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5 Simple Ways to Update Your Home This Weekend

April 18, 2017 at 7:17 PM • Posted in Organizing Family ChaosNo comments yet

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,

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring

March 27, 2017 at 8:26 PM • Posted in Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring

It may not feel like it, but spring is here! And with spring comes cleaning and organizing. Some of you may have some…piles of stuff that you’re unsure what to do with. Why not throw a garage sale? Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great and simple tips to throwing a successful garage sale. Get out those signs, organize those piles, and get to pricing!

6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring

 

6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring

 

I am sure that all of you read my article last week, spent all day Saturday and Sunday organizing your house and now you have a pile of stuff that you just aren’t sure what to do with. No? Not yet? So let’s imagine that you have organized your home and carefully put things into the piles of keep, give away, or reuse/sell. All of these categories have an action to their name; but only one is going to make you some money! Been eyeing those darling shoes, maybe planning a Disney vacation (stay tuned on that one!) or maybe you just want some extra cash to help pay for the spring baseball league for your little Salvy. I know we all have a need to get a few extra dollars in our pockets, in that case let’s have a garage sale!
To begin, I hate garage sales. I hate going to them, I hate negotiating to get the best deal, I feel awkward walking around people’s garages! But some people are downright experts at them. My mother in law for instance is a pro. I gave her an “ask” last year; size 10 tap shoes because my oldest was starting tap in the fall. By the end of the day she had in her possession not one but two pairs of tap shoes, one in a 10 and another in a larger size. And this was just the beginning, she has a driver (aka my father in law) and she knows what the rest of the sale holds just by looking at the few things in the front. She is as close to expert level as you can get. So some of you out there are experts in going to garage sales but how are you in having garage sales? I am no expert either but I thought I could get close by doing a little research which I will share with you. So get your pile of stuff and price gun ready!

 

#1 Get a Tough Skin

First, get a tough skin! I get that this is your stuff that you worked long and hard for. That incredible collection of beanie babies that was once worth well over $400 has now been reduced to a few pennies and that makes us very upset. Get some tissues and put the 5 cents sticker on them because they are moving out! And that goes for the rest of your stuff too. Even though you paid $20 brand new does not mean that you will get $15 out of it, depending on the item you will probably get $5. Rule of thumb is 20 percent of what you paid for it.

#2 Plan your work and work your plan.

Make sure that you, your family and your home is safe. The house should be locked and by no means a stop for the restroom for anyone. Doors, gates, windows should be locked and blinds should be closed. Get a babysitter for the kids or organize a playdate for that day mainly because you don’t want to have to keep an eye on them around cars and the busier than normal street but also because chances are if you put a toy in the sale, even though they haven’t played with it (or even seen it) for 3 years, they are going to want it back! As for yourself, make sure that you have a cell phone or house phone nearby. Larger bills and money should be hidden; if you can bribe a friend or spouse with lunch and have them sit with you, all the better!
Clean out the garage for two reasons. First because you want to make sure that all items that you aren’t selling are out of eyesight to potential buyers and unfortunately thieves. If you can’t hide them, it’s best to put a tarp over them so there is no question. Second, you are going to need a place to lay out everything to make it easier on sale morning to just drag out and go.
Speaking of sale day…

#3 Plan your date just like you planned your wedding.

We can’t predict the weather but aim for a time when the weather tends to be drier and milder. Most people go with a Friday and Saturday morning but you could throw in a “moonlight madness” sale if you want to catch those after work and especially if the weather is threatening. Also like your wedding; it is important to let people know when it is. There are several online advertising avenues that will allow you to list for free; there is always the local paper and bulletin boards at the local grocery store. Extra credit if your town or neighborhood has their own designated garage sale date—load up on their free advertising! Timing depends on you, unlike your wedding, the earlier the better so people can go before work or before starting their normal Saturday, make sure it is convenient for you and count on one person there at least 30 minutes earlier! Once that is done that’s it—like it or not people will be at your house at 6AM on Friday to buy your stuff! You better have things to buy or a lot of doughnuts! And change—don’t forget this important thing, the first sale of the day will be a 10 cent item paid with by a $20 bill. Make sure that you have fives, ones, LOTS of quarters, dimes and nickels.

