August 7, 2010

Paper Filing Tools I LOVE!

The school year is almost upon us.  Soon paper will be flowing into our houses faster than Niagra Falls.  So I thought I would make a list of my favorite filing supplies.

Dymo Labeler

Dymo Labeler - It looks cool,  has all kinds of labeling tape (even silver and gold so I can bling out my files!) and makes it so that I don't have to hand-write file labels.  This one even has a magnetic holder so I could put it on my fridge or filing cabinet.  I don't put it there...I am thinking of having it surgically attached to my hand I use it so much.

Pendaflex PileSmart Sorter

Pendaflex PileSmart Sorter- It is colorful and I can put off filing indefinitely but still find what I need.  I love the over-sized write-on tabs!

Pendaflex PileSmart Tabs

Pendaflex PileSmart Binder Clips - These keep papers together and the write on tabs remind me what I was going to do with the papers. ...Now if they will only remind me why I was going to the kitchen!

Straight-Tab Files

Straight Tab Files - I love the extra labeling room on straight tab files.  I don't have to abbreviate.  I also love not having to figure out if I need a right, left or center tab. They come in all kinds of colors too, so I don't have to look at a sea of manila or brown.

Hanging File Folder

Hanging File Folders - These keep my files from flopping around in my filing cabinet.  I love the ones with inside pockets so that small pieces of paper and receipts don't get lost.  Box bottom files are great for larger files.

 Post-It Removable Tabs.  They are made of a thicker plastic and are repositionable.  I use them in my files to separate out categories within the file folder.

Year Labels

Smead Year Labels  I could write the year on all my files, but I like the way these look instead.  Each year has a different color and the font size is fabulous.  I was able to pick some up at a clearance rack for 50 cents.

Knock-Knock and Vanity File Folders 
I just love the look of funny file folders.  Knock-Knock has some of the funniest organizational tool around!
These file folders are for the files that stay in the mail center out where I can look and laugh at them every day.  They are more sturdy than the files in the file-cabinet and some even have erasable tabs.  The ones in my mail center have black and white pictures of places I would like to visit.  

Happy Filing! 


August 3, 2010

It's Party Time! It's Party Time!

This last weekend my 10 year old daughter had her birthday party.  Seven of her friends and her sister were there.  The thing I like about birthday parties is that there is so little I need to do to prep for them.  It ends up being a lot of fun for me and my children get exactly what they want out of a party. 

How do I keep from going completely mad before a party you might ask... (Oh I am SO glad you asked!)

We put the kids in charge of their own party!  This idea came from a Family Fun article about a millennium ago.  In times past, I was not as footloose and fancy free as I am now, no way!  I would spend days, sometimes a month or more prepping for an extravaganza of a lifetime. 

We would invite ALL of the kids friends and create  fantasy birthday parties.  One year we created Thomas the Tank Engine's train yard and had the children (20 of them) move from activity to activity through the train yard.   By the time the party rolled around I was tired, on edge, and just a tiny bit crazed.  Then there was the clean up from these three-ring-circuses, um..I mean parties... that would always take two to three days.

In addition to the friend party, I come from a really big family who all happen to live close by and my husband's family is also here. So we would have the friend party, a family party with his family, and a family party with my family for every single birthday! (That equals out to 18 parties in 5 months for our family of 6.)

One June I realized I had overspent the household budget by about $200. I tracked down the culprit and it was the birthday parties!  That was when I decided something needed to change.

Starting that year I gave each of the kids a $50 budget for their party.  They could "take the money and run," they could use the $50 to throw the party, or they could throw the party of their dreams as long as they provided the funds above and beyond the $50.

I would assist them in coming up with ideas for the party and in making sure no details, like food or activities were missed, but they would be responsible to plan and shop for their party. 

This plan has worked out splendidly!  They get to have what they want and I always stay in budget.  They have learned to bargain shop and have come up with some pretty outrageous parties for $50.  There was this Harry Potter extravaganza that would have blown you away...

We also put a limit on the number of children that are invited.  The kids can invite as many friends as the number of years they have lived plus one, so for instance, with this last party my daughter was able to invite 11 friends.

I also have simplified my preparation for these parties.  Below is the order that I prep the house for a party:
  • Clean the entry way and clear the walk-way. (5 minutes)
  • Sweep the kitchen floor and spot clean if needed. (10 minutes)
  • Empty all the garbage cans. (10 minutes)
  • Spot clean the toilet and  bathroom sink. (5 minutes)
  • Put out new hand-towels in the bathroom and kitchen. (> 5 minutes)
  • Check the soap dispensers to make sure they are full. (> 5 minutes)
  • Wipe down kitchen counters and table (10 minutes)
  • Pick up any additional rooms that activities are going to be in - Spot vacuum if necessary. (15 minutes)
  • Put up decorations 
  • Get myself ready
If there is time:
  • Unload the dishwasher (That way clean up is really easy)
  • Put out food
  • Start some music
The total time to prep is 1-2 hours depending on how extensive the decorations are and how elaborate the costumes are.

The question I ask myself as I prep is, "What will my guests see or use?"  I plan on being completely prepped for the party about 30 minutes before guests are due to arrive.  That way if something goes horribly wrong or they arrive early, I am not stressed out. Then I completely relax.  The point of having a party is to have fun and celebrate! 

Party on Dude!