Thursday, April 30, 2009

Family Organizer gets a thumb up from me.

I was given some of these great family organizers. I think most of you realize I like lists, I like to write things out to see on paper. The computer is great and I do have my mine calendar on the computer that connects to my Palm. (I know I am behind the times with the Iphones etc. But I am practical and these work for me and are working fine, so I see no reason to spend the money on the fun new gadgets)
I do like these planners because they have a perforated menu planning and grocery list on either side. There is a "To Do" section that I love.
Go to my Review site and you can win one!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Work On It Wednesday - Coupon Workshop

I attended a couponing class given by Thrifty & Chic Mom. We met at a Panera Bread and filled the little back room. She said that 29 people told her they were coming and it was probably very close to that.
She gave us her tips on how to make the most of our coupons.
It is a different way of shopping. You buy when the sales are good on that product AND you have a coupon for it. Then if you have accumulated several coupons you buy as many of that item as you can.
Again...stockpiling is a very negative word for me...but saving money is not, and to a point I can make a place for these items.
I have been having several difficulties starting out. I don't really know what a "good price point" is yet on each item that says...."BUY IT NOW...YOU WON'T GET IT FOR LESS!!" Of course if it is free I understand that. But, one tip she gave me was that she never pays more than a $1 for a box of name brand cereal. So that helps me. So I see when a deal ends up that a box of cereal is going to be down to $1.69, I wait because it will go lower. (Or others will go lower than that)
If you have a chance to go to a couponing class where you live, I suggest that you go.

What are you working on? Add your name to the Mr. Linky and pick up my Button and keep in touch weekly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Guest Blogger - Heather from Just Doing My Best

Heather of Just Doing My Best has a great blog with all kinds of information and cost effective solutions. I saw this post and thought it was great. I didn't know you could make a cleaner this easy so I thought my readers would be interested too!
Thanks so much Heather for your blog and being gracious and sharing with us.

Thank you to Sandy for asking me to guest post on her website. I know she is diligent and careful in the content and information she shares with her readers, so I have been honored.

How to Make a Powerful Cleaner From Your Pantry

If you are anything like me, when an item in my kitchen inherits a stubborn stain, I have a hard time putting it away with the stain still taunting me. At one time, it took quite a bit of elbow grease, time, and product to remove the stain. Even then sometimes, the stain remained. After a few years of fighting that losing battle, I learned that I already had the 2 ingredients in my kitchen that would take care of most of the stains that I would encounter.

Chances are, you probably have baking soda and lemon juice hiding in your fridge. Fresh lemon or bottled are both fine. Sprinkle a little baking soda into a bowl and enough lemon juice to make a paste. This powerful concoction has removed a myriad of stains from my white counter tops and even rust spots that would not budge, left on white dishes from a dishwasher. If the stain still will not budge after the initial cleaning, spread the paste over the item and let it sit for a bit. If it the stain still will not budge, cover it with paste and let it sit outside in the sunshine for a while.

Homemade cleaners are becoming increasingly popular due to their low cost and health benefits and this powerful concoction has become one of my favorite solutions to keeping a clean kitchen.

I own and write at Just Doing My Best where my mission is to help and inspire ladies to do their best in their own homes. I believe none of us are perfect but ideally, we are just doing our best and our best is all we have to offer.

Share my Recipe Sunday - Lisa with Home Made Taco Sauce and Seasoning

Lisa from Easy Living has won my Gem of the Award for her thrifty recipes to save money making taco sauce and taco seasoning. For all of us trying to conserve our dollars, it is great to see some recipes that help us do that.


When making enough burritos and tacos for a family of four or larger it gets expensive to buy everything needed. The meat and cheese alone is expensive.

So to make it more frugal, when I dont have these items stockpiled (from purchases using coupons to get them really cheap or free) I make my own. Making these two things from scratch shaves $4-$5 off the price of this dinner by itself.

