Organize Business Cards

February 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize, Offices, Products for Organizing

Business cards almost seem like they are “going out of style” with the technology that we all have. Just enter your client or the business right into your blackberry right? Well, that is fine for some, but I would say the majority of people still use and collect business cards. You can use a snap scan or neat receipts and scan them into your computer if you want, but again I would say most people do not do that.
So what do you do with all of them?
There are several solutions. There are leather folders that you can get to put them in. My problem with several of those are that you can’t rearrange them easily to put them in any kind of order. Either alphabetically or categorically. There are binders that you can use that do allow for easier sorting. You can also make your own with baseball card plastic sleeves.

Enter the Rolodex. There are many different styles. I actually choose a different one for my client than this one because I was trying to match his decor. But he picked up this one not remembering that I had already purchased one. I ended up liking the one he picked out better (not the looks of it, but the functionality).
The one I got you put the business card directly onto the little rod, so I bought a punch to punch the bottom of the cards. The one he bought had sleeves that the business card slipped into and then that could go on the rod. The sleeve is easy to use and protects the cards.
We ended up buying two of them for all his business cards. I could have fit them onto one, but it would have been very full and would not have allowed for any future cards that he will receive.
Business cards are not obsolete yet. I have a whole pile of cards that were just handed out at Blissdom 09 which was a conference for woman bloggers! So even though we are into social networking and using our computers, we still exchange business cards.

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Coupon Binder

Organizing a Coupon Binder

Kim and I met on Twitter and have become twitter/blogging buddies! We both knew that we were going to be at Blissdom but I had no idea how we were going to find each other in the 250 woman that were there. Ali and I no sooner walked in but Kim and Beth (Plus Size Mommy) spotted us and said hi! We had a great time with them. Kim has been more than generous with me in teaching me things about this blogging world. You will have to visit her site Crafty Mama of 4. Thank you Kim for being my guest blogger today.
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I want to start this post by saying I am honored that Sandy asked me to do this for her! Sandy was one of the first people I “clicked” with on Twitter and we became instant friends. Thanks Sandy, I hope your readers enjoy my input.

I recently started “couponing” after hearing lots of people talk about how much money they save using coupons. I used to do it a little, but this time I jumped in full force and I have had great results. When I said I jumped in full force I really meant it, I made arrangements with the manager of the convenience store down the street from me, and every Monday morning I go pick up the leftover Sunday papers. This results in me having around 25 copies of each coupon insert per week, that’s a lot of coupons to organize and keep track of and here’s how I do it!

I use a coupon binder.

Here are the steps I took to set up my binder.

I started by buying (or finding around the house) the following items:
*A zipper binder (I actually have to use 2! One for food and the other for everything else)
*Sports card album pages (9 slots per page)
*A cheap 3 ring photo album (remove the pages to use)
*Clear plastic page protectors
*Tabbed dividers
*Address Labels
*Zipper Pouch for Supplies

In the front of my binder I have a zipper pocket where I keep pens, sticky notes, scissors, and paper slips. I also keep the current store ads in the accordion section in the front.

I have divided my album with tabs into main categories. Each section then includes sports card pages (on right) and photo album pages (on left) to hold the coupons. I sues the photo album pages to hold oversize coupons and when I have too many of one coupon to fit in the baseball card slot.

I use address labels to label the first pages in each subsection so I can quickly find what I am looking for.

I have the coupons in order by the layout of my primary store which is Giant Eagle. Here is how I have organized my categories and subcategories:

*Baby and Kid
-Diapers and wipes
-Bath/hygiene items
-Food
*Food
-Bread
-Baking
-Beverages
-Candy
-Snacks
-Cereal/breakfast
-Soup
-Canned
-Fruit
-pasta
-Rice
-Potatoes
-Sauces
-Mexican/Chinese
-Dressings
-Seasonings
-PB&J
-Frozen dinners
-Frozen Veggies
-Frozen Sweets
-Frozen (whatever else is left)
-Meat
-Dairy
*Pharmacy
*Household
-Paper
-Plastic
-Dish washing
-Laundry
-Cleaning
-Air fresheners
-Batteries/light bulbs
*Health and Beauty
-Dental
-Shaving
-Feminine
-Make up
-Hair Care
-Soap
-Deodorant
-First aide
-Lotions
*Pet Products
-Cat
-Dog

I also have a section for rebates where I keep the receipts, upcs and forms, I need to send in mail in rebates. Each rebate has its own clear page protector where I put all the required documentation for that rebate.

