Saturday, August 22, 2009

Freezer Paper

Freezer Paper is great for crafts. It is plastic coated on one side so kids can paint on the paper or use markers and it doesn't leak through. It is also 18 inches wide so kids have a big surface to work with. You can cover a table with the paper for a disposable table cloth when doing crafts. One fun craft project is making freezer paper stencils. The stencils can be ironed onto clothing and then you can paint designs on t-shirts. Look for details in an upcoming post.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Oh the things you can do with a staple gun Part 2

Fabric + Staple Gun = New Ottoman

We have a half bath with no storage space. This little table was painted and then fabric was stapled onto 3 sides of the table from the inside. Now it doubles as our tp storage.

Cornice boards for the windows

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh the things you can do with a staple gun (Part 1)

I love staple guns. They are one of the best tools for projects around the house. I was able to make the headboard in our guest room. I used some plywood, 1x2 boards, batting, fabric, and buttons. I cut the plywood board to the width of the bed. Then I screwed the 1x2 boards around the edge of the plywood to form a frame.
Next, I covered the front and edges of the headboard with batting. I used the staple gun to staple the batting onto the back frame. Then, I repeated the same process with the fabric. On the corners, fold the fabric like a present. Make sure to stretch the fabric taut. It is best to staple the middle first and then stretch it out towards the edges. I also used the staple gun to create the tufting effect with the buttons. I placed a staple where I wanted each button to go and then used the glue gun to glue them in place.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Article on new cleaning uses for common items

Check out this fun article on new uses for common items in your house. My favorite one I want to use is to put coasters in the pantry under sticky items like the honey jar or my bottle of oil. No more messy clean up! Love it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rit Color Remover

Pink towels next to a white towel before using Color Remover
Towels after using Color Remover

I saw this at the store the other day by Rit Color Dyes and the regular detergents. I thought I would give it a go since all of my dishtowels are pink (I washed a little tiny red handtowel with the dishtowels and it wasn't very forgiving). It worked great! You can either put it in your washing machine and let the fabric soak and agitate for 30-60 minutes or in a big stainless steel pot on the stove with hot water. I have a front loading washer so I didn't think the product would work as the water level is very low in these washing machines. I also didn't have a stainless steel pot (it said not to use aluminum or non-stick pots). I just filled my stainless steel kitchen sink with hot water and added a quart of boiling water to make it extra hot. Then I added the Rit Color Remover packet and the towels. I let them sit for about an hour, stirring it all around a couple of times. Then you rinse and wash as regular with detergent. For $1.66 at Walmart (it cost more at the regular grocery store), this is a great find to save clothing from washing accidents.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Weird things to save

I love saving the rubberbands that come on broccoli and celery. For some reason I think those are the best rubberbands ever! They come in handy all the time because they are so thick and stretchy and don't break. I keep them in a little container in the kitchen drawer (see article on baby food containers). Does anyone else do this or think they are great?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

House Rules

Here is my version of the House Rules poem. I kind of mixed a few versions together.

If you sleep on it...make it up.
If you wear it...hang it up.
If you drop it...pick it up.
If you eat out of it...wash it up.
If you step on it...wipe it up.
If you open it...close it.
If you empty it...fill it up.
If you fill it up...empty it.
If you spill it...wipe it up.
If you turn it on...turn it off.
If you make it dirty...wash it.
If you have garbage...trash it.
If it whines...feed it.
If it it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2 Ideas for organizing kitchen drawers

Most all of us have at least one drawer in the kitchen that is packed with kitchen utensils. These get easily cluttered and messy. Many of the utensils aren't used very frequently.

Idea #1 is from Peter Walsh, expert organizer. He said to put all your kitchen utensils (spatulas, wire whips, etc.) in a box. Everytime you need one you get it out an then put it back in the drawer. After a month, if there are still some in the cardboard box you know you don't need them.

