You Don’t Have To Be Late!

Posted 07-1-2016 at 01:12 AM by JPMP

Businessman Running To Catch Bus Stop

 

Getting yourself ready is hard enough, but if you have kids you’ve easily tripled the amount of time needed to get out the door. Over the years I have found a few ways to help me arrive at my destination in a timely fashion, and I’d love to share them with you!

Plan Ahead

Set out the cereal, bowl, and spoon on the counter the night before (please keep the milk in the fridge) along with your keys, bag, and anything else you usually waste time searching frantically for before you leave.

Make sure the diaper bag is packed the night before, and double check that there is gas in the car. Nothing like being late because you had to stop for gas!

Decide on what you’ll wear the night before, even if you don’t set it out.

Set out each child’s full outfit, including socks and shoes.

Curl your daughters’ hair the night before, or put it into a few braids so that it will be nice and wavy in the morning. This is also a great tip for you as well!

Set Multiple Alarms

An alarm to wake you up, another to let you know that it’s time to wake up the kids, another as a 15 minutes before warning, and the last one to tell you to get out of the house right now.

Set Your Car Clock 5 Minutes Fast

My mother taught me this trick. There is nothing like feeling like you’re late, only to realize that you actually have an additional 5 minutes to spare. Another great place to set the clock ahead is the stove clock, I find myself glancing at that one to pace myself as I leave.

 

If you are cursed with constantly being late to things, I urge you to try a few of these tips. They have saved me quite a few times in my quest to get ready.

Do you have any tips to help your family get ready and out the door faster? If so, please leave them in the comments!

 

Diaper Swapers

How To Avoid Airplane Ride Chaos With Kids

Posted 06-30-2016 at 01:12 AM by JPMP

Child using tablet computer during flight

It’s Summertime! That means we’re headed into Vacation-time! If you have a fun trip planned this Summer that requires an airplane ride and you have small children, don’t fret! I have some easy tips you can follow to ensure that you have a tantrum-free flight.

First of all, talk about the airplane beforehand (especially if it’s their first flight) to dispel any fears and get them excited. Pull up photos of what the plane will look like, talk about how taking a plane gets you to your fun vacation faster, etc. Another great way to do this is to watch a children’s movie with planes in it. That way they can build up excitement before you head out.

Buy a few new toys and surprise them with them once you’ve boarded the plane. Novelty is your best friend. The new-factor will engage their attention for that much longer, and add to the excitement. Make sure to bring toys that don’t have small parts that can fall off the tray table and get lost, though. Nothing will bring on a tantrum faster than losing Mr. Lego Guys’ head. A great way to keep toys from falling is to buy a Velcro mat to adhere to the tray table and stick Velcro onto the bottom of a few toys. Even if you hit turbulence, they most likely wont go anywhere, and the Velcro is a new and fun experience for the kids that should keep them entertained even longer than normal. (My mom would stick a small piece of Velcro onto the bottom of checkers pieces and in the middle of each square so that we could play checkers on the plane without the pieces sliding around. There are lots of clever ways to add Velcro to your activities.)

Bring the iPad, or a portable DVD player if your airline doesn’t offer movies in the plane. Whether they play pre-downloaded games or watch a show, the technology is sure to keep them distracted and less likely to start whining.

Have everyone chew bubble gum (or, if they aren’t old enough for gum, have them suck from a bottle or sippy cup) when the plane is taking off. This will help their ears adjust to the change in pressure and keep them from hurting. Be sure to have some candies and snacks packed for the ride, too. Especially if it’s a long flight. This will save you a lot of money on buying food in the airplane or at the airport, and can serve as something to bribe your crying toddler with (ha, just kidding. Sort of…).

Those are just a few tips to try out as you head out on your airplane trips this Summer. If you have any other ideas for keeping kids happy during the flight, feel free to comment them down below!

