Pen Case Tag

  1. What pen case are you using?

    Currently, I am using a Bare Escentuals make up case. Pen Case (1) Pen Case (2)

    2. Why do you use it?

    It was around and I thought it was pretty.

    3. Where is it from?

    Found it in a box while I was cleaning stuff out.

    4. Do you carry it out and about, or does it stay home?

    Depends on the day. Sometimes it comes with me, sometimes it stays home.

    5. Show the inside.

    Pen Case Tag (3)

    6. What was in there you had forgotten about?

    My woodland creatures, green barrel pen I got from my friend, Canyon.

    Pen Case Tag (5)

    7. What is your most used item?

    My red pen. I like to cross through my To Do’s in red because it is easier to see.

    8. Now that you have gone through your case, what will you leave out, if anything?

    I won’t be leaving anything out, but I will be trading out my big highlighters for some skinnier ones.

    9. How often do you go through your case and change things?

    Not often, usually when I can’t fit anything else in it.

    10. What are your future plans for your case? New case? New Contents? What’s on your wish list?

    I bought one of the smaller Kipling pouches at a garage sale, and I’ll he transferring everything over to the news case once the video is filmed.

    Pen Case Tag (1) Pen Case Tag (2)  Wish List? A Kipling 100 pens case

YouTube Video link:
© Cori Large 6-19-2015

Getting & Staying Organized-Blog Edition

In several Facebook groups I am a member of, I have on several occasions answered members’ queries on how I stayed organized and stay on schedule for my blog.

I like to think of myself as an organized person, but not a hyper-organized person. I’m more OCD-ADD; meaning I like to be organized and have everything in its place, but it doesn’t have to last very long.

The way I plan and organize for my blog is fairly simple:

  1. I batch write my pieces. Because I work better if I hand write my pieces, I usually write out 3-4 pieces at a time. This leaves me with ample extra pieces available for when I decide to post.
  2. Not limiting myself topic-wise. There are many blogs that are topic and theme specific, but I prefer to blog about many different topics: cooking/baking, finances & money, getting organized, planners & organizers, book reviews, journals, homesteading, and musings in my head.
  3. I have a chart in my blogging planner as well as an Excel spreadsheet where, at a glance, I can see what’s been posted, and what’s upcoming. I highlight anything that has been posted on the paper chart, and fill in the Excel chart when I have a all blog pieces on a piece of paper marked off. My columns are: Title, Written, Typed Up, Need Pix, YouTube vid?, Compiled, and Date Posted.

Blog Post Chart

E-Blogging Chart

These are my top 3 tips on running a blog. I hope you’ve gotten a tip or trick or two.

P.S. You may be wondering why I keep the information in two places. I only like to keep W.I.P. things in my planner. Anything completed, and I want to keep, gets digitized. (If I didn’t do that, I’d become a hoarder.)

W.I.P. = work(s) in process
© Cori Large April 5, 2015

Earning Amazon Gift Cards by Earning Bing Points!

(This is not a sponsored article.)

A few years ago, my husband introduced me to Bing Points., the search engine, allows you to create an account to earn points with.

Bing 1

How do you earn points? By doing searches. There are three different status levels: beginner, silver, and gold. Each level has a max of the amount of points you are allowed to earn.

Bing 2

Bing 3

Bing 4

The points can be redeemed for prizes: Microsoft Live points, Amazon gift cards, various charity donations, etc.

Since I’ve been collecting Bing Points, I have redeemed them for $3.00 and $5.00 Amazon gift cards. To date, overall, I have used them towards $392.86 worth of merchandise-$279.00 paid with gift cards, and $113.86 of real money.

Some of the highlights are:
College textbook $20.00 gift card; $0.26 real money
Almost $100.00 worth for DVDs $95.00 gift cards; $3.85 real money

To me, buying something off Amazon has become a game, and a lesson in delayed gratification. Earning the points towards gift cards has made getting my Amazon purchases more worthwhile.

© Cori Large April 5, 2015

Budgeting For Christmas

Christmas Pix (2)

Christmas 2013 was the first for my husband and I as a married couple. We had figured out what we were getting everyone: homemade puppy chow in mason jars. I calculated everything out, waiting for the grocery store sales, and covered my kitchen counter and dining room table with pans of cooling puppy chow. But we ended up spending more money than we anticipated.

January 2014, I was working on the monthly budget, and we were able to put away $50 for Christmas. We were fortunate enough to be able to do that for every month, giving us $600 for Christmas. For some families, they are not able to set aside so much, so my recommendation is so set aside as much money as you can and try to stick to that amount for Christmas.

