Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I have found a neat little secret that I want to share with you today.


It's a FREE Yahoo group you join. You then post and receive offers for FREE stuff via email. You can get daily emails, weekly, or choose to see the offers at the Freecycle website only. It's your decision. 

I get daily emails with things that are posted that folks are trying to get rid of (posted as OFFERS) and have also posted things I want (posted as WANTED).

Freecycle is an online community where you exchange things without any money changing hands. Usually the GIVER decides who to GIVE to, kind of on a first come first serve basis.

TIP: When I respond to an offer for a lareg item like a chair, piano or couch, I ask for a photo of that item to be emailed or texted to me first.

We responded to a loveseat someone was getting rid of and ended up with a free loveseat. All we had to do was pick it up that day.

I have given away a free Little Tykes kitchen playset and a Rubbermaid slide we had outgrown.

TIP: Look at the distance you need to drive for the pick up as well as the GIVER's pick up requirements (sometimes same day) before you respond to the offer.

You join the FREECYCLE group in your area as the "stuff" must be picked up. I am a member of the Akron, Ohio freecycle group.

You can find the regional group nearest you by clicking here.

So come, on. What are you waiting for? GET FREECYCLING!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tips for Tuesday-3 Ways to Celebrate Easter

1. PLAY GAMES - Nothing makes Easter more fun than simply being with your family. But kids can get bored. So, plan ahead by having these games ready to go for Easter Sunday. Print these family fun board games for FREE and play with your kiddos. Don't Eat Peter (Directions here.) or Easter Bingo. (Directions here)

2. WATCH THE SUNRISE- If getting up before dawn is not possible, you can watch the sunrise anywhere on Earth on the Discovery Channel through  http://www.googleearth.com/. Click here and follow the simple directions.

3. COLOR COAT YOUR HUNT - Host a color coated Easter egg hunt. Each child is assigned one color of egg to hunt for, eliminating fussing and arguing among your kiddos. If you run out of colors, you can implement sizes and designs (like polka dot eggs or large yellow vs small yellow).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tips for Tuesday- 5 Ways to Exercise Throughout Your Day

I struggle with fitting in my exercise routine each day. I just plain stink at it. And then I get discouraged and do nothing. But there is a better way. You can get the same results by simply breaking up your exercise into small bite-sized pieces (punn intended) throughout your day. Try these 5 exercises.

5 Ways to Exercise Throughout Your Day

1. DVD IT - Do 15 minutes of your favorite exercise DVD in the morning before your shower. Set a timer and stop the DVD after 15 minutes, not slowing your morning routine down at all.

2. STAIR IT - Walk up and down your stairs at home or at work for 15 minutes during your lunch break.

3. WALK IT - Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk to work. Or walk briskly for 15 minutes during your lunch hour or when you get home from work.

4. RUN IT - Jog on your treadmill or in your neighborhood after work for 15 minutes. That's like 4 songs on your MP3 player.

5. JUMP IT - Jump rope or simply jump up and down for 15 minutes, bending your knees and breathing deeply.

By simply adding 3 of the following bite-sized exercises to yoru day will add 45 minutes of daily exercise, burning calories and losing weight.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tips for Tuesday - Spring Cleaning Tips

10 Spring Cleaning Tips

1. LIST IT - Make a wish list of everything you want to clean for spring cleaning. Then rank items from most important to least. That way you can check them off as you accomplish each task.

2. LITTLE BY LITTLE - Work on one task each day. Make them small enough to accomplish in one hour or less. Take 3-4 weeks to complete you tasks.

3. TOP DOWN- When you dust, start at the top and work down.

4. AS YOU GO - Clean as you go! Throughout each day, just clean a little more as you go through your day.
5. SODA IT - If you sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and leave it there overnight, it will absorb the odors. In the morning, vacuum it up.
6. SOCK IT - Use those old, mismatched gym socks as mitts for dusting and cleaning. The won't slip off and will make dusting and wiping a breeze. And your nails won't get damaged.

7. WASH IT - All those small knick knacks that are difficult to dust can be washed in mild soapy water and left to air dry on a towel.

