Hosting Christmas? Here’s How To Make It A Guaranteed Success

Hosting a big family event is never a walk in the park. There’s a lot of pressure on you to get it right, and you may find yourself panicking as the day draws nearer. Now we are officially in December, that big event that is just around the corner is obviously Christmas Day. Hosting Christmas Day for your family can be a very big deal. After years of going to your parent’s for Christmas, or visiting an older family member, hosting Christmas yourself is your chance to give back. Plus, doing it on your own is a big achievement – it’s just something that takes quite a lot of planning. If you are waking up in a cold sweat every other night worrying about how you are going to pull it all off, relax. As long as you plan in advance and stay calm throughout, there is no reason why you can’t host a Christmas Day this year to rival all the others.

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Sort out where people are going to sleep

One thing you will need to bear in mind is that people probably won’t just to staying for one night. If you have family who has travelled a fair distance to be there for Christmas, it makes sense for them to make a few days out of it at the very least. With that in mind, you will need to have space for people to sleep in comfortably, rather than just crashing on the couch. If you have a spare bedroom that you haven’t really touched since you moved in, now is the time to turn it from a storage room into a beautiful guest room! You may also want to provide extra bedding for those people who WILL need to sleep on your sofas. If all bed and sofa space has been taken up, you may need to get imaginative – invest in some blow up mattresses so that the people who will need to commandeer the floor can at least be comfortable.

Get hold of any extras you may need

Imagine the horror of planning out your festive meal, only to realise that it is logistically impossible in your current kitchen. In order to pull off what you’ve planned, you need another oven, probably another fridge and a spare dishwasher wouldn’t hurt either. If you do find yourself in a situation like this, don’t panic. You can now actually access Appliance & Furniture Rentals for those scenarios where your own home doesn’t play ball. Of course, no one has actual appliances installed around Christmas as it can tear up half your home. So renting one instead is an easy solution to your problem.

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Make the necessities accessible

In order to have a relaxing festive holiday, the last thing you need is eight family members in your ears asking where everything is, or if they can use something of yours. Make it clear from the start that whilst there are certain things they need to ask to use, the rest is all theirs. After all, you are family! Have basics like bread for toasting, teabags, shower gels and towels all at hand for everyone to use. Christmas is all about giving, so encourage everyone to share and share alike.

Dealing With Those Worst Case Scenarios At Home

We’ve all had a disaster at home haven’t we? You’re lying if you say no. Come on. Spill the beans. We’re all friends here! Whether it be a fire, a flood, bugs and beasts or the shattering of your Mum’s favourite plate, we’ve all had that ‘oh dear’ moment that lives for too long in the memory. So how do we react in the aftermath?

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Fire is a scary thing isn’t it? That’s why we have all the adverts on TV as well as the essential protection that we have to wear in case one does decide to erupt. So what happens if the hob is left on too long or the plug in your bedroom decides to spark out of control? Well, the obvious thing to do is to call the fire brigade immediately. They will come as soon as possible but what are you supposed to do in the meantime? You could try and spray a fire extinguisher on the flames if you’re a responsible adult in a safe place and away from harm but the most important thing is to get you and your family out. You can lose your expensive rolex. You can’t lose your loved ones.

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Floods are also a worry for a lot of us. We could be affected by the coast outside and those who live in these threatened areas are constantly on alert. Inland, we are at risk too, although to a much lesser extent. What if the bath upstairs overflows, gushes down the hallway or goes through the ceiling? What if the sink overfills and makes the kitchen like a lake? These are everyday occurrences that could always go wrong. Yes, Mum’s mop and bucket could do the job in a relatively small case but what happens if it’s a larger job? What happens if it’s a threat to your family and to all your valuables? Well, then you may have to call specialist companies in this area for example those with basement flood clean up.

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And what about those creepy crawlies that could start residing in your home? Spiders, flies, daddy long legs. The mind starts to shudder. However these are mostly expected and there’s not a lot we can do about it. However, cockroaches and rats. Well that’s another story. No matter how boring and monotonous it may be, we need to take out the rubbish every day and for those garden doors that access our entry to the house to be shut firmly at night. No one likes a scavenger do they? If cases worsen and the screaming begins to wake up the whole neighbourhood, waste no time in calling a professional. They will be quick and efficient in eradicating this problem. But this isn’t a one way thing. You must start to get on top of your household chores or your outlay will start to increase further. Don’t make your house a haven for animals! Save your garden for that.

