Candy Shop

June 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Food

These Are Candy’s I Remember As A Kid

Don’t childhood memories bring back sweet memories?  To walk to the candy store  (well it was really a Drug Store, but we thought of it as the candy store.) was a really special treat when I was a kid.  When we went to visit my Grandfather in South Egremont, there was a little candy store about a block away.

The main memory I have of candy from that store was rock candy and dots on a paper.  I didn’t get any of that at this store, because the rock candy was on a string, not stick. It just wasn’t the same, you know?
Here are some candies I also really  remember.

old time candy


Does anything look familiar to you?

What about Razzles?  I remember that my good friends Patty and Ann always had Razzles at their house. I also remember as a young girl sneaking a couple of them. (that is so bad!)  These are so sour though. I remember them being pink.  I tried one and it was so sour…. I thought it was terrible.  But I’m sure kids love them.


What about the wax lips?

wax lips

I remember that kids sometimes passed these out as birthday favors at school.  That and Bubs Daddy gum. Remember that? I would have gotten that if I saw it. That was like a foot long piece of bubble gum.  My brother and I loved them.  Remember they had a bunch of different kinds of lips  The smell…. remember that?

The candy cigarettes? We used to get them.  I would never buy them for my kids though.

candy cigarettes

But look… no more red tip! The ones we used to get had a small red tip on one end.

candy cigarettes

I also always loved the gold nugget gum.  I think the little bag made it more fun. Don’t you?

good nugget gum

All those little yellow pieces of gum.

rock gold gum

Once in awhile we used to get these little bottles with the juice inside. Bite off that wax tip and drink away.

wax bottles
The kids thought they were fun too!

candy wax lips



What are your best childhood “candy” memories? Do they still have that candy on the market?

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Activities for Kids – Picnic

June 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Activites for Kids, Blog


picnic basket

Kids don’t need a big deal picnic.  You don’t have to plan an outing that will use your gas etc.

It can be simple.  Kids love to do things that they do not normally get to do. They can make and pack their own picnic if they are old enough.  The triplets are ten years old and did the whole thing.

making lunches

They went down to the basement and got the picnic basket and blanket out too. By the way they also put everything away themselves (without me even asking them too!! I was in shock!)

picnicWe have a picnic table out back but it was more novel to eat in the grass. They scoped out a place and checked to make sure the dogs hadn’t visited there first….lol .  They spread out the blanket and had their lunch.

picnicThey will love the feeling of independence.   They were thrilled with doing the whole thing themselves.

Here is one of their lunches. Nothing fancy, but he did it himself.

picnicThey can even just use a brown paper bag or lunch box.

Tell them to invite a friend over and they can picnic with their friend.

If they are young, they will still appreciate it. I remember when my older boys were little, we had a little kids picnic kit that was all plastic. They loved having lunches out of that.

You’ll be amazed at how something so simple can be so fun for the kids.  Just to eat outside when that is unusual. If you eat a lot of meals outside at the table, then change it up.  Let them picnic on the front porch or in the grass.  If it is a rainy day, then let them have a picnic lunch in the family room on the floor, on a blanket.

It doesn’t take much to make it special.



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Closet Organized

June 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Closets

Reorganizing My Messy Closet

Did I say I had a messy closet?  You bet ya!  My organized closet gets unorganized with the best of you.  Our room ends up being one of the last priorities (other than basement) in the organizing and cleaning order of things.  I only have so many hours in the day and at the end of it, I get lazy. I’ll toss my clothes down, I’ll put my clean hoodies and sweaters haphazardly on the shelves etc.

It is really bad and I can’t believe I’m showing you my closet in this bad of shape.  I have wanted to get it taken care of for awhile now, but with everything else I’ve had going on I just didn’t do it.

Tonight after dinner I tackled it.  I have been wanting to get nice looking matching organizing cloth cubbies for it. I’ve priced them a few times, and they are out of my budget for a closet. That has been one of my excuses for putting it off.

No more excuses, I didn’t go buy anything new to use. I didn’t have any fun, cute matching cubbies (like I want) or fancy tags to label things.  It is just down and dirty…. sorting… donating….and putting back on the shelves in some kind of order.



Below this we have a laundry hamper for our dirty clothes.


Ugh… (so embarrassing)  We added the 2nd shelf  when we first moved in. Another way to make the space go further.


We also have no linen closet, other than a very narrow small one in the kids bathroom. So when we moved in we also took the left wall and transformed it into our linen closet with several shelves.

Here are the top two shelves.  The top is my keepsake box. (right)  The red basket is my hair coloring clothes.
The beach towels are the next shelf. We only use them in summer so they are on an upper shelf.


The shelf underneath the beach towels presently is a real mess.  I have a couple pair of jeans on the left. The iron is out and my sweatshirts on are the right.

The shelf below that  has the hand towels in the blue basket on the left, wash clothes in the small red one and pillow cases in the right blue one.  Below that are the bath towels. A set of winter flannel sheets also got left on that shelf.There is one more shelf under the baskets that has the bath towels on it.

closet shelves

I have a shoe rack on the bottom. I’m not big into shoes and clothes. I would like to be, but this body is not easy to fit… so buying clothes isn’t so easy.

LOL.. what a mess! My suitcases, the toilet paper gets tossed in here once the bathrooms have all been stocked. This has been driving me crazy (as it should!)

messy closet

There is more to the closet. But I told Dave that I wouldn’t show his side.  He has less room than I do, but he did just organize his things and tossed out a couple of shirts to be donated.  I would have liked to have done it, but he wanted to do it and I said I wouldn’t touch his side.

I went through and pulled out the clothes that I did not wear this last winter.  I donated them.  A couple things were hard to donate. For the last couple of years I had debated a couple items, but I gave it one more winter… and since I didn’t wear them again – this time I got rid of them.

