Tuesday's Tip (Detergent Bin)

Before I get to my tip, I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to start my own business. What kind of business you ask? I have a love for home organization so I decided I should follow my passion and try to earn a couple of bucks in the process. The girls are at the age where it's a little easier for me to even attempt something like this. So with their blessing and Brian's I decided to go for it. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I really see this as a ministry opportunity. A way to bless other people and bring them a sense of calm to their otherwise chaotic life. The name of my business is www.CluttertoCalm.com That's truly what I feel and I know others will feel when they can get rid of the clutter that is weighing them down. I will keep you posted as I embark on this new chapter in my life. More to come....

My tip of the day is one for your laundry room. I am getting ready to do my friend Jen's laundry room so that is on my mind today. If you use powdered detergent this one is for you. If you know me well you know I hate cardboard boxes. I will actually take that one step further and say I despise cardboard. I don't like the fact you can't see through it to see how much of that product you have left and it's just plain ugly. I love the way stuff looks in clear plastic containers. So today I was at Walmart picking up some containers for her space and ran across a container which I think is used for office files. I saw it and thought, this is perfect for soap. It has 2 latches on the lid so it won't pop off and it even has a handle in case you needed to carry it somewhere. The container was just $4. A bargain I say. Jen, this one has your name on it.

Tuesday's Tip (Brown Sugar)

Today's tip is short and sweet and courtesy of Real Simple magazine. This is my favorite magazine. It has the best ideas. In the Oct 2009 issue, it says to put a couple of big marshmallows in your brown sugar to keep it from getting hard. This happens to my brown sugar all the time. I just happened to have some marshmallows in my pantry so I stuck them in there. We will see what happens.

Also another tip from the magazine (Sept 09 issue) if you have dull scissors and want to sharpen them, cut a piece of sandpaper a couple of times. It will do the trick.

Tuesday's Tip (Saving for College)

Today's tip is how to save money for your child's college education. Brian and I have been doing this since 2003 before we even got pregnant and had kids. It was that important for us to start saving before they came along. The program is called Upromise. It's a free way to save. There are 4 ways to save through this program and I will go over each step with you.

Step 1- Go to
http://www.upromise.com/ and sign up. You can enter your shopping cards, i.e. Kroger, Publix, CVS, etc and on select items that you buy a percentage will go into your upromise account. So you save money as you buy the items you normally would buy.

Step 2- Go to
www.upromise.com/shop before buying anything online. For example, when I buy anything online from Target I find their website by going to upromise.com first. Then I find the merchant, which is Target, and click on it and bam I just saved 3% of my purchase for my girls college fund. Every merchant has a different %. I have saved up to 9% before. It is so easy. You save money just buying go to www.upromise.com/shop first. It's a no brainer.

Step 3- Your parents and grandparents can save for your kids. They can link their shopping cards to your account and save that way too.

Step 4- I saved the best for last. The Upromise credit card. Now before I go further I will say that if you can't pay this card off IN FULL every month then please don't get a credit card. If you can than go for it. This is how we have saved the most for the girls. We've had the card for 6 years. We pay it off in full every month. No Exceptions! Otherwise you defeat the purpose of saving. We get 1% back for every dollar you spend. There are also certain restaurants that are partners that can give you up to 3 or 4% of your bill. Very cool. Since 2003 we have saved over $1600. If on average you save $300 a year (that's about what we're getting) over 18 years at say 10% (which is what the experts say Mutual Funds bring in) the grand total would be just over $15,000. Not to bad for doing nothing, but making purchases you normally would make. The other great thing is that you link your Upromise account to your 529 college account and they automatically roll it over into your 529 where it starts making interest.

I hope you have enjoyed this tip. If you have any questions or need help saving for your childs future, please email me. I would love to help you out.

Labor Day Fun!

