Crucial Planning Steps. For the “Daily Grind”

Hi guys!

Here are my videos for today.  This is a message that CAN’T be missed!  If you’re feeling the overwhelm in your life, business or situation, check out these videos!  Sorry there are 2, but the feed froze (wonk-wonk).  Enjoy!

 

It’s My First Haul, Y’all!! Rose’s/Maxway & Dollar Tree

If you’ve been looking for great deals for fall, like inexpensive 3 wick candles and glass jar candles, do not skip this post!! There are some incredible deals at Roses/Maxway and Dollar Tree! I’m about to show you my first haul y’all!

Here’s pics of what I found while at Roses.  I found the BEST smelling Red Velvet 3 wick candle and it was only $2.99, y’all!!!!  I was floored.  I would’ve gotten it, but I have a ton of candles as it is.  Oh, on a side note, if you want to elongate the life of your candles, check out this post.  You’ll be amazed!

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If you find anything, let me know!  I need stuff too!!  lol

See y’all later,

Tonya

Our Front Yard Makeover! It Was a HOT MESS!

This is a significant upgrade for our house.  You SEE what it looked like before.  Actually it looked MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse before that!  There were 3 layers of rock & weed barrier that had to be dug up and there was grass and weeds growing all in between.  Like I said, a HOT MESS.  These are the best of the worst pictures of our yard!  lol

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Here’s my mint bush growing out of control.  It had taken over half of the sidewalk leading to the front door.img_20160629_095315.jpgimg_20160629_095444.jpg

If you take a closer look you can see my daughter’s little birdhouse is even run down & condemned!img_20160629_095434.jpg

This pile of bricks (graciously left by the builder & sitting in the garage forever) had been moved to the front porch to be used, then inspiration must have left.  They sat there for almost a year!  You can see the remnants of the pea gravel, pebbles & egg rock I mentioned earlier.

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This is how the tree looked after its update.  It had those same white pebbles & egg rock as the front of the house.  They were dug out and replaced with this rich, black mulch.  img_20160629_095421.jpg

But it will have to be redone again because the weed barrier wasn’t put down first. Doh!  Or we could opt to spray it forever with grass/weed killer.  Nah, we’ll put the barrier down.  At some point…   So we did put down an unorthodox barrier for the front porch area.  I saw some renditions of this on Pinterest.  They said to use 2 layers of overlapping cardboard to block the weeds & grass.  Well, in times past we had enough cardboard.  But with our recent arts & crafts revolution, we came up short.  An entire layer short.  Instead of going to get more (my energy was high, the weather was finally cooperating so there wasn’t any stopping me now), I decided to use an old faithful trick.  Black trash bags.  Yup!  They block the sun, superheat what’s underneath & kill it, provide a weed barrier and make a nice complement to the black mulch I planned on adding.  Now you may laugh, think it’s ghetto or just not work, but we’d used this method without the cardboard & never saw a weed, grass, tree or anything.  The only thing that had succeeded was the mint bush.  But it didn’t grow where we put the liner.  It grew over it!  Stupid smart plant…(by the way, if you didn’t know, mint is super aggressive.  It’ll grow through and under your sidewalk.  Pluck it out by the root if you want to get rid of it.  Also, it’s best in a container so it doesn’t take over your yard.

Here’s how it looked after we put down the cardboard, soaked it with the lawn sprinkler (the kind that sways back in forth like a rainbow).  While that was happening, I was cutting lawn bags in half.  It took about 8 if I remember correctly.  We had to work fast because it was CRAZY hot!  We had to wet it 2 or 3 times just to keep the cardboard soaked.

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The water also aided in laying down the bags.  They literally stuck to them!  We just made sure the edger bricks sat on top of the bags to seal the edge.

