Get Organized Using Everyday Items

We have all had those days. Everything we see must have a purpose. So now I present to you everyday items that we have on hand that can be used in a green sense and have a simple, but enormous effect on our daily lives….

EDIBLE POPCORN AS PACKAGING MATERIAL

Box packed with popcorn and gift

Source: Real Simple Magazine

It is that time of year when we are sending out care packages. If you are a military mom or wife, then this can serve two purposes…maybe? All I know is that I was working in the shipping department of my old job and we had a 17-year-old entrepreneur fill our stock of foam popcorn everyday. Try it and let me know if it works!

Binder Clip as a Wallet

Binder clip as a key chain and money holder

Source: Real Simple Magazine

I am guessing that you nor your husband have a nifty and thrifty wallet that your 12-year-old constructed for you out of the latest fashionable duck tape. Yes, our oldest child made both of us wallets using duck tape from our local dollar store and also packaging tape for our driver licenses so that they were clean and see-thru. There are plenty of those how-to-make-it sites on youtube.com. Our oldest daughter learns more current fashion and DIY tips from there than we can teach her! What is going on with the generation these days??? Anyways for all of us older generations, we can use a big binder clip as a wallet. Use a 1 1/4 inch binder clip and attach your key to it and clamp it to your waistband. Good for work days when you need a coffee pick-me-up.

Dust pan as a Toy Herder

Toys gathered in a dustpan

Source: Real Simple Magazine

My children are not so young anymore. However, I do remember the days when their Lego blocks, Barbie doll shoes, mini colored pencils, pony beads, and anything else that I wanted to avoid picking up in the Kirby would get on the floor. I am guessing that to use this remedy that you have hard-wood floors like I do. If you have carpet, this small action may save you from getting a new belt for your vacuum cleaner.

These ideas come from a great magazine that I have recently subscribed to. It is a great idea for us homemakers to learn short-cuts and minimize our cleaning, cooking, laundrying, and anything else we do that consumes so much time in our day!

I hope you like and I hope I credited the correct people in this post!! Happy reading!

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Waste not

My oh my! The weekend was so busy that I am just getting back to my blog today. It was my husband’s birthday Sunday. What a splendid day! I made a triple layer brownie cake with chocolate frosting. I will post the recipe another day. My mother-in-in law made dinner. I got him a beard and mustache trimmer. Our oldest daughter made him a card. On the outside of the card it read, “Happy Birthday”. On the inside of the card she wrote, “You are getting old, Dad. Smile while you still have teeth!” I laughed so hard!

I want to share a website that I recently heard about but had not yet been able to try out. I figured with Thanksgiving a couple of days away and Christmas almost one month away that this site would be relevant. The website is Love Food Hate Waste. The host is based in the UK, but even so the site is written in English, but the measurements are metric. Love Food Hate Waste offers you tips of how to save time and money when it comes to hosting a party, or just entertaining a few guests. According to Love Food Hate Waste , combined families throw away 7.2 million tons of food and drinks every year. That is a lot of wasted food!

Love Food Hate Waste also has a portion planner that takes out the guesswork of how much of a recipe to make for your guests if you are entertaining a crowd of people. The Perfect Portion Tool can be found at http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/portions/everyday. The tool is helpful to help a hostess plan ahead so that there is enough food to entertain with while at the same time not a lot of food being wasted.

Love Food Hate Waste also offers recipes, perfect ways to store food, and ways to save time and money in the kitchen. The site offers a newsletter sign-up and can also be found on Facebook.

I hope this site is useful to you. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Now, as for the Triple Layer Brownie Cake. My husband loves chocolate. So, I went to my neighbor because she is a great cook and baker. I asked her if she had any recipes for a mind-blowing chocolate cake. She gave me the recipe and now it is something I have made two years in a row. I forgot to write down how much flour was needed for the brownie mix, so I have omitted the brownie recipe and went directly to the frosting recipe. If you are a chocolate lover, then this cake is something that you will make often. You will need either 3 boxes of brownie mix or a favorite recipe for brownies that you have on hand, but you have to make sure it makes (3)-9 inch round cake pans of brownies. Below is the recipe for the frosting and it really adds a true delicious bonus and is easy to make.

FROSTING

(2) – 8 oz. packages semi-sweet baking chocolate
3 c. Heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar (optional)
(2) 1.55 oz chocolate candy bars, shaved.