I moved the winter sweatshirts and sweaters to the “summer” bin.  Most of my summer clothes were already in my closet.

I borrowed my daughter’s 2nd closet rod. She wasn’t using it and is old enough she can reach clothes hanging from the regular closet rod.


I really thinned out my clothes.

clean closet

But I also added a 2nd rod.  I hung my shirts on the top and my dress pants on the bottom.  I don’t have very many pair of dress pants.  Mainly I wear jeans, but I do have dress pants. I am very heavy right now and don’t want to have very many pair of “fat” pants.

closet rod

I also hung my extra purses here.  I thinned them down to two (I did have 5 purses) plus my tote bag. There is still plenty of room for the hamper.  My big suitcase is still in the corner. My pants are not touching the ground (although it looks like they might be in the pic.)


I put my weekend suitcase up on the shelf and moved the other set of luggage to my daughter’s closet. I don’t use that set anymore and know she could get some use out of it.

I kept out a few hoodies if it gets cold, and made a place for my jeans.

closet shelf

Here is a better view.

closet after

Now onto the linen closet side of our closet.

I moved my keepsake box lengthwise out on the shelf.  It is up high enough that I don’t have to worry about hitting my head on it. It takes up less space this way.   I also put several of the good adult larger beach towels up top. I like to have towels that are large enough for me when I do need one.

The next shelf down I put the toilet paper. I also had the little clear shoe boxes. I am going to label them with a sharpie and sticker.  I have my travel accessories in them.  Left one has travel organizers for jewelry, make up etc.  The top middle box has travel sample sizes. My hairspray, toothpaste, etc. Below that there are small purses. A couple of dress purses, but a couple are small over the shoulder purses that are nice to pack in my suitcase. I don’t like to take my big purse if I’m out and about on a trip.
The far right plastic bin has my bathroom tote bags already to go. The larger one (you can’t tell in this pic.. they just look black) for longer trips and then I have a small one that goes into my carry on suitcase.  Both are packed and ready to go other than for a couple things that I use daily that need to be packed.


I moved a couple shelves around. I moved the beach towels down to where the kids could reach them. They were forever trying to pull one down and several would tumble.  This will work much better this summer.
I also sorted through the pillowcases and hand towels (had too many of both) and sorted them out. I moved the pillow cases into the small red basket and the wash clothes into the larger basket.

closet shelves

The bath towels are on the bottom shelf.  I have a load of clean towels downstairs that need to be put on this shelf. We really do have more bath towels than this for seven people.

closet shelves

I got rid of a couple pair of shoes that I don’t wear. Since I moved all the purse and travel stuff up on the other shelves, I had more room for my shoes.


My big suitcase stayed in the same place.


Hopefully next time I reorganize my closet and clean it out, I will be able to get the nice matching cubbies to put everything in.  But don’t think you have to spend money to clean and reorganize.

I spent about two hours tonight in my closet doing this. I feel SO good!  ahhh…






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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 28

June 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Summertime – Is it a Happy Time in Your House?


organizing mission monday

Summer time is fun, swimming, outdoors, no school, relaxing and everyone looks forward to it… right?

I can guess that is a 99% “YES” from the kids and about a 50% “Yes” from some moms… and 25% “It’s Not Bad” along with a 25% “I Can’t Stand Summer When All the Kids Are Home” from other moms.

I know many woman who dread summer. They either work at home, and when all the kids are home they have a hard time getting their work done OR

They work outside the house and having the kids home means finding babysitters and the guilt of not being able to be there to have fun with them in the summer.

The other thing I hear from so many is that their summer is a total unorganized crazy mess.  The kids get up at all hours, many times they will sit in front of the TV, the house is a mess, and things are in utter chaos.

There is nothing wrong with having guidelines, schedules and rules for the summer.  It won’t ruin anyone’s “free time”. Kids need routine and structure. Without it they can go a bit haywire.


My suggestions to have a less chaotic & more enjoyable Summer :

1) Have a time the kids must be awake by (don’t let them sleep away their summer)
2) Have a routine for breakfast. (Either you make breakfast, or the kids make their own)
3) Have rules/limits on the TV, internet & video games. (Our rule is they are all off during the day unless the weather is bad)
4) Make sure they keep up their skills during the summer. (The kids still have to read 1/2 hour per day & their Dad is requiring they walk to the library each day and read 1 article from the newspaper and are able to tell him about it when he gets home)
5) Make a list of activities they can do.  (So you don’t have to hear .. “I’m bored” all summer)
6) Give the list chores.  (In the summer my kids have 3 chores to do per day as compared to their normal 1 chore on school days. Cleaning their room is not an assigned chore, that is a requirement each day already)
7) Only allow the kids to have one drinking glass per day. (So they don’t grab a clean one each time they want a drink)
8) Make sure they get plenty of physical activity each day. Biking, running, swimming. (It will decrease the craziness inside the house if they can get their entry taken care of outside the house)
9) Have a reasonable bedtime. If their wake up time is going to be no later than 8am, then don’t have them going to bed at MN. Kids need plenty of sleep. (Our summertime bedtime is 10pm normally)
10) Don’t feel you have to do everything. There isn’t any reason the kids can’t help you and make summertime a more enjoyable time.

Be sure to check out my Featured Bloggers This Week.

Susan from Homeroad

Susan has made this cute pillows by using her printer!!

homeroad pillow She did it by transferring!  You will have to read all about it on her blog post.  But I was amazed. I had no idea you could do that.

homeroad pillow She has several more examples on her blog post and tells you how you can use Transfer Methods to make pillows.

Nisrine from iSavvyMom

She had a great post on organizing your car.

isavvymomMy favorite tip is to hang a bag and in the bag keep your grocery plastic bags. You will always have a trash can handy to keep your car clean.

isavvymomBe sure to stop by and see some of her other tips on her blog called iSavvyMom



Link up to my Link Party

I would love to see what you are working on this week. But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my top “Buttons” Tab. 1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list.