Idea #2: Leave only the utensils that you use almost daily in your drawer. Find a small box or basket and put the less frequently used tools on a separate shelf in a cupboard. I cleaned out my drawer yesterday. My box utensils include a meat tenderizer, pastry blender, lemon juicer, corn on the cob holders, turkey baster bulb, crab crackers, and some other odds and ends. I do use these items but not frequently. Now my drawer looks great and it will be easier to find things that I do use each day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Uses for baby food containers

Kaitlyn is my 6 month old baby girl. She started eating solid foods a few weeks ago. I've made a small list of uses for used plastic baby food containers with snap on lids. They are the perfect size for storing many things.

Office supplies: tacks, paper clips, rubberbands
Crafts/Sewing supplies: safety pins, pins, buttons, beads
Garage: screws, nails
Miscellaneous: toothpicks, hair bands/clips, game pieces (i.e. dice), corn on the cob holders, snacks for the diaper bag

You get the idea. If you have a baby save a few containers for odds and ends and recycle the rest.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Grocery Store Tricks

There is a whole science to how a grocery store is laid out in order to create more sales. For example, the milk and eggs are usually at the back of the store so you have to walk through the entire store to get these items. You likely will pick up some other groceries as you walk by all the displays.

One thing I have noticed is that a couple of stores (locally Albertsons and Smiths) have 10 for $15 or 10 items for $10 sales. The weekly ads have a block of items which each cost $1 if you buy 10 of the said items. Sometimes these are steals and great deals, but many times they aren't worth the time and money rushing to the store and stocking up.

I went through last weeks Albertson's ad as an example. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was ONLY 60 cents if you spent $10 on participating items. I don't know about you but that doesn't seem like a great price. Green Giant veggies were 75 cents. I usually just buy the store brand for about 50 cents per can. Jet puffed marshmallows were on sale for $1.20 each (again, I usually purchase the store brand for less than $1). Sometimes you will find these sales are actually a markup from the regular price. They changes the price tag for the "sale".

Sometimes the cereal in these ads are good deals, but you have to be careful. For example the Cheerios were only $1.50 but it was a 8.9oz box which is so small. That is about 17 cents per ounce which is an okay price. The problem with these sales is you often don't need to buy 5 boxes of Cheerios to get the sale price plus two bags of marshmallows and a couple of cans of vegetables. You end up spending more than you would.

There were a couple of good deals in this advertisement. Fruit Roll-Ups, Betty Crocker Premium Brownies and Lemon Bars, and South Beach Diet Bars were all $1.50. These are pretty good prices only if you use the advertised items. For example, once there was a sale on Quaker cereal bars. I stocked up on a bunch of them but then we didn't really like how they tasted and we ended up giving them away. Buy items that you know you like. If you aren't sure about a product you haven't tried, buy only one.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Keeping mail organized

Mail tend to pile up over the course of a week. The weekly ads, credit card offers, catalogues and other junk mail gets mixed in with bills and mail you actually like to receive.

Having a mail organizing system set up keeps the mail from taking over your counter or desktop. You won't lose bills and forget to pay them.

I have a simple system for organizing my mail. You can get an inexpensive caddy that will hopefully help you keep organized. If you don't have time to go through your mail each day then you first need an inbox. This is the mail that needs to be sorted. When you do have time, sort your mail into separate piles: junk mail, junk mail to be shredded, bills, catalogues/magazines to save, and misc. (other mail you want to file or keep). The junk mail can be immediately thrown away (preferrably in the recycle bin). I like to keep my shredder near my mail station. That way I can immediately shred credit card offers and other mail with personal information. Bills and other mail can be placed in the caddy into separate compartments. I keep one compartment for mail that needs to be filed away in my filing cabinet. I have a rule, when the compartment is full I go and file the paperwork. That way it never becomes overwhelming.
If you have a caddy with enough compartments you can also keep office supplies like scissors, paper clips, and scotch tape handy. I like to keep a calculator nearby as well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Don't Like Leftovers

Our family does not do well with leftovers. If I tell my husband it is leftover night and there is casserole, pasta, or meatloaf as your choices he almost always goes to the freezer and gets out his favorite Lynn Wilson bean and cheese burritos! That kind of defeats the purpose of leftover night. I've found if I don't eat the leftovers for lunch the next day they just sit in the refrigerator for a week until I end up throwing them away. One solution I have found to this problem is to freeze half of our dinner immediately after dinner. If I just throw it in the refrigerator with the intent to freeze it the next day, it just doesn't get done. However, if when I am cleaning up the kitchen after dinner I take the time to get out a freezer bag then it gets done.

