Sunday, February 26, 2012

29 Day Organizational Challenge Week 3 Update...only 4 days left!

 Are you wondering what happened to my week 2 update?  Yeah, well, I didn't really have any progress.  This week I kicked my butt in gear and got SOMETHING accomplished.  I started this week by revisiting Laura's PROCESS to get organized.  My Basement doubles as a storage/play room, so I still need to be a bit creative.  My biggest problem is the clutter and I need to purge!  Another problem I have is my darling sons constantly get into stuff that they aren't supposed to because I have it left out in the open.  First,  I finished organizing the only closet in the basement to house those items.

If you remember, this is what my closet looked like last time:

Here is the final product: 

On the left hand side, I put on my Thirty One supplies. On the right side I have my craft/school supplies organized.  I wanted to make sure I put these items in the closet because Little Bro would have a heyday with the markers, stickers, glue and anything else he could get his hands on.  I LOVE having a spot for everything.  Luckily, I already had the containers on hand.  The clear shoe boxes were a bargain find at Kroger for $0.15 each this past summer. I went a little crazy with the labels, but I love knowing what is in every box.

After I finished the closet, I started to tackle the mountain of totes in the storage area.  I couldn't really remove all the items out of the room because I would have nowhere to put them.  So I started by making piles and designating certain spots of the room for each category.  I then labeled boxes/totes: Donate, Garage Sale, Craigslist, Trash and even one for my sister-in-law who is having a baby.  It felt really good to purge!  I am not finished, but I would like to go through each and every tote in the basement so I can downsize my storage area and have more room for the kids to play.

All of this is leaving my house!  

My Garage Sale Pile 

While I was purging, I also found two projects that required my immediate attention.  The first was this entire laundry basket containing a little bit of everything.  I am pretty sure it was the result of an unexpected visitor.  I must have grabbed everything I could, stuffed it in the basement, and forgot about it. 

This took me one evening, but I found the home for every item in this basket or if it didn't have a home it went bye-bye.  Now my laundry basket is where is should be: in the laundry room! 

My other little project was this bin filled with greeting cards.  I originally had what I thought was a great way to organize them, but obviously it wasn't working.

This is my new system:  

It is questionably whether I will finish by Wednesday, but I am motivated to finish this project as soon as possible.  I am hoping with 2-3 hours of work each night, I will at least get the totes gone through and eliminate at least half!  Wish me luck!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kid Craft: S is for Snowman!

Today we woke up to something that we have not seen much of this winter:  Snow! Yes, for about ten minutes it snowed quite hard and then turned into light flurries.  The boys and their cousins (I was babysitting my sweet niece and darling nephew) were really excited to see the snow and immediately asked if they were going to be able to go outside and play.  Unfortunately, they were quite disappointed when I told them no.  However, that gave me an idea.  We could just make a snowman inside today!

Last week when I was assigned to teach the letter "S" to Big Brother's preschool class, I had found this great snowman craft to do.  Big Bro finished & brought a snowman home last week. Since Little Bro and my Sweet Niece hadn't, well then, they could make one today!  After all, I had all the material on hand.  We did have to wait till the two youngest children were taking naps.  The kids really enjoyed this craft, so I thought I'd share.

Materials you will need:

(Love Little Bro's face in this one...he was screaming "CHEEEEEESE!" Yes,his shirt is about ten sizes too big for him, but it's a "work" shirt like Daddy's and he had to wear it. Gotta pick your battles!)
  • Blue Construction Paper
  • Cotton Balls
  • Pip Cleaners, sticks, or anything that would work for the Snowman's arms
  • Googly Eyes
  • Black Felt, Orange Felt, and whatever color you would like for the Snowman's scarf & mittens 
  • Buttons, Little Puffs, or anything that could work on the Snowman for buttons
  • Glue, Scissors 
  • And of course, several eager children  

Make your snowman by drawing circles using glue and then covering the glue with cotton balls.

 Then, adorn it with a hat, gloves, scarf, arms, eyes, nose, mouth and buttons. 

(Could my niece be any cuter?)

Finally, hang up your snowman for a cute winter decoration! 

***NOTE: Here is the original link to the craft and specific details.   I cannot take credit for this adorable little snowman.  


Super Swagbucks Friday: 140 Swagbucks for New Sign Ups!

Every Friday is Mega Swagbucks Day, which means bigger, better Swagbucks are given out!! I just earned 10 this morning for searching "Swagbucks Friday". 

If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks, you can receive an extra 110 Swagbucks when you use the code BIRTHDAYBASH12 when signing up for a new account. You’ll also receive the standard 30 points, so you’ll get a total of 140 free Swagbucks if you’re a first-time sign-up!
This offer is valid through February 27, 2012.