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s Please Click Here.
This link party will be open until July 3rd.

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Organization Tips

June 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize

Organization Tip #4

Use Clear Bins for Storage

I love using clear bins to store things.  You still have to label, but you can see basically what is inside at a glance.  I don’t have all clear bins, because I used to buy them before they came out with clear. But when I need new ones, I pay just a little more and get the clear ones now.

It makes such a difference when you go into the basement, or into the attic or garage. Being able to quickly, at a glance see which bin it is you want to grab.


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Recipe – Easy Kids Snack

June 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Food

Shake ‘n Go Snack Mix Recipe

We all want quick and easy snacks for our kids don’t we?  I found this easy and fun recipe on Betty’s site!   This would be really cute for a kids party or a late night movie snack.  If the kids wanted to have a camp out in the backyard or it would also be awesome for camping or a beach day. I also think the kids would love to make it.

It is called a recipe, but when there is no flour, sugar, oil or anything to mix up, I have a hard time thinking of it as a recipe.   It is an easy variation on the chex mix that we always think of … you know, the one where you have to mix in the Worcestershire sauce, bake it, pull it out and turn it – bake some more.  (But that is awesome too!)

It is so super simple.  .. well, stir it up, no shake it up I guess.

Here is What You’ll Need:

* 5 cups of Chex cereal (I bet Crispex would also be good)
* 1 cup of Teddy Grahams snacks
* 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/4 cup jelly beans or M&M’s.(Bring on the M&M’s for me!)

Put everything in a big baggie, seal and shake!

You can pour it into fun cones like this, or ice cream cones.  Doesn’t that sound fun?

You can also take the safer route and put it in a no spill travel cup for the kids to snack out of when you are in the car.  Have you seen those other little travel bowls that never spill?  Those would be perfect to put something like this in for the car.

You can see the whole recipe on the  Better Crocker post along with oodles of others of course.  The picture is from the Better Crocker site (it is not my own picture)



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Canopy Tours

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

Last week the triplets and my husband and I went on a vacation. We did wander out of Ohio for just a couple days, but our main activities were in Ohio.

ziplineThe hands down winner was going on the canopy tours or zip line tours as others (including myself) call them.

We first suited up when we got there. Of course they help you with everything.


We had a lesson on what to do and then we did it on a practice line.


The triplets are ten now, so they were old enough this year.  I had gone on a small one while I was in UT last year, but had never done a canopy tour course as I would call this.

It was 3,300 feet, ten zips and five bridges long…

zipline 20

We all had a blast!!  lol…. Alex had fun, he just was nervous doing this maneuver they showed us. The tethers were holding you from falling off the edge of the tree stand. You can’t tell in this picture, but we were up at least 50 ft.

ziplineYou can see our video of our zip lining on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog.



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June 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Laundry room or Bathroom

Organizing a Small Linen Closet

The kids have a very small closet in their bathroom. We use it for their bedsheets, and a few bathroom supplies. But it is always a mess.

I have decided the kids can not get a set of sheets our of a closet without making a total disaster of the closet.  Take this for an example

linen closet - messy

I don’t know if they needed a set that was at the bottom of a pile or what. But sheets are everywhere. Looks like the top sheet for the  purple set is way up in the first aide basket. Go figure?

linen closet

There is actually a laundry hamper under there.  What happens frequently (and totally ticks me off) is that I’ll get a clean bedsheet that has fallen off the shelf and into the laundry hamper. So of course I get to wash it again.

linen closet

When I took the colored cubby’s out of the entry hallway, I was trying to think of a use for them.  I thought of this closet! It has been on my “To Do” list for some time, and now was as good as any!

I took advantage of the fact that the kids know which colored cubby is their own.

launch pad cubby

I folded the sheets (as I have seen on someone else’s blog) and folded up the top sheet, the bottom fitted sheet and put them both inside the pillow case. So they can pull the whole set out in one fluid motion!

I then put their own sheet sets in their own cubby!

linen closet

There is no real need to label these since the kids know their colors (my kids are color coded)

linen closet

I reorganized the supplies. I took all the first aide supplies out and have made a separate box for that and located it else where. That freed up some top shelf space.  I used baskets we had on hand. I didn’t buy anything. The toilet paper supply is in the large basket and their deodorant stock is in the left small basket. When I did my couponing a couple years ago, that was one thing that you could get basically for free (or under $.50 each). I still have several left.

linen closet

I am very pleased how it turned out.

linen closet

This will help the kids keep it neater, I will do less “clean sheet” laundry and it put these cubby’s to very good use.

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Activities for Kids – Fishing

June 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Activites for Kids, Blog


fishing with Dad

I LOVE this picture of Dave and Zach.  They were just coming down the road after the rest of us. We had all gone fishing together.  They were really whistling the theme song from the Andy Griffith Show!


The kids love to fish. Of course Dave doesn’t get a lot of fishing done at this point. He is usually busy helping untangle a line, or helping in some way.

But Dave makes the kids bait their own hooks and take off their own fish.

fishing I love this picture of her when she was about 4 years old. I just had to throw that in.  The kids have been fishing since they were about three.


An activity that the kids learn to sit quietly, concentrate and enjoy nature.


This is a great activity for kids, of any age.  It just depends on how involved you want to be.


This is a lower cost activity … that is if you have fishing equipment.  You will probably have to buy a fishing license for the year, and maybe some bait.  But if you don’t have fishing gear, be sure to check garage sales and Craigslist. You can pick things up pretty inexpensively I’m sure.

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Cell Phones

June 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Health & Safety

Now They Cause Cancer Too?