Many meals will freeze well in freezer storage bags. Examples include spaghetti sauce, other pasta sauces, or most soups. Some meals are best split into two portions before baking like casseroles, enchiladas, lasagna, or others. If you don't want to use disposable aluminum pans for freezing these meals, first, line your baking dish with aluminum foil. Then, add your casserole or meal. Third, cover the pan with aluminum foil. Fourth, freeze the meal. Lastly, when the meal is completely frozen you can remove the pan and the meal will easily stack up in your freezer. The nice part about frozen casseroles or lasagna is that you can place it in a baking pan and put it frozen into the oven. It does take considerably longer to bake but no defrosting is necessary.

What are some meals you have had success freezing? What doesn't work well for freezing? Let me know so I can try it too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Prize

Email 3 people you know this blog website and then let me know. You will be entered to win a fabulous Earth Day prize worth up to dollars. Post a comment or email me by May 1st.

Happy Earth Day! RECYCLE PLEASE!

I love that Salt Lake County provides curbside bimonthly collection of paper, plastics, cardboard, aluminum, and steel. If you live in an area that provides this type of service, make sure to use it!

Ever since I started recycling I always feel bad about throwing away glass containers. It just seems like they shouldn't go in a landfill somewhere. I have a box in my garage for clear glass bottles and containers. When I finish using a bottle of Prego sauce I rinse it and put it in my garage. When the box is full I take it to a local glass drop-off location. I found the addresses for glass drop-off locations by using a search engine and typing in my city and "glass recycling". My county website had lots of helpful information for recycling and disposal of waste materials. Your county or city should also have a drop-off location for the following hazardous materials (or items that shouldn't be put in the regular trash): electronics, paint, oil, antifreeze, batteries, propane, fluorescents, chemicals. When you clean out your garage this spring, collect all of these items and drop them off where they can be disposed of properly.

When cleaning out your medicine cabinet, don't flush your old medications down the toilet! Our water is already polluted with tons of medications; let's keep our water clean and safe! Search on the Internet for "Prescription Medication Disposal Locations" (in Salt Lake you can drop them off at certain police stations or pharmacies)

Use the following website to find locations to dispose of old batteries that contain lithium, mercury, nickel, lead or other potentially harmful materials:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another plug for Fels Naptha soap

Back on 2/22 I wrote a snipet about Fel Naptha soap for getting out stains. My sister told me about this soap. Since that time I bought a bar for less than $2.00 at the grocery store (look on the very top shelf of the detergent aisle). I have used it on so many stains and it has so far always worked great. I never am good about pretreating a stain. All of our stained clothes just go right in the laundry basket until laundry day. Before putting the stained clothes in the washer I just wet the dirty spot and rub on the fels naptha. It gets everything out including red punch stains, baby stains, and chocolate stains.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Redbox free code

Thanks to the Eccles family for this nice Redbox tidbit.
Every Monday they have a free get charged the dollar, but then get it back if you return it the next day!!!!!!!!Every Monday this blog informs you of the code

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fix your sink stopper

Okay, this has probably happened before in your house, the sink stopper in your bathroom sink stops working. This is a repair you definitely can do yourself without any tools. Sometimes the sink stopper is broken at the bottom. If so, you will need a new one. They aren't expensive and you can get it at your home improvement store.

First, look under your sink. You will see something similar to the second photo. To get your new stopper in place you have to unscrew the cap where the stopper hardware attaches to the main drain pipe. Once it is unscrewed then put the new stopper in the sink. Then start screwing the cap back on making sure the metal rod going through the cap goes through the hole in the stopper. Voila! You're finished. Now the stopper should go up and down like it is supposed to. I just fixed mine today in less than 5 minutes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Heart Redbox and the Public Library

I just went to the library and picked up some great books to read for FREE. You can't beat that for cheap entertainment. I like to check out books and dvds for my kids too. We go to storytime each week which is really fun and Daniel gets to make a cute craft each time. Like I said, I love the library! Our library even has an online download option for audiobooks. I'm really excited because I found some fun books for future blog posts including: simple home repairs, car maintenance, and gardening/composting (I really want to learn about this and do it).

