Fall clean up – 5 Spaces to organize every fall.

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Its time for round 2 in the fall clean up. Round 1 was the list of 10 spots to purge every fall. Today digs deeper into organizing 5 areas as we start to prepare for cooler weather and busier schedules.

Fall kitchen organization

The decluttering step last week should have cleared out everything that was expired. So, now its time to organize what is left. I’d recommend thinking about the three things that make you crazy when you are trying to cook or put away clean dishes and focus your time on those. Here’s a few ideas from our kitchen.

I don’t bake often through out the year, but various baking supplies were spread through out the pantry. When I organized the pantry, I grouped them all together in a dollar store plastic bin. Before using the bin, I spray painted it to match the rest of the pantry accents. Now, when ever I’m in desperate need of home made chocolate chip cookies, I can pull the whole bin out to the kitchen.

Can organizer/storage bins Using bins to corral similar items also works inside the fridge. The hour I spent organizing the fridge like this two years ago was so worth it. It finally started to get out of control again this summer, so I’ll be getting it back into shape this week as part of my personal fall clean up.

The plastic ware is another great cabinet to tackle before the season of holiday left overs begin. I don’t know what took me so long to figure out how to store them, but I get a little excited every time I open the cabinet and see them under control.

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Fall coat closet/mudroom organization

If you’ve got kids in school, now is the time to figure out a landing zone for back packs, shoes, coats ect. Having a routine place to drop things and help control clutter.

You can fake a mudroom really inexpensively using a cube organizer on its side by the front door, with a bin for each family member. Above the bins, add coat hooks for back packs and your all set.

If you’ve really got limited space like we do in our garage entry, I’ve been really happy with the slim hooks we installed for coats. The hooks flip up flush when not being used, and hold a surprising amount of weight. Its great in the middle of winter when we load them down. It was a great way to utilize the space behind the door.

Organizing kids rooms

I mentioned that fall is a great time to de clutter kids rooms of toys and out grown clothing last week. But then what do you do with everything that is left? Bins and baskets are a huge help!

I will have more tips on this in a upcoming post “De cluttering and organizing a child’s room.”

Organizing the guest bedroom

Is anyone else guilty of letting the guest bed turn into a landing pad for the most random crap?

I kid you not, there was still Christmas junk on ours in June! Thank goodness we had some family come and stay with us so I had to clean it up.

Don’t wait until right before Thanksgiving or Christmas to organize your guest space. No one needs more things to do around the holidays.

ATTITUDE

Office/homework/craft space organization.

The last place I think fall is the perfect time to organize is where ever you keep craft/and or office supplies. Even though I’m not currently in school (thank goodness) I get a bit excited about school supplies and office organization every fall. If you’ve been following along you know I got a jump start on this one and have my paper clutter and office organization under control. You can find this article under my organization tab on the home page.

There is a reason I think we should work on the organization of these areas every fall.

Our lives and habits evolve, which I believe is why some people think organization doesn’t work. They do it once and expect it to last forever.

Tweaking the system once a year lets you evaluate whats working and what needs to be updated. Having a designated season to work on key areas of your house will help you stay on top of everything year round. And that makes the time spent so worth it for me.

What do you think? Did I hit or miss the most important areas for fall organizing?

Things You Write a Check For

Fall clean-up: 10 things to purge every fall.

Adding a fall clean – up routine to your year is a great way to get the house ready for the holidays with less stress.

Spring cleaning gets all the attention, but I don’t know anyone that has time to de clutter, organize, and deep clean their entire house each spring. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are easy things we could all work on in the fall to split the work load into something manageable.

In another post, we’ll talk about some things to organize in the fall, but today we’ll start out with some quick wins.

You don’t have to worry about making any of these areas perfect. Just grab a trash bag and donation box and try to get rid of as much as you can from each of the 10 spots. If your feeling like an over achiever, tackle the 2 bonus points.

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Fall kitchen decluttering

Spices and seasonings- Take all the spices, seasonings, and condiments out of the cabinet and give the shelves a quick cleaning. Before putting everything back, check all the expiration dates. I’m not hard core about throwing spices out on the marked date, but they lose potency after time, so its probably time to replace the pumpkin pie spice from 7 years ago.

Have a piece of paper handy to keep track of what needs to be replaced. You’ll be all set for holiday baking.

Freezer- Sometimes our freezer becomes a black hole where things go in and never come out. The fall is the perfect time to get it cleared out and ready for winter.

