SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

This will probably become a binder in itself, because I really am the only one to need it. This is the section I use to keep up with my projects. It is filled with clippings from magazines with ideas for projects, various instructions for said crafts, and my never-ending to-do lists.

In my attempt at organization, this section is divided up by craft type.  Some of the things I’ve included are:

  • Kids’ crafts:  Family Fun Magazine is a wealth of information.  I also list websites with cute ideas.
  • Scrapbooking:  different ideas for photos and layouts
  • Sewing: magazine clippings, Pinterest ideas, different patterns I’ve found online, doodles and drawings I’ve made with ideas for projects around the house
  • Crosstitch: patterns and ideas
  • Miscellaneous: just random re-purposing projects

I need to add an inventory of my supplies, along with where things are located (see my post about making t-shirts with Crazy Math Lady – I’ve misplaced some supplies!)

During the school year, I don’t have a lot of time for all of my craft projects.  I’ve put myself on restriction from buying more crafting things until I can get projects done, which should motivate the heck out of me, since I love crafty stuff.  My re-purposed closet still has  a ton of scrapbooking junk supplies, which I do sometimes use for my classroom, but I have an aversion to scrapbooking if the kitchen isn’t in order.  When I clean the kitchen, it takes awhile because my ADD kicks in and I get sidetracked – frequently.  By the time its spotless, I’ve run out of steam for crafting.

However, having a list of projects and setting up my bucket helps.  I like tasks broken into small chunks, where they’re more manageable.  And I’m more likely to do something. Having the idea pages in my binder inspires me and when I have a few minutes, I can knock out a small craft project.

How do you keep up with your crafts?  Do you have a system in place or are you flying by the seat of your pants?

~ Katie


English: pool party decoration

English: pool party decoration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It’s not as overwhelming if I refrain from numbering the sections.


This is the section with all of the information I need for being a hostess. It will include storage locations for specific decor, menus with the necessary recipes or location of said recipes, theme ideas, shopping lists, etc.


Apart from Bunco and the occasional birthday party, I don’t host much of anything anymore that requires much of any kind of thought. But I have always loved to entertain and would like to get back to that.




  • ideas for theme parties/get-together:  I have lot of magazine clippings for this.  In Family Fun Magazine a few years ago, I found an awesome “Pool Party” birthday theme that would work for any summertime kids’ party.  It has ideas for decorations, food, and the coolest cake.
  • guest list with contact info and notes: I will do this because Grizz & I don’t always communicate when we’re inviting folks over to cook out and I never need to invite Real Chick over when Peter Pan is going to be here.
  • recipes/menus, sorted by event:  while Magical Mystery Beans are an ideal side dish when we’re grilling steaks with our friends, they’re not ideal for an Italian-themed meal with business associates.




  • decor: where to find whatever is needed for whatever holiday, along with a list of items to purchase.
  • gifts:  ideas for the different people I have to purchase gifts, along with clothing sizes (particularly for the monkeys)
  • schedule:  where we are expected to be and when.  There is often a lot of confusion with this, although my grandmother always hosts Christmas Eve mid-to-late afternoon and my in-laws have Christmas Day, but it will be easier if we see it on paper.  The monkeys have a variety of church commitments during the various holidays, so I have to consider that when scheduling things.
  • menus/recipes:  if we’re hosting a holiday at the House of Cheaptitude, I want to handle it.  I want to make the casseroles, the desserts, and so on.  It bugs me to be expected to do the potluck stuff that happens most holidays.  I like to host and part of that includes feeding my guests.  If you don’t like my cooking, there’s a Taco Bell up the street, Jack!




  • Baptism/First Communion/Churchy Stuff:  I need a list of things I need and things I need to do.  I like to have a small party at my house for these milestones, including favorite meals for whoever it is and maybe a cake from my girl, Cake Lady.
  • Birthdays:  ideas for cakes, decor, themes, gifts, etc.
  • Graduations
  • Baby/Bridal Showers
  • Barbecue
  • Bunco
  • Poker Night


I wasn’t joking when I said this is the section to make any kind of entertaining at the house come off without a hitch.  Mine is full of magazine clippings!  I’m sure there are other lists to include in this section.


