Hurrah for Teachers

I am not a teacher nor do I feel worthy of being one. I believe that it is one of the most challenging and underpaid careers out there {my own belief — please don’t yell at me if you feel different ;)}. I have friends and a sister that are teachers. I know that they work very hard and sometimes don’t get the respect that they deserve. I also know that I can barely manage my two kids and they manage upwards of 30. So again — they are rock-stars to me!! So aside from the fact that I think teachers rock, it also happens to be the kick off to a new school year. In honor of that and awesome teachers, I wanted to share some fun gifts to start your child’s teacher off on a happy note.rock-stars

Funky Polka Dot Giraffe created this super fun Teachers Survival Bucket. I actually created my own version of this which you will see below.

Below is my version, I left a few things off of the list and switched up a few things {I added a Starbucks gift card but didn’t add the reusable cup} but I think it came out super cute.

The list of what is included — Funky Polka Dot Giraffe has a printable which is much cuter but I had to delete some things so I recreated my own and I don’t have many fonts on my Mac yet. Click here for her free downloadable print. I did add a few school days stickers after I took these photos which dressed them up a bit.

My basket – using baskets I already had {from the Target dollar bins at Christmas time}.

Happy Clippings offered up this idea by repurposing an old can, wrapping colored pencils around it, securing with a  rubber band and pretty ribbon and then using it as a vase by adding some pretty flowers.

 

The Diary of Dave’s Wife did a cute little gift using a soda and a printable that says, “Soda-lighted you are my teacher.” She has the printable on her site. So cute and simple!!

Oh Whipperberry, how I <3 you!! This idea using a rain boot is adorable!!

Catered Crop was showcasing some stamps but I thought this jar of  licorice with the attached, “You’re the sweetest” was a perfect teacher treat.

Everyday Scrapbook added a bunch of pencils to a reusable iced coffee cup {or tea .. or water.. or vodka, wait – did I say that?}. I love these cups and they make for a great gift alone but stocked full of pencils? Awesome!! Maybe stick a Starbucks gift card in the inside too?

Brandy’s Crafts is right up my alley with her ‘One Smart Cookie’ teacher gift. Cause I like to bake cookies and stuff 😉

I hope you enjoyed these fun and creative ideas <3 Remember, be thankful for your teachers — they work so hard!!

 

 

How to Curb your Clutter

Recently a friend asked if I could share a post on how to keep paper clutter at bay. Well, I won’t say I am an expert but I do try and keep up on paperwork that comes into my house. I think it is easy to get overwhelmed when all of the paperwork comes through the door but I am here to give you some very easy and basic tips for taking control of those mountains of paper that overtake our desks, counters, cars, etc. I’m also offering some ideas for that messy pantry and cluttered garage.

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 You really can do this! I promise!! The first thing to do is figure out a system so that things are quickly sorted and out in there place.  Getting into the habit  of putting things in their place instead of a ‘I’ll get to it later’ pile is key. There are so many options for organization these days. A few of my favorite tools are baskets, binders and a standing file sorter.

This is an office done with very little space. She used some very basic pieces like the cubby shelf from IKEA. A great place to stash baskets and books. Now keep in mind that this is a high functioning work office and has a lot more then what the average person needs to contain.

There are a few areas that add clutter to our homes. The first is our car. How often do you dump all of the stuff from your car on the table, floor or even the kitchen counter? Another is the mailbox. We grab the mail and throw it on the counter and then it stays until we eventually come back to it. Also, clutter comes about in everyday places thanks to clothing, toys and other random household items that end up in the wrong place. Read on for tips:

The Car:

Keep a designated basket in your car to gather things at the end of the day and definitely at the end of a trip. Throw all items in the basket and head inside. Don’t stop, immediately distribute these items to their appropriate homes. You will feel accomplished and less cluttered in your home if you do this daily.

