How to Make a Mini First Aid Kit

How to make a mini first aid kit.

Hi friends!

Today I’m sharing a super simple and cheap DIY mini first aid kit.  You can throw it in your purse, diaper bag, or day bag if your travelling, and know you’ll be prepared in case you feel sick.

I always carry this in my purse whether I’m traveling overseas or just going to the store.  This kit is really more for adults than small kids, though some of the items would work for any age.  The medicines I included are intended for me, but they would work if you have older kids.  I actually made a few of these for my chaperones when I took a group of high school students abroad!  I have a separate first aid kit for my twins (they’re 3) that I keep in my diaper bag.

Affiliate links are included for your convenience.  Read my full disclosure here.

Johnson and Johnson Mini First Aid Kit

The base of my mini first aid kit is this Johnson and Johnson first aid kit.  The plastic container that it comes in is perfect to fit in my purse or travel day bag, and I just add a few things to make it work for me.

I add:

  • more Bandaids in various sizes
  • travel Advil, Tylenol, and Dramamine — two of those small travel tubes will fit in the container, or you could buy the single use packs and fit one of each.  I usually carry a tube of advil and a tube of tylenol, and throw the dramamine in my bag only for the plane or if I’m going to be on a boat.
  • blister Bandaids — these are necessary if you’re doing a lot of walking!  I always add these if I’m touring a city, hiking, or otherwise walking a lot
  • Pepto Bismol tablets — these are THE BEST.  Do not skip these.  Chew two of these if you have any kind of stomach problem (nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea…remember the song???)  Bonus — they aren’t a liquid so you can take it on the plane!
  • alcohol wipes — throw in a few of these in case you get a cut that needs cleaning on the go
  • antibiotic ointment packets — again, in case of a cut or scrape that needs attention.  I usually only put in one packet.

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How to make a mini first aid kit for travel, or everyday!

So easy to put together, and so handy when your out and about!  Small enough to throw in your day bag, but packed with all the necessities.  Do you carry a first aid kit when you’re away from home?

Rustic Farmhouse Baskets and Bins for Organizing

The ultimate list of rustic farmhouse baskets and bins, perfect for organizing every room in your house and adding a touch of farmhouse style to your decor.

I’m so excited to share these amazing rustic farmhouse baskets and bins with you!  They are perfect for organizing any room in your house AND will add a touch of farmhouse style to your decor.  And these roundups are so super fun to make, too!

There is just something about the new year that makes me want to ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS. The new year gives me such a mental boost!  I feel like I have a fresh opportunity to do things better.  Streamline, organize, and kick 2017’s butt!!

As I’ve been organizing areas of my house this past week, I’ve noticed how much I use baskets, bins, and other containers to store items.  I use different sizes and materials in different areas of the house, but they really are useful in any room!

I use them in the kitchen:

  • to organize pantry items like granola bars, crackers, baking items, etc.
  • to store flour and sugar
  • on the counter for fruit
  • in the fridge for cheeses sticks and Baby Bell cheeses

I use them in the living room:

  • for throw blankets
  •  for toys
  • for kids’ books

I use them in our dining room hutch:

  • to organize mail
  • for kids’ art supplies
  • in drawers for pens, stamps, and other office supplies

I use them in the bathroom:

  • to store washcloths and towels
  • to organize toiletries and medicine
  • to organize jewelry, hair ties, and bobby pins

I use them in the bedrooms:

  • in the kids’ room for toys
  • in drawers for socks and underwear
  • in the closet for out of season items

Of course not all of the containers I use are farmhouse cute, but some of the baskets and bins below are definitely on my list!  My favorites are the wire and burlap baskets (#6), the galvanized metal pail trio (#20), and the farm animal bins (#21). I think the metal pail trio would be adorable on a desk for pens and pencils or in a kids’ space to organize crayons and art supplies.  I also love the chicken wire wall bins (#18).  They would be great in a mudroom for mittens and hats or even in the kitchen for fruit.

What are your favorites?  How do you use baskets and bins to organize in your home?

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The ultimate farmhouse bins and baskets roundup! Great for organizing and adding some farmhouse style to your home!

Affiliate links are included for your convenience.  Read my full disclosure here.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18

19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24

Looking for more farmhouse inspiration? Check out my farmhouse kitchen roundup here!

How to Make Everything Easier and Organize Your Life

Follow this one simple tip to make everything easier and organize your life!

