Caboodles 25th Anniversary! Organizer Review

Caboodles Beauty Organizer Review

by Amy Trauntvein

Ah, the ’80s.  Best decade ever.  Pegged pants, over-sized tops, bright colors, big hair bands and of course big hair on everyone!  But one thing that totally takes me back is the Caboodle.  They first came out when I was in high school (I think I just dated myself) and they were so totally awesome dude!  My best friend had a mint green one and boy was I jealous!  She took it everywhere and in it, she carried her blue mascara, hair mousse and of course hair spray among other beauty necessities.  I wanted one so bad!

Guess what?  Caboodle must have heard my cries from yesteryear because they sent me one to try out and even better, it’s their “Original” design from 1987!          Re-Introducing (drum roll please)…

My First Love Retro Caboodle !



Isn’t it just the best ever???  Retail $25   At national retailers in time for Christmas.

I have 2 daughters with long hair which means I “do” a lot of hair every day.  So I decided to fill my amazing Caboodle with all the hair stuff and accessories I use for my girls’ hair.  Here’s mine…

The top houses brushes, combs, 2 curling irons, spray water bottle, hand mirror and a few other misc items.


The top drawer contains small hair clips, (can you tell I’m a little obsessed with Mickey clips?)  bobby pins, ponytail holders, clear silicone bands and my mini Topsy-tail.


The bottom drawer holds Bling Strings, large hair clips, larger ponytail holders and elastic head bands.  These drawers are larger to hold bigger items.


The Caboodle can really hold anything you want.  My daughter has one that holds makeup and hair accessories from when she was on a competition dance team and needed to carry everything with her to the performances.  It has been well loved and used.  :)



I adore my Caboodle!  And you can too!  Go get one for yourself and fill it with all your beauty needs.  Don’t forget the hair mousse!

I was compensated with the Caboodle for my review, but all my photos and opinions are honest and my own.

Love to all!  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Ride the North Pole Express Train!

We Loved The North Pole Express Train Ride!

We ventured down to Nelsonville, Ohio on Saturday evening Dec, 4th, 2010 to ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, on the North Pole Express train ride.  The setting was perfect, a nice peaceful snowy night.

north pole express

It was about an hour and half ride for us from the Columbus area, so Dave, the triplets and I  left plenty early since it was snowing. We figured we would have time to go into Rocky’s and shop around and eat dinner before the train left at 7pm. We arrived around 5pm and found out we didn’t have as much spare time as we thought.

north pole express

I wanted to get pictures while it was still light out, and then was also given a tour by Bob of the train before everyone got on.

north pole express

There were so many cars… I am thinking 10. Several of them were so similar that you wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart other than decorations were different colors. There was one up front that had a pot belly stove going, another one (that we sat in) that had higher back seats. The one the kids thought looked the coolest was the double decker train car. Bob was explaining a lot of the history to me. How most of these cars were used in Chicago.

We went over to Rocky’s, but evidently there were a lot of other people who had the same idea as us… so we went to eat at McDonald’s. We were told it would be a good idea to get back close to 6pm if we wanted to get a good seat on the train. The ride was sold out! There were 537 people on board. We did get back at 6pm and the kids had gotten their PJ’s and robes on.

Before the train started at 7pm, I went through a few of the other cars to get pictures. I asked parents before I took and pictures of their children. Here are a few of my favorites:

north pole express

This little girl was so darling, I just couldn’t get enough of her.  I think I could have snapped pictures all night of her. She just seemed to me to be the poster child for The Polar Express, or as our ride was called… The North Pole Express.

north pole express

They started serving the hot chocolate and cookies soon after we left. I felt bad for the hot chocolate man…. he needed a much bigger pitcher for it, or someone to bring him refills. He would only get a few rows filled and then would have to run a few train cars back to refill the pitcher.

We called the cookie man…the cookie elf. He had a cute hat on and followed behind the hot chocolate man. He also had some extras….so came back through a few times (oh darn…. we had to have more than 1 cookie!)

north pole express

They passed out bells for all the kids….but us adults couldn’t hear them ring. I don’t get it?  LOL

We had the Hobo come through and tell everyone not to tell the conductor where he was. He came back through double checking with the kids to make sure they hadn’t told. Mine thought that was hysterical, they were telling him that they did tell on him.

north pole express

After we got back from our ride, we could go across the street. At the Nelsonville Commons Park they had an ice skating rink set up. They told us skate rental was free with our train ticket so the kids decided to go skating. (hint…grab their gloves out of the car before you head across the street). Here they are skating in their pajamas having a great time… was on the other hand loved standing by the fire can….warming up! lol


north pole express

You can check  Hocking Valley Scenic Railway for times and dates. You can also find them on Twitter at @hvscenicrailway and Facebook

One thing I would suggest if you have little ones. Send someone on the train to get your seats and hold them for you. Keep the little ones off the train until closer to the departure time. After they have already been on the train for an hour, then the hour and half train ride gets to be a little too much for some of them. On the way back the natives were a bit restless. (But keep in mind this was at night and they couldn’t see the sites outside. During the day you might not have as much of that).

north pole express

Disclosure: I was given the tickets for my family and myself to ride the North Pole Express.  But the pictures, video and opinions are completely my own.

