Posts Tagged ‘Organizing’

Giveaway & Review: ThisLife by Shutterfly

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly, Inc. in partnership with Resourceful Mom Media.

I have been working a long time on my storytelling through photos.  It has been an evolution as I master my camera and work on capturing more authentic moments in our life.  I go through stages where I rely completely on my DSLR and then periods in our life where I want the swiftness of a quicker capture with my photos. I am a fantastic giver of moments on Facebook and Instagram. What I am terrible at though is organizing, sorting, and actually printing our precious moments.

I got the opportunity to test drive an amazing photo service called ThisLife by Shutterfly that I know you all are going to be nuts about it because it helps us be a better family historian gathering all of your life moments, organizing, and sorting them all into one spot. I want to share my experience with you and how I brought our Grand Rapids holiday to life.

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

Our family took an amazing holiday trip this year to Grand Rapids to celebrate Christmas and my daughter’s 8th birthday. These are two special holidays that are a mere five days apart. We ditched the presents to each other (a bold move when you are a kid) and rented a beautiful home in Grand Rapids, Michigan and visited every attraction we could squeeze in together.

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

How to Be a Better Family Historian: Tips For Storing & Organizing Your Family Photos

It was in the midst of an ice storm that we happened to make our trip out there.  It was an ice rink outside as we had to gingerly take a step with our arms linked tightly together, just to try to get down the steps of our lake cottage. My husband had an iron grip on the wheel, color drained from his face,  as we made it out in the treacherous conditions to give our kids the best little holiday ever.

And it was.

You can see & just feel the joy in these moments.

I set my phone aside and really dove in on this trip with my camera. I was so proud of these pictures.

I have all of these beautiful and amazing moments and guess what I did with them?

Nothing.

I am a great storyteller of moments in Facebook, I might be able to grab your eye on Instagram with pictures, but I don’t do anything with these for myself. Instead of sitting on a couch flipping through these moments with my grandkids someday, I will be pulling them over to my computer and trying to search through my folders and feeds to show them what their mom and dad used to look like. It isn’t the picturesque family moment that I want to share with them. That is where ThisLife by Shutterfly comes into play. I am going to show you how this can help you be a better historian no matter what device or sharing platform you use and how I finally took these images off my computer and brought them to life for our family.

ThisLife App Tutorial

As storytellers of our family, we now use multiple platforms to share our stories. These moments can quickly become jumbled or lost and it is difficult to remember where and how we have shared our images. ThisLife is an amazing subscription-based service that can quickly organize and sort your moments by date, making it quick and easy to share your family’s stories. Not only does it gather the images from your computer, but it gathers them from the places you are socially sharing in the same dated format. Do you share on Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Shutterfly, or SmugMug? Link your account and it will grab and sort all of your images in one location. Half the battle is in the sorting and, let’s face it, very few moms I know have time to gather and incorporate all their moments on all the places they are sharing socially. This grabs them and sorts them with ease.

ThisLife App Tutorial

Once the images are all sorted, it makes it so much easier to begin sharing your family’s story. You can actually create a Story from the images and then share it with your family and friends through email or by sharing a link to your story like this one I created of our family vacation. This is so great for grandparents or for anyone who doesn’t want to share their images publicly. You simply select the images (that have already been sorted for you) and then click Stories and add a New Story to create a format for sharing groups of moments with your family and friends.

ThisLife App Tutorial

A search under people sorts all of the people in your life alphabetically and tells you how many pictures you have of them. Want to make a photo album for a friend that’s moving away of all your years together? No problem! Want to put together an album of just one child? Easy peasy. Want to see how much better you look as you age and wow yourself? I totally did that.

ThisLife App Tutorial

Do you travel to exotic locations (more exotic than, say, Grand Rapids?)? Do you vacation every summer in Nantucket? I will be a good friend and tell you that you can sort your images by places and make albums of all of these fun things that you are doing that I am not doing.

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ThisLife offers several  different membership plans, with additional options for larger collections.

ThisLife App Tutorial

Of course, the beauty in this for this amazing storyteller who doesn’t share her stories, is that you can print these photos out in a book and actually have something to show your grandkids someday. Select all your images that you want (all perfectly grouped) and then click Create to transfer them over to Shutterfly to make an album. Add captions so you don’t forget the treacherous ice storm you weathered for the perfect family holiday or that root beer tasting that you did with your kids that they couldn’t stop talking about. Get it all in an album and ship it right to your door to remember those moments forever. You can check out the album I made below using their Modern template.

 

Click here to view this photo book larger

Now that I have shown you how wonderful this service is, I am excited to be giving away one (1) standard subscription to ThisLife so you can be the ultimate storyteller of moments in your family. You can enter this giveaway by following the instructions below in the Rafflecopter widget!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Check out some other fun ways you can use ThisLife for your photos from a few of my favorite blogging friends! 

