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Archive for August, 2008

Home Office Organizing Tips

August 30, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

When running a home office, most people have a small space to work with, sometimes as little as a desk in the corner of the family room.  But, with some creativity and the right equipment, it’s possible to have an efficient workspace.  First, decide what you absolutely have to have, based on the needs of your business.  Beyond basic office supplies, like paper and pens, most people only need a computer, printer and a filing system. 

Let’s start with the biggest problem—paper clutter:

* Throw junk mail away immediately – Keep a trash can or recycling box, near the door just for junk mail, don’t even let it in the house.

* Purchase a hanging file system – These filing systems are designed to hang from a hook on the back of a door, so it can be hidden in a closet.  They usually fold up to about the size of a small brief case.  Label each pocket based on your needs, such as bills that need paid, copies of receipts of payments from customers, and tax deductions (even if you aren’t sure something is deductible, save the receipt and check later).

* Scan and save to disc older papers that you don’t need on hand, but want for reference.  Discs take up a lot less room than the paper, but can be easily printed out if you need a hard copy.

Office supplies can be a challenge, but a few simple storage containers can keep the clutter to a minimum.  Get a drawer divider that has compartments for different sized things.  If you need a “travel office”, a child’s school box or art supply box can make a nice option.  Periodically check your pens, if they are dry, toss them. 

If space is a real premium, consider getting a laptop computer, rather than a desktop.  It allows more flexibility.  Printers are also getting more compact, and are often combined with scanner/copier/fax systems all in one.   The prices are coming down on them all the time, and if you shop around, you can get really good deals with rebates.

If you don’t even have a corner of a room for an office, some people have successfully converted a larger closet into an office area.  You may not have a nice view, but you can install a good light, build a desk out of filing cabinets and some counter top scrap in the closet.  Work with the door open, and when you’re done, close the door and even if your desk is a bit cluttered, nobody will see it from the outside.

Great Resources for Parents

August 29, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children, Healthy Living, Self Esteem, Stress Management, Working From Home No Comments →

The Simple But Amazing Method For Raising Teenage Kids — And Living To Tell About It!”  Raising your teen doesn’t have to be an ordeal (for either of you). Learn how you can enjoy a calm, peaceful, and fulfilling relationship with your teen.

The Better Behavior Wheel: an upbeat, fun, and totally unique approach to child behavior management.

Put An End To The Stress And Frustration Of Sleepless Nights For You and Your Child For Good

Feel Calmer, Happier and Healthier With Increased Levels Of Energy and Greater Self Confidence. At Last, YOU CAN Beat Stress, Depression and Anxiety Without Drugs – Many Clients Report Noticeable Results In Just ONE WEEK…

300 Breakthrough Stress Relief Tips: A breakthrough program that relieves the symptoms of stress and eliminates the causes, actually reversing the stressful habits, attitudes and mindsets you’ve developed over the course of your life!

Stress Reduction for Busy People — Outlines steps to alleviating stress and offers over-stressed people a host of effective, “user friendly” coping mechanisms each of which require no extra daily effort to deploy.

Ready to Use Self-Esteem Activities for Young Children – This remarkable resource provides over 220 illustrated activities to help young children feel good about themselves, develop friendships, celebrate diversity … and accept changes! For easy use, all activities include a specific purpose, materials and step-by-step directions and are organized into six sections

The Power Of Positive Habits E-Book – Learn how to Re-Program your Mind & Body and reach your goals Automatically!

Money Saving Lunch Ideas for Back to School

August 28, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Parenting No Comments →

Hot lunch at school can become quite expensive.   Figure on average, hot lunch costs $2.10 per day if you include milk with the meal.  If you have three children, $6.30 a day, multiplied by five days, that’s $31.50 a week… just for lunch!  Is it convenient for parents? You betcha.  Can it be expensive?  You betcha!