I also really like using Redbox for renting DVDs. I like that it only costs $1 especially for shows you aren't sure will be good or not. For example, I rented Seven Pounds and I just couldn't get into it at all so I just returned it without finishing it. I didn't feel obligated to finish watching it because it was only $1. (Sorry to anyone who liked that movie)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sage words of advice

Here are a few paragraphs from a wonderful talk by Robert D. Hales on living within our means (I just hope I could always follow this advice!):

What is a provident provider?
All of us are responsible to provide for ourselves and our families in both temporal and spiritual ways. To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies. When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.
Being provident providers, we must keep that most basic commandment, “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Our world is fraught with feelings of entitlement. Some of us feel embarrassed, ashamed, less worthwhile if our family does not have everything the neighbors have. As a result, we go into debt to buy things we can’t afford—and things we do not really need. Whenever we do this, we become poor temporally and spiritually. We give away some of our precious, priceless agency and put ourselves in self-imposed servitude. Money we could have used to care for ourselves and others must now be used to pay our debts. What remains is often only enough to meet our most basic physical needs. Living at the subsistence level, we become depressed, our self-worth is affected, and our relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and the Lord are weakened. We do not have the time, energy, or interest to seek spiritual things....

When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”....

When our boys were young, we had a family council and set a goal to take a “dream vacation” down the Colorado River. When any of us wanted to buy something during the next year, we would ask each other, “Do we really want to buy that thing now, or do we want to take our dream trip later?” This was a wonderful teaching experience in choosing provident living. By not satisfying our every immediate want, we obtained the more desirable reward of family togetherness and fond memories for years to come....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Refinishing furniture for a great change

I worked on this project about a year ago. This dresser was a piece of furniture Ken had as a child. It was still in very good condition and was solid wood. I just didn't like how it looked in our home. First I removed the wood handles from each drawer and wardrobe portion. The screw holes had to be filled with some wood putty. Second I had to sand the dresser to remove the finish. This is the step that takes the longest. Luckily I have a small electric sander. Then I cleaned and dusted everything off so I could paint the piece. I applied three coats of white paint. Lastly, I attached new hardware to each drawer and the wardrobe.
Refinishing furniture is a fun project. I would recommend starting with something small like an end table or nightstand. Find something at a thrift store or something you have been storing away. This is a good project to do in the garage or outside if it is warm enough.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Laundry Room Organizer

Sorry for the two week absence. I have a couple or relatively good excuses 1. 2 kids taking up all my time and 2. I lost my list of blog ideas (how's that for being organized).
Nicole (one of my sisters) suggested this item for laundry room organization. It is a $5 octopus with lots of clothes pin clips on it from Ikea. It is good for hanging up items to dry like pantyhose and bras. I always like to dry my dirty towels and dishrags before throwing them in the laundry hamper. That way they don't get stinky and grow mildew.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ideas for old or mismatched socks

Here are some ideas of things to do with your old socks. Several of the ideas I found on

1. Dusting. Old gym socks are great for dusting. Turn them inside out and slip on your hands. They are especially good for dusting the blinds, fan blades, furniture, etc.
2. Shining shoes (this works great and then you can toss the sock after using it a couple of times).
3. Sock puppets (lots of fun for kids).
4. Bean bags.
5. Heated rice bag. Fill a long sock with some rice. Sew the end shut. Then heat the sock in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds. This is great on sore muscles or around the neck as a portable heating pad.
6. Protect breakables when moving.
7. Cut the end off a pair of old socks. When painting, cover your shoes with the socks.
8. Cut off the end of a pair of old socks. When pruning roses or bushes with thorns, cover your arms with the socks. This will keep the thorns from scratching your arms. (Okay, I don't know if I actually would do this. It sounds like a fun idea if you like to look a little odd when doing yard work.)
9. Cleaning gross stuff. One good thing about old socks is if it gets really dirty from cleaning you can just throw it away. Using a sock on anything greasy or grimy (like stuff in the garage) is a good idea.
10. Hanging soap when camping. I've seen this when camping and it works really well. First, take an old pair of nylons and cut off one leg (or use a knee high stocking). Then put a bar of soap in the stocking. The stocking can be tied near the water spigot at the campground which makes it easy to clean your hands when camping. Plus you don't drop the soap on the dirty ground!