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Taking Time Out: Activities That Are Beneficial For Body And Mind

We all have days where we feel like we’re swimming against the tide. Are you juggling work with raising a child? Are you struggling to get everything done? Are you worried about money? Or are you going through tough times with a partner? If so, taking time out can work wonders. Sometimes, we all need a moment to ourselves. Here are some activities to try that will benefit both your body and mind.

Boxing

Boxing may not seem the most obvious choice for moms with things on their mind. But this is a really powerful form of exercise that can help you to vent frustration and anger. You don’t have to punch anything but a bag. The action enables you to release tension, and you can really let fly. If you’ve had a stressful day, or you’re feeling anxious, letting go will help. Boxing training is great for your fitness, and it will help you increase your strength and agility. You’ll also feel a weight lift off your shoulders as you hit the bag or pads. If you like the sound of boxing, you may also be interested in kickboxing and martial arts.

Boxing gloves
Image from
https://pixabay.com/en/box-gloves-blue-training-1198688/

Gardening

Gardening is an excellent way to relax and de-stress. You can appreciate the great outdoors and breathe in fresh air. Tending to flowerbeds will distract your mind, and enable you to focus on something that doesn’t make you feel worried or anxious. You don’t have to be an experienced landscape architect to create a beautiful garden. If you’re a beginner, you’ll find some top tips online. It’s also worth taking a trip to your local garden center to have a look at plants and buy some seeds and bulbs. Gardening may not seem like a strenuous activity, but you can burn up to 400 calories per hour.

Woman Gardening
Image via
http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/16338

Yoga

Yoga is one of the most popular activities for people looking to relax and enjoy some downtime. Yoga is fantastic for increasing flexibility and suppleness. But it also helps to make you feel calm. When you’re moving into different positions, you also focus on deep breathing. This can slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. If you’ve been thinking a lot, or you’re feeling confused, yoga may help to clear your mind.  

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Image credit
https://www.flickr.com/photos/141735806@N08/27664580350

Walking

Walking gets your body moving, but it’s also really good for your mental health. Being outside can make you feel energized. When you’re walking, you have time and space to think. You can enjoy some peace and quiet and take time to just relax. If you’re pushed for time, even a stroll around the block can get you out of the house and provide you with a few precious minutes of alone time.

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Image sourced from
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/6990684255

Have you had a bad day? Are you feeling stressed or run down? Do you need a change of scenery or a few moments of peace? If so, why not try these activities? They can help to clear your mind, recharge your batteries and make you feel more relaxed. They’ll also improve your general fitness, and get your muscles working.

Embracing Outdoor Living: Easy Ways You Can Spend More Time In The Fresh Air

It’s no secret that breathing in fresh air and venturing into the great outdoors can do you a world of good. If you’re guilty of spending too much time indoors, maybe it’s time to embrace outdoor living. Here are some easy ways you and your kids can get out more.

Switch up the school run

Do you drive to the school gates or drop your kids off at daycare in the car? Is it only a short drive away? If so, why not ditch your wheels and walk instead? You’ll save yourself money on gas, and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment. You can also enjoy the scenery and get your body moving. You may also be able to walk instead of using public transport or your car to get to the shops or visit friends and family.

Try outdoor pursuits

If you have kids, you may think that outdoor pursuits aren’t the best idea. But there are lots of activities that are suitable for toddlers. You can go on a family bike ride, or go for a walk in the park or by the lake. If you have older kids, you could also give kayaking or climbing a go.

Family Bike Ride

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/s_mestdagh/3657847661

Maximize your time in the garden

Most of us associate spending time in the garden with the spring and summer months. But just because it drops cooler, this doesn’t mean you have to retreat indoors. Wrap up and play out in the snow or collect the colorful fall leaves. Snuggle up in a hammock with a blanket or research outdoor fireplaces. This will enable you to enjoy being out in the open without getting cold.

Give outdoor sports a go

When you hear people talk about exercising, you may immediately think of going to the gym. But there are lots of sports and activities you can do outside. Take a yoga mat to the beach or sign up for a running club. If you’re keen for the kids to exercise more, you could look into local soccer teams, or join a tennis club.

