Those who know me are aware that I like to have things organized and just so.  Today, I wanted to share a few kid’s closet tips that I use at my house.  It makes it easy to switch up the seasons and store the clothing that is too small.

I recently pulled out all the clothing HJ has yet to wear.  A lot of it is stuff I picked up at garage sales or at end of season sales (I got 16 pieces for $34 at Crazy 8 for next summer!).  Here is the pile I needed to organize:new2

Yeah, I know.2345

I organized the clothes into piles (long-sleeve 5T, long sleeve 4, short-sleeve small, short sleeve 5T, etc).  Then, I started putting them away.  I hung up the long-sleeve shirts that HJ will be wearing this fall, and out his pants in the dresser.  In his closet, I have a plastic container with 3 drawers.  I separated the clothes he has yet to grow into in the drawers.  That way, when he is ready for the size, I just have to pull it out of the drawer.

I also have a large bin in the closet.  As soon as an article of clothing is too small, I throw it in the bin.  When the bin is full, I just put it into storage.  This makes it super simple to keep on top of the organization!

What closet organization tips do you use?

 

 

Happy Monday!

This weekend, I woke up to HJ snuggled against me and cracking up.  He was laughing so hard in his sleep, that it woke me up.  I laid there watching him while he slept, with a huge smile across his face.  When he finally woke up, he told me about his silly dream where a guy put a bucket on a dog’s tail and the tail was wagging back and forth.  It makes me happy that he has silly dreams :).

Today, instead of me guest posting, I have my own guest poster here! Shaye, from Simply Shaye, is sharing some great ideas to help save money this summer.

 

Summer provides more opportunities to have good times with family and friends.  The hectic pace of the year usually slows down a bit, and holidays are more relaxed.  Make the most of time for vacations and outdoor activities by following a few tips that can help to save you money you can utilize for making summer memories.

Make Money On Your Clutter 

Clutter accumulates magically by itself, much like the proverbial wire coat hangers.  Items you once used daily suddenly become useless as children grow, hobbies change and new products are purchased.  Take a weekend to go through closets, garage and basement and collect the clothing, appliances, sports equipment and other items you no longer use.  These objects are taking up precious storage space and are like money in the bank if you can find a good buyer.  Get out your digital camera, take a picture and decide a fair price for the item.  Post it on Craigslist or EBay.  Many objects you think are useless can turn out to be someone else’s precious find.  These sales can help to earn extra money for vacations, summer programs and other uses.  IT garage sales are popular in your area, you can hold one of your own.

Limit Your Air Conditioning

Summer can bring searing temperatures.  If your home doesn’t have many shade trees around to prevent the structure from heating up, you are likely to run up an outrageous electric bill over the warm months.  If you have full-house air-conditioning, install a programmable thermostat to allow temperatures to rise when no one is at home and lower them before everyone arrives for the evening.  Lower the air-conditioner, find out where the cross breezes are in your house and put a fan at each end of the breeze “tunnel” to keep cooling air flowing throughout the day.  Make sure windows and doors are securely caulked so that cool air doesn’t escape.

Seek Out “Free Admission” Days

Many communities have attractions that offer “free admission” on certain days f the week.  These may include museums, amusement parks, zoos and other venues.  Many of these attractions offer additional days during the summer when children are out of school and need diversions to occupy them.  Many communities also offer special family rates on transportation during the summer to make your excursion even more economical.  Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it at a nearby park to enjoy a low-cost family day of fun.

Board a Dog

If you’re an animal lover, you can augment your vacation fund by opening your home for boarding a pet during someone’s vacation.  Many people find commercial kennels and boarding facilities unacceptable for their dog.   The animal may have separation anxiety or health problems that make traditional boarding unacceptable. When you do dog boarding you can enjoy the presence of a “guest pet” in your home while making extra money for summer activities.

There are a few ways to save money and make money this summer. You might find that you enjoy your summer vacation more this year. That’s because it’s comforting to know that you didn’t need to raid your bank account to fund your trip!

Shaye is a single mom that has a passion for family, budgeting, healthy living, fitness, and travel. She loves finding new ways to cook healthier and stay fit, all while doing it on a budget. She has a beautiful son and one eccentric dog, but wouldn’t have it any other way.. Follow her blog athttp://simplyshaye.wordpress.com!  

