Simple Video

How To Lighten Your Child’s Backpack

One of the keys to lighten your child’s school backpack is to choose 3-ring binders and notebooks that are lighter. The Diva shows you some new (and old school) products to lighten that load!

You can pick up the products featured in the video at stores such as Target, Office Depot and Staples, or just click on the links below to find the Mead Five Star products shown:
Five Star Flex NoteBinder – Notebook and Binder All-in-One
Five Star Advance Spiral Notebook (3-Subject)


SSD Backpack

Simple Ways To Make The First Day Of School Easier

SSD BTS Breakfast TipsThe first day of school is rapidly approaching for students, and the Simple Solutions Diva has some great Back-To-School breakfast ideas and helpful tips to get the kids ready for school!

Give Them A Great Breakfast!

Fuel those little brains with good, healthy breakfasts they will like and they will greet the day full & happy! Here are some easy breakfast ideas that are packed with protein:

Waffle Breakfast Sundae


Healthy Waffle Sundae for Breakfast, From
Healthy Waffle Sundae for Breakfast, From

No, this is not a super sweet sundae for breakfast, but one made with a whole wheat (or gluten free) waffle of your choice (toasted), topped with greek yogurt, sliced fruits (I used strawberries and bananas,) and you can sprinkle some granola on top (optional) for a yummy treat! The greek yogurt is high in protein, the fruit gives them the natural sugar and the granola is crunchy good!

For video instructions, view HERE!

Almond Cereal Bars

Almond Cereal Bars (Photo: Travis Rathbone for
Almond Cereal Bars (Photo: Travis Rathbone for

These are a great way to have cereal on the go – have a bar and glass of milk and you are set! And you know exactly what is in the cereal bar (and don’t tell the kids there’s bran in it – they don’t have to know!).


  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 4 cups bran cereal flakes
  • 4 cups Cheerios cereal
  • 4 tablespoons chopped, dried cherries
  • 4 tablespoons chopped almonds (optional)


Spray bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the almond butter and honey. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds – stir to combine.

In another, larger microwave-safe bowl, combine the cereals and the cherries (and almonds, if using) and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the cereal mixture is warm.

Stir the almond-honey mixture over the cereal mixture. Be sure to stir until all cereal is thoroughly coated. Pour into greased pan and press mixture into the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars and serve, or save bars in plastic bags for later. Makes approximately 20 bars.

Adapted from

Southwest Breakfast Wraps

Southwest Breakfast Wrap, from
Southwest Breakfast Wrap, from

These are a great grab & go breakfast for the kids!


  • Tortilla Wrap (can use whole wheat wraps if desired)
  • 1 egg, scrambled – You can cook the egg in the microwave (in microwave safe cup!) on high for 1.5 minutes! (See video instructions HERE)
  • 2 teaspoons black beans, rinsed
  • Cheese
  • Salsa
  • 2-3 Spinach leaves, washed
  • Sour cream (if desired)


Place tortilla on a microwave-safe plate. Top with cooked egg, cheese, beans, and salsa. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, or until tortilla is warm. Add sour cream and spinach leaves, then roll tortilla up!  Wrap them in tin foil and serve warm!

Breakfast Smoothie Ideas:

Click For These Breakfast Smoothie Recipes: (The Superfood, The Tropical, and The Strawberry & Banana)

Get Them To Bed Early!

clockDuring the summer, sleep schedules are crazy! Get them back on track by having them get to bed a little early every day for a week. Reduce the time in front of a TV or computer screen in the evening. Start the process by reading to them in bed (or have the children read to themselves), getting in bed 10 minutes earlier every day for the week leading up to school.


Calm The Nerves!