*Restaurant/Store coupons

When I am ready to go to the store I look through the ads and match up my coupons that I want to use. the site I like to use for coupon match ups is Deal Seeking Mom . I make a list on a large sticky note of the items I want to buy and I stick it to the front of the ad. Then I take out all of the coupons I have cut out for a particular item and paperclip then together and place them in a smaller coupon file that is divided by store with one section in the back where I put the coupons I don’t use that need refiled. Then it’s off to the store for me and my coupons! I take my large binder to the store with me also jut in case I missed something or find a great deal that was not advertised.
Organizing my coupons this way had made it very easy to find what i need quickly and efficiently. I have saved so much money with my coupons in the last few months I have even surprised myself! The best tip I can give you is to stock up when things are on sale and you have coupons for them. You may not need scalloped potatoes this week but when you do you will be glad you bought them with your coupons!
There is SO much more I could go into about how I use my coupons, but I am sticking to just the organizing aspect of my couponing adventure since this is an organizing site!

KIM

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Pineapple Chicken Recipe

February 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Food, Guest Post



I am sharing the recipe today that I choose for my Gem of the Week. Kaycee from In The Moment posted this on her blog for Share you Recipe Sunday. I love how she added the prices of the supplies she bought. I also love that she has it labeled “Eat it and Like it”. Don’t you love saying that to your kids!! This is Kaycee’s picture and the posting from her blog. Go visit her at In the Moment!!

I love sweet and sour chicken, but I’ve been looking for a cheaper, healthier version that I can make at home. I think I’ve found it, this recipe was inspired by one that I found on an advertisement for pineapple slices.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this dish. I could eat this every single day.

1 lb. cooked, chicken diced or shredded .69* (This was from a whole chicken I roasted on Saturday)
2 tbsp. olive oil .30
1 bell pepper, diced .50 (buy on sale, dice and freeze)
1/2 onion, diced .25
10 oz. canned pineapple chunks 2.00
2 tbsp reserved pineapple juice 0
1 cup sweet and sour sauce 1.14
2 tbsp soy sauce .21
1 tbsp sesame oil .30**
2 cups cooked rice .56
1/4 cup green onion, chopped .15
1 lb broccoli .69

Total: $6.79

(Click the link for cooking instructions)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onions and bell pepper. Cook until tender.

Add chicken and heat through. Add pineapple chunks, juice, sesame oil and sauces. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Serve over hot rice garnished with green onions and steamed broccoli as a side.

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Sock Sacks Review


This is one of the coolest inventions and it is so simple you think, “Why the heck didn’t I think of this?”
Having 5 kids, 4 of which are boys with socks that look sooooo much alike, I hate doing the whites. It seems like it would take me forever to match the whites. I did the “dot” method of marking my kids socks. That helps to figure out who’s is who’s….but I still had to separate them all and lay them out all over the floor to do it. Enter the Sock Sack!

These are net bags (like you use for your delicates)that are a nice large size (they come in 2 sizes – 3 styles) to fit all the socks. They are color coded and have a place to write your child’s name on them. The other thing I like about them is that the zipper closure is protected. Many times the little net bag I have to do my delicates in often times opens in the wash.

There is a hook on the corner to hang these on door knobs, or there is a hook that comes with it to hand somewhere else. I thought that I would hang them on the sides of the kids laundry hampers on their rooms, but because the bags are such a great size to fit all their socks..they hang too low to hang on the hamper.
The kids each have their own sock sack and to teach compliance, the new rule is: If your socks aren’t in your sock sack..they don’t get washed. (I do wash them, but then I have a basket in the laundry room that they will go in if they are out of the sock sack. Once that child starts running low on socks….they will learn to make sure their socks go in their sock sack. So far I am only having problems with one child.)
You simply throw in the zipped up sock sack with the socks already separated with each child’s socks in them. Wash and dry like normal. Not only does this keep the child’s socks separated, but it also keeps them from “getting lost” in the washer and going down the drain. Now this is what my laundry basket looks like. Once they come out of the dryer, I take each sock sack and open it…match that child’s socks and put them back into their sock sacks. They get their sacks and have folded matched socks. They put them in their drawers, take their empty sacks and hang back up.
I LOVE THESE!!!! The only thing I would love more would be to have 2 for each child. When the one goes down to the laundry..hang the empty one up right then and there in case I don’t get the whites down the first day.

