Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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Holiday Tips & Reminders

snow

It’s that time of  year. The holiday season has begun. Time to start prepping for visitors, big dinners, and lots of shopping.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the holidays.

VISITORS: If you are making your rounds and making impromptu visits, keep in mind people may not be prepared. No judging their homes or actions.

If the home is dirty or they don’t have anything to offer you (drinks/food), don’t be mad. You are surprising them.  Remember why you are visiting. You are there to check in with them, have conversations and see if there is anything you can do to help. These are people you love and adore, please do not judge. Be kind and offer your help.

If you would like to, you can always bring a small gift when you go visit. The gift could be your help around their house, such as helping with decorations or cleaning. You could also gift them with coupons to help with cost of the upcoming events. A nice small centerpiece is always good. Bring your own snacks and drinks.

Bringing a small token is a great gesture of kindness and love.

When you have folks come to your home to visit, I recommend on Thursday or Friday night before the weekend or the day or 2 before the holiday, go through your home and do some light housekeeping.  

Make sure the bathroom is clean, dishes are done and you living room is picked up. Maybe go to the grocery store and get some snacks and extra drinks. This way you are prepared for any visitors.

Visiting is a great way to reconnect with loved ones and everyone feels good when you are able to connect.

DINNERS:  If you are hosting the dinner, make sure you have everything you need. Making that last minute grocery store run can be awful or the store may be closed and you are out of luck.

Ask for help. No need to do this by yourself. There are others that would be grateful to assist you.

Relax: Don’t pressure yourself to make everything perfect. If something doesn’t work out the way you planned, it’s ok. Remind yourself why you are hosting. It’s not for the glory of compliments (even though compliments are wonderful) but for making memories with the people you hold dear. Trust me, your guests don’t care that things are perfect, they are happy to be surrounded by folks they love too.

If you are going to someone’s house for dinner, remember your etiquettes. Be polite (please & thank you), offer your assistance, clean up your mess and play nice with others.

If you are helping with the dinner by bringing a dish (pot luck style) please bring what was asked of you or what you committed to bring. Your friends/family are relying on you to do your part.

If you are not bringing a dish you might want to bring a small gift for the host or for the home. If you are like me and can’t afford a gift, make sure you help with the cleanup. Your host will be so thankful for the help.

Send a nice “Thank You” card after the dinner. It shows your appreciation and the love you have for that family.

SHOPPING: Just a few helpful tips.

Fill up the car with gas before you leave. You don’t want to interrupt the shopping spree by getting gas. Travel with your car lights on. Even during the day. 

Have a list of people you need gifts for or a list of gift items needed. It helps keep you on your budget and reminds you who/what you are needing to purchase.

Keep your money secure. Keep your purse in your hand at all times. Wear a cross-body purse (less likely to be set down or stolen). Carry you debit/credit cards in your front pocket of your pants.

Charge your cell phone or have a car charger. You don’t want to be out shopping and not have any service to retrieve those online coupons.

Carry a small amount of actual cash. Some of those small business do not accept credit cards. It’s also nice to leave your lunch tip in cash for the wait staff.

Set a budget for how much you are spending on your spree.

I hope you have a safe, happy and stress free holidays.

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6 Categories for Shopping Online: Gifts

shopping online

I have been asked to do a blog on shopping sites that I like to use. I enjoy shopping online because it’s easy and I don’t have to leave my house.

I like to send ‘little’ things to my cousins and family to let them know that I am thinking of them and that I love them. Since the holidays are coming up, I figured this would be a good time to share.

I have to admit that some of these sites I have not used yet, but I sure will in the future.

This would be a great blog to favorite or bookmark so you can come back to it if you need some help.

I have broken the categories down to help you.  Well, to be honest to help me.

