Last week I asked you if you have heard of She-Sheds? We’ve all heard of man caves and bachelor pads, but this should be declared the year of the she shed. They are all the craze now, and why shouldn’t they be. Men have their man caves, and hard working moms and busy women deserve their […]
Originally posted on Be Like Water: Summer is the time to indulge in fresh, succulent juicy melon when they are in season and deliver an array of nutrients, vitamin and minerals. It is also incredibly hydrating (up to 92% water!) and is naturally low-fat. Make this melon a part of your daily diet and you…
Wow can you believe July is over half over! School will be starting before you know it. For Mom this is great news!!! Mom control yourself. For you kiddo’s not so great news. Am I right?
Summer is the time for relaxed rules and lots of fun. But with only weeks until school starts for many of you. Now is a good time to start some new habits. Did you know it takes approximately 21 days for form a new habit?
So lets talk about what you can do now to be ready for the 1st day of school.
Right now is a good time to buy summer clothes. Since school starts so early you may be sending your kids to school in summer clothes until it cools off. Why not take advantage of the summer sales now. This will allow you spread out your shopping and give your pocketbook a little breather.
Before you shopping you need to know about the school’s dress code. Do they allow printed words on clothes, tank top or saggy/baggy pants? Also, before you shop you should go through your child’s closet. What still fits and what have they outgrown? This is good time to empty their drawers and clean out their closet. It will make getting ready easier you get rid of the stuff that no longer fits or is worn out.
Do you have the right paperwork for your kids to start school? Now is a good time to gather your papers. Immunization records, birth certificates, report cards from prior school or proof of medical examination for your athlete. Preparing now will prevent a mad search or frantic last-minute trips at the deadline.
Talk to your kids to see what their expectations are? Do they want to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities? How much time are you going to be spending on evening and weekends?
Have you arranged for after school care? Make sure your child knows what the plan is and where they will be going.
Speaking of going. How are they getting to school? Do they know they way? Is there a bus or a new schedule? Are they walking? If you are driving them do you have a back up in place? If they are going to a new school a trial run a few days before will ease everyone’s minds. Trust me now it a better time to figure this out rather than the first day of school.
Let’s think about a routine
Time to start everyone on the back to school path.
Meal times, morning and bedtime will shift so if you start early and slowly implement those changes easier. Start creating good habits now. Mornings are going to get crazy – trying to get everyone up, dressed, fed breakfast, lunches packed, dinner planned and out the door…
Setting an evening routine will make your morning better.
The night before:
Determine what clothes everyone is going to wear the next day and lay out kid’s clothing.
If possible pack lunches and have a dinner plan. Do you want you your kids to make their own lunch? Well if that is the case. Lets set up a zone with lunch items in an easy to reach kid friendly space.
Check their backpacks for homework, projects or library books. Make sure sports bags or musical instruments are ready to go.
Don’t forget you own stuff. Know where your keys, bag and papers are that you will need for your day too.
It’s a great idea to have everything in a designated place easy to access as you walk out the door.
Keep it positive. Your kids may not be as excited as you are to return to school. Get them excited to see old friends or make new. You might want to make posters counting down the days. Plus make the back to school shopping trip a fun event. Let them pick out a few things.
When the first day arrives. Get up early, keep an excited attitude, make a good breakfast, take photos and let the kids chose where to go out to dinner.
My Mom would ask when we were about 100 miles aware from home.
Now I ask, did you close the garage door? When we are just leaving the neighborhood.
You laugh but one time we did not close our garage door. We were gone all weekend. Thank goodness we lived in a neighborhood when most of our neighbors were firemen or police. So they closed our door and left us a note. We joked that if something went wrong on our street all we needed to do was run out side and yell 911. We would have all the assistance we needed in minutes.
To save you from having to turn around or worry I have compiled my top ten “don’t forget” things to take care of at home before you go.
Cancel your newspaper – nothing says no one is home like papers in the drive.
Place a delivery hold on your mail. You can do this online.
I suggest a timer for lights and a radio. Lights and noise will make it appear that you are home.
Remove your spare hide-a-key. We give ours to my best friend.
If you have a trusted friend or neighbor let them know you will be gone, where you will be and ask them to keep an eye on your house. If you normally park a vehicle outside ask them to park a car in your drive and periodically check doors, rear of house, and see if any unexpected packages or door hang tags were left. If you leave you vehicle in the drive. Remove the garage door opener and all valuables.
Do NOT post vacation plans on social media! Remind your children of this too. Wait until you get home to post your fabulous photos and memories.