To purchase go to The Sock Sacks

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Death of a Family Member


Emergencies and death are never anything that anyone of us expects. We don’t plan them on a calendar, we don’t clear our work schedule knowing they are coming..so how many of us are actually ready for them?
There have been several things in the last week that have prompted me to write this post today. The first happened on Valentine’s Day. This sweet young 19 year old mother (my niece from my ex husband) died suddenly. She didn’t feel well at 7am and went out to sit up in her dad’s chair. She was found dead by her 9 year old sister 3 hours later. Evidently she had some kind of pulmonary aneurysm (basically the explosion of a vessel and she died instantly). I have 4 boys who lost a very loved and dear cousin. Do you think anyone was ready for that? No! Do you think there a 19 year old had a will for her 2 year old son? I am sure not (but I don’t know for sure).
The 2nd came from an e-mail of my friend who said that an elderly Uncle died without a will and she and her mother are having a terrible time locating his next of kin to figure out who his things will go to.
The last one came from Donna who’s blog Stop and Visit the Zoo won my Gem of the week award this week. She posted yesterday about being called to a neighbors home because her friend and neighbor had found her husband dead that am. They are still trying to locate paperwork that she will need. Donna made a list of the items that should be kept at hand in case of an emergency or death. Please visit her blog for the complete list.
You need to have a will in place people!! Do not think that you can do it later, do not keep putting it off because it is terrible to think about! If your husband dies are you going to be fine if all your accounts are frozen because it is in probate court for months? It is not an easy or fast procedure to go through if there is no will!
Do you have your credit card numbers and information written down if your purse gets stolen? Do you have a list of all of the important cards you carry in your wallet? Do you know where your birth certificate, marriage license, passport are?
Please think on this today, and if you do not have things in order, put them on your list of things to get done ASAP.

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Weight Watchers Chocolate Bran Muffins

February 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Food, Health & Safety


Chocolate Brownie Muffins that are only 1 point each with Weight Watchers!!

Ingredients
3 cups All Bran Cereal (not flakes..looks like the little pellets)
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp Baking Power
1 box Sweet Rewards Brownie mix (or low cal. brownie mix)

Combine the All Bran Cereal and water together. and let sit for 5 minute.

Mix in the brownie mix and baking powder. Mix well until all moist.
Pour into muffin cups (makes 24)
Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

You can freeze them too. I keep out like 6-8 (I eat 2 a day when I make them for breakfast).

Note: these are great for getting in your bran/extra fiber. If any kids are needing extra fiber for obvious reasons ….this would be good. (I tell parents on the phone at the Dr. office about these all the time if kids are having “issues” and need extra fiber.)

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Organize Your Purses


Do you have trouble figuring out how to store all those purses? They can be a problem especially if you have many. Sarah Shaw of Simply Sarah makes these wonderful purse hangers. There are 7 heavy duty snap hooks to hold your hangbags. You could put more than one purse on each hanger. I rolled up the handles since I usually always have over the shoulder straps on my purses. There is a sturdy metal protective hole to hang on a hook or over a hanger. They now include an over the door hanger which would make hanging this easier. These don’t have to be used for purses, you could hang scarves, belts, hand bands, necklaces or a number of other items on these. Use your imagination. I think that is why they call them “Handy Hold All” rather than Purse Hangers.
Here is a picture of using this on a hanger and hanging it in the closet on your rod.
The snaps that are on the actual loop are heavy duty and the fabric reinforced that make this very sturdy and stable …it doesn’t seem light weight and flimsy at all.
She makes them in all colors of fabric to go with any decor you can imagine.

I was very pleased at how easy the snaps opened and snapped and how well they hold the purses. I did not feel like they were going to pull loose or that the purses were too heavy for it. This was made very well. You will be very pleased and it will be interesting to hear some of your ideas of how you can use this Handy Hold All that is made by Simply Sarah.

To purchase go to Simply Sarah

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Organize your Batteries

February 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Products for Organizing


Since I am still without electricity (going on day 2…and sitting back in the Hot Spot Coffee House) I have been dealing with batteries and thought I would share with you my method of organizing them.
I have had this battery organizer for a long time. It has worked wonderful in keeping loose batteries from rolling all over the drawer that they are in.
It has a built in battery tester to check and see if those batteries that you find when you are cleaning out drawers (hint..hint) are any good or if you need to get rid of them.


Here are a couple of places that you can purchase battery organizers.

