Spring Break: How to Plan the Perfect Getaway
Did you hear? The groundhog saw his shadow and six more weeks of winter are upon us. Do not be too sad though, while winter may be around for a few more weeks, before you know it spring break will be here. Spring break is the perfect time to get away, whether that be tanning on the beach or skiing in the mountains. Rather than focus on the sadness of more winter, turn your attention towards planning the perfect spring break getaway where you can relax, have fun and enjoy a nice vacation.
Here are some tips for planning the perfect getaway:
Choose The Right Destination For You
While most people believe that spring break means sand and sun, that may not be your ideal vacation. Decide for yourself what would be the best trip for you. Maybe you do want to find warmer weather or maybe you would rather hit the slopes and finish the day with hot chocolate.
After deciding what type of atmosphere you want, you then have to decide whether you want to stay close to home or be a world traveler. If your spring break is long, you may find yourself wanting to take an international trip. There is so much to do and see overseas, you just need to find the best fit for you. If you decide to stay in the United States, you can weigh your options on whether it is better to drive or fly. If you are like me, finding the cheapest option is always a better option, but sometimes flying is better than driving. You just need to decide whether you want to break the bank or fly for cheap.
Cheap vs. Luxury Travel
Since I do not travel often, I always like to take the time to really plan the trip and save up enough money to enjoy my vacation. This may not be the case for everyone, as sometimes trips can be planned last minute or you just really need to getaway. Whichever method you choose, make sure you still plan smart. Even if you have money to spend, that does not mean you have to spend it all. Take the time to really research your destination. You can find flights that are cheap without choosing the worst airline. There are many websites that can help you find the best ones. Also search multiple hotels before choosing the one you want. Some offer special rates at certain times of the year, while others may have different room options with different views. Do your research and find your best fit.
Pick The Perfect Travel Buddy
Before I even begin deciding where and when I want to go on spring break, I first need to figure out who is coming with me. So ask yourself, is this a family trip? Do I want to go with just my friends? Will I be bringing my kids or just getting away with my husband? Deciding who you are going on vacation with is key to deciding the perfect getaway location for you.
Pack With Your Destination In Mind
Now the week has finally come. Spring Break is right around the corner and the last thing you need to do before you can relax is pack. I always find that I overpack and never end up wearing half of the clothes that I packed. Before you begin packing, check the weather at your destination. Do you need warm clothes, i.e. sweaters, boots and coats? Or do you just need some bathing suits, sunscreen and flip flops? Make sure you pack enough to get you through your trip, but also leave a little bit of room for any souvenirs you may bring back.
Now you are ready to go on vacation. You have chosen your travel buddy, found the perfect destination, researched and decided on flights and hotels, packed everything you may need, and now all that is left is to board the plane or pack up your car and be on your way.
Winter Bucket List
Winter is in full force and before the cold weather has gone for the season, I always like to make a bucket list of things I want to do before all of the snow has melted away. I encourage you to do the same. Make a list of all of the things you want to do this winter, and try your best to stick to them. I am the queen of lists and love to write down things I want to accomplish and then enjoy just as much crossing them off once they are done.
Here are some things on my list this year:
Go Ice Skating And Sledding
This is a winter staple in our house. Every winter we make it a point to go ice skating at least once and go sledding once the first snow hits. This is one of my favorite winter traditions.
Drink Hot Chocolate
After a long day of sledding or ice skating, I love to make a cup of hot chocolate and add tons of marshmallows. Hot chocolate is the perfect cold weather treat after a day spent in the snow and ice.
Have A Movie Day
Winter weather in our hometown usually means lots of snow and freezing temperatures. When those days come, one of my favorite things to do is curl up on the couch with tons of blankets and binge watch my favorite shows and movies all day.
Stay In Your PJS All Day And Make A Blanket Fort
If you are planning to do #2, you may as well incorporate #3. Staying in my pajamas all day under those cozy blankets is one of my favorite and most relaxing things to do. Add to that a blanket fort in the living room and you have the perfect day. If you are extra adventurous, you can even sleep in the fort for the night.