If you have any other good ideas for old socks, let me know! I'd like to try it out.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Clean Smarter Not Harder

(Top: Before Cleaning; Bottom: After Cleaning)

Since we have lived in our home (about 1 1/2 years) I have had a battle with the kitchen tile grout. When we moved in I thought the grout was this grey color until I saw underneath the refrigerator the actual grout color was ivory. Since then I have always know it was dirty and gross. I have spent hours on my hands and knees with toothbrushes and Mr Clean Magic Eraser Sponges to try to get it clean. All I got from that was a repetitive stress injury on my wrist from scrubbing. I was going to have the grout professionally cleaned and sealed. Yesterday I had a person come over to give me an estimate of the cost (it was more than $1 per square foot). I don't know if the person was just really nice that day, but he told me exactly how I could clean my own grout with minimal effort! And I did it today and it is great! He suggested phosporic acid mixed 50/50 with water and a nylon deck brush. You also need heavy gloves and a big sponge. He said it was all at Home Depot. I went to Home Depot and I didn't find the phosporic acid, but there was a professional grout cleaner with the active ingredient being hydrochloric acid. I bought a bottle for $6.50. I also got a nylon deck brush for about $7 and a pair of gloves for a couple of bucks. I squirted the cleaner on the grout, let it sit for 3 minutes and then lightly scrubbed with the deck brush. I then used my big tile sponge to rinse with clean water. The last step is to dry the tile and grout with a clean towel. It looks awesome! It was fast and easy to do!

Another suggestion for regular cleaning of tile by the professional cleaner. When you mop, rinse with clean water and then dry the floor, especially noting the grout lines. The dirty water tends to flow to the grout lines and if you don't dry it up then the grout will look dirtier much faster.

Thank you Mr. Professional Grout Cleaner Man! I appreciate your help!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sew a Dust Ruffle

I made a dust ruffle for my spare bedroom for only $7.00. I had an old flat sheet that I didn't use anymore. I was able to use this sheet for the material that goes under the mattress. It doesn't matter what color it is as no one will ever see it.

Then I bought a twin size flat sheet for $7.00 in the color of fabric that matched the bedding. I cut the old sheet 59 inches by 79 inches (the size of a queen bed is 60x80). For the flat sheet, I measured the length of the boxspring mattress to the floor and added about 3 inches to that length to allow for hemming and for gathering the top. Then I cut the flat sheet into strips of the desired width. I sewed the pieces together to have one very long strip of fabric and then hemmed the bottom. Next the top has to be gathered and sewn. I luckily was given a ruffle foot attachment for my sewing machine which made it very easy and fast to gather the top edge of the fabric strip. The gathered edge is then attached to the old sheet.
(Okay, I'm not so good at writing instructions. Hopefully from the photos you get the idea. It is a pretty easy project and now I can store stuff under the bed without having to see it.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How to save money at the grocery store

The easiest way for me to save money at the grocery store is to NOT bring my son or husband. If I shop alone I don't get as many unnecessary items. For example, at Smith's grocery store on Wednesday I bought Mini Oreos for $1.00 and Gatorade for $1.00 for Daniel. I end up getting a treat and opening it up so he will sit in the cart and be patient while I shop. Once he had the cookies he got thirsty, hence the Gatorade. My husband is almost worse than taking Daniel along. He gets junk food for himself like chips, donuts, or cookies. I hardly ever buy those items myself. He also likes to go to the magazine aisle which is something I never purchase.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Save zipper bags when you buy new sheets

I like to save the heavy plastic bags that sheets or curtains come in. They have a nice zipper and structured base. These bags are great for traveling. I like to put my conditioner, gel, hairspray, etc. in these bags as they can stand upright on the bathroom counter and will keep any spills away from your clothing. They are also good to keep wet clothing in when traveling.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Electric toothbrush heads

