Showing posts with label WFMW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WFMW. Show all posts

Knee Socks as Armwarmers | Works for Me Wednesday {vlog}

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

UPDATE: So, apparently the audio isn't working. I can't figure out why I can hear the original and the edited versions, but nothing in the uploaded one. I'm working on it!

UPDATE 2: I started from scratch with a new video. What a hassle! 

Hi there! Long time no see. As usual, many reasons but no excuses. Today I decided to do a quick vlog. I threw my hands up and said, "screw it." I figured if I waited until my hair looked nice, the house was clean, I put makeup on, I had something important to say etc. etc. I'd never blog or vlog again.

So, here I am showing you one piece of my 3 Day gear. I've been wearing these arm warmers lately and getting lots of comments and questions from people I train with.

Put Your Library on Your Smartphone | Works For Me Wednesday

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hello, my name is Melanie and I'm an addict. A book addict. I know, I know. You're probably thinking there are worse things to be addicted to. I wholeheartedly agree. The problem is, I tend to buy the same book multiple times.

My library has a used book store. They're my dealers. I stop in every time I'm in the area. OK, sometimes when I'm not, too. I can get trade sized paperbacks for $2.50 at the most but I generally stick the $1 cart. How can I pass that up? I can't, that's how. But, I get so excited I can't remember if I have a title at home or not. I've probably spent about $15 buying repeat titles. $15 isn't alot in the grand scheme of things, but that's 15 books I haven't read, wasted.

When I came home with my second copy of Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakthrough, I got so mad at myself I knew I had to figure out something. I was going to write all my 'To Be Read' titles in the notebook I carry in purse, but this 2011. It took me a minute to figure out a solution, but I'm pleased with the results. 

There are 14 photos total

I took pictures of my book stash, put them in a folder on my computer and uploaded them into the photos section of my iPod. If I had a smartphone it would be a little easier, especially when I bring new books home. But, since I always have my iPod with me, for now the system is working. I scrolled through the pics the other day and they saved me from bringing home See Jane Date. Again.

I hope this Works For Me Wednesday trick helps my fellow 
literary addicts!

Storing Christmas Decorations: Works for Me Wednesday

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday. But I dread decorating because of how much stuff I have and how long it takes me to set up and take down. I used to spend hours putting everything away. It took me a few years, but I finally figured out a storage system that works for me.

I have several tubs for storing my Christmas stuff but they were a jumbled and chaotic mess. Every year I'd start decorating and it looked like Santa's Workshop exploded in my living room. Last year I reached my limit. My anal side couldn't take it anymore. I spread everything out, grouped like items and started labeling.

It took me hours but it was totally worth it. This year, I was able to find exactly what I wanted and didn't need to open some of the bins at all. I grouped all the like items together into their own tote. All the tree decorations are together; my cards, bows and gift wrap are together, etc.

Each tub has pieces of masking tape with an item written on each piece. If I rearrange or get rid of something it's easy to pull off the tape.

Things are labeled within the totes, too. Before the reorganization, I had a ton of tiny gift bags scattered between the bins. Now they are all in a 2-gallon zipper bag in the gift wrap tote. I also had a lot of little things, like tape or treat bags, that would get lost in the totes. I now have two gift wrap cutters and enough pop up tape to last me another four Christmases because I thought I didn't have any and bought more only to find them when I started wrapping. Now, I have another giant zipper bag with a label taped to the inside with all the contents listed.

My sanity has been restored! I don't have to dread the decorating process anymore. Now that I'm organized I can spread it out over a few days.

Do you have a storage system for decorations? Please spill in case I can be even more organized!

Works for Me Wednesday: Keeping Track of What's in Your Garage Freezer

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Phil and I have said for years that when we finally bought a house we'd have a freezer in the garage. My mom has had the same freezer for almost 30 years. I've seen how it helps her save money by buying in bulk. We wanted to be able to do the same.