Build A Snowman
Once the snow has finally piled up enough, you can pull on your snow pants and boots and pack together a snowman. Add some arms, a nose, mouth and eyes, and maybe even a hat. Maybe even build a snow family.
Have A Snowball Fight
After our snowman is built, our family usually ends the day with a snowball fight. They usually get pretty intense. One side builds a large barricade, the other builds a trench and we all end up laughing hysterically and covered in snow. This tradition is one I could never forget each winter as it brings so much laughter and joy in our family. Find a tradition like this for your own family and I promise, you will never forget to add it to your bucket list.
Read A Book By The Fireplace
Every year I vow that I will read more books, and every year I never read as much as I had hoped. Yet there is something that draws me to the idea of a warm fire and a good book. I do some of my best reading curled up by the toasty fireplace.
Do Something Nice For Someone You Care About
Every season I try my best to remind someone how special they are. Whether it’s a close friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger, I always try and do something nice, especially in the cold winter, to show someone they are important. Not only does it leave them happy and feeling special, but I promise you, you will leave feeling good too. Here are some ideas if you want to add this to your own bucket list: cook a meal for a friend, buy them flowers for no reason at all, write them a note to tell them how much they mean to you, or give them a gift to show you care.
Plan A Spring Vacation
If you are ready for the snow and cold to be over, use the end of winter to plan a spring vacation. That way you have something to look forward to while you wait for winter to end. Maybe plan to go somewhere you have never been before or maybe just somewhere that has a beach. Either way, use the vacation as a way to get you through the harder days.
I love writing my winter bucket list this year as it reminds me to take advantage of time and each season.
Do not wish winter away too soon.
Make your own bucket list and enjoy everything winter has to offer.
3 Tips to Keep Your Floors Clean From Winter Weather
The first snow has come and gone and with it the excitement of winter weather. I love the sight of a white, snowy yard, but as soon as that first beautiful snowfall has melted or maybe browned with dirt. Now that the snow is here to stay, your floors seem to be getting dirtier and dirtier as you and your family track in dirt and snow through the house. No need to worry, with these tips you can keep the rest of your house clean while allowing yourself to continue to enjoy the snowy weather.
If you follow these tips you are on your way to a clean, snow free home. Now you can enjoy the winter weather without the stress of dirtying your floors. Now it’s time to go out and make a snowman and play in the snow. Enjoy!
New Year, New You. How to Make the Best Resolutions
It is that time of year again. The first day of 2018 is officially here. Time to get out a pen and paper and create your goals for the coming year. You have the best of intentions. You think, “I will definitely accomplish all of these this year.” But before you know it, life gets in the way and you soon forget all of those things you were hoping to do. Believe it or not this happens to all of us, but there is a way to create New Year’s resolutions that are attainable.
First things first, sit down at a table with a pen and a piece of paper. Find a moment when the kids are asleep or a room where you can be uninterrupted. Now, jot down seven or so things you want to accomplish this year.
Alright, now’s the important part. Reread the list you just made and cross out anything that is a long shot or is more of a dream than a reality. The key is to choose things that you know you can accomplish. Now, this is not to say you shouldn’t have dreams, but you should not write any of those down unless you really plan to work hard to achieve them.
Yes, I know everyone wants to work out more or read more or just find more time to themselves, but you also do not want to be disappointed if you make that resolution and do not follow through.
Okay, how is your list looking now? A little bit better? Now find the resolution that you can start immediately. Put that one right up top as your very first to do. Then order the rest of them based on when you think you can begin them.
Here is an example:
Now go and find that quiet spot and write some awesome New Year’s resolutions!!
How To Host The Best New Year’s Party
The New Year is right around the corner and if you are like me, you love to ring in the new year surrounded by family and friends. However, sometimes it can be overwhelming planning and hosting a New Year’s party. There are a few things you can do before and during the party to help ease some of that stress and allow you to start the new year off right.
Welcoming in the new year is always fun and even if you are hosting, you still want to be able to enjoy your night. If you try these tricks, you can help lessen your load and destress before the new year begins.