#4 Utilize tables as much as possible to get your stuff off the ground

Make tables if you have to out of saw horses and plywood. If you have to have things on the ground put something under them, like a sheet, blanket or tarp. If you didn’t store your belongings on the ground in your home; people aren’t going to want to buy them if you put them on the ground during the sale. The only thing that should be lower than table height (albeit still off the actual concrete) is kids toys. You want those right at eye level for those little munchkins to see, touch and buy!

 

#5 Make sure items are clean & all parts are in tact

Speaking of toys, this is going to be your draw along with baby furniture and baby clothes. All new parents say they want all new things for their baby (and they may spend the money on that first one) but chances are for a second or third kid they are looking to garage sales! Make sure your items are clean and all parts are on, near, or if they are missing make sure they are clearly marked; if it is something that doesn’t impact the use of the product most people aren’t going to care that much. For baby clothes; try and hang as many as possible, especially outfits and new clothes that may have the tags still on them. For anything that is damaged or stained, put this in a free bin. It could entice buyers and some of those clothes can be used for other things like doll clothes.

#6 Organize, organize, organize!

One site I read said to organize your items like you would see in a department store keeping like things together (kitchen, bath, etc.) Also organizing one area for men’s items is always great as well. If you are lucky enough to have your spouse help you then park them over there; it will help fill their time too! Make sure there is enough space to walk around and try not to hover over people as they shop but be available for questions or negotiations. As I was looking through my stuff in the “give” pile, I noticed that I was throwing it away because it was just a drawer without the dresser (don’t ask me how this happens) or a bedside table with no rhyme or reason. Instead of taking up room in my “I will find something on Pinterest to do with this later” file why not search on Pinterest now for something to do with it, print out the picture and tape it on the drawer; now someone could be “Pinspired”! I also laughed at my cousin for doing this at a garage sale we had many years ago but it worked for her every time! She had plenty of kids’ highchairs and strollers, she went online and printed out the product specs for the same or similar item along with any recalls associated with it and made sure it listed the price. Everyone who bought said it was because of this attention to detail and it showed them what an amazing deal they were getting!
Good luck my fellow garage sellers! I will report back my learning’s after mine scheduled for May!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Simple Questions to Help Get You Organized this Weekend!

March 22, 2017 at 8:00 AM • Posted in Organizing Family Chaos1 Comment

Happy Spring, Kansas City! As temperatures are still attempting to figure out if it’s winter or spring, a lot of us are gearing up for spring cleaning. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great tips to inspire you to declutter, get organized, and simplify your life. Take a look…

3 Simple Questions to Help Get You Organized this Weekend!

3 Simple Questions to Help Get You Organized this Weekend!

 

I get absolutely giddy about organization! But I hate to do it. I would rather listen to the Frozen and Trolls soundtrack on loop for the rest of my life than have to organize the toy box. And yes, I know what you are going to say; isn’t it time to have those kids do it? Probably, but I am still too controlling to let them do it but I am trying to get better! But what does make me absolutely giddy is the last moment when everything is in its place and it is almost like the world seems a little happier because of it! In researching for this article, I visited several websites and all had their little tips and tricks to get organized and stay organized. Most of these websites showed pictures of before and after shots—they didn’t lie they looked amazing; the problem was I didn’t see what was so wrong with the before shot! This made me realize that I need to take a little trip around my house and get to sorting!

A good rule of thumb to begin with is asking yourself three questions—Have I used this in the past year? Will I use this in the coming year? And is there a better spot where this could be used? (That last question I threw in, I will explain later.)

Have I Used This in the Past Year?

First of all, “Have I used this in the past year?” This primarily works well for clothes, shoes and purses or bags. If you haven’t worn it and can’t see yourself wearing it then by all means throw it out; or donate it and get a little break on taxes. I know that most of my clothes are work wear, so instead of donating them to Goodwill please look into donating those straight to an organization which helps get women back in the workforce, fortunately (and unfortunately) there are so many throughout Kansas City.

Will I Use This in the Coming Year?

