Donate Your Clutter!

August 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Cleaning, Donating & Causes, How To Organize

Helping Others With Things You Don’t Use

I tend to donate most of my unused or unwanted things to the Good Will store in our town.  I have to admit it is the easy way out, but I got the most enjoyment when the kids and I went to our local nursing home and took them stuff animals we had.

Dave gets me stuff animals (I love to get them!) usually once a year or so for different occasions.  I  display one, maybe two of them on my dresser in my room and then store the others in a trunk at the end of my bed.

Elise, like many young girls had many stuffed animals that she was ready to give up.  We called the nursing home first and asked permission, and then took over several animals to hand out around Valentine’s Day.
donate stuffed animals

It was a little uncomfortable for the kids and myself.  But it was a good uncomfortable. We were stepping out of our comfort zone, doing something we weren’t used to.  We had someone who walked us around and helped us decide which residences to give the stuffed animals to. I specifically asked for residents who did not have many vistors.

donate stuffed animalsWe had two different residents start crying. One kept saying… “Oh, this can’t be for me! This is too nice for me!” She began to cry and just hugged that stuffed animal.  I had a very difficult time not crying myself.

Wow…  the power in giving.

Think of all the things you have boxed up, packed up and hidden away.  Have you asked yourself why you are keeping it?

  1. Keeping it for your kids?
  2. Keeping it for memories?
  3. Keeping it because you feel guilt?
  4. Keeping it because you might use it one day?

I’m not saying to get rid of everything you have stored.  But I do want you to think about it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When was the last time you used it?
  2. Is it something you can live without?
  3. Is it something you think you will use each year? (holiday decorations, camping gear, skiing equipment)
  4. Do you really need to keep it?
  5. Could it benefit and help someone else, instead of being packed away in your house?

So you decide that you do need to get rid of some things, but how do you do it and who do you give it to?

First step it to go through and sort the items.  Decide what you need to keep and what you can give up.

Then decide where you can donate it.  Please only donate things that are in good shape.  No one wants your stained, torn or broken items.  When you take these items to a donation facility, they have to go through them. Guess what? They dispose of them. So help to save them some work.

Here are several suggestions:

  1. Donate to a local shelter
  2. Donate to a larger donation facility (Good Will, Kidney foundation etc)
  3. Donate to your church or a local church that takes donations
  4. Call your nursing home to see if they can use donations
  5. Check the internet to see if there are any disaster areas that still need donations (tornado ravaged, or hurricane, earthquake areas)
  6. Check with your local firehouse or city hall to ask if they know of any local residents who can use help.

If you feel that you can donate some things, but other things you can use some income for, here are a couple other ideas.

  1. Have a garage sale
  2. Take to a resale shop
  3. Sell on eBay

I have had several people tell me that they have parents who have aged and have either a home that needs to be cleared out or  a storage facility that needs to be cleared out and they have no idea where to start.

You can start with a local Professional Organizer in your area.  They might have resources, or know of someone else that helps to take care of those kinds of situations.

Think of others

Think of the good that your item (that hasn’t been used, seen or thought about in years) might do for someone else

Donate your clutter! It will do a body good (yours and someone else’s!)

 

Some of you may recognize the pictures. I have done a previous post on donating to this nursing home.

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 37

August 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Baby Bunny Adventure

It was over a week ago when I let my two dogs out early in the morning and heard some strange noises… saw them all worked up and realized very quickly what must be happening.  They had discovered baby bunnies in our yard.  OH NO!!!

I went running out into the yard to find them all excited and kicking up all this dead grass.  They stopped when I yelled and I went over to find one dead baby bunny and another injured one with two puncture marks in it.  I could see at least one other bunny still hidden in the nest.

Trying to keep my dogs away, crying and trying to decided what to do – did not make a good way to start the day.  I got the dogs inside.  I couldn’t be mad at them.  They love chasing bunnies when they get in our yard. How are they to know these are babies and have no chance to run away and play the “chase” game.  Of course it is also instinct for the dogs to go after them.

I went back out with a plastic bag and bagged up the one who had died and disposed of him.  I then went and dug a little bit of a hole outside our fence, near our house, under the fireplace overhang of our house.  So there was some protection from the rain etc.

I carefully picked up the one injured bunny (surprised that he was still alive) and carried some of the grass from their nest and put him in the new nest.  Then I uncovered the rest of the nest to find two more bunnies who seemed to be fine.  I took them, one at a time to the new nest.

I knew the one wouldn’t make it, but thought he could at least be with his bunny sibs when he died.

 

baby bunnies These bunnies were so darn cute.

I went out that evening and could hardly believe when I saw the injured bunny was still alive. Surely he would be dying soon, but he must be pretty tough.

Each day I went out to check on the bunnies, and was thrilled to see them up and hopping around, within two days.

baby bunnies

The third bunny was hanging in there. Although I didn’t see the injuries, I could always guess which one he was. He seemed a little smaller and not as active as the other two.  If you look close you can spot all three of them.

We would go out and they would start to hop over to us even!

