A Cute Way To Declutter Your Kitchen Counters

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CleanMyWay #TeamSponge #CollectiveBias

We are still in spring cleaning mode here so I’ve been organizing and cleaning everything. My focus this past weekend was on our kitchen. Since it’s the most used room in our home it’s the hardest to keep clean. Every time I think all the dishes are done I discover another one in the sink!

While spending all that time in my kitchen I dreamed of one day being able to update it. I’d change up the color palette to reflect my style, update the appliances and add more counter and cabinet space. I’ve been entering contests (like this Scotch-Brite™ Scrubstakes one where someone will win a $20,000 kitchen makeover for sharing if they are team sponge or team dish cloth-I’m team sponge btw!), in hopes that I can update my kitchen sooner rather than later. There are so many things I’d want to change but in the meantime I have to make do with the kitchen space I have.

Yesterday one of the things I worked on was cleaning and organizing my countertops. A lot of things tend to get left on the counters, from cups to mail to items bought at the store that never found their way in to the pantry. Since we have such a small home, our counters get crowded very quickly. To declutter the sink area and make it look nicer I used a metal cake stand to hold things that needed to stay out. Now, instead of things just sitting on the counter, they had a home and were part of the decor.

The first things I did was put dish soap in a pretty container instead of setting it out in the bottle it came in. I used a mason jar with a pump on the top and added some decorative ribbon to it.

Along with the dish soap I put out some sponges in a sponge holder that would keep them upright and allow them to dry. Sponges have always been my kitchen cleaning tool of choice. I used them as a child when I did my chores and I still prefer them now as an adult because they make cleaning up messes so much easier. I really love the ones that have scrubbing sides so that I don’t need to use as much effort to wash the dishes or scrub the stove top.

Since we go through a lot of sponges I like to buy the multi-packs so we don’t run out. We bought our Scotch-Brite sponges at Food 4 Less in the cleaning aisle. Make sure to grab the coupon below from coupons.com before you head to the store! You can save $1 on any two packs.

There are a variety of sponges and I recently learned that each has different uses and is designed for specific surfaces. I used to use the same sponge for everything not realizing that I was ruining my non-stick pans and porcelain sink with materials that weren’t meant for those surfaces.

Now we mainly use two different types of sponges- Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges and Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges.

Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges (the green ones) are great for the kitchen, garage and outdoors. They can be used on pots, pans, oven racks, grill racks, tools, tires and sinks. They also clean tough, baked-on messes 50% faster than other competitive sponges.


Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges (the blue ones) can be used on Non-Stick cookware, counter tops, cook tops, tubs, shower tile, windows, and dishes. They can safely clean non-stick cookware without scratching surfaces.

I’d love to hear how you keep your kitchen clean and organized. Share your tips in the comments below.

Find more kitchen tips and inspiration here.

DIY Decorative Jewelry Tray

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StreakFreeShine #CollectiveBias

Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons. From budding flowers to pretty lace dresses to sparkling pastel colored jewels, beauty is all around us. As the weather starts to warm up and the sun starts shining a bit more, I love being able to admire the new growth of flowers and watch the birds sitting outside my window.

That very first sunny spring day though, when I open up my curtains, I am reminded of the one chore that gets a little neglected during the colder months- cleaning my windows. It’s amazing how dirty they get over the few months we are stuck inside while the sky is gray and the trees are barren. I grab my Windex® Original Glass Cleaner from under my kitchen sink and, as soon as I spray it on my windows, I start to see the dirt fading away. A couple swipes of a paper towel later and my windows are shiny clean and I can see the beautiful spring day through them.

I also like to bring the beauty of spring indoors and I do that by decorating my home with seasonal decor and fresh flowers. To bring a touch of spring into my bedroom I made a decorative jewelry tray to hold some of my favorite pieces. It was easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of materials so I wanted to share the tutorial so you could make your own.

