Create a Happy & Functional Homework Environment

homework station 

Homework is probably not your child’s favorite thing to do, but it is something they need to do.  You can help your child create a fun and functional homework station that can help things run smoothly.  


When your child is sitting at the homework station, they know it’s time to get busy!  I have three children, and they know when one is doing homework, he/she is not to be disturbed until they are done.  It helps to keep kids focused on the task at hand, and not distracted by the many other things they could be doing.  


Pick a spot that is quiet and out of the spotlight of play activities going on by their siblings.  Just be sure it has a writing surface.  A desk in their room, the kitchen table, or dining room table will work just fine.  Sitting up makes your child more alert and helps them to stay focused.  If your child is easily distracted, pick a quiet place with not a lot of action going on.  You can even create a mini cubicle with poster board or card board.  


Set it up.  Make sure there is good lighting.  Add a lamp to a desk or table if necessary.  Make sure your child is sitting up in his or her chair.  Good posture helps keep your child alert.  Make sure there is enough room for books to be open, notebooks to be utilized, and study tools to be on the same area.  If they have to keep getting up to find something, their focus is going to be off.  If they get too comfortable, their study time may turn to nap time.  ūüôā   Keep all electronics off and out of reach.  Even a TV on in another room can be distracting for some kids.  





Organize their tools.  Create a fun box or bag that holds all of their study needs.  My sons like tools, so their study tools are in a fun tool box.  My daughter likes purses and backpacks, so her “tools” are stocked in a pink sparkly backpack.  They are all easy to stash away when we don’t use them, and get them out when they do.  Depending on their age and needs, stock your tool box with:

  • pens
  • pencils
  • erasers
  • markers and/or colored pencils
  • calculator
  • scrap paper
  • glue stick
  • index cards


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Get organized.  If your child is not naturally organized, teach them!  Encourage them to keep things in order and promote organization.  This will not only make their life (and your life) easier now, it will help them for the future when they are out on their own!  Provide a calendar or dry erase board to help them keep track of assignments and upcoming tests.  Giving them a visual will help them stay ahead of the game when it comes to studying.  Have them keep a folder to keep all their assignments and paperwork in to keep it organized.  



Praise their hard work.  Kids like to hear they are doing good.  Praise their study habits and for working hard.  My kids LOVE when I hang their work up for the rest of the family to see.   It shows kids that you are taking notice, and that their hard work pays off.  



With these tools in hand, your child will be off to a great start to a wonderful school year.  



Home Depot DIY Workshop: How to Upgrade Bathroom Faucets & Lighting 8/9


Home Depot is offering FREE DIY Workshops on Saturdays & Sundays.  


Saturday, August 9, 2014 from 10 – 11:30 am.

Click here to register.



Learn how to Upgrade Your Bath!!


  • Repair or replace faucet and vanity.
  • Install lights and hardware.


Don’t forget to sign up for super savings and terrific tips delivered to your email inbox



Sunday, August 10th learn how to organize & measure for a closet






  • Measure and design storage solutions.
  • Accurately install a wire storage system.

How To: Remove Strong Odor From Your Microwave


Have you ever heated something up, and couldn’t get rid of the smell in your microwave for days? ¬†I have! ¬†I made the mistake of heating up some leftover fish. ¬†You can imagine what my microwave…and house…smelled like!

Here is the best way to get rid of those nasty smells in your microwave.

1. Wipe the top, sides, and bottom of your microwave with warm water and baking soda.  This absorbs any odor that may be attached to particles inside your microwave.

2. Rinse your cloth and wipe out again with plain warm water to rinse any baking soda residue left behind.  Just keep wiping out until all the baking soda is gone.

3.  Add 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 cup of water in a bowl (a cup will boil and overflow) and heat for 3-5 minutes.  Let it sit in the microwave for about 15 minutes before you take it out.  This will help eliminate any odors caught in the filter and vent system.

If the odor is really stubborn, repeat the¬†steps again until it’s gone.

If you have some odor eliminating tips, share away!  I would love to hear them!

Organize Your Purse!





Organize Your Purse


I have to admit, after a long day of couponing and shopping with my kids, my purse can look like a bomb went off inside! ¬†From receipts to tissues and wrappers, my purse is a landing place for all things!! ¬†And I tend to get the biggest purse I can find to fit EVERYTHING inside I could possibly need! ¬†Well, with the size of the “tote” I carry, I have to be organized or it will end up being an endless pit of stuff, the abyss, the land to nowhere…


I thought I’d share a few tips on how to organize your purse.


First, let’s talk about the purpose of your purse. ¬†It really should be just to carry what you need while you’re on the go. ¬†You should be able to access everything quickly. ¬†Just like at home, everything should have a home, unless it’s only taking up temporary residence until it reaches it’s destination. ¬†When buying a new handbag, remember to look for compartments, lots of compartments to hold all your goodies!


Ok, here we go….


1.  Completely empty out your purse (or suitcase).



2.  Throw away any garbage that has accumulated.  

Tip: Don’t let garbage in! ¬†There are usually garbage cans within 20 feet of you at all times. ¬†Throw away grocery lists and receipts you’ll never need at the door on the way out, and to-do lists when completed.