Notify your credit card company that you will be traveling so they will not put a hold on your card assuming it was stolen.
Use your cell phone or camera to take photos of you credit cards, passport, the labels on all prescription medicine bottles and anything else that you think you might need. Use digital or paper copies which ever you are comfortable with.
If you have pets that your are not taking with you ~ do not forget about them. Make arrangements for their care. I know you would never neglect your pets.
If possible load your suitcases and such in the garage. You don’t really need to advertise that you will be leaving.
Should I stay or should I go was never a question in my family. It was always go!
I was reading comments on vacation memories and got to thinking about my own.
Our family moto is, “it was not a vacation until someone had a flat tire or ran out of gas”. I got to thinking about all the prior vacations. The memories ran from shortcuts that were not in fact shorter but may have involved some very narrow roads that may not have had guard rails that went on for miles with no place to turn around. Praying that you did not meet another vehicle since we were pulling an RV.
My granddad loved Colorado and we went there many times. I have traveled by vehicle all over the United States and parts of Canada with my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and my husband. We have stayed in tents, a Scotty tiny trailer, fully functional RVs, hotels and cabins.
I have seen lots of wild animals from bears, moose, and elk to little ground squirrels. 45 years ago we fed a bear chewing gum one time. DO NOT DO THIS.
I have seen a rogue bear who he thought he could share a tent. The owners of the tent were willing to let him because who’s going to stop him.
We always went to the ranger talks. We learned about the parks we were visiting and heard some great stories. The walk back to the camp was amazing. No lights except for the stars and flashlights. If you have the opportunity to do this, do it. Take the time and take your kids.
I can’t tell you how many flat tires or times someone ran out of gas. Someone in my family has this thing about wanting to see how many miles they can get out of a tank of gas. There have been many other calamities such as the time the truck caught on fire – That was a bit too exciting! Then there was the time the mini-bike fell off the back of the RV. My uncle was following us and I think he had to change his pants after that experience. Of course this is the same uncle whose short cuts were not shorter.
Of course my parents will never forget the time they left me in South Dakota, which was 754 miles from home. First you have to understand it was way before cell phones and there was 5 vehicles all traveling together. I was prone to ride with almost anyone of the 5. So it was just a matter of miscalculation on all our parts. I can tell you that now to this day. When I get out of the car to go to the restroom…I have the keys.
It was an adventure for me. Hours later when my parents stopped for the night and set up camp they discovered there was one less kid with them… Huh? What took hours to drive earlier did not take anywhere near as long back. I was fine. My parents got a few gray hair that day. But never the less vacation continued on as planned. It was an amazing time.
My cousin’s birthday was always celebrated while on vacation. One year we couldn’t find a cake so she got a cookie with pine needles candles on it. She still talks about her birthday cookie.
My husband and I took a trip with my parents to Yellowstone a few years ago. There was a forest fire blocking our way back to the DNR Dude ranch (yes, that was the name) where we were staying. So we had to take a detour of 163 miles. We almost out of gas but we saw the most amazing sunset I had ever seen. All I am saying is sometimes the detour brings a wonderful suprise just arround the bend.
If you are on the fence about taking a vacation let me say, GO! They are your vacation days. Take them. Spend time with your family. Unplug and go. There are only so many summers when your kids will be little. They are growing up and you need to make memories.
So go make memories. Good or bad they will be the things you will talk about for years and years to come.
Heck, maybe one of your kids will write about it someday.
Are you going on a driving vacation? You really must prepare your car before loading up the family and heading off into the wild blue yonder. This post may not be sexy but if you have ever been on the side of the road with kids, pets and parents you really will appreciate the words of wisdom. If you haven’t, you really don’t want to have stranded roadside memories.
Ditch the junk in the trunk – Clean the clutter out. You will need all the space you can for the kiddie gear. Plus extra weight means lower gas mileage.
Power up – Did you know that your battery could leave you stranded in the hot summer months? The heat and overcharging can shorten the life of your battery. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which then damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, which will eventually destroy a battery.
Kick the Tires – Do you really want to have a flat tire on the side of the road? Properly inflated tires are important to both your fuel economy and to the life of your tires. Don’t forget to check the spare if you have one.
Remember that you can check the tread by taking a penny and insert it upside down along your treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, those treads are dead and you need new tires.
According to Edmunds.com even if you have sufficient tread but your tires are older than say six-years you may need to replace your tires.
