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Archive for April, 2011

Organizing and the Environment

April 23, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, Organization No Comments →

Going green is about taking a more environmentally friendly approach to the way we do things. That includes organizing. Going green is all about reusing, reducing and recycling. If you have not already started going green, here are a few ways to begin.

1. Be creative and look for things that would normally go unnoticed and find a new use for them. Glass jars and cans can be reused to hold pens, pencils, craft supplies, etc. Use an empty tuna or salmon can to hold scrubbing pads next to the sink. Store and display magazines in cut off cereal boxes. The ideas are endless. Creativity also comes into play because a little embellishment can make many reused items look new and decorative.

2. Limit the amount of unwanted items going to landfills by donating or selling your belongings. Clothing, furniture, books and other items can be reused by others who need them. There are websites available, such as Freecycle, that will help you share your stuff with other people in your own community.

3. Reduce your use of plastic items, especially plastic bags. Plastics are a major pollutant and have a negative impact on the Earth. Plastic breaks down into smaller pieces but does not biodegrade. Fish and other animals are eating this broken down plastic that gets into the system after being disposed and it passes down to humans for consumption. If, at all possible, avoid using plastic bags. If you must use plastic bags, try to reuse them. Here are a few ideas:

* Pooper scoopers for pets
* Cookbook protector
* Filler for plants
* Shoe protectors

There are many more ways to reuse plastic bags that can be found on the Internet. Also, keep in mind that many supermarkets and other stores recycle bags. Check for a bin at the entrance of the store.

4. Pay bills online. This practice reduces clutter and also eliminates the need for postage and envelopes. Your bills will stay in order and will not get lost. Getting your statements online, instead of mailed every month, reduces the amount of paper clutter as well.

5. A great way to reduce the use and storage of paper is by scanning paper documents onto your computer. Current hard drives provide more than enough storage space to hold all of your archives. This can also be applied to your CD, photo and other media collections.

6. Composting is a great way to fertilize and condition your yard by using some of the things that normally go in the landfill. Grass clippings, coffee grinds and vegetable peels are just a few of the things that go into compost. Compost containers can be found at local hardware stores or nurseries. Even if you do not wish to compost, save your grass clippings and leaves. Many local municipalities recycle yard waste.

7. Most households have some kind of hazardous waste, such as old paint cans, used motor oil, weed killers, etc. The disposal of toxic items needs to be done in a safe manner. Do not dump hazardous items down the drain as it pollutes the water supply. For example:

* Motor oil, anti-freeze, car battery: Many auto parts stores and service stations that sell these items will take your old ones for recycling.

* Computers: give to a school or charity or check your local listings for places that recycle computers.

Be sure to read the label on the product for proper handling information. If you are unsure, contact your city or local government for proper disposal of items in your area.

8. Household batteries contain hazardous materials which leak into landfills when they are thrown away. There are a couple of ways you can avoid throwing away batteries. One is by using rechargeable batteries. You can also find out if there are companies in your area that recycle batteries. If you must throw away batteries, do so at a hazardous waste collection site if there is one available in your area. Some stores, such as Wal-Mart, now have receptacles at the entrance of the store where you can deposit used batteries for recycling.

9. You may not think it is a big deal to go green when you clean. However, many commercially available chemicals persist in the environment without breaking down. Use recycled and biodegradable products whenever possible. Products like white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide work for safely cleaning most surfaces in your home.

10. Consider purchasing organizing products from companies that adhere to environmentally sustainable manufacturing practices.

11. Consider buying products that are good for the Earth, such as clothing with natural fibers, like cotton and wool. Look into paper and other items that have been made of recycled materials.

Adapting a ‘Go Green’ lifestyle is about being conscious of the environment and taking care of it in all that we do to organize our lives.