I’ve heard that rumor for years, that cell phone can cause brain tumors; but they have always said it wasn’t true.. or there was no data to prove it.

cell phone

They are changing their tune.  Evidently the from the article I read on and video I saw by Dr. Mercola who is saying this:

In June of this year, 2011; a committee consisting of scientist from 14 different countries who were working for the World Health Organization have concluded that exposure to cell phone radiation is a possible carcinogen.  They have put it into the 2B category which is the same group they put DDT, gasoline exhaust and laundry chemicals. (per Dr. Mercola’s video)

I am also reading on several different sites that using bluetooth or most earphones actually is worse. The wire actually acts as an antenna and brings the radiation closer to your brain than anything else we’ve seen.

The other big thing they are saying is that we really have to be concerned for our kids. They are at the greatest risk because they are starting usage so much younger than we ever did.  They also have thinner skulls which don’t have as much protection as ours from the radiation.

Oh… and even keeping our cell phones on our person isn’t good. They still emit radiation if they are on.

So…. looks like I don’t have just skin cancer to worry about, now I have brain and butt cancer (I often put my phone in my back pocket if I’m not carrying my purse)  to worry about too!!

I’m waiting to hear that they are going to determine the same problem with my laptop too. It gets so warm on my legs…. so there is thigh and probably girly cancer added onto the list.

Geeze…. maybe I should just give up now!

So.. what are we supposed to do?

1) Decrease cell phone use and try to keep it off unless we need it. (yeah sure… lol)
2) Keep it away from our body. In a purse or near by table.
3) Get a protected headset. There is tubing (like a stethoscope) that emits sound waves that are supposed to decrease the exposure by like 98%.
4) Limit our kids cell phone use.  I guess the texting isn’t so bad huh? Better than talking
5) Look for a cell phone case that protects from radiation?

I did a look and found this one.
Pong Products – – Sounds good until you see that the radiation bounces off of your phone and goes out towards the person next to you.  So now we have to worry about 2nd hand cell phone radiation? OMG! LOL
So I kept looking and found this article on Youserblog-Nothing Else blog that was published in December 2009 saying that they thought it was very coincidental that this cell phone case came out claiming to protect you against radiation around the same time there was concern over cell phone causing cancer.  This was back in 2009!  But they go on to say in the article that from what they can find, that Pongs claims are true.  Also that the radiation that bounces away from that cell phone case dissipate and are not harmful to others around them.

So… what am I going to do?  I’m going to order one. (I got the neon green one) Ugh  I’m also going to look for the safer airtube earphones for my phone.

I put on the link for the pong cell phone case. I just want you to know I am not any kind of affiliate for them at all. I don’t want you to think I’m trying to sell something.


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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 27

The Entryway

organizing mission monday

When I refinished my dining room, I had to do some kind of update to the entryway.  I want to paint it a darker taupe color, but that will be in the future.

Here is a before picture of my entryway.

It didn’t bother me much that it was not “decor” attractive. It was very functional with each child having their own color cubby.  But now that I am finally able to decorate this house and I did the dining room, I wanted to spruce this up a bit.

launch pad

My plan is to paint the front hallway and family room and more than likely kitchen a darker taupe color.  Right now it is a light tan (the whole house is this color now. The “moving” basic color. But since we decided not to move, we can paint and not worry about what the Realtor’s say!)



I didn’t spend much out here. But I do think it looks better. I got black cubby’s. The kids know which spot is theirs now.  I got the new wipe board with key holder and bulletin board from Hobby Lobby and the mail box from Target.


I actually tried to paint the stainless mirror black. But it didn’t come out very good. You can’t tell here. But the paint should have gone on glossy. It has uneven surfaces. Not from where it didn’t cover well, but it just looks like it has been spray painted.  I’ll find a use for it somewhere, but I didn’t want it in the front hallway.


I got a Welcome sign and hung it up so you see it when you first come in.




Here is what it looks like from the other view. You can see how my dining room is right off the entryway, so I wanted to pull it all together.


By now you’ve seen my chalkboard wall that I painted. I don’t have a before picture of the wall, but there was nothing there… just ugly tan paint.

chalkboard wall

My walls work on a bit of an angle. I used the angled wall for the mailboxes for the kids.  I had been wanting mailboxes like these for awhile.  I love the ones at The Pottery Barn and had even found a two or four box (all in one unit) like these from Ballard’s, but both were too expensive.  I ended up finding these at Hobby Lobby and both of them together still ended up being only half as much as what I would have paid for them at either of the other places.


Because of the angle I don’t have to worry about people running into them. I debated which walls to put them on and which walls to put the chalkboard wall on. I went this way because I felt the mailboxes might get knocked into or someone my back into it…. saying goodbye or hello in the entryway. It isn’t a very large area.

entrywayAt present I am storing the chalk and eraser in the one cubby. I have to figure out something cute for those supplies yet.


I’m pleased with how it came out. I still want to paint, but not sure when that will happen. Hopefully this summer.

Check out my Featured Bloggers for this Week:

Lindy from The Happy Healthy Home

Lindy is the kind of friend that we all want! lol  She did this makeover of this great piece for her friend. Now that I have sanded and refinished a couple of pieces I have a greater understanding of the time and effort they take. Mine were just basic pieces, nothing like this!

The Happy Healthy home

Then check out the finished product!  Doesn’t it look awesome!!

The happy healthy homeBe sure to visit Lindy’s blog, The Happy Healthy Home; to see the rest of the process she went through. She gives great instructions.



Beth from Hanging with the Hubers

Beth had been looking for mailboxes like what I have above too! She also found and loved the same ones I had at Pottery Barn and Ballards.  She found this alternative at TJ Maxx. But she decided to spuce it up a bit.

Hanging with the Hubers

She decided to give it a little pizazz! She turned it into this:  Didn’t it turn out darling?

Hanging with the Hubers

Be sure to visit her blog Hanging with the Hubers and see the rest of her post, File organizer revamp!