 

 

Saving Money While Going Out To The Movies

Posted 06-11-2016 at 10:02 PM by JPMP

Reaching Out at 3D Movie

 

There are so many good Summer Blockbuster movies that will be coming out soon, and I’m sure your kids have all mentioned over and over again just how excited they are to go. But with how expensive it is to head out to the movies lately, it can put a real strain on your wallet to make that a regular activity. Because I have a husband who is obsessed with watching movies in the theater, I have learned a few tips and tricks on how to save money when we head out to the movies.

  1. Get a rewards card. After years of hearing “Do you have a rewards card you’d like to use?” And always responding with a “No,” we finally decided to sign up for one. Best decision ever. The Megaplex theater’s rewards card is fantastic. You just swipe it each time you make a purchase (or enter in the card number if you’re buying tickets online) and you rack up points. After only a few purchases, you’ll have coupons print out just about every time you get your tickets printed! We’ve gotten free concessions, free movies, and considerable discounts, at no extra cost to us!
  2. See if your local theater has a discount day. The Megaplex theaters in Utah all offer $5 tickets to all of their movies, all day, every Tuesday! (But only if the movie has been out for at least a week. If it just came out the Friday before, it’s likely that you’d still have to pay full price.) We call Tuesdays our “Tuesday-night-movie-night-date-night”. Each Tuesday, if there is a decent movie out, we head on over to a theater and make a date of it! It satisfies my husbands’ immense love for watching movies, and it keeps me and our budget happy as well.
  3. Buy a refillable mug. Though they may cost a bit to begin with, they are going to pay for themselves (and then save you money) in no time. With each refill only being a dollar, you’ll save yourself a lot of cash after only a few uses.
  4. Sneak in a few treats. (Shhh, you didn’t hear it from me!) Even just bringing in one boxes of candy per person from the grocery store can save you a lot of money based on how expensive concessions are.
  5. Buy a refillable popcorn bucket. I didn’t even know that these existed until about a month ago! If you’re a big popcorn fan and don’t love the idea of emptying your wallet each time you want to get a bucket, then grabbing one of those is definitely a good idea.
  6.  Save your disposable popcorn bucket. If you don’t want to buy a refillable bucket, you can make the most out of the disposable one that they give you when you order a large popcorn. Most theaters will give you one free refill! So make sure you hold onto it and take it into the theater next time you go to the movies.

Try out a few of these tips, and see just how easy it is to save a few dollars when headed out to see a movie with your family. If you have any other ideas for saving money on going to the movies, mention them in the comments below!

Date Night Ideas For When You Can’t Find A Babysitter

Posted 06-8-2016 at 09:59 PM by JPMP

Happy man embracing woman while cooking food

 

Say you’d been looking forward to going on a date with your significant other for some time, and the babysitter gets sick and can no longer watch the kiddos. Don’t give up on your date night! There are still plenty of fun ideas you and your spouse can do even if the kids are home.

Distract the kiddos

If they’re old enough, turn on a movie in another room for them (bonus points for supplying treats as well) and have your date in another room in the house. If they’re too young to be left unsupervised with a movie, wait until they are put to bed before starting your date night.

Choose a date idea

1. Cook a romantic dinner with grown up food and bring out the china, tablecloths and candles! (You know, all the stuff that has been stored out of reach ever since the kids came along?) You can make the date even more fun by dressing up all fancy.

2. Have a picnic in the backyard, or even the front room! Just lay out a blanket and eat cross-legged on the floor. Even PB&J’s will taste better when you eat them in a unique new place.

3. Make your own movie night indoors. If you can get your hands on a projector, project the movie onto a wall. Stock up on popcorn and other movie theater treats and cuddle up on the couch. With more comfortable seating and unlimited access to treats and drinks, you may not miss the theater at all!

4.  Break out the board games! Even the cheesy ones that you’ve played over and over again with your little ones can end up being so much fun when you’re just playing one-on-one with your partner.

5. Have a cooking contest. Each person has to make the same food, but with their own twist. For example, both of you can cook pasta, but it’s up to you to decide which type of pasta you create. Whichever dish turns out best, wins!