Hi friends! I’m kicking off the new year with my best tip to make everything easier and organize your life.

But first, a little story.

Back in September, on a regular school morning, I was rushing around to get myself and the kids ready to get out the door and on our way.  I went upstairs to get my son a pair of underwear, and slipped in my socks on the hardwood stairs on the way down, fell, and broke my arm.  Holy heck it hurt so bad.  I’d never broken a bone before, but I knew immediately that my arm was broken.  It felt crumpled.  Like it wasn’t attached right.  And It hurt so badly I just lay on the floor in the hallway crying and holding it.  My kids rushed over, started crying, not really understanding what was going on.  My husband was in the shower.  He heard me fall, ran down the stairs (thank goodness he didn’t fall too!) and when he saw what had happened he draped his towel over my arm so I wouldn’t have to look at how gross and broken it was.  You guys, he must have been standing in the hallway naked as the day he was born, but I honestly don’t even remember I was in so much pain!

So he goes to get dressed, and I’m just still lying in the hallway breathing hard, crying, trying to hold it together because my precious 3 year olds are just hovering over me, upset and confused.  My husband comes downstairs and I tell him he has to make 4 phone calls: my school, his school (we’re both teachers), daycare, and my mother.  He grabs the home binder and starts making calls.  He calls us both out of school and tells them to use our emergency sub plans.  He calls our daycare provider and tells her what happened and that the kids will be late.  He calls my mother and asks her to meet us at the emergency room.

We go to the emergency room, they set my arm, my mom brings the kids to daycare, and I come home with a cast up over my elbow.  A week and a half later I have surgery and get a plate and four screws to hold my bone in place.  A cast, then a splint, then a brace for about 10 weeks.  Now, a little more than 3 months later, I’m out of the brace and finally feeling much better.  

It was a rough couple of months caring for 3 year old twins with one good arm!  The house was put on the back burner, and I didn’t blog as much as I would’ve liked.  We ate a lot of chicken nuggets.  It was totally unexpected and out of the blue, breaking my arm like that.  I still can’t believe I fell down the stairs and broke my arm fetching underwear for my son!  But the thing is, things happen.  Life is unpredictable.  I would never have thought that would happen, but it did, and we were forced to face it and figure it out.  

Two things this accident made me grateful for (besides the support of my amazing family, or course!), are our home binder and our emergency sub plans. My husband knew right away to grab the home binder and flip to the contact page to find the phone numbers he needed.  It was there, ready to go, when an emergency arose.  Also, my husband and I had prepared emergency sub plans to use in case of a last minute, unexpected absence.

This situation could have turned out very differently, had we not had the home binder and our emergency sub plans ready to go.  The thing is, there are so many situations in life, and especially life with kids, that you can’t plan for.  Life is unpredictable, right?  But what you can do is plan ahead and try to be ready for whatever might come your way.  This tip, if you follow it, will help you avoid headaches, problems, meltdowns, annoyances, and even help you out in an emergency.  Ready for this?

Be prepared.

I know, I know, it’s the Boy Scouts’ motto.  But they were on to something!  If you plan ahead and prepare, life is so much easier.  It’s simple but true.  This tip really will make everything easier and organize your life!

Here are some examples from my own life:

Getting Ready in the Evening

As a working mom, I try to do whatever I can to make mornings run smoothly.  I have to be out of the door with the kids by 6:45 am to get them to daycare and get myself to work.  When I spend the time to prepare meals, set out clothes, and pack bags the night before, I’m always a much happier mama in the morning!

Packed Diaper Bag

I always try to have my diaper bag packed and ready to go.  With two 3 year olds who are potty training, I still need to carry this around with pull-ups and spare changes of clothes.  Not to mention a few books, snacks, small toys, tissues, etc.  I’m ready to go when I need to leave the house, and when I’m out and about, I have what I need to keep the kids dry, fed, and entertained.

Mini First Aid Kit

I always carry a mini first aid kit in my purse, and sometimes a slightly bigger one if I’m traveling or on a field trip with students.  I keep pain meds, bandaids, etc. in it, and it has helped me out more than a few times!

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

I try to plans meals for the whole week on Saturday morning, write out my grocery list, and then shop that day.  This way I have what I need in the fridge during the week, I save money, and I don’t have the headache of not knowing what I’m cooking for dinner!  Check out this post for more details and a free printable grocery list!

