Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the Eve of Christmas

It's the night before Christmas and all through the house, excitement - pure and untainted - flows through our house. Children whisper and inside their little ambious hearts, expectations of a certain visitor arise.  There is not one single corner within the house that is not decked with holly, mistletoe, or joy for what the evening will bring.

However,we are reminded that long ago another story came before then one being told from above.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.... Upon this day of His birth, the sheperads came to see him from afar.  They came, not bearing gifts, but tidings of good will to men and cheer. 

Tonight, with little ones nestled in their beds with visions of Nintendo DS's, Video Games, and Toys in their heads, remember as your up late wrapping presents and searching for last minute gift stashes in the closet to reflect on the spirit of the holiday. 

Tomorrow is a day of celebrations, of family gatherings, and of children's joy.  Tomorrow is a day well remembered in our hearts from generation to generation, traditions long handed down, and sharing the love of one little babe whose birth started this splendid holiday.

There is another bedtime story that perhaps we overlook most often, the birth of Jesus.  Tis the reason for the season, and whether your Christmas if filled with presents abundantly under the tree, or only three gifts, know the greatest gift is love.

Love is a book within itself, that never runs out of pages, has no end, and starts as a babe on Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!

See you all in the New Year.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Special Book for a special Great Grandmother

Every year for Christmas we visit both families, and always make it a point to drop in and visit Chad's grandmother.  This year, when I was trying to think of a special gift for my children's only living Great-Grandmother I thought of a book. 

Chad and I's philosphy is, and has always been, "You can't have too many books".
Last year, I made Great-Grandmother a shadow box with a picture of her great-grandchildren.

This years' gift is a memory album filled with bible verses, quotes, and poetry.

As you can see, this unique memory album enables you to open each new page to something new, like a window or opening a door to new discoveries.
 At the end, it closes on the last page with a bronze silk tied bow.

Not only does this memory album make a great gift for a great-grandmother, it's possibilities are endless.  Hmmm... maybe Mother's day too?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Momma's Mocha Cappuccino

Lately, I've been on a Mocha Cappuccino kick. It's so addicting, my husband has also been following the habit. After attending a recent Taste of Home show in November, I started flipping through the free copy of my Taste of Home Magizine and came across a recipe for Mocha Cappuccino. The recipe is as follows:  2/3 cup instant coffee, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup dry dairy creamer, 1 cup instant chocolate drink mix (like Nestle' or Ovaltine), 1/2 tsp of cinnimon, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg. Mix all ingrediants together and place in a container. Stir 3 tablespoons of mixture into 6 oz of hot water for some Mocha Cappuccino.
I used a recycled peanut butter container, took off the old label and created my own. This makes a great gift!

Monday, December 14, 2009

25 Days of Free Holiday Music

This month only, is offering a free downloadable MP3 song as they count down the 25 days of Christmas!!

The only thing you need to take advantage of this offer is to have an account.  Then from now until Christmas enjoy one free holiday song on your MP3 Player.

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Meal Planners for Teacher Gifts this Christmas

Every year, as Christmas approaches I'm always in a mad dash to come up with new ideas to give my children's teachers for gifts.  Last year, it was brownies in a jar, this year my local MOPS group made peppermint bark, bagged it, and put cute little tags on it. This year, however, I didn't make enough peppermint bark to go around to all the teachers during craft time. 

So this year, I thought it would be a neat idea to pass on the peppermint bark to the bus drivers and do something different for the teachers.

While standing in my local Michael's I picked up small weekly calendar pads that had the days of the week down one side and a shopping list down the other side.  Along with the calendar pads, they had matching recipe cards, note pads, and blank cards.

The cogs of creativity got to turning in the store and I brought home calander pads and recipe cards.   Then it was matter of getting out my Zutter Bind-It-All and with a few small helping hands to punch holes, another to do some artwork, and to-da!

These meal planners came together quite nicely, my son is exspecially proud of the books he made for his teacher as he punched, stamped, and picked out paper to help put them together. 

If you'd like to find out more about how I put this together you can check out the following article:

How to Create a Meal Planner Book

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Mood Journal gets a New Cover

Since the release of the 2010 Daily Mood Organizer, I got to thinking that perhaps the MOOD JOURNAL could use a small make over.  The old book cover seemed a little drab - it was totally black with white letters. So a a few weeks ago I went to work on creating a new cover for this journal, and this is what I came up with. 

The wheat blowing in the wind reminded me how sometimes our moods can shift the same way, north, south, east, west, and the open blue sky seemed inviting above the open field.  But that's just my perspective.
What do you think?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ways to Earn Cash Back While Shopping Online

The holiday season has a tendancy to clear out the last cent in our wallets, however, by shopping online you can not only avoid the crowds of black friday and last minute holiday shoppers, but take adantage of earning cash back, instant rebates, and rewards in addition to the perks of free shipping offered by many online merchants.