Have A Happy New Year!
Tips and Tricks to Make Your Holiday Bright
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The holiday season is finally upon us which means it is time for holiday decorations, holiday crafts and activities, and of course, the mess that comes from all of these things. In order to help make your holidays bright and keep your home looking nice and clean, there are a few tips you can try.
The inside of the house always becomes the biggest mess if you are like me and love to decorate every inch of your house in holiday décor. Before you start pulling out the new decorations, I suggest taking your fall decorations and putting those away first. We like to rotate our decorations and have them organized in our storage unit, that way they are easy to find when we need them again and our storage space stays clean.
Once the fall décor is put away, it is time to bring out the holiday decorations. If you want to be even more organized, you can store your holiday decorations by the room they go in. You will be able to decorate efficiently and you won’t be running around each room or end up with a huge mess of decorations in one place. Bringing out the holiday decorations is also a great time to clean/rearrange your home. Before putting out the new decorations, take the time to pull out your furniture and vacuum under it, dust the fans, clean up any messy areas, and make sure your house is ready for the new decorations to be put out. The changing of the seasons is a great time to really deep clean your home.
Now that your home is clean it is time to decorate. If you want your tree to be the center of attention, make sure to place where everyone can see it. Be careful though to make sure it is away from the fireplace or any heating vents because those could dry your tree out quickly and could also be a fire hazard. With the tree all set, you can move into decorating the rest of the house with holiday touches. One of my favorite are holiday candles. They make your home smell wonderful and really make you feel like the holidays are here. They are also good for covering bad smells or just to help make your home smell clean.
With the inside of your home ready for entertaining, you can also add a few touches outside. My favorite thing to do is to add some pretty lights outside. They are especially great since the sun sets so early in the winter. You can even hang a pretty wreath on your front door or a garland on your porch. These extra touches are inviting and make your house look beautiful.
The holidays are a wonderful time to show off your decorating skills, but they can also be stressful because you want everything to look perfect. Use these tricks and I promise you, your home will be holiday ready in no time.
Winter Is Coming! (Preparing Your Home For Colder Weather)
Winter is right around the corner, which means it is time to get your home ready for colder weather. If you are like me, being cold is one of my least favorite things so I try and make sure my house feels nice and cozy for when those freezing temperature hit. I also like to try and use the heat in my home as little as possible to decrease that always increasing electricity bill. If you are looking for some ideas on how to warm your home while avoiding the heater as much as you can, check out some of these tips.
Blankets, Blankets, Blankets
One of my favorite things about winter is snuggling up under a cozy blanket. I have more blankets in my home than I know what to do with. Whether they are fluffy, soft, big, small or just used for decoration, I have blankets everywhere. You can use blankets as a nice touch for decorating for the holidays but you also want to make sure they are cozy too for when you need to snuggle up under them. The key is to have a basket or a bin that you can keep all of the blankets in. This will help prevent blankets being strewn all over the house and making it look messy.
Get Your Fireplace Ready
Whether you do it at the end of the winter season the year before or before it begins, you want to make sure you fireplace is clean before the cold weather hits. One day it will be chilly and you will want to run and turn the fireplace on, but you have to make sure it is clean first or else you will have a smoky, bad smelling home from the dirt and dust that has accumulated in your fireplace. Whether it is wood burning or gas, you want to make sure you check your fireplace and make sure it is all clean before you use it. Once it is, make sure to use it as much as you can. There’s nothing better than cozying up by the fireplace on a snowy day.
Turn Your Fans
If you have fans in your home, don’t be afraid to use them in the winter. While it may seem like using a fan would only add to the cold, you can actually use them to help distribute the heat in your home while also decreasing your heating costs. The key is to make sure your fans are turning clockwise. This will cause the cool air to go upward, causing the warm air to be brought down into the warm. If you are worried about still feeling the cool air from the speed of the fan, turn it down to its lowest setting. This will still help add heat to your home and is a great way to cut back costs.