Home Binder

A few years ago, I set up a home binder to store important household information.  I keep it in one of my hutch drawers in the dining room, and we refer to it often.  It has important phone numbers, photocopies of important documents, restaurant menus, and other things we might need.  I think we mostly use it to look up the phone number to the pediatrician’s office!  

Teaching/Sub Plans

In my teaching life, I try to have everything planned and photocopied a few days to a week ahead of time.  This helps if when I have to be out unexpectedly when my kids get sick.  I also have emergency sub plans ready to go in case I don’t have anything ready or if what I had planned can’t really be done by a substitute teacher.  These emergency sub plans came in handy this fall when I fell and broke my arm.  I didn’t have to spend even a second thinking about what my students were going to do, or worry about making sub plans from the ER.

No one’s perfect, least of all me, and there are definitely places in my life that I could be more prepared to avoid last minute headaches.  But in all the places where I have used this tip, it has saved me money, time, and a whole lotta hassle!  

If the thought of being prepared for everything overwhelms you, try to implement this tip in just one or two areas of your life.  Pack lunches the night before.  Write down all your important contact phone numbers and post them on your fridge.  If you keep preparing little things like this, eventually you’ll be prepared for it all!  It really does help make everything easier and organize your life!

What do you prepare ahead of time to save you a hassle later on?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

Gina from Sweet Maple Lane

What You Need to Host Thanksgiving

Sweet Maple Lane shares kitchen necessities for hosting Thanksgiving dinner

What do you need to host Thanksgiving dinner?  Well really, all you need is a meal, people to share it with, and a grateful heart.  After all, it’s a holiday about being thankful for what you have, not about feeling pressure to throw a perfect party.

But, if you are hosting for the first time, you may be wondering what you need, or what is good to have to cook this fancy meal.  Or maybe you’ve hosted before, but are in the market for some fresh Thanksgiving kitchen supplies.  If so, read on, friends!

We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, so I’ve been thinking about the menu and planning all the details.  This will only be the second time we’ve hosted at our house.  Last time we hosted we were newly married and had just moved in.  We had almost nothing from this list, but thankfully my mom brought all of her stuff.

Let’s just say things have changed quite a bit around here!  At this year’s Thanksgiving there will be five toddlers (3 and under!) running around in addition to twelve adults.  I have more of the items below, but still not everything.  My mom still brings her turkey roasting pan and huge casserole dish for green bean casserole (we love us some green bean casserole!).

So if you’re curious about what you ‘need’ to host Thanksgiving, I’ve compiled a list of necessities.

Affiliate links are included for your convenience.  Read my full disclosure here.

Gravy Boat

gravy boat

If you’re making turkey, you need gravy.  If you’re making gravy, you need something to serve it in!  Gravy boats are super affordable and bring a little touch of fancy to your table.  (Look at me, I’m fancy enough to own a gravy boat!)  I like white for dishes and serving ware, but you could go bold with a fun color or pattern if that’s your thing!

Roasting Pan with Rack

roasting pan

This is an absolute must if you’re cooking a large turkey.  This pan is also great for roast chicken, which I do fairly regularly around here.

Meat Forks

meat fork

If you’re cooking a large turkey you’ll need assistance lifting it out of the pan.  I still remember one Thanksgiving when I was a kid my dad trying to use a wooden spoon to lift the turkey, and breaking the spoon right in half! Meat forks like these are on my wish list.  Or, get both the pan and meat forks together in this Calphalon set.

Turkey Baster

turkey baster

Use a turkey baster to prevent a dry turkey.  This stainless steel one is a nice upgrade from plastic!

Turkey Platter

turkey platter

A fancy dinner deserves a fancy platter to serve your turkey on!  I like the traditional ones with the image of a turkey on them.

Drink Dispenser 

drink dispenser

This drink dispenser is the best.  I got it to serve punch at my wedding, and have used it for nearly every major holiday, birthday, or celebration since.  It’s big enough that you don’t have keep refilling it, it has a built in center tube for ice to keep your punch cold, and it comes with a stand that lifts the spigot above your glass for easy filling.  This Thanksgiving mine will be filled with sparkling cranberry punch!

Pie Plates

pie plates

Pie is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, so pie plates are a must.  These come in packs of two so you can make a couple different varieties!

Serving Bowls

serving bowl

You’ll need pretty serving bowls for all those yummy side dishes.  I love these Pioneer Woman serving bowls.  Everything in her line is so cute!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year?  What are your kitchen must haves for a successful dinner?


