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Archive for November, 2009

Holiday Gifts For Men

November 27, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Mommy Rambles, Organization 2 Comments →

It’s nearly 2010 and real men accessorize. They get manicures, dress well and enjoy wearing sophisticated scents, too. These days, being sexy and chic doesn’t conflict with being strong and masculine. This holiday, the best gift to the man in your life should reflect his personal style and sense of casual sophistication.

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From grooming products and fragrances to accessories and clothes, here are some gift ideas that embody the class, style and sensuality of the modern man:

1. Modern, masculine scents

Your man is sexy, sophisticated, charming and intelligent, and you want his men’s fragrance to be a reflection of him. A good scent is not only the gift that keeps on giving, but it’s a gift to you too. After all, is there a better gift than a great-smelling man?

Whether your man is sporty, clean-shaven or a little rock ‘n’ roll, he needs to have a few good fragrances. These days, with so many to choose from, it’s important to select quality over quantity. Blue Seduction for Men by Antonio Banderas is fresh, clean and most of all, sexy. Opt for the holiday gift set which includes an eau de toilette spray and after-shave splash.

For something a little more daring, another great scent is Seduction in Black, also by Antonio Banderas. This scent is spicy and warm, making it the perfect scent for nighttime, when the art of seduction begins. Seduction in Black is sexy and addictive, combining the perfect mix of citrus, spice and musk. Best of all its available at local fine chain drug and mass market retailers.

“Seduction in Black embodies the man who has it all – charm, personality, intelligence and good looks, and ultimately one who knows what it takes to be a success,” says Banderas. “It is a scent for a man who is confident in his powers of seduction and who plays out his relationships with a twist of complexity and spontaneity.”

2. Grooming gifts galore
Today’s man is active in caring for his skin and body. With the men’s grooming business booming, gift options are unlimited. Many companies have expanded their lines to include products geared especially toward men’s wants and needs. Gift boxes including anti-aging skincare products, bath and body gels and shaving sets are widely available. With skin care becoming more of a concern for men, a gift basket with products promoting healthiness will be appreciated.

3. Watches – a timeless gift
Few pieces of jewelry make more of a statement about a man than his watch, something he’ll wear, look at and show off every day. A watch is a gift that perfectly combines the concepts of sophistication and practicality that epitomize the modern male. Whether he’s a businessman in need of a power watch that makes a statement in the boardroom, or a professional surfer who needs to know how many seconds until the next killer wave, virtually every man can use a good watch – or even two or three to fit his changing moods and needs. Plus, it’s a gift he’ll wear next to his skin, subtly reminding him of your touch throughout the day.

4. Chic jackets and casual scarves
Knit sweaters or jackets with a slightly relaxed but tailored shape are the perfect way to stay stylish and contemporary this holiday season. Tweed is gaining popularity, achieving a more casual look that still has a high level of sophistication. Shearling lined coats are a favorite because they have a chic and masculine look and will keep him warm on those cold winter nights.

Add a casual chunky knitted scarf and casual hat and he’ll have a look that is put-together yet relaxed. A beautifully knitted scarf or hat is a great holiday gift because it adds style to his favorite jacket, shirt or anything else in his closet. Plus it is functional because it will keep him toasty when the temperatures drop.

This holiday, you can’t go wrong with a fragrance or fashion. It is sure to be one his favorites under the tree!

Things to Keep Kids Busy Before Thanksgiving Dinner

November 24, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family No Comments →

Thanksgiving is always a time of fun, family and food. However, it is also a time when the kids can get a bit stir crazy, especially if the weather is bad. If you plan some activities that can keep them distracted, you won’t have to hear, “We’re hungry!” every five minutes this year.

If the kids are old enough, invite them to help fix dinner. There are simple things they can help with, including setting the table. Plan some things in the menu that are easy for kids to cook. Depending on the age range, some of the kids could really be a big help in the kitchen, even if it’s just getting utensils and potholders.

Set up a craft room where you can put out different supplies that are age appropriate. Let their imagination run wild. An older, responsible child or an adult, who isn’t helping prepare the meal, can keep an eye on the younger children. Make it a contest. See who can come up with the best turkey, Pilgrim or Indian drawing or costume. They could make a specific project, such as napkin rings, or other things that could be used to decorate the table. You could even challenge them to see who can draw or write the most things for which they are thankful.