Taco Sauce
1 small can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Mix all together and let sit for at least 30 minutes so spices wed.

Taco Seasoning
6 teaspoons chili powder
5 teaspoons paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Use 2 heaping tablespoons to equal one commercial packet.

When my oldest son and any of his friends are here for dinner, I will stretch the hamburger by adding 1 cup of cooked minute rice.

Lisa B.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Organize a Craft Cart for Kids

With triplets who are 8 years old you can imagine there is a lot of coloring, crafting and wanting to "make" things. I re-purposed this plastic cart to use for the kids crafts.

I use the different drawers for crayons and markers. There is a place for their drawing paper, flashcards, writing paper and other supplies.
I make sure they have their own scissors, tape, stapler and rulers. (Makes great stocking stuffers). Then they are not having to run all around taking your supplies when they have a project they want to work on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Front Cubby Drop Zone

This is the cubby system that I have in my front hallway. I have a different color cubby for each child. I use those cubbys for all the little things that you find around the house of the kids when you are cleaning up. We also use them for hats and gloves for the kids.
My husband has a charging station on top for his cell phones and keys.
The kids have to clean out their cubbys and put away their things every week or two.
This system might not work for everyone, or may work in another area of the house rather than the front hallway. Use your imagination!

I'm a Guest Blogger on the Walmart Elevenmom's Site.

I was thrilled when I was asked to be the Guest Blogger on the Walmart Elevenmom's site. I have been participating in the "More Than Eleven Mom's" community and have learned how much Walmart wants to know what we like, what we are looking for and how they can help us save money.
Last year Walmart choose originally 11 Mom bloggers to help them discover just that. The original group turned into 22 (I think)and they have done a great job. The More Than 11 Mom's site began when Walmart realized they could use more feedback and many others wanted to help.

Work On It Wednesday

I have to admit, this couponing business has been bigger than me. I have been good about clipping them out, but not as good at getting them in the notebook. I think it is a time thing. I just haven't fully worked it into my schedule. I am going to the store now and thinking, "Oh, I need that..but wait, I know I have a coupon at home for it, so I don't want to get it now, I am going to wait."
That can be a good thing and a bad thing. Decreases "impulse" buying, but there may be a lag in some of the things we could use that I am not getting. So maybe I am saving anyway? LOL
I am going to sit down and work on a list today and get it all together. This Saturday I am going to a class given by Thifty & Chic Mom on couponing. So I am hoping to pick up some more tips.
It gets overwhelming to me. I know that sounds really silly, but when you are looking at 3 or 4 store ads and you see the same product for sale, but one may be "buy one, get one free". Then another one is a certain amount off...etc. It is just getting it all coordinated and trying to figure out which is the best deal. Then deciding if it is a good deal to go to "that" store instead of "this" store because of location.
Share what you are working on with me. Add your name to the Mr. Linky and put the button on your Wed. posts and we can share along with you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pursehook or Bracelet? The is Both!!

have been using this FUMI pursehook for a couple of months and I love it!! This is really an awesome product. You can wear it as a bracelet and it looks wonderful. No one would think it was anything other than a bracelet. You do not have to put your purse on the ground to pick up all kinds of dirt and germs any longer.
The other think I love is that when I go into a bathroom and realize there is no hook I can use the FUMI that I always keep hooked to my purse handle and hang it on the door.

These run for $24.95 and I think they are worth every penny!!
Click on either of the above pictures to go to the FUMI site and see the different colors they have, plus check out the other pursehooks, charms and purse scarves.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Organizing on TV again! NBC4 with Ellie Merritt

I received an e-mail this morning from Ellie saying that I was going to be on her show again. She used the rest of what we filmed last week to make up the spot. Yeah!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Share my Recipe Sunday - Yogurt Coffee Cake Muffins

I thought these muffins looked so good and when I first saw the picture I was so hungry. I wanted one!!
Amy from The Finer Things In Life submitted this recipe.
Join along - Add your recipe onto the list with the link back to your blog. Pick up my Button and post it with your recipe. Click on the Share my Recipe Button above more more directions if needed. Thanks.