This idea is from my sister Jill. Thanks for the tip! I'm going to try it soon, since I have a Sonicare toothbrush. Instead of throwing the old brush head away, keep it with your bathroom cleaning stuff and attach it back onto the toothbrush to scrub around the edges of the sink and faucet handles. You could also use it for baseboards or doors to get the dirt and dust off.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Amazing Jean Hem


My Aunt Lila introduced us to the amazing European hem. This hem keeps the original jeans hem and looks great. It is very easy to do and only takes me 10 minutes. The following blog has photos of each step.

Additional suggestions:

1. Use the zipper foot to sew right next to the original hem. It also is useful for getting over the seams.

2. Make sure the side seams are perfectly matched up and pinned before sewing.

3. If your hem is more than an inch or two, cut off the excess fabric to about 1/2 inch on the inside and zigzag stitch the raw edge (or use serger if you have one). Another non-sew option is to use Fray-Check which is a basically a type of fabric glue for edges.

4.If you don't want to cut off the excess fabric you may have to iron the bottom flap after washing which is annoying. To prevent this you can use Stitch Witchery, a fuseable bonding strip.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fels Naptha Soap for Stains

My sister learned about this old fashioned yellow bar of soap in home economics class several years ago. It is a champion to get out stains on clothing and is very inexpensive (less than $2 for a bar that will last a long time). Simply wet the spot, rub the stained area with the bar. Throw it in the wash - and relax, the stain will be gone forever! My sister said it removed some very tough ring around the collar stains on her husband's white shirts. At my house there are a lot of stains from juice and baby poop on my kids clothing. Look for this in the soap aisle at the grocery store.

Oxi Clean is also a good stain remover and whitener. Kaitlyn is wearing a blessing dress which is 31 years old. It was my baby blessing dress. It had yellowed over the years and I soaked it overnight in warm water with a couple scoops of Oxi Clean and it whitened right up. Oxi Clean also works well for all of Kaitlyn's little stained clothing.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thanks Mom! Mending a tear

Top: finished mend
Bottom: underside of skirt with reinforcing backing

I stood on the hem of my skirt last week and it made this crazy rip in the back. I didn't know if it was salvageable but mom was able to sew it right up. Since it is a full skirt, it won't even be noticeable. Thanks!

She reinforced the back side with what I think was some iron-on backing or stabilizer. She then used a wavy stitch (or you can use a zig-zag stitch) in the appropriate thread color to mend the tear. These mends are good on light weight fabrics. They can be somewhat conspicuous though. If you have a heavier fabric you can use iron-on mending tape. It is fast and no sewing is required! I found the following video which shows how easy it is. The mending tape comes in a pack with several colors. Just choose the color that is closest to your fabric.

Clean out your closet!

