Tip of the day – Go for a walk

28 Sep 2008 In: Health, Tips

It’s fun, free and healthy. To make it more exciting everyone in my household has their own pedometer to measure how far they have travelled. If possible we try to walk somewhere; to the park, school, the post office or best yet for ice cream. Not only is it good exercise but you get the benefit of talking with your children (or husband) without distractions, observing nature (you’d be surprised at how interesting a stream with 1 duck in it is!) and of course you are cutting down on gas use! Throw on your sneakers and get going.

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Travel tip of the day – ASK ASK ASK

26 Sep 2008 In: Travel

I’ve noticed on the past several trips I have been on, there has been major construction going on at the hotel or theme park. This can severely impact your trip. When you are traveling here are some tips to make sure your stay is as good as possible.

• Read over their entire website and/or brochure (even the fine print)

• Call ahead and specifically ask about construction or closings – they will not volunteer this information. Many times the construction won’t affect you, but who wants to have their vacation ruined by the sound of hammering at 7 am!

• Double check the hours of operation – many places have different off-peak schedules.

• Ask specifically about the attraction your are interested in. A large resort like Walt Disney World almost never closes completely, but specific rides and attractions will sometimes close for maintenance or refurbishing.

Obviously you can’t foresee every pitfall you may run into on a vacation, but when you are spending $2000, $3000, or more on a vacation, you want to go in with more than a fighting chance of success. My husband often reminds me that it’s often our vacation horror stories that make us laugh the most (after a year or two), but sometimes it’s nice to have things go smoothly. The more prepared you are the better equipped you will be to deal with the situation, and the less likely you’ll be to show up the week the pool is closed for cleaning.

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It’s only the second week of school and we’ve already begun our first fund raiser! Sally Foster wrapping paper and ribbons! It comes at a good time as my mailbox is full of birthday invites for which I need to wrap gifts!

But where am I going to put all this new paper and ribbons? Today’s project came about as I was asking myself that very question. I started searching for a way to store my wrapping paper and vast array of ribbons. I could not find a commercially made one that would fit my space or my supplies. So, I set off to my drafting board and thunk one up.

Time: 15 minutes
4-8 yards or a thick ribbon (I used 2″ grosgrain)
2-3 large eyelet screws
several 1/8 to 1/2″ dowels

Simply fold the ribbon in half and stitch together at intervals of about 4″ for wrapping paper and 2″ for dowels which can hold wrapping paper or ribbon rolls. Be sure to leave room in between sections. Use a good thread and go over your seam several times so it’s sturdy. Be sure to install the hooks into a stud. Then simply place a thick dowel through and hang your ribbons off it. Now fill ‘er up.

Provides simple access to supplies and looks pretty on a wall or can go behind a door.

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Tip of the day: Craft storage

24 Sep 2008 In: Crafts, Tips

If your kids are like mine they love to draw and do crafts. In order to encourage this we found several products that help keep supplies handy and tidy.

First you need something to write on so you need paper handy.

I chose this paper organizer from Highsmith.com.
It fits 12×18″ construction or copy paper OR
2 rows of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper OR a stack of 12 x 12″ scrapbook paper

We use a drawer for other supplies, one for works in progress and one for finished projects. (Just don’t stack things on top of it!)

There are many other types of paper storage but they are pricer and mostly designed for 12×12″ scrapbook paper.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Tech tip – Sign up for savings

22 Sep 2008 In: Mom Tech

Many stores these days, both online and brick-and-mortar, will ask for your e-mail address when you make your purchases. In these days of overloaded inboxes it may seem odd to encourage companies to send you “junk mail”, but the way I look at it, it ain’t junk if it saves you money!

Many stores send out newsletters with tips and ideas as well as information on new products. They also often send reminders when they are having sales and sometimes even coupons or other special offers. I am signed up for e-mails from bookstores, photo websites, toy stores, travel sites, theme parks, hotels, specialty stores, local theaters and Ticketmaster (oh, and I highly recommend signing up for the Friendly’s coupon mailing list as well. I think it may have saved us $10,000 this year alone!).

In general privacy advocates needn’t worry too much – most big name companies have privacy policies in place where they will not sell your personal info to other companies, and a few well designed e-mail filters can easily separate out the “useful” junk from the “real” junk.

If only my real mailbox’s junk mail was as easy to manage!

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Tip of the Day: Pop-up hamper

20 Sep 2008 In: home

I am always looking for ways to get my kids (and husband) to help out more around the house. While the husband might be a lost cause, there may be hope for the kids. Last Christmas they each recieved a Spongebob pop-up hamper, and since that day they have been (happily) responsible for getting their dirty clothes into the hamper and getting the hamper into the laundry room. (Hey – every little bit helps!)

The hampers have handles for easy carrying and they collapse flat when not in use. We usually bring one or two on vacation with us. They take up very little room in a suitcase and help keep your dirty clothes contained (and out from under the hotel beds).

We’ve also found ourselves using them for storing and moving big toys like balls and dress up clothes. My kids even use the hamper as a toy, putting them on their heads and pretending to be robots.

They come in plain; decorated with your favorite character or sports team; and shaped like cute cartoon animals and flowers. Get them at your local home goods store or on amazon.com

Cost approx. $5-$20.

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