Let’s Talk About Dirty Laundry

How many of you llloooovvveee doing your laundry? Yeah. Thought so. Me neither. But, I have found a few things that have made this necessary, if unpleasant-at-times task, much more bearable.

*First of all: get a laundry sorter. You know the kind that has three separate compartments? They’re great! We have one in our mud room for household laundry (sheets, towels, etc.), and also in our master closet we have three separate hampers(one for lights, one for darks, and one for delicates). That way, your family will sort the laundry for you as it accumulates. All you have to do is grab one hamper (or side of a sorter) and throw it in the wash. Time saver for sure…

*Next get a small basket or jar to put beside the hampers in each family member’s room. You could even put a cute little “don’t forget!” sign on them. The purpose of this is to remind them to check their pockets and empty the contents into the jar before they throw their clothes in the laundry. Again, saving you a step at the washing machine (and saving your clothes from old gum, chapstick, and receipts getting washed into them)!

*Lastly, a little tip for actually getting the laundry efficiently done: Sometimes, I’d put a load in the wash first thing in the morning, eat, leave, and totally forget that I had laundry getting stale in the washing machine when I returned home. Or worse…I would forget it overnight. Ugh and nastiness! Ever happen to you? So I had the idea of putting a tiny little lamp in the laundry room that, as soon as I fill the washer, the light goes on. That way, every time I pass the laundry room and see the light on, I’m reminded to go switch the wash over to the dryer. Once the clothes are done and out of the dryer, I turn the light off. – Because my laundry room is right off my kitchen, it’s easy for that light to catch my eye all through the day. – If you have a washer and dryer on a floor different from that of your main living space where it’s even easier to forget your laundry in progress, you could still use this concept by designating a “laundry light” somewhere within your main living area. Maybe on your kitchen counter, or your piano, or in a bookshelf? Only use that lamp (or nightlight, whatever) for your laundry. You’ll still get the same reminder whenever you see it on. – Tada! No more stale clothes!

Linking to:
 Frugal Friday
 Friday Follow

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Mega Swagbucks Day + Joining Bonus

Hi Everybody!
     Thanks for stopping by Living Graciously today. If it’s your first time here, be sure and read the “About” page, and become a follower so you won’t miss an update. Then go let your friends know about the newest resource blog for living a gracious life as the keeper of your home. 🙂
     Today I wanted to let you all know about my greatest freebie discovery of the year. It’s Swagbucks!

 

All you do is use the Swagbucks search engine (at swagbucks.com-or you can just download their toolbar which is what I use) to look up whatever it is you look up online (instead of the Google, Yahoo, etc. search engines), and you earn “bucks” for doing so. You can also earn SB from your friends signing up and using the search engine. Then once you accumulate some swagbucks, you can redeem them for prizes. My favorite are the Amazon gift cards because you can find just about anything on Amazon! I’ve gotten LOTS of them! It’s truly worth it girls. Who knows, if you start now, you might be able to buy all of next years Christmas gifts with SB!
     I’m telling you about Swagbucks today for two main reasons: 
1. If you sign up today or tomorrow and enter the code: JoinIn2010, you get 60 extra bucks to start out with! Who doesn’t like bonus bucks?!
2. Fridays are mega swagbucks days. When you search on Fridays, you could earn up to 500 bucks! Woohoo!!!
     So what are you waiting for? Go sign up HERE (it’s free and easy) and start earning prizes today! Oh, and don’t forget to search around a bunch tomorrow when the megabucks are up for grabs. 
    If you have any questions about SB and how it works, feel free to ask. I’d love to tell you all about how they work. I’ve been swagbucking for almost a year now, and there truly is no catch – just prizes 🙂

Holiday Entertaining

Last week my husband and I (at the last moment) decided to host a couple of holiday gatherings. Although my natural inclination is to go “formal” around Christmas, I was determined to make it a simple (and therefore a relaxingly enjoyable) festive affair.