What is SwagBucks?  Swagbucks  is a search engine where you earn "bucks" for searching the internet   -    AND by redeeming FREE codes, answering poll questions, referring  friends (whatever they win by searching, you earn buck for buck up to 1000 per referral!), among other things to earn rewards such as gift  cards (to Amazon, GAP, Starbucks, Barnes & Nobles, iTunes.....), apparel, video games, electronics and much more.  Join HERE and start earning!!

You can go to and search, or you can choose to set  it as your homepage, add the toolbar, and/or make it your default search bar to use it.  I've made it the default search engine and our homepage so when we get online I automatically just "search" for wherever I need to go. 
The first time I get online each day I go to the "Earn" tab at the top of the Swagbucks page and do these three things to earn a 4 Swagbucks in about a minute...
  • Click on "Trusted Surveys" for 1 buck (you can complete surveys for more, but just going to the page will get you one instantly)
  • Then I click "NOSO" under that same tab and click through the offers (without entering info) and am awarded 1 buck at the end
  •  Finally, I go to  "Daily Poll" and answer the question for another buck! 
There are other ways to earn (like watching their videos and things),  but those are the three I do every day, along with searching of course.

You can redeem your Swagbucks for lots of things.   I like redeeming them for Amazon gift cards because they don't  take  long to earn and are great to have "on  hand" for the really great deals.  You can store them in your Amazon account so they are there when you need them.   Currently it takes 450 Swagbucks to earn a $5 gift card.  I redeemed over $60 in gift cards from Swagbucks before Christmas and haven't made much of an effort to get them.  It's a super easy way to earn rewards for doing what you already do!!

It's easy to sign up and easy to use - I love seeing that "buck" show up when I've won one! 
Remember,  I don't recommend anything that I don't/wouldn't use myself.  I  personally like Swagbucks a LOT!  Just click HERE and start searching! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Whatcha Eatin': Monday, February 20th

Wow, the weekend flew by! We had a wonderful one!   We were able to have a little date night on Saturday. We have only had a total of three date nights in the past 4 1/2 years, so we enjoy every one of them!  We spent a little time shopping for a new kitchen/dining table.  We have been saving for the last year to replace the one that we currently have.  We did end up finding one that we liked and paid cash for it.  What a relief not to  have another payment!  After a our furniture shopping, we hit Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  This may surprise you, but it was a first for both of us.  I guess that shows how little we get out!  It was so nice to eat without having to refill drinks, wipe up spills, etc.  Then, we hit up Dick's Sports and shopped for the hubby.  It was a wonderful night. We can't wait for our next one, which will probably be at least six months! 

I didn't really have a lot of energy while planning my menu after our date, so it might seem a bit boring.  However, I must recommend that you try out the Sour Cream Ritz Chicken.  It is super easy and very tasty!
Here is what we are eating this week:  

Monday:  Sour Cream Ritz Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans 

Tuesday:  Broccoli Cheese Soup, Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches 

Wednesday: Beef Stroganoff,  Noodles, Green Beans, Rolls 

Thursday:  Cheesy Enchilada Hamburger Helper (The only one my husband will let me make!), Mixed Fruit

Friday: Cheeseburgers on the grill or griddle, French Fries, Baked Beans, Cottage Cheese 

Saturday: Homemade Pizza, Veggies & Dip, Chips 

Sunday: Dinner with Family

I am linking this up with other bloggers at Organizing Junkie's blog.  Please join me! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Making the Most of End-of-Season Sales

A week ago, the zipper on Big Brother's winter coat broke.  With at least one more month of winter, I needed to find a way to repair or replace it.  When I found out the cost to replace the zipper through a local seamstress was $20.00, I decided it was best to find a new one.   Luckily, I was able to find some time yesterday to run into our local Bergner's and shop the end-of-season sale. Boy, was I happy that I did!  I was able to purchase 1 winter coat (hat included), 7 long sleeved t-shirts, 2 hooded sweatshirts, 2 pairs of leggings, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of athletic pants, and 1 pair of pajamas for $74.10.  The brands included London Fog, Osh Kosh, Carters, and Ruff Hewn.  All of the items will be good for next winter with the exception of one of the outfits for Baby Sis, which she will start wearing right away.  I was thrilled!!!  By shopping at the end of the season, I was able to save over $200! Ready to do some bargain shopping?  Read these tips first: 

1. Shop at the Right Time.  Most stores do their markdowns on Wednesday.  Most sales start on Thursday.  So ideally, the best time to shop would be Thursdays.  Also, if you like buying ahead for your children, the best time to get super cheap winter clothes would be end of January/early February.  I likely missed out on some things, but luckily I was able to find what I needed.  For summer, usually late July is best. 

