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Archive for October, 2011

Winter Fire Safety Tips

October 31, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Winter fires can be prevented! The following winter fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire-safe home this winter season and protect you and your family.

(ARA) – House fires happen more frequently during the winter months each year due to holiday decorations, malfunctioning furnaces and increased use of cooking appliances and fireplaces, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Fire Prevention Month in October is a good time for homeowners to make fire escape plans and take steps to prevent house fires. Every member of your family, from your youngest child to the oldest senior, can help to protect your home from fire and learn how to assist others in getting out in case a fire does occur.

Here are some actions you can take this fall to protect your house and family.

* Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Go through your entire house and make sure you put new Duracell CopperTop batteries in every detector. You should have a smoke detector on every floor in the house, as well as just outside of every bedroom.

“Installing a smoke detector is one of the strongest defenses for a family to prevent devastating fires and ensure loved ones are alerted and escape a potentially dangerous situation,” says Philip Stittleburg, chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council. “A good habit to develop is to replace your batteries in your smoke detector every fall to ensure the detectors will work in the event there is a fire in your home.”

* Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected. Residue from previous fires can build up in the chimney, and if the conditions are right, catch on fire. Schedule a chimney cleaning every year if you plan to use your fireplace.

* Unplug holiday decorations when you’re away from the house or have gone to bed.

* If using space heaters in your home or garage, keep them at least three feet away from any objects, and don’t leave them running and unattended.

* With all the holiday cooking you’re bound to do, be sure to practice safe cooking methods. For instance, keep anything flammable away from the stove and oven, always roll up your sleeves when working around a hot range and never leave the kitchen unattended when cooking.

* Store lighters and matches out of reach of children and pets, and never leave a burning candle unattended.

* Establish escape routes for second story and higher rooms. You may need to purchase escape ladders that can be stored under the bed in case a family member would need to leave the house through the window.

* Organize a family escape plan. Put the plan down on paper, and then run through it several times so everyone – including your youngest children – knows exactly how they’re getting out of the house, and where they’re supposed to meet outside. Review this plan yearly.

All members of your family can work together to prevent fires. With a fire safety plan in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy the fall and winter months without worrying about your family’s safety.

By following the above winter fire safety tips, you will be protecting not only you and your family but your neighbors as well.

Saving On Grocery Bills – Coupons

October 27, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

Do you want to get in on the coupon craze  and start saving on grocery bills?   The practice of clipping coupons nowadays seems to be sweeping the nation in these money-conscious times? Couponing may seem overwhelming to consider at first – who has time to clip, organize, and calculate coupons? You do! It doesn’t have to take a tremendous amount of time, and the money saved (if it’s done efficiently) is said to be worth it.

Here are tips on saving on grocery bills using coupons:

How Do I Do This?

“Organization” is the key to effective couponing. Experienced couponers suggest the following organizational tips:

* Get a coupon book or notebook. Organize it alphabetically, by item type, according to your store’s layout, etc. You might want a special section for items that are on special on shopping day. Do whatever works for you and helps minimize time spent standing in the store trying to fish through coupons.

* Know your store’s specials, discounts, and coupon policies. Some stores routinely double coupons; others do so periodically or for certain items.

* Count on anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to prepare for your shopping trip – this includes clipping, downloading, printing and organizing your coupons and studying up on your store’s deals.

Where Do I Find Coupons?

You can find coupons at a surprising variety of places. There are electronic ones, paper ones, coupons stuck to the outside of products or printed on the inside of boxes, and so forth. Here are some ideas.

1. Websites

Coupon websites can offer printable coupons, sometimes in conjunction with your store’s current deals. Here is a partial list of some well-known coupon sites:

- CouponMom.com
- RefundCents.com
- Boodle.com
- CoolSavings.com
- Valpak.com
- MyCoupons.com
- SmartSource.com

When it comes to saving on grocery bills, dont forget to see if your store has a website.  If your grocer store does have a website, visit it and see if there are places where you can sign up or join. Some stores offer electronic coupons that you can upload onto a card that is scanned at check-out. Also, when you begin participating in a store’s coupon program and upload various deals, they may send you coupons in the mail or electronically. You can even sign up for electronic notice of store specials.

