July 26- Aug 1,2009


I have a confession. I never have a problem with piles of laundry. I never have laundry backed up. People don't believe it and ask how in the world is that possible. I'll share my secret. When we lived in a small house, we didn't have a laundry room. Just a small linen closet. It would only hold 2 tall laundry hampers(purchased at dollar general) at the bottom. I used one for towels and one for clothes. The hampers were the perfect size for one load of laundry . The washer and dryer were in the kitchen. So when I finished a load of laundry in the dryer I had to immediately fold it and put it away. There was no where else for it to go in the small house. I had no clean laundry hamper at the time, purposely. Why put it on the bed when I can takle 5 minutes to fold and put away? If I left it folded on the washer and dryer tops , then I would have nowhere to prepare dinner. So thats where I came up with my non-laundry room solution. We have since moved into a bigger home with a wonderfully spacious laundry room. But I kept the same laundry rountine. But now I have a large rectangular basket to put the clean clothes in. It sits on top of the dirty hampers. Mainly to cover the sight of the dirty clothes. Another thing that has changed since is more laundry and bigger clothes and more clothes. I'll try to list my rountine I have now.
~ start a load of laundry immediately after getting ready in the morning. (Mine starts at 5:50am or so b/c I wake early.)
~Immediatley put in dryer when cycle is finished. Remember this only takes a few minutes!
~ Then, start another load , if neccesary.
~Fold and put the clothes away before putting the next load in the dryer. I promise this only takes 5 minutes.Time yourself! 
Sometimes I have the routine down so much that I am folding laundry while I 've started another load and there is a load in the dryer. Taking the time to stop for 5-10 minutes  to fold and put away will pay off!
* think about this... you could fold and put away laundry while you :
   ~ wait for pasta to boil
   ~ listen to your child reading his "story" for homework.
   ~ waiting on commercials during your t.v. program
   ~ waiting on your computer to reboot
   ~ any activity that you  have in-between time for waiting. 
I use every opprotunity to finish folding a putting away because I know the little time I've used "now" saves BIG time "later".  Honestly this system never makes you feel like you are constantly doing laundry. 
** The older kids also have learned how to start their laundry. It's part of their chores. They also have to put it up. This is not perfect and I have to follow behind them. But at least they have learned the responsiblity. And they don't have to do it 100% of the time. 
Cloth Diapers: I use cloth diapers called Fuzzi Bunz .Wait before your jaw drops, please hear me out! I LOVE them! I wish I had used them with everyone of my kids! 
here is my  laundering system:
~As part of my before bed routine, I put the diapers from the diaper pail in the washing machine.  
~When the washing is done , I hang them up on the clothes line in have over my washer  and dryer( I have a clothes line that I can pull out and it retracks back in when i don't use it. Purhcased cheaply at Wal-mart.) It hangs right in front of shelving that i have above the w/d.
~When I'm doing laundry in the morning, I put the diapers back together and put in the diapers spot. 1-2-3 easy
**How I go from baby's bottom to pail with out the mess: WARNING! Do Not Read if you don't want to know!
When cleaning the diaper I have "Glamour Gloves" I purchased from Wal-mart in the cleaning section(you can get them anywhere). I remove the terry cloth diaper from the pocket part, lay on the rim of toilet with seats up. take the corners of the diaper messy side down and swish in toilet. When semi-clean fold the other way, sqeeze water out, put in diaper pail. wash hands.  If you can change a diaper, you can do this!

 Aug 9-15,2009

                          Back To School Traditions
It is back to school time in Tennessee!  Kids do not look forward to this time. Start traditions with your kids for the beginning of this school year. Let them be involved in choosing the tradition. Then carry out the tradition every start of the school year. Years ago we had a tradition to go camping, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing the weekend before school started. Then we had two colicky babies 17 months apart. And for respect for the fellow campers we stopped that tradition... Until this year! Here are a few other ideas for back to school traditions:
1.  School supply shop on your  states "Tax Free Weekend". Make it a big day. Ex: breakfast at favorite place, shop for school supplies, have lunch at favorite lunch spot. Or take a picnic to the park to relax and play. Then go school clothes shopping.(See frugal-tips.php for ideas to save money on clothing shopping) End the day going to see a movie, eating at favorite restaurant, eating ice cream,etc...
2. Fun and Games weekend~ Plan Saturday and Sunday full of games. Go to Putt-Putt to play golf and laser tag(In Memphis they have a $6 special, Sat 10-1), The Incredible Pizza Co, bowling, skating rink, paintball, are a few suggestions.  Frugal ideas:  backyard games~Make a net and play badmitten and volleyball, frisbee, a  family baseball game, make a washers game, bean bag toss, fishing in small blow up pool,etc... 
3. Backyard carnival: We did this for one of our sons birthdays. Invite school friends or just do this with your family. Set up carnival games. Ring toss(over bottles), fishing(with kiddie pool and fish and magnets on strings), bean bag toss, darts, ballon pop board, Dunk tank(in your pool), penny drop (put baby food jars in fish bowl-fill with water-try to drop the penny in a jar), three-legged race, sack races. Serve carnival food. Nachos, corndogs, hotdogs, popcorn, cotton candy.
4. Camping: Pick a camping area with lots of activities. Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, paddle boats, swimming, water skiing, hiking. 
5. Drive-In: Go to a drive in. To make it cheaper take your own food: popcorn, corndogs, nachos, cokes. Don't forget to take bug repellant or candle! Blankets, pillows, chairs.
6. One last vacation: Go on a weekend trip or day trip to nearby attraction. Amusement park, museum, historic site, beach,etc...