Carmakers such as Nissan and Mercedes-Benz who tell consumers to replace tires six years after their production date, regardless of tread life. Tire manufacturers such as Continental and Michelin say a tire can last up to 10 years provided you get annual tire inspections after the fifth year. The Rubber Manufacturers Association says there is no way to put a date on when a tire “expires,” because such factors as heat, storage and conditions of use can dramatically reduce the life of a tire. Here’s more on each of these factors.
How To Determine the Age of a Tire
The sidewall of a tire is full of numbers and letters. They all mean something, but deciphering them can be a challenge. This Edmunds article about reading a tire’s sidewall goes into greater detail, but for the purposes of determining the age of a tire, you’ll just need to know its U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number.
Check the Juice – You can easily check your fluids like coolant, motor oil and windshield washer fluid also. I recommend you take your vehicle and have the oil changed and checked out by a professional before you begin a car trip.
The future is so bright you need shades – Purchasing a $10 sunshade that keeps sunlight from coming in the windshield can reduce fading, drying and cracking inside your vehicle, and keep you cooler when you sit down behind the wheel. If you happen to live in Arizona you will find that a sunshade is necessary. Believe me you don’t want to sit on a leather seat that has been baking in the sun. We really can bake cookies in our vehicle in the summer.
Preparation is a key to handling harsh summer heat. That certainly beats being stranded in the heat. But if this happens make sure you have signed up for a roadside assistance program. Your cell phone provider may offer roadside or there is always AAA.
Failure to plan is a plan to fail. A little organization goes a long way. What are you summer plans?
Since we are celebrating this everything USA weekend. What is more patriotic than Apple Pie?
So how about apple pie sangria! Because this is summer time I recommend you use a sweet and light Moscato. Click here for the recipe is from the Cookie Rookie.
Are you grilling? How about adding something unexpected to the grill? Try adding some sweet potatoes, avocados, peaches or watermelon as they all grill extremely well.
Freeze blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries in ice cubes to flavor your beverages
Use a kiddie pool filled with ice for your drinks and beverages. If you are having a picnic the adding ice to a kiddie pool makes a perfect to put all the chilled foods into making a cold buffet.
Are you looking for an easy way to tote all your plates, napkins, utensils and condiments? Put them all in a Plastic Tote Caddy. You know the kind you use to keep your cleaning products together. It works great for picnics too. You could also use one for your sunscreen, baby wipes, bug spray and other stuff you need close at hand.
I’m sure you have all seen the tip to use a muffin pan for your condiments. I suggest you use cupcake liners to cut down on the clean up.
You can use a garden flag holder to put paper towels anywhere you need them in the back yard. Add a cute bucket or container with wet wipes and hand sanitizer and you are ready to clean up those fingers.
To cool off make a water balloon piñata!
Have stick horse races by making Pool Noodle Ponies from the pool noodles you can get at the Dollar store.
Not near the beach? You can still can build a castle out of Life size Lincoln Logs made out of pool noodles~ 15 to 20 pool noodles from the dollar store cut in half cut notches out easily with scissors = hours and hours of fun playtime! AWESOME!!!
Make a Squirt Gun Station by filling a bucket with water and put squirt guns in it.
I have camping tips from a recent post Click here to see them.
Do you feel like you need a bigger closet? You don’t have anything to wear? Want to add something new your closet without spending a dime? Have a party!
Want to make a fun girls night in? Tell your gals what you are doing, have them bring their donations and host a clothing swap party.
So before you can have a party you and your gal’s have to purge your closets and determine what can and needs to go.
When did you last empty your closet? When you moved in? Well that’s too long.
First you need to get a trash bag and a box.
Everything will go in one of 3 places trash, keep or donate. The box is the donation box. Your “keep” goes in a pile on the bed.
Time to clear your closet. You are going to take everything out and decide to donate, trash or keep.
Now be honest with yourself. What size are you? Will you be able to fit in this soon? If not donate it.If you were shopping today, would you buy this now? No ~ then donate it. When did you wear it last? Has it been over one year? Why? Donate it.
Now that you have sorted everything and your closet is empty it’s a good time evaluate your keep pile. If you couldn’t decide to donate or keep, then you can put it back in the keep. BUT you have to commit to re-evaluate in six months.
Hang everything you are keeping neatly on hangers but turn the hangers backwards so that when you actually wear something you remove the hanger and you will flip it around. Six months later you will be able to see what you did not wear. Those need serious thought as to if you should donate them.
I understand I have a LBD in my closet that may not see the light of day for over 6 months but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the skinny jeans you can have not worn in years or the jacket you loved years ago and you now live in a climate that you never wear a jacket.
OK now that you have cleared your closet and determined what to donate. You are ready to host a clothing swap party.