Amazon online Store

Current Catalog Battery Organizer This one is a little different than the one pictured..but it is the basic same idea. It cost $14.99

The Container Store – This one looks just like what I have and it costs $19.99. j

I have seen these in many other places over the years that I have had this one. Look around and see which one best fits your needs.

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Plan for a Power Outage

February 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Conference, Blogging and Social Media


As I am sitting here in a coffee shop (The Hot Spot to be exact…cutest little coffee shop in my town…I have my own little room here that is warm and quiet with a nice table, coffee and pastries, what could be better?) so that I can get on the internet, I am wondering if you have a plan for the electricity going out?
There are disaster plans that you can have mapped out….and right now I am not necessarily talking to that extent. I am just talking power out…you have no idea for how long and do you have a plan? Did I?….well to some extent I did…and to some extent I did not. It certainly isn’t what I would like it to be. There have been so many power outages in the last few years and we have been very lucky to not have one longer than a couple of hours. But just a couple of years ago we had a terrible ice storm right around Christmas. I had many friends who had no power for days…we never lost power. Then just last fall we had a terrible wind storm and friends and family were out of power for over a week. Again, we were spared.
Last night we had another wind storm. Our power went out at 10:30 pm, right when we were about to turn the light off anyway. It is still out this am as I write this from the coffee shop at 11:15am. I had a flashlight at my bedside which we used this am. I knew right where the other flashlights were and 2 of them actually had batteries that worked….2 of them didn’t (kids take them out and play with them.) I had the lighter and candles and I was able to find those easily. Dave had bought me a wind up radio that I had tucked in a drawer and so I was able to listen to the news on the radio. So those things were in place.
What is not in place that will be after today is that we do not have a generator. I have wanted to get one, but we just haven’t wanted to spend the money. Our worry today is the sump pump. I can handle a cold house but I do not want a flooded basement. Dave stopped on his way to work and was able to get one that will take care of the sump pump, be able to plug the refrigerator, heater and some lights into. I am thrilled. It will give me a piece of mind for the next time we lose power, and later today if the power is still out when he gets home from work.
We take electricity for granted that is for sure. You realize that when the power is out and you try turning the light on in every room you walk into. Or you think that you can heat your muffin up in the microwave or make toast and realize you can’t.

Make a plan for your power going out.
1)Flashlight by your bedside with working batteries. (don’t let the kids play with this one.)
2) Batteries in your alarm clock as a back up (which I have to say I did not have in myself!)
3) Candles, batteries and a lighter in one place that you will know right where to find them when you need them…even if its in the dark.
4) Get a generator if possible.
5) Remember to keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed so your food may last loger.

Any other suggestions related to just the electricity being out? I know there are more…let me here your ideas and experiences.

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Blissdom 09 Conference


Ali of Blessed Treehouse and I had never met before Friday. We were blogging and twitter buddies and arranged all of the details of the conference and traveling together via the internet. I picked her up at 5:45am to drive the 6 hours to Nashville, TN. We got there and signed in and then went to our room. One of the first people that I ran into was Kim from Crafty Mama of 4 and Beth of Plus Size Mommy (both of who I wondered how I would find.)
What was interesting about a blogging conference was that we know each other by our blog or twitter names….not by our faces! So here was everyone introducing ourselves but always adding in our blogging names.
We had bliss-tinis at the bar (I did…not Ali..she is “with child”.)

The pajama party featured the movie Mama Mia and a little impromptu dance session afterwards…Abba music always gets woman a dancin’…especially with bunny slippers! Yes Danielle from Extraordinary Mommy.

We were lucky enough to get to see a preview screening of the Yanni Voices that is going to be launching in April. Yanni is promoting some young new talent and then we were surprised with 2 of the performers who walked into our conference! Nathan Pacheco (who was an unbelievable opera singer – and I don’t even like opera!) and also a Latin singer Ender Thomas who looks like he should be on the cover of a romance novel. They stood were then gracious enough to stay and sign autographs and take pictures with all of us.
Ok…so not only did we learn all kinds of neat things from all of the sessions, we also got to be surprised by 2 great singers…then we got to be entertained by another great singer. Chris Mann is like soooooo yummy!! He sang great….was able to flirt with a room full of 200 woman (but as I hear he was only singing to Ali!!) I think I can listen to this guy all day. I can’t wait for his album to come out this summer…I am definitely a follower
Chris Mann was fantastic…are you drooling? We all were!!!
Ok…how do you ruin a great moment when it is just 4 other woman and Chris Mann in the lobby and you get some time with him (as he video tapes us..)well you get the once in a lifetime chance for a picture and you bug your eyes out and take a terrible picture..while his true love of the conference Ali takes a great picture. Here he is taking video of us…chris mannchris mann
Here I am taking a video of him taking our video… I got so tongue tied. lol

We finished up with Jen Lancaster (writer of 3 ….almost 4 books) the keynote speaker gave an inspirational speech. She then did a book signing afterward.
Ali and I went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. I had been there once years ago and Ali had never been there.
After a party for Girls Night Out….we had our little Elevator Drama and headed home the next day. Can’t wait for next year!!