This post was originally posted on my Explore Ohio with Sandy site.

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Labeling Christmas Gifts

November 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Holidays & Special Events, Sales, Shopping, Stores

How to Keep Christmas Gifts a Secret

We often want to wrap the Christmas gifts prior to Christmas Eve (although I do know a couple people that don’t wrap anything until Christmas Eve), but you know that the shape, size or weight of the gift will be a dead give away?

christmas gifts

Maybe your kids aren’t as interested as mine were/are but they like to check out all the gifts under the tree prior to Christmas. I remember my brother and I spending all kinds of time under the tree looking at the boxes that were ours and trying to figure out what they were.

There are times that if I have a “dead giveaway” gift, such as a DVD or CD, then I will put it in a larger box, so you can’t tell what it is. I don’t always have the boxes or inclination to do this though. One nice thing about the smaller gifts like that is that they don’t take up as much wrapping paper, and you can often use scrapes to wrap them.

I came up with this system when my four boys were young. We have done it every year and after I married Dave, we have used it for my step children also.

Make Up Goofy Pseudo Names.
Make up fake names for your kids and label the gifts that way. You have to make a key for yourself (and don’t lose it!!) ahead of time. If you have 4 kids I pick out 8 names. I give them each 2 names so they will have no chance on figuring out their gifts. It may look something like this:
1) Joe – Dasher / Mary Poppins
2) Drew – Batman / Spiderman
3) John – Snow White / Elf
4) Tim – Belle / Hulk

Don’t make them gender basis either. Give the boys girl characters and the girls boy characters. That will throw them off even more!
My boys have been used to this since they were small. Dave’s kids just started it 5 Christmas ago when we were first together. They think it’s great and keep asking if we are going to do the “names” again on the presents.
That is my job today, to wrap gifts and come up with the code list. (That’s the hardest part for me coming up with 16 fake names)

Then on Christmas morning you announce what their pseudo names are and hand out the gifts.

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Nestle Celebrate The Season with Nestle #HolidayCandy #cbias

November 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Food, Holidays & Special Events

 Christmas Recipes with Nestle

by Amy Trauntvein

Ah the holidays…. with everything that the holidays come with, for me it means baking and lots of it!  Nestle asked me to head to my nearest Walmart and purchase their Nestle Butterfinger Jingles, Nestle Crunch Jingles and Nestle Spree Candy canes to try out a couple of new recipes.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons


I was able to find all the holiday candy I needed quite easily at Walmart.  Spree Candy Canes…

Celebrate the Seasons with Nestle

Nestle Butterfinger Jingles on the bottom shelf.

Celebrate the Seasons with Nestle

And Nestle Crunch Jingles on the top shelf.

Celebrate the Seasons with Nestle

I needed to get a few other items that we were out of, and then headed home to do some holiday baking!

Celebrate the Seasons with Nestle

First, I decided to make Peanut Butter Sleigh Ride Bars

The kids snarfed them right down. Don’t they look scrumptious?  Would you  like the recipe?

Celebrate the Seasons with Nestle

Peanut Butter Sleigh Ride Bars

  • 30 NESTLÉ BUTTERFINGER Jingles, unwrapped
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Beat brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour and baking soda.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

 Stir in Nestlé Jingles and press dough into 9-inch-square baking pan, distributing Nestlé Jingles evenly.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
NOTE: Try substituting NESTLÉ Milk Chocolate Jingles.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

The next recipe is one I came up with using the Nestle Milk Chocolate Crunch Jingles.

Nestle Crunch Krispie Twirls 

Would you like the recipe for this one too?

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

 Nestle Crunch Krispy Twirls

  • 2 bags Nestle Crunch Milk Chocolate Jingles unwrapped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups crisped rice cereal

Pour sugar and corn syrup into saucepan and stir together.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

 Cook on Med-Med high heat until boiling.  Let boil for one minute.  Take off heat and add peanut butter and vanilla and stir until smooth.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

Pour peanut butter mixture into cereal and mix well.  Dump it all onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and press evenly.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

Put Jingles into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds and stir, heat 30 seconds more and stir again.  If not all melted, microwave at 15 second intervals stirring in between until melted.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

Pour melted chocolate onto pan and spread evenly.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

Wait 5-7 minutes to cool a bit and then start rolling, using the wax paper to help your roll stay together.

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

Wrap roll with the wax paper you used or get a clean sheet of plastic wrap.  Either will do.  Let cool completely, at least 2 hours.  When cooled, the chocolate should be hardened and will hold the roll together.  Cut slices and serve.  Kids enjoys these treats as they can just grab and go, plus they look cool!

Nestle Celebrate the Seasons

Nestle has some great Holiday Baking recipes at rel=”no follow”


Love to all and Happy Holidays!  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Year Supply of Trident Gum Giveaway!