When asking “Will I use this in the coming year?” go back to the closet and look at the pile of clothes that you want to get rid of; are they out of style or truly will never fit again? Then go ahead and donate them. But if they are in style but may just be too small or too large take a look and see where else you may use them. Think: pants that are too short for long pants but with a little hemming would look so cute as a pair of cropped pants. Or a shirt that maybe is missing a button that was never fixed or if you were to cut off the sleeves and just use the collar; next winter would be perfect addition to dress up that sweater or cardigan without adding bulk! I realize the goal here is to de-clutter, but sometimes putting things to use in other ways will help in the long run.

Is There a Better Spot Where This Could be Used?

Finally, “Is there a better spot where this could be used?” Again I realize the point is to purge those things we don’t use; but I don’t know how many times I have hosted a party and used things from around my house to decorate. Most of “my room” in the unfinished storage area of the basement is shelves of (organized) bins with items that may be nice to have for parties in the future. It drives my husband nuts, but when it comes down to it I save a ton by reusing. Using this same logic for the rest of the house, for instance, that large bowl that just hangs out in the cabinet with no lid and no real use; now it could hold all those extra lids so they aren’t flying around the cabinet.

Other Tidbits of Advice

So now that we have de-cluttered the house. Take a walk through and see where we can “store like with like” and “organize in zones”. Shelves are a good start for this; every shelf should have liked items matched together where they make sense and if they don’t it’s okay not to put it there! Think clean.

Another great place—the toy area! I have read so many times to avoid having toys in the living room– keep them in a toy room or in bedrooms. I get it but let’s be reasonable, the toys in my house obviously are alive and keep walking from the playroom to all corners of my house. I can’t explain it but I can remedy it.

Don’t put storage bins in places where you want to keep toys away from. You may think you are helping the cluttering problem but in fact you are adding to it by inviting more.

Typical Problem Areas

And finally the kitchen! Another great place for clutter! Let’s start with the fridge—always a place for magnets and pictures and reminders and so on and so on. Take all of that stuff down; put an info center on the back of a pantry or cabinet door. Display the kids’ artwork but be mindful of it; display it in a picture frame that you can change out from time to time. Or make a clipboard that can hold all those priceless works of art, after a little while graduate those to a storage bin for each child’s memories or (and I hate to break this to you) your child is not a Van Gogh—in fact if Van Gogh’s mother had to de-clutter I guarantee that she would have thrown some of his “priceless” works out as well.

I could go on and on about this topic as so many have done before me; but I won’t bore you with details. I don’t claim to be the expert nor does my house look perfect at any given time. But I do get on kicks where I do try and organize things better, kind of a “yearly review” of how the house is working and how it isn’t. Plus I am already listening to the Frozen and Trolls soundtrack on loop so organizing the toy box now and then won’t break me!

Stay tuned for next week when I give you some tips about hosting the perfect garage sale! Great timing with all that stuff you are bound to collect!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

January 26, 2017 at 3:09 PM • Posted in Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

Hello, Kansas City! We here at iFamilyKC are always looking for ways to save money for our readers. One of the simplest ways to do that is to cut cable. With the wide array of streaming services available, it’s hard to justify cable much anymore, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky gives some tips of how to get rid of it for good and what you can replace it with. Take a look…

How to Get Rid of Cable for Good (and What to Replace it With)

How to Get Rid of Cable for Good
(and What to Replace it With)

 

Fun fact: The average cable bill jumped to over $100/month last year. That’s $1200 a year. That’s, that’s, that’s a big chunk of change.

Four years ago my husband and I decided to drop our cable and we haven’t looked back since. For us, it was less about the money (although at that time we just had our 2nd child, so all savings were appreciated) and more about the fact that we realized we were wasting our time watching a bunch of junk (hellllloooo reality shows).

The good and bad with cable is that there is always something to watch. I was watching The Real Housewives like I was going to be tested on it. My husband should have earned some kind of badge for his loyalty to Whale Wars, Gold Rush Alaska and Pawn Stars. We were out of control. It had to stop. We had human beings to raise. If you’re thinking about cutting the cord, set yourself up with success first:

 

#1 Get a high-def antenna

Giving up cable doesn’t mean giving up TV. With a high-def TV and antenna, you’ll still get all the networks crystal clear. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, WB and more.

