5 Tips for Back to School Success

September is here and that means back to school! Whether you are a student, teacher or parent, going back to school can be a big change. Make the transition back to school easier in your house with these helpful tips…

 

1 – Move bedtimes up. We all get in the habit of staying up late during the summer. Now that September is here it’s important to establish a better bedtime routine (especially for kids). Move bedtime up by at least 30 minutes.

 

2 – Keep a calendar. Everyone has busy schedules in the fall with school, sports, clubs and activities. Keep a printed calendar of all of these weekday events.

 

3 – Make a kitchen command center. This is a great place to put your calendar and schedule for everyone to see. Keep hanging file folders or shelves nearby to keep important documents that the kids will need for school. (Think medical documents, permission slips, teacher’s contact information etc.)

 

4 – Meal prep. If you’re back to packing lunches it’s a great idea to meal prep on Sunday to be prepared for the week. This will save you tons of time in the morning when you’re trying to get out the door on time.

 

5 – Get caught up on laundry. There’s nothing worse than having nothing to wear while you’re running late in the morning. Take time to catch up on laundry so everyone in the house has what they need during the week clean and read to wear.

10 Tips For Hosting a Successful BBQ

Fourth of July is this weekend and if you’re hosting a BBQ you’re probably in full planning mode! Before Sunday arrives make sure to check out our tips below for hosting a successful BBQ with your friends and family.

 

1 – Get a headcount – You want to make sure you have enough food and drinks for your guests. Get an accurate headcount from your guest list tonight so you know what you need at the grocery store.

 

2 – Know what your guests eat – Do some guests have special dietary concerns or allergies? Make sure you have options for them so they are able to eat and enjoy themselves at your party!

 

3 – Make sure you have all the cooking supplies – No one wants to be running out to the market for missing items the day of the party. Think about condiments, ice and charcoal now!

 

4 – Make the perfect playlist – No party is complete without the perfect playlist! Music streaming services offer plenty of options and some have already put together 4th of July playlists that are perfect for your soiree.

 

5 – Have activities planned – Put out some games for your guests if you have the space! Think lawn games like cornhole or badminton for some outdoor fun!

 

6 – Think of the kids – Make sure you have food and beverage options on hand for any little ones who will be attending the party (i.e. juice, water, snacks etc.)

 

7 – Have a bad weather back up plan – Rain can certainly ruin any party. Don’t let it ruin yours! Make sure you have a backup plan and a space for guests to go if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

 

8 – Have festive accessories – Nothing says 4th of July like red, white and blue apparel! Pick up some beads, glasses or hats for your guests to wear while they celebrate!

 

9 – Prepare for the sun and bugs – Stock up on bug spray and sunscreen and have it out so guests can help themselves if needed.

 

10 – Have fun – The most important tip is to remember to have fun! Hosting a party can be stressful but if you follow these steps you should be well-prepared and able to enjoy yourself.

 

10 Cooking Hacks to Save You Time in the Kitchen

Do you hate cooking at home and find yourself ordering out more often than you should? Start ditching the delivery and cut down time in the kitchen with these awesome tips and hacks.

 

1 – Like breakfast sandwiches but don’t want to make one every morning? You can poach a dozen eggs at once using a muffin tin. Refrigerate/freeze the eggs and pull one out to reheat on your toast each morning.

 

2 – Fast forward your fruit ripening by keeping your fruits in a paper bag.

 

3 – Making mashed potatoes? Don’t waste time peeling the skin. Instead, boil them with the skin on and it will fall off in the water. Better yet, mash them with the skins on for a more textured mash potato dish.

 

4 – Use cooking spray to coat your measuring cups. This will help keep foods from sticking to them when baking.

 

5 – Having leftover pizza? Reheat it in a skillet on your stove top rather than the oven to save time.

 

6 – Love a morning smoothie? Put your fruit and veggies into freezer bags. Put one in the fridge each night to throw into the blender the next morning.

 

7 – Put a piece of white bread in your cookie jar to keep your cookies from getting hard and eventually needing to be tossed in the trash.

 

8 – Dice up a bunch of vegetables and store them in freezer bags. These are great to use as soup starters. You can toss the pre-cut veggies in your crockpot and add your desired broth.

 

9 – Having a birthday party? Pre-scoop your ice cream and put them on cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Pull one out for each plate at cake time.

 

10 – Need to soften butter on the counter? Cut it into tablespoon sizes .The smaller pieces will soften a whole lot faster than the whole stick.

5 Ways to Save on Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

We’re about two weeks away from the big day! If you’re hosting this year you’re probably getting your final headcount, making a menu and cleaning for visitors. Hosting a holiday can certainly be expensive but here are ten ways you can save this year.

 

1 – Ask your guests to bring something. Don’t try and do it all yourself. If you supply the turkey then ask your guests to bring the sides and dessert. This will save you both time and money.

 

2 – Want a fancy table? Head to your local Dollar Store for some decor. You can find cloth napkins, greenery, LED candles and more that will help your table look beautiful on a budget.

 

3 – Limit your drink menu. Don’t try to personalize your bar menu by having something specific for each person on your list. Instead stick to two beverage options and water.

 

4 – Wait for local deals before buying your turkey. A lot of grocery stores will have sales on turkeys before the big day. Check out your local paper for inserts that announce the sales.

 

5 – Having guests stay over for the weekend? Don’t go crazy trying to prepare a fancy guestroom. Add some travel toiletries in a basket in your bathroom. This will let your guests feel welcome and right at home.

5 Ways to De-Clutter in the New Year

The holidays have come and gone once again and it’s time to put away the decor and organize our homes. Feeling overwhelmed with the tasks of getting things cleaned and organized? Try these ten tips…

 

1 – Move all of your holiday decor to one spot. Take it down and put it on your kitchen table (for example). You’ll see everything you have and be able to decide if you want to purge anything before packing it away for next year.

