Thursday, January 26, 2012

Simplify Your 2012

Tips and Tricks to Simplify 2012

  Maybe it's the craziness of the holidays that causes us to crave simplicity and streamlining in January!  Maybe the new year makes us ready for a fresh start.  Perhaps we just get cabin fever because we live Michigan during the long wintertime.  Whatever the reason, here are some ideas to simplify your daily life.  Thanks to all who contributed ideas!  You are all such intelligent, resourceful women!
  • Use a shoe organizer on back of kids' doors to organize and allow them to see small toys or barbies etc. It is great to organize mittens and hats also. - Marie F.
  • I love baskets for organizing from the office & van to the kitchen & bathroom. My favorite is the divided basket usually used for utensils & plates. In the van, I have it between the driver & passenger seats with cds/ DVDs, drink, sunglasses, etc. In the bathroom cupboard, extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairspray, etc. In the office, pens, pencils, markers, tape, stapler, etc. - Teri R.
  • Always start a party (or every day if possible) with an empty dishwasher so you can load as you need to.  It also makes cleanup go much more quickly! - Kate W.
  • Create a car kit by stocking your car's trunk for winter-weather emergencies.  Include a compact shovel, ice scraper, flashlight, sand or cat litter, flares, a heavy blanket, and warm clothing. - Martha Stewart
  • Prep as much as possible for meals in advance (cut up vegetables on Sunday, plan meals). - Sue F.
  • Use liquid dish washing soap to remove grease stains on clothes. - Wanda D 
  • 4 steps to throwing a great party: 1.  Choose a party theme that you can work with.  2. Delegate tasks to save time.  3. Create unique and entertaining activities for guests.  4. Provide music and food that everyone will like. -
  • I pack lunches and school snacks the night before. I also get back packs, clothes and anything else needed for school the night before. When it is time to get ready, the kids eat, dress themselves with picked out clothing and grab their backpacks/lunches that are ready to go. Makes my mornings 100% easier. Especially with 5 kids. - Aimee B.
  • Labeled tubs for toys makes clean-up easy with little ones. We also have a rule that toys live on a certain floor to prevent mom from always running around looking for that certain item (especially with toddlers who can't get everything themselves). - Sue F.
  • Stress wise, try not to worry what other people think of your kids' behavior . There will always be people who disapprove and who knows why. They don't know your kids or what kind of day they or you have had. I always regret it when I put others opinions of me above my kids. - Kendra D.
  • Don't throw away bananas that are getting overripe.  Put them in the freezer and use them later in smoothies and banana bread. - Kate W.
  • Teach [kids] at young ages to do things themselves. [My school-age girls] pick their clothes, hair, teeth, breakfast, school bags, lunches, etc. - Lydia M.
  • How to get wax out of a votive holder: Place the votive holder in a freezer. Leave it in place for at least an hour.  Remove the votive holder from the freezer. Turn it upside down, and hit the bottom hard with the palm of your hand several times. If the wax does not pop out, use a spoon or butter knife to pry around the edges until it comes loose.  Wash the votive holder in warm, soapy water, and dry it with a soft cloth. -
  • Choose volunteer work carefully and say no! That is the hardest. - Sue F. 
  • The best thing I ever did when I was working was hire a cleaning person (instead of date nights, we used our cleaning lady to save our marriage). When I am off [from work], I hire a junior high student to play with the girls while I clean. That way, I can get it mostly done in a day and it is much more cost-effective. - Sue F.
  • If you haven't worn it in the past 2 months GET RID OF IT. If you don't use it, GET RID OF IT. No matter how cute it is IF YOU DON'T USE IT, GET RID OF IT. - Joanna R.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jumpin' January

 Okay, don't get mad, but I'm not ready to put all of my winter decorations away in favor of spring.  It's going to be winter for a long while here in Michigan, so I don't want to jump the gun : )  
My mantle is sporting some Venetian glass as well as the Framework Urn.

 A fun bird's nest my mom got at an after-Christmas sale.  Thanks mom!

 I love using Scrabble pieces to convey messages in our entryway.  My demibottle (from the Demibottle Trio) holds a wintery pick.

 I love the Aldridge Wire Cloche in the new Willow House spring catalog.  I've got a little "X" and "O" in there right now in honor of Valentne's Day.