 

#2 Get a TIVO

Like I said, you’ll still have plenty to watch, but not every time you feel like watching. Record the shows you want to watch and then sit down to watch them when you want to watch TV, not when the TV wants you to watch it.

 

#3 Get a Netflix or Amazon Prime Subscription

Both of these are great fillers when network shows are on hiatus and your stash in your TIVO is low. It’s also a great way to watch binge-watch cable shows.

 

Honestly, the only time we wished we did have cable was when the Royal’s were in the playoffs which was aired on cable only. But can I tell you how exciting it was refreshing an app on our phones for stats while listening to the game on the radio? It wasn’t. BUT, that was a few weeks. We made it through. And with our $1200 savings each year, we can also make it to a beach in Mexico. Olé!

 

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

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

January 24, 2017 at 12:43 PM • Posted in Educational Fun for Kids, Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

All of us are back to school, and hopefully, find some sort of groove as we find ourselves at the end of January (can you believe that?!) However, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has some great tips for easing back into a schedule after winter break for homeschoolers. Take a look!

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

 

Since summer 2016, I have seemed to ask myself daily many questions that I have yet to answer. How long should we focus on one subject? Are they lacking in one subject? Is this too easy or too hard? All of these questions and more are constantly swimming around in my head when I start to think of our home school progress. But one question seemed to literally pop in my head during my kids “winter break”. How do we prepare to get back in the swing of things after winter break?! My eldest daughter still attends traditional school and when my youngest were in school they all just kind of got thrown back into the lion’s den. I knew how it went! So we had a routine, the day before would be a lot similar to the very first day. We would lay out clothes, pack lunches, do hair and make sure they were in their beds on time! But now that we home school, there really is no rip off the Band-Aid approach. There is no prep day, butterflies or first day excitement to worry about.

 

 

So after an hour+ rummage through Pinterest, I found that there was no guide, step by step or tips for going back to school after winter break. NOTHING! I was so lost and worried at the same time. I didn’t want to throw them back into fact fluency and tests on properties and matter after they just had a great time off. My goal was to allow them to adjust themselves back into our routine as quickly as possible so they wouldn’t feel over whelmed or get the “back to school blues”. The truth is when you home school, a lot of the “rules” seem to go out the window. Unless you choose to stay on a strict daily schedule, you find yourself moving times, shifting lessons and even taking an unplanned day off for you and your kids sanity.

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

 

So, as our first, first day back from winter break as a home school family I have learned this. There are no great expectations, there are no ways to really get prepared and there are really only a few complaints. Once I told the kids they would start back on a certain day, they grumbled of course and a few times before starting our first round of lessons. I found even a change of scenery made it a lot more comforting. So, instead of logging in and getting to work, we headed downstairs to our loft’s business center and set up stations. One was on a computer and the other two were working in their books. Plus our residence has a coffee bar down stairs which includes hot cocoa so…. Yea they were happy!

I’m sure as our years continue with home schooling things will change, I will become more confident and the kids will be a lot more use to how things work. So to all you homeschoolers out there, remember this. As long as you and your kids are growing in love and knowledge, IT WILL ALL WORK OUT!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year’s Goals

December 30, 2016 at 12:23 PM • Posted in Holiday, Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year’s Goals

Good morning, Kansas City! As we say goodbye to 2016, many of us are looking forward with goals for the new year. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has some great strategies to set your 2017 year up for success. Check it out (and have a great and SAFE New Year!)

5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year's Goals

 

5 Quick and Easy Strategies to Help Your New Year’s Goals

 

It’s no surprise that when the New Year rolls around, everyone will have their resolutions underway, or they are setting their goals in place. But one thing about the New Year is for sure. How you start it will set a tone for the remainder of the year!

When I start thinking of the upcoming year, I like to think about all the things that went wrong, went right or I didn’t get to do! In case you don’t know me, lists are like my little mind saving, stress reliving life saver! I make lists for just about everything, so why not for the upcoming year?!