2. Flyers

Viewing your local newspaper and other local publications is also a great way to begin saving on grocery bills.  Flyers are also a great way to see what’s on special at your store.

3. Product Sites

If you visit your favorite products’ websites, look for coupons offered there. If, for example, you like sauce made by The Hot Sauce Company, you can do an internet search for “The Hot Sauce Company coupons.” 

Know When It’s Not Worth It

The point of couponing is to begin saving on grocery bills. If you find yourself spending a lot of time and gas money driving long distances between stores just for that great deal, or if you are uncomfortable having to go to stores whose business practices you don’t agree with, then you might want to back off a bit. If you’re not clearly saving, then it’s probably not worth it.

Anti Aging Tips for Women

October 24, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, Pamper Yourself No Comments →

If you are looking for anti aging tips for women, you have come to the right place.  Have you heard it said that ageing is a state of mind? In part, that’s probably true! It’s also a state of body. Here are some anti-ageing tips for both your mind and your body.

Anti Aging Tips For Women – Skin

Keeping your skin supple and elastic is important for looking and feeling young. Many sources note the importance of eating fresh fruit for skin health. Not only does it contain antioxidants that help reduce the effects of aging – fresh fruit also helps your body produce and maintain collagen, the elastic protein that keeps skin supple. Citrus fruits and berries are said to be particularly effective. Fresh fruit also hydrates your body, an important aspect of looking younger.

In addition to eating fresh fruits, your skin may benefit from drinking water, too. Hydration of the skin starts from the inside, after all, and water helps flush out any toxins and impurities that may be building up in your system.

Exercise

Exercise is important for all ages, so beware of thinking you don’t have to engage in it because you’re ageing! In fact, as you begin to grow older, exercise is essential. Here are some reasons why.

* Joint health is positively affected by proper exercise. Weight-bearing but low-impact exercises may be best, such as bike riding or low-impact aerobics – this is purported to reduce and prevent bone loss (which can result in osteoporosis). Also, movement of the joints helps keep them lubricated, reducing inflammation and the pain of arthritis.

* Excess weight gain can creep up on us as we age. Exercising regularly helps keep weight in check.

* Toning those areas most affected by age – the belly (in men) and the triceps (in women), for example, can help prevent the appearance of age.

Laugh!

Laughing and having fun can greatly reduce stress, sources say. And stress reduction helps you feel and look younger. So go ahead – dance around, listen to music from your college years, read a funny book or watch a funny movie – and laugh!

Get Adequate Sleep

Ever wonder why it’s called “beauty rest”? There’s a reason that adage came to be – getting enough sleep prevents rings, circles, and puffiness under the eyes and helps keep the face from having that saggy look associated with ageing.

Anti Aging Tips For Women – Diet

A study has shown that Icelanders eat the most seafood of any population in the world, and, at 81, they also have one of the longest life expectancies. While most of us can’t practically replicate Icelanders’ consumption (220 pounds per person per year!), we can incorporate more seafood in our diets. Salmon is considered particularly healthy. Consider at least two meals a week that center around seafood.

Another anti-ageing diet tip is to steam your veggies, sources say. Steamed vegetables tend to reduce inflammation (which is associated with ageing), whereas fried or grilled vegetables may increase inflammation.

By using any of these anti aging tips for woman that are listed above you will be sure to start to feel and look younger!

Age Appropriate Responsibilities For Children

October 20, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children, Organization No Comments →

At time, figuring out  some age appropriate responsibilities for children can be hard.  Issuing out chores to your children is one way to help to instill responsibility into children and they can start chores at an early age. Many parents today are looking for ways to teach their kids to be responsible, and chores are a great place to start. Here are some suggestions for chores – and how to introduce them – that can be done by elementary school-age kids.

Rewards

You don’t have to pay your kid to make her bed, but psychologists agree that a reward system, or positive reinforcement, can go a long way toward motivating your child to do his or her chores. Rewards can take the form of privileges, such as television time, video games, time on the phone or internet, etc. Earning rewards for doing chores tends to work better than receiving punishment for not doing them, say psychologists.