Get Organized Now – An amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

Seven steps to a greener life

April 20, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

(ARA) – For most people, being “green” seems overwhelming and time consuming. But even the tiniest change counts and the process doesn’t have to be a hassle. Starting out with a manageable action plan is the key to success. Follow these seven steps and even the least eco-conscious family will be inspired to become regular recyclers in no time.

1. Look around your house for green opportunities – Walk into your house with your “green police” glasses on. Do you see an easy place to store your recyclables? Are your light bulbs energy efficient? Start to notice if any family members are using too much water, or leaving unneeded lights on. Get your kids on board and see if they can help spot ways to change as a family; they are very perceptive and can often see things in a way no adult ever could.

2. Get your garden growing and save -  Yes, planting a garden might seem like a huge undertaking, but the rewards far outweigh the work. Talk to any gardener and you’ll realize that the process of planting and tending a garden is quite relaxing and truly rewarding. Plus you’ll save money. One packet of seeds costs around 50 cents and yields enough fresh produce for you and your family to eat all summer, with more to share. And if you’re gardening, that means less trips to the grocery store, which means less driving and less gas usage. Best of all, you are in complete control of what you eat, and can make your produce as organic as you wish.

3. Be aware of product packaging -  Not all packaging is created equally. Keep an eye out next time you’re in the grocery store for renewable packaging. For instance, Snyder’s of Hanover Organic Pretzel Sticks are packaged using 90 percent plant-based materials. The renewable raw material used to make the new packaging is produced with as little as half the energy compared to traditional petroleum-based packaging. Best of all, the Organic Pretzel Sticks come in three delicious flavors: Organic 8 Grains & Seeds, Whole Wheat & Oat Bran and Honey Whole Wheat. So you’re buying a product that tastes good but is good for the environment too – the best of both worlds.

4. Forget plastic water bottles -  According to Nubius Organics, more than 26 billion bottles are thrown away each year (less then 15 percent are recycled). The plastic from these bottles doesn’t biodegrade so it’s now a permanent part of our landfills. Instead of adding to the problem, become part of the solution. Invest in reusable water bottles for the whole family and keep extras in the car so you’re never tempted to go back.

5. Ride your bicycle to work -  According to the United States government, bicycle commuters save on average $1,825 annually in auto-related costs, reduce their carbon emissions by 128 pounds, conserve 145 gallons of gasoline, and avoid 50 hours of gridlock traffic. Plus, you are exercising so you’ll feel more energized and have a better night’s sleep.

6. Soak up the solar power – The initial investment in solar power can be costly, but it’s the future energy savings that will make solar power a wise choice. Snyder’s-Lance, for instance, is currently in the process of building the largest ground-based solar farm in Pennsylvania. With over 15,000 solar panels spanning 26 acres, the solar farm will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in excess of 230 million pounds of carbon dioxide over a 25-year period. Read more about the solar farm at www.snydersmediacenter.com.

7. Be open to small changes – Becoming green is really about seeing life differently and being open to make changes, however small they may seem. Things like driving slower (uses less gas), unplugging unused electrical devices (no more phantom usage), and using a microfiber cloth (instead of paper towels) can really add up over time. And the sooner you get started, the better our planet and your home will be.

Spring Cleaning Secrets For a Healthy Home

April 18, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

(ARA) – For all the joys spring brings, you can find some not-so-fun harbingers as well – like sneezing, sniffling and itchy, watery eyes. When spring cleaning season arrives, allergy season does, too.

Get Organized Now – An amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

 

More than half of Americans test positive when exposed to one or more allergens, according to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And more than half of all homes in the U.S. have at least six detectable allergens in the air, such as cat and dog dander, dust mites, pollen or mold spores. As the weather warms, more allergens are present in the air. Reducing the amount of allergens in your home can help improve indoor air quality and reduce your exposure to allergy triggers.

But if your spring cleaning routine doesn’t specifically focus on allergen removal, and only moves dust around (sending allergens airborne), or incorporates products that can add pollutants to indoor air, it won’t do much to help minimize allergens in your home.