November 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Food, Reviews & Giveaways

Trident Gum- Giveaway

by Amy Trauntvein

Trident Gum

Hi, my name is Amy and  I’m a sugarless gum addict. There, I said it.  I feel much better.  However, it’s not going to keep me from my gum!   I love sugarless chewing gum and keep at least 3 different packs in my purse (for variety of course!).   Having fresh clean breath  is important to me, and my friends appreciate it too.   I also love that Trident contains Xylitol and not aspartame, which in my opinion, is healthier for me.  So when Trident asked if they could send me some gum AND do a giveaway to one lucky reader, I said “yes please”!

Trident wants to give you a year supply of gum to one of you, our readers.  Here’s why…

Believe it or not, tooth decay affects approximately half of all second graders and nearly 80 percent of 17-year-olds, but according to a survey by Trident, more than 84 percent of American parents don’t realize this.

Trident’s survey also showed that more than nine in ten (92%) parents believe that cavities in children are preventable; yet getting a child to take care of their teeth can be difficult for 86 percent of parents. To help get the word out about keeping your kids teeth in tip top shape, here are some helpful tips below to help keep kids’ mouths happy and healthy!


Remind children to brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste.


Foods such as fruits, vegetables and cheese help build strong healthy teeth and gums. Try chewing a sugar free gum, like Trident, after eating to help fight cavities.


Children should gently floss once a day to remove food that can get stuck between their teeth.


Try to avoid overindulging in sticky and sugary foods. When kids do have a special treat (especially during the holidays), make sure they brush and floss afterwards.


Remember to get regular dental check-ups. The more you help kids incorporate healthy oral care habits in their everyday life, the more they will as adults.

Trident Gum

To Enter Giveaway-

Contest ends…

Winner will be announced…

Good luck to all, and happy chewing!  I know I am…

Win a One Year Supply of Sugarfree Trident® Gum!

You can win the same amount of gum that Amy shows in the picture! Hoot! I know she was excited when she opened her box to review! The contest ends on 11/30/12 at 12:01am.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was compensated with the product for the giveaway.  The pictures and opinions are honest and my own.  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Racor Bike Hanger Review

Organizing with the Racor Bike Hanger

I’ve been looking for a storage solution for my recumbent bike /trike since I got it this last summer.  It is large and awkward and heavy and is taking up a lot of space in our already small garage.

When I was asked to do a review of this racor bike hanger, I jumped on it.  They did explain to me in the email that this bike hanger was not designed for a recumbent bike, and they couldn’t  recommend it for that. But, we decided to try it because that is what we really needed it for. Rebels maybe? lol  I’m just saying that it worked for us. You can see from the picture on the package how it is intended to be used.

racor bike hanger

The first thing I did was to check out the weight limit of the product.  It says that the maximum weight is 50 pounds. So I know we are good weight wise for the recumbent bike. I’m not sure what it weights, but I know it’s not 50 lbs.

Here is the monster that we need to get up off the garage floor.

recumbent trike

Today has been a cleaning out, reorganizing day.  Just as with most of you, even though an area has been organized, doesn’t mean it stays clean an organized in our house. Today was shed, my office area and garage maintenance day.

This is how we currently have the regular bikes being hung. It works to keep them off the ground.  It is hard to maneuver them and lift them down. I know I have a very hard time doing it (and usually don’t).  We could have tried to do something with hooks like this for the recumbent, but it is heavy enough that it would have been really difficult, and it wouldn’t have been a solution that would have worked for everyday.

bike hanger

Dave got his ladder out, found the studs, used his drill and attached the pulleys. He threaded the cords as per the instructions.

racor bike hanger

He had already figured out the two spots he was going to attach the pulley hooks to and had measured to be sure it would work.

racor bike hanger

Once he figured out how to work the system, he started raising the bike.  He quickly realized there was a self leveling system and it leveled the bike out. He said he wondered how that would work and was concerned about it.  You can see how high off the ground it is. Dave is 6’2″ and he can almost walk under it.

racor bike hanger

He attached a tie up hook to the wall that was included, so that he could secure the line.

racor bike hanger

I’m really excited to have the bike up off the ground, but yet accessible, so that I can get it down to ride it. What is really nice is that Dave positioned it so it is right over the bed of our pick up truck. So we can lower it right into the truck when we want to take it somewhere to ride. Double yay!

racor bike hanger

I can say that Dave was impressed with the quality of the product and was very pleased that the bike leveled itself out.  This bike hanger is not designed for a recumbent bike, it is designed for a normal two wheel bike. We were the ones that were experimenting with it in order to hang the recumbent.

You can find more bike hangers by Racor that will work for your needs.

I did receive this racor bike hanger free of charge for review. I received no other compensation and the pictures and opinions are my own.

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Black Friday Shopping

November 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Sales, Shopping, Stores, Time Managment

Organizing for Black Friday Shopping

Are you a Black Friday shopper? Do you set your alarm for 3am and have the drive in the dark and sometimes snow. Standing out in the line that you can’t believe is already THAT long? If you have never experienced the craziness…you are actually missing some fun.

