Monday, December 28, 2009

Coupons


I have gathered below some links to sites that offer great coupons.  In this economy, we can sure use them.

At some of the sites below you may have to spend a small amount in order to get a great deal whereas others offer free coupons. 
Hope the coupons help!

Marlin

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Decor/Santa in Your Home & on the Phone

Here are some holiday decorating ideas that I found interesting and wanted to share.  Just click on the links and enjoy!
Picture of Santa Claus in Your Home

Now on to the picture of Santa Claus in your home.  I posted this before but wanted to post again for those that have children that still believe that there is a Santa Claus.

Go to Capture the Magic where you can upload a photo of a room in your home that is currently decorated for Christmas.  You would then drag and drop a realistic image of Santa (there are various poses to choose from) into the picture of your room to make believe he was really there.  You would then download it to share with your children on Christmas morning via your computer.

The cost is $9.95 for the first picture while the 2nd one is free, and any more after that costs only .99 cents. I did this last year and my children were very excited and said that the next year they wanted to sit up and wait to make sure that they did not miss Santa coming in to our home. I think your kids will be surprised and excited without a doubt to see Santa in their own home.  It's a neat idea and we enjoyed doing it. You may have some questions later on once they realize that there is no Santa Claus, so enjoy it now while you can.

Phone Call from Santa Claus

For those that are on the borderline of believing if there really is a Santa, what a perfect way to make them believe by getting a phone call from Santa himself! 

When you go to fill out your information, you can put down facts about your child/children. Your child will be shocked that Santa knows so much about him/her. Santa can also speak with them about things they need to improve on (i.e., – not getting along with siblings, etc.).  Santa would also love to compliment them on what they are doing well with (i.e. good grades, etc.).  This call is a "live" 3-5 minute call, so book it now and get your video camera out to capture the look on your child's face.  I have yet to try this one out, but I think I will this year!

The price for this is $15 before Dec. 15th (as you see it's already passed this date)
Between Dec 15 - 23 it would be $20.00
On Dec 24, it would be $29.95
On Christmas day, it would be $39.95

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Marlin

Monday, December 14, 2009

Decorating Holiday Presents


Many times I go the easy route of not actually wrapping presents.  I end up putting them in gift bags with some tissue paper and I am done.  This year, I decided to mainly wrap the gifts but things got a little too busy so I didn't get as creative as I would have liked to with my wrapping. 

Although I have not been as creative with my gift wrapping, I do enjoy seeing others gift wrapping ideas and am very impressed with what some people do with their presentations.  There are times that I honestly prefer looking at the gift rather than wanting to know what is inside of it; it can be too pretty to unwrap. 

So, hopefully you all get inspired to be a bit more creative than I was this year.  If not, I hope you get a gift from someone else who was inspired to get creative with their gift decorating. 

Either way, here are some ideas to get you started. 
  • Wrap the box or gift in pretty ribbon.
  • Add raffia as a ribbon around the present.
  • Use felt cloth to create a fortune cookie and put paper or the "fortune" in it to say who the gift is going to.  You can even wrap the gift in Chinese takeout menus.
  • Use ornaments as a secondary gift to put on top of the gift.
  • Flowers, pinecones or berries can also be added on top of the gift.
  • Create a snowman theme by using cotton balls.  Use gift wrap in a solid color and then glue the cotton balls all over the present and then on the top create a snowman with a hat and scarf.
  • Continue with a cotton ball themed gift by creating a scene on the gift.  You could use the cotton balls as clouds and attach felt patterns on plain gift wrap to make a house, a tree or whatever you want your picture to represent.
  • Make it a themed present, if the gift is a remote control airplane or car, you can wrap the gift using a road map. 
  • Make a paper fan or snowflakes - just like the ones we created as children - and use it embellish the top of a gift.  
  • Cut out a Christmas tree, gingerbread man or a star from a single color felt paper (use a cookie cutter to get the right shape) and then place on the gift wrap.
  • Use one holiday themed cookie cutter on top of a wrapped present; just attach it to the ribbon to keep sturdy.
  • For the grandparents, wrap gifts with their grandchild's artwork.
  • If you know a hobby that the person the gift is going to enjoys, you can make it unique just for them.  For someone who enjoys creating art, attach a paint brush to the top of the present.  For someone who enjoys reading, attach a bookmark as the label.  For someone who enjoys to sew, add buttons all over the present.
  • If you want a flashy gift (just add a red ribbon) or you simply ran out of gift wrap, go to your kitchen and get some aluminum foil and use that as wrapping paper.
  • Another idea if you run out of wrapping paper, wrap your gift using newspaper and just add a colorful bow or ribbon and your problem has been solved.  They will think you are so creative, when you simply ran out of gift wrap!
  • For kid gifts, attaching small gloves to the top of the gift would be a cute idea.  You could even add a scarf to use as a big ribbon.
  • Use a jump rope as ribbon.
  • As you see the ideas are endless!
If you chose to get creative yourself, here are some items that you may want to keep on hand:
  • Glue (Elmers or fabric, depending on what you will be using)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Bows
  • Labels
  • Pen or markers
  • Felt
  • String
  • Foil
  • Wrapping paper
  • Road maps
  • Embellishments (pinecones, cottonballs, cookie cutters, berries, etc.)
Enjoy your week ahead!

Marlin

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Decorating



I wanted to get some holiday decoration ideas to you before it gets too late.  In this post, I have posted as well as written ways to make your Poinsettias last through more than just the December holidays;  how to make some unique wreaths; and other miscellaneous decorating tips.

Poinsettias

For those of you that love Poinsettias and would like them to last longer than just the holidays, check out these tips.

Wreaths

Beautiful and interesting wreaths, for all the "do it yourself" folks out there.

Miscellaneous Tips
  • Extra bulbs or decorations can be put together in interesting containers.  You can place similar colors together (i.e., the containers I have pictured are old, brass cooking pots that my grandmother used long ago and I placed red beaded garland along with red ornaments in one, blue silver garland with silver and royal blue ornaments in another and gold ornaments in the smallest pot) and place them all together to make a unique statement to a drab area.

  • To make the area intimate, add candles with ornmanets or garlands around the table.
  • Add bows to chandeliers, bowls, glasses, and vases to bring out the color theme in your home.
  • Holiday greetings are getting overcrowded on your mantel?  Put them on a trellis or cork board.  Hang them on a ribbon that can be draped or hung from the ceiling and can be attached by decorative clips. 
  • Add wreaths in front of every window or if you can only place one, make it interesting on your door.  The picture below is the one we have used for our front door.  Since our front door is black, we chose a red Poinsettia to make it stand out. 

