11 Back to school parent tips

Where did the summer go? Fall is just around the corner and “back to school” is on many parents minds. The challenge is getting school back on the mind of your “live in” student. If you want your child to hit the ground running academically this school year. Then its time to retrain their brain.

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Its time to retrain your child’s brain

Schools around the globe provide a system of routines for maximizing learning that is specific to each students age and ability. Unfortunately these routines have been breached with approximately 90 days of vacation and they need to be re-established prior to the first day of school. Here are 11 tips to help your student establish routines for a successful year.

1 Re-set sleep patterns-

7 to 10 days prior to the first day of school start the process of regular sleep. Wean the student off of going to bed late and sleeping late. Yes, you’ll probably cave to the “mom its my last weekend before school, why cant I stay up late?” However, sleep patterns are crucial for reaching peak performance during the first class period and maintaining it until the bell rings to go home. Start this process sooner then later and help maintain it all year. Good luck on this one. Be bold, be consistent.

2 Re-set eating habits

Once school begins the eating patterns of the student need to be set so they can maintain a high level of energy throughout the day. The routines of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and after school snack prior to homework need to be implemented.. In fact, the entire nutrition of the students needs to be well through out 7 – 10 days before school begins. Some one other then the student needs to be the chief family nutritionist!

3 Exercise the brain

Just like the NFL, conditioning and exhibition games that prepare each football player for the upcoming season, your student needs to warm up and begin to hone the basics of math, reading and writing, prior to the school year. To allow your brain to stagnate for 3 months with out reading is a travesty for super learning, and learning itself. Is it too late? It is what it is. But begin now to encourage reading and writing at least 7 – 10 days prior to the first day. In addition, math skills can erode over the summer. Have your student review the previous years math basics before they go to the next level.

Check out Dollar tree for back to school supplies.

4 Set academic goals

Establish well- defined goals is one of the hallmarks of a champion. Each student needs this. Goals with corresponding strategies and tactics for reaching them. Set goals for each class and hold your student accountable.

5 Identify priorities.

Football games, dances, playing video games, watching television, social media, homework, sports, extra curricular participation and friends are all part of each school year. Does academics top the list of priorities? When is homework to be accomplished? Before or after dinner? After school? The homework routine needs to be placed in your students schedule before the school year. Sunday night is a great night to prepare for the upcoming week. This is a routine they can take into adult life.

6 Social media

This activity gets its own mention. I believe smart phones aren’t always smart. This device is your students pipeline to the rest of the world with emphasis on their peer group. Self-discipline and concentration don’t always mesh with the cell phone. No cell phone usage during home work PERIOD. No cell phone usage after certain hours. (you decide the nightly cell phone curfew) as a student, you need to know three things about social media. What is my responsibility? What is my authority? And lastly, what will I be held accountable? Monitor this activity. You don’t need surprises. Keep in mind where and when your students goes on the web and with whom they communicate.

7 Risk and reward

This subject needs to be addressed frequently with your student. Everything they do, or don’t do has a positive, or negative consequence. What is the risk of doing this activity? What is the reward? This talk needs to be given and repeated often.

8 Ask questions

Tell and yell does NOT work as a form of communication. Many of us have been raised with this form of information delivery. In order to turn your student into a viable and responsible decision maker, then great questions will eventually produce great answers and ultimately great actions. Questions that can be answered with a mumbled yes or now are NOT great questions.

9 The peer group

Birds of a feather stick together. Interview research and keep tabs on ALL your students friends during the school year. This definitely includes monitoring ALL social media. If your paying the phone bill, then the phone is yours, not theirs. Your students circle of friends is the main influencer of how they approach homework, speech, dress, music, and any other behavior. Police the peer group. Also meet all the parents of your childs friends. This will tell you alot.

10 Get ready mom and dad.

Yes, as parents we need to prepare to assist our live in students in setting, organizing and managing the best routines for maximum learning. This also pertains to family activities such as dinner, chores, family outings, sibbling behavior, and community service. Of course, your students priorities is preparing for the academic year and maintaining good grades. But do not forget family. Keep them in the loop of all up coming activities.

11 Allow for freedom of choice.

All students need some time to blow off steam. And just hang out with friends. Allow your student time in their busy schedule to do this!

13 ways to organize and get rid of paper clutter for ever!

