An Apology...

Dear Readers,

Google Ad Sense and I are have a battle of filters and preferences at the moment. In recent weeks my blog has had ads for condoms on the side bar. I apologize for the less than tasteful ad content. I have changed internal settings and hope that will right the situation but there seems to be lag time. If anyone has pointers please share.

In the mean time... please know that I am not pushing contraception. I figure reading a blog coming from a lady with 6 kids is contraception enough. So, if you see those ads about the Romans again... DON'T click on them! They're unwelcome here.

If none of you are seeing Condom ads... please don't tell me. I hate to think the ad people are watching me and I fit all of the marketing parameters for someone who needs contraception. Gah!.... I'm blog blushing right now!


A Miracle Solution to Organized Drawers

There are homemaking days that stink like your son's dirty laundry after the winning baseball game, and then there are days where you walk into a room and the heavens open and you hear angels singing while a bright light shines on you're little homemaking miracle.

I have been fighting a mysterious foe for the last 5 years... his name is Nobody. Nobody wreaks all kinds of havoc around this house and is responsible for most breaches in house rules and routines. Lately Mr. Nobody (at least I think it's a MR.) has recruited inanimate objects and cursed them with supernatural powers.

You notice these drawers? They hold clothing that has taken on all of the properties of life. These clothes, eat, they shrink (not grow) and somehow they have managed to multiply.

When the drawers are open, shirts, socks, underwear and ties crawl out and sprawl on the floor. It's like watching Zombies emerge from the a crypt. Even when I fold the laundry neatly, the shirts somehow manage to roll over and resemble a teenagers bed sheets after a night of sleeping.

I thought I had been licked... that I had lost the Clothes War. Enters Bethany of OrderlyDrawer.com. She could tell the force was out of balance here and wanted to send me a little sample of the drawer organizers she and her hubby sell. Well, I ain't stooopid, I know a divine intervention when I see one and jumped at the chance to try these babies out!

Now I'm "Hooked On" Orderly Drawer organizers! First off, they're really affordable and they're for sale through the Palace Boutique Just Click the Pretty Organized button.

The dividers are made of REAL WOOD! (My husband is all for that manly natural grain stuff) They also take just minutes to install- you can easily put them to use the first day the arrive.

Bethany sent me her Cimple Expandable Drawer Divider line. The Cimple line comes in either 6" or 3" height and both sizes expand to fit your drawer. I put them to use in my boys drawers to sort socks undies and the living shirts that Mr. Nobody has been giving orders to.

Check out the after shots! These little miracle workers are making my boys room heaven and Mr. Nobody has decided to head out to the back yard and trash the patio instead.
No, these socks aren't folded... neither are the undies.... remember, I streamlined laundry long ago and shared the method to my madness HERE.

If you're loving the Cimple Drawer Dividers you'll absolutely drool over the custom dividers. I thought I'd have to save a year for such luxuries but ladies... head over to Orderly Drawer and see how affordable these babies are!

My junk drawer has begun to spit rubber bands and twist ties just to get enough attention so I'll buy her a custom organizer.

You can order the Cimple Expandable Drawer Dividers by heading over to my Pretty Organized Store. Shameless Plug. Just click the button below!

For other great ideas head over to my friend Julia's at Hooked on Houses and check out her "Hooked On" Party!


Meet my Friend...

Hey gang.... it's almost fall and for many of you creative types that means boutique business and a little extra Christmas spending cash! In preparation for the Holiday Season I'll be making an exciting announcement on P.O.P. Do drop by early next week for the unveiling... Hint: It's creative, will drive traffic to YOUR blog and.... it's FREE!
For those of you who are contemplating a side business of creating or crafting for the Holidays, there are great online resources available to you. I invited one of my "East Coast" sista's to fill you in on it. Her name is Wendy and I HEART her. She's one of my "never met in real life" East Coasts sisters...

Hi Y'all!! I'm so glad to be visiting over here at Pretty Organized Palace and to share my love of Etsy.

First let me start by introducing myself. My name is Wendy and my blog is called The Shabby Nest. I am the mother of four creative and energetic children ranging in age from 2-9 years old! About two years ago I had what I lovingly refer to as a "creative crisis". I felt the need to create, and I felt compelled to find an outlet to share mycreativity. It was not long after I entered into this little "crisis" that my sister introduced me to the world of blogging. And after writing a family blog for several months, I realized that a "creative blog" would be the perfect outlet for my creative energies. And so The Shabby Nest was born. At The Shabby Nest, I focus on my love of decor and creating lovely things for my home all without breaking the bank..