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We had our little hands & little feet helping, too!  Our daughter repotted some new plants I got on clearance from Lowe’s & you can see her watering them.img_20160629_124248.jpg  img_20160629_124259.jpg

Whew!  Finished with the cardboard & trash bags!img_20160629_130244.jpg

Mulch time!  I loved this mulch I got from Home Depot.  It was like threads of wood instead of chunks of bark.  It spreads well and has a great smell!img_20160629_131031.jpg

While my daughter & I worked on the front porch area, my husband & sons did the yard.  Cutting, edging & blowing.  We’d look pitiful on occasion & they’d bring more mulch over to spread.  It was starting to look gooooood!  img_20160629_131109.jpg

I decided I’d use the pavers to make a little design.  Originally, I was going to make a planter out of the pavers (some bright idea from Pinterest that just never happened), but I think they look nice here.img_20160629_131104.jpg

Then it happened.  We were down to the last 3 bags of mulch when my daughter mentioned that the mulch didn’t smell good.  I didn’t pay it too much mind.  She can be a little off the mark sometimes.  I kept going.  Then I noticed it too.  No more lovely smell.  It was a funky, what the world, did someone have tummy issues smell.  Then I looked.  The mulch was a different kind!  img_20160629_132248.jpg

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! img_20160629_132242.jpg

I almost cried.  It was hot, y’all.  I think my mind wasn’t working right.  The reaction was completely inappropriate for the situation.  But I was so disappointed.  My perfect plan was wisping away before my eyes.  Then I came up with a plan B.  Mix it!  No one had to know that there were 2 different types in there.  So I started mixing it until it looked like it came like that.  Besides, if you are that much of a nutbar that you are critiquing my mulch, you probably aren’t allowed in my house for me to hear your complaint anyway!img_20160629_133643.jpg

So here’s the finished look.  It’s a far cry from how it looked at the beginning of the post, right?

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Sorry the photo didn’t turn out better.  The rainy days of summer are upon us and I didn’t want to wait another day and it end up raining…again.  So next I think we’ll repaint the front door to match the mulch & shutters.  We also may repaint the mailbox.

I hope you were inspired.  Now we’re off to the next project!

Tonya

How I Made a KILLING at Dollar General Today! (Cheese Ball Lovers, This One’s For YOU!)

Hi guys,

I hit the motherload today when I stopped into my local Dollar General!  I was there for a big pack of styrofoam plates, when I got the urge to go to the back where the clearance was.  On the way there, I noticed a cart full of cheese balls.  I decided to keep going and check it out on the way back.  Probably just an employee stocking the shelf and left them there, right?  WRONG.  More about that in a bit…

I found a huge cart of Febreeze bedroom scents, Glade room sprays, those jelly room deodorizers and more marked down like crazy!!!  I didn’t get much from here since the scents were ones I wasn’t too familiar with.  But I did get these:

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Ginger Blossom
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Peach

The 2 air fresheners are the Dollar General brand and they come in a 2 pack.  They were marked down to $.75.  So was the Renuzit.  I think they are regularly $1.

Ok, back to the cheese balls!  How about they’d been marked down to $1.50!  I think they’re regularly $2-$3, so I decided to grab one.  But to my surprise & delight, when it rang up, it was only 50 CENTS!!!  So I ran and grabbed 2 more (I was planning on spending $1.50 initially anyway, right?  May as well get 3 times as much for the same price).  The checkout lady was shocked.  They’d just been $1 the day before!

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So what did I do with them?  I grabbed a big dipping spoon, some zip top sandwich bags and went to work!  By the time I was done with one container, I’d had 17 bags of cheese balls!  I stowed some of them away in a large container (another old Dollar General find) and left about 7 bags on the counter for the kids to have a quick little snack.  I know they’ll love them!
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So, head on down to your Dollar General!  Who knows what discounted goodies you’ll find.

Until next time, try NOT to kill your kids!

Tonya

 

FABULOUS Dollar Tree Finds!

Hi guys! Have I got some stuff for YOU! I found some incredible things at my local dollar tree this week and I can’t help but share. First, be aware that the SPRING COLORS are out! Yes!!! So all those gorgeous greens, terrific teals and awesome oranges are out! Not to mention the hot pink. So if you have favorite organization staples, go check out your Dollar Tree.