We had a busy Labor Day today. Brian ran in the Franklin Classic early this morning. He did his best ever time for a 10K. I am so proud of him. I met him there later with the girls so that Brooklyn could run in the 1K they were having for kids. She was pretty tired because I had to wake her up at 8:30 to go. We met up with our good friends the Gagliano's. Daniel ran the 10K with Brian and he and his daughter Grace were gonna run with Brian and Brooklyn. I took Sydney and we waited at the finish line for them to cross. It was so cute to see them cross hands raised high. I asked Brian how Brooklyn did and Daniel said, "What happens on the backside, stays on the backside. For the sake of remembering years later I will fill ya in on what happened. Brian said she ran the first straight away and then when they turned the corner she said, "daddy my feet hurt". So Brian put her on his shoulders. Then she got some steam and decided to run some more.

Brooklyn and Grace with their ribbons. Brooklyn is looking ultra cool in daddy's sunglasses.
Then we headed to Chick-fil-a where they were handing out free chicken sandwiches if you had on a team logo. We all dressed up in Titans uniforms. I am mad I didn't get a picture of all 4 of us together in our jersey's, but I did get one of Brian and one of Brooklyn and her cousin Maiya.

We have enjoyed our 3 day weekend. We got a lot done around the house. We finished up today by cleaning and reorganizing the garage. Yeah I finally know where everything is and it's neat and clean. I love throwing stuff away. It's so liberating. While I cleaned the garage the girls helped daddy do yard work. They love to play in the dirt. After bath time, Brian put Sydney to bed and I put Brooklyn to bed. As we were laying there, out of the blue, she said, "Mommy Jesus healed my broken heart". Taken back, I said, "Oh yeah honey". "Yeah, He healed the pieces of my broken heart". "Did you learn that at church", I said. "No" she said. "Well then where?" "Nowhere", she said. I have to admit I had tears in my eyes. It was such a sweet reminder to me that the Lord does speak to little children in His own way. He spoke to Brooklyn, that I am sure of. Thank you Lord. Father, please continue to speak into her life. May she grow to love and serve you.

iPhone Pictures

I love having my iPhone because I am always ready for a shot. The pictures aren't as great as if I were to take them with my Nikon, but at least I can capture the moment. Here are some of my favorites that I've taken over the last week or so.

Let's start with Sydney Kate. What a character! I swear she is 2 going on 10. She comes up with the craziest things to say and she constantly makes me laugh. In the car on the way home from school yesterday she said, "Mommy, I did craps". First I was thinking, what kind of school teaches 2 year old's how to gamble? Then I realized that Brooklyn had just told me she did crafts at school and that Sydney was copying her. I laughed so hard. You had to be there I guess. It was just the way she said it. Sydney is also my messy one. She can't eat anything or play with anything without it getting all over.
She fell asleep eating apples and Nutella. I didn't realize it til I heard her crying. Her head had gone forward and she hit her mouth on the counter top. I ran and got my iPhone and my dad held up her head so I could get a picture. Priceless!

Thank God for washable markers! You should have seen her legs. It looked like a rainbow threw up on them.

Brooklyn is my little model. She always wants to take pictures. She will do something funny or cute and say, "Mommy get your camera and take a picture of me." I would be a bad mommy if I said no, so here are some of those moments captured on my iPhone.

Brooklyn took this picture herself while laying on the floor. It came out looking very artistic.

She loves to wear hats. She would have walked out of the store like that if I would have let her.

"Tuesday's Tip" (Reusable Grocery List)

I think we can all use something that makes our grocery shopping a little more simple and easy. I am not one who loves to grocery shop especially when I have the girls in tow. I love this list because it's so easy to make and use. The idea is to create a reusable shopping list. I created a word document and listed the stores, along with the items I buy most from those stores, and then laminated it. Did you know they have self laminating pages at office supply stores? That makes it really easy. If you are a teacher you probably have access to a laminating machine at your school. I take a dry erase pen and circle the items that I need to buy. I left room on the page to write in items that I needed that weren't on the list. It's that simple. You can even take this to the store as your list. It's very durable and will hold up well. It's easy for everyone in the house to use and it takes the guess work out of things you need to buy because it's all right there, staring back at you. I hope you've enjoyed this tip. Happy grocery shopping!

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