I went away for a quick 3-day vacation with my husband. This trip taught me a valuable lesson, not be so rigid and stuck to a schedule. Let me rewind a moment, my idea for my big decade change birthday was to enjoy Nashville with my husband, just the two of us. Since I was extremely busy with work, and my husband has the airline account I trusted him to book the entire trip! I LET GO OF CONTROL (gasp). The day before the trip I was so stressed out that nothing was planned, and we would miss out on everything. My friends told me to relax and enjoy the trip, everything will work out. My friends were so right. Having no schedule and pre-bought tickets allowed us not to have to rush through a museum or fly through town to meet the next time ticket. We were able to soak in the culture of the city, ask locals where to go, and most importantly enjoy the music scene. I realized having a schedule with kids is important but it’s ok to let go of my type A personality and just enjoy the trip! This trip was the best gift I could get for my 40th birthday. Taking a break from the a rigorous scheduled every once in a while, will allow you to actually sit back and enjoy life.
I posted this last year, these tips are so important I wanted to post it again.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up, and going trick or treating with the kids. I also love decorating the home with cobwebs, spiders and tombstones! Halloween is awesome, but going out after dark with little ones can be a stressful experience, so here are seven tips to keep the kids safe while out and about
1. Glow the Night Away
Keep you and the little ones safe with Glow Sticks, Glow Necklaces or a camping lantern to be seen in the dark.
2. Provide transportation for the little ones
Little legs can only make it so far, If walking ,use a wagon to provide space for the child and the candy.
3. Full Tummy= less candy tasting
Candy and sweets are temptation for kids! Feeding kids a hearty meal before Trick or Treating prevents the candy testing while out and upset belly.
4. Prevent Choking Hazards provide non candy options
Many children are so excited to be collecting candy, the instinct to run while chewing gum, sucking a lollipop can cause a choking hazard. As a mom of a food allergy kid, providing non food options support the Teal Project (https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project) and allow all children to participate in the fun
5. Inspect all Candy
This action was drilled upon me at a small age. It is imperative to check all Trick or Treat loot prior to eating. Candy could be tampered with, opened during the walking door to door and could be dirty. Some candy may have an ingredient that could harm an allergic child.
6. Safety First
Focus on the environment you will be walking in, will it be dark? Masks have small slits that can make seeing difficulty. Can your child tolerate something covering the face for a long period of time? Prevent, tantrums, falling and costume malfunctions by using wigs and face paint.
7. Comfortable shoes are important.
Comfortable shoes for everyone will make your Trick or Treating trek enjoyable, and blister free.
Have a fun, memorable and enjoyable Halloween hopefully with no tantrums!
Who feels like a duck right now? All this rain is great for the yard, but it can make you tired and depressed! If it was April, not September, I may be more tolerate to it. I love the Fall, despite the weather that comes along with it. There’s something so peaceful watching the trees change colors and the cinnamon smells that pour out from local bakeries. As a kid, I remember jumping in leaf piles, going to pumpkin patches, riding on hayrides and roasting marshmallows over the bonfire with neighbors.
However, fall can be a frantic time. The kids have gone back to school, the juggling of the new schedules including homework, after school activities and deciding what costume your children want for Halloween. Fall also brings a range of home chores – from draining sprinkler systems to putting away patio furniture to leaf clean-up.
Here are my top tips to help ensure you take time to notice all the wonderful things that this season has to offer:
With all the rain this summer we are struggling to get through our summer bucket list. I feel that even some of our must do bucket list items are getting squeezed in whenever there is a nice day! It didn’t help that my son broke his arm and couldn’t do anything for four weeks. He is hoping for lots of sunny days the next three weeks!
At Life Simplified, we’ve had an extremely busy summer helping people getting ready for moving to a new house, organizing whole houses, and controlling the paper chaos. It’s been a great help to have my assistant organizer, Beth Rankoff involved with many of the jobs.
I can’t believe the summer break is almost over. I will blink and I will have a 3rd grader and a 5th grader. I wish I could freeze time and keep them little. Between my busy work schedule and helping my son get through his bucket list, I am also starting to prepare my family for the routine of school and after-school activities, strict bedtime, chores and no electronics during the week.
This week I started to get the kids in bed earlier than they have been all summer. I set a limit on electronics, and have the kids help me come up with a chore chart. We’ve also made a paper chain to count down the first day of school.
I’ve dug out my back to school checklist (you can find it here) and I am ticking off everything that needs to be done as I go along, from buying new sneakers, prepping school bags and getting haircuts. I’ve already created a homework station with all the essentials to complete homework (I didn’t have a pen will not be an excuse for not doing homework in this house!)
Two weeks before school I go over and complete all the various school forms. I will be dropping them off the week before school starts, at which time I create a lunch area in my pantry that contains snacks, juice boxes, and other essentials to make lunches. Also, in the refrigerator I create a lunch area that allows the kids to make lunches easily.
