Subscribe via: Email RSS

when i’m stressed i organize!

As many of you know my life has a “bit” of stress in it! “bit” actually is an understatement… in any event, think positive, think positive, think positive… and when that isn’t working….

organize or reorganize!!

This is where my diva dust comes into play, I put on some tunes and hit the floor running…

So most recently, i took upon my self to reorganize allll of our bathroom drawers, you know the drawers that somehow you just “throw” everything into…

Well feast your eyes on these clean beauties…

linus deep organizers, the container store | summer hill scented paper, crabtree & evelyn

I’m a big fan of the linus deep drawer organizers that you can get at your local Container Store or online. They come in many different shapes and sizes and you can make them fit anywhere! offices, kitchens, bathrooms, craftrooms, even refridge organization.. You can see where I’m going with this…

The Summer Hill Scented Paper looks lovely through the clear organizers and leaves the sweetest smell when the drawer opens! ~oh the little things

PS You can see i’m a huge laura mercier fan, but that’s another story for another time…

Chic Recipe Binder

I know I know I have been going “binder crazy” with my Major Spring Cleaning, but it is just such a great way to organize one’s self, and with so many wonderful and pretty designs of binders these days, which as a designer I love, I just can’t help myself…

So do you have a “pile” of recipes that you have ripped out while reading food magazines? I can sit for hours and ponder as I daydream about all the wonderful recipes I’d like to make… and usually I do try them and when I “love” them I keep them in my “recipe pile” so now…. Organization Queen to the rescue…

food magazines

I give you my Recipe binder!

my chic recipe binder

My binder is divided into sections of food that I actually make, a lot of cookbooks always have a section I just never have used, as much as I love perusing through them and “dreaming,” I’m not going to make pasta from scratch-that just isn’t me.

So, I made tabbed sections with stylish folders and file tabs for the food that I would spend time on. Surprising one of them being “holiday food” whose pile is getting larger by the holiday!

recipe binder


I also put an empty pocket at the beginning of each section for, “recipes I’d like to try” and when I try one of those new recipes out  should our family “love” it, that recipe would get their own shiny page!

I used 2 types of clear plastic protectors for my pages. One that is the full size 8 ½ x 10 sheets and also one that is for photo’s but I can use them to hold up to 6 recipe cards (front and back). *A note about plastic protectors, I have tried just about everyone on the market and it is best to use the heavyweight page, others are just to flimsy and you won’t be happy, I know I’ve thrown a bunch out… shhh, don’t tell my hubby, he won’t be to happy!

Do you have a way to organize your recipes? I’d love to see your binder if you have one! Let me know if I have “inspired” you to make one, really it is so simple and cleans up just one more “big” pile in my house and I’m sure yours too!

Fun School Files

I have been hitting up Spring Cleaning in a very serious way this year, a lot of my projects are in the mid phase and as I complete each one not only will I get a great sense of pride for getting it “done” but I will be sharing with you what I did to “organize” our household to be a little more efficient.

Today I am going to share with you my girls “education files.” Now that Sarah has graduated from college I have years and years of paperwork to organize and Hadley is going into her last year of high school and that translates to 18 years of IEP’s and mounds of paperwork… Being the “pack rat” that I am I’d like to keep these papers in an organized way so that I can look at them from time to time when I want a good cry-*sap alert, but isn’t that what all mom’s do?

So I started by organizing each of the girls paperwork by grade and I made a cover sheet where I added their school photo’s of that year and basic information, not only did this help organize the school work for each grade that I saved but also helped me organize the girl’s school photo’s; and now I’m ready to crop a new album of “School Days…”

hadley's cover page

Each year there were a few assignments I just couldn’t part with and oh yes, we must keep all of the report cards! For Hadley keeping all of her IEP’s is a great way to go back and read how/when she hit her developmental milestones since her educational years where much different then Sarah’s.

school files

I looked around for “colorful” boxes that I could use for this and I think I came up with a great choice. I love the color “red” it screams “education” to me!

school boxes

Being the organizational diva that I am I labeled files for each year of school starting with Pre-K for both and went up to grade 12, for Hadley it goes to grade 12+ since she is in Special Ed which goes till her 21rst birthday.. However, I’m still thinking of adding a few folders to Sarah’s to cover her College years.

I’m thrilled with the outcome!! Project #1 Complete…. So what do you think?

