring out the show etc..I didn't realize there was an entire community linked to it. (Dah!!??) So I am going to get on there today and fill out that profile more extensively.
Come on and check it out!! It is great fun.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Share my Recipe Sunday - Kitchen Stewardship - Banana Flax Muffins

I am so pleased that Katie from Kitchen Stewardship added this recipe to our list this week. She has won my "Gem of the Week" and can pick up the button for her blog. I have been trying to eat healthier and have for the first time been using flax seed in a smoothie this week. I haven't gotten advanced enough to add it into a recipe but I am excited to try this recipe! I love banana nut muffins. There is one that I used to get with Jenny Craig that I loved and is lower calorie. I haven't been able to find a recipe that I like as well for the calorie count it had. So...will defiantly try this one.

Please join us for Share my Recipe Sunday! You can pick up recipes and add new recipes weekly. You can add the Share My Recipe Sunday to your post and link it here so others can see all the recipes. If you win the Gem of the Award that week then you can pick up that button and add it to your sidebar or post. Be sure to link it to your recipe!

Recipe Connection: Banana Flax Muffins

We’re thinking about omega-3s this week, and one way to get them into even your baking is to use ground flax seeds in place of part of the fat in a recipe. Here’s an easy, yummy, kid-friendly muffin recipe for you to try, or get bold and learn to substitute flax into your family’s favorites (see below for details)!

Banana Flax Muffins

* 1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (works just fine with regular whole wheat)
* ¾ cup ground flaxseed
* ½ cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 whole egg
* ½ cup oil or melted butter
* 1 cup mashed bananas (I used VERY ripe bananas)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional - but adds MORE omega-3s!)

In large mixing bowl, mix together flour, flaxseed, sugar, and baking soda. In separate bowl, mix egg, oil, bananas, vanilla, and yogurt. Mix wet into dry ingredients. Fold in walnuts. Use paper muffin cups or spray the muffin pans with non-stick spray. Bake large muffins 20-25 minutes (or mini muffins for about 15 minutes) at 350 degrees. Makes 12 muffins or 30 mini-muffins.

How to Substitute Flax into a Baking Recipe

* Take out some of the fat in your recipe - butter, shortening (eek!), oil, whatever. I usually have been very safe taking out 1/4 cup of fat, whether there’s 1 cup or 1/2 cup in the original recipe.
* Replace that with 3x as much flax meal. If you delete 1/4 cup of fat, add 3/4 cup of flax. That seems like a lot, but it always works!
* You may need to store your baked goods in the fridge - I found they go bad faster with flax involved.

Good luck and enjoy!
Kitchen Stewardship

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gardens - Helping the Budget

This is the garden that my husband and kids planted. They planted tomatoes, zucchini,cucumber, cauliflower and broccoli. The bunnies have polished off all but one of the cauliflower plants. So they planted peas in the place of all the missing vegetables. We also got some other suggestions for keeping out the bunnies. (Some were for deer that we do not have to worry about, but they thought it might deter the bunnies too). We got a couple of flowers that are supposed to repel them (my mind is blank at the moment) and also used moth balls. Not sure what is helping, but we haven't had anymore plants eaten. Oh...and we keep letting my dog out to chase the bunnies when we see them. She thinks it is big fun and I think she would play with them if she ever caught them....she wouldn't know what to do. All they would have to do is yelp at her and she would be scared to death! LOL

This is one of the zucchinis and the kids are so excited about it.
It is a lot of fun to have them help in the whole process. They spend a week at their moms, so when they come for their week here..that is the first thing they want to check on "their garden".
It is a great learning experience for kids, and provides some relief in the budget too!! Yeah...with this economy every little bit helps.

Now...where all of you come in. I haven't canned anything since I did it in Home Ec when I was in high school (long time ago). I remember you can freeze some things etc.
If any of you know of good sites that I can learn these things again or know of good storing techniques for vegetables...please pass them on!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

School Papers - Simple Steps to Decrease the Paper Clutter

Papers from school can be harder to deal with than if someone came in and dumped a garage truck full of trash in your driveway. Why? Because they are personal! Your children did them, worked on them and created them. That is why so many mom's have trouble getting rid of them. They just love to see what their child has accomplished.
So can you keep everything all your kids do from the time the start school until they finish? Sure...if you want to live in a trash zone or store them in a storage unit so they can rot in there.
No..of course you can't, and better yet, there is no reason you should.

