Archive | September, 2013

5 Tips to Help Control the Paper You Kind of Need to Have Around

26 Sep

There are so many blog posts and tips out there with pictures of these beautifully organized offices – like this one:

beautiful home office

Or perfectly organized filing cabinets – like this one:

organized files

Or worse yet, perfectly organized offices and file cabinets that are also color coded – like these:

color coded files

organized office

Of course, I look at these types of pictures often and dream of a day when my life might be this organized.  Unfortunately, life is happening too fast around me to have the time it would take to transform my world – or at least the world in the drawers of the desk in our office to be as asthetically pleasing as they are functional.  Honestly, being a busy mom and business owner, I’m just happy when I know where the $10 coupon to JCPenney is, or where the receipt is for the Little League Banquet that we need to produce at the door.  For now, I have to be OK knowing that my phone bill’s for the last 2 (or more) years are sitting in a file folder – just not a beautifully color coded file …

That being said, I have some VERY EASY and VERY LOW TECH solutions that you may be able to adopt in your house to try and control the most important pieces of paper that suddenly become so elusive right when you need them.

Tip #1:  Where to corral the tickets and invitations

Supplies Needed:

1 cup hook

1 binder clip

The inside of a kitchen cabinet

After RSVP’ing to an invitation, or getting tickets to an event we will be attending, I have 1 place in our house where they go – clipped to our family calendar inside a cabinet door in the kitchen.

tickets and invitations

Tip #2:  How to keep the misc papers and coupons handy in your purse

Supplies Needed:

1 binder clip

Of all the low tech options you will see out there, this is possibly the most basic option – yet – it is VERY effective.  I walked around for years with various pieces of paper scattered about my purse – big and small.  Just keeping them all together with a binder clip automatically keeps my purse so much more organized.  And when the other moms seem to be digging around looking for a practice schedule or a school notice, I can produce one on demand.


Tip #3:  How to keep gift card and excess credit cards together

Supplies Needed:

1 zip top sandwich bag

OK, so I know I said in tip #2 that it was possibly the most basic option – but now I realize that this tip is  even more basic.  Some people may not have binder clips in their house, but I’m willing to bet that any busy mom on the go has a box of zip top sandwich bags in their kitchen.

One of the things I hate is when my wallet gets really overloaded.  When it does, I can’t seem to find anything at all – and depending on what purse I am using, it barely fits.

My solution for keeping all the miscellaneous gift cards and store credit cards I have is your run of the mill zip top sandwich bag.

Gift and Credit Cards

Tip #4:  How to keep paint chips, rosters and business cards with you

Supplies Needed:

1 plastic gift card holder

Several years ago, my son’s school sold gifts cards as a fundraiser.  For $1 they also sold these plastic sleeves to hold your gift cards.  Not thinking I would ever use it, I did end up buying one.  Looking back, that plastic holder has not left my purse in the last 7 ½ years…

On the left hand side there are 3 plastic sleeves that hold gift cards.  Since I use the super technical “sandwich bag” for my gift cards nowadays, I use these sleeves for various business cards – the Pediatric dentist, the Sports Medicine doctor that took care of my sons wrist, etc.  I also use it for various cards that I rarely use and my husbands business cards.

The right hand side has one big compartment – I think it was for various restaurant certificates in the program.  I use it to carry along rosters for my sons football team and paint chips for various rooms in our home.  These chips come in quite handy whenever I am in stores looking to buy something for our home.

paint chips, rosters and business cards

Tip #5:  Receipts, receipts, and more receipts

Supplies Needed:

1 wallet

2 plastic page protectors

1 pleather holder thingy… obviously not the technical term – see picture below

The one item of paper that seems to end up everywhere – besides the mail in my house – are receipts.