Yogurt Coffee Cake Muffins

* 1/2 c. butter
* 3/4 c. sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1 1/2 c. plain yogurt
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
* 1 c. whole wheat flour


* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
* 3 T. sugar
* 1 1/2 T. brown sugar

** sour cream is a nice substitute for plain yogurt

** the topping is also delicious with chopped pecans added

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Mix well. Combine baking soda, baking powder and flours. Add to wet mixture. Scoop into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle topping over each muffin. Bake at 350° for 20-22 minutes. Yield: 2 dozen muffins

Friday, April 17, 2009

Guest Blogger - Denise on her premie son Parker

I want to feature something a little different this week. Denise has a wonderful son who was a premie and has struggles along the way. Many of us in the blog world are aware of the terrible passing of Maddie who was premature. Heather, her mother was working to earn money for the March of Dimes before Maddie passed away and had a goal of $3,000. It wasn't until after Maddie passed away that many of us tearfully give to this wonderful cause. Last I knew Maddies March had earned more than $22,000 for March of Dimes. Isn't it sad that it took something as terrible as her dying for us to act. This is a story of Parker who is over 10 months old now and doing well. If you have not already supported this cause then you might want to consider it. It doesn't have to be much, every little bit helps. Thanks!!


First of all, I want to thank you, Sandy, for not only asking me to be a guest on your blog, but also for allowing me to share my story. It means a lot to be able to share our story to others. I am thankful for this opportunity since this blog is about organizing!
Well, as Sandy said, I am Denise. I am a happily married 20-something and 1st time mommy! I have been blogging for years, but most of my older blogs were from the college years and centered around that time in my life. I have been writing my current blog (Musings from Mommy Land) for less than a year. I started it as a way to update family and friends on my son, Parker.
Parker’s story is the special one that I want to share today. It starts in December of 2007, when I found out that I was expecting our first child. Thrilled does not even begin to describe how I felt when I found out I was pregnant! My biggest goal in life, after being married was to be a mom! In the middle of a somewhat rough pregnancy, things started getting worse and worse. I was working at the time, and just standing for the 4 hours shifts was difficult. I would get lightheaded, sick, and pale very easily. Late in the night on the 20th of May, I ended up in the ER, then in Labor and Delivery Triage with terrible pains in my stomach and side. That evening I was sent home on a special heartburn medication, but things just got worse. Two days later I was spotting and could barely walk due to my pain. After going to sleep on May 28th, I found I could not sleep and went back into the hospital at 4:00 am. That night would change everything.
After several hours on monitors and tests, I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome. It is a variant of preeclampsia and is life threatening. The letters stand for Hemolytic Anemia, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelet count. I had two of those three symptoms: the elevated liver enzymes and the low platelet count – which was so low I required a transfusion. I also had terribly high blood pressure. Unfortunately the causes of HELLP syndrome are unknown, but current thinking seems to indicate that it has to do with the mother’s body viewing the baby & placenta as foreign objects and attempting to reject them.
The treatment for this? Delivering the baby. Because of how low my platelets were, I was rushed into an emergency c-section where I was put completely under, and Parker was delivered. Parker was born on May 29th, 2008, at just 29 weeks. He weighed only 2lbs 3ozs and was 14.5 inches long. He required help breathing through a ventilator and was then hooked up to a CPAP, a machine that pushes air into his lungs to help them expand better (he was breathing on his own). Meanwhile, I was placed in the ICU, on a ventilator as well, and was very, very ill.
While my recovery was speedy (I was released after 6 days), Parker would spend the next two and a half months in the NICU. Thankfully, he did not have many severe complications from his early arrival. He did required help the CPAP and than a nasal cannula for a little over a month, but would not need to come home on oxygen (common among preemies).