  • Wreaths can also be placed flat on a dinner table to be used as a centerpiece. You can place a bowl inside the center of the wreath and fill it with ornaments and greenery.
  • Items to use for decorations can be anything that you believe to be festive - pinceones, chestnuts, cinnamon sticks, peppermint candies, candy canes, candles, cards, your child's or your own art work, your ornaments, garlands, glasses, vases, flowers and plants, etc.  The list is endless.
Please check out my older Christmas/December posts for further ideas as well.

Enjoy your week!

Marlin

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Leftovers

A typical tradition of Thanksgiving is to have leftovers of Turkey; however, most people don't want the usual turkey and gravy day after day, so I have listed some ideas below and here to keep you from getting bored.

The possibilities are endless!
Continue to be thankful for all you have, I sure am!

Marlin

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday Deals

Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States. This day marks the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Many retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically opening at 5AM or even earlier.  Upon opening, retailers offer doorbuster deals and some even provide freebies for the first hundred or so shoppers.  This draws people to their stores.

Although Black Friday has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924; the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the late 1960's. This term was also originally used on the East Coast, in Philadelphia, in reference to the heavy traffic on that day but more recently, merchants and the media have used it to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit).

Now that everyone has had their history lesson on Black Friday, I wanted to send you all a few links to get prepared for your shopping experience.  Here is a great link to get you started to see what deals are out there for your favorite stores.  These sites show you what sales are going on for Friday and possibly even on Thursday.  So, check these out before you head out.

If you want to get started even sooner, go to these websites and get their Black Friday or special Thanksgiving deals online.
  • Amazon (already begun)
  • Dell (already begun)
  • MacMall (already begun)
  • Newegg, sale starts at 6:00 pm EST tonight (Wednesday)
  • Sears starts at 9:00 pm EST (Wednesday)
  • Sam's Club starts at 11:00 pm EST (Wednesday)
  • Toys R Us Black Friday deals starts at 12:01 am EST (Thanksgiving)
  • Office Max Black Friday deals starts at 8:00 am EST (Thanksgiving)
  • Walmart Thanksgiving day specials starts at 3:00 am EST (Thanksgiving)
  • Walmart Black Friday starts at 3:00 am EST (Black Friday)
  • Target, Kohls, JC Penney and other Black Friday deals will begin on Thanksgiving morning (doesn't hurt to check out your favorite store's website to see if their sales have already begun)
Happy deal finding!

Marlin

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Centerpieces & Crafts


Thanksgiving is upon us once again and I wish you all a wonderful day and week ahead to spend with your family and friends.  Enjoy those around you!

Here are some ideas for centerpieces and crafts to enjoy this Thanksgiving.

Centerpieces
  • Add a beautiful fall colored table runner to your table.
  • Have a bowl and a pad of paper on or near the table.  Ask your guests to write down what they are thankful for and to fold it and put it in the bowl.  Before it is time to eat, have random guests open and read them. 
  •  A cornucopia basket or vase dressed up with small pumpkins, apples, pears, gourds, squash and chestnuts will add a pretty appearance to your table.
  • Take the same fruits and vegetables listed above and arrange them around a row of candles that vary in height.  Add different colored leaves from outside to the table for a pop of color (please make sure to wash them, so no bugs end up on your food and pick them from outside that same day, so they don't wilt).
  • If you want a floral centerpiece, Chrysanthemums (also known as Mums), yellow or orange Lilies, as well as other Fall colored flowers are great to add to your table.  Put them in a nice vase or pot and place them in the center or all around your home to add some beauty and extra fragrance.
Crafts

Make sure to have things for the kids to do.  If you don't want the younger crowd watching TV or playing video games, provide them with things to do together as a group, so they are involved and engaged.

This site, this site, and this site too can provide you with countless craft ideas. Also, keep some coloring books or plain white paper along with colored pencils, crayons or markers out for the kids so they can create their own drawings and maybe put on paper what they are thankful for this year.
 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 
Marlin

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keeping Area Rugs in Place


Many of us have area rugs either on hardwood, tile or on top of carpeting.  Rugs can give dimension and color to your room. The problem sometimes is keeping your rug from moving and bunching up.  I have listed some items that can help keep your rugs in place.

On Hard Flooring:
  • Rug pads do the trick for rugs on top of ceramic and hardwood floors.  If the pad is too big, make sure to cut it so that it is just slightly smaller than the actual rug itself.
  • Double sided sticky tape can be put on the back of rugs; once placed, make sure to put some weight on them when you have them where they should be placed so that they will keep from moving. 
  • Some are labeled as carpet tape but the double sided tape works just as well on hard floors.
  • Duct tape can be used if you don't have a pad to place underneath.
  • I have also tried the rubber drawer liners that are usually used for kitchen cabinets underneath rugs and it has worked just as well with no bunching or moving.
  • I have also heard that velcro strips work but I have never seen that before.
On Soft Sufaces (i.e. Carpet)
Conventional rug pads do not work for rugs that are placed on top of carpets; the piles (the actual carpet "hair") will simply shift whenever someone walks on it and it will bunch up and never stay in place. There are not many solutions for this, but some ideas are listed below. 

  • Try those hard plastic floor mats that are used under office chairs and then place a rug pad or any of the items that I have listed in the first section, on top of the mat and then place your rug on top of that. The mat will act as hard flooring. Vinyl mats also work.
  • Heavy rugs work better than lighter weight rugs and won't easily bunch and create rolls.
  • You can try to place heavy furniture (sofa, chairs, etc.) on the edges of the rug to anchor the rug down.
  • I contacted a carpet store to see if they know of any item that would work and I was told that any local store that sells area rugs should be able to help.  So, if you are desparately in need of something that works and the above solutions didn't help, try this one out.  These stores can sell you a special pad that has net on the back of it which stops the rug from moving on top of carpeting. Not sure how expensive it would be but it's certainly worth a shot.
I hope these solutions help!

Have a wonderful week. 

Marlin

Monday, November 9, 2009

Getting Involved & Helping Others

Have you ever thought of doing something nice for someone else - whether they are less fortunate or not - but you really just don't know where to begin?

Here are some ways that you can help, both big and small.
  • Have you ever seen someone when you are driving in the rain and they have no umbrella and are getting drenched? Well, I have and I have always wanted to just give my umbrella in the car to them, but I never have...next time, I will make a bigger effort to do so, you can do that as well (the same thing goes with gloves, scarves, etc).

  • Give someone that you know that has lost a loved one or is going through a hard time and give them a card, bake some cookies, provide some food, maybe get them a book to help them deal with their loss or struggle - anything to let them know that someone cares.