Bonus: If you have a little extra time, purge the pantry/food cabinet as well.

Fall closet de cluttering

Sandals and summer shoes- Be honest about what shoes were really worn this summer. Now is the time to donate or sell the others. The most effective way to tackle this is to remove ALL the shoes from the closet and then put back the ones that you wear. That also gives you a chance to wipe down the shelves or shoe organizer.

Swim wear- Fall is also a great time to purge the swim wear. I seem to add swimsuits and other cover ups, but never get rid of any. Why should I keep the extras around for another winter?

Bonus: Peek at the family’s winter coats and donate any that have been out grown or are no longer needed now before winter hits. Some one will be so great full you did this one.

Fall garage de cluttering

Toys- Any big toys the kids have out grown should be cleared out in the fall, before the holidays. Its the perfect time to donate them, and you don’t need to store them all winter if the kids will never use them again.

Garden tools and products- Clean – up, repair, and purge your garden supplies so they will be ready for you in the spring. Nothing kills my spring planting motivation faster than being ready to plant and finding everything a mess from the prior year.

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Fall living room de clutter

Magazines and books- Do a quick sweep and lighten the clutter by purging out dated magazines. Look for books you know you’ll never read again and pass them along to a new home. We both have books on our Christmas list every year. So fall is a great time to free up some space for them.

Throw blankets- At one point, I thought you could never have too many blankets around the living room. Then I kept adding new ones through purchases and gifts, and passed the saturation point. I didn’t realize how many there really were because we throw them in every corner. I was able to donate some, the rest we put in a basket so I can keep them under control.

Fall bedroom de clutter

Timer challenge- I feel like everyone gathers different kinds of clutter in the bed room, but that doesn’t mean we can’t address it. Set the timer on your cell phone or microwave for 15 minutes and try to find as many things as you can that can be removed.

Depending on the state of your bedroom, start with the floor, the flat surfaces (dresser top) or inside drawers. Our bedroom looks great on the surface, but I’ll be tackling my night stand drawers, you wouldn’t believe the mess hiding inside.

Fall bathroom declutter

Product purge- Chances are you you’ve got some beauty products that are never touched lurking in the bathroom. I’m definately guilty of trying out products, not liking them, but not wanting to get rid of them because the bottle is 3/4 full and I spent money on it. That is just crazy though! Keeping them around to clutter up the bathroom isn’t doing any good. Get rid of that old make up too.

Not too bad, right? It shouldn’t take too long to tackle all the spaces on the list, and I bet you and your home will both feel a bit lighter when you are done. For our house, I’m especially excited about the items that feel like I’m getting a head start on the holidays, like the spices.

How to host a freakishly frugal Halloween party.

I’ve thrown a lot of parties in my day. But have only been able to host a few Halloween parties. And so far, the last one was really epic. So if you are thinking about doing an epic party, here is my step by step plan.

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Step 1 THEME

First you have to decide what type of Halloween party you want to have. Do you want to go gory-slasher flick style? Or do you want to do a vampire theme? Mad scientist? I decided to do a more generic haunted house theme. I love to create a creep spooky atmosphere.

Step 2 DECORATIONS

You could throw up a few fake spider webs, but to throw an epic party, you have to commit to the decor. Once you’ve decided your theme, you can figure out which direction to take your decor. I put those fake spider webs all over the place. You really have to stretch them to get them to look realistic. And then I threw up some fake spiders. I covered my furniture in sheets so the house looked abandoned. I decorated with lots of creepy decorations like skulls, ravens, and some old country pictures which look eerie with all the other decor.

I made the entry way extra creepy, since its the first impression of the house. The front porch has lots of pumpkins and hay bales along with some creepy signs I picked up at the Dollar Tree! Once you enter the house you’ll see tons of spider web and tattered fabric draped around.

There were other little touches here and there. You can use old antique looking pictures and frames. I searched images until I found one I liked and printed it out. Or if you have some of your own tucked away…

Step 3 LIGHTING

Lighting is literally one of the most important parts of the spooky factor. We turned off all the over head lights. You can get strings of colored lights at the Dollar Tree. Candles, tea lights and lanterns all add to the feel.

Step 4 SPECIAL EFFECTS

You could do some sort of dry ice or fog. Or you could project some images to make it look like there are ghosts in the house.