Ok, here’s what I’ve been finding that just amazed me.

1. Portable File boxes!!! YESSSSS! I’ve been looking for something like this forever. I got rid of my big desk in my office, which means I got rid of my storage (wonk wonk). But Dollar Tree came to my rescue! Here’s what these bad boys look like.

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Awesome, right?  And even though I thought it wouldn’t be that big, this box is spacious!  It measures approximately 10¼x12¼x6″ and has a flip top lid.

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I am currently housing 19 file folders in here.  About half are empty, but STILL!  19 folders and only about HALF are empty!  The box is still only half full!!  This is a steal at $1.  Now, I will say this:  they go a bit far in the description when they say the box is so sturdy that it makes hauling a load of files around easy.  Ummm….NO.  I tore mine when I was trying it out.  So I would not suggest using the holes provided.  It’s just not THAT sturdy.  Or maybe I had too much in mine (I was doing taxes  :-/  ).

So, you guys know how I cam.  I’m not going to leave this box like it is.  My office is black, white & gold.  So cardboard will never do.  I found this lovely black & white floral contact paper (that on anything else I would have hated) and covered the box.  Voila!

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I am in love!  I can put all my stuff in it and still have a ton of space.  I had to make one last upgrade.  I went all Pinterest on my box…BAM!  The attached calendar!

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I bought 2, so I may just use the other for tax storage.  I may or may not cover the box.  It depends on where I’ll put it.  Anyway, on to the next fabulous find!

2.   I don’t know about you, but growing up, there was always one of these163096.jpg foot tubs around.  That’s not what they call them at Dollar Tree, though.  They call them dish tubs.  You’ll find them by the kitchen utensils.  We use them to soak our feet!  We each have our own chair in the sitting area of our bedroom.  After a long day, nothing’s better than pulling out that foot tub for a 30 minute soak!  It’s also great for those DIY pedicures or when you have a cut on the bottom of your foot that you want to sanitize.  Alas, they only come in white.  But they fit wonderfully under a wing back chair!  With just enough space for a pair of slippers and a rolled up towel for your next tootsie soak.

3.  Dollar Tree has really stepped it up with their towels.  187208.jpgThese microfiber towels have burst on the scene in different patterns and colors.  We started upgrading our kitchen and I jumped all over these windowpane microfiber bar towels.  We only needed about 6 to have enough.  Then we found out they had dish cloths too!  Be still my heart!!

120899.jpgOh, they also have striped towels in vibrant colors for spring and summer.  I took two green ones (remember my bathroom makeover? Part I & Part II) and sewed them along the edge.  I put it in the bathroom as a guest towel.  Why?  Well, let’s just say that a regular hand towel would take a beating in the guest bath.  The kids refused to put it back the way they found it!  So instead of banishing them, I made the towel so they can’t take it off, but it’s long enough for them to reach.  I swear, it looked like they were shooting hoops with the thing.  And missing.  Horribly.

3.  Now check this out.  Dollar Tree has come out with dishcloths with scrubbies on one side!!!  187163.jpgMy husband fell head over heels.  I didn’t.  I hate washing dishes.  I mean I’d cry even if you paid me to do dishes.  Ah, the scars of being an only child!  Anyway, on to #4.

Bonus tip:  You can make it a complete set!  But I’d steer clear of the pot holders.  Get the silicone kind instead.  I burnt the ham sandwich out of myself one day with the pot holders.  But if you want to use them, they’re great as trivets.

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4.   Bandaids.  I’m usually not wowed by bandages, but these 217338were a pleasant surprise!  I’d been looking for those hospital grade bandaids for the little wiggly people who live in this house (husband included) and I’ve found them at a reasonable price!  I really like these because they’re fabric.  The adhesive is ridiculous!  They’re like the ones the nurses give you.  You know!  The ones that take 2 or 3 days for the glue to come off.  But that wound was covered and safe!  So if you need some, give these a try.  They have a ton of different ones in varying sizes and counts.