Age Appropriate Responsibilities For Children

Elementary school spans Kindergarten to fifth grade. So, here are some ideas for those grades and ages. Of course, chores for younger kids will already be a part of the chore regimen by the time you get to older grades – the following lists of chores are intended to build on, not replace, each other.

Kindergarten (age 5-6)

This age tends to respond well to simple chores. You can also use this simple approach with older kids for whom this is a new concept. Some ideas include:
* Feeding pets
* Watering plants

First Grade (age 6-7)
* Sweeping the floor
* Emptying trash cans throughout the house into a garbage bag
* Washing bathroom or kitchen sink

Second and Third Grade (age 7-9)
* Vacuuming a small room
* Setting the table
* Clearing the table
* Loading dishwasher or washing/drying dishes

Fourth Grade (age 9-10)
* Taking out the garbage
* Walking the dog
* Making part of dinner (such as a salad or side dish)
* Washing the car

Fifth Grade (age 10-11)
* Making dinner
* Helping with laundry
* Vacuuming several rooms

Helping Them Out

While the list above gives many examples of age appropriate responsibilities for children, it is important to help your child get acclimated to the idea of chores, lists can help. If your child likes organization and takes satisfaction in completing tasks, lists with squares he can check off might help.

A competitive child might respond to timed chores. For example, time how long a certain chore takes him and then see if he can beat his time next time (while still doing a good job).

You can also elicit your child’s help in making a chart or list of chores and privileges, or just the chores. He or she can illustrate the list or decorate it with cut-outs from magazines. If your child participates in thinking up chores and creating the list, he might be more likely to be motivated to do the things on the list.

By using the tips and ideas above you will be well on your way to issue out age appropriate responsibilities for children in your home.

2 Organizing Ideas for Every Room in Your Home

October 17, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

Take two! That is, take two organizing tips for every room in your home. These will help you begin getting each room in organized, tip-top shape.

1. Garage

A. Set up activity zones in the garage. For example, group garden tools in one spot, sporting goods in another, and tools in their own area.

B. Using the walls (vertical space) and the ceiling (over head storage) will help you make better use of the space you do have within your garage. Use various storage solutions such as peg boards, containers (see-through and labels make it easy), and open crates which allow for easy access and are easy to clean. Do not use cardboard boxes because of water damage, mold and bugs.

2. Kitchen

A. Clear up your countertops. Put away any used (but not used often items or appliances such as a bread machine) into drawers or cabinets. Take a look at some of your appliances and if you haven’t used it in 12 months then it might be time to donate it to charity or a friend who could use it. This also works with all the little gadgets such as lemon zesters and melon ballers that might not be used and cause clutter in drawers. Empty the contents of a drawer into a box and put it into your garage or a closet. If you need an item, go get it, use it, and put it back in the drawer. Determine a time to clean out the box (such as a month, 3 months, 6 months, or even a year) and donate what is left in the box to charity.

B. Arrange zones or stations in the kitchen to make your life simpler and easier. For example, coffee, filters, mugs, and the coffee maker should be near each other to make it easy and convenient to make coffee in the morning. Another zone may be your baking zone. Include baking supplies like flour and sugar, cookie sheets, measuring cups, etc.

3. Dining Room

A. Is there always stuff piled up on your dining room table? Determine what the stuff is and what solutions can be made to conquer the clutter so you and your family can sit down and share a meal. For example, do you use the table for hobbies such as scrapbooking? Make sure you have a solution for your scrapbooking supplies such as a plastic drawer system on wheels. Does your table get piled with mail and other papers? Designate a basket or wall folder system to hold all the papers, magazines, and newspapers that come into the house. Make sure you dump the junk mail as soon as it arrives. Empty the basket on a daily basis.

B. A china cabinet for storage or another storage cabinet for fine china? Depending on your lifestyle you might want to have storage for your everyday dishes (maybe even plastic dishes that are within your child’s reach, so he could set the table for dinner all by himself).