  • Running marathons for a favorite charity, is always helpful in raising funds for further research to eradicate certain diseases besides getting you in better shape. To those of you that have run a marathon...and I know many that have...I am in awe of your determination, stamina and desire to go through this.

  • Another way to do something nice for others is to recycle - you are doing something nice for more than one person by doing this. Even if you start by recycling one plastic container at a time, this could be better than what you did yesterday and that is still better than doing nothing at all.

  • Become involved in a Big Brother/Big Sister programs and mentor a child.

  • Join Best Buddies, where you can develop friendships (become a pen pal or an e-Buddy), or donate money to provide employment and leadership opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

  • Habitat for Humanity is a great organization where they seek to "eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action." If you can't help in the building process, you can certainly help by donating funds to them.

  • You can help donate money to Miracle Flights for Kids, which is a nonprofit that flies seriously ill children and their parents to specialists across the country.

  • Another great organization for children is the Ronald McDonald House, in operation since 1974. Ronald McDonald Houses are located around the world and help families by providing them with a place to stay when their children are receiving treatment for a serious illness or injury. These homes are close in proximity to the hospital or treatment center and allows the family to be comfortable and cared for during their stay.

Just remember that no matter how big or small your deed is, just knowing that you have gone out of your way to do something nice for another human being is priceless!

Continue your random acts of kindness!

Marlin

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leftovers from Halloween


What do you do with leftover candy (that you don't want the kids to eat or that you don't like yourself) from Halloween or any other event? Here are some ideas of what to do with leftover candy and pumpkins.

  • Chop up the chocolate candy or candy corn that you did not hand out on Halloween and use them in your cookie recipes.

  • Use the leftover candy for the gingerbread house that you will make around the Christmas holidays.

  • Save the candy for Christmas treats for guests.

  • Save the candy for a child's goody bag that might be near the holidays.

  • Save the candy and put them in a pinata for the holidays, who says that pinatas are only for birthdays?

  • Take the candy in to work, so others can enjoy it.

  • Take the candy in to a homeless shelter, there are kids and adults there that would appreciate it.

  • Melt the chocolate bars for chocolate-covered strawberries.

  • Melt the chocolate bars and make chocolate fondue.

  • Use the pulp from the pumpkin and make pumpkin pies, soups and breads.

  • Clean out the pumpkin and use it as a vase to put flowers in.

  • Wash the pumpkin seeds and roast them for a nutritious snack.

  • Pumpkins can be used in the compost for use as a fertilizer.

  • If you have a garden, bury the pumpkin in it, it will enrich the soil.

I hope these tips were useful and I hope that everyone had a great Halloween!


Marlin

Monday, October 26, 2009

No More Container Stains

When you have a potted plant placed on a step or a stoop outside, it can look beautiful but as soon as you remove it you can see the ugly rings that it can leave beneath on your concrete patio or deck; so then you end up having no other choice but to keep a container or something there to hide it even when you no longer want to.

Here are some ways to make sure that your container doesn't leave any stains behind.
  • At our house, we use these cork mats under our pots (similar to coasters you would use for your cups and mugs to not leave water stains behind on your furniture) on the front entryway and although they are meant for indoors, they work just as well as outside.
  • Pot Risers are also great to lift your pot up from the ground. They are invisible feet that are made of recycled tire rubber and are 1 inch squares that stay put under your containers and/or anything else you want to lift off of the surface of your patio or deck. They don't slip or leave marks behind, and they also help provide cushioning on uneven surfaces. Pot Risers can also support up to 1600 pounds!
  • Flower pot pads are great for both protection as well as for absorbing excess water when it detects more moisture than required in your plant's soil. Also, since they absorb extra moisture, this helps with both mildew and mildew odors.
  • Tiles can also be a good buffer for your patios from stains.
  • If your flower container is small, you can use a larger decorative pot to place that container inside; this would create a unique look.

For some, unfortunately, you may have already created a stain on your patio or deck; listed below, I have listed some ways below to get those areas cleaned up. Please note, that depending on how long the stain has been there, it is very possible that some of those stains may never fade.

  • Power washing can help get rid of some of these stains.
  • Stain solver is a great tool to help remove many types of stains on your patio, deck or driveway.
  • Sanders or water based deck strippers can help remove the stain from your deck but will also remove the paint/stain that is already on your deck, so you may have to power wash it and then re-stain your entire deck.
  • Baking soda along with soap can remove stains from your concrete or other type of patio.
  • Pouring any household vinegar on concrete will help remove rust stains.
  • Lemon juice has the same effect on cement.
  • Usually keeping most of the above items on the stain for 15 - 20 minutes should help lift the stain and then scrubbing it with a stiff bristled brush will then help remove the extra debris out. You should always rinse it off with plain water so that it does not set in one spot and create another stain that you were not expecting and which might be even harder to fix.

Have a wonderful week!

Marlin

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bringing Plants Indoors - Just Got Easier


It's that time of the year that, depending on where you live, you may have to bring some of your plants indoors in order to save them from the effects of this cold and ever-changing weather.

One way to make this transition easier is to get these interesting planters called Lechuza. These planters allow you to do less work in taking care of your houseplants.

Lechuza planters allow you to not worry about how much moisture is in your soil. It has a reservoir in the base of its container so that it can hold enough water to keep your plants hydrated for up to 12 weeks. There is also a water-level indicator in the planter that tells you when it's time to refill the container so that you can be stress free again for another 12 weeks.

Then when summer comes around, you can just move these planters outdoors or transplant your plants out to where they were previously. Another neat feature about these is that they are shatterproof as well as UV resistant, so they won't fade or crack, even after months on a porch that gets full sun exposure.

Continue with maintaining your plant's health and enjoy your week!


Marlin

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bringing "Fall" Indoors

What exactly does Fall mean to you, how does it make you feel? Leaves changing colors, pine cones, different smells, colors that inspire the Fall season - yellow, brown, orange. Here are some ways to enjoy this season more by bringing the outdoors in.

  • Gather pine cones and put in decorative clear urns, vases or bowls.

  • Gather leaves of different shapes and colors and create a Fall wreath for your door.

  • Add items that have Fall colors or shapes (i.e., leaves) such as throws, tablecloths, cushions, etc. and put them in different areas of your home to add to that warm feeling you are looking for.

  • Plant pretty yellow or orange mums and keep in containers to your home's entryway.

  • Go for a walk and pick up items that you see that are unusual and earthy to put together to create a unique seasonal decoration. Depending on what you find, you can use it to create a garland; put the items at the base of your plants to add some interest to it; or get a rustic basket and put the items in there along with some items that add color to it.