Of course, you can't be in blogland for long without being introduced to the world of Etsy. Oh how I love Etsy! And opening my own Etsy store seemed like a natural extension of what I was doing at The Shabby Nest. I started out selling pillows and Scrabble tile pendants that featured some of my own drawings. I have since expanded my inventory to include stationery cards featuring both my drawings and my photography. And now, I even sell some of my photo prints.

Running an Etsy store has been a very satisfying experience for me. It has allowed me to do what I love, and to make a little bit of money while doing it. I just love the fact that things I make bring other people joy and beautify their surroundings.

So if I could give a little advice to anyone that has been thinking about possibly starting an Etsy store...I would say DO IT! Don't be afraid. Don't think no one will want what you have to offer. Just do it! You'll be glad you did.


I Have A Dream:: A Laundry Room Speech

Don't you love this sink? Is that a laundry sink? Look, it even has a little pitcher of cream next to it for a mid-day facial if you're in the mood. How can you not be in that laundry room?

Yes, old friends.... you may recognize this post. This week is absolutely full and I'm begging for a midweek day of rest. Of course, the words are no less applicable today as they were when originally posted. Enjoy!

I HAVE A DREAM... That one day this laundry room will rise up and live out the true meaning of its purpose...

Yep, all 6 kids laundry there resides... so do the rags and cleaning supplies and my frustrations.

I HAVE A DREAM... That one day the towels and socks from all corners of my house will be folded at a waist high table of efficiency...

8 family members.... is there even a qusetion?

I HAVE A DREAM... That one day, even my little squatty laundryroom piled high with 8 peoples dirty laundry will be transformed into a homemakers oasis of blissful duty...

That's me, finishing laundry... we ONLY wear white clothes in our house...

I HAVE A DREAM... That one day my 6 children will live in a home that will not have a laundry room as ugly as sin, but one that hides it's contents and has character!

I HAVE A DREAM.... That one day I will not be embarrassed to show all of you the sad cave I call my laundry room...

I HAVE A DREAM... That one day I will have TWO Red washers and TWO Red Dryers and a butler or maid to actually run them!

I HAVE A DREAM.... And it's getting closer to coming true... BECAUSE... Mr. Organized's walk in closet wall shares the back wall of my laundry room! AND he might... in the not so distant future (but probably after the new year)... walk home to a hole in that wall... oops!! AND... his clothes will be relocated to dressers and a bar in my closet (how kind of me to share!).

Today just a dream.... but keep tuning in ladies.... there's only so much a gal can take before her mountain of laundry causes her to go bonkers and do something rash like smash a wall down. Fair warning's been given to Mr. Organized. Pretty Organizer is planning a pretty budget tight expansion:)


Family Medical Logs:: Keeping Valuable Records at the Risk of Looking Like a Dork.

Family Medical Log

Okay- so with 8 people in the family I dread the doctors question, "When was the last time your daughter had strep throat?" ...or any other ailment for that matter. How the heck am I supposed to remember with 6 kids... THEY ALL GET IT! One starts it off and then the rest are sick for weeks. It's a month before I can surface again and resume normal life. If it's stomach flu.... don't get me started.

We had to treat our entire family for scabies one time (contracted from our pet rat ... who is no longer our pet... animal rights people, hate me). I took an entire household of linens and clothes to the Laundromat... $65 later and $300 worth of medicine for 3 weeks x 8 people... we were cured. I decided years ago that I needed a better system.

Here's the log.

I won't show the pages because you'd fall over dead to see how many times we go to the doctor in 1 year.

This was done very quickly and I'm still using it... it's one of my not so Pretty Organizers.
  • I divide the notebook into sections.
  • Every family member gets their own page.
  • Every time my kids get a prescription or have a major event, I write the date and a short note of what it was for.
  • I use the stickers that Walgreen's or CVS gives you with your prescription and stick them to the entry so I know exactly what was prescribed and in what dose... this helps if the medication needs to be changed.
  • After several years we have a pretty comprehensive medical history that I can proudly recite when a doctor asks me... I can even tell him what he prescribed!

