iFamilyKC Search

Search our Blog Posts:

Search our Calendar:

Search our Directory:

Select a Directory Category:

The little book with BIG resources!

Winter Break With Kids, What To Do!

Winter Break is nearly here and our iFamily Squad has got some fun things planned!  Take a look at this great holiday fun guide from Erin!…

winter break

Winter Break With Kids, What To Do!

Before we know it, the kids will be home from school for 10+ days!  If you’re like me, you are already trying to figure out what to do during winter break and planning fun stuff to do when bored at home!  Here’s a list of 10 fun things to do at home to beat the winter blues!  What’s on your winter bucket list?  Be sure to let us know in the comments what winter break activities your family has planned!

#1 Pajama & Movie Party

Put on your coziest pair of pjs, pop some popcorn, and watch family Christmas movies! We’ve got your holiday movie guide, broken down by age group, ready to go for you so be sure to check that out as you plan to watch your favorite family Christmas movies this season.

#2 Bake cookies!

Before Christmas, I love to get my kids together and bake cut out sugar cookies and decorate them!  They never turn out “magazine perfect” but my kids LOVE doing it and they are perfect in my eyes!  Here’s the recipe I use to our Christmas cut out cookies:

  • 1cup butter softened
  • 1cup sugar
  • 1large egg
  • 1/2cups all-purpose flour
  • 2tablespoons orange juice
  • 1tablespoon vanilla
  • 1teaspoon baking powder

Combine 1 cup butter, sugar, and egg in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed. Divide dough into thirds; wrap in each plastic food wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 400°. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-third at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.

#3 Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

I hear we are supposed to get around 2 feet of total snow in KC this year! If the forecast rings true, it sounds like we’ll have plenty of opportunity to get out and play in the snow! Sledding, snowboarding, snowball fights, and snowman building are all things I’m going to add to our winter to do list!  Snow ice cream, anyone?  Check out this simple recipe for snow ice cream:

10-12 cups of snow

1 tsp of vanilla extract

10 oz of condensed milk

Mix together and enjoy!

#4 Host a Classic Board Game Night

Invite some friends over and bring out the classic family board games and compete against each other! Our Squad loves to host game nights at home and we’ve got your guide for fun games the whole family can enjoy. Let us know what your favorites are!

#5 Start a Book Series

Start a new book series to read aloud with your kids! Choose a series above their reading level to challenge them a bit!

#6 Make Your Own Fun

Make slime/goop/floam! There are so many recipes out there so the possibilities are endless!  Here’s a recipe we made recently called “Frozen Silly Putty”

1 bottle of Clear School Glue (147ml)

The same amount of water (147 ml)

1/2 teaspoon of Borax

1/2 cup hot water

A few sprinkles of silver & blue glitter

A few drops of blue food coloring

#7 Make Ornaments 

Homemade ornaments are such a wonderful gift idea for parents and grandparents. We made some super cute trees out of salt dough with food coloring and dipped their fingers in shiny paint to resemble lights on the tree!  You could also do handprint salt dough ornaments.

#8 Make a Winter “I Spy”

Create your own winter themed “I Spy” sheet with clip art images that the kids can find inside or outside the house!  See who can complete their list the fastest!

#9 Declutter the House

Make room for new toys and clothes and clean out closets/rooms.  Donate unused toys and clothes to charity.

#10 Get a Head Start on 2018

Work on your “Summer Family Bucket list” and come up with a list of ideas to do when school is out for the summer!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 


10 Ways to Balance Life, Work, and Kids’ Activities… Or Atleast How To Fake It

Having a busy schedule is part of life when you’re a mom.  Finding ways to balance life, work, and kids activities will help you keep the chaos to a minimum!  Connie shares a few tips with us on how she balances her crazy busy, wonderful life!

balance life

10 Ways to Balance Life, Work, and Kids’ Activities

…Or At Least How to Fake It

Life is busy.  Crazy busy.  I thought maybe life would slow down once I had kids (nope!). Then I thought it might slow down a little bit once the kids were in school (nope, again!).  The truth of the matter is, as far as my own crazy life, a lot of it is my own fault.  I want my kids to be active and involved in sports and activities if they want to be.  I want to play volleyball.  If my husband wants to bowl, I want my husband to bowl.  I want to be busy.  I want to enjoy life—all of it—time with friends, and family and activities.  Balancing it all—now that’s a challenge.