  • Found a unique branch? Make it a Fall tree similar to a Christmas tree. Put it in a large vase or urn and add ornaments to it. Create your own Fall ornaments by adding string or ribbon to pine cones, huge colorful leaves (use a small hole punch), actual bulbs in Fall or seasonal colors or you can create your ornaments with fabric or paper or have your kids create them for you.

  • Add pumpkins or different colored squash and add them to baskets or put in a bowl as you would fruit.
  • Add a scent that makes you think of Fall by burning a candle, spraying a mist, using a diffuser, or scented oil plugins that make you think of this season favorably.

The ideas are endless as you can see.

Enjoy today!

Marlin

Monday, October 5, 2009

Corner Windows - What to Do?













Corner windows can be a challenge so what are the best window treatments for this area or what can be done to make it more visually appealing?
  • When windows are separated at the corner but are too close to really separate them with two separate window treatments, you can make them appear "connected" by a single drape that goes from one window to the other without stopping. This can also make the room appear larger.

  • Corner windows can be spruced up by adding multi-layered window treatments which can help define each window.

  • Folding screens can be placed in front of the windows to add some visual art to the corner.

  • Sometimes the scale of the window to the room might be off, so you can camouflage this by extending the window treatment beyond the edge of the windows. This will make the window appear larger than it actually is.

  • Shutters are a nice way to dress up corner windows without drapery.

  • Angling a bed in the corner of those two windows makes a visual statement to the room and draws your eyes to it.

  • If you are still researching ideas for those corner windows, don't leave them bare so that everyone can have a peak in to your home; instead, buy some paper blinds until you can figure it out - this applies to other windows in your home as well.

Enjoy your week!


Marlin

Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Trash It - Update It!

Do you find sometimes that you have items in your home that over time have either become outdated or don't match your style anymore? Why get rid of them, instead take those items and update them with these simple ideas.

  • Great frame but horrible art work in it - take the picture/painting out of the frame and either put in another art piece, blow up a picture you took (maybe from a cool vacation spot or a nice family picture), put in a gorgeous outfit that has some meaning to you or that is from your native country, or put in an interesting piece of fabric or wallpaper to update your look.
  • Horrible lamp shade but not such a bad base or vice-versa? Throw out your shade and buy a new one or add fabric to the old one (try small strips of fabric and hot glue it on vertically or horizontally or maybe into the shape of a bow). You love your shade but don't like the base, paint it or update the varnish.
  • Items such as chairs and benches that have cushions on them. Sometimes the cushions just need to be updated with new ones or the legs on the chairs or benches can get a new touch of paint to change the style completely.
  • Wood pieces that have nicks and scratches on them. These items can easily be fixed by getting the right furniture marker that can be "colored" over the nicks and scratches and can blend in with the rest of wood.
  • Walls or carpets that have been marked up by items that were placed against it or by paint or markers can easily be fixed by using an item that has done wonders for us - Goof Off. This item has gotten paint marks out of our carpets as well as blemishes off of our painted walls. You do need to be careful, especially on walls since rubbing too hard will wipe off the paint itself.
  • Old throw pillows or cushions can either be re-done with newer fabric or the stuffing inside can be taken out to be replaced and the fabric re-sewn.
  • Hemlines, curtains or those cushions discussed above coming apart at the seams -what do you do when you can't sew, don't like to sew or don't have a sewing machine? Try using this no sew item that can be sealed with just some steam.
  • A table that is functional but not attractive can either be refinished, painted or simply covered with an attractive tablecloth or fabric.

The main thing to remember when updating your items is to not be afraid of trying out unusual ideas. Use curtain fabric as a table cover (folded so you don't see the seams for the rods), use items that you collect or are usually hidden as showcase pieces - frame them, put them in bowls, etc. Use a comfortable sofa in a dining room instead of chairs, use that pretty dining room chair in your family room or at a desk, hang up that chandelier in your closet, use older or unused books as a table base, etc. There are all kinds of things that I'm sure you can come up with if you start to think creatively.

Have a fantastic week everyone!

Marlin

Monday, September 21, 2009

Organizing Your CDs and DVDs

Although many of us have our music on iTunes or something similar, there are still many of us that have CDs in CD cases that are still looking for a home. This also is the case for those of us with many DVDs in our home.

Here are some ideas to get you started on keeping these items contained.

If you decide to get rid of your hard cases, place your actual discs into CD binders, which can then be easily tucked away into protective sleeves and be stored just about anywhere.

Storage drawers also work great. You can tuck them away into cabinetry or showcase them to go with your decor.

Open baskets always work well and there are also boxes that are made just for your CDs and DVDs. Old Shoe boxes also work well and can be covered with nice cloth or paper if it will be displayed out in the open.

If you don't have enough space, get them hung up and tucked away behind doors, or place them in decorative items that can be hung on walls or stacked on the floor.

Hope these ideas help get your CDs and DVDs off of your floor or out of storage boxes and into something a bit more decorative and useful.

Have a great week everyone!

Marlin

Monday, September 14, 2009

School Organization


As school has started in most areas, let's go into ways to make the days less frazzled for us all.


Ways for your kids stay better organized:


  • Provide them with organization tools, such as compartmentalized cubbies in their closets to let them know what they need to need wear each day.

  • For older children, put a sheet of what classes they have every day near their dressers or near their closet. This way, they know on gym days they wear their gym clothes, when they have to return their library books, or when tests are, etc. This helps them to be more responsible and takes some of that responsibility off of your own shoulders.

  • If there are items in their closets that they need but are out of reach, provide a step stool to keep in their closet for them to get to it themselves. Try as much as you can to provide your child the tools they need to be independent.

  • Create an area in your pantry, if possible, of what snacks are allowed to take to school. Allow them to take a certain amount of items from that each day and to pack that themselves.

  • If your children have assigned lockers at their school, give them a locker organizer.

Ways for you to stay better organized:



  • Make sure to look over all paperwork the night before and have it ready and in your child's bag, so you are not scrambling in the mornings.

  • Get a box of envelopes and label them with your child's name so that it keeps you prepared in advance and all you have to do is slip items in the envelopes at the last minute.

  • Pack lunches the night before school.

  • Label all items with your child's name. For backpacks, hang luggage tags on them.

  • Definitely have a calendar somewhere that is easily accessible (and always keep a pen near it). At the beginning of the school year, I write down the children's days off, hot lunches, programs, etc. for the whole school year on the calendar as well as in the electronic calendar on my computer.