If you suffer from allergies and asthma, consult with your doctor on the best course of treatment, and tackle spring cleaning with these simple tips – from the asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program, by the nonprofit Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) – to help control the allergens that can exacerbate allergies and trigger asthma.

Make your home asthma & allergy friendly

Consumers spend nearly $18 billion annually on asthma and allergy medications. But they also spend more than $20 billion on non-medical consumer products marketed for people with asthma and allergies, according to AAFA. While demand for such products continues to grow, there is little to no regulation governing their product claims, the Foundation notes. AAFA’s asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program helps consumers evaluate and verify the allergen-reducing effectiveness of a variety of products, from cleaning supplies, air cleaning devices and vacuums to toys, bedding, home improvement products, paints, clothes washers and more.

Created in 2005 in collaboration with a leading testing and certification partner, Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), and top medical experts, the program independently tests and certifies products that are more suitable for people living with asthma and allergies. The products that have successfully passed testing are “certified” and identified by a distinctive certification mark on their packaging. You can learn about the certification process and certified products at www.aafa.org/certified.

Cleaning tips for maximum effectiveness

* House dust is one of the most common irritants for allergy sufferers. You may think dusting your home will help reduce allergens, but if you use a feather duster that simply lifts the dust off surfaces and into the air, you will actually increase airborne dust particles. Always use moist cloths or special dry cloths designed to trap and lock dust from hard and soft surfaces.

* Certain cleaning products can also contribute to airborne irritants, especially if they contain harsh chemicals, strong odors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Choose products that contain none of these irritants, but also beware of “green” labels, as some of these solutions may be made with natural allergenic ingredients, too, such as lemon oils, tea-tree oils or coconut extracts.

* A vacuum that leaks more dust than it captures can make your indoor air quality worse. Use a vacuum that has a HEPA filter and tight seams and seals to prevent particles from leaking out while you vacuum. Also, choose a style that requires minimal exposure during canister emptying or bag changes.

* Pests become more active during spring and rodent dander and cockroach particles are common household asthma triggers. However, some pesticides may do more harm than good for people with asthma and allergies. If you have a pest problem, look for an exterminator with expertise in integrated pest management and who can advise you on traps and solvents that are safer for people with asthma.

* Cat dander is present in most U.S. homes, even where no cats have lived, studies have shown. Your spring cleaning routine should include freshening linens in your bedroom, where cat or dog dander can settle, becoming food for dust mites. Place mite-proof bedding on your mattresses and pillows. Wash sheets at least once a week in 130-degree water to kill mites and their eggs.

* Mold can grow anywhere in your home where moisture is present, and mold spores are a common asthma and allergy trigger. To remove mold and mildew look for cleaning products that help kill and prevent mold from returning. Also, keep household humidity below 50 percent and fix leaky pipes and cracks to reduce standing puddles of moisture where mold can prosper.

* Gather stuffed toys, where dust mites, mold and pet dander can accumulate, and wash them in hot water and dry completely before using again. Place stuffed toys that can’t be washed in the freezer for 24 hours, then rinse in cold water to remove dead mites, and dry completely. Use your spring cleaning routine to help turn this into a monthly habit.

* Lots of air passes through window areas, and airborne dust and allergens accumulate on all types of window treatments – which are rarely cleaned. In the family room and throughout the home, replace big, heavy linen drapes with more sensible window treatments such as wood blinds or flat screens that are easy to wipe and keep clean.

Spring cleaning season is a great time to adopt new allergy and asthma friendly cleaning habits and products. You can learn more at www.AAFA.org/certified.

Easy Easter Craft Ideas

April 15, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children No Comments →

Easter time is coming soon and here are a few easy easter craft idea for you and the entire family.

Egg-coloring is one easy Easter craft idea that many kids also look forward to. Mom or Dad can boil the eggs and then the attention turns to what food coloring to mix. Once the eggs are cooled, you can take crayons and print each child’s name on the eggs then place the eggs in a small bowl of your favorite color.

