As July winds down to the final few days, we look ahead to what’s to come. That’s right with August just days away we all know that back to School is coming. While parents look forwPlan your shopping around both your budget and the best sales. Most states have tax-free shopping. The items are usually the normal items and in some states where tax is 9 – 10 percent, or higher this can save you a bundle. Most Children see it as the loss of their freedom. To return to the world of teachers, books, papers and learning. Each year at this time we prepare to send our children on the adventure of a new school year.
The transition for most is a happy and exciting. Whether Starting for the first time or transitioning schools as well as grades, it is important that they are prepared to meet this brave new world. Either way it is busy, so here I’ve gathered some ideas to get prepared, organized, and not go crazy while doing so.
Start early. Work, summer camps, shopping, holidays, sports, and not completely blowing the budget can be a challenge. Starting early gives you extra time to fit it all in.
Kindergarten or college students will need some new clothes and shoes. (Probably because they outgrew them in summer.) Most schools provide a list of supplies your eager learner will need. Paper, pencils, folders, the new backpack, and tech. College in particular will need basic household items as well to furnish the dorm room they will call home while persueing their degree. A good Laptop, Netbook, Chromebook, and or tablet will also be in the must have list.
Plan your shopping around both your budget and the best sales. Most states have tax-free shopping. The items are usually the normal items and in some states where tax is 9 – 10 percent, or higher this can save you a bundle. Find the dates for your state in this handy list.
I know I am going to use to my advantage and get a new computer. I’ll share my review and shopping experience soon.
So here starts a new adventure for the kids and time out for parents. Just think with the return of school it means it’s almost football season.
Okay thought this would be a good time to review the basics as we once again face possible storms. Most items gathered here are for almost all natural disasters Mother Nature throws our way. All household members should know what to do in case of any kind of emergency, Get a plan for Hurricanes, Tornado, Fire, Flooding, some even recommend for home invasion and terror attacks. We also have a nuclear power facility and chemical plant near by so keeping current on local news is a must.
For Hurricanes we use both our local news tv and radio, as well as alerts from our counties Emergency Management. The Alerts for sevalerts like severe storms, flash flooding, Amber, and security, Active shooters, Police chase or fatal crashes on roadways. They come direct to our phones so at home or on the gowe get the information to keep our family safe.
Click the link to see both an explanation of why and when we worry as well as a great list of items to include in your kit. We rotate the food items out to the pantry throughout the year and always have stock of what we might need. We are adding new things like solar chargers for cell phones and tablets, new flood blocking water dams, new medical devices and recently added the new super bright led flash lights that are super tough and the batteries last much longer than the old incandesenct style.
Keeping this ready the whole year through for us means if there is any major storm headed our way our only preperations include filling our water tanks, gasoline in vehicles and for generator, and get medication refills if needed. Get cash and a quick easy trip to buy any last minute needs, wash any dirty laundry, and make sure the house is clean so Mother Nature can bring it on!
We’ve all seen the meal prep plans where you prep a bunch of meals, throw it in a freezer bag, put it in the Crockpot and its an easy dinner. Well I’ve looked at quite a few, saved them on my Pintrest, but have been too lazy to do them. Well for those readers who don’t know I had a brain aneurysm about 5 years ago. Complications have landed me back in the hospital several times. So with my physical limitations we, that is my husband and I moved into my mom’s house. After my dad passed, my brothers took turns living there. They have both moved on and are starting families of their own. So we decided that with moms physical limitations and mine it would make a good compromise and save us both some money.
Up to now she does the majority of the cooking since I can not. However, with cataract surgery looming in the immediate future, we have to figure out an easy way to cook meals. She will not be able to bend over or lift more than 10 pounds.
My husband hates being in the kitchen, he’ll help me cook but, he must have step by step instructions and you can’t assume anything. He cannot boil water without the microwave. My sister-in-law now lives across the street and has offered to help out but, they have two small children at home and my brother works out-of-town for weeks at a time.
