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Ideas for Stocking Stuffers.

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Tired of the same old ideas to put into your children’s stockings?  Here is a list of

1. Candy.  Well duh!  Instead of grocery store candy, so to a candy store or family run manufacturer to get unique products.

2. Hair Accessories.  Christmas is a great time to invest in barrettes, ponytail holders and other things as they come in sets!

3. Cards. No, I’m not talking business or credit, but playing cards.  There are still so many games you can play with cards.  Look in your toy section and find a few.

4. Small stuffed animal. So many cute things.

5. Rubik’s Cube. So many cubes are made today with varying degrees of difficulty.

6. Money.  Simple, yet so wanted by all.

7. Cosmetics. Lip balm, lotion, bath bombs, makeup kits, and more make a great stocking stuffer.

8. Small books. A great paperback or a little gift book works great.

9. Coloring books/crayons. You can get very inexpensive ones at the dollar store.

10. Gift cards.  Self-explanatory.

11. Tea or Coco mix.  Good stuff like food or beverage always is welcome.

12. Action figures or Tiny toys. So many things in miniature. Little cars are great!

13. Pens/Pencils. Use for all those books!

Hope these ideas help!  Or you can do the traditional fruit and chocolate coins as well.  What have you gotten in your Christmas Stocking.

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10 things to Clean

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Here is this month’s list of 10 Things to Clean (but that you almost never do). Let’s get cleaning!

  1. Door Frames and Door knobs.  Get all that finger print dirt off!
  2. Your toothbrush holder.  Clean it, replace it or run through a dishwasher.
  3. Your electric toothbrush.  Replace the head and clean the body and holder.
  4. Facial scrubber.  Replace the pad and clean and disinfect the handle.
  5. Razor.  Replace it!
  6. Loofah. How old is it really?  Yuck, get a new one.
  7. Corners of the room. Get those cobwebs out of there!
  8. Stove drip covers/knobs.  Get the gunk out.
  9. Electrnics. When was the last time you cleaned your cell phone, ipod, laptop and more.
  10. Washer/Dryer.  Wipe everything inside and out.  Don’t forget the lint trap!
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10 Things to Declutter for the Holiday Season.

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Tis the season!  The season to declutter that is!  Yes, declutter.  Look I know the holiday season from Halloween to New Year’s is a VERY busy time for all of us.  However, decluttering can not only help you cope with the stress, but make each year easier by limiting everything you have to dig through.

  1. Your credit card statement.  Okay, I don’t mean take all your credit card statements and shred them.  Although, you can. I mean go through them and look at the actual charges.  Are their reoccurring charges that you can get rid of?  Say a magazine subscription you no longer read but haven’t cancelled?  That gym membership you never use?  Time to let those go.
  2. Online. Unsubscribe from all those emails.  It’s easy to ignore all those emails that go to your social media tab in your email. Start unsubscribing from them. Keep you inbox clear!
  3. Candles.  Tis the season to give and get candles.  How many do you have? Do you have a drawer full of unused candles?  Time to get serious and sort them.  How many of them are half burned? Time to cull the herd down to a select few that you really enjoy.
  4. Old Makeup. Clear out your makeup case.  Can you narrow it down to just what you wear? Let the old and unused stuff go!  How about nail polish?  How many do you have that you haven’t used?
  5. Ugly gifts. We all get them.  That ugly elf picture you mother-in-law thought was oh so cute but goes with absolutely nothing you own, accidentally drop it and get rid of it.  You should only have things you want, not something that others think you should have.
  6. Dinnerware.  How many sets of dishes do you have?  I understand one good set and an everyday set, but do you have extra dishes from various relatives or holiday dishes?  How about mugs?  We all have those travel mugs that say I love NY or something.  Time to donate?
  7. Liquor.  Have bottles of liquor around you house?  Do you have a liquor cabinet?  How many times do use those bottles?  Have you had that same bottle of rum for the past five years?  Time to let them go.
  8. Spices.  Check you spice cabinet.  Spices have an expiration date.  Let go of the spices that you only used once and haven’t used again.  How about the more popular spices.  Are they expired? Time to replace them.
  9. Old Pens. We all have a junk drawer or a drawer for school supplies. Go through all you pens/markers/pencils. Get rid of the ones that don’t work or you won’t use. Replace what you need to.
  10. Old Eyeglasses.  Do you wear glasses?  Do you have a bunch of old prescriptions lying around? Many eye glass places have donation bins where you can donate your old eyeglasses. Let someone else use them!

Okay, now ready, set, purge!!

 

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10 Winter Activities

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Winter is such a cold and blah time.  But here in the Upper Midwest we try to make the best of things.  While there are a lot of indoor activities, there are also a lot of outdoor festivals and events.  We have broom ball tournaments on frozen lakes, ice fishing, skiing, snow tubing, snowmobiling, ice skating, nighttime snowshoeing, ice carving, skating races, cross country ski races, dog sledding, bonfires, sleigh rides, curling and so much more.

Some more hygge activities you can try yourself include: building a snowman, go on a nighttime candlelight carriage ride, drink warm apple cider in front of a fireplace, binge watch Christmas films, make gourmet hot coco, have a fire in the fireplace and read by its light, toast marshmallows in your fireplace, go sledding, go look at homes that have their holiday lights up, take in a Christmas play, bake cookies, donate to your favorite charity or volunteer your time, make a ginger bread house, or write a letter by candlelight.

