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Archive for May, 2012

Menu Planning Tips for Busy Moms

May 21, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, Organization, Stress Management No Comments →

Dinner is the last meal of the day and a time when families can get together and discuss their day. It is also a hectic meal for busy moms who are just getting off of work or who have been busy with other activities all day. If you are a busy mom or you know a busy mom, here are  some menu planning tips to help make dinner meals easy and even fun.

Menu Planning Tips

1. Schedule your meals a week in advance –  This is one of the most important menu planning tips. Knowing what you are going to eat throughout the week means less chance that you will stop off at the closest fast food joint for a convenient, but unhealthy meal. Decide on the   last day of the previous week (let’s say Saturday for the sake of argument) what the menu will be for the following week. Create your shopping list from the list of ingredients to avoid   buying what you don’t need at the grocery store.    Also see Meal Planning Central for a free meal planning report.

2. Look for bargains – Clip coupons, read advertising circulars and the like to decide where the best grocery to shop is for your menu items. If one ingredient is a common denominator in  many meals, consider buying in bulk to save money. Common staples like milk, eggs, bread and  sugar can be bought in bulk as well. Some stores will have double or triple coupon days when  you can save even more.

3. Search online - After a while your family will get tired of chicken and rice every Thursday. You can get into a menu rut sometimes. Use the Internet to search for new and exciting recipes. Learn to put a twist on old recipes for a new taste.

4. Have a leftover night – After preparing meals for five or six days, there is bound to be so  me food left over.   One of my favorite menu planning tips is to designate one night to be leftover night and let everyone mix and match for dinner. It saves mom from having to throw away any food.

5. Cook your meals in advance. After deciding on a menu plan for the week, go ahead and fix as many meals as you can. Choose a day when the entire family can help like Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Each person can take one meal and fix it for the following week. Once everything has cooled, store it in sealed containers or casserole dishes to be frozen until the  night it is needed.

6. Do prep work in advance –  All of the meals can’t be cooked at once. Some foods just taste better freshly prepared. For them, so as much prep work in advance as you can. Enlist your kids to help chop (give them the kitchen shears instead) vegetables, dice cooked meat and mix to  gether dry ingredients. The night of the meal, all that is needed is to add the wet ingredients and bake.

As you can see, using some menu planning tips will be your ticket to saving money, sanity and time  – what else could a busy mom ask for? Now, let’s get Cookin’!  Remember that meal time doesn’t have to be all on mom. The entire family can help with dinner so it is a relaxing meal for everyone.

More Menu Planning Tips Here

Also see Meal Planning Central for a free meal planning report.

Easy Ways To Save Money Fast

May 11, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Goals, Healthy Living, Organization No Comments →

With the global economy at one of its all-time lows, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make ends meet. However, many of us are looking for easy ways to save money fast.   There are many easy ways to save money fast and you don’t necessarily require drastic action, and you may even want to try some of these out simply as ways to save up for something you want. So here are a few great money-saving tips that you might never really have thought of.

Easy Ways To Save Money Fast

Ditch your car (sometimes): Your car is probably one of the most expensive things in your life. We forget that not we’re not only paying up for fuel on a regular basis, but we also have to pay all the maintenance costs for our cars.

We don’t necessarily need cars to get on with our daily lives. Public transport is great alternative. Another great alternative to a car is a bicycle. Bicycles cost almost nothing to run, with very low maintenance costs and zero fuel bills. Better still, you’ll even get fit by using a bike.

Finally, you can walk as much as possible. While some things will probably be too far away for walking, there’ll almost certainly be plenty of things you can do by walking which you’d normally take your car to do.

Many can’t imagine life without a car, but you don’t actually have to drop your car altogether to save money. Just making shorter journeys by bus, bike or on foot can start saving you money on fuel, and will reduce wear and tear on your car making maintenance less of an issue.

Stop going to the gym: If you are looking for  easy ways to save money fast, you may want to check out your work out habits.   If you’re paying out to go to the gym on a regular basis, then consider doing your workout from home – at least until your financial situation is looking a bit better.  You can arrange to go on runs in a local park or on the sidewalk with friends if you want to get out of the house. But it’s also possible to do lots of exercises in the house.

You can also try to cycle journeys that you would usually make in the car. As mentioned above, this can reduce fuel costs at the same time as keeping you fit. It’s also a timesaver, as you won’t need to use up as much of your free time on exercise if you’re cycling to get around.

Plan your food shopping: One of the most common mistakes we make is not planning our food shopping properly. By using some key family meal planning tips, you can save a lot of money monehly.  It can seem like an annoying chore, but by buying only what you know you will need you waste far less. It also means you can take advantage of bulk-buy special offers.

Check out supermarket clearances: Supermarkets often have end-of-day, or end-of-week clearances. These are definitely worth checking out! You can find some truly amazing deals here, particularly if you’re buying meat. Find out when food clearances usually take place at your local supermarket and make it a habit to turn up for them frequently. It’s possible to cut food bills down quite a bit this way.

Drink less alcohol, smoke less cigarettes:  It sounds boring and difficult, but if you can manage it then cutting back on alcohol and cigarettes can be a huge money-saver. Cigarettes are one of the biggest money wasters – especially for chain smokers. Those who are unable to quit cigarettes might be able to cut back and save some pretty decent money.

Alcohol is actually easier to cut back on than many people think. You don’t have to stop drinking it altogether, but saving it for just one or two nights per week can really make a big difference to your expenses. Also, if you drink out at bars a lot, consider drinking at home beforehand. This can reduce the cost of a night out quite a bit!

As you can see by the list above, there are many  easy ways to save money fast ways.  These are just a few ideas to help get you thinking. Take a look at your daily life, and see if you can find other ways to save yourself money in addition to these.