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly, Inc. in partnership with Resourceful Mom Media. I have received compensation for my time and a membership to ThisLife to share my honest thoughts and opinions on their service.

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8 DIY Command Center Ideas

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

8 DIY Command Center Ideas from MomAdvice.com.

Back-to-school season means back to the daily grind of controlling paperwork, keeping track of schedules, checking homework, figuring out meals, and corralling the backpack clutter in the home. Thankfully, it is easy to create a DIY Command Center for your family on a budget and even in a small home.  Today I want to showcase eight ideas for command centers that would work in small spaces, or in a larger home, and how you can utilize Goodwill for some of the supplies for your project.

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to get the scoop on these awesome DIY Command Centers to help organize your family!

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How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Monday, February 10th, 2014

From our managing editor, Jami Boys.

You may not know it, but Jami, from An Oregon Cottage, has been writing on here for a year now. She handles all of our regular features like our weekly notebook, the giveaways, freebies, and round-up posts that you see on our site. She has become my right arm and I would be lost without her. Jami has a diverse background in frugal homemaking, manages her own blog, manages this blog, and is my new managing editor. How is she managing it all? I have no idea! But, I am so excited she has agreed to share her expertise on frugal homemaking with us!

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

I love vintage linens, especially linens that women have used their time and talents on to create works of art using embroidery, drawn-thread techniques, applique, crochet edgings and other needlework crafts. Since cruising thrift stores is a major pastime of mine, I have amassed quite a collection because I have a hard time leaving such treasures in a heap on a table.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

However, I’m not a purist and I recognize that since we don’t use doilies, table runners and other small linen items in our homes anymore, I need to find other ways to be able to use and appreciate these little pieces of art once again. In the past I have made cafe curtains from old tea towels, pillows and tote bags from tablecloths and attached small embroidery pieces to the tops of ready-made pillows. Reusing these special pieces is also a way to use worn or stained linens that still have useable areas.

Since one of my other favorite hobbies is knitting, today I’m sharing how I transformed two vintage linens – a table runner and a pillowcase – into rolled knitting needle holders to organize and carry both my straight and circular needles. And the best part? It’s super easy and uses only straight line sewing!

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Supplies Needed

(same for all types of linens)

Vintage linens – table runners and pillowcases for this example worked best because they were long enough for 13″ straight knitting needles (if making a needle holder for crochet hooks, tea towels would be long enough).
Coordinating ribbon – a 32″ piece of ribbon for tying in a bow. A grograin ribbon where both sides are the same is best.
Fabric marker – either vanishing or eraser style
Straight pins, sewing machine & coordinating thread

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

How To Make A Needle Holder From a Vintage Table Runner:

1. Fold linen piece with wrong sides together, using the needles you want it to hold as your measuring guide. Leave a top flap for folding over either over the needles or the other way, depending on if you want to see the tops of your needles (this example has the flap cover the needle tops, the next goes the other way leaving them visible). Pin edges where they meet.

2. Fold ribbon piece in half and insert folded edge 1/4″ into pinned edge; pin in place.

3. Set your machine to a longer stitch length (3.0) which makes a cleaner stitch for decorative sewing and doesn’t bunch as much as smaller stitches can.

4. Sew a straight line right along the edge of your linen. My embroidered runner had a crochet edge, so I sewed right where the crochet started.

5. As you come to the ribbon pinned to the edge, make sure it is straight and sew right over it, catching it in the edge.

6. Use a fabric marker to mark where the needle pockets will go.

7. Start at the bottom of the folded pocket and make marks at intervals for the individual needle pockets. For the 13″ bamboo straight needles I used here I made 1-1/4″ pockets which held sizes 13 to 5. You can make the pockets all different sizes as well for a custom needle holder (see below).

8. Use the marker and a ruler to make marks evenly up the inside pocket at about 3-4″ intervals – just enough that you can follow with the sewing machine.

9. Starting at the bottom of the large pocket, sew from the first mark straight up to the top of the pocket, using the marks as a guide. Bar-tack at the beginning and end to lock in stitches (sew back and forth one time before starting and ending the seam). Repeat to make remaining individual needle pockets.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Add your needles to the pockets. I like to organize them from largest to smallest.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

Fold the flap over the needles, roll up keeping the embroidery visible, and tie with the ribbon. That’s it! Pretty easy, huh?

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

I also made a needle holder from a pillowcase that had embroidery and a scalloped crochet edging. The benefit of using a pillowcase is that it comes out thicker, liked a lined fabric.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

How To Make A Needle Holder From a Vintage Pillowcase:

1. Follow the same steps outlined above, but make sure that your pillow decoration will fold over the way you want – either covering the tops of the needles or leaving them visible. You can see above that I left mine visible as I usually have the sizes marked on the needle tops and being able to see them will make them easier to find. If you plan on traveling with them and think they may fall out, cover them with the top flap.

2. Sew right along the edge of the case to make the seams for the large pocket before marking for your needle sizes. I made this case to hold some smaller 9″ bamboo needles and some circular needles.