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Stuck in an Elevator

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Conference, Blogging and Social Media

Blissdom 09

 

You have to have a little drama at a Blissdom 09 conference right? I got to take part in that bit’o fun on Saturday night. Let me put this into perspective first.
We stayed in the Hotel Preston in Nashville TN for our conference. Our rooms were lovely and beds were comfortable. We didn’t have to walk forever to get to our conference sessions. However….when it came to the elevators…there was much to be desired. There were 2 very small elevators for the entire hotel. After each session of our conference you had to line up…and I mean line up… to wait for a ride to your room. Picture 200 woman waiting to get on 2 small elevators. Do you think that as in most situations when those elevator doors opened…you put only 7 people (which I guess was posted on the inside of the door, but I never saw until after our most unforgettable moment of Blissdom)in at a time or would you get as many as you could fit on the elevator so others wouldn’t have to wait so long? (yep….you pile in)
So now fast forward to Saturday night after waiting for these elevators for 2 days…we finished up the Girls Night Out party (lots of fun…thank you!!) and headed to the elevators. Doors opened and everyone got on. Ali and I were the last two and they invited us in and said they would make room. We had started the decent up and all of a sudden we had the floor drop out from under us for a moment. It was enough that 13 woman screamed in unison! Then the realization that we were stuck hit pretty quick when we weren’t moving and the doors weren’t opening. Hello???!!
The one closest to the elevator phone …Heather …did as we have always heard you should do and tried to call the front desk for help. She was getting no answer. So the next step was to call the front desk. We had one calling a friend in the hotel from her cell phone and asking her to go and tell the front desk we were stuck….another one looking up the number of Hotel Preston on her phone and someone else calling the front desk directly, and I do think there were a couple people twitting for help. I on the other hand pulled out my handy dandy little Flip camera that I just got and decided to film a bit. Not any help in the moment of crisis…..but fun now that we are all safe and back home.
We had 13 people packed like sardines into this elevator (limit 7 people….but we were under the 2400 lb weight limit and that is what really matters.) There were lights that were sooooo hot glaring down on us.
Listen carefully to what was being said by some…sounds like we were going to have a little hoopla for the dirty bloggers (thank you Chris Mann for asking who writes the dirty blogs) to blog about!!

Emotions ranged from laughing and trying to keep things light to fear for some. Although we were between the basement and first floor…being packed into a tight space with little fresh air and hot lights beating down on you can really do a number on someone who is the least bit claustrophobic and some who maybe didn’t even think they were claustrophobic. I think the unknown of how long we were going to be in there also can do a number on your head. Ali and I were right by the doors and they were a little cooler. After we had been standing there for a little bit we offered to move and give others a chance to be where it may be cooler. I intended to be the one to move because other than sweat flowing freely down my otherwise non existent cleavage I was fine. But as it worked out the woman that came up front was closer to Ali. It worked like a Rubik’s cube to try and move. You couldn’t move into that slot until someone else moved first.
Here is the video Blog roll of the now famous (and watch Heather’s Queen of Shake Shake’s blog because she is working on the getting the movie deal for us….we have to figure out who would play our parts best….you can leave your suggestions for that in the comments!!) elevator 13!!

In this next clip we are like close to 40 minutes into it and still trying to stay cheerful…notice how shiny we all are….ok….we were glistening (as one put it in the elevator) just a bit!! Nah….we were sweating like pigs!!
Oh….the pregnant woman that was so claimed we had with us….we did. But she was not birthing twins as we were stuck in that elevator as was rumored…and we weren’t on the 120th floor and no Chris Mann was not with us…darn it…heck, we would have been happy to be stuck in there for even longer if he was.)….she is however 3 months pregnant…Miss Ali
When we pressed the button to try and find out what was going on, we would get a response….but they weren’t real good at checking on our status in between…and I don’t think they were at all excited to hear from us when they did…I think they were a little scared of the hormones of 13 woman trapped in an elevator to want to talk to us much….

