August 31, 2012

DIY Bedroom Closet Organization

When we moved into our house 6 years ago we basically remodeled every closet except the one in my sons room.  Since he’s getting bigger it was due for an upgrade. I started by removing the sliding doors.
Bedroom Closet Makeover {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
You can see how much wasted space is at the top.

August 28, 2012

Lego ~ and other toy ~ Organization

My kids toys are getting out of control.  It’s way past time to get them under control.   Especially the little things . . . . legos, squinkies, polly pockets, etc.  I cannot believe how small these pieces are!!
I like the lego organization from I Heart Organizing to corral small pieces but I needed something that was going to use more vertical space.  Since we were passing through Atlanta on the way to vacation I decided to see what else they had.  I found this Billy Bookshelf that was the perfect size to tuck next to the loft bed I’m planning to make each kid.  It’s only 15 inches wide and about 6 ft tall. 
billy bookshelf

August 24, 2012

Awesome gift idea for a boy . . . . or a girl!!

Tool box gift idea {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
Many years ago my husband started this tradition for his nephews.  Every Christmas and birthday he bought them a new tool.  He started with the tool box and then filled it with tools.  He kept a list for each one so he knew what they had and what they still needed.  This is great for several reasons:
  1. It takes all the stress out of trying to figure out what to get each time
  2. He was able to watch sales and buy the tool sets throughout the year to save money
  3. Each nephew has a complete set of really great tools to take with them when they move out.
My brother and sister-in-law has started the same tradition for my son.  However, I use tools probably as much as my husband (my dad started my toolbox when I was younger as well) so we also had them start one for my daughter.  We just store the toolbox on a shelf in their bedroom closet and then add the tools they get for each Christmas or birthday.  My son already loves his and we actually used them the other day when we were putting a new bookshelf together in his room.
Tool box gift idea {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}Great gift idea for boys and girls {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}Tool box gift idea for boys and girls {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}

August 21, 2012

Annual School Paper Organization

With school nearing I need to get my system up to date for organizing all the papers I know will be pouring in.  I finally have one in school full time so I know there will be a lot to sort through.  She was only in half day kindergarten last year and there was a TON so I know her first year of full day school will be worse.  A while ago I set up these crates and made a file folder for each year.  I have a blue crate for my son and a pink one for my daughter.  Instead of having the yucky green hanging file folders showing through I decided to cover each one in scrapbook paper.  Each folder used 2 12x12 sheets.  My daughters files are all covered in coordinated paper in shades of pink and my sons is in shades of blue.  I also added a ribbon to each crate. 
School Paper Organization Crates {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
In order to remember important information I created a cover sheet for each year.  I decided to just make mine to slip inside the front of the hanging file since the outside was already covered.  I created a rainbow “bubble” sheet for my daughters files.  I’m still working on a boy version.  Now all I need to do is type in the correct information each year, print it out, and slip it inside the hanging file folder.  (I blurred out her teachers name and school name for privacy)
School Paper Organization Cover Page {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
School Paper Organization Folders {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
I only wish sorting through all the pages and deciding what to keep was as easy.  Any suggestions?

August 19, 2012

Thanks Knitty Bitties!

I just love receiving packages in the mail!  Today I received a package from Knitty Bitties that I won in a giveaway from Simple As That
knitty bitty giveaway package
Knitty Bitties stuff is so cute I had a hard time choosing.  I settled on a notebook holder and mini wallet.  I love her fabric choices and the fact that she was able to coordinate both. 
Knitty Bitties Notebook Holder and Mini Wallet {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
I was hooked on the notebook holder the minute I saw it.  I’m always writing notes and this is the perfect size.  I can carry it in my purse or bag and always have paper and pen when I need it.  It also has an additional pocket where I can keep ads, coupons, or other misc things I’ll need.
Knitty Bitties Notebook Holder Cover {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}          Knitty Bitties Notebook Holder Inside {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
I also chose a mini wallet.  I thought it would be perfect when I just needed to run an errand or go to the park or bike riding with my kids.  It has two pockets inside so it’s just large enough for a few bills and a drivers license or credit card.  It also has a small loop on the outside where I can attach my keys.
Knitty Bitties Mini Wallet Cover {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}          Knitty Bitties Mini Wallet Inside {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
Both are extremely well made and the sewing is excellent!  Everything is lined and the fabrics are so well coordinated.  I’m so pleased with my items.  Thanks so much Simple as That and Knitty Bitties!!
Of course, I had to add my own touch so I also made the pen coordinate.  It was the perfect pen for this.  You just open it up, roll up a piece of scrapbook paper and slip it inside.  My daughter and I did this for some pen/post it note sets we gave her teachers at the end of last year.  Perfection!
Knitty Bitties Notebook Holder Pen Makeover {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
I'm keeping these in mind for gift ideas.  Now my only problem is that both my kids want a notebook holder!

August 17, 2012

Vacation Organization ~ Part 4 ~ Update

Vacation Travel Binder {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
We’re back from vacation and I thought I’d update how all the planning and organization worked out.
All the meal planning was well worth it.  I’m happy to say that we only ate out on the days we drove there and home because we didn’t have a choice without a kitchen to cook in and we were driving until late the first day. Once we were there we only ate out for 3 meals (one of which we really didn’t need to but I wanted to try the restaurant).
Meals out:
  • Day 1 – driving – lunch
  • Day 1 – driving – dinner
  • Day 2 – driving lunch (breakfast was included at our hotel)
  • During the week – lunch and 2 dinners
  • Day 9 – driving – lunch
  • Day 9 – driving – dinner
  • Day 10 – driving – lunch (breakfast was included at our hotel)
That means that out of 10 days (30 meals) we only ate 9 meals out.
It made for a much more relaxed vacation. We didn’t have to rush to get ready to go out to eat somewhere and we had a lot more free time. We also spent more time relaxing in the room so the kids could have some downtime. Not to mention the money we saved. I’m hoping to eventually add some crock pot meals to my selection.  The only problem I can think of was that I over cooked.  We did have extra freezer meals.  However, not such a big deal as it was easy to pack to bring home and now we have several meals to use up so I don’t have to cook.