I always like seeing The Salvation Army bell ringers out, although I think at that time in the morning and with those crowds, they don’t come out until it’s safe. lol

black friday shopping

  I don’t shop every year on Black Friday am, only if there are things that it will benefit me and I am in the right frame of reference to do so.

But I love to do it and usually make it about 75% of the time.
But I think once you get yourself on the road (the getting up is no fun), then you feel like you are off to tackle a battle and its really fun.
I usually go to Walmart because I would rather wait inside..thank you very much. They just have all the “door busters” covered up and you are guessing at which big covered thing in the middle of the aisles is what you want. Then at the given time of the sale there is supposed to be an employee by each one…they tear them off and everyone starts diving for them. I have never been in a situation where people are literally fighting or pushing or calling names. I know it happens, but usually everyone is friendly and tend to help each other out. You are there on the same mission.
But it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy and buy too much. You may go with one thing in mind, but if you don’t have your shopping trip planned you may walk away with oodles of things you really didn’t budget for or you may walk away without any of the deals you went for.

Before you go

1) Make your list on Thanksgiving day with the sales ads in hand. If you know the
layout of the store, mark down a map of where you plan to go.
2) Plan which stores you are going to go to and at what time (plan early for
your first store). Some stores match prices so you can take your K-mart ad into
Walmart with the exact same item and if there is a given price (you can’t use a
percentage off, they won’t honor that)during the hours of the sales, they will
match that. (Check to make sure your store matches prices)
3) Get to your store early (everyone else will too) Make sure you have your list
with you AND the store ads. (keep them in a folder)
4) Go for your most important item first. Then try your best to stick to your plan.
5) Try to resist grabbing the last ticket for that 52″ big screen that you don’t
need or want just because you are in the right place at the right time.
6) Go light hearted and plan to have fun. Having a positive attitude can make
your experience an adventure instead of a disaster!

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Kanex Charging Organizer Review

Review of the Kanex Sydnee Charging Organizer

by Amy Trauntvein

Cords, cords, cords!  If your home is anything like mine, it seems that everywhere I look, there are charging cords all over my house.  iPads, iPods, iPhone, cell phones.  Everyone thinks they need their own charging cord and “place” to charge their devices.  Kanex has come up with a great solution for all your portable electronics that use a USB cord.  The Sydnee (retail: $149) at

Charging Organizer
Charging Organizer

I instantly liked the idea of having one place for everything that needed charging.  I also like the fact that you can charge up to 4 devices at one time, but that’s about as far as my knowledge goes so I employed my computer savvy husband in trying it out and testing it further.  Here are his coments on the Sydnee Charging Organizer…

– sleek factor, fits on a small corner of the desk

– four charge ports and built in cable management

– came with three short cords already, so I still have the flexibility of keeping my other charger cords for travel and in other uses like hooked up to my desktop without having to go take them back from the charger base.

– white – goes with anything

– ability to add a cell phone charge cord for micro usb on the 4th port (remember, it came with three short cords for four ports)

– I like that I can have my ipad in landscape display mode while it is charging, so I can still use it at my desk, viewing videos, surfing, etc.

– plenty of room to put the chargable items.

Charging Organizer

Charging Organizer

Charging Organizer

Charging Organizer
Todd’s suggestions on improvements for the next version?

– cable management clips on both sides of the holder

– slim wall cord where it plugs into the outlet (flat style).  The cord stands out from the wall plug a good 3 inches so if you’re wanting to use a wall outlet behind a desk or other piece of furniture, it might be difficult to get that furniture closer to the wall because of the plug.

Charging Organizer

I would definitely recommend the Sydnee especially if you have many items in your home that need recharging!  This product would be good in a central location for the whole family to use to keep their devices charged.  It will hold up to 4 iPads and will easily handle 4 smaller devices.

I was compensated with the Kanex Sydnee Organizer, was not paid for this review, and my pictures and opinions are my own.  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Loved the Daisy Outdoor Tour!

Love The Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun?

You’ll be jealous then, because I got to tour the plant and build one myself!  I love being able to see how things are made. I think it’s so interesting!  Daisy Outdoor is a client of Collective Bias and when I was at our corporate office this last week in Bentonville, AR, Kim Janocko and I had the chance to go on a tour. We both were thrilled.

daisy outdoor

This was in the lobby of their offices. I thought it looked cool.  I also found out how Daisy got it’s name. You can find this info on the Daisy Outdoor site, under “History” 

“On March 6, 1888, Hamilton approached the windmill company with an all-metal airgun of his own design. He chose to take it to the windmill company because they had blast furnaces and they were equipped to mold and stamp the metal parts necessary to build his gun. The gun was passed around to members of the board. General Manager L.C. Hough test fired the gun and exclaimed, “Boy, that’s a Daisy.” ‘”It’s a Daisy” was a colloquialism of the time.) So the little gun was named Daisy.”


