Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Game Closet Organization

Last week I reorganized our game closet. Since our last house was very limited in closet space, we've always kept our board games in a bookshelf. Since we do have closet space in our new place, we just moved the bookcase into the closet, giving us instant shelving! We keep our Christmas tree behind this bookshelf so that it doesn't tip backward into the space behind it.

Here are the important things to keep in mind when organizing games:

*First, if you don't honestly play them on a regular basis, get rid of them. Many people keep games because they wish they were the type who played them, or had people over to play them. But they really don't. If this is the case, get rid of them! Or get rid of all but your absolute favorites! One of my friends kept the games for adults out on a shelf in the garage since they didn't use them on a regular basis and her house didn't have much storage space.

*For kids games, make sure wherever they are stored has open space so that your kids can get their games in and out without making a mess. I wish we had just a little more space here, I feel we're a little too crowded. But the key to getting them to be put back is to make sure it's easy for the kids to put them back!

*Be creative about game boxes. There is nothing magical about the boxes to the games. When I was little, my mom took all our games out of their boxes, stored them in gallon ziplock bags, and put them in a file drawer. Takes up a lot less space! For my kids, when their puzzle boxes start to get thrashed, I cut the picture off, and put the pieces and the picture in a ziplock bag. This keeps the pieces from sliding out of a ruined, bent box.
*Make sure you have some containers for smaller games and parts. The clear container on the top is for card games, the red bin is church activities, and the turquoise bowl is for miscellaneous games/parts that don't fit anywhere else.

*Finally, be diligent about purging! Kids do not need 4 different versions of Go Fish. Make sure all the games are complete, in good condition, and played regularly. If not, out it goes! Games (especially kids' games) are easy to replace and often on sale, so if you come to regret giving one away, it is easy to replace.

I'd love to hear other ideas for organizing games!

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


This morning I made these muffins off allrecipes.com for my kids. I've reposted the recipe below with a few very minor changes. These muffins are easy and delicious!


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, sour cream, milk, and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Ideas

As a teacher myself, I like to think I'm at least somewhat of an authority on teacher appreciation gifts. So as the end of the year approaches, I thought I'd share some ideas that I have loved, and things that are... well, lower on the list.

Of course it's the thought that counts, and for most teachers, anything a student brings is appreciated for the sentiment! However, after talking with many different teachers about gifts, here are some things that are usually best to skip unless you know your teacher would love it:
  • Candles, lotion, or other bath & body-type things
  • Homemade treats - sorry, teachers are notorious germaphobes. I don't mean to sound harsh, but your edible treats will probably end up in the lounge - most teachers I know are just too nervous about eating something from other people's kitchens. 
  • Teacher-related trinkets - now, these are probably okay for a first or second-year teacher. But after a while, they lose their novelty.
Now here are some ideas that I think are cute, or things I have gotten and loved. Of course every teacher is different, these are just things I personally think are great!
  • Gift cards of any type, but particularly Target, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, or a book store
  • Books for the classroom library
  • Flowers/plants 
  • Chocolate
  • #1 Favorite Gift of All Time ---> A nice letter with some specific reasons why the teacher is wonderful at their job. Seriously. There is nothing better than this. Little gifts are thoughtful and nice, but nothing makes me happier than a note with something specific a parent or student likes about how I teach. Easy and free. What could be better?
Links to cute ideas:

Chocolate "Survival Kit" from Our Best Bites

Customizeable Flower Tags from Skip to My Lou

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