Of course, another craft is the standard handprint turkey, where the children trace around their hands, with the spread fingers making the feathers. If you have a large window you want to decorate, you can also use tempera paint to make a flock of turkeys on your window. Add a little liquid soap to the paint first to make washing off both the window and the children easier. Let them paint their thumb and palm brown and the rest of the turkey “wings” (fingers) using other colors. Gently press their hands on the glass to see their turkeys appear!

If weather permits, have a mini-Olympics. Have various events the children can compete in for prizes. The sillier the games, the better. Two game ideas are an Egg Relay Race and Turkey Bowling.

Egg relay races (as long as you have enough for dinner) are always a favorite. All you need are two hard-boiled eggs (less messy), two spoons, and four bowls. Divide the children into two teams and line them up. Have the first child on each team take an egg in the spoon to the empty bowl, which is placed a few feet away. They have to deposit the egg in the bowl, bringing back the empty spoon. They hand off the spoon to the next child, who runs down to bring the egg back. This pattern continues, until the first team has all its members complete the task.

Turkey Bowling is easy and fun (and can coordinate with craft time). Get ten two-liter bottles, put a little sand in the bottom, and then spray paint them brown. Glue or paint feathers and faces on the bottles. Once they are dry, set them up in a bowling pin pattern, and then use a ball (small for the older kids, medium for the younger) and your set to get a turkey (three strikes in a row).

Keeping the kids busy will make the day much more enjoyable for all, and less frustrating for the grownups. You may discover some new traditions along the way that will continue when the children grow up and have children of their own.

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Credit Repair Tips

November 07, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family 1 Comment →

In some cases, bad credit is a result of irresponsible money management. But it often occurs because of unexpected financial hardship. One day you might have all of your bills current, and the next you could become disabled or lose your job. And if you fall behind on your debts, it will wreak havoc on your credit rating.

Credit repair agencies claim that they can remove bad entries from your credit report. But did you know that you can often have them removed yourself at a much lower cost? There are two methods by which you may be able to get negative entries removed from your report.

Option #1: File a Dispute with the Credit Bureaus

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires credit bureaus to investigate any item on your credit report that you dispute. If the information is found to be false, inaccurate or unverifiable, it must be corrected or removed from your report. The bureaus have 30 days from the time they receive notice of the dispute to complete their investigation.

If there is any inaccurate information on your credit report, a dispute is certainly in order. But some people have had luck disputing items that were in fact accurate, including judgments, collections accounts and repossessions. If such items are not verified by the creditor (or the court in the case of judgments) within the time limit for investigation, they must be removed.

If you decide to dispute a legitimate entry, simply write a letter to each of the credit bureaus stating that you dispute that entry. No explanation is required. But keep in mind that if the entry is verified, it will remain on your report. And if the creditor verifies the information after the 30-day time limit, the credit bureau may reinstate the entry as long as they notify you at least 5 days before doing so.

Option #2: Negotiate with Creditors

Dealing with creditors can be intimidating, especially if you’re not on good terms with them. But speaking to your creditors directly may help you get negative information removed from your credit report.

If you only have a late payment or two on your account, a creditor might be willing to remove the derogatory information once you’ve resumed a regular payment schedule. If you’ve experienced repossession or had an account turned over to collections, payment in full might persuade them to remove the negative entry. It sounds like a long shot, but you never know until you ask. Requests to remove late payment information may be made after you’ve brought you account current. But if you’re hoping for removal of a repossession or collection action, it’s best to negotiate a deal before you pay anything.

If You Can’t Get the Bad Entries Removed

There is no guarantee that disputing information on your credit report or negotiating with creditors will get negative items removed from your record. If it doesn’t, the best thing you can do is try to build up some positive information on your report.

The first thing you need to do when trying to rebuild good credit is bring past due accounts current. Try to work out a deal with your creditors to accomplish this, or talk to a credit counseling agency. But don’t miss payments on current accounts to put money toward those that are past due. If it comes down to paying one or the other, keep the current account current.