Currently, I work 5 different part time jobs.  Some are as little as 4-5 hours a week, some are every other week jobs, but all of them are jobs that I enjoy doing.  I do all of these during the day while my children are in school.  I play volleyball one night a week and coach my daughter’s t-ball team as well.

Currently, my son is playing both baseball and soccer.  This means he usually has two games per week of each sport and at least two practices.  Sometimes we miss practice for a game, but we make as much as we can. My daughter is playing t-ball and taking dance and tumbling classes.  Again, this means one night a week at the dance studio and usually two games a week. My husband works full time and bowls one night a week. Most weeks, we have at least one activity per evening, many times, two.  On especially rough weeks, we have three in one night and have to miss something.

So how do I keep it all together?!

Create a visual

In order to keep my life straight, I sit down every Sunday and write out all of the things I have to do that week, starting with Monday.  I make a daily list, and then try to check items off as I get them done every day.  Having this visual helps me keep side tasks in mind as well.  For example, if Monday says Bailey—dance 530-615, Tumbling 615-645 and Mason—Baseball 6pm—this will remind me that I need to find someone to take Bailey to dance class so that we don’t miss Mason’s game and that I need to make sure Mason’s baseball uniform is washed and ready to go.

Get Some Help (When You Need It)

I often enlist the help of my mom if there are more activities going on than I can handle.  She will take my son to practice while I coach a t-ball game or take him to a baseball game while my husband bowls and I coach.  Friends will take my daughter to dance with them so that I can go watch my son’s baseball game.

Have a Plan for the Day 

Even if you don’t always stick to it.  I try to at least know what I have coming up that day and make a mental plan for how I am going to get everything done.  We usually have at least an hour of down time between picking the kids up from school and getting them to their activities.  I use this time to go over any school work they might have, talk about how their day went, get them a snack and just spend some time with them.  We use the time to decompress and just hang out.

Use Extra Time to Your Advantage

Yes, there are days where using time to my advantage means sitting down for 30 minutes and just taking a breather.  But that can also mean using a free moment to switch laundry or read a book to your kids or helping my son with his spelling list while my daughter is in dance class and we’re in the lobby watching.

Take Time for Yourself 

For me this means getting up before my family at 5am and hitting the gym.  I have to have time for myself in order to be a happy and sane mother and wife.  It took a long time for me to adjust to getting up before the sun, but now that I am used to it, I miss it when I sleep in.  I use the gym as my time to focus on me and my mental and physical health.

This also means playing volleyball one night a week.  Volleyball has been my favorite sport since birth I feel like and I love that I can still play it as an adult.  For you, me time might mean getting up early and reading a book and having a cup of coffee before the tiny humans need you to start getting them ready.  It might mean a massage or a manicure or a night out with your friends.  Whatever it means for you, make it a priority.  Schedule it.

Communicate 

I have to keep my husband updated on all of our activities.  We share a calendar so we know what is going on.  We are a team, we help each other out in whatever ways we can.  I don’t add anything to the calendar without making sure there isn’t a conflict.

Know When It’s Too Much 

There are times when I am overwhelmed.  When I feel like I can’t keep it all going or get it all done.  There are times when I am stretched too thin.  Those are the times when I reach out to friends for help or I try to slow things down a bit.  I try to work a little less at some of my more flexible jobs, or I put in some late night time on some baking I’ve committed to and sleep in the next morning instead of hitting the gym.

Plan Ahead 

When I know I have big commitments coming, whether it be an event I am helping host, or a baking gig that requires a lot of time, or a week that I know will be crazy at work, I try to plan ahead and get as much done as I can ahead of time.  I buy the ingredients for the cupcakes the week before I have to bake, I make some of the props/decorations for the Halloween party in September so that I know they are done and I am not rushing through last minute.