Since I knew my estimate, the next step was to figure out what to do as Christmas presents and how many people were on our list. It took longer than usual to figure out what we were going to do.

We eventually decided on Emergency S’mores Kits. Packages included: (4) Santa modeled chocolate bars; (4) Jumbo marshmallows; (1) package of plain graham crackers (the ones that come in the 6 half packs); (4) bamboo skewers; package of water-proof matches; and a packet of Wise Fire Emergency Fire Starter. (Husband found those in the LA Police Gear catalog.

Here’s the price break down:

Santa modeled chocolate bars $3.97/6 pack (total needed: 14 packages of chocolate bars, $55.58)

Jumbo marshmallows

Graham crackers $2.98/6 pack (total needed: 4 boxes of graham crackers, $11.92)

Bamboo skewers $1.99/100 skewers (total needed: 1 package, $1.99)

Water-proof matches $3.99/4 pack (total needed: 5 packages, $19.95)

Wise Fire Emergency Fire Starter $27.19/15 pack (total needed: 2 packages [way cheaper than buying 5 more individually], $54.38)

There were some other gifts bought mainly for convenience and we knew certain family members would not have appreciated the Emergency S’mores Kits.

Gift card for out of state relative: $50.00

Grandma’s gift: $30.00

Mom’s gift: $28.33

Total spent on Christmas 2014: Jumbo Marshmallows + $252.15.

So we were way over on our estimate for Christmas, but I don’t have problem with that. The extra money went towards other things in the month of December after presents were taken care of. It was really nice not having to worry about if we had the money for presents or general living in December. My job’s pay schedule is really messed up Thanksgiving through the end of January.

Everyone that received an Emergency S’mores Kit LOVED it! My uncle and cousin were going hunting a few days after Christmas and were very glad to have these to take along.

Now it is 2015. We’re setting the $50 aside again this year. If it becomes a hardship some months, I now know that cutting back won’t be a big deal. Budget estimate is set, now I need to figure out what we’re going to do this year for presents!

© Cori Large January 1-2, 2015

Organizing Your Reading List

If you are a complete bibliophile and have more books on your To Be Read List than you could sanely ever expect to read, then I have a suggestion on how to organize your list.

Everyone has a way. Some have an ongoing list in the planners, on their phones, or in a notebook. Others are more laid back and pick up whatever book catches their eye. Some people, like me, like to use Microsoft Excel or Access to organize our lists.

I use Excel. I understand the benefits that come with Access, but I was defeated by that program during a core class for my Bachelor’s degree. My professor even had trouble using Access and she was supposed to be teaching us how to use it!

My columns are: Date Read, Author, and Title, #of Pages, Subject 1, Subject 2, and Review.

My list is organized in two ways: (1) Date Read and (2) alphabetical by author name. By having the Date Read information as the initial sort factor, it puts all the books I’ve read at the top of the list. That allows all my To Be Read titles to all be at the bottom. It also allows for the To Be Read titles to be listed in the ordered in which they were added.

Reading List Headings

Author and title columns are self-explanatory. The # of Pages column is used two different ways. The actual number of pages of the book are in this column once I’ve actually read the book. If I haven’t read the book yet, the column has either the call number for the book if it is available in the library I work at or is tagged ILL so I know to Inter-Library Loan it from another library.

Subject 1 and Subject 2 columns are quick reminders for me to note in a few words what a book is about: Jane Austen, writing, cooking, murder mystery series, etc.

The Review column is where I jot a quick 2-6 word review of the book, usually Recommended, Eh, LOVED IT!, and sometimes a 6 word summary.

Well, that’s how I organize my reading list. I have a friend who built a database for her books in Microsoft Access and it was comparable to a real library catalog. Unfortunately, something happened and she lost the entire thing.

As of this posting, here are some stats:

Total # of titles on the list: 2038

Total # of titles marked as Read: 394 (I’m pretty sure I’ve read more books than this, but I only started keeping track 5 years ago.)

Total # of TO BE READ titles: 1644

End of Reading List

© Cori Large January 1, 2015

Writing Notebooks

Once upon a time I dreamed up using a refillable binder as my writing notebook. So one day, after filling up bound notebook after expensive bound notebook, I decided to make one of my full-size Mead Flex binders into a writing notebook. You can briefly read about it here.

The black flex binder has long term pieces in it: book ideas, longer nonfiction piece that I add to still.

IMG_1729 IMG_1730

My pink flex binder has been many things over the years: school binder, planner, project manager, life notebook, and a catchall notebook with loose leaf paper. It is currently set up as a catchall notebook. I use it to write out blog posts. I was going to try writing out my blog posts in my journal, but wasn’t working the way I wanted it to.