Do you do a lot of “formal” entertaining?  Are you a list maker when you host an event?


~ Katie






{February 22, 2013}   Shower the Baby

A week ago CrazyMathLady called me from Wal-Mart.  This is not my idea of a good time for any reason.  This lady is not married, has no kids and was shopping for a baby shower gift.  Of course she calls me.

Bless her heart!

The baby shower was for one of her good friends, a first-time mom, and CrazyMathLady is even more practical than I am.  For the most part.  We had discussed the shower on our way back from Bunco, and agreed that everybody and their mama would be purchasing sweet smocked baby clothes for Expectant Mom’s little bundle.  I gave birth to a linebacker and a point guard, so most of that kind of stuff went to waste in the House of Cheaptitude.

I like practical.

I told CrazyMathLady to buy infant medicines, ointments, thermometers, nursing pads, etc.  And a big package of pads for Expectant Mom.  These are things new moms often don’t think of stocking when preparing for a new addition, and most shower guests (especially here in our part of the world) like to purchase frilly foo foo smocked monogrammed baby stuff, so I thought this would be a great gift.  Expectant Mom will thank her when the first ear infection starts.

I like practical.  So does CrazyMathLady, and I actually get quite tickled by her practicality sometimes.  Her classroom was always devoid of all of those cutesy teacher wall decorations and it was flawlessly organized.  One could tell when she was impressed with a kid’s work, because that was the only time stuff was displayed.

I invited her over one evening that I planned to scrapbook and she played with paper punches all night.  I think it was the Geometry aspect.

So after she bought out the baby section of the health and beauty aisle at Wal-Mart, she texted me a picture of her packaged gift:


She doesn’t often get fancy-pants creative, but this is too cute!  CrazyMathLady went to the craft section and bought stickers to decorate the little Rubbermaid box.  I did notice that stickers are pretty evenly distributed, but math people tend to have a touch of OCD.

I’m so proud of her creativity, I just had to share!

What kind of shower person are you?  Cute and fancy or practical?


If you don’t have little monkeys climbing around your tree, you can skip this one.  I, however, have two little monkeys.

At two different schools.

On two different schedules.

With two different sets of extracurricular activities.

And I work in one, in a completely different district!

So this is a pretty important section in my management binder.  I thought at one point about setting up a binder on each monkey for school stuff, but I think one section in the main binder will be fine for now.  After all, we’re already in elementary and almost done with middle school at this point.  I’ve added “dividers” for each monkey within this section.  And a lot of this information is stored safely away in my head, but that doesn’t help Grizzly if he needs to meet with the P.E. teacher, or if PaPaw wants to check someone’s grades before a fishing trip.

What do I keep in the school section?

  • a district calendar: the kids’ district and the one in which I teach
  • lunch menus: not always accurate, but I check the website regularly.  I can also keep up with their lunch money accounts in here.
  • school information page: each school’s address, phone numbers, website, teacher emails, and online grading login
  • Bell and class schedules
  • IEP/IAP when applicable:  Monkey 2 used to receive 504 services for speech therapy.
  • Student Handbooks (as a teacher, I’m like the dress code police!)
  • school reading lists:  Monkey 1’s teachers can’t seem to let anyone know ahead of time what books he’ll need to read.  I do keep both monkeys’ Accelerated Reader info in this section.
  • Websites:  a list of helpful websites, like our state’s test prep program (Louisiana PASS), Easy Bib (Monkey 1 still doesn’t get how to cite sources!), and anything else educational and helpful.
  • Passwords:  I have some educational games on my desktop computer and the monkeys can’t ever remember their passwords.
  • Summer Programs:  I get flyers about summer reading programs, usually in April, and for the past few years, we’ve participated in our library’s summer reading program.