  • Have a set time of when to do things. When your child comes home, they might not want to do homework right away. Let them play, eat, etc. before they sit down to focus on homework. Some kids want to get it over with or you might want them to do it immediately; whatever it is, make it consistent (kids actually love schedules) so they know what the rules are and it helps things go smoother each day since both of you know what to expect from each other.

  • When it is time for homework, make sure you have an area, such as a drawer or box that holds pencils, a set of crayons, a ruler, erasers, scissors, pencil sharpeners, calculator, etc. so that they are not searching for items to get their work done; this would only take away time from them doing their assignments.

  • Utilize a bulletin board, if you have enough wall space, to pin up important papers (announcements, invitations, schedules, etc.) that need to be looked at.

If you stay on top of things and are better organized, your child will be too and this can make your weekday mornings go more smoothly!


Here's to a successful school year!


Marlin

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bathroom Organization

Here are some ideas to organize items and make your bathroom more beautiful.

  • Containers, in varying sizes, are useful in drawers to sort out smaller items, such as makeup. Bigger containers are also useful for underneath storage.

  • Use open containers (such as baskets) for toilet paper, especially in a bathroom that will be used by guests, so they don't need to search for items in case it runs out.

  • Use decorative containers to be placed on the counters to hold contton balls, swabs, bath salts, decorative soaps, etc.

  • Keep shoe boxes, they make good sorters for all the smaller items that take up space in your bathroom. You can make them look prettier by adorning them with something attractive, such as pretty wrapping paper.

  • Use a caddy with a handle to hold items that you might take from one room to another. This would be great to hold cleaning items.

  • Older items that need to be thrown out, should be labeled so you know when to toss them. Items such as makeup should be labeled with stickers so you know when they were purchased; since most makeup tend to outlast their welcome.

  • To add luxury to your bathroom, put up that shabby chic chandelier and an ornate mirror.

  • Who said that you had to put bathroom rugs in the bath? Put in any decorative area rug with a good mat underneath so it doesn't move around to add instant elegance.

Enjoy your upcoming week!


Marlin

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ways to Store Craft Supplies




Listed below are some ideas that can help you with storing all your craft supplies.





        • Take a paper towel holder and place your ribbon spools on it

        • Use the containers for storing screws and bolts and use it to hold buttons, stickers, emblems, anything small and that can be easily lost in here

        • A bucket tool organizer can turn in to your scrapbook haven or your art supply center

        • Office organizers are really efficient for holding rulers, pens, markers, scissors, etc.

        • A wall or floor vent can turn in to a place to hold all your stampers

        • Ice cube or muffin trays can hold small items for sewing or other craft ideas

        • Use the small aprons that you see in hardware stores, typically used for tools and use them to stash your paint brushes when painting or on any other craft work

        • Bento boxes, fishing containers, other types of boxes that have several trays or slots are great for sorting out craft items

        • Hampers are great for bigger craft items

        • Children's closet organizers, the kind that are used to store clothes for the week, are also great for some bigger craft items, such as cloth or other textiles
        Hope these are useful. Have a wonderful week!

        Marlin

        Monday, August 24, 2009

        How to Keep Paperwork Organized

        We all have a lot of paper that comes in to our homes through our mailboxes, or brought in from school, work, etc. Here are some ways to reduce the clutter that is inevitable with too much paper.

        • Designate an area of your home, even if it's only a drawer, for filing business papers, bills, letters, and coupons.
        • Have a specific day or make a certain time each day to file away items.
        • Set up a filing system for your important papers and receipts. This can be as simple as an accordion file or a file cabinet that can do double duty as an end table.
        • Use a "Miscellaneous" file for items that don't easily fit into a category, but be sure to go through this file when it fills up.
        • Mail should be kept in one location of your house.
        • Junk mail should be trashed/recycled immediately.
        • Open up and file everything at least once a week.
        • If you can't file papers on a regular basis, use a folder labeled "To File" to temporarily store items.
        • Coupons can be kept in a file folder to be clipped for that week's grocery shopping. You can even keep this in a 3 ring binder, with clear slots to hold the coupons. Keep a clear, zippered pouch to hold scissors when you are ready to cut the coupons.
        • Birthday cards, invitations, and thank you cards can quickly overwhelm your place, keep the ones that really mean something special to you and throw out the others.
        • Put photographs in a frame, in an album, located on a site such as Snapfish, or in a box with clear pockets to view similar pictures sorted by date. If you don't have the time to put pictures in an album but you like this idea, go to Snapfish or another digital picture storage site and pay to have certain pictures put in an album by them; it will save you the hassle and you will feel organized without doing too much effort.

        Children's Items

        • For permission slips and other school documents that need to be looked at, keep in a bin so that they do not get overlooked.
        • For children's paperwork (art work, etc.) that you plan on keeping, put in a box labeled for that child specifically.
        • If you have the room, set up a filing cabinet for your children's report cards, tests, book reports, etc. Some of these items may come in handy for later grades.
        • For younger children’s artwork and papers, put up select items on a bulletin or cork board in a common area. They can then be sorted each week in to piles of what to keep and to throw away. Currently, I keep practically all my children's work in separate bins labeled so I know which grades they were in at the time that art and homework were created.
        • If keeping paper art projects is not feasible, why not take a picture of them and compile it into a framed art project for your walls? If you are in to scrap booking, use a page to embrace their work.

        Home Office

        • If you have a home business, the Neat system is a great way to eliminate paper. You can use this to store your paper digitally and retrieve whenever needed.

        Enjoy your week!!

        Marlin

        Monday, August 17, 2009

        Paper Records - What to Keep, Why, & When to Toss

        We all have many paper items that we don't know how long to keep or where to keep them. I have found the following information on many different web sites to assist you.

        The following items should be kept in a safe deposit box or a fireproof, waterproof, burglar-proof home safe—with a list of the contents of the box in your home filing system.