3. When making custom sizes like this, it’s best to start measuring from each edge the sizes you want and work towards the center, so the last center pocket can be a larger or smaller size. In my example, the two outside circular needle pockets on each side (4 total) were 2-1/2″, the next three pockets on each side were 1/14″ and the center pocket is 2″ which ended up being perfect for the size 15″ needles.

How To Make A Knitting Needle Holder From Vintage Linens

You can make holders for all your needles – double pointed, circular, crochet hooks, or any others that you use. And wouldn’t these make a sweet gift for the crafters in your life? I know they would appreciate not only having their needles organized, but also the beauty of the original handiwork.

Vintage Linen Paint Brush Holder

Not a knitter? If you have paintbrushes to organize, you can make holders this same way for them, as this example from Jeannie Oliver showed on Instagram.

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21 Back To School Organizing Ideas

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Can you believe that school has started for many already, and will be starting for everyone else within the next couple of weeks? It’s crazy how fast the summer goes, yet I always look forward to a brand new school year and that great fresh feeling of fall!  Dealing with all the busy schedules, paperwork, homework, and meals during the school week is part of the fun, but also can lead to feeling overwhelmed if not tackled in the beginning.

Now that my kids are a bit older, I’ve found that if I start out on the right track with simple, doable organizing strategies, then the rest of the year goes much better than when I put off setting up simple systems or decide to just wing it.

21 School Organizing Ideas

With this in mind, I’ve put together 21 Back To School Organizing ideas to inspire you and help you get the year off to a good start for you and your kids. I’ve picked some classic tried-and-true Mom Advice systems that work for us and gathered a few other amazing ideas in three main categories:

  • Making School Memories/Showing Love
  • Life Organization Tips for The School Year
  • Organizing Dinners, Lunches, and Snacks

Teacher School Supplies Cake :: MomAdvice.com

Making School Memories/Showing Love

 

Teacher’s School Supplies Cake (use the sales!)

Creating Back to School Traditions

First Day of School Pin/Barrette

19 Teacher Appreciation Ideas

Mason Jar With Chalkboard Printable Tags @ The Crafted Sparrow

First Day of School Journal @ Happy Clippings

School Year Time Capsule @ Family Volley

DIY Command Center :: MomAdvice.com

Life Organization Tips for The School Year

 

DIY Command Center

DIY Homework Station

The Top 7 Apps to Organize Your Life

Simplifying Your To-Do List

Organizing School Papers @ One Creative Housewife

Simplifying the Morning Routine @ Homey Home Design

After School Routine with Free Printable @ Living Locurto

Clothing Organization @ The Idea Room

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station :: MomAdvice.com

Organizing Dinners, Lunches, and Snacks

 

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station

Dorm Mini-Fridge Healthy Makeover

Free Weekly Menu Planner Sheet

15 Back to School Treats @ Rainbows & Honeysuckle

Quick Tips for Packing Lunches @ House of Hepworths

Pantry Organization for Easy Weeknight Meals @ BHG

I hope this helps you all get off to a successful school year start. And I hope you share with us some of your favorite back-to-school organizing tips!

 

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Spring Cleaning All Year Round With Windex Touch-Up Cleaner (& a Giveaway!)

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Sorry! This giveaway is now closed! We would like to congratulate entry #2 (Stephanie) and entry #10 (Heather) on winning these prize packs! 

With spring comes all of the beauty of the changing season. We finally began to see our grass; we enjoy seeing the new buds on our trees, and the sweet smell of a good April shower. What also comes  is the time for spring renewal and spring cleaning inside our homes to bring the freshness and sunshine into our space.

This year, I have vowed to “spring clean” all year long rather than trying to set aside a specific time to do this. With a very busy family schedule, it can often feel daunting to just keep up the daily maintenance of my home.  If you are anything like me, try and incorporate these tips into your daily routine so that you can relax while everyone else is tired and haggard from their day of spring cleaning. Here are a few ideas for getting these tasks done:

