Posts by Vlasta Hillger

5 Steps to Make Your Guest Bedroom Ready for Holiday Guests

A guest bedroom

The winter holidays are just around the corner, and I am C-A-L-M. We are getting ready early this year. We know who is coming over for dinner, and who will be staying with us. 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 since the last guests stayed here (over the summer). On top of the bed, there are boxes and bags with various purchases needing to be returned to various stores. The Halloween bin is on the floor, empty.

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This Christmas, You Drive the Sleigh

Christmas gift

Aah, Christmas. Everyone’s favorite time of year, right? Well, yes, but for those of us (moms) responsible for all the planning, shopping, cooking, and entertaining, the holidays are not always the easiest time of year. It doesn’t have to be so. How about this year, you drive the sleigh?

Today I attended a workshop held my good friend and coach, Sheila Storrer. The topic for discussion was having the kind of holiday that we (moms) want to have.

We spent the morning talking about what’s important to us this season and how to get out of the “I should” which often leaves us frustrated and disappointed. Each of us created a plan for the month of December. I bet you are wishing that you could have been there. I wish you could have my friend. Because let me tell you, this workshop could not have come at a better time. While it’s officially not even December, all the women in attendance had lots to say about the weeks ahead. It was apparent that all the women in attendance care deeply for their children and they have the best intentions for their family’s holiday. Everyone wanted to make the holidays very special. But they also had some concerns.

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

Holidays

You survived Halloween and Thanksgiving, which means the winter holidays are just around the corner! The next few weeks 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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Organizing Strategies – Make it Simple; Make it a Habit; Adjust it; Stick With it

Make It Simple

There is one big mistake everyone makes when they begin to get organized. Want to know what it is? Containers, baskets and bins. That’s right. People rush out and buy lots of containers before they know what they need and before they sort through what they have.

Here’s how to approach the organizing process. We like to call it the Clutter Clearing System.

Step One: Form a vision for the space.

Let’s take the kitchen. Family is coming over and you’ll be hosting the holidays. Are the counters cluttered? Are the drawers packed full?

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Organize Your Board Games

November days are short and rainy in the PNW. Fall sports seasons wrap up and we spend more time indoors with our families. Cozy weekend afternoons make a perfect time to play board games. This is also a great time to organize the board games you own. It’s as easy as tic-tac-toe.

Step One:

Board games need a central location where everyone can find them. Whether it’s a closet or a cupboard, the space just needs to be accessible and known to all the family members. Some families keep games in the children’s rooms. Board games for adults or older kids can go in a family room or another shared location.

Step Two:

You can’t play a game that doesn’t have all the pieces. Locate all the bits and make sure they are in the correct game box. Secure flimsy boxes with a large rubber band or a thin strip of Velcro. Toss any games with missing pieces. Donate unpopular games.

Step Three:

Sort the games. Group games played mostly by adults in one area, perhaps on a high shelf. Children’s games should be easily accessible to them. Utilize lower shelves unless it’s dangerous for very young children or toddlers. Use a lidded bin to store children’s wooden puzzles. Only bring out a couple of small puzzles out at a time and store the rest – that way clean-up is a cinch – you won’t spend precious time looking for lost puzzle pieces.

So, don’t fret the rainy afternoons or dark evenings, instead rally the family around the table for an exciting game of Exploding Kittens (no cats are harmed – I promise!) or an old favorite like Chess or Settlers of Catan. Thinking ahead to the holidays, if you would like to expand your collection with a new favorite board game checkout this list of the most popular board games of all times.

Some of us have a closet full of board games, but honestly, most of the gaming happens online. If you find that the only time you access the game closet is during a power outage, then consider really downsizing the volume of games. Be authentic to how your family spends time and consider whether the space being taken up by board games could be used for something else. Perhaps you have some craft supplies that need a home? Let us know if you’d like help figuring out how to best use the space in your home. We do love (excuse the pun) this kind of puzzle.

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Unique Gift Ideas for Your 2018 Christmas Gift List

I must come clean. I’ve already begun Christmas shopping. I know it’s not even Halloween yet. I’ve already made a 2018 Christmas gift list on my Wunderlist app to keep track of the gifts I need to buy and the gifts I’ve already purchased. The gift I got was for someone who is easy to shop for, that’s why I was able to find just the right thing when I was hardly looking.

But this made me think about all the people I need to buy gifts for who are incredibly hard to shop for. We all have a few of those relatives on our list. It also got me thinking about all the spouses, partners, non-shoppers and anyone else who struggles to come up with that something special for that someone special in their lives. The way I see it, when it comes to holidays we all need all the help we can get.

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A Tale of a Frightful House

cluttered house

On Halloween night…

Creepy skeletons, fuzzy black spiders and foam gravestones in your front-yard graveyard spooked the young trick-or-treaters aplenty, but only you knew that the truly frightful and terrifying was inside your house, hidden and unseen – because no visitors had been welcomed inside for a long time. Only on Halloween did anyone approach your porch.

Inside the house, no one opened closets for fear of what might come tumbling out. Everywhere were dusty piles of stuff

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5 Self-Care Appointments You Need to Schedule Today

self-care

I get it, you are super busy. I also get that you are tired to people talking about everyone being busy. But here you are reading this blog (for which I thank you), so you must have a couple of minutes of free time. But before you click away to another page, get your phone out and make these important self-care appointments. Your healthy, and well-taken-care-of, self will thank you later.

Don’t delay, get these appointments on your calendar now:

  1. Your annual exam or physical. While not everyone needs a PAP once a year, the bloodwork and check-in your primary doctor or OB/GYN is critical to your long-term health.
  2.  Your mammogram. Just do it. Or else, I will tell you horrid stories of women who didn’t
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Five Holiday Prep Tasks You Can Do Now

get ready for the holiday

I am talking not about buying a jack-o-lantern and decorating for Halloween. Because I know that most of you have already done that. I am talking about time-saving holiday preparation for the BIG holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Clear the Space

Say you are a crafty person, and your dining table is currently being used for ‘non-dining’ purposes. This is the time to finish whatever project lay in pieces on the dining table. We’re always busy. Put some specific times on your calendar and prioritize finishing the project. Devote time to clearing the space for the holiday celebration.
Sound completely overwhelming? I get that.

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The Real Cost of the Stuff We Buy

The stuff we buy costs us.

Every day, retailers appeal to us with promises of special deals and savings on all kinds of stuff. We love a great deal. But our shopping habits may be costing us much more than we think, not just in terms of the money, but in time – our most precious resource.

No More Space

When we bring new purchases into a cluttered home we might struggle to find a place for the new items. When items don’t have a home, they become part of the clutter. When we can’t find what we own we re-buy the same items repeatedly.

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