Yummy Treats:   

http://www.thepopcornfactory.com/    Good for small gifts. They offer a $5 box of popcorn that you can send anywhere. Also great ideas for college kids, care packages, holidays or just for yourself.

http://www.cheryls.com/    Cheryl’s is known for her cookies. You can order 1 cookie that ships in a decorative box and when it arrives they also give a $5 coupon for that person’s next order. Cheryl’s has some great cookies, brownies and small cakes to offer. You can make your own gift basket or buy one they have created for you.

http://www.mariescandies.com/   Marie’s is famous for their chocolates, it is a local small business, owned by the same family since 1956.  I think they have the best chocolates around. All made in house by hand. They will ship anywhere and you will always get the best.

https://nuts.com/    OMGoodness, this site has more than nuts. They offer chocolates, healthy snacks, coffee, tea and more. If you are planning a party, I recommend this site. If you want to gives these as a gift, you will not go wrong.

http://www.hickoryfarms.com/    Here’s a trusty go to. Not sure what to get someone, then this is the site. They offer cheeses, sausages, fruits, jellies and more.

Personalize:    

http://www.personalizationmall.com/     This is one of my personal favorite sites to use. I generally get Christmas gifts here. Lots of ornaments that you can personize. Great site for weddings, showers and graduation gifts. They usually have some great sales too.

https://www.shutterfly.com/    My ultimate favorite site to use. I have made calendars, photo books, cards, mugs, magnets and so much more. You can load your own photos and make a gift out of it. Very personal and not that expensive. Plus if you are new they offer 50 to 101 free 4×6 prints. I say they also have the best quality.

http://www.snapfish.com/photo-gift/home?baseUrl=true     Another photo site that you can load your own photos and make into gifts. This site is a little cheaper and the quality is good but not the best.

http://www.personalcreations.com/      Another great option for wedding, graduation, and anniversary gifts. Every item the sell can be personalized in some way.

Crafts:   Do it yourself gifts

http://www.hobbylobby.com/     Most of us know about this store but they have a website too. You even get a coupon with your purchase, up to 40% off an item. It’s a great site for a crafter or sewer.

http://www.save-on-crafts.com/     One of my cousins told me about this site. When I took a look I was surprised that it offered more than craft products.  I was impressed with this site. Lots of great ideas.

http://factorydirectcraft.com/index.php    This site offers every supply you would need for a project. If you are a painter, quilter, crafter or just like to do a fun project….this is your go-to site. Very inexpensive and pretty quick shipping too.

DEALS: 

https://www.livingsocial.com/     A wonderful site to get discounts on almost anything in your area. You can search for restaurants, events, and fitness, for the family, services and more. Discounts are generally 20%-40% off.

https://www.groupon.com/       Discounts for automotive, shopping, things to do, weekend get-a-ways and so much more.

https://www.mypoints.com/       Now this site works a little differently. You earn points for things you purchase. The points earned can go toward gift cards. Mypoints offers discounts on your purchase so you are saving twice. I have been using this site for almost 8 years and I am always able to save and earn enough points to earn at least one $50 gift card. This year I was able to earn three $50 gift cards.

Geek/Nerd/Tech: 

http://www.thinkgeek.com/    My kid is the geek/nerd in the family. I use this site to get T-shirts and fun things for him. They offer all kinds of fun gadgets/toys and clothing.

http://www.newegg.com/      This site is nothing but electronics. If you are looking for a new computer they have it. Need a part or accessory for the computer….look no further, it’s all here.

http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?cat=388       If you are looking for that unique gift for your favorite computer geek, look no further. This site has everything. Computer cases/bags, gadgets, computer equipment, gaming accessories and so much more.

https://www.touchofmodern.com/     This site is catered to the modern man. They offer clothing, watches, gadgets, furniture and a ton more. It’s a very cool site and you can find a great deal too.  The items they offer are for a limited time.

Miscellaneous:   

http://www.1800flowers.com/    Flowers are always a great gift. They offer seasonal gifts and great for any occasion.

http://fineartamerica.com/       This is my shameless plug. I sell my photos on this site. Check it out:  http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/shelly+dixon/all   You can also purchase from other artists. This site you can get bags, prints, pillows, phone cases, shower curtains and much more. It’s a fun site to shop.

http://www.zulily.com/    I have not used this site personally but others have told me that this is a wonderful place to get outfits for the kids or for yourself and lots of accessories.

http://www.ltdcommodities.com/homeltd     Now this site has almost everything. If you are looking for trinkets or something unique, this is the place.  Lots of great ideas for any occasion.