Do you have random piles of paper covering your work area? Doesn’t it seem like papers always find a way into your home creating clutter?

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Do you have random piles of paper covering your work area, dining table, and kitchen counter? Doesn’t it seem like papers always find a way into your home creating clutter?

If it takes you forever to find important papers because you have no clue where you put them. Its time to get organized.

Keeping important papers organized also requires you to get rid of any paper clutter that is NOT important. This way you know everything you keep is important and not useless.

1 Create an inbox.

Leave a box or tray on your desk or entry way table and label it as inbox. This will be where all your papers go. It doesn’t matter what kind of papers they are, in the box they go.

Have a designated area where all papers go as soon as they come into the house. This will help you keep all the paper together until you are ready to go thru them.

2 Create multiple boxes

Ok, maybe one inbox is not enough. You can always have more.

Having more than one inbox means you can sort papers right away the moment you get them. Label the “read: “sort” and “file” Or anything you want.

3 Make your own personalized mail organizer.

You can refer back to one of my previous posts for this. How to create a family command center that really works.

Take it to the next level by reading. It will keep you organized AND look nice in your entry way.

4 Go paperless with statements and bills.

One way to reduce paper clutter in your home is to get ride of as much as possible.

Make sure you sign up for paperless statements with your banks and service provider that send your paper statements. All your bills and records should be available online to view, and sometimes you might even get a discount for paperless statements.

5 Keeping a receipts jar.

If your keeping receipts, keep them in a jar near the entrance of your home. Make it a habit to empty your pockets and wallet as you come in the door and keep the receipts in the jar.

This will eliminate receipts for in random spots in your home.

6 Displaying children’s art work

You want to proudly display your children’s art work, but your running out of space on the wall and fridge?

You should scan or photograph the art works and make a collage out of the pictures. This will save you so much space on that wall!

For more Ideas on this refer back to another of my previous posts, How to save kids art work.

7 You can also make kids artwork into a photo book

This is a great sight to find all your photo needs!

Or you can make your kids artwork into a photo book! This helps to keep all their art pieces together in one book and also reduces paper clutter. It makes it easy to flip thru the pages and everything stays nice and neat.

8 Designate a space for all paper clutter

Organize your office space so you have a designated area for everything including papers. This is where you can place your inbox so all incoming papers have a place to sit before you sort thru them.

You should have a section for papers that need actions and another section for filing. Make sure you have an empty box or trash bin to collect paper to recycle.

9 mobile command center

If you don’t have a room or an office, try creating a mobile command center. This shows you don’t need the perfect dream office and desk to keep everything organized.

All you need is a cheap file box and some dividers.

10 How long to keep papers

One month

  • receipts – non deductable items
  • deposit/atm slips
  • reconciled bank statements

1-3 years

  • check book ledgers
  • paycheck stubs
  • mortgage statements
  • insurance records
  • all business and income relate documents
  • proof of deductable purchases

At least 7 years

  • State and Federal income tax returns
  • w2 and 1099
  • medical bills and statements
  • contracts
  • any receipts that were used for tax deductions
  • cancelled checks
  • millage records
  • real estate tax forms and records

Forever

  • Birth certificates
  • marriage/divorce papers
  • auto titles
  • mortgages
  • investment statements
  • passports
  • home improvement receipts
  • receipts for major purchases
  • medical records
  • education records
  • pension/retirement plans
  • property agreements.

11 recipes from magazines

If you save magazine recipe cut outs, you probably know how important it is to keep them organized.

You can keep them in folders by catagories. Such as breakfast, lunch, and supper. This makes it so much easier to look for a recipe you want. Make sure to label the tabs and you can keep all the folders in a file box.

12 School paper storage.

Keep your kids school papers in a paper organizer. You can divide the papers by grade levels.

13 color code important papers.

Keep important papers in color coded folders. This will make it so much easier to find something you need.

A quick guide to knowing when to put out your fall decor.

Your probably wondering how early is too early for fall decorations. When it comes to trading in summer decor for fall foliage, there is no hard rule.

By: Debbie Pfluger

Your probably wondering how early is too early for fall decorations? When it comes to trading in your summer decor for fall foliage, there’s no hard rule. How ever, you can follow seasonal cues to make sure you’r not too early or too late. I’ve provided a bit of a guidance below on when to put out fall decor.