I’m going to give you some excellent money saving lunch ideas.  It’s important to remember that you must not embarrass your children with the lunch you force them to take (egg salad sandwiches aren’t real popular in school).  You need to come up with some fun, tasty meals that will make your child the envy of the lunch table.  The object here is to save money and ensure your well thought-out lunch doesn’t end up at the bottom of the trash barrel.

I remember a day when it was cool to bring a thermos to school.  Mine had My Little Ponies (the original ones) and my brother’s was Lost in Space.  Kid’s thermoses are quite adorable, however a word of caution: they don’t keep hot foods as hot as the trusty metal and glass thermoses.  Just be certain to preheat the thermos with boiling water, and then put the hot food directly into the thermos.  Your hot food should stay warm until lunch time, four hours later.

Leftovers make great thermos food.  Make sure you get a wide mouth, shorter thermos. You could fill it with soup, stew, mac and cheese, hamburger helper, chili, spaghetti and even hotdogs.   Another idea is to fill the thermos with taco meat with the cheese already added.  Then put a hard taco shell or a soft tortilla into the lunch bag and your bambino is ready for a fiesta!
Of course you could also serve cold lunches in the thermos.  How about tuna salad, macaroni salad, or spaghetti salad?  Or fill it with antipasto – variety of meats and cheeses.  Don’t forget about celery and peanut butter or crackers and cheese.  Roll-ups go over well, too.  There are a couple different variations:  Cream cheese spread on a slice of salami, with a sweet pickle inside; or instead of rolling up a slice of salami, roll up a tortilla that is stuffed with ham and shredded cheese.

Forget those pre-made lunches in a cardboard box.  Forget the standard PBJ.  Think out of the box. Economical can also be fun. Your child’s friends will try to trade their lunch for the fun meal you packed!

A Stress Free Morning Routine for Back to School

August 27, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Organization 2 Comments →

School bells are ringing and Moms are receiting lines similar to this all over the world — “Let’s go! Let’s go! Come on … you’re going to miss the bus! I don’t know where your favorite jeans are; it’s not my responsibility. What do you mean you still have homework? Did you brush your teeth yet? Let’s go! I’m leaving… NOW!”

Oh I hope your mornings don’t sound like that above. If you recall saying words like this last year then allow me to help you to turn that ship around. The key to having a stress free morning routine is to have a smooth bedtime routine. Remember, a routine is something that is followed regularly, standard procedures. Without the consistency you will have an uphill battle.

Here are some tips to a stress free morning routine:

• No yelling. Raising your voice, albeit frustrated, is only going to escalate matters.

• Early to bed, early to rise. That one is simple.

• Showers and baths should be taken at night. You think you’ll have time in the morning, but you rarely do.

• Look over all homework for completeness before bed; don’t assume it’s finished.

• Before bed ensure lunches are made, backpack is packed and there are no surprise “Oh I need xxx today!”

• Give singular instructions. Don’t say, “I want you to finish your homework, eat breakfast, get dressed, comb your hair, brush your teeth and be in the car by 8:15.” To a child, that sounds like ” I want you to blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.” One instruction at a time works wonders.

• Set consequences and stick to your guns. If you tell your child the car is leaving at 8:15 sharp, make it happen. Clearly you can’t leave your child behind, so leaving without her isn’t an option. Tell her you will be leaving whether she is ready or not. Sending a 10 year old to school with uncombed hair, pajamas and an empty belly might be just the catalyst for change.

You are the parent; you set the tone for the morning routine. You need to be actively involved in the morning routine. Follow the steps above and I guarantee ‘joy will come in the morning!’

Visit Real Life Guidance to be armed with easy-to-follow advice at your fingertips. All of our guides are available for instant download, which means you can get the help you need any day of the week, even if it’s the middle of the night. –>

Charts for Bedtime and Morning Routines

August 26, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Organization No Comments →

Charts for Bedtime and Morning Routines

“What do you mean you forgot to do that?”  I told you last night before you went to bed.  Well you better hurry or you’re going to miss the bus.”