Once the eggs are dyed you can then decorate the eggs with stickers or little Easter cut-outs and then display them.

Creating an Easter basket from scratch is not only fun, but the entire family can participate. All you need is a basket, which you can purchase in any dollar store; some color straw; and some plastic eggs. You can decorate the basket in any way you wish. Fill each plastic egg with pennies, place them on the straw in the basket; add homemade cookies or other treats, and top it off with a little tiny stuffed bunny.

Here are more Easy Easter Craft Ideas:

You’ll need:

  • Empty egg cartons (cut in half, you only need the egg holder portion – not the lid)
  • Artificial grass
  • Colorful construction paper
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Pom poms (available at craft supply stores)

Cut out a bunny face including ears out of pink or brightly colored construction paper. Decorate the face using the pom poms for the bunny nose and draw in the eyes and mouth. If you don’t have pom poms available you can simply draw a face in. Stick the bunny face to the front end of the egg carton and then fill the egg carton with artificial grass and place your dyed Easter eggs on top. Use a pipe cleaner for the handle.

Poke two small holes on each side of the egg carton and thread the pipe cleaner through it and tie.

Easy Easter Craft Idea – Easter Puppets

  • Clean and dry popsicle sticks
  • Construction paper
  • Glue

Cut out a number of Easter shapes such as bunny rabbits, Easter eggs and even flowers. Decorate your cut outs and stick to the ends of a popsicle stick. This is a super easy craft activity which is suitable for younger kids.

Handprint Flowers

This is a really cute and easy Easter craft idea that the kids will enjoy.

You’ll need:

  • Yellow or pink construction paper for the flowers
  • Green construction paper for the leaves
  • Straws
  • Scotch tape

Trace each child’s hand onto a piece of construction paper and cut out the hand shape; Round the bottom of the hand off. Once cut, shape the bottom of the hand into a cone shape leaving a small gap for the straw to go through. Tape together. Using a pencil curl down the “flower fingers” so they don’t stick straight up. Insert the straw through the flower and using a little bit of tape, stick it to the base of the flower. Cut out a few green petals and tape to straw as well. You can place your hand-print flowers in a home-made vase too.

Paint or wrap an empty toilet paper roll and decorate to your liking. Using a piece of construction paper cut a circle to fit around the bottom of the toilet paper roll (stick it to the roll using a little bit of tape). When finished place your flowers in your vase and display!

You can use one or more of these easy Easter craft ideas to spread joy and fun during the Easter season

Save Money On Fuel

April 13, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

How to spend less on fuel when gas prices rise

This article will explain to you how to spend less on fuel when gas prices rise.

(ARA) – Remember when $4 seemed like an outrageous amount to spend on a gallon of gasoline? Now that number doesn’t seem so far-fetched. While you can’t do anything to control the unrest in the Middle East or oil rig explosions that could lead to gas prices spiking at a moment’s notice, there are a few things you can do to help ease the pain of high gas prices.

While buying a more fuel-efficient car might be an option for some, new and used cars that get more miles per gallon tend to be more in demand – and more expensive – when gas prices are high. If a new car isn’t an option for you, implementing the following changes can help ensure that you get the most from the fuel in your gas tank:

Tips to Save Money on Fuel

* Keep the gas you buy in your car. When gas prices are low, stealing gas would likely be more trouble than it’s worth, but when prices are high, it’s not uncommon for thieves to siphon gas from vehicles, especially those with larger tanks. Adding a locking gas cap can be done for much less than the cost of a tank of gas. In addition to preventing theft, locking fuel tank caps can also prevent anyone from tampering with your gas tank.

* Keep your tank full. While you’re looking to reduce the amount of gasoline you are using, constantly running your car with the tank close to empty can wear down your fuel pump. “The gasoline in the tank keeps the fuel pump cool. Take away the gas and the fuel pump runs hot and has a shorter life,” says Tom Taylor, engineer and vice president of RockAuto.com. If you have an older car that has accumulated dirt and rust at the bottom of the tank, keeping a full tank can help your fuel burn cleaner.

