Saturday, November 25, 2006

Organizing Your Home Office and Paperwork by Stephanine Davies

My latest organizing project is purging my paperwork, creating new files and organizing my home office area. This woman is on a mission with trash bin, shredder and my DymoLabelMaker!

Organizing Your Home Office and Paperwork By: Stephanie Davies

Organizing your home office can truly be a hair raising task! By home office, I mean any area of your house which you pay bills in, write notes, send cards, store paperwork, etc. Some people are lucky to have a separate room for this purpose, and others section off an area in a room with perhaps just a desk. Either way, this article will deal with organizing this area of your life.

When organizing your home office, the first and foremost priority is going to be all that paperwork. The worst thing that has happened to me is when looking for a bill, a phone number, or important information...I just can't find it! Even though I know that it HAS to be in there....somewhere.

There are several different ways to organize your important bills, paperwork, and documents. I suggest you choose the one that best fits your budget and your lifestyle.

The first method is perhaps the easiest method. I call it the file-away billboard method. First you will need to get your hands on a filing cabinet. What size depends on the amount on paperwork you intend to store - I myself have a 4 drawer metal cabinet since I have a large amount of papers that need to be kept straightened out. Next, label the drawers. If you have a 2 drawer you may wish to simply label the top drawer "bills" and the bottom drawer "documents". If you have a 4 drawer, you can include "extremely important" and "misc." to the list. If possible make sure the cabinet drawers support hanging folders, if not, then you can cheaply purchase a hanging file folder "frame" to support those. Next purchase at least one box of hanging file folders. Label each folder as specifically as you can. Here are some suggestions:

IN THE BILLS DRAWER:

- Unpaid Bills (put each bill you get in the mail in this folder so you will know exactly what needs to be paid. Put each bill in its own folder as soon as you pay it, and write on the stub when it was paid and the check number. That way you can look back for easy reference if you need to. - Cable Bill/Paid - Water Bill/Paid - Electric Bill/Paid - Mortgage Bill/Paid - Telephone/Paid - Child Care/Paid - Columbia House/Paid - Misc./Paid (this one is for those once only bills that won't get enough to have their own folder)

IN THE DOCUMENTS DRAWER

Note: Those marked with an * are those which could be filed in "important" if you had an extra drawer. - House papers* (to keep all the mortgage or lease papers together) - Medical Insurance* (you can keep separate insurance files for each covered family member) - Receipts* - Warranties* - Recipes - Useful URLs - Car/Auto Documents* (loan agreements, titles, maintenance records can be kept here) - Misc Important* (for those that wouldn't fit a specific category) - Bank Statements* - Computer Papers/Instructions

Of course you can make any folders to whatever applies to you. I find this to be the easiest and fastest way to get organized with paperwork, if not the least expensive. I also recommend buying a medium to large size bulletin board and putting all of the most important things on there that you always forget you have. Things like important phone number, coupons, reminders, and more can go there easily. It is also a great place to hang children's artwork if you have small children.

The next method is a little less efficient, but can work wonders for those on a tight budget. First get several medium to small size boxes that have separate lids, and either get several yards of fabric, or you can even use old clothes with interesting patterns. Get a hold of some fabric glue (the best kind to use is the spray kind). Then cut the fabric to cover the outside of the box, and also the lid. Glue the fabric to the boxes securely, and let dry. Then using 3X5 cards, label each box as needed.

Examples:

"UNPAID BILLS" "PAID BILLS" "MISC" "TO DO" "IMPORTANT PAPERS"

I have created several very pretty floral boxes using this method, and you can even add pictures of loved ones, pictures cut from magazines, sequins, or anything else you can think of. The stack the boxes, and add papers to their respective boxes as needed. Simple and effective!

Another good thing to use when organizing your papers are folders, as in the kind kids use in school, with a pocket on each side. They come in many different styles, and can be useful in keeping together slips of information, and things you need to put away but do not yet have the time. I personally always keep a plastic tray on my desk for "papers that need to be put away", either in boxes or file cabinet drawers, so that I can put them a way when I have a spare moment, yet they won't get lost.