What do you like to do to make Winter special?  Let us know in the comments.

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Winterizing Your Car Kit

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It’s that time!  Winter is right around the corner. Don’t forget to winterize your car kit.  For me living in a snowy climate it is a must. Roads are treacherous and no one might see you go off the road!  I grew up out in a rural area and driving in the middle of a blizzard was required more than once.  Even now that I live in a suburb I still have this kit.  It has come in handy too!

  1. Ice scraper Kind of a no brainer right? It’s amazing that so many people leave their ice scrapers in their garage.
  2. Food/Drink- If you’re in your car for hours you want to keep hydrated or well fed.
  3. Book- Again, pass the time waiting for a tow truck.
  4. Blanket- If your car won’t start, how will you stay warm to help arrives?
  5. Gloves- Keep large warm gloves in your car.  We all wear gloves that are not warm but practical.  We can hold our phones, our lattes, but how warm will you stay if you have to walk or wait for help?
  6. Matches/Candles- If your stuck at night you can still see and it gives you a sense of comfort.
  7. Kitty Litter- I use this for two things.  One is to keep a little extra weight in the trunk of my car.  The second is to use it for traction if I am stuck in the snow.  I have actually used this several times in recent years.  Our street and driveway are steep.  Sometimes the roads get so slippery we cannot drive up them.  I put a little kitty litter in certain spots.  It helps me drive up the hill.  My husband used to make fun of me for having kitty litter, now he doesn’t!
  8. Hand Warmers- This is just like the gloves.  Keep those fingers and toes toasty!
  9. Extra Clothes- Wearing wet clothes will lower your body temperature.  Not good!
  10. Boots- You may have to walk if your stuck.  Get ones that are warm and have good traction.

There are other things that I include in my winter car kit like a shovel.  I would use the  shovel to dig my car out of a snow bank.  What else do you include in your winter car kit?

 

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10 Things 2 Declutter

 

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I must admit I love to toss things.  Cleaning and organizing makes me happy. I love to look at an organized closet or pantry.  I find it relaxing.  I hope I’m not the only one!

Here is a quick list of 10 things you want to take a look at throwing away.

  1. Lotions.  Check your sunblock, bug spray, and more.  See if they have gone bad. Can you curtail what you have?
  2.  Colds and Flu meds.  These expire quickly.  With cold and flu season upon us make sure you are not short on meds when you need it.
  3. Perfume. See number 1! Do you have a perfume that you haven’t worn in awhile?  Can those be let go?
  4. Soap. Have some old bars of soap lying around? Time to let them go. This includes handsoap, laundry soap and more.
  5. Travel Sizes.  Travel a lot?  Is your collection of mini lotions the envy of all who see it?  Do you use them? Time to let some go.
  6. Cleaning Products. Do you have six containers of Windex?  Was it on sale?  Time to let some of it go.  Donate it.  Give it to a friend.  Keep the amount manageable.
  7. School Papers.  Have every piece of paper your child has done for the year.  A great solution I have is to have an in basket.  Every time my child brings home papers they go in the bin.  After semester grades are in I go through the bin.  I keep a few papers for the scrapbook and toss the rest.  Grades are in so they don’t need them anymore.
  8. School Supplies.  Do you have six red folders?  Years of buying school supplies for my son means I have several extras.  If the new school year is starting you can reuse some of them.  If you have too many extras see if you can donate them to the school or local kids program.  You get rid of clutter and kids get the supplies they need.
  9. Old Technology. Have three cell phones in your dresser drawer?  Time to recycle them.  Check with your local waste disposal company as to discarding them.  Also several non-profits will take you old donated cell phone and reuse them.
  10. Belts.  Yes, the things that hold up your pants. Our weight changes and we buy new belts.  We keep them long after we discard the pants or dresses the come with.   Time to let them go.

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Disaster During Our Remodel!

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New Cabinets going in!

Well our remodel hit a snag! We were abandoned by our contractor.  So now we are scrambling to get our project done.  We started our project to remodel our main level in our home in mid-May.  As of the end of September, it still is not finished.  It was supposed to be done at the absolute latest by the end of July.  Our contractor stopped showing up and returning our calls and emails.  Thankfully the big box retailer (Lowes) we booked them through has been trying to help us.  They are getting their other contractors to try and finish our project.

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Cabinet doors and new lights.

Of course the other contractors have their Fall schedules filled already.  So we are being sloted in between jobs. Which we understand.  You can’t sideline someone else’s job to complete yours.  Our kitchen and main level is about 60% finished.

Our kitchen cabinets are in and our sink is running.  Some of the cabinets need shelving put in yet, and molding done.  We need electrical on our dishwasher, garbage disposal and outlets completed. We also need plumbing done for the dishwasher and for the half-bath.  We also need molding and touch ups done in the half-bath, living room and front entrance.  We also need the molding redone on all the doors.

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Floor to ceiling cabinets. Storage!

Slowly but surely it is getting done.  The Lowes manager has been very good about communicating with us.  People have asked us if we would use Lowes again due to what has happened.  We have responded “Yes.” Lowes didn’t let us down.  It was the contractor.   In fact, once Lowes learned of the contractor leaving the stepped in to make it right.  If we had just hired the contractor without going through Lowes we would have been out of luck (and money.)

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The painter has started.
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Bathroom is painted. New flooring in.