Here is a list of a few sites where you can SIGN UP for FREE and start earning cash back, instant rebates, and other types of rewards for shopping online all year round.

1. EBATES  This site list tons of shopping sites that give you instant cash back based on a percentage of the your total purchase price.  Checks are issued every quarter and can be deposited into your Paypal account, Bank account, or a paper check sent through the mail.  To date, I've saved over $100 using this site and have received my money right on time. :)

2. BING CASH BACK Get more BING for you buck through the popular search engine BING.  Create a new or use an exisiting MSN account to sign up for cash back.  It's easy, once you've signed up, search for specific products and you can earn up to $2500 a year in instant cash back savings!!  I've just recently stumbled over this site, but have already received 20% cash back on purchases.

3. MYPOINTS Although this site doesn't allow you to earn cash back, it does let you earn points that can be exchanged for gift cards to your favorite merchants like Target and Star Bucks.  You can earn points by reading emails, visiting merchant sites, taking surveys, and making purchases through participating merchants.  Personally, I save up all my points till around the holidays then cash in my points for gift cards that I then pass on to friends and family during the gift giving season.

4.  EBAY has started their own cash back program.  New and existing users and sign up and become eligible to earn cash back from purchases through this online auction site.  The cash back you earn will be sent in the form of a coupon to be used when making a purchase through eBay.  The usual amount is about 1% - 2% earned, but if you're searching for a bargain anyway, this might be the deal breaker that has you bidding.

While there appears to be many more sites online that offer the same incentives of earning cash back, I have not tried them all (there are too many) but would recommend these ones from past experience.

Check out my latest ehow article How To Earn Cash Back Shopping Online (Instant Rebates & Rewards).

My your days be filled with online savings and the blessing of giving to others this holiday season.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Salt Dough Ornaments

Today, I marked one major task off my holiday to-do list inside my holiday planner.

I'm happy to say it's beginning to feel like Christmas around our home.

The kids were excited and put oodles and oodles of handmade and commercial ornaments on our tree. Each one special in some sort of way, each child happy to find a place to hang something, and our tree actually starting to lean from the weight of their efforts.

For a moment we all stood and held our breath to see whether the tree topper, an angel, would stay atop without falling over on the tilted side of the tree.

All those salt dough ornaments we made pull a lot of weight when they're all placed on one side of tree.

One of the things I love most about salt dough ornaments, is that they are kid friendly for several reasons.

Salt dough ornaments are easy to make, you can paint and decorate them any way you want, and if they break - there's no sharp glass for young children or pets to get hurt.

Here's the recipe we use each year to bake up our holiday salt dough ornaments:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

1. Mix salt and flour.
2. Add in half the water, then gradually add the remaining water.
3. Knead until the dough is smooth, this can take up to 10 minutes.

Create Ornaments:
Simple holiday cookie cutters will do, or sculpt with your hands. If the dough gets too sticky use flour. Kids love making ornaments from salt dough, it's just like making stuff out of play dough or clay.

After your ornament creations are finished, lay them on a baking sheet. Take a straw and poke holes at the top before baking.

Turn your oven on you lowest setting or about 200 degrees. You'll want to let them bake for around 2 hours, depending on the thickness.

(Just don't let any new comers in the house bite into a sample thinking they're sugar cookies, they might think your a bad cook. lol..)

Once they cool, you can let your child paint them, glitter them, or decorate them further.

Cut ribbon and tie through the hole to hang. Or you can go to your local fabric shop and get remnant fabric, snip 1/2" down the fabric and tear in strips to use instead of ribbon.

I'm sure no matter how they turned out, they'll be beautiful on your tree this year, and the smiles on your children's faces will be well worth the effort to make your own salt down ornaments this year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Trip Around the Kitchen

One of the best things I love about family gatherings is the ability to take anything from the kitchen and prepare a feast for any number of people who have come in one house to be together and socialize .

The day after Thanksgiving is filled with long hours of traffic, crowds, shopping malls, and discount outlet stores. Yet, when the day is all over, everyone gets back together for a trip around the kitchen.

The evening is spent with women talking about bargains from stores, the men playing Euchre, and the children playing. The hours fly by, and before everyone knows it - it's time to leave and go back home.

I'm told this tradition, of my husband's family, began one evening when people were spread out into different groups, playing cards, socializing, and teenagers where hanging out in the kitchen wanting some snacks.

So my husband pulled left overs from the refrigerator, cheeses, meats, snacks from the cupboard like Frito's, pretzels, and crackers, and fruits from the counter. This was put together on plates, bowls, and platters on the kitchen counter. It has ever since become known as "Trip Around the Kitchen".

What do you have in your kitchen who is coming over?
What traditions will your family uphold this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preparing to Travel

Every Thanksgiving I'm grateful for the time I get to spend with my family, even if it means hours on end in the family taxi.

