Later this week is national clean out your refrigerator day. So you know what that means…
Empty the containers that are way in the back.
Toss out the takeout from 3 weeks ago. (You will thank me later.)
Do you have an almost empty bottle of mayo or Catalina dressing? Do you even like Catalina dressing? No? Well, why are you keeping the ½ ounce that is at the bottom of that bottle?
Do you have a beer that you have been saving for the Astro’s to win the world series? They did and that beer may not be as satisfying as the last game was. Ditto for any other expired food you have in there. Let it go.
Besides if you live in the USA, Thanksgiving is coming. You need room for all the food. The dressing, pumpkin pie and the turkey, oh my. You must make room for the goodies.
Now that you have tossed the science experiments that were growing in your refrigerator it’s time to clean all the shelves, wash the crisper drawers. Don’t forget to vacuum condenser coils and vacuum out under the refrigerator.
Again you are welcome! Now enjoy your nice clean refrigerator.
So do you have a budget? Do you know when you power bill is due? Does your significant other?
Yes ~no~ maybe? While for many couples money is a point of contention. Each of you needs to know what is going on with and where your money is going. You both need to know how to access to your online accounts and at the very least how much money is coming in and going out.
Are you one paycheck away from disaster? If you are then you need to put the brakes on and talk to someone.
There are so many ways to dig you out of a hole. Such as cut up your credit cards, use cash, use the envelope system, Dave Ramsey’s, Suze Orman, or any number of other systems that are out there. They are easy to find. I am sure you can find one that you can work with. There is even the suggestion to keep only one credit card but freeze it in a freezer bowl of water for EMERGENCIES. That way you have to thaw the card and by having it frozen limits your access. It’s really not a good idea microwave your credit card.
Everyone needs an emergency fund.
Note new shoes or a new outfit, going out to dinner or big TV is not an emergency.
An emergency is tires for your vehicle, car repair, hospital or dental emergency, job loss or home repair.
Have you thought about how you might buy a house?
Are you are looking for a house, will you buy in the city or country? How long will your commute be? Are you willing to do that? Do you have money for a down payment? Can you handle the mortgage payment, insurance, taxes and maintenance? When you become the homeowner you also become the super. Oh no the hot water is out? That is your problem. Leak in the roof. Yep ~ that repair is on you. By the way these repairs are not covered by your standard homeowners insurance. You can purchase a separate home warranty plan that will cover some of these repairs.
So maybe you are in the market for a new vehicle. Can you tell me how much your car insurance is?
If you are in the market for a new car would you check to see how much your insurance will cost on the new vehicle before you purchase it? Did you know that your automobile insurance does NOT cover repairs unless it was as the result of an accident? Not because you didn’t check the oil and you blew up the engine or your drivetrain just wore out. WHAT THE WHAT.
Yes ~ this is why you need an emergency fund.
Do you have children? Are you making a college savings plan? Do you want it help your kids go to college or do you think that if they do it all themselves they will be more serious? But can they? Have you thought of this before?
Have you got a plan for retirement? Do you have a date you would like to retire? Do you know the earlier you start saving for this the less money you have to put in? Right AMAZING. If you have not started saving, now is a good time.
If you do have a retirement date in mind will you be debt free on that date? If you have less money coming in you need less money going out.
What about where will you live? Does your house allow you to age in place? Is there are bedroom and bathroom on the main floor? Stairs are not your friend when you get older. Your knees will thank you.
Do you have a will? Even if you are young you need a will. If you are young parents you need this more than ever. You want to provide for your children. Who will become their guardian?
Are you single? Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care? Lets say you are in an accident, you have a life threating injury and unable to communicate? Who speaks on your behalf? Who are they going to call?
Advanced Directive? Is a written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, made to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor.
No financial or legal advice is being give here. I only want to make you think. Organize your finances and get your financial plan started. Take advantage of National Financial Planning Month.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” ~ Benjamin Franklin
So do you have a plan? I love you comments. Please share this with your friends and family.