4. Living or Family Room

A. Can you use multi-purpose furniture such as coffee tables, storage cubes, or ottomans with storage inside for children’s toys, extra blankets and pillows, or board games?

B. List all the purposes and activities that will take place in the room. Divide your living room into zones. Find storage solutions for your TV and DVDs. Store DVDs or CDs in a cabinet or shelving system that will help keep out dust. Keep all remotes in a basket in a central location.

5. Office

A. Keep most-often used items within arm’s reach. For example, items used daily such as pens and pencils, a stapler, and your calendar should be kept on your desk; while items such as scotch tape and paper clips that may only be used occasionally can be kept in a nearby drawer. Find an area to store extra supplies such as printer and fax machine paper, such as a closet organization system, a shelving system, or plastic drawer.

B. Sort and file paperwork. For sorting large amounts of paperwork the RAFT method can be useful. The R stands for papers that need to be Read. The A stands for papers that need to be Acted upon, such as a party invitation that needs to be responded to. The F stands for Filed, such as already paid bills. The T stands for papers that can be trashed such as junk mail.

6. Kid’s Bedroom

A. Sort your children’s toys. Take and pile those with broken or missing parts and make a decision of whether the toy is still safe, useable, or repairable. If not throw it in the garbage. If there are toys that your child has outgrown, decide what you are going to do with them. They may be passed on to a younger brother or sister, cousin, family friend, or donated to a local charity or woman’s shelter. They could also be given away on a website such as Freecycle or Craigslist. Next you must find a storage solution for the children’s toys that you are going to keep. Plastic drawers and shelves are good options.

B. Make sure organization tools are easy to use and at a child’s level. For example, hooks can be lowered to accommodate book bags, hats, bags, scarves, and more on the back of their door or in their rooms. Another important tool is to label storage solutions with both pictures and words– especially for those who are too young to read.

7. Master Bedroom

A. Re-organize your closet space. Remove the excess items. Donate items that others can use and trash stained or damaged clothing. Double your space in your closet by adding a second rod for part of your closet. Keep an area for long hanging items such as gowns or suits. Use the full height in your closet. Maybe there is room for a shelf or two for out of season storage for clothing or linens. Have a basket, bin, or container to put items that need to be dry-cleaned and another one for items that need to be mended. Invest in a shoe storage solution.

B. Use all free space, such as under the bed or mattress, for extra linens or out-of season clothing or shoe storage. There are many shallow bins or bags that can be used for this purpose.

8. Bathroom

A. Organize and declutter all the stuff on your counters and surrounding your sink in the bathroom. Do you need three different types of hair gel or can you consolidate down to one bottle instead? Go through all the different bottles and throw out anything with only a drip left in the bottom and those items you do not use on a daily basis. Any items that were bought or even the hotel sample sizes that are unopened can be donated to a homeless or women’s shelter. Get a small shelf, small plastic drawer system, or a decorative basket for each person to contain their daily products.

B. Declutter your medicine cabinet. Remember many medications are affected by the steam and moisture in the bathroom. Use a shower holder or cabby to hold your bath supplies in the shower or bath tub.

9. Attic

A. Do not use cardboard boxes to help avoid bugs and moisture attacking the contents of the boxes. Use plastic bins or containers that are either clear or clearly labeled.

B. Keep like items together in zones. Have zones for holiday decorations, one for sentimental items, another area for keepsakes, another for sports equipment, among others.

10. Laundry Room

A. There are many different laundry hampers or laundry sorters depending on your space. Some even fold flat when they are not being used. If you provide an easy place for your family to put their laundry, they will be more likely to put it into the laundry room. Who knows? Maybe they will even help do the laundry.

B. Use the space above the washer and dryer. Install and use shelving or cabinets to hold laundry cleaning supplies such as laundry soap, fabric softener, and stain removers. On the wall or inside the cabinet, tape up a copy of stain removal and fabric care symbols.

Stop by Get Organized Now – and check out the 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!

Quick Pampering Tips for Moms

October 13, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Every mom deserves a break. You can’t always take a day off just for you. However, you can pamper yourself any day of the week, right at home. These quick pampering tips for moms are sure to give you a quick boost!