The Mailbox:

Immediately sift through the mail. Is it worth keeping? Can it be recycled? Make two piles. Get rid of the stuff you will never open such as those gabillion credit card offers, catalogs and refi notices that you never requested. Then sort through the ‘keep’ pile. Will you ever really read the catalogs and magazines? If yes, then have a basket to keep them in but make sure once you have read through them that you either pass them on or get rid of them. Don’t hold on to them for one idea, recipe or article. Rip it out and keep a binder to refer back too but get rid of the rest of the magazine. Trust me, you won’t even remember why you kept the magazine to begin with!! As far as bills, keep them in a designated spot. I actually write the check or pay mine on-line immediately. Then I simply write ‘paid on 4/1/12’ and file it with my paid bills. Then it is done and gone. Now, bill pay allows for you to set the date ahead but sometimes you have to wait to mail a check. Keep it ready to go and mail as the time approaches. You can keep track via a file folder or even hang it on a bulletin board. Come up with a system that works for you but work as you go. It is so much easier then sitting down to weeks of paperwork and feeling overwhelmed.

Your Desk:

Basic tools can keep you on top of the craziness that happens on a workspace whether it be at home or work. First, come up with a system. Baskets, file drawers {labeled with exactly what will be filed in them} and perhaps even a binder or two. First you will need to decide what your workspace is for. Once that is established, you can create a basic flow of things. Obviously you will need basic tools such as pens, pencils, scissors and a letter opener. Keep these in a container on top of your desk for easy access. You should also have an in-basket or file. Make it a goal to sift through this daily. Then you can decide what projects are top priority. Once you have removed said item from your in-basket, complete it and file/toss, etc. It’s also OK to add a personal touch or two to your workspace. Something like a plant or a photo. Make it your own. Productivity is something that happens much easier when we are organized. If we know where things are, we can get to them much faster and without the frustration.

More spaces that could use a little clutter control:

The Pantry:

This is often a black hole of ‘stuff’. I like to straighten my pantry every so often {like when things look like they might fall out upon opening the door!}. A great time to do this is before grocery shopping. Then you can assess what you have on hand so that you aren’t buying new when you have items already ‘in stock’. You can get rid of super old {trust me .. I just had expired boxes from 4 years ago. Yuck I know, but it happens.} Purge the oldies and then add the new stuff. Be sure to rotate older items to the front of new items. I tend to stock up on basics when I find that they are sale such as stocks, beans, etc. Make  sure you are really buying items that you will use and not just ones that are a great price. There is a difference and you will see that — when you look at dates years down the road and you never really used that certain BBQ sauce that was on sale so you bought it. Seriously.

The Garage:

I feel like this is not my area of expertise but I do have a little insight here. The garage is deemed my hubby’s space so I don’t have a lot to do with it. It houses my holiday ornaments and a few old frames that I plan to craft with. I still have an opinion on garages. Clutter: It accumulates everywhere and especially in those out of sight, out of mind places. I’d say that a garage is kind of like a huge junk drawer. It’s great to take the time to PURGE!! Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find those old holiday ornaments that you know are ‘somewhere’ or maybe even park your car in the garage? Take the time to sift through the garage. Have a yard sale — spend the money on something fun {no, not new stuff to add to the garage!!} Maybe you can have a nice dinner out or if you do really well, a trip away. Whatever doesn’t sell gets donated IMMEDIATELY! Don’t save it for another time or you will just start the madness of hoarding collecting all over again.

There are always places that can use a little TLC and reorganizing. Do you have a space that you could use a little help with? Email me — I’d love to offer suggestions on how to minimize and create a clutter free zone for you!!

Photo Gallery Walls

I love photos — really, really love them! I don’t have the wall space I wish I had for displaying them but I do find so many inspirational photo walls that I wish I could make happen in my home. I thought I’d share them with you. Perhaps you will be inspired to create your own photo gallery? If you have a fun wall already created, please share. I’d love to see it!

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Source — ME! This is my own wall

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There you have it, a little photo wall inspiration. Oh, and in the time it took me to complete this lil’ post — I baked a delicious Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake. Yes, it is Paula Dean style with butter overload but it’s a breakfast treat for the summer heat {I feel less guilty when I make jokes!} In all reality, I just wanted to be popular with my 6 almost 7 year old and this is one way to his heart.