Parker’s biggest obstacle became severe acid reflux. He would be sent home on Zantac and would be required to sleep propped up on a wedge for 3 months. For the 2.5 months Parker was in the hospital, I would spend everyday, 6 hours a day by his bedside soaking in his preciousness and realizing that my life will be different now. It was an emotional time for me, I was still sick, I never produced enough milk and after 7 weeks of pumping I chose to stop. I was blessed, though, to make friends in the NICU and reach out to others.
After 69 days in the NICU Parker was discharged from the hospital, a week before his original due date (August 12, 2008), and we were on our way home to a new way of life. This time in the hospital proved to be the hardest, scariest time in my life; but it was also a faith building time and rewarding, as I was able to meet many other parents who understand the NICU “home” and lifestyle.
Today, Parker is happy, healthy, little 10.5 month old. These last 8 months with Parker at home have not been easy. We have had to protect Parker from getting ill and be very vigilant about those who visit. He was at a higher risk of RSV (a severe breathing disease among infants), so he required a monthly shot to help lessen the severity of RSV. Just last month, we ended up in the emergency room for 16 hours when Parker started having breathing issues – he came home on an inhaler.
We have learned how to take care of him in a special way, and we have had to learn to know both his ages. Chronologically, he is 10.5 months, but developmentally he is only 8 months old (this is his adjusted age). We do a lot of therapy at home to help him stay on track with his developmental age (which he has!). His biggest challenges currently are communication and social-emotional skills. We work daily on these to help him stay on track.
I count myself blessed to have a preemie because I have been able to reach out to others and share my story with them. The life of a preemie parent can be difficult because you have to learn to view your child differently than what others might. It’s a very exclusive “family” the NICU/preemie family. It can be scary, especially for parents who have children that our more challenged then ours. But, it’s great to know that there are others out there that understand the lifestyle.
Through out these 10.5 months we have met other families who understand our challenges and we have been able to share our story as a way to let those just starting on this journey know that it is hard and it is scary, but you aren’t alone. Our faith has also been a big part of our journey and we are thankful for a wonderful church family and many, many friends who have stepped up to help us.
Just in the past few months we have found ourselves being heavily involved in the March of Dimes and will be participating in our local March for Babies walk on April 26th, 2009. It is our hope that the donations we raise will help with ongoing research. This research, we hope, will help find ways to prevent HELLP syndrome and other causes of prematurity
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this post on Sandy’s blog. I know that it is not the typical post, but I really hope that you enjoyed it. If you would like to read more about my family and daily life, please feel free to come to my website anytime! Musings from Mommyland If you are interested in knowing more about the March of Dimes and their work please head to their website located at and if you are interested in donating to our team, please feel free to click on this link:
March of Dimes March for Parker
Lets see a lot more babies look as good as this at 10 months old!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Time Management made Simple

Time Management
Break down your day into 15 minute increments.
For instance: If you have to be at the school by 3:00 to pick up the kids, but you need to go to the bank and grocery store first then plan it this way:
3:00 - Be at School
2:45 - Leave for school. (It takes 10 min. to get there from school - but use 15)
1:45 - Be at grocery to do the shopping.
1:30 - Leave from bank to go to grocery. (It only takes 8 min. to get there, use 15)
1:15 - Leave for bank. (It only takes 10 min. but use 15)
So to get to the school by 3:00, you need to leave the house by 1:15. You will have an extra 17 minutes to play with if there is traffic, or if the grocery store is crowded. If you end up being early, just keep a book you are reading or a steno pad in your car to make a "to do" list.
Now make sure that 15 minutes before you get ready to leave the house you get your keys, grocery list, banking items ready and have stopped by the bathroom.
So if you need to, set your timer on your stove for 1:00. Once you get in the habit of using 15 minute increments to plan things out, it will become easy and natural and you won't have to worry about being late.
Because your clutter is now cleaned up off that kitchen counter, you can find those keys and bank book and grocery list and you can get out the door on time!
Time management is much easily accomplished when you do not have clutter blocking your path!