How smoothly your bedtime routine goes will determine how smoothly your morning goes.  It’s important to have routines for bedtime as well as in the morning.  The best way to keep track of needed tasks is to use a chart.

If you leave it to your memory or that of your children, something will slip through the cracks.  In this fast paced world we live in, and with children’s developing brains, someone will forget.  I don’t know about you, but if something simple at night can make my mornings run smoother, I’m all for it.

There are a couple different options you can use with regard to charts.  One method would be to list each item that needs to be completed in a separate line on the chart.  You could list tasks such as homework completed, lunch made, backpack packed, clothes picked out, showered, teeth brushed.  Whereas the morning chart would be dressed, lunch out of refrigerator, teeth brushed, and dog fed.   Each task could get a check mark or a sticker – depending on the age of the children.

Another option would be to list all that needs to be accomplished on a separate piece of paper or chart.  Leave that on the refrigerator or some accessible location.  Then once the children have completed all their assigned tasks, one gold star, sticker or check mark could be placed on the calendar.

It doesn’t really matter what system you use – as long as it works for your family.  You may get some resistance when you introduce it.  Or you may be pleasantly surprised and the kids will look forward to not only completing their assignments but seeing the acknowledgement for a job well done.

There may be a transition time necessary for both parents and children.  That is to be expected anytime a new routine is introduced.   Hold each other accountable.  Allow them to remind you if you get “too busy” to follow through with the chart.

Make sure you catch them doing something right.  You entire family will benefit from well organized bedtime and morning routines!

Setting Rules and Keeping Them Once School Starts

August 25, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children No Comments →

It’s not always easy to be a child. It’s even harder to be the parent of a child. You have to decide about setting rules and keeping them once school starts, and that doesn’t always make you popular with your children.

Talk about the rules your children will be expected to follow as a family. Listen to what they have to say about the rules, and then decide together upon the consequences for not following them. Be prepared for some differences of opinion, but stand your ground. You may want to write out the rules and consequences, have everyone sign them, and then post them where everyone can see them.

One rule you’ll probably set once school begins again for the year is an earlier bedtime than your children have had all summer. Don’t expect your children to be enthused about having to go to bed before 9 p.m. In fact, if your child thanks you for making them go to bed earlier, you probably want to ask them why.

Choose your battles wisely. Yes, you want to deal with direct defiance and disobedience to established rules. However, if your child accidentally forgets a rule, don’t come down on them the first time. Remind them of the rule and consequence, show them grace, and let them know that will be the only time they won’t receive the consequence.

Be consistent about expecting them to obey the rules and then dole out the consequences that you’ve decided upon together. If you’re not consistent in enforcing the rules, what was the use of creating them to begin with?

Praise your children when they follow your rules. It may not seems like a normal thing to do, but giving genuine praise when they’re not expecting it may help your children work harder at obeying your rules.

Here are a few ground rules you may want to establish:

* Determine what age your children can begin dating.

* If they are able to date, all friends and dates must come to your home so you can meet and get to know them.

* They must contact you if plans change to let you know where they will be, who is driving, and when they will return.

* Insist that your teenagers and anyone they are with are not allowed to drink or try drugs while your child is with them.

* Be available to pick your child up if a date isn’t going well.

* Set reasonable curfews during the weekends and insist that they do not go out during the school week.

* Establish rules for using the internet. Talk to them about not viewing sites that contain violence or that glamorize violent acts, sexual sites, or sites that espouse hate crimes. If they cannot follow these rules, move the computer to an area where you can see what sites they are visiting.

* If you don’t mean what you say, don’t say it. Avoid saying that your child is banned from an activity for a week if you won’t follow through with it. Be sure you’re willing to suffer the consequences along with your child.

Be prepared for your child to test your rules. They want to know that you mean what you say, and ultimately that they can trust what you say. If you’re not ready to set rules and keep them when school starts, you may lose your child’s respect.