 

#1 Find a Calendar

When I start planning, the first thing I do is find a super cute calendar! In my mind, if it’s pretty it will keep your attention lol. I find a cute calendar that I can place in my “mommy binder” (how I keep my #momlife in order), and I fill it with our set in stone dates i.e. birthdays, Holy Days, anniversary and so on. Knowing the dates and seeing those written keeps me from double booking our days and allows me to work other schedules around them!

 

#2 Set Goals for Yourself

Second, I set my goals for ME. I set my weight loss goals by dates, my blogging and promoting times and anything else that I need to take care of that are for me, (hair, threading, girls night etc). Once I have those dates marked down, it gives me some peace of mind knowing that no matter how crazy or hectic my life is, I can plan my “escape” and enjoy a little me time! I’m sure you also get wrapped up in what your families have going on and often forget or neglect time for yourself. I chose to put my dates second because I know that they are needed and if I put them in last or after my family’s dates, my calendar will fill up without me!

 

#3 Add plans from the other people in your family/life

Third, I add everything dealing with my kids and husband. We home school so most of what I plan for them are school dates, field trips and fun days to kind of get them out of their routine and have a little extra “school free” time. I also add in appointments for the Dr. Office, dentist and I make little notes to ask for referrals for specialists so I won’t forget!

 

#4 Reflect on areas of improvement from the past year

Fourth, I think about all the things that went wrong during the year, my short comings or things that I need to get better at. Once I know what those are, I hit up Pinterest for a little motivation. Pinterest has great motivational articles, pictures and tips.. so go crazy! I have two boards specifically for motivating me as a mom and wife and they truly have helped me more than I would have thought.

 

#5 Set the Tone

Fifth, I set the tone! I tell myself that the upcoming year will be great! I remind myself of all the things that I want to accomplish in my home or in my business and I burn it into my brain! My husband and I sit literally for an hour or so and talk about how things are going to get better or change for us in the New Year. The more I talk about the things I want to change or accomplish the easier they become to achieve them!

 

I hope you had a great year and I hope your 2017 is even better!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

brigettev8

 

 

 

 

 

 

emailsignupforblog3

 

 

25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

December 24, 2016 at 11:56 AM • Posted in Coping, Holiday, Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on 25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

Christmas Eve is upon us here in the metro area and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably frantically getting in those last minute errands that you’ve been putting off forgotten about, baking holiday treats, and cleaning the house in anticipation of loved ones later this evening (or in my case, first thing tomorrow morning). It’s okay, we can all be superheroes from time to time, right?! Don’t stress out, it’s all going to be fine…right? RIGHT? Thankfully, our very own iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Leah shares her 25 tips for managing holiday stress with us right here on the blog. Take a look…

25 Ways to manage holiday stress

25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

If you are anything like me you are guilty of trying to do a thousand things at once. I find myself being  pulled between trying to locate the “perfect gift”, attempting to stay on budget, pull money out of thin air, working more hours to afford “the perfect gift”, ordering things online, and trying to create time to wrap gifts all while trying to balance my daily tasks. Needless to say this momma is wore out.

The holidays tend to add so much stress and chaos to our already over packed lives. Yet, their intention is to the opposite. This year I am determined to approach things differently. I don’t want my son to judge holidays based around how well I may or may not handle stress. We all know that kids see everything even when we think otherwise. I want to make sure he sees me handle things with grace. After all I cannot expect him to if I don’t.

It really is my goal to learn how to master stress so it does not master me. I know that I will not be able to completely avoid stress. However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot try to handle it better when it arrives. I have found some pretty simple ways to help make your holidays a little less hectic. I hope that you can find one or two them useful.

#1 Take an Epson Salt bath – for an added stress relief add essential  oils

#2 Create a daily gratitude journal- use this to remind yourself what you are grateful for in yourself and others

#3 Go outside for a walk or run- being around the sunlight can improve your mood

#4 Instead of stressing out over dinner give yourself permission to order out

#5 Turn on some good music

#6 Have a glass of wine

#7 Have a cup of tea- there are so many teas out there to help you relax

#8 Give your partner a massage then have them return the favor ( or just book an appointment at a salon)

#9 Go get your hair done… I always feel better after a good hair cut

#10 Set a budget and stick with it

#11 Schedule a lunch date with a friend  and share a good laugh

#12 Turn off your phone so you can get stuff done without being distracted

#13 Try to give out “group gifts” when you have to buy for a family. This will help you stay on budget. You can buy them a movie, popcorn, snacks, etc. Plus this encourages them to do something as a family.