Our dinner parties were back to back: one on Wednesday, and one on Thursday. I often like entertaining this way when the opportunity presents itself. You can purchase ingredients in bulk, make a similar menu, and keep the decorations and dishware the same for both events. I washed the tablecloth and napkins, and put them straight back on the table from the drier. Same for the dishes – straight from the dishwasher to the table for round 2. Made it so easy!

My menu for both evenings was soup. I made the soups on Tuesday evening because they always taste better the second day after the flavors have had a chance to blend.- Then all I had to do was put them in the crockpot a couple of hours before dinner.

Day 1:
Veggie (left over from braid), cracker, and hummer tray
Creamy Tomato Bisque
Croutons
Chicken Broccoli Braid: made earlier in the day and refrigerated (reheat for 30 minutes at 250)
Spicy Apple Raisin Pie: made early in the day
Whipped cream
Coffee

For Day 2:
Cheeseball (made last month and frozen for holiday use) and crackers
Ginger Carrot Soup
Croutons
Ham Rolls (again, made early in the day and reheated 30 minutes before dinner)
Christmas Cookies (already made)
Coffee

Even though these were very simple menus, I tried to make them special, festive affairs by using a Christmas tablecloth, cloth napkins, a live centerpiece, stemware, served the appetizers as soon as people arrived with sparkling drinks and wine, jazz-inspired Christmas music, and of course, we dined by candlelight. Everything was made in the morning (or before!), so all there was to do at the last minute was pour the water!

So when you keep things simple and plan ahead, it makes entertaining at the last moment, and during the busiest time of the year both doable and enjoyable!

Gift Wrapping Ideas

We’ve been busy Christmassing over here this week. A couple nights ago hubby and I tackled the gift wrapping, and I thought I’d let you in on my little gift wrapping secret… – Every year people oohhh and ahhh over my gifts under the tree. I can honestly say this without a hint of bragging b/c I’m about to show just HOW (tongue firmly in cheek) good of a gift wrapper I really am (not) ;-). BUT, because I love you, I’m letting you in on some of my gift wrapping secrets so people can oohhh and ahhh over YOUR gifts too! Now I know that some of you are naturally gifted (no pun intended) in this area, but for those of you whom, like me, are not, here’s how to “fake it ’til you make it” girls:

First grab your supplies:
White Tissue Paper
Tape
Scissors
Glitter of some sort (in the form of a tag, ribbon, flowers, whatever)
Wrapping Buddy
Crackling Fire
Christmas Music (or movie)
 Now for 10 years, all I’ve been wrapping my Christmas gifts in is white tissue paper (with the occasional gold if I can find it). And I am the world’s WORST gift wrapper. Seriously. No false modesty here girls. Here is “Exhibit A”:
 Ugh! Yup, it’s really that bad. None of my ends ever match, there are pooches, folds, and bubbles in all the wrong places. Just painful to look at. SO, to compensate for my lack of wrapping ability, every year after Christmas, I go to the craft stores and buy up all their beautiful wired ribbon in gold or burgundy (to match my tree skirt) at 75% or 90% off. Some years I make my own tags (with glitter), but this year I got a bunch of glittery snowflakes to tie on as “tags”. I think they were .25 for 4 at Target (postXmas’09)! I then do my very best to cover up my wrap job with the lovely glittery ribbon-it distracts the eye you know:
 So, if you haven’t gotten what “my secret” is yet…it’s GLITTER!!!! Nothing looks more spectacular under Christmas tree lights than dazzling presents. I think the simplicity of the tissue paper also helps offset it (plus it’s dirt cheap-I get mine at the $store), and the fact that all the ribbons subtly coordinate is restful to the eye.
 
 So that’s all I’ve got for today folks. Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to say hello if you did (just so I don’t get lonely or creeped out by stalkers). See ya on the morrow…
Here’s to a sparkly Christmas!