Home Organization

Gifts that Give Back: Hostess Gift Guide

Believe or not but the holidays are around the corner!  You will be going to lots of holiday parties and below are great gifts to bring to the party. The best part about it is that each of the gifts below give back to charities.  So you can feel even better during the holiday season!

  1. Pier One UNICEF Holiday Cards : Each box set donates to UNICEF.
  2. West Elm Kitchen Set : Set includes apron, oven mitt, pot holder & tea towel for only $59.  For each gift set purchased, FEED will donate 32 meals to families in need in the USA.
  3. FEED Wine Bag : By purchasing this unique wine bag, FEED provides 5 school meals for children around the world. Available for only $22.
  4. Jonathan Adler (Product) RED Candle : This (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition Tomato Pop Candle sold will benefit the Global Fund in providing life saving medicine. Available for only $38.
  5. Belvedere (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition Vodka Bottle :  Drink for a cause! 50% of the gross profits go to the Global Fund.
  6. Alessi Fruit Bowl : You’ll be the ultimate gift give with this unique and festive fruit bowl especially since proceeds go towards the Global Fund!  Priced at $90.
  7.  No Kid Hungry® Chef Series Silicone Spatula, American Girl™ : William Sonoma will donate 30% of the price of limited edition spatulas towards the No Kid Hungry organization which works towards ending children hunger in the US.
  8. St. Jude Metallic Yarn Knit Throw : Nothing says a great gift than a cozy blanket.  It’s even better when 50% of the purchase price will be donated directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.
  9. St. Jude Metallic Hearts Bowl + Mug : You can never have enough mugs and soup bowls especially during the holidays.  It’s even sweeter when 50% of the purchase price of each bowl and mug will be donated directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®.
  10. ONE HOPE The Mixologist Gift Box : For every box purchased, 10 meals are donated to end childhood hunger.

What are your hostess gifts that you love?  I would love to hear it!

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Holiday Organization Guide

Whether you want to accept it or not, we only have 6 Saturdays till the Holidays!  Typically, the Holidays can be extremely stressful especially for us mommies. Below is my guide on what you can do to get yourself organized early and actually enjoy the magic of the Holiday Season!