Once you’ve brought all of your accounts current, put a priority on keeping them that way. Making your payments on schedule will raise your credit score, and with the passage of time, the good entries may outweigh the bad.

Additional Resource:

37 Days To Clean Credit — An Effective Credit Repair System That Instantly Deletes Inquiries, Charge-Offs, Late Payments And Judgments From Credit Reports

Sanity Savers For Moms On the Go

November 05, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Organization, Parenting No Comments →

(ARA) – Whether it be to the grocery store, the doctor’s office or a play date at the park, moms today are constantly on the go. Juggling the ever-changing needs of a child while out and about can be challenging, stressful and sometimes expensive.

Child and parenting expert, TODAY Show contributor and the author of “The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries,” Dr. Michele Borba understands the challenges busy modern moms face.

“Moms today have it tough,” says Borba. “Long lines, endless errands, sitting at a doctor’s office or waiting for a sibling’s practice to end are difficult on both kids and moms. Your best defense to turn off tantrums or prevent messy situations is to think ahead and always be prepared.”

Borba offers four quick and easy “sanity savers” to help keep both mom and child happy while out and about.

Car games
While in the car, kids should occupy themselves with things that don’t make a mess or spill. Hanging a shoe organizer on the back of a seat creates a great place to keep all their favorite games and toys organized and within reach.

“One of my favorite things to recommend for moms is to keep cookie sheets in the car stored under a seat,” says Borba. “Cookie sheets instantly turn into eating trays or lap desks with endless opportunities for small children to play with magnets or reusable stickers and older ones to color or do homework on after school.”

Smart snacking
Hungry kids are not happy kids, so it’s important to bring munchies to keep their spirits up. For healthy snacks that will stay fresh for hours, Borba recommends using insulated food and beverage containers, like the Thermos Foogo vacuum-insulated stainless steel containers, and encourages parents to plan ahead for cleanup as well.

“Carrying a pack of wet wipes in your purse or diaper bag is a must,” says Borba. “To save money, you can wet paper towels, add a small amount of bleach and keep them in a plastic baggy.”

The two-for-one
To lighten your load and get the most use out of any item, try to find a second purpose for it. Your hair clips tied to a napkin can create a restaurant bib for baby in a pinch, and your soft cooler can become a storage compartment for kids’ toys and belongings.

“Moms don’t have to carry the entire nursery with them every time they leave the house,” says Borba. “Think about practicality and range of use for any item you take with you on the go.”

Hydration salvation
Keeping a sippy cup or beverage bottle filled with water, milk or juice is a must while on the go, but can easily fill up an already-bursting bag. Look for options that are convenient and multi-purpose.

New BPA-free Thermos Foogo Phases drinkware, which features both vacuum-insulated stainless steel and Tritan plastic cups, offers three flexible drinking options that can be customized based on your child’s needs. With a soft sippy lid for new drinkers, a hard sippy top for teething little ones, and a fun pop-up straw top, the line makes it easy for mom to quickly swap the interchangeable lids at a moment’s notice.

“This drinkware is a great solution for moms because it literally grows with your child,” says Borba. “The interchangeable lids make the products a great value since you can just upgrade the lid options as your child develops – no need to buy a whole new cup.”

By taking these easy tips into consideration, busy moms can be stress-free, economical and prepared for any situation. For more information, please visit www.Thermos.com.

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Mom’s Guide to Saving Time

November 03, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization, Parenting No Comments →

One precious commodity that everyone has a problem using wisely is time. One thing is for sure – we all have the same 24 hours in a day – no more, no less. However, there are things you can do to make the most of your day so that you can accomplish a lot yet still manage to have some free time to do things that you enjoy.

Make a plan and write it down. Make it a habit to write a daily list of things to do and things you need. Life gets so busy sometimes especially if you have kids. It is going to be helpful to have those lists handy. You can easily save an extra trip to the store if you have a list of things to buy. You can also figure out how you can run all your errands so that you do not have to drive back and forth. Try to shop in the evenings when stores are less busy. There is no need to waste an hour standing in line when you can do something more productive with that time. Don’t care to stand in line? Try shopping online.

