Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday Cleaning

I HATE doing all the cleaning on Saturdays. Who wants to be cooped up inside all day long when there are more exciting things to do on a weekend? That is why in my house I have designated Thursday as our cleaning day. We do all the dusting, mopping, vacuuming, and bathrooms on Thursday evenings so we only have to do a quick pick-up on Saturday. Pick a day that works best for you!

Using too many cups?

If your house is anything like mine when I was growing up, you will find lots of cups spread across the counter. My dad would get frustrated if we put his cup in the dishwasher because he was "keeping it to use later". But, if you are like me and can't stand the clutter on the counter, here is a simple solution. Give everyone a water bottle that fits in the door of the fridge. When they are thirsty, they can get a cold drink of water without dirtying one single cup.

For the little guests

When you know your dinner guests will bringing children, set up a little table for them using plastic dinnerware. Cover the table with paper and let them use crayons to entertain themselves. They will think drawing on the table is so fun!


Don't forget to pack a 'thank-you' card in your purse or suitcase when you are out and about. There will be plenty of times when you wish you had one.

A "grape" idea

When you are taking grapes somewhere (in a lunch, picnic, etc), put a paper towel in your bag or container. It will soak up the moisture from the grapes and keep them crisp and fresh!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lucky you

Try spraying your sheets with your favorite perfume before you go to bed. It will make you feel like a million bucks! Ironing the sheets can have a similar effect.

Tea Lights

Use tea lights to set the mood for a romantic evening. The more the merrier!

Keep that camera handy

Life happens fast. So keep your camera in a busy part of the house like the family room or kitchen. That way you can capture all of those candid moments before it's too late.

Freeze those bananas

When you have extra bananas, freeze them. You can just plop the whole banana right in the freezer. When you are ready to use it for bread, muffins, or smoothies, just pull it out and let it sit in room temperature for a few hours. No need to dirty another container to freeze them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier

I already admitted that I was not a morning person. However, waking up 10 minutes earlier than usual will help you start your day off right. Especially if you have kids, giving 10-minutes to yourself before they wake up can help you get mentally prepared for the day. Use this time to do exercises, read, or just enjoy the peace and quiet.

Making exercise easier

If you are like me, I sometimes have a hard time motivating myself to exercise. Here are a few tips of how to make it easier and more enjoyable:

1. Plan out each day when you will exercise.

2. Exercise with someone else.

3. Sign up for a local race. Knowing that you have already registered may motivate you put on yours shoes and get out the door.

4. If you aren't a morning person (and believe me, I'm not) don't exercise in the morning. Pick a time when you feel your liveliest.

Daily sunshine

Summer is gone.

Fall is here to stay.

Be sure to still get 5-minutes of sunshine

to make for a better day.

Coming Soon: 2-Minute Tip

In 2 days,

2-Minute Tip
will officially begin.

What that means for you:

You will get a tip-of-the-day
in 2 minutes or less...

so you can spend your valuable time
doing the things you love.

Tell your friends and stay tuned
for common sense tips that aren't always that common.

Extra set of keys

Have an extra set of keys for your car and house in a convenient location. When you are running around with your head cut off searching for your keys, just grab the extra set and find them later. Now you'll never need to be late again because of your keys.

Buyer beware

Last Christmas, I was shopping for scotch tape to wrap some gifts. I bought some just a few days before Christmas at Wal-Mart. When I returned a few days after Christmas to return a few things, I noticed that the regular price of the scotch tape I bought had significantly dropped in price.

Beware: stores will charge more for high-demand items during peak seasons. Stock up on tape, ribbon, and wrapping paper during the off-season.

Substitute for Buttermilk

If you ever need buttermilk for a recipe and you don't have it on hand or don't want to run to the store, use vinegar.

Mix 1 Tablespoon vinegar with 1 cup milk for the correct ratio. Then use the amount called for in your recipe. This works great for buttermilk syrup-a favorite.

Keep a stash of gifts on-hand

You will never know when you will need a gift on-the-spot. You might have a wedding to attend, your kids might have a birthday party to go to, or you might be meeting with friends for a holiday get-together.

When you are out shopping at you see good deals, buy them. Keep them in a secret place (in case you need them for your own children). I prefer under the bed. Then when you need a gift, you will save yourself money, hassle and stress as you select a gift from your own collection. Even storing candy bars or little items come in very handy.