* Keep your car in shape. Keeping your engine properly tuned improves fuel efficiency by an average of 4 percent and repairing a major issue like a faulty oxygen sensor could improve efficiency by up to 40 percent, according the U.S. Department of Energy. The RockAuto.com parts catalog has oxygen sensors from $10 to more than $100 depending on the car,” says Taylor. Especially if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you could quickly recoup the cost of an oxygen sensor or other repair after as little as one tank of gas through improved fuel economy.

* Keep your tires inflated properly. Keeping your tires at the optimal level not only keeps you safer, but can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, according to the Department of Energy. Your owner’s manual should tell you the proper psi (pounds per square inch) levels for your vehicle.

* Drive for optimal gas mileage. How you drive can affect how much gas you use. Most cars run at peak efficiency at around 60 mph, with fuel economy decreasing sharply when traveling faster. Aggressive driving with rapid acceleration and slowing will also have a negative effect on your fuel economy.

* Reduce weight and drag. Getting rid of items such as roof equipment when they aren’t being used can help your car become more aerodynamic and run more efficiently. Keeping unnecessary items in your car, especially if they are heavy, can also make your car work harder and use more fuel than it needs to.

By adding up the small savings gained by each of these tips, you can really notice a difference on how much you are paying at the pump, especially over a long period of time.

Getting your Spouse To Organize

April 11, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Have you nagged yourself blue in the face to no avail when it comes to ways to get your spouse on the same page in organizing your home? Even though we ourselves dislike being nagged, we have the unfortunate tendency to think that nagging works well on others. Experience has taught us it doesn’t work, but we continue anyway, which drives a larger wedge between us.

There is an easier way, one in which you get a willing partner in your quest to be more organized. Here are a few tips to help get your spouse in on the organizing game:

1. Do your own thing – Don’t worry about decluttering or organizing your spouse’s things. Begin with organizing your own things first. It’s important to remember that it took you some time to decide you were ready to be organized. You need to give your spouse time to realize that they may actually prefer the organized life too.

2. If it’s jointly owned, make it a joint decision - When you are decluttering items that aren’t specifically yours, such as books, cd’s, DVD’s, for example, get an agreement from your spouse that it’s okay to donate or trash. Don’t assume that it’s ok for you to declutter or trash things when that person isn’t around. That’s not something we’d like someone to do to us. No one likes to have no choice, so give your spouse a choice. If they don’t want to get rid of something, suggest putting it in a box and see if it is even used for a set amount of time, 3 months, 6 months, or even 1 year.

3. Ask your spouse’s advice – As you are decluttering items from your home, ask your spouse if they think the item is worthy of donating or should it be thrown in the trash, or recycled. This gives your spouse the sense that their opinion matters, and shows that you respect your spouse.

4. Give your spouse advance warning – Do you let your spouse know ahead of time what you’re planning when you’re ready to start a project? Think for a moment how you would feel if out of the blue, contrary to or regardless of plans you already have, someone announces that they need you for work around the house? You would probably feel disrespected. Your spouse likely feels the same way when you spring an organizing project on them. So discuss your plans ahead of time and ASK if your spouse is available and would be willing to help.

5. Resist the urge to organize your spouse – In many ways we tend to feel that it is easier to just `do it ourselves’, rather than let someone else do `it’, whatever `it’ may be. It is very important that you give your spouse the space and the time to do their own organizing. When you first begin your organizing journey, focus on your items, and items around the house that your spouse doesn’t particularly care what you do with them. Eventually, as your spouse sees how much easier it is for him/her to find things, put things away, and do it quickly, they too may began decluttering and organizing their own things.

