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.