We went back in their warehouse where they assemble all the guns.  This space is 80,000 sq feet (I think he said) If that isn’t correct, I just know the place is huge! lol

daisy outdoor

The parts to the guns aren’t made here, they are shipped in pieces and the guns are assembled in this space.


There are many stations that are used to assemble the guns.  They can put one of the guns together in less than one minute.  They said they move their employees around to different assignments to prevent work related injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome.

bb gun

We loved the barrels full of BB’s!  They were just plain fun.


Jon was in his happy place in these barrel of bb’s. lol  They do feel really cool when you put your hands in them.

jon lemire

We learned that there are 2.4 million BB’s in a 55 gallon barrel. I know I sure wouldn’t try to lift a barrel either! Wow… 2,200 lbs!

Daisy Outdoor makes practice BB guns for the military. Who knew? They are the exact weight, feel and action of the real guns.

daisy outdoor

They also make BB guns for competition shooting.

bb guns

This was something I was totally shocked over.  I had no idea they made BB guns that look and feel just like the real thing. This pist0l is made for Winchester. It’s just like the Colt 1911 handgun.  It is heavy, and looks just like the real thing. I texted a picture of this to my husband and he knew which gun it was designed from immediately.

colt 1911 BB gun

We learned that Daisy Outdoor utilizes the help of some Special Needs adults to help pack BB’s. I love when I hear of a company that helps out this group of adults. They do a great job and love being able to have a job to earn money and give their lives a sense of purpose. Kudos to you Daisy!

Cool huh? I’m not sure what model of pistal this is.

daisy outdoor

Here is the Powerline 880 kit. They said this is their best seller.  I can see why. It’s larger than their Red Ryder gun, but still a reasonable size for a young adult. I’m thinking it might make a great gift for the triplets for Christmas.

daisy outdoor

I learned that they do a lot of quality testing of their guns.  They shoot a gun from each batch 10,000 times to check their products.

One of the things that is a necessity is to always wear eye protection when shooting. After all, you wouldn’t want to “shoot your eye out” or anything!


Kim and I went back the next day so that we could make our own Red Ryder BB gun. Paula was kind enough to guide us through making one. I’m amazed that she is able to make one of these in less than 1 minute. I think it took me about 8 or 9 minutes to do mine.

daisy outdoor

Each piece is put into place.

red ryder

The screw guns are cool. You just put them into the screw and put a little pressure down on them and they work fast… really fast!


Here is my finished product.  They made an engraved forearm for us. Mine said “The Jenney Family”. How cool is that? The triplets will be so excited!  Since we were flying home, we had to ship the guns. We couldn’t put them in our luggage, even though we were checking the luggage.

sandy jenney at daisy outdoor

I decided I wanted to guy Dave one of the Winchester 1911 pistols.  I was told that I could find them at a local sporting goods store called Academy Sports, so Kim and I went that evening to check it out. We found a big assortment of Daisy Outdoor products.


I found the BB gun I wanted to buy Dave. It was $89.00.  If you think about it, it is a great way to save money in ammunition. Right now ammunition is really expensive and actually hard to find. So this will be a wonderful way for him to get some target practice in.

colt 1911

What I also like about it is that he will be able to set up a target in our back yard. He is very safety conscious (thank goodness) and has taught gun safety before.  He knows that he’ll have to find a place that he won’t have to worry about what is behind the target.

daisy outdoor

The gun was heavy enough that I decided not to buy it at the store and ship it home. I asked someone at the store about being able to buy it online and if he knew what shipping prices were like. He said it would be a much better deal for me to buy it online. That their shipping was either free or just $5.00.  Cool!

As soon as we got back that evening, I got online and purchased this gun and a large container full of BB’s for Dave for Christmas! (shhhh!)  I am going to talk to him to have him help me decide which gun we’ll get the triplets for Christmas!

Thanks Daisy Outdoor for the tour! I had a blast. I also thank you so much for the Red Ryder gun that you had engraved and let me build for my family.

I am an employee of Collective Bias and Daisy Outdoor is a client of Collective Bias.  I was not asked or expected to do a post, I just wanted to share my experience and excitement for the Daisy Outdoor products.






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Ideas For Thanksgiving Place Holders

Make Your Own Thanksgiving Place Holders

There are SO many cute ideas on the web! I found a zillion, and I wanted to share a few with you. Place holders are a great way to organize your Thanksgiving Day table.  There are no guesses as to where people will sit. Bringing family together can sometimes have some of it’s own rewards and issues with it.  There are times that it’s just much easier to figure out ahead of time where people should sit.

thanksgiving place holders

Martha Stewart 

martha stewart place card

What a simple neat idea this is. You really could use any kind of fruit for something like this.  Or a little pumpkin! I saw the same idea with a pear too, while I was looking for neat ideas to show you.

thanksgiving place cardReal Simple

thanksgiving place holders

Martha Stewart

thanksgiving place holder

Martha Stewart

thanksgiving place holder


thanksgiving place holders


I have several more ideas on my pinterest board. There are so many cute ideas that I couldn’t possibly list them all here. The beauty of pinterest is that we can pin them there and save them!  People can be so creative! Most of these you will need to be sure you plan ahead for. Know which guests are coming so that you can be prepared.

thanksgiving place holders

Sandy’s Thanksgiving Pinterest Board

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Maintenance Is Needed To Stay Organized

November 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, How To Organize

Once Organized Is Not Forever Organized

It feels SO good to have a space organized doesn’t it? But how long is it before that once organized space is a total mess again? Organizing requires maintenance. Your system has to be functional and easy to use in order to make it easy to stay organized.