Now when I go to the doctor I take my log... at the risk of looking like the worlds biggest dorker. When the doctor asks his questions I flip to the correct kid and watch him gasp. Then I wait for his eyes to pop back in his head and give him the full medical history of my child's ailments. Without fail I walk out of the doctors office a model maternal patient... too bad they don't hand chocolate out to the moms for keeping good records. And, Do you think he wonders if I KNOW what I'm talking about? Ever? Nope. Can't argue with a mama that has years worth of correct diagnosis and evidence in front of her...


Death Makes You Think:: Are you prepared?

I've written the first line of this post about 20 times trying to make it come out eloquent... it just doesn't. It's raw and sad and really... Sunday's news hit me to the core. I usually prattle on over here about making life Pretty AND Organized, and having priorities together... today I'm the hippo sized hypocrite.

We found out at 9:45 Sunday in church that a close friend of our family died that morning. It was announced to our church congregation. The news leveled our little close knit community and pained our family. It was so unexpected... I just talked with him Friday. He was my sons Scout Master and had canceled the backpacking trip planed for the weekend. Sunday morning he was gone. I have a deep abiding faith about where he is and a knowledge that he WILL be together forever with his family... losing someone is hard but looking through an eternal perspective in Gods plan, I find comfort.

The hardest emotions today surrounded thoughts of his family. He was 36. He has a wonderful wife and 4 fantastic children with a much anticipated 5th child due in November. How will SHE do? How will SHE make it? I cried. I grieved. I prayed. Then I pondered.... am I prepared?

In this arena, no I fall short. I have a plot of dirt paid for... a family spot paid for over a hundred years ago. A will? Nope. Life Insurance?... not enough to raise 6 kids, just enough to cover the funeral. My affairs, as I expect many of ours are, are not settled.

I have a years supply of food storage... no joke. I can keep my family and neighbors from starving and I live frugally for sure. I'm well learned in gardening, sewing, home repairs, and many other homemaking activities that have helped me to prepare for an unstable future... but that isn't enough.

I'm a mom of 6 children.... and THAT is worth planning my future for.

Times are rough for everyone. Some have job loss and others have had a decrease in salaries... personally, we've lost 10% of our income this year. Still, priorities are always able to change. Life insurance and a plan for our future has become mine and I'll give up a lot for security and peace of mind in knowing that if tragedy struck our family, we'd weather the storm together without the worry of where to live or how to provide.

So how are you doing with planning for your future? Do you have enough insurance? Is your will in place? Are you willing to give up your regular trip to the nail salon or that fancy gym membership in order to make a plan for your family?
Photo Credits: Mom shirt Zazzle.com, LegalZoom.com


Priorities:: The Cold Hard Truth

A famous Spanish violinist, Pablo de Sarasate once said, "For 37 years I practiced 14 hours a day, and now they call me a genius."
Priorities say a lot about who you are and where you're heading.

Sometimes as women we spend too much time pining for things and less time making them happen. My children are sick of hearing me lecture them, "You're smart! You get good at what you practice. If you practice pouting... you'll get good at it. If you practice lying... you'll get good at it. If you practice patience and love... you'll get good at it!" Those little peanuts of mine know that they are responsible to practice the things that matter most to them in this life. They know that life has priorities and you practice the ones that are most important to you.

So,if you want a stellar house but keep walking by the dirty undies on the floor, where are your priorities? Are you really more interested in watching that T.V. show and sleeping or maybe your focus is toning up at the gym? Is your goal to get organized but you spend your time in blogland reading and "getting inspired" instead of making it happen? Are you really committing to the things that are most important to YOU?

The great thing about priorities are that they can change. The priority list is ever in flux and that ebb and flow allow us freedom to shift gears and rededicate ourselves to life's most important activities. Missed opportunities in areas that are important to us too often are our own fault... we don't use our time to "practice" or "work" toward that thing that will give us the greater joy. (In my case, getting baby #6 potty trained!)

So, today I ask... How are your priorities? Are you dedicating yourself to those things that will make your life most rich and meaningful? How can you rededicate yourself to something that has slipped by the wayside?
Photo credits: Roger Davies and Eric Bowman


Slap a Label on it and Call it Good

In a perfect world our toy room/ office would like this... even the dog would look like he's supposed to be there. Organizing a space isn't such a bad thing. I mean, I CAN do it... if everyone leaves me alone. What takes the biggest amount of time is not figuring out WHAT to put things in or WHERE... it is labeling the space.