Don’t forget to bookmark or favorite this blog for when you are looking for a great idea for a gift. I hope this blog has helped you get some ideas for gifts and has given you a variety of options to use. Have fun shopping and let me know what sites you liked.

 

 


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9 Different Ways to Use A Laundry Basket

Photography:  Mother Of Necessity

Photography: Mother Of Necessity

We all have at least one laundry basket in our homes. We typically use it for its purpose….laundry.

Did you know a laundry basket has more than one use?  Laundry baskets are inexpensive and have many uses. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Put a basket in the trunk of your car to hold your tools, windshield washer fluid, and extra oil. You can put Velcro strips on the bottom to keep the basket from sliding around in the trunk.
  2. Keep your flip flops and sandals in a basket. You can keep the basket in the entry way or mud room. When the season is over you can pick up the basket and store.
  3. If you live in a two-story home or have a basement, use a basket to carry items up and down the stairs. This way you won’t have to make so many trips.
  4. Keep a basket handy to do those quick pickups in the house, especially if you have company coming and you need de-clutter quickly. Fill the basket and hide it away. Mess is gone.
  5. Keep a basket in the entry way or mud room for the winter. All those wet, snowy, muddy shoes can be put in the basket to save you from mopping so much.
  6. Use laundry baskets for the garage or shed to store sports equipment: baseballs, gloves, cleats, helmets and gloves. Use one basket for each sport.
  7. Use the baskets to sort your recyclables.
  8. Use a laundry basket as a gift basket. For a baby shower, fill it with diapers, a blanket, baby bottles, and so on, put a nice big bow on top. A basket is a great gift idea for a wedding, bridal shower, graduation or a house warming.
  9. Use a basket for your projects. If you are making a quilt, a sewing project or crafts with the kids, you can keep all your items needed in the basket. This way you can put the project in the basket and store away till the next time.

Do you have any other ideas for the use of laundry basket?  Please share.


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6 Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Fathers Day

 

Father’s Day is June 21st. It’s time to start planning ‘his’ day. Some dad’s out there are forgotten. Let’s take some time out and celebrate those men who are dads. They deserve a great day too.

My dad’s is amazing. I plan on making him a great meal. Probably grilling some sort of meat with lots of fresh vegetables. Just spending time with him talking and sharing.

Here are few ideas that you can do too.

Fitness: If your dad is into exercise here are few things you could give as gifts. Give him the gift that helps him keep track of his workouts, a Fitbit. New running shoes are a great option. How about some new workout clothes. Renew his gym membership.

Car: You could get him a gift card to his favorite auto shop. How about a bucket filled with towels, car wax, air freshener, seat covers, etc. If he likes to work on his car, maybe some new tools. Or a year subscription to his favorite car magazine.

If you want to go all out and Dad is a fan of fast cars. How about a weekend to a NASCAR camp. Where he can drive the car.

Hobby: If your dad has a hobby, think about anything he could use or want for his hobby. If he’s into camping/fishing/hunting. Some new fishing gear would be great. Maybe a new tent. If he likes woodworking maybe some new tools or a shop-vac.

If he’s into outdoor activities, maybe the GoPro camera is an option that would be great for him.

Is your dad a collector of something? Get him a new item to add to the collection.

Sports: Sports memorabilia, Get him a new picture to hang in the man cave. If he plays sports, new equipment would be great. Get him a new yard game to play. A subscription to Sports Illustrated. How about tickets to his favorite team.

Inexpensive gifts: Don’t have a lot of money? That’s ok too. Men can always use a new wallet. How about a grill set for the grill master. A nice watch is a great option. My dad wears the last one I gave him a few years ago.

A good electric razor is a great option too. Most dads don’t ask for the little things but they always seem to need them.