Reasons you should hold onto receipts:

Some can be discarded right away – like if you buy a pack of gum or some groceries

Some need to be held onto until you are sure you aren’t returning whatever it is you bought

Some need to be kept until the gift is given and the recipient is happy with it

Some should be held until you reconcile your credit card statement (I wish we did this in my house, but we don’t)

Some should be held because the store (or company) has a really generous return policy – like Home Depot – if a plant dies within a year you can return it for a new one

Some should be held onto so you know what and how much to buy next time – example – our landscaping rocks

Some should be held for tax purposes

Some should be held for business reasons

I could go on and on…

As long as you have a system – and realistic reasons for holding on to these annoying little pieces of paper – receipts don’t have to take over your life.

I always keep the receipts in my wallet until I am home – if they end up in shopping bags they tend to get lost easier:


Business receipts get put into plastic sleeves that go in a business binder until they are reconciled:


Home receipts are stored in our ‘pleather holder thingy’ until it can be either thrown away, filed for tax purposes or filed within the appropriate file (like the landscaping folder).

home receipts

I hope you can take at least one of these tips to make your life easier.

Do you guys have any quick and easy tips to corral the day to day paper we are all faced with?  Please share your ideas or tips by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of  We specialize in Baptismal, First Communion and Confirmation apparel for boys and girls.

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Encourage & Support Your Kids

23 Sep

Encourage & support your kids because “Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.

– Lady Bird Johnson
parents encouraging kids offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

I’m In Love! And I Made An ABC Box

19 Sep

I’m in LOVE!!!                 with chalkboard paint.

chalkboard paint

I’ve seen so many cute projects on Social Media that use chalkboard paint and I finally decided to give it a try.  I figured I better start pretty small since my interest in crafts far outweighs my crafting ability….

I found an old index card box lying around in our office and thought that this would be something I could work with.  When I think of chalkboards, I think of school (when I went to school and they actually had chalkboards…) and then I thought of learning to write.

My niece Molly is 2, and can recognize her letters.  She can’t write properly yet, but she loves to put pen/pencil/crayons/markers to paper.  She once even demonstrated her artistic ability on my sisters freshly painted walls at home!!!  I thought this little box would be something she could carry around with her and play with.

Even though I was a little nervous (going back to my ‘crafting ability’ comment above), I jumped right in and gathered some supplies:


The bottle called for 2 coats of paint and it certainly had good coverage – even on the first coat.  After waiting an hour, I applied the second coat.

ABC box - painting cover

Because the box has texture, I was afraid it may have needed a third coat – to fill in the tiny crevices and make a smoother writing surface.  I decided to test it out after I let it dry overnight.

testing ABC box

If it was for an extra special project that was going to get a lot of use, I would have probably added a third coat.  This project is for a two year old that will play with it for a few minutes and probably forget about it as she goes on to the next toy so 2 coats of paint is enough.

I finished the project with a little personalization so she could see the letters in her name.  Voila!

ABC box - final touches

Update:  Here is Molly with her finished ABC box…

Molly with ABC box

Have you ever used chalkboard paint?  What did you think – yeah or nay?  Share your thoughts with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Enjoy The Little Things In Life…

16 Sep

2013-09-16 enjoy the little things

Come visit for a wide selection of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

How to Clean With Vinegar

12 Sep

Let’s face it folks, vinegar can be used more than to just color Easter eggs or de-scale your Keurig machine (if you own one you know what I mean – or at least you should know about itto extend the life of your machine).  It’s so tempting to run out and buy all of these ‘specialty’ cleaners that are out there on the market for every little thing in your house – but in the end, you’ve spent a lot of money, have a lot of ‘toxic’ bottles in your cleaning arsenal – and your house is no cleaner than if you just used good old fashioned vinegar.

Here are some uses for vinegar that you may, or may not have, thought of….