Think I'm crazy?... think I'm an organizing freak? Well, notice how BHG is strutting their pictures here at the Palace... I'm not quite OCD on organizing. Remember, I'm pretty organized- in the sense of "realtively" organized or "for the most part." No, I don't have all of my closets perfectly put together but I do know this:

If you have a space for something... it better have a name and a label. Don't you just love these drawers labeled with days of the week so your kiddo has his outfit picked out for each day? Brilliant idea!... unless of course they're 3, still having accidents and prone to whimsically change their outfits 4 times a day.

A place for every thing and every thing in its place. It's hard to expect every household member to know where everything goes. Labeling your spaces make putting things away easier and cuts down on the amount of time required to clean. You'll have more help with less stress if you take the time to define your space and call it what it is.

So, slap a label on it (it doesn't have to be perfect) and call it good! Worry about pretty boxes, and matching baskets, and fantastic containers later... you don't need designer storage containers to get organized. At very least you can afford elbow grease, a sharpie and masking tape.
Got a fun package in the mail last week and can't wait to show you! I {Heart} you sweet readers who send me fun stuff!

Online Chore Charts Made Easy

We all are looking for solutions to help our punk-a-noodles to learn how to work and be responsible. I've written about it HERE, and Here, and Here, and gave my own organizational chore chart over HERE. Well, I've found a great site that may just help you manage your kiddos chore AND any goals you may have!
GoalForIt.com is a great online source for free kids chore charts and goal setting. You can do it privately or invite other friends to join a group for setting goals as well.

They have chore charts that you can customize. You choose the chores (they even come with pictures) They have tons of themes for boys...

And themes for girls.... All you need to do it log in and print them out.

Here's to getting control of your house again as school begins! Cheers! Loud applause! Hoots and Hollars! Whoo Hoo!!

How do you think your kids will respond to their customized chore chart?


Pretty Organizers Top Tips

Ladies, today I feel a bit like a soggy noodle. Fair warning should be given that the chlorine that I took in while training for the swim portion of my triathlon this evening may have reached toxic levels and affected my brain... at least my thoughts are clean! Thus, today's post has little rhyme and even less reason to it's composition...

Remember this secret?
I'm uber Pretty Organized... that is- fairly or moderately so, and I'm hoping to make this Christmas a little calmer than last. Why... okay, shhh... I'll let you in on a secret... Promise not to laugh, hate me, or shun me because I've consequently had to cut down on my chocolate intake.... I'm training for my first triathlon. {Konk, gafaw, snort... stop laughing family and friends} No worries though... it's a Sprint triathlon-- those are triathlons for chocolate bingers like me! Race day is December 5th.... so if you visit December 6th and there's no triathlon post it's most likely due to the fact that I drowned mid way through the swim portion and my relatives are reading the will to find out who has the "laundry for 7 life sentence". If that is the case, I'll be in heaven resting, eating heavenly chocolate and watching all of you do your laundry.
Well, I'm blaming all my folly these days on triathlon training... you ought to try it, it's all the rage and everyone thinks you're some super athletic chic (I am, I gave up chocolate binges while training...Ahh.. yes, now on to my tips. (Sound tippsy don't I?) dang check out my bad punctuation!
Tip #1: Make every piece of furniture count. If you have a bed- jack it up and store things underneath. If you need a table- improvise with something that will "store" Christmas or treasures or whatever! Wasted space is such a waste! Stop complaining about your shortage of closets and invent your own!

This is not the correct way to keep your child in time-out... though I give this parent an E for effort.
Tip #2: Ask your child to stand on one foot for his/her time out. I have kiddo's that wouldn't stay in time out. Desperation is the mother of invention... I asked my son to serve his time-out on one foot. The amount of concentration it takes for a kid to balance on one foot seems to chase away the thought of leaving the spot.
Tip #3: Let someone else do the nagging. Teach a lesson without saying a word. I talked about silent lecturing in THIS POST.

Often when my kids get in trouble I assign sentences for them to write. I got tired of thinking up great sentences and decided that the hymnbook at my church had about every lesson covered in it. When I want to drive a message home I sit them in front of our hymnbook and have them copy the words to the hymn... (and if I have the song, I play it in the back ground).

This works great for our musical family because my kids are learning hymns while they write and I don't have to lecture! So far I've found hymns on honesty, making good choices, not speaking ill of others or gossiping, increasing love in the home, and serving others.

If you don't have a hymnbook to use you can try poems on different character traits or values. Try an online search and let your kiddos learn the message you want to deliver without ever telling them a word.

photo credits: Southern Living and Flickr

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