Clutter is postponed decisions

Neo To Go, Ivory Soap, Avon ANEW, Gelato, Puffs, Shell savings they fit in a Simply Organized life?

As a blogger I get the opportunity to try out products on occasion.  Also as a blogger my perspective is from an organized and simplicity one.  Recently I was sent a nice package full of products to try and I was asked to blog my opinion about them.  It was a random box of stuff from Influenster.   See?

 Neo To Go - unfortunately we got a chance to use this immediately
Pros: Compact, convenient, fits on a key chain or in your purse
Cons: none
Verdict: Awesome.  It didn't sting her boo-boo
Simple/Organized: YES!  A must especially if you have kiddos
 Looky!  Her bandage matches her shoes!
 Breyer's Gelato Indulgences:
Pros: Convenient yet fancy dessert
Cons: Expensive: $4.49-$5.99 per container
Verdict: AMAZING!  All four of us loved this and we want more.
Simple/Organized: Simple!  It's an easy way to share a fancy dessert that tastes amazing without turning on the oven or piling in the car to go some where.  While it's expensive compared to a cheap tub of ice cream it's cheaper than going out for gelato.

Ivory Bar Soap
Pros: It's cheap and it floats
Cons: It's bar soap
Verdict: It's good soap
Simple/Organized: Simple esp. for kids' baths because it floats.  Organized because soap bars are nice and rectangle and store well.  

AVON Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother
Pros: Nice slim compact, it's silky smooth (Through 8/1/14 receive 15% off your ANEW purchase of $50 or more at with code ANEW15).
Cons: An additional step in a make-up routine
Verdict: I think it works.  I don't really have a lot to smooth out.  I don't have a lot of fine lines.  It does feel nice on the face but I won't be using it. I don't have time to add another product to my face.  
Simple/Organized: If you are streamlining the amount of products you use daily this does not make it more simple.  However, it is a nice square compact so it doesn't take up awkward space.  

Puffs To Go
Pros: Convenient and soft
Cons: none
Verdict: Hallelujah!
Simple/Organized: Both!  

Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card
Pros: Save 3 cents at the pump minimum, sign up was simple.
Cons: There's a lot more savings to be had but I simply don't have time to read it and learn it right now.
Verdict: Who doesn't love saving money on gas?!
Simple/Organized: Shell has a gas station super close to me so this actually makes saving simple for me.  When fill up you swipe your rewards card first, just like you would at Sams club.  The screen shows you your rewards (3 cents off), then when you choose your type of gas you can also see that the price you are pumping is actually 3 cents less than the listed price on the sign.  Please use this link to register.

Thank you Influenster for giving us this wonderful TLCVoxBox of fun!  I enjoyed trying them and sharing my honest opinion.

How to pull off a garage sale the easy way

1. Involve just a few friends.
2. Use a remote location like a church space.
3. Make pricing simple.
4. Agree that everything left over gets donated.
5. Share with each other what you will do with the cash you just earned.

1. Too many people and it gets confusing to sort out the money.  Too few and it's not as much fun.  One person can work on signage, another on marketing the sale...
2. You can set up all week long and none of you is giving up your garage or house space for the week.
3. Tell every customer that all clothes are $1 unless marked etc.
4. The point of the sale is to de-clutter.  Because it's already out of your house you don't want to bring it back.  Designate one of you to be the drop off person, while one sorts money, and the other cleans up post-sale.
5. It's fun to learn how de-cluttering for cash is providing needs for your friends: swim lessons for kids, food money for vacation, spending money for the constant $2 needs, etc.

While lingering after coffee one morning I told Vanessa and Natalie that I had set a date for a garage sale, it was 2 weeks away and you would have thought I'd offered them chocolate straight from Santa.  They almost squealed saying, "Can I get in on that? I need to have a sale so bad but the thought of it is too overwhelming."  What do you know, my chosen date actually worked out for all three of us so we teamed up.  As you can see we each made a decent amount of money for our efforts and we had fun.  I heard both of these creative girls talk about how much stuff they accomplished in just two weeks after this sale because they felt lighter in all areas of their life.