Ok, well, that’s all for this installment.  I have 2 other Dollar Tree reviews coming up.  My favorite is how to start your own business using Dollar Tree items.  Man, for about $20-$25 you could be fully stocked with office supplies, for a fraction of what you’d pay at an office supply store or Wally World!  So stay tuned.  Oh, let me know if there’s something you’re wondering about that I haven’t mentioned in my posts.  I want to be sure the info I share is helpful and relates to YOUR life!  Until next time, try not to kill your kids!

Tonya

My New Coffee Bar

Hi guys!  I’m here to share again.  Today it’s my coffe/tea bar.  But before I get started, I must apologize.  I know I’ve been M.I.A. for a while.  I’ll chalk it up to a new semester (yep, I’m still teaching math, y’all!), tax season, a few illnesses in the family, my oldest’s basketball schedule and other stuff.  Ugh……anyway, on to happier topics.

Introducing my newest favorite thing in my house:  My coffee/tea bar!  Isn’t she cute??

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This is my BABY!!!  I just adore it!  I got i all for under $50. Yep!  You know how I roll! So here’s what’s on it:

My rolling cart that I bought from a friend for $25.  It’s one of those primary colored rolling carts that school teachers use.  Well it has 12 drawers for papers and a couple of drawers for my cutie poo napkins & such.

On top you’ll notice a black tray.  I found this tray at Goodwill for about $3.  It originally looked like this.

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Well after about an hour of spray paint and a damask-esque placemat from Dollar Tree I got this!image

Also on this tray (besides my chamomile & green tea steeping) is my tea caddy ($3 from Target), a jar of sugar (an old salsa jar that had a cute shape & matched my color scheme), another not as cute salsa jar for spoons (it’ll be replaced later cuz I’m not feeling it) and my biggest score…my teeny tiny coffee pot from Goodwill!  I only paid FIVE dollars for this little beauty!  Yes!!!!! $5.  Don’t underestimate Goodwill, y’all!  You will find top notch stuff that people just give away.  Oh well.  Thank God!  So the reason this coffee pot is so high on my “love it” list is because of the size.  That tray is less than 2 ft wide, ya’ll.  That little pot sits there and makes me 5 steaming cups of water which is perfect for my movie time, work time, hair time or whatever.  It’s the best!  So I encourage you to give this a try in your little section of the world.  You’ll love it!

Here’s my recap with prices:

$3 tea caddy.  I got it at Target from their Dollar Spot.  It rotates when you spin it by the container (not the little knob at the top).  It has little foam feet that keep it from sliding all over the place.  They only had white (bummer), but it’ll do for now.

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Coffee pot from Goodwill for $5.  Did I mention that ALL their coffee pots are $5?  From tiny to gargantuan!  Just check the cleanliness first.  This one was like new and barely needed anything besides a basic vinegar cycle.

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The sugar and spoon jars were free since I already had them on hand.  I’ll probably add a little ribbon or a bow to the sugar jar to glam it up.  Or maybe a rhinestone strip!  That would be fun…

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Oh, I forgot to mention this little gem!  it’s my heater I found at Walmart for only $9.88!!!!  And it really kicks out heat!  It’s perfect for my office.  It works so well that we got 3 more for when the rooms get that little chill.  It also doubles as a fan in the summer, so win-win!

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I hope you enjoyed my little coffee/tea bar and I hope it inspires you to make one of your own.

Until next time!

Tonya

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Email Cleanup Challenge Part II-Putting the Plan Into Action

Hi guys!  I took some time to follow up with the plan and now things are better.  Still not perfect, but better.  I’m seeing that it’s taking some time to get this thing under control.  But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel!  I see now that I could be opening an empty (or almost empty) inbox and then just checking a few key folders daily to keep abreast of my day.  I’ve already dumped hundreds of email and it felt SOOOOO GOOOOOOD!