Hello, Anyone who has been here before knows that I am all about controlling your chaos, organizing your life and corralling your clutter. Clutter is a time thief. If you can’t find what you need you spend valuable time searching. You look under the bed, in the car or between the couch cushions. Sometimes you give up and buy a new whatever was lost. That is a budget buster. You know you bought the funniest birthday card for your sister months ago now her birthday is in a week and you can’t find it.What do you do? You know what you are going to do. You buy a new card. Then the week after her birthday you find the first one. But you can’t send it to anyone else because it says To my Sister for her 30th Birthday…. ARGH!!
You know you need to put some order in your life. But you are overwhelmed? Where to start? I am here to help. You can look back at some of my prior posts to give you an idea.
It does not matter where you start. The first step is to begin. The thing that you lose all the time is a good place to start. If that is keys. Determine a set place for them. Put them there every single time. Without fail.
If it is that your kids can’t seem to get their school stuff together in the morning before school. You have a nightmarish morning trying to like trying to herd cats. Set up a system. Backpacks in a designated spot, homework checked before they go to bed, determine what everyone is wearing the night before and you will eliminate much of the morning chaos. You might actually enjoy breakfast with your kids.
Maybe you plan on making dinner but what to make? What do you have? What do you need? Organize your pantry. That way you will know what you have and if you keep a running shopping list you will not run out of ketchup, butter or sugar. When you open the last of something put it on the shopping list. If you keep this list on your cell phone it will always be with you. You can then make a plan the night before as to what you are making for dinner. You will know what you have and what you need to get.
You can get organized. I am here to help you bring order to your life. Where do you find are your biggest clutter areas? What do you frequently lose?
Binders can be your best buddy to get you organized.
You need a binder for your life if you don’t do file folders then a binder may work better for you.
Today we have a reminder of how an ordinary day can become an emergency. Watching the news and seeing how devastating Harvey has been to Houston makes me realize how important a binder is. So this is a good opportunity to revisit the subject.
Living in Oklahoma as you know is tornado alley. Every spring we would have the threat of severe weather. So when you think there is the very real possibility your home could be wiped off of the map or at the least have parts and pieces end up in Kansas you develop a special set of skills. One of the skills is you have things you know you need to grab on the way out the door.
We lived in Oklahoma on May 3, 1999, when an F5 tornado smashed into and through my neighborhood. Our weatherman said, “People in the path of this storm need to get underground or get out-of-town.”
Since we didn’t have an underground shelter. So we got out-of-town. We were rushing through the house grabbing stuff, our insurance information, homeowner’s policy, health insurance, car insurance, identification papers and even a list of phone numbers. Also, we had just purchased a new vehicle and had yet to notify our insurance agent of this new purchase so some information about our vehicle wasn’t a bad idea. This would have been so much easier and less chaotic if we had a binder.
Well fortunately for us our house was still standing. Our trees and fence were another story and we never did find the owner of a patio chair that blew into our yard.
After that experience, we created a home binder.
Home Binder –
It has copies of our deed to our home and our insurance policies. Each time we make a major purchase we document the purchase; warranty dates then add the warranty and receipt to our home binder. At one time I kept the manuals but now all this is readily available on the Internet. So I can’t find a reason why should I keep them. We do keep a list of maintenance, repairs, and upgrades we have made to our house. This information is helpful for you are selling your home and you have to make the necessary disclosures.
Important Paper Binder –
We have a binder for our important papers. This binder stays in a fireproof box.
For us, important papers are birth certificates, marriage license, passports, social security card, wills and trust documents other licenses and certificates. Additionally, we have a DVD of the inside of our home. (This is very helpful if you have to replace your contents.)
Home Management Binder –
This could be called the ICE or Mom Manual. It will have flyers from your kid’s sports, school events, schedules, and newsletters. Also, it will have an emergency contact sheet. This binder will have school, teacher, baby sitter or daycare provider contact info. Passwords can also be stored in this binder. You can add pages to include your budget and bill payment schedule.
I know some families use a binder for their kids’ artwork and school papers. Every child gets a binder. Papers you want to keep are 3-hole punched and placed in the binder immediately. Then at the end of the year, you can scan the ones you want to preserve forever.