Many kids get worried about the start of school, or going to a new school or grade. The transition from middle school to high school (or elementary to middle) can be scary, so take advantage of the school orientations. Get a map of the school and highlight where the child’s classes will be (and what period) so they know exactly where they need to go. Talk to them about what they are excited about for school, and then find out if they are nervous about anything. Sometimes just hearing that everything will be OK from mom or dad can make things easier. For the little ones, leaving mom and dad is scary – Give them a laminated photo of the family that they can carry with them at school.


Clear The Clutter, Part 4 – Putting It All Back Together!

With this video, the Clear The Clutter Challenge is coming to a close! Chris Stone of and I have brought you through the whole process: where to start, how to let go of things, and how to prep the space for the new, organized closet. Now we put things back together!

Let me refresh your memory of what we started with – a very disorganized, cluttered craft closet!

Before 2 (1) Before1 (1)

This process has been tough on me – I had to learn to let go of some things, not just because they made things messy, but because they were making me feel overwhelmed! Letting go really made me feel lighter, less stressed and ready to take on new challenges!

I now take pleasure in opening the doors and seeing this:

Finished closet (1)  After Drawer school supplies (1)

Boxes closeup 2 (1)
All neat and tidy! I feel less stressed already!


Take The Challenge!

It was our hope we could motivate you to take on the challenge of clearing the clutter in your home – whether it is a big or small project! If you need help, don’t be afraid (or embarrassed!) to contact a professional organizer to help you.

The reality is, if you aren’t on a episode of Hoarders, you are probably normal and just need a little help letting go!

And if you live in Northeast Florida, I highly recommend contacting Chris Stone to help you through the process! Here’s how to reach her:

Christine Stone, Owner, Neatly Designed

Professional Organizer, Member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers)

Closeup of the storage containers we found at The Container Store!
Closeup of the storage containers we found at The Container Store!

To find the Iris containers we used, you can visit The Container Store, or you can click the following links:

Look for future Clear The Clutter videos down the road – we had a ball working on these!

Final Shot Clear The CLutter

A Simple Challenge: Clear The Clutter, Part 2


So when I decided to do this video series with Chris Stone of, I thought to myself,

This will be great! I will get organized and someone will actually HELP me do it! Easy Peasy!  . . .  Well, I was in for a shocker!

What I didn’t expect was to feel a combination of anxiety, embarrassment and attachment to silly things like fuzzy balls and googly eyes (watch the video and you will understand)!

Laura is not too happy!
Laura is not too happy!

When you have clutter, there is a reason you are keeping it around, whether you know why or not. When you start to get rid of it, you start to see patterns. This video is meant to really illustrate the sometimes difficult process of letting go of the clutter! These are my true and honest reactions; I’m not acting. And the funny thing is, Chris knew it was going to happen! She’s a pro, she’s seen this before with all of her clients, and knows how to help people get through it to a nice, clean, organized space!

So sit back and enjoy! And realize, if I can do it, so can you!

SSD Clutter Cover Slide Part 2

A Simple Challenge: Clear The Clutter – Part 1


Welcome to the first in the video series,  A Simple Challenge: Clear The Clutter. I’ve teamed up this month with professional organizer Chris Stone of Neatly Designed to give you a helping hand in getting started in your decluttering process. In today’s video, Chris and I begin the process to tackle the hidden clutter in my media cabinet/craft closet – AKA My Anxiety Closet! 

BTW – I highly recommend subscribing to Chris’ blog for great tips & little nuggets of motivation! They really do help keep you going!

SSD Clutter Prt 1 cover slideMy Personal Clutter Journey

For years, I was really good at a mass purge every six months or so – I was forced to when the kids were little to go through their stuff because they were outgrowing everything so fast! But as time sped up (parents of teens and pre-teens will understand this concept of time flying!), I seemed to have less and less time to get things done!

Now, I believe most people have clutter, whether hidden or in plain site. Many will go along and live in their clutter, either unaware or unwilling to deal with it. Avoiding, putting it off, waiting until they have a quiet day, etc. That is, until something happens and they force themselves — or are forced — to deal with it! My moment of truth came when my oldest left for college. I have, for at least the last year or so, been ignoring the piles of junk accumulating in and around my house!