So I’m dedicating the next week to make it happen.  One folder a day.  My plan is:

  1.   Use a search & destroy method:  search by topic, destroy trash messages and then filter the ones I’d like to keep for the future.
  2.   Implement filters.  Any company or person I want to keep mail from will be auto filtered into the necessary folder
  3.   Test and tweak.

I have quite a few folders, so realistically, it’ll be more like 2 weeks.  If there are a small number of messages in the folders I may get done even sooner.  BONUS!!

So have you bought into the great email cleanup?

Family Room Entertainment Center Makeover

Hi guys!

This post is a little weird.  Like the other ones are normal, right?  Anyway, our family room has a massive Thomasville entertainment center that we’re not using.  Why aren’t we using it?  Because the people I live with are “special”.  Ok, full disclosure, the TV fits inside, but the children couldn’t see the tv from the kitchen island where they ate.  So my husband opted (much to my protest) to put the tv on top.  Yeah, it solved the problem, but to me it’s an eyesore.  Don’t worry, I’ll get my way eventually. (mwah ha haaaaa!)  Since it was left as an empty shell, I was very frustrated.  I only paid $35 for the thing so I had every intention of using it.  And on a side note, who pays only $35 for a Thomasville piece like this?  God’s kids, that’s who!  Ok, back to the entertainment center.  It had a ton of space that wasn’t being utilized.  I mean, the bottom shelves were, but there was only a Jenga game sitting in the vast 3 x 3 x 4 or so cubic feet of space inside.  Wasted space drives me nuts, especially when there’s an abundance of  clutter sitting around!

So I decided to go all gangsta on this piece.  Lol!!!!  I took all of my daughter’s & my craft supplies and sorted them out.  Then I considered that all of our Wii stuff needed a good home.  I was going to use 3M hooks, but I was being cheap & lazy.  I tried to draw a layout of how all of the Wii remotes, Wii steering wheels, the golf thing, the tennis racket and the baseball handles were to go.  Yeah… instant headache.  I teach math, not engineering, people!!  So I sipped some tea and realized that I had baskets & bins sitting around that I’d begun to hate.  I got some off the counter, filled them with Wii stuff, grabbed an old basket & filled it with scrap cardboard & pulled out some old wire shelving that I’d chucked in the hall closet.  After all that, I came up with this!

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I especially love the shelving because all our scrapbook paper fit perfectly.  I even gave my daughter her own shelf.  The grey hardware storage (the thing with the labels on the front of the drawers) house beads, blue, paint, yarn and all manner of tools & stuff.  This is not too bad I think.  Much better than before.IMG_20151117_072336

And it all neatly fits inside this big, brown behemoth!IMG_20151117_072359

So, on to part 2 of this makeover.  We used to house snacks in dollar tree bins beside the fridge.  It was nice at first (cuz that area was super messy & they served their purpose).  But I’m not playin’ about classing this place up, y’all!  So I took some stands from my store & filled them with good for you goodies.IMG_20151117_072218 IMG_20151117_072201 (1) IMG_20151117_072144

I found the stands from Christmas Tree Shops for $5 each.  They didn’t come with the plates.  I got a huge haul of  about a dozen clear plates & saucers at a garage sale for about $3.  It was crazy!!!  But I know you can get clear plates at Dollar Tree.  I may see if the white, square plates from Dollar Tree would fit.  I plan to get rid of all of our old kiddie containers and organization & upgrade it to the “grown folk” look.  I’m also upgrading the silverware and possibly the place mats.  I’ll keep you in the loop.  So let me know what you think about my mini makeover!

 

Tonya

Monday Mom Tip: Making Manageable Chunks

As I look around my house, it seems that a million things remain undone.  My husband says that it’s just the way I operate-I don’t finish things.  I disagree.  I work on a rotation!  If I attempt something and it causes me to be stagnant, I move on to something else.  I’m not saying it’s always the best way to handle everything, but sometimes that’s just how it is.  But today, I am tending to agree with him.  My “ideas” and “to do” folders and lists are full and nothing has been checked off in days!

planningGranted, it’s been incredibly hectic.  Vacation coming up, and event this week, last week and the holiday weekend was the week before.  I’ve got another event coming up too!  It’s beginning to feel like there was more “summer” in this vacation than “vacation”!  Ok, time to dial it back.  It’s time to make some manageable chunks.