The more steps it takes to organize, the less likely it will to stay organized – in my opinion.  That is one of the reasons I like open organizational systems. Cubbies, containers that don’t always have lids on them, so that they are easily accessed.

Today was reorganizing the shed and the garage.

shed maintenance

Maintenance of a once organized area.

  1. Take everything out of the space (if possible)
  2. Clean the space
  3. Decide what stays and what goes – which shouldn’t be as large of a task as it was orginally
  4. Place everything back in the space and place it where it goes. Keep “like with like”

This should go much faster than the original organization of the space because there should already be a system in place.  There should be designated areas for the items already established, it’s now just a matter of placing the items back in those spaces.

This is a project that the whole family can help with.  I think that when the family helps to clean out an area like this, they are more likely to put things back where they belong for two reasons. One because they know where they belong and also because they take pride in keeping it looking nice.

shed maintenance

See my original shed organization posts.

1) Shed Storage – Tool and Loft Storage

2) Garden Shed – Make an area inside your shed for your garden area

3) Shed – Making systems inside to increase storage

4) Shed Plans – How to increase storage

It feels good to have the shed back to it’s original organized state.

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Tips To Prepare For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Will Run Smooth If Your Prepared

The last thing we want to be doing on Thanksgiving day is running around trying to figure out how to accomplish things, because we didn’t plan ahead.

Planning ahead of time makes it possible to borrow or buy the things you need.  Need more chairs or card tables to set things up? This is a good time to ask family  or neighbors if they have what you need.  You might find you need baking dishes, freezer space, extra dishes, oven space – you want to plan this all out ahead of time.

Using labels can help you in your pre-Thanksgiving Day preparations.  To have your Thanksgiving day move smoothly, planning needs to be done ahead of time.

One way to make things move smoothly is to use this idea from Good Housekeeping.  When you set your table, or get out your serving dishes – label them. Use a non-sticky note card and label what is going to go in the dish and make sure you have a serving utensil to go with it.

It makes it very easy for anyone to help you when it comes time to fill the dishes.

thanksgiving organizing

Good Housekeeping

Thanksgiving Day Tips for Planning Ahead

  • Make sure you have enough seating for all your guests
  • Make sure you have all the place settings you need, plates, silverware, glassware.
  • Make sure you have the necessary serving dishes and utensils.
  • Have all your recipes gathered together
  • Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients for your recipes
  • See if there are any recipes that can be made ahead of time.
  • Be sure you have enough refrigerator space (you may need to ask a neighbor for extra space)
  • Write out a schedule of times as to when you need to put each item into cook/bake so that all your food is finished and warm for the meal.
  • Write out place cards ahead of time and have your tables set up and ready to go.
  • Plan any Thanksgiving day activities, so your guests aren’t bored while you are in the kitchen

I also love this idea of making notecards noting what each item is. We can’t always assume your guests will know what your dishes are. They might be something that is very familiar to us, but something completely new to a guest. They might wonder, but wouldn’t want seem rude to ask. This is especially important if you have any guest that might have some kind of food allergy. In that case, find out what that allergy is, and make a note if it is allergy free for that guest.


Good Housekeeping

Simple steps like this can help your Thanksgiving day meal go smoother.  Being prepared and thinking through things ahead of time will make your day much easier.  It also makes it possible for more people to be able to assist you in the kitchen to prepare the meal.

Here are a couple more of my posts from Thanksgivings past.

Organizing for Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving Is About Being Thankful – 2010

Organizing for Thanksgiving Dinner – 2009

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How to Organize Your Coupons

November 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Food, How To Organize, Paper, Sales, Shopping, Stores

Organizing Coupons Continued…

by Amy Trautvein

Today we are going to talk about clipping coupons, when to pull out expired, and how to organize a shopping trip with your coupon binder.  Are you as excited as I am?  Good!

I only get one Sunday paper, believe it or not.  I don’t want to spend hours cutting coupons and I can get some great coupons on the internet anyway to help bulk up my binder a bit and get some coupons that you won’t see in the Sunday ads.  Every Sunday night, or Monday morning I pull out the coupon inserts, have a seat on my couch, turn on the TV and cut away.  As I’m cutting, I stack the coupons into my categories so it saves much time putting them into my binder.  A must do! Here are my coupons after they ‘ve all been cut and are ready to be filed.  Classy, huh!?coupons
REALITY CHECK:  Do NOT clip every coupon that is printed. Only clip coupons for products you regulary use, would like to buy if it was on sale, and/or are willing to try.  If you’re not sure, say to yourself, “Would I buy this if it was a steal?”  If your answer is yes, then clip it.  I don’t have babies in the house anymore, so why clip coupons for baby products?  I don’t drink coffee, so I obviously pass by the coffee coupons, there are certain products (that I won’t name) that I’ve tried and not enjoyed, and even if it were a steal I wouldn’t waste my time so those get trashed too.  I know it’s just common sense, but I’ve talked to a lot of people to clip every coupon that is in the insert.  Don’t, just don’t.