However, before that wholesome family time can begin a lot of planning, packing, and time is spent preparing for the days away from home and on the road.

If you are planning on traveling for Thanksgiving, here are a few things you may want to add to your "to-do list".

1. Water Plants.
2. Arrange for Pet Care (if your pet isn't coming along for the ride too).
3. Turn your thermostat down for the days you'll be away.
4. Make sure your home is secure by locking all the windows, doors, and removing hidden keys from outside around your house.
5. Set a radio and light on a timer. Those who don't know you're out of town will think your home.
6. Close blinds and curtains.
7. Clean up the kitchen, empty garbage cans, wash dishes, and dispose any items in refrigerator that won't be good when you come back.
8. Have at least one frozen dinner in the freezer when you get back, you'll be thankful for it later.
9. Check out the family taxi before you leave, tires, jacks, fluids... make sure your vehicle is road worthy for the trip.
10. Make sure you have a few dollars of cash for tolls or traveler's checks depending on where you're going.
11. Have the car charger for your cell phone and a calling card for areas you might not get service on your cell phone in an emergency.
12. Take care of any last minute bills that arrive and are due while you're away.
13. Catch up on your laundry while your packing, this way when you come home you only need to take care of the soiled clothes in your suitcases.
14. Pack an extra "fun bag" for the kids with books, games, and other amusements that are age appropriate for the ride. (we'll talk about this in another up coming blog. :) )
15. Take along plenty of snacks to prevent unnecessary fast food stops.
16. Don't forget your GPS, Maps, and directions.
17. Post a list of "what not to forgets" on the front door as your going in and out from packing the car, write on last minute items as you think of them, but don't get too carried away!!
18. Wear old comfortable shoes. Yes, you can get blisters inside the car too.
19. Give yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination.
20. Relax, it's going to be okay. You're family will remember this time always. :)

Make sure you use your travel itinerary and packing list in the free MRsCHADT Holiday Planner to help guide you as you prepare to leave. And, if your staying home this Thanksgiving, there's a meal planner and shopping list made especially for the occasion.

As always I'm thankful for my family, great friends, wonderful fans, and I don't have to cook the turkey this year. ;P

How about you?

To all of you, a blessed Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creating a Crisis Plan

We all know that life is easiest when things are going our way, but it's a different story when things turn upside down in a snap and become difficult. Unfortunately, we can't keep the inevitable downs from happening or plummeting further downward, however we can be prepared.

In the book,The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know the author talks about creating a crisis plan.

Whether your family suffers from bipolar disorder, depression, or not, it's always a good idea for families to create a crisis plan to help bring order to a otherwise chaotic time in your life. Like each fall when you and your children practice and learn about fire drills at the start of the school year, this same type of plan applies.

Start out by asking yourself, "If I were ever in trouble, who would I call?"

We teach our children from young ages to dial 911 in an emergency. However, there are crisis groups, and other people you may need to call or depend on given the type of situation.

It is hard for us sometimes to think that our significant others may not always be there for us when we need them, or visa versa. Sometimes there are those in our lives that are unable or unwilling to provide the support we need, and thus we must turn to other people in our lives when crisis occurs.

The first stage of creating a crisis plan is to take out a sheet of paper and list all those who answer the question above, "Who would you call?"

Make a list of family members closest to you (driving distance) and their phone numbers. Be sure to ask these family members about putting them on your list that you can rely on them when a crisis occurs.

Next go to your friends. Ask them the same thing.

These are people who will step up and provide childcare at anytime during the day or night if you have children who are too young to be left unattended, that can drive you to a hospital, or other places you may need to go, that can provide meals when you are unable to provide for yourself, and even those who are willing to listen and give you emotional support when you don't feel you're getting it anywhere else.

These people will become your core circle, and you may become part of theirs.

Once you have your crisis plan in order, post in a place where it can easily be found, a central place in the house and also keep a copy in your daily planner where you have it on you always. Go over this plan and share it with all the members of your household, make sure everyone is on track and understands what to do when a crisis occurs.

Remember, you can't prevent a crisis from happening in your life, but you can plan ahead for the day it does.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Free Shipping for our Military Men and Women

Yesterday I had my day all planned out: drop kids off at school, go to the bank, go to the post office, and pick kid up from preschool, then my afternoon would be free to household duties, and if I were lucky I'd have time to write.

Then as the morning progressed, my plans came to a stilted halt. It was Veteran's Day!!

Not only would the bank and post office be closed, what upset me more was I had forgotten such an important day.

So, as I began to reflect upon the day, be thankful for the veterans in my life and those I didn't even know, I got to thinking what one way I could show my support for those who have served us in the past and those men and women who serve us now.

Starting today, I'm free shipping on my books to AFO and APO addresses.

In order to receive this discount simply email the name and address (AFO or APO) and your order to me through my website at I will then send you an invoice reflecting the free shipping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Better Days Than These Ahead...