Step 5 TABLE SCAPE

And this is actually my favorite part. I set up my table with bowls and plates of treats. So everyone can help themselves. Just put out a cheap black table cloth then add some creepy touches like candles, pictures, skulls, what ever you have.

Step 6 FOOD

Food is a simple way to add decor and its fun. You can always find Halloween colored candy and even gummy worms will work. Green colored frosting, red colored drinks and the list goes on. Its so fun!

Step 7 DRINKS

You can serve your drinks in champagne glasses. This adds to the creepy factor. Place a bucket with dry ice to make the foggy effect. Or set out bottles of soda with creepy labels in place of the original labels.

Step 8 GAMES

With an epic party you just cant hope everyone will be satisfied with decorations and special effects. Plan some activities! You can make a bean bag toss out of a card board box. Use strings of lights to light it up. Use which hats for a ring toss game. A fun team game to play is the “mummy wrap” Using crepe paper, the first person to use up all the paper wins.

So you see, with these 8 tips, and epic party is very easy. And you can do it all on a budget! Just look around your home for what you cant find at the Dollar tree or local thrift store.

Fall bucket list ideas.

Every list is going to be different, but here are some ideas to add to your bucket list.

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Fall is my favorite season. Here in Wisconsin, the weather is perfect, the foliage is beautiful, and there are a ton of fall activities to do with the family. Our family is really big on doing activities together, but with so many ideas , its sometimes hard to keep them all straight, and make sure they all actually happen. Creating a fall bucket list has been the perfect solution to ensuring we intentionally plan out the fall season and maximize our time together as a family. Prior to creating out bucket list we would frequently say “one day we should do ___” but they never seem to happen. Either we forget about them, or simply run out of free time to schedule them. That’s why having a personalized fall bucket list is a must have.

Why do you need a fall bucket list?

  • Do you sit around wondering how you can fill your days?
  • Are your weekends filled with various birthday parties and get together’s, and you never have time to fit in your own family fun?
  • Do you look back on prior months and wish you did certain things that you never got a chance to do?
  • Do you always intend to catch up with certain friends (or schedule play dates) but never come around to doing it?
  • Do you have a list of books you want to read, movies you want to see, or concerts you want to attend?
  • Do you wonder what to do with the kids on a rainy day?
  • Do you look back on the fall and wonder where it went, but don’t have anything to show for it?
  • Do you want to maximize your fall and have the most fun ever?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you need a fall bucket list.

A fall bucket list is a simple resource that encourages you to brain storm all the fun activities that you want to plan. Having a fall bucket list encourages you to think about the life that you want to live and is the first step to putting it into action. By putting together a fall bucket list you are forced to think about all the things you want to do, people you want to see, places you want to go, and put them out into the universe to happen.

Putting together a family fall bucket list gives everyone in the family a chance to choose adventures and contribute to your family’s precious memories.

How do I put together a fall bucket list?

Typically, you put together a fall bucket list in the beginning of fall. But there isn’t any reason you can’t start mid fall! All you need is a paper and pen.

To start, brainstorming all of the fun activities and adventures you want to go on. I like to categorize my bucket lists into the following categories.

  • Outdoor
  • indoor
  • night time
  • places to go
  • play date’s to schedule
  • people to visit
  • things to make
  • things to learn
  • book/movies/concerts

I like to do this together as a family. That way everyone gets a say and can contribute to planning the fun.

Putting your fall bucket list into action.

Once you have your personalized fall bucket list, you have to put it into action. Writing it all down is a good first step, but planning it out is even better. Grab a calendar to start scheduling out when you want to do the various activities on your list.

I prefer to schedule out the big activities in advance but leave some room for spontaneity (you cant predict the weather, so it would be hard to schedule all the out door and indoor activities in advance with out knowing the weather.)

What to put on your family fall bucket list.

Every list is going to be different, but here are some ideas that we have on our bucket list.

Outdoor fall activities

  • Apple picking
  • bobbing for apples
  • decorate your porch
  • do a corn maze
  • farmers market
  • fishing
  • go to a foot ball game
  • grave yard tour
  • have a fall scavenger hunt
  • Halloween trick or treating
  • haunted house
  • hiking
  • jump in a corn pit
  • jump in leaves
  • mini golf
  • park/picnic at the park
  • play catch/foot ball
  • take a hay ride
  • take family pictures
  • visit a brewery/winery

Indoor fall activities

  • bake pumpkin pie/bread
  • bowling
  • bounce house
  • build a blanket fort
  • can your veggies and fruit from the summer
  • carve a pumpkin
  • cook a new recipe
  • create a care box for our troops
  • create a memory box or time capsule
  • eat/drink pumpkin spice everything
  • make an apple pie
  • make candy apples
  • make pumpkin seeds to eat.