Internet coupons are great, but it can be overwhelming.  There are SO many places you can go.  My suggestion is to pick your 2 favorite coupon sites and just stick with those.  My top favorite is They have a wide range of coupons from grocery to nonfoods and you don’t have to give your name, address, phone number, first born to print them, and it’s free.  You are also allowed to print up to 2 of each one you want.  I’m not a huge fan of clipping services because you are having to PAY for coupons to then save you money?  Plus like I said, I’m not a shelf clearer and don’t recommend it either. Why would somone need 50 coupons of ketchup?  Here are my internet coupons from this week.  They reset and add new coupons at the beginning of the month so that’s why I have such a stack for this week.  They had some good ones this time.  :)couponsNow back to filing your coupons into your binder…  Just start at the front of your binder and go to your first category, mine is the breakfast asile.  Before  you add any new coupons, go through that section and pull any expired ones.  Then add your new coupons into any empty slots. Do this every week!  It saves time in the long run and saves you from trying to use a coupon that expired a week ago at the reigister.  No need to organize by expiration date.  That adds TONS of time shuffling all your coupons up to the front and adding new ones to the back and doing it all over again week after week.  Remember, you only have 2-4 pages in each section to go through.  Why create more work for yourself?  See how nice and pretty?  coupons
*One other thing I do that is a good idea:  As I’m putting coupons in my binder I keep a sitcky note list of high value coupons that I want to use, but the product may not be in any of your sale ads.  That way, while you’re at the store, it’s easy to take a look at those products, see what the price is and decide, at the store, if they are worth using that day.  My rule: it needs to be more than half off for me to consider, OR just a really great coupon that I don’t want to forget about.  I then put the sticky note on my list for easy reference.

Now you can go through your store adds for the week and compare with the coupons you’ve got.  As you find coupons to use on sale items, pull them out and paper clip them together.  I only do 2 grocery stores and one drug store.  That’s as much as I can handle without having to run around alot.  Also, some weeks are way better than others.  If I find that I’ve only found 2 or 3 good deals for a store, I scratch it and don’t even go.  It’s not worth my time and gas to only save on a couple items.

First, I list how many items I want to get, then I list the product, next the sale price, then my coupon amount (double it if your store doubles coupons, which mine do) and then the final price.  Once you’ve gone through all your ads, put your list into the front of your binder for east reference and marking off as you put it in your cart.  Here’s what it all should look like.  My list of “on sale” products with coupons and final prices, my sticky note of high value coupons, and my paper clipped piles of coupons I know I will be using this week.  Just keep those in the front pocket of your
**Don’t forget about digital coupons either.  Most stores let you add electronic coupons from their website to your store card AND they let you also use a paper coupon fro the same item!  Double the savings!  The only store I know of that does NOT do this is Kroger, but check your stores coupon policy just to be sure.  Also, some stores let you combine a store coupon and a manufacture coupon together for ONE item (CVS, Target to name a couple), also double the savings!  So yes, please check their coupon policy, you may be missing out on saving even more than you thought!

Now you are ready to shop and save!  And be organized so you can save time AND money!  Just remember, this is what works for me.  You may need to do some tweaking for what works for you.  There’s no one right way to do it, just do it!  Let me know how you coupon, I’d love to hear from you!

Love to all!  ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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Coupon Organization

November 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Amy, Blog, Food, How To Organize, Sales, Shopping, Stores

Organizing Your Coupons

by Amy Trauntvein

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I love, live and breathe coupons.  Even though I have been couponing for over 20 years, I am not what some people call an Extreme Couponer.  I do not keep stacks of coupon inserts nor do I clear shelves.  I coupon to save money, and yes, slowly add to my stock of food and nonfood items in my home.  I wouldn’t call it a stockpile either, just some extras to have on hand when I get a great deal so I don’t have to buy it at full price when we run out.  And if I find that I’m starting to “pile” my stock, I spread the love by donating items to various organizations and/or give away to friends who can use it.

So let’s start organizing those coupons!  For years, I used an accordion coupon organizer and thought it was great, but it took me a LONG time to grocery shop since every time I wanted to grab something off the shelf, I had to pull out the pile from one section and sift through it all to find the one coupon I thought I might have, but couldn’t remember.  It finally came time to swtich over to the binder system.  Here’s my lovely binder…Coupon Organization
When looking for a binder, it MUST have a zipper closure and a handle.  Ease for carrying and also, if you drop it (like me), you won’t have coupons flying everywhere.  Been there done that. I found mine at Staples for around $12, but you can buy one at most places that have a school supply aisle. The next thing you need is a zippered pencil pouch.  Enclosed I keep a calculator, pencils, and paper clips.  The front pouch on the left holds general store coupons that don’t really belong in any of my categories (example: $5 off $50 grocery purchase).Coupon Organization
The next essential supply you need for your coupon binder are Tab Dividers.