Should you keep a few special papers each year so that you can enjoy them and they can see them when they grow up? Certainly! But only a few.

Here is a guideline to help you decide what papers to keep and what to get rid of.


How is that for simple? It gives you a limit, a guideline and a goal. Can you keep less than that....YES!!

But what if they have 1 really good picture that won a school coloring contest and then an A+ on their first big report, but they are in the same month? Ok...no problem, go back through the other months and decide on which one is not as important to keep as these.
So really it is 12 papers a year. Yes...you can use the summer months as a cushion.

Don't keep all the worksheets that they do. They are worksheets..just to learn.
Look for the stories they wrote by themselves.
Look for the pictures they did not trace, but drew themselves.
Look for the reports they worked months on and were so proud of.

So what do you do with all the other pictures they drew, science fair projects with huge poster boards?

Take a picture!! Just like the above pictures. My triplets were thrilled to pose with their projects and loved that I liked them enough to take pictures of them. They don't care if they don't have that big poster shoved back in some cubby space in the basement anymore. They still have the memories..and that is all we need too.
You can scan them into your computer if small enough and you have the memory space on your computer.

You can create a photo book from some of these online places like Snapfish. Peter Walsh shared this idea on one of his Oprah shows. He said take pictures of their art work (you can put more than one of their pictures in the photo) and then at the end of each school year create one of these photobooks with their art work. There is room to write in the book accomplishments, teacher's names, accomplishments for the year. This would be much nicer for them to have when they are older than a box full of papers.

You can have a bulletin board that you keep a special paper of the day or of the week on to showcase it if its a little special and they worked hard on it that week. This will make them feel proud. Then when you take it down, if its not that most special paper of the month...throw it away. (They do not need to see you physically throw it away, nor do you have to tell them - they will just be thrilled their new picture is up now.)

If you keep everything....then nothing will seem special!!

Keeping big boxes of papers to give your children is a burden not a gift. They have to deal with getting rid of all the papers you felt to guilty getting rid of.
Being handed one box of things that goes from k-12 is not so bad, and photo books would be even better.

Remember, it is not like you are saying your child isn't special or you don't like the work they do by throwing it away. But keeping everything is not feasible if you want to have a home that is comfortable and not cluttered.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Work On It Wednesday - Exercising

I have been working myself on exercise again! I started 2 weeks ago on my treadmill. I have decided to start slow so that I do not injure myself (like I have before) trying to do too much too fast. I have never run in my life. But I have made a goal of trying to run 1 mile by the time I turn 50. That is next March. I know it sounds like a really lame goal to many of you...especially you that have the goal or who do run marathons. But for me it is a big goal.
Like I said I am starting slow. I am walking 1/4 mile to warm up. Then I am starting with just 1/10 runs and then walks. I am up to two 1/10 runs and working on a 3rd one.
I am just hoping I can do this.
Come join us for Work on it Wednesday. Add your name and what item you are working on. Then you can pick up this button off the right sidebar and post it on your Wednesday blog so we can help encourage you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I did my momtv.com web cast last night on Paper Clutter. I am going to rerun the post that I did several months back, below.
Kristy asked in the comments about the family bringing in all the papers and how to handle that.
Have a "drop zone" for your mail. A basket or bin, some place that everyone in the family knows to put the mail. It may be children's papers (see this Thursday's post for Children's papers)from school too. Any papers coming into the house by anyone needs to go in this designated spot. Then you need to go through all these papers using the system below.
I mentioned last night in my web cast last night that Barbara Hemphill who wrote Taming The Paper Tiger has a basically the same system, but has made it very easy to remember the categories.
She says that every paper coming into the house goes into one of these categories.
F - File
A - Action
T - Trash
This is a real easy way to remember it. It gets broken down a little more than this and I go into it, but this helps you to realize that every paper has a place.

All of us have sooooo many papers coming into our homes everyday. We have bills, magazines, coupons, advertisements, newspapers, and many more. It can get completely over whelming!!! So what do you do with all of them? What do you keep? What do you throw away???
You would think that with the Internet and e-mail that our influx of paper would be greatly reduced, but it has decreased by very little.
Figuring out a way to manage the paper is the key. We have to control the paper and not let the paper control us!! I know that sound so silly, but it can be true.
You need to work out a sorting system for any paper that comes through your door. If you know what to do with it when it comes in..then it hopefully won't pile up.
Ok...its actually very basic.