6. Are you stuck on how best to organize something? – Ask your spouse if you can bounce some ideas off of them. You’d be surprised at how many times your spouse will see things in a way you hadn’t thought of. It might not have been what you’d have tried but it may work well, or lead you to another way that will work best.

7. Expecting an overnight transformation? - If that is where we start, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointment. It’s important to remember that we didn’t get to the point of fed up with the clutter and disorganization overnight. Just as it took you time to get to the point of being ready to declutter and organize, it will also take your spouse time. So give them that time.

8. Build a team effort – Do you feel like you are in this alone? Try holding a family meeting. Every member of your family should be a functioning member of the family, contributing to the daily upkeep and maintenance of that family. It may not be possible to divide the chores evenly, but everyone should share in the chores. Work together as a team to share routine tasks as well as organizing tasks.

9. Still no cooperation? – If you’ve asked, and your spouse still does not cooperate with your organizing efforts, remember that nagging won’t help. You aren’t your spouse’s parent, so you can’t order him or her to do anything (tempting as it can be sometimes). The best thing you can do is to go on with organizing those things that you can, and leave the rest. Eventually your spouse will come around.

10. Use positive reinforcement – We all respond best to what is reinforced. If negative behavior is what gets attention, then negative behavior will be repeated. When your spouse cooperates with your organizing efforts, be sure to thank him or her. Just as we like a reward for a job well done, so do our spouses. So, reinforce positives and more positives will follow.

Get Organized Now - An amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

Earth-friendly crafts and activities

April 08, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Here are some fun ways to forge a love of nature and recycling in kids

(ARA) – Nature offers many beautiful gifts and wonders to explore, and parents can help get kids outside to discover them when they step away from the television or computer screen. Here are a few fun ways to encourage your children to explore nature.

A growing trend – As more Americans are discovering every year, gardening is a great way to enjoy nature. Kids will enjoy starting plants from seed or picking out starter plants at the nursery and watching them grow and develop. Even a small container garden on a balcony or patio can yield tomatoes for salsa, flowers for an entire season or strawberries galore. Cook up your favorite recipes with home grown ingredients and donate any excess produce to local food banks.

For the more adventurous gardener, help your kids plant a “vertical garden.” In the style of famed French artist and botanist Patrick Blanc, grow your flowers and vegetables in a fun new way. Try filling a canvas hanging shoe organizer with a light-weight potting mix and filling each pocket with one of your favorite plants. Have fun using tomatoes, bell peppers, marigolds, strawberries, vinca vines or impatiens. Poke a drainage hole in each pocket and hang the entire organizer on your back fence or balcony. Water daily, and in just a few weeks you will be enjoying your own living art piece.

Find a local community garden or gardening co-op and volunteer with your family to help with weeding, watering, planting or harvesting.

Nature’s bounty – Yard waste? Not when you can re-use and repurpose. Find the beauty in what nature provides by creating new uses for things that would otherwise be considered waste. Large sticks make great garden stakes for plants that need a little extra support, like tomatoes. Smaller sticks can be written on or carved into (by an adult) for an inexpensive way to label plants in the garden or pots.

How about using leaves for gift tags or place cards? Kids will love writing names on the leaves with a little paint and a fine-tipped brush or metallic pen. Then, simply punch a hole in one end and tie with a decorative piece of raffia or ribbon for a personalized touch to any gift or place setting. Flowers from your pots or garden don’t have to fade away – they can be easily dried for use in homemade potpourri, candles or soap.

Give a worm a job – Many of us know that composting is a great way to reuse what Mother Nature has given us. Even a small compost bin will fill up quickly with kitchen scraps and yard waste. This waste can be used produce a nice compost mix for next year’s garden – especially if you add some red worms to the compost bin. Worms are nature’s little composters. They make composting more fun, interesting and efficient by breaking down organic matter into nutrient-rich vermicast allowing your family to compost kitchen scraps easily, and reduce the amount of garbage produced each year. Red worms can be purchased inexpensively from many garden centers or online outlets. A small bin will require about 2 pounds of red worms to get the job done.