  1. Create or update your holiday greeting card address list: I don’t know about you but every year, I forget how time consuming this is.  Whether it’s changing addresses because someone moved or changed their names due to a marriage, I end up rushing around last minute making all the changes.
  2. Print your labels for the Holiday cards: Imagine getting your holiday cards and just have to stuff the envelopes and stick a label on it and be done?! You can make it happen if you prep in advance.  Make sure you have enough labels before printing.  I remember one year, I was all ready to print my labels and I was short one page. Definitely not fun!
  3. Get your stamps!:  Nothing can be more stressful than going to the Post Office during the Holiday Season.   Save yourself some stress and go now.  It won’t be as busy and you will be guaranteed getting those festive Holiday stamps!
  4. Schedule your holiday photo shoot.  The sooner you do this, the better.  Most people go around the second week of December so try to schedule it during the first week.
    1. Mommy Tip: Schedule your photo shoot after your child has napped and has eaten so you can have a happy, smiling baby for the pics!
  5. Create your gift list: The sooner you do this, the better.  I have personally experienced that I end up spending more money when I have waited last minute in buying my gifts.  You end up forgetting someone and buy whatever you see which always seems to end up being more expensive than what you originally anticipated.
  6. Create your Gift Budget: Once you have your gift list, you can now create your budget.  I have about 14 kids (yes 14!) that I buy gifts for so creating a budget is extremely helpful. The Holidays can easily influence to want you to buy EVERYTHING especially for kids. Having a budget will help keep you on track and not overspend.
  7. Start buying your gifts! I know thinking about buying gifts for the Holidays might seem like a bit much but I promise you will glad that you did.  Early Holiday shopping has so many advantages.  The hottest gifts are always in stock.  You tend to keep with your budget when you shop early because you’re not rushed into getting just anything. And most companies have amazing deals and sales to get you shop early so you save even more money.  The best part is that you can get a head start on all of the wrapping.
    1. Mommy tip: If you haven’t done it already, try online shopping.  Nothing gives me more stress than the thought of stepping foot into a mall during the holidays with a toddler. Most stores now provide free shipping so there’s really no need to go into a mall.  You can also sign up for Amazon Prime which is AMAZING!  Definitely an easy way to relieve the Holiday stress.
  8. Create a gift-wrapping area: This might sound silly but it’s a life saver!  Having one designated area in your home for all things gifts is extremely helpful.  It can be a drawer or a shelf in one of your closets.  You can buy a storage bin at the Dollar Tree and keep your ribbon, tape, scissors, gift tags, etc. in it.  Once you are ready to wrap, you can take out the storage bin and have everything in one place!  Put one some Holiday music and actually enjoy wrapping the gifts you shopped so hard for.
  9. Do an inventory on your gift wrapping supplies:  The kids are finally asleep.  You gather all the gifts that need to be wrapped.  You sit down at the dining room table and you realize you don’t have tape.  Believe me, I have been there.  It’s not fun!  Take the time now to check that you have everything you need: tape, good scissors, gift wrapping paper, bags.  An added benefit in getting these items now is that you will have the best choices.  I remember one year, I went out to buy gift wrapping paper and there was one sad roll left behind because everyone else had bought the good stuff.
    1. Money Saving Tip: Go to a wholesaler like Costco to buy your wrapping paper, bows and tissue paper. The paper is of great quality with wonderful designs, double the quantity and half the price of paper that you would buy at a regular store.  While you’re there, you can sometimes even purchase stamps which will save you a trip to the Post Office altogether
    2. The Dollar Tree is your go to place to purchase the most festive and cutest gift bags!  I can’t even imagine paying more than one dollar on a gift bag anymore.  Once you visit your local Dollar Tree, you won’t either.  The key is going there early because items will sell out and quick! The same goes for stuffing stuffers!
  10. Enjoy the season! The Holiday season is extremely special to me.  It’s a time where you can create magic for your kids.  Try to keep in mind the real reason for the season!  And remember that your children won’t necessary remember the toy that you got them or the gift wrap paper but they will remember how memorable you made the Holidays for them. Keep that in mind when it starts getting to be too much.

What are your tips for getting yourself organized for the holidays?

I would love to hear them!

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10 Simple Ways to a Clean Looking House

Your mother just called that she’s in the area and wants to pass by and see her precious grandchild. You look around in panic as you realize that  your house is definitely not ready for any visitors!  I have been there especially more so now with a toddler. Below are simple and extremely quick ways to make your house look as if you just spent a whole day cleaning even though you only spent 15 minutes.

  1. Pick up and put away (or temporarily hide) anything out of place i.e shoes, toys, laundry that has yet to be folded from the morning, etc.
  2. Clean your screen door if you have one.  I noticed that people assume you just cleaned your home if you have a clean screen door.  First impression is key!
  3. Wipe down your bathroom sink and toilet with glass cleaner.  You will be surprised how clean your bathroom will look with a quick wipe down.
  4. Replace your hand towels in the bathroom if you haven’t recently.
  5. Clean out your bathroom pail and throw out your kitchen garage especially if it’s almost full.  It will automatically give your house a fresher scent.
  6. Make sure you don’t have any dirty dishes in the sink.  Also, wipe down your kitchen sink and stove with a paper towel and glass cleaner.
  7. If you have wooden floors, break out the swiffer and do a quick once over on the floor.  If you have carpet, pick up any obviously visible debris (like this morning pancakes for example)
  8. Fluff up any throw pillows that you visibly have.
  9. Close the door of all other rooms that your guests will not be going into i.e. bedrooms, office, etc.
  10. Light a candle!  It’s lovely walking into a home that smells nice. My go-to scent for last minute visits is Yankee Candle’s Lemon Lavender.  It’s a clean refreshing scent without being too overpowering.

Hope this helps you!  Feel free to share your tips for last minute cleaning.

I would love to hear from you.

Remember you are SIMPLY extraordinary!

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