You can do it all in 4 sorting bins.
1) Bills
2) Action
3) File
4) Pitch

The Bill bin could very well be in the Action bin, it is an action. But I like to keep them separated so that bills don't get lost in a pile of things that may not be as important or dated. It can be easy to get behind in your bill paying, and that can cause problems with your credit..not to mention your nerves.

The Action bin is anything that needs attention. Filling out a permission slip for your childs field trip, a form to order that book that you need for a class, a form that needs to be filled out for insurance, etc.

The File bin is any paper that you need to keep (notice I said "need") and will be filed in a hanging file of a file cabinet.

The Pitch bin should end up being your biggest pile. You do need to pay attention to what goes into the trash can. Having a shredder is important. You want to make sure that you shred anything that has any financial information on it, personal information on it or as some suggest even your name or address. With this age of someone being able to steal your identity, it's important to be careful.

So when you bring in your mail...take a minute and stand in front of your 4 bins (stackable plastic paper trays work great...and if you have the space, you don't need to stack them) and sort through it. Take each piece and quickly decide if its an ad and you don't plan to ever use it...pitch it! If its a bill thats easy. You don't have to take the time to open your bills at this point, unless you are unsure if it is or not. Take those zillions of credit card offers and put them in the pitch bin! Don't spend too much time on it. Any ads will come back again and you can always find information on the Internet.

If you take a few minutes each day to go through your papers and sort them then you soon can have a table that looks like this

Monday, June 22, 2009

Guest Blogger - Yard Sale Princess for Digging For Treasures

Have you ever wanted one of those craft rooms that you see in the magazines? But then you think, "But I don't have a room for it." Here is someone who took her craft room to a new place....her closet! She is lucky enough to have two walk in closets and she uses one of them for her craft room. I think it is great and love what she did with it. You would never know from the pictures that she is even in a closet. Check it out!
Go visit Yard Sale Princess's blog - Digging For Treasures to see more.
This is her first guest post and I think she did a great job!! She will be doing more soon I am sure.


Thank you, Sandy, for inviting me to be a guest blogger! This is my first time ever and I am super excited!
Well let’s just jump right into this. Okay, I have a deep dark secret place that I even hide from Hubs, it is my crafting closet.

It is a long closet space that is in our master bedroom. (We have two walk in closets and my wonderful husband designated one as my crafting space.)
I try to keep it clean and organized but I also use it as a hiding place for things that I want my kids to stay out of. I literally toss something in and shut the door. I call this my “STASH AND DASH” system.

Due to this fact, it has become uninspiring. Hubs has tried to help me in the organization process. The cabinet and table were Christmas gifts 3 years ago and he is bummed that they are being abused. The pathetic wire shelves around the top were put in by the home builders and are just too high for me to really use effectively. It really has inadequate storage. When I found myself pulling my hordes of crafting supplies all the way down stairs to do a project just so I could spread out, well, I knew that I had reached my breaking point. So we have decided that if we are going to do a “craft room redo” then it should be done right! So we have taken EVERYTHING out of the room! We have repainted it a bright and inspiring color! Hubs was not allowed to have any input on the color, otherwise it would have been “tan”. Then we rearranged the existing furniture and added some new storage! I am so glad that I put everything into plastic tubs and labeled them. It is totally working out for me!
Ta Da….
Here is the end result!

This cabinet fit perfect in the cubby space! Look at the great paper sorter, it makes it so easy to see what paper I have and they are right at my fingertips.

Bins and baskets are used to contain items. The clear containers make it so easy to see what I have. Every container is labeled! Notice the spice rack that I used for all the little beads. They work great!!

I am absolutely in love with this room! I love the jars of yummy treasures and colorful tidbits,like buttons, corks, ribbon and such. I may add some of my own framed photography around the perimeter for inspiration but I LOVE IT!

Thanks for taking a look at my craft closet. You can visit me and see more of what I do at Digging For Treasures.

Yard Sale Princess

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day - Because our Dad's ARE so special

If you are blessed enough to have your Father still with you, then embrace this day. I am lucky, my Dad is still alive. He is 78 years old and still looks great. (doesn't he?) He jokes and still says that someone told him he had a gray hair, but he doesn't believe them. (He didn't have any gray until about 10 years ago)
He is the root of my organizational skills. This is the Master Organizer. He doesn't keep things he can't use. Shortly after my mom died he had a Christmas party he was invited to that was a "white elephant". He wanted to know what that was. When I told him you take some joke gift that you have around the house that no one wants as your gift he said, "But I get rid of things I don't use around the house...what will I do?" LOL
We are actually celebrating our Father's Day next Sunday. My sister will be in town and she hasn't been here for a couple of years. So my brother, sister and I are going to take Dad out to lunch and then to visit my husband's farm to see all the kids.
Enjoy today if you have your Dad. If you don't, enjoy some good memories. Make sure your kids enjoy their dad today if possible.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Should Kids Help in the House? YES!!

