Author Archives: Penny

DIY owl gift bags for teacher gifts

owl gift bag

This owl bag is a cute way to package baked goods or any other small teacher appreciation gift. The bag is easy enough for a preschool child to help make, and the hand tracings for the wings make it extra personal. Doesn’t it almost look like it is reaching out for a hug? This is the first year I’ve had to come up with teacher appreciation gifts. I really wanted something that my 3-year-old could help me make so that it had a very personal feel, but I also wanted something the teachers would enjoy. These gift bags fit the … Continue reading

Posted in Crafts, Kid-related | Tagged gift bags, owls, teacher appreciation | 10 Comments

Elf on the Shelf takes old toys away

Elf on the Shelf

We do not have an Elf on the Shelf, but I had an interesting idea for those who have one. What if one night the elf takes some of the child’s old toys away with him/her up to the North Pole. The story can be that Santa is going to refurbish the toys to give to other children. The elf could leave a note advising which night it was going to happen so the child could help pick out the toys that would be going. This not only downsizes the toy collection before the influx of new toys but also … Continue reading

Posted in Kid-related | 3 Comments

Building a felt stockpile

Felt seems to be a crafting staple. Now that my daughter is crafting age, I decided to get a rainbow assortment of felt to have on hand for spontaneous crafting sessions.  I decided to go with felt by the yard (1/3 yard of each) instead of individual sheets. I wrote about the cost breakdown on Coupons Are Great, a friend’s blog. I also found a great remnant of white felt for just $0.75 to use to make a felt board for story telling and learning fun.

Posted in Crafts, Kid-related | Tagged fabric, felt, felt board, remnants | Leave a comment

Small book rack made from a desktop letter sorter

This easy, potty-side, book rack keeps my daughter’s books clean, dry, off the floor, out of my way, and within her reach. Given that my child has over 500 books, it’s not a surprise that she often wants to bring one into the bathroom when she’s doing her business. This posed two minor problems. First, she wouldn’t realize until she was already in the bathroom with her pants pulled down that she didn’t have a book which meant she’d go running off in a tizzy to find one. Second, there wasn’t a good place to set the book before or … Continue reading

Posted in Kid-related, Organization | Tagged book rack, books, potty time | 1 Comment

Magnetic bedtime chart

My almost three year old loses focus as she gets tired which can make the nap and bedtime routines a challenge. I made up a quick and easy to do list to help keep her on track. It’s not super pretty, but it’s working for us, which is all that matters in the end. My first step was to search the web (using Swagbucks, of course) for chore charts to see what sorts of options other clever people have devised. Any promising candidate I pinned to a Pinterest board so I could later view all the ideas in one place … Continue reading

Posted in Kid-related, Organization | Tagged bedtime routine, chore chart, kids, magnetic board, magnets | Leave a comment

4 ways to salvage a meal gone bad

Chicken soup

I considered titling this post, “How I get my family to eat leftovers”. I enjoy trying new recipes. Even those rare *cough* times that the results aren’t especially tasty, we can usually manage to choke down the initial round. Getting someone to consume the leftovers, however, can be a challenge. I recently made several dud slow cooker meals that I managed to salvage into meals that were actually quite good. I’ll start with the easy ones. My first experiment was a recipe for Italian Beef. It was basically beef, seasonings, onion, and bell pepper. The problem was the onions and … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged crock pot, food, improving texture, ingredients, leftovers, slow cooker | 19 Comments

How I keep our mountain of paperwork in check

Stack of paperwork

I’ve been thinking a lot about clutter lately. The mad cleaning frenzy before relatives come to visit will do that to a person. Like many people, we struggle with clutter. We have some areas that stay in shape and others that don’t. I think one of the tricks for us is having a designated spot for things. It’s not that we’re too lazy to put things away, it’s that we’re too lazy to *think* about it before doing it. When something’s been left on the table, if it has a designated spot elsewhere, the only brain power I need to … Continue reading

Posted in Organization | Tagged bills, mail, paperwork, sorting | Leave a comment

How to adjust your Facebook profile picture thumbnail

Ever put up an awesome new profile picture on Facebook only to find that the thumbnail that gets attached to your posts is centered on a spot 5 inches above your head? You can shift what part of the picture Facebook uses for the thumbnail. The below image shows the thumbnail Facebook chose for my flower picture. I’d prefer it to be centered on the large purple flower. To move the thumbnail, you must go to the area where you can edit your profile. If you are on your page, click the link in the upper left corner as shown … Continue reading

Posted in Facebook | Tagged Facebook, profile picture, thumbnail | 3 Comments, a great online registry that isn’t store specific

When I got married several years ago, I dreaded setting up a registry. I have multiple complaints about registries, but my two main problems were 1) I didn’t want to tie people to a specific store. I’m quite frugal and know that shopping around can really pay off and 2) I didn’t necessarily have specific brand/model preferences for things. For example, I knew we wanted a meat thermometer but didn’t really have the time to figure out which one to put on the registry. Enter FindGift allows you to create an online registry that isn’t tied to a specific … Continue reading

Posted in Great sites | Tagged FindGift, gift registries, great site, wishlists | 4 Comments

The importance of a strong e-mail password

Image of padlock

By now you may have gotten e-mail from one or more companies saying that Epsilon, their e-mail service provider, was hacked. The e-mail warns you to watch for phishing attacks. I’d like to issue a semi-related warning about the importance of having a strong password on your e-mail account. Many people seem to have the attitude, “It’s just my e-mail account. A hacker wouldn’t be interested in reading my mail.” True, a hacker might not be excited about the message from your sister telling you what her kids did for spring break, but the hacker is definitely interested in accessing … Continue reading

Posted in E-mail | Tagged e-mail, passwords, phishing | Leave a comment