There are lots of places to get details on hosting the party. Here is what Oprah.com says:
Include friends of all sizes and shapes—and don’t leave out your pregnant friends who could be looking for larger items. Because some pieces can be easily adapted to fit various figures by adding a belt, have one on hand the day of so that guests can see if cinching a roomy top or dress will make it work for them.
Host your swap at the end of the season when people are more likely to be cleaning out their closets and looking for new pieces to freshen up their wardrobes. Send out an Evite or Facebook invitation (both save trees and help you track RSVPs) a month in advance to give guests time to prepare and let go of the too-tight, too-short skirt or neon blouse they haven’t been bold enough to wear. If you’re not opposed to a few extra houseguests, ask friends to spread the word to a stylish friend outside your circle to increase the pot and better everyone’s chances of walking away with a good find.
Note a minimum and maximum number of items each person should bring, especially if you do choose to open up the guest list. This ensures there are plenty of quality things to trade but not so much stuff that it becomes overwhelming for you or your friends. And encourage everyone to bring any unwanted clothing, regardless of the weather outside. Tank tops and T-shirts make great layering pieces year round, says Nichelle Stephens, founder of the Fashion Swap and Meet blog.
Only things in good condition (washed and ironed) should be welcome. Gently remind guests on the invitation to clean out their pockets (tracking down an ID card someone mistakenly left in their old jeans is a nuisance worth avoiding) and reserve anything they’d be embarrassed to loan to a friend (stained clothes, moth-eaten sweaters and underwear) for the garbage—not your swap
Add accessories to the mix (like gently worn shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves and unopened beauty products). This will ensure that everyone—regardless of size—can find something that fits.
So here goes – thanks to Wendy Brilliance Within for nominating me to complete this ‘happiness tag’ the rules are easy. Write about 5 things that make me happy, 5 songs that make me happy and nominate 5 ‘happy’ bloggers to complete the tag too if they are willing to share a bit of happiness..
5 Things that make me happy:
No1: Is my husband. We have been together for 30 years. All those years ago he ask me to, “come grow old with me as the best is yet to be.” I accepted and he was right. The amazing journey of our life continued to get better and better with each passing year. My kids have 4 legs and are fur babies. They give unconditional love. They never ask for money or wreck the car. They are not the best at picking up their toys but they will we are working on that.
No2: My family. I am blessed to have amazing parents who instilled into my siblings and me that we could do anything we wanted to do. Plus they supported each and every one of our endeavors. They are supporting my niece right now by traveling over 2 states to cheer her on as she competes in gymnastics. We all support each other and when we do get together it is a grand time. We have made the most of every bit of time we are together. We camped for over 50 years with extended family and those memories are things we still talk about to this day. Sandra, I’m sorry about the strawberry Sunday. How was I to know it would fly back in and go all over you.
No3: Great friends. In 2010 we moved half way across the US to Arizona. We knew no one here. That soon changed and we have made great friends from all over. Plus we retain our friends from Oklahoma. Anytime we are together is a grand time with lots of laughter and food. (Eating makes me happy too.)
No4: Nature – We live in an amazing state that is incredibly diverse. I can be in the mountains in 2 hours or at the sea in 5. We can play golf almost every day. Many think the desert is empty but they would be wrong. Birds winter here. Year round we have hummingbirds, doves, quail, roadrunners the list goes on and on. I enjoy seeing mountains from my back yard and watching the birds. Plus our sunsets are fabulous. Then our night sky, oh my don’t get me started. But until you have watched meteor dart across the crystal clear night from your back yard in December in your PJ’s you haven’t lived.
No5: Reading – I believe if you can read you can go anywhere. I read all the time.
5 songs that make me happy right now:
No1: Pharrell Williams “Happy”
No2: Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
No3: DNCE Cake by the Ocean – If you have not seen the Kai sing this on Ellen you should look it up.- Adorable now every time I hear this song I see this adorable little boy and smile.
No4: Justin Timberlake “Can’t stop the feeling”
No5: Megan Trainor “All about that Bass
I nominate the following because they make me happy. – I hope you don’t mind but I’d love to read your Happiness Tag’s..
Are you looking to get out of town and do some camping? Escape the city or heat?
Camping can be a lot of fun and not too expensive. I have been camping since I was a tiny tot. My parents started in a tent over 55 years ago. We have camped a lot. They have camped from Florida to Alaska and everywhere in between. So not only did I learn from them but I have done my fair share of tent camping as well.
Here are a few tips that will make your camping trip more fun.
Especially for Mom.