There are lots of templates online for pages of anything else you might want or need to have.
The purpose of the binder is to put everything all together and easily accessible. I look forward to hearing about your binders, how they simply and organize your life.
The time to create a home binder is before you have an emergency situation.
Now that back to school supplies are everywhere. It’s the perfect time to pick up and create a homework box. It could be a tote, box, basket, or crate. The purpose is to have everything your kids need to do their homework all in one spot.
Add things like pencils, a pencil sharpener, erasers, crayons or colored pencils, markers, calculator, index cards, tape, ruler, paper, highlighter and post it notes. You might even add a timer. Your kids will have everything they need, will not spend time looking for and putting off doing their homework.
While you are at it you might as well set up an after school snack zone. Fill it with Mom approved snacks your kids can grab when they get home and are starving.
A shoe organizer with pockets is a great way to set up a snack zone. You can hang it on the back of your pantry door. By placing Mom approved snacks in the zone your child can reach. Older kids snacks can be placed in the higher pockets.
Next have a discussion with your children about homework expectations.
When they are to do homework? Do they get a certain amount of playtime are there scheduled breaks. This is where the timer will come in handy. You know how long you kid can work before they need to blow off some energy.
Snack before starting homework or after? If you are giving them a sugar snack you know they are most likely going to need to burn off the sugar energy. When did they have lunch? My husband is a little bit crabby when he is hungry and he is a little bit hungry all the time. ❤ So, I always have snacks and you know a hungry person can be a cranky person.
Where are they to do their homework? Chose a place with minimal distractions. (Like TV and toys.)
Where is the homework box kept? Remind them that if they use the last of anything to let you know so it can be replaced. Don’t forget when you open the last package is a great time to add it to the running shopping list.
After the homework is completed where should your child put it for Mom or Dad to check it? I’m going to suggest you have them put it in a folder in their backpack. Once you have checked their homework they can return their backpack to the designated spot you have near the door.
If you would like to have a homework routine checklist
a whimsical life has a great one. A Whimsical Life Homework Routine Remember if your children know what is expected and they know they have a checklist there should be less nagging.
So are you excited that the kids are going back to school or are you sad?
Have a great day!
If you like what I have to say feel free to re-blog. Help yourself, help me and help others.
Do you find that you are buying a treat every time you take your kids to the grocery store or Target? Do you feel like you have to bribe them with a new toy just for a bit of cooperation?
So what happens to that new toy? Is it a cheap something that breaks the second time they play with it? Or a sweet treat?
Try this: Reward you kids with things they want to do rather than things they want to get. You will be teaching them to value experiences or things. Bonus your house, car, and purse will not be overrun with the crap they really don’t want or need.
Clutter control in disguise. Not only will your wallet thank you, your kids will too.
Look around? Do you see coffee mugs on the table, your desk, or dishes on the counter? How about are you using your treadmill as an extra valet? Do you want an easy tip to cut that clutter out?
You need to implement the one touch rule.
What is the one touch rule?
Easy. If you have something in your hand ~ take it where it belongs. Don’t put it down.
We recently talked about laundry. Fold it when you take it out of the dryer and put it away. How about when you and come home from work or school and you change clothes? Hang them up or put them in the laundry basket. Don’t throw them on the bed or your exercise equipment. Touch them one time. If you toss them on the bed you have to come back a second time and put them away.
Let’s talk about dishes. Don’t leave them sitting around. Don’t put them in the sink, immediately put them in the dishwasher.
Who is guilty of leaving an unfinished craft project on the table? How about ingredients all over the kitchen when cooking or baking?
When you use something ~ put it back. Touch it one time.
This applies to your entire family. Kids too.
The Parent Coach, Susan Stiffelman at the Huffington Post suggests the following:
“Establish that no new toys can be taken out until whatever has been played with has been put away. Kindly remind your daughter if she forgets. And by all means, do not clean up her messes. If you cave in and do the job for her, you will have taught her that if she whines or procrastinates long enough, she won’t have to take responsibility. Acknowledge that you understand that she’d rather not put away her paints, or that it looks like it will take forever. By letting her feel heard and understood, you’ll ensure that her upset will dissolve more quickly — and help her accept that she simply has to get the job done.”