3.  Go through receipts and papers and file or toss.

Tip:  Use a small envelope or pouch to hold all receipts.  You can go through when you get home, but it will keep them organized in the mean time. 



4.  Gather all your change.  You can put it in a small change purse, in your wallet, or save at home.

Tip:  Leave change at home.  We have a big change bin where we collect all our change.  This can really add up, makes your purse lighter, and it saves time trying to find the perfect change at checkout.  



5.  Go through your wallet.  Shred any debit or credit cards that have expired or you no longer use.  Wallet must haves:

  • Identification
  • Health Insurance Card
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Important Medical Information
  • Roadside Assistance Card
  • Emergency Cash


Tip: ¬†Make a copy of both sides of each card you will be keeping in your wallet. ¬†(trust me…it’ll be worth it when your wallet is lost or stolen) ¬†– you’ll have easy access to cancel cards, and will eliminate any loss of funds!!

Tip: Just remember, the less you keep in your purse, the less you have to carry and worry about replacing if stolen!



6. ¬†Organize what’s left.

  • Use a wallet that makes it easy to access cards and cash.
  • Use a small cosmetic bag to hold makeup and accessories.
  • Use another small bag or side zipper to hold medications and/or first aid supplies
  • Keep cell phone in the same pocket each time (no need to dig to find that ringing phone!)
  • Same with keys and a pen and anything else!! ¬†Easy access and keep it in the same spot each time.

Tip: ¬†Use your smartphone for lists, memos, reminders, etc. so you don’t have a bunch of notes and lists floating around your purse. ¬†If you don’t have a smartphone, use a small notebook or your planner to keep track of these things. ¬†

Tip: A Handbag Organizer is a great tool for keeping your items organized.  They are also super handy for switching from purse to purse.  Just pull it out and place in a different handbag.


7. ¬†Test drive your purse. ¬†Put it on your shoulder, and see if it’s too heavy. ¬†If it is, you may need to leave something behind. ¬†Trust me, you probably won’t miss it, and your shoulder will thank you for it!




Fun Fact: ¬†These are a few of the things you’ll find in my tote!

(wallet, checkbook, keys, lip gloss, grocery list, coupons!, baby wipes(even though I don’t have kids in diapers!!), tweezers, nail clippers, band aids, chap stick, tissues, dental floss, hand sanitizer, fun things to keep my kids occupied, snacks, ¬†a water bottle, a book, sunscreen, medicine, eye drops, gum, phone, and lotion)



Yes, that’s why I need a tote!!



Summer-ize Your Vehicle



Now that summer is here, most of us will be driving more frequently. ¬†With all those fun summer activities we’ll be in the car a whole lot more. ¬†Let’s face it, we all want to have a clean and uncluttered vehicle to drive around in.


Here is a spring cleaning checklist to help keep your vehicle clean and tidy!


  • Remove all items that don’t belong….including the garbage floating around
  • Clean out the glove compartment and center console (make sure you have the latest insurance and registration info included)
  • Vacuum the carpets ¬†and seats
  • Put all DVDs and CDs in their place
  • Wipe down all interior surfaces
  • Clean inside of windows
  • Place a small trash bin, car charger, tissues, and umbrella in your vehicle (preferably under the seats)
  • Don’t forget the trunk
    • empty out items that don’t belong
    • vacuum
    • stock with first aid kit and sunscreen
    • update emergency kit (include flares, ¬†flashlight, spare tire, etc.)
  • Child kit – these can be small fun boxes or bins with toys, books, paper, crayons, puzzles, etc. that can keep your little one occupied when traveling
  • Ensure your inspection is up to date
  • Check oil and other fluids and add/change if necessary
  • Check air pressure in tires
  • Clean the outside of the vehicle



Now that your vehicle is all set, enjoy your summer!! ¬†Make sure you keep up with clutter, and make sure your kids keep their “boxes” picked up. ¬† Once a week, empty anything that has accumulated.


Happy Summer!!



You need a routine! and here’s a printable schedule



When I had my  4th baby, I had 4 kids under age 4.  It was so crazy, what kept my sanity was getting into a routine.  I created a daily routine, worked out the kinks and stuck to it everyday! I planned my appointments and shopping trips around my routine.  It worked so well, I honestly think it was the only way that I made it through those first few months.  Summer is so fun, but it gets really crazy at my house.  Every year as soon as my kids are off of school for the summer, I get right into a routine with them.  Here is what mine looks like.  For those of you mommies that have little kids, this is a lifesaver! Click on the link above to print the chart.

8 am-Breakfast

9 am- clean sweep

10 am-school work

11 am -craft time


1 pm-nap (quiet time for older kids)

2pm-play time

3pm- start dinner

4pm-8pm family time activities


8:30- bed time



Are you ever in denial about how unorganized you are?? I sure am!!