But we were so worried they would hop into the yard when the dogs were back outside.

We were very careful not to touch them.  I don’t know if the mama bunny was coming back to feed them or not. She had to have moved them into our yard the night before the dogs attacked them, and they hadn’t just been born at that point.

I was guessing she must be coming back to them at night and feeding them since they seemed like they were gaining strength.  But Zach had given them a tomato from our garden and they seemed to be eating it, so we pulled a couple small carrots from the garden for them to eat too.

Enjoy some of these cute bunny pictures

 

 

Dave said that as a kid there were several times when he came on a situation similar to this and he tried to save the bunnies. He said they never did live. He couldn’t believe that the injured bunny was still alive.
We also were watching a nature show where they had a situation where people tried to save some wild animals that the moms abandoned and they stressed on the show that even though people think they are helping, rarely is it good to interfere in nature.
I watched the bunnies for 5 days, hoping each day they were going to survive. But sadly nature did take its course. Something attacked them in the night on the 6th night and they did not survive. :(

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life 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 party will be open until Sept. 4, 2011

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Activities for Kids – Archery

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Activites for Kids, Blog, Family & Friends

Archery Can Be A Great Sport For A Kid!

Or course that is if your kids are old enough or mature enough to realize they can’t turn and shoot the dog.. or their sister!!

Dave got himself a new bow (which he hasn’t had for about 15 years). He knew it was adjustable one and thought he would be able to adjust it so the kids could use it too. He attempted it once and realized it would be no easy feat to adjust it back and forth for them to use.

archery

So he went out and bought them one they could use that wasn’t terribly expensive.  He measured their draw length first to see if the triplets were even able to use the same bow. They were.  You also have to know what poundage your kids can handle. (Dave knows all this stuff…not me)

Dave worked with the kids to explain how to hold it, and of course safety measures they HAVE to follow.

archery

The dogs were not allowed outside and of course there were no kids on the community playground back behind our house.

Dave is so patient in teaching the kids.

They love it

Cross bows are very popular right now… but Dave isn’t fond of them.  He wants them to learn how to shoot with a “real bow and arrow”.  Actually he would love to get them a recurve bow (no pullies) but they are too expensive. Plus this is like Dave’s is like that he bought.

archeryI’m surprised how well the kids are doing! They rarely miss the target block.

They do plan to go out with their Dad into the woods this fall. Dave will not let them shoot at any deer this year. They aren’t ready for that, but it will be good experience.

This is not an inexpensive sport.  Once you get your bow and arrows, it isn’t too bad. But the arrows are around $6 per arrow (so you don’t want to lose them)

I remember taking archery in high school. I really enjoyed it myself. (There are pink bows you know! lol)

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Creating a Mud Room

Creating  Mud Room In Your Garage

I don’t have a mud room in my house, nor do I have a place for a mud room in this house.  So…. I have to make a mud room in my garage.

We were only able to do this after we got the shed and were able to clear out extra supplies (bikes, lawn mower, tools, sporting equipment and such) out of the garage and into the shed.  Check out my series of posts on how to organize your shed.

Our garage was suffering from “winter messy blues”.  You know…. during the winter how you bring everything into the garage, and nothing gets put away.  Because it is winter, it is too cold to pull everything out of the garage onto the driveway to clean it out…. so it all just accumulates and gets messier and messier?  Yes… the garage messy blues!

Garage “Before” Pictures

before garage I didn’t think to take pictures at the very beginning.  This was in the mist of moving things into the shed.

garageThere were metal shelves on the empty wall.

What we did was to clear everything out.  Took down the shelves.  Moved the freezer over to the left further.

Then we painted.  The paint was actually a gallon I had left over from painting the dining room.  I didn’t want periwinkle walls in the garage. I wanted gray walls.  I wanted to use gray walls and red accent (Ohio State colors).  But I had an unopened gallon of periwinkle. So what’s a girl to do?

You go to Home Depot and tell them to make your periwinkle paint -  gray! They will look at you like you are crazy, tell you that they don’t know that they can do that.  You will then tell them…. just add black please.  They will do it… several times – each time explaining to you something about the base of your paint being a medium base and that to use dark colors you nee a heavy base – so they are not going to guarantee that it will dry very well.

You will look at that final color that he smears on the lid and it dries (with the blow dryer) and think… wow… that really does look gray! Silently jumping up and down wanting to say .. I told you so – but also realizing that when it dries… or doesn’t.. the Home Depot man might be jumping up and down and saying… “I told you so!”

I only wanted to paint the long wall and short front wall that had been dried walled.  The rest of the garage had studded walls… and weren’t going to be part of my mud room anyway.

painting garage

Oh.. and yes, I know…. my gray paint does have a hint of purplish-blue in it still.  (It sure looked just gray on the lid!) But it is a garage, and it isn’t worth spending another $35 for a gallon of pure gray paint. This will do.