WHEN TO PUT UP FALL DECOR

Whether your changing your interior or exterior, you can hang fall decor as early as late August and through out the holiday season. The best option is to put up fall decor in September or October but late August is appropriate if you want a head start. Avoid hanging any decor before that so your decorations can be in sync with the season.

You’ll also want to avoid confusing holiday decor for fall decor. If your going to decorate your space before the first major fall holiday- Halloween, choose fall appropriate decor and add the holiday elements latter on as different holidays approach.

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas right around the corner, you can choose fall decorations that last for a few months. From fall inspired wreaths to pumpkins and rustic foliage, you can create a cozy themed atmosphere that serves as the foundation for each holiday.

Signs that Autumn is near.

There is also a few signs you can pay attention to before switching out your fall decor. Let nature be your biggest cue when it comes to finding the right time to put up your decorations.

  • Cold weather- When the weather starts to get colder, you can begin changing out your summer decor to fall decor. Once the weather appears to be colder on average daily, you can swap out bright colors in your home to warm fall friendly colors.
  • When the leaves start changing color. The easiest sign that autumn is approaching is right outside your door step. Once the leaves begin to fall and are changing colors, this is a sign that fall decor is appropriate.

Practical tips for getting your mama body to the pool!

Its worth it! Totally worth it! The hassle, discomfort, the stuffing of this mom body into a spandex suit over and over again!

I just read a post from creativemom.com and loved it! So much, that it inspired me to write this post. The author encourages moms to stop worrying about their body image, and get in the water with their kids.

It was a total inspiration for me. I struggle so much with my appearance. Especially after being diagnosed with thyroid disease. Which has caused me to gain weight.

I was so inspired, that I want to share with you what I learned.

Look the part

So from the fashion part of me. Nothing irritates me more than someone wearing a 1940s costume with a 2014 hairstyle.

Huh??

What I mean is, be will to play your role, all the way. Step into your character as a mom with kids.

Sure its awesome if your a fit mom or a slim mom, but not everyone gets to be cast as that character. Every play needs a frazzled mom, and an overweight mom, and a mom who doesn’t have the time or money to keep her hair from frizzing. Its these characters who make the play interesting.

So this is my take on the play itself. I’m a mom. I’m working on getting fit, but, in the mean time I’m embracing my role!

Get swim wear your comfortable wearing.

OK, so the first part is more of a pep talk, but now I’m getting specific. There are some sorts of modest, comfortable bathing suits out there. Unfortunately most are crazy expensive. Like $80-100. For a cheapskate like me, if I wasn’t fully convinced I would wear it more than twice in the summer, that price tag would make me decide I just couldn’t do it.

And that would be my final excuse for not heading to the pool.

So, here’s what I do. I buy board shorts. I’ve done the swim skirts before. But don’t like how they float up in the water.

I’m sure you can find these at amazon, or other places. But I get mine at Kohls. (Because I work there) For around $10 – $15. You can wear a one-piece with the shorts. But that makes bathroom trips quite difficult. (especially if you have kids small enough that they have to come with)

I grab a bikini bottom, usually off of the clearance rack. I don’t care what it looks like, since it wont be seen. It’s like swim undies.

Then I’ll spend a little more for a tankini top. I’ve seen then just about everywhere that sells clothing, starting at around $15.00.

The total cost was around $40.00 but I’ve worn the same shorts for about 3 years now. But some items were out faster with intense use.

Oh, and one more hint, thats really just a person opinion, Halter tankinis make you look awesome. Seriously! They lift things that need to be lifted. But… if the things you need lifted are heavy, it will eventually kill your neck. I’m all about being comfortable, so DON’T do halters.

Prepare realistically

If you read and relate to this blog, theres a chance you’re the mom who loves to think of everything possible you would need to make a trip to the pool perfect. You might even make a list. (Yes, that s me by the way) And the first time you would rock it.

But then life happens. So here are a few tips I’ve learned from experience.

  • Drip drying works. Who needs towels!
  • A bag of unmeltable, special snacks marked pool only is a good alternative to making snack choices on a daily basis,
  • Small slushies are cheap if you forget the special snacks.

Honestly, the only thing I never forget (because we keep it in the truck) is the sunscreen. FYI Banana boat is great – but if your into the chemical free type as am I head over to Grove Collaborative!https://www.grove.co/referrer/3825420/ Use this link to get an awesome deal on your first order!