You could have a home cooked meal. Men love to eat. It’s nice just to sit down and talk to the folks for a while. I know mine love just spending quality time with their kids.

Still not sure: Here are a couple of websites you might like. A gift basket is a nice way to go. You can have it shipped directly to him. Maybe a personalized gift or something unique.

Check these sites out for a little help.

http://www.gifts.com/fathers-day-gifts

http://www.gourmetgiftbaskets.com/Fathers-Day-Gift-Baskets.asp

http://www.personalizationmall.com/Personalized-Fathers-Day-Gifts-s52.store

I hope you have a wonderful day with your Dad. Let me know if any of these ideas helped.


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10 Graduation Gift Ideas

Grad gift

Graduation gifts can be hard. Do you give money and how much? Do you buy a gift, what do I buy?

I know it’s hard to get the right gift for anyone, let alone a teenager that is stepping into the grown up world or for the college student entering the real world of working. It’s a huge milestone in their lives and how can we celebrate that with them with a gift. Decisions, Decisions.

For me, I have 2 general rules. First, I don’t spend more than I can afford. My gift is to help the student, not complete the list of ALL the must haves. A little can go a long way. Second: If the gift is for a close relative and I have a big connection with the student I give up to $100 (when I can). The gift can be cash, gift cards or physical gifts. The least I give is $30 or a gift that matches the $30.

Money is a given for a graduation gift. If they are going away for college or entering the workforce, money is a great option. Who couldn’t use cash?

Let’s think outside the box a little bit.

  1. For the car: You can buy a kit that includes jumper cables, tire gage and tools. Gift card for an oil change, GPS device, tire patch kit,
  2. Dorm living: sewing kit (travel size), desk lamp, wash cloths, towels, scissors, Plastic (reusable/picnic) plates, bowls and cups. Rolls of paper towels, air freshener, Clorox wipes. You can put all of these in a Rubbermaid tote or laundry basket. The tote or basket is part of the gift.
  3. For electronics: Surge protectors, HDMI cord, docking station, I-tunes gift cards, ear buds, security box for laptop, Bluetooth speaker, portable DVD player, flash drives cord keepers, noise canceling head phones.
  4. Emergency kit: Make a list of family contact phone numbers, Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, Neosporin, Tums, Aspirin, thermometer
  5. Office supplies: Printer paper, ink cartridges, pens, spiral note books, stapler/staples, paper clips, Dry erase board with markers, Post-it notes, Highlighters, Sharpies, 3 ring binder, 2-pocket folders and 3 prong folder, staple remover, hole punch

Now let’s look into some one gift ideas:

  1. A tablet: Such as the Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy or whatever brand you like. These can be priced a little over $100. These are great investment for the student. I bought one for my son and it paid for itself in one quarter of school. They can load textbooks, study guides and other helpful apps.
  2. Security devices: Such as a water bottle that holds a credit card, a key and cash. These price out about $20. How about an apartment/dorm security kit that offers a door stop alarm, window alarm and a personal alarm. Price for security kit can be $20 to $200. You can also buy a device to help locate keys, purses, bags. There are many items out there like this and range from $25 to $200.
  3. Camera: Digital cameras can be under $100. You could also go with a camera lens that attaches to their cell phone to take better pictures. These are a little bit pricier. Another idea would be a video camera such as the Go-Pro ($$$) but a hand-held is just as good and less expensive.
  4. Kitchen items: Most colleges allow for a microwave and a mini refrigerator. Generally the microwave will be under $100, but the fridge can be expensive. Another option is something called a 3 in 1 breakfast station. This is a one cup coffee maker, a mini toaster oven and a skillet top. These can range from $40 to $100.
  5. AAA car service for a year. I renewed this every year for my son and it paid for itself in the first year. He locked his keys in the car, a battery died, and he had a flat tire. All taken care of by AAA service.

As you can see some of the gift ideas can be used for the high school grad going to college (or not) and for the college grad for their apartment or going into the workforce.

I hope the ideas have helped you in your search for gifts.

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