We've been looking for a skinny upright freezer for ages but never found one we liked. We didn't want to get a chest freezer because we knew something would get buried on the bottom and get totally petrified and we'd have to throw it away, defeating the purpose of cost savings.

When we got our tax refund I threw in the towel on an upright and we bought a small chest freezer from Wal Mart. It took me awhile but I thought of a way that I can keep track of what's inside without having to open it and root around.

I had some leftover 3M picture hooks from Christmas (the kind with the non-permanent backing) and I stuck one to the outside of the freezer. I got a piece of paper, a pen, Sharpie and a sheet protector.

Whenever I go shopping, as I unload the groceries I write down exactly what I'm putting into the freezer along with a date and the quantity. When I take something out, I cross it off the list. Now, if I want to thaw something, say chicken breast, I can look at the list hanging on the side of the freezer and see if I have any chicken breasts and how many.

When I went to my mom's for Easter we went to Costco and split several items. I'm going to ask if any of my neighbors want to split a Costco run, an order from Omaha Steaks (their burgers are SO good!) or maybe a session at Dream Dinners (used to go all the time).

It's been really helpful to have a complete list, and with it hanging on the outside, I save energy not having to open the freezer to search in vain for something I thought was there but isn't.

For other things that work, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Works for Me Wednesday: Frugal Valentine's Day 2010

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I got the idea to post this tip from one of the comments on my Valentine's Day picture. Stephanie thought they were all my Valentine's Day gift. Only one of the boxes (the big one with the ribbon center) was a gift. Hubs gave it to me last year. I got the others during my time as a Godiva employee.

Aside: Yes, I loved being around chocolate all day, no, I didn't get tired of chocolate and yes, we
had to eat it all the time. I know, tough life, right?

We got a killer discount even on sale merchandise so I started collecting them to use as part of my decorating. Most people don't know that you don't have to fill the heart with Godiva pieces. You can purchase just the empty heart box and it becomes a neat keepsake.

I wanted to make sure I got one of this year's designs because i
t's really pretty. I bought an empty heart then filled it with the hubs' favorite candies. I did the same thing last year. It might become a tradition. He doesn't like "fouffy" candy and most of what I buy comes from the dollar store and See's. (shhhh, don't tell Godiva)
Buying an empty heart is significantly less expensive than buying a pre-filled one, but those tend to go really fast since most people prefer to customize their gifts over buying the pre-filled hearts. We had so many customers bring in their empty hearts year after year to be filled. It was awesome to see some of the designs from years ago. 

Another option is to take a chance and wait until the day after Valentine's Day. If there are any pre-filled heart boxes left in the stores they'll be half off (and since Godiva is now $40 a pound that's an excellent deal!). You'll have the keepsake heart and the chocolates. Bonus!

But, unless the economy is hurting sales, people will be lined up waiting outside the store the day after a holiday to snatch up anything left over. The day after Valentine's Day is the the most popular time to hit the store (at least that was my experience years ago). The hearts are shipped to the store in their own cardboard box so make sure to ask the staff if they have any left over. They're perfect for storage.

Do you have any Valentine's Day traditions?

Works for Me Wednesday: Emergency Forms for Caregivers

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My son had nannies until he was 4. For our family, it was what worked the best. I wanted all the information necessary in case of any type of emergency to be readily available.

I created this Emergency Contact Info packet for our caregiver's to use. I created the forms in Microsoft Word. I taped the Emergency Contact form inside the pantry.

(Click on thumbnails to view larger PDF)

I also had, in an envelope taped to the pantry, the following other forms:

1. A second copy of the Emergency Contact form
2. A copy of his birth certificate
3. The fingerprints we had done as part of a Child ID kit
4. A Consent for Treatment form I found online and modified
5. A copy of his immunization record
6. Fingernail clippings (totally morbid, I know, but I’m prone to paranoia)
7. A copy of his medical card

I showed our nanny all the forms and had her sign the consent for treatment. Fortunately, we never needed to use any of this information. I don't believe we can be too careful when it comes to our children. It may seem like overkill, but I took comfort in being prepared for anything, and it made leaving my child with someone else a little easier.