Try to Enjoy It 

Yes, being busy means being tired and little to no downtime and stress.  But it usually also means your kids are playing sports they enjoy and getting exercise and making friends, and you are getting to watch them do that.  It means that you have a job that you enjoy, maybe multiple jobs that you enjoy and that are helping provide for your family.  That you are taking care of yourself so that you are able to take care of your family.  It means you are living life.  Enjoy it!

Embrace the Crazy 

While I feel like I have a decent hold on things for the most part, there are days and sometimes weeks where I am just along for the ride.  Know that no one is perfect, no one has it all together, and that everyone messes up sometimes.  Learn to find the funny in the fails and move on.  You’re human, and you’re raising tiny humans who are soaking up everything you do.  Let them see that while you are their superhero parent, you are also a person who gets overwhelmed or who forgets a water bottle for soccer, or who feeds their kids chicken nuggets at 830 because they just now had time for dinner.  They’ll love you for it.

From iFamily to Yours,


4 Easy Ways to Balance Your Crazy Busy Schedule

If there’s one thing that we, as moms, need more of (and just can’t get enough of), it’s balance. Between managing your household, working around your children’s school routines, getting to and from extra curricular activities, and everything else that life seems to throw your way, balance can become overwhelming (and sometimes feel too time consuming).  Bridgette, with the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad has 4 easy ways to help balance your crazy busy schedule!

 

4 Easy Ways to Balance Your Crazy Busy Schedule

I remember, back when I was in school, how exhausted I felt after sporting games, work, and pageants (sorry mom!). But now that I am a mom and a wife, I can fully see just how important plans, balance, and organization really are to a family. So, if you, like pretty much the rest of us moms out there need to incorporate a little or a lot more balance into your life, try incorporating these four small ideas.

#1 Get a Mommy (or Daddy) Binder

I know this may sound crazy but my life is basically written out into multiple organizing items. But my binder is my “go-to” strategy for keeping everything together. Inside, you will find everything from mail that needs to be sent, monthly bill paying spreadsheet, grocery list, to do list and way more. Seeing everything written out on a calendar or a check list makes me feel more organized and able to keep school tracking and home life more doable.

#2 Get a Family Command Center

Lately I have been getting hip to the idea of a family command center. Since I don’t always need my binder just a quick reminder, I can take a glance at my command center to make sure I am on schedule for the day and EVERYONE can see what is ahead.

#3 Get a Planner, Be a Planner

Similar to my binder but more for “mom stuff”. If I plan a girl’s night or have a doctor’s appointment it goes into my planner. I know it may seem a little extra to have a planner as well, but my binder is so big and bulky, It would never be ideal to carry it around with me every single day. A planner is a lot smaller to carry around but big enough to write things down.

#4 Use Your Cell Phone

Last, I have my cell phone. Nothing is worse than writing everything down and forgetting an appointment because you have been hustling and bustling all day. Adding events and dates in my phone allows me to set a timer so I can ensure that I am on time.

Now, you may be thinking this is a nice idea to get organized but how can I balance everything. Well, on top of being organized with dates and times, you will be able to see what you are doing a lot of and what you need to do more of. Are you doing too many extra-curricular activities after school? You can see what days you can rearrange or let go of to allow more family time or time with your spouse. Working too much outside of the house? This will also help you add in those much-needed vacations and breaks from the stress. Having a balanced life makes not only you, but your whole family, happier! The saying is true, happy wife, happy life.

I hope you find these ideas helpful and are able to incorporate them into your life!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 


Pack A Smile With These Creative School Lunch Ideas!