And if your like me – and you dont like to spread goop on your face, get a hat

Just go!

I had to get a cover up and bring a friend to talk to are other things to include. But I’m going to skip that. Just go! If you avoided going with your kids, the first time will be uncomfortable and awkward but thats ok. My main motivation for being purposeful about going all the time is that there’s nothing more fun to stay active in Wisconsin summers. My kids are in awesome shape every summer.

My second motivation is the joy I get from watching my kids experience childhood.

I do get in the water. I do play with them some. But its also ok for me to yak with my mama friends while we tread water or just stand in the shallows, while the kids make their own fun.

With out any direction from me, they spend summers learning to dive by practicing. They organize relay races. They use splash balls and pool noodles to play base ball with kids they wouldn’t recognize at school when everyones wearing clothes. They have jumping contests and make funny hair styles by flipping their hair up in the water.

Its’s worth it! Totally worth the hassle of discomfort of stuffing this mom body into a spandex suit over and over again!

What to do with your teens this summer!

Kids can fall behind if they slack off in the summer. You can promote learning with these ideas.

If you start the season with good intentions, (chores! Books! Fresh air!) only to find kids camped out in front of you tube, read this wise advise.

Every June I have the best intentions: I’m going to keep kids on a schedule. They are going to do more chores, and read more books. We are going to take a family bike ride or walk. We’ll be closer then ever.

And… By the time the 4th of July rolls around, things have usually slid out of control. The are sleeping in way past breakfast, lounging in front of the TV and texting the day away. It usually starts with a soft hearted moment on my part. – (they need a break – after the busy school year – I’ll let them sleep in today) But it quickly turns into a pattern. And since I’m still busy – work – laundry – etc.- I side step my guilt and let them veg.

It’s a common problem. By the middle school years, kids are too old to play board games, or go to summer school all day, but not old enough to drive or have a real summer job. Though children may beg for “free time” Its not in the best interest to let them achieve total “slackerdom” Tweens and teens often believe they’d just love to have weeks of “doing nothing” says Annie Fox, M ED, author of the Middle School Confidential series. But the reality rarely matches the day dream. Kids get bored and, like puppies, bored kids often get into stuff they shouldn’t! They also fall behind academically (more on the latter) And to be honest, we parents often have unrealistic “Norman Rockwell” – like notions about bonding with our children: we put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves and out kids to get closer then we were during the school year. Michale J Bradly, ED D says “parents who approach summer with too many plans for bonding usually wind up feeling like they’re in a Chevy Chase movie, where everything goes wrong. But there are realistic ways to sneak some structure, learning, and yes – family time into the summer with out feeling like a drill sergeant. Hear are the smart strategies.

Get on the same page:

Good intentions often fizzle out because kids have one set of summer goals, (making it to the next level of a video game) and parents have another goal for them (tackling a summer reading list) Many struggles can be avoided if parents and kids sit down before school get s out to discuss or brain storm acceptable ideas. Ask questions like what was the best day/week from ast summer, and the worst.

STEP UP THE CHORES

Having jobs around the house sets expectations and gives a sense of accomplishment. “Summer is ideal for learning responsibility”, because tweens and teens simply have more time. Of course not many kids volunteer to do chores, and sometimes we parents fall into the “it’s easier if I do it myself” trap.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, give kids a choice so they can feel a sense of ownership. Also give kids a choice about when they accomplish the chore. Imagine if someone told you to “take out the trash! NOW!” You may need to give a time frame though.

TIP Avoid chain gang chores – like moving a rock pile from one place to another – they never feel done. Anything that can be finished in an hour is perfect.

LAYER IN SOME LEARNING

Kids can fall behind if they slack in the summer. You don’t have to hire a tutor, but you can promote learning with these ideas.

  • Let kids pick their own books
  • Create a summer book club.
  • Use technology to your advantage.

ALSO, CONSIDER THESE IDEAS FOR TOGETHER TIME.

  • Take it outside – games, picnics, walks, ect.
  • Force the issue, because teens will resisit.
  • Go sight seeing.

LET BED TIME SLIDE A LITTLE

During the summer consider a slightly latter bed time. Just as long as they are awake before 9:30am. Or you will throw of their natural body clock.