Plan your meals. You can use a blank monthly or weekly calendar to list down your meals for the upcoming week. Once you have the meals figured out, it will be easier to come up with a shopping list based on the meals. Keep your planned meals posted on the refrigerator door so you know what needs to be prepared. Even if it is tempting to sway off the planned meals, do your best to stick to it – you can save lots of money this way and keep with in your budget.

Shop in bulk. If space for groceries is not an issue, plan to shop in bulk. This will allow you to save time because you do not have to keep on going to the grocery store. You also save money because buying in bulk costs less in the long run.

Figure out your best bill payment option. If you have the means, set up bill payment electronically. Writing checks may seem like a simple thing but you can save time writing checks for bills when you pay electronically. If you can’t pay bills electronically, set up a workstation complete with all the supplies you need when paying bills like: your checkbook, envelopes, stamps, pens, and a calendar. If your workstation is stocked and organized, then you won’t waste time searching for supplies you need.

Do a little housework when you can and don’t let work pile up. If you do a bit of housework each day, then you do not have to spend an entire weekend cleaning or catching up on housework. Laundry is one thing that easily piles up. Do a load or two each day and when you can, put the clean clothes away as soon as possible. Picking up around the house and making sure things have their own place will lessen the stress when it’s time to clean up. Do these and you are able to enjoy more family time.

Stay organized. Spend some time organizing your house. This will take time but will be well worth it. Give everything it’s own place and make sure that it makes sense. For example, have hooks near your front door for keys, umbrellas and hats. This way you can hang them as soon as you come in. Hold a family meeting to let everyone know where things belong.

Applying the tips mentioned above will definitely help moms save time and enjoy their family a little bit more.

Being a mom is extremely rewarding, but it’s challenging. Get the help you need at Real Life Guidance. It’s your place for instant downloadable help for moms, day or night.

Homework: Drudgery to Do-Able

November 01, 2009 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Organization, Parenting No Comments →

School is back in session, which means your child is back in the homework grind. Homework is an essential part to broadening your child’s educational experience to prepare them for their life, but what good does it do when most children aren’t motivated to get it done.

Their lack of motivation can cause problems for them in school and beyond. While your child may still see homework as an unpleasant chore, there are some things you can do to help make this experience a more acceptable one for them. Here’s some ways you can help them make the most of their homework time:

Give them space- Dedicate an area in your home for homework purposes. It should be a spot that is as quiet as possible without the distractions of television, radio, etc. Your child needs to be able to focus on the task at hand, so eliminating as many distractions as possible will be necessary.

Support “their time”- If you have other children or adults in the home while homework time is going on, make sure that everyone else knows and understands that the child needs quiet and should have no interruptions. Keep others away from the space you’ve provided for their homework purposes. Your child needs to know that you will support their need to focus on their work.

Remain nearby- Even though they need quiet time with no distractions, you will still need to be nearby in case they run into some problems and need some help. Don’t let them wander through the house looking for you when they want help as there can be too many distractions along the way. Let them know periodically that you, or someone else, is nearby if they have any questions.

Stick to a schedule- Homework time should be at the same time every day that they have it. Of course, life happens and this doesn’t always work out the way you want it to, but try to keep homework time at about the same time each day. Eventually, it will become routine to them and you won’t have to constantly remind them to do it.

Stock up on supplies- If possible; keep extra supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks etc. within their homework space. This will help eliminate some of the many excuses you will receive, in the beginning, about why they can’t complete their homework.

Know what their homework is- This will be a hard one for some parents as some children won’t be as willing to offer up that information to them. Try as much as you can to find out what it is and ask to see their work when their done, to ensure each assignment is completed.

Make your homework assistance a positive one- This is important. Each time they ask you or someone else for help, it needs to always be a positive experience. Never let the child feel as if they’re dumb because they came up with the wrong answer. Use encouraging words and phrases, such as, “You almost have it”, or “That was so close!” Negative responses will probably turn them off from asking anyone for help in the future; including from a teacher, so don’t let that happen.

Homework is always seen as drudgery to most children. If you keep these tips in mind and use as many as possible for your child, homework could become a more do-able thing for them to include within their day.

Being a mom is extremely rewarding, but it’s challenging. Get the help you need at Real Life Guidance. It’s your place for instant downloadable help for moms, day or night.