Closet Makeover

I love to organize. In doing so, it calms me. It makes me feel like I have some control in an otherwise crazy, uncontrolled world!! I also love to decorate and merging the two is bliss! I have a large closet as I mentioned in my previous post. It is full of the normal closet stuff – shoes, clothes and crap. OK, so I cut the crap by starting a garage sale pile {and some trips to Goodwill}. I painted it a pretty blue called, Waterscape by Sherwin Williams. I also have to give a little plug. If you are in the El Dorado Hills/Folsom area, Sherwin Williams has the best employee EVER. Her name is Morgan and she is beyond helpful and friendly. I just had to share that because I am all about great customer service. It’s one of my favorite things.

So the room was painted and then I added in some brown and white accessories. I need to add one more shelf to accommodate more Rubbermaid bins but that will come with time. I have to recruit the hubby for help on that. I am not a shelf installer. By choice.  🙂 I am a little leary of power tools but I know as a DIYer I need to get over this. Baby steps friends, baby steps. ** Update: The shelf is officially in so the closet it complete!! Woot woot.

The original cubbies and storage units came from Home Depot many moons ago. As much as I’d like fancier or custom made ones, these do the trick. Below, I am listing the item and where I purchased it from.

Paint color – Waterscape by Sherwin Williams
Rubbermaid Bins — various shapes and sizes are from both Target and WalMart
Brown Canvas Bins – Target $9.99/each. These are pretty solid and worth the upgrade from the $6.99 ones that they sell
Brown Chest {sitting on the floor — it holds my flip flops and sandals} – Ross for $29.99
Brown Baskets – Cost Plus a few years ago
Old Frame turned Jewelry Holder — The frame was given to me and then I repainted and re-purposed using a sheet of  radiator metal from Lowes.
Keep Calm and Carry on sign – Etsy, Simply Handmade 123 , a sweet lil local vendor

Here are a few pics of the after:

The view when you walk in. It is a hodge podge of stuff but it is all neatly organized and arranged. No ‘junk’ to be found. 

This is my scrapbooks and photo albums as well as boxes of photos.
Keep Calm and Carry on sign – Etsy, Simply Handmade 123 

 Brown Canvas Bins – Target $9.99/each, White Storage Boxes – IKEA

Handmade jewelry holder using an old frame, radiator metal and cup hooks for the necklaces.

I think by working with what I had, adding some fresh paint and a few other accessories that it came out quite organized and nice. Do you have a space that you want to organize?? Just do it, the results are so worth it!

Mission Accomplished — kinda

I was just looking at a post from a few weeks back and I realized that I actually accomplished ‘something’. Woo hoo! Love when I can do this to my To Do List

This was a list of my ongoing projects from February 27th.

  • Taking photos and listing things on Craigslist.
  • Using Stitch Witchery to hem my bedroom curtains {OK, not really but I really thought about doing it today}.
  • Obsessing Thinking about my master bedroom redo.
  • Painting a dresser for my master bedroom redo.
  • Gathering items that I no longer need for a future {no date set} yard sale.
  • Doing laundry.
  • Making lunches for my kids for tomorrow.
  • Finishing up a few wreaths.
  • Picking a new paint color for my dining room niches.
  • Starting my new part time gig {which oddly enough is organizing paperwork for a non profit}.
  • Staring at the paperwork, birthday cards, old magazines and Cub Scout awards from last night as they sit on my counter.

Wow, I actually feel like I got some stuff done. Since then I have also almost finished my 6 year old’s bedroom redo complete with repainting his walls. I hung new curtains.  I even painted the niches {see above on choosing a paint color}. Now the laundry and lunches are an on-going chore so I  would be crossing them off and adding them again daily. Still, I feel pretty good about things!

The master bedroom is a work in progress. I decided to refinish my nightstands and bed. Soon enough they will be complete and with a few minor accessories, the whole room will be complete. Then I can say, “Ta da!!!”.