It is always good to keep several plain boxes in your basement or storage area, and label them by year (i.e. "1997" "1998" "1999" "2000",ect.), and at the end of each year, go through where you keep your paid bills and receipts, and place every each in the box for the prior year. That way your box or file cabinet won't get stuffed full, and yet you will have these items on hand in case of an audit or other dispute.

I hope these home office tips help you, and it is always best to think of your home office just as you would a business office. Pretend you are the secretary keeping things in place to run a business, and you will never go wrong.

Article by:


Stephanie Davies is a 27 year old Missourian with 10 years of internet experience, a loving husband and a zoo which includes 3 cats, 6 sugar gliders, 3 snakes, a ferret and a fish named #3 (#1 and #2 went to the great fishbowl in the sky). She currently owns and operates her own business, Mystickal Incense & More, which sells handmade candles, incense, bath & body products and other handcrafted products at www.mystickalincense.com

Friday, November 24, 2006

Make Affordable Holiday Gift Baskets by Nicole Dean

When it come to creating an affordable gift basket I need a lot of help. Thanks to Nicole Dean ideas we can create affordable and appealing gift baskets.

Make Affordable Holiday Gift Baskets By: Nicole Dean

Gift baskets are a great gift for families. You can make your own Holiday Gift Baskets inexpensively and easily using some of the ideas below.

Start with a basket or container. Throughout the year, watch for inexpensive baskets wherever you go. I find great baskets of all shapes and sizes at dollar stores. However, you aren’t limited by baskets. Use anything from a popcorn tin to a beach pail filled with goodies for an inexpensive gift.

There are a zillion themes to choose from and they're very fun to make. Here are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless.

Family Movie Night Basket:
Fill a basket with classic movie theater snacks, like Junior Mints and Raisinettes. Include a few family-friendly DVDs. Don't forget the microwaveable popcorn.

Sunday Morning Basket:
Fill a basket with gourmet coffee and tea, muffin mix, pancake mix and syrup, jellies and jams and other yummy breakfast treats. Line the basket with the funnies from the newspaper. Include coloring books and crayons to keep the kids busy while Mom and Dad fix breakfast.

Making Memories Gift Basket:
This is a great gift for scrapbookers. Include the basics of what they'll need to create a family memory book - an album, papers and embellishments, markers, a glue stick. Include a disposable camera for each child in the family in the basket so that their memories in the making can be captured through their eyes. You can even include a few photos of the family that you already have to help them get started.

The holidays do not need to cost a fortune. You can give thoughtful Holiday Gift Baskets to family and friends to show you care.

Article by:


Nicole Dean is the mostly-sane mom and owner of www.ShowMomTheMoney.com – a fun and informative site to help moms achieve success working from home. She invites you to learn more money-saving tricks at www.showmomthemoney.com/TimeSavers.asp

Holiday Gift Shopping Ideas for Teens


Are you looking for some great holiday gift ideas for tweens and teens? I've gathered a list of resources that have posted gift suggestions, along with some of our teen's favorite online stores. Some of these may already be on your list but you may find some surprises. (I sure did)

Parenting My Teens

Parenting Your Adolescents About.com

Disipline Crosses

Orange County Choppers

Eddie Bauer

'Ignite Your Faith' Christian Teen Magazine

GameTap - Online Game Site

PBTeen - Teen furnishings, backpacks, decor

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving from Berrymorins Bits and Tips


All of these recipes are diabetic approved. Please refer to Mr. Food's Quick & Easy Diabetic Cooking cookbook for the items with an star. Our Thanksgiving menu, this year, is as follows:

Turkey

Mashed Potatoes* with Turkey Gravy

Whole Wheat Rolls

Mac and Cheese*

Mixed Green Salad

Apple Pie*

Here's wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wordless Wednesday - Annual Corny Joke Day on Dr. Laura Show!