I am reposting this because we have been discussing it this week. There be many of you who have not seen it before. (Happy Friday)

I am very opinionated on this subject. I strongly believe that children need to be given responsibilities starting very young. You can start out with just holding the basket so they can put their baby toys in them when they are around a year old!
Job boards with pictures work great for toddlers. A toothbrush for brushing their teeth.
The younger you start the kids in learning they have responsibilities around the house, the more responsible children they will become.
Kids like to feel important, to feel needed, to feel like they contribute to the family.
I don't feel that kids have to be paid to do chores. Do we get paid to clean the house? It is part of being a family. Of course allowances can be fine and used as a family wishes, I am just saying that I don't believe a child should think that he HAS to be paid to do any work in the house. It is all a matter of how it is presented.
Our kids do get an allowance. It is very small. Just enough to help them learn how to save some money and how it can go into the bank.
I have often had "extra" jobs that can be "paying" jobs in the summer if the kids want to make some money. It might be washing windows or something that I normally wouldn't have them do. (They think these is great fun actually.) But these are on top of their normal jobs.
Our kids have 2 regular jobs to do for the week. For the 8 year olds it is setting the table, clearing the table, helping in the kitchen, vacuuming or helping carry the laundry. That is on top of the routine making their beds and cleaning their rooms daily. They also put their clean clothes from their cubbys away when needed.

I think that we need to be raising our children to prepare them to be on their own. I have seen many, many children who have never had to do anything to help in their homes and I feel a disservice is being done to those kids.
I have 3 boys who have left the home and are living on their own now and they all know how to do laundry, keep things clean and what responsibilities need to be done. (I can't say they always do it..but they have been given the proper tools and instruction and they know how.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kids Chores - Cleaning Buckets Help

Having kids helping you can be a chore in itself. Making it fun can help to make it easier to have them help you.
Using colors can help to encourage them. It can also help to encourage us!

I make each child a cleaning bucket. It puts them in charge of something and will make them feel more responsible.
You can make it very simple.
Find a fun colored bucket or basket with handles of some kind.

Everyone is going to feel better about picking up a bright colored bucket instead of dirty grungy gray or black one. You can find them for very little at a dollar store and I have seen them at Target in the Dollar section.
For younger children or children who may not be as responsible to handle a spray of some sort...these wipes are wonderful. They can clean the bathroom, kitchen and even dust their rooms with them.(I wouldn't use them on real good wood though) You can also spray a rag yourself with a dust spray prior if you don't want to purchase these. They may be a little extra expense, but it is not like you are using them full time for your cleaning.

The older kids can have a bigger carrier with more cleaning supplies.
Having the cleaning supplies ready and accessible can make it much easier and actually encourage them to clean.

For us: I suggest that you keep several cleaning items in each room you use them. If you keep your windex, toilet bowl cleaner and comet downstairs in the laundry room..and your upstairs bathroom needs a quick clean up...then it more than likely won't happen as often as if the cleaning supplies were accessible.
I suggest keeping in each bathroom:
*mirror cleaner
*toilet bowl cleaner
*sink and shower cleaner
*rag or sponge
*paper towels

Make yourself a fun bucket! We can have fun cleaning too can't we?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

The kids on our spring break at Devil's Den in Gettysburg, PA.

I am not very good at being Wordless! For my Work on it Wednesday Followers, I haven't given up on it, but just going to alternate this in every other week.
Thanks and "keep working on it".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kids Job Board - Make your own!

I have posted before how important I think that it is that kids help with chores.
It is not to make it easier for the mom...actually there are many times that it would be a lot easier if we just did it ourselves.
Our job as parents is to prepare our children for life on their own. Learning when they are small that they are part of a family and all the family pitches in to help get things accomplished is very important. It teaches them responsibility, accountability and life lessons.
I may be tough, but I don't think kids have to be rewarded every time they help do what is expected of them. I do believe in allowances, but mainly so they have some experience in dealing with money. They need to learn to save and how to use it wisely.