Living Positively

August 22, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, Self Esteem, Stress Management No Comments →

Are you tired of hearing all the grumbling and complaining around your house?  Do you ever find yourself just feeling down for no reason?  Maybe it’s time the family has a positive attitude adjustment.  It may take some time to get everyone in the swing of things, but before you know it everyone will be enjoying life more.

Growing up, many of us heard “Can’t died in the poor house”; meaning that saying you can’t do something will get you no where.  How can you bring that phrase to life? Simple –put it into practice. Set up a money jug, and every time someone says something negative, they have to contribute a set amount of money, like a nickel, every time.  You could make it a contest, maybe even between the kids and the adults. Whoever wins by being the most positive, having the least amount of money in their jar after a set period of time, gets both jugs of money.

If you don’t want to deal with using change, you could keep a chart.  Figure out what the reward will be for having a better attitude. Instead of penalizing people when they are negative, you could give a point every time someone is “caught being good” or being especially positive. You could even award bonus points if they are positive despite something disappointing happening, like failing a test at school. 

Another idea is having a time set aside to just share what we’re thankful for. Even though most people do this at Thanksgiving, it is a good thing to do year round.  We tend to take the good things for granted. By being thankful more often, it’s hard to be negative.  Just shifting your focus that little bit can make a huge difference.

A praise board is another way to help the family be more positive.  Set up a bulletin board somewhere everyone will see it.  Give each family member a section of it, or maybe even use small, separate ones for each of the kids on their bedroom doors.  Then everyone gets index cards and they have to write something nice about the person and put it on their board.  Tell each other the things you appreciate about them. Give them compliments.  Encourage them if they are down about something.  When the board is full, take the cards down and put them in a file box. Then if they have a bad day, they can either look at their board, or back through the box of cards with encouraging words just for them.

By just making a few changes, it is amazing how quickly the household’s mood can change.  The little things can really mean a lot.  Once your family starts being more positive with each other, take it a step further and share your good mood with your family and friends.

Pitching in with Housework

August 20, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization, Parenting No Comments →

Housework is a never-ending job.  No matter how much you do, there will always be more to do tomorrow.  You can never get caught up. So how do you make it manageable? Divide and conquer.  Children as young as two can start learning to help around the house.  The earlier they learn, the easier it will be to get them to continue helping around the house.

First, make a list of all the chores that need done around the house and when each needs done.  Some need to be done daily, some once a week.  Sit down as a family and decide who can do which job.  Some people even enjoy certain jobs more than others, just as some jobs are more age appropriate than others.

Many jobs can be shared by a couple of people. Working together can make things go faster.  For example, washing dishes by hand can be a long boring job. But, if two people are doing them together, one washing, the other drying, the work not only gets done faster, you have time to talk about your day together.

Other jobs, such as yard work can be a family activity.  Everyone can help with a different task.  Older ones can handle the jobs that require heavier equipment. Younger kids enjoy using rakes and pulling weeds. But, when pulling weeds you have to be very careful to show them which to pull and what to leave in the ground.

Organizing laundry can help reduce the workload, but only if everyone pitches in. If you set up different baskets for the whites, colors and darks and then everyone puts their own clothes in the right basket, it will help save sorting time.  Each family member has their own basket for clean clothes. Once the clothes are done and folded, the baskets are put in their rooms, waiting for them to be put neatly away.  By each person helping out with their own, it saves time overall.

A chore chart can be very helpful in keeping everyone on task to get their jobs done.  Flexibility should be allowed, in case of illness or special school activities.  Family members should be willing to help each other out to get all the jobs done.  Another way to motivate the family is after a certain amount of chores are completed without having to be reminded, no arguments and done well, the entire family can have a special day.  Maybe a pizza and movie night, or go bowling or something else the family enjoys.

If everyone has a part in helping keep the house in order, they feel more a part of the family. It will help instill a sense of pride and accomplishment. The skills they learn while growing up will serve them well in their future jobs and own homes.

Natural Home Beauty Remedies

August 17, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Would you be surprised to learn that spending a small fortune on beauty products is quite unnecessary?  All of the ingredients you’ll ever need are in your kitchen or pantry cabinet.