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  • play board games
  • rock climbing
  • trampoline park
  • visit your local library
  • write a letter to a friend

Night time fall activities

  • campfire smores
  • drive in movie
  • game night
  • have a sleep over
  • make fondue
  • star gazing
  • make your own pizza

Things to make in the fall

  • build a scare crow
  • create a fall wreath
  • create a halloween costume
  • create a summer photo book
  • leaf painting
  • make a pumpkin volcano
  • make a thankful tree
  • make homemade ice cream
  • make a no sew blanket

Other ideas for your fall bucket list.

  • books to read
  • concerts you want to attend
  • movies you want to watch
  • people to visit
  • places to go
  • play dates to schedule
  • things you want to learn about.

5 bad habits that keep your home a cluttered mess.

Good habits can put a clutter – free home on auto pilot for you. And bad habits can ensure that things stay cluttered. Forming new habits isn’t easy, but its worth it.

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Want to know the difference between those with cluttered, messy homes, and those with mostly clutter free homes?

HABITS!

Good habits can put a clutter-free home on auto pilot for you. And bad habits can ensure that things stay cluttered. Forming new habits isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.

Imagine returning home after a busy day. You walk in the door tired, but your glad to be home. Look around. Your house looks pretty good- not perfect, but tidy enough that you feel you can relax for a few minutes before starting dinner.

Isn’t that what you want? Its what we all want. Keep reading to learn which bad habits have been keeping you stuck. Replace bad habits with good ones to create the decluttered home you really want.

I’ll walk you through every one of the habit changes, one easy step at a time.

Sick of all the clutter in your life? Learn the 5 bad habits that keep your home cluttered.

1 You’re so overwhelmed with it all that you’ve given up trying.

Solution: Don’t give up yet! Its not hopeless. Keep reading!

2 You don’t put things away through out the day.

You (and your family)

  • Leave papers scattered through out your home.
  • leave dishes though out the house, on the coffee table, side tables, dressers and bedside tables.
  • Leave clothes (both dirty and clean) strewn about the home, on the floor, on the couch, over the backs of chairs.
  • Leave other items all over the house rather than putting them away when finished using them.

Don’t feel bad. These a very common sources of clutter. And good habits can help you do away with this type of daily surface clutter.

Solution: Make putting things away an automatic habit you practice as you go about your day.

  • When you leave a room, take dirty dishes with you and load them in the dishwasher immediately. If there are no dirty dishes, take other -out-of-place items and put them away. (clothes, papers, ect.)
  • After you fold laundry, put it away. It really doesn’t take long. Enlist some help from family members to make this even quicker.
  • When you take off clothing, hang it/fold it or put it in the hamper. Teach your children to do the same. It will take time for this to become a habit, but its possible. Put hampers in every room where dirty clothes get left.
  • Put important papers that need attention in an inbox/basket.
Don’t for get to check Dollar tree for organizing solutions.

3 You don’t put things away upon returning home.

Keys, jacket, bags, phone, mail, ect. Are all deposited in the most convenient spot.

Solution: Practice a threshold routine.

You’ve probably heard of morning routines, evening routines, and daily routines. Those are all good things.

But you also need a “return home routine” That rolls off the tongue slowly, so I like the term “threshold routine”

When you cross over your threshold with stuff in your hands, put it where it belongs.

  • Hang jackets
  • put keys on hooks, or in a basket/bowl
  • Put your phone, purse, and other bags in designated places.
  • Empty shopping bags, put everything away, and store/recycle the bags.
  • Open/recycle/shred papers, putting important ones that need attention in an inbox/basket.
  • Open packages, put things away and recycle the boxes.

This goes A LONG way toward helping you maintain a decluttered home.

It may sound like a time-consuming process but, really, its not. Try it and see. If you time yourself, you’ll see just how quick it is to do these things.

4 You don’t have a “place for everything” That’s working for you.

  • Your previous organizing efforts are a bit troublesome to use, there for no one is using the system you set uo including you.
  • You haven’t de cluttered closets, drawers, and shelves of things you don’t need or use. This makes it difficult to put things away (see #2 & #3 above) which keeps your home messy. This creates a vicious cycle, but it can be broken!