2. Ditch the Kiddos, or enlist in help.  We all have had the screaming child in the checkout line.  Well, if you want to do any bargain shopping, it will take some time and children usually aren't very patient.   Find a "free" sitter, either Grandma or Grandpa, or make hubby stay home with the kiddos.  If that doesn't work,  bring the kids, but find a friend to come along and help out with the little ones.  In my case, I was able to leave the boys home with Dad and took Baby Sis along.  I also had help from my mother who was my shopping buddy.

3. Ask for a Price Check.  It never fails, there is always an item or two on the rack that is not priced.  Instead of assuming it was placed there on accident, get a price check.  I found a pair of Osh Kosh athletic pants on the 70% off rack yesterday without any price.  It was the only pair on the rack, so I started assuming that they were misplaced.  However, I asked for a price check and found out that they were $4.80.  Score!

4. Compliment Your Salesperson. Whenever you ask for help from a salesperson, make sure you compliment them.  "Wow, you have been really helpful." or "I really appreciate your hard work."  or even a personal compliment works.   When the salesperson knows that they are appreciated, they will be more willing to keep helping you. If you had a really good experience, do the online survey and mention the salesperson's name or talk to a manager and let them know how helpful that person has been.  Just like people remember rude customers, they will also remember especially grateful ones! 

5. Check the Displays.  Even though the product lines may have changed, a lot of the times the displays have not been updated yet.  Therefore, the displays may contain items that are on sale.  Yesterday, I was so bummed when I checked the entire boys section for a winter coat and nothing came up.  Then, I let me eye wander up and I saw one lonely winter coat on display.  It looked like Big Brother's size, so I called over my new favorite salesperson and she was happy to get it down for me.  As I hoped, it was a size 5/6...exactly what I was looking for! 

6. Don't be Afraid to ask for Discounts or Coupons.  Sometimes the lowest price really isn't the lowest price.  If you don't have any coupons, ask your new favorite salesperson if there are any coupons available.  I was able to get an additional 20% off the already 60% off winter coat.  I also was able to get 10% off because it was used as display.  The $52 coat ended up being $14.97 in the end!  In addition, I noticed a small spot on one of the shirts.  I asked the salesperson if she thought I would be able to get it out when I washed it and she immediately gave me an additional 10% off. 

7. Stick to Your Budget.   Even though some of the deals may be too good to pass up, you need not overspend.  I had $50 cash and a $25 gift card to Bergner's.   I actually picked out two more outfits for Baby Sis, but I ended up putting them back because I didn't want to go over my budget.

8.  Celebrate your great deals!  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Comforts For Baby Products Review

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you that I received my Bzz Kit filled with great baby products from Kroger called the Comforts for Baby.  I wanted to give it a couple of weeks to give you my complete honest opinion.

First, I was able to try diapers, which they generously gave me a BIG box of 92 diapers! I had tried Comforts diapers before and was disappointed by the stiffness of the diapers, so I was pleasantly surprised to open the box and find much softer diapers  In fact, the new diapers are quite cute with little bumblebees on them.  Here is sweet Baby Sis in them.  
We really liked the Comforts diapers!   Here is what we thought about them: 
  • They are WAY cheaper than the competition.  Usually, you can buy a jumbo package of size 3 Huggies or Pampers diapers or $8.99.  The same size of package of Comforts baby diapers was only $5.30 at my local Kroger with more diapers per package.  However, if purchasing these, it would be wiser to purchase the BIG box of 92 diapers for $13.99. 
  • They have a stretchy waist band which is nice. 
  • The newer version of Comforts for Baby diapers are softer and I love the cute little prints.  
  • They did a great job of keeping Baby Sis dry...during the DAY. 
There was only one problem we had with them: NIGHTTIME.  I am not sure if Baby Sis sleeps longer than most babies, but one issue we had with the Comforts is the fact that she leaked through almost every night that she wore them.  She sleeps between 10-12 hours straight and has a six ounce bottle before she goes down for the night.  Not sure if this is typical for a baby at this age, but we don't remember having this problem with Huggies.

Next, we were able to try the wipes.  We loved them!  We are not picky with wipes, but I have noticed that I do not like the Pampers because they are almost too soft and slick.  I am always worried when I wipe that I get poo on my hand.  :-)  I find the Comforts comparable with other store brands and similar to Huggies which are were my favorite.  However, Huggies cost quite a bit more!  Therefore, we will stick with Comforts and save some money.  After all, we go through a package a wipes in about a day in this household! 

Finally, we were able to try out the Spill Proof Sippy cup.  Little Bro was able to try this out, and believe me, there really is no such thing as "Spill Proof" with him.   However, the sippy cup was great!  He loved the little flip top cap. We are excited to use these again when Baby Sis is old enough!

Overall, I was impressed with the Quality and Price of Comforts for Baby Products. I love shopping at Kroger for groceries and now I can get all of my baby products there as well.  That makes a busy mommy very happy!  Thanks Bzz Agent and Kroger for this fabulous opportunity! 