Listen to your favorite music – When was the last time you bought yourself a new CD of your favorite artist? Turn on some motivating music for yourself. Listen to music to relax or pump up the volume and dance while you do the laundry.

Light some candles – Gather a few scented candles and light them for a soothing effect. Be sure to keep a few of the scents you like best on hand so you never run out.

Bubble bath – Fill your bath tub with hot water. Squirt in some nice-smelling bubble bath. Scents like lavender, mint and vanilla contribute a calming aroma.

Rose petal soak – Instead of using bubble bath or bath salts, drop some rose petals in your water just before you get ready to soak.

Rose petal foot soak – Soak your feet for twenty minutes in warm water with rose petals. The smell from the rose petals have a calming effect and the foot soak is sure to be a treat for mom’s tired feet.

Manicure and pedicure – What mom doesn’t deserve a nice pampering manicure and pedicure! Plan a special day out alone for this special treat. If you can’t afford to pay for this, invite a girlfriend and take turns pampering each other.

Save face – Buy an inexpensive tube of facial mask and soothing cream. Give yourself a facial while relaxing in the tub or soaking your feet in a rose petal foot soak.

Mother-daughter pampering – All moms need special pampering, but don’t forget to include your daughters from time to time. If you have a younger daughter, use some of these pampering tips we’ve provided for a fun mother-daughter night. Take turns giving each other facials and manicures, rubbing lotion on your feet or combing your hair. If you have an older daughter, save and plan for a special mother-daughter pampering day at the spa.

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Halloween Safety Tips

October 10, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Healthy Living No Comments →

Halloween is an exciting night for children and a busy time for their parents. With such excitement, it’s easy for children to forget basic safety rules.When emotions are running high, it’s a good time to remember to “use your head.” Plan ahead and plan to have a safe Halloween. Raise safety awareness with your family before the festivities begin.We do the right thing, but we don’t always explain it to children. As you place a saucer under each tea light, or “stop, look and listen” at street corners and in parking lots, tell your child why. They don’t always connect the dots unless you point it out.

Here are some Halloween Safety Tips to keep in mind:

1. Stay sober and alert: It’s amazing how many family Halloween celebrations involve adults drinking. It’s impossible to monitor children’s safety or your own when you’ve had too much to drink, so don’t.

2. Avoid cuts and burns when decorating: Carving the pumpkin, placing luminaria in the driveway, and hanging spooky skeletons all present opportunities for injury. If you’re decorating with candles, observe fires safety. Have a good fire extinguisher handy and make sure everyone knows where it is.

 

3. Observe ladder safety regulations: According to the NASD, accidents involving ladders cause an estimated 300 death a year in the US, and 130,000 injuries requiring medical attention. Review ladder safety rules and observe them.

4. Make sure “treats” aren’t “tricks.”:Many people these days choose to go to fairs or private parties instead of trick or treating for safety reasons. If your child is going trick or treating, go with them. Make it a rule that nothing is to be eaten until it’s first been inspected by you.

5. Caution your child about strangers and dogs:Keep your children with you and remind them to avoid people and dogs they don’t know. Many people are taking their dog companions out in costume these days, and even the most gentle of family pets can do something unexpected with all the excitement.

6. Accidental fallsis the number one cause of injuries on Halloween night (National Safety Council). Choose your child’s costume with this in mind. Hem up the hemlines. If you choose a mask, choose one that doesn’t obstruct sight. Stay sober and observe safety rules when decorating.

7. Four times more children are killedin pedestrian/automobile accidents on Halloween night than on any other night of the year.

The CDC suggests these factors make it a high risk: short stature, inability to react quickly enough to avoid a car or evaluate a potential traffic threat, lack of impulse control, and all the exciting distractions.

8. The holiday syndrome: The excitement, more candy, more parties, less sleep, less nutritious food, and getting off schedule all mean less attentiveness and also possibly illness. Keep routines as normal as you can.

