How to Prepare for Summer Entertaining

Summer is an excellent time for you to slow down and enjoy life. And the best way to do that is to have an outdoor party with your family and friends in the comfort of your own backyard. Get your grill on, prepare unlimited refreshments and follow these quick tips for successful summer entertaining.

1. Check your outdoor space. Has winter’s freeze-thaw cycle damaged your outdoors? Check your fences, steps and floor for signs of peeling and splitting. Seal and paint them for the safety of your guests. Then, spruce up your outdoor space by cutting the grass, arranging some flower pots, sweeping and wiping down your backyard furniture.

2. Don’t forget the essentials. Keep your guests comfortable by setting up market umbrellas or a tent for some shade. Provide a basket with insect spray, sunscreen and spray bottles. Have plenty of folding chairs for comfortable sitting. Apart from an overflowing supply of good food, have enough chilled beverages and drinks in your fridge. Also, set up rubbish bins for recyclables and non-recyclables to keep your party area clean and neat.

3. Add some lights. If you’re considering partying into the night, make sure that your party area is well-lighted. Turn on your exterior house lights and bring out any outdoor lighting. Be ready with some fresh bulbs and glass cleaners to keep your lights glowing throughout the night.

4. Choose a safe place to set up the barbecue grill. Choose a spot that doesn’t interfere with the flow of traffic and away from the play area of your guests’ kids to avoid unwanted accidents. Place barbecue utensils and serving platters by the grill. Prepare raw meat on a platter and not cooked meat so your guests can choose which meat they want to grill for themselves.

5. Check the weather. All your preparations will go to waste if the weather doesn’t work to your advantage. Check the weather first and plan accordingly. Give your guests at least two weeks’ notice to prepare for your party.
The most successful events are usually those that have been well-planned and organised. Read this detailed infographic for more insights into summer entertaining.

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How to Encourage Your Child to Go to School

Most kids do not want to go to school or show disinterest in going to school. There could be many reasons for this like the fact they are being bullied at school or they feel under confident about interacting with teachers and other students. Instead of reprimanding your child right away, check out these tips which you might find helpful.

1. Tell your child that school is fun and that going to school can help him become successful. Tell him that is a place and not one which he should be scared of. Remind them that school is where they will get to meet their friends and school just takes a few hours of the day. You can also narrate your own fun stories of school to help them develop a liking. By going to school will he be able to become a pilot or a doctor or whatever he wishes to become when he grows up.

2. Reward them on attending school regularly-another way to encourage your child to go to school regularly is by rewarding him for attending school regularly. This will initially act like a motivation and will then develop into healthy habit.

Source: UNSPLASH

3. Buy them cool school supplies and nice clothes. A cool lunch box, a colorful bag or an attractive pencil box are a few things which can encourage your little one to go to school so make sure you buy them a cool thing every now and then. Nice pair of new clothes for school can get him excited about waking up each morning and wanting to go to school.

4. Drive him off once in a while. Many children are wary of traveling in school buses or other modes of vehicle so make sure you drive him off on your own every once in a while to keep the motivation going.

How to Encourage Other Moms

Being a mom is hard work, isn’t it? There are so many responsibilities, choices, and expectations. Something that has really hit home with me over the past few years is the importance of having friends who are encouraging, uplifting, and supportive — and being that friend in return.

Source: UNSPLASH

As moms, we need to see each other as colleagues and as allies in parenthood. If we operate on little islands and don’t stop to help each other, we are missing out. Motherhood is a common bond we share, and it’s something to take seriously. Here are 10 things to consider when it comes to encouraging other moms — and guarding ourselves against discouragement.

None of us really know what we’re doing. Motherhood isn’t something we learn the first time around and then practice perfectly from then on. We are all trying our best, we all love our kids, and we all have different strengths. Just because someone looks like they have it all together does not mean that they actually do. Don’t worry if another mom seems like she knows exactly what she’s doing — she may actually be looking at you and feeling the same insecurity about her own self.

1)Do not compare yourself to another mom. Be the best mom you can be with your children, and strive for your own personal best. It’s perfectly reasonable to get ideas and advice from other moms, but do not compare yourself to anyone else. Just because they rented a moon bounce and hosted a huge birthday party for their daughter doesn’t mean you’re “not as good of a mom” because you simply had pizza with the grandparents.