A few days ago, nothing seemed to be going right.

The household was falling apart - everyone was sick, the laundry piled to the ceiling, dishes over flowing the sink, and a husband who went to work without lunch.

Whatever task was written down for the day, went uncompleted. Those attempted tasks failed, and the only thing I could look forward to was a babysitter arriving in the evening to allow my escape of it all.

Only, the babysitter didn't show, and the hope that had carried me through the day dissipated like a knife slicing through butter. All around me was a household in chaos, and I began to cry.

Eventually, the babysitter came to rescue me twenty minutes before the event I had scheduled to go to with my local MOPS group. Every year, it has become a tradition to attend the Taste of Home Show at the theater in town.

After playing phone tag with a few friends, rushing to get there, I found my seat. As I watched the lady on stage begin to prepare foods, my eyes drifted, and I fell asleep. Somewhere around the time of chocolate fondue I realized what had happened, and felt embarrassed.

I'd been up since 5am, sick kids, sick self, running errands, doing the best I could to tend to the house, and finally when I made it through the day and began to unwind, I relaxed and took the rest I needed.

Mother's with young children can relate, I'm sure. Those sitting around me, sat and laughed and enjoyed the show, no one noticed I wasn't awake. Many of them, friends, could relate afterwards when I admitted my fault.

My mother said there would be days like these, and many more to come, but the one thing that gets me through the days ahead, better days, is no matter how tired, frustrated, or unproductive my days may be I can always cross one thing off my to-do-list for the day, even if I have to write it in first then cross it off. Like taking a nap. :)

So when the days seem endless, and the household seems like it's falling apart, tuck hope in your pocket that there are better days than these ahead.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Free Holiday Planner

Every year I tell myself that I'm not going to let the holiday's stress me out and I'm not going to get carried away in the spending spree that Christmas often invokes upon us.

Yet, each year, I get more and more stressed. I have less dollars to spend, kids who as they grow, so does the price of their gifts, and less time it seems to accomplish all the preparations of our home for the holidays.

Over the years, I've compiled lists of guiding me through the holidays. To help me keep track of my spending, the people i need to buy gifts for, sending out Christmas cards, planning my Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, and even planning out my New Year's day.

I've got list for online and catalog shopping, handmade gifts, mailing gifts, and grocery lists.

A few weeks ago, I sat in my MOPS group listening to the women praise how lists have helped build their self-esteem and give them that feeling of accomplishment. Even if it means writing down something they've already done and crossing it off for the day.

This holiday season, I'd like to share with all of you my Holiday Planner. It's FREE!

You can go to and print it out.

I've also added a link to it on this blog.

Let me know what you think, and how your holiday's went.

Wishing you a joyful, family filled, holiday.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Welcome... Just Don't Expect Much

Yesterday morning, while I was headed into the grocery store, I walked past a display of door mats. One caught my attention, it said, "Welcome. Just dont expect much."

I thought "wow", and I stood there for a moment, child in arms, and stared at it. Boy, did I need that welcome mat, but over the course of gathering my groceries I talked myself out of it.

First of all, it was'nt too inviting, and although meant to be humuros, it could also be taken the wrong way.

But as I shopped though, I couldn't help but thinking about all the expectations that have been bestowed upon me when I walked through the front door of my home, or when I greet someone at that very same door.

Welcome. Just don't expect much.

When my husband walks through the door he expects three things of me:
1. I'll be home.
2. To be greeted at the door.
3. Supper will be on the table.

But my husband isn't the only one who has expectations of me, so do my children. My oldest child expects me to be at the bus stop on time and see that we get home safely. Then after walking through the front entrance of our home, my oldest child also looks to me as a source of information for tutoring homework assignments, and my other children look at me as a source of getting their next meal, entertaining them, and readng to them during the day. At night, I'm expected to orchastrate the clean up of supper, bath time of children, and tucking-in at bedtime. In addition to household chores and seeing to our home's maintenance.

Those are a lot of expectations to bring through the door. The list above could go on and on, and somedays I feel as if I'd like to shed those expectations, wipe my feet of them, and leave them on the mat while I serve a new purpose - one for myself.

Yet, I have a whole new list of expectations for myself. Just don't expect much. I don't, I expect everything from myself. Sometimes, when keeping up with the household, I, like many others I know, get stuck in a rut of "If I don't do it, it will never get done."

In most cases that maybe true, but more often than not, we would not have to do it alone if we asked, accept help from others, and voiced our need to those offering to help us. It's like stopping to ask for directions when you'd much rather keep driving around and around trying to find the right place to turn--only to become increasingly faustrated later.

Turning our expectations in the right direction is the first step of not letting expectations overwhelm you. Accepting there will always be expectations of yourself - by you and from others, elevates the weight expectations put on our shoulders and pull you down.