8. HEEL MARKS - Use a pencil eraser to remove heel marks on your floor.

9. BE PATIENT - If you let cleaners set for a few moments, you won't need to wipe and scrub as hard. So be patient and wait...

10. GET HELP - Ask a girlfriend to swap cleaning days with you. You go help her clean her house one day, and she can come help you anoetrh day. Working with a friend will make the time go fast and be more fun. You can gab as you go...

MORE great spring cleaning tips are here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


6 Cookie Baking Tips

After school cookies, warm out of the oven. What could be better? Not much.

Here are some top cookie baking tips to make it simpler.

6 Cookie Baking Tips

1. USE PARCHMENT - This is something I learned while working for my friend's company, PEAK. We baked a lot of cookies for our clients. Parchment paper is inexpensive and can be used and reused over and over again. It makes the cookies bake evenly and no sticking whatsoever. Find it in your baking isle in roles.

2. UN-SALT - Always use unsalted butter. It makes the cookies bake better and have a better consistency.

3. FREEZE DOUGH - Make cookie dough in bulk and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet and place in freezer. Once frozen, you can toss the cookie dough balls into Ziploc freezer bags. When you want fresh baked cookies, simply pull out some cookie dough balls and bake them fresh. YUM! Saves money over prepared cookie dough as well.

4. COOL PANS - Allow cookie sheets to cool between batches. Cool cookie sheets allows the dough to bake properly and not spread too thin.

5. UNDER MIX - Do not over mix your cookie dough. It is better to just under mix the dough. Over mixing encourages gluten development, resulting in dense and tough cookies.

6. BAKERY TYPE - To make bakery sized cookies that are perfectly round, try placing cookie dough inside an empty frozen orange juice can. Refrigerate overnight. Then, use a can opener to remove the bottom lid, and press the dough through (like a push up pop) an inch at a time and slice perfectly round cookie dough to bake.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


5 Tips to Tame The Kids Chaos

1. CHART IT - Print a sticker chart to mark successes, like making your bed, finishing your homework, or not fighting with your sister. I have made some of my own, and found some great websites where you can print some for free. Here are some free printable charts:FREE Printable Charts or Preschooler Chore Chart

2. AUCTION IT - Have a family auction weekly or monthly. Kids can earn tickets by completing tasks, homework, keeping a positive attitude, getting along with their siblings. Whatever you decide. Purchase a large roll of tickets at Staples, and when they earn a ticket, tear one off and write their name on the back. They toss it in a sealed bucket. When you have the auction, dump out the bucket and divide the tickets accordingly to their owners. Then auction off some prizes, like toys from the dollar store, coupons for TV or computer time, or a get out of making your bed card.

3. MARBLE JAR IT- I did this for a number of years. Get 2 jars and fill each halfway with marbles or pretty stones. Label one jar the HAPPY JAR and one the SAD JAR. This is a FAMILY WIDE reward, not individual. When your child does something good, ask them to take a marble out of the sad jar and put it in the happy jar, and vice versa. When the happy jar is full, decide on a family wide reward, like going to a science museum or out to dinner.

4. PRAY IT - Make faith and prayer fun in your house. Use these fun family time prayers you sing to at meal time, and watch your kids absorb your faith from the inside out.

5. DEVOTIONS AND DESSERT - Have weekly family devotions and dessert. Pick one night that you are all home, make a tasty dessert, and as you enjoy the treat, read a fun family devotion. The kids will love the sweet treat, and will sit still, and you can all grow together in your faith. One fantastic family devotion we have used is Gather Round the Dinner Fable by Steven James.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



1. SLICING CAKE - At your next birthday party, try using dental floss to slice the cake in perfect squares. Cut a strand of floss longer than the cake is wide, hold it with 2 hands, and pull it down through the cake. You will get a perfect slice every time.

2. LEMONS - Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and double the juice you get before squeezing.

3. GARLIC - Microwave garlic cloves for 15 seconds and the skins slip right off.

4. HARD BOILED EGGS - When slicing a hard boiled egg, try applying a bit of cooking spray to the edge of the knife. It will slice cleanly.