Link up to my Link Party

I would love to see what you are working on this week. But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my sidebar Rules 1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list.

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s Please Click Here.

Link up!

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Fathers Day

June 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Holidays & Special Events

Celebrate Your Dad

DadMy Dad will be 81 years old in November. He looks pretty darn good doesn’t he?  Dad has always been there for us.  When we were young, he worked a lot and I don’t remember back to him being a cuddly, playing ball with us in the front yard kind of Dad.  When I think of the fun times I think of our vacations. He loved to swim and would get in the pool with us and toss us in the air. He would play cards with us and he loved to tell stories.  He is still a great story teller.  The other thing I remember is the long car rides. He had songs we would always sing, or he’d make songs up. He would put us on his shoulders and let us touch the ceiling.

Here he is doing it with his granddaughter.  (which we all gasp at when we saw him walk in the room with her up there. There are times he walks with a cane! lol) Of course right after the picture we hear, “Sandy… get her down”  But he loved it and you can see her. I can remember that feeling of being able to touch the ceiling up on his shoulders.  Dad is 6’4″ so you really feel tall when you are up there.


This is how they started out. Something I can’t imagine I would have ever been allowed to do as a kid. (It would mess up the chair)

DadDad was a strict Dad. There was always a right way and a wrong way to do something. Black or White, no gray.  Table manners were and still are a MUST, coasters on the tables are a MUST, keeping things clean and organized… a MUST.

Last year we took Dad to the farm for Fathers Day. He loved it. My sister came into town and we spent the whole day with him.

Fathers Day He rode a 4-wheeler for the first time.  Dave gave him very basic instructions figuring an 80 year old man would certainly know how to ride a 4-wheeler.  There is a pretty good hill just past the trees behind us. Once Dad finally made it back he was cracking up. Said he didn’t know how to slow down and thought he was going to wreck going down. Then when he had to come up we hear the engine giving out because he didn’t downshift. My son ran down to help him. He had a great time, but I’m not sure if he will want to ride it today when we go back to the farm.


Dad walked me down the aisle twice.  He wasn’t too sure when I first told him I was dating a man with three year old triplets back in 2004.  (My youngest was 11) But he loves Dave and thinks he is the best thing I’ve ever had.

This was taken in 2006 at my wedding. I so wish my mom could have met Dave. Dad was totally devoted to her and was by her side for the 7 years she battled cancer. He has since remarried and Patty has been great for him. I think she helps to keep him feeling younger.

Dad at my wedding

I’m blessed to have had such a wonderful Dad and I’m blessed he is still here with me and doing so well. I think it will be cool to write a post when he is 100 years old and I’m ..ugh 71!


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Organization Tips

June 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize

Organization Tip #3

Label – Label – Label!!

You may think you will remember where you put things. But you will save so much time hunting for things if you use labels.

It is your home. You can decide if you want labels or not.  I remember thinking it was wrong to put labels on my children’s dresser drawers when they were young.  I think my parents would have had a fit if they would see that I was putting some form of tape on a nice wooden dresser.

I worked in a home as a pediatric nurse years ago and she had tape labels on everything. Dresser drawers, cupboards etc.. I loved it!  It was like the “ok” for me to label my boys dressers.  It helped them to remember which drawers to put their clothes in.


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4th of July Cake Recipe

June 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Food, Holidays & Special Events

Cake for 4th of July!

Doesn’t this look awesome?

white lily flour

I found this picture first on I then tracked it down to the Lily White Flour site.  I wanted to share it, it looks so good.  I love how you don’t really think of it as a red, white and blue cake until you cut it.  Hmm…. I wonder if you get a red or blue mouth?

From the recipe it is a marshmallow frosting, so it seems it would be a lighter cake. When it is hot outside, then light is good when it comes to cakes.



Independence Day Cake by Lily White Flour

Supplies Needed

Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
3 1/2 cups White Lily® Enriched Bleached All Purpose Flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 cups Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
OR 1 1/4 sticks Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 tablespoon blue food coloring
Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
2 cups butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 (13 oz.) jar marshmallow cream
Fresh blueberries and strawberries (optional)



1. HEAT oven to 350º F. Coat three 8-inch round pans with no-stick cooking spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper, cut to fit. Coat paper with no-stick cooking spray.
2. WHISK together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl. Add buttermilk and shortening. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg whites, vanilla and almond extract. Beat an additional 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
3. POUR 1/3 (about 2 cups) of batter into prepared pan. Divide remaining batter into 2 medium bowls. Stir in food coloring to make one red and one blue batter. Pour batter into remaining pans. Tap pans on counter several times to remove air bubbles.
4. BAKE 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes before removing from pan. Remove cake and cool completely on wire rack.
5. BEAT butter in a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until fluffy. Beat in almond extract. Stir in marshmallow cream until well blended.
6. PLACE blue cake layer on cake plate and generously frost top. Stack white layer and generously frost top. Add red layer, frosting top and sides of entire cake. Garnish with fresh blueberries and strawberries, if desired. 


If you try it, please let me know! If I make it, I’ll show you of course. Heck.. you know me, I show you all the stuff we do!

I found this  recipe and picture from the White Lily Flour site.



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June 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, Health & Safety

FDA requiring New Labels on Sunscreens!

Did you even know there was a possibility you weren’t being protected against skin cancer if you used a sunscreen? I didn’t!


I read an article yesterday and also saw on the news where there were going to be new regulations on the labels of sunscreen products by next year.

I had no idea there were issues with the labels. There seems to be so many to choose from, waterproof, Paba Free, spf 20-70, sunblock, etc.  I never thought that we were not being given all the information we needed to protect ourselves from sunburns and skin cancer. I didn’t know that the sunscreens differentiated in that they may protect you from wrinkles and not skin cancer if they were the same spf.

