Are You Decorated for Halloween?

The weather here in Wisconsin is starting to cool off, the leaves are starting to change color, and it gets darker earlier in the evening.

While I’m not a huge fan of cold weather (in fact, I’m not a fan of cold weather at all!), I do love the holidays and this just reminds me that Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching.

To enjoy autumn more, I pulled out our fall and Halloween decorations, and invested an hour decorating the inside and outside of our home with my daughter. Now, it feels really festive and keeps us in the spirit of the holiday.

I store my holiday decorations in clear, lidded storage boxes–which I picked up at my local Shopko years ago. On all sides of the boxes, I indicate the holiday, and I stack these boxes in a closet specifically for storing decorations.

So, when it came time to pull out my Halloween decorations this year, they were easily found in two of these boxes…not here, there, and everywhere.

Not having to search for things makes decorating more fun, and much easier!

Are you decorated for Halloween and/or fall yet? Comment below and let us know!

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment October 2, 2013

My Favorite TV Shows

I’ll admit it…I LOVE watching TV and I do so each night as a reward for all I’ve gotten accomplished in the day.

Want to know my favorite shows right at this very moment?

Modern Family (Hilarious! I love the entire cast and the very real-life situations)

The Big Bang Theory (Fall-off-my-chair funny!)

Mad Men (My favorite drama…maybe of all time)

America’s Got Talent (I cannot believe how talented some people are. The season just ended. I can’t wait for the next one!)

Guiliana and Bill AND Cake Boss–it’s a tie! (Two of my favorite reality shows)

What are your favorites right now? Let me know.

Maria Gracia

1 Comment September 25, 2013

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1 Comment September 6, 2013

Get Organized to Avoid Colds

I can’t stand it when I catch a cold. It’s exhausting and it is a major drag on my productivity. That’s why I always take preventative measures to avoid getting sick.

I’m not a doctor, but doing the following helps me remain healthy most of the time.

1) I wash my hands frequently.

The common cold virus is easily passed through your eyes and nose, so wash your hands throughout the day AND avoid touching the areas around your eyes and nose. (Ask someone to watch you and let you know if you do this out of habit. I used to touch my mouth all the time, until my husband brought this habit to my attention!)

2) I sneeze into a tissue or my elbow, and encourage my family members to do so.

When you feel a sneeze coming, or a cough, cover your face with your forearm. When you sneeze/cough into your hand you’re releasing the cold germs.

By the way, touch a doorknob and Whammoo…you’ve just spread your virus to some other poor soul!

3) Take Airborne or Emergen-C.

Airborne Immune Support Supplement with Vitamin C, Effervescent Formula, Orange, 30 Count

Emergen-C Super Orange, 30-count

As soon as I feel a cold coming on, I immediately take some Emergen-C. It’s a vitamin supplement mixture that seems to stop many of my colds from coming on. My husband swears by a similar product called Airborne.

(Of course, always read the ingredients and check with your doctor first to be sure this supplement is OK to take, and that it won’t interact with any medications you’re currently taking.)

4) Exercise.

Regular exercise is another trick to ward off a cold. Exercising not only strengthens your heart, but it boosts your immunity as well.

I find that the more I exercise, the less I catch cold bugs.

5) Drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, and eat healthy food.

Prevention is the key to avoiding colds and other infectious diseases. By getting the appropriate amount of sleep, eating healthy and drinking water, you are taking the necessary steps to overall healthy living.

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment August 23, 2013

It’s so easy to focus on the negatives

It’s so easy to focus on the negatives…the crowded subway, the traffic getting to work, your son not doing the laundry he was asked to do, your spouse getting home later from work than expected, the appliance that’s on the fritz that’s too expensive to get repaired…

I’m sure you’ll agree, there are negative influences all around us every day. They’re part of life.

That being said, it’s important to also notice that there are positive influences around us…perhaps the fact that your toll booth guy greeted you with a smile this morning, or your daughter did well with the school spelling bee, or your husband fixed that leaky faucet, or the sun is shining.

That’s why we always have Daily Celebration in my house. At the dinner table, we generally begin our conversation with the challenges, and discuss how we can work through them. But we always end our dinners celebrating all the GOOD THINGS that happened in our day!

It’s a wonderful way to unwind, to generate smiles, and help us all see and focus on the many blessings in our lives

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment August 9, 2013

Time to Get School Supplies

Do you have school-age children? If so, it’s that time again–time to pick up new school supplies. My daughter starts school right after Labor Day, and our August is pretty booked up with summer activities. So, we’re already done with this task.

A few weeks ago, we started by going through school supplies from last year that were still good enough to use for this coming school year…pencils not even sharpened yet, scissors that were still in perfectly good condition, and book covers good enough to use over again.

With our school supply list in hand, we then went to Target and picked up everything else we needed. Since many stores these days keep all school supplies in one centralized area, we had the entire list in our shopping cart within 20 minutes.