5. CORN ON THE COBB - To remove all the silk strings after you husk corn on the cob, take a dampened paper towel or terry cloth and brush downward, and voila.

6. OPENING JARS - Tough opening a tight jar? Try using latex dish washing gloves. They give a on-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

7. FLUFFY MASHED POTATOES - To make lighter and fluffier mashed potatoes, add a pinch or two of baking powder to the potatoes before whipping.

8. CUT CALORIES - Prepare muffins and quick breads with less saturated fat and fewer calories. Use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2 cup butter, lard, shortening or oil or substitute one cup of applesauce per one cup of these fats.

9. PREPARE CAKE PANS - When making boxed cakes, reserve about 2 teaspoons of the powdered mix before blending. After you grease the baking pan, sprinkle the reserved mix into the pan.

10. NON-STICKING DOUGH - When making yeast bread dough use nonstick cooking spray on the inside of the bowl that you will be using to raise the bread in. Once the dough ball has been placed in the bowl, spray the top of the dough itself. By doing this your bread will not be rising in a puddle of oil.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


7 Tips to Combat Cabin Fever

Well, we are on day5 of being snowed in, and that is on top of 3 previous snow days last week. It is taking a toll on us, and I am feeling down in the dumps with a bit of cabin fever.

Winter is not yet over, and so I wanted to share the BEST tips to help fight your own cabin fever this winter.

Let it snow..let it snow..with these GET-A-GRIP tips, I can survive anything!


1. DIFFERENT - Do something different. If you have always played cards and board games when you are snowed in, try making a craft with your kids, or coloring or painting. You can even put down a felt backed, plastic table cloth on your kitchen table, and spread a can of shaving cream on top, and create finger art with the shaving cream. Kids love that and your house will smell amazing!

2. BAKE - I am a big fan of baking something sweet lifting my spirits. Make cookies or brownies, or look online for a new recipe to try together. (http://www.allrecipes.com/ is a great place to start)

3. GET OUT - Yes, its cold and wet and the snow is knee deep. But bundle up and go for a walk. Even a brief walk outside will help your blood pump and help lift your mood.

4. GAMES - Play cards, board games, or ping pong. But make it structured. Have a one hour tournament with your family and see how many games of speed or golf you can get in. Pull out your scrabble board and see who can be the scrabble champ!

5. READ - Nothing like losing yourself in a good book. There is probably one on your night stand right now you can dive into.

6. CREATE - Make something new. I started crocheting a blanket and, believe it or not, ran out of yarn. (That's what being snowed in 5 days will do to you.) Make jewelry, string beads for necklaces or pull out those scrapbooks and get them caught up.

7. NAP - Take a guilt free mid afternoon nap...Ahhh....enjoy the hours you have to relax.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


10 Valentine's Day Tips

Love comes from God, and Valentine's Day is the perfect day to show the ones we love what they mean to us.
5 Valentine's Day Tips for Your Kids

1. Heart Shaped Pancakes- For breakfast you can make heart shaped pancakes. Simply put your pancake batter into a recycled squeeze bottle (like an empty pancake syrup bottle or an empty Hershey syrup bottle). On your coated skillet, squeeze the batter in a v-shape. As the pancake cooks, it will for a perfect heart shaped pancake! (You can even add red food coloring to the batter and make the pancakes pink or red!)

2. Scavenger Hunt - Write up 5-10 clues of things you have hidden for your children to find on a fun Valentine's Day scavenger hunt. Hide everything while they are at school, and when they get home, they get to hunt away. Gifts can be simple things like a candy bar, new hair ribbon, matchbox car or a pack of gum.

3. Love Coupons - Hand write or print out love coupon books to give to your children. Give each child 5-10 coupons each, customized to their likes and hobbies. For my son, I have a coupon for a sleepover so he can choose a weekend to invite a friend over. For my 7 year old daughter, a coupon for an extra 3o minutes of Wii play time past her usual bedtime. My teens, I have a coupon for one week off of cleaning their rooms. Get creative and make them unique.