I am especially concerned with the skin cancers.  Many of you who follow me know that I recently had to have a skin graft on my nose due to a basal cell cancer removed.  My bigger fear is the high risk I have of getting melanoma. My mom passed away from it and I’ve had many abnormal moles removed to this point.

These are some things that I learned from the article I read in the June 15,2011 USA Today front page newspaper. The article was written by Liz Szabo, but this break down list is in my own words from what I read out of her article.

The FDA announced that sunscreens will have new labels by summer of 2012.

The FDA have wanted to change the labels since 1978.

The labels will have to state which sunscreens give “broad protection” from both of the biggest forms of UV rays (ultraviolet radiation)

UVA causes wrinkles – can cause skin cancer

UVB causes burns – can cause skin cancer

SPF only measures burn protection

To pass test for new labels and state they are “broad spectrum”they have to have spf of 15 and pass the FDA tests for UVA rays.

Products that don’t protect against UVA, or have spf of less than 15 will have to have a warning on them that they don’t protect against skin cancer.

Sunscreens will also have to have a “drug facts” box with more info in it.

The sunscreens that say “Broad Spectrum” now – we have no way to really know if they are because there has been no formal standard.

They will no longer be able to say they are – “Sunblock”, “sweat-proof” or “water-proof”!

They are only going to be able to claim whether they are “water-resistant” for 40 or 80 minutes.

That really floored me!  I guess I have been thinking all this time that if I have an spf sunblock on myself or the kids that we WERE protected against skin cancer.  Now I’m hearing that maybe we were… maybe we weren’t.
I have to say that it ticks me off a bit that the general public didn’t know that there wasn’t a standard in place, that there was even a possibility that we might not be protected completely by these sunscreens.

I’m glad the changes are being made so that we can be sure that ourselves and our children are being protected the way we thought we were always protected previously.



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Summertime with Kids

June 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Activites for Kids, Blog, Family & Friends, Guest Post

Summertime….and the living is easy?

by Evelyn Cucchiara



Ah….summertime. That season of the year when everything slows down and you get a chance to relax. At least in theory. Reality might be a bit different, especially if you have kids. If you’re not careful, you may just replace your hectic running around school time schedule with a hectic running around summer time schedule.  Except it will now be accompanied by a side dish of guilt because you know that summertime is supposed to be when you slow down and relax. A vicious circle. Time to jump off that merry-go-round.

Summer can be all you remember it being when you were a child. Long lazy days and what seemed like unlimited time. You just have to do a bit of organizing before the season starts. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Don’t sign up for more than 2 scheduled activities. What sounds like a great idea now won’t be so great in a few weeks when all you and your kids want to do is relax.
  • Sit down with your family ahead of time and find out what activities/day trips/events they want to do this summer. Keep a list. Tops on our list is going to an amusement park, having giant ice cream sundaes for lunch one day, scheduling a trip to a different library once a week followed by reading time, watching movies (complete with popcorn and snack bar) on rainy days…….. you get the idea. Find out what is important to your family – don’t worry about what the neighbors are doing.
  • Once a week, enlist one of your kids to help cook dinner. They’ll learn important life skills, you’ll spend quality time together, and hopefully when they get older they will take over some meal prep!
  • Try this idea year round, not just in summer – so that I don’t end up being the maid all summer, we schedule two family clean-ups a week just to keep the house in shape. What’s a family clean up? We ring a bell, all family members gather, each member picks a chore to do (in our house you get a choice of dusting, de-cluttering, vacuuming or a quick cleanup of the bathroom.) First come, first choice. This keeps the house in decent shape.
  • To keep the kids busy and give them a sense of contributing – son #1 is in charge of sweeping off the front walk daily, son #2  handles blowing off the driveway and deck weekly. (Son #3 is 18 and has an actual paying job out of the house.)
  • Two birds with one stone idea – the kids clean out their bedroom and playroom and gather any toys they haven’t played with in a year. They can play with them for a few more days, then we list them on Craig’s List or eBay and they get to keep the money.

Those are a few ideas to get you started. Just remember, summer is about slowing down and recharging for the next year.  If you don’t have time to read a few pages of a book just for pure pleasure this summer, something is wrong. Plan a lose schedule of events and activities, and you should end up in August reflecting on what a great summer you had, not wishing you had done more.

An important part – don’t forget to schedule some time with your friends – no kids allowed! A girl’s night out at the movies, some couples meeting for drinks at an outdoor watering hole, whatever sounds good to you! Just be sure to organize it before the summer slips away……………………………..

Happy summer!…………………………Evelyn



Short bio:

Hello everyone! I’m Evelyn Cucchiara and I’m a mom, business owner, author & blogger from New Jersey. My organizing experience comes from the trenches, so it works! Here’s my life in a nutshell: I’m a mom of three boys, I own and operate a children’s art studio, I write 2 blogs, I wrote an eBook on organizing entitled “30 Days to an Organized Home”, I tweet daily organizing tips and, along with my husband, I own a house flipping business. Want more info? Visit one or more of my websites: for daily organizing ideas for ways to bring happiness into your life
My art studio web address?
And last but not least – my eBook website

And if you’d like to follow me on Twitter: @organizingwithe


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Activities for Kids – Cake Pops

June 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Activites for Kids, Blog, Food

Cake Pops!

Have you heard of them? OMG… they are So good!  What a great activity for the kids!  Ours didn’t turn out as fancy as you see them in the Cake Pop book, but the triplets had a great time making them.

cake pops

I saw these Cake Pops and went out and bought the Cake Pops book by  Bakerella.

cake pops

I bought all the required items.  If you happen to have these supplies, then it is a low cost activity. For me… there was a lot I needed, so not so low cost.