I like to go through my closet about 4-5 times a year and get rid of things I don't wear anymore. I personally believe it is better to donate your unused items rather than hold onto something you may wear someday (which really means you will never wear it again). Donating clothing to Salvation Army, Goodwill, DI or other charities is a great way for many to reuse good items of clothing you no longer need or use. Another fun option I did as a teenager was have a clothing exchange with several friends. We all brought piles of clothing and could pick "new clothes" from our friends piles. Any clothing that wasn't picked was donated to Goodwill. This obviously works best if you have friends that wear the same size clothes as you.
The first thing to do when cleaning your closet is to pull out all the items that are torn, worn out, stained, etc. These almost always can be thrown away or donated. Limit yourself to 1 or 2 shirts for "painting" or "camping" and only 1 or 2 pants for "yard work" or "cleaning the bathrooms." You don't need more shirts or pants for these chores! You also probably can limit the number of exercise clothes you have. You don't need 20 t-shirts for exercising. Realistically, you may only need 5. The same goes with your exercise bottoms.
Click on the flow chart (above) for a list of questions to ask yourself when you are cleaning out the closet. If after going through this list and you still want to keep something after answering no to all the questions consider asking the following:
Why do I really want to keep this item of clothing?
1. Is it for sentimental reasons? Other than your wedding dress, we don't really need to keep pieces of clothing to remember some important event in life. I've never taken out an old pair of jeans from the closet and admired them like I would a photo album or scrapbook. If it means that much to you it should be out somewhere it can be admired instead of getting dusty in the back of the closet. For example, my neighbor's husband had a huge t-shirt collection which he didn't want to part with. She cut off all the old t-shirts logos or sayings and pieced them into a quilt. Another idea is to take a great photo of the piece of clothing and put the photo in a scrapbook along with a piece of the fabric. Be creative.
2. It may fit someday?! This is a tough one for a lot of us. It may take some tough love but think of the following: by the time I do lose (fill in the blank) pounds would this item still be in fashion? The answer is probably NOT. Buy clothing that you look good in and feel good wearing now. Buy clothing that fits your body well now and accentuates your positive features. Live in the present, not the past. (Thanks Stacy and Clinton, love you on What Not to Wear)
The only exception to the above would be maternity clothing. However, don't let this take up room in your closet. Put them away in a storage bin (only if you plan on having more children, if not give them away, duh!)
3. Other (i.e. someone may be able to use my disco pants for a Halloween costume) Why is it in your closet? If you really will use it for Halloween, put it in storage in a box labelled clearly Halloween.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inventory the freezer and pantry

I like to freeze meals to use later on. However, I was looking through my freezer yesterday and found two potential meals that I totally forgot I had frozen. Luckily, they have only been in the freezer for a couple of months instead of being completely freezer burned and useless. Solution: I took a small piece of paper and jotted down the freezer meals I have in my chest freezer. I put my little paper by my calendar and cookbooks. Now if I can't think of what to have for dinner I can check my list and make sure the meals don't go to waste.

It is also a good idea to inventory your pantry or food storage. I have a storage room in the basement where I keep extra canned goods. I made a chart with each item listed followed by little boxes I can check off each time I pull out an item. When it starts to get low I circle the item on my list and when I see the item on sale I will stock up again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Freeze those brown bananas

I hate bananas that have any sort of brown on the peel. I prefer bananas that are just barely yellow. If there are bananas that start getting spots and no one in the house will eat them then I just peel the banana and throw it in a ziploc baggie and freeze it for later. One frozen banana works great in a morning protein shake.

Chocolate Protein Shake
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 frozen banana
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Sweetener (if needed)

This makes a very thick and rich protein shake. I often make this in the morning and share with my 2 year old son.

Frozen bananas are also great for making banana bread. Once you have about 4 bananas you can let them thaw and thrown them in the mixer with your favorite banana bread recipe.

Another use for hair conditioner

Have you ever bought some conditioner that you tried a couple of times but you just don't like? I read this tip and thought it sounded like a great idea. You can use conditioner to shave you legs when you don't have shaving cream. The added bonus is that it leaves the legs really soft.

Okay, I am all about reusing things, but I also hate clutter. If you have some conditioner that is more than a year or two old, just throw it out. Cosmetics, shampoos, lotions and other toiletries don't last forever. In addition, even if you shave several times a week, it would take years to use up the 10 half used bottles of conditioner you have kept over the years.

Daniel's footed pajamas

My sister Karen suggested I start a blog after seeing how I fixed Daniel's footed pajamas with holes in the feet. I seem to always be fixing something around the house or working on a project. I'm not a great seamstress, but I can sew a little. Knowing the very basics of sewing is one of the best tools I have for using and reusing what I have at home.

Daniel is almost 3 years old. He likes to wear his footed pajamas a lot. He would wear them all day long if I didn't get him dressed in the morning. Consequently, he had two pairs of pjs that had holes in the toes. I thought about getting him a new pair, but then came up with a creative solution to fix them using a pair of slipper socks that I had kept in my sock drawer for years but never wore. I cut the very bottom of his pajamas off. I then used the oval shaped fabric I cut off as a template. I pinned the template to the bottom of the slipper sock and cut out the same shape. I then sewed the slipper sock bottom onto the bottom of the pajamas. Now his toes don't stick out and he doesn't slip and fall on the tile floor.