6. Take YouTube dance lessons! This is such a fun idea. Simply search for a tutorial on a particular dance style, and get dancing!

7. Head to the backyard to roast some marshmallows and star gaze. You could even set up a tent to hang out in for a few hours.

8. Have a spa night! Give each other massages and relax to calming music. You can even both try out a new exfoliating face mask!

 

These are just a few of the many stay-at-home date night ideas there are out there. Honestly, just as long as you’re both together and focusing on each other, it doesn’t matter what you end up doing. Just making sure that you set aside a few hours each week to do something fun together will work wonders on your marriage.

 

If you have any stay-at-home date night ideas, please share them in the comments!

Extend The Life Of Your Beauty Products

Posted 06-5-2016 at 09:59 PM by JPMP

Makeup tools

 

Beauty products, from eyeliners brushes, all cost so much money. And they seem to go empty so quickly! I have found that there are lots of little things you can do to extend the lives of your beauty products. Even getting one more use out of each tube of mascara you buy can add up! I have listed 3 of my favorite tips below, enjoy!

Cut your bottles in half

There is more lotion (or foundation or concealer… etc.) hiding at the bottom of the bottle, or around the sides, than you know. If you simply cut whatever container you have in half and use something to get that last bit out, you are probably looking at another one or two uses!

Magic mascara trick

Don’t throw away that mascara once it seems like it’s dried up! If you follow this “magic” tip, you can probably squeeze another few uses out of it!

  • Seal the lid on your mascara.
  • Run some hot water in your sink and hold the bottom of the tube underneath the hot tap for about 30 seconds. (You could also place it in a container with hot water.)
  • Once it’s gotten warm enough you’ll dry off the outside and when you go to use it (because of all the humidity inside the tube) you’ll  find it works just like new!

This can save you from having to run to the store before an event if you have gotten down to your last dried-up mascara. (I have found that this also works pretty well with liquid eyeliner as well!)

Give your brushes a bath

If you simply clean out your brushes even once a month, you can keep them from wearing down from all of the makeup that is usually caked on them. You’re also doing your skin a huge favor by reducing the bacteria that you’re exposing it to each time you do your makeup. Think about it, your brushes have tons of dirt, makeup, oils and bacteria on them right now! But don’t worry, I have just the solution for you!

  • Mix roughly two parts natural dish soap (to disinfect) with one part extra virgin olive oil (to moisturize) on a plate
  • Swirl your brushes into the mixture and gently massage it into the bristles
  • Rinse them under warm water and let them dry on a paper towel

Do you have any other tips to get the most out of your products? If so, please share! 

Ideas For A Special Memorial Day

Posted 05-25-2016 at 04:17 PM by JPMP

Veterans Cemetery

 

 

Memorial day is just around the corner, and no matter what you usually plan to do for the holiday, I have a few fun ideas to help make it extra special.

  • If you’re visiting graves, have the kids pick out a bouquet of flowers from flowers you have growing around your yard. Or, let them pick out a windmill or bouquet from the store. If they get to pick out what gets placed at each particular gravesite, it will make them feel more included.
  • Have everyone write up their favorite memory of a loved one who has passed and go around the table at dinnertime, or take turns as you stand by the grave to read aloud your fond memories.
  • Have a barbeque! It doesn’t need to be a large event and you don’t even need to invite anyone extra. Just grill up some dinner and eat outside!
  • Wear red, white and blue and decorate the house with a few patriotic decorations. Whip out the American flags and other patriotic items that you usually only set up for the 4th of July, they’re perfect for Memorial Day.
  • Have the kids write letters to soldiers thanking them for their service. You should write one as well! Memorial Day is meant to memorialize lost loved ones and family members and for remembering the brave veterans who gave their lives to serve. There are so many great organizations that get the letters sent out to troops, and there are likely a few drop-off locations in your area!

It doesn’t take much to make Memorial Day more than just a day off from work. Spend time together as a family and try out a few of the above suggestions, or make some new traditions of your own this year!