So far, this set up is working for me. And this is an example of one way you can organize your writing, whether you’re writing blog posts, fiction pieces, nonfiction pieces, etc.

© Cori Large June 2, 2015

New to Me Planner: RAIKA 6 ring wallet planner

I participate in a planner swap group, and recently found a planner I was ready to trade for. It was a RAIKA 6 ring wallet planner. The planner I traded for this beauty was my DayTimer Avalon in the desk size.

Some facts about my RAIKA:

  • 6 rings, in the 3-3 format
  • Color: Bone
  • Cash envelope sleeve that runs along the back
  • Dual secretarial pockets, back & front
  • Insert size: 3.75 x 6.75 or Size 3
  • Zipper pocket in front
  • Credit card slots

IMG_1719 IMG_1720 IMG_1721 IMG_1722


IMG_1727 IMG_1728

It came with inserts, that I have since decorated (fall leaves & woodland creatures, and Lisa Frank). I’m using the To Do inserts for keeping track of blog posts, and the Project inserts for some book ideas.

IMG_1724 IMG_1725 IMG_1726

The zipper pocket contains washi tape samples and the note from the person I swapped with.The original plan for this style of planner was to make it into a cash envelope wallet, but received another wallet for my birthday [this is an upcoming post]. So I carried it around with me and waiting for it to speak to me. (Fellow planner addicts will understand what I’m talking about.)

What I’m using it for is holding my blog posting chart and calendar, book ideas, and I do have calendar inserts in here for advanced planning.

The company website where you can find this planner is:

If you’d like to join the Secret Sister Planner Swap Group, follow this link:

And if you’d like to watch my YouTube video about this planner, follow this link:

© Cori Large June 1, 2015

Purse Library

This post is for all the ladies out there, who have bought a purse on impulse, later regretted it, and could not return it.

We’ve all done it, and thank God there’s eBay and re-gifting!

But I digress. After the latest round of impulse purse buying, I came up with the idea of The Purse Library.

Just like checking out a book from the library, you would check out a purse for a week or two. At the end of the loan period, you could either buy the purse (a brand new one, not the loaner) or return it and move on to the next style.

You would only be able to check out 1 purse at a time, and like in a library, you would accumulate fines if the purse is not returned on time or was damaged.

A/N: I really do with I could have returned the purse that inspired this post, but it is currently on eBay.

© Cori Large April 23, 2015

Planner Goodies


I joined a new Facebook group a few months ago: Macouer’s Secret Sister Planner Addict Swap (

It has opened me up to the world of planner goodies. I’ve seen on YouTube how people decorate their planners, journals, and organizers with stickers, washi tape, colorful pens, etc.

My secret sister has sent me some fabulous stuff: stickers, washi tape, page flags, and other goodies that I cannot get in my location. Some of these items I’ve never seen before: the raised frame stickers, sticky frame yarn, washi samples.

You can see my two month’s happy mail (April & May 2015) on YouTube here:

My June 2015 happy mail video can be seen here:

The Macouer’s Secret Sister Planner Addict Swap group is a reciprocal group. You have to participate in order to receive goodies. It is wonderful group!

It is now July, and round 3 has started. I’ll be getting more wonderful items in the mail over the next 3 months, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

© Cori Large June 7, 2015


My First Baking Book by Helen Drew

When I was a child, my mom bought me My First Baking Book by Helen Drew.

My First Baking Book (1)

I wasn’t allowed to bake by myself, so I would study the over-sized pages, taking in all the images and reading over the steps so many times I had almost memorized them.

Sadly, like many things from my childhood, it was donated during one of many clean out sessions. (Other items include my Dream Castles, Polly Pockets, and my I Dream of Jeanie magic 8 ball lamp.)

It would be many years before I would try to reclaim this particular memory. Once I decided I wanted it back, I searched online, but only came up with a new edition of the book. A much smaller edition of the book.

My First Baking Book (3)

I was disappointed not to find the original version, but the universe works in mysterious ways.

One day, my mother and then-future mother-in-law were out shopping and stopped at an antique store.

A (MIL) picked up an oversized book and when my mom saw it, she said, “Cori used to have a book just like this.”

When they opened it up, there was a price tag on the front page. And when it was peeled off…

My First Baking Book (6)

So for $3.21, MY copy of My First Baking Book was mine again.

The receipt lives inside the book as a permanent bookmark.

My First Baking Book (4) My First Baking Book (5)

Here are the size comparisons:

My First Baking Book (7) My First Baking Book (2)

YouTube video link:

© Cori Large April 23, 2015

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