My Media Cabinet/Craft Closet/Junk Hideaway! AKA, My Anxiety Closet!


Between doing projects for, family activities, sports, and just wanting to eek out those last few moments with my “baby’ before she left for college, etc., I found myself throwing things in a closet saying, “I’ll get to it soon!” Well, I think I reached that point of being just grossed out by it all!


And the subtle (and not so subtle) requests from my patient husband just got to be too much to ignore. . .

So join Chris Stone and I, as she shepherds me through the process of clearing out my clutter! I hope it will help motivate you to take care of some of the piles in and around your home!


P.S.: I have to say, I find this has helped me feel lighter, more organized, and I actually have more time and energy to do the things I want to do. I think I was being paralyzed by the piles!


Five Minute Cake In A Mug!


When you are in a hurry for a decadent dessert, who doesn’t like chocolate? Here’s a recipe that is perfect to make and eat with the kids! Warning – this serving was so big, one mug (an oversized mug!) would have been plenty for two people!


  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 Tablespoons chocolate chips, optional (really, if you are making cake, GO FOR IT!) 😉
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Add the dry ingredients to a large, microwave-safe coffee mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly, being sure to scrape the sides and the bottom well to incorporate the mixture. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla and mix.

Place mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes. The cake will rise and will peek out over the top of the mug, so don’t worry and think that it will explode!

Cake right out of the microwave - looks a little spongy and it is oh, so good!
Cake right out of the microwave – looks a little spongy and it is oh, so good!

Allow to cool, add some vanilla ice cream (why not!?!) and enjoy! So good you don’t need frosting!

Thank you so much to my assistants in today’s video, Dylan and Kingston! They were a big help AND they did a great job!

SSD Cake in mug

Baked Mozzarella Mini Bites


This recipe is fun to make with the kids and is a healthy alternative to fried mozzarella sticks. These little mini-bites of gooey deliciousness are baked, not fried, so you can feel good about enjoying them – and MAYBE even share with the kids! This recipe is a snack size; double or triple the recipe for more than 2 people.

Baked Mozzarella Mini Bites


  • 3 Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, sliced into thirds (about one inch in length)
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toast the panko crumbs over medium heat in a pan (no oil or grease). Stir continuously until the crumbs are a light golden brown. Place the crumbs on a plate.

Pour the egg substitute into a small bowl.

Dredge the cheese stick pieces in the egg, then in the panko crumbs, and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. (Make sure to cover all sides of the cheese with the panko crumbs, or else the cheese will melt and lose shape – as you can see in the video!)

Place in oven and cook until the cheese has started to melt (but not spread all over the place!) — approximately 3 minutes. Remove from oven, place on serving plate and serve immediately with warm marinara sauce.

SSD Mozzarella Mini Bites

Walking Tacos – A Favorite For Kids and Adults!

This recipe couldn’t be easier! I discovered the Walking Taco when I helped at my daughter’s high school sports concession stand. As i was happily pushing my Crockpot Ropa Vieja (find recipe HERE), more and more people were ordering this Walking Taco!  It is a favorite at sports concession stands, and kids and adults love them!  It is also a great way to serve up tacos for a bunch of kids at a party. I’ve also heard that it is a great way to do tacos while camping!

Walking Tacos (AKA Tacos In A Bag)


  • 1 pound of your favorite taco meat recipe, cooked
  • Individual sized bags of your favorite flavored Doritos® or Fritos®
  • Favorite Taco Toppings (suggestions: cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, corn, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Plastic spoons


Crush the chips in their bag. Gently open the top of bag, being careful not to rip it from top to bottom.

Add meat and popping of your choice into the bag. Close bag and gently “mush” the ingredients around. Open the bag and walk around, eating the awesome “Walking Tacos”!



SSD Walking Tacos

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