If you home school, this would be a great place for any home school records.

I also end up sliding report cards in this section.  Yes, cleaning out my old notebook, I found report cards from 2011.  Really?

I will probably include a stack of fill-in-the-blank bus notes, so I don’t have to scribble 2 notes at 4:30 in the morning every time the monkeys have to go to PaPaw and MaMaw’s after school.

This section involves more hole-punching than form creation.  Can you think of a form I might need to create?  What would you keep in your school section?

~ Katie


{January 4, 2013}   Cleaning Out My Closet

I hate cleaning my closet. Which explains why it looked like this till 3:30 today:


And my stupid phone died before I took pictures of the bottom. Horrible!

According to my organizing books and a good Google search, I realized there is no one best way to organize a closet. So, with my DH due home within an hour or so, I completely emptied the closet. Not just shoes and apparel. Oh, no, I found half-finished projects, scrapbook pages, old lesson plans, as well as two sticker books I’d gotten for the monkeys the year Toy Story 3 came out.  Not good.

The thing is, I got brand new bedroom furniture this summer. I kept my room SPOTLESS till September-ish. I just kind of forgot the closet. Oops.

I decided the most important thing was to determine the purpose for that piece of real estate. Obviously,  clothing storage. And it needed to be readily accessible. The layout pretty much stinks, but I am really good at making lemons into lemonade. Till Monkey 1 goes to college and his room becomes my closet.  But I digress.

Part of the problem with my closet has been that it is way overstuffed. Every piece of clothing that came out of my closet was tried on.  Some things I’ve never worn (hand-me-downs or “great” buys), some things I’ve not worn in years, and some things just didn’t fit at all.  Now, pants for work I’ve invested a good deal of money since starting to teach and I will just get a lot of those altered if possible.  But blouses that are too short for my 5’11 frame, shoes that are not comfortable or are not functional for any function, dresses that I never should have worn all hit the Goodwill bag.

I left Grizzly’s clothes alone after a quick re-organize.  He’s not the clothes-horse he was when we met, just a shoe-whore now.

Then I had to sort all of the stuff that had been crammed in the closet.  Movies and TV series that I kept in our closet so we could watch in our room (The Sopranos, One Tree Hill, The Godfather) all came out to the living room.  School stuff has just been set aside to be taken to my classroom.  Projects have moved to the hall closet to be finished, hopefully this weekend so I can complete that closet finally.  Extra pillowcases, blankets, etc. have been added to Mt. Washmore.

And this is what I ended up with after:


Please excuse the glarish, fuzzy Droid pics. My DH and I have completely separate sides of the closet now.  Ok, he has one side and I have the rest, but I’m a girl so I can do that.  There is a hanging organizer at the back of the closet for my purse skirts and other accessories.  Stashed underneath and behind that are photo frames – I haven’t found another home for them yet. Above the organizer I have my dressy shoes and purses.  DH’s shoes are on the floor on his side, while my sneakers and slippers are on the floor on my side.  In an awkward corner of the shelf on my side  I have a box of baby keepsakes (cut down dramatically!) and Monkey 2’s very expensive Pooh Bear bank that her Grandma Cher gave her as a baby.  Also on the shelf on my side, I have folded all of my spirit t-shirts.  I used to hang them so they’d be easily accessible, but think this will work better, especially after I containerize them.

I think that covers all of it.  You’ll notice I haven’t got pictures of the rest of my room on here!  Work in progress.  Is it ideal?  Is it perfect?  Heavens no!  But it’s a lot more functional than it was.

I absolutely must give a shout-out to missscarlet88 because her blog inspired me to tackle my closet yesterday.  Left to my own devices, I’d have waited for a snow day.  And probably made jelly instead!

What projects will you tackle in this New Year?

~ Katie

Posted from WordPress for Android

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: