Category: Home & Organization

Portable Printers for Planners: A Review

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.

As you may already know, I am in love with my Classic Happy Planner – so much so that I purchased a Mini Happy Planner for on-the-go. I didn’t have a Happy Planner Memory Keeper, so naturally when I was asked what I would like for my birthday this year, I quickly said, “A Memory Keeper!” I’ve been keeping little notes in my Classic Happy Planner about things that have happened, but realized I would love a way to document happenings in our little family without it being an overwhelming task — like old-school scrapbooking. Everything seems to end up on social media these days and there’s nothing to actually pick up and flip through. The Happy Planner Memory Keeper is an undated planner that has larger blocks to write/journal, add stickers, washi tape, and photos.

Photos. That’s fantastic. I can add photos to my Memory Keeper, but the boxes are 2×3. I’m completely capable of resizing photos to print two on a 4×6 page or making an entire 8.5×11 sheet of little pics, but this would involve more work. I knew all about portable printers and had hinted for one around Christmas time, so when I said I wanted a Memory Keeper, my husband took that as the perfect opportunity to surprise me with a Polaroid ZIP Mobile Photo Printer. I honestly never expected one and figured that I would be resizing and cutting pics for my new book, but my hubby knows me well and knew that I wanted this to be an enjoyable task and not something that would create more work for me.

I was super excited when I opened up the little box and saw a mobile printer. I couldn’t wait to try it out. I plugged it in and charged it up and printed a photo of my son with his birthday cake. (His birthday is the day before mine and this would be one of the first events I would be documenting.) The set up was very simple – I charged the device for about an hour, downloaded the Polaroid app on my iPhone, loaded the ZINK paper, and printed a pic. For those of you who don’t know, these mobile printers use ZINK technology (Zero Ink) — there are no cartridges, no ribbons, no ink! All you need is ZINK paper. The paper is 2×3 and has a sticky back so it’s ready to stick to your page.

I thought the quality of the Polaroid ZIP was okay and didn’t expect anything super fancy, considering it’s a mobile printer, but the more I thought about the cost ($129.99) and the quality, I wondered if a different device would produce better results. I knew HP also made a mobile printer -the Sprocket – which was actually the one I had hinted for at Christmas. I started looking on Amazon for reviews on both the Polaroid ZIP and the HP Sprocket and it seemed that the Sprocket was the more popular choice. Because I’m a tiny bit impatient and there was no price difference, I texted my husband at work and asked him if he’d like to run to the store after work and pick up a Sprocket for me. I wanted to compare them for myself and I would return one of them tomorrow.¬† Here they are:

As you can see, both printers are almost identical. Same size box. Same size device. Same ZINK technology. Same size paper – 2×3. Both require you to download an app on your phone to print pics. Now here was the real test. I had already printed two more photos with the Polaroid, so I chose the same photos (to be fair) to print on the HP.

Here are the results:

The photo on the right was printed with the Polaroid ZIP – we look like we got a spray tan and counted Mississippi’s! ūüėČ (My “Friends” fans should get the reference.) The photo on the left was printed with the HP Sprocket. As soon as the photo was coming out of the printer I could tell it was going to be better because I could actually see the color variations and texture in my sweater.

The only difference with this photo is that I had zoomed in on the one on the right before I printed it with the Polaroid ZIP. The photo on the left was printed with the HP Sprocket. Again, the color is off with the ZIP. Some reviews that I read said that the color issue can be corrected if you lighten the photo on your phone before opening it in the app and printing it. I’m not trying to make this any harder than it needs to be. I want something that I can use with little effort. I want my Memory Keeping to be a hobby – something for me. Something fun and enjoyable. Not another chore. I have enough of those.

You can be the judge and choose which one you like best — and if a more “vintage,” “true polaroid” feel is what you’re after, that may be the device for you, but for me, I want something more true to color with plug and play capability.

xoxo,

Denise

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8 Tips to Make Grocery Shopping Hassle-Free

Raise your hand if you look forward to grocery shopping. That’s what I thought.