This is the job board I use. It is simple, easy to change and not expensive.
As I said on my MomTV web cast last night, I would post the instructions on how to make one yourself. (You can go to replays on that link - just look on right side mid page.)

Decide what size magnetic board you need. This will depend on how many children you have.
Here is a picture of a smaller one that can be used for just one or two children.

Get some magnetized business stickers. You can find these in a business store. They are meant to use for business cards, so you can turn them into magnets.

Peel back the sticker

Take an old business card and turn it so the blank side is showing. You can also cut
paper to fit if you don't have business cards to use.
Just place them on carefully.

Decide on what jobs you want your kids to have.
They need to be age appropriate. If your child can not read yet, then use pictures along with the words. They will understand what it means.
I use little stars in the right hand corner to signify jobs that the younger children can do.

(hopefully your toothpaste doesn't look like a worm sitting on a toothbrush like mine!! LOL)

Then just put your children's names across the top. Place the proper job under their names.
My kids know that if they touch the job board or move things around without permission...they will be given some extra jobs! (so they don't touch it.)
We change jobs weekly.
Just leave the kids names in the same place and rotate the jobs below.
Very simple!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Guest Blogger - Patty Kreamer from Bye Bye Clutter

I am thrilled to have Patty Kreamer for a guest blogger today. Her web site Bye Bye Clutter has resources, books she has written to buy and her blog. She gives a great thoughts on how clutter can make you feel. Read on!


Clutter, Clutter Everywhere…
and Not a Thing Can Be Found!

By Patty Kreamer
Certified Professional Organizer®
Stressed out? Check out the effect that clutter can have on your life. Remove the clutter, and you’ll immediately notice the difference!
Stress is a major contributing factor to poor health. Physical clutter adds to that stress, often without your knowledge, because clutter is what you no longer see. You walk around the piles of magazines, and you really don’t see them. But I can guarantee that your head and stomach “feel” them; you get a wave of guilt from ignoring the problem. Perhaps you fear throwing things away because you might miss something.

A way to test this stress theory is to remove the clutter and feel the difference. If you are having a difficult time seeing the clutter in question, take a look around your space through a stranger’s eyes, as if company were coming. This is a surefire way to bring into awareness all of the items that you have been ignoring for a long time.

Clutter has no conscience.
Clutter can:
· Make you sick
· Make you feel tired
· Affect your body weight
· Keep you living in the past
· Cause or worsen depression
· Make you put your life on hold
· Induce a feeling of shame and guilt
· Be the main cause of procrastination
· Add unnecessary confusion to your life
· Make you feel that there is no alternative
· Affect how people treat and/or respect you
· Cause disharmony among family, friends, or co-workers

Clutter is nothing more than unmade decisions.
The existence of physical clutter should come as no surprise since we live in such a prosperous country. The problem is that we want everything and we want it NOW. Since we live in a climate of instant gratification, we can have most things whenever we want them. But we don’t need most of what we have in our lives. The "stuff" accumulates and is never given a proper home. Thus, clutter is born.
If you’re able to get your physical clutter under control, the mental clutter is likely to follow without much effort, since one usually causes the other. Have you noticed that when you go into a cluttered room or office, you immediately tense up? If you go into that same room or office after you have decluttered it, you feel liberated. Your time becomes yours again, your priorities fall back into place, and best of all, your health may improve.

Patty Kreamer, Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of Kreamer Connect, Inc., provides speaking, coaching and consulting services to businesses and organizations who value effective practices that will leave their people being more efficient, empowered and proud of their accomplishments.
Do you want to be a much more organized person? Patty’s groundbreaking books, “…But I Might Need It Someday!” and The Power of Simplicity are available for purchase at www.ByeByeClutter.com. Or if you prefer a “baby-steps” online/workbook-based course, check out the Clutter Rescue Course®, which will transform a life of clutter, wasted time, frustration and overwhelm to one of power, simplicity and organization.
If you’re looking for a fun, dynamic, and effective speaker, or if your company would benefit from a productivity coach or consultant, Patty is available in person, by teleconference, webinar and phone. Email her directly at patty@ByeByeClutter.com or call her at 412-344-3252.
Patty can also be contacted via Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Plaxo/Pulse, or her blog. For useful tips, sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter at www.ByeByeClutter.com.
©2009 Kreamer Connect, Inc. Permission granted to reprint this article as long as the text and by-line are not changed. Complete text must be reprinted intact with all links made live.