 

Let me know in the comments if you have any Memorial Day traditions that you’d like to share!

 

A Yummy Alternative To A Bouquet Of Flowers

Posted 05-23-2016 at 04:16 PM by JPMP

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School plays, talent shows, dance recitals, oh my! Are you sick of gifting the same boring bouquet of flowers each time? While they may be beautiful, flowers eventually die. And when given the option between flowers or candies, I’d say that the majority of children would choose the latter. (Though in all honesty, the flowers may last longer than the candies…;) )

This bouquet is super easy to make, and only requires a few supplies:

  • Wooden sticks/skewers (I used 12 in bamboo skewers and cut a few of them down so that the candies would be at varying heights)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Assorted wrapped candies
  • Tissue paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Decorative ribbons

It’s pretty simple from here. Plan out the different heights of each candy on each stick before gluing them to make sure that they will all look nice together. The more stick that can be glued to the back of the candy, the better. It will keep the candy from wiggling around and keep it more secure. Trim a few of the sticks down if you have smaller candies that would look best in the front below others.

Once they are securely hot glued to the sticks, hold them all together and use a rubber band and a little more hot glue to hold the sticks together where you want them. Then wrap it up with a few pieces of tissue paper, secure that down with another rubber band, and hide the rubber band with a decorative ribbon. I added a small iron-on butterfly that I had on hand with another dab of hot glue.

And… you’re done! If you use the rubber bands and hot glue appropriately, you’ll find that you have a sturdy bouquet of candy to gift to that lucky performer. They’ll love how creative it is among the fields of flowers they receive, and the extra work that you put into assembling it and choosing their favorite candies will just show them how much you mean to them.

 

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A Few Ways To Make Your Graduate Feel Special

Posted 05-22-2016 at 04:16 PM by JPMP

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It’s officially graduation season! The school year is coming to an end (finally!), and for many, it’s the completion of something important. Whether it’s the end of Preschool, High School or College for your child, it’s a huge milestone and should be celebrated accordingly! You don’t need to do much to let your graduate know just how proud of them you are.

Decorate their room (or dorm) on the day of the graduation ceremony

Walking in to see an assortment of decorations in their school colors will be sure to make their day. Balloons, confetti, streamers, you name it!

Make a personalized lei

There is so much room to get creative with this one. Whether you fill the lei with their favorite candies, trinkets, or even money (bonus points if you fold the money into different origami shapes), they’ll be sure to love it.

Decorate the top of their cap

This is a trend that I didn’t even know existed until I graduated just a bit ago. Depending on the school rules (and whether or not you’re renting the cap) you may be able to decorate the top of your graduates’ cap! There are a few different ways to do this, and all are relatively simple. You can cut out a piece of fabric or paper in the dimensions of the top of the cap and decorate that before securing it with glue, or you can simply glue down stickers directly to the cap. Whether you decorate with their favorite colors and character stickers for a Preschooler, a fun quote for your High Schooler, or something pertaining to their major for your college grad, it would be a fun surprise and something that will make your graduate stand out from the herds of other students all wearing the same thing. (Which could also help you recognize them if there is a crowd :) ) Just be sure to ask the school before you do any decorating. There may be rules in place that prevent any customization.

Put together a scrapbook

Go digging through your old photo chests and pull out all the school-related photos you can find. This is particularly meaningful if your kid is graduating High School or College. A book filled with photos from their various first days of school and their previous graduations along with some old school art work, papers, and report cards will take both of you down memory lane as you look at just how far they have come.

Celebrate after the ceremony

You don’t need to throw a huge party to let your graduate know that you’re proud of them. Just invite family and friends to attend the ceremony and then go to a favorite restaurant afterwards.

 

There are so many fun ideas for letting your graduate know just how proud of them you are. You can go all out, or keep it simple, but as long as you put some thought into it, you’re sure to make their day.

 

Do you have any unique ideas for celebrating your graduate? Feel free to sound off in the comments below!

