The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2013-05-12

Friday, May 17, 2013

The 2014 Punctuate Binders are up on Barnes and Noble!

At the end of 2012 I posted about the Barnes and Noble Punctuate Vinyl Ring binders and so many people loved them.


The 2014 models have been up on the site, but without pictures, for months.  Finally you can see and order them (here).

The thing about these is they are well worth the $8.95 price tag even if you don't plan on using them as a planner because they offer so many things at a great price.  The dividers alone are worth it, they are sturdy and beautiful!  But last year mine also had stickers, a ruler, a credit card holder, a full set of yearly pages plus other information pages (address, for example).

The binder itself is clear vinyl, the design comes from the dividers themselves and you an use the extra binder for archiving old pages or storing unused ones.  They rings match the personal size Filofax.

 You can also cut up the binder cover and punch yourself a new pen loop.  There are so many options with these and I've been waiting to see this years options.  Thought everyone else might want to check them out too.


Redid my cash envelope system today

My cash envelope system has changed over time.   Each thing I tried worked in some ways, and didn't in others.  My first attempt back in December 2012 was using a regular envelope (hole punched) approximately the same size as personal Filofax pages.


The system itself worked but the envelopes didn't hold up well.  


The second was a Mini Snap Envelope from Staples ( I bought these on clearence and can't find them on so I don't know if they are available anymore).  Punching this one didn't work so I kept it in the back pocket.  It was more sturdy and I loved that it had a snap closure.  I put all money in the envelope and separated it using paper clips.  But on this one there was no easy way to write any information so I attached a post it note to each stack.  

This worked but I liked using separate envelopes with the information written on the outside better.  So I've been on the look out for another way to do it.

BeFunky Orton on iPhone

About a week ago I found lots of cash envelope options on Amazon and after looking around I ordered a set of  Spendvelopes.  I thought they might combine the things I liked best about the other things I've tried and they were not expensive ($7.99 USD) 

The set includes twelve spendvelopes in ten different colors ( two are white) so it's easy to distinguish the envelope category.  They are made from card stock which makes them more durable then regular envelopes.

BeFunky Orton on iPhone

They are the same size as Filofax pages and I'm tempted to go back to keeping them in the rings. 

BeFunky Orton on iPhone

There isn't a closure  but the flap is long.  Here you can see the Filofax paper poking out the bottom.  If I decided to punch these I will need to cut the bottom flap edge off to keep the rings free.

BeFunky Smart Sharpen on iPhone

Under the flap is a record.  I never found a good way to do with and always wanted a record of sorts to keep track.  When I wanted to know what I had, I had to count everything.

My initial impression is that they combine the things I liked about both systems and I love the colors.  

BeFunky Orton on iPhone

I wanted to set these up right away but Ben is graduating college tomorrow and with all the excitement and party prep I've been doing I haven't had the time.  I should get these together by next week and post about them.  So stand by for a follow up post after the graduation hubbub dies down.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Too Dirty for Words Project #4 with a little help from my Filofax and a whole lot of vinegar

I tackled something today I've been dreading almost as much as the ceiling; the glass window on my oven.  
How it got that bad is a long tale of woe.  A combination.... A perfect storm really, of my irrational fear of  the self-cleaning function,  my other irrational fear; warning labels and a particularly gruesome cooking incident that culminated in the core breach of two roast chickens and a tray of marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole.


I didn't have a clue what to use. I went to the store looking for cleaners and had a bit of a freak out reading the warning labels so I went home and looked over cleaning recipes I've copied from old community cookbooks into my Filofax and made a plan.


The baking soda and water paste didn't touch it, neither did coconut oil.  The last thing; lining the window with paper towels and pouring on straight white vinegar was much better.  I left it there about two hours, scraping with a cooking spatula every half hour or so.


There was a big improvement after this, granted it's still a mess but at least the marshmallow shrapnel is gone.

So I put down a layer of paper towels again, covered it with vinegar and set the timer for an hour.  After that hour it was much better but I thought I'd give the  vinegar/baking soda a try again.  I wet the window well with vinegar, sprinkled on baking soda and waited some more.  When I washed and wiped the stuff off it was pretty incredible. 


While it may seem like this whole process took a long time it's sort of like crock pot cooking, not much doing but a lot of waiting.  If I had this to do over, I'd probably do the paper towel thing overnight.

Some of it didn't come off but I have a feeling some of the burned on stuff stained the glass and this might be as good as it gets.