We fall when we let someone pull the mat out from under us. We stumble at the sight of another expectation finding it's way to increase the weight of our daily responsibilities. Yet, we strive best when we are able to take those expectations and rationalize them, make lists out of them, and take baby steps to achieve the ones most important to use.

Perhaps the next time someone walks up to my door they'll read a door mat that says "Welome. Expect the unexpected."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Turn Back Your Clocks!

I'm so excited, today not only are we turning back our clocks one hour, but as I sit here and type I cannot help but think back to where I've been and look forward to the next three months filled with family oriented holidays.

Where as most people were probably looking forward to one hour more of sleep this morning, I on the other hand found myself with one hour more to write in the quiet bliss before the pitter-patter of little feet sound through the hallway of my home. What a rare treat!

Today is the marking of many things for me. Yesterday, we celebrated halloween, and I had the blessing of being able to serve others and shared this occassion with my children as we decided it would be more fun to handout treats to our neighborhood kids, then go out trick or treating and leave our porch light off. Since my children had already induldged in Halloween parties and trick-or-treat a previous night, last night came as a great joy.

Not only was I able to hand out treats to others, but recieve a treat of my own. It came in the mail, offically released TODAY, the 2010 DAILY MOOD ORGANIZER is now available on my website at or you will also see it appearing in a few days on

That and serving the children of the community for halloween, I think made this the best holiday I've had so far. We'll see... Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are on their way.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sock Goblin

Around Halloween it comes as no surprise to see ghost, ghouls, and goblins out and about.

Yesterday, I participated in a fun filled morning with my children at preschool. One of the games we played was "Guess the Goblin". A child would hide under a black sheet and another child would go out of the room, then come back to guess which child was the goblin hiding under the sheet. This went on for a good hour, filled with laughs and guesses, until all the children had taken a turn.

Coming home, my little goblins and I went about doing our afternoon chore - the laundry. Sometime in the midst of when my children's socks were on their feet to the time they went through the laundry, a few were missing.

So, we blamed it on the Sock Goblin.

Who knows, maybe you have a Sock Goblin in your house too. How else can we explain why at the end of doing the household laundry that socks are left without matches? My preschooler has decided that the Sock Goblin eats socks, while my other children feel the Goblin simply wears the socks and we get missing socks when the Goblin needs a new outfit.

Whatever the explanation, all I know is I've got a growing accumulations of mismatched socks. So, why doesn't the Sock Goblin take them instead of those which already have a mate?

Good question. One I'm sure my children would be happy to elaborate on during dinner when we often have discussion such as this. I'm sure, they will have a good explaination for it when I ask them tonight.

What kind of Goblins do you have in your house this Halloween?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recharging Your Batteries

My sister-in-law contacted me last week wanting wish lists for Christmas. Christmas, I thought, it's not even Halloween!! But alas, I've been singing holiday tunes ever since and started making lists.

Recently, one of the things I've been thinking about getting is a LeapFrog Leapster and been doing my homework.

If your child already has a Leap Frog Leapster, or your thinking of getting one, then you'll want to check out this article on keeping them charged.

Let me know what you think.

How to Choose a Recharging System For Your Child's LeapFrog Leapster Hand-held Gaming System

Friday, October 23, 2009

Heating up Your Space

Whenever we get closed to the end of fall, when Halloween is upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the bend, I think about how going to heat up the house this winter and keep everyone warm.

Space heaters, if used properly, are a great way to heat up just one room while the rest of the house remains at a cooler tempature to save on heating bills.

Check out my latest article on How To Size a Space Heater.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2010 Daily Mood Organizer.

It's been a busy month as I've been prepping and working on getting the new 2010 Daily Mood Organizer ready for publication. I've been very excited about the new cover and finaly received it this morning. I couldn't wait to share it with everyone.

I should be receiving the proof copy here in a week or so, and the mood organizer should be available on Amazon before Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meal Planning 101

One of the main compliants of most families is they get tired of eating the same thing over an over again. It's like getting your tires stuck in a rut and needing a little shove to get out. That's why most of the time I try to plan my meals ahead, at least by a week.

Once a week, usually on a wednesday, I sit down and figure out what's for supper for the next week. I pull out my cookbooks, take a look at what's going on that evening, and begin my meal planning.

Yesterday, an old friend of mine sent me a link, this month I may try it. This website promises to not only to cut my grocery bill each month in half, but to help organize and plan my meals according to where I shop, number of people I'm feeding, and type of diet.


I'll keep you posted next month on how it actually works out. As a mother, freelance writer, and not to forget - wife. I'm willing try anything new that might give me more time to spend with my family and cut my grocery bills, especially in today's economy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Madness Monday

Mondays always seem to be madness in our house. It's like Saturday and Sunday aren't long enough then the alarm clock goes of and everyone is in a mad dash on Monday morning to get to the places they need to go. Husband to work, kids to school, then a trashed out to clean - left over from the weekend.