Are you feeling stuck in a PB & J rut already this school year? It can be tough finding new and yummy ideas to send with your kiddos to school!  Here are some creative school lunch ideas from Liz, with the iFamily Mom and Dad Squad!  Take a look…

creative school lunches

CREATIVE SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS

Make life easy on you by grocery shopping for these simple and cost effective foods.  You will have more lunch ideas that will offer your kiddos healthy, tasty and fun meals! Just choose one item from each category, make additions as desired and change it up daily. Remember, high protein foods will help your kids stay full longer. Here are just a few ideas:

Step 1

CHOOSE A MAIN COURSE

  • Grilled Chicken
  • Pasta Salad
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Sandwich
  • Quesadilla
  • Hummus and Pita Bread
  • Tuna Salad
  • Tortilla Roll-Ups
  • Pizza Muffin

Step 2

CHOOSE A FRUIT OR VEGGIE

  • Apple Slices
  • Avocado
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Pear Slices
  • Grapes
  • Celery Sticks
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Bananas

Step 3

CHOOSE A SNACK

  • String Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Rice Cake
  • Crackers
  • Goldfish
  • Pretzels
  • Trail Mix
  • Applesauce

Step 4

CHOOSE A TREAT

  • Fruit Snack
  • Cookie
  • Brownie

Give your kiddos some extra smiles at lunch by cutting their food into shapes! If you are thinking this takes too much time, it will literally take you 5 seconds and most likely increase the odds of your kid actually eating their sandwich. Use cookie cutters to also jazz up fruit or cheese! If your kid isn’t into sandwiches, try skewers!  Use cupcake liners to create cute little compartments within food containers.

Take an extra minute to add a note or a joke to their lunch. This will let them know you are thinking about them and will definitely brighten their day.  If you are feeling uncreative, hop on Pinterest and find free printable jokes. Print off a bunch and have them ready to throw in.  What do you call a fake noodle? AN IMPASTA …. Come on you know you are laughing. What’s the difference between a fish and a guitar? YOU CAN’T TUNA FISH. Ok, I’ll stop, but you get the picture.

A few tips to keep you moms sane is to try freezing individual portions of rice or pasta and reheat before you pack lunch. Freeze drinks the night before and they will double as ice packs the next morning. Print out a list of lunch ideas and keep it on the fridge to stay inspired and organized.

Remember, sometimes the most important thing is packing the lunch your kids will actually eat, rather than the one you want them to eat. And if you have to do PB & J every day, that’s totally ok. They will not go hungry. Happy packing!

From iFamily to Yours,


Tips to Surviving the First Week Back At School

Summer has come and gone and Back to School time is here once again!  Getting back into the routine of begining a school day can be a little chaotic that first few weeks… Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, is here with some tips on Surviving the First Week Back to School!

Back To School

TIPS TO SURVIVING THE FIRST WEEK BACK AT SCHOOL

The lazy days of summer are fading away and the mornings will now be filled with school runs, finding lost shoes and attempting to get out the door on time.  Thankfully, it does not have to be as stressful as it could be.

Here are a few tips on surviving the first week back at school!

Make Ahead Dinners

One of my favorite things to do to add ease to our evening is freeze dinners ahead of time! Take time to make your families favorite meals or make extra portions in the days leading up to school. Cooking dinner will be one thing you can check off of your to do list!

Plan Lunches

Plan your child’s lunches for the week ahead and stock the fridge accordingly, eliminating any unnecessary shopping trips. Even better, have your kiddos help you with your list (with guidelines, of course). If buying lunch is an option, give them a chance to choose a “special day” to buy lunch.

Plan your outfits the night before

…even for you mom! It seems so easy, but I think we forget how this little step can make the morning routine a breeze.

Give your kiddos a to-do list in the morning!

Make a chart that will make it fun getting all tasks their completed. Getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast and gathering up their jacket, lunch and book bag!

Homework Space

Make a dedicated homework space so your child knows exactly where they should do their school work each day. This should be an area separate from the TV or any other distractions. Another idea is to set them up in the kitchen next to you while you are reheating your freezer dinner or making lunches for school tomorrow, because you are on top of it mom!

Start the first days of school with a positive outlook!

You could make your kiddo their favorite breakfast while talking with them about their first days of school. Take advantage of this time and ask them about what they are looking forward to about their day. Also, make sure to check in at the end of the day and ask specific questions about school. This also helps out in case you need to make any changes in their routines.