Cake Mix & supplies needed to make. Oil, eggs, water
Candy Melts (she calls for 48 oz which is four Wilton bags, but I only had 2 bags and didn’t use them all)
Lollipop sticks
Styrofoam – the size I got cost me $8,99 at Joann’s. I’m sure you can buy it for less, but I didn’t have time to shop around.
sprinkles – we had a lot of that.

We decided to go with the very basic cake pop.  Having triplets, I had to divide up the jobs so everyone got a chance.

flouring the pan

One thing about baking or cooking. There are so many lessons and skills that can be taught.  We talked about fractions, how to measure, how to flour.


It was a great teaching moment.


Thank goodness there were three eggs in the recipe… that’s all I can say!


Learning how to use a hand mixer…. and can you believe that none of them lifted it up to early? I fully expected a nice cake spraying!

making a cake

Then of course once you make cake…. you get to help clean up.

cake beatersOf course since there are two beaters, you have to have the third have the spoon.


Bake the cake as usual.  Once it is cool, cut into four large sections.


They had to read the recipe.  I was there to guide and teach, but they did the work. I didn’t do it for them.

cake popsThey got to crumble up the cake into tiny pieces…. think they had fun with that?

cake pops

I had some homemade awesome frosting left from some cupcakes I had made last week. It was vanilla frosting, but it was just colored pink. The recipe called for 3/4 of a can of canned frosting. A can is 16 oz, so I had them measured 12 oz of frosting.

cake pops

They took turns mixing it in.

cake popsOf course they all dove in to make up the cake balls.

cake pops

Their ball rolling wasn’t perfect, but this activity was for fun, not perfection.  The box made 48 cake balls. I made them figure out the math of how many rows and how many in each row on the two cookie sheets.

cake pops

We took the two trays of cake balls out to the freezer. We brought them in after 15 minutes like the directions said, but we left the whole tray out.  The directions said to only work with a few at a time and keep the others in the refrigerator.  We learned.

cake popWe gave them more time in the freezer, then brought in one tray and kept in the freezer inside. Then we only got two out at a time.

We melted the candy melts. You only heat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. I also ended up adding some Crisco (as per direction) to thin down the candy melts.

wilton candy melts

You take your candy stick and dip it first into the candy melt. Then you put it into your cake ball. Not all the way through.

cake pops

Then dip it in and lift right out of the candy melt.  This one didn’t get down far enough. I was using the spoon to help put some extra on the ends. I also would try tipping the bowl to make it deeper.

cake pops

I used one of my deepest bowls, and I think had we had a couple bags of candy melt in the bowl, instead of just one it would have been easier.

But our main problem was that they would fall off the stick.  Even after just coming out of the freezer.  I think the issue there was that I must have used a little too much frosting. I think they were just a bit too gooey. Then you tap it gently to get some of the extra off.

cake pops

They got to then dip them in the sprinkles. But we found it worked better and was less messy to sprinkle the sprinkles on top and not dip the cake ball into the sprinkle bowl.

cake pops

I had also bought a bag of chocolate melt. It seemed to thin out a little better. I also added a little bit of Crisco to that too.

cake pops

The whole process took us about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish.

cake pops

The kids found out that the “duds” tasted just as good as the “good ones”.

cake pops


cake pops

They couldn’t have been prouder.  They raced in to show their Dad when he got home and their brother. Of course I heard, when can we make them again?

cake pops


What are some of the recipes your kids like to make?











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Org Junkie

Organizing Junkie’s Book Review & Giveaway!  *closed*

Clutter Rehab by Laura Wittmann

clutter rehab

I love Laura! I’m an Organizing Junkie was the first organizing blog I ever saw when I first started looking at blogs. Her writing is fun, easy to understand and basic. But she gets things done. She is a highly respected organizer and I think the top organizing blog (at least that I know of) out there.

She wrote a book. Yee Haw! Guess what? Her book is fun, easy to understand and basic!

She gives you “101 tips and tricks” to help you organize your home and manage your time.

Here is a page from the table of contents.

clutter rehab

Some of them are over a page, but generally speaking they are fast and easy tips. You might have several on a page.  Considering I am working on clearing out all the winter clothes and completely going through the kids rooms right now … donation is a big word.  I like her idea of having a “donation station”.

clutter rehab

Some of her tips are so simple, yet many people just don’t think of them.

clutter rehab


You can find this Clutter REHAB on Amazon and it is only $10.36!  Great deal.

clutter rehab on amazon


I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to decrease some of your clutter… just by using some smart and easy ideas.  It would also make an awesome gift for a newly married couple, a messy teenager going off to college, your “messy” friend… but, there are so many neat little tips in the book, that you don’t have to even be a disorganized person, or a messy person, or have a house full of clutter to gain valuable insight and ideas from this book.

Being short little chapters geared towards one tip each, makes it a very easy read. Something you can pick up, read a few ideas and put it back down to get the kids off to school. More than likely you will pick it up and keep reading because it’s so fun to find new ideas to make your life easier.

Buy it Here!

Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!

Try and Win a Copy Here!

Required For Entry: Go to Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It! and click on the “Click To Look Inside” at the top of the picture of the book and tell me what you see in the preview of the book that interest you! Leave a comment below telling me how you think this book could help you.

**Be sure to come back here and leave me your answer in your comment. Your e-mail has to either in your comment or on your profile.


**Each of these HAS to have a separate comment to win. The winner is picked using It just goes the number of comments….not by what you say.

1) Visit Laura’s blog I’m an Organizing Junkie and  look for something that interest you. Leave the link in the comments below of which blog post you visited. (1 entry)

2) Subscribe to my Organize with Sandy blog (1 entry)

3) Follow me on Twitter @OrganizerSandy (Leave me your twitter name) 1 entry

4) Stumble one of my posts for 5 extra chances to win. (tell me which post – please don’t stumble this post, as giveaway posts shouldn’t be stumbled.) 5 entries – be sure to leave 5 comments below for this one.