#14 Pace yourself- you do not have to do everything in one day. I find it useful to break my to do list down to a daily list instead. This also helps me feel less overwhelmed.

#15 Take a break and go do something fun as family

#16 Go see some Christmas lights and get yourself back into the Christmas spirit

#17 Light some candles around the house

#18 Meditate – this is an amazing stress reliever

#19 Go to the gym

#20 Call a friend or a family member that puts you in a good mood

#21 Get some sleep

#22 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

#23 Don’t sweat the small stuff

#24 Remind yourself that if something does not get done there is always tomorrow

#25 Listen to yourself- only you know your limits

To follow Leah further please go to her page at  www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

From iFamily to yours,

Leah

leah_ifamilykc_momsquad25 tips for managing holiday stress

emailsignupforblog3

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

September 22, 2016 at 1:00 PM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

Helllooooo, Kansas City! I don’t know about you all, but I am ALWAYS looking for easy (and cheap) ways to get organized. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has a fantastic calendar that has helped her reign in the chaos of every day life. Check it out!

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this
Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Fall is always a time of change. School is back, sports are in full swing, the holidays are on the horizon and wardrobes need to be adjusted. I don’t know about you, but it seems to take me awhile to get used to my family’s new schedule. Having young ones in the house makes it a bit tougher. My kids are too little to read a calendar, and anyway their sense of time isn’t the best. (My littlest says everything, from her latest nap to her last birthday, happened “yesteryear”.)

 

Around the time I was getting dizzy explaining when gymnastics was (tomorrow’s tomorrow’s tomorrow) our French teacher gifted the girls with a train depicting the days on the week. (Merci, Madame Zoé.) It was large, with each car the size of a sheet of paper, and the kids and I dutifully colored it and hung it on the wall. Staring at it, inspiration hit and I decided it could help me keep the kids (and me) aware of our schedule.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

I went online and found free clip art that worked for our activities. We had a girl with a backpack for school days, girls doing gymnastics, an Eiffel Tower for French class and we even found an elderly couple for when grandparents were coming to visit. (Not that you are in any way elderly Mom and Dad!) I also printed of a sun, which symbolized ‘today’.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

Every morning my kids move the sun and they can see what they have going on. If they want to know how far away something is, they can count the train cars. It has worked out AMAZINGLY for us. Granted, it only represents a week, but my kids don’t really understand more than that.

 

Organize Your Family Chaos with this Simple & Cheap Calendar!

 

The best thing about this is it is FREE and totally customizable. Do a theme, size and activities that work for you. We keep our spare clip art in an envelope and I update the train as needed. Also, now that my eldest is learning to read, we have labeled some things, to help her learn. What do you think? Could this help in your home?

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

 


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Gotta Catch ‘Em All: What You Need To Know About Pokémon Go

August 11, 2016 at 1:02 PM • Posted in Family Events & Activities, Organizing Family Chaos, Safety TipsComments Off on Gotta Catch ‘Em All: What You Need To Know About Pokémon Go

If you are a 90’s baby like me, or even if you just loved the show, chances are you spent a lot of time watching the Pokémon cartoon and movies, trading cards, battling on your Gameboy, or were involved in make believe games with your friends on a quest to be the very best. Chances are high that you now have Pokémon Go downloaded on your phone. Or maybe your children do. I’m here to share helpful information and tips on the game that everyone is talking about. Take a look…

pokemon_go_logo

About  The Game:

Pokémon Go is a game you can download on Android and IOS. The player is on a quest to “catch ’em all” as they explore the world around them. Pokémon Go requires the player to have the application open and uses GPS and data services. The player walks around his community, explores parks and monuments, and tracks pokémon around them. The player can catch these pokémon. Future updates are rumored to allow trading and battling between other players. As players explore the world around them and gain experience, they will reach higher levels in the game. Once a player is on level 5, they will select a team to join and can battle at the various gyms around them. Players can collect eggs to hatch random pokémon, visit Pokestops to collect helpful items. Pokémon Go is free to download and play, but players have the option to purchase items within the app. The recommended age for this game is 10+.

