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Archive for February, 2012

More Organized Mornings

February 21, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Organization No Comments →

Here are some great tips for more organized mornings.  Are your mornings chaotic? Do you want them to move more smoothly? Here are some tips to help you do just that.

1. Plan ahead.

Develop the habit of preparing for the next day the evening before. That will not only give you a head start for the day, but will get your body in the habit of slowing down to fall asleep when you want it to. Realize you can’t work or play until you fall into bed exhausted. Exercise is great, but earlier in the day, not right before bed. Your mind and your body need to relax after the busy day to get a good night’s sleep, that’s a big plus toward an organized morning.

The length of time required to prepare will depend on family size, and what the next day holds for each person. Start with 30 minutes to an hour, making adjustments as necessary. Also note that planning is done by each family member mature enough to do it, not by Mom or Dad alone, though someone will have to take the lead.

 2. Select tomorrow’s clothing.

Does work require a suit, business casual, or casual? Is this a tennis or golf day? Will someone volunteer at the food pantry? Will the children need school uniforms, or more sturdy clothes for a field trip? What about sport uniforms or dance outfits for after school?

Select clothing and set it out where each person dresses. Check for missing buttons, broken zippers, rips, or stains. Those problems are more easily corrected in the evening.

 3. Prepare tomorrow’s food.

Prepare and refrigerate lunch boxes in the evening when time is more relaxed. Part or all of breakfast may be fixed at the same time. This minimizes cleanup: two meals, one cleanup.

In addition, set the table for breakfast. More time for breakfast means a more readily digested breakfast.

 4. Collect tomorrow’s needed items.

What goes to work, reports or contracts? Put it all in the business case(s). What goes to school, homework, or projects? Put those in the book pack(s). Is anyone going to the doctor? Bag the patient’s prescriptions and over-the- counter medicines; remember to include all of them. Any questions for the doctor are written out and included with the medicines. Does anything need to be picked up? Make sure the ‘picker’ has the needed ticket or receipt. Does the tennis player have his racket, the golfer her golf bag, the canasta player his cards? Try to think all this through before going to bed.

Stage these things by the door. Set them in order as needed, and in tote bags or containers to keep everything together. For example, if Dad leaves first, his items will sit at the door. Those leaving next have their items behind Dad’s. If Mom leaves last, her things are at the end of the line. Each person’s pack is waiting for them as they leave. Everything is in order, nothing is left behind.

5. Wake up refreshed.

When the clock goes off, do not push the snooze alarm. If you got to bed early enough, that won’t be necessary. Even if you didn’t, don’t push the snooze alarm, and don’t jump out of bed immediately. Instead, do easy stretches, like a cat does. While stretching, think gratitude, be grateful for another day, for another chance to succeed and be happy. That way when you do get out of bed, you’ll feel great. Continue feeling great by remembering how you prepared the night before; there’s no need to rush this morning.

As you get up, make your bed. This takes little effort, yet gives lots of benefits. It makes the room neater; it keeps people from fussing, and it makes the bed feel oh so nice when you climb into it at night. If children are too young to make their own beds, let them ‘help’ until they can do it alone. The earlier they develop this habit, the easier it will be for them, and you.

Another stress reducer is staggering awakenings and bathroom times. Not everyone can crowd in there at once, so stagger times to allow those leaving first to get into the bathroom(s) first. Whoever guides the rest of the family, leads the way. Last ones out of the house are the last ones in the bathroom(s). Make the schedule so each person has the time they need. Unless you live alone, consideration for others is the key.

6. Eat a healthy breakfast.

Don’t forget breakfast. Everyone needs a little fuel for the morning’s activities. Even those with small appetites can have coffee, juice or milk, toast or fruit, a hard boiled egg, something so they won’t leave the house on an empty stomach.

Since most or all of it was prepared the night before, breakfast doesn’t have to be rushed. There’s even time to wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher.

 7. Ready, set, go!

Finally, make sure the first person home has keys to get in the house. Have the last one leaving make sure the door is locked while everyone is away. As each person goes out the door, encourage them to tell the rest still home that they love them. Being organized is great for relationships.

Result: The previous night’s preparation smoothed the morning routine. Organization replaced chaos. Each person had ample time to dress, enjoy breakfast, collect his or her things, and leave on time, relaxed and eager to meet the challenges of the day.

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!

Vacation Money Saving Tips For Families

February 13, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Just for Fun, Pamper Yourself No Comments →

When it comes to family travel — many are on the lookout for vacation money saving tips for families.  
 
(ARA) – The slow economy hasn’t hindered travel plans for most families. Family travelers take an average of 4.5 trips each year, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Savvy families are able to travel and build lasting memories by making trips more affordable with the help of simple money-saving solutions.

Here are five vacation money saving tips for families:

Tip 1: Plan ahead of time  – Once you decide where your family will go, it’s time to research what to do. From visiting theme parks and museums to spending relaxing days at the park or beach, it is smart to do your research. Some places will give deals for advanced purchases or allow you to combine several activities into one discounted price. Your research might also help you discover some fun free activities in the area.

