Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frugal Friday: Organizer boxes

When I was organizing my over-the-dryer cabinet a few months ago, I needed a little box in which to store some cleaning pads. I didn't have time to run to the store, and I wasn't sure they would have one as small as I needed anyway.

So I took an empty cardboard box and made one. I covered it with some decorative Con-tact® paper to make it look nicer and make it stronger. It turned out very nice, and I saved the money and time I would have had to spend finding the perfect box.

The other day, I decided that it would be better if the sides of the box were a bit taller. As I used and re-used the pads, they didn't want to stand up anymore, so I needed the box to support them so they wouldn't fall out and mess up my system! So I made a new one and took pictures this time. Here is what I did:

First, I cut one side off the box for my opening.

Then I taped the original opening closed. I'm just using a small piece of tape, because my box is getting very light duty.

I cut a piece of Con-tact® paper the size to wrap the box on two sides and the bottom, and overlap the edges a bit.

Then I peeled the backing away little by little, adhering it to the box. It's not perfect, but this isn't going to the State Fair. *grin* I also cut a second piece of paper to wrap around four sides of the box, this time missing the box bottom.

Here is the finished box, now holding my cleaning pads. (These are microfiber cleaning pads from FullerBrush, a gift from my mom.)

A couple of helpful hints: The sticky paper is not necessary, but it does help the boxes look nicer and keeps them sturdy. I could have instead used wrapping paper for looks, and reinforced the edges with packing tape. I have tried an off-brand of sticky paper that is supposed to act like Con-tact® paper, but it is more difficult to use, so I don't mind investing in a bit of the real thing. *smile*

The great thing about this project is that when I found that I needed a different box a few months later, I didn't have to go far to find a new one. It is really versatile, and if I re-organize later on, I just need to save a few boxes and I will have my own nearly free system ready!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Call Menus and Listening Skills

As a teaching mom, I get tired of explaining things to my kids and seeing their eyes glaze over. I know they are not with me. I will redirect them and say, "Are you listening?"

The answer is always something like, "Yeah. What'd you say?"

Or when I asked them to narrate back to me, a la Charotte Mason, I get a blank look, and if I hear anything, it is not related to what we just read. It is usually related to the picture on the front of the book.

It's aggravating, I know. But if you are in the same predicament, you might want to be a little easier on them. You might be doing the same thing yourself, but in an acceptable, adult manner.

Have you ever thought about this: How many times have you called a customer service line and had to listen to the computerized menu twice? Or thrice? I have to do that all the time. As soon as I press "one" for English, my focus slips down the drain like spaghetti. Somewhere between "three" and "four," I get hopelessly lost.

Now, what did they say? Was it "three" for account information? If I push "three", will I get a recording of my balance, or will they let me talk to someone? I really need to talk to someone. ..Oh, no! Now they are on "five"! What was "four"? Oh no, I think "four" was what I needed! Do I push "0" or "*" to make this thing repeat?

I wonder if you can still buy a rotary phone?
After thinking about this issue, I am resolved to be a little easier on my kids for their listening skills. I'm going let them push "*" to hear the menu again, and repeat with all the coolness of the computerized lady. I might even say, "Your call is valuable to me. Thank you for being a customer!"

And I really am going to look into getting a rotary phone.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bible in a Year

Last year, I used a site similar to this one for my daily Bible reading. My goal was to read through the Bible in one year, and I accomplished that goal!

I found it hard to make a habit. I wanted to do it first thing in the morning, but after I had my coffee so I would be a more active reader, and perhaps remember what I had read, rather than just go through the motions! So I made a quick folder of bookmarks that encompassed everything I like to do online each day. The list included my email, Google Reader, some blogs that I can't read through Google Reader, and a freebie site I like to check daily. I put the Bible reading link at the top and my rule was that I could not move on to the rest of the links until I had my Bible reading finished. This really worked for me.

For more tips, visit Rocks In My Dryer.