As a mom of two small children grocery shopping is not fun. I know there are options available for grocery delivery or pick-up, but there are times when I need to go to the store myself. Sometimes it’s because I don’t have the extra funds to pay for delivery service or because I would rather pick my own produce or meats. If I am going to do my own shopping, I don’t want to spend more time than I have to in the supermarket. Spending a few minutes at home preparing for the trip can save lots of time in the store.¬† Here’s how:

1.Keep an ongoing list handy – whether it be on the fridge or in your planner – and jot down items as you run low or run out. This saves so much time! There’s no checking the pantry as you are ready to walk out the door.

2. Meal Plan! Plan menus in advance so you know what you have on-hand and what you need to shop for. Be sure to check recipes for special ingredients so you are prepared.

3. Before leaving home, put your grocery list in the order of the aisles at the grocery store. If you aren’t a frequent shopper (because you’re more of a delivery kind of person), break your list down into sections: Produce, Dairy, Canned Goods, Dry Goods, Deli, Meats/Poultry, Household, Snacks, Drinks, etc.¬† This will keep you from circling the store!

4. Use a Coupon Organizer and arrange your coupons in alphabetical order or according to your store’s aisles.

5. Shop early! There is the least amount of traffic in the morning and you’ll get the freshest meats and baked goods!

6. Park close to the exit doors. You won’t have to push a heavy cart as far… unless of course you’re trying to sneak in a work-out while grocery shopping.

7. Shop with a partner. Grab your husband/boyfriend – or if you have teens – and split the list. Make it a team effort to grab everything on your list and meet at the check-out.

8. When loading the grocery belt, put the items in the order in which they’ll be bagged. Keep like items together to make it easier to put away when you get home. And don’t forget to put the bread and fragile foods, like eggs, last so they end up on top of the cart.

These simple tips will keep you on track and save you time the next time you have to grocery shop. Do you have a tip for saving time at the grocery store? I’d love to hear it!

-Denise

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Top 5 Reasons to Use a Paper Planner

I’ve seen several posts on social media over the past few days about planners. Most of the posts were asking what kind of planner others use and why. I noticed a lot of comments from people asking why someone would want to use a paper planner instead of an app, to-do list, or calendar on their phone. I even had a discussion with a friend the other night about my planners and the person thought I was crazy for wanting to “write” stuff out when I have a computer that could very easily organize all my information.¬†I have been using a Classic Happy Planner for two years now and I love it. I actually decided this year to add a Mini Happy Planner to the mix. My Happy Planner is mostly for myself – I put everything in there that I need to do to take care of the house, the kids, and my online business. I picked up a Mini so that I could keep track of our bills and other important information that doesn’t make me quite as “happy!” I understand that some people think it’s silly with all the technology at our fingertips these days, but here are my Top 5 Reasons for Using a Paper Planner (or two)!

1. Accountability

There’s something about writing things out that makes me more productive. I like to think about what I want to accomplish in a day or week and write it out. Once it’s written, I look forward to completing the task – no matter what it is – so I can check it off. It holds me accountable and putting that little check mark next to the item makes me feel good!

2. Keeping Organized

I like to plan my week out on Sundays. I write in everything that’s going on that week – appointments, phone calls that need to be made, bills that need to be paid, chores, meals, projects, activities for the kids, and family activities.

3. Tracking Habits

I am currently trying to drink more water, so I made a small tracker to add to my weekly spread that I can track how many glasses of water I drink in a day. I also want to make more time for myself, so I am going to attempt to write one thing I’ve done for myself every day. I know a lot of people like to track other things such as fitness, foods, moods, etc. These are all terrific ideas and, who knows, maybe I’ll add something else in as the year progresses.

4. It’s¬†NOT¬†Digital

That’s right, I want to use a paper planner because it isn’t on my computer, phone, or tablet. I spend enough time on these things for business, shopping, and social media. It’s a nice break.

5. Creative Time

It gives me some time for myself at least once a week and I get to have a little creative/crafty time. Between stickers, washi tapes, and pretty pens, I’m all set!

 

So there you have it – My Top 5 Reasons for Using a Paper Planner! If you use a paper planner, I’d love to hear¬†your reasons.

-Denise

 

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4 Tips to Organize Baking Supplies

I recently discovered that I am a hoarder of cupcake wrappers and sprinkles. I also discovered that¬† my baking supplies were a complete mess – I had cupcake wrappers shoved in three different cabinets (all of which contained baking supplies), I had sprinkles tucked in multiple places too, and we won’t even talk about what my actual “baking pan” cabinet looked like. I love to bake, but I dreaded getting my supplies to do so. It actually got to the point where I just started keeping my cupcake pans in my oven because it was easier than lifting or moving stacks of cookies sheets or other pans to get to them.