Here is the finished painting job

The next step – outfitting my mud room.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this project.  I knew I wanted:

1) Cubbies for shoes
2) Bench to sit on to put on and take off shoes/boots
3) Hanging area for coats and snow pants
4) Hooks for book bags
5) Shelves for paper towels & toilet paper storage
6) Places for the kids sports bags
7) Trash can
8) Dog food storage near by
9) Floor that had carpet or something to keep from having dirty feet after shoes came off
10) Have it look nice

What I did:

1) Went to Ikea and bought two cubby units, two metal coat hangers/shelf units and 2 wall mounted hooks, wooden sturdy hangers
2) Brought up a small shoe cubby unit I had in the basement
3) Brought up a red couch unit that we had in the basement
4) Used made from cut wood Dave already had (one was a shelf from somewhere else we didn’t need any longer)
5) Bought padded garage squares for the floor (I already had some, just got some more)

Are you ready?  Here it is…. not the Mona Lisa of mud rooms…. not the prettiest you will see, not the classiest you will see, but it will work for us.. and I like it.

Garage Mud Room “After” Pictures

garage mud room

My son and his friend basically dumpster dived for the red diners bench. There is a 2nd one in our basement. They saw them at the curb a few years ago and he brought them home just as pleased as he could be. We have used them in the kids basement TV room.  But I thought this would be perfect here. Plastic so if they are dirty or wet it isn’t a problem. I didn’t have to buy one like I thought I would… and it looks fun.

The black coat hangers came from Ikea.  The cubby units did too.  The shoe unit in on the floor I already had. But I thought the top of it would work great for the 3rd karate bag. If you look to the far right of the picture you will see a plastic shelf. That is where the other 2 karate bags of the triplets will go.  The trashcan I wanted is to the left.  You know…. when you come in from the cars and have fast food bags or whatever needs to be thrown away…. just makes it nice and easy.

The cubby units work great for the boots and shoes.  I bought the white shelf dividers so that you wouldn’t lose good space in the cubbies.  The triplets keep their shoes and boots on the left cubby, the two older boys use the right cubby.

The dog food container is to the left of the bench.  So it is still easy to get to when you come out into the garage, but yet out of the way.

The gray padded garage floor squares work great.  They will keep the cubbies and bench from getting all wet from snow coming off of cars. They will keep feet somewhat dry, clean & warm when taking on and off shoes & boots.

Keep in mind when you are buying anything from Ikea that has to be mounted on the wall.  They evidently have different measurements for their studs when building houses.  My husband gets very frustrated when he has to hang something from there.  The holes do not line up with 16″ (I think) studs that are standard in our homes.  He had to figure out how to hang the coat/book bag hooks that I wanted hung.

He ended up first mounting a piece of wood and used it as a base to then hang the coat racks from.  I originally had planned to put one coat rack in one place and the other in another place….. but after the big deal this was.. I didn’t get upset at all when he put them side by side.  It will actually work out great.

So one more look at before….

garage

And then “After”

garage mud room

Oh .. and yes – we still put a car on this side.  We were parking my Honda Pilot on this side of the garage and our “run around” car the Neon on the other side.  But we switched them up.  The Neon now goes on this side, so there is still plenty of room for the car and to get around it on all sides.  The Pilot goes on the other side of the garage.

We also put a key pad on the outside of the garage so the kids can get into the garage themselves.

 

 

 

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 36

August 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

First Day of School

The kids have their first day of school today!!

Don’t you remember that excitement, anticipation, and nervousness?  The smell of your new bookbag, lunchbox, crayons and notebooks?  Remember?   OMG I sure do!

The triplets are going into fifth grade.  Dave’s oldest is going to be a senior.  My Tim graduated but will be starting college classes in September.

backpack

Back to the routine of getting up earlier, laying out clothes the night before, packing lunches the night before, bookbags packed and ready to go, driving kids to school (we lost busing with loss of levies) and watching the clock in the afternoon to pick them up.

But it can be worth it all to have the house quiet most of the day!!!

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life 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 party will be open until Sept. 4, 2011

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Teaching Kids Responsibility with Chores

August 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Cleaning, Family & Friends, Products for Organizing

Giving Your Children Jobs Around The House

I strongly feel that kids need to take part in the family chores. I think our job as parents is to raise them to be independent adults. If they constantly have everything done for them, once they are on their own… they flounder around like fish out of water. They want someone else to do it for them. I’ve seen it time and time again.

A Few Points to Keep In Mind

1) Kids like routine
2) Kids need guidelines
3) Kids like to feel grown up
4) Kids like to help

Use these points in a positive Way
Routine and guidelines - Have a schedule for chores. Make a job board. This is one that I used to use for years. I have since revamped it, but this is a very simple one I like to show people.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  The first name magnets I made, I let the kids color their own.  They loved that.  But you could also go the other route and make printables on your computer and make them look vintage or something that matches the kitchen or decor.

I started this when the triplets were three years old. They couldn’t read, so I drew the pictures.  Even though some of the chores like vacuuming might have been more than a three year old could accomplish the way I might want the job done… it gave them a sense of pride to help. Of course I helped, and now at ten years old they know how to do it properly.

For me… I go simple.

chore board

I use a magnetic dry erase board that I purchased at a discount store.