Don't just say you're going to have a garage sale...DO IT!  'Tis the season!

Life of a blogger, site suggestions, book suggestion, and a great article!

So the site has been light on content I know (but this post is loaded with some goodies).  Why?

I'm busy.

I'm balancing my family with my businesses.  I'm constantly weighing where my time is best (most efficiently) spent based on my priorities. I'm trying to not to see my kids as blogging distractions.  It's the age-old struggle of trying to be your own person while caring for everyone else and hoping no one suffers, including you.

I am cleaning my house and asking for help when I need it.

I am caring for friends in need.

I am going on field trips with my oldest daughter and planning birthday playdates for my youngest.

I am organizing.  I am de-cluttering my own home.

I am keeping a health log because I want to know why my blood pressure has been a little high.  And I'm getting old.

I am meal planning and cooking all while shopping for a new range because my oven is not heating anymore.  I guess that happens when your oven is 22 years old.

I am missing our International student who returned to Pakistan.  Matters of the heart do wear you out.

I am trying to focus on budgeting and staying within that budget and also learning to forgive myself when I don't live within my own healthy boundaries.

I am not missing any soccer games.

And honestly, blogging takes a lot of time.  A reader sits down and devours a post in 5 minutes.  But the blogger has taken photos, edited photos, added text (website info so no one steals your photo), makes photo collages, has organized  her photos, plotted the story, written the story and edited the story (and gets mad at herself for still missing typos), schedules the post, then shares it on all the social sites she can.  Because let's face it, if you've spent an hour or more on a blog post, you want lots of people to read it.  Otherwise, what is the point?  When you say yes to something (writing a post), you say no to something else (spending time with your kid, cleaning, paying bills etc.).

This is the life of a mommy-blogger.  Not every mommy-blogger, but this one for sure.  I am sure most of you can relate to the push and pull in life.  I love sitting down to blog.  I hate feeling like my kids are a distraction because they are not, they are people, and are more important.  I love sharing ideas with you and sharing spaces we have made better for our clients, I hate the frustration of dealing with software that freezes on me half way through my photo work (no water marks on these photos - I'm done fighting with software today).

That is some of why the content has been light. When I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else and there is only room for so much.  And that is all okay.  When you try to go full-tilt at everything and don't say no to anything you burn out and no one gets the best of you, everyone just gets shattered pieces.  Life is too short to live stressed.  

Simply Organized is still here helping families in Northwest Arkansas live more simple lives with less stuff.  We are still here helping you love your homes and life.  

Are you a blog reader?  Leave a comment for your favorite bloggers thanking them for impacting you.  Most bloggers don't make a single dime for their efforts and hearing from readers is the only compensation they receive so hearing from you can make their day.  Social share posts you like, it's helpful to bloggers.  Do what you can to support those that help and inspire you.

Sites I love:
Natalie Creates
Recipe For Crazy

My latest book suggestion:

Get more info at Amazon.
And an incredible article everyone should read and live by:

Meal Planning

These are on my meal plan list for the rest of May!  Thanks to Simply Dinners.  Yum Yum!  You can win a one month subscription to Simply Dinners by entering here.  (Easy entry for all SimplyOrganizedNWA fans on Facebook).  

Tastefully Tuesday - Meal Planning for a family of four and a recipe!

I was recently disheartened by the amount of food I threw out when I cleaned my refrigerator.  I had obviously made too much food with leftovers people did not want to eat, including myself.  I decided it was time to stop flying solo when it comes to meal planning.  