A place for everything, and everything in its place:

That’s my motto, and sort of my mantra that I keep repeating to myself, to make sure I stay on track. And its the most important organizing principal for maintaining a clutter free home. Making the ‘place’ easy and convenient to use help ensure things get put where they belong rather then left out on the most convenient surface.

Solution: Set up easy to use on hand storage solutions, like open baskets, trays, hooks. Frequently remind your family menbers to use them until this becomes a habit.

5 You don’t follow a daily routine

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” Benjamin Franklin

We all need a basic routine to follow each day.

Will you accomplish everything you plan to each day? Not likely. But that’s no excuse to give up completely. And let the days get away from you day after day and week after week.

Solution: Create a simple daily routine on paper and start using it. Put it some place in easy sight, like the fridge door. And hold yourself accountable.

To create a simple daily routine, get a sheet of paper. Across the top of the page write Monday – Sunday. Down the left side of the page write each important task you need accomplished each day. Those tasks should include things like:

  • unload the dish washer before breakfast]was/dry/fold/put away one load of laundry
  • decide on/prep dinner
  • one urgent task

If your just getting started with a daily routine, keep it very simple. If you add too many tasks to it, you may quickly become discouraged and give up.

Start with micro habits so small that you have no excuse not to do them.

The four tasks listed above are the bare minimum chores required to successfully run a household. You need to be able to load dirty dishes to keep your kitchen reasonably clean through out the day. You and your family need dinner. You and your family need clean clothes, and most days have at least one really urgent task that needs to be completed. Complete these four things each day and you will feel like a success.

Once you fall into habit with these basic tasks for a few weeks or a month try adding one more task to your daily routine.

You can do this!

Your home will be cleaner, and you’ll be happier.

10 rules for a happy hostess

Some peoples definition of a “long weekend” might be several days longer then your own.

Here are a few tips and advice for how to make your house guests feel at home.

Hosting house guests involves a little more effort then just pulling out the fold out couch. As we are now finally into summer, we can expect a guest a little more often. Here is what a blogger from ETIQUETTEDAILY.com does to keep her guests happy. And I have found, that if you follow her rule, you can expect guests back for years to come.

1 Set a specific start and end date for the visit.

Some peoples definition of a “long weekend” might be several days longer then your own. Whether your husband has a big work project coming up or your planning an out of town trip, let your guests know when you’ll be ready for them and when you’ll need for them to leave. “A good host can become a bad host very quickly when guests over stay their welcome.”

2 . Be a prepared host.

Call to confirm the dates of their trip a week before. Inquire about any food allergies or restricted diets.

3 Ensure everyone is comfortable.

An empty pantry is fine, if thats what your family is used to, but don’t let your visiters go hungry. Make a point to offer them snacks, and drinks or encourage them to help themselves. On a similar note, don’t commit to activities without consulting with your guests. If someone isn’t used to walking around all day long, a visit to a major museum may not be enjoyable.

4. Don’t make friends feel like intruders.

If you have a spare bedroom, leave out thoughtful extras, like slippers, and bottles of water. Empty the trash, clear your personal belongings from the dresser. If your guest are staying in a home office or den. Don’t just stack the blankets on the couch. Set up the room like a bed room and avoid using the space while they are there. – Unless your in especially tight quarters.

5. Make your home visiter friendly.

Ensure you have plenty of clean towels on hand. If your TV has 5 remotes (plus on for the sound system) explain how to get everything up and running, or write out instructions. Take extra precautions for pint sized guests. Putting away knick knacks and breakables is easier then playing bad cop – or losing something priceless.

6. Show your guests the essentials.

If your ok with guests grabbing snacks or hopping on the computer, point them in the right direction. Also let them know where they care find more toilet paper and extra linens. To that end, if you’d rather they stay away from certain things, tuck them away before your guests arrive.

7. Help everyone get around.

Leave copies of local maps plus numbers for car service. if they like to ride around town, take them early in their visit to a bike rental shop so they can have transport. Also give them an extra set of house keys, or show them where you stow the spare.

Why decorating makes you feel good.

Do you love the feeling of accomplishment? I can’t relay enough how great I felt after everything was done.

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Decorating makes you feel good for a numerous amount of reasons. Not only do you display your taste, you can feel good about showing off your space.

I feel your pain if your having trouble making your home feel like a home. We have been living with hand me down furniture, old paint on the walls, and boxes of old items packed away for far too long. Its time we took some action.