This month, I participated in my first blogging gift exchange.  I signed up for the #carabox exchange through Wifessionals, and had a blast!  The idea behind the exchange is to make new friends, and send them a letter of encouragement as well as a box of items that go with the monthly theme.  July’s theme was nautical, and I was excited to give a fun gift, as well as receive one!

Cara Box Button

I was paired up with Christen and Nicole.  Throughout the month, we emailed back and forth and got to know each other.

As I got to know Christen, I started coming up with some fun ideas to send her way.  It was easy to connect with her, as we had numerous things in common.  Knowing that she loves to write take her kids to the library, I started filling her box with homemade note cards and a cute book for the kids, Toy BoatHere is her post on what she received!

My other partner was Nicole.  Nicole is such a sweet person, and I am so glad I got to know her!  We would chat back and forth about jobs, career paths, HJ and how we were spending our summer.  When I received the HEAVY package in the mail, HJ and I were excited to see what we received.

PicMonkey CollageNicole not only spoiled myself and HJ, but she also threw in a toy for Ty!  Ty received a squeaky fish that was instantly thrown by HJ for a game of fetch.  HJ received a new book, which he read throughout dinner and requested it for one of his night-night books.  He also got a 3 puzzle set of Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  I received a yummy smelling candle, a container with sand and shells, a little “mom” sign and nail polish (that is already on my nails).  There was also a pretty looking candle holder, but unfortunately, it did not survive the trip!

Are there any blog exchanges you are involved with or recommend?  I had so mach fun with this one, I might need some more!!

This past weekend, HJ and I went to visit our friends at their lake house.  It wasn’t just a random weekend away, we were there to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  We hung out in the sun all day, and it was a hot one.  You may think I am exaggerating when I say it was hot, but most of the afternoon, my phone looked like this:

photo

There was a band playing and lots of kegs tapped.  Tons of food, and lots of people.  HJ had a blast swimming in the lake, handing out beads to people (even getting a kiss from some lady), dancing (if you follow me on instagram, you saw the video!) and running around with friends.

PicMonkey CollageThere was one point in the day when things were starting to wind down, that HJ showed his wild side.  While talking with a group of people, my young boy looked at me and pulled his shorts down.  While I was saying, “HJ, what are you doing?”, he was dropping his underwear and kicking it off.  He then ran to me and tried hiding in my lap, but by that point, he was the party streaker.

You know how there was always that one guy in college that got naked at parties (those I hung out with in college know exactly which one of our friend’s husbands this is!)?  I felt like this was a foreshadowing of that.  He is going to be the naked guy at frat parties.

As the day wore on, the crowd was thinning out and the kids were in bed.  Everyone was talking, laughing and having a good time.  I think through most people’s eyes it looked like this:

party

The temperature had dropped, and a full moon was in the sky.  I was hanging out with my friends on the deck.  The deck had a railing that dropped down quite down to a concrete patio.  This stuff scares me, so I would never lean against it.  My friend must feel the same way, because she cautioned her husband so he wouldn’t fall.  He did what any mature, drinking, 32-year-old would do and pretended to fall back.  This brought up the topic of life insurance and how she had better upgrade that policy with all of his shenanigans.

But really, I constantly worry about what will become of my little HJ if something were to happen.  That’s why life insurance for business owners is so important.  Make sure your family is protected.  That way you can relax and have perfect summer nights, just like HJ and me had!

 

You know how I can tell everyone is on fun vacations but me?  Guest posts.Today, I am over at one of my favorite blogs, Little Lessons in a Big City, posting for Chelsea!  The recipe I am sharing is quickly becoming a favorite for HJ and myself, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you (seriously, we have already made 3 different variations of it).

Stop on by and say, “hi”!

 

Have you guys ever heard of Card Store?  It’s a really cool site that you can find unique cards, and even make your own using your photos.  I know, there are lots of sites that do that…but this one, you can upload your signature, and they will mail it to the recipient for you.

Take a look…photo-2

 

Here’s what the home page looks like.  You can select different categories of cards to browse and create invites or stationery. They can even import birthdays from your facebook (because how else do you know when people’s birthdays are?).

This is where I discovered my absolute favorite part.  You know how I am super organized and have to have things done well in advance or I get anxiety?  With Card Store, I can go online, order all sorts of cards for people, and schedule delivery dates up to a year in advance.   That’s right, I can pick out my cards for an entire year and set up delivery.  They charge you the price of a stamp and mail it out for you.  It’s things like this that let me know there is a God.  Also, I can be a tad dramatic once in a while.