        Family Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Baptismal and confirmation records - Acceptable evidence of birth date when obtaining a delayed birth certificate; proof of church membership - Keep Indefinitely
        • Copyrights and patents - Proof of ownership rights - Keep Indefinitely
        • Insurance policies: List of policy numbers, name of each insured, beneficiary, company, agent - Reference for kinds and amounts of coverage; provides record of payments and premiums and location of policy; provides record of claims
          - Keep until collected or it expires; or until all claims settled; or when duplicate policies can be easily obtained
        • Passport - Identification required for most international travel - Retain expired passport to satisfy application requirements for a new one, then discard
        • Wills - For reference; essential for settlement of your estate - Keep the original indefinitely in a safe or with an attorney or clerk of district court
        • Abstract for real estate - To prove clear title - Keep until property is sold
        • Automobile title and bill of sale - Proof of ownership - Keep until property is sold
        • Burial lot deed (note number of plots) - Proof of ownership - Keep Indefinitely
        • Deeds and mortgages: Title policy; property insurance policy; mortgage; receipts for payments on mortgage. Record day, month, and year you acquire or sell property; gross sale price; depreciation; legal fees & expense of sale - For income tax and estate tax purposes; keep records of improvement to compute capital gains or losses - Keep until property is sold
        • Household inventory: Appraisals, photos/videos of valuables - Insurance claims - Update these annually. Dispose when you no longer own item
        • Property easements - Proof of use rights - Keep until property is sold

        Financial Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Contracts, notes, debts: Promissory notes, mortgages, liens, installment contracts, and chattels - Evidence of collectible or payable debts; status for estate settlement - Keep until estate is settled
        • Household inventory: Description of article, date purchased, and purchase price - For insurance settlement - Keep up-to-date as you dispose of or add new items
        • Investment certificates: Stocks, bonds, CDs, real estate - Proof of purchase - Keep after redemption amount received and taxes are settled on gain or loss

        Legal Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Birth certificate (certified copy or original) - Proof of birth - Keep Indefinitely
        • Death certificates - Proof of death for Social Security benefits and estate settlement
          - Keep until benefits are secured and estate settled; note cause of death for family health history
        • Marriage records - For proof of marriage to collect insurance, Social Security, and veteran’s federal benefit pension compensations; to settle estate - Keep until all claims are settled, benefits are received, and estate is settled
        • Divorce decree - To clear legal requirements for remarriage - Keep Indefinitely
        • Adoption papers - To prove ages to start to school; for obtaining birth certificates for some jobs; to obtain driver’s license; for marriage license; for registering to vote; to qualify for Social Security benefits; to obtain passports; to determine estate heirs - Keep Indefinitely
        • Military service: Service record; summary of benefits - To qualify for retirement, insurance, medical, education, and other benefits (recommend that county or city clerk create additional official record of discharge certificates) - Keep Indefinitely
        • Citizenship and naturalization papers - To obtain certain types of jobs; to obtain passport; prove eligibility to vote - Keep Indefinitely

        The following records should be kept at home in your home office files.

        Family Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Education records/diplomas - Proof of attendance and degrees - Keep Indefinitely
        • Employment records - To determine retirement benefits or if there is a worker’s compensation claim - Keep last official announcement earned benefits; keep record until all worker’s compensation claims are settled; keep beyond retirement in case you decide to re-enter the workforce
        • Insurance policies: Automobile; personal liability; homeowner’s or renters; life; health; disability - Reference for details of coverage - Keep until property is sold or policy expires and until all claims are settled. Review annually. Until policy expires or is redeemed.
        • Licenses to practice (copy) - To verify credentials - Keep displayed; replace with most recent verification; keep copy in a safe place
        • Family advisers: Names, addresses and telephone numbers - Ready reference when need (medical, legal, etc.) arises - Keep updated when changes are made
        • Medical history: Immunizations, operations, illness, medications, etc. - Reference - Keep Indefinitely on all family members; update often
        • Funeral plan documents - Reference - Keep Indefinitely; update as needed
        • Record of Important Papers - Reference - Keep Indefinitely; update as needed
        • Subscriptions and buying clubs: Titles with order & renewal dates; membership details -
          Reference - Keep until subscription expires; handle complaints or cancellations
        • Organizational memberships - Reference - Keep until membership is dropped
        • Keys (labeled) and safe combination safe-deposit box, car, house, home safe - Access as needed - Keep until property is sold or when safe-deposit box is relinquished

        Property Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Automobile: Certificate of title and bills of sale - Essential for transfer to new owner when car is sold - Keep until car is sold or disposed of
        • Guarantees and warranties - For proof of date of purchase; to determine service and parts guaranteed - Keep until no longer valid
        • Household inventories: Record item, cost and date of purchase or sale - For insurance claims to establish values; net worth statements. Pictures of items are helpful when making claims. - Keep list up-to-date as you dispose of or add household items; make a copy also for safe-deposit box
        • Appliance and other manuals - For reference on use and care - Keep until sold or discarded
        • Pets: Pedigree; health and license records - Identification - Keep until death or sale

        Financial Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Account books: Goals, spending plan, record of income and expenditures - For reference and comparison; used to determine net worth and make changes in income and spending patterns - Keep to show a profit or loss over multiple years
        • Checking accounts: Number, location, and canceled checks or photocopy pages of checks
          List all account numbers with addresses, phone numbers - Save checks needed for income tax deductions and proof of important payments - Keep for a minimum of at least six years of checks
        • Credit card information: Names, addresses and phone numbers of issuing companies; card numbers - Purchase of items on credit; use of card and payment of balances due can give you a good credit rating - If card is not in current use, cancel by writing to company; if lost or stolen, notify company immediately by phone
        • Housing records: Improvement receipts, lease/rental agreement copies, utility deposit receipts, mortgage payments, property tax records - Compute capital gains/losses; income tax basis in residential replacements - Keep records until property is sold
        • Receipts and receipted bills -Proof of payment. For charge accounts— if they are tax deductible; proof of value on insurance claims. - Keep credit card receipts until bill is paid; keep larger item receipts while items are in your possession
        • Safe-deposit box inventory - Information for family members - Revise list annually
        • Financial institution monthly statements and/or savings pass books - Reference for completed transactions: Deposits and withdrawals - Keep account locations and numbers in safe-deposit box for a minimum of a year
        • Income tax returns: Federal and state (if applicable) returns with substantiating records -
          Verification of taxes paid - Keep for 3 years minimum for possible IRS audit; 6 years if 25% of gross income is omitted; unlimited if there has been a fraudulent report
        • Investments: Copies of mutual funds, stocks, bonds, real estate, CDs, etc.
          - Statement of earnings and transactions as reference information - Keep initial and current investment quarterly statements
        • Retirement records: Employee pensions, annuities, Keoghs and IRAs
          - For reference; proof of employer-employee contributions, payments and benefits received or payable - Keep until fund is exhausted

        Legal Records

        Item to keep - Reason for keeping - How long to keep

        • Living will (original with additional copies made) - For reference specifying your end-of-life care; instructions to your doctor and other health care providers (i.e., hospital, nursing facility, hospice, or home health agency; instructions for close family members) - Keep a list of where copies are distributed to be able to provide most recent copy if changes are made; don’t store in a safe-deposit box that may be difficult to access without the patient’s permission
        • Durable power of attorney: Specify the extent of power delegated to one or more persons: generally, for health care, and for financial decisions - Gives others the power to make health care and/or business decisions when you are no longer able to make decisions on your own - Replace by latest version if changes are made
        • Personal representative and guardian appointments - For official notification of agent to settle estate and provide care of children under legal age - Keep until official duties are completed
        • Social Security card - Needed to apply for benefits; identification number needed on many types of applications and records - Keep Indefinitely