Meal Planning 101

Meal planning 101 at

Hi friends!  I’ve been back at school for a few weeks now, and I’m feeling a little more settled into our routine here at home.  The transition from summer to school in the fall can be hard, but I’ve found one thing that helps me stay organized and keep my sanity: meal planning!  Just a small time investment on Saturday morning and I’m planned and ready to roll for the week.

Here is how I do it:

Early Saturday Morning

Plan: While the kids are drinking milk and watching cartoons, I sit down with my coffee and computer and plan what we’re having for dinners for the week.  I jump on Pinterest to look up recipes and ideas, and I make a list for the next 7 days (Saturday to Friday).  I check the calendar to see if we’re out or having company any night during the week, and plan accordingly.  I like to cook a bigger meal on Saturday or Sunday and keep it easy during the week.  Friday night we always do frozen pizza and whatever veggies we have left from the week.

List: Once I’ve planned dinners for the week, I make a list of all the ingredients I need for those plus lunch and breakfast stuff. The kids eat at daycare and my husband and I usually pack sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, pretzels, or leftovers.  I make sure to check in the fridge and cupboards to see if we have the ingredients we need or if we’re running out of something.

Later Saturday Morning

I take my list, my reusable bags, and two toddlers to the grocery store for our weekly shopping.  I usually take the kids with me and give my husband an hour to be kid-free.  The kids really enjoy it, and our grocery store has free cookies for kids, so they love that. We drive around the parking lot of our local Hannaford looking for the two-seater cart that looks like a car (complete with steering wheels) and glare at any parents using it for ONE kid (moms of multiples, you feel me?)  No seriously, though, I can’t grocery shop without that cart, so I sometimes have to wait in the parking lot until one becomes available.  Ok, so I shop, use my list, and am in and out and home in record time.

The Rest of the Week

During the week, I come home with the kids around 3:30 or 4, relax for a bit, and then throw together whatever dinner I have planned.  Then we eat together when my husband gets home from practice around 5:30.  Ok, in all honesty, often my husband and I eat together while the kids play and run and scream as toddlers do.  Kids, you know?

Menu Board

Menu board

I had this chalkboard that I picked up at Michael’s with a coupon a few years back, and right before school started I decided to turn it on it’s side and hang it in the kitchen.  Now I use it as a menu board so I don’t forget what we’re having for dinner.  You can see last week’s dinners below:

FREE Grocery List Printable

I whipped up this grocery list printable to make your meal planning and grocery shopping just a little bit easier (and prettier too).  Just click below to download the free printable!

Free grocery list printable from Sweet Maple Lane

Click HERE to download my grocery list printable for free!

How I Organize Mail

Hi friends!  Sweet Maple Lane is officially back to school, which means our schedules are busy, busy, busy!  Open house, practice, daycare, cross-country meets, you name it.  I’m always looking for any way to streamline things and make life run a little more smoothly.  One thing I always struggle to organize is the mail and papers in general.  It just seems to pile up so quickly!  I’ve just implemented a new mail organizing system on the hutch (see this post for reveal pictures!) and so far it has been working great!

Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience.  Read my full disclosure here.

I use three baskets to organize the mail:

Hutch reveal by Sweet Maple Lane

  1. In Box: Incoming mail that needs to be opened.  When I get the mail I immediately recycle junk or things I don’t want, and put the real mail that needs to be opened in this basket.  I’m usually walking in the door with two cranky toddlers who immediately need a snack, drink, potty, snuggle, you name it.  This gives me a place to put it if I can’t open the mail right away.
  2. To Do: This is where I put bills to be paid, forms to be filled out, or other things that need attention.  Again, I can’t always do things all at once.  I may have time to open the mail, but not time to write checks or fill out forms or whatever, so I put the things I need to take care of in this basket to get to when I can.
  3. Out Box: This is where I put mail to go out, bills to send, or paper that has to go back to school or daycare or whatever. This way I can just grab the mail that’s ready to go on my way out the door.

I used baskets and labels I already had, but if you’re looking for something similar I’d suggest these baskets and these labels.

This system, while simple, has been working great.  I’ve also organize the small drawers in the hutch with general office supplies, envelopes, stamps, etc, so that I have what I need right where I need it.  If you’re looking for a way to organize your paper clutter, try this three basket system and see how it works for you!

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How to organize mail by Sweet Maple Lane