I have so much to do I don’t where to start. My husband left this week to start a new position in another state. So I am temporarily a married single person—again. And as soon as he walked out the door, the pilot on the hot water tank went out, the smoke detector started chirping because the battery needs to be changed and it snowed! It’s like the house knew he had just left! On top of that, I have 3 weeks to pack up our house to move (and everything that goes along with it) to a house that we have yet to find. All while I continue to run my business—oh, and manage my blog. And let’s not forget about this arctic blast that had me stuck in the house with a 7-year-old for 3 days! Continue reading
This week I’ve been preparing for the 7 hour drive ahead of us to get home for Thanksgiving. Each time we take this trip, I pack an arsenal of stuff to keep the kid occupied during the ride. But no matter what she has going on in the back seat, she still manages to ask me the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” at least once an hour. Then she spends the next 5 minutes whining about how it is “going to take forever!” and blah, blah, blah. By the time we get to our destination, I’m ready to barricade myself in a room with a bottle of wine! Continue reading
It’s been a year since Hurricane Sandy pummeled the east coast, leaving behind billions of dollars in devastation and damages. While most of what was destroyed can be replaced, recovering important personal documents after a natural disaster can be extremely difficult. Here are a few ways to protect your important documents in the event of a natural disaster home fire or theft. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that the 4th of July weekend is upon us already! As hosting the festivities can be overwhelming, I am sharing 3 tips to help you get out of the kitchen so that you can enjoy the party. Continue reading
Get organized, save time and money with these 8 great apps for parents: Continue reading
After I had my daughter, I swore would not let her “stuff” take over our home. Then I discovered baskets. I quickly realized that I could use baskets to neatly hide all of the stuffed animals, books, toys and everything in between. Continue reading
It’s the end of the summer. You decide to throw your final soiree of the season. Nothing fancy, just the usual backyard barbeque menu. Chicken, hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, and the like.
You only plan to have a couple of people over, so no need to do any real planning. As the week goes on, you have invited a few more people (and some have invited themselves), but the menu is simple so it’s not a big deal. You decide to clean up a bit the night before and now you’re tired. So you’ll go to the grocery store first thing in the morning, after all, you don’t need that much.
You decide to set up the tables and put out the chairs before you head to the store. Ugh! It’s 10am already! By the time you get back from fighting the crowd at the store, it’s 12pm and you haven’t even fired up the grill yet! Guests start arriving and you’re working frantically to get everything ready. Your guests are having a good time, but you aren’t aware, because you can’t get out of the kitchen!!
If this is not you, I’m sure you’ve been to this party before. So, I offer a few tips to help you or someone you know become a better hostess and stop letting the kitchen hold you hostage.
1. Know your strengths, accept your weaknesses
I have a friend that lives by the mantra, “I am a party goer, not a party thrower.” She clearly accepts that she is not interested in dealing with the details that come with planning events. While I know Martha Stewart makes everything look easy, everyone does not have a penchant for entertaining and planning parties. And if you’re in this category, that’s okay. Instead of spending hours trying to channel your inner Martha Stewart to plan a 5 course dinner party, make reservations and spend the rest of the time shopping for something to wear to dinner.
If sweets are your thing, suggest a progressive dinner party and host the dessert course at your home. This will allow you to prepare items that you enjoy and eliminate the stress of planning a full-blown event.
2. Share your kitchen
I admit, I am definitely guilty of this one. But most of the time, it’s because by the time my guests arrive, I am already putting the food on the table to be served. It’s okay not want help in the kitchen, but make sure you have appetizers, snacks or something for your guests to nibble on until the main course is served. The worst is when the host tells you to go on and enjoy the party while she is just starting to season the chicken. We are offering to help you because we are hungry! We want to eat dinner some time before breakfast!! So please, take the hint and take the help.
3. Small or large, you still need a plan
The main reason most people have anxiety about hosting events is because they get overwhelmed. And they usually get overwhelmed because they did not have a plan. Although planning is a party is not hard, it does require the skill of time management. Whether you are having a few people over for a barbeque or planning your parents’ anniversary party, you need a plan. Making a list of what needs to be done along with a timeline will help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed.
I always start with my guest list. This helps me to make sure that the theme, menu and all my ideas will work in the location I have chosen. Sometimes after you create the guest list, you realize that the small and simple gathering you had in mind is really much more complicated than you thought. Having a plan will help you make adjustments before you realize you have more guests than you have space. It will also help manage your budget and your to-do list.
And remember, just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself. If you don’t like to cook, hire a caterer. Want to serve a signature cocktail, ask a talented friend to serve as your mixologist. Stick to doing what you do best! And in the end, if all you truly want to be is a hostess—hire a party planner like me :)
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Lately, I’ve been teaching my daughter Journey about the value of money. Since we have become more of an electronic society, kids hardly ever see actual money anymore. If you have ever answered, “We don’t have money for that” to a request for yet another ball (oh, but this one rolls when you kick it!), undoubtedly you’ve heard the matter-of-factly reply, “Just use your card.”
So, I set out to teach Journey more about how money works. I started with this fabulous financial literacy program for children that PNC has called Grow Up Great. For Me, For You, For Later is done in conjunction with Sesame Workshop and features characters from the beloved children’s program. The packet is available for free at all PNC branches in English and Spanish and includes a DVD and activity book.
After Journey watched the video countless times, we collected her piggy banks around the house and labeled them—1 for saving, 1 for spending, and 1 for sharing as seen in the video. Now she’s obsessed with saving every penny that she finds. And lately when she asks me to buy something, I say “Sure, if you want to spend your money.” After a brief pause, the response is usually, “Ok, I’ll think about it and maybe we’ll come back for it later.”
For Me, For You, For Later is also available online.