Let It Go: Kids’ Bath Toys

When my oldest child was born, I bought a ton of bath toys:  bath crayons, water squirters, swimming turtles, fishing toys, floating building blocks, even letters and numbers that stick to the tub wall.

Sadly, I largely hate bath toys now.  Bath crayons require additional tub cleaning, and most of the time they melt faster than they are used.  Water squirters get mold inside them, even when you clean them by sucking rubbing alcohol in them after baths.  (The one pictured here was really nasty despite my use of alcohol after each bath, but sadly, I couldn’t get a good picture of the nastiness because of the shape of the toy.)  The building blocks and letters and numbers had to be bleached periodically to keep them from becoming covered with mildew.

So I’ve gotten rid of as many toys as I can feel okay about discarding.  Bath crayons are no longer used in the bath; they are used only to write love notes to other family members on the walls of the tub.  The letters and numbers aren’t used in the tub anymore either.  The various water squirters (including the one above) are gone forever.  The swimming turtles had batteries that malfunctioned and had to be tossed.  Fishing toys and building blocks are all that remain.

So I encourage you this week to get rid of bath toys that are a pain to keep clean.  Parents, unite!


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Tips for Staying Warm This Winter

Ordered and Organized | Tip for Staying Warm This Winter

I am writing this post in the middle of the fall, at the beginning of November when the temperatures in our mid-Atlantic region are already in the 20’s at night and freezing during the day.  I’m a Florida girl, and these temps this early in the season make me want to hibernate for the next 3-4 months.  Worse, we have a heat pump, and those don’t work too well when the weather is below freezing, so we have to look for other ways to keep warm during the winter months without turning on that costly auxiliary heat.  Here are some tips to stay warm while keeping your energy bills as low as possible this season.

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Free Printable: Advent Calendar Book Tags

Ordered and Organized | Christmas

A few years ago, I started assembling an advent calendar for my oldest child using Christmas books.  This year I will finally complete it.  (Books aren’t cheap, and piecing together 24 books from yard sales and thrift stores took me a while!)  So I created tags for each book to designate which book we’re reading on which day, and I’m offering those tags here for anyone interested in creating his or her own book advent calendar.  Simply print the tags on cardstock, cut them out, and attach them to the books you’ve purchased.

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If You’re Shopping This Weekend . . .

If you’re shopping on Amazon this weekend and would like to help out this blog without the help costing you a penny, I’d greatly appreciate your going through the link below.  I’ll receive a small commission to help with the cost of the domain and web hosting for this site.  Thanks!

Also, if you’re looking for deals, consider these:

  • The Nest Hello doorbell is on sale a lot of places.  We bought ours on Wednesday at Lowe’s for $149–and Lowe’s was gracious enough to let us use our military discount.  Win!  (The price is usually $229.)
  • The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector is on sale for $99 at Amazon and at Google.  Click here to research and purchase this item through Amazon and provide me with a few pennies of commission, again to help fund the domain and web hosting for this blog.  (The price is usually $119.)
  • My mom prefers old-fashioned pictures, so I encouraged my dad to buy the Canon SELPHY photo printer for my mom, who isn’t very tech savvy.  I suggested this package deal on Amazon so she’d have ink and paper and cables.  If you follow and purchase through that link, I’ll get a small commission to help fund the domain and web hosting fees for Ordered and Organized.
  • If you’re a Prime member, one of today’s Lightning Deals is the MyQ garage door opener.  I have this item, and I love it.  It allows me to check whether my garage door is open or closed by just looking at my app, and it also allows me to open or close the garage door from the app whether I’m in my room and my husband just forgot to close it while leaving for work or whether I realize I forgot to close it and I’m across town.  This item is just $17.98 right now, but hurry!  This deal ends soon.  Click here to view and/or purchase the MyQ.  As with the other links above, if you purchase anything through the link, I’ll get a penny or two to help fund this site.
  • Simplisafe is having a sale:  All of its new systems are 50% off.  My husband and I had AT&T Digital Life when he was an AT&T employee, but, dismayed by the $39.99 monthly bill we had after he left AT&T for a better job, we switched to Simplisafe–and we haven’t looked back.  Its footprint is smaller, it has fewer issues with the app, and the customer service is better than AT&T.  I can’t speak for ADT or any other home security system, but I highly recommend Simplisafe.
  • UPDATED:  Today, Saturday, November 30, 2019, Amazon has Rocketbooks smart notebooks on sale.  My husband received one for Christmas last year and loves his.  It enables him to use the same notebook again and again without using actual paper.  You write on the notebook with a specific (and relatively inexpensive) pen, and you can wipe the text clean from the pages later.  If you’d like to keep your notes, you can use an app to scan them.  My husband says there is also an OCR feature for the scans in the app, but he hasn’t been able to get that feature to work yet.  So far, he just has to replace the pens about once per year.  And just to give you an idea of how much we like the Rocketbook, I’m asking for one of these for Christmas this year!  Today the smaller Rocketbook is on sale with a pen and a wipe for $21.44; I paid almost $30 for the notebook only last year.  Click here to research and buy the Rocketbook notebook.  One more thing:  These are the pens we’ve purchased to go with my husband’s Rocketbook; I recommend putting them on Subscribe and Save, but they are less than $6 for two pens either way.

One final affiliate disclosure:  I’m not suggesting anything on this site that I haven’t bought myself and wouldn’t recommend.  If you have any questions about these recommended items, leave me a comment, and I’ll respond soon!


Ordered and Organized



Last updated:  11/30/2019

Free Printable: Thanksgiving Planner

Ordered and Organized | Thanksgiving

I posted the cover of my Thanksgiving planner around two weeks ago, and finally–long after I initially anticipated–I’m posting the rest of the planner.  It includes a menu with shopping list as well as a guest list.  I’ve also included a page for you to make notes for next year’s holiday and a divider for you to include your favorite recipes for the holiday.  (I find gathering all the recipes in one location helps me as I prepare for the holiday and thought you might also.)  You’ll also find a back cover and your choice of binder spine labels.

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Free Printable: Thanksgiving Planner Cover

Ordered and Organized | Thanksgiving

I’m starting to work on a new Thanksgiving planner.  To be honest, I haven’t decided everything that needs to be in the planner just yet.  A menu?  A shopping list?  A guest list?  Please let me know what you would like to see included by leaving on this post.  I’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, though, I have created a Thanksgiving planner cover.

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Free Printable: Thanksgiving Menu

Ordered and Organized | Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love it better than even Christmas.  It offers so much joy with so little stress for me.  No presents to buy or wrap, no major events to attend every weekend of the month, no big let-down the day after the holiday.  I do have to clean a bit and do a lot of cooking and baking, but I have to clean anyway, and I absolutely love cooking and baking.

So in honor of this most wonderful of holidays, I’ll be posting a few Thanksgiving-related printables this month.  (Sadly, I simply won’t be able to find enough time to post all my wonderful hacks and ideas this year, but my goal is to add these and other posts to my Thanksgiving resources in blog year two.)

Today, I’m offering a printable Thanksgiving menu.  I’ve made several over the last five years, but this one is my favorite because of its simplicity.

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