Oh, something else REALLY cool happened to me since my last post — I became an Auntie!! I officially became an Auntie when I got married but they were all half grown {and are now adults going to college, having their own babies, etc}. I have two sisters and a brother. Both sisters are saying, “No way, uh uh” to babies but my brother and my adorable sister in law just had their first. Eeeek! I am so excited but … they live in So Ca and due to my life here {hubby out of town for work and having my own kiddos to tend too}, I have yet to meet him. For now I stare at the pics that come my way and think, “I can hardly wait to love on this little guy”.  So aside from tackling my to do list, I became an Auntie. Yeah me!! Hee hee.

Oh, and the blog redo — That is also coming along. It’s actually harder then I thought to come up with my own design .. well kinda my own, I really owe the design and graphics kudos to Kendra over at Key Lime Digital Designs. It’s more the layout, fonts, sidebar, etc that I am trying to make my own.

Up next? Some of my favorite Pinterest recipes as well as a post for my friend Kim over at This and That with Kim Funk. We are going to discuss office clutter and how to get rid of it. Or at least how to ‘try’ and contain it 😉

I hope you are staying dry and if not, I hope you are dancing in the rain!

This Cluttered Life

This post almost did not happen. Why? Because I lost my camera. In the clutter. Yes, even us super organized people get a little lost at times {I bet even Martha Stewart has her days!}. I think my worst habit is that I start so many projects at a time and then I get a little sidetracked thus the clutter. What am I doing today?

  • Taking photos and listing things on Craigslist.
  • Using Stitch Witchery to hem my bedroom curtains {OK, not really but I really thought about doing it today}.
  • Obsessing Thinking about my master bedroom redo.
  • Painting a dresser for my master bedroom redo.
  • Gathering items that I no longer need for a future {no date set} yard sale.
  • Doing laundry.
  • Making lunches for my kids for tomorrow.
  • Finishing up a few wreaths.
  • Picking a new paint color for my dining room niches.
  • Starting my new part time gig {which oddly enough is organizing paperwork for a non profit}.
  • Staring at the paperwork, birthday cards, old magazines and Cub Scout awards from last night as they sit on my counter.

Yes, really. All of that is on my plate at the moment. I have not gotten anything 100% done but I have dabbled in all of this today. I also took my youngest to a birthday party and went out to dinner with my family. I am feeling a little overwhelmed but I think I will take the advice of my baby brother {that smartie pants}. He suggested to me one time to “chunk stuff out”. What a great idea. I always try and remember this phrase. So the above? Tonight I will go through the stuff piled on my counter, finish up this blog post and finish some wreaths. That will make a good dent in my projects. Oh man, I just got sucked in to Pinterest. Sorry, I’m back now 🙂 This is what happens when I go on a random search for organized kitchens. I feel like that dog in Up!, “Squirrel!!”. My focus is sometimes lacking. Wanna see what my world looks like right now? I bet you do!!

“the counter” – yikes!

Garage sale ‘stuff’ and niche with a sample color. I think I like it but I don’t know that I can commit, yet.

My new job

Tonight’s project – yikes!

Do you struggle with a heavy to do list? Adding way too many projects to your plate? Squirrel syndrome? 😉 Do you have a method to your madness? I’d love to hear it. Please do leave a comment — I love reading what you have to say.

Happy Monday friends. May it be productive and happy 🙂

Master Bedroom Closet

I am in this mode of organizing, purging and with that goes a little redecorating. I had to share my latest “project”. First off let me just say that I am very lucky to have a giant master bedroom closet. It is mine all mine as we have a more average size one across from it that my hubby uses. When we first moved in, we made this space my craft space but with wee ones needing me so often, it barely got used. I also did not like that it did not have any natural light. That being said, I have since transitioned my craft space to another room and more often then not, I am at my kitchen island cause it just works as far as being central to the kids, hubby and dogs!