I became so frustrated that I decided to re-organize every cabinet in my kitchen, de-clutter, and get my act together so I could actually enjoy baking. I tackled the baking cabinets first.  I had one corner cabinet which had a lot of wrappers, sprinkles, gel colors, and other random supplies. Then I had a small cabinet next to the stove with mixing bowls, and the overflow of my baking pans. Finally, my island is one big cabinet which houses all of my baking pans and cake/cupcake carriers. (This was by far thee worst cabinet.) My only regret is not taking before photos, but just imagine a giant mess everywhere. Seriously. Maybe I forgot to snap pics on purpose because I would have been embarrassed to actually have to share them!

So here are my tips that have made me the happiest little baker!

TIP #1: Sort the sprinkles, cupcake wrappers, colorings, extracts, tools, etc. I understand I may have¬†a problem since I¬†needed a container to hold cupcake wrappers for every season. Whatever. Cupcakes make me happy. ūüôā

 

I also realize that my obsession with shoebox containers is almost as bad as my cupcake wrapper/sprinkle obsession. Organizing everything in containers makes it so much easier to grab what I need without having to move a gazillion things. Everything here was everything that was shoved into my corner cabinet, which pretty much emptied out that cabinet and left me space for other things. (My mixing bowls used to be here, but I was able to move them into my pot cabinet since I threw away an old set of pots that were my husband’s from his bachelor days.)

TIP #2: Separate all the Christmas / Seasonal sprinkles that you’ll only use once a year. I chose to put mine in a nice basket, covered with plastic wrap to eliminate any dust from getting on the contents, and put it on top of my cabinets. It makes a nice decoration while serving a purpose. I actually have 2 of these baskets – the other one is holding seasonal cheese spreaders and small serving pieces.

 

TIP #3: Remove all the seasonal/specialty baking pans that you’ll only use on holidays or for special occasions. This cleared out a lot of my mess from my big baking cabinet. These pans were constantly in my way and because they are all different sizes, it made it worse. I put them all in this container and marched them right down to the basement. They now live on a shelf down there until they are needed.

TIP #4: This is my favorite. I only wish I had found this organizer sooner. It was the best $24.99 I have ever spent. I no longer need to struggle to get out my baking pans. Everything is neatly¬†sorted and there is no “domino effect” when you pull out a pan. The dividers can be moved to fit your needs. That’s the best feature – you may find other organizers that look similar, but it’s really the ability to move the dividers that makes this organizer perfect for bakeware.¬†It is super sturdy and works like a charm. This is the cabinet I really wish I had a “before” photo of because it was a disaster. I couldn’t get anything out easily. My expanding cooling racks now sit nicely on top of a few pans so they are easy to grab. I was even able to stand that terrific Presto Flipside Belgian¬†Waffle Maker up in the middle of the cabinet without it being in the way.¬†I also used a shelf organizer to add some extra space for my loaf pans, spring form, and bundt pans.

So there you have it! A few simple tips to organize your baking supplies so you can spend less time wrestling your pans and more time baking up something sweet!

‚ô• Denise

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Goal-Setting Worksheet – FREE Printable!

It’s easy to say I’m going to do something, but does it always happen? Nope. Not always. Why? Because I over-plan in my head. I’m really good at holding myself accountable when I write things, whether it be in my Happy Planner, a notebook, or on a printable.

I created this Goal Setting Worksheet to help keep me on track for my own 40 Days Challenge. My plan is to take 10-20 minutes each day to work on one of the tasks on my list. For me, 10-20 minutes is completely do-able. If I disappear for any longer than that, who knows what kind of catastrophes will occur elsewhere in the house! My kids really love to be “good helpers” so I’m sure I can even assign them a little job alongside me while I de-clutter the linen closet.