1. Melt chocolate in heavy sauce pan on medium heat.
2. Gradually stir in heavy whipping cream and sugar (if desired) until well blended.
3. Heat to gentle boil, stir for 1 minute (continuously).
4. Remove from heat and transfer sauce to mixing bowl.
5. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until mixture reaches a pudding like consistency, stirring a few times in between.
5. After reaching pudding like consistency, beat until peaks form then immediately spread between layers and over the top sides of cake.
6. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate.
7. Store in refrigerator.

yields 16-20 servings.

I hope that this post has been helpful!

Music and Me

I love music so much. I listen to a variety of tunes. The sad thing is that I have used my CDs mainly up until about 2 1/2 years ago. For Christmas 2010 my husband bought me an MP3 player. I had heard about them and had gotten to listen to one, but I had no idea how to get the music onto the MP3 player. I am not real technologically advanced. In fact, my 12-year-old daughter is usually the one that keeps me up-to-date about current technology. What I do know about is cool websites and cool computer software. I am always near or in front of a computer. I can’t live without a computer just like my husband can’t live without his television.

The MP3 was neat. My daughter showed me how to put songs on it. I don’t know how many hours I spent doing that, but it did almost eliminated my need for a big stereo system that took up so much room. I said almost eliminated the need. I still have that stereo. It is only 7 years old. I am glad that I held onto it because not even 6 months after I got my MP3 player, it broke. I don’t know what happened to it, but even my 12-year-old couldn’t get it to work. So, I knew it was toast.

It was back to the stereo and playing music in Windows Media Player. The good thing was that all of the songs that I had uploaded to the Mp3 player were still in my Media Player library. Plus I still had and still do have my CD collection. Some of my CDs are over 14 years-old and still play like a top, and I just can’t bring myself to getting rid of them.

Moving on up…

I discovered a music station connected with Yahoo! I don’t know if any of you remember, but it was a music service included with your Yahoo! account that could be played anywhere at anytime. The service was advanced for its time, but Yahoo! soon realized that they were losing money and got rid of the free music service and started charging for it.

Advancing down the road much further…

Many years after I discovered the Yahoo! music service, a friend of mine told me about this site that was an internet radio station. It was free and you could like or dislike a song. If you disliked the song, then it wouldn’t play again. If you liked the song, then future music would be based on your thumbs-up. Of course I got tired of it when I wanted to hear a specific song and couldn’t listen to it. Pandora was great, but I only got so many free hours, and it would only play a select song. Sometimes I would forget to turn my station off and walk away from the computer. Before I knew it, my 14 hours had expired and I had to wait a couple of weeks to listen again.

More recently…
I was reading in one of my favorite magazines about programs on the computer that you could use in place of expensive software. One of the websites was Spotify. I went to the website and read about it a little bit. I signed up for an account and behold! I had music.
I am sure a lot of you are already turned onto Spotify, but this post is for those whom haven’t found a music source that can be listened to anywhere. The great thing about Spotify is that you can  create your own playlists thereby eliminating the use of CDs, big bulky stereos, and substituting Pandora, Windows Media Player, and Yahoo! Music. I decided that Spotify was just right for me. One of my playlists has over 800 songs by the same artist. I like that I can listen to what I want to listen to, by who I want to listen to, and when I want to listen. The neat thing is that you can search for a song or an artist and some users have already made playlists that you can subscribe to so you don’t have to make your own playlist. In return, people can subscribe to you, too.

Another neat feature about Spotify that I found helpful was the fact that sometimes I couldn’t remember the names of songs, but I could remember what the front cover of the CD looked like. I knew the artist, so I would put the artist name in the search bar. A list of songs, artists, and suggestions are listed in a column underneath the search bar. So, I found an artist. I clicked on the artist, and then I held down the Ctrl + G buttons and they gave me a visual picture of the CD covers next to the songs. I thought that was great! The other great thing is that if you singularly click on the artist, then all of the albums that Spotify has in its library from the artist will be displayed with the year that the CD was sold. Another good idea! At least it was for me because I could try to associate the song with a time in my life that I had heard the song. Recently I started listening to the Radio option. Another nice thing about Spotify is that now (before you had to pay $9.99 per month) you can get Spotify on your Android device for free.
I have loved music since I discovered it. I have tried different music instruments, but I lost interest. For me, first it was an 8 track player, then a cassette player, then a CD, then Yahoo! Music, then Windows Media Player, and then internet radio. If you have not tried Spotify, and you love listening to music and would rather listen to music over watching television, then give Spotify a try. If you have a computer at work and your work allows you, you can pull up your Spotify account from your desktop computer and listen all day without a time restriction, without wires, and without paying for a subscription. If you have an Android device and it does not have a music application, then try Spotify for Android. Carry your music wherever you go! Music makes my world go ’round!