Tip 2: Seek out inclusive activities – Food, rides, shows and souvenirs, a day at the theme park – vacation expenses add up pretty quickly. Consider seeking out options where one price includes everything. All-in-one activities are great for families on a budget. Does the water park include free lunch with your ticket? Does your amusement park pass include a ticket to the music show they present? How about free child care for mom and dad while they’re at the restaurant? Activities that include extras can make for a hassle-free day where you never have to take out your wallet.

Tip 3: Book a hotel with all the amenities – and perks  – A nice hotel with many amenities can make all the difference after busy days of sightseeing or visiting friends and family. Home2 Suites by Hilton, for example, have comfortable suites for the family to stretch out and sleep soundly each night. Cook a meal in the suite’s kitchen for a relaxing night in and a money-saving alternative to nightly dinner outings. Make a day of hanging out at the outdoor patio where you can grill lunch or simply relax and catch up with the family in the Oasis, the hotel’s common hub for social gathering. The saline-based pool, maintained with natural chemicals, is also a fun spot for the family to enjoy. Bringing the family pet? Enjoy time with your furry family member on the outdoor green area for pets at this pet-friendly hotel.

Tip 4: Cut your food costs - By eliminating eating out for one meal a day during your trip, you can save a lot of money. A family of four can spend $40 a day on breakfast at a restaurant – that’s $280 for a week’s vacation! By choosing a hotel that provides a complimentary breakfast, you can pocket that money for a fun activity, or save it for paying down the credit card bill when you get home. Not all hotel breakfasts are equal – look for options like the ones from Home2 Suites that provide a variety of tasty options to please everyone: hot breakfast sandwiches, cereal, yogurt, oatmeal and a variety of bakery products.

Tip 5: Pack light when flying -  With most airline carriers charging for luggage these days, your family can rack up fees quickly if everyone has a full bag to check. For example, at $25 per bag per flight, it costs a family of four $200 extra round trip. If you can cut down on the amount of clothes and supplies you bring, you can save a ton. Check only a couple bags or just use carry-on luggage. Then, look for accommodations that offer on-site guest laundry. If you stay with Home2 Suites, you can easily do laundry on-site and either relax in the outdoor common space, or grab a quick workout in the adjacent gym.

Family travel is quality time you spend together creating memories that will last a lifetime. With these strategies, your next trip will not only be memorable, but it will be affordable too.

By using any or all of the above vacation money saving tips for families, you will be well on your way to saving money AND having a great time with your family.

The Secret to Successful Dating

February 07, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Just for Fun No Comments →

The secret to successful dating is to get to know know yourself !  Many adults really don’t know themselves and therefore they end up selling themselves short when it comes to relationships.
 
(ARA) – Do you really need studies and statistics to convince you that you want to be in love? Probably not. It’s no surprise that research supports what you likely already know – that people in happy, committed relationships, on average, live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives than their unattached peers.Even if you dated through high school and college, entering the dating world as a single, independent adult can be daunting. The rules and objectives seem to change when you’re out in the working world. Instead of just having fun, your dating priorities may shift toward finding that special someone whom you’ll want to be with long-term.When it comes to dating, knowing who you are and what you have to offer another person is every bit as important as knowing what you want. Here are some tips for learning about yourself, and how to parlay that self-knowledge into positive dating experiences.

Build your confidence

Self-assurance is communicated in so many ways. Whether it’s the willingness to take the next step in a relationship or simply knowing what you want to order for that romantic meal together, confidence is appealing on many levels. Take steps to build your self-confidence in your daily life, and it will spread to your dating life. Simple things like dressing neatly and well, standing and sitting tall, and even knowing your credit can help you feel more confident about yourself and what you have to offer another person.

Know your own value

Think about what you expect from the person you want to date. Do you want someone who takes care of him or herself emotionally and physically? Someone who is financially stable? Do you match that image? Take stock of what you have to offer another person, and consider every aspect of your life that could affect a long-term relationship. Consider your diet and exercise habits. Are they the kind that will help you live a healthy, long life? Check your credit on a site like freecreditscore.com. Do you manage your credit well or are financial problems something you – and a potential partner – will have to deal with in the future?

Keep it real

It’s important to be honest with others in all your relationships, but it’s even more important that you’re honest with yourself. If your self-assessment uncovers things you don’t like about who you are or where your life is going, you need to acknowledge and address those things. Ignoring issues will not make them go away. Just as an untreated wound can turn infected, character issues or life situations that you don’t like will only worsen over time if you don’t take steps to deal with them.

Face your fears and challenges head on

Nelson Mandela once said the brave person is not someone who feels no fear, but someone who conquers that fear. Knowing your greatest fears and being able to face them is an important part of knowing yourself. It’s not always easy to get to the root of your fears; you may even think you have none. The truth is, everyone has a worst-case scenario they hope never happens, whether it’s losing their job, facing a life-threatening illness, or even never finding that special someone. The useful part of knowing what you’re afraid of is that you can take steps toward preventing it from happening, or toward being prepared in case it ever does.