Category Archives: Tiny Tip on Thursday

Set A Timer And Go….

Today’s tiny tip on a Thursday post is just a reminder to myself and to you.  You can accomplish quite a lot more than you think in just five minutes!

I confess I’ve been having motivation problems for longer than just today or this week or honestly, this month even.  Today for some reason I hit a tipping point and HAD to do something about the state of this house.

I went back to basics.  I knew I couldn’t do much since I had already wasted too much time on-line and had to work later this morning.  I decided to go back to setting the timer and working for just 5 minutes in each room.

In FIVE minutes I did the following in each room in our house:


  • Made the Bed
  • Cleaned The Mirror
  • Emptied The Trash, sprayed trash can with Lysol, put in new trash bag
  • Cleaned, wiped off sink
  • Sprayed cleaner in the toilet
  • Changed out the hand towel


  • Unloaded dishwasher
  • Loaded Dishwasher and started it

Living Room

  • Cleared off couch (always covered with kids and my stuff)
  • Put away paper shredder
  • Sprayed air freshener
  • Bonus:  Sprayed air freshener in all rooms!

Main Bathroom

  • Cleaned Mirror
  • Cleaned Sink and Back of Toilet
  • Emptied trash, sprayed can with Lysol, and added new bag
  • Put away all my “products” with the exception of still hot curling iron
  • Wiped off really dirty area of floor that has been bothering me all week
  • Recycled empty soap container, added new full one


It doesn’t seem like much but the house feels so much better (and so do I!) with just those little five-minute actions in each room.

I planned to write and share this post in just 5 minutes but it actually took me closer to 10 minutes.  Still, not very long at all!

What can you accomplish in 5 minutes?  I bet it


Stove-top Simmer, A Quick And Easy Way To Scent Your Home

Need to add a pleasant scent to your home?  Is the winter heat drying out the air inside?  Today’s tiny tip on Thursday might be the answer you need.

Not only is it quick and easy, it can also make frugal use of the fruit which has been hanging around too long.  It only requires a few items which you hopefully have in your kitchen:

  1. A saucepan of some sort
  2. Water
  3. Spices and/or fruits about to expire

    stove-top simmer

    the local grocery store has added an extremely cheap “ugly produce” section

Some of you probably do this all the time already.  Basically, to make a stove-top simmer, just fill a saucepan with some sliced fruits and a generous sprinkle (or two) of your favorite spices, add water, and bring to a boil.

stove-top simmer

Note: cranberries do pop open when boiled so you may not want to fill the pot this full to start if using them

Then, turn down the heat to simmer.  Wait a short time and the scent should fill your home.

stove-top simmer

Don’t forget to check the water level once you turn it down to simmer

Interestingly, I’ve found the scent to be stronger further away from the simmering pot than right next to it.  Also, when finished, I simply pour my mixture down the drain and run the garbage disposal to freshen it up as an added bonus.

My current favorite “recipe” for a stove-top simmer:

enough cranberries to cover the bottom of a pan (note: these have been cheap at the store as in less than $1)

a sliced lemon or orange or both (I always seem to have a few clementines on the table that aren’t quite edible any more)

a generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Fill pot with water and bring to boil, then turn down to simmer.  Don’t forget to check the water level occasionally.

Other Add Ins I sometimes use:

  • vanilla or almond extracts, sometimes peppermint extract
  • apples past their prime for eating
  • pumpkin pie or apple pie spices
  • a few drops of essential oils
  • a Chai tea bag (after I’ve made my tea, cut the bag open and add the tea leaves)
  • grapes (I didn’t care for this selection though)


While I do love candles, this seems to be working just as well at scenting our home and gives us the added benefit of adding a bit of moisture back into the air which is usually so dry at this time of the year.  I also like the idea that I’m using produce that would otherwise likely have wound up thrown away and it’s a bit cheaper.

What tricks and tips do you have for keeping your home smelling nice?




Impending Ice Storm: Get Ready!

We have an impending ice storm on its way here.  If you are local, are you ready?

They are comparing the conditions to those preceding the “big one” of 2002.  In our ice storm of 2002, the power was out for a few days and it took a few days for the streets to improve as well.

I’m sure schools were out although my oldest son was not yet 2 at the time so I didn’t pay attention to that detail.  This time I am busy lamenting the fact it will not hit until Friday instead of tonight.  I wanted a 4 day weekend! However, the timing should allow for more people to be home safe so I will be glad for that.

For Today’s Tiny Tip on A Thursday (I’ve decided to continue with these in 2017), it’s all about getting ice storm ready.  Hopefully, you know all the preparedness basics so I’m sharing the little things.  Things that might get overlooked.  Things I’ve certainly overlooked in the past myself.

In The Car

  • Make sure your ice scraper is accessible.  Our weather has been milder this week so it may have been designated to the trunk.  Get it out before the trunk freezes shut!
  • Check your gas gauge.  If you do have to be out running around, it’s likely you might get stuck in traffic.  Make sure you have at the least 1/2 tank of gas.  How I wish I’d have filled my up my gas tank yesterday when it was in the 60s.  Still better to do it this morning in the cold than later in the cold AND the icy rain.
  • Maybe keep an extra pair of shoes or boots in there depending on what you are required to wear to work.