Keep a water bottle with you

Whether you are a student, a mom running errands, or a working professional, keep a water bottle with you always. Drinking water throughout the day will help you feel rejuvenated and will help curve those snack cravings. There are plenty of options out there to match your taste and preferences.

Have your photographer take pictures of details

Because there is so much happening on your wedding day, you might not get a chance to see all the details like your cake, flowers, table decorations, gift table, etc. Tell your photographer to take pictures of all of these things so that you can see them for the first time and again and again.

Eat veggies first

At mealtime, eat veggies first. This will ensure that your kids (or you) aren't too full when it comes time for carrots or cauliflower. And, it will motivate your kids to eat them if they know the main dish is coming.

Wedding dinner

Have your wedding dinner/luncheon the night before your wedding day. You will have more time to enjoy the event without being rushed to get from place-to-place.

Get up and move!

Sitting at a computer all day can be tiring. Get up out of your chair to move--even if it is just to the drinking fountain or across the hall. You will be surprised at how much this can give you an extra boost for another hour.

Taking Bridals

When you are getting your Bridals taken, take your fiancee along--tux and all. I know there is some superstition about having the groom see your dress before the big day, but it's worth it. You will have less pressure on your wedding day to get the 'perfect' pictures and you will be able to display your pictures at your luncheon, dinner, or reception.

If you don't have time to scrapbook

Have an archival-safe box for each member of your family. As soon as you get photos printed, sort them in the right box. Then when it comes time to scrapbook, they will already be organized and ready to go!

Cheap children's books

Children's books are expensive. If checking out favorite stories from your local library won't cut it, peruse through the book section at nearby thrift stores.

You can usually find popular titles for much less than you would have to pay for them at a book store. There might be a few bends or small tears, but isn't there a good chance that a brand new one might look this same way after your kids have had it for 10 minutes?

Uses for hotel toiletries

Are you like me and have a pile of random mini bars of soap and shampoo & conditioner bottles from hotel stays? Here are a few tips on how to use them up:

1. Put some in your 72-hour kit. Beauty might not be your first concern during an emergency, but you never know when having a bottle of shampoo and some soap might come in handy.

2. Use the shampoo as women's shaving gel. It's cheaper than real shaving gel and works just as well.

3. Leave them out for guests when they come to stay. There is nothing like walking into the bathroom and realizing that your host has left you a little welcome package.

Buy an extra gallon of milk

When milk is on sale, stock up. Freeze the extra gallon by removing 2 inches from the top. 2-3 days before you plan to use it, put the carton in the fridge to completely de-thaw.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cleaning the Toaster

Make sure you unplug the toaster before you start cleaning it to prevent electrocution.

Buyer Beware

When you are shopping, beware of '3 for $5', or other discounts like this. You usually don't have to buy the quantity listed to get the discount. Stores use this tactic to get you to spend more.

Check the Toilet Paper

If you know guests are coming over, make sure you have plenty of toilet paper in the bathroom. I would suggest evening putting a few extra rolls near the toilet. While you are at it, put a spray air freshener so you're guests won't be embarrassed--
wink wink :)

Cook corn-on-the-cob in 5 minutes

If you want corn-on-the-cob, but you don't have time to wait for water to boil, cook it in the microwave. It really works and tastes just as good.

1. Remove all silk, but leave husk on to cover the ear .
2. Place in microwave for 5 minutes. *For 2 pieces, cook for 7 minutes.
3. Butter and enjoy!

A new place for a calendar

Have you ever thought to put a calendar in your bathroom? It might seem strange, but you'd be surprised at how helpful it is to review your schedule during the time you spend on that porcelain throne of yours.

Use those paper bags

Ask for paper bags when you grocery shop. Not only is it more 'green' because you can recycle them, but you can use them for gift wrapping if you are on a budget. Spruce the gift up with a ribbon you have on hand or let your kids (or you) draw or write personalized messages.

Use the oven as a hiding place

If you don't have time to wash all the pots, pans, and dishes before your guests arrive, stash them in the oven! They won't have to know your little secret. Just make sure to check the oven before you preheat it or you might end up with a bigger mess!

Paper towel alternative

If you are out of paper towels, but you really need to clean those windows or mirrors, use old newspaper.

Never Shop Hungry

Don't go to the grocery store on an empty stomach or your cart might end up looking like this. You will probably end up spending more money that you had hoped, not to mention you might end up with food you know you shouldn't have bought.

Keep your clothes fresh

Keep your clothes smelling fresh by placing an unused dryer sheet in your clothes drawer.