***I was given 5 20% off coupons to pass out to friends.  I saved two to give to my readers BE ONE OF THE FIRST ONES TO COMMENT ON THIS POST AND I'LL SEND YA ONE!  Please leave an email address and I will contact you for your mailing address. ***

Monday, February 13, 2012

Whatcha Eatin'? Monday, February 13th

I love Mondays! heard me say that!  I love getting a fresh start every week.  It seems like Mondays are always my busiest days because I slack off on the weekends.  I am feeling motivated this morning, so hopefully I get a lot accomplished in my basement for the 29 Day Organizational Challenge

Last week I missed out on posting, so I am early this week. Here is what we are eatin' this week: 

Sunday: Cheeseburgers, Steak Fries, Baked Beans, Cottage Cheese

Monday: Make Ahead UnStuffed Shells, Salad, Corn, Homemade Bread (Thanks Janice!) 

Tuesday:  Crockpot Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches, Potato Chips, Veggies & Dip, Heart Shaped Cookies for Dessert!  

Wednesday:  Cheddar Beef Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Mix Fruit 

Thursday: Skillet Cheesy Chicken & Rice, Salad, Cottage Cheese

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday:  Frozen Pizza...My Specialty!  :-)

I am linking this up with other bloggers on Organizing Junkie's website. Join Me! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

29 Day Organizational Challenge: Week 1 Update

I shared with you last week the dreadful before pictures of my basement.  Well, I made SOME progress this week.   I was hoping for a lot more, but I have come to the realization that I have Adult ADD.   Let me explain...

First, I started with the closet in my basement by taking EVERYTHING out.  Then, I put back in what I wanted to stay.

The hard part was doing something with the "stuff" that I took out.  This is where my ADD started kicking in.  Once I started putting everything away, I found NEW places to organize.   For example, I found a bunch of CVS bags with toiletries that I had gotten super cheap and needed to put them with the rest of the stockpile in my bathroom closet.  However, this is what I found in my bathroom closet: 

What did I do?  Well, I started organizing this area.  While organizing this area I had a great idea...why not get ride of some of my stockpile and put together a care package for my niece who just moved into her first apartment? So....I started creating a care package.  Do you see my ADD kicking in? 

Well, at least something got accomplished.  I did end up getting rid of excess clutter by creating the care package, but I now have another project started that I must complete! Oh, and my niece was thrilled and I am now the #1 Aunt!  

Now...back to my basement!  I am going to get my butt in gear for Week 2!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine Pinspiration

Are you ready for Valentine's Day?  This is the first year that we have to do Valentines.  Luckily, Big Brother only has nine classmates in his preschool class, so I decided to be a bit creative with his Valentines. Thanks to Pinterest, I found some great ideas.  We ended up using our Teddy Grahams that we had gotten free from Walmart a couple of weeks ago and created these cute little baggies:

Total Cost:  $1.99 for bags from Hobby Lobby...the rest of the materials I had on hand: Teddy Grahams, Construction Paper, Computer Labels, Ribbon leftover from a Christmas Present.  Ta Da!  Mission Accomplished!

Here are some other great ideas from Pinterest...

Source: via Jodi on Pinterest

 What are your children doing for their valentines this year?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday

There is always so much to be thankful for.  Today, however, I am simply thankful for the Magic Eraser.  I haven't found anything yet that it cannot erase...thank goodness!  

Little Bro is famous for leaving his "mark"on our walls, furniture, toys, ect. 

And this is why we haven't bought a new kitchen table! has magically disappeared with the Magic Eraser! 

Who knew one sweet little boy could do so much damage!  My mother always says, "Be thankful that he is so active.  You wouldn't want him just sitting around."  This comes from a mother of seven boys.  I can't imagine what she went thru!  

What are you thankful for Today? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February is my month to get ORGANIZED!

I am super excited for this month's organization challenge with I'm an Organizing Junkie!  I have this hunger to be organized, but it just never happens.  I love looking at the beautiful pictures on Pinterest and I will even dream about my beautiful home and then I wake to my reality:  My Basement. It's depressing and it completely sucks the positive energy out of my house.  Let me show you...

Want a closer look?

Here is a glimpse into the only closet in the basement:

Okay, so we all know that this isn't the first time that I have tried to organize my basement.  The problem is that "stuff" keeps creeping in and it continues to become dumping ground for everything.  The problem?  Well besides being our storage room, this space needs to also be the playroom for the kiddos.  As you can see by the pictures, there is not a whole lot of playing going on in here.  My dream?  I would love to have a very small area set aside for storage.  Then I would love to give a big area for the boys to play.  I don't really have a clear vision of what it looks like.  One thing is certain:  STUFF MUST GO!  and I can't wait to get rid of it!

Want to get organized?  Join me!  Link up your pictures here today!