You can put the magnets directly on your refrigerator – maybe you don’t have the wall space to hang a chore board, or you don’t want one hanging, or you don’t want to purchase one – you don’t have to!

I put the children’s names across the top and the jobs they are assigned that week, underneath their names. Depending on age and ability will determine how many chores and of what level they are per child.  During the school year my children get two chores per week. (Keeping their rooms clean, beds made and laundry put away are routine chores. They are not on the chore board)  During the summer when they are all home, they have three per week.

Making The Chore Board

Purchased a box of these magnetized stickers for business cards at the office store. They are a little pricey, but I still have plenty left and they are the perfect size and the magnets on them are really strong.  The sheets of magnet stickers isn’t inexpensive either, and I have found that you have to cut it and the magnet isn’t’ as strong.

magnets

Either cut paper to size or the backs of old business cards.  I like to write the chore (and picture of the chore) on the card before I adhere it to the magnet. Then just peel off the backing of the sticker.

And place your paper onto the sticker.  There you have it.. Easy Peazy!

job board

Cleaning Buckets – Feeling Grown Up and Making it Fun To Help

By giving them their own “cleaning bucket” it helps to make them feel more important. The younger ones can have something like this with just some cleaning wipes, a sponge and dust cloth.
If you color code your kids, then be sure to have their bucket in “their color” to keep them straight.

When they get to be a little older and can handle cleaning chemicals responsibility they can have something more like this.

cleaning bucket large

Keep it fun and colorful!  The more positive we go into it, the more positive results you will get from the children.

It doesn’t have to be difficult or pulling teeth in order to have children learn responsibility.  But I think as adults we have the responsibility to teach our children how to live in the real world… and that starts at home.  Personally I think it needs to start early.  We aren’t helping our children by doing everything for them.  We help them by teaching them how to do things for themselves.

 

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Kids Activities – Tying Knots

How Do Kids Learn If You Don’t Teach Them?

Dave is so good at teaching his children things.  They have never been able to be in Boy or Girl Scouts because of the divorce situation and having them go when they aren’t with us. So, Dave teaches them things himself.

When we were on our vacation this year, we came back and spent a day at our farm for a night. We had planned to go fishing, but the river was too high, so we had to adjust.

Dave decided to teach the kids how to tie knots.

tying knots Dave made it fun for them once he taught them the fundamentals.

“You are caught out in the water…I’m throwing you a rope and you need to tie it around you so I can pull you in.”

tying knots

 

tying knots

He taught them the names of the knots and when you would use each one.

knots

Then worked with them until they got it.

knots

Then they practiced….

knots

and practiced…

knots

and practiced some more

knots

Something as simple as tying knots was a memory that I bet these guys will have with them for the rest of their lives.  Their Dad spent a couple hours with them that day and they loved it.  He came up with all kinds of fun scenarios for them to use their knots.  Asking which ones they would use for what…  enabling them to tie their own fishing knots….  etc.

But for them it was just time with their Dad.  Time learning things he was teaching them and knowing that he loved them enough to take that time to teach them.

He would be an awesome home schooling Dad. Not that it is an option for us.  It is something I know I couldn’t do…. but I envy his patience with his kids and his drive to teach them everything he can.

He is actually in the back yard as I write this… teaching them how to shoot the bow he got them.  Yes… I went out and got pictures…. future post for sure. lol

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Cheap Sally Party & Collective Bias

Best Party at Blogher 2011 This Year!

cheapsally That is simple!!  The #CheapSallyParty! It was slated to be the best party – that can be a bit scary! Expectations are high! But guess what?  There was no question. Hands down, this was the best party – and not by our accounts…. but by almost everyone who attended!  Collective Bias sent me to Blogher (loved it! I’ve never been to San Diego in CA before.. now I know why people love it so much!) this year as their photographer for several events. I was primarily behind the camera lens this trip, but had plenty of pictures with me in them too.

The atmosphere was amazing! We had the entire Stingree Nightclub to ourselves.  Three floors of awesomeness!

There were food stations, plenty of drink stations and no problems finding a place to sit, talk and relax.

cheapsally party

The rooftop was the highlight of the party! We couldn’t have had better weather if we had ordered and paid for it!

The Brands had exposure in the cabanas that gave them plenty of attention, but they weren’t in your face. This was Collective Bia’s cabana – our community of bloggers is called Social Fabric.

social fabric

Aren’t our Collective Bias pillows awesome! Love them!

collective bias pillow

It was a nice place for bloggers to come and know they would find Social Fabric members.  Here is Kim @craftymamaof4 and Michele @scrappinmichele

collective bias

Udi’s Gluten Free Food gave us a loaf of their bread in our swag bags. They also gave us some granola. Later that night I sat in my room and worked… I was starved. I opened up the loaf of bread, fully expecting some terrible tasting stuff (I don’t eat gluten free… can you tell?) I was completely shocked to discover it was moist, tasty and I really liked it. I didn’t have anything to put on it, like butter or jelly… and didn’t miss it. I ate some more the next morning along with the granola (dry) and enjoyed that too.  Totally recommend this.

udi's

I loved this space.  KMart is coming out with a new line of Gordon Ramsay kitchen accessories this fall.