Wash your floors – just add about a ½ cup of white vinegar per gallon of warm water and mop your floors.  The vinegar will cut through any grease and grime and is safe for most floors.

 clean floors


Clean your stainless steel shower heads #1 – To remove the mineral buildup that you can get on your shower heads (or kitchen faucet) you can put white vinegar in a plastic bag and ‘tie’ it on to your shower head for a few hours.  WORD OF CAUTION – In some articles I’ve read, folks have commented that the vinegar can almost ‘eat through’ the finish on showerheads that are actually coated plastic shower heads.  Also, I would be careful if you have a very delicate finish on your shower heads or a fancy ‘bronze’ finish.

 clean shower head


Clean your stainless steel shower heads #2 – If you don’t want to try method #1 above because you don’t want to ‘submerge’ your fixture in vinegar, you can take an old tooth brush, dip it in vinegar and ‘scrub’ the area that has the mineral build-up,.  This method will take more elbow grease because you will almost have to wait for the vinegar to break through the buildup, but maybe add this to your weekly cleaning routine so you stay ahead of the game.

 Clean faucet


Clean the microwave – Vinegar can soften any tough food particles AND remove any odors from your microwave.  All you need to do is get a little microwave safe bowl and put ½ white vinegar and ½ hot water in the bowl.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  When it’s done, all you need to do is wipe down the microwave with paper towels or a soft cloth.

 clean microwave


Clean your refrigerator – You can use a mixture of ½ water and ½ white vinegar to wipe down the shelves and walls of your refrigerator.  It’s non-abrasive to the finish and freshens up the fridge while removing any food residues.

 clean refrigerator


Clean the grout on your tile floor – Pour undiluted white vinegar on the group and let sit for a few minutes.  Scrub the grout clean by using an old toothbrush.  In researching this blog post, I decided to try this.  As you can see from the pictures, I am pretty embarrassed at how dirty the grout has become on my kitchen floor.  I’ve washed the floor with a mop using vinegar before, but pouring vinegar directly on the grout, letting it sit for only 5 minutes and then scrubbing with an old toothbrush resulted in a very embarrassing middle picture.  I have a LOT of work to do since I have a pretty big area of tile to cover since the same floor spans a very large part of the first floor of my home….

 clean grout


“Yucky” spray – When my son was small he thought it was funny to say “stupid”.  Since he wasn’t allowed to say it, it suddenly became his favorite thing to say…  My sister told me that when her boys were younger, she used ‘yucky’ spray to spray the bad words out of their mouth.  We had nothing to lose, so we decided to try it – and what do you know, IT WORKED!!!  When we first used it, my son was quite upset because he didn’t realize what was coming, but he was not hurt and it certainly got the message across.  The funny thing was, he was sitting on my lap a little while after we used it, and suddenly I started smelling a salad – then I realized, it was my son – he actually smelled like a salad.

 “Yucky” Spray Recipe:

  • Small spray bottle
  • White Vinegar
  • Water       

Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in spray bottle.  Put one spray in mouth of child that has some yucky words in their mouth to get rid of the words that shouldn’t be in their mouth.

I know, I know, Super Nanny would be horrified, but sometimes a parent has to do what a parent has to do… you need to decide if this is worth trying in your home.  The only problem was, he started liking the taste of the “yucky” spray… it was no longer as effective as it once was, but the word “stupid” was long gone from his vocabulary.

 yucky spray


Clean coffee maker – Over time, mineral deposits can build up and clog up your coffee maker.  Fill the water reservoir with white vinegar and run it through the coffee maker with a ‘brew cycle’.  Let the coffee maker sit for 4 hours.  Put clean water in the reservoir and run clean water through the brew cycle.  If you still sense a ‘vinegar’ scent, then run through the clean water cycle a few more times.  If you have a Keurig machine, be sure to follow the instructions in your users manual.



Boiling eggs without cracking – When you are making hard boiled eggs, you can reduce the risk of the shells cracking in the hot water by adding two tablespoons of white vinegar to the water. The eggs won’t crack, and the shells will peel off easier when you’re ready to eat them.


 boiling eggs

Can you share any other tips or tricks that you have used vinegar for?  Please share with us by commenting on this post.


Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of  Come visit us to see our complete line of Baptismal and First Communion clothing and accessories for both boys and girls.

Let Them Overhear The Nice Things

9 Sep

If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.

– Haim Ginott

women talking offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.


Please Excuse the Mess…

2 Sep

Please Excuse the Mess... offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.