Yesterday's project of cleaning the house lead me to protecting those new laminate floors we just installed. I believe you can read the article from an earlier post. So, I spent the afternoon making felt chair floor protectors for my dining room chairs.

Being a crafty and innovated person, most of us housewives are, I was able to make these felt chair floor protectors for mere pennies, and so can you!!

Check out my article at ehow:


Through the madness of it all, there is progress on a monday. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bye Bye Hardwood, Hello Laminate

For the past two years I've treaded softly across our hardwood floors, but not in fear of scratching them. On the contrary it has been just the opposite, so that the floor would not scratch me. Two years later, too many splinters to count, I finally had it with our unfinished hardwood floors.

This past weekend it was new hardwood cherry laminate floors that graced my home, and I did it with the help of my family.

Check out my article and discover how cost effective and easy it is for you to do yourself.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's Coming!

For the past several months I've been editing, revising, and putting together, by popular demand, the new 2010 Mood Organizer.

Thanks to the special talents of a man who likes graphic arts, this year's cover is fresh, and holds a lot more character than the drab flat standard cover we daubed in last year.

Although, same calender, there's a whole lot new stuff going on inside the 2010 version. The charts are still there, the calender, and the I.A.M Score (TM) is there too. But I've added new lists, a few new helpful charts, some recipes, and a tad encouragement.

The 2010 Mood Organizer is scheduled for print this coming month in September. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Winding Up For The Pitch

As a writer, one of the hardest things can be preparing your book to pitch to an editor or agent. You slave away for hours, months, and even years until your polished and perfect.

Then it all comes down to putting 50,000, 70,000, or 100,000 and more words down into one summarized sentence.

How do you do that?

Any experienced writer will tell you it comes with time and practice, but the inexperienced writer to get started, it's not so easy and can become faustrating.

That's why I recommend anyone trying to write a pitch line for a novel or screenplay to read this article:

Got your pitch line, working on your own? Post it here, I'd love to read it. I'll share my own once I've perfected it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Preparing to Travel

Ahh... Summer, the time when we most often pack our suitcases and head off to destinations like the beach, Disney World, family reunions, and Grandma's house.

Whether you are packing for yourself or someone else, here are a few general tips to help you reduce stress, ensure you have what you need, and have a fun trip.

1. Make a list for each person you're packing for, yourself, your children, your spouse, or everyone.
2. Pull out the suitcases a few days early.
3. Aim to pack three to four days in advance.
4. If you are packing for more than one person for the trip, tackle packing one person at a time to ensure you don't over look any necessary items or mix up items in other suitcases.
5. Choose one day to do various task before you leave on your trip. Don't try to do everything in one day, or you will most likely end up frustrated, tired, and come up short with other people.
6. The day before the trip, check your suitcases against your list one final time and double check our travel arrangements.
7. Create a household schedule, such as taking out the trash, plan meals, and pet duty for anyone who might be staying home or pet and house sitters.
8. Let your house sitter, pet sitter, a neighbor or family member know where you are going, when you'll be gone, and how to reach you in an emergency.
9. Grab a few snacks and at least one bottle of water for the trip for each person going. It's amazing how fast one gets while traveling.
10. Relax and enjoy your trip.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Planning a Yard Sale Venture

Warm weather brings inside us a bug that itches until we've cleaned out our homes and once more fine satisfying relief. For many of us the old stuff we no longer need, use, or want is tossed aside to be either donated, given away, or sold on various venues such as online auction or yard sales.

If you are considering having a yard sale this summer, than here are some recommendations to plan and organize your yard sale event.