  • Begin by making a checklist of everything that you would normally do during your spring cleaning. Things like washing all the linens and drapes, wiping down baseboards, washing windows inside and out, cleaning out your pantry, washing your shower curtains, organizing your linen cabinets, wiping down walls, and cleaning doorknobs and light fixtures.
  • Take inventory of your cleaners and the tools that you will need in order to accomplish all of the necessary cleaning. Nothing is worse than getting ready to do it and then finding out that you are missing that one component needed to complete your task. Put the items that you will need on your shopping list and get them on the day that you perform all of your errands. Some items I like to always have on hand are microfiber cloths (for dusting and wiping down electronic surfaces), newspaper for a lint-free swipe on my mirrors, dusting spray, and a good all-purpose cleaner. I love the Windex® Touch-Up Cleaner for easily and effortlessly cleaning your home’s surfaces. Use this cleaner for wiping down sinks, counter tops, toilets, the outside of your appliances, stove tops, sealed granite, sealed marble, glass, chrome, glazed ceramic tile, finished wood and more.
  • Continue doing your normal daily routine, but add an extra hour each week towards accomplishing just one of these tasks on your list. Check off the items that you accomplish and press on to the next one. By just devoting one hour a week towards your spring cleaning goals you will have a more manageable deep cleaning routine.
  • Clear out as much clutter as you can. Make a box for trash and a box for charitable donations and fill these with all of the unnecessary clutter in your home. By donating these items to those less fortunate you will gain so much. Not only will someone who needs these items more benefit from your donation, but you can receive a tax break and reclaim space in your own home. My theory is, if you don’t like to dust it and aren’t in love with items in your home- donate it!
  • Try keeping a cleaning schedule that fits with your life and your family’s life. Some people work better during morning hours while others of us would rather be snoozing and do better in the evening. Take advantage of the times that you work best.
  • Put your spring cleaning task on your calendar each week. It sounds silly, but don’t you remember your appointments and engagements better when it is written on your calendar?

 

  • Enlist your helpers to help you on these tasks. Your children and your husband can be active participants in getting your home organized just like they help to contribute to the clutter. Schedule dad for clearing out the garage, taking inventory of the tools you will need to do your gardening, cleaning out the basement, or other tasks inside and outside of the home. Children can aid in cleaning their own rooms by helping to remove some of the clutter in the house. Involving your family can be beneficial in showing them all that you do to keep your house running smoothly.

 

If your children need an extra incentive, be sure to print out our free handy chore punch cards to motivate your kids to be involved in the cleaning process!
For product details, visit http://www.windex.com/ and check out the Windex® Facebook page at www.facebook.com/windex for information, coupons and more; additionally, don’t forget to check out the Shineboard for creative cleaning ideas!

Disclosure: I have partnered with Windex® and am being compensated for my posts. However, my opinions are my own.

 

GIVEAWAY: Two (2) lucky readers will receive tools to make spring cleaning a breeze as well as samples of Windex® Touch-Up in Multi-tasking tool-kit!

To Enter: Leave a comment below telling us how Windex® Touch-Up Cleaner will help you spring clean!

*If you are a winner, please leave a testimonial here once you’ve tried it out!*
 OFFICIAL RULES
NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT POST OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR, PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
 