The art of recycling – Recycling is a great way to reduce waste. It’s likely you already have a recycling bin next to the garbage can. Chances are, however, that your kids do not see those recyclables as art – it is time to change their minds. Reusing and recycling everyday objects not only reduces waste but, with a little imagination, can also provide hours of creative fun. Make something together that will bring years of enjoyment to your home or landscape.

Make a bottle tree to enhance the garden or balcony. Since the invention of bottles, people have found ways to use them as decorations. Used as a way to explore the beauty of glass or ward off (or attract) spirits, bottle trees have been “planted” across the planet in various forms for thousands of years. To build your own bottle tree, collect colorful glass bottles from your recycling bin or from friends, family or even local restaurants. For a “tree” form, use steel re-bar, sturdy wire, wood, fallen limbs or dying trees. Simply remove labels from bottles and wash out. Then, hang the bottles from your form – use your bottle tree purely as a decoration or as a nice support for vine-like plants such as morning glory or tomatoes.

Preserving nature in photos – A digital camera may not seem like a device to get your kids outside, but they can be acquired quite inexpensively and are a great tool with which to view nature and animals. Go on walks in the yard, neighborhood, a local park or zoo and click away. Zoom in or change the angle of the camera for new perspectives. By simply changing the way that we look at things like flowers, animals, trees and even bugs, cameras provide an up-close and personal view of the world that you would not otherwise get to see.

Use your photos for great screen savers on the computer, make photo collages or print them out for uniquely fantastic artworks to frame. Any way you use them, you will have preserved a little piece of nature and will have great memories for years to come.

Once you and your kids start exploring nature together, you will discover hours of fun for the entire family. Mother Nature may more to offer than you realized.

Spring Organizing

April 05, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, Organization No Comments →

Spring is here and now is the time everyone starts talking about spring cleaning. Instead of cleaning for spring, we are going to show you some ways for `Spring Organizing’. Spring is the time when we all look forward to a fresh clean slate–in our homes, and in us.

Here are some great Tips for Spring Organizing

1. Clear the Cobwebs: We all have mental cobwebs after a long winter. The first thing to do is to clear them out. You can do this by taking a personal day for re-creation. This can be as simple as a hot bath and reading a special book, or as elaborate as a day at the spa. The choice is up to you. There are many ‘at-home’ spa kits available to give yourself a day of pampering. Arrange with a friend to spend a spa day together. We all lead such busy lives that a day with a friend is a rare treat. However you choose to do it, take the time to clear out the mental cobwebs and get a fresh outlook for spring.

2. One Two Switcheroo: Do you still have winter accessories out and about? Do you have winter accessories that you didn’t put out? Before you trade and bring out the warm weather accessories, take time to pack up the items you didn’t use for winter and set them aside for donation. You have a good idea of what you actually use, so donating the excess is the perfect thing to do. As you put your spring/summer accessories out, be aware of what you don’t put out as it may be something you are ready to donate right away–or at season change again.  This is a great way to get your spring organizing off to a clutter free start.

3. Lighten Up to Brighten Up: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again and again–clutter can’t be organized, so declutter, declutter, declutter. When our spaces are filled with things, our perception is that rooms are closing in on us. When we lighten up our spaces, they definitely feel brighter. So, pick a room to work on and lighten up to brighten up. The items that you choose to declutter can be donated to a charity or sold at a yard sale.

4. Spring Forward: With the daylight lasting later into the evening, now is a good time to re-organize our work-out routines. It’s likely that through the winter you, like many of us, have had your workouts restricted to indoors. With the arrival of longer days, it’s possible also to shift the time of day you exercise. If mornings are hard for you to fit in a workout, an after-work or after-dinner walk is now a real possibility. Now is the time to change things up a bit and schedule in a change of scenery, and introduce a fresh state of mind for your workouts.  Spring organizing isn’t just about “stuff”, it is also about organizing your mind and health.