REALITY CHECK: I actually had a bunch of tab dividers from school supply shopping for my kids so I just used those.  Some were used but still in great condition and they don’t match, but it’s ok!  You don’t need to go spend a bunch of money just to make it look cute when you’re trying to save money!  Use what you’ve got and then purchase only if you have to.  Notice mine don’t even match.  Some are solid colors while the ones in the back have designs.  Truthfully, this helps me find the category faster since I know what all my nonfood category tab dividers look like.  :)Coupon Organization
Finally you need Baseball card inserts. You can find these and any discount store (Walmart, Target etc) wherever they sell baseball cards. Just ask any associate, they’ll point the way. You can usually find boxes of 25-30 pages for around $5. This is what keeps your coupons nice and clutter free!  Can you tell mine are well used?Coupon Organization
When putting your coupons in, many times they need to be folded to fit.  Just try to fold it so you can easily see, 1. the product 2. the amount off 3. the expiration date.  If its too big, just do your best.  Many of my coupons are folded so #1 and #2 are on the front, but #3 is on the back, but it’s ok because you can just flip the page to see the exp. date on the back.  Also, one great thing about these pages is that you are constantly looking at all your coupons so it is easier to remember if you have a coupon for a certain item.  It’s amazing what you remember when you are looking at them all the time!  Here is what it should look like once your coupons are in.Coupon Organization
Now…What categories do you choose for your dividers?  I have 19 different categories.  I have chosen to divide my categories into “aisles” meaning, how the grocery store aisles are usually set up.  That way, as I’m heading down an aisle, I normally only need to open up one category and flip through 2-4 pages of coupons.  I know some people have a tab divider for EVERYTHING like; (Breakfast aisle) cold cereal, hot cereal, granola bars, fruit snacks, on-the-go breakfast bars/pouches for 1 aisle so they are flipping through 5 categories in 1 aisle!  I just keep all “breakfast aisle” coupons in one section.  Remember, I’m still only having to look through 2-4 pages instead of 1-2 pages of 5 categories! Plus, by dividing everything up in the sub categories you have even more dividers and baseball card inserts you have to flip through and it makes your binder thicker and heavier with all those extra pages.  Just simplify, please.  Here are the categories that I use and work for me.

1. Breakfast/Fruit Snacks/Granola

2. Fruit/Vegetables/Juices ( includes fresh produce)

3. Cookies/Chips/Crackers

4. Condiments/Soup/Dinners (Mac & Cheese, Box Potatoes etc.)

5. Baking/PB&J/Breads

6. Inernational foods

7. Frozen

8. Deli/Dairy/Meat (basically the refrigerated section)

9. Candy/Nuts and Popcorn/Drinks

10. Paper Products (includes sanitary items)

11. Cleaning Supplies

12. Laundry

13. Pets

14. Body (Lotion, Shaving men and women, shower gel etc.)

15. Hair (shampoo, style)

16. Face (makeup, contact soluction, face wash, fingernail polish since it is with makeup)

17. Meds/First Aid (includes vitamins)

18. Teeth

19. Office supplies/Clothing/Misc. (include batteries)

Work with the categories and adjust to what works for you or how your favorite stores are set up.  It took me a few months of moving coupons here and there and creating new and taking out hardly used categories.  These 19 work great for me!

In the very back of my binder I keep a copy of my favorite stores’ coupon policies.  Very nice to have on hand when you need to win an argument with a checkout employee who is not familiar with their policies.  I’ve been glad I’ve had them for a few occasions.  Just to the stores website and you can find a link to  their printable coupon policy near the bottom of the home page.  If not, just use their “seach” box at the top.  Keep updated around twice a year and reprint the new policies as needed.Coupon Organization

One other “coupon divider” I do still use for my purse is a small accordion coupon folder for those stores that I DON’T need to haul my binder in with, but I DO have a coupon for.  Clothing stores, for example.

Coupon Organization

This little one also holds any gift card I have, and any TOTALLY FREE coupons (that aren’t for groceries) I need to use.  I’ve found they can get kind of lost in my big binder and forgotten since I don’t want to carry my big binder into clothing stores etc.  Notice my pile of CVS Extra Care Bucks! Those are like cash so I keep them in my little binder right in the front so I don’t forget about them and can see them and their expiration date clearly.  I keep the FREE coupons in the front also according to expiration date.  And then other coupons in the other sections.Coupon Organization
I hope this post has gotten you converted to a binder system if you haven’t switched yet.  It’s not that hard, and in the end, it WILL save you time AND money!  Later this week I will do a post on coupon clipping, when to pull expired coupons and which coupons you should and shouldn’t clip and more.  Stay Tuned…..! Love to all! ~Amy






I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.

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