My new life as a Couponista!

couponing 101

Being a special needs mom my budget sometimes gets stretched a little tight due to unforeseen medical expenses and I have been trying to figure out a way to cut back and recently became very interested and intrigued after watching shows on TV about “extreme couponing”. I don’t know about extreme or fully understand how those ladies purchase 10 full carts of food for $50 but I sure got the bug to figure it out and save what I can. So I’m proud to say that today is the first day of the rest of my “couponing” life. I will no longer be a coupon virgin!  So after studying and reading everything I could from a number of “experts”…What have I learned? A LOT (!) which I will be sharing and carrying forward with you.

The Basic Rules of Couponing

  1. Cook according to what you have “in stock” do NOT go out and buy food based on making weekly recipes; which is how I have shopped most of my adult life.
  2. Lose the membership to Warehouse clubs they are not worth the expense, and who needs a 10 gallon bottle of ketchup really?
  3. The way to really save is to visit ALL of the stores in your area NOT just the one around the corner that is the most convenient; sorry Giant; “Hello” Safeway, Harris Teeter, and Whole Foods, which will also force to get in the car and drive more which for me right now is also a “good thing!”
  4. Build what I will call “The Coupon Bible” which will house all of my weekly coupons, circulars, and store coupons *hello Balducci’s 10% off coupons which I often left at home.

I’m ready to “do this” I feel like I have my game hat on and I’m ready to play the game of math, which wasn’t my best subject, so here I go and I hope to help you along the way. I’d love to hear any of your tips you might have too!

Organizing in now part of my Wellness Makeover

paperworkI was  “stuck”  in a rut for a while,  last year was very tough for me due to my panicking and basically that and taking care of everyone over myself took over my life. Then in January I decided it was “time” to take back my life and work on myself from the inside out. I’ve been eating healthy and exercising, driving day by day and expanding my circle to overcome my panic in the car.

Over the past year I started many projects at home and abandoned them in the middle.. abort.. abort.. abort… You know what I mean? Now as part of my “wellness makeover” and reclaiming my life I am working on getting myself out of my “paper rut” and finally cleaning “everything” up. And when I say “everything” I mean “everything.” I paperwork galore;  20 years of IEP’s for Hadley, numerous medical reports, therapists reports,  and many papers and projects from Sarah’s school years and through college. You can only imagine how this has been eating at me since I am a pretty organized lady.. But in all fairness to myself I kept most of this “downstairs” where no one could see it. So now it’s time to get down to business and get to work… Here is a little preview of my “work ahead of me”

  • Hadley’s IEP binder/files and school & medical papers from age birth-20 (that is a ton in itself)
  • Sarah’s School files from Pre-K through College
  • My scrapbook “hysteria” for lack of better work nightmare might be better
  • Our Manuals
  • Our files
  • Our Garage, which “houses” 10 years of a nonprofit paperwork which I think I can get rid of lots now, “hello shred it!”
  • Linen Closet
  • Conversion of Sarah’s closet-My closet (this is what you do when kids move out, and cry!)
  • Bathrooms organization
  • Our front closets organizations
  • My new way of shopping “extreme couponing” or at least trying via coupon binder
  • My “recipe” binder -collection of 2 years healthy recipes

This should keep me busy and out of a rut for a while, who has time to panic, it’s time to organize! Woo Hoo! Stay tuned for my step by step posts and maybe I will inspire you with your “re-organizing”.

2012 Is going to be an Organized Year!

shelley's organizer

I am jump-starting 2012 with a new on the go Home Management System for myself! Can I get a woot woot to kicking off 2012 in an organized way? I have always been pretty good about keeping things on the up and up as far as organization of our bills however with everything that has been going on with me personally and with building a new business I feel I need something to keep “everything” together and I am so excited to introduce you to my new best friend and day planner! I just love it!

I looked high and low and when I came across this I not only fell in love with it for myself I quickly bought one for my husband and daughter for the holidays, nothing like organization for the family right?

I just love this organizer so much I was even able to personalize the cover to bring a piece of my family with me everywhere I go, so you know I have to love that!


erin codren organizerphoto credit: erin condren

Inside you will find:


  • Special Dates: 6 Pages January –December
  • 2 Pages of small calendar July 2011- December 2012
  • Since I was getting my “jumpstart” on the New Year and purchased this in November my organizer started with a full page November 2011 calendar.
  • 2 Lined Pages for Notes
  • November 2011 Daily Calendar with spaces for Morning, Afternoon, Night Notes as well as Goals and To Do on the side bars.
  • Plan at a Glance then follows monthly through December 2012
  • Stick to It! Each planner comes with sheets of colorful stickers to help you highlight special occasions and upcoming events some are already labeled and some are blank for you to fill in.
  • A zip pouch includes “let’s get together” date cards and gift labels for giving on the go.
  • Keep It Together Wrangle all of your recipes, lists, prescriptions and other important paperwork together in a stylish two-sided folder.


