Category Archives: Tiny Tip on Thursday

Quick Productivity Tip For This Busy Season

Thought since this is a super busy time of year, I’d share a quick productivity tip.  I’ve actually already posted about this tip once.  It’s one I do return to when I feel overwhelmed.

And it involves making a list, something I still despise but force myself to do when it becomes apparent the only solution to my overwhelm is to sit down and write out those pesky to-do tasks on a daily basis. Mostly, I’m a I know what I need to do, why should I make a list type person?  Oh boy, I realized I sound just like my youngest son.

This quick productivity tip comes from Allyson Lewis and is really simple.  She has a list here of 21 Ways to Improve Your Productivity and this is item number 4 on her list.  You simply complete 5 tasks before 11:00a.m.  I always find I get more done when I use this method.

My list stays simple.  And I’ve learned the hard way to keep it at 5 items.  Trying to squeeze in 7 gets overwhelming.  It’s better to “follow the rules” and keep the list at 5 items and let anything else be a bonus.

My 5 Tasks For This Morning:

  1. Write and Publish A Blog post.  (Trying my best not ignore my blog entirely during the next few weeks. Every year at this time, I have so many ideas for posts that I never seem to get written and published.)
  2. Unload and Load Dishwasher (I was lazy last night) AND wash the pans!
  3. Put a roast in the crock pot for dinner tonight.
  4. Clean out my purse.  It’s full of receipts and trash and I don’t know what else. I want to be able to easily find things in it when I go shopping later today.
  5. Take a Christmas present inventory. I need to get out the hidden presents and stocking stuffers and see what I have (I already know: not much).

I also made a quick list of 5 tasks I’d like to get done after 11. If they don’t happen today, I’ll just bump them to my list for tomorrow morning.

The rest of my to-do list for today (the to-do list for Christmas planning is much longer!):

  1. Go Christmas shopping (need to get Secret Santa gift for my work party tomorrow night!)
  2. Clean out fridge!
  3. Grocery store (need cheese ball ingredients plus food for the teenagers who eat non-stop)
  4. Spend 15 minutes cleaning every room in our house
  5. Write out and mail 5 Christmas cards (also on my shopping list for today)

Is your holiday to-do list overwhelming?  What’s on your list for just today?

(Excited to be completing item 1 from the list of 5 tasks before 11).





Holiday Coupons: Taming The Chaos

While I don’t really coupon any more, I love the holiday coupons!  holiday coupons

What I don’t love is hauling around a bunch of crumpled up pieces of paper in my purse.  What often happens is I’m in the store and making my purchase when I remember, Oh, yeah, I have a coupon! Said coupon is usually at home on the kitchen table.

I love the stores kind enough to load the savings on my reward cards. Thank you, CVS and Hy-Vee!  However, even my beloved CVS and Hy-Vee sometimes insist on mailing me paper coupons.

My tech savvy should be better but it’s not. I confess I usually print the e-mail coupons even when I know I could just show the bar code on my phone.  Sorting through a ton of e-mails on my phone while trying to make a purchase isn’t my style.

So how do I tame the chaos of all those holiday coupons?  Make a meticulous plan and go from store to store with coupons sorted and ready?  Ha! If you thought that would be my answer, you must be a new reader to this blog. Welcome to a place where things are usually anything but meticulous.

My Trick For Taming The Chaos Of The Holiday Coupons:

A folder!  It’s a bit scary how many times a simple folder solves problems over here.   holiday coupons

I put all my store coupons that I may want to use in my folder.  Then, when I’m going to go on a big holiday shopping spree, the folder lands on the front passenger seat of the car.

Upon arrival at each store, I simply take a minute to look through my folder and if I have a coupon, I throw it in my purse.

Having all my coupons in the folder, means if I end up near a store I didn’t originally plan to visit, I don’t have to worry about the coupon sitting on the kitchen table.  Usually in December, the folder will simply stay in the car.

Mostly, I limit my coupons to retail but it might also be a handy way to handle the restaurant coupons as well.


Do you use coupons for your holiday shopping?  How do you keep track of them?

Stocking Stuffer Secrets

For  today’s Tiny Tip on A  Thursday, I’m going to share my stocking stuffer secrets with you.