 

 

 

“Magic” Homemade Ice Cream, A Science Experiment And A Treat!

Posted 05-19-2016 at 11:45 PM by JPMP

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Homemade ice cream is one of my most favorite Summer treats. I love that it’s so rich and soft, and you can customize it so easily with syrups and toppings!

I have a super easy recipe for homemade ice cream that will take you 10 minutes max to make. Plus, the way it’s done is going to seem like magic to your kids. They’ll see you pour sugary milk into a small bag, place that bag in a larger ice-filled bag, they’ll shake it and squish it and voila! Ice cream will be made!

  • 1/2 cup Half and Half
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar (you could try substituting in honey or agave)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 gallon-sized bag
  • 2 sandwich-sized bags
  • About 3 cups crushed ice
  • 1/3 cup rock salt (if you don’t have any rock salt table salt will work fine)

(This will make roughly one serving. You may need to do this a couple times, or double or triple the recipe and use larger bags.)

Pour cream, sugar and vanilla into one of the small bags, and then double bag it by enclosing it in the other small bag. (This will keep the mixture from leaking during the process, especially if you have kiddos shaking the bag.) Add ice and salt to the large bag and then put the small bag with the mixture inside as well. Seal the large bag. Now hand it off to a child to shake it and gently squish it. Continue for about 5 minutes or so, checking on the consistency of the cream every few minutes.

This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about liquids changing states to become more solid as they freeze. You may also need to explain that adding salt to ice will make it colder, and that way you can make ice cream faster!

In no time you will have completed a fun science experiment and made a yummy Summer treat!

 

Boost Your Curb Appeal This Spring!

Posted 05-12-2016 at 11:55 PM by JPMP

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It’s not just the inside of your home that needs a good Spring-Cleaning this season, there are a lot of simple fixes you can do to make the outside of your house look great, too! Even small things can make a huge difference in your home’s appearance, making it look fresh and pretty.

1. Paint your front door. A fresh coat of paint (or stain), whether it be in the same neutral color or a fun new shade, will instantly make your house look nicer. Cracking and peeling or faded paint is an eyesore.

2. Pull your weeds! Nothing detracts from a home’s beauty like unruly landscaping. As annoying as it may be, spend a day pulling out those weeds and spraying your yard to keep them from coming back. You’ll feel so accomplished afterwards when you see how drastically it improves your yard. Also, be sure to keep on top of mowing your lawn. Grass can quickly grow out of control and really diminish your curb appeal.

3. Plant stuff! Head to the nursery and pick up a few plants. Some bushes and shrubs to fill up space and some flowers for pops of color. You don’t need to be a landscaping expert to spruce up your yard with some pretty plants. You can even string up a hanging basket by your front door for an easy improvement project.

4. Spread fresh bark. I love bark. I think that when paired with flowering plants in particular, it looks amazing. Pick up a couple bags from your local home improvement store and spread it in-between your plants. The rich color will bring out the color in your flowers, and it hides the not-so-pretty rocks and dirt below.

5. Pick out new house numbers. Simply changing out the metal numbers you have on your house for fresh new ones can have a big impact on your home’s appearance. There are so many cute ones that you can buy, and there a lot of DIY’s as well (you could even paint them to match your front door)!

6. Change your knob hardware. There are lots of really cool knobs out there, like this fun modern one. Door knobs, especially ones that you use frequently like your front door handles, tend to fade and get discolored. Change them out to freshen up your door.

7. Power Wash your front porch and driveway. Whether you pick up a nozzle attachment for your hose or not, spray down all of your concrete areas. Winter usually leaves behind lots of dirt and grime. Spraying down your steps and porch and sweeping away dead leaves will help a lot. It also doesn’t hurt to give your sidewall (and any other area that picks up a lot of dirt) a nice spray as well.

Those are all super simple and relatively inexpensive ideas to keep your home looking pretty this Spring. Be sure to give a few of them a try, and comment below if you have any other tips and tricks for keeping your yard and home looking well-maintained as we head into these lovely Summer months.