Candles Aren't Just For Smelling
One of my favorite things to do during winter is to light some festive candles and make my home smell wonderful. While the scents of winter add an extra touch to my home, the candles are also great at helping keep the house warm. I do not suggest going out and getting an enormous amount of candles because they can be expensive, but a few on each floor of your home will add a decorative touch and will also help to keep the heat.
Winter weather does not have to mean always being cold.
If you try some of these tips, you will be able to help keep your house nice and warm while also keeping it neat and tidy.
Stay warm and enjoy this winter season!
Preparing Your Kitchen To Host Thanksgiving Dinner
November is finally here which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year, you may want to start preparing since the cooking process can take a while and the mess will take a toll on your kitchen. While Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, it can also be stressful making sure to keep my house clean while trying to make the perfect meal to entertain friends and family. I try my best to split the process into steps and prepare things early if I can to prevent my kitchen from becoming a mess.
The nice thing about Thanksgiving is that some of the foods that are typically eaten on this holiday can be prepared ahead of time. This allows you to have more free time for your guests the day of and the extra focus on the important items, i.e. the turkey. The week of Thanksgiving would be the best time to start preparing your sides and desserts.
Before you begin though, make sure your pantry is stocked and your refrigerator is clean and organized.
With so many dishes to prepare and get ready for the big day, it is important that you have everything you need. The weekend before Thanksgiving, you may want to stop at the grocery store and pick up all of the ingredients you will need for your Dishes. If you wait too long and try and go closer to Thanksgiving Day you will find yourself in an overcrowded store while you search for the items you need. If you go ahead of time, you can decrease your stress and be more prepared. Once you get home from the store, you will want to make sure your refrigerator is clean and organized. When you begin cooking the dishes that are going to be prepared a few days before, you will want to have room to store them until the big day. If your refrigerator is not clean, you will find yourself stacking pans and making it hard to find things. Even though it may take some time to clean out your refrigerator, it is definitely worth it once you start cooking.
Once Thanksgiving Day is here, the real work begins. If you want the day to go smoothly, I suggest creating a List or at least taking the time to plan out how you are going to cook and when things need to be in the oven. As you prep and start the cooking process, you can begin to clean up in steps. If you wait to do all of the cleaning at the end you will be left with hours of dishes and a very dirty sink. If you begin cleaning after each dish has been prepared you will find you are much more organized and you will have a clean home much faster.
If you are like me and only have one oven, even beginning the cooking process a few days early is not enough to stop from having multiple dishes to prepare the day of. If you are having a lot of guests at your table, suggest that they each bring a dish of their choice and make sure to have them tell you ahead of time what they are bringing so that there is no overlap. You will soon find that you have less work for yourself and that your friends will even be happy to contribute their favorite traditions to the meal.
When the night is over and everyone has gone, don’t let the turkey lull you to sleep just yet. If you want to wake up the next morning and feel refreshed and with no cleaning to do, make sure to clean up the night before. Since you will have been cleaning as your prepare the meal, you should only be left with plates, silverware, and serving dishes from the meal itself. Even if the last thing you want to do is clean, take the extra hour and get everything put away. Maybe even wrangle the kids or your spouse to help out and make the job go faster. Once the dishes are all day and the day is over, your house will be clean once again after a wonderful day filled with family, friends, and
Halloween Candy Is Not Just For Trick or Treaters
The first day of October means it is officially time to start preparations for Halloween. When I think of Halloween, I think of dressing up as a fun character or animal, spending time with family, and eating lots of Halloween candy. When the holiday comes around, stores start stocking up and there are aisles upon aisles filled with every type of candy you can think of for the last night of October when the kids can go from house to house and trick or treat. I always find myself purchasing multiple bags of candy to give out, while the kids always end up coming home with their own stash of candy. After a long night of doorbell ringing and candy counting, they always come home with way more candy then they need, so I usually allow them to pick a certain amount for themselves, and then I find other uses for the rest of the candy. Here are just a few ideas for what to do with your extra Halloween candy.