We were told that the elevator man had been called…and was working on it. When he first got there he opened the basement doors and we caught a glimpse of him….not sure what he got glimpses of..but he never spoke to us (again…I think very afraid of us) . He just closed the door without a word and kept on working. We felt him or someone (evidently the manager was also helping) on top of the elevator…little scary, as we were being bounced around a bit at that point as they were working on things. We didn’t know that the elevator won’t fall (of course the next day I talked to my hubby who says they can’t fall….even if you cut the cable there are safety mechanisms in place in the walls that will stop the elevator from falling….But as I told him…but we only see what is in movies and they fall in the movies!!)
We did get out. lol

I am still waiting 2 days later to hear back from the manager who had to talk to his manager who had to talk to someone else to see if they were going to do anything to try and turn this “not so lovely experience and memory of their Hotel” into at some form of a positive experience. Wouldn’t you think it would be worth it to them to keep bloggers on the positive side for their Hotel’s reputation?
Here is a brief glimpse of our freedom. We had no idea when the doors were going to open, so my purse being on the floor almost flattened Ali as she tripped over it getting out. (Thank goodness I didn’t hurt the pregnant lady!!

Here is the blog roll of who was on this adventure:

1) Heather at Queen of Shake Shake
2) Jennifer at Playgroups are No Place for Children
3) Victoria at V-Dog
4) Heather at The Spohrs are Multiplying
5) Emily at DesignHER Momma
6) Amy at Amy in Ohio
7) Hebba at JeepGirl17
8) Shannan at Mommy Bits
9) Ali at Blessed Treehous
10) Jenny at Mommin’ It Up
11) Dawn at Kaiser Alex
12) Cortney at Once a Month Mom
13) That would be me!!

Visit their blogs and say hello!! I will be posting more pleasant things about Blissdom 09 soon because I did have a great time. We got to hear some amazing singers and I learned so much!!!! But I had several people who really wanted to see these exclusive videos!!! (Maybe I will have ET tonight or Oprah knocking on my door? Yah think???)

Update as of 7pm Monday – The general manager did call me. He was only on his 4th day of general manager of this hotel. (But to get that title I am sure he has been in the business a long time and has experience dealing with problems). He is going to have some training for his employees and has a meeting scheduled with the elevator company and owners. I suggested a sign on the outside of the elevators mentioning how many people should get on. Of course it has nothing to do with the number of people, but the weight limit – which he agreed with.
He offered me a very small discount to my bill which I ended up telling him was basically insulting. I told him that it would be like a restaurant giving you your coke when your meal had been ruined. He did add a little more that I still think was insufficient to try and keep a customer happy and feel happy about hotel, but what can I say. (Personally I think the bill should have been completely comped…but maybe I am being unrealistic myself.) He did call and is going to make some changes that will hopefully keep it from happening again and keep future clients happy.

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Organizing a Large Family

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Guest Post, Time Managment

Guest Blogger – Stesha from Hot Chocolate Caramel Mocha

by Stesha
I have decided to have some guest bloggers do some postings on my site. These are ladies that I think are fantastic and I love following their blogs, but I also want you to meet the bloggers behind the blogs.
Stesha is like super mom!! Not only does she have 5 children, she is pregnant with twins and on bed rest. Hello out there….how many of us could handle that? But she keeps her sanity, her family and her blog; Hot Chocolate Caramel Mochain tack and takes us along with her into her world. Plus the fact that she has been soooo nice in the blogging world to me!
As mom’s we all handle our routines differently. Notice some of the things that help Stesha to keep her world working. She keeps her cool (not easy to do), she has a routine planned out. Everyone knows their roles and how they need to fit together in the piece of world. The kids take on responsibility and are able to handle help out. (Don’t miss that she or her hubby irons their kids clothes!!! Oh my gosh…I am like on my knees!! Just unbelievable to me!!) She is blessed with what must be an amazing husband and sounds like she handles it all with some humor. You go girl!
Thank you for being my first Guest Blogger!


When Sandy asked me to be a guest blogger on her blog I was so honored. Then reality set in and I began to ask myself several questions. Where do I begin? Do they really want to read about another large family? Of course, all of this was utter nonsense. Today I will give you a glimpse of a typical morning with our family of 7 soon to be 9.