The last job I complete is the most important task – the creation of the family calendar. What do you do to get ready for school?
According to The Telegraph, the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys and plays with just 12 of those daily. That is both a crazy statistic and a lot of toys to pack up when it comes to moving!
Decluttering is essential when it comes to moving to a new house and the earlier you can start the process the better. I believe even if a house move is just an idea you’re considering, then it’s time to declutter. Why? Moving is stressful and I’ve had clients trying to declutter and pack all in the week of the move.
Plus, decluttering your home before it goes on sale can help with the price it fetches, as does de-personalizing it. The house will seem bigger and prospective buyers will have an easier time imagining themselves living there.
My top ten tips once you’ve decluttered are:
When you get to your new home be sure to unpack as soon as possible. I have helped clients unpack from house moves that happened five years ago. If you don’t do it straight away, you’ll end up leaving boxes unopened or not unpacking with any type of organization in mind – which means you won’t make the most of your new space. If you’re downsizing, then definitely heed this last point. You will not have space to waste.
If you’d like to receive a copy of our full moving checklist, please email us at email@example.com. And, if the thought of moving still fills you with dread, we can come and help with the whole process – from decluttering, to packing to unpacking.
Can you believe it’s June? It was feeling a lot like April with all the rain, but finally the sun has come out. Schools out, graduations have taken place and summer vacation and camps are starting. I find parents fall into two camps. The ones that are running for the wine and beer, dreading the next three months and the ones that are excited to be spending the next few months with the kids
I fall into the later. I love making memories. Trips to the pool, beach and museums. Time for projects. What I don’t enjoy though is the sibling rivalry and the ‘’m bored’ comments. To counter that, we spend time together planning out our ‘summer bucket list’. I ask each one what they’d love to do this summer. We put together a fun list of summer to dos. Our list usually contains a trip to the movies (or two), bowling, trips to the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding and at least one museum. We even include things like riding our bikes and blowing bubbles.
Check out this pin and this pin if you need some inspiration.
Saving memories from the school year
I am so amazed by all the work the kids complete throughout the school year. Now is the perfect time to go through the pile of work and create a system that works, especially if you find your pile is pretty high right now!
The kids and I go through all the school workbooks, notebooks folders and worksheets that come home and we pull out any written stories or favorite comments and then recycle the rest. We take the saved sheets, report cards, certificates and memories and place them in a file folder and label the grade on it. We then store in a file box or small container.
It’s important to get your children involved, especially when it comes to which school art projects and papers to keep. They may not like the ones you do. Let them pick out their favorite artwork. It’s fun to frame the top pick and even frame and give away some of them to family members. Store the rest with the other items from the year. Switch out the artwork as often as you like. If this seems to daunting, I love this system. It enables you to keep your kids' precious artwork and school memorabilia from toddler to 12th grade organized (no more crazy piles!)
Keeping organized over the summer break
Keep a loose routine so the chaos doesn’t rein in your home. Have summer reading and chores done in the morning before camp or any play happens. Keeping organized will help you make the most of the long summer days. And remember, take time to enjoy the birds chirping, the sun setting late, the kids creative playing and summer barbecues.
If you need help with your school work papers or any organizing needs call for a free consult
In-between running to and from clients, I have been snatching a minute here and there to enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having (well, not this!). Spring finally arrived, and summer is hot on its heels. I love this time of year before the humidity arrives.
I also love summer – trips to the beach and lazy days at the pool. With two kids though, it’s not quite as easy as it once was, so being organized is key. Whether you’re hitting the pool or beach, there are some items that you can have packed ready for either venue:
I take either a spray bottle, watering can, or a bucket to wash off sandy hands and feet. I love capturing the fun, so I take along a water proof camera). As there is a little more ‘stuff’ required for the beach, I swear by using a beach cart such as the Wonder Wheeler.
I also have a ‘car-stash’ of summer essentials:
Happy summer days!
During Spring Break, we enjoyed a chilly bike ride and the start of Spring sports. Come on spring weather! Talking of which, my son wanted to pull out his baseball tee out of the garage. It was not an easy task!
Our garage is a small space, not big enough for a car, but big enough to hold our summer items: patio furniture, grill, and other garden items. Not to mention we got a Kayak this fall, which is another large item in our small garage.
Getting ready for summer
Once May approaches the garage will become much more spacious as we transfer our patio furniture and grill back outside. I take the time to reorganize for summer and assess the items. For instance, do the bikes still fit the kids? Do they need a tune up?