Sears

Doesn’t this look cool? I’d love to try out some of those pans… they look nice.

Gordon Ramsay

I also loved that they gave away all the items they were displaying there to a local food pantry that helps the homeless. Really … so much cooler than giving it away to the bloggers (we get so much at these conferences)

The Bloggers were able to go and visit and talk sitting on comfy couches, pick up awesome swag at the cabanas as well as in their swag bags on their way out.

Cheap Sally announced an awesome giveaway! I mean … really awesome!! The Cheap Sally Bring Home The Bacon Contest!!

cheapsally

They are having a contest and the winner will get a contract for a year – to write one blog post a week on the Cheap Sally blog for $100,000 for the year! Can you say OMG!!

This is Brian Markley (a Top Chef and owns two restaurants in San Diego) beginning the announcement for Cheap Sally Bring Home the Bacon Contest.

Brian Marlarkey

We had several of our bloggers interview Brian at the beginning of the party.  Melissa had him laughing!

Brian Marlarkey and Melissa

Ok.. I wanted a picture too.

Melissa and Daniel (ConsumerQueen and ConsumerKing) are so sweet. I always love seeing Melissa and enjoy when Daniel gets to come to the conferences too.

Consumer Queen and Consumer King

One of the things I LOVE about any blogging conference is when we can meet people in real life that we are used to just talking to online.

One of my favorite people to meet in real life was Lily @MiliaryFamof8. I discovered that Lily is extremely shy and wasn’t real happy that I was taking her picture. But she is SO giving, has such a loving and giving spirit and looked absolutely hot! Her hubby bought her outfit for her to wear and she was very uncomfortable. She had not been to other blogging conferences and has a comfort behind the computer.. not in front of it (not unusual at all for many bloggers).  But she got to meet many people from Social Fabric… how could you not love her?

kim and lily Check out her shoes! Aren’t they great!!

shoes

Here are Amy’s shoes… love them too.

Amy Callahan from Collective Bias looked great. This is her and Lauren before the party.

Again at the end of the party with Kate Berg

Sears Style had a booth and the ambassadors that went shopping (that post will be coming soon). They were manning the booth and handing out some awesome swag too! Don’t they look great?

searsAnd more.. I’m excited about the age defining cream (I can use all the help I can get you know!)

sears

Liz from Smarties is the bomb! Can you imagine being a 5th generation candy maker and looking like this? I think I’d be a two ton tessy if it were me!

smartiesShe made a swag for her booth using the candy necklaces! lol

We also discovered that you can put Smarties into a Martini and it was dubbed the Smartini! Can I tell you that when your drink is gone… eating the martini soaked Smarties… was the highlight!

There was also Smartie appetizers all over!  (yum)

The evening  was beautiful…

Loved taking pictures of everyone! Mel from MamaBzz met Ted Rubin

Mel and Ted

Ken Barnett and his wife were there. Ken is the CEO of MARS Advertising.

Ken barnett

Debba from Girlfriendology with some of the UPS Store crew

Lifetime Moms was one of the sponsors

I don’t know who this is, but they were sitting in the Lifetime Moms area… and I love this peach dress! I felt like she looked so beautiful in it. I had to ask for her picture.

That was one of the things the bloggers loved. They felt they could relax, visit and have a space to visit with the Brands that was not pressured… not crazy crowded.

Amy Lowe looked so cute. She has been helping me so much writing tweets for cbSocially!

Amy Lowe

I was excited to meet Shelby @GlitterfulFelt  She and Steve did daily videos when we worked on the Lean Cuisine campaign. I felt like I already knew her because I saw her on video. She was so cute with her (fake) tattoo with Steve’s name on it!

These two wonderful ladies are from Canada.  It was fun to have someone be excited about having a picture taken with me!  Melissa @TimeOutMom on the left and Margarita @DownShiftingPOS (another professional organizer!!) on the right.

Kim, Monica and I posing inside the Social Fabric Cabana. Look at our cool Collective Bias QR code badges (Jay is the bomb!)

kim monica and sandy

Courtney, Kim and I out front before the party began.

Everyone left with plenty of swag (including these great flip flops from ViX Swimwear…these are no cheap little ol’ flip flops ladies!!)

They got a bag as they left which also had more goodies in it (other than what they picked up at the cabanas.) Like Peets Coffee! Yum…. good coffee!  I also found out they sell it at my local grocery store.. so it’s all good!

I had a wonderful time, even though I was running around taking pictures of everyone (that was fun!) and what was nicer was knowing that everyone else had a great time too.

Thank you to all the sponsors and Dawn and Elizabeth from Party BluPrints (thank you for your book in the swag bags!)  along with everyone from Collective Bias who put in so many hours and so much time to make this party happen.

 

Collective Bias sponsored my trip to Blogher11.

I was not asked to write this post. I did that on my own because it was so stinkin’ awesome!

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 35

August 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Have you ever had someone steal one of your blog posts?