Need Alittle Help This Thanksgiving? Purchase Your Thanksgiving Planning Guide Today

I don't know about you but being organized during the holidays makes it more enjoyable for you and your family. So stop pulling your hair out today. Stop by Healthy Menu Mailer.com and purchase the Thanksgiving Planning Guide. It's full of planning tips, decorating ideas, healthy recipes, crafts for the kids and shopping list and much more! And get ready...you get all of this for just $9.97 per downloadable guide.

Just click on the Thanksgiving icon, on the right of the blog.

I printed mine today, immediately 3 hole punched it and added it to my House Management Book. Now, excuse me but I'm going to kick back and enjoy the stress-free holidays.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Can Homeschoolers Take The Educator's Deduction? - Homeschool CPA


Have you been thinking about taking the Educator's Deduction on your tax return this year? Well, you may want to think twice about not doing it, especially if you do not qualify for the deduction. Please visit Homeschool CPA's blog post for more details on this deduction and other tax information.

Will Your' Homeschool Group Have a Yearbook This Year?


When my mother was visiting us, last fall, I pulled out our son's yearbook from previous year. Her remark was " He has a yearbook?" Then she started looking through it and commented "That's a great idea!" We actually get that and similar comments when we mention that our ISP program has a yearbook.

The first day of school, kids get their pictures taken for student ids. They use those pictures for the class pictures. Through out the year, parents and students take pictures at field trips and activities.

Just because you homeschool doesn't mean that your kids should miss out on this opportunity.

You could have a traditional yearbook made in cooperation of your homeschool support group. Many companies have recognized the fact that homeschoolers want to document their school year. Visit Jostens Yearbook for homeschool yearbooks for details and sample kits.

Some parents and groups make their own yearbook. It can be as simple as a a scrapbook of the year or elaborate as having it printed and given as gifts to family and friends. Visit Katie's Homemade Homeschool Yearbook website for creative ideas.

Whichever method you use to document your school year you'll definitely enjoy looking at your books in years to come!

Monday, November 20, 2006

November 20 is National Military Family Recognition Day

Did you know that National Military Family Recognition Day falls on Monday of Thanksgiving week every year? How appropriate don't you think?

Here are some ways to show your support to a local military family. How about offering your hospitality by inviting them over for dinner, making a batch of cookies and including a card and delivering it, babysitting the little ones so the spouse can take a much needed break, or making a holiday gift basket and presenting it as a family.

This year, our church is delivering 150 turkeys to a local charity. The charity is planning on assembling and presenting food baskets to local Navy and Marine families who's spouses are deployed.

As a former Air Force brat there are many memories of the communities coming together to let us know how much they appreciated us. Now that I'm an adult I really want to give back. So, let's give all military families a standing ovation and a big thank you today.

It's Annual Corny Joke Day on Dr. Laura this Wednesday!


Listen to the Dr. Laura Show this Wednesday, November 22 for the Annual Corny Joke Day, 11am to 3pm PST. Listeners will call in with their funny jokes. Those that really crack up Dr. Laura and her staff will be eligible for prizes.

If you're not comfortable going on the show you can fax in your jokes but you will not be eligible for a prize. Visit the website for more fun details.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Women by Grace Radio Show is Looking for Your Questions

Kelly McCausey and Sandra Jensen, Women By Grace Radio, are looking for your anonymous questions regarding sex and the Christian women for their next show segment. The ladies would like to cover this topic well so here are some of their suggestions for topics: Dealing with sexual abuse, sexual purity, teaching our children about sex, and enjoying sex within marriage. For more details, please visit their website.

You'll also find a link within My Favorite Internet Talk Radio Shows.

'Is Your Spouse Stressed at Work' by Donna Savage


Recently, I found a terrific article, by Donna Savage, at Marriage Partnership.com that I would like to share with you. It's called 'Is Your Spouse Stressed at Work'. She provides helpful information such as that during stressful times we cannot fix everything, sometimes all you can do is provide support by listening and being there. For some of us, just being quiet and listening is a very difficult task.

You'll also read about adjusting your expectations during this time, creating a calm and relaxing homefront and much more.

I like what she had to say about making the choice to either sulk in the corner or give your spouse tender kisses. Who wouldn't have more fun with the latter?