Category: For The Home

Donating to Domestic Violence Shelters

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 by No Comments

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Domestic violence shelters provide a safe refuge for women escaping abusive partners, but they require lots of assistance to keep their doors open.

Every domestic violence shelter has a different policy as far as donations go. Because of space limitations, some smaller shelters have to be really picky about what items they can accept. However, the following general suggestions will give you a good starting point for thinking about what to donate:

  • Clothing for women and children is always needed. In many cases, people arrive at a shelter with only the clothes they were wearing. All sizes and styles of clothing are helpful, although many shelters say nice dresses or blouses for women are especially important since their clients will need to go to court for orders of protection against their abuser or go on job interviews to find employment.
  • Personal hygiene items, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, and shampoo, are useful donations that you can get for pennies on the dollar if you’re an avid couponer.
  • Crayons, colored pencils, markers, and paper are helpful to help keep little ones occupied while staying at the shelter. These items can also be used as school supplies for kids in the younger elementary grades.
  • If you’re a crafter, consider making blankets and stuffed animals to donate. No sew fleece blankets would be a good project for your kids to help with. Fleece comes in lots of fun patterns, so your child could pick out a favorite cartoon character to feature on the donated blanket.
  • Some larger shelters will accept old cell phones that can be given to women so they can call 911 in an emergency.
  • Cash donations or gift cards to major stores like Walmart and Target can be used to help abused women get back on their feet once they’ve left the shelter.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Link Round-up: Refreshing Foods and Beverages, No-Sew Napkins, and More

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has refreshing foods and beverages, no-sew table napkins, tips for freshening indoor air naturally, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make a DIY light-up café sign.

A Cedar Spoon shared a recipe for watermelon lemonade vodka slushies.

Mom Endeavors showed us how to make a layered rainbow fruit salad.

Thifty Jinxy gave us five tips for softer towels.

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Muslin and Merlot showed us how to make no-sew table napkins.

Take a Bite Out of Boca offered a recipe for simple roasted asparagus.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom taught us how to freshen indoor air naturally with coffee and tealights.

My World Simplified taught us how to make delicious roasted potato wedges.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Muslin and Merlot

10 Minutes to a More Organized Home

Posted on Jul 28, 2014 by No Comments

The problem with getting organized it that it seems like a really overwhelming task when your house is currently a disaster zone. But, if you break your goal down into smaller tasks, it becomes much more manageable.

Here are a few suggestions for quick 10 minute cleanups. If you do just one a day, your house will be looking better in no time!

Bathroom

  • Organize your medicine cabinet and get rid of old or expired medications.
  • Toss all of your expired or unflattering makeup.
  • Fill a bucket with disinfectant wipes and other needed cleaning supplies to keep in your bathroom so it’s easier to tidy up each day.

Kitchen

  • Organize the junk drawer in your kitchen.
  • Toss all the expired food from your refrigerator.
  • Straighten up your collection of cookbooks, getting rid of titles you never use.

Bedroom

  • Declutter the top of the dresser in your bedroom. Find a pretty cup or tray to use for temporarily dumping coins and other small items that tend to accumulate in this high-clutter area.
  • Clean out your lingerie drawer, tossing anything that doesn’t fit or has stretched out elastic.
  • Organize your jewelry box.
  • Choose five items from your closet that you know you’ll never wear again and donate them to charity.

Living Room

  • Clean the blades on your ceiling fans.
  • Recycle old magazines that you’re never going to get around to reading.
  • Find a basket to use for temporarily collecting toys that have migrated from your child’s room to the living room. Teach your child to empty the basket at least once per week.
  • Buy a storage ottoman and use it to corral extra blankets and pillows.
  • Go through your bookshelves and set aside any unwanted titles to donate to the local public library or take to a nearby thrift store.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Help Animals in Need by Donating Your Old Linens

Posted on Jul 25, 2014 by 1 Comment

I’m a big fan of fluffy towels and soft blankets, but I hate to throw anything away. So, when I’m replacing my household linens, figuring out what to do with the old stuff is always a challenge.

I used to pass along old linens to friends who were moving and needed help furnishing their new places, since I was the first one in my social circle to get married and move into my own home. However, I’ve finally run out of people eager for my castoffs.

Since I love Pinterest, I’ve seen all sorts of cool sewing projects made with recycled fabric. But, I’ve finally had to admit that I lack the skill to actually accomplish any of these nifty ideas.

If you’re in the same boat, I think the best option is to take these items to a nearby animal shelter. Animal shelters can use donations of towels, blanks, and other linens to help pad cages and make them more comfortable for animals.

If you don’t know where the animal shelters in your area are located, visit PetFinder.com to search for contact info.

If you’re trying to teach your children about the importance of giving back to the community, consider buying a few bags of pet food to take with you when you drop off the blankets. Even if your kids don’t have pets of their own, most children are sympathetic to the plight of animals in need. You can look for coupons and sales to cut costs, if you’re having your kids pay for the food with their allowance money.

Photo credit: PetFinder.com

Should You Use a Night Light for Your Baby?

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 by 1 Comment

When my daughter was three years old, all of a sudden she started waking during the night afraid of a “monster” in her room.