So an alternative is to try freezer to crockpot meal prep. It’s that or takeout and frankly its too expensive and very unhealthy. So here’s what happened…
After looking at various pins on the subject we decided to do a combination of our favorites and try very few we’ve never had. This required some adoptions of our normal favorite recipes. At the end of 2 days we have about 30 dinners in the freezer, ready to go. So here are the tried and true recipes we used.
2 Meat loaves Chili Chicken Caprese
Beef Stew 2 Moms Homemade Pizza 2 Spaghetti
Pepper Steak Beef tips with Mushrooms Pot Roast with vegetables
Mongolian Beef Broccoli Greek Turkey Burgers Pork Loin Roast
2 Lasagna Beef Stroganoff
Most are ready for a full day in the Crockpot. Some like the Ranch or Korean pork chops, Shrimp Scampi, Bratwurst, Liver and onions, Creamy Tuscan Salmon do not translate well to the freezer and are very easy prep and time to make day you want to enjoy. If you only want freezer to table just skip those. (I included them because they are favorites.) We took our time and since this was first time through. We spent time deciding what to make, how much and grocery list and shopping. With the hard work done, all you have to do is enjoy.
If you have a recipe we should add to our list we are open to new ideas to answer the age old question of “What’s for Dinner”. I hope this makes cooking easier and you get to enjoy the extra time not spent in the kitchen. By the way Mom’s surgery went well with no complications. We had so much fun doing it and seeing the valuable time it saves it will be happening more often in our home. So when you are tired after a busy day this is quick, healthier for your family and economical. A home cooked meal beats a take out burger and fries etc… anytime.
One last note…. My husband and I are both Diabetic so the recipes have been talored for special dietary meals and we must be doing something right since neither of us require drastic medical for the condition. Probably to many burgers and fries that put us here, but that’s my perspective.
More recipe links to come
Facing the rest of the year ahead.
If you’re like me we look at the year ahead and try to put habits in place that will make it easier to handle. My Pintrest boards are getting lots of added ideas. Every thing from recipes to holiday ideas, and don’t forget to update the calendars. I take this time out to both show myself some love, and get organized. Anyone who knows me has seen me go a little OCD when being organized. I try to start with the basics. Holidays, Anniversarys, home and garden, Birthdays and finance, parties, and other projects throuout the year. I start with the basics.
My planner/engagement/brain for the year. I like a full desk size book. Why paper you ask? In the digital world we live in things like smartphone, tablets, smart tv, and even the laptop & desktop give us access to technology at our fingertips. Paper and pen are still my go to medium. I will probably add it to my digital devices, but for my main list I prefer paper. It’s where I start from. If you’ve ever tried updating or creating a note when you were fast asleep you’ll know why I still keep my pen and paper.
I enjoy daily/weekly/monthly views in my planner. It helps me stay on track with both what I need to do today as well as looking ahead in the week or month. There are a lot of free pages available that can be printed however knowing myself, I would probably take a page out and loose it as I become involved in what ever project I’m currently working on. The last several years I’ve turned to Cat Naps.
It is wire bound so I can leave it open atop my desk for quick daily checkins. I have important dates, appointments, moon cycle, holidays, and contact info that I transfer yearly into everyone. I usually purge or make changes as I go. I know your reading this and saying I have all that in my phone. I do too, but the tangible works better to help me stay on track.
As the bills arrive by mail I enter the due dates, and mail by dates. Jot gift ideas as I come across them by person. I often hear people say I wish I had this or that, if appropriate I make a note of it and the name. As my husband and I do not have 9 to 5s it helps track both income and expenses.
My digital lifesaver is a financial program I read about in a top app review… from
I love it!!! There are lots of competition in this area, probably including your regular bank.
Prism is a safe and secure way to not only keep up with but pay my bills as well. “Prism is the easy personal finance app for managing and paying bills. • “Love, love, love this app! For those of you stranded by Mint Bills…..This IS your life preserver ..”
It gives reminders, schedules payments, income and current balances of both bank accounts and credit cards. It saves me a great deal of time, stamps, and energy. Unlike some I don’t have to go between apps to get all the info I need. it does take some time for initial setup but so worth it! Even locks the info on your phone if you left it up. Keeps prying eyes out of your personal information yet with a pin code it can easily be synced to all your devices.