        Papers to Carry with You
        (Make a copy of these for your home file)

        Item to carry - Reason for carrying

        • Credit and/or electronic banking cards - Identification and to pay for or charge purchases; to make other transactions
        • Driver's license - Identification and evidence of legal eligibility to drive
        • Auto insurance card - To identify issuer in case of accident
        • Donor card - To donate body organs and to donate body to medical school or training program for use in medical education or research
        • Medical information: Blood type, allergies, diseases (such as diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy) - Emergency treatment.
        • Health insurance card (Medicare and/or other) - Identification to use during hospital admittance
        • Personal identification: Name, address, and phone for yourself and friend or relative contact - Identification, especially in case of emergency
        • Doctor's names - Notification in case of emergency
        • Organization membership cards - Identification and proof of membership

        I hope this comes in handy!

        Marlin

        Monday, August 10, 2009

        Tips for Easier Organization

        Here are ways to make organizing a little easier...
        • Where does clutter gather? Figure out where the most clutter build up is and figure out a way to make that area neater. You can't always get rid of the clutter, so you just have to find a better way to conceal it. Use boxes, baskets, bowls, etc. with interesting or simple designs so that you don't see the clutter that is within it. This way at least things are in one place and not scattered about.

        • De-clutter daily. In order to contain the mess and not let it get out of hand, make sure that you put away things on a daily basis. Make it either the first thing in the morning or the last thing in the evening that you do.

        • Donate. Don't forget the bigger items. Donate clothes, toys, etc. anywhere from quarterly to twice a year to get rid of the bigger items from your home.

        • Recycle. Paper items such as magazines, newspapers, and catalogs should be recycled. If you can't get to read them daily or weekly, set aside some time each week or month to go through them and either toss, give away (your friends might like them), trash or recycle.

        • Do you need it? Always try to make a conscious effort to ask yourself before you buy or bring something home if you really need it. If you do, where would you put it, will you use it all the time or only sometimes, will you have enough room for it? Asking yourself these questions may change your mind on making that purchase.

        Have a blessed week!!


        Marlin

        Monday, August 3, 2009

        Tips for Clutter Proof Organizing

        Here are some tips for clutter proof organizing...

        Home Office

        • Schedule 30 minutes weekly to pay bills (set aside one day for added consistency). You should try not to wait until they’re due, you could be hit with a late fee.

        • Put reminders and invitations immediately on your calendar and toss.

        • Set aside 15-30 minutes daily to go through the mail and sort, toss and/or file. Eliminate it before you store it. Open mail at the trash can and toss junk mail, expired oupons, old greeting cards, invitations to past events. Shred those credit card offers – identity theft is the number one crime in America.

        Kitchen

        • Avoid overcrowding cabinets – you don’t need multiple items of the same thing. Chances are you’ll never use them all at the same time.

        • Create long term storage areas – keep seasonal items like the turkey roaster, holiday dishware and linens, summer barbeque equipment – away from primary work centers.

        • Clear off kitchen counter tops. Keep only those items you use regularly like the coffee maker and toaster.

        Closets

        • Think vertical...by putting together double tier closet rods.

        • Stock the shelves with clear, labeled, plastic containers for shoes, purses, scarves.

        • Go through every item in your closet and purge anything that has not been worn in two years, or that may never fit you again!

        • Relocate off season clothes to a guest bedroom, attic or basement.

        Enjoy your week!


        Marlin

        Monday, July 27, 2009

        Great Websites to Test

        Better Homes and Gardens has great tools to see what your home's color would be most appealing to you, or what to color certain rooms in your home or even different window style treatments.

        Check out this website and have fun with all the possibilities!

        Here you can try different ways to arrange rooms to better fit your lifestyle.

        These are great for you to test out what would look good in your home before you actually make a purchase or go through with your ideas.

        Enjoy your week!

        Marlin

        Monday, July 20, 2009

        Food Storage - How Long Does it Last?


        I found this interesting article in the All You magazine, which tells you how long food will last in your pantry vs. your freezer.

        How long it will last in your pantry:

        Bread - 5-7 days
        Cereal - 1 year
        Pasta - 2 years
        White Rice - 1 year
        Canned Goods - 1 year
        Bottled salad dressing - 1 year
        Jams, Jellies, Honey, Syrup - 1 year
        Peanut Butter - 6 months

        How long it will last in your freezer:

        Bread - up to 1 year
        Ground Meat - 3-4 months
        Beef steaks - 6-12 months
        Fish - 2-6 months
        Whole Poultry - 1 year
        Lunch Meat - 1-2 months
        Fresh Vegetables - up to 1 year
        Fresh Fruit - up to 1 year

        Have a great week!

        Marlin

        Monday, July 13, 2009

        Clear the Dust

        Achoo!! Bless you!!

        Many people if not being allergic to dust are still somehow affected by dust...and those same people probably hate dusting! Here are some ways to reduce the dust without actually dusting.
        1. Keep a thick outdoor mat in front of every door that is used to enter your home, this will trap debris and keep them from entering your home.


        2. Minimize too many knick-knacks that collect dust and that you probably won't be picking up constantly to remove the dust from.


        3. Use fan powered air purifiers to help remove the dust before it actually settles.


        4. Keep the humidity level in your home between 40-50% to reduce static.


        5. Make sure to change your vent filters regularly.


        6. If you have allergies, make sure to get allergen free pillow and mattress covers.


        7. Also for those with allergies, use a filter for your mouth/nose when cleaning.


        8. Blinds that are hard (wood, plastic, etc.) are easier to clean than cloth drapes and blinds.


        9. Use microfiber cloths rather than using aerosol cans (yes, even on your wood furniture).


        10. There are also special anti-static cloths made for your computers, TVs, phones and even picture frames.


        11. Bed sheets should be washed weekly in hot water to kill the bacteria found in dust. Comforters can be washed monthly.


        12. House plants also get dust on them, and the best way to clean them is to spray their leaves with water and again you can wipe them off with microfiber cloths.
        Who knew microfiber could do so much! Here's hoping that these tips lead to a happier, less sneezing you!


        Marlin

        Monday, July 6, 2009

        July is the best time to buy...

        Home Decor...