Here are three ways in which you can use natural home beauty remedies in a flash.

Olive Oil: You cook and bake with it; but did you know you can use it in a variety of other ways? Because olive oil is chemical free, it can be used on your skin; as a bath oil, moisturizer, massager, and conditioner. For example: You can apply a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice to your skin before bedtime to reduce wrinkles and, at the same time, moisturize your skin. To strengthen your nails, soak them in warm extra virgin olive oil for five minutes. Massage your sore muscles with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and rosemary. Apply olive oil to dry hair as an overall conditioner.  It will leave your hair smooth and shiny.

Oatmeal: Wouldn’t you love a facial? Get out the box of oatmeal from your cabinet and begin. This oatmeal facial will not only exfoliate, but moisturize your skin as well.  Here are the steps: Take out a package of instant oatmeal; add a half a cup of water; two tablespoons yogurt; two tablespoons of honey and one egg white. Mix the water and oatmeal, then add the additional ingredients. Apply a thin layer to your face. Leave it on for about 15 minutes or until you feel tightness; then rinse your face with warm water.

Dry Skin Brushing: Here is a technique that will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Before taking a shower in the morning, use a brush or sponge and begin the dry skin brushing process to exfoliate dead skin cells, and improve your blood circulation. Here’s how to do it: While standing the shower with the water off, start at your feet and begin brushing in small circles toward the upper part of your body.  Then work your way down the back of your body to complete the process. Do not scrub hard, but apply even and light pressure.  After you have completed this procedure, take a shower.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enhance your beauty.  All of the natural remedies are at home and within your grasp.

Quick and Easy Summertime Snacks

August 16, 2008 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children No Comments →

The temperatures are starting to climb.  People are preparing for summer fun and possibly summer travel.  These quick and easy summertime snacks are great for around the house, the pool, or to take with you on a picnic.  Whatever your favorite warm weather activity, these snacks will replenish your energy.

Families think they are busy when the children are in school.  However, the speed of life kicks up a notch or two when the children are home 24 hours a day.  And since they’ll be home, that means your food budget will likely double, especially when you have to provide snacks for your growing boys or girls.

You want your children to eat healthily, whether it’s a regular meal or snacks during the day.  It’s hard to find quick and easy summertime snacks that are healthy, too.  Instead of turning to potato chips or other unhealthy foods, why not give some of these ideas a try.

Plan and prepare snacks ahead of time if at all possible.  This will keep children and teens from reaching for a bag of chips.  Of course, if you don’t buy the junk food and bring it into the house, the children are much less likely to have access to it.  Cut up any fruits or vegetables you plan to use as snacks so they’ll be ready when the children say, “I’m hungry.”

One of the best snacks a growing child can get is fruit – the fresher the better!  Find foods that have deep, dark colors and you’re providing your children with something that tastes great and is good for them, too.  Succulent strawberries, peaches, or blueberries are sure to tame their sweet tooth.

To make this awesome snack, try spreading whole seedless grapes out on platter and freeze them for at least two hours.  They’re just as good as ice cream, more portable, and a great treat to cool your children down.  What’s better for Mom and Dad is that there’s no mess to clean up, so you can even take them on a road trip in the car.

Fruit and yogurt smoothies are also a great treat during the hot summer days.  Besides getting the vitamins and minerals from the fruits, you’ll also be giving your children the benefits of active yogurt cultures that are so important for growing bodies.

When you do go to the grocery store and decide to pick up snack items, make sure they’re quick and easy.  Get granola bars, raisins or other dried fruit, peanut butter, or pretzels instead of potato chips.  String cheese, apples, and celery sticks are also good snack bets.

You can’t go wrong with fresh and healthy when it comes to preparing quick and easy summer time snacks.  The closer to raw you can get them to eat, the better.  Just remember, they’re growing up and need the snacks for extra energy.  When you’re children yell, “I’m hungry,” you’ll know what to do by having snacks ready for them.