Packing each of my kids outfits in the ziploc bags was one of the best things I ever did.  My son was up and dressed before anyone else most days since he was able to just grab a bag and change out of his pj’s.  It kept him from mixing up all the clothes and having one big mess in the drawer.  It worked great for my daughter since we matched everything, including hair stuff.  It kept her from packing tons of extra things she didn’t need. . . . she’s a “girly” girl.
Packing Kids Clothes for Travel {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}     Packing Kids Luggage for Travel {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
The time line I hung in the car to track the cities we passed will need to be done differently next year.  I hung it from left to right, across the car, behind the front seats.  It made it tough to get to the back seats to help my kids with things or get in the cooler.  Not sure where else to hang it though.  I’m going to have to get creative!  It did keep them from bugging me about how far we’d gone or when we would get there.  They were able to see how many cities we passed and how many we had left to go. 
road trip timeline and other printables
As we took each city down I gave them a little wrapped treat to open.  The backseat organizers were great for storing all their new treasures. 
Car Seat Organizer {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
They also had fun choosing brochures and pamphlets at the tourist information centers and storing them in their mini binders.
Their toy baskets and bags worked great.  They could reach most everything in the car and it was easy to carry them into the room. It also kept the mess in the condo contained as we cleaned everything up each evening and put it back in each basket.  

I did come across some things I needed to add to my vacation binder packing list so I jotted them down as I thought of them and then it will be simple to update and print new lists.
Vacation Travel Binder {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
All in all I think things went great.  It was definitely one of our more organized vacations.  Unpacking at each hotel was a breeze and even unpacking at home was definitely easier than usual. 
Can’t wait for next summer . . . .

Part 1 - Meal Planning
Part 2 - Packing
Part 3 - Entertaining the Kids

August 14, 2012

Vacation Organization ~ Part 3 ~ Entertaining the Kids

To keep my kids from driving me crazy I put together activity binders for each kid. I created these last year and just update them each year as they get tired of the activities or they get too easy. We also take these to church and use them at restaurants. I’ve found many resources online for free printables, I’ve created a few of my own, and I also pull pages out of books or magazines. 

In each binder we have bingo games, alphabet games, tic-tac-toe grids, hangman boards, mazes, connect the dots, word searches, and other activities. You can check out my travel pinterest board for links to some. I did purchase a Road Trip Games e-book and will be printing some games to add to the binders. I used google maps to create a travel path that my kids could follow. I marked several main cities with a red circle and plan to give them a treat at each one.
 Travel-Activity-Binders-Map-Cover-A-[1]     Travel-Activity-Binders-A-Sprinkle-o[1]
The treats are inexpensive activities and games. (I’ve been purchasing things as I see them on sale or from garage sales or the dollar store). My daughters are wrapped in pink and my sons in red. My mom found the reusable bags to hold the treats at Target dollar on clearance for $0.30. They were the perfect size. I have enough treats for the drive out and the drive back. We’ve done this with our past two trips and it’s worked great!
This year I also created mini activity binders. This “What to Doodle, Jr” book was my inspiration.
There are other versions available as well. .
My daughter LOVES drawing. I’ve made her some doodle starter pages in the past but she goes through them too fast. Since this was a smaller book I couldn’t just pull out the pages and put them in the activity binders. While I was trying to decide what to do I came across some 6x8 binders I got a long time ago at a garage sale. I think they were from a wedding. Luckily, I was able to find sheet protectors on Amazon that fit perfectly. I took the book to Office Max and had them cut off the spine to save me time. Then I just slipped each page into a sheet protector. Now my daughter can draw, erase, and draw again. So my son doesn’t feel left out I was able to find some travel games that I was able to print smaller so I also created a mini-activity binder for him.
Both binders have two extra empty sheet protectors. One is labeled travel tickets and car bucks (used for good behavior and will be turned in later for an special surprise or to purchase a souvenir). The other is labeled tickets and brochures. I’ll let the kids save pamphlets, postcards, tickets, etc. from our travels.
To keep their “stuff” separate I packed a bag for each of them. Several months ago we went to a story time at Target for Dr. Seuss. Each kid got a reusable bag based on the Lorax movie. I created a tag for each and put them in badge holders. The front has their name and the back is a Dr. Seuss quote.
Dr.-Seuss-Activity-Bag-A-Sprinkle-of Dr.-Seuss-Travel-Activity-Bags-A-Spr[2]
These bags will be used to hold their activity binders and some Highlights magazines. They will be stored in a basket that goes on the floor in front of their seat. My kids are both small so it doesn’t get in the way. These baskets are also used for storing games, a stuffed animal, and their activity binders.  I mentioned these in Part 2.
Toy Baskets for Traveling {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
I have another bag that I’ll place on the seat in between them. It’s a thirty-one tote with tons of pockets. This bag will hold dry erase markers, small travel game boards, snacks, crayons, etc.
Thirty-One Tote for Organizing Activities in the Car {A Sprinkle of This . . . . A Dash of That}
I sewed each kid a travel pillow and matching blanket. They’ve used these for several years now. . . . . but I’m thinking about sewing one of these pillows . . . . (click on the picture if you want to see where to purchase one)
Can you think of anything I’m forgetting?

Part 1 - Meal Planning
Part 2 - Packing
Part 4 - Update