Sometimes my cupboards get to the point that I cant close them, but I don’t have the time to clean them out.¬† Does anyone know what I’m talking about?¬† You open your cupboard, something falls out and you quickly close it and pretend like you never saw the disaster that was inside.¬† I hate to admit it, but I do this all the time.¬† My husband is always laughing at me and telling me that everything needs a “home”.¬† I am aware that everything needs a home, and when I have the time to give it a home, I will gladly do that! Today a whole basket of stuff fell out of my bathroom cupboard.¬† I often wonder how it gets that bad.¬† Bad enough that stuff is really falling out.¬† This is what mine just looked like when I opened it.¬† Listen folks, I am being brave by showing you what a disaster my cupboard is.


It didn’t take long, and here’s the result.


So here is my new trick.¬† You know how sometimes you have like 10 minutes before you have to leave to go somewhere? Think of quick things like this that you can organize in 10 minutes and save them for those times that you have 10-15 extra minutes before you leave for your baseball game, church, etc.¬† (I know, sometimes those are rare moments.¬† Having an extra 15 minutes before you have to leave is a dream most days) BUT…I’m saving my kitchen cupboards for those days when I have a little extra time.

30 Days to a cleaner house-Day 19

Today I am going through clothes and putting away my kids winter clothes and taking out summer clothes.  I am organizing the clothing bins and drawers in their rooms.  I figured I might as well do it all at once.  So, I am sorting, folding, donating, and labeling all of their clothing bins.  Out with the old and in with the new.  I use big plastic bins and as I take summer stuff out, I put the winter stuff into the same bin.  I keep everything organized by size so that I know what I have.  Do you have a way that you keep your kids clothes organized?  Please share and let us know.  But today, start going through those clothes and cleaning out!

Day 1) Ceiling fans and lights

Day 2) cobwebs

Day 3) Walls and molding

Day 4) Windows

Day 5) Cabinet and cupboard doors

Day 6) Refrigerator

Day 7) TVs and mirrors

Day 8) Showers and tubs

Day 9) Drawers

Day 10) Tables and chairs, end tables, coffee tables

Day 11) Clean your mattresses

Day 12) Dust your bedrooms

Day 13) Porch, mudroom

Day 14)Bathroom

Day 15) Floors

Day 16) Under beds and couches

Day 17) Outside of windows

Day 18) Kid’s clothes and closets

30 days to a cleaner house- Day 18

Today since the weather is nice, I am washing the outsides of my windows.¬† They are dusty, dirty, and spotty from the winter.¬† I wash my outside windows with dish soap and water and then I use a squeegee (my spell check is telling me no to this is not a word) but you all know what I am talking about.¬† We’re too smart for spell check anyway! Anyway, I have a big picture window in my living room that seems to always be dirty, my porch windows look awful on the outside.¬† Earlier this spring, we had a bird that kept pecking at my window and running into it, it did this for days, I have no idea why but eventually after it probably wounded itself, it finally stopped.¬† It still left a big mark on my window that bothered me for weeks and today I am finally going to take care of that! So get out your squeegee and start cleaning.¬† If you don’t have one already, I recommend getting one.¬† It will save you lots of time and energy and you can get one for about $6 at dollar general.¬† The best $6 bucks you’ll ever spend!¬† So get out your ladder, get your bucket and start cleaning!

Aren’t you glad your windows aren’t like this…..I like to keep my feet on firm ground!


30 Days to a cleaner house-Day 16

Toy room! Today I am going through the kids toys.¬† I’m getting rid of broken ones and donating ones that they don’t play with.¬† This is usually a job that my husband and kids feel the need to”help” with before I actually throw away or donate anything because they feel that they need to keep junk!!!¬†My husband¬†still has a box of junk things (that I made him move into the barn) filled with his old wrestling shoes, trophies, pop cans, and every other strange thing that you can imagine that someone would EVER keep.¬† But I do adore him because he is sentimental and sweet.¬† Anyway, snap out of it Marissa and get back on track….

Ok, so I’m going through all my kids toys today, every single one and I am finding a “home” for all of them.¬† I like to keep their toys organized.¬† All the army guys are in a drawer, all the legos are in a drawer, all the balls are in a drawer and so on.¬† I have found that if I do this, it makes life easier on everyone.¬† Otherwise, if they are looking for a football and its not in with the balls, then they take every toy out to find it.¬† You see my idea here? Yes they are toys and they are going to make a mess with them everyday, but when they are better organized, they make less of a mess and they play better.

Throw away anything that is broken that you cant fix, anything that is missing pieces.¬† You wouldn’t believe the stuff I find at the bottom of the toy bin.¬† Apple cores, that missing shoe that has been missing for so long that I finally threw the other one out too, money, old cheese sticks, sippy cups, empty peanut butter jars, pacifiers. It feels good to finally clean this stuff out, plus my kiddos will have a bag of toys to donate.

Day 1) Ceiling fans and lights

Day 2) cobwebs

Day 3) Walls and molding

Day 4) Windows

Day 5) Cabinet and cupboard doors

Day 6) Refrigerator

Day 7) TVs and mirrors

Day 8) Showers and tubs

Day 9) Drawers

Day 10) Tables and chairs, end tables, coffee tables

Day 11) Clean your mattresses

Day 12) Dust your bedrooms

Day 13) Porch, mudroom

Day 14)Bathroom

Day 15) Floors