Considering how bad it was, the results are pretty amazing.  Especially when you realize...
Cleaned my oven window
 Everything I used to turn the top picture into the bottom was edible....


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Adorableness achieved!

I've talked a lot about my continual quest for templates to use in my Filofax.  Well, templates and stickers but the templates are harder to find.


Way back in 2011 I found these adorable food stickers and bought bunches of them.  I've used or given away most of them but haven't had success finding them again.   At the end of last year I wrote the seller but she wasn't listing at the time.  

Recently she started selling again and I asked if she could get these again and would she consider listing  picture-image diary templates and diary stickers?

She is THE nicest seller and said she would try and get whatever I wanted!  Unfortunately she couldn't find the little food stickers but was able to find the teeny diary stickers and a template.  OH! Happy Day!

kawaii diary journal template from japan

Just look how cute!

Diary stickers from Japan

I asked if she'd be willing to look around for things other people might want (by request) and she kindly said she would.   Her name is Sayaka and her shop, located in Japan, is called Kawaii Tokyo.  She has a few of these teeny stickers listed currently (plus others) and is willing to try and find things people want. 

She ships SO fast and mail from Japan is usually under a week to the U.S.   Which is amazing.  

I just found some pictures of the kinds of templates I was looking for and she was able to order the one I wanted!  Since it wasn't an item she stocked, I pre-paid for it via paypal  (it's the right thing to do!)  As soon as she got my payment she bought the template for me.  I was beyond excited. 

I'm excited about all my new adorableness and to find an easy way to order things not easily found.  If there is something you haven't been able to locate locally she's willing to try and get it for you.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Too Dirty for Words Project #3 - Grease and total humiliation

Kitchen grease is a huge issue for me.  I know it's technically not a decluttering project but I'm looking for things that don't work, and found it.   The kitchen ceiling -also the cabinets and flat surfaces- is the thing I've worked the hardest on (unsuccessfully many, many times).

The main problem is I don't have a window in there or an external venting fan (and the one in the microwave is less then no help because it recirculates.)

I've tried many things that people have had success with; mostly cleaners that warned me wear gloves and ventilate ( just try not getting any on you or breathing it  when your spraying upwards trying and hit your ceiling), plus some friendlier methods like Simple Green, straight out of the bottle white vinegar, magic erasers... and the less friendly, ammonia.

All it did was get worse. For years it  got worse and harder to clean.  And in case you think I'm kidding here's a closeup shot.


That is stuck on grease, plus other begrimed morsels.   Seriously, I think I see dog hair on my ceiling...

Somewhere around the crack of dawn, I was loopy from sleep deprivation. I went to bed around 11:00 p.m. and at 12:30 a.m. Ginger woke me to pee.  And again at 1:30 and 2 and when she had to go out  again at 2:30  I gave up the sleeping gig altogether.

I watched Filofax Videos for about an hour and half and then decided to clean the ceiling in the kitchen with coconut oil.  And before anyone says that's irrational.... Coconut oil is great at cleaning the sticky residue left by price tags and I thought maybe it could clean the sticky residue from my life in general.

I was  more then a little afraid my family would catch me standing on a folding chair at Ridiculous O' Clock rubbing coconut oil on the kitchen ceiling but I was sleep-deprived beyond reason at that point.

So did it work?  


I saw something I've not seen in years, a clean spot. So you tell me...

I rubbed a glob of coconut oil up there and years of scuzzy awful started to dissolve, I mean just... melt away like a greasy bad dream..   I took a paper towel, wiped off the now-soft goo and Holy Clean Space, Batman! I saw ceiling on my ceiling. Of course I grabbed my camera to commemorate the insanity.

It took just minutes to clean and I'm not even kidding about the minutes part.  After I was done I sprayed Simple Green on a paper towel (it really is a good degreaser for most jobs) and cleaned the pina-coloda scented residue off .


And Voila!  A clean ceiling. 

 I. Can't. Even. Believe. It! Oh, the wondrous things you think of when your brain firing like a carnival from sleep deprivation.    I'm going to crawl under a rock now because this post was an embarrassing display of my lack of homemaking skills and tolerance of grime.

Although I must admit,  the picture of my clean ceiling feels kind of divine and my hands are crazy soft from all that coconut oil.

*PS - The paint on my walls is not flat latex, I'm not sure how this would work on flat paint. Test it in an inconspicuous location first.


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