Does anybody else love music as much as I do? Has anybody tried Spotify? What do you think about music wherever you go?

Magazine with Work-at-Home Articles

I would like to talk now about my favorite magazine. The magazine is all*you. It is a monthly magazine that deals with couponing, cleaning tips, fashion, beauty, holidays, parties on a budget, DIY skills, decorating, ways to save money, exercise plans, cooking and recipe ideas, and many other things that concern homemakers. I guess the couponing aspect of the magazine can be for the male couponers, too. all*you had an article a while back. The article was about 10 real, non-scam jobs that can be done from home. I would like to say that I am not qualified for most of the positions, but maybe you will be. I have taken on-line college courses at home and loved the freedom of being able to make my own schedule of reading, doing assignments, researching, and all the jazz of attending college while at the same time being available for my children and my husband and other daily responsibilities that I have.

 

Check out the site and the link. Then let me know what you think. Are the jobs lucrative? Do you think you might try one of the ten legit work from home jobs?

 

The all*you magazines runs about $2.00 for a single monthly issue and can be found at most Wal-Marts, or you can buy a subscription. The great thing about the magazine is that if you are a couponer, then you can use the coupons from the magazine and then it actually pays for itself.

Checklists Make Goals Attainable

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Today I want to talk about goals. We all have them, or should have them. There are short-term goals, which are goals between 0-3 years. Then there are long-term goals, which are greater than 3 years. I have made all kinds of checklists in notebooks trying to stay on top of my to-do lists that I would like to believe pave the path toward achieving simple or more profound goals. In fact, the other day I found a notebook with a master to-do list that I had from the beginning of the year. So, it was back to the drawing board.

Goals are nice. The problem is sometimes we have conflicting goals. How do you decide which goal is more important? I would like to hear from you, because I am still trying to come to a conclusion about that question. In addition, we have responsibilities. How do you handle conflicting responsibilities? This question is easier for me to answer. I am a full-time homemaker. I mostly stay at home with my two daughters while my husband is the bread-winner. My girls like sports. We allow them to play sports. Maya (younger) likes soccer and baton. Timberly (elder) likes softball; Spring and Fall seasons are for soccer, and Summer is baton and softball. The late Fall and early Winter seasons are the time of the year that we get ready for the upcoming holidays. This is my favorite time of year!

So, back to responsibilities…I have found that the less I commit myself to too many activities that the less I have to worry about conflicting responsibilities. I do not know about you, but at the end of the day all I want to do is have some time to myself. Right now is one of those times. The girls are at school and Todd (my husband) is on his way home from work.

I have goals. Most of them are short-term. I do not want to make too many long-term goals because I feel that if I do, then I will lose focus on the short-term goals. My main short-term goal right now is to blog everyday with the hopes of gaining a few supporters. My long-term goal is to keep supporting my husband through his new experience of being a college student. With that goal comes another long-term goal…opening our own business. I will blog about this another time, because I want to get to the point of this post.

Most of us at one point in our life have made checklists, or “to-do” lists, even if it is a list that we find almost a year later, like me. I found a neat site that I would like to share. I forgot I had made an account on this site until today when I received a reminder e-mail about my checklist  that I had made earlier this year. The checklist is titled “Saving Plan Checklist”. It lists tips and steps that I need to take toward saving more money, which will help me and Todd save for a contribution toward a small business loan. There are short-term goals for the Saving Plan Checklist that work as stepping-stones toward larger goals like opening a mutual fund or investing in stocks, which I will not be doing anytime soon. The website has thousands of prefabricated checklists that a user can use. You have to enter your e-mail and create a password. I just created a new list about blogging. The checklist is broken down into ‘Daily, Monthly, and Weekly’. It is a maintenance checklist so I can keep up with the responsibilities of having a blog.

The site is called Checklist. There are checklists that other users have created. I do not know if I can make my own checklist, but there is a search that can be used to locate a list that is personally relevant to each individual. When I was searching, the word I entered into the search bar led to many suggestions that were displayed underneath the search box. The other great thing about Checklist is that a user can set a reminder. The reminder will be sent to an e-mail address that the user specifies at a time he or she wants, i.e. weekly, monthly, a certain day, or yearly.

I hope that you find this site as helpful as I have. Good luck with the short-term and long-term goals. Just remember a to-do list is the beginning of a goal. Reaching a goal requires steps and for me it feels empowering each time I can check off something I have completed. Give Checklist a try when you get a chance. Hopefully it will keep your “to-do” lists up-to-date and help you from losing a master to-do list like I did.