5) Tweet this out up to 3 times a day. You can use the tweet button at the top to make it easy. ( Pls leave your url link) 1 chance for each tweet.

Please keep in mind I approve my comments. So you won’t see them right away. Never fear!

This contest will run until 11:59pm est on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 *CLOSED*

Any comment that comes in after the above time will be deleted. This is open to US mailing addresses only. Must be 18+ to win. One person per mailing address only. Winner will be chosen by

You will have 48 hours to reply to my e-mail if you are picked as the winner, or else I will go on to the next winning number.

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 26

June 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Reviews & Giveaways


organizing mission monday

Don’t you love them?  Don’t we need them?  I’m actually on one right now! I’ve gotten some awesome opportunities for our family to review some areas around Ohio.

Ford Media Fleet is providing us with some wheels!!   We have a  Lincoln MKT to drive for the week.  Swaeeeett!

Lincoln MKT

Our first stop was the Hocking Hills area in Southern Ohio.  We went to the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours! I love ziplines!  It was SO fun!!  We all loved it! I’ll have a post on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog within a week or two on all these adventures.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

We went to  Mammoth Cave in KY today and then got to stop and visit my son in Lexington, KY.  That was a very short visit to see him at his new job as a buyer at the new CarMax they just built there.  The caves are not part of my review, but we wanted to take the kids there to see them.

mammoth cavesWe stopped by home and will be heading for a day at our farm.  We are going to be doing some fishing!

Then we are off to a three day fun package called Roar and Explore Adventure Getaway.  It includes a day at the Columbus zoo, a day at Zoombezi Bay and COSI.

This will be an awesome vacation.  I’ll be sharing videos and pictures later on my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog.

Check out my Featured Bloggers For This week!

Susan from Homeroad refinished this Ikea cart

Look at what she did to this cart!  Just refinishing my table and painting my Ikea table were big deals to me. This is what her Ikea cart that she has had several years looked like.
homeroad ikea cart Then she did all kinds of things to it.  Not just sanding…. but she got to take out some aggression and pound it with a hammer to distress it (that would for sure distress me! lol). She also put some black tacks in it, nails in it, put on some hooks and handles…

homeroad ikea cartMade a cool stencil for the top and it turned out like this!!  Isn’t this awesome!!

homeroad ikea cart

You can see all her tricks and techniques on how to get this Ikea cart looking so fab on her post called Ikea Cart Re-Make.


Anna from Ask Anna- Cleaning your Blow Dryer

has some great techniques and ideas on cleaning some of those things you just don’t think about cleaning, or you aren’t sure about how to clean.

She took her little old hair dryer that looks so nice and clean

ask annaUntil you looked at the filter/vent area.  She used a little known secret of using dryer lint from her dryer to stick to the lint in the grates of her blow dryer to pull it out!

ask anna

Look at the difference!!!  It looks so clean.

ask anna She has some other great ideas that you can get the links on my going to my Organizing Mission Monday link party Week 25 to see her posts, or you can just check out her blog! This one is called Hair Dryer Trick but she also cleaned the front of her oven door with a homemade mixture I want to try, and several other good cleaning ideas.


Card Cubby Giveaway is still going On! (Closed)

card cubby

I am going to give away a Zebra Card Cubby!

***I am also giving a 10% discount from today until June 30th, 2011. If you use the code “Summer 11” it will take off the 10%. This is good on the Card Cubby and pouchee purse organizer!

Required For Entry: Leave a comment below telling me how you would best like to use the Card Cubby if you won. **Be sure to come back here and leave me your answer in your comment. Your e-mail has to either in your comment or on your profile.   Please keep in mind….  Just posting a link to the link party is NOT an entry.  It is an option for an extra entry, but you have to ALSO put a comment in the comment section for it to be in the drawing.  At this point (morning of 6/13) there are only 24 entries for the 24 comments.


**Each of these HAS to have a separate comment to win. The winner is picked using It just goes the number of comments….not by what you say.

1) Leave a link in the link party for one of your blog posts. (1 entry) You can leave more than one link in the link party, but only one of them counts towards an entry.

2) Subscribe to my Organize with Sandy blog (1 entry)

3) Follow me on Twitter @OrganizerSandy (Leave me your twitter name) 1 entry

4) Stumble one of my posts for 5 extra chances to win. (tell me which post – please don’t stumble this post, as giveaway posts aren’t so great to stumble.) 5 entries – be sure to leave 5 comments below for this one.

5) Tweet this out up to 3 times a day. You can use the tweet button at the top to make it easy. ( Pls leave your url link) 1 chance for each tweet.

Please keep in mind I approve my comments. So you won’t see them right away. Never fear!

This contest will run until 11:59pm est on Sunday, June 19, 2011 (Closed) 

Any comment that comes in after the above time will be deleted. This is open to US mailing addresses only. Must be 18+ to win. One person per mailing address only. Winner will be chosen by

You will have 48 hours to reply to my e-mail if you are picked as the winner, or else I will go on to the next winning number.

Link up to my Link Party

I would love to see what you are working on this week. But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my sidebar Rules 1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list.

If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple.

If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s Please Click Here.

This link party will be open until 11:59 on Sunday June 19, 2011. Feel free to leave more than one post. (But only one counts as an extra entry for the giveaway)


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Organization Tips

June 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Donating & Causes, How To Organize

Organizing Tip #2

Use black trash bags for trash and white trash bags for donate.

When you are sorting through a room, you will end up with a big mess on the floor of your room.  One way to keep things from getting mixed up, or taking a whole bag of trash to the store to donate and throwing away that donate bag… is to color code your bags.

Buy black and white trash bags.  Keep your system consistent.  If you already use white trash bags in your house for your trash… then switch the colors.  Keep using the white ones for trash and use black for donate. You get the picture.

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