Originally we painted this space a pale pink cause in a house of boys, I wanted something more girly. Funny thing is, I am not really a pink kinda girl. So I spent the morning at Sherwin Williams looking at paint swatches. I am in love with the blueish green colors as of late. Subtle, relaxing and happy. I want this color in my space. I will also be incorporating this color into my upcoming master bedroom redo {yes, really .. I just can’t seem to stop the madness!!} I came home with a sample color {It’s called Kensington Green} which I be trying today. I plan to add brown baskets of various types and I will also be making a jewelry holder using an old frame and some funky radiator metal. Seriously, I am so excited about this project!! I have been feeling a little blah lately. Maybe this space will make me want to get pretty. Or I might need some new clothes to add to my new closet 😉

Here are some before pics, warning – It’s pretty scary in there!! I am usually pretty neat and organized but I have been over this space which caused me to give up on it a bit. Notice the framed Star Wars picture, old frames, etc. Lots of things get stuck in my closet when I am in limbo as to what I really want to do with them.

I am actually quite embarrassed by this mess. Yikes!! Wish me luck! My plan is to have this space all done by Friday. Fingers crossed {and a lot of hard work}. I will of course be doing a reveal when it is all done 🙂 I will also be having a glass bottle of wine. Do you have a space in your home that is screaming for some attention? I’d love to hear about it, I might even have a suggestion or two on how to tackle your space.

Organizing Your Spaces

With a New Year comes a couple of things. Purging {oh it feels soooo good!!} and trying to organize the leftover chaos of the past holiday season. I have successfully purged about two carloads of ‘stuff’. I get a little to excited about that kind of thing. Organizing makes me happy. So does redecorating but I am all about doing this on a dime. I am in the middle of a bedroom redo for my almost 9 year old. I say this as my hubby is watching video of our home being built back in 2004. Seeing my big boy as a baby? Sigh. Where did that time go?? Any-who .. that is a whole other post 😉

Here are a few of my favorite storage ideas and spaces of late.

I wish I had a space for a table with built in benches that allowed for storage. What a great idea! Plus you feel like you are at a restaurant even though you aren’t.

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This closet is organized perfectly. I love the use of canvas bins.

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I recently copied this idea for all of my cupcake holders. It is a cute and easy storage idea.

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What a great way to save space and organize your wrapping paper.

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I love this idea for under the kitchen sink. Especially the hanging bottles of cleaning solvents.

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 I have complete closet envy over this one. It makes me think that I might need to rethink my last purge cause my closet still runneth over. Plus I now feel the need for pretty new bath linens. These are so fresh and bright. Mine have been around for some time and don’t have the brightness that these do.

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Oh wow — do people really organize their freezers this way? It’s amazing and oh so inspiring.

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Baskets are one of my favorite ways to organize. It keeps things in one place and also a little hidden 😉

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How about this pretty lil’ garage? OK – maybe a dude would not like the green and white checkered peg boards but the organization of it all? Pretty great.

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House of Smiths is one of my most favorite blogs and I love this idea. As a matter of fact, I am working on my own version for my house.

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Here is a lovely organized laundry room.

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The resources for inspiration are never ending. I think the key is to remember that less is more. At least once a year, go through your home and get rid of what you do not need. Can you donate it? Have a swap with a friend or group of friends? Recycle? Try and be resourceful. Also try to follow a rule when you make a purchase — do you love it? Will it be in your home for a long time to come? We have landfills filled with things that are tossed out. If you think a purchase through instead of being impulsive, you are more likely to own the item for many years to come.

How do you stay organized?

2012 – Hopes, Dreams and Goals

OK — maybe my title for this post is a little excessive. I always have hopes, dreams and goals but sometimes a fresh new year coming on the coattails of a very busy holiday season makes us reflect and think about what we’d like a fresh new year to bring. I am trying to keep it real. I mean, of course I’d love to lose 20 pounds and become debt free but is that TOTALLY realistic? Hmmm, depending on how hard I work I guess. Unfortunately I like to bake. Oh well, so much for losing 20 pounds 😉

A friend recently told me that she was inspired by her yoga teacher to choose a word at the start of the year and to focus on becoming that. She chose patience last year {I should probably pick that one for myself this year!} and this year she chose faith. I like this idea. It gives you something to work towards but it is not so big that you lose sight of it. Tonight at dinner we discussed goals. I have many, my hubby hasn’t really thought about it much but said he’d try to help with dinner prep more {mmm, hmmm .. heard that before!} and the kids ranged from silly to easy to lazy. My oldest said he exercise more even though he is plenty active. I think it was a much easier one then say, “I will do my chores with a smile on my face.”