And lastly…

MAKE PEACE WITH ELECTRONICS

Set screen time limits. Break up the day so its impossible to be glued to the TV or phones all day. And to help with that, her is a list of 10 things you can do.

10 things to do with your teen outside

  • get active. Teens tend to have alot of energy to get out, so out there and get active with them!
  • Movie marathon
  • hike, camp, and/or rock climb
  • go to an amusement park
  • community service
  • take a road trip
  • photo hunts
  • play games
  • bowling
  • let them decide

Now you know all the ins and outs of having a great summer with your teens and tweens. Best of luck to you all!

The ultimate guide to packing for a 5 day road trip.

Packing for a week long? Whether you are headed out on a road trip or on a plane, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed efficiently and haven’t forgot anything important. This checklist of thing to bring with will help you make sure you don;t leave anything behind.

Clothes

For clothes, I’m a huge for having a capsule ward rope. By that I mean that you want things that are in the same color family or pair well together that have the ability to be layered and mixed and matched, or can be versatile for all different activities you might be a part of while on vacation. Think through your trip and activities you have planned. Do you need to dress up? Go hiking? Do you plan to get in work outs?

Then check the weather. Will it snow? Rain? Be sunny? You can check the weather about 10 days out, but you’ll want to check it again a few days before you go. So you can have a better idea of what it will be like.

  • 2 tank tops (optional)
  • 3-4 tops
  • 1 dress
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 light jacket
  • 2 bras
  • 7 pairs of underware
  • 7 pairs of socks

SHOES

Again this depends on what your activities are. If your hiking then pack a pair of hiking boots. If its wintery, pack some fleece lined boots.

  • 1 pair of sneakers or hiking shoes
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 1 dress shoe

TOILETRIES

I know this can be the most controversial of the “what to pack” bunch. I know lots of people prefer to depend on what ever the hotels will provide them, others prefer their own. So really, this depends on your own personal preferance. And (surprise) what you will be doing. It’s a place where you can save weight and space in your begs though.

Just remember, if you are flying you need to make sure your carry on fits the 3-1-1 rule.

  • shampoo/conditioner
  • soap
  • lotion
  • sunscreen
  • deodorant
  • razor
  • tooth paste/tooth brush
  • floss
  • tampons/pads

This is another one that gets controversial. Some travel experts will say to skip the make up and let your hair go natural. To lighten up the load a bit. And that’s ok. Depending on what your plans are. Like if your going to spending most of your time hiking. How ever, you may be dressing up for the night or sprucing up for some pictures. So here is a basic set of items to include. REMINDER- liquids need to go in plastic bags if you are flying.

MAKE UP

  • chapstick
  • foundation
  • powder
  • blush
  • eye shadow
  • eye liner
  • brow product
  • mascara
  • make up brush
  • make up wipes

HAIR

  • brush/comb
  • hair dryer
  • curler
  • straightener
  • styling products
  • hair spray

MEDICINE AND FIRST AID

This is an important one. If you take prescription medication, you need to take actual bottles. I will bring my weekly pill box to remind me of what I need to take. Especially if your in another time zone, you don’t want to be fumbling around trying to remember if you’ve taken your pills or not.

I’d also recommend a small supply of tums and imodium just in case. I found it helpful to have some band aids, tweezers and neosporin for small bits, burns, or cuts. Also, benadryl , tylenol and wipes come in handy. You want to keep just enough with you to get through until you can find a pharmacy.

  • prescriptions
  • vitamins
  • weekly pill box
  • tums
  • tweezers
  • band aids
  • cold medicine
  • contact solution
  • kleenex

ELECTRONICS

How connected do you want to be?

That’s the first thing you’ll want to consider before you thing about what to bring. If you don’t plan to work on the road, then you probably do not need to bring your lap top. Usually you can get by with bring a tablet device. Its enough to check emails, read books, or play a few games. You can also use it to check any guild information you might need.

For photography, I have a good camera, but I don’t carry it everywhere I go. In most cases a phone will work just as well.