*For other helpful tips, head over to Shannon's.
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Works for Me Wednesday: 5 Ingredients or Less Caramel Layer Squares

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I love this edition of WFMW and I'm looking forward to reading all the easy meal recipes. I've been making this dessert for years. It's quick and SOO good! I get raves every time I make it.

Evaporated milk (small can)
Chocolate chips
German Chocolate cake mix (pudding style)

Light caramels*
Chopped nuts (That's 6, but they're optional!)

Special tools
Double boiler**

Part A

1/3 c evaporated milk

1 14 oz. package of light caramels

Part B
1 box of German Chocolate cake mix
1/2 c melted butter

1/3 c evaporated milk

Part C
1/4 c chopped nuts
1 6 oz bag of chocolate chips

1. Combine the caramels and evaporated milk in a double boiler on low heat, stirring often until melted. Remove from heat.

2. Combine cake mix, butter, evaporated milk and nuts until just moistened and mix holds together.

3. Spread just over half the dough in a thin layer into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan.

4. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

5. Pour melted caramel over dough. Sprinkle with half the chocolate chips.

6. Drop remaining dough in bite sized chunks over caramel and chips. Top with remaining chips.

7. Bake 16-18 additional minutes. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

These are awesome warm and topped with ice cream! Enjoy! (I will try to update with a plated picture. They weren't cool enough to cut yet)

*It's getting harder to find bags of individually wrapped caramels. I used to buy the Kraft ones but haven't seen those for at least a year unless it's around Thanksgiving. This is the first time I've used Werther's. I only bought (2) 5.5 oz bags and wished I had more pieces.

**I have never used a microwave for melting the caramel, but I'm sure it can be done.

For more WFMW visit Shannon's place.

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Works for me Wednesday- Repurpose Your Business Card Case

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My last job was the first time I ever had business cards of my own and didn't have to handwrite my name on the blank ones. So I went to the Coach outet and bought a super cute leather case in pink (purple came out later, grrr!).

Then I lost my job and all that cuteness stayed in the bottom of my purse like an old pack of gum. So I've given it new life.

The first is not much of a stretch as it involves business cards. I started keeping all the appointment cards from the doctor, dentist, pediatrician, nail salon, hair salon etc. so I have the office name and address of all our important contacts handy. Yes, I have them in my Palm and cell. But it was invaluable when I dropped my Razr (cheap piece of crap!). It died and I had to re-enter all my contacts into the new phone.

The second re-purpose came to me on a night out. I wanted to take a small clutch but didn't like the idea of my cash, ID and credit card loose inside.
I emptied all the above business cards and it fits everything perfectly. The case is easy to find in a dimly lit bar and I don't have to worry about something falling out while I'm digging for my lip gloss.

For other ways to make your life easier head over to Shannon's.
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Works for Me Wednesday: Kids and Proper Handwashing

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I will admit upfront that this was a bit manipulative on my part, but it worked! For some reason, my son would either fib and tell me he washed his hands after using the restroom when he actually hadn't, or he'd pass just the top digits of his fingers through the cold water without soap.

I was getting frustrated and nagging him a lot. We'd had the talk about using the restroom and germs.
I was even considering getting one of those kits with the glow in the dark powder to demonstrate how germs spread. But the solution turned out to be a lot easier.
I'd stocked up on foaming antibacterial hand soap during a Bath and Body works sale. I use foam instead gel soap because otherwise my son leaves little snail trails all over the sink.