I have a few attainable 2012 goals. By putting them out there — it makes me more accountable.

  • Work with our new pup, Ollie. I need to get out and walk with him, teach him basic commands, etc.
  • Meal plan and grocery shop more efficiently. Convenience becomes too easy and very expensive.
  • Budget — cash only baby!
  • Work on this here blog — I love what I do but I need to focus on growing it and hopefully making some money.
  • Grow Buffalo Hill Designs by continuing to market through Etsy and social media networking.  With this, I want to attend more craft fairs this year not only as a guest but also as a vendor.
  • Exercise. I started 2011 so well with yoga and then fizzled a few months back. I am not sure if I will go that avenue again or get outside more. Maybe both? I know it is SO good for me mentally and physically.
  • Be present. It is so hard for me to be present. I feel like I am constantly doing 5 things at once.
  • Spend more time with friends and family. Over the holidays, Steve’s sister pointed out that she hasn’t seen us in 6 months. Wow! How did that happen? She only lives 1.5 hours from here. Life gets busy but still — face time is important.

Do you set goals or make resolutions for the new year?

How to Save Money at Target

I am not a coupon queen. Do I want to be? Well maybe just a little 😉 I do get excited when I save $$ and find deals. I am also very aware of watching what I buy and one of the most common comments out of my mouth when shopping with my kids {you know, when they are asking for every snack food ever invented?}, “If it’s not on sale, then I am not buying it”. I don’t really cut coupons but on occasion, I will utilize the store coupons given to me at checkout time.

Target — Oh how I adore Target. Whats not to love? It’s pretty much a one stop shop. I can get everything for my kids, cute clothes for me, toiletries and even food at Target. Recently my brother sent me this article on How to Save at Target. I think I have it pretty close to figured out but there were some tips that were new to me! First of all, I have to plug the Target Red Card. I do not use credit cards. Cash only is our motto these days but … you can get a Debit Red Card. You wonder what the perk is? Well let me tell you, you save 5% on each purchase. Instant savings people! Also, you can link the card to your kids school and then they get a kick back as well. Easy money. Free money. Yes, I said FREE $$!

A few more ways to save at Target:

  • Watch for sales, most stores run their sales adds from Sunday – Saturday but sales can change from regions and even stores within the same area (I did not know this!)
  • Watch for the free gift card deals. Sometimes you will get a $5 gift card for buying 2 or 3 of one particular brand or item. Might be worth the stock up! You know, on those really fun purchases like cat litter and dish soap. 😉
  • Target also offers on-line coupons with no limit to how many you use in one purchase {again — one can never have quite enough laundry soap, right?}. Tip: if you don’t want to print them from home cause you want to actually save your printer ink, you can print them AT TARGET. Yep, right from those lovely machines that do all of the gift registry business. Nifty! How about mobile coupons right to your phone? Click here to find out how this works.
  • There are also markdowns that occur every two weeks. This continues until items are gone and sales can go on until the item is 75% off. I will tell you that most of the good stuff sells FAST even with a 30% reduction so if you really like an item, go for it as soon as the sale hits.  Be sure to check end caps for sales items. This is also a great time to stock up on toys. That way you always have a gift on hand for last minute birthdays, etc.
  • Reusable bags — you get 5 cents for every bag you bring in. Every penny counts 😉

So there you have it, a few extra ways to save at Target. How do you save money when you shop?

If you do happen to be interested in couponing {which seems to be quite the trend!} then click here to find the top 5 places to grab coupons.