When we returned home, we immediately labeled all of her school supplies, and they’re being stored in the closet in the spare bedroom (in 2 large shopping bags) until it’s time for her to bring them into school.

It feels great to be done…one less thing to think about when the hectic school year begins!

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment July 31, 2013

Household Hints

I just love it when Get Organized Now! readers submit their own awesome organizing ideas. This week, I received an organizing poem. Love it! Here goes.

Household Hints

(A Poem Written by GON Reader Robbie J Huffman)

I’m not an organized person

but I’m trying hard to improve.

I had collected two books of hints

trying to get me in the groove.

There was something I wanted to check

recently but my books I could not find.

This was a big problem so it

really put me in a bind.

After a few days, I found my books

and combined and relabeled them.

I should get an A for my attempts

but my final grade is still GRIM!

This was quite a setback for me

but, still, I will not relent.

I seem to have bottomed out

when I can’t even find my hints.

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment July 16, 2013

Using Building Blocks to Get Projects Done

I run a fundraiser at my daughter’s school called Scrip, which is a gift card program. Last year, I invested quite a bit of time getting this fundraiser more organized, more automated, and more profitable. It has been a long process, but it’s done…and now I’m ready to pass the system I came up with and the responsibility of the fundraiser on to two school parents who will be handling it this coming school year.

First, I know that this isn’t something that I can just pass on to these ladies in a day and expect them to be able to just take over, so I’m training them over a period of weeks, and will be working with them for the month of September until they feel comfortable with doing it themselves.

Second, I also know this isn’t something that I can pass on without giving them detailed notes and checklists.

Third, I know I can’t teach everything to them at once. It would be too overwhelming for me, AND for them…AND the final result would not be good.

What I plan to do this week is set up some building blocks. Building blocks are small pieces of a project or small bits of information–that when put together, form a whole.

No matter what type of project you’re trying to get done, or trying to teach, breaking it down into building blocks will help ensure that goal will be achieved in the most efficient manner.

With this specific fundraiser project, I’ve broken it down into many LARGE BLOCKS. Just a few are:

Ordering National Gift Cards

Ordering Local Gift Cards

Obtaining Local Gift Cards

Filling Automatic Orders

Filling Individual Orders

Filling Weekend Church Orders

Entering Data into the Computer

Handling Rebates

Checking on Inventory

(There’s a lot more, but this just gives you a taste.)

Then, I’ve taken each LARGE BLOCK and broke that down into SMALL BUILDING BLOCKS. For example, there are lots of steps that are JUST under the Ordering National Gift Cards category above, such as:

Logging in

Searching for Vendors

Choosing Denominations

Deciding on Quantity

Choosing Shipping Options

Entering Money Spent into Spreadsheet

Finalizing Order

Sorting Gift Cards into Box When They Arrive

You don’t really have to know what any of this means, BUT it is very valuable for you to see how big projects, even big blocks, can be broken down into smaller building blocks.

By doing this, you only have to learn one part, or teach one part, at a time. It makes it easier for you to teach, and easier for someone else to learn.

Once your building blocks are defined, you can then make up simple checklists for either you, or someone else to follow.

By using the building blocks concept, you’ll get all of your projects done…even those that seem impossible at first.

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment July 8, 2013

Red, White and Blue Parfaits–Festive Treats for the 4th

Red, White and Blue ParfaitsTime is precious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make delicious, fun treats for your family! Parfaits are so pretty, and they take virtually no time at all. You simply layer the red, white and blue ingredients, and you’re done! No cooking required!

For a Patriotic Breakfast Parfait: Layer vanilla or plain yogurt with granola (or grape nuts cereal), blueberries, and strawberries. You can even add some honey to each layer if you wish.

For a sweet, refreshing After-Lunch Parfait: Layer vanilla or rice pudding, watermelon, and blueberries.

For a Patriotic Dessert Parfait: Layer vanilla ice cream or cool whip with blueberries and strawberries. Add blue sprinkles and a red cherry on top!

Maria Gracia

Leave a Comment July 2, 2013

Keeping Friendships Strong

Tomorrow night is Girl’s Night Out…and I’m investing a few hours of my time very wisely–catching up with six of my closest friends. We’re all going to a new Japanese restaurant…just the girls, no husbands and no kids.

It’s so easy, with everything we have going on each day, to postpone time with friends, and rather keep working hard to cross off our many TO DOs. But when relationships aren’t nurtured, they fade away.

Yes, getting TO DOs done is a priority, but it’s also important to make time for the important people.

If it has been awhile since you’ve shared some quality time with your good friends, contact them and schedule some time to go for a run together or to share a meal. It may be just the break you need from your busy life…and you’ll be keeping your friendships strong at the same time!

Maria Gracia

1 Comment June 20, 2013

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