With these two it’s easy to control the chaos in my world. Well time to finish this up because according to my handy book it says I have more to do before hubby gets home from his job. Weeding recipes for collection cookbook to be ready for Mothers Day, Plan Easter Family Gathering, and take some free time to catch up on my to be read pile of books. What do you do to stay on track in your busy life?? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
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Okay I know most of the country, are watching the weather maps and hating Florida. While we are not buried under several feet of snow, it’s too cold for us.
Not to disappoint or irritate anyone, I do not live where we have subzero temps with bitting wind chill. We get our fair share of cooler weather. Last week our high was only in the 40’s. What gets us is the humidity down here. In summer the moisture in the air guarantees afternoon showers with only 20% precipitation. It weighs heavily on everything during our hot and humid months. Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas… you all get the same conditions.
What makes those frigid lows so bad here? We have no supplies nor experience with the snow and ice. Natives like me who were born here have very seldom even see it (unless on holiday somewhere north) or have moved here from cold climates. My hubby hails from Wisconsin, and we have other family there and in Missouri. He refuses to drive even with all his experience doing so.
It’s not the sleet, snow, ice, or even blizzard conditions that keep us off the roads unless absolutely necessary. No my friends he will not drive with my fellow southerners who cannot drive in it. “I freely admit this”. We have no chains, snow tires, and the most salt we see is on the rim of a Margarita glass.
This winter has been an interesting season so I thought with snow and ice reaching as far south as Tampa it would be a good time to remind ourselves of cold weather preperations since it’s not over yet.
For most of us it’s not very different from hurricane prep. Batteries, water, food, prescriptions, and extra warm blankets are just a few.
- Take measures to protect people, property, plants, and pets.
- Store some extra gallons of water in case of frozen or burst pipes.
- Have cold weather attire. 60% of body heat is lost from the top of your head. Warm knitted hats are helpful, and those that block wind can be added if needed outside.
- I love my Isotoner gloves! The soft inner layer keeps hands toasty warm while the leather outer layer blocks both the wind and wet, your hands may come into contact with.
- If your hat doesn’t cover them you may want to consider ear muffs. Since I have grown my hair long again I generally leave it down to help.
- Invest in a warm outside coat. Wool pea coats ( I got mine at JCPENNEY) still one of the best and as most are lined they are very effective. I prefer mine in a longer trench length for days I may wear a long skirt.
- Wrap outside or exposed pipes in fabric or foam. If you have something like a Dollar Store pool noodle, cut for length and secure with zip tie. Protection that will hold up all year long.
- Move potted plants inside or cover with plastic sheeting, to create green house warmth around the plants.
- Bring animals indoors. If it’s too cold for you it’s too cold for them.
- Make sure if you cannot bring animals indoors that they have heated shelter from the weather, and plenty of food and water.
- Great story with happy ending for caring for community cats.
As for me well I just got a notice that the temps are going back into freezing this weekend. I’m also goning to order some more Florida Sunshine, to go with the hearty recipes inspired by the cold. We are out of our stash we got for Christmas. With colds and flu’s on the rise the citrus will help our systems ward them off. Stay warm my friends. How do you stay warm this winter? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below or drop us an email at. firstname.lastname@example.org
New Year, New Hopes
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365 New Days, 365 New Chances
As we look forward to the new year, many of us are planning changes in our lives. New Years Resolution are the theme of the day. I am resolving to take better care of my self. Diet, weight loss and more exercise will go toward better health. I’m also going to obsess over organization. I’m following a strict schedule for blog and writing. I am also embarking on rigid physical therapy to regain my mobility.
This will keep me very busy especially when combined with household redesign and organizing. Above all I want a lot less trips to the hospital. I have found lots of tips and tricks and hopefully great suggestions to stay on track. I’m starting with basic rules when setting goals.
- Make the goal acheivable. Unattainable or very hard roads to successfully completing often lead to failure.
- Break larger goals into smaller parts. It will make them more achievable and provide a sense of wellbeing when completed.