If I haven’t “sold” you on it yet… This video sure will…

Also, for all of my “friends” I have a discount code from tinyprints for you to use, so if you haven’t gotten those holiday cards yet, or need some adorable gifts or want to make a planner I pass on the gift of organization to you! So what are you waiting for, come back and let me know what you got!!!


What is the big deal about a name or logo anyhow?

logo designComing up with a name for your playground or organization is usually the first “official” thing you will be doing. Remember the “name” will be how you are known for the life of your organization. Are you honoring a child? Memorializing someone who you loved? Come up with a name people will understand.

After you have decided on a name of your organization you will need to come up with a logo. But before you design a logo, you must understand what a logo is, what it represents and what it is supposed to do. A logo is not just a picture; it reflects a business’s commercial brand through the use of shape, fonts, color, and or images.

Coming from a design background I did understand that when it came time to sit down and come up with our logo that this was a very important meeting. A quality logo design combined with the branding of an organization or company can become one of the most powerful forces in today’s society. Take a look above at some of today’s most common logos and think about how each has become an icon in today’s world. You want to come up with a great logo design which inspires trust, recognition and admiration for your organization.

Ok so how do you come up with this great logo?

• Brainstorm; sit down around a table with your key people and write down:

1. Who are you?

2. How do you describe your organization?

3. What idea are you trying to get across?

4. What type of image/style are you trying to portray?

5. Write down “key words” which you think of when it comes to your organization

• Check out people who have worked in a similar field and see how they portray themselves through their logo design.

• After you have the above questions answered have everyone start to come up with a few sketches of their own thoughts and concepts. You should have paper, colored pencils and crayons around for this creative meeting. Understandably everyone is not an artist but when people draw their own ideas down some great collaborations come together.

• You want your creation/logo to be memorable.


• In general it is better to keep your logo design simple and clean. The main idea behind this is that you want the logo to be able to hold up well in all sizes. Remember you will be using your logo as your “calling card” on all of your PR materials, written as well as t-shirts, stationery and even in large scale on a sign.


volunteers at hadley's park ground breaking • As important as the image of your logo is similarly it is important to have your text “go” with your image i.e. you don’t want to have a futuristic image and a calligraphy type.

• You should have a great tag line! A tag line is a three to seven word phrase that accompanies your logo. It expresses your company’s most important benefits and or what you want your customers to remember about you. Think of it as the words you want to linger describing who you are.

Hadley's Park Sign

• And last but definitely not least, everyone’s pocketbook will be different and you need to keep this in mind when creating your logo, can your logo look good in black and white as well as color? Do you only have the funds to create a one-color logo or can you afford two-color or more?

hadley's playground at dulles town center sign

Just remember, keep it fun and simple and if you can understand what the image is telling you, you’ve done a great job!

So how did you come up with your logo?

What’s in your first aid kit?

first aid kitSeveral years ago my husband and I were at an event for Children’s Hospital and as a token of thanks each patron received a first aid kit. Over the years we have used that kit many times, and have restocked several items.

Being that we are going into the winter months and what I call “hibernation” from a lot of playing at the playground. I usually take this time to go through my medicine cabinets and make sure the medications are all in date, over the counter medicines especially; we don’t go through Tylenol quite like we used to. But I also pull out the first aid kit and look at everything inside of it too, since it does get its fair share of use during the spring, summer and fall.

Everybody should have a first aid kit of one kind or another. You don’t need to go out and buy a prepackaged one. You can make one yourself. Just gather an old lunch box or spare big makeup bag. (We seem to have a lot of them around our house)

What you put in your families first aid kit can be as extensive as you like. I have put together a sample list of items which I believe would be helpful.


• disposable gloves (at least 2 pairs)

• disposable instant cold packs

• adhesive bandages, several sizes

• adhesive tape

• elastic bandage(s)

• sterile gauze pads

• alcohol wipes or other antiseptic wipes

• hand sanitizer



• acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen

• 1% hydrocortisone cream

• antibiotic ointment

• calamine lotion

• epinephrine auto-injector if a family member is at risk for anaphylaxis

• ipecac

• burn ointment



• small scissors

• tweezers

• needle

• safety pins

• thermometer

• bulb syringe



• first aid manual

• emergency phone numbers and contact information (which I also post on the inside of a kitchen cabinet)

• important medical information for all family members, including health problems and medications

• health card or health insurance information


I hope this helps you make up your own families first aid kit. What do you have in yours?