How To Play:

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you will be prompted to register and select a username. Please take caution in selecting your username. It is important to select a name that does not provide personal information because if you take over a gym, your username will be displayed for any player around the gym to see. You will then be able to customize your character and begin the game. You will begin by catching a starter pokémon. Pokémon will appear at random as you are walking around. You can tap on that pokémon if you’d like to catch it. Once you’ve selected the Pokémon, you will be on a screen that shows you a pokeball. You will hold down the pokeball and flick it in the direction of the Pokémon. It is important to pay attention to the target ring around the Pokémon. Ideally, the ring will be green. This indicates that the Pokémon is easier to catch. Orange rings mean harder and red is the hardest. You will want to flick the Pokéball towards the ring when it is smaller in size. Information about the Pokémon can be found if you tap on it. You can see how strong the Pokémon is by its CP (combat power). The higher the number, the stronger the Pokémon. This means the Pokémon can be a good advantage in the gym once you begin battling. After you have thrown the pokeball, the ball will shake. If the ball shakes three times, you have successfully caught the Pokémon. Sometimes they escape and other times they run away. At higher levels, the Pokémon get stronger and harder to catch. In the backpack icon, you can select items to help you catch them, such as a raspberry. In order to level up, you have to gain experience points. Points are earned by catching pokémon, evolving pokemon, or visiting Pokestops.

Pokemon Go

Pokestops:

As you walk around town, you will find Pokestops. These are indicated on your map. Once you are in range, you can select the pokestop and spin the coin. At the pokestop, you will gather pokeballs and other items, such as eggs or raspberries. You will also gain experience points each time you visit. You can revisit about every 10-15 minutes. Pay attention to your map when you are searching for Pokestops. Pokestops that are surrounded by hearts have a lure attached to it. Lures are used by players to attract pokémon to the area. Any player can take advantage of this if they see a pokestop with a lure. Lures last for 30 minutes. Certain areas attract more players because of the amount of pokestops. Hot areas around town include the Independence Square, Zona Rosa, Nelson Atkins art museum, and the Plaza. These are usually loaded with pokestops and Lures.

Items and Equipment:

There are several items you can collect or buy in the game that serve a useful purpose.

*Incense: attract pokémon to you for 30 minutes.

*Lucky Egg: gives you double XP for 30 minutes.

*Eggs: hatch into potentially rare pokémon after you walk around for a specified distance.

*Egg Incubator: must be used to hatch an egg.

Pokémon

Pokémon are found as you explore the world around you. You will have a map indicating pokémon near by in the right hand corner. Underneath each pokémon are footprints. These indicate the distance away from you. One footprint indicates the closest pokémon. If you haven’t caught, evolved, or hatched the Pokémon to register it in your pokedex (that tracks all your pokémon), a gray silhouette will appear on the map instead of a picture on the map like the ones you have caught. You can tap on the Pokémon to target it. Pokémon are evolved and can be powered up after you have caught them by using stardust and candies. Stardust is collected every time you catch a pokémon. You will have to collect stardust to power up the Pokémon. Candies are collected through catching pokémon and transferring them. These candies are specific to each pokémon. For example, a Charmander can only use Charmander candies to evolve or power up. You will typically earn three candies each time you catch that pokémon. You will earn one candy for transferring it. You want to keep the Pokémon with the  highest CP and transfer the duplicates. Your pokémon can even be named!

Gyms

Once you have reached level 5,you can battle in the gyms. Gyms are found at various locations like pokestops. You will select a team from the following: Team Mystic (blue), Team Valor (red), and team Instinct (yellow.)  At rival gyms, you can battle the Pokémon left to defend it in order to capture the gym for your team. You will attack by tapping on the screen. Special attacks can be made after the blue bar is completely filled. You will simply hold one finger down on the screen. You can also dodge attacks by swiping left or right. If you capture the gym for your team, it will turn to the color of your team and you will leave a pokémon there to defend it. At friendly gyms, you will train your pokémon and gain prestige for your team’s gym. This will level up the gym to make it harder to take over.