My husband Michael and I have 5 children. We have 2 girls ages 3 and 1, and 3 boys ages 11, 4 and 5. Also, I am currently pregnant with twins due in several more weeks. As you can imagine life for us can be hectic, but very manageable.

If I could use two word to describe my family, they would be laid back. People ask me all the time how am I so calm with such a large family, and I always say trial and error. You make the biggest mistakes with the first and then as more children are added to your family you begin to realize that children, like life are very unpredictable.

A typical morning for us begins at 5:30 AM. The alarm sounds and no one moves. The snooze button is hit more often than not. Around 5:45 AM I will finally wake myself and our oldest son and point him in the direction of the bathroom. After he is finished in the bathroom, I will wake the younger 2 boys. One needs to get ready for kindergarten and the other for daycare. Around this time my husband is waking up also. Since I am currently on bed rest, the bulk of the work is done by him.

Around 6:00 AM the younger boys have finished brushing their teeth and washing their little faces, so now it is time to wake the girls. The girls both attend daycare. The oldest girl goes to the bathroom to do her girly things and the 1 year old is placed in the bed with me so I can comb her hair. After combing her hair, my husband will take her into the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face. Then she comes back to the bed with me, where I get her dressed.

It is around 6:30 AM now. The boys are dressed at this point because all clothing is ironed by either my husband or myself the night before. The boys will then come into the room so I can look them over and make sure everyone has on their belts, no toothpaste is left on their faces, lotion is applied and they have their jackets, backpack, etc.

At 7:00 AM the hubby will go outside to warm up the car, because it is still cold here most mornings. This also lets the children know that they have about 15 more minutes before it is time to load up. The girls are now both dressed. Our oldest daughter dresses herself, so after I comb her hair she is ready to go, usually she likes to wear her hair in a bun with a ribbon. Pretty easy and simple for me to do.

On the weekdays the children don’t eat breakfast at home, they like to eat with their friends at school or the daycare.

Around 7:15 my husband will give the 2 oldest boys their lunch money and make sure that the youngest children each have their bags for daycare. At this time we are saying our goodbyes and telling each other to have a wonderful day as hubby begins to load them into the car.

My husband or myself will scan the house to make sure that nothing is left behind before he leaves. Off they go. We only live 5 minutes away from the daycare so they usually have a smooth drive. All the children are unloaded at the daycare, even the oldest who attend school. The bus will pick them up from the daycare in the morning and drop them off in the afternoon. Don’t you just love small town benefits?

It should be around 7:30 AM because my husband has to be at work for 8:00 AM. He only works 20 minutes aways, so he has plenty of time to get to work.

On a typical weekday morning I would say it takes our family 1.5 to 2 hours to have everyone up and dressed and at their destinations on time. You have to remember every morning is not typical, but for the most part they are.

So there you have it. A morning with us!

Stesha Sims

http://hotchocolatecaramelmocha.com

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Garlic and Lime Chicken Wrap

February 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Food, Guest Post


This Sunday my Gem of the Week award goes to Karyn. She posted this recipe on her site The Teakettle Corner and it sounds really good. Karyn also wins my Gem of the Week award for her recipe!! Thank you Karyn for contributing!!

Crunchy Garlic and Lime Chicken Wrap

Ingredients:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, thinly sliced width-wise
3 limes, juice and zest
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups garlic mayo (recipe follows)
4-6 burrito size flour tortillas (12-inch)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Garlic Mayo:
3 eggs1
1/2 tsp vinegar
3 large garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 pinches salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Directions:
In a bowl, add chicken pieces, lime juice and zest, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Marinate in refrigerator while you prepare the garlic mayo.

Garlic Mayo: In a blender add eggs, vinegar, lime juice and salt. Blend on medium/high. While mixing, pour in the 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil slowly through the blender cap until mayo becomes thick and resists any more blending. Pour into sealable container and refrigerate.

On the stove over high heat, add olive oil in a large skillet. When hot, add chicken pieces and allow to sear, about 5 minutes on each side, or until the juices run clear and chicken is golden brown. Remove chicken pieces and allow to rest and cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Once cooled, dice chicken into small pieces, toss with cilantro, green onions, almonds and 1 cup of the garlic mayo.Spoon mixture down center of tortillas, fold up, fold in the ends, and roll up until sealed.In a non-stick skillet over med/high heat, spray a little cooking spray and place chicken tortillas 1-2 at a time. Brown on each side.