The great thing about camping is it can be very low cost and low tech. Most everyone starts camping in a tent. You can get a used tent on Craigslist and some cheap sleeping bags. If you are going somewhere that gets chilly these will be helpful.
Don’t forget to see if you can borrow one. – Camping is one of those things that people find they either love or they don’t. Meaning camping gear is readily available pre-loved or experienced.
Camping mats make a pretty big difference, so try to get your hands on some. You may already have Foam floor mats in your kid’s playroom and they work great to cushion your tent floor. If you don’t want to drop the cash, just throw a bunch of blankets in the car and sleep on those.
Here are a few of the things I have learned along the way:
Pool noodles on your tent guy wires – Tent Ropes are a trip hazard. So marking them with bright pool noodles or tie ribbons on them.
Trash bags – You want to make sure you are not littering. Plus, you can stuff dirty clothes and wet towels in trash bags.
Ziploc bags – These are so helpful for so many things.
Anti bacteria wipes – You may find that you are not close to water and yes it will be dirty. You are camping for goodness sake.
Bug spray – Did not you know that you don’t have to spray you skin? You can spray shoes and clothing. Be aware you need to protect against ticks and mosquitos.
Sun screen – Apply early and often.
Table Cloth – Remember what I said about it will be dirty. Well it will be nice to throw a clean cloth over the surface you are going to feed you family. (You can just stick in a flat sheet or a Shower Curtain if you don’t have a tablecloth.)
Grab some glow sticks. You can use glow sticks in the cooler to see what is there without using a flashlight. Plus you can use glow sticks in water bottles for glow in the dark bowling.
Don’t forget some card games for entertainment. Uno and Rook are great for all ages.
Duct tape – This can be used for anything. From a strap to a sling.
Flashlights – You will need these. I recommend you have one for everyone. Trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night will be much smoother. Did you know you could turn a gallon jug of water into a lantern with a flashlight?
DIY Hand washing station can be made from an old empty laundry detergent bottle.
Solar lights are perfect to light the way at night. It will probably be really dark in the campground.
First Aid kit – Accidents happen so be prepared.
Poison plants remember: Berries White, Run in Fright, and Leaflets of Three, let it be!
If you are going to have a campfire. Great fire starters can be made at home by save dryer lint in an empty toilet paper roll. Also, a pencil sharpener makes excellent shavings to start a fire.
Matches or a lighter. Don’t want Dad to have to rub sticks together to build a fire.
Freeze gallon jugs of water. Bonus Ice and water when it thaws. Also you foodstuff will not be soggy and wet in the cooler.
You can use a shoe organizer to keep you kitchen/cooking items together and off of the ground.
Store your utensils in a plastic Pencil box.
I strongly suggest you use disposable paper products for your camping trip. You will have enough to keep up with and do without adding dishes to the mix.
Large plastic storage totes with lids are great for keeping everything together.
Store your spices in a straw. Singe the end of a straw fill with your spice and singe the open end. Cut open when you are ready to use. Easy to re-singe and seal. Or Empty Tic-Tac boxes make the perfect traveling boxes for spices.
Prepare snacks that don’t need to be chilled before you leave home. Fill a bin with your of pre-measured snacks.
Crack your eggs and put them in a plastic bottle. Easy transport and easy to scramble.
Omelets in a bag or jar – prep all at home and mix together in a bag or a jar. Easy peasy breakfast is ready to cook. No fuss no muss. You can even put the bags in boiling water to cook.
No bowls cereal. Solo cup, Ziploc bag with cereal. Put Ziploc the bag in the cup, add milk – easy breakfast. Easy clean up – just toss the bag and you can reuse the cup.
Walking Taco’s – open a snack size Doritos or Frito’s and your standard taco fixings right in the bag. Prepare you all your fixings at home and store them in Ziploc bags for easy prep.
Hobo packs – almost anything can be cooked in foil on the campfire.
Buzz Feed has great camping meals here is the link. click here
Don’t feel like you have to make big meals. Hot dogs are the perfect camping food. Pork and beans travel well. You can put the can on the fire, just make sure you open that can first. Everything tastes better when cooked and eaten outside.
Don’t forget the ‘smores! Let the family have junk food.
My Mother’s best tip is if you are going to a campground with electricity, you may find that an electric skillet will be your friend. You can cook every thing in it, plus it’s only one thing to pack.
If this is your first camping trip, make reservations and don’t go too far. Be flexible and have fun. You are making memories that will stay with your family forever.
Remember it’s only a few days and they will go fast. Your kids will LOVE it!!
Schools out, summers in, let the drama stop and the fun begin.