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Image source:
https://pixabay.com/en/photos/kid/?cat=sports

Take lessons outside

Are your kids learning about trees or insects at school? If so, why not treat them to some fun, educational lessons in the outdoors? You can follow a nature trail or take some books with you and try and spot birds and bugs. Children often learn better when they find things fun and interesting.

Try camping

Camping is one of the best types of vacation if you want to escape it all on a budget. When you go camping, you get unrivaled access to amazing beauty spots, and you can try all kinds of fun activities. Go hiking or cycling if you have older kids, or enjoy a day at the beach with younger kids. You may miss out on creature comforts for a day or two. But you can spend quality time together in some of the most spectacular settings out there.

Do you spend nearly all your time indoors? Being out in the open can do you a power of good. If you’d like to get out more, take these simple suggestions on board. You’ll be amazed at the difference some fresh air can make.

Not Home for the Holidays: Preparing Your House

Winter House
JamesDeMers

The holidays often mean leaving your house for a few days, or perhaps even longer. Many people spend Thanksgiving or Christmas elsewhere. If you’re going to visit your parents or the in-laws, you might be worried about leaving your house. There are several things to be concerned about, including the cold weather and the possibility of break-ins. You don’t want anyone to notice that you’re away and take the opportunity to steal from you. Before you go away, you can take some steps to prepare for your absence. Don’t forget to do these things so you’ll be able to have peace of mind while you’re away.

Prepare for the Weather

One of your biggest concerns while you’re away for the holidays may be the weather. As it starts to get colder, you need to think about snow and ice, as well as winds. These things can impact your home, especially if you aren’t there to watch it. For example, you might need to worry about snow building up on your roof. If you want to get ready for the cold weather, you should take steps that will help you every year. If you use permanent solutions like using heat tape on your pipes, you won’t have to worry about it each year.

Install a Security System

The security of your home can also be an issue during the winter. You might worry that the darker nights make break-ins more likely. And leaving your home empty could make it more vulnerable to criminals. However, you can take steps to protect your home. One thing you might want to do is install a security system. Even better, you can consider one that connects to your smartphone. You can have cameras hooked up to an app so that if there is any movement or the alarm goes, you can see what’s going on. You could ask a neighbor to listen out for the alarm too.

Snow House

JamesDeMers

Arrange Pet Care

If your pets are staying at home for the holidays, you need someone to look after them. You’re most likely to do this with cats, fish, or small mammals. You can easily have someone to come in a couple of times a day to feed your pets and take care of their other needs. You might get a neighbor to do it or perhaps hire a professional. Many pet sitters can also do things like turning lights on and off and opening and closing curtains. This gives the appearance that you’re still at home.

Consider a House Sitter

If you’re unsure about leaving your home empty, you could consider a house sitter. There are professionals or perhaps someone you know who would be happy to look after the house. You can make sure you have someone to take care of everything, from clearing snow to feeding the pets. Of course, you need to find someone you trust. Plus, if you a hire a professional, it will cost you money.

Don’t let leaving your home stress you out too much. Make the necessary preparations and enjoy your holiday.

How to Support Your Spouse When They Go Back to College

mother studyingLife is a lot easier when both partners work full-time. You have two incomes and therefore twice as much disposable income to spend, which means extra money to spend on vacations and all the nice things in life. So what happens if your spouse decides to go back to college for an online social work masters?

It can be hard for both partners when one of you takes the decision to go back to college. There are many reasons why this might happen. Perhaps your spouse hates their job and wants to study for a masters in social work so they can have a more fulfilling career, or maybe they need a further qualification to improve their earning potential. Either way, your job is to be as supportive as possible and help them every step of the way, because that’s what you signed up for when you got married.

When your spouse goes back into education, their decision will have far-reaching consequences. Your income is halved and you become the primary breadwinner. It will also decrease the amount of quality time you spend together, as every spare moment for them will be spent studying and for you taking care of family and home. However, you are a team, so here are some strategies to help you get through this difficult time.

Work Out a Budget

Since money is going to be tight for a while, you need to work out a budget – and stick to it. Write down all of your expenses and figure out how much money you have left at the end of the month. If there isn’t any, see if there are any ways you can supplement the family income, perhaps with a second job. It’s going to be tough for a while, so be prepared to live as frugally as possible until your spouse finishes studying. The good news is that once they have earned their qualification, they can start earning again.