2) If things are going well for you but another mom is struggling, don’t flaunt it. Some kids are late walkers, late talkers, or have behavioral issues. If you happen to be a mom who is having an easy time at the moment, just consider who you share your success stories with. If your two year old is saying her ABC’s and your friend is struggling because her two year old is barely talking, save your good news for the grandparents.

3) Don’t try to impress other moms. Waking up early to make homemade muffins and clean your house from top to bottom isn’t going to do anyone any favors. Sure, tidy up and set out a snack, but consider what you are doing and why you are doing it. Be the best mom you can to your children, but don’t worry about looking like the best mom to your friends.

4) When you see another mom who needs help, HELP THEM. There is always that one mom in the grocery store who is having a hard time. Offer to help her put her groceries on the conveyor belt or into her trunk if she has a crying baby or is having a hard time with a toddler. Treat another mom like you would if you saw your friend at the grocery store, and offer to lend a hand. Even if they say no thanks, your offer may have made a difference in their day.

5) Don’t judge other moms. Fight the urge to say in your mind (“I would never let my kid scream like that!). Instead, try a few encouraging words. Even stopping to say, “Oh, hang in there — toddlers are tough! I have one at home,” will make a difference to her.

How to Get Along with Your Neighbours

Modern life is a lot less conducive to friendships with neighbourliness than it used to be. But positive relationships with those around us can make our lives more pleasant and give us a sense of who we are. Here are a few ways to help nurture those relationships for happier, healthier lifestyle.

Introduce yourself to newcomers. Your new neighbours may be feeling lonely and unsure, especially if they’re far from home, and might appreciate a friendly face bearing a homemade cake or a plant. If they have children, tell them where the other local children live. Give advice on the best places to eat and shop.

Be considerate about noise. As a rule, keep music and loud outdoor conversations down after 9 p.m., and try not to start up the power tools or leaf blower before 8 or 9 a.m.. If you are planning a party, try to let your neighbors know in advance — and if you enjoy throwing frequent parties, it’s not a bad idea to invite your neighbors to one!

Source: UNSPLASH

Deal with problems in person. Just as when your neighbors are being too noisy, any other problem should be addressed promptly and in person. It may seem easier to write a note or dash off an email, but written complaints can seem more mean spirited than you intended, and may shut down communication with that neighbor in the future. Give your neighbor a chance to hear what you have to say in a face-to-face chat, and then listen to his or her side as well. Remember, your neighbor is likely not going anywhere, so even if you do not particularly like him or her, it is in your interest to find a way to get through it together.

Keep your front yard tidy. There is no need to get into a competition with neighbors over who has the greenest lawn, but keeping up a basic level of tidiness will be appreciated by all. Put your garbage and recycling cans back promptly after they have been collected, keep grass mowed and weeds pulled, and try to avoid storing too many belongings on your porch or in the driveway.

Be considerate in general. Return anything that you borrow from a neighbour, such as tools, in good condition and as soon as you’re finished with them. Replace anything that belongs to your neighbour that you, your children or your pets break or soil. If your neighbour hasn’t brought in his or her bin yet, do it as a favour. Random acts of consideration will get your neighbours talking.

Follow local parking etiquette. Always try to park in front of your own house if possible, and never block neighbors’ driveways. In some neighborhoods with narrow streets, it is the custom for everyone to park on only one side — even if it’s not an official rule, it is best to follow suit.

Invite your neighbours over. What better way to meet your neighbours than to invite them to an informal barbecue or party? If you deliver the invitations in person, you’ll get a chance to have a chat before moving on to the next house.

How to Have a Happier Co-Parenting Relationship in 2018

Co-parenting is a skill than you can improve with practice. Read on for tips on how you can get along better with your ex.

Practice good communication skills. Don’t use the written word as a weapon! The purpose of emails and texts is to deliver facts and logistics, not to lash out at your co-parent, or try to convince him of the error of his ways. Keeping your messages simple and devoid of emotion will help maintain an amicable co-parenting relationship.

Get over being angry. It’s easy to become addicted to anger. It distracts you from the difficult task of creating a whole new life. It keeps you psychologically entangled with your co-parent, which is the exact opposite of what you want if you’re to move forward. If you find that you’re constantly marinating in bitterness, get professional help to work through your anger.

Follow the court orders. Pay child support on time. Stick to the visitation schedule. Handle shared child-related expenses as set forth in your agreement. Making a unilateral decision to ignore your court order will certainly pull your children into conflict and possibly result in less custody for you.