4. Text It - If you have teenagers, text message or email them a sweet love message from you. Tell them in writing how much you love them and how proud you are of them. Believe it or not, they need to hear that, and they will treasure it, even if they roll their eyes.

5. Sweet Stuff First - Eat supper backwards starting with a sweet Valentine's Day dessert, ending with the main course. Your kids will have fun "breaking" the rules. Try this
Chocolate Truffle Cookie or this Hot Fudge Ice Cream Bar Dessert.

5 Romantic Valentine's Day Tips for Your Sweetheart

1. Breakfast in Bed - Make your sweetheart breakfast in bed. Get up early, and bring him his favorite breakfast in bed.

2. 10 Sweet Compliments - Throughout the day, pay your spouse 10 specific sweet compliments. Don;t tell him what your plan is, just start showering him with your sweet words of love.

3. Dress Up - Surprise your husband by getting all dressed up for supper at home. Get that little black dress out from the back of the closet, put the kids to bed early, and prepare a romantic candlelight dinner for 2. The key is dressing up as if you are going out and staying in anyway.

4. ABC's - Make a list with each letter of the alphabet. For each letter, write down something sweet about your husband. I love you because: A - Adorable - You are adorable; B-Believe-You believe in me; C-Care - You show me tender care...etc...

5. Love Note Trail - Leave love notes for your husband that he can find throughout his day. Put one on his bathroom mirror before you go to bed; put on in his coat pocket, in his briefcase, on the windshield of his car. Write romantic sayings, quotes, or simply tell him how you feel. Each not can lead up to the wonderful romantic dinner you can surprise him with that evening.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


10 Amazing Everyday Uses for Lemons

1. Freshen the fridge - Remove refrigerator odors with ease. Dab lemon juice on a cotton ball or sponge and leave it in the fridge for several hours. Make sure to toss out any malodorous items that might be causing the bad smell.

2. Brighten dull aluminum -Make those dull pots and pans sparkle, inside and out. Just rub the cut side of half a lemon all over them and buff with a soft cloth.

3. Keep rice from sticking -To keep your rice from sticking together in a gloppy mass, add a spoonful of lemon juice to the boiling water when cooking. When the rice is done, let it cool for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork before serving.

4. Refresh cutting boards -Rub lemon all over with the cut side of half a lemon or wash it in undiluted juice straight from the bottle.

5. Make soggy lettuce crisp -Don't toss that soggy lettuce into the garbage. With the help of a little lemon juice you can toss it in a salad instead. Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of cold water. Then put the soggy lettuce in it and refrigerate for 1 hour. Make sure to dry the leaves completely before putting them into salads or sandwiches.

6. Clean your microwave -You can give it a good cleaning without scratching the surface with harsh cleansers or using a lot of elbow grease. Just mix 3 tablespoons lemon juice into 1 1/2 cups water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 5-10 minutes, allowing the steam to condense on the inside walls and ceiling of the oven. Then just wipe away the softened food with a dishrag.

7. Deodorize your garbage disposal -If your garbage disposal is beginning to make your sink smell yucky, here's an easy way to deodorize it: Save leftover lemon and orange peels and toss them down the drain. To keep it smelling fresh, repeat once every month.

8. Eliminate fireplace odor -There's nothing cozier on a cold winter night than a warm fire burning in the fireplace -- unless the fire happens to smell horrible. Next time you have a fire that sends a stench into the room, try throwing a few lemon peels into the flames. Or simply burn some lemon peels along with your firewood as a preventive measure.

9. Neutralize cat-box odor -You don't have to use an aerosol spray to neutralize foul-smelling cat-box odors or freshen the air in your bathroom. Just cut a couple of lemons in half. Then place them, cut side up, in a dish in the room, and the air will soon smell lemon-fresh.

10. Remove unsightly underarm stains -Avoid expensive dry-cleaning bills. You can remove unsightly underarm stains from shirts and blouses simply by scrubbing them with a mixture of equal parts lemon juice (or white vinegar) and water.

Source: Reader's Digest. For more amazing everyday uses for lemons, check out Reader's Digest.