Tips and Tricks :

*Watch for rustling leaves on the screen. This indicates a pokémon near by.

*Pokestops that are more popular, such as the Independence square, will benefit you more.

*Collect pokémon in their “natural” environment. For example, water pokémon will be found near lakes or rivers. Electric pokémon can be found near transformers or gas stations. Ghost pokémon can be found  near graveyards. Always remember to be respectful of the areas you are in. Please pick up after yourself and don’t wander into someone’s backyard without permission.

*Try drawing a circle around the pokeball before you throw it in order to have a curveball.

*Join the same team as your friends to help each other secure gyms.

*Utilize the power saving tool in the settings. Your battery will drain quickly if you use the game frequently. It might be wise to invest in a portable charger if you plan on playing for long periods of time.

*Don’t play and drive. Be aware of your surroundings. Eggs won’t hatch at high speeds and it is incredibly dangerous. Rumors in different areas indicate that some users are being placed on a soft ban for a few hours if they are traveling too fast.

*Always remember to be safe, cautious, and have fun! And please… Try not to get too mad when the servers are down. 😉  

As you go out to play the game, please be mindful of your surroundings. Don’t travel onto private property, make safe choices, and never travel alone after dark or in dangerous areas.

From iFamily to Yours,

Emily

EmilyM_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

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Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

July 17, 2016 at 8:00 AM • Posted in Mom Resources, Organizing Family ChaosComments Off on Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

Hello, Kansas City! Half the summer has already flown by, can you believe it? And not only does that mean we need to get as many BBQs, ball games, and swimming pools in as we can — it also means moving season for a lot of us. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, recently went through a family move and has a few tips to share with you. Take a look…

 

Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

 

My husband and I recently bought a new home for our family.  We are finally settled after a few bumps in the road, along the way.  We have two young children and the very thought of moving our family of four, from packing to moving day, was extremely overwhelming!   So I thought I’d share some ideas that helped us make a smooth transition to our new home.

 

Before packing

  • Sort through every room and find things you don’t need, don’t fit, toys your kids have outgrown and donate them. Many thrift stores are happy to accept your gently used stuff and it is tax deductible.
  • If you have time, organize everything specific to that room. I have a happy little toddler that likes to carry things from room to room.  So if you happen to find the hairbrush in the dishwasher or the toilet wand in the living room, return those things to their proper spot before packing up.
  • Gather newspaper, black sharpies, and boxes. You’ll need more of those materials than you think you will.

Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

Packing

  • Try your best to pack one room at a time. Leave only the essentials unpacked (Think paper products, bath needs, a few outfits).
  • Label the boxes for which room they belong to.  Involve your kids in the process! After we were done packing my daughter’s room, I had her label every box with her name on it.
  • Pack a suitcase for every member of the family for the first few nights just like you would for a vacation.  Include a favorite lovey or blanket for comforting your kids since they won’t be used to the new house yet.

 

Moving day

  • If you have young children, I would recommend if at all possible to find a babysitter for the day.  It can be a very stressful environment for all involved and you will probably get more done with the kids off to grandma’s house.
  • Involve the older ones in the process.  Allow them to help put things on the truck and make sure they get rest breaks with water and snacks.
  • Plan to have a “campout” in the new house the first night.  Everyone can sleep in the same room and get to know your new home.

Moving with Kids: 12 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition

Other tips

  • Take time to say goodbye to the house you are leaving.  I’m sure your family has had lots of wonderful memories of your current home and it is a bittersweet time, especially for children.  It may be sad for them, but reassure them that it is okay to be sad. Remind them you will be creating some special memories in your new home as well.
  • Try to get the kids’ beds and rooms set up as soon as possible so they can get used to their new rooms.  Having their things available soon will help them feel more comfortable with their new surroundings.
  • After you are all settled, introduce yourselves to your neighbors and if your kids are changing schools, drive by the new school. If the school is open, see if you can take a tour when you enroll. We drove by my daughter’s school and were pleasantly surprised to see swings! Her old school didn’t have that.  So you may find some fun surprises by doing so.

 

Have you moved recently with your family? What things helped your family make an easier transition?  Feel free to comment with your ideas!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

ErinB_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

 

 


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