Materials needed:

  • Round tray
  • Glass or mirror a little smaller than your tray
  • Glue or adhesive
  • Beaded necklaces made for craft projects

 Directions:

Put glue/adhesive in the middle of the tray, spreading it out the width of your mirror.

Place the glass or mirror piece in the middle of the tray and gently press it down to adhere it to the tray.

To see how long your string of beads will need to be you can put it along the bottom edge of your tray. You’ll want it long enough to go all around the bottom of your tray but not overlap. I had to tie two beaded necklaces together and then take some beads off the one end because, as you can see in the picture, it was too long.

Use your adhesive/glue to glue your beads onto the tray along the inner bottom edge of the tray. If you still have space between your beads and your mirror/glass, you can glue on a second string of beads.

This tray will get a lot of fingerprint smudges on it but it’s easy to clean with Windex® Original Glass Cleaner.

Windex® Original Glass Cleaner is my favorite product to use on glass because I know that it will always leave my glass surfaces with a streak-free shine. Thanks to its formulation with Ammonia-D®, it starts working on fingerprints, dirt, and other messes even before you wipe. Whether you need to clean the smudges on your bathroom mirror, your windows, or the glass of your jewelry tray, you can trust America’s #1 glass cleaner to get the job done!

I found Windex® Original Glass Cleaner and Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner in the cleaning aisle of my local Food4Less store.

Now you can see the beauty of spring outside (thanks to your clean windows) and inside, sitting on your jewelry tray.

What is your favorite thing about the spring season? Get more spring cleaning ideas here.

How To Get Your Bathroom Ready For Holiday Guests

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetUnderTheRim #CollectiveBias 

The holidays are coming and, for many, that means entertaining friends and family. We started a new tradition last year of having family over on Christmas Eve so, being the Type A person that I am, I’ve already started planning for it. I generally have always decorated my home for Christmas before the holiday chaos begins anyways, but I’ve also started planning the menu we will have and deep cleaning our home. I also like to get ready for any overnight guests I may have, like my younger siblings who need a place to stay when they come to town.

One room on the list to tackle is the guest bathroom. Since we live in a small home, we only have two bathrooms and our “guest” bathroom is also the bathroom that everyone in our home uses. Living with three males I’m sure you can imagine the mess I have to deal with in there. Generally Sinisa cleans the bathroom but when we are going to have guests over I like to clean it so I know everything is completely clean.

When getting the bathroom ready for guests I have a three step process. The first thing I have to do is clear the clutter. Even though the bathroom has plenty of storage, there always seem to be things left on the counter that don’t belong there.

Once the bathroom is picked up it’s time for some deep cleaning. I take down the shower curtain and put that, along with the bath rugs, in the washer. I then clean the sink and counter and shine the faucet. I scrub the tub, wipe down the walls and mirror and then move on to my least favorite part of cleaning the bathroom- the toilet.

After I clean the outside of the toilet I have to tackle the inside of it. Thankfully I’ve discovered the perfect tool for the job. The new Scotch-Brite® Disposable Toilet Scrubber is uniquely designed to reach messes under the rim that competing products miss. It also has a built-in bleach alternative cleaner with pumice that scrubs away rust & hard water stains. When I’m done cleaning the toilet I simply press the button on the handle to dispose of the scrubber and then set the handle into the holder until the next time I need it.

Once my toilet bowl is sparkly clean, I sweep and mop the floor, take out the trash, wipe down the trash can, hang the shower curtain up, put the rugs back on the floor, fill the soap dispenser and stock the toilet paper. I also make sure I have clean towels ready for our guests.

It’s then time for the fun part- decorating! Our guest bathroom has red walls so the room is already festive to begin with. I chose to add some cream, green and gold accents to the room.

I wanted to do something special for overnight guests and set out some toiletries for them in case they’d forgotten anything they needed. I had a glass hurricane to use for this project but you can use a large jar or any glass canister you have. The only other thing you’ll need to make the container is letter stickers. I used some gold ones since they would coordinate with my holiday decor but also look nice in the bathroom throughout the year.