Be Organized

You are going to have to be super organized if you are taking care of the home, doing the childcare, and holding down a job. It won’t be easy, but the more organized you are, the smoother things will run at home.

Make Time for Fun Family Time

It is important that you make time for date nights and family time. All work and no play makes everyone depressed. Allocate one night a week for family time. You don’t need to spend much money. Take it in turns to choose a movie, make some popcorn and sit down on the sofa to watch the action. As for date night, cook a nice meal, light a candle, and enjoy some uninterrupted snuggle time once the kids are in bed.

Keep Talking

Keep the lines of communication open at all times. You will both feel like ships passing in the night for a while, so it is important to stay in touch. Use text messaging, leave cute notes around the house, and if something upsets you, talk about it.

Going back to school is stressful for everyone, but this difficult period won’t last forever, so keep smiling!

SKYLANDERS® IMAGINATORS ON STORE SHELVES NOW!! #Skylanders

It is a great day for all the Portal Masters!  Skylanders Imaginators starter packs on store shelves now AND the Skylanders Creator app is available for Android and iOS devices, so you can now create the Skylander of your wildest dreams!

The beloved kids video game franchise is trailblazing the Toys to Life category yet again with Skylanders Imaginators:

  • Create your very own Skylanders  – choose their body parts, size, catch phrase, powers, colors, theme music and so much more- with Creation Crystals and play through new storyline and gameplay.
  • New Skylanders Senseis – 20 new characters and 11 villains including Kaos (FREE with starter pack purchase until October 21 or while supplies last!), and special guest stars Crash Bandicoot and Dr. Neo Cortex.

  • Starter pack ($74.99USD) includes two Sensei characters, one Creation Crystal, Portal of Power and game disc available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 1, Xbox 360 and WiiU.

Skylanders CropScotch

  • Special Halloween Candy-Coated Chopscotch + Skylanders Halloween costumes– forego the candy and give fans a Halloween themed version of the new Sensei character- a perfect addition to trick-or-treat bags! Portal Masters can dress up like their favorite Skylanders characters with costumes available at retailers nationwide!

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Even more fun with the Skylanders Creator App which includes the ability to:

  • Create your Skylanders Imaginator on the go with the same functionality in the game
  • Turn your Skylander Imaginator into a 3-D printed, fully playable toy (enter the #CreatorContest for a chance to win a FREE 3D character- details below) or a 2-D Imaginator card which is fully playable on the portal of power
  • Print your Skylander Imaginator on to an t-shirt
  • Earn new character parts with timed Imaginite Chests and share your new character via social media.

Skylanders has so many fun things going on right now!!  I really can not wait to try out the new game with Colton!!

The Secrets You Need To Know For An Amicable Divorce

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Not every divorce ends amicably. If your partner has cheated on your or you are simply sick of all the bitter arguments, the divorce can become very messy indeed! But it is in everyone’s best interests that you try and stay on amicable terms with your partner. Not sure you can handle that? It’s actually very easy to remain friendly with your partner as long as you know these useful secrets.

Choose A Lawyer Who Cares

You will be surprised just how many lawyers don’t care about your family’s situation. They simply see your case as another paycheck. So it is imperative that you try and find a family who really understands how stressful this whole process is for you. This can help to limit the amount of arguments you have over custody. The lawyer will try and come to an agreement that suits both you and your partner. The best way to find a caring attorney, such as quality divorce lawyer Barbara May is through word of mouth. If some of your friends and relatives have been divorced, ask them who they used.

Understand That There Will Be No Winners

The best possible end to any divorce is one where you can live with the outcome. You and your partner might not be happy with the agreed settlement. But you are both able to live with it without continued bickering and arguments. This means there is no winner. You shouldn’t see a divorce as being a way to get one over on your partner. If you do, things can get heated and complicated very quickly, and you shouldn’t be too hopeful about getting a quick divorce.

Keep Your Emotions In Check

One thing that the legal aspect of a divorce won’t be able to deal with is the emotional side of it. You need to come to terms with your feelings and emotions as soon as possible so that you can deal with the rest of your divorce much better. If you keep your emotions in check, you will find it much easier to make practical decisions that benefit you and your kids.

Think Of Your Children

It is super important to try and make the whole divorce process easy on your kids. They will have probably had to deal with continued arguments between their parents for some time now, and this will only make things worse. First of all, explain what is happening to them in language that is simple enough for them to understand. You should try not to argue with your partner in front of them, as this will only stress them out even more. Decide on custody early on in the divorce proceedings. Are you are unable to come to an agreement with your partner? Then you need to make sure your kids aren’t exposed to too much stress once the matter is taken to court.