I mean the entire post? They post it on their blog, but it doesn’t have your name on it anywhere? I am shocked that people actually do that.
I just discovered someone did that to me. A friend of mine emailed me and said to check it out. I was flabbergasted! I’m like…”Wait a minute… that is my post”.. word for word… picture for picture (with my watermark on them). Then I try to find who is writing this blog and there is just vagueness, and no one to actually notify (that I have found).
I’m not going to share the blog with you because I have no desire to drive any more traffic to them.
It did not come up on my Google alerts – because they never used “Organize with Sandy”
I’m going to be changing those settings…
Tell me your experiences.

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life 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 party will be open until August 21st

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Corporate Offices of Collective Bias

August 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Conference, Blogging and Social Media

I Got To Visit and See Their Ribbon Cutting

Collective Bias

 

This blog post of mine has recently been stolen by another blog. I have changed it up a bit to hopefully not get the duplicate content dings by Google.  Be sure you use Google Alerts!

I flew Bentonville, AR to the corporate offices of Collective Bias right after I came back from the Evo conference in Utah last month.

I got to meet many of the people I had only talked to on the phone or skype and got to actually see the office and how things are set up.

I realized just now that I didn’t get a picture of the nice front of the brick building.  Here is the glass door…

But I did get a picture of Amy Callahan washing windows – getting ready for the ribbon cutting…. now that is devotion to her business isn’t it?

When you first walk in… you walk into a little “living room” – that totally has the CB feel to it.

Aren’t these pillows great? Love them!

Great place to have a break, have a discussion or a group meeting

The rest of the office is also open with desks on either side and a conference table in the center.

This picture is coming in from the back door of the office and looking to the left of the large white board wall

Another view

You never know what antics might take place to get their creative minds marketing minds going!

The Nerf wars! Chris Whittle

Against John Andrews!

Aliens? Creative minds you know….

 

 

 

 

And here is the some of the awesomesauce of Collective Bias:

Brad Lawless

Mailena Vo

Chris Whittle

Lauren Rodkin

Matt Garcia

Jay Thorton

Monica Johnson

Amy Callahan and her mom (her mom was visiting for the ribbon ceremony)

John Andrews – I caught John in the middle of speaking at the ribbon cutting

Kate Berg

 

Ted Rubin

Bailey – one of the interns

And John’s daughter Mary Catherine -up and coming Collective Bias employee!! (no not her glasses)

Here are several others that I didn’t capture pictures of… but here is the ribbon cutting ceremony that I was lucky enough to be at.

 

It was cool the Mayor of Bentonville Bella Vista was there joining in too.

I certainly appreciate and thank Collective Bias – I am thrilled to be a part of this awesome group!

(This post was revised on Aug 15, 2011)

 

 

 

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Evo Conference 2011

I Love Utah!!

Utah

I went for the second year to Park City Utah for the Evo Conference. I love it there!! I am SO going to bring Dave next year, and we are talking about bringing the kids.

We stayed at the Canyons Resort and it was the bomb!

resort

The Collective Bias group got a suite again, and I think there were like 8 of us in there. Three bedrooms, living room, kitchen and huge dinner table. So fun!

The conference itself was great! I love the workshops that Jyl Pattee has worked in so that we get hands on attention.

elevator friends

The sponsor suites were really nice… and we had plenty of time to get to them all.
Jenny from Kodak  – yes those are Cake Pops!

jenny from kodak
There were some that were so pretty and calm.

evo

Bert and Ernie were in the Sesame Street Suite

Bert and Ernie

cookies

We also got to Just Dance!

I went up to a photography workshop on the lift by myself… and just couldn’t stop taking pictures.

utah

utah

utah

utah
I wish you could tell how steep this was going down! If it was going fast I would have freaked! I was in the chair by myself and realized it was just too beautiful to be scary.

chair lift utah

We were able to go zip lining

zip lining
on the “roller coaster” that goes down the mountain – this was on our way up. Look at the deer to the left. I didn’t even see that until I looked at my pictures later.

We also went on the Alpine Slide, carrying our slides to the starting point.


Getting all ready to go (Kim Janocko – Crafty Mama of 4)

crafty mama of 4
And flying down. This pic was taken as I was going up the chair lift, so I have no idea who is going down. But it looks like the dad is having fun!

utah
Bush’s Bake Beans put on this night for us including a wonderful dinner and all these fun activities.

Our last night was also up the mountain. There was a storm going up…. wind and a chairlift going over the mountains is a scary thing! lol Monica was scared enough going on the chairlift – let alone as windy as it was. We were trying to distract her.

evo
But seeing the aftermath is worth it..a double rainbow

double rainbow

Doesn’t it look like the rainbow is going into the “pot of gold” cloud?

rainbow

Here is the most of us from Collective Bias!

collective bias at evo

I wanted to be able to tell Dave I saw a Moose…this was the best I could do.

sandy and a moose

Loved Evo!  Loved Utah.. can’t wait to go back!

Here are the list of sponsors of Evo.

