Tips & Tricks

If you read about my cluttered home office (the project which has taken a backseat lately), one of the piles on top of a bookshelf is my “Save” pile of my children’s artwork.

I have read several tips on how to save children’s precious artwork (and let’s be honest, it’s not the artwork that’s so precious as it is the darling hands that created it):

  • File folders sorted by child, by year
  • Whatever doesn’t fit into your folder/container – take a picture of your child holding it, so that you’ll have both a snapshot of the artwork and a moment in time of what your child looked like at the age he/she made the art
  • Accordian-type storage which is expandable
  • Store every piece for 1 month then ask your child to pull out their top 5 favorites to keep
  • Make sure to keep pieces that contain representations of your child’s age, milestone or memory; such as a handprint/footprint, the first time your child wrote her name all by herself or a drawing of his favorite meal at the time
  • Larger pieces on easel-size paper can be used to wrap gifts to grandparents
  • No matter how precious or perfect, never, ever, ever, save anything with glitter.

If you’re looking for a new way to store your child’s masterpieces, here are a few options I’ve come across:

My Masterpieces Art Portfolio

My Masterpieces Art Portfolios:  I’ve purchased 3 of these from Willow House, one for each of my children. What I like about this storage system is that it’s accordion-style with 5 pockets, comes with letter stickers to personalize with your child’s name on the front, and it expands to about 6″ deep, which would accommodate either lots of papers, or collage-type artwork with dimension. It’s actually on sale right now for $16.96 in the Willow House outlet.


Wall Art Gallery

Wall Art Gallery: From Lillian Vernon, the Wall Art Gallery is so new it’s not even available until 3/21, however you can order it and it will ship when it becomes available.  I’m excited about this one. I have framed 3 pieces of my kids’ art in our basement with cheap-o metal frames that have a flexible backing for 3-dimensional work, but I love this Wall Art Gallery because the of the hinged door, and that you can store up to 50 pieces of 8 1/2 x 11 artwork inside, so you have the option of changing out what’s seen, and have a place to store it forever (or until the 51st piece comes home!).  The Wall Art Gallery is priced at $27.98, and on orders over $50 you can use code 351830100 to ship for just $3.99, now through 3/31/11.


Kids Hanging Art Pockets

Kids Hanging Art Pockets:  Here’s a neat-o way to display multiple pieces at once, and have a colorful addition to your child’s bedroom or playroom. has this “Kids Hanging Art Pockets” for just $15.99. You can display up to 9 pieces of A4 (roughly 8 1/2 x 11) either horizontally or vertically, and easily change them out for new pieces. You can use code MAR1550 to get 15% off your purchase of $50 or more from





Curtain rod art display

Lastly, I came across this idea to display children’s art, by using a simple, stylish curtain rod and drapery clips you can hang your kids art all across the room. I totally love this! Thanks, Budget Wise Home!

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Idea for Kids: Cleanup Countdown

by Ann-Marie on February 3, 2011

This idea came to me on a rare Saturday when we didn’t have anywhere to be, and my kids were driving me nuts already by 10am. I tested it again yesterday, day 2 of our 4-day school hiatus from the infamous ice storm, and it was a hit once more.

My 6.5 yr old daughter has a nasty habit of not putting her toys away in her room (“Shocker!”). Then when  you have clothes here, Polly Pockets there, scraps of craft paper here, and Squinkies there, and there, and there, it becomes too overwhelming for both of us.

I ‘get’ that brains are wired differently, and some, like Mallory’s, need to compartmentalize in order to process it all. Taking an overall look at her room results in a tearful, screeching, “I CAN’T DO IT!”, with a little foot stomp for added emphasis.

So I started a fun “game” (anything with ‘game’ added to it gets instant buy-in from my kids). It’s called the Cleanup Countdown.

The premise is so simple, and yet so rewarding:  Get the kids to pick up their stuff, without having to nag them about it. Then reward them. And guess what, the more kids you have, the faster your house gets cleaned!

Here is how our game worked, you can adapt it to your levels, rooms, and messiness factor. These directions are per child, so 10 toys on the basement floor really means 20!   And I recommend doing this on-the-fly, just look around the house and come up with your list. It will change every time you ‘play’!

  • Put away 10 toys on the basement floor.
  • Find 9 things you’ve taped to your bedroom walls or door, and either throw them away or put them in a folder for keeping.
  • Pick up 8 pieces of clothing from your bedroom floor.
  • Find 7 markers/crayons/pencils and put them in their boxes where they belong.
  • Put 6 books back onto your bookshelves.
  • (Mallory): Find 5 hair pretties and put them away. (Dylan): Find 5 army guys and put them away.
  • Put 4 stuffed animals back on their shelf.
  • Find 3 of Carlie’s toys and help her to put those away. (She’s 2).
  • Remove 2 papers from the refrigerator, and either throw them away or put them in a folder for keeping.
  • Make your 1 bed.

The reward can be as simple as a special dessert for dinner, or if they worked extra hard then treat them to a Family Movie Night with a Redbox video and popcorn. The bigger your eyes and your own excitement get when describing the reward in detail, the more exciting it will be for your kids. Happy cleaning!


Magazine Fundraiser for Humane Society

by Ann-Marie on November 2, 2010

If you have never picked up a copy of All You magazine at Walmart, you are missing out on some amazing money-saving tips and high value coupons that you just can’t get anywhere else!

Chaos Is Bliss now has a magazine fundraising website, where you can purchase a new or renewed subscription to All You magazine – or choose from several others available – while helping a great cause.

I have chosen the Humane Society for Hamilton County to receive all proceeds from this fundraiser, now through 12/31/10. The HSHC will not euthanize animals for space and time, and will treat sick and injured animals if there’s an outlook for recovery and a high quality of life.  Life-saving treatments, surgeries and medications are given as their best chance for a second chance until they are placed into their forever homes.

I would encourage you, if you are wanting a new mag for yourself or a friend/family member, to look at the Chaos Is Bliss  fundraiser website and compare prices. If you would buy a subscription anywhere, please consider buying it here and helping the Humane Society of Hamilton County at the same time.

For more information on the HSHC please visit

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