1. Pick a date for your yard sale, and a alternate date for possible rain out.
2. Choose an empty space, such as a garage or basement, to start piling your yard sale items in advance.
3. Give yourself plenty of time to sort through stuff, go through every room of the house, and find items for sell. But, not too much time that you are pulling things back out of the pile.
4. Mark items for sale by stickers or by making signs and attaching to tables. If you have a lot of clothes you may just want to make a sign saying "clothes $1.00 each" or something similar.
5. Don't forget to advertise, unless you live on a heavily traffic area, nobody will find you and your yard sale will be left without any customers. Make sure to put an ad in the local newspaper, create signs and hang at cross sections of streets with arrows pointing towards your location, and spread the news by word of mouth - tell all your friends, your church group, and ask them to tell their friends.
6. Try to lay out things on tables or hang up for the view of people going down the road past your location. Often, people will stop at a yard sale because they noticed something of interest as they were driving down the street. If you don' t have a lot of tables, ask to borrow from a friend, make your own with your significant other's saw horses and boards, or use blankets spread on the lawn.
7. Post a large sign in your yard announcing "Yard Sale Today" and even the time you plan on conducting the sale. Sometime having a lot of stuff laying out in your front yard or an open garage door doesn't always signal to people your selling it - they might just think you have a lot of junk.
8. Prices are always negotiable at a yard sale. If you have a particular item you wish to get a minimum price, mark it slightly higher in value to give your buyer room to negotiate, then they will walk away feeling like they got a good bargain. Your goal is to sell as much as your stuff you've laid out as possible, the more you sell is the less you have to drag back inside the house.
9. Keep sufficient change (money) available such as quarters and dollars. You don't want to run short and have to run to the bank in the middle of your sale, or leave your buyer hanging due to a shortage of cash flow.
10. Send your children off to Grandma's house for the day. This is especially helpful if you are selling some toys that they never play with anymore, but once they see them will decide they need them back.
11. Take off sales stickers, call your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or Rescue Workers and schedule pick up or drop off of your unsold items. You can deduct the unsold items later on your taxes.
12. Before the sale begins, make yourself a goal, such as that household item you have always wanted and commit towards putting your yard sale profits towards that item. Later, you will have gotten something for getting rid of everything and feel good about it.
13. Have fun, invite a friend over to sit with you or bring a few items over they need to sell too.
14. Inform your neighbors of your intentions of having a yard sale, as they too may decide to have one the same day and make your street more appealing to people out seeking yard sales.
15. Don't get stressed or fret, ask for help if you feel overwhelmed with getting everything set up and running for the day.

When you plan your yard sale ahead, organize your items, and relax and have fun with what your doing it makes having a yard sale so much more enjoyable and fun.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Organizing Time Management

There are 365 days in a year, 54 weeks, 7 revolving days, 24 hours in a day, and never enough time.

Am I right?

Every day is cramed full of things that need done from a list that doesn't ever seem to end. There are appoints to attend, children that need picked up or taken places, and very little time to one self.

There is always someone or something tugging you in different directions and all them seem to be running against the ticker on your watch.

I've heard the expression many times, as I'm sure you have, "if only there were more time in the day."

What I've come to realize is - it's not about more time in your day, it's about MAKING time in your day work for you.

It boils down to a little time management.

I, more than most I know, am guilty of misjudging my time. I'm fifteen minutes late instead of early. I miss appoints because I didn't account for road construction and young kids don't go potty before we leave the house and need a pit stop half way through the trip of where you need to go.

I once read an article that said you must pick your priorities in order to have better time management - HA!

When your priorities are your spouse, your kids, running your household, and maybe a job on the side - there are no way to order those many priorities efficiently.

I've found, lately, the best way to time management is, are you ready..... a watch and a personal planner.

My personal planner stores everything I need for running my household and keeping my priorities exactly what they are - priorities.

I even schedule my own private time along with time to make dinner, time to play with the kids, time to spend with the spouse, appointment times, work times, errands, and helps keep me on track.

What keeps your time organized and helps you manage your day?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

10 Ways to Organize Your Filing System

Filing cabinets get overwhelmed quickly with the paper we stash there. Files from A-Z and tons of miscellaneous folders end up in home office filing.

Here are 10 ways to de-clutter and organize your home filing system.

1. Label your content
2. Color code your folders (example: yellow for home warranties, green for financial, blue for medical, orange for bill paying, red for items needing immediate attention, and so forth...)
3. Alphabetize your filing system. Within each color of folders you may have more than one folders. For example: Finances can be split into multiple folders for - loans, bills needing paid, bills paid, insurance, and taxes.
4. After a year has passed clean out all the receipts from your filing, if you stash them all year long and create a box for them that can be stored elsewhere. (IRS states you must keep receipts of expense and income for seven years in case of an audit.)
5. Make sure you are using an appropriate sized filing cabinet - small, medium, large. We tend to fill things when the appear empty only to take up the space.
6. Every file in your filing system needs to serve a purpose. Eliminate "Miscellaneous" files as much as possible. This will ease frustrations later when trying to find documents.
7. Have a stash box near your phone, computer, or anywhere you normally lay your mail. Take this box and sort weekly. File way the papers you need to keep and trash the rest.
8. Designate one area in your home for your home office and filing system. It's easier to accomplish household tasks, like paying bills if all the files are in one area.
9. Keep important documents such as, birth certificates, home and car titles, savings bonds, and wills in a fire proof - locked box rather than an ordinary filing cabinet for protection.
10. Review your filing system yearly, take out old files you no longer need, and create new ones for children or other life events to keep your household organized.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Office Organization - Book Shelves

I've spent the last few days cleaning up piles of papers laying around my office and finding homes for books.

As an advid book reader, I have found there are too many books, and too little shelves to place them. So what is one to do with all those books?

Here are a few solutions I've recently discovered for organizing books and decluttering my book shelves.

1. Sort through books and decide upon which ones are keepers. Those you can part will put in a seperate pile.
2. Put your keeper pile on your book shelves first. Place then by catagory, subject, our frequently read.