One day, after he came out of the bathroom, I asked if he'd washed and he said, "yes, see?" and turned his hands back and forth in front of my face. He was so close, I could smell the lingering scent of the soap (I think it was Sweet Pea) and I thought A Ha!
The next time he used the loo, I asked again about the washing but this time said, "I don't believe you." He got a little upset and I took him into the bathroom.
Me: You know why I don't think you washed your hands very well?
Drama Kid: No, why?
Me: Because I can't smell anything.
DK: [looks totally confused]
Me: Here, let me show you.
I wash my hands really well, scrubbing both sides and dry them.
Me: Now smell my hands. Can you smell the soap?
DK: [knows he been caught] Yes, I smell it.
Me: These soaps I buy all have a different smell. So if you tell Mommy you washed your hands, but I can't smell anything, I'll know you were lying. And lying is a what?
DK: A big no no in our house.
Me: That's right, now wash again please.
So now, he knows I'm checking for the smell! And he gets in trouble for lying, not the poor hand washing. Kinda sneaky, but he washes better and I don't sound like a broken record anymore.
Is handwashing another sore spot in your house? How did you deal with it?

*Don't forget to enter my contest before this Friday!
For more tips head over to Shannon's
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I Need a Support Group and My Food Journal

Last Friday I went down into San Diego for my every-eight-weeks hair appointment (see photo, the bangs are new). Since I was allll the way down there, I decided, as usual, to go to my happy place, my nirvana, a little slice of heaven on earth:

Fashion Valley Mall. Sigh. I love that mall. It's so full of shopping promise. Granted, pretty soon I'll only be able to shop in the JC Penney wing (we're getting an H&M!!) because of all the high end stores that are coming (Jimmy Choo! Kate Spade!) but I don't care.

I can happily browse for hours surrounded by all the pretty things. Add a piece of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory and it really is like a drug high for me (although, never having done drugs I'm not sure I can really say that, but you know what I mean). And despite me saying to myself, "No more spending! Budget! Budget! Budget!" I didn't leave empty handed.

In my defense, Bath and Body Works is having a massive sale (the sugar scrub? 75% off!). AND I needed the hand soaps for tomorrow's Works for Me Wednesday. AND my current MAC face powder is so old it's making me break out. (Are you buying it? No? Well it's the truth, so there!)

I have zero impulse control! Zero! Why can't I not control myself when it comes to green leafy veggies? Or housecleaning? Or spontaneous s*x with Drama Dad? Any of those would be much better financially (and make DD
really happy!) than my secret shopping. Sigh.

I HAVE to get better at not spending. Which means I'll be at home. A lot. To minimize the temptation.

On another note, I realize I haven't posted my food journal in a few days. I saw a neighbor friend over the weekend. She said I look a little thinner. Yeah! I have to say, the food journal at least makes me pause a little because I know I'll have to write down whatever I'm about to eat AND post it here. So, here's what I've eaten since Monday 6/9:

Strawberry smoothie from Panera Bakery (love that place!)
Bagel with peanut butter
Lean Cuisine
Tazo Apple tea
Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte
100 Calorie Oreo pack
100 Calorie Chips Ahoy pack

Rice (2 helpings, I'd rather eat all the sides than the main)
Mike's Hard Lemonade (the redder the better!)
1 piece of Godiva

Chai tea latte
Peanut butter cracker
Small cake sample at Costco
15 Goldfish pretzels
Bottled water with Lipton To Go
3 Hershey's Bliss chocolates
4 Gummy Bears
Pasta with marinara sauce

1 bowl of Cornflakes
My smoothie
Chick fil A (free fried food rocks!)

Granola bar
Jamba Juice breakfast meal
Hamburger Helper with ground turkey (won't do that again!)
Bottled water with Lipton to Go
Skinny Cow Vanilla Caramel cone

Odwalla bar
Mini cheese pizza from Trader Joe's
2 bowls of cereal (Capn' Crunch with Crunchberries and Golden Grahams)
Bottled water with Lipton To Go

Sunday (Father's Day, hubby made breakfast)
Baked potato
Corn on the cob
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie with vanilla ice cream (thanks Bakearella, it was really good!)