I set up the bike station so that the kids have easy access to their favorite summer wheels. I move the garden items back down from the top shelve and set up an easily accessible garden station. This spring, follow my four easy steps and get your garage, shed or storage area ready for the summer:
1) Purpose. Determine what the purpose of the space is. Do you need to fit a car in? Do you need a work station for car, building, or gardening stuff? Is it a holding space for all the water activities? Is it a holding space for bikes and all the parts? Will it hold camping gear? Is it a kid storage space too?
2. Layout. Once you figure out the space the next step is to determine the layout. Poisons, gas, oil, chemicals need to be kept out of reach of kids. Do you have a high space for those items? Think vertical spaces, there are lots of products that will keep garage items off the ground.
3. Sort. Do you need to keep the broken lawn equipment? NO! How many soccer balls do you really need? Make categories of like items, then determine how much space you have. Do you have toom for them all? Are you keeping items that you don’t really use?
4. Organize. This is the fun part! Create a tool area, garden area, storage area, and bike area – or whatever area you need, be it camping, or sports area,
Products to make it easy to be organized.
Here are few of my favorite Garage Products:
I don’t know about you, but I am over winter! Along with many others, we lost power for four days in one of the recent storms. Luckily, we have our emergency supply box all set up and ready for just an event. Still, it wasn’t fun!
Tackle the spring cleaning
With the arrival of warmer temperatures and that fresh smell that makes you want to open all the windows, spring motivates many of us to dust off the cobwebs, get rid of the clutter, and re-energize for the fun seasons ahead.
I love spring cleaning. Even for someone who is generally organized by nature, it offers the opportunity not just for doing all those large cleaning jobs, but also for the opportunity to assess your home and prepare for the warmer seasons.
It can be daunting to take on your whole house which is why I’ve created a spring cleaning checklist. It breaks down the jobs room by room. I suggest tackling one area at a time. This way you won’t get disheartened by creating a huge mess and subsequently giving up altogether. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day so the whole house does not need to be cleaned in one day!
Score some slam dunks of your own during March Madness
At half time, grab a garbage bag and a laundry basket and pick one room to attack. Put anything that should be thrown away in the bag and any items that belong in another room in the basket. Continue with other rooms as time allows, replacing the misplaced items in their proper spots.
Give your closet a makeover
This time of year, I love changing around my closet: Dare I say it, putting away my winter clothes to make room for my spring and summer outfits. Donate any clothes that you didn’t wear this past season, or that no longer fit. Assess your spring and summer clothes as you unpack them. Do you love the items? Do they fit and are they in style?
Your closet is prime real estate. Put your everyday garments front and center. Your occasional items need to be in the back of the closet or in a container. This applies to shoes and handbags. Clothes that no longer fit should not be dominating your space. Keep the key pieces you love and donate the rest.
Prepare for the spring holidays
Passover and Easter are few weeks away. Start planning your menus if you are hosting a holiday meal. If you’re putting together Easter baskets, start planning what you’ll include now. Pinterest is full of fantastic ideas.
Think about summer camp
As we welcome spring it is time to start thinking about summer camp. Yep, before you know it, summer will be here, and you’ll want to ensure your little ones get into the summer camp of their (or your) choice. Some summer camps open up enrollment the previous year, but many start filling up from spring onwards.
I can’t tell you how excited I am that the Eagles won the Super Bowl. They sure did live up to Fly Eagles Fly! The City of Brotherly Love is showing the love to their team right now!
January was a whirlwind for me and went by in a blink of an eye. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling that way! Work wise, moving on from broken love was the theme of January. We helped several individuals going through a divorce, or recently divorced, get organized. Giving love to your home is always a good way to feel calm and relaxed.
In the mist of helping my clients, my son, who is a fourth grader, had a ton of school projects that needed mom supervision. Who remembers those school projects?! Plus, as a Girls Scout Leader for my daughter’s troop, January saw the start of the cookie drive. February has already started out just as busy and as a mom and business owner, I need to be on top of my game and keeping organized helps me with that. What about you?
Share the family love in February
Through all the hustle and bustle, my husband and I ensure we show our kids our love through a love box. Even if you don’t want to participate in a love box all year round, February is a great month to do so, celebrating Valentine’s Day. There are many ways to have your whole family participate. For ours, anyone can put a note of gratitude in the box.
Just for the month of February we have blank hearts. Each night we right one out for each of our children with a reason of love on it and stick it to their bedroom door. We do this in the run up to Valentine’s Day. You can even extend it for the whole month.
Show your home some love
As I eluded to earlier, through the chaos that is running my business, looking after the children and the home, I don’t forget to show my home some love. Creating order and having everything organized keeps everything moving along… mostly smoothly. After all, kids are involved!
Do you show love to your home? Fall back into love with your home with our February deal! For the month of February, we’re offering four hours of our time for just $200. Call 215-908-2869 and quote LOVE18.
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business. Visit www.lifesimplifiedpo.com for more information.