  • kindle/ipad
  • chargers
  • battery back up
  • pocket chargers
  • camera lenses
  • SD cards
  • tri pod
  • phone
  • ear buds-head phones

DOCUMENTS

  • (road trip) Copy of your vehicle insurance.
  • health insurance
  • reservations
  • (air) passports
  • visa
  • plane tickets

WALLET

  • cash
  • credit cards
  • ID

EXTRAS

  • travel towel
  • neck pillows
  • travel journal
  • pen
  • water bottle
  • deck of cards

LUGGAGE AND PACKING

Last but not least, your going to need to be able to pack everything up. For a long trip you should be able to get it all in a large carry on bag. Just remember weight limits when your flying, and the amount of available space when packing your trunk for a road trip.

Use mixbox.com to capture your memories and turn them into art!

Building a storm emergency kit.

By: Debbie Pfluger www.uncommomspaces.com

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A DISASTER.

Where I live, in Wisconsin, this begins the time when we are prone to storms. Including thunder storms, tornadoes, and wind storms. I’ve personally witnessed one tornado, and it wasn’t a fun time. Ever since then, I’ve learned to be more aware of the weather, and how to be more prepared for when bad weather strikes. There are several things you can do. Understand what disasters can affect your area, and know what to do to be safe. Another very important thing you can do is to build an emergency kit. I would like to take the time now, to help you be prepared and to build your own kit.

First of all, you want to make sure your storm kit is always stocked. Most items are inexpensive, and easy to find. Any one of them could save your life.

Once you have your basic items, then you can decide what other unique items your family may need. Like if you have pets, or an elderly person lives with you. Keep in mind, after an emergency you might have to survive on your own for up to 72 hours. That means you will need enough supplies, food, water, ect, for each member of your family to last that amount of time.

BUILDING YOUR BASIC SUPPLY KIT

You will want to store your items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire supply kit into 1 or 2 easy to carry plastic containers. Your kit should include the following items

  • Water – One gallon per person per day. For drinking and sanitation.
  • Food – At least a 3 day supply of non perishable food.
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio.
  • Flashlights
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air. And plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place.
  • Toilet paper or towelettes, garbage bags for personal sanitation.
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phones with chargers, and back ups.

ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES

These are the items unique to your family. That includes as follows.

  • prescription meds.
  • non prescription meds such as asprin, anti diarreah, antacids.
  • glasses and contact solution.
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers
  • Pet food
  • cash
  • important family documents
  • sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • extra clothing and shoes
  • matches in a water proof conatiner
  • personal hygiene items
  • plastic eatery, plates and napkins.
  • activities for children.

Once you have all these areas covered, you need to maintain your kit. So it will be ready when needed.

  • Keep any canned food in a cool dry place.
  • Store boxed food in a tightly closed plastic container.
  • Replace expired items.
  • Rethink your needs every year and update as your families needs change.

STORAGE FOR YOUR KITS

Everything always $1 – Shop NowWal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Wal mart will also have many of the items as well.

Keys to making your 4th of July party classy and sophisticated.

This site contains affiliate link for which I may earn money from.

I love 4th of July parties! Because they are the lick off to summer. There’s finally decent weather, everyone’s dying to break out the BBQ’s and out door games are being unpacked. Plus, I just love outdoor parties. There is just something so fun about entertaining outside.

https://www.grove.co/referrer/3825420/ Here is my link For Grove Collaborative. Just in case you need to get those summer essentials like sunscreen and bug spray! Since you will be having that amazing outdoor party.

The above link is for Mix book creations. (Who I am affiliated with) Yes, I will receive a commission based on this. They have beautiful creations to preserve your memories of this day. Everything from canvas prints to photo albums. So check it out!

Are you looking to throw a classy 4th of July party for your family and friends this year? Try a few of these ideas to add some sophisticated red, white and blue flair to your event. These decorating ideas show your patriotic respect while still keeping your party feeling fancy and fun.

One of my biggest struggles with holiday parties is how easy it is for the decor to get too over the top or gaudy… there’s so many ideas for how to decorate for a back yard 4th of July BBQ. But most of them are overwhelming patriotic. And as I’m sure you’ve seen in the parties I’ve shared here so far, I like things to stay classy. So I figured I’d share with you a few ways I would decorate for a 4th of July party while still keeping it sophisticated. Enjoy my friends!

Keys to making your 4th of July party classy

  • Keep it simple- don’t add too much.
  • Add some formality – go for high quality products like paper plates and silverware.
  • Be intentional – make your guest feel special

Classy decorating ideas for your 4th of July party.