What does that entail, you ask?  First, reevaluate priorities.  What can I chuck?  What can I delegate?  What can I cut into manageable morsels?  For instance, I have some vague things on my to do list, like “Living Social”.  I know it’s a reminder to put out a new ad for my business.  The former one failed miserably.  So I need to get it done!  But it’s so vague that when I look at it, I cringe a little on the inside.  I need to write smaller, less daunting steps to encourage myself to get it done!  So I can just revisit the email for when I did the first one and see what the beginning of the process was.  pantry

I guarantee that when you write down your to do list in bite sized tasks, they’ll become more appealing and not so burdensome.  Think about it.  What sounds better, “clean entire house today” or “kitchen, bathroom, dust, mop, laundry”?  Yeah, one sounds much longer, but at least you feel the accomplishment of getting parts done that move you closer to your overall goal being completed!

What’s one thing that you need to break down into bite sized pieces?

Monday Mom Tip: Kitchen Organization

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a great Father’s Day!  I wanted to share a few organization ideas for your kitchen that have served my family well over the years.  Here we go!

1.  Keep it fragrant

Nothing makes us happier than coming home to a clean smelling house.  Or at least one that smells pleasant.  So here’s my tip:  Use a candle, candle warmer with a jar candle, plug ins, scentsy or other method of adding scent to your home.  I even remember growing up with those vent sachets.  They still sell them!  You can even make your own blend with potpourri, essential oils, dryer sheets or washcloths (use the unsightly ones) saturated with your favorite scent.  Every time the furnace or a/c comes on, your home will get a burst of freshness.  I keep a bucket of all kinds of scents in our hall closet so if we want a change, everything is nearby.  Grab the basket, pick one out, plop the rest back in, return to closet.  Done.

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My current method of choice is this mug warmer with a glass dish.

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It’s usually pretty hidden, so its aesthetic isn’t an issue.  It allows me to add more fragrance at almost any time.  Instead of only being able to use 1 or 2 cubes, I can use 4-6.  Also, I can put essential oils and not worry about blowing a candle out.  I won’t admit how long this has been plugged up, but let’s just say it’s been a long, long….long time!  I got the cubes from Wally World for about $2.  Dollar General & Dollar Tree also have them.

2.  Keep it organized.

20150515_125658See the little thing in between my counter cleaner and the hand sanitizer?  Not the placemat, the other thing.  Well, sadly I don’t know what it’s supposed to be used for (probably dips for a party or something) but my children use it for their cups.  Yep, no more arguments about whose cups are whose, where’s my cup, etc.  Cool, huh?  The best thing was I got it last year at $1.5 with 90% off!  Yuuup 15 cents, baby!!!

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The other great thing is that I clean the counter much less because glass dibbles run down into the wells.  You can squirt each well with foam soap or dish detergent or just throw it in the dishwasher.  We’ve had this one for over 2 years and it hasn’t cracked, faded or started peeling.  I also like how the gold place mats coordinated with it.  Bonus!

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3.  Keep it out of sight

I love cookie jars.  And guess what?  They’re not just for cookies any more!  I use these to keep my loose teas, secret stashes of hot chocolate, Teavana pink sugar and my ginger tea (for the grumpy time of the month-just being real).  There’s other stuff in there, but I don’t even remember any more.  So sad, but that’s how good they are for keeping things out of sight and out of mind.  The 2 smaller ones are airtight, so they’re great for keeping things fresh.  And the children don’t go into them because they never see me put cookies in there.  There’s a see through cookie jar for that!20150515_125721

I hope you found these tips helpful.  I’ll be back next time with some other cool stuff to share.  If you’d like to see more, check out my facebook page.  If you’d like about 100 more tips, pick up my book on Amazon!