So, we set a date to get some major things accomplished.

Decorating

Now, decorating I thought would come easily to me since I just love scrolling through pintrest for ideas. Its simple to make boards and save what you love. Implementing is a whole other story, especially if your on a budget.

It took a while but we finally got our living room put together the way we like it.

Sense of accomplishment

Do you love the feeling of accomplishment? I can’t relay enough how great I felt after everything was done. We couldn’t help but marvel at our updated space. The burden of looking at old furniture and paint was behind us. I still look at everything and smile knowing that our home is almost completely set up the way we planned.

Sense of style

In my day job, I get to work from home. Making soaps, refinishing furniture, and writing for this blog. This is an amazing opportunity, and lets me be able to take care of my family. I am also a sales rep for JEWLSCENTS, and get to go to other peoples homes for parties. I get to see other peoples sense of style. Lets just say… some people do not get the opportunity to update or decorate for years. It makes me feel good to show off my sense of style and enjoy it everyday.

Dollar Tree has everything you need to help update your decor!

Peace and serenity

Ever finish a project and have a sense of calm after its complete? We could get into the science of endorphins, but I think keeping this post a little more simple would be more relateable.

That’s exactly how I felt when I was done decorating. I felt calm and comfortable in my newly updated space. I look at our accomplishment and usually let out a sigh of relief knowing it is all done. We can enjoy our hard work.

Its all in the details

There are a couple details that I love to show off. The ones I love the most are wall art.

I recently purchased a print from MIXBOOK.com Its a family picture from last thanksgiving.

I love the simplicity of the design!

So there you have it! All the reasons decorating can make you feel good.

Simple fall decor inspiration.

Fall decor doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or time comsuming.

Next to Christmas, fall is my favorite season to decorate for. I love the colors, and the coziness it brings. It just makes you want to snuggle up under a blanket and grab a warm drink.

Adding some fall decor to your home doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or time consuming. Today I am going to share some simple fall decor inspiration.

The Dollar Tree has everything you need! You can even order online. Use my link to save on shipping.

Any of these tips can be put into any space and can be done with in 10-15 minutes!

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–So lets get started!–

Use natural elements

Since fall is the season of harvest. Its the perfect time to gather up pumpkins, apples, gourds, or other seasonal crops to display in your home. Or take a walk outside and gather some fall leaves, pine cones, or acorns. We happen to have an apple orchard close by, so when buying goodies, we get a few extra for decor!


Pumpkins are also personal favorites of mine. And its so fun to use some of the different varieties. I usually pick a few up each time I shop until I have a nice selection. Place them in bowels or baskets, or add them to a hutch or mantel. Add a few berry sprigs of fresh leaves and you’ll have a beautiful display.

Use fall printables or other artwork.

If you use a print in a frame, keep it in the frame for storage in the off season and just rotate your prints around as the seasons change. You’ll only need a minute to switch things up each holiday. You can find printables in many places, I like to use google.

Add chalk boards

Chalk boards are a lot of fun to work with, and you can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like with your designs. You also dont need to worry about storing them in the off seasons, just keep them up around year around and change up your art work.

Put together a fall beverage station.

If you’ve followed me long enough, you know i love to make up a beverage bar for each season. Fall is about apple cider for me. But you could also do hot chocolate , coffee with some seasonal flavors like cinnamon or pumpkin spice. Top it off with some fall themed mugs.

Add some color to tie the space together

While I’m usually drawn to more neutral colors, its hard to stay away from those beautiful fall colors. It doesn’t take much to really make an impact. Layer them through out the room. In a center piece it creates the look of all the pops of color.

Light it up

Who says lights have to be just for Christmas? Add some battery powered lights to fill your fall displays for added warmth and coziness. I like to get the ones with timers, so you can set it and forget it.

Simmering fall potpourri

So I just love all the smells of fall. And I think its super fun to not always have to use a candle, or some kind of air freshener to get that smell. Simmering pots are a great way to do that. AND its a healthier way as well. I am giving you a couple of my favorite recipes.

pumpkin spice

  • 2 cups apple cider or juice
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp clove
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 apple or dried apple slices.

Apple pie

  • 1 small thinly sliced apple
  • 2 cups liquid (juice or water)
  • 1 tbsp cloves (whole)
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg

You don’t really have to be too concerned about the measurement.

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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.

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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!