1 Hang some bunting

Bunting is an easy way to add stylish patriotic flair to your party. But be sure to use it sparingly. I’d stick to just one banner or flag to keep it from getting to be too much. Try a garland over a food table, a casual drap on your fence or a few large flags on your porch railing.

2. Use your food!

A fun way to add some red, white and blue colors to your food table is with the food its self! Come up with creative ways to display your snacks like a flag fruit tray, angel food cake skewers and chocolate dipped strawberries with colored sprinkles.

3. Add some throw pillows.

Throw pillows are seriously my favorite way to add a pop of something – whether that’s color or a theme – to a space. Get some patriotic throw pillows and place them throughout your entertaining area for some classy vibrant 4th of July flair!

4. Place a few flags.

Flags are obviously the key patriotic decorating element, but when used all over the place, they can become extremely busy. Don’t shy away from using a few. I’m mean not more than 5-6. Try staking some into the edge of your yard, placing a few in a glass vase or other decorative piece, or in your floral center piece.

5. Use your flowers

Fresh flowers are a one of my go-tos when it comes to decorating a party- especially one with a food table. If your going to be purchasing and putting out bouquets of flowers anyway, why not be purposeful with them. And make them an element of red, white and blue flair. Try red and white flowers in a blue vase, white flowers in a vase with colored ribbon, or simply red white and blue flowers in glass jars

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10 things to keep in your car for summer adventures.

After realizing things were getting pretty hectic around home. My wonderful man decided we would all load up in the Tahoe and take off for the day.

Part of his plan was stopping at a park for a picnic lunch. Which, bless his heart, he actually put together and packed it. Just so we could enjoy one of the first nice summer days.

After we ate, since it was getting hot, the kids decided to wade into the water a bit to cool off. But I soon realized they had waded up to they’re ankles in mud! And were trying to catch a frog!

THAT”S WHEN I REALIZED, SUMMER IS HERE, AND ITS TIME TO LOAD MY TRUCK WITH 10 THINGS FOR SUMMER ADVENTURES.

Hope you will enjoy with post!

  1. Sweatshirts- Here in Wisconsin, temps can drop once the sun goes over the horizon. So now our adventure does not have to end when the sun goes to bed.
  2. A change of clothes- Just because your kids may be out of diapers, does not mean you don’t need extras. I am accident prone myself. And you never know when that unexpected drip or splash may happen. Or one of your children goes swimming in their clothes. It could happen…
  3. Picnic supplies- I keep a bag with a plastic table cloth, plastic ware, napkins and paper plates. Just in case you decide to grab something to eat, and stay a while longer. You will not have to worry about getting bird poop on your food. Just saying
  4. Sunscreen – We do see the sun now and again here in Wisconsin. You never know when it will appear. So I carry some just in case.

5. Bug spray- The mosquitoes have been awful this year. Nothing like being out at a baseball game, and getting carried away by bugs!

6. Snacks- There is nothing worse than driving home from a fun activity, and finding your self hungry, or listening to the tune of IIIII”””””MMMMM HHHHUUUUNNNGGGRRRRRYYYYY!!!!!! Keep a box of granola bars, or other individually wrapped snacks handy to pass around.

7. Umbrella- When it rains, it pours! Nothing so miseralble as when it rains on your parade. Keep an umbrella handy, where its easy to grab, so you dont end up needing your extras as well!

8. A Sheet or blanket- I keep both. A sheet is great for unexpected stops at the beach. And the blanket is great for those roadside stops and fireworks, once the sun goes down.

9. Car activities- This depends on the age of your children. There are a ton of ideas on pintrest for this. I keep a couple note books, and boxes of pens, pencils, and markers. Because too many video games and movies, will rot the brain! Keep creativity alive.

10. Frisbee- Just for fun, and great for exercize at a rest stop in the midst of a long road trip. Just don’t toss in on the road, or at a near by person.

One other thing I like to keep with me is a first aid kit. This isn’t just for summer, although we tend to use it more in the summer. I keep one in the glove compartment, and now is a great time to check and restock if you already have one.

So, happy adventures to you. You have all the things you will ever need with you where ever you go.

Keeping up with the laundry. Its easier then you think!

I USED TO HATE DOING LAUNDRY.