        I read this in the Real Simple magazine and thought that it may be helpful for you.
        It says that 10% of all weddings occur in July, so retailers want to take advantage of the wedding-bound shoppers. Also, department and home stores are anxious to move merchandise that is already on the floor to increase foot traffic.

        You can expect to save 20 - 50%. You can also find an increasing number of two-for-one deals, such as silver candlesticks sold with the candles.

        If you are unable to take advantage of this now, shoppers can still score deals in September and October, which are also popular months for exchanging "I do's".

        Hope you all have a wonderful week!

        Marlin

        Monday, June 29, 2009

        Packing Up!

        I'm sure that many of you are planning vacations soon, so here are some packing tips for your next trip. Make sure you keep a list in an accessible area where you can continually jot down items you need to pack.

        • Clothes that may wrinkle fast, should be placed near the bottom of your suitcase

        • Last minute clothes (along with t-shirts) can be rolled and stored in the crevices

        • Shirts should be at the bottom, then dresses, then pants

        • Ties should be rolled so they don't get wrinkled

        • Socks should be placed in shoes or in the flap/pocket inside

        • Undergarments should also be placed in shoes or be packed in the flap inside

        • Shoes should be lined along the borders and each should be placed in plastic bags

        • Toiletries should first be placed in a plastic bag and then kept inside the suitcase

        • Essential items such as toothbrush, medications, phones, ipods, cameras, laptops (as well as most electronics) should be stored in your carry on
        A great way to get kids involved is to show them what needs to be packed. Take actual photos or drawings of things that they need to take and place it on a sheet of paper. Here is sample of what you can try out for your household. This one would be what a little girl might pack for an overnight trip (and she would only be taking one of each):




        If you wanted more items you might put the number you need beside the picture or put duplicate pictures (i.e., 2 dress pictures, etc.).

        Marlin

        Monday, June 22, 2009

        Kitchen Clutter Control


        Counter tops and drawers in your kitchen are the talk for this week.

        A lot of people don’t have space for storage in their kitchen so they use their counter tops as storage. Well, sometimes this causes havoc and ends up creating too much clutter.

        Here are some ways to reduce the appearance of clutter and get better organized in the kitchen.

        • Use baskets or pretty canisters, they can be set to match your d├ęcor or get clear canisters for cereals, cookies, snacks, etc.

        • Lazy susans are great for gathering items that might be messy (oils, spices, foods or liquids that are hard to contain elsewhere without some spillage or getting sticky)

        • Keep a big jug or container to hold big spoons, spatulas, etc. near the stove.

        • Keep an area or counter space for mail – those coming in and those going out. You can even use letter trays. Letter trays, if they have two levels, could do double duty. The top can have incoming mail and the bottom can either have outgoing mail or little items that you drop on the counter, such as your keys, ID for work, etc.

        • You can also remove items from the counters by putting them instead on your wall - such as your calendar, to-do lists, folders, even your mail can be put on the wall if you have an insert to hang up that can hold papers.

        • Behind pantry doors put a hook to hang up aprons as well as anything else that has a hook.

        • For drawers, use dividers, bags, and caddies for silverware, plastic ware, napkins, dishes, baking supplies, spices, etc.

        • Group similar items together (i.e. keep sandwich bags near the aluminum foil, etc).

        • We tend to keep our kids’ paperwork in our kitchen, their drawings, school or camp items, etc. So, although we can’t dedicate a drawer to them in our kitchen, we have kept their items in folders in a drawer along with our items.

        • Menus as well as recipes that you see in a magazine are great to be held in folders as well.

        • Store items as close as possible to where you would use them, (i.e. pots and pans should be closer to the stove than glassware should be).

        • Items that are not used as frequently can be stored in the back of a cabinet, while items that are more frequently used, should be kept up front.

        Enjoy your week!

        Marlin

        Monday, June 8, 2009

        Organization on a Budget


        In today's economy it's harder to think about spending money on organizing or updating your home. Here are a few tips that might help you enjoy changes without hurting your bank account.
        • Move furniture around in the room to create a new look.
        • Bring furniture or decorative items from other rooms to create something more updated.

        • Look at your old dinner ware from the china cabinet or those that maybe you have not unpacked yet and see how they would like on a wall as an art piece. Or you might want to just start eating off those instead of keeping them packed away.

        • Create your own art work with canvas and paint.

        • Put up your children's or grand children's drawings in frames. You can even remove pictures from older frames and add new items in there (i.e., handkerchief's, shawls, postcards, a great picture from a magazine, etc.), just think of something that makes you happy and that you would enjoy seeing on your walls.

        • Use interesting bowls or vases to hold candy, fruit, snacks and put it in different areas of your home to create interesting looks.

        • Use clear bowls or vases to make a theme for each month (February - for Valentine's day - use red items, for December - Christmas - use pine cones, etc.)

        • Add a throw, small blanket or even a shawl on a chair, bed or sofa to add a pop of color.

        • Use trays that are normally hidden and put candles on top of it or even put a set of books or magazines on there.

        • Who says you have to put flowers in the middle of a table. Put a huge candle or something else that you would like to be an attraction each month or for however long you desire.

        • Change the look of a sofa by just adding colorful throw pillows on there. We did this on sofas that we have had for over 10 years and no one realizes they are that old due to the newer pillows we have on there.

        • Color makes a huge difference to a drab room, use paint to change the look often.

        The thing that is helpful to know is that if you don't want to keep spending money on buying things every year, make sure that what you first buy is of at least some good quality, make sure that it's not too trendy (get something that you know will last, even if it looks really simple) and once you have it in your home, take care of it. Why spend all your money on things that you will be replacing in a year? Almost everything in your home should have the ability to be re-purposed somewhere else. Just get a little creative and use your imagination.

        Marlin

        Monday, June 1, 2009

        Feeling Secure In Your Own Home


        I'm sure that you all have experienced when the electricity goes out due to a power outage and you can't find a flashlight or anything to help you get through that night. What about other things that you think you should have just in case of a bad situation...

        I would try to keep the following in a box or a drawer to keep for situations like this. You can keep a set on each floor but definitely have one on a main floor that is easily accessible.

        • Flashlights - with batteries - on each floor

        • Stash of batteries of all sizes

        • Battery powered radio

        • First Aid Kit

        • An area to store food items, if you lose power (bottled water, candles, matches, canned food, other foods that you do not have to cook)

        • Fire Extinguisher(s)

        • Ladder - that you can keep in a bedroom, near a window, to get out in case of a fire or another type of emergency

        • Also, always make sure that you have your phones, blackberries and laptops charged well in advance so that you are not caught in a bind

        I hope the next time you are caught in one of these events, you will be safe and secure.


        Marlin

        Whatever It Takes