Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wretched - Kirk Cameron

"Instead of giving us justice like we deserve, He's paid our fine. Jesus spilled His blood for us and adopted us into His family..." ~ Kirk Cameron

You are loved by an almighty God.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Time Management and Using Our Time Wisely

Our time is a gift from God. We must be sure to use it wisely.
Dear Friends,
This is a combination of two posts that I published a year ago back in July 2010.  I've put them both together as I feel the importance of having a household notebook is worth repeating. 
I have a three ring binder in my kitchen that I keep important paperwork that I want close at hand. I'll show you pictures in another post. Everyone needs a household notebook to keep themselves organized. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to buy a three ring notebook and a 3 hole punch if you don't already own one.

I learned today, yesterday for all of you reading, that I NEED a new section in my household notebook. I spent a little more than three hours of my life today at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). My oldest daughter is now at the age where she gets a regular driver's license, no restrictions. I had to take her to the MVD to get this taken care of and a parent needed to be present. There were already about 20 people sitting in chairs, not bad for my local MVD, and I knew I needed to settle in for about an hour to hour and a half wait. Thankfully I had my iPod to listen to some great podcasts, like the one I produce Making Our Home a Haven. (shameless plug)

What should have been an orderly event became total chaos, you don't need all the details but lets just say the number system they had in place was NOT effective and frustration and chaos ensued among the masses. I swore, and I don't swear, that NEVER again would I go there unless I am one of the first in line. I took note of their hours. They open at 8 am. I WILL be there at 7:30 am camping out like I'm waiting for a concert to be one of the first the next time I have to go.

Here is where the household notebook comes into play. I now have a new page that lists special hours and days for different places. I've included in it the hours of urgent care, hours when I can first call the doctor in the morning, hours and days when my hair dresser works, the vets special hours and more. I've always had a page with phone numbers, but I've never listed the hours. Some of these places you forget when they open because you don't go there often. With two more children in line to get driver's licenses, I will be going back to the MVD and I never want to forget that they open at 8:00 and that I must get there by 7:30. It is also a good idea to write down what type of documentation is necessary to bring. I always have to show proof of residency by presenting a utility bill with our address. I wrote that in the notes section of this as well.

Ok, I am a little more relaxed now after typing this and I think my risk of stroke has passed. Be sure to get yourself a pretty notebook and we will be covering more of this soon. I hope you all have a wonderful day that goes smooth with minimal frustrations. And if you do get frustrated today, can you learn something from it to prevent those same frustrations from occurring again?

Here is the second and final part on how to make a household notebook.

In the first picture above you get a glimpse into my kitchen.  I have a small section of counter between the refrigerator and pantry.  It's only good for making coffee and storing a cookbook and my household notebook, the white binder on the right.

Inside the binder I have folders that I punched with a three hole punch.  These are the folders that open up and have a pocket on each side.  This week they are on sale at Walgreen's for .09 each!  The white folder above says "menus" and it holds take out menus from restaurants in the area.  The other folders hold items for different activities such as Boy Scouts and other things we're involved in.

This calendar is one that was printed that shows Boy Scout activities.  Keep that three hole punch handy and it is easy to punch your holes and pop papers in the binder.

Here is a card holder.  This holds cards that I want from time to time, but they don't need to be in my purse.

In the above picture, it shows the divider tabs.  I have one for each member of the family.

I use my household notebook to hold things I want close at hand. This book originally came about because I would get piles of papers in my kitchen. These pieces of paper were things I wanted to keep for short term, less than a year, or that I wanted in my kitchen. You know when you sign your child up for an activity you get some important papers. I didn't necessarily want to file those papers in my file cabinet, what I consider long term filing. I wanted them more at my fingertips so they go in my household notebook.  I keep important school papers for the kids in the notebook as well, such as science fair information.  I used to use it to hold my cleaning schedule but I have that on the computer now.  I know some people use it for their bills.  I don't hold bills in it, but I have my budget in there.  There are various notes to myself that I keep in the household notebook that I want close at hand.  If you remember I wrote a page out of days and hours that various places were in operation.  My household notebook has changed over the years and has evolved into what works best for our home.  Basically though, if there is a piece of paper lying around the kitchen and it isn't trash or doesn't have a home elsewhere, chances are it will go into the household notebook. 

I also have heard of people putting their address book and phone numbers in their household book.  I keep my phone numbers in a Rolodex by the phone, but you might want your phone numbers in the book.  Something to think about.  Another thing to think about is using it to hold receipts for the month until you balance you bank statements.

One other section I have in the household notebook is notes for my menu planning.  Actually this is all in one of the pocket folders in the household notebook. 