I have an 8 year old, a 4 year old, and a husband. This month I asked them to give me four meals they want to eat.  It can be the same meal every single week or four different meals.  My husband basically said stir-frys were something he'd been wanting and my 8 year old said macaroni & cheese was on her list as was breakfast for supper (pancakes and bacon).  After some discussion with her we decided adding salmon patties to go along with the macaroni and cheese was a good idea although my 4 year old will not eat the salmon patties.  ugh!  I am doing my best to not expect everyone at the table to be happy with the food because that just sets me up for failure.  So here is the week's menu:

The Cherry Chicken Stir-Fry is basically just cooking up some chicken breasts and throwing in some bell peppers and broccoli.  After that is all cooked I just add some cherry zinfandel grill sauce until it has enough to my liking.  I let the sauce cover all the meat and veggies and keep it warm for just a little bit.  Then I serve it over jasmine rice (always our rice of choice).  

I tend to make new recipes all the time but I do have a recipe box full of recipe cards of meals we have tried and liked.  From time to time I make a Kielbasa sausage, potato and green bean bake.  It's super simple so I'm sharing the recipe with you.

4-6 small potatoes chopped into bite-sized pieces 
1 lb. (1 package) of your favorite Kielbasa type sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can of green beans (lately I've been using some french style beans I found in the refrigerated section of Sam's club - they look kind of fancy and taste better)
1/4 C butter
1 T lemon pepper or seasoning of your choice (I like to use a basic seasoned salt a lot)
1/4 C shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spread the chopped potatoes and green beans out in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Mix in cut sausage.  Cut pats of butter evenly over the mixture and sprinkle with lemon pepper.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Place cheese over the top to melt.  

*If you are in a hurry you can cook the potatoes in the microwave until they begin to soften, then put them in oven with everything else for a shorter amount of time.  It works but you lose a bit of yumminess so I recommend baking it for 50 minutes.

Having a Master Meal Plan listed on my refrigerator has been a great helper.  On the left I have listed meals I have all the ingredients for.  On the right I have listed meals I want to make or are missing just one ingredient or something.  It's in front of me to remind me to choose future meals based off of this list.  The list in the middle is vegetables I have available.  This master list is actually saving me a lot of time.

Meal planning takes constant tweaking especially for a family.  How do you meal plan?  What is working for you?  

Food on the table month after month - the simple way!

I can't sit on this any longer...I'm so excited to introduce you to 
After checking out the details of WHAT Simply Dinners is, let me spell out for you just some of the benefits of this program.  

What are the benefits of Simply Dinners?

- No more stressing about dinner! Did you know that 81% of working parents don’t know what’s for dinner by 4:00 PM? Simply Dinners solves this daily stress!
- You’ll save money! Say goodbye to those last minute fast food, pizza shop and grocery store trips! The savings just might astound you!
- Your family’s taste buds will jump for joy! If you’ve become bored with your cooking, chances are your family might be bored eating it!!
- You’re going to enjoy preparing these meals! Whether you love or hate cooking, these recipes will be a joy to prepare and will be super simple!
- You won’t be without our seasonings! Each month you will receive at least one seasoning and they will be restocked in future “Simply Dinner” deliveries. These are an essential kitchen staple that our clients can’t be without!
- You will build a library of easy-to-prepare meals! You will have simple, family favorite recipes at your fingertips!
- You’ll be bringing your family to the dinner table! Memories will be built as you enjoy your “Simply Dinners!” Don’t forget the fun table topics provided monthly!

And guess what?  You deal directly with me - your friendly Holly!  

Here are the 1-2-3 basics:

1 - On the 25th I process your credit card payment.
2 - On the 25th I place your order
3 - On the 1st of the month I email your newsletter which includes:
  • 8-10 easy-to-prepare recipes, 
  • a shopping list, 
  • quick cooking tips and 
  • family table topics to make your dinners delicious, simple and fun!
Get started today!

Email me or call me (number listed in blog heading) to let me know you are interested and supply delivery and payment information by April 24 (I'm extending the deadline one day).  Don't forget that the cost never exceeds $50, unless you order additional items to be delivered with your month's order.

I love helping families make life more simple!  

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