1. Eligibility:Mom Advice’sWindex® Touch-Up Product Giveaway (“Sweepstakes”) is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (including the District of Columbia) who are at least eighteen (18) years of age.  Employees of Mom Advice (“Sponsor”), Daniel J. Edelman, Inc., and SC Johnson & Son, Inc. and any of their parents, subsidiaries. affiliated companies and their advertising and promotion agencies, as well as the immediate family (spouses, parents, siblings and children and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) and household members, whether or not related of each such employee are not eligible to enter or win. The Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
2. Agreement to Official Rules: By participating in the Sweepstakes, entrant fully and unconditionally agrees to and accepts these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor which are final and binding in all matters related to the Sweepstakes. Whether an entrant receives a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
3. Timing: The Sweepstakes begins on April 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time (“PT”) and ends on April 16, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. PT (“Promotion Period”).
4. How to Enter: During the Promotion Period, there is one way to earn an entry: 1. Leave a comment on this blog post answering the question, “How will Windex® Touch-Up Cleaner help your spring cleaning routine?”
All online entries must be received (comments posted) by 5:00 p.m. PT on April 16 to be eligible.  Limit one (1) entry per person, per email address and per household, regardless of method of entry. Entries received from any person, email address or household in excess of the stated limitation will be void. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means and entries by any means which subvert the entry process are void. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. In the event of a dispute over the identity of an online entrant, entry will be deemed submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address associated with the blog post and he/she must comply with these Official Rules. Authorized account subscriber is the natural person who is assigned the e-mail address by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), on-line service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses.
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Blog posting must (i) be entrant’s own original work and reflect the true opinions and experiences of the applicable entrant,  (ii) be in English, (iii) cannot be previously published or submitted in connection with any other promotion, (iv) be in keeping with the Sponsor’s image and (v) not be offensive or inappropriate, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, nor can it defame or invade publicity rights or privacy of any person, living or deceased, or otherwise infringe upon any person’s personal or property rights or any other  third party rights. Sponsor reserves the right to remove any blog post and void the associated entry that it determines, in its sole discretion, is offensive or inappropriate, not in keeping with Sponsor’s image or that is otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules.
By posting a blog post, each entrant acknowledges and agrees that Sponsor may obtain blog posts under this Sweepstakes or have developed on its own or through other third parties’ ideas and material and blog posts that may be similar or identical in theme, idea, format or other respects to others submitted under this Sweepstakes and/or other promotions sponsored by the Sponsor or submitted for other reasons on the website, and entrant waives any and all claims he/she may have had, may have, and/or may have in the future, that any other blog post accepted, reviewed and/or used by Sponsor may be similar to his/her blog post.
5. Winner Determination: Potential winners of prizes will be chosen from all eligible entries received in a random drawing to be held within five (5) business days after the close of entries by Sponsor whose decision is final and binding in all matters. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
6. Winner Requirements: Potential winners will be notified by email on or about twelve (12) days from April 9, 2013. The inability to contact the potential winner within a reasonable time period, the return of the prize or prize notification as undeliverable or non-compliance with these Official Rules will result in forfeiture of prize.
Winner, by acceptance of prize, except where legally prohibited, grants permission for Sponsor and its designees to use his/her name, address (city and state), photograph, voice and/or other likeness and prize information for promotional purposes without further compensation, in all media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide in perpetuity, without notice or review or approval.
Winner, by acceptance of prize, agrees to review the product received in the prize package and post a product testimonial on Windex.com (click on the link to be directed to the review webpage).
7. Prizes: A Multitasking Prize Package including instant coffee samples, face cream with SPF, multi-bacterial hand cream, one bathroom Windex® Touch-Up Cleaner and one kitchen Windex® Touch-Up Cleaner. Approximate Retail Value of prize is $75.00 USD and will be given to two (2) selected winners. Prize is non-transferable and no substitution or cash-redemption is permitted except by Sponsor, in its sole discretion, which reserves the right to substitute the prize (or portion thereof) with one of comparable or greater value. Winner is responsible for all federal, state and local taxes (including income and withholding taxes) and any other costs and expenses associated with prize receipt and/or use not specified herein as being provided.  Prize is awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied by Sponsor. All prize details are at Sponsor’s sole discretion.
8. Release: Entrants agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor,  Daniel J. Edelman, Inc., S.C. Johnson & Son  and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, distributors, advertising/promotion agencies, and prize suppliers, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliate companies and advertising and promotion agencies and their respective officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property, arising directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, out of participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of the prize.
9. Ownership/Use of Blog Posts: By submitting a blog post, each entrant agrees Sponsor shall own the blog post submitted (including all rights embodied therein) and that it and its designees (including S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.) may exploit, edit, modify, and distribute the blog post and all elements of such blog post, including, without limitation, the names and likenesses of any persons or locations mentioned therein (including the use of the blog post for promotional purposes in connection with this Sweepstakes and for the promotion of Windex® products, except where prohibited by law), in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity without compensation, permission or notification to entrant or any third party.
10. General Conditions: Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Sweepstakes, or any part of it for any reason, including if virus, bugs, worms, unauthorized intervention, or any fraud, technical failures or any other factor impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Sweepstakes, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.  In the event of cancellation, Sponsor reserves the right to select the winner from among all remaining non-suspect entries received as of time as such cancellation. Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Sweepstakes or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or those of any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner and all associated entries will be void.  Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages and other remedies (including attorneys’ fees) from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.  Twitter and Facebook are not affiliated in any way with the Sweepstakes.
11. Limitations of Liability: The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information in any Sweepstakes-related materials, whether caused by entrant, printing or typographical errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider (ISP), website, or other connections, technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines, or failed computer, satellite, telephone, cable, or network/computer hardware or software, or jumbled, scrambled, delayed, or misdirected transmissions; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (4) technical, mechanical, network , electronic, computer, human or other errors which may occur, including any errors that may occur in connection with the administration of the Sweepstakes, the processing of entries or blog posts, the announcement of the winner or in any other Sweepstakes-related materials; or (5) late, lost, incomplete, misdirected, delayed, garbled, illegible, postage-due, undeliverable, damaged or stolen entries or blog posts or mail.  Released Parties are not responsible for damage to any computer system resulting from participation in, accessing or downloading information in connection with this Sweepstakes. Released Parties are also not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by site users, tampering, hacking, or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes.
12. Winner’s Name: Winner will be available after twelve (12) days from April 9, 2013, at http://momadvice.com/. The winner’s name will be available until on or about April 20, 2013.
13. Sponsor: Amy Clark
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Back From Vacation Cleaning & Organizing

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Our family has just returned from a trip to Gatlinburg for a special family reunion for my husband’s side of the family. We had the incredible opportunity to climb Clingmans Dome with Ryan’s grandma to check climbing this mountain off her bucket list for her 80th birthday. We climbed this mountain in honor of his grandfather who recently passed away from cancer as a symbol of his motto to, “live strong.”  It was a very special moment for us all and I am so proud of my two kids who RAN the entire mountain for their great grandma & grandpa. There are no words for this moment!

We are still in recovery mode from being gone for the week. Unfortunately, there were many projects awaiting me upon my return. This week on the Kenmore Genius Blog you will find me sharing a few of the strategies I am working on to get my home back on track before the kids head back to school. Be sure to read this post for strategies on back from vacation cleaning and organizing.

I am also sharing my tips and strategies for organizing my closets this week! My car is fully loaded for a trip to Goodwill to donate items from our closet. It will be nice to start the Fall with a freshly organized space.