At Home

  • Do a basics check for things like toilet paper.  I had to restock our supplies this morning because we were running a bit low.  Check the coffee supplies as well!
  • Take out the trash! (And the recycling if it applies) Nobody wants to hang out with overflowing trash cans because it’s too slippery on the path to the outdoor receptacles.
  • Make sure the laundry is somewhat caught up and the house somewhat clean (I’m failing miserably at following my own advice with this one)

For the Kids

  • Remind them to make sure any entertainment devices are fully charged in case of a power outage!
  • Also, be thinking of easy entertainment/energy burners that don’t require electricity.  One of J’s Christmas presents was the game Apples to Apples Junior and I’m hoping we get a chance to all play it again as we had so much fun with it over their break.
  • Are you stocked on quick snacks?  Big storms tend to equal big appetites in my experience.


I’m sure there are more tiny tips to share but I have to get ready for work now.  Fingers crossed for me that the storm really does hold off until I’m home from work at least.  What little things do you do to get ready for the potential of being stuck inside and possibly without power?

Five On Friday: Ornaments And Other Stuff

Don’t you love my title?  Other stuff is enough to make English teachers everywhere cringe.

It’s my birthday today so I think I’m entitled (ha!) to have a lousy title for my blog post.  I haven’t joined in with Amy’s Five on Friday in a while even though I love to doing it.  A free morning and my birthday means a perfect Friday to join in the fun, I think.

Love Made My Home

I’m going to start by sharing my ornament story for my Tree Branch Tales series.  Yes, I’m sneaking several posts into this one!

        1. Our Kansas City Chiefs Ornaments

          These are 3 Hallmark ornaments that my husband’s mom gave him.  She used to always give us special ornaments for the tree.  A tradition that was in place before I ever arrived in my husband’s life.

          Lots of people were yelling this last night!

          This photo below will look like the same ornament but it is actually the other side of a different one.  I’m really not sure why we have 2 of these.  This is the other side of the ornament:

          Bet you didn’t know Santa was Chief’s fan!

          Just a fun fact about me for my birthday:  My mom actually brought me home from the hospital in a Kansas City Chiefs outfit.  Ironically, the team was pretty awful during my childhood years and I actually grew up cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who happened to be the favorite team of one of my older brothers.

          I do now (mostly) cheer for the Chiefs

        2. J’s First Band Concert!

          Last night while the Chiefs were busy winning and securing 1st place in our division, we were actually attending a winter band concert over at the middle school.  The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands all played a few tunes along with some Christmas selections.  It was such a treat to see my youngest son all dressed up in fine attire for his first concert as a baritone player in the 6th grade band.

          I said no photos, please!

        3. The Christmas Break Countdown

          The last night of our Thanksgiving break, my youngest child asked if he could have the next day off school.  He needed a break.  I guess that is like needing a vacation from your vacation?   We are definitely in need of a longer break around here though.  We now have 7 days until we get there.  I’m honestly not sure we’re going to make it.  I found this fun countdown clock over here.  Christmas is 15 days away:

        4. Christmas Shopping

          Since that clock up there is giving me a bit of anxiety about the big day, I’ll likely gather up all my birthday coupons and spend some time Christmas shopping today.  I enjoy looking for the perfect gifts for my family and I am a teeny bit behind (I’m a bit of a last-minute shopper so I’m not feeling way behind quite yet).  I think it will be a fun way to spend my birthday.

        5. My Tiny Tip I Forgot To Share on Thursday: A Fun and Free App

My blurry photo of a Cedar Wax Wing bird

I love to bird watch (just no birds in my house as pets…as those kind scare me!) and shared this rather blurry photo on Facebook earlier in the week.  A friend mentioned wishing she knew her birds better and it reminded me of the great app I downloaded to my phone.  If you like to bird watch, check out the Merlin Bird ID App from the Cornell Lab.  It’s free and user-friendly!


I’m afraid this post was tad messy and unorganized, just like the author.  How are you spending your Friday?


A Cookie Baking Tip And An Unrelated Ornament Story

I’m going to share my tiny cookie baking tip with you before I get to today’s tree branch tale.  This is 2 posts for the price of one (and the price is free!).

The first part of the post is my Tiny Tip on A Thursday.  tinytip Are you baking cookies for the holidays?  I’m baking cookies today for the holidays and because I am 2 lunch desserts short for tomorrow.  Sometimes the lunch items don’t make it through the entire week.  I’m also hoping to use my cookies as a bit of an incentive later.

Since I have a bit of time this morning, I’m making the family’s favorite: chocolate chip cookies and using this tip a close friend shared with me many years ago.  If you are an experienced baker, you may already know this tip.

cookie baking tip

Chocolate chip cookie

Today’s tiny cookie baking tip:

Bake your cookies for the lowest time given and then let them finish baking (and cooling) on the cookie sheet while the next batch bakes.  Don’t remove your cookies to the cooling rack until the next batch of cookies is completely cooked.  Let them stay on the cookie sheet the entire 9 minutes while the next batch bakes.  Then, remove them to the wire cooling rack.

I’ve found this tip to be especially useful if I’m using an Air bake cookie sheet.  Sometimes, I’ll even leave the cookies on those to cool through 2 batches of cookies.


Today’s quick tree branch tale:

Rocking Horse Ornament

Rocking Horse Ornament

When I set the tree up on Sunday, I found this forgotten ornament hanging out in the branches.  I’ve had this little golden rocking horse since my freshman year of college.  An old college friend gifted it to me.  We never stayed in touch once I transferred to another college. However, I do think of her when I see this ornament and hope she is doing well.

Are you baking cookies for the holiday season or doing any decorating this week?  I’m really hoping my bribe of homemade chocolate chip cookies helps motivate my husband and boys to help me decorate for the holidays tonight.


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