Click Here For More Easy Ways To Save Money Fast

Time and Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

May 04, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living No Comments →

Here are some great time and energy saving tips for your home that you can start using today

(ARA) – Keeping your home beautiful, organized and running smoothly is a never-ending task. The chores from the kitchen unfold into the dining room, which spills into the living room, the bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry room and beyond. Once you’ve added it all up, the amount of time and energy you spend on housework – day to day and year to year – is staggering.If you feel like your schedule is overloaded – and who doesn’t? – prioritizing time-saving solutions can free up some much-needed time for hobbies, relaxing and spending time with family and friends. “Once you discover new, more efficient ways to accomplish your everyday routine, it’ll be hard to imagine how you ever did it before,” says Kimberly Nies, home economist for LG Electronics USA.To get started, Nies offers a few pointers, intended to give you a jump-start on getting your whole house in order, room by room. With some simple ingenuity and quick tips for getting the most out of your minutes, you can cut down the time you spend on everyday tasks.

Time and Energy saving Tips for your Home

In the kitchen: Don’t do dishes twice. The kitchen is always a hub of activity, from meal prep to meal clean-up, and the whole process can take hours if you don’t take an efficient approach. The first change you can make: Stop washing dishes twice. While it may be an old habit that’s hard to break, it’s an unnecessary step that can go the way of the washboard. The latest dishwasher innovations, like TrueSteam technology from LG, uses high-pressure steam particles to remove food residue – whether baked, burnt or stuck on – so it virtually eliminates the need for pre-washing, soaking and scrubbing. Its Easy Rack system allows you to custom tailor the interior, to fit in a wide variety of items-like odd-shaped bowls, pans and platters-as well as a height adjustable third rack that fits oversized utensils.In living areas: Clear clutter. Whether it’s in children’s rooms or the family room, clutter accumulates easily and can be hard to get rid of. Make a commitment to cut out clutter-creating habits, such as leaving magazines out, dropping coats on the couch or leaving shoes in the middle of the floor. Make sure that everyone observes – and enforces – the rules. You’ll find that cleaning will be easier – and the reward of a tidier-looking home will make the effort well worth it.

In the laundry room: Lighten your laundry load. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans do 7.5 loads of laundry per week, on average. Now think about the time it takes for a single load to cycle through; once you’ve done the math alone, you’ll be downright exhausted. You can cut down on the time you’ve been spending in the laundry room, though, by using some new tools. With time savings of 20 minutes per load, even on large loads, washing machines with features like LG’s TurboWash, can be a time saver that makes a big difference in your week. The machine’s larger capacity lets you reduce the number of loads you do, too, which means more time to yourself – or with your family.

Whole house: Make it a family affair. Tackling all the household chores on your own is tough, so encourage the whole family to take part. If you have very young children, cleaning can become a fun learning experience, so encourage them to participate. For older kids, it’s a great way to develop a sense of responsibility and ownership over important tasks. Whether it’s dishes or dusting, consider setting up a system of rewards for jobs done well. Make a family activity calendar and add in household chores, so that everyone knows their responsibilities. Breaking it up over different days of the week can make jobs feel less daunting and ensures that every room, and every task, gets a little bit of attention.

Finding ways to save time and energy on daily chores will benefit the whole family,” Nies says. “New technologies will help a lot. Share the work, and make it fun – once everything’s done, your family can trade spending time on chores for spending time together.

As you can see, there are many ways that you can incorporate time and energy saving tips for your home into your daily life.

Cheap Summer Fun For Kids

May 03, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Healthy Living No Comments →

With the warm summer weather, hopefully, just around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking how to keep your children entertained during the long summer holidays.  What you choose to do with them is likely to depend, to a degree, on the amount of money that you have available, but below are a few ideas for cheap summer fun for kids.

Profit from a Big Tidy

Kids hate cleaning and tidying up their rooms, and this can be a big source of frustration for the parents. You could even make it into a game with a time limit to sort the room. With the kids at home though, why not encourage them to sort through their old toys and set aside the ones that they no longer play with. Take these to a car boot sale and let them spend the money made from their sale on a visit to a toy shop.

Treasure hunt

This can be a great opportunity, not only for the children, but for the parents too. Get your kids to invite their friends around, along with their parents. Whilst you relax over a glass of wine and catch up with the adults, your children can enjoy figuring out the puzzles and finding the treats that you have planted around your garden.

Camping

There is nothing better than getting the children into the fresh air, something that is increasingly difficult in this day of modern technology. There are many camp sites in the country that have great facilities, and the kids love the freedom to run around. If you don’t have your own transport, consider camping in your own garden or even, indeed, inside the house; this can be great fun if treated as an adventure and can stimulate the imagination of young minds.

Make your own T Shirts

Let your kids make their own personalised t shirts. You can either do this by buying a kit, or why not simply allow them to paint on their t shirts with non-washable paints. You could suggest a few ideas to get them started or simply give them free reign to be as creative as they like.

As children, many of us loved to roam around our local park and discover things as we went along, whether it was the sighting of a squirrel or simply the discovery of an attractive leaf that had fallen from the tree. Buy them each a scrap book and suggest that they see how many different types of leaves they can find. After much running around in the fresh air, they are likely to be tired by the evening and give you a bit of peace and quiet too.

The Seaside

If you are fortunate to live close enough to the coast, then the beach is perhaps the most exciting place for a child. Of course, you will have to compete with the modern entertainment and copious amounts of junk food that is on offer; but once you get them on the beach, they will love building sandcastles, exploring rock pools at low tide and generally wearing themselves out running around.

The summer holidays don’t have to be filled with children hanging around the house, bored, there are plenty of ideas for cheap summer fun for kids.  You may also find that your will re-discover your own inner child too.