5. Cooking Up Confusion: Are your recipes and cookbooks in a state of disarray? Now is a good time to breathe new life into your cooking. The first thing to do is to go through your cookbooks and loose recipes and eliminate those you haven’t used and don’t plan on using. Be realistic about what you will actually try to make. Once you have culled out those you don’t want, make a plan to try a new recipe each week. To keep the confusion to a minimum, if you try a recipe and no one likes it–toss it! Look through your cookbooks with a critical eye to which ones you actually use. There are so many recipes available on the Internet now, that it almost makes it unnecessary to own the cookbooks.

6. Trash The Tattered Towels: Have your towels seen better days? Take time now to do a bit of spring organizing and sorting of your towels. Those that are showing their age but are still serviceable can be donated to a local animal shelter. They will appreciate your donation. Inventory what remains. Two to three sets of towels per bathroom should be sufficient. If you have only one bathroom, stock two sets of towels per family member. Replace worn ones with fluffy white towels. These will give your bathroom a fresh spa-like look and feel. 

7. Gardening Goals: With warmer weather many of us are turning our thoughts to the outside of our homes. Spring is a perfect time to plan your garden and yard care tasks.  When you think about spring organizing for your yard, its also a great time to take a look at the curb appeal of your home. Organize your gardening tasks, and cleanup tasks. Add at least one item to your calendar for each day that you have free time. Now is also a great time to order your seeds and plants for the garden you have planned. That should give you plenty of time to get your seeds started and ready to plant once all danger of frost is past.

8. Organize Your Refrigerator: Before the farmers’ markets open for business, why not organize your refrigerator for more room and greater efficiency. You can use small dollar store baskets or bins to group like items together. For instance, put salad dressings in one basket, condiments in another, jams and jellies in another and so on. You can also put in a basket for fruit and another for vegetables. Not only does this free up space in your fridge, but you will also have things organized in such a way that makes it easier to find everything. Being able to find what we need in the refrigerator will be a welcome change for all of us!

By using any or all of the spring organizing ideas above, you are sure to have a more organized season.

Get Organized Now – An amazing collection of 2,175 ideas, tips and techniques for organizing your home, getting rid of clutter, organizing your time, your schedule, your money, your paper, your family and much more!

Fun Easter Party Games

April 04, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Just for Fun No Comments →

If you’re looking for fun Easter party games for your next Easter party or gathering, you’ll love this article. There’s something here for everyone.

Here are some great ideas for fun Easter party Games.

It goes without saying the Easter party game of the day will be the egg hunt. These will be very much anticipated and depending on the ages of the kids you can decide whether to do a traditional egg hunt, a separate hunt for the younger kids and a more difficult hunt for the older children (to avoid the older children grabbing all the eggs and little ones being left empty handed).

More fun Easter party games –

You can also do a clue style egg hunt where you place different clues on cards and the children go from one clue to the next finding a small egg at each destination and a final much bigger egg or eggs at the last clue.

Egg and Spoon Race

Easter is the perfect time for this. You can use raw eggs which is the traditional way to play for older kids and can use boiled, dyed Easter eggs for younger kids.

The kids split up into teams and take turns racing against each other. The object of the game is to NOT drop the egg, the team who finishes first wins! This type of game is lots of fun and can burn off a tremendous amount of energy.

Pin the Tail on the Easter Bunny

Cut out a large bunny shape out of construction paper or buy a large bunny cut out and cut out the tail. Give each child a cotton ball with a double sided piece of tape on it, blindfold and let the children take turns pinning the tail on the Easter bunny. This is, of course, a spin on the traditional pin the tail on the donkey. Lots of fun.

Bunny Races

Using sacks or old pillow cases, set up a bunny race. Divide the kids into teams and let them take turns racing. They have to hop in their bunny sacks to the finish line.

Most fun Easter party games can be adapted to suit children of all ages with a bit of creative thinking.