Top 20 things you will need for spring cleaning

So what is a “clean house?” For some it is a house that is “neat as a pin” and has a kitchen you could possibly “eat off the floor.” For most of us it is a kitchen with a few fallen crushed cheerios that somehow made their way under the kitchen rug or a dust bunny or two in the corner behind the doors; I believe this shows that people actually “live” here.Last year I followed through with one of my “new year” resolutions; I was going to clean my house when “spring” came. You know “spring cleaning?” I decided this was the year to pick up all of the rugs and clean the wood floors, take off the screens and clean the windows, wash all of the dust ruffles, move the furniture and see what was growing back there and find missing game pieces etc. I think you get the picture.

I was excited to tackle the job. I got in my cleaning attire, of old over sized polo t-shirt and leggings, turned up the stereo and started at one end of the house and went on and on until I was done; OK this took a whole week. But when I was finished not only was I exhausted, and hoping I had lost a few pounds from the bending and stretching, but I had a huge sense of accomplishment for getting this job done.

When I was done and cleaned up from cleaning up I sat down and made a list of the top 20 things that helped me get my house spic and span. Me, being the “queen of organization” thought this might help the next time I was ready to jump to tackle the job. Come to think of it, it is spring…

So come on join me, go on get out your sweats and t-shirt, crank up your tunes and hit the dirt!

1. Rubber gloves: You should always use gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals that can cause reactions to or just irritate. You should always try and get hypo-allergenic and lined, not latex which bothers a lot of people. And the gloves should fit you tight enough that you can grip your tools easily.

2. Microfiber Cloth: These are nylon fabric cloths which are easily washable after use. I try and get a few different colors so that I do not use the same colors in the bathrooms as I do for cleaning furniture in the living areas and kitchen.

3. Spray bottle: Sometimes I find it easier to make my own cleaning solution for windows or for cleaning mildew-ridden bathroom tiles and grout. You can find spray bottles anywhere or I have even reused glass cleaner containers which I have washed out when done using.

4. Scrub brush: I use a few different sizes of these but make sure you have a good handle and heavy duty nylon bristles on each so you have good scrubbing control that will not scratch your surfaces.

5. Toothbrush: When I am about ready to toss my soft bristle toothbrush I soak it with bleach and use it for cleaning. This is very helpful in small hard to get areas such as grout cracks, and around the base of the hot and cold water handles and faucets, and to clean the holes of your shower head when they have built up hard water residue.

6. Squeegee: These come in very handy in glass showers and also I have used them on mirrors so I do not have any streaks.

7. Antibacterial Wipes: These are a MUST for cleaning phones, computer keyboards, door knobs, light plates, anywhere your mouth or hands touch.

8. White Vinegar: I use this to clean windows, the acid in this cuts through mineral deposits.

9. Mild Liquid soap: I use Palmolive; it is a mild soap which I use to clean just about all surfaces.

10. Mild Abrasive: This is for cleaning the shower and tub areas; you know where you use your elbow grease. Make sure you use a chlorine-free cleanser which will be fine for fiberglass and acrylic sinks and tubs.

11. Baking soda: If you use a bit of this and water it makes a paste which you can use as an abrasive and it sparkles your chrome fixtures. Also you can put an opened box of this in the back of your first shelf as a neutralizer; to take away any stinky smells you might have.

12. Plastic organizer: I put all of my supplies that I need in here so it is easy to tote up and down the stairs.

13. A good furniture cleaner: to use with the microfiber cloths to clean up all of the dust.

14 . Broom: An angled head nylon broom works best for picking up the dropped cheerios and dirt left everywhere.

15. Sponge Mop: I use a porous sponge mop with liquid soaps to clean the kitchen floor and eliminate small puddles after the rain in my laundry room. After each use soak your sponge mop in a bucket of water and cup of bleach for 10 minutes so mold does not grow and make sure you wring it out well. And change the sponge every other month.

16. Dust Mop: This is the biggie which I use to go under the furniture to keep the hardwood floors clean. This also picks up the mounds of hair left behind in the bathroom. To keep these “alive” clean them in the washer but do not use softener as that will eliminate the static electricity you need to pick things up.

17. Long Duster: These I use for high up places which are hard to reach as well as ceiling fans.

18. Vacuum: Carpets pick up all kinds of dirt and dust on a daily basis.

19. Quick Vacuum: I have a smaller vacuum which I use on a daily basis to clean the kitchen and laundry room floors.

20. Bucket: I like to use an oval big plastic bucket so that I have ample rinsing space for which ever mop I am using.

Happy cleaning!