It is always possible to end your relationship in an amicable divorce. Hopefully, this blog post has shown you how.

Use Groupon to find fun things to do! #Groupon #ad

Groupon is a great way to find hidden gems of things to do in your area.  What I love is searching the Groupon site when I am looking for fun things to do, especially when I don’t have a lot of money to spend.  I will go to the Groupon Things to Do page and see what they have.

Things To Do

I have found some really great activities that I did not even know existed!!  When we first moved to Florida, I was on Groupon every week checking out what new and cool things they had to do in Orlando.  We found really unique things like visiting a Citrus Farm where we got on a giant Bus/Truck and got to see the oranges on the trees, and see and feed the animals that lived on the farm, and when we were done, shop at the farm stand and have these delicious orange slushes.  If it hadn’t been for Groupon, I would have never known this place existed!  Oh and not only that- but we saved a ton of money on admission.

If you are wanting to save money on ANYTHING to do, concerts, expos, sporting events, festivals, shows, movies, classes, gym memberships, or even tickets to family activities– check out Groupon Things to do first.  Even if you know what you want to do, you can still save money!

Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart Review

“I am a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador, and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities.”

Disney on Ice has skated into Orlando and they are bringing new thrills and experiences just for you and your family. I went out to check out the new show last night and I was amazed at what they have done with it. If you have a Princess or Prince who loves all things Disney, you will not want to miss the show this year. I am going to share a Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart review so you know what to expect before going to the show.

Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart Review

Be our Guest! 

Disney On Ice Follow Your Heart Review

 

Be prepared for a visit from some of your favorites such as Lumiere and Cogsworth. Not only will you enjoy an abbreviated version of many of your favorite stories, you will also get see a strong cast perform a beautiful show that is sure to bring a smile to any child’s face.

 

Be Aware
Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart Review
If you have a child who is sensitive to strobe lights, sudden loud noises, or some of the villains from Disney you may want to plan accordingly as these elements are part of the show. There are occasional pyrotechnics integrated into the show. It may be good to prepare your child for these. You will also see a few of the villains in this show. If you child is afraid of them, make sure to prepare them for these characters.

Be emotional
Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart Review
This year Riley and all of her emotions join us. Riley has a big game and the emotions are here to help her out. The emotions fit the show so well and had all the kids around me laughing. I love the new show setup where they integrate the different story elements into a bigger story using the emotions. I won’t tell you if the emotions hit the ice, you will have to see the show.

Be ready to Fly!

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This year Disney on Ice is stepping it up a notch and adding an aerial component to the show. I loved this adventure above the ice. Not only will Rapunzel spend some time in the air, one other amazing character does a beautiful job of taking to the air. Want to find out who it is? Make sure to get your tickets before they are gone.

Be ready to Remember 

Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart Review Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart Review

Join the adventure with young Dory as we learn that not only does she have parents, but we need to find them! This part of the show does an incredible job of using multiple view points and characters to tell a beautiful story. I may have shed a single tear as Dory asked her parents what would happen if she ever forgot them. This is a beautifully done portion of the show and I definitely enjoyed every minute of it including the knowledge of where the “Just keep swimming” song started.

Be Ready to Shiver

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What would Disney on Ice be without our favorite princesses? Join Olaf as he hears the story of how he and Anna became friends. Be ready for some amazing effects as they bring the winter to life and bring you into the magic. It can get a bit chilly but don’t worry, Olaf is there to bring a bit of Summer to the show. Everyone in the arena was singing along to every song. You could tell they were having a blast.

Be Surprised!
There are tons of things included in the show that I have not shared in this review. There are surprises that will leave your child amazed. There are even a few that will make them laugh. Make sure to get your tickets today for Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart.

Get your Tickets 

Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart is bringing this live production produced by Feld Entertainment. The ice skating extravaganza featuring Disney Pixar’s Inside Out, Disney’s Frozen, and other beloved Disney stories visits Orlando from September 2-4, 2016 for six performances at Amway Center. Show Times:  Saturday, September 3, 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 4, 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now!

Tickets are available at www.DisneyOnIce.com  or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone for information only: 407-440-7900). For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.