 

2 – Get lots of clothes for Christmas? Now is the time to clean out your closet and donate old clothes before hanging up the new ones.

 

3 – Kids tend to get lots of toys for the holidays and when you mix their new toys with old ones it can create a big mess. Now is the time to purge old toys! Donate ones that are gently-used and make room for the new toys.

 

4 – A lot of people want to eat cleaner when January rolls around. If that sounds like you, now is the time to declutter your fridge and pantry. Pull everything out and toss anything that is expired. Start fresh with healthier foods in a clean and organized space. Don’t put the food away until you’ve wiped down and sanitized all the surfaces.

 

5 – Don’t forget about your car when de-cluttering. Now is the time to clean out those consoles and cup holders and vacuum the interior. When you’re done cleaning make sure you have all of the safety essentials in place for winter (i.e., a scraper, brush, sand and all fluids topped off.)

5 Tips For Taking Care of Your Real Christmas Tree

There are still 3 weeks until Christmas. Make the most of your real tree (and make sure it lasts) with these great tips!

 

1 – Give it a fresh cut on the bottom. This will re-open the tree’s source of getting water.

 

2 – Keep it away from any heat sources. Being close to heat will force the tree to dry out prematurely.

 

3 – Make sure to check the tree’s water supply every day and water it each morning.

 

4 – There is no need to add anything else to the water. Plain water gives the tree everything it needs.

 

5 – Make sure your tree stand holds enough water. It should easily hold at least one gallon of water.

5 Ways to Improve Your Morning Routine

It’s fall….school is in full swing, schedules are back on track and we’re all waking up earlier. Still having a hard time adjusting to a morning routine? Try these tips and start feeling more like a morning person in no time.

1  – Make your bed immediately after getting out of it. That will decrease your chances of jumping back in after you’ve gotten up for the day. You’ll also feel tidier and more organized right away.

 

2 – Don’t waste time looking at your phone. If you lay in bed looking at your phone you’ll waste time you could have used to get yourself ready for the day. Leave the phone off or on silent until you’re ready to walk out the door.

 

3 – Have a coffee maker? Try adding your water and coffee to your machine the night before so all you have to do is press the start button after waking up. The smell of coffee will give you a much-needed boost of energy.

 

4 – Give yourself enough time. Instead of snoozing your alarm, make sure to give yourself enough time to not feel rushed. Read the newspaper or watch the news on TV before walking out the door. You’ll feel informed, relaxed and ready to start the day.

 

5 – Do a little cleanup. Put your dishes away, tidy the living room and clean the laundry off the floor. You’ll feel much better leaving a clean home than a messy one (that you’ll have to come home to later.)

6 Ways to Get Back in the “Back to School” Routine

Summer vacation is officially winding down. Soon it will be time to start setting alarms, packing lunches and sticking to stricter bedtime routines. It can be tough getting back in the swing of a schedule after spending the summer at home. Help your kids get ready for the upcoming school year with these tips…

 

1 – Start heading to bed earlier as a family. No more week nights of staying up late! Get the kid’s body’s used to a different and stricter sleep pattern now instead of later.

 

2 – Establish a place in your home that will be your student’s study space. This will be where they store their books and backpack and this is where homework will be done.

 

3 – Shop for lunch box essentials now. Start filling the pantry with items that you can easily pack for school lunch so you aren’t scrambling the night before school starts.

 

4 – Shop for school supplies together with your kids. Let them feel involved and excited by picking out their own backpacks and notebooks.

 

5 – Check with your school registrar to make sure all forms for enrollment are complete. You may need additional paperwork that you can start collecting now.

 

6 – Go over the school bus route so you and your children are comfortable with where they will get on and off the bus for school.

5 Tips for Setting a Table for a Dinner Party

Hosting a dinner party this weekend? Before you pull out the plates and flatware, keep reading to find our tips for setting the perfect dinner table for guests…

  1. Use a table covering of some sort (one that fits the theme of the night.) A tablecloth or table runner adds a beautiful touch to a standard dining table. Don’t have a table runner? A roll of brown craft paper can give a fun DIY touch to your table.
  2. Fill a glass water pitcher with cold water earlier in the day and pull it out to place on the table at dinner time. That way guests can refill their glass as needed.
  3. Try a fun napkin fold for the event! Watch this video here for some folding inspiration.
  4. Add the decor. Head to the local supermarket and get some fresh flowers to add to the table. Use small LED candles on the table as well to give your dinner a warm ambiance.
  5. Don’t forget about dessert! Save room on the table (and time) by plating your desserts ahead of time and keeping them in the kitchen. You can serve with coffee right after the meal.

5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Whether you decided to eat healthier or keep your home clean and organized, keeping a resolution can be challenging. Before you start getting frustrated or thinking about throwing in the towel, check out these helpful tips!

 

1- Make your goal very specific. Instead of saying “I’m going to be healthy in 2018” make your goal more specific by saying “I’m going to exercise three times per week in 2018.”

2- If you need someone keeping tabs on you to keep you honest, make your goals and resolutions public. Share your goals on your social media account or with a friend and share your progress.

3- Reward charts aren’t just for kids. Make a chart that you can check off to keep organized. List all of your household cleaning chores and check them off as you complete them. Reward yourself with something special when you’ve completed everything.

4- Make your goals progressive. Instead of making one big goal to reach by the end of the year, make smaller goals that you’ll hit each quarter to build up to the bigger goal.

5- Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you slip back into old habits it’s okay. Don’t give up – you can always jump right back into a new lifestyle without ruining your plans for the year.