Work On It Wednesday - Postcards from Insanity and organizing DVD's

My Gem of the Week Award goes this week to Snarky Mom of Postcards from Insanity. She worked on organizing all the kids DVD's and shares with us her solution to the problem. Great Idea. I have not seen this DVD holder myself, so I will have to investigate. It looks like it holds a lot in a small space. Way to go!!
Would love to hear what you are Working on this Wednesday! Add the button to your site, let us know if it is weight, or spring cleaning, organizing, etc. Add your name to Mr. Linky and help use your Wednesdays to keep moving forward in your efforts. Click here for more info if you need it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My TV Debut (LOL) on NBC 4 with Ellie Merrit can tell I just taped the TV with my cute little flip camera....(my technical challenges show.) LOL

Monday, April 13, 2009

Five Guidelines for Sorting Your things.

Here are the 5 guidelines that I use to sort with!! Take each item and make a fast decision. Don't worry if Aunt Susie gave it to you and you don't want to hurt her feelings. Do YOU like it and does it add value to the space? If not, then it is alright to donate it, or give it to another family member who might really like it. Take that item and in 5 fast seconds say to yourself, "Do I love this, use it and want it?" Simple as that. (I know it isn't really that easy...but the more you do, the easier it gets.) I know there are the complicated items, I know there are the sentimental items.
But here are the basics:

Love It:
1) Love It
2) Use It
3) Want it or Can't live without it

1) Won't Use
2) Don't Like
3) Doesn't Fit

Move It:
1) Wrong Room

Store It:
1) Seasonal
2) Can't give it up
3) Can't Use Now

1) Broken
2) Torn
3) Can't Donate

Welcome NBC 4 viewers!

I was thrilled when Ellie Merrit from NBC 4 contacted me and asked me to do something for her "First at 4" show. Check out Ellie's blog at Elaborating with Ellie. (She's soooo nice people)
Welcome to my blog and have fun looking around for tips on how you can organize things in your home.

Magnetic strips can save you!!

I worked on a clients office a couple of weeks ago. There were several challenges including a very small space for her office, but the biggest issue was there were no drawers for her desk supplies. Budget was a big concern, so buying new furniture was not an option. We wanted to work with what she had. With my time at her home we worked on the bookshelf, looking around the house for things we could repurpose. I gave this clients some suggestions as to what could help her and how she could use it. She went on her own and followed her homework plan perfectly!!
I was trying to figure out what could work for her that would not be too expensive, but also where she could put it. I realized the nice space between her two windows could be utilized as the space just above her desk on the wall.

I suggested to her to use some magnetic strips that she could either make herself if she had the metal (making sure edges were not sharp) or buy them for relatively inexpensively with baskets she could put her pencils, pens etc in.

Because the sunlight comes in this window and back lit the picture she dropped her home made sheet curtains for picture purposes for me. You can use these magnetic strips for not only the baskets, but also the little round holders you see on the right that you can put paper clips, rubber bands or small things in. Great place for post it notes to stick or magnetics to hang recent notes. Love em! You can find them at The Container Store.
She sent these to me after she did the follow up work herself. People do not always have to have Professional Organizers do all the work for them. We can give the suggestions and you can do it on your own.

Behind the door there was also some empty space. My client had some paper work that she needed to have a place for her husband. I suggested to her either a small shelf unit behind the door with bins, or using some wall hanging slots.
She found these cute hanging canvas units at The Container Store. They look so cute and will serve her purposes for a small amount of money. She also has another fun window covering on her other window. (You don't have to buy expensive shades or curtains.)
There is a lot you can do to reorganize a space without having to complete "redo" it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Enjoy your family today. Share your recipe Sunday will be back next week.