I was able to set up an account with Card Store.  This allows me to view and save items or projects.  I am also able to create and store an address book.  That way, when I want to mail a card out, I don’t have to search for an address, it’s all stored for me!photo-1

I was also able to sign up for a rewards program that lets me earn points to get free product.photo-3

I got to test out the site by creating my own card.  Since I plan in advance, I decided to make a card for Grandparent’s Day (don’t worry, it’s in September, you have lots of time to order your own).  I selected a cute card and uploaded some pictures to use.

I was able to edit the card so it could say what I wanted, and it allowed me to crop the pictures to fit the card.  Once I had it edited, I was able to review the card before purchasing.

photo-5They even allowed me to double check for any promotional codes I might be missing.  I was able to pick my own delivery options; if I wanted it sent to me or the recipient.

The site was great and easy to navigate.  There is even an app for smart phones!  While the app was easy to navigate, it didn’t allow for as many options as the full site, but would be great for a “Oh crap, I forgot to get and send a card” moment (I can’t be the only one that has those).

I am imagining how awesome this site will be come Christmas Card season, no stamp sticking for me this year!

Go check out the Card Store and let me know what you think!  They are currently offering free shipping (until 7/22) with the code: CWJ3717.

 

*While I was given a free card to try out the site, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sometimes, I have these fabulous ideas that fester in my head and never actually go anywhere.  This time, I tend to act on it.

I love pictures.  If you have been to my house, you know this.  Photos line the walls and are sitting on every shelf.  I have lots and lots of photo albums where I carefully organize the photos in the order they occur.  I love looking through them, and better yet, Harrison likes it too.  We will snuggle up on the couch and I will “read” a photo album to him, telling him what was happening and each and every photo.  I can look at these pictures and be transported back into that moment.  However, the albums are all over.  I mean ALL.OVER.

I decided that this year, I wanted to start a yearly photo book.  One book, per year.  One book documenting our life.  Not only will it help reduce clutter, but then the finished product will also be stored on-line, in case something were to happen to the original.

Since I hate procrastinating, I am actually quite mad I am just now starting on our 2013 Year Book and it’s already flippin’ July.

I spent some time browsing different photo sites, but nothing is allowing me the flexibility I want with the books.  I don’t want a set format, I want to be able to create a page.  I started editing some of the pictures I want to add to the book.  I tried 3 photo sites, and the pictures were not fitting into any of the pre-designed books with ridiculous backgrounds (why do they have themes?  My theme is pictures, damn-it not a Hawaiian Floral Event).

I started by making some cute collages, and wanted this to fit across a book page (like 2 pages, fill the whole thing).

PicMonkey Collage

But instead the sites wouldn’t let me have it “fit to page”.  So I stopped making cute collages, and stuck to just editing single pictures…

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When I tried to plug these into the “photo slots”, they would cut off half the picture.  This frustrated me, so I quit.  Hopefully I will be able to find a photo site that will be able to do what I am picturing.  This whole “putting something off” thing is causing me anxiety.  Yes, I am serious.  I would prefer to be working on a few pages a month, that way when the year-end comes, I can just buy the cute book!

Any luck working with photo books?  Any that you can customize yourself or are you stuck with silly formats?

Want to hear something exciting?  I now have 100 bloglovin’ followers!  Do you know how long it took me to get past 100 email subscribers?  About 2 years.  That’s why I am super excited to have already surpassed that on bloglovin’.  That also means I have a huge group of readers that might not know me, so I wanted to say “hi” and tell you all a little about myself.

My name is Kristin.  I have a super fun 3 (and a half) year old boy, HJ.

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I have been a single mom since day one.  When HJ was 4 months old, I received full custody, because his father decided he didn’t want to be involved.

HJ and I live in Iowa with our super large lap-dog, Tyson.

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In 2010, I bought my first house.   I have loved getting to make this our family space, and am always working on some project to decorate.  I also like to pretend I can cook and garden.

I love sharing the wild and silly times in our lives, as well as the serious.

To those who have been around awhile, I hope you have enjoyed getting to know about our little family.  To those who are new, WELCOME, can’t wait to get to know you all better.