I finally figured out that during the winter months, the bare branches of the tree outside her window created a scary shadow on her wall that moved with the wind. I added a night light to her room and it scared the monster away.

Today, night lights can be purchased that complement your nursery décor or showcase other interests. But is it good to put a night light in your baby’s room?

Tardis night light

This Tardis night light is not recommended for children under three.

My daughter wasn’t afraid of the dark until she was three, and the dark never bothered my son. It turns out that children don’t experience night-time anxiety until they are two or three because that’s when their cognitive development has reached a stage where they can understand the concept of fear and can even imagine scary things like the monster on the wall.

Should you use a night light? Experts say that if your child fears the dark, a night light can help dispel that, but the light should not illuminate the room too much because toddlers sleep better in a dark room.

And if you decide to buy a decorative type night light, it’s important to check warnings because some include choking hazards and are not suitable for children under three years old. For instance, Dr. Who fans may love the idea of a tardis night light but it is not appropriate for young children!

If you’ve heard concerns about night lights harming your child’s vision, that belief dates back to the late 90s and has since been disproved. At that time, parents grew alarmed about night-lights and vision problems after a study found a link between night-light use for children under two and the development of myopia (near-sightedness).

Since then follow-up studies found no relationship between night-lights and near-sightedness and the authors of the original study have even backed away from those findings. Plus, kids under two don’t really need a night light! If you’re child is afraid of the dark, go ahead and get a night light.

Photo credits: Amazon, Amazon

Donate Books to Soldiers and Their Families

Posted on Jul 23, 2014 by No Comments

I have a serious book addiction. Even though I’ve been trying to stick to ebooks to cut down on the amount of clutter in my home, I tend to go a little crazy every time I get near a Barnes & Noble. Plus, I’m a sucker for ordering children’s books through the Scholastic Book Club fliers my son keeps bringing home.

When I was weeding through my book collection to try to make space for all the titles new titles we purchased, I came across the Operation Paperback website. This great charity sends books to soldiers stationed overseas, those who are in military hospitals, and military families with a deployed loved one.

They will accept both adult books and children’s books, as long as your books are in good condition. They won’t take books with missing covers; loose, brittle, or missing pages; stains; or water damage. Books that are considered pornographic or racist are not allowed and religious materials are only acceptable if the solider has specifically requested them.

The website mentions mysteries and westerns as being in high demand. The children’s books go directly to the families of the soldiers or are sent to the soldiers so they can read to their kid via webcam or DVD.

To donate books, you log onto the Operation Paperback website and list the titles you have. The books are then matched with addresses of soldiers who have requested either the specific book or something from that genre. Choose someone to mail your books to, then package them up and drop them off at the post office.

If you don’t have any books to mail out, but still want to help support the cause, Operation Paperback accepts cash donations. A $5 donation will ship one medium-sized box of books to any overseas military location. A $20 donation will help pay for the purchase and shipment of one box of high-demand special request books.

Photo credit: Operation Paperback

Link Round-up: Paid to DIY, Recipes, a Numbers Game, and More

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s round-up shares a way to get paid to DIY around the house, a few delicious recipes, a game, and more.

Amanda’s Cookin’ shared a vintage recipe for a Lazy Daisy Cake.

Army Wife to Suburban Life showed us how to get paid to DIY.

Sand in My Toes showed us how to make a number hunt game.

The Crafty Blog Stalker shared a recipe for cabbage and pineapple slaw burgers.

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Kenarry shared a tutorial for a summer burlap wreath.

DIY Beautify taught us how to make a bird feeder using thrifted plates.

The Casual Craftlete shared a recipe for lemon blueberry chia jam.

Photo credit: Amanda’s Cookin’ and Kenarry

Link Round-up: Birthday Badge, Puree, Summer Reading, DIY Sunscreen, and More

Posted on Jul 15, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s round-up has a first birthday badge, puree, a summer reading list, non-toxic sunscreen, and more.

It Happens in a Blink shared a tutorial for a first birthday badge.

It’s Always Ruetten shared her summer reading list.

Army Wife to Suburban Life gave us 15 ideas of things to do when you’re alone.

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It Bakes Me Happy shared a recipe for carrot apple mango puree.

Sand in My Toes taught us how to make a parking deck out of a cereal box and other items you have around the house.

A Mom’s Take shared her recipe for a moisturizing non-toxic sunscreen.

Carolyn’s Homework shared a guest post and taught us how to make peanut butter and jelly cookies.

Photo credit: It Happens in a Blink and It Bakes Me Happy

Link Roundup: Recipes, Wire Word Art, Summer Recipes, and More

Posted on Jul 10, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has recipes, wire word art, fun summer recipes, and more.

Kalyn’s Kitchen shared a recipe for raw zucchini carpaccio.

The Neighborhood Moms talked about three baby gadgets that may be bad for children’s development.

View Along the Way showed us how to make easy wire word art.

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Confessions of an Overworked Mom showed us a nail-pampering DIY.

A Mom’s Take shared some ideas for a baby essentials kit.

Gingerly Made taught us how to make watermelon Rice Krispie treats.

This Silly Girl’s Life showed us how to make mini mint s’mores.

Photo credit: Kalyn’s Kitchen and Confessions of an Overworked Mom

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