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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Make life Simple by using Simplified Pantry Molly Crew 2013 #hsreviews #simplelife #glutenfree

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   Every once in a while I get to review a product or book as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew's sub crew The Molly Crew. The Molly crew is fun because it focuses on Me, the Mom and not our homeschool necessarily. Now that is not to say we cannot use these items in our homeschool but they are perfect for any family whether they homeschool or not. Today I have a review for you from Mystie Winckler’s Simplified Pantry collection, of not just one but 3 of her e-books.

  The one that intrigued me the most was Paperless Home Organization. I am overwhelmed with papers, with 6 of us in our family there are a ton of papers to deal with. This is available in either a PDF format or for your Kindle, for a bargain price of $3.99. I of course took the Kindle version, because if I am trying to save paper if I would have gotten it in PDF I would have had the urge to print it out and that would have so defeated the purpose. Paperless Home Organization is a how-to guide for creating a digital homemaking binder, using apps and digital programs. Now I am tech savvy to a point but there is still a whole lot that I am not familiar with, so when it suggested certain apps and programs I was feeling a little overwhelmed at first. I had never heard of Evernote, and I hardly every use my calendar on my phone even though I do have an iPhone. I know I have issues.

   My goal is to put technology to use to help make my life easier and this e-book delivers just that and whole bunch more. One thing that I loved immediately is, the apps and programs that they tell you to use are all FREE so there is no additional money needed beyond the initial $3.99 investment. I am as frugal as they get when it comes to apps and e-books I very rarely pay for any and if I do it is under $1 so this was right up my alley. Other apps they suggested I use were Remember the Milk, which my kids thought was a hilarious name for an App and then some more familiar ones that I already had but had hardly ever used like, Google Calendar and then G-mail which I use but not as my primary email source.

     I use my laptop and my iPad and my iPhone for all of my online activities, but mainly my iPhone and laptop. So I implemented the suggested help apps and programs and got to work. I did find I loved Evernote, its purpose is to help clear the paper clutter from your life and in my case my desk.  This handy program is designed for you to scan in any of your documents to their filing system and then call them up at a touch of a button, OK maybe not just a button, but how about a keyword. For instance I had scanned in some of Nick's test scores from his PSAT and ACT tests. All I had to do was type in those letters or his name or school and it retrieved it instantly. This even works for hand written notes, which I loved. I tend to take notes at all of my Weight Watchers meetings but again that just adds paper. I have tried to take notes on my iPad and it is just not fast enough for me. So now all of my WW notes are in Evernote and I can call them up based on the Meeting Title or any word I can remember in the notes. I wish I would have found this a long time ago.

   There were other suggestions that Paperless Home Organization offered up but they did not really work for me. For example SyncMyCal, this syncs your Outlook Express and Google Calendars, now while I am trying to be better about using my Google Calendar I do not use Outlook for anything. We use AOL for our main email so I have nothing to sync there, now just because it did not work for me does not mean it will not work for you. Especially if you use Outlook and Google Calendars.

 One of the key things I loved about the book was that it was laid out in a visual format, and since I am a visual learned especially when it comes to utilizing technology this was very beneficial to me. There were illustrations to show how to use and implement the tools they were suggesting and very explicit directions. This was key to me to help me be successful. Now I am not saying that I read this book and was magically cured of my paper chaos in my home. It is definitely a work in progress, but I feel so much more functional and organized now. It is helpful to not have so much paper on my desk, no matter how hard I have tried in the past nothing has really worked no matter what system I have used to help me. I find myself referring back to this book often to help improve my organization and I tell everyone about this as it has been such a helpful tool. I am going to implement some of the tools into our homeschool over the Summer so that school will be less cluttered as well. I am sure this will be helpful in creating the boys transcripts without keeping all of their work like I have in the past. I want to be as green as possible and this may just be my key.

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  The other two items I was given to review from Simplified Pantry I used for a short bit but with camping and such it was not a huge focus for me, both are similar although one is adapted for Gluten Free living, they are called Simplified Dinners and Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free, they both sell for $12.99 each and are both sent in PDF e-book format and are packed full of recipes that make meal planning simple. Helping to streamline the steps involved in meal planning, food prep and shopping for groceries. I already utilize a subscription service for my meal planning so I did not put these two to the complete test, although I think they are wonderful assets to any family struggling with meal time. There are not enough hours in the day for any Mom and anytime we can find something to help make an everyday task easier we should jump at the chance. This is one of those things, whether you are Gluten Free/Dairy Free because of allergies or just because you want to live healthier, or just a traditional meal eating family one of the below books would be a helpful addition to your meal time chores. You can check out a sample from both by going to the Simplified Dinners page and the Simplified Dinners Gluten Free/Dairy Free page.

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Simplified Pantry wants to be a blessing to all of your with a discount on their products from now until Monday June 3,2013.
Simply enter code TOS2013 entered during checkout, you can get 30% off any e-books on their website!

Also be sure to check out the other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews as we each focused on which product we found most helpful, so you are sure to learn more about all of the products we were sent. 
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