Alternatives to bookshelves:

1. Crates make great book shelves, you can stack them and arrange them anyway that suits you and the best part is, if you need to move your books, you just pick up one crate at a time. This way you don't have to clear off the books in order to move the bookcase.

2. Regular shelving units can be used for books on wall, make sure you use secure brackets that can take on the weight, and postion several in a row or stagered to display your favorite reads.

Sharing, Trading, and Just Getting Rid of a Few Books.

It's really hard sometimes for a book lover to get rid of any of their books, but if your trading a book for another book you really want to read, or temporarily sharing it with a freind or circle of friends, it doesn't seem so bad.

1. Create a trading circle around friends where you can swap books from each others bookshelves and give them back when your done.

2. Trade books with friends, or online. - offers free books when you swap, trade, or exchange your used books with other book club members for free.

3. Donate books to local libraries and charties like Goodwill, Church rummage sales, or Community Centers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Organizing Itch

The two things I love most - besides my family - is sewing and writing. Lately, however, I've had the organzing itch.

Whether your a mom with three kids, like me, or just have a hetic schedule in general, it pays to be organized.

Today, I organzied my kitchen. I got rid of the piles of completed school work from my oldest that had started to tilt off the water cooler and threaten to spill across the floor. I sorted them into piles of keep and toss. The toss pile went straight into the garbage. The keep pile, I sorted again. I put things in order ofwhere they needed to go and filed them.

Then I moved on to my cupboards. I'm quite proud, I arranged my pantry and set up my lazy susan in an order where things were easy to find, even for my youngest, who will most likely mess up my organized lazy susan before supper time tomorrow.

What didn't need to be on my countertop I put away. If it didn't have a place I made one for it repectfull of how often I use it. Most things just went into the laundry room cupboard.

When I was finished I wiped my kitchen down. I didn't scrub, but wiped it down. It took less than an hour.

Tomorrow, I'm up for organizing my office. I have piles of writings that need files and put in some order that I can find them as I proceed from project to project. It would be nice to have everything pertaining to one manuscript, planner, or journal in a binder of file rather than the piles on the floor and over my desk.

I'll let you know howit turns out. Baby steps, but I may just find I have more time for the things I love- like family, writing, and sewing if I could find what I'm looking for rather than swiming in the footnotes with my kids searching for a quote.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Slug Bug

For the past several days I have been infected by "the slug bug". That's what I like to call it, when you don't have enough energy to do anything, nor the ambition to want to do something, so you become a slug.

Other's may just call it the symptoms of the common cold. Fatigue, stuffy nose, head ache. Yep, all comes with the slug bug. But it has been great for writing these past few days. Too stuffed up to sleep, so I've been reading while my eyes will allow me, and writing when my mind isn't throbbing from a headache Because,as any parent of small children knows, rest and slumber during the day are just not possible.

I've managed to add two new chapters to the novel I'm working on and submit two new articles to my website. So all is not lost to the slug bug after all.

My oldest was sweet enough to offer to make me breakfast this morning, instead of the other way around, I was touched, and even though I couldn't phantom having an appetite I ate the bannana she gave me anyway.

It's nice to be taken care of some times. My oldest has even been trying every night for me to spend time on the wii fit just doing yoga or walking to keep active.

So until the slug bug passes, I shall stay warm, in good company of my kids, and await the burst of energy that comes when the common cold dispurst from my body.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hip To Be Fit

It has been seventeen days now since Christmas passed. I did'nt bother making any New Year's resolution. I didn't want to look back at the end of 2009 and depress myself by not reaching the goal. Alot of us do that, we set goals we are never able to attain.

I have one life goal yet I hope to accomplish, and it will take more than all of 2009 to fullfill it, but perhaps 2010 will be the year of completion. I talk of writing a book, but while that is still in progress. This year I'm simpling working on getting a little healthier, a little more fit, and a little more organized.

For Christmas, Santa was quite generous to us. The whole family got a Nintendo Wii. I got a Wii Fit. At first, I thought okay, it's just a game I'll play and pretend to exercise. Boy, was I wrong. I say it has been seventeen days since Christmas, because everyday I step onto my Wii Fit and do my Body Test. Wii Fit keeps track of my BMI, Weight, activities (game play), and time spent each day. It's become addicting. In a good way.

I've gone from being Obese to Overweight in those sevendays. That and with a little help from my health insurances' weight management program. To give you and idea of what shape I really am, I have lost about 7 lbs to date.

Whoo Wee.... the baby fat is finally starting to dwindle after three babies. It is actually energizing and refreshing to look at my chart each morning and see the changes I have been making. My kids don't realize they too are excersing and just not playing a game, but I won't tell them if you won't.

In all the snow and blistering cold temperatures it is nice to have a home gym at our disposal. Now, I have simply to just wait my turn.


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