To serve: Cut the wraps at an angle and serve with remaining 1/2 cup of garlic mayo as a dip.
Enjoy!

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Scrapbook rooms – Great Book!

February 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Crafts & Craft Rooms, Reviews & Giveaways


This book “The Organized & Inspired Scrapbooker” by Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvey is wonderful if you are a scrapbooker and have any desire to organize any kind of scrapbooking space. Here is the catcher…it is sold out and Aby doesn’t know if they are going to republish the book!! So…my advice if you have any interest is to look for it. I honestly don’t know if the scrapbooking stores picked it up or not or if it went into stores (I am thinking that Achievers did carry it)but there may be some copies left somewhere on the shelves. The other place is resale book stores, e-bay etc. And we can hope it will get republished.
Aby’s site is Simplify 101 – and Wendy’s blog is The Possibilities are Endless… . You guys these are great resources for scrapbooking and organizing your scrapbooking materials. You need to visit them. They are the pros!!
One of my readers commented (thank you Ali) that I can also label my colored buckets to see what is easily inside. You rock Ali…. here is an example. I more than likely had the idea in my head from this book to even use the buckets. I wasn’t consciously thinking of it at the time, but it sure makes sense since I had studied this book.

The cover is Aby’s scrapbooking room and office (I think) and this is Wendy’s room.

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Etsy Crayon holder



You too can be one of those mothers that has it all together when you are sitting at gymnastic practice with your older child and your younger one is bored. Or you are sitting in the restaurant and your food order is taking forever and your child is driving you crazy. You can just pull your handy dandy crayon keeper out of your purse or diaper bag and wallah…you have instant quiet child!
This crayon keeper is made by hand by April of Aprils Originals . There is a vinyl lining to protect the fabric. It measures 13.75″ wide by 7″ tall and comes with 16 regular sized crayola crayons. It also come with a 3×5 notepad. It will easily fit inside a purse or diaper bag.

It is a trifold design and has a velcro closure.

The tissue holder is just a cute convenient way to carry one of those small packs of tissues in your purse, diaper bag, car or even a jacket. You know how if you wad up a bunch of tissues when you have a cold and stuff them in your purse? (Come on we have all done it)…they get torn apart and dirty and are just a big mess in no time. With this cute little holder you don’t have to worry about them.
April has several different designs to chose from.

To purchase go to Aprils Originals

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Using Fun Colors in your Craft Room

February 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Crafts & Craft Rooms, Decorating, DIY


I don’t know about you…but I love colors!! I have been in a bright, fun colored mood for the last couple of years. I go through phases. I had been really into plum and dark purples..now I am just loving lime green, bright orange, hot pink. I like to decorate with them. These are not colors that look good on me. I look much better in warm fall colors…but I have fun decorating with the bright fun colors. It puts me in a good mood when I walk into the room.
I have said before that I am hoping we can sell this house in the near future and this isn’t my dream office/craft space. But you make the best of what you have and I am very lucky I even have an office space. I am not going to put money into new furniture when we have perfectly good furniture (big heavy older dark desks). But I can spruce it up for very little money and make it feel better.
I found these little pails at a garage sale a couple of years ago. I paid a quarter for each of them. I got yellow, blue, pink, green and orange and probably bought about 25 of them. I used them for kids birthday and baby showers gifts instead of the $2.00 gift bags. I just put tissue paper in them with the gift and it was great. So many cute comments. But I decided to use these to decorate with since I decorated my office/craft room in hot pink and lime green. They aren’t really practical for the reason that you can’t see what is in them easily…I mainly was using them for color and the cuteness factor. But I did put many of my button supplies in them to make them useful.
The white shelves I got at Target. They have a whole selection of cubes and shelf units in the crafting section that you can configure a variety of uses.
There is a lot you can do to add color and spice to your craft zone or office zone for very little money which can in turn add cheerful to your mood and your day.

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Crafting spaces


This set up is from Ikea. Love that store!!!
Wouldn’t this be great? I think this is actually used in demo of a child’s room…but I think we could use this more than our kids…what do you think?
Love the cubbies on the wall for supplies. I wouldn’t need the paper roll…but there are some crafters who could use that. Also the light table. That would be helpful for many crafters. But I just like the set up of the cubbies.
I have decided that I really like the white for a craft room. I have my dream craft room..(and it includes Ikea!!)
There are also a couple of shelves where there might be drawers on a desk. This would also be good for supplies.
Do you have pictures of your craft space you would like to share?
I’ll post them if you send them.

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