I used the letter stickers to spell out “be our guest” on the glass. (To make sure the letters were being put on the glass in a straight line, I used a piece of paper edge to make myself a line to follow.) I then filled the glass hurricane with travel sized toiletries I had collected while traveling including shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap. I travel often so I have tons of hotel toiletries but you could also buy travel sized toiletries at Target to fill your container.

Speaking of Target, that’s where I bought the Scotch-Brite Disposable Toilet Scrubber and Scotch-Brite® Disposable Toilet Scrubber Refills (along with a number of holiday decorations and some cute holiday pjs!). I found them in the cleaning aisle with the toilet brushes, in between the trash cans and the sponges. Right now there are some great deals on these products at Target. Look for a “Try Me Now!” Instant Redeemable Coupon on each product to save $2. There is also a Cartwheel offer to save 15% off these new products (11/6-11/12).

Now I’m ready for the holidays and for my guests! Want to see how other bloggers are getting ready for the holidays? Check out their posts here. How do you prepare your home for holiday visitors?

Tips For Getting Kids To Help With The Chores

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Whether your family has set chores daily or has a cleaning day once a week, it’s important to get the whole family involved in keeping the house tidy. Getting kids to help with the housework may seem more like a chore than the actual cleaning task does so I wanted to share some of our favorite ways to get kids to help clean. Thanks to Dyson for sponsoring this post and making cleaning easier so I have more time to iron shirts (see the picture below lol).

1) Make it fun. Turn on some music and have a dance party while you clean. (This works best when the kids choose the music. You may hear more groans if mom or dad is in charge of the musical choices :) lol)

2) Make it a game. If you have more than one child you probably have discovered that everything can be turned into a competition. My boys love racing to see who can pick up an area first or who can be the first to put away 10 toys.

3) Take breaks. If you have a lot to clean I’ve found it best to take a break after a certain amount of time or after an area is clean. I tell the children ahead of time when they can take that break. Whether it’s a snack break or a break to watch a short television show, breaking a larger job into smaller chunks helps keep kids motivated.

4) Make a cleaning list. We all like the satisfaction we get when we cross something off a to-do list so a cleaning list is a must when it’s time to clean. For younger kids who can’t read you can use photos instead of words.

5) Provide kid friendly cleaning tools. If kids are going to help with the chores they need tools they can easily use. We like a small dustpan and hand held broom and wet rag for every day cleaning. The Dyson Small Ball™ vacuum is also another great tool the kids can use because it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver. The vacuum is also 30% quieter than their previous upright vacuum which is perfect for kids with auditory sensory issues.

6) End the cleaning time with a family activity. Nobody likes to clean but everyone will look forward to the reward of quality family time afterwards. Our family loves to have a game and movie night, complete with popcorn and treats, after a long day of cleaning. It’s even more fun when we can enjoy it in a room that is spotless.

What tips do you have for getting kids to help with the chores?

What Matters Most During The Holidays

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I have received information about the TYLENOL® For What Matters Most™ campaign from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.

The best part about the holidays is all the quality family time and traditions it brings. I can still remember Christmas mornings growing up. As a kid I loved the gifts but I loved our family Christmas morning ritual even more.

We’d start by waiting at the top of the steps for everyone to wake. Once we woke our parents up we’d race downstairs (in our pajamas) to dump out our stockings to see what Santa brought. This was followed by a big homemade breakfast that my dad made. We’d get dressed while he cooked and then enjoy eating together while we talked.

After breakfast we’d sort the presents into piles by the number written on them, since my mom never labeled them by name, all the while guessing which number we were and which numbers our siblings were. When all presents were sorted we’d open our cards that revealed what number we were that year and those are the presents we’d open. After everything was unwrapped we’d spend the rest of the morning opening packages, eating popcorn, listening to Christmas music and spending time together.