Hated it so much that I would avoid it for as long as I could. When I did do laundry, it would be the bare minimum. After the clothes were washed and dried, (hopefully in the same day) they rarely made it into the drawers or closets. It would sit in piles or in baskets in each room.

I took it personally too. I thought to myself, “why can’t I get it together and just get it done.” What was holding me back?

But over the last few years. since committing myself to being a more organized person I have finally broken thru the obstacle and figured out that keeping up with the laundry isn’t really that big of a deal. In reality, its a really simple and surprisingly easy task. If your doing it right.

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT HELPED ME GET MY LAUNDRY ACT TOGETHER

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1 Sort your clothes…or don’t

If you sort your laundry, get multiple hampers so you can sort as you go. I suggest four, one for cold water, warm water whites, warm water colors, and towels. This way, when you do laundry you just grab a basket and go.

But before I changed my game on laundry, it was my short cut to just wash it all in cold water. No sorting necessary. FYI – the laundry police have not showed up yet!

All laundry is safe in cold water. Its the warm water that makes things shrink or causes colors to run. Plus cold water is more energy efficient. Hello savings!!!

Yes, warm water is better on stains or really dirty clothes, but if your looking for a corner to cut, this one most likely wont cause you any trouble.

So, sort your clothes as you go… or don’t sort them at all. Either way, you’ve eased some of the pain of doing laundry. High five!

2 WASH AND DRY IN 2 MINUTES FLAT

The amount of time spent on this part of the process is incredibly small. It takes like 60 seconds, maybe, to turn on your washer and let it fill while you pour in detergent (and fabric softener) and add the clothes. It seriously is so easy.

Once you are done with that, then comes the hard part, for me…remembering to move it to the dryer. Figure out a way to remind yourself… leave the light on as a reminder, set a timer on your phone, or figure out when in your schedule you will come back and take less then 60 seconds to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. Just don’t forget!

So far, we have done 2 minutes of laundry. Why do we avoid this exactly?

3 FOLD< HANG< AND PUT AWAY FASTER!

Now this is the part I would dread about laundry. I would procrastinate this step for so long that my clothing situation was a night mare. Here is how I made it easier.

De wrinkle your clothes before you start.

Forget ironing. If your clothes have been sitting for a while after drying and gained a bunch of wrinkles, then toss them back into the dryer to get the wrinkles out. 5 minutes in there (on any setting that involves heat) goes a long way!

Take your clothes straight from the dryer to your closet.

Because I hate this part of laundry, when ever I do it I try to make it fun. By doing it while I watched tv. I love to multi task, si if I can watch a favorite show or you tube video I know it will be more enjoyable.

But… It took me a while to realize that this made the process take longer. It only takes 5 minutes to fold one load … not a whole episode! Also, if you do it in the living room, or even the laundry room, its a whole extra step to collect all the piles and carry them to the correct rooms. So cut out the middle man and fold or hang the laundry right by the closet or dresser it belongs in.

Stop sorting socks!

It takes so much time to match them up and secure them together. I’m usually about variety, but I’m happy to sacrifice unique socks to make life easier all my socks are the same, and they get stacked not bundled. I use a lingerie bag in the washer to keep all the socks together.

4 LESS CLOTHES = LESS LAUNDRY

If you’ve got a bad habit of waiting until you’re out of clothes to ware before doing laundry… then maybe its time to get rid of some clothes so you run out faster. I’m kidding – kind of lol!

If you have to many then you will end up with too much laundry to do. If you only have what you need, then your house wont be busting at the seams with piles of clean and dirty clothes.

Its just logical. If you can manage to go 3 weeks with out doing laundry, then don’t be surprised when you have 3 weeks of laundry to do at one time. If you limit the amount of clothes that you own, you also limit how far behind you get.

5. MORE LAUNDRY = LESS LAUNDRY

Say what?!?!

Forget “laundry day” Please don’t make your self spend hours doing laundry every other Saturday. Its the worst! Do some laundry every day.

Doing laundry more often will allow it to take less of a toll on your life. Find your rhythm, figure out how much needs to be done on a daily basis to stay on top of it.

I would rather spend 10 minutes a day keeping up with laundry then skip it all together and end up needing to spend hours on it. Laundry is a never ending chore. But it doesn’t have to be miserable. keep it simple, and keep it moving.

Spread the word!

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