I was sponsored by Collective Bias for this conference.  Thank you Collective Bias and cb.Socially!

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Back To School Routine

August 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Family & Friends, How To Organize, Time Managment

Get Your Routine Set Before The First Day of School

Are you ready for school to start?  My best advice to you is decide what your morning routine is going to be, in advance of school starting?  Make a chore board… or routine board.

Why? Because once the hectic mornings begin, it will be hard to change habits.

Here are my suggestions for a morning routine.

Morning Routine

1) Get up at least 15 minutes earlier than you “think” you need to. There will always be a glass of spilled milk or a “melt down” when you least expect it.
2) Have a “chore board” or “morning routine board” if needed to help your child remember their morning routine.
3) PREPARE the night before!!!
* Pack lunches or lunch money
* Lay out clothes
* Have book bags ready to go
* Homework inside in the bookbags
* Library books inside the bookbags (you get the point)
* Take your shower the night before if possible.
* Have breakfast planned and table set

After School Routine Tips

1) Routine…Routine….Routine. (kids need it)
2) Book bags emptied when they come in the door. Have a specific spot for their papers where you can go through them.
3) Snack
4) Homework time (don’t delay it, get it over with..they are still in school mode..not play mode yet.)
5) Have a quiet place, with low stimulus for homework. Desk in their room without tv, or a kitchen table.
6) Put their book bags away in a set spot. Hooks on the back of a door can work great.

It isn’t hard to establish a routine, but don’t expect your children to do it.  You need to do it for them.  Once you get it going…within a couple of weeks it will be habit to them.  They won’t think anything of it – kids need routine.

Your days will go much smoother with just a few rules put in place. Believe me… I’ve been there.. done that (I have 3 adult sons….remember?

 

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 34

August 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Organizing & DYI Monday Link Party

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life 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 party will be open until August 21st

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Cheap Sally Party at Blogher 2011

Best Party at Blogher 11!

Cheap Sally Dance Party Badge, I'm attending
Blogher is known for it’s Brand parties. As a blogger we get invited to dozens of them and trying to decide which ones to go to can be difficult. You want a chance to talk to the Brand’s, you want to see friends and meet new friends and have a nice time.  Some say it is for the swag.  Personally, I wish there wasn’t swag – or at least not so much. It gets a bit crazy and I think many do go just for the swag.

Collective Bias, Cheap Sally and PartyBluPrints are hosting the party.  Dawn and Elizabeth from PartyBluPrints are freakin amazing at putting on parties – so I can’t wait. Take a look at the video the Dawn & Elizabeth made!!

We are going to be having it on the roof of the Stingagree Restaurant in San Diego, CA. There is a pool and cabanas… oh it will be nice.

Brian Marlarkey from Top Chef will be there and I’ve heard there is a possibility that Gordon Ramsay might be too.

I’ll be busy taking pictures, but I also plan to have an awesome night!

Thanks to all the Sponsors

Thank you Collective Bias for sponsoring me for Blogher 2011!

 

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School Supply Shopping

Purchase Yours & Help Others Too

school supplies

Have you done your school supply shopping yet?  Hard to believe we are talking about going back to school already isn’t it?  But it is coming up very fast! Within weeks for most of us.

The kids get so excited to go and get school supplies. But they can get very expensive.  As expensive as they are for us, have you thought of the families that can’t afford them at all?  Have you ever considered buying extras to give to families that need help?

school supplies

But don’t necessarily think of kids over seas or in the inner city. There are more than likely many families in your own school district that need help.  They might be the families that really need help, but don’t qualify for all the government programs.  Call your school principal and ask them if they can anonymously donate for you.

We were lucky enough last year to be involved in a program through Elmer’s, called Bag it Forward.   We were able to purchase supplies to outfit two full book bags of supplies.  We called the principal of our school and she knew of a couple of families that could use them.

school supplies

My suggestion would be to actually go to a different school than your kids go to. The last thing you would want would be for your kids to realize that was “the school bag they donated” and tell the kids or tell other kids.  I had a discussion with the kids over this and explained how donating without others knowing is a really cool thing and that they wouldn’t want to embarrass any other children.

school suppliesEven if you can’t do an entire book bag… what about just getting some extras of certain things?  I just found spiral notebooks at Walmart for $.20 each. I mean wow!

school suppliesSo consider why you are buying your supplies this year – if you are able to spare some extra, consider helping others while you get your kids school supplies this year.

 

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Kids Activities – Pets

August 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Activites for Kids, Blog, Pets

Raising a Pet Teaches Responsibility

bunny

I think it is great for kids to have a pet or a couple pets to take care of.  It teaches them that there is a life that is depending on them, for food, water and shelter.

But I also believe the kids have to follow through with the responsibility if they decide to get a pet.

I have to tell you this story, because it is such a hoot.  We took the triplets to a local street fair.  Dave told them they could have a couple dollars each to either ride a ride, get something to eat or play a game. (The kids had a karate demo there, so we were just sticking around for a few minutes after the demo – we didn’t go just for the fair).