Whether your kiddo is starting a whole new school or just jumping up a grade we need to remind our kids that everything is going to be ok and we have their backs.  Give them your time, attention and extra hugs this week.  I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration for starting school on the right foot.   Have a great first week back to school!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Planning Fun Family Outings With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps

Is planning a fun family outing a chore in your household?  Today Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shares some tips on how you can eliminate the chaos and put the FUN back into planning those FUN family outings!  Take a look…

Family Outings

Planning An Outing With Your Kids In 7 Easy Steps:

 

The splash pads of Kansas City are some of the easiest and fun places to take your kiddos this summer! Here are 7 tips I have found that help make this summer outing a success.

1- Avoid morning chaos by packing the night before. That seems so easy but that one extra step saves much time and frustration in the morning when everything is ready to go out the door.

2- Beat the heat! A great time To head out is around 9 am before the mid- summer sun hits its peak. Also, it’s not as crowded giving you the option to choose your bench or table in the shade. The same goes for the later in the afternoon when the sun starts to fade.

3- Timing is everything! Allow enough time to play & splash before you head home for lunch and the littles need their naps.

4- The best news, splash pads are free! Just in case things don’t go as planned you will not feel guilty spending any money.

5- Give a good pep talk. I have found with my toddler, getting her to jump up out of bed in the morning is easy when I tell her we are headed to the splash pad! She is so much more cooperative In the process of heading out the door.  She also enjoys knowing what’s going on ahead of time. I let her know where we are going, how long we will stay, what I’m bringing for snacks and what else she can expect from the morning there. In turn I let her know what I expect from her.

6- What to pack.  Snacks and more snacks. I swear my daughter is only hungry when she sees other little people around her eating.  In our bag is her swimsuit, water shoes, swim diapers, hat, towel, sunscreen, water, snacks or lunch in a small cooler & an extra change of clothes for the ride home. If you don’t want to carry an exhausted child to the car after the fun than make sure you bring the stroller.

7- What does mom wear? Be comfy, it’s hot out! You can find me in a tank, shorts and flip flops and often taking my turn to cool off in the water.  If you want to wear a suit and jump in with your kiddos, go for it mama!

There are a few great splash pads around the Kansas City area! Find one that’s convenient for your family, cool off and have fun!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Your Ultimate Guide To Surviving The End Of Summer

Oh how we all anxiously await the sweet days of summer!  Pool days, picnics, family vacations!  But as much as well all love summer, there comes the day when we begin anxiously awaiting the first day of school just as much!  Erin, from our iFamily mom squad is here with some tips on surviving the final days of summer!

A Mom’s End of Summer Survival Guide

 

So, I’m already seeing Back to School ads everywhere but there is still PLENTY of summer left in my opinion. 3 weeks for us! That’s leaves plenty of time for me to lose my mind before the big yellow bus is in view. The days are long and the years are short, am I right moms??  You LOVE your kids and would do anything and everything for them but hands up if you need a break from the crazy, chaotic days of never ending questions, fights between siblings, constant need to be entertained, and my goodness let’s not forget the snacks!  Here’s a few things to help you survive the rest of these summer days and keeping your sanity intact!

Get out of the house.

Seriously. I know it’s hot as the devil’s armpit out there but go to a spray park or go for a short walk or bike ride and bring lots of water!

Call or text a mom friend.

Ok, so maybe you can’t always get together on a whim but I love having a mom friend or two I can send a quick text or call during nap time and vent about my day.  She understands the struggle.

Have your kids help with housework.

It is a TON of work for one person to do housework and pick up after 4 people! My kids are 2 and 7 and they are learning very quickly this summer how to pick up their own rooms, wash windows, sweep, load and unload the dishwasher and conquering the mountain of laundry.  Yes, they will probably whine and not be to happy about it. But, hey,when they whine, I wine!  And they will get over it.

Wind down.

Give yourself a few hours after the kids go to bed to take care of yourself.  Take a bath, drink a glass of wine, read a book, Netflix and chill with your significant other.  8:30 and me are BFFs!  My kids NEVER STOP during the day and I will stay up late just to get that me time in.

Hey Dads this is for you.  

Give your wife a break. Take the kids somewhere for 4-6 hours or tell her “I’ve got this!” and send her on her way to do as she pleases. I have been a working mom and let me tell you there is NO job more rewarding AND more difficult than being a stay at home parent. She needs time to rejuvenate so she can continue being the best mom she can be.