Aug 12,2009
I love this lady and she is an inspiration to stay fit, no matter how many children you have. Check out her website.

Ten kids, Ten Back-to-School Supplies, Lists, Sports and Paperwork 
Tips for college, high school, grade and pre-school prep for mom and kids

Three off to college this year!
  • Find out the dimensions of the room so you can sketch out and plan what they can actually take with them.
  • Have your child communicate with their roommate to find out what they are bringing to help share the space.
  • Use the school's list to get you started on what to bring. If you can't find it online, call the admissions or student housing office.
  • For me, bedding is a big piece of making their dorm room feel like home. I get new sheets and purchase extra padding to make it extra soft.
  • If you have kids in college and returning, they need to get their items out of storage and packed back up.
High School
Three of the kids are back to school, back to sports; get ready!
  • Get their list of books and get them working on trading, buying or selling from others who've taken the class.
  • Ransack the closet. Try on clothes, hand down items that don't fit, test out the shoes to make sure they fit and have proper support.
  • If you have uniforms, get it all set to go. Snag hand-me-downs from a friend.
  • Get schedules drawn out on a white board or public location for the entire family to see the practices, games, special events, etc.
Grade School
Three have been keeping sharp all summer
  • It's best to not take the full summer off from school. Yes, take the break from the classroom, but keep your grade school kids engaged with summer reading, math worksheets and activities that keep skills sharpened up.
  • School supply lists from teachers are important at this age. Find out what you already have, what you need to get and get organized by putting items straight into the backpack.
  • Label their things with their name. 
  • Start changing sleeping habits from summer mode (late nights) to school mode (earlier nights, earlier mornings).

Our little one needs time to adjust from family to school
  • Take your littlest ones on a tour of the pre-school. Help them get excited about their teacher and classroom before the first day.
  • Set-up playdates with friends that will be going with them to get them reaquainted after a summer off.
  • After a summer with family, they need time to reconnect with what it means to be in school. For our little one, he misses the activity of having all the other nine around him. It's a big adjustment.

More tips on shaping up your body, your life, your home at http://www.shapeupmom.com
Aug 19,2009
   Back to School Organization
Your kids have or will be going back to school soon. Here are a few tips to organized their time, papers, and more.
1. Scheduling:
Sit down with your child and go over their activites. Type out a schedule  and routine of their daily events.
Here is an example of my elementary kids routine: 
6:45~ Wake- make bed - morning chores
7:00~ Breakfast - gather things for school
7:25~ Bus
3:15~ home from school- after school snack
3:30~ homework
4:00-5:00 free time
5:00~ feed animals
5:30-6:00~ Dinner
6:30-7:45~ free time*
7:45~ shower, brush teeth,  reading time (chapter of BIble and a chapter book)
8:30~ Prayers and lights out
* This is also our time for soccer on our soccer nights
This is printed out and laminated for them so they can easily find out what to do next.

Also, type out a schedule of their activities with this. Soccer, gymnastics, baseball, basketball, clubs,etc...

2 Calendar and Corkboard
Hang a corkboard above their bed or anywhere in their rooms. Give them their own calendar and have them write down their activites for the month. Use the cork board to pin up spelling words, school newsltters, class newsletters,etc...

3. School Paper Organization
There are many ways to organize papers. You just have to find the best way for you. Here are a few ways:
  • Stackable trays- Label two for each child for "Papers to file"  and "Return to school".
  • Boxes(plastic shoe boxes or baskets)- Put extra notebook paper, pencils, etc in the box. Also keep the childs weekly papers in a folder in the box.
  • Bulldog magnetic clip or folder for  fridge- in the stationary department of Wal-Mart, there is a magnetic folder for the fridge. It is white and the front half is cut out. You can easily tuck the child weekly school papers, spelling words,etc... in the folder. Remove papers each week and put into the child's file.
  • Filing System- Purchase a filing tote for each child. Label each section for each school year. Put important papers, art work, report cards, memorable papers in the file. They can take this with them when the leave home. 
  • Rolling Drawer Cart- Label each drawer for each child. Use a larger cart to have drawers for school supplies,too. Organize like supplies together. 
  • School Bookshelf- Label a shelf per child. Use baskets, trays, shoe boxes; and organize like mentioned above.
  • Binder Organizers-(not the School Organizer for yourself. This is for the child) One per child. Use tab dividers for sections. Or use pocket folders that can be put in a binder. Label folders/dividers for "Papers to be signed", "Papers to be returned to school", "Weekly Class newsletter", "School newsletter", Special Events", etc...