 

 

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Amy’s Notebook 04.11.12

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Welcome to my little notebook of ideas to help improve your life. This is a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. I hope you will enjoy this weekly does of loveliness with beautiful links that are individually handpicked just for you!

 

I can’t believe how cute this repurpose is of your child’s old crib. It makes me wish I had hung on to mine (@ Life as a Thrifter)

This rain gutter for earring storage is a smart jewelry storage solution (@ Blue Cricket Design)

I love this idea for dressing up your push pins for your bulletin board (@ Under the Sycamore)

This tin roof ice cream sounds like a fun summer treat to make (@ Confections of a Foodie Bride)

I want to try this recipe for brown butter rice crispy treats (@ Handle the Heat)

Black and white angel food cake looks like a fantastic way to end a meal (@ shutterbean)

I love this idea for freshening up an old folding table (@ Tadaa!)

This DIY toddler activity board is a great way to keep little hands busy (@ Mollie D)

I love this simple alteration of jeans from straights to skinny (@ Fine & Feathered)

This parmesan crusted pesto grilled cheese sounds like a fun way to switch up the traditional cheese sandwich (@ Two Peas & Their Pod)

This Asian edamame fried rice sounds like a delicious lunch (@ Skinny Taste)

I am dying to try this recipe for pasta bolognese (@ Smells Like Home)

This honey prosciutto flatbread appetizer looks like an easy appetizer to make for my next party (@ She Wears Many Hats)

I love these tips for using Evernote to get organized (@ Small Notebook)

I adore this idea for throwing a craft birthday party (@ How Does She?)

Giveaway Results: $50 Container Store Gift Card

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Sorry this giveaway is now closed! We would like to congratulate Janet (Comment #27) on winning this $50 gift card to the Container Store from ApartmentGuide.com to organize her space. Thanks for all of your entries and we hope to have many more giveaways in the future!

Summer is here and this is the season in my life where organization seems to fly out the

window and chaos ensues. I was excited when Apartment Guide contacted me to see if I would be interested in making over a corner in my home that could use a little TLC and good-old fashioned organization.

“Oh, I think I will do the office,” I told them.

“Wait. My craft supplies really could use a little organization.”

“Do you mind if I change my answer? My entryway.”

“Oh, and my pantry.”

They  have graciously offered to be open to any of these scenarios and are giving me a $150 American Express gift card to spruce up one spot in my home as part of a Smart Solutions: Control the Clutter Blogger Challenge. Of course, I have to share the organizational love too and I will be giving away a $50 Container Store gift card to get you started in controlling the clutter in your home.

Apartment Guide is committed to cutting the clutter and offers a lot of valuable information for others who might be looking to make the most of their space. They have compiled a ton of articles to help you organize and make the most of the space in your home. I love that many of the ideas are low or no-cost ideas to make the space you are in organized and manageable. You can check out their articles here.

Let’s take a peek at my summer hot spots of hideous clutter.

No one sees this travesty since the only people that enter the house through our garage is ourselves, but it provides hurdles getting into the kitchen in our house. I would love to find a solution to our shoe mess, get the plastic bag chaos controlled, and streamline activities that are happening in our home through this entryway.  This should be an inexpensive solution so I can spend the rest of my money on our pantry.

I love my bigger pantry, but items do have a tendency to get lost in there. I have found myself buying repeat items and would love to add a little organization to this space. I know that if  get this spot in our home in shape that it will save me a lot of time and money in the kitchen.

Next week I will be sharing with you what I did with my gift card, but in the meantime, you can get your entries in to organize your own space. Good luck, everyone!

To enter to win a $50 Container Store gift card from Apartment Guide.

Leave one comment for each item that you complete to enter:

  • First Entry: Tell me one spot you would like to organize in your house or a helpful tip on how I can revamp these two spots in my home that have worked for you.
  • Additional Entry: “Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook for helpful organizing tips for any room in your place.
  • Additional Entry: Follow Apartment Guide on Twitter for real-time tips and updates on making the most of your space.

One winner, chosen at random, will receive a $50 Container Store gift card that can be redeemed in the store or online. Please submit your entries by Tuesday (06/28) at 8PM EST.  Our winner will be drawn at random. Good luck, everyone!

Apartment Guide Disclosure: Apartment Guide is owned by Consumer Source, Inc. Apartment Guide partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its “Smart Storage Solutions: Control the Clutter” Blogger Challenge.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the “Smart Storage Solutions: Control the Clutter” Blogger Challenge. Apartment Guide and Consumer Source believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

MomAdvice Giveaway Guidelines: Want to know more about how things are handled here at MomAdvice? Be sure to read our Disclaimer which clearly states how things work and know that we will always offer only the best reviews and giveaways to our readers. In full disclosure, the email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner(s), and will never be sold or given to anyone. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. Entries that do not follow the above criterion will automatically be disqualified. This giveaway will close Tuesday, June 28th at 8PM (EST). I’ll announce the first name of the winner(s) that will be added to the top of next week’s post and contact the winner(s) by email. I will draw the names of the winner(s) by using the random number generator at Random.org from the eligible entries received. If a winner does not contact me within 72 hours by email, I will draw a new winner. The winner(s) will receive their prize from the PR agency/company  responsible for this giveaway.