Start by resetting the rules. Explain to your kids that you’ve made some new decisions about cleaning up, and you want to share them so that everyone knows what to expect. “When you’re finished playing with something, it’s important that you put it away completely before you move on to something else. If you forget, I’ll remind you once. If you still forget, that particular toy will go in a special box for a month.” Some parents tell their children that toys that are left out will be given away. Decide how harsh you want to be — but make sure that you follow through. If you deliver meaningless threats in the heat of the moment, your child won’t take you seriously.
Break a big job down into bite-sized steps. Help your children work in manageable increments if they have a lot to clean up. “Start by putting away anything with red on it … or anything made of plastic … or whatever is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.” This will help them learn that, little by little, they can get a big job done — whether it’s cleaning up a physical mess, working on a complex report or organizing a research project.”
This is one of my favorite blog posts. So I am sharing it with you again. Enjoy and GO on VACATION!.
Should I stay or should I go was never a question in my family. The answer was always let’s go
I was reading comments on vacation memories and got to thinking about my own.
Our family motto is, “it was not a vacation until someone had a flat tire or ran out of gas”. I got to thinking about all the prior vacations. The memories ran from shortcuts that were not, in fact, shorter but may have involved some very narrow roads that may not have had guard rails that went on for miles with no place to turn around. Praying that you did not meet another vehicle since we were pulling an RV.
My granddad loved Colorado and we went there many times. I have traveled by vehicle all over the United States and parts of Canada with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and my husband. We have stayed in tents, a Scotty tiny trailer, fully functional RVs, hotels, and cabins.
I have seen lots of wild animals from bears, moose, and elk, to little ground squirrels. 45 years ago we fed a bear chewing gum one time. DO NOT DO THIS.
I have seen a rogue bear who he thought he could share a tent. The owners of the tent were willing to let him because who’s going to stop him.
We always went to the ranger talks. We learned about the parks we were visiting and heard some great stories. The walk back to the camp was amazing. No lights except for the stars and flashlights. If you have the opportunity to do this, do it. Take the time and take your kids.
I can’t tell you how many flat tires or times someone ran out of gas. Someone in my family has this thing about wanting to see how many miles they can get out of a tank of gas. There have been many other calamities such as the time the truck caught on fire – That was a bit too exciting! Then there was the time the mini-bike fell off the back of the RV. My uncle was following us and I think he had to change his pants after that experience. Of course, this is the same uncle whose short cuts were not shorter.
Of course, my parents will never forget the time they left me in South Dakota, which was 754 miles from home. First, you have to understand it was way before cell phones and there were 5 vehicles all traveling together. I was prone to ride with almost anyone of the 5. So it was just a matter of miscalculation on all our parts. I can tell you that now to this day. When I get out of the car to go to the restroom…I have the keys.
It was an adventure for me. Hours later when my parents stopped for the night and set up camp they discovered there was one less kid with them… Huh? What took hours to drive earlier did not take anywhere near as long back. I was fine. My parents got a few gray hair that day. But never the less vacation continued on as planned. It was an amazing time.
My cousin’s birthday was always celebrated while on vacation. One year we couldn’t find a cake so she got a cookie with pine needles candles on it. She still talks about her birthday cookie.
My husband and I took a trip with my parents to Yellowstone a few years ago. There was a forest fire blocking our way back to the DNR Dude ranch (yes, that was the name) where we were staying. So we had to take a detour of 163 miles. We almost out of gas but we saw the most amazing sunset I had ever seen. All I am saying is sometimes the detour brings a wonderful surprise just around the bend.
If you are on the fence about taking a vacation let me say, GO! They are your vacation days. Take them. Spend time with your family. Unplug and go. There are only so many summers when your kids will be little. They are growing up and you need to make memories.
So go make memories. Good or bad they will be the things you will talk about for years and years to come.
Heck, maybe one of your kids will write about it someday.
Wow, can you believe July is almost half over! Schools will be starting before you know it. For Mom, this is great news!!! Mom control yourself. For the kiddo’s not so great news. Am I right?