Because of using this notebook, things are kept tidier in the kitchen and necessary items are at my fingertips.  I consider it to be a catch all of important mom information.  By the way, this is MY notebook.  I'm the one who adds and subtracts from it.  The family might use it to look up something, but they don't change anything in it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nancy Shares

Dear Friends,
In this short video below I am talking about how I am going to take How To Homemaker in a new direction. 
God Bless,

How To - Lets Prepare for Christmas, Starting Now!

I know it is July and Christmas is still 5 months away, but I wanted to give you a little to think about because the holidays will be here before we know it.

Make a list of people you know you will have to buy gifts for and keep your eyes open for things they would like that are on sale now.  I wouldn't recommend doing this for children as their wants change weekly as Christmas approaches.  Gifts for adults, teachers and so forth are who you can and should be thinking about now.

A second thing, because the holidays can be expensive, consider this tip.  Each time you go to the grocery store, buy yourself a $10 gift card to use during the holidays.  You might not notice an extra $10 each week now, but it will add up and will cover the cost of your holiday meals.  If you shop at a super store like I do, that extra gift card money can be used for gifts and toys for the kids as well.
One thing that is really important to note here though.  Some gift cards need to be used within the first 30 days.  If you don't use them in 30 days then there is a percentage of them deducted.  I despise those cards and will never buy them.  Ask though at the customer service.  There are plenty of places where you can get a gift card now and it never ever loses its value.

The third thing to work on is to get the craft projects started.  Are you making gifts, decorations, cards etc?  Get busy with them now.  While the weather is HOT, too hot to be outside, spend those afternoon hours crafting and creating to prepare for the holidays.  Host a crafting Christmas in July party for your family and friends where you all work on your projects.  All the fabric stores have holiday fabric on the shelves and many are having Christmas in July sales.  Craft stores also have holiday items in stock.  So get busy!

Finally, take some time now to develop a budget, or spending plan, for the holidays and stick to it.  Think creatively for ways to save money.  By planning now, you are ahead of the game.  If you start watching the sales now or making your own gifts and decorations, you may even come in under budget.  What a good thing that would be! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear 16 Year Old Me - Be Aware

Dear Friends.
Please take 5 minutes to watch this important video and share it with your children and those you love. My girls love to spend time in the sun. They and their friends and their brother and everyone...We all need to be aware.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How To - Make a Kitchen Fire Extinguisher

Hi Friends,
Having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen is a must!  You can't beat a commercial fire extinguisher for doing its job, but for small fat and grease fires that flare up on the kitchen range or under the oven broiler, baking soda will put out the flames effectively.  Then, after a quick rinse, your food might still be edible.

Fill a clean, 1 pound coffee can nearly full with baking soda.  Cover the can snugly with its plastic lid so that the soda will not lump.  Wrap the can in a bright red piece of paper.  Write on the paper FOR FIRE ONLY.  Place the can near your stove but not on it.  If a grease fire occurs, quickly rip the lid off and toss the soda on the flames. 

If you don't have baking soda, you can use salt in the same manner.  While salt is cheaper, it merely smothers the fire with its weight while baking soda both smothers and produces fire-stopping carbon dioxide.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  ALWAYS HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER ON HAND.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

How To - Make a Map of Your Grocery Store

Here is a tip that can save you hours over the course of a year. 

Make a map of your grocery store.  I do 99% of my shopping at one store.  It accepts coupons and matches prices and it is close to home!  There is no need for me to spend time or gas running from store to store to catch the sales at other places. 

The next time you are in your grocery store, take a notebook and pen.  Write down, Aisle 1 and what is in it.  For me it is produce, deli, and bakery.  Aisle 2 for me is bread, coffee, and tea.  Continue for each aisle. 

Next, on your computer, make a shopping map page according to the aisles.  Have the aisles typed along with what is in each aisle then leave a space between for writing your list.  As you make your weekly shopping list, write each item in the space of the appropriate aisle. 

I like to shop from the back of the store moving to the front.  On my paper, I have the first aisle listed as the aisle to the back of the store.  Then as I move down my shopping list I am working my way to the front of the store.  Doing this helps eliminate going down the same aisle multiple times and criss-crossing back and forth through the store needlessly.  I promise you that a little bit of time spent up front saves hours later.  For those of you with small impatient children, this will help you get in and out quickly

When you finish writing up your grocery map, make several copies to keep handy in the kitchen.  Teach your children how to use this shopping map too.  When they use the last of the ketchup, teach them to write it in under condiments (aisle 4 for me).  One more thing.  Some grocery stores provide a shopping map at their customer service desk.  This will save you time upfront from having to take the notes in your notebook. 

Here's to quick and efficient shopping!


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