2 bowls of Golden Grahams
Jamba Juice breakfast meal
Chicken mini tacos from Costco (SO good!)
Refried beans with shredded cheese
3 Redvines
1 package lemon creme cookies
Chai tea latte

Is anyone else keeping a food journal? How's it working for you?

*Don't forget to enter my contest before Friday!

Works for Me Wednesday: A Bedwetting Solution for Parents

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Even though my son is in elementary school, we still have a problem with nighttime accidents. He was wearing underwear to bed and waking up in the night to use the restroom, but something happened about six months ago and he started wetting again.

The accidents were happening almost every night and it was really hard to keep up with the laundry not to mention tiring! Everyone was crabby and tired the next day, especially me because once I'm awake, it's really hard to get to sleep again.

I needed a faster way to take care of the bedding at night without digging through the linen closet for clean sheets and turning on all the lights so I could see what I was doing. So, I came up with a layering technique.

First, I bought a waterproof mattress cover.

Next, I bought another cover, but this one is a quilted mattress cover to give the bed some softness. That goes over the plastic cover. I went to Wal Mart and bought three sets of the exact same fitted sheets. 

I also dug up the small rectangular mattress protector pads we used when my son was still in a crib. I put a sheet on top of the quilted cover, then a crib protector, a sheet, crib protector, a last fitted sheet then the top sheet and quilt.

When he has an accident, now I don't need any light besides his night light. While he's changing into dry PJ's, I peel off a layer and straighten the top sheet and quilt over the new dry layer. If by chance he wet the top sheet or quilt too, I just cover him with one of the blankets we keep draped over the rocking chair.

This layering system has helped SO much! It's fast and not needing to turn on the lights means everyone can get back to bed while they're still groggy and fall back to sleep faster.

I think this system has also helped him take charge of the situation and not feel as embarrassed about it. If he wakes up and doesn't need help, he can peel a layer himself without waking us up. We told our son many times that bedwetting isn't he fault and he shouldn't feel bad about it. Some kids just need extra time for their bodies to adjust. I hope this is something the will work for your family, too. 

What has helped at your house? Do you have your own system?

This post has affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may get a small commission.

Works for Me Wednesday: Cheap model kits for boys

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I don't know about you, but the end of the school year is sending me into a panic. My 5 year olds last day of kindergarten is in a few days. Since I was working until recently, I've never had to deal with the summer boredom blues.

Now, I'm faced with keeping DS entertained without spending a lot of money.
In looking for craft ideas, it seems the store shelves are either full of sparkly, feathery things to make, or are a little more complicated than my son can handle without getting impatient and frustrated.

I went to Michaels looking for model kits that he could do with little supervision. I lucked out with these. I bought six kits: a tank, helicopter, fighter jet, tri-plane, railroad train, and racecar.

Each kit comes with the paint, paint brush, glue and sandpaper.

Some of the pieces, like the ones from the tank kit, are small so be careful around younger children.

The instructions call for the pieces to be sanded and painted before assembly, so it's a great "start now, finish when your father gets home" project.

And the best part, they were only $1 each!

For more "Mom, I'm bored" ideas head on over to Shannon's.

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Works for Me Wednesday: Rechargable Batteries and the Wii

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When we got our Wii around the holidays, we found we were going through batteries like crazy. We have 4 remotes and three nunchuks and several hours of playing would really take a toll.

I felt bad about all the batteries we were throwing away. I've been wanting to go greener at home and started looking for a rechargeable kit.

I found the eneloop battery system by Sanyo at our Costco. The best part of the system is that they come already charged and ready to use! The kit also has an adapter that will convert a AA battery into a square D or round C. I've never seen that with any other system.

The kit was very reasonably priced ($25 I remember correctly) and so are the expansion packs.

Happy playing!

*For other great tips head over to Shannon's place.

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