- Smaller completed goals encourage embarking on the next. Just like children that sense of accomplishment spurs us to keep going.
- Celebrate Victories even the small ones add up to progress. Rewarding your Victories reinforces your resolve to complete even more.
- Make the reward something you really want. Loss of a few pounds can be rewarded with a favorite dessert, or a glass of wine. Bigger victories need bigger rewards. So keep that in mind when choosing both the goal and reward.
Most of all make it fun. This along with reward upon completion will keep me on track the whole year through. So as we raise our glass of Champagne to toast the arrival of 2018, have your goals, defined and scheduled with rewards defined to spur us to finish.
Video clips from Sex and the City Movie (I do not own any of the music, video, or titles. I make no profit from these items and all belong to thier respective owners.)
Here’s to the fun and accomplishments to be had. What are you striving to achieve in 2018?
More like this?
Most media forget to tell people that you have to be prepared to take care of yourself and family without government help for at least three days after a major hurricane. I grew up in Florida so we are very accustomed to hurricanes every summer. First off the media likes to fuel hystaria! Most category 1 and 2 should only concern low lunging areas and people who live in manufactured homes. Unless you are hit by spinoff tornado, our regular storms are worse than these storms. At 3, 4, and 5 long term locals start paying attention to local weather stations. National new services are not able to give details and help to locals especially our smaller towns. A great resource is a place called crownweather.com oddly enough they hail from Maine. With a little preparation they are easy to deal with and you can reduce stress with hurricane party. I’ve prepared an emergency list that you can print for easy planning to keep your family safe. Three to five days is the minimum you should be able to survive on your own.
It will take agencies like FEMA, or Red Cross to get into the area to help provide things like ice, water, and MRE’s, or medical help. You may choose as we have after touring a medically needy shelter to take advantage of the electricity guarantee, or with adequate preparation we stayin home. Our home generator and ample supplies made taking care of our selves the better choice. My hubby is diabetic and cannot wait 3 hours for a bologna sandwich. We weathered Ivan at home quite comfortably. The shelter had several difficulties procuring supplies.
Remember these must be multiplied for all family members sheltering with you. Pets, children and the elderly have more specialized needs. For children make it a camping trip. Add fun camping supplies to keep children occupied. Camp songs and games keep little ones happy and on fun adventure until normalcy returns.
Poncho with hood for rain
Emergency survival sleeping bag
Swiss Army knife (with can opener)
FM radio w/Batteries
Pen and paper for notes
60 feet Nylon Rope
Pliers~ to turn off utilities
Duck tape to shelter in place
Dust mask (N95)
Leather palm working gloves
Rolls of toiletpaper paper in Ziploc bag
Hygiene kit-tooth brush paste, wet wipes & femine items
Mini hand sanitizer
Garbage bags and ties for sanitation
Complete First Aid kit with Prescription medication for all. You need emergency supply to last 1 week without refill.
Shovel – to dig sanitation holes
Several flashlights with extra batteries I also add several lanterns both battery and oil to illuminate lager areas. Candles, lighters and matches serve well in dinning room and living room to provide light for meals after dark or old fashion board games.
24 hour light stick
Food hard-working high in calories and don’t need to be cooked
Backpacks if needed to move or carry supplies
Solar charger for electronics
Generator with reserve fuel
Manual charger bank for cell phone
Car charger plugin for phones
Car converter to plug in laptops or other small appliances
1 gallon water per person per day
Clothing for 3 – 5 days per person both hot and cold
I. Important documents (I keep ours in 3 ring binder) contains birth certificates, marriage license, copies of driver licenses, and social security cards on all. Insurance documents both policy and deeds. Bank account information, Usernames and passwords, list of credit cards, and numbers. Account numbers for all utilities and services. Tax returns, and anything else I would find important if starting over again. Don’t go crazy but, I keep all in one binder so if fire or flood I can grab it and go. I try to update several times throughout the year. Irreplaceable family photo’s should have a book of their own…consider making scans stored on non destructible DVD Rom disks.
Florida in particular the gulf coast has 1 more essential hurricane party must have…
Plan early, be prepared and stay safe friends and enjoy your summer!