 

From iFamily to Yours,



Shopping Tips: What Eight Things Should You Be Buying Right Now?!

Back to school shopping is on everyone’s minds as summer comes to and end… but what are some other deals to be on the look out for this time of year?!  Sarah, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares some of her great shopping tips with us!  Take a look…

8 Things You Should Buy Right Now 

I always like looking for the best deal, and on most things I can usually find it. But when a major hit came to our budget recently I quickly turned into my mother—deal shopping became super charged deal shopping and only looking at something if there was a 70% off sign above it. This complete mind alteration made me think; last article I listed out where to find the cheapest back to school items, while looking in the latest shopping ads I realized there are a lot of other items on sale right now which I don’t need for my kindergartner but could use for the family!

Bedding

Primarily targeted at those going off to college, but sheets (especially twin sheets) bed décor, rugs and lamps are all on super sale right now. If you were thinking of updating a room in the house look at some of these items; just one or two pieces can drastically change a room.

Clothes and Shoes

This is an obvious one to update the kid’s wardrobe but think about you as well. A lot of places are marking down basic summer items right now and just because it is September doesn’t mean it is turning cold; and a lot of basic items can be worn under cardigans and jackets. Shoe stores are running BOGO events too. When you buy the new shoes for the kids throw in an additional pair for yourself. Bonus points if you can find something on clearance which becomes even cheaper as part of the BOGO! (Channeling my mom on that one!)

Backpacks

Yeah I know, we aren’t shopping for school supplies but hear me out! I was of the mindset that after I got rid of my diaper bag if it didn’t fit in my purse (which is about the size of said diaper bag) then the kids didn’t need it. Then I bought my great, very adult, expensive but on sale, pre-budget- blowup backpack and took it on our latest trip to the zoo. I AM IN LOVE! I still had both hands free and room enough to carry everything from snacks to wipes to my husband’s wallet and still had room for more! This being said, maybe it is time to look for one that is on sale, while not all of them are Trolls or Peppa Pig, some are basic in color and tailored to adults—and on sale!

Sandwich bags and lunch box supplies

Even if my kindergartener decides to take her lunch to school she still eats lunchables, applesauce, and cereal at home, so I will be stocking up on these items when they are on sale in a few weeks. Sandwich bags can always be used in my house; from breakfast carriers in the morning to leftovers, a surplus of these will be much appreciated. Clear out a place on a shelf in the garage to put all of these items.

Kleenex

Along this same line, Kleenex will be on sale right now because every classroom will have you bring at least two boxes per child. However, did you know that most homes use Kleenex as well! Stock up now for every room in the house and put some on that “supply” shelf in the garage! Come cold and flu season you will be happy you did!

Computers and Cell phones

Technology is all on sale right now, although targeted more toward those going off to college. But you can benefit now as well! If you aren’t thinking about buying right now but have some questions take advantage of stores bringing in more “experts” during this time. There will be someone that can answer your questions now about processors and data plans and then when the budget turns around or when you are ready for an upgrade you will know exactly what to ask for!

Swimsuits

This has nothing to do with school but it happens every year—stores want to clear out for their fall lines and swimsuits just don’t fit in. This is where you can take advantage of some great markdowns. Still scared to look in the mirror? It is proven that people are at their thinnest in the summer months; we are more active, tan and because of all the extra vitamin D we are getting we feel better about ourselves.

Patio furniture

Planning a Labor Day bbq? I know that my daughters’ 3rd birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I would love to have some more outdoor seating. Perfect timing! Everywhere is trying to clear out their patio furniture to either make room for school supplies or dare I say it fall holiday merchandise. Wait until about the end of August to get the really great deals; but don’t shop around too much, with good deals these aren’t going to be around for long!

From iFamily to Yours,


8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

Well, Kansas City! It is that time of year again. The sun is (mostly..) shining, the trees are blooming, and the garage sales are forming! If you’re looking to rid yourself of some stuff this summer, check out our Mom Squad Ambassadors tips to make your garage sale fun and successful!