And yes, I’m talking about Christmas prior to Thanksgiving.  I don’t know if it was the whole embracing fall for 31 days thing but I’m thinking about Christmas already.

stocking stuffer

Photo credit: Melalouise via Flckr

Here are my stocking stuffer secrets:

  • Start early!  Usually in October but sometimes sooner, I start looking for small items for stockings whenever I’m out at a store.  It helps to ask to have whatever you pick out put in a separate bag.
  • Have a designated spot for storing them.  One of my dresser drawers serves this function.  It’s in the same row as my underwear drawer so I don’t really worry about any boys snooping in there.
  • In addition to searching out fun things, stick to a few standard items each year to cut down on some of the stress of filling the stockings.  Some of our Santa standard items: Chap-stick, gum, spin toothbrushes, bubble bath/cologne now that the boys are older (My mom used to fill my stocking with perfume samples and I always loved it.  It’s a bit harder to find men’s cologne samples but I did find a couple for the upcoming year), and of course, bags of favorite candy (Bags take up more space than those cute holiday suckers.).
  • Every year I have this plan where I stash the fun items in the drawer and then, I go out usually on Christmas Eve and panic that I don’t have enough to fill those stockings! Guess what? Usually I end up with too much.  So, other than candy and gum, I put some items back in the drawer and save for upcoming holidays and birthdays.  Sometimes items last all the way to the next Christmas.

Right now, I’m a bit behind on the stocking stuffer drawer although I do have the Chap-stick (peppermint!) and cologne samples in there.  I’m finding it a bit harder to come up with fun ideas as the boys get older.

And I refuse to go with my husband’s “just give them underwear and candy!” suggestion.  So, I’m open to any stocking stuffer ideas for two teenage boys?



Candy Overload: A Simple Cure

Candy overload happens a lot at this time of year.  It happened here this morning.

An overflowing candy bowl and a shortage of trick-or-treaters on Halloween will do that to a family.  My husband hid the candy bowl from the kids today.

Wish I could say the kids didn’t inherit their love of all things sweet and inability to stop eating them from me.  However, they did.

When  I was living on my own in my 20s, I remember waking up feeling sick after a holiday.  I think it was Christmas.  In a short telephone call, my dad shared his cure for candy overload with me.

The cure is pretty simple.

The simple cure for candy overload is my favorite breakfast: candy overload

Bacon, eggs, and toast.  If you don’t fry your egg in the bacon grease, I’m not even sure we can remain friends.  My dad told me bacon and eggs would cure that sick feeling from eating too much sweet stuff.  Do you ever feel like dessert after a breakfast like that? Not me.

Eating scrambled eggs works as well although the breakfast pictured above is my personal favorite, probably partially based on the fact it is the breakfast my dad cooked almost every morning.  Some day perhaps I’ll be able to fry an egg as perfectly as he could do it.

Of course, the only one in my family who will eat the above breakfast is me.  My husband doesn’t eat eggs period.  The kids will mostly only eat scrambled eggs (J did go through a sunny side up egg phase).

Now that I’m older although I’m not sure how much wiser, I know the key to candy overload is actually all about balancing it out with the protein.  There is something to the egg theory, I think. Seems like when I have eggs, I do crave sweets less than if I use something like peanut butter or cheese for my protein source.

What remedy do you have for days of overindulging in the sweets?

Throw Pillow Placement

You’re really going to write an entire post on throw pillow placement?  My inner voice questioned along with the eye-roll.  Writer’s block setting in much on this 31 days series thing?  Yes, perhaps.

When getting out my fall decorations, I always pull out my little seasonal throw pillows.  They do make me happy.  Before I talk about where I place them, I thought it would be fun to share close-ups.

The first one, I think I may or may not have “borrowed” from one of the boys when they were little.  It’s a good decoration now.  It’s more of a Halloween thing than fall but I like it. throw pillow The next pillow I bought at Target over the summer.  It just matches the couch well. throw pillow My candy corn pillow was a garage sale find! throw pillow My late mother in law made me the last pillow.  It is something I cherish. throw pillow The boys used to always want to play with this pillow and always had to hear how special it was to me. It stays out until Christmas decorations take over.  Each panel shows a different scene.  I turn it to show the pumpkins prior to Halloween. throw pillow And then, turn it to the other scene for the time leading up to Thanksgiving. throw pillow

To keep this post in line with my usual Tiny Tip on A Thursday, here are my thoughts on where I put my pillows.

Throw Pillow Placement:

While I wish I had the magic touch and our home looked magazine ready rather than messy, I don’t.  Our couch is more of a large corral for stuff than any place people actually sit.  No photos of our typically covered couch, not today anyway.

It seemed silly to add throw pillows to an already cluttered couch.  I wanted them out and on display though.  My solution?  Put them on top of the couch (the couch does need to be against a wall for this to work).  throw pillow The above photo of a cleared off couch is rare and was only possible because everyone left with their stuff and I cleared it.  In a few hours, it will find itself once again covered in backpacks and jackets (and yes, I’m just as guilty as the kids in that habit).

How many throw pillows are on your couch?

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