Revealed: 30 Day Cut the Clutter Challenge Results

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Last month I decided to challenge myself to cut the clutter in our home over the course of thirty days. My house and my life has been feeling chaotic these days and I knew that a thirty day challenge is just what I needed to get back to the roots of the organization in my home. If you have been a long time reader, you may remember the results from my clutter challenge last year. I am finding by making this clutter challenge a yearly one that it helps bring me back to center again in my home.

The closet, pictured above, is representative of what my home has been looking like. The bones of organization are there, but they are hiding amidst the overflowing drawers, shelves, and cupboards of endless amounts of unnecessary items. I planned to get rid of four car loads of items from my home and challenged myself to a weekly stop at Goodwill.

Pictured here are my first three drops to Goodwill. I have another round of items leftover from our home renovation to take over to the ReStore that are currently sitting in my garage. Once our weather finally warms up, my husband & I have a Saturday date planned with our cluttered garage.  All in all, I removed FIFTEEN garbage bags and three totes of random uselessness from our home. In these bags you would find books that we will never read, toys that the children have outgrown, clothing that is too small, a bazillion plastic containers that I do not need, bedding & blankets that are never used, shoes, & items from household projects that have been abandoned.

Can I say,  I was not sad to see any of these items leave our home?

Maybe when you see some of the corners of my home now, you will know why!

There is still much more clutter to be conquered in our home, but these corners that I have worked on really have me reassured that having our home organized is an attainable goal. If I was going to offer any advice on tackling the clutter in  your home, I would say this:

Start Small…Really Small- When I would survey my house as a whole, I could immediately become defeated. There is so much to do and my to-do list on any given day is enormous. Adding on trying to organize my house to the list and it just did not even seem like a feasible goal. Instead, start with one small spot in your home that has been bothering you. It could be as small as the kid’s bath toys, a junk drawer that could give under its weight of uselessness, or simply a single shelf in your home office.  I found that once I began a junk drawer, for example, I would then start moving into the drawer below it, and then I would move to the next drawer. Most of the time it is just getting the momentum to climb that cluttered hill that holds us back from achieving a little organization that is the hardest part.

You Don’t Need Another Basket, But You Might Need Another Donation Bag- I remember when I first began organizing my home, I considered home organization to be about buying organizers, storage containers, and pretty baskets to house everything. All of a sudden my home was filled with a dozen baskets of items I didn’t need or never used. Instead of thinking of how to make the items you have more attractive, consider if you really need the items themselves. If you don’t really and truly love or use them, get rid of them!

Sentimentality & “This Was So Expensive” Has To Be Set Aside- Two things get in the way of me letting the items go in my home. The first is the sentimental feelings that I have about things in our house. Usually it is a gift, an item that was special to my children when they were small, or something that was special to me that I would like to push my children into also loving. The other thing that gets in the way is my, “This Was So Expensive,” feeling about items that we spent too much money on, but no longer have love for.  If I could get rid of these two feelings about things, I could almost gather another car load of items. Instead, I have dedicated one tote in our basement that is specifically for sentimental mementos and we are working on passing on the gadgets in our life that we don’t use on to others that can use them.

Your feelings about items might be different than mine and it may take some time to figure out what holds you back from letting things go in your life. When you feel an attachment to an item, try to address where that attachment is coming from and if there is a way that you can manage those attachments to achieve the space you desire.

Embrace Your Power to Live Small- The more I cut the clutter in my home, the more I find that I have just the amount of space that I need in my home. When my closets began to feel too small, when the cupboards are bursting at the seams, when the basement is overflowing…those are the times when I think how nice it would be to move to a bigger home. Each time I cut the clutter in those spaces, I rediscover how perfect our home is for us. Basically, I save myself from a heftier mortgage payment AND I find a renewed sense of commitment to stay right where we are.

Our story of giving things away didn’t end there though, in fact, this is a story about the coolest thing that I have ever gotten to give away.  My husband had his ’99 Ford Focus for almost eight years and it was very good to us over the years. For the last five years though, he had been price researching his dream car and dreaming of the day that he could own a Lexus.  At the end of this month, his dream car dropped below the price of my Subaru wagon and with some serious negotiating and a couple of hours in the hot seat at the dealership, he drove that car home.

We talked a lot about what we wanted to do with our Ford Focus. While we could have gotten a little money to trade it in, we knew we could make my brother’s whole year if we gave him our old car. That very day we bought our new car, his car began to leak gas and he had no idea how he was going to get around. Later that afternoon I called to tell him that we had a birthday present for him.