 

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale
This Summer

 

Summer is here! Which means vacations, pools, grilling and—my favorite—garage sales! Here are some Pro Tips on how to throw a successful garage sale together quickly and painlessly.

 

#1 Get the word out.

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

Post your garage sale for free on CraigsList.org. Pick up signs at The Dollar Store and put bold arrows (we’re talking black Sharpie here, not a pen) on them, clearly directing cars to your house from the main streets. Find out if your neighborhood (or a nearby one) is planning on doing a neighborhood-wide sale and piggyback on that traffic.

 

#2 Price to sell.

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

Ok, first: If you want to get the most money out of your stuff, a garage sale is NOT the way to go. Try eBay, CraigsList or Facebook’s Marketplace and connect with buyers who are searching for exactly what you have to sell. Garage sale items need to be priced at you-don’t-need-this-but-it’s-so-cheap-you-kind-of-do-now prices.

 

Kid clothes. These can be really hard to part with, but if you want to move them, you’ve gotta price them $1 piece. Yes, even those precious overalls your toddler looked sooooo cute in.

 

#3 Group smaller items together. 

 

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

Instead of individual kitchen tools, rubber band 3-4 together and sell as a set. We had a whole bunch of toy musical instruments and instead of trying to sell them each individually, I put them in one box and sold them as “A Band in a Box.” Some cool, but foolish mother loved the fun idea as an activity for her kids and bought them.

 

#4 Make it easy.

8 Super Tips to Throw a Successful Garage Sale This Summer

 

I don’t have the time or patience to individually price all my items, so I grouped 90% of my items by price and had a $1 table, $2 table and $5 table. For bigger items, I made signs and taped right on the item.

 

Use sidewalk chalk to advertise prices. Ex. $1 each

 

Don’t mess with coins. Round everything up (or down) to the nearest dollar. If anything isn’t worth a dollar, throw it in the FREE box. Getting something for free will usually encourage shoppers to find something to buy, too.

 

#5 Beware.

Garage sales are prone to theft so be alert and smart. Avoid selling anything small and valuable that you can’t keep an eye on. And keep your sale money on you at all times. Avoid using a purse or cash box that someone can walk away with.

 

Examine large bills. I once had two teenage kids pick up the first cheap thing they saw and try and pass off a counterfeit $100 bill at my garage sale. Fortunately, my eagle-eyed sister rejected it before we lost $95 in change.

 

#6 Get your kids involved.

We lucked out with great weather during our garage sale so it was a good excuse for our whole family to be outside. My kids learned quickly the advantage of clearing out old stuff in exchange for some cash. They each took a table and offered help (probably too much) and assistance in selecting items. If anything sold from their table, they earned a commission.

 

#7 Get rid of it.

If someone wants your beloved lamp for $30 instead of $40, just give it to them and be glad to see it getting a new home.

 

Saturday around noon is about when all garage sale goers pack it up and go home so don’t plan on many customers after that. Right around the noon mark, start making deals. People will buy more when tempted with a good deal. We had one last car pull up while I was just starting to pack up so I told them everything was half off. I made another $90 off stuff that was just going to be packed up.

 

#8 Give it to a good cause.

Repeat after me:  Do NOT bring anything back into the house. Box up anything that didn’t sell and donate it to charity.  These organizations upcycle your items for a good cause and offer free pickup:

Ozanam

Sherwood Center

Or, drop off your items at a Goodwill location near you. Don’t forget to get a receipt so you can claim fair-market value tax deductions for your donation on your next tax return.

 

Becky Ervin is a Creative Director, mother of three, and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 


5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

Spring is in the air, Kansas City! And with spring comes house and yard work. If your home is needing a little TLC or an update…or two, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great ideas on how to update your home this weekend that won’t break the bank! Take a look…

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

 

It is finally spring…at least for the past week or so it has been! Last weekend I ventured outside, raised my hand to block my eyes from the sun that I haven’t seen in months and immediately started sneezing! Allergies from the lawns being mowed and the trees in full bloom. As I ran inside for an allergy pill I realized the outside of our house, like my tan, could use a little refresh! We aren’t trying to sell or anything but it is always nice to not be the house on the block that gets pointed at while the neighbors are walking their dogs. So I did what anyone would do in this situation; I grabbed a lawn chair, a diet Dr. Pepper and googled ͞”How to update my house”…for cheap!͟ After a quick nap from all that googling—I ran to the home improvement store and came out with enough projects to last until Fall.