Summer is the time for relaxed rules and lots of fun. But with only weeks until school starts for many of you. Now is a good time to start some new habits. Did you know it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit?
So let’s talk about what you can do now to be ready for the 1st day of school.
Right now is a good time to buy summer clothes. Since school starts so early you may be sending your kids to school in summer clothes until it cools off. Why not take advantage of the summer sales now. This will allow you to spread out your shopping and give your pocketbook a little breather.
Before you shopping, you need to know about the school’s dress code. Do they allow printed words on clothes, tank top or saggy/baggy pants? Also, before you shop you should go through your child’s closet. What still fits and what have they outgrown? This is a good time to empty their drawers and clean out their closet. It will make getting ready easier you get rid of the stuff that no longer fits or is worn out.
Do you have the right paperwork for your kids to start school? Now is a good time to gather your papers. Immunization records, birth certificates, report cards from prior school or proof of medical examination for your athlete. Preparing now will prevent a mad search or frantic last-minute trips at the deadline.
Talk to your kids to see what their expectations are? Do they want to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities? How much time are you going to be spending on evening and weekends?
Have you arranged for after school care? Make sure your child knows what the plan is and where they will be going.
Speaking of going. How are they getting to school? Do they know they way? Is there a bus or a new schedule? Are they walking? If you are driving them do you have a backup in place? If they are going to a new school a trial run a few days before will ease everyone’s minds. Trust me now it a better time to figure this out rather than the first day of school.
Let’s think about a routine
Time to start everyone on the back to school path.
Meal times, morning and bedtime will shift so if you start early and slowly implement those changes easier. Start creating good habits now. Mornings are going to get crazy – trying to get everyone up, dressed, fed breakfast, lunches packed, dinner planned and out the door…
Setting an evening routine will make your morning better.
The night before:
Determine what clothes everyone is going to wear the next day and lay out kid’s clothing.
If possible pack lunches and have a dinner plan. Do you want you your kids to make their own lunch? Well if that is the case. Let’s set up a zone with lunch items in an easy to reach kid friendly space.
Check their backpacks for homework, projects or library books. Make sure sports bags or musical instruments are ready to go.
Don’t forget your own stuff. Know where your keys, bag, and papers are that you will need for your day too.
It’s a great idea to have everything in a designated place easy to access as you walk out the door.
Keep it positive. Your kids may not be as excited as you are to return to school. Get them excited to see old friends or make new. You might want to make posters counting down the days. Plus make the back to school shopping trip a fun event. Let them pick out a few things. When the first day arrives.
Get up early, keep an excited attitude, make a good breakfast, take photos and let the kids chose where to go out to dinner.
What is your back to school tips?
Does this sound familiar? It is Thursday 5:10 and you just go off of work and you have to stop by the grocery store or your family will be eating out again. Your budget and summer body can’t handle that. But the temperature sign on the corner bank is flashing 105 degrees. (that is s cool summer day in Arizona) Your car has been baking in the sun for 9 hours and now 15 minutes of blasting the AC did not really cool it down.
You jump out and rush into the store. Hold on for a minute.
Think about a few things before you load up the cart with meat, dairy, and frozen foods. Sure your boxed foods and staples will be fine in the car but it’s not a good situation.
You know it is hot in your car. But did you think about the fact being that extremely hot temperatures make your car an unsafe environment for your food?
You can do a few things to protect yourself and your family.
Run any errands you have to before you go grocery shopping. No stops after.
If you know your ice cream will not make it home don’t buy it. Also chocolate. Of course, if you have to eat it before you get home…no judging here. You gotta do what your gotta do.
Shop smarter – first load up your staples, then your frozen, next meat and dairy. That way they will be colder since they will be the last items you pick up at the store.
Keep a cooler in your car. But if it is hot in the car the cooler is a portable oven. Take it into the store with you.
Buy ice or some stores sell ice packs or frozen water.
Take your perishable stuff in first. Sodas and pasta can wait until you have in the meat, dairy and frozen food in the house.
Put all your food in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your food safe for your family this summer.