1. Bake With The Candy
If you are like me and love to bake, this extra assortment of candy gives you a chance to try some new recipes with the different candy your kids have brought home. If you are creative, you can go beyond the regular chocolate desserts or candy corn topped cupcakes. Using this candy also helps save you from a trip to the grocery store or for having to spend more money next time you want o whip up a delicious holiday dessert.
2. Use Them As Decorations
Halloween candy these days comes wrapped in fall themed packages so that companies can sell more and say that they are different than the rest of the year. This is a good opportunity for you to use the candy, and the wrappers, to help decorate your home and make it look more festive. One of my favorite ways to do this is to sprinkle pieces of wrapped candy on my formal dining table with the rest of my fall decorations. This is a fun way to add a little touch to your fall table. You can even leave them there for Thanksgiving or when you host a get together so your guests can have an extra treat for after dinner. You can also use Halloween candy in candle holders. If you buy a clear candle holder, you can fill them with different candies, my favorite to use are candy corn, and then place your candle in. The candy will act as a support to hold the candle up and will give them a nice fall look.
3. Use The Candy As A Reward For When Your Kids Are Doing Chores
Here is a little trick to help keep your house extra clean. Even though your kids will receive their own Halloween candy, there is a good chance they will eat it all within a week or maybe two once you have allowed them only a certain amount to keep. After that, you can use the candy as a reward for when they get their chores done. Each chore can have a certain amount of candy that they can receive and it will be a fun way for them to help keep the house clean while also allowing them to have some of their candy back in smaller portions.
4. Give Some To Those Who Did Not Get Any
Once the top 3 tips have been finished and you find that you still have Halloween candy left over, you can find a place to donate your candy or just find someone to give it to who may not receive treats like this. I always love to find ways to give back and with the loads of candy that the kids always end up with, I love to give some of it away knowing whoever is receiving it appreciates it. I love having the kids go with me or having them pick out the candy to give away so that they get to play a part in giving back as well and they can see that Halloween isn’t just about candy and costumes.
While Halloween candy is fun to give away to all of the costume dressed children, you can use it for more than just that. Even if you do not have kids that are bringing home loads of candy, you may find that you have leftovers from handing candy out, which I always do, so you can try these tricks as well. You can even sneak a few pieces here and there for yourself.
☺ Happy Halloween!
Stress Free Baking With Kids
While I love to bake all kinds of desserts and treats, I find that it can be hard to spend the necessary time to bake when with kids running around the house who constantly are asking when it will be ready. Therefore, I love to find ways to incorporate them into the baking process so that they can see how it is done and to help keep them busy while it is baking.
Before the baking process begins, the kids and I like to sit down together and pick out what we want to bake next. This way they are choosing something they want to try and they get to see the different ingredients and steps needed to make each different dessert. Once the decision is made, it is time to search the pantry to see what ingredients we have and then head to the store for the ingredients that we don’t. If you have multiple kids, this is a great opportunity to have them take turns looking for different ingredients in the house and then helping you make a list for what you still need.
Once the shopping is over, the real work begins. I like to give each kid a task for the baking preparations so that there is not chaos in the kitchen for who should be doing what. Each time we bake I like to alternate their tasks so that they get to try new things and they do not get bored. We all take turns reading the directions and following the steps before the dessert goes in the oven. This teaches them to follow directions and to learn to measure correct amounts. Once everyone has done their steps and the dessert is in the oven, the waiting begins.
There are multiple ways to pass the time while the dessert is baking that will help keep the kids calm and focused. This could be a good time for them to do some of their homework or to do other chores around the house. Depending on what you are baking, there may be other preparations like decorations or frosting to be made that they can help you with while you are waiting. The key is to keep them busy so that you are not all staring at the oven or having them constantly ask if it is ready yet. Find what works best for you and your kids and keep it consistent every time you bake. If they know that it is homework time every time something is baking, this will create a great routine that helps keep them focused.
Baking can seem tedious or time consuming, especially with kids, but you can try some of these steps to incorporate them into the baking and you will find that it can be a lot less stressful. Not only less stressful, but even fun. You are getting your kids involved and teaching them new tricks that they can use as they grow up. Enjoy trying your next recipe with your kids and happy baking!