 

#1 Update your Curb appeal

Even if you aren’t selling, it’s important for your own sanity to keep your house up with the trends and do some quick updates when needed. When we bought our house 3 years ago, it was a foreclosure—great for the price and the fact that there were lots of updates made before we even signed our paychecks away. However one of the ͞updates͟ was painting the front of the house. Yes, for three years, the front of my house was a slightly different color than the other three sides! No one could really notice but once you walked around to the back you could! So we knew that the house needed to be painted, a friend of ours gave us a name and within the next week we were getting a new paint job. So much for planning! Regardless, the house looks so much fresher and cleaner with a fresh coat (of all the same color) paint. Perhaps a little expensive for a quick update, but paint can be used other places.

 

#2 Look to your front door.

The first thing people see when they visit your home; it should be inviting, warm and bright and accent the front of your home. Keep that in mind when choosing a color; you want to accent and not take away; although bright red is a trendy color, you don’t want it looking like your front porch is constantly on fire!

 

#3 Think about the whole picture too

Actually go out into the street and imagine what your neighbors are going to have to see every day! Look at the landscaping, decorations, window treatments inside the house—all add to the whole picture of the front of your home. Landscaping can add 7-15% to a home’s value This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck.

 

#4 Stock up on plants & flowers when they’re on sale.

Plants and flowers are probably going to be on sale right now in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, so stock up while you can. I am awful at plants and flowers; I am really good at realizing we are having a barbeque tonight and running to the nearest plant store to buy an already blooming hanging basket. When my mom comments on how beautiful it is and great job on keeping it alive, I nod and agree! Not too bad for a backup plan either; but this year I thought I would try to grow my own again. If you are like me, stick with easy, drought tolerant, dog and kid tolerant, ͞oh I thought those were weeds!͟ tolerant type flowers and shrubs. I am getting a little better; a few plants I planted last year came up again this year—I consider that progress! In any case get ideas first on landscaping before you head to the store. This will help the wallet and your stability once your get your hands in the dirt! I see the light! And it ain’t pretty If the only change that you have had to the front door or garage door lighting is the light bulb then it is probably due for a little update.

 

#5 Take advantage of a sale on light fixtures

This is kind of like the earrings you would wear with that great new blouse; yeah they are fine on their own but you look so much more put together when you wear them both. If you find that new fixtures just aren’t in your budget right now, just get out the old spray paint! Okay preferably not old spray paint but it is amazing how many colors and styles of spray paint there are now. Metallic and bronze are really popular for outdoor lighting and a simple coat will do wonders with only a few bucks. I love landscaping lighting but because of that previous statement of kids and dogs and rogue lawnmowers I really don’t see them working right now. However this is a really nice way to add some night lighting for added security and ͞landscaping͟ when you can’t see the landscaping at night!

 

#6 When it’s not broke…just paint it!

So as you are painting the light fixtures you are going to want to use every drop of that paint, so you will start looking for other things to paint as well. Think plastic chairs and tables and even floors and paving stones! I haven’t tried this yet but I intend to soon! There is a small patio beside our deck that I struggle with a use for it because most people just stay on the deck. I think this year I am going to try and paint it, perhaps making it a checkerboard pattern and making a giant game board. Or maybe just painting a few paver stones, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

I have seen tons of ideas on painting deck flooring in fun and bright colors; again it is a quick and easy update that can be done for a fraction of what it would cost to build a new one. However, this is a great place to spend some money; new deck chairs, tables, fire pits and outdoor play areas are going to add more value, in terms of family time ,than you know. If you want to wait until the fall; this is when most of these items go on clearance. You just have to shop around and wait for the right deal. And if you don’t find what you are looking for—there is always paint for that!

 

From iFamily to Yours,