Organizing Our Home: The Mail/Filing Center

I hate mail clutter, it drives me crazy and yet it is always there! But I am determined to stop it and here is our solution. A small 'Mail Center'. Our home is a split entry, so you open the front door and you are on a small (really small) landing and you can either go upstairs or downstairs. There really isn't any room for anything right there, so I had to move my solution to either the kitchen at the top of the stairs or the living room. The kitchen has been the drop zone for everything and it drives me crazy, so I am trying the living room, on top of the blue dresser I painted. 

I simply found a small filing box at Walmart, hanging folders and manila file folders. Labeled them and stuck them in. Unfortunately, the green of the hanging folders is really ugly and this is my living room, so I grabbed a piece of my favorite scrapbook paper and made a little slip-cover for the first file. I didn't even have to cut the paper, because the file was exactly 12 inches across and I just folded it to match the length. I can swap it out anytime I want a change, but it is much cuter than the army-greenish hanging folder.

The basket next to the file I have had for a long time and it has floated around the house trying to find a home.  It is divided into sections and works perfectly for holding some supplies needed at a Mail Center/Living Room. I put my can of febreeze spray in one spot, the address book, thank you cards and envelopes, sticky notes, 3x5 cards and my piano lesson calendar. This is also where I keep our bill paying envelope. 

It is simply a zipper pouch, I found this one on clearance for 10 cents at Walmart. Inside is everything I need to pay bills; check books, stamps, pens, and the chart where I keep track of our expenses and paid bills. It is so nice to slip the bills into the TO BE PAID folder and then on Friday, grab the folder and this pocket and I am all set... no searching for the check book or rummaging for a pen that works.

Now, you probably noticed that I DO NOT keep pens in the little basket out in the open. This is why.... He is 2 and likes to write "lists" and his "name" on everything, including his face, the walls, the couch, the windows, the tablecloth.... Hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend!


Eye Ball Frame

I had another organization post planned for this week, but I got the flu and have been SO sick. I'm finally feeling better, so here is quick Halloween Frame.

I used:   a wooden from from Walmart
                 craft paint
              lots of plastic eye balls (I got the variety pack, but you could use all the same size)
                hot glue and gun
1. Paint Frame
2. Start gluing on eyeballs.
           I started on the inside and then worked my out. I just wanted to have as many eyes as I could get on it.
3. Slip a favorite Halloween photo inside or anything Halloween sign.


Halloween Party Ideas

If you're looking for some party ideas for Halloween, you might find some new ideas here! We had a party last week for our kids and it was a huge success. This is what we served for food... My neighbor made the cookies, strawberries, and pudding. I made the sandwiches, juice boxes, veggie tray, and favors.

 Sandwich idea from Pure Joy Events.  There are tons of ideas on that blog!

 Juice boxes wrapped in white electrical tape. Idea from Parents.com

Pumpkin bowling was a huge hit! Idea from Be Different, Act Normal.

My neighbor made this totally awesome bat pinata! The kids had a ton of fun with that. She said it wasn't too difficult either. Instructions are at Martha Stewart. Also at Martha Stewart was a craft that we did... Check that out HERE. There are lots of great ideas there.

I forgot to take a picture of our ADORABLE favors, but here they are with a FREE printable. CLICK HERE.

Our easy and cute invitations were also FREE using a printable! CLICK HERE to see those.



Halloween jars, part II

This is the before picture for the Halloween jars....
And after

I'm not really sure what Frankenstein's monster says so I went wit GRR. The Frankenstein monster looks fun in the dark too!
With each color (orange for Jack-o-lantern, green for Frankenstein's monster, white for a ghost) just paint a light coat. I drew the black outlined faces first to give more light to come through around the face but in retrospect I would paint the green first then paint the faces after.
I also painted the jar ring black.
Next week I'll post pictures of the ghost jar!


Organizing Our Home: The Reward/Chore Board

Our children are still fairly small, but I think that it is never too early to start parenting and teaching. Recently, we have been dealing with frustrating power struggles and out of control tantrums and some just plain bad behavior. My husband and I came up with this system and it really has helped.

Each of our sons has a small lined notepad with their name at the top and when they obey, help, or do something that is good and we want repeated they get to put a star on their notepad and then I write what they did next to it. Likewise, they can also get frowny faces for doing things that deserve a frowny face. (We had a family meeting and the boys helped make family rules-so they know).

I think this is the real key to the system: Before bed each night, we sit down as a family and DADDY reads each boy's list and then we talk about it. We minus the frowns from the Stars and the boys get rewarded a penny for each. (5 stars-3 frowns= 2 pennies). The boys "sign" their name at the bottom of the day to say that they got their pennies and we start brand new and fresh in the morning.

This has worked really REALLY well with our boys, they love to use their "pennies" to buy a special treat or books at the D.I. and having to make an accounting with their Dad each night has made a HUGE difference.

To make the cute board in the hallway I:
           1. Sanded and Primed an old window
           2. Painted
           3. Distressed the edges
           4. This window already had funky nails and hardware on it, so I left it and that is what I hand their notepads from.
           5. Added the vinyl..... This phrase comes from a children's song that we sing when we are helping do our chores.... and they always get stars when helping do chores.
           6. Attached heavy duty hangers to the back of the window.
           7. Measured, installed wall anchors, and hung it up.

What works for rewards/consequences at your house?


Halloween jars

I have many jars in the back of one of my cupboards that are gathering dust and I have been wanting to make use of them. Well a couple weeks ago I came across a craft store that had an idea similar to this and I thought I'd give it a try. I was really happy with how it came out. I painted a light coat of orange and then painted the typical jack-o-lantern face. On the back I painted 'BOO!'. I also painted the lid black. Any jar will work. It gives a fun glow to the house at night and I plan to line front step and my back porch with these jars come Halloween night!

Next week I plan on painting out a green Frankenstein monster to see how well that will work out!