Be polite. Say please and thank you. Tell your ex you appreciate his efforts to be a good co-parent (even if he or she is not as “good” as you want). Treating your former spouse with respect and highlighting his positive behaviors will encourage him to do the same.

Respect your ex’s time with the kids. Don’t call, text or FaceTime your kids multiple times during your ex’s visitation. Don’t make your kids feel guilty for having a good time with their other parent. Don’t try to chip away at visitation by being late for drop-offs or keeping the kids longer than allowed. No matter what you think of your ex, he has a right to his parenting time.

Respect co-parenting rules. Some divorced couples are able to agree on basic rules: discipline, bedtimes, policies about electronics and homework. If you agreed to do something, follow through. Otherwise, your ex will be less inclined to hold up their end of the bargain.

3 Kitchen Tools That Are Actually Worth Your Money

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I love to cook. I grew up helping my mum in the kitchen, watching and learning as she cooked away. So when I got old enough, cooking came naturally to me. Sure, there were a few people who made me believe that I had to be classically trained to produce wonderful meals but I’ve found that’s not true at all. Anybody can cook; you just have to have the right tools.

I stumbled upon this infographic by Andi-Co not too long ago, and I thought it would make a great intro for this post. Part of being a great home cook, after all, is having not just the right equipment but also the know-how to get the job done.

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Now I’ve seen far too many cooking shows to know that master chefs use pretty much the same stuff we have in our kitchen—from ingredients, down to equipment. The only difference? They know when to spend a little extra for higher quality. And today, I’d like to introduce you to 3 kitchen tools that, I think, are actually worth your money.

  1. Chef’s Knife. Cooking is just so much easier when you have a good chef’s knife. It can get very expensive, sure, but if you know what to look for, you might find that there are plenty of affordable models available out there. Think about how you cook, choose the material you need (carbon steel or stainless), learn how to keep them sharp, and even the cheapest chef’s knife will last you many years.
  2. Cast Iron Pans. An essential in any home kitchen, cast iron pans are wonderful to cook in because they distribute heat evenly and, if well seasoned, are nonstick and last a lifetime. Today’s younger cooks often overlook these pans because they’re old-fashioned and heavy compared to other cookware. While they’re good for steaks and other meat, they’re also quite useful for a wide range of other amazing dishes like pizza and bibimbap.
  3. Upright Cooker. If you’re looking for a cost-effective cooking solution, an upright cooker is your best bet. Besides wrapping up an oven, grill, and hob in a single product, it offers plenty of cooking space, it cooks quickly and evenly, and it’s easy to use and clean. They add charm and uniqueness to any kitchen design, too!

Cooking with the right tools helps in cooking with less stress and more fun. I’m not saying you must have these three items in your kitchen—I’m all for having less stuff—but I’m telling you: 1) they will make your kitchen life easier and 2) cooking with them will expose you to so many recipes. Start with a good knife and go from there!

What other tools or equipment would you recommend to invest in for the kitchen?

Three Best Ways to Hire the Right Nanny

SOURCE: Unsplash

Almost all moms today go back to work after a few months they’ve given birth due to financial concerns. Hence, they’re faced with the need to hire a reliable nanny who will take care of their newborns while they’re not at home. Do you find yourself in similar situation? Read the rest of this post to get some ideas on finding the best carer for your child.

Have definite requirements. How do you want your future nanny to be? Do you want a nanny who will treat your child as her own? Do you want a nanny who will instill values in your child? Or, do you want a nanny who will attend to your child’s needs only? Take the time to list all the characteristics and skills you’re looking for in a nanny. Finalize it before putting up an ad.

Advertise. You can contact an agency to put up an ad for your need to hire a nanny. Hiring a nanny through an agency might require you to pay extra. It could be an added expense but you can be sure that all applicants will be screened thoroughly. You can also post your ads in your social media accounts. Tag your family, friends and relatives. They might be able to recommend a trustworthy nanny who they know personally.

Interview applicants. Make a short list of applicants who have passed all your requirements. Take note of their individual attitudes and experience in child care. Compose questions which reflect your concerns and the values you’re looking for in a nanny. Allow the applicants to share their personal and professional experiences while baby sitting or working as a nanny. This will help you peek into the real personalities of your applicants.