Posts by Vlasta Hillger

10 Quick Ways to Make Your Kitchen Holiday Ready

Holiday Kitchen

During the holidays we use our kitchen more than any other time of the year. We will bake cookies. We will host family and friends for dinner. Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve give us plenty of opportunities to use all our dishes, kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, appliances, and panty items. This makes it a perfect time to make decisions about what kitchen items are still relevant, needed and useful.

  1. Check your pantry supplies. Use website stilltasty.com to determine whether your spices or other pantry staples need to be replaced. Make a list of staples you need to replace.
  2. Will you use fine china for special dinners this holiday season? Many don’t.
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Are You Drowning in Paper Piles?

paper piles

Where does all that paper come from?

Paper used to be a rare and precious commodity, but today most families are drowning in it. Mail, such as utility bills, financial statements, medical explanation of benefits, store catalogs, magazines, and election pamphlets are delivered daily. Children’s school work and art projects also create volumes of paper. Work related documents, those can pile up quick. What if you have a small business? Tons of paper. What if you manage multiple properties? More paper.

Much of the paper which enters our homes represents an action item of one kind or another. The action item might be: pay this bill, review this statement, call this company, read this document, save this document for the future, take advantage of this retail offer. You empty the mailbox on your way home from work, and voila everything in the mailbox is more to-dos for you. Great. Just great. As if you didn’t have enough to do already.

Mounds and Mounds of Paper

Even if you don’t receive many magazines or catalogs and you pay your bills on-line, you are still dealing with mounds

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5 Steps to Make Your Guest Bedroom Ready for Thanksgiving Guests

A guest bedroom

There are two more weeks until Thanksgiving, and I am C-A-L-M. We are getting ready early this year. We know who is coming over for dinner. I have ordered my turkey. I know what the menu will be and who is bringing what dish. I’ve even made a shopping list. Bring it on! I admit it, I was feeling in control. Then, last night, one of the kiddos was feeling congested and he wanted the humidifier in his room. Piece of cake, I knew exactly where to look!

A few minutes later, as I am digging around in the guest bedroom closet, unsuccessfully trying to locate the humidifier, a terrible thought occurred to me. Guests will need to sleep in this very room and it looks like a tornado swept through here long ago! My smug holiday mood evaporated pretty quickly.

The door to the guest room is always closed, and for good reason! The bed hasn’t had sheets on it

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Get Help for the Holidays: Outsource, Delegate, Simplify!

Holidays

The taste of Halloween candy is still fresh on your lips, but you’ve already begun feeling the stress of the upcoming holidays. The next two months will be a whirlwind of shopping, planning, hosting, traveling, and celebrating, all on top of your already frenetic life. This should be a joyful time of year, but with all that is on your to-do list, it feels overwhelming. Instead of hiding under your covers until January, tackle the holidays with this three-prong strategy: Outsource, Delegate and Simplify.

You deserve help – who says you need to tackle the entire holiday season by yourself?

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Self-Activation: What’s Getting in the Way of Getting Yourself Going?

When you can't get going

If you’ve ever seen the meme, “I can’t adult today,” you know the feeling. It’s known as “self-activation,” or “getting that heavy ball rolling” a phrase coined by author Ari Tuckman. Self-activation is harder some days than others. It’s harder depending on the task at hand. There are certain tasks which really make us cringe, and we ignore, delay, and avoid these tasks as much as possible. Sometimes, these tasks get done late or never get crossed off the to-do list at all.

Some tasks feel so overwhelming that we can’t seem to begin

Whether it’s cleaning out the garage, paying your taxes, or planning a Thanksgiving dinner for a large group, if the task before us feels overwhelming, we may never start.
Sometimes these are tasks are emotionally charged. We might worry we are going to disappoint or fail. To overcome this type of overwhelm, the key is to do any small part of the difficult task, and build off that.

The first action of an overwhelming task can be to ask for help. Why not?

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13 Ways to Downsize Mom and Dad’s Estate

Downsize estate

Imagine the following scenario. Your 80-year-old father is relatively healthy, but recently you’ve noticed he’s become more forgetful and confused. You and your siblings suspect it may be time for your father to move to a retirement home or an assisted living facility closer to where you live. He currently lives alone in his 5,000-square foot home of thirty years. Your parents were very active adults with many interests and hobbies in retirement. In recent years, since your mother passed away, he has lost interest or the ability to take part in these hobbies. Apart from his bedroom and the kitchen, the rest of the home has gone unused for many years.

This would be an emotional time for your family. You and your siblings would be considering different treatment and housing options for your dad. Moving is a high stress event at the best of times, even more so for your elderly parent. The to-do list is long. You will need to unearth all his relevant financial

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7 Things You Need to Know to Freeze Your Credit Today

credit freeze

A while back, my friend refinanced her house and then she froze her credit. We had been discussing identity theft when she told me about this. I’d never heard of this concept before. Times have changed I guess, because now phrases like “data breach” and “identity theft” seem to be a part of daily vernacular. Recently, one of the top three credit bureaus, Equifax, was hacked and now we are left to wonder whether our personal data is out there being sold on the “dark web.” (That’s another fun new term – look it up!)

The silver lining is that it is easy to freeze your credit and protect yourself from strangers opening credit cards and securing loans in your name. It took me all of 30 minutes to freeze my credit across all three agencies (you must do all three), Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Get a free credit report

You can get a free credit report once per 12 months. It’s a good idea

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A Homework Station for Every Student

homework station

School is in session and that means homework assignments will be assigned soon. Your child will be more productive and motivated if they have a dedicated space – a homework station – where they can complete their work. The important part of a homework station isn’t where it is located or how fancy it looks, just that your children get in the habit of studying at the same time and in the same place. This habit creates a great foundation for productivity in years to come.

Elementary School

In early elementary school children may need supervision while doing homework. Their homework station should be where you can watch from afar

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RESET and get Strength from Structure

reset

It’s September, and some parents refer to this month as the “true new year.” For busy parents of school aged children, it feels like that anyway. Now that everyone is back in school, we parents have a wonderful opportunity to hit RESET on all those routines that may have gone by the wayside during the last couple of months.

  • RESET your wake-up time. Make a habit of waking up at the same time every weekday. Provide your child with an alarm clock (not their cell phone). If they have trouble hearing it, place it across the room. TIP: For those kiddos who want their cell phone in their rooms at night because they like to listen to music – consider the Amazon Dot. It connects to Spotify and other music services but it won’t let your kid Snapchat all night.
  • RESET your morning routine.
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3 Tried and True Ways to Store Your Scarves

scarf organizer

Whether you own gorgeous Hermes scarves and real Pashmina wraps or whether you just like to stay cozy in a hand knit infinity scarf, you need a place to store your scarves.

Roll or Fold the Scarves in a Drawer

Folding your silk and pashmina scarves will protect them from wrinkles. Ideally you can store these special items in a dresser drawer. Casual scarves can also be folded or rolled and placed side by side in a drawer. If space allows, winter and summer scarves can live together in a single drawer. This is a great

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