Because I’m also focusing on creating a more peaceful home, I’ve decided that I need to also give myself a little “me time.” I need to have a little quiet time – time to decompress a bit and re-charge. I typically don’t stop. I’m always doing something. So if I have a little list for myself with cute little check-boxes, I will most likely feel responsible to sit myself down for 10 minutes or so at some point during the day (or even at the end of the day)¬†so that I can cross something off my list! This will also mean that my “me-time” will not involve any electronic devices. ūüėČ

I’ve included a “Note to Self” section on my worksheet because I think it’s important to remember what my ultimate goals are for my home. I plan on focusing on one thing each week, but not forgetting it after the week is over… the goal is to make these little goals the new norm in our house.

Here’s an example of my worksheet for this week:

If you’re ready to set your goals, go ahead and print eight copies of my worksheet¬†and put them in¬†a folder so that it’s one less task to do each week. You’ll be able to sit down and write out your tasks. Don’t worry about writing on every line – write what YOU know YOU can do!

‚ô• Denise

Posts on Happy Little Wife contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, your price will be the same, but Happy Little Wife will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting me.

Weekly Menu Planner

I don’t know about you, but when I put something in writing I stick to it. Maybe it comes from being a teacher and all those years of lesson plans¬†—¬†knowing that if I wrote it down it was my goal to get everything in those little blocks completed to the best of my ability by the end of the week. Sometimes everything was completed in order and other times it wasn’t. That’s how I feel about my Menu Plan.

I generally do my¬†meal planning¬†on Thursday or Friday so that I can make sure I have everything I need for the week¬†in the house by Sunday.¬† If you’re feeling really ambitious, plan for two weeks at a time and you won’t have to think about “what’s for dinner” for two whole weeks! That’s actually my favorite way to meal plan. I like to have our schedule handy while planning so that I know what will work best for certain days. For example, since my husband is in retail management, if he has to close the store and won’t be home for dinner I won’t plan a roast or something that I know he would enjoy since he won’t be home.

If you’re someone who has a grocery store that offers delivery, like I do, I love planning my menu, getting my grocery list¬†made and then placing my order.¬†I just click, click, click — and then wait for delivery. Everything shows up and I’m ready to go for the next two weeks. I also find that shopping this way saves us money. In addition to no impulse buys, I can shop for the best price without standing in the aisle comparing products.

You can grab my FREE Menu Plan and Grocery List Printable here: Menu Planner

Give it a try! And don’t worry if you don’t make everything on the day you have it written. It’s okay. I just like knowing there IS a plan and if I want to switch it up, that’s fine too.

Oh, and feel free to put “Pizza Night” or “Leftover Night” on there – you’re entitled to a night off!

Happy Planning!

-Denise

 

 

 

Easy Spice Jar Makeover

I decluttered my entire kitchen last week. Every cabinet is organized and the countertops are empty again – except for the things that need to stay out. I kept looking at my spice rack and thinking that it should just go. You see, I’ve had this metal spice rack for about 5 years and I just love how slim and decorative it is, but the jars it held came from a popular brand that, quite honestly, I can no longer afford to purchase. On top of that, I just don’t use them very often. I’m always reaching for my 99 cent grocery store spices, but the jars aren’t very pretty. They are all different sizes and the labels don’t match. So rather than toss the spice rack, I thought I should try to put it to good use. Maybe it would make me feel better about it sitting there. I mean, I am pretty crafty, so this shouldn’t be too hard! ; )

First, because I’m a little frugal, I dumped the stale, unused¬†spices from the original jars and then soaked them in a pot of water with some dish soap to try to loosen the labels. After they soaked, I scraped the labels off and let the jars dry out .

Next, I headed to computer and created a label for each jar. I chose to make them 6.75″ long (just long enough to wrap with a teensy overlap) and 2″ high. I just inserted a background and typed a text box and BAM! Done. Took all of about 30 seconds. (I used Photoshop, but really any program would do – you could even use Word.)

 

Once I had my labels created – and I just printed on regular white copy paper, nothing fancy – I neatly cut each one. Then I cut a strip of Transparent Peel & Stick adhesive covering and placed it over the labels. I left about 1/4″ all the way around for some extra “sticky.” I wrapped each jar with the label and VOILA!

I am in LOVE with my “new” Spice Rack and it didn’t cost me anything except the¬†hour it took me to make it¬†over. Even if you don’t have a Spice Rack, you could totally jazz up your jars! I’m already thinking of what I can make¬†labels for¬†next!

 

 

 

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