Since my {step}mom has passed away, keeping those traditions are even more important to me now and I try to keep my favorite ones going with my boys. When it comes to Christmas morning I want to give them those same magical memories my parents gave me. This means special Christmas pajamas, no opening presents until after breakfast and a tin of popcorn to share. I’ve also started incorporating new traditions such as the Christmas Pickle, the one gift from Santa being unwrapped, and appetizers to snack on the whole day (or two!) we spend at home with nowhere to go.

I hope my children will look back on Christmas mornings with joy and happiness. I like to think how they will continue our traditions when they get older and have their own kids. While I enjoy our traditions, and plan to continue them, the best part is really just spending time together.

I think no matter the dynamic or makeup of a person’s family we can all agree that family matters most. To celebrate the holidays this year, the makers of TYLENOL® created the ‘For What Matters Most™’ campaign and decided to put a modern spin on Norman Rockwell’s classic holiday painting Freedom From Want, to help illustrate how modern families come together to celebrate what matters most during the holidays.

I encourage you to visit the TYLENOL® website and also to pin the below picture or another picture that depicts your family spending time together during the holidays.

My family values time together, traditions and Faith. What special things does your family value?

10 Ways To Get Children To Help With Chores

How to Get Children to Help With the Chores

 

How We Split The Household Responsibilities In Our Home {Swiffer Giveaway}

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(Disclosure: This conversation is sponsored by Swiffer but all thoughts are my own.)

I love watching “reality” shows about families. One thing I find really interesting is how they split their household responsibilities. Some families have the children do most of the chores (which is how I grew up), some have only mom or dad responsible for them, and some split the responsibilities.

I believe that every family has to do what works best for them but in our home we split the responsibilities. As a working mom there is no way that I’d be able to handle all of the household chores myself. My least favorite chores are cleaning the bathroom and doing the dishes so Sinisa handles that. Other things Sinisa handles are the trash, the yard work, and most of the cooking. Sinisa hates putting away the laundry so that is something I try to do {though the boys’ clothes get put away more regularly than our clothes do}. I do most of the picking up around the house, general cleaning and organizational tasks.

When it comes to our children we split responsibilities there, too. I watch the boys while he is working and he watches them on his days off. He is the bath giver and meal maker. I pick out their clothes, make sure they have what they need when they need it, and drive them around to their sports and activities.

As our boys grow older I definitely plan on having them do more chores but for now (at ages 4 and 5) their chores consist of helping pick up their toys and living areas.

I love the above video of Lee and Morty, the stars of Swiffer’s new commercials. They are such an adorable couple and I love how Lee uses the products to show Morty how easy it is to clean and he jokes it’s like he’s dancing. Sinisa likes how easy it is to use the Swiffer Wet Jet, too!

Want to win some products that will make cleaning easier for you and your family? Enter to win a Swiffer prize pack below!

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky reader will win a #SwifferEffects kit ($20 value)

HOW TO ENTER:

 {Do any or all of the following. Leave a separate comment for each you do.}

1) Tell me which chore is your least favorite to do

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow Swiffer on Twitter

4) Follow me on Twitter

5) Comment on another post

Giveaway ends August 21, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a US resident 18 and older to enter.

Shrimp Alfredo {Recipe}

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(Disclosure: I was given a gift card to buy ingredients for this meal but all thoughts are my own.)

Palmolive reached out to me and challenged me to create a meal with the colors of their new line of dish soap. The colors were white, green, and pink. After thinking about it, Sinisa and I decided on shrimp alfredo with broccoli. Asparagus would also work well in this recipe if you aren’t a fan of broccoli. Below the recipe you will find my thoughts on Palmolive’s new line of soaps that I washed the dishes with.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of fully cooked shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of basil
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1/2 pound of rotini pasta
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning

Directions to make Shrimp Alfredo:

  • Cook your pasta according to packaging directions, drain, and set aside
  • Saute garlic in olive oil until garlic is golden brown
  • Add shrimp and saute while stirring shrimp until shrimp is fully cooked
  • Stir in brocolli and saute for 3 minutes
  • Add seasonings, sauce and parmesan cheese
  • Let simmer for about 7 minutes
  • Add sauce mixture to pot of cooked pasta and stir well
I love Palmolive’s Fresh Sponge dish soaps so I was looking forward to trying their soft touch brand. They have three scents: coconut butter, Aloe, and Vitamin E. The coconut butter is my favorite scent so I used that to clean the dishes.
The dish soap made a lot of bubbles and using the soap with hot water made it possible to quickly wash my dishes {which, by the way, is my least favorite chore}. Less time doing dishes means Sinisa and I have more time to relax at the end of the day. The bonus is that my hands were still soft so he wanted to hold them while we sat on the couch together. Thank you Palmolive!

6 Ways to Keep Your Hardwood Floors Looking New

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When you have nice hardwood floors, it’s worth putting in a little work to keep them looking like new. Follow these 6 tips so your hardwood floors will always have the beauty that you enjoy today.

Doormats Are a Deterrent

Knowing how to clean your floor properly will keep it in great shape. It’s even better to keep dirt and water off your floor by using two doormats. Keep one outside and one inside so people can wipe their feet well before stepping on the floor. It also helps to get a walk-off mat for the inside. These mats are usually four to six feet long. The longer it is, the cleaner your shoes will be when they hit your hardwood floor.

Vacuum Your Floor

Even if you make everyone take off their shoes before coming inside, your floors might still get dirty. If the dirt accumulates, it can turn into grit that will scratch the wood’s surface. Vacuum your floor at least once a week to prevent dirt buildup.

Avoid Water and Liquid Cleaners

Never expose your floor to water or liquid cleaners. They can soak into the wood, causing damage that’s difficult to repair. You’ll end up spending a lot of money hiring one of the Tucson flooring companies to fix a problem that you could have easily prevented.

Instead of using liquid cleaners, opt for a no-wax wood cleaner. You can pick it up at any home supply store. Keep it in a handy place, so you can clean up spills and dirt immediately.

Area Rugs Prevent Damage

Image via Flickr by Wonderlane

High-traffic zones are most likely to get damaged by daily wear and tear. Putting down an area rug will protect your hardwood floor. Common high-traffic zones include hallways, doorways, and stairs.

It’s best to use an area rug that doesn’t have a rubber backing. The rubber can trap humidity against the floor, which causes the same problems as cleaning with liquids would.

Clean Your Furniture With Care

If you have wooden furniture, then you want to take special care when you polish it. The polish might make your wood furniture glow, but it can leave a cloudy residue on your floor. Try spraying the polish on a cloth instead of directly on the furniture. That will give you more control.

Know How to Care for Your Floor’s Finish

Your hardwood floor might have a finish made of polyurethane or shellac. If it does, you should never wax the floor. It will create an extremely slippery surface and can damage the original finish.

If you don’t know whether you should use a wax, polyurethane, or other type of polish on your floor, spot test a small area and check for damage. Give the area a couple of days before you polish the rest of the floor. It takes time for damage to present itself.

Do you know other ways to keep hardwood floors looking like new? Or perhaps you’ve tried some restorative methods that did more harm than good. Tell your story in the comments below.

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Guest post by Amanda.

Dyson Housewarming Giveaway

Welcome to the Dyson Housewarming Giveaway event. This took months in the making and Mom to Bed by 8 and the Iowa Mom are proud to bring you this fantastic home essential and offer you the chance to win one too! I am so jealous because this vacuum looks amazing and I wish I could win one for myself!! Big thank you to our lovely co-hosts How to Have It All, Mark Your Savings and GiveAway Bandit.

Dyson DC23 TurbineHead Canister Vacuum

Delivering 220 airwatts of suction power, this canister vacuum cleaner features advanced Level 3 Root Cyclone technology to ensure thorough, efficient cleaning with no clogging or loss of suction. It also offers a TurbineHead brush bar that’s ideal for cleaning medium and short pile carpets and can be turned off for hard floors. Certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the unit expels air that contains up to 150 times less mold and bacteria than common breathing air thanks to the vacuum’s money-saving, lifetime washable HEPA filter. Plus, Dyson’s Bactisafe screen traps and kills bacteria, mold and allergens on contact, preventing them from re-entering the air.

The Telescopic Wrap System allows the hose and wand to be compressed, and ensures that the Dyson DC23 can be stored away neatly and compactly, with no loose components or wires to get tangled. It comes with a stair tool for focusing on dust and dirt from stairs and stair carpets, a brush tool with long bristles to dislodge cobwebs and for delicate cleaning, and a high-velocity airflow crevice tool that’s ideal for cleaning base boards, picture frames and in-between furniture. Other features include a clear bin with 0.44-gallon capacity, 21.6-foot cord length, and easy-to-maneuver fixed wheels. The vacuum measures 13.9 x 19.3 x 11.9 inches (HxWxD) and weighs 19.5 pounds. The Dyson DC23 TurbineHead is backed by a 5-year warranty.

Open to worldwide, ages 18+. Giveaway ends on June 15th.

**ENTER VIA RAFFLECOPTER OVER AT MOM TO BED BY 8**

Good luck to all!

(Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Making Time For Mommy is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.) 

Spring Cleaning Challenge {With Big Prizes!}

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Need some motivation to get Spring cleaning done? I know I do and I have found the perfect challenge with awesome prizes to motivate me to get our home back in order after being cooped up inside for months.

The areas that need the most attention in my house are the master bedroom {aka the catch all room}, the master bath {overflowing with beauty supplies, lotions, and a plethora of other toiletries}, and our kitchen cabinets/drawers. If I have extra time I also hope to tackle the boys closet, the laundry room, and the black hole under our couches where all the little toys disappear. At the end I hope to get rid of a bunch of items by selling things online and donating them to Goodwill.

Want to join me in the Spring Cleaning Challenge? Head on over to ‘I Dream Of Clean’ and find out how you can participate and have a chance at winning 2 washer and dryer sets from GE Appliances, a Shark steam mop, and a closet organizer from the Stow Company!

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post but I am writing it in hopes of having a better chance of winning one of the great prizes mentioned above- like the Shark Steam Mop which I desperately need around here!)

I am not a homemaker…

I am not a homemaker. I have been fine with this, even joking about it, until recently. After reading other “stay-at-home mom” blogs in the past weeks I’ve begun to feel guilty and I’ve realized that I really could be doing more than I do. Before a couple weeks ago I rarely cleaned and I almost never cooked. One of my goals for 2009 that I shared with my mom’s group was to “cook once a week”. It’s not that we eat out all the time (though we probably do that more often than we should), it’s that I eat a tv dinner or something else easy to make or Sinisa cooks when he comes home from work. I really am going to try to make an effort to cook more this year. This is my next step in becoming more “domesticated” (is that even a word?)

Right now though, my focus is on keeping my house “company ready”. Before I could never just invite people over when I felt like it because I always had to “prepare” my home for visitors. For the first time this past weekend I was on the phone with someone and said “why don’t you come on over?”. Let me tell you how great it felt to be able to say that. Granted it was only family (my sister in law) but before I had never felt comfortable enough to say that and the thought of someone coming over unannounced gave me anxiety. Even though my house has stayed clean, I am not following my “daily” and “weekly” lists that I made for myself so that is one area I would like to improve on.

I’m off to get some things accomplished now. My to-do list for tonight includes:

-Putting laundry away that’s in the dryer

-Update “goals”

-Going through my email inbox and deleting some old emails (my inbox has over 3500 emails in it!) My goal is to delete 500 tonight…

-Write up a monthly budget (or at least start it)

-Post some pictures of Jacob on facebook

Of course I also am going to watch tv, including the Bachelor. Should be interesting tonight because it’s the “women tell all” episode…