9. Choose safe and sensible costumes:Choose fire retardant costumes that allow children free movement and good visibility. Be careful about accessories. Even toy knives and swords can cause harm. Give each child a flashlight.

10. Set a good example:Show that you care about safety and make it a top priority.

Visit Real Life Solutions!  It is your resource for all of your Holiday planning needs. We provide articles and products that will enable you enjoy stress free holiday planning.

Fun and Educational Toddler Activities

October 06, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, Just for Fun No Comments →

Toddlers are full of energy. For them the whole world is just one big adventure. So just how do you keep these little explores busy?

Here are a few fun and educational activities you can share with your toddler:

Draw a Giant Picture – Buy a large piece of cardboard (poster size) at your local arts supply shop and have fun drawing a huge picture with your toddler. You can use finger paints, crayons or markers. If your toddler is young just let him scribble or dab paint onto the poster board. Talk about the different colors as your drawing, for example say “Wow, your orange tree looks really nice. Mommy’s going to draw a red balloon now”

You can even take turns lying on the sidewalk and draw a body outline of each other using chalk. Once you have the outline draw in the face and features.

Make a Mask – Using paper plates help your toddler cut out eyes, nose and mouth and paint in the colors of your toddler’s favorite animal. He can be a cat, tiger or even a mouse. Once you finish with your masks, put them on and pretend to be animals. Toddlers love pretend games and this activity will help build their creativity.

Go on a Field Trip – Nothing fancy, just go to the local pet shop and show your toddler all the different types of animals or fishes. You can also go on field trip to look for bugs around your neighborhood. A field trip to the supermarket is great fun too. I’m not talking about your weekly shop but just a special field trip where you buy only a few items but your toddler can help you choose, weigh and even pay for them. This usually works great with fruit and vegetables since there are so many different types.

Show your toddler the different types of fruits and name them. Talk about the different colors and textures. Let them be just like you and place the items in your shopping cart and on the checkout counter. This is a great way for even young toddlers to start learning about their environment and the foods we eat. You can even make a special fruit salad when you get home.

Kitchen Organization Solutions

October 03, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

Most families spend a lot of time in their kitchens. In many households the kitchen is really the heart of the home. You definitely want to make this room a relaxing family space and in order to do that you have to put some kitchen organization solutions into place.  This way you can make  family meal times and cooking as stress free as possible.

Here are a few kitchen organizing solutions:

Organize Your Work Stations – To make cooking easier you want to make sure you have everything you need close at hand. Have an area for preparing the meals. It’s good to keep your spices and seasonings close to this area. You’ll also want to have chopping boards, knives and mixing spoons close at hand. Have another area for serving and keep all your dishes, serving spoons, placemats and utensils there.

By incorporating work stations into your kitchen and keeping everything you need near each work station, you’ll save a lot of time.

Organize Your Fridge – Clean out your fridge and organize things in categories to make finding them easier when you’re in a rush. It’s a good idea to keep all your dairy products together. Place cold cuts in tightly sealed plastic containers and label them. This will keep them fresh and also make it easier to find. You can do the same thing with cheese and left over foods.

Separate your fruit and salad items from your other vegetables so that you can find them easier. Often times you’ll forget you have those tomatoes in the back drawer and buy more. By keeping things organized you’ll waste and spend less.

Organize Your Pantry - When practicing kitchen organization solutions, dont forget about your pantry.  Arrange your pantry or cupboards according to foods. For example keep all your canned goods in one place and cereal in another. Keep the items you use most within easy reach and put away those appliances you never seem to use. They’re just taking up counter top space.

Plan Your Meals – This is by far the easiest way to organize your meal times. Take a few minutes and write out a meal plan and shopping list for the upcoming week. Buy everything in advance and stock up on items you use regularly and have a long shelf life. Then stick your menu on your fridge, glance at it each morning and plan ahead. Thaw any meat that needs thawing or chop and add your items to your crock pot.

For more Kitchen Organization Solutions visit the links below:

Visit Dine Without Whine – A Weekly Menu Plan & Grocery List Delivered To Your E-mail Box

Stop by Get Organized Now – and check out the 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!