They all decided they wanted to try a ring toss game. You know the one… you get the little rings and they are nearly impossible to get on the bottles?

bunny

The prizes?  Huge stuffed animals hanging from the center, kids bikes on each corner of the booth and a cage with live bunnies. There was one red bottle in the center of all of the bottles.  I figured that was the one you would have to get in order to get the big prizes.  I asked the guy…. he said that if you got a ring on any bottle you had your choice of a huge stuffed animal or a bunny. If you got the ring on the center, then you won a bike.

The kids wanted to play because they wanted a bunny.  I said, “We can’t have a bunny at our house. Sadie loves to chase bunnies and she actually killed one this summer inside our fence.  If your mom will let you have a bunny at her house, then you can get a bunny if you win.”.  The next step was calling their mom.  She agreed that if they won, they could have a bunny – but only after she asked what the game was. She told me later she never considered any of them would win.

bunny

Guess what?  Alex did!!  He got a ring on a bottle and you should have heard him whoop!!  Here is the call to his very surprised mom.  He was SO proud!!

bunny

It really is a cute bunny.

bunny

We had the bunny at our house over night.  The kids took it in the back yard in the morning to let it hop around. It was having a great time in our fence yard until Elise was coming out of the house and Sadie pushed pasted her (she had been watching this bunny in our yard and barking like crazy at the window). You would have thought we were on a sit-com… kids yelling… adults running.. grabbing dogs… kids chasing the bunny… getting dogs in the house after that had a taste of fur….finding the bunny hiding and checking it over for doggy damage … ( it was fine) .. phew!

As a side note. Alex has also realized how much work goes into cleaning cages…( “Yes Alex, bunnies do poop a lot!” lol ) feeding and nurturing.

 

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Five Steps to Start Organizing

August 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, How To Organize

Organizing Broken Down Into Five Steps

Organizing can be broken down into five main steps. Organizing a desk, room or home can be completely overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you do with everything? How much will it cost?

So often we don’t do anything because we don’t know how to do it, or it seems too “big” to do anything. But to do nothing accomplishes nothing.

Step 1: Pick your target zone.

Decide what area you want to work on first. Don’t say, my whole house. More like; I want to work on the desk in the corner of the family room. The hard part when you get sorting is to stick to that target zone. You can’t take an item into another room to put away, because then you will see something in that room that you want to move and you will lose focus.

Step 2: Set an appointment on your calendar to start your project.

Try to give yourself at least 2 hours to start your project. Hopefully if you haven’t started too big you can finish. Take “before” pictures. When you finish and take your “after” pictures, it will help to keep you motivated to not let it get back the way it was before.

Step 3: Have your supplies ready to start.

Do not go out and buy a bunch of organizational products. You do not know what you are going to need yet. You may have it somewhere in your home.
I suggest getting
1) Black trash bags for trash
2) White trash bags for donate (so you don’t throw away your donate bags.)
3) Boxes or clear bins
4) Labels – masking tape can do the job and a sharpie marker.
5) Your sorting lists

Step 4: Make Sorting Lists

Just get any piece of paper and a marker and write this on each one:
1) KEEP – Love it, wear it, use it, Can’t live without it
2) DONATE- Don’t like it or use it, doesn’t fit, it is still in good shape.
3) MOVE – It doesn’t belong in this room
4) STORE – Seasonal items, occasional use like camping or skiing equip etc.
5) TOSS – Trash, torn, broken, missing pieces, not in any shape for anyone to use.

Step 5: Start Sorting

Each item in the space needs to be decided on. You have to make fast decisions. Give yourself about 5-10 seconds for each thing. Do not sit and recall memories for each item, or start looking at old pictures. When you do that you are “personalizing” that item. The goal here in order to get through these things is to “depersonalize” the items.  For some extra help, you can read my post on the 5 steps for sorting

 

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 33

August 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Offices, Products for Organizing

Back Up Your Computer!!

Do you do it?  If your computer crashed or stopped working, would everything on it be saved?

seagate external hard drive

Is it one of those things that you have on your “forever do list”?  It is something you “intend” to do, but just haven’t gotten around to it?

Then do it!!

I have a good friend who just had her computer zapped in an electric storm, someone else who lost her computer on a trip.  Everything was gone.  No back ups!
Imagine losing all your pictures, all your paperwork you have saved. Everything!

I don’t back my computer up everyday. I should… I know. It is as simple as plugging it in when I go to bed and hitting a button.

But I do always back it up before I leave on a trip or take it into the Apple Store.  Thank goodness I did that last week.  I backed it up and went into the Apple Store.  I needed a new hard drive. When I got it back the next day it was back to square one, none of my data was on it.  But I plugged in my external hard drive and reloaded everything that had previously been on there.  (phew)

I am looking to get some of my pictures off of my computer. I hate to do it, because I am constantly going to them looking for one for a post, or that someone wants a copy of – but I have over 100g of memory being used on my pictures.

It will also be good if I do back my pictures up to an internet site. Then if I am on another computer, I can still access my pictures.

How do you back your computer up? How often do you do it?

Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life 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 is open until next Sunday evening

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