I felt a little like Oprah handing over those keys.

He told me he felt like he won the lottery.

We both couldn’t stop grinning.

I don’t say this to brag, but to showcase how wonderful it can be to pass on the things we have in our lives to others. No matter how much or how little you have, you can always give with your whole heart. Look for creative ways to give back to your community, pass the items on that you no longer use to someone in need, use your talents to bless someone else in your life, and live a life of great thankfulness for all that you have.

If you have taken the clutter challenge, feel free to link up below and share some of the spots in your home that have been transformed or what you plan to work on this month. I can’t wait to see your projects and hear what you have learned from this experience!

New Year’s Goals: Banishing the Paper Clutter From Your Home

Thursday, January 13th, 2011


As I shared with you last week, I am working on getting happier this year through the help of, “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin.

The first month of her book focuses on boosting energy and has several ways that you can do that.

I have been working on four specific goals for this month.

1. Going to bed on time.
2. Dealing with the nagging list of things to do.
3. Kicking clutter to the curb.
4. Returning to a good exercise routine.

Last week I shared with you my closet transformation. That little transformation helped me see the possibilities that our space could hold if I could let the clutter go. This past week I have taken not one, not two, not even three…No, I have taken SIX car trunks full of clutter to Goodwill to reclaim my home.

As each batch of clutter leaves my home, I am discovering  the potential of my home and the potential for my space to be exactly as I want it. It might not be a space that resembles the pages of Real Simple Magazine, but it brings me one step closer to the home I desire.

Ironically, I asked my husband if he had noticed the house potential peeking through the clutter after my sixth trip to the Goodwill drop-off box.  “Do you even know what is missing?” I asked. He looked around and said, “I guess I will figure it out when I try to find something.” Yes, we don’t even know what is missing which goes to show how little those items had meant to us.

Now that we had begun to see our house through the rubble, it was time to get a few organizing systems into place to get rid of the paper trail that makes its way into my home.

Finding a system that makes sense in your home and that you can maintain is the most important step towards transforming your paper clutter. What works for me might not work for you. Admittedly, I have tried more systems than I can count.

I have realized two things about myself and my paper clutter:

1) My system needs to be convenient- I would love to banish all papers down to to our home office. Walking down to the office though is not convenient though and that is why the clutter continues to build on my kitchen counters.

2) Everything must have a home- Half of the problem for me is not having a home for the papers in my life. I needed something that could house the chaos, yet I could find the papers at a moments notice.

I decided to use a magazine organizer that I had bought years ago that had housed dusty magazines. I bought a set of decorative file folders in the $1 section of Michael’s and created a folder for those troublesome papers.

The file folders you create might be different than mine, but this is what was needed to organize our family papers.

1.  Coupons- This coupon folder holds the newspaper coupons and coupons for places that we might like to dine out. I also tucked any gift cards that we might have in there so that I can grab them when we go out.

2. Emily & Ethan’s School- Each child has a folder where I can put the month’s current newsletter and school calendar.

3. Tax Information- As tax information comes through, I can add it to this folder along with any receipts that I need to keep on hand for tax deductions.

4. Amy’s Work- Check stubs from jobs I have done and reports from my ad network go in here.

5. Recipes/Crafts- I always find things in magazines or recipes that I want to try and end up losing them. Now I have a folder where I can keep these on hand for dinner or crafty inspiration.

6. Receipts- I try to tuck receipts for important items somewhere. What ends up happening though is that they immediately become misplaced. Now I know exactly where they are!

I decided to implement the same system down in my office where my cluttered desk resides.  As a work-at-home mom, I needed organization to do my job well. Again, I had another dusty organizer in my office that needed to be put to good use.

In my work file folders were these categories:

1. Current Projects- Anything that I am currently working on goes into this folder for easy grabbing.

2. Inspiration- I try to keep an inspiration folder on hand. It could be something I see in a magazine that would make the perfect article for our site, a recipe that I would like to try, or ideas from other bloggers that I want to keep in mind.

3. Product Reviews- If I request a product to review for The MotherLoot, the company usually sends a product sheet. Now it is all neatly tucked in a folder and the papers can be easily recycled once I am done with the review.

4. Contracts- This folder contains the contracts that I am under with different companies and can be referenced when needed.

The papers are still all there, but I have reclaimed my counters. What a beautiful thing! I couldn’t be more pleased or feel more organized now that everything has its home.

The next thing I needed to do was organize the kid’s art and special papers that I wanted to keep. I went to Walmart and got a two decorative banker boxes for a total of $6.88.

Each of the kids now have their own box to put their treasures in. These will go in their closets so they can save what they really love and then we will do an editing of the box in the summer for the next school year. It is just a big open box of possibility for them and will keep these papers from being strewn all over the house.

What systems have you found work for your family when it comes to organizing life’s papers? Please share or share links to your organizing systems. I would love some additional inspiration!