Monthly Archives: July 2014

How I Organize Christmas Ornaments

5 Tips To Organize Your Christmas Holiday Decorations

 ~ Merry Christmas in July ~ 

Our family had the tradition of celebrating Christmas in July. We would put up the smaller pre-lit tree, decorate it with all the ornaments my 2 children have received over the years. Santa would bring each guest a gift from the Dollar store. I would make a big turkey dinner with all the fixins. It was fun … but I think this tradition is sadly coming to an end. My “kids” are now adults and have busy schedules that make it hard to all of us to get together 🙁

5 Tips to Organize Your Christmas Holiday Decorations

1) I use old egg cartons to store and keep my small ornaments safe without having to wrap them each individually.

2) I try to keep the ornaments in the boxes that they came in if possible. The really old, family keepsake ones I wrap in tissue or bubble wrap. For the fabric and/or plastic ones, I try to organize them into similar groups and store them in large Ziploc baggies.

3) The living room is where the majority of my decorating takes place. I store the decorations in bins according to the area they will go. I only bring the bins in for the area I plan to work on. That way they aren’t just sitting there, cluttering up the room until I want them.

4) I always start with the bins containing my artificial, pre-lit tree ~ don’t judge ~ and the ornaments bin. The next bin I bring out contains the stocking, garlands and wreathes. Then I get the bin with the Nativity, followed by the village and finally the bin holding all my Christmas pillows and throws.

5) I also use a separate bin (or bins) for each additional room I decorate, for exp. one is labeled kitchen – one is labeled bathroom … yes I decorate these rooms ~ again, don’t judge :), this way I can only bring the bins I need at that time.

I hope you can use some of these tips and ideas to organize your holiday decorations. Contact Tracy Helps You if you’d like some help to organize your stuff 🙂

How to Organize & Repurpose a Closet into a Pantry

How To Organize & Repurpose A Closet Into A Useful Pantry

You know I love to organize ~ I thought having an early 60’s, vintage kitchen would be so quaint. When we bought our house a few years ago, I had no idea how hard it would be transitioning from large, sunny kitchen into a small one. We had only 4 small upper cabinets, 1 under the sink, and 1 under the cook-top. There was hardly any counter space especially when I set up the dish drainer because, of course, there was no dishwasher. We eventually got a stand-alone style dishwasher. We had to move the refrigerator across the room since the dishwasher needed to be next to the sink. We used a freestanding island positioned up against the wall (next to the frig) as additional counter space. Continue reading

Book Review & Giveaway ~ The Last Letter by Kathleen Shoop


A Father’s Deceit
A Husband’s Betrayal
A Loved One’s Death
A Mother’s Choice
A Daughter’s Resentment
A Time to Forgive

For every daughter who thinks she knows her mother’s story…

Katherine wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t found the last letter…

Katherine Arthur’s dying mother arrives on her doorstep, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie’s husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty — a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death.

Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine’s world apart. Now, seventeen years later, Katherine has found the truth — she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it’s too late?

My Thoughts: 

Kathleen Shoop does a wonderful job describing life on the prairie in this story of historical fiction. Many authors romanticize the life that pioneers led, but actual history shows us the true hardships they endured on the prairie.

The story pivots back and forth in time, from 1888 ~ Dakota Territory and 1905 ~ Des Moines, Iowa … from Jeanie’s point of view and Katherine’s … mother and daughter. The Arthur family led a high society, privileged life until a scandal sent them to head for the hills – literally. They found a small cooperative community of several homesteading families and moved into a nearby abandoned dugout. Life was extremely hard on this spoiled family. Jeanie and Frank had a hard time adjusting from high society to barely existing on the harsh prairie. They endured every hardship imaginable, fire, grasshoppers, blizzards, drug addiction, infidelity, and even death. Needless to say, relationships were strained to the breaking point.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot (or what’s in the last letter), so I highly recommend reading this book to learn for yourself how this family managed to survive.

Buy the book from…

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com   Barnes and Noble

About the Author

A
Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Kathleen’s debut novel, The Last Letter was garnered multiple awards in 2011.  Her second novel, After the Fog (Silver IPPY), was a category finalist in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Her third novel, Love and Other Subjects, earned a Silver medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention from the San Francisco Book Festival. Recently,
Kathleen has released the her first romance novella, Home Again (Book One). Book Two, a novel-length work in the Endless Love series called Return to Love, will be released in May, 2014.

Books Two and Three in the historical fiction series that started with The Last Letter are nearly complete and should be released by fall, 2014.

Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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Follow the Book Tour

018836-glossy-silver-icon-symbols-shapes-square-2 I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY !!

THREE Lucky Winners will each receive a $15 Amazon Giftcard, courtesy of author of The Last Letter, Kathleen Shoop

 

Ending on Sunday 3rd August at 11.59pm EST Open Worldwide

 

Enter Below & Good Luck !!

 

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